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TTo prince Sattbgans Strattmann 


Our friendship lias already lasted some thirty years 
without interruption how time slips away ! and as you have 
always displayed so much interest in my labour, permit me to 
otter you the dedication of the following pages. 

Ever yours most faithfully, 



I HAVE traced the following pages in the form of 
" Recollections," having only kept a Diary during such 
eventful periods as the Siege of Paris and the Com- 
munist insurrection. 

During my stay in the French capital, I witnessed 
the closing scenes of the Second Empire and its fall, 
and the rise and development of the Third Republic, 
which, seeing the troubles which surrounded its infancy, 
I was convinced it would have but a brief existence. 
But the gods saw otherwise. It has certainly enjoyed 
a wonderful run of good luck. In the first place, it 
reaped the benefit of disasters for which it was in a 
great measure responsible. Had not the Liberal 
Chamber, elected under the auspices of M. Emile 
Olivier and his friends, refused men and money to 
the Empire, being confident that the National Guard 
was a sufficient protection for France, the probability 
is that the Germans would never have over-run the 
country, and that Napoleon III. would have been able 
to weather the storm which, in 1870, produced such 
dire consequences. The Third Republic has also been 
very fortunate in its Presidents, although they have 
all been obliged to resign office with the exception of 


M. Carnot, who was assassinated. M. Thiers, favoured 
by the Legitimists and Orleanists, managed to pull the 
Republic through its first difficulties. Marshal Mac 
Mahon gave it respectability, and served it with honesty. 
The astute M. Grevy filled his first terra of office with 
credit to himself and to France, and but for the delin- 
quencies of his son-in-law, Daniel Wilson, 1 would no 
doubt have happily terminated his second term. He 
stuck to his son-in-law, and was forced by the Chamber 
to lay down office. M. Carnot, elected President as 
neither M. de Freycinet nor M. Jules Ferry were able 
to secure the necessary majority, and who owed much 
to his name, got through his duties automatically, and 
cut a much better figure at the Elysee than did the 
parsimonious M. Grevy, his bourgeoise, his daughter 
Alice, and his son-in-law Daniel, who sat at the receipt 
of custom and dabbled in the sale of decorations. M. 
Casimir-Perrier, who succeeded poor M. Carnot, had a 
short and not a merry time of it. Being a man of 
vast wealth he refused to be made a puppet of for so 
much a year and a palace or two to inhabit, and per- 
haps too unceremoniously made his bow to friend and 
foe, and retired into private life. When M. Felix 
Faure was elected I had left Paris. A good many 
persons thought and wished that instead of Felix Faure 
being chosen to fill the chair, a certain descendant of 

1 Daniel Wilson's father made a large fortune in France in 
connection with the introduction of gas, which fortune was 
squandered by Daniel in very good company as far as social 
position went. Daniel then sat in the Chamber of Deputies under 
the Empire, and distinguished himself on questions of finance. 
How he came to marry the only daughter of the very thrifty 
M. Grevy would furnish matter for a pretty romance. But, as 
Rudyard Kipling would say, "That is another story." 


Robert le Fort would have been called on to fill the 

More good luck for the Third Republic : no disturb- 
ance followed the removal of its Presidents. There was 
no guillotining as in the days of Louis XVI. ; no 
occupation by the Allies as when Napoleon I. was 
forced to abdicate, and afterwards to seek safety in 
flight; no "three days of July" and gutters running 
blood, as when Charles X. beat a hasty retreat and sought 
the protection of the British Lion he had so recently 
bearded by seizing on Algeria; there was no such 
fighting in the streets as when Louis Philippe, who 
also bearded the British Lion and then crossed over to 
England, was forced to abdicate ; no terrible three days 
of June, as when Cavaignac restored order, and coup 
d'ttat of December 2, as when the Second Republic was 
replaced by the Second Empire ; no Sedan or insur- 
rection such as preceded the establishment of the present 
order of things. 

The Third Republic, too, enjoyed wonderful good 
luck in the matter of Pretenders and possible Dictators. 
Had the Comte de Chambord not clung to the white 
flag he would certainly have reigned ; had he died and 
not stood in the way of the Comte de Paris, France 
would have seen another Constitutional Monarchy. 
Then the deaths of Napoleon III., of the Prince Im- 
perial, of Gambetta and Boulanger, were all fortunate 
events for the present form of government. Fortunate, 
too, has the Third Republic been in securing the good- 
will both of Czar and Pope. Russia has protected it 
from foreign dangers, and the Vatican from religious 


Writing as I did daily for the old Pall Mall Gazette, 
almost from its first appearance, under the able editor- 
ship of Frederick Greenwood aided by Hamilton Fyfe, 
and seldom taking a holiday, and writing also for the 
Army and Navy Gazette under my dear old friend 
Billy I mean Sir William Howard Russell for five- 
and-twenty years, and for other papers like the Scotsman, 
I kept a close watch on the ever-shifting scene of 
French politics, and naturally had many curious ex- 
periences, some of which I have set down in the follow- 
ing pages. If I have touched but lightly on many 
serious matters, it is because they have passed into the 
domain of history and are too well known. 



I. DUC DE MORNY ... ... ... ... 1 

II. ROGER DE BEAUVOIR ... ... ... ... 16 

III. CHANGARNIER ... ... ... ... 19 

IV. IRISHMEN ... ... ... ... ... 22 


VI. G 50 

VII. DEMI-MONDE ... ... ... ... ... 55 

VIII. DEPUTIES, 1889, AND THE PRESS ... ... 76 

IX. A BALL ... ... ... ... ... 82 

X. CLOSE OF THE EMPIRE ... ... ... 84 

XI. THE LATTER DAYS ... .., ... ... 96 

XII. STREET NAMES IN PARIS ... ... ... 121 

XIII. BELLA, HORRIDA BELLA ! ... ... ... 155 




ON March 10, 1865, Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, 
Due de Morny, died. He preferred leaving this world 
as the Regent Philippe d'Orleans did. He had to choose 
between renouncing the pleasures or sins of youth 
and a sudden catastrophe, and he chose the latter. 
He was attended in his last illness by Sir Joseph 
Olliffe, an English doctor who had long practised here ; 
and by those who were not aware of the real facts of 
the case, his treatment of the Duke was severely 
censured. Shortly before he expired, the Due de 
Morny received the visit of the Emperor, who found 
the Comte de Flahault by the bedside of his son, 
for the Comte had been the lover of the Queen 
Hortense, the mother of Napoleon III. 1 

1 Talleyrand is supposed to have been the father of the 
Comte de Flahault. 

VOL. I. B 


In his Recollections of the Second Empire, M. Grander 
de Cassagnac relates how, in 1852, M. de Morny took 
him into his confidence. "At a reception at the 
Ministry of the Interior he introduced him to an 
elderly gentleman of lofty stature and imposing appear- 
ance, and said, 'Let me present you to my father, 
the Comte de Flahault.' " We are then told that the 
future duke was brought up mysteriously by the 
Comtesse de Souza, 1 the daughter of the Comte de 
Flahault by his first marriage. He was afterwards 
adopted by the Comte de Moruy, for a consideration, 
and assumed his name. 

Louis Napoleon and de Morny never met until a 
short time before the coup d'etat of December 2, 1851. 2 
The Prince made his half-brother Minister of the 
Interior, but he resigned office when the President 

1 Queen Hortense is said to have given Madame de Sonza 
,8000 to pay for the child's education, which sum she lost at play. 

2 The success of the coup d'etat was in a great measure due to 
the courage, coolness, and good-humour of de Morny, who took 
possession of the Ministry of the Interior, then occupied by M. 
de Thorigny, at the head of 250 Chasseurs. At the Opera on the 
evening before the coup d'etat a lady, having asked him which 
side he would take in the event of the broom being necessary, de 
Morny wittily replied that he would take the side of the handle. 
In 1851 de Morny, like Prince Napoleon and all his friends, was in 
needy circumstances. He had had a liaison with a wealthy lady, 

Madame L , who had a very fine mansion, now the Italian 

Embassy, at the bottom of the Champs Elysees, and who had 
made him a present of a bachelor's hotel, separated from her own 
by a drive. This the wits called la niche a Fidele. In 1851 de 
Morny was obliged to sell this house and all it contained. 


confiscated the property of the Orleans princes. 1 He 
was afterwards appointed to preside over the Lower 
House, and was looked upon as the beau idtal of a 
President of the Chamber ; he was not only the pink 
of politeness, but there was a peculiar charm in his 
manner which disarmed faction ; nor was he wanting 
in firmness. He was to the manner born. It is true 
that when he was President there was no uproarious 
Opposition; the Opposition consisted of only five 
members, but three of these were men of talent. 
The French Government Avas said to be a despotism 
tempered by epigrams, and Jules Favre, Emile Olivier, 
and Ernest Picard assailed the Second Empire in its 
zenith with a plentiful stock of shafts to compensate 
themselves for the want of liberty. But neither the 
venom of the first, the eloquence of the second, nor 
the wit of the third could ruffle the equanimity of 
the Due de Moray, or disturb his dignity, and the 
consequence was that no scenes of violence dis- 
graced the Chamber over which he presided. His 
personal appearance, too, was greatly in his favour ; 
he was more distinguished than handsome ; a 
man whom Lord Chesterfield would have found 
after his own heart, as far as the outward graces 

The Duke retained his post as President until he 

1 This act of spoliation was wittily called " le premier vol de 


died, when, strange to say, he was succeeded by a 
natural son of the first Napoleon, Comte Walewski, 
who had a rougher time of it in the chair than his 
predecessor. De Morny was said to have been very 
proud of his "illustrious birth," as he termed it, and 
I remember hearing that he wished the Emperor, 
instead of creating him Due de Morny (1862), to give 
him the title of Comte d'Auvergne, a title once borne 
by a royal bastard, to wit the son of Charles IX. and 
Marie Touchet. 1 This the Emperor refused, considering 
that it would be casting a slur on the memory of his 
mother. In 1857 de Morny had caused the Court 
no little annoyance by his pretensions. He had been 
appointed to go to St. Petersburg to represent France 
at the marriage of the Czar, and on this occasion he 
assumed as armes parlantes a hortensia in flower, and, 
to render this heraldic language more clear, took for 
his device Tace, sed memento. At St. Petersburg, de 
Morny married the beautiful and wealthy Princess 
Troubetzkoi, who sorely bewailed his death, and who 
cut off her luxuriant tresses and placed them in his 
coffin. It was feared at one time that she would lose 
her senses, but she recovered and afterwards married 
the Duke de Sesto. 

1 It is curious to note that the Emperor was at Clermont, 
in Auvergne, when he signed the Duke's patent ; also that 
de Horny, after leaving the army, established a sugar manu- 
factory in that town which he afterwards represented in the 


The Due de Morn}' was always considered one of 
the pillars of the State, and it was often remarked 
that with his death the glory of the Second Empire 
departed. There was some truth in this, but still 
the Duke was in a great measure responsible for 
the disasters which so quickly followed on his dis- 
appearance from the scene. In a word, M. de 
Morny was one of the instigators of that fatal 
Mexican expedition, in which the blood and treasure 
of France were uselessly squandered and her honour 

A few words on this matter. England, France, 
Spain, and the United States had all to complain 
of wrong done to their subjects in Mexico, and as 
no redress could be obtained, the three European 
Powers agreed to use force. The Cabinet of Wash- 
ington would take no part in coercive measures. 
The expeditionary force had hardly landed when it 
became evident that, contrary to treaty, the French 
meant to establish themselves in Mexico, and to set 
up an Empire there, and on closer examination 
their claims were considered preposterous. Spain and 
England withdrew. 

The Due de Morny had a pecuniary interest in this 
affair. The Emperor wished to carry out a plan which 
he had studied when a prisoner at Ham the cutting 
of a Nicaragua canal and his dreamy imagination 
was also tickled with the idea of amalgamating the 


Latin races, and of giving away a throne in imitation 
of his great uncle. The Empress, too, was in favour 
of re-establishing the throne of Iturbide. As a Spaniard, 
she wished to see Mexico brought once more under 
Spanish domination, and as a fervent Catholic she 
desired the triumph of the Clerical party, and the 
defeat of the Liberals. There were several Mexican 
ladies in Paris at the time who encouraged the 
Empress in her ideas. 

What induced de Morny to put a finger in such a 
pie ? Lucre ; filthy lucre. In his youth he had been 
a soldier ; then he had gone into business, and been 
concerned in commercial speculations; then he had 
been elected a Deputy. His tastes were of the most 
costly description, and he was always in pecuniary 
difficulties. While the Mexican business was only 
simmering, there came to him one Jecker, a Swiss 
banker, who had negotiated a loan with Miramon, 
who had temporarily seized upon supreme power in 
Mexico. When order was re-established, and Juarez, 
the regularly elected President, ruled once more, 
matters looked very bad for Jecker, and in fact he 
became a bankrupt. As a last resource he went to 
Paris to see what could be done. He was fortunate 
enough to get an introduction to the Due de Morny, 
and he laid his case before him ; Juarez, he said, had 
refused to pay the money which he had advanced to 
Miramon (to overthrow Juarez !) ; might not the sum 


owing be included in the French claims, to their 
mutual benefit ? Jecker had advanced 750,000 dollars 
in exchange for 15,000,000 in Treasury bonds. If 
France would insist on the payment of these bonds, 
he would share the profits with the Duke. Here was 
a golden opportunity for turning a dishonest penny at 
the expense of the nation. De Moray accepted. To 
get over the difficulty of France trying to force Swiss 
claims down the throats of the Mexicans at the point 
of the bayonet, Jecker was accorded letters of naturaliz- 
ation, 1 and thus the Swiss claim was made a French 

Sir Charles Wyke, our representative in Mexico, thus 
referred to this matter in a despatch to Earl Russell. 

When the Government of Miramon was drawing to 
a close, the house of Jecker lent him 750,000 dollars, 

1 Among the letters found in the Tuileries after the fall of the 
Empire, and published by the Government of the National 
Defence, was one written by Jecker to M. Conti, secretary to 
Napoleon III., and dated December 8, 1869. In this letter 
Jecker complains of having been ill-treated. I make one or two 
extracts " You are aware that I was associated in the Mexican 
affair with the Due de Morny, who pledged himself, in return for 
30 per cent, of the profits, to cause my claims to be respected and 
paid by the Mexican Government. ... In 1865, after the death 
of the Due de Morny, the protection which the French Govern- 
ment had accorded me, ceased completely." And Jecker, " com- 
pletely ruined in consequence of the Mexican expedition ! '' 
threatened to lay the whole afi'air before - the public, and foresaw 
"the effect which such a confession will produce, and the bad 
light it will throw on the Government of the Empire, especially 
in the critical times in which we live." 


and received in return bonds payable at a future 
date to the amount of 15,000,000 dollars. After this 
atrocious act Miramon was overthrown and replaced 
by his rival, Juarez, who was summoned by M. Jecker, 
then protected by France, to pay the above-mentioned 
enormous sum, on the ground that he must be held 
responsible for the acts of his predecessor. Juarez has 
refused, and his resolution is supported by every im- 
partial person in Mexico. I have always understood 
that his Government would pay the sum of 750,000 
dollars, with five per cent, interest, &c. &c. 

Earl Russell instructed Lord Cowley to remonstrate 
with the French Government, and M. Thouvenel was 
inclined to withdraw the Jecker claims, but the in- 
fluence of the Due de Morny prevailed. 1 It was argued 
that every Government is answerable for the debts 
of the Government preceding it, and that France, 
during her many changes of regime, had always recog- 
nized this principle. Juarez, too, would have sent 
over an agent to plead his cause, but he had no money. 
A costly and sanguinary war followed. Napoleon III. 
had the ephemeral glory of setting up an Emperor in 
the person of the Archduke Maximilian, and a Mexican 
loan was floated in Paris, to enable him to ascend the 
throne; and out of this loan Jecker succeeded in 
obtaining, in spite of many earnest remonstrances, 

1 The Comte de Flahault was at this time French Ambassador 
in London. 


no less a sura than 12,660,000 f. ; for Maximilian, on 
the principle above referred to, was held to be re- 
sponsible for the debt of Miramon. How much of this 
money went into the pockets of M. de Morny may be 
easily guessed. 

When the first loan was exhausted, owing to the 
hole made in it by Jecker, a second loan was placed 
on the Paris market. It had required all the eloquence 
of M. Rouher in the Chamber, and all the efforts of 
the official and semi-official press, to get the first loan 
subscribed, and additional pressure had to be brought 
to raise a second. I remember hearing that even 
officers in the army, whose pay is not brilliant, were 
invited to subscribe, in a way they could hardly refuse. 1 

The Opposition tried in vain, first to prevent the 
expedition, then to persuade the Government to with- 
draw from an affair which, as M. Thiers said, " is 
costing the country 14,000,000 f. a month, and neces- 
sitates the employment of 40,000 men, whose services 
may at any moment be required at home." M. Thiers 

1 France, in fact, lent to Mexico 300,000,000 f., or 1,200,000, 
of which sum only 3,549,948 f. has been repaid by Mexico. 
Taking into consideration the indemnity which the French 
Government felt itself morally bound to accord, the position of 
affairs in 1890 was that 160 f. have been paid on each bond of 
500 f., leaving 337 f. still due ; but this sum, with six per cent, 
interest, dating from July 1866, now comes to 802 f. The bond- 
holders are now pressing the Government to force Mexico to pay 
their claims, and the bonds, known as petits bleus, are quoted ou 
the Bourse at 9 f. 


spoke like a prophet the men, the money, and the 
military stores devoured by the Mexican expedition 
would have been invaluable in 1870. 

It was not until 1866 a year after de Moray's 
death 1 that Napoleon III. determined to withdraw 
his troops from Mexico. It was with regret that he 
was forced to abandon Maximilian to his fate, but the 
United States would not hear of an Empire being 
erected on its frontier, in contradiction to the Munro 
doctrine, and when the civil war was over he received 
notice to quit from Mr. Seward in one of the most un- 
courteous despatches ever written the French army 
was to evacuate Mexico within a very short period. 
M. Drouyn de Lhuys, who had succeeded M. Thouvenel 
at the Foreign Office, remonstrated. He said that a 
great nation like France could not consent to receive 
so blunt a command. The American Ambassador here 
conveyed this remonstrance to Mr. Seward, who repeated 
his injunction, and adhered to the date which he had 
originally fixed for the evacuation of the French army 
commanded by Bazaine. With this insult, what M. 
Rouher had called "the brightest idea of the reign" 

There was an epilogue. The news that the Emperor 
Maximilian had been shot, and that the Empress 

1 What an example of the irony of fate! A detachment of 
Austrian volunteers passing through Paris, en route for Mexico, 
joined in the procession which conducted the Due de Horny 
to his grave. 


Charlotte had gone mad, reached the Tuileries on July 
2, while a ball was going on. It was the year of the 
Exhibition (18G7). The Sultan was there. The Court 
went into mourning. On the 8th, the Emperor 
Napoleon III. reviewed the army of Paris 40,000 
strong. On the 14th a mass was performed in the 
chapel of the Tuileries for the repose of the soul of 
poor Maximilian, and on August 4, the Emperor and 
Empress, having . thrown off their mourning, went to 
the theatre to see Mr. Sothern play Lord Dundreary. 
So wagged the world. 

I may add that when the Due de Morny died there 
were 145 horses in his stables, which cost him about 
20,000 a year. His works of art, sold after his death, 
fetched 100,000, and he left his heir over 30,000 
per annum. 

Here are a couple of anecdotes concerning him. 

Alphonse Karr used to tell the following one. He 
said that two ladies, who had just arrived from the 
country and wished to see Paris, implored him to take 
them to the bal masqutf at the Opera. After a little 
gentle pressure he consented, and everything passed 
off in the most agreeable manner possible. On leaving 
the ball at a late hour in the morning, the party 
adjourned to the Cafe Anglais for supper, and as the 
ground-floor was full, went up-stairs to a room in which 
tw.o tables only were occupied. They had not long 
been seated, when four revellers, supping at one of the 


tables, began to address impertinent observations to 
the ladies, and finished by laying hands upon them 
and endeavouring to remove their masks, in spite of 
all Alphonse Karr could do. Upon this the gentlemen 
at the other table rose and offered their services to tho 
author of Les Guepes, one of them saying, " If you 
desire it, we are quite ready to aid you in turning 
those unmannerly fellows into the street." Fortunately 
there was no necessity for resorting to physical force, 
for the aggressors, on seeing the turn which matters 
had taken, beat a hasty and undignified retreat. When 
all was over, Alphonse Karr and the ladies learned that 
the gentleman who had first intervened . in their favour 
was the Due de Morny. 

Of refined taste, the Due de Morny was a patron of 
art and literature, and he so far dabbled in the latter 
himself as to write several trifles, and among others a 
comedy called M. Clioufleury restera chez lui, which 
was played at the Bouffes with considerable success. 
At the same epoch the Bouffes gave Orphde aux Enfers, 
which Offenbach set to his most sparkling music. This 
creation, which at once delighted the ear and made one 
hold one's sides with laughter, ran for months, and drew 
all Paris. One of the principal performers was an actor 
called Bache, who, off the stage, had more the appear- 
ance of a Methodist parson than a comedian, and who 
might be seen rambling through the streets all alone, 
very severely attired, and as if in quest of lost souls. 


In fact, the Bache of the pavement offered a very 
strange contrast to the Bache of the boards. Now 
when Orpke'e aux Enfers was in full swing, and sending 
away crowds every night, poor Bache became immersed 
in a sea of trouble. He was summarily arrested, tried, 
condemned, and packed off to Ste. Pelagie, to be there 
incarcerated for the space of one month. The manager 
of the Bouffes was in despair ; the felonious Bache was 
not an actor to be easily replaced ; he cut so peculiar 
a figure on the stage, he was so lanky and sallow, so 
sui generis, that he was a popular favourite, and you 
might have as well attempted to play Orphfa aux 
JZnfers without Bache as Hamlet without the Prince 
of Denmark. Of what heinous crime had Bache been 
guilty ? It appears that one day he was passing by 
a house the entrance of which was draped with black 
cloth. There was a hearse at the door, and a string 
of mourning-coaches drawn up behind it. The under- 
taker's men were loitering about until they should 
receive orders to go up-stairs and fetch the corpse. 
They waited and waited in vain, and then had to drive 
home empty, instead of going to Pere Lachaise. What 
had happened ? Why, Bache had suddenly made his 
appearance in the midst of the bereaved relatives and 
friends of the deceased, and in the most solemn manner 
had declared on the part of the authorities that he 
could not permit the body to be removed. Then he 
made his bow and departed, leaving doubt and con- 


sternation behind him. Evidently there was a suspicion 
in official quarters that tho defunct had not died a 
natural death, and that a post-mortem would be ordered. 
By degrees the funeral party broke up, wondering by 
what foul means the deceased had been hurried into 
eternity, and trying to guess who the guilty individuals 
could be, and why a crime had been committed. 
Up-stairs, with the coffin, were a few near and dear 
relations, sadly perplexed, but submissive to the law. 
They anxiously awaited some further action on the part 
of the authorities, and that action, when it came, added 
to their bewilderment. They were to be prosecuted for 
keeping a dead body above ground longer than by law 
allowed. This led to explanations, and in the end the 
author of the mystification was discovered and con- 
demned to durance vile. In his despair the manager 
of the Bouffes appealed to the Due de Morny why 
should many suffer for the fault of one ? Bache had 
played a most reprehensible hoax and deserved condign 
punishment, but why visit the sin of Bache on others 
on the manager, on the comrades of the offender, and 
on the public ? The Duke, with his usual tact and 
good-nature, soon managed to arrange matters to the 
satisfaction of all parties. Ste. Pelagie is a prison 
generally tenanted by men of letters, who manage to 
kill time there very pleasantly. It was settled that 
Bache, while continuing a prisoner, should be taken 
to the Bouffes every evening, under good escort, to 


play his part, and, the performance over, be reintegrated 
in his cell. 

What could have induced Bache to commit such a 
misdemeanour none ever knew. He carried the secret 
to the grave. To have looked at the man, you would 
have thought him incapable of playing a joke, even 
with death. It was the very grimness of his appearance 
which imposed upon the funeral party, and quelled all 
doubt as to the intruder being a ministerial functionary. 

The story of Bache being let out of prison to perform 
his part in Orphfo aux Enfers reminds me of a singular 
affair which took place in 1846. On July 8, of that 
year, a serious railway accident took place between 
Arras and Douai, in consequence of which M. Petillet, 
the chief engineer of the line, who was held to be 
responsible, was sentenced to fifteen days' imprison- 
ment. I may explain here, as I take the following 
from a French report, that the French fortnight is 
fifteen days, and the French week eight days. When 
M. Petillet had been in the Madelonnettes for eight 
days, he was asked to organize a special train for Louis 
Philippe, who was going to Eu. Naturally M. Petillet 
refused to accept any responsibility for a trip he could 
not superintend. He was consequently released from 
prison, and accompanied the King, who was so amiable 
during the journey that he felt sure of obtaining a full 
pardon. But M. Petillet was sadly mistaken. On his 
return to Paris he was reinstated in prison, where he 


had to remain, not eight days to complete his time, 
but fifteen days, because, according to law, his sentence 
was to be undergone without interruption. It is laugh- 
able to think what a comical expression the features of 
Bache would have assumed had a similar jurisprudence 
been applied in his case ! 

The Due de Horny founded Deauville, and an 
equestrian statue in bronze was raised there to his 
honour; but it was pulled down after the fall of the 
Empire, and the municipal authorities still refuse his 
son permission to set it up again. The pedestal still 
stands there all forlorn, a " heap of testimony " of this 
political hatred. As for the Communists, one of their 
last acts was to wreck the splendid tomb which 
sheltered the Duke's remains at Pere Lachaise. 


ONE day I was taken by a friend to see Roger de 
Beauvoir, who in his time had been a man of wit and 
fashion, good-natured, rather too fond of showing off, 
like most of his countrymen, and an intimate friend of 
Alphonse Karr. He ran through a considerable fortune, 
changed his name from Roger de Bully to Roger de 
Beauvoir, married an actress from the Theatre Franqais 
named Mme. Doze, and had issue. When I saw him 


he was living in the Batignolles, a not very aristocratic 
quarter, and was a mere wreck. We found him in a 
room almost destitute of furniture a couple of chairs for 
visitors, and in one corner a mattress. He was seated 
in an arm-chair in the middle of the room, while his legs, 
swathed in flannel, reposed on another arm-chair. He 
was evidently in pain, and all the time we remained 
kept swaying backwards and forwards like a galley-slave 
labouring at the oar. And yet his conversation was 
cheery enough. It was a sad spectacle to see this poor 
fellow, still handsome and hardly past the prime of 
life, rocking himself to and fro in that lonely apart- 
ment, and with no prospect of recovering the use of 
his lower limbs 

"... sedet seternumque sedebit 
Infelix Theseus ..." 

In a letter to a friend he said " I pass terrible days, 
and still more terrible nights. Beneath my window I 
have a little garden where a few sickly flowers grow. 
... I receive a number of people in my arm-chair, 
though I am no Scarron ; l but what torture to have to 

o * 

listen to some people without being able to raise the 
siege and run away ! " 

One of his most frequent and welcome visitors was 
the Vicomtesse de Saint Mars, better known under her 
nom de plume the Comtesse Dash. 

Alphonse Karr in his Wasps gives an account of a 

1 Scarron, the first husband of Madame de Maintenon, also a 
martyr and a wit. 

VOL. I. C 


literary squabble which took place between Roger de 
Beauvoir and Balzac, and which nearly led to a duel. 
Roger de Beauvoir asked his friend Leon Gatayes to 
act for him, but as he was always getting into scrapes 
and out of them, Gatayes refused to be his second, and 
strongly advised him to fight sans phrases. Being 
unable to secure the services of his friend, whom he 
called, owing to his experience in such matters, the 
" first of the seconds," Roger de Beauvoir sent a hostile 
message by other hands to the author of La Come'die 
Humaine. Now as Balzac was very portly, short of 
wind, and did not consider his offence worthy of blood- 
shed, he promised a rectification in his Review. The 
rectification never appeared, as the Review did not get 
beyond two numbers, and nothing more was heard of 
the duel. The quarrel arose in this way. A man 
called Peytel was condemned to death on very flimsy 
evidence. Balzac took up the cudgels in his favour. 
Roger de Beauvoir made a sharp attack on Balzac in 
verse, and told him that he was ill-combed, &c. Balzac 
retaliated by saying that Roger de Beauvoir was neither 
Roger nor Beauvoir; inde ircc. All this was very 
personal and paltry, but no blood was drawn. 

One of the peculiarities of Roger de Beauvoir was 
his total want of confidence in banks and in all invest- 
ments. If he did not keep his talents actually wrapped 
up in a napkin, he kept what money he had in a strong 
box, and lived on his capital. 



CHANGARNIER is dead, and thus a long, curious, 
and fitful existence has been brought to a close. To- 
morrow there will be a display of flowers and of 
rhetoric over the grave of the old soldier; then dust 
to dust, ashes to ashes, and the grave-diggers when 
left alone will crack their jokes. I knew the deceased 
but very slightly ; he was a bit of a dandy up to the 
last, and a most self-infatuated man, greatly over- 
estimating what talent he possessed. He was fond of 
talking of " his sword accustomed to conquer," which 
was strange language on the part of an officer whose 
military reputation reposed for the most part on the 
manner in which he covered the retreat of the French 
army from before Constantine in 1836. When the 
Second Republic was established, Changarnier offered 
his services to the new form of government, and asked 
to be sent to the most exposed frontier. As no 
frontier happened to be threatened, our Bombastes 
Furioso was given the command-in-chief of the National 
Guard, and Louis Napoleon, when President, added 
to his command that of the first military division, or 
the army of Paris. 

Now Changarnier did not behave well towards the 
Prince. Alter having offered to take him to the 


Tuileries and to proclaim him Emperor, he conspired 
against him. One of his accomplices, Solar, relates 
that ten times the General girded on his sword to go 
to the Elysee to arrest the President, but finally 
decided that the arrest should take place on the 
occasion of a grand review to be held at Satory, after 
the troops had marched past. The arrest was to be 
accomplished by Solar and two of his friends on a sign 
from the General. The sign was not made. Strict 
orders had been issued that the infantry were to march 
past in silence ; but when the cavalry rode past the 
saluting point, the colonel in command of the leading 
regiment rose in his stirrups, waved his sword, and 
turning round to his men shouted, Vive Napoleon ! a 
shout which ran like wild-fire along the whole line, 
and was changed into Vive I'Empereur I when Colonel 
de Montalembert and his Lancers rode by. It was the 
enthusiasm of the cavalry which prevented Changarnier 
from making the preconcerted signal. 

The General was shortly afterwards removed from 
his double command, and was one of the conspirators 
arrested during the coup d'etat of December 2, 1851. 
When the police-officer charged to secure his person 
forced his way into the apartment, Changarnier rushed 
from his bedroom in his night-shirt, without slippers, 
and a pistol in each hand. Assured that his life was 
in no danger, he gave up his fire-arms, dressed, and 
allowed himself to be driven to Mazas like a lamb. 


On his road there, he remarked that the re-election of 
the Prince President was certain. Then he added, 
"Should the President declare war against a foreign 
power, he will be happy to come and find me in order 
to entrust me with the command of the army ! " 

The General did not remain long in captivity, and 
little more was heard of him until he wrote an article 
in a leading periodical to prove the immense superi- 
ority of the French over the Prussian army. Shortly 
afterwards the Franco-German War broke out, and 
exposed the fallacies of the article in question. When 
hostilities were declared, Changarnier applied for a 
command, and he even went to Strasbourg, where he 
was kindly received by the Emperor. His Majesty, 
while refusing him an active command, allowed him to 
remain with the Head-Quarters' Staff, and after the 
battles round Metz he was shut up in that place with 
the army under Bazaine. When a capitulation became 
inevitable, he offered to act as negotiator, but he was 
unable to obtain any concessions from the German 
commanders. Strange to say, although he was in- 
vested with no command, he insisted upon attaching 
his signature to the act of capitulation. Alas ! poor 
Nicolas Anne Theodule Changarnier was ready to 
purchase notoriety at any price. Had he lived in the 
days of Eratostratus he would have burned down the 
temple of Diana na Ephesus sooner than have allowed 
his name to perish. One of his last acts was to aid 


in the downfall of M. Thiers, being convinced that a 
grateful country would reward his services by calling 
him to preside over its destinies. It was a sad blow to 
his self-infatuation when he learned that everything 
had been arranged for Marshal MacMahon to succeed 
M. Thiers a blow from which he never recovered. 


ONE of the first Irishmen I met in Paris was a 
dapper little man, with a slight amount of swagger and 
a very affected manner of speaking, but he was highly 
cultivated, excellent company, and had no mean share 
of mother wit. He had served for a time in the 
Lancers, but quitted the army, which did not leave him 
leisure enough to do nothing. When in Paris, where 
he spent most of his time, he used to live at the 
Westminster, in the Rue de la Paix, an expensive 
hotel, and there he died, somewhat like Alfred de 
Musset's Eolla, having spent his last farthing. It 
would perhaps be going too far to say that he poisoned 
himself, but for the last month of his existence he took 
nothing but cayenne pepper and cura^oa. He some- 
times went over to London in the season to see old 
friends. I met him one day at Long's, which was then 


kept by a worthy called Jubber, well known to all the 
golden youth of the period, and one whose experiences 
must have been extremely varied and often unpleasant. 

R was dining there in joyous company, O'F 

playing the part of host. I asked R the next day 

how he could possibly dine with a man who had 
squandered his last sixpence, upon which he replied, 

" I didn't dine with O'F , I dined with Jub-bar ! " 

And I suppose it practically amounted to that. 

I remember poor R telling me of another dinner- 
party at which he was present a festive and annual 
gathering of the " Irish lot," which took place, on 

the occasion in question, on board of O'S 's yacht, 

which was lying in the Thames. My good old 

friend, W. H. R , was one of the party, and 

late in the evening, when he had probably reached 
his cross tumbler, he took exception to the haw-haw 

dialect which R affected, and turning suddenly 

round, apostrophized him in the following terms, to 
which a rich brogue added an additional charm 

" Sir," said W. H. R , in a tone of exasperation, 

" I admire your conversation, but your exaggerated 
English pronunciation entirely destroys the pith of 
your remarks." There was certainly a wonderful 
Hibernian roll about this protest, set off with the 

brogue, which tickled R immensely, but did not 

cure him. I shall ever feel grateful to R for 

having presented me with Carlyle's History of the 


French Revolution, and a copy of Swinburne's early 

Colonel Palmer, who introduced me to E, , also 

introduced me to a Mrs. Beamish, whose husband's 
family hailed from the county of Cork. She was an 
elderly widow when I was presented to her, had a snug 
little house, gave nice little dinner-parties, and was 
exceedingly agreeable, though excessively deaf. Her 
brother-in-law, a fine soldierly-looking fellow who had 
served in the bodyguard of Charles X., and was a 
staunch Royalist, was a frequent visitor. I remember 
him telling me how, quite accidentally, he saw two 
memorable events as a boy he saw Napoleon ride into 
the Elysee on his return from the fatal field of Waterloo ; 
and not long afterward, when creeping unwillingly to 
school, attracted by the sight of some soldiers in the 
garden of the Luxembourg at early morn, he peered 
through the railings and saw Marshal Ney shot. 
The statue of "the bravest of the brave," judicially 
murdered, now marks the spot where this deed was 
perpetrated. In what did Ney's crime consist ? In 
joining the army under Napoleon, on the eve of 
Ligny, to fight against the enemies of his country, 
instead of following Louis XVIII. to Ghent. 

About the same time, during a visit to Vichy, I 
made the acquaintance of Mr. O'Shea, a Spanish 
banker, who had retained all the characteristics of the 
Emerald Isle, impecuniosity excepted. I was very much 


surprised at the richness of his brogue, especially when 
he told me that he had never been in Ireland, and 
that neither his father nor grandfather had been there. 
He one day told me a tale of a brother Spanish banker 
of great wealth, but sordid appearance, who, during a 
visit to London, was struck with admiration at the 
attitude of a small groom, who, in his leathers and tops, 
tight-fitting coat, and hat with cockade, was standing 
with folded arms and imperturbable air at the head of 
a superb cab-horse, while his master was paying a visit. 
What a splendid article for importation, thought Don 
Alonzo, and how all Madrid would envy his possession ! 
Whereupon Don Alonzo gravely approached the youth, 
and offered to take him into his service. The reply 
\vas short, sharp, and decisive " What would a beggar 
like you do with a tiger like me ? " And Don Alonzo 
thought that the best thing to be done was to beat a 

O o 

hasty retreat, and return to the banks of the Manza- 
nares, and the Prado, and olla-prodrida, and all that sort 
of thing. Mentioning the brogue of the O'Sheas and 

O O O 

others, reminds me that one day when crossing the 
Place Vendome, I met an Irish Judge, who now occupies 
a very exalted position, and who sat for some time in 
Parliament. After the usual greetings the conversation 
turned upon foreign affairs, which appeared threatening, 
Mr. Gladstone's denunciation of the unspeakable Turk, 
and the scarecrows which the innocent Canon McColl 
was persuaded by a wag were impaled Christians 


" Shure," ejaculated the Judge at last, " we should never 
have heard a word of all this if the ' Boolgarian 
athrocities ' were not such a mouthful." Ah ! if the 
Canon had only seen his scarecrows in some land 
of one syllable, might not the Sublime Porte have 
escaped the invectives of Mr. Gladstone, ever ready to 
be made the sport of his exuberant eloquence ? The 
Judge was evidently of this opinion. But was not a 
certain Spanish Ambassador in the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth greatly offended because her Majesty ordered 
an opulent citizen, one John Cutts, a man with a 
monosyllabic name, to receive him ? Isaac Disraeli, in 
his Curiosities of Literature, has cited many instances 
of the influence of names. Here it is a very common 
practice for literary men to follow the example of 
Erasmus and Melancthon ; Voltaire, Moliere, and 
Brantome were all assumed names, and a recent author 
of scurrilous biographies eagerly purchased, who signed 
his pamphlets Eugene de Mirecourt, turned out to be 
a simple M. Jacquot. Had he signed Jacquot, no 
one would have read his prose. Napoleon I. attributed 
his marvellous success in early life to seven distinct 
causes, the seventh being his sonorous name. There 
is no doubt about the influence exercised here by 
both names and phrases, or mots. Of this I might 
furnish many examples. 

There was one Milesian, or rather, as they say in 
America, " a fraud," I never had the pleasure of 


meeting. He exercised the humble profession of 
barber, but then, according to his own account, he was 
a direct descendant of one of the old Irish kings. 
On the strength of his illustrious lineage he managed 
to raise money. His name, he said, was Don Mac 
O'Levy wonderful combination ! and not only was 
he entitled to enormous estates in Ireland, but the British 
Government duly acknowledged these claims every year 
in the Blue Book ! The only thing required from him 
was to prove that he was the rightful heir, the real 
Don Mac O'Levy, and this the barber protested that he 
could easily do if any one would advance him money 
to go to Frankfort ! in quest of certain documents 
necessary to prove his identity. I knew one poor 
Frenchman who was victimized by this mendacious 
rascal, and who was very angry with me because I 
pooh-poohed Don Mac O'Levy and his story, and 
refused to approach the British Government on the 
matter, or get him a Blue Book. Alas ! when I last 
met the confiding Gaul his hat was greasy, his garments 
threadbare, and his shoes dilapidated. He blushed, 
poor fellow, as we shook hands, and informed me that 
he was on the road to fortune the road which had 
worn out his shoes. I trust that he has got hold of 
something better than the barber this time. Alas I it 
is so easy to gull a Frenchman with any tale of wrong 
committed by perfidious Albion. 

One day on a tramway I made room for a lady, and 


this led to a conversation. After a while, she asked 
me if I was an Englishman, and I informed her that I 
was Irish. "Ah !" she said, "one of our best friends 
is a countryman of yours." " Who may he be ? " " Le 
Comte de Tyrone." " Strange, one of my ancestors, 
Sir Richard Bingham, sent over the head of one of his 
ancestors as a present to Queen Elizabeth." Perhaps 
I should not have mentioned this little episode of days 
gone by. It certainly did not create a favourable 
impression, and brought our intercourse to an abrupt 
close. 1 

In the equivalent of our Court Guide, one finds 
a large number of Irish names. There are several 
MacMahons the Marshal, Duke of Majenta, a Marquis, 
and two Counts, also a Mahon de Monagham. Among 
other Macs are MacCarthy, MacDermot, and Mac- 
namara, the Superior of the Irish College. Also of O's, 
not a few O'Connels, O'Connors, O'Donnels, O'Moores, 
O'Niels, O'Gormans, O'Keenans, O'Mearas, O'Calla- 
ghans 2 ; and I have known here O'Heas, and O'Sheas, 

1 Earl of Tyrone is now the second title of the Marquis of 

2 I read the following notice in Godignanfs Messenger the 
other day "M. Albert O'Callaghan is about to marry Mile. 
Therese de Cre"cy. The O'Callaghan family is of Irish origin, 
but has long since become French, having contracted matri- 
monial alliances with the Dreux-Breze and other distinguished 
families. The Cre"cy family belongs to the old nobility of 
Burgundy." The Crecy family can have nothing to do with our 
Crecy, which lies in Picardy. 


and the O'Gorman Mahon. To a certain extent these 
old Irish families, victims to their fidelity to the ancient 
faith, keep up old traditions. They dine together on 
St. Patrick's Day, and no doubt curse the " pious, 
glorious, and immortal memory of William of Orange," 
and empty a glass in honour of " the little gentleman 
in the brown velvet coat." 

By the way, I used to meet an O'Callaghan at the 
house of a mutual friend ; he was highly educated, had 
a' vast amount of native wit, but dropped his h's in a 
most lamentable manner, having been born and bred in 
Sheffield. In addition to other occupations, he filled 
the post of Professor of English in one of the principal 
colleges here and at Versailles. What the English he 
taught was like may be imagined from the following 
specimen. He told us that he was one day walking 
past one of the artificial lakes in the park of Versailles, 
when all of a sudden " the frogs set up an owl." The 
idea of frogs "owling" with an h Avould have been 
funny enough. I thought I should have died. Fortu- 
nately O'C imagined that we were laughing at the 


One of the most interesting of my Irish acquaint- 
ances was Mr. Mahony, better known as Father Prout. 
We used often to meet of a morning at Galignani's in 
the editorial sanctum of Mr. Hely Bowes, who was 
then editor of the English side of the Messenger. At 
first the good Father treated me in a rather super- 


cilious manner, but pleased with an article which 4 
had written in the Daily News, he became more genial, 
and used invariably to greet me with, "Bon jour, 
Capitano," and he even got me to replace him as 
correspondent of the Globe when he went away on his 
holidays. I often take up his Eeliques now, and 
smile over his quaint conceits and the tricks he played 
Tommy Moore. I have a great admiration for some of 
his translations, especially for the Vieux Drapeau of 
Beranger, which opens with 

" Comrades, around this humble board, 

Here's to our banner's bygone splendour." 

And afterwards 

" For every drop of blood we spent, 

Did not that flag give value plenty ? 
Were not our children as they went 
Jocund, to join the warrior's tent, 
Soldiers at ten, heroes at twenty 1 " 

And then 

" Leipsic hath seen our eagles fall, 

Drunk with renown, worn out with glory ; 

But, with the emblems of old Gaul 

Crowning our standard, we'll recall 
The brightest day of Valmy's story." 

On the other hand, it is impossible to read his ' Lesbia 
hath a beaming eye,' his ' Charming Judy Callaghan,' 
and his ' Molly Carew ' done into Latin verse without 
laughing ; at least at the two latter. 


He was pleasant enough when I met him, was Father 
Front, although rather absent-minded. It more than 
once happened to me to come across him in the street, 
and in the midst of a conversation to see him walking 
quietly away with his hands folded behind him and his 
head bent slightly forward in profound meditation. 

He lived a very solitary life in a small apartment in 
the not over-fashionable Rue des Moulins a street of 
ill-fame. His conscience was somewhat ill at ease, for 
he had strayed away from the ancient faith, and was 
living beyond the pale of the Church. However, a 
short time before his death, the Abbe Rogerson, who 
long officiated here, persuaded him to return to the 
fold, and the quondam incumbent of Watergrass Hill 
pronounced his mea maxima culpa, and was received 
back into the bosom of the Church. This was all very 
well, but poor Frank Mahony passed from the hands 
of the Abbe Rogerson into those of a fanatic, who 
insisted on him going to mass at six a.m. and giving 
up whisky-and-water, a small flask of which he invari- 
ably carried about in his pocket. This caused his death. 
The whisky-and-water, never taken to excess, was a 
necessity. He died of paralysis of the throat. A short 
time after his death, the Abbe Rogerson made me a 
present of his office chair, in which I am now seated. 1 
1 The Globe published the following paragraph in 1891 

It is with special interest that we hear of the completion of 


One day I was crossing the Rue Tronchet, when I ran 
up against M. Eugene Duffeuile, a writer of consider- 
able talent, who, when I first knew him, was a con- 
tributor to that Academical paper, the Ddbats. When 
the Ddbats, under the Republic, accepted the existing 
order of things, he left it, and he is now one of the 

the memorial of Francis Mahony initiated and promoted by Mr. 
Dillon Croker. That memorial has taken the form of a bust of 
Mahony, produced by a sculptor who dwells appropriately at 
Blarney, and now occupying a place in the Municipal School of 
Art at Cork Mahony's birthplace. Mr. Croker tells us that he 
would have preferred a mural tablet over Mahony's grave, which 
is under the shadow of Shandon steeple that Shandon of whose 
bells the deceased poet (for surely he was a poet) had sung so 
sweetly and fluently in the days gone by. That the Father Prout 
of latter-day literature deserved some recognition of the kind will 
scarcely be denied, even by the most persistent decriers of memo- 
rials. It is true that a man's works are his best monument, 
but in his native city he may well have honour done to him in a 
tangible and visible fashion. A typical Irishman, Mahony called 
for celebration at the hands of his countrymen, whose best 
characteristics he illustrated in brilliant and engaging style. He 
was one of the last of the publicists whose brilliancy was based 
upon wide linguistic knowledge, and exhibited mainly in wit and 
song. He wrote verse with equal facility in English, Latin, 
French, and Italian. And what he wrote had not technical 
cleverness only : it had esprit and humour, and was valuable per 
se. The Reliques of Father Prout are perhaps not much read 
now-a-days, when " each day brings its petty " literary " dust, our 
soon-choked souls to fill " ; but for the students of the belles- 
lettres they will always have much attraction and charm. It was 
to the Globe, as our Paris correspondent, that Mahony contributed 
some of the best of his prose- work, and hence the personal 
pleasure with which we hear of the tribute that has been paid to 
his merits and his memory. Globe. 


most trusted advisers and friends of the Comte de 
Paris. He had a large volume under his arm, and 
when I asked him what prize he had secured, I was 
rather astonished to learn that it was a copy of the 
Bible, which he was taking home to read for the first 
time. I regret to say that I never learned what his 
impressions were, or if, when once he dived into Holy 
Writ, he was ever after tempted to search the Scriptures 
daily. But it struck me as very strange that a man of 
his culture should have passed the prime of life with- 
out having perused a work of even more than reli- 
gious interest. This reminds me of John Augustus 
O'Shea, whose acquaintance I made in the old convent 
in the Rue de Lacepede, a rollicking young Irishman, 
with a wonderful flow of animal spirits, occasionally 
replenished. He was afterwards attached to the 
Standard, and was some years ago ordered by the 
editor to repair to Ammergau and there to write 
a report of the celebrated Passion Play. Passing 
through here, he called on my dear old friend, the 
Paris correspondent of the great Conservative organ, 
and confessed that he was rather in a quandary, as 
he knew nothing of the incidents of the Crucifixion. 
Knowing that I had devoted a good deal of time 
to the study of the early French Theatre and to 
Passion Plays, Hely Bowes sent Paddy O'Shea, as 
we irreverently called him, on to me, and I not only 
coached him up in the history of Passion Plays, but 


gave him a copy of the New Testament, which was 
rather a revelation to him, and from which he gathered 
much useful information on his road to Bavaria. The 

letters which he wrote from A were much admired, 

not only for the erudition they displayed, but for the 
freshness of their views ; the latter being no doubt 
attributable to the fact of the correspondent approaching 
his subject for the first time. 

By the way, Paddy O'Shea had been a pillar of the 
Church. At least he had joined the Irish Volunteers, 
who, in 1860, flocked to Rome to defend the Holy 
Father against his rebellious subjects and the Pied- 
montese, and had seen service in Umbria and the 
Marches, under that renowned Paladin, General Lamo- 
riciere. I do not think, from the account he gave me of 
the campaign, that he had a very high opinion of the 
courage and tenacity of his comrades except in the 
matter of self-preservation. However this may be, the 
heroes, who were obliged to lay down their arms at 
Castelfidardo, were afterwards received by Pio Nono, 
who thanked them for their devotion, and gave them, 
not his toe, but his hand, to kiss. Paddy O'Shea, who 
perhaps over-rated the value of his services at the 
moment, or was overcome by emotion, told me that 
when his Holiness held out his hand, mistaking the 
Pope's intention, he endeavoured to draw the pastoral 
ring from his finger, a predatory act at which Pio Nono 
good-humouredly smiled. 


Here, by the way, a great fuss was made over the 
defenders of the Pope, and masses were celebrated 
with much pomp for the repose of the souls of those 
who had fallen in the good cause. The clergy at 
that moment were highly irritated with the Imperial 
Government, and the Pope had just declared that 
" Perfidy and treason now reign supreme, and our soul 
is afflicted to see the Church persecuted, even in 
France, where the chief of the Government had shown 
himself so friendly to us, pretending to be our pro- 
tector. Now it is difficult to distinguish whether we 
are protected by friends or held prisoners by enemies : 
Pctrus cst in vinculis." The effect of this Papal allocu- 
tion was immense. Among the most violent adver- 
saries of the Government were Monsignor Dupanloup, 
Bishop of Orleans, and Monsignor Pie, Bishop of 
Poitiers, the latter prelate going so far as to compare 
Napoleon III. to Pontius Pilate. It was rather through 
opposition to the Government than to procure any 
relief for the souls of the Papal Zouaves in purgatory 
that the masses were celebrated. Unfortunately for 
the clergy, and especially for Monsignor Pie, an un- 
toward event occurred which excited almost universal 
hilarity. Among the gallant children of France who 
had rushed to the defence of Pius IX., was one Louis 

G , and the Bishop of Poitiers, in addition to the 

prayers of the Church, pronounced a funeral oration of 
great eloquence in honour of the departed. He related, 


from the pulpit, how, " before flying to the aid of the 

Holy See," G had demanded his blessing, and he 

told his congregation that he would never forget the 
expression of happiness which illuminated his face 
.when he rose from his knees. And then, addressing 

himself to the defunct G , he added " Alas ! 

neither father, nor mother, nor sister will weep over 
your death ; but Poitiers, the town of your adoption, 
sheds its tears for you at the present moment. But 
this is not enough ; we wish to see on the slopes of 
that hill by the Tiber where you are lying, not under 
the green grass and in the indolent attitude of the 
poet udum Tibur, supinum Tibur but in the blood- 
stained winding-sheet of the martyr, a modest monu- 
ment erected over your tomb with these words engraved 

upon it : 'To Louis G , who died in defence of the 

Papal States.' And on this marble all the most noble 
names of our province, &c., &c." And, blessed with a 
vivid imagination, Monsignor Pie declared that he saw 
the humble Zouave clothed in white raiment standing 
close to the Mercy Seat. Unfortunately for the Bishop 

of Poitiers, it soon turned out that Louis G was 

not dead but living. He did not fall fighting for the 
temporalities, and his mortal remains were not re- 
posing on a lonely Roman hill-side. Louis G 

was in the flesh, and, before the tears of his adopted 
town were dried, was arrested for " divers swindlings," 
and was condemned to fifteen months' imprisonment 


by the Correctional Tribunal of Laval. It may be 
imagined how this made the scoffers laugh, and with, 
what pitiless raillery the over-confiding prelate was 
assailed ! 

A few years ago I made the acquaintance of an Irish 
gentleman and most accomplished scholar, who passed 
most of his time in turning Greek authors into very 
elegant English verse. He had once held a very high 
position in the literary world in London, but he got 
into trouble and sought refuge in this indulgent city. 
He had been accused o having stolen a valuable volume 
from a book-stall, and he was found guilty. His friends 
always maintained that he took up the work, dipped 
into it, and becoming engrossed in its contents, walked 
away with it quite unconsciously. It is certain that 
Macaulay, and other literary celebrities, never passed 
through Paris without paying the exile a visit. He 
lived in a very handsome apartment here, surrounded 
by works of art, and his library must have been a most 
valuable one. I have often wondered where and how 
he acquired his passion for books, and have smiled over 
an anecdote he told me one day, when the conversation 
turned on the memoirs of Sir Jonah Barrington and 
duelling. " When I was quite a youngster," he said, 
" I remember my father, during a dinner, having an 
altercation with one of his guests, which ended in the 
lie direct. My father immediately rang for the butler, 
and ordered him to take candles and pistols into the 


library." Shots were exchanged without effect; prin- 
cipals and seconds returned to table, and recent 
difficulties were drowned in fresh libations. But what 
a want of respect for books to fight in the library ! 
Into what authors did the stray bullets find their 
way ? 

Another Irishman I met during the siege of Paris, 
a Major O'Flanagan, was said to have done the 
State some service in India, where he won the heart 
and rupees of a dusky princess. He was a fine-looking 
fellow, about six-foot-two, and reticent when not in his 
cups. He served in the Ambulance Corps. There was 
a good deal of hard fighting in and round Bourget, to 
the north-east of Paris, which was taken and re-taken 
several times. After one sanguinary struggle for the 
possession of the village, there was an armistice agreed 
to, in order that each side might bury its dead and 
remove its wounded. While these operations were 
being carried out, great was the surprise of both parties 
to see the Major, who had evidently been indulging too 
freely in the bottle, suddenly make his appearance on 
a very small animal, and, wild with whisky and excite- 
ment, gallop into the German lines, gesticulating 
violently, and shouting at the top of his voice, " Vive 
la France!" Fortunately for the Major, the Germans 
did not take a serious view of this irruption. They 
merely turned the head of the Major's horse round, and 
sent him back as fast as he had come. And a very 


sad figure did the Major cut, half-sobered by the 
adventure, as he rode home with the loss of his cap, 
his long legs nearly touching the ground, and discon- 
certed by a storm of derision from both friend and 
foe. I did not see him again until the Communist 
insurrection broke out, when I met him on the 
Boulevards, quietly smoking a cigarette. " Ah ! Major," 
I exclaimed, " they tell me that you have been pretty 
well shelled." "Had six in my bedroom," was the 
curt reply. I may explain that the Major and his wife 
lived in the Avenue de la Grande Armee, at a short 
distance from the Arc de Triomphe. Now, during the 
Commune, the Versailles troops kept up an almost 
incessant fire on the Arc de Triomphe from the two 
batteries one at the Pont de Neuilly, and the other 
at Courbevoie. 1 Courbevoie, the Pont de Neuilly, and 
the Arc de Triomphe are in a straight line. The 
French guns threw a little to the right, and the con- 
sequence was that the houses in the Avenue de la 
Grande Armee, on the proper right of the above-named 
batteries, and on the side on which the Major resided, 
were regularly ploughed with shells. I lived just to 
the left of the Arc de Triomphe, and my house was 
struck merely by a few splinters. 

The first day that the Versailles army opened fire 

1 I have explained, in another place, that the Versailles troops 
kept up a fire on the Arc de Triomphe to prevent the Communists 
from mining it. 


up the Avenue, Charles Austin of the Times and 
Lewis Wingfield had gone to share the Major's hospit- 
ality. The repast had hardly commenced, when the 
guns at the Pont de Neuiily began playing, and this 
so alarmed the Major's wife that she got under the 
table. The position was whimsical. One does not 
often hear of a party breakfasting with a princess 
under the table. 

The Princess insisted upon shifting her quarters as 
soon as possible, but the Major was not so easily dis- 
lodged. He gallantly stuck to his apartment, in spite 
of the entreaties of his spouse, who actually wrote to 
M. Thiers (the President), begging of him to order his 
artillerymen to cease firing when the Major was 
crossing the Avenue. 

Both the Major and the Princess got safely through 
the siege and Commune, and then mystery. We 
learned that the Major was not a major, and that he 
had been simply an officer's servant; also that the Prin- 
cess was not his wife. What became of the false major 
I never heard ; but he was deserted by the Princess, 
who remained here, married a fellow-countryman of her 
former admirer an assistant apothecary at a chemist's 
in the Rue de la Paix ; and this couple got into society, 
and their names used to figure in the list of fashion- 
ables invited to the Elysee when Marshal MacMahon 
was Consul. 

Another Irishman I had the pleasure of meeting was 


a Mac-somebody. For some reason or another he liked 
to make himself out a Scotchman, and he dressed a 
handsome lad of his in Highland costume. He was for 
many years an editor of Galignani, his duty being to 
mark out paragraphs in the French papers for trans- 
lation. He was said to be cross-tempered, but I always 
found him pleasant enough. However, we were never 
on intimate terms. He was married to a very pretty 
young woman, and was as jealous as Othello. The 
report was, that before leaving home to take his seat 
on the editorial stool, he used to give his wife long 
sums to do, and that the unfortunate woman's exist- 
ence, in the absence of her lord, was spent in poring 
over long columns of figures. Surely he might have 
given her a shirt to make ! But what I chiefly 

remember Mac as, was neither editor nor husband, 

but collector. He seldom let a day pass without a 
visit to the Hotel des Ventes, where one usually finds 
a dozen auctions in full swing. By dint of patience 
he picked up a curious and varied collection little by 
little. Strange to say, he purchased, at long intervals, 
the Idtons of three French Marshals, all three Mar- 
shals being of foreign extraction ; that of Marshal Saxe, 
the son of the lovely Aurora von Konigsmark and 
Augustus of Poland, called by Carlyle, owing to his 
numerous progeny, " the physically strong," and " the 
paternal man of sin." Is it not a mystery how the 
baton of this old soldier, who died in opulence and 


dissipation at Chambonl, could have drifted into the 
Hotel des Ventes ? and it was knocked down for less 
money than the value of the silver with which it was 
ornamented ! It is true that the auctioneer, shortly 
after the sale, said that there had been an error, and 

wished to put the baton up again ; but Mac had 

it in his pocket, and refused to part with it. Clearly 
the baton of the Marshal who commanded at Fontenoy 
should have been purchased by a grateful country, and 
not allowed to pass into the hands of the stranger. 
The second baton was that of one of Napoleon's heroes 
of Scotch descent Marshal Lauriston, a grandson of 
the celebrated Mississippi Law, who started in life as 
a goldsmith in Edinburgh, and after ruining half Paris, 
died in a garret at Venice. How this baton, too, found 
its way into the Hotel des Ventes it would be difficult 
to explain. Looking at it reminded me not only of the 
gallant and honest soldier, but of the negotiator who 
brought us over the ratification of the treaty of 
Amiens, to the great delight of the people of London, 
who took the horses out of his carriage and drew him 
to Downing Street. By the way, a similar compliment 
was paid here to General Lafayette, when, on the pro- 
clamation of the Constitutional Monarchy, and after 
the Reign of Terror, the Directory, the Consulship, the 
Empire, and the Restoration had swept over France, 
he, the Marquis who had stirred up the Revolution, 
ventured back to Paris; only he never saw his horses 


again. And the third baton? Well, that possessed 
but little interest ; it had been made for Marshal 
MacMahon, who, having some fault to find with it, 
returned it to the maker. 

Mac had also two valuable swords by Andrea 

Ferrara, and you might almost have tied the blades 
in a knot. He was nearly becoming the possessor of 
a third, but it escaped him under the following cir- 
cumstances. There were two Andrea Ferraras for sale, 
the hilt of one being richly inlaid with silver; he 
determined to remain satisfied with the other, which 
was plain, but at the same time the better weapon 
of the two. The former was put up to auction first, 
and went for a song; but for the other the bidding 
was fast and furious, and both irritated and astonished, 

Mac had to abandon the struggle. On inquiry, 

the mystery was explained. A gentleman, who was 
anxious to purchase an Andrea Ferrara, had sent a 
friend to the Hotel des Ventes with instructions to 
secure the plain one, as the silver-mounted one would 
probably run to too high a price ; hence the competi- 
tion which ended in Mac 's defeat. Among other 

curios were a quantity of silver playthings made for 
the children of Louis Philippe, which fell into the 
hands of the sovereign people when his Constitutional 
Majesty, umbrella in hand, sought safety in flight ; 
also a picture, which came from the Tuileries, and bore 
the sign-manual of said people in the shape of a gash 


from sword or bayonet. In fact, one could pass a very 

pleasant hour or two in examining poor Mac 's 

collection. What became of it when he died I know 
not. When Mazarin, a few days before his death, 
tottered through the galleries of his palace, rich with 
all the art of Europe, he exclaimed to the friend on 
whose arm he was leaning, " To think that I must 
leave all these and they cost so much ! " And I can 

imagine, in poor Mac 's case, the ruling passion 

also being strong in death; and both he and Mazarin 
enjoyed the reputation of being exceedingly close, and 
thus must have felt a double pang on leaving their 
treasures behind them. I believe that addition or 
multiplication drove the poor wife mad, and the son 
lost his life in India. 


UNDER the Second Empire there was very little 
Court scandal, as Caesar's wife was above suspicion ; but 
the same cannot be said of Caesar himself, whose 
escapades sometimes produced domestic broils, the 
noise of which reached the public ear, though in an 
uncertain and diluted form, thanks to the Press being 
muzzled. For example, in 1860, the Empress. sud- 
denly left for Scotland. It was at first supposed that 


her object was simply to visit the home of her ancestors. 
Soon, however, it was whispered that there was a lady 
in the case ; that when the Court was at St. Cloud, her 
Majesty, wishing to enter the Emperor's bedroom, had 
found the passage barred by Bacciochi, had boxed the 
chamberlain's ears, and had determined to leave the 
country ; and it required a good deal of diplomacy and 
the intervention of Pio Nono to induce her to return. 
But, strange as it may seem, after this show of in- 
dignation, the Empress never objected to receive the 

lovely Comtesse de C at court, in spite of the 

length to which the Emperor carried his admiration 

for that lady. By the way, the Comtesse de C 

was the cause of another domestic broil at the Tuileries, 
which threatened to end in another flight. This matter 
became public property when the Empire fell. 

In 1863, a certain Franchise Leboeuf, who commenced 
her career in a laundry, then took to the stage, and 
acquired a certain reputation at the music-halls and 
lesser theatres in the Latin quarter as Marguerite 
Bellanger. She was presented to the Emperor. His 
Majesty had just been informed that a young lady, 
discreetly called at Court Mile, de Fontanges, after 
one of the mistresses of Louis XIV., was in an interest- 
ing position. It was absolutely necessary to conceal 
this fact, and Marguerite Bellanger was asked to pass 
herself off as the mother of the child when the proper 
moment arrived. She consented. Mile, de Fontanges 


retired from the world, and Napoleon III. transferred 
his affections to Margot, just as Louis XIV. transferred 
his to the widow Scarron, who had been charged \vith 
the education of the children of the Marqtuse de 

The child came into the world on February 24, 1864, 
and the certificate of its birth set forth that it was of 
the masculine gender, born in Paris, 27 Rue des Vignes 
(the house of Marguerite Bellanger), the father and 
mother being unknown. This certificate was duly 
signed by the doctor and three other persons, who 
stated that they were ignorant of the name and 
residence of the mother ! This looks as if Mile, de 
Fontanges had gone to the Rue des Vignes to be con- 
fined. As it was, the child was passed off as the son 
of Marguerite Bellanger, and but for two untoward 
circumstances nothing more would have been heard of 
the matter. Entirely devoted to Margot, the Emperor 
neglected not only Mile, de Fontanges, but the Com- 

tesse de C , who, finding that the bills of her 

milliner and coachbuilder had not been paid out of the 
privy purse, rushed off to the Tuileries and revealed 
everything she knew to the Empress concerning the 
creature his Majesty was mad about and the little boy 
he adored. It may easily be imagined that her Majesty 
was highly incensed at this unexpected denunciation 
which took her completely by surprise; she had, 
tolerated mistresses, but she would not tolerate a 


bastard ; this was an insult to herself and her son, 
and she would leave the country, and take him with 
her. In fact, the terms in which the Empress expressed 
herself were said to have been violent, picturesque, and 
Spanish. It was all in vain that M. Rouher, General 
Fleury, and then the cdnfessor of her Majesty, the 
Abbe Deguerry, endeavoured to appease her. The 
Emperor and the Empress had not seen each other 
for two days, when M. Devienne (a son of the first 
Napoleon), First President of the Court of Cassation, 
came to the rescue, and finally arranged a modus vivendi. 
On the breaking out of the storm, Marguerite Bellanger 
had been sent to pass a few weeks with her family in 
the Department of the Maine et Loire, and thither M. 
Devienne repaired on a mission. He was to persuade 
Margot to confess that she had deceived the Emperor 
with regard to the child, which was not his, but the 
son of another lover. Before starting he instituted 
some inquiries in Paris, and discovered two important 
facts that Marguerite Bellanger had never given birth 
to a child either before or after her connection with 
the Emperor ; and that she could not have been brought 
to bed on February 24. In fact, M. Devienne discovered 
that a doctor in the Rue des Champs Elysees had on 
the night of the 25th been aroused from his slumbers 
by a lady in the greatest distress, who, arrayed in her 
dressing-gown and with her head bare, brought him a 
lapdog who had a bone stuck in his throat. This 


was Marguerite Bellanger, who, had she been confined 
on the previous evening, would hardly have been in a 
position to have paid the doctor, to whom she was 
well known, this nocturnal visit. M. Devienne after 
this inquiry started for Saumur, and what happened 
afterwards he thus related " He found Margot at a 
farm near the village of Villebernier dressed as a 
peasant, short petticoat- and wooden shoes; she was 
sitting at table with her parents round some cabbage 
soup flanked by pitchers of cider. She excused herself 
for receiving him in such a place, begged him to return 
to Saumur, and promised to pay him a visit there in 
the course of the evening. With many curtsies she 
accompanied him to his carriage, and bowing with 
great respect said, ' A safe journey to you, Mr. President ; 
I shall be at your orders this evening.' Then in a 
lower tone and with a peculiar smile she added, 
' You know, my old fellow, that you will have to pay 
me a supper.' " 

The mission of M. Devienne was completely success- 
ful. Margot copied out two letters, one addressed to 
M. Devienne himself, and the other to her cher seigneur, 
in which she acknowledged that she had deceived him, 
and that the child to which she had given birth was 
not his. These letters shown to the Empress, and 
accompanied by expressions of contrition on the part 
of the chief culprit, brought about a reconciliation 
between their Imperial Majesties. 


It was said at the time that several crosses of the 
Legion of Honour were distributed on this occasion to 
persons who had suffered from the resentment of the 
Empress ; that two were made receivers, and one a 
Prefect. As for Margot, who had already received 
40,000 for allowing a child to be mothered on her, 
she was presented with the Chateau de Monchy, pur- 
chased from the Marquis de Poret in the name of 
Auguste Bellanger. The price paid for this property 
was 700,000 f., and it has been declared that the 
Emperor defrauded the State by paying duty as if it 
had cost only 400,000 f. 

I several times met the Emperor driving up the 
Champs Elysees of an evening in his brougham to 
the Rue des Vignes, where Margot held a veritable 
court. " The gravest and most frivolous persons flocked 
thither," wrote a chronicler during the siege ; " ministers, 
senators, equerries, chamberlains, diplomatists, tenors, 
soldiers, and buffoons, picking up crosses and places 
which the lady of the house obtained with the greatest 
facility from her cker seigneur." 

When Margot's letters were published in 1870, 
during the siege of Paris, the Government of National 
Defence ordered M. Devienne, First President of the 
Court of Cassation, to appear before the Court to 
answer for his conduct in having been mixed up in 
a " scandalous negotiation." He was superseded. And 
considering that he was the real author of the letters 

VOL. I. E 


in question, which contained a falsehood, it must be 
admitted that in his desire to patch up a family quarrel 
he had compromised the dignity of the ermine. 

The child, whose existence had so ruffled the temper 
of the Empress, was brought up as Auguste Bellanger, 
and very few people know who his real mother is. 
The last I heard of Margot was, that when the 
Prussians were marching on Paris in 1870, they re- 
spected the Chateau de Monchy. Perhaps her cker 
seigneur, when a prisoner of war, interceded in her 
behalf, and begged that she and the little Auguste 
might not be molested. 


"A QUEER nation !" said G , who was himself a bit 

of an oddity, with nothing to do, and neither wife nor 
child. He delighted in poking his nose into strange 
places, and making strange acquaintances. Having 
been born in France, he was familiar not only with 
the tongue, but with the manners and customs of the 
French. The above exclamation " a queer nation ! " 
had been elicited under the following circumstances. 
Seeing that a house was for sale, he presented himself 
as a would-be purchaser, although he had no idea of 
investing in real estate, and was allowed to visit the 

G 51 

various apartments. The first flat he found occupied 
by a gentleman in a blouse; he had a rubicund face, 
and was smoking a pipe. A variety of instruments 
and tracing-paper were on the drawing-room table. 
There was a large pier-glass over the mantelpiece ; the 
ceiling represented a blue sky with a few clouds for 
scantily-dressed cherubs to sit upon ; the cornices were 

gilded. Who dwelt upon the intermediate flats G 

did not say, but on the fifth floor, where there was 
neither painting nor gilding, he found M. le Marquis 

and Mme. la Marquise de cowering over a few 

embers, and looking the picture of misery and solitude. 1 
Had M. le Marquis squandered the paternal acres and 
the dowry of his wife, and was his heart now gnawed 
by remorse, or was he one of the victims of the Revo- 
lution, which put down the mighty from their seats, 
and exalted well, not exactly the humble and meek ? 
There are a great number of needy nobles in our 
Republican France, and what with the division of 
property and other causes, few houses have been able 

1 " I have seen a family of the old aristocracy send out every 
day for some horrible black broth smelling of grease, and running 
up a bill of .20. The wife bore a name celebrated in the history 
of the Revolution a name sung by poets and immortalized by 
heroism and pity. . . . These unfortunates, listening to the dic- 
tates of their hearts, had given an asylum to an expelled monk, 
and nothing more strange than to see this chaplain blessing the 
repasts procured from a low eating-honee in presence of a maid- 
of-all-work whose wages were unpaid." DRUMONT, La France 


to keep up their original splendour. Yet titles still 
possess their charms, and carry a certain amount of 
influence with them. 

" You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will, 
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still." 

So true is this, that a few years ago the Eepublican 
Government issued an edict against persons using 
armorial bearings who had no right to them, and as- 
suming titles to which they could lay no valid claim. 
This edict was passed in order to protect the trading 
community, which allows itself to be imposed upon, 
which gives credit to false counts and sham barons, and 
burns its fingers exceedingly. 

I remember how on one occasion G returned to 

Paris with a bull-dog, which he had purchased in the 
Black Country at an exorbitant price. He was what 
is vulgarly termed " an ugly-looking customer," and his 
training had been deplorable. In fact he was a " trial 
dog," and when any likely-looking puppy was bred in 
the neighbourhood, he was sent to test his metal with 

Venture, as G 's animal was called. Venture may 

have been born with the most peaceful disposition, but 
by education and as a matter of business he became 
decidedly aggressive. He had not been many days in 
Paris when he fell upon a Newfoundland dog in the 
street and killed him. This exploit naturally cost 
G a handsome sum, and gave him much trouble 

G 53 

with the authorities, who naturally poked their noses 

into the matter, asked G for his passport, the 

Christian names of his parents, and if he had been 
vaccinated. A short time afterwards Venture thought 
it the correct thing to fly at an omnibus horse and 
seize him by the nostrils. Fortunately the horse shook 
him off, and unfortunately for Venture he fell so awk- 
wardly that one of the wheels of the omnibus passed 
over his tail, and seriously damaged that appendage. 
This necessitated taking him into a chemist's shop, 
where amputation had to be performed. Venture 
behaved like a martyr during the operation, and didn't 
even look over his shoulder to see what was going on 

at the other extremity. G , who after this accident 

was nicknamed Alcibiades, now began to think that he 
had had about enough of his new acquisition, and he 
was much relieved when the proprietor of that famous 
old restaurant, Les Trois Fr&res Provengaux, which, 
alas ! has long ceased to exist, confided to him that he 
was very anxious to procure an English loule. I don't 
know where French naturalists place the bull-dog, but 
I remember being much struck when I first visited 
the Jardin des Plantes, where wild beasts are kept 
and lectures on natural history given, to read over the 
entrance a notice to the effect that no dogs or loules 
could be admitted. 

To make a long story short, Venture was transferred 
to the proprietor of the Trois Fr&res ; G modestly 


declining to accept any remuneration, which might 
have preyed on his conscience. Monsieur was duly 
warned of Venture's propensities, and earnestly advised 
not to allow him within reach of other animals of his 
species. Now Monsieur, who was a bit of a sportsman, 
was just starting for his country seat to have some 
partridge shooting, and had given fifty guineas for a 
couple of pointers. He placed Venture and the pointers 
in a cellar to pass the night, but took the precaution 
of muzzling the former, and chaining him to an iron 
pillar. The next morning, fully accoutred for la chasse, 
and with his gun over his shoulder, he descended in 
search of his pack ; but what was his astonishment on 
opening the cellar-door to find himself warmly greeted 
by Venture, who was wagging what remained of his 
tail. He had torn off his muzzle, had broken his chain, 
had worried the two pointers, who were lying stone 
dead on the ground, and was evidently proud of his 
night's performance. It is almost needless to add that 
Monsieur requited that performance by blowing poor 
Venture's brains out. A sad dog was Venture, and he 
came to a sad end. 




ESTHER GUIMONT died the other day, hardly in the 
odour of sanctity, and almost forgotten, and yet she 
played an active if not a brilliant part when Louis 
Philippe was King. She had been brought into 
fashion by Nestor Roqueplan, editor of the Figaro. 
Alphonse Karr in his Log-book says that the first 
exploit of this coquine, who afterwards became famous, 
was to captivate a greenhorn who had a liaison with 
a lady of quality, and, feigning jealousy, to persuade 
him to hand her over the letters of her rival. With 
these letters in her possession she proceeded to levy 
blackmail, and their writer had to sell her jewels in 
order to procure money enough to save her honour. 
This was the commencement of Esther Guimont's 
fortune. She afterwards had a liaison, which lasted 
a long time, with a celebrated political writer, and 
served as intermediary between him and a statesman 
frequently qualified as " austere." x 

Alphonse Karr, who knew her when she was young 
and lovely, met her afterwards when she was old and 

1 Guizot. 


painted, and she upbraided him for never visiting her. 
"You will meet a number of your old friends at 
my house," she said. After a short conversation, he 
added " There is a question which I have long wished 
to ask you; I have been acquainted with several of 
your lovers ; you never prided yourself on your fidelity, 
and you have sometimes separated on bad terms ; how 
comes it, therefore, that they continue to treat you 
as a friend ? " "I can answer that question at once," 
she replied ; " the reason is that I never leave a lover 
who is worth the trouble, or who may become some 
one, without having in hand the wherewithal to send 
him to the galleys." And, according to Alphonse 
Karr, this amiable creature, who had a finger in all 
the swindling and scandalous affairs of the day, both 
commercial and political, gave the lovers against whom 
she was not so well armed, hopes that she would leave 
them her ill-gotten wealth. I am sorry that I cannot 
add to this interesting sketch of modern society any 
information as to where Esther Guimont's money 

A friend of mine told me the other day that as he 
was driving along the road to Geneva in company with 
a shoddy American who had been having a " fine high 
time of it " in Paris, he exclaimed " There's Coppet, 
where the celebrated Mme. de Stael lived " upon 
which Shoddy, who had evidently never heard of 
Necker's fair daughter Stael the epicene, or Corinne 


asked if she were fair qr dark, imagining her to 
belong to the demi-monde, and being rather surprised 

that he had never met her in Paris. B told 

this anecdote at the club dinner 1 one evening in 
presence of the Due de Broglie, who threw up both 
his hands, exclaiming " Oh, ma pauvre grand'mere, 
ma pauvre grand'mere ! " And what would Mme. de 
Stael herself have thought of the error ? " she whose 
infancy and adolescence," according to a confession 
attributed to Talleyrand, " had been so carefully 
directed in the matter of modesty, that she would 
not perform her toilet in the presence of her mother's 
little dog." 

The ladies of the demi-monde played a very promi- 
nent part during the Second Empire, and displayed an 
amount of luxury which was simply scandalous. The 
regime was to a certain extent to blame for this. 
The first Napoleon found the crown in the gutter, 
as he expressed it himself, and picked it up with the 
point of his sword. The advent of the third Napoleon 
was less heroic, and he would in all probability never 
have recovered the Imperial crown but for the aid of 
a member of the English demi-monde. One evening 
I met a gentleman at dinner who was well acquainted 
with Mrs. Howard, the lady in question. He told 
me he was at Drury Lane one night when he met 
Mrs. Howard, who expressed a wish to ask his advice 
1 Members, as a rule, dine together at French clubs. 


on an important matter. She confided to him that 
she had recently lost her protector, and that there 
were three claimants for the vacant place the Duke 
of this, Lord that (both very wealthy and generous), 
and Louis Napoleon, who had next to nothing. She 
confessed that she was in love with the Frenchman. 
B. B., little dreaming of the destiny which awaited 
him, strongly advised her to accept the Prince, and she 
did so. The next time B. B. met Mrs. Howard was 
in a railway-carriage going down to Dover; she had 
with her all the ready money she could scrape together, 
and her jewels, and was on her way to Paris to lay 
her wealth at the feet of her lover, who, as they say 
in France, had the devil by the tail, and was surrounded 
by adventurers as needy as himself. Fortune smiled 
on the Prince, who always stuck to his friends, and 
he did not show himself ungrateful to Mrs. Howard. 
Their liaison lasted until the Emperor married, and 
his mistress, who had received the chateau of Beau- 
regard and 12,000 a year, then retired into private 
life, and was little heard of. During the time that 
Mrs. Howard was the reigning favourite, festivities 
were frequent at Beauregard, and I remember a 
gentleman relating at a club what Mrs. Howard 
thought of one of her guests, Mile. Eugenie de Montijo, 
and what she told " poor Louis " about his intended 
when she heard of the projected marriage. Mrs. 
Howard died long before the fall of the Empire. She 


left a son behind her, who prides himself on being 
the natural son of Louis Napoleon, but who was born 
before the liaison with Mrs. Howard commenced. 
The Emperor created him donate de Bechevet, refusing 
to give him the title of Beauregard, which would have 
been on the part of his Majesty equivalent to acknow- 
ledging a paternity to which he did not pretend. 
Not long after the Franco-German war, Beauregard 
was sold to a Hebrew banker. 

It must be admitted that the Empress Eugenie was 
both a virtuous sovereign herself, and discouraged 
immorality in others. Whilst she was at the Tuiieries 
the Court was remarkably pure as far as the women 
were concerned, and scandals were few and far between. 
But there was a great difference between Court and 
city. In the city vice stalked openly abroad, and 
became an institution. Now it was some famous 
actress, then a Spanish, an Italian, or an English 
woman, who held the "upper side of the pavement," 
and whose name was on every lip or rather the name 
they assumed. Military names were at one time all 
the fashion. I remember one French demi-monde lady 
taking the name of Catinat, and another that of 
Soubise, while an English girl, whose father used to 
show visitors over the field of Waterloo, took, for a 
time, the name of Lady Wellington. I saw one of 
her cards. She dropped her title on being told that 
Lord Cowley, who was then English Ambassador here, 


would bundle her out of Paris if he heard of her 

The Englishwoman, however, " the most in view " 
here, was one Emma Crutch, who assumed the more 
euphonious name of Cora Pearl, and rose to the top 
of her profession. Among her many adorers was Prince 
Napoleon, 1 and the son of Duval who started the cheap 
restaurants here, called " Bouillons," and made a large 
fortune, would fain have placed his name on the list, 
and great was the scandal when that rash youth, in a 
moment of despair or jealousy, attempted to commit 
suicide in the house of the frail one. This was an im- 
mense shock to her princely and aristocratical adorers, 
especially to the twelve whose coats-of-arms figured 
in a certain necklace, which was thus described at the 
time by a Parisian chronicler. " From a massive gold 
chain depend twelve lockets of most exquisite work- 
manship, emblazoned with the devices of the best and 
oldest families of France. A central locket bears the 

1 The Emperor was very much annoyed by this liaison, and 
one of his familiar spirits suggested (the joke will bear trans- 
lation) that the Prince should be decorated. When Prince 
Napoleon died in March 1891, one of the anecdotes published 
about him in the papers ran thus " During one of his voyages, 
being in Dublin with Cora Pearl, and the report of his arrival 
having spread abroad, he was surprised in the not very edifying 
company of that lady by the Lord Mayor, who had called to pay 
him a visit. The adventure made a great noise, caused much 
scandal, and the Princess Clothilde, when she heard of it, was 
deeply afflicted." 


arms of the lady herself with this appropriate motto, 
' Honi soit qui mal y pense.' Within the lockets are 
twelve portraits of . . ." 

At one time Cora Pearl tried the stage. The house 
was crowded to suffocation with ladies and gentlemen 
of quality to witness her first" appearance as Cupid 
in Offenbach's Orphee aux Enfers. She played and 
sang tolerably well, but after three nights she dis- 
appeared from the boards, and retired into what one 
can hardly call private life. This was in 1867. I 
remember little of the performance, except that Cupid 
played with great self-possession, that she was not 
much encumbered with garments, and that the buttons 
of her boots were large diamonds of the purest water. 

Whittaker in his obituary informs us that Cora 
Pearl died in July 1886. Few people knew where, 
or cared, for she had long been forgotten. The fact 
is that she died in the Beaujon Hospital, deserted by 
all her quondam admirers. A year before her death 
she got a French journalist to write her autobiography, 
but it contained little worth reading, and the pro- 
bability is that this literary venture was simply a 
means of levying blackmail, and that her quondam 
adorers paid money in order not to figure in her 
chronique scandaleuse. She appears at this time to 
have been reduced to a state of abject poverty, having 
been robbed of over 20,000. In connection with 
this affair, a man named Printz was arrested and 


condemned to five years' imprisonment. He stoutly 
refused to say what had become of the money. Shortly 
after his release he made the acquaintance of a man 
called Eodolphe, and told him that the money was 
safely lodged with a German banker at Berlin. The 
accomplices endeavoured to get a Paris banker to 
advance them 400 to go to Germany to claim the 
stolen property, but the banker had them arrested, and 
the last I heard was that the pair were awaiting trial. 

There was also a Spanish woman of the Phryne 
class, who cut a considerable figure amongst the 
daughters of dissipation towards the decline of the 
Second Empire, and whose death under the Third 
Republic was enveloped in mystery. While still in the 
" flower of youth and beauty's pride," she was killed by 
falling from her balcony in the Boulevard Haussmann. 
This tragic event, which created quite a sensation at 
the time, was attributed by some to an accident, by 
others to suicide. One version was, that as her lover 
was leaving the house, she leaned over the balcony to 
say something to him, lost her balance, fell, and killed 
herself. Version two was, that there had been a dis- 
pute, and that Pepita Sanchez deliberately flung her- 
self from the balcony in a moment of anger, with the 
intention of perishing at her lover's feet, and thus 
revenging her wrongs. There was also a third version, 
to the effect that the lady intended to fall on her 
" friend," but just missed him. He was the son of a 


Hebrew who had amassed an immense amount of ill- 
gotten wealth in Russia during the Crimean War, by 
selling very vile vodki to the troops, and then com- 
plaining that he had been paid for the same with 
forged notes, which he forwarded to the Minister of 
War. The story, current here, was that the Czar, to 
save the honour of the Russian army, made good the 
loss sustained by the contractor, and afterwards learned 
that said contractor had himself forged the notes in 
question. Many other queer stories were told of this 
Hebrew, who commenced life as a costermonger in St. 
Petersburg, and who died in one of the finest mansions 
in Paris, to which refugium peccatorum he had been 
forced to fly when his iniquities became patent in the 
land of his birth. He lived like a patriarch, close to 
the Arc de Triomphe, surrounded by his children and 
his grandchildren, who formed quite a colony. Living 
opposite, I used often to meet him of a morning, when 
I went out, wandering round his vast hotel. He had 
more the appearance of a confiding British farmer than 
of a Semite in whom there was any amount of guile. 
And when the patriarch was gathered to Abraham's 
bosom, he had a gorgeous funeral, and his coffin was 
covered with garlands of white roses. One might have 
supposed that it was the body of Ophelia which was 
being borne to the grave. 

The death of poor Pepita caused a good deal of 
commotion in the Hebrew colony, especially as the 


police and then the Press put their noses into the 
affair. It was thought expedient to hush the matter 
up, which is always to be done with money. Of 
course to the Jewish instinct this process was very 
painful. Then all the mud was stirred up again 
when the property of the deceased was sold by auction, 
and no heir presented himself to receive the wages of 
sin. However, some months after the painful event, 
Paris was rather amused to learn that a Spanish char- 
coal dealer and his wife had come from the other side 
of the Pyrenees to claim the property of their daughter, 
and with the aid of the Spanish consul they made 
good their rights and titles, and returned to the Penin- 
sula to pass the remainder of their days in ease and 

Another lady came to us from America, and out- 
shone most of her rivals. Musard, who started some 
concerts here, met her in New York while on a tour, 
married her, and brought her to Paris. She was very 
fair to look on, and attracted the attention of the 
sovereign of a neighbouring State, who made her a 
present of a large tract of land in the United States, 
which turned out exceedingly valuable. Oil was struck 
there, and the lady found herself possessed of 40,000 
a year. She lived in a splendid mansion close to the 
Arc de Triomphe. She had a magnificent stud, and I 
used sometimes to meet her early in the morning 
driving four blacks in the Bois de Boulogne with her 


coachman seated beside her; the turn-out was a thing 
to see, although the horses were a trifle heavy. The 
Daily Telegraph contained the following paragraph 
concerning this lady in its Paris correspondence 

"A curious dejeuner was given yesterday (April 1, 

1866) by Madame M , whose enormous fortune of 

a million sterling, whose beauty, seat on horseback, 
horses, carriages, hotels, stables, and the rest (dia- 
monds ?) are things daily talked of and displayed on 
the stage of this vast theatre of Paris. The guests 
assembled in a long gallery, draped with green cur- 
tains. Breakfast was served and eaten ; coffee and 
cigars followed ; then a bell raug and all the draperies 
were withdrawn. And where did the guests find 
themselves ? Why, in the stable, where stood eighteen 
magnificent horses. . ." : 

An amusing story was told here lately. It appears 
that after the death of the Marquis of Hertford there 
was a great demand for his coachman, who was con- 
sidered the best in Paris. After many offers had been 
duly weighed, the functionary in question condescended 
to accept the terms proposed by Madame Musard, 
subject, however, to the condition that he was never 
to be asked to drive M. Musard. He drew a sharp 

1 This of course was a plagiarism on what had happened years 
ago at Chantilly, when a Prince de Conde feasted some foreign 
potentate in those huge stables which lie a short distance from 
what remains of the old chateau, opposite the race-course stands, 
and which contain about one hundred stalls. 



line between a woman living in open defiance of 
the seventh commandment and the husband who 

The ceilings of Madame Musard's sumptuous hotel 
were painted by no less an artist than Chaplin, who 
told a friend of mine that he found her one day sitting 
on the back stairs bathed in tears. On inquiring the 
cause, she informed him that she was bored to death. 
The fact being that, in spite of all her wealth, she 
could not get into the society of honest women, while 
she refused to frequent the demi-monde. She was 
therefore condemned to live in solitary grandeur as far 
as her own sex was concerned. She lost her good 
looks while still young. One morning, when driving 
in the Bois de Boulogne, the twig of a tree struck one 
of her eyes, and injuring a nerve, caused the lid to fall. 
This accident, trifling as it appeared at first, was the 
cause of her death, for she used lotions which affected 
her brain and killed her. She wished to leave all her 
vast wealth to her husband, but much to his credit 
he refused to take more than a share, so two-thirds of 
the property were divided between her brother and 
sister. She might have left some of it to the King 
or to the Prince, his scapegrace son and heir, who 
was often sadly in want of money to pay for his 
follies here. 

The wonderful career of another woman is worthy 
of notice, to wit the daughter of a Jewish Pole called 


Lachmann. She married a ppor tailor in Moscow, but 
discontented with her lot she soon left her spouse and 
made her way to Paris. It is said that she arrived 
here on foot, that she walked the streets, and 
that one day exhausted from hunger she fell down in 
the Champs Elysees, and swore to herself that upon 
that spot she would build a mansion when Fortune 
smiled. And it was so. She was young, beauti- 
ful, had a charming voice, and was clever to an 
extraordinary degree. She soon had the good luck 
of finding favour in the sight of M. de Villemessant, 
the editor and chief proprietor of the Figaro, who 
" launched " her in the way she ought not to have gone. 
She began by contracting a morganatic marriage with 
the celebrated pianist Herz, who presented her at 
the Tuileries as his legitimate wife. In a very short 
time poor Herz was ruined and fled to America, and 
the tailor having departed this life, his widow consoled 
herself by marrying the Comte de Paiva, a Portuguese 
nobleman in the diplomatic service. As with the 
pianist so with the diplomate ; he was ruined, and the 
lady transferred her charms to the keeping of a wealthier 
suitor the Count Henckel Donnersmark, a Prussian 
noble of immense fortune, who built her a splendid 
mansion in the Champs Elysees, to which all the wits 
of the Second Empire resorted. After a while the 
Comte de Paiva, sick of life, committed suicide. The 
bullet with which he sought relief did not kill him at 


once, and he lingered for some days in the Beaujon 
Hospital, where a friend of mine went to see him. His 
wife never even sent to inquire after him. The Portu- 
guese dead and buried, the Jewess married her Prussian 
lover, and for the second time became a countess, and 
mistress not only of the sumptuous hotel in the Champs 
Elysees, but also of the historical chateau of Pont- 
chatrain. When the Franco-German war broke out 
in 1870, the Count and Countess were naturally obliged 
to leave Paris, and during the siege we learned that 
the Count had been appointed German Prefect of the 
Department of the Seine et Oise. The war over, he 
was appointed Governor of Alsace-Lorraine, but after- 
wards returned to France; and the story ran that 
Gambetta and two of his friends used to dine with him 
and " the Paiva " every Friday, and this at a time 
when every one was convinced that the ex-Dictator 
breathing hatred towards Germany dreamed of nothing 
but revenge. The Countess appears to have purchased 
some of the jewels sold by the Empress Eugenie to 
revenge herself for not having been asked to Court, and 
to have raised a palace in Silesia on the plans of the 
Tuileries 1 a palace in which she died at the age of 
fifty-six years of a congestion of the brain. 

1 I remember having read that Bedlam was built on the model 
of the Tuileries, and that this greatly irritated the French King. 
Poor Tuileries ! its two wings alone remain, and they are of 
modern construction. 


Another member of the demi-monde who shone here 
for a while assumed the name of Alice Douglas, although 
she had nothing Scotch about her, and was, I believe, 
a Dutch Jewess. I cannot say under what circum- 
stances she shifted her quarters from the Hague to 
Paris, but she was greatly admired here, and after a 
short and brilliant career married the heir to an English 
dukedom. It is true that the young gentleman re- 
nounced all claim to the strawberry leaves in exchange 
for a handsome allowance for himself, for his wife, and 
for certain children born before they met. This was 
paying a heavy price for making the lady honest and 
himself a fool. Strange to say, after marriage, this 
couple settled here instead of retiring to some remote 
nook. However, they lived quietly, and gave no further 
cause for scandal. 

Apropos to Jews, I one day went to see a Hebrew 
on some business let us say Gabriel : his friends 


called him the Archangel he was in close confer- 
ence with another individual, and wanted my advice. 
There was an introduction, and I found myself in 
presence of Garcia, the gambler of world-wide fame, 
who, after breaking bank after bank, ended by being 
broken himself. 1 He wished Gabriel to advance him 

1 Garcia was ruined by the Due de Morny, in this way. The 
Duke was at Baden at the same time as the gambler, and wishing 
to see him play, asked him to take his seat at the tables. Not 
feeling in luck Garcia at first refused, but, on being pressed, 
consented, and lost a fabulous sum. 


money to recommence his triumphs, explaining to 
him how success was certain, and how Fortune 
favoured the bold. Gabriel was sorely tempted to 
charter Garcia and to try his luck, and I was appealed 
to. I did not tell Gabriel that I had once burned rny 
fingers over a martingale in a speculation similar to 
that now proposed to him. I simply refused to pro- 
nounce an opinion on what was a matter of chance, 
with no more solid base to argue upon than the 
freaks of Dame Fortune, with so much in favour of 
the bank. In the end the Archangel declined to be 
lured by the brilliant expectations of the tempter, 
and the tempter himself got into sad troubles shortly 

There was then living in a sumptuous apartment in 
the Champs Elyse'es a distinguished member of the 
demi-monde, an Italian named Barucchi, who gave 
parties, which were anything but " small tea," when a 
deal of gambling was done. To one of these Garcia 
was invited, and when he took the bank there was such 
a speedy transfer of coin that some of the sufferers 
began to suspect foul play, and finally the cards were 
seized and found to be marked. This was the end of 
Garcia here. There were evil tongues who whispered 
that the mistress of the house was in the swindle. 
However that may be, she soon afterwards disappeared 
from the scene, and people no longer beheld her, 
magnificently attired, driving round the lake in the 


Bois de Boulogne reclining in a splendid phaeton, horses 
and liveries all to match. 

By the way B informed me one day that Gabriel 

was not a strictly upright and conscientious merchant 
that there were three Gabriels, brothers, who played 
into each other's hands, one residing here, another in 
London, the third at Vienna. When anything went 
wrong with the Gabriel here he saddled it on the 
Gabriel in London, and the Gabriel of London white- 
washed himself at the expense of the Gabriel of Vienna, 
and so on all round. And, if I am rightly informed, 
the three Gabriels, in their time as incomprehensible 
to the ordinary mind as the mystery of the Trinity, 
gave the law-courts of France, England, and Austria 
much thread to unravel, and, thanks to the difficulty 
of proving their entity, slipped through a countless 
number of meshes. Each Gabriel was pure where he 

"squatted," the other two being evil-doers. B 

told me that Gabriel's chief business lay in insuring 
ships beyond their value, and getting the captains tp 
run them ashore. As chance would have it, I had 
hardly learned these peculiarities when I met Gabriel 
on the Boulevards looking as jovial as possible. In 
reply to my greeting, " Ah ! M. Gabriel," he assumed a 
most woe-begone expression, exclaiming "Have you 
heard of my misfortune ? " I answered " No," upon 
which he whined out that he had just lost another ship, 
which had run aground going into New York. "And 


the insurance money ! " I said, and walked on with a 

I met Gabriel but once afterwards, in the Avenue 
des Champs Elysees, whither he had transferred his 
household gods. He told me that he had just married 
his daughter to a French nobleman, and so I concluded 
that he had prospered in his nefarious practices, and 
had lost more ships. As the young lady was of very 
unprepossessing appearance he could not have sold 
her into bondage, but on the contrary must have given 
her a handsome dowry. 

I have mentioned the audacity with which women 
of the demi-monde assumed great and honoured names, 
trailing them in the mire. One curious case of a 
double usurpation came under my notice some years 
ago. I one day returned the visit of a gentleman who 
had called to thank me for some civility shown to him 
by my family in Ireland. I found him seated in a 
garden at the back of a charming little house close to 
the Champs Elysees. He had evidently just finished 
breakfast; evidently also some one had been startled 

by my visit and had flown. E and I were soon 

on good terms; the day was hot, and I should be 
ashamed to say how many bottles of the most exquisite 
champagne were emptied before we rose from table to 

take a drive in the Bois. E had given 900 for 

the trotter which whisked us along at a pace which I 
considered alarming, and which he asked me if I did 


not think "respectable!" The animal was, I believe, 
of the Orloff breed, and was one of a pair given to 
Kahil Bey by the Emperor of Russia. The other 
having been killed by an accident, the Bey parted with 
the one behind which I had the honour of sitting. 

I was rather astonished at the luxury which E 

displayed in Paris, as in Galway he had lived very 
quietly, and had never done anything to astonish the 
natives beyond eating young donkey a taste he had 
acquired in South America. He explained to me 
afterwards that he had lost several relatives within a 
few days of each other, on the eve of the celebrated 
" Black Monday " ; that they had all left him money, 
which, when the crash carne, he invested in stock 
which had fallen to next-to-nothing, but which rose 
again after the panic had subsided. This accounted 
for the hotel furnished with old Irish oak, for the 
champagne, for the trotter, and for the lady who had 
fled at my approach when I entered the garden. And 
who was she ? Well, she had been married to the son 

of an Irish marquis, and she was Lady A. C . She 

had ran away from his lordship, who was a very de- 
plorable lot, and at the time I speak of had formed 
a third alliance. She used to give herself out as a 
French lady of high rank Alphonsine Louise Laure 
de Narbonne. All I know is that her first admirer 
found her getting up linen, and induced her to leave 
her iron and follow him. She had been an extremely 


lovely woman, but when she met E she was no 

longer in the flower of youth and beauty's pride, but 
must have gained a good stock of experience. I 
very seldom went to the hotel in the Rue de Vernet. 

E , who came of good people, ought not to have 

been vulgar, but he was, and having taken a lady of 
title to his bosom, he made his servants call him "my 
lord ! " I was rather astonished one day to learn that 

E had been driven out of his little Paradise by 

his irregular Eve. The Black Monday fortune had 
dwindled down considerably, and the ex-washerwoman, 
foreseeing a catastrophe at no distant date, had warned 

her lover off the premises. E could do nothing ; 

he had taken the house in her name, and she kept all 
the beautiful carved oak and other chattels. 

When the legitimate lord and husband heard of this, 
he hurried back to take possession, and violent was 
the scene which passed between him and his erratic 
spouse. Alphonsine Louise Laure nearly died of vexa- 
tion. It was she who had killed cock-robin, and she 
was not to enjoy the prey ! When there was nothing 
to make the pot boil, the shackles of matrimony had 
been knocked from her delicate Avrists, and she had 
been allowed, as they say here, " to throw her cap over 
the windmill," and now that she had realized what she 
fondly thought was independence, she was to resume 
her fetters! In the end matters were arranged; his 
lordship consented to depart for a consideration, and 


Alphonsine Louise Laure once more became a grass 
widow, and was conspicuous for her ill-doings. In the 
end she died, I believe, of shame arid anger at having 
been made the dupe of a handsome but profligate 
young Englishman of high family, who relieved her of 
a portion of her treasure. Ah ! " the gods are just, and 
of our pleasant sins make instruments to scourge us." 

And what a pickle was the nephew of his lordship ! 
I first made his acquaintance when I was a lad at 
Rugby. He had been a Queen's page, and then went 
into the Guards, but not for long; then he lived, if not 
on his own wits, on the credulity of others and a 
sinecure. He was an Apollo on a rather small scale, 
if one can imagine the son of Jupiter and Latona with 
a strong brogue. At Rugby, where he took up his 
hunting quarters, his mode of life was so opposed to all 
notions of morality that he was requested to leave that 
ancient seat of learning, and many of the tradespeople 
were foolish enough to regret his departure, for had he 
remained longer their anguish would have been more 

I saw him casually in after life, and one day met 
him in the Champs Elyse'es, when he told me that he 
was going to be married, and that he was waiting for 

his betrothed, Mrs. X , whose divorce had made 

some noise in the world. As he expressed a wish to 
introduce me, I remained with him till the lady made 
her appearance. She was strikingly handsome, with a 


beautiful complexion, hair, and eyes, but rather too 
much of a grenadier for Apollo. The marriage took 
place, and whether the pair were happy or unhappy 
during the honeymoon I know not ; but Apollo shortly 
grew weary of his lady, and coolly informed her that 
their marriage was null and void, as it had been con- 
tracted one day too soon after the divorce. The matter 
was taken into Court, and the Court had to decide in 

favour of the defendant, who had conducted Mrs. X 

to the altar 364 days after her previous marriage had 
been dissolved instead of 365 as the law enacts. It 
cannot be said that the reputation of the gentleman 
suffered by this little bit of infamy ; it was too lament- 
able for that already. He became an earl, and then a 
marquis, but I don't think that he ever ventured to 
take his seat in the House of Lords. 


ON January 17, 1873, I made the following observa- 
tions in my daily letter to the Pall Mall Gazette, then 
edited by Mr. Frederick Greenwood 

"A number of provincial journalists had an interview 
yesterday with the redoubtable quaestor of the Chamber, 
M. Baze. These gentlemen humbly requested that 
some accommodation might be afforded them for 


following the debates, but the manner of their reception 
by M. Baze left little doubt as to the result of the 
application. The deputation withdrew, much irritated 
at the uncourteous language of the quaestor, who de- 
clared, among other things, that the old official analysis 
of the proceedings of the Assembly would be resorted 
to once more. This is very grievous, but it must be 
remembered that no one has been more badgered by 
the Press than M. Baze by the slings and arrows of 
adverse criticism. The tone, also, of many of the papers 
in dealing with the Assembly is calculated to bring the 
Chamber into contempt, and to irritate deputies with 
the fourth estate. M. Gambetta's one eye, M. Dufaure's 
nose and waistcoat, M. Ernest Picard's rotundity, M. 
Naquet's hump, M. Batbie's volume, and the personal 
peculiarities of other members, are subjects for constant 
merriment on the part of several widely circulating 
journals, who despatch the funniest man on their staff 
to do the Chamber. Turning to the Figaro of this 
morning, I find the following pen-and-ink sketch of 
M. Belcastel, who yesterday asked for some explanations 
respecting the Roman incident. The funny man says 
' M. de Belcastel is less of a deputy than an apostle. 
He is one of those ascetic old monks of days gone by, 
with an angular head, pointed cranium, a yellow worn- 
out face, thin straight nose, grey eyes, hollow cheeks : 
he is thin, long, bony, wearied with fasting and prayer, 
and devoured by a single thought mystical and pro- 


found. His beard is short and grey like that of the old 
Christian martyrs, and envelops a wrinkled and austere 
mouth. The voice of M. de Belcastel is shaky, stifled, 
and without warmth. . . . He is a Peter the Hermit in 
a riding-coat,' &c. c. M. Albert Millaud, the author 
of the above sketch, concluded his report with the fol- 
lowing fable, entitled, 'M. Dufaure's nose and Provi- 
dence,' which he attributes to M. Baze, the quaestor 

" ' Dieu fait bien ce qu'il fait. Personne ne 1'ignore. 
Or, qui fit le nez de Dufaure ? 
C'est Dieu ce createur parfait. 

Le nez de Dufaure est bien fait.' " 

M. Baze is dead and gone long ago, but the funny 
man remains, and deputies are still held up to ridicule, 
as witness the following sketches of members sitting in 
the present Parliament, culled from the columns of the 
Figaro. I am told that deputies don't object, and, 
rather than be passed over in silence, prefer having 
their weak points, botli mental and physical, exposed to 
the public view. The old French maxim that ridicule 
kills must certainly be wrong. But the sketches 

" COSMAO, DUMANEZ. Fifty-two years of age. Doctor. 
Will not make much noise in the Chamber. Is called 
in his part of the country the mute doctor. Kosraao 
in Breton means old sheep ; surname well suited to the 
new deputy, who will vote like a sheep any way that 
his chiefs desire." 


"M. HENON. Barrister at Qniinper. Republican, 
married, moderate fortune, belongs to a family of 
artisans, patronized by the Comte de Came. Much 
amusement was caused during the elections by the 
production of the following letter 


' I shall feel much obliged if you will be kind 
enough to obtain a bourse for the son of your quondam 


Henon fils is a hard worker and a distinguished 

" CITIZEN BAUDIN. Engaged in a porcelain manu- 
factory. Socialist. Small, thick-set, long black beard ; 
looks intelligent ; head of an apostle. Condemned to 
death by default for the part he played during the 
Commune. Was sent to prison for provoking several 

" DOCTOR GRISEZ, Belfort. Type of a rural doctor. 
Numerous patients, there being no other medical man 
in the district where he resides. Brought up in a 
seminary. Lisps. Will amuse the Chamber if he 
speaks. Will vote in favour of all Jacobin measures. 
Is a Catholic because he was born one, but is an enemy 
of religion. Reminds us that Darwin and Littre pretend 
that man descends from the monkey." 

" DOCTOR MANDEVILLE. Like most country doctors, 


vulgar in his manners and without distinction in his 
profession; incapable of pronouncing two consecutive 
phrases in public. No limits to his ambition. . . ." 

"DOCTOR DAVID. A very amiable, gay, and clever 
dentist. The author of several works on dental surgery. 
Knight of the Legion of Honour. . . ." 

" DOCTOR HERBET. Opportuniste and medico. 
Agreeable physiognomy. Small fortune. Bachelor." 

"DOCTOR LANGLET. Cold, serious, intelligent, few- 
patients, not rich enough to bring up his family without 
fees. Radical. Honest and austere. Has some diffi- 
culty in expressing himself in public." 

"DOCTOR THOMAS. High colour, jovial face, but 
sarcastic smile; loses his temper easily. . . ." 

"DOCTOR RET. Another country doctor. Takes 
great interest in agricultural and viticultural questions. 
Looks like a churchwarden in Sunday clothes. An 
income of about 1200." 

" M. DEVILLE-GAMBETTA was the son of a grocer ; he 
was a grocer himself, and, after having acquired a certain 
competence, was elected mayor, then Councillor-General, 
then deputy. Obstinate, good father, honest, and in 
spite of his uncouth manners would not hurt a fly." 

" M. DAVID. Returned for Chateauroux because he 
is the son of his father, and because, at fairs, he sits 
down at table with peasants and horse-dealers. Middle 
height; pericranium lugubriously bald and shiny. 
Between the occiput and the fatty fold of the neck 


there is a narrow fringe of bright red hair. Large 
fortune. Bachelor. Priest-hater. Was rejected for 
military service during the war of 1870 owing to his 

" GENERAL MACADARAS. A mystery and a marvel. 
Brought over a free corps in 1870, and hence ' General.' 
An Irishman. He was formerly a captain in the 
Indian army. It is related at Sisteron that he won 
battles all alone. Disappeared after the war. Re- 
appeared three years later very rich, took a mansion in 
Paris, and purchased a chateau at Sisteron. Always 
took a prompter to public meetings. He talked of 
le Btp-i&Mique, which did not prevent him from beating 
his Republican rival." 

"CoMTE LEMERCIER. The new deputy for Saintes 
was born the same day as the Comte de Chambord. 
His mother, a daughter of Marshal Jourdan, died in 
giving him birth. Widower. No children ; 5000 a 
year. He is justly blamed because, though an ardent 
Conservative and strict Catholic, he patronizes with 
speech and purse all the ungodly, freethinking, atheist- 
ical, and freemasonic works in his department. He 
breakfasts with the Almighty, and sups with the Evil 

"M. GARNIER. Returned for Marennes. Rich. 
Married. If Roger Bacon had not discovered the secret 
.of powder, he would still fight with a crossbow. Was 

elected Councillor-General in 1867, when he had a 
VOL. I. G 


splendid Court costume made, in which he appeared 
at the Tuileries; his waistcoat was decorated with 
diamonds of the first water, which, since 1871, are used 
by Mme. Gamier to adorn the body of her dress." 


I SHALL never forget an incident which took place 
at my first French ball. I knew nothing of the host 
or hostess, who were musical celebrities, and owed my 

invitation to Mme. de V , whose husband possessed 

large vineyards in Champagne. About midnight I was 

dancing a quadrille with Mme. de V as my partner, 

and her daughter was vis-d-vis. Suddenly there was 
a flutter. A servant made a communication to the 
hostess, the hostess whispered something to Mme. de 

V , who rushed over with the news to her daughter, 

and all three vanished, exhibiting signs of great excite- 
ment. Our quadrille was dislocated, and the gentleman 
opposite and myself, with our partners flown, were left 
looking at each other in mute astonishment. About 

ten minutes elapsed, when Mme. de V returned 

and explained the mystery. Her daughter had been 
married about twelve months before, and had brought 
a baby to the ball. This infant, installed in a neigh- 
bouring room, had been roused from his slumbers, 

A BALL 83 

and requiring sustenance, had commenced to squall, 
and it was to appease him that the young mother 

had been hastily summoned, and Mme. de V , 

of course, thought it necessary to accompany her 
daughter. I was all the more amused by this 
family incident, as for a moment I had been seized 
with a vague alarm that some untoward accident 
had happened. Although a grandmother, Mme. de 

V was extremely young-looking and handsome, 

and while her features beamed with intelligence and 
good-nature, there was something very majestic in her 

When the ball was over, I was rather surprised to 
hear the host, who seemed to be 

" Washing his hands with invisible soap 
In imperceptible water," 

express his intense satisfaction to Mme. de V that 

all the ladies had done him the honour to appear in 
new dresses. This observation, coming from the master 
of the house, appeared to me rather strange, but M. 

B was far too highly flattered to conceal his 




IN 1867 we had a Universal Exhibition in the Champs 
de Mars, which was a great success in every way. It 
was not so large as that which followed, after the fall 
of the Empire, when Marshal MacMahon was President, 
but it was much more enjoyable. It attracted to Paris 
not only a vast concourse of people from all quarters 
of the globe, but several crowned heads, and but for 
a formidable display of artillery and a monster Krupp 
gun, we might have thought ourselves on the eve of 
the millennium. At last, said people, the famous 
declaration made at Bordeaux in 1852 L' Empire c'est 
la paix is about to receive its consecration. The 
Bordeaux declaration, it is true, had been swiftly 
followed by the Crimean War, and afterwards there had 
been war with Austria, and military expeditions not a 

The mention of the Bordeaux incident reminds me 
of a couple of good anecdotes. The declaration of the 
newly-crowned Emperor was hailed with such delight 
in Paris, that directly it was known, the Theatre 
Franqais announced in its play-bill " Cantate 


L Empire c'est la paix." As ill-luck, and certainly not 
design, would have it, the last piece mentioned in the 
same play-bill was one of Alfred de Musset's charming 
proverbs, as they are called, entitled " II ne faut jurer 
de rien!" 

Anecdote number two is this Bordeaux went to 
vast expense to give the Emperor a reception worthy, 
if not of his fame, of his name, and at one spot a 
splendid triumphal arch had been constructed, from 
which a superb crown of flowers with this legend " II 
I'a lien mdrite " was to descend as his Majesty passed 
through. Unfortunately on the night preceding the 
entry, there had been a violent storm which had 
disarranged the mechanism, and when the proper 
moment for lowering the crown arrived, the rope and 
the legend alone descended ! It may be easily 
imagined that this little contretemps, which set the 
wits in a roar, was carefully hushed up. 

The first two great sovereigns to visit Paris were the 
Czar, who was put up at the Elysee, and the King of 
Prussia, who was lodged in the Tuileries. The Emperor 
of Austria and the Sultan arrived afterwards. Driving 
along the Rue de Rivoli one sultry evening on the top 
of a coach, I remember seeing his Majesty William dining 
with some dozen guests, looking the picture of amia- 
bility. The windows of the banquet-hall were wide open. 
A few days afterwards I had another and better 
view of the Prussian monarch. There was a grand 


review held in the Bois de Boulogne, to which I duly 
repaired, and the better to see I scrambled up on the 
roof of a cab. Hardly had I attained that elevated 
position, when a detachment of the Cent-Gardes swept 
by, and a few minutes later came riding abreast three 
sovereigns followed by a numerous and brilliant staff 
the Emperor Napoleon III., with the King of Prussia 
on his right and the Czar on his left, and they all 
reined up at a few paces from me, for the French 
Emperor, seeing that the Cent-Gardes had taken a 
wrong direction, had sent an aide-de-camp forward 
to rectify the error, and while this was being done a 
halt was called, and the three' potentates sat on their 
steeds conversing very cheerfully almost within earshot 
of where I was perched. 

This same visit, by the way, very nearly had a fatal 
termination for the Czar, for on returning to Paris in 
an open carriage with the Emperor, he was fired at by 
a Pole called Berezowski. Fortunately the bullet 
missed the Czar, and the only damage it did was to 
wound the horse of an aide-de-camp and a lady called 
Madame Laborie, whose acquaintance I afterwards made ; 
she was very little hurt. Naturally this untoward 
event caused great excitement and indignation, and it 
seemed likely for a moment that there would be a 
massacre of Polish refugees, or at all events that they 
would be banished from France. The Czar, however, 
behaved very well in the matter, and the ferment 


cooled down. The Ultras of course excused the 

On another occasion poor Nicolas was publicly 
insulted. He was paying a visit to the Palais de 
Justice, when a rising young lawyer of extreme 
opinions went up to him and shouted " Vive la Pologne, 
Monsieur ! " in his face. This was M. Floquet, who 
afterwards modified his opinions, became President of 
the Chamber, served in more than one administration, 
and in 1888 filled the post of Prime Minister, or 
President of the Council as it is called here. In 1888, 
by the way, the Russian alliance was the great hobby, 
and it was feared for a time that the formation of a 
Floquet Ministry would be resented at St. Petersburg. 
However, the Russian Government consented to over- 
look M. Floquet's early bad manner and youthful 
indiscretion. The above incident reminded me of 
Peter the Great, who probably visited the Palais de 
Justice during his stay in Paris at all events he 
visited the courts in London, and was much astonished 
at the number of lawyers he saw " I have only two," 
he said, "in all my dominions, and I intend to hang 
one on my return." 

At this moment there are a great many Poles of 
high and low degree in Paris, and one of Napoleon's 
pet aides-de-camp is Prince Poniatowski (grandson of 
the hero who perished in the waves of the Elster), with 
whom I am acquainted. He is loud in his praises of 


the Emperor, and told me the other day that only upon 
one occasion had he received a reprimand from him. 
This was at Compiegne, where their Majesties were 
entertaining a select circle. The Baroness Burdett 
Coutts had been invited, and was to arrive for dinner. 
Dinner was announced, but there was no Baroness. 
The Emperor insisted upon waiting. Still her chariot- 
wheels tarried. An hour, two hours slipped away, but 
at last she came. Prince Poniatowski had forgotten 
to send to the station for her, and in despair she had 
at length chartered a country vehicle of some sort, had 
arrived at her destination, and had dressed. Naturally 
the Prince was reprimanded for his neglect. 

The Poles had always been popular in France, if not 
from the time when the Duke of Anjou, afterwards 
Henri III. of France, was King of Poland, at all events 
since the days of Louis XV., who married Maria 
Leczinska, daughter of Stanislas, the exiled King of 
Poland. In 1733 came the war of the Polish Succes- 
sion, which ended in France acquiring Lorraine for 
Stanislas, with reversion to herself on his death. In 
1772 came the first partition of Poland, which was a 
sad blow to French influence, and was not accomplished 
without a struggle in which Francis Dumouriez, Choisy, 
and other French officers took a brilliant part. The 
same year France annexed Lorraine and Corsica. The 
second and third partitions of Poland speedily followed ; 
both hateful to France, then unable to interfere, being 


in the throes of the First Revolution, and "freedom 
shrieked when Kosciusko fell," crying Finis Polonice. 1 
Under the First Empire, Poles flocked to the standard 
of Napoleon, allured by his fallacious promises of 
re-establishing their kingdom. There was a Polish 
campaign : battles or butcheries of Eylau and Friedland, 
followed by Treaty of Tilsit, but no reconstruction of 
Poland, which Napoleon never seriously contemplated, 
only the creation of a Duchy of Warsaw, which did not 
long exist. It was when at Warsaw that Napoleon 
had a liaison with the Countess Walewska, who bore 
him a son, whom the Poles thought and hoped might 
one day reign over them. This was the Count 
Walewski, who under the Second Empire rose to be 
Foreign Minister, and was afterwards President of the 
Chamber. To come down to our days : in 1830 there 
was a rising in Poland, and another in 1861, which was 
put down with such cruelty that France remonstrated, 
and war with Russia was on the point of breaking out, 
the Poles fondly hoping that Count Walewski would 
induce Napoleon to strike a blow in their favour. 
Numbers of Polish refugees flocked to France, were 
welcomed with open arms, and received pensions. As 
late as 1891, there were one hundred and forty-eight 

1 Kosciusko escaped, and settled for a while in France. In 1812, 
Napoleon tried to persuade him, but in vain, to join in the march 
to Moscow, but he doubted the intentions of the Emperor, after 
the Tilsit affair. 


of these unfortunates, including Theodore Wydle, 
aide-de-camp to Dictator Langiewicz, in receipt of 

No wonder that the sympathies of liberal France 
were on the side of the Poles, and shortly after the 
attempt on the life of the Czar there was a revulsion 
of feeling in their favour, which was so manifest that 
the Government did not venture to have Berezowski 
executed ; he was merely transported to La Nouvelle, as 
the French criminal classes call New Caledonia. 

Two events, before the close of 1867, caused much 
excitement and a painful impression in Paris the news 
of the death of the Emperor Maximilian in Mexico, and 
the wonders worked by the chassepot rifle at Mentana. 
The tragedy with which "the brightest idea of his 
reign " terminated was a sad blow to the popularity of 
Napoleon III. and the prestige of France, while his 
Italian policy was strongly condemned by all lovers of 
freedom, whose sympathy was enlisted on the side of 
Garibaldi, and not on that of the Pope. On the eve 
of conferring liberal institutions at home, the French 
Emperor attacked liberty beyond the Alps. 

I was a pretty good cricket-player in my youth, and 
when at Rugby rose to be second in the eleven. I 
more than once played with old Lillywhite, who was 
the first to introduce round-arm bowling, and on one 
occasion I was asked to play with the All England 
eleven, which in those days used to travel about playing 


the different counties, and generally took one gentle- 
man with them. My parents, however, would not allow 
me to accept the offer. In 1867 I played my last 
match during the Exhibition. A small cricket club 
had been formed here, and one day the Emperor and 
Empress came to witness the game, which was duly 
explained to their Majesties by the secretary, Mr. 
Sparks. They even examined a cricket-ball. This 
visit saved the club, for a few days afterwards an old 
Oxford man while making a run tripped, fell, and broke 
his arm. The matter was at once reported to the 
police, and the club was going to be shut up as danger- 
ous had not an appeal to the Emperor prevented so 
dire a contingency. With the aid of some artillery- 
men, who had come over with English guns to the 
Exhibition, we got up a very fair eleven, of which I 
was captain, and played a foreign eleven an eleven of 
Spaniards ! Spaniards, or Spanish-speaking lads, from 
the South American Republic, who were being educated 
in England, and had come over to Paris to see the 
Exhibition. Strange to say, this match was played on 
a plot of ground in the Bois de Boulogne known as 
the lawn of Madrid a lawn in front of a chalet called 
Madrid, because Francis I. inhabited it for a time on 
his return to France, after having been released from 
captivity in Spain. Alas ! we lost the match by one 
run. The Spanish bowling was a trifle too good for us. 
The French have never taken to cricket. In the 


South a funny incident happened with some English- 
men, who were indulging in the national pastime. The 
mayor of the commune, in which they were playing, un- 
able to understand what it was all about, and suspecting 
something dangerous to the safety of the State, con- 
fiscated bats, balls, and wickets, and sent them to Paris, 
asking for instructions. This was on a par with the 
rising which took place in Brittany, on the introduction 
of eight-day clocks, the peasants suspecting that they 
had some connection with the hated salt tax ! 

A short time ago I saw a sketch in an illustrated 
paper representing " Napoleon cutting his corns before 
Waterloo," and I reflected on the indifferent manner 
in which his countrymen still talk of that great disaster. 

" We do not curse thee, Waterloo ! " 

wrote Byron in An Ode from, the French; the funds 
went up as soon as the news of the defeat reached Paris, 
and Louis XVIII. was shortly afterwards welcomed back 
once more to the capital by his fickle subjects, though 
not with the enthusiasm of 1814. 1 What a light- 

1 In 1814, at a gala representation given at the Opera, in 
honour of the Emperor Alexander and the King of Prussia, the 
allied sovereigns were most enthusiastically received, and songs 
were sung in their praise, commencing thus 

" Vive Alexandre ! 
Vive ce roi des rois, &c. 

Vive Guillaume 

Et ses guerriers vaillants," &c. 


hearted people ! The memorable phrase, never uttered 
La garde meurt et ne se rend pas half consoled them 
for the loss of the battle. I have often had French- 
men say to me, after losing money at cards " It's my 

On August 2, 1761, Voltaire wrote "I always 
imagine, when some great disaster occurs, that the 
French will be serious for six weeks. I have not yet 
been able to get over the idea." 

However, Voltaire himself erred in this way : con- 
tinually covering serious matters with ridicule. I read 
an apology the other day for this method. Voltaire, 
said the writer, was thoroughly French, and the frivolity 
of his language, and sometimes of his conduct, explains 
his enormous influence over his contemporaries, and 
over France of to-day. In Candide (ch. xxiii.), where 
he wants to console his countrymen for the loss of 
Canada, he makes Martin speak of that colony as a few 
acres of snow. And how did he write to Frederick the 
Great, after that monarch had so roughly handled 
Soubise and his army at Rossbach ? 

" Hero clu Nord, je savais bien 
Que vous tailleriez des croupieres 
Aux soldats du Roi tres chretien 
Qui vous montreraient leurs derrieres ! " 

Be it remembered that at Rossbach the French lost 
3000 killed, 7000 prisoners, and sixty-three guns, and 
that Soubise wrote to Louis XV. " I address your 


Majesty in the depth of my despair. The defeat of 
your army is total; I cannot tell you how many of 
your officers have been killed or captured." What 
remained of the army was dispersed, and the unfortunate 
General knew not what had become of it. Paris re- 
venged itself in satiric songs and epigrams of this 

" Soubise dit, lanterne a la main : 
J'ai beau chercher ou diable est mon armee : 
Elle e"tait la pourtant hier matin. 
Me l'a-t-on prise, ou 1'aurais j'egaree ? 
Ah ! je perdi tout : je suis un etourcli." 

And the next year when Clermont, 1 nicknamed by 
Frederick the Great the General of the Benedictines, 
lost the battle of Crevelt, Paris sang 

" Moitie plumet, moitie rabat, 
Aussi propre & 1'un comme a 1'autre, 
Clermont se bat comme un apotre, 
Me sert Dieu comme il se bat." 

Or, half feathers, half bands, as fit for one as for the 
other, Clermont fights like an apostle, and serves God 
as he fights. 

It is true that poor Clermont's army was, as a French 
historian (Duruy) says, " very badly composed." When 
he took over the command from Richelieu, " he had to 
cashier eighty officers, and one saw 12,000 carts of 

1 The Count de Clermont, who belonged to the family of 
Conde, was titular Abbe of St. Germain des Pres, and hence the 
jokes aimed at him as a Churchman. 


traders and sutlers with the army. On the day of 
battle there were 6000 marauders absent from the 

Taine, in Les Origines de la France Contemporaine, 
has noticed this fury of his countrymen for turning 
everything into songs and epigrams " Alliances, battles, 
taxes, treaties, ministries, coups d'ttats." And he tells 
us how some young gentlemen of the Court, after dis- 
cussing the mot of the day, recapitulated all the songs 
made on the disasters of France " The song on the 
battle of Hochstadt (Blenheim) was found bad, and 
some of them said on this subject, ' I am sorry for the 
loss of this battle ; the song is worth nothing.' 1 As a 
set-off, the song on the battle of Rosbach was found 

The other day I read a work recently published, The 
Memoirs o/Canlcr, which contains a very graphic account 
of the great battle, or a corner of the field. As a 
conscript's view of what passed, I found it so interesting 
that I translated it. 

1 We had our popular verses about Blenheim, in which 
Southey said, for example 

" And everybody praised the Duke, 
Who such a fight did win. 
But what good came of it at last ? 
Quoth little Peterkin. 
Why, that I cannot tell, said he, 
But 'twas a famous victory." 



HENRI ROCHEFORT did more at this time than any 
one else to render the Second Empire unpopular, with 
La Lanterne, a small pamphlet with red cover, which 
appeared every morning, and greatly rejoiced the Parisian 
mind. It was very audacious, very incisive, and very 
witty; it was eagerly purchased, and its circulation 
soon touched 100,000 copies. It said that there were 
36,000,000 subjects in France, without counting those 
of dissatisfaction, and it flagellated the Imperial system 
with scorpions. Naturally this could not long be toler- 
ated, and one morning Paris learned on awaking that 
Citizen Rochefort, ci-devant Marquis, had quitted its 
walls and had shifted his quarters to Belgium to avoid 
arrest. After this flight it was of course very difficult 
to procure La Lanterne, the publication of which was 
continued over the frontier. Copies, however, were 
to be had, if not for love, for money. They used 
to be smuggled into France in a variety of ways, 
and on one occasion the "merchant" who furnished 
me now and again with a copy at an average price 
of from four to eight shillings, received a supply 
enclosed in a bust of his Imperial Majesty Napoleon 
III. ! Of course persecution rendered the little red 


pamphlet more popular than ever, giving it the savour 
of stolen fruit, and the more it was persecuted the 
fiercer and more relentless it became. When the 
Emperor felt that the ground was slipping from 
under his feet, he determined to resort to a direct 
appeal to the nation. The Constitution of 1852 had 
been modified in 1860, and France was now asked to 
approve of the liberal modifications made since the 
latter date. Seven and a half million of voters out of 
nine million replied Yes ! upon which Henri Roche- 
fort took up his pen and wrote that Napoleon III. 
resembled a sick man getting out of bed and painting 
his face before venturing to look into the glass. And 
in fact, in spite of the Senatus Consultum and the 
seven and a half million voters, the Empire was sick 
unto death. 

In the month of May we had a general election, 
which was disastrous for the Empire. Paris, Lyons, 
Marseilles, and a number of other large constituencies, 
went dead against the Government. There was a great 
deal of excitement and some rioting in the provinces 
and the capital. I attended several of the political 
meetings in Paris, and was amazed at the violence with 
which the proceedings were conducted and the absurdity 
of the theories advocated. At the Chatelet theatre, M. 
Ernile Olivier, who had adhered to the liberal Empire, 
met with a stormy reception, and it was long before he 
could obtain a hearing. It was all in vain that he 

VOL. I. H 


spoke at the top of his voice, all he said was drowned 
in uproar. He hit upon another plan which met 
with all the success it deserved. Instead of trying 
to make himself heard above the storm, he lowered 
his voice and spoke in an almost inaudible tone ; 
then the people tried to catch what he was saying, 
and there were cries of Hush ! hush ! and in this 
way the young orator was able to declare and defend 
his policy. 

The elections went sadly against the Empire in spite 
of its new liberal tendencies. In Paris, Marseilles, 
Lyons, and other large centres the official candidates 
were nearly all defeated, and it was only after a second 
ballot that Etnile Olivier was returned. For many 
years the Opposition consisted of five deputies; after the 
elections of '66 it rose to thirty-five, and now it counted 
no less than 116, and among these were Henri Roche- 
fort, Jules Ferry, and Gambetta, who had from a rather 
rowdy and impecunious law student just acquired 
celebrity by the boldness and eloquence with which 
he defended Delescluze at his trial for a press offence. 
Just after his speech, a portion of which I heard, I was 
presented to the young orator and to his client. A 
short time afterwards I met Gambetta just as he was 
going into the Chamber for the first time. He looked 
very awkward in a new suit of clothes, like a tradesman 
in his Sunday best. We exchanged a few words, and I 
wished him good luck, little imagining the role he was 


about to play. I did not often go to the Chamber, but 
I heard Henri Rochefort address the House for the 
first time. He spoke from his place, contrary to 
custom, said only a few words, and the subject was 
one of no importance, but I was much struck by the 
amount of assurance he displayed. I also heard another 
speech which has remained impressed on my mind 
the last speech made by M. Rouher before handing 
over the reins of office to Emile Olivier, in which he 
made an eloquent defence of his policy. He was pale 
with emotion ; he had wielded almost unlimited power 
for about six years, and was evidently very loath to lay 
down office. He had succeeded Billault, on the death 
of that minister, and though shortly after his appoint- 
ment a wit exclaimed " Quantum mutatus a Billault ! " 
he was a more able man than his predecessor. He 
had been given the nickname of the Vice-Emperor. 
On his resignation he received the comfortable berth 
of President of the Senate, which he was not long to 

Amongst other persons who came prominently to the 
fore at this period was M. Jules Grevy. He had sat in 
the Constituent Assembly in 1848, and in order to prevent 
the election of Louis Napoleon as President of the 
Republic, had proposed that no member of any family 
which had reigned in France should be eligible to fill 
that post. He went even further ; he desired that there 
should be no President, little foreseeing that he would 


afterwards himself be twice elected to fill that office. 
He was in favour of governing by means of Committees 
as in the days of the Convention, and, as a writer 
recently remarked, there will always be in Paris more 
partisans of the regime of the* Convention than of the 
Presidential regime, which is a sort of elective royalty 
which easily turns into a dictatorship. It is true that 
the Convention had sixty-three Presidents who finished 
badly ; eighteen were guillotined ; three committed 
suicide ; eight were transported ; six were condemned 
to perpetual imprisonment ; twenty-two were outlawed ; 
and four went mad. The sixty-three Presidents above 
referred to were what we should call chairmen. When 
I had the pleasure of making his acquaintance, he was 
lutonnier, or President, of the Paris bar, and had recently 
been elected to represent the Vosges, of which depart- 
ment he was a native. His return, at a bye election, 
was considered the first slap in the face given to the 
Empire. In those days M. Grevy went every afternoon 
to the Cafe de la Regence for a game of chess or 
billiards, and I had been playing at chess with him one 
day when Jarnes Mortimer asked me if I knew who my 
opponent was. On replying in the negative, he informed 
me. M. Grevy was unlike most of his countrymen ; 
he had no French exuberance, and always maintained 
a dignity of manner which was an effectual bar to 
familiarity. However, he was exceedingly amiable, and 
often furnished me with information on historical and 


other topics, for he was well read, a good classical 
scholar, and a special admirer of Horace. He used 
sometimes to unbend so far as to call me Perfide Albion 
when I got him into difficulties at chess. I may 
mention that the Cafe de la Regence, in the Rue St. 
Honore, has long been the head-quarters of chess- 
players in Paris. In an inner room is a little silver 
plate let into a marble table which informs the stranger 
that at that table Bonaparte was accustomed to play, 
probably in the days of the Revolution, when it was 
the fashion to say check to the Tyrant instead of to 
the king. 

A little theatrical incident happened in 1869 which 
is worth mentioning. Be it observed that one of the 
privileges of the Theatre Francois is that of being able 
to take any piece performed at another house and to 
play it, of course remunerating the author, always 
enchanted with such an honour. Now when Count 
Walewski was Minister of the Emperor's household, 
and had the theatres under his control, the Theatre 
Francois wished to appropriate the Demi-Monde of the 
younger Dumas, which had been played with great 
success at the Gymnase, but Count Walewski forbade 
the banns on the ground that the comedy was immoral. 
Alexander Dumas revenged himself by relating how in 
1840 a piece called LEcole, du Monde, written by M. 
Walewski, was represented at the Theatre Francois, 
and how the author in a preface protested against the 


charge of immorality brought against it, saying " In 
the days in which we live there is a virtue rare and 
noble in a man, that of having the courage of his 
opinion." And Alexander Dumas added " A man 
who, having attained power, says and does exactly the 
opposite to what he said, thought, and did before he 
attained it, that is not new, it is not original, but it is 
always amusing." 

To this of course Count Walewski could only reply 
tcnipora mutantur. 

This reminds me of a writer who after being appointed 
to the Censorship received an invitation to dine with 
several of his old comrades of the Press, and who 
declined in a witty quatrain, the two last lines of which 
ran thus 

" A la fois, on ne pent pas etre 
Braconnier et garde champetre." 

By the way, Count Walewski dedicated his play to 
Victor Hugo, who was continually at war with the 

Towards the close of 1869, the theatre of the Chatelet 
announced the performance of " The, Vengeur, naval 
drama, in five acts." This created some astonishment, 
as it would be sure to lead to Republican demonstra- 
tions; but Anastasie, as the censorship is called, had 
become very indulgent under the Emile Olivier 
Government, and what had a liberal Empire to fear 


from the representation of one of the most heroic acts 
of the Revolution on the boards of the Chatelet, even 
to the accompaniment of the Marseillaise ? 

Most people are aware of the French legend of our 
"glorious first of June," and how the Vcngeur, sooner 
than strike her flag to " the enemies of human nature," 
went down with all hands singing the Revolutionary 
anthem. A report was made upon this sublime affair 
to the Convention by Bertrand Barrere, the Anacreon 
of the Guillotine, considered by Carlyle as a greater liar 
than Mendez Pinto, Munchansen, Cagliostro, or Psal- 
manazor, and who has received similar treatment at the 
hands of Macaulay. 1 

Before going to the Chatelet to see this naval drama, 
I looked over the report of the sitting in the Convention 

1 In his essay on the " Memoirs of Bertrand Barrere, preceded 
by a historical notice by H. Carnot, 1843," Macaulay says of the 
hero "There have been many men as cowardly as he, some as 
cruel, a few as mean, a few as impudent. There may also have 
been as great liars, though we have never met with them or have 
read of them." And very hard was Macaulay on the father of our 
President of the Republic (1892) for his apology of this "spiteful 
yahoo." "It is no light thing," he wrote, " that a man in high 
and honourable public trust, a man who from his connections and 
position may not unnaturally be supposed to speak the sentiments 
of a large class of his countrymen, should come forward to demand 
approbation for a life black with every sort of wickedness, and 
unredeemed by a single virtue. This M. Hippolyte Carnot has 
done. By attempting to enshrine this Jacobin carrion, he has 
forced us to gibbet it ; and we venture to say that from the 
eminence of infamy on which we have placed it, he will not 
easily take it down." 


at which Barrere read his description of the battle. 
After expatiating in the language of the period on the 
heroism of the crew of the Vengeur, he cried " Miser- 
able slaves of Pitt and of Georges, did you think that 
French Republicans would deliver themselves into such 
perfidious hands, or would treat with enemies so vile as 
you ? No ! The Republic contemplates them, and 
they will know how to live or die for her . . . They 
might have deliberated an instant on their fate. But 
no, citizens, our brothers no longer deliberate ; they see 
the English and their country ; they prefer going to the 
bottom to dishonouring themselves by surrendering; 
they do not hesitate ; their last prayers are for the 
Republic ; they disappear." 

At this point of the report the whole Convention rose 
and cried Vive la Rtpublique ! and the greatest emotion 
reigned in the galleries. It was declared that the 
English journals had themselves related this sublime 
episode, and when Barrere resumed his seat the Con- 
vention, in a fit of enthusiasm, voted a fete and hymns 
in its honour ; also that a miniature Vengeur should be 
constructed and suspended from the roof of the Pantheou, 
and that the names of the sailors composing the crew 
should be inscribed on one of the pillars in the Temple 
of Glory. There was no fete ; there were no hymns ; 
no miniature Vengeur was suspended in the Pantheon, 
for the truth soon oozed out, and the Revolution had 
other fish to fry. 


What happened was this. The Vengeur was sinking, 
and hung out signals of distress, whereupon "the 
enemies of human nature " sent boats to her assistance, 
and rescued 267 officers and men from a watery grave. 
The captain of the Vengeur was one Renaudin, and it 
seems that he and his officers were the first to get into the 
English boats ; then followed the men who were unhurt ; 
and the sick, the wounded, the dying, and the dead 
alone went down with the Vengeur. This is what 
appears from the report of the affair signed by Captain 
Renaudin and several of his officers, and dated Tavis- 
tock, 1 1st Messidor, year 11. 

Jal published this report, which is also to be found in 
the French naval history of Leon Guerin. Notwith- 
standing this, Renaudin was declared by M. Thiers to 
have been drowned, and by Lamartine to have been 
cut in two, whereas I have elsewhere read that he 
breakfasted on board the English flag-ship with Admiral 
Howe. He was certainly exchanged after some months 
of captivity, and on his return to France was made a 
rear-admiral and given a pension, on condition of hold- 
ing his peace, and leading a retired life in some sea- 
coast village. He died in 1809. 

I have but an indistinct recollection of the drama, 
which was of course written on the lines of Bertrand 
Barrere's report. Instead of Captain Renaudin, it was 
Captain Richard who commanded the Vengeur, and 

1 Where the captain was residing en parole. 


Captain Richard was in love with the Citoyenne Annette. 
There was a Royalist conspiracy and other padding 
which made the audience impatient, and excited the 
hilarity of the gallery as well as that of the boxes and 
the pit. What cared the public for such accessories ? 
What it wanted to see was the grand tableau, which 
had been extensively advertised. It came at last, and 
we had Captain Richard ordering his colours to be 
nailed to the mast, refusing to strike to the English ; 
wild embraces, cries of Vive la Republique ! singing of 
the Marseillaise, and finally the good ship Vengeur 
heeling over and disappearing beneath the waves with 
Captain Richard and his crew. All this was exceedingly 
well done, and excited universal enthusiasm. The 
drama was patriotic and Republican, and flattering to 
the national vanity, and these qualities were enough to 
ensure success. If the dialogue was lacking in interest, 
this defect was in a great measure atoned for by the 
beauty of the decorations, the richness of the costumes, 
and the excellent working of the machinery, which 
covered a multitude of sins. In addition to the tableau 
of the sinking of the Vengeur, there was another tableau 
deservedly admired, that of a fete in honour of Ceres 
given on the Pont-Neuf. 

Close to me was seated a well-known and able critic, 
called Louis Ulbach, who " did " the melodrama for the 
Figaro, and I was much astonished at the boldness with 
which the next morning: he demolished Bertrand 


Barrere's fiction, and related what had really happened. 
However, it is difficult to kill a legend in France, 
especially when that legend is calculated to take the 
sting out of some disaster, and make heroes of the 
vanquished. It is always Marshal Tallard's remark to 
Marlborough after Blenheim " Your Grace has beaten 
the finest troops in Europe." In 1892 the Vengeur was 
served up again to French patriotism, not in the shape 
of a play, but in that of a panorama. The doomed 
vessel was represented at the moment that she was 
going down. On the deck, which was red with blood, 
were bare-footed seamen with their red caps; some 
were locked in a last embrace, others shouting and 
singing and firing off their last cartridges. In order to 
strike the imagination of the spectator more forcibly, 
and to render a greater appearance of reality to the 
scene, shots were fired behind the curtain, and an 
invisible chorus every now and again sang the Mar- 
seillaise. It is only fair to add that the artist 
so far adhered to historical truth as to depict 
English boats putting off to rescue drowning French- 
men, and for this concession M. Poilpot deserves great 

Other plays of a revolutionary character were per- 
formed now that liberal ideas were in the ascendancy. 
In one, which created rather a sensation, an actress 
appeared on the stage in rags and sang an abominable 
song, entitled La Canaille, asserting at the end of each 


verse "<Ten suis." This was the triumph of rag-tag and 
bob-tailery in which the sovereign people made a very 
deplorable exhibition of themselves. 

About this time I went to see Frederick Lemaitre, 
the last time, I think, that he appeared on the stage. 
He was of course only the ghost of his former self, and 
his faulty articulation, more than his gestures, whicli 
at times were remarkable for their dignity and appro- 
priateness, betrayed his great age. It was melancholy 
to witness this popular idol in its decay. What an 
actor and what a favourite he had been ! Here is what 
Victor Hugo said of him when he appeared in B,uy 
Bias in 1838 "As for Frederick Lemaitre, what can be 
said ? The enthusiastic applause of the audience hailed 
him on his entry and followed him until after the 
denouement. Dreamer and profound in the first act; 
melancholy in the second ; grand, passionate, and sublime 
in the third ; he rose in the fifth to one of those prodi- 
gious tragic effects from the height of which the radiant 
actor dominates all the souvenirs of his art. For the 
old play-goers it was Lekain and Garrick in one. 
For us, his contemporaries, it was the action of Kean 
combined with the emotion of Talma. And then, 
everywhere, throughout the dazzling flashes of his play, 
Frederick has tears, real tears which make others weep ; 
tears like those of which Horace speaks : Si vis meflere, 
dolendum est, est primum ipse tibi. In Ruy Bias 
Frederick Lemaitre realizes our ideal of a great actor. 

' HAMLET ' 109 

It is certain that all his theatrical existence, the past as 
well as the future, will be illuminated by this brilliant 
creation. The evening of November 8, 1838, was not a 
representation, but a transfiguration." So wrote the 
poet in a note appended to the play. 

Poor Frederick Lemaitre ! it is strange that he lasted 
as long as he did, for he required a good deal of priming. 
Before going on the stage he used to work himself up 
to a certain, and sometimes an uncertain, pitch, rinsing 
his mouth with large quantities of wine, which he did 
not swallow but spit out. The fumes, however, at 
times overpowered him, and got him into scrapes. A 
friend told me that one evening he appeared on the 
stage in such a state of inebriety that the audience 
hissed, upon which the actor, losing his temper, took off 
his wig, blew his nose in it, and flung it into the pit. It 
may be imagined what an uproar ensued. Such an 
insult to the public could not be pardoned in the case 
of even such a culprit as Frederick Lemaitre, who was 
forced to go down on his knees and apologize before he 
could reappear on the stage. 

At this period, too, I went to see Hamlet performed 
at the Varietes. The translation was in verse, done by 
Alexander Dumas, who did not know English, and the 
part of the Prince of Denmark was filled by a woman, 
Dinah Felix, the talented sister of that great tragedienne, 
Rachel. I was much pleased with the performance, 
though it was not quite Shakespeare. The first play I 


ever witnessed was Hamlet when I was a small boy at 
Rugby, and some of us sneaked down to a booth in 
which a company of strolling players were performing. 
The play made a great impression on my juvenile mind, 
and it has always had a peculiar attraction for rne. I 
can still see in my mind's eye the actor who filled the 
role of Hamlet, a tall, slight, well-made fellow, with 
sunburnt face and dark close-cropped curly hair. I 
remember something too of Ophelia in a white satin 

Here Hamlet is exceedingly popiilar, and has been 
translated a dozen times. I am assured that two actors 
went mad over it. Certainly a poetical genius used 
often to come to me and declaim his rendering of the 
masterpiece ; he could think of nothing but Hamlet, and 
he became, to say the least, 'very eccentric in trying to 
fathom our poet's philosophy. Portions of his work I 
found admirable. 

, HamUt is sometimes played at the Theatre Francois 
when there is an actor considered capable of filling the 
chief part. The other favourite plays of Shakespeare 
here are Macbeth, Othello, King Lear ; and Midsummer 
Night's Dream was not long ago successfully produced 
at the Odeon. 

What would Voltaire say could he see the statue of 
Shakespeare standing in the centre of Paris, and our 
bard's works far more popular than his own ? He 
seldom lost an opportunity of discharging a shaft 


at him. In submitting his last play, Irene, to the 
Academy, he attacked Shakespeare in the preface for 
his manifold crimes against the traditions of the stage ; 
he even mixed up rhyme and prose. He made people 
speak according to their condition in life. 

I always admired Victor Hugo for his unbounded 
admiration of Shakespeare. In his preface to Marie 
Tudor he says "The aim of the dramatic poet ought 
always to be, and above all, to search the great, like 
Corneille, and the true, like Moliere ; or, better still, 
and this is the highest summit to which genius can 
ascend, to attain at the same time the great and the 
true, the great in the true and the true in the great, like 
Shakespeare. For, be it observed en passant, it was given 
to Shakespeare, and it is-this which makes the sovereignty 
of his genius, to conciliate, to unite, to amalgamate 
incessantly in his work these two qualities, truth and 
grandeur, qualities almost opposed, or at least so dis- 
tinct that the defect of each constitutes the contrary in 
the others. In all the works of Shakespeare there is 
the great which is true, and the true which is great, and 
where things true and great are combined art is com- 
plete. Shakespeare, like Michael Angelo, appears to 
have been created to solve this strange problem, the 
simple assertion of which appears absurd to remain 
faithful to nature while being at times unfaithful to it. 
Shakespeare exaggerated the proportions while respect- 
ing the relations. Admirable all-power of the poet ! he 


makes things higher than we are. Hamlet, for example, 
is as true as any of us, and he is much greater. Hamlet 
is colossal, and yet he is real. It is because Hamlet is 
neither you nor me ; he is all of us. Hamlet is not a 
man he is man." In his preface to Cromwell, Victor 
Hugo compares Shakespeare to a wide-spreading oak, 
and sneers at Voltaire's objections, not to his works, but 
to those of the Greek stage as well. 

Poor Victor Hugo had much to suffer from the 
" Classics," and he hated them, and with some reason. 
When his Marion Delorme was brought out in 1829 the 
opposition to the " Romantics," as the new school was 
called, was so violent that a petition was presented to 
Charles, praying him to close the Theatre Frangais. 
To this extravagant proposition the last of the Bourbon 
kings replied in a way which did him great credit 
" In literary matters I merely occupy a place in the pit." 

One of the traditions of the French theatre is that 
no murder can be done on the stage, and hence, when 
Othello was played, it was necessary for the Moor after 
making away with Desdemona behind the scenes to 
reappear flourishing a dagger, for it would never have 
done to have rushed on the stage with a pillow. 
Napoleon L, in one of his letters, refers to " the dagger 
of Othello," which sounds strange to English ears and 
requires explanation. 

An author called Ducis, who lived in the last century, 
translated or rather adapted a great many of Shake- 


speare's plays, and it is rather curious that he should 
have been elected to fill the chair in the Academy 
left vacant by the death of Voltaire. 

Apropos to the Patriarch, as he is often called, I 
remember one day on taking my seat in a tramway, 
being greatly astonished on seeing in the corner of the 
car an old woman the exact image of him, as represented 
by Houdon's wonderful statue which stands in the 
vestibule of the Theatre Franqais Voltaire, a mere 
skeleton, seated in an arm-chair, leaning slightly for- 
ward, with his sunken orbs, his hollow cheeks and 
long bony hands, and yet with features beaming as it 
were with intellect. This statue the old woman resem- 
bled in a remarkable degree, and in addition her eyes 
glittered in the same way which those of Voltaire are 
said to have done. 

During the Second Empire a good deal of influence 
was exercised by the Princess Mathilde, being the only 
daughter of Jerome Bonaparte, the youngest brother of 
Napoleon I., a cousin of the Emperor. She had been 
married to the Prince Demidoff, when twenty-one years 
of age, and after four years of married life they had 
agreed to separate. She had a fine hotel, was a clever, 
agreeable, handsome woman, and delighted in the society 
of men of letters who flocked to her hospitable mansion. 
For her sake more than one brilliant writer refrained 
from attacking the existing order of things. One fine- 
looking man, who occupied the post of minister or director 

VOL. I. I 


of Fine Arts, was especially favoured by the Princess for 
a long time, but in due time a rupture ensued. Soon 
afterwards the report was current in Paris that M. 
Edmond About was a candidate for the vacancy, and so 
sure was he of success that one evening, invited to dine, 
before going to table he gave himself all the airs of 
being master of the house. What happened to the 
literary coxcomb was the same fate as that which 
overtook the presumptuous Beau Brummel when he 
said " George, ring the bell ! " The incensed Princess 
rose and rang, without being asked, and ordered M. 
Edmond About's carriage. 

The de Goncourt brothers, under date December 
3, 1862, thus wrote, having received an invitation to 
dinner " We were shown into a room hung with purple 
silk. Gavarni, Chennevieres, and Nieuwerkerke had 
already arrived, and the Princess appeared. We sat 
down to table seven in number, and but for the gold 
plate engraved with the Imperial arms, and the gravity 
of the footmen, we would scarcely have imagined our- 
selves in the presence of royalty, for in this agreeable 
house there is complete liberty of mind and speech. 
The salon of the Princess belongs essentially to the 
nineteenth century, with a hostess who is a perfect type 
of the modern woman of the world. A woman as 
kindly as her smile; adorable in her simplicity, and 
possessing the art of putting you at once at ease. To- 
day among all these men she was delightfully simple 


and charming, bewailing in a pretty witty manner the 
level to which women have sunk since the eighteenth 
century." Hence her guests were generally of her 
own sex. 

The Princess Mathilde, unlike her brother, Prince 
Napoleon, remained always on good terms with her 
cousin, the Emperor, through whose good offices the 
Czar persuaded (?) Prince Demidoff to make her a 
handsome allowance. 

Although the salon of the Princess was literary and 
not political she received clever men of all shades of 
opinions still it was impossible for politics not to crop 
up sometimes at such a stirring period as that which 
closely preceded the Franco-German War. 

One of the most popular songs in France is Les 
deux Gendarmes, by Nadaud. A parody on it recently 
appeared which, strange to say, was first read at a 
supper given by the Princess Mathilde, at which M. 
Billault, then Minister without a portfolio, Sainte- 
Beuve, the Minister of Beaux Arts, a poet, a high 
functionary, a celebrated painter, a dramatic author, a 
member of the diplomatic corps and his wife, two other 
ladies of high rank, with celebrities from the French 
Academy and Institute, were present. The Princess 
Julia Bonaparte had informed her cousin that, during 
the day, M. Billault had read her a stinging song^ in 
which the Emperor was roughly handled, and the 
Princess Mathilde insisted on the verses beinjr read out 


at her table. Every one swore to observe the most 
impenetrable secrecy, the servants were dismissed, and 
the doors closed. M. Billauit, after a little pressing, 
read the following stanzas, the composition of a capital 
fellow, who had served in his office when he was 
Minister of the Interior 


L'Empereur avec un ministre 

Flanait clans le pare de Saint-Cloud ; 
Sa moustache pendait sinistre, 

Ses doigts en tortillaient le bout : 
" Ah ! " disait-il, tout sombre et cloche, 

" Je vois du noir k 1'horizon." 
'' Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 

" Depuis quinze ans que je gouverne, 

Qu'ai-je gagne ] haine et mepris. 
A mon regime de caserne 

Tout a plie mais a quel prix ? 
La haine a tous mes pas s'accroche ; 

J'e'tais plus heureux en prison." 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 

" Pour quelque amour que je demande, 

Que faire et que n'ai-je pas fait ? 
Paris est beau, la France est grande, 

L'Europe admire et Ton me halt ! 
Beau le loin, suspect k 1'approche, 

Je brille, mais comme un tison." 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 


" Espiit liberal, ame bonne, 

Du bien meme on me fait un tort ; 
Comedien, quand je pardon ne, 

Et tyran, quand j<? frappe fort. 
Pour la plus petite bamboche 

On m'appelle un Don Juan grison." 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 

" Malgre le baillon et la schlague, 

Tout se sait et se dit ceans ; 
Ma presse elle-meme me blague, 

Ma police est aux d'Orleans ! 
L'entretien qu'avec toi je broche, 

Demain sera mis en chanson/' 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 

" Qui sont mes conseillers 1 Des anes. 

Mes generaux 1 Des racoleurs. 
Mes courtisans 1 Des courtisanes. 

Et mes ministres 1 Des voleurs. 
Mon Senat 1 Un appui bancroche. 

Ma Chambre 1 Un faux diapason." 
"Majeste/' repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 

" Qui me sert 1 Des fous ou des reitres ; 

Juges pourris, prefets cretins ; 
Ici des cuistres, la des traitres, 

Partout mouchards, voleurs, catins ! 
Vidocq, Cartouche, et Rigolboche 

Dans rna cour tiennent garnison." 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majestd, vous avez raison." 

" Sauf Persigny le janissaire, 

Et Billault 1'eloquent trembleur, 
Qui de vous me croit necessaire 

Et n'est pret en cas de malheur 1 


Pourvu qu'on ait rempli sa poche, 
Le feu pent prendre k la tnaison." 

" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 
" Majeste, vous avez raison." 

" Tout est possible et rien ne dure 

Chez cette nation de fous, 
Qui chasse et jette aux tas d'ordures 

Ceux qu'elle adorait a genoux. 
Qui mit mon oncle sur sa roche ? 

La liaine, et non la trahison." 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 

" Claremont, Prague, et Sainte-Helene 

Ont eu des holes qui, ma foi ! 
N'avaient pas eu beaucoup de peine 

A regner beaucoup mieux que moi. 
L'aigle et le coq mis k, la broche 

Sont un presage pour 1'oison." 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

"Majeste, vous avez raison.'' 

" Qu'aujourd'hui pour demain je creve, 

Qui de vous portera mon deuil ? 
Mon fils est votre dernier reve, 

Toi, le premier, tu t'en bats 1'oeil ; 
Plon-Plon, d'ailleures, de pauvre mioche 

S'apprete k barrer le blason." 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 

" Quoi ! j'aurai mis 1'Empire au monde, 

L'Europe en feu, la France a sac, 
Pour gagner quoi 1 L'eloge immonde 

D'un Veron ou d'un Cassagnac ? 
Pour trembler a chaque anicroche, 

Et la nnit rever de poison ? " 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 


Ainsi Cesar vidait son ame . . . 

II se tut car en ce moment, 
II voyait son fils et sa femme 

Venir a lui, couple charmant. 
On eut pu voir, vivant reproche, 

Ses pleurs tomber sur le gazon. 
" Majeste," repondait Baroche, 

" Majeste, vous avez raison." 

The first couplets were received with profound 
silence, succeeded by murmurs of stupefaction, stifled 
laughter, and cries of indignation. However, M. Billault 
got to the end of his task, in spite of the savage manner 
in which several of the guests were lashed by the 
merciless lyrist. The supper-party could not recover 
its tone, and broke up quite dispirited. The promise 
of secrecy was renewed by each person present. The 
next morning the author of the song presented himself 
as usual at M. Billault's house in the Rue St. Arnaud, 
and was informed of the success which his verses had 
met with in the Rue de Courcelles. The author re- 
minded the Minister that he had promised not to show 
them. " There's no danger," returned M. Billault. " I 
showed them in the morning to Madame Julia, who 
spoke of them to her cousin. I had them in my 
portfolio, and, my faith, it was necessary to be agree- 
able to the Princess, who laughed heartily. Never 
fear! all the people present are discreet; there was 

only the Prince and Princess de M , the Chevalier 

N ," &c. As M. Billault was speaking, a note 


from the Tuileries was handed to him, which ran 


"I shall expect you to breakfast. Be good 
enough to bring with you the verses which you read 
last night at the Rue de Courcelles. 

" Yours affectionately, 


The situation was embarrassing. When M. Billault 
went to the Tuileries, he took the author in his carriage, 
and, leaving him at the door of the palace, told him he 
would not be long, and that he would tell him every- 
thing that happened. When the Minister entered the 
Emperor's cabinet, his Majesty held out his hand, and 
asked him, with a laugh, what he thought of his police ? 
" I knew all about the song at ten this morning," he 
added, " and I give you my word Pietri had nothing to 
do with the matter. But let me see the song." The 
Emperor read it over slowly, without saying a word, 
twisting his moustache, biting his lip now and then, 
sometimes smiling, sometimes shrugging his shoulders ; 
then handing back the manuscript, he asked M. Billault 
if the author was personally known to him. The 
Minister said he was an upright man, and a faithful 
servant of the Government. "So much the better," 
said his Majesty : " you can tell him that I don't want 


to know his name, but that I should like to see his 
next production before it is read to the Princess 
Mathilde." Here the matter ended : M. Billault found 
out the next day who had betrayed the secret, but, 
used to similar acts of bad faith, he refrained from 
exposing the traitor. 

The way in which the French name their streets 
in Paris suggested the following article, which I sent 
to the old Pall Mall Gazette in 1868. There have 
been a good many changes and additions of course 
since then. 


IT really seems to us that some modification might 
be introduced into our street names, and that some of 
our King, Queen, and Duke streets, which recall nothing 
at all, might be advantageously rechristened. The 
Frenchman who visits London seldom fails to ridicule 
us for our excessive love of Waterloo and Wellington, 
as if the battle of the 18th of June were our only 
victory and "the Duke" our only hero. There must 
have been an attempt at better things some years ago 
when Maida Hill was named. The appellation should 
remind us that Maida, if a small, was a brilliant and 


important affair. It was the first battle which made 
the French doubt their perfect invincibility : one of 
Napoleon's pet regiments bolted, General Regnier 
succumbed to General Stewart, and there was a notable 
person present on the French side, to wit, Paul-Louis- 
Courrier, whose pamphlets, written during the Restor- 
ation, are still read and admired as masterpieces of wit, 
style, and reason. It would be pleasant to be able to 
study history at every street corner. Why should the 
Black Prince be forgotten and Baker be immortalized ? 
We doubt if even Mme. Tussaud could tell us who 
Baker was. The Briton may experience some senti- 
ment of pride when he walks through Trafalgar-square, 
but Berkeley-square simply reminds him of " Jeames." 
They manage these things much better in France, 
where street history is in vogue. We still find in Paris 
such denominations as the Boulevards of the Daughters 
of Calvary, the street of the Scalded of St. Germains, 
and that frequented thoroughfare of which Thackeray 

" A street there is in Paris famous 

For which no name our language yields ; 
Rue Neuve des Petits Champs its name is 
The new street of the little fields." 

But the curious names one still beholds will be grad- 
ually effaced in time. To form Rue Bonaparte three 
streets were sacrificed, one of them called the " Iron- 
pot," and another barbarous appellation was replaced 


some years ago by " Rossini," in which street, appropri- 
ately, Figaro has established its offices; and we may 
here mention that Beaumarchais has been honoured 
with a boulevard for his comedies, which set the Revo- 
lution rolling. Paris has not only seized on what is 
French, but what is foreign. Close by Rue Clovis may 
be found Rue Julius Caesar, and Alfred de Musset and 
Lord Byron are commemorated in the neighbourhood 
of the Elysian Fields. Auber, Beethoven, Bellini, &c., 
represent music; Claude Lorraine, Rubens, Raphael, 
painting ; Keppler, Galileo, Newton, Laplace, astronomy ; 
Buffon, Cuvier, Lacepede, natural history; Moliere, 
Corneille, Racine, Crebillon, the theatre ; Voltaire, 
Labruyere, Montaigne, letters, &c., &c. There is even 
Nicot, who reminds us of the weed, and Abbe de 
1'Epee, of the blind. We are rather disappointed at 
not finding the name of Shakespeare, 1 and would 
humbly suggest that the "divine Williams" might re- 
place "the Butchery of the Invalides" with advantage ; 
and, again, we are astonished to find in the French 
capital the Passage of Waterloo. This was probably 
done by the emigres on their return, and Henri Murger, 
were he alive, would doubtless recommend that it 
should be changed into the Passage of the Red Sea or 
Beresina. 2 

1 Shakespeare has a statue now. 

2 In his Vie de Boheme, Henri Murger describes an artist 
sending to the Salon a picture of the Passage of the Red Sea 


Although the principal street in Paris is dedicated 
to Peace and the principal place to Concorde, military 
celebrities have by no means been neglected. All the 
exterior boulevards which form the inner circle of the 
fortifications are named after the great Marshals of the 
First Empire. Murat, Massena, Soult, Ney, Macdonald, 
Serrurier, Mortier, Jourdan, Victor, Lannes, Berthier, 
Bessieres, Davoust, Lefevre, Kellermann, Suchet, and 
Gouvion St. Cyr. Napoleon commenced this system 
by calling streets after departed comrades after 
Cafferelli, who fell at Acre ; Desaix, at Marengo ; 
Kleber, assassinated at Cairo ; Billy, slain at Auster- 
litz; Marboeuf, who perished in the snows of Russia. 
The Bridge of Austerlitz up-stream, and that of Jena 
down-stream, which the Prussians, but for Wellington, 
would have blown up during the occupation, with the 
Rues de Rivoli, Castiglione, Mondovi, and Pyramides, 
were his work. Round the Place des Victoires, where 
still may be seen the bronze statue of Louis XIV. set 
up by Lafeuillade that which stood in the Place Ven- 
dome was hurled to ground during the Revolution 
one may read the names of some of Louis' commanders, 
and that of Aboukir, which has nothing to do with 
our Nile, but celebrates a victory over the Mamelukes. 
However, not far from the Rue Aboukir is the Rue 

which was refused. He touched it up and sent it in the next 
year as the Passage of the Beresina, and when it was again rejected 
he turned it into the Passage de 1'Opera. 


Peree. Peree was an admiral who, with a single ship, 
sustained a combat with four of Nelson's frigates. 
Suffren has also his avenue for what Carlyle calls seven 
non-defeats against our Mathews in the Indian seas, 
but very few admirals fly their names at the street 
corners. 1 

The Arc de Triomphe is, of course, a great military 
centre, from which radiate the avenues of the Grande 
Armee, Friedland. Jena, Essling, Eylau, and Wagram, 
and those of the King of Rome, King Jerome, Josephine, 
and Queen Hortense ; and round the Invalides cluster 
more military names. Amongst others we remark 
those of Dupleix and La Bourdonnaye, but Lally, who 
was so scandalously murdered, has not been thought 
deserving of mention. We cannot say that we have 
come across many streets apt to wound our national 
vanity ; the Rue Port Mahon reminds us that the Duke 
of Richelieu snatched that important place from us ; 
then, close to the Avenue Saxe, is the Place Fontenoy. 
In a small work on infantry tactics Marshal Saxe has 
left his opinion on record as to how British troops 
behaved at that battle when our allies refused to 
leave their entrenchments, and allowed the English 
column, which had carried everything before it, to 

1 Since the above was written matters have changed. The 
unfortunate La Perouse has now a street, and so has poor Dumont 
d'Urville, who, after circumnavigating the globe, was burned to 
death with many other victims on the line between Paris and 
Versailles, when the train caught fire. 


be crushed under the weight of the whole French 

In the vicinity of the Luxembourg stands the Rue 
Chevert. Few persons may remember that Chevert 
was one of the causes of the Revolution ; he was the 
only roturier who, under the Bourbons, gained by force 
of merit the bdton of Marshal. Louis XVI., horrified 
at the innovation, decreed in 1786 that no person could 
become an officer before obtaining from Cherin a cer- 
tificate of nobility. With the whole country in the 
state Lord Chesterfield described it, one may imagine 
how this insane decree was received in Paris. Near 
the Jardin des Plantes is the Rue Guy la Brosse, which 
reminds us how a gentleman of that name commenced 
the zoological part of the gardens by removing, during 
the Revolution, a lion, a rhinoceros, and a few tufted 
pigeons from the Royal menagerie of Versailles, laying 
violent hands on some peripatetic bears, and robbing 
the Prince de Ligne of a couple of dromedaries. Surely 
these new denominations are better than the ancient 
ones to be found in the pages of Sauval and Dulaure, 
such as Trou-Punais, Vide Gousset, Coupe-Gorge, Qui- 
me-trouve-dure, and others unfit for publication. There 
are certain old historical names which one would be 
sorry to see disappear ; there is the Rue Pelican, just 
behind the Louvre Hotel, where FranQois I. and Trir- 
boulet caroused with the ladies of the quarter, and the 
Rue de 1'Arbre Sec, which was fashionable in the days of 


the Valois kings, where " the Admiral " l was murdered 
during the St. Bartholomew; but the old fantastic 
names are fast disappearing, and the number of saints 
is being gradually diminished. For instance, there 
used to be more than forty Rues Ste. Marie, and now 
there are only half-a-dozen. 

One evening at this time I dined with an engineer 
called Merton, who had aided Mr. Brassey in laying 
down the first railways in this country. My right-hand 
neighbour at table was a Mr. Nelson, and by way of 
opening a conversation I asked him if he was a relation 
of our great Admiral. He said he was not. Then to 
my surprise a gentleman on my left exclaimed, " I am. 
Not only that, but I am also related to the Empress." 
He was a young Scotchman, a Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, 
with fair hair, very delicate features, and bore a marked 
resemblance to her Majesty. 

I was looking over the papers one day at Galignani's, 
when Major Burke came in and shook me warmly by the 
hand. He was a very powerful-looking man and seemed 
in perfect health. One of his gallant brothers had 
fallen at Silistria at the beginning of the Crimean War, 
and a second had perished in Australia during an 
exploration. The Major had greatly distinguished 
himself before Sebastopol and elsewhere. He was now 
on his way home after having travelled through Spain. 
About ten days after his departure from Paris I was 
1 Coligny. 


both greatly astonished and grieved to learn that he was 
dead. He asked a number of old comrades to dine 
with him at the " Kag," and when the dinner was over he 
rose, and in a short speech bid them farewell. The 
next day he had ceased to exist. He had fallen victim 
to a disease which required abundant nourishment to 
stave it off, and in Spain he had been half starved. 
The death of the three Burkes was a great blow to 
Galway, where the family had a fine place, and was 
much loved and respected. 

Every now and again the question of the Talleyrand 
memoirs crops up, and we learn that their publication 
has been again put off, also that they will not prove 
very interesting. 1 In connection with this subject I have 
more than once seen in both English and French prints 
that Talleyrand married a Madame Grand, who was 
intensely stupid, and who once asked her husband if a 
Mr. Robinson who paid them a visit was the celebrated 
Robinson Crusoe. Now this is what may be found in 
the letters of Horace Walpole alluded to by Carlyle in 
Frederick the Great, ch. v. Speaking of the diplomatist, 
Sir Thomas Robinson, he wrote 

" He was a tall, uncouth man ; and his stature was 
often rendered still more remarkable by his hunting 
dress, a postilion's cap, a tight green jacket, and buck- 
skin breeches. He was liable to sudden whims, and 
once set off on a sudden in his hunting suit to visit his 
1 They have since appeared. 


sister, who was married and settled in Paris. He 
arrived while there was a large company at dinner. 
The servant announced M. Robinson, and he came in to 
the great amazement of the guests. Amongst others a 
French obit thrice lifted his fork to his mouth and 
thrice laid it down with an eager stare of surprise. 
Unable to restrain his curiosity any longer he burst out 
with ' Excuse me, sir, are you the famous Robinson 
Crusoe so remarkable in history ? ' ' 

Of course this took place before poor foolish Madame 
Grand was born. 

In the year 1867 there was an attempt made to get 
up a festival in honour of Voltaire, to which I thus 
alluded in my usual letter to the old Pall Mall Gazette, 
May 22 

The attack made yesterday on Voltaire by the 
Bishop of Orleans may be said to have broken down. 
Increasing years have told upon Monsignor Dupanloup, 
and it was with difficulty that he could make himself 
heard in the Senate as he read a written speech filled 
with quotations proving the scepticism and wickedness 
of the Patriarch. One of the most formidable indict- 
ments brought against Voltaire is his treatment of Joan 
of Arc ; and it is on the anniversary of the death of 
the Maid of Orleans that it is proposed to celebrate 
the memory of the author of La Pucdle. In the 
first place, La Pucelle was a peche, de jeunesse ; and, 
in the second, that immoral poem was aimed not so 

VOL. I. K 


much against Joan of Arc as against the clergy and 
superstition. In his Essay on Morals, which was a 
serious work, Voltaire wrote " They burned her to 
whom in heroic ages altars would have been raised, 
when people raised altars to their liberators." The 
Liberals now put this pertinent question to the 
Clericals : How did you treat Joan of Arc ? Captured 
at Compiegne, she was sold to the English, and by 
them handed over to the Inquisition, which con- 
demned her to death. " Bishop of Beauvais," said 
the victim, " before going to the stake, I die by 
your hand, and I summon you before God." A 
cap was placed on her head bearing these words : 
"Heretic, relapsariau, apostate, idolatress;" and a 
placard which she wore set forth that " Joan who calls 
herself the Maid, liar, pernicious deceiver of the people, 
superstitious blasphemer of God, boastful, cruel, 
dissolute, invoker of the devil," &c. And when she 
had been burned, her ashes were flung into the 

The defence of Voltaire is of course taken up warmly 
by such liberal writers as M. John Lemoinne. What 
the Liberals say of Voltaire is that with all his faults 
"he was humane ; he detested fanaticism; he slew with 
his sarcasm a crowd of wild and dangerous follies. 
Voltaire had qualities which we admire all the more 
because they are wanting at present the power of 
indignation, the incorruptibility of ridicule. How many 


superstitions which are grovelling around us would be 
swept away by a single peal of his laughter ? " For, as 
Macaulay has written, " Of all the intellectual weapons 
which have ever been wielded by man the most terrible 
was the mockery of Voltaire. Bigots and tyrants who 
had never been moved by the wailing and cursing of 
millions turned pale at his name," and "religious 
persecution, judicial torture, arbitrary imprisonment, the 
delay and chicanery of tribunals, the exactions of 
farmers of' the revenue, the slave trade, were the 
constant subjects of the lively satire and eloquent 
disquisitions of Voltaire and his friends. On one 
side was a Church boasting of the purity of its doctrine, 
but disgraced by the massacre of St. Bartholomew, 
by the murder of the best of kings, by the war of the 
Cevennes, by the destruction of Port Royal. On the 
other was a sect laughing at the Scriptures, shooting 
out the tongue at the Sacraments, but ready to encounter 
principalities and powers in the cause of justice, mercy, 
and toleration." One might quote many English 
opinions favourable to Voltaire. What Carlyle thought 
of him may be judged by his frequent references to 
him in his Frederick the Great. Lord Brougham 
declared that the emancipation of the human mind 
from spiritual tyranny owes him a lasting debt of 
gratitude; Lord Campbell complained of the indis- 
criminate abuse of Voltaire in England, and Mr. Buckle 
says : " I have been the more particular in stating the 


immense obligations of history to Voltaire, because in 
England there exists against him a prejudice which 
nothino- but ignorance, or something worse than 

O v o 

ignorance, can excuse." Lord Holland, by the way, 
makes some amusing remarks concerning Napoleon's 
opinion of Voltaire. He says : " He must in his heart 
have admired Voltaire. His own manner of seeing 
many things showed that he had read and studied him 
too." And yet " he was at some pains to decry Voltaire's 
philosophy, and he employed Geoffroy an'd Fontanes 
to write down the Encyclopaedists." We are then told 
that, Geoffroy having been too severe in his criticism, 
Napoleon secretly atoned for the outrage on departed 
genius by silently erecting in a church in Paris a 
marble monument to the great and calumniated 
Philosopher of Ferney. 

In the Senate yesterday great indignation was ex- 
pressed concerning Rosbach, on the gaining of which 
victory Frederick the Great received the compliments 
of Voltaire in doggrel. But in those days everything 
ended in song, and all Paris lampooned " Madame de 
Pompadour's generals." 

It was the same when the Comte de Clermont, Abbe 
de Saint- Germain des Pres, lost the battle of Ore veldt, 
and when Coutades was defeated at Dettingen. That 
Voltaire should have at times spoken disagreeably of 
his countrymen is hardly to be wondered at. He was 
twice thrown into the Bastille : once for a satire he 


never wrote, and the second time for calling out the 
Due de Rohan-Chabot, who had caned him. He spent 
thirty years in exile, and his tragedies were removed 
from the stage to make place for the execrable works 

The sting, however, had been somewhat taken out of 
the debate in the Senate in consequence of a letter 
addressed by M. de Marcere to the Prefect of Paris, tell- 
ing him that the Municipal Council had not the power 
to institute the fetes they projected in honour of Voltaire. 
The Bishop of Orleans therefore simply demanded the 
prosecution of a new collection of the Patriarch's works, 
which M. Dufaure refused. The fight, therefore, lay 
between two members of the Academy who are alive 
over the merits of an Immortal who is dead. 

There is one terrible accusation often brought against 
Voltaire, who at one time signed many of his letters 
as did also D'Alembert and Diderot Ecr. Inf. This 
was said by his enemies to refer to Jesus Christ, which 
was false. Ecr. Inf. was the abbreviation of Ecrasons 
I'Infame, and the infamewas not, as the Clericals asserted, 
our Saviour, but intolerance the intolerance of the 
Government and of the Church. This is explained in 
several of Voltaire's letters, and it required a vast 
amount of bad faith to put a profane construction on 
the device adopted by the Encyclopaedists. 

On August 15, 1809, the centenary of the birth 
of the first Napoleon was observed with great pomp 


and circumstance, although Napoleon III. was lying 
ill at St. Cloud, his condition inspiring much alarm, 
and Marshal Niel, after a long and glorious career, had 
just expired. Now, a holiday is a real holiday in this 
country. Dear old Lawrence Sterne, in his Sentimental 
Journey, could not help exclaiming, " Happy people, 
that once a week at least are sure to lay down all 
your cares together, and dance, and sing, and sport 
away the weights of grievance which bow down the 
spirit of other nations to the earth ! " And so, in 
spite of a sick Emperor lying upon a sofa at St. 
Cloud, and a dead War Minister, much respected, 
and perhaps even loved by the nation, lying stiff and 
stark in the Rue St. Dominique, with orderlies taking 
charge of the body, the Gaul danced, and sang, and 
was merry. He witnessed a grand review in the Champs 
de Mars, and he scaled the greasy pole in quest of 
something more substantial than the bubble reputation. 
In fact at the top of each pole, in place of the 
traditional leg of mutton, was suspended a gold watch 
and chain. The theatres were all thrown open to the 
public ; there was a magnificent display of fireworks 
in the evening, and all Paris illuminated. As for the 
Arc de Triomphe, it^ was one mass of flame ; upon it 
were emblazoned in jets of gas, not only the name of 
the great soldier, but also the names of his chief 
victories. Then a chain of lamps on either side of 
the Champs Elysees ran from the great arch to the 


Place de la Concorde. It was certainly a marvellous 
spectacle. And yet there were not wanting prophets 
of evil who declared that the writing on the wall was 
visible, and that they could trace the solemn warning, 
" Mene, rnene, tekel, upharsin ; " that the Empire had 
been weighed in the balance, and had been found 
wanting. And were not their forebodings true ? Where 
was the Empire on the next 15th August ? 

In addition to illuminations, fireworks, review, free 
theatres, and greasy poles, an amnesty had been 
accorded in honour of the occasion, an act of grace 
to which Napoleon III. said that he had been instigated 
by a letter written by his great uncle no date men- 
tioned setting forth that the best way to triumph 
over a political offender is to pardon him, for this 
changes the current of public opinion, and causes men 
to blame the person they had before regarded as a 
martyr, and to extol the generosity of the sovereign ! 
When did Napoleon I. act upon this charming theory ? 
not in the case of the Due d'Enghien, nor of his old 
military instructor, Pichegru, nor Georges Cadoudal, 
nor the poor bookseller Palm, nor Toussaint-L'Ouverture 
but the list of martyrs would be too long to give. 1 

1 Strange to say, Louis, King of Holland, the supposed father 
of Napoleon III., having been violently attacked and calumniated 
by a priest, instead of throwing the culprit into prison, as his 
ministers advised, sent for him, convinced him that he was 
wrong, and made a friend of him. And for this he was soundly 
rated by his brother Napoleon. 


By the way, a good many people thought it. illogical to 
grant an amnesty in honour of a tyrant. 

Of course there was a Te Deum sung at Notre 
Dame on the 15th, and any number of fulsome cantatas 
in honour of the hero. That performed at the Opera 
was written by Alberic Second. The first verse re- 
counted the birth of Napoleon Bonaparte, and resembled 
a rather profane paraphrase of "Unto us a child is 
born." The final stanza in which the chorus joined ran 


" Des echos de la terre 
Le nom de ce hdros, jusqu'aux astres porte", 
Retentira comme un coup de tonnerre, 

Par tons les siecles repute. 
Gloire a Napoldon dans cent ans legendaire ! 
Gloire ! Immortalite." 

The French, certainly while they are about it, lay it 
on very thick. Take Chateaubriand's description of 
Napoleon on his way to St. Helena, where he writes 
" Stretched on the ship's stern, he did not perceive that 
unknown constellations glittered over his head; his 
powerful glance for the first time encountered their 
rays [then he must have perceived them]. What to 
him were stars he had never seen from his bivouacs, 
and which had never shone over his Empire ? And 
yet each one of them fulfilled its destiny. One 
half of the universe shed its light over his cradle, and 
the other half illuminated his tomb." Dear me ! how 
disappointed the Southern Cross would have been had 


Napoleon not been sent to St. Helena ! Chateaubriand, 
of course, wrote the above before the remains of the 
great warrior were brought -back to France in La Belle 
Poule, under the guardianship of the Prince de 

The same week as the great Napoleonic fete, there 
was performed an act of courage in Paris which deserves 
immortality. I thus described it at the time 

" A fearful accident has just taken place here at the 
Hippodrome, where Lucas has nearly been eaten by 
lions coram populo. He was to give his usual per- 
formance, but had hardly entered the cage, where 
were two lions and two lionesses, when one of the lions 
sprang upon him and seized him by the back of the neck. 
At the sight of the blood from the wound the other 
beasts got excited and fell on the unfortunate tamer. 
The spectators were in a state of fearful excitement, 
women screaming and fainting, and trying to escape. 
In the midst of the general terror, Lucas's attendant, 
Jose Mendez, a Spaniard, kept his head, and, arming 
himself with a formidable iron weapon, entered the 
cage, and, taking the lions by surprise, rescued his 
master by the vigour of his attack. Lucas, dreadfully 
mangled, and in a condition which renders it difficult 
to say if he can survive, was dragged out of the cage, 
and immediately bandaged by a doctor. Too much 
praise cannot be awarded to the dauntless Jose Mendez, 
who smote the lions hip and thigh, and nearly killed 


the whole lot. A couple of years ago the same Lucas 
was mauled at the Circus, and it was with much 
difficulty that he could obtain permission to recommence 
his performances on his recovery. The Prefect of 
Police at last consented to some private rehearsals, 
which having passed off without accident his veto was 
withdrawn. It will be long before poor Lucas furnishes 
another public entertainment, which was on the point 
of being a repast." 

We have had our clerical scandal this week in the 
provinces ; last week there was one in Paris. The 
usual story a little girl and her confessor ; but the 
victim is dead, and the priest has been spirited away, 
and we shall hear no more of the matter. 

It was customary in France, when a priest got into 
trouble, to screen him from the secular arm by sending 
him off to some distant parish, where he appeared and 
officiated under another name. Father or Brother 
Pierre got into a scrape in Provence, and was hurried 
off to Picardy, where he became Father or Brother 
Jacques, and thus, with the connivance of the ecclesi- 
astical authorities, saintly sinners escaped punishment, 
and there was no public scandal. This is no longer 
possible. The Jews used to play similar tricks until 
they were obliged to assume surnames. 

In spite of several rather alarming incidents, Paris 
danced and was merry in the first days of 1870. 
Among other festivities, I remember a ball given by 


a Colonel Norton in the Champs Elysees, where he 
occupied a fine apartment. He hailed from the other side 
of the Atlantic, and had acted as United States Commis- 
sioner during the recent Exhibition. The entertainment 
he gave was a fancy dress ball, and dancing was carried on 
with great spirit until past midnight, when the company 
found that there were no refreshments to be had, and 
that supper was altogether out of the question. The 
Colonel, who had some negro servants, gave out that 
the darkies had devoured all the good things pro- 
vided for his guests; but it turned out that Chevet 
charged to furnish the supper had refused to deliver 
it except for ready money, which was not forthcoming, 
and the consequence was that we had to go empty 
away. However, in spite of the absence of all intoxi- 
cating liquor, the amount of flirtation done was, as our 
cousins would say, a caution, and there was great 
excitement amongst the ladies, when it was rumoured 
that a Bavarian Baron, in mask and disguised as a 
princess, had been admitted into their private room. 
The Baron had such wonderfully small feet that he 
escaped detection for a long time, and in fact it was 
not until the following day that the charge against him 
was fully proved. There was some talk of a duel, but 
all ended in a laugh. As for the Colonel, he aftenvards 
took some magnificent offices in the Rue Scribe, where 
he established a bank, and managed to swindle one of 
the nicest and most accomplished English gentlemen I 


ever met, who was utterly ruined. The wicked do not 
always prosper, and after a short and nefarious career, the 
gallant Colonel was obliged to put up his shutters ; not 
only that, but he shifted his private residence from the 
Elysian Fields to a more gloomy quarter. In fact, he 
was committed to Mazas, in which prison he remained 
until the Commune broke out, when, having sworn that 
he had been confined on political grounds, he was 
released. I knew something of the cashier, who had 
formerly been in the employment of a well-known 
English money-lender, and he told rne that the day 
before the Colonel's bank stopped, he observed a man 
walking up and down outside the offices for some time ; 
at last he ventured in, and said that he wished to 
deposit a considerable sum of money, and this deposit 
the Colonel unhesitatingly accepted, a couple of hours 
before the premises were closed. The cashier, who had 
refused the money, said that it was a very hard case. 
The victim was a fellow-countryman of the Colonel, 
who had been working half his life in Italy, and was on 
his road home with his savings. 

The English changer, mentioned above, also did what 
he ought not to have done, and after many years of 
prosperity took first to an extravagant mode of life, and 
then to malpractices. His sons protested against both ; 
law proceedings were taken, and the changer was obliged 
to fly the country for a time. A most plausible indi- 
vidual he was. I had been changing cheques at his 


office for about twenty years when the catastrophe 
happened. Shortly after his flight I met the changer 
in London, and seeing that he hesitated to address me, 
and knowing, nothing against the man's character, I 
said " Ah ! Mr. So-and-so, how are you ? " Upon this 
he threw up his eyes in the most melancholy way, and 
asked me if I had heard of his misfortune. " Yes," I 
replied, " I heard a vague rumour that you had got into 
trouble." He now heaved a deep sigh and exclaimed 
" Only to think of being ruined by one's own flesh and 
blood, and a red-haired clerk ! " A servant opened the 
hall-door at which I was standing, and this cut short 
our interview, the recollection of which has always 
amused me. 

I was afterwards told a rather good story about the 
changer, and his method of doing business. An Irish 
lady, who was the superior of a convent, and had long 
been accustomed to deal with him, shortly before his 
decline and fall presented a cheque which was duly 
cashed. She then asked what he thought of the 
political aspect. This was in the Boulanger period. 
" Oh, madam," he said, " things are in a very precarious 
condition ; we are living on a volcano." " Dear me ! 
Do you think that there is any danger to be appre- 
hended ? " "Every danger, and if you have any money 
by you it would be well to place it where it will be 
safe." " Ah ! I was thinking of lodging it in the 
Banque de France." "Madam, that would be most 


indiscreet, for if we have another insurrection, that is 
the first place which will be plundered by the Com- 
munists." " Well, I will think the matter over." 

A few days later Miss L returned, and said that 

she had made up her mind to entrust her money to the 
Rothschilds. Upon this the changer lifted up his eyes 
to heaven. He had nothing to say against the solidity 
of the house, but he added, " How can you, a Christian 
lady, confide in Jews ? Did not the Jews crucify our 
Saviour ? " " Alas ! alas ! what is to be done ? " and in 
the end the Lady Superior persuaded the changer to 
take charge of her funds, and, needless to say, lost every 
penny. She confided her woes to a friend of mine, who 
recommended her to prosecute the culprit, but this she 
declined to do, and perhaps it would have been useless. 
" Then, madam, what course do you intend to pursue ? " 
asked my friend. " To pray for him," was the simple 

The session of 1869 was closed in November with a 
speech by the Emperor, in which he declared himself 
responsible for order, which seemed to be seriously 
menaced, and on January 2, 1870, his Majesty sum- 
moned M. Emile Olivier to form a Cabinet, which was 
soon completed. This was a great step in the way of 
liberal government, and Paris was not a little astonished 
to learn a few days after the new Ministry had taken 
office, that Baron Haussmann, Prefect of the Seine or 
Mayor of Paris, who had found the city in brick and 


left it in marble, had been dismissed. One of the chief 
causes for this act of ingratitude was a pamphlet written 
by M. Jules Ferry, entitled Lcs Comptes Fantastiques 
d ' Haussmann}- It is true that enormous sums had 
been spent, and a good deal perhaps squandered in the 
marvellous transformation of the capital, but most of 
the money was expended in useful work, and not in the 
building of palaces like Versailles or the Trianons. 
Then "whispering tongues will poison truth," and of 
course it was rumoured that the open-handed Baron 
had feathered his nest as no other bird ever had done. 
This hasty act of M. Emile Olivier was afterwards 
atoned for, one of the noblest boulevards in Paris still 
bearing the name of our modern Vitruvius, surviving 
the Avenues de 1'Imperatrice, Josephine, de la Heine 
Hortense, the Rues de Morny, Billault, St. Arnaud, &c. 
While the great works were in progress, what are called 
the labouring classes had nothing to complain of, for 
there is an old saying in France "quand le batiment 
va, tout va " which is only natural, as when you build 
a house, you must furnish it. But when the works 
were done, and the Baron laid down his pickaxe and 
his trowel, the men who had reared a new city found 
that they had built themselves out of it. As if by 
enchantment they had turned dens like St. Giles, where 
they could get lodgings almost free, into broad streets 
and stately avenues, where none but the wealthiest 
1 Paraphrase of Les Contes Fantastiques d'Hofman. 


citizens could afford to dwell. They, the men of brick 
and mortar, the plumber, the glazier, the painter, the car- 
penter, the carver, the gilder, the slater, &c., &c., had to 
seek other quarters, many of them being driven beyond 
the fortifications far away from their work. Many 
years after his dismissal, Paris was astonished to learn 
that Baron Haussmann had died in relative poverty. 

Another event worth recording happened early in 
1870, when people were infatuated with Emile Olivier, 
he was elected a member of the Academy. Now it is 
in accordance with tradition that no matter what the 
merits of a candidate, one or more of the immortals 
should vote for some one else. M. Emile Olivier was 
elected nem. con. Alas for the instability of things here 
below, before the day arrived fixed for the reception 
of the new Academician, poor Emile had fallen, fallen, 
fallen from his high estate. His administration went 
to pieces even before the fall of the Empire in the 
month of September, and so harshly was his conduct 
and that of his colleagues judged, that he was never 
" received " by the Academy, and after years of waiting 
at last published in the columns of the Figaro the 
address he had intended to pronounce on taking his 
place among the forty immortals. And thus the only 
member unanimously elected was never accorded a 
public reception. 

It must have been rather galling to the feelings of 
Emile Oliver when, shortly after taking office, he found 


public attention diverted from him and his acts by one 
of the most startling crimes ever committed, and which 
made all France shudder. 

A whole family of the name of Kinck was found 
murdered in a dreary waste called Pantin, of mal- 
odorous fame, lying just outside the fortifications not 
far from St. Denis. Intense was the excitement when 
a couple of carts containing half-a-dozen corpses passed 
through Paris on their way to the Morgue, the blood 
trickling from them. It soon became known that this 
wholesale slaughter had been accomplished by a young 
wretch called Troppmann, about twenty years of age. 
For a time he eluded arrest ; managed to get to Havre, 
and was on the point of embarking for America when 
he was arrested. It need hardly be added that he was 
tried, condemned to death, and executed, the jury 
refusing to listen to the plea of insanity. I remember 
it being remarked at the time that the murderer's 
thumbs were unusually long, and persons with long 
thumbs for several months had a very uncomfortable 
time of it, being suspected of bloodthirsty designs. 

It was on January 19, 1870, as will be seen by the 
following curious letter, that this arch-villain was 

"Paris, le 20 Janvier 1870. 


"J'ai 1'honneur de vous faire savoir que le 

nomme Jean-Baptiste Troppmann, ne le 5 octobre 1849 
VOL. I. L 


a Brumstadt, arrondissement de Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin), 
fils de Joseph et de Franchise Fromm, adjusteur meca- 
nicien, demeurant en dernier lieu a Cernay (Haut- 
Rhin), est d6M6 hier, 19 du courant, a sept heures du 
matin, dans votre arrondissement. 

" Agreez, monsieur le maire, etc., 

" MARMAGNE, greffier." 

One might easily be led to infer from the above 
official document that Jean-Baptiste Troppmann had 
not, like John the Baptist, lost his head, but had died 
a natural death. 

Hardly had Paris recovered from the excitement 
caused by the crime when it was startled to learn that 
Prince Pierre Bonaparte, a man of quick temper, had 
shot down a young journalist called Victor Noir. The 
Prince was not on good terms with his cousin the 
Emperor, and was living in a retired house in Boulogne- 
sur-Seine, on the road from Paris to St. Cloud. Having 
given grave offence to the Ultra party M. Flourens 
and others it was determined to call him out, and in 
order to force the Prince to fight, one of the seconds 
selected to convey the challenge was a powerful and 
reckless young man who wrote in the press under the 
name of Victor Noir a kind of bully. An altercation 
took place, and it is beyond doubt that Victor Noir 
struck the Prince, who snatched up a pistol and shot 
him. The other second, who was armed, but was unable 


to discharge his revolver, being too much excited, or not 
understanding the mechanism, fled, leaving poor Victor 
Noir dead. 

It may easily be imagined what a shrill scream issued 
from the Republican breast when this catastrophe 
occurred. It was, of course, presumed that the Emperor 
would stick to his cousin, and would never allow justice 
to be done. Immense capital was made out of the 
event. The Government without any hesitation de- 
cided that the homicidal Peter should be sent to trial, 
but not in Paris. The Ultras were not to be appeased 
by this minute quantity of oil cast on the troubled 
waters, and great preparations were made for a demon- 
stration, the leading spirit being the newly-elected 
Henri Rochefort, who having escaped from the frying- 
pan was anxious to jump into the fire. Naturally, the 
day fixed for the demonstration was the day of the 
funeral. A revolutionary French mob seems to require 
a corpse in order to lash itself into a proper state of 
fury. The body of Victor Noir had been taken to the 
house in which he had lived in Neuilly, and before it 
an immense crowd assembled on the morning of the 
funeral. In fact, not only the narrow street in which 
it was situated, but the avenues leading to it were 
thronged with people, who appeared ripe for mischief. 
It was with great difficulty that the bearers and the 
mourning coaches, in one of which was seated Henri 
Rochefort, could make their way to the door. I had 


squeezed my way as near to the house as possible, and 
soon had reason to regret my temerity, for the crush in 
the street became so great before the body was brought 
down, that a panic ensued, and had not the shutters of 
a large shop-front given way and a number of persons 
tumbled into the premises of a wholesale dealer, many 
of us would certainly have been trampled to death. 
However, no serious accident occurred, and after con- 
siderable delay the cort&ge got under weigh. When I 
had struggled back into the broad Avenue de Neuilly, 
my attention was drawn to the Arc de Triomphe, at 
the top of which were several officers in uniform watch- 
ing the proceedings with their glasses. It was evident, 
therefore, that military preparations had been made to 
prevent any disturbance on the part of Henri Rochefort 
and his friends, and in fact a large body of troops had 
been concentrated at the lower end of the Champs 
Elysees, which later in the day dispersed them without 
loss of life. A cavalry charge was more than these 
heroes, who were intent on invading the Tuileries and 
the Assembly, could stand, and they evaporated. Henri 
Rochefort, who had not distinguished himself during 
this foolhardy affair, pale and haggard, rushed off to the 
Chamber, leaving his dupes behind him. As for Prince 
Pierre, he was afterwards tried, found guilty of man- 
slaughter under circumstances of great aggravation, and 
.sentenced to pay a heavy fine. 

I have mentioned that he was on bad terms with his 


Imperial cousin. He was a son of Prince Lucien 
Bonaparte, the most intractable and independent of 
the Great Napoleon's brothers, who, having declined to 
put away his wife and marry a princess, received no 
throne as did Joseph, Louis, and Jerome. 1 It is related 
that when Pierre and his elder brother Lucien were in 
Rome, in their hot youth, they both fell in love with 
the same girl, and tossed up which should marry her. 
Lucien won the toss, and a priest was sent for who, on 
learning what had occurred, refused to join the pair in 
holy wedlock. Upon this Pierre produced a pistol, and 
the ceremony took place. Pierre did not marry until 
late in life, in fact under the Second Empire, when, 
much to the annoyance of Napoleon III., he led to the 
altar a sempstress of the name of Eiffin. The Emperor 
wished to have the marriage annulled, and did what he 
could to induce Pierre to throw over his sempstress ; 
but he stuck to her as his father had stuck to his wife. 
After the Franco-German war the Princess Pierre set 
up a milliner's shop in London. 

Emile Olivier had fallen upon hard times. I re- 
member Gambetta telling him very plainly in the 
Chamber that he must not count on his support or 

1 Prince Lucien, son of the Prince Lucien mentioned above, 
who passed many years in England, asked to see me when I was 
in London in 1873, to thank me for the way in which I had 
written about his mother. I found him wonderfully like his 
uncle in many respects. I had the pleasure of meeting him 
several times, and was much charmed with his conversation. 


that of the Republican party. Then in the turbulent 
quarters of Paris the concessions made by the Emperor 
were construed into a sign of weakness and timidity, 
with the usual consequences, incipient insurrection. 
Every day brought a fresh crop of trouble, and at last 
came the Spanish difficulty, which was destined to have 
such dire results. When Queen Isabella, driven from 
Spain, sought refuge in Paris in 1868, it was considered 
a bad omen, and it certainly proved the forerunner of 
much calamity for France. Her deposed Majesty settled 
here in a splendid mansion close to the Elysian Fields, 
the gates and railings of which were speedily ornamented 
with the fleurs-de-lys of the Bourbons. I went over the 
new residence of the ex-Queen one day in her absence ; 
it contained some very fine paintings by Murillo and 
other Spanish masters, and was furnished with great 
taste and luxury. Her Majesty's bath, for I was 
admitted into the most private apartments, was of 
massive silver Vilius argentum est auro, virtutibus 
aurum, was some one's reflection. The Queen was 
very well received by the Emperor and Empress. The 
King of Spain, who had paid us a visit a few years 
before and been magnificently entertained, also arrived 
and occupied a modest apartment, and at the same 
time Queen Christina, who took refuge here in 1841, 
resided in a fine hotel in the Champs Elysees. Queen 
Isabella was much liked in the quarter, owing to her 
kindly and charitable disposition, and was adored by 


her household. Don Carlos paid flying visits to this 
capital, and had many followers attached to him, both 
French and Spanish. Many Legitimists consider him as 
coming next in succession to the French throne after 
the Count de Chambord. It almost seemed as if the 
saying of Louis XIV. had come true " II n'y a plus de 

In the merry month of May 1870, I was sitting in 
the Cafe de la Regence, long famed as a rendezvous 
for chess-players, when Mortimer, chess-player, dramatist, 
editor, &c., &c., came in accompanied by a small Briton, 
who appeared to be in a high state of glee. On inquiry, 
Mortimer, who was on intimate terms with the Emperor, 
informed me that he had just come from the Tuileries, 
after having introduced his little companion, who had 
discovered a means for preserving meat, to his Majesty. 
The Emperor had not only tasted some, but had ordered 
forty tons of beef for his Guard, which was not delivered 
till he had started for the seat of war. But of this 
more anon. One of the last celebrities who indulged 
in chess there was Alfred de Musset, who was too 
much addicted to absinthe, and too much of a poet, for 
so sober a game, which can hardly be considered as a 
relaxation. However, we are told that Napoleon found 
a relaxation in logarithms. 

Apropos to poor Alfred de Musset, I heard the fol- 
lowing anecdote He was invited to the Tuileries to 
read a proverb, as his charming one-act comedies were 


called, which he had just written. He consented 
on condition that no one should be present but the 
Emperor and the Empress. He had not long com- 
menced when a door opened, and in walked a 
gentleman without being announced. The intruder 
was Baron Rothschild. Alfred de Musset angrily 
closed his manuscript. The Baron refused to go, and 
the poet refused to continue reading, until entreated 
by the Empress to finish his play. This shows the 
sway exercised by his Majesty Money at the Imperial 

Another Majesty or ex-Majesty I met several times 
as he took his walks abroad, looking, it seemed to me, 
somewhat disconsolate, although he expressed his satis- 
faction at having been relieved of a weight of care, 
and said that he could now sleep o' nights. This was 
Hudson, the Railway King, who resided for some time 
at the Hotel Meurice, in the Rue de Rivoli, all alone 
not even his son the Prince of Rails with him. Mr. 
Hudson appeared to be a very amiable man, who bore 
his adversity with fortitude, and without bitterness, 
which was wonderful, seeing the way in which he had 
been courted and flattered, and then neglected and 

A few years before what curious tales were told of 
poor Mrs. Hudson ! One of them still makes me laugh. 
A gentleman showing her over South Kensington, or 
some other museum, pointed out a statue, remarking 


"That is Marcus Aurelius," whereupon Mrs. Hudson, 
who prided herself on knowing all the British aris- 
tocracy, exclaimed " Lor' ! how like the late Markiss ! " 
This reminds me that there is an American lady, 
recently pointed out to me by one of her fellow-country- 
men, who is addicted to making the most wonderful 
blunders in 'French, and has more than once set Paris 
in a roar. The question of wages given to cooks, said 
my informant, was being discussed the other night at 
a dinner-party, when she said " Je donne 50 /. par 
scmaine a mon chef et une Uanchisseuse ! " Meaning of 
course Uanchissage a washing, not a washerwoman. 
On another occasion, having found an almond with 
two kernels in it, she asked a Frenchman next her 
to faire Philippe ; and when he said that he did not 
understand, she thus explained what is called, not 
Philip, but Philippine " C'est quand il y a deux 
amants sous la meme couverture" Two lovers under 
the same blanket, instead of two almonds in the same 
shell ! 

Another sovereign I met in the Rue de Rivoli, or 
ex-sovereign, for he had been deposed by us, was the 
King of Oude. I went to pay a visit to my friend 
Captain Lynch, a great oriental scholar, who had 
married a charming Englishwoman at Bagdad, and 
had issue. The ex-King appeared to rne more like an 
Englishman than the bad Eastern monarch we had 
deposed some ten years previously. I remember only 


one peculiarity about him, which was that he ate but 
one meal a day. 1 

One day I met my old Rugby schoolmaster, Dr. 
Tait, then Bishop of London, afterwards Archbishop of 
Canterbury. He was driving up the Champs Elysees 
in an open carriage, and seemed little changed. It was 
the same kind handsome face. Poor Doctor ! how he 
disliked flogging boys. Shortly before I left Rugby 
there came a large circus to the town, which the Doctor 
consented to patronize. The whole school went to the 
performance, and I was hastening thither when I met 
young Wake in the quadrangle looking rather glum. 
" Not corning to the circus? " I asked. " Yes, but I have 
to be coached first." Just then the Doctor appeared 
in hat and gown, and the pair went into the special room 
set aside for corporal punishment, furnished with a block 
on which the victim had to kneel. After the execution 
the Doctor hurried home, disrobed, and went to the show, 
and the first thing that greeted his eyes on entering 
was Wake riding round the arena on the elephant. 
So the castigation could not have been very severe. 

1 Some years later I met another monarch also in the Rue de 
Rivoli the King of the Sandwich Isles, who was staying at the 
Hotel Continental. Lady Brassey had written to call, and I had 
a short interview with his Majesty. I was much amused a few 
days afterwards to see the King, wearing a straw hat, drive up 
in an open carriage to the Institute, to pay a visit to the Academy, 
several members of which body, arrayed in uniform coats with 
palm-leaves on the collar were on the steps of the building 
waiting to receive him ! 




WHO was responsible for the war of 1870 ? All I 
can say is, that long before the war was declared, war 
was a common topic of conversation, and that it was in 
the hearts of the people. The only question was when 
and where the storm, which was so evidently brewing, 
would burst. Some few thought that it would be 
directed against " perfidious Albion," and that Belgium 
would be invaded and Waterloo avenged ; but the general 
opinion was that the coming campaign would open on 
the Rhine. As far back as 1867 a declaration of war 
against Prussia appeared so imminent that in April 
there was a panic on the Bourse. It was pointed out 
that the Baltic seaboard of Prussia was singularly 
defenceless, and 'that the transports just returned from 
Mexico might pour 50,000 men into Pomerania and 
threaten Berlin from Stettin. The war feeling in the 
provinces was wonderfully strong, and pressure was to 
be brought to bear on the Emperor in the hope of 
getting him to engage in " a truly popular war." If 


Paris was less inclined to fight, it was on account of the 
Exhibition which was to be opened in May. 1 

I have already mentioned how the King of Prussia, 
like many other sovereigns, came here, and with him 
Count Bismarck and von Moltke to see the Exhibition, 
and the French afterwards said that it was the immense 
wealth they there witnessed which determined them to 
make war on the first opportunity. Even after the 
opening of the Exhibition, and when all seemed peace, 
a little incident occurred which created some sensation 
at the time in Paris, as it was supposed to show the 
anti-Prussian and very bellicose feelings of the army. 
This was in the month of August. Sixty of the 
pupils of the military school at St. Cyr, who had just 
passed their examination and were about to join their 
various corps, dined at the Trois Frdres in the Palais 
Royal, a celebrated restaurant closed some years ago. 
After numerous toasts to the Imperial family, the Army, 
&c. had been drunk with the usual honours, the pupils 
separated, wishing each other not adieu, but au revoir 
till next spring in Prussia ! 

And this same spirit was constantly manifested up 
to the time that the great Franco-German difficulties 
ceased smouldering and burst out into flames. There 
were many causes to kindle this war. First of all there 
was Sadowa and the wonderful success of the Prussian 
arms, which was felt all the more acutely after the 

1 The bone of contention was at that moment Luxembourg. 


miserable way in which the Mexican expedition was 
brought to an abrupt termination. Scuttle home at 
the arrogant bidding of Mr. Seward and leave poor 
Maximilian to his fate was a humiliating piece of 
business, a deplorable epilogue to " the brightest idea 
of the reign." Few Frenchmen ever heard of Mr. 
Seward's despatch, but all felt that a certain amount 
of French prestige had oozed away and ought to be 
made good. What a sorry figure did France cut in 
presence of a successful Prussia ! Hence a terrible 
feeling of jealousy. Prussia was on every lip, and 

" the word that floats oil the surface 
Is as the tossing buoy which betrays where the anchor is hidden." 

For four years before the war broke out, M. Thiers 
had never ceased bewailing in and out of the Chamber 
the loss of French preponderance in Europe. Then the 
French, in spite of Mexico, which had proved a severe 
drain upon their resources, were confident in their power 
to go anywhere and do anything. They had the 
chassepot, which had worked miracles at Mentana ; 
they had the canon rayt, which was superior to any 
ordnance in the world ; and the mitrailleuse, which had 
been secretly experimented at Meudon, and had given 
results enough to make one's hair stand on end. I 
remember being struck, just before the war, with the 
one-sided view taken by most of the persons with whom 
I conversed. The audi alteram partem seemed quite 


foreign to their nature. I spoke to a retired " heavy " 
one day in praise of the Prussian cavalry, and he re- 
ceived my observations with a smile of compassion and 
a shrug of the shoulders, and was loud in the praises of 
his own men " Je les connais," he added, as he took a 
huge pinch of snuff. Yes, but he knew nothing of the 
others. Poor fellow, the first reverses of his old comrades 
killed him. 

The French, generally speaking, were in fact for 
some time before war was declared in a state of bubble- 
and-squeak, extremely restless and eager for the fray. 
Few people seemed to have any idea what a terrible and 
perilous affair war would be. There were exceptions. 
The Emperor was one. Prince Napoleon was another. 
He was cruising in the Baltic when he learned that 
affairs had assumed a serious aspect. He at once 
determined to return home, and on being asked where 
he was going, replied "To Charenton (the French 
Bedlam) ; to that city of madmen which is shouting, 
To Berlin ! and which is called Paris." A Jewish 
banker who had assumed the name of Merton and had 
made a large fortune here in an incredibly short time 
was a third. I remember when war was declared lie 
said " The Prussians will be round Paris in a month." 
He was laughed at as a false prophet, and went over to 
London, where he committed suicide. He had first been 
taken up by Cavour, who highly appreciated his sagacity. 
He was quite young. There were also exceptions among 


military men like General Ducrot, who knew something 
of what was going on across the Rhine, and like Baron 
Stoffel, the French military attache to Berlin, who in 
vain warned his Government, and told them to beware 
of the Prussian staff. 

Nothing could equal the excitement when the 
Spanish-Hohenzollern affair cropped up. Here was the 
ardently desired opportunity for seizing on the Rhine 
boundary, for recovering lost prestige, for humbling the 
Court of Berlin. Whenever there appeared to be a 
chance of an amicable arrangement the popular fury 
knew no bounds, and the Ministry was called the 
" Ministry of Shame." Crowds of people marched 
along the Boulevards headed by bands playing revo- 
lutionary and patriotic tunes, and shouting War ! 
War! 1 

The withdrawal of the Hohenzollern candidature, 
which satisfied the Emperor and ought to have satisfied 
the nation, was like oil thrown not upon water but upon 
fire. When the Constitutiond published the following 
note it was thought that its offices would have been 
demolished, and journalists and deputies joined in their 
abuse of the semi-official print 

1 Emile Zola in La, Debacle says (p. 10)" The Boulevards 
were filled to overflowing, and bands with lighted torches were 
shouting a Berlin ! a Berlin / In front of the Hotel de Ville, 
mounted on the box-seat of a cab, was a fine handsome woman 
with the profile of a queen, draped in the folds of a flag and sing- 
ing the Marseillaise." 


" The Prince of Hohenzollern will not reign over 
Spain : we demand no more, and it is with pride 
that we accept this pacific solution. It is a great 
victory which has cost neither a tear nor a drop of 

On August 3, 1870, Gustave Flaubert wrote a letter 
to George Sand from Croisset, in which he said " How 
now ! you also are demoralized and sad ? What then 
will become of the weak ? . . . It seems to me that 
we are taking a leap in the dark. Here then is man 
in his natural state. Propound theories now! Boast 
about the progress, the intelligence, and the good sense 
of the masses, and the amiability of the French people. 
I can assure you that any one venturing to preach 
peace here would be knocked on the head. No matter 
what happens we are retarded for a long time. Perhaps 
the wars of races are going to recommence ? l Before 
another century passes we shall see several millions of 
men slaughtering each other at a sitting. Perhaps 
Prussia will receive a good thrashing in accordance 
with the designs of Providence for the re-establishment 
of the equilibrium of Europe. . . . The respect, the 
fetichism displayed for universal suffrage revolts me 
more than the infallibility of the Pope. Do you believe 
that if France, instead of being governed by the mob, 

1 It was a very common idea at this time that the Latin races 
should unite and rule the world ; and of course this plan could 
aot be carried out without much shedding of blood. 


was in the power of the mandarins we should be where 
we are now ? If, instead of wishing to enlighten the 
lower classes, we had educated the upper classes, we 
should not have seen M. de Keratry propose to plunder 
the Duchy of Baden, a measure which the public 
considers quite justifiable." 

However, for a moment it seemed as if war would be 
averted. The King of Prussia was at Ems, and insisted 
on the fatal Hohenzollern claim being withdrawn. To 
this Prince Leopold consented, and all cause for quarrel 
appeared to have been removed. Unfortunately the 
French Government was not contented with this 
diplomatic success, which had been hailed with delight 
in Paris, had sent up the funds, and had apparently 
given general satisfaction. In an evil moment M. 
Benedetti, the French Ambassador to the Court of Berlin, 
was now instructed to ask the King of Prussia, in 
addition to withdrawing the Hohenzollern claim, to 
five an assurance that that claim would never be 


pressed at any ulterior date. The King of Prussia, on 
being informed of this fresh demand, referred the 
French Ambassador to his previous answer, in which 
he had declared that he considered the Hohenzollern 
affair terminated ; and when M. Benedetti asked for a 
further interview to discuss matters, his Majesty sent 
his aide-de-camp Lieutenant-Colonel Radziwill to him 
to say that he must positively refuse any further 

discussion on the second point. It was now declared 
VOL. i. M 


in Paris that the French Ambassador had been grossly 
insulted by the Prussian monarch, and the cry for .war 
in and out of the Chamber was unanimous. When too 
late it was proved that this insult had never been 

After the war M. Ernest Pinard, who was Minister 
of the Interior for a short time under the Empire, 
published Mon Journal. Referring to the note in 
the Constitutionel he wrote 

" I heard in the lobbies, in the tribune, and in the 
neighbourhood of the Chamber, language of which the 
following article, taken from one of the journals of the 
Boulevards, is but a pale copy." 

Then comes the following extract 
"It is not the Emperor Napoleon of his free will who 
declared the present war; it was we who forced his 
hand ; we do not hide this. The warlike resolutions 
which we are about to take do not emanate from the 
Government. The Government was irresolute. It 
desired to allow itself to be disarmed by derisive con- 
cessions. Our resolutions come from the entrails of the 

And to the above M. Pinard added 
" The immense majority of the newspapers repeated 
that the conditions of peace were shameful, sinister, 
and ridiculous. In the evening (an evening I well 
remember) at the Opera, M. Emile de Girardin, one of 
the most hot-headed of the party, applauded by the 


crowd, shouted for the Marseillaise 1 and L& Rhin, by 
Alfred de Musset, to be sung, and they were sung with 
enthusiasm. In the open-air concerts warlike songs 
alone were listened to, such as the Chant de, Depart 
which Mehul wrote when Napoleon I. was at Boulogne 
meditating the invasion of England. At Musard's the 
great attraction was the Entry to Berlin, set to the 
roar of big guns with a chassepot accompaniment." 

Who then can be singled out as responsible for the 
war ? Had it not been declared there would have been 
a revolution. The Emperor was accused because he 
yielded. The Empress was accused because people 
said she considered that nothing but a successful war 
could secure the succession for her son ; also that as a 
Spaniard and a Catholic she was indignant at the idea 
of a German and a heretic reigning at Madrid. 
Ministers were accused because M. Emile Olivier said 
that he went to war with a light heart, and the Duke 
de Gramont was accused because he had committed 
diplomatic blunders and had concealed the truth. 

Emperor, Empress, Ministers, all incurred the national 
rage attendant upon want of success. And I must say 
that it filled me with indignation when, after the war, 
I saw the vilest caricatures of the Empress in the shop- 

1 Capoul, the favourite tenor of the Opera Comique, was obliged 
to sing the Marseillaise in front of the Bourse standing up on the 
top of an omnibus ; and Marie Sasse had to give the same hymn 
from her carriage. 


windows, and M. Emile de Girardin driving daily in his 
open carriage and pair, lolling back luxuriously, and 
looking the picture of content. 

The following anecdote will show with what gloomy 
forebodings the mind of the Emperor was filled. When 
war was declared, General Lepic, much to his annoyance, 
was appointed Adjutant-General of the Palace. Wish- 
ing to accompany Napoleon III. on active service, he 
protested. In his reply the Emperor said that he left 
him the care of the Empress, in which situation he 
would perhaps run greater perils than on the field of 

Another anecdote. " When Ministers presented the 
declaration of war to the Emperor, he not only refused 
to sign it, but tore it up in a passion, and, being ill at 
the time, went to bed. The Empress, on learning what 
happened, persuaded Ministers to re-write the declara- 
tion, and, suffering from intense emotion, took it to 
the Emperor, who signed it." 

Many similar anecdotes were told at the time and 
afterwards, most of them related by people "about the 
Court," but none of them reposing upon any serious 

I find in my notes that on Saturday, July 16, 1870, 
Senators went to St. Cloud, and presented an obsequi- 
ous address to the Emperor. That his Majesty thanked 
them for their patriotic sentiments, and declared him- 
self confident in their support. That great indignation 


was expressed when M. Rouher, the President of the 
Senate, announced how some Prussians had crossed the 
Rhine about twelve leagues from Metz, and had 
violated the territory, and that in military circles it was 
supposed that the Prussians would have made a dash 
into Champagne. 

And on Sunday, July 17 "The Emperor came from 
St. Cloud to the Tuileries this morning, when the 
Cabinet assembled to draw up the usual declaration of 
war, which will be despatched to Berlin this even- 
ing. It is thought that he will leave for Metz on 

"Marshal Bazaine left here last night to take 
command of the 3rd corps, 80,000 strong. Marshal 
MacMahon, who is to command the 1st corps, is ex- 
pected to arrive from Algeria this evening. The 2nd, 
4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th corps are placed respectively 
under the order of Generals Frossard, Ladmirault, de 
Failly, Marshal Canrobert, and General Douay. General 
Bourbaki is to command the Imperial Guard. General 
Trochu is to have a division. General Changaraier, 
who is seventy-seven years of age, has offered his 

" Last night the streets were again paraded by bands 
of students and workmen with flags and lanterns. The 
general cry was for war. There were a few people who 
shouted Vive la paix ! but these were dispersed by the 
police. The greatest animation reigned in the vicinity 


of the Eastern Railway as regiment after regiment 
marched up to take train for the frontier. A great 
deal of embracing was done. It was with difficulty 
that the vivandi&res were torn from the arms of their 
admirers. An attempt was made to sack the house t>f 
M. Thiers for condemning the action of the Government, 
but the gates proved too solid, and resisted until the 
police arrived." 

I saw the Emperor as he left the Tuileries (for 
the last time) and was driving along the Seine on 
the way back to St. Cloud. He was greeted with 
enthusiasm, and, if he had a worn expression, he 
appeared pleased with his reception. It may have 
reminded him of the ovation he received when he 
started for the Italian campaign, and the people promised 
not to stir in his absence. In fact, everything proved 
that he was moving in the popular direction, albeit 
against his will. This was the last sight I ever had of 
his Majesty, whose Empire was about to pass from 
him. War was proclaimed on July 23, and the 
Emperor went to Metz on the 28th. 

Unlimited confidence was felt in the army and its 
ability to get to Berlin in a week, and news from the 
front, where matters seemed rather to hang fire at first, 
was awaited with feverish anxiety. At length came 
despatches announcing that the frontier had been 
passed, and a letter from Edmond About, one of the 
instigators of the war, boasting that he was the first to 


enter the country of the enemy. There had also been 
an engagement in which the Prussians had been 
repulsed, and in which the Prince Imperial had 
distinguished himself under the eyes of his father, to 
the intense delight of the army. Every evening the 
Boulevards were crowded with people eagerly watching 
for the papers to appear. Reality was preceded by 
rumour ; truth by fiction. The news from the frontier 
was cheering at first, and awoke the most lively 
enthusiasm. One might almost have supposed that 
the war was over, and Prussia ready to sue for peace. 
Some of this news soon turned out to be utterly worth- 
less. One piece of false intelligence had created an 
immense impression, and it is still often alluded to as a 
canard of the first water. Paris was informed that the 
whole Prussian cavalry, white cuirassiers and all, had 
been destroyed at some imaginary battle by galloping 
into the quarries of Jaumont, and a war correspondent 
who visited the- spot a week later gave a vivid and 
terrible description of the scene he witnessed horses 
and their riders in one confused mass or jelly still 
quivering with life. 

By degrees pleasant dreams were rudely dispelled, 
and news of disaster arrived 

" First a beak and then a wing, 
Until the air grew black with ravens." 

And piteous it was to behold the painful expression 


created by the intelligence of the successive defeats 
which marked the opening of the campaign. The 
Emile Olivier Ministry was overthrown, and a Cabinet 
formed under the direction of the Count de Palikao 
the General Montauban who had commanded the French 
troops during the Anglo-French expedition to China. 
I used to go of an evening to the Mairie in the Rue 
Drouot, where the latest despatches were posted up on 
their arrival, and never shall I forget the scenes of 
patriotic anguish I there witnessed. The Government 
did what it could to deaden the shocks, and one day, to 
gain a few hours, the Count de Palikao, with the news 
of a crushing defeat in his pocket, said in the Chamber 
"If I could only tell you all I know, Paris would 
illuminate this evening." Then such rumours as this 
were circulated " Marshal MacMahon has gained a 
great victory, and the Prince Royal of Prussia and 
25,000 men have been taken prisoners." 

There soon, however, arose a cry in Paris against the 
Emperor, who was accused "of incapacity, and the 
demand was general that he should hand over the 
command of the army to Marshal Bazaine. This was 
done. The true state of affairs could no longer be 
hidden. It was determined to form a camp at Chalons 
under Marshal MacMahon, and thither the Emperor 
repaired. Paris found a portion of the contingent 
which was to go towards forming a new army, and I 
must say that the raw material which left the capital 


was not of the most promising description. I saw a 
regiment of Mobiles march. Some of the men were in 
carts ; they were all accompanied by friends, male and 
female ; there was a terrible uproar, shouting, laughing, 
and singing, not a vestige of discipline. One might 
easily have fancied oneself in Carnival time. I was not 
much astonished to learn, shortly after the departure of 
this queer force, that there had been troubles at the 
camp of Chalons, that the Emperor's baggage had been 
plundered and his shirts put up to auction. 

Shortly before hostilities with Germany broke out I 
heard several debates in the Chamber on the military 
estimates. Marshal Niel was the War Minister, and 
wished to organize the Garde Mobile. This measure, 
which would have cost a good deal of money, but would 
perhaps have saved France from disaster, was so stren- 
uously opposed by the new Liberal Opposition that 
little or nothing was done. The Republicans, always 
wrapped up in the achievements of the First Revolution, 
considered the National Guard equal to any emergency. 
Now, after a campaign of a couple of months, France 
was terribly in want of a reserve, and there was none to 
be found. One of the devices resorted to for the defence 
of Paris was to call up the firemen from the country. 
Never since the days of Falstaff was such an assembly 
of warriors witnessed. Many of them were tottering on 
the verge of the grave ; they all wore quaint old 
uniforms and brazen helmets, and were ignorant of the 


elements of drill. They excited peals of laughter, and 
were sent home. They were fit only for the stage, to 
figure in such a piece as La Grande. Duchesse under the 
orders of General Bourn. 

The "Moblots," as the Gardes Mobiles were called, 
were a very different lot. They were all active young 
fellows, and only deficient in that training which Marshal 
Niel would have given them had he not been thwarted 
by the Liberals who, after the war, established obligatory 
. service, and drilled and armed even school-boys. 

Hearing that there was a battalion of Moblots 
encamped in the Bois de Boulogne just behind the 
racecourse of Longchamps, I set out one day to visit it. 
I had a friend in the ranks. I shall never forget my 
walk through the Bois. In ordinary times it would 
have been alive with any quantity of carriages, ladies 
and gentlemen on horseback, and pedestrians in quest 
of fresh air and an appetite. On the sunny afternoon 
in question I did not meet a single soul. The shady 
avenues and the shores of the lakes were alike deserted. 
It was a melancholy spectacle. I fancied myself for 
the moment Campbell's " Last Man " 

" Who shall creation's death behold 
As Adam saw her prime. 

Earth's cities had no sound, 110 tread." 

It was not until I was close to the camp that I heard a 
human voice or saw a human being. There all was life 


and animation. I half thought that I had broken in 
upon a fair. As I was walking through the tents 

inquiring for young de V , there suddenly arose a 

great clamour. This was caused by the approach of 
four Moblots with a deer, which they had shot in the 
Bois, and slung on a pole. Their arrival was hailed with 
shouts of triumph and delight. I could not find my 
friend, who no doubt was out foraging with some com- 
rades. Had the Moblots confined their depredations to 
poaching there would have been little to say, but they 
were not above doing a bit of loot, and the property of 
Sir R. Wallace hard by was not spared. The next day 
the camp broke up, and the battalion marched to join 

the army of Chalons. As for poor de V I never 

saw him again. 

A few days later the Bois presented a more animated 
appearance, and there was much lowing and bleating 
throughout its length and breadth ; in fact it was filled 
with herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, destined for 
our consumption during the siege. The cattle were of 
indifferent- quality, and had evidently not been stall 
fed. But I was struck with amazement at the sight of 
the sheep. I had no idea that such specimens of the 
ovine race existed. They all had a shabby under-bred 
appearance, and numbers of them resembled, not 
wolves, but Italian greyhounds in sheep's clothing. It 
was calculated that cattle and sheep would feed Paris 
for two months. 


Before publishing his work on Sedan in 1892, Einile 
Zola contributed an article on that battle to the Figaro, 
September 1, 1891. I made a note of this, and here 
are one or two paragraphs 

" The army of Chalons, in spite of everything, showed 
itself great, for it was really an army of martyrs. After 
Sedan it was loaded with execrations, for no one could 
understand how 80,000 men allowed themselves to be 
made prisoners . . . Without doubt there were abom- 
inable scenes of insubordination ; open revolts in the 
camp, and the pillage of the railway-station of Rheims. 
During the march knapsacks and muskets were flung 
away. Men, hungry and drunk, tumbled into the 
ditches or begged along the roads. An ever-increasing 
tail of stragglers sowed the country with a regular 
horde of vagabonds who levied contributions and 
robbed the peasants. And not an example was made, 
not a culprit was shot. There were too many of 

A week before the battle of Sedan was fought all 
Paris was applauding Marshal Bazaine for the skilful 
manner in which he had saved the country. He had 
had the talent to unite his forces under the walls of 
Metz, thus renewing the exploits of Massena at Genoa. 
He had disorganized three Prussian armies while pre- 
serving his positions. In a few days MacMahon would 
fall upon and destroy the remnant of the enemy's 
troops, and the march on Berlin would be resumed. 


Such were the optimist opinions expressed by most 
of the papers. Not many hours afterwards we 
learned that Metz was completely isolated, and that 
the army of Chalons was on the march to relieve 

In the meantime General Trochu, who was in com- 
mand of a division watching the Pyrenees, was sum- 
moned to take the command of Paris ; Admiral 
llonciere le Noury and 10,000 sailors were ordered 
here to man the forts, and preparations were actively 
pushed forward for the defence of the capital in the 
event of it being invested guns got into position, 
ditch cut, sixty bridges blown up, and military zone 
cleared. All this was very alarming, and a good 
many sacrifices appeared to me to have been need- 
lessly made. For instance, one of the bridges 
blown up was immediately under the guns of 
Mont Valerien, the most powerful of the forts 
round Parisin fact between that fort and the 
enceinte ! 

Many excuses were offered by the French for their 
defeats. They were crushed by numbers. They were 
quite unprepared. There was much truth in both. 
After the war was declared it was found that the 
strength of the French army was not what it appeared 
upon paper. Marshal Le Bceuf, who was War Minister 
under M. Emile Olivier, had declared that everything 
was ready for war, and that not a gaiter-button was 


wanting. When matters were put to the test every- 
thing was wanting. The magazines were found to be 
in the most deplorable condition. There had evidently 
been an immense amount of pilfering going on which 
had either been undetected or connived at. I one 
day asked a friend of mine in the War Office how 
Marshal Le Boeuf could have made such a declar- 
ation. He replied "I know him well. He 
believed what he said. He is quite incapable of 
having told a falsehood." He was the victim of lying 

Another cause of disaster was the jealousy existing 
between some of the commanders of army corps 
jealousy which has been so often fatal to the French 
arms. The stories told on this subject appeared to 
me almost incredible, and yet many of them must have 
been true. The most glaring instance was that of 
General de Failly refusing to go to the assistance of 
General Frossard. I should have refrained from men- 
tioning this case had I not afterwards found it referred 
to in the Avenir Militaire of October 21, 1886, in 
these terms " From the beginning to the end of our 
military history, throughout centuries, it is always the 
same impious cry which is heard, as on the day of 

Spicheren : ' X is in the filth (a coarser word in 

French), let him remain there.' " X being General 

Frossard. And appended is a note "Vide Les 
M&hodcs de Gnerre, General Pierron, t. i. 2nd edition, 


for examples." l At first I thought this story beyond 
belief and refused to credit it. 

Another failing will always be detrimental to the 
success of the French armies, the want of respect for 
superiors. I remember one day asking a French officer 
quartered in Paris, how it came that the captains and 
lieutenants did not mess together. The reply was that 
if they did, the lieutenants would be deprived of the 
pleasure of abusing the captains. Does not this 
remind one of the state of the Grecian army before 
Troy, where Ulysses says 

" The general's disdain'd 
By him one step below; he, by the next ; 
That next, by him beneath : so every step, 
Exampled by the first pace that is sick 
Of his superior, grows to an envious fever." 2 

France had passed through a terrible month of 
August. She had lost successively in thirty days the 
battles of Sarrebruck, Weissemburg, Forbach, Reich- 
shoffen, Bourg, Gravelotte, St. Privat, and Beaumont. 
In Paris, however, it was still hoped that MacMahon 
would be able to relieve Metz, though there was much 
uncertainty as to his march. 

On September 1, I went to the Chamber and heard 
M. Keller, whose name bespeaks his Alsatian origin, 

1 Emile Zola in La Debacle, p. 12, says " The Generals were 
jealous of each other ; each one being intent upon winning his 
Marshal's baton without aiding his neighbour." 

2 Trottus and Cressida, Act I., Scene iii. 


make a very impassioned speech on the subject of the 
cruel way in which the Prussians were carrying on the 
siege of Strasbourg, not attacking the defences, but 
bombarding the town for eight or nine hours a day. 
The bishop, he said, had remonstrated, and been told 
by the besiegers that they were in too great a hurry 
'to act according to rule, and therefore wished to in- 
timidate the inhabitants and make them force General 
Uhrich to surrender. The Chamber was highly indig- 
nant, and when M. Keller laid before it an account of 
the gallantry of the inhabitants, declared that Strasbourg 
deserved well of the country, and should never cease 
to be a French town, the members stood up and cheered, 
the strangers in the galleries joining in the applause. 

All sorts of rumours concerning German atrocities 
were floating about. At Vitry the invaders were said 
to have massacred a detachment of the Garde Mobile 
which had laid down its arms, refusing to recognize 
the men as soldiers, and considering them as armed 
peasants not responsible to the War Minister. The 
Prussians were also accused of firing on ambulance 

Amongst the curious paragraphs which appeared in 
the press at this date, I jotted down a few, such as the 
following "Yesterday' a new-born babe was presented 
at the Mairie of the Pantheon ward, which bore, clearly 
marked on its forehead, a Prussian helmet." A cor- 
respondent, writing from Rheims, said "Let me 


terminate this letter with a truly French feat of arms 
performed by a lad of Epernay. When fifty Uhlans 
were flying before seven Sappers (!) one of them fell 
with his horse, and his pistol tumbled out of the 
holster. A boy, only twelve years of age, picked up 
the weapon and shot the Uhlan, who was struggling 
under his charger." What a feat to boast of! The 
Figaro tells us that the commandant of Phalsbourg, 
called upon to surrender, sent the plucky reply that he 
would hold out until his shirt-tail caught fire. We 
have also a wounded Turco and four boys armed with 
flint muskets putting a cloud of Uhlans to flight ; of 
ten Zouaves falling on a hundred Prussians and slaying 
ninety. It is with such tales as these that the French 
try to keep up their spirits. Their credulity is some- 
thing marvellous when the subject matter tickles their 

On September 3, I was walking down the Faubourg 
St. Honore, and turned into the British Embassy to 
learn if there was anything new. What a surprise 
awaited me ! I saw Sheffield, the amiable secretary 
of Lord Lyons, who told me that they had just received 
a telegram from London, stating that the French had 
suffered a crushing defeat at Seda,n, and that the 
Emperor had been made prisoner. What would happen 
next ? On leaving the Embassy I went over the river 
to the Chamber. The sitting had not yet commenced, 
and the open space in front of the Palais Bourbon was 
VOL. I. N 


crowded with deputies chatting and laughing. I went 
up to a group which contained several members I knew, 
and after listening awhile to the conversation, asked 
M. Eugene Pelletan if he had heard the news. 


" What news ? " 

" Why, that the army of Chalons has laid down its 
arms, and that the Emperor has surrendered himself to 
the King of Prussia." 

It may be well imagined what a sensation this 
intelligence created. I was pressed with questions. 
Where did I learn the catastrophe ? When I mentioned 
the source of my information it was no longer doubted. 
There was great excitement and hurrying' to and fro. 
At this moment M. Thiers arrived and was skipping 
up the steps of the Chamber, when M. Eugene Pelletan 
and his friends ran and told him what had happened. 
They at once went to a Committee-room to consult. 
M. Edouard Herve, now a member of the Academy, 
to whom I then communicated my intelligence, offered 
me a seat in his carriage, and we drove along the 
Boulevards, where nothing had yet transpired, and 
where life was ebbing and flowing in its usual careless 
manner people ^lounging about, and drinking and 
smoking at the cafes. 

When the news became generally known the wildest 
excitement prevailed. What next ? What would be- 
come of the Regency and the Government ? Would 
political differences be laid aside for the moment, and 


would the nation gather round the Empress until the 
Germans were disposed of? No. 

The next morning it really looked like civil war. 
The city was in a ferment. National Guards were 
marching about in a manner which seemed to promise 
mischief. I heard that an attack was to be made on 
the Chamber. I took an open cab, drove to the Place 
de la Concorde, and found the bridge leading to the 
Palais Bourbon guarded by Gendarmerie a Cheval. 
No one was allowed to pass. A number of Republican 
deputies were standing on the steps of the Chamber 
watching events. As National Guards were coming 
,up in force it looked as if a collision would take place. 
I stationed myself close to the bridge, but took the 
precaution of making the cabman turn his horse round, 
so that if the troops on the other side of the Seine and 
on the bridge opened fire we might execute a hasty 
retreat. Drums began to beat, and the people cheered 
the National Guards lustily as they marched up boldly 
to the foot of the bridge. Here a halt was made, and 
two or three officers advanced alone and began to 
parley with the Gendarmerie. I must say that I felt 
much relieved when I saw the officers of the two forces 
fraternizing and swords sheathed. The Gendarmerie 
retired, the bridge was left free, the National Guards 
crossed over, the deputies waved their hats, the people 
applauded, and there was more fraternizing, and one 
could see gendarmes on horseback embracing citizens 


on foot. Here was a revolution accomplished without 
loss of blood, and I don't remember any one being hurt 
with the exception of President Schneider, who on his 
way to the Chamber received a blow on the head, and 
was with difficulty rescued from the mob by his escort. 

The Chamber was won, but the flag waving over the 
Tuileries hard by betrayed the presence of the Empress, 
and there was a line of Voltigeurs of the Guard drawn 
tip in front of the palace. The sovereign people having 
proclaimed the Republic, determined, as had been done 
more than once before, to take possession of the 
Tuileries. The bronze eagles which adorned the gates 
of the garden were torn down, one citizen being 
grievously wounded in the head during the operation, 
and the gates themselves were burst open. Again it 
looked like bloodshed ; there was a deal of enthusiasm 
on one side; and bayonets, which glistened in the sun, 
on the other. Fortunately Victorien Sardou and 
Armand Gouzien were among the invaders, and they 
addressed the people, begging, them not to advance, and 
offering to go and ask the officer in command of the 
troops to permit the National Guards to replace the 

I viewed this scene from the distance, and was glad 
to perceive matters again peacefully settled. The fact 
is that at this critical moment General Mellinet, who 
was in command of the troops, received a message from 
the Empress saying that she was about to leave the 


Tuileries, and consequently there was no need of 
employing force. 

Armand Gouzien, who is now an inspector of 
Fine Arts, wrote an interesting letter at the time 
describing what passed. I give it in an abbreviated 
form " I have just witnessed a play that one does not 
see every day, the fall of an Empire. Prologue : the 
defeat (Sedan) ; 1st scene : the Chamber ; 2nd scene : 
the Tuileries ... I went like every one to the Place 
de la Concorde to learn the news, but could not get 
past the gate of the Tuileries. It was said that the 
Republic had been proclaimed. The dejection of the 
day before had vanished ; hope seemed to have been 
born again ; there was joy on every face. I saw gend- 
armes and citizens fraternizing and embracing each 
other. There were ill-favoured men who pointed to 
the flag still flying over the Tuileries, indicating the 
presence of the Empress, and to the line of Voltigeurs 
of the Guard in front of the palace." 

While the eagles were being pulled down Armand 
Gouzien turned and beheld Victorien Sardou, who, 
after an exchange of a few words, begged him to 
address the people. This he consented to do, with 
what success I have already mentioned. The pair set 
out on their mission to General Mellinet, with which 
officer Armand Gouzien had the good fortune to be 
acquainted. He continues thus 

" I thought I saw some very alarming movements on 


the part of the Voltigeurs which reminded me of the 
mot, ' The chassepots did marvels.' The first discharge 
would be for us. Perhaps we might receive another 
from behind. I felt a very vague and uneasy sensation 
in the region of the dpigastre. This is easily explained 
by one not accustomed to take the Tuileries between 
meals. Sardou said that soldiers did not fire on a flag 
of truce, and hoisted his handkerchief on the top of 
his stick." 

After reaching the reserved garden where the troops 
were drawn up, the ambassadors asked to see General 
Meliinet, who came forward and said that the Empress 
had just left the palace. 

" ' Then, General,' said we, ' there can be no objection 
to lowering the flag and allowing the National Guard 
to replace the Imperial Guard. In this way great 
misfortunes may be avoided.' 

"The people came running from all sides, and ap- 
peared to be dropping from the trees. Sardou asked 
the General to speak to them, saying, ' They all respect 
and admire you.' 

"The General got up on a chair. In his chopped 
voice for he has left a portion of his jaw-bones on the 
field of battle he said that the Empress was no longer 
at the Tuileries, but that he had the guard of the 
palace, and he hoped that they would respect his 

" The glorious old soldier of the Crimea and Italy 


was applauded. The flag was removed ; the National 
Guards relieved the Voltigeurs, and there was an 
immense cry of Vive la Mfyublique." 

And so with tact and good temper an awkward 
moment was safely tided over, and Paris for a while was 
spared the horrors of civil strife. 

Not very long ago General Mellinet was asked for 
his version of the affair, and I made a note of his reply. 
He said that when tlie crowd forced in the gates of the 
gardens of the Tuileries 

" It was about one p.m. ; I was inspecting the Grenadiers 
(? Voltigeurs) on guard at the palace. The gates at the 
Place de la Concorde were closed. For some hours 
numerous groups had been crossing the Place de la 
Concorde on their way to the Corps Legislatif (just 
over the bridge). The Empress had received a despatch 
from Pietri, Prefect of Police, announcing the hostile 
sentiments of the National Guard, and stating that 
cries of Vive la RtpuUique ! had been raised at a great 
many points. On receiving this despatch the sove- 
reign, in a moment of annoyance, stuck her penknife 
through it. Suddenly cries of ' To the Tuileries ! To 
the Tuileries ! ' were heard ; the crowd rushed in a 
body towards the gardens, and the gates gave way 
leaving a free passage for the shouting multitude. 

" The soldiers, who up to that time had been stand- 
ing quietly behind their piled arms, seized their rifles 
and lowered their bayonets. Sardou, who was there 


accompanied by Gouzien, called to the crowd ' Do not 
advance, they raay fire ! ' At this moment Admiral 
Jurien de la Graviere came to me from the Empress, 
to tell me not to use my arms against the people. I 
replied that I would show the greatest longanimity, but 
that I could not answer for my men when our patience 
was worn out. At two o'clock Jurien returned with 
the same recommendation, adding that her Majesty 
was about to retire. The departure of the sovereign 
accomplished, I withdrew my men, who were replaced 
by the National Guard. . . . The crowd spread through 
the apartments, but no scandalous scenes took place. 
There were a few cries of Vive la RdpuUique ! and that 
was all. After the crowd had le.ft, the following in- 
scriptions were found written on the walls 'Liberty, 
Equality, Fraternity ! ' ' Death to thieves ! ' ' Let us 
save France ! ' ' Respect property ! ' ' Apartments to 
let ! ' You see that there was nothing very terrible." 

As I left the Place de la Concorde, I walked down the 
Rue de Rivoli, which was crowded with what one might 
well have believed to be holiday-makers; men, women, 
and children. On every face there was an expression, 
if not of joy, of relief; a great battle had been lost 
which jeopardized the safety of the capital, but then 
a despotism had been overthrown. I could not help 
reflecting that if the tyrant had not wished to give his 
country liberal institutions to " crown the edifice," as 
he called it and had been allowed to remain quietly 


on the throne, France would have been spared the most 
terrible of wars, in which she was destined to lose 
blood, treasure, territory, and prestige. As I passed 
along, I now saw Voltigeurs lying down under the trees 
in front of the Tuileries, calling to citizens through the 
railing, and a little further on a Voltigeur and a citizen 
in mufti doing sentry duty together before one of the 
gates of the Louvre. 

As for the feeling of "joy or relief" felt by the people 
on the fall of the Empire, I could understand it in a 
great measure. 

The Empress, I see by my notes, did not hear of the 
disaster of Sedan until five p.m. on Saturday, September 
3. She shut herself up until midnight, and then asked 
for Persigny. At six a.m. on the 4th there was a Cabinet 
council, at which she announced her intention of laying 
down the Regency and of leaving the country, so as to 
avoid any useless effusion of blood. Would there have 
been any effusion of blood ? Long before the Empress 
took her departure the rats had left -the sinking vessel. 
The palace of the Tuileries was deserted ; courtiers 
and servants alike had fled ; it resembled Versailles on 
the day that Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette were 
dragged back to Paris. The age of chivalry had fled. 
All the doors were open, disorder reigned everywhere ; 
here and there were empty boxes ; frames with the 
pictures cut out ; every symptom of a hasty departure. 
Such was the account given by a person who at the 


last moment wandered through the galleries in search 
of her Majesty to warn her of her danger. 

What a picture, this deserted Empress, and how it 
reminds one of Byron's description of Parisina in 
disgrace ! 

" How changed since last her speaking eye 
Glanced gladness round the glittering room, 
Where high-born men were proud to wait 
Where Beauty watch'd to imitate 
Her gentle voice her lovely mien 
And gather from her air and gait 
The graces of its Queen ! 
Then had her eye in sorrow wept, 
A thousand warriors forth had leapt, 
A thousand swords had sheathless shone, 
And made her quarrel all their own." l 

The Empress herself afterwards complained bitterly 
in a letter (November 20, 1870, Camden Place, Chisle- 
hurst) of her desertion by one person, whose proud 
boast it was to be a Catholic, a Breton, and a soldier. 
This is how her Majesty wrote of General Trochu, who 
had recently been appointed Military Governor of Paris 
" As for the affair of September 4, I shall merely 
reply that General Trochu abandoned me, if not worse. 

1 I remember how, during the palmy days of the Empire, a 
French officer called out and I believe killed a colonist in Algeria 
who had spoken disrespectfully of the Empress. There was an 
amusing side to this incident. M. de Villemessant, editor of the 
Figaro, drew particular attention to this act of gallantry, pointing 
out how the officer in question had risked his life on the borders 
of the Sahara, hundreds of leagues from the Boulevards, and 
consequently where there was no gallery. 


He never appeared at the Tuileries after the Chamber 
had been invaded, nor did any of the other ministers, 
with the exception of three who insisted on my 

It is true that at this moment the mob, who shouted 
for Trochu to show himself, was informed that the 
General was ill. But he was quite well the next day, 
and adhered to the new order of things. 


From all I learned at the time and from all I have 
gathered since, the Empress behaved with admirable 
courage during this terrible crisis, and never lost her 
head. She behaved with a coolness like Marie 
Antoinette, who tried to persuade Louis X\ r l. to 
defend his throne ; like the Duchesse de Berri, who 
endeavoured to reconquer that throne for her son the 
Comte de Chambord ; like the Duchesse d'Orleans, 
who took her children to the Chamber when Louis 
Philippe had fled, in the hopes of being named Regent 
until the Comte de Paris was of age. Another royal 
la'ly also behaved with intrepidity in 1870 the 
Princess Clothilde. On the morning of Sept. 4, she 
received telegrams from Florence begging her to return 
at once to Italy. Her reply was that she intended 
remaining in her palace as long as the Empress re- 
mained in hers, and that she would be the last to 
leave. She kept her word, and did not quit the Palais 
Royal until several hours after the Empress had left 
the Tuileries, and what was strange, the crowd un- 


covered as she stepped into her carriage. Just before 
driving off she received another telegram a despatch 
from her father saying, " I thank you, my daughter, for 
the honour you have just done our House" and her 
husband was at that moment in Florence endeavouring 


to persuade Victor Emanuel to give France a helping 
hand. In fact, if we are to believe M. George Thie- 
baud, one of Prince Napoleon's intimate friends, the 
King of Italy was on the point of casting in his lot 
with France. The Prince said to him one day " My 
father-in-law is very kind and very generous. I could 
say anything to him. Ah ! it was not my fault if 
100,000 did not reinforce us during the war. I had 
succeeded in the mission with which the Emperor had 
entrusted me a few days before Sedan. I had hurried 
to Victor Emanuel, who at my request had decided to 
interfere. It was all settled. Then, at the news of the 
disaster of Sedan, the King, greatly troubled, mshed 
to me, and clasping me in his arms said 'Well, I 
have had a fine escape ! What a folly I was about 
to commit, my dear Napoleon, through affection for 

The story of how the Empress, with the aid of the 
Austrian and Italian ambassadors, Prince Metternich 
and the Chevalier Nigra, and the American dentist, Mr. 
Evans, who accompanied her to Deauville, managed to 
get away from the Tuileries, and how she was conveyed 
across the Channel in an English yacht, the Gazelle, 


belonging to Sir J. Burgoyne, are matters of history. 1 
Every one but the scum of the city was glad that her 
Majesty had effected her escape in safety, in spite of 
her unpopularity. She was regarded as the chief 
culprit in the matter of Sedan. It was she who had 
insisted on the march to Metz, and had raised her voice 
against the return of the Emperor to Paris. Suppose 
that no attempt had been made to relieve Bazaine, 
what would have been said ? Napoleon III. afterwards, 
in a celebrated letter to Field-Marshal Sir John Bur~ 
goyne, characterized it as a dynastic march, but it was 
also a popular march here, for Paris was perfectly 
certain that on the approach of the army of Chalons, 
Bazaine would cut his way out of Metz, form his 
junction with MacMahon, and drive the Germans back 
across the Rhine. As late as August 23, a French 
military correspondent of considerable standing in- 
formed the Parisians that " Prince Frederick Charles 
and General von Moltke had wasted their force in vain 
efforts against Marshal Bazaine ; and MacMahon, 
preceded by his Chasseurs d'Afrique, will soon sweep 
away the remainder of these arrogant conquerors who 
have had the audacity to declare Alsace and Lorraine 
German territory." 

The declaration of the Republic created so much 
enthusiasm that for the moment the Prussians appeared 
to have been forgotten, and the people set to work to 
1 Vide the Log-book of the Gazelle. 


wreak their vengeance on inanimate objects. Most of 
the emblems of the Empire quickly disappeared. The 
eagles suffered severely. The birds, which were too 
solid to be easily dislodged, like those which adorned 
the southern entrance to the Opera, intended for the 
personal use of the Emperor, were covered over with 
green baize. The names of many of the thorough- 
fares too were changed. The Avenue de 1'Empereur 
became the Avenue Victor Noir, and the Rue Dix 
Decembre became the Rue Quatre Septembre, and so 
on. 1 Nicknames too were freely bestowed on the 
members of the fallen regime. The ex-Emperor, for 
example, was called Invasion III., and the following 
quatrain made its appearance 

" Des deux Napoleon les gloires sont egales, 
Quoique ayant pris des chemins inegaux ; 
Le premier a 1'Europe a pris ses capitales, 
Le second au pays a pris ses capitaux." 

However, the form of government was changed 
without effusion of blood, though I verily believe that 
had the sovereign people laid hands on the ex-Prefect 
of Police he would have been run up to a lamp-post. 
But M. Pietri made good his escape. M. Emile 
Olivier too might have fared ill had he been caught, 
for not only had he gone to war with a light heart, but 

1 Victor Noir was the bully who was shot by Prince Pierre 
Bonaparte, and Dix Decembre was the day upon which Prince 
Louis Napoleon was elected President of the Republic. 


he was suspected of being in league with the enemy. 
In my notes I find that a gentleman who laughed at 
the idea of Marshal Le Boeuf having betrayed the army, 
and of M. Emile Olivier having sent 17,000,000 francs 
in gold to Prussia, was threatened with summary in- 
justice, and on the advice of M. le Maire fled the country. 
Departments in no way menaced by the enemy were 
being pillaged by bands of peasants, who believed that 
the owners of castles had sent money to Prussia 
secretly. 1 

I remember when I read of these things in so serious 
a paper as the Ddbats, considering that France was on 
the verge of another Jacquerie. Nor was this appre- 
hension allayed when we learned that an amiable 
young gentleman, suspected of being a spy, had been 
burned to death over a fire of green faggots in the 
Dordogne. 2 

Numbers of persons now came pouring into Paris 
from the surrounding country, bringing with them 
their movables, and farmers their live stock. As I saw 
them crowding through the Porte Maillot I was minded 
of the description given by Macaulay in his Lays of 

1 It is a very curious fact that in the days of the First Revo- 
lution the peasants who set fire to the castles of the nobility thought 
that they were obeying the orders of the King. In Auvergne, says 
Taine, the peasants showed great repugnance to thus ill-treat such 
good masters ! 

2 The murderers were tried, condemned, and executed after 
the war. 


Ancient Home, of the rush made into Rome on the 
approach of Lars Porsena 

" A mile around the city 
The throng stopped up the ways ; 
A fearful sight it was to see 
Through two long nights and days." 

As I stood looking at the scene, a French friend of 
mine said bitterly that the enemy would plunder the 
whole country. I tried to reassure him by observing 
that the discipline in the German army was exceedingly 
strict, and that pillaging would not be tolerated, that 
an army which pillaged was an army disorganized ; and 
when the war was over, an English friend told me of 
two remarkable facts which came under his notice. 
One relating to the punishment of some German 
soldiers who had pillaged and burned a farm, and the 
other to the punishment of the inhabitants of a town 
who had falsely accused the invaders of having 
plundered them. In the first case the detachment 
accused of having committed the outrage was 
marched to the spot, and the farmer was asked to 
point out the culprits. This he did, and he afterwards 
expressed his deep regret that he had complied, for to 
his horror they were immediately shot. In the other 
case some inhabitants of Dieppe and the civil authorities 
of that town accused the German soldiers quartered 
there of having indulged in loot. Now the occupying 
force had been ordered to obtain receipts for all the 


articles purchased. Upon the accusation being made, 
the troops were ordered to parade in heavy marching 
order, and then to depose their knapsacks, which were 
opened and examined in presence of M. le Maire and 
the Town Council, and the result was that receipts were 
found for all the ivory trinkets, &c., for which Dieppe is 
famous, found in their possession. The accusation 
having been proved to be false, a heavy fine was levied 
on the town. My friend Edward Blount (not the 
banker, but a member of the same family), who told 
me the above anecdotes, said that he had been 
much surprised at the friendly relations which, during 
the war, were established between the German soldiers 
and the townsfolk, and how he had often seen men in 
the uniform of the invading army driving market-carts, 
and otherwise aiding, especially women, in their daily 
work. One of his anecdotes greatly amused me. 
When the Empire collapsed it was fondly hoped the 
run of ill-luck would change ; on meeting his shoemaker 
the day after the news arrived, that worthy disciple of 
St. Crispin rushed up to him and embraced him. On 
asking him the reason of this demonstration the reply 
was " What, have you not heard the news ? The Re- 
public has been proclaimed, and we shall now slay all 
our enemies or drive them back headlong across the 
Rhine." Not long afterwards he again met the shoe- 
maker, who endeavoured to avoid him he was taking 
home a pair of boots ordered by a German officer ! 

VOL. I. O 


To return to Paris. After the invasion of the 
Chamber on September 14, the Hotel de Ville 
became the great centre of attraction, and thither 
the Liberal deputies repaired in order to form a 
Government. In the midst of the wildest tumult 
it was decided that this Government should be com- 
posed of members for Paris. This determination had 
hardly been arrived at when General Trochu made his 
appearance, and consented to take office on receiving 
the promise that God, the family, and property should 
be respected. Suddenly there arose an immense clamour. 
This was the crowd applauding Henri Rochefort, who 
had just been released from Ste. Pelagie, where he had 
been undergoing a term of imprisonment for certain 
articles written in the Marseillaise. His evident popu- 
larity was rather embarrassing for the new Government 
owing to his extreme views, but it being considered 
safer to have this firebrand with them than against 
them, the Government accepted him as a colleague. 
"Was he not one of the members for Paris, and had he 
not aided in bringing the Empire into hatred and 
contempt ? 

While the deputies of Paris were thus taking over 
affairs at the Hotel de Ville, there came news which 
created some little commotion. The other deputies, 
two hundred in number, though turned out of the 
Chamber itself, had met in the dining-room of the 
President, whose official residence adjoins the Corps 


Legislatif, and matters looked gloomy for the moment. 
Just then I saw M. Grevy arrive. He and two or 
three of his friends had been sent on a mission to see 
if it would not be possible to establish some common 
action. In fact the provincial deputies wished to have 
their share of the cake. M. Jules Favre, in his usual 
paternal way, informed the deputation that a Govern- 
ment already existed, but promised to send a definite 
answer in the course of the evening. The provincial 
deputies re-assembled at eight p.m., M. Thiers taking 
the chair. M. Jules Favre and M. Jules Simon were 
introduced, and said that in presence of an accomplished 
fact nothing could be changed ; that if the Corps 
Legislatif would accord its approbation the new Govern- 
ment would be grateful, but if it would not their liberty 
of action would in no way be hampered. M. Thiers 
told the delegates that they had undertaken an immense 
responsibility, and added, "It is our duty to offer up 
the most ardent prayers that you may succeed in defend- 
ing Paris, because your success will be that of the 
country." Discussing matters after the departure of 
M. Jules Favre and M. Jules Simon, he said " To 
offer any opposition to-day would be an ti -patriotic ; 
those gentlemen should meet with the support of all 
citizens in presence of the enemy. Let us wish them 
well." M. Buffet wanted to enter a protest, but to 
this M. Thiers strongly objected. The next day one 
hundred and twenty deputies, who were in favour of 


protesting, met and appointed a committee of four to 
frame a protest, but the Prefect of Police, with the aid 
of a detachment of francs-tirturs, prevented this com- 
mittee from meeting, and no more was' heard of the 
Corps Legislatif. 

Strange to say, on September 14 senators were 
entirely forgotten. Passing by the Luxembourg in the 
evening, I saw that there were no sentries on duty, and 
was told that the National Guards charged with the 
protection of the palaces had joined the people and 
gone home. There was no invasion of the Upper 
House, which was abolished a few days later after 
shouting Vive I'JEJmpereur ! 

The Government of National Defence was formed on 
the evening of September 14. M. Jules Favre was to 
have been President, and Paris was rather amused to 
learn the next morning that it was General Trochu 
who was President. It had been supposed that the 
General would have been satisfied with the post of 
Minister of War, but at the last moment he declared 
that in order to defend Paris properly it was necessary 
that he should occupy a preponderating position. And 
the lawyer gave way to the soldier. A Ministry was at 
once formed. M. Jules Favre took the Foreign Office, 
and General Le Flo the War Office. There was said 
to have been a rush for some of the Ministries, and that 
M! Ernest Picard set out to take possession of the 
Ministry of the Interior, but, on arriving, found M. 


Gambetta already installed in the Place Beauveau and 
in telegraphic communication with several Prefects. 
Poor M. Picard, who was extremely podgy, having 
been outstripped by his younger and less corpulent 
colleague, fell back on the Ministry of Finance. I saw 
him there a couple of days afterwards looking very 
radiant. It was a beautiful summer day, and I found 
him with a friend on the balcony which overlooked the 
gardens of the Tuileries. 

The new Government was mostly composed of lawyers, 
who soon found that General Trochu could out-talk 
any of them. Strange to say, two prominent men, 
destined one to be the first, the other the third 
President of the Republic, M. Thiers and M. Grevy, 
both refused to join the new Government. The next 
morning we read on the walls of Paris a proclamation 
stating that as the Chamber (which had been turned 
out of doors) hesitated, the people had taken the 
initiative, and demanded the Republic in order to save 
the country. The people had placed their representatives 
at the post, not of power but of danger (none of them 
received a scratch). 

Then came the following paragraphs which might 
have been signed by Bombastes Furioso " The Republic 
saved the country from the invasion of 1792; the 
Republic is proclaimed. The revolution is accomplished 
in the name of public safety. Citizens, watch over the 
city which is confided to you : to-morrow you will be 


the avengers of the country." And General Trochu 
signed this clap-trap ! 

The first Kepublic had been declared under more 
glorious circumstances after the battle of Valmy, when 
Dumouriez and Kellermann stopped the Duke of 
Brunswick and his Prussians in the passes of the 
Argonne, ever since known as the French Thermopylae. 
The day after the news of this victory arrived, the 
Convention met and proclaimed the Republic. After 
French troops had imitated the Spartans on the frontier, 
French legislators proceeded to imitate the Roman 
Senate in the days of Brennus, and in reply to 
Brunswick, who wished to negotiate, said " The French 
Republic can listen to no proposition until the Prussian 
troops have entirely evacuated the French territory." 
By the way, the despatch announcing the victory of 
Valmy was brought to Paris by the Due de Chartres, 
afterwards King Louis Philippe. 

The first act of the new Administration was to turn 
all the Imperialists out of office and to install Republi- 
cans in their place. The general opinion among the 
latter was that this change would soon bring the 
invaders to their senses ; that they would remember 
what had happened in 1792, and would retrace their 
steps. A short time afterwards I followed M. Jules 
Ferry round the ramparts, and heard him harangue 
knots of National Guards, and speak to them as if 
Republican breasts were impervious to Prussian bullets, 


in proof of which he thumped his own. People tried 
to lash themselves into the belief that the armies which 
had beaten the well-trained hosts of the Empire would 
be scattered like chaff before the raw levies of the 

Many devices were proposed for the destruction of 
the invaders, and as the Prussians had suffered severely 
in the bowels in 1792 from eating unripe fruit, the 
good people of Paris called upon the owners of vine- 
yards to leave their grapes for the enemy, in the fond 
hope that history would repeat itself. Another device 
which obtained much favour resembled putting salt on 
a bird's tail ; it was to sprinkle the Prussians with 
petroleum, and when they were well soaked, to set 
them alight. 1 Any number of inventors too came 
forward with Greek fire and other terrible means of 
destruction. In the meantime the Prussians continued 
their march on Paris without meeting with any resist- 
ance. Their near approach to the capital was soon 
heralded by fresh swarms of persons flocking in from 
the country round, and seeking safety within the walls. 
There was also a considerable and hurried exodus 

1 This reminds one of Sydney Smith accusing Mr. Percival of 
wishing to bring the French to reason by depriving them of 
rhubarb and neutral salts. " What a sublime thought," he wrote 
in Letter x. to Peter Plymly, " that no purge can now be taken 
between the Weser and the Garonne, that the bustling pestle is 
still, the mortar mute, and the bowels of mankind locked up for 
fourteen degrees of latitude. . . ." 


of the old and infirm, and also of foreigners. Two of 
my intimate friends were fortunate enough to catch 
the last train that left Paris, which was carried by 

I shall naturally never forget September 18, 1870, 
the day upon which the investment of Paris was com- 
pleted. It was a lovely morning, and as I stood on my 
balcony and looked at the thickly-wooded hills stretch- 
ing along from Argenteuil to St. Cloud, I could hardly 
imagine that those autumnal leaves glistening in the 
sun concealed thousands of armed men. I had no 
desire to leave Paris, and yet the feeling of being 
invested was a painful one. Large as the prison was, 
I was still a prisoner with a good many friends of the 
pen to share my captivity, Charles Austin of the Times, 
Frank Lawley of the Daily Telegraph, Henry Labouchere 
of the Daily News, Thomas Gibson Bowles of the 
Morning Post, J. Augustus O'Shea of the Standard. 
Then there was Mr. Dallas, who wrote both for the 
Times and the Daily News, and Lewis Wingfield, who 
was a sort of free lance, and who told me that he had 
remained in Paris in the interest of Art. He was 
engaged on a piece of sculpture, and wished to obtain 
a good model of "agony." He thought that a sortie 
would probably furnish him with what he required. 
I may add that he at once joined the ambulance corps, 
and was most devoted in his attention to the sick and 


As Bismarck was amiable enough to express it, we 
were about to stew in our own gravy. I went into 
town, and found National Guards exhibiting much 
enthusiasm round the colossal statue of Strasbourg, 
which stands, with the statues of several other French 
cities, in the Place de la Concorde. It was covered 
with flowers and flags. I heard one officer make a very 
patriotic speech, but the effect of it was sadly marred, 
as he was in constant danger of falling off the rickety 
table on which he was balancing himself. However, 
he seemed confident that Paris would be able to defend 

From what I could learn, the opinion of the Governor 
was that the capital would be able to hold out for six 
weeks, and as Governments here always exaggerate, 
I thought that the siege would certainly not last over 
a month, and I paid dearly for my mistake. Had not 
Alphonse Karr declared that Paris would capitulate 
if left one whole day without strawberries ? 1 How 
then believe that the Parisians would prove as obstinate 
as they did? It is true that the strawberry season 
had passed. I laid in a very small store of provisions. 
On inquiring into our means of defence, I learned that 
they consisted in sixteen detached forts, several re- 
doubts, gun-boats on the Seine ; 360,000 National 

1 At the very beginning of the siege, a very reticent American, 
endowed with more perspicacity than myself, said to Labonchere 
" They will squat, sir ; mark my words, they will squat." 


Guards, not all armed ; 96yOOO Moblots ; 62,000 regulars, 
8000 sailors; 5000 francs-tireurs ; and about 10,000 
nondescripts, say 500,000 men and 1500 guns. 

Of the value of this force not much can be said. 
The regulars, consisting of two corps, are in a great 
measure demoralized, the 13th corps having, in order 
to escape destruction, fallen back hurriedly on Paris 
after the battle of Sedan. The 14th corps is of recent 
formation. The National Guards and the Moblots are 
untrained. As regards their colonels I made the 
following notes at the time : Not one knows how to 
handle a battalion. Most of them have been elected 
on political grounds ; one man because he is an ardent 
socialist; another because he was transported under 
the Empire ; a third because he shot a sergent-de-ville, 
and so on. The socialist is a lean, hungry, sickly, short- 
sighted, spectacled individual; the returned convict is 
a decrepit old man past seventy years of age, and the 
assassin is an enthusiastic blockhead. 

On September 6, M. Jules Favre, in his capacity of 
Minister of Foreign Affairs, wrote a circular, in which 
he asked if the King of Prussia intended to carry on 
this impious war, and concluded by declaring that 
France would not yield an inch of her territory nor a 
stone of her fortresses. This was considered very fine 
language, though not quite original ; it was approved of 
by all his colleagues, with the exception of M. Ernest 
Picard, and by the public ; but was it politic ? As an 


English diplomate said to me, it cuts the ground from 
under the feet of friendly Powers inclined to mediate. 
How negotiate after such a hard-and-fast declaration ? 
Having written his circular and nailed his colours to 
the mast, M. Jules Favre tried to obtain an armed 
intervention on the part of the great Powers. He soon 
found out that there was no chance of this. After 
appealing in vain to Italy, Austria, and Russia, and 
getting M. Thiers to go over to London to see what 
could be done, M. Jules Favre, when the enemy was at 
the gate, determined to appeal to Count Bismarck, and 
with the aid of Lord Gran vi lie and Lord Lyons, an 
interview was arranged, Mr. Malet, attache, being de- 
spatched to German head-quarters to prepare the way. 
I saw Mr. Malet on his return (September 17), and he 
told me of the difficulties he had experienced in reach- 
ing his destination, Meaux, and in what a friendly spirit 
he had been received by Count Bismarck, who had 
known him at Frankfort in the days of the Diet, when 
Sir Alexander Malet was our representative at the Diet. 
The exact nature of his mission he of course would not 
reveal, but it soon transpired, as it was communicated 
to the Diplomatic Body. An arrangement seemed 
almost impossible. M. Jules Favre started for Meaux on 
the 18th, the day that Paris was invested, met Count 
Bismarck on the road, had an interview with him in a 
deserted farmhouse, and was told that Prussia wanted 
Alsace and Lorraine as the price of peace. Count 


Bismarck had told Mr. Malet this, so M. Jules Favre 
could not have been greatly surprised. This was a sad 
blow for the author of the circular of September 6, who 
protested against such hard conditions, and spoke of 
the desperate defence which Paris and the provinces 
would offer, and the sacrifices which Germany would 
have to make before completing the conquest of the 
country. Also he spoke of a feeling of hatred and 
vengeance which would breed another war. Count 
Bismarck was not to be moved. Toul and Strasbourg 
would have to surrender in a few days. Bazaine was 
eating his horses in Metz, and Paris would soon be 
subdued by famine. As it was getting dark a second 
interview was agreed to, which was to take place in the 
evening at Ferrieres, the seat of Baron Rothschild, 
where the King of Prussia and Field-Marshal Moltke 
had taken up their quarters. M. Jules Favre could 
obtain no concessions, and unable to restrain his tears, 
he bid Count Bismarck farewell and returned to Paris. 

It appears that while the two statesmen were discuss- 
ing matters, Field-Marshal Moltke, who is a silent man, 
sat in the corner of the room relaxing his military 
mind by the perusal of Little Dorrit. 1 

1 I have since read the following in the Reminiscences of Lord 
Augustus Loftus, who thus describes Moltke 

" He was the most simple, unassuming, and kind-hearted man 
I ever met, even when he was at the summit of his glorious 
career. His calmness and composure never forsook him, and his 
powers of observation were marvellous. He was never put out, 


M. Jules Favre went on his bootless mission without 
consulting his colleagues, who afterwards, however, 
approved of the step he had taken, and his rejection of 
the terms that Prussia wished to impose. Paris also 

never uttered a hasty word. When Prussia was on the brink of 
war with Austria, and his aide-de-camp came to announce some 
important intelligence, he found General Moltke reading an 
English novel." 

This letter, dated September 21, 1870, may be found in the 
works of Field- Marshal von Moltke 

" Ferrieres is a castle three leagues to the east of Paris, fur- 
nished with royal pomp. It is the creation of the fifth great 
Power in Europe the apotheosis of Mammon. It was here that 
Rothschild received the Emperor Louis Napoleon, as formerly 
Count Mole (sic) received Louis XIV. In our days it was the 
pan-enu of power who paid a visit to the parvenu of money. The 
semi-official journals on that occasion spoke of the Emperor, 
seated in a chair, as having shot some rare birds, and notably a 
parrot, which in falling cried Vive VEmpereur ! Now the watch- 
word is no longer the same ; the nation shouts A bas VEmpereur ! 
And Ferrieres has the head-quarters of unscrupulous enemies, 
who take the astonishing liberty of folding it in their iron arms 
as they have done with Metz and Strasbourg, and even the ' holy 
city ' of Victor Hugo. 

" Since yesterday Paris is entirely invested. We shall see how 
the 100,000 Mobile Guards spoken of in the papers will set to 
work to break the circle. The only intact corps in the French 
army, the 14th, tried to stop our advance on the south front. It 
was driven back with loss behind the forts. . . . With all that 
France has always big words at her service ; she is plus forte que 
jamais; she does not possess an army fit to take the field, but 
she has the good fortune to possess M. Rochefort, professor of 
barricades and invincible patriotic hearts. . . . This did not 
prevent the Republic herself, in the person of M. Jules Favre, 
coming yesterday to the head-quarters of the enemy." 


approved, and was very proud of the magniloquent 
phrase "pas un pouce de notre territoire, pas une 
pierre de nos fortresses." However, we know that if 
brag is a good dog, hold-fast is a better. Be this as it 
may, the besieged were thrown into the most violent 
paroxysm of rage when they learned the demands of 
Count Bismarck Alsace-Lorraine to be lost, and 
Strasbourg to be surrendered. 

On the second morning of the siege, I was roused 
from my slumbers by a noise in the street, and this 
it was. At an early hour General Ducrot, who com- 
manded the 14th corps, and was encamped to the south 
of Paris, seeing some Prussian troops marching on 
Versailles, attacked them with two divisions of infantry, 
one of cavalry, and sixty-eight pieces of artillery. A 
few shells sufficed to put a regiment of Zouaves to 
flight, and the remainder of the force was soon thrown 
into disorder, and ran. General Ducrot made a short 
stand at Chatillon, but that redoubt was unfinished, 
and he was forced to abandon it to the enemy. 

The noise in the street was caused by a crowd of 
excited citizens, who were anxiously questioning some 
of the fugitive Zouaves, who had just arrived hot from 
the scene of action without firing a shot ; others had 
dispersed themselves through the neighbouring villages, 
which they began to plunder. This was a serious 
matter. Here were troops of the line who in the first 
brush with the enemy had behaved badly; it is true 


that they were little more than raw recruits. We 
thought that a severe example would have been made, 
but such was not the case. All that was done in the 
way of punishment was to march a number of the 
fugitives through the streets with their tunics turned 
inside out, with flour on their faces, and wearing round 
their necks a placard with " coward " written on it ; and 
a strange sight it was to see a runaway Zouave being 
marched along between a couple of captors in blouses. 
The good people of Paris, so badaud by nature, seemed 
amused at this spectacle, and the runaways appeared 
by no means abashed, and smiled at the crowd through 
their flour. 

The loss of Chatillon, taken while M. Jules Favre 
was negotiating at Ferrieres, was a serious affair, for 
that unfinished and unarmed redoubt stands on some 
heights commanding the forts of Issy, Vanves, and 
Montrouge. Concerning this redoubt, and indeed the 
fortifications of Paris generally, some interesting anec- 
dotes are told. For, instance when the Due de Chartres 
came to Paris with the Valmy despatches in 1793, 
he had an interview with the terrible Danton, then 
Minister of Justice. Danton told the Duke to take 
care of himself, and that he would one day be king, 
and at the end of a long conversation said " You, who 
have gone through the glorious campaign of '92, will 
comprehend where the weak point in our geographical 
position lies. Remember that Paris is the heart of 


France, and do what we have not been able to do 
fortify it." And the Duke, when he ascended the 
throne as Louis Philippe, probably remembered Danton's 
advice, for it was during his reign that the enceinte and 
the sixteen detached forts were constructed. He would 
have built a fort at Chatillon, but he could procure no 
more money. When the Due d'Aumale came here in 
September 1870 to offer his services to the Third 
Republic, the first question he asked was if Chatillon 
had been fortified. A redoubt had been commenced 
there, and a contractor was busy terminating it, but 
just before the Prussians arrived the workmen struck 
for higher wages, and it fell into the hands of the 
enemy, as already stated, in an unfinished condition. 

" National Property " has been scribbled up on all 
the public buildings, and the Champs Elysees and many 
of the chief boulevards have been turned as if by magic 
into encampments. The artillery has taken possession 
of the gardens of the Tuileries, to the discomfiture of 
nurses and babes, and several of the roofed-in markets 
have been appropriated for the manufacture of 

September 22, 1870, which corresponds to the first 
Vendemiaire, LXXIX. of the Republican Calendar, and 
is consequently the Republican New Year's Day, was 
celebrated by a manifestation which fortunately ter- 
minated without bloodshed, as Louis Blanc and Victor 
Hugo objected to physical force being employed. They 


wanted seats in the Cabinet, but not to fight for them. 
Two other ringleaders of this manifestation gave a 
more serious complexion to it. One was Blanqui, a 
hoary conspirator who has passed about forty years of 
his life in prison. The other, Gustave Flourens, a man 
of action, who fought against the Turks in Crete, met 
the well-known duellist, Paul de Cassagnac, in single 
combat, and was wounded ; he afterwards took part in 
the Victor Noir riots, fired a pistol in the air, declared 
the Republic established, and made his escape to 
England, to return here with the fall of the Empire, 
and play mischief. However, in spite of Blanqui and 
Flourens, the manifestation passed off quietly. 

On New Year's evening the Parisians learned that 
" our Fritz," as they delight to call the Crown Prince, 
had taken up his quarters at the chateau of Meudon, 
from which a splendid view of Paris is obtained. The 
outgoing tenant is Prince Napoleon. By the way, the 
Curd de Meudon, as Rabelais is often termed, wrote, 
four hundred years ago, a chapter, the perusal of which 
may have comforted some Parisians during the siege. 
It is headed "How Gaster invented art and means 
not to be touched or wounded by cannon-balls." 

The Parisians were inflicted with several manias at 
the beginning of the siege ; there was the spy mania, 
then the signal mania, the gun mania, and so on. As 
regards the spy mania, it was so strong that some over- 
zealous National Guards arrested General Trochu, and 



were on the point of shooting him. The Queen's 
Messenger, Johnson, who arrived in Paris on the 19th, 
narrowly escaped being torn in pieces by an infuriated 
mob in spite of, or rather on account of, his uniform, 
for he was mistaken for a Prussian officer. Just as if 
Prussian officers would have chosen such a moment to 
drive about Paris! It was with the greatest difficulty 
that the Queen's Messenger, Johnson, reached the 
Embassy, and a few days afterwards, when sent with 
despatches to Versailles, he met with so much obstruc- 
tion, in spite of passes, that he had to appeal to the 
Minister of War before he could get beyond the gates. 
I am afraid that there was too much swagger about our 
Queen's Messenger to please the French, who are easily 
conciliated with a soft speech. I had many occasions 
to test this. One paper, whose circulation is not largo, 
proposed to shoot all Englishmen, but this extreme 
measure met with no support. 1 

One arrest much amused me. It was that of an 

1 I was much amused one day on reading in the Figaro the 
following reflections on the subject of spies " The Prussians are 
better informed than we are ; their spies keep them well informed 
as to everything that is said and done in Paris, whilst we do not 
even know whether they are at Versailles, or on the road to 
Orleans. Without speaking of that absurd spirit of chivalry 
which makes us reject as unworthy and cowardly such means 
of information, we must inquire into the real cause of this 
inferiority." The writer then explains this to be that whereas 
the Germans pay well for their information, there is no special 
fund for spies in France. French chivalry, therefore, means 
want of secret service money. 


American pastor. This divine, intent only on things 
above, was imprudent enough to take out his note- 
book in the Champs Elysees, and to jot down the heads 
of a sermon on the mysterious ways of Providence. He 
was pounced upon by some National Guards, and 
knowing nothing of French, had to pass the night 
in durance vile. Of course his Minister procured 
his release early next morning, for Mr. Washburne 
remained in Paris, refusing to imitate the other 
ambassadors who took their departure before the 
investment was completed. This, because the new 
Government here had been recognized at Washington. 
It was rather fortunate that Mr. Washburne did 
stay, as he was allowed to communicate with Versailles 
and under certain conditions to receive letters and 
newspapers. The newspapers were not to be com- 
municated to a second person, and consequently after 
Mr. Washburne had perused the Times, he hid it under 
his mattress. As we were always sneaking about after 
news from England, this secret soon leaked out, thanks 
to the venality of the chambermaid, whose duty it was 
to make his Excellency's bed. The abigail betrayed 
the unsuspecting diplomatist for a small consideration, 
and showed us his Times now and then. And it was 
a great relief to learn what was really going on across 
the Channel, for the papers here published the wildest 
statements monster meetings in Hyde Park; threats 
to dethrone the Queen, and drive Mr. Gladstone from 


office, unless they declared war with Prussia, and many 
more falsehoods called patriotic, and tending to keep 
up the courage of the besieged. This system was 
carried to such an extent that the Government inter- 
fered on one occasion, and knocked an offending editor 
sharply over the knuckles. The Figaro, in fact, pub- 
lished an apocryphal correspondence from Orleans, and 
the next day the Official Journal contained a note 
saying that it was all " a lie like those which the Figaro 
invents every clay." But the people much preferred 
pleasant lies to disagreeable truths calculated to interfere 
with sleep and digestion. 

By the way, the Figaro informs us can this also be 
a lie ? that there are several ladies of high position 
in the pay of Prussia that when that profligate states- 
man, the Due de Moray, died, they found themselves 
suddenly deprived of their resources, and were driven 
to sell State secrets to Count Bismarck, on whose gold 
they still subsist. If this be the case, I have not heard 
of any of these ladies being arrested. 

Another mania is the signal mania. Numbers of 
persons have been accused of communicating with the 
enemy by means of flags and lights, and on this subject 
I heard an amusing story. An elderly National Guard 
had a young and handsome wife, who naturally had a 
lover, who used to visit her when her husband was on 
duty. "When there was a light in the window, that 
meant that the National Guard was at home, and the 


lover had to go home disconsolate. One night a patrol 
remarked this beacon, considered it to be a signal to 
the enemy, rushed into the house, seized on the un- 
fortunate husband, pulled him out of bed, and led him 
away captive. This untoward incident had hardly 
occurred when the lover appeared on the scene, and as 
there was no light in the window went up-stairs, and 
doubtless had little difficulty in consoling the lady for 
the temporary loss of her lord and master, who spent 
the rest of the night in the guard-room. I cannot say 
if he ever learned his misfortune, but it was the talk 
of the quarter, and caused no little amusement to others. 

It was very painful to learn day after day of the 
Prussians occupying this and that place round the 
capital ; but the Parisians, still light-hearted, were able 
to get up a laugh when they heard that the invaders 
had occupied Bondy. Now, Bondy is a forest which 
bears the same reputation Blackheath did of old. It 
is still supposed to be the local habitation of robbers, 
and when the Prussians took up their quarters under 
its boughs, the Parisians grinned and said, " They must 
feel quite at home there." 

On September 23, Victorien Sardou, the successful 
dramatist, came in from Marly, being the last person to 
leave that village, of which he was maire. 

St. Cloud, too, is in the grip of the enemy, and that 
town is very close to the south-west corner of Paris, 
known as the Point de Jour. 


The other day the Prussians, who are accused of 
firing on flags of truce, and committing other irregu- 
larities, or rather enormities, were reported to have 
massacred the chief medical practitioner of the town. 
Naturally the Parisians, whose credulity is unexampled 
in matters detrimental to other people, swallowed the 
rumour without the slightest proof to wash it down. 
A few days later a resident of St. Cloud wrote to the 
papers showing that the unfortunate doctor had fallen 
by the hand of his own countrymen. " The inhabitants," 
he said, " find themselves placed in a very cruel position. 
Several of them have already been shot, not by the 
Prussians but by the francs-tireurs, who imagine the 
town to be occupied by the enemy, and fire on it day 
and night. The Prussians occupied the chateau only, 
which is not exposed to their bullets. Yesterday Dr. 
Pigache died of his wounds, and to-day it is impossible 
to venture out to pick up a man shot near the entrance 
of the park. This morning the white flag was hoisted, 
but the firing continued, and we were obliged to get 
under shelter." So there is recrimination, only it is 
the French who accuse the Prussians of firing on the 
flags of truce, whereas the French themselves are accused 
of a similar malpractice by their own countrymen. 

The town of St. Cloud was a good deal damaged by 
shot and shell, but the beautiful and historical palace 
was utterly destroyed. The Prussians were afterwards 
accused of having burned it down, and this notice was 


posted up on its ruined walls "Palais de St. Cloud, 
incendit par les Prussiens." And the Prussians have 
ever since been accused of this barbarous act, whereas 
the palace was really set on fire by a shell from Mont 
Valerien, and burned by the French. I did not see it 
struck, but I saw the smoke going up from its ruined 
walls. 1 

We all thought that Meudon had been plundered, 
when lo ! two inhabitants of that village, who managed 
to cross the Prussian lines and get into Paris, informed 
us that this was not the case. Meudon, they say, has 

1 Colonel Keith Fraser and W. H. Russell, correspondent of 
the Times, were just riding to the palace, when, as the latter 
wrote, an enormous shell was seen coming like a descending 
balloon on the palace, through the roof of which it fell with a 
tremendous crash, and burst, shattering windows and walls and 
doors, and setting the building on fire almost instantly. That 
shell came from Valerien, which could not be seen from the 
palace. Naturally the gunners at Valerien could not see St. 
Cloud. But the French had an observatory at La Muette, whence 
they could see both Valerien and St. Cloud, and could direct the 
fire of the fortress by signal. It was known that the Prussians 
were in St. Cloud, and their battery at the Tower of Demosthenes 
could be both seen and felt by the French at La Muette. On the 
day in question it was arranged that a trial should be made of a 
big gun at Valerien against St. Cloud and the Prussian works, 
and an artillery officer was sent to La Muette observatory to 
watch the fire and signal the results. The first shot fell two or 
three hundred yards below the palace a signal was made to that 
effect by the look-out man. The next shell fell on the chateau 
itself, with the result just described. The naval officer, M. Houze 
de 1'Aulnoit, was at the observatory at the time, and he quotes 
the day and the hour of the incident, with all the authority of an 
eye-witness, from the journal he kept. 


not been sacked, thanks to the officers, most of them 
Poles, who energetically protested. The doors of a few 
publicans and provision-dealers, who had left the place, 
were alone broken open. . . . The guns of Issy have 
destroyed some stables and covered workshops which 
were used as barracks by the Prussians. The roof of 
the left wing of the chateau has been carried away ; the 
facade has been damaged and the outhouses knocked 
down. This was all the harm done. 

At the end of September the engineers demolished a 
low wine-shop at Issy to which an historical souvenir 
was attached. The King of Prussia, when Prince Royal, 
was present when Paris fell into the hands of the allies 
in 1814, and put up at this inn. On returning from a 
drive one day a shell fired from a battery established 
close to the spot where the fort of Issy now stands 
buried itself in the wall just above the door, and there 
it remained visible until September 26, 1870 ; and a 
sign-board drew attention to its presence. The cabaret 
was demolished because it interfered with the fire of 
the fort. I wonder if the King of Prussia will revisit 
the spot. 

The following incident, which took place on Septem- 
ber 28, revealed a curious state of affairs. A lieutenant 
of the National Guard, who is a grocer by trade, was 
mobbed for having had the audacity to ask half a franc 
for a red herring. A number of privates belonging to 
his regiment took part in this small riot, which ended 


in the lieutenant being obliged to close bis shop and to 
nail the corpus delicti to his shutters. This looks bad 
both as far as food and the discipline of the civic force 
are concerned. 

It may have been this little affair which shortly 
afterwards induced the Government to establish a bread 
and meat maximum. Whatever other tradesmen may 
do, neither butcher nor baker can follow the example of 
the lieutenant. By the way, the Government in calcu- 
lating the meat supply does not appear to have taken 
horses, dogs, cats, &c. into account, and there are 
90,000 of the former. Concerning cats and dogs I may 
relate the following anecdote. 

During the First Revolution, when all Europe was 
marching on Paris, when a siege was apprehended and 
famine dreaded, the famous General Sansterre proposed 
that all cats and dogs in the capital should be slaugh- 
tered as " useless mouths." The General made out that 
they consumed as much food as 1500 human beings, 
and represented a loss of ten sacks of flour per diem. 
This proposal raised a great outcry, both the public and 
the Press strongly protesting against an act which would 
entail domiciliary visits and the pursuit of felines over 
the tiles. The various services rendered by cat and 
dog were eloquently pleaded, and it was also urged that 
in case of necessity citizens might be glad to eat them. 

On September 30, General Vinoy marched out at the 
head of 10,000 men, and had a sharp brush with the 


enemy at Villejuif. After taking some of the German 
positions he was, however, driven back by a superior 
force. The French fought well, and there was no run- 
ning away as at Chatillon. 

At a public meeting held last night a fusil d'honneur 
(?) was offered to any one who will shoot the King of 
Prussia. But no one has come forward to " bell the cat." 

October opened badly. On the 2nd, M. Gambetta was 
obliged to make the painful announcement that both 
Toul and Strasbourg had fallen. Intense interest had 
been taken in the defence of the latter place. General 
Uhrich, the commandant, had been extolled as one of the 
finest soldiers ever born, and his name had been given 
to the Avenue de I'lmperatrice. Strasbourg had been 
declared to be impregnable. The statue in the Place 
de la Concorde, crowned with flowers, had been the 
scene of daily manifestations, during which ardent 
patriots swore that the old Alsatian city should never 
be handed over to Germany. And now, how are the 
mighty fallen ? Gambetta said that in falling the two 
strong places threw a glance at Paris, which glance 
appears to have meant that the Republic was one and 
indivisible, and must deliver them and revenge them. 
On its side the Government decreed that Strasbourg, 
instead of a statue of stone should have a statue of 
bronze in the Place de la Concorde. 1 

1 This decree has not yet been carried into execution. Stras- 
bourg remains in stone, and is always covered with wreaths. 


On October 2nd, too, General Burnside came into 
Paris to talk matters over with Mr. Washburne. His 
arrival created quite a flutter. It was naturally sup- 
posed that he was the bearer of some proposals for 
bringing the war to a termination, and the feeling was 
that if Bismarck wished to negotiate the Germans had 
had enough of it, and wanted to go home. The attitude 
of the capital had astonished them; the levy of troops 
in the provinces filled them with apprehension, and the 
Army of the Loire was preparing to strike a blow which 
would effectually settle matters, and repair the loss of 
Toul and Strasbourg. Alas ! all these surmises were 
vain. General Burnside did not come in to talk war or 
politics, although he informed General Trochu unoffi- 
cially that Count Bismarck's views had not changed 
since the meeting at Ferrieres ; he came in to arrange 
for the exodus of some 250 American citizens, who, 
having seen enough of the siege, and beginning to feel 
its inconveniences, wished to leave the beleaguered city. 
As for the Parisians, they are still full of confidence, and 
swear to stand by the declaration of M. Jules Favre. 

By the way, I see that a new coin has been struck off 
which bears this device " God protects France." It 
would surely have been more prudent for the Mint to 
have waited until the invaders had disappeared than to 

As for General Uhrich, he was afterwards censured for his feeble 
defence of the city, and the Avenue Uhrich was changed to the 
Avenue de Bois de Boulogne. 


venture to predict the intentions of the Almighty, and 
to fix them even in gold. 

The censorship of the theatre has been abolished ; not 
that this matters much, as all the theatres are closed, 
the actors having shouldered muskets, and all the 
actresses having taken to the ambulances. Paris, in 
fact, is getting very dull ; the cafe's are closed early lest 
we should run short of gas ; food of every description is 
rising in price with a rapidity that makes one shudder 
for the future. All our pleasant promenades are closed ; 
horse, foot, and artillery having invaded them, and what 
with their guns, tents, chargers, and camp-fires the 
previous tenants are clean driven out. 

I was very unlucky at this time with the letters 
I addressed to the Pall Mall Gazette. I sent one out by 
General Burnside when he left us. It never reached its 
intended destination. I entrusted another to a young 
friend of mine, Quested Lynch, who thought he could 
get through the German lines, but he was not allowed to 
pass. I confided a third to the Columbian Minister, but 
he too had to return ; a fourth to our naval attache, 
Captain Hore, but there was something wrong with his 
passport, and he had to come back. On October 14, 
Colonel Lloyd Lindsay was allowed to come into Paris 
with 20,000 in aid of the ambulance. I sent a letter 
out by his courier, but fear that it fell into the hands 
of the enemy. A few days later, when the Americans 
left, I asked a certain General, who went by the name 


of the " strategist," to try and smuggle a couple of 
letters through to England. I had had them carefully 
concealed in the linings of a pair of new Wellington 
boots, one letter in each boot ; and as the said strategist 
was badly off at the time for shoe-leather, I asked him 
to accept the boots as a slight token of my gratitude. 
The General accepted the Wellingtons, which fitted 
him well, and left Paris Avith them, but what became of 
my letters I never heard. The "strategist" was 
probably too old a soldier to rip his new acquisition up 
in order to get them out. As for the letters despatched 
by balloon, but little confidence was felt in their safe 
arrival, and yet it appeared afterwards that most of 
them did in time reach their destination. A letter I 
addressed to the Scotsman was picked up in the Baltic 
and sent on to Edinburgh. The balloon had fallen into 
the sea, the unfortunate aeronaut had been drowned, 
but the mails had been recovered. 

We have just had another case of too much zeal. 
Madame de Beaulieu, like many other women of rank 
and title, joined the Mobiles of her native province in 
the capacity of vivandi&re, and came up here with her 
regiment, a small barrel of cognac slung over one 
shoulder, and a small case of surgical instruments over 
the other. As she was tripping along this morning to 
join her battalion she was arrested by a National 
Guard, who, seeing the whiteness of her hands and the 
elegance of her costume, took her for a Prussian spy. 


She was immediately thrown into prison, and in spite 
of all efforts remained there for four days, and probably 
came out with hands of less suspicious colour than 
when she went in. However, it seems that there are 
spies in petticoats abroad. An influential paper 
declares that many of them pass through the French 
lines and spend the night in the camp of the enemy, 
which is not patriotic. The night before last an aide- 
de-camp of General Ducrot caused one of these women 
to be arrested. She turned out to be the wife of an 
officer made prisoner at Sedan ! 

The Germans were also supposed to obtain newspapers, 
&c. from poor French women who go out ostensibly to 
root in the fields for potatoes, but in reality to convey 
information to the enemy, for which they are well 
remunerated. On October 7, Uhlans were seen, close 
to Paris, conversing with the people, and an officer told 
me that at St. Denis friendly relations had been 
established between the French and German outposts, 
who were in the habit of exchanging tobacco and 
bacon. Paris was well supplied with the former 
article, whereas the invaders had little difficulty in 
procuring pork. 

In the month of October there were two or three 
insignificant insurrections, and we really thought that, 
as the terrible Bismarck anticipated, Paris was about to 
stew in its own juice, and become an easy prey to the 
invader. On the 6th there was a fearful demonstration, 


10,000 men from Belleville, under the orders of Citizen 
Flourens, marching on the Hotel de Ville. Strange to 
say, there was no damage done, nor a drop of blood spilt, 
during the advance or the retreat of the 10,000. Arrived 
at their destination, they demanded that the National 
Guards should be armed with chassepots ; that the 
Imperial system of opposing one Frenchman to three 
Prussians should be abandoned, and an entire change 
made in the military system ; that a levfo en masse should 
be ordered ; that Garibaldi should be called to the aid of 
the Republic ; that there should be municipal elections, 
and that all suspicious persons should be dismissed from 
the administration. The Government refused to grant 
these requests presented at the point of the bayonet ; 
the 10,000 marched back to Belleville, and Citizen 
Flourens resigned a command to which no one ever 
appointed him. As for the Government, it issued orders 
that no more bodies of armed men were to be marched 
through the streets without its permission. 

Three days later, in spite of the orders of the Govern- 
ment, there was another and more noisy demonstration, 
at which the ominous cry of Vive la Commune ! was 
heard. There was a great display of force round the 
Hotel de Ville, much marching and counter-marching, 
and General Trochu came forth and rode along the 
lines with his staff. At the moment my opinion was 
that the "red" battalions which had descended from 
their " sacred hill " considered the citizen battalions too 


many for them, and therefore declined battle. But when 
the whole affair was over, I learned that none of the 
muskets were loaded, and consequently I had a good 
deal of emotion for nothing. 

Sappia, the commandant of the. 146th battalion of 
the National Guard, and the leading spirit of the 
demonstration of the 9th, was tried by court-martial 
and acquitted. Fortunately, Henri Rochefort, Blanqui, 
Louis Blanc, and Victor Hugo, all belonging to the 
extreme party, were opposed to physical force, and it 
was all in vain that, on the 16th, FJourens caused tlje 
rappel to be beaten once more at Belleville. 

Great hopes were centred in Gambetta, who left in 
a balloon on the 5th, with the mission of rousing the 
provinces. I saw him just before he started, and he 
appeared confident of success, and if that description of 
eloquence which fires a people could have succeeded, 
Gambetta would have saved France, but enthusiasm 
could not prevail against trained troops. 

Not many days afterwards there arrived a pigeon 
from Montdidier with a despatch under its wing, in 
which Gambetta announced that everywhere the people 
were rising, and that the Government of the National 
Defence was universally acclaimed a despatch which 
sent a thrill of joy through the length and breadth of 
beleaguered Paris, and filled the souls of patriots with 
confidence in the star of the Republic. And the 
Gambetta despatch was quickly followed by another 


which a pigeon brought us from Tours, declaring that 
" The defence of Paris elicits the admiration of the 
whole world. The Prussians are demoralized." l 

And the turbulent Flourens demanded that victory 
should be decreed after the manner of the First Revo- 
lution, that generals should be furnished with the 
means of fighting, and decapitated if unsuccessful. 
There was much talk of a sortie in force which was to 
be headed by General Trochu, having Henri Rochefort 
on one side of him and Jules Ferry on the other, both 
in uniform. And the General did issue orders to the 
effect that the National Guard were to march out in 
case of need ! To ensure success Felix Pyat demanded 
that the clubs should be consulted on all military 

It was some consolation to know that the Govern- 
ment had ordered thirty-eight guns of large calibre, 
fifty bronze field-pieces, and seventy-five mitrailleurs. 
The attorneys and other corporations have offered guns, 
and there are offices in the streets for the reception of 
national offerings for the purchase of artillery. It 
appears that 1500 more guns are required for our 
defence. In fact we are full of fight, nor are the 
women behindhand. Battalions of Amazons have been 

1 In the letters of Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann may 
be found one written on the eve of Dettingen, 1743, in which 
the following passage occurs " They say Lord Stair has in his 
pocket, from the records of the Tower, the original patent 
empowering us always to conquer." 

VOL. I. Q 


organized by members of the sterner sex, Felix Belly 
and Jules Allix, who are supposed to be prophets, 
and the Amazones de la Seine have demanded to man 
the ramparts. 

The other night Jules Allix presided over a meeting 
of Amazons, being supported in the chair by several 
female warriors. Reports from various districts, not of 
a very encouraging description, were being read out 
when an Amazon taxed the Ursulines of her quarter 
with certain malpractices. Upon this an indignant 
National Guard jumped upon the platform, denied the 
soft impeachment, upset the Committee table, and all 
was turmoil and uproar. The prophet sprang at the 
throat of the National Guard, and a terrible scuffle 
ensued, which would certainly have ended to the dis- 
advantage of the former had he not received the 
assistance of some members of his battalion. When he 
reappeared on the platform his garments were much 
disordered, his locks were dishevelled, his face was pale, 
and he had the air of one who had seen a ghost and 
didn't like it. Seeing that his antagonist had vanished, 
he glared fiercely round him as if anxious to renew the 
combat, and soon recovered his composure. Now, the 
National Guard who had thus disturbed the harmony 
of the evening by defending the honour of the Ursu- 
lines was none other than the Duke of Fitz-James. a 
descendant of the Duke of Berwick, the son of Arabella 
Churchill and James II. 


Every now and then amateur proposals to attempt a 
sortie were made to the Government. In December, 
M. Quesnay de Beaurepaire asked permission to raise a 
corps of Tirailleurs de la RdpuUique 12,000 determined 
men who were to force the Prussian lines. But this 
affair fell through. After having been accepted in 
principle, General Trochu, who placed but limited faith 
in the valour and performances of irregulars, exacted 
that each member of this corps should furnish a certifi- 
cate of morality; and the certificates sent in, the General 
refused to sanction the organization of the legion in 
question ! But surely it was not with a very choice 
material that Rome was founded, or that Clive per- 
formed some of his brilliant exploits in India. 1 

This decision of the Commander-in-Chief of Paris, 
who always considered himself, not as other men, but a 
Breton, a Catholic, and a soldier, reminded Charles 
Austin of the Times of the way in which Sydney Smith 
wrote about the objections we had at one time to 

1 Macaulay says in his Essay on Lord Clive " The forts of 
Covelong and Chingleput were occupied by French garrisons. It 
was determined to send a force against them. But the only 
available force consisted of 500 newly-levied sepoys and 200 
recruits who had just landed from England, and who were the 
worst and lowest wretches that the Company's crimps could pick 
up in the Hash-houses of London. Clive, ill and exhausted as he 
was, undertook to make an army of this undisciplined rabble, and 
marched with them to Covelong. . . . He at length succeeded in 
forming a respectable force out of his unpromising materials." 
And in a very short time both Covelong and Chingleput 


employ Roman Catholics, and to conciliate Ireland at a 
moment when we were engaged in a desperate struggle 
with Napoleon, and he recited the whole passage 
taken from the letters of Peter to Abraham Plymly 
(Letter iii.). 1 

By the way, the Quesnay de Beaurepaire who offered 
to raise this force of 12,000 immoral men, afterwards 
became Procurator-General of the Republic. He was 
the grandson of the General Beaurepaire who made 
himself famous under the first Revolution by blowing 
out his brains sooner than surrender Verdun to the 
Prussians in obedience to the orders of the Municipal 

1 " Here is a frigate attacked by a corsair of immense strength 
and size, rigging cut, masts in danger of coming by the board, 
four foot of water in the hold, men dropping off fast ; in this 
dreadful situation how do you think the captain acts ? He calls 
all hands upon deck ; talks to them of king, country, glory, 
sweethearts, gin, French prison, wooden shoes, Old England and 
hearts of oak : they give three cheers, rush to their guns, and 
after a tremendous conflict succeed in beating off the enemy. Not 
a syllable of all this : this is not the way in which the honourable 
Commander goes to work ; the first thing he does is to secure twenty 
or thirty of his prime sailors who happen to be Catholics, to clap 
them in irons, and set over them a guard of as many Protestants ; 
having taken this admirable method of defending himself against 
his infidel opponents, he goes upon deck, reminds the sailors in a 
very bitter harangue that they are of different religions ; exhorts 
the Episcopal gunner not to trust to the Presbyterian quarter- 
master ; issues positive orders that the Catholics should be fired 
at on the first appearance of discontent ; rushes through blood 
and brains examining his men in the Catechism and Thirty-nine 
Articles, and positively forbids any one to sponge or ram who 
has not taken the Sacrament according to the Church of England. ;> 


Council. For this he was buried in the Pantheon ; had 
for epitaph " He chose death rather than yield to 
despots " ; and a pension was bestowed on his widow. 

By the way, another General, who played a promi- 
nent part in the First Revolution, Lafayette, appears, 
at least on one occasion, to have been troubled with 
scruples of the same nature as those which influenced 
General Trochu. Gouverneur l Morris, who was. Ameri- 
can Minister to the Court of Versailles in 1789, wrote 
thus in one of his excellent despatches " llth Oct. I 
told Lafayette that he must have coadjutors in whom 
he can confide. That as to the objections he has made 
on the score of morals in some, he must consider that 
men do not go into an Administration as the direct road 
to Heaven." 

By the middle of October the Government had done 
much in the way of placing the city in a proper state of 
defence. The sixteen detached forts, which had neither 
casemates, platforms', bombproofs, nor magazines when 
the siege commenced, have now been got into fighting 
order. It is the same with the enceinte, upon which 
11,000 workmen have been employed. All the sixty- 
nine gates round Paris have been closed, and the ditch 
made continuous. To get in and out of the gates now 
it is necessary to pass through a narrow gateway and 
cross a drawbridge. This proved a serious inconveni- 
ence afterwards, for when a sortie took place much 
1 Gouverneur was the baptismal name of Mr. Morris. 


valuable time was lost in getting the troops beyond the 
walls. Several new batteries have been erected, and 
2,000,000 sacks of earth placed along the parapets. 
The artillery now musters 13,000 strong, including 
7000 blue-jackets, who man six of the forts. No less 
than 2140 guns have been mounted, and over 6,000,000 
pounds of powder manufactured, together with round 
shot, shells, cartridges, &c. 

Even should the Prussians break through the line of 
detached forts, which will be no child's play, and scale 
the enceinte, they will still have an interior line of 
defence to conquer in the shape of barricades, the erec- 
tion of which has been entrusted to Citizen Henri 
Rochefort. Both the National Guards and the Moblots 
have picked up their drill in a marvellous way, but 
discipline, which, Carlyle says, " is at all times a kind of 
miracle and works by faith," is lax. The other day the 
men of the 117th battalion of the National Guard 
cashiered their Colonel for his political opinions, and it 
is feared in some quarters that the fact of allowing, or 
having allowed, the auxiliary troops to elect their own 
officers will prove detrimental to the service. 

Here is an instance of the working of this system. A 
man called Sappia was elected to command a battalion 
of the National Guard. For having tried to induce his 
men to march on the Hotel de Ville with loaded arms 
he was arrested, tried by court-martial, and, in spite of 
the clearest evidence of guilt, acquitted. During the 


trial it was shown that this red-hot Republican had 
formerly been an Imperialist, that he had been dis- 
missed from the army in Mexico, and that altogether he 
was a man of the most ignominious character. What 
can General Trochu think of this ? 

On the evening of October 24, Paris was much startled 
by the sudden appearance of the most magnificent 
aurora borealis, which illuminated the whole sky with 
an exquisite claret tint. This phenomenon was set 
down at first to some device on the part of the enemy ; 
it was supposed that ,all the forests round the city had 
been set fire to simultaneously in the hope of roasting 
or smoking us out. As soon as the aurora borealis 
passed away the sky cleared up, the clouds disappeared, 
and as Astronomer Fonvielle wrote next day "the 
stars then shone out with a brilliancy comparable to 
that which is reserved for the star of France when it 
shall have disengaged itself from the hideous Prussian 

It is recorded in history that during the Reign of Terror 
twenty-three theatres played nightly to crowded houses. 
Why not play now ? The Theatre Franqais replied to 
this question by giving a morning performance in aid of 
the wounded on October 25. The actors and actresses, 
however, compounded with the present doleful state of 
affairs by not appearing in costume, and the Horatii 
and Curiatii fought in presence of Rome and Alba in 
swallow-tailed coats, black unmentionables, and white 


ties. Nor had Alceste and Celimene the heart to 
appear in slashed doublet and dress of the period. It 
may be mentioned that the green-room had been turned 
into an ambulance where several actresses nursed the 
wounded, and that there were three dead soldiers lying 
there during the performance. 

The Moblots, brought up from the country, have 
been complaining of late that they have all the fighting 
to do, furnishing outposts and taking part in sorties, 
while the National Guards, all Parisians, remain snugly 
behind the ramparts. National Guards protest on their 
part that they are full of fight and eager for the fray. 
Well, they are to have a chance of displaying their 
metal, for General Trochu has asked for 40,000 able- 
bodied volunteers wherewith to form serviceable regi- 


ments, the battalions of the National Guard containing 

' O 

many men unfit for active service. 

A Sergeant Hoff has been making a terrible name for 
himself. Hardly a night passes but he performs some 
daring exploit within the Prussian lines ; he is said to 
have already slain some twenty sentries along the banks 
of the Marne. 

On October 28, that very radical print, the Combat, was 
publicly burned because the editor, Felix Pyat, inserted 
a paragraph, with a deep black border, to the effect 
that Marshal Bazaine had sent to treat with the King 
of Prussia, in the name of Napoleon III. Indignant 
National Guards seized the paper in the kiosks, it being 


considered high treason to suppose that Metz could fall. 
In the evening the city was thrown into raptures by 
the news that the Prussians had been surprised in a 
small village called le Bourget by the francs-tireurs of 
the Press and Moblots of the Seine, and driven from 
that advanced position with heavy loss. And this coup 
was executed by Parisians ! What joy ! What paeans ! 
The report made by General de Bellemare on the 
capture of le Bourget was curious in its way, and ran 
thus "Wishing to utilize the francs-tireurs of the 
Press, who had nothing to do at Coureneuve owing to 
the inundations, I ordered a night attack on le Bourget 

* o o 

. . . the enemy was surprised, driven from house to 
house, and finally fled "... some in their shirt-tails, 
it was said. The Prussian artillery opened fire on the 
village, and a desperate attempt was made the next 
morning to eject the Parisians, but without success. 

The French, however, were not to hold le Bourget 
long. Intoxicated with victory and wine found in 
the cellars, the conquerors went to sleep on their 
laurels, and on the 30th allowed themselves to be 
surprised by the Prussians as they had surprised the 
Prussians two days before. At dawn the village was 
surrounded by 20,000 men, and out of the 3000 
Frenchmen who held it, not a dozen escaped being 
killed, wounded, or captured. The Prussians, especially 
a portion of the Guard, fought with great animosity, 
having the disgrace of the 28th to wipe out. A friend 


of mine who had a narrow escape he was knocked 
down by a bullet which struck the collar of his tunic 
without piercing it, and when prone several Prussians 
in hot pursuit, thinking him dead, jumped over him 
told me that the men of Queen Augusta's regiment 
worked away with their bayonets with terrible energy, 
grinding their teeth and plying their weapons with a 
yer ! yer ! 

My friend Louis Ravenez breakfasted with me the 
next morning off a mule steak, and seemed none the 
worse for his adventure ; as soon as " the rush of war 
was past " he had managed to make good his retreat. 
His family lived next door to us a widow with two 
sons and two daughters ; the two sons in the army, one 
quartered in the most exposed position on the north 
side of Paris ; the other in a cavalry regiment in the 
provinces; the two daughters, both charming artists, 
ill. By this time we were living on rations which 
nearly always consisted of horseflesh ; and horseflesh 
poor Marie Eavenez, the eldest daughter, could not 
touch. She was literally starving when the following 
device was resorted to. She was told that I had laid 
in a large stock of beef, and that as I liked horseflesh 
just as well, I would give her beef in exchange for her 
daily ration. The ruse answered, and Marie R. ate 
my horseflesh and I ate hers until the end came. So 
much for imagination. 

The recapture of le Bourget filled Paris with grief 


and consternation ; the francs-tireurs of the Press and 
the Moblots of the Seine had been massacred almost to 
a man. Those who escaped declared that they had 
been on severe duty for fifty hours fortifying their 
position, and had been left for thirty hours without 
food, when they were attacked. The Duke d'Alenc,on 
tiunted us with being able to fight only on a full 
stomach. He said of us 

" They want their porridge and their fat bull-beeves : 
Either they must be dieted like mules, 
And have their provender tied to their mouths, 
Or piteous they will look, like drowned mice." l 

But it seems that even the light-hearted Gaul requires 
propping up. 

Ernest Baroche, a son of one of the ex-Emperor's 
Ministers, who was in command of the Moblots, 
behaved well at le Bourget. When he saw that 
further resistance was useless, he ordered his men to 
retire, and advancing alone fired half-a-dozen shots 
from his revolver into a Prussian column, and then fell 
riddled with bullets.* 

It was on the afternoon of the disastrous le Bourget 
affair that M. Thiers returned to Paris after having 
visited one European court after another in the hope 
of obtaining an intervention of some kind. It was 
through the kind offices of the Emperor of Russia that 
he was allowed to re-enter this beleaguered city and to 

1 King Henry VI. Part I. Act I. Scene ii. 


discuss matters with the Provisional Government. Ens:- 


land, Italy, Austria, Russia had all been visited by the 
indefatigable little statesman and historian. I marvelled 
if, while he was being whirled through Europe at a 
high velocity, he remembered how years before, when 
Minister of Public Works, he crossed the Channel to see 
our railways, and reported dead against them, saying 
that they would be fit only to amuse the Parisians. 
He did not even approve of our macadamized roads. 

October 31, another day of grief, mourning, and 
consternation. Only a couple of days ago the Combat 
was treated to an auto da fe for announcing the fall of 
Metz, and now the capitulation of Bazaine and his 
army is confirmed. The Government had kept the news 
back for a couple of days. What an overwhelming 
misfortune ! M. Jules Favre goes out to treat with 
Bismarck, and in his absence the Chatillon disaster 
occurs, and now while M. Thiers is here talking over 
terms of peace, comes the le Bourget affair and the 
news of the terrible catastrophe at Metz, which will of 
course render the Prussians more exacting than ever. 

Paris, so recently assured that Metz was impregnable, 
and was provisioned for months to come, was quite 
unprepared for this collapse, and immediately rose ; the 
assembly was sounded in various quarters of the city, 
the disaffected battalions of the National Guard mus- 
tered with surprising alacrity, determined to overthrow 
the Government, as if that would mend matters. An 


excited mob, in spite of a pelting rain, gathered in front 
of the Hotel de Ville clamouring for the Commune, and 
shouting, "Down with Trochu!" "Down with the 
renegade Thiers!" "Long live the Republic!" "No 
armistice ! " The Mayor Arago and General Trochu 
tried to harangue the multitude, but their voices were 
drowned in the tumult. Close to the scene of action I 
met my schoolmaster, and asked him like Mamllus 

" Where is thy leather apron and thy rule ? 
What dost thou with thy best apparel on ? " 

He told me that he was going to vote for the 

Just as I reached the Hotel de Ville, where the 
Government sat, the doors were forced in by the 
sovereign people, who inundated the apartments, dis- 
played a red flag at the window, and proceeded to elect 
a new government. General Trochu and his colleagues 
were made prisoners, confined in their council chamber, 
grossly insulted, and called upon to resign. Fortun- 
ately during the tumult Ernest Picard, the wittiest and 
most unwieldy member of the Administration, eighteen 
stone of common sense leavened with any amount of 
Gallic salt, managed to slip through the fingers of the 
captors and to reach the Treasury, more than a mile 
away, where he at once put himself in communication 
with the civil and military authorities and the com- 
manders of the well- affected battalions of the National 


While the stout M. Picard was engaged in organizing 
his forces for the delivery of his colleagues, the invaders 
of the Hotel de Ville were busy electing a Committee of 
Public Safety, and lists were being freely handed about. 
Henry Labouchere handed in to the clerk at the table 
the " reddest list of the lot." 

The mob of course behaved more Francorum in those 
gilded saloons where Prefect Haussmann had not long 
ago received 'nearly all the crowned heads of Europe, 
Queen of England, Czar, Emperor of Austria, King of 
Prussia, and Sultan glass and china were broken, 
chairs smashed, sofas contaminated, painted walls and 
rich wainscots defiled. At one moment there were no 
less than three rival Governments issuing manifestoes 
and trying to carry on the business of Paris, the Pro- 
visional Government the while remaining in durance. 
The venerable Gamier Pages, whose voluminous shirt- 
collars are as famous in France as those of Mr. Gladstone 
in England, fainted away, but was still kept prisoner. 
This state of affairs, shameful with the enemy at the 
gate, lasted for several hours, but just before the shades 
of evening gathered over the scene, help arrived in the 
shape of the 106th battalion of the National Guard, and 
the rioters quietly laid down their arms, and amid roars 
of laughter from the 106th as they passed under the 
Caudine forks, sneaked back to Belleville. A strong 
force of regulars had by this time reached the Hotel de 
Ville, General Trochu and his colleagues were once 


more free, and half-an-hour afterwards not the vestige of 
a rioter was to be seen, and the crowd which lined the 
Rue de Rivoli to see how things were going on heartily 
cheered the Governor of Paris as he rode past. And to 
think that during all this disorder not a drop of blood 
was shed, and yet none of the elements for a massacre 
were wanting arms, liquor, and a mob of the vilest 
description ripe for mischief. M. Thiers left Paris at an 
early hour, just before the insurrection broke out. So 
ended the month of October. 

Instead of punishing the rioters as they deserved, the 
humane Jules Simon has persuaded his colleagues to 
go, not to the country, which would be impossible, but 
to Paris, and to be duly elected. In fact the Provisional 
Government at present holds office by virtue of mob 
law only, having usurped authority when the Chambers 
were invaded on September 4. 

M. Thiers had a narrow escape yesterday on leaving 
Paris. The authorities forgot to send notice of his 
passage to Mont Valerien, and the consequence was, 
when passing within range of that fort he was fired at, 
and a cannon-ball very nearly put a period to his 

On November 3, the elections took place quietly 
enough, and moderate people greatly rejoiced in the 
result. General Trochu and his colleagues obtained 
557,996 votes, while only 62,688 votes were recorded 
in favour of the Commune. So order reigns in Paris, 


and no more riots are to be tolerated, and about a 
dozen of the most violent Colonels of the National 
Guard have been cashiered. 

Term commenced to-day at the Palais de Justice, 
but there were many vacancies on the bench, and our 
Minister of Justice, Arago, prohibited red mass, or the 
" Mass of the Holy Ghost," being performed as accord- 
ing to custom. I have not heard of General Trochu, 
whose platform is " God, Family, and Property," re- 

There is an Anglo-American ambulance established 
in what until the other day was called the Avenue de 
1'Imperatrice, leading into the Bois de Boulogne. It 
consists of a couple of large tents, in which the sufferers 
have plenty of air, and are admirably treated. I often 
visited this ambulance. On the first occasion I was 
rather startled on seeing a pretty young woman run 
out of a small supplementary tent with a scream. On 
inquiry it appeared that she had bravely volunteered 
to act as a nurse ; but on an artilleryman arriving, 
fumbling in his pockets, and then depositing a finger 
which had just been shot off, on the table, she had 
uttered a cry of horror and fled. I often met two 
Zouaves there, who had passed through all the big 
battles round Metz unscathed, and had both been 
wounded in a sortie in the direction of Malmaison. 
The two comrades had both been wounded exactly in 
the same place; each had received a bullet in the calf 


of the right leg. They had wonderful tales to tell, and 
they were cheery enough as they smoked their cigarettes 
in the sunny air, and hobbled about on their crutches. 
They had never been under so heavy a fire, they said, 
as at Malmaison, where they lost a comrade who had 
been through Gravelotte and other battles with them ; 
it was as if handfuls of peas were being flung at them 
so they expressed it. 

The appeal made by General Trochu for 40,000 
volunteers, wherewith to form fighting regiments, has 
not met with much success, although each volunteer 
as he stepped up to a kind of altar erected in front of 
the Pantheon to inscribe his name in a book of glory, 
was treated to a roll of the drum and given a decoration 
to wear in his buttonhole. Instead of the 40,000 volun- 
teers required, only 12,000 have presented themselves. 

Paris, which gave such an overwhelming majority 
to the Government the other day, and showed itself so 
reasonable, has to a certain extent reversed its decision. 
The twenty wards into which the city is divided, called 
upon to elect their municipal officers, have returned 
five mayors of the very reddest political dye, and this 
bids fair to breed trouble. 

Another rather serious matter is that the Government 
now find it difficult to obtain the services of skilled 
workmen for the manufacture of rifles. All the artisans 
are in the National Guard, draw thirty sous a day, 
and amuse themselves by playing pitch-and-toss and 

VOL. I. R 


suchlike games on the ramparts. It is already asked 
what these men will do when the siege comes to a 
termination. We know that Satan finds some mischief 
still for idle hands to do, and after having acquired 
habits of idleness, the Parisians will find it difficult to 
set to work again. 

On November 6, Paris learned that the negotiations 
with Bismarck had fallen through, the terms on 
which the Chancellor would consent to an armistice 
being quite unacceptable. But for the revolt of 
October 31, it is supposed that some understanding 
might have been arrived at ; but when Count Bismarck 
learned that Paris was in a state of revolt, and running 
short of food, he raised his demands, and M. Thiers has 
pleaded with the great Powers all in vain. 

As we must continue to fight, the forces in and round 
Paris have been divided into three armies. The first 
army, composed of two hundred and sixty-six battalions 
of the National Guard, with a poor show of cavalry and 
artillery, is to be commanded by General Clement 
Thomas. The command of the second army, all regulars, 
has been given to General Ducrot. General Trochu, 
while remaining Commander-in-Chief, was to have the 
third army under his special orders, but for various 
reasons the command has been handed over to General 
Vinoy. This last army is to be divided into seven 
divisions, two of which will be commanded by Admirals. 

In the midst of all these warlike preparations the 


Government has found time to order the removal of 
the marble statue of the Empress Josephine, erected 
not long ago in the Avenue named after her, and on 
the site where a charitable institution which she had 
founded originally stood. Could anything be more 
spiteful and childish? Naturally the name of the 
Avenue has also been changed. It is now the Avenue 
Marceau. I presume that this iconoclastic act was 
ordered because the "bonne Josephine," as the poor 
called her, was grandmother to Napoleon III. Will 
the Government set up the statue of one of Felix 
Belly's Amazons on the denuded pedestal ? If so, let 
it be done in brass. 

To-day M. Edrnond About, who was the first man to 
cross the frontier when war was declared, writes in 
favour of peace, and blames the Government for having 
broken off negotiations. But Paris, partly encouraged 
by false news from the provinces, though we have had 
no pigeons now for ten days, seems determined to hold 
out. However, we are beginning to suffer both for 
want of food and fuel, and the Minister of Agriculture 
(fancy having such a Minister at present) has just 
ordered all persons having cattle, sheep, or goats to 
make a declaration to that effect under penalty of 
having them confiscated. One poor animal which had 
to be delivered up, to be eventually served out in 
rations, was much lamented in my quarter. This was 
a donkey belonging to a man who used to come round 


with a cart collecting old bottles and broken glass. 
Every now and again lie made a halt, and said to his 
ass, which was almost as clever as that of Baalam, " Now, 
Adrienne, bray for the ladies' -maids ! " And upon this 
Adrienne would lift up her voice and bray. Then 
would come the order, "Now, Adrienne, bray for the 
cooks!" And again would Adrienne bray, but there 
was a very marked difference between the keys of the 
first and the second bray. And to think that poor 
Adrienne should have been eaten ! 

Alas ! many other donkeys suffered the same fate. 
I myself breakfasted one morning on the ears of a 
donkey, and I remember shortly afterwards passing by 
a butcher's shop, and seeing exposed for sale the snouts 
of half-a-dozen of those animals, and that was all. A 
painful sight also was it to see slaughtered dogs hang- 
ing up in the butchers' shops, skinned and ready for 
cooking greyhounds and bull-dogs and curs of low 
degree. People who had food to dispose of were now 
obtaining high prices. One day, strolling down the 
Rue de Rivoli, I looked into a jeweller's shop, and 
saw a piece of cheese for sale; while, in another 
direction, a maker of stays offered her customers 
puddings which looked anything but inviting. 

On November 7, a patriotic editor thus wrote 
"Should the provinces decline to carry on the war, 
they will establish for ever the supremacy of Paris over 
the rest of France. How can the provinces dare to 


speak of peace while Paris resists with so much heroism ? 
Horseflesh is rare, and the meat of mules and asses is 
a delicacy. Penetrate to the heroic faubourgs, the 
laxity of whose ideas are blamed, and you will find 
what Count Bismarck calls ' the populace/ eating horses' 
lights, and food which even dogs recently disdained." 

A large number of English residents left us to-day ; 
and as Mr. Woodhouse has gone with them, we find our- 
selves placed under the protection of Colonel Claremont, 
the military, and Captain Hore, the naval, attaches. 

On November 10, winter fell upon us, and it snowed 
hard all day, and it is difficult to find coal or wood. 
The authorities are having all the trees which lined 
our pleasant promenades on either side cut down ; but 
this will not help us much, and we have no more gas. 
A very dismal place is Paris now of an evening. The 
cafes, instead of being brilliantly lighted, merely make 
darkness visible by means of a poor show of oil-lamps. 
The only thing we have plenty of is wine, which may 
not prove an unmixed blessing. 

A few days ago I saw a sportsman in the Champs 
Elysees shooting sparrows, looking up into the trees in 
quest of game. Now these trees are to disappear, for 
firing is wanted for the hospitals and public buildings. 
It was a curious sight to see them felled. Bound the 
first which I saw cut down a large crowd had gathered, 
intent upon every blow dealt by the woodmen with 
their gleaming axes. But then, as Rabelais long ago 


told us, the Parisian is essentially badaud ; he will in fact 
stand for hours watching the laying down of a gaspipe. 
How much more interesting the falling of a stately 
elm ! But the tree had no sooner come crashing down 
than the badauds, great and small, male and female, 
fell upon it, and before the woodmen could interfere, 
had picked it to the bone, or rather stripped it to the 
trunk ; boys and girls broke off the twigs, and men and 
women the branches, and away they scampered with 
their plunder, rejoicing at having secured the where- 
withal to make the pot boil. The whole scene passed 
with such rapidity, so eager was the scramble and so 
complete the devastation, that I laughed heartily as 
the band dispersed like a flock of vultures driven 
from a carcase, leaving the woodcutters mute with 

Some historic trees, which is a pity, were afterwards 
sacrificed, and among them a row of splendid elms 
which shaded the Boulevard d'Enfer, and which had 
been planted in the reign of the Grand Monarque. 
Most of the old trees, too, in the Cour la Reine, on the 
river-side just opposite the Invalides, were forced to 
bow their stately heads to the axe laid at their roots. 
The story goes that these trees were planted in the 
year 1724 by the Duke d' An tin, Intendant of the 
buildings of his well-beloved Majesty Louis XV. The 
Duke caused four long rows of holes to be made, and 
by each hole stood a soldier of the Swiss Guard, 


sapling in Land, which was planted to a roll of the 

An older tree than any of the above-mentioned is 
reported to have been sacrificed, to wit, a cedar said to 
have been planted by Sully in the days of Henri IV. 
in the Jardin des Plantes. 

Nov. 11, the Prussians, having got some of their siege- 
guns into position, began to show their teeth quite 
in earnest, unmasking batteries at Meudon, Nogent, 
and Choisy le Hoi, and commencing their attack on the 
detached forts. On the same day the postmen who 
were out of work received a military organization. 
There were certainly no foreign or provincial mails for 
them to distribute. Even our pigeons, some of which 
birds are sent out with every balloon, have been failing 
us of late, and there is a painful impression that the 
Germans have imported falcons from Saxony with the 
view of intercepting our feathered couriers, or that so 
many birds of prey have been attracted by the slaughter 
round Paris that our pigeons find it difficult to return 
to us. 

Much abuse is daily lavished on the Prussians for 
employing spies, and certainly they appear to be well 
informed about all that occurs in Paris. Did not 
Frederick the Great laugh at Soubise after Rossbach 
for having twenty cooks and only one spy, whereas he, 
the Prussian monarch, had twenty spies and but one 
cook. That there be traitors in the French camp seems 


very certain from what happened yesterday. A small 
detachment of cavalry approaching a French outpost by 
night, was duly challenged, and on the corporal crying, 
" Qui vive?" 

" France I " was the reply. 

" What regiment ? " 

" 2nd Hussars." 

The corporal, not liking the accent, called on the 
officer to advance and give the watchword. 

" Verdoon ! " was the answer. 

The watchword was correct Verdun ; but the accent 
was so Teutonic that the French corporal ordered his 
men to fire, and three saddles were emptied, and the 
rest of the detachment galloped off. 

As for spies, of course the French employ them. 
Lamartine tells us that towards the end of the last 
century M. de Segur was sent on a mission to Berlin 
with these two words for his instructions Seduce 
Corrupt. He was to bribe the favourites, the mistresses, 
and the pet aide-de-camp of his Prussian Majesty, 
Unfortunately for M. de Se'gur, two hours before he 
arrived at Berlin a copy of his secret instructions 
reached the Prussian Foreign Office. M. de Segur's 
negotiations broke down, and he was so disgusted with 
his failure that he attempted to commit suicide. This 
was diamond cut diamond. 

By the way, Mirabeau, who paid Frederick the Great 
a visit a short time before his death, had no very 


high opinion of Prussian incorruptibility, for he wrote 
as follows in 1716 "There can be no secrets at Berlin 
for a French Ambassador unless he has neither money 
nor talent ; that country is covetous and poor, and any 
State secret may be purchased for 3000 louis." 

I may here relate a little anecdote. Some short 
time after the war, an English officer was sent to Berlin 
to try and find out something about a new rifle. He 
failed in his mission. On his way home he looked in 
at the War Office here to see an old friend, who asked 
him where he had been. On being informed, the 
French officer said "Why didn't you come here in- 
stead of going to Berlin ? we could have told you all 
about it." And the information which the British 
soldier failed to obtain at Berlin he obtained in Paris. 

A great many suggestions are made in the hope of 
solving the problem of how to navigate balloons. One 
ingenious gentleman recommends that four eagles be 
harnessed to a balloon, maintaining that they may be 
guided by means of raw meat attached to a pole and 
held in the direction which the aeronaut wishes to go. 
All kinds of absurd things are pressed on the notice 
of the Government. This is nothing new. When 
Bonaparte was at Boulogne, and threatened to invade 
England, the lively Duchesse d'Arbantes (ci-devant 
Madame Junot) relates in her Memoirs how a General, 
who afterwards became Marshal, strongly advised the 
First Consul to mount a strong body of men on por- 


poises, and thus to cross the Channel and destroy 
perfidious Albion. 

On Nov. 10, the Patrie, contemplating the continu- 
ation of the siege with feelings of awe, wrote " Berlin 
blockaded and separated from the rest of the world 
would only be so much ennui and pedantry the less, 
but Paris invested Paris captive is intelligence on 
strike. It is the life of the world which ceases; its 
heart which no longer beats." And the writer, in a 
strain worthy of Victor Hugo, goes on to say that it is 
hard to imagine such a calamity as Europe menaced 
with passing a winter without Paris, and that emperors 
and kings will certainly interfere to avert so great an 

There be eighteen clubs here, where much spouting 
goes on, and many wild theories are aired, but as yet 
no orator has sufficiently distinguished himself to make 
his mark. The Government does well to tolerate these 
clubs, in spite of their mad ravings, for they act as 
so many safety-valves. Thank goodness, they do not 
resemble the Jacobin and Cordelier clubs of the First 
Revolution, and we have no Marats, Dantons, or Robes- 
pierres, or at least they have not yet shown themselves. 
The twaddle indulged in is of an innocent description. 
Take this as a sample. A citizen proposed last night 
a simple method for capturing the King of Prussia, 
adding of course " we shall deal generously and 
humanely by him, and let his countrymen have him 


back if they like for 40,000,000." Rather a good 
price to pay pour le roi de Prusse ! 

During a snowstorm to-day a number of men suffered 
military degradation in front of the Ecole Militaire. 
One man called Andre Desqueres had been found 
guilty of assassinating a corporal, and had been con- 
demned to death by a court-martial, but the Govern- 
ment commuted the sentence. The other culprits had 
been convicted for desertion, theft, &c. What can such 
scamps care for having the buttons and epaulettes cut 
off their uniforms? During the proceedings a band 
discoursed a selection of airs from La Grrande Duchesse 
de Gerolstein, which lent a comic tinge to the affair, 
and was strangely out of season. 

On the 12th there was some sharp fighting in the 
direction of Choisy le Roi, during which a good-looking 
young Irishman, whose acquaintance I had casually 
made, fell well to the front. He had thrown up his 
commission in her Majesty's service to cast in his lot 
with the francs-tireurs. He was an excellent type of 
his gallant and daring countrymen, and his nationality 
was unmistakable, reminding me of the lines 

" So frank and bold his bearing, boy, 
Should you meet him onward faring, boy, 
Through Chili's glow, or Iceland's snow, 
You'd say ' What news from Erin, boy 1 ' " 

He appears to have been induced by his religious 
convictions to throw himself into the French ranks and 


fight against Protestant Prussia. And the poor fellow 
met his death from a Bavarian bullet. 

Sergeant Hoff has again been distinguishing himself, 
and has been mentioned in an order of the day for " an 
act of the greatest vigour. He got within twenty paces 
of a Prussian sentry and killed him; he also shot a 
comrade who came to the assistance of the sentry. 
Sergeant Hoff has already killed about thirty Prussians, 
and has received the Cross of the Legion of Honour." 
The above was signed by the Chief of the Staff, General 
Schmitz, who is familiarly called P. 0. Schmitz, because 
his numerous bulletins are signed Schmitz, P. O. or par 
ordre. 1 

It appears that it is revenge which nerves the arm of 
the redoubtable Hoff. His father is said to have been 
murdered by the enemy, and his brother, a franc-tireur, 
captured and shot. 

I believe that most of the francs-tireiirs who fell into 
the clutches of the Prussians were summarily executed, 

1 Edmond de Goncourt writes in his Journal, Ch. XXI., Jan- 
uary 2, 1872 " Dinner of the Spartans. . . . General Schmitz, a 
military man who has something to do with literature, sat by me. 
He is an intelligent man, and has always something to say worth 
hearing. On some one mentioning Alsace and Lorraine, the 
General remarked ' I was in Italy in 1866, and an Austrian, 
Count Douski, said to me, " You are making blunders much as we 
have done, and are unconsciously preparing a war with Germany 
which will cost you Alsace and Lorraine." When I protested, he 
added, " You will lose Alsace and Lorraine for ever, because the 
small States are dying out." ' . . ." 


as enjoying no military organization, being subject to 
no military authority, and being soldiers one day and 
civilians another as it suited their purposes. After the 
war was over Mr. Holt White, who had followed the 
operations of the Prussian army for the Pall Mall Gazette, 
told me that as he was one day, during the siege of 
Paris, passing in front of Prince Bismarck's windows, 
at Versailles, the Chancellor called him in and began to 
talk over the subject of the francs-tireurs, maintaining 
the necessity of shooting them when captured. Mr. 
Holt White having taken a different view, Princa 
Bismarck produced a copy of the Pall Mall Gazette 
from his portfolio, and said, " Read that article on the 
regulations, objects, &c., &c., of the francs-tireurs" 
Now this article kept by the Prince in his portfolio 
was one which I had written when the war first broke 
out, and in which I suggested that if the francs- 
tireurs carried out their programme, the war would 
resemble that waged by Red Indians, and that it would 
lead to reprisals. 

November 13. Provisions running short and very 
dear. The following are some of the prices asked 

A turkey, 2 4>s. 

1 Ib. of fresh butter, 2 16s. 

A goose, 1. 

A carp, 16s. 

A rabbit, 14s. 
Henri Rochefort, having first resigned his position as 


a member of the Provisional Government and then that 
of Inspector-General of Barricades, has enlisted as a 
private in the Artillery of the National Guard. As 
Citizen Henri Rochefort is as blind as a bat, he is not 
likely to do the enemy much damage. 

November 15. Paris was thrown into raptures this 
morning, it having been officially announced that 
General d'Aurelle de Paladines has gained a great 
victory at Orleans. The papers teem with allusions to 
Joan of Arc, and hope has once more been rekindled in 
the Parisian mind. 

November 17. Very difficult to obtain fresh meat at 
any price. The prospect of starving has operated a 
wonderful effect on people with delicate appetites. A 
dainty artist friend now frets like a spoiled child for 
that beef and mutton at which she formerly turned up 
her nose even after bitters. Courage, Mademoiselle ; a 
large cattle-dealer, who has passed a contract with the 
Government for the supply of 30,000 oxen, left this 
beleaguered city last night in a balloon to commence 
operations. How he is to get his beeves through the 
Prussian lines, over which he must have passed by this 
time at a considerable elevation, is matter for specula- 
tion. Hardly anything but pigeons reach us, and 
though by an ingenious method of photographic reduc- 
tion one of those birds can now carry under its wing as 
many words as are contained in the New Testament, it 
could hardly bring us even a single ox reduced by Liebig. 


By the way, there was a rumour yesterday that a 
man had managed to get through the Prussian lines cb 
la nage swimming down the Seine, and the Parisians, 
being of a gay turn even under difficulties, at once cried, 
" It's Musard ! it's Musard ! " I must explain that a 
man who is supposed to connive at the infidelities of 
his wife is called a maquereau, and this accusation was 
very generally laid to the charge of Musard. 

That the mackerel does not frequent fresh water was 
a mere matter of detail. Ichthyology is not perhaps the 
strong point of the Parisian. Did not the renowned 
Jules Janin once describe the lobster as the " Cardinal 
of the sea," never having seen any but boiled specimens 
of that crustacean ? And did not Timothy Trim tell 
his million readers in Le Petit Journal that oysters were 
fed with oatmeal by means of a straw inserted between 
the shells ? 

November 18. I find that a good sewer rat may be 
had after some haggling for three francs, there being no 
Government tariff on these rodents. The street boys 
angle for them down the sink-holes, and appear to enjoy 
the sport, which at times is lucrative, though they don't 
yet obtain Derry prices. I fancy that the rats them- 
selves are having a hard time of it, for this is what my 
wife saw in the Place des Victoires. She dreads rats, 
and, to her horror, one ventured out of the sewers in 
broad daylight, and made a rush at an egg-shell close to 
her, and hoping to find something inside plunged his 


head into it. A couple of gamins who saw this endeav- 
oured to catch the unfortunate animal, who was unable 
to withdraw his head from the egg-shell, and thus 
speedily fell a victim to his voracity, being unable to 
see where he was going. 

Some parts of Paris were, and probably still are, 
infested with these useful scavengers. A friend of mine 
dining at a restaurant in the Passage de 1'Opera, was 
surprised to see a rat under his table, and on mention- 
ing the fact to the landlord was told that it was impos- 
sible to keep the vermin out ; it was useless to stop the 
holes up, as fresh ones were gnawed through in a night. 
"Every Saturday," he added, "we have a hunt; trap-doors 
are placed over each hole, and on cutting a string they 
all fall, and the rats being shut in we have a massacre. 
Come on Saturday, arm yourself with a stick, and bring 
a dog if you have one." My friend accepted the invita- 
tion, and I accompanied him. The string was duly cut, 
and about a dozen of us, armed with cudgels and rein- 
forced by several terriers, entered the restaurant. In 
about half-an-hour a clean sweep was made, and the 
dead bodies of the victims, 175 by the tale, were laid 
in rows and counted ; the muzzles of the dogs were 
washed, and mine host offered us a glass of wine all 
round. A similar massacre took place every week. 
The restaurant was situated just over the main drain. 

Belleville, which is to Paris of to-day what the 
Faubourg St. Antoine was to Paris of the First Revolu- 


tion, became very unruly at this period. Its battalions 
of National Guards refuse to go out against the 
Prussians, suspecting that once outside the fortifications 
the Government will have the gates closed, and will 
leave them to their fate. The well-affected battalions 
on their side fear that while they are engaged in a 
sortie the Bellevillois intend to plunder the city. By 
the way, all the volunteers which General Trochu 
obtained when he asked for 40,000 were furnished by 
the battalions of the aristocratic quarters. The battalion 
of the Madeleine, 2800 strong, furnished 1000. 

The Bellevillois, be it observed, are always crying 
out against the clergy, and demanding the incorporation 
of ecclesiastics in the army. By law they are exempted 
from military service. It appears that there are at 
present 1015 priests in Paris, and of these 612 are 
over forty-five years of age, and consequently have 
exceeded the age at which laymen are liberated from 
the duties of the soldier. It is said that the heroes of 
Belleville would like to place the priests in the fore- 
front of the battle, which would certainly be a good 
method for protecting their own worthless carcases. 
: The newspapers constantly publish the most out- 
rageous articles against the Prussian monarch, who is 
reported now to have taken up his residence at the 
Little Trianon, which recalls to the Parisians pleasant 
memories of poor Marie Antoinette, whose head they 
cut off. " It is here," says one writer, " that. Father Gui- 

VOL. I. S 


Gui, 1 or, if you like it better, the drunken king, retires 
to digest his breakfast, smoking his Augusta, his holiday 
pipe, following with tipsy look the gyrations of his 
requisitioned tobacco. He is happy, this trooper; he 
enjoys all kinds of intoxications wine, tobacco, blood. 
He is present in imagination at the performance of the 
Marriage of Figaro, in which Marie Antoinette played 
the part of the Countess ; the Count d'Artois, the King's 
youngest brother, afterwards Charles X., was Figaro; 
the Chevalier de Vaudreuil, Almaviva; the Duke de 
Guiche, Bartholo ; the Duke de Crussol, Bazile ; while 
the part of the Page was filled by the Prince de Polignac, 
who, as Prime Minister of Charles X., signed the fatal 
ordinances." Yes, the fatal ordinances which sealed 
the fate of the Bourbon dynasty, the King flying to 
England, and the Prince also seeking safety in the dis- 
guise of a footman. And to think that the comedy of 
Beaumarchais is supposed to have been one of the 
factors which set that Revolution rolling which so 
rudely dispersed actors and audience of the Trianon 
Theatre ! 

The Government has now laid hands on all potatoes 
still for sale ; they are to be served out with our meat 
rations, now so absurdly small that many persons refuse 
to go for them. Can one imagine having to wait for 
four or five hours every third day at the door of the 
butcher for a quarter of a pound, per inhabitant, of 
1 Short for Guillaume, or William. 


doubtful beef? It is some consolation that my cook 
does not object to this, in spite of the bitter weather, 
because she and the other cooks have time to discuss 
the news of the day, and keep their tongues from growing 

November 23. Here are the kind of reports which 
help to keep us alive, and which buoy up our courage 
" Some francs-tireurs recently stopped a train containing 
120 Prussians, who were at once shot, as the Prussians 
never spare the francs-tireurs, and had just before 
executed ten prisoners." " There was fighting at 
Pierrefit yesterday. An old National Guard of St. 
Denis greatly distinguished himself, taking his stand in 
front of the line and inflicting on the enemy losses 
relatively very sensible." Which is rather vague. 
Then " A naval gunner quartered in the fort of Bicetre 
can lodge a cannon-ball in a hat at the distance of 5000 
yards. Yesterday he allowed the Prussians to arm an 
earthwork, and then with three shells blew all their 
guns to pieces. He has been decorated, as has a 
similar expert at the fort of Double Couronne." And 
concerning Prussian atrocities "A peasant has just 
been shot at Meudon for burying bread and wine 
in his garden ; while a poor stableman, whose only 
crime was wearing the Imperial livery, was summarily 
executed." And all these things slip down the capacious 
Parisian gullet like melted butter. 

November 24. Another batch of documents found 


in the Tuileries was published to-day, some of which 
are instructive. One is a telegram to the Emperor 
from the Duke de Persigny congratulating him on 
declaring war, and saying that the war was hailed with 
enthusiasm throughout the country. From another 
document we learn that his Majesty was so irritated 
at the way in which he had been treated by the Parisian 
Mobiles at the camp of Chalons I have mentioned 
how they plundered the Imperial baggage, and put the 
Imperial shirts up to auction that he ordered the 
corps to be broken up and dispersed among the frontier 
forts Thionville, Belfort, Verdun, Toul, Sedan, &c., 
all of them, with the exception of Belfort, destined to 
fall into the hands of the enemy. I have also already 
mentioned how the firemen were brought up from the 
provinces to aid in the defence of Paris, and the queer 
figure they cut and the laughter they excited with 
their Roman helmets and quaint modern uniforms 
sadly in want of repair; most of them old men, un- 
trained, and quite unfit for service of any description. 
There are three despatches published concerning these 
antiquated heroes, .whose patriotism in coming hither 
was so loudly extolled by the Parisian press, who were 
thanked for the gallant way in which they had quitted 
their native villages, which might be burned to the 
ground in their absence, to protect the capital. But the 
despatches ! On August 16, the Minister of the Iritericf 
received the following from the Prefect at La Rochelle 


" Order to send firemen to Paris creates great emotion. 
Most of them refuse to go. Population uneasy." 
Another despatch reached the Minister on the same 
date from Tours " The firemen hesitate. Will manage 
to set matters right. The measure found admirable 
by reflecting people," not by pompiers, as they are 
called, who do reflect, and don't wish to go. 

The day following the Minister in his turn wrote a 
circular, which commenced thus "The dan of the 
firemen is such that to avoid being encumbered it will 
be well to suspend further remittances (sic). Explain 
to these devoted men the reason for this temporary 
adjournment ! " 

The poor firemen who were hustled up to Paris did 
not remain many days, and must have returned home 
both sadder and wiser men. The difference between 
the official language in the above documents and 
the reality is considered rather striking. But 
when lies are told here no one has a right to throw 

November 27. All the gates are closed to the public, 
which is as much as to tell the enemy, who are observant 
creatures, that a storm is brewing. 

Paris learned to-day that a Vice- Admiral has been 
given the command of an army corps. Perhaps he 
will turn out a second Peterborough, who, we all 
know, was equally at home ashore or afloat when 
fighting was to be done. 


Paris has also learned with some astonishment that a 
number of fugitives from Chatillon, who were supposed 
to have been executed long ago, have had their sen- 
tence commuted to ten years' imprisonment pour 
encourager les autres. Further, that large quantities of 
hams and bacon have been discovered, and sent to the 
Central Markets to be there sold at a reasonable price. 
One " holder," in whose cellars 1700 hams were found, 
has committed suicide for fear of being strung up to a 
lamp-post, thus imitating the famous Gribouille, who 
drowned himself during a shower of rain for fear of 
getting wet. 

A great outcry is raised against the rich, who, now 
that there are no more hay and oats, are feeding their 
horses on bread. A horse, they say, consumes 20 Ibs. of 
bread per diem, and as there are 10,000 of them, 150,000 
human beings are daily sacrificed in their favour as far 
as the staff of life is concerned. It may be useful to 
keep horses as a stock of fresh meat, but a horse will 
eat 2000 Ibs. of bread in a month, and 300 Ibs. of his 
flesh will feed only 500 persons for one day. Two 
butchers' shops have just been opened for the sale of 
small domestic animals. Over one shop can be read 
the following sign " Btsistance a outrance ! Grande 
louclierie, canine et fdline" I witnessed a touching- 
spectacle the other day. The manager of a strolling 
company of players found that he must part with the 
old horse Pompone, who had dragged him through all 


France and Navarre. It was some time before the 
poor manager could make up his mind to part with 
his beast at the door of the shambles where the faithful 
drudge was about to close his career ; he flung himself 
several times on Pompone's neck, embraced him, 
pocketed the blood-money, and then strode away in 
despair. The whole scene reminded me painfully of 
Theophile Gautier's Capitaine Fracasse. 

Shades of Parmentier ! We have had potato riots, 
and the stalls of several dealers have been overturned in 
consequence of the exorbitant prices demanded. Be it 
remembered, that the introduction of the potato here, 
towards the close of the reign of Louis XVI., met with 
considerable resistance, and it was not until Parmentier 
planted a field near Versailles and had it carefully 
guarded all day by gendarmes that the people took to 
them. When the shades of night fell, and the gen- 
darmes were withdrawn, the field was plundered, and 
the old proverb of stolen fruit found to be true. The 
sly Parmentier, for having thus overcome the prejudices 
of his countrymen, was made a Count of by the King, 
took for armes parlantes a potato-flower, and was 
actually embraced by the Queen Marie Antoinette. I 
had the pleasure of often meeting his grandson. An 
anecdote. When at Rugby the master of my form 
asked a youth where potatoes came from, and who 
introduced them ? The reply was that they were 
imported from Ireland by Oliver Cromwell 1 


November 28. Our walls are placarded to-day with 
an extract taken from an account of the occupation of 
Paris by the Allies in 1815, informing us that when 
Denon complained to Marshal Blucher that works of 
art were being removed from the Louvre, that rough 
veteran told him to "hold his jaw." Seeing the 
fabulous number of works of art plundered by the 
French armies in Italy, Spain, and other countries, and 
how Napoleon when at Berlin seized on the sword of 
Frederick the Great, one can excuse the bluntness of 
the old Field-Marshal. Why, Napoleon took away even 
the pastoral ring and the tiara from the Pope. 

There was a performance at the Opera last night in 
favour of the wounded. Why should it be necessary 
to sing and fiddle money out of the pockets of patriots 
at such a time as this ? By way of an epilogue extracts 
from the Chdtiments of Victor Hugo were read 
portions abusing Napoleon III., not those concerning 
the flight from Waterloo. Finally, a collection was 
made in Prussian helmets. One's faith in those 
trophies of war has been very limited since the dis- 
covery of a shop for their manufacture. The way in 
which new helmets were made to look as if they had 
seen service was rather amusing. The manufacturer 
employed a number of citizens to walk about in them 
for a certain number of hours in a room heated like an 
oven. They were then battered about and exposed for 
sale. This was like adulterating glory. 


Towards evening strong bodies of troops were seen in 
motion, and a cannonade was opened which lasted all 
night long, and proved the beginning of strife. 

November 29. A proclamation was issued by the 
Government this morning, declaring that the supreme 
hour has arrived, and citizens were early thronging to 
the eastern gates for news, and thither I repaired. No 
civilians were allowed to pass, and we had to content 
ourselves with reports of the battle being waged in 
sight of the fortifications. The rapid discharges of 
artillery made all Paris tremble, and it may be readily 
imagined how sickening suspense was as we stood hour 
after hour shivering in the cold. For seven consecutive 
hours two hundred rounds a minute had been directed 
against the enemy's works, and when morning broke 
General Ducrot, who had declared that he would return 
to Paris dead or a conqueror, set his troops in motion 
and began to pass the Marne. At the same time 
General de Maud'huy attacked 1'Hay, while Admiral 
Pothuan, with his naval brigade and war companies of 
the National Guard, made a dash at the Gare aux 
Bceufs. The French had very hard luck. The Marne 
suddenly rose, swept away a number of General Ducrot's 
pontoons, and prevented him from passing the river. 
De Maud'huy was making a gallant fight of it at 1'Hay, 
and the Admiral had captured Gare aux Bceufs, when 
they learned the disaster to Ducrot's pontoons, and had 
to fall back. The grand operation had to be postponed. 


On the 30th, before daylight, Paris was once more 
aroused by incessant discharges of artillery, and another 
anxious day had to be passed. By the way, the offices 
of the Libertt were mobbed yesterday evening because 
that paper gave a true account of the failure of Ducrot's 
attempt to cross the Marne, and there was some talk 
of lynching editor Vrignault and his staff. 

To-day Ducrot got safely over the Marne at ten a.m., 
without being molested, the heavy artillery fire having 
cleared the ground in front of him. For a time he and 
his lieutenants operating with him met little opposition, 
and all went well until they neared some rising ground 
to the rear of the town of Villiers, which the Prussians 
had studded with redoubts. Here the French columns 
encountered a terrific fire, which caused them to waver. 
The officers at this juncture, and indeed throughout 
the whole battle, exhibited the utmost gallantry. A 
regular artillery duel ensued between the Prussian 
redoubts and thirty French batteries, whose guns were 
of course more exposed than those of the enemy. This 
struggle was continued for over two hours. The fight 
was carried on with great obstinacy on both sides, the 
army of Paris never having shown to such advantage, 
and it was not until the sun went down, after shining 
brightly all day, that firing ceased. The Prussians 
still held the redoubts beyond Villiers, while the French 
encamped on the ground which they had gained in the 
morning. The carnage was very great on both sides, 


and the battle may be said to have ended in a draw. 
With evening came the usual crop of fallacious reports 
" Trochu, at the head of 80,000 men, had pierced the 
Prussian lines, and was marching on Orleans to form 
his junction with the army of the Loire. The invest- 
ment was a thing of the past. The question now to 
be^ settled was how to prevent King William and his 
men from effecting their retreat across the Rhine." 
The Libert^, which got into such a scrape yesterday 
for telling unpleasant truths, apologizes this evening 
in the most abject manner, editor and staff signing 
a solemn declaration to the effect that yesterday was 
a grand day for France, and to-day a still grander 

December 1. Many comments are made on yester- 
day's operations, and although the troops as a rule 
behaved well under trying circumstances, some of the 
Moblots bolted, and a hundred are said to have been 
cut down by the Gendarmerie. The Bretons, who had 
helped to put down the insurrection when General 
Trochu and his colleagues were made prisoners, declared 
at the time that they were not going to fight for the 
Parisians, and they seem to have kept their word. 
This is not very astonishing, seeing the deep religious 
feeling with which the Bretons are animated, and 
with what an eye they regard the frivolous popula- 
tion of the capital, in defence of which they have 
been forced to leave their much-loved home. Be it 


mentioned that the Bretons retain their old customs, 
costumes, their flowing hair, and manner of living with 
greater tenacity than in any other part of France. If 
Voltaire's Martin, who insisted that people do not 
change, could see the Bretons of to-day, he would hardly 
alter his opinion. What does one find in Candide ? " Do 
you think," asked Candide, " that men always massacred 
each other as they do to-day ? That they have always 
been liars, rogues, perfidious, ungrateful, brigands, weak, 
fickle, cowards, envious, gluttons, drunkards, avaricious, 
ambitious, sanguinary calumniators, debauchees, fanatics, 
hypocrites, and fools ? " 

" Do you believe," replied Martin, " that the sparrow- 
hawks have always eaten pigeons when they found 
them ? " 

" Yes, without doubt," answered Candide. 

" Well ! " said Martin, " if the hawks have always 
had the same nature, why do you suppose that men 
have changed theirs ? " 

December 2. To-day many a patriotic fist is shaken 
in the direction of Wilhelrnshohe, where the " Man of 
December" (coup d'ttat of '51), now "Man of Sedan," 
lies captive. Most of his accomplices are dead and 
gone : De Morny, St. Arnaud, Fould, Troplong, Billaut, 
&c. On the morning of December 2, nineteen years 
ago, five Generals were arrested in their beds and sent 
to Mazas Cavaignac, Bedeau, Lamoriciere, Changarnier, 
and Le Flo, also M. Thiers and other representatives 


of the people. Changarnier was taken prisoner at 
Metz ; Le Flo is our War Minister ; M. Thiers is doing 
what he can for us in a diplomatic way. He never 
forgave Napoleon III., not for having him arrested and 
sent into exile, but for having him escorted to the 
frontier by a couple of gendarmes instead of a strong 
military escort. 

However, while the Parisians were engaged in shaking 
their fists to the east, the Prussians made a desperate 
onslaught on the French position, hoping to tumble 
Ducrot and his men into the Marne, and they very 
nearly succeeded. The attack was so sudden that 
several officers of the staff were wounded before they 
could get into their saddles, and the main body was 
driven back on Champigny, where it found shelter and 
was able to check the advance of the enemy. At Brie, 
on the left, there was very severe fighting, and the 
French experienced heavy losses, which would have 
been heavier still but for a redoubt thrown up by 
General Favre, ex-aide-de-camp to the " Man of Sedan," 
and the fort of Nogent, within range of whose guns 
the Prussians had ventured. By nine a.m. the French 
had lost all the positions so painfully won only three days 
before ; but thanks to hard fighting and General Favre's 
redoubt, which had escaped the vigilant eyes of the 
enemy and saved Ducrot, they were recovered before 
the end of the day, and the troops lustily cheered 
General Troclm as he rode along their lines and 


complimented them on their valour. The losses are 
very heavy on both sides. 

December 3. It was like a bucket of cold water that 
the following bulletin fell upon the Parisians this 
morning " The army of General Ducrot will bivouac 
to-night in the wood of Vincennes. It has repassed the 
Marne, and been concentrated at this point with a view 
to ulterior operations. About four hundred Prussian 
prisoners, among which a group of officers, have been 
brought into Paris to-day." Signed, GENERAL SCHMITZ, 

No wonder that Paris, whose hopes had been so high, 
should feel amazed and discouraged. The only ad- 
vantage they have reaped during four days' almost 
incessant fighting is in possession of the plateau of 

Among the officers who fell on the French side 
during these operations was General Regnault, Avho 
was very highly thought of. I dined in his company 
not long ago, and was much struck by his remarkable 
resemblance to Napoleon I., or rather to the portraits 
of Bonaparte when he was a lieutenant. There was a 
great charm about his manner. 

Franchetti, too, who commanded a corps of irregular 
cavalry raised by himself, and who had distinguished 
himself during several sorties, had his leg smashed by 
a shell. A couple of days later I looked in at the 
Grand Hotel, to see Henry Labouchere, the sole 


occupant of that vast caravanserai, and he told me that 
poor Franchetti was lying in the room next to his, and 
had just had his leg amputated. He did not survive 
the operation many days. 

As for Labouchere, who amused us all immensely 
with his quaint observations and inimitable stories, 
he thought it prudent shortly afterwards to shift his 
quarters. The fact is that some of his letters addressed 
to London appear to have given great offence here, and 
there has been some talk of lynching their author. I 
recommended him to a nice, quiet, out-of-the-way hotel, 
where he would find himself extremely comfortable, 
and thither he repaired and remained in security. 

In the evening I found the Boulevards in a great 
state of excitement, and newspapers being eagerly 
snatched up. It turned out that a report had got 
abroad of Bourbaki having captured Versailles. Also 
we learned that Vernon, which lies on the line between 
Paris and Rouen, has offered a most heroic resistance 
to the Prussians. Vernon has seen many changes of 
fortune. It appears to have been taken by Henry 
I., who built a castle there, one tower of which still 
remains. In 1154 it was recaptured by Louis VII., 
but shortly afterwards fell once more into our hands. 
Philip Augustus took it and lost it twice, first in 1190, 
and then in 1195. Vernon was then twice burned, 
first by Edward III. in 1346, and then ten years later 
by the Duke of Lancaster. Retaken by the Normans, 


it once more fell into the hands of the English in 1419, 
and remained in our possession for thirty years. Then 
it was carried by assault by the celebrated Dunois, and 
annexed to France. 

December 4. Ducrot's retreat has been very well 
borne, and seems to have enhanced his military reputa- 
tion. His retrograde movement was effected during a 
fog, and he has explained in the most satisfactory manner 
why he made it. There has been some fun poked at 
him for declaring that he would return to Paris dead 
or a conqueror. On inquiry it appears that General 
Ducrot, who is a most gallant officer, never uttered this 
bit of bombast, which was put into his mouth by Jules 
Favre, an adept in clap-trap. 

General Ducrot, be it noticed, has just been white- 
washed by Field-Marshal von Moltke. The General, 
who was taken prisoner at Sedan, had been accused of 
having violated his parole. This he denied, and for- 
warded an explanation of his escape to the Field- 
Marshal, who considers it satisfactory. Unfortunately 
a good many French officers have been guilty of the 
crime wrongfully imputed to General Ducrot. Their 
excuse seems to be that they were not bound to keep 
faith with the Prussians, who had not kept faith with 
them, and were carrying on a war against France which 
they had declared to have been waged against the 
Empire. One French officer who violated his parole 
was General Thibaudin, who rejoined the army and 


fought under an assumed name. This led to some 
unpleasantness when some years later the said General 
became War Minister. It was thought at the time 
that objections would have been raised at Berlin to 
this appointment. But Berlin merely shrugged its 

In my diary I find that Henry Labouchere, Frank 
Lawley, Lewis Wingfield, and Quested Lynch dined 
with me, and that we partook of moufflon, a kind of 
wild sheep which inhabits Corsica. 

December 5. The Members of the Provisional Govern- 
ment publish the following astounding letter, addressed 
to General Trochu at Vincennes ! 


" For the last three days we have been with you 
in spirit upon that glorious field of battle where the 
destinies of the country are being decided. We should 
like to share your danger, leaving you all that glory 
which you have so well prepared, thus assuring by your 
noble devotion the success of our gallant army. No 
one can have a better right to be proud of it than you ; 
no one can more worthily speak its praises ; you forget 
yourself only, but you cannot hide yourself from the 
acclamations of your companions in arms [not even 
when riding along in front of their lines], electrified by 
your example. It would have pleased us to have joined 
our voices to theirs ; permit us nevertheless to express 
VOL. I. T 


all the gratitude and affection which we feel for you 
in our hearts. Tell the brave General Ducrot, your 
devoted officers, and your valiant soldiers how we 
admire them. Republican France recognizes in them 
that pure and noble heroism which has already saved 
her. She knows that she can place her hope of sal- 
vation in you and in them. We, your colleagues, 
acquainted with your thoughts, hail with joy these 
great and glorious days during which you entirely 
revealed yourself, and which, we are profoundly con- 
vinced, are the commencement of our deliverance. 

" Accept, &c., &c., 




It would be difficult to find anything more burlesque 
than the above twaddle, published when the " General, 
and dearly beloved President " had again sought refuge 
within the walls. It ought properly to have been 
addressed to General Bourn of Gerolstein. 

We heard a great deal at this time of General 
Trochu's plan a plan which for some inscrutable 
reason he has deposited with his notary, who keeps it 
under lock and key. As time went on, the General 
began to be chaffed about his plan. 

The Journal Officiel complains of the Prussians 


shooting armed peasants, and reminds them of what 
Prussian peasants did when their country was invaded 
by the French during the First Empire. The Journal 
Officiel omits to say that the trees on the other side of 
the Rhine in those days were black with the bodies of 
peasants strung up by the French. 

Of course the summary executions complained of are 
very hard in the case of peasants whose villages are 
suddenly attacked, and who merely defend their homes. 
But it is another thing when a village has been spared 
the horrors of war, and the inhabitants, when they 
think that they may do so with impunity, take up arms 
and use them. Such was the case at Chatou, which 
lies half-way between Paris and St. Germain ; the in- 
habitants, who had not been molested by the enemy, 
during a sortie, and when they thought that it was 
succeeding, joined in the fray, and I fear had to pay 
the consequences. 

There is no probability of any further attack being 
made on the positions of the enemy for some time, as 
several divisions have been so severely handled that 
they will require a thorough re-organization. Then 
dissension is said to reign among the chiefs. The 
Government, which appears to be in want of funds, has 
laid hands on a portion of the funds recently voted for 
carrying on the works commenced by our dismissed 
Prefect Haussmann. Be it observed that the poor are 
better off now than in ordinary times, for they draw 


rations like other folk, and large numbers are clothed 
and paid as National Guards. 

December 6. Another misfortune seems to have 
fallen on the French arms. This morning General 
Trochu received a polite note from Field-Marshal von 
Moltke, informing him that the army of the Loire had 
been defeated, and Orleans recaptured. If General 
Trochu doubted this, he might send a couple of officers 
to verify the fact. General Trochu has refused, we are 
told, in simple and dignified terms, and according to 
the Temps his reply "meets with general approbation, 
and excites an amount of enthusiasm which deadens 
the impression caused by the check of our army at 
Orleans. Our resolution to defend ourselves remains 
unanimous." What a pity that General Trochu cannot 
handle his sword as well as he does his pen ! 

Then adds the writer, a naval officer "sign of the 
times" " General Noel (in command of Mont Valerien), 
seeing the scandalous disorders committed by the 
Mobiles, has established a court-martial, of which 
measure General Trochu must approve." And a woe- 
ful picture is drawn of the indiscipline which prevails, 
the complaints of subalterns, nine times out of ten, 
being unheeded, as the Generals, not feeling themselves 
supported, are afraid to punish the culprits. "There 
is little or no drill, and it will hardly be believed that 
after three months of siege there are Mobiles who have 
not fired a shot even at a target. This is the case with 


two battalions encamped in front of us. - The soldiers 
spend their leisure in ransacking the houses, and 
getting drunk with the wine they find in the cellars, 
and in destroying for the sole pleasure of destroying. 
The cleverest sell what they find, often under the eyes 
of their officers, who, when they are not their accom- 
plices, connive." . . . And December 7. The 
officer who commands at Creteil has demanded the 
recall of the Belleville tirailleurs to Paris, in the midst 
of which corps Flourens (long ago dismissed) has re- 
appeared. These heroes of October 31 (insiirrection) 
have deserted their posts in the trenches, pretending 
that they are betrayed, and refuse to return. Their 
cowardice is only equalled by their insubordination 
and debauchery. 

December 7. We heard to-day of the fall of Thion- 
ville. In the days of the first Republic that town 
gallantly resisted the Prussians, displaying a wooden 
horse on the ramparts with a bag of hay slung round 
its neck, and the garrison swore that until the horse 
ate the hay the place would not surrender. Poor 
Thionville ! 

December 8. Citizen Sans has been abusing the 
noble Faubourg St. Germain of many crimes, and pro- 
posing, in the clubs, a visit to that aristocratic quarter 
and its abandoned residences. Now many of these, 
like the Hotels de Luynes, de Galliera, and Duchatel, 
have been turned into ambulances; that of la Roche- 


foucauld is a canteen. Several noble ladies are actincr 


as nurses. Several nobles who have passed the age 
limit have taken active service. The other day, at 
Champigny, the Marquis de Podenas and the Barons 
de Grancy and de Dampierre fell on the field of battle. 
It is told how de Grancy, who was a great sportsman, 
finding his preserves poached in spite of his keepers, 
went out himself, and after watching for several nights 
at last collared a man and took him to his chateau. 
His guilt was palpable, for his pockets were stuffed 
with pheasants. What was the Baron's surprise to 
find when the culprit had unmuffled himself that the 
poacher was de Dampierre " A nice joke to kill my 
game," he said ; " but you shall pay a fine of 500 fr. and 
remain here a month as my prisoner." The Duke 
de Broglie has one son who is in the hands of the 
Prussians ; another in the army ; and a third, who after 
serving in the navy took holy orders, is doing duty as 
military chaplain, and lectures at Creteil to the soldiers. 
A certain centurion who went to hear him the other 
evening told me that he was much amused at the way 
in which the abltf opened his meeting. He called for 
two volunteers to sing Halleluiah. 

It appears that Victor Hugo was anxious to go out 
and fight during the recent engagements, but was 
prevented by the men of his battalion, who have no 
idea of the poet risking his life like an ordinary mortal. 
But have not many poets and men of letters seen 


service between the days when Horace took to flight 
at Philippi and Byron drew his sword for Greece ? 

That firebrand Flourens has been arrested and 
ought to be sent to Charenton, where there are cells 
and strait-waistcoats, and to spare. How very severe 
the remark of Montesquieu, that his compatriots built 
lunatic asylums to induce the guileless foreigner to 
believe that all Frenchmen who were at large were in 
their right minds. The number of madmen at present 
perorating at the clubs and elsewhere in this be- 
leaguered city would certainly destroy that belief now 
if it ever existed. 

One French patriot declares to-day that the odour 
of Prussian uniforms is more obnoxious than that of 
French corpses. The smell of an enemy's corpse we 
know was accounted sweet by Vitellius, but this 
evidently does not include his tunic and overalls. 
Another patriot informs his readers that if the 
Spaniards were beaten in the pitched battles of 
Sommo-Sierra and Ocana, they took their revenge at 
Vittoria, when they indulged in a national war. And 
to think that our military historians have represented 
Vittoria, a battle in which the fate of the Peninsula 
was decided, as an English victory ; the force under 
Wellington, 80,000 strong, utterly routing King Joseph 
and his army, hampered with the accumulated plunder 
of five years, capturing his Majesty's carriage, Marshal 
Jourdan's Idton, and a prodigious amount of dollars, and 


all the enemy's artillery. Of Spaniards only 18,000 
men were engaged. And for this Wellington received 
from Spain the title of Duke of Vittoria. This hardly 
resembled Mina and partisan warfare. 

December 9. My faithful cook, after an absence of 
a couple of hours, has just returned with rations for 
three days, which consist of one herring apiece. She 
does wonders, though not quite equal to the cook thus 
spoken of by Sir Walter Scott in The Fortunes of Nigel. 
And one hears that the soldiers are complaining, and yet 
they receive six ounces of meat besides bacon and biscuit. 

" During the long and severe blockade of Le petit Leyth 
the Maitre de Cuisine to the Marshal Strozzi maintained 
his master's table with twelve covers every day, although 
he had nothing better to place on it than the quarter of 
a carrion horse now and then, and the grass and weeds 
that grew on the ramparts. Des par dieux cetait un 
homme superbe ! With one thistlehead and a nettle or 
two he could make a roti des plus exeellents ; but his 
coup de maitre was when the surrender took place ; and 
then, dieu me damme, he made out of the hind-quarters 
of one salted horse, forty-five covers ; that the English 
and Scottish officers and nobility, who had the honour 
to dine with Monseigneur, could not tell what the devil 
any one of them were made upon at all." 

Four Prussian officers, prisoners on parole, were in- 
sulted to-day on the Boulevards. Fortunately they 
suffered no bodily harm. 


Large numbers of mitrailleuses are being turned out, 
and we are informed that these weapons date back 
from Henri III. At least in the year 1587, a man 
named Chantepie was broken on the wheel for having 
sent to the Seigneur d'Allegre a box in which thirty- 
six pistol-barrels were arranged in such a way that on 
removing the lid a general discharge ensued. The 
servant who opened the box was killed, but his master 
was only slightly wounded. Chantepie underwent his 
punishment in the Rue de 1'Arbre Sec, which still 

There has been no military report for nine days from 
P. O. Schmitz, who is supposed to have gone to sleep. 

December 10. To-day General Trochn, in a letter 
to P. O. S., expresses his sorrow that the four Prussian 
officers whom he sent to Paris should have been made 
the object of a hostile demonstration, as they were 
under the protection of the national honour. He says 
that he will at once arrange for the exchange of the 
officers, who " will be able to convey to the Prussian 
army but one impression, which is, that the moral 
condition of Paris, sustained by a spirit of devotion and 
self-sacrifice, was never more solid, and that we are all 
preparing for the combat." 

This letter was countersigned by M. Jules Favre. 

The celebrated Sergeant Hoff has disappeared. He 
is supposed to have fallen on December 2, after having 
slain about one hundred Prussians. 


In the bill of fare of a dinner given on this the 80th 
day of the siege, were among others the following 

Potage Parmentier (potato soup). 
Hors d'ceuvres : saucisson de cheval. 
Anguilles de Seine en matelote. 
Dos d'anon en releve, sauce chasseur. 
Croquettes de rats k la Duchesse. 

And after the above, rabbit, hashed beef, salade, cheese, dessert. 

December 11. The violent ultramontane editor of 
the Univers, who delights in calling the King of Prussia 
Sennacherib, cannot comprehend how the Government 
does not order public prayers in these evil days, and a 
pilgrimage to the shrine of Ste. Genevieve, the patron 
saint of the city. He is highly indignant with General 
Trochu for not having delivered battle against the 
heretics on the 8th, which was the feast day of the 
Immaculate Conception, when the Lord would certainly 
have been on their side. I cannot find any great 
French victory recorded on that date. Does M. Louis 
Veuillot attribute the triumph of Austerlitz to St. 
Francis Xavier, on whose fete day that battle was 
fought ? Must Napoleon share the credit of Jena with 
St. Eusebius, and that of Marengo with Bonaventura ? 
A great many devout people do flock to tiie Pantheon, 
or church of St. Genevieve, to pray before the tomb of 
the saint; but it appears that the tomb is empty 
only a cenotaph, the bones of the holy woman being 


preserved in a golden case, and exhibited only now and 
then to the faithful. 

Great excitement to-day in consequence of a number 
of bakers' shops remaining closed. Belleville thinks 
that it is to be starved. On inquiry it seems that 
there was no flour, but steam-mills have been set to 
work to repair the evil with all the speed possible. 

December 12. The papers relate how "La mere 
Crimee," the oldest cantini&re in the service, and who 
is decorated with the military medal for service rendered 
in the campaigns of Africa, Italy, and the Crimea, has 
just distinguished herself. She went out with a bat- 
talion on Wednesday, which came to a halt one hundred 
yards from the Prussian sentries, and was distributing 
petits verres all round, when one of the enemy peered 
out of a hole and was about to take a shot at her. 
" Wait a bit, Bismarck ! " she cried, and snatching a 
musket from a corporal, fired and brought down her 
man. " Braw la mdre ! " shouted the whole company 
and the old lady was borne off in triumph. And it is 
with stories like this that Paris consoles itself. 

What is more serious, is the fact that the Government 
has now laid hands on all the wood, coal, and coke 
which remains, and that no more fancy bread is to be 

December 14. Paris cannot understand why no 
foreign Powers come to its aid, but did not Voltaire 
once say " Little Frenchmen, love one another, for if 


you don't, who the devil will ? " " It is disgraceful," 
writes one editor, " seeing how we have aided every 
one aided America against England, Greece against 
Turkey, Turkey against Russia, Italy against Austria, 
Rome against Italy ; aided the Pole and the Fenian ! " 

And only to think of England, Austria, Russia, Italy, 
and Turkey now standing aloof ! The other day a syndic, 
who had been intimate with Cobden, asked me if the 
French had not rescued the English army at Inkermann 
when they had such a fine opportunity of revenging 
Waterloo ! " France," he added, " could forgive any- 
thing but injustice," and as an example he singled out 
the case of Pelissier, who " had never been pardoned 
for the gross outrage he committed in Algeria." I 
ventured to observe that if Pelissier did smoke some 
natives out of a cave, he afterwards was raised to the 
dignities of Marshal, Grand Cross of the Legion of 
Honour, Senator, Duke, Commander-in-Chief of the 
French army in the field, sent to London as am- 
bassador, and that he finally died Governor-General 
of the very colony in which he had so gravely outraged 
public opinion. " Ah, yes," replied the syndic, " but that 
waS',under the Empire ! " 

December 15. Went to dine at Voisin's, and met 
an Englishman who had long served in the French 
army as surgeon. He had seen a good deal of fighting 
in Algeria under Pere Bugeaud. He told me that he 
had in his possession a letter from General Trochu, 


written some years before, in which he foretold the 
defeat of the French army, and the siege of Paris. I 
regret that I did not see the letter, and can only say 
that Dr. Shrimpton was not given to romancing. 

We have had no pigeons for some time, but this is 
explained by the fact that in winter those birds naturally 
go south, and that the pigeon released at Tours has to 
fight against his instinct in making his way to Paris. 

There are many rumours current respecting the 
armies in the provinces. The Figaro opines that if 
the results are not satisfactory, the details are. If the 
army of the Loire has been cut in two, France has 
one army the more ! 

Baron Gaillard, who died the day before yesterday 
from a wound received during an attack on Epinay, 
was buried to-day, several members of the Government, 
though he had long served the Empire, attending his 
funeral. He had been nominated to the Legion of 
Honour, but the decoration arrived only in time to be 
placed on his coffin. 

December 16. General Clement Thomas reprimands 
the 214th battalion of the National Guard to-day, for 
having fled in a panic from Creteil, where it was on 
outpost duty. Another order of the day disbands the 
147th Volunteers, which objected to going to Rosny, 
because the wives of the married men had not been 
paid their seventy-five centimes. 

December 17. Two pigeons, in spite of their natural 


instinct to fly south, arrived from Tours to-day with 
despatches from Gambetta, which are not very re- 
assuring. Every retreat is represented as a splendid 
retrograde movement, and the Ddbats happily accuses 
Gambetta of having invented la fuite en avant. But 
was not this invented by Shakespeare ? Cloten, the 
son of Cymbeline, fights and complains 

" The villain would not stand me. 

2 Lord. No ; but he fled forward still, toward your face." 

Cymbeline, Act I. Scene iii. 

December 18. To-day General Clement Thomas 
demands the dismissal of Commandant Leblois of the 
200th National Guards, that officer and half of his 
battalion having reached the outposts in a state of 

It is feared that Paris will be bombarded, and 
patriotic editors are protesting against such an iniquity, 
reminding us of the obloquy under which England has 
laboured ever since Copenhagen was bombarded in 
1808, and Washington in 1814, also of " the odious 
pillage of the Summer Palace at Pekin." The French, 
we are told, always behaved with generosity and 
humanity. But did not Napoleon I. bombard Vienna 
when the Princess he afterwards married was lying ill 
in her palace ? Washington was not a capital when 
a few shells were fired into it after Bladensburg, and 
as for the Summer Palace, surely the French looted 
that before the English arrived ? Did not General 


Montauban pick up a splendid necklace there, which he 
presented to the Empress, who refused it ? 

December 19. The rations are miserable, and prices 
are decidedly high. Cheese is quoted at 18 francs per 
pound. An egg, 1| francs ; a box of sardines, 10 francs ; 
a rabbit, 30 francs ; a chicken, 25 francs ; a goose, 70 
francs ; a peacock, 110 francs. One can still dine 
moderately at a good restaurant for a louis. 

An officer tells me that the Prussians pick up all the 
stray dogs they can find, feed them well, and train them 
to do duty as sentinels. 

Another despatch from Gambetta this afternoon. He 
speaks in the highest terms of the military talent dis- 
played by General Chanzy. The optimists are delighted 
to learn that Manteuffel and his men could get no 
further than Honfleur. Probably they had no wish to 
perish like Pharaoh and his host. 

The mortality is increasing at an alarming rate ; it 
rose from 2455 deaths the week before the last to 
2728 last week. 

December 20. Orders have again been given for 
closing the gates, public opinion being strongly in 
favour of another sortie in force. The idea of Paris, 
which contains 600,000 fighting men, being invested by 
150,000 Prussians, is repugnant to the feelings of 
patriots. To-day the Prussians fired their first shell 
into the city ; it passed over the detached forts, and fell 
into Montrouge on the south-west side of Paris. We 


are assured that the battery which committed the 
daring sacrilege was immediately silenced. 

General Clement Thomas now complains of the men 
of the 201st battalion, who reached the outposts at Issy 
in a state of intoxication ; broke into the church, pro- 
faned the altar and the sacred vessels, clothed them- 
selves in the sacerdotal robes, and parodied the religious 
ceremonies. The consecrated bread and wine were 
handed round with revolting jokes, reminding one of 
the Fete, de Vane and other fetes which used to be per- 
formed here in the Middle Ages in the churches, and 
with the sanction of the Church. 

The clubs continue to rant. General Trochu was 
accused last night of having received 30,000,000 francs 
for betraying Paris, which proves that this city is worth 
more than a mass the price at which Henri IV. 
purchased it. The other members of the Provisional 
Government are represented as " drawing immense 
salaries, being, as an orator at Belleville cried, very 
uulike the honest men of '93. who deposited their 
savings on the altars of the country, wrapped up in the 
corner of their pocket-handkerchiefs." 

At Durand's a young gentleman who complained 
that his bif-tcck de clieval was very dark, was blandly 
informed by the waiter that this arose from the animal 
from which it was cut having been purchased from an 

December 21. There was some very heavy fighting 


at that old bone of contention, le Bourget, this morning, 
with a prelude by the neighbouring forts and some gun- 
boats which had crept down the Seine to join in the 
fray. At two p.m. placards signed by P. O. Scbmitz were 
posted up all over Paris, saying that the fight was going 
on with every chance of success, and that 100 prisoners 
had been made. " The Governor is at the head of the 
troops." For a time the French carried all before them, 
and the men of the Naval Brigade fighting with their 
hatchets greatly distinguished themselves, but in the 
end were repulsed, losing 279 men out of 600 who 
went into action. It was found necessary to evacuate 
le Bourget. An attack to the right made by General 
Vinoy met with more success, and resulted in the 
capture of an important position. 

Paris is in despair over the death of so many sailors, 
and Paris does well to bewail their loss, for the Naval 
Brigade is a splendid body of men, whose appearance, 
good conduct, and discipline deserve the highest eulogy. 
Several of the detached forts are manned entirely by 
blue-jackets, who regard .their fort as their ship, and 
I believe that not a man has been punished since 
the siege commenced, which is saying a great deal, 
as Jack often obtains leave to take a cruise into 

The French must be always gay. Last night there 
was a jovial party at Vachette's. This was the bill of 

VOL. I. U 


Consomme de chien Bismarck. 
Saucisson de 1'ane k 1'Allemande Queues de rats a- la Guillaume, 

avec cornichons Bavarois. 
Langue de chien a la sauce de Moltke Oreilles d'ane avec bou- 

lettes k la Saxonne. 

Gigot de chien k la Prussienne Cotelettes d'ane panees k la faon 
de notre Fritz 

the dinner winding up with croutcs Impdriaks, or 
Imperial blunders. 

December 22. On the body of a Bavarian recently 
slain a curious love-letter signed " Mary" is said to have 
been found, forwarding two dollars subscribed by the 
mayor and municipal authorities of her village, to 
encourage her intended to smite hard on the " red- 

December 23. The men of the 23rd battalion who 
behaved deplorably the other day on the Marne have 
been so badly received by the women of Paris that they 
have asked to be allowed an opportunity for retrieving 
their character. The Colonel has been placed under 
arrest, but the officers and men have been sent on out- 
post duty, which is no joke just now with the glass 
many degrees below freezing-point. 

A large supply of codfish is reported to have been 
discovered quite accidentally by a sailor. It appears 
that when M. Thiers had the forts round Paris con- 
structed, he ordered them to be provisioned with 
50,000 barrels of salt fish, which were quite forgotten. 
It was thought that these barrels contained cement, 


until a man belonging to the Naval Brigade broke one 
open the other day. As they have been there ever 
since 1840, the fish will no doubt be rather dry eating. 

Christmas Day. No church-going to-day, for want 
of pastors; no roast beef; no turkey; no plum-pudding. 
Would not Voltaire, who makes Madame de Kerkabon 
in L'Ingtnu say, " Those cursed English, they think 
more of one of Shakespeare's plays, a plum-pudding, or 
a bottle of rum than of the Pentateuch," pity us? 
Labouchere and Lynch dined with me, and I managed 
to procure a chicken and a ham for the repast. The 
chicken I purchased, and the ham I found in the apart- 
ment of a friend, which I forced open. 

My butcher, who displays the arms of England over 
his door, and goes by the name of the English butcher, 
has purchased a number of animals from the Jardin 
d'Acclimatation, and offered, among other luxuries, Polar 
bear and dromedary for sale. Also plum-puddings, 
which were mistaken by the Parisians for Prussian 
cannon-balls, and certainly they looked quite as deadly. 

There is much ranting in the papers over Christmas, 
and several incoherent individuals have been let loose 
on the Press. " Nations like men," writes one of these, 
" have been nailed to the cross. Has not Poland been 
called ' the Christ nation ' ? To-day it is France, that is 
to say the expansion of liberty and progress, whose long 
agony astonishes the world, which looks on without 
moving, for she has gone through the defeats and hurnili- 


ation of Pilate, who is England, and Caiaphas, who is 
Russia. Judas is at Wilhelmshoe." Then the King of 
Prussia is compared to Attila, who drags a horde of 
barbarians in his train. " But the resurrection of 
Republican France is at hand, and God will put the 
victory into her sabots the glorious wooden shoes 
of '93." l 

December 26. The cold is intense, and many people 
prefer remaining in bed to facing the weather outside, 
or sitting up in a fireless room. The suffering in the 
trenches is very great, and I hear of ore unfortunate 
soldier being found frozen to death with his gun up to 
his shoulder. We have a report of the trial of Lieu- 
tenant Muriel this morning, on the charge of breaking 
into a house and killing the proprietor a charge fully 
proved. It came out at the court-martial that this 
officer had been sentenced to six months' imprison- 
ment for theft ; on another occasion to two years, 
and on a third to three years ; and when he was 
elected a lieutenant he was an escaped convict. Lieu- 
tenant Muriel has been let off with five years' hard 

There was some sharp fighting at Villa Evrard to- 
day, when the French were surprised, and many officers 

1 It is the custom of French children to put their shoes on the 
hearth on Christmas eve to see what the infant Jesus will give 
them, and they naturally find all sorts of presents in them the 
next morning. 


and men fled, spreading alarm up to the walls of Paris. 
These fugitives are to be tried. 

All Belleville, 60,000 strong, threatens to descend on 
the Hotel de Ville to demand the release of Flourens, 
that Blanqui and Felix Pyat be allowed to show them- 
selves, and that Garibaldi be proclaimed chief of the 
New Universal Republic. 

With the Seine frozen over, one is not astonished at 
hoardings being broken down, and scaffoldings, palings, 
and even trucks and carts being seized upon for fuel. 
Wine, too, is running short. Last night at Blanqui's 
club a citizen denounced his landlord, who had prose- 
cuted him for burning the door of his apartment. A 
citoyenne declared that orders had been issued to pick up 
none but wounded officers on the battlefield, there being 
too many privates in hospital. She also stated that in 
her quarter the Sisters of Charity were in the habit of 
carrying the men who were dangerously wounded out 
into the night air so that they might die of cold (ex- 
plosion of indignation). She had been seized, she said, 
by eighty Breton Mobiles and almost strangled, and in 
passing before an ambulance a pistol-shot had been 
fired at her (expressions of horror). And this is the 
kind of raving that goes on. 

A curious old man died here yesterday, ninety-seven 
years of age, of the name of Lambert. He had acted 
as tipstaff during the Reign of Terror to Fouquier 
Tinville, whose very name sends a shudder through 


one's veins. When the reaction came, Lambert fled to 
England, where he obtained a place in a brewery. In 
1815 he returned to Paris with the Bourbons, and was 
allowed to live here in peace. His chief pleasure was 
the cultivation of flowers. The atrocities he witnessed 
in '93 continually troubled him, and he could seldom 
be induced to speak of them. We are told that his 
last words were " Que Dieu sauve la France ! " Only 
three persons followed his remains to the grave. 

December 29. Alas ! P. O. Schmitz is obliged to 
announce another disaster this morning. The plateau 
of Avron, won a month ago and fortified with heavy 
naval guns, has been swept clear by the Krupp 
cannons. The French suffered severely before and 
during the retreat, and lost several guns. This retro- 
grade movement conducted by General Trochu is highly 
commended by P. O. Schmitz. The Governor, he says, 
withdrew his seventy-four guns almost intact. 

Some of the detached forts are being bombarded in 
a way which will put their powers of resistance to a 
severe test. 

In ordinary times Paris gives relief to 105,000 poor 
people; that number has now increased to 471,000, 
and it was only the other day that the Municipality 
voted 20,000 for the establishment of extra national 
cantines, or cheap kitchens, which the Government, 
which has bought up large stores of food and fuel, 
keeps going. Paris, in addition to its own poor, has to 


support a large number of families driven in from the 
surrounding villages occupied by the invaders, which 
families are lodged in sumptuous palaces which they 
treat like pigsties. About 500,000 Ibs. of bread, 800 
in money, and 80 worth of wood are distributed daily. 
In addition to this, ther3 is a great deal of private 
charity. Sir Richard Wallace, for example, relieves 
not only English but French misery in the most muni- 
ficent manner, devoting much time to his good works. 
The National Guards each draw 30 sous a day, and 
their wives 75 centimes, which is handsome pay, con- 
sidering that a good dinner can be procured at the 
cantines on the ramparts for 4td. 

M. Jules Favre states, not very positively, that both 
Prince Frederick Charles and General van der Tann 
have suffered defeat, and that the armies of the Loire 
are within twelve leagues of Paris. I don't think that 
this statement meets with general credence, to judge 
by the prevailing gloom which hangs over the city. 

January 1. We were promised a good ration of beef 
for to-day, but instead of that we have received only a 
poor one of horseflesh. It is not always more blessed 
to give than to receive ; I had my Ravenez friends to 
dine, and we regaled ourselves on elephant. I must 
say that I found it oily, and did not like it. Our 
butcher, Dubooz, bought Castor and Pollux, the two 
el(3phants upon whose backs I have seen so many 
laughing children ride in the Jardin d'Acclimatation. 


He calculated that they would give 3000 Ibs. of flesh 
apiece, but they yielded only 2000. However, he must 
have made money by his bargain, as he charges 20 fr. a 

The Prussian fire is very heavy, but Paris consoles 
itself with the rumour that Chanzy, Bourbaki, and 
Faidherbe are close at hand, and that the enemy is 
bombarding to prevent us from hearing the sound of 
their guns, and marching out to form a junction with 
their advancing columns. According to P. 0. Schmitz, 
the detached forts, which are being very roughly 
handled, have suffered little or nothing from the 
Prussian batteries. 

The Parisians who have remained here when they 
might have fled into the provinces are so proud of 
themselves that they propose striking a medal in their 
honour, representing Paris repulsing the foreigner. 

A Breton soldier died a couple of days ago in a god- 
less ambulance, and his fellow Bretons wished to give 

* O 

him Christian burial, but to this the ambulance men 
objected, and so they hurried the corpse away and 
buried it without any religious ceremony. How 
deplorable ! 

Edgar Quinet informs us that forty years ago the 
illustrious Creutzer told him that he could only under- 
stand German philosophy when explained to him by 
a Frenchman, upon which Edgar politely replied 
" That does not astonish me. You require a lantern 


when you go down into the cellar." He adds that the 
Prussians wish to extinguish France because she is the 
light of the world. 

January 2. Just a year to-day since poor Emile 
Olivier took office, promising France the blessings of 
peace, a stable government, and liberal measures. And 
to think that the Emperor would have nominated the 
Ministry on the first, but objected to sign the decrees 
on a Friday for fear of ill luck ! 

During the last week of the old year the deaths 
among the civil population amounted to 3280. 

January 3. The firing has been very heavy, although 
the papers assure us that no sooner is a Prussian 
battery unmasked than it is silenced. How such lies 
can be written and swallowed passes all understanding. 

P. O. Schmitz tells us to-day that a man caught in 
the act of deserting has been tried and shot. This is 
the first soldier executed under the third Republic. It 
is rather late in the day to begin making examples. 

An officer having asked for leave to visit his dying 
mother, the General granted it, slyly remarking when 
he had retired "Thou shalt honour thy father and 
thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land." 
It is said that Judge Bushe, the well-known Irish wit, 
being informed one day while on the bench that two 
lawyers had refused to "go out," one on the ground 
that his wife, the other because his daughter, was sick, 
wrote on a slip of paper 


" Two heroes of Erin, abhorrent of slaughter, 

Improved the old Jewish command ; 
One honoured his wife, the other his daughter, 
That their days might be long in the land." 

This was quite half a century ago. 

January 4. Great hopes are entertained that Chanzy 
is about to deliver us. We are told that he has fought 
nineteen battles, won six, and drawn six. 

The sum of 3200 is asked for the hippopotamus, 
but no purchaser has been found. 

P. O. Schmitz tells us to-day that "the fort of 
Nogent received 1200 shells, which have not produced 
any more effect than those of the preceding days." 

January 5. The dies irce has come. A violent fire 
was opened this morning on the forts of Montrouge, 
Vanves, and Issy, and later in the day a number of 
shells were thrown into the south side of Paris, creating 
great consternation. 

The Government calls on the people to show them- 
selves "worthy of the army of the Loire, which has 
defeated the enemy, and of the army of the North, 
which is marching to our assistance." 

P. 0. Schmitz says that a few shells have reached 
the quarter of St. Jacques, but without causing any 
alarm to the population. 

An infamous proclamation has been issued by the 
" reds," signed by delegates of the twenty wards, who 
demand the Commune, and attack the Government for 


allowing 500,000 gallant Frenchmen to be cooped up by 
200,000 Prussians. Better perhaps attack the Prussians. 
"Are the people who destroyed Bastilles and over- 
turned thrones to wait in mute despair until cold 
and famine have chilled their hearts ? " asks the 

General Trochu has replied to the "reds," and de- 
clared that he will never capitulate. 

January 7. The cold very severe. Twenty thousand 
trees have already been felled. The hard weather, so 
spies tell us, is killing 1200 Prussians a day. 

January 8. Paul de St. Victor, and indeed all Paris, 
are highly indignant, and this is the cause : Johann 
Deitrich of the 88th Regiment, German, was slain the 
other day, and in his pocket was found a letter from 
Margaret Schneider, asking him to loot her a pair of 
earrings in Paris. This letter quite upset the city for 
twelve hours, and furnished Paul de St. Victor with the 
occasion for penning a patriotic article four columns in 
length. " Kill France ! " he cries. " Why, France is 
immortal. And Prussia thinks she can annihilate a 
great country in six months. France is a light, and a 
light cannot be killed. Only barbarians suppose that 
an eclipse devours the sun. Germany, having wished 
to kill France, can say, like Macbeth after the murder 
of Banquo, ' I have killed sleep.' The Rhine is no 
longer a river of water, but a river of blood and tears." 

The members of the Diplomatic Corps are sending 


a note to Count Bismarck, protesting against the 
bombardment of Paris. Mr. Washburne, the American 
Minister, wished this document, which is mild in form, 
to be much more comminatory; but some of the 
secretaries of legation insisted upon a modification of 
the original draft. It is observed that the Prussians 
ought to have given due notice of their intention to 
shell the city. One projectile is said to have fallen 
between two girls who were sleeping together, and to 
have hurt neither of them. A large number fell into 
the Faubourg St. Germain, and one on the left bank 
of the Seine just opposite to the Tuileries. The 
Prussians, in fact, are firing over the southern forts with 
a view of intimidating the besieged and forcing on a 
capitulation. One shell struck that most beautiful of 
parish churches, St. Etienne du Mont, but fortunately 
without doing much damage. Another struck St. 
Sulpice, and shattered the chapel of the Virgin to 
pieces. A third, the hospital of La Pitie", killing a 
woman. The school of St. Nicolas was also hit, one 
shell killing four little boys and wounding five others. 
P. 0. Schmitz accuses the Prussians of firing purposely 
at the hospitals. 

January 9. The bombardment continues, and we 
have more casualties to deplore. Two shells have struck 
the Luxembourg Palace, which contains so many master- 
pieces of modern art. All this is very sad. However, 
H. Jules Richard, an able French war correspondent, 


assures us that "We have good news and true, and 
if the guns of Messieurs the Prussians treat us with a 
concert, the army of Faidherbe is playing an accompani- 
ment in the distance. March, march, brave army ; make 
forced marches; Paris awaits thee." And much more 
in the same lyric strain. In the meantime the " reds " 
bitterly complain of the way in which military affairs 
have been misconducted. Some unforeseen incident 
always happens to the French arms, while the Prussians 
are never surprised, and a long catalogue of French 
blunders is given. 

January 11. General Trochu astonished Paris this 
morning by announcing that two officers of the Mobiles, 
a lieutenant of the National Guard, a corporal, and 
three men have deserted to the enemy. Their names 
are held up to public reprobation. General Trochu 
thinks that they will be severely punished when they 
learn the successes of the armies of the Loire and the 

In order to protect the military hospital of Val de 
Grace several times struck General Trochu has 
directed some wounded Prussians to be conveyed 
there, and has notified this fact to Field-Marshal von 
Moltke. The hospice of Salpetriere, which contains 
3000 aged or infirm women, 1500 mad women and 
other patients, is reported to have been struck on 
Sunday night by no less than fifteen shells, and the 
hospital of La Charite eight times. No mention is 


made of the number of victims. At the latter place it 
is reported, however, that a projectile burst in the room 
of a medical student, who was fortunately not at home, 
and smashed everything therein with the exception of 
a German pipe ! 

The number of deaths among civilians last week 
shows an increase of four hundred over those of the 
week before, and the undertakers are obliged to bury 
the dead by torchlight as well as by day. 

January 12. General Trochu announces the dis- 
covery of some horrible plot, and there is a report of 
traitors having been discovered among officers holding 
high command. A sortie had been planned to take 
place yesterday, when it was found that the Prussians 
over-night had massed large bodies of troops at the 
point about to be attacked. The Si&cle, writing about 
this piece of treachery, says that only four Generals 
were aware of the plan Trochu, Ducrot, Vinoy, and 
Schmitz. A Polish spy arrested to-day, and questioned 
about his accomplices, is said to have replied " If you 
want to discover the spies, you must search for them in 
the headquarters staff." How pleasant ! 

People are flying from the left bank of the Seine, 
and among the fugitives one notes that Victor Hugo 
has deemed it prudent to shift his quarters. As far 
as I can see with a good glass, the southern forts have 
suffered terribly from the fire of the enemy's batteries. 

January 13. We learn that our Foreign Minister 


has been invited to go to London, to take part in the 
Conference on Eastern affairs ; but it is very unlikely 
that M. Jules Favre will leave Paris at such a critical 
moment as the present. And with what authority 
could he act ? 

Distressing anecdotes are current of persons who 
have been reduced to eat their own pets. My wife's 
nurse arrived this morning with a basket, and said to 
me in a most piteous tone " You can eat him, sir ; but 
I cannot." On raising the lid of the basket, I found 
the contents to be a torn cat, which was declined with 
thanks. Punch and Judy continue to beat each other 
about the head, but poor Toby has disappeared. 

January 15. We are evidently getting to the end of 
our provisions, for the Government has just ordered the 
slaughter of all the horses in Paris, with the exception 
of 2000, which are considered absolutely necessary for 
carrying meal and drawing hearses. The bread is 
something fearful, bran and chopped straw being mixed 
with the flour, and even a little sand to make it weigh. 
I put a piece this morning into a tumbler of water, 
and it went to the bottom like a stone. No wonder 
mortality is on the increase. 

General Vinoy made a sortie this morning, but as 
the Prussians were on the gui vive, it was not persevered 
with. Several wounded Prussians were captured, and 
an officer who, having mislaid his spectacles, walked 
into the French lines unintentionally. 


January 15. Another shell has fallen into St. Sulpice, 
and destroyed a picture of the Last Judgment. This 
morning during service the whistling of shells was so 
incessant that the good curd dismissed his flock, but 
remained at his post himself, walking up and down the 
aisle like a captain on his quarter-deck. 

Citizen Gagne, a well-known lunatic, proposes the 
slaughter of all persons over sixty years of age, and 
invites the venerable members of the Government to 
set an example by immolating themselves on the altar 
of a starving country. 

January 17. The Prussians continue to unmask new 
batteries, and the forts of Issy, Vanves, and Montrouge, 
which I can see from the Trocadero, appear little but a 
heap of ruins. One hears of people on the left bank 
of the Seine issuing invitations to dine, with on lombar- 
dera on the card, or on recevra dans la cave. But these 
jokes are current only on the right bank, which has not 
been bombarded. The bombarded portion of Paris 
now resembles a pest-stricken city, and we shall soon 
have grass growing in the streets. All public vehicles 
have long ceased running there. Casualties, however, 
are numerous. One shell killed three washerwomen, 
and carried off the arm of the husband of one of the 
victims. Three shells fell almost in the centre of 
Paris. One fell into the study of M. Littre, in his 
absence, and demolished a bust of Sainte Beuve, and a 
portrait of Auguste Comte on his death-bed. 


January 18. What dire humiliation ! This evening 
we learned that King William of Prussia was td-day 
crowned Emperor of Germany, in the palace of that 
haughty Louis XIV. who is said to have offered to 
make the Grand Elector, Frederick William, a king; 
but who declined for the present. And now here is a 
King William crowned Emperor at Versailles, on the 
anniversary of the day on which in 1701 Frederick I. 
put the kingly crown on his own head, and then 
crowned his spouse. All is, no doubt, feasting and 
joy at Versailles, but here in Paris reign doubt and 
gloom, and it is rumoured that the colleagues of Trochu 
have at length lost faith in the military capacity 
of their dearly loved Governor and General, and have 
asked him to resign. It is evident the end is approach- 
ing, and that many-headed monster, the public, requires 
a scapegoat. 

Now when people dine out they are respectfully 
asked to bring their own bread, as in the early days of 
the First Revolution. The clubs in the meantime are 
becoming more and more rabid, and suggesting all sorts 
of outlandish schemes for annihilating the enemy. One 
may say of their frothy orators as the clown in Antony 
and Cleopatra said of women " He that will believe 
all that they say, shall never be saved by half that they 
do." At one club it was proposed that the military 
dictatorship should be abolished and the command of 
the army divided among several Generals, behind each 

VOL. I. X 


of whom should be placed a Commissioner of the 
Republic charged to blow out his brains in case he 
proved a traitor. In another club the people were told 
that the contractors, having realized enormous sums by 
the sale of the elephants and other animals in the 
Jardin des Plantes, and of potatoes, now proposed a 
shameful capitulation. One citizen accused the clerks 
of the Bank of eating two cows and a calf while there 
was no fresh meat for the ambulance opposite. And so 
on ad infinitum. 

The Rfoeil having yesterday criticized the conduct of 
General de Bellemare very sharply, that officer paid a 
visit to the editor and converted him, using the argu- 
mentum baculinum. This morning appeared an article 
in the same paper eulogizing the General rather beyond 
his merits. 

To-day a shell fell into the study of the savant 
Daubree, who for some years past has been studying 
the constitution and effects of bolides, and was far from 
expecting the visit of the spurious article manufactured 
by Krupp, which, fortunately for him, did not explode, 
but rolled harmlessly under his table. Another shell 
burst in the library of the scientific Abbe Moigno, who 
yesterday wrote a violent article against the bombard- 
ment. The reply was more violent still, for it pulverized 
a bookcase and fearfully lacerated 500 volumes. The 
Abbe himself escaped Avith a slight wound in the head, 
and said he would gladly . shed more blood for the 


salvation of France. He recently explained the miracle 
of Joshua, saying that it was the earth, not the sun, 
which stood still, but if the prophet had told our planet 
to cease revolving on its axis no one would have under- 
stood him. Did Joshua know it ? Pythagoras knew 
that the earth went round the sun, not the sun round 
the earth, but that was about a thousand years after 
Joshua's time. 

January 19. This morning there was a sortie in 
force, 100,000 men marching out against the enemy 
without beat of dram, and rather taking the Prussians 
by surprise, and capturing the important position of 
Montretout, which had been lost on the second day of 
the siege. General Vinoy commanded the left, General 
de Bellemare the centre, and General Ducrot the right, 
under the eye of General Trochu. Unfortunately for 
the French, Ducrot, who had been obliged to march ten 
miles in the dark, and found his road blocked by a 
column of artillery which had lost its way, was unable 
to reach the post assigned to him in time; the Germans 
bringing up strong reserves the day ended in a repulse. 
The fighting was very severe, and the French losses 
amounted to 5000 killed and wounded. 

The Government had little faith in the success of 
this sortie, but in deference to public opinion considered 
it necessary to make one last effort before throwing up 
the sponge. A great many of the National Guards 
engaged were under fire for the first time, and, to judge 


by the number of stragglers who came flocking through 
the gates early in the afternoon, did not appreciate their 
baptism. I met numbers of disbanded men in the 
Avenue de la Grande Armee going home, having had, 
as they said, quite enough of it. 

' January 20. On top of the repulse of yesterday 
conies the news that Chanzy has been defeated, with 
the loss of 10 ; 000 men. Paris is in a ferment, and the 
"reds" once more threaten to give trouble. There is 
hardly any food left. We have devoured 40,000 horses 
and many other animals, and even our poor substitute 
for the staff of life cannot last a week longer. 

Among the slain of yesterday France has to bewail 
the loss of the young artist, Henri Regnault, who in 
May last won the prize for painting at the Salon. 
Sevestre, too, of the .Theatre Franqais, has fallen, with 
Genaro Perelli, a composer; the aged Marquis de 
Coriolis, an ex-officer of Zouaves, and many others. 

The bombardment of St. Denis was commenced to- 
day, after due notice had been given. 

January 22. General Trochu, having sworn that he 
would never capitulate, has handed over the command 
of the army to General Vinoy, who has appointed 
General de Valdon to succeed P. 0. Schmitz l as chief 
of the staff. 

1 In de Goncourt I find December 11. General Schmitz told 
the following anecdote about Inkerman. He was with Canro- 
bert, Lord Raglan, and an English General, whose name I have 


At noon an attack was made on the Hotel de Ville 
by the " reds," to the cry of " Vive la Commune ! " but 
they were warmly received by the Breton and other 
Mobiles, and fled leaving behind them their leader, 
Sapia, and twenty rank-and-file. Lord Palrnerston is 
reputed to have said, that when a Frenchman is in a 
minority he goes into a garret and makes cartridges. 
And this is what the " reds " have been doing all 
through the siege. Hazas was also broken into, and 
Flourens and other prisoners liberated. 

These events threw Paris into such a state of excite- 
ment that an evening paper remarked that the death of 
the new Emperor William, due to an attack of apoplexy, 
passed almost unperceived. 

January 23. The Government has ordered the clubs 
to be closed, and several arrests have been made. Trop 
tard. The bombardment of Paris and St. Denis con- 
tinues. Strange that a shell which struck the old 

forgotten, but who spoke French indifferently ; he called Canro- 
bert's attention to the movements of the Russian army. " Are 
you not of opinion, General, that this would be a propitious 
moment to pursue the Russians? I believe that they could be 
destroyed." On hearing these words Canrobert turned to Lord 
Raglan, saying " Is this your opinion also, my lord ? " To which 
Lord Raglan replied " Perhaps, perhaps ; but it will be more 
prudent to wait until to-morrow morning." In the night the 
Russian army effected a retreat, and thus escaped extermination. 
Canrobert said very frankly before the Staff-major of both armies 
" There is only one man among us, gentlemen, who saw clearly 
what was to be done." And he quoted the name of the English 
General. Name forgotten by Edrnond de Goncourt. 


church in which the bodies of so many French kings 
reposed till torn from their graves during the First 
Revolution, should have decapitated the statue of St. 
Denis. That holy man is supposed to have walked 
about with his head under his arm, a legend to be 
traced to the custom of burying Christian martyrs with 
their heads in their hands, ready to offer them to the 
Virgin on entering Paradise. Fortunately no shell fell 
into the vaults, which had been turned into a powder 

January 24. The end is at hand. This morning, 
famine staring us in the face, and a council of war 
having decided against another sortie, M. Jules Favre 
sent a note to Count Bismarck asking for an interview. 
A favourable answer having been returned, our Foreign 
Minister started for Versailles in the evening. 

While negotiations were going on the bombardment 
continued, and it was not until ten o'clock on the 29th 
that the firing suddenly ceased, and the stillness of 
death seemed to reign over the French capital. After 
so much tumult the silence at first felt oppressive. One 
hears that a large portion of the National Guard is 
indignant with the Government for not continuing the 
struggle ; these are the heroes who have never been 
beyond the walls. The line, the Mobiles, and the 
Naval Brigade, who fought and lost some 50,000 men 
between them, submit to their sad fate without an 
audible murmur, like brave men who have done their 


duty, although detestably handled and thwarted by 

Some idea may be formed of the rough work which 
the Naval Brigade had to perform from the fact that 
three captains, one after the other, who commanded at 
the fort of Issy, were killed, and a fourth, sooner than 
strike his flag, blew out his brains. 

When the question of how this city with its detached 
forts, enceinte, and garrison of 500,000 men was driven 
to capitulate, much blame will no doubt be thrown 
upon General Trochu for not having made better use of 
the materials at his disposal, which he might have done 
had he acted with vigour. Some people think that a 
Republican form of government is incompatible with 
discipline, but during the First Revolution the most 
rigid discipline was maintained in the army ; not 
only were civil commissioners sent to accompany the 
Generals-in-chief with a portable guillotine, but the 
military code was exceedingly severe for the private 
soldier. Under the Jacobin War Ministers a man who 
strayed fifteen paces from his column or stole a chicken 
was shot. Had similar severity been practised during 
the siege, it is hard to believe that the Germans round 
Paris would have been able to hold their own. Then 
the civil commissioners displayed great bravery, and 
exposed their persons in a manner which the colleagues 
of General Trochu never thought fit to imitate. Not 
being given to fighting themselves, they tolerated 


cowardice in others. Then men, who ran away at 
Chatillon (and afterwards) without firing a shot, and 
were condemned to death by court-martial, instead of 
being executed, received the same amount of punish- 
ment as is generally inflicted on a man who picks a 
pocket. Mutiny, too, was left unpunished, and this 
under a state of siege. 

January 26th. I find in my diary " siege over." 


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