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Title: Paris from the Earliest Period to the Present Day; Volume 1
Author: Walton, William, 1843-1915
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Paris from the Earliest Period to the Present Day; Volume 1" ***

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[Illustration: WILLIAM WALTON]















[Illustration: THE MARTYR; MEROVINGIAN PERIOD. By F. Bac, from a

If the capital of the French nation, situated on the river Seine, were
simply the most beautiful, the wittiest, wickedest, and most artistic of
towns, if--as has been so often asserted (and not exclusively by the
citizens thereof)--the most commonplace and the most brilliant of human
manifestations alike take on new qualities, texture, and interest the
moment they become Parisien, then, indeed, would this city be entitled
to be considered only with that mild offence which is the proper
intellectual attitude before all so-claimed earthly superlatives. But
Paris is by no means to be so disposed of. The very peccability of her
wit is demonstrated by the extravagant claims which it permits itself.
No God-given institution proclaims itself as such,--at least, noisily.
It is the shadings to this brilliant picture, the exceeding width and
depth and blackness of the sun-spots on this luminary of civilization,
which relieve us from any easy toleration and compel us to the liveliest
attention. One of her many qualities is that of representing and, too
often, of acting for the whole country,--indeed, _la centralisation_ is
one of the four great evils (the others being the abuse of _alcool_, _la
pornographic_, and the stationary birth-rate) which are recognized by
its own citizens as menacing the nation. So that, in a general way, for
both good and bad, Paris reads France.

Well, the heights and depths which we are called upon to contemplate are
not unendurable, but they are certainly in many respects unexcelled.
"France," says one of her most eloquent and dignified historians, "has
justly been termed the soldier of God;" "Other continents have monkeys,"
says a learned German philosopher; "Europe has the French." Any
community or locality which offers, or is considered by intelligent
observers to offer, such a range as this, is certainly worthy of high
renown and deep research, and it is not too much to say that Paris
justifies her fame. Within her walls the human mind has displayed its
loftiest development, and the human passions their most insane excesses;
her art and her literature have erected beacon-lights for all the ages
to come, and have but too frequently fallen into the depths of more than
swinish filth; her science of government has ranged from the Code
Napoléon to the statutes of Belial himself; her civilization has
attained an elegance of refinement unknown to the Greeks, and her cigars
and lucifer-matches are a disgrace to Christendom!

Happily, as in several other human institutions, there is more of good
than of bad. The so-called "seamy side" of cities is not like that of
flour-bags,--equal in extent and importance to the fair outer surface
that meets the eye. Much as has been published of the depravity of
Paris, it is not that, but the splendid activity of her material and
intellectual civilization, the serious confronting of the heavy problems
of humanity, the intelligent accumulation of the treasures of the mind
and the hand, legislation, literature, art, science, that impress the
intelligent visitor. Moreover, it is the annals of unhappy nations only
that are said to be interesting, and it is impossible that a quick human
interest should not attach to the contemplation of this capital which
has attacked so many problems, maintained so many struggles, and endured
such crushing reverses. In the light of her most troubled history the
import becomes clear of the galley on her shield, and her motto:
"_Floats, but sinks not._" But few capitals have been more frequently,
apparently, on the point of being submerged. Even as these lines are
being written, it is agitated by the protracted and cumulating effects
of a military and social agitation which, in the language of the
President of the Cabinet of Ministers, "is deplorable, which paralyzes
all commerce and creates a situation intolerable to all."


Indeed, it may be said that the present moment is the most critical, the
most dramatic, in the long history of the city and the nation, and that
an entirely new interest will henceforth attach itself to this crowned
capital which sees herself in the inevitable future forever uncrowned.
Never before has the pitiless march of events, the pitiless accumulation
of irrefutable evidence, the testimony of so many observers, at home and
abroad, so seemed to demonstrate that all the methods of government had
been exhausted, and that the nation had attained her summit of power and
was doomed to steady decline. Down to Louis XIV, her hope was thought to
lie in the consolidation of the royal authority and the suppression of
the feudal power of the nobles; down to 1789, in the _tiers état_ and
the States-General; after the Commune of 1871, in the maintenance of a
Republic supported by universal suffrage. The ideals of 1830 and of 1848
have been practically attained; there are, finally, no new and more
liberal political expedients to hope for,--and never has France seen
herself so distanced by her neighbors. Her contemporary literature
groans with the accumulation of these facts--from the ineptitude of her
rulers, national and colonial, down to the dependence upon the
foreigner for wood for her street pavements and the canned provisions
for her army. Behind that "gap in the Vosges" upon which, as one of her
statesmen remarks, she cannot forever fix her gaze, she sees her great
and hated rival doubling in power. In 1860, Germany had the same
population as France; to-day, she has that of France and Spain combined.
"Never has such a displacement of power been so quickly produced between
two rival peoples. And no one among us seems to regard it, though not
one of the problems which torment us is as grave as this one. Our
agriculture, our industry, our commerce decline; we seem to be in
decadence! How could it be otherwise? There are, in the neighboring
hive, beyond the Rhine, sixteen millions of workers who were not there
forty years ago,--that is the explanation of the progress of our
neighbors as well as of the stagnation of our own activity. All the more
that the quality of the French tends to diminish with their quantity;
... we can foresee the day when there will be two Germans against one
Frenchman, and this prospect fills us with fear for the future of our
country, for we cannot comfort ourselves with illusions, we cannot
believe in the perpetual peace, we know that history is a _Vie Victis_

Therefore, let us hasten to contemplate this great and most admirable
Babylon before Cyrus comes.

_Paris, Rue Boissonade._




Water-color by George Rochegrosse.]

Lucotocia, says that somewhat inexact geographer, Strabo, "is the city
of the _Parisii_, who dwell along the river Seine, and inhabit an island
formed by the river." Ptolemy, who has been thought to have been
somewhat better informed concerning the Parisii than with regard to any
of the other small tribes of Gaul, calls their capital LUCOTECIA; but
both they and their town appear for the first time in history
fifty-three years before the birth of Christ, when Cæsar, in his
_Commentaries_, relates, himself, that he summoned a general assembly of
the Gauls at LUTETIA, the capital of the Parisii. At this date, he was
already master of the greater part of the country now called France.
More than four hundred years later, Julian, surnamed the Apostate,
nephew of Constantine the Great, after having passed more than two years
in this city, which he called "his dear LEUCETIA," was proclaimed
emperor here by his soldiers, who refused to obey the orders of
Constantius and return to the East. It is surmised by the scholars that
the imperial author of the _Misopogon_ adopted this form of the name of
the town on the Seine through an affectation of deriving it from the
Greek, in which language he wrote, and, as is still evident in those of
his works which have survived, in a style remarkably pure.

Lutetia, of which the modern French make Lutèce, is supposed to have
been derived from the Celtic _louk-teih_, which signified the place of
morasses; and the name of the Parisii from the Celtic _par_, a species
of boat, and _gwys_, in composition _ys_, man, whence _parys_,
boatmen,--these islanders being supposed to have been skilful
navigators. But they are said to have called themselves
_Loutouchezi_,--that is to say, a residence in the midst of the waters.
Other etymologists cast doubts upon all these deductions, and the matter
is not very important. The early Parisians were one of the smallest of
the Gaulish tribes, and preferred the islands to the mainland as a safer
place of residence; they were surrounded by the Carnutes, Senones, and
other, stronger people whose names have not been perpetuated. Of their
ten islands and sand-banks, which were preserved until late in the
Middle Ages, there are now only two remaining, the Ile Saint-Louis and
Ile de la Cité. The ancient town, like the modern one, lay in the centre
of a "tertiary" basin, about sixty-five mètres, or two hundred and ten
feet, above the level of the sea, broken here and there by low hills.
The modern historian, Duruy, quotes Strabo as finding a proof of divine
providence in the fortunate configuration of the soil of Gaul; and that
writer testifies that the whole country was inhabited, even in the
marshes and woods. "The cause of this is, however, rather a dense
population than the industry of the inhabitants. For the women there are
both very prolific and excellent nurses, while the men devote themselves
rather to war than to husbandry."

The antiquity of the inhabitants of Gaul is now pushed back by the
learned far beyond the days of Cæsar. M. A. Thieullen, in two
communications addressed to the _Société d'anthropologie_ at Paris
(January and February, 1898), maintained that the chipped flint
arrow-heads found at Chelles and Saint-Acheul, which have been
considered as the earliest works of prehistoric man, are, in reality, in
common with the polished stone hatchets of the Neolithic age, the
products of an industry in a high state of development, the result of
successive essays by numberless generations. In this theory he is
supported by other scientists, among them the English geologist,
Prestwich; and in this insistence upon the artistic quality of the
chipped and polished flints and the prodigious number of rudimentary
utensils which have preceded and accompanied them is found another
argument in favor of the great antiquity of man and his existence in the
tertiary period. The soil of Paris has furnished many of these superior
flints, and the comparative state of civilization to which the locality
early attained is further testified to by the discovery, in the early
months of this year, 1898, by an enterprising proprietor on the edge of
the forest of Fontainebleau, of the site of a prehistoric pottery on his
grounds. This locality, opposite the village of Ecuelle, was already
noted for the menhir, or prehistoric upright stone, standing on the
right bank of the canal. The ancient potteries seem to have occupied a
space about five hundred mètres in length and two hundred in width; at
the depth of sixty-five or seventy centimètres below the surface there
is found "a black sand, burned, beaten down, trodden, which gives forth
a resonant sound when attacked by the pick-axe; this arises from the
fact that it has been, through a long series of centuries, tormented by
the incessant passage of men and the innumerable fires of the furnaces."
From the specimens of pottery extracted from this sand, it is concluded
that this manufactory had been maintained from the Neolithic age down to
the Gallo-Roman period. In the little village of La Mouthe, in the
department of the Dordogne, farther south, have been discovered within
the last few years, in a cavern, very curious and not unskilful outline
drawings on the rock, sometimes touched up with color, of now extinct
animals,--the extreme age of these works of art being demonstrated by
the fact that they are in many cases partially covered with stalactites.
The learned scientists who have uncovered and photographed these incised
drawings conclude, from their appearance and from the fragments of
animals' bones found in the cavern, that they are the work of men of the
Neolithic age and the Palæolithic, which preceded it. In short, there is
every reason to believe, on the strength of all the testimony which
modern science has wrested from the unwilling records of the past, that
the earliest inhabitants of the islands of the Seine were contemporary
with the mammoth, the cave-bear, the auroch, and the rhinoceros with
cleft nostrils.


It is not to be supposed, however, that these very ancient texts are
read without the necessary stumbling over obscure passages and much
upsetting of cherished historical truth. The finest presentations of
ancient records that we find in grave historians are now set aside by
learned archæologists in communications to the _Académie des Sciences à
Paris_ or the _Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres_. Even the
original number of islands in the Seine and Cæsar's statements
concerning the Gauls and their manners and customs are now disputed.
When it comes to the origin of things and of peoples, the erudition is
profound. M. G. de Mortillet proposes for the epoch _quaternaire_ or
_pléistocène_ four successive divisions,--in their order of antiquity,
the _Chelléen_, the _Moustérien_, the _Solutréen_, and the
_Magdalénien_; M. Perrier du Carne thinks that the traces of the Solutré
and of the Madeleine show them to have been derived from two races long
contemporary on the same soil, of which the former were autochthonous
and the latter, immigrants, who came in with the reindeer and followed
him when he retreated northward. M. Piette objects to the word
_Magdalénien_, and proposes to replace it by _glyptique_, for, during
this period, man learned to carve bones with flint instruments; after
the _Solutré_ he places the epoch _Eburnéenne_, and after that, the
_Tarandienne_, characterized by instruments in reindeer's horns. After
the quaternary period, Professor Alexandre Bertrand, of the École du
Louvre, places the _Mégalithiques_, whom he thinks belonged to the great
ethnological family of the Touranians which preceded the Aryans in
Europe, and who erected the great stone monuments, dolmens, menhirs,
cromlechs, etc., formerly called druidical, found in various parts of
Europe. Several of these _monuments mégalithiques_ have been discovered
in Paris and its environs,--a street of the Faubourg du Temple owes its
name of Pierre-Levée (raised stone) to the fact that at its opening, in
1782, an enormous ancient rock was found artificially supported on two
others, the funerary tumulus, or mound, which formerly covered it having

As it is impossible to attribute any longer these prehistoric monuments
to the "Celts," or to "their priests, the Druids," so do others of our
historical illusions vanish. M. Duruy, in his learned _Histoire de
France_, states that at the dawn of history the country known as Gaul
was "divided between three or four hundred tribes (_peuplades_)
belonging to the three great families,--the Celts, the Iberians, and the
Belgians." M. Guizot says that "in the south were Iberians or
Aquitanians, Phœnicians and Greeks; in the north and northwest,
Kymrians or Belgians; everywhere else, Gauls or Celts, the most numerous
settlers, who had the honor of giving their name to the country." M.
Salomon Reinach, in his detailed description of the monuments in the
Museum of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, under the general title of _Antiquités
nationales_, declines to recognize the _race celtique_; in accord with
the science of anthropology he distinguishes various Gaulish types and
is aware that they nowhere present themselves in a pure state. Professor
Bertrand "superposes" upon his _Mégalithiques_, whose distinguishing
trait in Europe is their use of polished stone, another race,
numerically inferior and much less ancient; these are the "_tribus
celtiques_ or _celtisées_ of the Aryan race." When they arrived in Gaul,
they were already familiar with the use of metals, especially bronze,
beginning to be acquainted with iron; they were pastoral and
agricultural, and burned their dead. About the sixth century B.C.
appeared a third group, the _tribus galatiques_, Helvetians, Kymrians,
Belgians; they were wandering bands of warriors, who used iron
implements only and buried their dead. "From the superposition, rather
than from the fusion, of these divers elements has resulted that which
is called _la nation gauloise_ or _celtique_."

Naturally, the religions of these varied nations were as diversified as
their origins. The Druids, according to Professor Bertrand, so far from
forming the priesthood of a practically homogeneous race, can be said to
have had no influence upon the religion of the people, who were alien to
them and who remained faithful to their own worship of the spirits or
powers in nature and to their superstitious practices. "Druidism was,
then, neither a dogma, nor a religion, nor a particular theogony, but a
social institution with an organization analogous to that of the great
abbeys of Ireland in the fifth and sixth centuries, or to the Lamaism of
Thibet. The Druids lived in communism, like the Lamas." Moreover, M.
Bertrand refuses the Druids all their fine old qualities,--human
sacrifices; worship of stones; solstitial ceremonies, such as the
Yule-log and fires on the eve of Saint John; the herbs of Saint John;
the worship of fountains; the worship of trees, and medical
prescriptions. Even more, what Guizot calls their "noblest
characteristic, a general and strong, but vague and incoherent, belief
in the immortality of the soul," was less a particular doctrine of their
own than a sentiment innate in the race; "they had only to develop ideas
the germ of which had not been imported by them." Nevertheless, so well
organized was their communal order that they were, before the Roman
epoch, the only central, definite power capable of consecutiveness in
its conceptions and of unity in its views, and their influence over a
gross and ignorant people was proportionally great.

To the _chamanisme_, or belief in the spirits that pervade nature, and
in the power of man over them by magic arts, of the original Touranians,
the Celtic tribes brought the worship of natural forces,--the sun, fire,
torrents, tempests, mountains, etc.; but neither they nor the Druids had
any human figures or symbols in their pantheon. The invasions
_galatiques_ or _kimrobelge_, on the contrary, brought in from the
Orient a cult already strongly anthropomorphous, and with these symbols,
traditions, and divinities those of the Greeks and Romans became mingled
to a greater or lesser degree that it is impossible to determine,
because, as it appears, all that we really know of the Gaulish religion
before the Roman conquest is reduced to a few lines in Polybius, in
which can be found the name of _Perkunas_, the Perkun of the Slavs.
Cæsar identifies the gods of the Gauls with the Roman ones, Mercury,
Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Minerva; and M. André Lefèvre, in the _Revue
mensuelle de l'École d'anthropologie_, asks, without being able to
answer: "How is it possible that such men as Cæsar and Tacitus were able
to confound with Mercury the supreme gods of the Gauls and the Germans;
but, still more, how is it that the Gaul should have adopted with
enthusiasm the Latin name and forgotten the Gaulish name of his supreme
god?" M. Reinach is considered to have proved beyond a doubt that the
god with the mallet, the Dispater of the Gallo-Roman period, was a sort
of copy, in Gaulish attire, of the Egyptian Serapis; and the
inscriptions of the imperial epoch testify to the diffusion of the
worship of the divinities of Alexandria from Arles and Nîmes, in the
extreme south, to Besançon, almost on the borders of Switzerland, and
Soissons, northeast of Paris. Nevertheless, those archæologists who have
thought they found traces of the art of Egypt and Babylon in that of the
original cave-dwellers are now considered to have been deceiving
themselves; and M. Reinach has modified the opinions he held a few years
ago on the early religious art of Gaul. "In short, what we know of
Gaulish mythology amounts to nothing, or practically nothing."

Various rude images and fragments of altars found under the modern
pavements of Paris at different dates and localities--among others,
under the choir of Notre-Dame in 1710--have revealed the names, if not
the characters, of some of the ancient divinities of the soil, _Esus_,
_Jovis_, _Volcanus_, _Tarvos trigaramos_, _Cernunnos_.

But if the scientists grope doubtingly in these twilights of history,
the romancers relate boldly. One of them, M. Henri Lavedan, has been
calling up the Parisienne of the Lacustrine age, "_gran' maman
archi-centennaire_" of her of the present day. This is how she was.
"Large, thick, and short, with a vigorous figure, shaking out coarse and
matted hair, the feet bare, the arms bare, the breast half bare and
unrestrained under her species of primitive corset. The body is that of
a handsome and robust decent human animal, a tanned skin, somewhat
hairy. The feet are large and powerful, like the hands, with cutting
nails, square and hard. The visage, high in color, with features that
are simple and elementary, is lit up by eyes grey or blue, eyes limpid
and tranquil, which regard without vivacity, without appearing and
disappearing lights, without surprise, the eyes of an animal under the
yoke and resigned to it, eyes only too well acquainted with the eternal
landscape which they have been reflecting ever since they were first
opened. The step is slow, sure, heavy, and majestic. Under her petticoat
of sombre color may be divined two great legs, the legs, almost, of a
man, two legs of labor and of endurance. She sings naturally, this
woman, when she is alone, vague songs, sort of fugues of savages, very
simple, which seem to have neither beginning nor end, but in the company
of others she is almost taciturn, replying by gestures, by signs,
accomplishing her task with a passive regularity. She scarcely knows the
lighter shades of sentiments and expressions. She laughs or she weeps.
No smiling. When she laughs, it is with a large display of the solid
white teeth of a carnivorous animal; when she weeps, it is with the deep
sobs of a beaten child. She is strong and patient like the ox, she runs
like the horse, she resists cold, heat, and fatigue; her sleep is
profound and without dreams. She is more mother than wife, in the animal
sense of the word; she is capable of courage, of rude goodness and of
devotion, but all of these naturally and by instinct. Her life may be
hard and long, she may retain until a very advanced age the plenitude of
her vigor, and die splitting wood or turning the mill.

"Should the wife cease to please her husband, he sells her again; should
she commit a fault, he strips her (the garments will serve for the new
spouse); then he takes her by the hair and smothers her in the marsh.
Nevertheless, however miserable may be her condition of a domestic
animal, this creature has passions. Tacitus informs us that adultery was
not unknown to the purchased wife. The male children belonged to the
father, and always remained with him; as to the aged, the old relatives,
useless and cumbering, they were put 'in a place apart,' a sort of
hollow in the neighborhood of the hole for the hogs or the enclosure for
the cattle, and there was thrown to them the remnants of the meals. The
family sentiment, the voice of kindred blood, did not, as yet, make
itself heard very distinctly."


This information may be supplemented by various extracts from the
ancient historians, who give us the usual picture of early man in the
barbarous stage, bellicose, blood-thirsty, brutal, having the one virtue
of courage. Cæsar says that when a man of importance died, his wives
were tortured and put to death by fire if suspected of being
instrumental in his taking off; but a short time before his conquests it
was the custom to burn with the defunct his slaves and his favorite
clients. It was also said that the women were not constrained in their
choice of husbands, and that the latter were obliged to furnish an
equivalent for the dowry brought by the wife. Human sacrifices were
offered on certain great occasions, and it was thought possible that one
of the upper stones of the great sepulchre discovered at Meudon in 1845,
indicated one of the sites dedicated to these offerings.

Of the many attempts that have been made to restore the primitive man in
his environments, one of the most learned and interesting is that shown
by M. Cormon, the painter, in his series of large decorations for the
_plafond_ and walls of some ethnological museum, exhibited in the Salon
of 1898. But an artist is an impossible archæologist; the more of an
artist he is, the more will he be unwilling to represent the merely
bestial, as the scientist finds it; and though the original inhabitant
of the valley of the Seine and other favored spots may have circulated
in some such early landscape, and have garbed himself and tattooed
himself somewhat as the painter here paints him, it is probable that
there was far less of the picturesque and presentable about him, of
grace of attitude and whiteness of skin in his women-folk, than in any
artist's presentation on a self-respecting canvas.

The habitations of the early Parisian were equally unlike those familiar
to the Cook's tourist. On the pedestal of an antique statue of Melpomene
of heroic size in the Louvre is a relief representing the head of a
supposed Gaul defending his house against a Roman soldier, and this
sculpture, confirmed by others on the column of Antoninus at Rome of
those of the German barbarians, gives this dwelling as a species of
circular, upright hut, covered with a conical-shaped roof constructed of
branches and reeds, or thatch, or perhaps of a half-spherical piece of

In the soil of the tertiary, or quaternary, basin in which Paris lies
are found traces of marine plants, oyster-shells, skeletons of fish,
etc., which indicate that it has risen from the bottom of the sea. As
every one knows, the Seine, flowing in a general direction from east to
west, curves toward the north to traverse the heart of the city, the
former Palais de l'Industrie, but just demolished, having occupied
nearly the centre of the upward curve of this bow. On the south, the
river receives the waters of the Bièvre, a feeble stream which flows
through a narrow valley, and, farther eastward, those of the river
Marne. Under the Roman domination and that of the first Merovingian
kings, that part of the city lying immediately south of the river seems
to have become the most populous and important almost as soon as the
narrow limits of the original islands became too confining. The pride of
the Faubourg Saint-Germain may date itself back for some fifteen
centuries. A central, principal street traversed the city from south to
north, entering it in the general direction of the Rue Saint-Jacques,
passing on the east side of the imperial palace whose ruins may still be
seen in the Musée des Thermes, at the corner of the Boulevard
Saint-Germain and Boulevard Saint-Michel. Under the Rue Saint-Jacques
remains of the ancient pavement have been found at a great depth, and a
fragment of it is preserved in the Musée de Cluny. The Roman street
crossed the small arm of the Seine on a wooden bridge, near where is now
the Petit-Pont, traversed the Ile de la Cité, at the western end of
what is to-day the Place du Parvis-Notre-Dame, and crossed the larger
branch of the river near the site of the present Pont Notre-Dame. On the
northern shore, it followed for some distance nearly the course of the
present Rue Saint-Denis, and then forked,--one branch continuing in a
general northerly direction toward Senlis, and the other turning off to
the northwest, in the direction of the Bourse, toward Clichy,
Saint-Ouen, Saint-Denis, and, finally, Rouen by the valley of the

Of the stately buildings erected by the Roman officers sent to govern
the city on the Seine and the province of which it was the capital, the
only remains now above ground are those preserved in the Musée des
Thermes, in somewhat curious juxtaposition with the late
fifteenth-century Hôtel de Cluny. These ruins represent the great Roman
baths of the palace, the _frigidarium_, the _piscine_, the _tepidarium_,
and, somewhat deeper, the _hypocaustum_, or furnace for heating. By
their size and importance, these ancient walls testify to the dignity of
the imperial palace which rose on this site, and, surrounded by its
gardens, extended along the southern bank of the Seine. Of the date of
the erection of this _Palatium Thermarum seu Thermæ Parisiaci_ nothing
definite is known; it is generally ascribed to Constantius, surnamed
Chlorus, "the pale," father of Constantine the Great, who died in 306
A.D. It is considered certain that it was occupied by Julian, and by
Valentinian I, and Valens; after the expulsion of the Romans by the
Franks, it served as a residence for the kings of the first and second
race, and was still an important edifice in 1180 when Philippe-Auguste
presented it to his chamberlain, Henri. About 1340 it passed into the
possession of the Abbé of Cluny, Pierre de Chaslus.

These very antique walls are preserved by the national authorities in a
manner that might be considered as more satisfactory to the lovers of
the picturesque than to the archæologists. They are exposed to all the
disintegrating influences of the sun and rain, much blackened by the
Parisian climate, which darkens everything exposed to it, and largely
overgrown with creeping vines. They are constructed of squared stones
interspersed with layers of brick, with rectangular and arched niches,
filled-up arches at the base of which may be seen still the remnants of
the prows of ships, and in the niches are still the remains of the
earthenware pipes that conveyed the water to the baths. The student of
architecture is interested to observe here that the Roman bricks were
much longer than ours, and only about an inch and a half thick. Their
original, cheerful red still shows occasionally through the Parisian
blackness. He will, however, probably be somewhat disturbed by the fine
indifference of the authorities to styles and chronologies. In the place
of the missing wall of the _piscine_ is set the arched porch of the
cloister of the Benedictines of Argenteuil; inside the enclosures are
tumulary stones, with inscriptions in Hebrew, found on the site of the
publishing house of Hachette. In the pleasant green garden in front of
these ruins, and in which the bare-legged Parisian children play at
soldiers or at digging gravel in the paths, are more incongruous
mediæval bits of architecture and sculpture,--placid Madonnas and
Annunciations, much defaced by time; gargoyles from the church of
Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, in what may be called the size of life,
agonizing and tormented by queer little beasts like weasels under their
throats or bellies, and, guarding the gateway at the angle of the
boulevards, three great, deformed figures of the animals of the
Evangelists, the Lion, the Eagle, and the Ox, from the tower of
Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie, where they have been replaced by copies.

For a number of centuries these ruins were forgotten, and were even
concealed until 1810 under hanging-gardens constructed above them. In
1819 it was proposed to establish in the Thermes a museum for the
Gaulish and Roman antiquities discovered in the soil of Paris; but this
project was not carried out until 1836, when, through the action of the
Prefect of the Seine and the Conseil Municipal, the remains of the Roman
palace became the property of the city. Seven years later, the State
having acquired the Hôtel de Cluny and the collection Sommerard, the
city offered the Palais des Thermes to the national government, and the
two museums were united in one national one. The project of M. E. du
Sommerard, of clearing away all the surrounding modern buildings,
opening the new streets and planting the garden, was finally put in the
way of being realized in 1856.

The site of this palace, the ruins of which are among the most important
in France, was on the lower slopes of Mount Lucotitius, afterward the
mount of Sainte-Geneviève, overlooking both the city and the Roman road
to Genabum (Orléans). Its dependent buildings and enclosures seem to
have extended as far south as the Rue Soufflot, in front of the
Panthéon, ruins of foundation-walls having been located at various
periods in this quarter. Its magnificent baths were probably preserved
during the earlier Christian centuries, when the civilization of the
Romans had not entirely disappeared, until the siege of Paris by the
Normans in the ninth century. On this (southern) side of the river have
also been discovered the ruins of an amphitheatre, traces of a quarter
or barracks for soldiers, another establishment of baths, the aqueduct
of Arcueil, a great cemetery on the southern slopes of Mount Lucotitius,
secondary roads, and a port on the smaller arm of the Seine. In the
Luxembourg garden have been unearthed at various periods numerous
fragments of painted walls; seven hundred large Roman medals in bronze
and two hundred in silver, all enclosed in a species of chest of tiles,
and covered with a silver plate, and supposed to have been the treasury
of a rich Gallo-Roman country-house; a statuette of Mercury; a bust of
Cybele; pits to preserve grain, etc.

Another of these important palaces or suburban villas was seated on the
northern slopes of the Butte Montmartre, which rises some hundred mètres
above the level of the Seine, on the other side of the river,--a site
which gave it an admirable extended view over the city and the
surrounding plains. The most important ruins which have been discovered
north of the river are the remnants of the aqueduct to convey water from
Passy, large basins on the site of the Palais-Royal, various highways
branching off to the north and east and extensive cemeteries near these
roads, and numerous Roman medals and coins in various
localities,--sufficient to demonstrate the existence of an extensive and
important population. Montmartre is supposed to have derived its name
from having been the site of a temple of Mars (_Mons Martis_); or from
having been the scene of the martyrdom of Saint Denis, the first bishop
of Paris, and his companions, A.D. 270 (_Mons Martyrum_).

Buried under the modern pavement of the Ile de la Cité, the Gaulish
_Oppidum_, are many vestiges of the Roman occupation. In 1847 numerous
remains of the construction of houses during this period and of what
was considered to be a church dedicated to the Virgin were discovered
under the open place in front of Notre-Dame; of these, careful drawings
were made, engraved, and published in the _Statistique monumentale de
Paris_ and the structures then covered up again; in the following year,
excavations made in the course of enlarging the Palais de Justice
brought to light in the court of the Sainte-Chapelle and under the
houses to the south of it remains of walls of the ancient Roman palace.
The old historians of Paris, indeed, relying upon the testimony of
Ammianus Marcellinus, state that one of the two Roman palaces was
situated in the western end of the island which formed the ancient
Lutetia. In 1844 the laying out of a new street between the Palais de
Justice and the Hôtel-Dieu revealed two portions of edifices the use of
which was unknown, but which, by the thickness of their walls and the
nature of their construction, were supposed to have formed some part of
the public structures. It has been considered that these various
vestiges of important buildings situated in the centre of Lutetia
indicate that they surrounded an open market-place or commercial

But the discovery of one of the most important and interesting vestiges
of the Gallo-Roman city was reserved for the latter part of the year
1869, when, in laying out the Rue Monge, on the eastern slopes of Mont
Sainte-Geneviève, there was revealed the ancient amphitheatre, with
which no Roman city of importance could dispense. Although these
important vestiges lay only some twelve mètres below the surface, and
though at least two passages in mediæval chronicles were known which
alluded to the locality, this contribution to the history of the city
was delayed to this late date. Alexandre Neckham, a professor in Paris,
writing in 1180, mentions, in the course of four verses, the vast ruins
of a Roman amphitheatre, dedicated to Venus, which was situated near the
Abbey of Saint-Victor. Adrien de Valois cites a _cartulary_, or registry
of a monastery, dated in 1310, in which mention is made of three
sections of vineyards situated in the district known as _les Areinnes_.
A date for the construction of this amphitheatre was conjectured by M.
Adrien de Longpérier, from the bringing together of three of the broken
stones of the edifice--selected from the sixteen bearing inscriptions
now in the Musée Carnavelet and from twelve others bearing similar
inscriptions and evidently from the same source, but which were found in
1847 in the Parvis-Notre-Dame, having been taken in later days to
construct the wall of fortification of the city. By placing three of
these fragments in order, M. de Longpérier was enabled to decipher the
names of two of the Gaulish emperors who lived in the second half of the
third century of our era, from which he concluded that it was a portion
of the imperial inscription, and that the construction of the
amphitheatre accordingly dated from this period. The pride of the
Parisians, however, took offence at this interpretation, and it was
considered as highly improbable that the Romans "should have delayed for
more than two centuries and a half to construct, for the use of the
population of a city as important as Lutèce had become, a monument
similar to those the ruins of which have been enumerated in more than
fifty Gallo-Roman cities,--a figure which shows how much the diversions
of the amphitheatre and the theatre were relished by the Gauls." M.
Gourdon de Genouillac, in his history of Paris, decides that the
structure dates from the second century.


It may be observed that, in the third century, Roman Gaul became a
practically independent State,--from A.D. 258 to 273, from Posthumus to
Tetricus, its connections with Italy ceased, and it maintained its own
emperors and its own legions. This was in sympathy with the rising
spirit of nationalities, awakened throughout the empire by Septimus
Severus, but in this ephemeral empire of the Gauls the old Celtic
influence had but little part. "If there took place," said M. Camille
Jullian before the _Académie des Inscriptions_ in 1896, "as we would
willingly believe, a Celtic renaissance at the opening of the third
century, it was entirely superficial, and doubtless slightly factitious;
it resembled that reaction in the life, the language, the traditions of
the provinces which the French Romanticism brought about in 1815. Like
that, it in no way changed the ideas of the nation, it had no influence
upon the political and social destinies of Gaul." With regard to the
fondness of the ancient Gauls for histrionic and spectacular
performances, we may quote M. Reinach again: "The qualities and the
defects of the present inhabitants of France may all be found again
among the Gaulish contemporaries of Cato and Cæsar. The warlike humor,
the facility of elocution, the curiosity--often turbulent, have
remained, throughout the centuries, the portion, more or less enviable,
of the inhabitants of Gaul."

An important publication in folio by Firmin-Didot, _Paris à travers les
Ages_, gives the following description of the amphitheatre of Lutetia.
"But few constructions are visible around the arena, elliptic in shape
and measuring fifty-four mètres on its long axis and forty-seven on the
short one. This was the space reserved for the combats of animals, for
the hunts and other spectacles. A podium, or enclosing wall, surrounded
this arena in its entire circuit, and the thickness of this wall was
such that it resisted the thrust of the sides of the Mount Lucotitius,
on the eastern slopes of which the edifice was constructed. The places
arranged for the spectators of the games, around the arena, were
evidently placed, on the west, on the slope of Mount Lucotitius, where
have been found walls converging toward the centre of the structure to
support the tiers of seats running in the contrary direction. The
benches may have been supported by constructions which have now
disappeared; the various fragments of architecture discovered in the
excavations must have formed part of the decoration of the edifice, as
well as the stones that were employed in the military wall of
fortification of Lutetia during the later period of decline."

The discovery of these ruins caused much excitement among the savants of
Paris at the time. The Société de Numismatique visited the excavations
in a body, several archæological and antiquarian associations united in
drawing up a paper, which was presented to the Emperor, advocating the
preservation of this "antique theatre of the popular festivals of the
Gauls, the arena in which had perished for liberty of conscience the
ancestors of the French nation, the field in which sleep the martyrs of
Lutèce." A petition was likewise addressed to the Chamber of Deputies;
Napoleon III visited the locality in person; but the Municipal Council
hesitated before the expenditure of 300,000 francs for this purpose, and
the ground was actually purchased by the Compagnie Générale des Omnibus.

This interesting excavation, but little known even to the Parisians, has
now been transformed into a public garden, in the quarter between the
Panthéon and the Jardin des Plantes, and is well worth visiting. The
ancient Mont Lucotitius still heaves itself under the modern Parisian
pavement, and the grades frequently become so steep that they have to
be abandoned, and terraces and retaining-walls substituted. Although
much less than a half of the oval of the original arena has been
uncovered, the explorations have reduced the houses on the Rue Monge to
but little more than tall façades. From under their rear walls emerge
the amphitheatre and some of the curving rows of seats in stone, the
latter much restored. In the walls of the arena are two rectangular,
barred entrances, and one lower, arched one, from which we may imagine
the gladiators or the wild beasts emerging. The floor of the arena is
left in a roughly gravelled condition; at present, nothing more
formidable is to be encountered there than three very little French boys
making mud-pies in the puddle formed by last night's rain. A fourth,
still smaller, is at some distance, absorbed in some dry engineering of
his own at the foot of the old wall. Seated in the steep little green
park which rises above the terraced seats, crowned with trees and
shrubberies, and vocal with a prodigious twittering of birds, are three
or four idle, bare-headed young women in "shirt-waists," one with a
lover, and an old gentleman with a red ribbon reading his morning
newspaper. The traveller can place himself on one of the benches in this
pleasant little greenery, look down on the infantile engineers below,
and make appropriate reflections.

A still more important architectural feature of the ancient city was the
great aqueduct which supplied the baths of the palace on the river, its
fountains and those of the populous quarter around it. The waters of
three or four small streams to the south of the capital were united and
conveyed in a channel, lined with cement, 19,100 mètres in length, which
traversed the slopes of the hills on the eastern side of the Bièvre, and
remains of which have been found at various points. To cross the valley
and the stream, an aqueduct was constructed on arches at the locality
which took the name of Arcueil, and where some of the masonry is still
preserved in modern construction, "this aqueduct being some four hundred
mètres long and fifty (?) high." It is computed that a supply of
twenty-four cubic mètres of water was furnished every twenty-four hours.
Remains of other and smaller aqueducts have been discovered at various
points in the city. At Passy, surrounding the present Trocadéro, there
were springs of mineral waters, which were conveyed to the city by
terra-cotta pipes, passing along the banks of the Seine. In 1781, in the
gardens of the Palais-Royal, were discovered the remains of great basins
which are supposed to have been the piscines of the hygienic baths.
Remains of Roman aqueducts have been found at various other localities
in France, at Nîmes, at Lyons, at Metz, etc., and that over the Gard is
still standing in part.

Among the bridges constructed by the Gauls, Cæsar mentions that of Melun
on the Seine; one on the Allier, near Vichy; that of Genabum (Orléans),
and that of Lutetia, over the larger arm of the Seine, on the site of
the present Pont Notre-Dame. Of that over the Allier and of the Parisian
one, some of the ancient piles have been found in the bed of the rivers.

Remains of the ancient wall of fortification of the capital have also
been brought to light, at various localities and at different dates. The
excavations in the Parvis-Notre-Dame in 1847 discovered a section of the
Roman wall twenty-six mètres in length, as well as the substructure of
the porch and the front portion of the nave of the original basilica,
constructed by Childebert and dedicated to the Virgin. These latter
foundations, some thirty-two mètres in front of the present cathedral,
demonstrate by their position, and by the probable width of the
primitive edifice in proportion to its length, that they were
constructed to the west and inside of the enclosing wall of the city, a
portion of which had been found under the choir of the cathedral. The
basilica constructed by the son of Clovis probably rose on the site of
the altars consecrated to the Roman or Gaulish gods, Jupiter, Vulcan,
Esus, and others, and which, before the construction of the city wall,
were visible from all sides. The enclosing wall, on the contrary, fenced
in the basilica, since it was necessary to protect this part of the
city, as well as all others. The somewhat unimposing aspect of
Notre-Dame, which was founded in 1163, may be ascribed in part to the
raising of the level of all the surrounding soil, for, as the histories
tell us, so late as 1748, it was reached only by ascending a flight of
thirteen steps, whereas now it is on the ordinary street-level.

This wall of defence was not commenced till about 406, when the
barbarians began to invade Gaul, and was apparently constructed in great
haste, if we may judge by the manner in which materials were borrowed
from surrounding buildings of all kinds. It is described as being
something over three and a half mètres in thickness at its base, which
was constructed in rough stone, frequently of small size, and sloping to
a height of two mètres. On this was erected a wall of dressed stones,
each successive layer set back, like a step, so that at the top it was
only some two mètres in width. It might be thought that this manner of
building offered considerable facilities to an escalading enemy.

On the largest stone of those discovered in 1711 under the choir of
Notre-Dame was deciphered an inscription which recorded the erection of
this altar to Jupiter, "very great, very beneficent," in the reign of
Tiberius Cæsar, by the corporation of _nautæ_, or mariners, apparently
the most powerful in the city, and the prows of the ships at the foot of
the arches in the ancient palace of Thermes are supposed to have been
connected with the same guild, though this architectural ornament is by
no means uncommon in ancient art. It is from these _Nautæ Parisiaci_
that the modern city derives its arms,--a vessel with distended sails.
(If any doubting tourist inquire concerning the maritime commerce of
Paris, he will be proudly referred to the barges which may be seen at
all the quais, and, even more, to the little steamers from London which
contrive to get under the bridges.) In some of the modern records this
ancient corporation is given great importance--with many _sans doutes_
and _il paraîts_--in the history of the city, both before and during the
sway of the Romans. Cæsar found it "fully organized," though it was
founded on the Roman corporation of the _Nautæ Tyberis_, navigators of
the Tiber, composed of senators, magistrates, and knights, which
transported grain and other merchandise from the port of Ostia to the
capital; and it was the original of the later _maison de la marchandise
de l'eau, de l'hôtel de Ville et du conseil municipal_ of Paris. The
activity of the Lutetian shippers and navigators covered the territory
bathed by the Seine, the Marne, and the Oise, all of them quite
navigable. The ruins of the Gallo-Roman buildings discovered in the Cité
in 1844, at the opening of the Rue de Constantine, were the remains of a
market or forum for the sale of provisions; and the corporation had,
near the port, an office or bureau for the regulation of this river
commerce. Opposite the port, on the northern side of the Seine, they
controlled also another point of landing, at the Grève, where, later,
was established the _prévôté de l'eau_, which developed into the
Parisian municipality. The port on the Cité, on the larger arm of the
Seine, received in the Middle Ages the name of Saint Landri, this bishop
having had an oratory, and perhaps his residence, in the neighborhood.
Under the Later Empire, in the reign of Posthumus, the northern suburb
having increased in size and importance, a market was placed at the
Champeaux, on the site of the present Halles Centrales, and the port of
the Grève became, as it has remained ever since, a point of landing for
merchandise coming from the upper Seine. The port on the southern side
of the river, near the great road from Genabum, was established on the
site of the mediæval _Quai de la Tournelle_, the great tower which
replaced that of the southern wall of fortification of the city built by
Philippe-Auguste. This quai still serves at the present day as a
landing-place for the barges.

[Illustration: FLIGHT OF LEUDASTE, A MEROVINGIAN. From a drawing by Jean
Paul Laurens]

In the reigns of Louis the Fat and Louis VII, the successors of the
_Nautæ Parisiaci_ were known as _mercatores aquæ parisiaci_, and they
were the origin of the municipal body charged with the policing of the
river navigation and commerce. Later in the Middle Ages, this small
species of Hanseatic League had a commercial station at
Marsons-sur-Seine, and its maritime jurisdiction extended as far as the
city of Mantes, situated on the western limits of the territory of the
Parisii. The sources of the Seine, near the farm of the Vergerots in the
commune of Saint-Germain-la-Feuille, were held in great veneration in
Gallo-Roman times, and a temple, the remains of which have been found,
was erected in their honor. In 1867 the Municipal Council of Paris set
up a monument "to the sources of the river which has given its name to
the department of the Seine, and to which Paris owes its ancient

The overrunning of Gaul by the barbarians, the latest historians tell
us, did not present the imposing spectacle of a great invasion in which
armed hosts of valiant and robust warriors trod down the effeminate and
corrupted civilization of the Romans, pillaged and ravaged the seats of
refinement and luxury in city and country, slew and carried into
captivity without respect for age or sex.

Long before the invasions of the fifth century the Germans had been
established in the empire, both as colonists and as soldiers. The
legions composed of Germans are said to have been even more amenable to
discipline than the Roman ones. The first who established themselves in
Gaul were the Visigoths and the Burgundians; the former, flying before
the Huns, appeared as suppliants on the frontiers of the empire in the
closing years of the fourth century. Ataulf (Ataulphus), the successor
of the imperial puppet Attalus, set up by the conquering Alaric, came
into Gaul early in the fifth century, became the ally of the Emperor
Honorius, married his sister Placida, and marched to the conquest of
Spain. The Visigoths, being thus installed in Gaul, admitted the
Burgondes (Burgundii) in a neighborly manner; we are even told that they
considered themselves as honored by the friendship of the Romans, and
pretended that they had a common origin. Their kings proclaimed
themselves lieutenants of the emperors, and fed their vanity by the
Roman titles with which they invested themselves. The historian Orosius
says the Burgundii were a quiet people, with gentle manners, respecting
the civil authorities, and living in friendly relations with the Gauls.
Both Visigoths and Burgundii promptly abandoned their national religions
and traditions and adopted Christianity, but they followed the Aryan
sect,--"unfortunately," says Duruy. Some modern French historians, on
the contrary, attribute the greatness of France to this circumstance.
The Gallo-Romans were orthodox.

When the Huns, driving the Germans before them or passing over their
bodies, appeared on the frontiers of Gaul in the year 451, they were met
by an army commanded by a Roman, Aëtius, but composed of Romans,
Burgundii, Visigoths, Franks, and Saxons, which defeated them at the
famous battle of the _champs catalauniques_, over the locality of which
the historians are still disputing. When the Franks appeared, at the end
of the fifth century, the army of Clovis contained a large number of
Romans, and from the time of the sons of Clotaire, the entire
population, without distinction of race, was called upon to do military
duty. It is even said that it was only the Gallo-Roman chiefs of the
armies who acquired military renown. Notwithstanding all this, there are
still historians of the present day who speak of "the catastrophe of 406
breaking abruptly the bond which attached the barbarians to the Empire
of the West." Some of these latter are disposed to see in Clovis, after
his conversion, the founder of modern political society, a creator of a
nationality, a maker of civilization,--titles which are freely denied
him by others. His success was owing, it is said, not to his victories,
but to his conversion. He was baptized by the Bishop of Reims, Remi, on
Christmas Day, 496. "From that date, he had the alliance of the bishops
throughout all Gaul against the Visigoths and the Burgondes, and his
reign was assured."

This conversion, it is said, had been earnestly desired by his wife
Clotilde, a niece of Gondebaud, King of the Burgondes, who had
stipulated with her royal spouse that her first-born should be
"consecrated to Christ by baptism." It also contributed greatly to his
final establishment in Paris, a capital which he had long coveted and
from which his predatory attacks had been constantly turned aside by the
efforts of a virgin, Sainte-Geneviève, whom the Parisians still honor as
their patron saint. The central position of this city, between the Rhine
and the Loire, enabled him to keep a watchful eye upon Brittany,
Aquitaine, the Burgondes, and the Frankish tribes of Belgium.

At his death, his kingdom was divided among his four sons, Paris, with
Poitiers, Périgueux, Saintes, and Bordeaux, falling to the lot of
Childebert. From the confused records of these barbaric times the names
of two women issue, and have remained permanently engraven upon the
tablets of history,--one of them as that of a personification of
Christian and feminine virtues rare at any age and doubly so in these
dark ages, and the other that of a monstrous queen whose crimes have
made her immortal. Radegonde was a daughter of Bertaire, King of
Thuringe, killed by his brother Hermanfried at the instigation of the
wife of the latter; the murderer invited Thierry, King of Metz, and
Clotaire, King of Soissons, sons of Clovis, to invade the kingdom, and
in the partition of the booty, Radegonde fell to the share of Clotaire.
Charmed by her original beauty, the king had her educated with unusual
care, and, later, married her, but the queen sought only to forget her
earthly dignities in ministering to the poor, in pious meditation, and
in long conversations upon the Scriptures with some learned prelate.
"She is a nun," said Clotaire, "and not a queen;" and he ended by
killing her last surviving brother. Whereupon she fled to Noyon and
implored Saint Médard at the altar to give her the protection of the
Church; Clotaire threatened and protested, but finally permitted her to
found a church and a convent at Poitiers, in which she immured herself
till her death, in 587,--thirty-seven years. "During this long seclusion
she constantly mingled with good works and with the austerity of
religious exercises the culture of letters; constantly also did she
guard her cherished traditions of the domestic hearth, and we find her
living again in the awkward verses of the greatest poet of that time,
Fortunatus, who had himself ordained priest that he might never be
constrained to leave her."

At the death of Clotaire, the monarchy was again divided into four
kingdoms, those of Paris, Soissons, Metz, and Burgundy,--soon reduced to
three by the death of Charibert, King of Paris. The Burgondes were under
the sway of Gontran, the Austrasien and Eastern Franks under Sigebert,
and the mingled population of Franks and Gallo-Romans which were called
Neustriens, or the Westerners, under Chilpéric. Aquitaine was divided
between the three, and Paris was already of so much importance that none
of them was willing to yield her to the others, and it was agreed that
no one should enter the city without the consent of the other two. The
royal authority was weaker in Austrasie, now Belgium and Lorraine, the
petty chiefs stronger, and the manners and customs more Germanic and
barbaric; in Neustrie, now Ile-de-France, Normandy, etc., there were
more ancient cities, mere remnants of the Roman civilization and
vestiges of imperial administration. To the political rivalry to which
this disparity gave rise was added the personal animosity of the two
queens, Frédégonde and Brunehaut.

While Sigebert was fighting the Avars, barbarians from Asia, on the
eastern frontier, his two brothers amused themselves by pillaging his
western provinces. Chilpéric had taken, for a most unwilling bride, a
younger sister of Brunehaut, Galswinthe, daughter of a king of the
Visigoths, notwithstanding the fierce jealousy of his mistress, or his
first wife, Frédégonde; her empire was, however, soon regained, and
Galswinthe was strangled in her sleep. Brunehaut incited her husband,
Sigebert, to a war of vengeance; Paris was taken, and Chilpéric only
saved from ruin by his wife, who despatched two assassins against the
King of the Neustriens. The rights of inheritance of her son, Clotaire,
were impaired by the existence of two sons of Chilpéric by a former
marriage. One of them, Mérovée, imprudently married the widowed
Brunehaut, and his step-mother sent him to rejoin Sigebert. The Bishop
of Rouen, Prétextat, who had already narrowly escaped with his life, in
Paris, from the terrible queen, had blessed this marriage; he was killed
on the steps of the altar while celebrating mass. Clovis, the brother of
Mérovée, followed; then one of his sisters, and Audovère, the mother.
The king left Paris for Chelles one afternoon, for the chase; he had
previously entered his wife's apartment while she was occupied with her
toilette and struck her playfully on the shoulder with a light
wand,--the queen mistook him for another, and answered, without turning
round: "_Tout beau!_ Landry," and other words of great familiarity. Then
she perceived her error, and the king went out without a word; as he
dismounted, on his return, some one slipped a knife into his heart, "and
no one thought it worth while to run after the murderer."

Charibert, the short-lived king of Paris, had in his royal palace a serf
named Leudaste, who, when a fellow-servant, Markowefe, attracted the
monarch's favor and was made queen, contrived to ingratiate himself with
her to such an extent that he was made grand equerry and, later, Comte
de Tours. In his administration he proved himself capable of every
outrage; but the death of Charibert compelled him to seek refuge with
Chilpéric, and he endeavored to win Frédégonde's favor as he had
Markowefe's. When Tours fell into the hands of Chilpéric, in 574,
Leudaste was re-established in his office and resumed his old practices;
two years later, upon a petition addressed to the king by the bishop,
Saint Grégoire de Tours, he was dismissed. Thereupon he hatched a plot
against the bishop and against the queen who had not interposed to save
him; he declared to the king that the former had conspired to deliver
Tours to the King of Austrasie, and that the queen had done him an even
greater wrong, and he offered to produce witnesses. But his case fell to
the ground; the king, threatened with excommunication by the clergy for
bringing false charges against the revered prelate, threw all the
responsibility upon Leudaste, and that individual, diligently sought
for, had prudently disappeared.

He was accordingly solemnly excommunicated and declared anathema "from
the crown of his head to the sole of his feet." After some two years
passed in pillage and debauchery at the head of an organized band of
brigands in the domains of Gontran, he obtained permission to return to
Tours, and had the audacity to come and seek his pardon at the court of
Neustrie. Chilpéric tolerated his presence, but advised him to avoid the
queen. As the sovereigns were one day attending mass in the basilica of
Paris, Leudaste entered boldly, traversed the crowd, and knelt at the
feet of Frédégonde, imploring her forgiveness. The king had him expelled
from the church, but, instead of taking warning, he lingered in the
shops around the market-place in the Cité, selecting jewels and rich
stuffs with which to propitiate the queen; when she issued from the
church and saw him, she despatched her guards to arrest him; one of them
was wounded, and another gave him a sword-cut over the head; as he fled
across the Petit-Pont, he fell and broke his leg. The manner and quality
of a torture that should be appropriate for him were carefully discussed
by the royal pair; he was tended by eminent physicians that he might be
duly strengthened for it; but when Frédégonde learned that gangrene had
appeared in his wounds, she had him dragged from his bed, stretched on
the pavement with his neck on a great iron bar, and his head crushed by
another heavy bar in the hands of the executioner.

After the murder of Chilpéric, the people began to murmur, and the
gentle King Gontran, according to Saint Grégoire of Tours, "in order to
put an end to the evil custom of killing kings, went one day to a church
where all the people were assembled for the mass, commanded silence
through a deacon, and said: 'I conjure you, men and women who are here
present, keep for me an assured fidelity, and do not kill me as you have
lately killed my brothers. Allow me to live at least two or three years,
that I may educate my young nephews, for fear that, after my death, it
should happen that you should perish with these children, since there
will remain of all my family no man strong enough to defend you.'"

Nevertheless, he had the courage to raise doubts as to the legitimacy of
Frédégonde's son, Clotaire, and to postpone his baptism till she
produced three bishops and three hundred other witnesses in his favor.
Brunehaut's son, Childebert, was threatening the queen with an armed
force; he and Gontran agreed to be each the other's heir in case they
died without children, and on Gontran's death Childebert endeavored to
take possession of Clotaire's domains also. Frédégonde had him poisoned:
the dreary series of civil war and family murders began again; Clotaire
II became in the end sole king of the Franks, and his mother died in her
bed, "full of years." Her rival, Brunehaut, less fortunate, betrayed by
her own followers, was, by Clotaire's orders, tied naked to the tail of
a wild horse and dragged to death.

Such were the manners and customs of the Mérovingians.

[Illustration: DEATH OF SAINTE-GENEVIÈVE. After the mural painting, in
the Panthéon, by J.-P. Laurens.]

There are various accounts of the two patron saints of France and Paris.
It is to Grégoire de Tours that we owe our first knowledge of Saint
Denis, who, according to his statement, came to preach Christianity in
Lutetia in the year 245, with the friar Rustique and the deacon
Eleuthère. Dionysius, bishop of the Parisians, he says, full of zeal for
the name of Christ, suffered many persecutions, and finally martyrdom.
Other historians assign to Saint Martin, rather than to Saint Denis, the
glory of having converted the Gauls to Christianity; some place his
mission even before the year 100, and the Abbé Hilduin confounds him
with Saint Denis the Areopagite. But, according to Grégoire, Denis,
Rustique, and Eleuthère were beheaded in the year 272, by order of the
préfet Percennius, on a mountain situated near Paris, which accordingly
took the name of the Mont des Martyrs (Montmartre). The préfet had given
orders to have the bodies thrown into the Seine, but a Roman lady, named
Catulla, although not a Christian herself, caused them to be sought for
in the night and piously buried in a locality known as Catolocus. Grain
was sown over the graves, and when the fury of persecution was passed,
they were disinterred and deposited in a tomb.

According to the popular legend (to which the municipal and national
authority has given a sort of official sanction by M. Bonnat's very
vigorous and realistic presentation on the walls of the Panthéon), after
having had his head struck off, the saint arose on his feet, picked it
up and walked away, carrying the severed organ in his hands, to the
great surprise of the spectators. In this manner he traversed the space
of a league, till he came to the spot where his church now stands, the
angels meanwhile chanting around him _Gloria tibi Domine_, and others
repeating three times the _Alleluia_. It was this unusual promenade that
gave rise to the well-known proverb that it is only the first step that

In 286 the weight of the Roman yoke and the persecutions of the
Christians had become so cruel that there was a rebellion, headed by
Salvianus Amandus and Lucius Pomponius Ælianus, who put themselves at
the head of the slaves and the _colons_ of Paris and Meaux, were
elevated on bucklers, and proclaimed emperors near the site of the
present Hôtel de la Ville. To them were speedily joined the _bagaudes_
(insurgents) of the surrounding country, and it required a very serious
effort on the part of the Roman troops, under the command of Maximien
Hercule, associated with Diocletian in the government of the empire, to
restore order.

Sainte-Geneviève, the patron saint of the Parisians, also perpetuated
with her legend on the walls of the Panthéon, originally her church but
now dedicated to the _Grands Hommes_ of the nation, was born at
Nanterre, near Paris, in 422, and guarded in the fields the flocks of
her parents, Sévère and Gérontia. She is said to have known Saint
Germain d'Auxerre, and to have promised him to devote herself to the
service of God; her reputation for sanctity, confirmed by several
miracles accomplished, was such that when the city was thrown into a
panic by the approach of Attila and his terrible Huns (begotten, it was
asserted, in the deserts of Scythia by the union of sorceresses and
infernal spirits) her voice was listened to as that of one qualified
from on high. Nevertheless, there were certain obstinate ones who
doubted her assurances of safety; there was even question of stoning her
for false counsel; but she, mounting a little eminence, assured her
fellow-citizens that, though Attila was indeed advancing, he would not
attack their city; this she stated in the name of God. That was
convincing, and, indeed, the dreaded conqueror turned his march toward
Orléans, and was preparing to pillage it when he was vanquished by
Aëtius and Théodoric.

A second time she came to the rescue of the capital when it was suddenly
attacked, in 476, by Childéric at the head of his Franks. His first
efforts were directed toward cutting off all supplies by the river, and
in this he was so successful that the Parisians speedily found
themselves reduced to a diet of fish and roots, with no bread at all.
Geneviève was touched by their sufferings, she embarked on a little
flotilla of fishermen's boats, and succeeded in escaping through the
enemy's lines in the most marvellous manner. Her return was anxiously
awaited; for nine days there was no news of her, and the famine grew
more cruel; finally, the lookouts on the towers perceived something in
the distance on the bosom of the river; it approached; it was she, with
eleven vessels filled with provisions of all kinds, of which she herself
superintended the distribution. Each one of the nine days had been
marked by some miracle, in the pursuance of her object. Monsieur Puvis
de Chavannes has recently devoted a large mural painting to this pious
legend. Nevertheless, Childéric took the city, in which he dwelt but
very little.

Pagan though he was, he partook of the general veneration for the
saintly virgin, and could refuse nothing to her earnest entreaties. It
was during his reign that she conceived the idea of building a church to
Saint Denis on the site of his tomb; by her prayers and entreaties she
succeeded in inducing the clergy and the people of Paris to raise the
necessary funds, and she commissioned a priest by the name of Genès to
construct the edifice. Clovis, son and successor of Childéric, had no
less consideration for her, but the basilica which he erected, in
connection with his wife Clotilde, and in consequence of his vow made
during the war with the Visigoths, was originally dedicated to Saint
Peter and Saint Paul, and did not take the name of Sainte-Geneviève
until later. It was completed after his death by Clotilde, who caused to
be interred in it the bodies of her spouse and the saint.

The famous _châsse_ (shrine or casket) of Sainte-Geneviève, preserved in
the abbey bearing her name which was completed in the reign of
Philippe-Auguste, and enriched by successive gifts of various
sovereigns, was constantly appealed to during many centuries, taken
down, solemnly carried in procession through the streets escorted by
barefooted clergy, whenever any of the innumerable evils from the hand
of God or man afflicted her good city of Paris.

[Illustration: A MEROVINGIAN QUEEN. From water-color by F. Bac.]




Any one traversing the handsome, formal garden which now occupies the
site of the ancient palace of the Tuileries, official residence of the
rulers of France after the red days of the Revolution, may perceive in
the midmost of the central alley, directly in the axis of the long vista
between Napoleon's two arches of triumph, that of the Carrousel and that
of the Place de l'Étoile, an important marble group by the sculptor
Mercié, set up on a high pedestal. This monument represents a vanquished
and wounded French infantry soldier, with bandaged feet, sinking and
clutching for support at the skirts of a robust peasant woman wearing
the typical head-dress of Alsace-Lorraine, who snatches the real
Chassepot, whitened to imitate marble (furnished by the courtesy of the
Minister of War), from his failing grasp. The whiting is wearing away
from the real Chassepot, the grime of the Parisian weather is settling
into corners of eyes, under noses, etc.; the pathos and sentiment of the
work suffer accordingly, and it may be doubted whether any pathetic, or
would-be pathetic, work of sculpture is ever really effective, even if
wrought by a very clever contemporary French artist. But it is to be
noticed that on this national and historic site, in what might be called
the physical centre of the nation, the most prominent monument
commemorates, not the national glories and triumphs, but a humiliating
and overwhelming national disaster. Facing the square of the Carrousel,
between the arch and the Louvre, is the much vaster monument of Gambetta
in marble and bronze, with long extracts from his orations in the evil
days of '71 engraved on the tall shaft which rises behind him,--a most
ostentatious commemoration of defeat. Farther west, the great Place de
la Concorde is surrounded by handsome pavilions and balustrades, with
eight stately, seated female figures of heroic size typifying the
principal cities of France. To one of these the traveller's attention is
at once directed by the funerary contributions in which she is half
smothered,--draped flags, great wreaths and disks of immortelles and
black bead-work, similar to those seen on the tombs in the cemeteries,
with commemorative inscriptions: "From the Societies of the Inhabitants
of Alsace-Lorraine;" "14th July, 1898" (the day of the national _fête_,
commemorative of the fall of the Bastile); "_France! Souviens toi!_" on
a huge yellow circle like a life-preserver, and, on a circular disk at
the feet of the statue:

[Illustration QUI VIVE! FRANCE! L. D. P. QUAND MÊME]

This curiously-garnished statue is that representing the city of
Strasbourg, which is no longer a French city; and of all the others,
which illustrate nothing particularly mortifying or mournful in the
national history, no proclamation whatever is made. In the centre of the
handsome court-yard of the new and imposing Hôtel de Ville, the statue
selected as the central jewel of this _écrin_, as it were, is Mercié's
_Gloria Victis_, the vanquished here being, again, France. (It should be
stated, however, that if any work of contemporary sculpture is worthy of
honor and of proud municipal recognition, it is this admirable bronze.)

Many of the great public places in the city of Paris, moreover,
commemorate, more or less openly, what might be called the great stains
on the history of the nation. The Place de la Concorde is that of the
Guillotine, and the Luxor obelisk is the monument of the more than
twenty-eight hundred victims beheaded by that axe. The Place de l'Hôtel
de Ville was formerly the Place de Grève, famous in all hangmen's
annals,--burnings alive, tearings asunder by horses, breakings on the
wheel, decapitations, hangings,--from Catherine de Médicis' Huguenot
chiefs and the unlucky Comte de Montgomery; Lally-Tollendal, Governor of
the Indies; Foulon, _contrôleur-général_ of the finances and his
son-in-law, hanged to the street lanterns by the mob, down to the famous
regicides and the obscure and ignoble multitude of criminals of all
ages. The Place de la Bastile commemorates the fortress-jail of that
name,--one of the worst of all jails and one to be discreetly forgotten;
the column of July, in the centre of this place, was erected in memory
of the victims of the Revolution of 1830. The statue of Henri IV on the
Pont-Neuf marks the spot where the Grand Master of the Templars and one
of his officers were burned at the stake; on the _carrefour_ of the
Observatory, that of Marshal Ney, the locality where that brave soldier
was shot by order of the Chamber of Peers; from the little bell-tower at
the side of the church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, back of the Louvre,
the signal was sounded for the Saint Bartholomew. The Châtelet and the
Conciergerie were famous prisons; the ruins of the palace on the Quai
d'Orsay have been but just removed, to make room for the new depot of
the Orléans railway, after having stood since 1871 a most eloquent
monument of the excesses of the Commune. It was even proposed to leave
the shattered walls of the Tuileries as a permanent record of the
follies of an unbridled democracy!


From an illuminated manuscript in the National Library, Paris.]

This expansiveness, this frank parading of unseemly things, is
supplemented by other public demonstrations of the passion of the hour.
For some years after the fall of the Commune the national emotions found
solace in stencilling in big letters on every possible wall or _fronton_
or pediment, public or private,--_Liberté._ _Egalité._ _Fraternité._ The
harassed citizen of the new republic looked up, or down, or sideways, at
this official assurance of the sentiments breathed by all, high or low,
and found comfort. Only, the wits of the agitated capital--who perceive
some, but by no means all, of the opportunities which their
fellow-citizens afford them--took occasion to read this text with the
punctuation-mark--(.) _point_--after each noble word. _Point_ is also
the strongest of negations, so that the official declaration of faith
was reduced to nullity,--"Liberty, none; Equality, none: Fraternity, not
the slightest!"

All this seems to constitute a curious national trait, and in
literature, in the daily journals, the observing traveller is again
impressed with this unbosoming, which the Parisian himself would
probably brand as _naïveté_ if he could perceive it. It flourishes
perfectly side by side with his vanity; in fact, it probably has its
origin in his vanity. "The Causes of Our Defeat in 1870," under various
titles, have furnished and are still furnishing matter for interminable
publication. In municipal affairs, the unshakable conviction that Paris
is, simply, the only capital in the world does not in the least
interfere with frank admissions concerning its limitations, which the
least public-spirited villager in other climes would neither believe nor
admit. Here, the journalist, the romancer, the historian, find in the
most simple human demonstration, if it take place in the capital,
something peculiarly and most admirably _Parisien_. Balzac, _e.g._, in
the _Double Famille_, if we remember aright, brings two of his
characters together late at night in a dusky street; the younger man
thinks he recognizes the elder, but is not certain; he therefore
approaches him doubtfully "as a Parisian does when he is undecided."
This endless and childish delight in everything appertaining to his
town, and the accompanying frank indifference to everything, pretty
much, outside of it, is, in fact, so well known abroad that it has even
brought down upon the Parisian's unconscious head the epithet that he
would consider the uttermost of insults--"provincial!" He provincial! he
who has invented those two withering words, "the provinces" and

Nevertheless, this capital of all possible civilizations does not
hesitate to admit that it must by all means do all in its power to
attract the wealthy tourist of other nations, on whom its prosperity is
so largely dependent, especially since it has no longer the attractions
of a royal or imperial court to offer. No presentation of the city of
Paris at the present day would be complete without documents giving the
opinions of its own cultured and intelligent classes on its general
characteristics and its most urgent needs. With regard to this question
of dependence upon strangers, endless quotations might be cited, and two
or three may well be printed here as more valuable contributions to this
contemporary history than any speculations by mere foreigners. The
_Revue Encyclopédique_, published weekly by the great house of Larousse,
has a column which it devotes to _ideas of general interest_,
underscored, and in this column appeared, in the issue of January 23,
1897, the following communication: "For some time past the Avenue de
L'Opéra, at Paris, has been lighted by electricity by means of
incandescent lamps placed along the central axis of this great
thoroughfare. This very handsome illumination serves only to accentuate
more strongly the monotonous melancholy of the double row of commercial
establishments the fronts of which are invariably closed at eight
o'clock in the evening.... And sorrowful reflections are awakened of the
brilliant evenings of thirty years ago, the movement of foreigners along
the boulevards, the crowd of promenaders constantly changing before the
dazzling show-windows of the end of the Second Empire. Why is not some
effort made to revive this brilliant past by creating attractions
capable of arousing the curiosity of the Parisians and, above all, of
the foreigners? Could not some arrangement be made among all the
shop-keepers of the grand boulevards and of the principal adjacent
streets (Rue de la Paix, Rue Royale, Avenue de l'Opéra, etc.), that one
evening a week be devoted to the exceptional adornment of their
establishments?" And the writer goes on to suggest, with Parisian
ingenuity, that a jury of artists might even be constituted to decide
which display was the most brilliant and the most worthy, and to award
suitable recompense. "By this means it is probable that the street and
the boulevard would resume their former animation, to the great profit
of the trade in articles of luxury, so profoundly affected by the
desertion of the foreigners."

In the year of grace, 1898, the Parisian world was greatly agitated by
the fact that the Grand Prix de Paris was run at Longchamps on the 5th
of June, and that, consequently, the Parisian season was brought to an
ending most unreasonably early. These complaints were so insistent that
they found voice in the Municipal Council and were brought before the
Prefect of the Seine. It was contended that the treaty between the city
and the _Société d'encouragement_ of improvement of the equine breed,
its lessee at Longchamps, had been violated, inasmuch as the great event
had taken place before the middle of June. But the _Société
d'encouragement_ proved conclusively, by the terms of its lease from the
city, that the date and the regulations of the race were left to its own
judgment, and that, in point of fact, it had always taken place before
the 15th of June. "But that which it is above all important to observe
is, that the date of the Grand Prix is determined, not according to the
whim of the _Société d'encouragement_, but indeed by that of the English
Derby, which regulates also that of the French Derby. It is necessary,
in fact, that the same horses should take part in the three trials. The
English, having set the date of their Derby this year on the 26th of
May, the French Derby, which precedes it, had to be run on the 22d of
May, and the Grand Prix de Paris, which occurs regularly ten days after
the English Derby, could only be run on Sunday, the 5th of June. It is
impossible, moreover, in any way to postpone this date, for the reason
that the horses cannot be maintained in racing condition for any longer
period of time."

Notwithstanding this conclusive reasoning, _Le Temps_, one of the most
eminent and dignified journals of the capital, devoted a long article in
its largest type, two days afterward, to the duty of the _Conseil
municipal_ in the matter. "This date is not, in fact, a matter of
indifference to the interests of the city. It is, or it is considered to
be, the moment selected for a general exodus of foreigners and even of
Parisians in comfortable circumstances toward the seaside and other
rural resorts. The shop-keepers therefore consider that they have cause
for complaint if this moment arrive too early. The municipal councillors
who have constituted themselves the spokesmen of their griefs have
demanded and obtained a vote on a resolution having for its object the
designation of the third Sunday in June, at the earliest, as the date of
this equine solemnity.


Facsimile of a German copperplate engraving of the period.


    _Here is to be seen what is set forth_
    _To lose their lives, young and old,_
    _At a wedding in Paris._
    _So that to judgment shall be sure,_
    _There were killed the Admiral_
    _With his nobles altogether._

    _So, together with the servants, it is thought_
    _That three thousand were destroyed._
    _The King of Navarre, also Conde,_
    _Is taken likewise of nobles more._
    _The Huguenots, man, woman, child,_
    _Were rapidly disposed of._

    _Of whom the total number was found to be five thousand._

    _On the 22d day of August, in the year 1572._

"Whether this date may or may not be adopted, it seems to us that the
interest which it awakens is entitled to unqualified commendation. The
Municipal Council in no way goes outside of its proper sphere; on the
contrary, it is well within it, when it concerns itself with the general
interests of the city of Paris, when it seeks for means of retaining in
it and attracting to it the largest possible number of foreigners and of
very wealthy individuals whose presence and whose habits have for result
the circulation of a great deal of money and the constant vivifying of
the Parisian industries, which are, for the greater part, the
industries of luxury. The Municipal Council understands perfectly that
this question of the sojourn of strangers amongst us is in the highest
degree an economical question which concerns the labor and the wages of
the Parisian workmen, as it does also the general prosperity of the
finances of the city. Therefore, far from criticising it for
deliberating upon this question and others of a similar nature, we
should rather regret that it has not turned its attention upon them with
more constancy and consecutiveness.

"It is not, in fact, a simple matter of detail like that which has
occupied the Municipal Council, which can ameliorate or even guarantee
the situation of Paris in so far as it is a rendezvous or a residence
for foreigners. These will not continue to come here and to remain here
unless their sojourn is made agreeable and peaceful for them. This is
something which should be considered, and it is a question which is
closely connected with the general functions of our ædiles. It is not to
be imagined that with a few indirect measures this foreign colony, so
essentially susceptible and flitting by nature, can be constrained to
remain among us and expend its money against its own will. These are not
birds that can be put in a cage, and, above all, retained there. Even
those whose passion for the races is well developed will easily find a
method of being present at the Grand Prix without domiciling themselves
among us. They will only pass through; we shall see them no more. The
essential point is, therefore, to watch with the utmost care, every day,
that Paris shall never lose in their eyes its prestige and its
attractions. From this will ensue, if we wish to deduce from it,
practical regulations for the administration of the great city."

And the editor goes on to regret that the municipal authorities, so far
from occupying themselves exclusively with these details of public
hygiene, street lighting, facility of transport, etc., should so
frequently expend themselves upon "violent discussions of _politique
pure_." "Is it not true that in what concerns the general progress of
urban life, whether it be the question of transportation, or that of
gas, or that of electricity, we are behind, and very greatly behind,
the condition which has been attained in London, in New York, in Berlin,
and even in Geneva and in some of our cities of the provinces?" These
reflections appeared to be especially opportune on the evening of the
election which was to replace in the Municipal Council those members who
were about to leave it for the Chamber of Deputies. "The electors who
are interested in the aspect under which the city will present itself to
foreigners in 1900, at the moment of the Exposition Universelle, will
not allow to escape this opportunity of manifesting their sentiments
upon this subject.... All those who labor to augment its prosperity
accomplish much more--be it known--for the amelioration of the condition
of the work-people than the dreamers of national confiscations and of
obligatory collectivism, and their efforts, if they are in the majority,
will be otherwise efficacious in retaining the foreigners than by the
moving forward some fifteen days of the date of the Grand Prix. Although
it is not to be despised, a season of fifteen days' duration is, taking
it altogether, but a slight gain. The foreigners flock hither the whole
year round, and it is the whole year round that it is necessary to make
them find it safe and agreeable to visit here, visits to which they are
inclined and from which the entire city derives such great benefits."


From a drawing by Adrien Moreau.]

This exposition may be considered as an authentic, contemporary
document, and, as has been premised, these opinions are coeval and
coterminous with an admirable civic self-satisfaction. It is perhaps
scarcely necessary to stipulate that in these general observations it is
the frame of mind and the mode of speech of what are known everywhere as
the upper classes, the more intelligent and refined, which are taken
into account,--the Parisian workman, day-laborer, and semi-criminal,
though they figure very largely in the results of the general elections
(worse luck!), do not necessarily appear in the discussion of these
questions of high importance. It may be remembered that, at the period
of this much-discussed Grand Prix, there was much contradictory
testimony as to the existence of a general feeling of hostility toward
America and the Americans among the French because of the Spanish war.
Many depositions were made on both sides, but there was a general
consensus of opinion among the heads of the larger Parisian commercial
and manufacturing establishments as to that of their work-people. "Their
political views and manner of looking at things have no other horizon
than that of the newspaper they are in the habit of reading," said one
chief of an important house, "they take no notice of the effect which
such crises may have upon their work." "We believe them to be absolutely
indifferent," said another; "I can assure you that the workmen take not
the slightest interest in this question, and they probably would not
understand it if it were put to them," testified a third. "As to the
working-class," said a merchant in the Rue de Rivoli, "they occupy
themselves with their own affairs, and nothing beyond. Apart from the
social question, all they want is to earn as much money as possible, and
do the least work possible for it." One of these sons of toil
corroborated these statements very frankly. "I can assure you," said he,
"that neither my comrades nor myself side with one or the other. I
assure you that it matters nothing to us. We have something better to do
than to gossip about the war."

Much the same conditions have obtained in the formation and development
of this superior intellectual and aristocratic Parisian society as in
that of other civilized nations. We are all more or less familiar with
the general demonstrations by which the historians demonstrate the
development of the wealthy classes, by the aid and support of which
alone the letters and the arts arise and flourish. In the earliest
stages of society, the struggle for life absorbs all possible energy; a
little comfort and security, and consequent leisure, bring in the arts.
The half-starved hunting-dog follows the game steadily, stealthily,
without a superfluous sign or motion; _after_ the chase, and the
subsequent feast and the subsequent luxurious slumber, he awakes to
indulge in unpractical gambols and barkings around his master,--it is
the dance; Art is invented! The three superior social classes, the king,
the clergy, and the nobles, which were definitely established in France
at the outbreak of the Revolution, were the legitimate development of
the feudal system, and had, apparently, legitimately conquered their
position. They had been the protectors of the people even before the
Carlovingian epoch, and when the people finally arose and overturned
them, it was only because they had completely forgotten their high
mission through a long course of years.

To Stendhal's observation, that, in the tenth century, a man considered
himself lucky if he were not killed, and had a good leathern jacket for
winter, Taine adds, and a woman, if she were not violated by a whole
band of ruffians. In those truly Dark Ages the peasant accepted quite
willingly the hardest feudal obligations as a harbor of refuge from the
ills that menaced him on every side. The sixth and seventh centuries of
our era are considered to have been among the worst that the world has
seen; it was declared that it was not with water, but with His tears,
that God moistened the earth out of which He made man. After the fall of
the Romans, it was the Church alone that saved human society from "a
Mongol anarchy;" in the last years of the Empire, the cities, illy
defended by their natural protectors, gave to their bishops, with the
title of _defensor civitatis_, the principal municipal authority. The
Church alone retained any influence over the conquering barbarian;
before the shaven monk or the mitred abbot, the wolfish and ignorant
chief, long-haired, filthy, and half-clad in furs, hesitated, listened
to his words in the council, stooped before his altars,--"like Saint
Lupicin before the Burgonde king Chilpéric, Saint Karileff before the
king Childebert." In his moments of repose, after the chase, or the
battle, or the feast, the menaces of the prelate began to stir in his
guilty soul,--aided, perhaps, by the reproaches or the advice of his
wife or his concubine; he hesitated to violate the sanctuary lest he
should fall dead with a broken neck on the threshold; if he had been
carried away by his passions, and committed murder or robbery, he
repented and made reparation, sometimes a hundred-fold. The cloister
offered a refuge to those who fled aghast from the world and sought
meditation and solitude; the abbey was not only an asylum, but a haunt
of learning and practical industry, a seat of instruction for the
farmer, the workman, the student. "Thus the most evil centuries of the
Middle Ages," says Duruy, "were acquainted with virtues of which the
finest ages of paganism were ignorant; and thus, thanks to a few souls
of the elect, animated by the pure spirit of Christianity, humanity was
arrested on the edge of the abyss in which it seemed about to
precipitate itself."

Nevertheless, this historian admits that Christianity, which had not
modified the manners of Roman society, was itself an element in the
dissolution of the Empire, and that the Church itself acquired some of
the rudeness of the barbarians with which it came into such intimate
contact. "Germans and Franks aspired to the honor of the episcopate, and
carried into the basilicas customs and manners which were strange there.
The great intellectual movement which had formerly animated religious
society slackened, then ceased; the shadows descended upon the Church


From a drawing by Adrien Moreau.]

After Charlemagne's short-lived empire, the universal dissolution set in
again. Against the bands of brigands, four or five hundred strong each,
that traversed the country, any defender was welcome, and a second
upholder of society arose,--the stout warrior, skilled in arms, who
gathered retainers around him, secured a hold or a castle, and offered
protection in return for service rendered. His title or his lineage
mattered but little in the tenth century, his defence was much too
welcome for any carping about his arms or his ancestry,--he was an
ancestor himself. The original source of many noble houses is more than
doubtful,--Tertulle, the founder of the Plantagenets; Rollo, Duke of
Normandy; the ancestors of Robert le Fort; the Capétiens were said to
have been descended from a butcher of Paris. "'In these times,'" says
Taine, quoting the Spanish chronicle, "'the kings, counts, nobles, and
all the knights, in order to be ready at any moment, kept their horses
in the hall in which they slept with their wives.' The viscount in the
tower which defends the entrance to the valley, or the passage of the
ford, the marquis thrown as a forlorn hope on the devastated frontier,
sleeps on his arms, like the American lieutenant in a blockhouse in the
far West, among the Sioux. His house is only a camp and a refuge; some
straw and a pile of leaves are thrown on the pavement of the great hall;
it is there that he sleeps with his horsemen, unbuckling a spur when he
has a chance for repose; the loopholes scarcely allow the day-light to
enter,--it is important, above all, that the arrows do not. All
inclinations, all sentiments, are subordinated to the service; there are
posts on the European frontier where the boy of fourteen is called upon
to march, and where the widow, up to sixty years of age, is compelled to
marry again. Men in the ranks, to fill up the vacancies, men at the
posts, to mount guard,--this is the cry that issues at this moment from
all human institutions, like the call of a voice of bronze." Thanks to
these stout defenders, some form of society is again made possible.

A later historian, M. Flach, in his _Origines de l'ancienne France_,
finds the germ from which sprang the whole feudal system in this
_patronage_, the system of defence of the serf and vassal by the landed
proprietor. In the great disorganization of the Roman Empire, a portion
of the public authority passed into the hands of individuals; when the
Frankish kings invaded Gaul, they found there a system of patronage
similar to their own. These great proprietors were maintained under the
first Merovingian kings, who kept them in due subjection; but as this
regulation gradually weakened under the growing power of the land-owner,
the private individual found himself ground between these two
millstones. A private patron then became his only defence, and thus was
hastened the strictly feudal system. With regard to the royal function,
which crowned this feudal system, the historian cites two quotations in
support of his thesis: "Under Louis d'Outre-mer, the legate of the Pope,
Marin, defined the royal authority,--he called it patronage
[_patrocinium_]. Forty years later the decisive argument of the
Archbishop of Reims, Adalbéron, in sustaining the claims of Hugues Capet
to the throne, was: 'You will have in him a father. No one, up to the
present time, has invoked in vain his patronage [_patrocinium_].'"

Quite apart from these valid, historical reasons, the British "love of a
lord" is by no means confined to Great Britain. The Parisians, also,
have a certain fondness for titles and distinctions of all sorts. For
the English aristocracy they profess a genuine admiration, as affording
the best example of the success of a certain _élite_ in affecting the
social conscience. They quote approvingly John Bright when he admits
that his folk--trades-people and commoners--are quite willing to have
their public affairs managed by a superior class, specially trained,
enjoying an independent and commanding social station. Their titles and
their pride of ancestry give them robes and plumes, and a troop follows
its officers more readily when they are gorgeously uniformed. Only, it
is required that this privilege shall not be abused; no favor to
mediocrities, no nepotism. Victor Hugo was more proud of his title of
_vicomte Hugo_ than of his greatest work, and Balzac's obstinacy in
clinging to his particle of _de_ has lately been shown to have been
completely unfounded. To Sainte-Beuve, who infuriated him by constantly
speaking of him as _M. Honoré Balzac_, he wrote: "My name is on my
register of birth, as M. Fitz-James's is on his." So it is, but without
any _de_. In 1836, at the period of the legal process to which one of
his works, _Le Lys dans la vallée_, gave rise, he wrote: "If my name is
that of an _old Gaulish family_, it is not my fault; but my name, De
Balzac, is my name patronymic, an advantage which is not enjoyed by many
aristocratic families who called themselves Odet before they called
themselves Châtillon, Riquet before Caraman, Duplessis before Richelieu,
and which are none the less great families.... If my name resounds well
in some ears, if it is envied by some who are not content with their
own, I cannot therefore renounce it.... My father ... found in the
_Trésor des Chartres_ the concession of land made in the fifth century
by the De Balzacs to establish a monastery in the environs of the little
town of Balzac (department of La Charente), a copy of which, he told me,
was, by their action, enregistered by the Parliament of Paris." It
appears that there are existing no Merovingian records of any kind
dating earlier than the seventh century; and a keeper of archives, M.
Ch. Portal, in the department of Tarn, in which the death of the great
novelist's father, "Bernard-François Balzac, born at Nougaïris," is
recorded, having looked the matter up, discovered that his ancestors
were simple country-people, laborers, who had never dreamed of a _de_
before their name, which, in fact, was really Balssa or Balsa!

The French have no word in their language which exactly translates
"snob," so they adopt with enthusiasm the English syllable
(mispronouncing it fearfully); and this curious weakness in so great a
writer and so keen a student of humanity would be even more remarkable
if it were not so very common among other civilized people. M. Jules
Lemaître, a couple of years ago, read before the five Academies of the
Institute a careful study of this particular social class; there were
said to be a crowd of amateur playwrights besieging the managers with
plays with this title, and the pretentious claimer of things that are
not his in the great world, "the great nephew of Mascarille in the
_Précieuses ridicules_," was honored with more analysis, comment, and
reconstruction than he was probably entitled to.

1610. From a drawing by L. Marold.]

In addition to the three great classes that have ruled over France, and
which, with the commons or serfs, have been known to almost every
European nation, a third class, the _tiers état_, still in process of
formation elsewhere on the Continent, but which arose in Paris and other
great cities in the thirteenth century, is claimed by the historians of
this nation as peculiarly French.

Previous to Pepin and Charlemagne, Paris was generally recognized as the
capital, though the wandering and barbaric Frankish kings much preferred
as places of residence their great country-houses or _villas_, when they
were neither hunting nor fighting. The court of Charlemagne, in the
later years of his reign, was held at Aix-la-Chapelle, his favorite
abode. In 775 he was present at the dedication of the new church of
Saint-Denis, and the Parisians are said to have made a _fête_ of the
occasion. Louis le Débonnaire, his son, more monk than king, also
neglected the city, excepting in the matter of founding churches and
increasing the privileges of the clergy. But under the last of the
Carlovingian emperors, Charles le Gros, the capital redeemed its right
to that title by its gallant defence against the Northmen, or Normans,
and its valiant count, Eudes, having brought the sluggish emperor to the
heights of Montmartre only to see him conclude an unworthy peace with
the invaders, founded himself the first national dynasty when his fat
suzerain was deposed in the following year. "One of the greatest figures
of the Carlovingian decadence," says M. Faure, in a recent monograph,
"he continued the monarchy of Charlemagne without changing anything in
the institutions, and he gave a precise form to a power that before him
was still undecided, that of duke of the Franks."

The royal authority waxed and waned, the turbulent nobles exhausted
themselves in war, in struggles amongst themselves and against the king,
but the wealth and power of the Church steadily increased. Occasionally
only, when its interference was too flagrantly unjust, its authority was
defied. The first Capétiens, like the first Carlovingians, whether from
motives of self-interest or sincere faith, were its faithful allies.
Hugues Capet liked better to wear his cope as Abbot of Saint-Martin de
Tours than his crown, and he restored to the Church several abbeys which
he possessed. His son, Robert the Pious, was almost a saint, and the
princes of this dynasty, on the whole, merited the title which Rome gave
them, of "eldest sons of the Church." Their piety was not altogether
without reward: the bishops of the Ile-de-France and the abbots, chiefs
of the abbeys founded by royal grace, brought more than once not only
earthly weapons but a spiritual one, that of excommunication, to the
defence of the sovereign.

Robert's first care, after his accession to the throne in 996, was to
rebuild the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois and the monastery of
Saint-Germain-des-Près, which had been destroyed by the Northmen. He
also erected in his palace a chapel dedicated to Saint Nicolas, which,
in 1154, entirely restored, became the Sainte-Chapelle. He washed the
feet of the poor, he fed, it is said, sometimes a thousand of them a
day; nothing was too sacred for them, neither the silver ornaments of
his lance nor the gold fringe of his robe. He was constant in his
attendance on the church services, he composed hymns, himself, which
were long retained. Nevertheless, having espoused his cousin Berthe, he
found himself excommunicated by the Pope, Gregory V. Among the earliest
works of the painter Jean-Paul Laurens, long in the Luxembourg, is a
graphic presentation of this unhappy couple, clinging to each other in
the poor, bare splendor of the very early mediæval throne-room, the
overturned great tapers of the excommunication service on the floor
before them, the smoke rising like anathema, and the last of the
implacable ministers of the Church departing through the open doorway.
Every one deserted them, as though plague-stricken; only two poor
domestics remained to serve them, and they purified by fire every vessel
from which the unhappy monarch had taken food or drink. But Berthe was
_enceinte_, and the king loved her, and so clung to her and would not
obey. One morning as he went to pray, according to his custom, at the
door of the church of Saint-Barthélemy, into which he was forbidden to
enter, Abbon, Abbé de Fleury, followed by two women of the palace,
carrying a great silver-gilt plate covered with a linen cloth,
approached him, and announced that Berthe had been delivered. Then he
uncovered the plate:

"See!" he exclaimed, "the effects of your disobedience to the decrees of
the Church, and the seal of anathema on the fruit of your guilty love!"

And Robert recoiled in horror before a little monster with the head and
neck of a duck! (_Canard_, it may be noted, in French, signifies both a
duck and a highly improbable story.)

So the poor queen was repudiated, and Robert married Constance, daughter
of the Comte de Toulouse, who made his life a burden to him. He hid
himself from her to say his prayers, and feared her so much that he did
not hesitate to deny his charities and good deeds to her,--though he had
such a horror of falsehood, that he had made a casket of crystal,
mounted with gold, but in which he was careful not to put any holy
relic, so that those who took their oaths on it before him might not
perjure themselves.

His son Henri I, who succeeded him, married a daughter of the Grand Duke
of Russia, in order that he might be certain of not taking a wife within
the degrees of consanguinity prohibited by the Church. This princess,
Anne, claimed to descend through her mother, daughter of the Emperor
Romanus II, from Philip of Macedon.

The queen Constance brought with her from the Midi some of those
troubadours whose romantic airs and graceful verses were so appreciated
in the little courts of the south of France and, later, in the gloomy
castles of the nobles of the north. Great was the prevalence of ennui in
these fortresses, in which there was but little sunshine and a great
dearth of all other refining and civilizing influences. It was
impossible to be engaged in warfare or the chase all the time, and the
wandering pilgrim, with his tales from afar, or, still more, the
wandering minstrel, _trouvère_, as he was called in the north of France,
was a welcome relief to the deadly monotony of the days of peace.
"Seated at the hearth of the seigneur, he sang, during long evenings,
the tragic adventures of the Dame de Fayel and of the Sire de Coucy, or
the marvellous exploits of the Knights of the Round Table, of Renaud,
and of Roland, of Charlemagne and his Twelve Peers; unless, indeed, his
audience, in a livelier mood, demanded of him some sarcastic _fabliau_,
or the fine tricks played upon Master Isengrin by his shrewd gossip,
Master Renard."

From a drawing by L. Marold.]

But these Aquitains in the train of Queen Constance, when they first
appeared in the court of the good Robert, were singularly offensive to
the Parisians by their elegance, their luxurious habits, and their
light manners. "As soon as Constance appeared at the court," says Raoul
Glaber, "you could have seen France inundated by a species of folk the
most vain and the most frivolous of all possible men. Their fashion of
living, their garments, their armor, the harness of their horses, were
all equally fantastic. Their hair descended scarcely as low as the
middle of the head [the northern French still retained the long flowing
locks in the German fashion]: true theatricals, in whom the shaved chin,
the small-clothes, the ridiculous boots, ending in a curved beak, and
the whole outward appearance badly arranged, betrayed the disorder of
their minds. Men without faith, without law, without shame, whose
contagious example will corrupt the French nation, formerly so decent,
and precipitate it into all kinds of debauchery and wickedness."

Notwithstanding Robert's piety, his reign was signalized by a cruel
persecution of the Jews, in revenge for the destruction of the church of
the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem by the Fatimite caliph of Egypt, and by
the first execution of heretics in France. Throughout the whole of the
Middle Ages, the Jews, forbidden to hold any landed property, were
constantly persecuted, plundered, and outraged, banished only to be
called back again at the price of further exactions. The first thirteen
heretics were burned at Orléans in 1022; one of them had been the
confessor of Queen Constance, and as he passed her on his way to the
stake, she put out one of his eyes with a long rod she held in her hand.
Nevertheless, the historian Duruy considers that this certain mental
movement, these deviations of the human intelligence from the beaten
track, demonstrated that the period in which all thought seemed dead had
passed, and that the first Renaissance began in this (eleventh)

A more recent writer distinguishes this century also by "that revolution
in feudal France," the development of the commune. The great social fact
was the disappearance of the three classes, serfs, semi-freemen, and
free men (_libres_), which had existed since the ninth century, and
their unity under subjection to the seigneur. This domination of the
seigneur, at first justified by the protection afforded, lost its
authority when it began to consult only its self-interest, and, toward
the close of the century, stirred up revolts which led to the
establishment of all kinds of popular associations, guilds,
confraternities, charities, communities, etc.

The only church erected in Paris during the thirty years' reign of Henri
I was that of Sainte-Marine, founded about 1036, and whose patron,
according to the story, was a young virgin named Marine, who conceived a
strong desire to be a monk. So she disguised herself as a man, and
became Brother Marin in a convent. One of her duties was to go to the
city for provisions, with an ox-cart, and on her journeys she frequently
passed the night in the house of the Seigneur de Pandoche, whose
daughter was found to be with child. To screen her lover, a soldier, she
laid the blame on Brother Marin, and he was accordingly driven from his
monastery. However, he took the child, which was sent him, nourished it,
and the monks, touched by his meekness, finally received him back in
their fold. Not till his death was his secret discovered, when he was
interred with great religious pomp and canonized under his true name.
Consequently, in the church of Sainte-Marine were celebrated all the
forced marriages of couples found living together without the sanction
of law, the public authorities compelling them to appear before the curé
of Sainte-Marine, who wedded them with a ring of straw, slipped on the
bride's finger.


After an engraving by Saint-Jean.]

Henri's son, Philippe I, contrived, like his grandfather, to get himself
excommunicated because of his marriage, but for the space of ten years
he seems to have concerned himself but little about the wrath of the
Church. He had repudiated his wife, Berthe, and taken Bertrade, whom he
had carried off from her husband, Foulque, Comte d'Angers. Finally,
wearied of her, he presented himself as a penitent, barefooted, before
the council of 1104, Bertrade doing the same; they protested their
horror of their past conduct, their resolve to sin no more, and were
accordingly absolved. It was this monarch who, by his unseemly jest
concerning William the Conqueror, of whom he was both jealous and
afraid, nearly brought down upon the Parisians again another Norman.
"When is that fat man going to be delivered?" inquired Philippe, with
the delicate humor of the Middle Ages. To which the Conqueror replied
that he was coming to Paris for his "churching," with ten thousand
lances instead of tapers. And, as was his fashion, he started to keep
his word: his advance guard was burning villages up to the gates of
Paris, when, according to the story, his horse stepped on some hot
cinders at Mantes and in his sudden recoil so injured the monarch that
he died soon after at Rouen.

The great national assemblies which Charlemagne had so often consulted,
and even those convocations of the great lords and bishops which had
been so frequent in the tenth century, fell into disuse under the
Capétiens, in consequence of the rise of the feudal power and the
decline of the royal authority. The king, by his constant donations to
his _leudes_ or great vassals, had, in course of time, very nearly
stripped himself of domains, and these _bénéfices_ were retained by the
lords and made hereditary in their own families. It was the same with
the public charges and the titles of dukes, counts, etc., which carried
with them an authority delegated by the prince, and which ended by
passing entirely out of his hands. Charlemagne had been able to check
the greed and ambition of the feudal lords, but his feebler successors
were unable to do so. Even the right of coining money was claimed by the
great seigneurs, and in this century there were no less than a hundred
and fifty in France who exercised this privilege. Most of them refused
to receive any coinage but their own, and the confusion and difficulty
in conducting trade may be imagined. The nobles, solicitous to increase
their power, founded new towns and took them under their protection,
granting certain privileges to the inhabitants, even that of holding
land, and under the cover of these privileges, as under those of the
communes, the _tiers état_, or third estate, was gradually formed.
Similar grants were made to some of the ancient cities, including Paris
and Orléans, which seemed to have received all their franchises from the
Middle Ages and from the kings, excepting, in Paris, the corporation of
the Nantes, already referred to, whose privileges were confirmed by
Louis VII.

This monarch, father of Philippe-Auguste, fixed the number of peers of
France, the great seigneurs who held directly from the crown, at
twelve,--six laic and six ecclesiastical. The first were the dukes of
Burgundy, Normandy, and Guyenne, the counts of Champagne, Flanders, and
Toulouse, and, to counterbalance these puissant lords, six
ecclesiastics, all the more attached to the king that they were without
landed property and consequently without much temporal power, the
Archbishop of Reims and the bishops of Laon, Noyon, Châlons, Beauvais,
and Langres. The Court of Peers was, however, not regularly organized
before the beginning of the thirteenth century. Notwithstanding the
weakness of the royal authority, it still retained elements of strength
and superiority which time eventually developed. The king was nominal
head of the whole feudal society, he was the chief suzerain, and all the
great lords were his vassals and owed him homage. He was the supreme
justice of the nation, and the vassals all were bound to appear before
the "Court of the King." This court was not only a great council, but
also a court of justice; the great vassals had the right to demand a
trial by their equals, or peers, and in this case the court became the
Court of Peers. The fief, held from the suzerain, could not be
diminished or impaired in any way--just as the modern tenant has no
right to damage his landlord's property; at the death of the vassal, the
suzerain inherited, and in case he left infant children, the suzerain
was the guardian.

Two incidents recorded by the chroniclers of the reign of that very
capable monarch, Louis VI, called le Gros, or the Fat, will serve to
illustrate the manners and customs of the times from two points of view.
A short time before the marriage of the king with Adélaïde de Savoie, he
had, in the exercise of his royal authority, demolished part of a house,
the property of the Canon Duranci, in the Rue des Marmousets, because it
projected too far out into the street and obstructed the circulation.
But the chapter of Notre-Dame protested in the name of its privileges
and of its immunities; the king admitted his error, and agreed to pay an
indemnity of a denier of gold; the chapter insisted that this should be
done on the day of his marriage, before he could be permitted to receive
the nuptial benediction, and the crowned culprit was obliged to consent
that a formal record of the affair should be placed on the registers of
the chapter. It was recognized that he had no right to demolish any
house, except for the purpose of erecting a church on the site: this,
although the narrowness and crookedness of the streets, as well as
their foul and miasmatic condition owing to the lack of all paving and
sewerage, were the constant sources of epidemics.

On the 13th of October, 1131, the king was riding with his son on the
hillock of Saint-Gervais (to-day the site of the Mairie of the IVth
Arrondissement, on the Rue de Rivoli, a little beyond the Hôtel de
Ville), when a wandering pig ran between the legs of the young man's
horse, causing him to bolt and throw his rider, who was so badly injured
that he died in a few hours. This led to the promulgation of a royal
ordinance forbidding the proprietors of swine in the city to allow them
to run at large, under penalty of confiscation for the benefit of the
executioner of Paris. This regulation was several times renewed,--in
1261 under Saint Louis, in 1331 under Philippe VI, and in 1369 under
Charles V, and extended to the faubourgs of Paris and the surrounding
districts. The decree of 1331 gave the sergeants of the city authority
to kill all those which they found wandering at liberty, to keep the
head for themselves provided they transported the body to the
Hôtel-Dieu. The pigs of the abbey of Saint-Antoine alone were exempted
from this regulation, and, that they might be recognized, they bore a
bell marked with a cross.

Louis le Gros, already occupied with measures to repress the growing
power of the great nobles, commenced the fortifications of Paris, which
were not completed until during the reign of his son, with a view of
guarding his capital against any sudden attack. It is recorded that he
adopted the habit of the great Caliph of the _Arabian Nights_, of
traversing the streets at night in disguise and mingling familiarly with
the people,--but with the design of drawing from them their complaints
against their feudal lords and their knowledge of their machinations.
They were not without their grievances against the king himself, and it
was not till the reign of his son that was abolished the right of the
royal officers, when the king came to Paris, to enter the houses of the
bourgeoisie and carry off for their own use the bedding and the downy
pillows they found therein.

During the long reign of Philippe-Auguste, which even the modern
historians call "glorious," the power of the nobles was seriously
impaired. The _Cour du Roi_ retained the organization it had received,
but its importance increased with that of the royal authority, and the
most powerful vassal of the king of France saw himself dispossessed of
his fiefs by its decree. The feudal power was attacked in one of its
most cherished rights, that of private warfare, by a royal ordinance
compelling the observance of a truce of forty days after any injury, so
that no one might be assailed without warning. Any seigneur might be at
once vassal and suzerain, but when Philippe acquired the fief of the
Amiénois, for which he was to render homage to the Bishop of Amiens, he
refused, saying that the king of France should be the vassal of no man.
"To the feudal contract, between man and man, symbolized by the homage
and the investiture, the thirteenth century saw succeed the democratic
contract between a man and a group, between seigneurs and subjects,
carrying an engagement written and public. Then began the conquest of
liberty,--liberty of the person, of the family, and of the property;
liberty administrative and political; economic liberty.... Of the total
sum of partial contracts intervening between the king and the provinces,
cities and corporations, has been formed the great national contract
tacitly concluded between him and the people." (M. Imbart de la Tour.)

Notwithstanding war, famine, and pestilence, Paris had outgrown the
fortifications of Louis le Gros, and, before he departed for the
Crusade, Philippe-Auguste ordered the bourgeois of the city to construct
a new wall, solidly built of stone, with towers and gates. This was
commenced in 1190; the faubourgs were surrounded with a wall of more
than two mètres in thickness, faced with masonry, flanked by five
hundred towers and pierced with fifteen gates. Its course can be traced
on any good map of modern Paris, and the size of the mediæval city thus
compared with that of the present one. On the right bank of the river it
began with a tower that was called "the tower which makes the corner,"
and which stood near the northern end of the present Pont des
Saints-Pères. Thence it passed to the Porte-Saint-Honoré, near the
present Oratoire and the statue of Coligny on the Rue de Rivoli, which
was defended by two towers, struck northerly to the site of the present
square formed by the intersection of the Rues Jean-Jacques-Rousseau and
Coquillière, just north of the Bourse, where was a gate called Bahaigne.
Here it turned eastward, cut off the commencements of the Rues
Montmartre and Montorgueil, traversed also the Rue Française, and,
following the direction of the little Rue Mauconseil, arrived at the Rue
Saint-Denis, where was another gate called Porte-Saint-Denis, or Porte
aux Peintres. Continuing in this direction, it traversed the Boulevard
Sébastopol and the Rue Saint-Martin, enclosing the Rue aux Ours,
followed the Rues Grenier-Saint-Lazare and Michel-le-Comte, traversed
the Rue du Temple, and came to a tower erected nearly on the site of the
Mont-de-Piété of to-day, between the Rues des Francs-Bourgeois and des
Blancs-Manteaux, opposite to the Palais des Archives. Remains of this
tower were discovered in 1878, in demolishing some old houses to make
way for the enlargement of the Mont-de-Piété; it served to enclose a
circular staircase. The wall continued to follow the Rue
Francs-Bourgeois to another gate, the Porte Barbette, at the
intersection of the Rue Vieille-du-Temple with the Rue des Rosiers;
then, beginning to trend south, it followed nearly the Rue Malher to the
Place Birague, not far from where the Rue de Rivoli becomes the Rue
Saint-Antoine. Here was another gate, the Porte Baudet or Baudoyer.
Thence the line of fortification, crossing the locality of the present
church Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis, descended to the river in the direction
of the Rue des Barres, and ended on the quai, at the Porte
Barbel-sur-l'Yeau. Vestiges of this tower were also found in 1878.

On the south side of the river the wall was not commenced till 1208,
when that on the northern side was completely terminated. Instead of
making a close junction with that on the other shore, it took its start
somewhat to the eastward of the "corner tower," at the famous Tour de
Nesle, on the locality now occupied by the right wing of the
Bibliothèque Mazarine and the Hôtel des Monnaies. It crossed the Rue
Dauphine and halted on the Rue Saint-André-des-Arts at the Porte Buci;
crossed the Boulevard Saint-Germain, where was another gate, the Porte
des Cordeliers, afterward Porte Saint-Germain; descended the Rue
Monsieur-le-Prince to the Boulevard Saint-Michel, where was the Porte de
Fert or d'Enfer, which became the Porte Saint-Michel under Charles VI.
From this gateway the wall continued southeasterly to that of
Notre-Dame-des-Champs, between the Rue Soufflot and the Rue des
Fossés-Saint-Jacques, just south of it, enclosed the Place du Panthéon,
crossed the Rue Descartes at the Porte Bordet or Bordel, crossed the Rue
Clovis, and traversed the locality at present occupied by the buildings
of the École Polytechnique. Continuing in a northerly direction, it
reached the Porte Saint-Victor near the present junction of the Rue
Saint-Victor and the Rue des Écoles, and finally arrived at the Quai de
la Tournelle by following a direction parallel to that of the Rue des

It was to Philippe-Auguste also that the city of Paris was indebted for
its first paved streets. In 1185, five years before the wall of
fortification was begun, he was in one of the great halls of his palace
in the Cité, and approached a window whence he was in the habit of
watching the traffic on the Seine. Some heavy wagons or carts were being
drawn through the streets at the time, says the historian Rigord, and
such an insupportable odor was stirred up from the mud and filth that
the king was obliged to leave the window, and was even pursued by it
into his palace. From this occurrence came his resolve to carry out a
work from which all his predecessors had shrunk because of the great
expense involved, and which, indeed, discouraged the bourgeois and the
prevost of the city when the royal commands were laid upon them. Instead
of carrying it out for all the streets and by-ways of the capital, they
appear to have contented themselves with paving the environs of the
palace, and the two streets which traversed the Cité from north to south
and from east to west, and which were called the _croisée de Paris_.
This paving was effected by means of square stones fifteen centimètres
long and fifteen to eighteen thick. The bourgeoisie found the expense so
heavy that under Louis XIII half of the streets of Paris were still

In 1204, the king charged the _prévôté_ of Paris to pay to the prior and
the monks of Saint-Denis de la Chartre thirty sous parisis for the
privilege of building on their land, and he commenced the construction
of the Louvre. The site had long been occupied by a sort of suburban
house of entertainment, and the king resolved to erect a strong château,
commanding the Seine. This château was square, the thick walls pierced
with small windows and loopholes arranged without order, surrounded by
wide and deep ditches, and completed by a great tower rising in the
middle. Over the pointed roof floated the royal banner, and within were
confined the State prisoners, and the royal treasures, crown-jewels, and
_Trésor des Chartres_. In 1200, this indefatigable monarch conceived the
idea of uniting all the different schools established in Paris under one
head, but the corporation of the Université was not constituted until
twelve years later.

The life and reign of Louis VIII, son of Philippe-Auguste and father of
Saint-Louis, have recently been made the subject of special research by
M. Petit-Dutaillis, whose history may serve to give his short reign of
three years a greater importance in the eyes of subsequent students than
it has received. He surrounded himself with the same political advisers
that had served his father, and was inspired by the same political and
administrative principles: the death of King John and the birth of the
infant Henry III caused his expedition to England, while still Dauphin,
to fail, and in his attempt to unite the crowns of Hugues Capet and of
William the Conqueror he had against him the influence of the Pope. His
energetic and persevering obstinacy won for him the surname of "the
Lion;" and, moreover, he was haunted "by those visions of sanctity and
of power to which the clerical and classical education gave birth, the
sole general ideas which enlightened and enlarged the darkened and
narrow brains of the men of the Middle Ages." The French historians are
of the opinion that it was to his father's victory of Bouvines that
England was indebted for her Magna Charta.

His entry into Paris after his coronation at Reims is described
enthusiastically by the chroniclers of the times. "The whole city
turned out before him; the poets chanted odes in his praise, the
musicians filled the air with the sound of the vielle [hurdy-gurdy!], of
fifes, of tambours, of the psalterion and of the harp." Another admires
the richness of the garments: "It is a pleasure to see the embroideries
of gold and the coats of jewelled silk sparkle on all the public places,
in the streets, in the squares. Old age, the flower of life, petulant
youth, all stoop under the weight of the purple. The servitors and the
domestics abandon themselves to the joy of being covered with
adornments, and forget their condition of servitude on seeing the
splendid stuffs which they display on their persons. Those who had not
garments worthy of figuring in such a festival procured them by

On the occasion of another procession which took place during this
reign, and in which, as in so many other mediæval demonstrations, the
devout participants walked barefoot, the religious zeal of these latter
was so great that they appeared, most of them, in their shirts, and very
many quite naked. This did not prevent the three queens, Isemberge,
widow of Philippe-Auguste; Blanche, wife of Louis VIII, and Bérengère,
Queen of Jerusalem, from watching the procession with great interest.
This chronicler, Guillaume Guiart, records another instance of the
manners and customs of the period, in which Queen Blanche again appears.
It was the custom, at mass, when the officiating priest pronounced the
words: "The peace of the Lord be with you!" for each worshipper to turn
to his neighbor on the left and give him the kiss of peace. On one
occasion, the queen, having received this chaste salutation, bestowed it
in her turn upon a girl of the town who was kneeling next her, but whose
dress was that of a respectable married woman. Greatly offended, she
procured from her royal husband an edict that, in future, these
_coureuses d'aiguillettes_ should be forbidden to appear in robes
with trains, in falling collars and gilded girdles. Saint-Louis, Queen
Blanche's son, for all his sanctity, appears to have been the first king
of France to introduce a royal falconer into his court.


From a water-color by F. Bac.]

Concerning this monarch, "in whose grand figure," says M. Henri Martin,
"is summed up all that there is of pure and elevated in the Catholicism
of the Middle Ages," we have, fortunately, abundant information in the
chronicles of the Sire de Joinville, his secretary and intimate friend,
who, with Villehardouin, is one of the first in date and in merit of
these national historians. The piety of the king--like that of most
other truly sincere mortals--had about it something simple and ingenuous
which Joinville records with equal frankness. When they first embarked
on their voyage to the Crusade, the clerks and the seigneurs were
fearfully seasick and much repented themselves; when they had somewhat
recovered, the king would draw them into serious conversation. On one
day, says Joinville:

"'Sénéchal,' said the king, 'what is it that is God?' 'Sire, it is so
sovereign and so good a thing that nothing could be better.' 'Truly,
that is very well replied, for this response is written in this little
book which I hold in my hand. Another question I will put to you, that
is to say: 'Which would you prefer, to be leprous and ugly, or to have
committed a mortal sin?' And I," says Joinville, "who never wished to
lie to him, I replied to him that I would rather have committed thirty
mortal sins than to be a leper. When the brothers had all departed from
where we were, he called me back alone and made me sit at his feet, and
said to me: 'How have you dared to say that which you said to me?' And I
reply to him that I would say so again. And then he says to me: '_Ha,
fou musart, musart_, you are deceived there, for you know that there is
no leprosy so ugly as that of being in mortal sin. And I pray you, for
the love of God in the first place, and for the love of me, that you
retain this in your heart.'"

The king's piety did not prevent him from showing an unyielding front to
the turbulent nobles and duly strengthening the royal authority at their
expense. By enforcing the regulations of Philippe-Auguste, he well-nigh
put a stop to the private wars and the judicial duel; he decided that
the royal coinage alone should circulate in the kingdom; at his death,
"Royalty already appeared as the unique centre of jurisdiction and of
power, and the _tiers état_ amassed every day more science and more
riches--which always ends by giving also more influence." The French
language, disengaging itself from its Latin idioms, had become the
language of legislation; it was that of the _Assises_, or laws of the
kingdom of Jerusalem. The poetry of the troubadours had perished in the
atrocious crusade against the Albigeois, but, "north of the Loire, the
_trouvères_ were still composing the _chansons de geste_, veritable epic
poems which were translated or imitated by Italy, England, and Germany.
So that we are quite justified in saying that, from the twelfth century,
the intellectual domination of Europe appertained incontestably to

The formation of the collection of manuscripts known as the _Trésor des
Chartes_ is due to Saint-Louis. These archives he gathered together and
placed in the Sainte-Chapelle,--founded to receive the true Crown of
Thorns which he had received from Baldwin II, Emperor of Constantinople.
He restored and protected the great hospital of the Hôtel-Dieu; and when
his chaplain, Robert de Sorbon, in 1253, being at that time canon of
Paris, conceived the design of erecting a building devoted to the
instruction, by a certain number of secular ecclesiastics, doctors in
theology, of poor students, who, at that period, were frequently obliged
to live in the utmost poverty in order to pursue their studies, the king
purchased for the purpose a building situated in the Rue Coupe-Gueule
before the Palais des Thermes. The canonization of the monarch was
celebrated with great pomp in the spring of 1297, under Philippe IV; all
the nobles of the kingdom, clerical and laic, were invited to the
capital, the body was placed in a silver casket and carried in a
procession from Saint-Denis to Paris, where it was transferred to the
church of Saint-Denis. Some time afterward, one of the ribs was placed
in Notre-Dame and a part of the head in the Sainte-Chapelle.

It was under very different circumstances that these earthly remains
were first carried from Paris to Saint-Denis. The king had died in his
second Crusade, under the walls of Tunis; his son and successor,
Philippe III, re-entered Paris in 1271, bringing with him five
coffins,--that of his father, of his brother, of his brother-in-law, of
his wife, and of his son. He insisted upon carrying, unaided, upon his
shoulders, the body of his father from Paris to Saint-Denis, and at the
localities upon the road where he was obliged to stop and rest, crosses
of stone were erected, and remained for several centuries. Fortunately,
this was the last of the Crusades.

This filial piety did not save the young king from much tribulation.
Soon after his second marriage, with the princess Marie de Brabant
(during the rejoicings attending which the Parisians consumed an
inordinate quantity of wine, it is said, because the _cabaretiers_, in
revenge for the renewal of an old tax the year before, had put more
water than ever in their casks), his eldest son, the child of his first
wife, died. The king's chamberlain, the surgeon Pierre de Labrosse,
accused the young queen of having poisoned the prince. The queen
protested her innocence; the nobles of her train asserted, on the
contrary, that Labrosse was probably the murderer, as he was jealous of
the confidence which the king bestowed upon her, and which the
chamberlain had previously enjoyed. The king was unable to believe
either of them guilty; the medical science of the day was quite unequal
to the task of determining whether there had been any poisoning; the
queen demanded that Labrosse be put to the torture, and, to decide this
doubtful question, appeal was had to the judicial duel. The duke, Jean
de Brabant, arrived to maintain his sister's innocence in the lists; if
he were vanquished, she would be burned at the stake. While the unhappy
king was sending messengers to a celebrated _béguine_, a species of nun,
in Brabant, who was reported to have the gift of revelation, and
receiving only obscure replies, a certain man suddenly fell ill in a
convent in Melun, after having confided to a monk a sealed letter to be
sent to the king. The king received it, read it, showed it to his
council, which declared that the seal and the writing were undoubtedly
those of Labrosse. Whereupon the chamberlain was arrested, accused of
high treason, correspondence with the enemies of France, peculation,
everything except the real offence, and finally hung upon the celebrated
gibbet of Montfaucon,--the first mention of it in history, though it had
been long in existence.

It was in the first year of the reign of this monarch that the first
Parisian was ennobled,--Raoul, "called the Goldsmith," the king's
silversmith. Philippe afterward extended this privilege to several other
worthy bourgeois who had distinguished themselves in the arts.
Restricted as the space enclosed within the wall of Philippe-Auguste
had been, it still contained many cultivated fields and other
unbuilt-upon tracts of land; the numerous religious edifices and
university establishments erected since that reign had occupied these
waste spaces, and the population had even over-flowed in several
directions and congregated around the abbeys that had been constructed
outside the walls. When Philippe IV, the Bel, succeeded his father in
1285, four principal streets were paved,--those leading to Saint-Denis
and to the Portes Baudet, Saint-Honoré, and Notre-Dame. The bourgeois
successfully resisted the demands of the _prévôt_ of Paris that they
should pave more.

Under Philippe IV, the conditions regulating the acquisition of the
rights of bourgeoisie were definitely determined. Any free
_colon_--_i.e._, stranger, sojourner--could go before the _prévôt_ of
the city with two witnesses, engage himself to contribute to the
finances of the city, and to build or to purchase within the space of a
year a house of the value of, at least, sixty sous parisis; on these
conditions he was recognized as a bourgeois of Paris, and, in
consequence, was obliged to reside within its limits from the day of
Toussaint to that of Saint-Jean, in the summer, or at least to leave his
wife there, or his valet, if he were a bachelor. The population of Paris
was thus composed of the clergy, of the nobility,--of which the king was
the chief,--of the bourgeois or proprietors _roturiers_, of the
colons,--free or still _vilains_,--and of a few serfs of the soil whom
their owners had obstinately refused to emancipate.

One of the strongest grievances which this population had against the
king was his repeated debasements of the royal coinage, and on one of
these occasions their discontent was so menacing that, notwithstanding
he had hastily caused some specie of legal weight and value to be
struck, he left his own palace and sought refuge with the Templars. The
establishment of this order had greatly increased since they had first
found an asylum in Paris under Louis VI; the ancient gate of the tower
of the Temple was demolished as late as 1810. Within their walls was
asylum for all, as in the churches, and the king was none too prompt,
for the angry multitude was soon at the gates. Before these frowning
walls, they hesitated, but a few of the more hardy pushed past the guard
at the portal and penetrated as far as the kitchens. "What do you want
here?" inquired the _mâitre-queux_, the chief cook. "To know what is
going on here," replied the boldest of the invaders. "Why, the dinner of
our dear lord, the king." "Where is this dinner?" "Here it is." And he
presented an appetizing dish to his interlocutor, who passed it on to
his comrades, saying: "Here, all of you, it is the King of France who
gives the feast." By this time the alarm had been given, and the
intruders would have paid dearly for their enterprise had not Philippe
ordered that they be allowed to depart unmolested. However, though they
went away very proud of having eaten the king's dinner, a few days later
the bodies of twenty-eight of their number were seen hanging in a row
along the ramparts of the town. It was rumored that the Templars had not
been altogether ignorant of the gathering of this popular tumult, and
that if the entrance to their fortress had been so easily forced it was
not altogether without their knowledge; their ruin is said by some
historians to have been determined in the king's mind from this date. On
Friday, the 13th (!) of October, 1307, the Parisian population were very
much surprised to learn that the grand-master of the order and all the
knights had been arrested, their entire property confiscated, and the
Temple occupied by the king and his court. In this nefarious enterprise
Philippe had taken care to secure the co-operation of the Pope, Clement
V; the wildest charges, of idolatry, magic practices, cruelty and
outrage, were brought against the order; fifty-six of the knights were
burned alive at a slow fire at Vincennes, and, finally, in 1313, the
grand-master and another dignitary, on the little Ile aux Vaches, to-day
the platform of the Pont-Neuf, in the presence of the king and all his
court. A popular legend asserts that as the figure of the grand-master,
Jacques de Molay, disappeared finally in the smoke and flame of his
pyre, he was heard, in a solemn voice, to summon his executioners to
meet him before the bar of God, the Pope within forty days and the king
within the year. Certain it is that both these potentates died within
the appointed time.

The provincial synod which had condemned the fifty-six Templars had been
presided over by one of Philippe's confidants, the Archbishop of Sens,
brother of the king's minister of finances, Enguerrand de Marigny. It
was this latter who set the melancholy example of being hanged by his
royal master's successor, which was followed by other finance ministers
in two succeeding reigns. His innocence, however, was formally
recognized by the king, Louis X, before the end of his short reign of
eighteen months, a sum of ten thousand livres was granted to his
children, "in consideration of the great misfortune which has befallen
them," and his principal accuser, the Comte de Valois, stricken with
paralysis ten years later, made amends by a general distribution of alms
to the poor of Paris, with the request that they would "pray to God for
Monseigneur Enguerrand and for Monseigneur Charles de Valois." Much the
same fate awaited Gérard de la Guette, minister of Philippe V, le Long,
who reigned for six years after Louis X,--only, as he had expired under
the torture, this minister was hanged after death, and his innocence
duly acknowledged in course of time. Pierre Remy, successor of Gérard
de la Guette and treasurer of Charles le Bel, who succeeded Philippe le
Long, was arrested by Charles's successor, Philippe de Valois, even
before he had been crowned, and hanged on the gibbet of Montfaucon, like
his predecessors. He was at first intended for the little gibbet of
Montigny, reserved for the vulgar, but on his way there--whether moved
by sudden remorse, or by ambition for higher honors--he accused himself
of a multitude of new crimes, among others, of high treason against the
king and against the State. He was accordingly transferred to
Montfaucon, where he had the distinction of being hanged above all
others. This was in 1328.

"The amount of his property which was confiscated," says the historian
Félibien, "was estimated at twelve hundred thousand livres, which was
the produce, as well as the proof, of his pillaging; but this example
and that of several others of a similar kind did not serve to render any
more moderate those who have since had charge of the finances,--as
witness Macé de Manches, treasurer-changer of the king's treasury,
executed, like Pierre Remy, in 1331; Réné de Siran, director of the
mint, treated in the same fashion in 1333, and some others."

Louis X, Philippe V, and Charles IV, the three sons of Philippe le Bel
who reigned in succession after him, and who ended the elder branch of
the Capétiens, were even more unfortunate in their wives than in their
treasurers. These three Burgundian princesses, Marguerite, Jeanne, and
Blanche, were of an exceedingly dissolute character; the eldest and the
youngest resided in the abbey of Maubuisson and had for lovers two
Norman gentlemen, Philippe and Gaultier d'Aulnay. The king, Philippe le
Bel, being informed, caused the two Normans to be arrested, in 1314;
they confessed under torture, and were condemned to be flayed alive,
mutilated, decapitated, and hung up by the arm-pits. The two
princesses, after having had their heads shaved, were conducted to the
Château-Guillard, where they were most ingeniously persecuted. When the
husband of Marguerite ascended the throne, in 1315, as Louis le Hutin,
or the Quarreller, he disposed of his unworthy spouse by smothering her
between two mattresses, or, according to the local legend, strangling
her with her own long hair.

Neither Brantôme nor Villon gives the name of the sanguinary princess
who is said to have inhabited the Tour de Nesle, attracted handsome
young men passing by, and in the morning had them strangled and thrown
into the Seine, but romance or popular report has ascribed these doings
to Marguerite de Bourgogne, though it is certain that she never lived in
the Tour de Nesle. Other romances have designated Jeanne, wife of
Philippe le Long, as the princess celebrated for her amours with
Buridan, rector of the University in 1347; but this story is equally
unfounded, as she died in the Hôtel de Nesle in 1329, leaving behind her
a great reputation for gallantry, royal widow though she was. The Hôtel
de Nesle occupied nearly the site of the present Mint, adjoining the

When the question of deciding upon a successor for Louis X arose, the
famous _Loi Salique_, by which at least one modern historian, M. Duruy,
thinks France has profited but little, was revived. Louis le Hutin left
but one child, a daughter; a posthumous son, Jean, lived but a week.
"Should his sister take the crown? A text of Scripture reads: 'The
lilies spin not, and yet Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like
one of these.' This evidently signifies that the kingdom of the lilies
shall not fall under the sway of a distaff. In the fourteenth century
this was a reason. There were others: it was not to be desired that a
foreigner should acquire France by a marriage; and the States-General,
applying to the Crown the rule of succession formerly established for
the Salic domains, excluded the daughter of Louis X from the throne.
Thus the right of inheritance recognized for daughters for the fiefs was
denied for the Crown."

Philippe le Long, also, had only daughters, and their uncle, Charles IV,
accordingly succeeded, only to see the same fate befall his children. On
his death-bed he said to his barons: "If the queen give birth to a son,
he will be your king; if a daughter, the crown will belong to Philippe
de Valois, whom I declare your regent." Another branch of the Capétiens,
the Valois, thus assumed the sceptre. But this interpretation, thus
three times renewed in twelve years, was contested abroad. Philippe VI
of Valois was a cousin of Charles IV, nephew of Philippe le Bel and
grandson of Philippe III. Edward III, King of England, was a grandson of
Philippe IV by his mother Isabella, and he protested against this
decision and asserted his right to the throne of France, mildly in 1328,
on the accession of Philippe VI, and strongly eight years later. Thus
came about the Hundred Years' War, and, incidentally, the residence in
Paris, as if in his capital, of an English king.

Unfortunately, the French nobility were divided in these evil days
coming upon the capital and the nation. In 1329, the Comtesse de Mahaut,
who held the comté d'Artois, died in Paris, poisoned. Robert d'Artois, a
prince of the blood, one of the _royaux de France_, claimed the
succession, but the king awarded it to the queen Jeanne, widow of
Philippe le Long; a month later, as she was about to take possession of
the comté, she also died suddenly, poisoned by one of the officers of
her table, in the hippocras, or medicated wine, which he handed her.
Whereupon Robert produced documents, duly signed and sealed by his
grandfather, Robert I, in which he was designated as the successor to
his title to the comté; these letters were recognized as forgeries, and
Robert was banished from the kingdom forever by the Court of Peers, and
his property confiscated. The false witnesses whom he had suborned were
arrested,--a demoiselle, Jeanne de Divion; his clerk, Perrot de Sanis;
his _fille de chambre_, Jeannette des Chaînes, and Pierre Tesson,
notary. All this made a tremendous sensation in Paris; a Jacobin, called
as one of the witnesses, refused to reveal the secrets of the
confessional; he was threatened with the rack by the Bishop of Paris;
the doctors in theology assembled and decided that he must testify, in
the interests of justice, which he did, and was accordingly confined in
prison for the rest of his days. The demoiselle La Divion was burned
alive on the Place of the Marché-aux-Pourceaux, in the presence of the
_prévôt_ of Paris and a great multitude of people; the same fate finally
befell Jeannette de Chaînes, after having concealed herself in various
localities, in 1334, on the same place; eight other false witnesses were
condemned to the pillory and other punishments, the notary to perpetual
imprisonment, and others to make _amende honorable_.

This ceremony, so usual in the Middle Ages, consisted in the culprit
walking in his shirt, bareheaded and barefoot, conducted by the public
executioner, a rope around his neck, a candle of yellow wax in his hand,
a placard explaining his crime on his chest, another on his back, to
some public place, usually the Parvis-Notre-Dame, and there, in an
audible voice, avowing his crime and professing repentance. No rank of
society, not even the monarch himself, was exempt from this punishment,
which frequently was only the prelude to execution. The chief criminal,
in this case, took refuge in Brabant, and there, to revenge himself,
_envoulta_ the king's son.

This was the familiar process in witchcraft by which an image of the
person attacked being made in wax, baptized, and the _voult_ duly
performed, with a mass said and religious consecration, it is then
melted before a fire, or in the sun, or pierced with a needle. This was
discovered. Robert, afraid of prosecution for sorcery, thought himself
too near France and escaped to England, where he urged Edward III to war
against his native country.

Notwithstanding the national troubles, the court and the Parisians
seemed disposed to give themselves up to pleasure. The marriage of the
king's second son, Philippe, with Blanche, daughter of Charles le Bel,
was celebrated with great pomp, and with a tournament at which assisted
the most illustrious knights of France and many from abroad. Among these
was the Duc de Normandie, against whom the king pitted the Seigneur de
Saint-Venant, and the duke was overthrown, horse and man. The Comte
d'Eu, Constable of France, received a lance-thrust in the chest, from
which he died that night. These casualties were only too common in these
celebrations, which were constantly discouraged by the popes, and even
forbidden by some of the kings of France. At the close of these
particular exercises, Olivier de Clisson, the Baron d'Avangour, Geoffroi
and Georges de Malestroit, and other Breton chevaliers were arrested and
conducted to the prisons of the Châtelet on charges of high treason and
of conspiring with the king of England.

The historian Mézeray declares that in the capital the sumptuousness of
apparel, the lascivious dances, the multiplication of entertainments,
were common both to the court and the citizens. Nothing was to be seen
but _jongleurs_, _farceurs_, and other actors and buffoons,
extravagance, debauchery, and constant change. "All the misfortunes of
the nation did not serve to correct them; the spectacles, the games, and
the tourneys constantly succeeded each other. The French danced, as it
were, on the bodies of their relatives. They seemed to rejoice at the
conflagration of their châteaux and their houses, and at the death of
their friends. Whilst some of them were having their throats cut in the
country, the others were feasting in the cities. The sound of the
violins was not interrupted by that of the trumpets, and there could be
heard at the same time the voices of those singing in the balls, and the
pitiful cries of those who perished in the flames or under the edge of
the sword."

Another chronicler, Robert Gaguin, writing in the fifteenth century,
dilates on the constant changes in the Parisian fashions in 1346. "In
those times, the garments differed very much from each other. When you
saw the manner in which the French clothed themselves, you would have
taken them for mountebanks. Sometimes the vestments which they adopted
were too large, sometimes they were too narrow; at one period they were
too long, at another, too short. Always eager for novelties, they could
not retain for ten years the same style of apparel."


After an engraving of the period.]

Jean II succeeded his father Philippe in 1350, and has preserved his
surname of le Bon, or the Good, though his reign was one of the most
disastrous in history. One of his very first acts was to cause the
arrest, in the Hôtel de Nesle, of Raoul, Comte d'Eu, Constable of
France, whom he accused of high treason, and, without any form of law,
had him beheaded at night in the presence of the Duc de Bourbon, the
Comte d'Armagnac, the Comte de Montfort, and several other high
personages of the court. All his property was confiscated, his comté was
given to the king's cousin, Jean d'Artois, and the king kept the rest.
In the following year he founded an order of knighthood, in imitation of
that of the Garter, established by Edward III in England, and which, in
its turn, served as a model for that of the _Toison d'Or_, the Golden
Fleece, instituted in 1439 by the Duke of Burgundy. King Jean gave to
his order the name of _Notre-Dame de la Noble maison_, but it was more
generally known as that of _l'Étoile_, the Star. According to
Froissart, it was "a company after the manner of the Round Table, which
should be constituted of three hundred of the most worthy chevaliers."
They took an oath never to flee in battle more than four arpents,--about
four hundred perches,--and there to die or to yield themselves
prisoners; the king gave them for a residence the royal lodging of
Saint-Ouen, near Paris. "True chivalry was departing, since the kings
endeavored to create an official chivalry."

Ten days after the battle of Poitiers, in which the king and his
youngest son, Philippe le Hardi, were taken prisoners, the Dauphin
Charles, Duc de Normandie, returned to Paris, took the title of
lieutenant of the King of France, and convoked the estates, which
assembled in October. The bourgeoisie, irritated at the ineptitude of
the royal power, assumed the authority under the _prévôt_ of the
merchants, Etienne Marcel, and the civil war followed. On the side of
the dauphin were the nobility and all those attached to the court; on
that of the _prévôt_, the bourgeoisie, the shop-keepers, artisans, and
common people. The latter extended the fortifications, especially those
on the northern side of the city, so as to include all the buildings
erected outside the walls of Philippe-Auguste. The dauphin, with a force
of seven thousand lances, occupied alternately Meaux, Melun, Saint-Maur,
the bridge of Charenton, and shut off all the supplies coming from the
upper Seine and the Marne. The attempt of Marcel to deliver the city to
Charles le Mauvais, King of Navarre, was discovered, the _prévôt_ was
killed at the city gate, and the dauphin entered Paris triumphantly two
days later.

In 1364, he succeeded to the throne, under the title of Charles V, and
by his wise administration, his prudent conduct of the war, and the
judicious management of the finances, secured for himself the surname
of "the Sage." He rendered the parliament permanent, instead of
occasional, and he gave it for its sittings in the Cité the ancient
palace of Saint-Louis, which became the Palais de Justice. A royal
ordinance, which remained in force till the Revolution, fixed the
majority of the kings of France at thirteen years of age, and provided
that the regent should _not_ be the guardian of the young prince;
another, dated in 1370, authorized the bourgeois of Paris to wear the
spurs of gold and other ornaments of the order of knighthood, and a
third, of 1377, awarded titles of nobility to the _prévôts_ and
_échevins_, or aldermen, of the city. In 1369, the authority of the
_prévôt_ of Paris was officially confirmed in regard to all offences and
misdemeanors committed within the city by any person whatsoever.

Among the many important buildings which this king erected or commenced
was the Bastile, founded in 1370, to replace the old Porte
Saint-Antoine, and consisting at first of two towers, united by a
fortified gate; the Louvre, repaired and enlarged; the fortifications of
the city; the Hôtel Saint-Pol, the gardens of which descended to the
Seine; the chapelle of Vincennes, and several châteaux in the environs
of the city. Nevertheless, and in spite of the encouragement given by
Charles V to letters, the capital and the nation shared in the general
decadence of the century, in morals, in intellect, and even in physical
force. It has been estimated that while the average duration of human
life was thirty years during the Roman Empire, it had now diminished to
seventeen. The readers of Voltaire will remember that in _The Man with
the Forty Écus_ his "geometer" gives it as twenty-two or twenty-three
years for Paris, and contrives to reduce this brief span to practically
two or three years of active, enjoyable life,--ten years off the
twenty-three for the period of youthful immaturity, ten more for the
decline of old age, sleep, sickness, work, worry, etc.!

Duruy cites two instances of feminine peers of France. In 1378, the
Duchesse d'Orléans writes to excuse herself from coming to take her seat
as a peer in the Parliament of Paris; the Duchesse d'Artois, Mahaut, had
been present at the coronation of Philippe V, and had supported, with
the other peers, the crown on the head of the king.

The need of funds was so pressing at the very outset of the following
reign that the young king, Charles VI, under the tutelage of his uncles,
the dukes of Anjou, Burgundy, and Berry, entered into serious
negotiations with the bourgeoisie of the city of Paris with a view of
persuading them to accept a new tax on commodities. The people were
obstinate in their refusal; a statute forbade the imposition of any new
duties without previous public proclamation, and, in the actual
condition of affairs, this proclamation was likely to lead to a popular
outbreak. On the last day of April, 1382, however, a public crier
presented himself on horseback at the Halles, where these proclamations
were usually made, sounded his trumpet, and when he saw the people
assembled around him, lifted his voice and announced that the king's
silverware had been stolen and that a liberal reward would be paid for
the discovery of the thieves. Then, profiting by the general surprise
and commotion, he proceeded: "I have still another proclamation to make
to you; to-morrow the new tax on produce will begin to be levied." After
which he put spurs to his horse, and disappeared at full speed!

Early the next morning the tax-collectors accordingly presented
themselves at the Halles; one of them claimed the percentage on a little
_cresson_ which an old woman had just sold, the old woman raised an
outcry, the unhappy collector was beaten and thrown in the gutter,
another was dragged from the very altar of the church of
Saint-Jacques-l'Hôpital and killed, and the mob rushed to the Hôtel de
Ville, where it was known that Charles V had caused to be deposited the
_maillets_ or mallets of lead which he had had made in anticipation of
an attack by the English, and armed themselves with these
weapons,--whence their name of Maillotins. But the new tax was
withdrawn, and the popular fury speedily subsided.

When the young king attained his majority, in 1388, the former
councillors of his father, the petty nobles, or _marmousets_, as the
great seigneurs contemptuously called them, resumed the direction of
affairs, but, with all their prudence and ability, were quite unable to
restrain the prodigal wastefulness of the prince. The entry of the
queen, Isabeau de Bavière, whom he had married three years before, was
made the occasion of extravagant processions, pomps, diversions, and
mystery-plays in Paris, as was the marriage of his brother, the Duc
d'Orléans, with the beautiful Valentine Visconti, and the conferring of
the order of knighthood on the children of the Duc d'Anjou. When,
finally, worn out with dissipation, with the license of unlimited power
from the age of twelve, the king went mad, his uncles resumed the
regency and the marmouset ministry prudently sought safety in flight.
The Duc de Bourgogne, Philippe le Hardi, died in 1404; his son, Jean
sans Peur, wished to succeed to his father's authority in the State, but
found himself opposed at every turn by the Duc d'Orléans; the old Duc de
Berry interposed and effected a formal reconciliation; three days later
the Duc d'Orléans was assassinated in the Rue Vieille-du-Temple by the
bravos of Jean sans Peur, who did not fear to do murder on a prince of
the blood.

Georges Cain.]

In the civil war which followed, the Parisians profited at first by the
concessions which were made to them in order to secure their
support,--open opposition to all new taxes, restoration of their old
free constitution, the right to elect their _prévôt_ and other officers,
to organize their bourgeois militia under officers elected by
themselves, even that of holding fiefs like the nobles, with the
accompanying privileges, provided they were well born, and of Paris. The
nobility, on the contrary, were even less disposed to pardon him for
thus seeking the aid of the populace than for having compromised the
seignorial inviolability by laying violent hands on a brother of the
king. The Comte d'Armagnac, father-in-law of one of the sons of the Duc
d'Orléans, placed himself at the head of the opposing party; both
parties made advances to the English to secure their aid on different
occasions, but it was the Armagnacs who fought Henry V at Azincourt and
sustained that disastrous defeat; the Duc de Bourgogne secured
possession of the queen and proclaimed her regent; negotiating first
with one and then with another, he finally ended by being assassinated
in his turn by Tanneguy Duchâtel, _prévôt_ of Paris, and other servants
of the dauphin, on the bridge of Montereau, at the confluence of the
Yonne and the Seine.

"That which neither Crécy nor Poitiers nor Azincourt had accomplished,
the assassination on the bridge of Montereau did,--it gave the crown of
France to a king of England." In the following year, 1420, the treaty of
Troyes, concluded between Henry V, the Queen Isabeau, and the new Duc de
Bourgogne, Philippe le Bon, recognized the King of England as regent and
heir to the throne of France, he having married Isabeau's daughter,
Catherine of France. "All the provisions of this treaty were read
publicly, in a general assembly held by the Parliament on the 29th of
April. The governor of Paris, the chancellor, the _prévôt_, the
presidents, counsellors, _échevins_, merchants, and bourgeois, all were
unanimous in accepting this treaty." On the 30th of May it was formally
ratified in another general assembly, and on the 1st of December the
bourgeois turned out in great state and with much pomp to receive the
two kings, who entered, walking side by side, Charles VI on the right.
"The streets were richly decorated and tapestried from the Porte
Saint-Denis to Notre-Dame, 'and all the people cried _Noël!_ to show
their joy.'" The English king, with his two brothers, the dukes of
Clarence and of Bedford, were lodged at the Louvre; the poor French
king, at the Hôtel Saint-Pol, and the Duc de Bourgogne, in his Hôtel

The madness of Charles VI was intermittent, but apparently hopeless; it
had been greatly aggravated by all the tragic circumstances of his
reign, including the terrible _bal des ardents_, in which he had been
saved from being burned to death, with several other maskers disguised
as satyrs, by the coolness and courage of the Duchesse de Berry. The
queen, Isabeau, was openly dissolute; on one occasion, the king,
returning from visiting her at Vincennes, encountered her lover, the
chevalier Louis de Bois-Bourdon, had him arrested on the spot, put to
the question, sewed up in a sack, and thrown in the river. Probably with
a view to her own security, she had placed in the king's bed-chamber "a
fair young Burgundian," Odette de Champdivers, and it was this
demoiselle who, in his periods of frenzy, was alone able to soothe and
persuade him. It is related that they played cards together in his saner
moments, this amusement having recently been brought into fashion again.
Even the powers of magic were tried in vain to effect his cure.

a water-color by Maurice Leloir.]

Nevertheless, few monarchs seem to have been so sincerely mourned.
"All the people who were in the streets and at the windows wept and
cried as if each one had seen the death of the one he loved the best.
'_Ah! très cher prince_, never shall we have another so good! Never
shall we see thee again! Cursed be Death! We shall have no longer
anything but war, since thou hast left us. Thou goest to repose, we
remain in tribulations and sorrow.'"

Queen Isabeau, in addition to disinheriting her son in favor of her
daughter, was held responsible by her contemporaries for setting the
fashion in wasteful and absurd extravagance in dress. The ladies wore
the _houppelande_, the _cotte hardie_, tight around the girdle, and
looped up their sleeves _excessivement_ to show this _cotte hardie_;
they also had openings in the surcoat to show the girdle. These openings
the preachers called "windows of hell." "They made their stomachs
prominent, and seemed, all of them, _enceinte_: this mode they clung to
for forty years." "The more the misery increased, the more the luxury
augmented; at the Hôtel de Bohême, inhabited by Louis d'Orléans, there
were chambers hung with cloth of gold _à roses_, embroidered with
_velours vermeil_, of _satin vermeil_ embroidered with arbalists, of
cloth of gold embroidered with mills.... And, during this time, the
grass grew in the streets, say the historians of the period, the wolves
entered the city at night by the river; the imagination of the people,
exalted, saw already in Paris a new Babylon, the ruins of which would
presently become the repair of the beasts of prey."

When the remains of what might well seem to be the last of the kings of
France were interred at Saint-Denis, a herald-at-arms recommended the
soul of the defunct to the prayers of the assembled multitude; then he
cried: "_Vive Henri de Lancastre, Roi de France et d'Angleterre!_" At
this cry, all the officers present reversed their maces, rods, and
swords, to signify that they considered themselves as no longer
exercising their offices. The English king was not crowned in Paris till
nine years later (1431), but his representative, the Duke of Bedford,
left his residence in the Hôtel de la Rivière, Rue de Paradis, and Rue
du Chaume (to-day the Rues des Francs-Bourgeois and des Archives), to
establish himself in the Palais de la Cité. On the 8th of September,
1429, Jeanne d'Arc, having brought about the crowning of the sluggish
Charles VII at Reims in the preceding July, presented herself at the
head of a French corps under the orders of the Duc d'Alençon before the
northern walls of Paris, and herself directed the assault on the Porte
Saint-Honoré. She surmounted the first entrenchment, constructed in
front of the pig market there established on the Butte des
Moulins,--afterward suppressed to make way for the opening of the Avenue
de l'Opéra,--drove in the English, sounded the depth of the moat with
the staff of her banner, and fell wounded with an arbalist shaft through
her thigh, in front of what is now the entrance to the Théâtre-Français.
The chronicles of the time differ as to whether the French chiefs failed
to support her through jealousy, or fought with _acharnement_ to save
her from falling into the hands of the besieged. The attempt was
abandoned, and the Maid was carried to Saint-Denis to have her wound

In Paris, opinions were very much divided, and even those who favored
the French king felt that they were too much compromised to open their
gates to him without some stipulations. Two years later, Jeanne having
been duly burned at Rouen, and the consecration of Charles VII, at
Reims, "to which he had been conducted by an agent of the demon, being
in itself and of its own nature null and void," the English monarch
entered his city of Paris to receive an orthodox and irreprehensible
coronation. As he rode by the Hôtel Saint-Pol, he perceived the Queen
Isabeau on the balcony; he doffed his hat to her and she returned his
salute, then burst into tears. On the 17th of December, he was anointed
and crowned in Notre-Dame by Cardinal Winchester--which gave great
offence to the Bishop of Paris--and surrounded entirely by English
lords; there was no liberation of prisoners, no largess to the people,
no removal of taxes. "A bourgeois who marries off his daughter would
have done the thing better," said the Parisians. However, he manifested
some desire to secure their good-will by confirming a number of their
minor privileges, their right to acquire titles of nobility, etc.

The discontent grew among the citizens; no coronation of a king of
France could be as sacred as that celebrated according to the ancient
ceremonial at Reims; the English garrison felt constrained to take such
strong measures of precaution as to forbid any one to leave the city
without passports, or to mount upon the ramparts under penalty of being
hanged. It was not till the 29th of May, 1436, that six citizens, whose
names history has preserved, contrived to open the Porte Saint-Jacques,
in the quarter of the Halles, to their countrymen outside; the Constable
of France, Arthur de Bretagne, Comte de Richemont, with the Comte de
Dunois and some two thousand horsemen, were waiting for them; the first
twenty men introduced through a little postern gate opened the great
doors and let down the drawbridge, all the cavalry trooped in without
meeting the least resistance. "Then the Maréchal de l'Isle-Adam mounted
upon the wall, unfurled the banner of France, and cried '_Ville
gagnée!_' [City taken!]."

Captain Willoughby, who commanded the English, finding the whole
populace rising against him, was compelled to take refuge in the
Bastile with some thousand or twelve hundred men, and soon after
capitulated and left the city by the Porte Saint-Antoine, pursued by the
hootings of the people. Charles VII made his triumphal entry in the
following November, and was received with abundant demonstrations of
welcome. It was, however, a city devastated by pestilence and famine and
with troops of wolves in all the suburbs. Bands of brigands, largely
made up of unpaid soldiers, and called, from their outrages,
_escorcheurs_, traversed the country and the environs and were more
feared even than the wolves. The universal demoralization caused by the
war had removed all bounds to the cruelty of the nobles, and the
chronicles of the time are replete with murder, open and secret. "The
Duc de Bretagne caused the death of his brother; the Duc de Gueldre,
that of his father; the Sire de Giac, that of his wife; the Comtesse de
Foix, that of her sister; the King of Aragon, that of his son."

"Above this feudal aristocracy was placed another aristocracy, that of
the princes, which royalty had elevated with its own hands, in
constituting vast appanages for the _royaux de France_, the title given
to the sons, the brothers, the relatives of the king. Hence those
powerful houses of Bourgogne, of Orléans, of Anjou, of Bourbon, which
joined to the spirit of independence of the ancient feudality the pride
and the pretensions of a royal origin, and which said by one of its
members: 'I esteem so much the kingdom of France, that, in the place of
one king, I should like to see six.'"


Valuing only that which was acquired by the sword, or professing to do
so, this feudal aristocracy affected to look down with disdain upon the
great merchants and bankers,--whose large fortunes, indeed, were not
always acquired with the strictest probity,--and they viewed with
indifference the king's infamous robbery of his minister, Jacques
Cœur, which, with his abandonment of Jeanne d'Arc, constitute the
blackest stains upon his character. The _gens de petit estat_, the
councillors of humble origin, with which the king surrounded himself,
and who served him so well, were also a source of offence to these proud
nobles. M. G. du Fresne de Beaucourt, in his exhaustive history of this
monarch, in six octavo volumes, dwells at length on the constantly
increasing influence in the grand council, during the period of national
reorganization in the latter part of the reign, of these humble
councillors. "And it was, above all, the people of France themselves,"
says M. Funck-Brentano, "who, in the midst of all the secular struggles,
acquired, little by little, the sentiment of its unity, of the common
solidarity of the public welfare. The day on which they were found
grouped, admirable in their energy and devotion, around the royal throne
which, for them, was the concentrating point of these sentiments, the
cause of the foreign enemy was lost."

Son though he was "of an imbecile father and a debauched mother,"
Charles VII did not lack for intelligence, and in his diplomacy,
directed during the first part of his reign against a foreign enemy and,
in the latter part, against a domestic one, the Burgundians, he gave
proof of the highest qualities. He had a taste for letters, and
was--"unique, doubtless, in this among the kings of France"--a good
Latin scholar. His mistresses, of whom Agnès Sorel was only the first,
were imposed upon his wife, Marie d'Anjou, and upon his court with
unusual effrontery. The queen was even obliged to distribute gifts to
the "_filles joyeuses_ who followed the court in its peregrinations."
This moral depravation, naturally, extended downward to the whole court.
M. Brentano, who is one of the few French historians who venture to lay
disrespectful hands on the grand _Roi-soleil_, says: "Charles VII was
the original source of the crapulous debauchery of the last Valois; he
traced the way for the crimes of Louis XIV, and the turpitudes of Louis
XV." This, although the higher clergy of the reigns both of Charles and
of Louis Quatorze did not fail in their duty, and did denounce openly
from the pulpit the sins of these all-powerful monarchs.

On his re-entry into Paris, Charles did not take up his residence in the
Hôtel Saint-Pol, the sorrowful lodging of his father, but in the
Tournelles, which he made a "delightful sojourn," and where his
successors installed themselves until François II, who established his
dwelling in the Louvre. In the time of Louis XI, however, the Tournelles
partook of the sordid and melancholy character of its master. "The king
lived there alone and stingily," says the historian Michelet. "He had
had the odd taste to retain some servitors whom he had brought from
Brabant; he lived there as if in exile.... As soon as he was king, he
assumed the pilgrim's habit, the cape of coarse gray cloth, with the
gaiters of a travelling costume, and he took them off only at his
death.... If he came out of the Tournelles, it was in the evening, like
an owl, in his melancholy gray cape. His gossip, companion, and friend
(he had a friend) was a certain Bische, whom he had formerly set as a
spy on his father, Charles VII, and whom afterward he kept near the
Comte de Charolais, to induce him to betray his father, the Duc de

The king had, indeed been one of the worst of sons,--at the period of
his accession to the throne he was almost in open rebellion against his
father, and had sought refuge at the court of Burgundy. The great nobles
consequently looked with complacency upon his coming into power, and
were very far from foreseeing that through him their privileges and
authority throughout the kingdom were to be finally ruined. During his
reign, the capital prospered,--"the king made of it his refuge, his
citadel and his arsenal for all his enterprises against the feudality."
In one respect, he followed his father's example and even bettered
it,--his counsellors were chosen by preference among the _tiers état_,
and frequently even among men of base extraction. When occasion
required, he did not disdain any of the arts of the demagogue: on
entering Paris after the indecisive battle of Montlhéry, with the
Burgundians, almost under the walls of the capital, he took supper with
the principal ladies of the city in the house of Charles de Melun, and
so moved them with the recital of the dangers he had undergone that all
the dames bourgeoises wept. He was in the habit of visiting familiarly
the principal bourgeois, seating himself at their table or inviting them
to his own, and interesting himself in their private affairs. By this
means, he endeavored to ascertain their opinions concerning his
political measures, and the amount of obedience which they were likely
to render to them. In 1471, "he honored the city by starting the fire
with his own hand in the Place de Grève, the evening of Saint John the
Baptist." On a mast, twenty-five mètres in height and surrounded by
combustibles of all kinds, was hung a great basket containing a dozen
black cats and a fox, symbols of the devil. "The more the grilled cats
cried, the more the people laughed."

For all his craftiness, "he had not reigned four years when all the
world was against him," says Duruy. "The people forced to provide, by
paying a great many imposts, for the necessities of the government which
they did not as yet comprehend, the bourgeoisie wounded in its
particular interests, which it did not know how to sacrifice to the
general interests, the clergy menaced in its property, the lesser
nobility in its rights and in its dearest habits, the higher aristocracy
in its pretensions to sovereignty,--all these classes, so widely
diverse, so often hostile one to another, found themselves for the
moment quite in accord upon one point,--the necessity of limiting the
royal authority." The _Ligue du Bien public_ was formed by the great
nobles through compassion for the miseries of the kingdom "under the
discord and piteous government of Louis XI." Thus threatened by the
aristocracy, it was a question of the utmost importance for the king to
retain his capital; he wrote to the Parisians in the most cajoling
phrases before Montlhéry, and after, hastened to arm the bourgeois and
accepted, as an aid and support, a council of six bourgeois, six members
of the Parliament, and six clerks of the University.

The festivals and processions in the streets of Paris were not so
numerous in this reign as in many of the preceding ones, but some of
them have remained memorable. On his entry into the city on the occasion
of his accession to the throne, August 30, 1461, he was richly dressed
in white satin, and rode between the old Duc de Bourgogne and the Comte
de Charolais. Over the Porte Saint-Denis was the representation of a
ship, "emblem of the arms of Paris (which are, gules, a ship _équipé_,
argent, on a sea of the same; _au chef cousu d'argent_, sown with
_fleurs-de-lis d'or_). From this ship descended two little angels, who
placed a crown upon the head of the king. The fountain of Ponceau ran
wine; and at this fountain three beautiful maids, quite nude,
represented sirens; 'and this was a very pleasant thing,' adds the
chronicler, Jean de Troyes; 'they discoursed little _motets_ and
_bergerettes_.'" Other demonstrations, in the fashion of the time, were
given at other points of the route; all the streets through which the
king passed were hung with rich tapestries, and when he arrived at the
Pont-au-Change, the bird merchants of Paris launched in the air "more
than two hundred dozen birds of all kinds."

[Illustration: GRAND SALON OF THE TUILERIES, 1810. After Percier and

A very good painter, M. Tattegrain, in one of his recent _envois_ to the
annual Salon, has represented with great detail and much historical
accuracy the incident of the three pretty sirens, quite nude. According
to his story, they were only bared to the waist, and the king, very
gallantly, checked the procession and rode out from under his canopy to
hear their _motets_ and _bergerettes_.

On the 15th of May, 1468, there was a fine tilting at the Hôtel des
Tournelles between the gentlemen of Paris and those of Normandy; "they
were valiant champions, superbly apparelled in hacquetons embossed with
gold." Of the four Norman chevaliers who came expressly for this
occasion, three were wounded, so that "all the honor of the jousts
remained with those of Paris." On the 19th of November, the conclusion
of the treaty of Péronne, between the king and the Duc de Bourgogne, was
announced by trumpets in all the public squares of the city, and popular
rejoicings ordered; as also for the birth of the dauphin, afterward
Charles VIII, June 30, 1470, and the victory of Henry of Lancaster, King
of England, over his competitor, Edward. These two events, the king
directed, should be celebrated by a cessation of work of all kind for
three days, and public prayers. Not long afterward, the queen of Henri
VI arrived in Paris with her son, the Prince of Wales, and was received,
by order of the king, with all the honors due her rank.

Amidst all these splendors it was Louis XI himself who frequently
presented the reverse side of the medal. The registers of the Chambre
des Comptes mention, about the time of the English queen's visit, a
disbursement of twenty sols for the insertion of a pair of new sleeves
in an old pourpoint of the king's wearing. He was considered to have
gotten much the worse of the treaty of Péronne with Charles the Bold,
and he had a mistress named Perrette, so that the Parisians trained
their parrots, magpies, and other speaking birds to ask Perrette to give
them a drink, among other ribald phrases. Consequently, the king issued
a royal commission "to a young man of Paris named Henry Perdriel, in the
said city of Paris" to take and seize "all magpies, jays, and chevrettes
being in cages or otherwise, and being private property, in order to
bring them all before the king, and have written down and registered the
place where he had taken the aforesaid birds and also all that they knew
how to say, as: _larron_; _paillard_; _fils de p---- _; _va hors, va_;
_Perrette, donne-moi à boire_, and several other words which the said
birds know very well how to say and which have been taught them." In
this same year, 1468, he caused to be confiscated in Paris and brought
to him at Amboise all the deer, does, and cranes which the rich
bourgeois were in the habit of keeping in their gardens. "This dispensed
with the necessity of his buying them," adds the historian.

A Bohemian periodical, the _Nation Czech_, has recently published a
condensation of the very curious journal kept by a certain Seigneur Léon
de Rozmital, brother of the queen Joan, wife of Georges Podiébrad, King
of Bohemia, during his travels in France in the year 1465. At
Meung-sur-Loire he met Louis XI, who received him with much honor,
though he appears to have quite declined to listen to the seigneur's
proposals of a treaty of alliance between the two nations; he
accompanied the king to _Kand_ (perhaps the château of Candes,
Indre-et-Loire), where he was presented to the queen and all her train.
Her Majesty received him cordially, "and every one kissed him on the
mouth. It was the king who had ordered it, and who wished it so.
Afterward, the queen gave her hand to every chevalier and was very
gracious with all." Louis invited his guest to come to visit him in
Paris, but the latter fails to record his doing so.

In the year 1470, it may be mentioned, Ulric Gering, Michel Friburger,
and Martin Krantz set up the first printing-press, in the college of the
Sorbonne, and printed a book: _Epistolæ Gasparini Pargamensis_ (Letters
of Gasparin de Bergamo). Other works appeared, the first of which was a
Bible, offered to Louis XI in this same year.

The universal demoralization of manners resulting from the long wars
against the English and between the Burgundians and Armagnacs, the
English occupation of the city, the presence in the capital of a
multitude of drunken and debauched soldiers, did not serve to check the
extravagance and license among the wealthier bourgeois against which the
clergy thundered in vain. One of the boldest of these preachers was a
Cordelier named Olivier Maillard, who appealed to the multitude by the
freedom of his language and his images too frequently borrowed from the
vernacular, and who--although he bore the title of _prédicateur du
roi_--did not hesitate to denounce the monarch himself. He accordingly
received an intimation that if these attacks did not cease very
promptly, he would be tied up in a sack and thrown in the river. "The
king is master," replied Maillard, "but go and say to him that I would
go quicker to paradise by water than he with his post-horses." A species
of crusade was organized by the mendicant friars against the
extravagance of the costumes and the indecency of the manners; the evil
had assumed such proportions that to be modestly and decently dressed
was to be, in the language of the people as well as in that of the
preachers, "clothed without sin." "To the ferocity, to the barbarity of
feudal times had succeeded the vices of a semi-civilization, whilst
waiting till manners and customs should refine themselves under the
action of the Renaissance."


One of the first acts of the new king, Charles VIII, was to hang Olivier
le Dain, _valet de chambre_, barber, counsellor, and, finally,
ambassador of his father. His property was confiscated and given to the
Duc d'Orléans. This act afforded a lively satisfaction to the Parisians
and to the nation at large. Another favorite of the late monarch, Jean
de Doyat, was somewhat more fortunate, though he was arrested, publicly
whipped in the streets, pilloried at the Halles, where his tongue was
pierced with a hot iron and one ear cut off, then sent down to Auvergne,
his native province, flogged again, robbed of the other ear, and all his
goods confiscated. Later, however, the king quashed the judgment and
restored him his property, if not his severed members.

By his marriage with Anne de Bretagne, December 13, 1491, this monarch
united the last of the great fiefs of France to the crown, and
disappointed several powerful foreign suitors, English, German, and
Spanish. On the 9th of the following February the royal couple entered
the capital in state, and the stately and haughty carriage of the Breton
princess was greatly admired by the populace. The bourgeois and
merchants of various conditions who rode, two by two, to meet her had
all "magnificent costumes, robes of satin _cramoisi_, of damask _gris
cendre_, or of scarlet cloth on a violet ground. They had had made a
dais the canopy of which was of cloth of gold, embossed, sown with
lilies and roses. They carried it alternately from the Porte Saint-Denis
as far as Notre-Dame."

When the king set off on his ill-advised expedition to conquer the
kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, he was very short of funds and wished to
borrow a hundred thousand écus from the Parisians, but met with a flat
refusal. Consequently, when a deputation of the notables of the city
took the liberty of remonstrating with him concerning this Italian war,
he received them very badly and requested them to keep their advice for
themselves, as he had no need of it. But, after having conquered the
Milanais and lost it very soon afterward, he applied again to his city
of Paris for a vessel of war; Jean de Ganay, president of the
Parliament, presented to the _prévôt_ of the merchants and to the
_échevins_ at the Hôtel de Ville the letter which the king had written
on this subject. In order to deliberate on it weightily, they assembled
all the councillors, and a resolution was adopted that the Messieurs of
the Parliament and of the Chambre des Comptes and the Bishop of Paris
meet in a general assembly at the Hôtel de Ville. But the progress of
political events having rendered this vessel unnecessary, nothing came
of all these deliberations.

Louis XII, on his accession to the throne in 1498, resolved to cross
the Alps in his turn, and on his solemn entry into Paris after his
coronation an elaborate machine was contrived to delicately flatter his
pretensions to Genoa and Milan, and appear in the royal procession. This
consisted of an apparatus mounted on wheels, in the form of a terrace,
on which was seen a porcupine, moving all his quills at once, and a
young virgin, habited in Genoese fashion and throned on a seat of
cloth-of-gold _cramoisi_. But unluckily the machine would not function,
and after remaining immovable in one place, finally disappeared "in
great mortification." The Parisians seem never to have lost their
fondness for processions and displays, and were always ready to welcome
a new king with the firm belief that all their griefs would speedily be
remedied under the new régime. As there was a possibility of the widowed
queen, Anne de Bretagne, carrying her rich dower, now returned to her,
out of the kingdom, Louis XII secured a divorce from his wife Jeanne,
third child of Louis XI, and so very plain in countenance that her royal
father could not endure the sight of her. Thus it happened that _la
Bretonne_ made her second solemn entrance into Paris as a newly-wed
queen of France, in 1504; and at her death, ten years later, the king
"during a whole week did nothing but weep."

Her obsequies, at Saint-Denis and Notre-Dame, gave rise to a scandalous
discussion over the possession of all the objects which had figured in
them. The abbot and the monks of Saint-Denis demanded the restitution of
the dais, of the effigy and of the garments of the queen, of the cloth
of gold, of the velvet which had served to decorate the chapel, and of
all the offerings made by the assistants. The nuns of La
Saussaye-lez-Villejuif wished that there should be given them all the
linen of the late queen, body linen and table linen, the ornaments of
gold and of silver, and all the mules, palfreys, horses of state and
others which had drawn the chariots, with all the harness and the
collars. The grand equerry of the queen, Louis de Hangest, pretended,
for his part, that the horses, the canopy, and the cloth of gold all
pertained to him in virtue of his office, and, whilst awaiting the
decision, he insisted that the horses, chariots, and harness should at
least be turned over to him provisionally in order that he might conduct
the ladies and the pages of the late queen. But it was feared that he
would keep them under any conditions. The king-at-arms and the heralds
wanted all the mouldings and all the stuffs of velvet and of silk which
were on the walls of the chapelle ardente; and the chaplains of the
cardinal, the sum of all the offerings made both at Notre-Dame and at
Saint-Denis. The Parliament devoted a week to endeavoring to bring the
disputants into accord, and in the meanwhile ordered an appraisement of
all the horses, carriages, etc., which were confided to the grand
equerry, and all the linen, ornaments, dais, etc., were sequestered and
placed in the hands of Jean du Val, receiver of pledges, and of Ragerin
Le Lieur, merchant bourgeois.

In addition to his grief over his wife's death, the king found himself
very much embarrassed in his finances till his good city of Paris came
to his relief with a donation of twenty thousand livres. He had even
sold his vessels of gold and silver, for the sum of two hundred thousand
livres. Being thus relieved, with the inconstancy of men, he began to
think of another wife, and in September, 1514, the magistrates of the
city went out in state to meet the ambassadors of England who had
arrived to negotiate a match with the Princess Mary, daughter of their
sovereign. For this fickleness (which, however, was partially dictated
by political considerations) Louis XII was destined to pay dearly; he
was fifty-three years of age and his bride was eighteen; to please her,
he changed all his habits of life, and even the hours of his repasts. He
had been in the habit of "dining" at eight o'clock, and he now dined at
noon; he had been accustomed to go to bed at six o'clock in the evening,
and now it was often midnight when he retired. So that he died at the
Palais des Tournelles on the first of the following January, 1515, and
the death-criers, sounding their bells, paraded the streets, calling
aloud: "The good king Louis, father of the people, is dead!"

It was the States-General of the nation, speaking through the
representative of Paris, which had given him this fine name, _Père du
peuple_, and which, by his care for their interests, his economy in the
general administration, his suppression of abuses, he had well deserved.
"The third part of the kingdom," says a contemporary, "was opened to
cultivation in twelve years, and for one important merchant that had
been known in Paris, in Lyons, or in Rouen, there could be found fifty
under Louis XII, who made it more easy to go to Rome, to Naples, or to
London than formerly to Lyons or Geneva." In this intelligent
administration, he was greatly aided by the cardinal, Georges
d'Amboises, who "for twenty-seven years remained less his minister than
his friend," and who shared with him the well-earned approval of the
people. "_Laissez faire à Georges_" (Let George alone and he'll do it)
marked the general appreciation.



That curious custom of the Middle Ages, which testifies so strongly to
the impotence and unjustness of the laws and the universal prevalence of
sudden outbreaks of passion and crime, the right of asylum, was greatly
modified in Paris by Louis XII. In the porches of the churches, or, if
they had none, within the space of thirty feet of their walls on all
sides, and in the cemeteries adjoining them, the hunted criminal was
safe. The king suppressed this privilege for the churches and convents
of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie, Saint-Merri, Notre-Dame, l'Hôtel-Dieu,
the Abbaye Saint-Antoine, the Carmelites of the Place Maubert, and the
Grands-Augustins. François I extended this reform still further; his
ordinance of 1539 abolished all places of immunity for debts or other
civil matters, and decreed that any person could be apprehended
anywhere, provided that, if his place of refuge should be justified, he
should be returned to it. This, however, never was done. In 1789, there
were in Paris a few privileged localities remaining,--the royal
residences, the hôtels of the ambassadors, and the hôtel of the grand
prior of Malta, the Temple. By an article of the _Code de procédure
civile_, it was forbidden to arrest debtors in the buildings
consecrated to worship and during the religious exercises; and under the
Second Empire a debtor could not be arrested in the garden of the
Tuileries. With the abolishment of imprisonment for debt, these
regulations repealed themselves.

In an almost equally important matter, that of the hours of the three
meals of the day, a great change also took place during this reign. The
courtiers did not generally follow the king in his transferral of _le
dîner_ from eight o'clock in the morning (according to the custom
established at the beginning of the reign) to noon, but the people seem
to have adopted the new hour. The wars in Italy brought to the French
table for the first time the pâtes of that country, vermicelli,
macaroni, semoule, the lassagnes and others. For women in childbed and
for consumptives were reserved the _bouillons_ or "restaurants,"--these
were composed of meat, of animals or of chickens, cut up very fine and
distilled in an alembic with peeled barley, dried roses, cinnamon,
coriander, and Damascus raisins. One of the most succulent of these
bouillons was called _restaurant divin_.

Under François I, the dinner-hour was established at nine o'clock in the
morning, and the supper-hour at five in the evening. It is true that the
hour of rising was also most unreasonably early according to modern
ideas. There was a popular rhyme:

    "_Lever à cinq, dîner à neuf,
    Souper à cinq, coucher à neuf.
    Fait vivre d'ans nonante-neuf._"

(To rise at five, to dine at nine, to sup at five, to go to bed at nine,
will make you live to ninety-nine.)

The national menu was further increased by contributions from Italy and
from domestic producers, pâtes, cheeses, and some new fruits, apricots
and plums; the latter, still a great favorite with the French, was
called _la reine Claude_ after the daughter of Louis XII. With the good
living came an increase in drunkenness among all, lower classes,
bourgeois, courtiers, and soldiers,--the latter, indeed, to such an
extent that the king felt constrained to issue edicts threatening this
growing vice with the severest penalties: for the first offence,
imprisonment; for the second, flogging in private; for the third,
flogging in public; and the hardened offender ran a great risk of losing
his ears and being banished from the kingdom.

With the reign of François I began the _ancien régime_,--"that is to
say, a government in which the subjects have no guarantee against
oppression, even the most iniquitous, and the prince, no obstacle to his
will, even the most capricious." In 1527, the president of the
Parliament of Paris declared openly that the king was above the law,
though he added that his sovereign will should be regulated by equity
and reason. The nobility, reduced to a state merely of revenues and
titles, were no longer the great feudal powers of the Dark Ages, "and at
the sumptuous court which François opened to them they learned to ruin
themselves and to obey." In the middle of this century, there was only
one great feudal house remaining, that of Bourbon-Navarre, the head of
which, Antoine, was quite without influence. Below were the grand
seigneurs, the Montmorencys, the Guises, the La Trémouilles, the
Châtillons, and others, but deprived of all the rights of the powerful
feudal vassals of the king of former times; the clergy had been reduced
to a condition of dependence upon the king by the concordat of 1516,
which made him the unique dispenser of benefices; the _tiers
état_--which included "the men of letters, who are called men of the
long robe; the merchants, the artisans, the people, and the
peasants"--had long been accustomed to obedience. "There had formerly
been only manants (rustics, clowns), seigneurs, and fiefs; there is now
a people, a king, and a France."

"If the accession of François I was a great occasion for the men," says
M. de Lescure, "it was still more so for the ladies. In fact, it might
be said that they ascended the throne with the new king. Admitted for
the first time to the banquets, to the tourneys of the Hôtel des
Tournelles, this hardy innovation gave the measure of their new
destinies and of the credit reserved by the most gallant of monarchs for
the fairest half of the human species." Unfortunately, the king was not
inclined to make any distinctions among these new ornaments to his
court, and while his predecessors had made strenuous efforts to reduce
the license of manners, we find him issuing such edicts as this:

"François, by the grace of God, King of France, to our friend and loyal
treasurer of our exchequer, Maître Jehan Duval, salutation and
dilection. We desire, and we command you, that from the deniers of our
aforesaid exchequer you pay, give, and deliver ready-money to Cécile de
Viefville, dame des filles de joie, attending our court, the sum of
forty-five livres tournois, making the value of twenty écus of gold sol
at forty-five sols apiece, of which we have made and do make by these
presents donation, as much for her as for the other women and girls of
her vocation, to divide among themselves as they may advise, and this
for their right for the month of May passed...."

The court of the French kings itself is dated by their historians from
this reign. Before François I, it did not exist. "Grave councillors only
surrounded Louis XII, and the chaste Anne de Bretagne authorized around
her only rare and tranquil pleasures. François I wished to be followed
always by a troop so numerous that there were counted around the royal
residence rarely less than six thousand and sometimes as many as
eighteen thousand horses." By the brilliancy of its fêtes, this court
attracted to itself the châtelaines, up to this time forgotten in the
depths of their feudal castles. "At the beginning," says Mézeray, "this
had an excellent effect, this amiable sex having introduced into the
court politeness and courtesy, and imparting lively impulses of
generosity to those whose souls were more nobly constituted. But the
manners and customs became speedily corrupted; the offices, the
benefices, were distributed according to the whims of the women, and
they were the cause of the adoption of very pernicious maxims by the

The revival of the arts brought about by the Renaissance, and which
François I had the intelligence to appreciate and encourage, and the
somewhat greater sense of security in the body politic, combined to give
to this court, and to the wealthy citizens of the capital, such
extravagant luxury of dress and ornament that even this pleasure-loving
monarch felt constrained to promulgate sumptuary laws on various
occasions, an example which was followed by his son and successor, Henry
II. The edict of 1538 proscribed chains of gold of too great weight for
financiers and men of affairs, and it was intimated to them that it
would be better not "to make their daughters too handsome and too rich
when they married them." In 1543, the tissues of gold and silver were
forbidden for men, with the exception of the relatives of the monarch,
and this edict was renewed, four years later, by Henri II, greatly
amended and amplified and extended to all, high and low, excepting the
ladies in the queen's suite and the king's sister. In 1549, it was
renewed, with still greater detail concerning the costumes of the two

The abuse of masks was of long standing, Charles VI having been addicted
to their use, and in 1514, under Louis XII, the Parlement directed that
all these false visages in the city, wherever found, should be collected
and burned, and that, by order of the king, no more should be worn.
During the captivity of François I in Madrid, the members of the
Parlement set the example of reducing their style of living, limiting
the number of their horses, etc.; and so great was the suspicion and
distrust at this time, that a special edict was directed against the
mysterious strangers who were seen in the streets of the city, all with
long beards and carrying heavy sticks. The use of the latter was
strictly forbidden, and the wearing of the former, "which seemed to
conceal some pernicious designs against the peace of the State." Among
the minor social revolutions which this monarch effected, in consequence
of a wound received on his head, was that in the manner of wearing the
hair and beard, which had prevailed since the time of Louis VII;
François I reversed the ancient custom, and cut his hair short, but not
his beard.

Paris, which had celebrated his accession with even more than the usual
ceremonial, jousts, and tourneys, was greatly alarmed at the threat of
the Connétable de Bourbon to march upon it with the allied forces of the
King of England and of Charles V. The king, to reassure them, sent them
the Sire de Brion, who declared to them that their monarch "had so much
consideration for the city of Paris that he would sacrifice himself
rather than allow it to be taken, that he was willing to expose his life
in order to defend it, to live and to die with the Parisians, and that,
if he could not come to it in person, he would send to it his wife, his
children, and his mother, and all that he had and possessed, persuaded
as he was that when he had lost the rest of the kingdom, he would
readily recover all his losses if he could preserve Paris; that he had
the intention to bring to it ten thousand Swiss, that he was aware of
the attachment which the Parlement and the city bore to his person, that
he thanked them for it, and exhorted them to continue a fidelity which
was so useful to him."

All these fine words gave great pleasure to the citizens, and they were
thrown into corresponding consternation when the news was received, on
the 7th of March, 1525, that he had been taken prisoner at Pavia. His
mother, Louise de Savoie, subordinated the evil traits of her character
to constitute herself an intelligent regent; and on the 14th of April,
1527, the king made a triumphal re-entry into his capital after his
release. Some doubts seem to have been entertained as to the genuineness
of the welcome, for, it is recorded, the _prévôt_ of the merchants, the
_échevins_, and the school-masters were ordered to station, at a dozen
points on the route of the procession, groups of eighty or a hundred
children, who were to cry enthusiastically: "_Vive le roi!_" The
quibbling by which François endeavored to justify his refusal to carry
out the provisions of the treaty of Madrid, for which he had left his
two sons as hostages, deceived no one; Charles V very justly proclaimed
him a traitor and perjured, to which the king had no better answer than
that the emperor "lied in his throat," and that he would meet him in the
lists in single combat whenever he liked.

The ransom of the two young princes cost one million two hundred
thousand écus, a sum which both the king and his capital found it very
difficult to raise. After the treaty of Cambrai, in 1529, François
endeavored to strengthen his position by foreign alliances, without any
regard for his standing as eldest son of the Church and persecutor of
Protestants. He made terms with Henry VIII of England, who had just
broken with the Holy See; and he acquired the friendship of the Pope by
demanding for his son, afterward Henri II, the hand of Catherine de
Médicis, niece of the pontiff. He renewed the ancient friendship with
the Scotch by giving his eldest daughter, afterward Marie de Lorraine,
to their king for wife. He even concluded a commercial treaty, and one
of alliance, offensive and defensive, with the Sultan Soliman, who
promised to aid, with all his power, his good friend, "the Padishah of

The first of the followers of Luther to be executed in Paris was burned
alive on the Place de Grève in March, 1525, and from this beginning the
persecution went on, by direction of the king, and even during his
absence, with a cruelty only tempered by the occasional necessity of
conciliating the Protestant allies of the nation. The Sorbonne ordered
that all the writings of Luther should be publicly burned on the Place
du Parvis Notre-Dame; and the king decreed that all persons having in
their possession any of the aforesaid heretical books should deliver
them up, under penalty of banishment and confiscation of all their
property. For the dreary spectacle of a nation and a city divided into
hostile factions, struggling through barbarism and crime to a political
unity and a more beneficent civilization, we have now, just when these
goals seemed to be on the point of being attained, the spectacle of the
same city and nation rent by religious faction, and relapsing into an
even crueller barbarism under all the specious glitter of the
civilization of the Renaissance.

It seemed at first, however, as though the doctrines of the Reform might
find as stable a footing in France as they did in Germany. Among the
lettered and cultivated classes their conquests were rapid; even in the
court, the king's mother, Louise de Savoie, was not apparently disposed
to oppose them; his sister, Marguerite, Queen of Navarre, and his dear
friend the Duchesse d'Étampes, were more or less openly inclined in
their favor; Clément Marot, the court poet, translated the Psalms of
David into French, which the Reformers sang at the Pré-aux-Clercs. Two
scholars greatly esteemed by François I, Lefebvre d'Étaples, who had
begun six years before Luther, and Louis de Berquin, considered by his
contemporaries as "the wisest of the nobility," publicly supported the
Reform doctrines. But the king, fearing in them an organized movement
against all authority, sacred or secular, soon withdrew his support;
Berquin was burned at the stake in the Place de Grève, and the Sorbonne
even ventured to pursue, with open prosecution and denunciation, and
with hidden satire in a comedy represented at the Collége de Navarre,
the king's sister for having caused her brother to adopt a book of
prayers translated into French and for having caused to be printed a
work of her own in verse: _Le Miroir de l'Ame pécheresse_. The Parlement
formally forbade the scholars of the Université to translate any of the
sacred books in Hebrew or Greek into French, as being a work of heresy.
In 1546, Etienne Dolet, the printer, was hanged and then burned, for
impiety and atheism, on the Place Maubert where his statue now stands.
There was even invented, for the benefit of the heretics, a refinement
of cruelty on the ordinary horrors of the stake,--a pulley over the
victim's head to which he was suspended by chains, so that he could
alternately be raised out of the flames and lowered into them again.
This was called _l'estrapade_.

[Illustration: COSTUME FOR YOUNG GIRL. PERIOD, 1821.

From a sketch by F. Courboin.]

This reign witnessed one of those unjust condemnations of the royal
treasurer which had become so common in French history. Jacques de
Beaune, Seigneur de Semblançay, had succeeded his father in this
important post; Louis XII and François I alike had found every reason to
repose the utmost confidence in their financial officer, but the latter
monarch, and his mother, set no bounds to their lavish expenditure. In
1521, Lautrec, François's general in Italy, drew on the royal treasury
for four hundred thousand écus to pay his Swiss mercenaries. Semblançay
was about to send him the money, when he was summoned, according to the
generally received story, by Louise de Savoie, to hand it over to her,
which he did. Owing to the defection of his unpaid Swiss, Lautrec was
defeated at the Bicoque and lost the Milanaise; when bitterly reproached
by the king for his ill-success, the facts in the case came out. The
queen-mother admitted having received the money and applied it to her
own use, but she declared that it was a portion of her private funds
which she had previously deposited with the treasurer-general.
Semblançay was accordingly brought to trial, but, though he demonstrated
that the king was in his debt to the amount of three hundred thousand
livres, he was condemned for peculation and hung on the gibbet at
Montfaucon, notwithstanding his blameless life and his seventy-two
years. "I have, indeed, deserved death," he said, "for having served men
more faithfully than God." Clément Marot, the court poet, wrote an
epigram on the _juge d'enfer_ who had condemned this worthy servant of
the king, and a popular tumult was averted with difficulty; two years
later, the clerks whom the queen-mother had employed to steal her
receipts from the treasurer's coffers confessed, he was declared
innocent, and his confiscated property restored to his grandson.

Charles V, who more than once threatened Paris with his victorious
arms,--in 1544 he was at Château-Thierry, twenty-four leagues from the
capital, and the affrighted citizens had begun to transport themselves
and their worldly goods to Orléans,--visited the city in peace, on the
1st of January, 1540, on his way to Flanders to subdue the revolted
burghers of Ghent. François was strongly tempted to break his royal
promises, as he had done once before, and retain so valuable a prisoner,
but confined himself to hints as to what he might do, and displayed on
the part of his court and his capital an ostentation of luxury almost
equal to that of the Field of the Cloth of Gold twenty years before,
when he had met Henry VIII of England--"that spot of blood and grease on
the pages of history." The capital, indeed, was much embellished and
made more healthful under François I; the municipality were enjoined to
pave and to clean the streets, and the king caused to be drawn up minute
regulations concerning the administration of the city, the fountains,
markets, slaughter-houses, gutters, etc. Nevertheless, the pest
prevailed throughout the whole of his reign.

This gay monarch, who aspired to excel in all the accomplishments of a
chevalier, wrote verses in his lighter moments, but the celebrated
"_Souvent femme varie; bien fol est qui s'y fie_," said to have been
written with the diamond of his finger-ring on a window in the Château
d'Amboise, has been resolved into the very commonplace phrase: "_Toute
femme varie_," which Brantôme saw written by the royal hand on the
window-casing. In like manner, the pretty verses ascribed to Mary Queen
of Scots, on leaving France,--

    "_Adieu, plaisant pays de France,
              O ma patrie,
              La plus chèrie,_" etc.,

were really written by a journalist named Meunier de Querlon. What the
young queen did say, as she saw the French coast sink below the horizon,
was: "_Adieu, chère France! je ne vous verrai jamais plus!_"

The son of François I, who succeeded him, had all his father's defects
and none of his good qualities; his short reign is made memorable
chiefly by his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, and the unusual manner of
his death. The former, whom he made Duchesse de Valentinois, and who
exercised in the court an authority quite denied to the queen,
maintained over her royal lover,--she had been the mistress of his
father,--notwithstanding her forty-eight years of age, an ascendency, by
her beauty and her intelligence, which her contemporaries ascribed to an
enchanted ring. She was nearly sixty years of age, and the king was in
his forty-first year when he wore her colors, the black and white of
widows, in the fatal tourney which he had commanded to celebrate the
wedding of his eldest daughter, Elisabeth de France, to Philippe II,
King of Spain, already twice widowed. The lists were set up across the
Rue Saint-Antoine, from the Palais des Tournelles almost to the Bastile,
with great amphitheatres of seats on each side for the spectators. The
king, who excelled in bodily exercises, had distinguished himself during
the first two days; on the third, the jousting was completed, when he
happened to see two lances still unbroken, and commanded the captain of
his guards, Gabriel, Comte de Montgomery, to take one of them and tilt
with him "for the love of the ladies." Montgomery protested, but the
king insisted, and as they came together the former did not lower his
arm quickly enough, and the broken shaft of his lance, glancing up from
the king's breast-plate, lifted his visor and inflicted a mortal wound
over the right eye. Eleven days afterward, he died, and Montgomery paid
with his life for his inadvertence.

[Illustration: LADY IN HOUSE-ROBE. PERIOD, 1816.

From a sketch by F. Courboin.]

Henry "was not yet dead when Catherine de Médicis sent to Diane de
Poitiers an order to restore the crown-jewels, and to retire to one of
her châteaux. 'What!' she exclaimed, 'is the king dead?' 'No, madame,
but he soon will be.' 'So long as he has a finger living,' she replied,
'I wish that my enemies should know that I do not fear them, and that I
will not obey them whilst he is alive. My courage is still invincible.
But when he is dead, I no longer wish to live after him.'

"She did live, however, but she made haste to leave Paris, and withdrew
to her Château d'Anet."

The king's death occurred in the midst of his plans to resume the
persecution of the heretics, plans which he had so much at heart that he
had not hesitated to conclude the unfortunate treaty of
Cateau-Cambrésis, in the same year, in order to be at liberty to engage
in this crusade against his own subjects. "Sire," said his generals,
Guise and Brissac, as the treaty was signed, "you are giving away in one
day what could not be taken from you in thirty years of reverses." But
Henri "was more religious than the Pope," for, the sovereign pontiff
having sent the Parisians a bull by which he granted them permission to
eat butter, cheese, and eggs during the approaching Lent, the king was
scandalized at this license; the Garde des Sceaux directed the
Lieutenant Criminel to publish, by the public criers, a decree
forbidding the printing and circulating of this bull, and the document
was even publicly burned by order of the king and the Parlement.

Among the ceremonials of public rejoicing attending the wedding of Henri
with Catherine de Médicis was the illuminating, by the royal hand, of
the fire on the eve of Sainte-Jean, on the Place de Grève, in which the
lamentable cries of the cats confined in a basket, and thus consumed,
filled the populace with the wildest delight. Their appetite for cruelty
was soon to be much more fully gratified, for arrangements were made,
after high mass at Notre-Dame and the State banquet in the episcopal
palace, to burn as many Protestants at the stake at once, at several
places, as was possible. Among these unfortunates was a journeyman
tailor, who had been summoned before the king, and reproached by him for
listening to heretical doctrines; when Diane de Poitiers, who had been
instrumental in causing his arrest, also began to harangue him, the
tailor suddenly broke silence: "Madame," said he, "content yourself with
having infested France, and do not bring your ordure to mingle with
things as sacred as the truth of God." He was consequently given one of
the posts of honor among the victims, his stake being erected in the Rue
Saint-Antoine, nearest the window of the Hôtel de la Roche-Pot, from
which the king watched the executions, and it is related that,
notwithstanding his atrocious sufferings, he fixed upon the monarch,
from amidst the flames, so steadfast and terrible a look that Henri
withdrew from the window, declaring that he would never be present at
another _auto-da-fé_. This did not signify, however, that he would order
no more.

Both François and Henri had formed, and partially carried out, various
enlightened measures for the embellishment of the capital and its
environs, the rebuilding of the Louvre, the completion of Fontainebleau,
the improvement of the navigation of the Seine, etc. Henri ordered the
demolition of the old royal residence, the Palais des Tournelles, and
its pestiferous moats were filled up. He is represented as being
inordinately fond of processions, and every event, of good or bad omen,
was made a pretence for one of these public displays. Catherine de
Médicis had brought with her from Tuscany a taste for luxury, letters,
and the arts; Philibert Delorme, whom the French consider the second of
their great architects, and who, under her orders, began, in 1564, the
construction of the Tuileries, testifies to "the exceeding pleasure
which she took in architecture, designing and sketching out the plans
and profiles of the edifices she intended to erect."

Under the reign of Henri II began the rise in importance, and the
frequent appearance in the national councils, of the great families
afterward so prominent in the wars of the League. The Connétable de
Montmorency, the Maréchal de Saint-André, and the Guises, younger branch
of the ducal house of Lorraine, who at this period claimed to be only
the heirs of the house of Anjou, but who, later, asserted themselves to
be descendants of Charlemagne, monopolized the royal favors and the
royal authority. The eldest of Henri's sons, François II, during his
brief reign of seventeen months, confided the military administration of
his kingdom to François, Duc de Guise, who had retaken Calais from the
English, and defended Metz against Charles V, and the "civil affairs" to
his brother Charles, cardinal, and possessor of no less than a dozen
benefices in the Church. The house of Bourbon, which might have disputed
this ascendency with them, was temporarily in disgrace because of the
treason of the Connétable, under François I, and the Duc de Montmorency
had lost the important battle of Saint-Quentin against the Imperialists,
in 1557, and was advanced in years. To these malcontents was added the
Prince de Condé, and the higher nobility were all indignant at seeing
the domination of France in the hands of foreigners,--the queen-mother,
Italian; the young wife of François II, Scotch, and the Guises,
Lorrainers. To add to their ill-humor, these foreigners, as foreigners,
claimed the precedence in matters of etiquette, and the right to walk in
procession immediately after the princes of the blood, before the chiefs
of the most illustrious houses of France.

[Illustration: COSTUME OF 1830. From a water-color by Maurice Leloir.]

Catherine de Médicis had preserved, amidst the intrigues and debauchery
of the court, but one wholesome moral sentiment,--a passionate love for
her children. The long course of mortifications which she had had to
endure at the hands of Diane de Poitiers "had effaced in her all
distinctions between good and evil." To preserve the royal power in the
hands of her sons, three of whom succeeded to the throne in somewhat
rapid succession, she considered all means legitimate. For a brief space
of time she saw herself excluded from her ascendency over the king by
the young queen, Marie Stuart, daughter of James V of Scotland and Marie
de Lorraine, whom Henri II had married to his son to assure the alliance
of Scotland against England. The discontent against the Guises led to
the "conspiracy of Amboise," in 1560, easily suppressed and punished
with the utmost severity; the young king wept at the incessant
executions, but the pretty young queen, as seems to be proven by her
"Letters," secretly approved. The queen-mother, more intelligent, gave
the keeping of the seals to the Chancellor Michel de l'Hôpital, who
opposed the proposition of the Guises to set up the Inquisition in
France, and convoked the nobles at Fontainebleau to organize the
opposition. The civil wars were inaugurated.

François II died on December 5, 1560; Mary of Scots went back to her
native land, weeping bitterly, and the queen-mother assumed the regency,
as her second son, Charles IX, was then only ten years and six months of
age. He was not without good parts, he had an inclination for _les
belles lettres_, fostered in him by his preceptor, Amyot, who had
translated Plutarch, and one of his favorites was the poet, Pierre de
Ronsard. The mutual outrages and exasperations, the changing fortunes of
the incessant wars between Catholics and Huguenots, gradually led up to
the calamity of the Saint-Bartholomew; in 1567, five years before, the
young king was nearly captured by the chiefs of the Reformed religion,
escaping with difficulty to his capital and to his palace of the Louvre.
To cement the peace of Saint-Germain, signed in 1570, and which granted
such favorable terms to the Protestants that the Catholic party
protested fiercely, a marriage was arranged between the son of Jeanne
d'Albret, Queen of Navarre, Henri de Béarn, and the king's sister,
Marguerite, the Reine Margot of the chroniclers. The Queen of Navarre
and her son, followed by the Admiral Coligny and a host of the leaders
among the Huguenots, came to Paris; the protestations of friendship with
which they were received by the king inflamed still more the passions of
the partisans of the Guises, and the sudden death of Jeanne d'Albret,
attributed to poison, but probably caused by a pulmonary affection, only
served to increase the universal apprehension and suspicion.

The marriage was postponed, but celebrated a week later, on the 17th of
August, 1572, with great pomp; the bridegroom took up his lodgings in
the Louvre, but, five days later, Coligny, returning to his little hôtel
in the Rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, was fired at by an
assassin named Maurevert in the pay of the Guises, receiving one ball in
the left arm and losing the index finger of his right hand by another.
The excessive grief and concern manifested by the king seems to have
disarmed his suspicions; but Catherine, aided by the leaders of the
Catholic party, was incessantly urging her son to seize the opportunity
thus within his grasp, and, by exterminating all the enemies of the true
religion, at once avert from France the horrors of a fourth civil war.
"The king resisted; his mother quoted to him the Italian proverb that
mildness is often cruelty, and cruelty mildness; then she threatened to
leave the court with her other son, the Duc d'Anjou, so as not to
witness the ruin of her house, so as to no longer have before her eyes
such cowardice and imbecility. She had well calculated the effect of
this last taunt upon a violent spirit. Charles, until then motionless
and sombre, suddenly exclaimed, that, if it were found advisable to kill
the admiral, he wished that all the Huguenots in France might be killed,
'so that not one should be left to reproach him.'" It was agreed to
exempt from the massacre the King of Navarre, the new brother-in-law of
Charles, and the young Prince de Condé, but on the condition that both
of them returned to the Catholic religion.

All the necessary measures had been taken by the Guises and by the
municipality of the city; the signal was to be given from the Palais de
Justice, by the first stroke of the tocsin after midnight, on the
morning of Sunday, the 24th of August, the day of Saint-Barthélemy, and
the Catholics were to be designated by white handkerchiefs on their arms
and white crosses in their hats. But the killing began under the walls
of the Louvre before the appointed hour, and Catherine sent hastily to
the neighboring church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois with orders to give
the signal. The Duc de Guise had reserved for himself the honor of
superintending the murder of Coligny, then helpless from his wounds, and
he immediately hastened to the Hôtel de Ponthieu, where the admiral was
lodged, burst in the doors, had the old man murdered and flung out of
the window and his head struck off.

There are various authorities, among them D'Aubigné, for the story that
the king fired with a long arquebus from one of the windows of the
Louvre upon the fleeing Huguenots. "He took great pleasure," says
Brantôme, "in seeing from his windows more than four thousand corpses,
killed or drowned, floating down the river." The same chronicler relates
that when, on the 27th, in company with his mother and a number of
seigneurs, he visited the gibbet of Montfaucon to inspect the corpse of
the admiral, there hanging in chains, he did not, like all the others,
stop his nose, but said: "I do not as you all do, for the smell of an
enemy is always pleasant." He had, perhaps, borrowed the phrase from
Aulus Vitellius, visiting the battle-field of Bedriac.

"Women who were enceinte were ripped open, that the little Huguenots
might be snatched from their wombs, to be thrown, to be devoured, to
pigs and dogs. In those houses in which none were left alive but
children, these infants were piled into large baskets, and then thrown
from the bridges into the river. There might be seen frightful little
boys, ten years of age, strangling the babies in the cradles, or
dragging them through the streets by a cord around their necks."

The number of slain in the city of Paris was variously estimated at from
two thousand to ten. The murders did not cease entirely until the 17th
of September, and, with the exception of some districts, in which the
officials refused to carry out their orders, extended throughout France.
The victims were by no means all Huguenots; the opportunities offered to
private vengeance were too great, and rivals, debtors, thieves, and a
horde of criminals covered their crimes with the cloak of religion. Two
years later, the king died, at the age of twenty-four, tormented in his
last moments by remorse, and cared for only by his old Huguenot nurse.

Even in this horrible business, there were not wanting reassuring
touches of human nature. The fine story which Dumas _père_ tells with so
much spirit in his _Reine Margot_, of the wounded gentleman, pursued by
the assassins, seeking refuge in the very bed-chamber of this queen, and
saved by her, is quite true, if we may believe the recital of the queen
herself (_Historic Memoirs: Margaret of Valois_). His name was Monsieur
de Nançay, and she was obliged to change her chemise, as he had bloodied
it in clinging to her! In the conspiracy to prevent the return of the
King of Poland, afterward Henri III, to France in the eventuality of the
death of Charles, of which conspiracy the youngest royal brother, the
Duc d'Alençon, was the head, there were two gentlemen, Joseph de
Boniface, Sieur de la Mole, who was Queen Marguerite's lover, and the
Comte de Coconas, an Italian, who was loved by the Duchesse de Nevers.
The story of the trial and execution of these two, and even the ghastly
incident of the preservation of the severed head of the lover, are also
founded on facts.

The massacre of Saint-Bartholomew has found apologists, even at this
late day,--an historical work issued by the house of Firmin-Didot, in
1898, purporting to give an impartial résumé of the acts of the League
during the reigns of Henri III and Henri IV, declares that the people
took part in this tragedy because "their zeal had been misled," and they
believed that they were going, not to massacre, but to battle "against
enemies who menaced their faith and their liberty." The League,
according to this champion of the Church, M. V. de Chalambert, "was at
once legitimate in its principles, energetic and sagacious in its acts,
in its faith;" ... "if the family of Lorraine had the signal honor of
personifying, during a space of nearly fifty years, the Catholic cause
in France, it owed this honor to the faith, to the sincere zeal, and to
the great qualities of its princes, not to the schemes of ambition." A
more important work, the _History of the Princes of Condé_, by the Duc
d'Aumale, in seven volumes, is much more impartial, though the
distinguished author's sympathies are naturally enlisted in this
subject. He quotes with just appreciation the answer of the young Prince
of Condé, Henri de Bourbon, to Charles IX after the massacre, when the
king summoned him before him and curtly gave him his choice: "_Messe,
mort, ou Bastille?_" (the mass, death, or the Bastile.) "God will not
permit, my king and my seigneur, that I should select the first. As for
the other two, they are at your discretion, which may God temper with
His Providence."

"The intellectual life of the people," says the author of the _Mémoires
du peuple français_, "had gained, rather than lost, amid the terrible
emotions of public affairs. In the interiors of the houses, everything
demonstrated that literature, the arts, the sciences, commerce, and
industry were far from having succumbed during the long crises of the
preceding reigns." It was during the reign of Charles IX that the
beginning of the year was fixed at the first of January, by an edict
issued in 1564. It had previously been considered as commencing at

Henri de Navarre and the young Duc d'Alençon were retained as prisoners
in the Louvre, where they amused themselves by flying quails in their
rooms and making love to the ladies. The young prince escaped first, on
the evening of the 15th of September, 1575, but the king did not succeed
in evading the vigilance of his keepers till the following February,
when he took advantage of a hunt in the forest of Senlis, to ride to
rejoin _Monsieur_, his young brother-in-law, and the Prince de Condé,
thus abjuring the vows of the Church, which he had taken under
compulsion. The _Paix de Monsieur_ which followed, signed on the 17th of
April, 1576, granted the followers of Luther and Calvin the free
exercise of their religion everywhere, "as much as they would have
acquired by gaining two battles against the court of France." To the
zealous Catholics this peace seemed like a betrayal of their cause, and
the _Sainte Ligue_, for the maintenance of the privileges of the Church
and the king, was organized throughout the country under the auspices of
Henri de Guise, who placed himself at the head of the movement.

Henri III, who had fled from his throne of Poland to take that of
France as soon as he heard of the death of his brother, had not even the
few good qualities of the latter. Depraved, prodigal, effeminate,
capable only of the most puerile occupations, he excited the indignation
of the Parisians by his dissolute manners, by his travesty of feminine
apparel, his fine collars, his necklaces of pearls, his pourpoint opened
to show his throat. D'Aubigné declared that he could not decide whether
he saw "a woman-king or a man-queen." In his solemn entry into his
capital he scandalized the grave citizens by his appearance, "having
around him a great quantity of parakeets, monkeys, and little dogs." His
courtiers and favorites naturally followed his example, and shared the
popular disfavor; in 1576, the Parisians began to designate them as
_mignons du roi_. Their worthy master, whenever it arrived to one of
them to be killed in duel or ambuscade, contented himself with giving
him a fine tomb and a marble statue in the church of Saint-Paul, hence
called "the seraglio of the mignons," so that, says De Thou, "the usual
threat against one of these favorites was: 'I will have him carved in
marble like the others.'"


To thwart the schemes of the Guises, who had begun to plot for the
succession to the throne, the king placed himself at the head of the
League, and created his Order of the Saint-Esprit in hopes of winning
partisans in both camps. His brother, now Duc d'Anjou, died in 1584,
after an unsuccessful expedition into the Low Countries; the Duc de
Guise concluded the treaty of Joinville with Philippe II of Spain, in
the same year, in which the high contracting parties agreed to extirpate
sects and heresies; to exclude from the throne of France heretic
princes, or those who promised public impunity to heretics, and to
assure the succession of the Valois to Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon. The
cardinal was put forward as a stalking-horse, to be discarded at the
right moment. And yet after the _eighth_ civil war, that "of the three
Henrys," the duke had the courage, or the assurance, to come to demand
an audience of the king at Blois, and was poniarded by the
Quarante-Cinq, the royal body-guard, in the antechamber. The next day,
his brother, the cardinal, was killed with halberds, and the two bodies
were burned that there might be no relics.

Catherine de Médicis, if we may believe the historians, had an undoubted
talent for epigrams. When it was announced to her erroneously, as it
afterward proved, that the battle of Dreux, in 1562, had been won by the
Huguenots, she remarked, placidly: "Well, we shall have to pray God in
French." When her son hastened to inform her after this notable
assassination: "I have become, again, King of France, madame, having had
killed the King of Paris," she replied: "It is not enough to cut out, my
son; you must sew up." Henri did not know how to sew up; the League was
far from being killed, the city of Paris, filled with fury and
resentment at this murder, publicly disowned him and closed its gates
against him. In one of the many nocturnal processions in its streets, a
hundred thousand persons, it is said, carrying lighted torches,
extinguished them all at once at a signal, crying, with one voice: "God
extinguish thus the race of Valois!" He was obliged to seek an alliance
with the Béarnais; the two kings laid siege to the capital, and a
fanatical Dominican monk, Jacques Clément, having gained access to the
tent of Henri III by forged letters, buried a knife in his bowels. He
died in the night, having previously made his attendants swear to
recognize the King of Navarre as King of France. His mother had died six
months before, "despair in her soul."

Of Henri IV, "manly and humane by natural gifts, as well as by worldly
experience," there are innumerable anecdotes related to illustrate his
somewhat contradictory character. He is even found apologizing for
Catherine de Médicis. One day, in 1600, the Président de Groulard was
recalling to the king the memory of the many ills that she had brought
upon France. "But," said the Béarnais, "I should like to ask you, what
could a poor woman do who had, by the death of her husband, been left
with five small children on her hands and two families who were
endeavoring to wrest the crown from them, ours and that of the Guises?
Was she not obliged to make use of strange personages to outwit both of
them, and yet to preserve, as she did, her children, who reigned
successively, thanks to the discreet conduct of so sagacious a woman? I
wonder that she did not do even worse!" His perpetual pecuniary
difficulties, so common to kings of France, developed in him other
qualities. L'Estoile relates that his fine horses were returned to him
in Paris because there were no funds with which to provide for them. The
king turned to M. d'O, the Governor of Paris, and asked him how this
came to be. "Sire," replied the latter, "there is no money." "My
condition," said the king, "is, indeed, deplorable! I shall presently be
obliged to go naked and on foot." Then, turning to a _valet de chambre_,
he asked him how many shirts he possessed. "A dozen, sire; some of them
are torn." "And handkerchiefs, have I not eight?" "At present, there are
only five." "One night, when D'Aubigné and La Force were sleeping near
the King of Navarre, the former complained bitterly to the second of
their master's stinginess. La Force, overwhelmed with fatigue, was not
listening. 'Do you not hear what I am saying?' asked D'Aubigné. La
Force, rousing himself, demanded the subject of his discourse. 'Eh! he
is telling thee,' said the king, who had heard it all, 'that I am a
skinflint [_un ladre vert_], and the most ungrateful mortal on the face
of the earth.' 'He did not manifest any resentment toward me,' adds
D'Aubigné; 'but neither did he give me a quarter of an écu the more.'"


Fac-simile of a lithograph, by Perrin, printed by Girod. A companion
form exhibits a young man seated, in lieu of the young woman.]

His second marriage, with Marie de Médicis, a niece of the Pope, was no
more happy than royal marriages usually were. The pontiff had granted
him a divorce from Marguerite de Valois, whose conduct was thought to be
too frivolous even for those times; and the royal nuptials were
solemnized at Florence in October, 1600, and greatly fêted in Paris the
following January. "A dull woman, who brought him neither heart nor
beauty nor wit, but the largest dot that could then be found (six
hundred thousand écus of gold, equivalent to eighteen or twenty millions
of francs to-day)." "His mistresses--less by their beauty than by
gaiety and good humor--held an influence over him which probably she
herself might have acquired, could she have curbed her violent temper.
But not only did she rave and rage, and assail him with angry words, it
was even necessary to restrain her from the too free use of her hands.
And her blows were far from being light ones, for, as Henri once
jestingly said, she was 'terribly robust.'" His conjugal inconstancy
was, indeed, flagrant. _La belle Gabrielle_, Madame de Liancourt,
afterward made Marquise de Mousseaux, the most celebrated of his
mistresses, was declared by him to be the only woman he ever really
loved, and, say the chronicles, "he used to caress her greatly and kiss
her before everybody," but she had plenty of successors. One of them,
the Marquise de Verneuil, was obliged to be present in the queen's train
on the day of her coronation, as was, also, the divorced Marguerite de
France; and on the very morning of his assassination, the king, now
grizzled and bent, went to pay a visit to a newer beauty to whom he was
paying court, Mlle. Angélique Paulet, daughter of the secretary of State
who originated the celebrated financial measure named, after him, _la

Nevertheless, it is related that on the day of her coronation, in 1610,
when Marie de Médicis passed up the nave of the cathedral of
Saint-Denis, flushed with pride and triumph, and wearing regally the
royal mantle and jewels, Henri, who was present only as a spectator,
turned to Sully, his minister and friend, and said, with animation:
"_Ventre-saint-gris! Qu'elle est belle!_" It may be remarked that the
king's favorite oath was said to have been invented for him by the
churchmen, that he might not be guilty of blasphemy,--neither Saint-Gris
nor his stomach being known to the calendar.

After having paid his visit to Mademoiselle Paulet, the king ordered his
carriage, to go and see how the preparations for the 16th of May--the
day of the public entrance into the capital of the newly-crowned Queen
of France--were progressing. It is said that he had a superstitious
presentiment concerning carriages, and but very seldom used them; there
were not wanting other warnings, one from the astrologers, and his heart
was unusually heavy. He had already escaped nineteen attempts at
assassination. The coaches of those days had no glass windows, and were
clumsy boxes, mounted on four immense wheels, and either set without
springs or suspended on broad leathern bands. The king, who was
accompanied by the ducs d'Épernon and de Montbazon and five other
gentlemen, ordered the leathern curtains at the sides to be rolled up;
at the corner of the Rue Saint-Honoré and the narrow Rue de la
Ferronnerie there was a temporary blockade caused by two wagons, one
laden with wine and the other with hay,--Ravaillac took advantage of the
halt to mount with one foot on one of the spokes of the hind wheel on
the side where the king was sitting and stabbed him three times, though
the second stroke was instantly mortal.

The consternation was general and overwhelming, and with reason. "There
might be seen men, as if struck by lightning, suddenly fall unconscious
in the middle of the streets; several persons died very suddenly."

Henri III was the first King of France who made use of a carriage, but
horses and mules long remained the favorite means of transportation for
those who did not go afoot. Sober personages, magistrates and burghers,
rode mules, and the ladies were loath to give up their hackneys for the
new machines. Sauval, in his _Antiquités de Paris_, relates that he had
been informed by a certain ancient dame--Madame Pilon--that there were
no coaches in Paris until after the time of the League, some sixteen
years before the death of Henri IV, and that the first person to appear
in one was a relative of her own, the daughter of a wealthy apothecary
of the Rue Saint-Antoine. Glass windows for them were not used till the
reign of Louis XIV, who sent a coach so furnished as a gift to Charles
II of England. The usage of tobacco began to be general under Henri IV,
and soon became so excessive that the strongest measures were taken
against those addicted to this habit. The beard of this monarch was also
considered an offensive innovation by his Catholic subjects, and is even
said to be responsible for more than one of the fanatical attempts on
his life. His Huguenot subjects, however, "drew a hope from his
continuance to wear it that their renegade chief might yet be of the
number of the predestined."

"A hundred virtues of a valet, and not one virtue of a master," said
Tallemant des Réaux of Henri's son, Louis XIII, as he grew to manhood.
In two very recent publications on this historical period, M. Berthold
Zeller, drawing his details from the contemporary reports of the
Florentine and Venetian ambassadors at the court of France, presents a
striking picture of the feebleness and ineptitude of the young king,
even after the date of the official ending of his minority, October 2,
1614, and of the subtlety, quite Italian, with which the queen-mother
played her part amid the intrigues of her followers and her adversaries.
M. Louis Batiffol, in an article in the _Revue de Paris_, December,
1896, comments on a collection of manuscripts which he has found in the
Bibliothèque Nationale, communications furnished by Louis XIII to the
_Gazette_, published by Renaudot, on various military transactions. The
communications were all edited, and not printed from these originals,
because, although he was very fond of writing for the new art of
printing, the king was "absolutely destitute of orthography, and was
ignorant of the simplest rules of grammar. He wrote stiffly and with
great care, in letters thin and long, more than a centimètre in length,
he re-read, erased, and corrected in pencil the most awkward phrases,
but his style remained at the end that of a child." Before being sent to
the printer, these royal communications were corrected by one of his
secretaries, M. Lucas, and afterward went through the hands of
Richelieu. Nevertheless, M. Batiffol finds that these articles give "a
very favorable impression of a king who presents so unimportant a
figure in history and yet who did not lack for real qualities,"--an
impression of impassibility, of self-control under all circumstances,
and of a very serious application to the details of the affairs that
came before him. "He was a soldier devoted to his profession, a true
soldier, who loved the whistling of bullets, and would remain all night
on horseback under a beating rain if he expected an attack from the


After a water-color by Maurice Bonvoison; "Mars."]

He was also a superior market-gardener, and prided himself on having the
earliest and finest spring vegetables, superintending all the details of
their cultivation himself. None of these early crops, however, appeared
on his own table, but were furnished, at fancy prices, to such luxurious
consumers as the wealthy Pierre de Puget, Seigneur de Montauron,
Conseiller du roi. One day, in 1628, being, as usual, at a loss for
occupation, and having successfully concocted a _fricandeau_ for dinner,
he amused himself by shaving all his courtiers, leaving them only a
little tuft on the chin. This, naturally, set the fashion for beards for
some time.

It also became the custom for gentlemen to perfume themselves, to
disguise the odor of the pipe, which was now coming into general use. In
October, 1645, the King of Poland sent a magnificent embassy, with an
escort of four hundred cavaliers, to Paris to demand in marriage the
hand of Marie-Louise de Gonzague, daughter of Charles I, Duke of Mantua,
and Catherine de Lorraine; a formal entry into the city was arranged,
and the Parisians were much impressed with the grand costumes of the
Polish nobility,--"their stuffs were embossed with gold and silver, and
precious stones glittered from every portion of their adornment, whilst
the French nobility, which came out to meet them, displayed only plumes
and ribbons." Nevertheless, it appeared that the French nobles had
shaved themselves and washed their hands, which the Poles had forgotten
to do. This mediæval lack of cleanliness continued down to the time of
Louis XIV; Marguerite de Navarre, in a pretty, amorous dialogue of her
composition, makes the fair lady admit that she had not washed her hands
for a week.

[Illustration: IN THE RUE BLANCHE.]

The court of France was, at this period, the most depraved in morals,
the grossest and most unpolished in manners, of any in Europe. The women
of the bourgeoisie, envious of the great ladies, called them _dames à
gorge nue_; and the latter retaliated by designating the women of the
people as _grisettes_, because of their gray (_grises_) stockings,--a
name retained almost down to the present day. In the sittings of the
_États Généraux_, the President, Miron, complained bitterly of the
excesses of the nobility, the contempt for justice, the open violences,
the gambling, the extravagance, the constant duels, the "execrable oaths
with which they thought it proper to ornament their usual discourse." It
was from this general ignorance and corruption that the Marquise de
Rambouillet withdrew in disgust, and established in her own hôtel that
famous society of arts and letters and refinement--somewhat stilted and
artificial--which constituted it the true court of France. "Instituted
certainly before 1620," says M. Victor Cousin, "it sparkled with the
utmost brilliancy for thirty years."

In 1612, the queen-mother, Marie de Médicis, then regent, arranged a
double Spanish marriage for two of her children: the Princess Elisabeth,
a child of twelve, was sent to Spain to wed the Prince of the Asturias,
afterward Philip IV, and Louis brought back to Paris "a fine tall girl,
a Spanish blonde, wanting yet two or three summers for the full
development of her beauty," Anne d'Autriche. Though he was as faithful
to his marriage vows as Saint-Louis, it is said, he seems to have always
maintained for his wife a profound contempt, and, when the little Louis
XIV was born, refused to take the infant in his arms, or to kiss it,
which wounded the mother more than all his previous neglect. His
treatment of his own mother in her later days was even more
reprehensible; she was banished, and left in indigence and humiliation
till her death, at Cologne, July 3, 1642. Her sole piece of jewelry, a
cross surrounded with diamonds, and containing a piece of the true
cross, she bequeathed to her daughter Henrietta, wife of Charles I of
England. It was through Marie de Médicis, whom he afterward opposed so
consistently, that the Bishop of Luçon, afterward Cardinal Richelieu,
first was called to court, and during the king's minority and tutelage
the government was administered by "the three robes," the queen-mother,
the Bishop of Luçon, and the wife of the Italian favorite Concini, the
Maréchal d'Ancre, killed on the drawbridge of the Louvre when he became
too overbearing and obnoxious.

painting by Nicolas Sicard.]

"The distinguishing characteristic of the _Siècle de Louis XIV_," says
M. Maxime Petit, in his review of the important work by Émile Bourgeois,
_Le Grand Siècle_, "that which Voltaire selected as the most important,
is not the history of the negotiations and the battles, but that of
the manners and customs, the ideas, the beliefs, the letters, and the
arts.... Never, perhaps, more than in the time of Louis XIV was there a
more complete harmony between the ideas and the life. The political
forces are thoroughly disciplined, and the principle of authority, which
Richelieu had developed to its fullest extent, reigns uncontested.
Polite society--the only one to be considered--believes itself to be in
possession of absolute rules, and, in the court as in the city, the
heart abdicates in favor of reason." "When one speaks of the seventeenth
century in France," says M. Louis Farges, "it appears, to those who are
neither historians nor professional scholars, as one of those rare
epochs in which all the forces of the nation concentrate and develop in
a serene and majestic unity. France seems, then, to be at the summit of
her political power, of her intellectual and artistic development, of
her religious and philosophical unity. Taken altogether, and in a very
general manner, this is a very just idea; ... it must be admitted that
at no other epoch has the genius of France manifested itself in the
divers branches of human activity in a manner so complete, so abundant,
and so united." "France was really," says M. Duruy, "at the head of
modern civilization, and, by the recognized superiority of her genius
and of her taste, she caused to be accepted by the whole of Europe the
pacific empire of her artists and of her writers."

[Illustration: PARISIENNE. From a drawing by L. Marold.]

Apparently, at least, the visible instrument that accomplished this
great result was the dogma of absolute power, the monarchical régime;
the king was the earthly image of God, divine, inviolable: _loyalisme_
was a veritable religion, it had its symbols, its mysteries, and its
rites. "If the king were not afraid of the devil," said Saint-Simon, "he
would cause himself to be worshipped." This faith and this worship were
already manifested "in their incomparable splendor by the ceremonies
attending the opening of the _États Généraux_ in 1614, dominated, not,
as in 1789, by the august and abstract idea of the nation, but by the
pale and melancholy figure of a boy of thirteen." For the tremendous
and elaborate pomp of his court, the ceremonial ostentation which hedged
around his own redoubtable figure, the tedious and suffocating etiquette
which attended all approach to his person, Louis XIV himself had very
definite reasons, which he expressed with an appreciable logic in his
_Mémoires_. "Those who deem that these are only matters of ceremony
deceive themselves greatly. The people over whom we reign, not being
able to penetrate to the depths of things, form their judgments usually
on that which they see on the surface, and most frequently measure their
respect and their obedience by precedence and rank. As it is important
to the public to be governed by one only, it is also of importance to it
that he who fills this function should be elevated in such a manner
above the others that there should be no person who can be either
confounded or compared with him, and it is not possible, without injury
to the whole body of the State, to deprive its chief of the slightest
marks of superiority which distinguish him from all the other members."

Hence, three conditions were imposed absolutely upon all those who
sought in any way to find favor with the head of the State,--to ask and
to obtain a residence at Versailles; to follow the court everywhere,
even when sick, even when dying, and to approve of everything. Of the
universal abasement of spirit which this régime brought about, the
memoirs of the time are full. La Bruyère said: "Whoever considers how
the happiness of the courtier lies wholly in the face of the prince,
that he makes it the one occupation of his life to look on it, and to be
seen by it, may, in some degree, comprehend how, in looking on the face
of God, consists all the glory and happiness of the saint." The Duc de
Richelieu wrote: "I pray the king on my knees that he will permit me to
come sometimes to pay my court to him, for I had rather die than be two
months without seeing him." A court-preacher, preaching one day before
the king on the familiar topic, dwelt upon it: "We shall all die, all,
all!" A sudden and involuntary movement of the monarch reminded him that
he had touched upon a theme displeasing to royalty. In his dismay and
confusion he hastened to qualify his assertion: "Yes, sire, almost all."
Louis XIV, it is said, looked forward to continuing his _rôle_ of Grand
Monarque, even in the next world.

[Illustration: "AUX COURSES." By F. Fournery.]

His education had been much neglected in his youth,--it was said,
designedly, by Mazarin, who wished to perpetuate his own powder. One of
the first of the royal preceptors, M. Le Vayer, discovered that Louis
was less intelligent than his younger brother, Philippe, and proposed to
devote himself to developing the character of the latter, but was
speedily checked by the astute cardinal. Like his mother, Anne of
Austria, the king had but little taste for literature. "Of what use is
reading?" he said one day to the Maréchal de Vivonne. His appetites,
however, were fully developed. The Duchesse d'Orléans relates that she
had very frequently seen him eat, at one sitting, four platefuls of
different soups, an entire pheasant, a partridge, a great dish of salad,
a dish of mutton with its gravy, garnished with garlic, two good pieces
of ham, a large plateful of pastry, and end with fruit and preserves.
However, he drank only water reddened with a little wine. The _état de
maîtresse en titre du roi_ was as formally recognized in his court as
that of confessor or chamberlain. Frequently there were two at once. The
"three queens" were legitimate objects of curiosity to all those who
were permitted to bask in the royal sunshine. Madame de la Vallière,
perceiving herself to be gradually superseded by Madame de Montespan,
fled to a convent three times, and was finally permitted to remain
there; M. de Montespan, having vainly attempted to remove his wife from
court, was sent to the Bastile, and on his release was ordered to his
estate. There he put on mourning, as though she were dead, which the
king considered a great affront. His wife graciously made use of her
influence at court to procure a renewal of the pension of the widow
Scarron, only to see her ultimately appointed guardian of the king's
children and succeed her in her position, as Madame de Maintenon.

"Violating all laws, civil and religious," says Duruy, "the king placed
on a level with the princes of the blood the princes _legitimized_. He
forced the court to respect the one as equal to the other; and the
public morality received a blow from which it was very slow to recover."
These lessons were not lost, and the annals of the nobility are full of
scandalous examples. The ducs d'Orléans and Vendôme were addicted to
infamous debauchery; the Duc d'Antin was caught, _flagrante delicto_, in
theft; drunkenness and gambling were prevalent at court, the Grand
Prieur de Vendôme boasted that he had not gone to bed sober one night
in forty years. Pascal, discussing the privileges of the nobles and the
kings, said to them boldly: "You are kings only of concupiscence." This
great court, the most brilliant in Europe, "sweated hypocrisy," said
Saint-Simon. It may be remarked, that, in addition to the very frequent
disfigurement by small-pox, from which even the king was not entirely
free, there was a remarkable prevalence of deformity among the families
of the aristocracy. "There was scarcely one of which some member, male
or female, had not a curved spine, a distorted limb, or other
malformation; owing, most likely, to the common practice of closely
swathing the limbs of infants, and of confiding young children to the
charge of careless and ignorant nurses, for the first three or four
years of their lives."

Two of the mysteries of this reign which have long furnished themes for
discussion have lately been solved by the ingenuity of modern research.
The "Man in the Iron Mask," guarded in the Bastile "for forty-two
years," treated with the utmost consideration and buried under a false
name, it now appears was confined there only five years, from September,
1698, to his death in November, 1703, shared his cell at different
periods with other prisoners, a police spy and a lackey, and was buried
without any attempt at mystery! The original register of his death,
reproduced before its destruction among other archives of the city of
Paris in 1871, gives his name as _Marchioly_, though it had been read
_Marchialy_ by all the commentators (the tail of the o being really a
trifle too high for an a), and it is now considered settled that this
signified Mattioli, in the uncertain orthography of the times, Count
Hercule-Antoine Mattioli, secretary of the Duke of Mantua, whom Louis
XIV had caused to be arrested on Italian soil, in defiance of
international law, for having betrayed the secrets of the negotiations
relative to the acquisition of Casal.

The sudden and tragic death of _Madame_, Henriette d'Angleterre, wife of
the king's brother, Monsieur, le Duc d'Orléans, made famous by Bossuet's
funeral oration, long ascribed to poison, has been elucidated by Littré
in what has been designated as the finest example known of "a
retrospective medical demonstration." She had just returned from
England, bearing with her the treaty of Dover, signed by her brother,
Charles II, in which that monarch agreed to abandon the alliance with
Holland, and died suddenly in great agony after taking her usual glass
of chicory-water in the evening. The autopsy, which was performed by the
most celebrated surgeons of France, aided by two or three English
physicians, revealed a small perforation in the walls of the stomach,
which the doctors, knowing no other way of accounting for, agreed must
have been made accidentally by the point of their scissors. Littré
demonstrates that this accident was very improbable, and that the
perforation was evidently caused by an ulcer of the stomach,--a disease
unknown to the medical science of the time.

[Illustration: END-OF-CENTURY TYPE.

By F. Fournery.]

Louis XIV was preceded to the tomb by his only son, the dauphin, in
April, 1711; by the Duc de Bourgogne, become dauphin in February, 1712,
his wife having died six days before; by the Duc de Bretagne, eldest of
the sons of the Duc de Bourgogne, three weeks after his parents; by the
Duc de Berry, grandson of the king, on the 4th of May, 1714. Such a
succession of calamities roused the gravest suspicions, and the Duc
d'Orléans, afterward regent, openly accused of the use of poison,
seriously contemplated demanding permission of the king to constitute
himself prisoner till these calumnies should be silenced. There remained
only a young prince, the Duc d'Anjou, son of the Duc de Bourgogne and
Marie-Adélaide de Savoie, five years old at this date, and so delicate
that his life was despaired of. He, however, lived to become Louis XV.
Louis XIV, after having declared his sons by the Marquise de Montespan,
the Duc du Maine and the Comte de Toulouse, heirs to the crown in
default of princes of the blood, and making them members of the Council
of the Regency, died September 1, 1715, at the age of seventy-seven.

His testament, as he had foreseen, was set aside, much as his father's
had been. Philippe d'Orléans summoned the Parlement, which granted him
full power as regent, with freedom to compose the council as he liked,
and the government of the royal household was taken from the Duc du
Maine after a most unseemly altercation. All the solemn and pompous
traditions of the court were likewise abandoned. "What does it matter to
the State," said the regent, "whether it is I or my lackey who rides in
a carriage." He took for his minister and councillor the Abbé Dubois, "a
little, thin man, like a weasel," said Saint-Simon, "in whom _all_ the
vices, perfidiousness, avarice, debauchery, ambition, and base flattery,
struggled for the mastery." The general demoralization caused by the
collapse of the great financial schemes of John Law was only a feature
in the general abandonment of all restraint in the pursuit of
pleasure. In the midst of this luxury of effrontery, there suddenly
appeared the imposing and barbaric figure of Peter the Great of Russia,
who visited Paris in the spring of 1717, and dismayed the court and the
Parisians by the simplicity and directness of his character, his
disregard for their voluptuous frivolity, and his appreciation of the
things only that make for greatness in a State. He did not hesitate to
prophesy, from what he saw and learned, the approaching decadence and
ruin of the French monarchy and the French people.

[Illustration: BEFORE THE ATTACK. After a water-color by J. Koppay.]

At the age of thirteen, in February, 1723, Louis XV was declared to have
attained his majority and assumed the reins of government, nominally at
least, for the regent had taken care to give him Dubois for prime
minister. Both these illustrious personages, however, died in the course
of the year, and were succeeded by the Duc de Bourbon, "ugly and
one-eyed, low, mediocre, hypocritical, a man of little led by a woman of
nothing, Madame de Prie," and who renewed the persecution of the
Protestants and the Jansenists. The young king contented himself with
"showing at the council table his handsome and impassible countenance,
which nothing ever animated. When not thus engaged, when he was neither
gambling nor hunting, he occupied himself with tapestry-making, turning
snuff-boxes in wood, or reading either the secret correspondence with
his ambassadors, which he maintained unknown to his ministers, or the
scandalous recitals which the lieutenant of police sent him regularly
every day." In the latter part of his reign, these habits were succeeded
by even more ignoble ones, drunkenness and nameless vices.

To maintain his own power, the Duc de Bourbon sent back to Spain the
Infanta, who had been brought to Paris, at the age of four, to fit her
for her future position as Queen of France, and married the king to
Marie Leczinska, daughter of the dethroned King of Poland, then living
at Wissembourg on the charity of the French government. One day, this
Stanislas Leczinski entered the chamber in which his wife and daughter
were sitting, and said to them in great excitement: "Let us get down on
our knees and thank God!" "Are you recalled to the throne of Poland?"
asked his daughter. "Much better; you are Queen of France." She was
seven years older than the king, very poor, without beauty, but gentle
and pious. The insult offered to the court of Spain was but one of the
many blunders and failures of the foreign diplomacy, while the
extravagance and debauchery at home kept pace with the growing disorder
in the national finances. The sum total of the funds disbursed during
"the nineteen years of the _reign_ of Madame de Pompadour, drawn up by
her orders, exceeds thirty-six millions of livres, equivalent to more
than sixty millions at the present day." In 1780, under Louis XVI, the
amount of pensions paid by the government reached the sum of
twenty-eight millions, and soon after rose to thirty-two. "I doubt,"
said Necker, in his _Compte rendu_, "if all the sovereigns of Europe pay
in pensions the half of this sum." At the same time, the officers of the
household of Louis XV were frequently unpaid, and it was more than once
necessary, as it had been in the reign of his illustrious predecessor,
to appeal to bourgeois and nobles to bring their silverware to the
treasury to be melted down, that the national administration might not
be utterly bankrupt. "Never," said the Comte de Maistres, during the
Terror, "did a great crime have so many accomplices: there are doubtless
some innocent sufferers among the victims, but they are very much fewer
than is generally supposed."

The marriage of the dauphin, afterward Louis XVI, with the Austrian
archduchess, Marie-Antoinette, in May, 1770, was attended with a
frightful catastrophe during the celebration of the event, on the
evening of the 30th, on the Place Louis XV, now Place de la
Concorde,--hundreds of persons being crushed to death, trampled under
foot, killed with swords, or with the fireworks which burst in their
midst. It was an ill omen for the future. The accession to the throne of
this youthful pair, in 1774, was hailed with pleasing anticipations by
the nation, wearied with the excesses of the late reign. "What joy,"
said Michelet, "to see seated at last on the purified throne of Louis XV
this virtuous, this excellent young king and this charming queen! Who
would not have hoped for everything? A grand movement of art adorned
this coronation, illuminated the scene. And the queen was the centre of
all. One woman only seemed to exist." The graceful, youthful figure of
Marie-Antoinette, dauphine, has recently been made the subject of
special research by M. Pierre de Molhac, and the intimate relations
between court intrigues and the gravest measures of foreign diplomacy
are exemplified in the pressure put upon her by her mother,
Marie-Thérèse, to treat with more consideration the king's mistress,
Madame du Barry, who, the dauphine wrote to her mother, "is the silliest
and most impertinent creature imaginable." The consent of Louis XV to
the partition of Poland was purchased by the promise of his
daughter-in-law to assume the same attitude toward Madame du Barry that
her mother had formerly condescended to with respect to Madame du
Pompadour. "Louis XV was touched in the most sensitive part of his heart
by the tact of his old friend; his silence concerning Poland was paid
for in advance."

Amid the general extravagance and corruption of the upper classes of
society some attempts were made to preserve the traditions of the famous
Hôtel de Rambouillet, _le berceau de la société polie_, where talent,
learning, and wit were the qualities that secured distinction, and not
pride of birth. Under Louis XIV, this _salon_ was renewed in the fine
hôtel of the Marquise de Lambert, in the Ile Saint-Louis,--in modern
times restored by Prince Czartoriski,--and in the "Saturdays" of
Mademoiselle de Scudéry, one of the greatest literary celebrities that
had frequented the receptions of the Marquise de Rambouillet. The
Saturdays were a great success, and the example thus set of "having a
day" was generally followed; the literary coteries of the
_précieuses_--later satirized by Molière--became numerous, and
Mademoiselle de Scudéry's receptions were maintained till 1695. Under
Louis XVI, in 1780, appeared no less than three social organizations
having widely different aims,--the _Société Philanthropique_, the
_Société Apollonienne_, which soon changed its title to that of the
_Musée_, and the more practical _Société des Mercredis_, which existed
for the purpose of encouraging good cooking. But the most distinguished
of these reunions, frequented by the higher classes of society, was the
_Société Dramatique_ de Madame de Montesson, the mistress of the Duc
d'Orléans, who had ended by marrying her with his left hand. In her
hôtel in the Rue Chaussée d'Antin, this lady had mounted a theatre, on
which she appeared with the prince, and which, from 1770 to 1780, quite
maintained the lead in the social diversions of the capital.

[Illustration: FAINT-HEARTED. After a water-color by J. Koppay.]

With the approach of the Revolution, about the commencement of the year
1785, there was a new movement, in the direction of the organization of
a great number of "clubs," a word then new to the Parisian ears, but
which was received with great favor. There was already in existence a
_Club Politique_, which the government tolerated on the express
condition that no discussions of politics or religion were to be
permitted,--a condition which was quite disregarded. The Duc d'Orléans,
who was very proud of being a member of the _Club Anglais_, founded the
_Club de Boston_ or _des Américains_; then there was the _Club des
Arcades_, the _Club des Étrangers_, the _Club de la Société Olympique_,
the _Club des Artistes_, and several others. The important part played
in the bloody drama of the Revolution by the various political clubs, is
matter of history. The earliest of these associations, of course, bore a
general resemblance to the social institutions which the Parisians now
know as _Cercles_; and it may be remarked that one of the most
celebrated of the many recent pessimistic publications of the day, the
_Grandeur et Décadence des Français_, by M. Gaston Routier, finds one of
the many signs of the social demoralization of his countrymen in the
number and importance of the cercles in the cities, and especially in
the high play that so many of them favor.

To the extravagances and pretended miracles of the sect of the
_convulsionnaires_ and those wrought on the tomb of the deacon Paris in
the cemetery Saint-Médard in 1730 and 1731, succeeded the extraordinary
alleged cures of the German doctor Mesmer, who came to Paris in 1778
with his theory of "animal magnetism,"--theory treated with more respect
by many of the _savants_ of the present day than by those of the
eighteenth century. The invention of the brothers Montgolfier,
practically tested in 1783, awakened an extraordinary interest both in
the scientific world and among the populace; and it is related that the
American, Benjamin Franklin, being asked what he thought of these new
aërial machines, replied: "It is the coming child."

The times were ripe for change: Mademoiselle de Romans, walking in the
Tuileries gardens with a little son whom she had born to Louis XV, and
pressed by the crowd, exclaimed: "Eh! messieurs and mesdames, do not
crush so, and let your king's child breathe!" The Comte d'Artois, who
was devoted to the game of tennis, being one day in an ill humor,
ordered the court to be cleared of all the spectators, using epithets
which were habitual with him: "Drive them all out," he said, "_tous ces
b . . . et ces j . . . f . . . !_" No one was left but one officer.
"Well, did you not hear what I said?" demanded his Royal Highness. "Yes,
monseigneur, but as I am neither a b . . . , nor a j . . . f... , I
remained." "The respect for _la noblesse_ was singularly diminished, and
the whole audience, even the nobles themselves, applauded at the
theatre, in 1784, the bold epigrams of the 'Figaro' of Beaumarchais:
'Because you are a great seigneur, you think yourself a great genius!
You have given yourself the trouble to be born; that is all you have

On the 19th of June, 1789, the Assemblée Nationale, in a session which
Marat qualified as "glorious," decreed "that hereditary nobility is
forever abolished in France; that, consequently, the titles of marquis,
chevalier, écuyer, comte, vicomte, messire, prince, baron, vidame,
noble, duc, and all other similar titles cannot be borne by any person
whatsoever, nor given to any one; that no citizen shall bear other than
his true family name; that no one shall cause his domestics to wear a
livery nor have any coats-of-arms, and that incense shall be burned in
the temples only in honor of the Divinity." The Assemblée Legislative
held its first sitting on the 1st of October, 1792; on the 4th, the
deputation of sixty members sent to announce to the king that the body
was ready to begin its deliberations hesitated as to what phrases to
employ, and finally decided upon _Votre Majesté_. When the deputation
returned to give an account of its mission, much dissatisfaction was
expressed: "Let there be no more use of this title of 'Majesty,'"
exclaimed one member.

"Let us repudiate the title of 'Sire,'" said another.

"There is no longer any majesty here but that of the law and the
people," cried Couthon.

It was accordingly decreed that the deputies should seat themselves and
cover themselves before the king, that there should be provided but two
similar arm-chairs, one for the king and one for the president, and,
finally, that the king should receive no other title but that of _Roi
des Français_. Louis XVI complained bitterly of this indignity, but it
was one of the least he was called upon to endure.

When the royal family were brought into Paris from Versailles by the
armed mob, they arrived at the Tuileries at half-past ten in the morning
of the 6th of October, 1789. No attempt had been made to prepare for
their use this long uninhabited palace, and the little dauphin said to
his mother: "Mamma, everything here is very ugly." "My son," she
replied, "Louis XIV lived here, and found himself comfortable; we should
not be more difficult to please than he was." On the 20th of June, 1791,
they made an unsuccessful attempt to escape by flight, in disguise, from
the constantly increasing perils that menaced them, but were recognized
at Varennes and brought back in captivity. Nevertheless, the king was
restored to his executive functions on the 14th of the following
September, and it was not until after the attack on the Tuileries, on
the 10th of August, 1792, brought about largely by the intrigues of the
_émigré_ nobles who had fled over the frontier and by the manifesto of
the Duke of Brunswick, the general in command of the Prussian army,
announcing that he was coming, in the name of the allied kings, to
restore to Louis XVI his authority, that that hapless monarch finally
lost it. While his faithful Swiss guards were being massacred in the
hopeless defence of his palace, he was sitting, surrounded by his
family, in the _loge_ called that of the _logographe_, where he had
taken refuge with the Assemblée, watching through the open _grille_, or
iron railing, the tumultuous deliberations of that body while it enacted
that the chief of the executive power was temporarily suspended from the
exercise of his functions. Two days later, they were all conducted to
the Temple as prisoners, where the king was lodged on one floor of the
grand tower, while the queen, Madame Elisabeth, his sister, the young
dauphin and his sister, occupied that above him.

On the 26th of October, the _Journal de Paris_ announced that the ladies
had taken possession of their new apartment on the third floor, which
consisted "of four rooms very well furnished, two of which had chimneys
and the other two, stoves. The son of Capet sleeps in his father's
chamber. On a clock in the chamber of Louis there was the inscription:
'Le Pautre, clockmaker to the king.' The name of the king has been
effaced and that of the Republic substituted." The "_ci-devant_ royal
family" were allowed to promenade in the garden, and the king sometimes
walked on the leads of the tower, all the openings of which had been
carefully closed so that he could not see below, nor be seen. During
five months this captivity was maintained under a constant and
frequently outrageous surveillance.

The Bourbons were not without their familiar spectre, a very celebrated
one, who appeared to announce the approaching death of a member of the
royal family, and on the eve of his execution Louis XVI asked Monsieur
de Malesherbes if the White Lady were not walking in the corridors of
the Temple. This was the Dame Blanche of the popular saying, who takes
an interest in you when all other things cease to be of any concern to
you: _La Dame Blanche vous regarde, et les affaires des autres ne vous
regardent pas_.

[Illustration: VANQUISHED! After a water-color by J. Koppay.]

During the Revolution, the Directory, the Consulate, and even the early
days of the Empire, the fashions for both men and women were in many
respects extravagant. The very elegant young men were known as
_muscadins_ and _incroyables_ (incredibles) from their favorite
expression,--all the _r_'s being banished from their speech: "_En véité,
c'est incoyable!_" But it was not always safe to laugh at them; in 1795,
the black collar which the aristocrats substituted for the former green
one, in sign of mourning, gave rise to many difficulties and
altercations. In the midst of the Palais-Royal a republican received a
bullet point-blank in his chest in return for an insult. Another,
meeting one of these _collets noirs_, said to him: "B . . . of a Chouan,
for whom dost thou wear mourning?" "For thee!" replied the other, and
blew out his brains. When Napoleon came into power, there arose that
misdirected imitation of the antique known as the style of the Empire,
with a great display of jewelry on the costumes of both men and women;
"the aristocracy of the French Empire presented a revival of the
ostentatious patricians of Rome under the Cæsars. The toilettes
displayed were rich and magnificent, but it must be said that they were
in bad taste."

The contempt which the members of the somewhat effete aristocracy of the
_ancien régime_ manifested, even down to the period of the Second
Empire, for the virile and fire-new nobility of Napoleon's family,
generals and marshals, was generally as puerile as it was unpatriotic,
but the latter only too frequently presented subject for sarcasm. In one
of the most recent of the many Napoleonic memoirs, those of the Comtesse
Potocka, this lively Polish lady describes the great personages who
surrounded the Emperor in the winter of 1806-1807, at Warsaw: Murat,
parading himself in the salons "with the majestic air of a comedian
assuming the rôle of a king;" the young Prince Borghèse, "who, in the
brief intervals when the conversation became _a little_ serious, went
off to get some chairs, arranged them in pairs in the middle of the
salon, and amused himself by dancing contra-dances with these silent
partners, humming to himself." Three years later, in Paris, Madame
Potocka saw the new Empress, Marie-Louise, whose dull countenance and
German accent sufficiently accounted for her personal unpopularity.

Napoleon, who did not hesitate to qualify contemptuously the public
opinion of Paris when it was adverse to him, was not above the ancient
"bread and circus" methods of the Roman emperors at times. On the
occasion of the celebration of his coronation, there were distributed to
the populace thirteen thousand poultry, bread, and wine ran freely in
the public squares, so that the streets echoed to this cheerful refrain:

    "_Vive, vive Napoléon,
      Qui nous bâille
      D' la volaille,
    Du pain et du vin à foison.
      Vive, vive Napoléon!_"

(who gives us chickens, bread, and wine in abundance.)

As for Joséphine, her pretty legend has quite disappeared in the light
of these recent memoirs, and the historians and commentators no longer
attempt to defend her against even the abominable stories which Barras
tells of her. "It would be Don-quixotism to deny them," says M. Gustave
Larroumet, among others; "the Joséphines prefer the Barras to the

The marriage with Joséphine was declared null, in virtue of an order of
the Council of Trent on the 14th of January, 1810, and Napoleon was
condemned by the municipality of Paris to a fine of six francs for the
benefit of the poor. The curious engraving, reproduced on page 123,
illustrates the brilliant ceremony of the arrival of the new Empress at
the Tuileries on the 2d of April following. A tremendous storm broke
over the city the night before, but at one o'clock in the afternoon,
when the Imperial couple arrived at the Arch of Triumph, then incomplete
but represented by a temporary _maquette_, the sun was shining brightly.
The cavalry of the Guard and the heralds-at-arms preceded the gorgeous
coronation carriage in which they were seated; the procession descended
the avenue of the Champs-Élysées, traversed the gardens of the
Tuileries, and halted before the Pavillon de l'Horloge. Then the Empress
assumed the coronation robe, the cortége ascended the grand stairway,
traversed the grand gallery of the Louvre between a double row of
invited guests, and entered the Salon Carré, which had been transformed
into a chapel, and where the nuptial altar had been erected. After the
mass, there was a _Te Deum_, and in the evening a grand banquet in the
Tuileries. The musicians sang the chorus of the _Iphigénie_ of Gluck:
_Que d'attraits, que de majesté!_ to the accompaniment of thousands of

_La Femme_ has always played a most important role in France; nowhere is
she so much discussed, nowhere is she so much respected as Mother, and
nowhere, it may be said, is she so little respected as Woman. The women
of the eighteenth century enjoy a species of popular renown as somewhat
more _piquant_, brilliant, and peculiarly feminine, as it were,--thanks
largely to the chroniclers and the romancers in literature and art;
there is a very general idea that they were all, more or less, of the
type of Madame de Pompadour, we will say, as set forth by one of her
most recent biographers: "It would seem that the grace and the good
taste of all the things of her time appertained to Madame de Pompadour.
She marked with her _cachet_, it might almost be said with her arms, all
that world of matter which seems to be animated from one end to the
other by the ideal of the habits of a people, and the needs of a
society. The whole century is like a great relic of the royal
favorite.... She presides over that variety and that wide range of
objects, so diverse in the universality of their type, that the
eighteenth century created in her image to surround her existence, to
serve her and to adorn her." This graceful and pleasing picture,
however, was largely superficial in the case of her less favored
sisters. The inevitable limitations of the life and of the times, the
ignorance, the social prejudices, the inexplicable dissatisfaction which
really haunted all things, all combined to undermine this brilliant
social life, and there was a general consciousness of its hollowness.

"Under all this fever of fashion and customs, under all these
dissipations of the imagination and the life, there remains something
unappeased, unsatisfied, and empty in the heart of the woman of the
eighteenth century. Her vivacity, her affectation, her eagerness to run
after fancies, seem to be a disquietude; and a sickly impatience appears
in this continual search for attraction, in this furious thirst for
pleasure. She searches in every direction, as if she wished to expand
herself outside of herself. But it is vainly that she displays her
activity, that she seeks all around her a species of deliverance;--she
may plunge herself, drown herself, in that which the fashion of the
times designates as an 'ocean of worlds,' run after distractions, new
faces, those passing liaisons, those accidental friends, for whom the
century invents the word _connaissances_; dinners, suppers, fêtes,
voyages of pleasure, tables always filled, salons always crowded, a
continual passage of personages, variety of news, visages, masks,
toilettes, absurdities, all this spectacle ceaselessly changing cannot
entirely satisfy her with its distractions. Though all her nights are
brilliant with candles, though she summon--as she grows older--more
movement still around her, she ends always by falling back upon herself;
she finds herself again in wishing to flee from herself, and she admits
to herself secretly the suffering which devours her. She recognizes in
herself the secret evil, the incurable evil which this century carries
in itself and which it drags with it everywhere smiling,--_ennui_." (_La
Femme au XVIIIe siècle._)

The very original methods employed by one of these clever ladies at the
very beginning of the century to avoid this all-pervading weariness of
the spirit furnished Théophile Gautier with the title and the theme of
one of his best romances. _Mademoiselle de Maupin_ lived in the flesh of
Mademoiselle d'Aubigny, offspring of a good family, who ran away from
the paternal mansion at the age of fourteen and fell in love with a
fencing-master who made of her a fighter of the very first order.
Nothing that the most successful romancer could desire was wanting in
her life,--abductions, disguises, duels, convents forced and set on
fire: "Don Juan was only a commonplace fop in comparison with the
incredible good fortunes of this terrible virago who changed her costume
as she did her visage, courted, indifferently and always with the same
success, one sex or the other, according as she was in an impulsive or a
sentimental vein." She had a fine voice, became a member of the Opéra
troupe under the name of _la Maupin_, and sang with success in the
_Psyche_, the _Armide_, and the _Atys_ of Lully. One of her most famous
duels ensued from her too assiduous attentions to a young lady one night
at a ball at the Palais-Royal, in the last days of the reign of Louis
XIV. The husband, the brother, and the lover all took up the quarrel,
and were all three neatly run through the body, one after the other, in
the snowy court-yard below. Then the victor, calm and smiling, returned
to offer _his_ arm to the beauty.

Another of these epicene sworders, diplomat, publicist, and captain of
dragoons, reader for the Empress Elizabeth of Russia, in the suite of
Marie-Antoinette at Versailles, preserved the secret of his sex until
his death. This was the adventurer D'Éon de Beaumont, whose career
excited such a lively interest in both England and France, and who
signed himself, in a letter addressed to Madame de Staël during the
Revolution, _citoyenne de la nouvelle République française, citoyenne de
l'ancienne République des lettres_.

On the 3d of May, 1814, a Bourbon king was again in the Tuileries. All
the tremendous work of the Revolution and the Empire seemed undone.
"Brusquely, without any transitions," says M. Henri Noël, "the standard
of men and things was lowered many degrees. To the epopee succeeds the
bourgeois drama, not to say the comedy. It would have been thought that
France, satiated with glory and misfortunes, France, which, on the
whole, seemed to have accepted without enthusiasm, but with a sort of
resigned indifference, the new régime, was about to breathe again, to
relax herself, to repose. She is wearied with herself. She is nervous,
discontented. It might be said that she endured with less patience the
blunders, the littleness, the errors of the royalty, than she had the
tragic massacres, and the ruins, and the invasions, and the bloodshed,
and the tears. Everywhere, anxiety and disquietude, the royalists not
completely satisfied, the generals humiliated, the army without glory
and its best officers retired on half-pay, the liberal bourgeoisie
suspicious and disposed to join the opposition, the small land-owners
anxious for their property which they had received from the

Louis XVIII, with all his inherent faults, was a prudent and moderate
ruler in comparison with his brother, the Comte d'Artois, who succeeded
him as Charles X in September, 1824, and in six years brought the
Bourbon dynasty to an end. M. Ernest Daudet, in the _Revue des Deux
Mondes_, has recently been publishing some letters in connection with
the ministry of the Duc Decazes, in one of which we find the king
remonstrating with his brother, already the chief of the _ultras_: ...
"You have notified me that, if you do not succeed in persuading me, you
will make your opinions known publicly, and, which unfortunately will
inevitably follow, that you will no longer see me.... There is no doubt
that this resolution will seriously embarrass the government. But, with
consistency and firmness, this obstacle may be overcome, and I hope
that, during my lifetime, there will be no troubles. But I cannot,
without a shudder, look forward to the moment when my eyes will be
closed. You will then find yourself between two parties, one of which
believes itself to be already oppressed by me, and the second of which
will apprehend being so treated by you. (Conclusion: there will be civil
war, and a whole future of divisions, of troubles, and of calamities.)"

This prophecy was but too well realized. The liberal ideas, which were
made responsible, though without any proof, for the assassination of
the Duc de Berri, at the door of the Opéra-house on the evening of the
13th of February, 1820, attained a great development in the ensuing
reign. Paris was unanimous in its opposition. Decamps's absurd cartoon
of Charles X hunting, which we have reproduced, is a not unfaithful
presentation of the state of public opinion concerning this purblind

All these revolutions in the political world were, of course, followed
in the, perhaps, minor world of fashion. _Souvent femme varie_, and
_Toute passe, tout casse, tout lasse._ "Paris, in its revulsion from the
severity of the earlier Revolution," says an unsympathetic English
writer, "took refuge in the primitive license of the Greeks. 'It was a
beautiful dress,' says a lady in a popular modern comedietta; 'I used to
keep it in a glove-box.' The costume of a _belle_ of the _Directoire_
was equally portable.... With the triumph of the Empire, a more martial
and masculine tone prevailed. So the _Parisienne_ cast off her Grecian
robes--a comparatively easy process--and put on the whole armor of the
tailor-made. She wore cloth instead of diaphanous gauze, and her gowns
were cut with a more austere simplicity. Then came the Restoration and
the Romantic movement, and the great days of 1830. Woman read her
Chateaubriand and her Victor Hugo and her Byron, and became sentimental.
It was _bon-ton_ to languish a good deal, and the dressmakers were
required to find a suitable costume for the occupation. They proved
equal to the demand.... In England, these vestments are called Early
Victorian, and are scoffed at, together with the horse-hair sofas and
glass lustres of the period.

"At any rate, it did not last. Nothing lasts in feminine fashions....
Romanticism and sentiment died out or became _bourgeois_. Gay Paris grew
alert, lively, animated, dashing. The lady who used to be called a
_lionne_ when people were reading Murger and De Musset, displaced the
_femme incomprise_. The 'lioness' was not unlike the vigorous young
person of a later epoch. She was distinctly loud in her manners and free
and easy in her conversation.... At any rate, she was a healthier type
than the pleasure-loving matron of the Second Empire, whose life was one
whirl of unwholesome excitement. The vulgarity of thought and conduct,
the destruction of all standards of dignity, which characterized the
régime of Louis Napoleon's stock-jobbing adventurers, were reflected in
the dress of the women. Never was female attire more extravagantly
absurd.... Man, with all his tolerance, could not really like the Paris
fashions of the Second Empire, and he might have found consolation for
the tragedies of 1870, if he had known, as has been asserted, that they
portended deliverance from the thraldom. France, so we are told, purged
and purified by the baptism of fire, shook off its tasteless frippery,
and sought a chaster and purer mode.... Thus elevated and touched to
higher issues, the _modistes_ of France, when once the Third Republic
had settled down, made quite nice and simple dresses for a few years,
and were imitated by the slavish islanders across the Channel, who had
no such lofty motives to inspire them. The latest developments of this
philosophy of clothes are not yet worked out in detail...."

A multitude of the _emigré_ nobles returned with Louis XVIII, bringing
with them the manners and customs of the _ancien régime_, which the
Parisians found singularly antiquated and absurd, and gave these
reactionaries the title of _Voltigeurs de Louis XVI_. The science of
good cooking, however, which had been somewhat neglected by society
during the Empire, suddenly took on a much greater importance--as was
its due. The lady of the higher aristocracy, taking her déjeuner so
comfortably with her lapdog, in the plate which we have reproduced from
the _Bon Genre_, is supposed to be the Princesse de Vaudémont. A curious
detail of the social life of the Romantic period of the Restoration was
the fashion of _keepsakes_ and _annuaires illustrés_, which came from
England, and which flourished from 1825 to 1845. These costly little
books intended for presentation, richly bound, and illustrated with
small steel engravings, generally taken from the English "keepsakes,"
bore various titles: _L'Album brittanique_, _L'Amaranthe, Annales
romantiques_, _Le Camée_, _La Corbeille d'or_, _L'Eglantine_, _L'Élite_,
_Livre des salons_, etc. The greatest names among the writers of the
_Romantisme_ may be found among the contributors to these
publications,--Chateaubriand, Victor Hugo, Lamartine, Alfred de Musset,
A. de Vigny, Méry, Gozlan, and others.

The _bourgeois_ monarchy of Louis-Philippe was made the object of a
storm of ridicule on the part of the Parisian wits and caricaturists
from which it has never entirely recovered. The "umbrella" of the
Orléans family, which the ribald press of that day made the emblem of
their royalty, still figures in the lampoons addressed to the present
pretender. The caricature of the royal physiognomy as a pear is one of
the most famous in history. Louis-Philippe wore his hair piled in a
species of pyramid over his forehead, which lent plausibility to this
defamation; this pyramid was known as the _toupet_, and was naturally
largely imitated; those whose locks were not sufficient in quantity for
the purpose, purchased false ones. Whiskers were also in fashion, but
not moustaches, and no official functionary was permitted to wear hair
under his nose. The _Saint-Simoniens_ and those who entitled themselves
_Jeune France_ alone wore the hair long and pendant, and the toupet
gradually lowered its altitude and finally disappeared, to give place to
hair smoothed down and parted strongly on one side, generally the left.

After the Revolution of 1830, the Tuileries gardens were thrown open to
all decently-dressed people, but not to those in blouses; it required
another revolution, that of 1848, to bring about sufficient toleration
to recognize the privilege of smoking under these ci-devant royal
horse-chestnuts. A Legitimist journal, regretting the good old days,
before the populace were accorded the privilege of entry, "which gives
to this locality much the appearance of Noah's ark, in which both the
clean and the unclean beasts were admitted," related the following
anecdote of the days of the monarchy. A young man of the _suprême bon
ton_, carefully arrayed in the very latest modes, a _petit-maître_
[dandy, fop, exquisite], presented himself at one of the entrances of
the garden and was much surprised to see the sentry on duty lower his
bayonet and forbid his passing. "How! no admittance?" exclaimed the
beau. "I have precise orders," replied the soldier. "Precise orders ...
to refuse me?" "Precise orders to refuse any one whom I consider to be
badly dressed [_mal mis_]; ... now, I consider you to be _bien mal
mis_." And the young man was compelled to retire before this new censor
of manners armed with authority.

In 1845, the _prestidigitateur_, Robert-Houdin, appeared at the
Palais-Royal with his new species of entertainment, and for a number of
years continued to delight numerous audiences with his mystifying skill
in sleight of hand, his example being followed by minor practitioners
who gave performances in private salons. The theatre bearing his name on
the Boulevard des Italiens still maintains this class of popular

On the 13th of July, 1842, the Duc d'Orléans, the heir to the throne,
and a prince deservedly popular, was thrown from his carriage on the Rue
de la Révolte, while on his way to Neuilly, and so badly injured that he
died five hours later, universally lamented. The right of succession
passed to his son, the Comte de Paris, then a child of four; and both
Legitimists and Republicans began to look forward to the inevitable
feebleness and uncertainty of a regency as favorable to the triumph of
their ideas. The opposition of the king's minister, Guizot, the
historian, to the electoral reforms is generally considered as having
brought about the Revolution of 1848, though it is somewhat doubtful if
the monarchy could have successfully weathered the storms of this year
of liberal ideas and universal unrest.

Nevertheless, the Republic came too soon, as the French historians now
seem disposed to admit. The political education of the nation was not
yet sufficiently advanced, and "it returned to the Empire as to a
solution that best conformed with its condition of _esprit simpliste_.
This movement was accelerated by the combinations of men of all shades
of political beliefs,--Berryer, Montalembert, Molé, Thiers, Odilon
Barrot, and others, who counted on 'the pretended incapacity' of the
future emperor for sliding into power themselves. But their hopes were
disappointed by the taciturn pretender." One of the latest apologists
for the Emperor, M. Thirria, in his _Napoléon III avant l'Empire_,
claims, and no intelligent commentator can disprove the claim: "If he
reigned, it was because France was willing, and very willing, and his
fatal politics of nationalities, she approved of it, sanctioned it, the
republican party first of all." M. Thirria is willing to admit, however,
that "he was not made to be the chief of a State, and his reign was a
great misfortune for France."

[Illustration: THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE BIRTH OF A GIRL. From a drawing
by Adolphe Willette.]

Having the courage of his convictions, M. Thirria does not hesitate to
take up all the charges against the Emperor, beginning with the first of
all, chronologically, that he was not the son of his alleged father. By
a number of letters which he quotes from Louis-Napoleon, King of
Holland, he endeavors to demonstrate that the latter considered himself
to be, without doubt, the parent of Charles-Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.
The story of the Dutch Admiral Verhuel is, however, corroborated by
other documents of equal authenticity. The future emperor, it appears,
did at one time officiate as an English police officer, but it was only
for the space of two months, and then as special constable at some
Chartist meetings. After the affair at Strasbourg, he did accept fifteen
thousand francs from the government of Louis-Philippe, which he had just
attempted to overthrow, on condition that he should go to America.

A franker chronicler gives us further details. Under the title, _Madame
Cornu et Napoléon III_, M. Eugène d'Eichthal published, in 1897, a
number of fragments translated from a posthumous work, _Conservation_,
by the English economist, Nassau Senior, who had been brought into
contact with a large number of distinguished men of different countries.
In 1854, he first met in a salon the wife of the French painter
Sébastien Cornu, who was a goddaughter of Queen Hortense and had been a
friend from childhood of Louis-Napoleon. She had been able to render him
many services when he was a prisoner at Ham, and they had maintained a
confidential correspondence even after the _Coup d'État_, which almost
interrupted their friendship, Madame Cornu being a good republican. In
the course of her acquaintance with the English gentleman, she gave him
much information concerning the then ruler of the French nation, which
he carefully set down, and which M. d'Eichthal translated for the
benefit of his countrymen. On one occasion she said: "The mental
faculties of Louis-Napoleon present many great superiorities and great
deficiencies. He has neither originality nor invention. He neither knows
how to reason nor to discuss. He has very few fixed or general
principles, but he is a very keen observer, noting quickly the
weaknesses and the stupidities of those around him. In the company of
some persons with whom he feels at ease, his wit and his gaiety are

"There is an equal want of accord in his moral qualities. He is
extremely mild and amiable; his friendships are durable, but his
passions are not so. He has, in a high degree, decision, obstinacy,
dissimulation, patience, and confidence in himself. He is not arrested
by any scruples. That which we call a sense of good and evil, he calls

Installed in the Élysée as Prince-President in 1849, he began to prepare
the way for the _Coup d'État_ and the zealous republicans saw with alarm
the species of informal court which he was already gathering around him.
To attract the members of the higher society, he instituted a series of
weekly receptions; all the ground-floor of the palace, including three
salons and a gallery, was thrown open, and there was added a light
edifice connecting the main façade with the wall of the garden, facing
on the Avenue de Marigny. A decree of the 4th of January, 1850, elevated
the ex-king Jérôme, then governor of the Invalides, to the rank of
marshal of France, by a mere exercise of the presidential authority. His
term of office and that of the Assemblée both expired in 1852, with an
interval of three months between them, but the violent measures of the
2d of December, 1851, made him president for a term of three years, and
the constitution which he had proposed was ratified by the nation by a
tremendous majority.

In the Tuileries, he re-established the etiquette of the First Empire,
but the ceremonial of his court did not equal the state maintained under
the Bourbons. The palace itself, at first, was a very uncomfortable
residence. All the modern conveniences of a dwelling were wanting;
Louis-Philippe, who had a numerous family, had divided several galleries
into apartments, separated by corridors without windows, lit only by
lamps which vitiated the air. The various floors of the building were
connected by narrow, winding stairways, also lit only by lamps; one
story had been made into two, each with low ceilings and with very
little day-light, and in the garrets, where the domestics were lodged,
the air was pestilential. There was no running-water in the various
apartments, and it was necessary to carry it in every day in pitchers.

In the Musée Carnavelet may be seen an interesting collection of
water-colors by Baron, portraits of ladies and important personages of
the Imperial court in costumes of fancy-dress balls and tableaux
vivants. There may be seen the Emperor in black coat and trousers, the
Empress _en bohémienne_, the Princesse de Metternich _en diable noir_,
Madame de Gortschakoff as Salammbô, the Marquise de Galliffet as an
angel, the Comtesse Walewska as Diana, the Comtesse de Pourtales as a
bayadère, the Marquis de Galliffet as a cock, the Baron de Heeckeren as
a doge, etc.

A retrospective exhibition, a _Salon de la Mode_, was opened in Paris,
in the Palais du Champ-de-Mars, in the spring and early summer of 1896,
and furnished a very good compendium in little, not only of the changing
manners and customs of the last century or two, the vicissitudes of the
artistic spirit of the nation, but also of the varying fortunes with
which the capital ruled in matters of taste, of fashion, and of luxury.
Subject-matter for grave historians might be found in the various
indications, direct and suggested, of the points of contact between the
daily life of the eighteenth century and our own, as well as of the many
divergences. Long before 1789, the Parisians of the _ancien régime_ were
in the enjoyment of many of the modes, the whims, and the absurdities
which constitute so large a part of the existence of their successors.
They were even, almost, supplied with fashion magazines, the first of
these very important publications to appear, the _Courrier de la Mode_,
under Louis XV, in 1768, not being appreciated, and coming to an early
end. In 1785, however, appeared the _Cabinet des Modes_, transformed in
the following year into _Magasin des modes nouvelles françaises et
anglaises_, for English fashions disputed the sovereignty with Parisian
ones, and journals published on the banks of the Thames spoke with equal
authority. Among these latter was the _Gallery of Fashion_, founded in
1794. The Germans, on the other hand, originated nothing, and the _Moden
Zeitung_ of Berlin reproduced slavishly only that which had already been
approved in Paris and London.

[Illustration: CARD. Design by Guillaume.]

Much as in the present day, English tastes were followed in many things,
not all of them feminine. The _Tableau de Paris_, published by Sébastien
Mercier, lamented that "it is to-day the fashion among the youth to copy
the English in their clothes." The large stores, the _magasins_, called
themselves _anglais_; and the sport of horse-racing, which was beginning
to be popular, and which was largely a matter of importation, naturally
brought in alien words to shock the purists. The _jockei_ was sweated
down to his proper weight to mount the _bête de sang_ [blooded animal];
_cheval de race_ was antiquated, and bad form. In the present day,
there is a _Ligue d'honnêtes gens préoccupés de maintenir le bon
français_, and who quote Béranger:

    "_Redoutons l'Anglomanie,
    Elle a déjà gâté tout._"

[Beware of Anglomania, it has already spoiled everything.] These "worthy
people" admit that for such words as "jockey," "lawn-tennis," and
"sport," for which there are no equivalents in the French language,
there is some excuse, but why, they ask, is "turf" better than
_pelouse_; "flirter," meaning "to flirt," than _fleureter_ (_conter
fleurette_, to say pretty, gallant things); "garden-party" than _une
partie de jardin_; "five o'clock" than _cinq heures_? Is
"boarding-house" any more euphonious than _hôtel meublé_, or "tub" than
_bassin_? Scarcely! Nevertheless, the English fashions, especially in
men's garments, continue to enjoy great favor in Paris; and it may be
noted, for the gratification of our national pride, that in some minor
matters, such as shoes and ladies' stockings, the American articles are
to be preferred to the Parisian ones.

All these futile and minor things, _toilettes_, _brimborions_, take on,
a hundred years later, the importance of historic documents. "One would
not go so far as to say," observes M. Bouchot, "that Napoleon was
dethroned because it was found that the _fleur-de-lis_ made an adorable
ornament for a _parure_ of crape, but is it such an absurd idea?" Under
the reign of Louis XVI, it was proposed, more than once, to establish an
_Académie de la Mode_, and an _Académie de la Coiffure_. A certain
_citoyen amateur de sexe_, Lucas Rochemont, invented a concours, or
competition, of new modes among the real _élégantes_ of France. It was
the custom then to put forth small jokes against the Académie, just as
it is now; it was declared that men of letters should renounce it and
all its works, and that it preserved no better the purity of the
language than it did that of taste. Nevertheless, it retained a certain
respect, and the title, _Académie de Coiffure_, with which certain
hair-dressers and wig-makers provided themselves, was forbidden.

The capital had long enjoyed the reputation, says the _Tableau de
Paris_, of being "the paradise of women, the purgatory of men, the
inferno of horses." The purgatory seems to have changed in two respects
at least;--one could live in it then "comfortably enough at small
expense," and the city was "highly indifferent concerning its political
position." The horses were treated cruelly, even more so than at
present, and the familiar jests concerning the fiacres were already
invented. By this name was designated both the driver and his vehicle
drawn "by an expiring horse." The _cochers_ enjoyed the same bad
reputation they do at present--probably somewhat more justly, and they
even went on strike, as in the nineteenth century. On one occasion,
eighteen hundred of them drove out to Choisy, where the king was
residing, to set their griefs before him. The streets were narrow and
without sidewalks; the driver was held responsible only for the
fore-wheels of his vehicle; and he naturally scattered terror as he
went. The bicyclist and the automobile were not then invented to torment
him in his turn. These two modern innovations have added very greatly to
the danger and inconvenience of the streets of Paris of to-day; there
are already complaints from the owners of private carriages that the
Bois and the principal drives are becoming impossible because of the
latter, and that the city will have to take measures to preserve its
attractions for this class of inhabitants and for the wealthy stranger
whose presence is so much desired within its walls.

Also, as at present, the washwomen were the despair of careful
housekeepers. "There is no city where so much linen is used as at Paris,
and none where it is so badly washed," says our authority. There was a
legend of some _gommeux_ [dandies] from Bordeaux who sent theirs to
Saint-Domingo, naturally, by sailing vessel, to have it whitened. _Homme
à bonne fortune_ and _petit-maître_ were no longer in favor, _élégant_
was the proper appellation. The Seine water was drunk freely, but it had
already begun to be analyzed and doubted; cremation was advocated and
vivisection denounced; the classic education and Latin were derided,
just as by M. Jules Lemaître; the evolution of the species was
discussed, and the sorrowfulness of the Carnival lamented,--the police
were even obliged to hire the maskers; the _claque_ was offensively in
evidence at the theatres. The _grippe_ arrived periodically in the month
of November, to the great surprise of every one,--but it was then called
_la coquette_ and not _l'influenza_. The ladies pommaded their faces,
and drank vinegar to preserve their figures; marriages were effected
only in hopes of pecuniary advantages. The honest bourgeoisie complained
bitterly of the display of licentious prints on the walls and the fronts
of the bookstalls; "the young men in the cafés discussed matters which
were beyond their comprehension and which they had never studied." There
was a surprising number of points of resemblance.

Among the minor observances of social life which have come down to the
present day with only some modification of details are the _billets de
décès_ and the _invitations aux funérailles_. It is only since 1760 that
the names of members of the mourning families have appeared on these
invitations. In the matter of _avis de naissance_, in which the birth of
a baby is announced, the moderns have made great improvements, some of
the designs by the cleverest Parisian artists--as that by Willette
reproduced on page 211--being quite charming. In the much more important
matter of _Menus_, the prodigal display of invention is worthy of the
most artistic of capitals. The luxury of the toilette is maintained with
somewhat more discretion and less ostentation; many of the modern
refinements, as that of the manicure, are but intelligent developments
or modifications of the arts of the last century. Some of the social
vices, as gambling and intoxication, have greatly decreased,
notwithstanding the lamentations of such prophets of evil as M. Gaston
Routier, and many of the more graceful forms of exercise, such as
fencing--consult M. Koppay's spirited sketches--have grown greatly in

The Second Empire contributed a very commendable example of luxury
lending itself to the interests of history in the case of the
restoration of a Pompeian house, erected by Prince Jérôme Napoleon in
the Rue Montaigne, and formally opened with a reception at which the
Emperor and Empress were present, February 14, 1860.

Max Nordau, in his _Paradoxes psychologiques_, thus disposes of the
Parisian woman: "The _Parisienne_ is entirely the work of the French
romancers and journalists. They make of her, literally, whatever they
wish, physically and intellectually. She speaks, she thinks, she feels,
she acts, she dresses herself even, assumes attitudes, walks and stands
upright, according to rules which the writers _à la mode_ impose upon
her. She is in their hands a doll furnished with springs and obeys with
docility all their suggestions," etc. On the contrary, it is probably
safe to say, speaking generally, that the French romancers
systematically defame their compatriots, and that even Parisian society
is not the institution it is represented to be in novels, on the stage,
and by many of the essayists. It has been reserved, for example, for a
very recent writer, M. Jules Bois, to portray, _for the first time in
France_, the indignation of the fiancée at the fact, almost constant,
that her future husband comes to her without that freshness of soul and
body which is required in her case. It would not have required very
accurate social observers, it would seem, to have discovered earlier
this phenomenon. M. Bois counsels the wives not to compromise themselves
by weak forgiveness of the egotistical and adulterous spouses.

The frightful conflagration of the Bazar de la Charité, in the Rue
Jean-Goujon, on the 4th of May, 1897,--the most terrible catastrophe of
this nature that had been seen in Paris since the fire at the ball given
by the Austrian ambassador on the 1st of July, 1810, in honor of the
marriage of Napoleon I and Marie-Louise, and the burning of the
Opéra-Comique in 1887,--offered, in the long list of its victims, a most
tragic demonstration of the fact that the women of Paris of the highest
society knew how to occupy themselves in works of practical benevolence.
Of the hundred and seventeen victims, all but six were ladies and young
girls; and the roll of illustrious names was headed by that of the
Duchesse d'Alençon. This philanthropic institution was founded in 1885
by M. Henri Blount, its honorary president; its annual bazaars, for the
benefit of the poor, were held at first in the Salle Albert-le-Grand,
then in the hôtel of the Comtesse Branicka in 1888, in the following
year in that of M. Henry Say, and from 1890 to 1896 in two houses in the
Rue de la Boëtie. In 1897, M. Michel Heine placed at the disposition of
the managers, gratuitously, a large open space in the Rue Jean-Goujon.
The new bazaar was here inaugurated on the 3d of May, and the receipts
exceeded forty-five thousand francs. On the day after the catastrophe,
some charitable person donated, anonymously, to the Œuvre de la
Charité the sum of nine hundred and thirty-seven thousand francs,
representing the amount of the sales of the preceding year, that the
poor, also, might not suffer by this catastrophe. A subscription opened
by the _Figaro_ for the same charitable purpose, and for those who had
distinguished themselves, at the risk of their lives, in saving victims
from the flames, realized the sum of one million two hundred and
eighteen thousand and fifteen francs, and another, by the _Rappel_, more
than fifteen thousand francs. And, finally, the Comtesse de Castellane,
who had been the American Miss Gould, gave a million of francs for the
purchase of another site and the construction of another edifice for the
work of the organized charity of Paris.

Among the lighter details of information concerning this illustrious
society may be mentioned an article by the Vicomte A. de Royer in a
recent number of the _Revue des Revues_ (October, 1898), which
undertakes to demonstrate, by means of documents, that, of the
forty-five thousand "noble" families in France, only four hundred and
fifty are in a position to substantiate a claim to ancient lineage, and
that, of the three hundred and forty-six princely families of France,
which are all that are left, not one has the right to wear the closed
coronet. All the titles of the latter are usurped, and are purely
fanciful. No fewer than twenty-five thousand families put the particle
_de_ in front of their names without a shadow of right; and it appears
that the Republic manufactures another forty of such families every
year. When official permission to thus distinguish the family name is
refused, it is simply dispensed with. In addition, the Pope gives or
sells, on an average, sixty titles of "count" or "prince" every year,
and though these are not current, the possessors wear them, just the
same. The Paris _Journal_ demanded, indignantly, if M. de Royer thought
he was doing a patriotic work in thus closing the French market to
American heiresses.

To conclude: we quote what M. Henri Lavedan, in his recent work: _Les
Jeunes, ou L'Espoir de la France_, gives as a typical conversation
between three young men of the highest society in Paris, "the hope of
France." The scene is laid in the apartments of D'Allarège, about five
o'clock in the afternoon. All three are smoking. The day is declining;
they comprehend each other in silence. At intervals, they alternately
allow a monosyllable to fall, which is as the affirmation of their
absence of thought:

BRIOUZE.--"Yes...." (_Puff of smoke._)


(_Then a black hole of silence. Puffs. Spirals. Sound of carriages.
Paris continues its murmur._)

MONTOIS.--"Ah! la, la!"

D'ALLARÈGE.--"Is it not?"

BRIOUZE.--"To whom do you say it?"

(_Blue smoke through the nose. Ashes fall from the cigar. And time

D'ALLARÈGE (to Montois).--"And besides that?"

MONTOIS.--"Not much."



[Illustration: TWO SANS-CULOTTES. PERIOD, 1792.]

If the history of a city were written with anything like a due exactness
of proportion, much of it would be but a weary record of human misery,
and through even the most decorous and conventional of chronicles there
appear constantly unpleasant glimpses of the terrible under-strata that
sometimes upheave and make ruin. So long as this apparently inevitable
and irremediable discord does not appear to affect the general march of
events, it is glozed over. The condition of the middle and lower classes
in Paris through the Middle Ages was that common to all mediæval cities,
and would seem to modern ideas all but unendurable. To the absence of
law, municipal, protective, or sanitary, the disregard of life and
property, the pestiferous condition of houses and streets, to famine,
war, pestilence, and constant internal discords, were added the
intemperances of the seasons--apparently much more severe than at
present--and the ravages of wild beasts. The Seine--quite regardless of
the praise the Emperor Julian had bestowed upon its moderation and
uniform flow--was constantly bursting its bonds and devastating with
inundation the Cité and the adjoining shores; the excessive cold of the
winters is a constant source of complaint in the local annals. That of
1433-1434 was heralded by a "formidable wind" which, on the 7th of
October, raged for nine consecutive hours, demolishing many houses and
uprooting many trees,--three hundred of the latter in the wood of
Vincennes alone. The frost commenced on the 31st of December and
continued uninterruptedly for eighty days; for forty days the snow fell
continuously, night and day; toward the end of March, freezing weather
returned, and lasted till Easter, the 17th of April. In one tree alone
there were found a hundred and forty birds dead with cold. In 1437 and
1438 the wolves penetrated into the city, by way of the river, and
devoured women and children, in the last week of September, 1437, while
the king was in the city, "fourteen persons, big and little, between
Montmartre and the Porte Saint-Antoine." There was one most monstrous
beast, called Courtaud, because he had no tail, that was an object of
special terror. "But the wolves, for the Parisians, were less to be
feared than the seigneurs and the brigands called _escorcheurs_, which
followed in their train."

In 1348, the Black Plague, coming from Egypt and Syria, reached Paris
and destroyed eighty thousand inhabitants. At the Hôtel-Dieu, the dead
numbered five hundred a day, and the nuns who served as nurses perished
so rapidly that they had to be constantly renewed. Charles V, _le
Sage_, died on the 16th of September, 1380, "after a reign of sixteen
years, during which the people, although they had been crushed by such
taxation that 'many were forced to sell their beds in order to pay,' had
yet had much less to complain of than during the preceding reign, and,
still more, than they would have during that which was to follow,--the
most wretched of all!"

The historians quote from the _Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris_ for the
years 1419-1421: "You would have heard through all Paris pitiable
lamentations, little children crying: 'I am dying with hunger!' There
were to be seen on a dunghill twenty, thirty children, boys and girls,
who yielded up their souls through famine and cold. Death cut down so
many and so fast that it was necessary to excavate in the cemeteries
great ditches in which were put thirty or forty, packed close together,
and scarcely powdered over with earth. Those who dug the graves asserted
that they had buried more than a hundred thousand persons. The
shoe-makers counted up, on the day of their trade reunion, those that
had died among them, and found that they numbered some eighteen hundred,
masters and apprentices, in these two months. Troops of wolves traversed
the country and entered Paris during the night to carry off the dead
bodies.... The working people said to each other: 'Let us fly to the
woods with the wild beasts.... Farewell to wives and children.... Let us
do the worst we can.... Let us place ourselves again in the hands of the

To multiply these historical incidents would be but dreary
iteration,--we will rather give one or two presentations in full of some
details of what may be called the subterranean aspect of the great city,
sombre and rather unpleasant presentations that are not to be found in
the dignified histories or in the guide-books, and that remain unknown
to the usual decorous tourist and reader. That the first one may not be
too sombre, we will select it, not in the gloom of the Dark Ages, but in
full French Renaissance, under François I. Readers of Victor Hugo's
_Notre-Dame de Paris_ will doubtless remember his very picturesque
description of the famous Cour des Miracles as it existed in the reign
of Louis XI,--more sober historians do not hesitate to corroborate these
fantastic details in many particulars. M. Gourdon de Genouillac,
Officier d'Académie, in his learned work, _Paris à travers les siècles_,
gives a description which we condense. "Everything had been done in
order to oppose an effective defence to the attacks of enemies outside
the walls; but it was much more difficult to guard against the
enterprises of those within; the assemblings of the malcontents which
were held nightly, and those of the gentry of sack and cord who, as soon
as the gates were opened, set off eagerly to ravage the suburbs of
Paris, returning in the evening to conceal themselves in the quarters
where no one scarcely ventured to go in search of them. The Cour des
Miracles was the usual refuge of all those wretches who came to conceal
in this corner of Paris, sombre, dirty, muddy, and tortuous, their
pretended infirmities and their criminal pollution.

"The Cour des Miracles extended between the Impasse de la Corderie (on
the site of which a part of the Rue Thévenot was opened) and the Rues de
Damiette and des Forges; its entrance was in the Rue Saint-Sauveur. It
had been in existence since the thirteenth century....

"Several other haunts of the same kind existed in Paris, and Dulaure
asserts that under Louis XIV there were still to be seen, the Cour des
Miracles, of which we have just spoken; the Cour du Roi-François,
situated in the Rue Saint-Denis; the Cour Sainte-Catherine, in the same
street; the Cour Brisset, Rue de la Mortellerie; the Cour Gentien, Rue
des Coquilles; the Cour de la Jussienne, in the street of the same name;
the Cour Saint-Honoré, between the Rues Saint-Nicaise, Saint-Honoré, and
de l'Echelle; the Cour des Miracles, Rue du Bac; the Cour des Miracles,
Rue de Reuilly, and still another Cour des Miracles, Rue Jean Beausire.

"But that which, in the sixteenth century, formed a veritable quarter of
the city, was the Cour des Miracles of the Rue Saint-Sauveur, which
served as a refuge for beggars and vagabonds.

"'It consisted,' as we read in Sauval's _Antiquités_, 'of an open place
of very considerable size and of a very large _cul-de-sac_,
evil-smelling, miry, and irregular, which had no pavement whatever.
Formerly, it was confined to one of the farthest extremities of Paris.
At present, it is situated in that one of the quarters of the city which
is the worst built, the most filthy, and the most out of the way,
between the Rue Montorgueil, the convent of the Filles-Dieu, and the Rue
Neuve-Saint-Sauveur, as if it were in another world. To get to it, it is
necessary to go astray in little streets, villainous, stinking, crooked;
to enter it, it is necessary to descend a sufficiently long slope,
tortuous, rugged, uneven. I have seen there a house of dirt, half
buried, tumbling to pieces with old age and rottenness, which did not
cover a space of four square fathoms, and in which were lodged,
nevertheless, more than fifty households, having in charge an infinite
number of little children, legitimate, natural, or stolen. I was assured
that in this little dwelling and in the others dwelt more than five
hundred large families, piled one upon the other. Large as is this
court, it was formerly much more so. On every side it has been
encroached upon by lodgings, low, sunken, dark, and deformed,
constructed of earth and of mud, and all of them crowded with the evil

"In fact, under François I the Cour des Miracles had a physiognomy much
more strongly marked than under Louis XIV. The narrow and miry streets,
insinuating themselves between the hovels in wood, halting and crippled,
turned and returned upon themselves, to end finally in a repulsive
sewer. Neither air nor sunshine ever penetrated into these infamous
alleys, from which escaped, at all seasons of the year, nauseating
odors, and too often, also, pestilential miasmas. There vegetated in the
most sordid uncleanliness the subjects of the kingdom of beggary. All
that Paris illegally received in the way of mendicants, false cripples,
false blind, false lepers horrible to see, covered with ulcers, there
wallowed in orgies, in frantic feasting, in gambling....

". . . All these _truands_ recognized a veritable hierarchy; there were to
be distinguished among them three distinct classes,--the _capons_, or
_voleurs_ (thieves); the _francs-mitous_, or _mendiants_ (beggars), and
the _rifodes_, or _vagabonds_. All together formed a kingdom, the chief
of which was called the grand Coësre; he carried a banner on which was
depicted a dead dog, and, quite like his colleague, the King of France,
he had a court and courtiers.

"It was the kingdom of _Argot_ (cant, slang), the code or the formula of
which prescribed theft and plunder.

"Its enclosure, restricted to the Cour des Miracles, was place of refuge
[legal asylum]; all the historians have repeated it, but we do not think
that this right had ever been officially recognized, and it existed
rather through force of circumstances; in this sense, that when a thief
or an assassin had taken refuge in one of the dens of which we have
spoken, it was found more convenient to leave him there in peace than
to run the risk of taking him out of it. However this may be, the
_argotiers_ were quite masters in their own house, and enjoyed in
complete liberty the right of living as seemed good to them. In order
that it might not be permitted that they should be accused of wanting
for religion, they had stolen a statue of the Father Eternal from the
church of Saint Pierre aux Bœufs and had placed it in a niche, before
which they willingly made the sign of the cross.

"Moreover, it should be remarked that the monks and the gentry of the
Cour des Miracles lived on sufficiently good terms with each other, and
it would not be impossible that the name given to this enclosure came
from the zeal with which the argotiers cried 'Miracle!' every time that
one was manifested in the streets of Paris, and we may say, _en
passant_, that the miracles were frequently performed in their favor.
Whenever the monks made some solemn procession, promenading through the
streets the relics of some saint, it was not uncommon to see a
franc-mitou, paralyzed, crippled or epileptic, endeavoring to touch the
sacred casket; in vain would the attempt be made to keep him at a
distance; he redoubled his efforts, and scarcely had he succeeded in
gluing his lips to the sacred coffer when immediately the cripple threw
away his crutch, the epileptic ceased to foam at the mouth, and the
astonished people cried: 'Miracle!'

"It was even said that the monks had been seen on several occasions to
penetrate at night into the famous court, and come out again without
having received the slightest ill treatment.

"During very many years, this society of begging thieves existed and its
importance constantly augmented. Under Louis XIV, its numerous members
were divided into _cagoux_, _orphelins_, _marcandiers_, _rifodes_,
_malingreux_ and _capons_, _piètres_, _polissons_, _francs-mitous_,
_callots_, _saboleux_, _hubains_, _coquillards_, _courtaux de boutange_,
and _drilles_.

"The _cagoux_, who occupied the highest rank in this singular
association of malefactors, were, it might be said, the professors of
the newly-admitted; they gave instructions in the art of cutting purses,
the proper recipes for procuring factitious wounds, in a word, all the
methods necessary for appealing to the charity of the public, and, if
need be, of obliging individuals to exercise it unknown to themselves.

"The _orphelins_ (orphans) were young boys who assumed the rôle of
abandoned children, and who slipped into houses for the purpose of
carrying off whatever fell into their hands.

"The _marcandiers_ gave themselves out for merchants ruined by the wars
and asked for alms, which they exacted when, after nightfall, some good
bourgeois fell into their hands.

"The _rifodes_ begged by means of forged certificates.

"The _malingreux_ counterfeited maladies, simulating the most disgusting
afflictions; they frequented the churches by preference, and implored
aid that they might go on pilgrimages.

"The _capons_ begged in the streets and the cabarets.

"The _piètres_ were counterfeit cripples, walking with the aid of
crutches, or pretending to be deprived of their legs.

"The _polissons_ were a variety of capons, and effected their purposes
through intimidation.

"The _francs-mitous_ gave themselves out as dying of hunger, they fell
fainting with weakness in the middle of the streets, and succeeded by
this means in gathering in abundant receipts.

"The _callots_ pretended to be recently cured of the scurf, and to have
just arrived from Sainte-Reine, where they had been miraculously
delivered of their ailment.

Re-engraved by Pannemaker, after the original by Debucourt.]

"The _hubains_ exhibited a certificate setting forth that, having been
bitten by a mad dog, they had been cured by the intercession of

"The _saboleux_ were false epileptics who were enabled to simulate
convulsions by means of a piece of soap placed between their lips, which
made a froth.

"The _coquillards_ represented pilgrims returning from Saint-Jacques or
some other pilgrim shrine.

"The _courtaux de boutange_, beggars in winter, shivered with cold under
their rags.

"The _drilles_, or _narquois_, begged in military uniform, and said that
they had received wounds which prevented them from working.

"The total number of these wretches had become so great, and their
depredations in the city were so frequent, that it was resolved to use
vigorous measures; in 1656, a veritable army of archers and of officers
invaded the Cour des Miracles under the lead of several commissioners.
The beggars and the truands endeavored to make their escape, but the
quarter was surrounded.

"Thieves, beggars, and vagabonds were all arrested; then a selection was
made; some were released, and the others remained in prison or were sent
to the hospitals....

"But under François I, and especially at the period when the chevalier
king was expiating at Madrid the loss of the battle of Pavia, the Cour
des Miracles was in all its splendor, and those who inhabited it were a
sufficiently lively cause of anxiety to the _prévôt_ of the merchants
and to the bishop-governor.

"On the 22d of May, 1525, the Assemblée des Vingt adopted a resolution
to arrest a certain number of fraudulent beggars who were strongly
suspected of being marauders of the worst kind, but, having been
notified in time, they decamped.... The enterprises of the vagabonds,
the thieves, and the _mauvais garçons_ became more and more audacious;
they had for chiefs three bandits, Esclaireau, Barbiton, and Jean de
Mets, who spread such terror that the archers who were sent against them
preferred to advise them to fly, through fear of being killed by them;
however, the salt barges having been robbed on the 7th of June, near the
Célestins, the _prévôt_ of the merchants sent the night-watch against
them; they defended themselves with arquebuses, drove the watch back as
far as the Port Saint-Landry, and all but killed the _prévôt_.

"On the 14th, a troop of these rogues traversed the city, crying: '_Vive
Bourgogne! À sac! à sac!_'

"Immediately the watch turned out, there was a fight, and some thirty
men were killed or wounded on both sides. Presently, the disbanded
soldiers and the _routiers_, coming from no one knew where, joined
forces with the truands and spread terror among the inhabitants. One of
the officers of the quarters, charged to take proceedings against them,
asserted that there were eighty of them who frequented the hostelry de
la Coquille, situated in the Rue Saint-Martin, and that there was a
still greater number in the Faubourg Saint-Denis. Every one was quite
convinced that these were soldiers who had not been paid their hire, and
it was resolved that some sixty persons, honorable and of divers
conditions (one of them was a president of the court), with twenty
sergeants, should be sent against them, to seize all these adventurers
and bring them to justice.

[Illustration: CAPTURE OF THE BASTILLE, JULY 14, 1789.

After a contemporary engraving by Duplessis-Bertaux.]

"This was a mission sufficiently disagreeable to fulfil, and one which
was not exempt from danger; the vagabonds, forewarned, joined the
Italian and Corsican bands commanded by the Comte de Belle Joyeuse, who
had been authorized by the regent 'to live upon the people,' and who
gave themselves up to all the excesses which were compatible with such
an authorization, quite in consonance with the manners of the times;
when it was desired to raise soldiers for a campaign and there was no
money with which to pay them, they were permitted to live upon the
people, that is to say, to exact from the unhappy inhabitants of the
town or the country whatever they pleased, to ransom them, to rob them,
to pillage them, free to beat them unmercifully or to spit them like
chickens, if they took it into their heads to complain. This was what
was called the necessities of the troops.

"Presently, these adventurers, French or foreign, formed an effective
force of four thousand men.

"If one imagine these four thousand armed bandits falling unexpectedly
upon the inhabitants of Saint-Cloud, of Sèvres, of Montreuil, ravaging,
destroying, robbing all, ransoming the nuns of Longchamps, threatening
to pillage Le Landit, it can readily be believed that the merchants were
so uneasy that they hastened to place their goods upon carts and to flee
with them.

"There was certainly sufficient here to frighten the Parisians...."

All this took place in a period of general prosperity, of unexampled
ease and comfort compared with what had gone before. "Bodin assures us,"
says Duruy, "that, from 1516 to 1560, there was more gold in France than
had ever been collected there before in two hundred years. 'The
bourgeois,' as the Venetian ambassador so well said, 'have become the
masters of wealth.' Ango had amassed, like Jacques Cœur in another
century, the fortune of a prince," And this was in full Renaissance. "It
is the radiant awakening of human reason, the spring-time of the mind.
After a long and rude winter, now behold the earth reanimating under
the sunshine of the new birth! A generous sap circulates in her bosom;
she adorns herself with a vegetation capricious, yet fruitful, which
re-covers and conceals the old soil, while sustaining itself by it, like
those vigorous plants which, born at the foot of an antique oak, embrace
it and kill it in the clasp of their younger tendrils. Everything is
renewed, art, science, philosophy; and the world, arrested for two
centuries in the lower levels which it had found at the end of its
passage through the Middle Ages, resumed its progress that it might
mount into the light and the purer air. 'Oh! age!' exclaims Ulrich von
Hutten, 'letters flourish, minds awaken;--it is a joy to live!' Even the
least philosophical experience the sentiment of this renaissance of the
mind. 'The world laughs at the world,' said Marot;--'therefore is it in
its youth!'"

The question of the social evil had been taken up in this city as early
as the time of Charlemagne. That great lawmaker had endeavored to banish
from his capital all public women, but they defied even his imperial
authority. He ordained that they should be punished with the lash, and
that all those who had lodged them, or had been found in their company,
should carry them around their necks to the place of execution. But the
number of these whippings, and of these singular processions, was so
great that a policy of toleration was, perforce, substituted.
Philippe-Auguste also undertook to regulate this disorder, as the number
was constantly increasing of these _femmes amoureuses_, or _filles
folles_, as they were called; they were grouped in a corporation,
honored with a special tax, and with special judges to consider their
delinquencies; they were given the liberty of certain streets, the names
of which have been preserved, in each of which they were furnished with
a building (_clapier_, a sort of hutch, or retreat), which they were to
keep clean and "render agreeable and comfortable." Here they were to
confine themselves from ten o'clock in the morning till curfew--six
o'clock in the evening in winter, and between eight and nine in summer,
and nowhere else whatever. Every year they walked in solemn procession
on the day of Saint Mary Magdalen. "Those of them who followed the
Court were obliged during the month of May to furnish the bed of the
_roi des ribauds_."


Reproduction of one of many contemporary engravings issued to excite the
people against the clergy and nobility.]

This functionary had been established by Philippe-Auguste for the double
purpose of policing these offenders, and of forming a body-guard of
resolute men for the monarch himself. "The ribauds were armed with
maces, and watched night and day over the person of the king, who feared
the assassins of the Old Man of the Mountain and the bravoes of Richard
of England. The _roi des ribauds_ was an important personage, in the
enjoyment of very considerable prerogatives and privileges. He mounted
guard at the sovereign's door, and saw that no one entered without
authority. He was the judge for crimes committed within the enclosure of
the royal residence, and carried out himself the sentences which he
pronounced; he was thus at once judge and executioner. We find him in
the exercise of his office as late as the fifteenth century."

Under Saint Louis, there was further legislation against these women,
_les ribaudes_, and renewal of the edicts forbidding any citizen to let
his house to them under penalty of confiscation. Thus early do we find
in use one of the least ineffective of modern measures for correcting
this evil. This king, who had a weakness for cruel and excessive
punishments, notwithstanding (or, perhaps, because of) his sanctity,
also commanded that these disturbers of public morals should be stripped
of all their property, wherever found, and imprisoned at hard labor.
This being found impracticable, he modified his ordinance, and directed
that they should be restricted to certain streets, that they should not
be allowed to wear embroideries, or silver or other ornaments
appertaining to honest women. Three of these streets being in turn
denied them under Charles VI, in 1387, the proprietors appealed to
Parliament, which by a decree restored to them the Rue de Baillehoé. In
1367, in 1379, in 1386, and in 1395, there were further ordinances
forbidding them numerous other streets; in 1446, the week before
Ascension, proclamation was made by the public crier of the furs, silver
girdles, reversed collars, and other articles of feminine adornment
which were forbidden them. There were at this date between five and six
thousand of them in Paris, and all classes of society, ecclesiastics,
monks, magistrates, openly paraded their immoral mode of life. The very
churches and bath-houses were used as rendezvous. Henry VI, King of
England and France, had, in 1424, forbidden the sergeants and the
archers of the municipality to confiscate to their own use the girdles,
jewelry, or vestments of the _fillettes et femmes amoureuses ou
dissolues_, but this regulation seems to have been no better enforced
than all the others.

Under Louis XI, we find the same bold Cordelier, Olivier Maillard, who
had not hesitated to preach against the king himself, denouncing all the
sins of the Parisians at once from his pulpit. He reproached them with
their games of chance, their playing cards, their taking the name of God
in vain in their oaths, their turning their houses into dens of
prostitution, their selling their daughters to the seigneurs; he accused
their wives of deceiving their husbands for the sake of fine gowns,
embroidered and furred. "Is it not true, mesdemoiselles," he cried,
"that there are to be found among you, here in Paris, more debauched
women than honest women? Is it not fine to see the wife of an advocate
who has bought his office, and who has not ten francs of income, dress
herself like a princess, display the gold on her neck, on her head, on
her girdle? She is dressed according to her station in life, she says.
Let her go to all the devils, she and her station! And you, Monsieur
Jacques, you give her absolution? Doubtless she will say: 'It is not my
husband who has given me such fine clothes, but I have earned them with
the labor of my body!' To thirty thousand devils with such labor!"

In the following reign, the Court and Parliament took extraordinary
measures to prevent the spread of the contagious disease which was
called _le mal de Naples_, because it was said to have been first
brought into France by the soldiers of Charles VIII on their return from
the Italian campaigns. This statement, however, is very doubtful. An
ordinance was drawn up, with the approval of the _prévôts_ of Paris, the
merchants and the _échevins_, by which all those affected with this
malady, and having no regular residence in the city, were directed to
leave it within twenty-four hours under penalty of the halter, and in
order to facilitate their return to their own homes, they were directed
to rendezvous at the Portes Saint-Denis or Saint-Jacques, where they
would give their names in writing to an official stationed there for
that purpose and receive each four sous parisis. Those who possessed
houses in the city were requested to immediately shut themselves up in
them and remain in them; the curés and churchwardens of their parishes
were to see that they were furnished with food. The homeless poor were
to congregate in the Faubourg Saint-Germain-des-Près, where they would
be lodged, fed, and cared for; they were expressly forbidden to leave
until they were cured. The _prévôt_ of Paris gave orders that those
affected with disease were not to be suffered to go about the city, but
were to be driven from it, or put in prison; the _prévôt_ of the
merchants and the _échevins_ put guards at the city gates to prevent any
of these persons entering the capital.

In 1560, during the short reign of François II, the States-General
issued a positive prohibition of all prostitution,--which was as
ineffective as all the preceding regulations had been. Under Charles IX
and Henri III, the evil constantly increased,--the example offered by
the corrupt court not being conducive to the growth of a sound public
opinion. Those persons who were convicted of bigamy were condemned to be
publicly flogged, and, sometimes, to be afterward hanged,--in the latter
case, they were executed between two distaffs. Those convicted of the
crime of bestiality were usually burned at the stake, the animal
undergoing the same penalty. The _filles de mauvaise vie_ were more
numerous than ever, and all the streets formerly assigned to them were
still occupied by them. In 1619, a new decree of the Parliament against
them forbade all persons to let them houses or lodgings, under penalty
of confiscation of their property for the benefit of the poor, and
directed all _vagabonds_ and _filles débauchées_ to quit _la ville et
faulxbourgs de Paris_ within twenty-four hours, under pain of
imprisonment. Every bourgeois and citizen of Paris was required to aid
the first huissier, or sergeant of the Châtelet, or any other officer of
justice, who called upon him to do so, in enforcing this regulation,
under penalty of a fine of a hundred livres parisis.

All these legal penalties, necessarily inefficient in themselves, were
rendered doubly so by the dissolute code of morals, _les mœurs
Italiennes_, as they were called under Mazarin, that obtained in all
classes of society. Under Louis XIV, an ordinance of 1684, drawn up by
Colbert, was especially directed against those unfortunate women who
were afflicted with disease: on entering the hospital they were first
whipped, and then subjected to hard labor and the most rigorous
confinement. Under the Regency, in 1720, Paris was greatly outraged by
the tragic death of the Comtesse de Roncy, a very pretty young wife,
who, justly suspicious of her husband, courageously went to seek him one
day at the house of a certain charmer whom he was in the habit of
visiting. On this occasion, he was not there, but the unhappy wife
recognized his portrait on the bracelet which her rival was wearing; the
controversy soon became heated, the neighbors of this Rue Gît-le-Cœur
flocked in and took sides against the intruder, who, in the end, was
thrown out the window and died on the following day. The murderesses
were all sent to the Châtelet. Under Louis XV, the prodigal luxury
displayed by the actresses and opera-dancers, the _femmes à la mode_,
who were called _des impures_, and the effrontery of the grand seigneurs
and rich bankers who maintained them in this state, became, if possible,
more scandalous than ever; it was said, for example, that the minister
Bertin, who had lived for fifteen years with Mlle. Hus, of the Comédie
Française, had given her a set of furniture that was valued at five
hundred thousand livres.

"Mlle. Grandi, of the Opéra, a dancer of mediocre talent and with a very
commonplace face, was complaining one evening at the theatre of having
lost the good graces of a protector who had given her a thousand louis
in five weeks; one of those present said to her that she would readily
find some one to take his place. Mlle. Grandi replied that it was not so
easy as might be supposed, but that, in any case, she was firmly decided
not to accept any new liaison excepting on the condition that she
received a carriage and two good horses, with at least a hundred louis
of income assured to maintain this equipage. The conversation then
ended, but the next day there arrived at Mlle. Grandi's lodging a
magnificent carriage drawn by two horses and followed by three others
led behind it, and in the carriage was found one hundred and thirty
thousand livres in specie."

Sometimes these scandalous chronicles took another turn. Mlle. Guimard,
also of the Opéra, "a celebrated dancer, who was openly protected by
the Maréchal de Soubise, did not shine by any excessive faithfulness to
her protector; she accepted a rendezvous in one of the faubourgs of
Paris, and saw that there was so much misery in this quarter that she
distributed a portion of the two thousand écus which she had received as
the price of her complaisance among the poor people whom she encountered
and carried the rest to the curé of Saint-Roch, requesting him to have
the goodness to distribute it among the poor."

The gardens of the Palais-Royal figure largely in the history of Paris
as the scene of many of the more important incidents of the constantly
changing social life of the capital. In the latter part of the
eighteenth century, this locality was so much the favorite resort of the
_femmes galantes_ that the honest bourgeois and their wives were finally
compelled to abandon it altogether; in the latter part of 1771, the
former were accordingly all expelled, but by the summer of 1772 they had
all returned. It is related that the Duc de Chartres, walking here one
day, passed one of these ladies and was so much struck by her appearance
that he turned to the gentlemen accompanying him and said: "Ah! how ugly
she is!" To which the offended fair promptly replied: "You have much
uglier ones in your seraglio." The prince did not judge it expedient to
discuss the subject, but he related the incident to the lieutenant of
police, and the next day these promenaders were more rigorously expelled
than ever. In consequence, "to-day," relates a chronicler of the period,
"excepting on days of the opera, the Palais-Royal is nothing but a vast
solitude." In 1784, the streets back of it, inhabited by a dissolute and
degraded population of both sexes, had become "veritable cloacæ." On the
evening of the 31st of October, 1785, at a moment when the evening
promenade was more crowded even than usual, a dragoon, having one of
these _filles_ on his arm, pushed by the throng, happened to step on the
foot of the Abbé de Lubersac, walking near him; the latter made use of a
strong expression, to which the soldier replied in kind; the young woman
endeavored to make peace by saying: "After all, it is only an abbé, who
is not worth stopping for." The churchman, still further forgetting
himself, permitted himself to kick the young woman quite as if she were
a man; the dragoon took him by the collar; the _Suisses_ of the palace
hastened to quell the riot, but their numbers were quite insufficient;
the Duc de Chartres, seeing the tumult, but not daring to show himself
because of his great unpopularity, summoned the city guard to what by
this time had become a "regular field of battle," and the disturbance
was finally quelled. Among the wounded who were carried off was a
Chevalier de Saint-Louis, "disemboweled;" and thereafter the Suisses
prohibited the entrance of the gardens to all women of doubtful virtue.

It may be remembered that, in the celebrated affair of the diamond
necklace, the young person who was persuaded by the adventuress, Madame
de la Motte, to personify the queen, Marie Antoinette, and to meet the
duped Cardinal Rohan in the park of Versailles at ten o'clock in the
evening for the purpose of giving him the fictitious authority to
purchase the necklace, was a _fille du monde_ who lived in the Rue du
Jour at Paris, and was known as "la d'Oliva." For playing this part, the
young woman was promised fifteen thousand livres. The _mémoire_ that was
afterward drawn up by the avocat of Madame de la Motte "excited the
interest of all sensitive souls by relating that the demoiselle,
enceinte at the moment of her arrest, had been delivered in the Bastile,
and was nursing her infant herself."

Engraved from an unpublished drawing by Raffet.]

One of the most celebrated resorts of the ladies of the monde and the
demi-monde, the cabaret of Ramponneau at Belleville, was closed a few
years before the outbreak of the Revolution of 1789. Its renown seems to
have been established, in the early days of the Regency, by the fact
that wine was there sold at three sous six deniers the pint, that is to
say, at one sou less than the usual price. "It was so crowded that there
were as many persons outside, waiting their turn to enter, as inside,
although the accommodations were very considerable in size. This crowd
excited the curiosity of persons of distinction, who wished to see for
themselves this prodigy." It is described as a species of cellar,
decorated on the exterior with a vine painted on the wall, and with a
sign bearing the legend, "_Au Tambour Royal_," and a picture of the
proprietor astride of a cask. It was furnished in the interior with
wooden benches and crippled tables, around which crowded a multitude
drawn from all classes of society, high and low.

The fame of the proprietor became so great that he was offered by the
two managers, Gaudon and Nestre, of a theatrical establishment on the
Boulevard du Temple, in 1758, ten livres a day if he would consent to
show himself on their stage daily for the space of three months. The
contracts were all signed, the songs prepared for him, when Ramponneau,
worked upon by the Jansenists, suddenly refused to appear. In a
statement drawn up before a notary, we read: "To-day appeared before me,
the Sieur Jean Ramponneau, cabaretier, living in the basse Courtille,
who has of his own free will and volition declared that the serious
reflections which he has made upon the dangers and the obstacles to the
salvation of those persons who appear upon the stage of a theatre, and
upon the justness of the censures which the Church has pronounced upon
these individuals, have determined him to renounce, as in these
presents, through scruples of conscience and for the purpose of so
contributing, on his part, to the purity of manners which it becomes a
Christian to maintain, and in which he prays God always to maintain him,
he renounces appearing, and promises to God never to appear, on any
stage, nor to perform any function, profession, or act which is in the
nature of those performed by those individuals who appear on the
theatrical stage, whoever they may be," etc. The case was conducted on
both sides by the most eminent avocats, and finally compromised by
Ramponneau paying a large sum to have the agreement cancelled. He still
had left one hundred thousand livres, with which he established himself
at the Porcherons, and purchased from the Sieur Magny the cabaret de la
Grande-Pinte, on which he expended sixty thousand livres more, and where
he had the same success as at the Courtille. The court and the city
thronged his establishment, which became the restaurant _à la mode_.

A very celebrated wine-shop, known as the Petit-Ramponneau, was
established, in 1859, at Montmartre, and was the last in which wine was
served in little crocks or jugs. The proprietors, MM. Lallemand, made a
fortune in thus dispensing _vin bleu_ and portions at six sous the

"It had long been said that the third estate paid with its property, the
nobility with its blood, the clergy with its prayers. Now, the clergy of
the court and of the salon prayed but very little, the nobility no
longer constituted in itself the royal army; but the third estate,
remaining faithful to its functions in the State, still paid, and each
year more. Since its purse was the common treasury, it was inevitable
that the more the monarchy expended, the more would it place itself in
a condition of dependency upon the bourgeoisie, and that a day would
arrive when the latter, weary of paying, would demand its accounts. That
day is called the Revolution of 1789."

[Illustration: A MAID'S DUTY IN FRANCE.]

The engraving on page 245 is a reproduction of one of the many that
appear at this day of settlement, with the object of exciting the people
against the clergy and the nobility, and of illustrating forcibly the
two principal vices of society as then constituted,--the privileges and
the inequality of taxation. To suppress these privileges, and to make
this inequality disappear,--this was the task of the Revolution. In the
engraving, from the collection of M. le Baron de Vinck d'Orp, of
Brussels, we see a woman of the people bending under the double burden
of a nun and a lady of the nobility; the title is "_Le Grand Abus_."

As to the origin of the famous phrase, the sans-culottes, the following
statement is made by some historians. Two ladies of the nobility, but
favorably inclined toward the new ideas, were one day present at a
session of the Assembly, and were commenting very audibly and very
critically upon a speech which the Abbé Maury was delivering. The
orator, finally losing his patience, interrupted his discourse, and,
indicating his unappreciative hearers with his forefinger, turned to the
presiding officer:

"Monsieur le President," he said, "make these two
_sans-culottes_--unbreeched, trouserless--keep quiet."

This appellation, applied to the two ladies, naturally turned the laugh
against them, and the phrase, repeated from mouth to mouth, was adopted
by the people of the faubourgs as a title glorifying their miserable
condition and their aspirations.

Another of these Revolutionary prints, from the _National Almanac_ for
1791, engraved by Debucourt, and preserved in the collection of M.
Muhlbacher of Paris, gives an ingenious and picturesque presentation of
one of the numberless sources of supply of that literature of journals
and pamphlets on which the Revolution was so largely fed. This
_marchande de journaux_, who adorns a page in the calendar, sits between
two benches covered with papers and pamphlets, and set off with ribbons,
flowers, and patriotic emblems mounted on rods; her costume and her
attitude are also patriotic and a trifle dishevelled, and she is shrilly
proclaiming the new decree concerning the value of the assignat which
she holds out. Behind her, a couple of elderly aristocrats are about to
come into collision with two younger citizens, representatives of the
newer ideas, and absorbed in reading some catechism for patriots. On the
sidewalk are two boys in the costumes of their elders, one of whom is
supposed to be pointing to the date of July 14th in the calendar. This
plate is referred to in the _Art du 18e siècle_, by Edmond and Jules
de Goncourt.

[Illustration: CHEZ LES HÉTAIRES.

Caricature from _La Journée du Poëte Décadent_.]

It is worthy of remark that even this sacred date of the 14th of July,
that of the national fête, is nowadays not exempt from that curious
self-criticism which in every tone of mockery, semi-seriousness, and
grave apprehension occupies so considerable a proportion of contemporary
French literature, from the _Siècle_ to the _Bulletin de la Société
d'Economie Sociale et des Unions de la Paix Sociale_. So persistent had
this criticism become that the national authorities this year (1898) in
the capital thought it fit to tack on to the national and municipal
celebration of a great political event, in order to give it greater
weight and dignity, the commemoration of the birth of a not very
important literary man! M. Gaston Deschamps, in the usually ribald
_Figaro_, claimed much of the credit of this innovation for himself. In
a long leading editorial on the _Sanctification du 14 Juillet_, he thus
lays sacrilegious hands on the taking of the Bastile itself: "Last year,
I demonstrated, very readily, that our fête of the 14th of July, already
discredited by the desertion of the wealthy classes, by the scepticism
of the public functionaries, and by the frivolousness of the populace,
was destitute of that character, national, republican, and humanitarian,
which should be in a democracy, the characteristic of every solemnity.


"This fête seems to have been instituted for the special aggravation of
those Frenchmen who believe that the history of France did not begin
with the 14th of July, 1789. It is no longer, to employ the energetic
expression of Gambetta, anything but 'a rag of the civil war.' It
glorifies an event which, according to the testimony of contemporaries
the least suspected of moderation in politics (Marat, Saint-Just), had
not the importance nor, above all, the beauty which our present system
of primary instruction attributes to it. Historical research has
verified the opinion of these witnesses. It is impossible to relate the
taking of the Bastile Saint-Antoine without recognizing the silliness or
the unworthiness of the citizens who were the principal actors in this
enterprise. This old prison had just been put out of commission by a
royal ordinance which decreed its demolition. Very many of the
'conquerors of the Bastile' cried '_Vive le Roi!_' as they went down the
Faubourg Saint-Antoine. The number of prisoners at that time confined in
this jail reduced itself to seven, to wit: four forgers, two lunatics,
and a crapulous old gentleman. The Bastile was garrisoned by the French
_invalides_ and by the Swiss guards. The assailants swore to injure no
one if they were permitted to enter. The gates were opened. The French
_invalides_, who had trusted in the promise given, were massacred
without being able to defend themselves. The Swiss guards were taken for
'captives' (because of their uniform). They were carried off in triumph.
The brewer Santerre (at that time demagogue, and later monopolist in
national property) proposed to set the edifice on fire with poppy oil.
His friends preferred the demolition pure and simple, which had the
effect of turning out in the street the poor devils whose shops were
built against the walls of the 'monument of tyranny.'" And he cites the
works of a number of modern historical writers to prove the truth of his

"The taking of the Bastile was an act of anarchy, which, if it were
repeated to-day, would be immediately suppressed by our Minister of the
Interior, Monsieur Brisson. The Republican police no longer permits, God
be thanked, this particular form of diversion. This was very evident the
other day when several hundred gentry, intoxicated, perhaps, by the
approach of this untoward anniversary, wished to sack Mazas prison.

"No, I cannot bring myself to consider this killing of Frenchmen as the
most glorious event of the French Revolution. There is too much of
fratricidal murder in this affair. I cannot rejoice to thus see the
blood of our nation flow. Every time that it is wished to make an
apology for this excess of contagious folly, we find ourselves reduced
to invoking the approbation of foreigners. It appears that Kant was so
well satisfied with this outbreak that he forgot, for the first time in
his life, the hour of his luncheon. The English ambassador wrote to his
Gracious Majesty that he was very well pleased. The Venetian ambassador
judged it to be a 'noble revolt.' So be it. But neither the Prussian
Kant, nor this Englishman, nor that Venetian, had the same reasons that
we have for grieving over an incident that divided France against

"Last year I succeeded in stirring up a very sufficient number of
protestations for having ventured to deduce, from a collection of
self-evident facts, a judgment which I still maintain. It may well be
believed, moreover, that I was not wrong, since the Government and the
Municipal Council have, this year, taken the initiative of adding to the
ceremonies and to the diversions usual on the 14th of July, the
celebration of an illustrious memory, which will heighten the dignity of
the official fête, and which should give to the French people the
opportunity to reunite in the unanimity truly national of a common

"On the white posters which the administration has just placarded I read
as follows:


and underneath:

    "'_Fêtes du centenaire de Michelet._'

"This coincidence is intentional. It is significative.

"Michelet was born on the 21st of August, 1798; the date of his
centennial therefore falls regularly in the coming month. It has been
decided to celebrate to-morrow the commemoration of his birth. It has
been desired, by means of this addition, to purify, to sanctify the 14th
of July by a sort of pious eve.... If these fêtes contribute toward
fixing in the souvenirs of the populace an idea of the life and of the
work of Michelet, this 14th of July, ennobled, embellished, will not
have been misplaced. A hateful date will justly have been transformed
into a fête of union and of fraternity."

Lamartine says of the murder of M. de Launey, Governor of the Bastile,
hacked to pieces by the crowd in the street after he had surrendered: "A
victim of duty, he yielded only with his last breath the sword which had
been confided to him by his master. The court, the army, the royalists,
the people, basely endeavored to throw upon him the responsibility for
their want of forethought, their cowardice, their blood shedding."

The _vainqueurs de la Bastille_ took upon themselves such airs of
superiority and claimed so many privileges over their fellow-citizens
that the municipal authorities finally, wearied with their arrogance,
issued a proclamation in the latter part of December, forbidding them to
assemble and to deliberate, and directing the procureur of the commune
to prosecute any author, printer, or distributor of decrees which the
aforesaid "conquerors" issued without any legal authority.


Michelet gives some details of one of the most celebrated of the
innumerable murders of the Terror, that of the pretty Princesse de
Lamballe, which may serve to illustrate the quality of the populace.
She was confined in the prison de la Force, where during the night of
the 2d of September, 1792, a Revolutionary tribunal condemned the
prisoners to death after a mock trial. In the morning, two of the
National Guards came to tell her that she was to be transferred to the
Abbaye, to which she replied that she would as soon stay where she was.
Taken before the tribunal, she was ordered to take the oath of liberty
and equality, of hatred of the king, the queen, and royalty. "I will
willingly take the first two oaths," she said; "I cannot take the last,
it is not in my heart." A voice cried to her: "Swear; if you do not
swear, you are dead." "Cry '_Vive la Nation!_'" said several others,
"and no harm will be done thee." "At that moment, she perceived at the
corner of the little Rue Saint-Antoine something frightful, a soft and
bloody mass upon which one of the participants in the massacres was
trampling with his iron-pegged shoes. It was a heap of corpses,
stripped, quite white, quite naked, which they had piled up there. It
was upon this pile that she was required to lay her hand and take the
oath;--this trial was too much. She turned around and uttered a cry:
'_Fi! l'horreur!_'"

"Release madame," said the president of the improvised tribunal. This
was the signal for her execution. A little peruke-maker, Charlat, a
drummer of the volunteers, struck off her cap with a blow of his pike,
but in doing so he wounded her in the forehead; the sight of the flowing
blood produced its usual effect upon the mob; they precipitated
themselves upon her, "her breasts were cut off with a knife, she was
stripped quite naked, Charlat opened her chest and took out her heart,
then he mutilated her in the most secret part of her body." A certain
Sieur Grison cut off her head; then the two wretches, taking on the ends
of their pikes, one her head and the other her heart, set off down the
Rue Saint-Antoine in the direction of the Temple, followed by an immense
crowd, "dumb with astonishment." They carried the head into the shop of
a coiffeur, who washed, combed, and powdered the blond hair. "Now," he
said, "Antoinette will be able to recognize her." Then the procession
proceeded in the direction of the Temple again; but by this time it
began to be feared that, carried away by their excitement, the
cut-throats might inflict the same fate upon the royal family confined
there, and the Commune sent hastily some commissioners, girded with
large tricolored sashes. When Grison and Charlat arrived, they demanded
permission to promenade under the windows of the apartments occupied by
the king and queen, which was immediately granted them, and the king was
even requested to go to the window at the moment when the livid head of
the princess was elevated in front of him. "The march was continued
throughout Paris, without any one interposing any obstacle. The head was
carried to the Palais-Royal, and the Duc d'Orléans, who was then at
table, was obliged to rise, to go to the balcony, and to salute the

The only relief to be found in the perusal of these chronicles is in
some incident in which the executioners turn on each other. Among the
most vociferous of the "citizenesses" was the _belle Liégeoise_, called
also la belle Théroigne de Méricourt, and the _première amazone de la
Liberté_. From the garden of the Tuileries, the usual scene of her
orations, she one day ascended to the terrace of the Feuillants, where
she fell into the hands of the women of the party of the Montagne, who
surrounded her, trussed up her petticoats, and gave her a public
whipping. The "first amazon of Liberty" screamed, shrieked, but no one
came to her rescue, and when her persecutors finally released her, it
was found that she had lost her reason, and it was necessary to
conduct her to an insane asylum in the Faubourg Saint-Marceau.

[Illustration: A CONCIERGE. From a drawing by Ludovico Marchetti.]

All the chronicles of the times devote a paragraph to the "Furies of the
Guillotine," the terrible women who habitually occupied the front places
among the spectators at all the executions, and who interrupted their
knitting only to hurl insults at the victims who mounted the scaffold.
These _tricoteuses_ affected an exalted Revolutionary sentiment, they
wore the red cap of liberty, and one day presented themselves at the
Convention with an address in which they offered to mount guard while
the men went off to combat in the armies on the frontier.

At the great gate of the Tuileries, between the two marble horses of
Coustou, was a café-restaurant, painted a lively red, and which bore the
sign: "_À la Guillotine._" "Needless to say, that the establishment was
always full of customers." During the two years in which the instrument
of public executions stood permanently on the Place de la Revolution, on
the site of the present obelisk in the Place de la Concorde, so much
blood was shed there that, it is said, a herd of cattle refused to cross
the Seine on the bridge, terrified at the stale odor of slaughter. By
the side of the scaffold was a hole destined to receive the blood of the
victims, but this diffused such an infection through the air that "the
citizen Coffinet thought it would be advantageous to establish, on a
little two-wheeled barrow, a casket lined with lead to receive the
blood, which might then be transported to the _fosse commune_."

On the 16th of September, 1797, the Central Bureau, "justly indignant at
the debauchery and at the offences constantly committed against the
public morality, whether by the impudent exhibition of books and
pictures the most obscene, or by the prodigious multiplicity of women
and girl prostitutes, or by the indecent masquerading of a great number
of women in men's garments," issued a rigorous decree against all women
who were found disguised as men, and very many arrests were made in

When Louis XVIII made his solemn entry into Paris on the 3d of May,
1814, it was in the midst of the popular acclamations; a numerous and
very enthusiastic crowd swarmed in the Carrousel, the court of the
château, the garden and the terraces, "this same crowd which, on the
10th of August, 1792, filled the air with its imprecations against
Capet, which, on the 2d of December, 1804, acclaimed the Emperor and the
Empress, and which, on this occasion, welcomed with cries of joy the
orphan of the Temple after having applauded the decapitation of his
father and his mother." When this same populace, turned Republican
again, thronged along the boulevards and into the Place Vendôme in 1831,
singing the _Marseillaise_, Maréchal Lobau, unwilling to fire on them,
contented himself by ordering the hose of the fire-pumps turned on them,
and deluging indiscriminately conspirators, orators on the public place,
and spectators. "The Republicans had demonstrated on many occasions that
they did not fear fire. But, like all Parisians, they detested water.
Surprised at these unexpected douches, they fled in every direction, and
the Place Vendôme was immediately cleared."

Well might Napoleon declare, repeating Rabelais's word, on one of the
many occasions of popular manifestation: "This is not the first time
that I have had occasion to remark that the population of Paris is only
a _ramas de badauds_."

The _poissardes_, or fish-women of the Halles, those "_commères fortes
en gueule_" (shrill-voiced gossips), appear almost as frequently in
these police and scandalous chronicles as the courtesans. They are
frequently mentioned in the mediæval records; under Louis XIII, they and
their resort were considered worthy of the following description: "You
will see at the Halles a multitude of rascals who amuse themselves only
by pillaging and robbing each other, sellers as well as buyers, by
cutting their purses, searching in their _hottes_ and baskets; others,
in order to better secure their prey, will sing dishonest songs and
dirty ones, sometimes one and sometimes the other, without any regard
for either Sundays or fête days,--things deplorable in a city of Paris!
In the Halles and other usual markets, you may see women who sell
provisions; if you offer them less than they want, were you the most
renowned person in France, there you will be immediately blazoned with
every possible insult, imprecation, malediction, dishonor, and the whole
with an accompaniment of oaths and blasphemies."

(The same author, speaking of the shop-keepers of Paris at this epoch,
says: "They will damn themselves for a liard, gaining on their
merchandise the double of what it has cost them, selling bad goods, and
blaspheming and swearing by God and the Devil that they are excellent.")

In 1716, Jean-François Gruet, inspector of police and mounted _huissier_
of the Châtelet, was condemned to the pillory of the Halles for
malversation of funds, and the _poissardes_ manifested themselves on
this occasion in front of him in great shape: "_Huissier du diable!
Gueule de chien! jardin à poux, grenier à puces, sac à vin, mousquetaire
de Piquepuce, aumônier du cheval de bronze, poulet dinde de la Râpée_,"
etc., until they were too hoarse to continue. In 1784, the winter began
by heavy frosts, which were followed by a sudden thaw which flooded the
city. "Paris has become a sewer; communication has been absolutely
interrupted between the inhabitants, and for several days past there
have been on foot only those who were compelled to it by necessity, by
their occupation, or by their duty. Arms and legs broken, and many other
accidents, have been the results of this intemperance of the season. In
the midst of this species of public calamity, there are those who find
entertainment in it, occasion for mirth, and much laughter. In the first
place, there have been unlimited opportunities for sled races, and,
also, there has been offered to the amateurs a more novel and more
piquant spectacle. You went to the Halles to see the _poissardes_ in
boots, in breeches, their under-petticoats trussed up to their navels,
and exercising their trade in this species of masquerade while
redoubling their quirks and their scandalous jests."

Nevertheless, so important was their corporation, that, on the birth of
the dauphin, in 1781, they were admitted in a body to compliment the
king, to whom they were formally presented by the Duc de Cossé, Governor
of Paris. The spokeswoman had her discourse written out on her fan, and
read it to his Majesty. They were all dressed in black, and they were
all, to the number of a hundred and fifty, invited by him to dinner and
to present their compliments also to the queen. They had at first
manifested some reluctance to accepting these royal hospitalities; the
last time they had been to Versailles on a similar mission, some
evilly-disposed person had inserted in the tarts and pâtés some
indigestible substances "and dishonest things." The lieutenant of
police, however, assured them that this time nothing of the kind would
occur, and they were, in fact, treated sumptuously.

But, "the _émeute_ had established itself permanently in Paris, and its
effects were disastrous. This condition of intermittent political fever
which threatened to become continuous, paralyzed business, ruined
commerce, and filled all minds with keen anxiety." "The people became
accustomed to substituting sudden overturnings for the regular action of
institutions," says another historian, "...a habit which has cost us
twenty revolutions in eighty years. England has proceeded differently.
Since 1688, she has had, instead of bloody revolutions, only changes in
the ministry;--everyone, high as well as low, has, with her, manifested
respect for the law, and everything has been left to free
discussion,--force is never used." And a later student of the _Mouvement
Social_, M. Jules Roche, quoted in the issue of _La Réforme Sociale_ for
May 16, 1898: "Every country well governed develops from an economical,
industrial, commercial, financial, and political point of view. All
those projects necessary to the grandeur and the prosperity of the
nation are conceived, decided upon, carried out. At this time, France,
so munificently endowed, enriched by all the favors of nature, inhabited
by the race the most intelligent, the richest in resources of the mind
and the imagination, is delivered over to hazards the most unforeseen
and the most dangerous. No one knows in the evening what will happen the
next morning, nor in the morning how the day will finish. There is no
doctrine, no method whatever, in the direction of public affairs. A
Chamber possessed by the electoral epilepsy; charlatans without shame
abandoning themselves before the electors to every contortion, to the
grossest declamations, to the most shameful manœuvres, in order to
lead public opinion still further astray, instead of enlightening
it,--this is the spectacle she presents to the universe. And there is no
one to speak out aloud, frankly, and clearly! Silence, envy, cowardice,
imbecility, where there should be courage, living reason, and action!"
It might be thought that this gloomy presentation lacked in
consistency,--this method of government could scarcely be practised by
"the most intelligent race."

The street revolutions of 1831 and 1848, which finally expelled from
power the royal houses of Bourbon and Orléans, presented the usual
characteristics of these popular uprisings in the capital, in the result
of which the nation always acquiesced meekly. One of the most senseless
of the acts of excess in the former is illustrated in our engraving of
the pillage of the archbishop's house, February 15, 1831, from an
unpublished design by Raffet, in the possession of M. Cain, the
sculptor. The mob had, the evening before, sacked the church and the
presbytère of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, and on this day, incited to
higher game, they broke into the residence of the archbishop, adjoining
Notre-Dame. Everything was broken, overturned, flung out of the windows
and into the Seine, rare books, precious manuscripts, rich crucifixes,
missals, chasubles,--"that which was, on this day of folly, lost for art
and science is incalculable." The heart of Louis XVI, which the doctor
Pelletan had placed in a leaden box, sealed with his own seal, and
presented to Monseigneur Quélen, was thrown into the river. Louis Blanc,
in his _Histoire de dix ans_, relates that Monsieur Thiers,
sous-sécretaire d'État in the ministry of finance, was seen walking
about amidst this ruin with a satisfied countenance and a smile upon his


From a photograph.]

The bodies of the first victims of the revolution of February, 1848,
killed in a collision with a detachment of the 14th regiment of the
line, were placed in an open car and paraded through the streets at
night by the light of torches, to excite the fury of the populace. "They
are assassins who have struck us down; we will avenge ourselves! Arms!
give us arms!" The death-chariot, escorted by the crowd, proceeded to
the office of the _National_, where the procession was harangued by
M. Garnier-Pagès, and then to the Rue Montmartre, to the office of
another liberal journal, _La Réforme_. "A man standing in the cart, his
feet in the blood, lifted from time to time in his arms the body of a
woman, showed it to the people, and then deposited it again on the heap
of dead which made for it a gory couch." About two o'clock in the
morning, this funeral cortége deposited the corpses at the Mairie of the
IVth Arrondissement, and the rest of the night was spent in preparation
for the combat of the morrow.

After the revolution of 1831 came the cholera, and as though the
pestilence in itself was not a sufficient evil, the ignorant populace,
surprised by its sudden outbreak and not comprehending the possibility
of such an epidemic, conceived the idea that it was a fiction concocted
to cover a system of wholesale poisonings by the police. The préfet de
police, Gisquet, in his _Mémoires_, gives a detailed account of the
various methods employed by organized bands of from fifty to a hundred
men to scatter perfectly harmless substances in the wells, in the
streets, in articles of food and drink, in order to increase this panic.
"A young child was accosted on the Pont-Neuf by an individual who handed
to her a vial containing some liquid and gave her twenty sous to go and
empty it into the fountain of the Place de l'École, recommending her to
use every precaution to avoid being seen doing so. The child, instead of
executing this commission, went and related the story to her mother.
Immediately the whole quarter was in an uproar. Crowds assembled in the
streets, but some good citizens succeeded in calming the excitement. The
flask was carried to the préfecture de police, and it was discovered
that its contents were nothing but melissa." In eighteen days, more than
twenty thousand persons had been attacked by the malady and more than
seven thousand had perished; every one that could, fled the city; there
were not enough coffins, not enough hearses, not enough grave-diggers
for the dead. The streets were filled with the dying and with corpses;
riots broke out, and "the authorities, on the 5th of May, massacred the
youths who had crowned with immortelles the Imperial eagles of the Place
Vendôme. The police, for their part, instigated an _émeute_ and
smothered it in blood." Among the more illustrious victims of the plague
were the Minister Casimir-Périer and General Lamarque; the funeral of
the latter was made the occasion of a formidable popular manifestation
and insurrection which was only put down after hard fighting and the
declaration of a state of siege at the instigation of M. Thiers.

Even in the very first days of the new Republic of 1848 the popular
discontent broke out afresh. Clubs were formed all over the city; the
most violent harangues were made against the bourgeoisie; the words
"communism" and "socialism" began to replace "fraternity"; numerous
failures occurred in all the business quarters, and all the strangers
left the city. Crowds paraded the streets crying, "_À bas les aristos!_"
the last being a new word invented to designate the bourgeoisie, and the
latter, strengthened by the workmen in blouses, to the number of a
hundred thousand men, made a counter-demonstration, singing the
_Marseillaise_. In 1850, on the eve of the _Coup d'État_, "a profound
discouragement prevailed among the bourgeoisie. The sudden fall in
public securities, the rise in the premium on gold, the significant
increase in the purchase of foreign bonds, the departure of the numerous
strangers who had come to Paris to pass the season, the diminution, more
marked even than in the preceding month, in all industrial and
commercial transactions,--such were the symptoms of that confidence
which was to effect the conciliation of the electors."

The events of the first three or four days of December, 1851, justified
only too well these apprehensions, and have been but too frequently
related by indignant historians. "It was a sinister and inexpressible
moment," says the author of _Napoléon le Petit_,--"cries, arms lifted
toward Heaven, the surprise, the terror, the crowd flying in every
direction, a hail of bullets, from the pavements even to the roofs, and
in a minute the dead strewing the street, young men falling, their
cigars still in their mouths, ladies in velvet dresses killed by the
musketry, two booksellers shot on the threshold of their shops without
even knowing what was wanted of them, bullets fired into cellar-windows
and killing no matter whom, the _Bazar de l'Industrie_ riddled with
shell and balls, the Hôtel Sallandrouze bombarded, the _Maison-d'Or_
mitrailleused, Tortoni taken by assault, hundreds of corpses on the
Boulevard, a stream of blood in the Rue Richelieu!"

Under the new Empire, Paris saw itself almost transformed by the opening
of wide and direct avenues of communication, the suppression of gloomy
and insalubrious quarters, the completion of the Louvre, the
construction of the Halles, the erection of churches, schools, mairies,
and the laying out of public gardens and promenades. Six hundred
kilomètres of sewers were provided for the drainage of the capital, and
the Bois de Boulogne and de Vincennes greatly embellished. The
working-classes were still disturbed by vague discussions over social
questions, and by souvenirs of the Republic; but the bourgeoisie,
enriched by the public security and liberty of trade, desired only the
continuance of order and a somewhat more liberal administration of
public affairs. The condition of many parts of the city, as revealed by
a number of official investigations after the Revolution of 1848, was
indeed deplorable. "A third only of the working-classes live under
conditions approaching hygienic ones, the remainder are in a frightful
state; forty thousand men and six thousand women are lodged in Paris in
furnished houses which are for the greater part nothing but damp hovels,
scarcely ventilated, badly kept, containing chambers in which are eight
or ten beds pressed one against another, and in which several persons
sleep together in the same bed." The immediate effects of the opening of
Baron Haussmann's magnificent new boulevards were in many cases
disastrous for the workmen and for the poorer classes, who found
themselves compelled, by the destruction of their old lodgings, and the
increase in rents and daily expenses, to seek shelter in the suburbs,
and in the _quartiers eccentriques_; the Expositions Universelles also
served to increase permanently the cost of living, as they have always
done since, and in other cities than Paris. On the other hand, the cost
of clothing was considerably diminished, and the workingman was never so
well arrayed as in the first years of the Second Empire.

The dubious antecedents of the third Napoleon exposed him to even more
than the usual hatreds and perils of crowned heads, and the number of
plots against his life rivalled even those of the attempted
assassinations of Louis-Philippe, one of the most unlucky of sovereigns
in this respect. The Emperor has been accused of having been a member of
the Italian secret society of the Carbonari in his youth; the Italian
war of 1859 has been said to have been rendered imperative by his former
oaths, and the frightful affair of the Opera-house on the evening of
January 14, 1858, appears to have been the work of this political and
revolutionary society. On this gala night, Massol was to bid adieu to
the stage, and Madame Ristori was to appear in three acts of _Marie
Tudor_, followed by an act of _Guillaume Tell_ and a scene from the
_Muette_. The house was brilliantly illuminated, both the exterior and
the interior, and thronged by an eager audience waiting for the arrival
of the Emperor and the Empress; at half-past eight the Imperial cortége
appeared, descending the boulevards at a trot and turning into the Rue
Le Peletier. In the first two carriages were seated the chamberlains and
officers of the crown, and in the third the Imperial couple, escorted by
a _peloton_ of lancers of the Guard, the lieutenant commanding which
rode close by the right side of the coach, while a maréchal des logis
chef rode on the left side. The three vehicles slackened their speed to
turn into the vaulted passage, under the marquise, which conducted to
the stairway newly constructed for the use of the sovereign, and at this
instant a bomb fell in the midst of the cortége and exploded. All the
lights were extinguished by the concussion, the glass of the marquise of
the theatre and that of the windows of the neighboring houses, from the
cellars to the mansards, flew in splinters, the street was covered with
the dead and wounded, and the terrified horses of the lancers, bolting
in every direction, added to the confusion and terror. A few seconds
later, a second bomb fell under the horses of the Imperial carriage,
killing them, and a third, directly under the carriage itself.

At the first explosion, the Emperor had attempted to leave his carriage
by the door on the right, on the side of the peristyle of the Opéra, but
this door, jammed in its frame by the terrible shock, refused to open.
While he was hesitating to attempt to descend by the other door, which
opened on the street in which the assassins were probably stationed, a
haggard and bloody countenance presented itself at the opening. It
proved to be that of a brigadier of the secret police, Alessandri, one
of the most devoted of the Imperial agents; beside it presently showed
themselves the faces of M. Lanet, commissaire of the section of the
Opéra, a police officer, Hébert, MM. Royer and Vaëz, directors of the
Opéra, and General Roguet. The latter, who had been seated on the box of
the Imperial carriage, had received a violent contusion on the neck,
from which an enormous quantity of blood escaped. The lieutenant
commanding the escort hastily assembled those of his men whom the flying
projectiles had spared, and behind this friendly human wall the Emperor
and the Empress finally ventured to leave their vehicle, and hastened
into the Opera-house. Neither of them were injured, though the former
had a hole through his hat, and his forehead was lightly cut by a piece
of flying glass. His carriage was riddled by seventy-six projectiles,
and he owed his life only to the fact that the panels were all lined
with iron.

A hundred and fifty-six persons were killed and wounded by the three
bombs; the pavement, the sidewalks, and the front of the Opera-house
were pitted with holes and splashed with blood. All the issues of the
Rue Le Peletier were closed almost immediately after the explosions, and
a prompt descent was made on the restaurant and little garden,
immediately opposite the Opera-house, which was kept by an Italian named
Broggi. Here those of his companions who were at odds with fortune were
in the habit of assembling, and here a waiter named Diot found on a
table a pistol and beside it a man who was ostentatiously weeping. When
questioned, he gave his name as Swiney, declared he was the servant of
an Englishman named Allsop, a brewer, who lived at No. 10, Rue du
Mont-Thabor, and that he wept because he feared his master had been
killed. The real name of Swiney was Gomez, and that of his master,
Allsop, was Orsini; the latter, who had been wounded by his own bomb,
was arrested as he was walking peacefully away. He had the assurance to
write a long letter to the Emperor from Mazas prison, after his trial,
in which, while making no appeal for his own life, he interceded for the
independence of Italy, without which, he asserted, "the tranquillity of
Europe and that of your Majesty will be but chimeras." He admitted
having brought the bombs from England and charged them with fulminating
powder, but denied having thrown any of them; he was guillotined on the
13th of March, with his accomplice, Pieri,--Orsini crying with his last
breath: "_Vive l'Italie! Vive la France!_" Gomez was condemned to hard
labor for life.

[Illustration: TYPE OF BOURGEOISE. From a drawing by L. Marold.]

"In 1867," says a historian, "France believed herself invincible. The
capital of capitals surpassed the splendors of all other cities, ancient
and modern. It was a bedazzlement, a fairy spectacle. But a time was
approaching when a bloody and funereal vail was to be suddenly thrown
over so many more than Babylonian magnificences, and in which the great
city, so proud of her riches and her glory, was to have no other
ceremonial than the overthrow of the Vendôme column by French hands in
the face of the Prussians."

By the 18th of September, 1870, the siege of Paris by the Germans was
formally opened, and yet, on that date, the author of the _Journal du
Siège_ declares the capital to be "the most strange and the most
marvellous city. On the eve of combat she still preserves her
unalterable gaiety, still sings, and strews flowers in front of the
soldiers. It is because her resolution is firmly taken, and that she
awaits the attack with a firm stand and a valiant heart. To-day, it is a
festival Sunday indeed;--on every side is animation, enthusiasm, life.
We have made the tour of the boulevards; we have traversed the
Champs-Élysées, the Rue de Rivoli, the quais. Everywhere there are
tranquil countenances, and everywhere the Sunday crowd, gay, in no way
impressed, nowise dejected, as the despatches to foreign journals
assert.... The little street industries have not ceased; the tight-rope
dancers continue their performances tranquilly in the midst of the
military groups. If the Prussian spies were there, they could have
heard, as we did, the converse of this valiant and joyous population,
which waits only for a signal to hasten to the ramparts, and which has
lost nothing of its complete self-assurance of the great days."


From a drawing, in colors, by Maurice Bonvoison, called "Mars."]

Two months later, the picture had become somewhat more sombre. M.
Edouard Dangin writes: "Paris has become a veritable city of war. At
seven o'clock in the morning, before all the gates of the city, the
guard is under arms, the drum beats _aux champs_, the portcullis is
lowered. It is the opening of the gates. At eight o'clock, in all the
quarters of the city, the rappel is beaten, all the citizen soldiers who
are to relieve the guard on the ramparts and on the minor posts are
called to arms. Others are called out for the drill; there are, however,
some quarters in which there is no drill in the mornings. The crowd
commences to form in line before the butcher-shops in which beef and
horse-flesh are sold, even before the doors are opened, then it becomes
more numerous; the housekeepers press against each other, crowd and
jostle. The men hasten to the different kiosques and purchase the
newspapers, to learn the news of the morning. At noon, the distributions
are all made; calm reigns, Paris is taking its déjeuner.... Toward
half-past three the rappel is heard again in various quarters,--it is
the evening drill. From all the houses issue the national guards, their
muskets on their shoulders. At five o'clock, the drums beat _aux champs_
again before all the gates and the portcullis is raised. Paris is
closed. The Parisians return home for dinner. The greater number of them
go to bed early. Some of them go in the evening to take a little
promenade, whilst others, who have not lost their café habits, commence,
by the light of gas, games of dominoes which they finish by
candle-light. In the streets, there are no cries, no drunkards, almost
no more _petites dames_, nor others who lodge in houses and accost the
passer-by too much preoccupied to reply to them. After eleven o'clock,
silence prevails in the streets and the darkness deepens, because it is
necessary to save gas."

Finally, the Germans entered the capital, and the population became more
patriotic than ever. "The vanquishers, enclosed in their restricted
zone, looked with astonishment at the grand city indomitable, whose
superb monuments were seen in profile against the horizon. Those who
showed themselves at the windows were hooted.... Women accused of having
smiled on the enemy were whipped. Those unfortunate honest women who
were wrong enough to inhabit the quarters occupied, or, perhaps, to be
curious, were subjected to the same fate as the street-walkers. The
ferocity of the populace began to manifest itself."

"It was much remarked that the German officers had all new uniforms, and
that they all held in their hands plans of Paris. Their soldiers,
frightfully dirty, prepared their meals in the open air, whilst the
noisy fanfares of their military music were greeted by the hootings and
hissings of the spectators. The stone statues of the Place de la
Concorde, veiled in black by unknown hands, did not see the soiling of
Paris. The Arch of Triumph of the Place de l'Étoile had been barricaded
and obstructed in such a manner that the Germans could not pass under
it. The triumphal monument remained virgin of this defilement. In the
evening, Paris assumed the aspect, strange and prodigious, of a city
asleep. Nowhere were there any lights, rare pedestrians, no omnibuses,
no carriages. The footsteps of a patrol which resounded rhythmical and
sonorous in the distance, and the _qui vive?_ of the sentinels, alone
came to break the mournful silence which hung over the capital. The long
line of boulevards, black and sombre, displayed the mourning of the
city. Paris was superb in her suffering."


From a drawing, in colors, by L. Sabattier.]

[Illustration: LADY AT TOILETTE.]

It may be remembered that the number of German troops admitted into the
city was restricted by the terms of the capitulation to thirty thousand,
the entrance to be made at ten o'clock on the morning of the 1st of
March, 1871, and the district occupied by them to be limited to the
space between the Seine and the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, from the
Place de la Concorde to the Quartier des Ternes. The evacuation was to
take place immediately after the ratification of the preliminaries of
the treaty of peace by the Assemblée Nationale. On the appointed morning
all the public edifices, even the Bourse, were closed, as well as the
great majority of the cafés and restaurants. All the battalions of the
National Guard were under arms in their various quarters, their
standards draped in crape, in the streets and on the various mairies
black flags were displayed, and on many shutters might be read
inscriptions: "Closed on account of the national mourning," or, "because
of the public grief." On the boulevards, opposite the new Opera-house,
and on all the streets leading down to the Place de la Concorde and the
Champs-Élysées, detachments of the National Guard were stationed who
prevented from passing any person wearing a uniform, or even a képi or
pantaloons with a red stripe. The Rue Royale, from the Madeleine to the
Place de la Concorde, was barred in the middle of its length by
artillery caissons, and the Rue and the Faubourg Saint-Honoré were
patrolled by strong detachments of the Chasseurs d'Afrique and mounted
gendarmes. But in the afternoon the sun came out, and, according to M.
Claretie, "the appearance of Paris, alas! became quite different from
that of the morning. The population, carried away by an unwholesome
curiosity, and aware that the entrance of the enemy had occasioned no
disorder, decided to come out in the streets." The next day the Germans
wished to visit the Louvre and the Invalides, but the sight of Prussian
uniforms under the colonnade of the Louvre produced such an effect on
the populace, it is said, that the French general Vinoy informed the
German general von Kammecke that if his soldiers entered the Invalides
he would not be responsible for the public peace,--and the Prussian
officer abandoned the attempt.

If the Prussians had remained in Paris, the public peace would have been
much better preserved. On the heels of their withdrawal came the
Commune, and within three weeks the condition of the city had become
such that the following is the official report of a quiet night, made to
the Comité Central by "a Sieur Garnier d'Aubin, 'général de brigade,
commandant de place du 18e arrondissement'":


"Nothing new.

"I have received the reports of the different chiefs of the posts. The
night has been calm and without incident.

"At five minutes past ten, two sergents de ville, disguised as
bourgeois, were brought in by the francs-tireurs and immediately shot.

"At twenty minutes past midnight, a police officer, accused of having
fired his revolver, was shot.

"At seven o'clock, a gendarme, brought in by the guard of the 28th, was

"'The night was calm and without incidents,'" comments M. Gourdon de
Genouillac, from whom we borrow many of these details, "and only four
men were shot!"

The quality of the officers of this inchoate government may be judged
from another contemporary document, inserted in _L'Officiel_ of the 18th
of May:

"Those officers of the general staff of the National Guard who have
neglected their duties to banquet with _filles de mauvaise vie_, at the
restaurant Peters, were arrested yesterday by order of the Committee of
Public Safety. They have been sent to the Bicêtre, with spades and
picks, to work in the trenches. The women have been sent to Saint-Lazare
to make sacks for containing earth."

One of the strongest characteristics of the Commune was its hatred and
persecution of the clergy, manifested in a hundred acts, and culminating
in the murder of the archbishop and the hostages. On the morning after
the arrest of all the clergy of Montmartre, the following notice was
posted on the doors of the church of Saint-Pierre:

"_Whereas_, the priests are bandits, and the haunts in which they have
morally assassinated the masses, by bowing France under the claws of the
infamous Bonaparte, Favre, and Trochu, are the churches,

"The civil delegate of the Carrières of the ex-prefecture of police
orders that the church of Saint-Pierre (Montmartre) shall be closed and
decrees the arrest of the priests and the Ignorantins."

On the preceding day, the cathedral and the church of Saint-Laurent had
been closed, and in the crypt of the latter were found a great number of
human bones; some of these were arranged so as to constitute the
skeletons of fourteen women which, it was asserted, had been sequestered
by the priests of the church, outraged, and murdered. Great was the
virtuous indignation, the bones were officially photographed by the
photographer Carjat, all Paris went to see them, and the affair made
such a noise that after the capture of the city by the Versailles troops
and the restoration of order, it was officially investigated by a
scientific commission, which reported through its chairman, M. Tardieu,
that the bones were those of persons who had been buried for at least a
hundred and fifty years.

Of the women of the Commune, M. Maxime du Camp draws the following
unflattering picture: "They were wicked and cowardly. Utilized by the
police of the Rigaults and the Ferrés, they were pitiless in the search
for refractory citizens who hid themselves that they might not have the
shame of serving the Commune.... From the heights of the pulpits of the
churches, converted into clubs, they poured out all the corruption of
which their ignorance was full; with their shrill and yelping voices, in
the midst of the smoke of pipes, to the accompaniment of vinous
hiccoughs, they demanded 'their place in the sun, their rights as
citizens, the equality which was refused them,' and other vague claims
which concealed, perhaps, the secret dream which they put into practice
shamelessly,--the plurality of husbands.

"They disguised themselves as soldiers; ... they 'manifested'; they
assembled in bands, and, like the Tricoteuses, their grandmothers, they
wished to go to Versailles '_chambarder la parlotte_ and hang Foutriquet
the first.' They were all there, rushing about and squalling, the
boarders of Saint-Lazare in vacation, the natives of the little Pologne
and the great Bohemia, the sellers of tripe _à la mode de Caen_, the
seamstresses for messieurs, the shirt-makers for men, the instructors
for elder students, the maids of all work, the vestals of the temple of
Mercury, and the virgins of Lourcine. That which was the most profoundly
comic was that those escaped from the Dispensaire delighted in alluding
to Joan of Arc and in comparing themselves to her.

[Illustration: IN THE LATIN QUARTER. AU CINQUIÈME. From a drawing by
Lucien Simon.]

"The Commune, without concerning itself about it, aided in this feminine
uprising which emptied the houses with big street-numbers [houses of
ill-fame] to the detriment of the public health and to the profit of
the civil war. It knew how to resolve--this good Commune, composed of
the sensible men that we know--it knew how to resolve, with one sole
blow, the social problem which had troubled, for so many years, the
administrators, the economists, the moralists, the philosophers, the
doctors, and the legislators. It caused a paper to be pasted on the
walls of Paris, and the great difficulty was solved forever. By a
poster, well and duly stamped, it forbade prostitution. It was not any
more difficult than that! The poor creatures liberated from all
administrative regulation, from all sanitary control, did not wait to
have it repeated; they spread themselves like a leprosy through the
city, and when, reduced to poverty by the men who exploited them, they
no longer had anything to eat, they donned the great-coat of the
foot-soldier and went to the advance posts, where they were as
formidable to their friends as to their adversaries.

"In the last days, all these belligerent viragoes fired from behind the
barricades longer than did the men; very many of them were arrested,
their hands black with powder, their shoulders bruised by the recoil of
the musket, all excited still with the fever of battle. A thousand and
fifty-one of them were conducted to Versailles, among whom were to be
counted, according to the euphemism of the statistics, 'two hundred and
forty-six celibataires under police surveillance.' As in the case of
children, no undue severity was exercised, and eight hundred and fifty
decisions of _non-lieu_ were rendered in their favor; among the female
prisoners, four were sent to insane asylums,--that was very little! For
any student of _possession_, there is scarcely any room for doubt;
nearly all the unfortunates who combatted for the Commune were that
which science calls 'patients.'"

The last stand of the insurgents before the constantly advancing forces
of Marshal MacMahon was made in the last days of May in the quarters
Ménilmontant and Popincourt and in the cemetery of Père-Lachaise. The
Buttes Chaumont were taken on the evening of the 27th; through the
cemetery, around the tombstones, in the rain, the combat was waged with
the bayonet, and without quarter. The marine infantry pursued the
Communards into the vaults and killed every one they found. On the gray
stones of the tombs could be seen for days afterwards the imprint of
hands blackened with gunpowder and red with blood. In the quarries of
Amérique, many of the last survivors killed themselves in despair. "The
Seine for many days was filled with corpses, and the streets of Paris
were only a slaughter-house." Two hundred and thirty-four buildings were
destroyed, and the losses in property were estimated at a hundred and
fourteen million francs.

The hideous virgins of the Commune are no longer in evidence, but they
have been succeeded by a variety of their sex, in the idle and
fashionable society of the present day, which, if we may believe a
modern romancer, is sufficiently numerous to constitute a still more
formidable menace. His story is put forth as a serious psychological
study of Parisian manners and customs in certain walks of life; the
interest, if not the approval, with which it has been received has been
very marked, and the volume from which we quote is of the hundred and
sixty-first edition. It is in much such a salon as M. Montzaigle has
endeavored to paint that the explanation of these _demi-vierges_ is
furnished to his friend from the provinces by the critical Parisian man
of the world:--"There have happened in Paris, within the last fifteen
years, two grave events,--two _kracks_, as my brother the banker would
say.... Firstly, the krack of modesty. Our epoch may be compared to the
Latin decadence or to the Renaissance, in the matter of love. Our young
girls (I refer to those of the idle world of pleasure) no longer serve
naked at the table of the Médicis; they do not wear necklaces of
representations of the generative organs; but they are as knowing in
matters of love as those Florentines and those Roman women. Who troubles
himself to refrain from speaking before them of the last scandal? To
what theatrical representations are they not taken? What romances have
they not read? And yet conversation, books, the theatre, these are only
words.... There are at Paris, in the world of society, professors of
defloration, men on the hunt for innocence: ... the first lesson is given
to young girls on the evening of their first ball; the course is
continued through the season; when the summer comes, the promiscuousness
of the watering-places or the sea-beach will permit the professional
deflorator to put the finishing touch to his work....

"The second krack is that of the _dot_, as pernicious for the modern
virgin as that of modesty. There are no longer any innocent young girls,
but there are, also, no more rich young girls. The millionaire gives two
hundred thousand francs of dot to his daughter, that is to say, six
thousand francs of income, that is to say, nothing, not even enough to
hire a coupé by the month. Hence, in this respect, the young girl has
never been dependent upon the man, and as she has but one weapon with
which to conquer him--love--the mothers allow them to learn love as soon
as possible, through maternal devotion.... Yes, through maternal
devotion. In my opinion, the universal alteration in the type of the
young girl of former times may be imputed, first of all, to the mothers
of the present generation." ...M. Marcel Prevost justifies his
unpleasant discourse on the plea that modern education tends more and
more to develop the type "_demi-vierge_," and that, if the education of
the young girl be not greatly modified, "Christian marriage will

There has been no successful street revolution in Paris since the days
of the Commune, but the terrible under-strata ever and anon break
through the thin upper crust of society with some such outburst as that
of the dynamite explosions of 1892 in the Boulevard Saint-Germain, in
the caserne Lobau, and in the Rue de Clichy. On this occasion, the Paris
_Matin_ published the result of the official researches as to the
locality of the various groups of anarchists in the city, from which it
appeared that they were to be found in associations of greater or lesser
numbers in the quartiers of the Bourse, of the Temple, of the Panthéon,
of the fashionable Champs-Élysées, among the _valets de chambre_, the
cooks, and the coachmen, and in the fourth, ninth, tenth, eleventh,
twelfth, thirteenth, fifteenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth
arrondissements. In the quartiers of the Louvre, of the Luxembourg, and
in the seventh, sixteenth, and seventeenth arrondissements, no organized
groups existed. Their titles varied: _L'Avant-garde cosmopolite_, _Le
Réveil du quinzième_ (arrondissement), _La Bibliothèque socialiste_, _La
Jeunesse anarchiste du vingtième_ (arrondissement), _La Jeunesse
révolutionnaire_ and _La Ligue des antipatriotes_; their publications
ranged from _Le drapeau rouge_ [the red flag] to _La Révolte_ and Henri
Rocheforte's _Intransigeant_. The arrest of the chief dynamiter,
Ravachol, was effected through the intelligence of a waiter named Lhérot
in the restaurant Véry, on the Boulevard Magenta, of which we give a
view, on Victor Hugo's authority that it is always interesting to look
at a wall behind which we think something is happening.

From a water-color by Constantin Guys.]

Their haunts, or those of the desperate poverty and misery which tend to
swell their ranks, may be represented by the _Cabaret_ or _Buvette du
Père Lunette_ or the _Château Rouge_, both of them threatened with
demolishment for the last nine years, but still standing. The first,
situated in one of the worst streets of old Paris, the Rue des Anglais,
in the quartier of the Place Maubert, has been famous for forty years,
having succeeded, as it were, to the evil renown of the _Lapin blanc_,
in the Rue aux Fèves, celebrated by Eugène Sue and believed to have
dated from the reign of Pepin le Bref, and the cabaret of Paul Niquet,
in the Rue aux Fers. The founder of the Père Lunette, a Sieur Lefebvre,
is said to have made a fortune by it. Its name is derived from a
gigantic pair of spectacles (_lunettes_) hanging over the entrance-door,
and another painted on the small window beside it. The whole small front
of the establishment is of a deep red. Our illustration represents the
inner sanctuary, to which the visitor attained by passing through an
antechamber only slightly less characteristic. The walls are decorated
by ignoble frescoes; on the disbursal of a franc for several litres of a
species of wine, the stranger is admitted to the honors of the
establishment, and there are duly unrolled for him six canvases hanging
on the wall on which are figured various personages, Gambetta,
Cassagnac, Prince Napoleon, and even the Pope, in various situations.
The Rue des Anglais, at the present day, very short and narrow and
irregular, is very clean and proper.

A large porte-cochère, surrounded by a red border, near the middle of
the Rue Galande, opens under an arched passage-way into a small court,
badly paved, at the bottom of which a few steps lead up to an entrance
in a wall also painted red, and a glass door opens into the first
apartment of the Château Rouge. This visit should be made between
midnight and two o'clock in the morning, the hours at which the
establishment is in its fullest activity. The first two rooms on the
ground-floor are merely low drinking-places, crowded with both men and
women; the second floor, reached by a narrow staircase, was formerly
known familiarly to the inmates as the _Salle des Morts_ or the
_Bataille de Champigny_; at these hours it is strewn with motionless
bodies, in various attitudes of uneasy slumber, and in various stages of
squalid undress. As the visitor turns to descend, he will find the
stairway blocked by the recumbent forms of late arrivals for whom no
space has been left in this wretched dormitory. At two o'clock in the
morning the establishment closes, and all the sleepers are aroused and
turned out into the street. For this transient hospitality each of them
pays two sous.

Curiously enough, the building seen at the left of the Château Rouge,
with its balustraded stairway under the arch and its arched windows
filled with innumerable little panes, was the residence of Gabrielle
d'Estrées, the _belle amie_ of Henri IV. It may still be seen, but the
railing of the stairway at the present day is a simple iron one.

The Place Maubert, now forming part of the Boulevard Saint-Germain and
ornamented by a statue of Étienne Dolet, was at the period shown in our
illustration, in 1889, a rendezvous for the professionals of that
peculiar street industry who are known as _ramasseux de mégots_,--those
highly unpleasant individuals who slouch about the cafés on the
boulevards and pick up the butts of cigars and cigarettes. They claim to
be several thousand in number, and they have definite hours for the
exercise of their profession, hours in which their harvest is the
greatest and just before the street-sweepers come along, at two o'clock
in the morning, when the establishments close, at noon, and at nine
o'clock in the evening. An industrious man, who has pretty good
eyesight, may pick up a hundred to a hundred and fifty grammes of
tobacco on each round. A good day's work will bring in as much as fifty
sous; a rainy day, not more than twelve or fifteen. The best localities,
which it is, of course, very important to know, are the surroundings of
the Halle aux blés, the Bourse, the Louvre, the cafés on the boulevards,
and in summer the public gardens and the crowds around the military
bands. This tobacco which is thus saved from the street sweepings is--it
is painful to relate--dried, assorted, made over again, and sold to
other smokers. When one reflects on the quality of ordinary French
tobacco at its best, this consideration tends to add another ease to
death. And yet an ingenious chronicler, who extracted these details from
a professional, declares that upon examining, with his eyes and his
nose, a package of the best of this resuscitated weed, a package of
"_théâtre_," these faithful organs gave him no reason to suspect its
origin. The _théâtre_ is made from _londrès_ exclusively, no cigarettes
and no _tabac de chique_ are allowed to enter in its composition; the
two cheaper brands manufactured are _le petit_ and _le gros_. There are
special clients for this merchandise, ranging from the inmates of
asylums for old men and the insane patients at Charenton to military men
on insufficient pensions who make their purchases hurriedly and with
anxious glances around. When the fine season opens, the _ramasseur de
mégots_ who has collected a good winter harvest will issue from the city
to sell his merchandise in the suburbs. In this irregular commerce he
runs the risks of denunciation by the authorized _bureaux de tabac_, and
of six months in prison, although his tobacco has once paid the _régie_,
or tax.

All this world of the people, which ranges from M. Brispot's comfortable
and respectable _Bon Bourgeois_, taking his summer ease in his
court-yard, down to almost unknown depths, has its moments of leisure
and takes its relaxation as well as its betters. Two of M. Vierge's
characteristic sketches may serve to illustrate two of the more popular
and more innocent methods,--the informal manner in which the frequenters
of the Parc de Montsouris, on the line of the southern fortifications,
dispose themselves on the grass, around the kiosque of the military
band, to listen to the music, and a very characteristic feature of the
popular observance of the fête of the 14th of July, the balls in the
open street. At almost every important crossing or open space, not only
in the so-called _quartiers excentriques_, but in such official
neighborhoods as those of the Louvre and the Hôtel de Ville, temporary
bandstands are set up, and around them the people dance cheerfully,
mostly in ungraceful waltzes, all the evening, and frequently all night.
In front of the cafés in the popular quarters, the music of a violin or
a hurdy-gurdy, or even of the dreadful organ of the "merry-go-rounds,"
or _chevaux de bois_, will furnish inspiration enough to perspiring
couples who will repeatedly leave their beer or their _sirop_ to revolve
giddily on the pavement till, quite breathless, they return to their
seats. All this is done with such frank simplicity and good nature, such
a characteristically cheerful French appropriation of the public street
for domestic purposes, that the foreigner, sitting looking on somewhat
scornfully at first, gradually veers round to their point of view, and,
if he be young enough, probably ends by being quite willing to get up
and dance, himself, with some of these slim-waisted, pretty French


From a drawing, in colors, by Pierre Vidal.]

As the official fête of 1898 had a new feature added to it, the
celebration of the centennial of Michelet, it naturally took on still
another diversion, that of the election of a Muse of Paris, selected
from among the most beautiful young working-girls of the capital. Her
official functions consisted in being crowned, in presiding at the
ceremony before Michelet's bust, set up in front of the Hôtel de Ville,
and in strewing flowers before it. Then there was chanted before her:
"Good people, Rich and poor, Hasten hither! Come all to admire, The Muse
of Paris! She is a nice little working-girl, Whom the poet-kings of
poverty, Have anointed queen of their chimeras," etc. The election of a
queen of the washerwomen, or, rather, of a _reine des blanchisseuses_,
has long been one of the important ceremonials of the Mi-carême
festivities, and grotesque accounts are given of the intrigues, the
rivalries, the heart-burnings, which this choice entails, of the
adventures of the sovereign and her attendant ladies in assuming their
somewhat unwonted toilettes for this great occasion, and of the still
greater efforts of the _garçons_ of the _lavoirs_ to accoutre themselves
as d'Artagnans and Henri III's. However, everything passes off for the
best; and it is a dull lane that has no turning.

Among the less praiseworthy diversions, neither rat-baiting nor
cock-fighting have much favor in Paris. A pair of game-cocks were
imported from England in 1772, but the "sport" was not appreciated. In
the country parts of France it is more practised; and one of the most
important of the establishments, affected by the Parisians, devoted to
the murderous combats of dogs and rodents, is the Ratier Club of
Roubaix, whose modest wooden façade, rising at the back of a court which
is entered through a sufficiently common-place cabaret, is shown in the
illustration. On the left is a great lantern to light the dingy
approach, and on the right, full of noise and tumult, the office and the
weighing-stand. In the interior, the arrangements are those usually
adopted,--the wooden benches are ranged around the _parc_, or pit, a
large wire cage nearly five mètres long and two and a quarter high,
elevated on a platform about a mètre from the floor. It has no top, but
the upper portions of the walls present a smooth band of metal up which
the rats cannot climb. The dog is introduced through a sliding door on
the floor, and his antagonists are emptied from a box over the top. They
are of three kinds, water-rats, sewer-rats, and granary-rats; the first
are of a placid disposition and are rarely used; the last, in black, are
the fiercest, and consequently the most desirable. The dogs are usually
bull-dogs, fox-terriers, or a species with a scanty hair, called
_griffons_; they are usually pitted against four rats at a time, and
their prowess is according to the brevity of the time in which they
dispose of them. There is a legend that one champion despatched a
hundred rats in seventeen minutes, thirty seconds. A good dog will
finish the four rats in ten or twelve seconds, notwithstanding their
doublings and turnings, the speed with which they climb the wire
trellis, and the fierceness with which they turn on him and fasten on
his jaw. There are various methods of conducting these contests; the
_chasse à excitations_, in which the proprietor of the dog is permitted
to run around the cage and excite his animal by voice and gesture; that
_à la muette_, in which he is strictly forbidden to make a sound or a
sign; that _à obstacles_, in which the rodents are concealed under every
second or third of a number of flower-pots reversed on the floor, or in
which they are furnished with bundles of straw in which to seek refuge,
or favored by an arrangement of partitions about a foot high, arranged
in the manner of a Saint Andrew's cross, and over which the dog has to
leap while they traverse them through small semicircular openings on a
level with the floor. The dogs are classified by weight; the price of
entry varies according to the variety of the _chasse_, and the sum of
the prizes distributed sometimes amounts to as much as fifteen hundred


From a drawing, in colors, by Pierre Vidal.]

As to the more aristocratic sport of horse-racing, we have already seen
that the annually-recurring _Grand Prix de Paris_ has been elevated to
the dignity of a capital municipal institution. But it was early
recognized that this diversion, which has attained such extraordinary
development in the capital within the last twenty years, owed a very
considerable proportion of its popularity to the facilities which it
offered for gambling. The true sportsman's interest in the improvement
of the equine race was by no means sufficiently widely diffused to
maintain the hippodromes of the Sociétés de Course. This was abundantly
demonstrated when, in the spring of 1887, the government forbade all
betting on the race-course; the indifference of the public was promptly
manifested by the great falling off in the attendance. At the end of a
few weeks, it was found necessary to remove the restriction, but it was
wished at the same time not to encourage the spirit of gambling, which
threatened to affect all classes of society. The _Pari Mutuel_ [mutual
betting], which was accordingly authorized, offers to-day the only legal
method of betting on the race-courses. It consists of a series of
offices established on the tracks, where the public makes its bets on
the horses running. It registers the bets, receives the money, and
divides the winnings among those entitled to them. "A bettor wishes to
stake fifty francs upon a horse which, we will say, is number six on the
list; he goes to one of the five-franc bureaux, and asks for ten tickets
on number six winning, or ten on number six 'placed.' He pays his fifty
francs, receives ten tickets bearing the required number, and with the
stipulation 'winning' or 'placed,' and he has no more to do but to wait
the result of the race. If he win, as soon as the division is made he
has only to present himself at the treasurer's office of the bureau
where he made his bet, and he receives his winnings in exchange for his
ten tickets." On all the operations there is deducted a tax of seven per
cent. in the Parisian Sociétés de Courses,--one per cent. for breeding
purposes, two for local charities, and four for the Sociétés themselves.
The latter portion, which is six, eight, or ten per cent. in the
provinces, is added to the sums gained from the entrance fees, and
employed for the expenses, and to increase the prizes offered the
following year.

[Illustration: PLACE MAUBERT, AS IT APPEARED IN 1889.]

At Longchamp there are about one hundred and fifty bureaux of the Pari
Mutuel, and nearly twice as many on the day of the Grand-Prix. No bet
is accepted under five francs, and there are special bureaux for ten,
twenty, fifty, and even one hundred, and five hundred francs at the
weighing-stand; the bets are of two kinds,--first, for the winning
horse, and, second, for the horses "placed" one and two, when there are
at least four horses running; one, two, and three, when there are at
least eight. When two or more horses belong to the same proprietor and
run in the same race, the Pari Mutuel gives the whole stable, that is to
say, that if one of the horses of the stable wins the race the bets made
upon the other horses of the stable, one or several, are paid as though
laid upon the winning animal himself. This rule applies only to bets
made upon _one_ winner; for the places, it is not a question of the
whole stable, and each horse is paid according to his order in arriving
at the winning-post. When all the tickets are collected, the sum total
of the bets is ascertained, the seven per cent. tax is deducted, and the
sum remaining is divided among the winning tickets. For the _placés_,
there are four operations to be performed after the deduction of the
seven per cent.,--first, to subtract from the sum to be divided the sum
total of the bets upon the places. This operation has for its object to
save the stake of the bettor and to guarantee him against the risks of
receiving a sum less than he wagered; second, to divide the new sum thus
obtained by two or by three, according as there are two or three
_placés_; third, to divide each half or each third proportionally to the
number of bets on each _placé_; fourth, to add the amount of the bet
previously subtracted. All the employés of the Pari Mutuel are strictly
forbidden to bet, themselves, under penalty of losing their situations;
and the whole is under the control of the Minister of Agriculture and
the inspectors of finances.

The establishment of this official regulation was speedily followed by
the opening of unauthorized "pool-rooms" all over Paris, in cheap
cabarets, tobacco-shops, coiffeurs' salons, anywhere, in which the
general public were invited to come in and bet on any horse they chose,
without any further concern about attending the races, and with the
deduction of the smallest possible commission for the bureau, in some
cases fifty or twenty-five centimes. These improvised agencies, in a
great majority of cases, hold no communication whatever with the
Sociétés, thus depriving them of their commissions, and offer their
clients only the slightest guarantees of good faith. This abuse became
so flagrant that the law had to be invoked.

The popular cafés, cabarets, buvettes, brasseries, châteaux, moulins,
etc., are so numerous as to be entitled to a special chapter. One of the
most famous, the Moulin de la Galette, of the Montmartre quarter, is
here illustrated, with a touch of the picturesque. It may be reached by
the Rue Lepic, more circuitous and possibly more safe than the acrobatic
ladders which lead directly to its door. Its usual customers vary from
workmen's families through many varieties of painters, strangers,
_filles_, and _marlous_. Its dances are not of a kind to recommend
themselves to the conventional. It is even customary, before each one,
for each couple to pay four sous, and it is usually the lady who pays
for her cavalier. The beer-shops, or _brasseries_,--"more properly
_embrasseries_,"--were invented in the Latin Quarter, but have since
multiplied more on the lower boulevards. It is asserted that they were
better at the beginning; M. Maurice Barres declared at one time: "The
_brasserie à femmes_ is quite truly a salon." He appreciated them for
the severe discipline maintained in them by the proprietor, or, at
least, for the restraint imposed upon the more enterprising clients
and servitors by the example of the others. "There was coquetry and
flirtage, without much more." He considered this institution necessary;
its influence was, in his opinion, beneficent. These superficial
endearments, this amiable tone, this care to please which was there
displayed, "relaxed the mind and restored the neglected faculties of our
sensitiveness." Since then, he has asked himself whether the
_brasseries_ have changed or whether he has grown older. Certainly, the
qualities which he discovered in them no longer exist. The institution
does not seem necessary; the salon is usually a hole; the attendants
appear to be the refuse of those places of entertainment the character
of which is revealed by the unusual size of the house number over the
entrance. Even the Parisian gilding of vice sometimes wears off.


More of these unfortunates, of various shades, may be seen displaying
themselves in the open streets, in the public fiacres as in their
salons, during the Carnival, and especially on the day of Mardi
Gras,--arrayed as Pierrettes, clownesses, _rosières_ [winners of the
prize of virtue], and avocats with very open robes, their bared arms and
shoulders defying the weather. Their proper establishments are known by
a great variety of appellations, the old word _bordel_ being now
considered gross. More commonly they are designated discreetly as
_Tolérances_ or _Gros Numéros_; in the popular slang they are _claques_
or _boxons_. Many of them have special designations, as the celebrated
_Botte de paille_ mentioned by Edmond de Goncourt in his _Fille Elisa_;
one of the noisiest was known as the _Perroquet gris_; and another, from
its specialty, _Au Télescope_. "But at Paris all these _maisons
chaudes_," says an expert in these matters, Rodolphe Darzens, "have a
special physiognomy,--they are not, as in the provinces, discreet
localities, with an atmosphere of familiar conventionality, in which the
father brings his eldest son to pass the evening with the notary of the
quarter and the pharmacien of the public square, in an interminable game
of billiards or of _piquet voleur_. Houses very _comme il faut_, in
which no incongruity would be tolerated, from which a Parisian was even
chased one day for having pronounced a gross word. Neither do they
resemble those vast establishments in the seaports or in the commercial
cities, in which the rutting assumes a character of savage eagerness and
of primitive fury.

"Excepting in the houses of the exterior quarters of the city which are
frequented by soldiers and by coarse peasants, who quickly recover from
their first bedazzlement at the fine salons ornamented with mirrors and
gilding, illuminated by gas or by electricity, and in which the usual
visitors are composed almost exclusively of workmen, which constitutes
them rather a species of brasserie, the prostitution in Paris has been
refined by luxury. The _viveurs_ enter them, no longer to finish the
night in them, but to pass a few minutes, to yawn and to drink champagne
in the company of some young women lightly clad, indifferent and
passive, pretty sometimes, bestial almost always. You can rarely avoid
hearing confidentially from one of them her story, the eternal story of
love betrayed. There are sometimes to be found among them some who have
received a real education,--these speedily acquire an influence over
their comrades, who listen to them, admire them, ask their advice. They
are the queens of the household, and _Madame_ treats with them on a
footing of equality.

"Frequently an inmate of one of these convents of the Devil will seat
herself at the piano, and then some revery of Chopin will rise,
melancholy, through the air, while the tears will appear in the eyes of
her hearers.

[Illustration: RAMESSEUR DE MÉGOTS. From the painting by Eugène

"When, 'finally alone,' to fill up their long leisure of waiting, they
play never-ending games of _écarté_, or, indeed, tell each other's
fortunes by the cards, in the hope that the promises they read in them
may be speedily realized, promises of a better life, outside of the
cursed house, of meeting a monsieur very rich, of country parties,
carriages, a little hôtel, who knows? To see, perhaps,--a marriage.

"But a voice, interrupting these dreams, that of the imperious matron,
orders curtly: 'To the salon, ladies!'"

The Parisian winter is an institution of which no good can be said. The
tremendous, arctic cold of the United States is almost unknown, as is
also the beautiful, clear, frosty weather; in their stead come an almost
endless succession of gray, misty, unutterably damp days, with a
searching, raw cold that penetrates even to the dividing asunder of bone
and marrow. The dearness of fuel, and the totally inadequate heating
arrangements in most houses, add to the cruel discomfort of this season,
in which the poor always suffer greatly. The number of unemployed is
always large, and among them are frequently to be found those accustomed
to the comforts and refinements of life. A recent article in a Parisian
journal describing the charitable distribution of hot soups by the
organization of the _Bouchée de pain_ [mouthful of bread] cites the
instance of a lady among these applicants, so well dressed that the
attendant thought it right to say to her: "Have you come through simple
curiosity, madame? In that case, you should not diminish the portion of
those who are hungry." The lady answered simply: "_I_ am hungry." It
appeared that she was an artist, had exhibited twice in the Salon, and
yet was reduced to this necessity. This charitable organization is
distinguished from most others by the fact that it asks no questions and
imposes no conditions on those who come to it for aid. Consequently, its
various points of distribution are crowded with long lines of the
shivering and famished, and the smallest offering from the charitable is
thankfully received.

On the suppression of the recent general strike among the workmen of
Paris, in the month of October, 1898, there appeared, in a number of the
_Matin_, a serious article giving some important details concerning the
wages and the manner of spending them, and presented from the point of
view of a friend of the laboring classes. The writer, M. Manini, had
interviewed one of his friends, an important contractor, whose six
hundred workmen had followed the example of their comrades, gone on
strike, and been compelled to abandon it by the prudent action of the
civil and military authorities in protecting all those who were willing
to labor. "I expressed to my friend my surprise that workmen earning, at
a minimum, six francs, and some of them, masons and rough-casters, eight
and ten francs a day, should have ceased work under pretence of
insufficient pay. I showed him the instructive table published by an
evening journal, and according to which the rough-casters earned from
eleven to twelve francs a day; the stone-cutters, eight francs; the
journeymen masons, eight francs; the apprentice masons, five and a half
francs; the bricklayers, eight francs; the stone-sawyers, nine to eleven
francs,--in a word, as much as a lieutenant in garrison in Paris, and
more than a lieutenant in garrison in the provinces.


From a drawing by A. Lozos.]

"'All that is perfectly true,' replied my friend. 'Never have the
workmen on buildings had such a fête. Since Paris has become a vast
ant-hill in which the work of preparation for 1900 goes on without
ceasing, the workmen make magnificent working-days and have no fear of
being "laid off." They have before them three magnificent years. But you
are not aware of the conditions of a workman's life in Paris. They bear
no resemblance to those of the life in the provinces, where similar
wages would insure a comfortable living. In Paris, you see, the workman
lives at a great disadvantage, and, in reality, it may be said that he
is obliged to meet the expenses of two establishments.... Paris is an
immense city, in which the distances are very great. The laborers, the
diggers, and shovellers live, nearly all of them, on the heights of
Clignancourt and of Belleville; the masons, for I know not what reason,
prefer the quarter of the Gobelins. Well, work is carried on in all
parts of Paris, is it not? The laborer from Belleville, the workman
hired by me or by my overseer, arrives at his field of labor at six
o'clock in the morning. This spot is at Auteuil, at the Trocadéro, at
Passy, anywhere. It will be absolutely impossible for him to return to
Belleville for his meals. He will have to eat on the spot, there where
he works.

"'Well, arrived at the _chantier_ at half-past six, and hard at work at
seven, the workmen go at nine o'clock to get some soup and a piece of
cheese. It is to some little eating-house in the neighborhood that they
betake themselves. The cost of this _casse-croûte_ [bread-crust], as
they call it, fifty centimes at the least. At eleven o'clock, the
déjeuner, always at the wine-shop or the little restaurant. When one
works in the open air, and when one propels, by the strength of his
arms, shovelfuls of earth weighing five kilos each a height of two
mètres into the cart, one is hungry. Notwithstanding the utmost
frugality, the déjeuner amounts to thirty sous, thirty-five sous at the
least. We have now expended two francs, twenty-five centimes. About
four o'clock, another mouthful and a glass of wine,--say ten sous,
about. We have now reached fifty-five sous, have we not? In case the
workman should be fatigued, or that the distance home should be too
great,--observe that from Auteuil to Clignancourt there are nine good
kilomètres, that is more than two leagues,--he dines on the spot, say
twenty-five sous more.

"'If the workman earns eight francs, here are his wages reduced more
than one-half. And you will remember that the wife and the brats eat at
home; also, that it is necessary to clothe yourself and to clothe the
little ones, that it is necessary to pay the rent, that, sometimes,
there is an old infirm mother at home, that an illness is readily
contracted.... In fact, the workman, at Paris, who labors at a distance
is obliged to eat away from his own house, and he expends for himself
alone as much as would be required to support the whole family. It may
therefore be said, that he has to provide for two households,--the
outside establishment, himself, and the inside establishment, the wife
and the children.'"

It does not seem to have occurred to the author of this interesting
exposé, or to his interlocutor, that there was a very simple and
well-known remedy for this idiotic and extravagant mode of living,--the
dinner-pail. The contractor cited to his friend the case of the masons
from the provinces, the Creusois and the Limousins, who are enabled to
save money by leaving their families in the country, and that of the
London workman who commences his day's labor at nine o'clock in the
morning and who ends it at five,--but without any interruption. "At one
o'clock in the afternoon he breaks a piece of bread, which he generally
brings in his work-bag; and at six o'clock, thanks to the
'Metropolitan,' he is again with his family, comfortably seated at
table." The workman's dinner-pail, or its equivalent, is not altogether
unknown to the Parisian _ouvrier_, and picturesque groups may sometimes
be seen, sometimes with the wife's presence to cheer and adorn, eating
and drinking comfortably _al fresco_, on the sidewalks, or on the steps
of some monument. To the sojourner in the land, the facts appear to be
that the workmen frequent the _gargotes_ much more to drink than to eat,
that they spend a very important fraction of the day congregated around,
or in, the cheap wine-shops of the neighborhood, and that they consume a
highly unnecessary quantity of variously and fearfully colored cheap
combinations of _alcool_.

In the strike referred to, the _terrassiers_, or diggers, who commenced
it, had enough influence in the Conseil Municipal of Paris to get the
increased wages for which they quit work, awarded them; but the other
workmen, who struck for the cause of _solidarité_, were unsuccessful,
and the great strike of all the railway employés throughout the nation,
ostentatiously ordered by the _Syndicat Guérard_, and promptly met by
the military occupation of all the stations and points of danger, was a
complete failure.


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