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Title: Paris and the Social Revolution - A Study of the Revolutionary Elements in the Various Classes - of Parisian Society
Author: Sanborn, Alvan Francis
Language: English
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   PARIS AND THE
   SOCIAL REVOLUTION

[Illustration: SELLERS OF CHANSONS

   “_They teach their motley audiences to sing
   the songs they have the wit to sell them._”]

[Illustration: Title page]

   _The consequence is, being of no party,
    I shall offend all parties; never mind!_

   LORD BYRON.


   _I have no mockings or arguments
    I witness and wait._

   WALT WHITMAN.



   PARIS AND THE
   SOCIAL REVOLUTION

   A STUDY OF
   THE REVOLUTIONARY ELEMENTS IN THE
   VARIOUS CLASSES OF PARISIAN SOCIETY

   BY

   ALVAN FRANCIS SANBORN

   With Illustrative Drawings By

   VAUGHAN TROWBRIDGE

   [Illustration: Printer’s Mark]

   BOSTON
   SMALL MAYNARD & COMPANY
   MCMV


   _Copyright, 1905, by
   Small Maynard & Company
   Incorporated_


   _Entered at Stationers’ Hall_


   _Press of
   Geo. H. Ellis Co.
   Boston, U.S.A._


   TO THE

   PROLETARIAT OF AMERICA

   THIS BOOK IS

   REVERENTLY INSCRIBED



PREFACE


_It was the author’s original intention to let this book make shift
without the conventional preface, as befitted the unconventionality of
its theme. But he has learned since it was begun—what it was very
stupid of him not to have known at the outset—that in the matter of
heresies, ethical, social, and political as well as theological,
interest is bound to pass for approval, explanation for advocacy, and
sympathy, be it ever so slight, for profound belief: as if a man who
showed a curiosity about and appreciation of dogs should, by that very
fact, become a dog; or as if (since there may seem to be an unfortunate
implication of contempt in this illustration) a German who attempted to
expound honestly English temperament, opinions, and traditions should,
by that very fact, become an Englishman._

_Once for all, then, the author is not a_ revolutionist, _though there
are moments when he fancies he would like to be one, it appears such an
eminently satisfying state. It takes faith to be a revolutionist; and he
is, alas! mentally incapable of faith. He is not an anarchist, not a
socialist, not a radical, not a “red republican,” nor a_ “mangeur de
prêtres.” _His affiliations have not been even_ Dreyfusard _in France,
nor even Bryanite in America. He is a conservative of the conservatives,
only prevented from being a reactionary by the fact that reaction is but
another form of revolution, and the most hopeless and faith-exacting of
them all. So far from being a revolutionist, he is an evolutionist only
under protest_,—vi et armis, _as it were. He favours things as they
are, things as they were quite as often, while things as they might be
contain for him no allure. He cherishes enormously this imperfect old
world as it is, still more as it was; has not the slightest desire to
reconstruct it after his own formula, and would not willingly exchange
it for any hypothetical world which, up to the present hour, restless
human ingenuity has devised._

_He is “naturally beforehand shy of novelties, new books, new faces, new
years,” and is “sanguine only in the prospects of other [former] years.”
He likes old cabinets, old comedies, old prints, old stuffs, old pipes,
old wine, old ships, old trees, old shoes, old friends, old customs, old
crotchets, and old ladies._

_He prefers infinitely—it is very wrong and foolish, perhaps, but he
cannot help it—ancient hostelries to modern hotels, spontaneous
neighbourliness to organised benevolence, fireplaces to furnace-heaters,
and waving meadows to close-cropped lawns; a blooded aristocrat to a
social struggler, a patriot to a cosmopolite, a brave drinker to a total
abstinence apostle, an illiterate Breton peasant to the “smart” product
of improved schools, a mediæval cloister to a free-thinker’s hall, and
an easy-going priest to a nervous sceptic; beauty to utility,
superstition to science, ritual to plain sense. A uniform appeals to him
more than a business suit, a coquettish gown more than the most advanced
hygienic bloomer, a solicitous mother and competent housewife more than
a brilliant club woman. He finds more satisfaction in old-fashioned,
comfortable ideas than in disquieting progressive ones. He would quite
as soon be domineered over by a noble as by a parvenu or a pot-house
politician, and is less shocked by the colossal pretensions of a pope
than by the puerile bumptiousness of a small-minded clergyman. He
deplores railways, trolleys, bicycles, automobiles, and compulsory
education, because they all tend to destroy native dialects, customs,
and costumes, obliterate all local colour, and so render lands far
separated dully alike. He resents the presumptuousness of that Reason
which is so seldom reasonable, and would not shed a tear nor distil a
regret if telephones, telegraphs, and psychical research were swept off
the face of the earth._

_He is well aware, therefore, that there is good to be said of
time-honoured institutions: of the state; of the army, the church, and
the courts of law, the props of the state; and of capitalists, the pets
and protégés of the state. On occasion he could write a fervid defence
of each and every one of these established things. But he is equally
aware that there is good to be said of the conscientious opponents of
the state, its props and its protégés. To say this good is his present
business; and, if he seems to bend over backward sometimes in saying it,
it should be borne in mind that they also have bent over backward—nay,
turned double somersaults backward—who, prompted by terror, prejudice,
intolerance, hatred, or contempt, have pronounced unqualified
condemnation on the consecrated antagonists of things as they are; and
it should at least be queried whether his indiscretions may not be
excused (if not altogether justified) thereby._

_No, the author is not a revolutionist, but he is acquainted with plenty
of good fellows who are. “He has eaten their bread and salt; he has
drunk their water and wine.” He has taken pot-luck with them, witnessed
their privations, and listened to the telling of their dreams. He thinks
he comprehends them, he knows he loves them, and he would present them
as he has found them to the world._

_This attitude will be understood by all who really believe in fair
play, in giving every man his innings and the devil his due; who can
admit merits equally in Christians and Pagans, Jesuits and Agnostics,
Classicists and Romanticists, Greeks and Goths; who admire a beau geste
alike in missionary and filibuster, condottiere and crusader, martyr and
toreador, pirate and king,—in a Jeanne d’Arc and a Ravaillac, a
Kitchener and a Joubert, a Sheridan and a Mosby, a Dewey and an
Aguinaldo, a Hobson and a Cervera, a Makaroff and a Uryu, a Napoleon and
a Musolino, a Richard Cœur de Lion and a Robin Hood, a Nelson and a
Cambronne. It will be understood by all those who appreciate a joke,
even when it turns against themselves; who recognise the nobility of
straight thinking and bold speaking, the sublimity of high passion, the
regenerating force of righteous resentment and stubborn resistance, and
the holiness of self-sacrifice for an ideal; who have a faculty for
putting themselves in other men’s places or have learned the hard lesson
of calling no thing “common or unclean”; who love men because they are
men, serve women because they are women, compassionate suffering because
it is suffering, reverence him who hath much struggled to no apparent
purpose, and pardon much, like the Christ, to him who hath much loved._

_That these persons are the few does not seriously matter. It is a great
thing to be understood by a few._


   ALVAN F. SANBORN.
   PARIS, JANUARY, 1905.


CONTENTS

                                                                  PAGE

   I. What the Anarchist Wants                                       5

   _Suggestions of the beginnings of anarchistic philosophy and
   of the history of the development of anarchy—The contemporary
   French Encyclopedists, Pierre Kropotkine, Elisée Reclus, and
   Jean Grave—The introductory chapter of Jean Grave’s_
   L’Anarchie: son But, ses Moyens, _selected as the best
   exposition of the French anarchistic doctrine—Current
   misconceptions of anarchy—The rational bases of anarchy—The
   reasons for its opposition to laws and to governments—The
   anarchistic ideal_ “l’individu libre dans l’humanité
   libre.”—_Development of the physical, intellectual, and moral
   nature of the individual necessary to attain this
   ideal—Freedom to satisfy all physical, intellectual, and moral
   needs a necessity—The freedom of the soil the first
   prerequisite, after that the freedom of the domain of
   knowledge and art—Anarchy frankly international—Its demands
   for absolute liberty in the domain of thought as in that of
   deeds—Its utopianism denied._


   II. The Oral Propaganda of Anarchy                               25

   _The simplest, most natural form of propaganda, telling
   one’s faith to one’s neighbours—The group the unit of
   public oral propaganda—Characteristics of the group, its
   meetings, its statistics, its autonomy—Federations and
   congresses—Communication between groups—Union meetings
   of groups—Anarchist mass-meetings_—Punchs-conférences
   and soupes-conférences—Ballades de propagande—Déjeuners
   végétariens—_Amateur theatricals—The_ Maison du Peuple—Soirée
   familiale—_The_ trimardeur—_The_ chanson _as a means of
   propaganda, with examples of revolutionary chansons._


   III. The Written Propaganda of Anarchy                           61

   _The anarchist press,_ Le Journal du Peuple, Les Plébéiennes,
   Le Libertaire—_Jean Grave and_ Les Temps Nouveaux—_The press
   as a means of intercommunication between the_ camarades, _the_
   trimardeurs, _and the groups_—L’Education Libertaire—_Amateur
   papers—Ephemeral character of the anarchist press_—Le Père
   Peinard _and its editors—Anarchist almanacks—Financial
   difficulties of the anarchist press and methods of raising
   funds—Difficulties encountered in publication and
   circulation_—“Les Lois Scélérates”—_Placards and fliers—Paul
   Robin and his system of_ éducation intégrale—Le Collège
   Libertaire—_The study of the masters and of their forerunners
   and disciples—Popular editions of great writers who tend
   towards anarchy—Violent brochures._


   IV. The Propaganda of Anarchy by Example                         91

   _Thoreau and Garrison as precursors of the anarchistic
   attitude—Tolstoy on the propaganda by example—Its
   importance—Practicable and impracticable acts of this
   form of propaganda—Octave Mirbeau on depopulation—Pierre
   Lavroff on propaganda by example—Anarchist
   experiment stations and reasons for their failure—The
   attitude of anarchists towards trade-unionism_—La grève
   universelle—_The attitude of anarchists towards
   co-operation_—La pan-coopération.


   V. The Propaganda of Anarchy _par le Fait_                      105

   _Lack of unanimity among French anarchists regarding this
   method of propaganda—The emergence into public prominence of
   the insurrectional idea—César de Paepe’s speech at the Geneva
   Peace Congress of 1867—Declaration of the_ Fédération
   Italienne—_Insurrections at Letino and San Galo,
   Italy—Utterances at the Congresses of Fribourg and of the_
   Fédération Jurasienne—_Distinction between the individual
   overt act when directed against an official of the state and
   when directed against an individual member of the_
   bourgeoisie—_The latter acts disapproved by the majority of
   anarchists—Elisée Reclus on this subject—The attitude of_ Les
   Temps Nouveaux—_Zo d’Axa on the overt acts of
   Ravachol—Statistics of the victims of anarchists—Reasons for
   the alarm excited by the propaganda_ par le fait—_Some humorous
   features of the panic during the period of “The Terror”—Theft
   as a form of propaganda par_ le fait—_Charles Malato and Jean
   Grave on this subject—Cases of Clément Duval and Pini—Extent
   of anarchist thefts—Counterfeiting—Case of L’Abruti._


   VI. The Causes of Propaganda _par le Fait_                      131

   _Desire for vengeance the cause of the greater part of the
   overt acts of anarchists—The death of Watrin—Such acts proceed
   mainly from those who have suffered injustice either in their
   own person or in that of those near to them—The cases of
   Duval, Pini, Dardare, Decamp, Léveillé, Rulliers, Pedduzi,
   Ravachol, Lorion, Vaillant, Etievant, Salsou—Zo d’Axa on the
   police_ rafle _of April, 1892—Recent questionable repressive
   measures—Collusion of state officials and police to turn
   revolutionary disturbances to selfish ends—Legality often
   strained by the government in its repressive measures—Overt
   acts almost never the result of conspiracy—Belief in his
   “mission” of the propagandist_ par le fait—_The_ stigmata _of this
   vocation—Testimony of Björnson, Zola, and other
   writers—Stimulating effect of the executions of anarchists
   upon anarchist fanaticism—Sympathy of many who are not
   anarchists excited by overstraining of legal forms and undue
   severity in repressive measures—The apotheosis of
   Vaillant—Anarchist anniversaries—Why so many violent
   anarchists are Italians—England’s immunity from overt
   anarchist acts—The futility of repressing the free expression
   of violent ideas—The case of Laurent Tailhade._


   VII. The Character of the Propagandist par le Fait              155

   _The salient traits of the anarchist character—The average
   psychic type of the anarchist as indicated by A.
   Hamon—Personal character of Ravachol, Pini, Duval,
   Faugoux, Salsou—The anarchist’s abhorrence of cruelty
   to animals—The propagandist_ par le fait _rarely a worthless
   fellow—Frugality and domestic virtues of prominent
   anarchist criminals—Personal courage of this type, with
   notable examples._


   VIII. Socialists and Other Revolutionists                       167

   _Revolutionary and evolutionary socialists—Radical differences
   between theoretic socialism and anarchism—Practical aims
   common to both—Similarity in methods of propaganda—Union of
   anarchists and socialists against common enemies in troubled
   periods—Similarity in attitude of both towards trade-unionism
   and co-operation—Revolutionary tendencies of royalists,
   imperialists, anti-Semites, and nationalists—Déroulède’s
   proclamation to his electors—Anarchist approval of Jules
   Guérin’s defence of “Fort Chabrol.”_


   IX. The Revolutionary Traditions of the Latin Quarter           177

    _The Sorbonne as a centre of epoch-making
   thought—Abélard—Richness of the Latin Quarter in souvenirs of
   intellectual and political revolution—Latin Quarter martyrs of
   revolutionary thinking—Periods of cringing on the part of the
   university the exception—The lawless student life of the
   Middle Ages—The students in the time of Louis XIV.—The cafés
   and cabarets as revolutionary agents—The conflict between
   Romanticists and Classicists at the beginning of the
   nineteenth century—The part played by the students in the
   revolutions of_ 1830 _and_ 1848—_The student protest against the_
   coup d’état _of the third Napoleon—The students as a
   revolutionary force under the Second Empire—Vallès, Gambetta,
   Vermesch, Blanqui, Rochefort—The students and the Commune—The
   relation of the Latin Quarter cafés and cabarets to the
   Commune—Love of laughter, love of liberty, and love of love
   the three characteristic traits of the spirit of the Latin
   Quarter._


   X. The Revolutionary Spirit in the Latin Quarter of To-day      189

   _The alleged decadence of the spirit of the Latin Quarter—The
   truth and the falsity of the charge—Differences in the
   present-day manifestation of the three characteristic traits
   of the spirit of the Quarter—The dress and manners of students
   of to-day—The contemporary_ grisette—_The anniversary of
   Mürger—The real student cafés and cabarets—The student
   publications—The_ cénacles _of the Quarter—The present hour
   primarily a period of transition, the student of to-day
   seeking his way—Revolutionary thought well represented in the
   university faculties—Student outbreaks during the last thirty
   years._


   XI. Bohemians of the Latin Quarter                              207

   _Bohemians by choice—Those not attached to the university who
   inhabit the Latin Quarter for the sake of its advantages, from
   affection, or from force of habit—A typical example—Henri
   Pille, Maurice Bouchor, Jean Richepin, Paul Bourget_—“Les
   Vivants”—_Bohemians from necessity—Renegades from the
   Bohemianism of the Quarter—Clovis Hugues on the sacrifice of
   long hair—Two types of_ “moutons”—_Ways and means of the
   Bohemians—Their hardships—The arrival of prosperity too late._


   XII. Those who Starve                                           221

   _Mürger’s_ Biographie d’un Inconnu—_A brief recital of its
   story—The hero of the novel a permanent type_—Saint Joseph
   de la Dèche—La misère en habit noir—_The case of
   Dr. Laporte—The verdict of the judge._


   XIII. Those who Kill Themselves                                 231

   “La littérature qui tue”—_Picturesque suicide of a young
   Latin Quarter poet as narrated by Emile Goudeau—Suicide
   of René Leclerc—Other cases of suicide—Greater proportion
   of suicide among victims_ of la misère en habit noir.


   XIV. Freaks and Fumistes                                        239

    _The_ chevaliers d’industrie _of the Quarter—Their detestation
   of the_ bourgeoisie—_More comedy than tragedy in their lives—The
   types of Vallès’_ Réfractaires—_Fontan-Crusoe, Poupelin, and
   M. Chaque—Other vagabond types—Eugène Cochet, Amédée Cloux,
   Bibi-la-Purée, La Mère Casimir, Le Marquis de Soudin, the
   artist bard of Père Lunette’s, Achille Leroy, Gaillepand, La
   Mère Souris, Victor Sainbault, Coulet—Professional humourists
   and deliberate farceurs—Sapeck, Karl, Zo d’Axa—A novel
   candidate—Relation of starvation, suicide, freakishness, and_
   fumisterie _to the revolutionary spirit._


   XV. Montmartre and _La Vache Enragée_                           257

   _The cavalcades of_ La Vache Enragée _in 1896 and 1897—Origin
   of the phrase—Literary, artistic, and musical celebrities who
   have eaten of the_ Vache Enragée—_The manner of living of the
   typical_ Montmartrois—_His resourcefulness—His poses and
   so-called affectations often devices for cheap living—The
   restaurants, cafés, crèmeries, and cabarets of
   Montmartre—Their traditions and their esprit de corps—The
   Montmartre of the tourist—The real Montmartre—Its relation to
   Paris—Cost of living at Montmartre—Spring-time in Montmartre._


   XVI. Literary and Artistic Cabarets of Montmartre               281

   _The history of Montmartre—The exodus of the_ “Hydropathies”
   _and the_ “Hirsutes” _from the Latin Quarter—The_ Grand’
   Pinte—_Rodolphe Salis—The origin, career, and influence of
   the_ Chat Noir—_Its successors and imitators—Closest existing
   counterparts of the_ Chat Noir—Le Conservatoire, Le Cabaret
   des Quat’z’ Arts, Le Cabaret des Arts, La Veine, La Boîte à
   Fursy, and Le Tréteau de Tabarin—_Bohemian conclaves which
   have superseded the cabarets—The chanson as a moulder of
   public opinion—Revolutionary chansons in Montmartre
   cabarets—Jules Jouy, Maxime Lisbonne, Marcel Legay, Gaston
   Couté, Xavier Privas_—Cabarets brutaux—_Bruant’s_ Mirliton,
   _Alexandre’s_ Cabaret Bruyant—_Three poets of talent imbued
   with a revolutionary spirit, Bruant, Jehan Rictus, Maurice
   Boukay—The revolutionary traditions of Montmartre—Bourgeois
   fear of Montmartre_—“Montmartre va descendre”—_The relations
   between the workingmen, the littérateurs, and the artists at
   Montmartre—Their revolutionary spirit._


   XVII. The Revolutionary Spirit in Prose Literature and
           the Drama                                               313

   _The revolutionary attitude of Tolstoy, Ibsen, and
   Zola—Revolutionary influence of Anatole France and Octave
   Mirbeau—Lucien Descaves—Victor Barrucand and his campaign for
   free bread—Other novelists whose works have a revolutionary
   trend—Revolutionary psychology—Rosny’s_ Le Bilatéral—_Other
   fiction writers who understand the gravity of the issue—The
   influence of “les auteurs gais”—Essayists, critics, and
   philosophers who are more or less militant iconoclasts or
   révoltés—The origin and influence of_ L’Endehors—_The
   subsequent activity of the_ Endehors group—_The group of_
   L’Idée Nouvelle—Revues des jeunes—_Other_ revues _hospitable
   to revolutionary writings—Octave Mirbeau, Lucien Descaves,
   Maurice Donnay—Other playwrights whose pieces are frankly
   revolutionary—Playwrights whose works are revolutionary by
   implication—The_ Théâtre Libre _and its successors—Variety
   theatres and concert halls—The trend of literature from
   socialism to anarchism—The testimony of Clovis Hugues and
   Fierens-Gevaert—The relation of the French_ libertaire _literary
   movement to that in other European countries._


   XVIII. The Revolutionary Spirit in Poetry, Music, and Art       361

   _The anarchistic spirit more or less natural to the
   poet—Revolutionary singers in France at the beginning of the
   nineteenth century—Hégésippe Moreau, Victor Hugo, Eugène
   Vermesch—Living poets of revolt—Laurent Tailhade, Jean
   Richepin—Tailhade’s imprisonment—The socialist poets Clovis
   Hugues and Maurice Bouchor—The relations between freedom of
   expression and freedom of thought in poetry—More
   revolutionists among artists than in any other class engaged
   in liberal pursuits—Courbet, Cazin, Carrière—Impressionism and
   the revolutionary spirit—Luce and Signac_—The Salon des
   Indépendants _as a refuge for revolutionists—The import of the
   work of Rodin and Meunier—Jules Dalou—Painters who picture the
   Christ in a modern setting—The revolutionary leanings of the_
   dessinateurs—_Léandre, Forain, Hermann-Paul, Willette,
   Steinlen_—L’Assiette au Beurre—_The revolutionary attitude of
   the great body of contemporary French caricaturists towards
   the institutions of society—Bernard Shaw’s comment on the
   music of Wagner—Wagner as a revolutionist—The revolutionary
   spirit in the new school of French music—Alfred Bruneau and
   Gustave Charpentier_—Louise—_The evident connection between
   the anarchistic philosophy and polyphonic orchestration, vers
   libre, and impressionism in art._


    XIX. To What End?                                              391

   _The advice of Gamaliel, the Pharisee, on innovators in
   religion and the words of Montaigne concerning the strange
   and the incredible—The proper province of philosophic
   doubt_—“La folie d’hier est la sagesse de demain”—_The
   difficulty with which human nature realises the truth of
   the maxim—The attitude of public opinion to Barrucand’s
   scheme for free bread—Pertinent questions regarding
   the alleged unreasonableness of revolutionary theories—The
   theories of anarchism and socialism in comparison
   with the history of social evolution—The natural result of
   education of the masses—A successful social revolution no
   guarantee of a millennium—The essentials of happiness
   found in the eternal realities of life._


ILLUSTRATIONS

   Sellers of _Chansons_                                  Frontispiece

   The Anarchist’s Dream                           Vignette Title-page

   Place Clichy (_Vignette Section Title_)                   Page    1

   Jean Grave in his Workshop                          facing  ”    10

   La France Libre (_Tailpiece_)                               ”    22

   Mauled to Death for shouting _“Vive l’Armée”_               ”    35

   A Contrast in Dances:—

        I. A Ball at the _Maison du Peuple_            facing  ”    38

       II. Dancing at the _Moulin Rouge_

   A _Trimardeur_ disputing with Socialists                    ”    40

   Evening in a _Cabaret_                              facing  ”    42

   _A la Renommée des Pommes-de-terres Frites_                 ”    52

   “_Enlevez l’homme tonneau_” (_Tailpiece_)                   ”    57

   Dormer-window of Jean Grave’s Workshop

       (_Office of “Les Temps Nouveaux”_)              facing  ”    62

   Pierre Joseph Proudhon                                      ”    74

   Little Anarchists                                           ”    75

   A Revolutionary Poster (_Tailpiece_)                        ”    87

   Charles Malato                                              ”   112

   A Raid by the Police (_Tailpiece_)                          ”   127

   Salsou                                                      ”   135

   A Street Riot (_Place de la Concorde_)              facing  ”   148

   The Guillotine in Moonlight (_Tailpiece_)                   ”   152

   Louise Michel                                               ”   158

   Anniversary Decorations, _Mur des Fédérés_ (_Tailpiece_)    ”   163

   A Socialist Bookshelf                                       ”   167

   M. Vaillant                                                 ”   168

   Léandre’s Caricature of Paul Déroulède              facing  ”   168

   M. Brousse                                                  ”   169

   M. Jaurès                                                   ”   170

   M. Guesde                                                   ”   171

   M. Allemane                                                 ”   171

   Jules Guérin                                                ”   172

   “_Montmartre va descendre_” (_Vignette Section Title_)      ”   173

   Mégotiers of the Place Maubert                              ”   179

   Notre Dame from Pont d’Austerlitz (_Tailpiece_)             ”   185

   A Caveau of the Latin Quarter                               ”   189

   A Latin Quarter Type (_Félix Gras’ Son_)            facing  ”   198

   The Panthéon (_Tailpiece_)                                  ”   203

   Jean Richepin                                               ”   212

   Taverne du Panthéon on Mardigras                    facing  ”   216

   The Institute (_Tailpiece_)                                 ”   218

   The Louvre (_Tailpiece_)                                    ”   227

   A Suicide of the Latin Quarter                              ”   233

   The Pont du Carrousel (_Tailpiece_)                         ”   236

   Site of the Château Rouge (_rue Galande_)           facing  ”   246

   Zo d’Axa’s Novel Candidate                                  ”   248

   Second-hand Book Mart of the Latin Quarter (_Tailpiece_)    ”   253

   Grün’s Design for Float in Cavalcade of _La Vache Enragée_  ”   258

   The Real Montmartre (I. _La rue Mont-Cénis_)        facing  ”   262

   Montmartre Types                                            ”   268

   The Real Montmartre (II. _La rue St. Vincent_)      facing  ”   268

   The Real Montmartre (III. _La rue Mont-Cénis_)              ”   273

   A Montmartre Carrousel (_Tailpiece_)                        ”   278

   The Real Montmartre (IV. _Cabaret du Lapin Agile_)          ”   281

   At Aristide Bruant’s
       (_Cabaret du Boulevard Rochechouart_)           facing  ”   284

   “Buffalo”                                                   ”   290

   Alexandre                                                   ”   294

   At Alexandre’s (_Cabaret de la rue Pigalle_)        facing  ”   296

   Maurice Boukay                                              ”   297

   _Maquereaux_                                                ”   300

   Jehan Rictus (_with fac-simile of manuscript_)      facing  ”   300

   “_Les Corbeaux_” (_Tailpiece_)                              ”   310

   Emile Zola                                          facing  ”   314

   Anatole France                                              ”   317

   A Pair of Army Officers                                     ”   321

   Octave Mirbeau                                              ”   326

   Xavier Privas delivering his Lecture “_L’Argent
       contre l’Humanité_”                             facing  ”   342

   La Comédie Française (_Tailpiece_)                          ”   358

   Laurent Tailhade                                    facing  ”   368

   Clovis Hugues                                               ”   369

   Paris from Montmartre (_Tailpiece_)                         ”   388

   A Contrast in Funerals                              facing  ”   394

   The Eternal Realities (_Endpiece_)                          ”   399


[Illustration: Place Clichy]



   PART I

   THE PEOPLE

   “_I think I hear a little bird who sings
     The people by and by will be the stronger:
     The veriest jade will wince whose harness wrings
     So much into the raw as quite to wrong her
     Beyond the rules of posting,—and the mob
     At last fall sick of imitating Job._”

   LORD BYRON.



   CHAPTER I

   WHAT THE ANARCHIST WANTS


   “_Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire
   To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
     Would we not shatter it to bits, and then
   Remould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!_”

   Rubáiyát of OMAR KHÁYYÁM.


   “Le moins de gouvernement possible.”

   VICTOR HUGO (Programme Politique).


   _“The state is the curse of the individual.”_—IBSEN.


    “_Manual labour, far from being an occasion for shame, honours
    man. What is shameful is to use man as a vile instrument of
    lucre, to esteem him only in proportion to the vigour of his
    arms._”—Encyclical of LEO XIII.


    “_Enough of these ambiguous formulas, such as ‘the right to
    work’ or ‘to each the integral product of his labour.’ What we
    proclaim is the right to a competency, to a competency for
    all._”—KROPOTKINE.


    “_And the savants will be troubled in their knowledge, and this
    knowledge will appear to them like a little black point when the
    sun of the intelligences shall rise._”—LAMENNAIS.


“There is nothing new under the sun,” and anarchism is no exception to
the truth of this maxim. But the beginnings of anarchistic philosophy
and the development of anarchism, however suggestive they may be, do not
fall within the province of this volume. Therefore it is not necessary
to expound the tenets or to trace the influence of the anarchist or
semi-anarchist devotees through the ages: the Taoists of China (whose
founder, Lao-Tse (600 B.C.), was a contemporary of Pythagoras and
Confucius), the social prophets of Islam from Mazdak in the sixth
century to the wonderful Bab in the first half of the nineteenth
century, Saint Anthony of Padua and Jean Vicenza in the thirteenth
century, Savonarola at the end of the fifteenth, the Anabaptists under
Thomas Munzer, Mathiesen, and Jean de Leyde in the sixteenth, Razine the
Cossack and the Scottish Covenanters in the seventeenth, Mandrin the
brigand in the eighteenth, and the Jesuits of Paraguay in the last half
of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries. I do not
pretend to determine whether the Guelph-Ghibelline feud, which rent
Europe for more than two hundred years, was or was not a struggle
between despotism and religious democracy, or whether Gregory VII.,
Alexander III., Gregory IX., Innocent IV., and Boniface VIII. were or
were not revolutionary popes endeavouring to realise the social dreams
of the Franciscans and Dominicans. I do not try to discover what there
is of truth in the astonishing claims of certain exalted students of
occultism, mysticism, and comparative religions, that anarchism found
expression in the worship of the Indian Siva, the Persian Mithras, the
Chaldean Baal-Moloch, and the Greek Bacchus; in the conspiracy of the
Bacchanals (described by Livy) in the first half of the second century
before Christ; in the colossal extravagances of the Cæsars; in the
_bizarreries_ of the Nicolaites, the Cainites, the Carpocratians, the
Ophites, and other Gnostics of Egypt during the first five centuries of
the Christian era; in the _Consortia_ under Constantine; and in the
fanaticisms of the Inquisitors, the Lollards, Flagellants, Bégards,
Patarins, Templars, and Devil-worshippers during the Middle Ages. I do
not dwell upon nor so much as collate the anarchistic tendencies and
sanctions which anarchist scholars discern in the writings or sayings of
Job and the Old Testament prophets, of Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Saint
Francis of Assisi, Plato, Jesus, Rabelais, Bourdaloue, and Bossuet, and
the pre-Revolutionary Encyclopedists (especially Diderot and Rousseau).
I even pass by the far more pertinent teachings, systems, personalities,
and careers of the admitted precursors of modern anarchism; of Max
Stirner and Fourier, of Proudhon, the father of modern anarchist
doctrine, and of “the mysterious Russian,” Bakounine, the father of the
modern anarchist party. I also pass by the agrarian revolt of Gracchus
Babœuf (guillotined by Barras in 1797); the emergence of the learned
Russian Kropotkine, and of the Italians Cafiero and Malatesta; the
relations between French anarchism and Russian nihilism; the struggle
for Italian liberation; the founding of the _Internationale_ and of the
_Fédération Jurasienne_; the epic struggle for the control of the
_Internationale_ between Karl Marx, representing authoritative
centralisation, and Bakounine, representing anti-authoritative
federalism. I neglect, in a word, the more than interesting history of
the slow evolution of modern anarchism, and coming directly, without
further ado, to the France of to-day, attack the questions,—What is
anarchy? What does the anarchist want? And how does he hope to get it?

Of the contemporary French Encyclopedists who are preparing, or think
they are preparing, the revolution of the twentieth century, three are
eminently fitted by their learning, by their capacity for straight
thinking and utterance, by their sense of historical perspective, their
power of keen analysis and bold synthesis, by their breadth, their
tolerance, their humanity, their integrity, and their consecration, to
answer these questions. They are Pierre Kropotkine, Elisée Reclus, and
Jean Grave. But Kropotkine, while the author of such epoch-making works
as _La Conquête du Pain, L’Anarchie: son Idéal_, and _Les Paroles d’un
Révolté_, is a Russian, not a Frenchman, by birth and breeding, and has
been little in Paris of late; and Reclus[1] (one of the most learned
geographers of his time), though never far away from the anarchist
movement, is, by reason of his devotion to his specialty, rarely in the
thick of it. Besides, he has made his home in Belgium for many years.

It is to Jean Grave, therefore, the youngest of the three, the present
editor of the journal _Les Temps Nouveaux_ and author of _La Société
Mourante_, _La Société Future_, _La Société au Lendemain de la
Révolution_, _L’Individu et la Société_, and _L’Anarchie: son But, ses
Moyens_, that it seems best to confide the delicate task of presenting
the French anarchistic idea and ideal; and, because I cannot trust
myself to summarise without bias the _credo_ of a sect to which I do not
belong, I quote in full the comprehensive first chapter of his important
doctrinal volume, _L’Anarchie: son But, ses Moyens_:—

   “In spite of the fact that the idea of anarchy has emerged
   from the obscurity in which men have attempted to stifle it,
   in spite of the fact that to-day (thanks to persecution,
   thanks to laws of exception such as are made in the worst
   monarchies) the words ‘anarchy’ and ‘anarchist’ are unfamiliar
   to none, there are not many who know exactly what anarchy is.

   “The intervention of the anarchists in the Dreyfus affair,
   where they were much in evidence, had the effect of bringing
   them into contact with bourgeois politicians, who knew
   absolutely nothing about them; but anarchy did not come out
   into a clearer light from this association.

   “Anarchy, in the eyes of some, is robbery, assassination,
   bombs, a return to savagery; anarchists are only
   house-breakers, loafers, who would divide all wealth in order
   to be able to amuse themselves with doing nothing.

   “In the eyes of others, anarchy is a sort of Utopia, of
   golden-age dream which they readily grant to be very
   beautiful, but a dream good at best to illustrate books of
   ethics or fantastic social schemes with. The most kindly
   disposed regard anarchy as a vague aspiration which they do
   not hesitate to recognise as desirable for humanity to attain,
   but as so completely inaccessible that there is no reason for
   making any decided effort to realise it, and consider the
   anarchist as a species of lunatic whom it is prudent to avoid,
   a pitiful _illuminé_ who strays from the practicable paths to
   lose himself in the vagueness of Utopia.

   “They are very few who know that anarchy is a theory resting
   on rational bases, that anarchists are men who, having
   collated the complaints of those who suffer from the actual
   social order, and having saturated themselves with human
   aspirations, have undertaken a critique of the institutions
   which control us, analysing them, weighing their worth, and
   estimating what they are capable of producing, and who, from
   the sum total of their observations, deduce logical natural
   laws for the organisation of a better society.

   “Of course, the anarchists do not pretend to have invented the
   critique of the social order. Others had done that before
   them. As soon as power began to exist, there were malcontents
   who made no bones of railing at its acts; and, if we possessed
   the legends which men handed down from generation to
   generation before writing was known, we should probably find
   therein satires against the chiefs. It is quite possible to
   criticise the existing order of things without being an
   anarchist, and there are those who have done this in a
   successful fashion which the anarchists will never surpass.

   “But what anarchists believe they have done more than the
   other critics, more than the existing socialistic schools or
   the socialistic schools which preceded them, is to have gotten
   their bearings in the midst of the confused mass of errors
   which spring from the complexity of social relations, to have
   remounted to the causes of misery, of exploitation, and
   finally to have laid bare the political error which made men
   place hope in good governments, good governors, good
   legislation, good dispensers of justice, as efficacious
   remedies for the ills from which humanity suffers.

   “Anarchy, studying man in his nature, in his evolution,
   demonstrates that there cannot be good laws or good
   governments or faithful appliers of the laws.

   “Every human law is necessarily arbitrary; for, however just
   it may be, and whatever may be the breadth of view of those
   who make it, it represents only a part of human development,
   only an infinitesimal fragment of the aspirations of all.
   Every law formulated by a parliament, far from being the
   product of a great conception, is, on the contrary, only the
   mean of public opinion, since parliament itself, by its very
   manner of recruitment, represents only a very mediocre mean.

   “Applied to all in the same fashion, the law becomes thus, by
   the very force of things, arbitrary and unjust for those who
   are on this side or on that side of the mean.

   “A law, then, not being able to represent the aspirations of
   all, can be made effective on those who would infringe it only
   by fear of punishment. Its application involves the existence
   of a judicial and repressive apparatus, and it becomes thus
   the more odious as its coercive force is the more sure.

   “The law unjust to start with, because, conception of minority
   or majority, it wishes to impose itself on the whole, becomes
   still more unjust because applied by men who, having the
   defects and the passions, the prejudices and the personal
   errors, of appreciation of men, cannot act, whatever be their
   probity, except under the influence of these prejudices and
   errors.

   “There can be no good laws, nor good judges, nor,
   consequently, good government, since the existence of these
   implies a single rule of conduct for all, while it is
   diversity which characterises individuals.”


   “No society based on human laws, then,—and this is the case of
   all societies past and present,—can fully satisfy the ideal of
   every one.

   “The minority of idlers alone who, by ruse and by force, have
   managed to seize the power, and who use, to their own profit,
   the forces of the collectivity,—this minority alone, I say,
   can find their account in this order of things and interest
   themselves in its prolongation. But they can only make it last
   with the help of the ignorance of individuals regarding their
   own personalities, their possibilities, and their capacities.

   “But however great the ignorance of the people may be, when
   the pressure is too strong, they revolt. This is why our
   society is so unstable, why the laws are repeatedly violated
   by those who make them or by those who are charged to apply
   them, when their interest points that way; for, power being
   based on force, it is to force that all those resort who are
   in power and wish to maintain themselves there, as well as all
   those who are in pursuit of power.

   “Made to be applied to all and to content everybody, the laws
   derange more or less every individual, who wishes, while he is
   under them, to abolish or relax them, but who wishes them more
   vigorous when it is his turn to apply them.

   “Nevertheless, new aspirations do arise; and, when the
   antagonism becomes too great between these aspirations and the
   political laws, the door opens wide to disorders and to
   revolution.

   “And it will always be the same so long as no other way is
   found to repair the harm done by a law recognised as bad than
   the application of a new law. This ignorance on the part of
   men makes human institutions, once established, resist
   changes. The names vary, but the things remain.

   “Men, not having yet been able to arrive at a social
   conception other than that of authority, are condemned to turn
   in the same circle, and will be condemned to turn in the same
   circle so long as they shall not have altered their
   conception. Royalty, empire, dictatorship, republic,
   centralisation, federalism, communalism,—these are all at
   bottom so many phases of authority. Whether in the name of a
   single person or in the deceitful name of the majority, always
   the will of some is imposed on all.

[Illustration: JEAN GRAVE IN HIS WORKSHOP

   “_There is no more intimate or
   engaging business interior in Paris._”]

   “Furthermore, if the individual increases his knowledge in a
   continuous fashion, it is only in a very slow fashion. Still
   he has arrived to-day at the point where, to develop himself
   in his integrity, it is necessary that his autonomy be
   complete, that his aspirations express themselves freely, that
   he be permitted to cultivate them in all their breadth, that
   nothing fetter his free initiative and his evolution.

   “And so it is that now, at last, anarchists draw from their
   study of the existing social organisation this important
   lesson: that human laws ought to disappear, carrying with them
   the legislative, executive, judicial, and repressive systems
   which impede human evolution by causing murderous crises in
   which many thousands of human beings perish, by delaying all
   humanity in its forward march, and, sometimes, even by
   dragging it backward.”


   “While the politicians have not got beyond this formula, which
   they believe the _ne plus ultra_ of liberty,—‘_l’individu
   libre dans la commune, la commune libre dans l’état_,’—we know
   that these political forms are incompatible with liberty,
   since they tend always to submit a number of men to the same
   rule; and we formulate our device, ‘_l’individu libre dans
   l’humanité libre_,’—the individual, left free to attach
   himself according to his tendencies, his affinities, free to
   seek out those with whom his liberty and his aptitudes can
   accord, unfettered by the political organisations which are
   determined by geographical or territorial considerations.

   “For man to develop himself freely in his physical,
   intellectual, and moral nature, for him to reveal all his
   capacities, it is necessary that each individual be able to
   satisfy all his physical, intellectual, and moral needs. And
   this satisfaction can only be assured to all if the soil,
   which is the creation of no one, is placed at the free
   disposition of whoever is capable of tilling it, and if the
   existing equipment, product of the labour of preceding
   generations, ceases to belong to a minority of parasites who
   exact a large tithe upon the resultant of its activity and
   the activity of those who work it.

   “The earth too much cut up, on the one hand, to permit the
   small land-holders to employ the powerful machinery which
   would effectively second their efforts, appropriated in
   immense lots, on the other hand, by a class of idlers who
   secure, without work, an income from the production of those
   to whom they consent to rent,[2]—the earth nourishes its
   existing population with difficulty. And I have not counted
   the ignorance which is fostered by a defective education and
   which causes the greater part of the cultivators to cling to
   the traditional processes of cultivation,—processes which
   demand far too much work and effort for the results.

   “Yet, in spite of these sources of waste, the earth would
   still manage to nourish, after a fashion, every living being
   if the middlemen were not there to warehouse the products and
   to speculate and gamble upon them, in such a way that the
   majority of persons are never in a condition to buy what they
   need. The fault, then, if all have not enough to eat, lies
   with the defective social organisation, and is not due to lack
   of production. A better distribution of products would alone
   be sufficient to give every one enough to eat, while a better
   management of the soil and a better use of the instruments of
   production would bring about abundance for all.

   “A clearer comprehension of things will bring the peasant to
   understand that his interest, properly understood, is to unite
   his parcel of land with the parcels of his neighbours, to
   associate his efforts with their efforts, in order to diminish
   his toil and increase his production.

   “And as no one has the right to sterilise, for his sole
   pleasure, the slightest parcel of land, so long as there is a
   single being who has not plenty to eat, the coming revolution
   will have for one of its objects to put the soil into the
   hands of those who shall wish to cultivate it and the farm
   machines into the hands of those who shall wish to operate
   them.

   “All this, anarchy seeks to demonstrate to the peasant,
   explaining to him that the masters who impose upon him exploit
   likewise the workman of the towns, trying to make him
   comprehend that, far from considering the town workman as an
   enemy, he should stretch out his hand to him, to the end that
   they may aid each other in the struggle for life, and arrive
   thus at disembarrassing themselves of their common parasites.

   “To the workman, anarchy demonstrates that he must not expect
   his enfranchisement to come from providential saviours, nor
   from the palliatives with which the puppets of politics, who
   wish to control his vote and so dominate him, try to dazzle
   him; that the emancipation of the individual can be brought
   about only by the individual’s own action, can result only
   from his own energy and his own efforts when, knowing how to
   act, he shall use his liberty in place of demanding it.”


   “It is not alone to those who are dying of want that anarchy
   addresses itself. To satisfy one’s hunger is a primordial
   right which takes precedence over all other rights and stands
   at the head of the claims of a human being. But anarchy
   embraces all the aspirations and neglects no need. The list of
   its demands includes all the demands of humanity.

   “Mirbeau, in his _Mauvais Bergers_, makes one of the
   characters proclaim to workmen on a strike their right to
   beauty. And, indeed, every being has a right not only to what
   sustains life, but also to whatever renders it easy, enlivens
   it, and embellishes it. They are rare, alas! in our social
   state, who can live their lives amply.

   “Some there are whose physical needs are satisfied, but who
   are retarded in their evolution by a social organisation which
   is conditioned by the narrowness of conception of the average
   intellect,—artists, littérateurs, savants, all who think,
   suffer morally, if not physically, from the present order of
   things.

   “Daily they are wounded by the pettinesses of current
   existence, and disheartened by the mediocrity of the public to
   whom they address themselves, and whom they must consider if
   they wish to sell their works,—a situation which conducts
   those who would not die of hunger to compromise, to vulgar and
   mediocre art.

   “Their education has led many of them to believe that they are
   of an essence superior to the peasant, to the manual worker,
   from whom, for the matter of that, they are for the most part
   descended. They have been persuaded that it is necessary, if
   their ‘talent’ is to develop and their imagination is to have
   full swing, that the ‘vile multitude’ take upon its shoulders
   the heavy tasks, devote itself to serving them, and wear
   itself out in making, by its labour, life easy for them; that
   they must have, if their genius is to attain its complete
   fruition, the same atmosphere of luxury and of idleness as the
   aristocratic classes.

   “A healthy conception of things teaches that a human being, to
   be complete, must exercise his limbs as well as his brain,
   that labour is degrading only because it has been made a sign
   of servitude, and that a man truly worthy of the name does not
   need to impose the cares of his existence on others.

   “One man is as good as another: that there are degrees of
   development is due to causes of which we are ignorant, but
   such or such an illiterate may have moral qualities superior
   to the moral qualities of those who are more learned than he.
   In any case, intelligence, if it blesses him who possesses it,
   does not confer on him the right to exploit or govern others.
   These differences of development merely imply differences of
   desires, of aspirations, of ideals; and it is for the
   individual himself who is so favoured to realise what responds
   best to his conception of happiness.

   “Besides, these differences of development only appear to us
   as great as they do because education, ill understood and ill
   distributed, perpetuates prejudices and errors. Imagination,
   invention, observation, judgment, if they vary somewhat in
   intensity in different individuals, do not differ in essence.
   They are simple faculties of our brain which do not lose their
   quality for being employed to construct a machine or a house,
   solder a kettle, or make a shirt, rather than to write a
   romance or a treatise on anatomy.

   “Greedy of hierarchy, we humans have divided into high and low
   occupations the diverse employment of our forces. The
   parasites who have made themselves our masters, all in
   proclaiming themselves superior, have established that there
   is nothing truly noble but idleness, that there is nothing
   truly beautiful but force exerted to destroy; that force
   expended to produce, to draw out of the earth and out of
   industry whatever is necessary to sustain life, is of a vile,
   inferior quality, and that its use should be reserved to the
   servile classes.

   “On this basis we continue to declare certain occupations low,
   forgetting that they are such only because one class is forced
   to pursue them in the service of another class, to submit to
   its orders and caprices, to abdicate its liberty; but there
   can be nothing base in no matter what work which consists in
   ministering to our own needs.

   “The artist and the littérateur belong to the masses. They
   cannot isolate themselves, and inevitably feel the effects of
   the surrounding mediocrity. It is vain for them to intrench
   themselves behind the privileges of the ruling classes, to
   attempt to withdraw into their ‘_tour d’ivoire_’: if there is
   debasement for him who is reduced to performing the vilest
   tasks to satisfy his hunger, the morality of those who condemn
   him to it is not superior to his own; if obedience degrades,
   command, far from exalting character, degrades it also.

   “To live their dream, realise their aspirations, they, too,
   must work—for the moral and intellectual elevation of the
   masses. They, too, must understand that their own development
   is made up of the intellectuality of all; that, whatever the
   heights they believe they have attained, they belong to the
   multitude. If they strain to rise above the multitude, a
   thousand bonds hold them to it, fetter their action and their
   thought, preventing them forever from reaching the summits
   they have glimpsed. A society normally constituted does not
   admit slaves, but a mutual exchange of services between
   equals.”


   “The very savant, who considers dealing with knowledge the
   noblest employ of the human faculties, must learn that
   knowledge is not a private domain reserved for a few adepts
   uttering oracles before a public of ignoramuses, who take them
   at their word; and that in science, as in art and in
   literature, the faculties of judgment, of observation, and of
   comparison, do not differ from the faculties employed in
   occupations which we consider more vulgar.

   “In spite of the intellectual compression which has held
   humanity down for so many centuries, science has been able to
   progress and develop, thanks to the critical spirit of
   individuals refractory to official teaching and ready-made
   conceptions. It ought, then, to be put within the reach of
   all, to become accessible to all aptitudes, in order that this
   spirit of criticism which has saved it from obscurantism may
   contribute to hasten its full efflorescence.

   “Knowledge is divided into so many diverse branches that it is
   impossible for the same individual to know them all in their
   entirety, the duration of a human life being far from
   sufficient for a man to acquire enough ideas to be able to
   investigate them in their minutest details.

   “To study them,—that is, if he expects to be able to criticise
   them,—he is forced to have recourse to the labours of his
   predecessors and also of his contemporaries.

   “It is from all human knowledge that the general synthesis
   must proceed. What we know to-day is only a means for
   acquiring the knowledge of to-morrow. And an individual
   obtains reliable knowledge only in accepting the help of all.
   The observations of the humblest persons are not always to be
   disdained. Let the savants also, then, cease to believe
   themselves a caste apart, let them understand once for all
   that knowledge does not demand special aptitudes, and that it
   must be accessible to all, in order that all, in developing
   themselves, may contribute thus to the general development.”


   “What is true for individuals is true for nations. Just as an
   individual cannot live without the support of all, a people
   cannot exist without the co-operation of the other peoples. A
   nation which should shut itself up within its frontiers,
   ceasing all relations with the rest of the world, would not be
   slow to retrograde and perish. It is then absurd and criminal
   to foment, under colour of patriotism, hatreds nominally
   national, but which are in reality only pretexts for the
   governing classes to legitimise the scourge, militarism, of
   which they have need to assure their power.

   “Every nation has need of the other nations. There is not a
   region which, for one product or another, is not the customer
   of another region. And it is no reason for you to hate your
   neighbours because they speak a different language, because a
   hundred years ago they invaded and ravaged regions which are
   indifferent to you to-day; and it is no reason for you to feel
   yourselves outraged by this ancient invasion because, once
   upon a time, the inhabitants of the invaded regions suffered
   under the yoke which now galls you.

   “There is not a single nation which cannot reproach its
   neighbours with some crime of this sort; not a single nation
   which at the present moment does not hold within its borders
   some province incorporated against the desire of its
   inhabitants. And, if those who performed these acts of
   brigandage were highly detestable, in what respect are their
   descendants responsible therefor? Should we also be held
   responsible for the acts of brigandage which our histories
   teach us to admire as glorious achievements?

   “Who among those who aspire to live solely by their own work
   can take delight in seeing one nation rush upon another
   nation? It is only those who have made themselves the masters
   of nations, and who find it for their interest to augment the
   numbers of those whom they exploit, who feel the need of
   supplying aliment to the troops they train for the work of
   slaughter. These understand perfectly that a menace of war
   with a neighbour serves to justify the existence of the armies
   which are their main prop.

   “The despots who have exalted patriotism into a new religion
   know very well how to ignore frontiers when the defence of
   their privileges or the extension of their exploitation is at
   stake. If it is a question of hunting down subversive ideas,
   the French, German, Italian, Swiss, Russian, and other
   bourgeois are ready enough to lend to each other their
   diplomats and their police.

   “Is it a question of putting down a strike? The exploiters are
   not slow to engage foreign workmen, so that they consent to
   work at the lowest wage; and governments would not hesitate,
   if there were need, to lend each other their armies.

   “And do not all the international understandings which have
   been established for finance, the postal service, commerce,
   navigation, railroads, prove that it is the _entente
   pacifique_, after all, which is the supreme law?

   “The anarchists would bring the workers to see a brother in
   every workingman, on whichever side of the frontier he chances
   to have been born.

   “Brothers in misery, suffering from the same ills, bowed
   beneath the same yoke, they have the same interests to defend,
   the same ideal to pursue. Their veritable enemies are those
   who exploit them, who enslave them and prevent their
   development. It is against their masters that they should arm
   themselves.”


   “Anarchy pays little attention to the shady combinations of
   politics. It professes the most profound disdain for
   politicians. The promises of the place-seekers interest it
   only as they disclose all the inanity of politics, and only as
   they can be made use of to demonstrate that the social
   organisation will not be transformed until the day when a
   resolute attack shall be made against its economic defects.

   “If the politicians believe the lies they retail, they are
   simple ignoramuses or imbeciles; for the slightest reasoning
   should suffice to make them understand that, when a disease is
   to be cured and its return prevented, its causes must be
   attacked. If they lie purposely, they are rascals; and, in the
   one case as in the other, they deceive those whose confidence
   they win by their babble and their intrigue.

   “Those who exploit the actual economic organisation will
   always seek to direct to their own profit all the attempts at
   amelioration that are suggested, and there will always be
   people who are dismayed by brusque changes and who prefer to
   rely on middle terms which seem to them to conciliate all
   interests.

   “It will always be for the advantage of the masters to deceive
   the oppressed regarding the veritable means of
   enfranchisement, and there will always be enough cormorants
   greedy of power to assist them in their work of muddling
   questions.

   “Anarchy demonstrates the inanity of every attempt at
   amelioration which attacks only the effect while letting
   subsist the cause.

   “So long as the wealth of society shall be the appanage of a
   minority of loafers, this minority will employ it in living at
   the expense of those whom it exploits. And, as it is the
   possession of capital which makes strength and gives the
   mastery of the social organisation, they are always in a
   position to turn to their own profit every amelioration which
   is undertaken.

   “For an amelioration to benefit all, privileges must be
   destroyed. It is to re-enter into the possession of that of
   which they have been despoiled that the efforts of those who
   possess nothing ought to tend. To break the power which
   crushes them, to prevent its reconstitution, to take
   possession of the means of production, to create a social
   organisation in which social wealth can no more be
   concentrated in the hands of a few,—this is what the
   anarchists dream.

   “If the exploitation of man is to be prevented, the bases of
   the economic order must be changed: the soil and all that
   which is the product of anterior generations must rest at the
   free disposition of those who can work them, must not be
   monopolised for the gain of any party whatsoever,—individual,
   group, corporation, commune, or nation.

   “This is what the partisans of partial reforms do not
   comprehend, and yet this is what conscientious study of
   economic facts demonstrates. Nothing good can come from the
   activity of the charlatans of politics. Human emancipation
   cannot be the work of any legislation, of any concession of
   liberty on the part of those who rule. It can only be the work
   of the _fait accompli_, of the individual will affirming
   itself in acts.”


   “Basing itself upon the evolutionist doctrine, rejecting all
   preconceived will in the phenomena by which the evolution of
   worlds and beings is manifested, recognising that this
   evolution is solely the work of the forces of matter in
   contact, simply the result of the transformations which this
   matter undergoes in the course of its own evolution, anarchy
   is frankly atheistic, and repels every idea of any creating or
   directing entity whatsoever.

   “But, as it is absolute liberty, if it combats religious
   error, it is primarily from the point of view of truth, and,
   specifically, because the priesthoods which have sprung up
   about the different religious dogmas pretend to use the force
   which their authority and capital lend them to impose their
   beliefs and to make even those who reject all religions help
   pay for them.

   “As to whatever concerns the intimate thought of each,
   anarchists understand that an individual cannot think
   otherwise than his own mentality permits. They would see no
   objection to people gathering together in special buildings
   for the purpose of addressing prayers and praises to a
   hypothetical being if they did not attempt to impose their
   beliefs on others.

   “Anarchists look for the triumph of reason from, and only
   from, the culture of minds; and they know from themselves that
   force and oppression cannot stifle ideas.

   “They demand absolute liberty in the domain of thought as in
   that of deeds, in the family as in society.

   “Like all the forms of human activity, the association of the
   sexes has not to brook the control or solicit the sanction of
   any person whatsoever. It is absurd to wish to set limits to,
   raise barriers against, or impose restraints on the affections
   of individuals. Love, friendship, hatred, do not come at call:
   we feel them or endure them without being able to help
   ourselves, without even, more often than not, being able to
   explain them and unravel their motives.

   “Marriage, then, can be trammelled by no rule, by no law other
   than that of mutual good faith and sincerity. It can have no
   duration beyond the reciprocal affection of the two beings
   associated, and should be dissoluble at the will of the party
   for whom it becomes a burden.

   “True, there will always remain some problems which cannot be
   solved without friction and pain, such as the disposition of
   the children, the suffering of the party in whom love
   survives, and other matters of sentiment. But these
   difficulties cannot be resolved any better by pre-established
   rules: on the contrary, constraint only envenoms the
   difficulties. It will be the duty of the interested parties to
   find the solution of the difficulties which estrange them.

   “The best that can be hoped for is that the moral level of
   humanity will be so far elevated that goodness and tolerance
   will increase and bestow their healing balm on the human
   passions, which by their very nature elude regulation and
   control.

   “The great objection behind which the adversaries of anarchy
   intrench themselves when driven into their last redoubts is
   this, that the anarchist ideal is beautiful, certainly, but
   much too beautiful ever to be realised, since humanity will
   never be well-behaved enough to attain it.

   “This objection is specious. No one can say what humanity will
   be to-morrow; and there is no phase of its past development
   which, if it had been foreseen and announced to the
   generations preceding, would not have been held (with reasons
   galore) quite as unrealisable as the anarchist ideal is held
   by those who cannot abstract themselves from the present,—a
   mental state not hard to understand, since the average brain
   has not yet accomplished the evolution which will smooth the
   way for the new order of things.

   “As long as individuals stagnate in servitude, waiting for
   providential men or events to put an end to their abjectness,
   as long as they shall be contented to hope without acting, so
   long the ideal that is the most beautiful, the ideal that is
   the simplest, will rest, necessarily, in a state of pure
   reverie, of vague Utopia.

   “Where, except in the fable, has Fortune been seen to descend
   to the threshold of the sleeper, and wait patiently till it
   pleases his indolence to take her?

   “When individuals shall have reconquered their self-esteem,
   when they shall be convinced of their own force, when, tired
   of bending the back, they shall have found once more their
   dignity, and shall know how to make it respected, then they
   will have learned that the will can accomplish everything when
   it is at the service of a trained intellect.

   “They have only to _will_ to be free, to _be_ free.”

[Illustration: La France Libre]



CHAPTER II

THE ORAL PROPAGANDA OF ANARCHY


    _“Woe is me if I preach not the gospel!”_—SAINT PAUL.


    _“The orthodox believers went to hear Him, but understood
    nothing.”_

    TOLSTOY.


    _“For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the
    scribes.”_

    SAINT MATTHEW.


    _“The_ chanson, _like the bayonet, is a French weapon.”_—JULES
    CLARETIE.


    _“We must arm the camarades, we must never rest from arming the
    camarades, with stronger and stronger arguments. We must enrich
    their memories and imaginations with fresh facts which prove
    more clearly the necessity of the social revolution.”_—PIERRE
    LAVROFF.


Anarchist propaganda is of four sorts, viz.: I. Oral. II. Written. III.
By example (_propagande par l’exemple_). IV. By the overt act of
violence (_propagande par le fait_).

With the anarchistic as with other creeds the simplest, most natural
form of oral propaganda is, of course, that which consists in telling
one’s faith to one’s neighbour.

The proselyting zeal that prompts a man to take his gospel with him
wherever he goes,—to his workshop, to his café, to his restaurant, to
the street corner, to “the butcher, the baker, the candlestick
maker,”—and to couple with exhortation the

   “_Little, nameless, unremembered acts
     Of kindness and of love_”

that make up neighbourly service, is a force not the less real and
potent because its operations are unseen and the measure of them cannot
be taken. It is a factor to be reckoned with, the

       “_presence of a good diffused,
     And in diffusion ever more intense_”;

but it is essentially an affair of the soul not to be declared save by
the novelist or poet, and it is of the same substance in all cases of
genuine conviction, whatever the basis of the conviction may be.

The unit of the only oral propaganda of which the public can take
cognisance is the “group” (_le groupe_).

The anarchist group is unique—among organisations, one would say if one
might. Whether it consist of three persons or thirty, or some number
between these limits,—in point of fact it is oftener three than thirty,
with an average of perhaps a dozen,—it has neither constitution nor
by-laws, neither president, vice-president, nor executive board. It is
as exempt from human guidance as a Quaker meeting, to which, for the
matter of that, it bears more than this one superficial resemblance, and
as guiltless as an old-fashioned ladies’ committee meeting of
parliamentary law. Now the _camarades_ do not always conduct themselves
with exemplary decorum, and it sometimes happens that two or three of
them are on their feet together and talking at once; but, at the most,
this predicament does not arise more frequently than in more rule-bound
bodies, and it cannot, on the whole, be said that the groups are any
more disorderly, distrait, dilly-dallying, and ineffective than the
boresome assemblies in which, often, conceited lack-brains make
parliamentary tactics an end, not a means, by perpetually “rising to
points of order” and “appealing from the decisions of the chair.”

The group meets sometimes at a café or wine-shop and sometimes at the
lodging of a member. It is oftenest born of a mutual desire for
fellowship on the part of the anarchists of a street or quarter; but it
may result, quite independently of propinquity, from a common enthusiasm
for a special phase of the doctrine, a common wish to pursue the same
line of study, or from a common interest in some concrete enterprise,
such as coming to the rescue of strikers, raising funds for the families
of the victims of police persecution, founding libraries and lecture
courses, or the circulation of tracts. In any case there are no formal
conditions of membership, a group never being at a loss to rid itself,
without appeal to written law or precedent, of an intruder who makes
himself obnoxious.

The programmes of group meetings vary infinitely with the tempers and
caprices of the members, as well as with the objects of the groups; but
they may be said, in general, to consist of the reading of original
essays and poems, reports on the progress of the cause at home and
abroad, a consideration of the bearing on the cause of the latest events
in the world at large, an exchange of journals and brochures accompanied
by expositions and discussions of their contents, a volunteering of
service for the tasks in hand, and that untrammelled exchange of ideas
in which the lines between speech-making and conversation, wrangle and
discussion, are not too rigidly drawn.

The group is highly ephemeral. Everything about it being guided by the
exigencies of the moment, it rarely survives the accomplishment of the
special object for which it is formed. It dies, as it is born, easily;
or, rather, yielding to the charm of the untried, it takes to itself a
new body when the old body grows cramping or monotonous. Such deaths do
not signify complete exhaustion of vitality or even a diminution of
strength. By a sort of transmigration of souls the vital force is
redistributed, that is all.

This remarkable fluidity makes it practically impossible to get any
group statistics that are worth the paper they are written on. An
estimate made a few years back by a person who seemed as well situated
as any one to know, put the number of groups at about one hundred in
Paris and between four hundred and five hundred in the rest of France.
The same authority would probably give rather higher figures now. But
such figures, even if accurate, are of very slight importance, since the
number of groups is no criterion whatever of the number of anarchists.
The most militant anarchists hold aloof from the groups in order to have
complete freedom of action and escape police surveillance; many are in
commercial or administrative situations which counsel reticence; and
many labourers are constrained to a similar reticence by the danger of
losing their jobs. Furthermore, many anarchists call themselves
socialists in order to benefit by the greater tolerance accorded to the
socialists, especially since the Combes ministry came into power. In a
word, the anarchist has every reason to conceal his identity from the
prying statistician, and usually succeeds in doing so. Mark Twain,
commenting once on the inadequate census returns of the Jews in America,
affirmed that he himself was personally acquainted with several million.
The meagre numbers ordinarily assigned to the anarchists in France tempt
one strongly to imitate Mark’s facetious audacity. At least, if French
anarchists are really so few, one may affirm with safety that he is
personally acquainted with them all.

Group names are of no great moment when group identity is so evanescent;
but some of the names are picturesque or suggestive enough to bear
recording:—

_Les Enfants de la Nature_, _La Panthère de Batignolles_, _Les Gonzes
Poilus du Point-du-Jour_, _La Jeunesse Anti-Patriotique de Belleville_,
_Le Drapeau Noir_, _Les Quand Même_, _La Révolte des Travailleurs_, _Le
Cercle Internationale_, _La Torpille_, _Le Groupe Libertaire_, _Les
Forçats_, _Le Réveil_, _Les Résolus_, _L’Emancipation_, _Les
Anti-Travailleurs_, _Les Indomptables_, _Les Sans-Patrie_, _Les Amis de
Ravachol_, _Les Cœurs de Chêne_, _La Dynamite_, _Terre et Indépendance_,
_Les Indignés_, _La Vipère_, _L’Affamé_, _Le Glaive_, _Les Parias de
Charonne._

As each individual of a group is a law unto himself, recognising no
authority in the group as a whole, so each group is a law unto itself,
independent of every other group and recognising no higher authority
whatsoever. In France, formerly, as is still the case in several
countries, groups of the same region formed a federation; but the only
present tangible proofs of the existence of an anarchist movement on a
large scale are district, national, and international congresses to
which whoever wishes[3] may be a delegate. These congresses have no
legislative, administrative, or coercive power over their component
parts; their functions are purely advisory like those of the district
conferences of the Congregational churches in America.

A newly formed group usually gets itself into touch, by correspondence,
with its senior groups somewhat after the manner of a Chautauqua
Literary and Scientific Circle or the local branch of a “correspondence
university.” Thus: “The group _Les Vengeurs_ would like to put itself
into communication with the existing groups. Those who have not received
a personal letter, but who wish to correspond, are requested to direct
their letters to the following address,” etc.

Union meetings of several groups are not infrequent. Thus: “_L’Avenir
Social_ of St. Ouen invites the _camarades_ of the groups of St. Denis,
Stains, Argenteuil, Puteaux, and Aubervilliers to a grand meeting which
will be held Sunday, February 17, at 8.30 o’clock.” But these union
meetings can no more bind by their action the individual groups
participating than the “union temperance meetings” of the churches of
New England towns can bind the action of the individual churches
participating.

Anarchist mass meetings are relatively rare. If landlords are found
willing to let their halls to anarchists,—and such landlords are not
plentiful,—the police interpose at the last moment. Besides, money to
pay for a hall is not always forthcoming, and the hesitancy of even the
warmest sympathisers to compromise themselves by appearing publicly in
the company of the _camarades_ has to be reckoned with. But the
anarchist has ways of holding a mass meeting—without holding it—that
are worth two of holding it in the stereotyped fashion, and that speak
volumes for his resourcefulness.

One of his favourite devices is to get himself named in due form a
candidate for the Chamber, which gives him the right to cover the walls
of the government buildings with unstamped posters[4] and the free use
of the public-school property for meetings. “Several _camarades_ are
astonished” (I quote from a number of _Le Libertaire_) “to see Libertad
a candidate. Reassure yourselves. With his customary enthusiastic and
communicative eloquence he exposes in his meetings the imbecility and
the infamy of the parliamentary system. Paraf-Javal seconds him with his
marvellous talent as a logician. Between them they are doing an
excellent and useful work. At the last meeting an auditor—to carry out
the farce of the campaign rally—proposed a resolution which was not
voted, but which was gayly read by Libertad in the midst of general
approbation. You will perceive by this resolution that our _camarade_ is
not on the point of occupying a seat in the _Palais-Bourbon_:—

   “‘The electors assembled in the school building of the
   Boulevard de Belleville, after having listened to the bogus
   candidate Libertad and the _camarade_ Paraf-Javal, conclude
   (agreeing thus at every point with the candidate himself) that
   voting is too stupid to be thought of, and that liberty of
   opinion, like every other liberty, is not to be asked for, but
   to be taken, whatever the obstacles. They are determined to
   send packing all the genuine candidates in whom they see only
   imbeciles or knaves.’”

The anarchist’s sense of humour, you see, is much more highly developed
than is ordinarily supposed. Nothing tickles this sense of humour more
than to pack the meetings of his antagonists, the bourgeois politicians,
divert these meetings from their primitive object by virtue of numbers,
address, strength of lung, hardness of fist, or all of these combined,
and so carry on his propaganda at the expense of the very persons it is
directed against.

He effects this peacefully, as a rule, if his numbers are overwhelmingly
superior. In this case it is very much an affair of bravado and
lungs. He simply elects a _bureau_[5] to his mind—for so good
an end he is more than willing to stifle his scruples against
parliamentarianism—and, having installed a number of the _camarades_
upon the platform, carries on the meeting with his own orators and as
nearly in his own fashion as circumstances permit; of course, not
without more or less noise and abusive protest, if the adherents of the
original cause remain in the audience.

If, however, the numbers are more evenly matched, the interlopers,
without attempting to capture the organisation of the meeting, make a
dash for the front at a preconcerted signal, scale the platform as
though it were a rampart, throw down every member of the _bureau_ into
the body of the house, and send the speaking-desk with its pitcher and
glass of _eau sucrée_, the secretary’s table, and all the rest of the
platform paraphernalia flying after them. Then, if resistance is offered
on the floor of the hall, a pitched battle ensues, and the possession of
the platform (except as it gives the advantage of position and an
admirable chance to strut, game-cock fashion) counts for little, in the
utter impossibility of getting heard, even if it is maintained, which it
is not always, there being instances on record of the platform being
taken and retaken, quite as if it were a strategic redoubt, several
times in a single evening. Supposing, however, that the interlopers
follow up the platform victory by another victory in the body of the
hall, and succeed in ejecting the rightful occupants completely; the
dispossessed, if they are not able to call up re-enforcements for a
re-entry and renewal of the conflict, have no other redress than to
persuade the proprietor of the hall to vacate it by cutting off the gas
supply or by summoning the police. Either way, they gain nothing but the
emptiest sort of dog-in-the-manger vengeance, since they cannot hope to
resume their own interrupted meeting.

During the days succeeding the Dreyfus affair, when excitement was
running high over the struggle between the nationalists and the
socialists for the control of the Paris municipal council, a great
nationalist mass meeting (“_une grande réunion patriotique_”), to be
presided over by a nationalist deputy and addressed by other celebrities
of the party, was announced for half-past eight of a certain Friday
evening, in the assembly room of the Tivoli-Vauxhall, close by the Place
de la République. On the morning of the night set for the meeting all
the nationalist organs printed the following item:—

   “We are informed at the last moment that the anarchists are
   coming in force to-night to our patriotic meeting at
   Tivoli-Vauxhall in order to prevent its being held and to
   transform it into a demonstration of _sans-patrie._ They
   propose to wave the red and the black flag. We are obliged,
   therefore, much to our regret, to take measures to prevent the
   entrance of our adversaries, and must limit the entries
   strictly to those who are provided with invitations.
   Invitations may be had by applying at,” etc., etc.

On the other hand, the revolutionary organs of the same morning printed
the following:—

   “The _Comité d’Action Révolutionnaire_ invites all
   republicans, all socialists, and all _libertaires_
   [_libertaire_ is a euphonious name for anarchist] to assist at
   the public meeting organised by the nationalists for this
   evening, Friday, at 8.30, Tivoli-Vauxhall, rue de la Douane in
   the Château d’Eau Quarter. All the _camarades_ and _citoyens_
   are urged to wear the red eglantine.”

To one familiar with Parisian ways these antithetic notices promised a
beautiful scrimmage. There _was_ a beautiful scrimmage.

The doors opened at eight, and during half an hour or more the persons
duly provided with invitations straggled into the hall; while, on the
sidewalk opposite, a hostile crowd of socialists and anarchists, which
the police had the greatest difficulty in restraining, asserted angrily
their right to enter.

Just as the president of the evening, a phenomenally fat politician,
arose to speak, the police lines gave way under the strain put upon
them; there was a terrific stampede across the street, and before the
public had time to pull themselves together again and before the
ticket-takers could oppose the slightest resistance or really knew what
was happening, more than two thousand persons without invitations had
invaded the hall.

   “_Vive la Sociale!_ _Vive l’Anarchie!_ _A bas l’Armée!_”
   bellowed the invaders.

   “_Vive le Drapeau!_ _Vive Rochefort!_ _Vive l’Armée!_”
   screamed the invaded.

And, presto! pandemonium reigned.

In vain the elephantine president brandished his bell and pounded on the
table. In vain he made a speaking trumpet with his hands and roared
through it for order. The antagonistic yells mounted, collided, cracked,
and exploded in mid air.

   “_A bas la Calotte!_”—“_Vive l’Armée!_”

   “_Mort aux Juifs!_”—“_A bas Drumont!_”

   “_A bas Zola!_”—“_Vive Loubet!_”

   “_Vive l’Internationale!_”—“_Vive le Drapeau!_”

In the rear of the hall, to the air of _Les Lampions_, a surging band
chanted,—

   _“Déroulède à Charenton,[6]
     Déroulède à Charenton,
         Ton taine,
     Déroulède à Charenton,
     Déroulède à Charenton,
         Ton ton.”_

And in the front of the hall another surging band retorted, to the same
air,—

   _“Conspuez Loubet!
     Conspuez Loubet!
       Conspuez!”_

“_Enlevez l’homme tonneau!_” (Away with the hogshead-man!) a shrill and
mocking voice in one corner piped.

   “ENLEVEZ L’HOMME TONNEAU!!”

a hundred, five hundred, a thousand voices caught up the derisive cry.

   “ENLEVEZ L’HOMME TONNEAU!!!”

the whole two thousand interlopers bawled.

And, bawling thus, they seethed on to the platform like a wave, lifted
the frantically gesticulating “_homme-tonneau_” and his two hundred of
avoirdupois clean off his feet, and, receding with multitudinous
laughter, swept him down the aisle and out through the door as if he
were a chip, and all his satellites and followers in the wake of him.

The new broom of the proverb never swept one-half so clean. Not a
nationalist, at least not a nationalist who dared to raise a nationalist
cry, was left in the hall. The socialists and anarchists were in
complete possession; but the real scrimmage of the evening was yet to
come.

A _bureau_ was chosen in which the two parties were about equally
represented, and a resolution was passed branding the nationalists as
tools of the bourgeois and as royalist reactionaries more dangerous than
the royalists themselves. Then a socialist, in an excess of zeal, made
the blunder of introducing a resolution committing the meeting to the
support of a certain socialist candidate for the municipal council. The
anarchists, holding to their cardinal principle of non-participation in
elections, vigorously dissented. Hot words followed; the crucial
differences between the doctrines were evoked and emphasised; old
injuries were recalled; old disputes were raked up; old sores were
probed and laid open. Plainly, the hall was much too small for both.

From furious debate the meeting went to still more furious shouts and
counter-shouts. _Vive l’Anarchie_, which had so lately locked arms with
_Vive la Sociale_, now confronted it and hissed threatenings and curses
in its teeth. And from shouts (there being no “_homme-tonneau_” to
kindle saving laughter) the meeting went to blows. Fists, canes,
umbrellas, chairs, and benches cleaved the air; shoes battered shins and
heads concaved stomachs; clothes were torn, hats crushed in and trampled
under foot; furniture was dismembered, and mirrors, windows, and gas
globes were shattered. The field days of the French Chamber were left
far in the rear, so was even the legendary South Boston Democratic
caucus. The pushing, pulling, pounding, kicking, scratching, biting, and
butting, the oaths and calls for help, the howls, growls, and yelps of
baffled rage and pain, would need the pen of a French Fielding to
describe and transcribe.

Finally, the socialists passed out by the same door as the nationalists,
and in very much the same fashion. But the anarchists had barely time to
catch their breath and to pronounce the socialists “the tools of the
bourgeois and the most dangerous of reactionaries, because the most
disguised,” when the police arrived, and with their fateful “_Messieurs,
la réunion est dissoute_,” backed up by the extinction of the gas,
evacuated the hall.

Once in the street, the anarchists were _solidaire_ again with the
socialists against their common bourgeois enemies, the nationalists.
What is more, all three were _solidaire_ against their common enemy, the
police; and the latter were forced to call on their reserves and a body
of the _Garde Républicaine_ to disperse the rioters.

[Illustration: MAULED TO DEATH FOR SHOUTING, “VIVE L’ARMÉE!”]

The joint debates (_assemblées contradictoires_) which are held, now and
then, during the political campaigns, are very apt to degenerate into
similar scrimmages. As a rule, such encounters—there must be a special
providence for scrimmages as there is for lovers—work no great harm
beyond bruises to those engaged in them; but fatal results are not
unknown. Not long ago, at an anti-militarist meeting in the hall of the
“_Mille Colonnes_,” a man who had the bad taste or the misplaced courage
to cry, “_Vive l’Armée!_” was quickly mauled to death by the infuriate
audience. This was not an “_assemblée contradictoire_,” it is true; but,
if it had been, the outcome would probably have been the same.

It is only fair to say, however, that the anarchists, on such occasions,
are not more intolerant than others. There is no certainty that a man
would have fared better who, alone, in a patriotic assembly at that time
had raised the cry, “_A bas l’Armée!_”

The anarchist, with all his haughty insistence on directness and
sincerity, is not totally averse to taking or administering the
sugar-coated pill. He has _punchs-conférences_ (punch-talks) and
_soupes-conférences_ (soup-talks), the former for himself, the latter
for others. At the _punch-conférence_ he washes down the word with the
beverage of his choice,—more often wine, coffee, or beer than the punch
which gives the name. At the _soupe-conférence_ he dispenses to hungry
vagabonds the soup that sustains life and the doctrines that, to his
mind, explain it and make it worth while; precisely as the city
missionaries and the “Salvation lassies” dispense food and gospel to
“hoboes” at the “mission breakfasts” and “hallelujah lunches” of English
and American cities and large towns.

In the summer he has “_ballades de propagande_,”—picnic trips into the
country, which are given a serious turn by doctrinal speeches, in the
open air, after lunch.

He has also—at least he had for a season—his weekly _déjeuners
végétariens_, at which the somewhat attenuated coating of sugar which a
vegetarian lunch gives to the lecture pill is overlaid with the more
substantial sweetness of frolic, song, and badinage.

He has his theatre (that is to say, he has his amateur theatricals)
about which a glamour of mystery and adventure is shed by the fact the
greater part of the répertoire is under the ban of the censorship.
Entrance to the performances is by invitation only and free. It is thus
the law is evaded, a fixed and obligatory cloak-room charge replacing
the fee of admission.

The _Maison du Peuple_ of the rue Ramey, which calls itself socialistic
from motives of prudence, has a permanent band of actors (_le Théâtre
Social_) on the border line between professionals and amateurs, who give
evening and matinée performances nearly every Sunday throughout the
winter and spring, and who occasionally go upon the road.

A single announcement will suffice to explain the operations of this and
all similar troupes:—

   “THÉÂTRE SOCIAL.

   _Maison du Peuple de Paris_, 47 _rue Ramey_ (4, _impasse
   Pers_).

   “_Camarades_,

   “Before its departure for Belgium, where it is going to give a
   series of representations of its great success, _L’Exemple_,
   the _Théâtre Social_ has decided to give two other
   representations (evening and matinée) of the piece of
   Chéri-Vinet, at the _Maison du Peuple_, in order to
   accommodate the _camarades_ of the suburban districts.

   “We invite you, then, _camarades_, to assist at the third and
   fourth representations (_strictly private_) of _L’Exemple_,
   interdicted by the Censorship, the unpublished revolutionary
   drama in 4 acts and 5 tableaux, which will be given Sunday,
   the 31st of March, at two o’clock and at half-past eight
   sharp.

   “_L’Exemple_ will be preceded by _En Famille_, a piece by
   Méténier in one act.

   “Obligatory cloak-room fee, ten sous.

   “Invitations may be procured at the _Maison du Peuple_, 47 rue
   Ramey, at the offices of _L’Aurore_, _La Petite République_,
   and _Le Petit Sou_, and at the house of the _citoyen_ A——,
   number —, rue Championnet.”


As at the _Théâtre d’Application_ (formerly _la Bodinière_), the various
independent theatres, and the “Thursdays” of the _Odéon_, the
performance of the revolutionary troupe is usually preceded by an
explanatory or relevant talk either by its author or some well-known
thinker or littérateur. Thus, when Charles Malato’s _Barbapoux_,
announced as an “_Œuvre Aristophanesque, Symbolico-fantaisiste_,” was
performed at the _Maison du Peuple_, Malato himself provided an
introductory lecture, entitled “_Le Cléricalisme et le Nationalisme._”

Above all, the anarchist has his _soirée familiale_. For example:—

   “The anarchist group, _Les Résolus_, announce for _Mardi Gras_
   a grand _soirée familiale et privée_, to begin at nine.
   Concert by amateurs, preceded by a lecture by L. Réville,
   subject ‘_Le Socialisme et l’Anarchie_,’ and followed by a
   ball and a _tombola_ [lottery]. Entrance free. Obligatory
   cloak-room fee, six sous.”

In a big, barn-like, crudely lighted, smoke-begrimed, rafter-ceilinged
hall, whose walls are adorned with the painted texts which are anarchy’s
great watchwords,

   NOTRE ENNEMI C’EST NOTRE MAÎTRE

   LA FONTAINE


   LA PROPRIÉTÉ C’EST LE VOL

   PROUDHON


   LA NATURE N’A FAIT NI SERVITEUR NI MAÎTRE
   JE NE VEUX NI DONNER NI RECEVOIR DES LOIS

   DIDEROT


   LE CLÉRICALISME C’EST L’ENNEMI

   GAMBETTA


   NI DIEU NI MAÎTRE

   BLANQUI

to the laboured sounds of a patient, plethoric orchestra, the _Résolus_
couples, some commonplace, some grotesque, and some graceful, dance with
honest zest; but with a restraint and modesty in striking contrast with
the reckless _abandon_ of such resorts as the _Moulin Rouge_, maintained
mainly for the prudent depravity of touring English and American men and
(alas!) women, who flock there to fan jaded or hitherto unawakened
senses into flame, under the flimsy pretext or the fond illusion that
they are studying French life.

[Illustration: A BALL AT THE MAISON DU PEUPLE

   _To the laboured sounds of a patient, plethoric
   orchestra, the couples dance with honest
   zest; but with a restraint and modesty_]

[Illustration: DANCING AT THE MOULIN ROUGE

   _in striking contrast with the reckless abandon
   of such resorts as the Moulin Rouge, maintained
   mainly for the prudent depravity of tourists_.]

In connection with the _soirée familiale_, it is highly diverting to
note the same advertising dodges on the part of the managers; the same
meaningless compliments to performers on the part of those who introduce
them; the same ill-concealed impatience on the part of the audience
during the serious part of the exercises for the dancing to begin; the
same fluttering preoccupation with ribbons, robes, coiffures, and
aigrettes, and the same jealousies of superior beauty, superior style,
and more numerous or assiduous adorers on the part of the young women;
and the same fussy solicitude on the part of doting mammas to have their
daughters dance with the young men that are “likely” as in assemblies
that do not occupy themselves with lofty ideas and ideals; also the same
tiptoeing excitement over the drawing of the _tombola_ as in the
_soirées_ of the working people, who do not profess a contempt for gain.

But he would be a precipitate reasoner, not to say a sorry churl, who
should pounce on these little charming inconsequences as refutations of
the anarchist theory, or should even call attention to them as other
than reassuring evidence that the anarchist is a very human and likable
being, not unaffected with amiable vices, and that he is not the abject
slave of that angular consistency which, if it be a virtue at all, is
the most unlovely of all the virtues. Your sound anarchist will probably
tell you that he is sincerely ashamed of these failings, that they are
deplorable relics of the old spirit of over-reaching which cannot, in
the nature of the case, be entirely expelled so long as the old social
régime continues. But this apology is so familiar, so threadbare even,
it has been proffered so many, many times by so many very different
sorts of people, that you prefer to ignore it, and attribute the
anarchist’s dainty peccadilloes to the good old human nature which has
always made men so much more companionable—let us guard ourselves
against saying so much better—than their creeds.

In all the anarchist assemblies—the group meetings, the congresses, the
mass meetings, and the various social and semi-social evenings—the
_trimardeur_ is a noteworthy figure. The _trimardeur_[7] (literally,
pilgrim of the great road) is a _camarade_ who devotes himself to
winning converts while making his tour of France. He has a certain
kinship with the ancient bard, the mediæval troubadour and itinerant
friar, and the German apprentice on his _Wanderjahre_.

[Illustration: A TRIMARDEUR DISPUTING WITH SOCIALISTS]

But he is chiefly interesting as being the nearest modern approach to
the early Christian apostle and the most perfect embodiment of the
missionary spirit in existence. Figure him as the contemporary
missionary or missionary agent minus a salary and a domicile,—if you
can imagine such an anachronistic phenomenon!

He is usually a skilful and reliable workman who has lost his job from
his irresistible propensity to spread radical ideas among his
fellow-workmen or for his active connection with a strike. He sets out
on his proselyting tour “with neither purse nor scrip nor shoes,”
“neither bread, neither money” almost literally; and, literally, without
“two coats.” In the country he mingles with the peasants and farm
labourers, sleeping under their roofs, “eating and drinking such things
as they give,” and converting as many as he may, sure of a welcome, for
that matter, wherever there is a lodge—and where is there not?—of that
most fraternal of all freemasonries,—discontent. In the cities he works
during his sojourn, if work is to be had; and, when he “goes out of a
city,” he blesses that city if it has “received” him, and “he shakes off
the very dust from his feet as a testimony against it” if it has
“received him not.”

The origin, methods, and manners of the _trimardeur_ have been well
described by one Flor O’Squarr. I take up his description at the point
where the incipient _trimardeur_ has been turned away by his employer.
“He offers his labour to the factory opposite, to the foundry adjacent.
Vain proceeding! Unfavourable reports immediately follow him or have
preceded him there. The employers also combine. He will be received
nowhere except by mistake and for a short time. At the beginning this
conspiracy of the world against him surprises and disturbs him. He
exclaims: ‘What have I done to them, then? Why do they drive me away
thus, as they would a mangy or vicious cur? I have defended my interests
and those of my fellows. It was my right, after all.’

   “Later he discerns injustice in this persistent
   hostility,—bourgeois injustice, _parbleu!_ This discovery
   provokes in him the idea of revolt, as a draught of alcohol
   inflames the blood. Persecution has begun then. Well, let it
   be so! He will accept it, not without pride. The theory of
   anarchy sinks a little deeper into his brain, after the manner
   of a spike on which the employers have tried their sledges.
   Then he buckles his belt, turns up his pantaloons, tightens
   his shoe-lacing, and gains the _trimard_ with a few sous in
   his pocket, _en route_ for the nearest large town, where he
   hopes to find employment and an unworked field for his
   neophytic zeal.

   “If he sets out from Angers, from Trélazé, for instance, he
   tramps as far as Nantes, where he improvises himself porter or
   stevedore along the quays of the Loire, undertaking with the
   rashest indifference any occupation for which only muscle is
   required....

   “Signalled anew, ... our man rebuckles his belt, turns up
   again his pantaloons, retightens his shoe-lacing, and gains
   the _trimard_ with a few sous in his pocket, headed towards
   St. Nazaire or Brest, towards Rennes or towards Cherbourg,
   towards any city whatsoever in which he can hope to earn his
   bread and convert men. Along the road he manages to get
   shelter on the farms, and he carries on his propaganda among
   the peasantry.

   “This tireless fanaticism will carry him through Normandy
   towards the regions of the north. He will be expelled from the
   spinning-mills of Rouen, the glass-works of Douai, the mines
   of Anzin, the forges of Fives. From there he will pass into
   Belgium, always ‘on the hoof’ (_à pattes_) and on the
   _trimard_: he will visit Brussels, where the marvellous
   workingmen’s organisations of Brasseur and Jean Volders will
   make him shrug his shoulders,—‘Fudge, all that! authoritative
   socialism, that’; Antwerp, which will detain him a week, a bit
   disconcerted by the machine; Liège and Scraing, which will
   keep him a month; le Borinage, which he will contemplate as a
   promised land. Perhaps he will go into Germany, the vast
   Germany so inclement to anarchy,—that is, if he does not
   descend into the east by the Luxembourg, and gain the Jura by
   the Vosges.

   “In two or three years he will have seen many districts and
   many countries, and will have scattered behind him everywhere,
   indifferently, seeds of revolt without troubling himself about
   the nature of the ground. His information will be considerably
   augmented. He will have made good by experience the defects of
   his education. He will know various languages and _patois_,
   having spoken Breton at Vannes, Normand at Caen, Walloon at
   Namur, Flemish at Gand, Marollien at Brussels, German in the
   east or in Switzerland; and, like the cosmopolitan Bohemian
   who had learned to borrow five francs in all the tongues of
   the world, he will have become capable of preaching anarchy in
   all the ‘_argots_.’...

[Illustration: EVENING IN A CABARET

   “_The little wine-shop concerts at
    which every person present is
    expected to do his turn._”]

   “If during his travels the _trimardeur_ has not acquired fine
   manners, at least he has acquired some very extended notions
   on customs and industries. He will know, without referring to
   a note, by a simple habit of memory, the distribution of the
   revolutionary contingents, here, there, and everywhere, in
   labour unions or socialist or anarchist groups, and the
   efficacy of each; what can be attempted at Montpellier, what
   is possible at Calais, how the iron is extracted at
   Mont-Canigan, and how it is worked at St. Chamond; why the
   fitters of the Seine are better paid than those of Nevers or
   Creuzot; where one stands a chance of being welcomed if one
   has been driven from the workshops of la Ciotat; by what
   artifice one may travel gratuitously in the baggage-cars of
   the company of the Midi, etc., etc. This miscellaneous
   information is not a bad substitute for science, and forms in
   fact a sort of fund of practical science very useful in the
   every-day life.”

   “_Nous partons tous faire le tour du monde
     Quand nous manquons de travail et de pain;
     Et cependant notre terre féconde
     Produit assez pour tout le genre humain,
     Nos exploiteurs veulent jouir sans cesse:
     Dans tous nos maux ils trouvent un plaisir.
     Nous travaillons pour créer la richesse,
     Et de misère il nous faudrait mourir?_”

   REFRAIN.

   “_Allons, debout! les Trimardeurs,
     Tous les hommes, enfin, veulent l’indépendance;
     Supprimons donc nos exploiteurs,
     Afin d’avoir le droit de vivre dans l’aisance._”

So runs the first stanza of the _Chant des Trimardeurs_; and this
_chanson_, though execrable poetry, is, nevertheless, amply suggestive
of the spirit of the _trimardeur_, and at the same time fairly
illustrative of the popular revolutionary _chanson_ (_chanson populaire
révolutionnaire_).

   “Of all the peoples of Europe,” said Jean-Jacques Rousseau,
   “the French people is the one whose temperament is the most
   inclined to the _chanson_.

   “The _chanson_ is the Frenchman’s ægis against ennui.... He
   uses it sometimes as a kind of consolation for the losses and
   reverses he sustains. He sings his defeats, his poverty, and
   his ills as readily as his prosperity and his victories.
   Beating or beaten, in abundance or in need, happy or unhappy,
   gay or sad, he sings always. One would say that the _chanson_
   is the natural expression of all his sentiments.”

France’s _chanson populaire_ has always been one of the most important
breeders and disseminators of social and political discontent. It has
always kept pace with and frequently forerun revolutions. It is not
surprising, therefore, that it is looked on by the anarchists as one of
the most efficacious means of propaganda. The circulation among the
masses of songs of revolt (_chansons de propagande_) is vigorously
carried on by a number of revolutionary publishing concerns, which
retail them at two sous each[8] and wholesale them at fr. 4.50 a
hundred, and which also distribute them gratuitously as often as a
_camarade_ or sympathiser will provide a fund for the purpose.

In these _chansons_, logic is deliberately ignored, and metaphysics and
ethics are very little meddled with. All the subtleties and refinements
of the doctrine, all the gentleness and sweet reasonableness of the
accredited expounders of the doctrine, are crowded out by the necessity
for the simple, downright, direct appeal to the passion which is the
_chanson’s_ peculiar province.

The very titles of these _chansons de propagande_ show that their
purpose is inflammation rather than persuasion. Notice a few of them:—

“_Ouvrier, prends la Machine!_” “_Crevez-moi la Sacoche_” (money-bag)!
“_Fusille les Voleurs_,” _Les Briseurs d’Images_, _Le Drapeau Rouge_,
_Le Réveil_, “_Vivement, Brav’ Ouvrier!_” _La Chanson du Linceul_.

When proselytism is not sufficiently pronounced in the _chansons_
themselves, caustic foot-notes make up the deficiency. Thus this
definition of the word _députés_: “Deputies are persons who make rules
for others and exceptions for themselves.”

These _chansons_, besides being sung in the various anarchist functions,
appear, along with ballads, amorous ditties, and the topical songs of
the day, on the programmes of the little wine-shop concerts of the
faubourgs, at which each and every person present is expected to “do his
turn” and all are counted on to help out with the choruses. These
diminutive faubourg concert halls are the lineal descendants of the
famous historic workingmen’s _goguettes_ and _guinguettes_ into which
the great Déjazet was happy to escape and from which the thought and the
spirit of revolt were never far distant. “Behind their closed doors,”
says Jules Claretie, “the government was roundly berated, the couplets
of the _chansonniers_ there becoming for it more redoubtable than the
fiercest articles of the press.”

The _chansons de propagande_—the more catchy, least compromising of
them, that is—are sung in the public squares and on the street corners
of the working districts by the itinerant musicians, who are at all
seasons, but especially at fête times, a picturesque feature of Paris
streets, and who conduct so many open-air singing schools, as it were,
in that they teach their motley audiences to sing the songs they have
the wit to sell them.

Only a few of the anarchist _chansons_ ever see the types. The majority
either circulate in handwriting among the groups or, without having been
taken down, are transmitted orally, like the mediæval folk-songs or the
Homeric lays, suffering, like those, all sorts of modifications and
corruptions of text in the transmission.

Of the _chansons populaires révolutionnaires_ which have come down to
the present from the Great Revolution, the _Marseillaise_, a true
_chanson de propagande_ in its time, well called by Lamartine “the
fire-water of the Revolution,” is not in favour with the orthodox
anarchists, because it is essentially patriotic and uses the offensive
word _citoyen_. The “_Ça Ira_” is still sung by the anarchists, but not
always to its original words. The _Père Duchêne_, a part of which dates
from the Directoire, is sung mainly by the coal-miners of the region of
the Loire. The _Carmagnole_ alone—the saucy, rollicking, explosive,
diabolic _Carmagnole!_—has held its own against all new-comers,
changing, but losing nothing of its sauciness, its explosiveness, and
its diabolism as it has passed from the versions of 1792-93 through its
seven clearly defined texts to the version of the memorable strike of
Montceau-les-Mines in 1883.

After the execution of Ravachol[9] the airs of the “_Ça Ira_” and the
_Carmagnole_ were combined into a chanson called _La Ravachole_, which,
in spite of this hybrid origin, may fairly be classed as the latest and
by far the most vindictive version of the _Carmagnole_.

LA RAVACHOLE


    I

   _Dans la grande ville de Paris (bis)
    Il y a des bourgeois bien nourris, (bis)
    Il y a les miséreux
    Qui ont le ventre creux.
    Ceux-là ont les dents longues,
    Vive le son, vive le son,
    Ceux-là ont les dents longues,
    Vive le son
    D’ l’explosion._

    REFRAIN

   _Dansons la Ravachole,
    Vive le son, vive le son,
    Dansons la Ravachole,
    Vive le son
    D’ l’explosion.
    Ah, ça ira, ça ira, ça ira,
    Tous les bourgeois goût’ront d’ la bombe,
    Ah, ça ira, ça ira, ça ira,
    Tous les bourgeois on les saut’ra,
    On les saut’ra._


    II

   _Il y a les magistrats vendus, (bis)
    Il y a les financiers ventrus, (bis)
    Il y a les argosins;
    Mais pour tous ces coquins
    Il y a d’ la dynamite,
    Vive le son, vive le son,
    Il y a d’ la dynamite,
    Vive le son
    D’ l’explosion!_

   _Dansons, etc._


    III

   _Il y a les sénateurs gâteux, (bis)
    Il y a les députés véreux, (bis)
    Il y a les généraux,
    Assassins et bourreaux,
    Bouchers en uniforme,
    Vive le son, vive le son,
    Bouchers en uniforme,
    Vive le son
    D’ l’explosion._

   _Dansons, etc._


    IV

   _Il y a les hôtels des richards (bis)
    Tandis que les pauvres déchards (bis)
    A demi-morts de froid
    Et souffrant dans leurs doigts.
    Refilent la comète,
    Vive le son, vive le son,
    Refilent la comète,
    Vive le son
    D’ l’explosion._

   _Dansons, etc._


    V

   _Ah, nom de dieu, faut en finir! (bis)
    Assez longtemps geindre et souffrir! (bis)
    Pas de guerre à moitié!
    Plus de lâche pitié!
    Mort à la bourgeoisie,
    Vive le son, vive le son,
    Mort à la bourgeoisie,
    Vive le son
    D’ l’explosion!_

   _Dansons, etc._


The revolutions of 1830, 1848, and 1871, as well as the Great
Revolution, left to the people generous heritages of bourgeois-baiting
_chansons_. The barricades of those agitated periods rang with lyric
improvisations born of the ferment and frenzy of the hour. The authors
were oftener clerks or day labourers than they were poets or
professional _chansonniers_, and their songs, many of the best of which
have survived, were genuine songs of the people. But the one supremely
great _chanson populaire révolutionnaire_ of the last half of the
century just closed, a song as striking in its way as the _Carmagnole_,
the “_Ça Ira_,” the _Père Duchêne_, or the _Marseillaise_, is the
_Internationale_. Wherever there is revolt or faith in revolt,
brotherhood or yearning after brotherhood, this stupendous hymn of the
religion of humanity (for it is much more a hymn than a _chanson_) is
fervidly and reverently sung. The _Internationale_ has something of the
profundity and awfulness of Martin Luther’s “_Ein’ Feste Burg_.” Like
that marvellous psalm, it is at once uplifting and crushing. In concept
it is probably the biggest song of liberty that has ever been written.
It is surely the biggest in this respect of all the French revolutionary
_chansons_. As the _Marseillaise_, with its fierce, defiant staccatos
and fiery, resistless appeal, is the perfect lyric expression of the
fury of onset (_furia francese_) in the field, and as the _Carmagnole_,
with its madly reeling, rolling, booming rhythms and its terrible,
mocking, blasphemous mirth, is the perfect lyric expression of the
drunkenness and dare-devilness of mobs and barricades, so the
_Internationale_, with its slow, solemn, stately measure and its
universal reach of feeling and of thought, is the perfect lyric
expression of the eternal might and majesty of humanity. Hearing it, it
is as if one heard the cadenced beat of the million-millioned tread of
the advancing race, sweeping all barriers of pride and prejudice before
it.

In the meetings, the numerous stanzas of the _Carmagnole_ and the
_Internationale_ are generally delivered as a solo from the platform by
a _camarade_ who is blessed with a good memory and exceptional lung
power, the audiences leaping into the choruses. The effect is invariably
inspiriting, whatever the personality of the soloist or the quality of
his voice, and whatever the composition and the voices of the audience.
Indeed, these two _chansons_ seem to belong to that rare sort of music
which cannot be spoiled by bad, if it be not half-hearted, execution. So
that there is conviction behind it, it carries,—the music in which
sincerity and fervour atone for all defects of pitch, key, and voice.

In the open air, the more familiar stanzas are sung in unison just as is
the _Marseillaise_, just as are the songs of the students, and just as
are, for that matter, all the songs of the people in France,—a method
by which a great deal more is gained in lilt and concentration (where
only the primal emotions are concerned) than is lost in charm. And I
defy any one who has a drop of red blood in him to be at the centre of
several thousand excited people who are shouting the _Marseillaise_, the
_Internationale_, or the _Carmagnole_, and not join in, even though his
every instinct and belief be anti-revolutionary and he has neither voice
nor ear. He who has not shared the surging and chanting of an angry
Paris mob has only half experienced the popular thrill, and can have
only half an idea what solidarity of emotion means.

The _Internationale_ is as much the rallying cry of the opening of the
twentieth century as the _Marseillaise_ was of the opening of the
eighteenth; and it would not be surprising if its author, Eugène
Pottier, who is already called by the faithful “the Tyrtæus of the
Social Revolution,” should win ultimately the same sort of an apotheosis
as Rouget de Lisle won by the _Marseillaise_.

Poor Pottier, who died in 1887 at seventy-one years of age, saw only the
beginning of the phenomenal vogue of his masterpiece as a revolutionary
slogan.

Pottier was one of the few who dared to speak his mind freely during the
Second Empire, and was a prominent figure on the barricades of both 1848
and 1871. He was proscribed for his participation in the Commune, but
escaped to America, where he remained till amnesty was declared. Unable
to work steadily at his trade after his return, because his natural
employers resented the part he had taken in the organisation of his
craft, as well as his share in the Commune, and systematically neglected
as a poet and song-writer by the bourgeois press, his poverty was
terrible at times,—so terrible that it is no hyperbole to say that many
of his best pieces were written with his heart’s blood. They were real
cries of real anguish. His boundless love and pity for the poor and his
incessant struggle for the emancipation of the oppressed turned his
life—like that of the noble Communard, Blanqui, to whom he dedicated a
marvellous sonnet—into an uninterrupted series of self-sacrifices; and
he stands side by side with Blanqui among the finest modern
revolutionist types. Many of his _chansons_ besides the _Internationale_
have survived him. He left also a quantity of far from despicable poems.

They are legion, the men of the people whom anarchy has inspired of late
years to sing; but the majority of them are unknown to the general
public and even to other anarchistic groups than their own. A few,
however, have a Parisian reputation for their abilities or
eccentricities.

Paul Paillette, a quaint, picturesque personality, inhabits a
correspondingly quaint and picturesque lodging, which he calls his
“_grenier de philosophe_” (philosopher’s garret) on the summit of
Montmartre. He was originally a jeweller; but of late years he has
supported himself by rendering his own productions and those of Bruant
and Xanrof in the salons of the bourgeois, who gladly pay him for
ridiculing and abusing them. He is also a favourite feature of the union
meetings and _soirées familiales_ in several quarters of the city.

Paul Paillette can be bitter, caustic, and violent when he chooses; but
his dominant note is gentle, hopeful, idyllic, and ideal, as the
following _chanson_ from his principal volume, _Les Tablettes d’un
Lézard_, testifies:—


   HEUREUX TEMPS

   Air: _Le Temps des Cerises._


    I

   _Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Les humains joyeux auront un gros cœur
            Et légère panse.
    Heureux, on saura, sainte récompense,
    Dans l’amour d’autrui doubler son bonheur!
    Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Les humains joyeux auront un gros cœur._


    II

   _Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    On ne verra plus d’êtres ayant faim
          Auprès d’autres ivres:
    Sobres nous serons et riches en vivres;
    Des maux engendrés ce sera la fin.
    Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Tous satisferont sainement leur faim._


    III

   _Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Le travail sera récréation
          Au lieu d’être peine.
    Le corps sera libre, et l’âme sereine,
    En paix, fera son évolution.
    Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Le travail sera récréation._


    IV

   _Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Les petits bébés auront au berceau
          Les baisers des mères.
    Tous seront choyés, tous égaux, tous frères;
    Ainsi grandira ce monde nouveau.
    Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Les bébés auront un même berceau._


    V

   _Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Les vieillards aimés, poètes-pasteurs,
          Bénissant la terre,
    S’éteindront, béats, sous le ciel mystère,
    Ayant bien vécu, loin de ces hauteurs.
    Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Les vieillards seront de bien doux pasteurs._

[Illustration: A LA RENOMMÉE DES POMMES-DE-TERRE FRITES

   _Fried potatoes sold at
   one sou the package_]


    VI

   _Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Nature sera paradis d’amour;
          Femme souveraine,
    Esclave aujourd’hui, demain notre reine,
    Nous rechercherons tes ordres du jour!
    Quand nous en serons au temps d’anarchie,
    Nature sera paradis d’amour._


    VII

   _Il semble encore loin, ce temps d’anarchie;
    Mais, si loin soit-il, nous le pressentons;
          Une foi profonde
    Nous fait entrevoir ce bienheureux monde
    Qu’hélas! notre esprit dessine à tâtons.
    Il semble encore loin, ce temps d’anarchie;
    Mais, si loin soit-il, nous le pressentons!_

Brunel, a café garçon by profession, author of _Le Chant des
Peinards_, has been associated with Paul Paillette in organising
_soupes-conférences_ and _déjeuners végétariens_.

Achille Leroy calls himself “author, publisher, and international
book-seller,” and his invariable response to the simple salutation,
“_Comment ça va?_” (How goes it?) is:—“_L’idée marche_” (The idea
moves). He earns his living by selling his own and other iconoclastic
works at the doors of revolutionary gatherings,[10]—anarchist
gatherings preferred,—scrupulously devoting to the cause whatever he
may gain beyond the bare necessities. Though an honest, harmless body,
if ever there was one, he is so addicted to the spots where trouble is
going on or brewing that he has been arrested many times; for instance,
on the day of the 1899 _Grand Prix_ for having cried, “_A bas les
Sergots!_” Achille wrote a letter of self-defence at that time which was
printed in certain of the newspapers and in the _Almanach de la Question
Sociale_. He was also defended in the _Journal du Peuple_ by M. Lucien
Perrin, as follows:—

   “Among the condemnations which evoked violent murmurs from the
   listeners was that of our worthy _camarade_, Achille Leroy,
   the revolutionary publisher. He had bravely cried, ‘_Vive la
   Liberté!_’ when he was seized by the police and maltreated, as
   only these brutes know how. As he was unarmed, and had
   committed no violence, the police officers accused him of
   having cried, ‘_A bas les Sergots!_’ (what a crime!) The ruse
   succeeded, and our friend was condemned to a month of prison
   without reprieve.”

Auguste Valette, a roving vagabond character, sometimes attached to a
Paris _caveau_ (concert-cellar) or _café-concert_ and sometimes to a
strolling show, gained some little notoriety at the time of the trial of
Salsou for his attempt against the Shah of Persia, and came near being
indicted with Salsou as an accomplice because two violent anarchist
poems by him, dedicated to Salsou, were found among the latter’s papers.

Other singers of anarchy are Olivier Souêtre, author of _Marianne_ and
_La Crosse en l’Air_, two _chansons_ that enjoy and deserve high favour;
H. Luss, author of _La Défense du Chiffonnier_ and _La Grève de Cholet_;
Félix Pagaud, author of _Les Tueurs_; Daubré, to whom is attributed the
last stanza of _Père Duchêne_; Hippolyte Raullot, Jacques Gueux,
Martinet de Troyes, Pierre Niton, and Jean la Plèbs, who style
themselves “_poètes plébéiens_”; Théodore Jean, Luc, Marquisat,
Doublier, etc. It is useless to go on naming them, as their names mean
nothing outside of the revolutionary circles of Paris.

They are all most striking individualities, however, ranging all the way
from freaks to heroes; and it is the individuality which they lavish on
the rendering of their _chansons_ that constitutes their drawing power.
You must hear a Brunel, a Valette, a Paul Paillette, sing his own
_chansons_ to comprehend the influence they exert, since, in simple
print, the most of these productions seem decidedly flat.

Père La Purge, the jovial-faced cobbler of the narrow, dark, and
tortuous rue de la Parcheminerie in the Latin Quarter, calls for a
special word here, because he perpetuates worthily the revolutionary
tradition of the cobbler.

Père La Purge is a perfect modern counterpart of the cobblers who
secreted intended victims of the massacre of St. Bartholomew under the
refuse of their shops; who, under Richelieu, managed to get letters to
prisoners in the Bastille by sewing them between the soles of the
prisoners’ shoes; who were among the first shop-keepers to set the
tricolor cockade over their shops, and made themselves otherwise
remarked for their zeal in the Revolution; and who, under the
Restoration, played an important revolutionary rôle by placarding the
walls of their shops with caricatures and _Pasquinades_ (Pasquino, it
should not be forgotten, was a cobbler) and by secretly circulating
seditious pamphlets and _chansons_.

The invasion of machinery to do heeling and soling “while you wait”
(_ressemelage Américain_) is driving out of Paris the old-time cobblers
who made their shops rendezvous of the opposition and nurseries of
revolt. But a few of these cobblers still persist; and of these Père La
Purge is the best known, if not the most talented or most dangerous,
example. His _Chansons du Gars_, which are issued with a superb cover
design by Ibels, display a great deal of shrewdness and aptness of
phrase,—

   “_I ‘a d’ la malice!
    Oui, foi d’ Bap’tiss!_”

but his most popular work is the lurid and penny-dreadful _Chanson du
Père La Purge_, which has given him his name.


LA CHANSON DU PÈRE LA PURGE


    I

   _Je suis le vieux Père La Purge,
      Pharmacien de l’humanité,
    Contre sa bile je m’insurge
      Avec ma fille, Egalité._

    REFRAIN

   _J’ai ce qu’il faut dans ma boutique,
      Sans le tonnerre et les éclairs,
    Pour watriner toute la clique
      Des affameurs de l’Univers._


    II

   _Pendant que le peuple s’étiole
      Sur le pavé, sans boulotter,
    Bourgeoisie, assez de la fiole!
      Avec ma purge il faut compter._

   _J’ai ce qu’il faut, etc._


    III

   _J’ai des poignards, des faulx, des piques,
      Des revolvers et des lingots,
    Pour attaquer les flancs uniques
      Des Gallifets et des sergots._

   _J’ai ce qu’il faut, etc._


    IV

   _J’ai du pétrole et de l’essence
      Pour badigeonner les châteaux;
    Des torches pour la circonstance,
      A porter au lieu de flambeaux._

   _J’ai ce qu’il faut, etc._


    V

   _J’ai du picrate de potasse,
      Du nitro de chlore à foison,
    Pour enlever toute la crasse
      Du palais et de la prison._

   _J’ai ce qu’il faut, etc._


    VI


   _J’ai des pavés, j’ai de la poudre,
      De la dynamite, oh! crénom!
    Qui rivalise avec la foudre
      Pour vous enlever le ballon._

   _J’ai ce qu’il faut, etc._


    VII


   _Le gaz est aussi de la fête!
      Si vous résistez, mes agneaux,
    Au beau milieu de la tempête
      Je fais éclater ses boyaux._

   _J’ai ce qu’il faut, etc._


    VIII

   _Ma boutique est toute la France,
      Mes succursales sont partout.
    Où la faim pousse à la vengeance,
      Prends la bouteille et verse tout!_

   _J’ai ce qu’il faut dans ma boutique,
      Sans le tonnerre et les éclairs,
    Pour watriner toute la clique
      Des affameurs de l’Univers._

[Illustration: “ENLEVEZ L’HOMME TONNEAU!”]

   “_For the great Idea, the idea of perfect and free individuals
     For that, the bard walks in advance, leader of leaders._”

   WALT WHITMAN.



CHAPTER III

THE WRITTEN PROPAGANDA OF ANARCHY

   “_The wonder is that he didn’t take a pair of tongs to hand me
   my paper. He held it towards me with the tips of his fingers
   in a horrified fashion, full of bourgeois indignation at the
   idea that the_ Père Trimard _came to one of his
   lodgers._”—Journal d’un Anarchiste (AUGUSTIN LÉGER).

   “_You are not guilty because you are ignorant, but you are
   guilty when you resign yourselves to ignorance._”—MAZZINI.

   “_What we should try to do is to sow ideas, to force
   reflection, leaving to time the care of making the ideas which
   it shall have received blossom into consciousness and
   deeds._”—JEAN GRAVE.


In 1898-99 Sébastien Faure took advantage of the exceptional chance for
agitation offered by the Dreyfus matter to found an anarcho-Dreyfusard
daily, _Le Journal du Peuple_. All other attempts to establish a daily
anarchist organ seem to have failed completely,[11] and the _Journal du
Peuple_ lived—if its feeble panting for existence can rightly be called
living—only a few months. After its demise, M. Faure, as if to conceal
his defeat, started an anarchist weekly, _Les Plébéiennes_, the good
will of which he was not slow and, apparently, not too reluctant to turn
over to another anarchist weekly, _Le Libertaire_ (eight pages, price
two sous a copy), which had been printed intermittently at Montmartre
for a considerable period, and which M. Faure himself had been
instrumental in founding. The public proclamation of the consummation of
the fusion between _Les Plébéiennes_ and _Le Libertaire_, which, being
the fusion of two miseries, was at the farthest possible remove from the
up-to-date fusion that goes to the forming of a trust, is of interest
because it throws a great deal of light on the make-up of an anarchist
paper, and on the anomalous and difficult position in the newspaper
world of the anarchist press:—

   “Because of material difficulties—want of money, to speak
   frankly—the _Libertaire_ was obliged to suspend publication.
   It reappears to-day after a very short eclipse, and we have
   every reason to hope that the regularity of its appearance
   will be exposed to no fresh interruptions....

   “We have profited by this short, obligatory vacation to
   attempt to group about the _Libertaire_ new forces and more
   numerous signatures; in a word, to take all the measures
   necessary to insure it a vigorous life.... You will see
   elsewhere that our friend Sébastien Faure has interrupted the
   publication of his excellent _Plébéiennes_ in order to rally
   as many readers as possible about the _Libertaire_. It is in
   the _Libertaire_, then, that Sébastien Faure will hereafter
   express his thoughts as often as he shall feel inclined to do
   so.

   “Furthermore, precious and assiduous collaborators have
   formally promised us regular contributions; namely, Laurent
   Tailhade, who with his incisive and scholarly pen will treat
   especially of the vulgarities of Christianity; Paul Ary Cine,
   who will expose barrack life; Raphaël Dunois, who will
   chronicle and interpret the labor movement; Georges Pioch,
   dramatic and literary criticism; J. G. Prodhomme, musical
   criticism; A. R. Vertpré, art criticism; Alfred Griot, review
   of the reviews; Fred-Pol, review of the week; Alfred Bloch,
   scientific _chronique_; A. Harrent, anti-clerical
   _chronique_....

   “In a word, we are doing what we can. Let our readers on their
   side do what they can in making known the _Libertaire_, in
   seeking new purchasers for it, in sending us financial aid
   sometimes, and in establishing in favour of their organ a
   serious and persevering propaganda.

   “In this manner we can be certain that we and ours will have a
   journal to voice our opinions, our angers, and our hopes, and
   one which we can depend on to lead the people in the way that
   is frankly ‘_libertaire_’ on the fast-approaching day when it
   is going to be necessary to ‘fight it out,’ when all the
   political parties are going to fall on each other in order to
   retain power or usurp it. We are on the eve of important
   events. It is the moment for all of us to show ourselves, to
   shake off, some of us, our apathy, others of us our egoism, to
   silence all our dissensions, to combine with force will,
   abnegation, and audacity.”—_Le Libertaire._

[Illustration: DORMER-WINDOW OF JEAN GRAVE’S WORKSHOP

   _Office of “Les Temps Nouveaux,”
   in the rue Mouffetard_]

Older, solider, more temperate, more dignified, and—if the word in such
a strange connection is permissible—more conservative, indeed so solid,
temperate, dignified, and conservative that it has been more than
once referred to as the _Temps_ of the anarchist press, is _Les Temps
Nouveaux_, an eight-page weekly, sold, like _Le Libertaire_, at two sous
a copy. _Les Temps Nouveaux_ (formerly _La Révolte_, and before that _Le
Révolté_), which was founded at Geneva, Switzerland, by Elisée Reclus
and Pierre Kropotkine more than a quarter of a century ago, has appeared
regularly ever since with only slight interruptions and the few changes
of title that commemorate its encounters with the law. It came to Paris
soon after its foundation, being forced to emigrate from Switzerland on
account of the anarchist attempt against the _Palais-Fédéral_ at Berne.
Its most distinguished, and at the same time most distinctive, feature
is a literary supplement made up in considerable part of selections from
the French and foreign classics and from the writings of contemporary
scientists and littérateurs, not avowed revolutionists, which arraign
the evils of society or support any one of the articles of the anarchist
creed. It also reproduces in full addresses by non-anarchist celebrities
in which concessions are made to revolutionary ideals or ideas.

   “You may seize our journals, our brochures,” says the editor,
   Jean Grave, “you will not prevent the _camarades_ from reading
   what the bourgeois authors have written on the rottenness and
   abjectness of the present hour. This alone is more terrible
   than all the revendications and threats we can accumulate.”

From time to time this supplement serves to make public the addresses
prepared for prohibited anarchist congresses, as in the year of the last
Exposition, when it printed the papers which would have been read at the
International Anarchist Congress (euphoniously named _Le Congrès Ouvrier
Révolutionnaire Internationale_) if a frightened or over-prudent
ministry had not forbidden the sitting of the congress.

The contents of all the literary supplements thus far issued have been
classified under the heads of War, Militarism, Property, Family,
Religion, Law, Justice, The Magistracy, Poverty, Wage-earning, etc., and
they have been reproduced (with added selections, illustrations, and
complete bibliographies) in as many volumes as there are heads.[12]

Thanks, perhaps, to the clever handling of its literary supplement;
thanks, perhaps, to the thoughtfulness and relative tolerance of the
body of the paper, the _Temps Nouveaux_ has an appreciable circulation
among artists, littérateurs, savants, economists, bibliophiles, and
various other sorts of cultured people quite outside of anarchist
circles.

The present editor, Jean Grave, is one of the most winning personalities
in the anarchist or any other contemporary movement for reform. A
_Lyonnais_ by origin, a shoemaker and later a printer by trade, Jean
Grave came to Paris in his early manhood. He took part in the Commune,
and was one of the banished after its downfall, passing most of his
exile in Switzerland, where he was intimately associated with Kropotkine
and Reclus.

As editor, despite his comparative moderation, he has not been immune
from persecution. Like Kropotkine, his predecessor in the editorial
chair, Jean Grave has a fair experimental knowledge of the inside of
prison walls. A thorough man of the people, and proud of the fact,—he
has always retained his printer’s blouse,—his person and his writings
alike are nevertheless instinct with the most perfect urbanity.

There is no more picturesque corner in Paris than that on which, for
many years now, the _Temps Nouveaux_ has had its office in the top of an
aged and mellow six-story building whose ground floor is a wine-shop and
whose wrinkled roof and plant-bedecked dormer-window overlook the
sixteenth-century church of St. Médard,—no more intimate and engaging
business interior than the paper, book, and brochure bestrewn,
flower-and-print-decorated, slanting-walled loft in which Jean Grave
(veritable “attic philosopher”) and his assistant make up and administer
their sheet. Nothing could be more open and kind than the welcome you
get when, having felt your way up a winding stair as damp and dark as a
mediæval donjon-keep, you turn the latch-key, hospitably left in the
outside of the door, and with a premonitory knock enter the loft; always
providing your entry is courteous and your coming well motived. Indeed,
I know in all Paris nothing morally finer than the example Jean Grave’s
gentle, unassuming life offers of consecration to the ideal.

There is something peculiarly significant in the fact that the office of
this anarchist organ (whose mission is to be, like the university
settlement, a picket of civilisation carrying light into dark places) is
located on the line where the university and the industrial districts
overlap each other, at the very point where the _Quartier Latin_ ceases
and the Faubourgs Coulebarbe and Salpêtrière begin; at the junction of
such typical highways as the rue Claude Bernard, passing the _Ecole
Normale_, the rue Monge, in which many students lodge, the broad Avenue
des Gobelins, with its evening and Sunday animation as a labourers’
promenade, and the steeply ascending rue Mouffetard, with its motley
street market for the poor.[13]

The _Temps Nouveaux_, the _Libertaire_, and the anarchist weeklies of
the provinces serve to keep the individual _camarades_, the “groups,”
and the _trimardeurs_ in close touch with each other and with the whole
anarchist body, as well as to narrate events, establish the real
significance of the casualty columns of the bourgeois press, and expound
the doctrine of anarchy. They also lend themselves to mutual relief
work,—raising subscriptions for the _camarades_ in distress from lack
of employment, and securing comforts for the _camarades_ in prison and
for their families. They likewise signal _mouchards_ (police spies), and
predict their movements, rehabilitate _camarades_ unjustly accused of
espionage, denounce the crookedness of employers, arrange for lectures,
and, especially, utilise for the best interests of the movement the
varied information gleaned here, there, and everywhere by _trimardeurs_,
who are for them so many unsalaried correspondents.

An anarchist monthly, _L’Education Libertaire_, has lately been founded
by the _Bibliothèque d’Education Libertaire_ of the Faubourg St.
Antoine, which is not only the organ of the various _Bibliothèques
Libertaires_[14] of Paris and the provinces, but also a review of real
solidity and distinction.

Its nature and scope may be judged by a brief excerpt from its first
prospectus:—

   “_L’Education Libertaire_ will contain:—

   “I. One or two articles by the writers of note who have
   accorded us their literary collaboration. [Follows a list of a
   score or more collaborators, of whom Pierre Quillard, A. F.
   Hérold, Urbain Gohier, Charles Malato, Henri Rainaldy, and
   Laurent Tailhade have a Parisian or more than Parisian
   reputation.]

   “II. Certain of the lectures delivered in the _Bibliothèques
   Libertaires_. These lectures will also be printed as
   brochures, which, the type being already set, will cost
   nothing but the paper and printing. We shall get thus the
   brochure at one sou.

   “III. Articles upon the different theories of education and
   the attempts at ‘_libertaire_’ education, a large subject,
   which will give rise to interesting discussions.

   “IV. Communications or articles from the _Bibliothèques
   Libertaires_.

   “V. A concise summary of the month’s happenings, social,
   economic, foreign, scientific, etc.

   “VI. Criticisms of the books of which we shall receive two
   copies,—one for the library of the review, the other to
   circulate among the libraries which have given in their
   adherence to the review.”

The number of _camarades_ who are afflicted with the _cacoethes
scribendi_ being almost as great as those who are afflicted with the
_cacoethes loquendi_, many of the groups have little amateur papers of
their own. These amateur papers sometimes remain in manuscript, and are
read aloud in the meetings (very much as in the old-fashioned American
lyceums); are sometimes mimeographed for distribution among the members;
and sometimes are printed, to be sold, by a _camarade_ who has a
hand-press at his disposition,—rarely by a professional printer. When a
group which is ambitious for a paper does not feel sufficient unto
itself in literary talent, it solicits outside assistance, thus:—

   “The group _Les Résolus_ is going to print a journal in the
   form of a brochure. The ‘_copains_’ call upon the _camarades_
   who are willing to collaborate to communicate with the
   _camarade_ Rodor.”

The number of anarchist papers in existence is as nothing to the number
that has disappeared. _Le Riflard_, _L’Attaque_, _La Lutte_, _Le “Ça
Ira,” Le Forçat_, _L’Insurgé_, _Le Droit Social_, _L’Etendard
Révolutionnaire_, _Le Défi_, _Le Drapeau Noir_, _L’Affamé_, _Terre et
Liberté_, _L’Audace_, _L’Hydre Anarchiste_, _L’Idée Ouvrière_, _L’Homme
Libre_, _La Révolution Sociale_, _L’Emeute_, _La Liberté Sociale_, _Le
Droit Anarchique_, _La Misère_, _Le Deschard_, _Le Falot_, _L’Idée
Libre_, _Le Père Jean Chiffonier de Paris_, _Le Père Peinard_, and
scores of others have lived and died in Paris and the provinces within
the last thirty years. Of them all, the most famous, not because the
most violent, but because the most violent with talent and wit (indeed,
the most famous incendiary sheet in France since the _Père Duchêne_ of
Eugène Vermesch), was the _Père Peinard_. While its circulation was
never enormous (8,000-15,000 copies), it came to the knowledge of the
bourgeois, and gave them such a turn that it seems likely to remain in
the public consciousness for at least a generation.

With no display of philosophy (which is not saying it had no
philosophy), it played openly upon the appetites, prejudices, and
rancours of the proletariat. Without reserve or disguise, it incited to
theft, counterfeiting, repudiation of taxes and rents, killing, and
arson. It counselled the immediate assassination of deputies, senators,
judges, priests, and army officers. It advised unemployed workingmen to
take food for themselves and their families wherever it was to be found,
to help themselves to shoes at the shoe-dealers’ when the spring rains
wet their feet and to overcoats at the clothiers’ when winter winds
nipped them. It urged employed workingmen to put their tyrannical
employers out of the way, and to appropriate their manufacturing
plants; farm labourers and vintagers to take possession of the farms and
vineyards, and turn the landlords and vine-owners into fertilizing
phosphates; miners to seize the mines and to offer picks to the
stockholders, in case they showed a willingness to work like their
brother men, otherwise to dump them into the disused shafts; conscripts
to emigrate rather than perform their military service; and soldiers to
desert or shoot down their officers. It glorified poachers and other
deliberate breakers of the law. It recounted the exploits of the
olden-time brigands and outlaws, and exhorted moderns to follow their
example.

Citations from the _Père Peinard_ are impossible, less because of a
constantly recurring broadness that is more than broadness (since this
might easily be dodged in extracts) than because it was written in the
picturesque slang of the faubourg, which can no more be rendered into
English than _Chimmie Fadden_, for instance, could be rendered into
French. The very titles of the articles are untranslatable.

Whatever exception to its morals one may take, one is forced to admit
that the _Père Peinard_ was a remarkable production in its way. For
blended drollery and diabolism, _camaraderie_ and cynicism, _gaminerie_
and gruesomeness, it would be hard in contemporary writing to find its
counterpart. Like the unmatched narrative of the shipwreck in the second
canto of _Don Juan_, it was at once rollicking and horrible, flippant
and terrible, ribald and sublime. In it there was no distinguishing
between the antics, grimaces, and piquant impudence of the buffoon and
the imprecations of the tragedian or the anathemas of the prophet; and,
while there were times when the sight of this grinning fury was merely
grotesque, there were others (seconds, at least) when it was
magnificent.

The _Père Peinard_ was even more a one man’s paper than is Drumont’s _La
Libre Parole_ or Rochefort’s _L’Intransigeant_. Apart from the
illustrations, which were the work of obscure caricaturists now thrice
famous,—a fact which gives the file a high value with collectors,—it
was practically all written by its editor, Emile Pouget. Pouget is by
general consent one of the “best fellows in the world.” Nevertheless, he
is no dilettante revolutionist. His grievances against society are very
real ones. He was forced out of his original occupation as a dry-goods
clerk because he tried to organise his fellow-employees; and he was
condemned (along with Louise Michel) on disgracefully insufficient
evidence for a misdemeanour in connection with a meeting of the
unemployed, of which he was not guilty. The following account of the
affair is so fully substantiated by the official record of the trial
that it may be accepted as practically authentic:—

   “The organisers of this meeting of the unemployed simply had
   in view to bring together on the Esplanade des Invalides the
   greatest number possible of hungry persons. They intended it
   to be less a revolt than a demonstration. They had no thought
   whatever of marching on the Elysée or on the Ministry of the
   Interior. They merely wished to say to the _bourgeoisie_:
   ‘Look at us. We are 20,000 without means of existence.’ And
   the Esplanade des Invalides had been chosen in order that they
   might not be accused of impeding circulation. The police,
   disturbed at the idea of so large a number of men assembling
   in one place, took every precaution to prevent it. They closed
   the Esplanade, and forced those who came to the meeting into
   the streets adjacent, where disorders naturally arose. Certain
   individuals, who really had eaten nothing since the night
   before, invaded three bake-shops. The bake-shops were cleaned
   out in five minutes as if by enchantment.

   “Pouget had pillaged nothing, planned nothing, directed
   nothing. He was simply overheard to say of these poor devils
   during the pillage: ‘They take bread because they are hungry.
   They are right.’ He repeated it spiritedly in the assize
   court, and he was condemned to eight years of prison for
   ‘incitation to pillage.’ It would have been more precise to
   condemn him for _approbation_ of pillage, since, in point of
   fact, he had not committed any other crime.”

During its entire existence the _Père Peinard_ carried on an extensive
traffic in brochures, _chansons_, etc., of the same violent nature as
itself. It also published an _Almanack_ for 1894, which is now rare and
much prized in book-collecting quarters.

The first anarchist _Almanack_ was issued in 1892 by Sébastien Faure,
who made the laughable and, from the point of view of sale, disastrous
blunder of basing it on the anarchist-hated Gregorian calendar.

Pouget’s _Almanack_, forewarned, avoided this rock of offence. It was a
rehash of his paper, supplemented by a lengthy philosophico-historical
disquisition on the calendar, appreciations of all the months,
allegorical observations on tides and eclipses, an anarchist chronology,
and a bundle of fantastic predictions,—all in the paper’s highly
coloured _faubourien_ slang.

   “If ever,” says Jean Grave somewhere, “the history of this
   movement is written, if ever it is revealed how the anarchist
   publications have lived, how they have amassed sou by sou the
   sums necessary to their appearance, the world will be
   astounded at the proofs of solidarity and devotion which will
   thus be brought to light. It will appreciate what a force
   conviction is, especially among the most disinherited.”

There is something pathetic as well as diverting about the forced
preoccupation of the anarchist organs with the question of the money
which they consider it a part of their mission to depreciate, something
well-nigh cruel in the ironical destiny that compels them to be
perpetually harping on the thing which it is one of their pet dreams to
abolish,—to plead on their last pages for the same thing their first
pages abuse.

This inconsequence between the thought and the deed is not, however, to
be confounded with hypocrisy. It is accepted because unavoidable, but
accepted sorrowfully and bitterly; and it does not profit individuals.

In choosing to depend for their sinews of war on the contributions of
the _camarades_ rather than on the advertising which would contaminate
and enslave them, the anarchist journals have certainly chosen the
lesser moral evil. There is even a certain Quixotic heroism in this
choice, which is the more apparent since it is at the price of this
inestimable, if incomplete, moral independence that the socialists are
able to carry on a propaganda of a wider range. By way of compensation
for their sacrifice in refusing bourgeois advertising, it sometimes
happens that the anarchist journals are supported, without running the
slightest moral danger, by bourgeois funds. So it was that in the
Faubourg St. Antoine several years ago the anarchist cabinet-makers
preached the annihilation of their employers during several months. The
cabinet-makers founded an organ entitled _Le Pot-à-colle_ (_The
Glue-pot_), in the first number of which they chanced to give one of the
manufacturers a terrible castigation. The relatively small edition
printed was sold so fast that the _camarades_ most interested barely
managed to get copies. A watch was set on the news-stands of the
faubourg, and it was discovered that it was the business rivals of the
attacked manufacturers who had snapped up the papers. The discovery was
utilised to such good purpose that the phenomenal popularity of the
_Glue-pot_ continued just as long as there was a manufacturer left in
the district to “roast.”

The following statement of the review _L’Education Libertaire_ to its
subscribers gives a better idea than pages of explanation by an outsider
could give of the poverty to which anarchist publications are subject
and of their uphill struggle to get the wherewithal to live:—

   “TO OUR SUBSCRIBERS

   “Those of our readers who have followed our attempt month by
   month know by what a slow progression we have arrived at the
   bringing out of this Review.

   “We shall continue, as in the past, to publish in each number
   the accounts of the preceding number. This will enable the
   readers to appreciate the pecuniary effort that must be made
   if the publication is to be continued.

   “We have received a hundred francs for this number and forty
   for subsequent numbers. We have lumped the money all together
   to pay in part for this number. We shall not appear again
   until we have in the treasury the necessary sum. It is for our
   readers, if they approve of our attempt, to interest their
   friends in the Review, and engage them to subscribe.

   “We have accepted subscriptions of three months, six months,
   and one year. By that we mean subscriptions for three numbers,
   six numbers, and twelve numbers. If the state of our treasury
   does not permit us to appear every month, our subscribers
   will, none the less, receive as many numbers as they have
   subscribed for at the rate of ten sous per number. WE FORMALLY
   BIND OURSELVES, having received subscriptions for one year, TO
   PRINT THE REVIEW TWELVE TIMES. As to dates, we guarantee
   nothing. The _camarades_ who are the administrators of this
   journal are workingmen, able to dispense very little money;
   and it would take them long months of self-assessment to get
   together the 200 francs necessary for the publication of each
   number.

   “To facilitate the diffusion of our Review and the search for
   new subscribers, we have prepared special propagandist
   numbers, which we will send, postpaid, for five sous each to
   readers who are already subscribers. These special numbers
   have printed on every page in red ink, ‘_Read and Circulate_.’
   They may secure subscribers for us if each of us pass one or
   two about in his own circle.

   “As to the next number, we urge the _camarades_ who have
   subscribed for only three months or six months to make their
   subscriptions annual, in which case we shall be able to appear
   again early in December.”

The accounts referred to in the second paragraph of the above are
exceedingly suggestive reading. They recorded one subscription of twenty
francs. The remainder of the subscriptions ranged from two sous to two
francs. The total receipts were fr. 57.10. The expenses of printing and
mailing the number were fr. 73.60, and the incidental expenses were fr.
11.55. The deficit for this number was, therefore, fr. 28.05; but, the
deficit on the two preceding numbers having amounted to fr. 32.80, the
review at the end of its third number showed a deficit of fr. 60.85.

Very trifling seems this deficit to those of us who are accustomed to
read the balance sheets of large journals, but very real and very
embarrassing are the difficulties which it presents to the publishers of
an anarchist periodical. The financial statement is followed by this
notice:—

   “To cover this deficit and reimburse the _camarades_ who
   advanced us money, we offer for sale at ten sous, postpaid,
   the one hundred and thirty copies of the Preparatory Series
   which we still have left (3 numbers with covers, 18 pages
   each).”

The acknowledgment of subscriptions and contributions through the
columns of the papers is theoretically for the sake of saving the labour
and expense of correspondence and postage; and, when the names of the
contributors are given by initials only, as is sometimes done, the
device may stand for what it claims to be. But when, as too frequently
happens, the names are printed in full, it is impossible not to suspect
the editors of catering to precisely the same sort of vanity as that
which lies back of bourgeois subscription lists.

These account columns are further utilised by the _camarades_—but here
at least the taint is scarcely a bourgeois one—for the launching of
pleasantries (more or less astute) and for the expression of sentiments,
the affirmation of brotherhood, the declaration of principles, and the
utterance of prophecies or threats.

In a recent subscription list of _Le Libertaire_ these signatures
appeared: _Nemesis_, fr. 0.50; _L’Alouette_, 0.50; _Ni Dieu ni Maître_,
0.50; _Un Evadé du Bagne Schneider_, 0.50; _Trois Mètres de Corde pour
le Roussin D——_, 0.50; _Un Va-nu-pied_, 0.25; _Un Coopérateur
Communiste-anarchiste_, 0.30; _Trois Semeurs à Lille_, 0.25; _Après la
Conférence de Sébastien Faure_, 2 fr.; _Trois Coopérateurs_, 0.30; _Un
Miséreux_, 0.10; _Un Garçon de Café Ennemi de la Tyrannie_, 0.30; _Deux
Trimardeurs_, 2 fr.; _Un Camarade Dévoué_, 1 fr.; _A Bas la Lâcheté
Humaine_, 1 fr.; _Vive l’Energie Individuelle!_ 1 fr.; _Trois Copains
Rochefortais_, 4 fr.; _Le Breton du Jardin des Plantes_, 0.30.

[Illustration: PIERRE JOSEPH PROUDHON[15]]

A recent device for raising funds, which is at the same time an
additional means of propaganda, is the sale of anarchist pictures. Up to
1886 a portrait of Louise Michel was the only picture published under
anarchist auspices. In that year _La Révolte_ (now _Les Temps
Nouveaux_), having become convinced of the proselyting value of
pictures, attempted to buy for reproduction such of the plates of the
illustrated weekly _L’Illustration_ as had or could be given a
revolutionary meaning. This attempt failing, it set about producing a
series of pictures of its own called _Images de Propagande_, to be sold
at prices ranging from ten to twenty-five sous. These _Images de
Propagande_ are all genuine works of art by artists of renown, and the
complete collection is much sought by amateurs. The _Temps Nouveaux_ has
also turned to the advantage of the propaganda the illustrated postal
card fever, and has prepared a series of anarchist pictures especially
for children.

The pictorial propaganda has gained even the provinces. The following is
an excerpt from an anarchist periodical:—

   “The _camarades_ of Roubaix will soon enter into possession of
   their little press. For a long while they have ardently
   desired a press, but some efforts still remain to be made. If
   we make a pecuniary appeal to the _camarades_, it is that we
   may get together more quickly the sum necessary for the
   purchase.... To hasten matters, if possible, a _Roubaisien
   camarade_ has had the idea of photographing on a plaque of
   good size (18 by 24 centimetres) the engraving representing
   the Chicago martyrdom and a drawing with the portraits of
   Emile Henry,[16] Caserio,[17] and Angiolillo on a plaque of 9
   by 12 centimetres. Price, Martyrs of Chicago, fr. 1.40,
   postpaid; Henri, Caserio, Angiolillo, 85 centimes, postpaid.
   Send orders to,” etc.

There is probably no greater obstacle to the progress of the written
propaganda than the perpetual petty annoyances that arise from an
inadequacy of funds. It is by no means the only one. The anarchist who
has already in hand the means to pay for having his journal printed is
often unable to find a printer who will undertake the work. “The
_copains_ of Grenoble,”—the item is from a _trimardeur’s_ report,—“after
having done everything in their power to launch their paper, rebuffed by
all the printers (downright refusal, exorbitant charge, etc.), have
decided to buy a mimeograph and to autograph manifests, which they will
sow broadcast.”

Supposing his journal printed, however, the anarchist editor is still
far from the end of his troubles. He has to get it properly distributed;
and in this undertaking, likewise, he encounters numerous difficulties.

[Illustration: LITTLE ANARCHISTS]

It is so compromising in every way to be known as a reader of an
anarchist publication that few even of the sympathetically inclined,
unless they have a pronounced taste for martyrdom, care to lower
themselves in the eyes of their postman, their _concièrge_, and their
neighbours, and to run the risk of being black listed in all quarters
by receiving an anarchist paper regularly through the post. Besides,
they have a perfectly natural reluctance to pay in advance the
subscription price of three months, six months, or a year, for a paper
that may not be able to keep alive two months. They prefer to buy the
numbers at the news-stands as they come out,—a procedure which not only
considerably diminishes the publisher’s net returns, but keeps him in a
highly inconvenient uncertainty with regard to his budget. In some years
the news-stand sale of the _Temps Nouveaux_, for instance, has been
nine-tenths of the whole circulation.

This very news-stand sale is lessened by the indifference or positive
ill-will of the newsdealers, who either decline to handle anarchist
papers at all; or, if they do handle them, contrive to keep them well
out of view. Furthermore, the railway and post-office authorities take a
mischievous or malignant delight in delaying the delivery of anarchist
printed matter when they cannot find pretexts for holding it up
altogether.

   “We receive frequent complaints, which we know are justified
   for the most part,” says _Le Libertaire_, “on account of
   tardiness in the arrival of our paper. We assure our dealers
   and subscribers that the journal is sent out regularly every
   Thursday, barring the weeks when money is lacking.
   Consequently, it is to the malice of the railroads and the
   post-office that the delay must be ascribed.”

To counteract these and other hindrances to the sale of their wares,
anarchist editors have to resort to numerous devices. These devices may
be in the form of stereotyped requests to readers to secure other
readers, and to force the hands of the dealers, of which the following
are good examples:—

   “_Friends and Readers_,

   “If you would be useful to the _Journal du Peuple_, and serve
   the ideas which it defends, buy several copies and distribute
   them to the persons whom you judge capable of buying it later
   for themselves.”

   “We urge our friends in Paris to keep demanding our paper of
   the newsdealers in order to compel them to handle it. A bit of
   determination on the part of each, and _ça ira_.”

Often the advertisement appears as a more presuming and exacting appeal
to loyalty, as, for example:—

   “Our liquidation of the end of the year permits us to spare a
   quantity of back numbers. We beg those of our friends who are
   willing to take upon themselves their distribution, either in
   the meetings or at the doors of the factories, to let us know
   how many copies to send them.”

At other times, resort is taken to such original and audacious schemes
as the following:—

   “JOURNALS FOR ALL

   “The reactionary press penetrates into the rural districts,
   while many of the _libertaire_ journals are unknown there. We
   remind our readers that the enterprise ‘JOURNALS FOR ALL,’ 17
   rue Cujas, holds itself at their disposition to give them the
   addresses of poor provincials who would be delighted to
   receive their papers once they have been read. It will cost
   them a stamp of two centimes each day and the trouble of
   wrapping and addressing. In thus sending away their papers,
   our readers will be doing a work highly advantageous to the
   propaganda. Write the secretary for fuller particulars.”

   “Here is a means of circulating our paper which, employed upon
   a certain scale, would be highly efficacious: All the
   _camarades_ who can make the sacrifice of a certain number of
   copies should roll them into a more or less tempting small
   package, wrap them well to protect them, and then throw them
   into the doorways of houses, slip them into the baskets of
   women on their way to or from market, or give them to the
   children in the street to take home to their parents.”

Finally, the wily stratagems of a determined and not over-scrupulous
secret police and the special rigour of a body of more or less biased
judges in applying Draconian laws of exception must be reckoned with. In
no department of their work do the former display more cunning or the
latter more severity. Nevertheless, they have never been able, combined,
to prevail over the intensity of the anarchist proselyting spirit far
enough to prevent for any length of time the spread of the written word.
Trick has been matched by trick and audacity by audacity. The defiance
with which the authorities are met is well typified by the following
manifesto:—

   “READERS AND SUBSCRIBERS OF _L’Insurgé_, TAKE NOTICE!

   “We announce to our readers that we shall not be able to
   appear this week; but, in spite of all the rascalities of the
   government, we intend to appear in the breach again very soon.
   _Vive l’homme libre dans l’humanité libre! Vive l’Anarchie!_

   “SANTAVILLE
   “[Managing Editor of _L’Insurgé_].”

Previous to 1881 the press law was such that a condemned journal was
forced to change its name, if it wished to reappear; and the tradition
survives of an anarchist sheet at Lyons which suffered eighteen
successive condemnations (involving for the managing editors
imprisonment for terms varying from six months to two years), and which,
therefore, bore successively eighteen different names.

After 1881 until the passage of the special anarchist restrictive acts
popularly known as the _Lois Scélérates_, a journal could pass through
any number of condemnations without losing its identity; the guilt of
the responsible editor being held as purely personal. It was during this
golden age of relative liberty that the _Père Peinard_ saw ten of its
managing editors condemned within three years—as a cavalry officer
leading a charge may see horses shot out from under him—without having
its advance materially impeded.

   “Once the condemned editor was out of the way,” says a writer
   familiar with the administration of this curious journal, “it
   was as if no condemnation had intervened. There was somewhere
   on the _trimard_ in France or abroad an anarchist who owed to
   the state two years of Ste. Pélagie and a 3,000-franc
   fine,[18] but the journal was not touched. _Le Père Peinard_
   remained unassailable....

   “From the number and the gravity of the sentences imposed it
   would seem that the _Père Peinard_ must have experienced great
   difficulty in the recruitment of its editors or that it must
   have paid them enormous salaries. Quite the reverse. The
   fanaticism of the anarchists was such that they vied with each
   other in imploring of Pouget the favour of a chance to be
   condemned. At any given moment several were impatiently
   awaiting their turn. Never did the _Père Peinard_ pay one of
   its editors. Never did it even allow him a free subscription.
   The editor of the _Père Peinard_ was a special type, a
   volunteer of the assize court, who went to the prison as water
   goes to the river, and who pushed his disinterestedness to the
   point of buying his own paper—two sous out of his pocket—every
   Sunday.”

Under the present laws it would be more difficult for so saucy and
reckless a sheet as the _Père Peinard_ to keep up its laughter over the
discomfiture of the authorities; that is, if it were printed in France.

To-day a paper of this sort, to appear here with anything like an
approach to regularity, would have to be printed in some foreign town
that is tolerant towards anarchists, and smuggled through the mails
inside of other journals or in covers with unsuspicious titles. This
propaganda at long range is too expensive to be carried on in a
wholesale fashion. It has its periods of favour, however, and is never
totally neglected. Apropos of unsuspicious cover titles, it is on record
that the journal _L’Internationale_, which used to be printed in the
French colony of London, regaled the prying eyes of the French
post-office employees and the police with such more than reputable
inscriptions as these: _Mandement de S. E. le Cardinal Manning_, _Petit
Traité de Géographie_, _Rapport sur la Question du Tunnel Sous-Marin_,
_Contes Traduits de Dickens_, _Lettres d’un Pasteur sur la Sainte
Bible_.

Once, at least,—more than once, it is probable,—anarchist doctrines
have been preached in a journal founded and supported by the prefecture
of police,—an ideal arrangement, it would seem, since both parties
thereto find their account therein, the anarchists in having a chance to
say their say without grubbing for funds, and the police in having large
occasion for self-felicitation over their shrewdness in keeping the
anarchists under strict surveillance.

The practical impossibility of carrying on a journal successfully
without a permanent and known office, subscription lists, and the
assistance of the newsdealers, has made the anarchist resort to the
secret issue by unknown presses of placards and hand-bills whenever he
has anything very special or very incendiary to say,—particularly at
election time, when he is exceedingly active in preaching abstention
from the polls, and during the enrolment and departure of the
conscripts. The police will tear down the placards, of course, but
rarely before they have been read; and they may arrest the distributors
of the fliers, but this does not recall the fliers which have been put
forth. More than this they cannot do, since either there is no printer’s
mark to guide them or, if one appears, it is false or fantastic, such as
“117 _rue de la Liberté_, _ville de la Fraternité_, _Etats-Unis de
l’Humanité_, _Département de l’Egalité_.”

The tantalising documents float into the streets quietly and gently like
snowflakes, before the very eyes of the police, and are irresponsible as
snowflakes, having nothing more than these about them to indicate their
itinerary or origin.

Here is an election placard which may serve as a sample:—

   “A BAS LA CHAMBRE!

   “People, retake your liberty, your initiative, and keep them.
   The Government is the valet of Capital. Down with the
   Government! Down with the king, Loubet! To the sewer with the
   Senate! To the river with the Chamber! To the dunghill with
   all this ancient social rottenness! Away with the Chamber!
   Away with the Senate! Away with the Presidency! Away with
   Capital!

   “_Vive la Révolution Sociale! Vive l’Anarchie!_

   “(Signed) AN ANARCHIST GROUP.”

In the view of the larger-minded anarchists—the Reclus, the
Kropotkines, the Graves—the betterment of society must be preceded by
the betterment of the individuals that make up society. Education is the
corner-stone of the structure their hope has builded. They realise that
they have undertaken a moral and intellectual labour of long reach,
calling for infinite energy and patience, for years and perhaps
generations of scattered, seemingly bootless initiative, exhortation,
and example. So far as these leaders are concerned, no charge could well
be falser than the one that is daily being brought against them of
ignoring the calendar in all their calculations, juggling with an
abstract social man,—very much as the elder economists juggled with
their “economic man,”—and expecting with childlike _naïveté_ to make
human nature and the world over in a twinkling.

   “For the establishment of the anarchist society,” says Jean
   Grave, “it is necessary that each individual taken separately
   be able to govern himself, that he knows how to make his
   autonomy respected while respecting the autonomy of others,
   and that he succeeds in liberating his volition from the
   tyranny of surrounding influences....

   ... “Now for individuals to dispense with authority, for each
   one to be able to exercise his autonomy without coming into
   conflict with his fellows, it is essential that we all
   acquire a mentality appropriate to this state of things.”

The thoughtful anarchist is well aware that, for the production of this
appropriate mentality, his placards, posters, and hand-bills, his
pictures and _chansons_, his weeklies, monthlies, and annuals, are
ludicrously inadequate and inapt. He is far from despising these
agencies. He recognises their value as popularisers and as ferment; but
he is struggling towards a propaganda of a deeper, more compelling
nature as rapidly as he is able. He would (like the devout Catholic)
assume complete control of the mental training of his children, taking
them out of the public schools, which impose respect for his two
bugbears—authority and property—along with other bourgeois
commonplaces and superstitions, in order to give, in schools of his own,
the complete, well-rounded education which he calls _l’éducation
intégrale_.

M. Paul Robin, who made a passably successful experiment with this
_éducation intégrale_ at the Prévost Orphanage, Cempuis,[19] during the
years 1880 to 1894, has expounded the meaning of the phrase in an
article which it would be a real pleasure to quote entire. A few
paragraphs will suffice, however, to reveal the loftiness, the
sweetness, and the eminent sanity of his ideas:—

   “The word _intégrale_, applied to education, includes the
   three epithets, physical, intellectual, and moral, and
   indicates further the continuous relations between these three
   divisions.

   “_L’éducation intégrale_ is not the forced accumulation of an
   infinite number of notions upon all things: it is the culture,
   the harmonious development, of all the faculties of the human
   being,—health, vigour, beauty, intelligence, goodness....

   “_L’éducation physique_ embraces muscular and cerebral
   development. It satisfies the need of exercise of all our
   organs, passive as well as active,—a need given the authority
   of law by physiology. To note this development and to learn to
   direct it with prudence, anthropometric observations should
   be made and anthropometric statistics continuously kept.

   “The exercise of the senses, the calculations necessary in
   sports and in physical exertion of every sort,—races, workshop
   labour, etc.,—have their influence on the intellect, and
   render attractive certain tasks often considered repulsive
   because of the awkward manner in which they have been
   approached.

   “_L’éducation intellectuelle_ has to do with two totally
   distinct matters,—matters of opinion, variable, debatable, the
   cause of quarrels, antagonisms, rivalries; and matters of
   fact, of observation, of experience, whose solutions are
   identical for all beings. The old teaching occupied itself
   almost entirely with the first matters to the neglect of the
   second. The new teaching, on the contrary, should diminish as
   much as possible the number and prominence of the first in
   favour of the second. In whatever of the first is of necessity
   retained, notably the acquisition of languages, it should
   limit itself to the purely practical side, and reserve the
   study of the complicated, illogical evolution of language for
   a small, selected group of adults who are well grounded in the
   sciences....

   ... “On the other hand, the study of nature, of industry (by
   its practice in workshops), of the sciences (in laboratories
   and observatories), gives to the brain a harmonious
   development, makes it well balanced, and imparts a great
   justness of judgment. Theoretical study in books should only
   come after the excitation given by real practice, to
   supplement and co-ordinate the elements which the practice has
   furnished. From this concordance in the knowledge and
   appreciation of real facts results inevitably a tendency to
   concord upon all other matters; that is to say, veritable
   social peace....

   “It should not be forgotten that the _éducation intégrale_,
   _physique_, and _intellectuelle_, must combine knowledge and
   art, the knowing and the doing.

   “A genuine _intégral_ is at once theorician and practician. He
   unites the two qualities systematically separated by the
   official routine, which maintains, on the one side, primary
   and professional instruction, and, on the other, secondary
   and higher instruction. His is the brain that directs and the
   hand that executes. He is at one and the same time artisan and
   savant.

   “There is no need of detailing at length a programme of moral
   education. Morality, like reason, is a resultant: it depends
   on the ensemble. The part of teaching in it is slight. The
   child assimilates in the measure of his intellectual
   development ideas of social reciprocity and of goodness; but
   moral education is especially a work of influence, the
   consequence of a normal existence in a normal environment. The
   physiological régime and the general direction given to the
   thoughts by the teaching as a whole are its principal
   elements.

   “Great care should be taken to exclude false, demoralising
   ideas, narrowing prejudices, dismaying impressions, everything
   that can throw the imagination out of the true into trouble
   and disorder, morbid suggestions and excitation to vanity; to
   suppress occasions of rivalry and jealousy; to assure the
   continual view of calm, ordered, and natural things; to
   organise a simple, occupied, animated, varied life, divided
   between play and work. The progressive usage of liberty and of
   responsibility should be developed, preaching should be done
   mainly by example, and, above all, an effort should be put
   forth to make happiness prevail....

   “As to the inferior, backward, degenerate children,—sad
   consequences of a succession of hereditary blights, aggravated
   by deplorable, haphazard births and a heels-over-head
   education,—these are moral invalids, for whom it is necessary
   to care with compassion and of whom almost nothing should be
   demanded. It is necessary, doubtless, to take, with all
   possible humanity, precautions to prevent their injuring or
   contaminating the others; but one must guard one’s self well
   against believing that he has the right to punish them because
   of a nature for which they are not responsible.”

Apart from this one notable experiment, little or nothing has as yet
been done in Paris or elsewhere in France towards the systematic
application of _l’éducation intégrale_. The anarchist school, rather
pretentiously called a college (_le Collège Libertaire_), opened in 1901
on the edge of the university quarter of Paris, has only succeeded so
far in establishing a few evening courses for adults, the lack of funds
that handicaps every anarchistic enterprise being supplemented in this
case by the difficulty of securing proper teachers, because of the
danger, amounting almost to a certainty, of loss of position, if
regularly employed teachers lend themselves to a revolutionary
enterprise. The recent foundation by the anarchists of a child’s paper,
_Jean-Pierre_, is an interesting experiment along this educational line.

While waiting for the _éducation intégrale_ to win its way, the more
intellectual anarchists are making a strong effort to increase the study
of the masters and of the forerunners and disciples of the masters. To
this end the principal anarchist organs, especially the _Temps
Nouveaux_, keep on sale and persistently recommend the reading of the
works of the principal dead and living authors, native and foreign, who
have expounded anarchy or who tend—or are claimed to tend—towards
anarchy: Proudhon, Stirner, and Bakounine; Darwin, Büchner, Herzen,
Godwin, and Herbert Spencer; Ibsen, Björnson, Tolstoy, Leopardi, and
Nietzsche; Louise Michel, Elisée Reclus, Jean Grave, and Kropotkine; the
anti-militarists Richet, Dubois-Dessaule, Vallier, and Urbain Gohier;
the sociologists Charles-Albert and Jules Huret; the philosophers Guy
and Letourneau; Lefèvre, the student of comparative religions; Guyau,
the moralist; the novelists and dramatists Marsolleau, Darien, Descaves,
Chèze, Raganasse, Lami, Lumet, and Ajalbert; the Italian Malato, the
German Eltzbacher, the Hollander Nieuwenhuis, the American Tucker, and
the Spaniard Tarrida del Marmol.

Furthermore, selected portions from nearly all these writers and from
Hamon, Saurin, Malatesta, Tcherkesoff, Janvion, Chaughi, Darnaud,
Sébastien Faure, Lavroff, Paul Delasalle, and Cafiero, are published, as
brochures in editions running as high as sixty thousand and at prices
ranging from one sou to fifteen sous (usually two sous) each, so that
for a total outlay of two or three francs those who have not the means
to buy or the application to read the fr. 3.50 volumes may familiarise
themselves with anarchist thought in all its most important bearings.
The real nature of the contents of some of the brochures is disguised by
the use of innocuous titles. Thus a certain appeal to desertion from the
army bears on its cover this inscription: “_Pour la Défense des Intérêts
Typographiques_.”

Unlike the placards, posters, and hand-bills, most of the brochures are
restrained in tone. Now and then, however, an anonymous brochure is
issued from nobody knows what printing establishment that startles the
public and puts the policy on its mettle. The most famous of these
(worth its weight in gold now to bibliophiles for its rarity) is the
_Indicateur Anarchiste: Manuel du Parfait Dynamiteur_ (40 pages,
published 1887).

The _Indicateur Anarchiste_ was practically a reprint of a
series of articles that had appeared in the London journal,
_L’Internationale_,[20] under the rubric “_Un Cours de Chimie
Pratique_,” which articles were in their turn practically a reprint of a
series that appeared in _La Lutte_ of Lyons under the rubric “_Produits
Anti-Bourgeois_.” They included minute directions for the fabrication
and use of several explosives and of Greek fire, the common and
scientific names and the prices of their ingredients, and a detailed
description of the tools and vessels best adapted to the various
necessary processes. The announcement of the original series in _La
Lutte_ was as follows:—


   “PRODUITS ANTI-BOURGEOIS

   “Under this heading we shall put before our friends the
   inflammable and explosive materials which are the best known,
   the easiest to handle and prepare,—in a word, the most useful.
   These preparations are not classical. If we point them out to
   the _camarades_ notwithstanding, it is because we have
   discovered that they are superior to others and offer less
   danger.

   “We shall mention only the most indispensable products, and
   yet these are unknown to many of the _camarades_. In the
   approaching conflict each one must be a bit of a chemist. This
   is why it is high time to take matters into our own hands, and
   demonstrate to the bourgeois that what we want we want in
   earnest.”

The excitement aroused by the publication and general circulation of
this ominous brochure proved to be well-nigh gratuitous. Experience has
demonstrated that in France, where the most scholarly anarchists are
little inclined to participate in the _propagande par le fait_,[21] the
majority of dynamiters are forced (like Salvat in Zola’s _Paris_), to
steal their explosives. They are not capable of putting the precepts of
this so-called popular manual, rudimentary as they appear, into
practice; the required manipulations, even when reduced to their
simplest terms, being too dangerous and delicate for any but laboratory
trained hands to execute.

[Illustration: A Revolutionary Poster]

       *       *       *       *       *

   “_The battles of the heroes of the future will be
   individualistic, not against the armed force of governments
   but against the apathetic routine and inertia of the human
   masses._”—EDWARD CARPENTER.

       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER IV

THE PROPAGANDA OF ANARCHY BY EXAMPLE


   “_As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not
   his mouth._”

   ISAIAH.


   “_Resist not evil.”
   “Swear not at all.”
   “Judge not that ye be not judged.”
   “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast and give
      to the poor.”
   “Ye shall know them by their fruits._”—JESUS CHRIST.


   “_And when He was accused of the chief priests and elders, He
   answered nothing._”—SAINT MATTHEW.


   “_The most dangerous foe to truth and freedom among us is the
   solid majority.... The majority has might,—unhappily,—but
   right it has not. I, and the few, the individuals, are
   right._”

   Dr. Stockman, in IBSEN’S An Enemy of the People.


   “_Should you say to him, ‘But you injure your brother men by
   accepting a remuneration below the value of your labour, and
   you sin against God and your own soul by obeying laws which
   are unjust,’ he will answer you with the fixed gaze of one who
   understands you not.... Human laws are only good and valid in
   so far as they conform to, explain, and apply the law of God.
   They are evil whensoever they contrast with or oppose it; and
   it is then not only your right, but your duty, to disobey and
   abolish them._”—MAZZINI.


   “_To profit by all the circumstances of life, to make one’s
   acts accord with one’s ideas, is to carry on a_ propagande
   par le fait _of a slow but continuous action which must
   produce its results._”—JEAN GRAVE.


When that great and original child of nature, Thoreau, the Hermit of
Walden, protested against the collection of taxes in Concord town, he
little suspected, probably, that he was prefiguring a revolutionary
movement which, before the century was over, was to alarm the sleek and
the smug of the Old World and the New; and yet, whether Thoreau realised
it or not, his attitude was the anarchistic attitude and his act an act
of the _propagande par l’exemple_.

The attitude of the American anti-slavery champion, William Lloyd
Garrison, was also essentially anarchistic.

   “Garrison,” says Tolstoy, “as a man enlightened by
   Christianity, starting out with a practical aim,—the struggle
   against slavery,—understood very soon that the cause of
   slavery was not a casual, temporary seizure of several
   millions of negroes by the Southerners, but an old and
   universal anti-Christian recognition of the right of violence
   of some people over others. The means towards the recognition
   of this right was always the evil, which people considered
   possible to outroot or to lessen by rude force; that is, again
   by evil. And, realising this, Garrison pointed out against
   slavery, not the sufferings of the slaves, not the cruelty of
   the slave-owners, not the equal rights of citizens, but the
   eternal Christian law of non-resistance. Garrison understood
   that which the most forward champions against slavery failed
   to understand,—that the sole irresistible means against
   slavery was the denial of the right of one man over the
   liberty of another under any circumstances whatever.

   “The Abolitionists attempted to prove that slavery was
   illegal, unprofitable, cruel, degrading, and so forth; but the
   pro-slavery champions, in their turn, proved the untimeliness,
   the danger, and the harmful consequences which would arise
   from the abolition of slavery. And neither could convince the
   other. But Garrison, understanding that the slavery of the
   negroes was but a private case of general violence, put forth
   the general principle with which it was impossible to
   disagree,—that no one, under any pretext, has the right of
   ruling; that is, of using force over his equals. Garrison did
   not insist so much on the right of slaves to be free as he
   denied the right of any man whatever, or of any company of
   men, to compel another man to do anything by force. For the
   battle with slavery he put forth the principle of the battle
   with all the evil of the world.”

The refusal of the citizens of the little French commune of Counozouls
to pay their taxes between 1902 and 1904 because they were deprived of
their hereditary right to supply themselves with wood from an adjacent
forest, and the “passive resistance” of the nonconformists in England to
the enforcement of the new education act, and of the French Catholics to
the expulsion of the monastic orders, are recent instances of probably
unconscious _propagande par l’exemple_.

Tolstoy has made a clear and full statement of the purport of the
_propagande par l’exemple_.

   “Taxes,” he says, “were never instituted by common consent,
   ... but are taken by those who have the power of taking
   them.... A man should not voluntarily pay taxes to governments
   either directly or indirectly; nor should he accept money
   collected by taxes either as salary or as pension or as a
   reward; nor should he make use of governmental institutions
   supported by taxes, since they are collected by violence from
   the people.”

He holds military service in similar abhorrence:—

   “Every honest man ought to understand that the payment of
   taxes which are employed to maintain and arm soldiers, and,
   still more, serving in the army, are not indifferent acts, but
   wicked and shameful acts, since he who commits them not only
   permits assassination, but participates in it.”

In an apologue, “Too Dear,” he demonstrates that law courts, prisons,
and armies are alike useless to a sound civilisation. In short, Tolstoy
renounces the state, and prays for its extinction, root and branch:—

   “The doctrine of humility, pardon, and love, is incompatible
   with the state, with its arrogance, its deeds of violence, its
   executions, its wars. Real Christianity not only excludes the
   possibility of acknowledging the state, but also destroys its
   foundation.... The sum of all the evil possible to the people,
   if left to themselves, could not equal the sum of the evil
   actually accomplished by the tyranny of church and state.”

What could a militant anarchist say more? And there is no limit to the
extent to which these anarchistic utterances of Tolstoy might be
multiplied.

Most French anarchists believe that the privileged will never surrender
their privileges without a desperate resistance. Only a little handful
of them are Tolstoyans in maintaining that simple non-resistance
faithfully adhered to will alone suffice to regenerate the world. But
they nearly all hold that cumulative non-resistance is, under certain
conditions, the most effective resistance (”_faire le vide autour des
institutions sociales est le meilleur moyen de les démolir_”); and a
majority of them, probably,—certainly a majority of their more
intellectual element,—esteem it by far the most important propaganda
for the present hour.

The average French anarchist is forced to recognise at the outset the
unpalatable truth that a good half of his customary doings are based on
the government and property he opposes. He rejects the theory of money,
but he must buy and sell. He abhors the state, but serves it, and uses
its tax-supported institutions; and he is constantly finding himself in
situations where he must do violence to his inmost convictions, or get
out of life altogether by the portals of suicide or want. There are some
unorthodox doings, however, which can be avoided without incurring a
martyrdom out of all decent proportion to the seriousness of the
occasion.

   “If the force of power crushes you to-day, if, in spite of
   everything, authority fetters you in your evolution, there is
   always a certain margin for resistance. Fill this margin
   without being afraid of overstepping it,” advises one of the
   moderate advocates of the _propagande par l’exemple_.

The two forms of non-resistance oftenest enjoined by Tolstoy (namely,
non-payment of taxes and refusal to serve in the army) are so disastrous
in their consequences—as Tolstoy himself would have seen, had he not
been born into a high estate and had he not attained a ripe age and an
assured position before his revolutionary ideas completely matured—that
they can hardly be said to come within this margin. And they are
inculcated in France less with a view to inciting isolated individuals
to put them into practice immediately than in the hope that a day may
arrive when they will be suddenly put into practice simultaneously by so
large a number of persons that coercion will be out of the question.

Similarly, refusal to handle money, to pay interest, to pay rent, to
take oath, to testify in court, and to do jury duty, call down such
speedy retribution that these, too, must be interpreted as lying in the
generality of cases outside the margin mentioned above.

On the other hand, protest against parliamentarianism by abstention from
voting (_la propagande abstentionniste_) is a thoroughly feasible kind
of non-resistance, and is practised almost universally by the anarchists
of France.

   “If we seek,” says Jean Grave, “to _faire le vide_ around the
   political machine, it is to the end of not forfeiting our
   right to act by and for ourselves. It is to preserve our
   liberty of action that we reject every compromise with the
   actual political order of things. It is to habituate ourselves
   to this liberty which is the _summum_ of our aspirations that
   we attempt to exercise it in our struggle against the present
   social state. To the individuals whom they wish to enlist
   under their banner, the advocates of authority say, ‘Send us
   to the Chamber to make laws in your favour!’

   “To those whom they wish to make think, the anarchists, after
   having exposed the facts, explain that they have no favours to
   expect from anybody; and that, when a thing seems to them bad,
   the best way to destroy it is to ‘_faire le vide_’ about it;
   ... that they never await from the good pleasure of their
   masters the authorisation to conform their acts to their
   thoughts; and that they commission nobody to legislate as to
   what they should do.”

Abstention from marriage (which, as ordinarily practised, the anarchist
considers legalised prostitution, and the theoretical indissolubility of
which he regards as nothing short of blasphemy) is another thoroughly
feasible kind of non-resistance. And it is rare to find an anarchist,
whose marital status was not fixed before he gave in his adherence to
anarchism, who deigns to consult the pleasure or implore the blessing of
any authority whatsoever in a matter which, to his thinking, concerns no
one but himself and the person of his choice.[22]

Malthusianism, also,—in spite of a reverence for the procreative
instinct, on the part of anarchists, which Zola’s _Fécondité_ does not
surpass,—is in high favour in anarchistic circles. The motives for the
anarchist’s refusal to bring offspring into the world are set forth in
Octave Mirbeau’s ejaculation of disgust called out by a project of law
for checking depopulation introduced by one M. Piot into the Senate:—

   “I dispute that depopulation is an evil. In a social state
   like ours, in a social state which fosters preciously,
   scientifically, in special cultures, poverty and its
   derivative, crime; in a social state which, in spite of new
   investigations and in spite of new philosophies, relies solely
   on the prehistoric forces,—murder and massacre,—what matters
   to the people—the only class, for that matter, which still
   produces children—this much-discussed question of
   depopulation? If the people were clairvoyant, logical with
   their wretchedness and their servitude, they would desire, not
   the cessation of depopulation, but its redoubling. We are
   constantly being told that depopulation is the gravest danger
   which threatens the future of the country. In what, pray, dear
   Monsieur Piot, and you, also, excellent legislators, who lull
   us ceaselessly with your twaddle? In this, you say, that there
   will come inevitably a time when we shall no more have enough
   men to send out to be killed in the Soudan, in Madagascar, in
   China, in the _bagnes_, and in the barracks. You are dreaming
   of repeopling now, then, only for the sake of depeopling later
   on? Ah, no, thank you. If we must die, we like better to die
   at once and by a death of our own choosing.”

Besides discountenancing elections and marriage, the zealous
propagandist _par l’exemple_ flouts “those whose sole power lies in the
obedience of cringers”; defies “those whose character he despises”;
refuses to go to law or to accept interest for loans; abstains from the
luxuries which the bourgeois deems indispensable; protests against
insolence on the part of government functionaries, brutality,
high-handed invasion of domiciles, and insults to women on the part of
the police, cruelty on the part of landlords, and bulldozing on the part
of foremen and employers. He violates deliberately the deep-seated
social usages which, equally with the political, judicial, and economic
usages, twist and warp existence; and strives to keep himself in his
labour, his friendships, and his domestic relations “saturated with
aversion for the bourgeois, and for whatever in existence savours of
capitalism and the _bourgeoisie_, and with a sentiment of solidarity
towards all who are struggling for sincere living.”

   “There is a view [of culture],” says Matthew Arnold in his
   immortal essay _Sweetness and Light_, “in which all the love
   of our neighbour, the impulses towards action, help, and
   beneficence, the desire for removing human error, clearing
   human confusion, and diminishing human misery, the noble
   aspiration to leave the world better and happier than we found
   it,—motives eminently such as are called social,—come in as
   part of the grounds of culture, and the main and pre-eminent
   part. Culture is, then, properly described, not as having its
   origin in curiosity, but as having its origin in the love of
   perfection: it is _a study of perfection_. It moves by the
   force not merely or primarily of the scientific passion for
   pure knowledge, but also of the moral and social passion for
   doing good.”

Something of the same noble and refined philosophy underlies this
insistence, by the greater anarchist teachers, on the proselyting value
of truth of intercourse and of downright living and on the consequent
necessity of the training and purifying of the individual as the surest
means of changing a social _milieu_. In the individual refusal to live
the “conventional lies” which Max Nordau (who has long trembled on the
verge of anarchism) anathematised is a real disintegrating force. “We
must begin with ourselves,” says Jean Grave, “in our efforts at
transformation.” And it is sure that the saintliness of Louise Michel,
the fine simplicity and modesty of Elisée Reclus, the voluntary poverty
of the gentle Jean Grave, and the unobtrusive virtues of their obscure
disciples are factors of tremendous importance to the anarchist
movement. Dialectics are powerless before the blameless living of such
real apostles of “sweetness and light.” They may not have the whole
truth,—they would be the last to claim that they have,—but there must
be some shred of truth in a belief that is thus witnessed by beautiful
character.

In pinning so much of their faith to the gradual modification of daily
habits of thinking and acting, these anarchists reveal themselves no
mean psychologists and no ordinary students of human nature; and it is
regarding this relatively prosaic _propagande par l’exemple_ that the
choicest anarchist spirits have spoken their most sagacious and most
winning words.

Thus, the late Pierre Lavroff wrote: “There exists another form of
propaganda accessible to all temperaments, provided the conviction be
sincere; and many times this form, though wanting the _éclat_ which
accompanies the burning word or the heroic act, proves to be the most
efficacious in the life of every day.

   ... “The conditions of the actual social régime oppose
   themselves at every instant to a life in conformity with
   conviction more than the juridical conditions retard the
   extension of advanced ideas and more than the police
   surveillance prevents the revolutionary agitation.

   “It has often been remarked that the most considerable
   transformations in the ideas of society have occurred, not
   because the arguments which were advanced against existing
   forms and beliefs had acquired more force, but in consequence
   of an insensible modification in mental habits. During entire
   centuries the same arguments were repeated; but the habits of
   thought acted as a cuirass, and repulsed for a long time all
   the attacks made against error. Then, at a given moment, this
   cuirass yielded, all at once, without any apparent cause.
   Religious doubt, political liberalism, the propaganda of
   socialism, are more or less prominent examples. The heroic
   acts which strike the imagination merely prepare a soil which
   befits these changes. The great majority lets itself—and will
   a long time yet let itself—be guided by habits. Arguments make
   no great impression upon it. It modifies its customs by
   imitation alone. In the case of heroic acts this imitation
   extends only to individuals exceptionally placed. Its
   veritable domain is the daily living. Every new doctrine which
   embraces practical moral elements must provide a series of
   models which may be imitated, not by an exceptional hero, but
   by an ordinary man. The numerous examples incorporate the new
   doctrine into the daily life. They are, broadly speaking, the
   most efficacious propagandists of new ideas. Truth realising
   itself in living is much more accessible than truth in a state
   of thought. The ideas which an individual propagates act upon
   a small number, upon the best prepared. A way of life is less
   conspicuous, but exercises a more intense action on the
   masses. The propaganda carried on by the daily example is the
   most potent auxiliary of the spoken word. It surpasses often
   in influence the most energetic agitation directed against an
   existing evil....

   “For the majority of men the _propagande par l’exemple_ is the
   only form which makes tangible the spoken propaganda. It alone
   changes the habits of thinking and living. It produces, in
   fact, a modification of the psychic dispositions of society;
   and it opens the way for society to be influenced by the
   energetic acts of exceptional individuals, for whom it
   prepares a receptive soil.”

Before words of such keen observation and high moral and philosophic
import from men who have not forgotten how to think because they seem
sometimes to dream, only an attitude of reverence is possible; and the
admission is forced that some of these anarchists are not so very
flighty, after all, and that some of them are “not so bent on acting and
instituting, even with the great aim of diminishing human error and
misery ever before their thoughts, but that they can remember that
acting and instituting are of little use, unless they know how and what
they ought to act and institute.”

Another manifestation of the _propagande par l’exemple_ has been the
creation, in France and abroad, of anarchist experiment stations where
an effort has been made to realise on a small scale, by isolation from
the world at large, the social arrangements which are, on a large scale,
the anarchist dream.

The agricultural colony founded in Algeria by M. Regnier, one of the
sons-in-law of Elisée Reclus, seems to have been the only really
successful venture in this line; and I am not sure whether even this is
still in existence.

The other anarchist colonies set up abroad—notably _La Colonie
Cecilia_, which was one of the by-products of the emigration from France
to South America—have all come to more or less speedy grief.

The reasons are not far to seek. The colonists were totally ignorant of
the regions to which they emigrated. They looked to find easier living
and well-nigh perfect liberty, and were amazed and disillusionised when
they discovered that conditions were not so very different under these
new civilisations from what they were under the old.

They were ignorant of each other. No selection having been exercised in
forming the groups, the orthodox were overshadowed by the heterodox and
by adventurers who were not anarchists at all; and many even of the
orthodox were too timorous or too weary to resume, under new skies, the
struggle which they fancied, in quitting Europe, they had left behind
forever. Misunderstandings, disputes, and even spoliation were the
natural result.

They were farther handicapped by a lack of preliminary funds for their
installations, by the absence of the appliances of civilisation to which
they were accustomed, and by unfamiliarity with the agriculture or other
work they had to do.

But the primary reason—the reason which may indeed be said to include
all the other reasons—for the failure of the French anarchist colonies
in foreign lands is that the transition the colonists were called upon
to make was far too abrupt. As Jean Grave has pointed out in this
connection, “People cannot pass thus brusquely from a society where
fighting and egoism are obligatory on every being to a society where the
relations between individuals are those of love, of sympathy, of
benevolence, of solidarity, where you take no heed of the faults of
those who surround you, ignoring the follies of your neighbours while
they ignore yours. The existing social state has in no way prepared us
for solidarity and benevolence.”

The French attempts to found anarchist colonies at home have fared
little, if any, better than the attempts to found them abroad.

A communistic workshop, opened in Paris in 1885 by a number of
anarchistic tailors whom a strike had left without employment, was
closed at the end of a year; but whether by reason of internal
disagreements or by reason of the intrigues of interested employers it
is not easy, from the evidence, to determine. The product was divided
equally among all the members of the association,—the unskilled, the
sick, the aged, and the impotent included.

The anarchist _Commune de Montreuil_ (said to be the original of the
_phalanstère_ of Descaves’ and Donnay’s highly successful play, _La
Clairière_) was established in 1892 at Montreuil-sous-Bois, a suburb of
Paris. A workshop was rented in which the members spent all the time
they could spare from their regular employments in working for the
benefit of those who might be in need, and Saturday lectures were given.
The plans involved, further, hiring a piece of ground to be cultivated
for a similar purpose in a similar fashion, a gradual cessation of
working for employers as occasion permitted and results warranted, a
school for children, and a library for adults. These plans were
frustrated, not by the petty rivalries of the women (as in the
Descaves-Donnay play), but by the dissolution of the _Commune_ by the
government as a part of the wholesale anarchist repressions of 1893-94.
Some of the original members of the _Commune de Montreuil_ have since
banded themselves together for an exchange of services with the idea of
habituating themselves to make and utilise products “without commercial
exchange, representative value, or appraisal”; but the exchangers remain
in their respective homes.

At Angers, in the Maine-et-Loire, a department remote from Paris, a
number of anarchist workingmen pledged themselves some time since to
divide their wages at the end of each week “in order to equalise the
conditions of existence.”

It is impossible to draw any conclusion whatsoever from experiments that
are so partial as these and that have been conducted under such
unfavourable conditions.

In the two great modern industrial reform movements—trade-unionism and
co-operation—the anarchist finds other fields for the _propagande par
l’exemple_.

He is bound to look askance at trade-unions, and, if a purist, to hold
himself aloof from them, because by the very fact of trying to raise
wages they recognise the legitimacy of the wage system, and because they
often resort to politics, and implore the intervention of parliament to
gain their ends.

   “The unions are wheels in the capitalistic machine because
   they are placed—if only temporarily—under the conditions of
   the capitalistic system,” says one. “To accept discussion with
   one’s exploiters is to confess their right to exploitation,”
   says another. “The _raison d’être_ of the union is to
   negotiate with the employers, to quibble over the greater or
   less degree of exploitation; while an anarchist should aim
   only at the destruction of this exploitation,” says still
   another.

Regarding the efficiency of trade-unions as a means of permanently
bettering the conditions of the working classes, to say nothing of
insuring their emancipation, the anarchist has no illusions. On the
contrary, he does them scanter justice than even the capitalist, who,
however he may antagonise them, at least pays them the sincere
compliment of fearing them. The anarchist has not a particle of faith in
trade-unionism as such. He is more orthodox than the most orthodox of
economists as to the iron law of wages (_la loi d’airain des salaires_),
the inexorableness of the operation of supply and demand, and the
impotence of strikes. He maintains stoutly that a so-called trade-union
victory can, in the nature of the case, be only the semblance of a
victory, since gains cannot be defended, since an increase in wages
cannot be maintained, against an unfavourable market, and since, even if
it could be maintained, it would be counterbalanced in the long run by
the increased cost of living consequent thereon. Whoever would oppose
the trade-union theory and practice will find in the anarchist writings
and speeches the completest possible arsenal of weapons ready forged to
his hand. No apologist for things as they are can have exposed more
relentlessly than he the financial foolishness of fighting millions of
dollars with hundreds of dollars, and of pitting the danger of actual
starvation against the relatively insignificant danger of decreased
profits,—of combating strength with weakness, in a word, on the
former’s chosen ground.

Nevertheless, the anarchist recognises that the trade-union is a natural
grouping of the proletariat; that it was the first important grouping to
acknowledge, by acts, the irrepressible conflict between capital and
labour, the first to boldly lift and wave the standard of industrial
revolt, the first to shift the attempt at enfranchisement from the
political to the economic ground, and the first to appreciate the
advantages of internationalism; that it is the best considerable example
thus far of solidarity in action, the most favourable soil for
anarchistic good seed—particularly the good seed of the _propagande par
l’exemple_—within present reach, the most favourable ground for
disputing the future with the socialists, and an excellent weapon of
offence and defence. And he approves of strikes, with all their
demonstrable financial futility, because they keep to the fore the idea
of revolt, and because—a sort of left-handed reason—every unsuccessful
strike is an argument in his favour, inasmuch as it shows the emptiness
of partial measures that do not reach the cause.

Besides, he discerns a trend his way in the growing trade-union advocacy
of the “universal strike” (_grève universelle_ or _grève générale_)
which he regards as but another name for the revolution.

At the time of the memorable _grève des terrassiers_,[23] Gustave
Geffroy contributed to _Le Journal_ a sketch entitled “_Tableau de
Grève_,” which is at once a vivid pen-picture and a prophecy:—

   “We could easily have believed ourselves, these latter days,
   borne backward to the days of the siege of Paris or the weeks
   which followed the time of the Commune, in perceiving above
   the pedestrians the silhouettes of cavaliers on patrol and the
   hands of soldiers in campaign accoutrements in the public
   squares and along the banks of the Seine.... When the
   redoubtable question of labour and of _misère_ is the order of
   the day, it is anguish with silence which reigns in the street
   where pass the soldiers under arms.

   “It has been so everywhere this week. About the stacks of
   arms, along the route of the cavaliers, not a cry has escaped,
   as if each one, by some tacit understanding, knew that destiny
   must not be tempted nor risks run. The public regarded without
   uttering a word, gazed fixedly at these sons of the soil and
   of the faubourg, wearing uniforms and equipped with provisions
   and cartridges as if they were entering on a campaign in this
   peaceful city. Where was the enemy? These strikers, slowly
   promenading, listlessly dangling their arms,—they who set
   forth habitually to work, and who return from work with a
   rapid, cadenced step,—and quite stupefied at having become
   idle strollers; adversaries little fierce, without arms,
   without their tools even, having in their favour only their
   patience, their passivity, their hope, and especially their
   assurance that sooner or later they will conquer, when all
   their fellows shall will it like them.

   “It is this fatality of the victory of numbers which is the
   enemy; it is against this that the regiments and the squadrons
   have been sent out, against this that to-morrow they would
   have trundled out the artillery. All this parade of force
   would have been made this time, could have been made, in fact,
   only in pure loss.... And so it will be—we can now affirm
   it—on that future day when the _grève générale_ shall be
   interpreted in this fashion, when there shall be everywhere
   only dismaying calm, the tragic refusal to work, when the
   soldiers called out to guarantee order shall find only order
   everywhere,—placid visages and folded arms. Military display
   will be useless on that day. The great social change will have
   come by the fact of that new sort of revolution which a
   reactionary journalist designated very justly, the other day,
   by the name of the passive revolution....

   ... “Ah! the good time when the people offered itself freely
   as a target on a pile of paving-stones in a narrow street!

   “This good time is no more. The great boulevards, the broad
   avenues, the power of the artillery which can sweep everything
   from afar without the insurgents seeing anything but the quick
   flame, the sounding light, the cloud of smoke, were already
   there to assure the end of the ancient street war. It was not
   enough. The revolutionary tactics also have changed, in
   proportion as the revolutionary party has extended, has gained
   in force, and has become more conscious of its destinies....

   “Seek not elsewhere than in a profound transformation of the
   human mind the cause of the tranquillity of a strike in which
   we behold the placid confrontation of the workingman and the
   soldier. For all observers endowed with reason and
   _sang-froid_, to whatever party they belong, the spectacle is
   that of the toiling mass reconnoitring the ground and testing
   its strength. Nothing less than a pacific and irresistible
   transformation is announced. Of course, the _grève générale_
   can be realised only by an understanding throughout an
   organisation far-seeing and complete, and then, only, thanks
   to a certain combination of circumstances; but this is not
   saying it cannot be realised.

   “It is easy to brand such a programme as tainted with Utopia
   and struck with sterility. But to do so is to refuse to
   recognise the sense of facts and especially the power of a
   unique idea. Bear in mind that this idea of the _grève
   générale_ has already thousands of adherents, not only in
   France, but in Germany, in England, in America, and you will
   have some chance of appreciating the significance of the
   strike of to-day, so different from the strike of yesterday,
   in spite of a few traditional incidents into which the
   strikers and the government have been betrayed.”

Geffroy, the writer of the above, is not an anarchist, but a socialist.
Few anarchists see in the _grève générale_, as he does, a purely passive
revolution, which will prevail without the shedding of a drop of blood
or any other violence whatsoever. Most of its anarchist advocates regard
it, “not as a strike of folded arms, but as a general revolt of the
proletariat, outside of all political lines, for the conquest of the
means of production and for complete emancipation.”

The _grève générale_ apart, the anarchist who enters the trade-union[24]
does it, incidentally, perhaps, to rid the union of the curse of
politics and to score over the socialists, but primarily to transform it
by the influence of precept (and, still more, of example) from “a reform
movement for the defence of the material and moral interests of the
workers, and especially the satisfaction of such immediate desires as
the amelioration of salaries and the diminution of the working day,”
into “an economic movement of the working class against the capitalistic
class for the suppression of the latter and of the régime which they
represent.”

Consequently, anarchist writings are replete with solemn warnings to the
faithful against the insidious peril of having anything to do with the
unions with any other object in view than that of making them other than
they are.

From co-operation, as from trade-unionism, the purists of anarchy keep
themselves prudently aloof by reason of the risk of contamination from
too close contact with commercial processes and partial measures.

Other anarchists—the majority, perhaps—are still holding co-operation
under observation, waiting for it to display more satisfactory
credentials before they declare themselves. Thus the _Etudiants
Socialistes Révolutionnaires Internationalistes_[25] “have pronounced
for it,” says A. D. Bancel, “all in pronouncing against it.”

Others do not object to participating passively in the movement, so that
they are not called on to aid in the work of organisation and serve on
boards and committees.

The rest have espoused it with more or less enthusiasm because its
efforts are economic rather than political, because it militates against
socialism, because it is a phase of the struggle between classes;
because it is of a high educational value to the proletariat in showing
it its real position; because it fosters internationalism; because its
unit, the co-operative group, like the union, is an expression of
solidarity, an excellent field for the _propagande par l’exemple_ and a
convenient weapon of combat; and finally because its ultimate aim is _la
liberté intégrale_.

There is a _pan-coopération_ as there is a _grève universelle_. And, as
the _grève universelle_ (which is the revolution) is regarded by some as
the inevitable consummation of trade-unionism, so _la pan-coopération_,
alias _la république coopérative_, alias _l’alliance coopérative
internationale_ (which is likewise the revolution), is regarded by some
as the inevitable consummation of co-operation.

By these latter a critical moment is foreseen when the angry meeting of
_le capitalisme autoritaire_ and _le coopératisme libertaire_ will
kindle a colossal, world-wide, and purifying conflagration.



CHAPTER V

THE PROPAGANDA OF ANARCHY “PAR LE FAIT”


   “_I came not to send peace, but a sword.... I am come to send
   fire on the earth._”—JESUS CHRIST.


   “_It is not by metaphysics that men will be undeceived: the
   truth must be proven by deeds._”—VOLTAIRE.


   “Not songs of loyalty alone are these,
    But songs of insurrection also,
    For I am the sworn poet of every dauntless rebel the world over,
    And he going with me leaves peace and routine behind him,
    And stakes his life to be lost at any moment.”

    WALT WHITMAN.


   “La force destructive est une force créatice.”—BAKOUNINE.


   “_If I were dying of starvation, and had no means of buying a
   piece of bread, and were to go by a baker’s where bread was
   within reach, I should help myself to it. And the way I should
   reason would be this: That bread belongs to the baker, but it
   is more God’s bread than it is the baker’s, and I am one of
   God’s little boys, and therefore understand the proximity of
   this loaf to be the answer to the prayer I offered my Father
   this morning: ‘Give me this day my daily bread_.’”—DR. CHARLES
   PARKHURST.


   “_His [Dr. Parkhurst’s] principle of necessity is one easily
   misapplied; but it is right, notwithstanding Dr. Johnson’s
   reply to the man whose excuse for stealing a loaf of bread was
   that he ‘must live.’ ‘I don’t see the necessity,’ said the
   rude moralist. And so said the custodian of morality when
   David stole the shew-bread for his starving soldiers; but our
   Lord said he did right._”—Editorial in NEW YORK INDEPENDENT.


   “_I hold it blasphemy that a man ought not to fight against
   authority. There is no great religion and no great freedom
   that has not done it in the beginning._”—GEORGE ELIOT, in
   Felix Holt, the Radical.


With regard to doctrines, ultimate aims, and the three methods of
disseminating them already described,—oral and written propaganda and
the propaganda by example,—French anarchists are all of the same mind;
but with regard to the fourth means, the propaganda by the overt act of
violence (_la propagande par le fait_), there is anything but unanimity
among them.

No anarchist, the simon-pure Tolstoyan excepted, denies the right to
collective revolt, the duty, even, of insurrection. But this attitude
has nothing distinctive about it. The same right and the same duty have
been affirmed and reaffirmed by the republicans of all ages, and by the
royalists, also, when they have been temporarily out of power, the only
appreciable difference being that the republicans and royalists have
esteemed them as a means of realising rather than a means of spreading
their ideal.

The emergence into public prominence of the insurrectional idea which
anarchists had long held—more or less consciously—dates from the Peace
Congress held in Geneva in 1867, at which the Belgian César de Paepe
created a sensation by declaring that “not peace, but war, must be
preached.” “Peace,” he explained, “can be hoped for only as a fruit of
victory in the social war.” Bakounine, just then coming to the front in
Europe, lent the weight of his authority to De Paepe’s idea.

In 1876, the _Fédération Italienne_ approved a definite declaration
(signed by Cafiero and Malatesta) of the same purport:—

   “The _Fédération Italienne_ believes that insurrection,
   destined to affirm by deeds the principles of liberty, is the
   most efficacious agency of propaganda and the only one which,
   without corrupting and deceiving the masses, can penetrate
   even the lowest social strata, and draw the live forces of
   humanity into the struggle the _Internationale_ is carrying
   on.”

Four months later, in the spring of 1877, this credo of insurrection was
put in practice at Letino and San Galo, Italy, where Cafiero, Malatesta,
Ceccarelli, and the rural priests, Fortini and Tamburini, with thirty
followers, took possession of the public buildings, imprisoned or drove
out the local authorities, set fire to the archives and property
records, and seized and distributed the tax money among the people.

The same year a memorial of the Congress of Fribourg, signed by
Kropotkine and Elisée Reclus among others, declared:—

   “We are revolutionists because we desire justice. Never has
   great progress, special or general, been made by simple,
   pacific evolution. It has always been made by a revolution. If
   the work of mental preparation is accomplished slowly, the
   realisation of the ideas occurs quickly,”—an utterance with
   which may be compared Kropotkine’s, “Governments have never
   done anything but give a legal sanction to accomplished
   revolutionary facts”; Jean Grave’s, “We are revolutionists
   because we have the reasoned conviction that the privileged
   will not abandon one of their privileges if they are not
   forced to it”; and this confession of Guillaume Froment in
   Zola’s _Paris_:—

   “I was only a positivist, a savant given over entirely to
   observation and experience, accepting nothing beyond the
   verified fact. Scientifically, socially, I admitted a simple
   and slow evolution, generating humanity as the human being
   himself is generated. And it was then that, in the history of
   the globe and in that of societies, I was forced to make a
   place for the volcano, the abrupt cataclysm, the sudden
   eruption, which has marked each geologic phase, each historic
   period. One comes thus to perceive that a step has never been
   taken, nor a progress made, without the aid of terrible
   catastrophes. Every forward march has sacrificed billions of
   existences. Our narrow justice revolts, we treat Nature as an
   atrocious mother; but, if we do not excuse the volcano, we
   must, nevertheless, endure it as forewarned savants when it
   breaks out, and then, ah! then, I am perhaps a dreamer, like
   the others: I have my ideas.”

The year following the Fribourg Congress (1878) Kropotkine warmly
advocated insurrection before the Congress of the _Fédération
Jurasienne_. “By insurrections,” he said, “the anarchists seek to
quicken popular sentiment and initiative to the double end of a violent
expropriation and the disorganisation of the state.” The congress
pronounced formally in favour of the insurrectional principle, and from
that day to this it has never been seriously questioned in any important
anarchist quarter.

If the overt act by the individual anarchist is not viewed with the same
unanimous and unqualified approval as the collective act of
insurrection, it is because there is an easy distinction (representing,
perhaps, a real difference) to be made between the individual act
directed against the principle of authority incarnated in an official of
the state,—president, minister, deputy, general, senator, judge, and
police prefect,—when it comes under the general head of regicide (a
reform measure which is almost as old as the world), and the individual
act directed against the principle of property incarnated in any member
of the _bourgeoisie_ whatsoever, when it comes under the general head—O
deterrent power of a name!—of murder.

The first kind of individual attempt (regicide) encounters little
opposition based on principle within the anarchist ranks. It is opposed,
as Alexander H. Stephens opposed the foundation of the Confederacy (of
which he accepted the vice-presidency, once it was declared), on grounds
of expediency. As regicides, Caserio, Vaillant,[26] Bresci,[27] Pallas
(whose attempt against the Maréchal Campos was glorified by the
International Labor Congress at Chicago in 1893), and the assassin of
Alexander II. fall into much the same category as Brutus, Cromwell,
Harmodius and Aristogiton, and the executioners of Louis XVI.; and, in
the case at least of the assassin of the czar, the classification,
while not perhaps ideal, might be worse.

As to weapons, the popular distinction (which is, in fact, more nice
than wise) between the pistol and stiletto, on the one hand, and the
bomb, on the other, is not made. “I admit all means, even the bomb,”
says Charles Malato, who approved Pallas and Vaillant, but regretted
Henry’s attempted slaughter of the bourgeois at the _Café Terminus_, “if
only it be well placed; and yet I am not a drinker of blood.”

The second kind of individual attempt—the suppression of members of the
_bourgeoisie_ for the sole reason that they are bourgeois—is
disapproved by all the anarchists but a small knot of extremists.

[Illustration: CHARLES MALATO]

This disapproval, which is for the most part purely formal and passive
when the act attains the person against whom it was directed, and its
unselfishness is immediately evident, may become aggressive, not to say
bitter, in certain quarters, when a tragic botch has been made of the
job (by a mistake in victims) or when its significance as an act of
propaganda has been obscured by the presence of motives of personal
revenge. Elisée Reclus, of all the eminent French theoricians, has shown
himself the most consistently refractory to this sort of _propagande par
le fait_. In an article called out by the rapid succession of individual
attempts in 1892, he said:—

   “When you have a grudge against a person, you seek him out,
   you have an explanation with him, but you do not make innocent
   persons bear the brunt of your rancour.

   “Anarchy is the _summum_ of humane theories. Whoso calls
   himself anarchist should be gentle and good. All overt acts of
   the nature of that of yesterday are looked on by true
   _compagnons_ as crimes. If those who perpetrate these
   barbarities act with the design of promulgating the anarchist
   creed, they deceive themselves completely.

   “Things will come to such a pass, there will be such disgust
   with the _compagnons_, they will inspire such horror, that no
   one will be willing to hear anarchy so much as spoken of.

   “And yet the idea is beautiful: it is grand. See to it that it
   is respected. The persons who do evil in its name befoul our
   doctrines.”

It is not always easy for the outsider to grasp why, of two anarchist
acts of violence with similar exterior aspects, the same _camarade_
praises the one and deplores the other. What is more, he will understand
still less when the _camarade_ has explained. There are labyrinths of
subtleties in anarchist apologetics through whose intricate windings the
lay intelligence has no Ariadne-given thread to guide it, and depths of
esoteric metaphysics which only the plummet of the adept can sound.

Vaillant had almost unanimous plaudits from the _camarades_, no little
praise from the socialists, and approval—mark the humorous note!—from
certain of the deputies whose lives he had jeopardised.

Ravachol, author of the explosions at the houses of the judges Benoit
and Bulot and of other overt acts less readily comprehensible, was
practically repudiated at first by the _Temps Nouveaux_ (then _La
Révolte_) on account of a dubious past, but was recognised loyally, if
languidly, as soon as his entire disinterestedness was made plain.

The general attitude of the _Temps Nouveaux_ towards the _propagande par
le fait_ is one of guarded detachment, verging on complete
indifference,—an attitude of rare prudence, sanity, and sagacity. It
treats the whole matter of the individual attempt as a side issue, with
an unfortunate tendency to divert the attention of both the faithful and
the unfaithful from the basal principles of anarchy, and makes it very
clear that it would ignore it altogether if it could.

   “If anarchy,” says this representative journal, “does not
   reject violence when it is demonstrated to be indispensable to
   enfranchisement, it does not elevate it into a system.
   Violence is for it a means, debatable, like everything, but
   which is, at most, only an accessory affair. It must disappear
   when the obstacles are overcome, and weakens in nothing any of
   the elements of the ideal itself....

   “Deeds are not counselled, nor spoken, nor written. They are
   done. Sometimes a deed done effects more than a long period of
   writing. This journal will always be the first to applaud
   those who act. We are, then, far from repelling the
   _propagande par le fait_. Only—we have said it before, and we
   repeat it—the _propagande par le fait_ cannot be the work of a
   journal. It is not for us to say to individuals: ‘Do this! Do
   that!’ If they are convinced and conscientious, they will know
   what they have to do....

   “To say to the workers, ‘Do this, burn that, hang that one,’
   is child’s play, since the reader may demand with reason why
   he who preaches so glibly does not do himself what he urges
   others to do.”

The American labour leaders are wont to assure us, while reserving to
themselves in all cases the right to criticism and opposition, that
there never has been, using terms broadly, and never can be, an
unsuccessful strike, since the strike that is the least necessary and
most immediately disastrous serves the large purpose of focussing public
attention on the strained relations between capital and labour, of
revealing by a sort of cathode-ray efficacy the hidden ills of the body
politic, and so of bringing just that much the nearer the final cure.

Similarly, the anarchist leaders assert that in anarchy no forces are
lost, and that the manifestations which are, in appearance, the most
foolhardy and shocking may have, equally with those which are, in
appearance, the most reasonable, the saving merit of compelling the
thoughtless world to think. “And perhaps,” says one of these leaders,
“it will occur to the hide-bound _bourgeoisie_ to find society
defective when they shall have discovered that there is some danger in
perpetuating its errors.”

   “The anarchist had been told,” wrote Zo d’Axa in _L’Endehors_,
   apropos of the dynamite exploits of an unknown, who turned out
   to be Ravachol, “that the idea for which he was willing to
   brave every danger did not exist. He had had it dinned into
   his ears that, in other times, the precursors talked less and
   acted more. His theory had been laughed at. His hope had been
   mocked. When, upon the highway as an apostle, he had attempted
   to convert the people, no one of these laughers and mockers
   had been willing to tarry and listen an instant.

   “Now, behold him!

   “Like the street vender drawing crude charcoal pictures on the
   sidewalk to attract the cockney crowd to which he means to
   offer an _article de Paris_ a little later, a primitive
   propagandist of anarchy has decided to force attention by the
   brutality of an act.

   “Back of this act is the faith, so much tabooed, to which he
   has at last drawn fruitful discussion.

   “It was an Idea the dynamiter displayed.

   “And no one can deny it,—at the moment when, by favour of the
   excitement, the journals are giving their readers the very
   ‘_articles de Paris_’ which the terrible unknown dreamed of
   showing. Side by side with their invectives the _Figaro_, the
   _Eclair_, other sheets, print and expound theories which had
   not had the freedom of their columns before. These journals
   have become, in spite of their reserves, the propagators of
   the accursed Idea.

   “Is it a result?

   “Men read, discuss, realise perhaps.”

To _comprehend_ the foregoing manner of reasoning or, rather, point of
view (the word “comprehend” is italicised lest any one confound
inoffensive comprehension with dangerous approval), one must have had in
some country or other some bitter experience—stinging rebuke or
angering, insulting rebuff—with the vapid self-complacency, the
dogmatic thick-wittedness, the dictatorial stubborness, and the cruel
hard-heartedness of the bourgeois. One must have been shocked and
sickened by his vulgar flaunting of a stupid—or wicked?—determination
to persist in his denial that his fellow-men ever starve, unless he can
see them, with his own eyes, throw up their hands dramatically, stagger,
and fall around him.

If one has had this disillusionising experience with the bourgeois, he
will _comprehend_—there will be no lapsing here into such atrociously
bad form as hinting the possibility of acquiescence—that there are
numerous poor devils who say, “Let the bourgeois have the dramatic
demonstration of starvation, since he will credit no other!”

He will _comprehend_ that there are some, not poor devils, who think
that a certain manifestation of the hungry in Trafalgar Square was a
beautiful eye-opener for the British public; that there are others who
look upon the march of Coxey’s grotesque army as anything but a
ridiculous failure; and that there are still others who, recalling a
memorable famine winter in Boston,—the shudderful winter when the
authority of the state was invoked to disperse a peaceable assembling of
the unemployed,—hold it a real pity that the assembling was quite so
peaceable.

He will _comprehend_ these last when they say that a few broken
window-panes in the swaggering Back Bay and self-sufficient West End
would have made the inhabitants of those districts less glib in their
assertions that there was no real suffering in the city and less eager,
by way of a clinching argument, to parrot, as having happened to their
very selves, the incident which probably did happen sometime and
somewhere to some one, thanks to some irresponsible tramp’s sense of
humour,—of the professedly hungry man who refused to work because he
had a previous engagement to march in the procession of the unemployed.

There is an appreciable distance from broken windows to broken heads.
Still it is plain enough that the person who can _comprehend_ the point
of view that in a given exigency applauds the first can _comprehend_
(always bear in mind that this word is an innocuous one) the point of
view that in a graver exigency applauds the second.

If it is true that there are bourgeois, as there are dogs, who
understand no argument and respect no appeal but the blow,—let it not
be said here that it is true,—it is not surprising, however deplorable
it may be, that there are those among the proletariat who find it “a
source of innocent merriment,” in the words of Gilbert’s Lord High
Executioner, “to make the penalty fit the crime.”

Anarchist and dynamiter are so far from being interchangeable terms that
it would be possible and, perhaps, justifiable to write a treatise on
the theory of anarchy without making the slightest reference to
dynamiting or any other form of the _propagande par le fait_. Taken by
itself, the list of the overt anarchist acts in France during the last
twenty-five years seems a long one; but, when it is viewed in the light
of the total number of anarchist believers, it is evident that the
dynamiter is the exception among the _camarades_. When, furthermore, the
few hundred victims anarchy has made in all the world during the quarter
of a century it has been militant are compared with the number of the
victims the Minotaur—poverty—devours in a single country in a single
year,[28] or with the havoc wrought by any one of the commoner diseases,
anarchy as a menace to human life ceases to appear a very serious
matter.

Nevertheless, the alarm the _propagande par le fait_ has excited is not
to be wondered at. The dread of the dynamiter, like the savage’s dread
of the railroad, is a dread of the mysterious and uncontrollable,
superstitious perhaps, but which no amount of civilisation can entirely
eradicate from the human mind. Lightning, which also does relatively
little damage, is feared, and will probably continue to be feared so
long as there is no forecasting where it will strike.

In the case of the new dynamite propaganda the unknown quantities were,
in the beginning at least, so numerous as to be bewildering; and several
of them still remain uneliminated. Much more is now known about
anarchist doctrines, about the nature and power of dynamite, and the
other fabulously destructive modern explosives, and a little more about
the characters of the persons who employ these explosives. But the
dynamiter’s seeming illogicality in the choice of his victims and his
actual inability—comparable only to a woman’s proverbial awkwardness in
throwing a stone—to attain the victims he has chosen, while he does
attain others, are as pronounced as ever.

When throwers of bombs massacre persons they would not have harmed for
the world, and when bombs are found in such diverse spots as cafés,
restaurants, hotels, churches, soldiers’ recruiting offices and
barracks, police stations, bazaars, private dwellings, public markets,
stock exchanges, employment bureaus, and old people’s homes, who,
indeed, can boast of his security? In the course of the years 1891-95
the fear of the dynamiters assumed such proportions as to amount almost
to a panic, and this period is still referred to as “The Terror” in
certain quarters.

   “_Ah, ah! c’est pas un’ crac
     La dynamit’ nous fich’ l’ trac,_”

sang the clever _Montmartrois chansonnier_ Eugène Lemercier in a witty
topical song, _Le Trac de la Dynamite_, which had an enormous vogue.

At that time irresponsible rumour attributed to the _camarades_, to the
“_catastrophards_,” such fell and fantastic schemes for the annihilation
of the old society as the dispersion of malignant microbes, the
poisoning of the water supply, and the introduction of nitro-glycerine
into reservoirs, conduits, and sewers. There were frequent thefts of
dynamite, the authors of which remained for some time at large. An
anarchist _cocher_ (probably demented) rode down pedestrians in
pursuance of a vow he had made to exterminate the bourgeois. Public
alarm was aggravated by the professional imaginings of the reporters and
the police. It was wantonly played upon by the _estampeurs_
(blackmailers and swindlers vaguely affiliated with “the groups”), who
coined money by selling to a willingly gullible press bogus tips of
conspiracies and contemplated explosions,—notably the mining of the
_Opéra_, the _Palais de Justice_, and the Presidential Tribune at
Longchamp, and the assassination of Leo XIII.,—and by _fumistes_
(practical jokers), who perpetrated sardonic jokes with sand, iron
filings, and sardine boxes, which were taken to the municipal
laboratories[29] with the same infinite precautions as the real bombs in
the ominous-looking vehicle presided over by the _cocher_ “Ramasse” and
drawn by the horse “Dynamite.”

During “The Terror” landlords begged or ordered magistrate tenants to
quit their premises, lest they draw down bombs as trees draw down the
thunderbolts, and added to their “TO LET” notices these reassuring
words, “IL N’Y A PAS DE MAGISTRAT DANS LA MAISON”; the neighbours of
judges compromised by the anarchist trials hastily moved into other
parts of the city and even into the country; rag-pickers and
_concièrges_ fainted or had hysterics at the sight of sardine tins in
the garbage boxes; _concièrges_ quakingly told their heads before
venturing to open the street doors for their own belated lodgers;
anarchist tenants were as sedulously sought as magistrate lodgers were
avoided, were loaded with soft words and favours, and implored not to
worry themselves about their rent bills; and café and restaurant garçons
vied with each other in flattering the caprices of their anarchist
customers.

Flor O’Squarr tells of an anarchist, real or assumed, who, having
regaled himself with a bountiful repast in a high-priced restaurant
close by the Madeleine, called for the proprietor, and said:—

“I have had an excellent meal, and I haven’t a sou to pay for it. Arrest
me, if you like; but I warn you that I am an anarchist, and that you
expose yourself to the vengeance of my associates. Choose!” The
panic-stricken Boniface insisted on drinking the audacious fellow’s
health in champagne, and, when visited the following day by the police,
who had heard of the affair, refused to make complaint against the
swindler or give information that might lead to his detection. “A
charming person, very polite, very well bred, and not proud,” was all
that could be got out of him.

“_Le vol_” (theft) is another recognised form of the _propagande par le
fait_.

“Are you cold,” says Charles Malato, “then enter the great bazaars which
are crammed with unused garments, and take them; are you hungry, invade
the meat-shops. Everything human industry produces belongs to you
because you are men, and you are cravens if you do not take what you
need.” Several international congresses have passed resolutions
exhorting the hungry to take food wherever they can find it.

About this right of the individual to take for himself whatever is
necessary to sustain his life, a right admitted theoretically,
for the matter of that, by many who do not consider themselves
revolutionists,—by popes, prelates, and theologians even, all the way
from Saint Thomas to Manning and Parkhurst,—anarchists of all
complexions agree absolutely. But over the right to steal in general
there is as much dispute among them as there is over the right to kill.
Some hold stealing meritorious, if the victims are properly chosen;
others, if the profits are devoted scrupulously to the oral or written
propaganda; others still, if they are turned over to the poor. Those who
approve theft unreservedly are few indeed. Jean Grave admits that he is
somewhat perplexed, but inclines to approve the open, defiant theft. He
says:—

   “Anarchy recognises in every individual from the moment he has
   seen the light of day the right to live. Individuals suffer
   from hunger by reason of a defective social organisation. And
   yet the planet has still, and will have for a long time,
   enough and more than enough to nourish the beings it carries.
   Every individual who finds himself reduced by the fault of
   society to a want of bread has the right to rebel against
   society, to take food wherever it exists....

[Illustration: POSSIBLE REVOLUTIONISTS]

   “Nevertheless, there is a thing that puzzles many of us;
   namely, the ignoble means it is necessary to employ, if one
   would steal, the perpetual deceit to throw the victim off his
   guard, the constant duplicity to capture his confidence....

   “Every one acts as he understands, as he can. If his ways of
   proceeding are in contradiction with the established order of
   things, it is for him and the defenders of the code to have an
   explanation. But, when certain persons pretend to derive their
   way of living from a special order of ideas, when they seek to
   disguise with the cloak of the _propagande_ deeds done for
   their own preservation, we have a right to say what we think.

   “If, then, we place ourselves at the view-point of the right
   which the individual has to live, he may steal. It is his
   privilege, especially if society drives him to want by
   refusing him work. And I add that it would be very stupid of
   him to commit suicide when society has made him destitute. The
   right to the defence of one’s own existence being primordial,
   one must take where there is.

   “But, if the act of stealing is to assume a character of
   revendication or of protest against the defective organisation
   of society, it must be performed openly, without any
   subterfuge.

   “‘But,’ retort the defenders of _le vol_, ‘the individual who
   acts openly will deprive himself thus of the possibility of
   continuing. He will lose thereby his liberty, since he will be
   at once arrested, tried, and condemned.’

   “Granted. But, if the individual who steals in the name of the
   right to revolt resorts to ruse, he does nothing more nor less
   than the first thief that comes along who steals to live
   without embarrassing himself with theories.

   “It is with stealing as it is with the military service. There
   are persons who refuse to let themselves be enrolled,
   preferring to expatriate themselves. This way of proceeding
   has its little character of protestation. But alongside of
   these there are others who, by the simulation of an infirmity,
   by taking advantage of an exemption or the utilisation of an
   efficacious protection, manage to evade military servitude.
   They are right, surely,—a thousand times right,—from their
   point of view. But, if they tell us that they have thereby
   performed acts of revolutionary propaganda, and contributed to
   demolish the régime, it would be easy to demonstrate that
   their claim is false....

   “To resort to ruse, to dissimulate, in order to capture the
   confidence of the person one is planning to despoil, is, it
   must be confessed, an unwholesome and degrading line of
   conduct.”

Among the few Paris pilferers whose lives have distilled the odour of
sanctity, who have taken on themselves to perpetuate the tradition of
the magnanimous bandit, the philanthropic pirate, and the tender-hearted
outlaw, to incarnate the paradox of the “_bon voleur_” (honest thief),
the two most famous are Pini and Duval.

Clément Duval, who robbed and attempted to burn the mansion of Mlle.
Madeleine Lemaire, was an iron worker of an independent spirit, who
became so disgusted with the sufferings and humiliations of the
labourer’s lot that he determined to make a dramatic protest. His
previous record was absolutely clean, save for a petty theft from an
employer when his _compagne_ and children had eaten nothing for
twenty-four hours; and he carried away from the Lemaire residence only a
small part of the valuables at his disposal, which shows that gain was
not his primary object. In his written defence, which the presiding
judge, Berard des Glajeux, did not allow him to read, he dwelt at great
length on the hardships of the working-woman. In fact, Duval was a
feminist of the first water. Saint Clément Duval! Forget him not,
feminists, when you make up your calendar of saints!

In the _Revue Bleue_, a publication which can hardly be accused of
having a revolutionary bias, M. Paul Mimande wrote of Duval: “Well, to
my thinking, this thief, this incendiary, is _honnête_.... I believe him
incapable of robbing and killing to satisfy his cupidity. He worked for
the collectivity alone. Duval has the serenity of the _illuminé_ who
suffers for a holy cause. He is logical in submitting, without murmurs
or protestations, to the hard rules of the _bagne_. Very sincerely, he
refuses to find himself disgraced by the livery of the convict; and he
shows it by his bearing and his talk. His conscience cries out to him
that he has acted well. What does the rest matter!

  “I had a long conversation with Clément Duval. I questioned him
  searchingly; and I discerned in his phrases, ardent, but
  hollow, a sort of atavic duplicate of the times of John Huss.”

Duval had neither instruction nor the gift of eloquence, and succeeded
ill in explaining his theories to the jury of the Seine. Pini, on the
other hand, who had been at great pains to educate himself, was an
orator and philosopher as well as a student. His defence—less a defence
of himself than of his theory of the right to steal (_le droit au
vol_)—was as splendid a bit of impertinence as was ever delivered in a
court-room.

Calmly, cynically, with a control of voice and charm of gesture that
would have done credit to the most gifted advocate, he said (in part):—

   “As to us anarchists, it is with the untroubled assurance of
   performing a duty that we make our attacks on property. We
   have two objects in view: first, to claim for ourselves the
   natural right to existence which you bourgeois concede to
   beasts and deny to men; second, to provide ourselves with the
   materials best suited for destroying your show, and, if it
   becomes necessary, you with it. This manner of reasoning makes
   your hair stand on end; but what would you have? This is the
   state of the case. The new times have come. There was a time
   when the starving wretch who appropriated a morsel of bread,
   and was arraigned before your plethoric persons therefor,
   admitted that he had committed a crime, craved pardon, and
   promised to perish of hunger (he and his family) rather than
   touch again the property of another. He was ashamed to show
   his face. To-day it is very different. Extremes meet; and man,
   after having sunk so low, is retrieving himself splendidly.
   Arraigned before you for having smashed the strong boxes of
   your compeers, he does not excuse his act, but defends it,
   proves to you with pride that he has yielded to the natural
   need of retaking what had been previously stolen from him; he
   proves to you that his act is superior in morality to all your
   laws, flouts your mouthings and your authority, and in the
   very teeth of your accusations against him tells you that the
   real thieves, _messieurs les juges!_ are you and your
   bourgeois band.

   “This is precisely my case. Be assured I do not blush under
   your charges, and I experience a delicious pleasure in being
   called thief by you.”

Maître Labori’s eloquent pleading, though it did much to establish his
reputation as an advocate, proved as vain in the case of this refractory
_prolétaire_ as it did later in the case of his bourgeois client,
Dreyfus; and Pini was given twenty years of hard labour for his thieving
and his impertinent impenitence.

Pini whose thefts were legion, Pini who in the guise of the son of an
Italian cardinal paid reconnoitring visits to the archbishopric of
Paris, and dreamed the colossal dream of rifling the Vatican, Pini, I
say, never stole for himself nor for his friends, but only for the
propaganda, for humanity. He was the altruistic thief of the century’s
close _par excellence_. Every son of his thieving was devoted to the
cause. He gave to street beggars freely, but always from his legitimate
earnings, never from the proceeds of his expeditions, and never without
reproaching them for stretching out their hands to beg when they might
steal. “Sometimes, even in winter,” says one who claims to have known
him well, “Pini, half-clothed and almost barefoot, traversed Paris to
carry assistance to the destitute _compagnons_. He distributed among
them one franc or two francs out of his own pocket; but he did not
encroach upon the capital of two or three hundred louis which had
resulted from his last exploit. He subsidised several French and Italian
presses for the printing of journals, manifests, and placards. The
stolen money belonged to the cause, to the idea, to the future.”

When he gave of his consecrated hoard to individuals, as he sometimes
did, it was always because the propaganda was directly involved. Thus
he supported for two years at the University of Milan the son of an
imprisoned _camarade_, and aided many of the _camarades_ who were in
prison or who had been obliged to flee to escape imprisonment. He was
blamed by some of his associates for having invested a sum of stolen
money in an industrial enterprise. The blame was just from the anarchist
point of view; and yet, even in this case, the profits were plainly
destined in advance for the propaganda.

Within the last two or three years the treasures of the churches have
been the greatest sufferers from the pilferers on principle, who have
been inflamed by the anti-clerical campaign of the Combes ministry.

As anarchist killings have been very little formidable, viewed in the
large, so the aggregate of the anarchist stealings is, in social or
criminal statistics, a negligible quantity. These stealings have not
brought expropriation appreciably nearer, and have only served the
anarchist cause, if they have served it at all, by keeping before the
public mind the fact that the anarchist theory is as much opposed to
property as it is to government.

The majority of the thieves who call themselves anarchists in court are
thieves first and anarchists afterwards,—eleventh-hour converts, who,
having fallen on the misfortune of detection, essay to play anarchist
rôles, prompted thereto by a sense of humour, a hope of securing the
sympathy and support of the _camarades_, or a yearning for the homage of
the “_petit peuple de Paris_”, who, as Marcel Prévost has pointed out,
“adore all revolutionists.”

One other form of _propaganda par le fait_ remains to be mentioned;
namely, counterfeiting. But anarchist counterfeiting has not been
advocated, it seems, by the accredited anarchist theoricians, and has
not been provided with a romantic halo by any master practitioner, like
Pini; in short, has not attained the dignity of a public peril, and
calls for no extended notice here. The greater part of the so-called
anarchist counterfeiters are common criminals or vulgar charlatans with
whom anarchy is a mercenary after-thought, or they are simple police
spies.

The most picturesque of the real anarchist counterfeiters who have
passed through the judicial mill is the _Lyonnais poète-chansonnier_
known as “_L’Abruti_.”

“_L’Abruti_” (“The Imbruted”), the uncomplimentary name, intended as a
fling against society, is of his own choosing, tormented by that craving
for the great road, for space and liberty which has been the blessing
and the curse of the best and the worst of men since time was,—from
Abraham, Homer, Cain, Esau, and John the Baptist to Morrow, Salsou,[30]
Ravachol, Richepin, and Josiah Flynt; L’Abruti swore off working for the
detested bourgeois one fine day, and, shouldering a little pack in which
he had stowed a stew-pan, a coffee-pot, a set of mysterious steel
implements, and some scraps of writing-paper, set out from Lyons in true
troubadour or, to be more accurate, in true _trimardeur_ style, to make
his tour of France.

Sauntering out of the sunrise in the morning, between hedge-rows
traceried with the fragrant eglantine, free of fancy and free of limb;
ruminating the “_heureux temps d’anarchie_” prophesied by the
_poète-camarade_ Laurent Tailhade, “_temps où la plèbe baiserait la
trace des pas des poètes_”; casting about for couplets with a mind
attuned to Verlaine’s poetic precept,—

   “_Que ton vers soit la bonne aventure
     Eparse au vent crispé du matin
     Qui va fleurant la menthe et le thym_”;

exploring the motionless blue and the scudding white of the sky for a
fresh image; exchanging good words and snuff-pinches with passing
rustics and smiles and badinage with the rustics’ wives and daughters;
halting now and again to quaff from a wayside spring, to catch a
thrush’s liquid note, a magpie’s gibe, or a linnet’s whistle, to
unshoulder his pack, and, using it as an _escritoire_, to fix on paper a
just-discovered rhyme, or, using it as a pillow, to enjoy the discreet
fellowship of a pipe and out of its curling smoke-fantasies fashion
Utopias; beguiling the hours of the short shadows with alternate
scribblings and siestas; and sauntering into the sunset when the long
shadows came,—L’Abruti passed the days.

He dined and supped by the roadside under spicy limes or voluptuous
acacias, lavishing his omelettes, his coffee, and his _chansons_ on all
chance passers-by.

With his mysterious implements and the aid of flame, in some dusky
forest thicket where a witch might weave a spell, he fabricated the
wherewithal to buy his eggs and coffee; and he passed the nights,
according to the weather, under the stars or in some hospitable grange.

The idyl was rudely interrupted—a fig for civilisation!—by the
Philistine-minded gendarmes. L’Abruti was tried, and condemned to
prison, though he had never gone beyond the fabrication of the ten-cent
piece, instead of being decorated, as certain bourgeois are who deserve
no better of society, and counterfeit talent instead of dimes.

Served him right, perhaps, for violating his country’s laws! Served him
right, unquestionably,—delicious, whimsical minstrel that he was,—for
departing from the good old begging tradition!

It seems a pity, all the same. He was such a jolly good fellow.

[Illustration: A RAID BY THE POLICE]


_“He [Souvarine] was going out into the unknown. He was going, with his
tranquil air, to his mission of extermination wherever dynamite could be
found to destroy cities and men. It will be he, no doubt, when the
expiring_ bourgeoisie _shall hear the street pavements exploding under
every one of its steps._”—EMILE ZOLA, in Germinal.



CHAPTER VI

THE CAUSES OF PROPAGANDA “PAR LE FAIT”


   “_For so persecuted they the prophets which were before you._”

    JESUS CHRIST.


   _“As soon as an intelligent workingman says, ‘I ought to earn
   so much,’ he is denounced as a leader of a band, and is
   discharged._”

   J.-H. ROSNY, in Le Bilatéral.


   “_On the pavement in mid December—a mother with her two
   months’ child still at the breast!_

   “_But this is forcing her to beg, it is condemning the
   children to death. And I am well, and I am strong, and I am
   courageous; and they refuse me work. Ah! I am under the ban of
   society._”

   Journal d’un Anarchiste (AUGUSTIN LÉGER).


   “_You, Meyrargues, will speak, others will act. But let it be
   understood that this blood [Vaillant] calls for blood._

   “_They were silent, reconciled, baptized in the fluid of this
   death. A state of heroic grace possessed them, effaced their
   differences, their quarrels, and their gibes._”—VICTOR
   BARRUCAND, in Avec le Feu.

   “_John Brown’s body lies mouldering in the grave,
     His soul goes marching on._”

    American Popular Song.


A study of the various manifestations in France of the _propagande par
le fait_ shows that the greater part of the overt anarchist acts,
whether counterfeitings, stealings, or killings, have proceeded from a
more or less well-grounded desire for personal or party vengeance; they
have been committed by persons who have either suffered unjustly
themselves at the hands of government or society or have lived very
close to those who have so suffered.

The sensational killing of the assistant superintendent, Watrin,[31] by
the striking miners of Decazeville (1886) was a horrible crime or a
wholesome act of popular justice, according to the point of view. The
fury of the mob is explained, if not excused, by the fact that this
Watrin was allowed a premium of five per cent. upon every reduction of
wages he was able to accomplish, coupled with the other fact that his
brutal and insatiate rapacity had forced wages down thirty per cent. in
eight years.

The anarchist house-breaker, Clément Duval, had been seriously
handicapped in the struggle for existence. In the Franco-Prussian war he
had received two wounds which had rendered him permanently unfit for his
trade of iron worker, and had contracted a disease which had forced him
to spend nearly four years out of ten in various hospitals. He had
experienced real want in the course of his many periods of enforced
idleness.

Pini had suffered much at the hands of society and the state. Many a
time, when out of work, he had been glad to sleep on straw, at two cents
a night, in the faubourg of La Glacière. His autobiography, which he
wrote in jail, while awaiting his trial, is, like every formal utterance
Pini ever made, exceedingly illuminating. Of his early life he says:—

   “Son of a poor pariah, I began my career surrounded with the
   luxuries which the _bourgeoisie_ heaps upon us from our very
   cradles. I saw six of my brothers die of want. One of my
   sisters wore herself out in the service of a stingy family of
   bourgeois.

   “My old father (an ancient Garibaldian), after a painful
   existence, in which he had given to the _bourgeoisie_ sixty
   years of his sweat and enriched a good number of employers,
   died like a dog in a charity hospital.

   “I passed my childhood in a charity asylum; and, my primary
   studies finished, I was forced at the age of twelve years to
   go to work in a printing-office, where I earned just one franc
   a week.”

Driven from Italy in his young manhood for his connection with the
leaders of the “Workingman’s Party,”[32] he took refuge in Switzerland,
and after a few months came to Paris.

His disillusion in regard to Paris is highly significant. He had dreamed
of finding there democracy, and found flagrant inequality instead.

He was successively chimney-sweep, bricklayer, groom, coal-heaver,
sawyer, clerk, and street-hawker. His tribute to the Paris workingmen,
with whom he was thus intimately thrown, is especially fine:—

   “They were mostly illiterate, but reasoned better than I. They
   had studied the great, practical book of suffering, the pages
   of which are printed in characters of blood and tears. It was
   these poor pariahs who initiated me into the great anarchistic
   ideal, and who, out of the midst of their misery, expounded to
   me how society could be tranquil and happy under the régime of
   essential justice.

   “How noble they appeared to me, these men whom the bourgeois
   loaded with insults after having sucked their blood!

   “The _Paroles d’un Révolté_ of Kropotkine made a fervent
   anarchist of me, and it was only then that I began to perceive
   men and things in their true light.”

The outrages inflicted by the Clichy police on Dardare, Decamp, and
Léveillé, who had defended their right to carry the black flag,
revolvers in hand, and the cavalier treatment of these same men by the
personages of the court before which they were summoned, were the
probable provocations for the unsuccessful attempt,[33] of which
Ravachol was suspected to be the author, on the Clichy station-house and
for the explosions of the rue de Clichy and the Boulevard St. Germain
for which he was condemned.

   “Manacled and bleeding,” wrote Zo d’Axa at the time in
   _L’Endehors_, “the three men were landed in the station-house.
   Their respite was not long. The officers were not slow to pay
   the prisoners a visit, and this is what they brought with
   them: kicks for shin-bones, pummellings for panting chests,
   blows of revolver butts for aching heads. It was the dance of
   the vanquished. They mauled the poor fellows with inexorable
   malice and ignoble ingenuity. The police band tortured with
   ferocious joy.

   “When they stopped, it was from weariness and only to reopen
   the séance half an hour later. So passed the day of the arrest
   and other subsequent days.

   “Their eyes blackened, their heads swollen and unrecognisable,
   their bodies bruised, their spirits broken, the poor fellows
   had no more force to resist. They remained inert under
   poundings as under the lash of insult. Their wounds festered,
   and they were refused water to wash the sores. A month after
   the arrest the bullet that might have given him gangrene had
   not been extracted from the leg of Léveillé.”

Some allowance should be made in the above account for the evident
partisan spirit of Zo d’Axa. But there is plenty of unbiased evidence to
demonstrate the culpability of the police in this affair and to explain
the epidemic of overt acts that came after it.

Rulliers and Pedduzi, who attempted (the latter with success) to kill
their employers, had both had their work taken away because of their
anarchist belief.

Ravachol had been driven from workshop after workshop for his opinions.
In his defence, which the presiding judge, Darrigrand, refused to allow
him to read, he said:—

   “I worked to live and to make a living for those who belonged
   to me. So long as neither I nor mine suffered too much, I
   remained what you call honest. Then work failed me, and with
   this enforced idleness came hunger. It was then that this
   great law of nature, this imperious voice which brooks no
   retort,—the instinct of self-preservation,—pushed me to commit
   certain crimes and misdemeanours for which you reproach me and
   of which I recognise myself to be the author.”

The explosion at the Véry restaurant was in retaliation for the delivery
of Ravachol to the police by the garçon L’Hérot.

Lorion, who fired on and wounded gendarmes to prove he was calumniated
in being treated by the socialists as a police spy, had been detained
for five years in the House of Correction for having insulted the police
at the _age of thirteen_.

President Carnot signed his own death warrant in refusing to commute the
sentence of Vaillant, who was condemned to the guillotine for throwing a
bomb which neither killed nor seriously wounded anybody.

   “Whether he admits it or not,” wrote Henri Rochefort,
   prophetically at the time, “M. Carnot will remain the
   veritable executioner of Vaillant

     ‘_Qu’il aura de ses mains lié sur la bascule._’

   “And, as he will be the only one to benefit by his decision,
   the least that can be asked for is that he assume all the
   risks.”

The exasperation produced by the execution of Vaillant was aggravated by
the indelicacy—unpardonable from the Parisian point of view—of holding
the execution during the Carnival, and by the atrocious pleasantry of
the Minister of the Interior, Raynal, who said, “_J’ai donné des
étrennes aux honnêtes gens._”

Georges Etievant, who wounded two policemen, had had his life rendered
absolutely impossible by the persecution of the police. Implicated by
them in a theft of dynamite in 1891, he is said, on good authority, to
have served his time rather than denounce the real culprit, who was a
father of a family. Banished for the first article he wrote after his
release, he tried to practise sculpture in London, but was prevented by
the machinations of the French secret police, who made him lose all his
work. He was a starving, shelterless outcast at the moment of his crime.

Salsou, who attempted the life of the Persian shah during the Exposition
of 1900, had lost work by reason of his opinions earlier in life.
Furthermore, he had been arrested for vagabondage at Fontainebleau while
making his way from Lyons to Paris on foot in 1894, and, this charge of
vagabondage being groundless, had been condemned to three months of
prison for vaunting his anarchist belief, on the dubious testimony of a
police spy, who had been put into the same cell with him for the express
purpose of “drawing him out.”

[Illustration: SALSOU]

Finally, the condemnation of Salsou to hard labour for life, in
punishment of a relatively insignificant attempt by which no one was
hurt, was based on diplomatic rather than judicial reasoning. He died
soon after his arrival at Cayenne, in consequence, probably, of the
hardships to which he was subjected. His body was thrown to the sharks
in the presence of a number of functionaries, who amused themselves by
taking photographs of the fight for its possession. Certain of the
prisoners, who were witnesses of this revolting scene, have taken a
solemn oath to avenge it.

It looks very much as if the high-handed suppression of free speech in
France during the early eighties had been largely instrumental in
producing the numerous overt anarchist acts during the nineties, and as
if the continued policy of the authorities in “making examples” by an
overstraining of the law had inspired other anarchists to follow the
examples of those who were made examples of.

   “The anarchists,” says Jean Grave, very justly, “suffer
   governmental persecutions, not only when they revolt, which is
   quite comprehensible, but even when they content themselves
   with a peaceable propagation of their way of understanding
   things, and that notwithstanding the fact that at the present
   time the majority of the governors pretend to have granted the
   greatest political liberty.... The police have been ferocious,
   pitiless, towards the workers. They have hunted the anarchists
   like wild beasts. For a word a bit strong, for an article a
   trifle more violent than usual, years of prison have fallen on
   them.... Treated like wild beasts, certain ones act like wild
   beasts.... ‘Who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind.’”

In 1882 sixty-six anarchists were tried at Lyons, and sixty-one
convicted (fifteen for contumacy), among them Kropotkine and the
scientist Emile Gauthier. The unjust condemnation of Emile Pouget and
Louise Michel, referred to in a previous chapter, came soon after.

   “Cyvoct was sentenced to death[34] at Lyons,” says the
   Chronology of the _Père Peinard_, under the date December 11,
   1883, “for the crime of having been managing editor of an
   anarchist journal at the moment when an unknown person placed
   a bomb in a dive where the swells amused themselves.”

It could not be better put. Cyvoct was in Switzerland at the time of the
explosion, and could not by any possibility have been the author of it.
He was not even the writer of the article which was held by the court to
have provoked the attempt.

The next year Gueslaff was condemned to ten years of hard labour for an
attempt at Montceau-les-Mines, which he made at the instigation and
under the direction of a police agent.

Three years later—to pass rapidly on—anarchists were sentenced for
revolutionary speeches at Laon. In 1890 Merlino, Malato, and Louise
Michel were incarcerated on the same charge. There was an indiscriminate
and purely preventive ingathering (_rafle_) of anarchists the 22d of
April, 1892, in prevision of the trial of Ravachol and the dreaded
demonstration of May 1, and another _rafle_, also indiscriminate and
purely preventive, on the New Year’s Day preceding the execution of
Vaillant,—a measure which wrought untold injury—could governmental
malice or stupidity go farther?—to anarchist workingmen, and brought
untold suffering on their families, from the fact that it coincided with
the moment for the payment of the January rent (_terme_).[35] It was of
the former _rafle_, in which he was included, that the littérateur Zo
d’Axa, in his piquant _De Mazas à Jérusalem_, wrote:—

   “The police drag-net trick of this month of April, ‘92, will
   become historic.

   “It is the first in date among the most cynical assaults of
   modern times upon liberty of thought.

   “The true inwardness of the affair is now known.

   “The government wished to profit by the emotion caused by the
   explosions of the _Caserne Loban_ and the rue de Clichy to
   encircle in a gigantic trial of tendency the militant
   revolutionists. The ministry and its docile agents pretended
   to believe that certain opinions constituted complicity. The
   writer, explaining how the disinherited gravitate inevitably
   towards theft, became, by the simple fact of this explanation,
   a thief himself. The thinker, studying the wherefore of the
   _propagande par le fait_, became the secret associate of the
   lighters of tragic fuses. The philosopher had no right to
   counsel indulgence and to view without giddiness the facts.

   “Society must rid itself of those of its members who are so
   corrupt as to desire it better....

   “Evidently, the impartiality of the judges was not to be
   counted on. The word of command had been passed along. It
   would be useless to prove that not only we were not cut-purses
   nor cut-throats, but that no organisation existed among us,
   even from the political point of view. The tribunals would
   sentence us with the same unconcern.

   “A single point was doubtful. For the success of the manœuvre
   it was indispensable that the other countries prosecute their
   refractory citizens in the same fashion.

   “Well, what the French Republic had premeditated, Holland,
   England, and even Germany had the decency to be unwilling to
   undertake. The venerable monarchies did not yield to the
   solicitations of the young republic, which dreamed of
   reconstituting in an inverse sense the _Internationale_. There
   were parleyings to this end, but they came to nothing. The
   hunt of the free man was not decreed by all Europe. Our fallen
   democracy realised from that moment that she could not do
   worse than the worst autocracies.... The order was given to
   set us at large.

   “The politico-judiciary machination had miscarried. All it had
   been able to do was to hold us a month in jail, and gall our
   wrists slightly with the infamous irons....

   “In making arbitrary arrests, our masters, for all their
   excitement, had no illusions. They knew very well that they
   would be forced, in the end, to restore to liberty men against
   whom not a single specific fact could be adduced; but they
   said to themselves this, ‘Mazas will calm them!’ Now Mazas
   calms nothing at all....

   “It is just the opposite that happens. Deranged in their
   habits, perturbed in their affairs, losing often their means
   of subsistence, those who are victims of the provocative raids
   go out of prison more rebellious than they entered it....

   “The little ones are hungry in the house, the baker refuses
   credit, the landlord threatens eviction, the employer has
   given another the job.

   “Rage mounts. It overflows. Some commit suicide by an overt
   act; and, surely, the least sturdy take a step forward. The
   timid grow bold. In the solitude of the cell logical thought
   has gone back to causes, has deduced responsibilities.

   “Ideas become clarified. The man who has been incarcerated for
   the platonic crime of subversive social love learns hatred.”

Among other questionable repressive measures may be mentioned the famous
“trial of the thirty” (_procès des trente_), embracing several of the
theoricians, dilettanti, and littérateurs which resulted, necessarily,
in acquittal, but which left much bad feeling behind; the “trial of the
forty” (_procès des quarante_); the condemnation of Zo d’Axa and his
managing editor, Matha, to eighteen months of prison and a 3,000-franc
fine; the expulsion of the littérateur Alexandre Cohen and the art
critic Félix Fénéon; in the winter of 1900-01—to pass over the
intervening period—a long-drawn-out series of wholesale _rafles_ made,
nominally, to suppress the bands of thieves and thugs who had grown
numerous and insolent during the comparative immunity of the preceding
summer, in reality quite as much to enable the police to locate anew the
_camarades_ of whom they had lost track during their preoccupation with
the Exposition; countless perquisitions and preventive arrests
throughout the length and breadth of France just before the last visit
of the czar; and in the spring of 1904 the turning over of Russian
refugees to the Russian police,—so many arbitrary and oppressive acts
which will bear, if they have not already borne, their inevitable fruit
of hatred and revolt.

For these superfluous persecutions of the anarchists it is sometimes the
police and sometimes the ministry that is responsible; which it is not
always easy to determine, owing to the close connection between the
French national and the Paris municipal governments.

If it has never been conclusively proved that a ministry has gone to the
extent of organising riotings[36] and bogus anarchist attempts (as
capitalists have been known to organise strike violence) in order to
maintain itself in power, to further a domestic project, bolster up a
foreign policy, or win in advance the moral support of the community for
a contemplated rigorous suppression of free assembling and free speech,
there have been times, as is more than hinted at in Zola’s _Paris_, when
a ministry has been publicly accused and currently believed to have done
these things.

According to M. Rochefort, who makes a specialty of launching
sensational hypotheses,[37] the attempts of Vaillant and Salsou[38] (by
which practically no damage was done) were prepared by the police,
acting under government orders. These charges are not to be taken more
seriously, of course, than others from the same charlatanical source.
They are, perhaps, their own best refutation. On the other hand, it has
been proved over and over again that not only cabinet ministers, but
politicians in general, as well as financiers and journalists,—all
those, in a word, who “fish in troubled waters,”—sometimes act in
collusion with the police in turning street disturbances, even at the
risk of bloodshed, to their own selfish or partisan advantage.

Furthermore, as if it were not enough to be able to repose on laws of
exception that belong logically to the worst monarchies, the government
has an unfortunate way of straining legality, ever and anon, even to the
breaking point.

Such governmental acts as the transference of papers taken from nihilist
refugees in Paris (1890) to the Russian authorities in order to enable
the Russian police to arrest nihilists living in Russia; the prohibition
of the holding of the International Labour Congress (1900), which it
would have been so easy to suppress at the first really incendiary
utterance; the extradition of the boy Sipido (the would-be assassin of
the then Prince of Wales), a proceeding of such doubtful legality that
the ministry responsible for it was censured by a vote of 306 to 206 in
the Chamber; the invasion of the _Bourse de Travail_ (1903) by the
police, an act which Premier Combes himself was obliged to denounce in
the Chamber; and the refusal of the Minister of Justice (1904) to
rehabilitate Cyvoct, who adduced overwhelming proofs of his
innocence;—all these are fair samples of the far from edifying means
the authorities are constantly employing to secure respect for the law.

It is not to be expected that the servant will be more scrupulous than
the master, and we long ago became accustomed to the idea that it takes
a knave to catch a knave. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to
experience a sensation of disgust at the vileness of some of the methods
to which the police descend whenever anarchists are concerned.

The police chieftains exaggerate (if they do not deliberately aggravate)
the gravity of the public peril (as a wily physician might exaggerate
the gravity of an illness) in order to win from their ministers the
praise and gratitude which mean for them enlarged brigades, increase of
secret funds, and individual promotion.

The rank and file of the police, feeling a similar necessity of making a
good showing with their immediate superiors, entrap anarchists into
street disturbances or violations of the common law, and fabricate, with
the aid of false witnesses, fictitious crimes for the suspects on their
lists who are not obliging enough to make incendiary speeches or commit
violence. They invade the privacy of their homes on the flimsiest
pretexts; slander them to their _compagnes_, their neighbours, and their
friends; poison the minds of their _concièrges_, their landlords, and
their employers against them; in short, they render their lives
generally unlivable by mean and meddling tricks.

This is no imaginative sketch,—so far from it that, if the police
should take it into their heads, during one of the anarchist flurries
which occur periodically, to make a descent upon the lodgings of the
writer, who is anything but an anarchist, he would probably be
imprisoned (or, at least, confined preventively) for the sole offence of
having in his possession the numerous red-covered volumes, brochures,
caricatures, placards, and _chansons_ which he has found it necessary to
collect in the preparation of this book. If he were a Frenchman, he
would certainly have much difficulty in avoiding temporary confinement
under such circumstances. Being an American, he might escape with being
courteously, but strenuously, requested to cross the border.

This elaborate spy system, this shrewdness, chicanery, and, not to mince
words, villany on the part of the police, is, after all, more or less
futile. It serves no great purpose in the suppression of the _propagande
par le fait_.

It is well enough for a police prefect to boast publicly, as did M.
Andrieux, back in the eighties, of the ease with which he penetrates the
meetings of the groups, and recruits spies among the _camarades_,[39]
and to shake his sides over the fine trick he plays on the _camarades_
in conducting a journal[40] for them with funds provided by the state.

Such boasting and such self-gratulatory chuckling are well enough in
their way; but they are rather idle in view of the looseness of
organisation of the groups, which any one, if he dissemble ever so
little, may frequent, and the insignificance and unreliability of the
information obtained from such easily recruited spies. Besides, there is
a class of anarchists who become police spies, nominally, for the
express purpose of leading the police astray by false information.
Controlling one journal is not controlling all, and a controlled journal
is not less a propagandist force because the public money goes (however
secretly) to the making of it. M. Andrieux’s _La Révolution Sociale_ not
only preached anarchy, but preached it (here the police
short-sightedness appears) very effectively. It converted some of those
who have since become the most feared of militant propagandists, and
goaded certain of the previously converted into action.

Overt acts are seldom, if ever, arranged in the groups. Vaillant did
not breathe a word of his projected attempt against the Chamber of
Deputies to his group of Choisy-le-Roi. It is the exception rather than
the rule when a really dangerous character is an assiduous frequenter of
the groups; and, if he is, he does not often take the group members into
his confidence. The “conspiracy” which is bruited about at every fresh
anarchist attempt is rarely proved in France, for the very good reason
that in France it rarely exists outside of the excited imagination of
the frightened public and the professional suspiciousness of the
detective and judge. “Why will they prate of plots?” says Zo d’Axa.
“There is something better. There is an idea which is alive and stirs,
and which is making its way on every hand.”

It is well enough, again, for the anthropometric expert, M. Bertillon
(since it seems to amuse him), to enrich his criminal museum with
photographs, relics, and statistics of the militant and non-militant
anarchists who are brought his way by the police _rafles_; but what,
after all, does it profit him to know the “bigness of the skull, the
standing height, the sitting height, the size of the right ear and the
left foot,” so that “he has no instrument to register,” to borrow Zo
d’Axa’s pregnant phrase, “the significance of a shoulder-shrug”?

The police may plume themselves on knowing the anarchists’ resorts,
faces, and aliases, and their tricks of cipher and invisible ink. But
this police knowledge of the anarchists is offset by the anarchists’
knowledge of the police.[41] It is diamond cut diamond in this respect.

In 1901 a café garçon, acting on a wager, mounted the step of President
Loubet’s state carriage, and dropped in the president’s lap a mysterious
bundle which contained a photograph of the garçon’s little daughter. The
bundle might as easily have contained a bomb, and all Paris shuddered.

After the great _rafle_ of April, 1892, this same M. Loubet (then a
minister), relying on the assurance of the police, proclaimed to the
_bourgeoisie_ that they might sleep in peace for a time, since all the
dangerous anarchists were under lock and key. Four days later the Véry
restaurant was dynamited precisely as it had been predicted that it
would be, whence arose, as the _Père Peinard_ exultantly and maliciously
remarked at the time, “a new and capital word, _Véryfication_.”

Somebody’s shoulder-shrug had not been taken account of.

The police expert knowledge of the anarchists, much as it is vaunted,
has not sufficed to prevent numerous overt anarchist acts in the
immediate past; and there is little reason to believe it can prevent the
next overt act to which a resolute man may make up his mind.

In carefully guarding dynamite from theft, the French police have
rendered a real service to the public safety. But until the revolver and
the poniard, which are surer than dynamite of their chosen victims, can
be submitted to a similar control, the greatest service the police can
render against the _propagande par le fait_ would seem to be the purely
negative one of not exasperating anarchists indiscriminately and
unnecessarily, and of not brutally crowding them to the wall.

The injustice of courts, the deceitfulness of ministries, the corruption
of parliament, and the unscrupulousness of the police, as well as the
inequalities of society, are important factors in the formation of the
“_catastrophards_,” or propagandists _par le fait_. But they all become
insignificant before the passion for martyrdom, which has always, in
some form or other, possessed a minority of the human race.

The French propagandists _par le fait_, from Ravachol to Baumann,[42]
may have grievously deluded themselves; but they have unquestionably
believed themselves to be apostles honoured in being set apart for
martyrdom.

The _stigmata_ are many and unmistakable. They have had the singleness
of purpose and the merciless logic of zealots. They have preached in
season and out of season,[43] before judges, in prisons, and at the
guillotine. They have consecrated the time allotted for their own
defence to the defence of anarchist tenets, have accepted advocates
under protest, and have refused to sign requests for the commutation of
their sentences. They have borne the odium of deeds of which they were
not guilty, because they thereby secured a pulpit for their preaching,
and left the real authors free to operate. They have held it sweet to
die for the faith. They have displayed, in the awful presence of the
knife, the trance-like ecstasy of the illuminate.

In Part I. of his powerful two-part drama, _Au-dessus des Forces
Humaines_, the hero of which is a dynamiter, the great-minded Norseman,
Björnson, has emphasised this fact, that it is among the propagandists
_par le fait_ of anarchy that we must look for the modern martyrs, for
the men who witness their faith with their blood, who sacrifice
themselves unreservedly for their fellow-men, who welcome death with
smiles and outstretched arms because they are confident that their
martyrdom will usher in the redemption of mankind.

Zola and a host of lesser literary lights have been emphasising the same
fact in France.

   “I know Vaillant,” says one of the characters of Victor
   Barrucand’s novel _Avec le Feu_. “He is afflicted with a
   hypertrophy of the sentiments. He believes in nature, in
   humanity, in justice. He hopes for the reign of the entities.
   He is the embodiment of disinterestedness. He wanted to act.
   Like a brave bull, he charged the imaginary obstacle.... He is
   sincere, he carries his faith like a torch, he would set the
   world on fire by way of persuasion.... He is generous,
   sanguine, sentimental,—the typical French revolutionist.”

And of Emile Henry, author of the explosion of the _Café Terminus_, Zo
d’Axa writes:—

   “I hear him still, little more than a child, but already
   grave, self-centred, and close-mouthed, sectarian even, as all
   those forcibly become whose faith is troubled by no doubts,
   those who see—hypnotised, may I say?—the end, and then reason,
   judge, and decide with mathematical implacability. He believed
   firmly in the advent of a future society, logically
   constructed and harmoniously beautiful. What he reproached me
   for was not counting enough on the regeneration of the race,
   not referring everything to the ideal standard of anarchy.
   Apparent contradictions shocked his logical sense. He was
   astounded that any one who came to realise the baseness of an
   epoch could continue to take any pleasure therein.”

The ferociousness of the self-styled conservators, who made it their
business to hang and burn witches, engendered the morbid exaltation that
made inoffensive, impressionable people accuse themselves of being
witches. The logical and inevitable counterpart of a Saul of Tarsus
breathing threatenings and slaughter is a Stephen beholding the heavens
opened. It has always been so, and probably always will be.

“The guillotine is the nimbus of the saints of this new religion,”
writes Félix Dubois, a declared opponent of anarchy, in _Le Péril
Anarchiste_; and this revised version of the venerable proverb, “The
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” _donne à penser_. It
makes one query whether the fanaticism of this latter-day sect has not
been inflamed rather than allayed by every anarchist head that has
fallen. Fancy the feelings of a fervent, conscientious anarchist
assisting at the public decapitation of one of his coreligionists. Zola
has described in unforgettable pages the entry of the contagion of
martyrdom into the system of his sincere, learned, and great-souled
anarchist character, Guillaume Froment, at the execution of Froment’s
protégé:—

   “Ah! the dumb stroke, the heavy shock of the knife! Guillaume
   heard it penetrate far into this quarter of want and work,
   heard it resound in the inmost recesses of the wretched
   lodgings, where, at this hour, thousands of workers were
   rising for the hard labour of the day. It took on there a
   formidable meaning. It told the exasperation of injustice, the
   madness of martyrdom, the agonising hope that the blood shed
   would hasten the victory of the disinherited.”

So long as the guillotining of the anarchists is as dispassionate as
that of other killers of their kind, the guillotined are exalted into
martyrs by their coreligionists alone. But when, as in the case of
Vaillant, who had destroyed no life, the evident purpose of the courts
is to wreak vengeance, not to deal justice, and when legal forms are
stretched, if not completely snapped, by the weight of popular prejudice
and passion with its old, old cry of “Crucify, crucify!” then, not only
the sectaries of anarchy, but revolutionists of every shade, and all
those who, while not revolutionists, are not quite ready to subscribe to
the formula that society, like the king, “can do no wrong,” are pained
and shocked. These last add, unconsciously perhaps, several rays to the
halos of martyrdom about the heads of the anarchist thus wronged; and
the cause of a single tiny sect is confounded for the time being with
the cause of the oppressed at large.

The apotheosis of Vaillant is one of the most significant phenomena of
modern times. His fate was sincerely and widely deplored in literary and
artistic circles and by reputable contributors (if not by editors) in
even the capitalistic press.

The spontaneous public pilgrimage to his burial-place, the Champ de
Navets, took the police so completely by surprise that they were not
prepared to arrest it. A stone, inscribed “_Labor improbus omnia
vincit_,” was hastily erected over his grave while its guardians were at
breakfast.

Although it was midwinter, bunches of fresh flowers were fairly showered
upon the mound. These and the wreaths of immortelles and artificial
flowers, which the French so much affect as funeral tributes, were
nearly all accompanied by striking legends. A significant one of these
read: “Glory to thee who wast great. I am only a child, but I will
avenge thee.” There was also a symbolic crown of thorns.

The scenes that were enacted over this anarchist grave were of a
poignant, mystic, almost uncanny intensity.

An aged man raised a babe above the heads of the crowd, and said
impressively, “Behold the tomb of the martyr!”

A labourer lifted his voice to utter five simple terrible words,
“Vaillant, thou shalt be avenged.”

A blind man declaimed: “In its lethargy the people is like a person
buried alive. It wakes sometimes in the night of the tomb, and
convulsively strains to break the planks of its coffin. From the depths
of darkness I have heard thy cry of rage and of despair, O Vaillant!
Thou hast threatened the powerful, those who live on the people and
serve them not. Thy arm was raised, but thou wast thine only victim; and
now earth fills thy mouth. Alas!”

A poet recited,—

   “_Un ciel boueux taché de sang, c’était l’aurore,
     La vieille aurore avec ses roses de festin,
     Qui se levait honteuse à l’appel du destin
     Pour éclairer des yeux que la mort allait clore._”

Another poet intoned,—

   “_Que ton souffle se mêle à la création,
     Que la rosée de ton sacrifice mouille nos âmes stériles,
     Que ton exemple unique soit comme l’eau d’un seule nuage
     Qui fait germer toutes les plantes dans la forêt!_”

A ragged snail-gatherer led the crowd to the spot (a hollow against the
wall) where a basket of the clotted blood that had flowed from the
severed head had been hidden. Men, women, and children knotted lumps of
the ensanguined sawdust in their handkerchiefs and besmeared their
hands.

A fierce handbill, “_A Carnot le Tueur_,” was distributed broadcast. Two
red flags were planted on the grave, and a black flag was unfurled,
bearing the inscription, “_Vive la Mort!_”

On every anniversary of Vaillant’s death, unless the police interfere,
similar scenes are enacted in the Champ de Navets; and in these weird,
commemorative rites the dead man’s little daughter, Sidonie, who was
adopted by the _camarades_, plays a spectacular part.

[Illustration: A STREET RIOT]

The anniversary of the death of Ravachol is celebrated by a pilgrimage
of the faithful to the tomb of Diderot, who is regarded as a precursor
of anarchism (Montbrison, where Ravachol is buried, being too far away
for Parisians); and every anniversary of the deaths of those who have
died for the cause and every funeral of a _camarade_ is made a pretext
for keeping alive the morbid cult. But the great saint day of the French
anarchist calendar is the 11th of November, the anniversary of the
anarchist executions at Chicago.

All anarchistic (one might almost say all revolutionary) Europe honestly
believes—whether rightly or wrongly history has yet, perhaps, to
decide—that the Chicago hanging was as flagrant a violation of human
rights, and the preceding trial as disgraceful a travesty of justice, as
the worst absolute monarchy has ever had the audacity to perpetrate.
Whatever the influence of this dramatic execution may have been in
America, it was highly inflammatory in Europe. Under a practically free
immigration system, America will be indeed fortunate if she does not,
sooner or later, import long-stored-up rancour, originating from this
event.

In the rest of Europe, as in France; in Russia, Germany, and Austria, in
Italy and Spain, the violent anarchist acts of the last twenty-five
years have been, broadly speaking, so many reprisals for real or fancied
injuries suffered at the hands of government or society.

It is as nearly proved as a thing that is not susceptible of
mathematical proof well can be that the almost complete immunity of
England from anarchist violence (the Fenian attempts can hardly be so
classed) has been due, in part at least, to the relative liberty of
speech, press, and assemblage she has accorded,—accorded with an almost
heroic consistency, in view of the pressure European governments have
brought to bear upon her to change her policy. And it is surely
something other than mere chance that so large a proportion of the
propagandists _par le fait_ hail from Italy. The unconcerned fashion in
which the Italian peasants and labourers—at Milan, at Carrara, in
Sicily—have been given cold lead when they have had the effrontery to
ask for bread, and the mediæval tortures, a hundred times worse than
death, inflicted on Passanante[44] and his successors, under the
hypocritical guise of clemency and humanity, have acted naturally enough
as provocations toward anarchism rather than restraints against it.

The following account of the fate which awaited Bresci appeared in the
Paris _Matin_ immediately after his condemnation had been pronounced:—

   “The penalty of imprisonment for life which has fallen upon
   Bresci is very rigorous, and will be aggravated by solitary
   confinement day and night.

   “The condemned man will probably be taken to the _bagne_ of
   St. Etienne, where he will be clothed in the black and yellow
   striped prison uniform. During the first years he will occupy
   a cell two and a half metres long and one metre wide, which
   has never more than a half-light. Later he will be transferred
   to a cell a little larger and fully lighted. A table, slightly
   inclined, half a metre wide, will serve him for bed and
   furniture. His food will be bread and water once a day only.
   The jailers will hand it in to him through a hole covered with
   coloured glass, which permits them to see the prisoner without
   being seen by him.

   “The days must pass in absolute silence. The punishments which
   threaten the prisoner who does not submit to this terrible
   régime are: I. The “strait-jacket” (_chemise de force_). II.
   Irons which bind the hands to the feet, holding the body bent
   forward. III. The _lit de force_, a wooden box exactly like a
   coffin, pierced at the lower end with two holes for the feet.
   The legs cannot be moved, and the arms are held motionless by
   the _chemise de force_.

   “After ten years of this régime the prisoner is allowed to
   work during the day; but at night he returns to isolation and
   silence. Neither visits nor letters—nothing—can penetrate
   this tomb till the day when death or madness comes to deliver
   him who inhabits it.”

The above is given for what it is worth without a guarantee of the
strict accuracy of every detail. But the _Matin_ is not a revolutionary
sheet, and would seem to have no good reason for misrepresentation. If
only one-half of what it reveals is true, the crime of the Italian
government will seem to many more heinous than the worst thing the
anarchists have ever done or been accused of doing. No wonder Bresci
contrived to put himself out of the way before a year had elapsed, and
little wonder that the friends of Bresci have threatened reprisals.

The folly of taking official cognisance of the expression of incendiary
views was signally demonstrated at the time of the last visit of the
czar to France, when the poet Laurent Tailhade was sentenced to a year
of prison and a 1,000-franc fine for a prose-poem glorifying regicide,
published in _Le Libertaire_. This article would have been seen, had the
authorities but had the tact to ignore it, only by the few regular
readers of _Le Libertaire_, and would have been _read through_, it is
safe to say, only by a small and unexcitable minority of these; for M.
Tailhade is characterised by a style that is incomprehensible, save to
the _lettrés_. But the author must needs be haled into court;[45] and,
presto! Paris and the provinces are in an uproar. Well-known literary
and artistic personalities—Zola, Gustave Kahn, Frantz Jourdain, E.
Ledrain, and Jean Marestan among them—testify for their brother
craftsman in person, and Mirbeau, De Hérédia, and Anatole France by
letter. The auditors applaud the culprit’s utterances, bear him away,
after the announcement of the verdict, in triumph, and hold banquets in
his honour. The dangerous article, or at least its incriminated
passages, and the proceedings of the court are published, in spite of
the fact that such publication is expressly forbidden by law, throughout
the length and breadth of France; and all the papers teem with
_chroniques_, leading articles, and skits upon Tailhade or anarchism.
Indignation meetings are held in every corner of Paris, and resolutions
of protest are passed by socialists, free thinkers, and simple
republicans, and even by Masonic lodges.

The obscure _Libertaire_ is given an enormous quantity of free
advertising, the anarchist propaganda is carried on by its enemies, and
a martyr is made of a man with no special vocation for martyrdom. To be
sure, the offender is in durance for a twelve-month, but he is not
silent; and nobody is deterred from following his example. A clearer
instance of making a mountain out of a molehill it would be hard to
find.

[Illustration: The Guillotine in Moonlight ]



CHAPTER VII

THE CHARACTER OF THE PROPAGANDIST “PAR LE FAIT”


   “_Give the devil his due._”—Popular proverb.

   “_He rose at five, and read until the work hour. His shop
   associates, knowing him sincere, generous, incapable of
   platitude, did not detest him in spite of his unsociable
   ways._”—J.-H. ROSNY, in Le Bilatéral.


   “_Granted, the ship comes into harbour with shrouds and tackle
   damaged; the pilot is blameworthy; he has not been all-wise
   and all-powerful: but to know how blameworthy, tell us first
   whether his voyage has been round the globe or only to
   Ramsgate and the Isle of Dogs._”—THOMAS CARLYLE.


   “_J’ai regardé le juge en face.
     Certain d’abord d’être pendu,
     Je ne me suis pas défendu.
     A quoi bon mendier sa grâce!
     Le cuir est fait pour le tanner;
     Le code est fait pour condamner.
     J’ai regardé le juge en face._”

    MAURICE BOUKAY, in Chansons Rouges.


The first anarchist I ever knew in any country was a dear, grandfatherly
American workingman in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who conducted me, the
Sunday following our chance meeting, to an ethical culture society in
Dorchester on purpose to show me how children should be taught to be
good.

The second was a young doctor of philosophy, dreaded by reputable Boston
for his well-documented _sans-gêne_, who chanced to be rusticating on a
farm where I spent ten days with a gang of a dozen city street boys. I
found him infinitely gentle and kind; and it was he of all the farm
household who came to relieve me one night while I was keeping an
anxious bedside vigil beside one of the boys, who had received an
accidental injury to the head that threatened to prove dangerous.

These my first two experiences with anarchist types were scarcely of a
nature to dismay me, nor have I ever found anything dismaying in the
private characters of the anarchists I have since known in the Old
World.

In an every way remarkable study of the anarchist temperament, based on
a thorough investigation of anarchists of many professions and all
stations in life, A. Hamon, author of _La France Sociale et Politique_
and _Une Psychologie du Militaire Professionnel_, has arrived at these
suggestive conclusions:—

   “The positive method confirmed by the rational method enables
   us to establish an ideal type of anarchist whose mentality is
   the aggregate of common psychic characteristics. Every
   anarchist partakes sufficiently of this ideal type to make it
   possible to differentiate him from other men. The typical
   anarchist, then, may be defined as follows: a man perceptibly
   affected by the spirit of revolt under one or more of its
   forms,—opposition, investigation, criticism,
   innovation,—endowed with a strong love of liberty, egoistic,
   or individualistic, and possessed of great curiosity,—a keen
   desire to know. These traits are supplemented by an ardent
   love of others, a highly developed moral sensitiveness, a
   profound sentiment of justice, an alert logical faculty, and
   pronounced combative tendencies.

   “Such is the average psychic type of the anarchist. He is, to
   summarise, a person rebellious, liberty-loving, at once
   individualistic and altruistic, enamoured of justice, and
   imbued with missionary zeal.”

To these conclusions every one who has been privileged to know well any
number of anarchists will be likely to subscribe. And, if M. Hamon,
instead of extending his investigations to all sorts and conditions of
anarchists, had limited them to the propagandists _par le fait_, his
conclusions would not have been essentially different. He would probably
have felt constrained to admit that the “ardent love of others” and the
“profound sentiment of justice” were curiously blended with petty
cravings for notoriety or large desires for glory; the “missionary
zeal,” with a reticence amounting to mystification about matters of
purely personal concern or projects of violence; and the “highly
developed moral sensitiveness,” with a seemingly contradictory moral
callousness regarding the means permissible to attain an end. But, on
the other hand, M. Hamon would surely have added these sterling
qualities: a rare love of animals, surpassing sweetness in all the
ordinary relations of life, exceptional sobriety of demeanour, frugality
and regularity, austerity even, of living, and courage beyond compare.

Ravachol, the most difficult of all the French propagandists _par le
fait_ to comprehend, Ravachol who never allowed (no more than a great
financier might) a sentiment of humanity to interpose when the success
of a plan was at stake, who never showed a gleam of remorse for his
murder of the miser hermit of Chambles and the pillaging for jewels of
the tomb of the Marquise de la Rochetaille,[46]—Ravachol was by the
testimony of all who knew him well, even his enemies, an unusually
kind-hearted man where the Cause—I had almost said where politics—was
not concerned. In his young manhood he supported his mother and younger
brother, and treated them with the greatest consideration. He was fond
of children, and remonstrated fiercely against cruelty to animals. The
presiding judge tried in vain to wrest from the little son of Ravachol’s
_compagne_ some hint of brutality on Ravachol’s part. “_Il était très
doux avec maman et avec moi_” was all the boy could be got to say; and
the only time Ravachol broke down during his detention and trial was at
the sight of this little one. Chaumartin, who had betrayed Ravachol from
fear or some baser motive, said on the witness-stand, “He taught my
little children to read, and cut out pictures for them”; and Ravachol
forgave this same Chaumartin his baseness in open court.

Only a short time before the explosion of the rue de Clichy, Ravachol
escorted to a shoe store a pitiable beggar girl he had chanced upon in
the street, and saw her provided with a new pair of shoes, for which he
paid seven francs.

The charities and compassions of Pini, and Duval’s more than platonic
solicitude for the welfare of working-women, have been previously noted.

Decamp, though he earned barely fr. 2.50 per day, and had a wife and
three children to provide for, adopted a homeless six-year-old child to
save it from vagabondage.

Faugoux, who was given twenty years of hard labour for stealing
dynamite, wrote to a _camarade_ regarding the damaging testimony of one
Drouet:—

   “As to Drouet, I pardon him his want of frankness regarding
   me. He has little instruction, and he hoped in this way to
   save himself from the law. This _compagnon_, although
   convinced, has much sentiment for his family; and this is a
   powerful motive. When he thought of the struggle and the
   misery which his wife and child would have to support, he
   forgot that he was an anarchist. Let us not lay it up against
   him nor refuse him our hands.”

Salsou adored, as he was adored by, his father and mother and his
several brothers and sisters. He wrote them often in the years after he
left home for the _trimard_; and his letters were replete with
affection, notably one in which he acknowledged the photograph of his
mother and two of the children, Martha and Henri, playfully calling the
last named “Henricon.” His _compagne_ had no complaint to make of his
treatment of her, and even his laundress testified to his being
courteous and kind.

[Illustration: LOUISE MICHEL]

Reader’s of Zola’s _Germinal_ will remember the anarchist Souvarine’s
affection for the pet rabbit, Pologne, and his sorrow at her death. The
point is well observed. Nearly every French anarchist, whether
propagandist _par le fait_ or not, is a defender of the rights of all
four-footed things; and many are strict vegetarians. In her fascinating
autobiography, Louise Michel returns again and again with flaming wrath
to the sufferings of domestic animals.

   “Under my revolt against the strong,” she says, “I find,
   farther back than I can remember distinctly, a horror of the
   tortures inflicted on dumb beasts. I would have liked to see
   the animal defend himself,—the dog bite the one who abused
   him, the horse, bleeding under the lash, trample on his
   torturer. But always the dumb beast endures his lot with the
   resignation of the subdued races. What an object of pity is
   the beast!”

This typical anarchist trait is graphically illustrated by the following
anecdote related by Flor O’Squarr:—

   “One day in July I stopped before a book-stall of the rue
   Châteaudun, close by the rue Laffitte, when I was joined by an
   anarchist who led me before the show window of a bird dealer a
   few steps away. There, with a hand that shook, he pointed out
   to me some white mice shut up in tiny iron cages that were
   provided with squirrels’ wheels, whereon the little beasts
   galloped without respite.

   “‘See there,’ moaned the dynamiter, ‘tell me if men are not
   villains! These poor white mice, so delicate, so pretty,
   suffer frightfully, don’t you know it, churning like that in
   this instrument of torture. It gives them nausea and pains in
   the stomach.’ He would have strangled the dealer without
   remorse to avenge the mice.”

Zola, in his account of the trial of the dynamiter Salvat (_Paris_),
makes the culprit’s fellow-workmen testify that he was “a worthy man, an
intelligent, diligent, and highly temperate workman, who adored his
little daughter, and who was incapable of an indelicacy or meanness”;
and this characterisation of a bomb-thrower of fiction might be applied
with little change to almost every real bomb-thrower who has operated in
France. Scarcely one appears to have been—the _propagande_ apart—what
we call a “bad egg” and the French call a “_mauvais sujet_” or to have
had a bad disposition. There is scarcely a drunkard, a gambler, a
libertine, or a domestic tyrant, in the lot. Indeed, they have had so
few of the vices of genius that one almost sighs over their essential
commonplaceness.

They have nearly all been highly abstemious and nearly all great
readers. Pini’s living expenses averaged less than three francs a day,
and were no more after a successful theft than before,—the best
possible proof that he was not given to reckless dissipation.

Ravachol spent somewhat more than Pini,—seven or eight francs a day, on
an average,—but was no hard liver. Philip, one of the French authors of
the explosion at Liège (spring of 1904), devoted a legacy to the cause.
Baumann educated himself in evening schools after reaching manhood.
Salsou, who had read the _Révolution Sociale_ of Proudhon at fifteen,
devoted a good part of his earnings to the purchase of journals and
books. He paid from four to seven francs a week for his lodgings, and
lived in other respects accordingly. Potatoes and onions “were the chief
of his diet.” He left his room regularly about seven in the morning,
returned about the same hour at night, and went out very little evenings
even to the group meetings, preferring to stay at home and read till a
late hour. In fact, the only things his associates found to reproach him
for were his over-seriousness and his taciturnity.

   “He was an honest, laborious, sober man,” testified his
   employer at his trial, “and ever ready to do a favour, but
   very much shut up in himself,—not in the least communicative.
   He passed for a scholar.” Whereupon Salsou, referring to his
   condemnation at Fontainebleau for having talked of his faith,
   retorted, “If they reproach me with being uncommunicative, it
   is because I know what it costs to be communicative.”

   “The aim of the press,” said Zola, apropos of the public
   reception of Salvat’s attempt (_Paris_), “seemed to be to
   besmirch Salvat, in order, in his person, to degrade anarchy;
   and his life was made out to be one long abomination.... His
   faults, magnified, were paraded without the causes that had
   produced them, and without the excuse of the environment which
   had aggravated them. What a revolt of humanity and justice
   there was in the soul of Froment, who knew the true
   Salvat,—Salvat, the tender mystic, the chimerical and
   passionate spirit, thrown into life without defence, always
   weighted down and exasperated by implacable poverty, and
   finding his account at last in this dream of restoring the
   golden age by destroying the old world!”

Whenever a fresh anarchist trial occurs in France, this inglorious farce
of press vilification is re-enacted. Not content with heaping on the
culprit’s head all the misdemeanours of which he has been guilty and
many crimes of which he has not been guilty, the bourgeois organs try to
strip him of his one incontrovertible attribute,—courage. They
dare—knowing him well under lock and key—to call him “coward.”

No, my respectable, quaking bourgeois, not that! Robber, murderer,
incendiary, fornicator, what you will (if you must judge by your rule of
thumb), but not coward! It is too much! You cannot deny the dynamiter
what you concede to the vilest criminals and even to the beast of the
jungle.

Duval all but killed the police brigadier Rossignol, who attempted to
arrest him. For the judge who tried to worm out of him proofs of the
existence of accomplices, he had this fine epigram: “_Vous n’aurez ma
langue qu’avec ma tête_.” Condemned to death, he refused to sign a
petition for clemency. The innocent Cyvoct, under sentence of death,
also refused to sue for pardon.

Two officers were wounded before Francis[47] could be secured on the
Boulevard de Strasbourg, and it took four officers to hold
Parmeggiani.[48]

Pini had to be lassooed in the heart of Paris like a buffalo of the
plains, and it was only when wounded that he could be retaken after his
escape from Cayenne.

Lorion, advertised everywhere by the police for an incendiary speech at
Roubaix (immediately after his release from a five years’ imprisonment),
openly led a band to the sack of the office of a Lille newspaper which
had treated him as a police spy, and then made good his escape to Havre;
but, determined to purge away the last vestige of the charge against
him, he returned to the region of Lille, and wounded two officers before
he could be taken.

Decamp defended himself, after his cartridges were finished and his
knife gone, with a bayonet,—which he succeeded in wresting from one of
his assailants,—until he swooned from loss of blood. In court he
said:—

   “You can guillotine me. I prefer it. I have had enough of your
   prisons and your _bagnes_. Off with my head! I do not defend
   it. I deliver it, shouting, ‘_Vive l’Anarchie!_’ What does
   one _camarade’s_ head more or less amount to, if only our
   beautiful Hope spreads!”

Baumann constituted himself a prisoner, and demanded the guillotine.
Etievant wrote from London a little while before his attempt:—

   “We are here in large numbers, the proscribed of all
   countries, convinced of the final triumph of Liberty, having
   made great sacrifices already for the Idea, and fortifying
   ourselves with the hope of rendering service to poor humanity
   which has limped along painfully for so many centuries; and
   yet I begin to doubt that we have done everything that we
   might have done and in consequence everything that we should
   have done. Would it not have been better to struggle even unto
   death there where the hazard of birth had placed us? Rather
   than to flee precipitately before the threats and the blows of
   authority, would it not have been better to make the sacrifice
   of our lives?” By deliberately returning to Paris, Etievant
   answered his own question in the affirmative.

Henry, whose attitude in court was that of a pontiff, “defended himself
in the street like a little lion,” says Barrucand. “He resisted till he
was at the very end of his forces, even under the heels of the police.
Flippant, ferocious, he mocked the officers, said that he had just
arrived from Pekin, and would not give his name.”

Vaillant denounced himself when he stood a fair chance of escape, and
bore himself proudly before his judges and before the guillotine.

Ravachol, king of cynics, risked discovery in passing the _octroi_ (city
revenue office) with dynamite in his satchel; walked long distances on
foot and rode in jolting omnibuses while carrying materials that the
slightest shock might explode; showed himself after each of his attempts
with an appalling indifference to recognition; defended himself superbly
before the Véry restaurant, whither he had returned for no other
apparent purpose than to finish the conversion of the garçon L’Hérot,
whom he had found sympathetically inclined a fortnight before; advanced
to the guillotine (though bound in a painful and ignoble fashion)
singing the most blasphemous and defiant of all the stanzas of the
venerable _Père Duchêne_;[49] hurled in the teeth of Deibler, the
headsman, the epithet, “_Cochon!_” and, as the knife fell, cried “_Vive
la Ré_”—The word was never finished. Some of the bourgeois papers,
determined to deprive Ravachol of the cynical grandeur of his death by
making him out a retractor, claimed the unfinished word to be
_République_ instead of _Révolution_.

It is the petty work of little men to call a man a coward who can die
like this. A consummate villain,—yes, judged by conventional
standards,—but no coward.

The man who dies like a man—and let it not be forgotten there are a
hundred and one ways of doing it—is to be admired for that, whether he
be called John Huss or John Brown, Saint Stephen or Saint Jean
Népomucène, Charles I. or Louis XVI., Raleigh or Ravachol, Petronius
Arbiter or Louis Lingg.

[Illustration: ANNIVERSARY DECORATIONS, MUR DES FÉDÉRÉS]

       *       *       *       *       *

   “_He [Ravachol] endured everything without a murmur, all the
   pain and all the punishment, because, in the sombre heaven to
   which his criminal reveries mounted, he had seen his chimera
   pass, because he believed himself an apostle._”—FLOR O’SQUARR,
   in Les Coulisses de l’Anarchie.

       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER VIII

SOCIALISTS AND OTHER REVOLUTIONISTS

   “_If the spirit of revolt is an essential part of the anarchist
   mentality, it is not alone in this sort of mentality that it is
   found. All anarchists are_ révoltés, _but all persons who display
   tendencies to revolt are not anarchists. Thus in the political
   and social sphere a number of the partisans of the bygone régimes
   are_ révoltés.”—A. HAMON.


   “_I went yesterday to hear Paul Déroulède.... As for me, I
   confess that I particularly relished this frankness of accent,
   this conviction capable of folly._”—ALEXANDER HEPP.


   “_Honour, to my thinking, consists entirely in the fine quality
   of the motive which directs the act. Now I have always seen the
   conduct of Paul Déroulède dominated by an anxious and continual
   care for our national greatness, by the reparation of our
   disasters. All the movements, all the supreme prayers of his
   heart, are eminently French. That suffices me._”

   SULLY-PRUDHOMME.


   “_There are no practical socialists but the anti-Semites._”

   EDOUARD DRUMONT.

[Illustration: A Socialist Bookshelf]


One of the plainest after-results of the Dreyfus affair, into which the
socialists[50] as well as the anarchists threw themselves with glee for
the superb opportunity it offered to undermine patriotism and destroy
the army, has been a cleavage between the more conservative and the more
radical elements of the socialist party.

The primary cause of this division may be found in the fact that two
socialists (one of whom, M. Millerand, had previously been decidedly
militant) accepted portfolios in the coalition ministry which supervised
the Dreyfus trial at Rennes and which survived it for a time. This
official service had such a sobering effect, both upon the ministers
themselves and upon their immediate following, that their socialism
became frankly opportunist; and the more radical and _doctrinaire_ among
their fellow-socialists felt compelled, because of this, to withdraw
from them their support. In like manner the socialist deputies who have
helped to maintain the Combes ministry have been constrained to a
similar opportunism. So it has come about that the French socialists,
who formerly were, broadly speaking, all revolutionary, are now divided
into the two distinct and even hostile camps[51] of evolutionary
socialists and revolutionary socialists.

[Illustration: M. VAILLANT[52]]

With the evolutionary socialists—who are, perhaps, for being the less
logical only the more philosophical—this book has, from the very nature
of its subject, nothing to do. The revolutionary socialists alone
concern us.

It is needless to say that _doctrinaire_ socialism and _doctrinaire_
anarchism are at opposite poles of the world of thought. Absolute
authority is as much the ideal of the one as absolute liberty is the
ideal of the other. For the anarchist the betterment of society depends
primarily on the betterment of the individual, while for the socialist
the betterment of the individual depends primarily on the betterment of
society. The complete realisation of socialism presupposes the
perfection of human machinery, and the complete realisation of anarchism
the perfection of human nature. The theories of the vicarious atonement
and salvation by character present, in another field, a somewhat
analogous contrast. Nevertheless, these theoretically antithetical
systems find in their antagonism to actual conditions so many points of
contact that it is not always easy for an outsider to determine whether
a given revolutionist is an anarchist or a revolutionary socialist, and
not always easy, one more than half suspects, for a revolutionist to
determine himself in which of the two classes he really belongs.

[Illustration: LÉANDRE’S CARICATURE OF PAUL DÉROULÈDE AS DON QUIXOTE

  _By permission of “Le Rire”_]

The revolutionary socialists, like the anarchists, are high-minded
dreamers, who are bent on procuring happiness for the human kind.
Unlike the anarchists, they participate in elections, and do not desire
the abolition of the state (as is indicated by their use of the word
_citoyen_, which the anarchists abhor); but they do wish for the
downfall of the present state (with whose bad faith and impotence they
are thoroughly disgusted) as the first step towards setting up the
socialistic state, and they hold collective revolt the most likely means
of effecting this downfall; all of which, in troubled periods, amounts
to very much the same thing practically as if they abjured the state
altogether. Like the anarchists, they demand the abolition of private
property, and they are opposed, like them, to charity (as the term is
popularly understood), to patriotism, and to armies. Like the
anarchists, furthermore (though this does not seem to be a logical
necessity for either), they are violently opposed to the church; and
they are (with less inevitableness than the anarchists in the same
matter) more or less hostile to marriage.

[Illustration: M. BROUSSE[53]]

They do not advocate the individual overt act of violence (though they
often sympathise with it when committed), and, hoping for social
salvation from social machinery, neglect the propaganda _par l’exemple_.
With these exceptions their methods of propaganda are identical with
those of the anarchists. They dispense the word orally, as the
anarchists dispense it by means of mass meetings, _punchs-conférences_,
_soupes-conférences_, _matinées-conférences_, _ballades propagandistes_,
_soirées familiales_, and amateur theatricals, and have a similar
_penchant_ for the _chanson populaire_.

The socialists have their special books and brochures and ingenious
methods of circulating them and their special propagandist press, which
includes several dailies, as well as weeklies and monthlies,[54] and
serves as a bond of union and a means of communication between
individuals and groups; and they make a copious use of placards,
manifestos, pictures, artistic posters, and souvenir postal cards.[55]

[Illustration: M. JAURÈS[56]]

Anarchists and socialists unite in anti-clerical and anti-militarist
mass meetings, in interfering riotously with public worship, in
shouting, _A bas l’Armée!_ and _A bas la Patrie!_ They also unite in
distributing to the conscripts manuals reciting their duties in the
regiments, chief of which are disobedience and desertion; and they
commemorate together many of the same anniversaries, especially those of
the _Mur des Fédérés_[57] (May) and of Etienne Dolet[58] (August). It is
at election times mainly that they try conclusions fiercely with each
other, because of their antagonistic sentiments towards the exercise of
the vote.

The revolutionary socialists esteem lightly trade-unions, except as a
means of coercing ministries to paternalism, and take little interest in
co-operation[59] as practised at present; but they have something of the
same faith as the anarchists that _la grève générale_, which several of
their congresses have indorsed, and _la pan-coopération_ will coincide
with the revolution.

In a certain sense—and not so very far-fetched a sense, either—every
political party in Paris is revolutionary, inasmuch as all the “outs”
are willing to resort to revolutionary methods to overturn the _statu
quo_ and all the “ins” would be willing to resort to revolutionary
methods to restore their respective dispensations if, by a turn of the
wheel of fortune, they should become the “outs.”

[Illustration: M. GUESDE[60]]

[Illustration: M. ALLEMANE[61]]

The anarchists and the socialists are by no means the only bodies who
find the Third Republic detestable, and who, to make way with it, would
gladly descend into the street. The royalists and imperialists are
reactionary revolutionists, only deterred from insurrection and a _coup
d’état_ by the absence of the magnetic man and the propitious occasion.
The nationalists would pause at nothing that would enable them to
substitute a plebiscitary for the present parliamentary republic, and
the anti-Semites at nothing that would expel or dispossess the Jews.
Rochefort and Drumont call themselves socialists; and Guérin’s organ,
_L’Anti-Juif_, regularly carries this head-line, “_Défendre tous les
travailleurs, Combattre tous les spéculateurs_.” _L’Autorité_,
_L’Intransigeant_, _La Libre Parole_, and _La Patrie_ are as truly
revolutionary sheets as are _Les Temps Nouveaux_ and _Le Libertaire_;
while Paul de Cassagnac, Baron Legoux, Lur-Saluces, the gilded youth of
the “_Œillet Blanc_” (“White Carnation”) who battered the President’s
hat at Auteuil, Rochefort, Drumont, Guérin, Régis, and Déroulède are as
much revolutionists as the socialist Jules Guesde or the anarchist Jean
Grave.

Some time before his expulsion Déroulède said to his electors: “There
is no other means of safety than a revolution at once popular and
military, having at its head a civilian and a soldier, both loyally
resolved to maintain the republic. To deliver France and the republic,
there are three methods possible: the will of a man (that is, the _coup
d’état_); the will of the people (that is, revolution); the will of the
representative assembly (that is, parliament). I will do all in my power
to make the last method—the most peaceable—effective; but I do not
greatly count on it, and I declare myself determined to venture
everything for the triumph of the other two.”

[Illustration: JULES GUÉRIN]

Déroulède and Guérin are both in banishment at this moment for overt
acts against the state. And, while the strict legality of the forms of
the high court trial that condemned them is more than dubious, there is
no doubt possible as to their essential guilt.

While Guérin was holding Fort Chabrol, the Dreyfusard anarchists were
exhorted by the anarchist leader, Sébastien Faure, to change their cries
of _A bas Guérin!_ to _Vive Guérin!_ since, whatever the
anti-Dreyfusard, anti-Semite rebel might have been before the siege or
might be after it, he was logically one of them as long as he was
defying the authority of the state.

The fact is that Paris, in spite of her excessive conservatism in
certain directions, has, and ever since the Great Revolution has had, an
_état d’esprit révolutionnaire_. Paris revolutionists and Parisians,
then, are, in the last analysis, pretty nearly one and the same thing.



PART II

THE ELITE

[Illustration: “_Montmartre va descendre!_”]

                       “_The man
   Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys.
   Power, like a desolating pestilence,
   Pollutes whate’er it touches; and obedience,
   Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
   Makes slaves of men and, of the human frame,
   A mechanized automaton._”

   SHELLEY.



CHAPTER IX

THE REVOLUTIONARY TRADITIONS OF THE LATIN QUARTER


   “_When the students sing the_ Carmagnole, _France trembles._”

   “_The monarchy of July persecuted the cancan, which historically
   seems to have been the anarchy of the period._”—AURÉLIEN SCHOLL.

   “_Humble spot, dingy little court, oh, how charming I find you!
   Hence will go forth some day the Revolution which shall save us;
   the age which by chloroform has already suppressed pain will
   suppress hunger also._”

   MICHELET on the Collège de France.


   “_The great movement of ideas which occurred in France under the
   silent reign of Napoleon III., when the tribune was mute, the
   press muzzled, and the right of assembly confiscated, had for its
   stage the_ brasseries _of the Latin Quarter._”—EDMOND LEPELLETIER.


“The Sorbonne,” says Eugène Pelletan, “shines from the heights through
the early mists like the dawn of intelligence. It is there that the
French Revolution was really born, thence was its point of departure....

   “On this sacred mount of the university a philosopher in
   monkish garb spoke one day in the open air. What did he say?
   It matters little. He said something new, and the multitude
   listened because he was the first to defend the claims of the
   earth,—the right of reason to reason; and, while he spoke, a
   veiled woman, with lips on fire, clung to the grating of a
   convent over yonder, and encouraged him with gestures in
   default of words.

   “The man represents human intellect hampered by the church,
   and the woman represents France confined in a cloister; but
   Abélard will grow, and will assume day by day, like the Indian
   god, a fresh avatar. To-morrow—for what is to-morrow in the
   life of a people?—he will bear, according to the ironical or
   severe humour of France, the name of Rabelais, the name of
   Descartes, the name of Rousseau, the name of Voltaire. And,
   side by side with him, the Idea, the insulted, the abused
   Idea, will advance with slow and tragic steps between two rows
   of fagots, a flame in her forehead and her hands at her sides,
   until the day when she shall wrest the torch from the
   executioner, and proclaim herself Queen.”

Whoever would unfold the progress of the revolutionary spirit in France
from the earliest times through the centuries must needs write a history
of the Sorbonne and of the seat of the Sorbonne, the _Pays Latin_ (the
Latin Quarter).

In the relatively limited area included between Notre Dame, where the
goddess of Reason was enthroned in the Great Revolution; the Place
Maubert,[62] with its statue of Etienne Dolet, the sixteenth-century
printer, burned for impiety and atheism; the Square Monge, with its
statue of François Villon; the Place Monge, with its statue of Louis
Blanc; the Panthéon, with its memorials to the intellectual liberators,
Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Voltaire; the Place de l’Ecole de Médecine,
with its statue of Danton doughtily inscribed, “_Pour vaincre les
ennemis de la justice, il faut de l’audace, encore de l’audace et
toujours de l’audace_”; the Place St. Germain des Prés, with its statue
of Diderot; and the Place de l’Institut, with its statue of
Condorcet,—every inch of ground is rich in souvenirs of the
intellectual history of France and of the convulsions by which this
history’s various stages have been marked.

Here on the left bank of the Seine, where Abélard, in the twelfth
century, “discoursed to all the earth,—to two popes, twenty cardinals,
and fifty bishops, to all the orders, all the modern schools which
descended from the mountain and inundated Europe”;[63] whither came
Dante in the fourteenth century for the lectures of Siger de Brabant;
the Greek Lascaris in the fifteenth and Calvin and Loyola in the
sixteenth centuries; where the _trouvère_ Rutebœuf in the thirteenth
century and the poet Villon in the fifteenth carried on the _propagande
par l’exemple_ and even the _propagande par le fait_; where, in the
early part of the fifteenth century, the _Cabocherie_ decreed the reign
of virtue and equality, pillaged the dwellings of the wealthy, and had
all things common; where, in the sixteenth century, the _Commune
Catholique_ was set up at the instigation of an anti-royalist preacher
of St. Sévérin; where, in the same century, François Rabelais, Clément
Marot, and La Boétie (friend of Montaigne and social democrat before his
time) prepared themselves, in their very different fashions, to
alternately edify and castigate the civilisation of their epoch, and
René Descartes, in the seventeenth century, to found modern philosophy
and to destroy scholasticism; where the eighteenth-century
Encyclopedists set themselves to solve the problem of human destiny, and
begot the Revolution; where, in the century just closed, the trinity of
the Collège de France, Michelet, Quinet, and Mickiewicz, formed the men
who were to set up the Third Republic on the ruins of the Second
Empire,—in this intellectual and nerve centre of Paris, of France, and
at intervals of the world, revolutionary action has been so often suited
to the revolutionary thought that no one dreams of crying out crime or
mystery when, in the course of excavations, human bones are exhumed.

[Illustration: MÉGOTIERS OF THE PLACE MAUBERT]

Revolutionary thinking has not been practised with impunity in the
_Quartier Latin_. From Abélard to Michelet and Renan, religious,
political, and philosophical heresies have called down ecclesiastical,
governmental, and academical wrath with the usual result of helping to
propagate the heresies.

Abélard was censured for heterodoxy, hounded from one monastery to
another, and condemned finally to perpetual silence. Ramus, antagonist
of the philosophy of Aristotle, was included in the massacre of St.
Bartholomew. “In Ramus,” says Michelet, “they fancied they were killing
a second Abélard. They thought to butcher mind.” Clément Marot was
imprisoned, and forced to flee from France. Descartes, maltreated by
Catholics and Protestants alike, forbidden to teach, and threatened with
death, took refuge first in Holland and then in Sweden. Vanini was
burned at the stake. Buffon was persecuted for his _Histoire Naturelle_,
and Montesquieu for his _Esprit des Lois_. Michelet, who “scratched the
heavens with his white hand,”[64] Mickiewicz, Quinet, and Renan were
expelled from the Collège de France.

There have been periods, it is true, when the university faculties have
been servile and cringing,—mere tools of the potentates of church and
state,—and periods when the students have been craven or lethargic; but
these periods are the exceptions. Speaking broadly, the _Quartier_ has
been from first to last a preserve of free living and free thinking, a
stronghold of opposition, a centre of agitation, and a hot-bed of
revolution.

Eugène Pelletan thus describes the students of the university’s
beginnings:—

   “A mixed, vagabond population, drifted together from nobody
   could say where, they live by the grace of God, they eat when
   they can, they sleep on straw, and carry their begging wallets
   proudly, as if conscious they hold there the word of the
   future.... When they do not dine, they have the resource of
   the cabaret; and, always noisy, always care-free, they prowl
   about at nightfall, they force now and then the door of a
   bourgeois, and, when the watch rushes to the uproar, they put
   it to rout, quit with answering for the misdemeanour to the
   rector, who invariably exonerates.”

   “Scantily clad and almost vagabonds,” says another historian
   of this early period, “but not depriving themselves of good
   cheer, the future magistrates and theologians, who were to
   antagonise in parliament the will of the king, were already
   revolutionary.”

In the fourteenth century the faculties, morally, and the students, both
morally and materially, cast in their lots with the revolution of
Etienne Marcel, who is credited with having invented the barricade.

Reign succeeded reign, and still the good habit of thrashing the watch
was kept up. Besides, there were battles-royal galore between the
students and the troops of the king.

The students made themselves jugglers, fakirs, and buffoons on the
Pont-Neuf, then a favourite, shop-lined promenade. They sacked
cook-shops and taverns, and levied tribute from belated pedestrians. The
lawless exploits of François Villon, singer of villanelles to
Guillemette, the _tapissière_, and Jehanneton, the _chaperonnière_, in
the reigns of Charles VII. and Louis XI., have become legendary.

That other great François (Rabelais) has portrayed the democratic and
turbulent temper of the students of a somewhat later period.

During the reign of Louis XIV., the merry, strolling players and
mountebanks, Tabarin and Gaultier-Garguille (the latter the inventor of
the farce), had numerous imitators among the students; which jovial
humour did not prevent the latter from entering heartily into the
_Fronde_,[65] risking their lives on “the Day of the Barricades” and
exercising their caustic wit against the court and the hated foreign
minister, Mazarin, in lampoons called _Mazarinades_.

The trenchant criticisms and the comprehensive formulas, which appeared
in the Encyclopedists’ published works, captivated many professors of
the university,[66] and made a direct and profound impression on the
students. But it seems to be no exaggeration to say that it was the
cafés and cabarets of the Left Bank rather than the university that
fanned the smouldering flame of discontent into a conflagration of
rebellion. In them the fiercest revolutionary clubs of the epoch had
their rendezvous. At the _Café Procope_,—transformed, alas! into a
vulgar restaurant only a year or so back,—Hébert presided over a club
which burned before the door the journals found too tame for its ideas,
and Danton met with Marat, Legendre, and Fabre d’Eglantine; and the
Procope was only one of a score. Indeed, it would take a volume to do
full justice to the part played in French history by the Latin Quarter
cafés from 1780 to Napoleon’s establishment of himself in power.

Under the Restoration the social and political Utopias of the Icarians,
the Fourierites, and the Saint-Simonians, commanded the interest, if not
the allegiance, of a considerable portion of the university. “The new
Sorbonne,” says Vacherot, “far from viewing unmoved the liberal movement
which was to culminate in the revolution of July, participated in it
actively, lending it the prestige of its most _spirituel_, its most
serious, and its most eloquent teaching.”

It was in great part the students, as all know who have followed the
vicissitudes of Marius and Cosette in _Les Misérables_, who were
responsible for the insurrection of 1830.

It was in the spheres of literature and art, however, where Romanticism
was struggling to supplant Classicism, that the hottest passions were
kindled. The influence of Scott, Byron, and the rising Hugo dominated,
even in the matter of dress. Romanticists adopted the costumes of
Moslems, Corsairs, and Giaours: the _Quartier_ resembled a fancy-dress
ball-room, and men fought in its streets for their artistic as they had
in other times for their political and religious creeds.

The students of the reign of Louis Philippe have been thus pictured by
De Banville: “Young, gay, reckless, but possessed of native distinction,
coquettishly arrayed in velvet and all sorts of original and fancy
costumes, capped with Basque _bérets_ and felts _à la_ Rubens, they went
up and down, sauntering, singing, gazing into space, alone, or in pairs,
or in groups, or three by three, selling their text-books willingly at
the old book dealers in order to enter the cabaret,—a custom which, as
you know, dates from the twelfth century.”

Of this same youth and that which came immediately after it Aurélien
Scholl writes: “The young men of the schools thought solely of fêtes and
of fun. The _Quartier_ resembled strangely the _Bohème_ of Mürger,—_la
noce_, nothing but _la noce_. The historiographer of this epoch finds
only farces to narrate, and such farces!”

And yet the students played almost as large a part in the revolution of
1848 as in that of 1830. Under their masks of flippancy they were
serious. They had merely been waiting for the strategic moment and a
leader; and, when in 1847 Antonio Watripon, bent on a “reawakening of
the schools,” founded a journal, _La Lanterne du Quartier Latin_, as a
means of organising and directing the student opposition, they took an
active part in the demonstrations which brought about the downfall of
the government of Louis Philippe.

They sprang to arms again, soon after, against the disillusionising
_coup d’état_ of the third Napoleon, while the workingmen remained
relatively submissive. “At the news that Louis Napoleon is getting ready
to confiscate the public liberties,” says Scholl, “a wave of indignation
sweeps over the length and breadth of the _Quartier_. The students
invade, and pronounce inflammatory discourses in, café after café,
_crèmerie_ after _crèmerie_. They descend without hesitation into the
street to combat the troops of the tyrant, and many pay for their
heroism with their lives.”

The discouragement which followed the complete establishment of the
authority of the usurper naturally gave rise to a sort of lassitude,
which was mistaken by many for sycophancy or indifference, and was
generally regarded as proof positive of the degeneration of the student
type. But the students, although temporarily silent and outwardly
submissive, had not disarmed. It was not long before Vallès, Gambetta,
Vermesch, Blanqui, Rochefort, and scores of others, who participated a
little later in the Commune or in the founding of the Third Republic,
were busily sowing the seeds of disaffection in the cafes; and in 1865
this fresh revolutionary movement was given coherence and direction by
_Les Propos de Labienus_, the little masterpiece of Rogeard.

It was, in point of fact, mainly in the cafés of the Latin Quarter
rather than in the university proper that the revolution of 1871, as
well as that of 1789, was fermented.

In 1866, at the _Café de la Renaissance Hellénique_, a revolutionary
club was formed, consisting of eight persons, the oldest of whom was
barely twenty-two,—five law students, a medical student, a painter, and
a _rentier_,—the first overt act of which was a riotous protest against
the production of Augier’s _La Contagion_ at the _Odéon_. Most, if not
all, of the charter members of this club, which was soon consolidated
with a club of older men meeting at the _Café Serpente_, saw the inside
of the prison of Ste. Pélagie before the Commune was achieved.

   “The Renaissance,” says Auguste Lepage in his _Cafés
   Artistiques et Littéraires de Paris_, “had a special
   physiognomy at the absinthe hour and after dinner. Noisy,
   uncombed students entered, mounted to the second floor, got
   together in groups, and talked politics or took a turn at
   billiards. They lighted long pipes, artistically coloured; and
   through the smoke clouds might be heard, together with the
   voices of the speechifiers, the clicks of the ivory balls as
   they met on the green cushions. _Etudiantes_ accompanied the
   students. These strikingly dressed girls smoked cigarettes and
   occupied themselves with politics.”

The imperial police had a special fondness for the Renaissance, and this
café shared with the _Brasserie de St. Sévérin_, after the Commune was
set up, the distinction of being used as a headquarters by the Communard
officials.

The Procope, also affected by police spies, was frequented by Spuller,
Ferry, Floquet, Vermorel, and Gambetta, who preserved their liberty on
more than one occasion by utilising the back door, which had rendered a
similar service to Danton in another century.

The _Café Voltaire_ harboured, among others, Gambetta and Vallès, the
_Café de Buci_ Vallès and Delescluze, and the _Brasserie Audler_ and the
_Restaurant Laveur_ Courbet and his unconventional intimates.

To summarise: from the time of Abélard—the Abélard who was sustained
and inspired by the thought of the flaming lips of Héloïse pressed
against the convent grating—to and through the Commune, the _Pays
Latin_ was characterised by a revolutionary spirit which was composed of
three seemingly independent, if not mutually antagonistic, but, in
reality, complementary and vitally interrelated traits,—love of
laughter, love of liberty, and love of love.

The different persons of this emancipating trinity were equally potent
impellers to Quixotic thought and action; and no one of the three could
have long survived—such is the French temperament in or out of the
_Quartier_—without both of the others. The Gallic imagination and
conscience are dependent on good cheer and affection; they cease to
operate if a fellow may not unbend in buffoonery with the boys and may
not adore a woman. And, without conscience and imagination, is no
revolution.

[Illustration: NOTRE DAME FROM PONT D’AUSTERLITZ]

       *       *       *       *       *

   _“Ever the undiscouraged, resolute, struggling soul of man_

       *   *   *   *   *    *   *   *   *

   _Ever the grappled mystery of all Earth’s ages old or new;_

       *   *   *   *   *    *   *   *   *

   _Ever the soul dissatisfied, curious, unconvinced at last;
   Struggling to-day the same—battling the same.”_

   WALT WHITMAN.

       *       *       *       *       *



   CHAPTER X

   THE REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT
   IN THE LATIN QUARTER OF TO-DAY


   _“Each Jack with his Jill.”_

   BEN JONSON.


   _“What is love? ‘Tis not hereafter;
     Present mirth hath present laughter;
     What’s to come is still unsure:
     In delay there lies no plenty;
     Then come kiss me, sweet-and-twenty;
     Youth’s a stuff will not endure.”_

   SHAKESPEARE.


   _“It once might have been, once only:
       We lodged in a street together,
     You, a sparrow on the house-top lonely,
       I, a lone she-bird of his feather.”_

   ROBERT BROWNING.


   _“The rôle of a pretty woman is more serious than we think.”_

   MONTESQUIEU (Lettres Persanes).


   _“I was twenty, age when the heart all illumined with poesy
   guards religiously the subtile vibrations of the beautiful and
   the just; the sweet human season in which one yearns to have a
   thousand mouths to bite to bleeding—during an eternity—the bare
   pink bosoms of the beautiful chimeras that go singing
   by.”_—CLOVIS HUGUES.


   “_I shall eternally hide my deepest emotions under the mask of_
   insouciance _and the perruque of irony._”

   JULES VALLÈS, in Jacques Vingtras—Le Bachelier.

[Illustration: A CAVEAU OF THE LATIN QUARTER]


A great deal has been said of late years about the change which has
taken place in the _Pays Latin_ and in the student character. The “old
boys” tell us, with sneering superiority or quavering regret, that the
_Quartier Latin_ is no longer what it was. Some evoke the revels and the
_grisettes_ depicted in Louis Huart’s _Physiologie de l’Etudiant_,
Musset’s _Mimi Pinson_, and Mürger’s _La Vie de Bohème_, and others the
rebellious souls of the student martyrs of 1789, 1830, 1848, and 1871.

According to the former, the contemporary student is a morose, prudent,
selfish, woman-hating, digging prig, with no higher dreams than
pettifogging politics and bourgeois comfort, and the _étudiante_ a
scheming, avaricious adventuress. According to the latter, he is
snobbish, extravagant, and dissipated, a brainless spendthrift, gambler,
debauchee, and drunkard, and his amorette, aside from differences of
sex, his perfect counterpart.

There is truth in these somewhat conflicting charges, since both these
types of student do exist. The curious thing is that similar complaints
have been made by the alumni out in the world for almost as long as
there have been alumni. It is not easy to go back far enough into the
history of the _Quartier Latin_ to escape caustic aspersions on its
ignoble present and fond reversions to its fine and proper past.

If there is one period that is vaunted to-day above another as the
golden age of the Latin Quarter, it is the period portrayed in the
writings of Mürger, De Musset, and Nestor Roqueplan,—period when “_le
vin était spirituel et la folie philosophique_”; period of innumerable
drolleries and of two revolutions; and yet each of these three writers,
even the happy-hearted Mürger, had recourse to that necessary, if
puerile, vanishing point of the perspective of thought,—an anterior
golden age.

A person who did not know their authorship would take the opening
chapters of De Musset’s _Confession d’un Enfant du Siècle_ to have been
written in this year of grace 1904 by a disgruntled university alumnus,
who was casting longing, lingering looks behind him to De Musset’s time.
As, for instance, this passage: “The ways of the students and the
artists—ways so fresh, so beautiful, so full of buoyant
youthfulness—felt the effects of the universal change. Men, in
separating from women, had muttered a word which wounds unto
death,—disdain. They plunged into wine, and ran after courtesans. The
students and the artists did likewise. They treated love as they treated
glory and religion: it was a hoary illusion. They haunted low places.
The _grisette_ so imaginative, so _romanesque_, so sweet and tender in
love, found herself left behind her counter. She was poor, and she was
no more lovable; she must have hats and gowns; she sold herself. O
shame! The young man who should have loved her, whom she would have
loved, he who formerly escorted her to the forests of Verrières and
Romainville, to the dances on the greensward, to the suppers in the
shady coverts, he who came to chat by the lamp in the back shop during
the long winter evenings, he who shared the morsel of bread steeped in
the sweat of her brow and her poor but sublime love,—he, this very man
who had deserted her, found her, during some night of orgy, within the
_lupanar_, pale and livid, utterly lost, with hunger on her lips and
prostitution in her heart.”

A sight-seeing visitor to the highways of the _Quartier_ is apt to feel
that the grumbling of the elders is well grounded. The conventional,
imperturbable, faultlessly attired _fils à papa_, and the over-dressed,
over-breezy, blondined young (?) women he observes on the café terraces
and in the public places, seem to have little or nothing in common with
the students and _grisettes_ of poetry and romance he is out for to see.

The _Quartier Latin_ has changed along with the rest of the world, of
course, in the last thirty eventful years. The humiliating memory of the
Franco-Prussian war and the failure of the Third Republic to fulfil its
promises of social equality and freedom have necessarily rendered the
student somewhat more reflective; the analytic fearlessness of science
has made him more relentlessly introspective; the growing fierceness of
the struggle for existence occasioned by the overcrowding of the
professions and the obligatory military service has forced him, in his
own despite, to be somewhat more practical; the phenomenal expansion of
industry, commerce, and finance, and their disillusionising tendencies,
have not, in the nature of things, left him entirely untainted; and the
equally phenomenal spread of luxury has instilled some absurd and
deplorable sybaritic notions into his head.

There has been a net loss in the _Quartier_—and where has there not
been?—in picturesqueness and spontaneity. But the vapouring cads and
the stolid “digs” who call down the wrath of the elders are not
representative: they are at the extremes of the student body. Taken all
in all, the student has changed less than the big world about him, not
only during the last thirty years, but even during the centuries which
have elapsed since he came to his class with a bundle of straw under his
arm for a seat and his professor lectured _sub Jove_, liable to the
interruptions of passing washerwomen and street porters.

He has changed less; and such changes as he has undergone are, for the
most part, superficial. His love of laughter, his love of liberty, and
his love of love have not been lost. They manifest themselves a little
differently, that is all.

His love of liberty is not, for the moment, manifested, as it was in the
beginning, when Rutebœuf and Villon played the highwayman and Clément
Marot was king of the Bassoche, by forcing the doors of the bourgeois
and beating the watch; nor, as it was in 1789, 1830, 1848, and 1871, by
mounting the barricade, though there is never a certainty that he will
not mount a barricade to-morrow. His love of laughter does not often
lead him to the pillaging of taverns and workshops nowadays, as it did
the roistering blade of the time of Louis XI., nor to the metamorphosing
of himself into a juggler, tumbler, clown, or mountebank. And his love
of love rarely blossoms into such dainty idyls as are recounted of the
period of the Restoration and Louis Philippe. Perhaps, if the truth were
known, it was rarely they so blossomed even then.

The ragged doublets, begging wallets, and pallets of straw have gone
forever, as have the street classes exposed to the inclemency of the
weather, of which they were the fitting accompaniment. The stiff, ugly
fashions of this superlatively ugly age—the cut-away and frock coats,
the “plug” and Derby hats, and the close-cropped hair—have, in a
measure, replaced the felts _à la_ Rubens and flowing ties and the wavy
locks, velvet jackets, and blouses and tasselled Basque _bérets_ of
Romanticism. Among the _étudiantes_ the simple muslin caps and chintz,
muslin, and gingham frocks have fled alarmed before modish hats and
tailor-made gowns. The _cancan_, a pitiably tame _cancan_, is danced—in
public—only to satisfy the curiosity of sensation-seeking tourists.
But, allowing for differences of customs and costumes, for the
unavoidable concessions to the more insistent claims of the spirit of
the age, the _Quartier Latin_ is still the same old _Quartier_.

There are numbers who still “live by the grace of God, eat when they
can,” not when they would, and “sell their books to the old book dealer
for a meal or an evening at the cabaret.” Poverty still stalks through
the _Pays Latin_, and is still bravely cuffed or blithely bluffed out of
countenance there. The student demand for rooms ranging from fifteen to
thirty francs a month, and the lively, almost fierce student patronage
of the _crèmeries_, _bouillons_, and little wine-shops (where an _à la
carte_ expenditure of 18 sous verges on extravagance), and of the _prix
fixe_ restaurants at 22 and 25 sous, are eloquent of a wide-spread
scarcity of funds.

   “Flicoteaux exists, and will exist,” wrote Balzac in
   _Illusions Perdues_, “as long as the student shall wish to
   live. He eats there,—nothing more, nothing less; but he eats
   there, as he works, with a sombre or joyous activity,
   according to his circumstances and his character.”

One cannot have lived in the _Quartier_ long and not have had student
friends who had more than a passing acquaintance with hunger and for
whom a fire in winter was a festival event. In his mansard, where the
student is doomed to freeze in winter and broil in summer, or in his
stuffy, windowless _cabinet_, where he is doomed to suffocate the year
round, are enough outward signs of destitution to rive the heart of the
most hardened professional charity visitor; and yet, ten to one, this
poor devil of a “Jack” has his “Jill,” for the _grisette_ exists.

Yes, countless Jeremiads to the contrary notwithstanding, the _grisette_
exists; under another name or, rather, under several other names,—there
are words that defy strict definition; but she exists; changed somewhat,
as the student himself is changed somewhat, but unchanged, as he is
unchanged, in her love of laughter, her love of liberty, and her love of
love. Gracious, graceful, and tender as ever; ignorant and clever,
superstitious and sagacious, selfish and self-sacrificing, garrulous
and reticent, cruel and kind-hearted, outspoken and deceitful,
conscientious and unscrupulous, generous and avaricious, and so forth
_ad infinitum_; inconsequent, inconsistent, capricious, contradictory,
bewitching bundle of opposites; best of comrades and sincerest, because
ficklest, of mistresses; adorable, ever-changing, and unchangeable
_grisette_!

Greedy of dress, the dance, and the theatre, she will sacrifice them all
at the beck of a real affection. Indifferent to fortune when it comes
her way, she will go without eating to have her fortune told her. She
will ruin a nabob without a twinge, and share her last crust with the
poor. She is true to nothing but her latest impulse. She fears nothing
but being bored.

Jack nibbles scant bread and cheese, goes without wine and a fire, pawns
his overcoat, his watch, and his best hat to provide Jill with a silk
petticoat or a new hat. Jill refuses a carriage and pair for love of
Jack, and makes merry, coquettish shift, for his sake, with “a ribbon
and a rag”; and she will be as ready to go with him to the barricade
to-morrow (for she dearly loves a scrimmage) as she is to go with him to
a banquet or a ball to-night.

Thanks to Jack (this latter-day Abélard) and almost as much to Jill
(this latter-day Héloïse), to their unaffected sentimentalities and
innocent deviltries, the _Quartier_ has a luminous atmosphere of gayety
and poesy, is, in a word, an adequate emblem of “the folly of youth that
amuses itself breaking window-panes, and which is, nevertheless,
priceless beside the wisdom of age that mends them.”

Note the student’s street masking, dancing, and singing, and his
manifold extravagances at the time of the Carnival, the _Mi-carême_, and
the _Quatorze Juillet_, and on special outdoor festival occasions of his
own. Watch his pranks and listen to his magpie chatter in his
restaurants, cafés, and _brasseries_,—not the big, gaudy establishments
of the “_Boul’ Mich_,” where he apes the _chic_ of the bourgeois with
whose purse he comes into direct and, for him, disastrous competition,
and where, for the matter of that, the bourgeois often outnumbers him;
but in the dingy resorts of the back and side streets, where he is quite
his harum-scarum self, where he is free to shout, sing, caper, and guy
to his heart’s content, play combs and tin horns, and applaud with
beer-mugs and canes, use floors for chairs, chairs for hobby-horses,
tables for floors and chairs, and sandwiches for missiles, and dance his
Mariette upon his shoulder or dandle her upon his knee; and where he can
vary the monotony of his dominoes and _manille_ by throwing a somersault
or executing a pigeon-wing or by a turn at _savate_, leap-frog, or
puss-in-the-corner. Follow him into the meetings of his bizarre clubs
and sodalities; to the spots where he dances for the love of
dancing,—_not_ the _Bullier_, where, except for rare occasions, he
merely forms part of a show; to his midnight suppers and
masquerades,—_Bal des Internes_, _Bal des Quat’z’ Arts_, _Bal Julien_,
and others quite as characteristic because less renowned: in all these
places and situations he displays a faculty for impromptu larking, for
fabricating jocund pandemoniums at short notice, that prove him no
degenerate son of his father and no mean perpetuator of the mirthful
prowess of his grandsires and great-grandsires.

Go with him and his Finette, his Blanchette, his Rosette, his
Louisette, or his Juliette, for a Sunday picnic at Bois-Meudon or
Joinville-le-Pont, and share with them—if your wind is sufficient and
your Anglo-Saxon dignity can bear it—their more than infantile or
lamb-like gambols over the meadows and under the trees. Keep with him,
if you can be so privileged, his or her Saint’s Day. Celebrate with him
the _Fête des Rois_, the _Jour de l’An_, and the _Réveillon_. Rejoice
with him at the successful passing of his “exams” or condole with him
for being plucked. Help him empty the pannier and the cask received from
home. Enter into the spirit of his yarns, toasts, _gaudrioles_, and
_chansons_ on these occasions; into the spirit of his betrayal of
sentiment and play of wit, of his gallantry and persiflage, his repartee
and poetry, his exaggerations and fantasies; of his _pas-seuls_ and
_pas-à-quatres_, his revivals of _cancan_ (not the tame variety),
_bourrée_, and _chahut_, his imitations of fandangos and jigs, his
ceremonious travesties of saraband and minuet, and his impulsive
launching of _danses inédits_. Enjoy with him his accompaniments on
glasses and symphonies on plates, his sallies and his salads, his coffee
and his antics, his _pâtés_ and his mummeries, his horse-play and his
wine. Under their spell you will be convinced, if you have any relish
for life in you, that for graces of fellowship, refinements of revelry,
and subtleties of tomfoolery the student of the _Quartier_ has not his
peer upon the planet.

The memory of Mürger and the cult of merriment under misfortune which
his immortal _Vie de Bohème_ symbolises is faithfully cherished. His
anniversary is observed every summer about the time of St. Jean by a
pilgrimage to his monument in the Luxembourg and a banquet at an average
price of fifteen sous in some indulgent cabaret or café. A recent menu
was as follows: bread, wine, blood pudding, fried potatoes, almond
cakes, cigars for the students and flowers for the _étudiantes_. One
year a thoughtless board of managers committed the indiscretion of
elevating the price of the Mürger banquet to something over a franc,
whereat the whole _Quartier_ was thrown into a veritable tumult of
protest.

The real student cafes and cabarets[67]—which I would not name nor
locate for a kingdom, since their obscurity is the one thing that saves
them from being spoiled—are the lineal descendants and, _mutatis
mutandis_, the worthy successors of the cafés and cabarets of the
students’ fathers and grandfathers and of the taverns of his remote
forbears.

There the ancient custom of charcoaling or chalking the walls with
skits, epigrams, and caricatures, is kept up.[68]

There long-haired, unkempt poets mount on tables and counters, glass in
hand, and flaunt their new-born epics, tragedies, and ballads, or loll
in dreamful, languishing poses and intone their elegies and idyls, as
did Rutebœuf, Villon, Gringoire, and Cyrano de Bergerac in their
respective epochs; Molière, Boileau, Racine, and Crébillon, in the
seventeenth century, at the “_Mouton Blanc_”; as did only yesterday
Mérat, Anatole France, Léon Vallade, and Leconte de Lisle at the _Café
Voltaire_; De Banville, Mürger, Daudet, and Paul Arène at the _Café de
l’Europe_; Coppée, Mendès, Rollinat, Mallarmé, Bourget (who began as a
poet), Bouchor, Richepin, and Villiers de l’Isle-Adam at “The Sherry
Cobbler”; and as did all the versifiers of a generation at the _Café
Bobino_ (adjoining the famous little theatre of the same name), “which
was,” says Daudet, “the holy of holies for everybody who rhymed,
painted, and trod the boards in the _Quartier Latin_.”

There they fête the victories of their respective poetic sects—_Roman_,
_Instrumentiste_, _Magique_, _Magnifique_, _Déliquescent_, _Incohérent_,
or _Néo-Décadent_, as the case may be, just as the Romanticists in their
time, and the Parnassians, Décadents, and Symbolists in their times,
fêted their victories at the _Café Procope_. There they burn incense—as
it was burned erstwhile at the _Soirées_ and _Petits Soupers Procope_ to
Hugo, Baudelaire, and Verlaine—to their divinities who have
consented—oh, monstrous condescension!—to foregather with them.

There, too, they blend becomingly philosophy and disputation with good
cheer, as did D’Alembert, Voltaire, Condorcet, Diderot, and Rousseau in
this same all-absorbent Procope; Corot, Gérôme, Français, Jules Breton,
Baudry, Harpignies, Garnier, Falguière, André Theuriet, and Edmond About
at the _Café de Fleurus_; and Thérion, the original of the Elysée Mérant
of Daudet’s _Rois en Exil_, Wallon, the original of Colline in Mürger’s
_Vie de Bohème_, and Barbey d’Aurévilly, as famous for his
lace-embroidered neckties and red-banded white trousers as for his
caustic wit, at the _Café Tabourey_.

The student’s lyric gift and _penchant_ for good fellowship find further
vent in little cellar (_caveau_), back-room, or upper-room
_café-concerts_[69] of his own founding, at which, in a congenial
atmosphere of tobacco and beer, he sings and recites to sympathetic
listeners _chansons_ and monologues of his own composition, and at which
he permits the _étudiante_, who almost invariably fancies herself
predestined to a brilliant career on the operatic stage, to dispense, by
way of interlude, the popular _risqué_ and sentimental songs of the day.

The editorial staffs of the ephemeral literary journals and reviews
(_revues des jeunes_ and _journaux littéraires_) are so many mutual
admiration societies whose business meetings—there is so little
business to be done—are very apt to be banquets or _soirées
littéraires_. In fact, more than one sheet of the _Quartier_ has no
other business office than the back room of the cabaret its editors
frequent.

These amateur publications (in which, for the matter of that, nearly
every one who counts in French literature has made his début) are not
burdened with modesty. Witness the closing paragraph of the leading
editorial of the first, last, and only number of the _Royal-Bohème_:—

   “Our aim is to demand charity of those who, having
   intelligence and heart, will not see in us a band of useless
   beggars; our hope, to more than repay our benefactors with the
   fruits of our thoughts and the flowers of our dreams.”

For a naïve and concrete statement of the revolutionist’s pet formula,
“From every one according to his ability and to every one according to
his need,” or as an example of what would be called, in good American,
“unmitigated nerve,” the above would be hard to match.

An anonymous writer has defined the Bohemian as “a person who sees with
his own eyes, hears with his own ears, thinks his own thoughts, follows
the lead of his own heart, and holds to the realities of life wherever
they conflict with its conventions.” The typical Bohemian student of
Paris is a Bohemian of this sort. He loves his comfort as well as
another fellow, but he is not ready to sell his soul for it. Material
well-being at the price of submission—moral, social, or political—he
will none of. Practical considerations do not count with him when
they antagonise his ideals.

[Illustration: A LATIN QUARTER TYPE]

In his monumental _Illusions Perdues_, Balzac describes at length a
Latin Quarter _cénacle_ of nine persons, of which his hero, the poet
Lucien de Rubempré, became a member. Among other things, he says:—

   “In this cold mansard the finest dreams of sentiment were
   realised. Here brothers, all equally strong in different
   regions of knowledge, enlightened each other in good faith,
   telling one another everything, even their base thoughts,—all
   of an immense instruction, and all tested in the crucible of
   want.” Something of the beautiful earnestness of these ideal
   and idealised Bohemians of Balzac has laid hold on the
   Bohemian student of to-day. Like the members of this mansard
   _cénacle_, he is seeking conscientiously and eagerly for a
   comprehensive formula of life.

   “The student is thinking,” writes an actual student, in answer
   to the charges of materialism, dilettanteism, and subserviency
   brought against the student body. “His thought is fermenting,
   trying its force, preparing the future. The present hour is
   grave, an hour of transition. In literature, in art, in
   politics, something new is desired, expected, sought after.
   Everywhere is chaos. Everywhere opposing elements clash. A
   general synthesis or an exclusive choice from which harmony
   may spring is called for. What are the laws of this synthesis,
   what is the criterion of this choice? These are the questions
   which, anxiously, without ceasing, and, perhaps, in spite of
   himself, the contemporary youth is asking.”

There have been brief seasons when the whole university world—students
and faculties alike—has been afflicted with intellectual snobbishness,
indifference, discouragement, disillusion, fatigue, and even despair.

The present has its share of disillusion and discouragement, but it is
primarily a period of search. In the faculties, alongside of those
figure-heads—in which faculties always and everywhere have been
rich—who cling tenaciously to whatever is ancient, respectable, and
commonplace, are men who are looking up and out.[70] M. Lavisse, for
instance, with his recurring emphasis on the necessity of a closer union
of the university with the people, is a sort of second (and a more
scientific) Michelet; and M. Lavisse has several colleagues who are
little, if any, behind him in large suggestiveness. The thought-stirring
influence of the disinterested, investigating zeal of Pasteur (and his
successors, Roux and Duclaux) and of Berthelot is also profound. A
provincial professor, M. Hervé, has recently been disciplined for
unblushing anti-patriotism.

The _Collège Libre des Sciences Sociales_ (subsidised by the state) and
the _Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales_ have flung their doors wide open
to socialism. Furthermore, this once descried doctrine has a hold on the
university itself. Just what the following of socialism is among the
students, it is not possible, in the complete absence of reliable
statistics, to determine; but it is safe to say that it is large and
fervent, since student socialists appear in convincing force at every
important socialistic demonstration.

At the last anniversary of the “Bloody Week” of the Commune, in
Père-la-Chaise I chanced upon two students wearing red eglantines in
their buttonholes, with whom I had taken my meals for several weeks
previous without having been given the slightest intimation that they
were interested in social or political problems, to say nothing of being
socialists. The talk that resulted from this chance meeting revealed to
me that they were actively affiliated with an important socialistic
organisation, and that their convictions had marched fearlessly and far.
There are many such unproclaimed and unsuspected socialists in the
Quarter.

Anarchy also—that is, the philosophical type of anarchy so much in
favour in certain literary and artistic and even in certain scientific
groups—has an indefinite and fluctuating but extensive student
penumbra.

No, the student’s noble aspirations have not all forsaken him. He
abhors, as he has always abhorred, the prudish, the prudent, the
politic, the hypocritical, and the mean. He has not become hopelessly
subservient any more than he has become hopelessly morbid or hopelessly
unsentimental. He can still resent dictation, as he can still laugh and
love. If he truckles to his professors in the matter of Greek and Latin
roots, it is that Greek and Latin roots are subjects of supreme
indifference to him. When his honest thinking and his deeper emotions
are concerned, he is as recalcitrant as ever. He recognises no
authority, neither president nor prelate, general nor judge, nothing but
his own sense of truth and right.

He is thinking. What is more, he is ready to accept the logical
consequences of his thinking. When the time comes that these
consequences tally with action, he will act. He has the same imperious
need to act that he has to romp and to love. He looks to action—direct
action, street action—for redress of wrong. He cannot help it: it is
his nature. Intensity is the primal law of his being and will out,
though he is merely telling a story, playing a joke, kissing a cheek, or
singing a song. He is not fifty, and he is French. He has the Quixotism,
the fine rashness, the sublime foolhardiness, of his years and of his
race.

With a mobility impossible for the Teuton or Anglo-Saxon to understand,
but which may be, notwithstanding, the highest form of self-control, he
passes from vigorous frolic to vigorous work and _vice versa_
instantaneously. For him it is no farther from a laugh or a kiss to a
barricade than it is from a laugh to a kiss; and why should it be, when
the laugh, the kiss, and the barricade are (as they are with him),
co-ordinate assertions of liberty? “Frivolous as a pistol bullet,” he
flashes to his mark. Given the impact of provocation, he does not know
what veering or wabbling means.

Some contemporary—De Vogüé, I think—has said, “The student always
rules those who think they are ruling him,” in which he resembles a
womanly woman; “and, when the critical moment comes, he resumes his
liberty of action.”

If he has not been on a barricade in thirty years, it is because
neither Boulangism, Dreyfusism,[71] Déroulèdism, nor anti-Combeism,
though he played some part in each, won, or deserved to win, his full
allegiance. He has not taken the traditional chip off his shoulder,
however, nor given any one permission to tread on his toes. On the
contrary, he has shown flashes of his old temper, even in the tranquil
third of a century just passed, often enough to leave no doubt of its
persistence. It is only a little more than twenty years since the
_Quartier_ was in an uproar by reason of a slanderous article on the
students published in the _Cri du Peuple_ the day after the death of
Jules Vallès.

It is only a round fifteen years since the students, taking into their
own hands the punishment of the _souteneurs_ of the _Quartier_, ducked a
number of them in the frog-pond of the Luxembourg.

It is only ten years since the students set all Paris and all France by
the ears because the government had interfered—unwarrantably, as they
believed—with the immemorial usages of the _Quat’z’ Arts_ ball. The
_Quartier_ was flooded with soldiers, blood was shed, and there was one
life lost. The students carried their point. Parliament intervened, and
the proceedings begun in the courts against the organisers of the ball
were dropped. What the consequences might otherwise have been no one can
tell; but it is almost certain they would have been not local, but
national.

It is only six or seven years since it took a strong force of police to
defend against the wrath of the students the director of the _Ecole des
Arts Décoratifs_, whose offence was nothing more heinous than favouring
the sale, under school auspices, of the drawing materials, by dealing in
which a medical student had hitherto earned the money to pursue his
studies; and this state of things lasted several days. And only a little
over two years ago the students protested as vigorously against the
condemnation of Tailhade for his incendiary article in _Le Libertaire_
as they had against the condemnation of Richepin for his _Chansons des
Gueux_ a quarter of a century before.

It was in a café of the Left Bank that French volunteers for
the Boer war were recruited; and it was most of all from the
students, when Kruger came to Paris, that the ministry feared
the anti-British demonstrations that might bring international
complications,—demonstrations which it craftily diverted by allowing
the student pro-Boer enthusiasm the fullest scope.

The persecution of the Russian students by the Russian government
aroused among the students of Paris no little sympathy, which was given
expression in indignation meetings. It was probably quite as much the
dread of the student displeasure as of the anarchist bomb that kept the
czar on his last visit to France from entering Paris.

The above illustrations of the students’ irritability are the proverbial
straws that show which way the wind blows, and they might be multiplied
indefinitely.

There is no possible doubt of the student’s growing disgust with the
corruption and hypocrisy of the present republic,—this nominal
democracy that is in reality a plutocracy,—nor of his slowly
crystallising resolution to have either something better than a republic
or a better republic; and, in the long run, he always gets what he
wants. The student strength is out of all proportion to the student
numbers. Let the students take their old place in the streets of the
_Quartier_ to-morrow—5,000 or 500 strong—with a real rallying cry, and
thrills of joy and shudders of apprehension will traverse the length and
breadth of France.

[Illustration: THE PANTHEON]

       *       *       *       *       *

   “_The Quarter knows that the student is its aristocracy,—an
   aristocracy that gives more than it gets, against whom the
   Carmagnole or the ‘Ça Ira’ could not be sung, whose spirit is
   democratic and of the people._”

    GILBERT PARKER.

       *       *       *       *       *



Chapter XI

BOHEMIANS OF THE LATIN QUARTER


   “_It took a rugged faith in the future to pass the
   evenings—without a fire—polishing verses, after having painted
   all day long interminable registers._”—EMILE GOUDEAU, in Dix Ans
   de Bohème.


   “_If an artist obeys the motive which may be called the natural
   need of work, he deserves indulgence, perhaps, more than ever. He
   obeys then neither ambition nor want. He obeys his heart: it were
   easy to believe that he obeys God. Who can know why a man who is
   neither vain nor in want of money decides to write?_”—ALFRED DE
   MUSSET.


   _“How much of priceless life were spent
   With men that every virtue decks,
   And women models of their sex,
   Society’s true ornament,—
   Ere we dared wander, nights like this,
   Through wind and rain, and watch the Seine,
   And feel the Boulevard break again
   To warmth and light and bliss!”_

   ROBERT BROWNING.


   _“Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
   Say that health and wealth have missed me,
   Say I’m growing old; but add—Jenny kissed me.”_

   LEIGH HUNT.


The persons organically connected with the University of Paris—the
students and the professors—are only the nucleus, the rallying-point,
so to speak, of the intellectual population of the Latin Quarter. About
them, and quite as numerous as the thousands the university at any one
time enrolls, are gathered those students in the largest sense of the
word—painters, sculptors, architects, poets, novelists, critics,
journalists, historians, philosophers, philologists, scientists,
inventors, and bibliophiles—who need the help of lectures, museums,
laboratories, and libraries in their daily tasks, or who, dependent on
that indefinable something called atmosphere for productiveness, can
hardly conceive being at their scholarly or artistic best anywhere in
the world but in this particular corner of it which has given them their
training and inspiration.

About the university as a centre are also grouped those alumni who,
quite independently of their callings, cling to the _Quartier_ as a
cockney clings to the town for reasons gay or serious, trivial or
weighty, fantastic or rational,—attachment to a lodging, a café, a
club, a restaurant, to the Luxembourg Gardens or the quays of the Seine,
to book-stalls or shops of antiquities, to a chum or a mistress,—from
any of the various motives of habit, taste, sentiment, or passion.

Finally, the _Quartier_ retains those alumni who, cut off (whether by
the achievement of a degree or the failure to achieve one) from the
convenient parental remittances, are dismayed by the risks of a
penniless plunge into the great, unfamiliar world. In the _Quartier_,
where they are known, they can count on a modicum of credit for a
modicum of time from tailors, _restaurateurs_, and landlords, and on the
unusurious loans of a little knot of friends. “One knows,” wrote
Richepin, apropos of this matter, in his _Etapes d’un Réfractaire_,
“that at such an hour in the rue de l’Ecole de Médecine or at the head
of the rue Monsieur-le-Prince an easy-chair holds out its arms to him,
a tobacco pouch opens its heart to him, a friend lets him bellow his
verses. These are so many consolations. What do I say? They are so many
resources,—sometimes the only ones.”

In the _Quartier_, with these resources, a fellow will not starve in one
month or two, as he might elsewhere. Besides, if the worst comes to the
worst, there is the familiar and friendly Seine near by and the sweet,
clean “Doric little morgue,” where he is bound to feel at home and where
he will be speedily recognised.

A good proportion of these post-graduate denizens of the _Quarter_ are
either by choice or by necessity Bohemians. To the former class
(_Bohèmes par goût_) belongs my friend B——, whom for conveniences’ sake
we will call Berteil,—Gustave Berteil.

In a dingy hôtel of the rue Racine, just off the _Quartier’s_ highway,
the Boulevard St. Michel, in a room which costs perhaps forty francs a
month, perhaps forty-five, and which has nothing about it to distinguish
it from the room of a student who arrived in Paris yesterday, except for
a shelf of original and other editions of the elder French dramatists,
M. Berteil (Gustave Berteil, simple Gustave to his friends), bachelor,
aged forty-three, has lived continuously ever since his salad days.

Twenty-three years ago Gustave came up to Paris from a Provençal town,
where his father was a wealthy notary, to prepare himself, in pursuance
of the paternal desire, for admission to the bar. He was equipped with
so much knowledge of life as the average provincial youth has at twenty,
so much book knowledge as the average provincial _lycée_ affords, a
close acquaintance with the old French drama, for which the _lycée_
would have shuddered to be held accountable, and a consuming desire to
write for the contemporary stage.

During as many years as are ordinarily required for taking a degree in
law, Gustave devoted the pleasant days to foraging for old dramatists in
the book-stalls and along the quays, the rainy days to play-writing and
to perusing, repairing, and fondling his yellowed, tattered, worm-eaten
acquisitions in his room,—where he had his meals served him,—and his
evenings (whatever the weather) to the auditoriums or stage entrances of
the theatres and to the cafés where the _cabotins_ (actors) most do
congregate.

His relations to the law were limited, so far as is known, to the _bona
fide_ purchase of expensive legal text books, which he invariably
bartered, after a decent interval, for editions of his favourites,—a
device, less ingenious than ingenuous, for at once quieting his
conscience and obtaining larger remittances from home.

When the time came for Gustave (supposed young advocate) to return to
the Côte d’Azur and there assist his father in handling testaments and
deeds, he made a clean breast of it by post.

Thereupon the father cut off the son’s allowance, thinking thus “to
starve the rascal,” as he bluntly expressed it, “into submission.” He
very nearly succeeded in the starving part of his programme, as he
discovered to his genuine horror,—for he was at bottom not a bad
papa,—when, at the end of an anxious year without tidings from the boy,
he came to Paris and found his novel prodigal out at heels and elbows,
hollowed in at stomach, and rickety at the knees; with absolutely
nothing quite intact in fact about his person or surroundings—except
the shelf of old dramatists, which would easily have procured him food
and fuel. Berteil _père_ was mollified, if sadly disillusionised, by
this ocular demonstration of pluck on the part of Berteil _fils_. He
settled on his unnatural offspring an allowance of 2,500 francs a year,
to be trebled whenever he should abandon Bohemia for legitimate
business, and left him to live his own life in his own way.

This way has not turned out to be greatly different from the way of
Gustave’s nominal student days, and for at least ten years it has not
varied from one year to another by the value of a hair.

Every morning at ten, winter and summer, the hôtel garçon enters M.
Berteil’s room, without rapping, to bring him his coffee and to inform
him of the weather. If the garçon reports that it is really
pleasant,—and the garçon knows from long experience, you may be sure,
what M. Berteil considers really pleasant,—M. Berteil spends the day
book-hunting on the quays, where every _bouquineur_ and _bouquiniste_
greets him cordially as an old acquaintance. If the garçon’s weather
bulletin is unfavourable, he orders his _déjeuner_ and dinner sent up to
his room, and spends the day in the society of his old dramatists and
such of his friends, whose name is legion, as may chance to call. He
still haunts, evenings, as he did in the beginning, the cafés affected
by the _cabotins_, with whom he passes for the most brilliant
conversationalist on theatrical matters in or out of the “profession.”
But he abjured long ago theatre auditoriums and stage entrances, the
latter because he can now meet histrionic celebrities on an equal
footing, the former because he holds modern plays trash and modern
methods of interpreting old plays tinsel. He also put away long ago his
youthful, disquieting ambition to write for the contemporary stage,
because he despaired of matching the old dramatists in their manner and
disdained the manner of the new.

When he receives his monthly remittance of fr. 208.35, he gives the odd
centimes to the first street beggar he meets,—for luck,—and
consecrates fifty francs at once to a dinner with one or two of his
intimates and the _amie_ of his law-student (?) days, who, still fair,
though “fat and forty,” is the prosperous proprietress of a little
stationery shop in his street. The balance of the remittance amply
suffices him to live thirty days more in his modest fashion and to add a
new specimen or two to his collection of books.

I do not know of a person whose life is organised more rationally,—I
would say scientically if Gustave did not abhor the word science and all
its derivatives; and, in the teeth of the adage which warns us to call
no man happy till he dies, I do not hesitate to say that Gustave Berteil
is happy, and has been happy from the day of his reconciliation with his
sire. Indeed, if I were asked to name the happiest man of my
acquaintance, I should answer, “Gustave Berteil,” without a moment’s
pause.

Gustave, like the majority of the Bohemians from choice, was a Bohemian
by necessity for a time; but the _Quartier_ has always had a sprinkling
of brilliant, forceful personalities who have taken Bohemian vows
without ever having had to consider the bread-and-butter question.

Such was the deceased artist Henri Pille (associated in his latter days
with Montmartre), whose appearance implied utter poverty, but who is
said to have had landed property in a southern province which made the
fluctuations of the picture market a matter of little concern to him.

Such is, or, perhaps, was, the poet Maurice Bouchor, to whom Richepin
dedicated his virile volume, _Les Blasphèmes_. Bouchor, who now devotes
almost all his time and energy to the elevation of the working people
through reading clubs and the _Universités Populaires_, is regarded by
many of his old associates as a renegade from Bohemia. He is confessedly
a renegade from many of its livelier and noisier pleasures, as his age
and his gentle nature entitle him to be. But he still lives less
pretentiously than his means permit, is still “thinking his own
thoughts, following the leadings of his own heart, and holding to the
realities of life where-ever they conflict with its conventions,” and so
has not entirely forfeited his claim, it is to be hoped, to be ranked
with the Bohemians of the Quarter.

Such also is Jean Richepin, in spite of his sumptuous establishment on
the Right Bank, a sort of Parisian Menelik, whose barbaric costumes and
audacious exploits have entered as completely into the legendary lore of
the Quarter as the explosive inconsistencies of Jules Vallès and the
alternate aspirings and back-slidings of Paul Verlaine. In the early
eighties, when he paraded the fantastic title of _Roi des Truands_ (King
of the Vagrants), Richepin wore a talismanic bracelet and a
curiously-shaped hat, as badges of his rank. “There was even,” says his
fellow-Bohemian, Emile Goudeau, “an epic struggle between Jean Richepin
and the poor but great caricaturist André Gill [a Bohemian by necessity]
as to which of the two would root out of the hatteries of Paris the most
bizarre head-dress. Now Gill and now Richepin had the advantage. The
illustrious Sapeck was the judge of last resort, and awarded the palm to
the victor.” It would take a long chapter to describe the costumes
which have played a part in Richepin’s numerous and strange avatars. At
one time, if the narrative of a friend can be trusted, he remained in
hiding for almost a fortnight because his wardrobe was reduced to a
simple window curtain; and his adventures have been so extraordinary
that this ludicrous incident, improbable as it sounds, does not defy
belief.

[Illustration: JEAN RICHEPIN]

Richepin, Bouchor, and Paul Bourget, returning from “The Sherry Cobbler”
one night, halted under the arcade of the _Odéon_, named themselves _Les
Vivants_, and solemnly pledged each other eternal aid and fidelity. This
was the period when Bourget’s ambition was poetry, when he wore
pantaloons of water green, and imitated the miraculous cravats of Barbey
d’Aurévilly and the mode of living of Balzac. “Bourget submitted
himself,” says Goudeau, “to a ferocious Balzacian régime. He dined very
early, went to bed immediately after, and had himself called on the
stroke of 3 A.M..... The poet-recluse then drank two or three bowls of
black coffee, like Balzac, and, like Balzac, worked until seven. Then he
slept again for an hour, rose, for good this time, and applied himself
to the bread-winning activities which poverty imposes on young
littérateurs.”

Bourget, who began thus as a Bohemian from necessity, has ended as a
snob. He is a fair sample of the “_arrivé_” who disavows his past, and

     “_Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
       By which he did ascend._”

   “I shall be adjudged severe, perhaps,” says the poet and
   socialist deputy Clovis Hugues; “but I am of those who think
   that the sacrifice of the _chevelure_ [long hair] is the most
   dangerous of concessions to the modern _bourgeoisie_.... In
   literature there is an affinity between the sudden
   disappearance of the familiar mane and the forsaking of the
   good comrades of the days of want. The transformation
   effected, one may still have much _esprit_, but one has ceased
   to be a good fellow. Beware, then, of the tribunes and the
   poets who establish relations with the _garçons coiffeurs!_”

I do not know that Bourget ever had any “_chevelure_” to leave in the
hands of the Delilah of bourgeois respectability, but it would seem that
he had sacrificed on the altar of his parvenu-ship the sincere
soulfulness of which the “_chevelure_” as well as another thing may be
the visible symbol, since he apparently has no sympathy or helping hand
for his younger painter brother who is bravely struggling up to
recognition against heavy odds.

Even the conceited “_arrivés_” of literature and the arts are entitled
to a certain respect, especially when they have “arrived,” as has
Bourget, by force of genuine talent and persistent work. However
ridiculous the pretentious airs they assume, they are not cravens. They
have left Bohemia, but they have left it with colours flying, with all
the honours of war. As much cannot be said for the recreants,—called
the “_soumis_” or, still more expressively, the “_moutons_,”—who have
forsaken Bohemia, without the excuse of having “arrived,” from sheer
pusillanimity, because they found its paths of hardship, struggle, and
sacrifice too rugged in comparison with the easy highways of
bourgeoisdom. Towards these one’s dominating sentiment can hardly be
other than pity or contempt,—contempt, if they take greedily to the
flesh-pots without regret at selling their souls to Mammon; pity, if
they do regret.

Richepin, who knows this Bohemian world so well, has characterised the
two varieties of “_moutons_.” Of the first (the unconscious “_moutons_,”
so to speak) he says, “Having returned to the paternal roast, married
their little cousins, and established themselves notaries in towns of
thirty thousand inhabitants, they have the self-satisfaction of
rehearsing before the fire their poor-artist adventures with the
magniloquence of a traveller who describes a tiger hunt”; and of the
others (the conscious “_moutons_”), “Wretchedly sad in the existence
into which they have entered against their wishes, in the intellectual
tombs to which they have consigned themselves, they slowly atrophy. The
banal is particularly terrible in this,—that, if one returns to it
after having been disgusted with it, it is to find it more _banal_
still, and to die of it.”

Few of the Bohemians who have been intimately associated with the
Quarter during the last twenty-five or thirty years have been able to
make shift with their literature or their art alone. In order to keep
body and soul together, most have been constrained to resort to
compromises which are humiliating and disillusionising, but which are
not necessarily demoralising, and which stop a long way this side of
absolute surrender. Mallarmé taught English in the _lycées_ nearly all
his life, and conducted alone, during a short period, a journal entitled
_La Dernière Mode_. Verlaine was long an employee of the _Hôtel de
Ville_, had periods of teaching, and even tried his hand at farming.
Edmond Haraucourt,[72] Camille St. Croix, Léon Dierx, Emile Goudeau,
Canqueteau, and Trimouillat have been at one time or another petty
functionaries. Nearly all have dabbled in journalism. The happiest
compromise, however, the most independent form of dependence, so to say,
has been hit upon by Jacques Le Lorrain, poet and author of _L’Au Delà_,
who set up as a cobbler in 1896 in the rue du Sommerard, close by the
Cluny Museum.[73]

It is no infrequent thing for the loyal Bohemian to “arrive” too late
to profit by his success because his spirit has been imbittered or his
constitution ruined by the hardships he has undergone.

   “The maimed heart, the heart poniarded in this mute struggle
   for life,” says Jules Vallès in his _Réfractaires_, “cannot be
   taken out of the chest and replaced by another. There are no
   wooden hearts in the market. It remains there, bleeding, the
   poniard at its centre. Rich one day, famous, perhaps, these
   victims of obscure combats may perfume their sores if they
   will, sponge up the blood, wipe away their tears; memory will
   tear open the wounds, strip off the bandages. A word, a
   song,—joyous or sad,—will be enough to raise in these sick
   souls the phantom of the past.”

Jehan Rictus more recently, in his terrible _Soliloques du Pauvre_, has
expressed the same thought in another fashion:—

   _“Même si qu’un jour j’ tornais au riche
       Par un effet de vot’ Bonté,
    Ce jour-là j’ f’rai mett’e une affiche,
       On cherche à vendre un cœur gâté.”_

The following poem embodies the experience of a Latin Quarter Bohemian
whose hard-won victory came too late because his health was gone:—

    I

   _Do you remember, Marguerite,
    How first we met in the Latin Quarter?
    I was a poet, far from gay,
    And you, well, you were—somebody’s daughter.
    You dropped a glove upon the curb,—
    Say, was it Fate or yourself who willed it?
    I picked it up, a natural thing,
    Laid it within the hand that had filled it.
   “Merci, monsieur,” was all you said;
    But, somehow, I knew from your tone, as you said it,
    That, if I kept the hand awhile,
    It would not count to my discredit.
    So, hand in hand, we strolled and we chatted,
    Happy as pups whose heads have been patted.
    We drank a bock on the Saint Michel;
    And, when we parted, I knew you so well
    That I even dropped the “Mademoiselle.”
    Do you remember I whispered low,
    As I gazed in your eyes, so dark, so sweet,
        “A bientôt, Marguerite,
         Au revoir and à bientôt”?_


    II

   _Do you remember, Marguerite,
    How we rubbed along in the Latin Quarter?
    I Roland, the poet, almost gay,
    And you, my mistress and—somebody’s daughter?
    There were only a bed and a chair or two
    In our tiny chamber under the mansard;
    But our thoughts were simple, our hearts were true,
    Something in each to the other answered.
    Fresh youth was there, and love was there,
    My hopes were strong, your face was fair;
    And we lived and loved as devoted a pair
    As ever old Paris sheltered.
    In a worn béret and a faded blouse,
    I scribbled for fame. You kept the house,—
    That is, as much as there was to keep.
    You must, sometimes, have suffered in silence then,—
    It was, oh, so little I earned with my pen!—
    But you never allowed me to see you weep.
    And whenever I left for an hour or so,
    My Marguerite, do you remember?
    Over and over you made me repeat,
    As if you’d a dread I’d get lost in the street,
        “A bientôt, Marguerite,
         Au revoir and à bientôt.”_

[Illustration: THE TAVERNE DU PANTHÉON ON MARDIGRAS]

    III

   _For ten long years, my Marguerite,
    Heart has beaten to heart in the Latin Quarter,
    The heart of the poet, almost gay,
    The heart of the mistress, the—somebody’s daughter.
    We’ve held to each other through thick and through thin,
    As the years have gone out and the years have come in;
    And we’ve always held to the Latin Quarter.
    Now fame has come and my pen earns more,
    We have furnishings choice and books in store.
    What a change it is from the days of yore!
    The starving days when we lived on air!
    No more we climb to the hundredth stair;
    We have plenty to eat and plenty to wear;
    Whenever we wish, we can have a fire.
    Once that was the acme of our desire.
    We’re as snug and slick as the parvenus;
    But it’s come too late for me and for you,
    This luck that we prayed for when days were blue.
    My work is done in the Latin Quarter.
    God bless you, my dear, for your love for me!
    Bless God for my love for—somebody’s daughter!_

    IV

   _It’s over, over, Marguerite,
    The fair, fair life in the Latin Quarter.
    I’m dying, dearest; and, when I’m dead,
    You’ll be once more just—somebody’s daughter.
    But you’ll not be driven to work for bread,
    Or worse than work in the Latin Quarter.
    Thank God for that! You can hold up your head:
    So you’ve funds, it’s enough to be—somebody’s daughter.
    All that is mine will be yours, of course,—
    The world has been kind these last glad years,—
    Don’t be foolish, I beg of you, over my corse,_
    _Just give what is natural,—a few real tears.
    Be a good girl, don’t yield to regret
    For the thing that is gone. What is must be.
    You were born for love, don’t you dare to forget!
    Make some poor devil happy, as you’ve made me!
    It’s the very last thing I shall ask, I ween;
    For I feel the whirr of Death’s sickle keen....
    I know not what this death may mean,
    For I scarcely credit what churchmen tell
    Of a future heaven and a future hell.
    Without any future all is well,
    If the life that is past has been loving and true,
    As the life has been that we have to review;
    But my heart is breaking at leaving you.
    Well, just because it’s my habit so,
    And because it makes it more natural to go,
    I’ll say, quite as if we were likely to meet
        “A bientôt, Marguerite,
         Au revoir and à bientôt.”_

[Illustration: THE INSTITUTE]



CHAPTER XII

THOSE WHO STARVE


   “_Whoever throws himself into the streets of a great city, into
   the mêlée of rapacities and ambitions, with a pen for a weapon,
   takes_ ‘La Misère’ _for a flag._”—JEAN RICHEPIN, in Les Etapes
   d’un Réfractaire.


   “_You have the stuff of three poets in you; but, before you
   become known, you run the risk of dying six times of hunger, if
   you count on the income from your poetry for the means to live._”

   Etienne Lousteau to Lucien de Rubempré, in BALZAC’s Illusions
   Perdues.


   “_Cressot died of want the day want forsook him. He died because
   his body, habituated to suffering, was not able to accept
   well-being._”

   JULES VALLÈS.


Fifty odd years ago, in a volume of short stories,—little read in
France nowadays, and quite unknown, I fancy, elsewhere,—_Le Roman de
Toutes les Femmes_, Henry Mürger, author of the universally known and
loved _La Vie de Bohème_, narrated, under the title “_La Biographie d’un
Inconnu_,” the life history of a young sculptor who died of “the malady
to which science does not dare to give its true name, _la misère_.”

Joseph D——, born in a provincial town of poor, hard-working,
respectable parents, manifested a strong vocation for sculpture from his
early boyhood. His father having decided to put him to the carpenter’s
trade, Joseph, who had no notion of becoming a mechanic, went secretly
to the Free School of Design. The professor of the school procured him a
place as pupil with a government architect, which his father, under the
impression that carpentry and architecture were very much the same
thing, allowed him to accept. Joseph made such progress that he paid his
way at the end of a month, and at the end of six months earned his seven
or eight francs a day. But he was getting no nearer to sculpture by this
work; and he left the architect’s office, in the face of his father’s
opposition, and entered a sculptor’s atelier for study, paying a month
in advance for his teaching. He took part in a competition for admission
to the _Beaux-Arts_, and failed. Having no money with which to pay for
lessons, he was forced to leave the atelier, but was received—about the
only bit of good luck in his whole career—by the great master, Rude. He
lodged at this time in the rue du Cherche-Midi, over a cow stable, where
he was warmed only by what heat ascended through a hole in the floor.

Finding he could not pay for the models and materials necessary to enter
the _Salon_ competitions, he assisted for a year, without entirely
neglecting his studies, a noted ornament-worker, and put by enough to
enable him to pursue his art studies to good advantage. Working by
night in a cold workshop, he contracted a sickness which confined him to
his bed for a time, and which swept away all his savings. As soon as he
was well again, he went back to work for his first employer (the
architect), designing ornaments whose execution was intrusted to others.
He thus gained a little pile—about 1,200 francs—with which to compete
for the _Salon_. It was stolen by a roof-worker who, while repairing an
adjacent building, had seen him counting it.

This “mischance”—to go on in Mürger’s own language—“was a terrible
blow to Joseph. ‘There are some people who have no luck,’ he said, ‘who
would lose with all the trumps of the pack in their hands.’ ‘Never
mind,’ he resumed, brightening, ‘I will attempt the assault of the
Louvre[74] with what little I have left. I will enter there with plaster
instead of bronze or marble.’”

All his courage had returned. He tried making fanciful statuettes, which
he could prepare without the expense of hiring models; but he had little
success in selling them.

   “_La Misère_ returned, and knocked at his door. She entered,
   terrible and pitiless, like a vanquished foe whose turn has
   come to triumph, and who uses without mercy the right of
   reprisal. Joseph’s destitution reached such a point that, when
   one of his friends invited him to dinner, he answered naïvely,
   ‘I’m afraid it will put me out: it’s not my day.’ For tobacco
   he smoked walnut leaves, which he gathered in the forest of
   Verrières, then dried, and chopped up fine.

   “His sole hope was the coming _Salon_. In a room without a
   fire,”—the odorous days of the calorific cow stable must have
   seemed a paradise in retrospect,—“in a Siberian temperature,
   he worked during three consecutive months on a Saint Antoine,
   for he had been forced to renounce his group of Galatea, the
   too costly execution of which he had deferred to better times.
   Clay, in spite of its moderate cost, was too dear for his
   empty purse, this same purse which had held almost a fortune;
   for, by a strange irony, the thief who had taken his money had
   left him his purse. He dug his clay himself, therefore, in
   some fields of the _banlieue_. A rag-picker of the rue
   Mouffetard whom he had met, I know not where, gave him
   sittings at five sous an hour; and three-quarters of the time
   the worthy man invented angelic ruses to avoid being paid.

   “The date set for sending to the _Salon_ was near. It was time
   to think of taking the plaster cast of the statue. Michelli,
   Fontaine, and the other moulders who worked for the artists,
   when they saw Joseph’s destitution, were unwilling to venture
   credit. All he could obtain from one of them was the
   furnishing of the necessary plaster. Aided by several friends,
   Joseph took the cast of his statue himself. The operation
   lasted two days, and turned out well.

   “It was the eve of the day on which the jury was to begin its
   sittings and on which the works to be passed upon must be at
   the Louvre, by midnight at the very latest. During the night
   it came on cold, and Joseph, to minimise the action of the
   frost upon his statue, the still damp plaster of which had not
   acquired the solidity which dryness gives, wrapped his only
   blanket about it, and piled up on it, as a cuirass of warmth
   against the darts of the cold, all his clothing, playing thus,
   towards Saint Antoine, the rôle of Saint Martin.

   “The next forenoon two or three friends came to aid Joseph in
   transporting his statue to the Louvre. The wagon arrived four
   hours too late. Nor was this all. At this point, fatality
   intervened in the person of an absurd _concièrge_, who
   declared that he would let nothing leave Joseph’s room before
   the back rent was paid. The artists explained to the
   _concièrge_ that a statue was not a piece of furniture, and
   that the law did not permit him to hold it back. He would not
   listen to reason, and, stony in his stubbornness, demanded a
   written permit from the landlord. They hurried to Passy, where
   the landlord lived, and did not find him. He would not be in
   before dinner. They returned at the dinner hour. He had just
   gone out. It was already eight o’clock in the evening. They
   decided to apply to a justice of the peace. The justice turned
   them over to the commissary of police, who began by sustaining
   the _concièrge_, but who decided, on Joseph’s representations
   of the injury that would be done him if he were made to miss
   the _Salon_, to authorise the removal of the statue. It was
   then eleven o’clock. They had barely an hour to get to the
   Louvre. A dangerous coating of thin ice rendered the streets
   impracticable. Vehicles could only advance at a walk. The
   artists needed three hours at least, and they had only one.
   Furthermore, repairs which were being made on the sewers
   forced them to take the longest route. In crossing the
   Pont-Neuf, Joseph and his friends heard it strike the
   half-hour.

   “‘It’s half-past eleven,’ said Joseph, who was sweating great
   drops in spite of the fact that the thermometer marked a
   north-pole temperature.

   “‘It’s half-past twelve,’ volunteered a young man who detached
   himself from a band of painters who were returning with their
   pictures because they had arrived at the Louvre too late. They
   were making the best of it, and were singing gaily,
   ‘_Allons-nous-en, gens de la noce! etc._’

   “Joseph and his friends retraced their steps.

   “A little later Joseph exposed his Saint Antoine and a
   statuette of Marguerite at the _Exposition du Bazar Bonne
   Nouvelle_ (corresponding to the modern _Salon des Réfusés_),
   and sold the two to the Museum of Compiègne for 150 francs.

   “This paltry sum enabled him to drag himself about some
   time,—a year almost. Then he entered the hospital through the
   intervention of an interne, for he had no characterised
   malady. He died there of exhaustion at the end of three
   months....

   “Joseph D—— died at the age of twenty-three, without rancour
   or recrimination against the art that had killed him, as a
   brave soldier falls on the field of battle, saluting his
   flag.”

If I have reproduced here with much fulness this old story of Mürger’s,
it is because Joseph D—— stands to the Bohemians of the _Quartier_ as
a kind of saint, _Saint Joseph de la Dèche_,[75] patron of poor artists,
and because the half-century during which civilisation is supposed to
have been advancing with enormous strides has made no appreciable
difference in the hardships of the needy artist or in the bravery with
which he faces them. Parents are still too often dull-witted, narrow,
and unsympathetic where their offspring are concerned. Rents are still
hard to pay, and art materials and models, food, clothes, and fuel hard
to be had just when they are most needed. Luck is as capricious, the
_concièrge_ as officious, winter as brutal, warmth as coy, and death as
chary of reprieves as ever. Joseph D—— is as strictly up to date as if
he had been born in 1881 and died in 1904. One hesitates to depict the
slow starvation of one’s acquaintances and friends, even under assumed
names; and the fateful career of Mürger’s Joseph is so perfectly typical
of the careers of the poor devils of artists in the _Quartier_ of the
present period that there is no necessity of depicting it.

Quite as terrible, though far less romantic than the _misère_ of the
Bohemian artist and littérateur, is the “_misère en habit noir_”—the
nomenclature is Balzac’s—of the patientless doctor, the briefless
barrister, and the unemployed or underpaid teacher and professor.

Your poet, your painter, or your sculptor, is, as a rule, a careless,
jolly dog, who has something of the genuine vagabond or adventurer in
him. He cannot tolerate anything that is cut and dried, not even
prosperity; and he would be infinitely bored by life if its elements of
uncertainty were quite eliminated. He prefers agreeable surprises to
disagreeable surprises, of course; but he prefers disagreeable surprises
to no surprises at all.

Dissimulation is not an indispensable part of his artistic baggage. He
may flaunt and vaunt his poverty, swear at it or make game of it, and be
none the less considered, at least in his _milieu_. He is excused from
playing the dismal farce of keeping up appearances. He may live in an
attic, clothe himself in tattered and seedy raiment, shirk the
bath-tub, ignore the very existence of the laundress and the barber, be
noisy and reckless, and defy all the canons of the social code without
stultifying himself or dishonouring his calling. Best of all, his life
is rarely a lonely one. He suffers, but he has the _camaraderie_ of
suffering; and this enables him to laugh or shout his misery away.

On the other hand, your so-called professional man—your physician, for
instance—must be more than decently lodged; be arrayed, at no matter
what hour of the day,—such is the Old World convention,—in a faultless
frock-coat and silk hat; be restrained, not to say dignified, in
demeanour; assume to be busy when he is weary unto death with
inaction,—and all this though hunger be consuming his very vitals.

He must button his suffering securely under his respectable black
waistcoat, and wear his professional complacence when his heart is torn
with sobs. If the reputable lodging or the reputable bearing fail him,
even for a little, he is lost irrevocably.

Four years ago or thereabouts a young physician, one Dr. Laporte, was
arraigned before a Paris court for criminal negligence in the practice
of his profession. The court condemned him to prison, in spite of the
testimony of an eminent specialist in his favour, but with the
palliative of the _Loi Bérenger_.[76]

The condemnation was based on these facts: Summoned to an emergency case
already compromised by lay treatment, and not possessing the surgical
instrument which it called for, Dr. Laporte cast around for a makeshift
tool. He used unsuccessfully the only thing in any way adapted to his
purpose that he discovered in the patient’s house; and then, finding his
efforts futile, and foreseeing the fatal issue, which was not slow to
arrive, he withdrew, saying there was nothing more to be done.

The reasons for the attachment of clemency to the sentence were these:
the evidence showed conclusively that he had had no patients for days
and perhaps weeks; that he had no money to keep in proper repair the
instruments he owned, to say nothing of buying the instrument in
question; and that he had not eaten a morsel of food for a full day
previous to the emergency visit, and was a prey to the giddiness of
hunger at the moment he made his deplorable attempt.

   “The police investigation,” said the presiding judge to the
   culprit while the trial was in progress, “shows you as
   nervous, excitable, unbalanced, passing quickly from a state
   of exaltation to a state of the most profound depression.”
   What wonder!

[Illustration: THE LOUVRE]


   “_They are logical in their insane heroism, they utter neither
   cries nor plaints, they endure passively the obscure and
   rigorous destiny which they allot themselves. They die for the
   most part, decimated by the malady to which science does not
   dare to give its true name_, ‘la misère.’”

   HENRY MÜRGER, Introduction to La Vie de Bohème.



CHAPTER XIII

THOSE WHO KILL THEMSELVES


   “_This world’s been too many for me._”

   Mr. Tulliver, in GEORGE ELIOT’S Mill on the Floss.


   “_Et j’ai grand peur à tout moment
   De voir mourir d’épuisement
   L’ami d’enfance,
   Que pour moins de solennité
   J’appelle ici le Chat Botté,
   Mais qu’on nomme aussi l’espérance._”

   ANDRÉ GILL.


   “_Tu veux choisir ta mort;
     Va sache bien mourir sans crainte niaise:
     La lâcheté, c’est le travail sans pain,
     Le suicide lent des ruines et des fournaises.
     Ne tremble pas, sois fort, de ton dédain,
     Et fais grève à la vie, enfant sans pain!_”

   FRANCIS VIELÉ-GRIFFIN.


   “_I have an education._

   “_‘Now you are armed for the battle,’ said my professor, in
   bidding me adieu. ‘Who triumphs at college enters victorious
   into_ la carrière’ [career].

   “_What_ carrière?

   “_A former classmate of my father’s, who was passing through
   Nantes and stopped off to see him, told him that one of their
   fellow-classmates, he who had won all the prizes, had been found
   dead—mangled and bloody—at the bottom of a_ carrière _[quarry]
   of stone, into which he had cast himself after having been three
   days without food._

   “_It is not into this_ ‘carrière’ _I must enter, I take it,—at
   least, not head first._”—JULES VALLÈS, in Jacques Vingtras—Le
   Bachelier.


   “_First came the silent gazers; next,
       A screen of glass we’re thankful for;
     Last, the sight’s self, the sermon’s text,
       The three men who did most abhor
     Their life in Paris yesterday,
       So killed themselves: and now, enthroned
     Each on his copper couch, they lay
       Fronting me, waiting to be owned.
       I thought, and think, their sin’s atoned._”

   ROBERT BROWNING.


A recent morning paper contained the following item in its column of
“Crimes and Casualties”:—

   “LA LITTÉRATURE QUI TUE.

   “Enamoured of art and persuaded that he would quickly win a
   name in Paris, Louis M——, a young man of twenty-five, left
   some six months ago the little provincial city where he was
   born.

   “Like Balzac’s hero, Lucien de Rubempré, who entered the Latin
   Quarter with two hundred and forty francs in money and the
   manuscripts of _L’Archer de Charles IX._ and _Les
   Marguerites_, this young provincial arrived in Paris with a
   light purse and the bulky manuscript of a drama in five acts,
   which he expected to get performed immediately. Unfortunately,
   the purse was quickly emptied, and the drama was refused by
   all the theatre managers.

   “As his father was not rich, Louis M—— was unwilling to appeal
   to him, and suffered without complaining.

   “One day, however, he confessed his desperate situation to
   Mme. C——, a friend of his family, who inhabits a comfortable
   apartment, rue ——. Mme. C—— promised to see what she could do
   for him. In the midst of a conversation with her yesterday he
   drew a revolver from his pocket, and before she could catch
   his arm fired a bullet into his heart.

   “Death was instantaneous.”

Emile Goudeau, in his _Dix Ans de Bohème_, tells of the picturesque
suicide of a young Latin Quarter poet of his acquaintance:—

   “D——, arrayed in a new suit and with his hands full of
   bouquets, went up to the cashier’s desk and graciously adorned
   the counter and corsage of the cashier. Then, turning to a
   medical student, he said to him nonchalantly, ‘My dear fellow,
   I have made a bet that the little point of the heart is _here_
   between these two ribs’; and he designated a spot on his
   vest. ‘Not at all,’ corrected the other, ‘it is lower down.
   _There!_’ ‘I have lost then,’ D—— replied.

   “He called a cab, and ordered the _cocher_ to drive him to the
   Arc de Triomphe.

   “When the _cocher_ arrived at the head of the Champs Elysées,
   and opened the cab door, there was only a corpse upon the
   cushions. D—— had shot himself full in the heart.”

The last season I passed on the Left Bank of the Seine, the _Quartier_
was deeply moved by the death of one of its faithful devotees, the poet
René Leclerc (_nom-de plume_, Robert de la Villoyo), who poisoned
himself with cyanide of potassium.

Leclerc was thirty-two at the time of his death. He had inhabited the
_Quartier_ for more than a decade. He had come thither to study medicine
in accordance with the wishes of his bourgeois parents; and he had
stayed on after all thought of practising as a physician had left him,
in order to pursue the literature which had become his passion.

[Illustration: Suicide of the Latin Quarter]

With the funds which his family provided he lived neither too well nor
too ill, working steadily, but gaining little, slowly developing a very
real, if not very robust, talent. He completed two romances, contributed
more or less regularly to _La Plume_ and the minor reviews and literary
weeklies of the Left Bank, which are the easier to enter since
contributors are paid nothing at all or very little, and placed an
occasional poem and _chronique_ in the daily press. Indeed, everything
went well with him up to the moment when his family, disgruntled at his
persistency in holding to so unprofitable a calling, deprived him of his
income. Then he set out bravely to earn his living with his pen. He
besieged editors with copy, but succeeded in placing but few articles;
and, when he did place them, he was more often than not kept waiting for
his pay, and sometimes defrauded out of it altogether. He tried in vain
to find a publisher for either of his two manuscript romances. He did
difficult and ill-paid hack-work, collaborating on a translation into
French of the Norwegian Strindberg and on an adaptation into French
verse of the _Mandragore_ of Machiavelli; and he undertook—oh, the
bitter pill!—the task of writing a volume on the _Côte d’Ivoire_, of
which he was as ignorant as he was of the borders of the supposititious
canals of the planet Mars. Even this concession to mercantilism—beyond
which it is not surprising he was unwilling to go—did not suffice to
procure him a living. He ran behind two quarters on his rent, and was
threatened with eviction. If not actually destitute, he was on the verge
of destitution. And yet to those who were familiar with René Leclerc’s
proud and sensitive spirit it seems more likely that it was disgust with
his lot rather than terror before the approach of want which drove him
to kill himself. It was because he held his art so high that he was
unwilling to survive its debasement. He had made concessions that he
regarded as enormous,—compromised his ideal, vulgarised his taste, and
prostituted (at least so it seemed to him) his talent. It was too much.
His last act-could a dying gesture well be finer?—was to reduce to
ashes the hateful manuscript of the _Côte d’Ivoire_ and all his other
writings that he held unworthy.

And journalists were found contemptible enough to censure him, to call
him coward, because he was too fastidious to stoop to their own corrupt,
degrading practices, even to save his life.

Among the works he left, as having his affection and which by one of
those ironies so common with the law went to his unappreciative family
(who might have saved him), was a collection of sweet and delicate
poems, entitled _La Guirlande de Marie_, dedicated to her who had shared
his prosperity and remained the faithful friend of his adversity.

Here are a few stanzas (from a poem of this collection) inscribed to
Henry Mürger, in which he sings the praises of the Bohemia by which he
died:—

   _Les gais amoureux et les amoureuses
    Ont depuis des ans, Mürger, déserté
    La mansarde étroite où leurs voix rieuses
    Narguaient le bon sens—et la pauvreté!_

   _L’amour, aujourd’hui, s’est fait plus morose;
    Schaunard est rentier, Colline est bourgeois,
    Les lauriers coupés, et mortes les roses,
    Ils ont désappris les chemins du bois._

   _Rodolphe et Mimi, Marcel et Musette,
    Dans leurs lits bien clos sont endormis;
    Mais, vivante encor, leur chanson coquette
    Eveille en nos vers des refrains amis;_

   _Nos rèves, vois-tu, sont restés les mêmes:
    Roses du matin, rires du printemps,
    Châteaux en Espagne ou parcs en Bohème
    Irréels ou vrais,—comme de ton temps!_

   _Nous marchons leur pas, nous aussi, sans trève.
    Vers quel but lointain? Nous n’en savons rien;
    Baste! Il faut toujours que route s’achève.
    Quand nous y serons, nous le verrons bien._

   _Peu d’argent en poche, et point de bagages,
    Nul regret d’antan pour nous chagriner,
    Nous sommes parés pour les longs voyages,
    Libres: rien à perdre, et tout à gagner!_

And here is a portion of a poem, “_Le Sabot de Noël_,” that is a sort of
playful prayer:—

   _Mets dans mon sabot de Noël
    Le jeune espoir qui nous fait libre,
    Mets le désir profond de vivre
    Et la fleur qui fleurit au ciel._

   _Mets le succès dans les efforts,
    Le travail sans souci ni doute,
    Et comme étoile sur ma route
    L’orgueil simple qui fait les forts._

Poor boy! It was this very “_orgueil simple_” that was his sad undoing.

   “If the artist,” says Balzac in a memorable passage of his
   _Cousine Bette_, “does not hurl himself into his work, like
   Curtius into the gulf, without reflecting, and if, in this
   crater, he does not dig like a miner buried under a
   land-slide, ... his work perishes in the atelier, where
   production becomes impossible; and he assists at the suicide
   of his talent.”

René Leclerc, though no mere dawdler, as the twelve sizable manuscripts
he left behind him prove, was not endowed with either the mental or the
physical endurance to perform the Herculean labour which Balzac both
preached and practised. No more was Louis M—— nor D——; no more was
the brilliant Gérard de Nerval, who was found one winter morning in the
rue de la Vieille Lanterne hanging from a window-bar, nor the precocious
Escousse and Lebras, who at nineteen and sixteen respectively killed
themselves because a first phenomenal success with a drama was followed
by failures; no more was Chatterton in England. Few artists are. With
most of them ample time for revery is a prerequisite condition of
production. And yet the record seems to show that suicides are
relatively rare among poets and artists.

Perhaps this is because the record does not occupy itself with the poets
and artists, the Louis M——s and the D——s, who are not known as such
to the world at large. Or, perhaps, it is because so many die in the
hospital, like Gilbert, Malfilâtre, Hégésippe Moreau, and the Joseph
D—— of Mürger’s tale; and so many others are claimed by Charenton,
like Jules Jouy, Toulouse de Lautrec, and André Gill (for bedlam is
another Bohemian resort), that suicide has no need to assert its rights.
In any event, two cardinal qualities of the artistic temperament are
distinctly hostile to self-destruction; namely, faith in the sure
emergence and supremacy of genius, and a Hamlet-like irresolution that
prefers pouring out woes on paper to ending them by an energetic
trigger-pull.

The despair of the victims of the _misère en habit noir_, who are less
able to sustain themselves by faith and who are more capable of decisive
action, is, like their dress, much blacker and more austere; and
suicides are far commoner among them.

[Illustration: THE PONT DU CARROUSEL AT NIGHT]



CHAPTER XIV

FREAKS AND “FUMISTES”


   “_If there is a fill of tobacco among the crew, for God’s sake
   pass it round and let us have a pipe before we go._”—ROBERT LOUIS
   STEVENSON.

   “_‘Lord, my dear,’ returned he, with the utmost good humour, ‘you
   seem immensely chagrined; but, hang me, when the world laughs at
   me, I laugh at all the world, and so we are even.’_”

   OLIVER GOLDSMITH, Beau Tibbs at Home.


   “_Stupeur du badaud, gaîté du trottin,
     Le masque à Sardou, la gueule à Voltaire,
     La tignasse en pleurs sur maigres vertèbres
     Et la requimpette au revers fleuri
     D’horribles bouquets pris à la poubelle,
     Ainsi se ballade à travers Paris
     Du brillant Montmartre au Quartier-Latin
     Bibi-la-Purée, le pouilleux célèbre,
     Prince des crasseux et des Purotains._”

     JEHAN RICTUS.


   “_Much good might be sucked from these beggars._”—CHARLES LAMB.

   “Mieux vaut goujat debout qu’empereur enterré.”—EMILE GOUDEAU.


The dislike of and contempt for the bourgeois felt by the Bohemian
students and the other Bohemians who have elected to reside in the
_Quartier Latin_ pale into insignificance before the absolute
detestation of the bourgeois displayed by the _Quartier’s chevaliers
d’industrie_, the hangers-on and camp-followers of its littérateurs and
artists, who bear about the same relation to their principals that a
side-show bears to a circus or the capering monkey to the hand-organ and
its grinder.

As the lackey of the nobleman often holds himself above the commoner far
more than does the nobleman himself, and as he will rather put up with
poor living and poor wages in the service of an indigent aristocrat than
demean himself by serving in the households of tradesmen, so these
ne’er-do-wells of the _Quartier Latin_—ragged retainers of the
threadbare gentry of arts and letters, pinched flunkeys of the
straightened lords of thought, seedy clients of needy Latin patricians,
tatterdemalion cup-bearers to tattered Parnassians, supernumeraries to
the protagonists in the melodrama of cultured poverty, chorus to the
soloists of the _Learned Beggars’ Opera_—would be humiliated and
miserable outside of the atmosphere of letters. They would rather be
door-keepers, to paraphrase a familiar text, in the house of the
intellectual _élite_ than to dwell in the tents of vulgarity.

If there is more comedy and less tragedy in the existences of these
satellites than in the existences of their controlling luminaries, it is
not because their physical hardships are fewer,—for, parasites,
sycophants, trencher-friends, pick-thanks, and toad-eaters though they
be, theirs is but sorry hap,—but because they are mostly ambitionless
or feeble-minded and so not as susceptible to the mental torture of
disenchantment.

They “carry the half of their mattresses in their hair,” after the
fashion of the nephew of Rameau described by Diderot. They don the
cast-off garments and retail the worn-out epigrams of their _fétiches_,
who are amused by and therefore endlessly indulgent of them. They strut
and smirk and rant like children masquerading in the attic frippery of
their elders, make as clever displays of superficial knowledge as the
most up-to-date members of the most up-to-date women’s clubs, and revert
constantly to a previous connection with the university which is not
always imaginary. As individuals, these pseudo-connoisseurs and savants
come and go in the _Quartier Latin_: the class goes on forever.

There are plenty of persons still living in the Latin Quarter who knew
the originals of the eccentric _Quartier_ types immortalised by Jules
Vallès in his phenomenal _Réfractaires_.

Fontan-Crusoe, a genuine bachelor of arts, who slept one hundred and
eleven consecutive nights under a tree near the fortifications, spent
for nourishment from three to five sous a day which he earned by selling
in the street his two principal works, _Le Spectre Noir: Elégie_ and _Un
Galop à travers l’Espace_.

Poupelin, called also “_Mes Papiers_,” he of the enormous yellow felt,
“_pantalon d’enfant_,” and “_redingote de centennaire_,” who spent his
time seeking titled office and recommendations therefor, when
he was not occupied in one of the three positions which he accepted
with equal alacrity and in which he was equally efficient,—or
inefficient,—namely, teacher, school usher, and cook.

And M. Chaque, “_Orientaliste_,” another genuine _bachelier_, who had a
useful habit of carrying rice pudding in his hat and omelettes and beef
_à la mode_ in his pockets,—ex-professor of a colonial school; author
of a volume of travels in Greece (published by a reputable firm) with
which he beset Greek enthusiasts orally and successfully; a constant
reader of the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, to which he had, once on a time,
contributed an article; communicant of all the Christian or pagan sects
that had churches or temples in Paris; privileged hanger-on of
gaming-houses and soldiers’ barracks; razor-sharpener and professional
weeper at the cemetery of Montparnasse.

Two vagrant types (equally grotesque with those of Vallès), who are now
dead, but whom one need not have been long associated with the
_Quartier_ to remember, were Eugène Cochet and Amédée Cloux.

Cochet was an ex-prefect of the Department of the Eure, a rhymester and
the author of an unpublished work of “philosophical reflections,” who
depended for his sustenance on the bounty of one or two restaurants and
the _soupes populaires_, and who had a mania for decorations, like
Poupelin. The students, who made Cochet the butt of a great deal of
good-natured chaffing, which he accepted gratefully as so much tribute
to his worth, formally invested him one day with the star of the Legion
of Honour (attached to a flaming red cravat) and with the insignia of
ten fantastic foreign orders, notably with that of the Garter and that
of the Green Elephant, which last consisted of a zinc elephant, painted
green, suspended from a bailiff’s chain.

Amédée Cloux, poet, emulated the literary forgeries of Chatterton at
closer range. He had a marvellous facility for copying poetic styles,
and he got his living for a time by the deaths of his more illustrious
brother poets. As soon as a well-known poet died, he produced imitations
of his poetry, which he sold as posthumous works. His most successful
efforts, “_Le Chien Mort_,” attributed by him to Baudelaire, and “_Plus
de Représailles_” and “_L’Ode à la Colonne Déboulonnée_,” purporting to
be by Eugène Vermesch, deceived both the public and the experts until
the good Cloux, who was more of a joker than a vulgar swindler,
acknowledged his ruse.

Of the freaks who now perch in (for they can hardly be said to inhabit)
the _Quartier Latin_, far and away the most famous is Bibi-la-Purée,

   “_Qui porte en son cœur un vaste mépris
     Pour quiconque n’est Bohème ni poète._”


No Parisian of the period, perhaps, has been more written about, and
none more photographed, sculptured, etched, and painted; and none has
done more to divert his time than Bibi. Bibi is by turns an artist’s
model, a sponge, a simple beggar, a shoe-black, a tourist’s guide, a
watcher of bicycles at café doors, a dealer in photographs of himself
and in original poems, a boon companion of poets and artists, and a
confidant and counsellor of _étudiantes_; but he is first, last, and all
the time Bibi the fop, the Beau Tibbs of Latium, the Beau Brummel of the
Castalian gutter.

The first time I saw Bibi was in 1895, at an anarchist meeting addressed
by Louise Michel, in the rue de la Montagne Ste. Geneviève, back of the
Panthéon. He was muffled to the eyes, conspirator-like, in the folds of
a rusty, tattered Spanish cloak, faced with dirty red velvet, and wore
besides a white yachting cap, white skin-tight pantaloons, gaping patent
leather shoes fitted with cavalry spurs, and white gaiters.

The last time I saw Bibi he was pulling an unlighted cigar, and tenderly
convoying to his lodging a poet, not of the most obscure, who had been
imbibing too freely. He was dight in a red fez, a bright green velvet
waistcoat under an Inverness cape (with no jacket intervening), a yellow
silk neckerchief, cavalry boots, and baggy brown corduroy trousers; and,
if I should itemise all the different costumes it has been my privilege
to see Bibi wear between these dates, a large octavo volume would
scarcely hold the list. Reputed in some quarters to be an ex-student, an
ex-journalist, a political refugee, and a disguised nobleman, and in
others to be a blackmailer, a swindler, a thief, a police spy, and a
pander, the mystery that envelopes Bibi’s present as well as his past—a
mystery which his autobiography, published in _L’Idée_, did appreciably
nothing to dispel—gives him a curiosity-piquing charm.

There is no doubt as to Bibi’s untidiness, his inordinate vanity, his
assurance, his unscrupulousness, and his genuine kindness of heart; but
beyond this all is conjecture.

Jehan Rictus in a recent poem, to the recitation of which (at the
_Noctambules_ or the _Grille_) Bibi often listens with his inscrutable
smile, has given Bibi a large symbolic significance:—

   _“On dit de Bibi: ‘Chut! c’est un mouchard!’
     D’autres: ‘Taisez-vous, il est bachelier!’
     Et d’autres encor’: ‘Bibi est rentier.’
     Mais nul ne peut croire à la vérité:
     Bibi-la-Purée, c’est le Grand-Déchard.
     Et quel âge a-t-il? On ne sait pas bien.
     Son nom symbolique en le largougi
     Proclame qu’il est assez ancien,
     Quasi éternel comme la Misère.
     Et trimballes-tu, tu trimballeras,
     O Bibi, toujours ta rare effigie.
     Bibi-la-Purée jamais ne mourra._

       *       *       *       *       *

    _C’est le Pèlerin, c’est le Solitaire
     Qui depuis toujours marche sur la Terre,
     C’est un sobriquet bon pour l’Etre Humain.”_


Bibi was a humble follower and adorer—slave almost—of Verlaine, who
playfully honored him with the following verses in his _Dédicaces_:—

   A BIBI-PURÉE

   _Bibi-Purée,
    Type épatant
    Et drôle tant!_

   _Quel Dieu te crée
    Ce chic, pourtant,
    Qui nous agrée_

   _Pourtant, aussi,
    Ta gentillesse
    Notre liesse,
    Et ton souci
    De l’obligeance
    Notre gaieté,
    Ta pauvreté,
    Ton opulence?_


A sincere mourner for Verlaine since his death, Bibi regards it as his
special mission to cherish the cult of the dead poet’s memory.

The sincerity of Bibi’s mourning, however, has not prevented him from
turning an honest penny by selling the inscribed volumes Verlaine had
given him, nor from turning many a dishonest penny by selling, as
relics, copies of Verlaine’s works supplied with forged inscriptions,
and numerous other objects Verlaine never saw.

Thanks to Bibi’s zeal, Verlaine’s last cane and last pipe have been
multiplied, like “the only true cross,” and have taken up their abodes
in the poetic shrines of two hemispheres.[77]

It is impossible to think of Bibi without thinking of the Mère Casimir,
lately deceased, who was, for some reason, Bibi’s most cordial aversion.

The Mère Casimir was a tiny, twisted, shrivelled old flower-woman, who
claimed to be an _ex-danseuse_ of the _Opéra_ and to have had for
friends “princes and marquises,” and who was ready at any moment, in
consideration of a few sous, to prove it by executing certain grotesque
Terpsichorean movements on the sidewalk.

While the Mère Casimir was still alive, there was nothing that delighted
the students more than bringing about an encounter between her and Bibi,
and hearing the pair blackguard each other. Only once, so far as history
records, was there a truce between them,—a certain _Mi-carême_, when,
Bibi having been elected king and the Mère Casimir queen of the fête,
they paraded the streets of Paris together in the same car. On that day
the antipathetic pair were so impressed with the dignities and
responsibilities of their position that they treated each other with
royal magnanimity. Bibi even went farther than strict etiquette
required. In descending from his throne at the breaking up of the
cortège, he gallantly fell to his knees,—sight for gods and men!—and
kissed the hand of his queen.

The Marquis de Soudin, a long-haired but relatively neat little man,
with the noiseless step of a bird, who makes crayon portraits, at ten
sous per head, at the _Grille_ and the _Noctambules_ and in the
all-night restaurants of the _Halles Centrales_, is as much of a mystery
in his way as Bibi, though he has lived in the _Quartier_ more than
twenty-five years. He is said to have been crossed in love early in
life, and his title is believed by many to be genuine. However that may
be, the little Soudin has the education and manners of a gentleman, and
_noblesse oblige_ inspires his conduct. He does no offence to any, and
is a veritable providence to his poorer fellow-Bohemians. M. le Marquis
makes poems as well as portraits, but not for money. “At least no
merchant traffics in his heart.”

The artist bard of Père Lunette’s,[78] who makes crayon portraits at ten
sous a head, like the little marquis, and poems for money, unlike the
little marquis, is also supposed by many to be of noble origin. He is a
dashing, handsome fellow, with the felt and the swagger of a
_mousquetaire_, and is, when he chooses to quit the vulgar rôle his
position at Père Lunette’s imposes upon him, a lively and stimulating
conversationalist. In summer, with his bosom friend Père Jules, he
tramps the country roads of France.

Achille Leroy, philosopher and poet (the anarchist
author-editor-publisher-bookseller, referred to in the chapter on the
oral propaganda of the anarchists), is another favourite with the
students, upon whose quizzical, good-natured patronage he depends mainly
for the sale of his wares.

Some years back, at the moment of the anarchist “Terror,” Achille,
whose illusions regarding his intellect are on a par with those of Bibi
regarding his person, offered himself as a candidate for the Academy. He
made the customary “visits” to the Academicians attired in the uniform
of a Mexican general, and wherever he was not received left an
ominous-looking brass kettle to which, along with his visiting card,
this inscription was attached:

   “_Je ne fais sauter que les idées._”

Other contemporary freaks who help to swell the picturesqueness and
gaiety of the _Quartier_ are: the anarchist cobbler _chansonnier_ Père
La Purge (author of the _Chanson du Père La Purge_, quoted in a previous
chapter), whose customers (mainly the poets and artists of the
_Quartier_) visit his shop in the rue de la Parcheminerie to enjoy the
piquancy of the contrast between his ruddy, contented face and his
anathemas against society; Gaillepand, a big, athletic-looking fellow,
who, having failed to earn a living by legitimate sculpture, took to
making plaster medallions of the celebrities of Paris, especially those
of the _Quartier_, and selling them up and down the Boulevard St.
Michel, while his brother “_Môme l’Histoire_” (now dead) displayed his
phenomenal memory by reciting biographies and poems; the Mère Souris
(Mother Mouse), so called from her conical head and her funny little
walk, ex-proprietor of an artists’ restaurant and present palmist,
fortune-teller, and reputed usurer,—in short, a very useful personage
to the _étudiantes_; Victor Sainbault, author, editor, publisher, and
bookseller, like Achille Leroy; and the poet Coulet, who gives author’s
readings before the terraces of the cafés, and who between times, if
hearsay may be credited, provides petty bourgeois families with wedding,
christening, and funeral verses at so much per yard.

It is because these freaks take themselves seriously, because they are
unconscious humourists and involuntary _farceurs_, that they are
amusing. But the _Quartier_ has always had among its choicer Bohemians a
class of conscious, almost professional humourists and deliberate
_farceurs_, called _fumistes_,[79] who by drolly expressing their
very disrespect for life have done much to make life worth the living.

[Illustration: SITE OF THE CHÂTEAU ROUGE

   _La rue Galande_]

The most renowned of the _Quartier fumistes_ who practised when those
now in middle life were young was unquestionably Sapeck.

   “Verily,” says Emile Goudeau, “I owe a taper to Sapeck for
   having initiated me into this inner folly which manifests
   itself outwardly by imperturbable buffooneries.... Better to
   have kept alive, thanks to _insouciance_, than to have died
   stoically of _misère_, wrapped in the cloak of a Byronian
   hero. If we occasionally exceeded the proper limits of the
   laugh, at least we did not light the brazier of Escousse nor
   seek the rope of Gérard de Nerval; and that is something.”

Sapeck is very likely dead now. At any rate, he is dead to the Quarter.
But, as he was the successor (according to the archæologists of
_fumisterie_) of Romien and Vivier, so he has his successors, one of
whom the _rapin_ Karl, mystifier of Quesnay de Beaurepaire and abductor
of the Comtesse Martel (“Gyp”), has almost earned the right to be
regarded as his peer. Zo d’Axa, who is less a _fumiste_ than he has it
in him to be, because he takes time to be a serious and talented author
and to serve sentences in prison for his opinions, perpetrated a
_fumisterie_ some five years back that has taken an honourable place
among the classics of its kind.

It will be best narrated as he narrated it himself in one of his
celebrated _Feuilles_:—

   “HE IS ELECTED

   “_Good People of the City, Electors_,

   “Listen to the edifying story of a pretty little white
   jackass, candidate in the capital. It is not a Mother Goose
   tale nor a sensation of the _Petit Journal_. It is a veracious
   narrative for the grown-up youngsters who still vote:—

   “A little jackass, born in the land of La Fontaine and of
   Rabelais, ... made a campaign for a deputy’s chair. When
   election day came, this jackass, this typical candidate,
   answering to the unequivocal name of _Nul_, executed a
   last-hour manœuvre. On a warm Sunday in May, while the people
   crowded to the urns, the white jackass, the candidate _Nul_,
   enthroned on a triumphal car drawn by electors, traversed
   Paris, his _bonne ville_.

[Illustration: ZO D’AXA’S NOVEL CANDIDATE

   REFLECHISSEZ, CHERS CITOYENS VOUS SAVEZ QUE VOS ÉLUS VOUS
   TROMPENT, VOUS ONT TROMPÉS, VOUS TROMPERONT—ET POURTANT VOUS
   ALLEZ VOTER.... VOTEZ DONC POUR MOI! NOMMEZ L’ANE! ON N’EST
   PAS PLUS BÊTE QUE VOUS.]

   “Erect on his hind legs, ears to the wind, craning forward,
   over-topping proudly the parti-colored vehicle,—the vehicle in
   the form of an urn,—his head planted between the traditional
   glass of water and the presidential bell, he passed in the
   midst of hisses and bravos and jests.

   “The jackass beheld Paris, and Paris beheld him.

   “Paris! The Paris that votes, the rout, the people sovereign
   every four years,—the people simpleton enough to believe that
   sovereignty consists in naming its masters....

   “Slowly the jackass went through the streets. As he advanced,
   the walls were covered with placards by members of his
   committee, while others distributed his proclamation to the
   crowd:—

   “‘Reflect, dear fellow-citizens. You know that your deputies
   deceive you, have deceived you, will deceive you; and yet you
   vote. Vote for me then! Vote for the jackass! Elect the
   jackass! It is impossible to be more stupid than you.’

   “This frankness, a trifle brutal, was not to everybody’s
   taste.

   “‘They are insulting us,’ bellowed some. ‘They are ridiculing
   universal suffrage,’ protested others more justly. Some one
   shook his fist at the jackass furiously, and said, ‘_Sale
   Juif!_’ (Dirty Jew), but a laugh burst out, and spread
   sonorous. The candidate was acclaimed. Bravely the elector
   made fun of himself and of his representatives. Hats and canes
   were waved. Ladies threw flowers. The jackass passed.

   “He descended from the heights of Montmartre, going towards
   the _Quartier Latin_. He crossed the Grands-Boulevards, the
   Croissant,[80] where is cooked, without salt, the _ordinaire_
   served by the gazettes. He saw the _halles_ (markets) where
   the starving glean in the heaps of garbage, the quays where
   electors elect lodgings under the bridges.

   “Heart and brain! Paris! Democracy!...

   “The jackass arrived before the Senate.

   “He skirted the palace, whence the guard emerged hurriedly. He
   followed, on the outside, alas! the too-green gardens. Then
   came the Boulevard St. Michel. On the terraces of the cafés
   the youth of the _Quartier_ clapped their hands. The crowd,
   constantly growing, snatched out of each other’s hands the
   jackass’s proclamations. The students harnessed themselves to
   the car, a professor pushed the wheels; but it struck three,
   and the police appeared.

   “Since ten o’clock that morning, from post to commissariat,
   the telegraph and the telephone had signalled the strange
   passage of the subversive animal. The order was issued:
   ‘Arrest the jackass!’ And now the police sergeants barred the
   route of the candidate.

   “Near the Place St. Michel, the faithful committee of _Nul_
   was ordered by the armed force to conduct its candidate to the
   nearest police station. Naturally, the committee paid no
   attention, and kept on its way. The car crossed the Seine, and
   soon it halted before the _Palais de Justice_.

   “The police, re-enforced, surrounded the white jackass, the
   impassive jackass. The candidate was arrested at the gate of
   this _Palais de Justice_, whence deputies, defaulters,
   _panamistes_, all the big thieves, go out free.

   “In the midst of the surging crowd the car swayed as if about
   to capsize. The police, a brigadier at their head, had seized
   the shafts and donned the straps. The committee insisted no
   more: they helped harness the _sergents de ville_.

   “Thus the white jackass was abandoned by his warmest
   partisans. Like any other vulgar politician, the animal had
   come to a bad end. The police towed him, authority guided his
   route. _From this moment Nul was only an official candidate._
   His friends acknowledged him no more. The door of the
   prefecture opened wide, and the jackass entered quite as if he
   were entering his own stall.”


What has all this starving and self-killing and freakishness and
practical joking of the _Quartier_ Bohemians to do with revolution? Much
every way.

Jules Vallès (all his life a Latin Quarter Bohemian), whom Richepin has
characterised as “the most curious and the most complete of the
_déclassés_ of the pen”; of whom his intimate friend Gill said, “He
would be the tenderest, the most _spirituel_, the most charming, and the
most eloquent fellow in the world, were it not for the mania which
possesses him to believe himself at ease only in the smoke of battles or
the bawlings of the faubourgs”; who presented himself at the elections
of 1869 as “_le candidat de la misère_,” and put at the head of his
second volume of _Jacques Vingtras_ (_Le Bachelier_), “_A ceux qui
nourris de Grec et de Latin sont morts de faim, je dédie ce
livre_,”—Jules Vallès (and who should know better than Vallès?) said,
not long before the Commune was declared:—

   “In this life there is a danger. _Misère_ without a flag
   conducts to the _misère_ that has a flag, and makes of the
   scattered _réfractaires_ an army which counts in its ranks
   less sons of the people than sons of the _bourgeoisie_. Behold
   them bearing down upon us, pale, mute, emaciated, beating the
   charge with the bones of their martyrs upon the drum of the
   _révoltés_, and waving as a standard, at the point of a sword,
   the blood-stained shirt of the last of their suicides!...

   “These _déclassés_ must find places, or they will have
   revenge; and this is why so much absinthe runs down their
   throats and so much blood upon the paving-stones. They become
   drunkards or rebels.”

And again, in the introduction to his _Réfractaires_, he says, “Give me
three hundred of these men, any sort of a flag, toss me down there
before the regiments in a raking fire, and you shall see what short work
I will make of the gunners at the head of my _réfractaires_!”

Every convulsion Paris has undergone has proved the truth of Vallès’
mordant sentences. What was the Commune, indeed, but the joint
self-assertion of the _déclassés_?

   “_Déclassés_,” wrote Richepin of the leaders of the Commune
   shortly after its suppression, “from the unrecognised general,
   Cluseret, to the unappreciated caricaturist, Pilotell; from
   the intelligent deputy, Millière, to the lunatic, Allix; from
   the great painter, Courbet, to the ex-monk, Panille, and
   _tutti quanti_; _déclassés_ of politics, like Delescluze and
   Pyat, of journalism and of literature, like Vallès, Vermesch,
   Vermorel, Grousset, Vésinier, Maroleau; of the army, like
   Rossel, of the workshop, like Assi, of the _brasserie_, like
   Rigault, of lower still, like Johamard.”

Not all these starving, suiciding, freakish, jesting Latin Quarter
Bohemians are conscious socialists and anarchists, though there is a
good proportion of them who are,—a greater proportion probably than
among the students proper, by as much as their situations are more
precarious; but they nearly all hold vaguely subversive humanitarian
views, and they are all, even the Bohemians by choice, _réfractaires_
and _révoltés_. Like the Thélémites of Rabelais, they all recognise but
the one law which is no law,—“_Fay ce que vouldras._”

Their way of living is a species of the _propagande par l’exemple_ from
which it is a quick and easy step to the _propagande par le fait_. Given
a crisis, _réfractaire_, _révolté_, and _révolutionnaire_ spell very
much the same thing. They are all ripe for disorder.

The victims of the _misère en habit noir_—the poor doctors, teachers,
lawyers, petty functionaries, and clerks—are, in the nature of the
case, more submissive to their fate than the free-living freaks,
littérateurs, and artists; but there are evidences that they, too, are
beginning to think of stepping over the bounds within which patience is
a virtue.

M. Paul Webre, one of a group of young men of means and
education—evolutionists, not revolutionists—who have pursued the
laboratory method of studying the conditions, the psychology, and the
relations to society of various employments, has given the following
testimony to the expectant, if unaggressive, attitude of the small
clerks:—

   “My relatively frail health forbidding me work in a factory, I
   sought a place as a clerk. After twenty ineffectual
   applications I succeeded in crossing the threshold of an
   insurance company. I earn there 100 francs a month, on which I
   manage to live without resorting to my income. I carry with me
   in the morning a lunch of bread, cheese, and a slice of ham or
   sausage, and I talk with my comrades of the office. Some are
   married. These are the most unfortunate; but they reflect
   that, if they quit their meagre situations, there are
   innumerable persons in the streets ready to vie with each
   other to obtain them, and they cling to them for dear life.
   Nevertheless, their hatred is brooding. While taking cold
   bites during the hour of respite which the avaricious
   administration accords us, we pass our chiefs in review, and
   compare their profits with our own. The director has a salary
   of 100,000 francs, the president is several times a
   millionaire; while we, _morbleu_! Oh, the monotonous days! the
   repulsive work! the ominous end of the month! and the
   certainty of plodding along for twenty years in the same
   fashion, only to be sent away at last without resource! It is
   poverty in the frayed frock-coat, the worst poverty. I have
   tried to organise the discontented, but they have a terror of
   compromising themselves and of making themselves marks for the
   Company’s blows. So, bending over their documents, they spy
   the growlings in the street, ready to descend there, in their
   turn, when the revolution asserts itself. The atmosphere in
   which these petty clerks stagnate is saturated with
   bitterness, with rancours, with regrets, with deceived
   ambitions. Terrible eruptions are being prepared therein. And
   I cry to the capitalists: ‘Take care! Transform these enemies
   into friends, these anarchists into conservators! Share your
   profits with them. Throw them a honey-cake while there is
   still time.’”

[Illustration: THE SECOND-HAND BOOK MARKET OF THE LATIN QUARTER]

       *       *       *       *       *

   “_Put a man in the street with a coat that is too large on his
   back, pantaloons that are too short, without a collar, without a
   shirt, without stockings, without a sou, had he the genius of
   Machiavelli, of Talleyrand, he would fall into the
   gutter._”—JULES VALLÈS.

       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XV

MONTMARTRE AND “LA VACHE ENRAGÉE”


   “La Gloire _marches before the_ Vache Enragée. _Follow her then,
   try to catch up with her: there is honour even for those who
   fall by the way._”

   ADOLPHE WILLETTE, in Le Calvaire de la Vache Enragée.


   “_Whatever scorn, whatever disgrace he may bring upon himself,
   it is none the less true that the poor and obscure artist is
   often worth more than the conquerors of the world; and there are
   nobler hearts under the mansards where only three chairs, a bed,
   a table, and a_ grisette _are to be found, than in the_ gémonies
   dorées _and the_ abreuvoirs _of domestic ambition._”

   ALFRED DE MUSSET, in Preface of Comédies et Proverbes.


   “Ils feront de ta corne acérée une épée,
    Ils feront de ton crâne une coupe sculptée,
    Où nous boirons ton sang avivé de levains.
    Ils feront de ton cuir des bottes de sept lieues
    Pour courir au pays des illusions bleues
    Ou vers l’âpre idéal des rouges lendemains.”

   PAUL MARROT, in a poem to the Vache Enragée.


   “_A la Vache Enragée, à Montmartre. Mademoiselle:—
    “All those who have not known you are like untempered metals.
    “Accept, I pray, my best wishes._

   “E. FRÉMIET.”


   “VIVE LA VACHE ENRAGÉE!
             “_Son ami_,

   “ALPHONSE DAUDET.”


The official restoration at the Carnival of 1896 of the historic but
long unobserved fête of the _Bœuf Gras_ (Fat Ox) was the signal for the
creation of the fête of the _Vache Enragée_ (Famished Cow) for that
year’s _Mi-carême_ by the denizens of Montmartre.

   “Over against the _Bœuf Gras_, father of the golden calf,
   emblem of the wealth and prosperity of the _bourgeoisie_,”
   said the committee of organisation in its public manifesto,
   “the painters, poets, and _chansonniers_ of the Mont des
   Martyrs have prepared for the pleasure and edification of the
   Parisians a spectacle which they call the Cavalcade of the
   _Vache Enragée_ (or the _Vachalcade_), intended to present the
   picture, sometimes poignant, of their struggles, their
   sufferings, their ideals, their chasings after phantoms, their
   unrealised dreams, their often illusory hopes.”

This brand-new cavalcade consisted of a large number of pedestrians
masquerading as ducks, geese, rabbits, frogs, camels, donkeys, cats,
pigs, and giraffes (the French words for all of which have well-defined
metaphorical meanings), and as chimeras, Pierrots and Pierrettes; and a
score or more of fantastic floats (designed by Montmartre artists of
repute), the subtle and piquant symbolism of which was all Greek to the
foreign tourists who chanced to see them and not too intelligible to
many Parisians who fancied they knew their Paris and their French. The
floats were entitled (to mention only those whose significance is fairly
obvious) _Pegasus Seized by the Sheriffs_, _The Anti-Landlord League_,
_The Wrestlers of Thought_, _The Temple of the Golden Calf_, _La Vache
Enragée through the Ages_, _Feeding of la Vache Enragée_, _Drawing the
Teeth of la Vache Enragée_, _A la Belle Etoile_,[81] and _Ma Tante_.[82]
The design for this last, by M. Grün, is given herewith.

Judges were satirically represented as side-whiskered café garçons; the
victims of _la misère en habit noir_, as street pavers, attired in
frayed frock-coats, wind-traversed shoes, and weather-beaten “plug”
hats; and _Les Jeunes_,[83] as small boys, in dunce-caps, playing on
drums.

[Illustration: GRÜN’S DESIGN FOR FLOAT IN CAVALCADE OF LA VACHE ENRAGÉE]

The street parade lasted from mid-day to sunset. It was preceded by a
theatrical representation for the benefit of destitute artists, which
included appropriate skits by the Montmartre playwrights Xanrof and
Courtéline, an address by the Montmartre socialist poet-deputy Clovis
Hugues, and rapid platform drawing by the Montmartre caricaturists, Pal
and Grün; and it was followed by bonfires and open-air dancing, and by a
masked ball at the _Moulin Rouge_, in the course of which a lottery was
drawn, whose principal prizes were sketches by Montmartre artists, among
them Faverot, Willette, Henri Pille, Roedel, Léandre, and Puvis de
Chavannes. The occasion was further signalised by the publication of a
magazine, _La Vache Enragée_, under the editorship of Willette.

The distinctive feature of the second and last[84] fête of the _Vache
Enragée_ (1897) was a musical poem, entitled “_Le Couronnement de la
Muse de Montmartre_,” by the Montmartre composer Gustave Charpentier,
now thrice famous as the author of _Louise_, in which Labour, figured by
one Mlle. Stumpp (a working-girl, who had been elected by ballot the
Montmartre Muse), was crowned by Beauty, figured by Cléo de Mérode.
Charpentier interpreted his cantata as follows:—

   “The Muse is the plebeian virgin, the virtuous young
   working-girl, the daughter of the people, administering a
   formidable slap in the face to the _pères la pudeur_,[85]
   showing these drivellers of another epoch, these dotards whose
   sentiments are false, unnatural, and bourgeois, that it is
   possible to achieve the beautiful in taking for a queen an
   _ouvrière_, a _rosière_ even, of Montmartre, region of ideals
   too young for their too old ideas.”

This Montmartre fête of the _Vache Enragée_ is unique among the fêtes of
the whole world, I fancy, in that it is at once a bold apotheosis of the
racking poverty of the artistic career and a defiant, masterful sneer at
the smugness of commercial Philistinism.[86] “It is a defence of _la
misère_ you are making,” said Zola in a communication to its
organisers,—“a defence of _la misère_; and, to my thinking, you are
right in making this defence.” Cyrano, a knight of the _vache enragée_,
who would have found himself delightfully at home in the Montmartre
cavalcade, made a similar defence, according to Rostand, some centuries
ago:—

   “_Moi, c’est moralement que j’ai mes élégances.
     Je ne m’attife pas ainsi qu’un freluquet,
     Mais je suis plus soigné si je suis moins coquet.
     Je ne sortirais pas avec, par négligence,
     Un affront pas très-bien lavé, la conscience
     Jaune encore de sommeil dans le coin de son œil,
     Un honneur chiffoné, des scrupules en deuil.
     Mais je marche sans rien sur moi qui ne reluise,
     Empanaché d’indépendance et de franchise;
     Ce n’est pas une taille avantageuse, c’est
     Mon âme que je cambre ainsi qu’en un corset,
     Et tout couvert d’exploits qu’en rubans je m’attache,
     Retroussant mon esprit ainsi qu’une moustache,
     Je fais en traversant les groupes et les ronds,
     Sonner les vérités comme des éperons._”

The device, _Vache Enragée_, cavalierly adopted as their catchword by
the painters, sculptors, poets, and musicians of Montmartre, was taken
directly from the title of a Montmartre romance by Emile Goudeau, who
was named on that account honorary president of the festival; but the
phrase had long been current in French conversation and literature to
designate the poverty of the _prolétariat artistique et littéraire_.
Thus, the great Daudet wrote regarding one of the characters of
_Jack_:—

   “Then commenced for him this terrible ordeal of the _vache
   enragée_, which either breaks you at once or bronzes you
   forever.

   “He became one of the ten thousand poor devils, famished and
   proud, who rise in Paris every morning giddy with hunger and
   ambitious dreams, nibble surreptitiously a sou loaf, which
   they keep hidden away in the bottoms of their pockets, blacken
   their clothes with penfuls of ink, whiten their shirt collars
   with billiard chalk, and warm themselves over the registers of
   the libraries and churches.... Art is such a wizard! It
   creates a sun which shines for all, like Nature’s sun; and
   those who approach it, even the poor, even the ill-favoured,
   even the grotesque, carry away a little of its warmth and its
   radiance. This celestial flame, imprudently ravished, which
   the unsuccessful guard in the depths of their eyes, renders
   them redoubtable sometimes, oftenest ridiculous; but their
   existence gains from it a grandiose serenity, a contemptuous
   indifference to misfortune, and a grace in suffering that
   other kinds of poverty do not know.”

The Montmartre _Vache Enragée_, you see, is the same old Latin Quarter
_Misère_ under another label, the “Bohemian road by which every man who
enters the arts without other means of existence than art itself will be
forced to travel, ... the training school of the artistic profession,
the preface to the Academy, the _Hôtel-Dieu_, or the Morgue.”[87]

Over the stony and thorny route of the _Vache Enragée_ a large part of
the literary, artistic, and musical celebrities of France have at one
time or another passed.

Millet painting signs at Cherbourg and hasty portraits for the soldiers
at Havre—_Vache Enragée_!

Barye forced to go about as a pedler in order to vend his now priceless
statuettes—_Vache Enragée_!

Hector Berlioz, ridiculed for wanting the courage to put a bullet
through his brain, accepting newspaper work to live, failing to write a
symphony the theme of which came to him in a dream, because he would not
have money enough to bring it out if it were written—_Vache Enragée_!

Audran and Charles Lecocq (who took prizes, the one in composition, the
other in fugue, at the _Conservatoire_ and the Niedermeyer School
respectively) writing opéra bouffe to keep the wolf from the
door—_Vache Enragée_!

Albert Glatigny, out on a hunt for funds to bury the dead mistress of a
friend, swimming the Seine (though he was a poor swimmer and it was late
autumn) because he could not pay the small bridge toll which was then
exacted—_Vache Enragée_!

The saturnine De Nerval and the brilliant Gauthier chasing dinners, the
first in back alley-ways and the second in the salon of the Princesse
Mathilde—_Vache Enragée_!

_Vache Enragée_, also, young Balzac living on a few sous a day and
writing the inevitable five-act drama in an icy garret, because his
father, who had intended the boy for the law, had said to him,
“There are people who have a vocation for dying in the hospital,” and
his mother, “It seems that monsieur has a taste for misery!”

_Vache Enragée_—young Daudet arriving in Paris, after an over-long
fast, shod only with rubbers (as he has narrated in _Trente Ans_ and _Le
Petit Chose_), and existing there on his share of the seventy-five
francs a month his brother Ernest earned!

And _Vache Enragée_—young Zola stifling in a “room under the roof where
one was forced to perform a series of acrobatic feats to sit down—on
the bed”; living several days on bread soaked in olive oil sent to him
from the Midi, and pitifully imploring the editors of _Le Travail_ (a
little Latin Quarter review) to print for him a poem written in the
style of De Musset!

_Vache Enragée_ again—Eugène Boudin sighing in his journal: “There are
moments hard to bear when on every side you see the impossibility of
getting a little money. There is a poor old mother who entreats, there
is the rent to pay, there is the necessity of clothes, of brushes, of
canvases, which you finally have to get along without. Petty economy and
the worry that accompanies it kill you by inches.”

_Vache Enragée_, in short, the privations of all those for whom liberty
is a necessity, and beauty a religion, and with whom a glowing faith in
art more than atones for the absence of bread, of fire, and of clothes!

Winter before last a painter, fifty-three years of age, well known in
art circles, was detected extracting money out of a church poor-box with
the aid of a glue-smeared stick. This revolting sort of infidelity to
the hard fare of the _Vache Enragée_ is, it need hardly be said, a rare
occurrence; but it is not rare for men to be forced to familiarity with
the _Vache Enragée_ after they have become famous.

Glatigny never got entirely free of poverty, and it was of disease
produced by hunger and exposure that both he and his wife died.

[Illustration: A LA MUSE DE MONTMARTRE.

   _O Muse de Montmartre, ouvrière aux doigts fins
    Qui saurait broder d’or l’azur des Séraphins
    Et qui daignez sourire aux larmes des poètes,
    Salut! Salut! pour t’applaudir nos mains sont prêtes._

   _Te voici parmi nous, vagues chercheurs de rien,
    L’un sculpteur, l’autre peintre, un tel musicien,
    Guettant un idéal parmi les âpres cimes,
    Songeurs des formes et des rhythmes et des rimes.
    Te voici parmi nous! Tes levres de corail
    Nous chantent le couplet sublime du travail._

    EMILE GOUDEAU.

THE REAL MONTMARTRE

   _La rue Mont-Cénis_]

At the height of his fame the critic Gustave Planche was often without
money enough to go to the barber-shop,—if Vallès is to be
believed,—and occupied an attic at twenty-five francs a month. He
never earned more than four thousand francs a year, and rarely as much
as three thousand francs,—a sum which was destitution, nothing more nor
less, for a person whose vocation forced him into the world and whose
inability to walk necessitated a perpetual outlay for carriage hire.

In a striking passage of his novel, _La Faiseuse de Gloire_, Paul Brulat
writes: “An old man approached the desk timidly, and stammered something
in a low voice. The editor, annoyed at being interrupted, repelled him
with cruel words. ‘Oh, say now, won’t you ever stop coming here
begging?’ The old man moved off with a senile shake of the head. He bore
a great name in literature. He was called Villiers de l’Isle-Adam.”

Henry Becque, whose _Corbeaux_ was refused by ten theatres before it was
accepted by the _Théâtre Français_, “lived on a seventh floor, under the
roof,” says his friend and admirer, Henri Bauer. “The furnishings of his
single room were an iron bed, an unpainted table, and three
straw-bottomed chairs.” And this was long after Becque’s masterpieces
had been given a hearing, at a time when he was regarded by a large and
influential group of his contemporaries as the greatest French dramatist
the last half of the nineteenth century had produced.

Berlioz, Millet, Verlaine, and Hégésippe Moreau ate of the _Vache
Enragée_, more or less regularly, all their lives. So have many other
artistic natures, not the least worthy and not the least celebrated.

Franz Servais, after having given fifteen years of labour, at untold
sacrifice, to the creation and perfection of his opera, _L’Apollonide_,
won the support of the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar only to have his patron
die just as the preparations for the production of the opera were
complete and to die himself a few days after. In a letter to a friend,
Servais has related how on one occasion, when everything looked dark, he
missed an almost certain order from a musical publisher for want of
presentable shoes: “I was unable to keep the appointment. At the last
moment I perceived that my best shoes were all broken open. They gaped
at the ends like carps’ noses. You can imagine the face of the good
editor, his regret for having offered me a little money, and how he
would have torn up the contract! I must wait for better luck.”

Franz Servais took himself too tragically in letting a good thing escape
him simply because he had holes in his shoes. But Servais, though
identified with Paris, was a Belgian, not a Frenchman, by birth, and was
not a _Montmartrois_.

With a remunerative offer as an incentive, your typical _Montmartrois_
would not have taken more than fifteen minutes to beg, borrow, or steal,
hire or buy on the strength of the offer itself or of a supposititious
heritage, the necessary shoes, and would have celebrated the happy
outcome with his friends the very same night. Resourcefulness is a
salient trait of the Bohemian wherever he may be found, and of none more
than of the Bohemian of Montmartre. His contrivances for making the pot
boil are legion.

In a tight place, he utilises the erudition, of which he is ordinarily
more than half ashamed, in teaching foreigners French, working on
cyclopedias or dictionaries, and giving lessons in the “three Rs,” for a
few sous a day, to the children of his _concièrge_. He gives lessons
just as readily in dancing, fencing, sparring, and _savate_.

If his talents are literary, he contributes to diet and fashion
journals, writes advertisements or puffs for trade organs, sings songs
of his own composition in the streets, or prints original poetry on
slips and sells it in the cafés. He reads and writes letters at so much
a piece for illiterate neighbours, supplies street singers (at a nominal
price) with words for their songs, makes almost presentable (by editing)
the productions of snobs, and constructs for _feuilletonistes_ romances
which said _feuilletonistes_ sign. He writes indifferently theses for
students, brochures for pamphleteers, placards and palaver for strolling
showmen, prospectuses for charlatans, anniversary rhymes for husbands or
wives, god-parents or god-children, toasts for empty-pated banqueters,
and funeral speeches or elegies for unimaginative mourners. If his gift
is musical, he plays in night orchestras. If his gift is artistic, he
poses as a model for his companions of the chisel and brush who chance
to be in funds, copies old masters at ten to fifteen francs a picture,
designs posters and daubs scenery for the fêtes of the faubourgs,
colours crude religious prints for the provincial market, paints
workingmen’s children in their first communion regalia, and makes
portraits for fond widows and widowers—between demise and burial—of
their dear deceased. If his health is particularly robust, he figures
the cured patient in quack doctors’ waiting-rooms.

He may, quite regardless of his bent, hawk toys in the street on fête
days, play the races (under sealed orders) for a friend too busy to
attend, fish tadpoles in the suburbs for the reptiles of menageries,
help out a small shopkeeper with his book-keeping, back envelopes for a
big bazaar, perform the duties of a valet under the euphuistic title of
secretary, and advertise wares by demanding them insistently where they
are not kept. He may even make himself a printer’s, house painter’s,
mason’s, blacksmith’s, or carpenter’s assistant, a market porter, or a
_déménageur_ (mover). In all these contingencies, however, the immediate
need having been satisfied, he takes up again his normal autonomous
existence. He has not bound himself to lasting servitude. He has not
sold his soul, and it is a rare thing that he is seriously demoralised
by his half-humorous concessions. On the other hand, he has touched life
at new points, deepened his sentiments, broadened his human sympathies,
and lifted his horizon without lowering his ideal.

“Implacable sausage!” cries the author of _Le Dimanche d’un Jeune Homme
Pauvre_. “We do not give sufficient credit to the influence of the hog
on literature! I know men of letters _en route_ for the Academy who ate
kilometres of _boudin_ [blood pudding] during the hard years of their
novitiate.” This is merely a highly concrete way of saying that the
French Bohemian is much less exercised over the savouriness of food than
over its staying power. The problem he has to solve oftenest is not how
most to tickle his palate, but how to give his system the maximum of
bracing at the minimum of expense. To the solution of this problem, the
_Montmartrois_ brings an address that is amazing. So long as he can keep
in the good graces of his _restaurateur_ or of his butcher, baker,
grocer, and sausage-man by painting handsome portraits of them and of
their families or by flooding them with inscribed copies of his poems,
the equation is a simple one, and all goes easily enough. But when the
inevitable day of reckoning comes for him, when credit is withdrawn, and
all relations with these well-nigh indispensable individuals are
incontinently snapped; when, furthermore, he has dined with his friend
the interne, J——, at the hospital table with his friend the sergeant,
K——, in the sub-officers’ mess, and with his former classmates, the
Baron Y—— and the leather merchant X——, in their homes, and when he
has made the round of the _cénacles_ at which he is welcome for the
verses he recites, the stories he tells, or the songs he sings,—then
the simple equation becomes an affected quadratic one, and a lugubrious
change comes over the spirit of his dreams. Then bread and _boudin_,
bread and cheese, bread and a sou’s worth of the meat kept for dogs, or
bread helped down with a glass of _vin ordinaire_ at the corner
wine-shop, are the most that he can hope to obtain, unless, like Zola,
he takes to snaring sparrows on the house-top, and roasting them,
spitted on a curtain rod, by way of a brochette.

If the bread and cheese and the bread and wine also fail, if the
_boudin_ has to be put into the category of the unattainable along with
beefsteak, and if the sparrows are coy, he may join the cats, dogs, and
rag-pickers in exploring the garbage boxes at the break of morning; but
he usually prefers—perhaps because he does not easily accommodate
himself to early rising—some less direct, more diplomatic proceeding,
such as tasting the stock of the market and street venders with the
fastidious air of an intending buyer. Thus, walking up to a barrow of
strawberries: “Your strawberries look good. How do you sell them?” “Four
sous a pound.” “May I taste them?” “Certainly.”

He munches and savours two or three berries attentively, as if almost
convinced of their merit, puts his hand into his pocket and draws out
his purse as if to order, but, tasting another berry as he does so,
makes a wry face, and ejaculates, “No, no, they’ll never do at all:
they’re too sour,” and moves on to another barrow.

Berry by berry, slowly, but surely, he amasses a meal, as the miser
amasses his hoard; and, if he has the luck to get a sou’s worth of bread
with which to punctuate his butter, cheese, and fruit tastings, the
result is not half a gastronomic failure. Happy, however, the taster
whose crisis of penury coincides with the opening of the “Ham Fair”!

Picking petty quarrels for the sake of the substantial festivity that is
likely to accompany the making up and betting on its eating capacity are
other favourite ways for penniless hunger to satisfy itself.

Catulle Mendès, who made the acquaintance of the _Vache Enragée_ during
the brief period when his family were unsympathetic with his aims, tells
of a poet, presumably himself, who after thirty-six hours of abstinence
succeeded in breaking his fast by making a gingerbread bet:—

   “The poet eyed the sweets wistfully, eyed them long.... He was
   just going away, I know not where, in the direction of the
   river perhaps, when he heard his name called. It was some one
   he scarcely knew, a young man also, not a poet, met somewhere
   by chance.

   “‘How hard you look at that gingerbread!’ he said. The poet
   replied with gravity, ‘It is because I adore it.’

   “‘Really?’

   “‘Yes, to distraction. There are days when I could eat a
   franc’s worth at a sitting.’

   “‘You’re joking. I bet you the franc you can’t eat as many as
   you say.’

   “‘I take you up,’ cried the _Parnassien_, with starveling
   enthusiasm; and he precipitated himself upon the stall, and
   devoured the gingerbreads,—would have eaten of them for still
   greater, for enormous, sums,—taking pains to choose the pieces
   without almonds, which were poorer in quality, but which were
   bigger for the price. It was thus that he did not die of
   hunger.”

It is said that Ibsen in his early days of poverty before the
publication of _Brand_ made it an invariable rule to take a long walk at
noon, whether he had the money for a meal or not, in order not to lose
caste—and hence credit—with his landlady by revealing that he could
not dine as often as every day. Similarly the Montmartre Bohemian
displays a fine pathetico-humorous ingenuity in making others believe he
has eaten when he has not, and even—supreme prestidigitation!—in
making himself believe it: as when he passes the day in bed or puts his
watch back to cheat his appetite; when he takes his _déjeuner_ in the
middle of the afternoon, not only to get a dinner at the price of a
_déjeuner_, but to afford himself the illusion of having both; or when
he makes the Heaven-sent _apéritif_ that should precede or the
gratuitous cigar that should follow a dinner, stand him in the stead of
the dinner itself.

His so-called affectations and poses—bizarre accoutrement and
outlandish speech—are, in the last analysis, so many devices for cheap
living, so many expedients for disguising the completeness of his
destitution from his fellows and from himself, so many talismans for
metamorphosing a hard necessity into an idiosyncrasy of genius, or so
many modes of whistling, so to speak, to keep up his courage. Thus
Goudeau, under the stress of exceptional ill-hap, consecrated himself
solemnly to playing practical jokes in a _phalanstère_; and the rotund
and rippling Raoul Ponchon flaunted a splendid Breton costume at the
very time he had nothing better than a wash-house to sleep in.

[Illustration: MONTMARTRE TYPES]

If the _Montmartrois_ carries his hat in his hand with a distrait,
philosophical air, it is certain that the last piece of head-gear
Providence has vouchsafed him is either too large or too small for his
head. If he speaks feelingly of his old aunt, he is referring
indubitably to the pawn-shop, whose quotations are of far more moment to
him than are those of the Bourse. If you detect him in a railway
station, waiting more than half an hour for a train, it is that the
shelter of the café has been, for some reason or other, temporarily
denied him. And, if he appears more than half a mile from his lodging in
dressing-gown and slippers, with a salad or a bunch of radishes under
his arm, it is either because dressing-gown and slippers are, for the
nonce, the sum of his wardrobe or because he has put on the
dressing-gown to match compulsory slippers or the slippers to match a
compulsory dressing-gown. You may be sure he has carried the salad or
radishes ever since he set out, and that he will renew them when they
have become too withered to serve his deceitful end.

[Illustration: THE REAL MONTMARTRE

  _La rue St. Vincent, known as “the lovers’ walk”_]

He carries his burdens buoyantly, as the best type of old man carries
his years, and, making hard necessity pass for a joke, extracts no end
of amusement from his vicissitudes, caps himself with a Merry Andrew’s
bonnet, and “drapes himself,” to use a phrase of Maurice Barrès, “with
irony in order not to appear stark naked before men.”

A young couple, who had long been habitués of a certain restaurant in
the rue Lepic, entered one night equipped with violin and guitar, made
profound obeisance to the assembled company, and announced that they had
got to earn their dinner on the spot that night, if they had one. With
their instruments and voices they proceeded to earn it, amid their own
and their whilom comrades’ jests and laughter. After a fortnight of this
unenviable, if mirthful, prominence, their fortunes mended; and they
dropped contentedly back into their obscurity as ordinary diners, the
richer for an invigorating experience. Three handsome, long-haired,
bearded fellows of the rue Menessier have taken Paris by storm this very
summer with their mandolin and guitar music in the open air.

A Montmartre Bohemian, who is at once a superior musician and a species
of Hercules, having made himself provisionally a _déménageur_, amused
himself mightily at his work, confounding the petty bourgeois he served,
by playing their pianos. The natural though totally unforeseen result of
his somewhat impudent facetiousness was an opportunity to give lessons,
which floated him back into the musical current.

Another _Montmartrois_ (Raoul Pouchon, I think), wearied with walking
the streets the night after he had been evicted from his lodging,
revenged himself by baiting with sugar all the street curs of his
district, and introducing them at two o’clock in the morning into the
stairway of his evictor’s house.

Sometimes, perhaps, these merry Montmartre shifts come near
transgressing the bounds which separate fun from lawlessness. The
_déménagement à la cloche de bois_,[88] the nailing of one’s emptied
trunk to the floor to impress one’s _concièrge_ with its weight, the
paying of one’s rent by abstracting the clothes of one’s landlord and
putting them in pawn, and the grateful acceptance of the _pâté_, chop,
or sausage brought in by one’s pilfering dog, as if one were Elijah and
one’s _Toutou_ were a raven of the wild, can hardly be defended by any
of the recognised bourgeois codes. But even these flagrant escapades
proceed less from malice than from mischief, and even these fall
strangely in line with equity in nine cases out of ten.

On its Bohemian side, Montmartre is a second and, to the thinking of
many, a greater and more brilliant _Quartier Latin_.

Here abound the literary and artistic restaurants, cafés, _bouillons_,
_crèmeries_, and cabarets which have always conferred a peculiar charm
on Paris. Here, as well as in the Latin Quarter (and more numerous and
varied, perhaps, here than there), are the modern counterparts of the
_Treille d’Or_, the _Pomme de Pin_, the _Radis Couronné_, the _Pressoir
d’Or_, the _Ceinture qui Craque_, the _Deux Torches_, and the _Trois
Entonnoirs_ of the time of Cyrano; the _Procope_, _de Valois_, _de Foy_,
_du Caveau_, and _Mécanique_ of the time of Louis XVI.; the _Viot_,
_Bléry_, _Flicoteaux_, _de Buci_, and _de la Rotonde_ of the Restoration
and Louis Philippe; the _Molière_, _Voltaire_, _L’Orient_, “_Sherry
Cobbler_,” and _Bobino_ of the last empire. And here they have been long
enough to have already developed their legends and _esprit de corps_.

In the _Brasseries des Martyrs_ and _Fontaine_, _Cabarets de
Ramponneau_, _de la Grande Pinte_, _du Plus Grand Bock_, and _de la
Place Belhomme_, and the _Cafés Jean Goujon_, _Laplace_, _de la Nouvelle
Athénée_, and _Du Rat Mort_,[89] poets and painters, now grizzled,
chattered and revelled before the grey hairs came. Dinochaux, of the
_Café Dinochaux_ (rue Bréda), who nourished several of his patrons
gratis for years, and bestowed credit unsolicited on any one who showed
himself worthy in literature or art, has taken his place in history
alongside of Ragueneau, the keeper of the _Rôtisserie des Poètes_ of
_Cyrano_.

You recall Ragueneau, the quaint saint, it is to be hoped. If not, here
is a scrap of dialogue to evoke him:—

     “CYRANO. _Bercés par ta voix.
   Ne vois-tu pas comme ils s’empiffrent?_

     “RAGUENEAU. _Je le vois....
   Sans regarder, de peur que cela ne les trouble;
   Et dire ainsi mes vers me donne un plaisir double,
   Puisque je satisfais un doux faible que j’ai,
   Tout en laissant manger ceux qui n’ont pas mangé._

     “CYRANO (lui frappant sur l’épaule). _Toi, tu me plais!_”

The cook at Marguéry’s, being asked once upon a time what he thought of
the _Vache Enragée_, replied: “_Mon dieu, de la vache enragée! Je crois
qu’on pourrait en faire un plat mangeable avec beaucoup de bonne humeur
et des petites femmes autour._”

At Montmartre the sagacious chef’s words are daily verified. At
Montmartre, if nowhere else in the world, the _Vache Enragée_ is a
“_plat mangeable_.”

The line of boulevards extending from the Place de Clichy to the Place
d’Anvers which strikes American tourists, who visit it for Montmartre,
as a vulgar hodge-podge of Coney Island, the Bowery, the Broadway of the
Tenderloin, and South Fifth Avenue, with a dash of, say, a Boston “Pop”
concert on a Harvard night, is no more the real Montmartre than Paris is
the real France. The real Montmartre is the abrupt hill known as “The
Butte,” just north of said boulevards[90] and included between
them,—the rue Marcadet, the rue de Clignancourt, and the avenue de St.
Ouen, a section of which the gigantic Byzantine cathedral of the _Sacré
Cœur_, the _Moulin de la Galette_, until recently an unsophisticated
popular ball, and the _cimetière de Montmartre_ (the second cemetery of
Paris) are the salient features.

This real Montmartre (the Montmartre of the Butte) contains a tiny local
cemetery (long disused), a tiny twelfth-century parochial church (St.
Pierre), a tiny district theatre, a tiny village plaza (Place du Tertre)
with the customary trees, benches, and aged, ruminating idlers, a tiny
public park (Square St. Pierre), two gaunt, grey windmills, and several
sleepy wine-shops, over which sleepy publicans preside. Here are five,
six, and seven story city buildings, to be sure, but here are also
(particularly on the northern slope) ancient garden-girdled mansions
reminiscent of the epoch when the whole district was open country;
sculptured gate-posts, crumbling, but stately, and rusty iron gates
opening on symmetrical avenues; small one-and-a-half-story tile-roofed
and straw-thatched dwellings, also garden-girdled, clutching with the
grip of the Swiss chalet the steep hillsides; narrow streets and winding
lanes, and worn stone stairways where the hill’s incline forbids streets
and lanes; high, erratic, heavily buttressed stone walls, bulging with
age, over which houses also bulging with age (from the windows of which
a Paul might be let down in a basket) beetle as if to fall; diminutive
fruit orchards and vegetable gardens; and diminutive barnyards,
cluttered with chicken-coops, dove-cotes, pig-pens, and rabbit-cages,
which advertise cows’ and goats’ milk, compost, and young pigs for sale.
Here cats and dogs and hens roam multitudinous and unmolested, birds
sing in the shrubbery, and chanticleer proclaims the dawn.

[Illustration: THE REAL MONTMARTRE

   “_One would believe himself more than two hundred miles from
   Paris._”]

In sum, the Butte, the real Montmartre, seems at first view to be
one-half country village and one-half large provincial town. In the rue
St. Vincent, the rue Mont-Cénis, the rue des Saules, rue de la
Fontaine-du-But, rue de la Borne, rue St. Rustique, rue Norvins, and rue
de l’Abreuvoir, where one is scarcely a twenty minutes’ walk from the
Grands-Boulevards, one would believe himself more than two hundred miles
from the metropolis,—so different are these streets from the average
metropolitan ways,—were it not for the constant outlooks on Paris
spread out beneath one, for the large proportion of Angoras among the
ubiquitous cats, and the phenomenal _savoir-vivre_, good-nature, and
friendliness of the dogs; were it not for an indefinable coquetry,
tell-tale of Parisianism, about the little garden-girdled houses and a
hundred artistic whimsicalities, such as are represented by a windmill
studio and a tram-car dwelling; were it not also that certain vistas are
closed by the flippant entrance to the _Moulin de la Galette_, that
sundry glimpses of studio interiors are vouchsafed, and that silhouettes
of long-haired, capering artists and of artists’ models loom up fitfully
against the sky; and were there not a sort of vagabond humour in the
very atmosphere that accords ill with provincial straight-lacedness.

As the Butte wears the general aspect of a provincial community, so it
has the provincial community’s spirit of neighbourliness; but, as its
provincial aspect is enlivened by coquetry and mirth, so its provincial
neighbourliness is happily modified by being shorn of the meddling
spirit. The _Montmartrois_ is not indifferent to the welfare of his
fellow-_Montmartrois_; but he minds his own business, which the
neighbourly provincial rarely, if ever, does. He is as willing as the
most naïve countryman to lend a helping hand upon occasion; but, the
occasion passed, he speedily effaces himself. He does not feel entitled
to enter into your intimacy, to summer and winter with you, so to say,
because he has done you a casual good turn.

When I entered Montmartre, as most fellows enter it, with my _lares and
penates_ enthroned on a hand-cart, and experienced the difficulty other
fellows, thus encumbered, have experienced in scaling the Butte, a
butcher’s boy and an artist who was sketching in the street were prompt
to put their shoulders to the wheel (to the tail-board, to be strictly
accurate); but they did not by the same token cross-question me
regarding my antecedents and intentions, as countrymen, in the same
circumstances, would have done. They gracefully accepted my invitation
to a social glass at an adjacent wine-shop, then went their ways to
their respective tasks; and that was the end of it.

The Butte, then, the real Montmartre, is in Paris, but not of it, and
yet, of necessity, perpetually conscious of it,—a community which is
and which is not a provincial town, which has an _esprit de corps_ not
inconsistent with independence, a unity not destructive of variety, and
a sociability admirably accordant with a seemly privacy; while the
_Montmartrois_ sees Paris without being blinded by it, touches Paris
without being crushed by it, and is stimulated by Paris without losing
his identity therein.

   “_J’ vis en philosophe et p’tê’t’ bien
     Qu’étant presqu’heureux avec rien,
     J’ai su résoudre un grav’ problème,
     A mon septième_,”

sings a _chansonnier_ of Montmartre. And it is indeed this ability to
“be almost happy with nothing,” this fairy-godmother power to transform
by a simple flourish a pumpkin into a coach, a dowdy into a fair
princess, and a cabbage into a rose, this talent, amounting to genius,
for squeezing so very much more out of life than there really is in it,
that lifts completely out of the commonplace the life of Montmartre.

For four hundred to five hundred francs a year, monsieur and madame,—as
in the Latin Quarter every Jack has his Jill, so on the Butte every
_Montmartrois_ has his _Montmartroise_,—monsieur and madame may have a
_logement_,[91] consisting of two or three rooms and a kitchen with
peerless views of Paris and the valley of the Seine; and in the shops of
the _brocanteurs_ they may procure antique furnishings of real beauty
and durability, not, alas! for the proverbial song, but for less than
the bourgeois pay for their ugly, up-to-date flimflams.

Prices are dearer at Montmartre than in several other parts of Paris.
Nevertheless, there is no district where, day in and day out, there is
so much genuine poetry and so much honest zest in living.

Louise France,[92] a dramatic artist of vigorous talent, who has been
associated with nearly all the important literary movements of
Montmartre, is said to have welcomed a party of friends to her modest
_logement_ one day with, “_Maintenant, en guise d’apéritif, je vais vous
offrir une vue splendide sur Paris: c’est tout ce que je possède_.”

Good Madame France is a thorough _Montmartroise_, and the incident is
admirably representative of the jocund humour of the Butte. The
_Montmartrois_ will not only regale himself with a view from a window in
lieu of an _apéritif_, but he will merrily substitute a _chanson_ for a
roast, console himself with a kiss for the absence of the dessert, and
warm himself, as my friend L——, who has not had a fire for three
winters, expresses it, with sunsets and tobacco smoke,—his own, if
possible.

During the periods of moving (namely, the 1st to the 15th of January,
April, July, and October) the essential domesticity of the Butte is
amply and amusingly revealed, and the complete congruity of domesticity
and the arts is graphically demonstrated.

Chiffonniers lord it over model-thrones, paint brushes peep over the
rims of soup-kettles or hide their heads in coal-scuttles, manikins
fraternise with hat-trees and colour-boxes with stew-pans, stretchers
snuggle up to pillows, pastels and aquarelles lie cheek by jowl with
dish-towels and table-cloths, brooms pay court to easels, palettes make
eyes at feather dusters, and impressionistic landscapes dazzle mirrors.
Monsieur, aided by a chum, tugs a precariously loaded hand-cart,[93] or,
if the distance to be traversed makes the hand-cart unnecessary or a
lack of funds makes it impossible, he staggers, sweats, and swears under
the weight of trunks, chests, bureaus, and wardrobes; and madame,
bareheaded, in wrapper and slippers, proffers highly unwelcome caution
and advice while carrying the company coffee-cups or the parlour lamp.

Like most other localities that partake of the idyllic, Montmartre is
most idyllic in the spring. Then painters work at their easels in its
streets, while their mesdames, who have followed them forth with
camp-chairs, sew and chatter in the nearest shade. Then its poplars and
limes are the same crisp, inviting green as the salads that pass in the
hand-barrows. Then its myriad lilac, horse-chestnut, and acacia clusters
are thyrsi awaiting the rhythmic wavings of the bacchanals, and then its
circumambient fragrance would inflame a Hippolyta’s blood, trouble a
Vestal’s vows, and make a Diana’s senses reel. Then, too, models, posing
in court-yards and back gardens for the supernal effects of sunlight on
flesh, are like great pink-and-purple-dappled exotic blooms escaped from
Shelley’s pages.

The spirit of nature that with soft music is bursting the bonds of
winter, and the spirit of the artist, spontaneous, impulsive,
capricious, and free, are in absolute accord. One breathes contempt for
prudery and custom with the very air. Nature’s upward-rushing sap and
the artist’s careering fancy alike defy repression.

“_Tout être a le droit d’être libre_,” the splendid throbbing lyric
climax of Charpentier’s Montmartre opera, _Louise_, had here its origin.

“TOUT ÊTRE A LE DROIT D’ÊTRE LIBRE!”—the careless attire, unconstrained
mien, and the _sans-gêne_ of the lovers of Montmartre proclaim it.

“TOUT ÊTRE A LE DROIT D’ÊTRE LIBRE!” the Montmartre winds and birds and
rivulets sing.

   “_Et que faudrait-il faire?_

       *       *       *       *       *

   _Calculer, avoir peur, être blême,
    Préférer faire une visite qu’un poème,
    Rédiger des placets, se faire-présenter?
    Non, merci! non, merci! non, merci! mais chanter,
    Rêver, rire, passer, être seul, être libre,
    Avoir l’œil qui regarde bien, la voix qui vibre,
    Mettre, quand il vous plaît, son feutre de travers,
    Pour un oui, pour un non, se battre—ou faire un vers!
    Travailler sans souci de gloire ou de fortune,
    A tel voyage, auquel on pense, dans la lune._”[94]

[Illustration: A Montmartre Carrousel]



CHAPTER XVI

LITERARY AND ARTISTIC CABARETS OF MONTMARTRE


   “_We sang when the English dismembered the kingdom, we sang
   during the civil war of the Armagnacs, during the ‘Ligue,’
   during the Fronde, under the Régence; and it was to the sound of
   the_ chansons _of Rivarol that the monarchy disappeared at the end
   of the eighteenth century._”—DE JOUY.


   “_The_ chanson _became history: it donned defiantly the Phrygian
   bonnet, and marched in the forefront.... Men went singing to the
   guillotine._” HENRI AVENEL.


   “_It is certain that the_ chanson _is, like wine, a product of our
   soil, a flower of_ la patrie.”—JULES CLARETIE.


   “And I send these words to Paris with my love,
   And I guess some chansonniers there will understand them.”
   WALT WHITMAN.


The Bohemians of the _Quartier Latin_ who do not starve, commit suicide,
return to their parents to eat the fatted calf, become rich and famous
or alcoholic and insane, have one other resource left them,—a resource
beside which the proverbial jump out of the frying-pan into the fire is
the quintessence of discretion,—namely, emigration to Montmartre.

[Illustration: THE REAL MONTMARTRE

  _Cabaret du Lapin Agile_]

Originally given over to windmills and plaster ovens, a suburb at the
time of the Great Revolution (when it went for a while by the name of
Mont-Marat), Montmartre did not become a part of Paris proper until
1859.

   “I knew Montmartre,” says one of its ardent admirers,
   “thirty-five years ago. It was a quarter like another, less
   alive, in fact, than most others, except in the immediate
   vicinity of the balls, _le Grand Turc_, _la Boule Noire_, etc.

   “All of a sudden the Haussmannising empire bound it to Paris by
   the Boulevard Magenta, and the picks of the workmen have had no
   respite since.”

The Eighteenth Arrondissement, which corresponds roughly with
Montmartre, has nearly doubled in population since the Franco-Prussian
war, and is now a city of more than 225,000 souls.

   “Travellers tell us,” wrote Aurélien Scholl in 1898, “that in
   America cities spring up with incredible rapidity.... I know
   only two localities in France which have undergone a similar
   speedy transformation,—Royan[95] and Montmartre. It is not so
   very long ago that we saw from the boulevards looking up the
   rue Laffitte a verdant _butte_ with a few windmills whose arms
   enlivened the perspective. There were hovels and tiny,
   shabby-looking shops along the present boulevards (Clichy and
   Rochechouart).

   “Montmartre is to-day one of the finest cities of France. It
   has three theatres, five or six _cafés-concerts_, a circus,
   restaurants, and _brasseries_.... _La cigale_ sings there all
   summer—and all winter.”

In the partial eyes of the loyal _Montmartrois_, Montmartre, “_Ville
Libre_,” literary and artistic Bohemia _par excellence_, is as much the
capital of Paris[96] as Paris is the capital of France. To them all the
rest of Paris, the Latin Quarter included, is merely Montmartre’s back
yard.

Montmartre, by reason of its surpassing view, has always been favoured
as a place of residence by detached writers and artists; and, after the
closing of the _Théâtre Bobino_ in the _Quartier Latin_, a perceptible
literary and artistic current thitherward set in. But it was the exodus
of the “_Hydropathes_” and “_Hirsutes_” of the _Quartier_ to the _Chat
Noir_ that marked (marked rather than caused) the real beginning of
Montmartre’s supremacy.

The _Cercle des Hydropathes_[97] owed its origin to one Charles Cros,
who, tiring of being relegated to an inglorious obscurity while Coquelin
_Cadet_ won laurels by the recitation of monologues, which he (Cros) had
written, decided to recite his monologues himself.

The first formal meeting of the _Hydropathes_ was held on a Friday of
October, 1878, in a small upper room of a Latin Quarter café, corner of
the rue Cujas and the Boulevard St. Michel. There were five persons
present. At the next meeting there were seventy-five, at the third one
hundred, at the fourth one hundred and fifty, and so on, until, driven
from café to café by the need of more room, they settled in a vacant
store, with an average attendance of three hundred to three hundred and
fifty twice a week.

Emile Goudeau presided,—as nearly, that is, as any one can be said to
preside in a Latin Quarter assembly. There was liberty to drink, smoke,
and woo the _grisette_. There were folly and tumult, confusion and fun;
violin, piano, and guitar music; singing in concert of riotous
roof-lifting refrains; recitations of novelties and the classics by
Villain, Leloir, Le Bargy, and Coquelin _Cadet_ of the _Comédie
Française_. Paul Mounet, also of the _Comédie_, arrayed in a blue blouse
and red neckerchief, interpreted _La Grève des Forgerons_ week in and
week out with telling effect. Maurice Rollinat sang his own songs and
those of Pierre Dupont, and recited selections from his _Névroses_ and
_Brandes_. Laurent Tailhade, Jean Moréas, Georges d’Esparbès, Louis
Marsolleau, Jean Ajalbert, André Gill, Léon Valade, Charles Monselet,
Paul Marrot, Edmond Haraucourt, Félicien Champsaur, Mac-Nab, Auguste
Vacquerie, Louis Tiercelin, Alphonse Allais, Jules Jouy, and a full
score more of poets and _chansonniers_ rendered their works. Bourget,
Coppée, Paul Arène, Luigi Loir, and Bastien-Lepage were frequent, though
for the most part passive, spectators. All degrees of talent, all shades
of politics, and all of the poetic schools were represented. Bernhardt
was proud to be known as a _Hydropathe_. Francisque Sarcey and Jules
Claretie visited the _Hydropathes_, and praised them in the press. The
police threatened to dissolve them, but wisely refrained.

The _Hirsutes_ differed from the _Hydropathes_ only in name and in the
fact that the name had an obvious significance.

It was the _Grand’ Pinte_ (a Louis XIII. cabaret of Montmartre,
frequented, but without mummery or fracas, by a band of painters and
poets) that gave Rodolphe Salis, an _ex-Hydropathe_, the idea of putting
the boisterous _Hydropathe_ performances into a picturesque setting and
inviting the paying public to attend. Salis, who was the son of a
prosperous man of affairs, was in Bohemia against his father’s wishes.
Half-artist and half-littérateur, he supported himself, when the
paternal purse-strings were tightened, by writing for the press and
painting _Viae Dolorosae_ at fourteen francs apiece. In making himself
“_gentilhomme-cabaretier_,” as he called it, this resourceful Salis had
hit upon a device for reconciling theory with practice, filial
submission with personal inclination, and Bohemia with business, which,
to say the least, was not commonplace.

Salis’ _Chat Noir_, “_Cabaret Moyen-Age fondé en 1114 par un fumiste_,”
was opened on the Boulevard de Rochechouart in December, 1881; and the
first number of its literary organ of the same name, illustrated by
Forain, Willette, Rochegrosse, Henri Pille, Rivière, and Steinlen, was
published the month following. The cabaret’s bizarre frescos,
contributed by the cleverest young artists of Paris, and its fantastic
furnishings of curios and antiques, which Salis had zealously collected
since his boyhood, have been described too many times to be dwelt upon
here. Suffice it to say, the juxtaposition of the beautiful with the
grotesque, the serious with the flippant, and the reverent with the
blasphemous, was so ingenious and piquant that attempts to imitate it
(for the most part unsuccessful) have been made all over the civilised
world.

[Illustration: AT ARISTIDE BRUANT’S

  _Cabaret du Boulevard Rochechouart_]

In this suggestive setting nearly the entire _personnel_ of the
_Hydropathes_ and a number of poets and dramatists, not _Hydropathes_,
who have since become celebrities, among them Georges Courtéline and
Maurice Donnay, held witty carnival.

There was an even greater license of speech and act at the _Chat Noir_
than there had been among the _Hydropathes_. There were also more
all-night revels, more startling antitheses of the lively and severe,
and more practical joking. All this in spite of the fact (or, perhaps,
because of it) that the performers, almost without exception, affected
impassibility, maintaining a supernatural gravity while dispensing the
most side-splitting productions.

Salis’ attempt to serve both God and Mammon resulted, as such attempts
have usually resulted, advantageously for Mammon. Bohemia was reconciled
to business by being completely swallowed up by business. Salis, the
_gentilhomme-cabaretier_, waxed rich, and in waxing rich stooped to
methods of holding and dealing with his galaxy that have made his memory
the execration of the Butte. Nevertheless, Rodolphe Salis, all unworthy
Bohemian as his good fortune revealed him to be, gave Paris, as
impresario of the _Chat Noir_, a new manifestation of art and did more
than any one man towards establishing that modern republic of arts and
letters which is known as Montmartre.

The phenomenal success of the _Chat Noir_, whose fame from being
Parisian became European, naturally led to the opening of establishments
which copied one or more of its features. Montmartre was soon
honeycombed with _cabarets artistiques et littéraires._

Steinlen, Willette, De Feure, Roedel, Redon, Toulouse-Lautrec, Truchet,
Bellanger, Le Petit, Grün, and other artists of the Butte, especially
the first three, were kept busy decorating; and the most popular
monologists and _chansonniers_,—Dominique Bonnaud, Hugues Delorme,
Jacques Ferny, Jules Jouy, E. Girault, Eugène Lemercier, Camille
Marceau, Georges Millandy, Marcel Legay, Gaston Couté, Paul Delmet,
Théodore Botrel, Léon Durôcher, Vincent Hyspa, Yann Nibor, Maurice
Boukay, Charles Gallilée, Jehan Rictus, Octave Pradels, Victor Meusy,
Camille Roy, Gabriel Montoya, Edmond Teulet, Paul Briand, Xavier Privas,
Raoul Ponchon, Fragson, Lefèvre, Xanrof, Perducet, Dumestre, Montéhus,
Ivanof, Chatillon, Fursy, Canqueteau, and Trimouillat,—most of whom had
received a part of their training at the _Chat Noir_,—performed
regularly in two or three places on the same evening.

_La Grand’ Pinte_ (joint inspirer with the _Hydropathes_ of the _Chat
Noir_) became under the direction of another Salis—Gabriel—the
_cabaret artistique et littéraire, L’Ane Rouge_. Its next-door
neighbour, _Le Clou_, fitted itself out with a picturesque second-story
supper-room and an eccentric _caveau_, in which tourneys of poetry were
frequently given. _Le Café des Décadents_ (later _Café Duclerc_, where
the singers wore nooses about their necks), with its “_Bruxellois
Soupers_”; _Le Carillon_, with its “Assizes”; _Le Fraternistère_, with
its “_Guignol Social_” and its “_chansons et recréations
sociologiques_”; _Le Casino des Concièrges_, with its “_Soupers
Panamistes_”; _La Fourrière_ (The Pound), _La Roulotte_ (The Gypsy Van),
_Le Cabaret des Assassins_ (now _Le Lapin Agile_), _Le Cabaret des
Pommes-de-terre Frites_, _La Purée_, _La Purée Sociale_, and the
_Cabarets du Ciel, de l’Enfer_, and _du Néant_,—had each its little day
of notoriety; and the last three, though by all odds the flattest of the
lot, are still run for the benefit of country visitors.

_Le Conservatoire_ (whose specialty is the _Théâtre d’Ombres
Chinoises_—shadow pantomime—with which the subtle artist Henri Rivière
helped build up the vogue of Salis), _Le Cabaret des Quat’z’ Arts_, _Le
Cabaret des Arts_, _La Veine_, and _La Lune Rousse_ are the five closest
existing counterparts of the _Chat Noir_. Their decorations are highly
effective, and they employ most of the _Chat Noir_ celebrities who have
not, like Salis, passed over to the great majority.[98] But their
performances, while of high average merit, are totally lacking in the
elements of spontaneity and unexpectedness, which constituted the rare
and peculiar charm of the programmes of the _Chat Noir_ in its early and
unspoiled days; and their prices, which have increased in direct
proportion as intrinsic interest has decreased, are prohibitive for most
of the real Bohemians of Montmartre. The truth is, these cabarets have
long ceased to attract the _Montmartrois_, and are kept up as mere show
places for provincial and foreign tourists. It is only in their front
rooms, where prices are normal and no performances worth mentioning are
given—at the hour of the _apéritif_, that one may find any number of
truly representative _Montmartrois_.

At _La Boîte à Fursy_ (in the building to which the _Chat Noir_ repaired
when the complaints of its neighbours and the need of more room forced
it to quit its original home on the Boulevard de Rochechouart) and _Le
Tréteau de Tabarin_ (also under the management of Fursy) the prices are
still more prohibitive, so far as Bohemia is concerned, and the
audiences, by just so much the more, unrepresentative.

All these places have been practically abandoned by their former
patrons, and by the unprofessional singing, rhyming, reciting Bohemians
in general, for tiny, obscure cafés or wine-shops,[99] whose tininess
and obscurity are defences against sight-seeing invasion, and for
private ateliers, from which the uninvited may be readily ejected. Those
who, depressed by the professionalism, mercenary spirit, and monotony of
the best-known cabarets, declare that the spirit of Bohemianism has
abandoned the Butte, do not take into account these multitudinous
Bohemian conclaves, of which they are, in all probability, totally
ignorant.

One group, to which for two years the writer was privileged to belong,
included fifty members, whose ages ranged from twenty to seventy and
whose reputations ranged from zero to boulevard celebrity. It dined
every Tuesday evening at a really cheap and really Bohemian restaurant
of the rue de la Rochefoucauld, adjourned after dinner to the atelier of
a musician in the rue Bréda for literary and musical exercises mingled
with horse-play, and readjourned at midnight to the supper-room of an
adjacent café for unadulterated horse-play, without the slightest
literary or musical pretence.

In France the _chanson_ is second only to the press (if, indeed, it
really be second to anything) as a moulder of public opinion. It
instructs less than the press, perhaps, but it excites more.

   “The _chanson_, like the bayonet,” says Jules Claretie, “is a
   French weapon.... We are afraid of the _chanson_. It is a
   dishevelled personage who tells the truth. We exile it, we
   pursue it. M. Javert pursued not otherwise Fantine.... We are
   afraid of it because it is necessarily, fatally, of the
   opposition. It has no reason for existence, if it is not
   factious.... From the _Mazarinades_ to the amusing _Chansons
   Rosses_ of Fursy, the _chanson_ has administered fillips to the
   powers. It is its lot. I add, it is its right.... _Vive la
   chanson_! even the cruel _chanson_, when it is a sort of
   Daumier!”

Only a small percentage of the songs heard in the _cabarets artistiques
et littéraires_ of Montmartre are frankly revolutionary or even “of the
opposition,” in the narrow partisan sense of that phrase; but they
nearly all “tell the truth to people,” they are nearly all satirical and
captious to the last degree—“of the opposition,” that is, in the
broader sense of the phrase. They assail all the existing
institutions,—army, state, church, property, and marriage,—not with
the direct invective which would put them at the censorship’s mercy, but
with the ridicule which in Paris, as in perhaps no other spot on the
globe, is more potent than invective, and before which the censorship,
though it turn pale and tear its hair with rage, is powerless.

Jules Jouy,[100] one of the bright particular stars of the _Chat Noir_
and of several of its successors and imitators, was at once a veritable
Gavroche for saucy wit and a fervent pleader for the poor. He was a
regular contributor to several socialistic sheets; and his _Chansons de
Bataille_—_La Terre_, _Les Enfants et les Mères_, _La Veuve_, _Fille
d’Ouvrier_, _Les Inconnus_, _La Grève Noire_, _Pâle Travailleur_,
_Victimes du Travail_, _Le Sang des Martyrs_, _La Carmagnole des
Meurts-de-Faim_, etc.—are superb examples of the chanson of social
revolt and reclamation.

The manager of the _Casino des Concièrges_, _Le Cabaret des
Pommes-de-terre Frites_, and _La Purée Sociale_, was an ancient
revolutionist, Maxime Lisbonne, who had distinguished himself on a
barricade of the Place du Panthéon during the Commune.

In the supper-rooms of the _Clou_ the anarchist poet Paul Paillette was
wont to recite his anarchist poems, and the _Clou_ is still a favourite
meeting-place for revolutionary groups.

At the _Quat’z’ Arts_ Marcel Legay varies his répertoire of sentimental
and patriotic ballads with the stirring revolutionary _chansons_ of
Maurice Boukay and J. B. Clément; Gaston Couté recites his subversive
“_Les Conscrits_” and “_Le Christ en Bois_”; Eugène Lemercier with
genial malice, Gaston Sécot with waggery, and Yon Lug with Chinese
imperturbability ridicule officialism in its every phase; Xavier Privas
(Prince of _Chansonniers_ by formal election), in his highly individual
and snappy fashion, renders—between two idyls—his fine socialistic
song _Les Résignés_ or exalts poverty with his _Noël_ or _Testament de
Pierrot_; and Jehan Rictus intones his heart-breaking _Soliloques du
Pauvre_.

The _Quat’z’ Arts_ has also had courses of Sunday afternoon lectures on
the _chanson_ by the socialist deputies Clovis Hugues and Maurice
Boukay.

The _Boîte à Fursy_, though catering palpably to the snobs, is shut up
nearly every season by an irate censorship, and this more often for
reasons of politics than from any consideration of public morality.

   “I have been allowed this merit, and it is the sole one I
   claim,” says Fursy, in the introduction to his _Chansons
   Rosses_, “of never letting pass, or rarely letting pass, a
   salient happening without singing it immediately, and
   attempting to draw from it, in a refrain, the morality—or
   immorality—which the worthy man called _Monsieur Tout-le-Monde_
   assigns it in his talk. I do my utmost not to lose time, and to
   serve actuality piping hot. I am really satisfied only when I
   manage to sing, in the evening, couplets inspired by that
   morning’s event; and I have had the luck almost always to
   succeed.”

Even the _Cabarets du Ciel_, _de l’Enfer_, and _du Néant_—which, being
mainly dependent for their effects upon machinery, hardly belong at all
in the class of _cafés artistiques et littéraires_—have, lurking under
all their vulgar clap-trap, no small fund of pungent satire on religion
and the church.[101]

[Illustration: Buffalo]

Finally, there are at Montmartre a round half-dozen resorts, _cabarets
de la chanson d’argot_ (also called _cabarets brutaux_), of which
Bruant’s _Mirliton_, Alexandre’s _Cabaret Bruyant_, and “Buffalo’s”
_l’Alouette_ are the most conspicuous examples. They have had their day
so far as spontaneity is concerned, like the _cabarets artistiques et
littéraires_, though, like them, they still attract foreigners and
provincials.

Mercenary and meretricious now to the last degree, however genuine they
may have been in the beginning, they still have this much, at least, of
sincerity,—namely, cordial detestation of the bourgeois; and it is to
this very spirit, strangely enough, that their vogue with the bourgeois
has been due.

It was of one of these _cabarets brutaux_ (Bruant’s _Mirliton_,
probably) that Zola wrote in _Paris_: “Pleasure-seeking Paris, the
_Bourgeoisie_, mistress of money and of power, sickened by their
possessions in time, but unwilling to let anything go, flocked
thither—to receive insults and obscenities full in the face.... Far
more than in the words, the burning insult was in the manner with which
the singer cast the words in the teeth of the rich, of the favoured, of
the fine ladies who elbowed each other to hear him. Under the low
ceiling, amid the smoke of pipes, in the blinding heat of the gas, he
launched his verses brutally like _crachats_, a very hail-squall of
furious contempt.”

Bruant himself rarely appears nowadays at his _Mirliton_, which, with
the aid of under-studies, he, nevertheless, keeps up. Loaded with
notoriety and wealth, he has come to prefer following the hounds or
emptying a bottle of good wine, as the Châtelain of Courthenay, to
entertaining the bourgeois by affronting them.

Not long back Bruant was an unsuccessful candidate for deputy at
Belleville, which adjoins Montmartre. His address to his electors—with
which it is customary for candidates to placard the walls of their
districts—was in rhyme. The verses, though not of his best, are novel
enough to demand quotation:—

AUX ELECTEURS

_de la première conscription du vingtième arrondissement
Belleville-Saint-Fargeau_

PROGRAMME

    I

   _Si j’étais votre député,
    Ohé! Ohé! qu’on se le dise,
    J’ajouterais “Humanité”
    Aux trois mots de votre devise ...
    Au lieu de parler tous les jours
    Pour la République ou l’Empire
    Et de faire de longs discours
          Pour ne rien dire._


    II

   _Je parlerais des petits fieux, ...
    Des filles-mères, des pauvres vieux
    Qui l’hiver gèlent par la ville....
    Ils auraient chaud comme en été,
    Si j’étais nommé député
          A Belleville._


    III

   _Je parlerais des tristes gueux,
    Des purotins batteurs de dèche,
    Des ventres plats, des ventres creux,
    Et je parlerais d’une crèche
    Pour les pauvres filles sans lit,
    Que l’on repousse et qu’on renvoie
    Dans la rue! ... avec leur petit!...
          Mères de joie!_


    IV

   _Je parlerais de leurs mignons,
    De ces minables chérubins
    Dont les pauvres petits fignons
    Ne connaissent pas l’eau des bains,—
    Chérubins dont l’âme et le sang
    Se pourrissent à l’air des bouges
    Et qu’on voit passer, le teint blanc
          Et les yeux rouges._


    V

   _Je parlerais des vieux perclus
    Qui voudraient travailler encore,
    Mais dont l’atelier ne veut plus, ...
    Et qui traînent jusqu’à l’aurore
    Sur le dur pavé de Paris,
    Leur refuge, leurs Invalides,
    Errants, chassés, honteux, meurtris,
          Les boyaux vides._


    VI

   _Je parlerais des petits fieux, ...
    Des filles-mères, des pauvres vieux,
    Qui l’hiver gèlent par la ville....
    Ils auraient chaud comme en été
    Si j’étais nommé député
          A Belleville._

Bruant’s _Mirliton_, thanks to the forceful talent of its founder, its
lugubrious but artistic furnishings, and its cavalier treatment of its
patrons, is the most famous, the most picturesque, and the most
startling of the _cabarets brutaux_.

Alexandre owes such success as he has had at the _Cabaret Bruyant_ less
to his talent as a writer and singer of _chansons_, which is not great,
than to his having sung in the streets with Mme. Eugénie Buffet for the
benefit of the poor[102] (his cabaret is also known as _Le Cabaret du
Chanteur des Cours_) and to his having been haled into court by Bruant
for plagiarising his costume. The court decided in this _cause célèbre_
(Bruant _vs._ Alexandre) that the top-boots, velvet jacket, scarlet
scarf, and mountaineer’s felt which Bruant wore professionally were his
trade-mark, so to speak, and that the professional costume adopted by
Alexandre—which, without being an exact copy, was as close a copy as
the word “Bruyant,” for example, is of Bruant—constituted a palpable
infringement. And it granted Bruant an injunction restraining Alexandre
from appearing therein. The judgment was reaffirmed upon appeal.

In his first burst of rage over the result, Alexandre threatened to sing
without any costume whatsoever; but he thought better of that. What he
did do was to defy the court. Swearing there was not force enough in
France to undress him, he persisted in wearing the prohibited garb.

[Illustration: ALEXANDRE]

These strained relations with the law of the land made a hero of
Alexandre, in a small way. He became thus a sort of Jules Guérin, and
his cabaret a sort of Fort Chabrol. He elucidated the situation to his
audiences nightly in a speech that ran somewhat like this:—

   “What do you say to a republic where you can’t wear, so that
   they be decent, any clothes you like? This business has cost
   me more than ten thousand francs already. Every day—and it’s
   seventeen months now it’s been going on—the sheriff appears.
   ‘Still in the costume, Alexandre?’ And that means twenty
   francs! Twenty francs a day—to say nothing of the costs—counts
   up. Well, what of it? Let the bill swell! Let them come as
   often as they please! It’s their right! But I keep on wearing
   the clothes all the same.

   “Not that I don’t recognise in Bruant, for all the harm he’s
   trying to do me, my _cher maître_. What should I be without
   him? Nothing at all. Oh, yes, I’m ready enough to admit that.
   I am no ingrate. For the man who is ruining me, I have
   something _there_, at the heart, which abides, and which
   nothing can take away.

   “When I began to wear the costume, Aristide didn’t object. Not
   he. He thought me beneath his notice, I suppose. But, when he
   sees I am succeeding, then he brings me up in court.

   “The truth of it is, he dreads my competition. I frighten him.
   My glory throws him in the shade. He says to Alexandre, ‘Get
   out of my light!’

   “The Law has smitten me in the name of Bruant: the Law does
   not know me. Since I have sung, I have gleaned upon the public
   places, in the streets, twenty-two thousand francs for the
   poor; and I am ordered to strip off my trousers. There’s
   justice for you!

   “Now on with the music! Twenty francs to pay every time I dare
   to don the forbidden costume, the costume Bruant. It’s cheap
   at twenty francs. I don the costume, and I pay.”

The law is effective, it would seem, in preventing Alexandre from
appearing publicly in the costume outside of his own cabaret.

Out of the medley of monologists and _chansonniers_ (largely, of course,
made up of mediocrities) who practise their professions in the cabarets
of Montmartre, several of genuine poetical talent have emerged; and, of
these, at least three are characterised by a thoroughly lawless or
revolutionary spirit. These three are: Aristide Bruant, who exhibits a
reality, a virility, a brutality, a grim humour, a picturesqueness of
epithet, a boldness of imagery, and a tragic quality in caricature which
make him (in a narrow field) a sort of French Kipling, with an honest
devil-may-care quality by the side of which Kipling’s bravado seems
fustian; Jehan Rictus, less facile, less humorous, and less insolent
than Bruant, but his equal in realism and his superior in sentiment; and
Maurice Boukay (retired, and now a deputy), who lacks the grip on
reality of Bruant and Rictus, but who atones partially for this lack by
a wealth of stirring appeal.

Boukay’s point of view is that of the _lettré_, the social philosopher,
the reformer, the enlightened friend of the poor. His words are words of
faith, trumpet-calls from the heights instead of gibes or moans from the
depths. They ring true of reasoned and righteous revolt. His _Chansons
Rouges_ are neither narrative nor descriptive; not _chansons
vécues_,—that is, _chansons_ based on his own experience,—but symbolic
poems,—symbolic in both language and thought, what he himself might
call “_chansons d’humanité multiple et objective_.”

   “They were all written,” says M. Boukay in his introduction,
   “in a complete independence of spirit, at a time when, not yet
   having entered political life, I listened to the great voice
   of the people, and endeavoured to seize its hidden meaning....
   My master Verlaine said: ‘The _chanson_ of love is blue. The
   _chanson_ of dreams is white. The _chanson_ of sadness is
   grey.’ The _chanson sociale_ is red.... It is the colour of
   the glass of wine that your good heart offers the vagrant to
   comfort him on the high road of life. It is the colour of the
   rising sun towards which your ardent, hopeful eyes yearn. It
   is the most intense hue of the tricolor flag, which lies close
   to the heart of all the miseries, which waves in the wind of
   all the liberties.

   “‘Stop there!’ exclaims some timorous spirit. ‘Do you not
   fear, singer of fraternity, to deepen the regrets and inflame
   the anguish of the people under pretext of describing them?’

   “But, my good critic, will voicing the plaint of him who
   travails and suffers, always, then, be to wound the
   sanctimonious egoisms of him who digests and does nothing
   else? Would you resemble the iniquitous rich man,—tolerate the
   stretching forth of the hand, silent and ashamed, to beg, and
   forbid the quivering lips to groan? If you do not hear the
   groan, how can you console it? If you do not see the sore
   of poverty stripped of all its bandages, how will you know how
   to cure it?... Be brave and be just, good critic! Open thine
   eyes! Open thy heart!... The love of woman has for its
   necessary complement the love of humanity. Is this your
   belief? If yes, you will sing these _Chansons Rouges_. If no,
   you will let the people sing them. In any case, you will
   understand.”

[Illustration: AT ALEXANDRE’S

  _Cabaret de la rue Pigalle_]

The titles of the _Chansons Rouges_ bear out the promise of this
foreword: _Le Soleil Rouge_, _Le Coq Rouge_, _Le Noël Rouge_, _L’Etoile
Rouge_, _La Cité_, _La Chanson du Pauvre Chanteur_, _Fille et
Souteneur_, _La Chanson de Nature_, _Le Mot Passé_, _La Dernière
Bastille_, _La Madeleine_, _La Femme Libre_, _Les Rafles_, _La Chanson
de Misère_; and the songs bear out the promise of their titles.

[Illustration: MAURICE BOUKAY]

Note the thrilling refrain of _Le Soleil Rouge_,—

   “_Compagnon, le vieux monde bouge:
       Marchons droit, la main dans la main!
     Compagnon, le grand soleil rouge
       Brillera, brillera demain_,”—

and the poignant, threatening _Chanson de Misère_:—

   LA CHANSON DE MISÈRE

    I

   _J’ai chanté l’amour à vingt ans,
    Et j’ai perdu l’une après l’une,
    Blonde ou brune, au clair de la lune,
    Mes illusions et mon temps.
    Mon cœur oubliait la Misère,
       Lire lon laire,
    Pourtant la Misère était là,
       Lire lon la!_


    II

   _C’était un matin de rancœur,
    Que de ma tristesse accrue,
    Je butai du pied, dans la rue,
    Un pavé rouge comme un cœur.
    C’était le cœur de la Misère,
        Lire lon laire,
    Entre deux pavés planté là,
        Lire lon la!_


    III

   _Le pavé, se dressant vers moi:
    “Combien j’ai vu de barricades,
    Combien j’ai reçu d’estocades
    De par la lettre de la loi!”
    Passant, prends garde à la Misère,
        Lire lon laire.
    Son cœur n’est pas mort. Halte là!
        Lire lon la!_


    IV

   _Je saigne à chaque iniquité,
    Je suis le pavé de souffrance,
    Je suis rouge du sang de France
    Répandu pour l’humanité.
    Fleur de pavé, fleur de Misère,
        Lire lon laire,
    L’héroisme a passé par là,
        Lire lon la!_


    V

   _Egoïsme, arrière! Je veux
    Te marquer de ma chanson rouge.
    L’espoir grandit. Le pavé bouge.
    Debout, clairon! Sonne les vœux!
    C’est la chanson de la Misère,
        Lire lon laire.
    La Justice viendra par la
        Lire lon la!_

There is not a character of the Paris underworld nor a phase of its life
about which Bruant has not cast the glamour of his suggestive _argot_:
beggars and vagabonds; semi-vagabond acrobats, rag-pickers, and
sandwich-men; thieves, thugs, _maquereaux_,[103] and murderers;
foundlings and the lowest grades of prostitutes, a veritable Maxim Gorky
galaxy; starving, shivering, loafing, sinning, and suffering men and
women; attractive sloth, picturesque horror, piquant degradation and
savoury crime,—all in a lurid setting of teeming faubourg streets,
public balls, all-night restaurants, bagnios, prisons, and the
guillotine!

“_Le Philosophe_,” the opening poem of Bruant’s published volume, _Dans
la Rue_,—

   “_T’es dans la rue, va t’es chez toi,_”—

the songs of the different faubourgs,—_A Batignolles_, _A la Villette_,
_A Montpernasse_, _A Belleville_, _A Ménilmontant_, _A Montrouge_, _A la
Glacière_, etc.,—_Le Guillotine_, _A la Roquette_, _Le Rond des
Marmites_, _A Mazas_, _Casseur de Gueules_, _Le Grelotteux_,
_Marcheuses_, _Les Quat’ Pattes_, and _Pus de Patrons_ are absolutely
convincing as literature and as studies of society, and, to be
appreciated, have no need of their author’s dramatic delivery. His most
widely known _chanson_, _A St. Lazare_, is one of the poems of a
generation; and his _A Biribi_[104] has probably done more to rouse the
common people against the army than all the anti-militarist meetings of
the socialists and anarchists combined. But propriety, alas! forbids
their presence—and the presence of most of the best of Bruant’s work in
this volume.

[Illustration: MAQUERAUX]

The monologues of Jehan Rictus (_Soliloques du Pauvre_, _Doléances_, and
_Cantilènes du Malheur_) are conspicuous among the poems of poverty for
their absolute and abject despair. Jehan Rictus is a man who has done
many kinds of hard manual labour, if report speaks true, and who knows
the wretchedness of extreme penury by long and cruel experience. “A
strange and highly typical figure; a pale, emaciated head we seem to
have seen somewhere before. Where?—in church paintings, perhaps; sad,
lean, narrow-chested, tall, ‘long as a tear,’ and an expression so
weary! He does not essay a gesture. He has only his voice, the anguish
of his face, and the feverish gleam of his eyes with which to move us.
His hands, held always behind him, twitch ineffectually as if trying to
burst invisible bonds.”

[Illustration:

   Voilà comment en verité
   Les pieds des Pauvres sont traités

   Quand il saura ce traitement
   Jésus Christ sera mécontent

   ‘Et moi je vous le dis mes freres
   Prenez bien garde à sa colère.

   Jehan Rictus.]

In portraying the physical discomforts of poverty, the racking coughs,
raging thirsts, aching bones, the nights without shelter or sleep, the
days without food, the tears that scald and the tearlessness that
deadens, Jehan Rictus has only done what has been done a score of times
in prose and verse. Surely, an empty heart keeps close company, more
often than not, with an empty stomach, and it is in portraying vividly
the mental and spiritual aspects of poverty that his work is fresh and
unique. The humiliation of poverty’s uniform,—unkempt hair, missing
shirt, drafty shoes, outlandish and threadbare garments,—of the
pavement bed, of the paroxysms of hunger attributed to intoxication, of
the unsuccessful search for work, of debarment from places of public
resort, of silent submission to insult and gibe; the disgust with filth,
vermin, vulgar noise, endless monotony, enforced celibacy, patronising
pity, petty deceits improvised to hide destitution, and hilarity
improvised to keep back tears; the hatred of those who practise
injustice and hypocrisy; the scorn of those who bestow and those who
accept charity; the incipient madness of starvation, at once impelling
to a shedding of the blood of the guilty and raising a horrid dread of
confounding the innocent with the guilty; the regret for loss of
respectability, courage, ambition, energy, talent, faith; the oppressive
lonesomeness; the yearning for fresh distractions, innocent joys,
cleanly living, for kindly words, sympathetic hand-clasps, kisses,
caresses, companionship, friendship, love, precious responsibility; the
stolid indifference to death,—all these, the underlying sentiments of
poverty, have never before been given in poetry, at least not without
the blight of palpable literary effort or factitious emotionalism.

Equally unique and equally powerful with the exhibition of the multiform
woes of the destitute is the poet’s satirical exposure of the
inconsistencies, insincerities, vanities, and refined cruelties of the
various sorts of people who exploit the destitute. With an ironical
pretence of rendering deserved homage to poverty, he elaborates the
important part it plays in the social scheme. Thanks to it, the
employees of the _Assistance Publique_ are able to maintain their
families in comfort; magistrates to attain a rotund and tranquil old
age; economists (deferring to it as a dignified entity) to win
professional chairs and academic honours; politicians to get the public
ear; socialistic and anarchistic bawlers to finish out their careers as
dawdling, alcoholic deputies; poets, painters, and novelists to swim in
glory and good wine, and found luxurious establishments for their
offspring.

The arrival of winter, which clots the blood of one class, stimulates
the circulation of all the others. Then reputable benevolence drums a
réveille on hollow stomachs; burial companies wax radiantly bustling;
salons, languishing for want of something to talk about, revive
promptly; the tourist in the Midi and the bourgeois, smug and snug by
his fireside, daily commiserate suffering—after dinner—in a manner
both magnificent and ample; society gambols at charity fêtes and balls;
the press “rediscovers distress”; journalists sob, weep, and implore—at
three sous a line. In a word, pitying the unfortunate is a profession
like another; and, if the day should ever arrive when there were no more
poor in the world, “many people”—to render idiom for idiom—“would be
badly in the soup.” Such satire stings and routs by virtue of the moral
force behind it: it is the whip of small cords plied by the man with a
soul.

Satire broadens to rollicking humour in depicting the abject terror of a
conscience-stricken bourgeois shopkeeper before the embarrassing spectre
of a hungry man:—

   “_Avez-vous vu ce misérable?
     Cet individu équivoque?
     Ce pouilleux, ce voleur en loques,
     Qui nous r’gardait manger à table?
     Ma parole! on n’est pus (plus) chez soi,
     On ne peut pus digérer tranquille—
     Nous payons l’impôt, gn’a (il y en a) des lois!
     Qu’est-ce qu’y (ils) font donc, les sergents d’ ville?_”

I laughed almost to tears when I came upon this picture, because I knew
that same bourgeois shopkeeper—in Boston—during the historic famine
winter of 1893-94, when a great press formed a syndicate for the
dissemination of lies, when the authority of a great state was appealed
to, and a great governor received congratulatory despatches from the
confines of a great country for prompt and decisive action in a great
emergency, and all because a few half-starved devils took a notion to
show themselves without washing their hands and faces or changing their
clothes.

But to return to France. Jehan Rictus loves the white apparitions of the
“first communicants,” loves sunshine, lilacs, and watercress, birds and
little children. Mrs. Browning’s memorable “Cry of the Children” is
feeble and conventional by the side of his “_Farandole des Pauv’s ‘tits
Fan-Fans_.” Charles Lamb was not sweeter, tenderer, daintier, in his
tear-compelling reverie, “Dream Children,” than Rictus in dealing with
his dream loves,—his “cemetery of innocents” he calls them, his “poor
little heap of dead.”

   “_Et la vie les a massacrés,
     Mes mains les ont ensevelis,
     Mes yeux les ont beaucoup pleurés._”

His “_Espoir_,” in which he dreams of a sweetheart, is a veritable
Eugène Carrière in verse.

Another poem containing much of the same sad, tender beauty, strangely
commingled with piquant malice, mischievous _esprit_, broad humour, and
bitter satire; a poem which, in spite of startling liberties of
vocabulary, rhythm, and rhyme, is said to have brought honest tears to
the eyes of the impeccable De Hérédia, is “_Le Revenant_.” The
“_Revenant_” is Jesus Christ. The appearance of Christ in
nineteenth-century Paris is a much-worn _motif_ in French literature and
painting; but the slum poet’s handling of it is so new, bold, and strong
that it seems to be altogether fresh.

“_Le Revenant_” is in three parts.

Part I. is a query as to what would happen if Jesus Christ should come
back, and introduces a summary of the principal events of his career and
a strikingly original appreciation of his personality and character. He
is the “man of the beautiful eyes and the beautiful dreams, whose heart
was larger than life.” But he is also “the anarchist,” the “Galilean
tramp,” the “carpenter on a strike,” the “boon companion of thieves,”
the “quack hated by the doctors,” the “duffer who wore another cross
than that of the Legion of Honour, who boxed the bourgeois shop-keepers,
and who wasn’t over-polite to the muffs of his time,”—phrases through
whose vulgar, uncouth, seemingly sacrilegious envelope are plainly
visible intense love and admiration, and which accurately represent the
religious attitude of the submerged, who, proverbially, applaud the name
of Christ while they hiss the barest mention of his professed followers
and his church.

In Part II. Jesus Christ suddenly appears on a corner of one of the
exterior boulevards. The surprised poet greets him with bluff
good-nature, laments drolly his inability to do the proper thing by him
in the matter of drinks, and overwhelms him with eager, naïve questions.
Then, touched to the heart by his dazed look and apparent helplessness,
he assumes a kindly superiority, taking him under his protection, as he
might a lost infant, warning him against many things, especially against
the police, who will be certain to arrest him as a vagabond if he falls
within their view. Finally, he discovers that the figure he has taken to
be that of the Christ is his own figure mirrored in the window of the
wine-shop before which he has been standing.

Part III. is the after-thought, what the poet would most wish to have
said to Jesus Christ if he really had returned and he had been the first
to greet him. Necessarily a repetition at many points of Parts I. and
II., its excuse is the following declaration of faith:—

   “_Chacun a la Beauté en lui,
     Chacun a la Justice en lui,
     Chacun a la Force en lui-même.
     L’Homme est tout seul dans l’Univers.
     Oh! oui, ben seul, et c’est sa gloire,
     Car y n’a qu’ deux yeux pour tout voir._

   “_Le Ciel, la Terre, et les Etoiles
     Sont prisonniers d’ ses cils en pleurs.
     Y’ n’ peut donc compter qu’ sur lui-même,
     J’ m’en vas m’ remuer qu’ chacun m’imite,
     C’est là qu’est la clef du Problème.
     L’Homme doit êt’ son Maître et son Dieu._”

and the following threat:—

   “_Donnez-nous tous les jours l’ brich’ ton (pain) régulier,
     Autrement nous tâch’rons d’ le prendre._”

It was probably this downright and direct threat that led Jules
Claretie, writing for _Le Temps_, to say: “The poetry of the lean Jehan
Rictus is the Fronde of to-day. Far better that it mutter in the cabaret
than in the street.” The majority of the press critics, ignoring this
single unequivocal threat and numerous indirect but slightly veiled
anathemas, have pronounced his work “gentle and refined.” Both
interpretations are, in a measure, right.

Desiring revolt with his whole soul, and sure of the righteousness of
it, he is likewise so sure of its entire uselessness that he deprecates
it far oftener than he proclaims it. A better state of things, in even
the most distant future, is to him but a dubious “perhaps.” From kings,
presidents, councils, parliaments, nobles, bourgeois, popes, priests,
economists, reformers, and philanthropists he expects nothing. From his
own down-trodden class he expects no more. They are stupid cattle,
waiting patiently to be bled. Enfeebled by hardship, cowed into
spiritlessness by police and magistrates, ready to share with the dogs
the crumbs that drop from rich men’s tables, to cringe and fawn before
the faintest prospect of a bone; ready to sell themselves outright for
two bars of music, three sous of absinthe, or a couple of rounds of
tobacco; blinded by the dazzling fiction of universal suffrage: they are
only fit, at the moment a Bastille ought to be taken, to take the
tram-car of that name, and generally show more signs of reverting to the
type of the ourang-outang than of ushering in that era of universal
affection, when all men will be as brothers, and all nations of one
speech and one mind.

His prayers are despairing cries to a half-credited God,—a God at best
so old, deaf, blind, unconcerned, and far away that his interference is
not much to be counted on.

He conjures Jesus Christ into the world only to chaff him for his faith
in man, to characterise his teachings as the beautiful soliloquies of an
unfortunate, and, finally, to warn him to make good his escape, if he
would keep out of the clutches of nineteenth-century Judas Iscariots and
Pontius Pilates.

The prophets and teachers who have tried radically to better the world
have always been treated as criminals, and always will be. It is vain to
struggle to make things over. Man is a muff by nature, and nature will
never change. The kilogramme of iron falsely called a heart will never
be anything more than a kilogramme of iron. The bank of love “assigned”
centuries ago. Modern civilisation is organised distress. These are his
sober and reasoned conclusions.

But ever and anon, when pain grows too great to be borne, the blind
instinct of self-preservation overtops reason. Then he swears to be his
“own good God all alone,” taking “his own skin for a banner, since that
is the only thing he has in the world.” Even so his words are less the
rallying cry of a reformer who believes in success than the desperate
defiance of a Prometheus chained to a rock; and recoil is speedy to his
habitual sentiment reiterated so often as to be a veritable refrain,
“It’s only life, after all: there’s nothing to do but to weep.”

“Jehan Rictus,” said a writer in the _Gil Blas_, “has definitely fixed a
new poetic sob in the cacophony of eternal human suffering.” Needless to
add, a sob was not his choice. Fate chose for him. His is no case of
“wilful sadness in literature.” Sweet, tender, affectionate by nature,
enamoured of sunlight, he might, under happier conditions, have given a
smile, a cheer, a pæan even, to the world. In giving a sob, he gave what
life gave him,—his all.

He is the perfect nihilist, who fails to be the perfect anarchist only
because he has no faith. His Paris underworld is an Inferno. “All hope
abandon ye who enter here,” is the burden of his message from the
submerged; and it is this, probably, that led Laurent Tailhade to call
him “the Dante of _la misère_.”

Jehan Rictus is at present preaching his gospel of blended defiance and
despair in prose, in a journal called _L’Ennemi du Peuple_. His
journalism, however, rises very little above the commonplace. He is
growing fat and fashionable, and it is to be feared that his days of
significant poetical productiveness are over.

Montmartre participated actively in the revolution of 1830, and was the
seat of the _Club de la Montagne_ in that of 1848. Of the period
immediately preceding the Commune one of its old residents writes:
“There, insurrection held its drums and its guns always ready. The right
to live free was the most precious of all things to the hearts of all.”
It seems to have been the order to seize the cannons which the _Gardes
Nationaux_ had transported to Montmartre after the capitulation of Paris
that precipitated the Commune; and it was at Montmartre that the
generals Lecomte and Clément Thomas were executed.

Louise Michel—and who should know better?—in her fascinating
_Mémoires_ testifies to the revolutionary prestige of Montmartre. She
says, referring to the siege of Paris:—

   “The Eighteenth Arrondissement was the terror of the selfish,
   plundering jobbers, and others of their breed. When it was
   rumoured, ‘Montmartre is coming down’ (‘_Montmartre va
   descendre_’), the reactionaries scampered to their holes like
   hunted animals, deserting in their panic the secret
   storehouses in which provisions were rotting while Paris was
   starving to death.”

Again, apropos of her discharge from custody in the early part of the
insurrection, she writes:—

   “The four _citoyens_, Th. Ferré, Avronsart, Burlot, and
   Christ, came to demand my release in the name of the
   Eighteenth Arrondissement. At the first word of this
   phrase,—terror of the reaction,—‘Montmartre is coming down,’ I
   was given into their hands.”

Still again, in a letter to Rochefort and Pain, on her return from
exile:—

   “I am writing to Joffrin at the same time as to you on the
   subject of the meeting of Montmartre, before which I cannot go
   to any other. It was at Montmartre I marched formerly: it is
   with Montmartre I march to-day.”

It was to the Montmartre of the _indigènes_, the Montmartre of the
workingmen, the Montmartre then regarded as a twin of Belleville, which
was known as le _cratère de la révolution_, that Louise Michel paid
these tributes of affection and esteem. The invasion of the hordes of
arts and letters, who hold the _Vache Enragée_ above the Golden Calf,
far from weakening the revolutionary fervour of the Butte, has
strengthened it. Montmartre is none the less a hot-bed of revolution for
having become a shrine of the Muses. On the contrary, its present
revolutionary spirit is the spirit of the old Montmartre and of the new
Bohemia fused into one; and it makes the “selfish, plundering jobbers,
and others of their breed,” quake more than ever.

At every cloud on the municipal horizon no bigger than a man’s hand, at
every suggestion of disturbance in the political atmosphere, at every
slightest rumble presaging the rising of the masses, the classes peer
nervously and timorously in the direction of the beetling Montmartre,
regretting from the bottom of their hearts that the offer Rothschild is
said to have once made, to raze the Butte at his own expense, was not
accepted by the government.

The relations between the aboriginal workingmen and the artistic and
literary colonists of Montmartre are of the most cordial sort. There is
a genuine solidarity between them (wherein is a profound lesson for the
social settler), because they have common sufferings, common hatreds,
common apprehensions, and common hopes; because they faint from the same
hunger, shiver from the same frost, dread the same rent-bills, are
liable to the same evictions and the same police _rafles_, and are under
the same temptation, when houseless, to commit a petty misdemeanour in
order to get stowed away for the night.

Artists may help the poor working people about them—without that effort
of will, that compulsion of duty, which inevitably involves patronage,
and which is the bane of all the attempts of the well-to-do to “elevate”
the poor—because, poor themselves, they often accept help from them in
return and _in kind_, and because they are neither mysteries nor objects
of envy to any.

Nowhere in Paris, certainly, is the identity of interests and sentiments
of the simple proletariat and the _prolétariat littéraire_ so
graphically presented and the much-prated alliance between brain and
brawn, labour and intellect, so completely realised. Nowhere this side
of heaven, probably, is social democracy so real and so devoid of pose.

It is not to be supposed that these poor devils of painters and poets,
ardent-eyed and beauty-loving, are inwardly submissive because they rail
outwardly at their misfortunes; that they pardon either the individuals
who victimise them or the society which allows individuals to victimise
them. Revolt is none the less revolt for perpetrating and relishing a
joke.

The note of social revolt in the cavalcade of the _Vache Enragée_ and in
the mock ceremony of the marriage of the _Rosière_; in the more than
unconventional daily life, with its contemptuous disregard of ordinances
of state and sacraments of church; in the political and social satire
of the _chansonniers_, who sing indifferently in the _soirées_ of the
socialist and anarchist groups and in the _cabarets artistiques et
littéraires_; and in the coarse derision of the bawlers of the _cabarets
brutaux_,—is not to be ignored on the ground that it bears a semblance
of mirth. The child’s play theory is absolutely untenable in this
connection. These jolly Bohemian dogs of Montmartre are capable of
corroding rancours and terrible wrath. And, if that descent from
Montmartre which the conscience-stricken bourgeois feel in their bones
will come, ever does come, it will not be the simple proletariat that
will inaugurate and lead it, but the rollicking _prolétariat
littéraire_.

[Illustration: LES CORBEAUX]



CHAPTER XVII

THE REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT IN PROSE LITERATURE & THE DRAMA


   “_I have intended to rehabilitate the pariah, whatever form it
   may take; whether it be a buffoon, like Triboulet, a
   courtesan, like Marion Delorme, a poisoner, like Lucrezia
   Borgia, the oppressed, like the people. Those who say that I
   have practised art for art’s sake say a silly thing. No one,
   more than I, has practised art for society and humanity. I
   have always worked for this end, and have known what I wished
   to do_.”—VICTOR HUGO.


   “_We know what it cost the First Empire to have displeased
   Châteaubriand, what it cost Louis Philippe to have offended
   Lamartine, Napoleon III. to have vexed Victor Hugo_.”—GASTON
   DESCHAMPS.


   “_The aptitude for commerce is an inferior aptitude. There are
   multitudes of banks in which fortunes are perpetuated. Is
   there an unbroken line of Hugos, of Ampères, of Courbets,
   which progresses incessantly from father to son? Commerce is
   an absurd criterion of merit, base in itself and still more
   degrading when it is regulated by laws like ours._”

   Hélier, in ROSNY’S Le Bilatéral.


   “_This morning I received the visit of the police commissary,
   my neighbour, accompanied by four alcoholics. They turned
   everything topsy-turvy in my rooms, mixed up my
   correspondence, rumpled my collection of prints, and all to
   seize, at the end, a wood-cut of Maurin and the works of
   Tolstoy._”

   Meyrargues, in VICTOR BARRUCAND’S Avec le Feu.


   “_I believe it is impossible to-day for a great mind not to be
   somewhat anarchistic._”—AUGUSTIN FILON.


    “_My own art is a negation of society, an affirmation of the
   individual outside of all rules and of all social
   necessities_.”—EMILE ZOLA.


Whatever may be the verdict of posterity regarding the literary and
philosophical activity of this restless, problematic period, the verdict
of the contemporary world seems to be that Tolstoy, Ibsen, and Zola are
the three biggest literary philosophers (or philosophical littérateurs)
of their day and generation; and it is a noteworthy fact, to put it
mildly, that the attitude towards society of each one of these three
intellectual giants is, more or less openly, revolutionary. All three
may be claimed by the parties of revolt without any considerable forcing
of the note.

Tolstoy, by reason of his adoration of Jesus, his insistence on a
literal interpretation of Jesus’ teachings, his advocacy of
non-resistance as the most effective form of resistance, and his
attempts to incorporate liberty in education and, by education, in life,
seems to fall naturally enough into the category of the “Christian
anarchist.” But, whether Tolstoy be a “Christian anarchist” or a
“Christian socialist,” as certain Christian socialists rather
presumptuously claim, is immaterial. He is opposed to the established
order, and belongs indisputably with the revolutionists.

Ibsen is a fearless, implacable, self-confessed destroyer of dogma and
tradition, whom the anarchists may claim without doing violence either
to themselves or to him.

The attitude of Zola towards society and the social problem is not so
easy to define.

Zola exposed with a frankness bordering on brutality the rottenness of
the wealthy and privileged classes, the oppressions and cruelty of
capital, the selfishness and hypocrisy of ministers, magistrates, army
officers, and priests; pictured with a friendliness bordering on
advocacy the sufferings and struggles of the labourers, and stated with
perfect fairness the most revolutionary ideas and ideals. That he had
in him little enough of the stuff of which real martyrs are made—in
spite of his constitutional inability to “shut himself up in his works,
and act only through them,” as he a hundred times announced his
intention of doing—was shown clearly enough by his ignominious flight
when things turned against him in the Dreyfus affair. Nevertheless, no
novelist of his time—at least none in France—has portrayed so
masterfully, so sympathetically, one might almost say so devoutly, the
character of the extreme, the martyr type of anarchist, the
_propagandiste par le fait_.

Zola is said to have boasted of the progress anarchistic violence made
after he “launched his Souvarine into the world.” The charge is probably
a libel; but from this cold, calculating, consecrated Souvarine of
_Germinal_ to the generous, sentimental Salvat of Paris the sincere
_propagandiste par le fait_ was explained, excused, admired, extolled by
him.

This is not saying that Zola was consciously (or unconsciously) an
advocate of the _propagande par le fait_. He extended an equal
cordiality to all the reformers and innovators who are groping towards a
new and better world. The evils of contemporary society are so gigantic,
in his view, and the necessity for a change of some sort so imperative,
that he could understand and condone any and every honest protest, no
matter how imprudent and no matter how fruitless.

Besides, Zola was more of an observer than a philosopher, and more of a
poet than either. His later works, and _Germinal_ at least among his
earlier ones, are primarily prose epics. He loved the dynamiter for his
epic value as Milton loved his magnificent Satan, and may have had no
more intention of holding him up to men as an exemplar than Milton had
of instituting devil-worship.

[Illustration: Emile Zola]

It is not normal for the poet to have a coherent system, and it is
extremely doubtful if Zola had one. Still, the poet must have, like
other mortals, his personal point of view; and Zola’s personal point of
view (which is not for a moment to be confounded with his point of
view as a poet) seems to have been that of the scientists of his
novels,—anarchistic as to end, but evolutionary as to means: the
attitude of Guillaume Froment in _Paris_, who saw in “unities creating
worlds, atoms producing life by attraction, by free and ardent love, the
only scientific theory of society,” and who “dreamed of the emancipated
individual evolving, expanding without any restraint whatsoever, for his
own good and for the good of all.” The attitude of Bertheroy (_Paris_),
“who worked, in the seclusion of his laboratory, for the ruin of the
present superannuated and abominable régime, with its God, its dogmas,
its laws, but who desired also repose, too disdainful of useless acts to
join in the tumults of the street, preferring to live tranquil, rich,
recompensed, in peace with the government (whatever it might be), all in
foreseeing and preparing the formidable issue of to-morrow,”—the
Bertheroy who says: “I have only contempt for the vain agitations of
politics, revolutionary or conservative. Does not science suffice? Of
what use is it to wish to hurry things when a single step of science
does more to advance humanity towards the city of justice and truth than
a hundred years of politics and social revolt? Science alone is
revolutionary: it alone can make not only truth, but justice prevail, if
justice is ever possible here below. Of a certainty, it alone brushes
away dogmas, expels the gods, creates light and happiness. It is I,
member of the Institute, rich and decorated, who am the only
revolutionist.” The attitude of Jordan (_Travail_), “a completely
emancipated spirit, a tranquil and terrible evolutionist, sure that his
labour will ravage and renew the world.... According to Jordan, it is
science solely that leads humanity to truth, to justice, to final
happiness, to the perfect city of the future towards which the peoples
are so slowly and painfully advancing.”

All things considered, it would not be unfair, perhaps, to address to
Zola himself the words which he made this Jordan speak to the reforming
hero of _Travail_, Luc Froment: “Only, my noble friend, you are nothing
more nor less than an anarchist, complete evolutionist as you believe
yourself; and you have every reason to say that, while it is with the
formula of Fourier that we must begin, it is by _l’homme libre dans la
commune libre_ that we must end.” And, if Zola had been thus addressed,
it is not unlikely that he would have replied laughingly, as he made his
Luc reply, “At any rate, let’s begin; and we shall see in due time
whither logic leads us.”

There is no doubt possible regarding Zola’s belief in a good time
coming. His later books were fairly saturated with a sublime faith
almost childlike. There is also no doubt that he believed that science
consecrated to the service of humanity is quite capable of regenerating
the world, as he indicated by the communistic experiment of Luc in
_Travail_. But whether he believed that science _will_ be consecrated to
the service of humanity or whether he was presenting a method which
might be employed, and which he simply hoped, almost against hope, would
be so employed, is not so clear. Thus, in the last chapter of _Travail_,
after giving a beautiful picture of the superb results of the peaceable
revolution accomplished through the altruistic initiative of Luc in the
commune of Beauclair, he added a sort of apocalyptic vision of the
happenings in the principal divisions of the big world outside, in which
the same superb results have been secured by violence,—by a bloody,
socialistic _coup d’état_, by the multiplication of anarchistic bombs,
by a universal war,—quite as if he would say to the classes in power:
“I have shown you how society may be renewed. I have shown you the way
of your salvation, the only way. If you would but walk in this way, you
might save yourselves and the world with you. But you will not. You are
too stupid, too selfish, too obstinate, too corrupt. You will not. I
have known you only too long, and I know you will not. Well, then, so
much the worse for you! Expropriation, massacre, annihilation, await
you!”

If you ask intellectual Frenchmen, without distinction of social
position or political faith, who is the foremost living French man of
letters, five out of six will answer, without an instant’s hesitation,
Anatole France. Less pictorial, less colossal, and less epic than Zola,
but more penetrating and more profound; æsthetic and erudite (in the
good old-fashioned sense of the latter word), subtile, suave, and
refined; abundantly endowed with the humour and the wit in which Zola
was deficient; as impeccable in point of language and style as Zola was
careless, as measured as Zola was violent, as gentle as Zola was brutal,
as finished as Zola was crude; as perfect an embodiment of the Greek
spirit as Zola, if he had only had a keener sense of the grotesque,
would have been of the Gothic,—Anatole France is none the less a
redoubtable iconoclast,—the most redoubtable iconoclast of his
generation, perhaps. A playful pessimist, a piquant anarchist, a
mischievous nihilist, if you will, but a pessimist, an anarchist, a
nihilist, for all that. “Prejudices,” he says, “are unmade and remade
without ceasing: they have the eternal mobility of the clouds. It is in
their nature to be august before appearing to be odious; and the men are
rare who have not the superstition of their time, and who look straight
in the eye what the crowd does not dare to look at.” M. France is one of
these rare men. He combines the amiable doubt of Montaigne with the
mocking irreverence of Voltaire and the subversive grace of Renan. “The
end which M. France seems to pursue persistently,” says one of his
literary brethren, “is the demolition of the social edifice by the force
of a logic tinctured with irony, without anger, and without phrases. By
as much as Zola, Tailhade, and Mirbeau are ardent and passionate when
they attack society, by so much is M. France calm and feline; but he is
not, on that account, the less to be feared.”

[Illustration: ANATOLE FRANCE]

As the most eminent living representative of the best classic
traditions of French prose, M. France is the idol of the lettered youth
of France. From admiration of form to acceptance of the substance
underlying the form is but a step. His ideas insinuate themselves
consequently into the very penetralia of culture,—that exquisite
culture which brooks the presence of nothing common or unclean,—and
they act as a disintegrating force in circles where downright
revolutionary propaganda cannot enter.

In his writings, Anatole France is the precise intellectual
counterpart—at every point but that of Catholicism, and even here his
passion for Augustine, Chrysostom, and the other Church Fathers deters
him from displaying an uncomely asperity—of his own adorable creation,
l’Abbé Coignard,[105] the “delicious Catholic _révolté_, who juggles
with principles and human institutions as if they were a Merry Andrew’s
painted spheres; the railing anarchist who lashes with jests and whose
only bombs are _bons mots_.” And the best characterisation it is
possible to give of M. France, the genial iconoclast, is to repeat
certain of his observations on the character of his Abbé and certain of
the sayings he puts into his Abbé’s mouth,—which I accordingly do in
the following detached paragraphs, making no pretence of preserving in
the translation the peculiar savour and charm of the original:—


   OF THE CHARACTER OF JERÔME COIGNARD.

   “His free intelligence trampled under foot vulgar beliefs and
   never accepted without examination the common opinion, except
   in what had to do with the Catholic faith in which he was
   immovable.

   “The sagest of moralists, a sort of marvellous blend of
   Epicurus and Saint Francis of Assisi.... He preserved, in his
   boldest explorations, the attitude of a peaceful
   promenader.... It is certain that the world, to his eyes,
   resembled less the deserts of the Thébaïde than the gardens of
   Epicurus. He sauntered therein with the audacious
   ingenuousness which is the essential trait of his character
   and the elemental principle of his teaching.”

   “Never did spirit show itself at once so daring and so
   pacific, nor temper its disdain with more sweetness.... He
   despised men with tenderness. He endeavoured to teach them
   that, since they have nothing anywhere near great in
   themselves except their capacity for suffering, they can
   cultivate nothing useful or beautiful but compassion.”

   “It was his benevolence which impelled him to humiliate his
   fellows in their sentiments, their knowledge, their
   philosophy, and their institutions. He had to show them that
   their imbecile natures have neither imagined nor constructed
   anything worth being attacked or defended very energetically,
   and that, if they knew the fragile crudity of their greatest
   works, such as laws and empires, they would fight over them
   only in play, for the sheer fun of the thing, like the
   children who build castles of sand on the rim of the sea.”

   “The majesty of the laws did not impose on his clairvoyant
   soul; and he deplored the fact that the unfortunate are
   burdened with so many obligations of which, for the most part,
   it is impossible to discover the origin or the sense.”

   “What he had the least of was the sense of veneration. Nature
   had refused it him, and he did nothing to acquire it. He would
   have feared, in exalting some, to debase others; and his
   universal charity embraced equally the humble and the proud.”


   SOME OF JERÔME COIGNARD’S SAYINGS.

   _Of Society and Governments_:

   “After the destruction of all the false principles, society
   will subsist, because it is founded upon necessity, the laws
   of which, older than Saturn, will rule when Prometheus shall
   have dethroned Jupiter.”

   “I conclude that all the laws with which a minister swells his
   portfolio are vain documents that can neither make us live nor
   prevent us from living.”

   “It is well-nigh a matter of indifference whether we are
   governed in one fashion or another, and ministers are
   imposing only by reason of their clothes and their carriages.”

   “These assemblies [parliaments] will be founded upon the
   confused mediocrity of the multitude of which they will be the
   issue. They will revolve obscure and multiple thoughts. They
   will impose on the heads of the government the task of
   executing vague wishes, of which they will not have full
   consciousness themselves; and the ministers, less fortunate
   than the Œdipus of the fable, will be devoured, one after the
   other, by the hundred-headed Sphinx, for not having guessed
   the riddle of which the Sphinx herself did not know the
   answer. Their greatest hardship will be to resign themselves
   to impotence, to words instead of action. They will become
   rhetoricians, and very bad rhetoricians, since the talent
   which carried with it ever so little clarity would ruin them.
   They will be obliged to speak without saying anything, and the
   least stupid among them will be condemned to deceive more than
   the others. In this way the most intelligent will become the
   most contemptible. And, if there shall be some capable of
   arranging treaties, regulating finance, and supervising
   affairs, their ability will profit them nothing; for time will
   be lacking, and time is the stuff of great enterprises.”

   _Of the Army_:

   “I have observed that the trade the most natural to man is
   that of soldiering; it is the one towards which he is the most
   easily borne by his instincts and by his tastes, which are not
   all good. And apart from certain rare exceptions, of which I
   am one, man may be defined as an animal with a musket. Give
   him a handsome uniform and the hope of going to fight, he will
   be content.... The military condition has this also in keeping
   with human nature, that one is never forced to think therein;
   and it is clear that we were not made to think.”

   “Thought is a disease peculiar to certain individuals, and
   could not be propagated without bringing about promptly the
   end of the species. Soldiers live in bands, and man is a
   sociable animal. They wear costumes of blue and white, blue
   and red, gray and blue, ribbons, plumes, and cockades; and
   these give them the same prestige with women that the cock has
   with the hen. They go forth marauding and to war; and man is
   naturally thieving, libidinous, destructive, and sensible to
   glory.”

   “It is astounding, Tournebroche, my son, that war and the
   chase, the mere thought of which ought to overwhelm us with
   shame and remorse in recalling to us the miserable necessities
   of our nature and our inveterate wickedness, should, on the
   contrary, serve as matter for the pride of men; that
   Christians should continue to honour the trade of butcher and
   headsman when it is hereditary in the family; and that, in a
   word, among civilised peoples the illustriousness of the
   citizens is measured by the quantity of murder and carnage
   they carry, so to speak, in their veins.”

[Illustration: A Pair of Army Officers]

   _Of the Academy_:

   “Happy he who has not put his hope in The Academy! Happy he
   who lives exempt from fears and desires, and who knows that it
   is equally vain to be an Academician and not to be an
   Academician! Such a one leads, without trouble, a life hidden
   and obscure. Beautiful liberty follows him everywhere. He
   celebrates in the shade the silent orgies of wisdom, and all
   the Muses smile on him as on their adept.”

   “The immortality which has just been decreed to M. de Séez
   neither a Bossuet nor a Belzunce desires. It is not graven in
   the hearts of wondering peoples: it is inscribed in a big
   register.”

   “If there are to be found, among the forty, persons of more
   polish than genius, what harm is there in this? Mediocrity
   triumphs in the Academy. Where does it not triumph? Do you
   find it less powerful in the parliaments and in the councils
   of the crown, where, surely, it is less in its place? Does one
   need to be a rare man to work on a dictionary which pretends
   to control usage and which can only follow it?

   “The _Académistes_ or _Académiciens_ were instituted, as you
   know, to fix the proper usage in what concerns discourse, to
   purge the language of every venerable and popular impurity,
   and to prevent the appearance of another Rabelais, another
   Montaigne, _tout puant la canaille, la cuistrerie, et la
   province_.”

   “Genius is something unsociable. An extraordinary man is
   rarely a man of resources. The Academy was very well able to
   do without Descartes and Pascal. Who can say that it could as
   easily have done without M. Godeau or M. Conrart?”

   _Of Justice, Courts, and Judges_:

   “I hold man free in his acts because my religion teaches it;
   but, outside the doctrine of the Church (which is
   unequivocal), there is so little reason to believe in human
   liberty that I shudder in thinking of the verdicts of a
   justice that punishes actions of which the motives, the order,
   and the causes equally elude us, in which the will has often
   little part, and which are sometimes accomplished
   unconsciously.”

   “Tournebroche, my son, consider that I am speaking of human
   justice, which is different from the justice of God, and which
   is generally opposed to it.”

   “The cruelest insult that men have been able to offer to our
   Lord Jesus Christ has been the placing of his image in the
   halls where the judges absolve the Pharisees who crucified him
   and condemn the Magdalen whom he lifted up with his divine
   hands.”[106]

   “What has he, the Just, to do with these men who could not
   show themselves just, even if they wished it, since their
   dreary duty is to consider the actions of their fellows not in
   themselves and in their essence, but from the single point of
   view of the interests of society; that is to say, in the
   interests of this mass of egoism, avarice, errors, and abuses
   which constitute communities, and of which they (the judges)
   are the blind conservators.”

   “Judges do not sound the loins and do not read hearts, and
   their justest justice is crude and superficial.... They are
   men; that is to say, feeble and corruptible, gentle to the
   strong and pitiless to the weak. They consecrate by their
   sentences the cruelest social iniquities; and it is difficult
   to distinguish, in this partiality, what comes from their
   personal baseness and what is imposed on them by the duty of
   their profession, this duty being, in reality, to support the
   State in what it has of evil as well as in what it has of
   good; to watch over the conservation of public morals, whether
   they are excellent or detestable.... Furthermore, it should be
   observed that the magistrate is the defender, by virtue of his
   function, not only of the current prejudices to which we are
   all more or less subject, but also of the time-worn prejudices
   which are conserved in the laws after they have been effaced
   from our souls and our habits. And there is not a spirit ever
   so little meditative and free that does not feel how much
   there is of Gothic in the law, while the judge has not the
   right to feel it.”

   “By the very nature of their profession, judges are inclined
   to see a culprit in every prisoner; and their zeal seems so
   terrible to certain European peoples that they have them
   assisted, in important cases, by ten citizens chosen by lot.
   From which it appears that chance, in its blindness,
   guarantees the life and liberty of the accused better than the
   enlightenment of the judges can. It is true that these
   impromptu bourgeois magistrates, selected by a lottery, are
   held well outside the affair of which they see only the
   exterior pomp. It is true further that, being ignorant of the
   laws, they are called in, not to apply them, but also simply
   to decide, by a single word, if there is occasion to apply
   them. We are told that assizes of this sort give absurd
   results sometimes, but that the peoples who have established
   them cling to them as to a highly precious protection. I
   easily believe it. And I comprehend the acceptance of verdicts
   rendered in this fashion, which may be inept and cruel, but of
   which the absurdity and barbarity are, so to speak,
   attributable to nobody. Injustice seems tolerable when it is
   sufficiently incoherent to appear involuntary.”

   “Just now this little bailiff, who has so strong a sentiment
   of justice, suspected me of belonging to the party of thieves
   and assassins. On the contrary, I so far disapprove theft and
   assassination that I cannot endure even the copy of them
   regularised by the laws; and it is painful for me to see that
   judges have found no better means of punishing robbers and
   homicides than by imitating them. For, after all,
   Tournebroche, my son, in good faith, what are fines and the
   death penalty, if not robbery and assassination perpetrated
   with an august exactitude? And do you not see that our justice
   merely tends, in all its pride, to this shame of avenging an
   evil by an evil, a suffering by a suffering, and in doubling
   misdemeanours and crimes in the name of equilibrium and
   symmetry?

   “Customs have more force than laws. Gentleness of demeanour
   and sweetness of spirit are the only remedies which can
   reasonably be applied to legal barbarity. For to correct laws
   by laws is to take a slow and uncertain route.”

But for the historic setting, the turn of the phrase, and the absence of
bitterness, one might fancy himself reading the contemporary anarchist
organs, _Les Temps Nouveaux_ and _Le Libertaire_.

Anatole France is as chary of Utopias as Zola is prone to them. He fears
nothing so much as intemperance of emotion and speech. He believes in
nothing, not even in his own unbelief. “If ever M. Anatole France,” says
Gaston Deschamps, “seeks martyrdom, it will be to confess the doctrine
of the relativity of knowledge, to affirm the nothingness of human
opinions, and to attest, at the price of his blood, that there is no
truth”; and yet it was apropos of this same M. France that this same M.
Deschamps, in the course of a contention that literature always ends by
having its way, sounded the note of warning placed at the beginning of
this chapter.

In spite of the dilettante humour or, to be more accurate, the
dilettante philosophy that informs his writings, Anatole France did not
remain within his _tour d’ivoire_ during that strange Dreyfus affair
which transformed nearly every literary Frenchman into an agitator—for
one side or the other. Like Zola and like most of his fellow-craftsmen
of an anarchistic or socialistic bent, he engaged actively in the
anti-militarist campaign, the pretext of which was the wrongs of a Jew
whom they believed to be persecuted. In M. France, apostle of the
nothingness of things in general and in particular, such a course was
very surprising and, it must be admitted, very inconsistent. His most
plausible excuse probably is that he could not help himself, his
chivalrous instincts proving stronger than his quietism. But he might
defend himself, if he thought it worth while, by citing the reply of
Jerôme Coignard to his satellite Tournebroche when the latter inquired
why he would “reduce to dust the foundations of equity, of justice, of
laws, and of all the civil and military magistracies”:—

   “My son, I have always observed that the troubles of men come
   to them from their prejudices, as spiders and scorpions come
   from the dimness of cellars and from the humidity of vaults.
   It is good to flourish the broom and the brush a little in all
   the dark corners. It is good even to give a little blow of the
   pick here and there in the walls of the cellar and garden to
   frighten the vermin and prepare the necessary ruins.”

M. France has not yet gone back into the _tour d’ivoire_ from which the
irresistible “Affair” drew him. He is a member of the executive
committee of the Co-operative Bakery and a leader in the organisation of
the _Universités Populaires_; he presided on the occasion of the Victor
Hugo Centennial over a gigantic mass meeting of the latter, in which he
gave “a little blow of the pick” to clericalism; and in 1903 he
contributed an introduction to Premier Combes’ volume _Campagne Laïque_,
in defence of anti-clericalism.

At a recent anniversary of Diderot, whom both anarchists and socialists
claim as an ancestor, but who is more particularly an idol of the
anarchists, he said:—

   “_Citoyens_, master-spirits who are our friends have come here
   to speak of Diderot, the savant, and Diderot, the philosopher.
   As for me, I have only a word to say. I desire to show you
   Diderot, the friend of the people. This son of the cutler of
   Langres was an excellent man. A contemporary of Voltaire and
   of Rousseau, he was the best of men in the best of centuries.

   “He loved men and the pacific works of men. He conceived the
   great design of lifting up into esteem the manual trades
   looked down upon by the military, civil, and religious
   aristocracies.

[Illustration: OCTAVE MIRBEAU]

   “_Citoyens_, at a time when the united enemies of knowledge,
   of peace, of liberty, arm themselves against the Republic, and
   threaten to stifle democracy under the weight of all that
   which does not think, or thinks only against thought, you have
   had a happy inspiration in singling out for honour the memory
   of this philosopher who teaches men happiness through work,
   knowledge, and love; and who, looking far into the future,
   announced the new era, the coming of the proletariat into a
   pacified and comforted world.

   “His penetrating view discerned our present struggles and our
   future successes. And it is not too much to say that Diderot,
   whose memory we celebrate to-day, Diderot, dead for one
   hundred and twenty years, touches us very closely; that he is
   ours, a great servitor of the people and a defender of the
   proletariat.”

Anatole France is the gentlest and subtlest ironist of his time; Octave
Mirbeau (to whom M. France’s _Jerôme Coignard_ was dedicated) is the
fiercest. M. Mirbeau has not yet obtained the world renown of Zola nor
the national renown of M. France, but he may become in time as famous as
either. He surpasses every living French writer in portraying the
monstrous, the atrocious, and the horrible, and in expressing hatred and
disgust; and his irony—too often fulminated, in violation of the
commonest courtesy, not to say decency, against individuals antipathetic
to him—rives and blasts like the thunderbolt. It is doubtful if the
world has seen anything comparable to him for vitriolic vindictiveness
since England had Dean Swift. He is bitter, brutal, savage, terrifying
to the last degree; “one of those combative natures,” says Eugène
Montfort, “who are dreaded because their conviction partakes of the
nature of an animate being, ... breathes, feeds, grows, is endowed with
the instinct of self-preservation and struggles for life.”

His _Calvaire_, as he himself puts it, “strips war of all its heroism.”
His _Journal d’une Femme de Chambre_ is the most complete and awful
arraignment of society it is possible to imagine between the covers of a
single volume. Merciless towards the hypocrisy and hollowness of the
hour, towards meanness and pretentiousness, towards impotent and
misdirected philanthropy, above all, towards the stupidity and ugliness
of the smug bourgeois, whom he fairly flays alive as Apollo flayed
Marsyas, M. Mirbeau is, on the other hand,—and here his resemblance to
Swift ceases,—infinitely humane and uplifting, full of tenderness and
chivalry for the outcast and unfortunate, for the goodness which would
diffuse happiness everywhere; full of generous ardour, high aspiration,
and unfaltering faith in the ultimate triumph of the just.

M. Mirbeau is a declared anarchist; and, as such, he published a
wonderful Apology of Ravachol, furnished an introduction for Jean
Grave’s most famous volume, and played a leading rôle in the Dreyfus
affair.

His _chroniques_ are daring, incisive, brilliant, explosive, virile,
insulting. They cut, burn, scald, corrode. His short stories are
passionate, dramatic, lyrical even, all in being realistic. His novels,
though they deal only indirectly with public issues, are upon all the
anarchist library lists.

Emile Zola, Anatole France, and Octave Mirbeau are held, by many persons
who do not in the least share their views, to be the three pre-eminent
masters of modern French fiction. On a distinctly lower plane than these
three, but still far above mediocrity, are two other novelists of a
revolutionary cast, Lucien Descaves and Victor Barrucand.

Descaves demonstrated in his first volume—a collection of short stories
entitled _Le Calvaire d’Héloïse Pajadin_—the depressing and degrading
influence of the decent poverty of petty clerks and tradesmen; his _La
Colonne_ portrayed the contrasts of the Commune; and his _Soupes_
exposed the hypocrisies, cruelties, and absurdities of professional and
amateur charity and philanthropy. But M. Descaves’ specialty is the
army: it is in his novels of the barracks that he is at his best, and by
these works he is best known.

In these books, with a talent which approaches genius, through hundreds
of pages he holds the reader’s attention to the flat, stale, and
unprofitable barrack life,—to its pettiness, selfishness, monotony,
physical and moral untidiness, desolation and disgust,—a life entirely
lacking in all that we are accustomed to consider the material for
romance. Under his skilful handling the commonplace and the vulgar
become alternately tragic and grimly comic; and his _Sous-Offs_ and
_Emmurés_, to which he owes his nomination as a charter member of the
_Académie Goncourt_, are almost classics of their kind. Less exalted and
less epic than Zola, of whose big, spectacular qualities he is quite
destitute, Descaves is, nevertheless, much closer to Zola than he is to
Mirbeau or to France. And he easily surpasses Zola in the latter’s
much-heralded but rather superficial realism; that is, in the capacity
for heaping up significantly and without boresomeness minute, unromantic
details.

Descaves has a square bull-dog head and jaw, if his photographs are to
be trusted. He certainly has a bull-dog’s fixity of purpose in the
matter of both substance and form. Nothing in the world will induce him
to relax his grip on his immediate aim to indulge in fine ideas or fine
writing. His style is cold, hard, dry, correct, keen, and sure. He is an
out-and-out anarchist, who has played a fairly active part in the events
of the last few years. His _Sous-Offs_, though entirely free from
doctrinal discussion, cost him, by reason of its damaging revelations,
an encounter with the law. No other novel—indeed, no other work of this
generation, unless it be Bruant’s _chanson_, _Biribi_—has exerted so
profound an anti-militarist influence in France.

In 1895 Victor Barrucand published in the _Revue Blanche_ a series of
articles, concluding with a serious proposition for the establishment of
“_Le Pain Gratuit_” (free bread); and on the occasion of the municipal
elections of that year he placarded the principal communes of France
with the following appeal:—

   “TO THE PEOPLE.

   “The tactics of the ambitious and the usurpers have always
   been to create division in order to reign.

   “WORKERS!

   “Be no more divided over political programmes of which you are
   the dupes.

    “Band yourselves together upon the basis of your interests.

   “Let us not expect anything from the good will of anybody, but
   let us define our own wills. Let us not say to any exterior
   power, ‘GIVE US (_Donnez-nous_) OUR DAILY BREAD’; for manna
   will not fall from heaven nor from the governmental spheres.
   But let us say, ‘GIVE OURSELVES’ (_Donnons-nous_)! We can, if
   we will it, affirm with solidarity true LIBERTY FOR ALL.

   “Let us combine our determination and our scattered energies,
   and let us constitute the great party of men with hearts upon
   this question of bread, proclaiming THE RIGHT TO LIVE (_le
   droit à la vie_) without humiliating conditions.

   “Let bread, in all the communes, be the property of all, like
   the water of the fountains, the lights of the streets, and the
   streets themselves.

   “We have free instruction, which profits only those who can
   receive instruction. Let us organise, more justly, LE PAIN
   GRATUIT for the profit and the liberty of all the workers.

   “Let the bread necessary to life be a right, and not an alms.
   Let it be no more the derisive price with which the labourer,
   nourisher of the rich, is paid. Let us abrogate the law of
   death inscribed on the margin of the code against him who has
   not found a way to sell himself.

   “THE PEOPLE MUST SPEAK OUT LOUD AND FIRM! THEY MUST DICTATE
   THEIR TERMS!

   “Let us vote no more for individuals nor for complicated
   programmes. Let us vote for LE PAIN GRATUIT! Let there be no
   political divisions upon this point. Let us be with those who
   are with us, and be on our guard against the false
   philanthropists who promise more butter than bread.

   “Let us begin at the beginning. Let us lay the corner-stone of
   a social edifice which shall shelter our children FREE AND
   RECONCILED IN THE COMMON HAPPINESS.

   “Let us silence the ambitious who see in the suffering of the
   people only a means of attaining their ends. Let us replace
   the politics of personalities (so remote from the interests of
   the masses) by a finely human organisation of things. Let us
   vote for the idea which cannot betray us.

   “LET US VOTE FOR FREE BREAD!

   “VICTOR BARRUCAND.”[107]


In _Avec le Feu_, a novel whose action is placed in the troubled period
of the execution of Vaillant and the overt act of Emile Henry, M.
Barrucand has given an exceedingly subtle and suggestive study of the
disgust with society of a certain element of the intellectual _élite_,
and of the reasons for their espousal of the anarchist cause.

The principal character, one Robert, is a good type of the cultured,
semi-neurasthenic anarchist of a period chiefly characterised by its
restlessness and yearning:—

   “On certain evenings he descended into the street, and
   saturated himself with the crowd. On the benches he breathed
   the mortality of the squares. He suffered for these miserable
   cattle who bleed no more under the goad of conscience. He
   roamed entire nights as chance led, hunting the débris of
   souls, exploring with his emotions, as with a dark lantern,
   the pavements of the drowsy city. At daybreak he came back
   shivering, coughing, weary with over-walking, drunk with pity,
   his stomach steeped in bad drinks. He concluded then that
   labour had brutalised the species, and he sought the secret of
   lifting it up. On these mornings he speculated daringly,
   dreamed of sacrifices, of revolts, of noble disdains, of
   ferocious protests against philanthropy and respectability. A
   savour of death blended with his charity and perfumed his
   heroic sleep.”

The novel ends dramatically, not with bomb-throwing, but with suicide,
which this strange anarchist hero, who aspires to bomb-throwing, without
having the necessary force of character to achieve it, chooses in its
stead.

It would be unfair to class M. Barrucand as an anarchist, or even as a
revolutionist, on the strength of this book, in spite of the generally
sympathetic tone which pervades it. In fact, M. Barrucand’s philosophy
as displayed therein is of so cynical and, at times, of so flippant an
order, his temperament so weary and so buoyant, his moral outlook so
severe and lackadaisical, his style so lurid and simple, his
appreciations so morbid and sane, and his literary method so
impressionistic, realistic, and symbolic, by turns, that it would be
rash to draw any conclusions from it whatsoever, did not his attitude in
his other works—notably in his two historical biographies, _La Vie
Véritable du Citoyen Rossignol_, _Vainqueur de la Bastille_, and
_Mémoires et Notes de Choudieu, Représentant du Peuple_—and his
identification with the movement for Free Bread enroll him definitively
in the ranks of revolt.

Maurice Barrès, who is at present an apostle of nationalism, was at one
time classed as a “sentimental anarchist,”—an anarchist “with a rebel’s
brain and a voluptuary’s nerves, who would wear purple and fine linen.”
“I am an enemy of the laws,” he said at that time.

Among other French novelists and short-story writers of a certain
reputation who are more or less revolutionary in tone may be
mentioned:—

Georges Darien, author of _Biribi-Armée d’Afrique_, a novel of the
convict-legion, which has proved a potent factor in lessening the
rigours of the companies of discipline; Dubois-Dessaulle,[108] author of
_Sous la Casaque_, who, after being released from the convict-legion to
which he had been consigned (because a brochure by Jean Grave and an
article by Sévérine were found in his knapsack), had the superhuman
courage to soak his left arm in kerosene and set fire to it in order to
avoid ever being sent back into this inferno; Jean Ajalbert, author of
_Sous le Sabre_; Marcel Lami, author of _La Débandade_; Louis Lamarque,
author of _Un An de Caserne_; Paul Brulat, author of _La Faiseuse de
Gloire_, _Le Nouveau Candide_, _La Gangue_, and _Eldorado_, books
replete with generous indignation against social abuses; Jean Lombard,
one of the makers of the programme of the _Congrès Régional_ of Paris
(1880) which declared for class candidates, whose untimely death was a
great loss to French literature; Camille Pert, author of _En
l’Anarchie_; Henri Rainaldy, author of _Delcros_, an exposure of the
cowardices and murderousness of society; Adolphe Retté, author of _Le
Régicide_; Marcel Schwob, author of _Spicilege_; Mme. Sévérine, author
of _Pages Rouges_; Frantz Jourdain, author of _L’Atelier Chanterel_;
Zéphirin Raganasse, author of _Fabrique de Pions_; Louis Lumet, author
of _La Fièvre_; M. Reepmaker, author of _Vengeance_; Théodore Chèze,
Henri Fèvre, Jules Cazes, Pierre Valdagne, and the _feuilletoniste_
Michel Zevacco.

A number of the revolutionists who are primarily public agitators
have made attempts of varying merit to propagate their pet ideas
through the medium of fiction. Such are Sébastien Faure with his
_romans-feuilletons_ and Jean Grave with his _Malfaiteurs_, his military
romance, _La Grande Famille_, and his book for boys, _Les Aventures de
Nono_.

The most thorough single-volume study that has as yet appeared of the
psychology of the different varieties of contemporary revolutionary
types, and of their aims and methods, is unquestionably J.-H.
Rosny’s[109] romance, _Le Bilatéral_. But M. Rosny, although he has
appeared on a public platform in company with professed _révoltés_, to
protest against “_La Cruauté Contemporaine_,” is primarily a scientific
observer, who cannot reasonably be classed as an agitator.

Like the hero of this romance (Hélier, the “Bilatéral,” who habitually
looks at all sides of a subject, and then looks at them again), Rosny is
impassive, impartial, tolerant, eclectic. Far from excusing the crimes
and errors of the capitalistic state, he is equally far from throwing
in his lot with those who would incontinently overturn it.

   “To think,” says the Bilatéral to his _doctrinaire_ socialist
   and anarchist friends, “that there are multitudes of brave
   souls like you who, like you, see only white and black.
   Nothing but white and black! Why, _citoyens_, the complex is
   grey, all shades of grey.”

   Again he says: “You see, my dear” (he is speaking to an ardent
   socialist girl), “that in the things of the social order we
   meet rarely a problem simple enough to make it possible to
   assert;—‘it is this’ or ‘it is that.’ Generally, between
   _this_ and _that_ there are an endless number of points to
   elucidate.... There is a high civilisation with plenty of
   grain, with immense unemployed forces, with a science already
   so large that it can resolve the problem of giving to all a
   nest and nourishment; ... and those above are stupid, and
   those below are stupid, and all so evilly disposed! My God!
   dear child, if the people were not a brutal instinct, we might
   indeed hope for a consoling solution.”

Still, again, speaking to a group upon the Bourse: “‘History, science,
daily observation, demonstrate to us that nothing durable is elaborated
without the aid of the great collaborator, Time. Did this
horse-chestnut-tree grow in a day? And you would have the humanity which
has evolved so slowly—oh, so slowly!—through myriads of years,
humanity bounded by prejudices, by predispositions against progressive
ideas, humanity which includes a hundred social sects ready to combat
each other,—you would have this humanity change by means of a lousy,
bloody, revolution? Granted that once, after centuries of patience, a
cataclysm like that of ‘93 occurred. (And, even so, France, properly
speaking, has no reason to felicitate itself over Jacobinism.) But you
pretend to establish as a normal condition these cataclysms which can be
only the exception in the social life; and it is this that I am
powerless to conceive.’

   “‘Bravo!’ exclaimed the bourgeois.

   “‘I have nothing to do with your bravos!’ cried the
   Bilatéral, with a shade of nervousness. ‘If their ignorance
   saddens me, your rottenness exasperates me; and it is not of
   protecting the rich that I think, but of preventing a generous
   minority of the poor from getting themselves butchered to no
   purpose or from casting France into the maw of the rival
   powers. As to the vile and cowardly cormorants, the whole race
   of big and little parasites, the vermin that swarm in this
   pseudo-republic alongside of the Orleanist penny-scrapers and
   the pests of imperialism, if I had only to press a button to
   annihilate them all, I would not hesitate a second.’”

Other fiction writers who have shown an understanding of the gravity of
the revolutionary issue, a familiarity with revolutionary tenets and the
workings of the revolutionary mind, but whose points of view are either
neutral, like Rosny’s, or frankly hostile, are Rachilde, Jane de la
Vaudère, Augustin Léger, Paul Dubost, and Adolphe Chenevière. These have
aided the propaganda, in their own despite, by rendering the
revolutionary types familiar and comprehensible, and so lifting them out
of the category of monsters.

It seems that Emile Henry’s favourite book, his “_livre de chevet_,” the
book which he contrived to secrete in his cell during a part of his
imprisonment, and which his jailers, when they pounced upon it, imagined
to be of the most incendiary nature, was Cervantes’ _Don Quixote_. And
it is not infrequently the case, in this matter of literature, that the
most potent revolutionary agents are those which make the least pretence
of being so. The masterpieces of the humourists Meilhac, Halévy, Tristan
Bernard, Jules Renard, Pierre Veber, and Georges Courtéline, which hold
up to ridicule rather than to reprobation the emptiness and baseness of
society; such books of pity and of pardon as Daudet’s _Jack_, Goncourt’s
_Fille Elisa_, and Loti’s _Livre de la Pitié et de la Mort_; books of
aspiration, like Prévost’s _Confessions d’un Amant_ and Bourget’s _Terre
Promise_; of wrath, like Léon Daudet’s _Morticoles_; of “revolt against
Puritanism,” like Pierre Louys’ _Aphrodite_; of energy, like Barrès’
_Déracinés_; of searching, like Huysmanns’ _Cathédrale_; of regret,
like Bazin’s _Terre qui Meurt_; of unmoral pessimism, like De
Maupassant’s _Bel-Ami_; and the whole range of disquieting feminist
fiction,—may turn out to be the most active social ferments and the
real forerunners (little as their authors would wish it) of violent
change,—of revolt and revolution!

All contemporary fiction, in fact, has in it something of the doubt, the
trouble, and the protest of the period; and, once upon this tack,
nothing less than a minute examination of every novel and volume of
short stories that has appeared since the Franco-Prussian war would be
imposed.

Of the essayists, critics, and philosophers[110] who are more or less
militant iconoclasts and _révoltés_, the most important are:—

A. Ferdinand Hérold, who expounds his attitude as follows: “From the
time I was able to think a little for myself, I have had an anarchist
mind. I mean that I have always had a horror of undisputed authority, of
dogmatism, and of conventional ideas,—ideas which, the greater part of
the time, one does not attempt to justify to himself”; Camille Mauclair,
who says: “If anarchy is primarily the reform of ethics, in accordance
with the principles of individualism, I can declare squarely that
anarchy was born in me, with the study of metaphysics and the awakening
of sensibility in the period when I began to know myself....
Furthermore, pity for the disinherited and execration of the spoliators
is a point of honour for the few clean and upright people who are still
to be found in the world”; Bernard Lazare,[111] who says: “Authority,
its value, and its _raison d’être_ are things which I have never been
able to comprehend. That a man arrogate to himself the right to domineer
over his fellows, in any fashion whatsoever, is still inconceivable to
me. At first I regarded myself as the only victim of baneful
circumstances and vicious wills. Later I came to consider mankind at
large; and from my own sentiments I divined the feelings of those who
more or less continuously, or at some moment of their existence, are
slaves. Then what had appeared to me odious for myself appeared to me
odious for all”; Gustave Geffroy, who devoted a decade to his biography
of the Communard Blanqui, entitled _L’Enfermé_; Henry Mazel, who
exclaimed in the _Mercure de France_, “We are all anarchists, thank
God!” Alfred Naquet, a convert from nationalism; Urbain Gohier, author
of _L’Armée contre la Nation_; Victor Charbonnel, ex-priest and editor
of _La Raison_, and Henri Bérenger, editor of _L’Action_, who have acted
together in exciting the masses to anti-clerical rioting; the
socialist-anthropologist Charles Letourneau; the bacteriologists
Melchnikoff, Roux, and Duclaux;[112] Charles Albert and Armand
Charpentier, apostles of _l’amour libre_; Christian Cornélissen, Georges
Pioch, Jean Jullien, G. Bachot, Léopold Lacour, Jules Laforgue,[112] B.
Guineaudau, Auguste Chirac, Albert Delacour, E. Fournière, Jacques
Santarelle, Louis Lumet, Maurice Bigeon, A. Hamon, Camille de St. Croix,
Félix Fénéon, Han Ryner, Alex. Cohen, Henri Bauer,[112] Charles Vallier,
Gabriel de la Salle, Emile Michelet, Laurent Tailhade, Francis de
Pressensé, Maurice Le Blond, Saint-Georges de Bouhélier, G. Lhermitte,
Paul Robin, Eugène Montfort, and Gustave Kahn.

In the first months of 1891 a weekly publication called
_L’Endehors_[113] (_The Outsider_) was founded by a band of young
literary men. They were Zo d’Axa, Roinard, Georges Darien, Félix Fénéon,
Lucien Descaves, Victor Barrucand, Arthur Byl, A. Tabarant, Bernard
Lazare, Charles Malato, Pierre Quillard, Ghil, Edmond Cousturier, Henri
Fèvre, Edouard Dubus, A. F. Hérold, Georges Lecomte, Etienne Decrept,
Emile Henry, Saint-Pol-Roux, Jules Méry, Alexandre Cohen, J. LeCoq,
Chatel, Cholin, Ludovic Malquin, Camille Mauclair, Octave Mirbeau,
Lucien Muhlfeld, Pierre Veber, Victor Melnotte, A. Mercier, Tristan
Bernard, Paul Adam, Charles Saunier, Jean Ajalbert, Emile Verhaeren,
Henri de Regnier, and Francis Vielé-Griffin.

The journal bore by way of epigraph this phrase of its leading spirit
and director, Zo d’Axa: “_Celui que rien n’enrôle et qu’une impulsive
nature guide seule, ce hors la loi, ce hors d’école, cet isolé chercheur
d’au delà, ne se dessine-t-il pas dans ce mot, L’Endehors?_”

It explained its purpose as follows: “We belong neither to a party nor
to a group. We are outsiders. We go on our way, individuals, without the
Faith which saves and blinds. Our disgust with society does not engender
convictions in us. We fight for the pleasure of fighting without
dreaming of a better future. What matter to us the to-morrows which in
the centuries shall be! What matter to us the little nephews! It is
_endehors_, outside of all laws, of all rules, of all theories, even
anarchistic; it is now, from this moment, that we wish to give ourselves
over to our compassions, to our transports, to our gentleness, to our
wrath, to our instincts, with the proud consciousness of being
ourselves.”

The first number of _L’Endehors_ appeared in May, 1891, immediately
after the massacre of Fourmies,—in which old men, women, and children,
among them a young girl bearing a hawthorn sprig by way of a flag of
truce, were shot down by the troops of the government,—and dealt
bravely and scathingly with this horrible incident; and the last number
was issued in January, 1893, when the paper was forcibly suppressed.

The staff of _L’Endehors_ defended and even glorified Ravachol.
Mirbeau’s “_Apologie de Ravachol_” (referred to above) is one of the
finest bits of impassioned writing he has ever done. Paul Adam’s “_Eloge
de Ravachol_” is also noteworthy. Here is a brief extract:—

   “Politics would have been banished completely from our
   preoccupations, had not the legend of sacrifice, of the gift
   of a life for the happiness of humanity, suddenly reappeared
   in our epoch, with the martyrdom of Ravachol.... At the end of
   all these judicial proceedings, _chroniques_, and calls to
   legal murder, Ravachol stands as the unmistakable propagator
   of the great idea of the ancient religions, which extolled
   the seeking of death by the individual for the good of the
   world,—the abnegation of one’s self, of one’s life, and one’s
   good name by the exaltation of the humble and the poor.
   Ravachol is plainly the restorer of the essential
   sacrifice....

   “He saw suffering round about him, and he has ennobled the
   suffering of others by offering his own in a holocaust. His
   incontestable charity and disinterestedness, the energy of his
   acts, his courage before inevitable death, lift him into the
   splendours of legend. In this time of cynicism and of irony A
   SAINT IS BORN TO US. His blood will be the example from which
   new courages and new martyrs will spring. The grand idea of
   universal altruism will bloom in the red pool at the foot of
   the guillotine. A fruitful death is about to be consummated.
   An event of human history is about to be inscribed in the
   annals of the peoples. The legal murder of Ravachol will open
   a new era.”

_L’Endehors_ prophesied (or rather supposed), in an article entitled
“_Notre Complot_,” Vaillant’s attempt against the Chamber;[114] and the
ex-members of its staff participated, after its supposition had become a
fact, in the phenomenal demonstrations at Vaillant’s tomb. The
indignation in literary circles over the execution of Vaillant was so
intense that M. Magnard in _Le Figaro_ uttered a vigorous protest
against “_la Vaillantolâtrie_”; and the most orthodox writers in the
most orthodox journals suddenly proclaimed the necessity of stemming
this tide of anarchistic heresy in high places (to which _L’Endehors_
had, so to speak, first given a habitation and a name) by the
accomplishment of a number of necessary but long-delayed legal and
social reforms.

The unlettered protagonist of Augustin Léger’s novel _Le Journal d’un
Anarchiste_ appreciates the review conducted by one Hector de la
Roche-Sableuse, of which _L’Endehors_ may well have been the model, in
the following fashion:—

   “After all, in spite of their gibberish, these reviews of the
   _jeunes gens_ lent me by Roche-Sableuse are sometimes
   interesting. They shed crocodile tears over the lot of the
   people? It is possible. They do not believe a word of what
   they write? I do not say no. All this does not prevent them
   from seeing clearly at times, and from putting their fingers
   often on the truth. Besides, although these fine little
   _messieurs_ are not in the least anxious at heart for the
   triumph of the proletariat, because they know very well that
   it would remove several cushions from under their elbows, they
   understand and they expound perfectly the legitimacy of our
   claims. And I applaud with both hands the eulogiums they
   pronounce on the noble victims our cause already counts. In
   short, they have interested me, and I have learned not a
   little from them.”

_L’Endehors_ was publicly praised by Georges Clemenceau, Henri Bauer,
Laurent-Tailhade, and Jean de Mitty. The last-named said of it:—

   “This little sheet so modest in appearance and at the same
   time so fastidious in make-up that it might easily have been
   taken for a club periodical or for the exclusive organ of a
   few æsthetes, raised more tempests and provoked more passions
   than a riot in the street. Violent it certainly was, and
   violent with a violence which, for wearing always a literary,
   subtile, and complex form, penetrated no less deeply, and
   gained no less to its object the scattered energies and wills
   that were craving definite guidance. Opportune or not, the
   influence of _L’Endehors_ was exerted effectively.... But,
   aside from its action on public affairs, the journal of Zo
   d’Axa realised an incontestable intellectual effort; and it is
   for the beauty of this effort that it pleases me to invoke
   it.”

It is to be noted that Emile Henry, in whose pontifical attitude before
his judges even his bitterest antagonists found “something atrociously
superior and disquieting,” and in whom the sympathetic Albert Delacour
discerns, or thinks he discerns (by reason of his solitary meditations,
his perpetual ratiocination, his hatred of action up to the moment of
supreme action, his disgust with life,[115] and his brooding on death),
a modern Hamlet, is the only member of the _Endehors_ group who has
committed an overt act of violence.

Of the rest, some have since identified themselves closely with
socialism, some with Boulangism and nationalism, and some with
anarchism; some have given themselves to the creation of the humorous or
the beautiful without too obvious a destructive prepossession; and some
have held themselves scrupulously “_endehors_.”

Most have remained _révoltés_ of one sort or another. Only a few have
conformed, and a part of these only outwardly. Thus Paul Adam, who has
seemed several times, by reason of the enormous range of his interests
and the disconcerting agility of his intelligence, to be utterly lost to
revolution, has written, nevertheless, a number of novels of
revolutionary trend. He published in 1900 a defence of Bresci which
might have been written the very same day as his “_Eloge_” of Ravachol,
and he reaffirmed his essential anarchism as late as the spring of 1904.

Of those who have remained strictly “_endehors_,” Zo d’Axa,[116]
uncorrected by hard experiences of prison and exile, resumed in 1898 his
assault upon the abuses of society in his now famous _Feuilles_ with a
fierceness, a versatility, an independence, a finesse, a facility in
anathema, and a redundance in disdain that have rarely, if ever, been
matched in revolutionary pamphleteering—and privateering. It was as if
Mirbeau, with all the withering force of his mighty scorn, had descended
into the street, or as if _Père Peinard_ had attained the level of
literature.

The _Feuilles de Zo d’Axa_ appeared irregularly in the form of
placards, as events invited, during the troubled years of 1898 and 1899,
and created an enormous sensation. Nothing was exempt from the
sharpshooting of this guerilla of the asphalt,—this handsome,
red-bearded “_mousquetaire chercheur de justes aventures_,” whom all
Paris knows by his picturesque brown cape and felt.

   “To the argument of the multitude,” he wrote in his
   salutatory, “to the catechism of the crowds, to all the
   _raisons-d’état_ of the collectivity, behold the personal
   reasons of the Individual oppose themselves!... He goes his
   way, he acts, he takes aim, because a combative instinct makes
   him prefer the chase to the nostalgic siesta. On the borders
   of the code he poaches the big game,—officers and judges,
   bucks or _carnivori_. He dislodges from the forests of Bondy
   the herd of politicians. He amuses himself by snaring the
   ravaging financier. He beats up at all the cross-roads the
   domesticated _gent de lettres_, fur and feathers; all the
   debauchers of ideas, all the monsters of the press and the
   police.”

Lucien Descaves compares the series of Zo d’Axa’s writings to “a
beautiful road bordered with pity and hatred and paved with wrath and
revolt.”

He says further of him: “Zo d’Axa’s phrase is rapid. The fuse of his
articles is short. When a match is approached to them, something is
bound to explode; and D’Axa is quite capable of sacrificing himself, if
need be, in the explosion. He has proved it.”

The suppression of _L’Endehors_ (whose complete file is now one of the
rarities of the book-mart) and the consequent dispersion of the
_Endehors_ band were soon followed by the formation of another
revolutionary coterie of young poets, men of letters, and sociologists,
called “_Le Groupe de l’Idée Nouvelle_.” This group (of whom Paul Adam,
A. Hamon, Victor Barrucand, and Jean Carrière were the most prominent
figures) organised a series of _soirées-conférences_, which were given
at the _Hôtel Continental_, during the winter of 1893-94, with great
success.

[Illustration: XAVIER PRIVAS DELIVERING HIS LECTURE

_L’Idée Nouvelle_ (somewhat tamed by time, it is true) still exists.
The following announcement, which appeared in 1900 in the anarchist
journal _Les Temps Nouveaux_, explains its more recent activities and
aims:—

   “L’ARGENT CONTRE L’HUMANITÉ”]

   “_L’Idée Nouvelle_ informs the public that hereafter it adds
   to its title _La Rénovation Sociale par le Travail_, and
   announces that the first _conférence_ of the year will be
   given at the _Hôtel des Sociétés Savantes_, Sunday, November
   18, at three o’clock, by the poet and _chansonnier_ Xavier
   Privas.[117] Subject, ‘_L’Argent contre l’Humanité_.’ The
   second, to be given early in December by the sculptor Jean
   Baffier, will treat ‘_La Corporation Autonome et l’Entreprise
   Capitaliste_.’”

To the former committee of _L’Idée Nouvelle_, composed of men of
letters, among whom were Paul Adam, Jules Cazes, Lucien Descaves, Louis
de Grammont, Georges Lecomte, and Léopold Lacour, the artists Eugène
Carrière, Jules Dalou, and Steinlen, and the geographer Elisée Reclus,
consented to join themselves at the time of the adoption of its new
name.

Here is the text of the declarations by means of which _La Rénovation
Sociale par le Travail_ quickly rallied to its support many of those of
the intellectual _élite_ who are thinking and acting along the lines of
the better aspirations of humanity:—

   “Believing that the action of money as a medium of exchange is
   universally injurious, that it is the source of all the
   turpitudes and all the infamies of society; that almost all
   the crimes, the enmities, the divisions, have for their
   initial cause a question of interest,—namely, money; believing
   also that money, far from being, as some pretend, a stimulus
   to production, is rather an obstacle to it; that venality and
   mercantilism dishonour and paralyse art, kill noble dreams and
   generous ambitions; that too often, in the actual condition of
   society, we propose to ourselves as the end of life, not an
   ideal of beauty, of truth, of justice, but money; believing,
   further, that there is no other means for counteracting such a
   situation than by glorifying, rehabilitating, and equitably
   apportioning labour, and by insisting strenuously on this law
   of nature, that every consumer should be a producer, the
   consumption being proportioned to the need, and the production
   to the faculty and the aptitude,—the members of the committee
   for _La Rénovation Sociale par le Travail_ pledge themselves
   to spread these ideas by every means in their power,—by the
   pen, by word, and by example.”

This group is at present preparing a fête, to be held in the fall of
1904, for the “glorification of all the innovators to whom humanity is
indebted for advancement along the line of integral emancipation.”

The _Noël Humaine_ (Human Christmas) is celebrated annually by another
group of emancipated men of letters, under the auspices of Victor
Charbonnel’s journal, _La Raison_.

The revolutionary fervour of a considerable portion of the intellectual
_élite_ has found further expression during the last ten years in a
score or more of reviews (”_jeunes revues_” or “_revues des jeunes_”)
“which,” says Paul Adam, “have created, promulgated, sustained, and
caused to triumph almost two-thirds of the ideas upon which the new
century is beginning its life.” “In each,” says the same writer, “a
group of disinterested spirits, extraordinarily erudite, indifferent to
success and fortune, eager for knowledge and proud in its acquisition,
have cultivated the most beautiful garden of mentality which has been
seen in France since the Pléïade and Port-Royal. Poets, sociologists,
romancers, and critics have disseminated thereby marvellous beauties.”

M. Adam exaggerates, as he is very apt to do. Nevertheless, in spite of
a great deal that is immature, amateurish, intemperate, and fantastic
about most of them, the _revues des jeunes_ are one of the most
significant phenomena of these latter years.

They have been an appreciable disturbing force. The names of most of the
writers mentioned in this chapter are repeatedly appearing in their
tables of contents; and their prospectuses abound in such tell-tale
phrases as these: “_art libre_,” “_beauté sociale_,” “_vie féconde et
humanité forte_,” “_dévoiler les intrigues_, _combattre les abus_,”
“_tribune ouverte_,” “_idées hardies et généreuses_,” “_l’âme purement
désintéressée des futurs Etats-Unis d’Europe_,” “_l’art existe pour la
vie_,” “_la cité radieuse où l’humanité affranchie vivra enfin dans
l’harmonie, dans la justice, et dans la force_.”

Furthermore, such publications as _Le Mercure de France_, _La Grande
Revue_ (edited by Fernand Labori, defender of anarchists and of
Dreyfus), _La Plume_ (whose _soirées littéraires_ have enjoyed an
international renown), _La Revue de Paris_, _La Revue_, _La
Contemporaine_, _La Vogue_, _L’Hermitage_, and _La Grande France_, by
extending the hospitality of their columns to the exploitation of the
most advanced theories and ideas, have—without claiming to be
revolutionary or, at any rate, without limiting themselves to
propaganda—effectively supplemented the efforts of the propagandist
mediums.

The revolutionary sentiments prevalent among the intellectual _élite_ of
France have found abundant expression in the French drama, as was to be
expected in a country which has a literary stage and in which nearly
every man of letters is something of a playwright. Indeed, it would not
be surprising if the stage, by reason of its superior capacity for
giving vividness to ideas, were quite as efficacious an instrument of
revolutionary propaganda as the press, the _chanson_, or the novel.

Octave Mirbeau is the author of several plays, three of which, _Les
Mauvais Bergers_, _L’Epidémie_, and _L’Acquitté_, teem with caustic,
uncompromising anarchism.

_Les Mauvais Bergers_ was successfully produced by Bernhardt’s company
in 1897. Its hero, Jean Roule, is a young, thoughtful, aspiring workman,
who has suffered so much at the hands of the capitalists and the
authorities and has seen so much suffering imposed on others from the
same sources that he is possessed with a colossal, implacable hatred of
everybody and everything that has to do with power. On the other hand,
his heart is full to bursting with unselfish love for the unfortunate
proletariat. “I want to live,” he cries, “to live in my flesh, in my
brain, in the expansion of all my organs, of all my faculties, instead
of remaining the beast of burden that is flogged and the unthinking
machine that is turned for others. I want to be a man, in short,—a man
in my own eyes.... We also need some poetry and some art in our lives;
for, poor as he may be, a man does not live by bread alone. He has a
right, like the rich, to things of beauty.... These flames, this smoke,
these tortures, these accursed machines which every day and every hour
devour my brain, my heart, my right to happiness, my right to
life,—these—these yawning mouths of ovens, these fiery furnaces, these
caldrons which are fed with my muscles, with my will, with my liberty,
by the shovelful,—to make out of them the wealth and the social
puissance of a single man! Extinguish all that, I entreat you! Blow up
all that! Annihilate all that!”

His most complete abhorrence is the politician. The employer is white
beside him. “The employer is a man, like you. You have him before you.
You speak to him, you move him, you threaten him, you kill him! At
least, he has a visage,—a chest in which to sink a knife. But go move
this being without a visage called politician! Go kill this thing called
politics,—this slimy, slippery thing which you think you hold and which
always escapes you, which you believe dead and which always comes to
life again,—this abominable thing by which everything has been debased,
everything corrupted, everything bought, everything sold,—justice,
love, beauty!—which has made venality of conscience a national
institution of France; which has done worse still, since with its filthy
slaver it has befouled the august face of the poor! worse still, since
it has destroyed in you your last ideal,—faith in Revolution!”

Aided and inspirited by a working-girl, Madeleine (Bernhardt’s rôle),
this Jean Roule, who would kill as much from excess of love as from
hate, leads the workmen in a revolt against their employers. But the
latter are sustained by government troops, and the play ends with a
massacre and a procession of coffins.

_L’Epidémie_ (1898) is an extravagant one-act comedy,—almost a
farce,—caricaturing the culpable indifference of the bourgeois
politician to the welfare of the humble and his extreme solicitude for
the welfare of the rich. Typhoid fever has made several victims in the
military barracks of a provincial city. The municipal council assembles
for the purpose of taking measures to arrest it. When the council
learns, however, that the disease has attacked no one outside the
barracks, and within the barracks only the private soldiers, whose duty,
whose glory it is to give their lives for their country, it decides to
do nothing, to the accompaniment of enthusiastic cries of “_Vive la
France!_” The decision has scarcely been made when a messenger arrives
with the news that a bourgeois has died of the plague. Thereupon the
council reconsiders its former action, votes to erect a statue to the
dead bourgeois, to name a street in his honour, to demolish the city’s
unsanitary quarters, to open up boulevards, and to introduce a water
system, and makes an appropriation of 100,000,000 francs therefor.
Finally, each councillor rises in turn, and pronounces a panegyric of
the bourgeois victim.

_L’Acquitté_, another one-act comedy, presents the adventure of a
vagabond, Jean Guenille, who, having carried to the police station (in
an access of honesty) a purse of 10,000 francs which he found in the
street, is browbeaten and put under lock and key by the _commissaire_
because he has no legal domicile. M. Mirbeau’s other plays, _Vieux
Ménages_ (1900), _Le Portefeuille_ and _Scrupules_ (1902), and _Les
Affaires sont les Affaires_ (1903),—the last-named[118] an exposition
of the power of money to destroy natural sentiments,—are only a shade
less subversive in tone.

Lucien Descaves has to his credit a one-act anarchistic play, entitled
_La Cage_. The Havenne family (consisting of father, mother, a son
Albert, aged twenty-one, and a daughter Madeleine, aged twenty-six),
threatened with eviction and unable to pay their rent or find work, are
in black despair. The father and mother, in the temporary absence of
Albert and Madeleine, drink a vial of laudanum and light a brazier of
charcoal. The children return, find their parents dead, and, desiring to
die likewise, submit themselves to the poisonous fumes of the brazier,
which is still burning. They bethink themselves in time, however, decide
that it is less cowardly to steal than to die, and set out together for
a career of outlawry and revolutionary apostleship. “Are we quite sure,
Madeleine, that there is nothing better to do than to kill ourselves?”
queries Albert. And then he quotes the famous letter of Frederick of
Prussia to D’Alembert: “If there should be found a family destitute of
all resources and in the frightful condition you depict, I should not
hesitate to decide theft legitimate.... The ties of society are based
upon reciprocal services; but, if this society is composed of pitiless
souls, all engagements are broken.”

_La Cage_ was suppressed by the censorship[119] very early in its
career. Descaves, who dedicated his work “_Aux désespérés pour qu’ils
choisissent_,” foresaw and publicly predicted its interdiction. “Let me
try,” he said, “to put on the stage, instead of adulteries and
embarrassing _liaisons_, the distress of a bourgeois family at the end
of its resources, its illusions, and its courage,—the parents reduced
to suicide and the children precipitated into revolt. Ah! you’ll hear a
fine clatter!”

The severity of the censorship towards _La Cage_ called out numerous
protests, notably this from Alexander Hepp (in his _Quotidiens_), little
suspected of doctrinal sympathy with Descaves: “As soon as we show to
the gallery the reality of the miseries, the despairs, the injustices of
society, a fragment of real life, of the true cross people carry, our
delicate sensibilities are shocked; and it is always before that which
is truest that we cry out improbability. The innovating tendencies, the
harsh accent of retribution, the virile sincerity of Descaves, who puts
on the boards a family driven to suicide, have disturbed the digestions
of the orchestra.”

The critic Henri Bauer, commenting on _Les Mauvais Bergers_ and _La
Cage_, wrote: “An anti-social dramatic literature is born in France....
It required authors of the power and eloquence of Mirbeau, of the
devouring passion and the admirable soul of Descaves, to dare to ring
out in dramatic dialogue this conclusion, _On n’améliore pas la société,
on la supprime_.... Society is a lie, social progress a lure, the social
pact is broken: nothing is left but the individual,—his temperament,
his law, his conscience, and his will.”

Descaves’ _Tiers Etat_ is an eloquent plea for the faithful mistress who
is debarred from marriage by legal technicalities. He is also joint
author with Georges Darien of _Les Chapons_ (to which this legend was
prefixed: “_Aux Mânes des Bourgeois de Calais nous sacrifions ce
spécimen de leur pitoyable descendance_”), and with Maurice Donnay of
_La Clairière_ and _Oiseaux de Passage_. _La Clairière_, which was one
of the notable features of the theatrical season of 1898-99, pictures
the life of an anarchist _phalanstère_, which succeeds admirably until
the members send for their _compagnes_, when it is demoralised and
disintegrated by petty intrigues and jealousies.

The moral? Not the obvious and absurd one that men alone will constitute
the society of the future; but this, that women have not been
enfranchised long enough to have developed the maturity of character
necessary to the practice of anarchist precepts. _Oiseaux de Passage_
deals with the experiences of anarchists in exile. “I am proud,” says M.
Descaves, apropos of the piece, “to have been able to transfer to the
stage the theories of a Bakounine, and to introduce them to the public
thus.”

Maurice Donnay is a railing nihilist, subtle, graceful, and gracious,
somewhat after the Anatole France pattern,—a smiling _révolté_, a
refined recalcitrant, whose recipe for a play is said to be “a little
love, much adultery, an enormous amount of _esprit_, a pinch of
politics, and a gramme of sociology,” and whose psychology is “a
sparkling, effervescing affair, the analyses of which explode merrily
with the welcome noise of popping champagne corks.”

In _Amants_, _La Douloureuse_, _La Bascule_, _Le Retour de Jérusalem_,
and _Georgette Lemonnier_, Donnay is prodigal of _bons mots_ and
malicious pleasantries, by which he gives the most piquant conceivable
flavour to the social and political infamies of the time. _Le Torrent_,
his most ambitious work, has this much of the serious, that death is its
dénouement; but its general method and attitude do not differ
essentially from the method and attitude of his other plays.

To those who expressed surprise that the flippant Donnay should
collaborate with the truculent Descaves, Donnay himself said: “A young
man, I produced at the _Chat Noir_ my piece _Pension de Famille_, which
won me the honour of being called ‘joyous anarchist’ by Jules Lemaître.
I remained an anarchist in _La Douloureuse_. And, without doubt, I have
always been an anarchist; more, it is true, for sentimental than for
sociological reasons, but also from a point of view exclusively
philosophical. He who analyses, he who, without ceasing, unravels the
meshes of this complicated network of ideas which constitutes the social
order, is more or less of an anarchist necessarily, is he not?”

Other works of unequivocal revolt produced within the last fifteen years
are:—

_Mais Quelqu’un Troubla la Fête_,[120] a one-act piece by Louis
Marsolleau. A financier, a politician, a bishop, a general, a judge, a
duchess, and a courtesan (so many types of the powerful and privileged
of the world) partake hilariously of a sumptuous banquet. Their revels
are interrupted by the apparition first of a peasant, then of a city
labourer, and are finally put an end to by a mysterious and terrible
unknown, who causes a general explosion.

_Sur la Foi des Etoiles_, by Gabriel Trarieux,—an esoteric symbolistic
effort, a groping towards the society of the future: “I say to myself:
The stars up yonder, with their fixed, impassive air, the stars which
have mounted guard for centuries, are living worlds.... They die and are
born. I compare them to the truths which guide us.... For there are
several truths,—... some very ancient, almost extinguished, to which we
submit by force of habit, and some—oh! just emerging—which will not be
true before to-morrow.”

_Le Cuivre_, by Paul Adam and André Picard, which exposes and explains
the tyranny exercised by money over persons and governments; and
_L’Automne_, by Paul Adam and Gabriel Mourey (forbidden by the
censorship).

_Le Domaine_, by Lucien Besnard, which recounts the progress of
socialism in the rural districts, and defines the antagonism between the
decadent nobility and the rising fourth estate.

_La Pâque Socialiste_, by Emile Veyrin, which describes a practical
experiment in Christian socialism.

_La Sape_, by Georges Leneven, the hero of which is an anarchist dreamer
of a highly intellectual type, _Le Détour_ by Henry Bernstein, and _Le
Masque_ by Henri Bataille.

_Le Voile du Bonheur_, by Georges Clemenceau, which employs Chinese
personages and a Chinese setting to explain the manner in which
Frenchmen are fooled and ruled by their “mandarins”; and _Les Petits
Pieds_ by Henry de Saussine, which employs a similar device to ridicule
French education.

_Le Ressort: Etude de Révolution_, mystic and ominous, by Urbain Gohier;
_Barbapoux_, savagely anti-clerical, by Charles Malato; _En Détresse_,
with a conclusion akin to that of Descaves’ _Cage_, by Henri Fèvre;
_L’Ami de l’Ordre_, by Georges Darien; _La Grève_, by Jean Hugues;
_Conte de Noël_ and _Des Cloches du Cain_, by Auguste Linert; _Le
Chemineau_, by Richepin; Jean Ajalbert’s adaptation of De Goncourt’s _La
Fille Elisa_;[121] and the pieces of Hérold, Pierre Valdagne, and
Georges Lecomte.

These performances have been supplemented by revivals of De Maupassant’s
_Boule de Suif_, which portrays the sacrifice made by a prostitute for
the bourgeois and her ostracism by them when they have no further need
of her assistance; of the stage version of Zola’s _Germinal_ in the
theatres of the working faubourgs; and of certain precursors, such as
Henri Becque’s _Les Corbeaux_ (probably the most terrible arraignment of
law and lawyers ever written) and _L’Evasion_ and _La Révolte_ of
Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; and by the importation of the principal works
of the Russian, Belgian, Scandinavian, German, Italian, and Spanish
innovators.

Alfred Capus, the principal rival of Maurice Donnay in his peculiar
_genre_, holds in completest but most amiable detestation whatever has
to do with regular living. Less sardonic than M. Donnay, lighter,
brighter, and more _spirituel_, if that is possible, he is equally
nihilistic, though not, so far as I am aware, by personal avowal. In
_Rosine_ he ventures to depict a _union libre_ receiving a father’s
benediction; and in _Qui Perd Gagne_, _Années d’Aventures_, _Les Petites
Folles_, _Mariage Bourgeois_, _La Veine_, _La Bourse ou la Vie_, and
_Beau Jeune Homme_ he holds up to ridicule, one after another, all the
traditional bourgeois ideals.

Reformers being notoriously deficient in the sense of humour, it is a
curious and piquant circumstance that not only a majority of the
brilliant school of stage humourists, currently known as the “_Auteurs
Gais_,” but the four most admired of the group,—Georges Courtéline,
Pierre Veber, Jules Renard, and Tristan Bernard,—are frankly
revolutionary, either in their personal opinions or in their writings,
or in both.

Pierre Veber and Tristan Bernard were charter members of the
revolutionary band _L’Endehors_, and have been affiliated latterly with
that of _L’Idée Nouvelle_. Jules Renard is the bitterest of social
philosophers, under the thin disguise of a charming, impeccable style.

Courtéline, whose comic genius is so strong, so pure, and so fine that
he is called, without too gross exaggeration, “_le petit-fils de
Molière_”; Courtéline, who will be read and played, in the opinion of
many, long after every other contemporary French dramatist has been
forgotten; Courtéline, who makes you laugh till you weep over what you
ought to weep over without laughing, who promotes reflection and rouses
the conscience while dispelling melancholy,—this prodigious
Courtéline, truth-loving joker and humane mountebank as he is, has
probably done more than any single individual in any sphere to bring
into disrepute the brutality of the army, and to expose the perpetual
contradiction between essential justice and the texts of the law.

Eugène Brieux is the most prolific producer of the “_pièce à thèse
sociale_” and the most indefatigable corrector of abuses connected with
the Paris stage. He has attacked the race-course and the police station
in _Le Résultat des Courses_, public and private charity in _Les
Bienfaiteurs_, physicians in _L’Evasion_, current methods of instruction
in _Blanchette_, popular ignorance of and prejudice against venereal
diseases in _Les Avariés_,[122] the law and the administrators of the
law in _La Robe Rouge_ (”_C’est donc la loi qui rend criminel?_”), and
the Chamber of Deputies in _L’Engrenage_; and he has defended the rights
of children against parents in _Le Berceau_, the rights of the artistic
temperament in _Ménages d’Artistes_, the rights of the poor against the
rich in _Les Remplaçantes_, and the rights of the _fille-mère_ in
_Maternité_.

M. Brieux is not easy to locate doctrinally or otherwise. He is not an
“_auteur gai_,” far from it, and is not, in the strict sense of the
term, perhaps, a revolutionist. But his mania for the correction of
abuses has surely beguiled him more than once into an attitude towards
society that is, to all intents and purposes, revolutionary.

The rugged, poetic, weird, and philosophical François de Curel is as
difficult to locate doctrinally as M. Brieux. There are times when he
seems to be as irreverent a nihilist as M. France, M. Donnay, or M.
Richepin, and times when he seems to be as reverently ecclesiastical and
reactionary as M. Paul Bourget or M. le Comte de Mun. All his
plays—_Les Fossiles_, in which he pictures the pathetic impotence of
the exhausted nobility; _La Nouvelle Idole_, in which he alternately
exalts and belittles science; _La Fille Sauvage_, in which he studies
the demoralising effect of civilisation upon the mind of the savage;
and _Le Repas du Lion_, in which he confronts orthodox economy with the
socialist’s dream—admit of different and absolutely contradictory
interpretations.

But _Le Repas du Lion_ is claimed, with at least a show of reason, by
the socialists, because of its dénouement. One of its wealthy characters
elucidates the conflict between labour and capital by means of a
parable, “The Lion and the Jackal.” The lion hunts for himself. The
jackal, too feeble to hunt for himself, follows the lion. The lion
gorges himself with his prey. The jackal eats what the lion leaves. If
there were no lion to hunt for him, the jackal would starve. Ergo, the
lion is the benefactor of the jackal.

A labourer objects: “In that case, Monsieur, there is a lion; and we are
the jackals. Since you choose to have the business settled between wild
beasts, we will follow you on to your own ground. When the jackals find
that the remnants left by the lion do not garnish their paunches
sufficiently, they get together in great numbers, surprise the king, and
devour him alive.”

The labourer’s objection is given force by the shooting of the
capitalist of the piece. “The reply of the jackal to the lion,” comments
one of the minor characters.

Jean Jullien considers himself, if rumour speaks true, in no sense a
revolutionist. All the same, his robust drama _La Poigne_, which depicts
vividly the moral ravages wrought by authority in and about a
humanitarian soul, was received enthusiastically by both the socialistic
and the anarchistic press. “Socialists will take notice,” remarked a
socialist organ, “that it behooves them to lavish their money and their
bravos on this attempt at ‘_L’Art Social_.’” And the theatrical critic
of _Le Libertaire_ said: “The piece of Jean Jullien pleased us by its
frankness and its human interest. Rarely has an author so stirred our
minds and hearts. It is only just to say that the personages exemplify
the sentiments and the ideas which are familiar to the anarchists, and
that we find in _La Poigne_ an echo of our passions.”

The same author’s _L’Ecolière_, which denounces the hypocrisy of petty
provincial functionaries and narrates the conflict of a high-minded,
warm-hearted woman with the bourgeois system of morals, was accorded a
similar welcome in similar quarters. So also was his _Oasis_, which
preaches that Humanity should create for itself, remote from “egoisms,
prejudices, mutually hostile religions, and the disgraceful tumults of
injustice and war, the basis of peace, of association, and of love.”

As a _féministe_ who flouts and defies the marriage code, Paul Hervieu
lays himself liable to be classed as a revolutionist, at least a partial
revolutionist, however little such a classification may please him.
Whatever else they are, _La Loi de l’Homme_, _L’Armature_, _Les
Tenailles_, _Les Paroles Restent_, _L’Enigme_, and _Le Dédale_ are works
of revolt. The first-named, _La Loi de l’Homme_, evoked the following
sweeping but not unsympathetic judgment from the critic Emile de St.
Auban, who, lawyer as well as critic, should know whereof he speaks:
“The contemporary theatre occupies itself a great deal with the laws.
The code appears often on the boards, and the dramatist-jurists abrogate
it in prose or in verse. But never was this abrogation so passionate, so
brusque, never was it so radical, so total, as in _La Loi de l’Homme_. I
will add so concise, since three very short acts, two of which make one,
suffice to erase not a text, but _the_ text, not _a_ law, but _the_ law,
and with the law the cortège of egoisms and hypocrisies which have given
it birth, and have assured it its full expansion and the calm and sure
perpetration of its outrages; to erase, I say, an entire jurisprudence,
written or traditional, promulgated against the weak for the strong.”

To the category of partial, unwilling, or unwitting revolutionists to
which Jullien, Brieux, Hervieu, and De Curel belong may be assigned also
Jules Case in _La Vassale_, Gaston Dévore in _La Conscience d’un
Enfant_, Georges Ancey in _Ces Messieurs_ and _La Dupe_, Emile Fabre in
_L’Argent_, _Le Bien d’Autrui_, _La Vie Publique_, and _Comme Ils sont
Tous_, Rostand in _La Samaritaine_, Abel Hermant in _Le Faubourg_, _La
Carrière_, and _La Meute_, Albert Guinon in _Décadence_,[123] Alexandre
Bisson in _Le Bon Juge_, Emile Bourgeois in _Mariage d’Argent_, and
Bruyerre in _En Paix_. Indeed, it is even permitted to query whether the
reputed reactionaries, Jules Lemaître and Henri Lavedan, are not really
(at least so far as certain of their pieces are concerned) in the same
boat.

Revolutionary and semi-revolutionary plays were for a considerable
period well-nigh a monopoly of the _Théâtre Libre_, where unconditional
literary form and unconventional acting were the handmaids of
unconventional ideas. Latterly they have invaded every legitimate stage
of Paris, not excepting the august and supposedly inhospitable _Comédie
Française_; and they may be said to be the specialty of four houses: the
_Théâtre Antoine_ (founded by Antoine after he abandoned the _Théâtre
Libre_); the _Grand Guignol_, the nearest existing counterpart to the
_Théâtre Libre_; and the _Gymnase_ and the _Renaissance_, which are now
copying the general policy of the _Antoine_. Maurice Maeterlinck and his
company have latterly made their headquarters in Paris. Maeterlinck’s
_Monna Vanna_ was applauded by the revolutionary organs.

The various free stages, or _théâtres à côté_, which give private
performances at irregular intervals, also reserve a modicum of space in
their répertoires for pieces of social revolt.

The _revues_ of the variety theatres and concert halls, in which the
events of the year are criticised and caricatured with a freedom that
often calls down the wrath of the censorship, particularly at
Montmartre, are also far from a negligible influence in the direction of
revolution.

   In 1883 the socialist Clovis Hugues wrote, in an introduction
   to a volume by the refractory Léon Cladel: “The petrification
   of the republic in the bourgeois spirit does not prevent
   literature from being socialistic. It is unconsciously so,
   perhaps; but it is so. And this is the essential thing for the
   future.... Open a romance, no matter what one, attend a
   theatrical representation, no matter what one, and, so that
   you have the slightest aptitude for combining details, for
   surprising the idea in the fact, for following a philosophical
   train through an intrigue, you will be amazed at the quantity
   of socialism which emerges from this romance and that play.
   Has the author felt himself responsible towards the Revolution
   in writing his work? Not the least in the world. He has
   yielded to the mighty pressure of events, he has submitted to
   the historic fatalities of his time, the permanent influence
   of humanity in travail.... What signifies this transformation?
   It signifies that the philosophies soak down into literature;
   it signifies that the hour is at hand, since the idea
   incarnates itself involuntarily in the form; it signifies that
   the fourth estate is mounting, that justice is near.”

A round decade later (1894) A. Hamon, a friend of anarchy, wrote:—

   “Read in the sheets which are the most hostile to the
   anarchists—such as the _Figaro_, the _Journal_, the _Gil
   Blas_, the _Echo de Paris_—the short stories, sketches, and
   chroniques of the Mirbeaus, the Bauers, the Descaves, the Paul
   Adams, the Bernard Lazares, the Ajalberts, the Sévérines,
   etc., and you will perceive that anarchist tendencies throng
   them. Follow the ‘_jeunes revues_,’ and you will observe that
   there is not, to speak in the large, a piece of verse, a
   story, a study of any sort whatsoever, which does not tend
   towards the destruction of what the anarchists qualify as
   social prejudice,—_la patrie_, authority, family, religion,
   courts of law, militarism, etc.

   “All the thinking men of this epoch,—savants, littérateurs,
   artists, etc.,—one may almost say all, so rare are those who
   imprison themselves in the ‘_tour d’ivoire_’ or who profess
   doctrines commendatory of the existing order,—all the
   relatively young men, I mean, who have attained their majority
   since 1870, have _libertaire_ inclinations. The result is a
   fervent propaganda under the most varied forms and in the most
   dissimilar _milieux_.”

Still later (1899) a declared opponent of anarchism, M. Fierens-Gevaert,
wrote in his admirable social study, _La Tristesse Contemporaine_:
“There are, to begin with, the militant anarchists,—a handful of
wretched starvelings and lunatics, whose doctrine consists solely in
listening to the instincts of the brute within them. There are, next,
the unwitting or dilettante anarchists. These latter are legion. They
are to be found in the highest grades of society. They even compose the
intellectual _élite_ of their time. Every philosopher, novelist, poet,
dramatist, and artist is to-day a latent anarchist; and very often he
boasts of it.”

Just how far this surprising situation is an heirloom of the four
revolutions which France traversed during the last century, and just how
far it is traceable to forces which have entered from without,—to
Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, Darwin and Spencer, Leopardi and the
pleiades of Russian and Scandinavian innovators,—it is not necessary to
determine. The really significant thing is that the intellectual and
social conditions which have produced Anatole France, Descaves, and
Mirbeau in France have likewise produced Björnson, Brandès, and
Strindberg in Scandinavia, Maxim Gorky in Russia, Hermann Heijermanns in
the Netherlands, Gerhardt Hauptmann in Germany, Camille Lemonnier in
Belgium, Gabriel d’Annunzio in Italy, and José Echegaray in the Biscayan
Peninsula; and it is only by keeping well in mind the intensity and the
scope of this world-movement of revolt that the dynamic value of French
revolt can be properly estimated.

[Illustration: LA COMÉDIE FRANÇAISE]



CHAPTER XVIII

THE REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT IN POETRY, MUSIC AND ART

   “_The maker of poems settles justice, reality, immortality,
   His insight and power encircle things of the human race, He is
   the glory and extract thus far of things and of the human
   race._”

   WALT WHITMAN.


   “_Venez à moi, claquepatins,
     Loqueteux, joueurs de musettes,
     Clampins, loupeurs, voyous, catins,
     Et marmousets et marmousettes,
     Tas de traîne-cul-les housettes,
     Race d’indépendants fougueux!
     Je suis du pays dont vous êtes:
     Le poète est le Roi des Gueux._

   “_Vous que la bise des matins,
     Que la pluie aux âpres sagettes,
     Que les gendarmes, les mâtins,
     Les coups, les fièvres, les disettes,
     Prennent toujours pour amusettes,
     Vous dont l’habit mince et fougueux
     Paraît fait de vieilles gazettes,
     Le poète est le Roi des Gueux._”

     JEAN RICHEPIN.


   “_Je voudrais dire à mes amis,
     Sculpteurs d’idéal et de rimes,
     Que s’enfermer n’est plus permis,
     Lorsqu’au dehors grondent les crimes.
     Chantons la justice et l’amour!
     Le peuple va nous faire escorte.
     Poète, descends de la tour!
     Et puis ferme ta porte._”

     MAURICE BOUKAY.


   “_Persons of anarchistic mentality are signalised by their
   love of the new in art and in science, by their feverish
   search after new forms._”—A. HAMON.


   “_So it is you who are the poet. Well, as for me, I do not
   like poets nor_ intellectuels. _I do not like them because
   they are all more or less anarchists, and because the
   anarchists blow up the bourgeois. I am neither a poet nor an_
   intellectuel, _and I am proud of it._”

   Monsieur Dupont, in La Petite Bohème of ARMAND CHARPENTIER.


Zola, being asked to define an anarchist, said, “_Un anarchiste, c’est
un poète._” Conversely, the poet is more or less of an anarchist. Job
and Isaiah are currently quoted by the _libertaires_ in support of their
position. Æschylus, in his immortal “_Prometheus_,” Euripides in his
“_Bacchantes_,” Schiller, Shelley, Swinburne, Robert Burns, and Walt
Whitman, in portions of their works, all promulgated good, sound
anarchist doctrine. As to the poets who, without being specifically
anarchistic, are revolutionists of one sort or another, their name is
legion. A bulky volume would scarcely suffice to name them.

In France, especially, revolutionary singers have never been lacking.
“_Console-toi, gibet, tu sauveras la France!_” cried André Chénier,
greatest of the galaxy of poets who illustrated the Revolution.
Béranger, before he was dazzled by the _épopée_ of Napoleon, had his
moments of revolt. The two Augustes of the Restoration, Barbier and
Barthélemy, the first in his _Iambes_ and the second in his _Némésis_,
glorified insurrection.

Hégésippe Moreau, who died in the _Hospice de la Charité_ at
twenty-eight, just as his _Myosotis_ was winning him recognition, heaped
terrible imprecations upon the heads of the rich and powerful, and
played a valiant part in the outbreak of 1830,

   “_Non comme l’orateur du banquet populaire
     Dont la flamme du punch attise la colère:
     Comme un bouffon dans ses parades, non!
     Mais les pieds dans le sang, en face du canon._”

   “_Pour que son vers clément pardonne an genre humain,
     Que faut-il au poète? Un baiser et du pain_,”

sang Moreau in his beautiful “_Elégie à la Voulzie_,” which is recited
in revolutionary meetings more often than any other poem. “He was
hungry,” remarks Sainte-Beuve, apropos of Moreau’s vindictiveness, “and
he composed, in his hunger, songs that betrayed by their fierceness and
bitterness the want within.”

Moreau defends the excesses of the mobs of the Revolution:—

   “_Oubliez-vous
     Que leur âme de feu purifiait leurs œuvres?
     Oui, d’un pied gigantesque écrasant les couleuvres
     Par le fer et la flamme ils voulaient aplanir
     Une route aux français vers un bel avenir.
     Ils marchaient pleins de foi, pleins d’amour, et l’histoire
     Absoudra, comme Dieu, qui sut aimer et croire._”

       *       *       *       *       *

                   _Au jour de la vengeance,
   Si l’opprimé s’égare, il est absous d’avance._”


He predicts a general cataclysm, declares his intention of doing all in
his power to bring it on,—

   “_J’ameuterai le peuple à mes vérités crues,
     Je prophétiserai sur le trépied des rues,_”—

and exults in the prospect,—

   “_Et moi, j’applaudirai; ma jeunesse engourdie
     Se réchauffera bien à ce grand incendie._”

Pierre Dupont (peer almost of Burns in his simple country songs), who
died disgraced by reason of his toadyism towards the government of the
Third Napoleon, which had banished and then pardoned him, displayed a
fine revolutionary fervour in 1848, before his banishment. His “_Chant
des Ouvriers_” and his poem—

   “_On n’arrête pas le murmure
     Du peuple quand il dit, j’ai faim,
     Car c’est le cri de la Nature,
     Il faut du pain, il faut du pain,_”

will be recited and sung by the people of France as long as there is
such a thing as hunger within its borders.

At the same epoch, Alfred de Vigny distilled bitterness against society
in his _Destinées_ and _Journal d’un Poète_; and Leconte de Lisle vented
his accumulated scorn as follows:—

   “_Hommes, tueurs des Dieux, les temps ne sont pas loin
     Où, sur un grand tas d’or, vautrés dans quelque coin,
     Vous mourrez bêtement en emplissant vos poches!_”

Victor Hugo’s _Châtiments_ (destined to become the favourite reading of
Caserio, the assassin of Carnot) was the supreme cry of revolt of the
Second Empire. In such lines as these Hugo proclaimed the anarchist
ideal without, however, recognising it as such:—

   “_Les temps heureux luiront, non pour la seule France,
     Mais pour tous....
     Les tyrans s’éteindront comme des météores....
     Fêtes dans les cités, fêtes dans les campagnes!...
     Où donc est l’échafaud? Ce monstre a disparu....
     Plus de soldats l’épée au poing, plus de frontières,
     Plus de fisc, plus de glaive ayant forme de croix....
     Le saint labeur de tous se fond en harmonie....
     Toute l’humanité dans sa splendide ampleur
     Sent le don que lui fait le moindre travailleur....
     Radieux avenir! Essor universel!
     Epanouissement de l’homme sous le ciel!_”

Eugène Vermesch was the fiercest, though by no means the greatest, poet
of the Commune. Laurent Tailhade and Jean Richepin, among the living,
have achieved renown as poets of revolt.

Richepin[124] is as complete a nihilist of the open, rollicking,
devil-go-lucky order as Anatole France is of the subtle, Jehan
Rictus of the plaintive, and Zo d’Axa of the fantastic orders. Like
them, he commits himself to nothing and credits nothing, not even the
faiths and formulas of revolution; and, like them, he is nevertheless a
formidable revolutionist.

In the introduction to _Les Blasphèmes_ he proclaims his intention of
“scandalising the devout, the Deists, the sceptics, the materialists,
the scientists, the worshippers of Reason, the prosperous and the
unprosperous, in a word, the rout of fools and hypocrites who fancy it
their duty to save Law, Property, the Family, Society, Morals, etc.” “In
the defence of these conventions, of which I do not recognise the
binding force,” he adds, “I shall hear all the geese of the Capital
clack.”

Book X. of _Les Blasphèmes_ is entitled “_Dernières Idoles_.” The
“_dernières idoles_” are Nature, Reason, Progress. Richepin treats them
in the most cavalier fashion:—

Nature:

   “_Farce amère!_”

   “_Carcasse qui n’a ni cœur, ni sang, ni lait!_”

   “_Toi qui fais des vivants pour amuser la Mort, Ton ensemble
   n’est rien qu’un mélange sans art._”

Reason:

   “_Impudente drôlesse dont l’homme se croit le valet!_”

   “_Coureuse de chimères, Faiseuse de vœux clandestins!_”

   “_Reine fanfaronne, Servante du corps qui t’exhale!_”

Progress:

   “_Voici qu’un Dieu nouveau nous ronge: le Progrès._”

   “_Le Progrès! Oui, grand fou, sous ce titre nouveau
     C’est toujours Dieu qui vient te hanter le cerveau,
     C’est toujours la stérile et dangereuse idée
     Dont ton âme d’enfant fut jadis obsédée.
     Sans le savoir tu crois encor._”

In another part of this volume he exalts, beginning with Satan himself,
the principal _révoltés_ of mythology and history. The following ringing
stanzas are taken from “_Les Nomades_”:—

   “_Oui, ce sont mes aïeux, à moi. Car j’ai beau vivre
     En France, je ne suis ni Latin ni Gaulois.
     J’ai les os fins, la peau jaune, des yeux de cuivre,
     Un torse d’écuyer, et le mépris des lois.
     Oui, je suis leur bâtard!_

    _Leur sang bout dans mes veines,
     Leur sang, qui m’a donné cet esprit mécréant,
     Cet amour du grand air, et des courses lointaines,
     L’Horreur de l’Idéal et la soif du Néant._”

The “_Marches Touraniennes_” conclude as follows:—

   “_Plus de lois, de droits, plus rien!
     Plus de vrai, de beau, de bien!
         Ces Aryas!
     Par le fer et par le feu,
     Place au Néant, place au Dieu
         Des Parias!_”

For his _Chansons des Gueux_, Richepin was fined five hundred francs
(and costs) and kept in prison thirty days. In this volume he acclaims
all the outlaws and outcasts, all the flotsam and jetsam of modern
civilisation in both country and town,—thieves, tramps, gypsies,
beggars, thugs, drunkards, foundlings, panders, and prostitutes; “the
halt, the maimed, the blind,” the reckless, the defiant, and the
scoffing, the uncontrolled and the uncontrollable, with a vigour of
language, a genuineness of accent, a picturesqueness of phrase, an
audacity in imagery and epithet, a poignancy of emotion, a naturalness,
a freshness, a breeziness, or rather a tempestuousness, that bespeak the
master. He lays bare the thoughts and the passions of his disreputable
personages, portrays their starvation and their gluttonies, their
enforced abstinences and their debaucheries, and makes them speak in
their own weird tongues, sing their own ribald songs, and dance their
own maddening dances. For lyric savagery and savage lyrism these
_Chansons des Gueux_ have no counterpart, so far as I know, in modern
literature.

   “I love my heroes, my lamentable vagabonds,” wrote Richepin,
   in an extraordinary preface.... “I love this something, I know
   not what it is, which renders them beautiful, noble, this
   wild-beast instinct which drives them into adventure,—a rash
   and sinister instinct, granted, but an instinct characterised
   by a fierce independence. Oh, the marvellous fable of La
   Fontaine about the wolf and the dog! The errant wolf is mere
   skin and bones. The dog is fat and sleek. Yes, but the chafed
   neck, the collar! To be tied! ‘So you can’t run when you wish?
   No? Good-bye, then, to your free meals. To the wood! To the
   wood! Everything at the point of the sword!’ And Master Wolf
   is off: he runs still. He runs still, and will always run,
   this wolf, this tramp; and I love him for it. And every soul a
   bit above the common will love likewise this voluntary pariah,
   who may be repugnant, hideous, odious, abominable, but who has
   greatness,—a superb greatness, since his whole being voices
   the heroic war-cry of Tacitus: _Malo periculosam libertatem_.

   “_Periculosam!_ my brave vagabonds! _Periculosam!_ do you
   hear, you coddled worldlings, all of you who have your soup
   and your kennel—and also your collar? Have I then committed a
   great crime in revealing the brutal poetry of these
   adventurers, of these braves, of these stubborn children to
   whom society is almost always a stepmother, and who, finding
   no milk in the breast of the unnatural nurse, bite the flesh
   itself to calm their hunger?”

Laurent Tailhade is a less natural and wholesome poet than Jean
Richepin, perhaps, but he is certainly a more distinguished one. As a
chiseller of poetic cameos and medallions, he has few, if any, superiors
among his contemporaries. His _Vitraux_ and _Jardin des Rêves_ are
particularly relished by artists and littérateurs and by his
brother-poets.

Tailhade’s prose is as finely chiselled as his poetry. It is almost
invariably lyric; and—although he is caustic and cruel therein to the
verge of cut-throatism, and although he has at his command the most
extensive vocabulary of invective of any person in France, not excepting
M. Henri Rochefort—it is always, like his poetry, distinguished. His
cult for the classic French and Latin authors and his scrupulous care
for art save him from vulgarity and commonplaceness, even in his most
questionable literary undertakings and even in the simple diatribes
which he contributes to the most insignificant, the least scholarly, and
the least artistic propagandist sheets. “He is a _lettré_,” says M.
Ledrain, conservator at the Louvre, “who knows admirably his Latin and
his Sixteenth Century, and who has formed thus a particularly savoury
style which we all admire.”

Tailhade has unblenchingly defended nearly every anarchist attempt that
has occurred in Europe since he came to manhood. He characterised the
assassination of Humbert by the Italian Bresci as “_un geste qui console
et qui revive nos espoirs_”; and Sophie Perowskaïa, Hartmann, Rysakoff,
Caserio, Angiolillo, Henry, and Ravachol were all eulogised by him. He
has been prominently before the public on four occasions during the past
decade: at the time of the attempt of Vaillant, by reason of his
striking epigram, “_Qu’importe le reste, si le geste est beau_”; a
little later, when he was himself the victim, at the _Restaurant Foyot_,
of an anarchist—or anti-anarchist?—_beau geste_ which nearly cost him
his eyesight and permanently disfigured him; in the autumn of 1901, at
the time of the second visit of the czar, when he was tried and
sentenced to a 1,000-franc fine and a year’s imprisonment for having
reaffirmed “the venerable theory of regicide[125] which has traversed
history” in a remarkable prose poem published by _Le Libertaire_, and
entitled “_Le Triomphe de la Domesticité_”; and lastly, in 1903, when he
was mobbed in Brittany for his diatribes against the local clergy, on
which occasion he rendered himself ludicrously guilty of inconsistency
by appealing to the protection of the police.

The incriminated passage in “_Le Triomphe de la Domesticité_,” above
referred to, is as follows:—

   “_Quoi, parmi ces soldats illégalement retenus pour veiller
   sur la route où va passer la couardise impériale, parmi ces
   gardes-barrières qui gagnent neuf francs tous les mois, parmi
   les chemineaux, les mendiants, les trimardeurs, les outlaws,
   ceux qui meurent de froid sous les ponts en hiver,
   d’insolation en été, de faim toute la vie, il ne s’en trouvera
   pas un pour prendre son fusil, son tissonnier, pour arracher
   aux frênes des bois le gourdin préhistorique, et, montant sur
   le marchepied des carrosses, pour frapper jusqu’à la mort,
   pour frapper au visage, et pour frapper au cœur la canaille
   triomphante, tsar, président, ministres, officiers, et les
   clergés infames, tous les exploiteurs qui rient de sa misère,
   vivent de sa moelle, courbent son échine, et le payent de
   vains mots! La rue de la Ferronerie est-elle à jamais barrée?
   La semence des héros est-elle inféconde pour toujours?_

   “_Le sublime Louvel, Caserio, n’ont-ils plus d’héritiers? Les
   tueurs de rois sont-ils morts à leur tour, ceux qui disaient
   avec Jerôme Olgiati, l’exécuteur de Galéas Sforza, qu’un
   trépas douloureux fait la renommée éternelle? Non! La
   conscience humaine vit encore._”[126]

At the banquet offered him by sympathising littérateurs and artists
immediately after his trial, Tailhade proposed a toast which illustrates
capitally the scope of his emancipating ardour. It was:—

“_A la Finlande! A la Sibérie! Aux Juifs Roumains! A l’Arménie! A la
Catalogne! A la Sicile!_”

[Illustration: Laurent Tailhade.]

In the course of his trial he expounded his attitude, as follows:—

   “I know that I am on trial before you for excitation to
   murder. As an author, it is my duty to express all my thought;
   as an historian, it is my duty to discuss historic facts; as a
   philosopher, I have the right to think and to deduce from
   these facts the philosophical consequence which they warrant.
   I have availed myself largely of what I consider my right. I
   accept the entire responsibility of my acts. I even hold that
   they do me honour. If to-morrow an occasion presented itself
   for me to express again, in the interests of beauty, all my
   thought, I should, before the general baseness, seize with
   eagerness this fresh occasion.”

[Illustration: CLOVIS HUGUES]

The _raffiné_ De Goncourt was wont to dream of an infernal machine
“_tuant la bêtise chic qui de quatre à six heures fait le tour du Bois
de Boulogne_.” Similarly it is the Philistinism and vulgar fetichism of
the hour, its imbecility and ugliness, that particularly exasperate M.
Tailhade, this other _raffiné_, and set scintillating his scholarly and
artistic ire. It was out of the depths of a profound disgust that he
drew his scorching volume, _Le Pays des Mufles_; and it is the æsthetic
offences quite as much as the economic misdoings of the bourgeois that
he habitually lashes.

Socialism likewise has its poets, of whom Clovis Hugues and Maurice
Bouchor (poets considerably inferior to Richepin and Tailhade) may be
mentioned among the maturer men.

Clovis Hugues has as avocation, when the fortune of elections favours
him, the defence of socialistic principles in the Chamber of Deputies;
and M. Bouchor gives a considerable portion of his time to acquainting
working people with the masterpieces of literature. “The æsthetic sense,
which is the most elevated means of enjoyment, being dependent on the
regular action of the other senses,” says Bouchor, “we need, if we would
assure to all men a complete development, to demand plenty of material
comfort for every individual. We ought to realise for all humanity the
idea of the old Latin adage,—_Mens sana in corpore sano_. Thus
socialism, which current prejudice interprets as a negation of art for
art’s sake, is, on the contrary, the most direct route to it, and the
affirmation of it.... We wish to raise the masses to the noblest
artistic conceptions.... The people have a right to beauty, to science,
to an unutilitarian culture of the mind, to whatever, in a word, can
enlighten and ennoble it.”

In poetry the relation between freedom of expression and freedom of
thought is a very intimate one. The search for fresh forms and the
thinking of fresh thoughts are very apt to go together. Furthermore,
there would seem to be some subtle affinity between the releasing of
verse from its fetters and the enfranchisement of humanity from its
bondage. It would be puerile to lay any stress on the fact that both
Henry and Vaillant wrote verses for the _revues des jeunes_, since this
may well have been a mere coincidence. But it is certain that the
agitation for the _vers libre_ in France these latter years has been one
of the manifestations of the prevalent revolutionary spirit.

True, Verlaine and Mallarmé, though sufficiently revolutionary as
regards form, were quite the reverse of revolutionary in their thinking;
and plenty of similar instances might be cited. On the other hand, a
large majority of the poets who have fought the battle for the
recognition of the rights of the _vers libre_ have been imbued, or at
least touched, with revolutionary ideas; and Verlaine, Mallarmé, and the
other poets who remained loyal to the old society, all in discarding the
old verse, were on terms of closest intimacy with the revolutionists,
and were for a long time mainly encouraged (not to say “boomed”) by
them.

Adolphe Retté and Gustave Kahn are unblushing anarchists. The former,
who has had in his time more than one misunderstanding with the law,
says of himself and his opinions: “I fenced, in the _revues_, against
scholastics of every sort, maintaining that the artist (by the very fact
of his being an artist) should translate his emotions by an individual
rhythm, and not according to fixed forms.... I set myself to interrogate
all the unfortunates whom I elbowed in this hell [the hospital], worse
than that of Dante.... It was shocking.... And I understood solidarity.

   “Before entering the hospital, I was a theoretical anarchist.
   On leaving it, I was the militant which I hope I have never
   ceased to be. I deny and I revolt.”

All the members of the revolutionary _Endehors_ group were advocates of
untrammelled verse; and a goodly portion—among whom Pierre Quillard,
Francis Vielé-Griffin, and Henri de Regnier may be mentioned—were
exponents of it.

Quillard is now a militant anarchist at home, and has displayed on
several occasions a chivalrous and more than platonic enthusiasm for
emancipating movements abroad. Vielé-Griffin is mildly anarchistic. He
says:—

   “My æsthetic convictions, which are founded on the axiom, Art
   is individualist and normal (that is to say, an artist worthy
   of the name carries in his consciousness the necessary rules
   of the expression for which he was born, and all dogmas are by
   just so much detrimental to art), led me to consider whether
   the anarchist doctrines might not have some connection with
   these convictions. I am far from having elucidated all the
   points which have occupied me up to this moment; but my
   philosophy, essentially theistic, welcomes without effort a
   sort of normal anarchism, which I am about to discover,
   perhaps, in the divers anarchistic works I am consulting.”

M. de Regnier, recognised in the most reputable quarters, has
practically ceased his commerce with revolutionary spirits. But this
fact does not in the least impair the significance of the other fact
that he found this commerce conducive, necessary even, to his proper
development in the earlier stages of his career. Emile Verhaeren,
Georges Eekhoud, and several other Belgians whose art is intimately
associated with Paris are, or have been, poets of revolt.

The _Décadents_[127] and _Néo-Décadents_, _Symbolistes_ and
_Néo-Symbolistes_, _Instrumentistes_, _Déliquescents_, and
_Brutalistes_,[128] most of the sets of poets, in fact, who have made a
stir in the French world of letters since the disappearance—as a
coterie—of the _Parnassiens_, have included many revolutionists, mostly
of anarchistic bent, protesters as well against the oppressions of
politics and the conventions of society as against the obsession of
stereotyped poetic forms.[129]

   “The greater part,” writes one of their number, “flaunted
   proudly their disdain of current prejudices, current morals,
   and current institutions.... Some attacked property, religion,
   family; others ridiculed marriage and extolled _l’union
   libre_; others vaunted the blessings of cosmopolitanism and of
   universal association.... With some, it is true, the
   antagonism was only apparent,—simple love of paradox,
   inordinate desire to get themselves talked about by uttering
   eccentric phrases. But this state of mind existed. If all did
   not detest sincerely our bourgeois society, each one lashed it
   with violent diatribes, each one had a vague intuition of
   something better.”

Whatever the reason therefor may be,—emotional temperament, weariness
with physical privation, bitterness of unrecognised talent, disgust
with the ugliness of modern commercialism and industrialism, the subtle
connection between freedom of thought and freedom of form (noted in the
discussion of poetry), or all these things combined,—it is safe to
venture the assertion that there are, and long have been, in France more
revolutionists of various stripes among the artists than among any other
class of the community engaged in liberal pursuits.

The great Courbet—to go no farther back—was a disciple of Proudhon.
“_Il avait_,” to use the picturesque phrase of Jules Vallès, “_du
charbon dans le crâne_.” The story of Courbet’s career of
revolt—largely mingled with sheer legend, it is true, but even so
scarcely more extraordinary than the reality—is world property. Courbet
suffered imprisonment for his opinions, and had his pictures and
household effects sold by the state.

Cazin, mildest of painters, was so involved in the Commune that he was
forced to take refuge in London, where he supported himself by making
artistic earthen jars. Eugène Carrière, whose simple, original,
eminently human art is slowly conquering two hemispheres, is an
outspoken antagonist of society as it is.

It is impossible for me to say whether a majority of the Impressionists
hold (apart from their art, which has proved profoundly revolutionary)
revolutionary views. It is currently known, however, that Pissarro,
Cézanne, and Delattre hold, or did hold, such views; and the more
prominent Neo-Impressionists have anarchistic leanings almost to a man.
As to the social attitude of Maximilien Luce, Ibels, Paul Signac,
Pissarro _fils_, Félix Vallotton, Francis Jourdain (present managing
editor of _Le Libertaire_), and Van Rysselberghe, for example, there is
no possibility of dispute.

Luce is the most typical living instance of the artist who is, as was
Courbet, at once a striking figure in the art world and an influential
personality in the revolutionary groups. Born and brought up in a
working faubourg, which he still inhabits, Luce has an affection as
genuine as it is ardent for the common people; and he has rendered, with
disagreeable mannerisms and technical lapses, perhaps, but with truth,
originality, robustness, and intensity notwithstanding, two classes of
subjects which really make one,—the street and working life of Paris
and the life of the lurid mining and smelting regions of Belgium and the
north of France.

   “Landscapist before everything,” says Emile Verhaeren, “Luce
   remains faithful to the tendency to sink in nature the immense
   strivings of human beings. The surroundings of men determine
   their existence and their history. In seeing these monumental
   and sinister chimneys and scaffoldings under the moon, these
   smoke-clouds which move towards the horizon like hordes, these
   fires which tear the night and seem to bleed like flesh, we
   think of the tortured humanity of which they express the
   suffering. Tracts of desolation and of tragic pangs, miseries
   kindled in space, mad vortexes of matter roundabout the
   voluntary activity which violates it, which subjugates it, and
   which it opposes,—all anguish and all fear are unveiled.”

Paul Signac, after Luce and Seurat (deceased) the best known of the
_Néo-Impressionistes_, enumerates as follows the influences which have
led him to identify himself with anarchism:—

  “I. The laws of physiology—the rights of the stomach, of the
  brain, of the eyes.

  “II. Logic.

  “III. Uprightness.

  “IV. The sufferings of my fellows.

  “V. The need of seeing happy people about me.”

It is certain that there are more revolutionary personalities in the
seceding “_Champ de Mars_” than in the old, and so-called Official,
_Salon_; and the various coteries of aggressive and often eccentric
innovators, who hold themselves aloof from or are held aloof by these
two salons,—coteries which correspond vaguely to the coteries of the
_jeunes poètes_,—display, for the most part, pronounced revolutionary
affinities. The _Salon des Indépendants_, whose motto is, “Neither
juries nor awards,” and whose object is “to enable artists to present
their works freely to the judgment of the public, without any outside
intervention whatsoever,” has been from the beginning an anarchistic
salon in every sense of the term,—an exhibition by revolutionary
artists as well as an exhibition of revolutionary art. One has only to
compare the names of its exhibitors with the names of those who have
co-operated in the pictorial propaganda of the anarchist organ _Les
Temps Nouveaux_, to be convinced of it.

It was not necessary that an Edwin Markham should write a “Man with a
Hoe” for the world to recognise that the art of Millet—whether Millet
so intended it or not—has a social significance. There are many living
painters, about whose social attitude the public at large knows little
or nothing, who, like Millet (if in less degree), feel and express so
well, when they will, the benumbing influence of poverty, the hardness
of the toil, or the meagreness of the joys of peasants and town
labourers, that this expression is an indirect plea—no less eloquent
than the most direct plea—for a redress of social wrongs.

Such, to name only a fraction of those who might be mentioned, are
Besson, Buland, Leclerc, Sabatté, Léon L’Hermitte, Cottet, Dauchez, Jean
Veber, Zwiller, Geffroy, Boggio, Prunier, Raffaelli, Luigi Loir, Mlle.
Delasalle, Aublet, and Lubin de Beauvais.

Jules Adler, more positive, has given pictorial expression to the most
violent impulses of the mob and the sweeping demands of labour; and
Constantin Meunier[130] has painted, like Luce, the black and bristling
region of the furnaces and the mines described by Zola in _Germinal_.

Auguste Rodin, symbolic and synthetic, surely the greatest innovator in
sculpture and probably the greatest sculptor of the century just closed,
has been subjected throughout his career to a systematic official and
academic opposition and persecution, which have not, so far as I know,
made a revolutionist of him, but which have made him a very god in the
eyes of all the revolutionary elements, and which would have produced
the same effect, perhaps, had his art been far less convincing and
colossal than it is.

Constantin Meunier,[131] also an innovator, and second in merit to Rodin
alone according to many, is the sculptor _par excellence_ of the “fourth
estate.” The grim and tragic poetry of labour has been interpreted by
him as it had never been interpreted before in marble and bronze. The
special physique, the attitudes and the gestures, of all the overworked
miners, puddlers, fishermen, and peasants,—their dignity and their
pain, their capacity for endurance and resentment, their thirst for
resistance,—have in him a superbly realistic and a compassionate,
loving, high-minded, almost spiritual exponent. Righteous indignation
against the present order of things underlies Meunier’s work. Indeed, he
makes no secret of his Utopian desires.

Both Meunier and Rodin have elaborated projects for a monument to the
glorification of labour, which are enthusiastically praised by the
champions of social revolt.

Jules Dalou[131] was banished, like Cazin, for his participation in the
Commune, and was the sculptor of the monuments to the revolutionists
Blanqui and Victor Noir. Baffier is an avowed revolutionist, who affects
the name of artisan and the artisan’s garb.

Micheline, the good angel of Emile Veyrin’s drama _La Pâque Socialiste_,
says: “Jesus of Nazareth, called the Christ, remained nailed to a cross
six hours. Humanity is on a cross of suffering. Humanity, the great
crucified, will release itself.” When she is asked whence she draws her
hope, she replies, lifting her eyes to the cross, “From the gospel.”
Furthermore, she distributes the bread of a new covenant to a band of
weavers at a symbolic feast, patterned after the Last Supper. It is at
the foot of a _Calvaire_ that the anarchist Jean Roule, of Mirbeau’s
_Mauvais Bergers_, harangues the multitude of striking workmen, who are
for the moment furious against him because he has refused to accept, in
behalf of the strikers, a strike fund offered by certain professional
labour leaders, who intend to utilise the strike for their own selfish
ends; and it is by pointing to the cross—“this cross where for two
thousand years, under the weight of miserable hatreds, He agonises who,
the first, dared to speak to men of liberty and love”—that his
companion Madeleine, fearing for his life, transforms their fury into
enthusiasm.

The Montmartre monologist Jehan Rictus, in “_Le Revenant_”[132] and
other of his poems, has presented the Christ as a modern city vagrant
suffering the buffets of modern society.

This fashion of bringing the Christian story up to date by introducing
the Christ into the life of the period has invaded painting as well as
poetry and the drama. Practised by Dagnan-Bouveret from motives solely
artistic,[133] by Léon L’Hermitte, Pierre Lagarde, and a number of
others from motives partly artistic and partly humanitarian, by the
_mondain_ Jean Béraud (_Chemin de la Croix_, _Descente de la Croix_, _La
Madeleine chez le Pharisien_, and _Le Christ Lié à la Colonne_) out of
what seems to be sheer sensationalism, and by the decorators of the
_cabarets artistiques et littéraires_ of Montmartre, half out of a
bravado which those who cannot distinguish between religion and the
church misname blasphemy and half out of class hatred, it has also been
practised with unalloyed reverence and conviction by a number of
painters as a direct and undisguised form of revolutionary propaganda.
These last, perceiving that Christ, in the person of his unfortunate
children, is mocked, spit upon, and crucified every day, and that a
Magdalen is treated with no more consideration by the scribes and
Pharisees of the twentieth century than by the scribes and Pharisees of
the first century, have given us Christs watching by the sick-beds of
_cocottes_; Christs in corduroys and sabots, fraternising with peasants;
Christs in the garb of the Paris labourer, exhorting in wine-shops and
anarchist meetings; tatterdemalion Christs, pleading vainly for alms in
city streets and along the country roads; peace-proclaiming Christs,
jeered at and pommelled by militarist mobs; and vagabond Christs,
“without legal domiciles,” brutalised by the police and hauled into the
courts.

It is among the “_dessinateurs_,”[134] however, that the tendency to
utilise the Christ for purposes of revolutionary propaganda is the most
in evidence. Indeed, it is among the _dessinateurs_ (who are often
painters likewise) that the spirit of revolt all along the line is the
most pronounced.

An average Parisian, if asked to name the _dessinateurs_ most in the
public view, will cite for you Forain, Caran d’Ache, Léandre, Guillaume,
Cappiello, Sem, Abel Faivre, Steinlen, Willette, and Hermann-Paul.

Sem portrays relentlessly the rottenness of society, but draws no
conclusions therefrom; Cappiello has no social significance, whatever
his artistic significance may be; and Guillaume, who produces
captivating _demi-mondaines_ by the yard, has little more social
significance, although as illustrator he has cleverly seconded
Courtéline in poking good-natured fun at the army.

Caran d’Ache gives himself by preference to gleeful satire of the
follies, frailties, and foibles of the time; but he can be tragic and
redoubtable, when he chooses, in the denunciation of its injustices and
crimes.

Abel Faivre, who is very much the sort of a caricaturist one fancies
Rubens might have been, had Rubens taken to caricature, is slowly, but
surely, justifying his seemingly gratuitous grossness by evidences of an
uncommon insight into human nature and of a far-reaching philosophical
purpose.

Léandre, charming, canny, and critical, easily first of living
portrait-caricaturists, amuses himself and his constituency hugely with
the imbecilities, vanities, and idiosyncrasies of public men,
particularly of parliamentarians. He was one of the illustrators of the
_Feuilles de Zo d’Axa_, and contributes irregularly to the
anti-bourgeois sheets, but does not appear to be an unequivocal social
revolutionist.

Forain, a consummate synthesiser, who can express more with a minimum of
strokes than any Frenchman living, at the beginning of his career was a
fierce exposer of the emptiness and crookedness of politicians,
financiers, and swells, and a convincing pleader for justice to the
oppressed. His sympathies have gone out to the people more rarely since.
With prosperity he has become something of a swell himself, but he still
electrifies Paris now and then with a drawing whose poignancy shows
plainly that his heart has not shifted its position. Crueler than
Léandre,—cruelest, in fact, of all the men of his profession,—he is
more dreaded by the politicians than any other artist in Paris. As a
partisan of anti-Semitism, Forain has latterly directed most of his
political caricatures against those whom he considers, rightly or
wrongly, to be the tools of the Jews.

Hermann-Paul, Steinlen, and Willette[135] are out-and-out social
revolutionists.

Hermann-Paul provides all the illustrations for _L’Officiel_, which
“does not pretend,” says its editor Franc-Nohain, “to be funnier than
the _Journal Officiel_ of the French Republic.” He was an illustrator of
the _Feuilles de Zo d’Axa_, and has participated in the pictorial
propaganda of _Les Temps Nouveaux_. He was one of the fiercest attackers
of the army during the Dreyfus affair, and his specialty—if a man of
such a wide range of antipathies as he may be said to have a
specialty—is the exposure of the horrors of war. The military
atrocities which have been perpetrated during the last few years, and
which are still being perpetrated in various quarters of the globe, have
in him an ungullible and indefatigable antagonist.

Willette’s grace is proverbial. In his lighter moods he is, with a large
allowance of course, a sort of modern Boucher or Watteau. He is prodigal
to the last degree of dainty nymphs and goddesses and all manner of
delicate nudities, of playful elves, sprites, and cupids, of swans and
doves, of naïve _porcelaine-de-Saxe_ shepherdesses, irresponsible fauns
and wily satyrs, of lamb-like gambols, young loves, and spring-time
settings; while his pale Pierrots and Pierrettes, disporting by the
light of the moon or pensively rhyming and serenading, are strangely
insinuating and enticing. His Parisian types—at once real and
unreal—are equally captivating. Willette takes a mischievous delight in
surrounding them with piquant, pagan genii, by way of symbols; and, even
when he leaves them quite alone, they belong less to the Paris of the
day and the hour, with all their saucy modernity, than to the realm of
fantasy. Nevertheless, he can be bitter, vindictive, terrible. No one of
his contemporaries, except Forain, can be so awful; and no one, not even
Forain, has so often frightened the bourgeois out of their bourgeois
wits. A few of his fiercer cartoons deserve notice here:—

A starving miner holds a bloated employer at the mercy of his pick, in
the bottom of a mine-shaft, and claims his vengeance.

A wild-eyed figure, symbolising the proletariat, brandishes a knife
tragically, and cries, “_Je voudrais que la société n’eût qu’une seule
tête pour la lui couper d’un seul coup_.”

A nude woman, at once voluptuous and august, enthroned before a
guillotine, proclaims,—

   “_Je suis la Sainte Démocratie,
     J’attends mes amants._”

_Pour la Prochaine Exposition_: A _sans-culotte_, saucily puffing a
cigarette, displays a guillotine of the most approved pattern, with this
comment, “_Et elle sera à vapeur, mon bourgeois!_”

_Marquis Talons-Rouges_: De Gallifet, “the butcher of the Commune,”
stands transfixed with terror while the massacred rise up against him
from under the paving-stones.

_Vendredi Saint_: M. Bérenger,[136] attired as a Protestant clergyman,
glowers at the Magdalen, who is weeping over the Crucified One, and
says, “_Si j’avais été de ces temps, il n’y aurait pas eu de scandale au
pied de la croix_.”

On the other hand, Willette is not tenderer with his bewitching
dreamland lovers than he is with the abused and the oppressed.

He has contributed to nearly all the illustrated organs of revolt,
beginning with the _Père Peinard_, and at one time made all the
illustrations for a most impertinent little sheet, known as _Le Pied de
Nez_, the text for which was furnished by Camille St. Croix. His
stained-glass window at the _Chat Noir_, representing the worship of the
golden calf and bearing the inscription “_Te Deum Laudamus_,” will be
remembered as long as the _Chat Noir_ itself.

Steinlen’s[137] work is big,—big for its humanity and big for its art;
big by reason of its realism and by reason of its idealism; big in
extent, intent, and content. His compositions possess all the essential
qualities of great pictures; and, if it is ever permitted to class a
simple _dessinateur_ with the masters, Steinlen must surely be ranked as
one of the few great artists of his time.

In Steinlen we have all the social types that the _chansonnier_ Bruant
and the monologist Jehan Rictus have made vivid by their poetry, and a
great many more besides; all the social types that the painters of the
humble—L’Hermitte, Raffaelli, Sabatté, and Besson—have endeared to us
on canvas, and a great many more besides: _maquereaux_ and their white
slaves, the _filles du trottoir_; criminals, child-martyrs, country and
city vagabonds, and parasitic squatters on vacant city lots;
coster-mongers and street musicians; little dressmakers and milliners
tripping jauntily down the slopes of Montmartre and Belleville;
laundresses pounding and gossiping in the wash-houses or wearily
traversing the streets, with heavy baskets of clothes on their arms;
Bohemian poets and artists fighting poverty in their humble _ménages_ or
junketing with their mistresses and models; over-dressed _filles de
joie_ awaiting, Danaë-like, in cafés and night restaurants, the descent
of the golden shower; unsophisticated or hungry working-girls falling
into the traps set by the mistresses of the public houses, and country
maidens succumbing to the glitter of the soldier’s coat; toiling
peasants, stupid, stolid, and patient; labourers and mechanics at their
work, at their noon-day luncheons, and, in the wine-shops after their
working hours, under the spell of prating politicians; miners grovelling
in the murk or marching, pale, starving, and ominous, as strikers, to
the assertion of their rights and the redress of their wrongs. The
painter Luce and the sculptor Meunier are, perhaps, the only artists who
have displayed continuously, during a series of years, an equal
comprehension of the suffering, the yearning, and the revolt of the
masses; and Meunier’s field of observation is scarcely as broad as
Steinlen’s, while Luce’s technical skill is inferior to his. Steinlen
has climbed by the ladder of a marvellous intuition into the very soul
of the proletariat, and his superb gift of expression enables him to
bear completest witness to all that he has therein felt and seen.

A mighty sadness permeates his work.

Steinlen’s best-known drawings have appeared in _Le Père Peinard_, _Le
Chambard_, _Le Mirliton_, _La Lanterne_, the anarchist child’s paper
_Jean-Pierre_, _Les Feuilles de Zo d’Axa_, _Le Canard Sauvage_, _Le
Sifflet_, and _Le Gil Blas Illustré_, to which last he contributed a
first page, weekly, for a number of years. He has illustrated two
volumes of the _Chansons_ of Bruant (_Dans la Rue_) and Maurice Boukay’s
_Chansons Rouges_. Several of his posters, notably that of the socialist
daily, _Le Petit Sou_, breathe a fierce revolutionary spirit.

Among the minor _dessinateurs_—minor not necessarily in talent, but in
vogue—are the revolutionists Luce, Francis Jourdain, Vallotton,
Pissarro _fils_, Signac, Rysselberghe, and Ibels, already noticed as
painters. Roubille, G. Maurin, Jehannet, Guillaume, Barbottin,
Anquetin, Cross, Mab, Mabel, Lebasque, Delannoy, Comin-Ache, Chevalier,
Daumont, Alexandre Charpentier, Heidbrinck, Camille Lefèvre, and J.
Henault have been identified with the propaganda by art of _Les Temps
Nouveaux_. Couturier[138] has an intimate connection with the other
anarchist organ, _Le Libertaire_. Jean Grave’s primer of anarchy, _Les
Aventures de Nono_, was illustrated by Charpentier, Heidbrinck,
Hermann-Paul, Camille Lefèvre, Luce, Mab, Rysselberghe, and Pissarro
_fils_. Grandjouan, Léal de Camara, Arthur Michaël, Jossot, Dubuc,
Balluriau, Gottlob, Noël Dorville, Jouve, Kupka, Weiluc, Louis Morin,
Braun, Borgex, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cadel, Darbour, Roedel, Redon, and Grün
are all strongly revolutionary in portions of their work.

_Le Rire_, _Le Sourire_, _Le Cri de Paris_, _Le Gil Blas Illustré_, and
nearly a score of illustrated sheets, whose existence is likely to be so
ephemeral that their enumeration would be idle, allow a modicum of space
to refractory productions by these _dessinateurs_; and in the spring of
1901 an illustrated publication was founded, which is devoted
exclusively to full-page drawings of an anti-capitalistic,
anti-governmental character. This publication, which is called
_L’Assiette au Beurre_,[139] is as fierce in its way as was the
suppressed _Père Peinard_. Several of its numbers have been seized; but
it has so far escaped complete suppression,—mainly, it is likely, by
reason of an entire absence of reading-matter, it being far more
difficult for the courts to define the offence contained in an
inflammatory drawing than the offence contained in an inflammatory text.
The prospectus of _L’Assiette au Beurre_ thus explains its aim: “We have
arrived at a turning-point in history, where it becomes necessary for a
publication which addresses itself to thinkers and artists to face the
social question under its most diverse aspects. Now is it not a duty to
combat by art the possessors of the _assiette au beurre_ and all social
iniquities? And how can it be done better than by the pictorial
presentation which fixes an idea in the brain with an energy to which
the effort of the most puissant writer cannot attain?”

Practically all the _dessinateurs_ heretofore mentioned have appeared
with greater or less frequency in _L’Assiette au Beurre_; and it has
published many special issues, of twenty-four pages or more, devoted
exclusively to a single artist. Thus Braun, Grandjouan, Roubille,
Michaël, Dubuc, Jean Veber, Willette, Van Dongen, Gottlob, Noël
Dorville, Heidbrinck, Jouve, Lucien Métivet, Ibels, Guillaume, Caran
d’Ache, Kupka, Weiluc, Xavier, José, Minartz, Jacques Villon, Vallotton,
Sancha, Pezilla, Louis Morin, Doës, and Abel Faivre have had, each, at
least one number, and Hermann-Paul, Steinlen, Léal de Camara, Jossot,
and Balluriau several numbers, each, consecrated to their works. No
other existing journal of caricature has made so comprehensive an
artistic effort;[140] and it is at least a curious commentary—not to
insist farther—on the social attitude of the artistic _élite_ that no
other journal of caricature is so unequivocally revolutionary in tone.

Daumier, the father of modern French caricature and the greatest of
French caricaturists, was scarcely tenderer in his drawings to the
exploiters of the poor, to bourgeois stupidity and sham, and to courts,
lawyers, and politicians, than are the Mirbeaus, Tailhades, Jean Graves,
and Kropotkines in their writings; and in this respect (ignoring, of
course, the question of talent) he is closely resembled by a majority of
his successors. To be sure, it is easy to attach too much weight to this
fact. The caricaturist, like many another fellow who has to get his
living by his wits, does not invariably make it a point to express his
own convictions. The caricaturist, furthermore, could not consistently
accept a Utopia if he succeeded in ushering one in, since in Utopia he
would have no excuse for being. “Caricature is, in the nature of the
case, of the opposition.” But it is one thing to be of the
opposition—that is, to assail the political element in power—and quite
another thing to demolish the state itself and all the institutions of
society. And it is this latter thing that the great body of contemporary
French caricaturists are attempting to do.

Bernard Shaw in a little book of almost diabolical cleverness, _The
Perfect Wagnerite_, has advanced the rather startling theory that no one
can comprehend the Wagner music-dramas who is not something of an
anarchist.

Whatever one may think of Bernard Shaw in general, of Bernard Shaw as a
musical critic in particular, and, still more in particular, of Bernard
Shaw as a Wagner interpreter, one must admit that there is always a
half-truth, at least, lurking somewhere about his Sibylline epigrams and
paradoxes. There is no questioning the fact that Wagner, the transformer
of music, was a professor of revolutionary doctrines, and that he
incorporated, deliberately or otherwise, the essence of these
revolutionary doctrines into his work. “During three years,” in the
early part of his career, “he kept pouring forth pamphlets on social
evolution, religion, life, art, and the influence of riches”; and one of
these pamphlets, _Art and Revolution_, is esteemed an anarchist
text-book by anarchists in all parts of the world. “What man,” he says,
“can, with lightness of heart and calm senses, plunge his regard to the
bottom of this world of murder and rapine, organised and legalised by
deceit, imposture, and hypocrisy, without being obliged to avert his
eyes with a shudder of disgust?” Wagner resigned in 1849 his position as
conductor of the opera at Dresden in order to become “a leader of the
people in the revolution then under way.” He appealed to the king of
Saxony “to espouse the people’s cause, and then threw in his lot with
the people.” He was publicly proclaimed “a politically dangerous person
along with Bakounine and Roeckel,”—the same Bakounine who is held the
father of modern anarchism.

In France, as in Germany, the tendency of music during the last fifty
years has been towards a greater and greater liberty of form; and most
of the notable contemporary French composers—with the exception of
Reyer, Saint-Saëns, and Massenet[141] (who represent, with
modifications, the classic tradition), and two or three ardent disciples
of Gluck—proceed, more or less directly, either from Wagner or from
that other innovator, Hector Berlioz (sometimes called the French
Wagner), who was not, it is true, a revolutionist in the political
sense, but who was bitter to the last degree against the society that
stupidly refused to acknowledge his power.

The writer is not enough of a musical connoisseur to trace the
transformations wrought in musical forms by French composers since the
time of Berlioz,—by César Franck (who in a sense, however, stood apart
from the currents), by Pierre Lalo, Isidore de Lara, Emmanuel Chabrier,
Vincent d’Indy, Camille Erlanger, DeBussy, Gabriel Fauré, Leroux, Le
Borne, Bourgault-Ducoudray, Gustave Charpentier, and Alfred Bruneau;
still less to point out where these changes have been co-ordinated, as
they were in Wagner, with revolutionary thinking,—a task for which not
only musical connoisseurship, but the temperament of a musician, the
knowledge of an adept, and the intellect of a philosopher would be
required. But in two of the composers just named, Alfred Bruneau and
Gustave Charpentier, the co-ordination is so obvious that “he who runs”
(he of the average lay intelligence) “may read,” since they are engaged
in disseminating the idea of liberty among the people.

Both have been influenced by Wagner, but both depart from Wagner in
taking their subjects, not from legends, but from contemporary life, and
the most ordinary every-day sort of life at that.

Bruneau claims as large privileges for the composer of opera as are
accorded to the author, the painter, and the dramatist; the same
openness to passion, movement, and humanity, and the same range of
choice as regards characters, language, and setting. “It is the right of
the composer”—I quote from Bruneau’s _Musique d’Hier et de Demain_—“to
unite in a piece of his choosing any beings he pleases, to place these
beings in the human _milieu_ to which he considers they belong, and to
put in their mouths the words which he considers appropriate.... He must
insist on liberty of the dialogue, developing itself, without constraint
of any sort, upon the woof of the instrumentation, and forming one body
with it; liberty of the symphony, never interrupted, trumpeting,
rumbling, swelling, subsiding, with the necessities of the drama;
liberty of expression, more important still,—justness in the word and
precision in the term; liberty unlimited of the melody, tripping, alert,
grave, proud, tender, vigorous, joyous, surely, at being able to escape
from the imprisonment of the cadence and the rhyme; liberty of the
phrase, liberty of inspiration, liberty of art, liberty of form, liberty
complete, magnificent, and definitive!”

In _Messidor_[142] and _L’Attaque du Moulin_ (prose librettos by Emile
Zola) Bruneau deals with strikes and the labour question so frankly that
it is not a little surprising that they were allowed a place on a
national stage. These works are appreciated by the critics, but have not
been, in spite of their popular subjects, signal popular successes.

On the other hand, Charpentier’s opera of _Louise_ (produced at the
_Opéra Comique_ in 1899, and not yet banished from a prominent place in
the répertoire) has rapidly made the tour of France and of Europe.
_Louise_, which treats with a bizarre blending of realism and idealism
the life of the Bohemians and labourers of Montmartre, may be said to
mark an epoch in opera, in that it is the first work of the French
school which, having combined innovation of musical form with innovation
of subject and language, has achieved a striking and permanent artistic
and popular success.

With _Louise_ the modern music-drama becomes, like the simple drama, an
appreciable force in direct revolutionary propaganda. It is true that
everything savouring of politics is scrupulously excluded from the
libretto of _Louise_, but this scrupulousness (absolutely indispensable
in a piece prepared for a subsidised stage) does not prevent the opera
from being an unmistakable protest against the social tyranny which is
intrenched in the texts of the law. Indeed, Charpentier, whose fine
social fervour has been evidenced in a variety of ways which may not be
gone into here, has publicly proclaimed his belief “in the efficacy of
revolutions well prepared.”

It is more than a coincidence that the revolutionary Zola should have
been a zealous defender of the art of Courbet, of Manet, of Monet,
Pissarro, and Cézanne, and that a pronounced anarchist like Octave
Mirbeau should have been an early admirer of Wagner, the introducer to
France of Maeterlinck, the chief champion of Monet, and an apotheosiser
of Rodin,—should have been, in short, the foster-father of the
_irréguliers_ in every department of art. He would be a surpassingly
subtle analyser and a masterful synthesiser who could establish the
connection between polyphonic orchestration, impressionism in painting
and sculpture and the _vers libre_, and between each and all of these
and the anarchistic philosophy,—between revolt against academicism in
the arts and revolt against the state; and yet no one who observes ever
so little can doubt that the connection exists.

[Illustration: Paris from Montmartre]



CHAPTER XIX

TO WHAT END?


   “_There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
     Than are dreamt of in your philosophy._”

     SHAKESPEARE.


   “_Truth’s fountains may be clear, her streams are muddy._”

     LORD BYRON.


   “_Myself when young did eagerly frequent
     Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
       About it and about: but evermore
     Came out by the same door wherein I went._

        *       *       *       *       *

   _The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes
    But Here or There as strikes the Player goes;
      And He that tossed you down into the Field,
    He knows about it all—HE knows—HE knows!_”

    Rubáiyát of OMAR KHÁYYÁM.


   “_A man finds he has been wrong at every preceding stage of
   his career, only to deduce the astonishing conclusion that he
   is at last entirely right. Mankind, after centuries of
   failure, are still upon the eve of a thoroughly constitutional
   millennium. Since we have explored the maze so long, without
   result, it follows, for poor human reason, that we cannot have
   to explore much longer; close by must be the centre.... How if
   there were no centre at all, but just one alley after another,
   and the whole world a labyrinth without end or issue_?”—ROBERT
   LOUIS STEVENSON.


   “_Avec tous nos points de repères,
     Te voyons-nous mieux que nos pères,
     O fond, fond qui nous désespères,
     Fond obscur, fond mystérieux?
     Pour avoir fait glose sur glose,
     Nous croyons savoir quelque chose;
     Mais la Cause de tout, la Cause,
     Qui donc la tient devant ses yeux?_”

   JEAN RICHEPIN.


   “_I mean to say that if, in the pitiful comedy of life,
   princes seem to command and peoples to obey, it is only a
   piece of acting, a vain appearance, and that really they are
   both conducted by an invisible force._”

   ANATOLE FRANCE, in Les Opinions de M. Jerôme Coignard.


The wisest words, probably, that were ever heard in a court-room were
uttered by Gamaliel, the Pharisee, at the trial of Peter and John:
“Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this
work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot
overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

To a similar purport, Montaigne wrote:—

   “‘Tis a very great presumption to slight and condemn all
   things for false that do not appear to us likely to be true,
   which is the ordinary vice of such as fancy themselves wiser
   than their neighbours. I was myself once one of these; and if
   I heard talk of dead folks walking, of prophecies,
   enchantments, witchcrafts, or any other story, I had no mind
   to believe.... I presently pitied the poor people that were
   abused by these follies, whereas I now find that I myself was
   to be pitied as much at least as they; not that experience has
   taught me anything to supersede my former opinions, though my
   curiosity has endeavoured that way; but reason has instructed
   me that thus resolutely to condemn anything for false and
   impossible is to circumscribe and limit the will of God and
   the power of nature within the bounds of my own capacity, than
   which no folly can be greater. If we give the names of monster
   and miracle to everything our reason cannot comprehend, how
   many such are continually presented before our eyes! Let us
   but consider through what clouds and, as it were, groping
   through what darkness, our teachers lead us to the knowledge
   of most of the things we apply our studies to, and we shall
   find that it is rather custom than knowledge that takes away
   the wonder, and renders them easy and familiar to us; ... and
   that, if those things were now newly presented to us, we
   should think them as strange and incredible, if not more so,
   than others.... He that had never seen a river imagined the
   first he met with to be the sea, and the greatest things that
   have fallen within our knowledge we conclude to be the
   extremes that nature makes of the kind.”

To have pondered and appropriated these words of the far-sighted
Pharisee and the sage of Périgord is to have stricken the word
_impossible_ from one’s vocabulary, to have lost the desire to emit
shrieks of anger or dismay before new views of life and society, and,
without “mockings or arguments,” to simply “witness and wait.”

The philosophic doubt which no one more than Montaigne has approved—the
“_Que sçais-je?_” which forbids the swearing of unconditional allegiance
to unproved theories—is, of course, always in order; but doubt becomes
most pernicious dogmatism when it assumes the rôle of denial. It plays
its proper part when, and only when, it produces a willingness to “leave
great changes,” as Stevenson happily puts it, “to what we call great
blind forces, their blindness being so much more perspicacious than the
little peering, partial eyesight of men.”

“_La folie d’hier est la sagesse de demain_” has been said so long, and
accepted so long, that there is no tracing it to its origin; and yet we
go on diligently disregarding it, seizing every fresh occasion to “kick
against the pricks,” quite as if the stupidity of the practice had not
been demonstrated a thousand times over, quite as if the stones rejected
by the builders had never become the heads of the corners, and the first
had never been last, and the last first.

   “_Vieux soldats de plomb que nous sommes,
     Au cordeau nous alignant tous,
     Si de nos rangs sortent des hommes,
     Tous nous crions: A bas les fous!
     On les persécute, on les tue,
     Sauf, après un long examen,
     A leur dresser une statue
     Pour la gloire du genre humain._”[143]

“If we came from a globe where there was some semblance of rule and
order,” says Georges Clemenceau, “the spectacle of our planet would
appear to us a pure abomination.” In the interests of clearness, M.
Clemenceau has exaggerated, perhaps. Nevertheless, there is an element
of truth in what he says. Our society is abundantly open to criticism;
and that we chance to be inimical to panaceas and suspicious of Utopias
is no valid reason for calling the black of our society white, and
blandly treating its absurdities, illogicalities, injustices, and
cruelties as infallibilities and amenities. Because the reformer commits
the folly of dogmatising in one direction does not excuse us for
committing the counter-folly of dogmatising in another. Suppose we hold
with Omar that

       “_the first Morning of Creation wrote
   What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read,_”

and suppose we are prone to take at the letter these lines of Walt
Whitman,—

   “_There was never any more inception than there is now,
     Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
     And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
     Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now,_”—

is it, therefore, necessary for us to shut our eyes to the most obvious
facts of the present and to all possibilities for the future?

When Victor Barrucand, a few years ago, put forward his scheme for free
bread (“_le pain gratuit_”), he was not treated as a visionary in any
important quarter. The semi-bourgeois journals showed themselves, in
several instances, rather friendly; and the opposition he encountered
from the straight bourgeois press was of quite a different sort from
that which is evoked by a preposterous proposition. M. Clemenceau, one
of the few radicals who has never for a moment lost his balance,
supported him warmly.

   “It is high time we knew,” said Clemenceau, “whether, at the
   degree of civilisation to which we have attained, we can
   continue to tolerate that men, women, and children die of
   want—in a few months from the exhaustion induced by
   insufficiently remunerated work or in a few hours from
   downright hunger. Our republican and monarchical
   conservatives—all excellent Christians—answer, ‘No,’ but
   continue to act ‘Yes.’... I just remarked that M. Barrucand
   did not propose revolution to us. I ask myself now if I did
   not go a bit too fast. Yes, eighteen hundred years after the
   Christ, it is a revolution for Christians to prevent the death
   of their fellows by slow and rapid starvation. Well, then, let
   us inaugurate this revolution!”

“_Le pain gratuit c’est le futur_,” said Jules Lermina at the same
moment. And, really, is it so unreasonable that every one should be
given enough to eat, when slaves have been, and domestic animals are, so
provided for, and when every one is given the privilege of learning to
read and write? Is it not rather surprising that a person should be
permitted, nay, forced, to acquire reading and writing, and should be
supplied at the public expense (without apparent opposition from any
source) with fresh air, lights, pure water, paved streets, and parks,
and should not be provided with bread; that he is entitled to food
inspection and is not entitled to food itself; that he is assured proper
disposition for his waste and is not assured a sufficiency of supply;
that he can count on a burial and cannot count—supreme irony!—on a
living; has the right to a grave-plot and has not the right to a loaf?
Is illiteracy so much more dangerous to society than destitution? Is
everything as merry as it might be when death thus lords it over life;
when a man asks for bread, and is given a coffin?

[Illustration: A CONTRAST IN FUNERALS]

A republic with manhood suffrage and generally disseminated
book-knowledge would probably have seemed as chimerical to the minds of
our not very remote ancestors as the community of the socialist or
anarchist dream seems to us. It would not be more remarkable if
wage-earners should disappear than it was that serfs and slaves
disappeared; if the factory system should disappear than it was that it
once appeared; if alms-giving should be replaced by a recognition of the
right to work than that charity from being a fine, spontaneous human
impulse has become an unwieldy, soulless machine; if private property
should be transformed into collective property than that private
property was evolved out of the tribal possessions; if the church should
cease to be an institution of the state—indeed it has already ceased to
be in America—than that it ever became one; if _l’union libre_ should
supersede marriage (with the loss of the latter’s chief sanctions,
private property and the already much-enfeebled authority of the church)
than that monogamy has superseded polygamy; if woman should be
emancipated than that man has, up to a certain point, been emancipated.
Furthermore, it would be no more extraordinary if the _tiers état_ (the
present dominant _bourgeoisie_) should be evicted by the _quatrième
état_ (the proletariat) than it was that the _tiers état_ evicted the
nobility and clergy in 1789; if a social republic (under which without
knowing or, at least, without admitting it we are already half
installed) should follow close upon the heels of a simple republic than
that a simple republic followed close upon the heels of a monarchy and a
monarchy close upon the heels of a feudal system; if nations should pass
as political entities by being merged in an _Internationale_ than that
they emerged out of the seeming chaos of the Middle Ages; if there
should be one tongue over all the earth[144] than that there has come to
be one tongue over any entire people; if there should be general peace
than that there has been general war.

No, there is nothing inherently incredible or absurd about the ideas and
ideals of the contemporary revolutionists; nothing more transcendental
or more visionary than there was, for their day and their generation, in
the ideas and ideals of the Encyclopedists, and of the innovators and
reformers of all the past.

It may have been a mistake for the classes to impose book-learning on
the masses, to compel them to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil, which makes men as gods; but, having given their wards
to eat thereof, having deliberately stimulated them to think, the
privileged must let them follow out their thinking to the
logical—perhaps, also, to the bitter—end. There is no alternative.
There is no such thing as staying them midway in their course, since
with growing knowledge has come growing desire.

If the classes did not wish the masses to drink deep of the Pierian
spring, they should have had the sense to keep them away from it
altogether instead of ingenuously leading them up to sip. As it is, the
people have become mentally and morally incapable of blind submission.
They cannot be hoodwinked by fine phrases as of yore. Their roused and
trained intelligence is rapidly penetrating the shams, puncturing the
frauds, and stripping off the shows of republicanism. They will not much
longer be put off with the mere forms and formulas of liberty and
well-being which satisfied them at the start. They are now beginning to
demand the things themselves, and they have at last the minds and the
manhood necessary to enforce their demand. The illogical, hypocritical,
plutocratic republic which they find themselves under disgusts and
exasperates them quite as much as would a monarchy. They have resolved
to have out-and-out democracy instead of the miserable makeshift for
democracy that has been thrown to them as a sop; and have it they will!
_Gare à vous_, naïve, short-sighted bourgeois, who with your reading and
writing started them on their quest for the new, if you attempt to place
obstructions in their path!

The people have a startling way of getting, in the long run, the
specific things they set their hearts on. And one may admit—without the
slightest prejudice to his intellectual independence or the slightest
abdication of his preferences—that the specific things the
revolutionists of Paris and the world at large are striving for may
sooner or later be theirs.

A successful social revolution, one day or another, is neither an
inconceivable, an impossible, nor even an improbable event. The time may
come, at least for all that we can reasonably affirm to the contrary,
when there will be no more governments, no more great fortunes, no more
private property, no more poverty, no more “marrying and giving in
marriage,” no more wars, no more armies, no more patriotism, and no more
diversity of tongues.

This is not saying that the individual life will be fuller, richer, and
sweeter then than it has been and is, nor that the world will be
enormously better and happier than it is and has been. Apples of the
most golden seeming have been known to turn to ashes in the plucker’s
hand; and, when the time comes—if it does come—that the
revolutionists’ present cravings have all been satisfied, the millennium
will still, in all likelihood, be as far as ever away.

Change, incessant change, is the law of the universe; but change, though
inevitable, and hence never really bad and never really to be regretted,
is not synonymous with progress,—not in the sense, at least, in which
the latter word is generally understood.

   “_Partout de l’astre à l’étincelle,
     Partout la vie universelle,
     Se fond, tourbillonne, et ruisselle,
     Et tout passe, et rien s’en va._”

It is as big a piece of dogmatism to be cock-sure the world is growing
better all the time and all along the line, simply because it is
perpetually changing, as it is to be cock-sure it is constantly growing
worse, and as big a piece of credulity to look forward confidently to a
Golden Age in the future as to revert—unhumorously—to a Golden Age in
the past. Every system of society which has existed thus far is now
admitted to have had its qualities and its defects,—what is more, the
defects of its qualities. Our period of machinery, universal suffrage,
and diffused book-knowledge (factors from which our fathers expected
miracles to spring) has its blemishes as well as the periods of
illiteracy, blooded aristocracy, and hand labour. Our new woman—we are
reminded every day—is as antipathetic and inept in some ways as she is
charming and useful in other ways; and, while we cannot be sure that
every future period will “depress some elements of goodness just as much
as it will encourage others,” we have, alas! no adequate guarantee that
it will not do so.

It may be that it is again to be the mission of France to redeem (or
appear to redeem) the world by a sort of vicarious atonement. The cult
of revolution is not dead there, and the impulse that demolished the
Bastille has by no means spent itself. Or it may be that for Russia,
where the provocation is greatest, or for America, where there is most
initiative and the most accelerated rate of change, is reserved this
fearsome rôle. But, wherever the Social Revolution begins and wherever
it reaches, the well-balanced man, who has won through stress and
travail to a sane outlook and to an enthusiasm for life; he who can say
with Kipling’s “Tramp Royal,”—

   “_Gawd bless this world! Whatever she ‘ath done—
     Excep’ when awful long—I’ve found it good.
     So write before I die, ‘’E liked it all!’_”—

will await its arrival with complete equanimity.

   “_Think, then, you are To-day what Yesterday
     You were—To-morrow you shall not be less._”

Friendships and loves—the only things really worth while to seasoned
natures—have always been. Under all régimes, men have had friends and
sweethearts and little ones for the greater glory of their souls; and
friends and sweethearts and little ones—the boldest innovators do not
assert otherwise—they are likely to have while time is.

These loves and these friendships have found such beautiful expression
already that there is little to hope from the future. On the other
hand, so far as they are concerned, there is nothing to fear.

What matters, then, in the last analysis the march of public
events,—monarchy, republic, social republic, or anarchistic
commune,—so that we bear the brunt together, heart to heart, and the
great elemental things abide?

[Illustration: The Eternal Realities]

   “_Of the possibility of a free communistic society there can
   really I take it be no doubt. The question that more
   definitely presses on us now is one of transition—By what
   steps shall we, or can we pass to that land of freedom?_

   “_We have supposed a whole people started on its journey by
   the lifting off of the burden of Fear and Anxiety; but in the
   long slow ascent of Evolution no sudden miraculous change can
   be expected; and for this reason alone it is obvious that we
   can look for no sudden transformation to the communist form.
   Peoples that have learnt the lesson of ‘trade’ and competition
   so thoroughly as the modern nations have—each man fighting for
   his own hand—must take some time to unlearn it. The Sentiment
   of the Common Life, so long nipped and blighted, must have
   leisure to grow and expand again; and we must acknowledge
   that—in order to foster new ideas and new habits—an
   intermediate stage of Collectivism will be quite necessary.
   Formulæ like the ‘nationalisation of the land and all the
   instruments of production,’ though they be vague and indeed
   impossible of rigorous application, will serve as centres
   for the growth of the sentiment. The partial application of
   these formulæ will put folk through a lot of useful drilling
   in the effort to work together and for common ends._”—EDWARD
   CARPENTER.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Reclus’ anarchist brochure _A mon Ami le Paysan_ is a veritable
literary gem.

[2] When they do not render it unproductive by transforming it into
hunting grounds or pleasure parks or leave it sterile, either through
want of sufficient capital to ameliorate it or simply from indifference
and neglect.—_Jean Grave._

[3] In France. The usage is somewhat different in certain other
countries.

[4] Normally, all posters must carry revenue stamps.

[5] The officers of an assembly are so called in France.

[6] Charenton is the Paris insane hospital.

[7] The word _trimardeur_ is derived from the dialect word _trimard_,
which means _grande route_ (the great road).

[8] Strictly, at 2 sous a four-page folder, each folder containing the
words and music of one song and the words of two or three others.

[9] Ravachol was convicted of several overt acts, among them the
dynamiting of the house of the judges Benoit and Bulot.

[10] M. Leroy now has a little book-store in the Montsouris district.

[11] Henri Bérenger’s _L’Action_, for all its violence, cannot be so
classed. A pronounced anarchist, Charles Malato, was for a time one of
the pillars of the acrimonious daily _L’Aurore_, and it is frequently
recommended by the anarchist press for anarchist reading. But it was
never, strictly speaking, an anarchist sheet. It is now under the
control of the radical Clemenceau.

[12] The general title of the series is _La Bibliothèque Documentaire_.

[13] The office of the _Temps Nouveaux_ has been transferred to the rue
Broca, in the same district.

[14] A set of anarchist groups, loosely federated, which devote
themselves to study with persistence and zeal.

[15] Drawn after an _image de propagande_.

[16] Author of the explosion at the _Café Terminus._

[17] The assassin of Carnot.

[18] Inability to pay this fine involving further imprisonment, the real
term of the editors condemned for two years became in most cases three
years or three years and a half. It should be noted, however, that a
considerable proportion of them were condemned for contumacy, they
having made good their escape to England or Belgium before their cases
were tried.

[19] M. Gabriel Girond has written a volume entitled _Cempuis_ on this
educational experiment, which no educator or student of education can
afford to neglect. Maurice Devaldès, also, in a brochure entitled
_L’Education et la Liberté_, compares the educational experiment of
Tolstoy at Yasnaïa-Poliana with M. Robin’s experiment at Cempuis, to the
advantage of the latter.

[20] Believed by many to have been managed by the police in order to sow
dissensions and cause divisions in the ranks of the anarchists.

[21] In Russia, where many of the most violent _propagandistes par le
fait_ are men of letters or scientists, the situation is quite
different.

[22] Reclus’ daughters have entered into _union libre_ openly with their
father’s entire approval. A man of Elisée Reclus’ standing would not aid
and abet such a course without profound conviction.

[23] A strike of pick-and-shovel labourers, to supervise which the
government hurried 75,000 soldiers into Paris, although there were no
signs of violence.

[24] Certain anarchists hold that it is proper for an anarchist to
penetrate into the unions, so that he does not preside at their
formation nor hold office therein,—an attitude which is amusingly
analogous to that of the scrupulous Episcopalian dame who drew the line
of the permissible in Lent just this side of white kid slippers.

[25] Communist-anarchists, in spite of the word _Socialistes_ in their
title.

[26] Vaillant threw a bomb in the French Chamber.

[27] Bresci killed King Humbert of Italy.

[28] Estimated in France officially, and hence conservatively, as
40,000.

[29] Special laboratories, with walls constructed to minimise the force
of a shock were erected at this time at four different points in
Paris,—Montrouge, Aubervilliers, Berey, and Le Point du Jour.

[30] Salsou, who attempted to assassinate the Shah of Persia, was a
_trimardeur_.

[31] Whence the slang verb _watriner_ and the substantive _watrinade_.

[32] Another version is that Pini, having voted twice, was condemned
to three months’ imprisonment, and that it was to avoid this that he
left the country.

[33] Frustrated by a faithful dog.

[34] This sentence was commuted to long-term imprisonment by President
Grévy.

[35] _Le terme_ (rent) in Paris must be paid quarterly and in advance.
It is due on the 1st, and must be paid on the 8th or 15th (according to
its amount) of January, April, July, and October.

[36] There is a distinct class of men and women in Paris ready at any
moment to cry à bas or vive, no matter whom or what, for a five-franc
piece. Napoléon Hayard, known as the “_empereur des camelots_,” who died
recently at a ripe age, was known to Parisians for many years as an
organiser of manifestations.

[37] It was Rochefort who declared the mysterious shooting of Labori
during the Dreyfus trial at Rennes to be a fictitious manœuvre.

[38] The curious filing of the hammer of Salsou’s pistol, which rendered
impossible—according to a portion of the expert testimony—its discharge,
lent a certain colour of truth to this accusation.

[39] As lately as 1902 the anarchist spy service was recruited in this
fashion, and so openly that spies might almost be said to have been
advertised for.

[40] M. Andrieux’s _La Révolution Sociale_ was probably not the last
journal of its class.

[41] The militant anarchist’s knowledge of the code and of legal
procedure is also phenomenal. There is nothing he enjoys better, when in
good humour, than to remind his judge of a forgotten or wilfully
neglected formality.

[42] Baumann shot a priest who was personally unknown to him for the
sake of the propaganda.

[43] Ravachol was attempting to make a convert an hour and a half after
the explosion of the rue de Clichy.

[44] Passanante attempted to assassinate King Humbert of Italy.

[45] The prosecution of Tailhade was probably a sop to the Russian
diplomats, his article having been specially directed against the czar.

[46] Ravachol justified these acts to himself on the ground that the
living and still more the dead had no right to hold wealth in
unproductiveness while human beings were starving. The proceeds of both
these deeds were religiously consecrated by him to the _propagande_.

[47] The probable author of the explosion at the _Restaurant Véry_.

[48] Accused of complicity in various overt acts, but not condemned.

[49] Ravachol’s masterful sneer at the church on his way to the
guillotine was not, it seems, pure perverseness. Ravachol had taken a
real liking to the prison priest, whom he admitted to be a good fellow,
but he had such a horror of being claimed by the church after his death
as an eleventh-hour penitent that he had requested the priest not to
assist at his execution. To this request the priest had answered,—could
anything well be more _maladroit_?—“I cannot avoid it. I shall be there
by the same right as the headsman.”

[50] The _Guesdistes_ and the _Jeunesse Blanquiste_ were the most
important exceptions.

[51] Hostile, that is, except at the eleventh hour of their congress,
when they usually contrive to vote resolutions of harmony.

[52] Leader of the _Parti Socialiste Révolutionnaire_.

[53] Leader of the _Fédération des Travailleurs Socialistes_.

[54] There is no socialist daily, however, which is not under
capitalistic control.

[55] There has long been a shelf in one of the book-stalls of the arcade
of the _Odéon_ devoted exclusively to works on Socialism. Whether this
device is due to business insight or propagandist fervour, it is equally
significant.

[56] Leader of the _Groupe des Socialistes Independants_.

[57] Commemorating the Bloody Week of the Commune.

[58] Burned at the stake in the sixteenth century.

[59] Some _coopératives socialistes_ have been established.

[60] Leader of the _Parti Ouvrier Français_.

[61] Leader of the _Parti Ouvrier Socialiste Révolutionnaire_.

[62] The illustration of the Place Maubert shows one of its humble
latter-day distinctions. It is the market-place for the _Mégotiers_ of
the Quarter, gatherers of cigar and cigarette stubs, who carry canes
with which to rake up these tobacco remnants.

[63] Michelet.

[64] Jules Vallès.

[65] Whence the word _frondeur_ (captious), currently applied to the
students to this day.

[66] La Harpe, the autocrat of the literary world, appeared before his
class one day in a red Phrygian cap, and devoted a portion of his
lecture-hour to declaiming revolutionary _chansons_.

[67] It would be superfluous to name their present habitués, since they
are as yet too young to be famous.

[68] The accompanying illustration is a portrait sketch of the son of
Felix Gras in his favourite seat at one of these cabarets, above which
some artist has scrawled his caricature.

[69] The _Grille_ and the _Noctambules_, the best-known _café-concerts_
of the _Quartier_, are purely professional affairs. Their performers are
not students, and students make up only a small part of their audiences.

[70] There were martyrs to conviction on both sides in the Dreyfus case,
as there were under the last empire.

[71] More than once during the Dreyfus affair the _Quartier_ seemed to
be on the verge of an eruption; but the lying, contemptible manœuvres of
Dreyfusards and anti-Dreyfusards alike threw cold water on both its
military and its anti-military enthusiasm.

[72] Haraucourt has recently been elevated to the position of librarian
of one of the principal libraries of Paris.

[73] Jacques Le Lorrain has just died of consumption. A short time
before his death he had the happiness of having his remarkable poetical
play _Don Quixote_ performed at the _Théâtre Victor Hugo_.

[74] The _Salons_ were held in the Louvre at this period.

[75] _Dèche_ and _purée_ (the latter akin to the Americanism “in the
soup”) are Bohemian slang for _misère_.

[76] A law which commutes the penalty, but without expunging the
condemnation from the record.

[77] Since these lines were written, word has come, alas! that Bibi is
dead.

[78] The _Cabaret du Père Lunette_—on the edge of the Latin Quarter—and
its near neighbour, the _Château Rouge_ (also called _La Guillotine_),
were notorious criminal resorts in the days, not so very remote, before
the piercing of the rue Lagrange and the enlarging of the Place Maubert
rendered innocuous one of the most dangerous corners of Paris. The
_Château Rouge_ was recently demolished, and the Père Lunette ceased
several years back to be anything but an insipid show-place for
tourists. Neither has ever been an organic part of the _Quartier_ life.

[79] Practical joker seems to be the only possible translation of the
word _fumiste_, but it is a most inadequate one.

[80] The rue de Croissant is filled with newspaper offices.

[81] _Se coucher à la belle étoile_ is to be without a lodging other
than the pavement.

[82] _Ma tante_ = the pawn-shop.

[83] A name given to the younger poets of the more eccentric schools.

[84] Discontinued with the discontinuance of its provocation, the fête
of the _Bœuf Gras_.

[85] Père la Pudeur, a name applied originally to the French Anthony
Comstock, M. Bérenger.

[86] The _Bal Gavarni_ and the _Bal Monnier_ held at Montmartre in 1902
and 1904 respectively—as a tribute to the memory of two great French
caricaturists—and the open-air Montmartre festivals, _Le Couronnement de
la Rosière Montmartroise_ (1903) and _Le Mariage de la Rosière
Montmartroise_ (1904), though similar in conception to the cavalcade of
the _Vache Enragée_, proved less effective from this particular point of
view.

[87] Henry Mürger.

[88] _Déménager à la cloche de bois_ is to move secretly without paying
one’s rent.

[89] The _Rat Mort_ has completely changed its character of late years.
Only at the _déjeuner_ and the dinner hours is any hint of its former
self obtainable.

[90] The slope from these boulevards to the rue de Lamartine and the rue
St. Lazare (between the rue de Clichy and the rue de Rochechouart) is
affiliated with Montmartre, and by a stretching of the point may be said
to belong to it; but its population is too largely made up of bourgeois
and the exploiting _cocottes_ of the _Olympia_, _Moulin Rouge_, _Casino
de Paris_, and _Folies-Bergères_ to admit of its being absolutely
co-ordinated with the Butte.

[91] Called _logement_ to distinguish it from the _appartement_, which
is more pretentious. The kitchen of the _logement_ is provided with
running water and gas; and the gas company is required by law to furnish
the tenant who does not pay more than 500 francs a year rent a new gas
range, _gratis_. Ateliers are relatively dearer, and the artist does not
easily find an atelier in which he can live and work for less than 600
francs.

[92] Recently deceased.

[93] At Montmartre, as in all parts of Paris, hand-carts may be hired
for a few sous an hour.

[94] _Cyrano de Bergerac._

[95] A seaside resort.

[96] It is not a rare thing for a Montmartre organ to speak of a trip to
the Grands-Boulevards or the Latin Quarter as “_un départ vers les pays
étrangers désignés sous le nom des Etats-Unis de Paris_.”

[97] The word _hydropathe_ was absolutely without significance in this
connection. It was hit upon by the merest chance, and welcomed because
it suggested nothing that could mislead or occasion dispute.

[98] Salis died several years ago.

[99] One of these just beginning to be known, and hence sure soon to be
spoiled, began with improvised tables made by placing boards upon
wine-casks, and with other paraphernalia in keeping.

[100] Deceased.

[101] The French free-stage movement, which involved revolutionary
thought as well as revolutionary form, was launched at Montmartre, and
was identified with Montmartre through all its polemic period,—up to the
moment, in fact, when it became Parisian, having gained its cause.

[102] Alexandre is about to leave Montmartre for the Grands-Boulevards.

[103] _Maquereau_ is a type name for a criminal loafer who lives by the
prostitution of his mistress.

[104] _Biribi_ is the name given to the African battalion to which
recalcitrant soldiers are assigned.

[105] _Les Opinions de M. Jerôme Coignard._ M. Coignard belongs to the
eighteenth century.

[106] Since M. France wrote these words, the images of the Christ have
been removed from the French courts.

[107] As evidence that M. Barrucand’s scheme for free bread deserves to
be considered as something more than the Utopian ideal of a littérateur,
it should be mentioned that the economist L. Auby advocated the same
thing (winter of 1903-04) in as conservative an organ as the _Annales
Parlementaires_.

[108] Dubois-Dessaulle, while acting as a newspaper correspondent in
Abyssinia in the spring of 1904, was assassinated by natives. He was a
martyr to his conscientious belief that it is a crime to carry arms.

[109] J.-H. Rosny is the signature of the Rosny brothers, who have to be
treated as one person in their relations to thought and literature.

[110] Several of the persons here named are also writers of fiction or
poetry.

[111] Lately deceased.

[112] Lately deceased.

[113] This title may perhaps be paraphrased by the American
colloquialism “Out of It.”

[114] Henri Fouquier, an older conservative journalist (recently
deceased), of so much distinction that he was considered a possible
Academician, published about this time an article in the _XIXᵉ Siècle_
in which he ridiculed the blowing up of the house of the bourgeois as an
act devoid of common sense, but declared comprehensible a desire to blow
up the Chamber of Deputies, the Prefecture of Police, or the Palace of
the President.

[115] “I surely have the right,” he said, “to quit the theatre when the
piece becomes odious to me, and even to slam the doors behind me in
going out, at the risk of troubling the tranquillity of those who are
satisfied.”

[116] Author of _Démolissons_ and _De Mazas à Jérusalem_.

[117] On the occasion of this lecture Xavier Privas was assisted by an
actor and an actress who recited appropriate poems and by the
_chansonnier_ Trimouillat. The hall was entirely without light except
for a single lamp before the lecturer. In the accompanying illustration
the standing figure is Trimouillat.

[118] A translation of this play has been successfully produced in
America (1904) under the title _Business is Business_.

[119] _La Cage_ is well known, nevertheless, since it is given several
private representations every season.

[120] Forbidden by the censorship, but a favourite at the amateur
theatricals of the anarchistic groups.

[121] Under the ban of the censorship from 1891 to 1900.

[122] Forbidden by the censorship, but given a representation—by
invitation—at which literary and artistic Paris was fully represented.

[123] Prohibited by the censorship at the time it was written. The
prohibition was removed in the winter of 1904.

[124] No notice is taken here of Richepin as a writer of romances.

[125] Technically, “_d’avoir commis une provocation directe au crime de
meurtre, laquelle provocation, non suivie d’effet, avait pour but un
acte de propagande anarchiste_.”

[126] The court in detaching this violent passage from its philosophical
and artistic setting made Tailhade’s offence appear much graver than it
really was.

[127] “What I have had especially in view has been to serve the cause of
progress, of knowledge; that is to say, the Revolution,” wrote the
editor of _Le Décadent_.

[128] The minor French poets are so little known in England and America
that it would be superfluous to mention by name the members of these
bizarre coteries.

[129] _The Magiques_, _Romanistes_, and _Magnificistes_ are possible
exceptions. But the _Magiques_ possessed at one time such an unquiet
spirit as Paul Adam, and the _Magnificistes_ oppose the tyranny of
science and magnify “_les êtres_.” The _Romanistes_, it is true, accept
relatively regular poetic forms, but they attack the Christian church
and admit the destruction of nationality. The union of the Latin
peoples, which they advocate, they regard simply as an intermediate step
preparatory to the union of the whole human race.

[130] Meunier, who is primarily a sculptor, is a Belgian; but his
artistic career has been sufficiently identified with Paris to warrant
his introduction here.

[131] Deceased.

[132] See Chapter XVI.

[133] Dagnan-Bouveret may have a religious purpose, but scarcely a
humanitarian one.

[134] The French word _dessinateur_ is currently applied to
illustrators, freehand draughtsmen, and lithographic sketch artists; in
fact, to all workers in black and white, and even to certain workers in
colour for purposes of reproduction. It is used above because there
seems to be no single English word equally inclusive. No hard-and-fast
distinction is made here between the _dessinateurs_ who are primarily
caricaturists and those who are not.

[135] Willette, usually classed as a revolutionary socialist, is said by
his intimates to have been a Bonapartist always at heart. However this
may be, there is no necessary conflict between Bonapartism and the
revolutionary ardour which Willette has displayed too often and too
unequivocally to admit of any misunderstanding regarding his attitude
towards the actual condition of things.

[136] M. Bérenger, familiarly known as _Père-la-Pudeur_, is an
uncompromising censor of public morals.

[137] Steinlen is also a painter, but his works in this field, with the
exception of certain fascinating studies of cats, are little known
outside the circle of his friends, and are not equal to his drawings.

[138] Recently deceased.

[139] _L’assiette au beurre_ = the plate of butter. To have an _assiette
au beurre_ is to belong to the wealthy; that is, to be able to eat
butter on one’s bread (or as the French more often say) on one’s
spinach.

[140] The artistic merit of the _Assiette au Beurre_ has sadly fallen
off of late.

[141] Even these have made important concessions, as did Verdi in Italy.

[142] Produced at the _Grand Opéra_.

[143] Béranger.

[144] Compare the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel.



INDEX


   Abélard, 177, 178, 180.

   Abruti, L’, 126, 127.

   Abstention from voting, 94.

   Adam, Paul, 337, 338, 341, 342, 343, 344, 351, 372.

   Adler, Jules, 375.

   Ajalbert, Jean, 332, 337, 351.

   Alexandre, 290, 293-295.

   Allemane, M., 171.

   Almanacks, anarchist, 70.

   Anarchism, the beginnings and development of, 5;
     Jean Grave’s exposition of the doctrines of, 7-22.

   Anarchists, their groups, 25-28;
     their mass meetings, 29-34;
     their social gatherings, 36-39;
     their _chansons de propagande_, 45-57;
     their _images de propagande_, 74;
     their attitude toward marriage, 95;
     their attempts at colonization, 99;
     their attitude toward trade-unions, 101, 102, 105;
     their attitude toward co-operation, 106;
     questionable repressive measures against, 139;
     attitude of the police toward, 141.

   Anarchists, the Chicago, 75, 149.

   Andrieux, M., 142.

   Angiolillo, 75.

   _Anti-Juif, L’_, 171.

   Arnold, Matthew, 96.

   _Assemblées contradictoires_ (joint debates), 35.

   Audran, 261.

   “_Auteurs Gais_,” 352.

   _Autorité, L’_, 171.

   Axa, Zo d’, 115, 133, 137, 143, 145, 247, 337-342.


   Babœuf, Gracchus, 6.

   Baffier, Jean, 343, 376.

   Bakounine, 6, 109.

   _Ballades de propagande_, 36.

   Balzac, Honoré de, 193, 199, 261.

   Barbey d’Aurévilly, 212.

   Barrès, Maurice, 332.

   Barrucand, Victor, 145, 329, 337, 342, 393.

   Barye, 261.

   Bauer, Henri, 263, 340, 348.

   Baumann, 144, 159, 162.

   Becque, Henry, 263, 352.

   Béranger, 361.

   Bérenger, Henri, 337.

   Berlioz, Hector, 261.

   Bertillon, M., 143.

   Besnard, Lucien, 351.

   _Bibi-la-Purée_, 241-244.

   Björnson, Björnstjerne, 145.

   Blanqui, 51, 184.

   _Bodinière, La_, 37.

   Bohemians of the Latin Quarter, 207-236.

   _Boîte à Fursy, La_, 287, 289.

   Bouchor, Maurice, 211, 212, 369.

   Boudin, Eugène, 262.

   Boukay, Maurice, 289, 296-299.

   Bourget, Paul, 212, 284.

   _Brasserie Audler_, 185.

   Bresci, 111, 150, 341.

   Brieux, Eugène, 353.

   Brousse, M., 169.

   Bruant, Aristide, 290-293, 295, 299, 300, 381.

   Brulat, Paul, 263, 333.

   Bruneau, Alfred, 386.

   Brunel, 53.

   Buffalo’s _l’Alouette_, 290.

   Buffon, 180.


   _Cabarets brutaux_, 290-307;
     cabarets of Montmartre, 270, 271, 281-314.

   _Cabocherie, la_, 178.

   _Café de Buci_, 185;
     _Procope_, 182;
     _Voltaire_, 185.

   Cafiero, 6, 109.

   Capus, Alfred, 352.

   Caran d’Ache, 378.

   _Carmagnole, la_, 46.

   Carnot, President Sadi, 134.

   Carrière, Eugène, 343, 373.

   Carrière, Jean, 342.

   Caserio, 75, 111.

   Cassagnac, Paul de, 171.

   Cazes, Jules, 333, 343.

   Cazin, 373.

   _Cercle des Hydropathes, le_, 283-285.

   Cézanne, 373.

   _Chanson_, the, at Montmartre, 288-314.

   _Chansons populaires_, 44;
     _de propagande_, 44-57.
     _See also_ Revolutionary _chansons_.

   Chaque, M., 240.

   Charbonnel, Victor, 337, 344.

   Charpentier, Gustave, 259, 277, 387, 388.

   _Chat Noir, le_, 284, 288.

   Chenevière, Adolphe, 335.

   Chénier, André, 361.

   Chèze, Théodore, 333.

   Chicago anarchists, the, 75, 149.

   Claretie, Jules, 268, 305.

   Clemenceau, Georges, 340, 351, 393.

   Cloux, Amédée, 241.

   Cochet, Eugène, 241.

   _Colonie Cecilia, la_, 99.

   _Commune Catholique, la_, 178.

   _Commune de Montreuil, la_, 100.

   Commune, the leaders of the, 251.

   Co-operation, the attitude of anarchists toward, 106.

   Counterfeiting as a form of propaganda “_par le fait_,” 125-127.

   Courbet, Gustave, 251, 373.

   Courtéline, Georges, 285, 352.

   Couté, Gaston, 289.

   Coxey’s Army, 116.

   Curel, François de, 353.

   _Cyrano de Bergerac_ (Rostand’s), 259, 271, 278.

   Cyvoct, 136, 141, 161.


   Dalou, Jules, 343, 376.

   Dardare, 133.

   Darien, Georges, 332, 337, 347-349, 351.

   Daudet, Alphonse, 260, 262.

   Daumier, 384.

   Decamp, 133, 157, 161.

   _Déjeuners-végétariens_ of anarchists, 36.

   Delacour, Albert, 341.

   Déroulède, Paul, 171, 172.

   Descartes, René, 178, 180.

   Descaves, Lucien, 328, 337, 342, 343, 347.

   Diderot, 326.

   Dolet, Etienne, 170, 178.

   Donnay, Maurice, 285, 349.

   Dreyfus affair, 7, 167.

   Drumont, 171.

   Dubois-Dessaulle, 332.

   Dubois, Félix, 146.

   Dubost, Paul, 335.

   Duval, Clément, 123, 131, 157, 161.

   Dynamiters, 117.

   _Dynamiteur, Manuel du Parfait_, 86.


   _Education Libertaire, L’_, 65, 71.

   _Education intégrale, l’_, 82-85.

   Eekhoud, Georges, 372.

   Encyclopedists of the eighteenth century, 179.

   _Endehors, L’_, 337-341.

   England’s immunity from anarchist violence, 149.


   Faivre, Abel, 378.

   Faugoux, 157.

   Faure, Sébastien, 61, 333.

   _Fédération Italienne_, 109.

   _Fédération Jurasienne_, 6, 111.

   _Feuilles de Zo d’Axa, Les_, 247, 341, 379.

   Fèvre, Henri, 333, 351.

   Fierens-Gevaert, 358.

   Fontan-Crusoe, 240.

   Forain, 284, 379.

   Fourier, 6.

   Fourmies, the massacre of, 338.

   France, Anatole, 151, 317-327.

   France, Louise, 276.

   Francis, 161.

   Free Bread. _See_ _Pain gratuit_.

   Fribourg, the Congress of, 110.


   Gambetta, Léon, 184.

   Garrison, William Lloyd, 91.

   Gauthier, Théophile, 261.

   Gauthier, Emile, 136.

   Geffroy, Gustave, 103, 337.

   Geneva Peace Congress, 109.

   Gill, André, 211, 236, 283.

   Glatigny, Albert, 261.

   Gohier, Urbain, 337, 351.

   Goncourt, Edmond de, 369.

   Goudeau, Emile, 211, 214, 231, 260, 268, 283.

   _Grand’ Pinte, La_, 284, 286.

   Grave, Jean, 6, 7-22, 63-65, 81, 94, 97, 100, 110, 120, 136, 328, 333.

   _Grève générale, la_, 103.

   _Grisette_, the, 193.

   Group, the anarchist, 25-28.

   _Groupe de l’Idée Nouvelle_, 342.

   Grün, 258, 285.

   Guérin, Jules, 171, 172.

   Guesde, Jules, 172.

   Gueslaff, 136.


   Hamon, A., 155, 342, 357.

   Henry, Emile, 75, 112, 145, 162, 335, 337, 340, 370.

   Hérédia, José Maria de, 151.

   Hermann-Paul, 379.

   Hérold, A. Ferdinand, 336, 337.

   Hervieu, Paul, 355.

   Hervé, M., 200.

   _Heureux Temps_ (_chanson_), 51.

   _Hirsutes, les_, 283, 284.

   Hugo, Victor, 363.

   Hugues, Clovis, 213, 258, 289, 369, 370.

   Hugues, Jean, 351.

   _Hydropathes, le Cercle des_, 283-285.


   Ibsen, Henryk, 268, 313.

   _Idée Nouvelle, L’_, 342-344.

   _Indicateur Anarchiste: Manuel du Parfait Dynamiteur_, 86.

   _Insurgé, L’_, 78.

   Insurrections at Letino and San Galo, Italy, 110.

   Internationale, l’ (association), 6.

   _Internationale, l’_ (_chanson_), 49.

   _Internationale, L’_ (journal), 86.

   _Intransigeant, L’_, 171.


   Jaurès, Jean, 170.

   Joint debates of anarchists, 35.

   Jourdain, Frantz, 151, 333.

   _Journal du Peuple, Le_, 61.

   Jouy, Jules, 236, 268, 283.

   Jullien, Jean, 354.


   Kahn, Gustave, 151, 371.

   Kropotkine, Pierre, 6, 7, 63, 81, 110, 111, 131, 136.


   Labori, Maître, 124.

   La Boétie, 178.

   Lamarque, Louis, 333.

   Lami, Marcel, 332.

   _Lanterne du Quartier Latin, La_, 183.

   Laporte, the case of Doctor, 226.

   Latin Quarter, its revolutionary traditions, 177-185;
     its area, 177;
     penalties of revolutionary thinking in, 179;
     early students of the Sorbonne, 180;
     the students of modern times, 182;
     their connection with revolutions, 182-185;
     the revolutionary spirit of to-day, 189-203;
     the _grisette_, 193;
     amusements of the students, 194-197;
     their journals, 198;
     the students’ attitude toward revolution to-day, 200-202;
     Bohemians of the Quarter, 207-236;
     freaks and _fumistes_, 239-253.

   Lautrec, Toulouse de, 236, 285.

   Lavisse, Ernest, 200.

   Lavroff, Pierre, 97.

   Lazare, Bernard, 336.

   Léandre, 378.

   Leclerc, René, 232-235.

   Lecocq, Charles, 261.

   Ledrain, E., 151.

   Legay, Marcel, 289.

   Léger, Augustin, 335, 339.

   Legoux, Baron, 171.

   Le Lorrain, Jacques, 214.

   Lemercier, Eugène, 118, 289.

   Leneven, Georges, 351.

   Lepage, Auguste, 184.

   Leroy, Achille, 53, 245.

   Lermina, Jules, 394.

   Letourneau, Charles, 337.

   Léveillé, 133.

   _Libertaire, Le_, 61, 151.

   _Libre Parole, La_, 171.

   Lisbonne, Maxime, 289.

   _Lois Scélérates, les_, 78.

   Lombard, Jean, 333.

   Lorion, 134, 161.

   Loubet, President, 143.

   _Louise_ (Charpentier’s opera), 277.

   Luce, Maximilien, 373.

   Lur-Saluces, 171.


   _Maison du Peuple, la_, 36, 38.

   Malatesta, 6, 109, 112.

   Malato, Charles, 37, 61, 66, 120, 137, 337, 351.

   Mallarmé, Stéphane, 370.

   Malthusianism, 95.

   Marcel, Etienne, 181.

   Marestan, Jean, 151.

   Marot, Clément, 178, 180.

   Marquis de Soudin, 245.

   Marriage, anarchists’ attitude toward, 95.

   _Marseillaise, la_, 46.

   Marsolleau, Louis, 350.

   Marx, Karl, 6.

   Mass meetings of anarchists, 29-34.

   Mauclair, Camille, 336.

   Maupassant, Guy de, 351.

   Mazel, Henri, 337.

   _Mégotiers_ of the Latin Quarter, 178.

   Mendès, Catulle, 267.

   Mère Casimir, la, 244.

   Mère Souris, la, 246.

   Merlino, 137.

   Meunier, Constantin, 375, 376.

   Michel, Louise, 69, 97, 136, 137, 158, 212, 307, 308.

   Michelet, Jules, 179, 180.

   Mickiewicz, 179, 180.

   Military service, revolutionary opposition to, 92, 94.

   Millerand, M., 167.

   Millet, Jean François, 261, 375.

   Mirbeau, Octave, 95, 151, 327, 328, 337, 338, 341, 345-347.

   _Misère en habit noir, la_, 225.

   Mitty, Jean de, 340.

   Montaigne, 391.

   Montmartre, 257-310;
     the real Montmartre, 272-278;
     its revolutionary traditions, 307;
     its cabarets, 270, 271, 281-314.

   Moreau, Hégésippe, 236, 263, 361.

   _Moulin Rouge, le_, 38.

   Mounet, Paul, 283.

   _Mur des Féderés_, 170.

   Mürger, Henry, 189, 196, 211.

   Musset, Alfred de, 190.


   Naquet, Alfred, 337.

   Nerval, Gérard de, 261.

   _Noël Humaine, la_, 344.

   Non-resistance, cumulative, 93.

   Nordau, Max, 97.


   Odéon, the, 37.

   O’Squarr, Flor, 41, 119, 158.


   Paepe, César de, 109.

   Paillette, Paul, 51.

   _Pain gratuit, le_, 329.

   Pallas, 111, 112.

   _Pan-coopération, la_, 106.

   Parmeggiani, 161.

   Pasteur, Louis, 200.

   _Patrie, La_, 171.

   _Pays Latin._ _See_ Latin Quarter.

   Pedduzi, 133.

   Pelletan, Eugène, 177, 180.

   Père Duchêne (_chanson_), 46.

   Père La Purge, 54, 246;
     _la chanson du_, 55.

   Père Lunette’s, 245.

   _Père Peinard, Le_, 66, 78, 144, 341.

   Perrin, Lucien, 54.

   Pert, Camille, 333.

   Picard, André, 351.

   Pille, Henri, 211, 258, 284.

   Pini, 123-125, 131, 157, 159, 161.

   Piot’s law for checking depopulation, 95.

   Pissarro, 373.

   Planche, Gustave, 262.

   _Plébéiennes, Les_, 61.

   Police attitude toward anarchists, 141.

   Pottier, Eugène, 50.

   Pouget, Emile, 69, 136.

   Poupelin, 240.

   Prévost, Marcel, 125.

   Privas, Xavier, 289, 343.

   Propaganda of anarchy, oral, 25-57;
     written, 61-87;
     by example, 91-106;
     “_par le fait_,” 109-163.

   Propagandists “_par le fait_,” their characteristics, 155-163;
     notable examples of, 131-163;
     _stigmata_ of, 144.

   Proudhon, 6.

   _Punchs-conférences_ of anarchists, 36.


   _Quartier Latin._ _See_ Latin Quarter.

   _Quat’z’ Arts, cabaret des_, 289.

   Quillard, Pierre, 337, 371.

   Quinet, Edgar, 179, 180.


   Rabelais, 178, 187.

   Rachilde, 335.

   Raganasse, Zéphirin, 333.

   Rainaldy, Henri, 333.

   Ramus, 180.

   Ravachol, 46, 113, 133, 134, 156, 159, 162, 328, 338, 341.

   _Ravachole, la_, 46.

   Reclus, Elisée, 6, 7, 63, 81, 97, 110, 112, 343.

   Reepmaker, M., 333.

   Regicide, 111.

   Regnier, Henri de, 337, 371.

   Renan, Ernest, 180.

   Renard, Jules, 352.

   _Rénovation Sociale par le Travail_, 343.

   Repressive measures against anarchists, 139.

   _Restaurant Laveur_, 185.

   Retté, Adolphe, 333, 371.

   _Révolution Sociale, La_, 142.

   Revolution of 1789, 48;
     of 1830, 48, 182;
     of 1848, 48;
     of 1871, 48.

   Revolutionary _chansons_, 46, 48, 51, 55.

   Revolutionary dramas and dramatists, 37, 38, 345-356.

   Revolutionary press, the, finance of, 70-74;
     _L’Anti-Juif_, 171;
     _L’Education Libertaire_, 65, 71;
     _L’Insurgé_, 78;
     _L’Internationale_, 80;
     _L’Intransigeant_, 171;
     _Le Journal du Peuple_, 61, 76;
     _Le Libertaire_, 61, 151, 171;
     _Le Père Peinard_, 67-70, 78, 341;
     _Les Plébéiennes_, 61;
     _Les Temps Nouveaux_, 63, 76, 113, 171, 342;
     journals hospitable to revolutionary articles, 345.

   Richepin, Jean, 202, 207, 211, 214, 251, 351, 363-366.

   Rictus, Jehan, 215, 242, 289, 300-307, 377, 381.

   Robin, Paul, 82.

   Rochefort, Henri, 134, 140, 171, 184.

   Rodin, Auguste, 375.

   Rollinat, Maurice, 283.

   Romanticism, 182.

   Rosny, J.-H., 333-335.

   Rostand’s _Cyrano_, 259, 271, 278.

   Rulliers, 133.

   Rutebœuf, 178.


   Sainbault, Victor, 246

   Salis, Rodolphe, 284.

   Salsou, 54, 135, 140, 158, 160.

   Sapeck, 212, 247.

   Saussine, Henry de, 351.

   Schwob, Marcel, 333.

   Scholl, Aurélien, 183.

   Sécot, Gaston, 289.

   Sem, 378.

   Servais, Franz, 263.

   Sévérine, Mme., 333.

   Shaw, G. Bernard, 385.

   Signac, Paul, 374.

   Socialism, its differences from anarchism, 168;
     in the schools of the Latin Quarter, 200;
     distinction between evolutionary and revolutionary socialism, 168.

   Socialist literature, 170.

   Socialists and other revolutionists, 167-172.

   _Soirées familiales_ of anarchists, 38, 39.

   Sorbonne, the, 177, 180, 182.

   _Soupes-conférences_ of anarchists, 36.

   Steinlen, 284, 343, 381, 382.

   Stirner, Max, 6.

   Strikes, 103-105; at Decazeville, 131. _See also Grève générale._


   Tailhade, Laurent, 62, 66, 126, 151, 202, 283, 307, 340, 363, 367-369.

   _Temps Nouveaux, Les_, 63-65, 76, 113.

   _Theâtre Sociale_, 37;
     _d’Application_, 37;
     _Libre_, 357.

   Theft as a form of propaganda “_par le fait_,” 120-125.

   Thoreau, 91.

   Tolstoy, 91-93, 313.

   Toulouse-Lautrec, 236, 285.

   Trade-unions, attitude of anarchists toward, 101, 102, 105;
     attitude of socialists toward, 170.

   Trafalgar Square, mass meeting of unemployed in, 116.

   Trarieux, Gabriel, 350.

   _Trimardeur_, the, 40-44.


   _Vache Enragée_, 260-271;
     fête of the, 257-259.

   Vaillant, M., 168.

   Vaillant, 111, 112, 113, 134, 140, 142, 145, 147-149, 162, 339, 367,
     370.

   Valdagne, Pierre, 333.

   Valette, Auguste, 54.

   Vallès, Jules, 184, 215, 240, 250.

   Vanini, 180.

   Veber, Pierre, 352.

   Verhaeren, Emile, 337, 372.

   Verlaine, Paul, 126, 211, 213, 214, 263, 370.

   Vermesch, Eugène, 184, 251.

   Véry restaurant, explosion at the, 134, 144.

   Veyrin, Emile, 351.

   Vielé-Griffin, Francis, 337, 371.

   Villiers de l’Isle Adam, 263, 352.

   Villon, 178, 181.


   Wagner, 385.

   Watrin, the assassination of, 131.

   Watripon, Antonio, 183.

   Weber, Paul, 252.

   Willette, 258, 284, 379, 380.


   Yon Lug, 289.


   Zola, Emile, 145, 146, 151, 158, 159, 160, 259, 262, 291, 313-316,
     351, 361.

   Zevacco, Michel, 333.





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