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Title: Old and New Paris, v. 1 - Its History, its People, and its Places
Author: Edwards, Henry Sutherland, 1828-1906
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Its History, its People, and its Places
















Lutetia--La Cité--Lutetia taken by Labienus--The Visit of Julian the
Apostate--Besieged by the Franks--The Norman Invasion--Gradual Expansion
from the Île de la Cité to the Outer Boulevards--M. Thiers's Line of



Paris and London--The Rive Gauche--The Quartier Latin--The Pantheon--The
Luxemburg--The School of Medicine--The School of Fine Arts--The Bohemia
of Paris--The Rive Droite--Paris Proper--The "West End".....9



The Cathedral of Notre Dame, a Temple to Jupiter--Cæsar and
Napoleon--Relics in Notre Dame--Its History--Curious Legends--The "New
Church"--Remarkable Religious Ceremonies--The Place de Grève--The Days
of Sorcery--"Monsieur de Paris"--Dramatic Entertainments--Coronation of



The Massacre of St. Bartholomew--The Events that preceded it--Catherine
de Medicis--Admiral Coligny--"The King-Slayer"--The Signal for
the Massacre--Marriage of the Duc de Joyeuse and Marguerite of



The Oldest Bridge in Paris--Henri IV.--His Assassination by
Ravaillac--Marguerite of Valois--The Statue of Henri IV.--The
Institute--The Place de Grève.....30



From the Bastille to the Madeleine--Boulevard
Beaumarchais--Beaumarchais--The _Marriage of Figaro_--The
Bastille--The Drama in Paris--Adrienne Lecouvreur--Vincennes--The Duc
d'Enghien--Duelling--Louis XVI.....43


THE BOULEVARDS (_continued_).

Hôtel Carnavalet--Hôtel Lamoignon--Place Royale--Boulevard du
Temple--The Temple--Louis XVII--The Theatres--Astley's Circus--Attempted
Assassination of Louis Philippe--Trial of Fieschi--The Café Turc--The
Cafés--The Folies Dramatiques--Louis XVI. and the Opera--Murder of the
Duke of Berri.....67


THE BOULEVARDS (_continued_).

The Porte Saint-Martin--Porte Saint-Denis--The Burial Place of
the French Kings--Funeral of Louis XV.--Funeral of the Count de
Chambord--Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle--Boulevard Poissonnière--Boulevard



The Café Littéraire--Café Procope--Café Foy--Bohemian Cafés--Café
Momus--Death of Molière--New Year's Gifts.....107


THE BOULEVARDS (_continued_).

The Opéra Comique of Paris--_I Gelosi_--The _Don Juan_ of
Molière--Madame Favart--The Saint-Simonians.....115


THE BOULEVARDS (_continued_).

La Maison Dorée--Librairie Nouvelle--Catherine II. and the
Encyclopædia--The House of Madeleine Guimard.....122



Its History--Louis XV.--Fireworks--The Catastrophe in 1770--Place de la
Révolution--Louis XVI.--The Directory.....143



The Column of Austerlitz--The Various Statues of Napoleon Taken
Down--The Church of Saint-Roch--Mlle. Raucourt--Joan of Arc.....155



The Jacobins--Chateaubriand's Opinion of Them--Arthur Young's
Descriptions--The New Club.....161



Richelieu's Palace--The Regent of Orleans--The Duke of
Orleans--Dissipation in the Palais Royal--The Palais National--The
Birthplace of Revolutions.....166



Its History--The _Roman Comique_--Under Louis XV.--During the



The "King's Library"--Francis I. and the Censorship--The Imperial
Library--The Bourse.....187



The Louvre--Origin of the Name--The Castle--Francis I.--Catherine de
Medicis--The Queen's Apartments--Louis XIV. and the Louvre--The Museum
of the Louvre--The Picture Galleries--The Tuileries--The National
Assembly--Marie Antoinette--The Palace of Napoleon III.--"Petite



The Champs Élysées--The Élysée Palace--Longchamps--The Bois de
Boulogne--The Château de Madrid--The Château de la Muette--The Place de



The Royal Military School of Louis XV.--The National Assembly--The
Patriotic Altar--The Festival of the Supreme Being--Other
Festivals--Industrial Exhibitions--The Eiffel Tower--The



The Hôtel de Ville--Its History--In 1848--The Communards.....242



The Palais de Justice--Its Historical Associations--Disturbances in
Paris--Successive Fires--During the Revolution--The Administration of
Justice--The Sainte-Chapelle.....250



The Sapeurs-pompiers--The Prefect of Police--The Garde Républicaine--The
Spy System.....270



The Place du Parvis--The Parvis of Notre Dame--The Hôtel-Dieu--Mercier's



The Hôtel de Ville--Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie--Rue Saint-Antoine--The


CENTRAL PARIS (_continued_).

Rue de Venise--Rachel--St.-Nicholas-in-the-Fields--The Conservatoire des
Arts et Métiers--The Gaieté--Rue des Archives--The Mont de Piété--The
National Printing Office--The Hôtel Lamoignon.....298


CENTRAL PARIS (_continued_).

The Rue Saint-Denis--Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles--George
Cadoudal--Saint-Eustache--The Central Markets--The General Post



The Rue de l'Arbre Sec--Dr. Guillotin--Dr. Louis--The Guillotine--The
First Political Execution.....327



The Executioner--His Taxes and Privileges--Monsieur de Paris--Victor of



The Cemeteries of Clamart and Picpus--Père-Lachaise--La
Villette and Chaumont--The Conservatoire--Rue Laffitte--The



The Legal Institution of the Duel--The Congé de la Bataille--In the
Sixteenth Century--Jarnac--Famous Duels.....345



Paris Students--Their Character--In the Middle Ages--At the
Revolution--Under the Directory--In 1814--In 1819--Lallemand--In the
Revolution of 1830.....355



The Chiffonier or Rag-picker--His Methods and Hours of Work--His
Character--A Diogenes--The _Chiffonier de Paris_.....360



Béranger's Bohemians--Balzac's Definition--Two Generations--Henri



The Garçon--The Development of the Type--The Garçon's Daily Routine--His
Ambitions and Reverses.....369



Brillat Savarin on the Art of Cooking--The Cook and the Roaster--Cooking
in the Seventeenth Century--Louis XV.--Mme. de Maintenon.....372




Boulevard des Italiens....._Frontispiece_

Place de la Concorde.....1

The Left Bank of the Seine, from Notre Dame.....4

Right Bank of the Seine, from Notre Dame.....5

On the Boulevards--Corner of Place de l'Opéra.....8

Théâtre Français.....9

A Street Scene.....11

Notre Dame.....12

The Choir Stalls, Notre Dame.....13

Rue du Cloitre.....16

Apsis of Notre Dame.....17

The Leaden Spire, Notre Dame.....20

Gargoyles in the Sacristy, Notre Dame.....21

Church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois.....24

(Map) Principal Streets of Paris.....25

Scene during the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.....28

The Pont-Neuf and the Louvre, from the Quai des Augustins.....30

By the Pont-Neuf.....32

Seine Fishers.....32

View from the Pavilion de Flore....._facing_ 33

The Pont-Neuf and the Mint.....33

Statue of Henri IV. on the Pont-Neuf.....36

The Institute.....37

The Pont-Neuf from the Island.....40

View from the Western Point of the Île de la Cité.....41

Place de la Bastille and Column of July.....45

Junction of Grands Boulevards and Rue and Faubourg Montmartre.....48

The Bastille.....49

The Conquerors of the Bastille.....53

À la Robespierre.....56

A Lady of 1793.....56

A Tricoteuse.....56

Map showing the Extension of Paris.....57

Adrienne Lecouvreur.....61

A Duel in the Bois de Boulogne.....64

The Seine from Notre Dame....._facing_ 5


Hôtel Carnavalet.....68

Hôtel Lamoignon.....69

Statue of Louis XIII. in the Place des Vosges.....71

The Place des Vosges, formerly Place Royale.....72

The Arcade in the Place des Vosges.....73

The Winter Circus in the Boulevard des Filles de Calvaire.....77

Louis Philippe.....80

Attempted Assassination of Louis Philippe.....81

A Parisian Café.....84

Place de la République.....85

Frédéric Lemaître.....89

Porte Saint-Martin and the Renaissance Theatre.....92

Church of Saint-Méry, Rue Saint-Martin.....93

Apsis of Church of Saint-Méry, Rue Brisemiche.....96

Notre Dame....._facing_ 97

Entrance to the Faubourg Saint-Denis.....97

Boulevard and Porte Saint-Denis.....101

Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle and the Gymnase Theatre.....104

The Boulevard Montmartre.....105

Entrance to the Théâtre des Variétés, Boulevard Montmartre.....109

Cafés on the Boulevard Montmartre.....112


Street Coffee Stall.....114

Boulevard des Italiens.....116

The 6th of June; the Last of the Insurrection.....121


Paris in the Seventeenth Century.....125

Rue de la Chaussée d'Antin.....128

View from the Roof of the Opera House....._facing_ 129

Mlle. Clairon.....129

View from the Balcony of the Opera.....132

Avenue de l'Opéra.....133

One of the Domes of the Opera House.....135

Eastern Pavilion, Opera House.....136

The Public Foyer, Opera House.....137

Western Pavilion, Opera House.....140

The Staircase of the Opera House.....141

The Madeleine.....144

Interior of the Madeleine.....145

Place de la Concorde.....149

Place de la Concorde, from the Terrace of the Tuileries.....152

Trial of Louis XVI.....153

Top of the Vendôme Column.....155

The Place Vendôme.....157

Rue Castiglione.....160

A First Night at the Comédie Française--The Foyer....._facing_ 161



The Palais Royal.....165

Gardens of the Palais Royal.....168

The Palais Royal after the Siege.....169

The Montpensier Gallery, Palais Royal.....170

Entrance to the Comédie Française.....172

The Public Foyer, Comédie Française.....173

The Green Room, Comédie Française.....176




The Committee of the Comédie Française: Alexandre Dumas (the younger)
Reading a Play.....185

Behind the Scenes, Comédie Française.....186

Entrance to the National Library in the Rue des Petits Champs.....188

The Bourse.....189

The Apollo Gallery--The Louvre....._facing_ 193

The Louvre, from the Place du Carrousel.....193

The Old Louvre (Pierre Lescot's Façade).....195

The Colonnade of the Louvre.....196

Portion of the Façade of Henri IV.'s Gallery, Louvre.....197

Top of the Marsan Pavilion, Louvre.....200

The Marsan and Flora Pavilions, Louvre, from the Pont-Royal.....201

The Richelieu Pavilion.....205

The Tuileries in the Eighteenth Century.....208

The Terrace, Tuileries Gardens.....209

The Tuileries Gardens.....209

Lion in the Tuileries Gardens.....211

The Chestnuts of the Tuileries.....212

Louis XVI. Stopped at Varennes by Drouet.....213

The Royal Family at Varennes.....216

Monument to Gambetta, Place du Carrousel.....217

The Horses of Marly, Champs Élysées.....220

The Elysée.....221

Saint-Philippe du Roule.....221

The Great Lake, Bois de Boulogne.....223

Avenue du Bois de Boulogne.....224

Arc de Triomphe....._facing_ 225

Avenue des Champs Élysées.....225

Avenue Marigny, Champs Élysées.....227

Fountain in the Champs Élysées.....228

The Champ de Mars, 1889.....229

The Military School, Champ de Mars.....232

General La Fayette.....233

The Palais de l'Industrie, Champs Élysées.....236

View Showing Exhibition of 1889.....237

View from the First Platform of the Eiffel Tower.....240

The Trocadéro.....241

Hôtel de Ville in the Fifteenth Century.....244

Attack on the Hôtel de Ville, 1830.....245

Statue of Étienne Marcel on the Quai Hôtel de Ville.....246

The Municipal Council Chamber, Hôtel de Ville.....248

Île St. Louis.....249

The Quai de l'Horloge.....252

Pont au Change and Palais de Justice.....253

The Clock of the Palais de Justice.....255

Entrance to the Court of Assize.....256

The Palais de Justice....._facing_ 257

The Palais de Justice and Sainte-Chapelle.....257

The Façade of the Old Palais de Justice.....260

The Salle des Pas Perdus.....261

Police Carriages.....263

The Conciergerie, Palais de Justice.....264

The Sainte-Chapelle.....265

The Lower Chapel of the Sainte-Chapelle.....267

The Upper Chapel of the Sainte-Chapelle.....268

The Tribunal of Commerce.....269

A Pompier.....272

A Guardian of the Peace.....273

An Orderly of the Garde de Paris.....274

A Gendarme.....277

Principal Court of the Hôtel-Dieu.....280

Rue de Rivoli.....281

Façade of the Church of St. Gervais and St. Protais; and the Apsis, from
the Rue des Barres.....284

Tower of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie.....285

Hôtel de Beauvais.....286

Church of St. Louis and St. Paul.....288

Rue de Rivoli and Hôtel de Ville....._facing_ 289

Rue Grenier-sur-l'eau.....289

The Pont-Marie.....292

Rue Saint Louis-en-l'Île.....293

Pont au Change, Place du Châtelet, and Boulevard de Sebastopol.....296

The Palmier Fountain, Place du Châtelet.....297

Rue de Venise.....299

St. Nicholas-in-the-Fields.....300

The Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers.....301

The Vertbois Tower and Fountain.....303

The Gaieté Theatre.....304

In the Temple Market.....305

The Temple Market.....305

Sixteenth Century Cloisters, Rue des Billettes.....307

Palace of the National Archives.....308

Hôtel de Hollande.....309

Turret at Corner of Rues Vieille du Temple and Francs Bourgeois.....309

Rue de Birague, leading to the Place des Vosges.....311

Fountain of the Innocents.....312


A Market Scene.....315

An Auction Sale of Poultry in the Central Market.....316

Rue Rambuteau in the Early Morning.....317

On the Way to the Central Markets.....319

The Fish Market.....320

Interior of the Mont de Piété, Rue Capron....._facing_ 321

The General Post Office.....321

The Poste Restante.....321

The Public Hall, General Post Office.....323

The Telephone Room at the General Post Office.....324

Place des Victoires.....325

Rue de la Vrillière.....328

In Père-Lachaise.....333

Parc des Buttes Chaumont.....336


The Synagogue in the Rue de la Victoire.....341

St. Peter's Church, Montmartre.....343

The Bells of St. Peter's.....343

The New Municipal Reservoir and the Church of the Sacred Heart,

The Caulaincourt Bridge, Montmartre.....344

In the Parc Monceau.....345

Diana of Poitiers.....348

Marshal Ney.....352

The Race-course, Longchamps....._facing_ 353

Camille Desmoulins.....356

The Polytechnic School.....357

Notre Dame from the Pont Saint-Louis.....360

A Rag-picker.....361

A Rag-picker.....364

The Boulevard Poissonière.....368

Selling Goats.....369

The Bird Market.....373

Madame de Maintenon.....375

[Illustration: PLACE DE LA CONCORDE.]




"Paris," said Heinrich Heine, "is not simply the capital of France,
but of the whole civilised world, and the rendezvous of its most
brilliant intellects." The art and literature of Europe were at that
time represented in Paris by such men as Ary Scheffer, the Dutch
painter, Rossini, the Italian composer, the cosmopolitan Meyerbeer,
and Heine himself. Towards the close of the eighteenth century most
of the European Courts, with those of Catherine II. and Frederick the
Great prominent among them, were regularly supplied with letters on
Parisian affairs by Grimm, Diderot, and other writers of the first
distinction, who, in their serious moments, contributed articles to
the _Encyclopédie_. At a much remoter period Paris was already one
of the most famous literary capitals of Europe; nor was it renowned
for its literature alone. Its art, pictorial and sculptural, was
also celebrated, and still more so its art manufactures; while of
recent years the country of Auber and Gounod, of Bizet, Massenet
and Saint-Saëns, has played a leading part in the world of music.
Paris, too, has from the earliest times been a centre of science and
philosophy. Here Abélard lectured, and here the first hospitals were
established. Then, again, Paris has a military history of singular
interest and variety. It has been oftener torn within its walls by civic
conflicts, and attacked from without by the invader, than any other
European city; while none has undergone so many regular sieges as the
capital of the country of which Frederick the Great used to say that, if
he ruled it, not a shot should be fired in Europe without his permission.

Paris is at once the most ancient and the most modern capital in Europe.
Great are the changes it has undergone since it first took form,
eighteen centuries ago, as a fortress or walled town on an island in the
middle of the Seine; and at every period of its history we find some
chronicler dwelling on the disappearance of ancient landmarks. Whole
quarters are known to have been pulled down and rebuilt under the second
Empire. But ever since the Revolution of 1789, under each successive
form of government and in almost every district, straggling lanes have
been giving way gradually to wide streets and stately boulevards, and
suburb after suburb has been merged into the great city.

The Chaussée d'Antin was at the end of the last century a chaussée in
fact as well as in name: a mere high-road, that is to say; and there
were people living under the government of Louis-Philippe who claimed to
have shot rabbits on the now densely populated Boulevard Montmartre.

The greatest changes, however, in the general physiognomy of Paris date
from the Revolution, when, in the first place, as if by way of symbol,
the hated fortress was demolished in which so many victims of despotism
had languished. "Athens," says Victor Hugo, "built the Parthenon,
but Paris destroyed the Bastille." In the days when the great State
prison was still standing, the broad, well-built Rue Saint-Antoine,
in its immediate neighbourhood, used to be pointed to by antiquarians
as covering the ground where King Henry II. was mortally wounded in
a tournament by Montgomery, an officer in the Scottish Guard. It was
there, too, that, after the death of their protector, the "minions" of
Henry II. slaughtered one another.

The now thickly inhabited Place des Victoires, where stands the statue
of Louis XIV., lasting monument of kingly pride and popular adulation,
was at one time the most dangerous part of the capital. In the open
space now enclosed by lordly mansions and commodious warehouses thieves
and murderers held their nightly assemblies, or even in the face of day
committed depredations on the passers-by. "Could a better site have been
chosen," asks an historian of the last century, "for the effigy of that
royal robber, born for the ruin of his subjects and the disturbance of
Europe: who aimed at universal monarchy and sacrificed the wealth and
happiness of a whole kingdom to pursue an empty shadow; who lived a
tyrant and died an idiot?"

Not far distant, the Halles, or general markets, stand on the spot
where Charles V. made a famous speech against Charles, surnamed the
Mischievous, King of Navarre; when the former was hissed and hooted by
the mob because he had neither the good looks, the eloquence, nor the
reasoning power of his antagonist. It was here, too, that the first
dramas were acted in France; and here, significantly enough, that
Molière was born.

At the Butte Saint-Roch, now remembered chiefly by the church of the
same name, the Maid of Orleans was wounded during the siege of Paris,
then in the hands of the English. Joan of Arc was not at this time--not,
at least, with the Parisians--the popular heroine she has since become.
Detesting Charles VII. and all his supporters, they could not love the
inspired girl whose example had restored the courage of the king's
troops. A Parisian of that day, who had witnessed the siege, describes
her as a "fiend in woman's guise."

The bell may still be heard of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois; the very
bell, it is asserted, that called the faithful to the massacre of St.
Bartholomew. Near the church from which the tragic signal rang forth
stands the palace from whose windows Charles IX. fired upon the unhappy
Huguenots as they sought safety by swimming across the Seine; and close
at hand used to be pointed out another window from which money was
thrown to an agitated crowd in order to keep it from attending Molière's
funeral, at which the mob proposed, not to honour the remains of the
illustrious dramatist, but to insult them.

It was in the old Rue du Temple that the Duke of Burgundy fell by the
hand of his assassin, the Duke of Orleans, only brother of Charles
VI., who, though a madman and an idiot, was suffered to remain on the
throne; and it was in this same Rue du Temple that Louis XVI. and
Marie-Antoinette were confined before being taken to the guillotine.
What scenes has not the Place de Grève witnessed! from the burning of
witches to the torture of Damiens, and from the atrocious cruelties
inflicted upon this would-be regicide to the first executions under the
Revolution, when the cry of "A la lanterne!" (to the lamp-post, that is
to say, of the Place de Grève) was so frequently heard.

But the most revolutionary spot in this, the most revolutionary
capital in the world, is to be found in the gardens of the Palais
Royal; those gardens from whose trees Camille Desmoulins plucked
the leaves which the besiegers of the Bastille were to have worn in
their hats as rallying signals. Here, too, assembled the journeymen
printers, who, their newspapers having been suppressed by Charles
X., determined, under the guidance of the journalists--their natural
leaders on such an occasion--to reply by force to the armed censorship
of the Government. Again, in 1848, the Palais Royal Gardens witnessed
the first manifestations of discontent, though it was a pistol-shot
fired on a fashionable part of the boulevard that precipitated the
collision between the insurgents and the troops. The next morning, at
breakfast, Louis-Philippe was told that he had better abdicate; and an
hour afterwards an old gentleman, with a portfolio under his arm, was
seen to take a cab on the Place de la Concorde, and drive off in the
direction of Saint-Cloud, whence he reached the coast of Normandy, and
in due time the shores of England.

Paris possesses one of the most ancient and one of the most
characteristically modern churches in Europe--the venerable Notre-Dame,
and in sharp contrast, the fashionable Madeleine, celebrated for the
splendour of its essentially mundane architecture, the luxurious attire
of its female frequenters, the beauty of its music, and the eloquence
of its preachers. The first stone of Notre-Dame was laid, as Victor
Hugo puts it, by Tiberius, who, recognising the site of the future
cathedral as well-fitted for a temple, began by erecting an altar "to
the god Cerennos and to the bull Esus." In like manner, on the hill of
Sainte-Geneviève, where now stands the edifice known as the Pantheon,
Mercury was at one time worshipped.

So rich is Paris in historical associations that often the same street,
the same spot, recalls two widely different events. Thus the statue
of Henri IV. on the Pont-Neuf commemorates the glory of the best and
greatest of the French kings, and at the same time marks the very ground
where, in the fourteenth century, Jacques de Molay, the Templar, was
infamously burned. At No. 14 in the Rue de Béthisy Admiral Coligny died
and Sophie Arnould was born. At a house in the Rue des Marais Racine
wrote "Bajazet" and "Britannicus" in the room where, fifty years later,
the Duchess de Bouillon is said to have poisoned Adrienne Lecouvreur.
There was a time when, at the corner of the Rue du Marché des Innocents,
a marble slab, inscribed with letters of gold, associated the important
year of 1685 with three notable events: the arrival of an embassy from
Siam, a visit from the Doge of Genoa, and the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes. This strange record has disappeared, together with many other
interesting memorials of various shapes and kinds: such, for example,
as the iron cauldron in the Cour des Miracles, where, in the name of a
whole series of kings who had played tricks with the national currency,
and more than once produced national bankruptcy, coiners used to be
boiled alive.

As we go further back in the history of Paris, lawlessness on the part
of the inhabitants, and cruelty on that of the rulers, seem constantly
to increase. Until the reign of Louis XI., Paris was without police,
though laws were nominally in force, especially against stealing. Theft
was punished much on the principle laid down in the inscription of the
sixth century which adorned one of the walls of Lutetia, the Paris of
the Romans: "If a thief is caught in the act he must, in the case of a
noble, be brought to trial; in the case of a peasant, be hanged on the
spot." The capitular of Charlemagne forbade ecclesiastics to take human
life: which did not prevent the abbés of different monasteries from
besieging one another or crossing swords when, with their followers,
they chanced to meet outside the fortified monasterial walls, whether in
the plain or in the public street. The right of private warfare existed
in France until 1235.

Paris has undergone atrocious sufferings through war, famine,
pestilence, and calamities of all kinds. The Normans, after burning one
half of Paris, allowed the remainder to be ransomed with an enormous sum
of money. In one of the famines by which Paris in its early days was so
often visited, people cast lots as to which should be eaten. The taxes
were so excessive that many pretended to be lepers, in order to profit
by the exemption accorded in such cases. But it was sometimes not well
to be a leper, real or pretended; for it was proclaimed one day to the
sound of horn and trumpet that lepers throughout the kingdom should be
exterminated: "in consequence of a mixture of herbs and human blood,
with which, rolling it up in a linen cloth and tying it to a stone, they
poison the wells and rivers."

How terrible, and often how ridiculous, were the proclamations issued
in those days! In front of the Grand-Châtelet six heralds of France,
clothed in white velvet, and rod in hand, were wont to announce after a
plague, a war, or a famine that there was nothing more to be feared, and
that the king would be graciously pleased to receive taxes as before. In
the centre of the so-called "town"--Paris in general, that is to say, as
distinct from the city--was "la Maubuée" (derived, according to Victor
Hugo, from _mauvaise fumée_), where Jews innumerable were roasted over
fires of pitch and green wood to punish what a chronicler of the time
terms their "anthropomancy"; and what the Counsellor de l'Ancre further
describes as "the marvellous cruelty they have always shown towards
Christians, their mode of life, their synagogue, so displeasing to God,
their uncleanliness, and their stench." The unhappy Jews, however, were
not the only victims. Close by, at the corner of the Rue du Gros-Chenet,
was the place where sorcerers used to be burned. Torture, moreover, in
its most hideous forms was practised upon criminals even until the time
of the Revolution; which, while introducing the guillotine, abolished,
in addition to a variety of other torments, breaking on the wheel, and
the beating of criminals to death with the iron bar.

Many of the names, still extant, of the old Paris streets recall the
ferocity and the superstition of past times. The Rue de l'Arbre Sec
was the Street of the Gibbet, with "Dry Tree" as its familiar name.
The Rue d'Enfer, or Hell Street, was so called from a belief that this
thoroughfare on the outskirts of Paris, just beyond the Luxemburg
Gardens, was haunted by the fiend. In order to put an end to the
scandal by which the whole neighbourhood was alarmed, it occurred to
the authorities to make over the street to the Order of Capuchins who,
they thought, would know how to deal with their inveterate enemy. The
Capuchins accepted, with gratitude, the valuable trust; and thenceforth,
whether as the result of some exorcising process or because public
confidence had been restored, no more was heard of the visitor from


To get a complete idea of the vastness and variety of Paris, it should
be seen from the towers of Notre-Dame, the Pantheon, the July Column of
the Place de la Bastille, the tower of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie,
the Vendôme Column, the Triumphal Arch, and, finally, the Eiffel Tower.
From these different points panoramic views may be obtained which
together would form a complete picture of Paris.

The shape of Paris is oval. The longest diameter--east to west--would
be drawn from the Gate of Vincennes to the Gate of Auteuil; and the
shorter--north to south--from the Gate of Clignancourt to the Gate of

Paris is divided longitudinally by the course of the Seine, whose
windings are scarcely noticed by the observer taking a bird's-eye view.
The river looks like a silver thread between two borders of green.
These are the plantations of the quays, whose trees, during the last
five-and-twenty years, have become as remarkable for their luxuriant
growth as for their beauty of form. From the height of our observatory
we see the Island of the City, looking like a ship at anchor, with its
prow towards the west.

On all sides the summits of religious edifices present themselves:
the towers of Notre-Dame, the dome of the Pantheon, the turrets
of Saint-Sulpice, the steeple of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the
gilded cupola of the Invalides, and the lofty isolated belfry of

Following the course of the Seine with careful eye, one may see its
twenty-one "ports"--eleven on the right bank, and ten on the left--from
Bercy to the Tuileries; also, like slender bars thrown across the
river, the twenty-seven bridges connecting the two banks, from the
Pont-National to the viaduct of the Point du Jour.

The double line of quays--quadruple, where the islands of St. Louis and
of the City divide the river in two--presents an incomparable series of
stately structures; such as the Hôtel de Ville, the Palais de Justice,
the Louvre, the Mint, the Institute, the Palais Bourbon, and a number of
magnificent private mansions.


From the Gothic steeple of the Sainte Chapelle the eye wanders to
innumerable domes, built under the influence of the Renaissance; for
while the domes have endured, the steeples, so numerous in ancient
Paris, have, for the most part, succumbed either to fire or to the
vandalism of the renovating architect. It must be remembered, too, that
under the reign of Louis XIV. Gothic architecture was proscribed, as
recalling "the age of barbarism." Every new edifice was constructed
in the Italian or Italo-Byzantine style. The finest, if not the most
ancient, dome that Paris could ever boast was the one which crowned the
central pavilion of the Tuileries Palace. The cupola of St. Peter's was
the model adopted in the early part of the sixteenth century by all
French architects who had studied in Italy, or Italian architects who
had settled in France; and the masterpiece of Michael Angelo at Rome was
not yet finished when the first stone of the impressive and picturesque
Church of Saint-Eustace was laid in 1532 at Paris. Only a few years
afterwards the French architect, Philibert de l'Orme, attached to the
service of Pope Paul III., returned to Paris, and, beneath the delighted
eyes of Queen Catherine de Medicis, worked out the designs which he had
formed under the inspiration of Michael Angelo and of Bramante. The
dome, however, of Philibert de l'Orme was destined to lose its beauty
through the additions made to it by other architects.

Of late years it has been the rule in Paris not to destroy but to
preserve the ancient architecture of the city. "Demolish the tower of
Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie?" asked Victor Hugo, when, during the
reconstruction and prolongation of the Rue Rivoli, the question of
keeping it standing or pulling it down was under general discussion:
"Demolish the tower of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie? No! Demolish the
architect who suggests such a thing? Yes!"



Lutetia--_La Cité_--Lutetia taken by Labienus--The Visit of Julian the
Apostate--Besieged by the Franks--The Norman Invasion--Gradual Expansion
from the _Ile de la Cité_ to the Outer Boulevards--M. Thiers's Line of

Lutetia, the ancient Paris, or Lutetia Parisiorum, as it was called
by the Romans, stood in the midst of marshes. The name, derived,
suggestively enough, from _lutum_, the Latin for mud, has been invested
with a peculiar significance by those stern moralists who see in Paris
nothing but a sink of iniquity. Balzac called it a "wen"; and Blucher,
when some ferocious member of his staff suggested the destruction of
Paris, exclaimed: "Leave it alone; Paris will destroy all France!"
By a critic of less severe temperament Paris has been contemptuously
described as "the tavern of Europe"--_le cabaret de l'Europe_. Lutetia,
however, can afford to smile alike at the slurs of moralists and the
sneers of cynics; and the etymology of her name need by no means alarm
those of her admirers who will reflect that lilies may spring from mud,
and that the richest corn is produced from the blackest soil.

The development of the Lutetia of Cæsar's time into the Paris of our own
has occupied many eventful centuries; and the centre of the development
may still be seen in that little island of the so-called City--_l'Ile
de la Cité_--once known as the Island of Lutetia. As to the dimensions
of the ancient Lutetia, neither historians nor geographers are wholly
agreed. The germ of Paris is, in any case, to be found in that part of
the French capital which has long been known as _la Cité_, and which is
the dullest and sleepiest part of Paris, just as inversely our "city,"
distinctively so called, is the most active and energetic part of London.

The Parisians have always been given to insurrection; and their first
rising was made against a ruler who was likely enough to put it
down--Julius Cæsar, that is to say. Finding his power defied, Cæsar sent
against the Parisians a body of troops, under the command of Labienus,
who crushed the rebels in the first battle. Historians give different
versions of the engagement, but modern writers are content for the most
part to rely on a tradition related by an author of the fourteenth
century, Raoul de Presles, who published a French version of Cæsar's
account of the Battle of Paris, enriched by notes and comments from his
own pen. Labienus, according to Cæsar and Raoul de Presles, was arrested
in his first attack by an impassable marsh. Then, simulating a retreat
along the left bank of the Seine, he was pursued by the Gauls, in spite
of Camulogenes, their cautious leader; who, unable to restrain them,
fell with them at last into an ambuscade, in which chief and followers
all perished.

Raoul de Presles gives some interesting details about the marsh which
Labienus, on making his advance against Paris, was unable to cross. Some
identify it with the Marshes of the Temple, which formed, on the north
of Paris, a continuous semicircle; but Raoul de Presles seems to hold
that the marsh which stopped the advance of Labienus protected Lutetia
itself: that Lutetia of the Island which sprang from the mud as Venus
sprang from the sea. The city of Lutetia was at that time so strong,
so entirely shut in by water, that Julius Cæsar himself speaks of the
difficulty of reaching it. "But since then," says Raoul de Presles,
"there has been much solidification through gravel, sand, and all kinds
of rubbish being cast into it."

After the victory of Labienus, Lutetia, which the conqueror had
destroyed, was quickly re-built; and it was then governed as a Roman
town. This, however, was in Cæsar's time; and the first description of
Lutetia as a city was given by Strabo some fifty years later. Thus it
may safely be said that of the original Lutetia nothing whatever is

It is certain, nevertheless, that in the new Lutetia, built by the
Romans, the most important edifices stood at the western end of the
island, including a palace, on whose site was afterwards to be erected
the Palace of the French Kings; while at the eastern end the most
striking object was a Temple to Jupiter, in due time to be replaced by
the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.

As early as the fourth century Lutetia found favour in the eyes of
illustrious visitors; and the Emperor Julian, known as the "Apostate,"
when, after defeating seven German kings near Strasburg, he retired to
Lutetia for winter quarters, spoke of it, then and for ever afterwards,
as his "dear Lutetia."

"Lutetia lætitia!"--Paris is my joy!--he might, with a certain modern
writer, have exclaimed.

Julian is not the only man who, going to Paris for a few months, has
stayed there several years; and Julian's winter quarters of the year 355
so much pleased him that he remained in them until 360. Encouraged, no
doubt, by what Julian, in his enthusiasm, told them about the already
attractive capital of Gaul, a whole series of Roman emperors visited the
city, including Valentinian I., Valentinian II., and Gratian, who left
Paris in 379, never to return.

From this date Paris ceased practically to form part of the Roman Empire.

More than a century before (in 245) St. Denis had undergone martyrdom
on the banks of the Seine, walking about after decapitation with his
head under his arm. This strange tradition had probably its origin in
a picture by some simple-minded painter, who had represented St. Denis
carrying his own head like a parcel, because he could think of no more
ingenious way of indicating the fate that had befallen the first apostle
of Christianity in Gaul; just as St. Bartholomew has often been painted
with his skin hanging across his arm like a loose overcoat.

After the defeat and death of Gratian, the government of Lutetia passed
into the hands of her bishops, who often defended the city against the
incursions of the barbarians.

In 476 Lutetia was besieged by the Franks, when Childeric gained
possession of it, and destroyed for ever all traces of the Roman power.
It now became a Frank or French town; and, "Lutetia Parisiorum" being
too long a name for the unlettered Goths, was shortened by them first
into "Parisius," and ultimately, by the suppression of the two last
syllables, into "Paris."

In the ninth century Paris underwent the usual Norman invasion, by
which so many European countries, from Russia to England, and from
England to Sicily--not to speak of the Norman or Varangian Guard
of Constantinople--were sooner or later to be visited. The "hardy
Norsemen"--or Norman pirates, as the unhappy Parisians doubtless called
them--started from the island of Oissel, near Rouen, where they had
established themselves in force; and, moving with a numerous fleet
towards Paris, laid siege to it, and, on its surrender, first pillaged
it and then burnt it to the ground. Three churches alone--those of
Saint-Étienne, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and Saint-Denis, near Paris--were
saved, through the payment of a heavy ransom. Sixteen years later, after
a sufficient interval to allow of a reconstruction, the Normans again
returned, when once more the unhappy city was plundered and burnt.
For twenty successive years Paris was the constant prey of the Norman
pirates who held beneath their power the whole course of the Seine.

At last, however, a powerful fleet, led by a chief whom the French call
"Siegfroi," but whose real name was doubtless "Siegfried," sustained
a crushing defeat; and, simultaneously with the Norman invaders, the
Carlovingian Dynasty passed away.

With the advent of the Capet Dynasty a continuous history began for
Paris--in due time to become the capital of all France. Ancient Paris
was three times burnt to the ground: the Paris which dates from the
ninth century has often been conquered, but never burnt.

Ancient Paris, the Lutetia of the Romans, was an island enclosed between
two branches of the Seine. But the river overflowed north and south,
and it became necessary to construct large ditches or moats, which at
once widened the boundaries of the "city." Gradually the population
spread out in every direction; and when, under Louis XIV., the line of
boulevards was traced, the extreme limits of the capital were marked by
this new enclosure. Then under Louis XVI., the Farmers-General, levying
dues (the so-called _octroi_) on imports into the town, established for
their own convenience certain "barriers," at which persons bringing in
food or drink were stopped until they had acquitted themselves of the
appointed tax; and, connecting these "barriers," they thus formed the
line of outer boulevards.

Paris extended in time even to these outer boulevards. Then, under
Louis-Philippe, at the instigation of his Minister, M. Thiers, a
line of fortifications was constructed around Paris; which, proving
insufficient in 1870 and 1871 to save the capital from bombardment,
has in its turn been surrounded by a circle of outlying detached forts
intercommunicating with one another.

The fortifications of Paris have had a strange history. At the time of
their being planned, opinions in France were divided as to whether they
were intended to oppose a foreign invasion or to control an internal
revolt. In all probability they were meant, according to the occasion,
to serve either purpose. They were not only designed by M. Thiers, but
executed under his orders; and this statesman, who had made a careful
study of military science, lived to see them powerless against the
German army of investment, and successful against the Paris Commune.


Paris had been invaded and occupied in 1814, and again in 1815. On the
other hand, domestic government had been upset in 1830 by a popular
insurrection, which, with adequate military force to oppose it, might
at once have been suppressed. Was it as patriot, people asked, or as
minister of a would-be despotic king, that M. Thiers proposed to raise
around Paris a new and formidable wall?

M. Thiers's circular line of outworks played no part in connection with
the successful insurrection of February, 1848, nor with the unsuccessful
one of June in the same year. Nor was a single shot fired from the
fortifications in connection with the _coup d'État_ of 1851. They did
not in 1871 prevent the French capital from falling into the hands of
the Germans: but they delayed for a considerable time the fatal moment
of surrender; and if the army of Metz could have held out a few weeks
longer--if, above all, the inhabitants of the inactive south, who
practically took no part in the war, had been prepared, to fight with
something like the energy displayed by the Confederates against the
Federals during the American Civil War--then the fortifications would
have justified the views of those who had chiefly regarded them as a
valuable defence against foreign invasion.

The fortifications erected by M. Thiers have since been pulled down:
partly because the constantly expanding city wanted fresh building
ground, partly because, in view of new plans of defence, and of the
new artillery of offence, it was considered desirable to protect Paris
by a system of outlying but inter-protecting forts, at a sufficient
distance from the houses of the capital to render reduction by what is
called "simple bombardment" impossible. In time Lutetia, with fresh
developments, may require yet another new girdle.



Paris and London--The _Rive Gauche_--The _Quartier Latin_--The
Pantheon--The Luxemburg--The School of Medicine--The School of Fine
Arts--The Bohemia of Paris--The _Rive Droite_--Paris Proper--"The West

An effective contrast might be drawn between London and Paris. But,
unlike as they are in so many features, physical, moral, and historical,
they differ most widely, perhaps, by the relative parts they have played
in the history of their respective countries.

The history of Paris is the history of France itself. The decisive
battles which brought the great civil and religious wars of the country
to an end were fought outside or in the very streets of Paris. It was in
Paris that the massacre of St. Bartholomew--darkest blot on the French
annals--was perpetrated. The Revolution of 1789, again, was prepared
and accomplished in the French capital; and, thenceforth, all those
revolutions and _coups d'état_ by which the government of the country
was periodically to be changed had Paris for their scene. In England, on
the other hand, London had little or nothing to do with the battles of
the great Rebellion, the Revolution, or the two insurrections by which
the Revolution was followed.

[Illustration: THÉÂTRE FRANÇAIS.]

But the English visitor to Paris is in the first place struck by
external points of dissimilarity. As regards the difference in the
structural physiognomy of the two great capitals (less pronounced now
than at one time, though Paris is still loftily, and London for the most
part dwarfishly, built), it was ingeniously remarked, some fifty years
ago, that the architecture of one city seemed vertical, of the other

To pass from the houses to their inhabitants, the population of Paris is
as remarkable for variety as that of London for uniformity of costume.
For in Paris almost every class has its own distinctive dress. In
England, and especially in London, the employer and his workmen, the
millionaire and the crossing-sweeper, wear coats of the same pattern.
In London, again, every work-girl, every market-woman, wears a bonnet
imitated more or less perfectly from those worn by ladies of fashion.

When Gavarni first visited London, he was astonished and amused to
see an old woman in a bonnet carrying a flower-pot on her head, and
made this grotesque figure the subject of a humorous design, with the
following inscription beneath it: "_On porte cette année beaucoup de
fleurs sur les chapeaux._"

Shop-girls and work-girls in Paris wear neat white caps instead of
ill-made, or, it may be, dilapidated bonnets; though the more aspiring
among them reserve the right of appearing in a bonnet on Sundays and
holidays. The French workman wears a blouse and a cap, and looks upon
the hat as a sign, if not of superiority, at least of pretension.

    "Car moi j'ai payé ma casquette,
     Et toi, tu n'as pas payé ton chapeau!"

was the burden of a song very popular with the working classes during
the revolutionary days of 1848 to 1851.

Owing to the varieties of dress already touched upon, a crowd in Paris
presents a less gloomy, less monotonous appearance than the black-coated
mobs of London; and in harmony with the greater relief afforded by the
different colours of the costumes are the animated gestures of the
persons composing the crowd. Observe, indeed, a mere group of persons
conversing on no matter what commonplace subject, or idly chatting as
they sip their coffee together on the boulevards, and they appear to be
engaged in some violent dispute.

To mention yet another point on which Paris differs from London: the
most interesting part of Paris lies on the right bank of the Seine,
whereas all that is interesting in London lies on the left bank of the

The left bank of the Seine possesses, however, buildings and streets
of historical interest. Here, too, is the quarter of the schools: the
Quartier Latin, as it is still called, not by reason of its Roman
antiquities, which, except at the Hotel Cluny, would be sought for
in vain, but because, in the mediæval period whence the schools for
the most part date, even to comparatively modern times, Latin was
the language of the student. On the "left bank," moreover, stand the
Institute, the Pantheon or Church of Ste. Geneviève, as, according to
the predominance of religion or irreligion, it is alternately called;
the Ste. Geneviève Library, the Luxemburg Palace, with its magnificent
picture gallery, the School of Medicine, and the School of Fine Arts.
Many of the great painters, too, have their studios--often little
academies in themselves--on the left bank of the river; while among the
famous streets on the "left bank" is that Rue du Bac so often referred
to in the chronicles and memoirs of the eighteenth century. The famous
Café Procope, again, literary headquarters of the encyclopædists, stands
on what is now considered the wrong side of the water. So too does the
Odéon Theatre, once the Théàtre Français, where, in modern as well as
ancient times, so many dramatic masterpieces have been produced.

On the other hand, there is scarcely on the left bank one good hotel:
certainly not one that could put forward the slightest pretension to
being fashionable. Nor, except in the case of professional men connected
with the hospitals or the schools, would anyone mixing in fashionable
society care to give his address anywhere on the left bank.

Jules Janin, one of the most distinguished writers of his time, and one
of the most popular men in the great world of Paris from the reign of
Louis Philippe until that of Napoleon III., did, it is true, live for
years in a house close to the Luxemburg Gardens. But Janin possessed a
certain originality, and thought more of what suited himself than of
what pleased others. On one occasion, having engaged to fight a duel,
he failed to put in an appearance by reason of the inclemency of the
weather and his disinclination to get out of bed at the early hour for
which the meeting had been fixed. Such a man would not be ashamed to
live on the left bank if he happened to have found a place there which
harmonised with his tastes.

Apart, however, from all question of inclination and fashion, it is
really inconvenient to anyone who mingles in Parisian life to live on
the left bank of the Seine, remote as it is from the boulevards, the
Champs Élysées, the best hotels, the best restaurants, the best cafés,
and the best theatres.

At the same time, no sort of comparison can be established between the
transpontine districts of Paris and those of London. In London, no one
who is anyone would dream of living "on the other side of the water,"
where neither picture galleries, nor public gardens, nor artists'
studios, nor famous streets, nor great houses of business, nor even
magnificent shops are to be met with. Even Jules Janin, had he been an
Englishman, would have declined to live in the region of Blackfriars or
the Waterloo Road.

On the right bank of the Seine--the Paris West End, and something
more--we find much greater concentration than in the West End of
London. Here, indeed, all that is most important in the artistic,
financial, and fashionable life of the capital may be found within a
small compass.

The Théàtre Français is close to the Bourse, and the Bourse to the
Boulevard des Italiens, which leads to the Opera by a line along which
stand the finest hotels, the best restaurants in Paris. From the Opera
it is no far cry to the Champs Élysées, the Hyde Park of Paris; while,
going along the boulevards in the opposite direction, one comes step
by step to a seemingly endless series of famous theatres. All the best
clubs, too, all the best book-shops and music-shops, are to be found
on the most fashionable part of the boulevard, extending from the
Boulevard des Italiens, past the Opera House, to the adjacent Church of
the Madeleine: architecturally a repetition of the Bourse, as though
commerce and religion demanded temples of the same character.


[Illustration: NOTRE DAME.]



The Cathedral of Notre Dame, a Temple to Jupiter--Cæsar and
Napoleon--Relics in Notre Dame--Its History--Curious Legends--"The New
Church"--Remarkable Religious Ceremonies--The Place de Grève--The Days
of Sorcery--Monsieur de Paris--Dramatic Entertainments--Coronation of

There is no monument of ancient Paris so interesting, by its
architecture and its historical associations, as the Cathedral of Notre
Dame; which, standing on the site of a Temple to Jupiter, carries us
back to the time of the Roman domination and of Julius Cæsar. Here,
eighteen centuries later, took place the most magnificent ceremony ever
seen within the walls of the actual edifice: the coronation, that is to
say, of the modern Cæsar, the conqueror who ascended the Imperial throne
of France on the 2nd of December, 1804.

Meanwhile, the strangest as well as the most significant things have
been witnessed inside the ancient metropolitan church of Paris.

Among the curious objects deposited from time to time on the altar of
Notre Dame may be mentioned a wand which Louis VII. inscribed with
the confession of a fault he was alleged to have committed against
the Church. Journeying towards Paris, the king had been surprised
by the darkness of night, and had supped and slept at Créteil, on
the invitation of the inhabitants. The village, inhabitants and all,
belonged to the Chapter of Notre Dame; and the canons were much
irritated at the king's having presumed to accept hospitality indirectly
at their cost. When, next day, Louis, arriving at Paris, went, after
his custom, to the cathedral in order to render thanks for his safe
journey, he was astonished to find the gates of Notre Dame closed.
He asked for an explanation, whereupon the canons informed him that
since, in defiance of the privileges and sacred traditions of the
Church, he had dared at Créteil to sup, free of cost to himself and at
the expense of the flock of Notre Dame, he must now consider himself
outside the pale of Christianity. At this terrible announcement the
king groaned, sighed, wept, and begged forgiveness, humbly protesting
that but for the gloom of night and the spontaneous hospitality of the
inhabitants--so courteous that a refusal on his part would have been
most uncivil--he would never have touched that fatal supper. In vain did
the bishop intercede on his behalf, offering to guarantee to the canons
the execution of any promise which the king might make in expiation of
his crime; it was not until the prelate placed in their hands a couple
of silver candlesticks as a pledge of the monarch's sincerity that they
would open to him the cathedral doors; and even then his Majesty had
to pay the cost of his supper at Créteil, and by way of confession, to
deposit on the altar of Notre Dame the now historical wand.

Louis XI., more devout even than the devout Louis VII., was equally
unable to inspire his clergy with confidence. Before the discovery of
printing, in 1421, manuscript books at Paris, as elsewhere, were so
rare and so dear that students had much trouble in procuring even those
which were absolutely necessary for their instruction. Accordingly, when
Louis XI. wished to borrow from the Faculty of Medicine the writings of
Rhases, an Arabian physician, he was required, before taking the book
away, to deposit a considerable quantity of plate, besides the signature
of a powerful nobleman, who bound himself to see that his Majesty
restored the volume.


Among the many legends told in connection with Notre Dame is a
peculiarly fantastic one, according to which the funeral service of a
canon named Raimond Diocre, famed for his sanctity, was being celebrated
by St. Bruno, when, at a point where the clergy chanted the words:
_Responde mihi quantas habes iniquitates?_ the dead man raised his head
in the coffin, and replied: _Justo Dei judicio accusatus sum_. At this
utterance all present took flight, and the ceremony was not resumed
till the next day, when for the second time the clergy chanted forth:
_Responde mihi_, etc., on which the corpse again raised its head, and
this time answered: _Justo Dei judicio judicatus sum_. Once more there
was a panic and general flight. The scene, with yet another variation,
was repeated on the third day, when the dead, who had already declared
himself to have been "accused" and "judged" by Heaven, announced that
he had been condemned: _Justo Dei judicio condamnatus sum_. Witness of
this terrible scene, St. Bruno renounced the world, did penance, became
a monk, and founded the Order of Les Chartreux.

The incident has been depicted by Lesueur, who received a commission to
record on canvas the principal events in the life of the saint.

It is looked upon as certain by the historians of Paris that the
Cathedral of Notre Dame stands on the site formerly occupied by a
heathen temple. But how and when the transformation took place is not
known, though the period is marked more or less precisely by the date
of the introduction of Christianity into France. Little confidence,
however, is to be placed in those authors who declare that the Paris
cathedral was founded in the middle of the third century by St. Denis,
the first apostle of Christianity in France; for at the very time
when St. Denis was preaching the Gospel to the Parisians the severest
edicts were still in force against Christians. It cannot, then, be
supposed that the officials of the Roman Empire would have tolerated the
erection of a Christian church. It can be shown, however, that under
the episcopacy of Bishop Marcellus, about the year 375, there already
existed a Christian church in the city of Paris, on the borders of the
Seine and on the eastern point of the island, where a Roman temple had
formerly stood. Towards the end of the sixth century the cathedral was
composed of two edifices, close together, but quite distinct. One of
these was dedicated to the Virgin, the other to St. Stephen the Martyr.
Gradually, however, the Church of our Lady was extended and developed
until it touched and embraced the Church of St. Stephen. The Church of
St. Mary, as many called it, was the admiration of its time. Its vaulted
roofs were supported by columns of marble, and Venantius Fortunatus,
Bishop of Poitiers, declares that this was the first church which
received the rays of the sun through glass windows. More than once it is
said to have been burnt during the incursions of the Normans. But this
is a matter of mere tradition, and the destruction of the cathedral by
fire, whether it ever occurred or not, is held in any case to have been
only partial.

In the twelfth century Notre Dame was, it is true, known as the "New
Church." This appellation, however, served only to distinguish it from
the smaller Church of St. Stephen (St. Etienne), which had been left in
its original state, without addition or renovation.

The plan of the cathedral has, like that of other cathedrals,
been changed from century to century; but in spite of innumerable
modifications, the original plan asserts itself. From the fourteenth
to the seventeenth century the Church of Notre Dame was left nearly
untouched. Then, however, in obedience to the wishes of Louis XIII., it
was subjected to a whole series of pretended embellishments, for which
"mutilations" would be a fitter word. In the eighteenth century, between
the years 1773 and 1787, damaging "improvements," and "restorations" of
the most destructive kind, were introduced; until at the time of the
Revolution the idea was entertained of depriving the venerable edifice
altogether of its religious character. The outside statues were first
threatened, but Chaumette saved them by dwelling upon their supposed
astronomical and mythological importance. He declared before the Council
of the Commune that the astronomer Dupuis (author of "L'origine de tous
les Cultes") had founded his planetary system on the figures adorning
one of the lateral doors of the church. In conformity with Chaumette's
representations, the Commune spared all those images to which a
symbolic significance might be attached, but pulled down and condemned
the statues of the French kings which ornamented the gallery and the
principal façade. The cathedral at the same time lost its name. Temple
of Reason it was now, until the re-establishment of public worship,
to be called. Then new mutilations were constantly perpetrated, until
at last, in 1845, the work of restoring the cathedral was placed in
competent hands, when, thanks to the learning, the labour, and the taste
of MM. Lassus and Viollet-Leduc, Notre Dame was made what it still
remains--one of the most magnificent specimens of mediæval architecture
to be found in Europe. Why describe the ancient monument, when it is
so much simpler to represent through drawings and engravings its most
characteristic features?

Some of the most interesting, most curious facts of its history may,
however, be appropriately related. The Count of Toulouse, Raymond VII.,
accused of having supported the Albigenses by his arms and of sharing
their errors, was absolved in Notre Dame from the crime of heresy after
he had formally done penance in his shirt, with naked arms and feet,
before the altar.

An attempt was made by a thief to steal from the altar of Notre Dame its
candlesticks. After concealing himself in the roof, the man, aided by
other members of his band, let down ropes, and, encircling the silver
ornaments, drew them upwards to his hiding-place. In performing this
exploit, however, he set fire to the hangings of the church, by which
much damage was caused.

The interior of Notre Dame has in different centuries been turned to the
most diverse purposes. Here at one time, in view of Church festivals,
vendors of fruits and flowers held market. At other times religious
mysteries, and even mundane plays, have been performed; while in the
thirteenth century the Paris cathedral was the recognised asylum of all
who suffered in mind or body.

A particular part of the building was reserved for patients, who were
attended by physicians in holy orders. It was provided by a special
edict that this hospital within a church should be kept lighted at night
by ten lamps. All attempts, however, to keep order were in vain; and in
consequence of the noise made by the invalids while religious service
was going on, they were, one and all, excluded from the cathedral.

During the troubles caused by the captivity of King John the citizens of
Paris made a vow to offer every year to Our Lady a wax candle as long as
the boundary-line of the city. Every year the municipal body carried the
winding taper, with much pomp, to the Church of Notre Dame, where it was
received by the bishop and the canons in solemn assembly. The pious vow
was kept for five hundred and fifty years, but ceased to be fulfilled
at the time of the religious wars and of the League. In 1603 Paris had
gained such dimensions that the ancient vow could scarcely be renewed,
and in place of it, François Miron, the celebrated Provost of the
Merchants, offered a silver lamp, made in the form of a ship (principal
object in the arms of Paris), which he pledged himself to keep burning
night and day. In Notre Dame, too, were suspended the principal flags
taken from the enemy, though it was only during war time that they
were thus exhibited. When peace returned, the flags were put carefully
out of sight. Notre Dame, while honouring peace, was itself the scene
of frequent disturbances, caused by quarrels between high religious
functionaries on questions of precedence. These disputes often occurred
when the representatives of foreign Powers wished to take a higher
position than in the opinion of their hosts was due to them. It must be
noted, too, that at Notre Dame King Henry VI. of England, then ten years
old, was crowned King of France.

Under the Regency the cathedral of Paris was the scene of one of the
most daring exploits performed by Cartouche's too audacious band. A
number of the robbers had entered the church in the early morning,
and had succeeded in climbing up and concealing themselves behind the
tapestry of the roof. Their pockets were filled with stones, and at a
pre-concerted signal, just as the priest began to read the first verse
of the second Psalm in the service of Vespers, they shouted in a loud
voice, threw their missiles among the congregation, and cried out that
the roof was falling in. A frightful panic ensued, during which the
confederates of the thieves overhead helped themselves to watches,
purses, and whatever valuables they could find on the persons of the
terrified worshippers.

It was at Notre Dame, on the 10th of November, 1793, that the Feast of
Reason was celebrated, the Goddess of Reason being impersonated by a
well-known actress, the beautiful Mlle. Maillard.

The space in front of Notre Dame was at one time the scene of as many
executions as the Place de Grève, which afterwards became and for some
centuries remained the recognised execution ground of the French capital.

It was on the Place de Grève that Victor Hugo's heroine, the charming
Esmeralda, suffered death, while the odious monk, Claude Frollo, gazed
upon her with cruel delight, till the bell-ringer, Quasimodo, who, in
his own humbler and purer way, loved the unhappy gipsy girl, seized him
with his powerful arms, and flung him down headlong to the flags at the
foot of the cathedral.

In 1587, under the reign of Henry IV., Dominique Miraille, an Italian,
and a lady of Étampes, his mother-in-law, were condemned to be hanged
and afterwards burnt in front of Notre Dame for the crime of magic. The
Parisians were astonished at the execution: "for," says L'Étoile, in his
_Journal_, "this sort of vermin have always remained free and without
punishment, especially at the Court, where those who dabble in magic are
called philosophers and astrologers." With such impunity was the black
art practised at this period, that Paris contained in 1572, according
to the confession of their chief, some 30,000 magicians.

[Illustration: RUE DU CLOÎTRE.]

The popularity of sorcery in Paris towards the end of the sixteenth
century is easily accounted for by the fact that kings, queens, and
nobles habitually consulted astrologers. Catherine de Medicis was one
of the chief believers in all kinds of superstitious practices; and a
column used to be shown in the flower-market from which she observed at
night the course of the stars. This credulous and cruel queen wore round
her waist a skin of vellum, or, as some maintained, the skin of a child,
inscribed with figures, letters, and other characters in different
colours, as well as a talisman, prepared for her by the astrologer
Regnier, an engraving of which may be found in the _Journal of Henry
III_. By this talisman, composed as it was of human blood, goats' blood,
and several kinds of metals melted and mixed together, under certain
constellations associated with her birth, Catherine imagined that she
could rule the present and foresee the future.

Magic was employed not only for self-preservation, but with the most
murderous intentions. When it was used to destroy an enemy, his effigy
was prepared in wax; and the thrusts and stabs inflicted upon the
figure were supposed to be felt by the original. A gentleman named
Lamalle, having been executed on the Place de Grève in 1574, and a wax
image, made by the magician Cosmo Ruggieri, having been found upon him,
Catherine de Medicis, who patronised this charlatan, feared that the
wax figure might have been designed against the life of Charles IX.,
and that Ruggieri would therefore be condemned to death. Lamalle had
maintained that the figure was meant to represent the "Great Princess":
Queen Marguerite, that is to say. But Cosmo Ruggieri was condemned,
all the same, to the galleys; though his sentence--thanks, no doubt,
to the personal influence of Catherine de Medicis--was never executed.
Nicholas Pasquier, who gives a long account of Ruggieri in his _Public
Letters_, declares that he died "a very wicked man, an atheist, and a
great magician," adding that he made another wax figure, on which he
poured all kinds of venoms and poisons in order to bring about the death
of "our great Henry." But he was unable to attain his end; and the king,
"in his sweet clemency, forgave him."

When, after the Barricades, Henry III. left Paris, the priests of the
League erased his name from the prayers of the Church, and framed new
prayers for those princes who had become chiefs of the League. They
prepared at the same time images of wax, which they placed on many of
the altars of Paris, and then celebrated forty masses during forty
hours. At each successive mass the priest, uttering certain mystic
words, pricked the wax image, until finally, at the fortieth mass, he
pierced it to the heart, in order to bring about the death of the king.
Thirteen years later, under the reign of Henry IV., the Duke de Biron,
who had his head cut off in the Bastille, publicly accused Laffin, his
confidant and denunciator, of being in league with the devil, and of
possessing wax figures which spoke. Marie de Medicis employed, even
whilst in exile, a magician named Fabroni, much hated by Richelieu, for
whom Fabroni had predicted a speedy death.

It was in front of Notre Dame that by order of the princes, dukes,
peers, and marshals of France, assembled in the Grand Chamber of
Parliament, Damiens was condemned to do penance before being tortured
and torn to pieces. He was to be tormented, by methods no matter how
barbarous, until he revealed his accomplices, and was also required to
make the _amende honorable_ before the principal door of Notre Dame.
Thither, in his shirt, he was conveyed on a sledge, with a lighted wax
candle in his hand weighing two pounds; and there he went down on his
knees, and confessed that "wickedly and traitorously he had perpetrated
the most detestable act of wounding the king in the right side with the
stab of a knife"; that he repented of the deed, and asked pardon for it
of God, of the king, and of justice. After this he was to be carried
on the sledge to the Place de Grève, where, on the scaffold, he was
to undergo a variety of tortures, copied from those appointed for the
punishment of Ravaillac. Finally, his goods were to be confiscated,
the house where he was born pulled down, and his name stigmatised
as infamous, and for ever forbidden thenceforth, under the severest
penalties, to be borne by any French subject.

[Illustration: APSIS OF NOTRE DAME.]

Damiens had been educated far above his rank. His moral character,
however, was peculiarly bad. His life had been one perpetual
oscillation between debauchery and fanaticism. His changeableness of
disposition was noticed during his imprisonment at Versailles. Sometimes
he seemed thoroughly composed, as though he had suffered nothing and
had nothing to suffer; at other times he burst into sudden and vehement
passions, and attempted to kill himself against the walls of his dungeon
or with the chains on his feet. As in one of his furious fits he had
tried to bite off his tongue, his teeth were all drawn, in accordance
with an official order.

When the sentence was read to him, Damiens simply remarked, "La
journée sera rude." Every kind of torture was applied to him to extort
confessions. His guards remained at his side night and day, taking
note of the cries and exclamations which escaped him in the midst of
his sufferings. But Damiens had nothing to confess, and on the 28th of
January he was carried, with his flesh lacerated and charred by fire,
his bones broken, to the place of execution.

Immediately after his self-accusation in front of Notre Dame he was
taken to the Place de Grève, where the hand which had held the knife
was burnt with the flames of sulphur. Then he was torn with pincers in
the arms and legs, the thighs and the breast, and into his wounds were
poured red hot lead and boiling oil, with pitch, wax, and sulphur melted
and mixed. The sufferer endured these tortures with surprising energy.
He cried out from time to time, "Lord, give me patience and strength."
"But he did not blaspheme," says Barbier, in his narrative of the scene,
"nor mention any names."

The end of the hideous tragedy was the dismemberment. The four
traditional horses were not enough. Two more were added, and still the
operation did not advance. Then the executioner, filled with horror,
went to the neighbouring Hôtel de Ville to ask permission to use "the
axe at the joints." He was, according to Barbier, sharply rebuked by the
king's attendants, though in an account of the tragedy contributed at
the time to the _Gentleman's Magazine_ (and derived from the gazettes
published in Holland, where there was no censorship), the executioner
was blamed for having delayed the employment of the axe so long.

There are conflicting accounts, too, as to the burning of the prisoner's
calves. It was said on the one hand that the _garde des sceaux_,
Machault, caused red hot pincers to be applied in his presence to
Damiens' legs at the preliminary examination; but another version
declares this to be a mistake, and ascribes the burning of his legs to
the king's attendants, who, seeing their master stabbed, are represented
as punishing the assassin by the unlikely method of applying torches to
his calves.

The torture of Damiens lasted many hours, and it was not till midnight,
when both his legs and one of his arms had been torn off, that his
remaining arm was dragged from the socket. The life of the poor wretch
could scarcely have lasted so long as did the execution of the sentence
passed upon him. A report of the trial was published by the Registrar
of the Parliament; but the original record being destroyed, it is
impossible to test the authenticity of this report. It fills four small
volumes, and is entitled "Pièces Originales et Procèdures du Procès fait
à Robert François Damiens, Paris, 1757."

Ivan the Terrible, when his digestion was out of order, and he felt
unequal to the effort of breakfasting, used to revive his jaded appetite
by visiting the prisons and seeing criminals tortured. George Selwyn
claimed to have made amends for his want of feeling in attending to see
Lord Lovat's head cut off by going to the undertaker's to see it sewn on
again, when, in presence of the decapitated corpse, he exclaimed with
strange humour, and in imitation of the voice and manner of the Lord
Chancellor at the trial:--"My Lord Lovat, your lordship may rise." This
dilettante in the sufferings of others is known to have paid a visit to
Paris for the express purpose of seeing Damiens torn in pieces. On the
day of the execution, according to Mr. Jesse ("George Augustus Selwyn
and his contemporaries"), "he mingled with the crowd in a plain undress
and bob wig," when a French nobleman, observing the deep interest he
took in the scene, and supposing from the simplicity of his attire that
he was a person of the humbler ranks in life, chose to imagine that the
stranger must infallibly be an executioner. "Eh, bien, monsieur," he
said, "êtes-vous arrivé pour voir ce spectacle?" "Oui, monsieur." "Vous
êtes bourreau?" "Non, non, monsieur, je n'ai pas cet honneur; je ne suis
qu'un amateur."

Wraxall tells the story somewhat differently. "Selwyn's nervous
irritability," he says, "and anxious curiosity to observe the effect
of dissolution on men, exposed him to much ridicule, not unaccompanied
with censure. He was accused of attending all executions, disguised
sometimes, to elude notice, in female attire. I have been assured that
in 1756 (or 1757) he went over to Paris expressly for the purpose of
witnessing the last moments of Damiens, who expired in the most acute
tortures for having attempted the life of Louis XV. Being among the
crowd, and attempting to approach too near the scaffold, he was at first
repulsed by one of the executioners, but having explained that he had
made the journey from London solely with a view to be present at the
punishment and death of Damiens, the man immediately caused the people
to make way, exclaiming at the same time:--'Faites place pour monsieur;
c'est un Anglais et un amateur.'"

According to yet another story on this doleful subject, for which Horace
Walpole is answerable, the Paris executioner, styled "Monsieur de
Paris," was surrounded by a number of provincial executioners, "Monsieur
de Rouen," "Monsieur de Bordeaux," and so on. Selwyn joined the group,
and on explaining to the Paris functionary that he was from London, was
saluted with the exclamation, "Ah, monsieur de Londres!"

Among the minor celebrations of which the interior of Notre Dame has
been the scene may be mentioned a mass said some twenty years before the
Revolution for the broken arm of the famous dancer, Madeleine Guimard.
One evening, when the fascinating Madeleine was performing in _Les
fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour_, a heavy cloud fell from the theatrical
heavens upon one of her slender arms and broke it. Then it was that the
services of the Church were invoked on behalf of the popular _ballerina_.

The interesting and graceful, though far from beautiful, Madeleine, was
justly esteemed by the clergy; for during the severe winter of 1768 she
had given to every destitute family in her neighbourhood enough to live
on for a year, at the same time paying personal visits to each of them.
"Not yet Magdalen repentant, but already Magdalen charitable!" exclaimed
a famous preacher, in reference to Madeleine Guimard's good action.
"The hand," he added, "which knows so well how to give alms will not be
rejected by St. Peter when it knocks at the gate of Paradise."

The Paris Cathedral has, strangely enough, been the scene, both in
ancient and modern times, of dramatic performances. There, in the olden
days, "Mysteries" were represented; and there, in 1790, a melodrama
was played, entitled "The Taking of the Bastille," and described as
"specially written for Notre Dame." This performance was followed by a
grand Te Deum, sung by members of the Opera, though one of the first
effects of the Revolution was to drive the best singers away from Paris.
Soon afterwards, music, history, and religion were once more to be
intermingled. This was in August, 1792. when the last day of the French
Monarchy (August 10) was at hand.

The most imposing ceremony ever witnessed within the walls of Notre Dame
was, as before said, the Coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte, at the hands
of the Pope, on Sunday, the 2nd December, 1804. The Holy Father set out
with his retinue at ten o'clock in the morning, and much earlier than
the Emperor, in order that the ecclesiastical and royal processions
should not clash. He was accompanied by a numerous body of clergy,
gorgeously attired and resplendently ornamented, whilst his escort
consisted of detachments of the Imperial Guard. A richly decorated
portico had been erected all around the Place Notre Dame to receive on
their descent from the royal carriages the sovereigns and princes who
were to proceed to the ancient basilica. Already, when the Pope entered
the church, there were assembled within it the deputies of the towns,
the representatives of the magistracy and the army, the sixty bishops,
with their clergy, the Senate, the Legislative Body, the Council of
State, the Princes of Nassau, Hesse, and Baden, the Arch-Chancellor
of the Germanic Empire, and the ministers of the different European
Powers. The great door of Notre Dame had been closed, because the back
of the Imperial throne was placed against it. The church, therefore,
was entered by the side doors, situated at the two extremities of the
transept. When the Pope, preceded by the cross and by the insignia of
his office, appeared, the whole assembly rose from their seats, and a
body of five hundred instrumentalists and vocalists gave forth with
sublime effect the sacred chant, _Tu es Petrus_. The Pope walked slowly
towards the altar, before which he knelt, and then took his place on a
throne that had been prepared for him to the right of the altar. The
sixty prelates of the French Church presented themselves in succession
to salute him, and the arrival of the Imperial family was now awaited.

The cathedral had been magnificently adorned. Hangings of velvet,
sprinkled with golden bees, descended from roof to pavement. At the foot
of the altar stood two plain arm-chairs which the Emperor and Empress
were to occupy before the ceremony of crowning. At the western extremity
of the church, and just opposite the altar, raised upon a staircase of
twenty-four steps and placed between imposing columns, stood an immense
throne--an edifice within an edifice--on which the Emperor and Empress
were to seat themselves when crowned.


The Emperor did not arrive until considerably after the hour appointed,
and the position of the Pope was a painful one during this long delay,
which was due to the excessive precautions taken to prevent the two
processions from getting mixed. The Emperor set out from the Tuileries
in a carriage which seemed entirely made of glass, and which was
surmounted by gilt genii bearing a crown. He was attired in a costume
designed expressly for the occasion, in the style of the sixteenth
century. He wore a plumed hat and a short mantle. He was not to assume
the Imperial robes until he had entered the cathedral. Escorted by
his marshals on horseback, he advanced slowly along the Rue St.
Honoré, the Quays of the Seine, and the Place Notre Dame, amidst the
acclamations of immense crowds, delighted to see their favourite general
at last invested with Imperial power. On reaching the portico, already
spoken of, Napoleon alighted from his carriage and walked towards the
cathedral. Beside him was borne the grand crown, in the form of a tiara,
modelled after that of Charlemagne. Up to this point Napoleon had worn
only the crown of the Cæsars: a simple golden laurel. Having entered the
church to the sound of solemn music, he knelt, and then passed on to the
chair which he was to occupy before taking possession of the throne.

The ceremony then began. The sceptre, the sword, and the Imperial robe
had been placed on the altar. The Pope anointed the Emperor on the
forehead, the arms, and the hands; then blessed the sword, with which he
girded him, and the sceptre, which he placed in his hand; and finally
proposed to take up the crown. Napoleon, however, saved him all possible
trouble in the matter by crowning himself.

"This action," says M. Thiers, in his description of the ceremony, "was
perfectly appreciated by all present, and produced an indescribable
effect," though it may be doubted whether in crowning himself Napoleon
departed from the traditional practice at Imperial coronations. We have
at all events in our own time seen, at several coronations, emperors,
and even kings, assert the autocratic principle by taking the crown
from the hands of the officiating prelate to place it on their own head
without his aid.

Napoleon, taking the crown of the Empress, now approached Josephine,
and as she knelt before him, placed it with visible tenderness upon her
head, whereupon she burst into tears.

He next proceeded towards the grand throne, and, as he ascended it, was
followed by his brothers, bearing the train of his robe. Then the Pope,
according to custom, advanced to the foot of the throne to bless the new
sovereign, and to chant the very words which greeted Charlemagne in the
basilica of St. Peter, when the Roman clergy suddenly proclaimed him
Emperor of the West: "Vivat in æternum semper Augustus!" At this chant
shouts of "Vive l'Empereur!" resounded through the arches of Notre Dame,
while the thunder of cannon announced to all Paris the solemn moment of
Napoleon's consecration.

The coronation of Napoleon has been made the subject of a masterpiece
by David, whose work may be seen, and with interest studied, in the
galleries of Versailles. The moment chosen by the painter is that at
which the Emperor, after crowning himself with his own hands, is about
to place the crown on the head of Josephine, in presence of the Pope,
the cardinals, the prelates, the princes, the princesses, and the great
dignitaries of the Empire. There are no less than 150 figures in this
composition, and the portraits, conscientiously painted, are, for the
most part, very like. The two principal figures occupy the centre of
the picture. Napoleon is standing up on one of the steps of the altar,
clad in a long tunic of white satin and a heavy cloak of crimson velvet
sprinkled with golden bees. His hands are raised in the air, holding the
crown which he is about to place on the head of the Empress. Josephine
is kneeling on a cushion of violet velvet, attired in a white dress,
above which she wears a crimson cloak sprinkled with bees, held up by
Mme. de la Rochefoucauld, and Mme. de Lavalette, both in white dresses.
Behind the Emperor is the Pope, seated in an arm-chair and holding up
his right hand in sign of blessing.

David had originally represented Pius VII. with his hands on his knees,
as if taking no part in the solemn scene. Napoleon, however, insisted on
the painter giving him the attitude just described. "I did not bring him
here from such a distance to do nothing!" he exclaimed.


"In his picture of the coronation," says M. Arsène Houssaye, "David,
carried away by his enthusiasm, has reached the inaccessible summits of
the ideal. His Napoleon is radiant with health, strength, and genius.
The face of Josephine beams with conjugal tenderness and exquisite
grace. The group formed by the Pope and the clergy is exceedingly fine."

The execution of this picture occupied David four years. When it was
finished Napoleon went to see it, not, by any means, for the first
time, and said to the painter: "Very good; very good indeed, David. You
have exactly seized my idea. You have made me a French knight. I am
obliged to you for transmitting to future ages the proof of an affection
I wished to give to her who shares with me the responsibilities of

When the picture was exhibited a friendly critic pointed out to the
painter that he had made the Empress younger and prettier than she
really was. "Go and tell her so!" was the reply.



The Massacre of St. Bartholomew--The Events that preceded it--Catherine
de Medicis--Admiral Coligny--"The King-Slayer"--The Signal for the
Massacre--Marriage of the Duc de Joyeuse and Marguerite of Lorraine.

One of the oldest and most interesting churches in Paris is that of
St. Germain l'Auxerrois, which, dating from the last days of Lutetia,
before the name of Parisius, or Paris, had been finally adopted for the
gradually expanding city, is closely associated with the most terrible
event in French history. Still, at the present time, in a perfect
state of preservation, it was built about the year 572; and just one
thousand years afterwards, in 1572, the signal for the massacre of St.
Bartholomew's Day was sounded from its belfry. Philip II., King of
Spain, Pope Pius IV., and the Guises, especially Cardinal de Lorraine,
were the authors of the massacre. Catherine de Medicis and her son
Charles IX., King of France, were but accomplices and executants in
the atrocious plot. Before speaking of the principal incidents of this
ghastly day, a glance is necessary at the events which preceded it.
Charles IX. and his sister Elizabeth, wife of Philip II., had brought
together at Bayonne, in 1565, all the most distinguished members of
the French Court. But the dominating figure of the assembly was the
too famous Duke of Alva, worthy confidant and adviser of Philip II.
Catherine de Medicis had frequent conferences with the duke, and in
spite of the secrecy with which they were conducted, certain words
reached the ear of the Prince of Béarn, afterwards Henry IV., whose
extreme youth disarmed all suspicion, but who perceived, nevertheless,
that the object of these conversations was to determine the best method
of destroying the Protestants in France. The young prince hastened to
tell the Queen of Navarre, his mother, and she informed the Prince de
Condé and Admiral de Coligny, chiefs of the Protestant party, who at
once took counsel as to how the blow with which they were threatened
could be averted.

The next year, in 1566, the assembly at Moulins furnished an opportunity
for bringing about a reconciliation between the Catholic house of Guise
and the Protestant house of Châtillon. But so little sincerity was there
in the compact of peace, that just after the assembly had broken up
Coligny was apprised that a plot had been formed for his assassination.
He complained to the king, and was now more than ever on his guard.

The whole of the Protestant party became filled with mistrust; and
observing this, Catherine de Medicis determined to strike her blow at
once. It was difficult, of course, to raise troops without alarming the
Huguenots. But it so chanced that an army sent by the King of Spain
to the Low Countries was then marching along the French frontiers.
As if apprehensive for the safety of her dominions, Catherine raised
6,000 Swiss troops, and after the Spaniards had passed towards their
destination, marched them to the centre of the kingdom. Everything
seemed to favour Catherine's designs. But someone having informed the
Calvinists of the peril which threatened them, they assembled in the
house of the admiral at Châtillon, and there resolved to seize upon the
Court, which was enjoying the fine weather at Monceau, in Brie, without
the least precaution for its own safety; as though it had nothing to
fear from that body of men whose destruction it notoriously meditated.
The design of the Protestants was to drive away the Guises, and place
the king and queen at the head of their own party. The attempt, however,
failed through the firm attitude of the Swiss troops, who repulsed the
attack of Andelot and La Rochefoucauld, and brought the king from Meaux
to Paris surrounded by a strong battalion.

The war began again, and the Calvinists, commanded by the Prince
de Condé, were defeated, the prince himself being slain, or rather
assassinated, during the conflict. He had just surrendered to Dargence,
when Montesquieu, captain of the Duke of Anjou's guard, on learning who
he was, shot him in the head, exclaiming, "Tuez! Tuez, Mordieu!"

The Prince of Béarn now became the chief of the Protestant party, and
as such, directed their forces at the Battle of Jarnac, with Coligny
as second in command. The result of this engagement was a temporary
peace, by which certain privileges were granted to the Protestants: not
to be enjoyed, but simply to inspire a false confidence. It was not so
easy to deceive Admiral Coligny, who, observing that the Guises had
lost nothing of the influence they exercised over the king and queen,
resolved to remain still upon his guard. At last, however, Catherine
de Medicis succeeded in enticing him to the Court, and with him the
Queen of Navarre, the Prince of Béarn, and the foremost chiefs of the
Protestant party. Catherine spoke in a confiding tone to the old admiral
about the war she pretended to contemplate against Flanders, and the
king said to him, with a familiar slap on the shoulder: "I have you now,
and don't intend to let you go." Flattered by these attentions, he felt
secure, though many of his friends still doubted the sincerity of the
king and queen. Their suspicions were confirmed by the sudden death of
the Queen of Navarre, which was attributed to poison. Vainly, however,
did they attempt to awaken the brave old admiral to his danger. He had,
by express permission of the king, made a journey to Châtillon, and
many of the Protestant chiefs warned and entreated him on no account to
return to the Court. One of them, Langoiran by name, asked the admiral's
permission to quit his service. "Why?" said Coligny, in astonishment.
"Because," replied Langoiran, "they are loading us with caresses, and
I would rather fly like a dog than die like a dupe." Nothing, however,
could disturb the confidence of the admiral, who returned to Paris only
to throw himself into the arms of his assassins.

The young King of Navarre, the future Henry IV., was about to be married
to the sister of the King of France, and the ceremony was to be made the
occasion of all kinds of entertainments and festivities. The enemies
of the Protestants were meanwhile preparing their massacre; and in the
first place the death of Coligny was resolved upon.

When Richard III., in Shakespeare's play, says to one of his pages,
"Know'st thou a murderer?" the ingenuous youth replies--

                  "I know a ruined gentleman
    Whose humble means match not his haughty tastes."

A gentleman of this sort (and it was precisely from such material during
the Renaissance that murderers were formed) presented himself in La
Brie, the favourite country of witchery and bedevilment. He was called
Maurevel, and surnamed, for no obvious reason, "the King-slayer." Hired
for the purpose, he concealed himself in a house in the Rue des Fossés
Saint Germain l'Auxerrois, whence, just as Coligny passed by, on his
way from the Louvre to dine at his house in Rue Béthizi, he fired at
him with an arquebus, wounding him severely in the left arm and cutting
off the forefinger of his left hand. Without showing much emotion,
Coligny pointed to the house from which the shots had proceeded (the
arquebus was loaded with several bullets), and tried to get the assassin
arrested; but he had already fled. Then, leaning on his servants, he
finished the journey to his own house on foot.

The king was playing at tennis when the news of the infamous act was
brought to him. "Shall I never have any peace?" he exclaimed, as he
threw down his racquet. The admiral's friends resolved to complain at
once to the king, and to demand justice. For this purpose Henry, King of
Navarre, accompanied by the Prince de Condé, went to the palace, when
Charles replied, with an oath, that he would inflict punishment. It was
evident, he added, that a crime of this kind was a threat against the
life of the king himself, and that no one would henceforth be safe if it
were left unavenged.

The king, profanely as he spoke, was sincere; nor had the remotest
thought of a massacre yet entered his head. The very day of the
attack on Coligny he paid a visit of sympathy to the wounded admiral,
accompanied by his mother, the Duke of Anjou, and a brilliant suite.
He called him the bravest general in the kingdom, and assured him that
his assailant should be terribly punished, and the edict in favour of
Protestants in France absolutely obeyed.

Hitherto the queen had not dared to breathe to the king a word of her
murderous designs, fearing an explosion of indignation on his part; and
Charles's first bursts of passion were always terrible. But as they were
returning to the Louvre from their visit to the admiral she succeeded in
frightening her royal son by hinting at the dark and foul projects which
she attributed to the admiral. So enraged was the king that she could
now fearlessly own to him that everything had taken place by her orders
and those of the Dukes of Anjou and Guise.

The too credulous Charles vowed that in face of such nefarious plots on
the part of the Protestants, Coligny should die, and the Huguenots be
put wholesale to the sword, so that not one should survive to reproach
him with the act.

The massacre being thus decided upon, it now only remained to put the
infamous project into execution. In a conference at the Tuileries
between the king, the Duke of Anjou, the Duke of Nevers, the Count of
Angoulême, illegitimate brother of the king, the keeper of the seals,
Birague, Marshal de Tavanne and Count de Retz, the slaughter was fixed
for Sunday, August 24th, 1572, the day of the Feast of St. Bartholomew.
There was a difference of opinion as to whether the King of Navarre,
the Prince de Condé, and the Montmorencys should be included in the
massacre. Then Tavanne summoned Jean Charron, provost of the merchants,
and in the king's presence ordered him to arm the Citizen Companies, and
to march them at midnight to the Hôtel de Ville for active service.


The ferocious impatience of the Duke of Guise, who had undertaken the
murder of Coligny, did not allow him to await the signal agreed upon for
the massacre. He hurried, at two o'clock in the morning, to the house
of the admiral, and ordered the gates to be opened in the name of the
king. An officer, commanding the guard stationed in the court-yard to
protect the admiral's person, turned traitor, and admitted the assassins
with a deferential salute. Three colonels in the French army, Petrucci,
Siennois, and Besme; a German, a native of Picardy named Attin,
Sarlaboux, and a few other gentlemen, rushed up the staircase, shouting,
"Death to him!" At these words Coligny, understanding that his life was
as good as lost, got up, and leaning against the wall, was saying his
prayers, when the assassins broke into his room. Besme advanced towards
him. "Are you Coligny?" he asked, with the point of his sword at the
old man's throat. "I am," he replied with calmness; "but will you not
respect my age?" Besme plunged his sword into the admiral's body, drew
it out smoking, and then struck his victim several times in the face.
The admiral fell, and Besme, hastening to the window, cried out to the
Catholic noblemen who were waiting in the court-yard, "It is done!" "M.
d'Angoulême will not believe it till he sees the corpse at his feet,"
replied the Duke of Guise. Sarlaboux and Besme seized the body and threw
it into the court-yard. The Duke of Angoulême wiped the admiral's face
with his handkerchief; Guise said, "It is really he"; and both of them,
after kicking the body with ferocious delight, leaped on horseback, and
exclaimed, "Courage, soldiers! we have begun well; let us now see to
the others. By order of the King!"


This crime had scarcely been consummated when the great bell of
St.-Germain-l'Auxerrois gave the signal for the massacre, which soon
became general. At the cries and shrieks raised round them, the
Calvinists came out of their houses, half-naked and without arms, to
be slain by the troops of the Duke of Guise, who himself ran along
the streets, shouting "To arms!" and inciting the people to massacre.
The butchery was universal and indiscriminate, without distinction of
age or sex. The air resounded with the yells of the assassins and the
groans of their victims. When daylight broke upon the hideous picture,
bodies bathed in gore were everywhere to be seen. Dead and dying were
collected, and thrown promiscuously into the Seine. Within the precincts
of the palace, the royal guards, drawn up in two lines, killed with
battle-axes unhappy wretches who were brought to them unarmed and thrust
beneath their very weapons. Some fell without a murmur; others protested
with their last breath against the treachery of the king, who had sworn
to defend them. At daybreak the king went to the window of his bedroom,
and seeing some unfortunate Protestants making a frantic attempt to
escape by swimming across the river, seized an arquebus and fired upon
them, exclaiming, "Die, you wretches!"

Marsillac, Count de la Rochefoucauld, one of the king's favourites,
had passed a portion of the night with him, when Charles, who had some
thought of saving his life, advised him to sleep in the Louvre. But he
at last let him go, and Marsillac was stabbed as he went out.

Antoine of Clermont Renel, running away in his shirt, was massacred by
his cousin, Bussy d'Amboise. Count Teligni, who, ten months before,
had married Admiral de Coligny's daughter, possessed such an agreeable
countenance and such gentle manners that the first assassins who entered
his house could not make up their minds to strike him. But they were
followed by others less scrupulous, who at once put the young man to
death. An advocate named Taverny, assisted by one servant, resisted at
his house a siege which lasted nine hours; though, after exhausting
every means of defence, he was at last slain. Several noblemen attached
to the King of Navarre were assassinated in his abode. The prince
himself and Condé, his cousin, were arrested, and threatened with death.
Charles IX., however, spared them on their abjuring Calvinism.

A few days before the massacre Caumont de la Force had bought some
horses of a dealer, who, chancing to be in the immediate neighbourhood
when Admiral de Coligny was assassinated, hastened to inform his
customer, well known as one of the Protestant leaders, of what had taken
place. This nobleman and his two sons lived in the Faubourg St.-Germain,
which was not yet connected with the right bank by any bridge. The
horse-dealer, therefore, swam across the Seine to warn La Force, who,
however, had already effected his escape. But as his children were not
following him, he returned to save them, and had scarcely set foot in
his house when the assassins were upon him. Their leader, a man named
Martin, entered his room, disarmed both father and sons, and told them
they must die. La Force offered the would-be murderers a ransom of 2,000
crowns, payable in two days. The chief accepted, and told La Force and
his children to place in their hats paper crosses, and to turn back
their right sleeves to the shoulder: such being the signs of immunity
among the slaughterers. Thus prepared, Martin conveyed them to his house
in the Rue des Petits Champs, and made La Force swear that neither he
nor his children would leave the place until the 2,000 crowns were
paid. For additional security, he placed some Swiss soldiers on guard,
when one of them, touched with compassion, offered to let the prisoners
escape. La Force, however, refused, preferring, he said, to die rather
than fail in his word. An aunt of La Force's furnished him with the
2,000 crowns, and he was about to count them out to Martin, when a
French nobleman came to inform La Force that the Duke of Anjou wished
to speak to him. On this pretext the emissary conducted both father and
sons from the house without their caps: with nothing, that is to say, to
distinguish them from the victims of assassination. They were at once
set upon. La Force's eldest son fell, crying out "_Je suis mort._" The
father, pierced to the heart, uttered a similar exclamation; on which
the youngest La Force had the presence of mind to throw himself to the
ground as if dead. Supposed to be a corpse, he was gradually stripped
of his clothes, until a man who intended to steal from him a pair of
woollen stockings, of which he had not yet been divested, could not
restrain, as he looked upon the boy's pallid face, some expression of
sympathy. Seeing that the stranger had taken pity on him, young La Force
whispered that he was not dead. He was told to keep quiet; and the man
with a taste for woollen stockings wrapped him up in his cloak and
carried him away. "What have you there?" asked an assassin. "My nephew,"
replied the man. "He went out last night and got dead drunk, and I mean,
as soon as I get him home, to give him a good thrashing." Young La Force
made his preserver a present of thirty crowns, and had himself conveyed
in safety to the Arsenal, of which his uncle, Marshal de Biron, was

The most famous, or rather infamous, of those who took part in the
massacre as leaders or principal agents were Jean Férier, an advocate,
and at that time captain of his quarter, Peyou, a butcher, and Curcé, a
goldsmith, who, with upturned sleeves and bloody arms, boasted that 400
Huguenots had died beneath his blade. The massacre lasted in Paris with
diminishing fury for a whole month. It was enacted, moreover, in nearly
all the large towns; though in some few the governors refused to execute
the orders transmitted to them. At Lyons 4,000 were killed. Here the
governor, Mandelot by name, finding after several days' massacre that
there were still a number of Huguenots to slay, ordered the executioner
to despatch them; on which that functionary replied that it was his
duty to execute criminals convicted of violating the laws of State, but
that he was not an assassin, and would not do assassins' work. This
spirited reply recalls Joseph de Maistre's celebrated paradox about the
executioner and the soldier: the former putting to death only the worst
offenders in virtue of a legal mandate, yet universally loathed; the
latter plunging his sword into the body of anyone he is told to slay,
yet universally honoured. The explanation of the ingenious paradox is,
after all, simple enough. The executioner kills in cold blood, without
danger to himself; the soldier risks his life in the performance of his

A Lyons butcher, less scrupulous than the executioner, killed so many
Huguenots that, according to Dulaure, in his _Singularités Historiques_,
he was invited to dinner by the Pope's Legate, passing through Lyons on
his way to Paris. The number of Huguenots massacred throughout France
was estimated at 60,000. Though the murders were generally due to
fanaticism, many persons were put to death for purely private reasons.
Heirs killed those from whom they expected to inherit, lovers their
rivals, candidates for public offices those whom they wished to replace.
On the third day of the massacre Charles IX. went to Parliament,
and avowed that the slaughter of the Huguenots had taken place by
his command, and in order to anticipate an intended Huguenot rising
organised by Coligny. The Parliament accepted this announcement with
approval; and despite the absence of all evidence against the admiral,
it was decreed that his body should be dragged through the streets on
a hurdle, then exhibited in the Place de Grève, and ultimately hung by
the heels on a gibbet at Montfaucon. His house was at the same time
to be destroyed, the trees in his garden cut down, and the members of
his family reduced to the condition of plebeians, or _roturiers_, and
declared unable to hold any public office; which, however, did not
prevent Coligny's daughter from becoming soon afterwards the wife of the
Prince of Orange.

Not many years after the massacre of St. Bartholomew, the Church of
St.-Germain-l'Auxerrois, in September, 1581, was the starting-point of a
very different series of performances. "On Monday, September 18th," says
the writer of a contemporary account, "the Duc de Joyeuse (Henry III.'s
favourite 'minion') and Marguerite of Lorraine, daughter of Nicholas
de Vaudemont, and sister of the queen, were betrothed in the Queen's
Chamber, and the following Sunday were married at three o'clock in the
afternoon at the parish church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois. The king
led the bride, followed by the queen, the princesses, and other ladies
in such superb attire that no one recollects to have seen anything like
it in France so rich and so sumptuous. The dresses of the king and of
the bridegroom were the same, and were so covered with embroidery,
pearls, and precious stones, that it was impossible to estimate their
value. Such an accoutrement had, for instance, cost ten thousand crowns
in the making; and at the seventeen feasts which were now from day to
day given by the king to the princes and lords related to the bride,
and by other great persons of the Court, the guests appeared each
time in some new costume, gorgeous with embroidery, gold, silver, and
diamonds. The expense was so great, what with tournaments, masquerades,
presents, devices, music, and liveries, that it was said the king would
not be quit for twelve hundred thousand crowns. On Tuesday, October
16th, the Cardinal de Bourbon gave his feast in the palace attached
to his abbey, St.-Germain-des-Prés, and caused to be constructed on
the Seine a superb barque in the form of a triumphal car, which was to
convey the king, princes, princesses, and the newly married pair from
the Louvre to the Pré-aux-Clercs in solemn pomp. This stately vehicle
was to be drawn on the water by smaller boats disguised as sea-horses,
Tritons, dolphins, whales, and other marine monsters, to the number of
twenty-four. In front, concealed in the belly of the said monsters,
were a number of skilled musicians, with trumpets, clarions, cornets,
violins, and hautboys, besides even some firework-makers, who, at dusk,
were to afford pastime not only to the king, but to fifty thousand
persons on the banks." The piece, however, was not well played, and it
was impossible to make the animals advance as was intended, so that
the king, after having from four o'clock in the afternoon till seven
watched at the Tuileries the movements and workings of these animals
without perceiving any effect, said sarcastically, "Ce sont des bêtes
qui commandent a d'autres bêtes," and drove away with the queen in
his coach, to be present at the cardinal's feast, which was the most
magnificent of all. Among other entertainments, his Eminence gave that
of an artificial garden, luxuriant with growing flowers and fruits, as
if it had been May or August.


On Sunday, the 15th, the queen gave her feast at the Louvre, and after
the feast the ballet of "Circe and her Nymphs." This work, otherwise
entitled "Ballet Comique de la Reine," was represented in the large
Salle de Bourbon by the queen, the princes, the princesses, and the
great nobles of the Court. It began at ten o'clock in the evening,
and did not finish till three the next morning. The queen and the
princesses, who represented the Naiads and the Nereids, terminated
the ballet by a distribution of presents to the princes and nobles,
who, in the shape of Tritons, had danced with them. For each Triton
there was a gold medal with a suitable inscription; and the composer,
Baltazarini--or Beaujoyeux, as he was now called--received flattering
compliments at the end of the representation from the whole Court. His
genius was extolled and his glory celebrated in verses which hailed
him as one who "from the ashes of Greece had revived a new art," who
with "divine wit" had composed a ballet, and who had so placed it on
the stage that he surpassed himself in the character of "inventive

On the evening of Monday, the 16th, at eight o'clock, the garden of
the Louvre was the scene of a torch-lit combat between Fourteen Whites
and Fourteen Yellows. On Tuesday, the 17th, there were conflicts with
the pike, the sword, and the butt end of the lance, on foot and on
horseback. On Thursday, the 19th, took place the Ballet of the Horses,
in which Spanish steeds, race-horses, and others met in hostile fashion,
retired, and turned round to the sound of trumpets and clarions,
having been trained to it five months beforehand. "All this," says the
chronicler, "was beautiful and agreeable, but the finest feature of
Tuesday and Thursday was the music of voices and instruments, being the
most harmonious and most delicate that was ever heard. There were also
fireworks, which sparkled and burst, to the fright and joy of everyone,
and without injury to any."

It was in the Church of St.-Germain-l'Auxerrois, too, three centuries
earlier, that a priest astonished his congregation--and afterwards,
when the incident was reported, the whole of Europe--by his mode of
pronouncing the excommunication decreed by Pope Innocent IV. against
the Emperor Frederick II. "Hearken to me, my brethren," he said. "I am
ordered to pronounce a terrible anathema against the Emperor Frederick
to the accompaniment of bells and lighted candles. I am ignorant
of the reasons on which this judgment is based. All I know is that
discord and hatred exist between the Pope and the Emperor, and that
they are accustomed to overwhelm each other with insults. Therefore
I excommunicate, as far as lies in my power, the oppressor, and I
absolve the one who is suffering a persecution so pernicious to the
Christian religion." It has been said that a report of this strange
excommunication found its way all over Europe. The priest, as might have
been expected, was rewarded by the Emperor and punished by the Pope.

Nearly two centuries later, in 1744, the celebrated actress and singer,
Sophie Arnould, came into the world in the very room in which Admiral
de Coligny was assassinated. Sophie Arnould, of whose operatic career
mention is made elsewhere, was the only French actress of whom Garrick,
in narrating his experiences of Parisian theatrical life, could speak
with enthusiasm. As a singer she does not seem to have possessed much
power, for she writes in the fragment of her "Memoirs" which has come
down to us: "Nature had seconded my taste for music with a tolerably
agreeable voice, weak but sonorous, though not extremely so. It was,
however, sound and well balanced, so that, with a good enunciation, and
without any noticeable effort, not a word of what I sang was lost even
in the most spacious buildings." With regard to her personal appearance,
Sophie writes: "My figure is slender and regular, though I must admit
that I am not tall. I have a graceful frame, and my movements are
easy. I possess a well-formed leg and a pretty foot, with hands and
arms like a model, eyes well set and an open countenance, lively and
attractive." Collé, in his "Journal and Memoirs," declares that soon
after her _début_ Sophie was the recognised "Queen of the Opera," and
he adds: "I have never yet seen united in the same actress more grace,
more truthfulness of sentiment, nobility of expression, intelligence,
and fire, never beheld more touching pathos. Her physiognomy represents
every kind of grief, and while depicting horror her countenance does not
lose one feature of its beauty."




The Oldest Bridge in Paris--Henri IV.--His Assassination by
Ravaillac.--Marguerite de Valois--The Statue of Henri IV.--The
Institute--The Place de Grève.

Paris in 1886 contained, according to the census of that year, 2,344,550
inhabitants, of whom 1,714,956 (or 73.15 per cent.) lived on the right
bank of the Seine. So much more important indeed by the number of its
population as well as by its manifestations of life in every form is
the right bank than the left, that a man might live all his life in the
former division of Paris and, without ever having crossed the Seine, be
held to know the French capital thoroughly. One may indeed be a thorough
Parisian without ever having quitted the Boulevards.

Ancient Paris, as represented by the "Cité" of to-day, the Paris of the
left bank, and the Paris of the right bank are bound together by the
Pont-Neuf: the one structure which they have all three in common. The
Pont-Neuf may, therefore, be made a convenient starting-point from which
to approach the right bank, the left bank, and finally the "City."

The Pont-Neuf is, in spite of its name, the oldest bridge in Paris;
and it is almost the only one which retains without alteration its
original form. From time to time it has been partially repaired, but
the lines on which it was originally constructed were never changed.
Parisians have for the last three centuries regarded the Pont-Neuf as
the type of solidity; and a Parisian who does not aspire to originality
in conversation will not hesitate, even to this day, when asked how he
is, to reply that he is "as strong as the Pont-Neuf." The first stone
of the bridge was laid on Saturday, May 31, 1578, by King Henri III.,
in presence of his mother, Queen Catherine de Medicis, his wife, Queen
Louise, and the principal officials of the kingdom. As the king had just
been assisting at the obsequies of his favourites, Quélus and Maugiron,
killed in a duel, he was very melancholy, and the bridge acquired
everywhere the name of the Bridge of Tears. The idea of connecting the
left bank with the island and the island with the right bank had been
entertained by King Henri II. Henri III. undertook to defray the cost of
construction. But this he did only in a theoretical way; for three years
after his death, in 1592, the chief builder of the bridge, Guillaume
Marchand, was still unpaid. The work, meanwhile, was far from complete,
interrupted as it had been by the troubles of the League; and it was not
until Henri IV. had established his power at Paris and throughout France
that, in May, 1598, it was resumed. Three arches of the principal arm
had yet to be reared, and it was only in 1603 that the king was able to
perform the ceremony of crossing the bridge from left bank to right;
part of the journey even then having to be made on a temporary plank,
so insecurely fixed that it was by a mere piece of royal luck that the
venturesome monarch did not go over into the Seine. In undertaking the
hazardous passage, he indicated to the friends who tried to dissuade
him his belief in the "divinity that doth hedge a king;" and he, in
any case, failed on this perilous occasion either to break his neck
or drown. The builder of the Pont-Neuf, Guillaume Marchand, was also
its architect: so, at least, asserts his epitaph in the Church of St.
Gervais: "The celebrated architect," he is called, "who created two
admirable works: the Royal Castle of St. Germain and the Pont-Neuf of
Paris." Marchand, however, died in 1604, so that although the bridge
may have been originally planned by him, it is quite possible that the
design may have been completed by another hand, and that the official
title of "architect to the bridge" may have belonged to Baptiste du
Cerceau, for whom it is often claimed.

What is called the Pont-Neuf consists really of two bridges: one
connecting the left bank with the island, the other stretching from
the opposite side of the island shore to the right bank. According to
its original plan, the Pont-Neuf, like all the old Paris bridges, was
to support a number of houses for which cellars had been constructed
beforehand among the piles on which the bridge rested. Henri IV.,
however, refused to allow the intended houses to be built, determined
not to spoil the view of the Louvre, which he had just constructed.
Many years afterwards, however, in the reign of Louis XV., a number of
little shops were raised on the Pont-Neuf, occupied by match-sellers,
sellers of hot and cold drinks, dog-shearers, second-hand booksellers,
chestnut-roasters, makers of pancakes and apple fritters, shoeblacks,
quacks, and musicians more or less blind. These shops and stalls
were maintained until the first days of the Second Empire, when they

Henri IV. was determined to proclaim to future ages his connection with
the bridge of which he considered himself in some sense the author; and
on its completion he adorned it with an equestrian statue of himself in
bronze which is almost as celebrated as the bridge itself. The statue
stands on the promontory of the island between the two spans of the
structure; and from this point a magnificent view may be obtained of
the course of the Seine above and below bridge. The original statue was
the work of Jean de Bologne, and of his pupil, Pierre Tacca. It was
unveiled on August 23rd, 1613, at which time the corners of the pedestal
were adorned by four slaves, since removed, but still preserved in the
museum of the Louvre. Three years later the populace dragged to the
Pont-Neuf the maimed and lacerated body of Marshal d'Ancre, and having
cut it into pieces, burnt it before the statue. The so-called Marshal
d'Ancre--Concini, by his family name--had come to Paris in the suite
of Marie de Medicis, wife of Henri IV. He married one of the queen's
attendants, and by intrigues and speculations of every kind succeeded in
gaining a position of great influence, together with enormous wealth.
He was known to be guilty of all sorts of abuses, and was suspected of
having been privy to some of the attempts made upon the life of Henri
IV. On the accession of Louis XIII., after the assassination of Henri
IV. by Ravaillac, an ambush, not without the knowledge of Louis XIII.,
was laid for the marshal; and, to the delight of the people of Paris, he
fell into it. According to a legend of the period, his heart, after he
had been slain, was cut out, roasted, and eaten!

Henri IV., the first of the royal house of Bourbon, was the greatest of
all the French kings, and at least the best of the kings of the Bourbon
line. Such faults as undoubtedly belonged to him seem to have had no
effect but to increase his popularity; perhaps because, in a degree,
they belonged also to the great mass of his subjects.

This doubtful husband, good friend, and excellent ruler, beloved with
warmth by his subjects, was nevertheless made the object of numerous
attempts at assassination, the last of which proved fatal. His would-be
murderers were for the most part religious fanatics--as dangerous in
that day as the fanatics of revolution in ours; and to this class
belonged Ravaillac, at whose hands Henri was destined to perish.

Francis Ravaillac, the son of an advocate, was born and educated at
Angoulême. When very young, he lived with one Rosières, also a lawyer,
whom he served as clerk and valet. He afterwards lived with other
legal practitioners, and at length, on the death of his last master,
conducted lawsuits for himself. This profession he continued for
several years, but to such small advantage that he finally quitted it,
and gained his living by teaching. At this time his father and mother
lived apart, and were so indigent that both subsisted chiefly on alms.
Ravaillac, now thirty years old, and unmarried, lodged with his mother,
and, becoming insolvent, was thrown into prison for debt.

[Illustration: BY THE PONT-NEUF.]

He was naturally of a gloomy disposition, and while under the depression
of trouble was subject to the strangest hallucinations. In prison he
often believed himself surrounded with fire, sulphur, and incense; and
such fancies continued after he was released. He asserted that on the
Saturday night after Christmas, 1609, having made his meditations, as
he was wont, in bed, with his hands clasped and his feet crossed, he
felt his mouth and face covered by some invisible agent, and was at the
same time urged by an irresistible impulse to sing the Psalms of David.
He therefore chanted the psalms "Dixit Dominus," "Miserere," and "De
profundis" quite through, and declared that he seemed to have a trumpet
in his mouth, which made his voice as shrill and loud as that instrument
in war.

[Illustration: SEINE FISHERS.]

Whilst his mind was thus unhinged by fanaticism, he often reflected on
the king's breach of promise in not compelling the Huguenots to return
to the Catholic Church, and determined to go to Paris to admonish him to
neglect this duty no longer. Arrived at Paris, he went frequently to the
Louvre, and in vain begged many persons to introduce him to his Majesty.
One of those applied to was Father Daubigny, a Jesuit, whom he informed
not only of his desire to speak to the king, but of his wish to join
the famous Order. Daubigny advised him to dismiss all these thoughts
from his mind and to confine himself to bead-telling and prayer; but
Ravaillac profited little by the counsel, and, under the conviction
that Henri ought to make war on the Huguenots, took to loitering
constantly about the Court, in hope of a chance interview with his



Some days later he happened to meet the king driving in a coach near St.
Innocents' Church. His desire to speak to him grew more ardent at the
prospect of success, and he ran up to the coach, exclaiming, "Sire, I
address you in the name of our Lord Jesus and of the Blessed Virgin."
But the king put him back with his stick, and would not hear him. After
this repulse, despairing of being able to influence his Majesty by
admonition, he determined to kill him. But he could come to no decision
as to the mode of executing his design, and after a time returned to


He continued in a state of intense anxiety, sometimes considering his
project of assassination as praiseworthy, sometimes as unlawful. Shortly
afterwards he attended Mass in the monastery of the Franciscan Friars
at Angoulême, and going afterwards to confession, admitted, among other
things, an intention to murder, though without saying that Henri was the
proposed victim. Nor did the confessor inquire as to the details of the
crime. Still restless and disturbed, Ravaillac went back to Paris, and
on entering the city, found his desire to kill the king intensified. He
took lodgings close to the Louvre: but not liking his rooms, went to an
inn in the neighbourhood to see if accommodation could be had there. The
inn was full; but whilst Ravaillac conversed with the landlord, his eye
happened to be attracted by a knife, sharp-pointed and double-edged,
that lay on the table; and it occurred to him that here was a fit
instrument for his purpose. He accordingly took occasion to convey it
away under his doublet, and having had a new handle made for it, carried
it about in his pocket.

But he faltered in his resolution, and abandoning it once more, set out
on his way home. As he went along he somehow broke the point of his
knife. At an inn where he stopped for refreshment he heard some soldiers
talking about a design on the part of the king to make war against the
Pope, and to transfer the Holy See to Paris. On this, his determination
returned strong upon him and going out of the inn, he gave his knife
a fresh point by rubbing it against a stone, and then turned his face
towards Paris.

Arrived at the capital a third time, he felt an inclination to make a
full confession of his design to a priest; and would have done so had he
not been aware that the Church is obliged to divulge any secrets which
concern the State.

Henceforth he never once relinquished his purpose. But he still felt
such doubts as to whether it were not sinful that he would no longer
receive the Sacrament, lest, harbouring his project all the while, he
should unworthily eat.

Without hope of gaining admission to the king in his palace, he now
waited for him with unwearied assiduity at the gates. At last, on the
17th of May, 1610, he saw him come out in a coach, and followed him
for some distance, until the vehicle was stopped by two carts, which
happened to get in the way. Here, as the king was leaning his head to
speak to M. d'Epernon, who sat beside him, Ravaillac, in a frenzy,
fancied he heard a voice say to him, "Now is the time; hasten, or it
will be too late!" Instantly he rushed up to the coach, and standing on
a spoke of the wheel, drew his knife and struck the king in the side.
Finding, however, the knife impeded by one of the king's ribs, he gave
him another--and this time a fatal--blow near the same place.

The king cried out that he was slain, and Ravaillac was seized by a
retired soldier of the guard. When searched, he was found to have upon
him a paper painted with the arms of France, and with a lion on each
side, one holding a key, the other a sword. Above he had written these
words: "The name of God shall not be profaned in my presence." There
was also discovered a rosary and a piece of a certain root in the shape
of a heart, which he had obtained as a charm against fever from the
Capuchins, who assured him that it had inside it a piece of the real
cross of the Saviour. "This, however," says an ingenuous chronicler,
"when the heart was broken, proved to be false."

Ravaillac was first examined by the President of the Parliament and
several commissioners as to his motives for committing the crime, and as
to whether he had accomplices. During the interrogation he often wept,
and said that though at the time he believed the assassination to be
a meritorious action, he now felt convinced that this was a delusion
into which he had been suffered to fall as a punishment for his sins.
He expressed the deepest contrition for his offence, and implored the
Almighty to give him grace to continue till death in firm faith, lively
hope, and perfect charity.

He denied that he had any confederate, and on being requested to say
at whose instigation he did the deed, replied indignantly that it
originated entirely with himself, and that for no reward would he have
slain his king. He answered all other questions with great calmness and
humility, and when he signed his confession, wrote beneath the signature
these lines:--

    "Que toujours en mon coeur
     Jésus soit le vainqueur."

In spite, however, of Ravaillac's protests, at this and at a subsequent
examination, that he was quite without advisers, abettors, or
accomplices, the examiners would not believe him, and he was ordered to
be put to the torture of the _brodequin_, or boot. This instrument, like
its English counterpart, was a strong wooden box, made in the form of a
boot, just big enough to contain both the legs of the criminal. When his
legs had been enclosed, a wedge was driven in with a mallet between the
knees; and after this had been forced quite through, a second, and even
a third wedge was employed in the same way.

Ravaillac, having been sworn, was placed on a wooden bench, when the
_brodequin_ was fitted to his legs. On the first wedge being driven in,
he cried out: "God have mercy upon my soul and pardon the crime I have
committed; I never disclosed my intention to anyone." When the second
wedge was applied he uttered horrid cries and shrieks, and exclaimed:
"I am a sinner: I know no more than I have declared. I beseech the
Court not to drive my soul to despair. Oh God! accept these torments in
satisfaction for my sins." A third wedge was then driven in lower, near
his feet, on which his whole body broke into a sweat. Being now quite
speechless, he was released, water was thrown in his face, and wine
forced down his throat. He soon recovered by these means, and was then
conducted to chapel by the executioner. But religious exhortation only
caused him to repeat once more that he had no associate of any kind in
connection with his crime.

At three in the afternoon of the 27th of May, 1610, he was brought from
the chapel and put into a tumbril, the crowd in all directions being so
great that it was with the utmost difficulty that the archers forced a
passage. As soon as the prisoner appeared before the public gaze he was
loaded with execrations from every side.

After he had ascended the scaffold he was urged by two spiritual
advisers to think of his salvation while there was time, and to confess
all he knew; but he answered precisely as before. As there seemed to
be a prospect of the murderer getting absolution from the Church, a
great outcry was raised, and many persons cried out that he belonged
to the tribe of Judas, and must not be forgiven either in this world
or the next. Ravaillac argued the point thus raised, maintaining that
having made his confession he was entitled to absolution, and that the
priest was bound by his office to give it. The priest replied that the
confession had been incomplete, and, therefore, insincere, and that
absolution must be refused until Ravaillac named his accomplices. The
criminal declared once more that he had no accomplices; and it was at
last arranged that he should be absolved on certain conditions.

"Give me absolution," he said: "at least conditionally, in case what I
say should be true."

"I will," replied the confessor, "on this stipulation: that in case
it is not true your soul, on quitting this life--as it must shortly
do--goes straight to hell and the devil, which I announce to you on the
part of God as certain and infallible."

"I accept and believe it," he said, "on that condition."

Fire and brimstone were then applied to his right hand, in which he had
held the knife used for the assassination, and at the same time his
breast and other fleshy parts of his body were torn by red-hot pincers.
Afterwards, at intervals, melted lead and scalding oil were poured into
his wounds. During the whole time he uttered piteous cries and prayers.

Finally, he was pulled in different directions for half-an-hour by four
horses, though without being dismembered. The multitude, impatient to
see the murderer in pieces, threw themselves upon him, and with swords,
knives, sticks, and other weapons, tore, mangled, and finally severed
his limbs, which they dragged through the streets, and then burned in
different parts of the city. Some of these wretches went so far as to
cut off portions of the flesh, which they took home to burn quietly by
their firesides.

Apart from his own violent death, more than one tragic story is
connected with the memory of Henri IV. Close to the Hôtel de Ville
stands the Hôtel de Sens, where, in December, 1605, lived Marguerite
de Valois, the divorced wife of Henri IV. Already in her fifty-fifth
year, this lady had by no means abandoned the levity of her youth. She
had two lovers, both of whom were infatuated with her. The one she
preferred, Saint-Julien by name, had a rival in the person of a mere
boy of eighteen, named Vermond, who had been brought up beneath the
queen's eyes. On the 5th of April, 1606, Marguerite, returning from
Mass, drove up to the Hôtel de Sens at the very moment when Vermond and
Saint-Julien were quarrelling about her. Saint-Julien rushed to open the
carriage door, when Vermond drew a pistol and shot him dead. The queen
"roared," according to a contemporary account, "like a lioness." "Kill
him!" she cried. "If you have no arms, take my garter and strangle him."
The people whom her Majesty was addressing contented themselves with
pinioning the young man. The next morning a scaffold was raised before
the Hôtel de Sens, and Vermond had his head cut off in the presence of
Marguerite, who, from one of the windows of her mansion, looked on at
the execution. Then her strength gave way, and she fainted. The same
evening she quitted the Hôtel de Sens, never to return to it.

At the time of the Revolution the mob attacked the statue of Henri
IV. on the Pont-Neuf, overturned it from its pedestal, and virtually
destroyed it. The present monument was erected by public subscription
after the Restoration in 1814, and on the 25th of August, 1818, was
inaugurated by Louis XVIII. In the pedestal is enclosed a magnificent
copy of Voltaire's epic "La Henriade." The low reliefs which adorn the
pedestal of this admirable equestrian statue represent, on the southern
side, Henri IV. distributing provisions in the besieged city of Paris;
on the northern side, the victorious king proclaiming peace from the
steps of Notre-Dame.

It has been said that the Pont-Neuf is traditionally famous for its
solidity. In spite of this doubtless well-deserved reputation, the
ancient bridge seemed, in 1805, on the point of giving way. Changes
in the bed of the river had led to a partial subsidence of two of the
arches supporting the smaller arm of the bridge. The necessary repairs,
however, were executed, and the bridge's reputation for strength
permanently restored.

Among the many interesting stories told in connection with the Pont-Neuf
may be mentioned one in which a famous actress of the early part of
this century, Mlle. Contat, plays a part. She happened to be out in
her carriage, and after a fashion then prevalent among the ladies of
Paris, was driving herself, when, holding the reins with more grace
than skill, she nearly ran over a pedestrian who was crossing the
bridge at the same time as herself. In those days, when side-walks for
pedestrians were unknown, the whole of the street being given up to
people with carriages, it was easy enough to get run over; and Mercier,
in his "Tableau de Paris," speaks again and again of the accidents that
occurred through the haughty negligence and recklessness of carriage
folk, and even of hirers of hackney coaches. A sufferer in these rather
one-sided collisions was generally held to be in the wrong, and Mlle.
Contat reproached her victim with having deliberately attempted to throw
himself under her horses' feet. The pedestrian took the blame gallantly
upon himself, bowed to the ground, offered the lady an apology, paid her
a graceful compliment, and disappeared. Scarcely had he done so when
the actress felt convinced, from his courtly manners and distinguished
air, that she must have been on the point of mangling some personage
of high rank, and for a long time she felt extremely curious to know
who he could be. One night, about a month after the incident, when she
was at the theatre, a letter from the gentleman whom she had accused of
getting in the way of her horses was delivered to her. He proved to be
not merely a person of high quality, as she had guessed, but a real live
prince: Prince Henry, brother of the King of Prussia. He was a friend,
moreover, of the drama; and he had written to beg "the modern Athalie"
to do him the honour to preside at the rehearsal of a new piece in which
he was interested. Partly for the sake of the piece, but principally
for that of the man whom she was so near running over, Mlle. Contat
complied with the prince's request. The piece was a comedy, with airs
written by Baron Ernest von Manteuffel, and set to music by a composer
of the day. The subject was extremely interesting, and Mlle. Contat saw
that this musical comedy might prove an immense success at the Théâtre
Français, where, being duly produced, it fully realised the actress's
anticipations. "Les deux Pages" it was called; and the author, Prussian
as he was, had written it in the French language, with which at that
time the Court and aristocracy of Prussia were more familiar than with
their own tongue. It will be remembered that Frederick the Great (who,
by the way, was the leading personage in "Les deux Pages") wrote the
whole of his very voluminous works in French.


Mercier, in his "Tableau de Paris," published at London in 1780
(its publication would not have been permitted at Paris), gives an
interesting account of the Pont-Neuf as it existed in his time. "This,"
he says, "is the greatest thoroughfare in Paris. If you are in quest
of anyone, native or foreigner, there is a moral certainty of your
meeting with him there in the space of two hours, at the outside. The
police-runners are convinced of this truth; here they lurk for their
prey, and if, after a few days' look-out, they do not find it, they
conclude with a certainty nearly equal to evidence that the bird is
flown. The most remarkable monument of popular gratitude may be seen
on this bridge--the statue of Henri IV. And if the French cannot boast
of having in reality a good prince, they may comfort themselves in
contemplating the effigy of a monarch whose like they will never see
again. At the foot of the bridge, a large phalanx of crimps--commonly
called dealers in human flesh--have established their quarters,
recruiting for their colonels, who sell the victims wholesale to the
king. They formerly had recourse to violent means, but are now only
permitted to use a little artifice, such as the employment of soldiers'
trulls for their decoy-ducks, and plying with liquors those youngsters
who are fond of the juice of the grape. Sometimes, especially at
Martinmas and on Shrove Tuesday, which are sacred in a peculiar manner
to gluttony and drunkenness, they parade about the avenues leading to
the bridge, some with long strings of partridges, hares, etc.; others
jingling sacks full of half-crowns to tickle the ears of the gaping
multitude; the poor dupes are ensnared, and, under the delusion that
they are going to sit down to a sumptuous dinner, are in reality
hastening to the slaughter-house. Such are the heroes picked out to be
the support and pillars of the State; and these future great men--a
world of conquerors in embryo--are purchased at the trifling price of
five crowns a head."

Among the remarkable incidents which the Pont-Neuf has witnessed during
its three centuries of existence must be mentioned certain amateur
robberies, committed by gentlemen of the highest position. The Duke of
Orleans is said to have set the fashion, which, one stormy night, after
prolonged libations, was imitated by the Chevalier de Rieux, the Count
de Rochefort, and a number of friends more unscrupulous than themselves.
The count and the chevalier, though the only ones of the party who got
arrested, played the mild part of lookers-on, taking their seats on
Henri IV.'s bronze horse, while the actual work of highway robbery was
being done by their companions. In due time, however, after several
of the passers-by had been plundered of their cloaks, the watch was
called, when the active robbers took to flight, whereas their passive
accomplices, unable to get down all at once from the back of the bronze
horse, were made prisoners, and kept for some time in confinement.
Mazarin, indeed, was so glad to have his enemy, the Count de Rochefort,
in his power, that he could scarcely be prevailed upon to let him out at

[Illustration: THE INSTITUTE.]

On the left bank of the Seine, at the very foot of the Pont-Neuf, stands
the Institute of France, with its various academies, of which the most
famous is that devoted to literature, the Académie Française, where,
said Piron, "there are forty members who have as much learning as four."
"This establishment," writes Mercier somewhat bitterly, but with much
truth, "was set on foot by Richelieu, whose every undertaking constantly
tended to despotism. Nor has he in this institution deviated from the
rule, for the Academy is manifestly a monarchical establishment. Men of
letters have been enticed to the capital like the grandees, and with the
same object: namely, to keep a better watch over them. The consequence
is fatal to the progress of knowledge, because every writer aspiring
to a seat in that modern Areopagus knows that his success depends on
Court favour, and therefore does everything to merit this by sacrificing
to the Goddess of Flattery, and preferring mean adulation that brings
him academical honours to the useful, manly, and legitimate employment
of his talents in the instruction of mankind. Hence the Academy
enjoys no manner of consideration either at home or abroad. Paris is
the only place where it can support any kind of dignity, though it is
even there sorely badgered by the wits of the capital, who, expecting
from it neither favour nor friendship, point all their epigrammatical
batteries against its members. There is, in fact, but too much room for
pleasantry and keen sarcasm. Is it not extremely ridiculous that forty
men, two-thirds of whom owe their admission to intrigue or fawning,
should be by patent created arbiters of taste in literature, and enjoy
the exclusive privilege of judging for the rest of their countrymen? But
their principal function has been to circulate and suppress new-coined
words; regulating the pronunciation, orthography, and idioms of the
French language. Is this a service or injury to the language? I should
think the latter.

"Instead of becoming, as they ought to do, the oracle of the age and
their nation, our men of letters content themselves with being the echo
of that dread tribunal; hence the abject state of literature in the
capital. We have some, however, who boldly think for themselves, trust
to the judgment of the public, and laugh at the award of the Academy.
Nothing can better mark the contempt in which a few spirited writers
hold the decrees of the forty forestallers of French wit and refinement
than the following epitaph which the author above cited, the terror of
Voltaire, the scourge of witlings, Piron, ordered to be engraved on his

    "'Cy gît Piron, qui ne fut rien,
     Pas même Académicien.'"

Many very distinguished writers have, in every generation since the
birth of the Academy, been included among its members. Very few,
however, of the forty members have at any one time been men of genuine
literary distinction; a duke who has written a pamphlet, an ambassador
who has published a volume, having always had a better chance of
election than a popular novelist or dramatist. M. Arsène Houssaye has
written a book entitled "The Forty-first Chair," which is intended to
show, and does show, that the greatest writer of each successive period,
from Molière to Balzac, has always been left out of the Academy: has
occupied, that is to say, "the forty-first chair." M. Alphonse Daudet,
to judge by his brilliant novel "L'Immortel," has no better opinion of
the French Academy than had Arsène Houssaye some forty years ago, when
his ingenious indirect attack upon the Academy was first published.

The Pont-Neuf was, for a considerable time after its first construction,
the most important highway in Paris. It connected Paris of the left
bank with Paris of the right, and old Paris, the so-called Cité,
with both. It was the only bridge of importance; and what is now the
greatest thoroughfare of Paris--the line of boulevards--was not yet
in existence. The Pont-Neuf dates from the reign of Henri IV.; the
boulevards from that of Louis XIV. Long, moreover, after it had ceased
to be fashionable, the Pont-Neuf remained popular by reason of the vast
stream of passengers perpetually crossing it in either direction. It was
much in favour with itinerant dealers of all kinds, and equally so with
beggars. Even in our own time it was on the Pont-Neuf that _Les deux
Aveugles_ of Offenbach deceived the public and exchanged confidences
with one another. The plague of beggars is nothing, however, in these
days, compared with what it was before the Revolution. "Who," asks
a writer of the latter part of the eighteenth century, "seeing the
populace of Paris ever merry, and the rich glittering in all the gaudy
pomp of luxury, would believe that the streets of the metropolis are
infested with swarms of beggars, were not the eye at every turn of the
street shocked with some distressing spectacle, truly disgusting to
the sight of every stranger who is not lost to all sense of humanity?
Nothing has yet been done to remove this evil, and the methods hitherto
practised have proved to be remedies worse than the disease. Amongst
the ancients there was a class of people that might be called poor, but
none reduced to absolute indigence. The very slaves were clothed, fed,
had their friends; nor does any historian say that the towns and streets
were full of those wretched, disgusting objects which either excite pity
or freeze charity itself: wretches covered with vermin did not then
go about the streets uttering groans that reach the very heart, and
exhibiting wounds that frighten the eye of every passenger.

"This abuse springs from the nature of the legislation itself--more
ready to preserve large fortunes than small. Let our new schemers say
what they will, great proprietors are a nuisance in the State. They
cover the lands with forests and stock them with fawns and deer; they
lay out pleasure-gardens; and thus the oppression and luxury of the
great is daily crushing the most unfortunate part of the community. In
the year 1769 not only beggars, but even the poorer class of citizens
were treated with much savage barbarity by secret orders from the
Government. In the very dead of night old men, women, and children
were suddenly seized upon, deprived of their liberty, and thrown into
loathsome gaols, without the assignment of any cause for so cruel a
treatment. The pretence was that indigence is the parent of crimes, that
seditions generally begin among that class of people who, having nothing
to lose, have nought to fear. The ministers who then wished to establish
the corn-law dreaded the effect it would have on that world of indigent
wretches, driven to despair, as they would be, by the advanced price of
bread which was then to be imposed. Their oppressors said: 'They must
be smothered;' and they were. As this was the most effectual method of
silencing them, the Government never took the trouble to devise any
other. When we cast an eye abroad, it is then we are convinced of the
forlorn condition in which our lower sort of people drag out their
miserable life. The Spaniard can cheaply provide himself with food
and raiment. Wrapped up in his cloak, the earth is his bed; he sleeps
soundly, and wakes without anxiety for his next meal. The Italians work
little, and are in no want of the necessaries, or even luxuries, of
life. The English, well fed, strong and hale, happy and free, reap and
enjoy undisturbed the fruits of their industry. The Swede is content
with his glass of brandy. The Russian, whom no foresight disturbs, finds
abundance in the bosom of slavery; but the Parisians, poor and helpless,
sinking under the burden of unremitting toils and fatigue, ever at the
mercy of the great, who crush them like vile insects whenever they
attempt to raise their voice, earn, at the sweat of their brow, a scanty
subsistence, which only serves to lengthen their lives, without leaving
them anything to look forward to in their old age but indigence, or,
what is worse, part of a bed in the hospital."

The Pont-Neuf was always crowded when anything was coming off on the
neighbouring Place de Grève, where Ravaillac was tortured and torn to
pieces, and where, in the next century, like horrors were perpetrated
upon the body of Damiens, who had attacked Louis XV. with a pen-knife
and inflicted upon him a slight scratch. The Place de Grève has now lost
its old historic name, and is called the Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville.
In the open space where Ravaillac and Damiens were subjected to such
abominable cruelty, and where so many criminals of various kinds and
classes were afterwards to be broken and beaten to death, the guillotine
was at a later date set up.

"The executioner in Paris," says Mercier (writing just before the
Revolution of 1789), "enjoys a revenue of no less than 18,000 livres
(£720). His figure is perfectly well known to the populace; he is for
them the greatest tragedian. Whenever he exhibits they crowd round his
temporary stage: our very women, even those whom rank and education
should inspire with the mildest sentiments, are not the last to share
in the horrid spectacles he provides. I have seen some of these
delicate creatures, whose fibres are so tender, so easily shaken, who
faint at the sight of a spider, look unconcerned upon the execution
of Damiens, being the last to avert their eyes from the most dreadful
punishment that ever was devised to avenge an offended monarch. The
_bourreau_, although his employment brands him with infamy, has no badge
to distinguish him from the rest of the citizens; and this is a great
mistake on the part of the Government, particularly noticeable when he
executes the dreadful commands of the law. It is not only ridiculous:
it is shocking in the extreme, to see him ascend the ladder, his head
dressed and profusely powdered; with a laced coat, silk stockings, and
a pair of as elegant pumps as ever set off the foot of the most refined
_petit-maître_. Should he not be clad in garments more suitable to the
minister of death? What is the consequence of so gross an absurdity? A
populace not overburdened with the sense of sympathy are all taken up
with admiration for the handsome clothes and person of our Breakbones.
Their attention is engrossed by the elegant behaviour and appearance of
this deputy of the King of Terrors; they have hardly a thought to bestow
upon the malefactor, and not one on his sufferings. Of course, then,
the intention of the law is frustrated. The dreadful example meant to
frighten vice from its criminal course has no effect on the mind of the
spectator, much more attentive to the point ruffles and the rich clothes
of the man whose appearance should concur in adding to the solemnity
than to the awful memento set up by a dire necessity to enforce the
practice of virtue by showing that he who lives in crime must die in
infamy. The executioner, from the stigma inherent to his profession,
and of course to himself, cannot hope to form alliances among the other
ranks of citizens. The very populace, though as well versed in the
history of the hangman and the malefactors as the upper classes are
in that of the sovereigns of Europe and their ministers, would think
it a disgrace to intermarry with his family to the latest generation.
It is not many years since the Bourreau of Paris publicly advertised
that he was ready to bestow the hand of his daughter, with a portion of
one hundred thousand crowns, on any native Frenchman who would accept
it, and agree to succeed him in business. The latter clause would have
staggered avarice itself; but the executioner of Paris was obliged to
follow the practice of his predecessors in office, and marry his heiress
to a provincial executioner. These gentlemen, in humble imitation of our
bishops, take their surnames from the cities where they are settled, and
among themselves it is 'Monsieur de Paris,' 'Monsieur de Rouen,' etc.


Besides breaking the bones of the criminals entrusted to his charge,
torturing them in various ways, and ultimately putting them to death,
the executioner, under the old régime, had sometimes to perform upon
books, which he solemnly burnt on the Place de Grève. Russia, Turkey,
and the Roman Court are now the only Powers in Europe which maintain
a censorship over books. But the custom of burning objectionable
volumes, instead of simply pronouncing against them and forbidding
their circulation, belongs altogether to the past. Plenty of books were
forbidden in France under the First and Second Empire; and when the
infamous Marquis de Sade sent Napoleon one of his disgraceful works,
the emperor replied by ordering the man to be arrested and confined in
a lunatic asylum. Under the Restoration many a volume was proscribed;
but since the great Revolution of 1789 no Government in France has
ventured to restore the custom of having a condemned book burnt by
the executioner. When, in connection with the contest on the subject
of the Church's relationship with the stage, a very able pamphlet was
published, proving by the laws of France that the excommunication
levelled against the stage was an illegal and scandalous imposition,
it got condemned to be burnt in the Place de Grève by the executioner.
Whereupon Voltaire, indignant at the barbarity of such a punishment,
brought out, anonymously, another pamphlet in defence of the cremated
one, when this, in its turn, was sentenced to the flames. Doubtless the
writer foresaw the fate of his little volume, for the tract in question
contained the suggestive remark that, "if the executioner were presented
with a complimentary copy of every work he was ordered to burn, he would
soon possess a handsome and very valuable library."

"Monsieur de Paris" was accustomed in his best days to burn live witches
as well as newly-published books; and the cremation of these unhappy
wretches gave him at times much occupation.



Without by any means introducing magic into France, Catherine de Medicis
did her best to encourage magical practices; and in succeeding reigns
the very people who, under her auspices, had cultivated relations with
the fiend were punished for their tamperings with the supernatural.
Catherine patronised astrologers and sorcerers of all kinds; and she
was accused of holding in the woods _levées_ of magicians, who arrived
at the place of meeting on flying goats, winged horses, or even simple
broomsticks. The assembly, according to popular rumour, began at night,
and ended with cock-crow. The place selected for the "Sabbath" was
lighted by a single lamp, which cast a melancholy light, and intensified
rather than dispelled the prevailing darkness. The president of the
"Sabbath" was the fiend in person, who took his seat on a high throne,
clad with the skin of a goat or of an immense black poodle. On his right
was the solitary lamp, on his left a man or woman who had charge of the
powders or ointments which it was customary to distribute among those
present. The ointments were supposed to enable the members of these
strange associations to recognise one another by the smell. But there
is so much that is evidently false and so little that is apparently
true in the accounts transmitted to us of these witches' Sabbaths,
that the only thing worth noting in connection with them is that they
possessed the privilege of interesting Catherine de Medicis. The secret
meetings of the Templars, the Anabaptists, and the Albigenses have
all been represented as assemblies of sorcerers. In the "History of
Artois," by Dom de Vienne, it is said that the Inquisition established
in the province caused many unfortunate Waldenses to be burnt alive in
consequence of diabolical practices, "to which," as the Inquisition
declared, "they themselves confessed."

It may well be that the severity of the tortures inflicted on the
accused, and the promise held out to them of forgiveness in case of
avowal, induced many of them to admit the truth of charges without
basis. The province of La Brie would seem during the magical times
of Catherine de Medicis to have been inhabited almost entirely by
sorcerers--by people, that is to say, who either considered themselves
such or were so considered. The shepherds and herdsmen of the province
possessed, it was said, the power of putting to death the sheep and
cattle of their neighbours by burying various kinds of enchantments
beneath the paths along which the animals were sure to pass. Some of
these wonder-working shepherds were taken and prosecuted, when they
confessed in many cases that they had exercised various kinds of
bedevilments on the beasts of certain farmers. They made known the
composition of their infernal preparations, but refused to state where
they were buried, declaring that if they were dug up the person who had
deposited them would immediately die. Whether the reputed sorcerers
possessed the secret of some chemical mixtures which had really an
injurious effect on cattle, or whether they were merely actuated by
vain fancies, it would be impossible at the present time to say. But
many shepherds and herdsmen of La Brie were, towards the end of the
seventeenth century, condemned and executed for magical practices. Thus
two shepherds, named Biaule and Lavaux, were sentenced by the same judge
to be hanged and burnt; and the sentence, after being confirmed by the
Parliament of Paris, was put into effect on the 18th of December, 1691.

Magical practices have been denounced by more than one Church council;
nor were incantations and witchcraft supposed by any means to be
confined to the ignorant classes. Pharamond passed for the son of an
incubus; and the mother of Clovis for a witch. Frédégonde accused
Clovis, son of her husband Chilpéric and a former wife, of sorcery;
and it was not until the reign of Charlemagne that any endeavour was
made to destroy the popular belief in magic. After Charlemagne's
death witchcraft took a greater hold on the public mind than ever;
and ridiculous historians wrote that Queen Berthe had given birth to
a gosling and that Bertrade was a witch. Philip the Bold consulted a
sorceress. The madness of Charles VI. and the influence exercised upon
him by Valentine of Milan were ascribed to magic; and it was as a witch
that the Maid of Orleans was burnt.



From the Bastille to the Madeleine--Boulevard
Beaumarchais--Beaumarchais--The _Marriage of Figaro_--The
Bastille--The Drama in Paris--Adrienne Lecouvreur--Vincennes--The Duc
d'Enghien--Duelling--Louis XVI.

The most important, the most interesting, the most absorbing
thoroughfare on the right bank of the Seine, and, therefore, in Paris
generally is that of the boulevards, in which the whole of the gay
capital may be said to be concentrated. Numbers of Parisians pass almost
the whole of their life on the Boulevard des Italiens; or between the
Boulevard Montmartre to the east, and the Boulevard de la Madeleine to
the west of what, to the fashionable Parisian, is the central boulevard.
Nothing can be easier than to breakfast and dine on the boulevards; and
it is along their length or in their immediate neighbourhood that not
only the best restaurants, but the finest theatres are to be found.
Stroll about the boulevards for a few hours--an occupation of which the
true boulevardier seems never to get tired--and you will meet everyone
you know in Paris.

If, moreover, the upper boulevards, those of the Madeleine, the
Capucines, and the Italiens, represent fashionable Paris, the lower
boulevards, from the Boulevard Montmartre to the Boulevard Beaumarchais,
represent the Paris of commerce and of industry; so that the line of
boulevards, as a whole, from the Madeleine to the Bastille, gives a fair
epitome of the French capital.

The poorest of the boulevards are at the eastern end of the line, and
the richest at the western; and the difference in character between the
inhabitants of these opposite extremes is shown by a military regulation
instituted under the Second Empire. Neither the district inhabited by
the needy workmen of the east nor the western district, where dwelt
the richest class of shop-keepers, was allowed to furnish the usual
contingent of National Guards. The artisans were too turbulent to be
entrusted with arms, while the tradespeople were equally unreliable,
because from timidity they allowed their arms to be taken from them.

Beginning at what most visitors to Paris will consider the wrong end
of the line of boulevards, we find that on the Boulevard Beaumarchais
Paris has a very different physiognomy from that which she presents on
the Boulevard de la Madeleine, which the visitor may reach by omnibus,
though it is more interesting to travel in some hired vehicle which may
now and then be stopped, and more interesting still to make the whole of
the three-mile journey on foot.

At either end of the line of boulevards is a _Place_, or open space,
which, for want of a better word, may be called a square: Place de
la Bastille to the east, Place de la Madeleine to the west. The
omnibuses which ply between the two extremities bear the inscription
"Madeleine--Bastille"; and, beginning at the Bastille, the traveller
passes eleven different boulevards, or, rather, one boulevard bearing in
succession eleven different names: Beaumarchais, des Filles du Calvaire,
du Temple, Saint-Martin, Saint-Denis, Bonne-Nouvelle, Poissonnière,
Montmartre, des Italiens, des Capucines, and de la Madeleine.

Advancing from the Bastille to the Madeleine, we find the appearance of
the shops constantly improving, until, from poor at one end, they become
magnificent at the other. What the military authorities of Germany
call "necessary luxuries" (such as coffee, tea, and sugar), as well as
luxuries in a more absolute sense (such as costly articles of attire,
sweetmeats, and champagne), are sold all along the line. But at the
Bastille end one notices here and there a little sacrifice to the useful
and the indispensable. Indeed, on the lower boulevards grocers' shops
are to be found, though nothing so commonplace offends the eye on the
boulevards to which the name of "upper" is given.

In like manner, the importance of the theatres increases as you proceed
from the Bastille westward. Nearly half the playhouses of Paris are
on the boulevards: ten on the north side, and three on the south.
Many other theatres, if not entered direct from the boulevards, are
in their close vicinity. The theatre nearest the Madeleine is the new
Opera House; that nearest the Place de la Bastille is the Théâtre
Beaumarchais. The Boulevard Beaumarchais owes its name to the brilliant
dramatist who, among other works, wrote the _Barber of Seville_ and
the _Marriage of Figaro_, still familiar to all Europe in their musical
form. From 1760 to 1831 what is now called the Boulevard Beaumarchais
was known as the Boulevard St.-Antoine. In the last-named year, however,
under the government of Louis Philippe, it was determined to render
homage to the author of the best comedies in the French language after
those of Molière by naming a boulevard after him.

The _Marriage of Figaro_ was played in public for the first time on
April 27th, 1784. "The description of the first performance is," says
M. de Loménie, "in every history of the period"; for which insufficient
reason M. de Loménie omits it in his own history of "Beaumarchais and
his Times." For at least two years before the _Marriage of Figaro_ was
played in public the work must have been well known in the aristocratic
and literary circles of Paris. The brilliant comedy, which was not to
be brought out until April, 1784, had been accepted at the Théâtre
Français in October, 1781. "As soon as the actors," writes Beaumarchais,
"had received, by acclamation, my poor _Marriage_, which has since had
so many opponents, I begged M. Lenoir (the Lieutenant of Police) to
appoint a censor; at the same time asking him, as a special favour,
that the piece might be examined by no one else: which he readily
promised; assuring me that neither secretary nor clerk should touch the
manuscript, and that the play should be read in his own cabinet. It was
so read by M. Coqueley, advocate, and I begged M. Lenoir to notify what
he retrenched, objected to, or approved. Six weeks afterwards I learnt
in society that my piece had been read at all the soirées of Versailles,
and I was in despair at this complaisance--perhaps forced--of the
magistrate in regard to a work which still belonged to me; for such was
certainly not the austere, discreet, and loyal course which belongs to
the serious duty of a censor. Well or ill read--perhaps maliciously
mutilated--the piece was pronounced detestable; and not knowing in what
respect I had sinned (for according to custom nothing was specified),
I stood before the inquisition obliged to guess my crimes, but aware,
nevertheless, that I was already tacitly proscribed. As, however, this
proscription by the court only irritated the curiosity of the town,
I was condemned to readings without number. Whenever one party was
discovered, another would immediately be formed."

At the beginning of 1782 it was already a question who could obtain
the privilege of hearing the play read by Beaumarchais--an admirable
reciter--whether at his own house or in some brilliant _salon_. "Every
day," writes Madame Campan, "persons were heard to say: 'I was present,
or I shall be present, at a reading of Beaumarchais's piece.'"

The first performance of the _Marriage of Figaro_ was thus described by
a competent judge. "Never," says Grimm, in one of the letters addressed
by him and by Diderot to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Gotha, "never did a
piece attract such crowds to the Théâtre Français. All Paris wished to
see this famous 'marriage,' and the house was crammed almost the very
moment the doors were opened to the public. Scarcely half of those
who had besieged the doors since eight in the morning succeeded in
finding places. Most persons got in by force or by throwing money to
the porters. It is impossible to be more humble, more audacious, more
eager in view of obtaining a favour from the Court than were all our
young lords to ensure themselves a place at the first representation of
_Figaro_. More than one duchess considered herself too happy that day to
find in the balconies, where ladies are seldom seen, a wretched stool
side by side with Madame Duthé, Carline, and company."

Ladies of the highest rank dined in the actresses' rooms, in order to
be sure of places. "Cordons bleus," says Bachaumont, "mixed up in the
crowd, elbowing with Savoyards--the guard being dispersed, and the
iron gates broken by the efforts of the assailants." La Harpe, in one
of his series of letters to the Grand Duke Paul of Russia and Count
Schouvaloff, declares that three porters were killed; being "one more
than were killed at the production of Scudéry's last piece." "On the
stage, when the curtain was raised, there was seen," says De Loménie,
"perhaps the most splendid assemblage of talent that was ever contained
within the walls of the Théâtre Français, employed in promoting the
success of a comedy which sparkled with wit, which carried the audience
along by its dramatic movement and audacity, and which, if it shocked or
startled some of the private boxes, excited and enchanted, inflamed and
electrified the pit."

All the parts were entrusted to performers of the first merit.
Mademoiselle Sainval, who was the tragic actress then in vogue, had, at
the urgent request of Beaumarchais, accepted the part of the Countess
Almaviva, in which she displayed a talent the more striking from being
quite unexpected. Mademoiselle Contat enchanted the public in the
character of Susanna by her grace, the refinement of her acting, and the
charms of her beauty and her voice. A very young and pretty actress,
destined soon afterwards, at the age of eighteen, to be nipped in the
bud by death--Mademoiselle Olivier, whose talent, says a contemporary,
"was as naïve and fresh as her face"--lent her _naïveté_ and her
freshness to the seemingly ingenuous character of Cherubino. Molè
acted the part of Count Almaviva with the elegance and dignity which
distinguished him. Dazincourt represented Figaro with all his wit, and
relieved the character from any appearance of vulgarity. Old Préville,
who was not less successful in the part of Bridoison, gave it up after
a few days to Dugazon, who interpreted it with more power and equal
intelligence. Delessarts, with his rich humour, gave relief to the
personage of Bartholo, which is thrown somewhat into the background.
The secondary parts of Basil and Antonio were equally well played by
Vanhove and Bellemont. Finally, through a singular caprice, a somewhat
celebrated tragedian, Larive, not wishing tragedy to be represented in
the piece by Mademoiselle Sainval alone, asked for the insignificant
little part of Grippe-soleil.


"The success of this Aristophanic comedy," writes De Loménie, "while
it filled some persons with anxiety and alarm, naturally roused the
curious crowd, who are never wanting, particularly when a successful
person takes a pleasure in spreading his fame abroad--and this foible of
Beaumarchais is well known. It was in the midst of a fire of epigrams in
prose and verse that the author of the _Marriage of Figaro_ pursued his
career, pouring out on his enemies not torrents of fire and light, but
torrents of liveliness and fun."

Beaumarchais, on the famous first night, sat in a _loge grillée_--a
private box, that is to say, with lattice-work in front--between
two abbés, with whom he had been dining, and whose presence seemed
indispensable to him, in order, as he said, that they might administer
to him _des secours très spirituels_ in case of death.

The _Marriage of Figaro_ was represented sixty-eight times in
succession, and each time with the greatest possible success. In
eight months, from April 27th, 1784, till January 10th, 1785, the
piece brought the Théâtre Français, without counting the fiftieth
representation (which, at Beaumarchais's request, was given for the
poor), no less than 346,197 livres or francs; an immense sum for that
period. When all expenses had been paid, there remained a profit of
293,755 livres for division amongst the actors, after the deduction from
it of Beaumarchais's share as author, amounting to 41,469 livres.

All sorts of anecdotes were told in connection with the success of
the work. A gentleman--whom gossip transformed into a duke--wrote to
Beaumarchais, asking for a _loge grillée_ for himself and two ladies who
wished to see the piece without being seen. Beaumarchais replied that
he had no sympathy with persons who wished to combine "the honours of
virtue with the pleasures of vice"; and, moreover, that his comedy was
not a work which honourable persons need be ashamed to see.

The Boulevard Beaumarchais of the present day was (as already mentioned)
called, until some fifty years after the Revolution, Boulevard
St.-Antoine; where, until 1789, the year of its destruction, stood the
celebrated fortress and prison of the Bastille. The destruction of
the Bastille was the first event in the French Revolution; and many
have asked why the fury of the crowd was particularly directed against
a building which, monument of tyranny though it was, had never been
employed against the people at large, but almost always against members
of the aristocracy, on whose behalf the Revolutionists were certainly
not fighting. But although the dungeons of the Bastille were for the
most part filled with political offenders, persons of every station in
life did, from time to time, find themselves enclosed within its walls.

The too celebrated fortress was originally built to protect the east of
Paris, as the Louvre was constructed to guard the west. It stood on the
south side of the boulevard now known by the name of Beaumarchais, and
consisted of eight towers, four of which looked towards the town--that
is to say, the Rue St.-Antoine--and four towards the country--that is to
say, the Faubourg St.-Antoine.

Above the shop of the wine-seller who inhabits No. 232 in the Rue
St.-Antoine, at the corner of the newly-built Rue Jacques-Coeur, a
marble tablet sets forth that the house in question occupies the site of
the outlying building into which the assailants, on the 14th of July,
1789, made their way before storming the fortress itself. The café which
stands at the corner of the street and of the square bears for its sign,
"The Cannon of the Bastille."

It was less as a fortress than as a State prison that the Bastille was
known, and by the nation at large execrated. Prisoners were taken to
the Bastille on a simple _lettre de cachet_: a sealed order or warrant,
which was sometimes given out blank, so that the favoured recipient
might make whatever use of it he pleased, against no matter whom. The
victims were introduced secretly into the fortress; and the soldiers on
guard had instructions to turn aside when any prisoner was being brought
in, so that they might not afterwards recognise him. Once inside the
dungeon, he was liable to undergo frequent interrogations without even
knowing on what charge, or even suspicion, he had been arrested. The
treatment in prison depended absolutely on the will of the governor.
Those under detention were kept in solitary confinement, without anyone
outside being able to obtain news as to whether they even existed.
They were not allowed to receive letters from their family or friends.
The internal regulations of the Bastille are sufficiently well known
to us by the numerous chronicles and memoirs published in connection
with it, including, in particular, those of Linguet. "During the seven
years that I passed in the Bastille," says M. Pelissery, quoted by
Linguet, "I had no air even in fine weather, and in winter they gave me
nothing in the way of fuel except wood just taken from the river. My
bed was intolerable, and the bedclothes dirty and worm-eaten. I drank,
or rather poisoned myself with, foul stagnant water. What food they
brought me! Famished dogs would not have touched it. Accordingly, my
body was soon covered with pustules, my legs gave way beneath me, I spat
blood, and became scorbutic. The dungeons received neither light nor
air, except by one narrow window pierced in a wall nearly five metres
thick, and traversed by a triple row of bars, between which there were
intervals of only five centimetres. Even on the most beautiful days
the prisoners received but feeble rays of light. In the winter these
fatal caves resembled ice-houses, being sufficiently raised for the
cold to penetrate; while in summer they were like damp stoves, in
which it was difficult not to be stifled, since the walls are so thick
as to keep out the heat necessary for drying the interior. There are
some rooms--and mine was one of them--which look out directly upon the
moat into which flows the great sewer of the Rue St.-Antoine. Thence
ascends a pestilential exhalation, which, when once it has entered these
rooms, can only with much difficulty be got out again. It is in such an
atmosphere that the prisoner has to breathe. There, not to be absolutely
stifled, he is obliged to pass his nights and days glued to the inside
bars of the little window in the door, through which a glimmer of light
and a breath of air may reach him."

"The history of the Bastille as a State prison," says Mongin, "might
almost be said to include everything intellectual and political in
France. Into its dungeons were thrown, one after the other, Hugues;
Aubriot, who himself founded the Bastille, and who expiated by perpetual
imprisonment his alleged heresy and his love relations with a Jewess;
Jacques d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, in 1475; with many high and
powerful noblemen in the time of Louis XI. and Richelieu. Here also were
confined Marshal de Biron and Fouquet, the Superintendent of Finances,
besides more than one officer of distinction under Louis XIV."

When the Bastille had done its work on the last remains of feudalism and
on the Court aristocracy, the turn came of the people--the precursors
of the Republic, the martyrs of the Revolution. After the revocation of
the Edict of Nantes, the Bastille was filled with Protestants. Here were
shut up the Jansenists and the fanatics known as the Convulsionnaires.
Here, too, suffered, until he was taken to the scaffold, the brave
Governor of India under the French domination, Lally, who had given
offence to the Court rather than to the sovereign. Voltaire, Mirabeau,
Linguet (who, after making his escape, published in London his eloquent
account of the cruelties to which prisoners in the Bastille were
subjected), Latude, and numberless other men distinguished in different
walks of life.

The 14th of July, 1789, saw the first blow struck by the Revolutionists
against that monument which, to them, symbolised all that was hateful in
the ancient monarchy. War had already virtually been declared between
the two sides. Everything seemed in favour of the king, the Court, the
nobility, and the monarchical party generally. "If Paris must be burnt,"
one of the Ministers had said, "we will burn it."

Paris was, indeed, surrounded with foreign troops; and whatever might be
the attitude of the French regiments, commanded by officers some of whom
were Royalists and others Republicans, it was certain that the popular
movement would have to count with the Swiss, Austrian, and German troops
stationed at Charenton, Sèvres, Versailles, at the Military School, and
elsewhere in the immediate neighbourhood of the capital.

On the 8th of July the National Assembly had, on the motion of Mirabeau,
demanded from the king the removal of the foreign troops. The king's
only reply, a few days afterwards, was to dismiss Necker, the popular
Minister. The news of this tyrannical step fell upon Paris on Sunday,
July 12th, like a spark on a barrel of gunpowder. The Palais Royal,
which might be regarded as the head-quarters of the Revolution, became
violently agitated. It was twelve o'clock on a hot summer's day when
suddenly the midday cannon, with its lens above the touch-hole, was
fired by the blazing sun.

A superstitious importance was attached to the familiar incident; and
the Revolutionists, with the people around them, saw in the ordinary
explosion of a midday gun, intended only to interest the public by
marking the time, the signal for an uprising against the ancient
monarchy. A young man of twenty, then absolutely unknown, but who
was afterwards to be remembered as Camille Desmoulins, rushed out of
the Café Foy, sprang upon a table just outside, and in impassioned
language addressed the crowd. "Citizens," he cried, "there is not a
moment to lose! I have just come from Versailles. Necker is dismissed,
and his dismissal is the signal for a new massacre of St. Bartholomew.
This evening all the Swiss and German battalions will march from the
Champ-de-Mars to put to death every patriot. We have but one resource:
to rise to arms, after assuming cockades by which we may recognise each
other. What colours do you prefer--green, the colour of hope, or the
blue of Cincinnatus, the colour of American liberty and of democracy?"

"Green, green!" cried the crowd.

"Friends," continued the young man, in a sonorous voice, "the signal is
already given. I see staring me in the face the spies and satellites
of the police. But I will not fall alive into their hands. Let every
citizen follow my example." He waved in the air two pistols, fastened
a green ribbon to his hat, and descending from his chair, urged those
present to take, as signs of recognition, leaves from the trees around
them. Soon the trees of the Palais Royal garden were stripped. The
excitement and enthusiasm spread in every direction. Arms were seized
wherever they could be found. The busts of Necker and of the Duke of
Orleans, idols of the moment, were carried through the streets veiled
with black crape. More than one detachment of the French Guards joined
the crowd. In the Tuileries Gardens several persons were killed by a
cavalry charge under the command of Prince de Lambesc, of which the
chief effect was to exasperate the insurgents to the utmost. Partial
engagements now took place at various points. At the gates of Paris,
the barriers where a tax was levied on provisions brought into the
city were set in flames. Towards evening committees were formed in
all the districts of the capital "for preventing tumult." The shops
were now everywhere closed, and the theatres gave no performances.
During the night the district assemblies held a general meeting, at
which it was resolved to urge all who possessed arms to bring them to
district head-quarters, that militia companies, to be promptly formed
for the occasion, might be furnished therewith in a regular manner.
These militia bands were intended to act on behalf of the nation; if
necessary, against the populace. But the general excitement was too
great to allow of such formal measures being taken as the well-to-do
citizens of the hurriedly constituted district assemblies thought
advisable. To all recommendations of prudence there was but one reply:
"To Arms!" The Provost of the Paris merchants, De Flesselles by name,
who had been elected president of the district assemblies, endeavoured
to stay the spirit of revolution, now spreading so widely; but to no
purpose. The Hôtel de Ville, from which he held forth, was now occupied
in every corner by armed men, who had no intention of giving their
weapons up for the equipment of any imaginary militia company; and as
yet these companies were unformed. An order to evacuate the Hôtel de
Ville met with no attention, and deliberations were now carried on
beneath the eyes and under the pressure of the enraged mob.


In place of the green colour adopted in the first instance by the
insurgents of the Palais Royal, which the day afterwards was rejected
as the family colour of the Counts of Artois, the tricolour had now
been assumed: blue, in the new flag, being held to signify hope; red,
the blood of sacrifice; and white, the ancient monarchy, against which
war had not yet been declared. It was against the abuses of the ancient
system, and in view of a thorough reform, that the people were rising.

[Illustration: THE BASTILLE.]

Camille Desmoulins had begun the Revolution on Sunday, the 12th of July,
at noon. On the morning of Monday, July 13th, the alarm bell was rung
in every church, and the drum beaten in every street. Bands were now
formed, without much system, under the names of Volunteers of the Palais
Royal, of the Tuileries, etc. Women were everywhere making blue and
red cockades--the white was not absolutely essential; the blacksmiths
were forging arms; and it has been calculated that in thirty-six hours
fifty thousand pikes were made. Tumultuous meetings were held in the
churches, with a view to some regular organisation of the movement. A
Government dépôt of arms was invaded, and plundered of its contents. The
Place de la Grève became an important centre to which arms taken from
gunsmiths' shops or from Government stores, sacks of wheat and flour
(stopped at the barriers), and even herds of cattle and flocks of sheep,
were brought. Paris was being turned into a camp. The citizens of the
district assemblies, carried away by the ardour of the people whose
impetuosity they had sought to restrain, the students of the various
schools, the clerks of the public offices, the workmen of the faubourgs:
all hurried to the Hôtel de Ville, swearing to conquer or to die. The
fact that Paris was threatened by Swiss, German, and various kinds
of Austrian troops could not but awaken the patriotism of Frenchmen
generally. The first enemy to be fought was the army of foreigners
waiting to swoop down on the city. An important collection of arms,
formed by those who had obeyed the first recommendations of the district
assemblies, was reported to exist at the Invalides; and an enormous
quantity of powder which was being sent out of Paris by way of the River
Seine, apparently under the orders of the timid citizens composing the
aforesaid assemblies, was seized, carried to the Hôtel de Ville, and
partially distributed.

No movement, meanwhile, had been made by the foreign troops, who
were for the most part encamped or quartered in the École Militaire;
the inaction being attributable to divided counsels among the king's
ministers, and to hesitation on the part of the king himself. The one
thing decided upon was to stop the entrance of provisions into Paris: a
sure means, it was thought, of reducing the tumult, which at the outset
was scarcely looked upon as serious. The National Assembly was behaving,
meanwhile, in the most heroic manner. Threatened with dissolution and
arrest, and quite at the mercy of the foreign troops, it voted an
expression of regret at the dismissal of Necker, a demand that the
foreign troops be forthwith sent away from Paris, and a declaration that
the king's ministers, whatever their rank, would be held personally
responsible for any misfortunes that might result from the present
condition of things.

On the morning of the 14th of July Paris was surrounded at all points
by foreign troops, and was at the same time threatened with famine.
But one course was open to the insurgents: that of immediate action.
There was a general feeling that an attack must be made, and the object
unanimously chosen for the first assault was the Bastille: symbol of
everything hateful in the government it was proposed to overturn. "_A
la Bastille!_" was now the universal cry. But a dearth of muskets
retarded the impulse, and it was determined in the first instance to
attack the Hôtel des Invalides, where arms in large numbers were known
to be stored away. Thirty thousand men hurried to the asylum of aged
soldiers; when, without much time being wasted in parleying with the
governor, the sentinels were seized and the place entered by force. In
the cellars twenty-eight thousand muskets were discovered concealed
beneath hay and straw; and with these the invaders, whose numbers had
gradually increased, hastened to arm themselves. Five years before,
the king, on consenting to the liberation of Latude, had promised that
henceforth no one should be sent to the Bastille except for a definite
period, and after formal conviction on a positive charge. But this
engagement had not been kept; people had been arrested, and incarcerated
(as at the present time in Russia) on the simple denunciation of police
officers and spies; sometimes on mere suspicion, at others without even
suspicion, and simply for the gratification of private malice. The
terrible _lettre de cachet_, on the strength of which arrests were made
without further explanation, had indeed become a purchasable thing, with
a fixed price, like any other article of commerce. It was doubtless,
however, the memory of a long course of ancient wrongs that, above all,
animated the people in their rage against the Bastille. There was,
moreover, however, a strategical reason. As a fortress, the Bastille
commanded the Rue St.-Antoine and the adjoining faubourg, and indeed
dominated all Paris. To destroy it, therefore, was considered at once a
good moral and a good military act.

The governor, De Launay, had already prepared his defence; and in
addition to the guns of position in the towers, he had placed a number
in the interior courtyard. The gates and the outer walls had been
loopholed and armed with wall-pieces, and a quantity of paving-stones,
cannon-balls, and lumps of iron had been carried up to the towers, in
order to be hurled down upon the heads of the expected assailants.

The garrison consisted only of 114 men, 32 of whom were Swiss, while
the other 82 were old pensioners. The defenders, indeed, were nearly
all of them aged, but experienced, soldiers. Their material appliances
and the strength of their position were such that the governor looked
upon the fortress as impregnable against a mob of people who had neither
the art nor the time to undertake regular siege operations. With his
powerful batteries, De Launay could lay the whole quarter in ruins; and
foreseeing this possibility, the committee of the Hôtel de Ville sent
a deputation to the governor, promising not to attack him if he would
withdraw the cannon, and promise not on his side to begin hostilities.
A man of more energy, Thuriot de la Rozière, called, in the name of
his district, upon the governor, and demanded the surrender of the
fortress. His account of what was taking place in Paris astonished De
Launay, and gained the sympathy of the French portion of the garrison.
His final demand was that the Bastille should be occupied by some of
the newly-formed bands conjointly with troops of the regular army. But
this proposition, though more advanced than the feeble one made by the
committee of the Hôtel de Ville, was by no means on a level with popular
demands; and Thuriot, on leaving the Bastille, was threatened by the
armed bands assembled outside, who demanded, not the occupation of the
Bastille, but its destruction.

A few brave men got into the outer yard through the roof of the
guard-house, and at once destroyed with hatchets the chains of the
drawbridge leading to the inner yard. They were followed by others, and
soon the outer gates were forced. A terrible fire had been opened on the
crowd of assailants, and it was resolved once more to approach De Launay
by means of a deputation, which, however, was unable to reach him. At
this moment the besiegers set fire to several carts of hay and manure,
in order to burn the buildings which masked the fortress and to smoke
out the defenders. At the same time, a constant fire was kept up from
the windows and roofs of the neighbouring houses. All this, however,
had but little effect on the garrison. A new deputation was now sent
forward, bearing a white flag. A white flag was displayed in reply from
the Bastille, and the soldiers reversed their muskets. An officer of
the Swiss troops passed forward a note, by means of a crane, with these
words: "We have twenty thousand pounds of powder, and we will blow up
the fortress and the whole of the neighbourhood unless you accept a

The Commissaries of the Hôtel de Ville, believing in the pacific
demonstrations of the garrison, were already urging the people to
retire, when suddenly there was a discharge of musketry from the
fortress, which laid low a good number of the insurgents. It was
apparently the Swiss who had fired, heedless of the conciliatory
attitude assumed by the French portion of the defending force. The
whole garrison was held responsible for this act of treachery. The
exasperation of the people had now gone beyond all bounds, and there
was but one cry heard: "Down with the Bastille!" A number of the
French guards seized five of the guns which had been brought from the
Invalides, and pointed them at the fortress. The fire of the artillery
proved more effective than that of the musketry, and the drawbridge was
now swept by cannon-balls.

Meanwhile, the garrison was divided against itself. The pensioners
wished the contest, of which the end could now be foreseen, to cease,
whereas the Swiss mercenaries, careless about the effusion of French
blood (and, it must be admitted, full of a more youthful courage), were
determined to resist to the last.

There was another reason which made it unadvisable to prolong the
defence. The fortress contained abundance of ammunition, but little
or no food; and the numbers, constantly increasing, of the besiegers
rendered it impossible to renew the supply. It was evident that all
Paris demanded the fall of the Bastille. The Swiss, however, would
hear of no surrender. As for De Launay, he felt that he was personally
detested, not only for the blood he was uselessly shedding, but even
more for his persecution of the prisoners under his charge. The
_Memoirs_ of Linguet and other revelations had made his name odious
throughout Europe. Thus the vengeful cries of the people seemed directed
against himself personally. Wild with terror, he seized a match, and was
about to explode his powder magazine, when two non-commissioned officers
drove him back at point of bayonet. Outside, a sort of organisation
had now established itself. Many bands of volunteers had been moving
together since the first uprising, with the volunteers of the Palais
Royal, under Camille Desmoulins, among them. These bands were under the
command of officers of the French Guards, or of energetic men who were
afterwards to distinguish themselves in the military career.

According to some accounts, the surrender of the fortress took place
immediately after the episode of the note thrust forward on a crane, or,
according to another version, pushed through a loophole. The moment in
any case arrived when, promised by some of the French Guards that their
lives should be spared, the garrison agreed formally to surrender. The
drawbridges were now lowered, and the Bastille was occupied in force.
On being recognised, De Launay was arrested and led off towards the
Hôtel de Ville. Hulin, afterwards one of Napoleon's generals and nobles,
took charge of the prisoner, and, forming an escort, did his best to
convey him safely through the infuriated mob, which, with execrations,
pressed towards him from all sides. More than once De Launay was thrown
down. Having lost his hat, he was now an easier mark than ever for the
assaults of the crowd. That he might not so readily be distinguished,
Hulin gave him his own hat, thus running the risk of being himself
mistaken for the odious governor. At last Hulin and several members of
the escort were thrown together to the ground; and when Hulin managed
to rise, the head of the hated governor was being carried aloft on the
point of a pike.

Within the Bastille the invaders were, meanwhile, breaking open the
dungeons. Only seven prisoners, however, were found, two of whom
had become insane. One of the latter had a long white beard falling
to his waist, and fancied himself still under the reign of Louis
XV., who had been dead fifteen years. Instruments of torture were
discovered. Shocking as this detail may be to a reader of the present
day, it should be remembered that under the old monarchy torture was
constantly employed in criminal process. It is only just to add that
it was formally abolished a few years before the Revolution, and not
afterwards, as is generally supposed.

The archives of the prison were in part destroyed. All that was
preserved of them was afterwards published, in order once more to throw
light on the iniquity of the system under which such an institution as
the Bastille could exist.

The taking of the Bastille cost the assailants eighty-three killed on
the spot, and fifteen who died from their injuries, besides sixty-three
wounded. The garrison, on their side, protected by the walls of the
fortress, lost but one killed and one wounded during a struggle which
lasted five hours.

The major of the garrison, De Losme, shared the fate of the governor,
except that, instead of being put to death summarily by an enraged mob,
he was taken deliberately to the famous _lanterne_, or lamp of the Place
de la Grève, and hanged. Two of the pensioners, accused, like the major,
of having pointed the guns of the fortress against the people, were also
strung up. These were the first victims of the cry "_À la lanterne!_"
afterwards to be heard so often in the streets of Paris. The _lanterne_
in question was attached to an iron gibbet; and it was on this gibbet
that the victims of popular fury were hoisted aloft.

The lives of all the other defenders were spared. They were set at
liberty and a subscription opened for them, as they had now no means of
earning an honest penny.

The news of the capture of the Bastille caused great excitement at
Versailles, where Louis XVI., in his habitual state of indecision,
seemed unable to give an order of any kind. He had gone to bed at his
usual hour, but was awakened early the next morning by the Duke de
Liancourt, who enjoyed the privilege of entering the royal bedchamber at
any time. The Duke informed his sovereign of what was taking place at
Paris, and impressed upon him the necessity of putting himself in accord
with the nation and with the Assembly.

"Is it a revolt, then?" asked Louis XVI., with his eyes half open. "No,
Sire," replied the duke; "it is a revolution." In these words, destined
to become celebrated, the astonished king was informed that the ancient
monarchy was at an end.

The Bastille was now pulled down: partly in the natural course of
things, partly in virtue of a formal resolution. The stones were broken
up into little pieces, and worn by ladies as jewellery; ornaments and
playthings were also made from the remains of the detested edifice.

The conquerors of the Bastille formed a special corps, which had its
recognised place in all public ceremonies. A medal was struck in their
honour, and each of them was commissioned with an office. During the
Revolution the ground on which the Bastille stood became a favourite
place for public meetings. The Bronze Column which now lifts its head in
the Place de la Bastille was erected under the reign of Louis Philippe,
in memory of the Revolution of 1789 and of the lesser revolt of 1830.

Although the Revolution began in Paris, the revolutionary spirit spread
rapidly to the provinces. This is clearly set forth in Arthur Young's
account of what took place at Strasburg, where he had just arrived when
news of the Revolution reached him.


(_From the Painting by François Flaming._)]

"I arrived there," he writes, "at a critical moment, which I thought
would have broken my neck: a detachment of horse, with their trumpets,
on one side, a party of infantry, with their drums beating, on the
other, and a great mob hallooing, frightened my French mare, and I
could scarcely keep her from trampling on Messrs. the _tiers état_. On
arriving at the inn, one heard the interesting news of the revolt of
Paris; the _Garde Française_ joining the people; the unreliability of
the rest of the troops; the taking of the Bastille; and the institution
of the _milice bourgeoise_--in a word, the absolute overthrow of
the old government. Everything being now decided, and the kingdom
absolutely in the hands of the Assembly, they have the power to make a
new constitution such as they think proper; and it will be a spectacle
for the world to view in this enlightened age the representatives of
twenty-five millions of people sitting on the construction of a new
and better fabric of liberty than Europe has yet offered. It will now
be seen whether they will copy the constitution of England, freed
from its faults, or attempt from theory to frame something absolutely
speculative. In the former case they will prove a blessing to their
country; in the latter they will probably involve it in inextricable
confusion and civil wars: perhaps not immediately, but certainly
in the future. I hear nothing of their removing from Versailles. If
they stay there under the control of an armed mob, they must make a
government that will please the mob; but they will, I suppose, be wise
enough to move to some central town--Tours, Blois, or Orleans, where
their deliberations may be free. But the Parisian spirit of commotion
spreads rapidly; it is here; the troops that were near breaking my
neck are employed to keep an eye on the people who show signs of an
intended revolt. They have broken the windows of some magistrates who
are no favourites; and a great mob of them is at this moment assembled,
demanding clamorously to have meat at five sous a pound. They have
a cry among them that will conduct them to good lengths: '_Point
d'impôt et vivent les états!_' I have spent some time at the _Cabinet
Littéraire_ reading the gazettes and journals that give an account of
the transactions at Paris; and I have had some conversation with several
sensible and intelligent men in the present revolution. The spirit of
revolt is gone forth into various parts of the kingdom; the price of
bread has prepared the populace everywhere for all sorts of violence; at
Lyons there have been commotions as furious as at Paris, and likewise at
a great many other places. Dauphiné is in arms, and Bretagne in absolute
rebellion. The idea is that hunger will drive the people to revolt, and
that when once they find any other means of subsistence than honest
labour everything will have to be feared. Of such consequence it is to
a country to have a policy on the subject of corn: one that shall, by
securing a high price to the farmer, encourage his culture sufficiently
to secure the people from famine. I have been witness to a scene curious
to a foreigner, but dreadful to those Frenchmen who consider. Passing
through the square of the _Hôtel de Ville_, the mob were breaking the
windows with stones, notwithstanding that an officer and a detachment of
horse were on the spot. Observing not only that their numbers increased,
but that they grew bolder and bolder every moment, I thought it worth
staying to see how the thing would end, and clambered on to the roof of
a row of low stalls opposite the building against which their malice
was directed. Here I could view the whole scene. Perceiving that the
troops would not attack them except in words and menaces, they grew
more violent, and furiously attempted to beat the door in pieces with
iron crows, placing ladders to the windows. In about a quarter of an
hour, which gave time for the assembled magistrates to escape by a back
door, they burst everything open, and entered like a torrent, amid a
universal shout of triumph. From that minute a medley of casements,
sashes, shutters, chairs, tables, sofas, books, papers, pictures,
etc., rained down incessantly from all the windows of the house, which
is seventy or eighty feet long; this being succeeded by a shower of
tiles, skirting-boards, banisters, framework, and whatever parts of
the building force could detach. The troops, both horse and foot, were
quiet spectators. They were at first too few to interpose, and when they
became more numerous the mischief was too far advanced to admit of any
other course than that of guarding every avenue around, permitting no
fresh arrivals on the scene of action, but letting everyone that pleased
retire with his plunder; guards at the same time being placed at the
doors of the churches and all public buildings. I was for two hours a
spectator of this scene: secure myself from the falling furniture, but
near enough to see a fine lad of about fourteen crushed to death by
some object as he was handing plunder to a woman--I suppose his mother,
from the horror pictured in her countenance. I remarked several common
soldiers with their white cockades among the plunderers, and instigating
the mob even in sight of the officers of the detachment. Mixed in the
crowd, there were people so decently dressed that I regarded them with
no small surprise. The public archives were destroyed, and the streets
for some way around strewed with papers. This was a wanton mischief, for
it will be the ruin of many families unconnected with the magistrates."

Although at the critical moment the first object of the revolutionists'
attack was the Bastille, that hateful building did not, according to
Mercier, inspire the common people with any peculiar indignation. It
will be seen from his own words that he was in this particular a less
keen-sighted observer than he is generally reputed to have been. Writing
just before the Revolution, Mercier saw well that his fellow-countrymen
were oppressed, but believed they were too much inured to this
oppression ever to rise against it.

"I have already observed," he writes, "that the Parisians in general
are totally indifferent as to their political interest; nor is this
to be wondered at in a place where a man is hardly allowed to think
for himself. A coercive silence, imposed upon every Frenchman from the
hour of his birth on whatever regards the affairs of government, grows
with him into a habit which the fear of the Bastille and his natural
indolence daily strengthen, till the man is totally lost in the slave.
Kingly prerogative knows no bounds, because no one ever dared to resist
the monarch's despotic commands. It is true that at times, in the words
of the proverb, the galled horse has winced. The Parisians have at times
attempted to withstand tyranny; but popular commotions amongst them
have had very much the air of a boyish mutiny at school; a rod with
the latter, the butt end of a firelock with the former, quiets all,
because neither act with the spirit and resolution of _men_ who assert
their natural rights. What would cost the minister his life in those
unhappy countries where self-denial and passive obedience are unknown is
done off in Paris by a witty epigram, a smart song, etc.; the authors
of which, however, take the greatest care to remain concealed, having
continually the fear of ministerial runners before their eyes; nor has a
_bon mot_ unfrequently occasioned the captivity of its author."

Mercier at the same time points out that never since the days of Henri
IV. had France been so mildly governed as under Louis XVI. One of the
last acts of Louis XV. had been to cast into the Bastille all the
volumes of the Encyclopædia. One of the first acts of Louis XVI. was
to liberate from the Bastille all prisoners who had not been guilty of
serious, recognisable offences.

"At the accession of his present Majesty," writes Mercier, "his new
ministers, actuated by humanity, signalised the beginning of their
administration with an act of justice and mercy, ordering the registers
of the Bastille to be laid before them, when a great number of prisoners
were set at large." Among those liberated was a man of whom Mercier
tells the same story that was afterwards to be told of one of the seven
prisoners who were freed at the taking of the Bastille.

"Their number included a venerable old man, who for forty-seven years
had remained shut up between four walls. Hardened by adversity, which
steels the heart when it does not break it, he had supported his long
and tedious captivity with unexampled constancy and fortitude; and
he thought no more of liberty. The day is come. The door of his tomb
turns upon its rusty hinges, it opens not ajar, as usual, but wide, for
liberty, and an unknown voice acquaints him that he may now depart.
He thinks himself in a dream; he hesitates, and at last ventures out
with trembling steps; wonders at everything; thinks to have travelled
a great way before he reaches the outward gate. Here he stops a while;
his feeble eyes, long deprived of the sun's cheering beams, can hardly
support its first light. A coach waits for him in the streets; he gets
into it, desires to be carried to a certain street, but unable to
support the motion of the coach, he is set down, and by the assistance
of two men at length he reaches the quarter where he formerly dwelt; but
the spot is altered, and his house is no more. His wandering eye seems
to interrogate every passenger, saying with heartrending accents of
despondency: 'Where shall I find my wife? Where are my children?' All in
vain; the oldest man hardly remembers to have heard his name. At last a
poor old decrepit porter is brought to him. This man had served in his
family, but knew him not. Questioned by the late prisoner, he replied,
with all the indifference which accompanies the recollection of events
long passed, that his wife had died above thirty years before in the
utmost misery, and that his children were gone into foreign countries,
nothing having been heard of them for many years. Struck with grief and
astonishment, the old gentleman, his eyes riveted to the ground, remains
for some time motionless; a few tears would have eased his deeply
wounded heart, but he could not weep. At last, recovering from his
trance, he hastens to the minister to whose humanity he was indebted for
a liberty now grown burdensome. 'Sir,' he says to him, 'send me back to
my dungeon! Who is it that can survive his friends, his relations, nay,
a whole generation? Who can hear of the death of all he held dear and
precious, and not wish to die? All these losses, which happen to other
men by gradation, and one by one, have fallen upon me in an instant.
Ah, sir! it is not dreadful to die; but it is to be last survivor.' The
minister sympathised with this truly unfortunate man. Care was taken of
him, and the old porter assigned to him for his servant, as he could
speak with this man of his wife and children: the only comfort now left
for the aged son of sorrow, who lived some time retired, though in the
midst of the noise and confusion of the capital. Nothing, however, could
reconcile him to a world quite new for him, and to which he resolved to
remain a perfect stranger; and friendly death at last came to his relief
and closed his eyes in peace."

Although, as frigid historians have pointed out, the Bastille never
did any harm to the common people, it was sometimes made use of to
punish actresses who were much admired by the populace. Mlle. Clairon,
a distinguished actress and excellent woman, on quitting the stage from
religious scruples--or rather because, contrary to her own views on
the subject, she found the profession of actress condemned absolutely
by the Church--was sent to the Bastille on the ground that, being a
paid servant of the king, she refused to do her duty. "The case of this
lady," said a writer of the time, "is indeed hard. The king sends her
to prison if she does not act, and the Church sends her to perdition
if she does." Mlle. Clairon was much troubled at the view taken of her
profession by the clergy; and after consulting her confessor, she came
to the conclusion that so long as she remained on the stage she could
have no hope of salvation. It was then that she refused any longer to
act, and determined to retire altogether from the stage. So indignant
had Mlle. Clairon become on learning for the first time under what
severe condemnation the stage lay, that she raised a strong party with
the view of removing so great a scandal. Much was written and said in
favour of the comedians, but all to no purpose. The priests stood firm
to their text, and, in the words of a French writer, would by no means
give up "their ancient and pious privilege of consigning to eternal
punishment everyone who had anything to do with the stage."

[Illustration: À LA ROBESPIERRE.]

[Illustration: A LADY OF 1793.]

Mlle. Clairon's retirement threw her manager into the greatest
confusion. She was by far the best actress of the day, and such a
favourite that it was almost impossible to do without her. The theatre
was soon deserted by the public, and still Mlle. Clairon refused to
act. Then it was that by royal mandate she was imprisoned. She had not,
however, been long in the Bastille, when an order came from the Court
for the players to go to Versailles to perform before the king. Mlle.
Clairon was released, and commanded to make her appearance with the rest
of the company. Being already very tired of the Bastille, she decided
to obey, and performing at Court with immense success, and finding that
all attempts to gain even the toleration of the Church were in vain,
she resigned herself to her fate and went on acting as usual. Some
years previously, Mlle. Clairon, accused of organising a cabal against
a rival, had been sent to another State prison, Fort l'Évêque, where,
instead of pining, as at the Bastille, she held high court, receiving
visits from all kinds of illustrious people, whose carriages are said to
have made the approach to the prison impassable.

[Illustration: A TRICOTEUSE.]


Besides the Bastille and Fort l'Évêque, there was yet another prison,
La Force, to which recalcitrant actresses used to be sent in the
strange days of the ancient _régime_. Thus Mlle. Gavaudin, a singer at
the Opera, having refused the part assigned to her in a piece called
the "Golden Fleece," was sent to La Force, where she enjoyed herself so
much, that she was warned as to the possibility of her being punished
by solitary confinement in a genuine dungeon. On this, she agreed to
appear in the character which she had at first rejected. When, however,
an official came to the prison to set her at liberty, in order that she
might play her part that very evening, she told him that for the present
she would remain where she was, that she had ordered an excellent
dinner, and meant to eat it. The official charged with her liberation
insisted, however, on setting her free, telling her that after he had
once got her into the street she might go wherever she chose. She
simply returned to the prison, where she dined copiously, with a due
allowance of wine. "Then," says a narrator of these incidents, "she went
to the Opera, had a furious scene with the stage-manager, who, during
her imprisonment, had given her dressing-room to another singer, and
after a quarter of an hour of violent language calmed down, dressed
herself for the part of Calliope, and sang very charmingly." It may be
mentioned that before she was consigned to the Bastille, Mlle. Clairon's
case interested greatly some of the best writers of the day, including
Voltaire, who published an eloquent defence of the stage against the
overbearing pretensions of the Church.

It seems strange that in France, where the drama is cultivated with
more interest and with more success than in any other country, actors
and actresses should so long have been regarded as beyond the pale of
Christianity. Happily, this is no longer the case. But the traditional
view of the French Church in regard to actors and actresses was, until
within a comparatively recent time, that they were, by the mere fact of
exercising their profession, in the position of excommunicated persons.
This is sufficiently shown not only by the case of Mlle. Clairon in
connection with the Bastille, but also by the circumstances attending
the burial of Molière in the seventeenth, of Adrienne Lecouvreur in
the eighteenth, and of Mlle. Raucourt in the nineteenth century.
Acting in _Le Malade Imaginaire_, Molière broke a blood-vessel, and
was carried home to die. He was attended in his last moments by a
priest of his acquaintance; he expired in presence of two nuns whom
he frequently entertained, and who had come to visit him on that very
day. Funeral rites were denied him, all the same, by the Archbishop
of Paris; and when Mme. Molière appealed in person to Louis XIV., the
king took offence at her audacious mode of address, and threw the whole
responsibility on the Archbishop of Paris--to whom, nevertheless, he
sent a private message. As a result of the king's interference--not a
very authoritative one--a priest was allowed to accompany Molière's body
to its otherwise unhonoured grave. The great comedy-writer was buried at
midnight in unconsecrated ground; and of course, therefore, without any
religious service.

Adrienne Lecouvreur, who, more than a century after her death, was to be
made the heroine of Scribe and Legouve's famous drama, is known to all
playgoers as the life-long friend of Marshal Saxe, whom she furnished
with money for his famous expedition to Courland. Voltaire entertained
the greatest regard for her, and was never so happy as when he had
persuaded her to undertake a part in one of his plays. Adrienne died in
Voltaire's arms, and no sooner was she dead than public opinion accused
her rival, the Duchess de Bouillon, of having poisoned her from jealousy
and hatred; for the duchess had conceived a passion for Marshal Saxe
to which that gallant warrior could not bring himself to respond. The
clergy refused to bury Adrienne, as in the previous century they had
refused to bury Molière. Her body was taken possession of by the police,
who buried it at midnight, without witnesses, on the banks of the
Seine. "In France," said Voltaire, "actresses are adored when they are
beautiful, and thrown into the gutter when they are dead."

Nearly a hundred years after the death of Adrienne Lecouvreur died
another great actress, Mlle. Raucourt, who, like Adrienne Lecouvreur and
like Molière, was refused Christian burial. This was in 1815, just after
the Restoration, at a time when the clergy, so long deprived of power,
were beginning once more to exercise it in earnest. The Curé of St.-Roch
refused to admit the body of the actress into his church. An indignant
crowd assembled, and became so riotous that the troops had to be called
out. At last King Louis XVIII. ordered the church doors to be opened,
and with the tact which distinguished him, commissioned his private
chaplain to perform the service. In such horror was the stage held by
the French clergy (if not by the Catholic clergy throughout Europe) so
late as the beginning of the present century, that money offered to
the Church by actors and actresses for charitable purposes, although
accepted, was at the same time looked upon as contaminating. Thus,
when Mlle. Contat gave performances for the starving poor of Paris,
and handed the proceeds to the clergy of her parish for distribution,
they refused to touch the money until it had been "purified" by passing
through the hands of the police, to whom it was paid in by the stage,
and by whom it was afterwards paid out to the Church.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Place de la Bastille was formed in virtue of a decree of the First
Consul, but it was not completed until after the establishment of the
Empire. The principal ornament of the square was to be a triumphal arch
to the glory of the Grand Army. But after taking the opinion of the
Academy of Fine Arts, the emperor altered his views; and the triumphal
arch was reserved for the place it now occupies at the top of the Champs
Élysées. Oddly enough, too, a massive object, intended originally
for the spot now occupied by the Arc de l'Étoile, was carried to the
Bastille in the form of an elephant, whose trunk, according to the
fantastic design, was to give forth a column of water large enough to
feed a triumphal fountain, which was inaugurated December 2nd, 1808.
The wooden model of the elephant, covered with plaster, was seventeen
metres long and fifteen metres high, counting the tower which the animal
bore on its back. Set up for a time on the western bank of the Canal
de l'Ourcq, the plastered elephant was afterwards abandoned, like the
project in which it played a preliminary part, and its wooden carcase
became a refuge for innumerable rats. The remains of the elephant were
not removed until just before the completion of the bronze column which
now stands in the centre of the Place de la Bastille, in memory of the
victims of the Revolutions of 1789 and 1830.

The first stone of this monument was laid by King Louis Philippe on the
27th of July, 1831. It was finished at the beginning of 1843; and on
the 28th of July of that year were placed, in the vaults constructed
beneath the column for their reception, the remains of the insurgents of
1830, which for ten years had been lying buried in all parts of Paris,
but particularly in the neighbourhood of the markets and at the foot of
the Colonnade of the Louvre, where the relics reposed side by side with
those of the Swiss soldiers who had died in protecting the palace. The
figure lightly poised on the ball at the top of the column represents
the Genius of Liberty.

At a short distance from the Place de la Bastille, and easily accessible
by train, is Vincennes: known by its wood, at one time the favourite
resort of duellists; by its military establishment, to which the famous
Chasseurs de Vincennes owed their name when, after the downfall of
Louis Philippe, it was thought desirable to get rid of their former
designation--that of Chasseurs d'Orléans; and for its castle, in whose
ditch the ill-fated Duke d'Enghien was shot, after a mock trial, on an
all but groundless accusation.

The Duke d'Enghien, who, according to one of his biographers, had
no fault but the one common to all the Bourbons--that of being "too
easily influenced by beautiful eyes"--was living on the German side
of the Rhine, nearly opposite Strasburg, with his wife, a Princess de
Rohan-Rochefort, to whom he had been secretly married. As a royalist
and a member of the royal family, he was naturally the enemy of
Napoleon and the Napoleonic _régime_. But he had taken no part in any
conspiracy, unless the League of Sovereigns and States formed against
Napoleon could be so considered. The duke frequently crossed over from
the right or German bank, especially at Binfelden, where the Prince de
Rohan-Rochefort, his wife's father, had taken apartments at the local
inn. It became known, moreover, to the French authorities that the
Prefect of Strasburg had for some time past been sending various agents
to the German side. The princess received at this time from an officer
of the Strasburg garrison, who had been formerly attached to the Rohan
family, secret intelligence that inquiries were being made in regard
to the Duke d'Enghien. Soon afterwards a small body of troops crossed
the Rhine, surrounded the little castle or Gothic villa where the duke
was living at Ettenheim, seized him, and brought him over to Strasburg.
He was permitted to write, and lost no time in sending a note to the
princess, who, from the windows of the house, had followed in painful
anxiety all the events of the alarming drama acted before her eyes.

"They have promised me," wrote the duke from the citadel of Strasburg,
"that this letter shall be delivered to you intact. This is the first
opportunity I have had of reassuring you as to my present condition, and
I do so now without losing a moment. Will you, in your turn, reassure
those who are attached to me in your neighbourhood? My own fear is that
this letter may find you no longer at Ettenheim, but on the way to this
place. The pleasure of seeing you, however, would not be nearly so great
as the fear I should have of your sharing my fate.... You know, from the
number of men employed, that all resistance would have been useless.
There was nothing to be done against such overpowering forces.

"I am treated with attention and politeness. I may say, except as
regards my liberty (for I am not allowed to leave my room), that I am as
well off as could be. If some of the officers sleep in my chamber, that
is because I desired it. We occupy one of the commandant's apartments,
but another room is being prepared for me, which I am to take possession
of to-morrow, and where I shall be better off still. The papers found on
me, and which were sealed at once with my seal, are to be examined this
morning in my presence."

The first letters written by the young man from Strasburg to his wife
(they are still preserved in the French Archives) showed no apprehension
of danger; nothing could be proved against him except what was known
beforehand, that he was a Bourbon and an enemy of Napoleon. "As far as
I remember," wrote the duke to his wife, "they will find letters from
my relations and from the king, together with copies of some of mine.
In all these, as you know, there is nothing that can compromise me, any
more than my name and mode of thinking would have done during the whole
course of the Revolution. All the papers will, I believe, be sent to
Paris, and it is thought, according to what I hear, that in a short time
I shall be free; God grant it! They were looking for Dumouriez, who was
thought to be in our neighbourhood. It seems to have been supposed that
we had had conferences together, and apparently he is implicated in the
conspiracy against the life of the First Consul. My ignorance of this
makes me hope that I shall obtain my liberty, but we must not flatter
ourselves too soon. The attachment of my people draws tears from my eyes
at every moment. They might have escaped; no one forced them to follow
me. They came of their own accord.... I have seen nobody this morning
except the commandant, who seems to me an honest, kind-hearted man, but
at the same time strict in the fulfilment of his duty. I am expecting
the colonel of gendarmes who arrested me, and who is to open my papers
before me."

Transferred to Vincennes, the duke was tried summarily by court-martial,
sentenced to death, and shot in the moat of the fortress on the 21st of
March, 1804. Immediately before the execution he asked for a pair of
scissors, cut off a lock of his hair, wrapped it up in a piece of paper,
with a gold ring and a letter, and gave the packet to Lieut. Noirot,
begging him to send it to the Princess Charlotte de Rohan-Rochefort.
Lieut. Noirot forwarded the packet to General Hulin, who transmitted it
to an official named Réal, together with the following letter:--

     "Paris, 30th Ventôse, Year 12 of the French Republic.--P.
     Hulin, General of Brigade commanding the Grenadiers on Foot of the
     Consular Guard, to Citizen Réal, Councillor of State charged with
     the conduct of affairs relating to the internal tranquillity and
     security of the Republic. I have the honour, Councillor of State,
     to address you a packet found on the former Duke d'Enghien. I have
     the honour to salute you. (Signed) P. HULIN."

The receipt of the package was thus acknowledged by Citizen Réal:--

     "Paris, 2 Germinal, Year 12 of the Republic.--The Councillor
     of State, especially charged with the conduct of all affairs
     relating to the internal tranquillity and security of the Republic,
     has received from the General of Brigade, Hulin, commanding the
     Grenadiers on Foot of the Guard, a small packet, containing hair,
     a gold ring, and a letter; this small packet bearing the following
     inscription: 'To be forwarded to the Princess de Rohan from the
     former Duke d'Enghien.'

     "(Signed) RÉAL."

The last wishes of the unfortunate duke were not carried out. The packet
was never forwarded to his wife. She may have received the letter,
but the ring, the lock of hair, and some fifteen epistles, written in
German, from the princess to the duke, and found upon him after his
death, remained, without the duke's letter, in the Archives of the
Prefecture of Police. A fortnight after the duke's execution, his widow
addressed from Ettenheim, on the 16th of July, 1804, the following
letter to the Countess d'Ecquevilly:--

     "Since I still exist, dear Countess, it is certain that
     grief does not kill. Great God! for what frightful calamity was I
     reserved? In the most cruel torments, the most painful anxiety,
     never once did the horrible fear present itself to my mind that
     they might take his life. But, alas! it is only too true that the
     unhappy man has been made their victim: that this unjust sentence,
     this atrocious sentence, to which my whole being refused to lend
     credence, was pronounced and thereupon executed. I have not the
     courage to enter into details of this frightful event; but there
     is not one of them which is not heartrending, not one that would
     not paralyze with terror--I do not say every kind-hearted person,
     but anyone who has not lost all feeling of humanity. Alone, without
     support, without succour, without defence, oppressed with anxiety,
     worn out with fatigue, denied one moment of the repose demanded
     by Nature after his painful journey, he heard his death-sentence
     hurriedly pronounced, during which the unhappy man sank four
     times into unconsciousness. What barbarity! Great God! And when
     the end came he was abandoned on all sides, without sympathy or
     consolation, without one affectionate hand to wipe away his tears
     or close his eyelids.

     "Ah! I have not the cruel reproach to make to myself of not
     having done everything to follow him. Heaven knows that I would
     have risked my life with joy, I do not say to save him, but to
     soften the last moments of his life. Alas! they envied me this sad
     delight. Prayers, entreaties, were all in vain; I could not share
     his fate. They preferred to leave me to this wretched existence,
     condemned to eternal regret, eternal sorrow."

Princess Charlotte died at Paris in 1841; and quite recently a note on
the subject of her last wishes appeared in the Paris _Intermédiaire_,
the French equivalent of our _Notes and Queries_. It was as
follows:--"After the death of the Princess Charlotte, there was found
among her papers a sealed packet, of which the superscription directed
that it should be opened by the President of the Tribunal--at that
time M. de Balli. This magistrate opened the packet and examined its
contents. He found the whole correspondence of Bonaparte's victim with
'his friend,' as the worthy magistrate put it: _avec son amie_. The
president gave the packet to the family notary after re-closing it,
saying that the letters were very touching, very interesting, but that
they must be burnt; which was in fact done."


(_From the Bust by Courtet in the Comédie Française._)]

The marriage of the Duke d'Enghien to the Princess de Rohan had
been informal; the informality consisting solely in its having been
celebrated without some necessary sanction: probably that of the king,
Louis XVI. The ceremony was performed by Cardinal de Rohan, the bride's
uncle; and it is evident from her first letters that she was regarded by
her nearest friends and relatives as the duke's lawful wife.

Let us now, passing from political to private executions, say a few
words about some of the famous duels of which Vincennes, or rather the
wood of Vincennes, has from time to time been the scene.

Duels in France are generally fought with swords; and as it depends upon
the combatants to strike or not to strike at a mortal part, a hostile
meeting is by no means always attended with serious consequences. It
is a mistake, however, to assume, as Englishmen frequently do, that a
duel in France fought for grave reasons is not itself a grave affair.
Plenty of sword duels have placed the worsted combatant in imminent
danger of his life; though it is undeniable that the pistol, being a
more hazardous weapon, proves, as a rule, deadlier than the sword. When
M. Paolo Fiorentino, blackballed at the Society of Men of Letters, on
the ground that he had accepted bribes, undertook to fight every member
of the association, beginning with M. Amédée Achard, whose name, thanks
to its two A's, headed the alphabetical list, the Italian critic and
bravo ran his first opponent through the body, and all but killed him.
M. Henri de Pène received like treatment at the hands of an officer
by reason of his having described the unseemly conduct of officers
generally, as shown at a ball of which the École Militaire was the
scene. Both Achard and Pène, however, recovered. Not so the unfortunate
Armand Carrel, one of the boldest and most brilliant writers that the
Republican Press of France possessed. Armand Carrel and his antagonist,
Émile de Girardin, another famous journalist of Louis Philippe's reign,
fought with pistols in that Bois de Vincennes whose name at once
suggests crossed rapiers or whizzing bullets.

M. de Girardin was the inventor of the cheap press, not only in France,
but in Europe. To reduce the price of the newspaper, and thus increase
the number of subscribers, while covering any possible loss on the sale
by the enlarged revenue from advertisements, which would flow in more
and more rapidly as the circulation widened: such was Girardin's plan.
According, however, to his enemies, he proposed to "enlarge the portion
hitherto allotted in newspapers to mendacious announcements to the
self-commendations of quackery and imposture, at the sacrifice of space
which should be devoted to philosophy, history, literature, the arts,
and whatever else elevates or delights the mind of man."

The proposed change was really one which Democrats and Republicans
should have hailed with delight; for it promised to extend a knowledge
of public affairs to readers who had hitherto been prevented from
becoming acquainted with them by the high price of the newspapers,
which, apart from their own articles on political affairs, published
long accounts of the debates in the Chamber.

M. de Girardin, however, found his innovation attacked as the device
of a charlatan. He was accused of converting journalism into the most
sordid of trades: of making it "a speaking-trumpet of the money-grabber
and the speculator." Some of M. de Girardin's opponents went so far as
to hint that he was not working in good faith, and that the losses to
which the diminution of price must expose his journal were to be made
good by a secret subsidy. Armand Carrel, as editor of the _National_,
entered into the quarrel, and took part against Girardin, who, on his
side, wrote a bitter attack upon Carrel. No sooner had Carrel read
the scathing article than he called upon its author, demanding either
retractation or personal satisfaction. He entered Girardin's room,
accompanied by M. Adolphe Thibaudeau, holding open in his hand the
journal which contained the offensive lines. Girardin asked Carrel to
wait until he also could have a friend present. M. Lautour-Mézeray was
sent for; but pending that gentleman's arrival some sharp words were

Armand Carrel conceived that he was justified in regarding the course
adopted by M. de Girardin as indicating an intention to bring the matter
to a duel, and on his suggesting as much, M. de Girardin replied, "A
duel with such a man as you, sir, would be quite a _bonne fortune_."
"Sir," replied Carrel, "I can never regard a duel as a _bonne fortune_."
A few moments afterwards M. Lautour-Mézeray arrived. His presence
served to give the discussion a more conciliatory tone, and it was
ultimately agreed that a few words of explanation should be published
in both journals. On M. de Girardin's proposing to draw up the note at
once, "You may rely upon me, sir," said Armand Carrel, with dignity.
The quarrel seemed almost at an end; but an incident reanimated it.
M. de Girardin required that the publication of the note should take
place simultaneously in the two journals. Carrel, on the contrary,
held that it ought to appear first in the _Presse_, Girardin's paper;
but he experienced on this point the most determined resistance. It
was then that, carried away with indignation, wounded to the quick,
utterly unable to adhere any longer to the moderation which, by a
determined effort, he had hitherto enforced upon himself, Carrel rose
and exclaimed, "I am the offended person; I choose the pistol!"

It was early on the morning of Friday, July 22, 1836, that Armand
Carrel and M. de Girardin found themselves face to face in the Bois de

While the pistols were being loaded, Carrel said to M. de Girardin,
"Should chance be against me and you should afterwards write my life,
you will, in all honour, adhere strictly and simply to the facts?" "Rest
assured," replied his adversary. The seconds had measured a distance of
forty paces; the combatants were to advance within twenty of each other.
Armand Carrel immediately took his place and advanced, presenting,
despite the urgent entreaties of M. Ambert that he would show less
front, the whole breadth of his person to his adversary's aim. M. de
Girardin having also advanced some paces, both parties fired nearly at
the same instant, and both fell wounded, the one in the leg, the other
in the groin.

"I saw him," wrote Louis Blanc some time afterwards, "as he lay; his
pale features expressing passion in repose. His attitude was firm,
inflexible, martial, like that of a soldier who slumbers on the eve of

M. de Girardin was profoundly grieved at the result of the duel, and
he made a vow never to fight again. Many years afterwards, under the
Republic of 1848, he visited the grave of the man he had killed, to
express his regret and ask for pardon in the name of the form of
Government to which he had now become a convert, and which Carrel had
always placed above every other.

The duelling chronicles of the Bois de Vincennes would lead us far
away from the Paris of to-day. It may be mentioned, however, that in
this wood Alexandre Dumas the elder fought his famous duel with a
_collaborateur_, who claimed to have written the whole of the _Tour
de Nesle_ and who, undoubtedly, supplied to the skilful dramatist the
framework of the piece.

Dumas was in all truth a skilful dramatist, though one may hesitate to
give him the title of dramatic poet, which he loved to claim. "What
are you?" said the judge of the Rouen Tribunal to the author of so
many clever pieces, who had to give evidence in a certain case. "If I
were not in the city of Corneille," answered Alexander the Great, "I
should call myself a dramatic poet." "There are degrees in everything,"
replied the judge. Alexandre Dumas was, all the same, a great inventor,
and he possessed an extraordinary talent for putting dramatic things
into shape. When, therefore, the future editor of the _Courier des
États-Unis_ claimed to have written all that was important in the _Tour
de Nesle_, he doubtless declared what from a literary point of view
was false. Dumas not only rejected his contention, but declined to
allow his own name to appear in the bill side by side with that of his
_collaborateur_. Hence angry words and a duel: once more a serious one,
and with pistols, not swords.

With a calm desire to kill his man, of which, were he not his own
accuser, one would refuse to suspect him, Dumas tells us, in his
_Memoirs_, how, when he appeared on the ground, he examined his
adversary's costume, and, while thinking it excellent as a "make-up,"
was sorry to find that it offered no salient mark for a pistol-shot. M.
Gaillardet was dressed entirely in black; his trousers, his buttoned-up
coat, his cravat were all as inky as Hamlet's cloak, and according to
the Parisian fashion of the time, he wore no shirt-collar. "Impossible
to see the man," said Dumas to himself; "there is no point about him to
aim at." He at the same time made a mental note of the costume, which
he afterwards reproduced in the duel scene of the "Corsican Brothers."
At last he noticed a little speck of white in his adversary's ear:
simply a small piece of cotton-wool. "I will hit him in the ear," said
Dumas to himself; and on his confiding the amiable intention to one of
his seconds, the latter promised to watch carefully the effect of the
shot, inasmuch as he was anxious to see whether a man hit with a bullet
through the head turned round a little before falling or fell straight
to the ground. Dumas's pistol, however, missed fire. The delightful
experiment contemplated could not, therefore, be tried; and the
encounter was bloodless.

       *       *       *       *       *

At Vincennes was confined for a few days, just before his expulsion from
France, the Young Pretender, or "Charles Edward," as the French called
him. The Duke de Biron had been ordered to see to his arrest; and one
evening when it was known that he intended to visit the Opera, Biron
surrounded the building with twelve hundred guards as soon as the prince
had entered it. He was arrested, taken to Vincennes, and kept there four
days; then to be liberated and expelled from France, in accordance with
the treaty of 1748, so humiliating to the French arms. The servants of
the Young Pretender, and with them one of the retinue of the Princess
de Talmont, whose antiquated charms had detained him at Paris, were
conveyed to the Bastille; upon which the princess wrote the following
letter to M. de Maurepas, the minister: "The king, sir, has just covered
himself with immortal glory by arresting Prince Edward. I have no doubt
but that his Majesty will order a _Te Deum_ to be sung to thank God for
so brilliant a victory. But as Placide, my lacquey, taken captive in
this memorable expedition, can add nothing to his Majesty's laurels, I
beg you to send him back to me." "The only Englishman the regiment of
French guards has taken throughout the war!" exclaimed the Princess de
Conti, when she heard of the arrest.

"Besides the Bastille and the Castle of Vincennes, which are the
privileged places of confinement for State prisoners, there are others,"
says an old chronicler, "which may be called the last strongholds
of tyranny. The minister by his private _lettre de cachet_ sends an
objectionable individual to Bicêtre or Charenton. The latter place,
indeed, is for lunatics; but a minister who deprives a citizen of his
liberty because he so wills it may make him pass for what he pleases;
and if the person taken up is not at that time, he will in a few months
be, entirely out of his senses, so that at worst it is only a kind of
ministerial anticipation. Upon any complaint laid by the parents or
other relations, a young man is sent to St.-Lazare, where sometimes he
will remain till the death of the complainants; and Heaven knows how
fervently this is prayed for by the captive!"

Under the reign of Charles VII. there stood in the Wood of Vincennes a
castle which the King named Château de Beauté, and presented to Agnes
Sorel. Of this abode the royal favourite duly took possession. Charles
was by no means popular with his subjects, whom he taxed severely; and
they were scandalised by the way in which Agnes Sorel squandered money,
by her undisguised relations with the king, and by the kindness with
which she was apparently treated even by the queen. Far, then, from
rendering honours to "the beautiful Agnes," the Parisians murmured at
her prodigality and arrogance; and the favourite, indignant to find
herself so ill received in Paris, departed, saying that the Parisians
were churls, and that if she had suspected they would render her such
insufficient honour she would never have set foot in their city:
"which," says a contemporary writer, "would have been a pity, but not a
great one."


After saying so much against Agnes Sorel, it is only fair to add that,
according to many historians, it was she who roused Charles VII. from
his habitual lethargy, and inspired him with the idea of driving the
English out of France.

       *       *       *       *       *

Vincennes is a military station, where a considerable body of troops
is maintained. Hence, as already mentioned, the once famous Chasseurs
derived their name. Each division has now its own battalion of
Chasseurs. It may be added that special corps of infantry, such as
Chasseurs de Vincennes, Zouaves, Turcos, together with the Chasseurs
d'Afrique and other kinds of ornamental cavalry, have been abolished:
to the detriment of the picturesqueness, if not the practical
efficiency, of the French army.


The infantry regiments are all armed and dressed absolutely alike,
with the exception of the battalions of "chasseurs" (corresponding to
the "schützen" battalions of the German Army), whose tunics are of a
lighter blue than those of the line regiments. The Germans, by the way,
have only one battalion of sharpshooters to each army corps, whereas
the French have two, one to each division. As the French are adopting
as much as possible the principle of uniformity in their army, it seems
strange that they should have made any distinction between chasseurs
and infantry of the line; that, in short, they should have retained
chasseurs in their army at all. Formerly sharp-shooters carried rifles
and were supposed to be particularly good shots; whereas infantry of the
line were armed with smooth-bore muskets, and if they could pull the
trigger, could certainly not aim straight. Now every infantry soldier is
supposed, more or less correctly, to be a good marksman; and linesmen
and chasseurs are armed alike.

[Illustration: RECRUITS.]

Lancers exist no more; and the French cavalry, but for differences
of uniform, would all be of the same medium pattern, neither "light"
nor "heavy," but presumably fit for duties of all kinds. Some cavalry
regiments are uniformed as dragoons, some as chasseurs, some as
hussars; and every army corps has attached to it, or rather included
in its integral force, four cavalry regiments of one of these three

The Recruitment Bill of 1872 and the Organisation Bill of 1873 form
a net which, with the additions since made to them, takes at one
sweep everybody whom the military authorities can possibly want. Even
seminarists and students of theology are no longer exempted.

Postmen, policemen of all kinds, workmen in Government factories,
students of a certain age in Government schools and in all educational
establishments private or public, members of the custom house and
octroi service, firemen, Government engineers, clerks and workmen in the
Department of Woods, Bridges, and Mines, scavengers, lighthouse-keepers,
coast-guardsmen, engine-drivers, stokers, guards, pointsmen,
station-masters, signalmen and clerks of the railway service, all
persons employed in the telegraph service, all seamen not already on
the lists of the navy, and generally all members of bodies having some
recognised constitution in time of peace, may in time of war be formed
into special corps in order to serve either with the active army or with
the "territorial army"--as the French equivalent to the German Landwehr
is called. "The formation of these special corps," says the text of the
Law on the General Organisation of the French Army, "is authorised by
decree. They are subject to all the obligations of military service,
enjoy all the rights of belligerents, and are bound by the rules of the
law of nations."

For private gentlemen going out in plain clothes to shoot at invaders
from behind hedges no provision is made; and such persons, whether
called "francs-tireurs" or by any other name, would, if caught by the
enemy, evidently be left to their fate. The franc-tireur, in fact,
though still popular with the sort of people who delight in stories
of brigands and highwaymen, is not looked back to with admiration
even by his own Government. "These articles," says the report on
the Law of Military Organisation in reference to the clause above
cited, "are introduced in order to prevent the return of such unhappy
misunderstandings as occurred in the last war, during which it is said
that National Guards and francs-tireurs were shot by the enemy because
our military laws had not given them the rights of belligerents." The
rules under which these bodies of armed civilians, temporarily endowed
with the military character, may be organised are strictly defined, so
that the country may at no future time be troubled by "the formation of
bands of foreign adventurers who have during all the worst epochs of our
history fallen upon France, and, under pretext of defending her, have
often subjected her to devastation and pillage." This is, of course,
meant for the bands of Garibaldians. They were, nevertheless, regularly
organised under officers bearing commissions from the Minister of War,
and, apart from the question of "devastation and pillage," were the only
bodies of partisans who showed any aptitude for guerilla warfare.



THE BOULEVARDS (_continued_).

Hôtel Carnavalet.--Hôtel Lamoignon.--Place Royale.--Boulevard
du Temple.--The Temple.--Louis XVII.--The Theatres.--Astley's
Circus.--Attempted Assassination of Louis Philippe.--Trial of
Fieschi.--The Café Turc.--The Cafés.-The Folies Dramatiques.--Louis XVI.
and the Opera.--Murder of the Duke of Berri.

Let us return now from Vincennes to the Place de la Bastille and the
Boulevard Beaumarchais.

Perhaps the most interesting house on this boulevard is number
twenty-three, which was built by Mansard, the famous architect, for
his own occupation. One set of rooms in the house was occupied by the
celebrated Ninon de Lenclos, who died there October 17, 1703, at the
age of eighty-nine, preserving, according to tradition, her remarkable
beauty to the very last. Here Voltaire, then in his twelfth year, was
presented to her; nor did she forget to assign to him in her will 2,000
francs for the purchase of books.

Next door to the house of Mansard and Ninon de Lenclos is the little
Beaumarchais theatre, which, constructed in forty-three days, was
opened on the 3rd of December, 1835, under the style of Théâtre de la
Porte St.-Antoine. In 1842 it was re-named Théâtre Beaumarchais. Then
at different periods it bore the titles of Opéra Bouffe Français, and
Fantaisies Parisiennes, until at length, in 1888, when it was entirely
rebuilt, it became once more the Théâtre Beaumarchais.

The Government of 1830 did right in giving the name of Beaumarchais to
the boulevard on which he at one time lived, and where he possessed a
certain amount of property. During the stormy years that immediately
preceded the Revolution of 1789 Beaumarchais was an important figure;
and the effect of the "Marriage of Figaro" on the public mind was in a
good measure to prepare it for the general overthrow then imminent. The
King, the Queen, the Ministers, were all, in the first instance, afraid
of the "Marriage of Figaro"; and we have seen that to get it produced
Beaumarchais displayed as much diplomacy and energy as would suffice in
the present day to upset a Cabinet.

While living at his mansion near the Porte St.-Antoine, Beaumarchais
built close at hand the Théâtre du Marais, where, after letting it to a
manager, he brought out, in 1792, his "Mère Coupable"--the third part
of his Figaro Trilogy, in which the Count and Countess Almaviva, Figaro
and Susannah, are shown in their old age. The "guilty mother" is the
Countess herself; the charming and, as one had hoped, innocent Rosina
of the "Barber of Seville." The male offender is Chérubin, better known
under his operatic name of Cherubino, who after saying in the French
comedy, with a mixture of timidity and audacity, "Si j'osais oser!" ends
by daring too much. "La Mère Coupable" obtained but little success, and
deserved none. Closed by Imperial order in 1807, the Théâtre du Marais
existed only for fifteen years. It must not be confounded with the
ancient theatre of the same name where in 1636 Corneille produced his
famous tragedy "Le Cid."

The Marais or marsh, whose name recalls the early history of Paris, when
Lutetia was defended by marshes as by a broad impassable moat, has long
been known as the favourite abode of small pensioners and fundholders,
who in this remote quarter found food and shelter at inexpensive rates.

The Marais, however, has had, like most other parts of Paris, its
illustrious residents; and when about the middle of the eighteenth
century the immortal actress Mlle. Clairon lived there she was the third
famous inmate of the tenement in which she had taken up her abode. "I
was told of a small house in the Rue du Marais," she writes in her
memoirs, "which I could have for two hundred francs, where Racine was
said to have lived forty years with his family. I was informed that it
was there he had composed his imperishable works and there that he died;
and that afterwards it had been occupied by the tender Lecouvreur, who
had ended her days in it. 'The walls of the house,' I reflected, 'will
be alone sufficient to make me feel the sublimity of the author and
develop the talents of the actress. In this sanctuary then I will live
and die!'"

Close to the Rue du Marais, in the Rue de Sévigné, stands the Musée
Carnavalet, established in the former Hôtel Carnavalet, where Mme. de
Sévigné, author of the famous Letters, lived from 1677 to 1698. It was
restored in 1867 by Baron Haussmann, who converted it into a museum
for preserving various monuments, statues, inscriptions, tombstones,
ornaments, and objects of various kinds, proceeding from the wholesale
demolition to which sundry streets and even whole quarters of Paris
were at that time being subjected, under the orders of Baron Haussmann
himself in his capacity of Prefect of the Seine.

Another remarkable mansion in the same street is the Hôtel Lamoignon,
now occupied by different manufacturers, especially of chemical
products, but which, in its earliest days, had highly aristocratic and
even royal occupants. Begun by Diana of France, legitimatised daughter
of Henri II., the Hôtel Lamoignon was bought and finished in 1581 for
Charles de Valois, Duke of Angoulême, natural son of Charles IX., who,
according to Tallemant des Réaux, would have been "the best fellow in
the world if he could only have got rid of his swindling propensities."
When his servants asked him for money, he would reply to them: "My house
has three outlets into the street; take whichever of them you like
best." The architecture of the Hôtel Lamoignon is that of an ancient
fortress, though its walls and façades are ornamented with crescents,
hunting horns, and the heads of stags and dogs; the whole in allusion to
the Diana for whom the building was originally planned.

[Illustration: HÔTEL CARNAVALET.]

Having once left the upper boulevard to enter the adjacent Marais, we
cannot but go on towards the Place des Vosges, better known as the
Place Royale, where, in 1559, Henri II. took a fancy one day for trying
his powers at tilting against Montgomery, captain in the Scotch Guard;
when the shock was so violent that a splinter from Montgomery's lance
penetrated the king's eye through the broken visor of his helmet. The
king was carried to the Hôtel des Tournelles, where, without having
regained consciousness, he died on the 15th of July, 1559. The hotel or
palace where the king breathed his last was thenceforth abandoned as a
fatal and accursed place. In the course of four years it fell into a
ruinous condition, and Charles IX. ordered it to be pulled down. The
park belonging to the old palace was turned into a horse market, which
was the scene in 1578 of the famous encounter between the favourite
courtiers of Henri III. known as the Mignons and the partisans of the
Duke of Guise. Four combatants, Maugiron, Schomberg, Riberac, and
Quélus, lost their lives in this affair. The horse market, or Place
Royale as it afterwards became, witnessed many sanguinary duels, until
at last Richelieu determined to put an end to a fashion which was
depriving France of some of her bravest men. With this view he cut off
the head of Montmorency-Bouteville and of Count des Chapelles, his
second in the duel which cost Bussy d'Amboise his life. In 1613 the
Cardinal erected in the centre of the Place Royale an equestrian statue
of his royal master Louis XIII. The Place Royale was at that time the
favourite quarter of the French nobility, and the rendezvous of all that
was witty, gallant, and distinguished in France.

[Illustration: HÔTEL LAMOIGNON.]

The house number six on the Place Royale is particularly interesting
as having been inhabited in Richelieu's time by the brilliant and too
celebrated Marion de Lorme, and two centuries later by Victor Hugo, who,
in the very room that Marion de Lorme had occupied, wrote, at the age of
twenty-five, the splendid tragedy of which she is the heroine.

The statue of Louis XIII. which Richelieu had raised was overturned
and broken to pieces in 1792, when the most critical period of the
Revolution was at hand. It was replaced after the Restoration, under the
reign of Charles X., by the present statue.

The Boulevard du Temple owes its name to a building which was first
occupied by the Order of Templars, and which, towards the close of the
last century, enjoyed a sad celebrity as the prison where Louis XVI.,
Marie Antoinette, and the young Dauphin were confined.

No less than forty-eight works are said to have been written on the
imprisonment of Louis XVII., and matters connected with it, including
the histories of some dozen "claimants," asserting, in his name,
their right to the French throne. Most of these pretenders, with
Naundorff--who had been the Dauphin's valet in the Temple--prominent
among them, had no difficulty in finding enthusiasts and dupes to
further their designs; and even in France one of them caused himself to
be described on his tombstone as "Louis de France." The Emperor Napoleon
III. took, however, the liberty of ordering the inscription to be

Soon after the death of the Count de Chambord, M. de Chantelauze
published in the _Illustration_ an account of Louis XVII.'s life in the
Temple, and of his last illness, death, and post-mortem examination,
together with certificates which leave no doubt as to the young prince
having really died in his prison. Simon, the gaoler, according to M. de
Chantelauze's view, was, like so many other bad men, not wholly bad;
while his wife was for the most part good, the appearance of badness or
roughness which she manifested when the child confided to her care was
visited by members of the Commune being assumed in order to inspire her
employers with confidence. The task assigned to Simon was not, as has
often been supposed, to reduce the young prince, by ill-treatment, to
such a point that he would at last be attacked by illness and carried
off, but simply to get from him evidence against his mother, the Queen,
with respect to her complicity in the Varennes plot, and the various
plans formed for effecting the escape of the child. The evidence having
been obtained by the simple process of first putting it into the child's
mouth, and afterwards taking it out, the special work assigned to the
Simons was at an end, and the young prince experienced from them nothing
but kindness. If he ultimately fell ill and died, his confinement and
the bad air he breathed may well have been the cause.

The life of Louis XVII., from the departure of the Simons until his
death, can be made out continuously; and the evidence of his having
died in the Temple is quite conclusive. Nevertheless, Louis XVIII., in
view of the pretension constantly springing up, instituted for his own
satisfaction an inquiry into the whole matter; and the proofs adduced in
the course of it as to the identity of the "child in the Temple" with
the son of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette seem decisive.

M. Nauroy, however, author of "Les Secrets des Bourbons," is convinced
that the true Louis XVII. was carried out of the Temple in a bundle of
linen, and that by like means the child who ultimately died there was
substituted for him. M. Nauroy finds in support of his belief abundant
evidence, positive and negative, which he derives from a variety of
sources, and sometimes discovers in the most unexpected places.

The appearance of a long succession of impostors claiming to be Louis
XVII. proves nothing, and will pass for what it is worth in the native
land of Arthur Orton. It is remarkable, however, that Royalists and
Republicans, including eminent personages on both sides, have agreed in
maintaining that the child who died in the Temple was not Louis XVII.
Louis Blanc favours this view in his "History of the Revolution." Nor
does he do so without taking a calm, judicial survey of all the evidence
in the case. He may consciously or unconsciously have been influenced by
party spirit; and the moral he draws from the whole matter is that there
is danger in the principle of "divine right" when, through a variety of
accidents, it may be impossible to show on whom this questionable right
has devolved.

Those Royalists who deny that Louis XVII. died in the Temple, explain
the announcement of his death and the proclamation of Louis XVIII. in
the Royalist camp, first, by the inconvenience of bringing forward as
King of France a child of tender years; secondly, by the difficulty of
producing this child; and, thirdly, by the danger, when Louis XVIII. had
once gained acceptance with the party, of dividing it by a revelation of
the fact that his nephew, son of Louis XVI., was still alive.

M. Nauroy, as already hinted, sees proofs of his favourite theory where
no one else would perceive them. When, for instance, the Duke of Berri,
dying from the stroke of an assassin, had some final words to whisper
to his brother, the Duke of Angoulême--"What," asks M. Nauroy, "could
this have been but the truth in regard to Louis XVII.?" When, again,
one of the doctors who made the post-mortem examination of the supposed
Louis XVII. offered to Louis XVIII. the heart which he had concealed and
preserved, and the king declined the present--"Why," asks M. Nauroy,
"should he have accepted the heart which he knew was not that of Louis
XVII., but that of the child by whom the young prince was replaced in
his prison?"

Meanwhile, that some of the great Royalist families believed Louis XVII.
to have been replaced in the Temple by another child and himself carried
to La Vendée is beyond doubt; and a letter on the subject, addressed,
December 4, 1838, to the _Times_, shows that this view of the matter was
held by at least a section (probably a very small one) of the Royalist

On January 19th the cobbler Simon ceased to do duty as gaoler. At
that time there were, as M. Nauroy sets forth, only four persons in
the Temple--the Dauphin, Simon, his wife, and the Princess Elizabeth,
afterwards Duchess of Angoulême. Simon died on the scaffold six months
afterwards, on the 28th of July. The Princess Elizabeth, confined in a
room apart from her brother, never saw him again, and consequently knew
nothing of him except by hearsay. From January 19th to July 28th there
was no warder at the Temple. The child was watched by Commissaries,
who were relieved from day to day, and of whom not one could establish
his identity. When regular gaolers were appointed, not one of them had
ever seen the Dauphin. If, then, after the departure of Simon, another
child could have been substituted for Louis XVII., there was no one to
notice the change when it had once been accomplished. The Dauphin was
in perfect health at the time when Simon and his wife left him. But the
child in the Temple fell ill immediately afterwards; and on the 6th of
May, 1795, Dr. Desault, summoned to attend the "Dauphin," declared his
little patient to be some other child. He had visited the Dauphin's
brother in 1789, and on that occasion had seen the Dauphin himself at
the Tuileries. If, as M. Nauroy asserts, Dr. Desault drew up a report on
the subject, that report has disappeared. Indirect evidence, however,
as to Dr. Desault's conviction that the child he attended in the Temple
could not be the Dauphin, was given fifty years afterwards in a letter
written and signed by the widow of P. A. Thouvenin, Dr. Desault's
nephew, who claimed to remember what his uncle had frequently said on
the subject.


Whether or not Louis XVII. escaped to La Vendée to be cherished by the
Vendean chiefs even when, in the Royalist army which was invading France
from Germany, Louis XVIII. had been proclaimed, he is now in any case
no more. The eighteenth Louis was ten years old when the child of the
Temple is supposed to have died in prison; and according to the most
convinced, not to say credulous, of those writers who maintain that
Louis XVII. escaped, to live for years afterwards, he breathed his
last in 1872 at Saveney (Loire Inférieure), under the name of Laroche,
at the age of eighty-seven. The numerous impostors who with more or
less success personated the unhappy prince had died much earlier. But
the descendants of Naundorff, his valet, the most famous of all these
pretenders, claim still to be of the blood royal, and on the occasion of
the Count de Chambord's death they displayed a proud consciousness of
their rights by publishing somewhere in Holland a manifesto asserting
gravely the title of the chief of the family to the throne of France.


Another prisoner in the Temple of whom mention must be made is Sir
Sidney Smith, whose friends were making every effort for his liberation,
when a Royalist officer in the French army, named Boisgerard (who under
the Revolution had quitted military life to become ballet-master at
the Opera), effected his escape. With this view he had obtained an
impression of the seal of the Directorial Government, which he affixed
to an order, forged by his own hand, for the delivery of Sir Sidney
Smith into his care. Accompanied by a friend, disguised, like himself,
in the uniform of an officer of the revolutionary army, he did not
scruple personally to present the fictitious document to the keeper
of the Temple, who, opening a small closet, took thence some original
document, with the writing and seal of which he carefully compared the
forged order. Desiring the adventurers to wait a few minutes, he then
withdrew and locked the door after him. Giving themselves up for lost,
the confederates determined to resist, sword in hand, any attempt made
to secure them. Highly interesting is Boisgerard's own description of
the period of horrible suspense he now passed through. Under the dread
that each successive moment might be attended by a discovery involving
the safety of his life, the acuteness of his organs of sense was
heightened to painfulness; the least noise thrilled through his brain,
and the gloomy apartment in which he sat seemed filled with strange
images. Both he and his companion, however, retained self-possession,
and after the lapse of a few minutes their anxiety was terminated by
the re-appearance of the gaoler, with his captive, who was delivered
to Boisgerard. But here a new and unexpected difficulty occurred. Sir
Sidney Smith, not knowing Boisgerard, refused for some time to quit
the prison; and considerable address was required on the part of his
deliverers to overcome his scruples. At last the precincts of the Temple
were cleared. The fugitives rode a short distance in a fiacre, then
walked, then entered another carriage, and in this way so successfully
baffled pursuit that they ultimately got to Havre, where Sir Sidney was
put on board an English vessel. Boisgerard, on his return to Paris, was
a thousand times in dread of detection and had a succession of narrow
escapes until his visit to England, which took place after the peace of
Amiens. A pension had been granted to Sir Sidney Smith by the English
Government for his meritorious services; and on Boisgerard's arrival
here a reward of a similar nature was bestowed on him through the
influence of Sir Sidney, who took every opportunity of testifying his


If the prison of the unfortunate king and queen who were to suffer
for the sins of their predecessors was at the eastern end of the line
of boulevards, as marked by the Boulevard du Temple, their place of
execution on the Place Louis XV., now known as Place de la Concorde, was
at the western extremity, which in due time we shall explore.

Meanwhile from one end of the boulevards to the other, from the tiny
Théâtre Beaumarchais to the magnificent Opéra, there is a long series
of playhouses. Close to the Beaumarchais Theatre stands the Cirque
d'Hiver, opened in 1852 under the title of Cirque Napoléon, which seats
3,800 persons. It occupies the site of the first circus that was ever
established in Paris. In 1785 the Astleys, father and son, came to Paris
and there opened a circus exactly like the one they had just founded
in London. Under their direction this theatre, situated at number
twenty-four Rue du Faubourg du Temple, and measuring twenty metres in
diameter, was lighted by 2,000 lamps and furnished with two rows of
boxes. The price of the seats varied from twelve sous to three francs.
Astley junior is said to have possessed a remarkably fine figure; and,
in the words of a contemporary writer, "his beauty was sculptural."
Bachaumont, in his memoirs of the time, speaks of the numerous passions
inspired by the young equestrian in too susceptible feminine hearts.
The tricks of the circus, now so familiar, that in England, at least,
no one cares to see them, were at that time new, and the sight of a
man attitudinising on the back of a horse at full gallop excited the
greatest wonder.

Astley's Circus in Paris possessed, as so many operatic theatres have
done, a sort of international character. Engagements were made for it
by diplomatists abroad. It can be shown, indeed, that diplomatists have
long and almost from time immemorial been in the habit of doing agency
work for artists and managers of good position. Operatic celebrities
have been particularly favoured in this respect. A great Minister of
State, Cardinal Mazarin, introduced, or aided powerfully in introducing,
opera into France. The engagement of Cambert as director of music at the
Court of Charles II. was effected by diplomatic means. Gluck, more than
a century later, was induced to visit Paris through the representations
of a secretary of the French Embassy at Vienna--that M. du Rollet who
arranged for Gluck, on the basis of Racine's _Iphigénie_, the libretto
of _Iphigénie en Aulide_; and Piccini, at the instigation of Madame
du Barry, was secured at Paris as opposition composer through the
instrumentality of Baron de Breteuil, French Ambassador at Rome, working
in co-operation with the Marquis Carraccioli, Neapolitan Ambassador at

The great Montesquieu, moreover, when he was in England, had not thought
it unbecoming to interest himself in the welfare of the French artists
who occasionally arrived in England with recommendations addressed to
him. Nor did the illustrious Locke occupy himself so exclusively with
the "human understanding" as to have no time to bestow on the material
interests of foreign _danseuses_. Locke was not indeed one of those
practically Epicurean philosophers of whom M. Arsène Houssaye discourses
so agreeably in his "Philosophes et Comédiennes." He had no general
taste either for the public performances or for the private society of
_ballerines_; but a certain Mlle. Subligny having come to him with a
letter of introduction from the Abbé Dubois, he is known to have made
himself useful, and therefore, no doubt, agreeable, to her during her
stay in England.

Locke, it is true, was a metaphysician, and had nothing whatever to
do with diplomacy. But his friend Montesquieu was a personage of
political importance, and in his anxiety to assist French artists
in London he even went so far as to bring to their performances as
many of the English nobility as were willing to attend. About the
same time, at the suggestion of the Regent of Orleans, a Minister of
State, M. de Maurepas, made overtures to Handel concerning a series of
representations which it was proposed that his celebrated company should
give at the Académie Royale of Paris. M. de Maurepas wished, like Mr.
Washburne at a later day, to secure for Paris the best available talent;
and he looked to Handel's opera-house for singers, as Mr. Washburne
looked to the circuses of the United States for "bare-back riders."

On this subject Ebers's "Seven Years of the King's Theatre" shows that
immediately after the peace of 1815 all the offers of engagements to
artists of the Paris opera were made through the medium of the English
Embassy to the Court of France, or by special missions with which
diplomatists of distinction were glad to be entrusted. The committee
of noblemen who aided Ebers in his management treated, through the
English Ambassador at Paris, with the Director of the Academy, or with
the Minister of Fine Arts; though, as a matter of fact, they failed to
secure by these elaborate means the services of artists who, in the
present day, would be engaged through an exchange of telegrams.

The outbreak of the Revolution was the signal for the Astleys and
their company to recross the Channel, and the Astley Circus remained
unoccupied until 1791. Then a company calling themselves "The Comedians
without a Title" (_Les Comédiens sans titre_) opened it as a theatre on
Thursday, March 20th, and closed it on the 23rd. Finally Franconi took
it over, and achieved a triumphal success, his management being destined
to last many years. In 1801 he moved his enterprise to the Garden of the
Capucines, which had become a public promenade in the heart of Paris,
subsequently transferring it to the theatre in the Rue du Mont-Thabor.
In 1819 he returned with his company to the circus of the Faubourg du
Temple, reconstructed by the architect Dubois, but doomed, on the night
of March 15th, 1826, to be burnt to the ground. The destruction of the
circus by fire excited much sympathy. Public subscriptions were opened,
and public representations given for the benefit of the sufferers, the
result being so satisfactory that the theatre was at once reconstructed,
this time on the Boulevard du Temple, with a magnificent façade, and
Franconi once more threw open his doors, about a year after the fire,
on the 31st of March, 1827. The stage, which in the old building was
an accessory, became in the new one of the first importance. It was
now possible to perform military manoeuvres on a large scale. At the
restored circus was represented during the last years of the reign of
Charles X. the _Siege of Saragossa_; and under Louis Philippe a number
of military pieces founded on incidents in the history of the Republic
and the Empire.

Every Government in France since the first Napoleon has had victories of
its own, important or unimportant, to celebrate. The martial triumphs
of Louis XIV. seem, by common consent, to have been forgotten, either
because French history dates for the immense majority of the population
from the time of the Revolution, or because the battles won under the
old Monarchy are now too remote to stir the national pride. The reign
of Napoleon I., however, was a series of brilliant victories. Under
the Restoration a campaign was undertaken in Spain, the incidents
of which so lent themselves to dramatic treatment that playwrights
reproduced them on the stage and in the arena of the circus. The reign
of Louis Philippe, too, had its military glories; first in Belgium,
in connection with the War of Independence undertaken in 1830 by the
Belgians, with the assistance of France and England, against the Dutch.
It was in Africa, however, and in the neighbourhood of Algiers, that
Louis Philippe's army played for many years so active a part. The war
against the Dey of Algiers was begun by Charles X., whose consul had
been insulted by that potentate; Louis Philippe continued it, chiefly,
it was thought, in order to keep open for discontented spirits a field
of activity at a safe distance from France. Many restless adventurers
sought distinction and found it in the Algerian campaigns; and Algeria
was the principal training-ground for those generals who were afterwards
to aid Prince Louis Napoleon in executing his _coup d'État_. It was
under Louis Philippe that those picturesque troops, the Chasseurs
d'Orléans and Chasseurs d'Afrique, were created, not to mention the
Zouaves and the Spahis.

According to the criticisms of German officers, the laxity of discipline
in the Algerian campaigns had a considerable effect in producing, or at
least hastening, the long series of military defeats to which France was
subjected in the war of 1870. The news of victories gained in Africa
was, all the same, constantly reaching France; and each successive
triumph was made the subject of a new dramatic spectacle at the circus
or hippodrome. Abd-el-Kader became a familiar theatrical figure, and his
famous interview with General Bugeaud was represented in more than one
equestrian piece.

Abd-el-Kader had by the most violent means been prevailed upon to
make peace; and an interview was arranged at which the Arab chief
and Bugeaud, the French commander, were to ratify it by a personal
interchange of promises. Abd-el-Kader did not, however, keep his
appointment, and seems, indeed, to have studiously missed it. The French
general, in a fit of impatience, left his room, and went forward with a
small escort, military and civil, towards the quarters of the unpunctual
Arab chief, in order to stir him up. On reaching the advanced posts, the
French general called a chieftain of one of the tribes, who pointed out
to him the hill-side where the emir lay encamped. "It is unbecoming of
your chief," said Bugeaud to this Arab, "to bring me so far, and then
make me wait so long;" whereupon he continued resolutely to advance.
The emir's escort now appeared. The Arab chieftains, most of them young
and handsome, were magnificently mounted, and made a gallant display of
their finery. Presently from their ranks a horseman advanced dressed
in a coarse burnoose, with a camel-hair cord, and without any outward
sign of distinction, except that his black horse, which he sat most
elegantly, was surrounded by Arabs holding the bridle and the stirrups.
This was Abd-el-Kader. The French general held out his hand; the other
grasped it twice, then threw himself quickly from his horse, and sat
down. General Bugeaud took his place beside him, and the conversation
began. The emir was of small stature; his face serious and pale, with
delicate features slightly marked by time, and a keen sparkling eye.
His hands, which were beautifully formed, played with a chaplet that
hung round his neck. He spoke gently, but there was on his lips and in
the expression of countenance a certain affectation of disdain. The
conversation turned, of course, upon the peace which had just been
concluded, and Abd-el-Kader spoke of the cessation of hostilities with
elaborate and feigned indifference. When the French general, after
pointing out to him that the treaty could not be put into force until it
was ratified, observed that the truce, meanwhile, was favourable to the
Arabs, since it would save their crops from destruction so long as it
lasted, the chief replied: "You may destroy the crops this moment, and I
will give you a written authority to do so, if you like. The Arabs are
not in want of corn."

The conversation at an end, General Bugeaud stood up, and the emir
remained seated; whereupon the former, stung to the quick, seized the
emir's hand and jerked it, saying "Come, get up." The French were
delighted at this characteristic act of an imperious and intrepid
nature, and the Arabs could not conceal their astonishment. As for the
emir, seized with an involuntary confusion, he turned round without
uttering a word, sprang on his horse and rode back to his own people;
his return being a signal for enthusiastic cries of "God preserve the
Sultan!" which echoed from hill to hill. A violent thunder-burst added
to the effect of this strange scene, and the Arabs vanished among the
mountain gorges.

Until 1860 the Boulevard du Temple was noted for a number of little
theatres, where marionettes might be seen dancing on the tight-rope, or
where pantomimes in the Italian style were performed. Then there was
the cabinet of wax figures, together with other little shows, difficult
to class: all destined in that year to disappear. The reconstruction
of this portion of Paris caused the removal of many theatres, which
were built again at other points. The site of the former circus was now
occupied by the Imperial Theatre of the Châtelet. The circus reappeared,
for winter performances, in the Boulevard des Filles de Calvaire, for
the summer season in the Champs Élysées. In connection with the winter
circus the Popular Concerts started by the late Pasdeloup must not be
forgotten. Here the finest symphonic music of the French and other
composers, chiefly modern, was performed in admirable style. Here the
French public were familiarised with the works of Berlioz, and, in spite
of a certain opposition at the outset, with selections from some of the
operas of Wagner. Pasdeloup, who after thirty years' unremitting work
died in poverty, used to find worthy imitators and successors in M.
Colonne and M. Lamoureux, both renowned among the musical conductors of
the period.

Number forty-two of the Boulevard du Temple marks the house, formerly
number fifty, whence the notorious Fieschi, on the 28th of July, 1835,
exploded his infernal machine which was intended to kill Louis Philippe
and his sons, and which, in fact, struck down by their side one of the
veterans of the Empire, Marshal Mortier, Duc de Trévise, and several
other superior officers.

Not even in Russia have so many sovereigns been assailed by their
subjects as in France. Since, indeed, the murder of Henri III. by
Jacques Clément, it has been the rule, rather than the exception,
with royal personages in France to be struck by the assassin or the
executioner; or, if spared in body, to be brought all the same to some
tragic end. Henri IV. fell by the hand of Ravaillac. No such fate
awaited Louis XIII., Henri IV.'s immediate successor; but Louis XV. was
stabbed by Damiens, Louis XVI. was guillotined, Louis XVII., imprisoned
in the Temple, died one scarcely knows how or where. The Duke of Enghien
was shot by order of Napoleon. Louis XVIII. had to fly from Paris at
the approach of Napoleon returning from Elba; the Duke of Berri was
assassinated by Louvel; Charles X. lost his crown by the Revolution
which brought Louis Philippe to the throne; and Louis Philippe, who was
ultimately to disappear in a hackney cab before the popular rising which
led to the establishment of the Second Republic, and soon afterwards
of the Second Empire, was meanwhile made the object of some half-dozen
murderous attacks, the most formidable being the one planned and
executed by Fieschi, otherwise Gérard. What, it may be asked, had a
quiet, peaceful, and eminently respectable monarch like Louis Philippe
done to provoke repeated attempts upon his life? The explanation is
simple. Charles X. had been driven away in 1830 by the Republicans, not
that another king might be appointed in his stead, but that the Republic
might be established. Louis Philippe was, from their point of view, an
interloper who must, at all hazards, be removed.


Fieschi's experiment with his infernal machine created a sensation
all over Europe; and the papers for some time afterwards were full of
particulars, more or less authentic, of the diabolical attempt upon
King Louis Philippe's life. The Revolutionists, whose action against
Charles X. had led to the establishment, not of a Republic, but of a
Monarchy--hateful to them in whatever form--had evidently sworn that
he should die. It was ascertained by M. Thiers, the First Minister,
that on the occasion of a journey which the King intended to make from
Neuilly to Paris certain conspirators had arranged to throw a lighted
projectile into the royal carriage; and His Majesty, therefore, was
requested to let the royal carriage proceed on its way, at the appointed
time, without him, and occupied simply by his aides-de-camp, no previous
announcement being made as to the absence of the King. Louis Philippe
having protested against this suggestion as unfair to the aides-de-camp:
"Sire," replied M. Thiers, "it is their duty to expose themselves for
the safety of your person, and they surely will not complain when they
find the Minister of the Interior by their side in the threatened
carriage." The King, however, rejected this proposition, declaring
that he had resolved on the journey, and, hazardous as it might be,
would undertake it. His resolution having been combated in vain by
M. Thiers, the preparations for departure were ordered. Just as the
King was about to get into the carriage, the Queen and the princesses
suddenly presented themselves in an agony of terror and of tears. "It is
impossible," says M. Louis Blanc, "to say whether a skilful indiscretion
on the part of the Minister had initiated them into the secret of what
had taken place, or whether they had received no other intimation than
that supplied by the instincts of the heart." However this may have
been, the Queen, finding that Louis Philippe would not abandon his
intention, insisted on accompanying him, and it was quite impossible
to prevent her from doing so. M. Thiers then begged the honour of a
seat in the threatened carriage, and the journey was risked. The attack
apprehended was not, however, on this occasion to be made; and it was
as long afterwards as the 28th of July, 1835, on the occasion when
Louis Philippe drove through Paris in memory of the "Three Days" of
July, 1830, that Fieschi put his murderous project into execution. "On
the 28th of July," says M. Louis Blanc, "the sun rose upon the city,
already perplexed with fears and doubts. The drum which summoned the
National Guards early in the morning beat for some time in vain: a heavy
apathy, in which there mingled a sort of morbid distrust, weighed upon
everyone. At ten o'clock, however, the legions of the Garde Nationale
stretched in an immense line along the boulevards, facing 40,000 of the
regular troops, horse and foot. The Boulevard du Temple having been
pointed out by rumour as the scene of the contemplated crime, the police
had orders to parade it with particular watchfulness, and to keep a
close eye upon the windows." On the previous evening M. Thiers had a
number of houses in this quarter searched. But the remonstrances of the
inhabitants became so violent, that his original intention of examining
every building on the boulevard had to be abandoned.

The clock of the château was striking ten when the King issued from
the Tuileries on horseback. He was accompanied by his sons, the Dukes
of Orleans, Nemours, and Joinville; by Marshals Mortier and Lobau; by
his ministers; and by a numerous body of generals and other superior
officers and high functionaries. Along the whole line which he traversed
there prevailed a dead silence, broken only at intervals by the _ex
officio_ acclamations of the soldiers. At a few minutes past twelve
the royal _cortège_ arrived in front of the Eighth Legion, which was
stationed along the Boulevard du Temple. Here, near the end of the
Jardin Turc, as the King was leaning forward to receive a petition from
the hands of a National Guardsman, a sound was heard like the fire of
a well-sustained platoon. In an instant the ground was strewn with the
dead and dying. Marshal Mortier and General Lachasse de Verigny, wounded
in the head, fell bathed in their blood. A young captain of Artillery,
M. de Villaté, slid from his horse, his arms extended at full length, as
though they had been nailed to a cross; he had been shot in the head,
and expired ere he touched the ground. Among the other victims were the
colonel of gendarmerie, Raffé; M. Rieussec, lieutenant-colonel of the
Eighth Legion; the National Guardsmen Prudhomme, Benetter, Ricard, and
Léger; an old man upwards of seventy years of age, M. Lebrouste; a poor
fringe-maker named Langeray; and a girl of scarcely fourteen, Sophie
Remy. The king was not wounded, but in the confusion his horse reared
and he sustained a violent shock in the left arm. The Duke of Orleans
had a slight contusion on the thigh. A ball grazed the croup of the Duke
of Joinville's horse.

Thus the odious attempt failed in its object; the royal family was
saved. No language can express the utter horror which this frightful
and cowardly attack created in the minds of the assembled multitudes.
An aide-de-camp immediately galloped off to reassure the Queen, and
the King continued his progress amidst manifestations of the deepest
sympathy and the most enthusiastic loyalty.

As a striking exemplification of the _sang-froid_ of Louis Philippe it
has been gravely related, on the alleged authority of Marshal Maison,
that immediately after the fatal occurrence, and while all around were
overwhelmed with dismay and grief, the King's mind rapidly glanced over
all the possible advantages which might be drawn from the event, and
that he exclaimed, "Ah, now we are sure to get the appanages!" But this
anecdote, in itself improbable, must be received with more than the
usual grain of salt.

Meantime, at the moment of the explosion, clouds of smoke were seen to
issue from a window on the third floor of the house number fifty. A man
got out of this window, and seizing a double rope which was fastened
inside, slid down it on to the roof of a lower building. He was but
half-dressed, and his face streamed with blood. A flower-pot which was
caught in the movement of the rope after he quitted hold of it fell
to the pavement, and the noise attracted the attention of an agent of
police who had been posted in the courtyard of the house. "There is the
assassin escaping on the roof!" he exclaimed; and one of the National
Guards at once called upon the fugitive to surrender, threatening to
fire if he refused. But the man, wiping away with his hand the veil of
blood which obscured his sight, dashed on and made his way through an
open window into an adjoining house. A track of blood indicated his
route, as though his own crime pursued him. He reached the courtyard too
late to escape unobserved, and was at once taken into custody.

In the room whence he had fled were found the smoking remains of his
death-dealing machine. It was raised upon a sort of scaffolding on four
square legs connected together by strong oak cross-pieces. Twenty-five
musket barrels were fastened by the breech upon the cross-piece at
the back, which was higher than the front traverse by about eight
inches. The ends of the barrels rested in notches cut in the lower
traverse. The touch-holes were exactly in a line, so as to take fire
simultaneously by means of a long train of gunpowder. The guns had
been placed so as to receive the procession slantingly, embracing a
large range, and rising from the legs of the horses to the heads of the
riders. The charge in each barrel was a quadruple one. Fortunately, the
calculations of the assassin were frustrated. Two of the barrels did not
go off, four of them burst; and to these chances the King doubtless owed
his life.

Fieschi was found, on inquiry, to have lodged in the house for several
months. He stated himself to be a machinist. The porter had never been
inside Fieschi's room since he had occupied it. There had been but
one man to see Fieschi, whom he represented as his uncle, and three
women, who, he said, were his mistresses. On the morning of the 28th
he had been noticed to go in and out, up and down, in a visible state
of agitation, and once, though habitually abstemious, he went into a
neighbouring cafe to drink a glass of brandy. At the military post where
he was taken upon his arrest, a National Guard having asked him who he
was, "What's that to you?" he replied, "I shall answer such questions
when they are put by the proper people." Some gunpowder having been
found upon his person, he was asked what it was for. "For glory!" he

The trial of Fieschi and his accomplices took place on the 30th of
January, 1836, before the Court of Peers assembled in the palace of the
Luxembourg. In the body of the court, in front of the clerk's table,
were displayed, among other proofs against the prisoners, a machine
supporting a number of guns in an inclined position, an extinguished
firebrand, a dagger, a shot belt with a quantity of bullets in it, an
iron gauntlet, and a bloodstained rope.

Fieschi, the chief conspirator, is described by Louis Blanc as "endowed
with an energy and shrewdness which merely served to promote the aims of
an inveterate and grovelling turpitude. Vain to a degree which almost
approached insanity, this man had stained his life with every infamy.
A Corsican by birth, he had fought bravely in the service of Napoleon.
After the peace, however, he had launched upon a career of vice and
crime. He had invented the so-called infernal machine (which was simply
a battery of guns so arranged that they could be discharged from a
window), not from any political or personal hatred of Louis Philippe,
but simply as the hireling of a band of Republican and Revolutionary

Fieschi and his accomplices were duly guillotined. Other attempts had
been made and were still to be made on the life of Louis Philippe. The
ferocious exploit, however, of Fieschi remains the most notorious one of
this reign. At last the Citizen King lost his nerve; and in February,
1848, disappeared in face of a danger not more formidable, if firmly
met at the outset, than the one which he had despised thirteen years
previously, in 1835.

Fieschi was simply guillotined; and he was the first regicide or
would-be regicide in France who escaped torture. The horrible cruelties
inflicted on the assassins of French kings may make many persons less
sensitive than they otherwise would be to the misfortunes reserved
for the successors of these princes. The only possible excuse for the
diabolical punishments devised for regicides under the old French
Monarchy is that such barbarity was of the age. The torture of Damiens
was imitated in every detail from the torture of Ravaillac, which
had for precedent the torture of Gérard, the assassin of the Prince
of Orange. An ingenious French writer attempted to decide whether
Ravaillac's torments were greater than those of Gérard. It is certain in
any case that the latter suffered with much greater constancy. Ravaillac
shrieked out in a terrible manner, whereas Balthasar Gérard never
uttered a groan.

In this connection it is curious that, from the middle of the eighteenth
century until the time of the French Revolution, the name of Damiens,
or Damian, at present venerated throughout the civilised world, was
in France, its country of origin, one of such opprobrium that nobody
ventured to bear it. No Frenchman, indeed, would have dared to do so;
for after the attempt upon the life of Louis XV. the name of Damiens,
or D'Amiens, his would-be murderer, with all names of similar sound or
spelling were, by a special edict, absolutely proscribed. To go by the
name of D'Amiens, Damiens, or Damian, was to proclaim oneself affiliated
nearly or remotely to the unspeakable being--the regicide, the
parricide--who had lifted his hand against the Lord's anointed. Time has
its revenges. The name associated a century and a half ago with villainy
and crime is now suggestive only of heroism and virtue. Everyone knows
by what glorious acts of self-sacrifice Damien, enthusiast and martyr,
has brought honour to a once unutterable name.

[Illustration: LOUIS PHILIPPE.]

The French Revolution, which was separated from the torture of Damiens
by only thirty-eight years, is associated with a number of sanguinary
deeds. But it at least put an end to torture. No such horrors as had
been perpetrated under the French Monarchy were ever to take place
under the French Republic. Even in the case of ordinary criminals not
specially condemned to torture, death, under the old Monarchy, was
inflicted in the cruellest fashion. "After a prisoner has seen death
under so many forms," says a writer of the time of Louis XVI., "when his
soul is in a manner withered, his spirit exhausted, and life is grown
a burthen, the sentence that ends his sufferings should be welcome to
him--and it would be so were not our laws more calculated to torture the
body than simply to punish the criminal. A man who pays the forfeit of
his life to the injured laws of his country has, in the eyes of reason,
more than sufficiently atoned for his crime; but here industrious
cruelty has devised the most barbarous means of avenging the wrongs done
to society; and the breaking the bones of a wretch on a cross, twisting
his mangled body round the circumference of a wheel, are inventions
worthy of the fertile brains of a Phalaris, and show to the utmost that
such inhuman laws were more levelled against the man than the crime for
which he is doomed to suffer."

       *       *       *       *       *

Opposite the house on the Boulevard du Temple associated with the
outrage of Fieschi stood formerly the Café Turc, which offered to the
generation of its day a shady retreat and varied amusements. Here the
celebrated Jullien, better known in London than even in Paris, gave
in the early years of Louis Philippe's reign orchestral pieces of his
own composition adorned with fireworks and emphasized by the booming
of cannon. Little by little the Café Turc was to disappear; and now
repeated alterations have reduced it to a beer-house, or _brasserie_.

The Café Turc was the first of the French cafés-concerts or music
halls; for, like so many of our dramatic entertainments, the music
hall is an adaptation from the French. The English music hall differs,
however, from the French café-concert about as much as an English
farce differs from a French vaudeville. The café-concert may be looked
upon either as a café at which there is singing, or as a concert where
refreshments are served between the pieces and "consumed" during the
performance. But whether you enter the place for the sake of art or with
the view of sustaining nature, it is equally necessary that you should
"consume"; and that there may be no mistake on this point, a curtain is
at some establishments let down from time to time with "_On est prié
de renouveler sa consommation_," and, at the side, in English, "One is
prayed to renew his consumption," inscribed on it. The renewal of one's
consumption is often a very costly proceeding.

To avoid being classed with theatres, and, as a legal consequence, taxed
for the benefit of the poor, no charge for admission is made at the
doors of the café-concert. But at those where such stars as the once
celebrated Thérèse are engaged, the proprietor finds it necessary to
attach extravagant prices to refreshments of the most ordinary kind, so
that a bottle of lemonade may be quoted in the tariff at three francs,
a cup of coffee at a franc and a half, and even the humble glass of
water at fifty centimes. In England the music hall proprietor would be
often glad to obtain a dramatic licence. He has no fear of the poor
before his eyes, and would be only too happy to combine with the profits
of musical publican those of the regular theatrical manager. Why he
should or should not be so favoured has been argued at length before
the magistrates and duly reported in the columns of the newspapers.
The result has been that, as a rule, the London music hall proprietor
does not give theatrical performances, though he often ventures
upon duologues and sometimes risks a dramatic trio. The argument of
London managers against music hall proprietors may thus concisely
be stated: the manager cannot by the terms of his licence allow the
audience to smoke and drink in presence of a dramatic performance; and,
correlatively, the music hall proprietor ought not to be allowed to give
dramatic performances while smoking and drinking are going on.


Paris is celebrated above all the capitals of Europe for its cafés; and
the beverage which gives its name to these establishments seems to have
been known earlier in France than in any other European country. Coffee
was introduced into central Europe in 1683, the year of the battle of
Vienna; and from the Austrian capital the use of coffee spread rapidly
to all parts of Germany. The circumstances under which the Austrians
first became acquainted with it were somewhat curious.

The Turks had brought with them to Vienna an imposing siege train. No
European power possessed such formidable artillery; and their stone
balls of sixty pounds each were not only the largest projectiles ever
fired, but were regarded as the largest which by any possible means
could be fired. According to the ingenious, but incorrect, view of
one of Sobieski's biographers (the Abbé Coyer), the amount of powder
requisite for the discharge of a missile of greater weight would be
so enormous as not to give time for the whole of it to become ignited
before the ball left the cannon.

Kara Mustapha, the Turkish general, had also brought with him a number
of archers; and when a letter from Sobieski to the Duke of Lorraine was
intercepted by a Turkish patrol, the document was attached to an arrow
and shot into the town, accompanied by a note in the Latin language to
the effect that all further resistance was out of the question, and
that the Vienna garrison had now nothing to do but accept its fate.
The Turks, moreover, brought to Vienna an immense number of women,
whose throats, when the Turkish army was forced to retire in headlong
flight, they unscrupulously cut. The stone cannon balls of prodigious
weight, the arrows, and the women could all be accounted for. But the
Turks left behind them a large number of bags containing white berries,
of which nothing could be made. Of these berries, however, after duly
roasting and pounding them, an Austrian soldier, who had been a prisoner
in Turkey, made coffee; and as he had distinguished himself during the
battle, the Emperor granted him permission to open a shop in Vienna
for the sale of the Turkish beverage which he had learned under such
interesting circumstances to prepare.

According to another less authentic anecdote, the use of the mysterious
white berries found among the stores of the defeated Turks was first
pointed out by a Turkish soldier who had been working in the trenches
before the besieged city, and had so fatigued himself by his ceaseless
toil, that he fell asleep and slumbered on throughout the whole of the
battle, undisturbed by the cavalry charges, the musketry fire, and the
explosions of the artillery with its terrible sixty-pounders. When at
last, after sleep had done its restorative work, the exhausted soldier
woke up to find himself in the hands of the Christians, he was terribly
alarmed. But his life was spared, and in return for this clemency on the
part of his enemies he taught them how to make coffee.

Parisians, however, pride themselves on having known coffee fourteen
years earlier than the Viennese. It is said, indeed, that an
enterprising Levantine started a coffee-house at Paris in the very
middle of the seventeenth century, and not later than the year 1650.
The name of the stimulating beverage that he offered for sale was, as
he wrote it, _cahoue_. But the unhappy man had not taken the necessary
steps for getting his new importation spoken of beforehand in good
society; and, no one knowing what to make of the strange liquor he
wished to dispense--hot, black, and bitter--the founder of the first
coffee-house or café became bankrupt.

The French, however, during, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
were sworn friends of the Turks, whose power they played off on every
occasion against that of the hated Empire. Vienna might, indeed, on
two occasions have been captured, plundered, and burnt by the infidels
for all France cared to do towards saving it. France, on her side, was
viewed with favour by the Turks; and in 1669 an ambassador, Soliman Aga
by name, was sent by the Porte on a mission to Louis XIV., at whose
court he made known the virtues of the berry which long previously the
Arabs had introduced throughout the East.

Properly presented, coffee met in Paris with a success which elsewhere
it had failed to attain, and before long it became the rage in
fashionable society. When it was at the height of its first popularity,
however, Madame de Sévigné condemned it, saying that the taste for
coffee, like the taste for Racine, would pass away. Racine, in spite of
the beauty of his at once tender and epigrammatic lines, is not much
read in the present day, and is scarcely ever acted. Coffee, on the
other hand, is as popular now as in the days when Pope wrote his couplet

    "Coffee, which makes the politician wise,
     And see through all things with his half-shut eyes."

"There are in this capital," wrote the author of the "Tableau de
Paris" more than a hundred years ago, "between six and seven hundred
coffee-houses, the common refuge of idleness and poverty, where
the latter is warmed without any expense for fuel, and the former
entertained by a view of the crowds who make their entrance and exit by
turns. In other countries, where liberty is more than an empty name, a
coffee-house is the rendez-vous of politicians who freely canvass the
conduct of the Minister, or debate on matters of State. Not so here!
I have already given a very good reason why the Parisians are sparing
of their political reflections. If they speak at all on State matters
it is to extol the power of their sovereign, and the wisdom of his
counsellors. A half-starved author, with all his wardrobe and movables
on his back, dining at these restaurants on a dish of coffee and a
halfpenny roll, talks big of the immense resources of France, and the
abundance she offers of every necessary of life; whilst his only supper
is the steam arising from the rich man's kitchen, as he returns to his
empty garret."

The writer goes on to show that the coffee-houses were haunted by
cliques of critics, literary and artistic, and his description sometimes
reminds one of Button's, in the days of Addison and Steele. "Those," he
says, "who have just entered the lists of literature stand in dread of
this awful tribunal, where a dozen of grim-looking judges, whilst they
sip and sip, deal out reputation by wholesale. Woe to the young poet, to
the new actor or actress! They are often sentenced here without trial.
Catcalls, destined to grate their affrighted ears, are here manufactured
over a dish of coffee."

The writer then proceeds to lament the absence of sociability at the
coffee-house, and the gloomy countenances of its frequenters, as
contrasted with the convivial faces of those "brave ancestors" of his
generation who used to pass their leisure, not at coffee-houses, but at
taverns. One cause of the difference he finds in the change of beverage.
"Our forefathers," he explains, "drank that mirth-inspiring liquor
with which Burgundy and Champaign supplied them. This gave life to
their meetings. Ours are more sober, no doubt, but is this sobriety the
companion of health? By no means. For generous wine we have substituted
a black beverage, bad in itself, but worse by the manner in which it is
made in all the coffee-houses of this fashionable metropolis. The good
Parisians, however, are very careless in the matter; they drink off
whatever is put before them, and swallow this baneful wash, which in its
turn is driven down by more deadly poisons, mistakenly called cordials."

Since the above was written, coffee, far from dying out, has become more
and more popular, and musical cafés, theatrical cafés, and literary
cafés have been everywhere established in Paris. There are financial
cafés, too, chiefly, of course, in the region of the Bourse; and among
the cafés by which the Bourse is partly surrounded used to be one which
owed its notoriety to the fact that Fieschi's mistress--in the character
of "dame du comptoir"--was exhibited there to the public.

Two days after the execution of the would-be regicide and actual maker
of the famous infernal machine, a crowd of people might have been seen
struggling towards the doors of a café on the Place de la Bourse, which
was already as full as it could hold. "Those," says an eye-witness,
"who performed the feat of gaining admission, saw, gravely seated at
a counter, adorned with costly draperies, an ordinary-looking woman,
blind of one eye, and possessing in fact no external merit but that
of youth: It was Nina Sassave. There she was, her forehead radiant,
her lip quivering with delight, her whole expression that of unmingled
pride and pleasure at the eager homage thus offered to her celebrity.
A circumstance eminently characteristic of the epoch! Here had a
creature, only known to the world as a base and treacherous informer,
as the mistress of an assassin, been caught up for a show by a shrewd
speculator. And what is more remarkably characteristic still, the public
took it all as a perfect matter of course, and amply justified the
speculator in his calculations."

On the same side as the Café Turc, but further on towards the Rue du
Temple, stood the tennis ground of the Count d'Artois (afterwards
Charles X.), built by the architect Belanger, one of the most intimate
and faithful friends of the famous Sophie Arnould.

[Illustration: A PARISIAN CAFÉ.]

On the site of the Count d'Artois' tennis ground was erected, at the
beginning of the Second Empire, a theatre, called in the first instance
Folies-Meyer, but which, after various changes of title, became at last
the Théâtre Déjazet, under the direction of the celebrated actress of
that name, already seventy years of age, or nearly so, but still lively
and graceful. For this theatre in 1860 Victorien Sardou wrote his first
successful piece, "M. Garat," in which Déjazet herself played the
principal part, supported by Dupuis, who was afterwards to become famous
in opera-bouffe as the associate of Mademoiselle Schneider.

The line of boulevards here presents an enormous gap, in the centre of
which, between two fountains, stands a monument to the glory of the
Republic. The rest of the open space serves twice a week as a flower
market, the largest in Paris. At the beginning of the century La Place
du Château d'Eau, as the open space in question is called, did not
exist. The fountain which gave its name to the Place was constructed
under the First Napoleon in the year 1811, but this fountain was
replaced in 1869 by a finer one inaugurated by Napoleon III. The later
fountain was itself, however, to disappear, soon afterwards to be
replaced by the aforesaid monument to the Republic. Behind one of the
large depots on the north side of the Place du Château d'Eau, looking
out upon the Rue de Malte, was constructed in 1866 the Circus of the
Prince Imperial, afterwards called the Theatre of the Château d'Eau,
where at one time dramas, at another operas, have been given, never with
success. Ill-luck seems to hang over the establishment, which, with
its 2,400 seats, must be reckoned among the largest theatres in Paris.
In Paris, however, as in London, theatres have often the reputation of
being unlucky when, to succeed, all they require is a good piece with
good actors to play in it.


The Boulevard du Temple had at one time its famous restaurants, like
other boulevards in the present day. Here stood the celebrated Cadran
Bleu and the equally celebrated Banquet d'Anacréon. The last of the
great restaurants on this boulevard was the one kept by Bonvalet, who,
during the siege of Paris, was generous enough to supply additional
provisions to unfortunate actors and actresses who found themselves
reduced to the limited rations distributed by the Municipal Council.

The Rue de Bondi, running out of the Boulevard Saint-Martin, brings
us once more to a group of theatres. The Folies Dramatiques stands at
number forty. This theatre was started in 1830 by M. Alaux, previously
manager of the Dramatic Parnassus on the Boulevard du Temple. It was
opened on January 22nd, 1831, under the direction of M. Léopold, who
produced at this house a long series of successful pieces. Among these
may be mentioned "Robert Macaire" with Frédéric Lemaître in the leading
part. When, amidst demolitions and reconstructions, the original Folies
Dramatiques came down, the company was transferred to the new building
which now stands in the Rue de Bondi. Here were brought out Hervé's
"OEil Crevé" and "Petit Faust," Lecoq's "Fille de Madame Angot,"
Planquette's "Cloches de Corneville," and other works which were soon
to become known all over Europe. Vaudevilles are now played at this
theatre alternately with operettas. The house contains 1,600 seats.
The Ambigu-Comique, built on a sort of promontory which dominates the
Boulevard Saint-Martin and the Rue de Bondi, was opened in 1829, in
place of the original Ambigu, burnt to the ground two years previously.
The new house, which contains 1,600 seats, was inaugurated in presence
of the Duchess of Berri, widow of the unhappy nobleman who a few years
before was stabbed by Louvois on the steps of the Opera House. In 1837
this theatre was entirely rebuilt under the direction of M. Rochart.
Untrue, like so many theatres, to its original name, the Ambigu-Comique
was to become associated with nothing in the way of ambiguity,
nothing in the way of comedy, but with melodramas, often of a most
blood-curdling kind. Here, it is true, was produced the "Auberge des
Adrêts," which, in the hands of Frédéric Lemaître, was to be transformed
from a serious drama into a wild piece of buffoonery; so that the author
of the work, too nervous to attend the performance himself, was almost
driven mad when his trusted servant returned home and reported to him
the bursts of laughter with which the work had been received. At the
Ambigu were brought out some of the best pieces of Alexandre Dumas the
elder, Frédéric Soulié, Adolphe Dennery, and Paul Feval.

Immediately adjacent to the Ambigu stand the Porte Saint-Martin and
Renaissance Theatres, covering the triangle formed by the Boulevard
Saint-Martin, the Rue de Bondi, and the Place de la Porte Saint-Martin.
The Porte Saint-Martin Theatre has a long and interesting history,
dating from June 8, 1781, when it was opened as an Opera House after the
destruction by fire of the one in the Rue Saint-Honoré. A performance
was going on at the time, and the singers had to fly in their operatic
dresses from the stage to the street. In the midst of the general
consternation, the musical director, Rey by name, whose "Coronis" was
the opera of the night, startled those around him, already sufficiently
terrified, by exclaiming, "Save my child! Oh, Heaven, save my child!" As
Rey was not known in the character of a family man, his friends thought
he had gone mad. But it was the creature of his brain that was troubling
him; and after heroic struggles, the score of "Coronis" was rescued from
the flames. The fascinating Madeleine Guiniard had on this occasion a
narrow escape of her life. She was in her dressing-room, and had just
divested herself of her costume when inquiries were made for her, and
it was found that, like Brunhilda in the legend, she was enveloped on
all sides by flames. A Siegfried, however, was found in the person of a
stage carpenter, who, making his way through the ring of fire, reached
the unhappy valkyrie, wrapped her up in a blanket, and brought her out
in safety, though he himself, in his second passage through the flames,
was somewhat scorched.

The new house established in the Porte Saint-Martin was opened 109 days
after the destruction of the Opera House in the Rue Saint-Honoré. Here
were brought out the "OEdipus Coloneus" of Sacchini, the "Daniades"
and other works of Salieri, the "Demophon" of Cherubini, the "Re
Teodoro" of Paisiello, and a French version of Mozart's "Marriage of
Figaro." Many of the operas of Sacchini, Salieri, and Cherubini were
composed specially for the French theatre. Paisiello's and Mozart's
works were, of course, produced in translations. Mozart's "Marriage of
Figaro" was brought out in the middle of the Reign of Terror, March 20,

Meanwhile, doubts had always been entertained as to the solidity of the
theatre, which had been run up in from fifteen to sixteen weeks; and
on April 14, 1794, the Committee of Public Safety ordered the transfer
of the opera from the Porte Saint-Martin to the Salle Montansier, in
the Rue Richelieu. M. Castil Blaze, excellent writer, but by no means
free from prejudices, insists, in his "History of the Royal Academy of
Music," that in the removal of the Opera to the Rue Richelieu there was
a determination on the part of the Committee of Public Safety to burn
down the National Library, opposite which the Opera was now installed.
"How was it," he asks, "that the Opera was moved to a building
exactly opposite the National Library--so precious and so combustible
a repository of human knowledge? The two establishments were only
separated by a street very much too narrow; if the theatre caught fire,
was it not sure to burn the Library? That is what a great many persons
still ask; this question has been reproduced a hundred times in our
journals. Go back to the time when the house was built by Mademoiselle
Montansier; read the _Moniteur Universel_, and you will see that it was
precisely in order to expose this same Library to the happy chances
of a fire that the great lyrical entertainment was transferred to its
neighbourhood. The Opera hung over it, and threatened it constantly. At
this time enlightenment abounded to such a point that the judicious
Henriot, convinced in his innermost conscience that all reading was
henceforth useless, had made a motion to burn the Library. To shift the
Opera to the Rue Richelieu--that Opera which twice in eighteen years had
been a prey to the flames--to place it exactly opposite our literary
treasures was to multiply to infinity the chances of their being burnt."
Mercier, in reference to the literary views of the Committee of Public
Safety, writes in the _Nouveau Paris_ thus:--"The language of Omar
about the Koran was not more terrible than that by the members of the
Committee of Public Safety, when they carried this resolution:--'Yes, we
will burn all the libraries, for nothing will be needed but the history
of the Revolution and its laws.'" If the motion of Henriot had been put
into effect, David, the great Conventional painter, was ready to propose
that the same service should be rendered to the masterpieces in the
Louvre as to the literary wealth of the National Library. Republican
subjects, according to David, were alone worthy of representation.

The Opera in the Rue Richelieu was, however, to be destroyed, as
will afterwards be seen, not by fire, but in deliberate process of

Meanwhile, Louis XVI. and his family had fled from Paris on the 28th
of June, 1791. The next day, and before the king was brought back to
the Tuileries, the title of the chief lyric theatre was changed from
Académie Royale to simply the Opera. At the same time, the custom was
introduced of announcing the performers' names, which was evidently an
advantage to the public, and which was also not without its benefit for
the inferior singers and dancers, who, when they unexpectedly appeared
in order to replace their betters, used often to get hissed to a
handsomer degree than they ever could in their usual parts.

By an order of the Committee of Public Safety, dated the 16th of the
following September, the title of the Opera was again changed to
Académie Royale de Musique. This was intended as a compliment to the
king, who had signed the Constitution on the 14th, and who was to go
to the Opera six days afterwards. On the 20th the royal visit took
place. "'Castor and Pollux' was played," says M. Castil Blaze, "and not
'Iphigénie en Aulide,' as is asserted by some ill-informed historians,
who even go so far as to pretend that the chorus '_Chantons, célébrons
notre reine_' was hailed with transports of enthusiasm, and that the
public called for it a second time." The house was well filled, but
not crammed, as we see by the receipts, which amounted to 6,636 livres
15 sous. The same opera of Rameau's, vamped by Candeille, had produced
6,857 livres on the 14th of the preceding June. On the night previous
to the royal representation a gratuitous performance of "Castor and
Pollux" had been given to the public in honour of the Constitution. The
royalists were present in great numbers on the night of state, and some
lines which could be applied to the queen were loudly applauded. Marie
Antoinette was delighted, and said to the ladies who accompanied her,
"You see that the people are really good, and wish only to love us."
Encouraged by so flattering a reception, she determined to go the next
night to the Opéra Comique, but the king refused to accompany her. The
piece performed was "Les Événements imprévus." In the duet of the second
act, before singing the words "_Ah! comme j'aime ma maîtresse_," Mdme.
Dugazon looked towards the queen, when a number of voices cried out from
the pit, "_Plus de Maîtresse!_" "_Plus de Maître!_" "_Vive la Liberté!_"
This cry was answered from the boxes with "Vive la reine! Vive le
roi!" Sabres and swordsticks were drawn, and a battle began. The queen
escaped from the theatre in the midst of the tumult. Cries of "_A bas
la reine!_" followed her to her carriage, which went off at a gallop,
with mud and stones thrown after it. Marie Antoinette returned to the
Tuileries in despair. On the 1st of October, fourteen days afterwards,
the title of Opéra National was substituted for that of Académie Royale
de Musique. The Constitution being signed, there was no longer any
reason for being civil to Louis XVI. This was the third change of title
in less than four months.

To conclude the list of musical performances which have derived a gloomy
celebrity from their connection with the last days of Louis XVI., we may
reproduce the programme issued by the directors of the Opéra National on
the first anniversary of his execution, 1724. It ran thus:--"On behalf
of and for the people gratis. In joyful commemoration of the death of
the tyrant, the National Opera will give to-day, 6 Pluviose, year 2 of
the Republic, 'Miltiades at Marathon,' 'The Siege of Thionville,' 'The
Offering to Liberty.'"

The Opera under the Republic was directed until 1792 by four
distinguished _sans-culottes_--Henriot, Chaumette, Le Roux, and Hébert,
the last named of whom had once been check-taker of the Académie. The
others knew nothing whatever of operatic affairs. The management at the
theatre was afterwards transferred to Francoeur, one of the former
directors associated with Cellérier, an architect; but the dethroned
_impresarios_, accompanied by Danton and other Republican amateurs,
constantly made their appearance behind the scenes, and very frequently
did the chief members of the company the honour of supping with them. In
these cases the invitations, as under the ancient _régime_, proceeded,
not from the artists, but from the artists' patrons; with this
difference, however, that under the Republic the latter never paid the

"The chiefs of the Republic," says M. Castil Blaze, "were very fond of
moistening their throats. Henriot, Danton, Hébert, Le Roux, Chaumette,
had hardly taken a turn in the _coulisses_ or in the _foyer_ before they
said to such an actor or actress, 'We are going to your room. See that
we are properly received.' A superb collation was brought in. When the
repast was finished and the bottles were empty, the National Convention,
the Commune of Paris, beat a retreat without troubling itself about
the expense. You think, perhaps, that the dancer or the singer paid
for the representatives of the people? Not at all; honest Maugin, who
kept the refreshment room of the theatre, knew perfectly well that the
actors of the Opera were not paid, that they had no sort of money, not
even a rag of an assignat; he made a sacrifice: from delicacy he did
not ask from the artists what he would not have dared to claim from the
_sans-culottes_, for fear of the guillotine."

Sometimes the executioner, who, as a public official, was entitled to
certain _entrées_, made his appearance behind the scenes, and it is said
that, in a facetious mood, he would sometimes express his opinion about
the "execution" of the music.

Operatic kings and queens were suppressed by the Republic. Not only
were they forbidden to appear on the stage, but even their names were
not to be pronounced behind the scenes, and the expressions _côté
du roi_, _côté de la reine_, were changed into _côté jardin_, _côté
cour_, which, at the Theatre of the Tuileries, indicated respectively
the left and right of the stage, from the stage point of view. But
although, at first, all pieces in which kings and queens figured
were prohibited, the dramas of _sans-culotte_ origin were so stupid
and disgusting that the Republic was absolutely obliged to return
to the old monarchical _repertory_. The kings, however, were turned
into chiefs; princes and dukes became representatives of the people;
seigneurs subsided into mayors; and substitutes more or less synonymous
were found for such offensive words as crown, throne, sceptre, etc.
In a new Republican version of "Le Déserteur," as represented at the
Opera Comique, _le roi_, in one well-known line, was replaced by _la
loi_, and the vocalist had to declaim "_La loi passait, et le tambour
battait aux champs!_" A certain voluble executant, however, is said
to have preferred the following emendation: "_Le pouvoir exécutif
passait, et le tambour battait aux champs!_" The scenes of most of
the new operas were laid in Italy, Prussia, Portugal--anywhere but
in France, where it would have been indispensable from a political,
and impossible from a poetical, point of view to make the lovers
address one another as _citoyen_, _citoyenne_. On the 19th of June,
1793, the directors of the Opera having objected to give a gratuitous
performance of the "Siege of Thionville," the Commune of Paris issued
the following edict:--"Considering that for a long time past the
aristocracy has taken refuge in the administration of various theatres;
considering that these gentlemen corrupt the public mind by the pieces
they represent; considering that they exercise a fatal influence on
the revolution: it is decreed that the 'Siege of Thionville' shall be
represented gratis, and solely for the amusement of the _sans-culottes_,
who, to this moment, have been the true defenders of liberty and
supporters of democracy." Soon afterwards it was proposed to shut
up the Opera, but Hébert--the ferocious Hébert, better known as Le
père Duchesne--undertook its defence, on the ground that it procured
subsistence for a number of families, and "caused the agreeable arts to

Whatever the Opera may have been under the Reign of Terror, it was
conducted infinitely better in one important respect than under the
ancient _régime_.

[Illustration: FRÉDÉRIC LEMAÎTRE.]

In the days of the old monarchy, as we learn from Bachaumont, a girl
once inscribed on the books of the Opera was released from all control
on the part of her parents. She might present herself for engagement of
her own accord, or her name might be entered on the list by anyone who
had succeeded in leading her away from her parents. In neither case
had her family any further power over her. _Lettres de cachet_ were
issued, commanding the person named in the order to join the Opera,
and many young girls were thus victimised. It can scarcely be supposed
that the privileges granted to the Opera were intended, in the first
instance, to be turned to such evil account as they afterwards were.
Indeed, young men equally with young women could be seized and committed
to operatic control wherever they were found. "We wish, and it pleases
us," says King Louis XIV., in the letters-patent granted to the Abbé
Perrin, first director of the Académie Royale de Musique (1669), "that
gentlemen (_gentilshommes_) and ladies may sing in the said pieces and
representations of our Royal Academy without being considered, for
that reason, to derogate from their titles of nobility, or from their
rights and immunities." Many aristocrats of both sexes profited by this
permission to appear either as singers or as dancers at the Opera. Young
girls, amateurs, male and female, whose voices had been remarked, could
be arrested and forced to perform at the Opera; and in the case of young
girls it was evidently to the interest of the Académie Royale de Musique
that it should be able to profit by their talents without interference
on the part of parents, who might well object to see their children
condemned to such service. Besides being liberated from all parental
restraint, the pupils and associates of the Academy enjoyed the right
of setting creditors at defiance. The salaries of singers, dancers, and
musicians belonging to the Opera were explicitly liberated from all
liability to seizure for debt. Of the freedom conferred by an engagement
at the Opera, the young woman who enjoyed it would probably have been
the last to complain; for, side by side with operatic conscription, a
system of operatic privileges was in force. It was not the custom for
young ladies in good society to visit the Opera before their marriage;
but a _brevet de dame_ could be obtained, and the fortunate holder
of such a document could without infringing any law of etiquette,
attend all operatic performances. "The number of these brevets," says
Bachaumont, in his _Mémoires Secrets_, "increased prodigiously under
Louis XVI., and very young persons have been known to obtain them.
Thus relieved from the modesty and retirement of the virginal state,
they gave themselves up with impunity to all sorts of scandals. Such
disorder has opened the eyes of the Government, and it is now only by
the greatest favour that one of these brevets can be obtained."

It has been seen that, according to Mercier and, after him, Castil
Blaze, the extreme revolutionists among the Terrorist party desired that
the Opera House in the Rue Richelieu might meet with the ordinary fate
of theatres, in the hope that flames or flaming embers blown from the
conflagration might reach the National Library, just opposite. This does
not accord with the fact that the Convention did its utmost to encourage
learning, literature, and art. The free system of the University, the
College or Gymnasium at from eight to ten francs a month, and the
Conservatoire de Musique, with its endowments, its scholarships, and its
free tuition, all date from the first days of the Republic of 1789. As
to the formal demolition of the Opera House, whose destiny was supposed
to be fire, it happened in this way:--

On the 13th February, 1820, which was the last Sunday of the Carnival,
an unusually brilliant audience had assembled at the Opera House, or
Académie Royale, as it now once more was called. The Duke and Duchess of
Berri were present; and before the performance had been brought to an
end, the duke, struck by an assassin, was a dead man.

The circumstances of the murder were very dramatic, not only by their
theatrical surroundings (for the performance still went on while the
duke was expiring in the manager's private apartments), but also by the
remarkable way in which his whole life--with his double marriage and his
two families--reproduced itself in the last few hours of his existence.
The opera or operetta of the evening was at an end, and a portion of
the ballet had been played, when the duke accompanied the duchess to
her carriage, intending to return to his box to see the remainder of
the performance. Then it was that the assassin grappled with him and
pierced him to the heart. The duke was carried to the director's room,
and in accordance with the practice of the day, was at once bled in both
arms. The internal hemorrhage was still so great, that it was thought
necessary to widen the orifice.

"There," says a contemporary writer, "lay the unhappy prince on a bed
hastily arranged, and already soaked with blood, surrounded by his
father, brother, sister, and wife, whose poignant anguish was from
time to time relieved by some faint ray of hope, destined soon to be
dispelled. When Dupuytren, accompanied by four of his most eminent
colleagues, arrived, it was thought for a moment that the duke might yet
be saved. But it soon became evident that the case was hopeless. The
duke's daughter had now been brought to him, and after embracing her
several times, he expressed a desire to see the king, Louis XVIII. Then
arrived two other daughters, the children of the union he had contracted
in England. The duchess, seeing them now for the first time, received
them with the greatest kindness, and said to them: 'Soon you will
have no father, and I shall have three daughters.' In a neighbouring
room the assassin was being interrogated by the Ministers Decaze and
Pasquier, with the bloody dagger on the table before them; while on the
stage the ballet of 'Don Quixote' was being performed in presence of
an enthusiastic public. In the course of the night the king arrived,
and his nephew expired in his arms at half-past six the next morning,
begging that his murderer might be forgiven, and entreating the duchess
not to give way to despair."

The theatre on whose steps the crime had been committed was now
demolished. The other Paris theatres were not indeed pulled down, but
they were shut up for ten days, and there was general mourning in
France, not only because a prince of the blood had been murdered, but
also because the direct line of succession had to all appearance been
brought to an end. It was not until more than seven months after the
tragic scene at the Opera that the prince who was to have saved France,
the "Enfant du Miracle," was born.

The arrival of the two daughters born and brought up in England has
been differently regarded by writers of different political views.
Alexandre Dumas, in his _Memoirs_, and Castil Blaze, in his _Histoire
de l'Académie de Musique_, represent the incident as a purely domestic
one. M. Mauroy, in his recently published works, _Les Secrets des
Bourbons_ and _Les derniers Bourbons_, lays stress on the fact that
these children were treated with a consideration not shown to other
children of the duke's, who were certainly born out of wedlock, and thus
derives an argument in support of his proposition that the Duke of Berri
contracted in England with the mother of these girls a regular marriage,
invalid only in so far as it had never been sanctioned by the head of
his house. Chateaubriand, as a royalist, would not allow the character
of legitimate children to the two girls brought to the bedside of their
dying father, and entrusted by him to the care of his wife, the duchess.

"The Duke of Berri," writes Chateaubriand, in the _Mémoires
d'outre-Tombe_, "had had one of those liaisons which religion reproves,
but which human frailty excuses. It may be said of him as the historian
has said of Henri IV.: 'He was often weak, but always faithful, and
his passions never seemed to have enfeebled his religion.' The Duke of
Berri, seeking vainly in his conscience for something very guilty, and
finding only a few weaknesses, wished, so to say, to collect them around
his death-bed, to prove to the world the greatness of his contrition
and the severity of his penance. He had a sufficiently just opinion of
the virtue of his wife to confess to her his faults, and to fulfil,
beneath her eyes, his desire to embrace those two innocent creatures,
the daughters of his long exile. 'Let them be sent for,' cried the young
princess; 'they are my children also.' When the Viscountess de Gontaut,
who had not been told beforehand, seemed astonished, Madame (_i.e._ the
Countess of Artois) noticed it, and said to her: 'She knows everything;
she has been sublime!'"

The rest of Chateaubriand's narrative, especially as regards the Duke of
Berri's two daughters, corresponds closely enough with the one left by
Dupuytren, whose style, somewhat expressive, somewhat emphatic for a man
of science, is less copious, and also less magniloquent than that of the
marvellous author of _Le Gênie du Christianisme_ and of the _Mémoires

What the prince chiefly thought of in his last moments was his murderer,
Louvel. "Twenty times in the course of the fatal night," says Dupuytren,
the famous physician, whose account of the scene was published not many
years ago, "he cried out, 'Have I not injured this man? had he not
some personal vengeance to exercise against me?' In vain did Monsieur
repeat to him, with tears in his eyes: 'No, my son, you never injured,
you never saw this man; he had no personal animosity against you.' The
prince returned incessantly to this groundless idea, and, without being
conscious of it, furnished by his public and repeated inquiries the best
proof that he had not provoked the frightful calamity which had befallen
him. With this first idea he constantly associated another--that of
obtaining pardon for his assassin. During his long and painful agony the
prince begged for it at least a hundred times, and did so more earnestly
in proportion as he felt his end approaching. Thus, when the increasing
gravity of the symptoms made him fear that he would not live long enough
to see the king, he called out piteously, 'Ah! the king will not arrive.
I shall not be able to ask him to forgive the man.' Soon afterwards he
appealed turn by turn to Monsieur and to the Duke of Augoulême, saying
to them, 'Promise me, father, promise me, brother, that you will ask
the king to spare the man's life.' But when at last the king arrived,
he no sooner saw his Majesty than, summoning all his strength, he cried
out, 'Spare his life, sir! spare the man's life!' 'My nephew,' the king
replied, 'you are not so ill as you think, and we shall have time to
think of your request when you have recovered.' Yet the prince continued
as before, the king being still on his guard not to grant a pardon which
was equally repugnant to the laws of nature and to those of society.
Then this generous prince exclaimed in a tone of deep regret: 'Ah, sir!
you do not say "yes,"' adding shortly afterwards: 'If the man's life
were spared, the bitterness of my last moments would be softened.'
As his end drew near, pursuing the same idea, he expressed in a low
voice, broken by grief, and with long intervals between each word, the
following thought: 'Ah!... if only ... I could carry away ... the idea
... that the blood of a man ... would not flow on my account ... after
my death....' This noble prayer was the last he uttered. His constantly
increasing and now atrocious pain absorbed from this moment all his

The heroism of the Duke of Berri and his dying prayer for the pardon of
his murderer may be contrasted with the cowardice of his grandfather,
Louis XV., taking the last sacrament twice over when he had only been
scratched; and the cruelty with which he caused his assailant, who,
murderously disposed, no doubt, had nevertheless scarcely injured him,
to be subjected to the most frightful tortures, and finally torn to
pieces by four horses.


Let us now return to the Porte Saint-Martin Theatre, which, abandoned
by the Opera, remained deserted for eight years, from 1794 to 1802. On
September 30th of this year it was re-opened under the direction of
the author and actor Du Maniaut, who brought out operas, melodramas,
comedies, and pantomimes until the publication, in 1806, of the
decree which put an end to the liberty of the stage. He afterwards,
however, obtained permission to represent pantomimes and prologues, or
vaudevilles, on condition that in each of these little pieces not more
than two actors were employed. In September, 1810, Du Maniaut produced
"The Man of Destiny"--a title indicating the Emperor Napoleon, whose
victories were represented in a series of historical and allegorical
pictures in honour of his marriage with Marie Louise. The music was by
the celebrated Piccini, attached to the private staff of his Majesty
the Emperor. The Man of Destiny was impersonated by a dancer and mimic
named Chevalier, and his career, begun in Egypt, was continued up to the
triumphal entry of the French troops into Berlin. After remaining closed
for several years, the Porte Saint-Martin Theatre was re-opened in 1814,
and thenceforward played a very important part in connection with the
dramatic literature of the country. Here Mlle. Georges, Mme. Dorval,
Frédéric Lemaître, and many other famous artistes, appeared. Here, too,
were produced with enormous success "Marion Delorme," "Lucrèce Borgia,"
and "Marie Tudor," from Victor Hugo's pen; all the dramas of Alexandre
Dumas, including "Antoine," "Angèle," "Richard Darlington," and "La Tour
de Nesle": "The Mysteries of Paris" and "Mathilde" of Eugène Sue, "The
Two Locksmiths" of Félix Pyat, the "Dame de Saint-Tropez" and "Don César
de Bazan" of Adolphe d'Ennery. Here, too, the "Vautrin" of Balzac was
brought out--to be stopped, after sixteen representations, by Government
order, on the ground that Frédéric Lemaître's make-up in the part of
the hero was intended to throw ridicule on the person of King Louis
Philippe. The house built by Le Noir, which the Committee of Public
Safety had looked upon as of doubtful solidity, enjoyed a life of ninety
years, and might have been in existence still; but on the 24th of May,
1871, without any apparent motive for so useless and stupid an act,
the Communists set fire to it. The old theatre was burnt to the ground,
together with an adjoining building, which, in the days of the Republic
of Vienna, had belonged to the Venetian Ambassador.


Rebuilt on the same site, but after a different plan, the Porte
St.-Martin Theatre was re-opened in the autumn of 1873, when Victor
Hugo's "Marie Tudor" was revived. To this succeeded a couple of great
successes--"The Two Orphans" and "Round the World," the former written
by that fertile inventor of new plots, M. Adolphe d'Ennery, and the
latter adapted by him from Jules Verne's famous novel.

Close to this famous playhouse is the new Renaissance Theatre, which
first opened its doors on the 8th of March, 1873. The Porte Saint-Martin
contains 1,800 seats, the Renaissance only 1,200. Started as a dramatic
theatre, with Belot's "Femme de Feu" and Zola's "Thérèse Raquin" in the
bill, it was destined to obtain its chief success as an operetta theatre
with the charming works of Charles Lecoq, including "La petite Mariée,"
"Le petit Duc," etc. In these works Mesdames Théo, Jeanne Granier, and
Zulma Bouffar first appeared.

At the point where the Boulevards St.-Martin and St.-Denis meet stands
the Triumphal Arch known as the Porte St.-Martin, which Louis XIV.
erected in 1674 on the site of the previous Gate, which dated from the
minority of Louis XIII. The Porte St.-Martin faces on the one side the
Rue St.-Martin, and on the other the Faubourg St.-Martin: that is to
say, south and north. The low reliefs decorating the arch on all sides
represent the taking of Besançon, the taking of Limburg, and the defeat
of the Germans, in the form of an eagle repulsed by Mars. The pedestal
bears a Latin inscription, which in English would run thus:--"To Louis
the Great, for having twice taken Besançon and Franche-Comté, and for
having crushed the German, Spanish, and Dutch armies. The Provost of the
Merchants and the Citizens of Paris, 1674."

At the end of the Rue St.-Martin, leading out of the boulevard of that
name, stands the Church of St. Méry, near which a most determined
struggle took place in that insurrection of the 6th of June, 1832,
which was one of the numerous Republican movements directed against
Louis Philippe by the disappointed revolutionists of 1830, who, aiming
at a Republic, had brought about the re-establishment of a Monarchy.
The Republicans received powerful aid from the Bonapartists: these two
parties being at this, as on so many other occasions, ready to unite
against royalty, while reserving to themselves the ultimate decision of
the question whether the Empire or the Republic should be re-established.

The occasion chosen for the outbreak was the funeral of General
Lamarque--equally popular with Bonapartists and Republicans. A number
of enthusiastic young men drew the funeral car, which was followed by
exiles from all parts of Europe. Among the pall-bearers were General
Lafayette, Marshal Clausel, and M. Laffitte. Of the insurgents, some
took part in the procession, while others looked on in expectation of
events that were inevitable. The crowd broke into several gunsmiths'
shops, and finally into the arsenal. Many, too, had brought arms with
them; and after a few hours' fighting the insurgents had gained several
important positions, and determined to attack the bank, the post-office,
and some neighbouring barracks. Their chief object at this moment was to
render inaccessible the Rue Saint-Martin and the surrounding streets.
Here they intended to establish the head-quarters of their insurrection,
without having the slightest notion that at that very instant M.M.
Thiers, Miguet, and other members of the Government were dining together
at the Rocher de Cancale, fifty yards only from the camp wherein the
Republicans were fortifying themselves with the firm resolution of
proclaiming a Republic or dying in the attempt. A remarkable example was
given towards the evening of this day of what M. Louis Blanc calls the
sympathy of the Paris National Guard for heroism, though most persons
would regard it as a proof of incapacity and cowardice.

Eight insurgents, returning from the Place Maubert, presented themselves
towards the decline of day at one of the bridges of the city which was
occupied by a battalion of the National Guard. They authoritatively
claimed their right to go over and join their friends who were fighting
on the other side of the river, and as the guards hesitated to let them
pass, they advanced resolutely towards the bridge at half charge, with
fixed bayonets. The soldiers instantly ranged themselves on either
side, and gave unimpeded passage to these eight men, whose infatuated
heroism they at once admired and, reflecting upon its inevitable result,

The enthusiasm of the insurgents at this period is shown by many a
curious incident, such as that of their moulding bullets from lead
stripped off the roofs of houses; whilst boys, too young to bear
weapons, loaded the guns, using for wadding the police notices they had
torn off the walls, or, when that resource failed, taking the shirts off
their own backs to tear to shreds for the purpose. It was all, however,
a forlorn hope; and the rising was destined to be crushed by superior

More than one reference to the defence of the Cloître St.-Méry will be
found in the novels of Balzac, and a dramatic description of it occurs
in the memoirs of Alexandre Dumas.



THE BOULEVARDS (_continued_).

The Porte St.-Martin--Porte St.-Denis--The Burial Place of the French
Kings--Funeral of Louis XV.--Funeral of the Count de Chambord--Boulevard
Bonne-Nouvelle--Boulevard Poissonnière--Boulevard Montmartre--Frascati.

Just beyond the Porte Saint-Martin the Boulevard Saint-Denis crosses the
great thoroughfare, which is called on one side Boulevard de Sébastopol,
on the other, Boulevard de Strasbourg. The Boulevard de Strasbourg was
so designated (long before the Franco-German war, which suggests quite
another origin for the name) in honour of the city where Prince Louis
Napoleon made his first attempt to restore the Empire in France. The
circumstances of the rash enterprise, represented at the time by the
Government newspapers as merely ridiculous, were sufficiently romantic
to deserve a few words of mention. Quitting his mother, with whom he had
been living at the Castle of Arenberg, in Switzerland, he went as if to
take the waters at Baden-Baden, a place he found suitable to his purpose
from its vicinity to Alsace, and from the opportunity it afforded him
of covering his ambitious views under the mask of pleasure. It was
there that the prince gained the co-operation of Colonel Vaudrey, who
commanded the 4th regiment of artillery at Strasburg, in which frontier
city the prince had resolved to proclaim the restoration of the Empire
before marching towards the capital. The Alsacian democrats were to be
gained over by holding out to them a prospect of a fair representation
of the people, while the garrison of Strasburg was to be captivated by
the cry of "_Vive l'Empereur!_" The citizens were to be summoned to
liberty, and the young men of the schools to arms. The ramparts were
then to be entrusted to the keeping of the national guards, and the
prince was to march to Paris at the head of the troops. "And then," says
Louis Blanc, in his sketch of the project, "the pictures that naturally
presented themselves to the mind of Louis Napoleon were towns surprised,
garrisons carried away by the movement, young men eagerly enlisting
among his adventurous followers, old soldiers quitting the plough from
all quarters to salute the eagle borne aloft, amidst acclamations,
caught up by echo after echo along the roads; bitter recollections of
the invasion, proud memories of the great wars, reviving, meanwhile, in
every part of the Vosges, Lorraine, and Champagne." The ardour of the
conspirators steadily increased, and had they not possessed resolution
and daring of their own, there was a woman in their midst who would
have set them a bold example. Madame Gordon, the daughter of a captain
of the Imperial Guard, had been initiated at Lille into the projects of
Louis Napoleon without the knowledge of the prince himself, and entering
impetuously into the conspiracy, she hastened to Strasburg, or rather
to Baden-Baden in the immediate neighbourhood, and, appearing there
as a professional singer, gave a series of concerts. Prince Louis was
charmed with the lady's talents, and, on expressing his admiration, was
astonished to find that she had come to Baden-Baden with no object but
to help him in the attempt he was about to make on the other side of the

The Strasburg expedition having failed, it pleased the enemies of
the prince to cast ridicule upon it; and he was accused of having
exhibited himself in his uncle's boots, just as some years afterwards,
in connection with the Boulogne expedition, he was said to have carried
with him a trained eagle which at a given moment was to fly to the top
of the Boulogne Column in memory of the Great Army. Both at Boulogne,
however, and at Strasburg the prince had considerable chances of
success: a fact sufficiently proved (apart from any demonstration in
detail) by the popularity he was seen to possess when, in 1848, he
appeared as candidate for the Presidency of the French Republic. At
Strasburg, as afterwards at Boulogne, he did not make his attack until
after he had had the ground thoroughly reconnoitred, and had ascertained
that the troops before whom he was about to present himself were largely
composed of his partisans.

The soldiers of the 4th regiment of artillery were waiting, drawn up
face to face in two lines, with their eyes fixed on Colonel Vaudrey, who
stood alone in the centre of the yard. Suddenly the prince appeared in
the uniform of an artillery officer, and hurried up to the colonel, who
introduced him to the troops, crying out: "Soldiers, a great revolution
begins at this moment. The nephew of the Emperor stands before you.
He comes to place himself at your head. He is here on French soil to
restore to France her glory and her liberty. He is here to conquer
or to die for a great cause--the cause of the people. Soldiers of the
4th regiment of artillery, may the Emperor's nephew reckon on you?" At
these words an indescribable transport seized the troops. As one man
they cried, "_Vive l'Empereur!_" and brandished their arms amid shouts
of enthusiasm. Louis Napoleon, deeply affected, made signs that he
wished to speak. "It was in your regiment," he said, "that the Emperor
Napoleon, my uncle, first saw service; with you he distinguished himself
at the siege of Toulon; it was your brave regiment that opened the gates
of Grenoble to him on his return from the island of Elba. Soldiers,
new destinies are reserved for you!" And, taking the Eagle from an
officer who carried it, "Here," he said, "is the symbol of French glory,
which must henceforth be also the symbol of liberty." The shouts were
redoubled, they mingled with the strains of martial music, and the
regiment prepared to march.


[Illustration: NOTRE-DAME.]

The excitement went on increasing, and cries of "_Vive l'Empereur!_"
filled the air, when suddenly a strange rumour began to spread. It was
said that the self-proclaimed nephew of the emperor was in reality the
nephew of Colonel Vaudrey. The enthusiasts of a second before, lending
ear to the idle whisper, now hesitated; and in revolts the man who
hesitates or meets with hesitation is lost. The people of Strasburg
had shown numerous marks of sympathy for the heir of the first
Napoleon, and many officers and soldiers had espoused his cause. But
the first impulse had received a check, and the power of discipline and
routine soon asserted itself. The question now was, how the heir of the
first Napoleon might escape from the mass of troops by which he was
surrounded. Two of his adherents offered to cut a way for him, sword in
hand; but this wild proposal was naturally rejected, and the prince had
to surrender himself prisoner.


What to do with him, however, was for some time a difficult problem to
the authorities. To try the Prince by an ordinary jury would be awkward,
inasmuch as there was a considerable chance of his acquittal; while it
was already known that if he were brought before the Chamber of Peers,
many members of that august body had declared their resolution not to
sit in judgment upon him. At last it was resolved to send him into
exile. He was not allowed to go back to Switzerland, where he had been
living for some years, and he was ultimately ordered to make America his
destination. It was said that he promised to remain there for not less
than ten years. But there is no proof of any such compact having been
entered into, and the prince was soon to be heard of again in London.

Formerly associated solely with the first attempt of Prince Louis
Napoleon to place himself on the throne of France, the Boulevard
of Strasburg now seems to mark the fact that the Alsatian city, so
thoroughly French in feeling, has been made the capital of a province of
the German Empire.

It has been said that the Boulevard Saint-Denis crosses the Boulevard
de Strasbourg; and it terminates at the Porte Saint-Denis, erected two
years earlier than the Porte Saint-Martin, to which it is superior both
by the boldness of its architecture and by the magnificence of its

The Porte Saint-Denis was constructed in 1672 by the order and at
the expense of the City of Paris, to celebrate the success of that
astonishing campaign in which, during less than sixty days, forty
strongholds and three provinces fell before the armies of the victorious
monarch. The town side of the arch bears, on the left, a colossal figure
of Holland, on the right, another of the Rhine: two masterpieces, due to
the chisel of the Auguier Brothers. At the top of the arch is a frieze
representing in low relief the famous passage of the Rhine under the
orders of Louis XIV. On the Faubourg side the low relief at the top of
the arch represents the taking of Maestricht. The Porte Saint-Denis
bears this simple inscription: "_Ludovico Magno_"--"To Louis the Great."

At the end of the Rue Faubourg Saint-Denis is the necropolis of
Saint-Denis--the burial-place of the French kings.

The obsequies of French kings have from the earliest times been attended
with as much pomp and show as their coronations. It was not enough
to embalm the body, place it in several coffins, and finally carry
it to the royal burial place at Saint-Denis--to observe an elaborate
ceremonial, which the Court functionaries and the officials of State
followed out to the minutest detail; the effigy of the dead king was
exposed for forty days in the palace, stretched on a State bed, clothed
in royal garments, the crown on the head, the sceptre in the right hand,
and the brand of justice on the left, with a crucifix, a vessel of holy
water, and two golden censers at the foot of the couch. The officers of
the palace, meanwhile, continued their duties as usual, and even went
so far as to serve the king's meals as though he were still living. The
embalmed body was afterwards transported to the Abbey of Saint-Denis,
with the innumerable formalities laid down beforehand; while at the
interment so many honours were paid to it that to enumerate them would
be to fill a small volume. The details of the ceremony were so minute
and fastidious that battles of etiquette constantly took place among the
exalted persons figuring in the assembly.

At the burial of Philip Augustus, the Papal Legate and the Archbishop
of Rheims disputed for precedence; and as neither would give way, they
performed service at the same time in the same church, but at different
altars. A like scandal occurred at the funeral of St. Louis. When his
successor, Philip III., wished to enter the Abbey of Saint-Denis at the
head of the procession, the doors were closed in his face. The abbot
objected to the presence, not of the king, his master, but of the Bishop
of Paris and the Archbishop of Sens, whom he had observed among the
officiating clergy, and who, according to his view, had no right to
perform service in the Abbey of Saint-Denis, where he alone was chief.
The difference was arranged by the archbishop and bishop stripping
themselves of their pontifical garments, and acknowledging the supremacy
of the abbot in his own sanctuary.

At the death of Charles VI. it was found necessary to consult the Duke
of Bedford as to the conduct of the funeral ceremony, and under the
direction of the foreigner it was performed with great magnificence. The
duke observed as nearly as possible the ancient ceremonial, the only
important variation being that (possibly in his character of Englishman)
he ordered the interment to be followed by a grand dinner. Even at the
dinner--where, at least, concord might have been expected--there were
absurd wranglings on points of etiquette between the State officials.

These royal funerals naturally cost enormous sums of money, which were
charged partly to the Crown, partly to the City of Paris. The obsequies
of Francis I. took five hundred thousand livres from the purse of his
successor, without counting the contribution, probably of equal amount,
from the town. The effigies of his two sons who had died before him
were carried with his own relics to Saint-Denis. Thus there were three
coffins in the procession. By the observance of a similar custom, there
were in the funeral procession of St. Louis no fewer than five.

At the interments of the old kings genuine grief was often exhibited
by the people. Such, however, was not the case at the obsequies of
Louis XIV. The Duke de Saint-Simon, in his _Memoirs_, speaks of this
funeral as a very poor affair, remarkable only for the confused style
in which it was conducted. The king had left no directions in regard to
his burial; and partly for the sake of economy, partly to save trouble,
it was decided to regulate the ceremonies by those observed at the
interment of Louis XIII., who, in his will, had ordered that they should
be as simple as possible. "His modesty and humility, like the other
Christian and heroic qualities he possessed, had not," says Saint-Simon,
"descended to his son. But the funeral of Louis XIII. was accepted as a
precedent, and no one saw the slightest objection to it, attachment and
gratitude being virtues which had ceased to exist." Nor did the Duke
of Orleans pay a flattering tribute to the royal memory, when, regent
though he had only just become, he absented himself from the ceremony
of carrying the king's heart to the Grand Jesuits: "that heart," says
Saint-Simon, "which loved no one, and which excited so little love."

In addition to the usual distribution of alms, the Regent of Orleans
associated the funeral of Louis XIV. with an exceptional act of mercy. A
number of persons had been arbitrarily imprisoned on _lettres de cachet_
and otherwise, some for Jansenism and various religious and political
offences, others for reasons known only to the king or his former
ministers. The regent ordered all the captives to be set at liberty,
with the exception of a few who had been duly convicted of serious
political or criminal misdeeds. Among the prisoners liberated from
the Bastille was an Italian whose confinement had lasted thirty-five
years, and who had been arrested the very day of his arrival at Paris,
which he had come to see simply as a traveller. "No one ever knew why,"
says Saint-Simon; "nor, like most of the others, had he ever been
interrogated. It was thought to be a mistake. When his liberty was
announced to him, he asked sadly of what use it was to him. He said that
he had not a child, that he knew no one at Paris, nor even the name of
a street, that his relations in Italy were probably dead, and that his
property must have been divided among his heirs, on the supposition
that he was dead. He asked to be allowed to remain at the Bastille for
the rest of his life, with board and lodging. This was granted to him,
with liberty to go out when he pleased. As for the prisoners released
from the dungeons into which the hatred of the Ministers and that of the
Jesuits had thrown them, the horrible condition in which they appeared
inspired horror, and rendered credible all the cruelties they related
when they were in full liberty." The story of the Italian prisoner
who declined to leave the Bastille is interesting from its having
anticipated--perhaps it suggested--the one told by another prisoner on
the occasion of the Bastille being taken by the Revolutionists in 1789.

The funeral of Louis XV. was a very hurried affair. The king died
on the 10th of May, at twenty minutes past three. The whole Court
instantly took flight, and there only remained with the body a few
persons required for the care of it. The utmost precipitation was used
in removing it from Versailles. None of the usual formalities were
observed. Everyone was afraid to go near the body--undertakers, like
the rest, feared the small-pox, of which the king had died--and the
corpse was carried to Saint-Denis in an ordinary travelling carriage,
under the care of forty members of the body-guard and a few pages. The
escort hurried on the dead man in the most indecent manner, and all
along the road the greatest levity was shown by the spectators. The
public-houses were filled with uproarious guests; and it is said that
when the landlord of one of them tried to silence a troublesome customer
by reminding him that the king was about to pass, the man replied: "The
rogue starved us in his lifetime. Does he want us to perish of thirst
now that he is dead?" A jest different in style, but showing equally in
what esteem Louis XV. was held by his subjects, is attributed to the
Abbé of Sainte-Geneviève. Being taunted with the powerlessness of his
saint and the little effect which the opening of his shrine, formerly
so efficacious, had produced, he replied: "What, gentlemen, have you to
complain of? Is he not dead?"

The last of the Bourbons buried at Saint-Denis was Louis XVIII., whose
obsequies were conducted as nearly as possible on the ancient regal
pattern. The exhibition of the king's effigy in wax had in Louis
XVIII.'s time been out of fashion for more than a century. But the
customs observed in connection with the lying-in-state of Louis XIV.
were for the most part revived. The king, who died on the 16th of
September, 1824, was embalmed, and on the 18th his body was exposed on
a State bed in the hall of the throne. His bowels and heart had been
enclosed in caskets of enamel. The exhibition of the body lasted six
days, during which it was constantly surrounded by the officers of
the Crown and the superior clergy. The translation of the remains to
St.-Denis took place on the 23rd, in the midst of an imposing civil
and military procession. The princes of the blood and grand officers
of State occupied fourteen mourning coaches, each with eight horses,
and the tail of the procession was formed by 400 poor men and women
bearing torches. Received at the entrance to the church by the Dean
of the Royal Chapter and the Grand Almoner of France, the body was
placed on trestles in the chancel, while prayers were recited by the
clergy. It was afterwards removed to an illuminated chapel, where it
lay exposed for a whole month, the chapter performing services night
and day. The interment took place on the 25th of October. The grand
almoner celebrated a solemn mass; and after the Gospel a funeral oration
was pronounced by the Bishop of Hermopolis. Then four bishops uttered
a benediction over the body, and absolution was pronounced; twelve of
the body-guard thereupon carrying the coffin down to the royal vault,
where the grand almoner cast a shovelful of earth on it, and blessed
it, saying: "_Requiescat in pace_." The king-at-arms approached the
open vault, threw into it his wand, helmet, and coat-of-arms, ordered
the other heralds to imitate him, and calling up the grand officers of
the Crown, told them to bring the insignia of the authority they held
from the defunct king. Each came in succession with the object entrusted
to his care: such as the banner of the royal guard, the flags of the
body-guard, the spurs, the gauntlets, the shield, the coat-of-arms, the
helm, the pennon, the brand of justice, the sceptre, and the crown. The
royal sword and banner were only presented at the mouth of the vault.
The Grand Master of France now inclined the end of his staff towards the
coffin, and cried in a loud voice: "The king is dead!" The king-at-arms,
taking three steps backwards, repeated in the same tone: "The king is
dead; the king is dead!" Then, turning towards the persons assembled,
he added: "Let us now pray to God for the repose of his soul." The
clergy and all present fell on their knees, prayed, and then stood up.
The grand master next drew back his staff, raised it in the air, and
exclaimed: "Long live the king!" The king-at-arms repeated: "Long live
the king! Long live the king! Long live King Charles, the tenth of the
name, by the grace of God King of France and of Navarre; very Christian,
very august, very powerful; our honoured lord and master, to whom may
God grant a life long and happy. Cry all 'Long live the king! Long live
Charles X.!'" The tomb was closed, and the ceremony was at an end.

At the funeral of the Count de Chambord the hearse was surmounted
by a dome, on which rested four crowns. It was not explained what
kingdoms these crowns were intended to represent. As the head of the
House of France, the right of the count, heraldically speaking, to
wear the French crown would scarcely be disputed. The four symbolical
crowns on the count's hearse were possibly, then, meant to be simple
reminders that the Bourbons claimed sovereign rights over four different
countries; and in the days of Louis Philippe they indeed reigned in
France, Spain, Naples, and Parma. But the Revolution of 1848 in France
and the war of 1859 in Italy cleared three thrones of their Bourbon
occupants, and the last of the reigning Bourbons disappeared when, in
1868, Isabella of Spain fled from Madrid. Thus, in the course of twenty
years the four Bourbon crowns lost all real significance; and the
Bourbon sovereigns had simply increased the numbers of those "kings in
exile," so much more plentiful during the period of M. Alphonse Daudet
than at that of Voltaire, who first observed them, in _Candide_, as a
separate species.

Now that the Comte de Chambord reposes by the side of his grandfather,
Charles X., there are as many of the Bourbons buried at Göritz as at
Saint-Denis, where, in the burial-place of the French kings, the only
really authentic bodies are those of the Duke of Berri, the Count of
Chambord's father, and Louis XVIII., his great-uncle. In regard to the
later occupants of the French throne, it is at least certain where they
are interred; Napoleon I. at the Invalides, Louis Philippe at Claremont,
Napoleon III. at Chiselhurst, and the last two representatives of the
Bourbons at Göritz. The first of the Bourbons, Henri IV., as likewise
his successors, Louis XIII., Louis XIV., and Louis XV., were buried at
Saint-Denis, in the vault known as that of the Bourbons; and to the
coffins still supposed to contain their remains were added, after the
Restoration, two more, reputed--without adequate foundation for the
belief--to hold the bodies of Louis XVI. and of the child who died in
the Temple--the so-called Louis XVII. The body of the Duke of Berri was
laid in the vault of the Bourbons a few days after his assassination in
1820; and that of Louis XVIII. was consigned to the same resting-place
in 1824. But in 1793 the tombs of the French kings had been dismantled,
and their contents re-interred promiscuously in two large graves,
hastily dug for the purpose; and the identity of the bones asserted to
be those of Louis XVI. and Louis XVII., which were not placed in the
Bourbon vault of the Saint-Denis church until 1815, could scarcely be


"To celebrate the 10th of August, which marks the downfall of the French
Throne, we must, on its anniversary," said Barrère, in his report
addressed to the French Convention, "destroy the splendid mausoleums at
Saint-Denis. Under the monarchy the very tombs had learned to flatter
the kings. Their haughtiness, their love of display, could not be
subdued even on the theatre of death; and the sceptre-bearers who have
done so much harm to France and to humanity seem even in the grave to
be proud of their vanished greatness. The powerful hand of the Republic
must efface without pity those arrogant epitaphs and demolish those
mausoleums which would revive the frightful recollections of the kings."

The proposition of Barrère was adopted, and the National Assembly
decreed "that the tombs and mausoleums of the former kings in the
Church of Saint-Denis should be destroyed." The execution of the
decree was undertaken on the 6th of August, and three days afterwards
thirty-one tombs had been swept away. Not the least remarkable of
these tombs was the earliest, erected by St. Louis in honour of "Le
Roi Dagobert," of facetious memory, famed in song for having put on
his breeches "à l'envers." It is one of the most curious monuments of
the thirteenth century, and at least as interesting for its subject as
for its architecture. On three zones, superposed one upon the other,
is represented the legend of Dagobert's death. On the lowest zone we
see St. Denis revealing to a sleeping anchorite, named Jean, that King
Dagobert is suffering torments; and close by, the soul of Dagobert,
represented by a naked child bearing a crown, is being maltreated by
demons, frightfully ugly, who hold their prey in a boat. In the middle
zone, the same demons are running precipitately from the boat, in the
most grotesque attitudes, at the approach of the three saints, Denis,
Martin, and Maurice, who have come to rescue the soul of King Dagobert.
In the highest of the bas-reliefs the soul of King Dagobert is free. The
naked child is now standing in a winding-sheet, of which the two ends
are held by St. Denis and St. Martin; and angels are awaiting him in
heaven, whither he is about to ascend. The commission appointed by the
Convention did not destroy this tomb. They had it transported, with many
other objects of artistic and intrinsic value, to Paris.

The last King of France and of Navarre died on the 6th of July, 1836,
and it was not until nine days afterwards that the fact was made known
to the French public through the columns of the _Gazette de France_.
The heart of Charles X. was, according to royal custom, separated from
the body; though, instead of being preserved apart, as in the case of
former French kings, it was enclosed in a box of enamel, and fastened
with screws to the top of the coffin. The Comte de Chambord, on the
other hand, was buried in the ordinary manner, and not, like Charles X.,
with his heart on the coffin lid; nor, like Louis XVIII., with his heart
in one place and his body in another. The dead, according to the German
ballad, "ride fast." But the living move still faster; and in France,
almost as much as in England, the separation of a heart from the body,
to be kept permanently as a relic, is in the present day a process which
seems to savour of ancient times, though, as a matter of fact, it was
common enough among the French at the end of the last century. In our
own country the discontinuance of what was at one time as much a custom
in England as in France, or any other continental land, is probably
due to the influence of the Reformation, which, condemning absolutely
the adoration of the relics of saints, did not favour the respectful
preservation of relics of any kind. Great was the astonishment caused in
England when in the last generation it was found that Daniel O'Connell
had by will ordered his heart to be sent to Rome. The injunction was
made at the time the subject of an epigram, intended to be offensive,
but which would probably have been regarded by O'Connell himself as
flattering: setting forth, as it did, that the heart which was to be
forwarded to Rome had never in fact been anywhere else. The reasons for
which in the Middle Ages hearts were enclosed in precious urns may have
been very practical. Sometimes the owner of the heart had died far from
home, and in accordance with his last wishes, the organ associated with
all his noblest emotions was sent across the seas to his living friends.
Such may well have been the case when, after the death of St. Louis at
Tunis, the heart of the pious king was transmitted to France, where it
was preserved for centuries--perhaps even until our own time--in La
Sainte Chapelle. In the year 1798, while some masons were engaged in
repairing the building which had been converted into a depôt for State
archives, they came across a heart-shaped casket in lead, containing
what was described as "the remains of a human heart." The custodians of
the archives drew up a formal report on the discovery, and enclosing
it in the casket with the relics, replaced the casket beneath the
flagstones whence it had been disinterred. In 1843, when the chapel
was restored, the leaden heart-shaped receptacle was found anew, and a
commission was appointed to decide as to the genuineness of the remains,
believed to be those of St. Louis. An adverse decision was pronounced,
the reasons for discrediting the legend on the subject being fully set
forth by M. Letrenne, the secretary of the commission.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle, which comes next to the Boulevard
Saint-Denis, is bounded on the right by the Faubourg Poissonnière,
and on the left by the Butte aux Gravois, on which was built in the
seventeenth century the quarter named, after its parochial church,
Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle. The Bonne Nouvelle Bazaar, constructed
in the reign of Louis Philippe, contained, in the basement, a sort of
theatre of considerable size, where, in 1848, several political clubs
and other conventions were established. Here on one particular day,
arriving together by opposite staircases, Victor Hugo and Frédéric
Lemaître would present themselves at the speaker's desk erected for
political orators. Ultimately, but not without some hesitation, the
interpreter of Ruy Blas gave way to the creator of the part. The object
of the assembly was to constitute in a permanent way a club for Parisian
writers and artists of the dramatic and other schools. Close by, at No.
26, is the Viennese beer-house, established on the site of the theatre
opened in 1838, where the company of the old Vaudeville Theatre took
refuge when, on the 18th of July in that year, they were burnt out.

There is now but one theatre on the Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle--that of
the Gymnase, opened on the 20th of December, 1820, under the patronage
of the Duchess of Berri, who four years afterwards allowed it to take
the title of "Théâtre de Madame," which it retained until the Revolution
of 1830. It was then entitled the "Gymnase Théâtre Dramatique,"
afterwards to be known simply as the Gymnase. For the last seventy years
the Gymnase has been one of the very best theatres of the second order,
ranking immediately after the theatres subventioned by the State. It
was at the Gymnase that Scribe made his brilliant reputation with a
long succession of little masterpieces, until at length he was followed
by Alexandre Dumas the younger, who here produced "Le Demi-Monde,"
"Diane de Lys," and many other pieces less imposing, perhaps, but more
thoughtful and more powerfully written than those of his predecessor.
It was at the Gymnase, too, that Sardou brought out many of his best
pieces, such as "Les Ganaches," "La Perle noire," "Nos bons Villageois,"
and "Fernande." This theatre, moreover, was the birthplace of Meilhac
and Halévy's "Frou-Frou."

The first house on the Boulevard Poissonnière, at the corner of the
street of that name, bears an inscription which fixes at this point the
boundary of Paris in 1726, though by some authorities 1726 is said to
have been substituted for the true year in which the boundaries of Paris
were marked--namely, 1702.

With the last house on the Boulevard Poissonnière, at the corner of the
Faubourg Montmartre, begins a whole series of celebrated restaurants.
As the origin of this familiar word is not universally known, it may
here be mentioned that it originated with an eating-house keeper,
who inscribed above his establishment in large letters the following
passage from the Gospel: "Venite ad me et ego 'Restorabo' vos." This
restaurateur, or restaurant-keeper, had imitators, and the name which
his quotation had suggested was applied to all of them. Paul Brébant,
known as the _restaurateur des lettres_, has fed more than one
generation of authors and journalists, who have not neglected him on
becoming senators or ministers. A great number of monthly entertainments
are given at this restaurant. Here dine together the Society of Men of
Letters, the Dramatic Critics' Club, the Parisians, the Spartans, etc.
Passing on, we next reach the ancient café of the Porte Montmartre,
installed in the house which once belonged to the Marchioness de Genlis,
sister-in-law of the authoress who superintended the education of the
Orleans princes.

Close by is the bazaar or arcade known as the Passage des Panoramas,
which owes its name to a series of panoramas representing Paris, Lyons,
London, and Naples, established here, under special privilege, by Robert
Fulton, the inventor of steamers. The money which he made by exhibiting
the panoramas enabled him to continue his experiments in marine
locomotion. To the left of the Passage des Panoramas was a strip of
land, on which, in 1806, the Théâtre des Variétés was built. This little
theatre, which, under the name of Variétés Montansier, occupied the site
where now stands the Théâtre du Palais Royal, had committed the offence
of attracting the public and filling its coffers with gold, while the
Comédie Française, close to it, had scarcely been able to make both ends
meet. The famous theatre where, at that time, the principal actor was
Talma and the principal actress Mlle. Mars, uttered a formal complaint;
and the liberty of the stage being then at an end, the Théâtre des
Variétés was expelled from the Palais Royal, but allowed to take refuge
in a new house built especially for it on the before-mentioned strip of

For many years the Théâtre des Variétés undertook to amuse the public
with the lightest comedies, in which such actors as Brunet, Potier,
Vernet, and Odry, such actresses as Flore and Jenny Vertpré appeared.
After the Revolution of July, 1830, it made experiments in a more
serious style, producing, for instance, the "Kean" of Dumas the elder,
with Frédéric Lemaître in the principal character, and Bressant in
the part of the Prince of Wales. Under the Second Empire the Variétés
returned to its old trade, besides adopting an entirely new one--that
of opera-bouffe, as cultivated by Offenbach. Here the earliest and best
works of this master, such as "La belle Hélène" and the "Grand Duchess
of Gerolstein," were first performed, with Schneider and Dupuis in
the principal parts. Here, too, some of the best comedies of Meilhac,
Halévy, and Labiche were brought out.

The Boulevard Montmartre, in front of the Variétés, is the most animated
part of the whole line of boulevards. The late Henri Dupin, the famous
boulevardier, who died a centenarian, used to pretend that he had shot
rabbits between the Rue Montmartre and the adjoining Rue Richelieu. This
was doubtless an exaggeration. But a representation of this part of
Paris, painted in the days of the First Empire, shows that at the point
in question there were ditches intersecting a road lined with trees.
The Boulevard Montmartre combines some of the features of the upper and
of the lower boulevard, the shops which here abound offering for sale
objects of use and of ornament, of interest and of luxury: clothes,
bonnets, books, chocolate, bonbons, and music.


At the corner of the Boulevard Montmartre and the Rue Vivienne stood
the famous public gambling-house of Frascati, where, until the reign of
Louis Philippe, as at a similar establishment in the Palais Royal, games
of hazard were publicly played. These gambling-houses bore an important,
and often, no doubt, disastrous part in the social life of the French
capital, and innumerable anecdotes have been told of the sums lost and
won within their walls.

Both comedy and tragedy bore a part in the scenes produced by the
fascinating cards. Materials for a farce might be found in one scene,
in which Mlle. Contat, the famous actress, figured. She was far too
beautiful to want, even from her girlhood, a host of admirers. Her first
love affair was sufficiently unfortunate. The successful suitor was
a certain M. de Lubsac, an officer in the king's household. He was a
man of inferior birth, with an empty purse; but he was as handsome as
Apollo, and a wit into the bargain. He laid such persistent siege to the
actress that she at length yielded in sheer weakness to his importunity.
De Lubsac was distinguished by two vices: he loved wine and cards. His
passion for play was so reckless that one night he staked his beautiful
mistress, or at least put to hazard the whole of her diamonds and
trinkets. He lost; and the next day, just as Mlle. Contat was about to
attend a _fête_, she looked for her jewellery in vain. The caskets were
all empty; a clean sweep had been made of everything. She set up a cry
of "Thieves!" and called in the police. De Lubsac thought it discreet
to silence her by a free confession of his "fault." He admitted that
he had pledged the whole of the missing property. She was furious, and
De Lubsac expressed the deepest contrition. "Ah!" he cried, wringing
his hands, "if I only had a few louis at this moment I could repair
everything!" "How?" cried Mlle. Contat, with a sudden gleam of hope.
"Why, to-night," replied Lubsac, "I feel that my luck is in. I should
win everything back. But I have not a solitary sou." The repentance of
the criminal was so comic that it touched the actress's heart. Presently
she smiled, then she laughed outright. In the end she lent the gambler
a couple of louis, the last she had in the world, and he hurried off to
the gaming-table. In less than an hour he returned triumphant. He had
won. He brought back the whole of the jewellery, which he had taken out
of pawn, and he had a few louis in his pocket besides. It was impossible
to be too severe with such a man. The actress, however, could not put up
with him many months. He at length proved such a desperate rake that she
dismissed him in disgust.


Every reader of Balzac's invaluable novels will remember one or more
scenes in which some public gambling establishment is introduced. At
the Frascati people lost their money according to rule, and under the
superintendence of the police. Nor did the spendthrifts who haunted it
cease to play even when ruin began to stare them in the face, for an
occasional piece of luck would always revive the delusion that one day
the goddess Fortune would return them the sums they had squandered in
wooing her. Attached to the Frascati gambling-house were illuminated
gardens, imitated from those of the Italian Ridotto, and largely
resorted to, under the Directory and the Consulate, by fashionable
citizens. The original proprietor of the Frascati establishment, Garchi
by name, died insolvent. The place was seized, and in 1799 passed into
the hands of one Perrin, whom Fouché, the celebrated minister of police,
appointed Farmer-General of Games. Public gambling-houses were kept up
in Paris until the year 1836, when, under Louis Philippe, the "Citizen
King," they were brought to an end.

With the Frascati Gardens disappeared the charming villa built by
Brongniart, with its Italian roof, its portico, and its statues. It was
replaced by a house which was to enjoy a celebrity of its own. On the
ground-floor it was occupied by Jannisset, the fashionable jeweller; on
the first floor by Buisson the tailor, who had the honour of dressing
Balzac, the greatest novelist that France, if not the world, has
produced. Balzac had inspired the man with the same sort of admiration
that a certain wine-merchant felt for the unfortunate Haydon. "Ought a
man who can paint like that to be in want of a glass of sherry?" said
Haydon to the art loving vintner who had come to ask for a settlement
of his bill. "Indeed, no," replied the wine-merchant, who not only
went away without asking even for a trifle on account, but hastened
to forward several dozen of sherry for Haydon's encouragement and

Buisson was treated by Balzac on the most friendly footing. Not only
did the great novelist allow the fashionable tailor to dress him for
nothing, but he also paid him long visits, and used a special set of
apartments assigned to him in a lofty region of Buisson's house, where
in the midst of the workshops he was beyond the reach of troublesome
creditors. Far from being ungrateful to his benefactor, Balzac has
rendered him immortal by naming him again and again in his works.
Buisson will, thanks to Honoré de Balzac, be always known as the
fashionable tailor of Louis Philippe's reign.

The name of Frascati at one time belonged to the present Boulevard
Montmartre. It is still retained by the pastrycook who sells ices and
tarts in his shop at the corner of the boulevard. It should be mentioned
that this pastrycook's shop was preceded by the Café Frascati, which
owed its success entirely to the beauty of the lady who presided at
the counter. When the _dame du comptoir_ disappeared the café became
deserted, and had to close its doors.




The Café Littéraire--Café Procope--Café Foy--Bohemian Cafés--Café
Momus--The Death of Molière--New Year's Gifts.

The history of France is in a large degree the history of its cafés;
and the French might well retort that the history of England is to be
read in its tavern signs. On the connection between our tavern signs
and our naval and military heroes it would be superfluous to insist.
We have, it is true, our Dogs and Ducks, our Geese and Gridirons, our
Bells and Horns, but we have also our Admiral Keppels, our Wellington
Arms, our Napier's Heads; and taking them altogether, the names of our
hostelries indicate the various epochs of their origin in a remarkable
manner. Another characteristic of the British tavern sign as compared
with the French _enseigne_, whether of the café, the restaurant, or the
tobacco-shop, is the permanency of the former. Who ever heard of the
"Earl of Chatham" being converted into the "Sir Robert Peel," or of
"Lord Nelson" turning into "Sir Charles Napier"? Just the contrary takes
place in France, where all the cafés, tobacco-shops, theatres, steamers,
and even omnibuses that rejoice in what may be called representative
titles, change their signs and their appellations with each successive

But it is above all in the cafés proper that the history of France is to
be read; and not the political history alone, for it can be shown that
they also reflect every social, literary, and commercial change that
takes place in the French metropolis. The _demoiselle du comptoir_ in
the more popular quarters of Paris is herself an important historical
figure, appearing as she did during the African war as an Algérienne, in
the days of the Second Republic as a priestess of Liberty, and during
the siege of Sebastopol as a Tartar girl of the Crimea. But she is a
political rather than a social index. Such also were the United Cooks,
whose miserable _gargotes_ flourished during the Liberty, Equality, and
Fraternity period, with their _boeuf à la République_, their _agneau
à la Robespierre_, their _veau à la baïonnette_, and their _mouton à la
sauce rouge_. It would be difficult to say which of these was the most
economical, or, above all, the most indigestible.

Far different were the restaurants and cafés whose titles and interior
arrangements might be looked upon as indicative of the social and
intellectual movement of the nation. Of these, the most remarkable
have, at various periods, been the huge Literary Café on the Boulevard
Bonne-Nouvelle, the Electric Cafés--of which there were at one time
several--between the Porte Saint-Martin and the Théâtre Lyrique, and the
Café Oriental, near the Boulevard du Temple. Most provincial Frenchmen
and foreigners who have visited Paris in the character of sight-seers
have been conducted to the dreary Café des Aveugles, and probably to
the absurd Café des Singes; but it is only those who have wandered idly
about the boulevards, careless how they might be devoured, that can have
found their way to the Literary, the Electric, or the Oriental Café.

The Café Littéraire (to go back to some ancient notes made on the
subject by the present writer) "was a building of which it would be
little to say that it was more magnificent than an English palace. Above
the portico the title of the establishment, in gigantic letters and in
striking relief, was conspicuous. The stone staircase which led to the
entrance was so imposing that as you ascended it you instinctively put
your hand in your pocket to assure yourself that you had a respectable
number of francs at your disposal. In the vestibule stood two officials;
one the under-waiter, the other the sub-editor of the establishment.
'Does monsieur wish to eat?' 'Does monsieur wish to read?' said the two
functionaries at the same moment. Anxious to offend neither, and not
possessing the art of eating and reading simultaneously, we replied that
we wished to play billiards. 'You will find the professor and tables
in abundance on the first floor,' said the under-waiter. 'Allow me to
present you with the _carte_ of my department;' and he handed me an
ordinary _carte du jour_. 'Here is the _carte_ of the department with
which I have the honour to be connected,' said the sub-editor, giving
me at the same time an astounding unheard-of literary bill of fare,
with poetic dishes by Lamartine and Victor Hugo, and prose _entrées_
by the elder Dumas, Soulié, and George Sand. At the foot of the _menu_
were printed the following General Rules:--Every customer spending a
franc in this establishment is entitled to one volume of any work, to
be selected at will from our vast collection; or in that proportion
up to the largest sum he may expend. N.B.--To avoid delay, gentleman
consumers who may require an entire romance are requested to name their
author with the soup.' After dining we repaired to the billiard-room and
played a couple of games, for which two francs and a half were charged.
Having paid the debt, and received a voucher for the sum, we were waited
on by the editor-in-chief. In strict justice, the voucher entitled
us to two volumes and a half, but the editor assured us that it was
contrary to the rules of the establishment to serve less than an entire
_livraison_. To ask for half a livraison, he said, was like ordering
half a mutton-chop or half a lemonade."

The establishment of the Café Littéraire was contemporaneous with the
first issue, on a large scale, of three-franc volumes and four-sou
_livraisons_, with liberty of the Press, open discussion, and the
ascendency of literary men in connection with politics. As a natural
consequence of this general intellectual activity, a taste for popular
science arose, which the astronomer on the Pont-Neuf, with his long
telescope and his interminable orations, was unable to satisfy.

The electric cafés instituted at this period were sufficiently curious
establishments. A thirsty Parisian entering one of them for the first
time in his life, found himself in a place which resembled a buffet more
than a café, and in which the most remarkable object was an enormous
metal counter. Having swallowed his beverage, he proceeded to place his
piece of money on the counter, when, to his astonishment, he received a
violent shock in the right arm, which probably caused him to drop the
coin as if it were red-hot. "I have had an electric shock!" he would
exclaim to some frequenter lounging near him. "Impossible!" would be
the reply. "You must have knocked your funny-bone against the edge
of the counter." Protesting that he had received a galvanic shock,
the victim was assured by the lounger, who had been lying in wait for
his joke, that he had simply been electrified by the charms of the
young lady behind the counter, just as a theatrical audience is said
to be electrified by an actress or _prima donna_. Again, however, on
receiving his change the new customer experienced a sharp shock, being
the more astonished inasmuch as the _habitués_ present put down and
took up their money evidently without feeling the electric current.
Then he went away mystified, to return, perhaps, later in the evening
with an inexperienced friend, whom, partly from curiosity, partly in
a spirit of mischief, he led up to the counter. His friend no sooner
touched it than he started back electrified, but he himself found that
he could this time touch it with impunity. He had now obviously been
admitted amongst the initiated; and when he had gone on drinking and
spending enough to entitle him to confidence, the beautiful _demoiselle
du comptoir_ condescended to explain to him the entire mystery. At the
foot of the metal counter was a piece of strip iron connected with one
of the wires of a galvanic battery, the other wire communicating with
the counter itself. When any of the initiated touched the counter the
presiding goddess stopped the current, which only novices were intended
to feel. The whole device was simply employed to amuse customers. The
electric counters became very popular, and had rapidly spread all over
Paris, when the Government, thinking probably that such practical jokes
might sometimes be carried too far, absolutely suppressed the _cafés

A whole chapter might be devoted to the literary cafés of Paris, much
more numerous than ever were the literary coffee-houses of London in
the last century. The first Paris café destined to identify itself with
literature was the Café Procope, so called from the name of its founder,
Procopio Cultelli, who, in the earliest days of coffee-drinking among
the French and among Europeans generally, installed himself at No. 13,
Rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain, opposite the Comédie Française. The wily
Sicilian had evidently opened his coffee-house in view of the French
actors. But it was the authors who became its principal frequenters;
first the dramatists connected with the Comédie Française, and
afterwards authors of all kinds. In France, however, there are scarcely
any authors who do not at least try their hand at dramatic writing.
Neither Crébillon, with his _Catalina_, nor Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, with
_Jason_, nor Piron, with _Fernand Cortez_, nor Diderot, with _Le Fils
naturel_, nor Voltaire, with so many celebrated plays, can be regarded
solely or specially as dramatists; yet all of them contributed to the
French theatre, and all are remembered among the frequenters of the
Café Procope.

The Café Procope was still at the height of its reputation when,
in 1784, Beaumarchais' _Marriage of Figaro_ was produced; and it
was the scene of a great literary gathering immediately before the
representation of that famous comedy. After the Revolution, however, it
gradually lost its character as a literary centre.


And now the Comédie Française crossed the water--an unmistakable sign
that the left bank no longer possessed its ancient importance, and that
everything not already to be found on the right bank was gradually
moving to that favoured shore. The Café Procope still exists, but it has
quite lost its old literary character; nor is it much frequented even
by the students, who on the left bank form so important a part of the

The Café de la Régence owes its name to the period in which it was
established. Haunted as it was by chess-players, it was nevertheless
the resort of distinguished writers, with Voltaire, d'Alembert, and
Marmontel amongst them. Here Diderot sat side by side with the Emperor
Joseph II. Robespierre looked in now and then to have a game of chess,
and among other occasional visitors of distinction was the youthful
General Bonaparte. Nor, from the list of the modern frequenters of the
Café de la Régence, must Méry or Alfred de Musset be omitted.

Close to the Café de la Régence stood the Café Foy, celebrated under
the Regency for its beautiful _dame du comptoir_, of whom the Duke
of Orleans became desperately enamoured. It was from this cafe that
Camille Desmoulins, on the 12th of July, 1789, marched forth to begin
the attack which ended in the overthrow of the ancient _régime_.
Until its demolition, not many years ago, the Café Foy was known as
one of the very few cafés in Paris where smoking was not allowed. In
ancient days cafés were broadly divided into cafés simply so called
and _cafés-estaminets_; and in the latter only, as in a beer-house,
could the customer smoke. The Café Foy was at one time greatly in
favour with old gentlemen, dating from a now remote period, when the
smoking of tobacco was considered not altogether (in Byronic language)
a "gentlemanly vice." The Café Foy was known, moreover, by a certain
swallow painted on the ceiling by Carle Vernet (father of the more
celebrated Horace Vernet). He was lunching there one day with a joyous
party of friends, when a bottle of champagne was opened, of which the
cork struck the ceiling and left a mark there. To compensate for this
mishap, the famous painter ordered a ladder to be brought in, and
hurriedly, but with consummate art, painted a swallow where the cork had
struck. Years passed, and still the swallow remained fresh. The form and
colour of the bird were renewed from time to time by other painters; but
to the sight-seer, as informed by the waiters of the café, it was always
the very swallow that had been painted in the midst of a champagne
luncheon by Carle Vernet. It was as clear and bright as ever when at
last it disappeared with the ceiling it had so long adorned.

Close to the Café Foy stood the Café des Aveugles, with an orchestra
of blind men as its distinctive feature. It seems at that period to
have been thought strange that blind men should be able to perform on
musical instruments. In the present day no _virtuoso_ of any pretension
plays with notes; though those, no doubt, are the least blind who do not
pride themselves on disregarding what may well be a valuable, if not
indispensable, aid to memory. A traditional figure associated with the
orchestra of blind musicians was a so-called "savage": some personage,
that is to say, from one of the Paris faubourgs, disguised with
feathers, paint, and tattooing.

After the Revolution the cafés became more and more political. Under
the Republic, as in a less degree under the Empire, there had been no
opposition cafés. But with the Restoration some freedom of thought
returned. Imperialism had its head-quarters at the Café Leinblin, where
the officers of the _Grande Armée_ exchanged ideas on the subject of
the humiliations undergone by France now that the great Napoleon was
an exile, and that power was vested in the hands, not of a military
dictator, but of a mere Parliament, with a constitutional king as
figure-head. At the Café Foy congregated the Liberals of the new
_régime_; at the Café Valois came together the Royalists, who believed
in nothing but the throne and the altar as maintained under the ancient

The café, in spite of the number of new clubs established in Paris,
continues to be one of the most popular and most flourishing
institutions of the French capital. Numbers of Parisians are not rich
enough to belong to clubs, but can well afford from day to day the
expenditure of fivepence or sixpence on a cup of coffee and a _petit

Of Bohemian cafés--those frequented, that is to say, by the gipsies
of literature and art--the most celebrated is, or was in the time of
Henri Murger, the brilliant author of "La Vie de Bohême," the Café
Momus. Here it was that poets, painters, and musicians of the future,
blessed for the present with more genius than halfpence, waited until
some comparatively wealthy lover of art and literature came to their
relief, or until, by their noisy and reckless talk, they forced the
alarmed proprietor to beg them to retire, and come in some other day to
pay for their refreshment. Champfleury, gleaning here and there after
Murger's abundant harvest, has told us how, armed with one cup of coffee
and a small glass of brandy, half-a-dozen Bohemians would take absolute
possession of the first floor of this establishment.

Sometimes a Bohemian, not absolutely destitute, would order a cup of
coffee and _petit verre_, and go upstairs. Soon afterwards a second
Bohemian would come in, ask if the first Bohemian were in the café, and
go upstairs to join him. A third would ask for the second, a fourth
for the third, and so on, until around the solitary cup of coffee and
the unique glass of liqueur a party of six had assembled. The proud
paymaster, after sipping a little of the coffee, would pass it to a
friend, who, having helped himself, would hand the remainder to some
other member of the party. The cognac was in like manner shared, and the
last served came in for the sugar, with which he would sweeten a glass
of water. The Bohemian frequenters of the Café Momus were more liberal
in giving their orders when one of them had sold a picture or a piece of
music, a book or a play; and they would afterwards order on credit as
long as credit could be obtained. A story is told of one Bohemian who
persisted in ordering after his credit had been stopped, and who, having
told the waiter repeatedly, but in vain, to bring him a cup of coffee,
went himself to the counter, and said in a stern voice, "I have ordered
a cup of coffee half-a-dozen times; either serve it at once or lend me
five sous, and I'll go and get it elsewhere."

It must be supposed that it somehow suited the proprietor of the Café
Momus to encourage, or at least tolerate, his Bohemian visitors;
otherwise he would have taken steps to exclude them permanently.
Occasionally, it is said, they would barricade themselves in their
favourite room on the first floor, and refuse absolutely to give up
possession. The probability is that when they were in funds they spent
their money lavishly; and they undoubtedly gave a certain reputation
to the Café Momus, which became known throughout Paris as the café of
literary aspirants, and attracted on that ground a certain number of
sympathisers and admirers.

The house formerly occupied by the Frascati establishment bears on
the Rue Richelieu side a medallion with an inscription to the memory
of Cardinal de Richelieu, put up by Antoine Elwart, professor of
composition at the Conservatoire. The other side of the Boulevard
Montmartre, whence springs the Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, is no less
animated than the theatre side. Here, too, cafés abound, each of
which, in theatrical phrase, is "full to overflowing"; for numbers of
customers sit out in the street at the little tables in front of the
café. The arcade on this side of the boulevard is known as the Passage
Jouffroi. It runs through what was once the ground-floor of the house
which, under the Restoration, was inhabited by three distinguished
composers: Rossini, Carafa, and Boieldieu. A little further on, always
in the direction of the Madeleine, stands an important club, called
officially Le Grand Cercle, familiarly, Le Cercle des Ganaches. It is
composed chiefly of commercial men and civil servants. It is considered
old-fashioned, and the dinner-hour there is six o'clock, as it was in
most Paris houses fifty years ago.

At the right corner of the Rue Grange Batelière stands an immense house,
on a site occupied, until a few years ago, by the mansion built in the
eighteenth century, by two well-known farmers-general, the Brothers
Lunge, which from 1836 to 1847 was the haunt of the Jockey Club, the
best-known and most fashionable club in Paris, now installed further to
the west, but still in the line of boulevards.

Ask any Parisian in the present day for "the house of Molière," and he
will tell you that La Maison de Molière is only another name for the
Théâtre Français. The house, however, where Molière lived is situated at
the corner of a little street off the Boulevard Montmartre; and here it
was that he breathed his last.

On the 10th of February, 1673, the "Malade Imaginaire" was performed
for the first time. The curtain rose at four o'clock, and a few minutes
afterwards Molière was on the stage, and acting with his accustomed
humour. Everyone was laughing and applauding. None of the audience
suspected that the actor who was throwing all his energy into the part
he had himself created was now on the point of death. In the burlesque
ceremony, just as Argan has to utter the word "Juro," a convulsion
seized him, which he disguised beneath a forced laugh. But it was now
necessary to carry him home. The performance went on, though without
Molière, who meanwhile had been taken to his house in the Rue Richelieu.
It had been found impossible to get his clothes off. The dying man
was still wearing the dressing-gown of the "Imaginary Invalid." He
was presently attacked with a violent fit of coughing, in the course
of which he burst a blood-vessel and threw up a quantity of blood. A
few minutes later he expired, surrounded by the members of his family,
and supported by two nuns to whom he was in the habit of offering
hospitality when they visited Paris. In his dying moments he had asked
for religious consolation; but the priest of St.-Eustache rejected
his prayer. Now that he was dead, Christian burial was denied to him:
a piece of intolerance due to the Archbishop of Paris, Harley de
Champvalon. So soon as Molière's wife heard of the archbishop's refusal,
she exclaimed with indignation: "They refuse to bury a man to whom, in
Greece, altars would have been erected." Then calling for a carriage,
and taking with her the Curé of Auteuil, who was far from sharing the
views of his ecclesiastical superior, she hurried to Versailles, threw
herself at the king's feet, and demanded justice. "If," she exclaimed,
losing all self-control--"if my husband was a criminal, his crimes were
sanctioned by your Majesty in person." At these words the king frowned,
and the Curé of Auteuil is said to have found the moment opportune for
introducing a theological discussion, in the course of which he sought
to disculpate himself from an accusation of Jansenism. But Louis XIV.
had been affronted, and he told both actress and curé that the matter
concerned the archbishop alone. He sent secret orders, however, to the
churlish prelate, the result of which was a compromise. The body was
refused entrance into the church, but two priests were allowed to
accompany it to the cemetery. The archbishop's concession seemed to
some bigots out of place: a proof that the ecclesiastical authorities
were not alone in their wish to have Molière interred without Christian
rites. They could not now prevent his being buried in sacred ground. But
on the day of his funeral they organised a riot in front of his house,
which Mme. Molière, frightened by the cries and menaces of the crowd,
could only appease by throwing money out of the window, to the amount
of about a thousand francs. It was on the 21st of February, 1673, that
the remains of the great man were borne to their resting-place, without
pomp, without ceremony, at night, and almost furtively, as though
he had been a criminal. Molière was buried in the Cemetery of Saint
Joseph, Rue Montmartre. His widow placed above the grave a great slab of
stone, which was still to be seen in the early part of the eighteenth
century, when the brothers Parfait published their _Histoire du Théâtre
Français_. "This stone," writes M. du Tillet, "is cracked down the
middle: which was caused by a very noble and very remarkable action on
the part of the widow. Two or three years after Molière's death a very
cold winter set in, and she had a hundred loads of wood conveyed to the
cemetery, and burned on the tomb of her husband, to warm all the poor
people of the quarter, when the great heat of the fire caused the stone
to split in two."


The Church of Rome has pronounced again and again at councils, and
through the mouths of distinguished prelates, against the abomination
that maketh not "desolate," but joyful. In the fifth century it
excommunicated stage-players, and the order of excommunication,
though practically it may have ceased to be effective, has never been
rescinded. In France up to the time of the Restoration (1814), or at
least during the Restoration, it was in full force, so that the history
of the relations between Church and stage in that theatre-loving
country has been the history of the refusal of Christian burial in
successive centuries to stage-players. Happily, for many years past
theory and practice have been at variance in France with regard to the
excommunicated position of actors and actresses. The Church, however
much it may stand above society, cannot but reflect in some measure the
views of society at large; and, if only from policy, it cannot permit
itself to outrage a universal feeling. Accordingly, since the doors of
Saint-Roch were closed, in 1817, against the body of the famous actress,
Mlle. Raucourt--an incident which was followed by a popular outbreak,
the calling out of the troops, and ultimately interference on the
part of Louis XVIII., who ordered that the religious service should be
performed by his own chaplain: since those days there have been few
examples in France, and none in Paris, of any actor or actress being
treated as beyond the pale of the Church.

[Illustration: MOLIÈRE.

(_From the Painting by Coypel in the Comédie Française._)]

To be seen in all its glory, the Boulevard Montmartre--perhaps the most
crowded of all the boulevards, especially by business people--should be
traversed at the beginning of the New Year, when in the booths which
line the great thoroughfare nearly along its whole length all kinds of
objects supposed to be suitable as New Year's gifts are offered for sale.

In England, the custom of making Christmas presents and New Year's
gifts had, except among relatives, died out, when a few years ago
some apparently childish, but in reality very ingenious, person
invented Christmas cards. The invention was not successful at first;
and the strange practice of exchanging pieces of cardboard adorned
with commonplace pictorial designs, and inscribed with conventional
expressions of goodwill, was, for a time, confined to the sort of
persons who might be suspected of sending valentines. Eventually,
however, it spread. The initiative in this matter seems to have been
taken by enterprising young ladies, whose attentions it was impossible
to leave unrecognised; and endeavours were naturally made to return them
cards of superior value to those which they had themselves despatched.
Thus a noble spirit of emulation was generated, which the designers,
manufacturers, and vendors of Christmas cards did their best to gratify
and stimulate; so that, latterly, there has been a marked rise in these
products as regards price, and even quality. Many of them possess
undeniable artistic merit, and during the last few years some very
beautiful varieties of the Christmas card have been brought out at
Paris. These pictorial adaptations from the English are at least more
graceful and more original than the great majority of our own dramatic
adaptations from the French.

If, as everyone knows, the sending of Christmas cards is a custom of
but a few years' standing, New Year's gifts are by no means of recent
invention; and under the Roman Empire, as now in Russia, presents used,
as a matter of course, to be made on the first day of the New Year to
the magistrates and high officials. In the end, the practice of making
New Year's gifts grew so popular that every Roman at the opening of a
new year presented the reigning emperor with a certain amount of money,
proportionate to his means; and what had, in the first instance, been
among ordinary individuals but a token of esteem, was now, in regard
to the sovereign, an assurance of loyalty, besides being a tolerable
source of income. The barbaric nations, with simpler habits, had simpler
ceremonies in connection with the New Year; and the Gauls were content
to present one another at this season with sprigs of mistletoe plucked
from the sacred groves.

Coming to much more recent times, we find the custom of giving New
Year's presents in full force at the Court of Louis XIV., when, on the
1st of January, ladies received tokens from their lovers, and gave
tokens in return.

The custom of making New Year's gifts became at length so general that
servants murmured if their masters neglected them in this respect; and
an amusing story is told of the stingy Cardinal Dubois, who, on his
major-domo asking for his _étrennes_, replied, "Well, you may keep what
you have stolen from me during the last twelvemonth." This, however,
occurred a long time ago; and had the cardinal lived in the present
century, he would scarcely have dared to make such an answer. The
Frenchman who nowadays ventures to refuse to his servants, or to any
other dependants, the expected annual gifts must be prepared to bear
the bitterest sarcasm, which will possibly not cease to assail him even
beyond the grave; for it may be his fate to have inscribed on his tomb
some such epitaph as the following quite authentic one:--

    "Ci-gît, dessous ce marbre blanc,
       L'homme le plus avare de Rennes;
     S'il est mort la veille de l'an
       C'est pour ne pas donner d'étrennes,"

which may be roughly rendered in English thus:--

    "Here lies, beneath this marble white,
       The miserliest man in Rennes;
     If New Year's Eve he chose for flight,
       'Twas that he need not give _étrennes_."

Towards the end of the eighteenth century an edict was published in
France forbidding New Year's gifts; but without avail. The _étrennes_
only became more numerous and more costly as the greed of the recipients
grew more and more insatiable; and in the present day the meaning of the
word _étrenne_ will be only too well understood by any Englishman who,
in Paris at the time of the New Year, may venture to have dealings with
the waiters at the cafés, with hair-dressers, drivers, or any other set
of men who delight in certain traditional customs.



THE BOULEVARDS (_continued_).

The Opéra Comique of Paris--I Gelosi--The Don Juan of Molière--Madame
Favart--The Saint-Simonians.

The Boulevard des Italiens derives its name from the so-called Comédie
Italienne, the original Opéra Comique of Paris, which owes its existence
to letters patent granted to it as far back as 1676. One of the most
celebrated establishments on this boulevard is the Café Cardinal, at
the corner of the Rue Richelieu. It justifies its title by exhibiting
the bust of the famous political prelate, concerning whom the great
Corneille, after receiving, first benefits, then injuries, at his hands,
wrote these lines:--

    "Qu'on parle mal ou bien du fameux cardinal,
       Ni ma prose, ni mes vers n'en diront jamais rien.
     Il m'a fait trop de bien pour en dire du mal,
       Il m'a fait trop de mal pour en dire du bien."[A]

[A] "Whether good or evil be spoken of the famous Cardinal, neither my
prose nor my verse shall say a word of him. He has done too well by me
for me to speak ill of him; he has done too ill by me for me to speak
well of him."

Formerly known as the Café Dangest, the title it now bears has belonged
to it only since the year 1830. Just round the corner stands the house
of the well-known music publishers, Messrs. Brandus and Co., founded by
Moritz Schlesinger, who, as a young man, brought out many of Beethoven's
works, and was indeed one of Beethoven's first appreciators. During the
_coup d'État_ of 1851 M. Brandus's hospitable residence was the scene of
an outrage which threatened to become a tragedy on a large scale. He was
entertaining a party of friends, among whom were M. Adolphe Saxe, the
inventor of saxophones, and the eminent musical critic of the _Times_,
the late Mr. J. W. Davison. The boulevards and many of the streets
leading out of them were full of troops, for the most part in a state
of great excitement, and some infantry soldiers at the corner of the
Boulevard des Italiens and the Rue Richelieu believed, or affected to
believe, that shots had been fired at them from M. Brandus's windows.
Possibly some bullets discharged by the soldiers themselves had glanced
back from the house or one of the neighbouring houses, and fallen into
the street. The troops, in any case, forced M. Brandus's door, and his
servant, who went downstairs to remonstrate with the invaders, was at
once shot dead. The soldiers then made their way into the room where M.
Brandus and his guests were at table, arrested them, and brought them
down to the boulevard with the intention of shooting them in a formal
manner, as if by way of example. Fortunately, the general in command
was an amateur of music and a personal friend of Adolphe Saxe: whom he
particularly remembered, moreover, as having fought with courage against
the insurgents during the sanguinary days of June, 1848. Saxe at once
declared that the accusation made by the soldiers was entirely without
basis, and the general did not hesitate to accept his assurance. He
enjoined him, however, to hurry away as quickly as possible from the
boulevard, which was about to be "swept" by a fusillade. Saxe and his
friends managed narrowly to escape.

The Opéra Comique Theatre, or Comédie Italienne, as it was more
generally called, was founded originally in the Hôtel de Bourgogne; and
it was only in 1783 that it was re-established on the boulevard to which
the Comédie Italienne was to give its name.

The Opéra Comique of France descends indeed in a straight line from the
most ancient dramatic entertainments given in that country. These were
introduced in the sixteenth century by natives of the land to which the
French owe nearly all the lighter and more ornamental part of their
civilisation, from opera and the drama to ices and confectionery: from
architecture, pictures, and statues, to gloves, fans, gambling-houses,
and masked balls.

In 1576 Henri III. invited from Venice to Paris a company known as
"I Gelosi." The actors were "jealous" or "zealous" to please; and a
contemporary writer informs us that after playing at the Hôtel de
Bourgogne, where everyone was charged four sous for admission, they took
possession of the Hôtel du Petit Bourbon, where such crowds assembled
that "the four best preachers in Paris could not together have collected
such a congregation." The same writer adds that on the 26th of June
following the Parliament forbade "I Gelosi" to play their comedies any
longer, as they taught "nothing but impropriety." The Italian actors,
however, resisted the Parliamentary decree, and they obtained from the
king letters patent permitting them to continue their performances,
"consisting," says Mézerai, "of pieces of intrigue, amourettes, and
agreeable inventions for awakening and exciting the softest passions."

The Italian actors presented these letters patent to the Parliament the
month following, when the letters were rejected, and they themselves
forbidden to present to the Court such documents, under a penalty of ten
thousand Paris livres. The Italians, however, appealed once more to the
king, when Henri III. granted express permission, in virtue of which
they re-opened their theatre in December, 1577. As, however, the country
was now agitated by political troubles, "I Gelosi" discreetly returned
to their native land. A few years afterwards a second troop of "Gelosi,"
and then a third, came to Paris; and later on Henri IV. brought from
Pavia a new company, which stayed in Paris for two years.


Cardinal Mazarin (or Mazarini) did much to familiarise Parisians both
with Italian operas and Italian plays; and about 1660 one of several
Italian companies which had recently visited Paris obtained permission
to play at the Hôtel de Bourgogne alternately with the French actors.

But at last, in their love of satire, the Italian actors forgot
themselves so far as to turn into ridicule no less a personage than
Mme. de Maintenon. "The king," says the Duke de Saint-Simon, writing
on this very subject, "drove out very precipitately the whole troop
of Italian actors, and would suffer no others in their place. As long
as they restricted themselves to indecency, or even impiety, nothing
but laughter was excited." But they took the liberty of playing a
piece called _The False Prude_, in which Mme. de Maintenon was easily
recognised. Accordingly, everyone went to see it; but after three or
four representations, the actors were ordered to close their theatre and
quit the kingdom within a month.

This caused a great noise; and if the actors lost their establishment by
their boldness and folly, the Government which drove them out did not
gain by the freedom with which the ridiculous incident was criticised.
The Lieutenant of Police, accompanied by an army of commissaries,
sergeants, and constables, had invaded and seized the manuscript of
_The False Prude_. Jherardi, the harlequin of the troupe, hurried to
Versailles, where he begged and entreated, but without being able to
move Louis XIV., who had so many times protected the Italian comedians.
"You came to France on foot," said the king, "and you have gained enough
here to go back in carriages."

During their stay in Paris the Italian actors expelled by Louis XIV.
had accustomed themselves to play in French, and the celebrated comedy
writer, Regnard, had entrusted them with several of his pieces. This
rendered them more than ever disliked by the French actors, with whom
they were always in rivalry. The pieces performed by the Italian actors
consisted for the most part, and always when they confined themselves to
their own language, of mere dramatic sketches, for which dialogue was
supplied by the actors themselves.

It was not until 1716 that the Italian actors re-appeared in France, and
they now played at a theatre in the Palais Royal, occupied alternately
by them and by the company of the Grand Opera. In time the Italian
company varied their pieces, and even introduced songs in the midst of
the dialogue. This at once exposed them to attacks from the Opéra, or
Académie Royale de Musique, as it was called; and in conformity with the
privileges secured to the Opéra, the Italians were forbidden to sing.
Soon afterwards they produced a piece in which a donkey was brought
on to the stage and made to bray, whereupon one of the actors cried
out to the animal, "Silence! singing is forbidden on these boards."
Ultimately, as the result of much opposition and many minatory decrees,
an arrangement was made between the Italian actors and a company of
French actors and singers which led to the establishment of the French
Opéra Comique.

At last the Italian and the French actors played together; but French
wit and Italian wit were said not to harmonise, and in order to simplify
matters, the Italians, with the exception of one or two who had adopted
the French language, were sent out of the country. The theatre now
given up to French comic opera continued, however, to be called the
Théâtre Italien, to receive afterwards, in memory of Mme. Favart and her
husband, the title of Salle Favart, and at a later period, under the
Republic, that of Opéra Comique.

The performances of the Italians came permanently to an end in 1783. In
spite of the jealousy with which they were regarded by the great bulk of
the theatrical profession, the Italian actors had an excellent effect
on the development of the French stage, which, when the first troupe of
Gelosi arrived in Paris, had no substantial existence. Molière profited
much by their performances and borrowed freely from their productions,
taking from them, according to his well-known saying, "his property"
(that is to say, all that naturally belonged to him through affinity and
sympathy) wherever "he found it." Apart from many other subjects and
scenes, Molière borrowed his version of _Don Juan_ from the Italians.
Much of it, including most of its philosophy and wit, belongs in the
very fullest sense to the great comic dramatist of France. But the very
title, _Festin de Pierre_--an incorrect and, indeed, unintelligible
translation of _Il Convitato de Pietra_--is enough to show the origin of
Molière's admirable work.

The new establishment had been only ten years on the Boulevard des
Italiens when its name was altered definitely from Comédie Italienne
to Opéra Comique. A few years later the establishment was moved to the
Rue Feydeau, where it was destined to enjoy a long life and a merry
one. Meanwhile, the house which had given its ancient name to the
Italian boulevard remained unoccupied--or but rarely occupied--for some
considerable time, until, in 1815, the celebrated Catalani opened it for
serious Italian opera.

The Théâtre des Italiens now became the most fashionable theatre in
Paris. Here Madames Pasta, Malibran, Grisi, Persiani, MM. Rubini,
Tamburini, Lablache, etc., were heard. Here, too, Rossini for a time
acted as musical director.

This theatre, like all others, was soon destined to perish by fire; and
Italian opera has of late years led a somewhat wandering life in France,
to find itself ultimately without any home at all.

The early history of the Opéra Comique, from the middle of the
eighteenth until the first days of the nineteenth century, is
sufficiently represented by the lives of two of its most distinguished
ornaments: Mme. Favart and her successor in parts of the same kind,
Mme. Dugazon. Mme. Favart--Duronceray by her maiden name--was the wife
of Charles Simon Favart, the well-known dramatist, who for many years
supplied the Opéra Comique with all its good pieces. The marriage took
place in 1745, and immediately afterwards the Opéra Comique, as an
establishment recognised and subventioned by the State, was suppressed.
Favart had some time before made the acquaintance of Marshal Saxe, who
may be said to have played almost as great a part in connection with the
stage as with the camp; and he was now invited by the famous commander
to organise a company for giving performances at the head-quarters, and
for the entertainment of the army in Flanders generally. Favart hurried
to Brussels, where Marshal Saxe was about to arrive; and on reaching
the head-quarters, the commander-in-chief gave an entertainment to
the ladies whose husbands were serving on his staff, and to the wives
generally of the officers. The performance consisted of national dances
by the Highland contingent, whose scanty costumes are said to have at
once amused and scandalised the ladies. Then a piece of Favart's was
played; and with so much success, that it became the fashion to attend
Favart representations as often as they were given. Marshal Saxe told
Favart that it was part of his policy to give theatrical entertainments,
and the manager soon saw that his musical comedies interested the
officers sufficiently to take them away from cards and dice, to which
previously they had given themselves up with only too much devotion.
The marshal pointed out to Favart, moreover, that a lively couplet, a
few happy lines, would have more effect on French soldiers than the
most eloquent harangues. Besides amusing his own people and keeping
them out of mischief, Marshal Saxe found Favart's Comic Opera Company
useful in promoting his negotiations with the enemy. Having heard
of the Favart performances, the enemy desired much to see them; and
the representations given in the enemy's camp had no slight effect
in facilitating peace arrangements. Mme. Favart--Mlle. Chantilly, to
describe her by her stage name--was a member of the operatic company
engaged by the marshal to follow the army of Flanders; and the
commander-in-chief--as, with a man of his well-known temperament, was
sure to happen--fell in love with the charming _prima donna_. Mme.
Favart was at last obliged to make her escape, and, forsaking the camp,
returned to the capital. Here she appeared at the so-called Italian
Theatre, which was really the Opéra Comique under another name.

That Mme. Favart was greater as an actress than as a vocalist (which
may be said of so many singers who have distinguished themselves at
the Opéra Comique of Paris) is beyond doubt. "She is not a singer,"
said Grétry, the composer; "she is an actress who speaks song with the
truest and most passionate accent." "What a wonderful woman!" exclaimed
Boieldieu, after a representation of his _Caliph of Bagdad_. "They say
she does not know music; yet I never heard anyone sing with such taste
and expression, such nature and fidelity."

Boieldieu, through Auber, his successor, brings us to modern times.
With Ambroise Thomas, the composer of _Mignon_, and Bizet, the composer
of _Carmen_, the Opéra Comique has always been the most French of all
the French musical theatres. At the Grand Opéra, or Académie, nearly
all the successful works have been composed by foreigners: by Lulli,
Gluck, Piccinni, Spontini, Rossini, Meyerbeer, Donizetti, and Verdi. The
most popular works at the Opéra Comique have, on the other hand, been
composed by Frenchmen. _La Dame Blanche_, for instance, of Boieldieu;
the _Fra Diavolo_, _The Black Domino_, _The Crown Diamonds_ of Auber;
the _Mignon_ of Ambroise Thomas, and the _Carmen_ of Bizet, have all
been due to the genius of Frenchmen.

The Opéra Comique, since its formal separation from all connection with
Italy, has itself had strange and tragic adventures. The last of these
was its destruction by a terrible fire, in which more than one hundred
lives were lost. Since this catastrophe, which took place on the 22nd of
May, 1887, the Opéra Comique has been provisionally established in the
Place du Châtelet.

To make an inevitable excursion which here presents itself, the Rue
Monsigny, deriving its name from one of the most famous composers
connected with the Opéra Comique, will always be remembered as the
head-quarters of the Saint-Simonians during the first meeting of that
strange association, founded by Saint-Simon, lineal descendant of the
duke who wrote the famous _Memoirs_. The aims of the Saint-Simonians,
visionary as they may have been, were at least noble; and the society
numbered among its members some of the most able and high-minded
young men of the day. The truth of this latter assertion is proved
by the distinguished part played by many of the Saint-Simonians
in very different spheres after the society had come to an end.
Michel Chevalier, the political economist, Duveyrier, the dramatist,
and Félicien David, the composer, may be mentioned among those
Saint-Simonians whose names will be familiar to many Englishmen.

Saint-Simon, founder of the sect named after him, began his self-imposed
career with a sufficiently large fortune to enable him to test various
modes of existence. His purpose was, after studying society, to reform
it. He had resolved to study it thoroughly in all its phases: all
those, at least, which offered any special intellectual or physical
character. Without apparently having conceived any system beforehand,
he was constantly working towards one, making observations and writing
down notes. That he might waste no time from sluggishness or sloth, he
ordered his servant to wake him every morning with these significant
words: "Rise, Count; you have great things to do." (_Levez-vous,
Monsieur le Comte, vous avez de grandes choses à faire._) The great
political principle that he ultimately adopted was that "all legislation
should be for the benefit of the poorest and most numerous class," which
was little more than a variation of Jeremy Bentham's "greatest good of
the greatest number."

He lived in aristocratic society a life of pleasure, studied science
among scientific men, and finally, occupying himself with books
and newspapers, made himself the centre of all kinds of literary
gatherings. When, however, he had, according to his own previously
formed conception, completed his knowledge of life, he had exhausted his
means of living, and was quite unable to turn to account his accumulated
experience. The descendant of the proud duke could only keep himself
alive by copying manuscripts and by doing clerk's work in the Government
Pawn Office, or _Mont-de-Piété_. At last his misfortunes were too great
for him, and he endeavoured to commit suicide. But the bullet with which
he had intended to blow his brains out glanced along the frontal bone
and destroyed one of his eyes, without inflicting any mortal wound. The
unhappy experimentalist had now had a bitter experience of poverty,
which may or may not have been in his general programme. His enthusiasm
ended in any case by inspiring a few rich men who possessed the money
necessary for carrying out his ideas.

Saint-Simon's mantle fell upon Le Père Enfantin, who presided over
the Saint-Simonian family in the Rue Monsigny, until pecuniary
embarrassments caused the learned and venerable father to give up the
publication of the admirably written Saint-Simonian journal, _The
Globe_, and to retire from a house for which, unhappily, rent had to
be paid, to a house and garden of his own at Ménilmontant. Here he
collected around him forty disciples, determined to work together
under Le Père Enfantin's direction. "Poets, musicians, artists,
engineers, civil and military," says a writer, fully in sympathy with
the Saint-Simonians, even if he was not himself a member of their body,
"applied themselves by turns to the hardest and rudest labours.

"They repaired the house, regularly swept and kept in order the rooms,
offices, and courtyard, cultivated the grounds, covered the walks with
gravel, which they procured from a pit they had themselves with much
toil opened, and so on. To prove that their ideas upon the nature
of marriage and the emancipation of women were not founded upon the
calculations of a voluptuous selfishness, they imposed upon themselves
the law of strict celibacy. Every morning and evening they refreshed
their minds with the discourses of Le Père Enfantin, or sought in the
life of one of the Christian saints, read aloud by one of them to the
rest, examples, precepts, encouragement. Hymns, the music to which had
been composed by one of their number, M. Félicien David, served to
exalt their souls, while soothing their labour. At five o'clock the
horn announced dinner. The workmen then piled their tools, ranged the
wheelbarrows round the garden, and took their places, after having
chanted in chorus the prayer before meat. All this the public were
admitted to see: a spectacle in which a sneering, jesting nation only
marked the singular features, by turns simple and sublime, but which
was assuredly deficient in neither broad aim nor in abstract grandeur.
For in this practice of theirs the apostles of Ménilmontant went far
beyond their own theories, and were sowing around them unconsciously the
seeds of doctrine which were destined one day to throw their own into

It was on the 6th of June, amidst the roar of the cannon in the Rue
Saint-Méry, and not far from the bloody theatre whence arose the
cries of the combatants--it was on this very 6th of June that for the
first time since they had entered it, the Saint-Simonian family threw
open the doors of their retreat. "At half-past one," writes M. Louis
Blanc, "they were assembled, standing in a circle in front of the
house, while outside a second circle, formed of those whom the inmates
of Ménilmontant termed the exterior family, was a small group of
spectators, attracted by the curiosity of the thing."

No sooner had the Government suppressed the formidable insurrection,
which was finally stamped out in its last retreat at the corner of the
Rue Saint-Méry, than, as if to assert the authority it had gained, it
commenced proceedings against the Saint-Simonians, a noble-minded,
highly moral body of men, who were accused, nevertheless, of spreading
immoral doctrines. In his defence, Le Père Enfantin admitted, while
rejecting with indignation the charge of immoral teaching, that one
of the main objects of Saint-Simonianism was the reorganisation of
property. "The misery," he said, "of the working classes and the wealth
of idle men are the main causes of the evils we seek to remedy. But
when we say that there ought to be an end to that hereditary misery and
hereditary idleness which are the results of the existing constitution
of property, founded, as it is, on the right of birth, our opponents
charge us with an intention of overturning the State.

"It is of no use for us to urge that this transformation of property
can only be effected progressively, pacifically, voluntarily: that it
can be effected much better than was the destruction of feudal rights,
with every imaginable system of indemnity, and with even greater
deliberation than you apply to the expropriations which you now effect
for purposes of public utility: we are not listened to; we are condemned
off-hand as reckless disturbers of order. Unweariedly we seek to show
you that this transformation is called for by all the present and future
wants of society: that its actual progress is marked out in the most
palpable manner by the creation of the code of commerce, by all the
habits of industry which have sprung up on every side, encouraging the
mobilisation of property, its transference from the idle and incapable
to the laborious and capable hand; we show you all this, but still you
cry out, shutting your eyes, 'Your association is dangerous!'"

In the end Enfantin, Duveyrier, and Michel Chevalier were condemned to
a year's imprisonment and a fine of a hundred francs each, other less
prominent members being let off with smaller degrees of punishment.
Simonianism, as an organised thing, was now extinct, but its principles
did not die with the organisation, and in the best forms of socialism
and of democracy were soon to show themselves anew.

The Rue Marivaux, another of the most interesting outlets from this part
of the Boulevards, commemorates the witty and agreeable comedy writer
who invented the half bantering, half complimentary style of dialogue to
which the name of "marivaudage" is given.




THE BOULEVARDS (_continued_).

La Maison Dorée--Librairie Nouvelle--Catherine II. and the
Encyclopædia--The House of Madeleine Guimard.

At the corner of the Rue Marivaux stands the Café Anglais, now the
only one remaining of the historical Paris restaurants, which for the
most part date their reputation from the years 1814 and 1815, when
the European Allies had their head-quarters in the French capital.
The invasions which restored the French Monarchy, and which had been
undertaken with no other object, brought defeat, but at the same time
prosperity and gaiety to Paris; whereas the invasion of 1870 and 1871
caused nothing but misery to the vanquished. During the early days of
the Restoration such houses as Les Trois Frères Provençaux, in the
Palais Royal, La Maison Dorée, the Café Riche, and the still extant Café
Anglais, did a magnificent trade, thanks to the number of Prussian,
Russian, Austrian, and English officers who frequented them, and who,
after the toils of war, abandoned themselves willingly to some of the
joys of peace.

Most of these famous restaurants sprang from wine-shops; for it is a
fact that every celebrated dining-place in Paris has owed its reputation
primarily to the quality of its wine. The three brothers from Provence
who started the restaurant known under their name were simply three
young men who, having vineyards of their own and a connection with other
wine-growers, maintained an excellent cellar. But when people came in
to taste its contents it was absolutely necessary, in order to render
appreciable the flavour of the wine, to give them something to eat.
Then, as they spent their money freely, it was found possible and even
desirable to engage a first-rate cook; until at last the reputation of
the cellar was equalled by that of the kitchen.

Who has not read of Les Trois Frères Provençaux in Balzac's "Scenes from
Paris Life"? It was in one of their upstairs rooms, moreover, facing the
garden of the Palais Royal, that the hero of Alfred de Musset's "Enfant
du Siècle" had his last sad interview, his last sad meal, with the young
woman from whom he was about to separate for ever.

La Maison Dorée, too, was a famous house. The scene of many an orgie,
it kept its doors open continuously. Here it was that M. de Camors,
in Octave Feuillet's novel of that name, at the end of an extremely
late supper threw a gold piece into the mud and told a ragpicker who
happened to be passing that if he would pull it out with his teeth he
could have it for himself; and who does not remember how, so soon as the
_chiffonnier_ had performed this feat, the dissipated but not altogether
degraded gentleman begged the poor man to knock him down in return for
the insult offered to him.

La Maison Dorée used to be kept by a proprietor named Hardy, and
the fact that the neighbouring café and restaurant, of almost equal
celebrity and dearness, belonged to a Monsieur Riche, whose name it
bore, gave rise to the saying that a man must be "_très riche pour dîner
chez Hardy, et très hardi pour dîner chez Riche_."

The Café Riche used to be the favourite dining place of Jules Janin on
evenings of first performances. Here on these interesting occasions
he was always to be seen; and the usual genial tone of his criticisms
was possibly attributable to the excellence of M. Riche's chef. Not,
however, that Janin wrote his notices of new plays the same night. He
published them week by week in the _feuilleton_ of the _Journal des
Débats_, afterwards to be corrected and published under the title of
"Questionable History of Dramatic Literature."

The Café Riche was never such a late house as La Maison Dorée, which
went on day by day and year by year, never closing, regardless of the
clock. Thus it was at once the earliest and the latest of Paris taverns;
and if it was possible to get supper there at 3 or 4 o'clock in the
morning after a dull evening party, a traveller was equally sure that
the place would be open when, arriving at Paris by train at, say, 6 in
the morning, the vacuum in his stomach demanded an immediate breakfast.

A story is told of a gentleman who, living immediately opposite the side
entrance of La Maison Dorée, dedicated to this famous hostelry all the
time he did not spend in bed. Rising extremely late, he turned into
the Maison Dorée towards four in the afternoon to look at the papers,
converse with some of the frequenters, take a preparatory glass of
absinthe, and finally dine--this being, of course, the great event of
his well-spent day. His dinner began at an advanced hour of the evening,
and lasted well into the night. Then he was joined by friends from the
theatre bent on supping; and it was not till towards sunrise that he
returned to his apartments over the way.

Unlike the Temple of Janus, which was never shut in time of war, the
Maison Dorée could only keep its doors open in time of peace. Such war,
at all events, as the Prussians brought to the gates of Paris and to
Paris itself in 1870 and 1871 was fatal to its existence. Since those
terrible years Paris has lost something of its gaiety and frivolity. The
Café Anglais still exists; but even at this celebrated supping-place of
former years supper is now an unknown meal. Nothing is served in the
Café Anglais after nine o'clock. This café, oddly enough, seems to have
been named after a nation which in the year 1815 can scarcely have been
popular among the French. Its origin, or at least its name, dates from
the year of the Waterloo campaign, and, strangely enough, it is the only
great restaurant of that period which to this day survives. Possibly the
establishment was not called Café Anglais merely by way of invitation
to the English portion of the occupying forces. The title may have been
meant to indicate that the service of the table was conducted after the
English rather than the French fashion. The French, it must be admitted,
preceded us in the matter of napkins, and also, if their boast on the
subject can be admitted, in the earlier use of four-pronged forks, made
by preference of silver. But in the year 1815 the French knew nothing of
salt-spoons; and though plates were changed frequently enough, the same
knife and fork served throughout the various courses, the diner cleaning
on a piece of bread a knife which did duty for every dish which came
on the table. It replaced the salt-spoon, and was frequently used for
conveying food to the mouth. Not only English dining-places, but English
hotels were highly esteemed in 1815; and Dr. Véron, in his "Mémoires
d'un Bourgeois de Paris," speaks of cleanliness as an English invention
unknown to the French until the peace which followed the Napoleonic wars.

In the art of living the French have generally been considered by the
rest of Europe to have reached the greatest proficiency; and their
methods and customs have accordingly been more imitated than those of
any other nation. Of their cookery there is but one opinion; for every
man in Europe who can afford a great table keeps either a French cook
or a cook educated in the French school. The variety given by French
cooks to the very simplest dish is too well known to require emphasis;
and even Macaulay quotes the story of that Parisian chef who could make
twelve different dishes out of a poppy-head.

In the matter of table as of drawing-room etiquette the French in
Arthur Young's time seem to have been both superior and inferior to
the English. It is true that the French artisan would not dine without
a clean napkin on his knee; but it is equally true that the French
aristocrat would sometimes spit about the floor in presence of a duchess
with a freedom which would be resented in any English tap-room.

If Paris be really "the Tavern of Europe," the Café Anglais is at this
moment the Tavern of Paris. Scarcely any foreigner of distinction visits
the French capital without dining, perhaps even by special arrangement
supping, at the Café Anglais, which is now under the management, not
of an enterprising landlord, but of a well-regulated Limited Liability

       *       *       *       *       *

At the corner of the Rue de Grammont, separated from the Café Anglais
by the Theatrical Bureau, or "Office de Théâtre," which supplies
tickets for every playhouse in Paris, is the Librairie Nouvelle, where,
exhibited for sale, may be seen all the latest novels in vogue and most
of the standard works which, in spite of, or perhaps in consequence of,
their ancient fame, still find readers. Books are published at much
lower prices in Paris than in London. Lending libraries are now quite
out of date in the French capital, and persons really interested in a
new work do not get it to read at so much a volume or a subscription of
so much a year, but buy it once and for all. Forty or fifty years ago
the circulating library system had been pushed further in Paris than
any point it has yet reached in London. Novels by popular authors were
issued in six or eight volumes with from eighty to one hundred words in
each page; a sore temptation to the Belgian pirates, who, in the days
before International Copyright Conventions, vexed the soul of every
French author by reproducing his works at so low a price that he had
no more chance of selling his editions in Belgium than has an English
author of to-day of vending his in the United States. Instead, however,
of being separated from France as America is from England by thousands
of miles of sea, Belgium was conterminous with the country it loved
to despoil. It was impossible to prevent the fraudulent imitations of
Belgium entering France; and to put an end at once to Belgian piracy and
to the absurd circulating library system, a spirited and intelligent
Paris publisher, Charpentier by name, introduced the novel at three and
a half francs--a price which, as originally fixed, or at a reduction of
half a franc, is still maintained. Copyright affairs between France and
Belgium are now regulated under the clauses of the same International
Convention which binds all other countries, with the exception of Russia
and Holland on one side of the Atlantic, and the United States of
America on the other.

[Illustration: MARIVAUX.

(_From the Bust by Mlle. Dubois-Davesne in the Comédie Française._)]

To offer new books for sale in London at the strangely high prices
fixed for the benefit of the circulating libraries would be out of the
question; but at the Librairie Nouvelle all the latest works produced in
Paris may be seen, partially read, and finally, if such be the desire of
the reader, purchased. Many a Parisian, however, or visitor to Paris,
whether from love of literature or merely to pass the time, strolls into
the Librairie Nouvelle and looks through book after book without buying
a single volume. Some day such an institution as this will possibly
exist in London; not, however, until the prices of our new books are
considerably lowered. But although the frequenters of the Librairie
Nouvelle are not called upon, or even expected, to make purchases, only
a small fraction of them leave the establishment without doing so; and
it is as astonishing as it is interesting to see with what rapidity
copies of a new novel of genuine popularity will sometimes go off.

No trade has made such progress in France since the Great Revolution
as that of bookselling. This result is due alike to the increase
in the number of readers through cheap, gratuitous, and obligatory
education, and to the liberty of the Press enjoyed by the French,
with some interruptions (as under the First Empire and a few years of
the Restoration), for an entire century. "How I should like to have
Voltaire, Rousseau, and Diderot writing for me in one of my garrets,"
a French bookseller is represented as saying in Mercier's "Tableau de
Paris," published only a few years before the Revolution. "I would feed
them well, but, by Heaven, I would make them work! Why is one of them
too rich, and the others too independent to write at so much per sheet?"

It is noticeable that not one of these three authors whose works sold
so largely was able to publish in France everything he wrote. Even
the volume in which the above story is told was published in London.
Many of Voltaire's works were brought out in London or Amsterdam.
More than one of Rousseau's books were prohibited in France; and the
publication of the "Encyclopédie," to which Voltaire, Rousseau, and
Diderot all contributed, was not only prohibited, but cast materially
into the Bastille, where the volumes were found on the destruction of
the building; which gave the despotic, but in regard to literature,
liberal-minded Catherine II. an opportunity of offering to continue the
publication of the work in Russia.


Until the time of the Revolution nearly the whole of the book trade
was in the hands of hawkers. "The business of these people," says a
writer of the 18th century, "is to be the itinerant beasts of burden
of literature, as the booksellers are its caterpillars. Illiterate,
and hardly able to read, the hawkers may be said to deal in a ware as
perfectly foreign to them as the business of mixing up colours would
be to the blind. They only know the price of each book they offer for
sale. They are haunted everywhere by police-runners, and such is their
apprehension of falling under the censure of the despotic magistrate,
and, altogether, their ignorance, that some sell even prayer-books under
the cloak with as much care and circumspection as if it were an immoral
or political pamphlet. These poor harmless hawkers, who give circulation
to the clandestine works of the writers of every denomination without
being able to read a single line; who, though far from suspecting it,
are the asserters of public freedom, and with no other view than to
procure to themselves a scanty subsistence--these are the first to
feel the resentment of the offended great. It would be, perhaps, if
not dangerous, at least impolitic, to attack the author himself; but a
hawker sent to the Bastille or fastened in the public market by an iron
_carcanet_ is a matter of too little importance to be noticed by the

The very method employed to prevent the spread of ideas amongst the
French people helped to overthrow the despotism by which it had been
devised. This is well shown by Arthur Young, writing about the same time
as the author whose account of the persecution in France of literature
in all its forms has just been quoted. Such ignorance in Young's time
was imposed on the French nation by a tyrannical censorship that, for
aught the country knew to the contrary, their representatives were in
the Bastille; and the mob was accustomed to pillage, burn, and destroy
from sheer want of knowledge. Even in the large provincial towns Young
could not see a newspaper. At the cafés there was nothing to read but
the _Gazette de France_, a sheet in which the professed "news" was so
dished up that "no man of common-sense" would attempt to digest it. The
consequence was that the frequenters of cafés and restaurants could be
heard gravely discussing news a fortnight old.

On the first floor of the house of which the ground-floor is occupied by
the Librairie Nouvelle, we find the Club of the Two Worlds, or "Cercle
des Deux Mondes," established in an abode which was occupied for some
time by the Jockey Club, until this latter, after deserting the mansion
built by the Farmer-General de Lange on the Boulevard Montmartre,
continued its western progress, to reach ultimately the domicile it at
present inhabits on the Boulevard des Capucines.

At the corner of the Rue de Choiseul is the well-known establishment
of Potel and Chabot, who keep what, in London--for want of a better
name, and probably in virtue of some tradition on the subject--is
called an "Italian warehouse." This firm, however, does not confine
itself to the lighter description of comestibles and dainties. In these
it deals largely enough; and among the tempting delicacies offered to
the passer-by are early vegetables, fruit, olives, ham, sausages of
rare manufacture, and game pies. But besides selling stray articles
to the chance epicure, the house of Potel and Chabot undertakes the
supply of dinners on a very large scale, and employs a number of chefs,
sous-chefs, scullions, roasters, pastry-cooks, and other functionaries
of the kitchen. It was the firm of Potel and Chabot which, in July,
1888, supplied in the Champ de Mars the banquet offered to 10,000 mayors
from all parts of France, furnishing it hot, so that many of the guests
declared they had never before been anywhere so well served. The dinner
was simple, but it is said to have been excellent. The ten thousand
guests had one glass and two plates apiece; 500 waiters flitted about
with the wines and the dishes.

The end of the Boulevard des Italiens is marked by a circular pavilion,
which has lost something of its original shape through the repairs
necessitated by the ravages of time; though it still bears a number of
sculptural ornaments which are much admired, including certain masks,
reputed to be masterpieces. It is called the Pavilion of Hanover, and
is so named from having been erected and adorned by the architect
Cheveautel for the Duc de Richelieu at the end of the garden attached to
his mansion, after the campaign of Hanover, in 1757, which he terminated
by securing the capitulation of Closterseven. Under the Directory
and the Consulate, in the first years of the Empire, the Pavilion of
Hanover and a portion of the grounds belonging formerly to the Duc de
Richelieu were the scene of public assemblies, balls, and concerts;
and it was here that Tortoni established his famous ice-shop and café
in partnership with another Italian, named Velloni. The latter is now
forgotten; but Tortoni, who continued the business on his own account,
is, in the world of cafés, an historical figure.

Let us not hurry past the former Hôtel Choiseul, where, during the
Reign of Terror, Pace, Minister of War, resided; where, under the
Directory, the staff of the Army of Paris was established; and where
Murat afterwards lived in the capacity of Governor. When the Restoration
came to pass it was turned into the headquarters of the National Guard.
Finally it was put up for sale, when, after the assassination of the Duc
of Berri on the steps of the Opera House in the Rue Richelieu, it was
determined to pull down the lyric temple and erect another on the site
occupied by the Hôtel Choiseul. We shall see in the proper place that
the demolition of the Opera House of the Rue Richelieu was due to the
representations of the Archbishop of Paris, who refused to allow the
last sacrament to be administered to the dying prince unless he received
a promise that the profane building, in which so holy an act had to
be performed, should immediately afterwards be destroyed. The Hôtel
Choiseul was bought by the City of Paris, and close to what remained
of the ancient mansion rose the new Opera House, opening on to the Rue
Le Pelletier, where, between the years 1821 and 1823, so many great
works were brought out, including Rossini's _Guillaume Tell_, Auber's
_Masaniello_, as it is called in England, Donizetti's _Favorite_,
Verdi's _Vêpres Siciliennes_, and Meyerbeer's _Robert le Diable_,
_Prophète_, and _Africaine_. On the night of Tuesday, October 20, 1873,
the eve of the hundredth representation of Ambroise Thomas' _Hamlet_,
flames burst out in the wardrobe, and the next day the Opera House was a
heap of ruins.

It is a curious fact, not hitherto noticed, that the destruction by
fire of the Opera House in the Rue Le Pelletier took place precisely
two hundred years after the production of Lulli's earliest opera, the
first lyrical piece ever performed in Paris under the royal patent which
authorised the establishment of a regular opera house. Lulli has been
represented, in a famous picture, receiving his "privilege" from the
hands of Louis XIV. as a reward and encouragement for services rendered.
It can scarcely be said, however, that Lulli, though he established
opera in Paris, was the first to introduce it. Cardinal Mazarin brought
Italian opera to Paris in 1645, when Lulli was but a child; and the
French opera named _Akébar, Roi de Mogol_, written and composed by
the Abbé Mailly, was represented the year afterwards in the episcopal
palace of Carpentras under the direction of Cardinal Bichi. A public
performance, moreover, was given of _Pomone_, words by Perrin, music by
Cambert, in 1671; but though _Pomone_ was the first French opera offered
in Paris to a general audience, Lulli's _Cadmée_ was the first of that
long series of lyrical productions given at the State Opera House which
extended, with but two short breaks, from 1673 to 1873.

The new Opera House, which was to replace the one burnt down in 1873,
had already, on a scale of unprecedented magnificence, been designed,
constructed, and all but finished under Napoleon III. But 1873, scarcely
more than two years after the disasters of the siege and Commune, was
not the time at which to complete and inaugurate a sumptuous Opera
House; and it was not until 1875 that the famous edifice, which may
challenge comparison with any other of the kind in Europe, threw its
doors open to the public.

Another celebrated building in this neighbourhood, at the corner of the
Rue Taitbout, is the former Hôtel de Brancas, built by the architect
Bélanger, a devoted friend of the famous Sophie Arnould, to whom he was
faithfully attached until her death. His endeavours to obtain for her,
in default of a pension that was never paid, a portion of the large
sum due to her from the directors of the Théâtre Français show him to
have been a man of energy as well as heart. It was in the character of
architect that Bélanger first became acquainted with the brilliant and
witty actress; and when he made her an offer of marriage, which she did
not accept, she at once observed that no one was better fitted than an
architect to build up her damaged reputation. From the family of Brancas
the mansion erected by Bélanger passed to the wife of General Rapp, then
to the Marchioness of Hertford, to her son Lord Seymour, and to Sir
Richard Wallace. Under Napoleon III. magnificent entertainments were
given there by the late Khalil Pasha. On the ground-floor of the edifice
appeared and disappeared the Café de Paris, celebrated in the reign of
Louis Philippe, and for some years afterwards, as the rendez-vous of
celebrities in literature, art, and the world of fashion. It was in time
to be followed by other excellent restaurants, now vanished, but not

The last house on the Boulevard des Italiens, at the corner of the Rue
de la Chaussée d'Antin, occupies the site of the old Military School,
founded, for 200 officers' sons, under the name of Dépôt des Gardes
Français; where for twenty years of his life Rossini lived on the first
floor, and whence he moved to the villa at Passy offered to him by the
City of Paris. It was in this retreat that he ended his days.


The Chaussée d'Antin, formerly a high road leading from the boulevards
into the open country, is full of interesting associations. In the
Chaussée d'Antin, or close to that thoroughfare in its present form,
stood the celebrated Temple of Terpsichore built for Madeleine Guimard,
the dancer; which so excited the jealousy of Sophie Arnould, the
vocalist, that she insisted on having a mansion of equal magnificence
side by side with that of her operatic friend and rival. Madeleine
Guimard, according to one of her biographers, excited as much admiration
and scattered as many fortunes as any woman that ever appeared on
the stage. She was, nevertheless, ugly, thin, of sallow complexion,
and marked with the small-pox. She is said to have preserved, in a
marvellous manner, her youth and a certain indescribable charm which
constituted her chief attractions. She possessed, moreover, such a
perfect acquaintance with all the mysteries of the toilet that by the
arts of dress and adornment alone she could still make herself look
young when age had crept upon her. Queen Marie Antoinette would often
consult her about matters of dress, and especially the arrangement of
her hair; and once when, for her rebellious attitude at the theatre, she
had, in accordance with the strange customs of the times, been ordered
to prison, she is reported to have said to her maid: "Never mind, I
have sent a letter to the queen telling her that I have discovered a
new way of doing the hair. We shall be out before the evening." But
to return to the Temple of Terpsichore, which, built in the finest
architectural style, and magnificently furnished, was decorated
internally by Fragonard, one of the most famous painters of that day.
In his wall-pictures he never failed to introduce the face and figure
of the light-footed divinity of the place: until at last he became
enamoured of his model, and, presuming on one occasion to show signs of
jealousy, was promptly discharged, to be replaced by the most unsuitable
artist that can be conceived--by David, the painter of heroic figures,
of Republican subjects, and of Napoleon in all his glory. The celebrated
painter of the Consulate and the Empire was, in Madeleine Guimard's
time, a very young man--a mere student, in fact. But he was a stern
Republican, and when the luxurious but sympathetic dancer saw that the
work of decorating her voluptuous palace did not accord with his lofty
aspirations, she gave him the sum he was to have received for covering
her walls with fantastic designs, in order that he might continue his
studies in the style which best suited him.

[Illustration: Mont Valérien and the Arc de Triomphe.--Church of St.


The house built by Sophie Arnould next door to Madeleine Guimard's
Temple of Terpsichore bore no distinctive name. But it was of the same
size as the "Temple," and on the portico, which was supported by two
Doric columns, could be seen the figure of Euterpe with the features
of Sophie Arnould. The first floor contained the reception rooms, with
spacious ante-chambers for the servants. On the second floor were the
bedrooms of the children, who, at a later period, were acknowledged by
their father, Count Brancas de Lauragais, and bore his name. In the
National Library of Paris several drawings and plates are exhibited of
the different portions of Sophie Arnould's house; and the representation
of the façade bears this inscription:--"Façade of a projected house for
Mlle. Arnould in the Chaussée d'Antin. To be constructed side by side
with that of Mlle. Guimard, and of the same dimensions.--Bélanger."

[Illustration: MLLE. CLAIRON.]

So much care did the amorous architect of the new house bestow on his
work, and so agreeable did he make himself to the lady for whom it was
being built, that he was asked to share it with the owner; and there was
at one time a serious prospect of Sophie Arnould becoming Mme. Bélanger.
To serve some purpose of her own she spread the report that she was
married to the architect, who showed himself quite disposed to give
reality to the fiction. He was a merry man, and pleased Sophie as much
by his ready wit as by his agreeable manners. After a time she got tired
of him, and having formed an attachment for the actor Florence, wrote
Bélanger a letter of dismissal, at the same time addressing to Florence
an avowal of her love. Bélanger, however, found an opportunity of
changing the envelopes, so that Florence the actor received the letter
intended for Bélanger the architect. The next time Florence saw Sophie
he was naturally somewhat cold in his demeanour towards her, and this
coldness was naturally resented by Sophie, who had written to him with
much warmth. Bélanger triumphed, and his triumph was of long duration;
Sophie, indeed, remained attached to him throughout her life. Of all her
former friends the only ones who showed genuine solicitude for her in
her latter days of poverty and sickness were Bélanger and Lauragais.

Many years afterwards, in the gloomiest and most sanguinary days of the
Revolution, when Bélanger was poor and Sophie Arnould still poorer,
the architect begged the actress and singer to accept, as from an old
friend, a piece of two louis which he at the same time forwarded to
her. Sophie replied that she did not desire his money, but that she was
deeply obliged to him for such thoughtfulness, and in memory thereof
would wear the gold piece next her heart. When she was on her death-bed,
the famous architect, himself without means, wrote to the Minister of
Fine Arts a letter in which he reminded him that a considerable sum
of money was due to Mlle. Arnould from the Opera; of which, now that
she was in the greatest distress, it was impossible for her to obtain
payment, even to the extent of a few louis. "This unhappy woman," he
continued, "of whom Gluck said, 'Without the charm of the accent and
declamation of Mlle. Arnould my _Iphigenia_ would never have been
accepted in France,' finds herself without even the means of prolonging
her life."

In October, 1802, Sophie Arnould died, after receiving absolution from
the curé of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, the parish in which she was born.

Another remarkable personage who lived in, or rather close to, the
Chaussée d'Antin, was that devoted lover of Mdlle. Clairon, Monsieur
de S----, who succeeded in inspiring the famous actress with esteem,
but not with any warmer feeling; and who, according to her belief, as
well as that of several of her friends, paid her visits of complaint
and menace after his death. "His humour," writes Mlle. Clairon, in her
"Memoirs," "was gloomy and melancholy. 'He was too well acquainted with
men,' he would say, 'not to despise and shun them.' His desire was to
live only for me, and that I should live only for him. This last idea
particularly displeased me. I might have been content to be restrained
by a garland of flowers, but could not bear to be confined by a chain.
I saw from that moment the necessity of destroying the flattering hope
which nourishes attachment and of disallowing his frequent visits. This
determination, which I persisted in, caused him a serious indisposition,
during which I paid him every possible attention; but my constant
refusal to indulge the passion he entertained for me made the wound
still deeper."

Afterwards, when the young man had partly recovered, Mlle. Clairon,
convinced that his absence from her would be to his advantage,
constantly refused his letters and his visits. "Two years and a half,"
continues Mlle. Clairon, "passed between our first acquaintance and
his death. He entreated me to assuage the last moments of his life by
repairing to his bed-side. My engagement prevented me from complying
with this request, and he expired in the presence of his domestics and
an old lady whom he had alone for some time suffered."

The house in which M. de S---- died was the one previously referred to
in the Chaussée d'Antin; and at eleven o'clock the same night Mlle.
Clairon, who was living far off in the Rue de Bussy, near the Rue
de Seine, was startled--as were also, she declares, several friends
in company with her at the time--by "the most piercing cry" she had
ever heard. "Its long continuance and piteous sound," she continues,
"astonished everyone. I fainted away, and was nearly a quarter of an
hour insensible." Every night at the same hour Mlle. Clairon heard the
same bitter wail. "All of us in the house," she writes, "my friends, my
neighbours, the police even, have heard this very cry repeated under my
windows at the same hour, and appearing to proceed from the air." She
was recommended by an incredulous acquaintance to invoke the phantom the
next time it announced its presence. She did so, when "the same cry was
uttered thrice in succession, with a degree of rapidity and shrillness
terrible beyond expression." Poor Mlle. Clairon was persecuted in this
manner at an hour before midnight for days at a stretch; until, at
length, in lieu of a piercing cry, she heard every night, and always
at eleven o'clock, the explosion of a gun. Fearing there might be some
design upon her life, she communicated with the Lieutenant of Police,
who, accompanied by proper officers, carefully examined the house next
door, but without discovering any ground for suspicion. "The following
day," says Clairon, "the street was narrowly watched; the officers of
police had their eyes upon every house; but, notwithstanding all their
vigilance, there occurred the same discharge, at the same hour, and
against the same frame of glass for three whole months, though no one
could ever discover from whence it proceeded." "This fact," she adds,
"is attested by all the registers of police."

One day a lady called on Mlle. Clairon and made herself known as the
best friend of the late Monsieur de S----, and the only person he had
suffered to be with him during the last moments of his life.

"To condemn you," she said, "would be unjust ... but his passion for you
overcame him, and your last refusal hastened his end. He counted every
minute till half-past ten, when his servant positively informed him that
you would not come to him. After a moment he took my hand in a paroxysm
of despair which terrified me, and exclaimed, 'Cruel woman! but she
shall gain nothing. I will pursue her as much after my death as I have
during my life.' I endeavoured to calm him, but he was no more."

The words had a terrible effect on the unhappy Mlle. Clairon; and the
cries and threats from her distressed lover gradually ceased to afflict
her, and in time this excellent woman--who could scarcely be expected to
love by order--became pacified.

The first building on the Boulevard des Capucines at the opposite corner
of the Chaussée d'Antin is the Vaudeville Theatre, built to replace the
old playhouse on the Place de la Bourse, and opened to the public on the
1st of October, 1867. Anciently this theatre seemed to be placed beneath
the auspices of Collé des Augiers and Scribe, whose names mark different
phases of the Vaudeville style, once exclusively cultivated by this
theatre. Of later years, however, especially since the production of the
younger Dumas' _Dame aux Camélias_, some forty years ago, it has often
thrown gaiety on one side for the pathetic and dramatic. The Vaudeville,
like all the Paris theatres, has frequently changed its habitation,
though it has always retained its original name. Founded in 1792, when
the Revolution was approaching the Terrorist period, at a building in
the Rue de Chartres, between the Place du Carrousel and the Palais
Royal (since pulled down), the Vaudeville was, after a life of half a
century, driven from its first abode by the usual fire. In 1838, the
year of the conflagration, it sought a temporary refuge on the Boulevard
Bonne-Nouvelle, to move in 1840 to the Place de la Bourse, where it took
possession of the house previously occupied by the Opéra Comique. Here,
where it remained from 1840 to 1867, it changed its style, and instead
of comedies and comediettas interspersed with songs, produced with
immense success a series of dramas of the most moving kind, such as the
already named _Dame aux Camélias_, Octave Feuillet's _Dalila_ and _Roman
d'un jeune Homme pauvre_, Barrière's _Filles de Marbre_, Sardou's _Nos
Intimes_ and _Maison neuve_. It is not indeed at the Théâtre Français,
but at the Vaudeville and the Gymnase, that in modern times the
masterpieces of French dramatic literature have been produced. The first
representation of _La Dame aux Camélias_ forms a turning point in the
history of the Vaudeville Theatre. The play--which was soon to become
celebrated throughout France, and in its operatic form, set to music by
Verdi, throughout Europe--was not produced without serious objections
on the part of the censorship; and it was only through the intercession
of the Duke de Morny, Napoleon III.'s unacknowledged brother and chief
adviser, that permission to represent the piece was obtained. When the
performance at last took place, the success of the drama, owing a good
deal to the pathetic acting of Mme. Doche in the part of the heroine,
was marvellous; and it was made the occasion of innumerable articles
in all the French journals at this period, not only on the play and on
the novel from the same pen whence the play was derived, but on the
unhappy young woman whose life and death the author had more or less
faithfully depicted in the leading character. To show that light-minded
Frenchmen were not alone capable of being moved by the tragic end of the
fascinating Marie Duplessis, it may be mentioned that our own Charles
Dickens was as much touched by it as the numerous French writers, who,
more or less perfectly, have put their feelings on the subject into
literary form. "Not many days after I left," writes Mr. Forster, in his
"Life of Dickens," under date of 1847, "all Paris was crowding to the
sale of a lady of the _demi-monde_, Marie Duplessis, who had led the
most brilliant and abandoned of lives, and left behind her the most
exquisite furniture and the most voluptuous and sumptuous _bijouterie_.
Dickens wished at one time to have pointed the moral of this life and
death, of which there was great talk in Paris while we were together.
The disease of satiety, which, only less often than hunger, passes for a
broken heart, had killed her. 'What do you want?' asked the most famous
of the Paris physicians, at a loss for her exact complaint. At last she
answered, 'To see my mother.' She was sent for, and there came a simple
Breton peasant woman, clad in the quaint garb of her province, who
prayed by her bed until she died."

The _Dame aux Camélias_ called into existence a whole series of pieces,
produced either at the Vaudeville or at the Gymnase, in which the
true character of women in certain difficult positions was treated
controversially, with examples in support of arguments; and at this
moment the last kind of play one would expect to see at the Vaudeville
is precisely that to which the theatre owes its name. The situation
of this theatre in the most fashionable, most frequented part of the
boulevard renders it, apart from its own special attractions, the
favourite resort of foreigners living at the excellent hotels in this
neighbourhood. The house, with its 1,300 seats, is only of moderate
size, but it is much more commodious than the old theatre of the Place
de la Bourse.

The theatres of Paris, generally, are, indeed, far less commodious
than those of London. The Parisians will go anywhere and submit to any
discomfort in order to see good acting and a good play. In England we
are much more particular; and the narrow ill-ventilated theatres of
Paris would certainly be objected to by English audiences. The Paris
theatres, however, are steadily improving, as one by one they get burnt
down; and the new ones springing from the ashes of the old are often
attractive without and convenient within. In the ancient days before the
Great Revolution, the Parisians were as passionately fond of the theatre
as they are now, but their playhouses, according to the author of "Le
nouveau Paris," were abominable.

"I shall say nothing of the nastiness," he writes, "that distinguishes
these places of general resort, because I would not wish to injure the
property of the comedians; nor shall I inveigh against the insolence of
the box-keepers, and other servants of our theatres, as it would give
to the world a bad opinion of the proprietors themselves, to whom some
censorious readers might apply the proverb, 'Like master like man,'
and think it a truism. I intend to confine myself to those points that
more materially concern the spectator when he has once got in and has
the good fortune to procure a clean seat. First let us survey the pit.
Here everybody stands. You will imagine that its inhabitants are the
formidable umpires of taste and dramatic productions; this may or may
not be, just as it suits the caprices of the police, or the Lords of the
Bedchamber, who, from making the master's bed, have raised themselves
by degrees to judge of things which they hardly understand. Hence an
actress is palmed upon the public. Whether she is good or bad is not
the question, but whether she has had the good fortune to please one
or the whole of those gentlemen; and everyone knows what price she has
paid for her admission. Not a play is represented here without a guard
of thirty men with a few rounds each to quiet the spectators. This
internal guard keeps the frequenters of the pit in a kind of passive
condition; and whether you are tired, crowded, or bruised, beware of
giving any sign of uneasiness or discontent. Yet the unfortunate public
pays to take, not what they desire, but what is given them. Surrounded
with armed men, they must neither laugh too loud at a comedy nor express
their feelings at a tragedy in too pointed a manner. Hence the pit,
except in some fits of a transient excitement, is mournfully dull. If
you venture to give any sign of your existence, you are collared by
one of the guards and carried _pro formâ_ before a Commissionaire. I
say for form sake, because everyone in the play-house is really under
martial law; the civil magistrate is only there to hear and approve the
sentence passed upon the culprit by the officer of the guard; who upon
the report, seldom exact, but often groundless, of the soldier, orders
the accused party to prison; and the Commissionaire, without inquiring
into the merit of the charge, or so much as daring to hint at the least
objection, signs the _mittimus_."

[Illustration: Entrance to Rue du Quatre-Septembre.--Avenue de
l'Opéra.--Entrance to Rue de la Paix.


The Boulevard des Capucines seems on both sides entirely new; its houses
are white, bright, and in perfect condition. If the crowd one sees on
the Boulevard Montmartre is a Parisian crowd, that which animates the
Boulevard des Capucines is a cosmopolitan one. It touches what in the
artistic, if not in the general, sense must be looked upon as the heart
of Paris--the New Opera, that is to say, standing in the centre of the
place which bears its name and the streets called after those operatic
celebrities, Scribe, Auber, Halévy, and Meyerbeer; one librettist and
three composers.

The Place de l'Opéra is, indeed, the heart of Paris, communicating by
great arteries with all the most important organs of Parisian life.
The magnificent Avenue of the Opera leads straight to the Louvre; in
another direction the Rue du Quatre-Septembre goes to the Place de la
Bourse. Look along the Rue de la Paix; at the end you will see La Place
Vendôme, with its column in memory of the Grand Army standing out in
its dark bronze against the fresh green of the Tuileries Gardens. Here
all that is most Parisian in Paris may be seen: the finest shops, the
most brilliant equipages, with all the glitter of fashionable life.
The expensive jeweller and the exorbitant milliner here have their
establishments side by side with hotels, restaurants, cafés, and clubs.

[Illustration: AVENUE DE L'OPÉRA.]

The Opera in France had much to go through before it attained its
present artistic development, or, as regards the French form of grand
opera, found its present capacious and splendid home. It is the proud
boast of Frenchmen that Le Nouvel Opéra--as the existing Grand Opéra
in Paris has been called for the last sixteen years, and as it will
probably be called for a long while to come--covers thirteen times as
much ground as the Royal Opera House of Berlin. It is, indeed, superior
by its commodiousness as well as its magnificence to every other opera
house in Europe; though what above all distinguishes it is its admirable
site, and the wide open space in which it stands. In many capitals the
theatres, even the finest, are only portions of a street. At Moscow,
it is true, the Great Theatre stands by itself in a vast square--a
square which, compared with the Place de l'Opéra, is a desert space.
From its very origin the Opera in France has always been regarded as an
institution of the first importance. It enjoyed special privileges from
the Crown, it was managed like a department of the State, and an attack
upon the Opera was punished like a treasonable offence.

"Before I tell you," wrote Rousseau towards the end of the eighteenth
century, "what I think of this famous theatre, I will state what is
said about it. The judgment of connoisseurs may correct mine if I am
wrong. The Opera of Paris passes in the capital for the most pompous,
the most voluptuous, the most admirable spectacle that human art has
ever invented. Its admirers declare it to be the most superb monument
of the magnificence of Louis XIV., and one is not so free as you may
think to express an opinion on such an important subject. Here you may
dispute about everything except music and the Opera; on these topics
alone it is dangerous not to dissemble. French music is defended, too,
by a very rigorous inquisition, and the first thing intimated as a
warning to strangers who visit this country is that all foreigners admit
there is nothing in this world so fine as the Opera of Paris. The fact
is, discreet people hold their tongues, and dare only laugh in their

Rousseau then, speaking in the person of St. Preuz, the hero of "La
nouvelle Héloise," describes the performance as it took place at the
Opera. "Imagine," he says, "an enclosure fifteen feet broad, and long in
proportion; this enclosure is the theatre. On its two sides are placed
at intervals screens, which are crudely painted with the objects which
the scene is about to represent. At the back of the enclosure hangs a
great curtain, painted in like manner and nearly always pierced and
torn that it may represent at a little distance gulfs on the earth or
holes in the sky. Everyone who passes behind this stage or touches the
curtain produces a sort of earthquake which has a double effect. The
sky is made of certain bluish rags suspended from poles or cords, as
linen may be seen hung out to dry in any washerwoman's yard. The sun,
which is here sometimes seen, is a lighted torch in a lantern. The cars
of the gods and goddesses are composed of four rafters squared and hung
on a thick rope in the form of a swing or see-saw; between the rafters
is a cross plank on which the god sits down, and in front hangs a
piece of coarse cloth, well dirtied, which acts the part of clouds for
the magnificent car. One may see, towards the bottom of the machine,
two or three stinking candles, badly snuffed, which, while the great
personage dementedly presents himself swinging in his see-saw, fumigate
him with an incense worthy of his dignity. The agitated sea is composed
of long angular arrangements of cloth and blue pasteboard strung on
parallel spits, which are turned by little blackguard boys. The thunder
is a heavy cart rolled over an arch, and is not the least agreeable
instrument one hears. The flashes of lightning are made of pinches of
resin thrown on a flame; and the thunder is a cracker at the end of a

"The theatre is, moreover, furnished with little square traps, which,
opening at need, announce that the demons are about to issue from their
cave. When they have to rise into the air little imps of stuffed brown
cloth are substituted for them, or sometimes real chimney sweeps, who
swing about suspended on ropes till they are majestically lost in
the rags of which I have spoken. The accidents, however, which not
unfrequently happen are sometimes as tragic as farcical. When the ropes
break, the infernal spirits and immortal gods fall together, and lame
or occasionally kill one another. Add to all this the monsters which
render some scenes very pathetic, such as dragons, lizards, tortoises,
crocodiles, and large toads, who promenade the theatre with a menacing
air, and display at the Opera all the temptations of St. Anthony. Each
of these figures is animated by a lout of a Savoyard who has not even
intelligence enough to play the beast.

"Such, my cousin, is the august machinery of the Opera, as I have
observed it from the pit, with the aid of my glass, for you must not
imagine that all this apparatus is hidden, and produces an imposing
effect. I have only described what I have seen myself, and what any
other spectator may see. I am assured, however, that there are a
prodigious number of machines employed to put the whole spectacle in
motion, and I have been invited several times to examine them; but I
have never been curious to learn how little things are performed by
great means."

When our musical historian, Dr. Burney, visited Paris and heard at the
Opera the works of Rameau, successor to Lulli, under whose direction
the French Opera was founded, he found the music monotonous in the
extreme, and without either rhythm or expression. He could admire
nothing at the French Opera except the dancing and the decorations;
and these alone, he says, seemed to give pleasure to the audience. It
was not, at that time, the custom in France to name the singers in the
programme; and throughout the eighteenth century no singer in France
attained such eminence as was reached by numbers in Italy, and by not
a few in England, some of Italian, some of English birth. Naturally,
then, in the eighteenth century French Opera singers were not well paid;
and chroniclers relate that a Mlle. Aubry and a Mlle. Verdier, being
engaged in the same line of stage business, had to live in the same room
and sleep in the same bed. Apart from the obscurity naturally resulting
from the suppression of the names, inconvenience was caused by the
uncertainty in which the public found itself of knowing which singer, on
any particular evening, would appear. Shortly before the establishment
of the Republic, when, for the first time, the names of singers were
printed in the bills, an _habitué_ rushed out of the theatre in a high
state of indignation, and began to beat one of the money-takers in the
lobby. The poor man at once understood the reason of his aggressor's
wrath. "How was I to know," he exclaimed, "that they would let Le
Ponthieu sing to-night!"

The initial step towards high melody at the French Opera was taken when,
some fifteen years before the Revolution, first Gluck, then Piccini,
were invited to Paris to produce adaptations of former successes, or
original works, fitted in either case to French libretti. While praising
the melody of the Italians as much as he condemns the solemnity of
the French, Rousseau expresses the highest admiration for the genius
of Gluck, the great reformer of the French operatic stage. After the
arrival of Gluck in Paris Rousseau is said never to have missed a
representation of _Orphée_. He said, moreover, in reference to the
gratification which that work had afforded him, that "after all there
was something in life worth living for, since in two hours so much
genuine pleasure could be obtained."

The next great assistance to the French Opera, and this a permanent
one, was given by the Republic, through the establishment of a large
music-school, known as the Conservatoire, where a course of gratuitous
instruction is given to all comers capable at the stipulated age of
passing the indispensable test examination. Before, however, the
Conservatoire, destined to produce so many excellent vocalists,
instrumentalists, and composers, had time to bear fruit, Napoleon had
done much to encourage and develop French musical art. Napoleon, as a
young man, was one of the first admirers of the afterwards famous Mme.
St. Huberti; and when Mme. Mara refused an engagement pressed upon her
at the time of the Empire, Napoleon would have arrested her and forced
her to accept it had she not fled from Paris. Then, another cause of
improvement at the French Opera was the frequent visits paid, early in
this century, and especially since the Peace of 1815, by foreign artists
to the capital which, in former days, had set its face both against
vocalists and composers from abroad. Lulli, the founder of opera in
France, was an Italian by birth, though after his naturalisation he got
to be looked upon as a Frenchman. His successor, Rameau, was no doubt
a Frenchman. But the French tradition was so completely broken by the
advent of Gluck and Piccini that the French have never since exhibited
any of their ancient prejudice against foreign composers; and it is to
these that for the last seventy or eighty years the Grand Opera of Paris
has owed most of its success, that is to say, to Spontini, Rossini,
Donizetti, Verdi, and, above all, Meyerbeer.


A highly interesting account of the rehearsals of Meyerbeer's _Robert
le Diable_--one of the typical works of the modern repertoire of grand
opera--is given, in his "Mémoires d'un Bourgeois de Paris," by Dr.
Véron, for some time manager of the Opera House. "It was not," he
tells us, "until after four months of orchestral and other rehearsals
that the general rehearsals were reached. These latter," he continues,
"caused great fatigue and great excitement to everyone; to the composer,
the singers, the chiefs of department, and the manager. When a general
rehearsal takes place, with choruses, principal singers, and full
orchestra, but without scenery, without costumes, and without full
light, the musical execution gains much and produces always a great
effect. In the darkness and silence of the empty and more sonorous
house, without any distraction for the other senses, one is, so to
say, all ears; nothing is lost of the fine shades of expression in the
singing, of the delicate embroideries of the orchestration. But at
the first representation the disappointment is great. In the immense,
splendidly lighted theatre, filled with an excited crowd, all the rich
and elegant details of the score will be lost through the stuff of the
women's dresses and the diminished sonority of a building crowded in
pit, boxes, and gallery. Great musical ideas, grand orchestral effects,
will now alone produce an impression. Thus it happened that at the first
representation of _Robert the Devil_, the public, after applauding the
first two acts, was only impressed and deeply moved by the chorus of


After describing the anxieties and perplexities which throughout the
long series of rehearsals harass the unfortunate director, Dr. Véron
proceeds to tell us how this gentleman's last and worst experience was
this inevitable final conference, held in his own private room, at
which the author of the words and the composer of the music had to be
prevailed upon to accept some necessary "cuts."


"The librettist maintains that to take away one phrase, one word, is
to render the work unintelligible, so cunningly is it constructed. The
composer resists with no less obstinacy. His score, he says, cannot be
broken up into fragments. It is all combined and prepared in such a
manner as to form a perfect whole. One piece serves as indispensable
contrast to another. A chorus which it has perhaps been suggested
to leave out is essential for the effect of the succeeding air. The
discussions on such points are interminable. I had ended by showing
myself impassible in presence of the storms and tempests that were
raging around me; and I devoted the time during which these quarrels
lasted to a polite and engaging correspondence with all the newspaper
editors. I was still labouring for the success of the work. At last a
conclusion was arrived at, and a general understanding established.
The chief copyist was making the necessary changes and suppressions in
the score; and the public at least never found fault with the words
and music that were now suppressed. But when a director has prepared,
like a good general, everything necessary for the success of the work
on the stage, his troubles begin with the front of the house. Everyone
wants something from him on the occasion of a first representation; and
that of _Robert le Diable_ was exciting public interest to the highest
degree. Everything and everyone must be thought of. It is necessary,
in assigning places, to displease no one, and above all to avoid
exciting jealousies, so as to have no irritated enemies in the house.
Such and such a journalist will never pardon you for having given his
fellow-journalist a better place than himself. The author and composer,
the leading artists, the _claqueurs_ must be satisfied. The care, the
foresight, the conferences, the instructions, indispensable to secure
the efficient working of the _claque_ at each representation, and
particularly on great critical occasions, will be dealt with elsewhere.
One must remember, too, the number of the box that Madame---- would like
to have, the number of the stall preferred by the friend of a minister
or of the editor of some great journal. One must respect, moreover,
the omnipotence of the unknown journalist, as of the journalist in
vogue; and on the critical day the existence is revealed of a crowd of
newspapers not previously heard of."

It was in the old theatre of the Rue Le Pelletier that Rossini's
_William Tell_ and Meyerbeer's great works were brought out. Gounod,
Saint-Saëns, and Massenet, have all written for the New Opera, though it
cannot be said that any of them has yet produced on its boards a work of
the highest merit.

Opened under the Third Republic in 1875, the New Opera House must be
acknowledged to owe its existence to the Emperor Napoleon III., whose
Minister of Fine Arts opened a competition for architectural designs
in view of a new lyrical theatre as long ago as 1860, thirteen years
before the old Opera House was burnt down, and fifteen years before the
new one was completed and thrown open to the public. The successful
competitor is known to have been Charles Garnier, who was almost unheard
of at the time when, with rare unanimity, his design was accepted by
the Commission, and approved with enthusiasm by the Press. The building
of the Opera cost, from first to last, some 36,000,000 francs (nearly a
million and a half sterling), 675,295 work days having been furnished,
during its construction, to masons, bricklayers, carpenters, etc.
The manager of the Opera House receives from the State the free use
of the building together with a subsidy of 800,000 francs (£32,000)
voted annually by the Chamber. Employed at the Opera are some five
hundred persons, among whom may, in particular, be mentioned twelve in
the administration, in connection with the archives, the library, the
secretarial department, and the treasury; three orchestral conductors,
four directors of singing, two directors and one assistant-director of
the chorus; forty-five vocalists; and one hundred orchestral musicians.
There are about one hundred men and women in the chorus, and the
same number in the various divisions of the ballet. Scene-painters,
scene-shifters (or "carpenters," as they are technically called),
dressers, call-boys, box-openers, and so on, form another hundred. The
inauguration of the New Opera took place on the 5th of January, 1875,
in the presence of Marshal Macmahon, Duke of Magenta, at that time
President of the Republic. All the great officers of State were present,
besides a number of foreign notabilities, among whom may be mentioned
Queen Isabella of Spain and the young King of Spain, Alphonso II. It
is remembered, too, with satisfaction, that the Lord Mayor of London,
accompanied by his mace-bearers, trumpeters, and powdered footmen, gave
dignity to the occasion.

One of the most interesting parts of the New Opera is the _foyer_,
corresponding more or less to the refreshment room of our operatic
theatres, but quite incomparable in the way of elegance and splendour.
In the accompanying illustration the artist has made a point of
introducing, amid well-dressed persons in evening clothes, an English
lady in a morning gown and a sea-side hat, accompanied by two of her
countrymen in shooting coats and pot hats. It is, indeed, a standing
grievance with the Parisians that, whereas at our opera house no one is
admitted to the boxes or stalls unless in evening dress, we ourselves,
when we visit the Paris Opera, think any description of garment good
enough to wear. One of the characteristic sights of Paris has, for
nearly two centuries past, been the Masked Ball of the Opera, which,
though it has doubtless lost much of its gaiety since the days when it
inspired Gavarni with so many subjects for his witty pencil, is still
worth seeing, simply as a picturesque display. No one any longer dances
there unless paid to do so. It was, in fact, the introduction of hired
dancers when the public were just beginning to show a disinclination to
take an active part in the revels that put an end to spontaneous dancing
altogether. The antics of some of the hired dancers may interest for
a time; and the music of the large orchestra, conducted successively
by Musard, Tolbecque, Strauss, Métra, and Arban, has always merited a
hearing. Throughout the Carnival--that is to say, from Christmas until
Lent--a masked and fancy dress ball (the wearing both of masks and fancy
dress being optional) is given every week at the Opera, where the great
ball of the year takes place on the night of Shrove Tuesday, the day
preceding Lent. One other ball of the same kind is given in the middle
of Lent--_la Mi-carême_ as it is called--and thenceforward there is no
dancing at the Opera until Christmas has once more come and gone.

The Opera Ball dates, like the Opera itself, from the reign of Louis
XIV. But the license for musico-dramatic performances had been issued
forty years before it occurred to the Chevalier de Bouillon to apply
to the King for permission to give masked balls. The King hastened to
grant the Chevalier's request; and was indeed so pleased with it that
he assigned to him a pension of 6,000 livres (francs) for the idea,
which had simply been borrowed. What is still more remarkable is the
fact that an Augustine monk, Nicholas Bourgeois, invented the mechanism
by which, in half an hour, the floor of the auditorium could be raised
to the level of the stage boards. Although the privilege or patent was
given to the Chevalier de Bouillon at the beginning of January, 1713, it
was not until January, 1716, that the first opera ball took place. From
that year until 1830 no masked or fancy dress ball could be given at any
other theatre. On the accession, however, of Louis Philippe, the Opera
lost its dancing monopoly, and there are now numbers of Paris theatres
at which, during the Carnival, masked balls occur. The receipts at an
Opera Ball are said to average 50,000 francs (£2,000).

Close to the Opera lie all the fashionable clubs of Paris, beginning
with the Jockey Club at the corner of the Boulevard de La Madeleine.
The English Jockey Club is known to be an association of horse-owners
and others interested in racing, who frame regulations and decide cases
in connection with the Turf. The Jockey Club of Paris, while founded
on much the same basis as the English institution of the same name,
is also a club in the ordinary sense of the word, and an exceedingly
good one. The Jockey Club, which boasts of numbering on its books
members of all the reigning families of Europe, is, by its formal
title, a "Society of Encouragement for the Amelioration of Breeds of
Horses in France." It was originated in 1833, under the auspices of the
Duke of Orleans, eldest son of Louis Philippe, in order to popularise
racing, regulate it, and obtain for it subsidies from the State and
the Municipalities. A committee of thirteen members is exclusively
entrusted with the organisation and superintendence of races. The code
of the Jockey Club is adopted as a basis of regulations by nearly all
the other racing societies of France. The Jockey Club itself directs
the racing of only three courses, those of the Bois de Boulogne,
Fontainebleau, and Chantilly. This club, first established at the corner
of the Rue du Helder, and then transferred to the Hôtel de Lange on
the Boulevard Montmartre, moved in 1857 to the corner of the Rue de
Grammont, where the Cercle des Deux Mondes now has its headquarters,
and finally, in 1860, to its present abode, for which it pays an annual
rental of 100,000 francs. Not one of the Paris clubs seems, like the
principal London clubs, to possess its own house. As a rule the annual
subscription to the Paris club is high, amounting in some cases to 500
francs. On the other hand, the large sums charged for entrance to the
London clubs, ranging from 30 to 40 guineas, are unknown at the clubs of
Paris, which consequently find themselves without much available capital.

Close to the Opera, on the Boulevard des Italiens, at the corner of
the Rue de Grammont, is Le Cercle des Deux Mondes; at the corner of
the Rue de la Michodière, the Railway Club, or Cercle des Chemins de
Fer; on the Boulevard des Capucines, at the corner of the Rue Louis le
Grand, the Yacht Club. Just opposite the Yacht Club "Le Cercle de la
Presse," celebrated for its literary and artistic evenings, suggests
in the first place that no like institution exists in England, where
the newspaper world, though less sharply broken up by political and
personal animosities than that of France, is bound together by no such
_esprit de corps_ as that which animates the authors and journalists of
France. In England not only are we without a Press Club worthy of the
name; we have no Société des Gens de Lettres, or Société des Auteurs
et Compositeurs Dramatiques. Close to the Cercle de la Presse is the
Sporting Club, with its English name. On the Place de l'Opéra is the
Franco-American Club called the Washington Club, or Cercle Washington,
and at the other corner of the square, the Cercle des Éclaireurs, or
Scouts' Club, a survival from the war of 1870. On the Place de l'Opéra
are the offices (as staring titles sufficiently proclaim) of the _Daily
Telegraph_, the _Daily News_, and the _New York Herald_. The corner
house, separating the Avenue of the Opera from the Rue de la Paix, has
been occupied since 1886 by the Naval and Military Club, known as the
Cercle des Armées de Terre et de Mer, and founded under the auspices
of General Boulanger in the days when he was War Minister, with the
eyes of all Europe upon him. Advancing towards the Madeleine, we come
first to the Racing Club (Salon des Courses), then to the Union Club
(Cercle de l'Union), the most artistic and most exclusive of all these
institutions. Close by is the new Cercle de la Rue Royale, formerly
known under the familiar name of "Cercle des Moutards;" whilst a little
further on we find the Cercle des Mirlitons and Cercle Impérial, now
combined, and the Cercle Artistique et Littéraire.



More recently established than the best London clubs, the clubs of Paris
possess some slight advantages over ours. There is but one London club
at which a member can get shaved or have his hair cut, but at many of
the fashionable Paris clubs the hair-cutter and barber play as important
a part as at an American hotel. The best Paris clubs have private
carriages always in readiness. At a London club members who have not
their own private carriage content themselves with a hansom, or, if
infirm, with a humble four-wheeler. The Paris clubs, moreover, are in
constant communication with the theatres; and each club can command so
many tickets for a first representation, which are distributed among the
members according to the order of application. Some of the Paris clubs,
too, have a box at the Opera or at the Comédie Française. One strange
characteristic of the Paris clubs--strange at least to Englishmen--is
that every member is supposed to know, more or less intimately, every
other member. In Paris the newly-elected member of a club is formally
introduced to the other members by his proposer and seconder. Nothing of
the kind takes place in London; though a new member of a London club is
allowed, if not expected, to invite his proposer and seconder with a few
friends to dinner. Though there are still famous restaurants in Paris,
dining-houses and cafés have alike suffered by the introduction of
clubs, which, though fewer as yet than in London, are yearly increasing
their number.

The last of the boulevards on the western side is that of the Madeleine,
with the Church of the Madeleine as its principal edifice. The Place
de la Madeleine, in the centre of which stands the beautiful but most
unecclesiastical church, becomes twice every week, on Tuesday and
Friday, a large flower-market, the finest in Paris. Standing by itself
in the place named after it, is the beautiful Greek temple, of which the
first stone was laid, in one of his pious moods, by Louis XV. in 1764.
But the building was not proceeded with until after a delay of some
years. It was begun in its present form only twelve years before the
Revolution; and when Napoleon became emperor it was still unfinished.
Judging, no doubt, from the character of the architecture, that the
edifice could scarcely have been intended for a place of Christian
worship, Napoleon had it finished as a Temple of Glory under the
direction of the celebrated architect Pierre Vignon. Like the Pantheon,
however, which has sometimes been thus named, and at other times called
the Church of Sainte-Geneviève, Napoleon's Temple of Glory was only
for a time to be known in that character. Under the Restoration, in
1814, Louis XVIII. determined to restore the building to the Church;
and, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, it was duly consecrated. La
Madeleine, as it is called, was, however, still uncompleted when, in
1830, Louis Philippe came to the throne; and it was under his reign
that, in 1842, it was opened for public worship in the precise form and
with the elaborate ornamentation now belonging to it. The architecture
of the Madeleine is partly Roman, partly Greek; or rather it is Greek
with Roman adaptations. It is surrounded by Corinthian columns, of
which there are eighteen on each side. Sixteen, moreover, enclose the
southern portion, and eight the northern. The building is without
windows, and is entirely of stone. The niches in the colonnade are
occupied by thirty-four statues representing the most venerated martyrs
and saints. On the principal façade will be remarked a high-relief of
huge dimensions by Lemaire, representing our Lord as Judge of the world.
The figure of the Saviour is seventeen feet high. On His right are the
Angel of Salvation and the saved; on His left the Angel of Punishment
and the condemned, with Mary Magdalene interceding on their behalf. The
interior is brilliant with gold and colour. The sanctuary, with its
vaulted roof, exhibits a vast fresco by Zugler, representing the history
of Christianity. Mary Magdalene, receiving Christ's forgiveness, is
surrounded by the Apostles and Evangelists; and among the illustrious
men who in successive ages have protected the Christian Church may be
recognised Constantine, Godefroi de Bouillon, Clovis, Joan of Arc,
Dante, and Napoleon. The principal altar supports an enormous group in
white marble, generally known as the Assumption, though the central
figure is that of Mary Magdalene. The Assumption in this case is that of
Mary Magdalene into Paradise, whither she is being borne by two angels.
Under the organ is the Chapelle des Mariages, with a marble group by
Pradier, representing the marriage of the Virgin; and the Chapelle des
Fonts, with a group by Rude, the subject being the Baptism of Christ.
To the right of the altar we see illustrated the spread of Christianity
in the East during the early centuries and the Crusades; and again, in
modern times, through the uprising of the Greeks against the Turks. As
leading Crusaders, Richard Coeur-de-Lion and Godefroi de Bouillon
occupy places. The personages exhibited as having greatly contributed
towards the progress of Christianity in the West are the early martyrs,
Charlemagne, Pope Alexander III., Joan of Arc, Raphael, Michael Angelo,
and Dante. In the centre of the picture stands Henri IV., who, after
uttering his celebrated exclamation, "Paris is well worth a mass,"
goes over to the dominant religion. Then come Louis XIII., Richelieu,
and finally Napoleon I., who not only was crowned by Pope Pius VII. in
Notre-Dame, but really deserves credit for having restored Christian
worship in France.

In the first chapel, on the right as one enters the church, is a pillar
bearing an inscription to the memory of the Abbé du Guerry, curé of the
Madeleine, a man of remarkable piety and benevolence, who, with other
hostages taken by the Communists, was shot on the 24th of May, 1871, in
retaliation for the execution of Communist prisoners by the troops of

The Church of the Madeleine is famous for the eloquence of its
preachers, the taste in dress of the fashionable ladies whom these
preachers attract, and the excellence of the music. At the organ of the
Madeleine a sound musician and a perfect player is always to be found.



Its History--Louis XV.--Fireworks--The Catastrophe in 1770--Place de la
Révolution--Louis XVI.--The Directory.

The Rue Royale, a continuation of the Boulevard de la Madeleine,
leading to the Place de la Concorde, was the scene of some of the most
violent outrages on the part of the Communists in May, 1871. Here, as
in the neighbouring Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, a number of houses
were deliberately set on fire, when some thirty persons perished in
the flames. It was said, at the time, that the firemen employed to
extinguish the conflagration were bribed by members of the Commune to
replace the water in their pumps by petroleum.

The Place de la Concorde, the finest of the many fine squares and open
spaces in Paris, covers an area of 400 yards in length, by 235 yards
in width. It is bounded on the south by the Seine, on the west by the
Champs Élysées, on the north by the Rue de Rivoli (at right angles with
the Rue Royale), and on the east by the Tuileries Gardens. From the
centre of the Place may be seen the Madeleine at the further end of
the Rue Royale; the Palace of the Chamber of Deputies just across the
river, which is here traversed by the Pont de la Concorde; the Louvre on
the one hand, and on the other, at the end of the Champs Élysées, the
Triumphal Arch (Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile).

At night the views from the Place de la Concorde are more striking
even than by day; the Avenue of the Champs Élysées, more than a mile
in length, leading in a straight line from the Place de la Concorde to
the Triumphal Arch, presenting, with its seemingly interminable rows of
lamps, a fairy-like spectacle.

The history of the Place de la Concorde is quite modern. Its present
name dates only from the Revolution; its creation from no further back
than the year 1748.

Louis XV., called _le bien-aimé_, had fallen ill at Metz, and the people
regarding him, after the ruinously extravagant reign of his predecessor,
Louis XIV., as a merciful sovereign, hurried in crowds to the churches,
imploring heaven for the King's recovery. "What have I done to be thus
beloved?" asked the young monarch, with astonishment; and his eyes
moistened with tears--"the only ones," says an apparently well-informed
historian, "he ever let fall."

Louis XV. recovered and came back to Paris; and it was then that the
Town Council voted with enthusiasm an equestrian statue to the sovereign
whom it had pleased heaven to spare. The King, on his side, presented
to the city a large open piece of ground at the end of the Tuileries
Gardens, and in the centre of this plain the first stone was laid of the
monument which was to celebrate the virtues of Louis the Well-beloved.
This statue, according to the fashion of the time, represented the King
in Roman costume with a crown of laurels on his head; and, among other
devices, personifications of Strength, Wisdom, Justice, and Peace were
made to figure at the corners of the pedestal, which gave rise to the
following epigram:--

    "Oh! la belle statue! oh! le beau piédestal!
     Les vertus sont à pied, le vice est à cheval;"

which may be thus turned into English:--

    "Fit statue, fitter pedestal! with laughter burst your sides,
     The virtues all below on foot, while vice triumphant rides!"

Another satirist wrote:--

    "Il est ici comme à Versailles;
     Il est sans coeur et sans entrailles."

or, to give something like an equivalent in English:--

    "Here have set up the builders with their trowels
     A King of brass who's neither heart nor bowels."

A philosopher who seems to have foreseen what he fancied was by no
means apparent to Louis XV.--that the ancient _régime_ was coming to
an end--placed a bandage round the eyes of the statue with these words
inscribed on it:--

    "Have pity on a poor blind man!"

This, however, is inconsistent with the tradition which attributes to
him the saying, more generally believed to have been Metternich's,
"Après moi le déluge!"

[Illustration: THE MADELEINE.]


The open space was now to be marked in by ornamental limits; and
the architects were working at the railings and walls, when, on the
night of the 30th of May, 1770, a frightful catastrophe took place.
To celebrate the marriage of the Dauphin, afterwards Louis XVI., with
the Archduchess Marie Antoinette of Austria, the town of Paris had
prepared a magnificent fête, of which the principal attraction was to
be a display of fireworks under the direction of the famous Italian
pyrotechnist, Ruggieri, perfecter of an art first introduced into France
(like so many others) by his ingenious countrymen. Three centuries
earlier, in 1465, it should be said, when fireworks were for the first
time seen in France, much excitement and some accidents, though no
fatal ones, were in like manner caused. After the battle of Montléhry,
when the troops of Louis XI. retired to Corbeil, and the great noblemen
who had been leagued against him to Étampes, the Duke of Berri and the
Comte de Charolais took their places at the window of a house in the
last-named town and looked out together on the soldiers and the mob
who filled the streets. Suddenly a dart of fire was seen flashing and
curling in the air, which, taking the direction of the window where
the prince and the count were seated, struck against it with a violent
explosion. The two noblemen were filled with alarm, and the Comte de
Charolais in his fright ordered the Seigneur Contay to call out all the
troops of the household, the archers of his body-guard, and others. The
Duke of Berri gave like orders to all the troops under his command;
and in a few minutes two or three bodies of armed men, with a great
number of archers, were seen in front of the residence, making every
endeavour to find out whence the marvellous and terrible apparition
of fire could have proceeded. It was regarded as a diabolical device
magically directed against the persons of the Comte de Charolais and
the Duke of Berri. After close investigation it was discovered that the
author of the marvel productive of so much alarm was a Breton known as
Jean Boute-Feu, otherwise Jean des Serpents, so called from his having
invented the kind of firework which still bears the name of "serpent."
Jean threw himself at the feet of the princes, confessed to them that he
had indeed fired rockets into the air, but added that his intention had
been to amuse, not injure, them. Then, to prove that his fireworks were
harmless, he let off three or four of them in presence of the princes,
which quite destroyed the suspicions formed against him. Everyone now
began to laugh. Much trepidation had meanwhile been caused by a very
trifling incident.

But let us return to the year 1770 and the fête on the Place Louis XV.
All was going well, when suddenly a gust of wind blew down among the
crowd some rockets only partially exploded. Fireworks, like so many
inventions of Italian origin, were still, to the mass of the French
public, a comparative novelty; and this, together with the positive
inconvenience and even danger of a fall of blazing missiles in the midst
of thousands of excited and closely-packed spectators, was quite enough
to account for the terrible confusion, resulting in many hundreds of
fatal accidents, which now ensued.

There was, in the first place, a general rush towards the Rue Royale,
far too narrow to receive such an invasion; and in the crush numbers
of women fainted, fell, and were trampled to death. To make matters
worse the stream of persons pressing into the Rue Royale was met by a
counter-stream, advancing, in ignorance of what had taken place, to the
Place de la Concorde. Even these, who were not in imminent peril, were
now affected by a panic which soon became universal. In the midst of
shrieks and groans some desperate men drew their swords and endeavoured
to cut for themselves a passage through the dense mass by which they
were surrounded. "I know many persons," says Mercier, in his "Tableau
de Paris," "who thirty months after these frightful scenes still bore
the marks of objects which had been crushed into them. Some lingered on
for ten years and then died. I may say without exaggeration that in the
general panic and crush more than twelve hundred unfortunate persons
lost their lives. One entire family disappeared; and there was scarcely
a household which had not to lament the death of a relative or friend."
On the other hand the official returns put down the deaths at 133,
already an immense number.

Seven years later, in 1777, the Place Louis XV. was the scene of
a further mishap. Certain strolling players, jugglers, and other
mountebanks had established in the open space an annual fair known as
the Fair of St. Ovid, which became such a nuisance to the aristocratic
residents in the neighbourhood that a petition was presented to the
Government for its suppression; when suddenly one evening the booths and
theatres took fire. The conflagration became general, and the Fair of
St. Ovid perished in the flames.

The next incident of importance which took place on the great Place
was important indeed. It was nothing less than the destruction of
Louis XV.'s statue, which on the 11th of August, 1792, the day after
the capture of the Tuileries, was removed by order of the Legislative
Assembly, melted down, and converted into pieces of two sous. The
statue of the king was replaced by a statue of Liberty, which, being
made in terra-cotta, was called by the anti-Revolutionists the "Liberty
of Mud." The Place was now named Place de la Révolution. Place de la
Guillotine it might more fitly have been called, for it was here that
the instrument of punishment, of vengeance, and often of simple hatred,
was erected, to begin its horrid work, on the 21st of January, 1793, by
the decapitation of Louis XVI.

The unhappy monarch had been brought along the whole line of boulevards
from the prison of the Temple, close to the Place de la Bastille, at
one extremity, to the Place de la Révolution at the other. These two
opposite points mark in a certain way the beginning and the end of the
Revolution. Its first heroic act was the taking of the Bastille; the
cruel deeds which marked its close had for their scene the former Place
Louis XV., which the Revolution had now named after itself.

The last moments of Louis XVI. have often been described, but never in
so simple, touching, and direct a manner as by the Abbé Edgeworth, who
accompanied the king to the scaffold, and at the fatal moment was by his
side. He afterwards wrote in the French language an account of what he
had witnessed, from which some of the most striking passages may here be

"The fate of the king," he says, "was as yet undecided, when M. de
Malesherbes, to whom I had not the honour of being personally known and
who could neither ask me to his house nor come to mine, requested me
to meet him at Mme. de Senosan's house, where I accordingly waited on
him. There M. de Malesherbes delivered to me a message from the king
signifying the wish of that unfortunate monarch that I should attend
him in his last moments, if the atrocity of his subjects should be
contented with nothing less than his death. This message was conveyed
in terms which I should have thought it my duty to suppress if they did
not demonstrate the excellence of the prince whose end I am going to
relate. He carried the delicacy of his expressions so far as to ask as
a _favour_ the services he had a right to demand from me as a duty. He
claimed them as the last proof of my attachment. He hoped that I would
not refuse him. He added that if the danger to which I must be exposed
should appear to me too great he would beg me to name another clergyman.
This was not to be thought of, and on being admitted to the prison I
fell at the king's feet without the power of utterance. The king was
much moved, but soon began to answer my tears with his own."

A high official from whom the Abbé Edgeworth had requested permission
to administer the Sacrament replied that he deemed the request of the
Abbé and that of Louis Capet conformable to the law, which declared
all forms of worship to be free. "Nevertheless," added the official,
"there are two conditions. The first is that you draw up instantly an
address containing your demand signed by yourself; the second, that your
religious ceremonies be concluded by 7 o'clock to-morrow at latest, for
at 8 precisely Louis Capet must set out for the place of execution."

"These last words," writes the Abbé, "were said, like all the rest, with
a degree of cold-blooded indifference which characterised an atrocious
mind. I put my request in writing and left it on the table. They
re-conducted me to the King, who awaited with anxiety the conclusion of
this affair. The summary account which I gave him, in which I suppressed
all particulars, pleased him extremely. It was now past ten o'clock,
and I remained with the King till the night was far advanced, when,
perceiving he was fatigued, I requested him to take some repose. He
replied with his accustomed kindness, and charged me to lie down also.
I went, by his desire, into a little closet which Cléry occupied, and
which was separated from the King's chamber only by a thin partition;
and while I was occupied with the most overwhelming thoughts I heard
the King tranquilly giving directions for the next day, after which
he lay down on his bed. At five o'clock he rose and dressed as usual.
Soon afterwards he sent for me, and I attended him for nearly an hour
in the cabinet, where he had received me the evening before. I found
an altar completely prepared in the King's apartment. The commissaries
had executed to the letter everything that I had required of them.
They had even done more than I had asked, I having only demanded what
was indispensable. The King heard Mass. He knelt on the ground without
cushion or desk. He then received the Sacrament, after which ceremony I
left him for a short time at his prayers. He soon sent for me again, and
I found him seated near his stove, where he could scarcely warm himself.
'My God,' said he, 'how happy I am in the possession of my religious
principles! Without them what should I now be? But with them how sweet
death appears to me! Yes, there dwells on high an uncorruptible Judge
from Whom I shall receive the justice refused to me on earth!' The
sacred offices I performed at this time prevent my relating more than
a few sentences out of many interesting conversations which the King
held with me during the last sixteen hours of his life; but by the
little that I have told it may be seen how much might be added if it
were consistent with my duty to say more. Day began to dawn, and the
drums sounded in all the quarters of Paris. An extraordinary movement
was heard in the tower--it seemed to freeze the blood in my veins. But
the King, more calm than I was, after listening to it for a moment, said
to me without emotion: 'It is probably the National Guard beginning to
assemble.' In a short time detachments of cavalry entered the court of
the Temple, and the voices of officers and the trampling of horses were
distinctly heard. The King listened again and said to me with the same
composure: 'They seem to be approaching.' On taking leave of the Queen
the evening before he had promised to see her again next day, and he
wished earnestly to keep his word; but I entreated him not to put the
Queen to a trial under which she must sink. He hesitated a moment, and
then, with an expression of profound grief, said: 'You are right, sir,
it would kill her. I must deprive myself of this melancholy consolation
and let her indulge in hope a few moments longer.' From seven o'clock
till eight various persons came frequently, under different pretences,
to knock at the door of the cabinet, and each time I trembled lest it
should be the last. But the King, with more firmness, rose without
emotion, went to the door and quietly answered the people who thus
interrupted us. I do not know who these men were; but amongst them
was one of the greatest monsters that the Revolution had produced. I
heard him say to his King, in a tone of mockery, I know not on what
subject: 'Oh, that was very well once, but you are not on the throne
now.' His Majesty did not answer a word, but returned to me, contenting
himself with saying, 'See how these people treat me. But I know how
to endure everything.' Another time, after having answered one of the
commissaries who came to interrupt us, he returned and said, with a
smile, 'These people see poignards and poison everywhere; they fear
that I shall destroy myself. Alas! they little know me. To kill myself
would indeed be weakness. No, since it is necessary, I know how I ought
to die!' We heard another knock at the door--destined to be the last.
It was Santerre and his crew. The King opened the door as usual. They
announced to him (I could not hear in what terms) that he must prepare
for death. 'I am occupied,' said he, with an air of authority. 'Wait
for me. In a few minutes I will return to you.' Then, having shut
the door, he knelt at my feet. 'It is finished, sir,' he said. 'Give
me your last benediction, and pray that it may please God to support
me to the end.' He soon arose, and, leaving the cabinet, advanced
towards the wretches who were in his bedchamber. Their countenances
were embarrassed, yet their hats were not taken off. And the King,
perceiving it, asked for his own. Whilst Cléry, bathed in tears, ran for
it, the King said, 'Are there amongst you any members of the Commune?
I charge them to take care of this paper.' It was his will. One of the
party took it from the King. 'I recommend also to the Commune Cléry my
valet. I can only congratulate myself on having had his services. Give
him my watch and clothes, not only these I have here, but those that
have been deposited at the Commune. I also desire that, in return for
the attachment he has shown me, he may be allowed to enter into the
Queen's--into my wife's service.' He used both expressions. The King
then cried out in a firm tone: 'Let us proceed.' At these words they
all moved on. The King crossed the first court, formerly the garden,
on foot. He turned back once or twice towards the tower as if to bid
adieu to all most dear to him on earth; and by his gestures it was plain
that he was then trying to summon his utmost strength and firmness.
At the entrance to the second court a carriage waited. Two gendarmes
stood at the door. On the King's approach one of these men entered the
carriage, and took up his position in front. The King followed and
placed me by his side. Then the other gendarme jumped in and shut the
door. It is said that one of these men was a priest in disguise. For
the honour of religion I hope this may be false. It is also said that
they had orders to assassinate the King on the smallest murmurs from the
people. I do not know whether this might have been their design, but it
seems to me that unless they possessed different arms than those that
appeared it would have been difficult to accomplish their purpose, for
their muskets only were visible, which it would have been impossible
for them to have used. These apprehended murmurs were not imaginary. A
great number of people devoted to the King had resolved on tearing him
from the hands of his guards, or, at least, of making the attempt. Two
of the principal actors, young men whose names are well known, found
means to inform me, the night before, of their intentions; and though
my hopes were not sanguine, I yet did not despair of rescue even at
the foot of the scaffold. I have since heard that the orders for this
dreadful morning had been planned with so much art, and executed with
so much precision, that, of four or five hundred people thus devoted
to their prince twenty-five only succeeded in reaching the appointed
rendezvous. In consequence of the measures taken before daybreak in all
the streets of Paris, none of the rest were able to get out of their
houses. The King, finding himself seated in a carriage where he could
neither speak to me nor be spoken to without witness, kept a profound
silence. I presented him with my breviary, the only book I had with
me, and he seemed to accept it with pleasure. He appeared anxious that
I should point out to him the psalms that were best suited to his
situation, and he recited them attentively with me. The gendarmes,
without speaking, seemed astonished and confounded at the tranquil piety
of their monarch, to whom, doubtless, they had never before approached
so near. The procession lasted almost two hours. The streets were
lined with citizens, all armed, some with pikes and some with guns,
and the carriage was surrounded by a body of troops formed from the
most desperate people of Paris. As another precaution, they had placed
before the horses a great number of drums intended to drown any noise
or murmurs in favour of the King. But how could such demonstrations be
heard, since nobody appeared either at the doors or windows, and in the
street nothing was to be seen but armed citizens--citizens all rushing
to the commission of a crime which, perhaps, they detested in their
hearts. The carriage proceeded thus in silence to the Place Louis XV.,
and stopped in a large space that had been left round the scaffold. This
space was protected on all sides with cannon, and, beyond, an armed
multitude extended as far as the eye could reach. As soon as the King
perceived that the carriage was stopping, he turned and whispered to
me: 'We have arrived, if I mistake not.' My silence answered that we
had. One of the guards came to open the carriage door, and the gendarmes
would have jumped out; but the King stopped them, and laying his hand on
my knee, said to them in a tone of majesty: 'Gentlemen, I recommend to
you this good man. Take care that after my death no insult be offered
to him. I charge you to prevent it.' The two men answered not a word.
The King was continuing in a louder tone, but one of them stopped him,
saying: 'Yes, yes, we will see to it; leave him to us;' and I ought to
add that these words were spoken in a tone which would have frozen me if
at such a moment it had been possible for me to have thought of myself.
As soon as the King had left the carriage, three guards surrounded him
and would have taken off his garments, but he repelled them haughtily.
He undressed himself, untied his neckcloth, opened his shirt and
arranged it himself. The guards, whom the determined countenance of the
King had for a moment disconcerted, seemed to recover their audacity.
They surrounded him again, and would have seized his hands. 'What are
you attempting?' said the King, drawing back his hands. 'To bind you,'
answered the wretches. 'To bind me?' said the King with an indignant
air. 'No, I shall never consent to that. Do what you have been ordered;
but you shall never bind me.' The guards insisted; they raised their
voices, and seemed to wish to call on others to aid them.

[Illustration: PLACE DE LA CONCORDE.]

"Perhaps this was the most terrible moment of the direful morning;
another instant and the best of kings would have received from his
rebellious subjects indignities too horrid to mention--indignities that
would have been to him more insupportable than death. Such was the
feeling expressed on his countenance. Turning towards me, he looked at
me steadily, as if to ask my advice. Alas! it was impossible for me
to give any, and I only answered by silence; but as he continued this
fixed look of inquiry I replied, 'Sir, in this new insult I only see
another trait of resemblance between your Majesty and the Saviour who is
about to recompense you.' At these words he raised his eyes to heaven
with an expression that can never be described. 'You are right,' he
said, 'nothing less than His example should make me submit to such a
degradation.' Then, turning to the guards, he added: 'Do what you will.
I will drink of the cup even to the dregs.' The path leading to the
scaffold was extremely rough and difficult to pass. The king was obliged
to lean on my arm, and from the slowness with which he proceeded I
feared for a moment that his courage might fail; so that my astonishment
was extreme when, arrived at the last step, he suddenly let go my arm
and I saw him cross with a firm foot the breadth of the whole scaffold;
silence, by his look alone, fifteen or twenty drums that were placed
opposite to him; and in a voice so loud, that it must have been heard
at the Pont Tournant, pronounce distinctly these memorable words: 'I
die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge; I pardon those who
have occasioned my death; and I pray to God that the blood you are
now going to shed may never be visited on France.' He was proceeding,
when a man on horseback, in the national uniform, waved his sword, and
with a ferocious cry ordered the drums to beat. Many voices were at
the same time heard encouraging the executioners. They seemed to have
re-animated themselves, and seizing with violence the most virtuous of
kings, they dragged him under the axe of the guillotine, which with one
stroke severed his head from his body. All this passed in a moment. The
youngest of the guards, who seemed about eighteen, immediately seized
the head and showed it to the people, as he walked round the scaffold.
He accompanied this monstrous ceremony with the most atrocious and
indecent gestures. At first an awful silence prevailed; at length some
cries of '_Vive la République!_' were heard. By degrees the voices
multiplied, and in less than ten minutes this cry, a thousand times
repeated, became the universal shout of the multitude, and every hat was
in the air."

"It is remarkable," writes Mr. Sneyd Edgeworth, the Abbé's brother,
"that in this account of the last moments of Louis XVI., the Abbé
Edgeworth has omitted to relate that fine apostrophe, which everyone has
heard, and which everyone believes that he addressed to his king at the
moment of execution--

  "'Fils de St. Louis, montez au ciel!'

"The Abbé Edgeworth has been asked if he recollected to have made this
exclamation. He replied that he could neither deny nor affirm that he
had spoken the words. It was possible, he added, that he might have
pronounced them without afterwards recollecting the fact, for that he
retained no memory of anything which happened relative to himself at
that awful instant. His not recollecting or recording the words is
perhaps the best proof that they were spoken from the impulse of the

The Reign of Terror had now begun. Foreign armies were marching towards
Paris in order to liberate the King from prison and replace him on his
throne. The Republican Government replied by removing the head of the
monarch whom it was prepared to restore.

During the Reign of Terror the Place de la Concorde, as it was
afterwards to be called, might fitly have been named, not merely the
Place of the Revolution, the title it bore, but the Place of Blood.
In the terrible year of 1793 Charlotte Corday was guillotined on the
17th of July; Brissot, leader of the Girondists, with twenty-one of
his followers, on the 2nd of October; Queen Marie Antoinette on the
16th of October; and Philippe Égalité, Duke of Orleans (father of
Louis Philippe), on the 14th of November. Among the victims of the
year 1794 may be mentioned Madame Élizabeth, sister of Louis XVI., who
was guillotined on the 12th of May; Hébert and several of his most
bloodthirsty associates, who, at the instigation of Robespierre and
Danton, lost their heads on the 14th of March; Marat and members of his
party, who followed a few days afterwards; Danton himself and a number
of his adherents, with the heroic Camille Desmoulins among them, on the
8th of April; Chaumette and Anacharsis Cloots, together with the wives
of some previous victims on April 16th; Robespierre, Saint-Just, and
other members of the Committee of Public Safety, on July 28th; seventy
members of the Commune who had acted under Robespierre's direction on
July 29th; and twelve other members of the same body the day afterwards.

One of the most eminent figures in the Girondist party, Lasource,
exclaimed to his sanguinary judges, on receiving his sentence: "I die at
a moment when the people have lost their reason; you will die the day
they regain it."

In reference to Saint-Just's arrogance, Camille Desmoulins had said:
"He carries his head with as much veneration as though he were bearing
the Church Sacrament on his shoulders;" to which Saint-Just playfully
replied: "And I will make him carry _his_ head as St. Denis carried
his." St. Denis, the martyr, it will be remembered, is said, after
decapitation, to have marched some distance with his head under his arm.

In the course of the two years over which the Reign of Terror extended
(though its duration is variously estimated according to the political
principles of the calculator) nearly 3,000 persons are declared to have
perished on the Place de la Révolution; though this estimate would
certainly be regarded by some as excessive, by others as inadequate.

In reference to the Reign of Terror, Victor Hugo calls upon the world
"not to criticise too closely the bursting of the thunder-cloud which
had been slowly gathering for eighteen centuries;" as though, from
the earliest period, France had always been grossly misgoverned, to
be suddenly governed in perfection from the time of the Revolution.
It is the simple truth, however, that the Reign of Terror was the
result, not of the natural development of the Revolutionary forces, but
of threats from abroad, the presence, real and imaginary, of foreign
agents in Paris, and the advance of the German armies with a view to the
liberation of the king and the suppression of the Republic. It ought
also in fairness to be remembered that if the Revolutionists made a free
use of the guillotine, they abolished torture and the cruel methods of
executions (such as beating to death with an iron bar) in use under
the ancient monarchy until the moment of the outbreak. Nor can it be
forgotten that at various periods of French history (the Massacre of St.
Bartholomew is an instance) life has been sacrificed more copiously,
more recklessly, and more wantonly, than during the worst excesses of
the French Revolution. When many years afterwards it was proposed to
erect a fountain on the spot where the scaffold of Louis XVI. had stood,
Chateaubriand declared that all the water in the world would not suffice
to remove the blood-stains which had sullied the Place.

Of those who suffered under the Revolution, many, such as Robespierre,
Danton, and Marat, well deserved their fate, and none more so than the
infamous Philippe Égalité, who, after playing the part of a democrat,
and democratically voting for the death of his cousin the king, was
himself, on democratic grounds, brought to the guillotine.

Writing in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_ four years after Louis Philippe's
election to the throne, Chateaubriand reproached the reigning king with
being the son of a regicide. Arguing that since the execution of Louis
XVI., and as a punishment for that crime, it had become impossible to
establish monarchy in France, Chateaubriand added: "Napoleon saw the
diadem fall from his brow in spite of his victories; Charles X. in spite
of his piety. To discredit the crown finally in the eyes of the nations,
it has been permitted to the son of the regicide to be for one moment
in the blood-stained bed of the murderer." That Louis Philippe suffered
this outburst to be published unchallenged has been regarded as a proof
of his extreme tolerance in press matters.

Probably, however, he thought it prudent not to invite general attention
to words which by a large portion of his subjects would have been
accepted as true. It has been said by the defenders of the "regicide"
that Philippe Égalité did his best not to be present at the sitting of
the Convention when sentence had to be passed on the unfortunate king;
and that he was threatened by his friends of the Left with assassination
unless he voted with them for the "death of the tyrant." However that
may be, he took his seat among the judges by whom the fate of his royal
kinsman was to be decided; and when it came to his turn to deliver
his opinion, he did so in these words: "Occupied solely with my duty,
convinced that all those who have attacked or might afterwards attack
the sovereignty of the people deserve death, I pronounce the death of
Louis." Philippe Égalité had looked for general approval, and had voted
in fear of that death which awaited him nevertheless, and which came to
him in the very form in which a few months before it had been inflicted
on the unhappy Louis. When his vote was made known, cries of indignation
from all sides warned him that he had transgressed one of the great
moral laws which are observed even by men who violate all others. A
former soldier of the king's body-guard, hearing of Philippe Égalité's
unnatural offence, resolved to kill him; but not being able to find him,
killed another less guilty "regicide" in his place.

Very different was the feeling excited by the conduct of Philippe
Égalité in the breast of the king himself. "I don't know by what
chance," says the Abbé Edgeworth in his "Relation sur les derniers
Moments du Roi," "the conversation fell upon Philippe. The king seemed
to be well acquainted with his intrigues, and with the horrid part he
had taken at the Convention. But he spoke of him without any bitterness,
and with pity rather than anger. 'What have I done to my cousin,' he
exclaimed, 'that he should so persecute me? What object could he have?
Oh, he is more to be pitied than I am. My lot is melancholy, no doubt,
but his is much more so.'"

Under the Directory, when the worst period of the Revolution was at
an end, and the Republic itself was disappearing, the Place de la
Révolution was called Place de la Concorde, and this name was preserved
under the Consulate and the Empire.


At the time of the Restoration, when endeavours were made to revive in
every form the associations of the old French monarchy, the name of
Place de la Concorde was set aside for the original one of Place Louis
XV., which, however, in obvious reference to the execution of Louis XV's
successor, was changed in 1826 to Place Louis XVI. It was at the same
time decreed that a monument should be erected to the memory of the
unfortunate monarch, but the decree was never acted upon.

Soon afterwards, in 1828, an order signed by Charles X. gave the place
of many names to the town of Paris on condition that it should spend
within five years, in completing the architectural and other decorations
of the square, a sum of at least 2,230,000 francs.

After the Revolution of 1830 the name of Place de la Concorde was
re-adopted; and the Municipality was proceeding as rapidly as possible
with the works ordered under the previous reign, when the cholera broke
out, causing to the town an expenditure which rendered it necessary to
stop the completion of the improvements.

[Illustration: TRIAL OF LOUIS XVI.]

The sum to be applied to the purpose was afterwards reduced to 1,500,000
francs; and this sum was conscientiously spent, but without by any means
finishing the design contemplated by the architects.

The fountains, with the Naiads and Tritons, and the eight statues
representing in personification the principal sights of Paris, had been
duly placed; and in 1836 the Obelisk of Luxor, a present from the Pasha
of Egypt, was made the central ornament on the spot which had been
successively occupied by the statue of Louis XVI. and the figure of

It was not until 1852, under the Empire, that the objects which still
on one side mark the limits of the Place were set up. A large number of
bronze candelabra which were at the same time fixed in various parts
of the square greatly increased at night its picturesqueness and its
beauty. For the last forty years the Place de la Concorde has remained
as it was under the Empire. The Republic of 1871 could scarcely think
it necessary to return to the truly Republican name of Place de la
Révolution, which had been preserved for some two or three years during
the worst period of the Revolution; and to the embellishment of the
Place there was nothing to add. It remains what our Trafalgar Square
was once, with or without reason, declared to be--"the finest site in
Europe;" less admirable, however, as a mere site, than for the admirable
views of such varied kinds that it commands in every direction.

The history of the Place de la Concorde would not be complete without a
record of the fact that it has been successively occupied by Russian and
Prussian troops (1814); by English troops (1815); and again by Prussian
troops (1871). It was the scene, too, in 1871 of a desperate struggle
between the Communards and the troops advancing against them from




The Column of Austerlitz--The Various Statues of Napoleon Taken
Down--The Church of St.-Roch--Mlle. Raucourt--Joan of Arc.

At the point where the long line of boulevards, extending for three
miles from the Place de la Bastille to the Madeleine, comes to an end
the road bifurcates. The Rue Royale leads in one direction towards the
Place de la Concorde, the Rue Castiglione in another towards the Place
Vendôme, a square, or rather an octagon, in the middle of which stands
the famous column at which the typical French patriot, Le Colonel
Chauvin, used to gaze with such enthusiastic admiration.


The Place was constructed by the celebrated architect Mansard. In 1686,
on the proposition of Louis XIV.'s minister, Louvois, the formation
of the Place in the Faubourg Saint-Honoré was decreed "alike for
the decoration of Paris and for facilitating communications in this
quarter." Louvois, in the first place, purchased the Hôtel de Vendôme in
the Rue Saint-Honoré, at the end of the Rue Castiglione, which, together
with an adjacent convent, was pulled down. The open space thus obtained
was for some time left unoccupied, the king's government being more
concerned with works of war than of peace. It was originally intended
to give the Place Vendôme the form of a square, with the king's library
on one side, and various Government offices, together with mansions for
the reception of special envoys, on the other. In carrying out his work
Mansard made eight façades instead of the four first contemplated, and
in the middle of the octagon he placed an equestrian statue of Louis
XIV., twenty-one feet high. The Grand Monarch was attired, according
to the sculptural fashion of the time, in Roman costume; and on the
pedestal of the statue, which was in white marble, might be read pompous
inscriptions in honour of his Majesty's victories.

This statue remained on its pedestal for nearly a century. But on the
10th of August, 1792, when the Revolutionary fury was reaching its acute
stage, the effigy was overturned by the people, and the name of Place
Vendôme changed to Place des Piques. This eminently anarchical title was
preserved until the establishment of the Empire, when Napoleon conceived
the idea of the column to which the Place Vendôme now owes its chief

The true name of the column in question is the Column of Austerlitz.
So, at least, it was designated by Napoleon; though the French people
have persisted in calling it after the place in which it stands. It is
a reproduction, as regards form, of the Trajan Column, which, however,
is in marble, whereas the Column of the Place Vendôme is in stone
covered with bronze castings. The column astonishes by its height,
and excites admiration by its harmonious proportions. Few, however,
notice the perfection of its details. The stone, of which the monument
substantially consists, is covered by 378 sheets of bronze, so perfectly
adjusted that the column appears to be one mass of solid metal. On an
interminable spiral of low reliefs, the soldiers of the Empire are
represented with the uniforms they wore, and the arms they carried. The
principal personages are portraits, and the scenes represented are all
from the campaign of 1805. The scrolls of bronze on which figure the
actors and incidents of the Austerlitz campaign would measure, in one
continuous line, more than 260 metres. The column is surmounted by the
statue of the man who, in his own honour, erected it, and the base of
the statue bears an inscription in these terms:--

                         BY NAPOLEON THE GREAT.
                       BEGUN XXV AUGUST, MDCCCVI,
                      FINISHED XV AUGUST, MDCCCX,
                  UNDER THE DIRECTION OF D. V. DENON,

The base of the column bears this legend:--

                          "NEAPOLIO IMP. AUG.
                       MONUMENTUM BELLI GERMANICI
                              ANNO MDCCCV.
                              EX ÆRE CAPTO

which may be translated as follows:--

     "Napoleon, august Emperor, dedicates to the glory of the Grand
     Army this monument made of bronze taken from the enemy, 1805, in
     the German War, terminated in three months under his command."

This other very different translation from the same obscure original was
suggested by Alexandre Dumas the elder: "Nearchus Polion, General of
Augustus, dedicated this war tomb of Germanicus to the glory of the Army
of Maximus, in the year 1805, with the money stolen from the vanquished,
thanks to his conduct, during the space of three months."

The sheets of bronze employed in the construction of the column would,
it has been calculated, weigh 2,000,000 kilogrammes, about 4,000,000
pounds; and the metal was all obtained from the guns of the defeated
armies. In 1814, the day after the entry of the allied troops into
Paris, it was proposed to pull down the statue of Napoleon, costumed
and crowned like a Roman emperor, from its proud position at the top of
the Austerlitz Column; and with this view a cable was thrown round the
Emperor's neck, the lower part of his legs having been previously sawn
through so that he might fall with ease. The statue, however, stood
firm. The angle at which the engineers were operating did not enable
them to pull the statue sufficiently forward; and to tug at the cable
was only to hold it faster to its base.

A zealous royalist now came forward in the person of M. de Montbadon,
chief of staff to the Paris garrison. Empowered by MM. Polignac and
Semallé, commissaries of the Count of Artois, to take whatever measures
he might think necessary, M. de Montbadon applied to Launay, who had
made the castings for the column and had cast the statue itself. He who
had made could also unmake, argued M. de Montbadon. But he had reckoned
without Launay himself, who refused indignantly to do the work required
of him. Thereupon he was taken to the headquarters, where an order was
served upon him in these terms: "We command the said M. Launay, under
pain of military execution, to proceed at once to the operation in
question, which must be terminated by midnight on Wednesday, April 6th."
This order, according to the well-informed Larousse, is dated April 4th,
and signed Rochechouard, colonel aide-de-camp of H.M. the Emperor of
Russia commanding the garrison. M. Pasquier, Prefect of Police, wrote on
the document, "to be executed immediately." The National Guard was at
that time on duty around the monument. Whether from a feeling of shame
or of mistrust, the French National Guards were replaced by Russian
troops. Launay now raised the statue by means of wedges, and let it down
with pulleys. No sooner had the bronze figure touched the ground than it
was replaced on the summit of the column by the white flag of the old
monarchy. "Then," says Launay in an account he has left of the affair,
"cries were heard of 'Long live the King!' ' Long live Louis XVIII.!'"
This was on April 8th, at six in the evening, the operation having
lasted four days, at an expense to the nation of only 4,815 francs 46
centimes. Launay obtained permission to take away the statue and keep it
in his workshop as security for the payment of 80,000 francs still due
to him from the Government as founder of the column. On the return of
Napoleon from Elba Launay was forced by the Imperial police to give up
the statue; and when, after the Hundred Days, the monarchy was a second
time restored, the statue, a masterpiece of Chaudet, was melted down,
and the metal used by Lemot for a new equestrian statue of Henri IV.

Soon after the accession of Louis Philippe--a more popular sovereign
than the legitimate King Charles X., whom, at the end of the Revolution
of 1830, he succeeded--the Chambers passed a resolution for crowning
the Vendôme Column once more with a statue of Napoleon. A competition
was opened, and the model of a statue by M. Seurre was selected from
a great number sent in. It was cast in bronze, and inaugurated with
great show on the 28th of July, 1833, during the annual festivities in
celebration of the Revolution of 1830. The Army and the National Guard
were represented in force on this solemn occasion; and Louis Philippe,
on horseback, in the midst of his staff, removed with his own hands the
veil which concealed the statue from the eyes of the crowd. He then
saluted, in this bronze effigy, the conqueror of Continental Europe;
who, thanks in a great measure to the revived worship of Bonapartism,
was in less than twenty years to be succeeded by a new emperor of the
same dynasty.

The Napoleon who now took his place at the top of the column was more in
harmony with the details of the structure representing French generals
and French soldiers than the Roman Emperor so rudely dethroned in
1814 had been. The new Napoleon was the Napoleon of real life and of
Béranger's songs, the _Petit Caporal_ wearing his _redingote grise_, and
standing in a characteristic attitude, with one of his hands behind his
back. Instead of the laurel wreath he wore on his head the traditional
_petit chapeau_.

[Illustration: THE PLACE VENDÔME.]

It seemed, however, to Napoleon III. that his uncle's own design ought
to be respected; and in 1864 the statue of Napoleon "in his habit as he
lived" was replaced by a statue after the model of the original one,
representing the conqueror of Austerlitz in the conventional garb of a
Roman emperor. The more realistic statue was placed in the middle of the
rond-point of Courbevoie.

Under the Commune the statue and the column itself were pulled down.
The eminent painter, Courbet, had formed a project for replacing the
column, which was only a monument of the victories gained by France at
the expense of her plundered and humiliated neighbours, by one made out
of French and German cannon in honour of the Federation of Nations and
the Universal Republic. Courbet is said to have invited the Prussians
to join him in carrying out this idea, which could not in any respect
have suited their views. No period of French history, however, has been
more diversely narrated than that of the Commune. One thing is certain;
that the column fell, and in its descent went to pieces. The statue,
too, suffered greatly by the fall. One of the legs was broken, and the
head got separated from the body. A speech in honour of the Commune's
mechanical triumph over the Imperial "idea" was pronounced by General

After the suppression of the Commune the Assembly of Versailles ordered
the re-establishment of the Vendôme column, which was duly set up in
1875. The interior construction of stone was entirely new. So also, as
regards form, was the bronze plating, the scrolls being recast from
the moulds preserved since the time of the first Empire. It had been
decreed that the column should be surmounted by a statue of France. But
this idea was not carried out, and, in conformity with another decree,
Dumont's statue, as set up by Napoleon III. in 1864, was, after being
repaired, put back in its former position.

The pedestal at the top of the column has turn by turn been surmounted
by the statue of Napoleon disguised as a Roman emperor; by the white
flag of the ancient monarchy; by the statue of Napoleon in his ordinary
military garb; by the statue of Napoleon once more costumed as a Roman
Emperor; by the red flag of the Commune; and finally once again by the
most recent statue in classic garb.

The French seem at last to understand as a nation that, apart from all
question of politics, the Napoleonic period was one of the most glorious
of their history.

At the corner of the Rue Castiglione stands the magnificent Hôtel
Continental; which, independently of its positive attractions, possesses
interest as occupying the site on which once stood the Ministry of
Finance--burnt to the ground under the Commune in obedience to the
famous, or infamous, telegraphic order: "_Flambez Finances_."

On the west side of the Place Vendôme is the Ministry of Justice. The
Hôtel du Rhin on the south side was the residence of Napoleon III. when
he was a member of the National Assembly in 1848, before his election
to the post of President, followed by his self-appointment (1851) to
the dignity, first of President for ten years and a year afterwards of
Emperor. In one of his letters of the 1848 period, inviting a friend to
dinner at the Hôtel du Rhin, he apologised for proposing to entertain
him at a "cabaret," a pleasantly contemptuous designation which the
commodious and well-appointed Hôtel du Rhin scarcely deserved.

The Hôtel du Rhin played a certain strategic part towards the end of
May, 1871, when on the 23rd the Versailles troops passed through the
hotel, and, attacking the insurgents in the rear, captured one of their
principal barricades. The proprietor of the hotel, M. Maréchal, is
said, on the occasion of the Vendôme column being threatened by the
Communists, to have offered them 500,000 francs if they would spare it.
"Give us a million and we will see!" was the answer; but the patriotic
hotel-keeper, though he had the misfortune to see the column knocked
down, lived to behold its restoration.

The Rue Castiglione, which on the other side of the Place Vendôme
continues southward towards the Rue de Rivoli and the Tuileries Gardens
under the name of Rue de la Paix, is crossed, at the point where it
changes its title, by the Rue Saint-Honoré. Here, close to the Place
Vendôme, stands the ancient and interesting Church of Saint-Roch.

The origin of this church was a chapel dedicated to the five wounds of
Jesus, which, in 1577, was rebuilt on a much larger scale under the name
of Saint-Roch, to be made, in 1633, the parochial church of the western
part of Paris. The building in its present form dates from 1653, and it
was not finished until 1736. Right and left of the principal entrance
will be observed two statues, representing the two St. Rochs: one of
them the pilgrim from Languedoc who cured the plague, accompanied by his
legendary dog; the other the Bishop of Autun, mitre on head and staff in

Saint-Roch has been described as "the first parish church in France."
It contains a number of statues and pictures by famous artists, such as
Falconnet, Pradier, and Constan; Vien, Doyen, Deveria, Boulanger, and
Abel de Pujol; also many interesting tombs, including that of the great
Corneille, who died on the 1st of October, 1684, in the Rue d'Argenteuil
at a house which not long ago was pulled down.

On the 1st of October, 1884, the Curé of Saint-Roch performed a funeral
service to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the poet's
death; to which were invited the managers and the whole company of
the Comédie Française. What a change did this mark in the views and
feelings of the French clergy since the time, scarcely more than fifty
years distant, when the Curé of Saint-Roch refused Christian burial to
a celebrated actress who had relinquished her profession, and since her
retirement had made abundant gifts through the clergy of Saint-Roch to
the poor of the parish.

"Mlle. Raucourt," says a writer on this subject, "had a better opinion
of the Restoration than had the Restoration of Mlle. Raucourt. The
clergy of the restored dynasty had shown itself in many ways intolerant;
and Mlle. Raucourt's funeral was the occasion of a riot which threatened
at one time to become formidable. The Curé of St.-Roch would not allow
the body to be brought into his church, though he is said to have
received again and again gifts from the actress, either for the church
or for the poor of his parish. Only a few days beforehand, on the first
day of the year, she had sent him an offering of five hundred francs.
Representations were made to the clergy, but without avail. At last an
indignant crowd broke open the church doors. Meanwhile, Louis XVIII.,
informed of what was taking place, had ordered one of his chaplains to
go to Saint-Roch, and there, replacing the Curé, perform the funeral
service. The soldiers had been called out, but they were judiciously
withdrawn: they were kept, that is to say, in an attitude only of
observation, while a crowd that was constantly increasing followed the
corpse of Mlle. Raucourt to the cemetery of Père-la-Chaise." While the
public excitement was at its height, one of the deceased actress's
friends remarked: "If poor Raucourt could only see from her heavenly
home what a scandal she is causing, how delighted she would be!"

Among the various illustrious persons buried at Saint-Roch may be
mentioned Diderot, to whose interment in 1784, five years before the
Revolution, the clergy seem to have made no objection. The statue of
Mary Magdalene in the Calvary sculpture reproduces the features of the
Countess de Feuquières, cut in white marble by Lemoine. This figure
originally formed part of the tomb of the Countess's father, Mignard,
the celebrated painter, whose bust by Desjardins is preserved at
Saint-Roch. Here may also be seen medallions of Marshal d'Asfeld, of the
Duke de Les Aiguières and of Count d'Harcourt; the statue of the Duke
de Créqui, and the monuments of Maupertuis, the philosopher, and of the
benevolent Abbé de l'Épée.

On the high ground, at some little distance from the Church of
Saint-Roch, is the Butte Saint-Roch, already referred to as the
camping-ground of the Maid of Orleans when the king's army was besieging
Paris. Since Joan of Arc has been sung by great poets, impersonated by
great actresses, and set to music by great composers, with Gounod and
Verdi among them, all France has admired the warlike heroine; but while
the Maid of Orleans was striving against the enemies of her country,
the Parisians preferred the government of the English king to that of
the lawful inheritor of the French Crown. Hating all the partisans of
Charles VII., they detested Joan of Arc, who had restored the courage of
his followers, and was in consequence looked upon in Paris as a doubtful
sort of witch, whose prophecies were so many deceptions.

A Parisian writer quoted by Dulaure says, in relating the incidents
of his time, that Joan of Arc was a vicious creature in the form of a
woman; "called," he ironically adds, "a maid, as she doubtless was."

On the day of the Nativity of the Virgin, 1429, the Maid of Orleans
and the king's troops lay siege to Paris. The assault commenced at
eleven o'clock in the day, between the gate of Saint-Honoré and that of
Saint-Denis. The Maid advanced, planted her standard on the edge of the
moat, and addressed these words to the Parisians: "Surrender in the name
of Jesus; for if you do not give in before night we will enter by force
whether you like it or not, and you will all be put to death without

Insulting names were applied to her by one of the besieged, who at the
same time fired an arrow which pierced her leg. Thereupon she took to
flight, when her standard-bearer was also wounded in the leg. He stopped
and raised the visor of his helmet in order to pull out the arrow.
A second one was now shot at him, which struck him between the eyes
and killed him. The prediction of the Maid was not fulfilled on this
occasion, for Paris did not surrender.

Some time afterwards two women were arrested at Corbeil and thrown into
prison at Paris. They were accused of believing and saying to everyone
that the Maid of Orleans was sent from God; that Jesus often appeared to
her, and that the last time she had seen Him He was clothed in a long
white robe with a scarlet cloak above it. The elder of the two women
refused to retract, and was consequently, on the 3rd of September, 1430,
burnt alive.

Some time after the burning of the Maid herself at Rouen, an inquisitor
of the Jacobin order, master in theology, preached at Paris in the
Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields; and his sermon was nothing less than
a violent satire against the courageous girl. He said in the pulpit that
from the age of fourteen she had been in the habit of wearing men's
clothes; that her parents would have killed her had they not been afraid
of wounding their conscience; that she quitted her family accompanied
by the devil, and became a slayer of Christians; and that since that
time she had committed an infinity of murders; that in prison she caused
herself to be waited on like a lady, and the devils came to her in the
form of St. Catherine, St. Marguerite, and St. Michael. He added that,
having been frightened into quitting her man's apparel to dress like a
woman, the devil made her resume her customary dress, though he did not
come to her succour at her execution as she had expected.

This monk said moreover in this remarkable sermon that there were four
Maids: namely, the two taken at Corbeil, one of whom was burnt at Paris;
Jeanne d'Arc, burnt at Rouen; and the fourth, called Cathérine de la
Rochelle, who followed the army of Charles VII., and who had visions
like Joan of Arc.

Ten years after the execution of Joan of Arc another Maid appeared, and
the people firmly believed that this was the same one who had been burnt
at Rouen, and who had miraculously risen from the dead. Another version
was that someone had been executed in her place.

[Illustration: RUE CASTIGLIONE.]

"What appears strange," says Dulaure in the "Singularités Historiques,"
"and what perhaps suggested the idea put forth in our century that Joan
of Arc was not burnt, and that she even left descendants, is that the
inhabitants of Orleans who saw this Maid took her for Joan of Arc, and
in consequence paid her much honour."

The University and the Parliament of Paris, who ten years before had
condemned the veritable Maid, wished now to deceive the people. They
brought the false Maid by force to Paris, exhibited her publicly in the
principal court of the Palace of Justice, and made her stand up on the
famous marble slab and there pronounce a biographical confession, in
which she declared that she was not a Maid; that she had been married
to a knight by whom she had had two sons; that in a moment of anger
against one of her neighbours, instead of striking one of the women she
quarrelled with she struck her mother who was holding her back; that she
had also struck priests or clerks in defence of her own honour, and that
to obtain absolution for her crime she had been to Rome, and in order to
make the journey in safety had put on man's clothes; finally, that she
had served as a soldier in the army of the Pope, and while so serving
had committed two homicides. The speech and the ceremony being finished,
the Maid left Paris and returned to the war.




The Jacobins--Chateaubriand's Opinion of Them--Arthur Young's
Descriptions--The New Club.

Between the Church of St. Roch and the Place Vendôme is the Rue du
Marché and the Marché, or market, itself; chiefly interesting at the
present day as occupying the ground on which stood the ancient Monastery
of the Jacobins, where from 1791 to 1794--from before the beginning
until the very end of the Reign of Terror--the meetings of the famous
Jacobin Club were held.

[Illustration: MIRABEAU.]

The name of Jacobin soon became familiar in England, and, as in France
itself when the fury of the Revolution was quite at an end, was often
applied as a term of reproach to all persons of Liberal ideas. The
word, however, is now chiefly known among us from the _Anti-Jacobin_ of
Canning and Frere, and latterly from the excellent, but short-lived,
weekly newspaper of the same name edited by Mr. Frederick Greenwood.

Under the Restoration, everyone in France who was not an ardent
supporter of the ancient monarchy was called a Jacobin. But though
towards the end of the Revolution Jacobinism became something hateful
indeed, the principles which first brought the Jacobins together were
such as neither lovers of liberty nor lovers of order could object to.

In 1789 a number of popular associations were rapidly organised; this
being the natural result of the reactionary feeling against a system
which had subjected books, newspapers, and even conversation in public
places (such as cafés) to a rigid censorship supported by officials
and by spies. A passion suddenly arose throughout France for public
speaking, and in a thousand different assemblies orators were formed.
The States-General had just met; and, not content with the formal
sittings, the deputies loved to address in a direct manner the outside
public. With this view, the deputies from Brittany established a
club called the Breton Club, which was joined by other deputies, and
which presently changed its title to "Society of the Friends of the
Constitution." This association included men of all shades of politics,
who were afterwards to make war upon one another. Among the most famous
may be mentioned Sieyès, Volney, Barnave, Pétion, Barrère, Lameth,
Robespierre, the Duke of Orleans (Philippe Égalité), the Duke de La
Rochefoucauld, Boissy d'Anglas, Talleyrand, La Fayette, and Mirabeau.
The Society had its head-quarters at Versailles, in a building called Le
Reposoir, which, later on, became a Protestant church.

After the days of October the Assembly followed the King to Paris; and
the famous club was established, first in a large hall which served as
library to the Dominican monks at the convent of the Rue Saint-Honoré,
and afterwards, when this order had been dissolved, in the Convent
Church. As the Dominicans were more generally spoken of as the Jacobins,
the latter name was soon applied to the Friends of the Constitution,
who willingly adopted it. The same thing, strangely enough, happened to
the Cordeliers and the Feuillants; so that the principal Revolutionary
parties got to be known throughout Europe by appellations formerly

What is still more curious is that the last of the Jacobin monks (in
1789 and 1790) took part in the meetings of which their convent was
the scene, as, in like manner, did the last members of the Order of
Cordeliers. The Jacobin Club possessed a large staff of officers,
including a president, vice-president, four secretaries, twelve
inspectors, four censors, eight commissaries, treasurer, and librarian,
all appointed at quarterly elections. The privilege of membership was
only granted under very strict conditions, and every newly-elected
Jacobin had, before being formally admitted, to take the following

     "I swear to live free or die; to remain faithful to the
     principles of the Constitution; to obey the laws; to cause them to
     be respected; to help with all my might to make them perfect; and
     to conform to the customs and regulations of the society."

The sittings were held, first three, then four times a week. Little by
little, however, the usual course in such assemblies was drifted into.
The leaders went to extremes, and soon the most extravagant of them
obtained the largest following. Then the moderate members retired to
form counter-associations, until in time the hostile organisations made
war upon one another, with the guillotine as their final weapon.

"The Jacobins," says Michelet, "by their _esprit de corps_, which went
on constantly increasing, by their hardened, uncompromising faith, by
their harsh, inquisitorial ways, had something of a priestly character.
They formed a sort of revolutionary clergy."

Another great admirer of the Revolution, and especially of Robespierre,
in whom the principle of Jacobinism was incarnate, sums up the Jacobin
spirit in the following words:--

"Hatred of the conventional inequalities of former times, of unalterable
beliefs, a sort of methodical fanaticism, intolerance of all that
interfered with the development of the most daring innovations, and,
fundamentally, a passion for regular forms; these, whatever may be said
on the subject, were the components of the Jacobin spirit. The true
Jacobin had something about him at once powerful, original and sombre.
He stood midway between the agitator and the statesman; between the
Protestant and the Monk; between the inquisitor and the tribune. Hence
that ferocious vigilance transformed into a virtue: that spy system
raised to the rank of a patriotic organisation: and that mania for
denunciation, which made people at first laugh, and at last tremble."

France, like England soon afterwards, had its _Anti-Jacobin_. _Les
Sabbats Jacobites_ was the title of the French publication, and the
Jacobin "mania for denunciation" was thus satirised in its columns:--

    Je dénonce l'Allemagne,
    Le Portugal et l'Espagne,
    Le Mexique et la Champagne,
    La Sardaigne et le Pérou.
    Je dénonce l'ltalie,
    L'Afrique et la Barbarie,
    L'Angleterre et la Russie
    Sans même excepter Moscou.

In spite of these attacks and a thousand others, the importance of
the Jacobin Club went on constantly increasing; and at the funeral of
Mirabeau, who died in the first year of the Revolution, the President of
the Jacobin Club marched side by side with the President of the National
Assembly, and had precedence of the Ministers. After the death of
Mirabeau the influence of the Lameths, the Duports, the Barnaves, etc.,
gave way to that of Robespierre, in whom, says Louis Blanc, "Jacobinism
in its extremest points was personified."

Chateaubriand, the Royalist, ought, however, to be heard on this subject
as well as Louis Blanc, the Republican; and this is what the former
writes in his "Essay on Revolutions," published in 1797:--

     "Much has been said about the Jacobins, but few people
     have known them. Nearly everyone rushes into declamations, and
     publishes the crimes of this society without enlightening us as
     to the general principle which directed its views. This principle
     consisted in a system of perfection towards which the first step
     to take was to restore the laws of Lycurgus. If, moreover, it be
     considered that France is indebted to the Jacobins for its numerous
     armies, courageous and disciplined; that it was the Jacobins who
     found the means of paying them, and of victualling a country
     without resources and surrounded by enemies; that it was they who
     created a navy as if by miracle, and who, through intrigues and
     money, ensured the neutrality of some of the powers; that under
     their reign the greatest discoveries in natural history were made,
     and great generals formed; that, in a word, they gave vigour to
     a warlike body, and, so to say, organised anarchy; one must then
     of necessity admit that these monsters, escaped from hell, had
     infernal talents."

In 1791 the Jacobins were still Royalists, not from attachment to the
Monarchy, but from a scrupulous regard for Constitutional legality.
Nevertheless, after the flight to Varennes they departed from their
former principles so far as to demand the abdication of the king. The
next day, however, on the proposition of Robespierre, they returned to
their customary prudence, pronounced against the Republic, and sent
commissaries to the Champ de Mars to take back their demand.

In connection with most of the great revolutionary events their conduct
was the same, though the aristocratic Jacobins of 1789 had now quitted
the society, to be replaced by men of extreme views--journalists,
orators, and members of the National Assembly, who desired to place
themselves in direct contact with the outside world.

Among the questions put to candidates for election to the Jacobin Club
were the following: "What were you in 1789? What have you done since?
What was your fortune until 1789, and what is it now?" Every candidate
was bound to answer all questions addressed to him, and he was to do
this publicly in a loud voice. Anyone rejected by the Jacobin Club
became at once an object of suspicion; and to be denounced by the
Jacobin leaders was to receive a sentence of death. In this way perished
the unfortunate Anacharsis Clootz, Fabre d'Églantine, and many others.

At the critical moment the Jacobins remained faithful to the fortune of
their chief. On the news of his arrest they ordered permanent sittings
and voted unanimously their approval of the insurrectionary attitude of
the Paris Commune. They spoke of resistance. But, though men of action
abounded in the Jacobin Club, the members, as a body, were pusillanimous
and could do nothing.

Arthur Young in his "Travels in France" gives an interesting account of
a meeting, which he attended, of the Jacobin Club at the time of the

     "At night," he says, writing in diary form, "M. Decretot and
     M. Blin carried me to the revolutionary club of the Jacobins; the
     room where they assemble is that in which the famous league was
     signed. There were above one hundred deputies present, with a
     president in the chair; I was handed to him and announced as the
     author of the _Arithmétique Politique_. The President, standing
     up, repeated my name to the company and demanded if there were any
     objections. None; and this was all the ceremony, not merely of an
     introduction, but election; for I was told that now I was free
     to be present when I pleased, being a foreigner. Ten or a dozen
     other elections were made. In this Club the business that is to
     be brought into the National Assembly is regularly debated; the
     motions are read that are intended to be made there, and rejected,
     or corrected and approved. When these have been fully agreed to,
     the whole party are engaged to support them. Plans of conduct are
     here determined; proper persons nominated to act on committees and
     as presidents of the Assembly named. And I may add that such is the
     majority of members that whatever passes in this Club is almost
     sure to pass in the Assembly."

Arthur Young also gives a description of a debate in the National
Assembly on the subject of the conduct of the Chamber of Vacation in the
Parliament of Rennes.

[Illustration: ROBESPIERRE.]

M. l'Abbé Maury, a zealous royalist, "made a long and eloquent speech,
which he delivered with great fluency and precision and without any
notes, in defence of the Parliament; he replied to what had been
urged by the Count de Mirabeau on a former day, and strongly censured
his unjustifiable call on the people of Bretagne to a _redoutable
dénombrement_. He said that it would better become the members of such
an assembly to count their own principles and duties and the fruits
of their attention to the privileges of the subject than to call for
a _dénombrement_ that would fill a province with fire and bloodshed.
He was interrupted by the noise and confusion of the Assembly and of
the audience six several times, but it had no effect on him; he waited
calmly till it subsided, and then proceeded as if no interruption had
occurred. The speech was a very able one and much relished by the
Royalists; but the _enragés_ condemned it as good for nothing. No
other person spoke without notes; the Count de Clermont read a speech
that had some brilliant passages, but was by no means an answer to the
Abbé Maury, as, indeed, it would have been wonderful if it were, being
prepared before he heard the Abbé's oration.... Disorder and every kind
of confusion prevails now almost as much as when the Assembly sat at
Versailles. The interruptions are frequent and long, and speakers who
have no right by the rules to speak will attempt to hold forth. The
Count de Mirabeau pressed to deliver his opinion after the Abbé Maury;
the president put it to the vote whether he should be allowed to speak
a second time, and the whole house rose up to negative it, so that the
first orator of the Assembly has not the influence even to be heard
to explain. We have no conception of such rules, and yet their great
numbers must make this necessary. I forgot to observe that there is a
gallery at each end of the saloon which is open to all the world, and
side ones for admission of the friends of the members by tickets. The
audience in these galleries are very noisy; they clap when anything
pleases them, and they have been known to hiss, an indecorum which is
utterly destructive of freedom of debate."

[Illustration: THE PALAIS ROYAL.]

With Robespierre the grand period of the Jacobins came to an end, and
nearly a hundred and twenty of them perished on the scaffold. Their hall
was now closed and the club forbidden to meet except as a "regenerated
society." At last the Committees of Public Safety and of General
Security issued a decree which put an end to the Society of Jacobins.

In the year 1796 a new Jacobin club was formed in the Riding School
of the Tuileries, which soon afterwards moved to the church in the
Rue du Bac, and boldly announced that it meant to revive the Jacobin
traditions. "Jacobins of the Riding School" this society was called,
and, after some ridicule (for the French public had grown sick of the
Revolution), it was suppressed by an order from the Directory (1799).

The Jacobin Club, however, as Arthur Young knew and described it, not
only dictated the proceedings of the National Assembly, using this body
as a sort of tool or cat's-paw by which it practically governed France,
but exerted such an influence on Parisian society that enthusiasm
for Liberal ideas took possession even of the fair sex. "The present
devotion to liberty," he writes, "is a sort of rage. It absorbs every
other passion and permits no other object to remain in view than what
promises to confirm it. Dine with a large party at the Duke de La
Rochefoucauld's, ladies and gentlemen are all equally politicians."
Young adds, however, that one effect of the Revolution was to lessen
the enormous influence of the gentler sex. Previously they had "mixed
themselves in everything in order to govern everything," and the men
of the kingdom had been mere "puppets moved by their wives." But now,
"instead of giving the _ton_ to questions of national debate, they
must receive it and be content to move in the political sphere of some
celebrated leader." They were thus sinking into the position which, as
Young considered, Nature had intended for them; and he maintained that
the daughters of France would now become "more amiable and the nation
better governed."



Richelieu's Palace--The Regent of Orleans--The Duke of
Orleans--Dissipation in the Palais Royal--The Palais National--The
Birthplace of Revolutions.

The whole history of Paris may be read along the line of the Boulevards,
and the whole life of the capital observed there in concentrated form.
The Palais Royal, however, with its theatres, its restaurants, its
shops of all kinds, its galleries, and its gardens, is in scarcely a
less degree an epitome of Paris. It was formerly known as the Palais
Cardinal, in memory of Richelieu, by whom, in its original shape, it
was constructed. Richelieu afterwards made such frequent additions to
the building that it lost all symmetry. In one of the wings a theatre
was constructed; though it was not here, but in a large drawing-room,
that the Cardinal's tragedies, _Eutrope_ and _Mirame_, were played. The
palace, with its lateral developments, assumed at last the form of a
quadrangle with a large garden in the interior. It suffered from the
irremediable fault of not having been constructed from the first on a
definite plan. But the garden, the fountain, the jewellers' shops, the
booksellers' stalls, give the place a physiognomy of its own, and cause
the beholder to overlook all architectural defects.

Having completed his palace, and convinced himself that he had
constructed an edifice worthy the acceptance of his sovereign, Richelieu
presented it to Louis XIII. (1636), afterwards confirming the gift in
his will (1642). Corneille, the recipient now of favours, now of slights
from the great Cardinal, wrote, in an admiring mood, of the Cardinal's
palace the following lines:--

    "Non, l'univers entier ne peut rien voir d'égal
     Aux superbes dehors du Palais-Cardinal.
     Toute une ville entière, avec pompe bâtie,
     Semble d'un vieux fossé par miracle sortie,
     Et nous fait présumer, à ses superbes toits,
     Que tous ses habitants sont des dieux ou des rois."[B]

[B] "No, the entire universe can behold nothing equal to the superb
exterior of the Palais-Cardinal. The whole town, splendidly built, seems
to have sprung by a miracle out of an old ditch, making one fancy from
its magnificent roofs that all its inhabitants must be gods or kings."

In spite of Corneille's praise, Louis XIII. seems to have thought but
little of his minister's gift. Nor could he in any case have turned it
to much account, for he did not survive the astute counsellor for more
than a year.

Louis XIV. passed some years of his childhood at the Palais-Cardinal,
to which the name of Palais Royal was now given. Here the minister
Mazarini, or Mazarin, resided during the troubles of the Fronde, and
here it was that he heard the populace sing couplets about the _Facchino
Italiano_. "They sing; they shall pay!" murmured the minister. But he
was obliged all the same to take flight; and with the queen regent and
the infant king he sought refuge at Saint-Germain. Never afterwards
would the proud monarch inhabit the Palais Royal, which he assigned
as a place of residence to Henrietta of France, Queen of England, and
widow of Charles I. Afterwards, in 1692, Louis XIV. gave the Palais
Royal as an absolute gift to his nephew, Philip of Orleans, Duke of
Chartres, on the occasion of that prince's marriage. The Palace had now
been increased by the addition of the Hôtel Dauville in the adjacent
Rue Richelieu, and of a gallery constructed by the celebrated architect

The Regent of Orleans turned the theatre of Richelieu into an opera
house, where he gave a number of masked balls which are remembered
in history. Nor is the profligate life of which the Palais Royal now
became the scene by any means forgotten. The theatre having been burnt
down, the regent insisted on its being restored at the expense of the
town; which was accordingly done. But the theatre was again destroyed
by fire in 1781; and the Duke of Chartres, afterwards known during the
Revolution as Philippe Égalité, the father of King Louis Philippe,
instead of rebuilding it, constructed the three galleries surrounding
the garden which still exist. The idea of three such galleries,
communicating with the body of the palace, is said to have been
entertained by Richelieu himself.

As prodigal as his grandfather, the regent, the Duke of Orleans, was
obliged to have recourse to various expedients for replenishing his
exhausted exchequer. It occurred to him to turn the galleries of the
Palais Royal into long lines of shops. This involved the expenditure
of a considerable sum of money, but the result was most remunerative.
The new Palais Royal became a centre of attraction to all Paris. Around
the garden the three galleries, together with the one still known
as the Galerie d'Orléans, formed a sort of bazaar, where jewellery,
fans, and ornaments of all kinds were offered for sale. The shops were
varied by cafés and restaurants. In the garden the Café de la Régence
was established, and the Richelieu Theatre being once more rebuilt,
now formed the home of the Comédie Française. Towards the end of the
Monarchical period the Palais Royal became a recognised place of
dissipation. In contrast with the loose morality of the locality was the
rigid exactitude with which, every day at noon, a cannon in the centre
of the garden, fired by the rays of the sun through a powerful lens,
announced the hour; and crowds of people used to assemble round it,
watch in hand, towards twelve o'clock. Walking through the Palais Royal
one day with the Duke of Orleans, the Abbé Delille was requested by the
Prince to sum up in a few words his ideas of the place, and did so in
the following quatrain:--

    "Dans ce jardin tout se rencontre,
       Excepté l'ombrage et les fleurs.
       Si l'on y dérègle ses moeurs,
     Du moins on y règle sa montre."[C]

[C] "In this garden one may meet with everything, except shade and
flowers. In it, if one's morals go wrong, at least one's watch may be
set right."

After the execution of the Duke of Orleans, who, having had the infamy
to vote for the death of his blameless relative Louis XVI., was himself,
by a mild retribution, to perish on the scaffold, the Palais Royal was
appropriated by the State, and the place was now invaded by all the
ruffians and reprobates of Paris. Let us on this subject hear Mercier
in his "Tableau de Paris." "The Athenians," he writes, "raised temples
to their Phrynes; curs find them in this enclosure already built.
Speculators and their correlatives go three times a day to the Palais
Royal, the centre of political and every other kind of debauchery. Some
are occupied with the rise and fall of the funds. Gaming-tables are
kept in every café, and it is a sight to see the sudden change in the
expression of the players' faces as they lose or win. The Palais Royal
is an elegant box of Pandora, beautifully carved, delicately worked,
but containing what everyone knows it contains. All these followers of
Sardanapalus or of Lucullus inhabit the Palais Royal, in apartments
which the King of Assyria and the Roman Emperors would have envied."
Under the Directory the number of gambling houses was limited, first
to four, afterwards to eight; and it was not until the reign of Louis
Philippe that they were finally suppressed. The gambling house at Number
113 figures in the "Peau de Chagrin" of Balzac; also in Dumas' "Femme au
Collier de Velours."

As for the "Palace"--the mansion inhabited by Mazarin and the infant
Louis XIV., afterwards by Henrietta of England, and then by various
members of the Orleans family--Napoleon established public offices in
it. During the Hundred Days the palace was occupied by Lucien Bonaparte,
and on the restoration of the Monarchy the whole place was bought back
from the Government by the then Duke of Orleans, afterwards Louis
Philippe. Some changes were made in the direction of the galleries, the
popularity of which remained as great as ever. Nor was this diminished
by the foreign occupation, for the Palais Royal was thronged day
and night by officers of the Allied Army. It was now that the Café
Lemblin became the head-quarters of Bonapartist officers on half-pay,
and the Café des Mille Colonnes that of the officers serving in the
newly organised Royalist army; and between the two bodies of officers
numerous duels were fought. An ingenious rhymed description of the
Palais Royal in its best and worst days has been left by Désaugiers,
the celebrated songwriter of the period before Béranger, of which we
may quote the concluding lines, telling how the resort, from being the
scene of political storms, came to be the general _rendez-vous_ of
pleasure-seekers of every kind and every nationality, from the Fleming
to the Turk, and from the genius to the fool:--

    "Si de maint politique orage
       Le Palais Royal
     Devint le théâtre infernal,
       Du gai carnaval
     Il est aujourd'hui l'héritage:
       Jeu, spectacle, bal
     Y sont dans leur pays natal,
       Flamand, Provençal,
     Turc, Africain, Chinois, sauvage,
       Au moindre signal
     Tout se trouve au Palais Royal.
       Bref, séjour banal,
     Du grand, du sot, du fou, du sage,
       Le Palais Royal
     Est le rendez-vous général."


Reformed in so many respects under the reign of Louis Philippe, the
Palais Royal was destined at the same time to be overshadowed by the
increasing importance of the Boulevards.

After the Revolution of 1848 the Palais Royal, now styled Palais
National, was once more treated as State property. Under the Second
Empire it became the residence of Prince Jerome, succeeded by his son,
Prince Napoleon. On the ornamentation of the portico, some _fleurs de
lis_ dating from the time of Richelieu, which the Revolutionists of
1789 and of 1848 had forgotten to scrape off, were erased and replaced
by Imperial eagles, themselves destined to disappear in the revolution
of the 4th of September, 1871, when, at the same time, the Republican
motto, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," was restored. Meanwhile, on
the 23rd of May, 1871, while the expiring Commune was still struggling
against the army of Versailles, the palace was invaded by the Communards
and set in flames. The whole of the left wing, with part of the central
pavilion, was burnt down. In the midst of the general incendiarism,
the Théâtre Français, which may be regarded as an annexe of the Palais
Royal, though it is entered from the Rue Richelieu, had itself a narrow
escape from fire.

The Palais Royal was destined to be the birthplace of more than one
revolution. It was here that the great movement of 1789, and the
minor one of July, 1830, began. The revolution of July seems, in the
first instance, to have been intended simply as a protest, an act of
resistance against arbitrary measures--and in particular against the
muzzling of the Press to such an extent as to render it impossible under
modern conditions to publish a newspaper. The celebrated _ordonnances_
had the immediate effect of throwing a multitude of journeyman printers
out of work, and it was by these men that in one part of the city the
insurrection was commenced. With them the question was not a political
one in theory alone; it was a question whether they should get the
hateful _ordonnances_ repealed or remain without work: that is to say,


The 26th of July passed off very calmly in Paris as a whole. At the
Palais Royal, however, some young men were seen mounting chairs, as
formerly Camille Desmoulins had done. "They read the _Moniteur_ aloud,"
says a witness of the scene, "appealed to the people against the
infraction of the charter, and endeavoured by violent gesticulation and
inflammatory harangues to excite in their hearers and in themselves a
vague appetite for agitation. But dancing was going on in the environs
of the capital; the people were engaged in labour or amusement. The
_bourgeoisie_ alone gave evidence of consternation. The _ordonnances_
had dealt it a twofold blow: they had struck at its political power in
the persons of its legislators, and at its moral power in those of its

At first there was nothing to be seen throughout the whole _bourgeois_
portion of the population but one dull, uniform stupor. Bankers,
traders, manufacturers, printers, lawyers, and journalists accosted each
other with scared and astounded looks. There was in this sudden muzzling
of the Press a sort of arrogant challenge that stunned men's faculties.
So much daring inferred proportionate strength.

The most active section of the _bourgeoisie_ went to work on the 27th,
and nothing was left undone to stir up the people. The _Gazette_, the
_Quotidienne_, and the _Universel_ had submitted to the _ordonnances_
from conviction or from party spirit; the _Journal des Débats_ and
the _Constitutionnel_ from fear and mercantile policy. The _Globe_,
the _National_, and the _Temps_, which defiantly continued to appear,
were profusely circulated. The police order of the preceding day,
forbidding their publication, only served to stimulate curiosity. Copies
were disposed of by hundreds in the cafés, the reading-rooms, and the
restaurants. Journalists hurried from manufactory to manufactory, and
from shop to shop, to read the articles aloud and comment upon them.
Individuals in the dress, and with the manners and appearance of men
of fashion, were seen mounting on stone posts and holding forth as
professors of insurrection; whilst students paraded the streets, armed
with canes, waving their hats and crying "_Vive la Charte!_"

The ordinary demagogues, cast into the midst of a movement they could
not comprehend, looked on with surprise at all these things; but,
gradually yielding to the contagion of the hour, they imitated the
_bourgeoisie_, and running about with bewildered countenances, shouted
like others for the charter.

Begun in the Palais Royal, this revolution was continued and virtually
concluded at the neighbouring Tuileries, where the Swiss Guard,
fighting as faithfully for the restored monarchy as they had fought for
the monarchy of Louis XVI., perished at the hands of the insurgents.
The great Danish sculptor, Thorvaldsen, had already commemorated the
heroism of Louis the Sixteenth's Swiss Guard in a magnificent figure
of a wounded, expiring, but still undaunted lion, carved on a cliff or
mountainside close to the town of Lucerne. The loyal mercenaries of
Charles X. showed the same lionlike courage that those of Louis XVI. had


There can be no doubt that the sight of the Swiss uniforms--scarlet,
like that of the Household troops of most sovereigns--irritated greatly
the people of Paris, who looked upon the revolution now taking place
as a national movement under the tricolour flag against the monarchy,
restored by foreign power after the defeat of Napoleon, with the
white flag as its emblem. "The sight of those red uniforms," wrote an
eye-witness of many of the scenes that took place during the three days
of July, "redoubled the fury of the insurgents; fresh combatants rushed
forth from every alley, and a barricade was manned and seized by the
people. The Swiss sustained this attack with vigour; the guards advanced
to support them, and the Parisians were beginning to give way, when a
young man advanced to rally and cheer them on, waving a tricolour flag
at the end of a lance, and shouting, 'I will show you how to die!'
He fell, pierced with balls, within ten paces of the guards. This
engagement was terrible; the Swiss left many of their numbers stretched
on the pavement."

The fighting, all over Paris, abounded in scenes which were either
fantastic, heroic, or lamentable. The Marquis d'Antichamp had taken
up his post, seated on a chair under the colonnade of the Louvre,
opposite Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois. Bent under the burden of his years,
and hardly able to sustain his tottering frame, he encouraged the
Swiss to the fight by his presence, and sat with folded arms gazing on
the terrible spectacle before him with stoical insensibility. A band
of insurgents attacked the powder magazine at Ivry on the Boulevard
de l'Hôpital, broke the gate in with hatchets and pole-axes, rushed
into the courtyard, and obliged the people of the place to throw them
packages of powder out of the windows. The insurgents, with all the
hot-headed recklessness of the moment, continued with their pipes in
their mouths to catch the packages as they fell, and carried them off
in their arms. The debtors confined in Sainte-Pélagie, using a beam for
a battering-ram, burst the gates, and then went and joined the guards
on duty outside to prevent the escape of the criminal prisoners. A
sanguinary encounter took place in the Rue de Prouvaires, and exhibited
the spectacle, common enough in civil wars, of brothers fighting in
opposite ranks. Throughout the whole city a sort of moral intoxication
beyond all description had seized upon the inhabitants. Amidst the
noise of musketry, the rolling of the drums, the cries and groans of
the combatants, a thousand strange reports prevailed and added to the
universal bewilderment. A hat and feathers were carried about in some
parts of the town, said to be those of the Duke of Ragusa, whose death
was reported. The audacity of some of the combatants was incredible. A
workman, seeing a company of the 5th regiment of the line advancing upon
the Place de la Bourse, ran straight up to the captain and struck him a
blow on the head with an iron bar. He reeled, and his face was bathed in
blood; but he had still strength enough left to throw up his soldiers'
bayonets with his sword as they were about to fire on the aggressor.
The leaders of the people added the most perfect self-denial to their
intrepidity; and they ranged themselves by preference under the orders
of those combatants whose dress proclaimed that they belonged to the
more favoured classes of society. Furthermore, the young men found at
every step guides for their inexperience in the persons of old soldiers
who had survived the battles of the Empire--a warlike generation whom
the Bourbons had for ever incensed in 1815.





Its History--The Roman Comique--Under Louis XV.--During the

Let us now return to the Palais Royal, and to the theatre which
adjoins it. The Comédie Française, or Théâtre Français, as it is also
called, was never, as the first of these names might suggest, devoted
exclusively to comedy. The word "comedy" was used in France in the early
days of its stage to denote any kind of theatrical entertainment. The
famous "Ballet Comique de la Reine," produced towards the end of the
16th century, was, in fact, a dramatic entertainment with singing and
dancing, strongly resembling what would now be called an opera; and the
author of the work explains, in his preface, that he calls it "ballet
comique," instead of "ballet" alone, because it possesses a dramatic
character. Volumes innumerable have been written on the origin of the
French theatre, which had as humble a beginning as the theatre in all
other European countries; with the exception, however, of opera, which
in the earliest days of the musical drama enjoyed the special patronage
of kings, princes, cardinals, and great noblemen.

In Italy, during the Renaissance period, the musical drama was invented
by popes, cardinals, and other illustrious personages bent on restoring
in modern form the ancient drama of the Greeks. The spoken drama of
France, as of other European countries, had humbler beginnings, and
the first regular troop of the Comédie Française had its origin in a
combination of wandering companies.

At the end of the sixteenth, and during the early part of the
seventeenth century, the English stage, with Marlowe, Shakespeare,
Ben Jonson, and other dramatic poets of the Elizabethan period, was
far superior to the stage of France, which scarcely indeed existed at
the time. But towards the end of the seventeenth century the French
theatre enjoyed the supreme advantage of possessing simultaneously the
three greatest dramatists that France even to this day has produced:
Corneille, Molière, and Racine.


It is a little more than two centuries ago, in the year 1689, that
the theatre where "the comedians of the king" habitually performed
received the title of Comédie Française; though its constitution dates
from 1680, when, by order of Louis XIV., the company of the Hôtel
de Bourgogne was united to that of the Théâtre Guénégaud in the Rue
Mazarin. The history of the Comédie Française cannot well be separated
from that of Corneille and of Molière, its greatest writers; though
Molière, who died in 1673, and Corneille, who died in 1684, produced
their works long before the Théâtre Français was officially constituted.
Perhaps the most interesting account of the origin of the French
theatre is to be found in the "Roman Comique" of Scarron, in which one
of the leading personages is Madeleine Béjard, elder sister of the
charming but unfaithful Armande Béjard, known to everyone as Molière's
wife. Possibly, as in the case of the "Ballet Comique de la Reine,"
the adjective in the title of Scarron's work is used to signify, not
"comic," but "dramatic," or "theatrical." Scarron in any case shows us
how Molière (introduced under another name) joined a strolling company
when he had just finished his studies as a law student. The incident
might have been borrowed from Cervantes' "Gipsy of Madrid," wherein an
infatuated young man throws in his lot with a troop of gipsies. But it
is beyond doubt that the youth, "not brought up to the profession," who
becomes a member of a wandering troop involved in the adventures and
humours so graphically described by Scarron was no other than Molière
himself, or Poquelin, to give him his proper family designation, as
distinguished from his more euphonious theatrical name.

One of the most interesting members of this celebrated company was
Mdlle. du Parc, for whom is claimed the unique honour of having been
passionately beloved by the three greatest dramatists of France:
Corneille, Molière, and Racine. Having to choose between three writers,
of whom the first was old, the second middle-aged, and the third young,
Mdlle. du Parc was eccentric enough to select the last; a preference
which left Molière silent, but which provoked from Corneille some verses
so admirable that one cannot but forgive the lady who, by her heartless
conduct, called forth such lines. Corneille and Molière had at this time
separate companies, and Mdlle. du Parc appears to have acted in both.
Corneille in any case endeavoured to persuade Mdlle. du Parc to pass
from Molière's company to his own, pointing out to her that the troop
of his friend Molière "was very inferior in tragedy, so that she would
always be sacrificed, since she excelled above all in the tragic style."
Racine employed the same kind of argument as Corneille, and ultimately
succeeded in taking away the much-admired actress from Molière's company
in order to attach her to his theatre of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, where
tragedies from his pen were habitually produced. Mdlle. du Parc, who had
previously caused an estrangement between Corneille and Molière, now
brought about a complete rupture between Molière and Racine.

The story of Mdlle. du Parc, with the intrigues of which she was made
the object, brings out clearly the fact that in the early days of the
French stage there was not one theatre, but three; Corneille, Molière,
and Racine having each his separate company. In the present day the
Théâtre Français comprises in its repertory all the masterpieces of
France's three greatest dramatists; and many imagine that for this
famous establishment may be claimed the honour of having first produced
them. But the finest tragedies and comedies that France possesses were
written for theatres of little or no standing; and not, as just pointed
out, for one, but for three different theatres. An actress celebrated in
her time, Mdlle. Beaupré, made some celebrated remarks on the subject
of French dramatic literature, which give a good idea of the esteem in
which the art of playwriting must have been held in France immediately
before the advent of Molière. "M. de Corneille," she said, "has done the
greatest harm to the dramatic profession. Before his time we had very
good pieces which were written for us in a night for three crowns. Now
M. de Corneille charges large sums for his plays and we earn scarcely

Even in these early days Louis XIV. took the greatest interest in
theatrical representations, especially those given by Molière's company.
Perhaps the very best period of the French stage was between the years
1645, when Molière abandoned the law courts to join a troop of wandering
players, and 1680, when the two most important companies of the day
were combined; at which time Molière had been dead seven years, while
Corneille was on the point of dying.

The Comédie Française was formed in the most arbitrary manner. It has
been said that the company which had been in the habit of playing at
the Hôtel de Bourgogne was joined to that of the Théâtre Guénégaud in
the Rue Mazarin. But there was at that day a third theatre in Paris,
the Théâtre du Marais; and in order that everything dramatic might be
concentrated at the one establishment, this unhappy house was simply
suppressed. By Royal decree the number of actors and actresses connected
with the Comédie Française was fixed at twenty-seven. A year later the
establishment received for the first time an annual subvention, to the
amount of 12,000 livres or francs. At the same time the French comedians
were authorised, in lieu of previous arrangements, to deduct the full
expenses of the theatre before paying anything to the authors.

The company had scarcely taken possession of the Théâtre de Guénégaud
when they were obliged to leave it for another and more commodious
building in the Rue des Fossés, Saint-Germain-des-Prés; and it was here
that the name of Comédie Française was first adopted. Hence the name
of the Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, in which street, newly baptised, the
Comédie Française was for so many years installed.

The Comédie Française had everything to itself until the year 1699,
when much alarm and indignation was caused in the ranks of the company
by the establishment of an opposition theatre, the Comédie Italienne.
The French comedians were ready to do anything in order to keep their
monopoly. In a formal petition they represented to the king that they
were twenty-six in number (the principal actress had died) and capable,
if necessary, of amusing His Majesty at two different theatres. They
thought it hard, however, that after quitting, by His Majesty's orders,
first the Hôtel de Bourgogne, then the Théâtre Guénégaud, they should
now be threatened in their new abode, which had cost them 200,000 francs
to construct.

The king paid no attention to these representations, and the Comédie
Italienne soon became the home of French comic opera, doing a
flourishing business according to the tariff of those days, when a place
in the pit cost five sous, and a seat in the boxes ten.

The Comédie Française did not in the long run suffer from the popularity
of the opposition theatre, and perhaps profited by it. But soon the
Comédie Française was to be subjected to a new inconvenience, and
in the very year which had witnessed the invasion of the Comédie
Italienne a tax was imposed on theatres generally for the benefit of the
poor--"_taxe des pauvres_"--which exists even to the present day. The
members of the Comédie Française endeavoured to meet the difficulty by
raising the prices on the occasion of first representations.

After the death of Louis XIV. the Comédie Française remained, as before,
under the supreme government of the king, his ministers, and the
gentlemen of the chamber. The new sovereign showed himself as munificent
in the matter of the subvention as his predecessor, and the theatre was
once more guaranteed an annual grant of 12,000 francs. A custom was now
for the first time introduced, which has since become universal--that
of playing a first piece in one act before the principal play of the

Under Louis XV. the Comédie Française was directed, in the matter of
engagements and general administration, by the Duc de Richelieu, to whom
were submitted the petitions intended for the king. The members of the
Comédie Française kept a careful watch over the privileges conferred
upon them, and we find them complaining whenever there are any signs of
these privileges being interfered with by a rival establishment. Every
booth opened at a temporary fair excited the suspicion of the comedians;
and they at last succeeded in procuring an order by which the directors
of the much-hated Comédie Italienne, now known as the Opéra Comique,
were prevented from playing comedies, especially those which had been
written expressly for the Comédie Française.

In 1770 the famous company again changed their domicile, and, by the
king's special permission, took possession of the theatre built in 1671
at the palace of the Tuileries. Here they remained twelve years, until
1782, when they left the palace of the kings of France and installed
themselves in the house afterwards to become known as the Odéon, on
the left bank of the Seine, close to the Luxemburg Palace. According
to Fréron, the daring satirist who was in no way afraid to take even
Voltaire for his mark, the dramatic literature of France had now fallen
to a very low point, by reason of the worldly success of its authors.
"The gay life of most of our authors helps," wrote Fréron, "to keep
them within the bounds of mediocrity. Love of pleasure, the attractions
of society that luxury which had so long kept them at a respectful
distance, now enervate their souls. They are men of society, men of
fashion, runners after women, and themselves much run after. They are at
every party, every entertainment; no supper is complete without them;
they are sumptuously dressed, and have luxuriously furnished rooms. It
was not by supping out every night in society that the Corneilles, the
Molières, the La Fontaines, and the Boileaus composed those masterpieces
which will constitute for ever their glory and the glory of France. They
were simply lodged and simply clothed; a large flat cap covered the
sublime head of the great Corneille, but all the assembly rose before
him when he made his appearance at the play." Since the days of Fréron
the incomes and the luxury of French dramatic authors have greatly
increased; a result mainly due to the exertions of Beaumarchais, whose
_Marriage of Figaro_ was produced at the Comédie Française two years
after its installation at the Odéon in 1784. It was Beaumarchais who
secured for French dramatic authors a fixed proportion of the receipts,
and caused this equitable arrangement, previously unknown, to be

Under the Revolution, precisely five years after the production of _The
Marriage of Figaro_, the spirit and tone of which seemed to the king
himself prophetic of the approaching catastrophe, the Comédie Française
assumed the title of "Théâtre de la Nation, Comédiens ordinaires du
Roi," a compromise between loyalty to the old state of things and
adhesion to the new of which the members of the company were afterwards
bitterly to repent. Dissensions now sprang up between the different
members of the company, some royalists, others republicans. On the
whole, however, the actors and actresses showed a certain aptitude for
placing themselves on good terms with the executive power of the moment.
In 1792, on the eve of the Reign of Terror, the players were formally
obliged to replace such words as "Seigneur" and "Monsieur" by "Citoyen,"
even when the piece was written in verse. In the classical tragedies of
Racine the word "Seigneur" constantly occurs, as, for instance, where
Agamemnon addresses Achilles, or Achilles Agamemnon. The heroes of the
Iliad and of the history of Rome had now to be "Citoyens;" which, apart
from the intrinsic absurdity of the thing, could not but spoil the metre.


One effect of the Revolution was to deprive the Comédie Française of
the privilege it had so long and so unjustly enjoyed of incorporating
in its company any actor or actress whom it might choose to detach from
some other troop, not only at Paris, but in any other part of France.
It at the same time also lost its monopoly. A split having taken place
in the company, a second Comédie Française was started in the Palais
Royal with the celebrated Talma, and with Grandmesnil, Dugazon, and Mme.
Vestris among its artists. Meanwhile, notwithstanding the loss of Talma,
the Comédie Française kept up against all disadvantages. There was,
however, too much sense of art, of dramatic propriety among the members
to permit the replacement of the word "Seigneur" by "Citoyen," and as
a punishment for neglecting the Governmental order on the subject the
whole of the company of the Comédie Française was arrested one night and
thrown into prison, with the exception only of Molé, who was apparently
looked upon as a good Republican, and some other actor who was away
from the capital. The piece performed on the night of the arrest had
been a dramatic version of Richardson's _Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded_,
which, according to the judgment of the Republican Censors, was "full
of reactionary feeling." Possibly the nameless hero, Mr. B----, was
addressed from time to time not as "Citoyen," but as "Monsieur."

[Illustration: MOLIÈRE.

(_From the bust by Houdon in the Comédie Française_)]

Not only were the actors and actresses of the Comédie Française
imprisoned, but also the dramatists in the habit of writing for the
theatre, with Alexander Duval, author of _Les Héritiers_ and other
amusing comedies, and Laya, who had dramatised "Pamela," among them.
One of the members of the Committee of Public Safety, the ferocious
Collot d'Herbois, is reported to have said that "the head of the
Comédie Française should be guillotined, and the rest sent out of the
country." The famous actor, Fleury, sets forth in his "Memoirs" that
on the margin of the depositions in the case of Mdlle. Raucourt, who
had been arrested with the other members of the company, the said
Collot d'Herbois had written with his own hand, in red, an enormous G.
This was a death sentence without appeal, G standing for guillotine.
"Arrested in 1793 with most of the principal actors and actresses, she
was," says Fleury, "as a first step, imprisoned at Sainte-Pélagie; but
already she was marked down for the scaffold. The Queen had protected
her; she had received numerous benefits from the Royal Family; and she
was suspected of gratitude for so many favours." In common with all
her colleagues of the Comédie Française, who like herself had been
arrested, Fleury among the number, Mdlle. Raucourt owed her life to the
courage and ingenuity of a clerk in the employment of the Committee of
Public Safety, who destroyed the Acts of Accusation drawn up by Collot
d'Herbois for presentation to Fouquier-Tinville. Considerable delay was
thus caused, during which the anger entertained against the theatrical
troop gradually evaporated, though some of the players remained in
prison until the fall of Robespierre. It was understood meanwhile that
no such words as "king" or "queen," "lord" or "lady," were to be used
on the stage, and the members of the Comédie Française had received a
sufficiently severe lesson to render them disinclined for the future to
set at naught the edict on the subject.

As soon as she had regained her liberty, Mdlle. Raucourt tried to form
a company for herself, and, succeeding, took a theatre, which was
soon, however, closed by order of the Government, some allusion to its
severity having been discovered in one of the pieces represented. Mdlle.
Raucourt thenceforward made no secret of her hostility to the Directory,
which, now that the Reign of Terror was at an end, could be attacked,
indirectly at least, without too much danger. Fleury tells us that
Mdlle. Raucourt's costume was a constant protest against the existing
order of things; which, from a feeling of gratitude towards the Royal
Family, her constant patrons, and from painful feelings in connection
with that guillotine beneath whose shadow she had passed, she could not
but hate. "She wore on her spenser," says Fleury, "eighteen buttons in
allusion to Louis XVIII., while her fan was one of those weeping-willow
fans, the folds of which formed the face of Marie Antoinette." Fleury
speaks, moreover, of a certain shawl worn by Mdlle. Raucourt, of which
the pattern, once explained, traced to the eyes of the initiated the
portraits of Louis, the Queen, and the Dauphin. One day he accompanied
her to a fortune-teller who had been expected to predict the restoration
of the monarchy, but who foretold instead the revival of the Comédie
Française. "The woman," says Fleury, "had read the cards aright, for in
1799 an order from the First Consul re-assembled in a new association
the remains of the company dispersed at the time of the Revolution." But
now the theatre was burnt down; and though the Comédie Française existed
as an institution, and received in 1802 a special subsidy of 100,000
francs, it was not until 1803 that, in conformity with an order from the
First Consul, it took possession of the building in the Rue Richelieu,
close to the Palais Royal, where it has ever since remained.

As under Louis XIV., so under Napoleon, the Comédie Française followed
the sovereign to his palatial residence wherever it might be; to
Saint-Cloud, to Fontainebleau, to Trianon, to Compiègne, to Malmaison,
and even to Erfurt and Dresden, where Talma is known to have performed
before a "pit of kings." Nor did Napoleon forget the Comédie Française
when he was at Moscow, during the temporary occupation and just before
the fatal retreat; though it may well have been from a feeling of pride,
and a desire to show how capable he was at such a critical moment of
occupying himself with comparatively unimportant things, that he dated
from the Kremlin his celebrated decree regulating the affairs of the
principal theatre in France.

It has been the destiny of the Comédie Française during the past hundred
years to salute a number of different governments and dynasties. That
they conscientiously kicked against the Republic in its most aggravated
form has already been shown. They had no reason for being dissatisfied
with Napoleon; and after the destruction of the Imperial power it was
perfectly natural that they should do homage to that house of Bourbon
under which they had first been established, and which for so long a
period had kept them beneath its peculiar patronage. They now resumed
their ancient title of "Comédiens Ordinaires du Roi," and the direction
of the establishment was handed over to the Intendant of the Royal

The Comédie Française has often been charged with too strict an
adherence to classical ideas. Yet it was at this theatre that a dramatic
work by Victor Hugo, round which rallied the whole of the so-called
romantic school, was first placed before the public.

The two most interesting events in the history of the Comédie Française
are the first production of _The Marriage of Figaro_ in 1784, of which
an account has already been given in connection with Beaumarchais
and his residence on the boulevard bearing his name, and the first
production of _Hernani_ forty-six years afterwards.

_Hernani_ was the third play that Victor Hugo had written, but the first
that was represented. There seems never to have been any intention
of bringing out _Cromwell_, published in 1827, and known to this day
chiefly by its preface. _Marion Delorme_, Victor Hugo's second dramatic
work, was submitted to the Théâtre Français, but rejected, not by the
management, but by the Censorship, and, indeed, by Charles X. himself,
with whom Victor Hugo had a personal interview on the subject. "The
picture of Louis XIII.'s reign," says a writer on this subject, "was not
agreeable to his descendant; and the last of the Bourbon kings is said
to have been particularly annoyed at the omnipotent part assigned in
Victor Hugo's drama to the great Cardinal de Richelieu."

But Victor Hugo had the persistency of genius, and though both his first
efforts had miscarried, he was ready soon after the rejection of _Marion
Delorme_ with another piece--that spirited, poetical work _Hernani_,
which is usually regarded as his finest dramatic effort. _Hernani_,
like _Marion Delorme_, was condemned by the Censorship; being objected
to not on political, but on literary, moral, and general grounds. The
report of the Committee of Censorship, scarcely less ironical than
severe, concluded in these remarkable terms: "However much we might
extend our analysis, it could only give an imperfect idea of _Hernani_,
of the eccentricity of its conception, and the faults of its execution.
It seems to us a tissue of extravagances to which the author has vainly
endeavoured to give a character of elevation, but which are always
trivial and often vulgar. The piece abounds in unbecoming thoughts
of every kind. The king expresses himself like a bandit; the bandit
treats the king like a brigand. The daughter of a grandee of Spain is a
shameless woman without dignity or modesty. Nevertheless, in spite of
so many capital faults, we are of opinion that not only would there be
nothing injudicious in authorising the representation of the piece, but
that it would be wise policy not to cut out a single word. It is well
that the public should see what point of wildness the human mind may
reach when it is freed from all rules of propriety."

When at last the play was produced there was such a scene in the Comédie
Française as has never been witnessed before or since. At two o'clock,
when the doors were opened, a band of romanticists entered the theatre
and forthwith searched it in view of any hostile classicists who might
be lying hid in dark corners, ready to rise and hiss as soon as the
curtain should go up. No classicists, however, were discovered; the band
of romanticists was under the direction of Gérard de Nerval, author of
the delightful "Voyage en Orient," translator of "Faust" in the early
days when he called himself simply Gérard, and Heine's collaborator
in the French prose translation of the "Buch der Lieder." On the eve
of the battle, Gérard de Nerval, as Théophile Gautier has told us in
one of many accounts he wrote of the famous representation, visited
the officers who were to act under him; their number, according to one
account, including Balzac, first of French novelists, if not first
novelist of the world; that Wagner of the past, Hector Berlioz; Auguste
Maquet, the dramatist; and Joseph Bouchardy, the melodramatist, together
with Alexander Dumas, historian (in his "Memoirs") of the rehearsals of
_Hernani_, and Théophile Gautier, chronicler in more than one place of
its first representation.

Victor Hugo had originally intended to call his play _Three to One_;
which to the modern mind would have suggested a sporting drama.
_Castilian Honour_--excellent title!--had also been suggested; but the
general opinion of Victor Hugo's friends was in favour of _Hernani_, the
musical and sonorous name of the hero; and under that title the piece
was produced.

It has been said that the supporters of Victor Hugo took possession of
a certain portion of the theatre as early as two in the afternoon. They
had brought with them hams, tongues, and bottles of wine; and they had
what the Americans call a "good time" during the interval that passed
before the public was admitted--eating, drinking, singing songs, and
discussing the beauties of the piece they had come to applaud. "As soon
as the doors of the theatre were opened the band of romanticists," says
Théophile Gautier, "turned their eyes towards the incomers, and if among
them a pretty woman appeared her arrival was greeted with a burst of
applause. These marks of approbation were not bestowed on rich toilettes
and dazzling jewellery, they were reserved for beauty in its simplest
manifestations. Thus no one was received with so much enthusiasm as
Mdlle. Delphine Gay, afterwards Mme. de Girardin, who, in a white muslin
dress relieved by a blue scarf, wore no ornaments whatever. Mdlle. Gay
assured the Duke de Montmorency the morning after the representation,
that she had not spent on her dress more than twenty-eight francs."

[Illustration: CORNEILLE.

(_From the bust in the Comédie Française_)]

The Hugoites did not form a compact body, but occupied different parts
of the pit and stalls in groups. They are said to have been easily
recognisable by their sometimes picturesque, sometimes grotesque
costumes, and by their defiant air. The combatants on either side
applauded and counter-applauded, cried "Bravo!" and hissed without much
reference to the merits of the piece, and often in attack or defence of
supposed words which the piece did not contain. Thus (to quote once more
from Théophile Gautier) in the scene where Ruy Gomez, on the point of
marrying Doña Sol, entrusts her to Don Carlos, Hernani exclaims to the
former, "_Vieillard stupide! il l'aime_." M. Parseval de Grandmaison,
a rigid classicist, but rather hard of hearing, thought Hernani had
said, "_Vieil as de pique! il l'aime_." "This is too much," groaned M.
Parseval de Grandmaison. "What do you say?" replied Lassailly, who was
sitting next him in the stalls, and who had only heard his neighbour's
interruption. "I say, sir, that it is not permissible to call a
venerable old man like Ruy Gomez de Silva 'old ace of spades.'" "He has
a perfect right to do so," replied Lassailly. "Cards were invented under
Charles VI. Bravo for _'Vieil as de pique!' Bravo, Hugo!_"

Théophile Gautier declares that Mdlle. Mars could only lend to the
proud and passionate Doña Sol a "sober and refined talent," as she was
pre-occupied with considerations of propriety more suited to comedy than
to drama. Victor Hugo himself was, on the other hand, delighted with the
performance of the principal actress; and one cannot but accept him as
the best judge in the case. It would be impossible, in Victor Hugo's own
words, without having seen her, to form an idea of the effect produced
by the great actress in the part of Doña Sol, to which she gave "an
immense development," going in a few minutes through the whole gamut of
her talent, from the graceful to the pathetic, and from the pathetic to
the sublime.

The success of _Hernani_ corresponded closely enough with the triumph
of the Revolution of July, which brought Louis Philippe to the throne;
and under the new and more liberal form of monarchy it seemed as though
the rising poet and dramatist, who was soon to establish an undisputed
supremacy, would have his own way at the Comédie Française as elsewhere.
But his next work, _Le Roi s'amuse_, found no more favour in the eyes
of M. Thiers than _Marion Delorme_ had done in those of Charles X.'s
ministers, and of Charles himself. _Le Roi s'amuse_ (of which the
subject is better known in England by Verdi's opera of _Rigoletto_ than
by the drama on which _Rigoletto_ is based) was played but once, and
was not revived until some forty years afterwards, when it was produced
under the Government of the Third Republic without much success. Victor
Hugo's dramas have not, except to the reading public, displaced the
tragedies of Corneille and Racine. Rachel as Chimène, Sarah Bernhardt
as Phèdre are to this day better remembered by the old habitués of the
Comédie Française than any actors in any of Victor Hugo's parts. That
Victor Hugo is one of the greatest poets of the century can scarcely be
denied; but his genius is more lyrical than dramatic.

[Illustration: VOLTAIRE.

(_From the statue by Houdon in the Comédie Française._)]

To show by yet another example that the Comédie Française has not been
so much opposed as is often asserted to novelty in the dramatic art,
it may be mentioned that at this theatre the wildly melodramatic and
strikingly original _Antony_ of Alexander Dumas was first produced.
This work, written, not, like Victor Hugo's plays, in verse, but in
vigorous prose, has been no more fortunate than other masterpieces of
the romantic drama in keeping the stage. The great success it met with
at the time of its first production was due in a great measure to the
powerful acting of Mme. Dorval. The basis of _Antony_, and, as Alexander
Dumas tells us himself in his "Memoirs," its very germ, is a deeply
compromising situation in which the hero finds himself with the heroine.
They are on the point of being discovered when, to save the honour of
his mistress, Antony (without consulting her on the subject) takes her
life. Having stabbed her he exclaims to the persons who now enter the
room, "That woman was resisting me; I have assassinated her." This
outrageous piece had the same fate as Victor Hugo's admirably written
and truly dramatic play, _Le Roi s'amuse_, in so far that it was, after
a very few representations, forbidden by the Censorship.

In the year 1833 a private person was for the first time named Director
of the Comédie Française. Jouslin de La Salle was his name, and he
was succeeded, first by M. Vedel, in 1837, and afterwards by M.
Buloz, Director of the _Revue des Deux Mondes_. In 1852 the affairs
of the theatre were entrusted to a committee of six members of the
Comédie Française under the direction of an "administrator"; the first
administrator being M. Arsène Houssaye, the well-known author and
journalist. M. Houssaye was replaced in 1856 by M. Empis, and M. Empis
in 1860 by M. Édouard Thierry, a dramatist. The present director is M.
Perrin. The subvention paid by the Government to the Comédie Française
was fixed definitively in 1856 at 240,000 francs a year. Among the
actors and actresses who have appeared at this famous establishment,
often pleasantly described as La Maison de Molière (though Molière,
as already seen, never set foot in it), may be mentioned Adrienne
Lecouvreur, Mdlle. Mars, Mdlle. Clairon, Mdlle. Contat, Mdlle. Raucourt,
Talma, Rachel, Sarah Bernhardt, not to name many excellent comedians who
in the present day are almost as well known in London as in Paris.

In the immediate neighbourhood of the Comédie Française was born
Adrienne Lecouvreur. Less perhaps from the influence of the _genius
loci_ than from a desire to imitate the actors and actresses whom,
from day to day, she must have seen passing her door, little Adrienne
accustomed herself at an early age to act plays and scenes from plays
with her young companions. Adrienne's talent was soon noticed by an
inferior actor named Legrand, who, after teaching her some of the
tricks of his trade, procured an engagement for her somewhere in
Alsace. It was in the provinces that she formed her style; and for so
long a time did she wander about from theatre to theatre that she was
already twenty-seven years of age when an engagement was offered her at
the Comédie Française. Here she was equally successful in tragedy and
in comedy, though in the latter line her impersonations seem to have
been chiefly confined to high comedy. Thus one of her best parts was
that of Célimène in the _Misanthrope_. Adrienne was well acquainted
with Voltaire when Count Maurice de Saxe, one of the innumerable
natural children of Augustus II., King of Poland--Carlyle's Augustus
the Strong--came to try his fortune in Paris. This was in the year
1720. In the first instance he met with no luck; and he had to wait
a considerable time before he could get a simple regiment together.
"Although he was scarcely twenty-four years of age," says a remarkable
writer of the time, "Maurice had already made eleven campaigns and
repudiated one wife. He joined," continues this unconscious humourist,
"to the strength of his father the uncultured youth and fiery
disposition of a sort of nomad, somewhat like our Du Guesclin, whom
ladies used to call the wild boar. Under the guise of a Sarmatian,
Adrienne discovered the hero, and undertook to polish the soldier. She
was then thirty years of age, and had gained the experience and the
passion which render a woman alike skilful to please and prompt to love."

Adrienne Lecouvreur was carried off, after a short and somewhat
mysterious illness, on the 20th of March, 1730. So sudden was her death
that the public, who adored her, would not believe that it arose from
natural causes; and the Duchess de Bouillon, known to be her rival and
her implacable enemy, was declared by everyone to be her murderess.
According to the story current at the time she owed her death to a box
of poisoned sweetmeats, treacherously presented to her, though Scribe
and Legouvé, in their well-known play, make her die from the effect of a
poisoned bouquet given to her by the duchess, in feigned admiration of
her genius. All that is really known on the subject is to be found in
the "Memoirs" of the Abbé Annillon, the "Letters" of Mdlle. Aïssé, and a
note appended to one of these letters by Voltaire himself.

The popular version of the incidents of Adrienne's death was as
follows. One night, when she was playing the part of Phèdre, she saw in
a box close to the stage the Duchess de Bouillon, who, she knew, was
endeavouring to replace her in the affections of Count de Saxe; and
the sight of this woman made her deliver with exceptional energy these
indignant lines:--

                    "Je sais mes perfidies,
    OEnone, et ne suis pas de ces femmes hardies
    Qui, goûtant dans le crime une tranquille paix,
    Ont su se faire un front qui ne rougit jamais."

As the Duchess de Bouillon, according to Mdlle. Aïssé, was capricious,
violent, impulsive, and much addicted to love affairs, she might well be
considered one of those "brazen women who, finding an untroubled calm in
crime, succeed in acquiring a brow that knows no blush." It may readily
be believed, too, that Adrienne made every point tell, so that the
duchess, brazen-faced as she might be, would feel wounded to the quick.
So appropriate were the verses and so clear was the intention of the
much-loved actress in applying them, that the audience, in full sympathy
with her, applauded to the point of wild enthusiasm.

Voltaire, on the other hand, wrote in a manuscript note appended to
Mdlle. Aïssé's narrative: "She died in my arms of inflammation of the
bowels, and it was I who caused the body to be opened. All that Mdlle.
Aïssé says on the subject is mere popular rumour without any foundation."

If the French clergy objected usually to bury actors and actresses with
religious rites, they were scarcely likely to make an exception in
favour of an actress who had died in the arms of Voltaire. Her body,
then, was thrown "à la voirie," as the author of _Candide_ puts it,
or, to be exact, was buried somewhere on the banks of the Seine, in
the neighbourhood of a wharf, the interment being made secretly and at
midnight, as though poor Adrienne had been a criminal. The Abbé Languet,
Curé of Saint-Sulpice, the parish to which Adrienne Lecouvreur belonged,
after taking the orders of the Archbishop, had refused to admit her body
to the cemetery, and all hope of a Christian burial was then abandoned.
The intolerance of the archbishop and of the priest provoked from
Voltaire some indignant verses, beginning as follows:--

    "Ah, verrai-je toujours ma faible nation,
     Incertaine en ses voeux, flétrir ce qu'elle admire;
     Nos moeurs avec nos lois toujours se contredire;
     Et le Français volage endormi sous l'empire
               De la superstition?"[D]

[D] Voltaire's lines do not lend themselves easily to translation:--"Ah,
must I ever see my weakly nation, inconstant in its loves, degrade that
which it admires;--our morals ever at variance with our laws;--the
quick-witted Frenchman drugged by superstition?"

Voltaire, in writing the poem from which the above stanza is quoted, had
simply obeyed his own natural impulse. His verses were not intended for
publication, for he knew that if they were seen by the clergy they might
get him into trouble. He simply sent a copy of the poem to his friend
Thiériot, and perhaps to others, with a strong recommendation to keep
it secret. The first thing, however, that Thiériot seems to have done
was to take Voltaire's verses with him into society, where he was always
received in the character of "Voltaire's friend." The poet had probably
exaggerated the danger. The clergy could have no wish to re-awaken the
scandal caused by the circumstances of Adrienne Lecouvreur's burial, and
though Voltaire left Paris when he found that his poem on the death of
Adrienne was being circulated everywhere in manuscript, there does not
seem to have been any necessity for this species of flight. The place
of Adrienne's burial, which long remained unknown, was discovered years
afterwards, during some work of excavation and demolition. Voltaire
and Maurice de Saxe were both dead; but an old friend of hers, named
D'Argental, was still living, and he hastened to mark the spot by a
tablet to her memory.

The Comédie Française, beneath whose shadow Adrienne Lecouvreur was
brought up, is not the only theatre connected with the Palais Royal.
The Théâtre du Palais Royal forms part of the spacious construction
from which it derives its name, and is entered from the Palais Royal
itself. Standing at the northern extremity of the Galerie de Beaujolais,
it was constructed in 1783 by Louis, architect to the Duke of Orleans.
Its original name was Théâtre Beaujolais, and its original occupant
the manager of a company of marionettes. The marionettes were replaced
by children playing exclusively in pantomimes. But in 1790 Mdlle.
Montansier, who had formerly directed the Royal Theatre of Versailles,
and who had followed the king and queen, took possession of the little
theatre in the Palais Royal, and opened it under the title of Théâtre
des Variétés. Every kind of play was presented, and it was here that the
directress brought out as a child the afterwards famous Mdlle. Mars.
In time, under the Empire, the company of the Palais Royal left it to
take possession of the theatre on the Boulevard Montmartre, to which
the name of Théâtre des Variétés was thereupon transferred. The Palais
Royal Theatre now passed into the hands of a succession of managers, who
relied, one on tight-rope dancers, another on marionettes, and a third
on learned dogs. "These animals," says Brazier in his "Petits Théâtres
de Paris," "played their parts with an intelligence not often met with
among bipeds. The company was completed with its light and low comedian,
its walking gentleman, its heavy father, its chambermaid, its leading
actor and actress, and so on. For the four-footed artists was arranged
a melodrama which was scarcely worse than many others I have seen. Many
private persons took their dogs to this theatre to act as 'supers.'
Nothing droller can be imagined than these performances."

From 1814 to 1818 the theatre was changed into a café-concert,
inappropriately entitled Café de la Paix. This establishment became
famous during the Hundred Days. Men of different periods met there as on
some appointed fighting-ground; and as a result of many violent scenes
the house had to be closed.

After the Revolution of 1830 the theatre, still associated with the name
of Mdlle. Montansier, was restored to its original purpose. Entirely
reconstructed, it was opened to the public in June, 1831, under the
title of Théâtre du Palais Royal. A company of excellent comedians had
been engaged, many of whom, such as Alcide, Tousez, Achard, Levassor
(who loved to impersonate eccentric Englishmen), Grassot, Ravel, and
the fascinating Virginie Déjazet, were to attain European fame. Here
were produced a number of highly diverting pieces, several of which
have become known in translated or adapted form at our London theatres;
for example, _Indiana et Charlemagne_ (_Antony and Cleopatra_); _Le
Chapeau de Paille d'Italie_ (_A Wedding March_); _La Chambre aux deux
Lits_ (_The Double-Bedded Room_); _Grassot embêté par Ravel_ (_Seeing
Wright_); _Un Garçon de chez Véry_ (_Whitebait at Greenwich_); with many

The liveliest and most risky pieces of the French stage have for the
most part seen the light at the Palais Royal Theatre. These productions
were, not without reason, considered in a general way unfit for the
ears of young girls; and it became one of the recognised privileges of
the married woman to be able in her new state to witness a Palais Royal
farce. Even wives, however, in many cases thought it as well, while
seeing, not to be seen at the Palais Royal; and for the benefit of such
ladies were provided an extra number of _loges grillées_--those _loges
grillées_, otherwise _petites loges_, one of which a certain abbé wished
to have for the first performance of _The Marriage of Figaro_, when
the author declined, declaring with indignant satire that he had "no
sympathy with those who wished to unite the honours of virtue with the
pleasures of vice."

The _petite loge_ of France, like the private box of England, is
comparatively a modern invention. In neither country were such things
known till the end of the last century; and it is probable that, like
most other theatrical novelties, they were imported, not from England
into France, but from France into England. Even thirty or forty years
ago private boxes were much less numerous at our English theatres than
they have since become. They have increased in proportion as the pit has
diminished, and, in some theatres, entirely disappeared. On their first
introduction they were unpopular in both countries.

"This is a modern refinement," writes Mercier, just before the
Revolution of 1789, "or rather a public and very indecent nuisance
introduced to please the humour of a few hundreds of our women of
fashion. These boxes are held by subscription from year to year; nay,
from mother to daughter, as part of her inheritance. Nothing could
ever be devised better calculated to favour the impertinent pride and
idleness of a first-rate actor, who, being paid handsomely by his share
of the subscription, even before the beginning of the season, takes no
trouble about getting up new parts, but solicits, under some pretence or
another, leave of absence, and receives annually some 18,000 livres from
the inhabitants of the capital, whilst he is holding forth at Brussels.
Another objection against these hired boxes is that the comedians have
constantly refused to admit the authors of new plays to a share in the
subscription money; and they are so sensible to this advantage that
they are daily improving it by throwing part of the pit into this kind
of boxes. Whilst the public complain loudly of such encroachments on
the liberty of the playhouses, hear the apology set up by our _belles_:
'What! will you, then, to oblige the _canaille_, compel me to hear
out a whole play, when I am rich enough to see only the last scene?
This is a downright tyranny! I protest! There is no police in France
nowadays. Since I cannot have the comedians come to my own house, I will
have the liberty to come in my plain deshabille, enjoy my arm-chair,
receive the homage of my humble suitors, and leave the place before I
am tired. It would be monstrous to deprive me of all these indulgences,
and positively encroach upon the prerogatives of wealth and _bon ton_.'
A lady therefore, to be in fashion, must have her _petite loge_, her
lap-dog, etc.; but above all, a man-puppy who stands, glass in hand,
to tell her ladyship who comes in and goes out, name the actors and
so forth, whilst the lady herself displays a fan, which, by a modern
contrivance, answers all the purpose of an opera-glass, with this
advantage, that she may see without being seen. Meanwhile the honest
citizen, who, like a tasteless plebeian, imagines that play-houses are
opened for entertainment, cannot get in for his money, because part of
the house is let by the year, though empty for the best part of it, so
that he is obliged to put up, instead of rational amusement, with the
low, indecent farces acted on the booth of the boulevards."


(_From the painting of Laissement in the Comédie Française._)]




The "King's Library"--Francis I. and the Censorship--The Imperial
Library--The Bourse.

The most interesting edifice in the Rue Richelieu is the Library,
called, according to the existing form of Government, Royal, National,
or Imperial. Its original title was King's Library (Bibliothèque du
Roi), and it has been suggested that, to avoid the frequent changes of
name to which the instability of things in France seems to expose this
valuable institution, it should be called, once for all, Bibliothèque
de France. The nucleus of the National Library, with its innumerable
volumes, was formed by Charles V., and received considerable additions,
considerable at least for the time, when books were scarce, from Louis
XI. Under the reign of the latter sovereign so much value was attached
to books of a rare character that, to obtain the loan of a certain
volume written by the Arabian physician Rhazes, the king had to furnish
security, and bind himself by the most solemn obligations to return it.
According to Dulaure, this pious monarch had but a poor reputation for
returning books, combined with an eagerness for getting them into his
possession. "In 1472," says the author of "The History of Paris" and of
the "Singularités Historiques," "Hermann Von Stathoen came from Mayence
to Paris entrusted by the famous printers Scheffer and Hanequis to sell
a certain number of printed books. While at Paris he was attacked by
fever and died. In virtue of the _droit d'aubain_ the king's officers
took possession of the books and money of the defunct, sending the
latter to the king's exchequer and the former to the king's library.
This proceeding was by no means to the taste of Scheffer and Hanequis,
who complained to the emperor, and obtained from him letters addressed
to Louis XI. in which the French king was invited to restore both
books and money. Louis XI. admitted the justice of the claim, and on
the twenty-first of April, 1475, issued Letters Patent in these terms:
'Desiring to treat favourably the subjects (Scheffer and Hanequis) of
the Archbishop of Mayence, and having regard to the trouble and labour
which the persons in question have had in connection with the art and
craft of printing, and to the profit and utility derived from it, both
for the public good and for the increase of learning; and considering
that the value and estimation of the said books and other property which
have come to our knowledge do not amount to more than 2,425 crowns and
three sous, at which the claimants have valued them, we have for the
above considerations and others liberally condescended to cause the said
sum of 2,425 crowns and three sous to be restored to the said Conrad
Hanequis.'" Dulaure, after citing this letter, adds that the restitution
was made in such a manner that the printers received every year from
the King's Treasury a mere driblet of 800 livres, or francs, until the
entire sum had been repaid.

Louis XII. had formed a library of his own at Blois, to which he added
those collected by his predecessors. Francis I., called the Father of
Letters, honoured writers, and had a particular taste for manuscripts;
but he detested printed books, and, like the reactionists of the period,
deplored the invention of printing, which the previous occupants of his
throne had looked upon as of the greatest benefit to mankind. On the
13th of June, 1535, he ordered all the printing offices in the kingdom
to be closed, and prohibited, under the severest penalties, the printing
of any fresh books. Some have supposed that the king's sole object was,
by preventing the reproduction of books, to keep up the value of the
manuscripts which he so much prized. Against this view, however, must
be placed the fact that when, in reply to remonstrances from various
deputations, he rescinded his order against the printing offices a month
after its issue, he at the same time limited the number of printing
offices to twelve, which were only allowed to print books approved
beforehand and deemed absolutely necessary. Thus Francis I. must be
regarded as the inventor of that nefarious institution, the Censorship,
which followed the invention of printing as shadow follows light. After
the lapse of a century or two, the Censorship was destined to do harm
to France, even in a commercial sense; for numbers of books which the
Censor would never have allowed to be brought out in France were printed
and sold in England, Holland, and Germany.


"Whoever opposes the freedom of the Press," wrote Mercier on this
subject two centuries and a half after Francis I.'s institution of the
Censorship, "is a professed foe to improvement, and, of course, to
mankind. But the very obstacles which are laid in an author's way are an
inducement to break through all restrictions. 'It is in man's nature,'
observes Juvenal, 'to wish for those things which are prohibited merely
because they are so.' Were we permitted to enjoy even a moderate
freedom authors would seldom fall into licentiousness. It may be set
down as an axiom that the civil liberty of any nation may be estimated
by the liberty of its Press. If so, we daily take new strides towards
slavery, since the ministers are every day forging new fetters for the
Press. What is the consequence of this unnatural restraint? All books
published here on the history, political interests, and even manners
of foreign nations are the most incomplete and despicable productions
that ever disgraced a country. If despotism could, as it were, murder
our thoughts in their impenetrable sanctuary, it would do so; but as it
is beyond its power to pluck out the tongue of the true philosopher,
or deprive him of the use of his instructive hand, other means are
employed--a State inquisition is set on foot, and the boundaries of
literature and all its avenues are blocked up by a world of satellites
who endeavour to interrupt the slightest correspondence between truth
and mankind. Fruitless endeavours! So preposterous an attempt against
our natural and civil rights serves only to expose to public hatred
the wretches who dare thus far to encroach on man's first privilege,
that of thinking for himself. Reason daily gets ground, its powerful
light shines to every eye, and all the witchcraft of tyranny cannot
plunge it into utter darkness. In vain will despotism dread or persecute
men of genius; all its efforts cannot put out the light of truth; and
the sentence it awards against the injustice of men in power shall
be confirmed by indignant posterity. You brave inhabitants of Great
Britain! ye are strangers to our shameful slavery. Never, ah, never
give up the freedom of the Press; it is the pledge of your liberty. It
may be truly said that you are the only representatives of mankind. You
alone have hitherto supported its dignity, and human reason, expelled
from the Continent, has found a safer asylum in your fortunate island,
whence it spreads its rays all over the world. We are so insignificant
when compared with you, that you could hardly comprehend the excess of
our humiliation." After this apostrophe, Mercier continues:--"If we
next weigh the restraint laid on the Press in the scale of commercial
interest, we shall find it greatly preponderate against the trade of
this metropolis. The graphomania is not without its absurdities and
disadvantages, but it is the chief support of different tradesmen. The
Montagne Sainte-Geneviève is peopled by hawkers, bookbinders, etc., who
must starve if not permitted to carry on the only business to which they
were brought up. Meanwhile, as the desire of publishing their thoughts
is common to all men, the money which would be laid out amongst our own
countrymen is paid to the printers of Holland, Flanders, and Germany."

[Illustration: THE BOURSE.]

While discouraging the multiplication of printed books, Francis I.
formed a valuable collection of manuscripts, many of which were copies
made by his orders in Italy. He brought together some 450 manuscripts
of various kinds, part of them original, the rest transcribed from
the Greek (the king's favourite language), or from Eastern and other
tongues. French literature was represented in the library of Francis I.
by the works of Louise de Savoie and her sister Marguerite.

Simple as was his collection of manuscripts and printed books, Francis
I. found it necessary to place them in the charge of an official bearing
the title of Master of the King's Library.

The library of Francis was at Fontainebleau, whence Henri IV. removed
it to the College of Clermont at Paris. Catherine de Medicis formed
a collection of books, including eight hundred Greek and Latin
manuscripts, which she added to those already preserved at the College
of Clermont, the former habitation of the Jesuits, which, after their
expulsion, was taken possession of by the Crown. When the Jesuits
returned the books had to be removed, and they found a new abode in the
house of the Cordeliers, on the site at present occupied by the School
of Medicine. Under Louis XIII. the books were placed by the Cordeliers
in the house belonging to the Order, but not occupied by it, in the Rue
de la Harpe, and from the Rue de la Harpe they were, at the direction
of the Minister Colbert, carried across the river to a house in the
Rue Vivienne. The private library of the Count de Béthune, containing
numerous works on the history of France, was next added to the Royal
collection; and after the death of Cardinal Mazarin, his library was
purchased from the heirs by Louis XV. and joined to the king's library,
now of considerable value and importance. It has been seen that the
library, justly called royal, was founded and constantly increased by
the kings of France; and during the long and glorious reign of Louis
XIV. the number of books on its shelves was raised from five thousand to
seventy thousand.

A decree of Henri II. had ordered all booksellers to send copies of
whatever works they produced to the king's library; and this was renewed
and made thoroughly effective by the Great Monarch.

In 1697 the Mission of Father Bouvet brought back from China sixty-two
volumes in the Chinese language and presented them to the Royal library.
These books formed the nucleus of a collection which since that time
has gone on constantly augmenting. In 1700 the Archbishop of Rheims
presented to the Royal library five hundred Hebrew, Greek, and Latin
manuscripts; and it received in the same year two manuscripts from
Spanvenfeld, master of the ceremonies at the Court of Stockholm. In
this year, too, a number of Latin manuscripts, including the works of
Catullus, Propertius, and Tibullus, were bought at Rome for the French

In 1706 an ingenious theft was committed at this library by an apostate
priest named Aymon. Wishing, as he said, to consult certain works in
order to demonstrate the errors of heretics, he asked for a number
of manuscripts, and, carrying them off, sold them at large prices in

After the Revolution, the Republican Government threw open to all
comers a library which had previously been reserved for the use of a
privileged few; and for many years the libraries of the French capital
(for others in addition to the library founded by the French kings had
now been formed) were the only ones in Europe which could be entered by
the public at large. This fact scarcely harmonises with the assertion
made by many writers, and insisted upon by M. Castil Blaze, that the
Grand Opéra was installed by the Republican Government in a house just
opposite the famous library in order that when the Opera House met with
the usual fate of theatres the library facing it might at the same time
be burnt. A few members of the Commune of Paris may have been wild
enough to declaim against all literature produced before the Revolution,
on the supposition that it must of necessity be impregnated with feudal,
monarchical, and generally anti-Liberal ideas. But the Republic as a
whole proved in many ways its love of enlightenment. It was the Republic
which established all over France colleges and gymnasiums at fees of a
few shillings a month; which called, free of cost, to the lectures of
the College of France or la Sorbonne all who wished to hear them, and
fixed at a nominal sum the examination fee for students desiring to
receive degrees in arts or sciences from the University of Paris.

During the Napoleonic period the Imperial Library, as it was now called,
was enriched with numerous acquisitions from the countries invaded and
conquered by the French army; and indignation is expressed even now
by French writers at the spoils of war having been given back by the
Allies, in their turn victorious, to the rightful owners. "The foreign
powers," writes on this subject an eminent French publicist, "profited
by their position after the fall of the Empire to claim all that had
been carried away from their libraries at the time of our victories,
now as trophies, now in virtue of formal stipulations in the treaties
of peace. Austria was the first to demand restitution, and all that
was taken from Vienna in 1809 had been given back when the return of
Napoleon from Elba put an end to any further dealings in such matters.
In 1815, after the Waterloo Campaign, Austria demanded for the Italian
provinces annexed to her empire, and for Italy generally, all the works
of literature and art that our armies had taken from the Italians; and
on the 4th of October, 1815, we were deprived of a magnificent artistic
monument acquired through the bravery of our soldiers."

Mention has already been made of a theft of manuscripts--not a wholesale
robbery of works of art such as the Allies, in restoring certain
statues to their rightful owners, were accused of committing; and on
various occasions, manuscripts, books, and models have been purloined
by visitors to the library of the Rue Richelieu. The last misdeed of
this kind occurred in 1848, when a member of the Institute, M. Libri,
was charged with stealing a book. Not caring to meet the accusation,
he quitted the country, and in his absence was sentenced to ten years'

If anyone, Frenchman or foreigner, enters a public library in Paris to
look at any particular book he cannot, as at the British Museum Library,
consult the catalogue himself; one of the librarians will do this for
him, and do it in effect as well as such a thing can be done. But the
reader must know beforehand what book, or, at least, what kind of book
he wants. However learned and however attentive a librarian may be, he
is not likely to make his researches with the same assiduity and care as
the earnest student occupied with one sole object. On the other hand,
the librarian, as a man of learning, will know the literature of any
one subject better than the ordinary student, and much better than the
casual reader.

Besides the National Library of the Rue Richelieu, Paris possesses the
Mazarin Library, the Library of the Arsenal, of Sainte-Geneviève, of the
Institute, of the Town, of the Louvre, of the National Assembly, of the
Senate, and of a number of museums and learned societies.

As for the readers, they are as varied in character and often as
original as those of our own British Museum. In the French, as in
the English, reading-room one sees, side by side with writers of
distinction, unhappy scribblers, who, in London, when the Museum closes
at night, look at the thermometer and weathercock to see if Hyde Park or
the casual ward be the wiser dormitory. It is merely to avoid _ennui_
that many readers resort alike to the Bibliothèque Nationale and to our
own Museum. Men of private means, at once with and without resources,
can there escape from their own society, and, whatever their taste in
literature, find relief in some book. Noise is carefully prevented, and
there are even readers who volunteer active aid in maintaining silence.
If anyone, for instance, speaks above a whisper, they hiss at him like
serpents, or, wheeling round in their chairs, fold their arms and glare
at him until he desists and leaves them once more to their sepulchral

Both in France and in England the public libraries have two other
classes of readers. First, there is the somnolent reader, who stares for
a few minutes vacantly at a book, drops, nods, and finally collapses
with a snore. The music of the nose, however, is against the rules,
and promptly brings down an "attendant." On the other hand--though,
fortunately, as a rare specimen--we find the particularly wakeful
reader, who in his neighbour's absence makes a clean sweep of that
gentleman's property, and who is apt to attire himself in the wrong hat
and overcoat, and to walk off with an innocent and even injured air.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most important edifice in the Rue Vivienne--or, rather, in the open
space which a portion of the Rue Vivienne faces--is the Bourse, or
Exchange, of which the architecture so closely resembles that of the
Madeleine. Yet there is nothing in the Bourse to suggest a house of
prayer. At the entrance of the St. Petersburg Bourse stands a chapel,
in which the operator for the rise or for the fall may invoke the
protection of Heaven for the success of his own particular speculation.
The noise of the dealers crying out prices and shouting offers and
acceptances is far less suggestive of the "House of God" than of a "den
of thieves," to which, it must be feared, it presents in many respects a
considerable likeness.

The origin of the word "Bourse," which has been adopted by almost every
country in Europe, with the striking exception of England, seems evident
enough, though it would be a mistake to suppose that it is derived from
_bourse_, a purse. According to the best etymologist, the name of Bourse
comes from the Exchange established in the sixteenth century at Bruges
in the house of one Van der Bourse, who, in the well-known punning
spirit of heraldry, had adopted for his arms three bourses or purses.

The most ancient Bourse in France is said to be that of Lyons; and the
next ancient that of Toulouse, which dates from 1549. The Bourse of
Rouen was established a few years later, while that of Paris was not
legally constituted until 1724.

Paris, nevertheless, has possessed since the sixteenth century several
places of exchange: now on the Pont au Change, now in the courtyard of
the Palais de Justice, and then for a considerable time at the Hôtel
de Soissons, in the Rue Quincampoix, which was the scene of the wild
speculations in connection with Law's Mississipi scheme. In 1720 the
Hôtel de Soissons was closed by the Government, and the formation of an
institution to be called the Bourse was at the same time decreed.

The Bourse was at first installed in the Hôtel de Nevers, in the Rue
Richelieu, where the National Library is now established. After the
Revolution, the Bourse was for a time closed by the Convention. But it
was soon re-opened, and under the Directory was located in the Church of
the Petits Pères. Under the Consulate and the Empire the Bourse was held
in the Palais Royal. The Restoration moved it to the Rue Feydau, and it
there remained until in 1826 it was definitively fixed in the palatial
abode which it now occupies.

The cost of building the Bourse as it now exists was defrayed by a
subscription among the merchants of Paris, assisted by a grant from
the State and from the city. Until Napoleon's time, or, at least, from
the period of the Revolution to that of the Empire, the occupation of
stockbroker or _agent de change_ was free to all who chose to take out
a licence. Napoleon, however, limited the number of _agents de change_,
or, as it turned out, the number of their firms, for it soon became
the practice for several persons to club together in order to buy the
necessary licence and to deposit the caution money.

The Bourse, in marked opposition to the rigid rule observed at our own
Stock Exchange, was open to everyone until 1856, when the price of
admission was fixed at one franc to the financial, and half a franc
to the commercial department. An annual ticket of admission could be
obtained for 150 francs to the financial side, and seventy-eight francs
to the commercial. This species of tax was imposed with the view of
restraining the passion for speculation which had sprung up among the
lower classes, but it was abolished by M. Achille Fould, Napoleon III.'s
able Finance Minister, in 1862.

The hours of the Bourse, as fixed by law, not being sufficiently long
for the tastes or necessities of speculators, supplementary bourses
under the name of _Petite Bourse_, have from time to time been held
in the Passage de l'Opéra and on the Boulevard des Italiens. These
informal assemblies are sometimes tolerated, sometimes repressed, by the

Ponsard, in one of his versified comedies, describes the Paris Bourse as
(to translate the poet freely)--

    "A market where all merchandise is keenly bought and sold;
     A genuine field of battle where instead of blood flows gold."






The Louvre--Origin of the Name--The Castle--Francis I.--Catherine de
Medicis--The Queen's Apartments--Louis XIV. and the Louvre--The "Museum
of the Louvre"--The Picture Galleries--The Tuileries--The National
Assembly--Marie Antoinette--The Palace of Napoleon III.--_Petite

The origin of the Louvre is remote and the etymology of the word
obscure. In the absence of any more probable derivation, philologists
have fixed upon that of _lupus_, or rather in the Latin of the lower
empire, _lupara_. According to this view, the ancient palace of the
French kings was originally looked upon as a wolf's den, or it may be
as a hunting-box from which to chase the wolf. The word "louvre" is
said at one time to have been used as the equivalent of a royal palace
or castle, and in support of this view the following lines are quoted
from La Fontaine's fable of "The Lion, the King of Beasts," in which the
monarch of the forest is represented as inviting the other animals to
his "louvre."

This, however, only proves that the name of a French palace which had
existed since the beginning of the thirteenth century could be used in
La Fontaine's time as a name for the palace of any king. "According to
some," says M. Vitet, "the Louvre was founded by Childebert; according
to others, by Louis Le Gros. It was either a place from which to hunt
the wolf, a 'louveterie' (_lupara_), or, according to another view, a
fortress commanding the river in front of the city. It seems probable
that before the time of Philip Augustus there was a fortified castle
where now stands the Louvre, and that this king simply altered it,
and indeed reconstructed it, but was not its founder. The historians
of the time speak frequently of the great tower built in 1204 by this
prince, to which the name of New Tower was given; an evident sign of
the existence of some other more ancient tower. It was not in any case
until 1204 that, for the first time, the name of Louvre was officially
pronounced. Until then the field is open to conjectures."

It appears certain that the ground on which the palace stands was called
Louvre before anything was built upon it. A chart of the year 1215,
referred to by Sanval, shows that Henri, Archbishop of Rheims, built a
chapel at Paris in a place called the Louvre. Whence the name? it may
once more be asked. One facetious historian declares that the castle of
the Louvre was one of the finest edifices that France possessed, and
that Philip Augustus "called it, in the language of the time, Louvre,
that is to say, _l'oeuvre_ in the sense of _chef-d'oeuvre_."
According to another far-fetched derivation the word "Louvre" comes from
_rouvre_, which is traced to _robur_, an oak, because the Louvre stood
in the midst of a forest, which may have been a forest of oaks!

Whatever meaning was attached to the word, it is certain that when in
1204 Philip Augustus built or reconstructed the Louvre he gave it the
form, the defences, and the armament of a fortress. It was the strong
point in the line of fortifications with which this monarch surrounded

The first existing document in which the Louvre is mentioned by name is
an account of the year 1205 for provisions and wine consumed by citizens
who in the Louvre had done military duty.

The castle was at that time in the form of a large square, in the midst
of which was a big tower, with its own independent system of defence.
The tower was 144 feet in circumference, and 96 feet in height. Its
walls were 13 feet thick near the basement, and 12 feet in the upper
part. A gallery at the top put it in communication with the buildings of
the first enclosure, and it served at once as treasury and as prison.
Here Ferrand, Count of Flanders, was confined by Philip Augustus in
1214, after the victory of Bouvines. John IV., Duke of Brittany, Charles
II., King of Navarre, and John II., Duke of Alençon, were among many
other illustrious prisoners shut up in the Big Tower or _donjon_ of the
ancient Louvre.

Louis IX. arranged in the west wing of the Louvre a large hall, which
was long known as the Chamber of St. Louis. Charles V. enlarged and
embellished the Louvre. He added to it another storey, and did all in
his power to change what had hitherto been a purely military building
into a convenient and agreeable place of abode. The architecture of the
building, originally constructed for use, not show, was in many respects
improved, and the gates were surmounted with ornaments and pieces of
sculpture. The reception rooms were away from the river, and looked out
upon a street long since disappeared, called La Rue Froidmanteaux. The
apartments of the king and queen looked out upon the river.

Each of the towers was designated by a particular name, according to
its history, or the purpose it was intended to serve. The Big Tower was
also called the Ferrand Tower, from the Count of Flanders having been
confined in it; and there were also the Library Tower, where Charles
V. had brought together 959 volumes, which formed the nucleus of the
National Library; the Clock Tower, the Horseshoe Tower, the Artillery
Tower, the Sluice Tower, the Falcon Tower, the Hatchet Tower, the tower
of the Great Chapel, the tower of the Little Chapel, the Tournament
Tower (where the king took up his position to see tournaments and
jousts), besides others. Charles V. added to the Louvre a number of
buildings for tradespeople and domestics, whose services had to be
dispensed with when the Louvre was purely a military building. Such
names as pantry, pastry, saucery, butlery, were given to the different
buildings and departments by the bakers, the pastry-cooks, the makers of
sauces, and the keepers of the wine.

The gardens of the Louvre, though not very extensive, were greatly
admired. Here were to be seen aviaries, a menagerie of wild beasts, and
lists for different kinds of sports and combats. Charles VI., who lived
by preference at the Hôtel St. Pol, increased the fortifications of the
Louvre, and sacrificed to that end the gardens of the king and queen on
the side of the river. The succeeding kings until the time of Francis
I. occupied themselves very little with the Louvre, and scarcely ever
resided there.

During this first period of its history, from Philip Augustus until
Francis I., the Louvre was the scene of numerous historical events. In
1358, during the captivity of King John in England, the citizens of
Paris, in support of the deputies of the communes in the States-General,
besieged and took the Louvre, driving away the governor, and carrying
off to the Hôtel de Ville all the arms and ammunition they could find
in the arsenal of the fortress. Soon afterwards the governor, Pierre
Gaillard, was decapitated by order of the Dauphin Regent for making
so poor a defence. It was at the Louvre, moreover, in 1377, that the
Emperor of Germany, Charles IV., allied himself with Charles V. of
France, to make war upon England.

Under the reign of Charles VI., in 1382, while the king was engaged in
suppressing an insurrection in Flanders, the Parisians, in their turn,
revolted, and proposed to destroy alike the fortress of the Louvre, and
that other fortress, destined five centuries later to fall beneath the
first blows of the Revolution. They were counselled, however, by one of
their leaders to spare both prison and palace; and the advice was sound,
for after quieting the turbulent Flemings, the king returned to Paris
more powerful than ever.

In 1399, Andronicus, and in 1400, Manuel Palæologus, both Emperors of
Constantinople, were entertained at the Louvre, as were also, in 1415,
Sigismund, Emperor of Germany, and, in 1422, the King and Queen of

When Francis I. ascended the throne, the Louvre regained all its
importance as a royal residence. The king began by pulling down the Big
Tower, constructed by Philip Augustus, which cast its shadow over the
whole of the palace, and gave it the look of a prison. Twelve years
later (1539), when the Emperor Charles V. visited Paris, Francis I.
determined to receive him, not in the Hôtel des Tournelles, where he
was living at the time, but in the old palace of the French kings.
He undertook various repairs, and covered the crumbling walls with
paintings and tapestry. Everything, too, was regilt, "even," says
a chronicler, "to the weather-cocks." Finally the space comprised
between the river and the moat of the castle was laid out in lists for


After spending large sums of money in repairing the Louvre, Francis I.
decided to reconstruct it on a new plan, so as to get rid altogether of
the irregularity of the old buildings, with their Gothic architecture.
The work of reconstructing the Louvre was entrusted to the Italian
architect Serlio. But his plan was laid aside in favour of one presented
by Pierre Lescot, who, in spite of his French name, was, like Serlio,
of Italian origin. He belonged to the Alessi family; and Serlio was so
pleased with his designs that he at once pressed the king to accept
them. Lescot associated with himself the graceful, ingenious sculptor
Jean Goujon, who, like every French artist of the time, had formed his
style in Italy; and the Italian sculptor Trebatti, a pupil of Michel
Angelo, who possessed more force than belonged to Jean Goujon. To these
illustrious men is due the admirable façade of the west in the courtyard
of the Louvre.

Great progress was made with the reconstruction of the Louvre under the
reign of Henri II., who, while the works were going on at the ancient
palace, lived at the Hôtel des Tournelles. It was to this residence that
he was carried home to die after being mortally wounded by Montgomery,
of the Scottish guard, in the fatal tournament of the Place Royale.
Henri's successor, Francis II., would not live in a place associated
with such a tragic incident, and took up his residence at the Louvre.

The power of Catherine de Médicis was now beginning to assert itself,
and she had the bad taste to interrupt the plans of Pierre Lescot,
and to order new constructions of her own designing to be carried out
by her own Italian architects. The Louvre was carried forward to the
bank of the river; and the Italian painter Romanelli was employed to
decorate a new suite of rooms, which became known as the apartments of
the queen. The new work, while possessing a beauty of its own, was
quite out of harmony with the severer style followed by Pierre Lescot
in connection with the old Louvre. At the southern extremity of the
wing built by Catherine de Médicis looks out upon the Seine a window of
noble construction, from which, according to popular tradition, Charles
IX. amused himself during the massacre of St. Bartholomew by firing
on the unhappy Huguenots who were swimming to the other side of the
river. Modern historians have, of course, discovered that the window in
question did not exist at the time; also that Charles IX. on the day of
the massacre was not at the Louvre, but at the Hôtel de Bourbon close
by. It was possibly from one of the windows of the Hôtel de Bourbon
that he fired. Henri IV. inhabited the Louvre; and it was there that he
expired, mortally wounded by the dagger of Ravaillac. This sovereign had
added a new gallery to the wing built by Catherine de Médicis, and had
filled it with paintings by the most celebrated artists of the time. It
perished, however, in a fire; and it was to replace it that Louis XIV.
constructed what is now known as the Apollo Gallery. Henri IV. was the
first moreover to connect the Tuileries with the Louvre, or, at least,
to prolong the Tuileries along the Seine in the direction of the Louvre
without completing the junction. The son of Henri IV., Louis XIII.,
continued the work left unfinished by Pierre Lescot; though, as happens
with so many architectural continuations, he departed greatly from the
original plan.


The "queen's apartments," constructed by Catherine de Médicis, were
successively occupied by Marie de Médicis and Anne of Austria; and under
each reign new decorations and new pictures were added. Particularly
admirable was a series of portraits of Queens of France ending with
Marie de Médicis, whose likeness by Porbus was said to be a masterpiece.

Nothing, according to an historian of the time, was spared to make the
work perfect; and "although blue was then exceedingly dear, the painter
nevertheless spread it over his canvas with so much prodigality that
the cost of the colour came to six twenty-crown pieces." In front of
the "apartments of the queen," which were furnished with every luxury,
was a tastefully laid-out garden which, completely transformed, exists
to this day. The "Garden of the Infanta" it is called, in memory of the
poor little Infanta of Spain brought to France at the age of four to
become the wife of Louis XV. Restricted for some years to the garden
in question and the apartments adjoining it, she was afterwards sent
back to Spain with a doll worth 20,000 francs, given to her by her late
_fiancé_. The apartments of the queen consisted, according to Sanval, of
a guard-room, a large ante-chamber, a sitting-room communicating with
two galleries, a reception-room, and a boudoir.


While occupying himself chiefly with Versailles, his own personal
creation, Louis XIV. did not forget Paris and the Louvre. It has been
said that he reconstructed the gallery built by Henri IV., which,
after the death of that monarch, was destroyed in a fire. The work of
reconstruction was entrusted to Louis XIV.'s favourite painter, Lebrun;
and the Apollo Gallery, which owes its name to the principal subject of
the painter's art, is perhaps the most complete, most perfect monument
of the style which prevailed under the "Grand Monarque"; a style which
may be wanting in purity of taste, but which, in a decorative point of
view, is magnificent.

Colbert, appointed superintendent of royal buildings, was now ordered
to complete the Louvre. The first thing to do was to add a façade on
the east; by an idea which has since become commonplace, but which was
strikingly original at the time, the Minister opened a competition for
the best design. The one most admired was the work not of an architect,
but of a doctor, Claude Perrault by name. Colbert was delighted with it,
but before coming to a decision about a matter of so much importance,
he sent to Nicolas Poussin, then at Rome, the designs of all the
competitors except Perrault. Poussin sent back all the drawings with
severe criticisms, and submitted a plan of his own, which satisfied
neither Colbert nor the king. Things had reached this point, and Colbert
was about to take upon himself the responsibility of adopting Perrault's
design, when he was urged by the Abbé Benedetti and Cardinal Chigi,
afterwards Pope Alexander VII., to have recourse to the services of
the celebrated Bernini, whose reputation was at that time universal.
Thus pressed, Colbert addressed himself to the Duke de Créquy, French
ambassador at the Pontifical Court, and begged him to see Bernini on the
subject. Louis XIV., moreover, wrote himself to Bernini a letter, which
made him resolve to visit France.

On his arrival at Paris, Bernini submitted to the king a project which
is said to have been "full of grandeur," but which was not put into
execution. He was now in delicate health, and the annoyance caused to
him by the jealousy of the French artists, vexed at seeing the plans
of a foreigner preferred to their own, made him solicit the king's
permission to go back to Rome. Louis XIV. gave his consent, and at the
same time granted Bernini a pension. Bernini having left Paris, Colbert
hesitated no longer. He summoned Claude Perrault and ordered him to
begin work at once. The first stone was laid by Louis XIV. with great
ceremony, October 17, 1665; and, thanks to the activity of Colbert, the
new façade was finished by 1670. This façade, known as the Colonnade
of the Louvre, is upwards of 170 metres long, and more than 27 metres
high. It may at once be objected to the new façade that, with all its
magnificence, it is quite out of harmony with the style adopted in the
four façades which form the admirable quadrangle of the Louvre. But
whatever may be said against it, Perrault's colonnade is one of the most
remarkable conceptions of modern architecture. When first erected, it
was looked upon as an unapproachable masterpiece; and it exercised on
architecture abroad, as well as at home, a considerable influence which
still lasts.

After finishing his colonnade, Perrault tried to bring it into harmony
with the earlier portions of the building. But from the year 1680 Louis
XIV. occupied himself no more with the Louvre. He thought of nothing but
Versailles, which absorbed all, and more than all, the money he had to
spare for building purposes. In 1688 Perrault died, and the Louvre was
now not only neglected, but forgotten. Then it was remembered only to
be turned to base uses. Stables were established in the ancient palace;
though, by way of compensation, it must be added that a number of
artists and men of learning had lodgings assigned to them in apartments
formerly regarded as royal.

Among Louis XIV.'s favourite lodgers may be mentioned the sculptors
Girardon, Couston, Stoltz, and Legros; Cornu and Renaudin, famous for
their marble vases; the medallist, Du Vivier; the painters Rigaud,
Desportes, Coypel, and Claudine Stella; the two Baileys, father and son,
keepers of the king's pictures; Bain, celebrated painter in enamel; the
engraver Sylvestre, the decorators Lemoine and Meissonnier, who made
nearly all the drawings for the festivals and ceremonies of the court;
Bérin, celebrated for his theatrical costumes and scenes; the geographer
Sanson, the engineer d'Hermand, goldsmiths Balin, Germain, Benier, and
Mellin; the clockmakers Turet and Martinot, the gunmakers Renier and
Piraube, the metal-worker Revoir, and finally (without mentioning many
other men of science, art, and art work) Boule, the world-famed maker of
the inlaid furniture invented by him.

This furniture, known in France as _meubles de Boule_, has, by the way,
in some inexplicable manner, got to be known in England as "buhl," and
even "bühl" furniture, though Boule was born at Paris in 1642, and
died there in 1732, without apparently having ever lived in Germany.
In assigning to Boule a set of apartments in the Louvre, Louis XIV. at
the same time appointed him engraver in ordinary of the royal seals.
Boule, moreover, was honoured on this occasion with a diploma which
gave him the titles of "architect, painter, sculptor in mosaic, artist
in furniture, carver, decorator, and inventor of cyphers." In his
furniture, Boule employed with great effect woods of different colours,
while for his inlaid work he used mother-of-pearl, ivory, gold, brass,
bronze, and mosaic. He imitated on his furniture all kinds of animals,
flowers, and fruits. He even represented landscapes, hunting scenes,
battles, and historical subjects. Besides furniture, Boule applied his
art to clocks, casquets, inkstands, and all kinds of arms. He worked
much for Versailles and the other royal residences, and received
frequent orders from foreign sovereigns.

The meaning, however, of Louis XIV.'s apparent liberality was, from a
Versailles point of view, that the Louvre was not worth living in. To
provide furnished apartments for the recipients of the king's bounty,
it was unfortunately necessary to put up partitions so as to divide and
sub-divide the majestic halls of the palace into little sitting-rooms
and bed-rooms. The Louvre was now an hotel, or rather a _caravanserai_,
in which everyone made his bed as best pleased him. Worse still, traders
were allowed to erect shops and booths in front of the palace, these
improvised constructions resting, indeed, on the palace walls. In 1754,
under the reign of Louis XV., Marigny, superintendent of fine arts,
undertook to remedy this state of things. He succeeded in interesting
the king, who not only ordered the space in front of the Louvre to be
cleared, but empowered the architect, Gabriel, to complete the edifice.
Gabriel continued the unfinished façade, but had made but little
progress when Louis XV. died.

When Louis XVI. ascended the throne in 1774 the Louvre was far from
being finished; and the first step taken by the new monarch in
connection with the old palace was to have the interior quadrangle
cleared of the heaps of sand and dust which had accumulated there, some
of these heaps forming little mountains which reached the first floor of
the building. Louis XVI., after the first years of his reign, had more
pressing matters to attend to than the completion of the ancient palace
of the Kings of France. His own throne was menaced, and the history of
the Louvre as a royal residence was now at an end.

More than one sovereign has left his mark on the walls of the Louvre.
The western wing bears the monogram of Louis XIII. and Anne of Austria;
also of Louis XIV. and Marie Thérèse. In the north wing, the letters
L. B. are to be seen, signifying Louis de Bourbon, an extremely rare
form of the name of Louis XIV. On the south wing, several K's are to be
seen, standing for "Karolous," or Charles IX. Look to the east, and the
Napoleonic empire is symbolised by several eagles.

The Louvre, as we know it, with its magnificent gallery of pictures open
to the whole world, dates only from the Revolution. There were from
the time of Francis I. pictures in the old palace, and the collection
was constantly increased under his successors. But the galleries were
private. They were reserved for the delectation of the sovereign and his
court. At the very beginning, however, of the Revolution, the Louvre was
literally invaded, and some of the unfinished portions were finished in
an unexpected manner by being converted into private dwelling houses.
But the Republican Government soon put an end to this; and it was under
the Convention that the picture gallery of the Louvre, increased by
works of art from other palaces, was for the first time thrown open to
the public.

To speak only of the building, it was continued by the Republic, and all
but completed by Napoleon, who, after appointing a committee of artists,
and receiving from them a report in favour of Pierre Lescot's design,
determined, on his own responsibility, to finish the Louvre according to
the later design of Claude Perrault.

Napoleon wished, moreover, to join the Louvre to the Tuileries, so as to
make of the two palaces one immense palace. Two architects, Percier and
Fontaine, were ordered to put this project into form, and they presented
their plans to the Minister of Fine Arts in 1813. But the Imperial
Government was now near its fall, and it was not during the calamitous
retreat from Moscow that architectural projects of any kind could be

Under the reigns of Louis XVIII. and Charles X. the halls of the Louvre
were redecorated. When Louis Philippe came to the throne, M. Thiers, his
Minister, laid before the Chambers a proposition for joining the Louvre
to the Tuileries at a cost of fourteen million francs. But the Bill was
thrown out, and a similar one presented to the Chamber ten years later,
in 1843, met with the same fate.

Liberal and even prodigal as the kings of France have often shown
themselves in connection with art, they have never given it such
effective encouragement as it has received from France's Republican
Governments. After the Revolution of 1848, the Provisional Government
had not been more than four days in power when, February 28th, it issued
a decree ordering the completion of the Louvre under the name of "The
People's Palace." A Bill was afterwards passed, on the proposition of
the President, General Cavaignac, for restoring the two principal halls
of the Louvre, together with the Apollo Gallery. A design from the hand
of M. Visconti, in conformity with the decree of February 28th, was now
adopted, and this was the one ultimately carried out. But the Assembly
hesitated for a time before the expenditure which the execution of the
plan would necessarily entail; and its deliberations were put an end to
by the _coup d'état_ of 1851. Then came the Empire; and in 1854 Napoleon
III. ordered the completion of the Louvre, and its junction with the
Tuileries. The plan of M. Visconti, adopted by the Republican Government
in 1848, was now carried out, and the palace begun by Francis I. was at
last, after three centuries, completed by Napoleon III.


Apart from certain incongruities between the different styles
adopted, far less apparent to the general public than to the critical
architectural eye, and from which no ancient building that has ever been
repaired is entirely free, a magnificent line of palaces and gardens
now extended for some three-quarters of a mile along the course of the
Seine from St. Germain l'Auxerrois to the Place de la Concorde. But the
Louvre and the Tuileries now, after so many ineffectual attempts, joined
together, were not destined to remain together very long. The Emperor
Napoleon was, after the catastrophe of Sedan, to be replaced by the
Republican Government of the 4th of September, which was soon to give
way to the Commune, under whose abominable rule so many fine buildings,
with the Palace of the Tuileries among them, were wantonly sacrificed,
and in a spirit of blind hatred burnt down. The conflagration lighted
by the Communists had left standing and comparatively uninjured the
outer walls, and therefore the general outline of the palace. But these
were calmly pulled down by the "moderate" Republicans, less through
considerations of art than from political prejudice.

The Louvre subsists in its entirety, and in virtue of its magnificent
collection of pictures, constantly enriched through sums voted during
the last hundred years by National Assemblies, it has come to be looked
upon as public property. The Tuileries, however, was a palace to the
last; and the destruction of this palace, which the _communards_ had
only partially accomplished, was effectually completed by the "moderate"
Republic established on the ruins of its immediate predecessor.

Interesting as the Louvre may be by its ancient history, the old palace
is above all famous in the present day for its admirable picture
gallery, first thrown open to the public in the darkest, most sanguinary
days of the French Revolution. The modern collection was formed by
Francis I., who, during his Italian campaigns, had acquired a taste
for Italian art, and who not only invited celebrated Italian artists
to his court, but gave princely orders to those who, like Raphael and
Michel Angelo, were unable to visit France in person. He collected
not only pictures, but art works, and especially antiquities of all
kinds--statues, bronzes, medals, cameos, vases, and cups. Primatice
alone brought to him from Italy 124 ancient statues and a large number
of busts. These treasures were collected at Fontainebleau, and a
description of them was published long afterwards by Father Dan, who,
in his "Wonders of Fontainebleau" (1692), names forty-seven pictures
by the greatest masters, nearly all of which had been acquired by
Francis I. It was not, indeed, until the reign of Louis XIII. that any
important additions were made to Francis I.'s original collection.
Among the pictures cited by Father Dan may in particular be mentioned
two by Andrea del Sarto, one by Fra Bartolommeo, one by Bordone, four
by Leonardo da Vinci, one by Michel Angelo (the Leda, afterwards
destroyed), three by Perugino, two by Primatice, four by Raphael, three
by Sebastian del Piombo, and one by Titian.


The royal gallery was considerably augmented under the reign of Louis
XIV. At his accession it included only 200 pictures. At his death the
number had been increased to 2,000. Most of the new acquisitions were
due to the Minister Colbert, who spared neither money nor pains to
enrich the royal gallery, the direction and preservation of which was
entrusted to the painter Lebrun.

A banker, Jabach of Cologne, resident at Paris, had purchased a large
portion of art treasures collected by King Charles I., and brought
them over to Paris. He had bought many pictures, moreover, in various
parts of the Continent. Ruined at last by his passion for the fine
arts, he sold a portion of his collection to Cardinal Mazarin, and
another portion, composed chiefly of drawings, to the king. On Mazarin's
death, Colbert bought for Louis XIV. all the works of art left by that
Minister, including 546 original pictures, 92 copies, 130 statues, and
196 busts. Louis XIV. placed his collection in the Louvre, and his first
visit to the palace after the installation of the pictures is thus
described in _Le Mercure Galant_ of December, 1681:--

"On Friday, the 5th day of the month, the king came to the Louvre to
see his collection of pictures, which have been placed in a new series
of rooms by the side of the superb gallery known as the Apollo Gallery.
The gold which glitters on all sides is the least brilliant of its
adornments. What is called 'the cabinet of his Majesty's pictures'
occupies seven large and lofty halls, some of which are more than 50
feet long. There are, moreover, four additional rooms for the collection
in the old Hôtel de Grammont adjoining the Louvre. So many pictures
in so many rooms make the entire number appear almost infinite. The
walls of the highest rooms are covered with pictures up to the ceiling.
The following will give some idea of the number of pictures, by the
greatest masters, contained in the eleven rooms:--There are sixteen by
Raphael, six by Correggio, five by Giulio Romano, ten by Leonardo da
Vinci, eight by Giorgione, twenty-three by Titian, sixteen by Carraccio,
eight by Domenichino, twelve by Guido, six by Tintoretto, eighteen by
Paul Veronese, fourteen by Van Dyck, seventeen by Poussin, and six by
M. Lebrun, among whose works there are some (the battles of Alexander)
which are 40 feet long. Besides these pictures there are a quantity
of others by Rubens, Albano, Antonio Moro, and other masters of equal
renown. Apart from the pictures, there are in the old Hôtel de Grammont
many groups of figures and low reliefs in bronze and ivory."

The royal visit, as described by the writer in _La Mercure Galant_,
was followed by the dispersion of the collection. Louis XIV. was so
pleased by the wonderful sight that he ordered a number of the pictures
to be removed to Versailles, where, according to the _Mercure_, there
were already twenty-six pictures by the first masters; and so long
as Versailles was the royal residence the greater part of the king's
collection was lost to the public, and served only to furnish the rooms,
except, indeed, when the pictures had fallen to the ground and lay there
covered with dust. Under the reign of Louis XIV. a critic whose name is
worth preserving, Lafont de St. Yenne, complained that so many beautiful
works were allowed to lie heaped up together and buried in "the obscure
prison of Versailles," and demanded that all these treasures, "immense
but unknown," should be "arranged in becoming order and preserved in
the best condition" in a gallery built expressly for their reception in
the Louvre, where they would be "exhibited to the admiration and joy of
the French or the curiosity of foreigners, or finally to the study and
emulation of our young scholars."

The author of these judicious suggestions got into trouble as a
pamphleteer; but four years afterwards, in 1750, Louis XIV. allowed the
masterpieces previously stowed away in the apartments of the household
at Versailles to be taken to Paris and submitted to the admiration of
painters and lovers of painting. The Marquis de Marigny, Director of
Royal Buildings, ordered Bailly, keeper of the king's pictures, to
arrange the collection in the apartments which had been occupied at
the Luxembourg by the Queen of Spain. The "cabinet," composed of 110
pictures, was opened for the first time October 14th, 1750, and the
public was admitted twice every week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The
pictures dedicated by Rubens to Marie de Médicis were on view the same
days, and during the same hours.

Until the reign of Louis XVI. the royal pictures, the number of which
had been increased by the purchase of many examples of the Flemish
school, continued to be divided into two principal sections, one placed
in the Luxembourg, and visible twice a week to the public, the other
kept out of sight in the palace of Versailles. The Louvre contained the
"king's cabinet of drawings," to the number of about 10,000. The Apollo
Gallery, which served as studio to six students patronised by the king,
contained "The Battles of Alexander," and some other pictures by Lebrun,
Mignard, and Rigaud.

In 1775, under Louis XVI., Count d'Angiviller succeeded the Marquis de
Marigny, and going a step beyond him, formed the project of collecting
everything of value that the Crown possessed in the way of painting
and sculpture. Contemporary writers applauded this idea, which was
attributed by some to M. de la Condamine. All, however, that came of the
new proposal was that instead of pictures being brought from Versailles
to Paris, the Louvre collection was transferred to Versailles.

"It was necessary," writes M. Viardot, "that a new sovereign--the
nation--should come into power for all these immortal works rescued
from the royal catacombs to be restored to daylight and to life. Who
could believe, without authentic proofs, without official documents, at
what epoch this great sanctuary, this pantheon, this universal temple
consecrated to all the gods of art, was thrown open to the public?
It was in the middle of one of the crises of the Revolution in that
dreadful year 1793, so full of agitation, suffering, and horror, when
France was struggling with the last energy of despair against her
enemies within and without; it was at this supreme moment that the
National Convention, founding on the ruins of the country a new and
rejuvenated land, ordered the formation of a national art collection."

A step in this direction had already been taken in 1791, when it was
decreed that the artistic treasures of the nation should be brought
together at the Louvre. The year following, August 14th, 1792, the
Legislative Assembly appointed a commission for collecting the statues
and pictures distributed among the various royal residences; and on the
18th of October in the same year, Roland, Minister of the Interior,
wrote to the celebrated painter David, who was a member of the
Convention, to communicate to him the plan of the new establishment.
Finally, a decree of July 27th, 1793, ordered the opening of the "Museum
of the Republic," and at the same time set forth that the "marble
statues, vases, and valuable pieces of furniture placed in the houses
formerly known as royal, shall be transported to the Louvre, and that
the sum of 100,000 francs shall be placed annually at the disposition
of the Minister of the Interior to purchase at private sales such
pictures and statues as it becomes the Republic not to let pass into
foreign hands, and which will be placed in the Museum of the Louvre." It
should not be forgotten that France was then at war with all the German
Powers, and threatened by all the Powers of Europe. Crushed by military
expenditure, the Republic had yet money to spare for the purchase of
works of art.

The French Museum, as the Louvre collection was first called, received
afterwards the name of Central Museum of the Arts; and it was first
opened to the public on the 8th of November, 1793. The next decree in
connection with the fine arts ordered that a number of pictures and
statues formerly belonging to the palace of Versailles, and which the
inhabitants of Versailles were detaining as their property, should be
placed in the Louvre. The old palace was still inhabited by a number
of artists and their families. David had his studio there, and most of
the painters who had made for themselves a tolerable reputation had
apartments in the Louvre. It was reserved for Napoleon to turn them
all out, and to give to the Louvre the character which it has since
preserved--that of a national palace of art treasures.

The galleries of the Louvre profited greatly by the Napoleonic wars. All
continental Europe was laid under contribution by the victorious French
armies, but especially Italy and Spain.

The stolen pictures formed the best part of what was now called the
Musée Napoléon. Though not surreptitiously obtained they had been
acquired in virtue of conventions imposed on a conquered people.
Thus pictures from the galleries of Parma, Piacenza, Milan, Cremona,
Modena, and Bologna, were made over to France by the armistices of
Parma, Bologna, and Tolentino. The public was admitted to view the
conquered treasures on the 6th of February, 1798. Some months afterwards
masterpieces from Verona, Mantua, Pesaro, Loretto, and Rome were added
to the marvellous collections; which on the 19th of March, 1800, was
further augmented by drafts of pictures from Florence and Turin. In 1807
France received the artistic spoils of Germany and Holland.

Among the famous works of art which France at this time possessed,
and which were all on exhibition at the Louvre, may be mentioned "The
Belvedere Apollo," "The Laocoon," "The Medicean Venus," "The Wrestlers,"
"The Transformation" and "The Spasimo"; Domenichino's "Communion of
St. Jerome," Tintoretto's "Miracle of St. Mark," Paul Veronese's four
"Last Suppers," and Titian's "Assumption"; Correggio's "St. Jerome" and
Guercino's "St. Petronilla"; "The Lances" of Velasquez, and the "St.
Elizabeth" of Murillo; Rubens' "Descent from the Cross," and Rembrandt's
"Night Patrol."

The French say with some justice that many of these works by being sent
to the Louvre were saved from destruction. Many of them, too, though
falling into decay, were restored with the greatest care; and some
were transferred with success from worm-eaten panels to canvas, thus
receiving new brilliancy and a new life. When Paris was occupied by the
allies in 1814, the art treasures of which so many European countries
had been despoiled were left in the possession of the French, who
may be said on this occasion to have been magnanimously treated. The
object, indeed, of the allies was not to weaken nor to humiliate France
as a nation, but simply to restore Louis XVIII. to the throne of his

In 1815, after the return from Elba and the Waterloo campaign, it was
determined to treat France with a certain severity. She was deprived of
the Rhine provinces for the benefit of Prussia, while Milan and Venice
were placed in the hands of Austria, so that both from the Italian and
from the German side France might be held in check. The artistic plunder
which France had collected from so many quarters was at the same time
given back to the countries from which it had been taken.

French statesmen protested that the pictures and statues brought to
Paris from so many foreign picture galleries belonged to France in
virtue of formal treaties and conventions; Louis XVIII. himself declined
to sanction the restoration of the captured pictures and statues.
Denon, Director-General of Museums, resisted even when threatened
with imprisonment in a Prussian fortress; and he made the foreign
commissaries sign a declaration to the effect that in giving up the
works claimed he yielded only to force.

The so-called spoliation of the Louvre was at last effected. The
pictures and statues, that is to say, which had been seized by
victorious France, were from vanquished France taken back and replaced
in the museums to which they had originally belonged.

Since the fall of the First Empire the Louvre has acquired but few
masterpieces from abroad. Italy now guards her art treasures with a
jealous hand; and there are few countries where the masterpieces of
antiquity can be purchased except when some private gallery is broken up
through the bankruptcy or death of the owner. Under the new monarchy the
beautiful though armless Venus of Milo was brought to France; and under
the Second Empire "The Conception" of Murillo was purchased for 615,000
francs. The Third Republic, under the presidency of M. Thiers, spite of
its difficulties in connection with the crushing war indemnity, paid
206,000 francs for a fresco by Raphael. The regular annual allowance to
the Minister of Fine Arts for the purchase of pictures is now 100,000
francs a year. Meanwhile, the Louvre collection has been constantly
augmented by pictures transferred to the more classical museum from the
gallery of pictures by living artists in the Luxembourg.

The pictures exhibited at the Louvre are arranged on a system which
leaves nothing to be desired. The supreme masterpieces of the collection
are all together, without reference to school, nationality, or period,
in a large square room known as the Salon Carré. In the other rooms the
pictures are arranged historically.

The principal entrance to the picture galleries of the Louvre is in the
Pavilion Molière, opposite the square of the Carrousel. After passing
a spacious vestibule, where mouldings of Trajan's Column and a fine
collection of antique busts may be seen, the visitor ascends a staircase
adorned with Etruscan works in terra-cotta and reaches the round hall or
cupola of the magnificent Apollo Gallery, decorated with wall paintings
and painted ceilings by the courtly Lebrun of Louis XIV.'s time and
the vigorous imaginative Eugène Delacroix of our own. What can be more
admirable than Delacroix's "Nymph," at whose feet crouches a panther?
"Behold this work," writes Théophile Gautier, "and you will see that for
colour France has no longer any reason for envying Italy, Flanders, or
Spain. Delacroix, in this great page, in which the energy of his talent
is freely displayed, shows a knowledge of decorative art which has never
been surpassed. Impossible while never departing from his own genius to
be more in harmony with the style of the gallery and of the epoch. One
might here call him a florid romantic Lebrun."

The Apollo Gallery leads to the before-mentioned Salon Carré, where
Paul Veronese's "Marriage of Cana" at once attracts attention, not only
by its immense proportions, but also and above all by the richness of
the colouring and the beauty of the composition. Here, too, is the
portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, known in France as "La Joconde"; "a
miracle of painting," says Gautier, who has made it the subject of one
of his most remarkable criticisms. "'La Joconde,' sphinx of beauty," he
exclaims, "smiling so mysteriously in the frame of Leonardo da Vinci,
and apparently proposing to the admiration of centuries an enigma which
they have not yet solved, an invincible attraction still brings me back
towards you. Who, indeed, has not remained for long hours before that
head, bathed in the half-tones of twilight, enveloped in transparency;
whose features, melodiously drowned in a violet vapour, seem the
creation of some dream through the black gauze of sleep? From what
planet has fallen in the midst of an azure landscape this strange being
whose gaze promises unheard-of delights, whose experience is so divinely
ironical? Leonardo impresses on his faces such a stamp of superiority
that one feels troubled in their presence. The partial shadow of their
deep eyes hides secrets forbidden to the profane; and the inflexions of
their mocking lips are worthy of gods who know everything and calmly
despise the vulgarities of man. What disturbing fixity, what superhuman
sardonicism in these sombre pupils, in these lips undulating like the
bow of Love after he has shot his dart. La Joconde would seem to be the
Isis of some cryptic religion, who, thinking herself alone, draws aside
the folds of her veil, even though the imprudent man who might surprise
her should go mad and die. Never did feminine ideal clothe itself in
more irresistibly seductive forms. Be sure that if Don Juan had met
Monna Lisa he would have spared himself the trouble of writing in his
catalogue the names of 3,000 women. He would have embraced one, and the
wings of his desire would have refused to carry him further. They would
have melted and lost their feathers beneath the black sun of these


Leonardo da Vinci is said to have been four years painting this
portrait, which he could not make up his mind to leave and which he
never looked upon as finished. During the sittings musicians played
choice pieces in order to entertain the beautiful model, and to prevent
her charming features from assuming an expression of wearisomeness or

Raphael is represented in the Salon Carré by "St. Michael and the
Demon," painted on a panel framed in ebony. This admirable work is
signed not in the corner of the picture, but on the edge of the
archangel's dress. "Raphaël Urbinas pingebat, M.D. XVIII." runs the
inscription, which Raphael seems to have wished to make inseparable
from the work. Among the other pictures of Raphael chosen for places
of honour in the Square Room are "The Holy Family," which originally
belonged to Francis I., and the virgin known as "La Belle Jardinière.
Among the other masterpieces contained in the Salon Carré may be
mentioned Correggio's "Antiope," Titian's "Christ in the Tomb,"
Giorgione's "Country Concert," Guido's "Rape of Dejanira," Rembrandt's
"Carpenter's Family," Van Ostade's "Schoolmaster," Gerard Douw's
"Dropsical Woman," Rubens' Portrait of his Wife, a "Charles I." by
Van Dyck, and Murillo's "Conception of the Virgin." This last-named
work, as already mentioned, was purchased under the Second Empire for
upwards of 600,000 francs. It formed part of a valuable collection of
Spanish pictures belonging to Marshal Soult, and had been acquired by
that commander under peculiar circumstances during the Peninsular War.
A certain monk had been sentenced to death as a spy. Two monks from
the same monastery waited upon the marshal to solicit their brother's
forgiveness. Soult was obdurate, until at last Murillo's wonderful
picture was placed before him. The picture was forwarded to France, and
the too patriotic monk set free. Among the selected works by Italian,
Dutch, Flemish, and Spanish painters are to be found a few by French
artists--for example, the "Diogenes" of Poussin and the "Richelieu" of
Philippe de Champagne; but not one work by an English hand. Nor in the
famous Salon Carré of the Louvre is a single landscape to be found.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Tuileries, before incendiarism under the Commune rendered it a very
imperfect building, had as a palace led a very imperfect life. Catherine
de Médicis had ordered the destruction of the Palais des Tournelles,
where, by a fatal accident Montgomery had pierced the eye and brain of
Henri II. in the celebrated tournament, and had gone to live with her
children at the Louvre. These children were Francis II., the husband of
Marie Stuart; Charles IX., whose memory, like that of his mother, is
indelibly associated with the massacre of St. Bartholomew; Henri III.,
who for his sins was elected King of Poland; and Francis d'Anjou, who
gained the famous battle of Jarnac, and who on his death was succeeded
by Henri IV., first King of France and of Navarre. The ancient fortress
of the Louvre was not suited to the pomp of a Médicis, and Catherine
ordered a new palace to be built for her own special convenience in the
_Tuileries_, or tile yards, where the mother of Francis I. had bought
a country house, but where Francis I. would never reside, preferring
to his Parisian residence the castles of Fontainebleau, Amboise, and

According to the plan of Philibert Delorme, the new Palace of the
Tuileries was to be a true palace of the French kings, with a royal
façade, the most beautiful gardens, and the most magnificent courtyards.
Philibert Delorme never got beyond the façade, which, however, was
enough to stamp him as an architect of the first order. Henri IV.--or
rather Androuet Ducerceaux acting upon his orders--continued the work
of Philibert Delorme. Ducerceaux made many changes, and among others
constructed a dome where Philibert Delorme had meant only to build a

Who, meanwhile, was to live at the Tuileries? It was a royal palace, but
not the palace of the French kings. Valois did not live there, Catherine
de Médicis gave magnificent entertainments at the Tuileries, but held
her Court at the Louvre. Nor did Henri IV. reside at the Tuileries. His
private apartments, decorated by the genius of Pierre Lescot, were at
the Louvre, from which Paris could be better observed. Henri's widow,
Marie de Médicis, mourned for her generally excellent though not too
faithful husband in the Luxembourg Palace. When Richelieu came to power
and worked out the problem of the unity of France, he built the Palais
Cardinal, but took no thought of the Tuileries. His eyes were fixed on
the Louvre, where Louis XIII. was domiciled. Louis XIV. passed no more
time at the Tuileries than any of his predecessors. His mother, Anne
of Austria, established her regency at the Palais Cardinal, soon to
become the Palais Royal; and all idea of completing the Tuileries seemed
to have been given up, when in 1660, under Louis XIV., then twenty-two
years of age, the architects Levan and Dorbay were ordered to resume the
work of Philibert Delorme and Ducerceaux--the work begun by Catherine,
continued by Louis XIV.'s grandfather, Henri IV., and abandoned by his
father, Louis XIII. The Palace of the Tuileries having at last been
completed, it became the residence simply of Mlle. de Montpensier. From
time to time Louis XIV. visited the place, but only to make it the
scene of some occasional entertainment. His favourite abode was always

While the Regent was at the Palais Royal, the youthful Louis XV. lived
at the Tuileries. But as soon as he could walk alone, Louis le bien
aimé, as he was afterwards to be called, hastened to Versailles; and the
Tuileries Palace of strange destinies was now occupied by the French
Opera Company. It became the Paris Opera House, the Académie Royale de
Musique--to give the establishment its official title--whose theatre at
the Palais Royal had been burnt down. In 1720 the Opera was replaced at
the Tuileries by the Comédie Française. To Lulli succeeded Corneille and
to Rameau Voltaire.

One of the most interesting celebrations ever witnessed at the
Tuileries was the crowning of Voltaire on the 30th of March, 1778,
after a representation of his tragedy _Irène_. "Never," wrote Grimm,
the chronicler, in reference to this performance, "was a piece worse
acted, more applauded, and less listened to. The entire audience was
absorbed in the contemplation of Voltaire, the representative man of the
eighteenth century; philosopher of the people, who could justly say,
'J'ai fait plus dans mon temps que Luther et Calvin.'" Voltaire had but
recently left Ferney to return to France, which he had not seen for
twenty-seven years. Deputations from the Academy and from the Théâtre
Français were sent to receive him, and on his arrival he was waited upon
by men and women of the highest distinction, whether by birth or by
talent. After the performance of _Irène_, he was carried home in triumph.

"You are smothering me with roses," cried the old poet, intoxicated
with his own glory. The emotion, the fatigue, caused by the interesting
ceremony, had indeed an injurious effect upon his health, and hastened
his death, concerning which so many contradictory stories have been
told. That he begged the curé of St. Sulpice to let him "die in peace"
is beyond doubt; and that he died unreconciled to the Church, whose
bigotry and persecution he had so persistently attacked, is sufficiently
shown by the fact that, equally with Molière (though the great comedy
writer had in his last moments demanded and received religious
consolation), he was refused Christian burial. His nephew, the Abbé
Mignot, had the corpse carried to his abbey of Scellières, where it
remained until, under the Revolution, it was borne in triumph to the

Eleven years after the crowning of Voltaire at the Tuileries, Louis XVI.
arrived there from Versailles, where he had fraternised with the people,
only to find that he was no longer a king. On the 19th of October, 1789,
three months after the taking of the Bastille, the National Assembly
had waited in a body upon the king and queen, when the president, still
loyal, said to Marie Antoinette: "The National Assembly, madame, would
feel genuine satisfaction could it see for one moment in your arms the
illustrious child whom the inhabitants of the capital will henceforth
regard as their fellow-citizen, the offshoot of so many princes tenderly
beloved by their people, the heir of Louis IX., of Henri IV., and of him
whose virtues constitute the hope of France." The queen replied, "Here
is my son;" and Marie Antoinette, taking the young Louis in her arms,
carried him into the room occupied by the Assembly.

On the 26th of May, 1791, Barrère said to this same Assembly: "The first
things to be reserved for the king are the Louvre and the Tuileries,
monuments of grandeur and of indigence, whose plan, whose façades,
are due to the genius of art, but whose completion has been neglected
or rather forgotten by the wasteful carelessness of a few kings. Each
generation expected to see this monument, worthy of Athens and of Rome,
at last finished; but our kings, fearing the gaze of the people, went
far from the capital to surround themselves with luxury, courtiers,
and soldiers. It is characteristic of despotism to shut itself up in
the midst of Asiatic luxury, as formerly divinities were placed in
the depths of temples and of forests, in order to strike more surely
the imagination of men. A great revolution was needed to bring back
the people to liberty, and kings to the midst of their people. This
revolution has been accomplished, and the King of the French will
henceforth have his constant abode in the capital of the empire. This
is our project. The Tuileries and the Louvre shall together form the
National Palace destined for the habitation of the king."

Thereupon the Assembly decreed: "The Louvre and the Tuileries joined
together shall be the National Palace destined for the habitation of the
king, and for the collection of all our monuments of science and art,
and for the principal establishments of public instruction."




The position of the king at this time is well described by Arthur

"After breakfast," he writes in diary form, "walk in the gardens of
the Tuileries, where there is the most extraordinary sight that either
French or English eyes could ever behold at Paris. The king, walking
with six Grenadiers of the _milice bourgeoise_, with an officer or two
of his household, and a page. The doors of the gardens are kept shut
in respect to him in order to exclude everybody but deputies or those
who have admission tickets. When he entered the palace, the doors of
the gardens were thrown open for all without distinction, though the
queen was still walking with a lady of her court. She also was attended
so closely by the _gardes bourgeoises_ that she could not speak but in
a low voice without being heard by them. A mob followed her, talking
very loud, and paying no other apparent respect than that of taking
off their hats whenever she passed, which was, indeed, more than I
expected. Her Majesty does not appear to be in health; she seems to be
much affected and shows it in her face; but the king is as plump as
ease can render him. By his orders there is a little garden railed off
for the Dauphin to amuse himself in and a small room is built in it to
retire to in case of rain; here he was at work with his little hoe and
rake, but not without a guard of two Grenadiers. He is a very pretty,
good-natured looking boy, five or six years old, with an agreeable
countenance; wherever he goes all hats are taken off to him, which I was
glad to observe. All the family being thus kept close prisoners (for
such they are in effect) afford at first view a shocking spectacle, and
is really so if the act were not absolutely necessary to effect the
revolution. This I conceive to be impossible; but if it were necessary
no one can blame the people for taking every measure possible to secure
that liberty they had seized in the violence of a revolution. At such
a moment nothing is to be condemned but what endangers the national
freedom. I must, however, freely own that I have my doubts whether
this treatment of the royal family can be justly esteemed any security
to liberty; or on the contrary, whether it was not a very dangerous
step that exposes to hazard whatever had been gained. I have spoken
with several persons to-day and started objections to the present
system, stronger even than they appear to me, in order to learn their
sentiments, and it is evident they are at the present moment under an
apprehension of an attempt toward a counter revolution. The danger of
it very much, if not absolutely, results from the violence which has
been used towards the royal family. The National Assembly was before
that period answerable only for the permanent constitutional laws
passed for the future; since that moment it is equally answerable for
the whole conduct of the government of the State, executive as well
as legislative. This critical situation has made a constant spirit of
exertion necessary amongst the Paris militia. The great object of M. La
Fayette and the other military leaders is to improve their discipline
and to bring them into such a form as to allow a rational dependence on
them in case of their being wanted in the field; but such is the spirit
of freedom that even in the military, there is so little subordination
that a man is an officer to-day and in the ranks to-morrow; a mode of
proceeding that makes it the more difficult to bring them to the point
their leaders see necessary. Eight thousand men in Paris may be called
the standing army, paid every day 15 fr. a man; in which number is
included the corps of the French Guards from Versailles that deserted to
the people; they have also 800 horses at an expense each of 1,500 livres
a year, and the officers have double the pay of those in the army."

If the people and the popular leaders were in constant fear of a counter
revolution, the king on his side had had enough of royalty, and on
the first opportunity fled from his subjects. The flight of the royal
family, as is plainly shown by the correspondence of Marie Antoinette
and by other authentic documents, had been concerted beforehand with
the foreign Powers. This course was dictated by the most obvious
considerations of personal safety. But all idea of an understanding
with the "foreigner" was repudiated in the most solemn manner by the
king. What the revolutionary Government resented was less the king's
desire to escape from a country where he had not only ceased to rule,
but where his position was getting from day to day more precarious, than
his apparent intention of making himself as soon as he had crossed the
frontier the centre and support of a counter revolution.

As the moment of departure approached, the king and queen renewed with
increased energy protestations of their adhesion to the Constitution.
At the same time the queen was writing to her brother Leopold, May
22nd, 1791: "We are to start for Montmédy. M. de Bouillé will see to
the ammunition and troops which are to be collected at this place, but
he earnestly desires that you will order a body of troops of from 8,000
to 10,000 to be ready at Luxembourg and at our orders (it being quite
understood that they will not be wanted until we are in a position of
safety) to enter France both to serve as example to our troops and if
necessary to restrain them."

On the 1st of June, after reiterating her demand for 8,000 or 10,000
troops at Luxembourg, close to the French frontier, she added: "The king
as soon as he is safe and free will see with gratitude and joy the union
of the Powers to assert the justice of his cause." The plan, concerted
with the Austrian ambassador at Paris, who had been the queen's adviser,
was first to place the royal family in safety beyond the French
frontier, and then to act against France with an army of invasion aided
within the country by a Royalist insurrection.

It was at the same time understood that the Austrian Emperor and the
German princes were not to give their aid gratuitously. They were to be
recompensed by a "rectification" of the northern and eastern frontiers
of France to their advantage. Troops were promised to Marie Antoinette
by her brother Leopold, not only from Austria and various German States
but also from Sardinia, Switzerland, and even Prussia.

It was the popular belief at the time that Queen Marie Antoinette had
determined to do some dreadful injury to Paris and other French cities;
to blow them up, for instance, with gunpowder or by some secret means.
At a village near Clermont in the Puy de Dôme, Arthur Young wished to
see some famous springs; and the guide he had engaged being unable to
render him useful assistance he took a woman to conduct him, when she
was arrested by the _garde bourgeoise_ for having without permission
become the guide of a stranger.

"She was conducted," writes Young, "to a heap of stones they call
the Château. They told me they had nothing to do with me; but as to
the woman, she should be taught more prudence for the future. As the
poor devil was in jeopardy on my account, I determined at once to
accompany them for the chance of getting her cleared by attesting her
innocence. We were followed by a mob of all the village with the woman's
children crying bitterly for fear their mother should be imprisoned.
At the castle we waited some time, and we were then shown into another
apartment, where the town committee was assembled; the accusation was
heard, and it was wisely remarked by all that in such dangerous times
as these, when all the world knew that so great and powerful a person
as the queen was conspiring against France in the most alarming manner,
for a woman to become the conductor of a stranger, and of a stranger
who had been making so many suspicious inquiries as I had, was a high
offence. It was immediately agreed that she ought to be imprisoned. I
assured them she was perfectly innocent; for it was impossible that any
guilty motive should be her inducement. Finding me curious to see the
springs, having viewed the lower ones, and wanting a guide for seeing
those higher in the mountains, she offered herself; that she certainly
had no other than the industrious view of getting a few sous for her
poor family. They then turned their inquiries against myself--that, if
I wanted to see springs only, what induced me to ask a multitude of
questions concerning the price, value, and product of the land? What
had such inquiries to do with springs and volcanoes? I told them that
cultivating some land in England rendered such things interesting to me
personally; and lastly, that if they would send to Clermont they might
know from several respectable persons the truth of all I asserted; and,
therefore, I hoped, as it was the woman's first indiscretion, for I
could not call it offence, they would dismiss her. This was refused at
first, and assented to at last, on my declaring that if they imprisoned
her they should do the same by me and answer it as they could. They
consented to let her go with a reprimand, and I started--_not_
marvelling, for I have done with that--at their ignorance in imagining
that the queen should conspire so dangerously against their rocks and
mountains. I found my guide in the midst of the mob, who had been very
busy in putting so many questions about me as I had done about their

Such indeed was the general feeling against the king and queen, that,
apart from other powerful motives, they had soon no alternative but to
seek safety in flight. One of the principal agents in their escape was
Count de Fersen, formerly colonel of the regiment of Royal Suédois. He
was to drive the coach containing the king and queen. Marie Antoinette
was to play the part of a governess, Mme. Rochet, in the service of
an imaginary Russian lady, Baroness de Korff, impersonated by Mme. de
Tourzel, actually governess to Marie Antoinette's children. As for the
king, disguised in livery, he was to pass as the Russian lady's valet.
The royal family was at this time confined more or less strictly to the
Tuileries; and La Fayette, under whose command the troops on guard at
the palace had been placed, had probably eyed with suspicion certain
preparations made by the queen as if in view of a speedy departure.


(_By Cain._)]

M. de Bouillé, who commanded at Metz, had orders to occupy the high road
with detachments of troops as far as Châlons. During the night of the
20th of June, 1791, the royal family escaped from the Tuileries, reached
La Villette, where Colonel de Fersen with a travelling carriage awaited
them, and drove off towards Bondy, whence they were to make first for
Châlons, and then for Montmédy, a frontier town. The next morning Paris
woke up without a king. La Fayette, who had been wanting in vigilance,
defended himself as best he could. An alarm gun was fired from the Pont
Neuf to warn the citizens that the country was in the greatest danger,
for it was quite understood that the passage of the frontier by the king
and queen would be the signal for a foreign invasion. The National
Assembly met, and at once took into its hands the supreme direction of

"This is our king!" said the Republicans; and Louis, by his flight, had
in fact ceased to reign. Before leaving the Tuileries Louis XVI. had
placed in the hands of La Porte, intendant of the civil list, a protest
against the manner in which he had been treated, which was duly laid
before the Assembly. Meanwhile, he had arrived at St. Ménéhould without
accident, where he found himself protected by a detachment of dragoons
which had arrived the night before. Here, however, his misfortunes
began, for he was at once recognised by Drouet, a retired soldier now
acting as postmaster. Called upon for horses, the young man could have
no doubt but that the royal personages who required them were bound
for the frontier, and he resolved to prevent their escape from France.
With the dragoons in occupation of the village he could not refuse to
supply horses; and the carriage which bore Louis and his fortunes, now
approaching the end of its critical journey, went off in an easterly
direction. Scarcely had the post chaise departed when Drouet, aided by
a friend named Guillaume, also a retired soldier, called out by beat of
drum the local national guard, and ordered it to prevent the dragoons
from leaving the village. He then, together with Guillaume, galloped
after the royal carriage, followed by a sub-officer of dragoons named
Lagache, who, escaping from St. Ménéhould, had resolved to catch them
up, and, if possible, kill them. Riding along, Drouet learned that
the carriage had taken the road to Varennes, a town which has twice
played an important part in the history of France, for it was here,
seventy-nine years later, that the King of Prussia established his
head-quarters on the eve of the battle of Sedan.


By crossing a wood Drouet and Guillaume succeeded in getting to Varennes
a trifle sooner than the royal carriage. Passing, at no great pace, the
lumbering vehicle just as it was approaching the town, they at once made
for the bridge on the other side of Varennes, which, as old soldiers,
they saw the necessity of blocking, for beyond it, on the other side
of the river Aire, they had discovered the presence of a detachment of
cavalry under the command of a German officer, who, losing his head,
took to flight. The energetic Drouet had already waked up the town,
and, in particular, the principal officials, such as the Mayor, the
Procureur of the Commune, &c. The population answered to Drouet's call,
and soon a small body of armed men was on foot.


The fugitives were bound for the Hôtel du Grand Monarque. At this hotel
a tradition is preserved which was communicated to the present writer
by the proprietress, Mme. Gauthier, just before the battle of Sedan.
Dinner was prepared there for Louis XVI. eight days running; from which
it would appear that he was trying to escape from the Tuileries for
eight days before he at last succeeded in getting away unobserved. The
eighth, like all the preceding dinners cooked for the unfortunate king
at the Hôtel du Grand Monarque, was destined to remain uneaten. It was
now late at night, and when the royal carriage entered the town, it
was surrounded in the darkness by a number of armed men, who asked for
passports, and showed by their attitude that they had no intention of
allowing the occupants of the vehicle to proceed any further. Emissaries
from Varennes had been despatched in all haste to the surrounding
villages and nearest towns to call out the national guard. The son of
M. de Bouillé had meantime quitted the cavalry outside Varennes, and
ridden towards Metz to inform the governor, his father, of the arrival
of the fugitives. But when the commandant arrived outside Varennes with
an entire regiment of cavalry, the town was occupied by 10,000 infantry,
and all the approaches guarded in such a manner that it was impossible
for de Bouillé's regiment to act.

The Procureur, to whose house the royal family had been taken, informed
the king in the early morning that he was recognised. A crowd, which
had gathered before the house, called for him by name, and when Louis
showed himself at the window he understood from the attitude of the mob
that though he was saluted here and there with cries of "Vive le Roi!"
there was an end to his project of reaching the frontier. At six o'clock
couriers arrived from Paris with a decree from the Assembly ordering
the king's arrest; and at eight o'clock on the morning of the 22nd of
June, 1791, the royal family started under escort for the capital. They
were surrounded at the moment of departure by an immense mob, a portion
of which followed them for some distance along the road. At Epernay
the commissaries appointed by the Assembly, MM. Pétion and Barnave,
were waiting to take the direction of the cortege. On being questioned
the king declared that he had never intended to leave the kingdom,
and that his object in retiring to Montmédy had been to study the new
Constitution at his ease, so that, with a clear conscience, he might
be able to accept it. Barnave and Pétion got into the royal carriage
as if to prevent all possibility of escape. Louis was treated with all
the respect due to a royal captive, but his position was that of a
prisoner. Reaching Paris three days after his departure from Varennes,
he was received by the people with the greatest coldness. On the walls
of the streets through which he passed, these words had been inscribed:
"Whoever applauds Louis XVI. will be beaten; whoever insults him will
be hanged." To avoid the popular thoroughfares, the Tuileries was
approached by way of the Champs Élysées, and once more Louis took up his
abode in the ancient palace of the French kings.

Differences between Louis XVI. and the Assembly, which, from
"Constituent" had become "Legislative," now suddenly occurred; and at
the beginning of 1792 the Jacobin Rhul complained from the tribune
that the king had treated with disrespect certain commissaries of the
Assembly who had waited upon him. On the 25th of July of the same year
the king was accused in the Chamber of collecting arms at the Tuileries.
National guards, it was said, went in armed and came out unarmed; and it
was declared to be unsafe for the National Assembly to have an arsenal
of this kind in its immediate neighbourhood. Accordingly, the Assembly
decreed that the terrace of the Tuileries gardens must be regarded
as its property, and be placed beneath the care of the Assembly's
own police. The king objected, naturally enough, to the gardens of
his palace being thus interfered with. "The nation," said one of the
deputies, "lodges the king at the Palace of the Tuileries, but I read
nowhere that it has given him the exclusive enjoyment of the gardens."
Some days afterwards the same deputy, Kersaint by name, said from the
tribune: "The Assembly having thrown open one of the terraces of the
Tuileries gardens, the king, who does not think fit to render the rest
of the gardens accessible to the public, has lined the terrace with a
hedge of grenadiers."

Chabot called the garden of the Tuileries "a second Coblentz," in
reference to the German fortified town where the allied sovereigns,
who were plotting against the Revolution, had their head-quarters. On
the 19th of August a journeyman painter named Bougneux sent word to
the Assembly that there had recently been constructed in the Palace of
the Tuileries several masked cupboards. Three months afterwards Roland
brought to the Convention the papers of the famous iron cupboard.
"They were concealed," he said, "in such a place, in such a manner,
that unless the only person in Paris who knew the secret had given
information it would have been impossible to discover them. They were
behind a panel," he continued, "let into the wall and closed in by an
iron door." The members of the Mountain, as the extreme party occupying
the highest seats in the legislative chamber were called, accused Roland
of having opened the metallic cupboard in order to make away with the
papers of a compromising character for his friends the Girondists. In
revolutionary times a good action may be as compromising as a bad one.
Brissot proposed about this time that the meetings of the Convention
should be held at the Tuileries. Vergniaud had preferred the Madeleine.
"Not," he said, "in either case, that liberty has need of luxury. Sparta
will live as long as Athens in the memory of nations; the tennis court
as long as the palaces of Versailles and of the Tuileries. The external
architecture of the Madeleine is most imposing. It may be looked upon
as a monument worthy of liberty, and of the French nation." It need
scarcely be explained that at the _jeu de paume_, or tennis court, the
first revolutionary meetings were held.

"At the Tuileries," said Brussonnet, "there is a finer hall; and the
greater the questions which the National Assembly will have to treat the
greater must be the number of hearers and spectators." It was at last
decreed that the Minister of the Interior should order the preparation
at the Tuileries of a suitable hall for the debates of the National
Convention; and with that object a sum of 300,000 francs was voted.

On the 4th of September, 1793, Chaumette, in the name of the Paris
commune, appeared at the bar of the Convention, then presided over
by Robespierre, and spoke as follows: "We demand that all the public
gardens be cultivated in a useful manner. We beg you to look for a
moment at the immense garden of the Tuileries. The eyes of republicans
will rest with more pleasure on this former domain of the crown when
it is turned to some good account. Would it not be better to grow
plants in view of the hospitals, than to let the grounds be filled with
statues, _fleurs de lis_, and other objects which serve no purpose but
to minister to the luxury and the pride of kings?" Dussaulx added with
a smile: "I demand that the Champs Élysées be given up at the same time
as the gardens of the Tuileries to useful cultivation." It was at the
Tuileries that the Committee of Public Safety held its meetings: that
irresponsible body which struck so many and such sanguinary blows at
the accomplices, real or imaginary, of invasion from abroad, and of
insurrection at home. In the Tuileries gardens took place the festival
of the Supreme Being, when proclamation was solemnly made, under the
authority of Robespierre, that the French people believed in God and the
immortality of the soul. "People of France," cried Robespierre, between
two executions, "let us to-day give ourselves up to the transports of
pure unmingled joy. To-morrow we must return to our progress against
tyranny and crime." To Robespierre's passionate declamation succeeded
solemn music, composed by Méhul. Soon afterwards Tallien, inspired to an
act of daring by the news that the woman he loved and afterwards married
had been condemned to death, denounced Robespierre; and it was at the
Tuileries that the Reign of Terror, like so many other reigns, came to
an end.

On the 1st of February, 1800, Bonaparte took possession of the
Tuileries, with his wife Joséphine. In 1814 he quitted the ancient
palace with Marie Louise. The Tuileries was now on the point of being
occupied by foreigners. "When I returned to Paris," writes Mme. de
Staël, "Germans, Russians, Cossacks, Baskirs, were to be seen on all
sides. Was I in Germany or in Russia? Had Paris been destroyed and
something like it raised up with a new population? I was all confusion.
In spite of the pain I felt I was grateful to the foreigners for having
shaken off our yoke. But to see them in possession of Paris! to see them
occupying the Tuileries!"

Louis XVIII. and Charles X. both reigned at the Tuileries. But in
July, 1830, the Revolution once more took possession of the palace;
and in 1848, after the flight of Louis Philippe, the mob again ruled
for a time in the home of the French kings. In 1848 the Provisional
Government converted the Tuileries into an asylum for civilians. But
the conversion was made only on paper, and in 1852 the Tuileries became
for the second time an imperial palace--the palace of Napoleon III. The
fate of the historical structure was, as everyone knows, to be burnt by
the Communards. It was on the 24th of May, 1871, when the Versailles
troops were already in the Champs Élysées, that the central dome of
the palace, the wings, the whole building in short, was seen to be in
flames. The new portions of the palace alone refused to burn. Then,
in their rage, the incendiaries had recourse to gunpowder, and during
the night a formidable explosion was heard. The troops of the Commune,
commanded by the well-known General Bergeret, had retired some hours
before. Bergeret, however, was not responsible for the incendiarism; and
the person afterwards tried for it and condemned to hard labour for life
(in commutation of the death punishment to which he was first sentenced)
was a certain Benoit, formerly a private in the line, then, during the
siege, a lieutenant in the National Guard, and finally colonel under the


The gardens of the Tuileries are now more than ever open to the reproach
brought against them by the men of the Revolution, who objected to
statues adorning its terraces and walls, and wished its works of art
to be replaced by lettuces and cabbages. All the greatest sculptors of
France are represented in the Tuileries gardens, which also contain many
admirable reproductions of ancient statues and groups.

There is one interesting walk in the Tuileries gardens which is the
favourite resort of children. Here it was, in the so-called _petite
Provence_, that the children's stamp exchange was established, against
which the authorities found it necessary to take severe steps. The
young people have since contented themselves with balls, balloons, and
other innocent amusements. There is a Théâtre Guignol, moreover, a sort
of Punch and Judy, in the middle of the old gardens; and from the
beginning of April to the middle of October a military band plays every
day. It is impossible to leave the Tuileries gardens without mentioning
its famous chestnut tree--the chestnut tree, as it is called, "of the
20th of March," because in 1814 it blossomed on that very day as if to
celebrate Napoleon's return from Elba. But the old chestnut tree had a
reputation of its own long before the imperial era. More than a hundred
years ago the painter Vien, at that time pupil of the French School, was
accused of having assassinated a rival who had competed with him for a
prize. He was about to be arrested when he proved that at the very hour
when the crime must have been committed he was tranquilly seated beneath
the future "chestnut tree of the 20th of March," which was distinguished
just then from all the other trees in the garden by being alone in
flower. This picturesque _alibi_ saved his life.


Outside the remains of the Tuileries was erected, on the Place du
Carrousel, in 1888, a monument to Gambetta. The design as a whole has
been unfavourably criticised, but the figure of the orator himself,
represented in the act of declamation, is bold and striking, and full of



The Champs Élysées--The Élysée Palace--Longchamp--The Bois de
Boulogne--The Château de Madrid--The Château de la Muette--The Place de

Before entering the Champs Élysées, the greatest pleasure thoroughfare
in Paris, next to, if not before, the line of boulevards, a brief
examination of the frontiers, as approached from the Place de la
Concorde, may be advisable. This region of the capital was for a long
time one of those marshes by which ancient Paris, the Lutetia of the
Romans, was enclosed like a fortress. Then it became cultivable land and
passed into the hands of market gardeners, who grew their vegetables
in fields by no means "elysian," until the latter part of the reign of
Louis XV.

The ancient marsh was bounded on one side by the Seine, on the other by
the Faubourg St. Honoré, which in the eighteenth century was already a
favourite locality for mansions of the nobility. The market gardens,
more fertile, perhaps, by reason of their marshy origin, were traversed
by the Chemin du Roule--so named from the slope called _rotulus_, in the
days of Lutetia, of which the culminating point is now marked by the
Triumphal Arch.

At the entrance to the Champs Élysées stands the celebrated marble group
known as the Horses of Marly; and close to the entrance is the garden of
the Élysée Palace (Élysée Bourbon, to call it by its historical name),
whose principal gates open into the Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré. Built
in 1718 by the architect Mollet on a portion of the St. Honoré marshes
which had been given by the Regent to Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Count
of Evreux, the Élysée Palace passed in 1745 from the count's heirs to
Madame de Pompadour. Her brother, the Marquis de Marigny, inherited it
from her, and, holding the appointment of Inspector and Director of
Royal Buildings, he embellished the palace and made great improvements
in that portion of the neighbourhood known to-day as the Champs Élysées.
It was now only that the mansion, called successively Hôtel d'Evreux,
Hôtel de Pompadour, and Hôtel de Marigny, received the name of Élysée.

Towards the period of the Revolution, in 1786, the Élysée Palace was
purchased by the king, and, according to the terms of a royal decree,
was to be reserved for the use of princes and princesses visiting the
French capital as well as ambassadors charged with special missions.
Almost immediately afterwards, however, the structure was bought by the
Duchess of Bourbon, when Élysée Bourbon became its recognised name.

This very appellation was enough to condemn it in the days of the
Revolution; and the Duchess of Bourbon having migrated, her property was
seized and confiscated. Sold by auction, it was acquired by Mlle. Hovyn,
who seven years later ceded it to Murat; and Murat, on leaving Paris to
assume the crown of Naples, presented it to the emperor.

Napoleon accepted the gift and took a fancy to his new edifice. He often
resided there; and after the defeat of Waterloo it was at the Élysée
that he signed his abdication in favour of his son.

In 1814 and 1815 the Élysée was temporarily occupied by Alexander I. of
Russia. At the Restoration, the Duchess of Bourbon, returning to France,
claimed her property. Her rights were recognised, but she was prevailed
upon to accept, in lieu of the Élysée, the Hôtel de Monaco in the Rue de
Varennes, which she left by will to the Princess Adelaide of Orleans,
sister of Louis Philippe.

Under the Restoration, it was at the Élysée, now called once more Élysée
Bourbon, that the Duke and Duchess of Berry resided until 1820, when,
after the assassination of the duke, the duchess felt unable to live
there any longer.

The duke and duchess were the last permanent tenants of the Élysée,
which under the reign of Louis Philippe was utilised, in accordance with
the intentions of Louis XVI., as a resting-place for royal guests, or
guests of the first importance. In its new character it received Mahomet
Ali Pasha of Egypt, and Queen Christina of Spain.

After the 10th of December, 1848, Prince Louis Napoleon, elected
President of the Republic, had the Élysée assigned to him as his
official place of residence. It was here that the _coup d'état_ of the
2nd of December, 1851, was planned and plotted by the Prince-President,
and the Count de Morny, his minister, confidant, and guide, General St.
Arnaud, and other accomplices. On proclaiming himself Emperor, Napoleon
III. gave up possession of the Élysée, and removed to the more regal,
more imperial palace of the Tuileries; the Élysée, being now once more
set apart for foreign potentates and other grandees visiting Paris.
Under the Second Empire Queen Victoria, the Sultan Abdul Aziz, and the
Emperor Alexander II. of Russia, were successively received there.

Since the establishment of the Third Republic the Élysée has been made
the official residence of the President; and it has been inhabited, one
after the other, by M. Thiers, Marshal MacMahon, M. Grévy, and M. Carnot.

It has been said that the Élysée Palace stands between the Rue du
Faubourg St. Honoré and the Champs Élysées, with its principal entrance
in the street. Between these two thoroughfares stood the ancient Village
du Roule, which possessed, as far back as the thirteenth century, an
asylum for lepers with a chapel attached to it. This chapel was in 1699
elevated to the rank of parish church, under the invocation of St.
Philip. Being now too small it was pulled down; and in place of it was
built the present church of St. Philippe du Roule, which underwent a
partial transformation in 1845 and 1846.

The principal avenue of the Champs Élysées was planted with trees in
1723; but it was not until the reign of Louis XVI. that the Champs
Élysées, or rather that portion of the avenue known as Longchamp, became
a haunt of fashion.

The so-called promenade of Longchamp was, towards the end of the
eighteenth century, frequented by the most aristocratic society.
Gradually after the Revolution it got to be a more miscellaneous resort,
to become ultimately, in modern times, a sort of show ground for
fashionable milliners and dressmakers, hatters and tailors. The Abbey
of Longchamp, whence the promenade derived its name, was founded as a
convent in the thirteenth century by Isabelle of France, sister of Louis
IX., and pulled down at the time of the Revolution. It was situated
close to the Bois de Boulogne, near the village of that name.

"I wish to ensure my salvation," wrote the Princess Isabelle to Hémeric,
Chancellor of the university, "by some pious foundation. King Louis IX.,
my brother, grants me 30,000 Paris livres, and the question is, shall I
found a convent or a hospital?" The Chancellor's advice was to establish
an asylum for the nuns of the order of St. Clara.

In 1260 Isabelle built the church, the dormitories, and the cluster of
the Humility of Our Lady; and according to Agnes d'Harcourt, who has
written her life, the whole of the 30,000 livres was consumed. The year
afterwards, on the 23rd of June, the nuns of the rule of St. Francis
took possession of the abbey in presence of Louis IX. and all the Court.
The king gave considerable property to the nuns, whom he often visited,
and, by his will, dated February, 1269, this sovereign, on the point of
undertaking his last expedition to Palestine, left a legacy to the Abbey
of Our Lady. Isabelle in this very year ended her days within its walls.

The royal origin and associations of the house which the princess
had founded ensured for it the patronage of successive French
sovereigns--Marguerite and Jeanne de Brabant, Blanche de France, Jeanne
de Navarre, and twelve other princesses, taking the veil there; and it
is recorded that Philippe le Long died in it with his daughter Blanche
by his side on the 2nd of December, 1321, of complicated dysentery and
quartan fever. When he was approaching his end the abbé and monks of St.
Denis came in procession to his aid, bringing with them a piece of the
True Cross, a nail that had been used at the Crucifixion, and one of the
arms of St. Simon. The exhibition and application of these pious relics
gained for the king enough time to make his will, after which he expired.

Longchamp had no fewer than forty nuns in residence. Its proximity
to Paris, its illustrious origin, its not less illustrious visitors,
its aristocratic inhabitants, its vicissitudes during the sanguinary
civil wars of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, its decline, and,
ultimately, its ruin, invested it with extraordinary interest. As
regards the history of the abbey, it must be mentioned that, as with all
other convents, its discipline gradually became relaxed until at last
purity gave way to licence. Henri IV. took from Longchamp one of his
mistresses, Catherine de Verdun, a young nun of twenty-two, to whom he
gave the priory of St. Louis de Vernon, and whose brother, Nicholas de
Verdun, became first President of the Parliament of Paris.

"It is certain," wrote St. Vincent de Paul, on the 25th of October,
1652, to Cardinal Mazarin, "that for the last 200 years this convent has
been gradually getting demoralised until now there is less discipline
there than depravity. Its reception rooms are open to anyone who comes,
even to young men without relations at the convent. The order of friars
(Cordeliers) under whose direction it is placed, do nothing to stop the
evil. The nuns wear immodest garments and carry gold watches. When, war
compelled them to take refuge in the town the majority of them gave
themselves up to all kinds of scandals, going alone and in secret to the
men they desired to visit."

It is evident from this letter that there were intimate relations
between the Abbey of Longchamp and Paris. It had been the custom,
moreover, since the fifteenth century, to go to Longchamp to hear the
friars of the order of Cordeliers preach during Lent.

"In 1420," says the journal of Charles VII., "Brother Richard, a
Cordelier, lately returned from Jerusalem, preached such a fine sermon
that the people from Paris who had been to hear it made more than
one hundred fires on their return--the men burning tables, cards,
billiard-tables, billiard-balls, and bowls; while the women sacrificed
head-dresses, and all kinds of body ornaments, with pieces of leather
and pieces of whalebone, their horns and their tails."

A great many miracles were said to take place through invocations
addressed to the Princess Isabelle, whom Pope Leo X., by a bull dated
January 3, 1521, had canonised; while he, at the same time, granted to
the nuns of Longchamp the privilege of celebrating annually, in her
honour, a solemn service on the last day of August. From the early days
of the reign of Louis XV. date those regular pilgrimages to Longchamp
during Holy Week, which were soon to degenerate into mundane promenades.



At one time the singing of the nuns had been found attractive. In 1729
a vocalist from the Opera, Mlle. Lemaure, sang with the choir, and "all
Paris" went to hear her. The nuns profiting by her lessons, and studying
her style, sang the "Tenebræ" during Holy Week with so much success
that in order to make the choir perfect the abbess applied to the Opera
for some additional voices. The abbey was now more than ever besieged.
People crowded round the walls, filled the churchyard, and, according
to one writer, stood on the tombstones. If the chorus-singers from the
Opera were not converted to piety by the nuns, the nuns underwent the
influence of the professional vocalists. At last, one Wednesday in Holy
Week, a brilliant gathering of fashionable people arrived at the church
of Longchamp only to find it closed. The Archbishop of Paris had ordered
the doors to be locked.

[Illustration: ST. PHILIPPE DU ROULE.]

The original object of the Longchamp promenade was now at an end. But
the promenade continued all the same; and it was at Longchamp every Holy
Week that the first spring fashions were to be seen. This lasted for
many years, until at last, as already set forth, the Longchamp Promenade
became a medium for the exhibition of such articles of dress as the
leading dressmakers, milliners, and tailors wished to see adopted during
the approaching season.

[Illustration: THE ÉLYSÉE.]

Meanwhile, at the time of the Revolution, the old convent of Longchamp
was brought to the hammer, and not only knocked down but pulled down.
The tombs in the church were broken up, and the ashes of the pious
founder, Jeanne de Bourgogne, wife of Philippe le Long, of Jean de
Navarre, and of Jean II., Count of Dreux, were dispersed. Of Longchamp
nothing remained but the name.

To many the Champs Élysées are chiefly interesting as leading to the
Bois de Boulogne with its picturesque scenery and its romantic lake,
suggestive, in a small way, of the beautiful Loch Katrine. The Bois de
Boulogne owes its name to the church of Notre Dame de Boulogne, built
in the year 1319, under Philip, surnamed the Long. He gave permission
to the citizens of his good town of Paris who had been on a pilgrimage
to visit the Church of Nostre Dame de Boulogne-sur-le-mer, to build and
construct a church, and there to institute a religious community. The
new church became itself an object of pilgrimage, like the original
church of Notre Dame at Boulogne-sur-mer, founded, according to the
legend, in memory of the landing on the coast of the Holy Virgin
accompanied by two angels.

Up to the time of the Revolution the Bois de Boulogne was little more
than a wilderness. Napoleon I. cut walks and avenues through it, and
caused trees to be planted, so that it was already one of the most
agreeable places in the neighbourhood, when, in 1815, after the Waterloo
campaign, the soldiers of the Duke of Wellington and of the Emperor
Alexander I. encamped beneath its groves; which they are said to have
mutilated and ravaged.

The Bois de Boulogne was considerably diminished when, in 1840, the
fortifications of Paris were being constructed, the wood being traversed
by the lines of brickwork. Soon afterwards, in 1852, under the Second
Empire, it was made over to the town of Paris, and converted by the
municipality into a park after the English model, with all the agreeable
delightful features it now possesses.

The first improvement introduced was the river with its picturesque
islands and the lake with its wooded banks and its Swiss cottages. The
waterfalls or "cascades" give their name to the celebrated restaurant
and café constructed by their side; and for the last thirty or forty
years the Bois de Boulogne has possessed spacious avenues, with grass
borders and endless rows of lamps. The grass plots in every direction,
and here and there wide lawns, give a softness to the general picture
which has not its equal in any European capital.

In the Bois de Boulogne stood formerly the Château de Madrid, said to
have been erected by King Francis I. in memory and on the pattern of the
one where, after the defeat of Pavia, Charles V. had held him captive.
In spite of the recollections which it must have evoked, and which it
is said to have been intended to evoke, Francis I. often visited his
castle in the wood. It was turned to questionable use by various kings
of France, and Henry III. varied the diversions of which it was so
often the scene by introducing combats between wild beasts and bulls.
One night, however, this depraved and sanguinary monarch dreamt that
his animals wished to devour him, and the next morning he gave orders
that they should all be killed and replaced by packs of little dogs.
What remains of the ancient château is now a fashionable restaurant.
Close by is the delightful Bagatelle, built in sixty-four days by the
Count of Artois, and called at one time Folie d'Artois. Above the
principal entrance the Count (afterwards Charles X.) had inscribed the
words, _Parva sed apta_. Under the Revolution this "small but suitable"
structure was used for public festivals; and it was here, at the time of
the Restoration, that the Duke of Bordeaux, posthumous son of the Duke
of Berry, was brought up.

The Duke of Bordeaux (who afterwards took the title of Count of
Chambord) was the last representative of the elder branch of the
Bourbons, a house which is said to have produced since the fourteenth
century some six hundred remarkable men, chiefly soldiers, and which,
apart from their feats of war, founded thrones in all the Latin
countries of Europe--in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. It has been
said that the duke was brought up as a child at Bagatelle in the Bois
de Boulogne; and many were the speculations and suspicions of which he
was at that time the subject. When, indeed, after the Revolution of 1830
Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, assumed the crown, and was thereupon
accused by the partisans of the dethroned Charles X. of violating his
promise to act as Regent until the majority of the Duke of Bordeaux, a
paper was issued, apparently by the Orleanists, denying that the Duke
of Bordeaux was the legitimate son of the assassinated Duke of Berry,
eldest son of Charles X. The _Courrier Français_, a journal devoted
to the new dynasty, now published a letter which had first appeared
ten years before in the _Morning Chronicle_ of London, asserting the
illegitimacy of the Count of Chambord.

"The proposals," said the _Courrier Français_, "which the Duke of
Mortemart has just made to the Chamber of Peers in favour of the Duke
of Bordeaux will naturally recall attention to a subject which at
last may be freely examined and discussed. We shall confine ourselves
to publishing a document inserted in the English papers of the time,
and which has never appeared in France. Its publication is perfectly
opportune; it completes the parallel that has been drawn until now
between the Stuart and the Capet families." The _Courrier Français_ then
reproduced a document entitled "Protest of the Duke of Orleans," which
ran as follows: "His Royal Highness declares by these presents that he
protests formally against the procès-verbal dated 29th September last,
which document professes to establish the fact that the child named
Charles Ferdinand Dieudonné is the legitimate son of Her Royal Highness
the Duchess of Berry. The Duke of Orleans will produce in fit time and
place witnesses who will make known the origin of the child and of its
mother, and he will point out the authors of the machination of which
that very weak princess has been the instrument."

The _Morning Chronicle_, in publishing the document about six weeks
after the Count's birth, denied its authenticity, adding, however, that
it was being industriously circulated in every part of France, and
that a copy of it had been addressed to the ambassador of every Power
represented at Paris. It was not, of course, under Charles X. published
in any Paris newspaper; and when at last, in Louis Philippe's reign,
it found its way into the columns of the _Courrier Français_ it was
impossible not to notice that the journal which first printed it was one
devoted to the interests of the new king.


The Château de la Muette, another of the remarkable edifices in the Bois
de Boulogne, was originally a hunting-box where Charles IX., the hero of
the St. Bartholomew Massacre, used to shoot stags and boars from a box
before giving himself the royal pleasure of shooting Huguenots from the
balcony of the Louvre.

The Avenue Marigny has a greater number of frequenters among the
Parisian public than the more distant Bois de Boulogne.

It dates from the reign of Louis XV., until which time it formed part
of the historic marsh, and it owes its name to its designer. After the
cession of the Champs Élysées to the town of Paris in 1828, the Avenue
Marigny became the scene of the fêtes given every year in honour of the
successor of the monarch who made the cession. On the 27th, 28th, and
29th of July, the anniversaries of the Revolutionary days of 1830, two
theatres were put up in the Avenue Marigny, on whose boards military
spectacles were represented, while their orchestras played dance music
for the exhilaration and physical recreation of the general public.
Booths for acrobats and tight-rope dancers were also established; wild
beasts were shown, and wrestling matches took place. One of the first
acts of the Emperor Napoleon III. in 1852 was to change all this. The
town of Paris gave back to the State, by a perpetual lease, the whole
of the Champs Élysées, where it had been determined to construct an
edifice which should serve for national exhibitions, and other civil and
military festivals, the building to be after the model of the English
Crystal Palace. In two years the Palace of Industry was finished; and in
1855 it became the scene of a universal exhibition opened in the course
of the Crimean War, and honoured by the visit of Queen Victoria. The
second and third universal exhibitions at Paris were held in a larger
building constructed for the purpose, and the fourth (1889) in a larger
building still. The Palais de l'Industrie of 1855 is now used for annual
exhibitions of agriculture, horticulture, horses and fat cattle; also
for the annual exhibition of painting, sculpture, and engraving.

The Champs Élysées form a pleasure resort for all classes of the
Parisian population; and the number of lightly constructed booths for
the sale of cakes and toys show that among the frequenters of the Avenue
Marigny there are a good number of children, many of whom may be seen
driving about in little goat-chaises.

The Avenue Marigny, with its interminable files, at every hour of the
day, of horsemen, horse-women, and carriages, leads directly to the
Triumphal Arch, known as the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, from which a
magnificent view may be obtained of the whole line of the Champs Élysées
from its commencement as marked by the Obelisk of the Place de la


The Place de l'Étoile, in which stands the arch of the same name, is
so called from the star of avenues of which it forms the centre. The
idea of a monument on this spot dates from the reign of Louis XV., when
it was proposed to place on the present site of the arch a colossal
elephant. The animal in question found for a time a resting place not
on the Place de l'Étoile but on that of the Bastille. At last, in
1806, Napoleon determined to erect on the spot once threatened with an
elephant the triumphal arch in commemoration of victories gained under
his command, of which the first stone was laid on the 15th of August,
the Emperor's birthday.

By the year 1810 the cornice of the first storey had been reached.
Then Chalgrin, the original architect of the construction, died, to be
replaced by his inspector, Goust; and the work was continued until 1814,
when, Napoleon having been defeated and sent to Elba, all question of
completing a monument in honour of his victories was at an end.

[Illustration: ARC DE TRIOMPHE.]

Under the Restoration, when endeavours were being made by official
historians to suppress the Napoleonic period, or, at least, to represent
it as a natural link of connection between the old monarchy and the
monarchy now re-established, the Triumphal Arch was gone on with and
dedicated to the glory of the Duke of Angoulême, who had intervened at
the head of a large army in the affairs of Spain. Finally King Louis
Philippe, who claimed to represent, not only the ancient monarchy, but
also in some measure the Revolution and the Empire, restored the arch
to its original purpose. The works were hurried to completion, and on
the 29th of July, 1836, it was formally inaugurated. The dimensions
of the arch, twice as large as those of the Porte St. Denis, may be
called colossal. The frieze around the four sides (which are themselves
arched) represents the departure and the return of the French armies.
Comparatively small as the figures in the frieze appear, they are
scarcely less than six feet high. On either side of the different
arches the capture of Aboukir, the funeral of Marceau, the battle
of Austerlitz, the capture of Alexandria, the bridge of Arcola, and
the battle of Jemappes, are shown in low relief. The names of French
victories are engraved all over the interior surfaces of the large and
small arches, these inscriptions being completed and illustrated by
allegorical figures. Nothing, however, is finer in the ornamentation
of the arch than the four immense groups on the external sides of the
two great façades. On the eastern side, looking towards Paris, one sees
to the right the departure of the troops in 1792 beneath the Genius of
War, which, with outstretched wings and open mouth, seems to protect
and inspire them. On the left side, looking towards the south, is the
apotheosis of the Emperor, in which Napoleon, attired in a chlamys, is
being crowned by Victory, while Renown proclaims his lofty exploits, and
History engraves them on her tablets.


The two groups towards the west represent, on the right, Resistance to
Invasion, and, on the left, Peace crowned by the figure of Minerva.
Broad staircases lead to a higher platform which commands a magnificent
view of central Paris.

In 1854, two years after the proclamation of the Second Empire, a
"place" was designed around the arch, which now forms the centre of
twelve avenues, darting out from the Arc de l'Étoile like the rays of a

The open-air entertainments of which the Champs Élysées and Bois de
Boulogne are the scene possess as much importance as the entertainments
taking place within the walls of the innumerable Paris theatres. Of
the races which find so much favour in France the most celebrated is
that of the Grand Prix, run on the course of Longchamp early in June,
just after the English Derby, and the second Sunday after the so-called
Derby of Chantilly. It was founded only in 1863 (until 1856 the racing
ground of the Parisians had, for twenty-five years previously, been the
Champ de Mars) though it has long been regarded as one of the national
institutions of the country.

The prize is of the value of 100,000 francs, of which half is furnished
by the Town of Paris and half by the five great railway companies of
the North, the West, Lyons, Orleans, and the South. The sight, as one
approaches the course, suggests Ascot and Goodwood rather than Epsom;
and the great majority of the sightseers seem to take more interest in
the carriages and the costumes than in the racing, or even the betting,
though the betting plague has settled upon Paris, where it replaces
the lotteries and the gambling-houses suppressed by law. In a publicly
organised form, betting is illegal, but the evil is a difficult one to
deal with, and it is now tolerated in France, if not formally permitted.
Every now and then an example is made of some unhappy offender; but
these rare instances serve simply to excite the spirit of betting
already so wide-spread amongst the community at large.

The amusements of the Champs Élysées, although of a much more trifling
kind than that royal one of racing reserved for the Bois de Boulogne,
have from the earliest times been as remarkable for their variety as
for their originality. The Parisians were always great lovers of public
amusements, even from the days of Charles V. and Charles VI., when
tight-rope dancers, whom it would be difficult to equal in the present
day, walked down a rope stretched from the towers of Notre Dame to the
Palais de Justice. One acrobat who excelled in performing this feat was
so agile and so rapid that he seemed to fly, and was called the "flying
man." One day he stretched a rope from the summit of one of the towers
of Notre Dame to a house on the Exchange Bridge, danced as he came
down it, holding, meanwhile, in one hand a flaming torch, and in the
other a wreath, which, just as Queen Isabeau de Bavière passed across
the bridge, in making her entry into Paris, he placed on her head, and
immediately afterwards re-ascended to the point whence he had started.

Another tight-rope dancer, named Georges Menustre, performed similar
feats under the reign of Louis XII.

The most popular entertainments of those days were representations of
mysteries. These religious dramas were played when the king entered
Paris, and on other joyful occasions. Some of the subjects were taken
from the Old, some from the New Testament, others from the Lives of
the Saints. They were treated either in prose, in verse, or even
occasionally in pantomime.

In the year 1425 the game of climbing the greasy pole is said to have
been for the first time introduced. On St. Giles's Day inhabitants
of the parish under the invocation of that saint invented "a new
diversion." They planted a long pole perpendicularly in the Rue aux
Ours opposite the Rue Quincampoix. They fastened to the top of the pole
a basket containing a fat goose and six small coins. Then they oiled
the pole, and promised goose, money, basket, and pole itself, to anyone
skilful enough to climb to the top. But the most vigorous were unable
to complete so slippery an ascent; and at last, after a succession
of ludicrous failures, the goose was given to the one who had got
the highest; though he received neither the pole, the money, nor the
basket. The same year the Parisians invented a still more remarkable
entertainment. They formed at the Hôtel d'Armagnac in the Rue St.
Honoré an enclosure into which they introduced a pig and four blind
men, each of them armed with a stick. The pig was promised to whichever
of the four could beat it to death. The enclosure was surrounded by
numerous spectators impatient to see the conclusion of this "comedy," as
Dulaure calls it, though the pig might have described it by a different
name. The blind men all rushed towards the spot where the animal, by
its cries, proclaimed itself to be, and then struck away with their
sticks, hitting, as a rule, one another, and not the pig; which, says a
contemporary writer, caused infinite mirth to the assembly. They renewed
the attack again and again, but never with any success; and although
they were covered with armour from head to foot, they exchanged amongst
themselves blows so severe that, despairing at last of the pig, they
retired from a game which was pleasant only to the spectators.

In the early days of Paris the churches were at Christmas-time made
the scene of ceremonies and diversions recalling the Saturnalia of
the Romans, from whom such civilisation as the French then possessed
was for the most part inherited. Clerks and members of the inferior
clergy took the place in churches and cathedrals of high ecclesiastical
dignitaries when services were performed in which, with religious
ceremonies, acts of buffoonery and even indecency were mingled. The
Festival of the Fools, the Festival of the Ass, the Festival of the
Innocents and of the Sub-deacons, were some of the names of these
burlesque celebrations. At Paris, in the church of Notre Dame, the
Festival of the Sub-deacons was also called the Festival of the Drunken
Deacons. Begun on Christmas Day, it was kept up until Twelfth Day, the
chief celebration being reserved for New Year's Day.


In the first place, from among the sub-deacons of the cathedral a
bishop, archbishop, and sometimes a pope was elected. The mitre, the
crook, and the cross, were carried before the mock pontiff, and he was
then required to give his solemn blessing to the people. The entry of
the pope, archbishop, or bishop into the church was announced by the
ringing of the bells. Then the sham prelate was placed in the episcopal
chair, and mass was begun. All the clergy who took part in the mass had
their faces painted black, or wore hideous and ridiculous masks. They
were dressed as acrobats or as women, danced in the middle of the choir,
and sang improper songs. Then the deacons and sub-deacons advanced to
the altar and ate black puddings and sausages before the celebrant. They
played at cards or at dice, and placed in the incense box pieces of
old shoes, the odour of which was by no means agreeable. When the mass
was at an end the sub-deacons, in their madness or their intoxication,
profaned the church still more, running, dancing, and leaping like
lunatics, exciting one another to new extravagances, singing the most
dissolute songs, and sometimes stripping themselves of their clothes.

The Church as a body was far from approving these shameful practices,
and it condemned them in several Councils; but for a considerable time
the spirit of insubordination, together with the dissolute tendencies
of a section of the priesthood, rendered all such condemnations
nugatory. The clerical Saturnalia were continued up to the middle
of the fifteenth century. Forbidden by the Pope's Legate at Paris,
and by the Archbishop of Paris, they remained popular until 1445, in
which year a letter was addressed by the Theological Faculty of Paris
to all the prelates and chapters exhorting them to abolish customs so
unworthy of religion. Sixteen years afterwards, in 1460, these burlesque
celebrations were still spoken of at the Council of Sens as an abuse
which must be destroyed. So difficult are popular customs to extirpate!




The Royal Military School of Louis XV.--The National Assembly--The
Patriotic Altar--The Festival of the Supreme Being--Other
Festivals--Industrial Exhibitions--The Eiffel Tower--The Trocadéro.

A whole chapter might be devoted to the café concerts, the swings,
the merry-go-rounds, and other entertainments of a constantly varying
kind, which are to be witnessed and, according to taste, enjoyed from
morning to night in the Champs Élysées. But against the frivolity of
these popular diversions may well be placed the great international
exhibitions of which the Champs Élysées have from time to time during
the last thirty-six years been the scene.

[Illustration: THE CHAMP DE MARS, 1889.]

With each of the exhibitions of 1867, 1878, and 1889 the Champ de Mars
has been connected; and its permanent association with these peaceful
celebrations is now marked by the famous Eiffel Tower, which stands in
the warlike field.

Although it lies on the south side of the river, the Champ de Mars is so
closely connected with the Champs Élysées that it may almost be regarded
as belonging thereto.

If the universal exhibitions of Paris were held in the Elysian Fields,
they have, on each of the last three occasions, had an annex in the
field of Mars. It is by the way of the Champs Élysées, moreover, that
the troops march when the army of Paris is exercised and inspected in
the great review-ground.

The Champ de Mars was originally a simple field of exercise for the
pupils of the Royal Military School. Established by Louis XV. in 1751
for five hundred sons of officers, this school came into existence
half a century before the Polytechnic School and the School of St.
Cyr, and formed, during the last years of the Monarchy, a great number
of excellent officers, the most celebrated of all being Napoleon
Bonaparte, who on the 22nd of October, 1784, entered the company of
gentlemen cadets. On the 1st of the following September, having come
out brilliantly in an examination, he was appointed second lieutenant
in the artillery regiment of La Fayette. He had then passed by only
fourteen days his sixteenth birthday. The School of Gentlemen Cadets,
the military cradle of the future Emperor, was not precisely the school
which Louis XV. had founded. His grandson had perceived that to admit,
as a matter of right, children from eight to thirteen years of age would
fill the military school with youths who had no fitness for the military
career. He solved the problem by establishing in various country towns
twelve colleges, where those qualified for admission could study up to
the age of fifteen, after which a selection was made with a view to the
Military School of Paris. One of these colleges was at Brienne, where
the young Napoleon studied before being passed for the Military School.

Until 1789 no one was admitted to the Military School but sons of
officers and noblemen. In the first year of the Revolution the
Constitutional Ministers of Louis XVI. procured a decree from the
Council which abolished the qualification of nobility. This was not so
great an innovation as it may appear, since Louis XV. had by a decree of
the year 1750 granted privileges of nobility to officers; the children,
therefore, of all officers were admissible to the Military School. The
institution was all the same of doubtful origin; and not knowing what
else to do with it the Convention abolished it in June, 1793, took
possession of its funds, and changed the building into a flour magazine
and a cavalry depôt.

Soon afterwards, with a mutability characteristic of the time, the
Revolutionary Government came to the conclusion that a Royal Military
School, however detestable as of royal origin, would become admirable if
the title of Republican were applied to it. It was accordingly decided
in June, 1794, that each district of the Republic should send to Paris
"six young citizens under the name of pupils of the School of Mars, aged
from sixteen to seventeen years, in order to receive a Revolutionary
education with all the knowledge, sentiments, and ideas of a Republican
soldier." The project was voted for on a report of Barère, who had
drawn a droll parallel between the students of the Royal Military
School (descended from "some feudal brigand, some privileged rogue,
some ridiculous marquis, some modern baron, or some court flunkey")
and what the students of the School of Mars would be--"the offspring
of Republican families, of parents of restricted means, or of useful
inhabitants of the country. What," Barère went on to say, "has ever come
out of the Military School? What has this brilliant college produced? No
able officer, not a general, not an administrator, not one celebrated

It had produced, all the same, General Bonaparte, who was even then
preparing the plans of his Italian campaign. The very next year the
young cadet of the Royal Military School reentered the École Militaire
to establish his headquarters there as general commanding in chief the
army of Paris. When he became emperor he inscribed on the portico of the
school these words: "Napoleon's headquarters"; which only disappeared in
1815, when a regiment of the Imperial Guard was replaced in the building
by the Royal Guard.

Since it has ceased to be a school the so-called École Militaire has
been used as a cavalry and artillery barrack.

The Champ de Mars, in front of the École Militaire, has a very varied
history. Here in the ninth century the Normans were defeated by Eudes,
son of Robert the Strong, Count of Paris; who called the scene of his
exploit, not Champ de Mars, but more explicitly, Champ de la Victoire.
Then for many centuries the Field of Victory, or of Mars, seems to have
witnessed nothing in particular until, at last, under the reign of Louis
XV., it became the scene of a grand review in which the students of
the Royal Military School took part. While the review was going on a
young officer, nephew of Orry, controller of finance, who had suffered
from the persecution of the king's favourite, was brought before a
court-martial on an accusation of treason, suggested by the defeat of
the French army in Germany. He was about to be condemned, when the king
was informed by express, that not only was young Orry no traitor, but
that the whole army, compromised by a serious mistake on the part of
its commander, Marshal Maillebois, owed its safety to Orry's presence
of mind, and to a vigorous charge of cavalry directed by him. Louis XV.
gave the young man a new commission, thus marking the opening of the
Champ de Mars by an act of justice.

During the early days of the Revolution the Champ de Mars played an
important part; and through the course of the Revolution it was the
scene of all the most important national celebrations. Nor under the
Empire did it lose the character it had thus acquired. In July, 1790,
the year after the taking of the Bastille, the general federation of
the nation was celebrated; and a quarter of a century later, after
Napoleon's return from Elba, and immediately before the Waterloo
campaign, the emperor assembled in the Champ de Mars the authorities and
representative bodies of the country in order to swear fidelity to the
new Constitution which he had just promulgated, even as Louis XVI. had
sworn fidelity to the Constitution adopted by the National Assembly.

On the 5th of June all military and naval bodies, national or foreign,
were invited to send a number of delegates, according to the forces
represented, to an assembly which was to be held in the Champ de Mars
on the 14th of the month following. The details of the celebration were
regulated by special decree; and artists of all kinds were invited to
make suggestions towards the arrangement and decoration of the plain.
It was determined in the first instance to convert this plain into a
sort of basin or amphitheatre with sloping sides and a hollow in the
middle. Many thousands of labourers were employed in this work, and they
were ultimately joined by the whole population of Paris, just as two
years afterwards all classes and conditions of people took part in the
preparations for the festival of the Altar to the Country.

On the day appointed deputations arrived from all parts of France, the
visitors being hospitably entertained by private citizens, or received
by innkeepers at reduced charges. Special seats were reserved for them
at the meeting of the National Assembly; and they, in their turn, were
full of enthusiasm for the Assembly, for the people of Paris, but above
all for King Louis XVI. On the 13th, the day before the festival, the
king reviewed the troops, the deputations, and a good portion of the
Paris National Guard, on the Place Louis XV., and in the Champs Élysées.

At five o'clock in the morning the National Guard and the entire
population were on foot. Many had passed the night in the Champs
Élysées, and several regiments of National Guards had marched there at
midnight in order to be in good time for the approaching celebration.
The deputies from the provinces assembled at the Bastille, where
eighty-three white flags bearing the names of their respective
departments were distributed among them. At seven o'clock the march
began, headed by a body of cavalry belonging to the National Guard of
Paris, which was followed by a body of infantry, the electors of Paris,
the Paris Commune, and the National Assembly, preceded by a regiment of
children, and followed by a regiment of old men with the flags of the
sixty battalions of Paris around them. Then came the representatives of
the federated departments, preceded by two marshals of France with a
numerous staff, and followed by a number of officers of various corps,
including the King's Body Guard. The procession passed through the town
amid the acclamations of the people and to the sound of artillery,
approaching the Champ de Mars by way of the Champs Élysées, and crossing
the river by a bridge of boats constructed the night before just
opposite the village of Chaillot.

At the entrance to the Champ de Mars, now transformed into a vast
circus, had been raised a triumphal arch bearing a number of
inscriptions, among which may be cited the following:--

     The rights of man were ignored for centuries; they have been
     re-established for the whole of humanity.

     You love that liberty which you now possess; prove your
     gratitude by preserving it.

In the Champ de Mars 300,000 persons had assembled, men, women, and
children, on the slopes of the newly-made amphitheatre, all wearing the
national colours. The hillsides of Chaillot and of Passy were equally
filled; as further on were the amphitheatres of Meudon and St. Cloud,
of Mont Valérien and Montmartre. In front of the Military School were
ascending rows of seats, covered with blue and gold drapery, for the
king, the court, the National Assembly, the various constituted bodies
and the most distinguished guests. In the centre of the Champ de Mars,
on a raised piece of ground, was a monumental altar to the country with
four immense staircases on the four sides. This altar was itself two
years later made the object of a festival.

The king had for this day only been named Chief of the National Guards
of France. He appointed La Fayette to perform the duties of the post.

Pending the commencement of the ceremony, 1,200 musicians played various
pieces of music, including the national dances of Brittany, Auvergne,
and Provence. French music of this period was, with the notable
exceptions of the "Marseillaise" and of the "Chant du Départ," by no
means impressive in itself, though hymns that are sung by thousands of
voices can scarcely fail, from the volume of sound and the unanimity of
feeling, to produce a certain effect. Patriotic hymns were in any case
sung, and they excited general enthusiasm.

At half-past three a salvo of artillery announced the beginning of
the festival. The king was seated in his tribune, having on his
right the President of the National Assembly at the same level as
himself. La Fayette came forward to take the king's orders, and the
ceremony commenced with a solemn mass, celebrated, according to
general tradition, by Talleyrand, Bishop of Autun, afterwards to be
known under every kind of government in France, including the Empire,
the Restoration, and the Monarchy of Louis Philippe, as Talleyrand
the Minister. According, however, to credible accounts, it was not
Talleyrand, Bishop of Autun, but Montmorency, Grand Almoner of France,
who performed mass on this solemn occasion. The prelate was in any
case assisted by two hundred priests, who, wearing tricolour sashes,
surrounded the altar; then the oriflamme symbol of the federation was
blessed, together with the banners given to the deputations from the
provinces. Finally La Fayette ascended the staircase, radiant, but full
of emotion, and placing the point of his sword on the Altar of the
Country, pronounced in a loud firm voice this sacred oath: "We swear
to be for ever faithful to the nation, to the law, and to the king; to
maintain with all our power the Constitution decreed by the National
Assembly and accepted by the king; to protect the persons and property
of all, and to remain united to all Frenchmen by the indissoluble bonds
of fraternity."


The general excitement seemed now to have reached its highest pitch. But
it was raised still higher when the king in his turn swore fidelity to
the Constitution. Many, however, complained at the time that he took the
oath, not from the altar, but from the tribune, where he was sitting;
and this was generally looked upon as of bad augury. From that time,
throughout the Revolution, the Champ de Mars was known as the Champ de
la Fédération, and the anniversary of the 14th of July was celebrated
until the time of the Consulate.

Some two years later the altar on which the Mass of the Federation
had been celebrated was itself to be made the object of a festival.
Enlarged and newly decorated, it became the Altar of Patriotism or
_autel à la patrie_, and once more the whole population took part in
the preparations, when, to judge by a letter on the subject left by
an actress of the Théâtre Français, the work of the day was varied by
a certain amount of pleasantry. "Every gentleman," says the actress,
"chose a lady to whom he offered a very light spade decorated with
ribands; then, headed by a band, the lovers of liberty hastened to the
general rendezvous."

In the centre of the Champ de Mars was at last constructed a colossal
altar, at which the deputies from the National Guards of France and from
the various army corps assembled, and swore allegiance to the Republic.
Patriotic altars or _autels à la patrie_ had already been raised in
various parts of France, when, by a decree of July, 1792, it was ordered
that in every commune a patriotic altar should be erected, to which
children should be brought, where young people should get married, and
on which should be registered births, marriages, and deaths. Above all
it was thought necessary that round the altars solemn deliberations
should be held concerning the fate of the country, which was threatened
by the whole continent of Europe.

[Illustration: GENERAL LA FAYETTE.]

After the flight of the king a petition was laid on the patriotic altar
of the Champ de Mars demanding the monarch's formal dethronement. At the
Jacobin Club the question of the fall of the monarchy had been boldly
put forward; and after a long debate the petition just referred to was
drawn up and forwarded for general acceptation to the patriotic altar of
the Champ de Mars. The document set forth that the nation would no more
acknowledge Louis XVI. or any other king. That very evening, however,
the Jacobins were themselves alarmed by the revolutionary turn of
affairs, and withdrew their petition, declaring it to be illegal in form.

General La Fayette, at the head of the army and the National Guards,
was meanwhile determined under all circumstances to keep order, and
it soon became necessary for his troops to act. Two wretched men had
concealed themselves beneath the staircase of the patriotic altar; and
some insults said to have been addressed by them to women ascending
the stairs led to their being attacked--trivial origin of a sanguinary
massacre--by a number of washerwomen from the neighbourhood. The
practical jokers in hiding beneath the staircase had with them a barrel
of water, which popular indignation converted into a barrel of gunpowder
intended to blow up the altar, together with the faithful assembled on
its steps. The patriotic altar was at that time an object of religious
veneration, and the conduct of the two men beneath the staircase was
looked upon as nothing less than sacrilegious. Some fanatics fell upon
them and put them to death; and the incident, commented upon from
the most different points of view, was in the end represented as an
onslaught by reactionists on the sworn friends of liberty.

Meanwhile the crowd in the Champ de Mars was constantly increasing;
and soon it was summoned by beat of drum, and with all the usual
formalities, to disperse. Nothing came of this demand except a shower
of stones hurled at the National Guard. The regular troops, composed
principally of Royal Guards, replied by firing wildly at all around
them. The patriotic altar was soon covered with blood and surrounded by

The crowd fled as rapidly as its numbers would permit, but it was now
charged by cavalry, and afterwards fired into by artillery. To stop the
carnage La Fayette rode up to the guns, himself exposed to their shots.
The number of persons killed has, of course, been differently--very
differently--estimated; but according to a moderate computation, at
least 1,500 persons were slain.

General La Fayette, and Bailly, Mayor of Paris, had given a general
order to repel force by force, and the responsibility of the massacre
was accepted by Bailly. It was for this reason, indeed, that in
November, 1793, he was sentenced to death, his execution taking place on
the very scene of the massacre.

When armies were being hastily formed for repelling the invasion of the
German sovereigns the recruiting office was in the Champ de Mars, where
amphitheatres were erected with flags bearing this inscription, "Our
country is in danger." On a table, supported by two drums, the officers
of the Municipality inscribed the names of those who wished to enlist,
and the enthusiasm, now wide-spreading, gave to France fourteen armies,
which, untrained as bodies, (though they contained numbers of trained
men disbanded from the royal army) proved themselves valiant, and indeed
invincible, in the field.

The next great festival which was held in the Champ de Mars was that
of the Supreme Being. All that was done during the Revolution against
religion was aimed particularly at the clergy and the monks, the
Inquisition and the stake. The celebration of the Festival of the
Supreme Being had been fixed, according to the Revolutionary calendar,
for the 20th Prairial, and the famous painter David had been charged
with the elaboration of the programme. The day which Robespierre had
chosen for the celebration coincided precisely this year with one of the
great Catholic festivals--that of Whitsuntide.

Robespierre had been elected President of the Assembly. At eight
o'clock in the morning the beginning of the Festival was announced by
a discharge of artillery from the Tuileries. Flowers had been brought
to Paris from thirty miles round, and every house in the City had its
garland, while all the women carried bouquets and all the men branches
of oak. A vast amphitheatre constructed in the National Garden (the
garden of the Tuileries, that is to say) held the members of the
Convention, each of whom carried in his hand a bouquet of flowers and of
ears of corn.

Robespierre, detained by his duties at the Revolutionary Tribunal,
arrived late, at which there was some amusement. Dressed in the blue
coat worn by the representatives of the people, and holding in his hand
a bouquet of flowers and wheat, he exclaimed: "O Nature, how delightful,
how sublime is thy power! How tyrants must tremble and grow pale at the
idea of such a Festival!"

After the founder of the new religion had, in accordance with the
programme, delivered his discourse, whence a few words have been cited,
he walked down from the amphitheatre in company with his fellow-members
of the Convention. At the entrance to the Palace had been erected a
pyramid consisting of dolls representing atheism, ambition, egotism,
and false simplicity; then came the rags of misery, through which
could be seen the decorations and splendour of the slaves of Royalty.
Robespierre went forward with a torch and set fire to these impostures.
When wretchedness and vice had been consumed, the statue of Wisdom was
discovered unfortunately a little scorched by the flames in which its
opposites had perished.

The whole procession next moved towards the Champ de la Réunion, as
the Champ de Mars was now called. The Convention marched in a body
surrounded by a tricolour ribbon, which was carried by children, young
men, middle-aged men, and old men, all crowned with oak and myrtle. No
arms were worn, but every deputy exhibited in token of his mission a
tricolour sash, and carried a feather in his hat. In the centre of the
procession eight oxen with gilded horns drew an antique car bearing, as
tributes, instruments of art. When the Convention established itself on
a symbolical mountain, it was surrounded by the fathers and mothers sent
officially by the sections; also by their young daughters, crowned with
roses, and older children adorned with violets. Everyone, moreover, in
the procession wore national colours.

Then there was a fresh discourse from Robespierre, after which hymns by
Chénier and Désorgues, with music by Gaveaux, were sung. The music of
the hymns, from one or two specimens preserved, seems to have been poor,
but given forth by thousands of voices it was doubtless impressive.
After an invocation to the Eternal, the young girls strewed their
flowers on the ground, mothers raised their children in their arms, and
old men stretched out their hands to bless the young ones, who swore to
die for their country and their liberty. Revolutionary in its origin,
the Festival of the Supreme Being, celebrated throughout France, helped
everywhere to raise the Catholic party; which was not precisely what its
founders had aimed at.

Another solemn festival was held in the Champ de Mars, to celebrate
the capture of Toulon from the English, as brought about by a young
artillery officer named Bonaparte, whose name was being repeated from
mouth to mouth by admirers as yet unable to foresee that the object of
their admiration would before many years be the ruler of France; for,
"born of the Republic," he was, in the energetic words of Chateaubriand,
"to kill his own mother."

On the 3rd of December, 1804, the day after the coronation of the
Emperor at Notre-Dame, the Champ de Mars was to be the scene of yet
another festival--the distribution of eagles among the different
regiments of the French Army.

It was in the Champ de Mars that Napoleon, after his return from
Elba, gave a banquet to some 15,000 soldiers and National Guards; and
again in the Champ de Mars that he assembled deputations from all the
army-corps and all the State bodies convoked to hear the promulgation
of the "additional Act" which gave new character to the old Napoleonic
Constitution. This was the assembly known as that of the Champ de Mai,
so called from the month in which it was held.

Under the Restoration the Champ de Mars became the scene of a military
representation in which the Duke of Angoulême, at the head of the army
which had fought, or rather had executed a military promenade, in Spain,
attacked some battalions playing the part of the Spanish army, which at
the proper moment retreated. Then the high ground since known as the
Trocadéro was stormed, as the Trocadéro of Spain had been stormed in
the war just terminated; and it was now that the idea was conceived of
treating the Arc de Triomphe as a triumphal arch erected to the glory of
the army of Louis XVIII.

Under the reign of Louis Philippe, the military representation of
which under Louis XVIII.'s reign the Trocadéro had been made the scene
was repeated, with the replacement of the Trocadéro by Antwerp. This
display, on a very grand scale, was attended with a crush, a panic, and
almost as many accidents as were caused by the celebrated fireworks on
the Place Louis XV., on the occasion of Marie Antoinette's marriage.

It was under the Restoration that the Champ de Mars was used as a course
for the first races, or at least the first races of a popular character,
established in France. They were, after some years, as already
mentioned, transferred to Longchamps. Under the Second Empire, or rather
when the Second Empire was about to be proclaimed, the Champ de Mars
witnessed a magnificent review and distribution of eagles--the prelude,
in fact, to the establishment of the imperial form of government. "Take
back these eagles," said the prince president on this occasion, "not as
a symbol of threats against the foreigner, but as a recollection of an
heroic epoch, as a sign of nobility for each regiment in the service.
Take back these eagles which so often led your fathers to victory, and
swear, if necessary, to die in their defence." This was the last of the
many political scenes of which the Champ de Mars has been the theatre.
In 1867 it furnished a site for the annex or supplementary building
where, in connection with the Universal Exhibition of that year, the
machinery was displayed.

If the Champs Élysées became during the first half of the century a
portion of Paris, this was also to happen during the second half to the
more distant Bois de Boulogne; and as Paris is still constantly growing
the time may come when Sèvres and Saint-Cloud, whither the Bois de
Boulogne leads, will no longer be regarded as suburbs, but as integral
parts of the French metropolis, from which they are now distant
(counting from the Place de la Concorde) some six miles.

       *       *       *       *       *

No account, whether of the Champs Élysées or of the Champ de Mars, would
be complete without some mention of the Universal Exhibitions of which
the Elysian Fields and the Field of Mars have both been the scene. The
first Universal Exhibition was held in England during the summer of
1851, but the first Industrial Exhibition on a large scale, without
assistance or competition from the foreigner, took place in France
immediately after the Revolution, of which it was one of the natural


Before 1789 the industrial system of France, as of other countries,
was made up of corporations and guilds rigidly bound by rules and
traditions; and many industrial processes were so many secrets into
which apprentices, duly articled, were initiated, but which were
jealously guarded from the knowledge of the outer world. A general
exhibition of arts, manufactures, and machinery would, under the ancient
_régime_, have been in direct opposition to the spirit of the time; it
would have been impossible, that is to say.

When, however, guilds and corporations were broken up and labour was
throughout the country rendered free, the desirability soon became
apparent of familiarising workmen with the best methods of work; and
manufacturers of all kinds were brought together and invited to send
specimens of their handicraft to a great Exhibition, of which Paris
was to be the scene. The idea was conceived under the Directory, six
years after the Revolution; and with a rapidity characteristic of the
period it was at once carried out. Of some hundred exhibitors, nearly
all belonged to Paris. But at a second exhibition held three years
afterwards, thirty-eight departments, including some of the most distant
ones, sent examples of their industry. These exhibitions were to be
triennial; though their recurrence at fixed intervals was sometimes
interfered with by political or military events.

The Industrial Exhibitions of France, however, increased in
importance until, under the reign of Louis Philippe, they took a
prodigious development. After the Revolution of 1848 workmen as well
as manufacturers were for the first time encouraged to exhibit, and
many of them gained prizes. Now, too, an exhibition was held at which
agriculture as well as industry was represented, and among the products
and manufactures were a good number sent from the newly-acquired
Algeria. Then came the English Universal Exhibition of 1851, held
in Hyde Park; adorned for the occasion with a building of new
architecture, to which Douglas Jerrold, writing in _Punch_, gave the
name of "Crystal Palace."

In 1855 France, not to be outshone by England, opened in her turn a
Universal Exhibition in the Champs Élysées, imitated in part from the
glass structure designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, but less fairylike
though, it may be, more substantial. Sixty years have passed since the
opening of France's first Industrial Exhibition; held at a time when,
before the introduction of steamboats and railways, it would have
been difficult, even if it had been thought desirable, for foreign
manufacturers to compete with the manufacturers of France. The French
Exhibition was held at the very height of the Crimean war; a sad reply
to those who in the Universal Exhibition of 1851 saw a promise, if not a
guarantee, of perpetual peace. Once more in 1867 the illusory nature of
the belief that international commerce must put an end to international
war was at least indicated by the important part played in the midst of
the steel manufactures by Herr Krupp's breech-loading cannons, which
were seen to do such dreadful work in the campaign of 1870. Even while
the Exhibition was being held the Luxemburg difficulty seemed on the
point of bringing France and Prussia into the field.

The building erected for the first of France's International Exhibitions
having been found too small, the second and third, in 1867 and 1878,
took new territory in the Champ de Mars; and in addition to the
principal building a number of so-called annexes or supplementary
buildings were established, chiefly for the display of machinery; while,
besides the Champ de Mars, the fourth, held in 1889, took in the Avenue
Suffren, the Quai d'Orsay, the terrace of the Invalides, the banks of
the Seine, and the Garden of the Trocadéro.

[Illustration: VIEW SHOWING EXHIBITION OF 1889.]

The Champ de Mars in its old character had now entirely disappeared.
The Minister of War had strongly objected to its utilisation for peace
purposes when it was first proposed that a temporary building for
machinery in connection with the Exhibition of 1867 should be erected
on a plain which had hitherto been reserved for military exercises and
manoeuvres. Once invaded, the Champ de Mars was soon to be fully
occupied, and the last and greatest of the Paris Universal Exhibitions
swallowed up the Champ de Mars without even finding its vast space
sufficient. The desert of former days had become the most frequented
place in the world. More than that, it was now a spot where the whole
world was represented--Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australasia,
with their different human types, their animals, their plants, their
minerals, their natural products, their industries, their sciences, and
their fine arts. An immense number of buildings in every form, in every
style, and of every period had been erected. Domes, steeples, towers,
cupolas, minarets, and factory chimneys stood out against the clear sky
of Paris; and in the midst of this confused architecture were seen the
large green masses of the winter gardens.

The whole, beheld from afar in a bird's-eye view, formed an enormous
ellipsis, with the marvellous Eiffel Tower in the centre. M. Eiffel,
a French engineer, whose name would seem to denote a German origin,
proposed the tower with which his name is now for ever associated
five years before the date fixed for the Universal Exhibition. He was
already known by some important works, such as the great iron bridge at
Bordeaux, and several other bridges in the south of France; also by the
Douro Viaduct, and by the bridge over the Szegedin Road, in Hungary. He
had been employed in connection with the Universal Exhibition of 1867,
where he had charge of the machinery annex.

The Americans had proposed to commemorate the Philadelphia Exhibition of
1875 by a tower one thousand feet in height, equal to about 305 French
metres. But they abandoned the project, which was to be realised by M.
Eiffel, whose tower is within five metres of the height contemplated
by the architects and engineers of Philadelphia. The calculations for
the Eiffel Tower, formed entirely of iron trellis work, had been so
carefully made that when the component parts, prepared separately,
were brought to the workshops of the Champ de Mars to be verified and
adjusted, they fitted to the greatest perfection. To give an idea of the
dimensions of the Eiffel Tower it may be mentioned that the towers of
Notre-Dame rise to a height of sixty-six metres above the level of the
soil, while the Cathedral of Cologne, the loftiest in the world, does
not exceed 159 metres. To go back to the remotest antiquity, the Eiffel
Tower is half as high again as the notorious Tower of Babel, of which
the altitude was 625 feet, otherwise 208 metres and a few centimetres.
At its base the tower measures, on each of its four sides, 100 metres,
and it slopes up to a platform at the summit which measures, on each
side, ten metres.

The first platform, with immense rooms for different purposes, is
sixty-six metres above the level of the soil; just eight metres less
than the towers of Notre-Dame, and it presents a surface of 5,000 square
metres. It may be reached either by a staircase of 350 steps, or by a
lift. The second platform stands 115 metres above the level of the soil,
and measures thirty metres on each side, the area of the floor being
1,400 square metres. Here the Paris _Figaro_ established a printing
office, whence issued the special edition of the _Eiffel Figaro_, in
which were printed the names of all the visitors. The third platform,
276 metres in height, can only be reached by lift. It is surmounted by
a campanile, or bell tower, in the Italian style, twenty-four metres in
height, which is divided into apartments for scientific experiments,
and which includes M. Eiffel's reception rooms. At the very top of
the structure is a light, of the power employed in the great French
lighthouses. The view from the Eiffel Tower becomes naturally more and
more vast as one ascends; and M. Eiffel has had maps drawn showing the
points visible from the third, or highest platform, to the ordinary
sight. This map is exhibited on the third platform.

On the north may be distinguished two villages in the department of the
Somme, seventy kilometres from Paris (four kilometres = two-and-a-half
miles); on the north-east the forest of Hallatte, at the back of
Cenlis, distant seventy-five kilometres; on the east two hills in the
direction of Château Thierry, eighty-two kilometres; on the south-east
the environs of La Ferté-Bernard, in the department of the Marne,
eighty-two kilometres; on the south, the other side of Étampes,
sixty-two kilometres; on the south-west the Cathedral of Chartres and
a hill at the back, eighty-three kilometres; on the west the Château
of Versailles, the chapel of Dreux, and the environs of Dourdan, at a
distance of fifty kilometres; and finally on the north-west the forest
of Lyons, ninety kilometres.

Telescopic distances have not been published. It can be seen, however,
that this loftiest of observatories would be of immense use to Paris in
case of her being again approached by invading armies.

The Eiffel Tower was one of the greatest attractions of the Exhibition
of 1889; and it remains a lasting memorial of that greatest of great
exhibitions, which, on certain Sundays and holidays, attracted as many
as 400,000 visitors. It has been calculated that it received altogether
twenty-five million visitors--or, what is not quite the same thing,
twenty-five million visits--which gives an average of 139,000 daily.
Apart from the rich and varied interest belonging to the manufactures,
the works of art, the products of all kinds, natural and artificial,
that were on view, the Exhibition possessed a high significance in a
political sense. It showed to Europe and to the world that France had
more than recovered from the calamities of the war, and that she was
once more in the very foremost rank of civilised powers. As in all
exhibitions, the scientific departments attracted less attention, and
were less frequented than the restaurants and the refreshment rooms;
though here, also, there were opportunities for study, especially for
those interested in ethnology.

Universal exhibitions have been compared to small towns, but they bear a
greater resemblance to small worlds; and this was particularly the case
with the Paris Exhibition of 1889, which was a microcosm on rather a
large scale. There was no part of the world unrepresented in its varied
departments, especially in the departments consecrated to eating and
drinking, where national dishes and beverages were served by attendants
in national costume. Here, side by side with an Algerian or Turkish
coffee-house, where Mocha of guaranteed authenticity was provided,
with narghilis, chiboucks, and Oriental cigarettes as appropriate
accompaniments, stood a Dutch tavern purveying genuine curaçoa, or a
Bavarian beerhouse. Vienna was in evidence by its so-called "cutlets"
of chopped meat, and Austria generally, together with Hungary, by
rare and characteristic wines. The Spanish Café was as remarkable
for the black mantillas, with eyes to match, of the waitresses, as
for its Malaga and its Xeres. The Danish Café was distinguished by
its kümmel, and the Swedish Café by its punch, made in the Swedish
style, and handed to the customer (also in the Swedish fashion) by
fair-haired, fresh-complexioned Swedish maidens. The Russian traktir,
taken in connection with specimens of Russian village huts, formed a
compendium of Russian popular life, in a country where the popular and
the aristocratic, often strangely opposed, are sometimes strangely
intermingled. The wooden _isbas_, with their high roofs, curiously
surmounted by semblances of horses' heads, which have not only a
picturesque, but a mystical significance--true examples of Russian
rural architecture--showed such artistic carving above the portico,
and at other points, that many a dull cynic declined to regard them as
authentic, and held them to be mere fabrications, intended to astonish
and delude the foreigner, even as Catherine II. is supposed to have been
deluded by the village panoramas got up for her benefit in desert tracts
by the ingenious Potemkin.

In England and other countries which are supposed to have attained
the highest point of civilisation, the humbler classes know nothing
of art work in connection with their daily life. But the Russian
peasant, poor and uneducated, tasting meat once, perhaps, in a
month, and living principally on black bread, salt cucumbers, dried
mushrooms, and porridge, wears a costume full of colour, a red shirt,
or a blue kaftan with a scarlet sash; and he adorns in his own rough
but picturesque fashion the house he lives in, and every article of
its modest furniture. The Russian peasant, like the peasant in other
countries, makes none too frequent a use of the towel; but every towel
that he possesses is ornamented with an embroidered fringe, worked by
women who have never studied in any sort of art school, but who have
acquired certain arts by tradition, and possibly through inherited
aptitude. The Russian peasantry are still, for the most part, ignorant
of reading and writing. But when the whole population of the Russian
Empire is sent to school its native artistic faculties will, it is to be
feared, disappear. At present the brain of the poor moujik must somehow
occupy itself during his periods of leisure; and it works for the most
part--and exclusively when he happens to be quite unlettered--through
eye and hand.

At the Russian restaurant, or traktir, such national delicacies as
caviar, dried salmon, pickled cucumbers, salt mushrooms, the ordinary
components of the Russian zakouska or præprandium, were tasted by the
visitor to the great Exhibition with less avidity than curiosity. These
excellent comestibles (only one has got to know them first) were, if the
Russian mode was followed, washed down with a glass of _vodka_; not, it
must be admitted, the ordinary _vodka_ of the Russian rural districts,
but _vodka_ of a more refined description, as swallowed (at least by
the men) at the simple preparatory lunches given immediately before
dinner at the houses of the great.


Those were wrong who, at the Russian restaurants of the Exhibition,
confined themselves to making the acquaintance of the strange
preparations offered at every well-ordered zakouska; for Russia has a
cuisine of her own well worthy of practical study--a cuisine which, like
Russian civilisation, consists partly of what is truly Russian, but
largely of what has been adapted or simply borrowed from various foreign
nations. The _stchee_, or cabbage soup, the _borsch_, or beetroot soup,
the _oukha_, or fish soup, and the _batvinia_, or iced soup of Russia,
are thoroughly national, and, except that the Poles have also an iced
soup called _cholodiec_, are not to be found in any other country. The
Russians have many solid dishes, too (such as boiled sucking-pig with
horse-radish sauce) which are quite peculiar to Russia; but, on the
other hand, they have adopted all kinds of entrées from the French,
together with various dishes of German and of Viennese origin; while
they have likewise, in the art of cookery, taken lessons from their
eastern neighbours.

Roumania, Servia, and what remains of Turkey were represented by dishes,
drinks, and graceful female figures, all intensely national. Even such
unpicturesque countries as England and America had their characteristic
refreshment places. The English bars, served by much admired English
barmaids, practised in the wiles and stratagems of casual flirtation,
had many frequenters; while the American bars, typical of a country
where women and liquor are becomingly kept apart, attracted amateurs
of all classes and from all countries. Nor must Italy be forgotten; the
land which gave to France not only its music and its drama, but also
its ices and its pastry. It is believed that in some of the cafés whose
appearance was most strikingly foreign, France was secretly represented;
for numbers of young women attired in garments of Oriental make, while
perfectly ignorant of Eastern languages, talked fluently, and often very
agreeably, in French.

[Illustration: THE TROCADÉRO.]

"Trocadéro" is the name of one of the forts which the army of the Duke
of Angoulême, operating in Spain, found it necessary to take before
advancing upon Cadiz. The stronghold in question was constructed on
an island of the same name, which, apart from walls, bastions, and
batteries, was defended against assailants by a broad canal, in which,
even at low tide, the water was four feet deep. The French approached
the Trocadéro by regular siege works, and, after completing their second
parallel, prepared to take the place by assault. The attack was made on
the 15th of August, 1823, at three o'clock in the morning, just before
daybreak, that is to say, when the Spanish garrison, trusting overmuch
to the supposed efficiency of the water defences, were by no means on
the alert. The French troops passed the water without firing a shot,
scaled the walls, turned the guns and wall-pieces against the Spaniards,
and, acting with great rapidity, were soon in possession of the fort.



The Hôtel de Ville--Its History--In 1848--The Communards.

If the Place de la Concorde, with the line of the Champs Élysées leading
from it in one direction, and that of the Rue Royale and the line of
boulevards in another, may be regarded as one of the most central points
of Paris, the administrative centre is to be found in the Hôtel de Ville
on the east side of that Place de l'Hôtel de Ville which was the heart
of ancient Paris, or at least of so much of ancient Paris as stood on
the right bank of the Seine.

The Hôtel de Ville, burnt by the Communards in 1871 as part of
their general plan of incendiarism, was historically, as well as
architecturally, one of the most interesting buildings in Paris. In
spite of the modifications and restorations which it had undergone
during the last two centuries of its existence, it never lost its
original character. The Hôtel de Ville was the palace of the burgesses
and merchants of the city, and there was a certain significance in
its situation, just opposite the palace of the kings, with whom the
representatives of the city were often, so far as they dared, in
conflict. It had witnessed, moreover, many interesting scenes. It was
always the head-quarters of insurrection so long as the struggle took
place only between the monarchy and the middle classes. It perished in a
struggle between the middle classes and the working men.

The first important part played by the Hôtel de Ville in its communal
character dates from the time of Étienne Marcel--most ambitious of
Paris mayors--in the fourteenth century. Long, however, before the
pretensions of Étienne Marcel, under the reign of the Roman emperor
Tiberius, privileged corporations existed in Paris under the name
of Nautæ Parisiaci, who did a nautical business on the banks of the
Seine. The Maison aux Piliers, where Étienne Marcel presided over the
Municipality of the period, stood on the site afterwards occupied by the
Hôtel de Ville, of which the first stone was laid by Francis I. on the
15th of July, 1533. "While the stone was being laid," says the annalist
Du Breuil, "fifes, drums, trumpets, and clarions were sounded, together
with artillery and fifty sack-butts of the town of Paris. At the same
time were rung the chimes of Saint-Jean-en-Grève, of Saint-Esprit, and
of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie. In the middle of the Grève wine was
running, and tables were furnished with bread and wine for all comers,
while cries were uttered in a loud voice by the common people: 'Vive
le Roy et messieurs de la ville!'" An account of the before-mentioned
ceremony has been left by Boccadoro.

In spite of the pompous proceedings by which the laying of the
foundation-stone was accompanied, the building of the Hôtel de Ville
was proceeded with very slowly, and during various foreign and civil
wars interrupted altogether. The south wing had been erected under Henri
II. The north wing was not completed until the reign of Louis XIII. The
building was finished during the reign of Henri IV., whose equestrian
statue by Pierre Biard marked, until the Revolution, the principal
entrance. After suffering various injuries during the wars of the
Fronde, the figure of the once popular king was, in 1793, overturned and
destroyed, to be afterwards replaced by a statue in bronze.

Early in the eighteenth century the Hôtel de Ville had been found too
small; and in 1749 it was proposed to reconstruct it on the other side
of the Seine, on the site of the Hôtel Conti, where now stands the Mint.
This project, however, met with a lively opposition on the part of
Parisians generally; and in 1770 it was decided to enlarge the existing
structure. Funds, however, were not forthcoming; and when, nineteen
years afterwards, the Revolution broke out, the Hospital, or rather
Hospice of the Holy Ghost, and the Church of Saint-Jean, suppressed as
religious establishments, were, as buildings, annexed to the Hôtel de
Ville, which they adjoined.

After the Hôtel de Ville had been destroyed in 1871 by the incendiaries
of the Commune, the statues of Charlemagne, of Francis I., and of
Louis XIV. were found in the ashes. They had shared the fate of the
equestrian figure of Henri IV. at the time of the Revolution; and they
were afterwards replaced by groups of sculpture which have no sort of
connection with the building.

The Hôtel de Ville has an interesting history of its own. In 1411
Charles VI. restored to the Paris municipality, in acknowledgment of the
courage shown by the Parisians against the English, several privileges
which had been abolished or had fallen into abeyance. Then, during the
troubles of the Armagnacs and the Burgundians, the Paris Municipality
broke into two hostile factions; but at length, from hatred of the
Armagnac party, the municipality accepted the English domination. After
the return, however, of Charles VII. and during the whole of the second
half of the fifteenth century the magistrates of the capital showed
themselves thoroughly loyal and absolutely devoted to the interests of
the monarchy.

Louis XII. and Francis I. respected and even augmented the privileges
of the Hôtel de Ville. But during the religious wars the municipality
again split up into two factions. It took part, as a whole, in the
massacre of St. Bartholomew, believing that it was thus helping to
suppress conspiracy directed against the life of the king; but it made
every effort to stop bloodshed when it understood the true character
of the infamous attack upon the Huguenots. Towards the end of the
sixteenth century the municipal officers were chosen from among the
most determined supporters of the Catholic League; in spite of which
the Hôtel de Ville made every effort to bring Henri IV. to Paris. In
his gratitude, this monarch made lavish promises to the burgesses; and
he kept them. In 1589 Henri III. had revoked all the privileges granted
by his predecessors to the burgesses of Paris. The day after his entry
into the capital Henri IV. re-established the municipal body, and gave
back to it the whole of its ancient liberties. Then it was that the
municipality resolved to place the king's statue before the principal
gate of the Hôtel de Ville.

During the reign of Louis XIII. Richelieu abolished the principle of
election which constituted the very basis of the municipal authority of
Paris. Various important offices, instead of being elective, were now
made permanent appointments under the control of the king; and from this
epoch dates the decline of the Paris municipal body. Under the ancient
_régime_ Louis XIV. deprived the Town Council of all power; and communal
liberty had disappeared in Paris when the great Revolution broke out.
Then, however, the Hôtel de Ville became once more a centre of political
activity; and it was at the Hôtel de Ville, on the eve of the taking of
the Bastille, that the discussions were held which led immediately to
the attack on the fortress-prison. The so-called "electors" of Paris,
themselves chosen the moment before from among the Paris population,
had assembled under the presidency of M. de Flesselles, provost of
the merchants, when a report was spread that he had concealed several
barrels of gunpowder in the cellars of the Hôtel de Ville. This was
looked upon as a reactionary measure intended to prevent the meditated
attack on the hated stronghold; and people rushed to the Hôtel de Ville
to distribute the powder at once and with their own hands. The Bastille
had scarcely been taken when the captors, returning to the Hôtel de
Ville, called out, "Down with De Flesselles," who, attacked in the Hall
of Assembly, escaped by a convenient door. He had scarcely, however,
got outside when he was recognised and shot dead. With the death of the
Provost de Flesselles the ancient corporation of the burgesses of Paris,
with their privileges of holding courts, commercial, civil, and even
criminal, came to an end. On its ruins was raised the Commune of Paris,
which played so terrible a part in the Revolution, and especially during
the Reign of Terror. The Hôtel de Ville has been called the "palace of
revolution," and during the last hundred years, ever since the era of
revolutions set in, it has well deserved its name. The Hôtel de Ville
served as headquarters to the Commune of Paris, and to the Committee
of Public Safety. The registers of the Commune are still preserved in
the Archives, and furnish the only authentic materials relating to the
history of the most sanguinary period of the French Revolution. Under
the Consulate and the Empire the municipal power, like the legislative
power, was abolished; and the Hôtel de Ville was now only known as the
scene from time to time of public entertainments. Crowds were in the
habit of assembling before the Hôtel de Ville to hear the victories of
Napoleon proclaimed. On the occasion of the Emperor's marriage to Marie
Louise the City of Paris revived the entertainments which it had been in
the habit of giving to the ancient kings. Napoleon expressed a desire to
present his wife to the burgesses of Paris assembled in the rooms of the
Hôtel de Ville, which from this time, as long as the Empire lasted, gave
an annual ball on the 15th of August.

The Restoration did nothing for the Hôtel de Ville. In 1830, during
the Revolution which placed Louis Philippe on the throne in lieu of
Charles X., the Hôtel de Ville was the chief object of contention
between the two parties; and it was in the Place de Grève, or Place
de l'Hôtel de Ville, as it was afterwards to be called, that the most
terrible conflict of the "three days" occurred. Taken and re-taken,
the Hôtel de Ville at last remained in the power of the insurgents;
and the tricolour flag, which for the previous fifteen years had been
looked upon as an emblem of sedition, now floated once more above
its walls. The provisional government, established there under the
inspiration of La Fayette, offered a crown to Louis Philippe. "A throne
surrounded by Republican institutions," such, in a few words, was the
celebrated "programme of the Hôtel de Ville." The throne remained,
but the Republican institutions disappeared; and Louis Philippe made
no step towards re-establishing the very institution--the Municipal
Council--which had made him king.


(_From an Engraving by Rigaud._)]

Eighteen years later another revolution was to take place; and after
the flight of Louis Philippe a provisional government was again
proclaimed--proclaimed itself, that is to say. Lamartine was at the
head of it, and without showing any aptitude for exercising power, the
celebrated writer, whose popularity had been much increased by his
recently published "History of the Girondists," delivered a number of
remarkable speeches at the Hôtel de Ville. Hating all government, a
portion of the populace forced its way into the passages and approached
the room where Lamartine was engaged with laws and proclamations, when
the hero of the hour laid down his pen, rushed towards the invading
crowd and called upon it to retire. No less than seven times did he
repeat his adjurations to the mob, till, at last, some "man of the
people," foreseeing that the republic about to be established would not
be of the "red" hue desired by the extreme Revolutionists, called him a
traitor and demanded his head.

[Illustration: ATTACK ON THE HÔTEL DE VILLE, 1830.]

"My head!" replied Lamartine. "Would to heaven that every one of you had
it on his shoulders. You would then be calmer and more reasonable,
and the Revolution would be accomplished with less difficulty." The
day had been won, but the battle was to begin again on the morrow; and
now once more Lamartine stilled the troubled waters by a few eloquent
phrases. The question had been raised whether the tricolour flag, or the
red flag of the Reign of Terror, should be adopted. Lamartine traced
the history of both; and the crowd, carried away by the warmth of his
oratory, decided with acclamation that the flag of the new republic must
be the flag of the early days of the great Revolution, the flag under
which the great battles of the Consulate and the Empire had been gained.
It will be remembered that when, in 1789, a leaf torn from a tree of
the Palais Royal by Camille Desmoulins was made a sign of recognition,
green was on the point of being adopted for the new national flag. It
was rejected, however, when someone pointed out that green was the
colour of the Artois family; and thereupon blue and red, the colours
of the town of Paris, were assumed, to which, out of compliment to the
monarchy, favourable in the first instance to the claims of the people,
white, the colour of the French kings, was added. Thus the tricolour
flag became the flag of the Revolution, as, during successive changes of
government, it was equally the flag of the Consulate and the Empire. At
the Restoration the Monarchy committed the grave fault of re-introducing
the white flag of the ancient _régime_, which Louis Philippe had the
good sense to replace by the Republican and Imperial tricolour.


When in June, 1848, the insurrection of unemployed workmen broke out,
demanding, in the words of certain insurgents at Lyons, "bread or
bullets," the Hôtel de Ville became once more an object of contest
between the opposing forces; but the supporters of the Democratic and
Socialistic Republic were to be defeated, and the Hôtel de Ville did
not, during the terrible days of June, change hands. As long as the
Republic lasted--less than four years--the municipal institutions
showed signs of vitality, which, however, were to disappear on the
_coup d'état_ of December 2nd, 1851; and throughout the second Empire
the Hôtel de Ville was occupied, in lieu of an independent Municipal
Council, by a sort of consultative commission without mandate and
without authority, attached to the Prefect in order to verify his
accounts with closed eyes. By way of compensation, however, the Hôtel
de Ville was encouraged to give balls, to which the chief of the State
accorded his gracious patronage. It was at the Hôtel de Ville that the
Prefect of the Seine, M. Berger, entertained Queen Victoria, and that
his successor, Baron Haussman, received in like manner the Emperor of
Russia, while proposing to extend his hospitality to the Sultan. The
reception of the Emperor Alexander II. did not pass off without an
incident which caused a very painful impression at the time, and which
the French would, now more than ever, gladly forget; for as the Tsar was
about to enter the Hôtel de Ville he was saluted with cries of "Vive la

If the ball given in honour of the Emperor Alexander was marred by a
mere exclamation, the one which it had been proposed to offer to the
Sultan of Turkey was stopped by a tragic event. News had suddenly
arrived of the execution of the Emperor Maximilian. Thus was marked the
failure of the Emperor Napoleon's Mexican policy; and thus disappeared
for ever his fantastic dreams of a confederation of Latin, or Latinised,
or Latin-influenced nations, under the patronage of France. Up to this
time Napoleon III. had been marching from one success to another.
The turning point in his career had been reached, and the failure in
Mexico was to be followed by failures in every direction. The ball in
honour of the Sultan having been abandoned, it was nevertheless thought
necessary to give him some idea of what it would have been had it really
taken place. Accordingly the Hôtel de Ville was lighted up, and the
Commander of the Faithful was escorted through the deserted ball-rooms
and saloons, the officer appointed to accompany him explaining, as he
passed from one apartment to another, "Here you would have seen the high
functionaries of State in their uniforms with full decorations; here
most of the dancing would have taken place, and you would have been
enraptured by the sight of beautiful women in the most charming dresses;
here would have been the orchestra, the best in Paris, and probably in
the whole world." This strange jest must have reminded the Sultan of one
of the most famous books in the Mahometan world, that "Thousand and One
Nights," with its tale of an honoured guest to whom a dinner without
viands was offered.

Some months later the Hôtel de Ville was the scene of a grand dinner
given in honour of the Emperor of Austria, brother of the unfortunate
Maximilian. Here, for the first time in modern history, privileged
guests were admitted by invitation cards to galleries, from which the
spectacle of two sovereigns dining together could be enjoyed. Burton, in
his "Anatomy of Melancholy," recommends the sight of two kings engaged
in single combat as a cure for atrabiliousness. It was probably as an
improvement on Burton's remedy, so difficult to procure, that a private
view of two Emperors sitting together at table was offered to a favoured

After the breakdown of the Second Empire and the flight of the Empress
from Paris, the Government of National Defence, consisting of all the
Paris Deputies, had its head-quarters at the Hôtel de Ville; and here,
when the so-called government had given place to the Central Committee,
and the Central Committee to the Commune, the last-named body held
its deliberations. In 1875 the Hôtel de Ville was reconstructed, with
certain modifications and amplifications, on the lines of the ancient
one, burned down by the Communards. The new edifice contains either
in niches, or on external pinnacles, rather more than 100 statues,
reproducing the features of all kinds of celebrities, the whole of them
belonging to France, with the single exception of Cortone, born in
Italy. The collection includes the architects of the original building,
some of the most famous merchant-provosts, mayors of Paris, prefects of
the Seine, and municipal councillors, among whom may be mentioned Michel
Lallier, who delivered Paris from the English, François Miron, and
Pierre Viole. Literature, the stage, and music are largely represented
in the effigies of Beaumarchais, Béranger, Boileau, F. Halévy, Hérold,
Marivaux, Molière, Picard, Alfred de Musset, Charles Perrault, Quinault,
Regnard, George Sand, Scribe, etc.; nor have architecture, sculpture,
painting, and the industrial arts been forgotten in this spacious
Walhalla, where are found the statues of Boucher, Boulle (known among
Englishmen, in connection with various kinds of inlaid work, as "Bühl,")
Chardin, Corot, Daubigny, Louis David, Eugène Delacroix, Decamps,
Firmin Didot, the well-known printer, Jean Goujon, Gros, Lancret, Le
Brun, Le Nôtre, Pierre Lescot, Lesueur, Mansard, Germain Pilon, Henri
Regnault, Théodore Rousseau, Horace Vernet, etc. Mingled with the
writers, composers, painters, sculptors, and architects, are statesmen
and historians such as Cardinal de Richelieu, the Marquis d'Argenson,
the Duke de Saint-Simon, De Thou, Pierre de l'Estoile, and Michelet. Two
illustrious tragedians figure in this chosen company, Lekain and Talma.

The new Hôtel de Ville has been furnished with magnificence and good
taste. The staircases are very fine, but the essentially modern
character of the internal arrangements is sufficiently shown by the
lifts which work between the basement and the upper storeys.


On the side of the Hôtel de Ville looking towards the river are the
private apartments of the Prefect of the Seine, who performs the
functions of Mayor of Paris. In the left wing sit the clerks, engaged
in duties as complicated as those of a Ministerial bureau, and here
also is the hall in which the sittings of the Municipal Council are
held. The prefectorial functions are divided between two prefects: the
Prefect of the Seine, whose duties are exclusively administrative; and
the Prefect of Police, who attends not only to the Police of Paris, but,
in a general way, to Police matters throughout the country. The finances
of the city or town of Paris ("ville de Paris" is its traditional,
historic name) are regulated, under the authority of the Prefect of
the Seine, by a Municipal Council composed of eighty members elected
on universal suffrage, four members for each _arrondissement_, or one
for each _quartier_. These eighty councillors form the Council-General
of the Seine, whose principal duty it is to prepare the budget of the
department. They are forbidden to occupy themselves in any manner
with politics. Though the prefects of the various departments are not
supposed in France to exercise political functions, they are really
political officers--that is to say, they are appointed by the Central
Government, and frequently, though in many cases secretly, do the work
of political agents. During the invasion of 1870 they were regarded as
political officers, and everywhere retired as the invaders advanced;
the mayors meanwhile, as municipal officers, everywhere remaining. It
has been said that the duties of the Prefecture of Paris are shared by
the Prefect of the Seine and the Prefect of Police, and that the former
conducts his business at the Hôtel de Ville. His associate, though
connected with the Hôtel de Ville, has his establishment, with its
various bureaux, at the Palais de Justice in the "Cité."

The island of the Cité, the ancient Lutetia, the cradle of modern Paris,
has possessed from time immemorial, and certainly from the first years
of the Roman conquest, a religious edifice, first a Pagan temple and
afterwards a Christian church, on the western extremity of the Parisian
island; while the eastern extremity has been always occupied by a palace
reserved for the Government, and for the administration of justice.

[Illustration: ÎLE ST. LOUIS.]



The _Palais de Justice_--Its Historical Associations--Disturbances in
Paris--Successive Fires--During the Revolution--The Administration of
Justice--The _Sainte-Chapelle_.

Next to Notre-Dame the most interesting edifice in the island of the
City, at the corner of the Quai de l'Horloge, is the Palais de Justice,
which dates from the time of the Romans. So much at least has been
inferred, apart from the tradition on the subject, from the fact that
when some years ago the building was reconstructed, Roman remains were
discovered in the foundations. All, however, that can be affirmed with
historical certainty as to the origin of the Palace is that towards the
end of the ninth century it existed in the form of a fortress, and was
the residence of the Frankish kings of the second race. It played an
important part in the defence of Paris against the Normans invading the
city by water from Rouen and the lower Seine. At the Palais de Justice
lived the Counts of Paris, and afterwards the kings of the line which
came to an end with the unfortunate "Louis Capet" (as in Revolutionary
parlance he was called) who lost his head beneath the guillotine.

Louis le Gros, the protector of the Communes, died at the Palace in
1137. Philip Augustus, while undertaking the entire reconstruction of
the Château du Louvre, made the Palace his habitual residence, and it
was there that he married Ingelburga, sister of Canute, King of Denmark.
Under the reign of this monarch, the court or tribunal of the King
received for the first time the name of Parliament, its functions being
to discuss and decide questions submitted to it by the Sovereign, and
to pronounce on the illegality or legality of certain acts. In these
days the royal residence was not luxuriously furnished, hay doing duty
for carpet during the winter, and a matting of weeds during the summer.
These primitive coverings of the palatial floors were given by Philip
Augustus to the hospital known as the Hôtel-Dieu whenever the Court left

The King's Palace was called the Palace of Justice from the fact that
here the Sovereign held Court, and decided the cases submitted to him
by his subjects, sometimes with, sometimes without, the assistance of
the before-mentioned Parliament. Here, too, St. Louis formed in a hall
adjoining the Holy Chapel a library, in which he collected copies of all
valuable manuscripts placed at his disposal. This library was open to
learned and studious men, with whom the king loved to converse.

Philip the Fair enlarged the Palace; and under his reign the Parliament,
formerly styled "ambulatory," became sedentary: it no longer, that is to
say, followed the king in his journeys from one residence to another.
The members of Parliament had lodgings assigned to them in that part of
the building now occupied by the prison of the Conciergerie. Under the
reign of Charles V. the first great clock that had ever been seen in
France was placed in a square tower on the quay; whence the name "Quai
de l'Horloge."

It was in the Palais de Justice that Charles VI. received the Greek
Emperor, Manuel Palæologus, and the Emperor Sigismund, King of Hungary.
A strange incident happened in connection with the visit of the latter
sovereign. He had expressed a desire to witness the pleading of a case
before the Parliament, and at the beginning of the process astonished
everyone by taking the seat reserved for the King of France. One of the
parties to the suit was about to lose his action on the ground that he
was not a nobleman, whereupon, in a spirit of equity and chivalry, not
appreciated by the assembly, Sigismund rose from his seat, and calling
to him the pleader, who, from no fault of his own, was getting defeated,
made him a knight; which completely changed the aspect of affairs, and
enabled the man who was in the right to gain his case.

It was at the Palace of Justice that the marriage of Henry V. of England
with Catherine of France, daughter of Charles VI., was celebrated. Here,
too, Henry VI., King of England, resided at the time of his coronation
as King of France. Under the reign of Charles VII. certain clerks,
"_les clercs de la basoche_," obtained permission to represent "farces
and moralities" in the great banqueting hall, an immense marble table
at one of the extremities of the hall serving as stage. According to a
writer of the time, this table was "so long, so broad, and so thick,
that no sheet of marble so thick, so broad, and so long was ever known
elsewhere." The morality of the so-called "moralities" seems to have
been more than doubtful; for after a time they were stopped by reason of
their alleged impropriety. This was in 1476.

Soon, however, the clerks attached to the Palace of Justice reappeared
on the marble table; when they again got themselves into trouble
by satirising the Government of Charles VIII., and even Charles
himself. Several of the authors and actors concerned in the piece were
imprisoned, and were only liberated at the instance of the Bishop of
Paris, who claimed for them "benefit of clergy."

The clerks of the tribunals and the students of the university were,
in those days, troublesome folk. The students have always formed an
exceptional class in Paris. Unlike the university students in England,
they live in the capital, are exposed to its temptations, and take part
in its struggles.

During the present century in commotions and insurrections they have
always been on the popular side. In former times, however, they formed
a party in themselves; and the students of Paris would engage with the
citizens in formidable contests, which, with exaggerated features,
resembled the "town and gown" rows of which our own universities have so
often been the scene.

"In the year 1200," says the author of "Singularités Historiques," "a
German gentleman studying at Paris sent his servant to a tavern to buy
some wine. The servant was maltreated, whereupon the German students
came to the aid of their fellow-countryman, and served the wine-dealer
so roughly that they left him nearly dead. The townspeople now came
to avenge the tavern-keeper; and, taking up arms, attacked the house
of the German gentleman and his fellow-countrymen. There was great
excitement throughout the town. The German gentleman and five students
of his nation were killed. The Provost of Paris, Thomas by name, had
been at the head of the Parisians in this onslaught; and the heads of
the schools made a complaint on the subject to King Philip, who, without
waiting for any further information, arrested the provost and several of
his adherents, demolished their houses, tore up their vines and their
fruit-trees, and fearing lest all the foreign students should desert
Paris, issued a decree for the protection of the schools and those
who frequented them. Thomas, for having incited instead of preventing
disorder, was condemned to perpetual imprisonment."

In 1221 the students of the university, encouraged by the privileges
granted to them by Philip Augustus, gave themselves up to all kinds
of excesses, carrying away women and committing outrages, thefts,
and murders; whereupon Bishop Guillaume pronounced excommunication
against all who went about by night or day with arms. As the decree
of excommunication produced little effect, the bishop caused the most
seditious to be put in prison, and drove the others out of the town,
thus re-establishing tranquillity.

In 1223 a violent quarrel and disturbance broke out between the scholars
and the inhabitants. Three hundred and twenty students were killed and
thrown into the Seine. Several professors went to the Pope to complain
of so cruel a persecution; and some of them withdrew, with their
students, from the capital. Paris was interdicted; and its schools,
so superior to those of the other towns of France, remained without
professors or scholars, and were closed.

During the thirteenth century there was as much credulity and fanaticism
as there was anarchy in Paris. This was fully shown when a new sect,
composed entirely of priests, declared itself. Its members denied the
Real Presence, looked upon most of the ceremonies of the Church as
useless, and ridiculed the worship of saints and relics. They addressed
themselves particularly to women, persuading them that nothing they did
was sinful so long as it was done from charity.

An ecclesiastic named Amaury, the chief of this sect, set forth his
doctrine to the Pope, who condemned it. Amaury, it is said, died of
grief, and was buried in the cemetery of St. Nicholas-in-the-Fields.
The disciples he left behind him were nearly all ecclesiastics, or
professors of the University of Paris. There was, however, one goldsmith
among them, who, we are assured, uttered prophecies.

To discover the members of this sect a stratagem was employed. Raoul
de Nemours and another priest pretended to share the opinions of the
heretics, that they might afterwards denounce them. The offenders were
then arrested and taken to the Place des Champeaux, when three bishops
and doctors in theology deprived them of their degrees, and condemned
them to be burnt alive. Fourteen of the unhappy men underwent this
frightful punishment and supported it with courage. Four were excepted
and condemned to perpetual imprisonment. The execution took place on the
21st of October, 1210.

[Illustration: THE QUAI DE L'HORLOGE.]

The bishops and doctors, assembled in council to pronounce judgment,
condemned at the same time two books of Aristotle on metaphysics;
and after delivering them over to the flames forbade all persons to
transcribe them, read them, or "retain the contents in their memory"
under pain of excommunication.

Under Louis XII. the irrepressible clerks of the Basoche ridiculed the
sovereign as the personification of Avarice. The king was urged to treat
the presumptuous young men as his predecessors had often done. "Let them
play in all freedom," he replied. "Let them speak as they will of me and
my Court. If they notice abuses why should they not point them out, when
so many persons, reputed sage, are unwilling to do so?"

After the death of Louis XII. the representations of the clerks were
subjected to a more and more severe censorship; and towards the end
of the sixteenth century the Theatre of the Marble Table was given up

To pass to the reign of Francis I., it was at the Palais de Justice
that this monarch received the challenge from the Emperor Charles
V. His successors took up their residence in the Louvre, abandoning
altogether the ancient palace, which was now occupied exclusively by
the Law Courts. In 1618 a great portion of the building was destroyed
by fire; and it was only by incurring great personal risk that the
Registrar succeeded in saving the records of the Parliament. The fire
was generally attributed to accomplices, real or supposed, of Ravaillac,
the assassin of Henri IV. Although Ravaillac had declared himself
solely responsible for the murder, and had received absolution only on
condition of his swearing solemnly to the truth of his declaration,
the police seemed resolved to implicate a number of other persons; and
when a certain amount of evidence had been collected against them the
suspected ones thought it judicious (so the story ran) to destroy all
that had been written down against them. All the most characteristic,
the most picturesque part of the building was destroyed, including the
large hall lighted solely through windows of coloured glass, in which
stood the statues of the Kings of France. Charles VII. had cut, with a
chisel, the English King's face; and it was only by these mutilations
that the statue of Henry VI. was recognised among the ruins. The famous
marble table at the western extremity of the hall had been damaged
beyond remedy by the flames. At the eastern extremity, the Chapel of
Louis XI., in which that devout but treacherous monarch was represented
kneeling to the Virgin, had been entirely destroyed.


Nearly all that remained of the ancient palace was the prison or
"conciergerie," where Montgomery, who by mishap had slain his king in a
tournament, and, at a later period, Damiens of the Four Horses had been
confined. The tower of the conciergerie was for a long time called the
Montgomery Tower.

Besides the conciergerie, the hall known as the Salle des Pas Perdus and
the so-called "Kitchen of Saint-Louis," with an immense chimney-piece in
each of the four corners, formed part of the ancient building.

In 1776 the Palais de Justice again took fire, and again was in great
part reconstructed. In 1835, under Louis Philippe, the Town of Paris
decided to enlarge it, and the plan by M. Huyot, the architect, was
adopted by the Municipal Council in 1840. The royal sanction was then
obtained; but Louis Philippe did not remain long enough on the throne
to see the work of construction terminated. The Republican Government
of 1848 stopped the building; and it was only under the Second Empire
in 1854 that it was resumed, to be completed in 1868. More important by
far than the re-alterations, additions, and reconstructions of which the
Palais de Justice has in successive centuries been made the subject have
been the changes in the French law, and in various matters connected
with its administration. Up to the time of the Revolution citizens were
arrested in the most arbitrary manner on mere suspicion, and imprisoned
for an indefinite time without being able to demand justice in any form.
Some half a dozen years before the uprising of 1789 the king had decreed
that no one should be arrested except on a definite accusation; but the
order was habitually set at nought.

The Palais de Justice of the present day occupies about one third of
the total surface of the Cité. Enclosed on the east by the Boulevard
du Palais, on the west by the Rue de Harlay, on the north by the Quai
de l'Horloge, and on the south by the Quai des Orfèvres, it forms a
quadrilateral mass in which all styles are opposed and confused, from
the feudal towers of the Quai de l'Horloge to the new buildings begun
in Napoleon III.'s reign, but never completed. To the left of this
strange agglomeration the air is pierced by the graceful spire of the
Sainte-Chapelle, admirable monument of the piety and of the art of the
middle ages.

Some portions of the ancient Palace of Justice are preserved in the
modern edifice, but only the substructures, as, for instance, in the
northern buildings facing the Seine. The principal gate, and the central
pavilion with its admirable façade at the bottom of the courtyard
opening on to the Boulevard du Palais, were constructed under the reign
of Louis XVI. The northern portion, from the clock tower, at the corner
of the quay, to the third tower behind, has been restored or rebuilt in
the course of the last thirty years. All the rest of the building is
absolutely new.

The clock tower, a fine specimen of the military architecture of the
fourteenth century, was furnished in 1370 by order of Charles V. with
the first large clock that had been seen in Paris, the work of a German,
called in France Henri de Vic. To this clock the northern quay owes
its name of "Quai de l'Horloge du Palais" or "Quai de l'Horloge." The
bell suspended in the upper part of the tower is said to have sounded
the signal for the massacre of the Protestants on the eve of St.
Bartholomew's Day, August 24, 1572; a doubtful honour, which is also
claimed for the bell of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois.

The Palais de Justice, as it now exists, possesses a threefold
character--legal, administrative, and punitive. Here cases are tried,
here the Prefect of Police performs the multifarious duties of his
office, and here criminals are imprisoned. Of the various law courts the
Palais de Justice contains five: the Court of Cassation, in which appeal
cases are finally heard on questions of form, but of form only; the
Court of Appeal, the Court of Assizes, the Tribunal of First Instance,
and the Tribunal of Police. These fill the halls of the immense building.

The Court of Cassation, divided into three chambers, counts forty-eight
counsellors, a first president, three presidents of chamber, a
procurator-general, six advocates-general, a registrar-in-chief, four
ordinary registrars, three secretaries of the court, a librarian,
eight ushers, and a receiver of registrations and fines; altogether
seventy-seven persons. The Court of Appeal, divided into seven chambers,
is composed of a first president, seven presidents of chamber,
sixty-four counsellors, a procurator-general, seven advocates-general,
eleven substitutes attached to the court, a registrar-in-chief, and
fourteen ordinary registrars; altogether 106 persons. The number of
officials and clerks employed in the Tribunal of First Instance is
still greater. Divided into eleven chambers, the tribunal comprises
one president, eleven vice-presidents, sixty-two judges, and fifteen
supplementary judges, a public prosecutor, twenty-six substitutes,
a registrar-in-chief, and forty-five clerks of registration. As for
the Police Court, it is presided over in turn by each of the twenty
magistrates of Paris, two Commissaries of Police doing duty as
assessors. With the addition of two registrars and a secretary the
entire establishment consists of six persons. The entire number of
judges, magistrates, registrars, and secretaries employed at the Palais
de Justice amounts to 351; without counting a floating body of some
hundreds of barristers, solicitors, ushers, and clerks, thronging like a
swarm of black ants a labyrinth of staircases, corridors, and passages.
Yet the Palais de Justice, constantly growing, is still insufficient for
the multiplicity of demands made upon it.

The history of the Palais de Justice is marked by the fires in which it
has from time to time been burned down. The first of these broke out on
the night of the 5th of March, 1618, when the principal hall and most
of the buildings adjoining it were destroyed. The second, which took
place on the 27th of October, 1737, consumed the buildings forming the
Chamber of Accounts, situated at the bottom of the courtyard of the
Sainte-Chapelle--an edifice of surpassing beauty, constructed in the
fifteenth century by Jean Joconde, a monk of the Order of Saint Dominic.

The third fire declared itself during the night of January 10, 1776,
in the hall known as the Prisoners' Gallery, from which it spread to
all the central buildings. In this conflagration perished the old
Montgomery Tower. The last of the fires in which so many portions of
the Palais de Justice have turn by turn succumbed, was lighted by order
of the insurgent Commune on the 24th of May, 1871, when the troops from
Versailles were entering Paris. The principal hall, the prison, the old
towers with all the civil and criminal archives (in the destruction of
the latter the insurgents may have been specially interested) were all

These repeated catastrophes, together with numerous restorations, have
left standing but very little of the ancient Palais de Justice. The
central pavilion, reconstructed under Louis XVI. in accordance with
the plans of the architect Desmaisons, is connected with two galleries
of historical interest, on one side with the Galerie Mercière, on
the other with the Galerie Marchande. The names of "Mercière" and
"Marchande" recall the time when the galleries so named, as well as
the principal hall and the outer walls of the palace, were occupied
by stalls and booths in which young and pretty shop-girls sold all
sorts of fashionable and frivolous trifles, such as ribbons, bows, and
embroideries. Here, too, new books were offered for sale. Here Claude
Barbin and his rivals sold to the patrons and patronesses of the stage
the latest works of Corneille, Molière, and Racine. Here appointments of
various kinds were made, but especially of one kind.

The Palace Gallery, or Galerie du Palais, was the great meeting-place
for the fashionable world until only a few years before the great
Revolution, when it was deserted for the Palais Royal. Some of its
little shops continued to live a meagre life until the reign of Louis
Philippe. Now everything of the kind has disappeared, with the exception
of two privileged establishments where "toques" and togas--in plain
English, caps and gowns--can be bought, or even hired, by barristers
attending the "palace."

The entrance to the central building is from the Galerie Mercière,
through a portico supported by Ionic columns, and surmounted by the arms
of France. The visitor reaches a broad, well-lighted staircase, where,
half-way up, stands in a niche an impressive statue of Law, the work of
Gois, bearing in one hand a sceptre, and in the other the Book of the
Law, inscribed with the legend "In legibus salus."


The grand staircase of the Palais leads through a waiting-room, which
serves also as a library, to the three first chambers of the Court of
Appeal. The rooms are of a becomingly severe aspect. The walls are
painted a greenish grey, of one uniform tint. The tribunal is sometimes
oblong, sometimes in horse-shoe form. On the right sits the assessor
representing the Minister of Justice, on the left the registrar on duty.
In the "parquet," or enclosure beneath the tribunal, is the table of the
usher, who calls the next case, executes the president's behests, and
maintains order in the court, exclaiming "Silence, gentlemen," with the
traditional voice and accent.

The "parquet" is shut in by a balustrade technically known as the bar,
on which lean the advocates as they deliver their speeches. The space
furnished with benches which is reserved for them, and where plaintiff
and defendant may also sit, is enclosed by a second bar, designed to
keep off the public properly so-called, and prevent it from pressing too
closely upon the court. There is no witness-box in a French court. The
witness stands in the middle of the court and recites, often in a speech
that has evidently been prepared beforehand, all he knows about the case
under trial.


Such is the general disposition of all the assize chambers in the Palais
de Justice. Some, however, present features of their own. The first
chamber, for instance, contains a magnificent Calvary, by Van Eyck; one
of the rare objects of art which survive from the ancient ornamentation
of the palace. On the centre of the picture, rising like a dome between
two side panels, is the Saviour on the Cross. On His right is the Virgin
supported by two holy women, by Saint John the Baptist and by Saint
Louis, graced with the exact features of King Charles VII., under whose
reign this masterpiece was executed. On the left are Saint John the
Evangelist, Saint Denis, and Saint Charlemagne. Above the head of our
Lord are the Holy Ghost and the Eternal Father surrounded by angels,
while the background is occupied by a landscape less real than curious;
for it represents the City of Jerusalem, the Tower of Nesle, the Louvre,
and the Gothic buildings of the Palais de Justice. This work, by the
great painter of Bruges, executed in the early part of the fifteenth
century, was formerly in the Principal Hall of the Parliament, beneath
the portrait of Louis XII., which the people (whose "father" he claimed
to be) destroyed in 1793. The portion of the building which contains the
three first chambers of the court--behind the portico opening on to the
Galerie Mercière--escaped the fire of 1776. Its lateral and southern
façade, turned towards the courtyard of the Sainte-Chapelle, is pierced
with lofty windows, sculptured in the Renaissance style. It must have
been constructed under the Valois, or under the reign of Henri IV. But
it is difficult to ascertain its early history, for but few writers have
given much attention to the subject.

[Illustration: THE PALAIS DE JUSTICE.]


The fifth, sixth, and seventh chambers of the Court of Appeal are all
entered from the Galerie Marchande; while the fourth chamber stands in
the north-east corner of the said gallery. On the left of the Galerie
Mercière is the famous Salle des Pas Perdus, seventy-four metres
long and twenty-eight broad. This is the great entrance hall to the
courts generally. Why it should be called "Salle des Pas Perdus" is
not evident, though the name may be due either to the "lost steps"
of litigants bringing or defending actions without result, or, more
probably, to the "lost steps" of those who walk wearily to and fro
for an indefinite time, vainly expecting their case to be called
on. Whatever the derivation of its name, the Salle des Pas Perdus
is considered one of the finest halls in Europe. Twice has it been
destroyed by fire and twice rebuilt. The first large hall of the palace,
as it was at that time called, was built under Philip the Fair and
finished towards 1313. It was adorned successively with the statues
of the kings of France from Pharamond to Francis I.; the successful
ones being represented with their hands raised to heaven in token of
thanksgiving, the unfortunate ones with head and hands lowered towards
the ground. The most celebrated ornament of the large hall was the
immense marble table of which ample mention has already been made.

After the fire of 1618 (in which the table split into several pieces,
still preserved in the vaults of the palace) a new hall on the same
site, and of the same dimensions as the old one, was built by Jacques
Desbrosses, which was burnt in 1871 by the Commune, to be promptly
rebuilt by MM. Duc Dommey and Daumet.

The seven civil chambers of the tribunal are entered through the Salle
des Pas Perdus, either from the ground floor or from the upper storey,
which is reached by two staircases. This portion of the palace was
partly reconstructed in 1853 under the reign of Napoleon III., Baron
Haussmann being Prefect of the Seine. The fact is recorded on a marble
slab let into one of the walls. In the middle of the south part of
the Salle des Pas Perdus, a marble monument was raised in 1821 to
Malesherbes, the courageous advocate who defended Louis XVI. at the bar
of the Convention. The monument comprises the statue of Malesherbes
with figures of France and Fidelity by his side. On the pedestal are
low reliefs, representing the different phases of the memorable trial.
The statues are by Cortot, the illustrative details by Bosio. The Latin
inscription engraved on the pedestal was composed by Louis XVIII.,
in whose reign the monument was executed and placed in its present
position. This king, who translated Horace and otherwise distinguished
himself as a Latinist, is the author of more than one historical
inscription in the Latin language, and he commemorated by this means,
not only the heroism of Malesherbes, who defended Louis XVI. at the
trial, but also the piety of the Abbé Edgeworth, who accompanied him to
the scaffold.

Towards the end of the hall, on the other side, is the statue of
Berryer, which, according to M. Vitu, is "the homage paid to eloquence
considered as the auxiliary of justice." In the north-east corner of the
Hall of Lost Steps, to the left of Berryer's monument, is the entrance
to the first chamber, once the bed-chamber of Saint Louis, and which,
reconstructed with great magnificence by Louis XII. for his marriage
with Mary of England, daughter of King Henry VII., took the name of the
Golden Room. It afterwards played an important part in the annals of the
Parliament of Paris. Here Marshal de Biron was condemned to death on the
28th of July, 1602. Here a like sentence was pronounced against Marshal
d'Ancre on the 8th of July, 1617. Here the kings of France held their
Bed of Justice, solidly built up at the bottom of the hall in the right
corner, and composed of a lofty pile of cushions, covered with blue
velvet, in which golden fleurs de lis were worked. Here, finally, on the
3rd of May, 1788, the Marquis d'Agoult, commanding three detachments of
French Guards, Swiss Guards, Sappers, and Cavalry, entered to arrest
Counsellors d'Épréménil and Goislard, when the president, surrounded by
150 magistrates and seventeen peers of France, every one wearing the
insignia of his dignity, called upon him to point out the two inculpated
members, and exclaimed: "We are all d'Épréménil and Goislard! What crime
have they committed?"

A resolution had been obtained from the Parliament declaring that the
nation alone had the right to impose taxes through the States-General.
This resolution and the scene which followed were the prelude to the
French Revolution. Four years later there was no longer either monarch
or parliament, French Guards or Swiss Guards. The great chamber of the
palace had become the "Hall of Equality," where, on the 17th of April,
1792, was established the first Revolutionary Tribunal, to be replaced
on the 10th of May, 1793, by the criminal tribunal extraordinary; which
was reorganised on the 26th of September by a decree which contained
this phrase, still more extraordinary than the tribunal itself: "A
defender is granted by law to calumniated patriots, but refused to
conspirators." Here were arraigned--one cannot say tried--that same
d'Épréménil who had proclaimed the rights of the nation, and Barnave,
the Girondists, the Queen of France, Mme. Élizabeth, Danton, Camille
Desmoulins, Chaumette, Hébert, and Fabre d'Églantine; then, one after
the other, the Robespierres, with Couthon, Collot d'Herbois, Saint-Just,
Henriot, and Fouquier-Tinville--altogether 2,742 victims, whose 2,742
heads fell into the red basket either on the former Place Louis
XV., which had become the Place de la Révolution and was afterwards
to be known as the Place de la Concorde, or on the Place du Trône.
The numbered list, which used to be sent out, like a newspaper, to
subscribers, has been preserved. It began with the slaughter of the 26th
of August, 1792, in which La Porte, intendant of the civil list, the
journalist Durozoi, and the venerable Jacques Cazotte, author of "Le
Diable Amoureux," lost their heads.

Cazotte had kept up a long correspondence with Ponteaux, secretary
of the civil list, and had sent him several plans for the escape of
the Royal Family, together with suggestions, from his point of view
invaluable, for crushing the revolution. The letters were seized at
the house of the intendant of the civil list, the before-mentioned
La Porte; and thereupon Cazotte was arrested. His daughter Elizabeth
followed him to prison; and they were both at the Abbaye during the
atrocious massacres of September. The unhappy young girl had been
separated from her father since the beginning of the executions, and
she now thought only of rejoining him either to save his life or to
die with him. Suddenly she heard him call out, and then hurried down a
staircase in the midst of a jingle of arms. Before there was time to
arrest him she rushed towards him, reached him, threw her arms around
him, and so moved the terrible judges by her daughterly affection that
they were completely disarmed. Not only was the old man spared, but he
and his heroic daughter were sent back with a guard of honour to their
home. Soon afterwards, however, the father was again arrested, and
brought before the revolutionary tribunal. On the advice of the counsel
defending him, he denied the competence of the court on the plea of
_autrefois acquit_. It was ruled, however, that the court was dealing
with new facts, and the judges had indeed simply to apply the decree
pronounced against those who had taken part in preparing the repression
of the 10th of August. The evidence against Cazotte was only too clear,
and he was condemned to death; which suggested the epigram that "Judges
struck where executioners had spared."

But these very judges, bound by inflexible laws, could not refuse the
expression of their pity and esteem to the unhappy old man. While
condemning him to death they rendered homage to his honesty and his
courage. "Why," exclaimed the public accuser, "after a virtuous life of
seventy-two years, must you now be declared guilty? Because it is not
sufficient to be a good husband and a good father; because one must also
be a good citizen." The President of the Court, in pronouncing sentence,
said with gravity and emotion: "Old man, regard the approach of death
without fear. It has no power to alarm you. It can have no terrors for
such a man as you."

Cazotte ascended with fortitude the steps of the scaffold, and
exclaimed, before lowering his head: "I die as I have lived, faithful
to my God and to my king." The last victim of the 2,472 was Coffinhal,
vice-president of the Revolutionary Tribunal, and member of the
Council-General of the Paris Commune.

No show of equity, no imitation even of judicial forms, gave colour to
these bloody sacrifices. Most of the victims, condemned beforehand,
were brought to the prison of the Conciergerie at eight in the morning,
led before the tribunal at two, and executed at four. A printing office
established in a room adjoining the court was connected with the latter
by an opening in the wall, through which notes and documents relating
to the case before the tribunal were passed; and often the sentence was
composed, printed, and hawked for sale in the streets before being read
to the victims.

"You disgrace the guillotine!" said Robespierre one day to
Fouquier-Tinville, the public accuser.

Of this historic hall nothing now remains but the four walls. Still,
however, may be seen the little door of the staircase which Marie
Antoinette ascended to appear before the revolutionary jury, and which
she afterwards descended on the way to her dungeon.

The Galerie Saint-Louis is the name given to the ancient gallery
connected with the Galerie Marchande, its name being justified by the
various forms in which incidents from the life of Saint Louis are
represented on its walls. Here, in sculptured and coloured wood, is the
effigy of Saint Louis, close to the open space where, when centuries ago
it was a garden, the pious king was wont to imitate, and sometimes to
render, justice beneath the spreading trees. One of the bureaux in the
Palais de Justice contains an alphabetical list of all the sentences
passed, by no matter what court, against any person born in one of the
districts of Paris or of the department of the Seine. This record,
contemplated by Napoleon I., was established in 1851 by M. Rouher, at
that time Minister of Justice. The list is kept strictly secret; nor is
any extract permitted except on the requisition of a magistrate, or on
the application of one of the persons sentenced, requiring it in his own


The Bureau of "Judicial Assistance," dating from 1851, enables any
indigent person to plead _in formâ pauperis_, whether as plaintiff or
defendant. Nor is he obliged to plead in person. Not only stamped paper,
but solicitors, barristers, and every legal luxury are supplied to
him gratuitously. It is at the expense of the lawyers that the pauper
litigant is relieved.

Two curious bureaux connected with the Palais de Justice are those
in which are kept, sealed up and divided into series indicated by
different colours, objects of special value taken from persons brought
before the court, or voluntarily deposited by them; together with sums
of money which, in like manner, have passed into the hands of legal
authorities. Still more curious is the collection of articles of all
kinds stored in a sort of museum, which presents the aspect at once
of a bazaar and of a pawnbroker's shop. Here, in striking confusion,
are seen boots and shoes, clothes, wigs, rags, and a variety of things
seized and condemned as fraudulent imitations; likewise instruments
of fraud, such as false scales. Here, too, in abundance are murderous
arms--knives, daggers, and revolvers. Singularly interesting is the
collection of burglarious instruments of the most different patterns,
from the enormous lump of iron, which might be used as a battering ram,
to the most delicately-made skeleton key, feeble enough in appearance,
but sufficiently strong to force the lock of an iron safe. There is now
scarcely room for the constantly increasing collection of objects at the
service of fraud and crime.

Beneath this strange exhibition, rendered still more sinister by
the method and order with which it is arranged, are disposed in two
storeys the four chambers which together constitute the civil tribunal.
Connected with the criminal tribunal, their duty is to try offences
punishable by a scale of sentences, with five years' imprisonment as
the maximum. According to one of the last legislative enactments of
the Second Empire, persons brought before a police-court remained
provisionally at liberty except under grave circumstances. Cases,
moreover, in which the offender has been taken _in flagrante delicto_
are decided in three days. "This is a sign of progress," says M. Vitu;
"but Paris still needs an institution of which London is justly proud,
that of district magistrates, something like our _juges de paix_,
deciding police cases forthwith. The principal merit of this institution
is that it prevents arbitrary detention and serious mistakes such as
unfortunately are only too frequent with us. Instances have occurred,
and will occur again, in which an inoffensive man, arrested by mistake,
in virtue of a regular warrant intended for another of the same name, is
sent straight to the criminal prison of Mazas. It will then take him a
week to get set at liberty. In London he would have been taken at once
to the magistrate of the district, who would have proceeded without
delay to the verification of his identity. It would have been the
affair of two hours at most, thanks to the service of constables at the
disposal, day and night, of the English magistrate."


The police-courts have sometimes to deal with remarkable cases, but as
a rule their duties are of a somewhat trivial character. Adventurers of
a low order, swindlers on a petty scale, and street thieves who have
been caught with their hands in the pocket of a gentleman or the muff
of a lady, are the sort of persons they usually deal with. To these
may be added vendors of pretended theatrical admissions, hawkers of
forbidden books, and a few drunkards. From morning till night the police
are constantly bringing in poor wretches of both sexes; the men for the
most part in blouses, the women in rags. They arrive in "cellular"
carriages, vulgarly called "salad baskets"; and leaving the vehicle
they are kept together by a long cord attached to the wrist of each
prisoner. The place of confinement where they remain pending the trial
is called the "mouse-trap": two rows, placed one above the other, each
of twenty-five cells, containing one prisoner apiece. Every cell is
closed in front by an iron grating, in the centre of which is a small
aperture--a little square window looking into the corridor. Through this
window, which can be opened and shut, but which is almost invariably
kept open, the prisoner sees all that takes place in the passage,
and the occasional arrival of privileged visitors helps to break the
monotony of his day. The wire cages in which the prisoners are detained
suggest those of the Zoological Gardens; and the character of the wild
beast is too often imprinted on the vicious criminal features of the
incarcerated ones.

Disputes with cab-drivers and hackney coachmen generally are, as a
rule, settled by the commissary of the district or the _quartier_. But
serious complaints have now and then to be brought before the Tribunal
of Police. In former times the hackney coaches of Paris were at once
the disgrace and the terror of the town. "Nothing," writes Mercier,
"can more offend the eye of a stranger than the shabby appearance of
these vehicles, especially if he has ever seen the hackney coaches
of London and Brussels. Yet the aspect of the drivers is still more
shocking than that of the carriages, or of the skinny hacks that drag
those frightful machines. Some have but half a coat on, others none at
all; they are uniform in one point only, that is extreme wretchedness
and insolence. You may observe the following gradation in the conduct of
these brutes in human shape. Before breakfast they are pretty tractable,
they grow restive towards noon, but in the evening they are not to be
borne. The commissaries or justices of the peace are the only umpires
between the driver and the drivee; and, right or wrong, their award is
in favour of the former, who are generally taken from the honourable
body of police greyhounds, and are of course allied to the formidable
phalanx of justices of the peace. However, if you would roll on at a
reasonable pace, be sure you take a hackney coachman half-seas-over.
Nothing is more common than to see the traces giving way, or the
wheels flying off at a tangent. You find yourself with a broken shin
or a bloody nose; but then, for your comfort, you have nothing to pay
for the fare. Some years ago a report prevailed that some alterations
were to take place in the regulation of hackney coaches; the Parisian
phaetons took the alarm and drove to Choisy, where the King was at that
time. The least appearance of a commotion strikes terror to the heart
of a despot. The sight of 1,800 empty coaches frightened the monarch;
but his apprehensions were soon removed by the vigilance of his guard
and courtiers. Four representatives of the phaetonic body were clapped
into prison and the speaker sent to Bicêtre, to deliver his harangue
before the motley inhabitants of that dreary mansion. The safety of
the inhabitants doubtless requires the attention of the Government, in
providing carriages hung on better springs and generally more cleanly;
but the scarcity of hay and straw, not to mention the heavy impost of
twenty sols per day for the privilege of rattling over the pavement of
Paris, when for the value of an English shilling you may go from one end
of the town to the other, prevents the introduction of so desirable a

In another part of his always interesting "Picture of Paris," Mercier
becomes quite tragic on the subject of Paris coaches and Paris coachmen.
"Look to the right," he says, "and see the end of all public rejoicings
in Paris; see that score of unfortunate men, some of them with broken
legs and arms, some already dead or expiring. Most of them are parents
of families, who by this catastrophe must be reduced to the most
horrible misery. I had foretold this accident as the consequence of that
file of coaches which passed us before. The police take so little notice
of these chance medleys that it is simply a wonder such accidents,
already too frequent, are not still more numerous. The threatening
wheel which runs along with such rapidity carries an obdurate man in
power, who has not leisure, or indeed cares not, to observe that the
blood of his fellow-subjects is yet fresh on the stones over which his
magnificent chariot rattles so swiftly. They talk of a reformation,
but when is it to take place? All those who have any share in the
administration keep carriages, and what care they for the pedestrian
traveller? Jean Jacques Rousseau, in the year 1776, on the road to
Mesnil-Montant, was knocked down by a large Lapland dog and remained on
the spot, whilst the master, secure in his berline, passed him by with
that stoic indifference which amounts to savage barbarity. Rousseau,
lame and bruised, was taken up and conducted to his house by some
charitable peasants. The gentleman, or rather savage, learning the
identity of the person whom the dog had knocked down, sent a servant to
know what he could do for him. 'Tell him,' said Rousseau, 'to keep his
dog chained,' and dismissed the messenger. When a coachman has crushed
or crippled a passenger, he may be carried before a commissaire, who
gravely inquires whether the accident was occasioned by the fore wheels
or the hind wheels. If one should die under the latter, no pecuniary
damage can be recovered by the heirs-at-law, because the coachman is
answerable only for the former; and even in this case there is a police
standard by which he is merely judged at so much an arm and so much a
leg! After this we boast of being a civilised nation!"

In addition to the place of detention already described, the Palais
de Justice contains a permanent prison known historically as the
Conciergerie, and, by its official name, as the House of Justice. Here
are received, on the one hand, prisoners about to be tried before the
Assize Court or the Appeal Court of Police; on the other, certain
prisoners who are the object of special favour and who consider
themselves fortunate to be confined in this rather than any other
prison. The list of celebrated persons who have been detained in the
Conciergerie would be a long one, from the Constable of Armagnac
(1440) to Prince Napoleon (1883). Here may still be seen the dungeons
of Damiens, of Ravaillac, of Lacenaire the murderer, of André Chenier
the poet, of Mme. Roland, and of Robespierre. The name whose memory,
in connection with this fatal place, extinguishes all others is that
of the unhappy Marie Antoinette. After a captivity of nearly a year in
the Temple the queen was conducted on the 5th of August, 1792, to the
Conciergerie, and there shut up in a dark narrow cell called the Council
Hall, lighted from the courtyard by a little window crossed with iron
bars. This Council Hall was previously divided into two by a partition,
which had now been removed; and in place of it a screen was fixed which,
during her sleep, shut the queen off from the two gendarmes ordered to
watch her day and night. The daughter of the Cæsars left her dungeon
on the 15th of October, 1793, dressed in black, to appear before the
Revolutionary Tribunal, and the next day, dressed in white, to step into
the cart which conveyed her to the guillotine erected on the Place Louis

[Illustration: POLICE CARRIAGES.]

This historical dungeon, which, says M. Vitu, could not contain the
tears which it has caused to be shed, and ought to have been walled up
in order to bury the memory of a crime unworthy of the French nation,
was transformed into a chapel by order of Louis XVIII. in 1816. The
altar bears a Latin inscription which, like others previously referred
to, was composed by the king himself.

Close to the queen's dungeon is the so-called Hall of the Girondists
(formerly a chapel), in which the most enlightened and the most heroic
of the Revolutionists are said, by a not too trustworthy legend, to have
passed their last night.

       *       *       *       *       *

Locally and even architecturally connected with the Palace of Justice
is the Holy Chapel, one of the most perfect sacred buildings that
Paris possesses. The courtyard of the Holy Chapel, mentioned more than
once in connection with the Palace of Justice, stands at the south-east
corner of the principal building, and is shut in by the Tribunal of
Police and a portion of the Court of Appeal. It can be entered from five
different points: from the Boulevard of the Palace of Justice; by two
different openings from the Police Tribunal; from the so-called depôt of
the Prefecture of Police; and from the Cour du Mai on the north-east.
No more admirable specimen of the religious architecture of the middle
ages is to be found; nor is any church or chapel more venerable by its
origin and its antiquity. Founded by Robert I. in 921, the year of his
accession to the throne, it replaced, in the royal palace of which it
had formed part, a chapel dedicated to Saint Bartholomew, which dated
from the kings of the first dynasty.


The royal palace contained, moreover, several private oratories,
including in particular one dedicated to the Holy Virgin. In 1237
Baudouin II., Emperor of Constantinople, exhausted by the wars he had
been sustaining against the Greeks, came to France to beg assistance
from King Saint Louis. Baudouin was of the House of Flanders, and in
consideration of a large sum of money, he pledged to the French king
his county of Namur, and allowed him to redeem certain holy relics--the
crown of thorns, the sponge which had wiped away the blood and sweat
of the Saviour, and the lance with which his side had been pierced--on
which the Venetians, the Genoese, the Abbess of Perceul, Pietro Cornaro,
and Peter Zauni had lent 13,000 gold pieces. The relics arrived in
France the year afterwards, and crossed the country in the midst of
pious demonstrations from the whole population. The king himself, and
the Count of Artois, went to receive them at Sens and bore on their
shoulders the case containing the crown of thorns. Thus, in formal
procession, they passed through the streets of Sens and of Paris; and
the holy king deposited the relics in the oratory of the Virgin until a
building should be erected specially for their reception. This was the
Holy Chapel, of which the first stone was laid in 1245. The work had
been entrusted to the architect Pierre de Montreuil or de Montereau. In
three years it was finished, the chapel being inaugurated on the 25th of
April, 1248. "Only three years for the construction of such an edifice,"
exclaims a French writer, "when the nineteenth century cannot manage to
restore it in thirty years!"

[Illustration: THE SAINTE-CHAPELLE.]

The Holy Chapel is composed of two chapels one above the other, having
a single nave without transept, each chapel possessing a separate
entrance. The upper chapel, approached through the Galerie Mercière,
was reserved for the king and his family, who, from the royal palace,
entered it on foot. The lower chapel, intended for the inferior officers
attached to the court, became later on, in virtue of a papal bull, the
parish church of all who lives in the immediate neighbourhood of the
palace. If the Holy Chapel is admirable by its design and proportions,
it is a marvel of construction from a technical point of view. It rests
on slender columns, which seem incapable of supporting it. The roof, in
pointed vaulting, is very lofty; and for the last six centuries it has
resisted every cause of destruction, including the fire which, in 1630,
threatened the entire building.

No more beautiful specimens of stained glass are to be seen than in the
Holy Chapel, with its immense windows resplendent in rich and varied
colours. A remarkable statue of the Virgin bowing her head as if in
token of assent, now at the Hôtel Cluny, belonged originally to the Holy
Chapel. According to a pious legend, the figure bent forward to show
approval of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as formulated by
Duns Scotus, who was teaching theology at Paris in 1304, and from the
time of the miracle until now maintains the same gesture of inclination.

More than one mediæval tradition makes statues, and especially statues
of the Virgin, perform similar actions. There is, for example, in the
_Contes Dévots_ a story of a statue of the Virgin to which a certain
_bourgeois qui aimait une dame_ prayed that she would either make the
lady return his love or cause that love to cease. Some time previously
a Hebrew magician had offered to secure the lady's affections for the
infatuated _bourgeois_ provided he would renounce God, the saints, and
especially the Blessed Virgin; to which the despondent lover replied
that though, in his grief and despair, he might abandon everything
else, yet nothing could make him relinquish his allegiance and devotion
to the Blessed Virgin. This fidelity, under all temptations, gave him
some right, he hoped, to implore the influence of the merciful Virgin
towards softening the heart of the woman he so passionately loved; and
the statue of the Virgin, before which he prostrated himself, showed by
a gentle inclination of the head that his prayer was heard. Fortunately,
the lady whose cold demeanour had so vexed the heart of her lover was
in the church at the very moment of the miracle, and, seeing the Virgin
bow her head to the unhappy _bourgeois_, felt convinced that he must be
an excellent man. Thereupon she went up to him, asked him why he looked
so sad, reproached him gently with not having visited her of late, and
ended by assuring him that if he still loved her she fully returned his
affection. Somewhat analogous to this legend, though in a different
order of ideas, is that of the Commander whose statue Don Juan invited
to supper, with consequences too familiar to be worth repeating.

The ancient statue of the Virgin, once in the Holy Chapel, venerated now
in the Hôtel Cluny, regarded simply as a curiosity, has been replaced
by a modern statue. The sacred relics which the Holy Chapel at one
time possessed are still preserved at Notre Dame. The gold case which
enclosed them was, at the beginning of the Revolution, sent to the Mint
to be converted into coin.

The spire which now surmounts the Holy Chapel is the fourth since the
erection of the building. The first one, by Pierre de Montreuil, was
crumbling away from age under the reign of Charles V., who thereupon had
it restored by a master-carpenter, Robert Foucher. Burnt in the great
fire of 1630, this second spire was re-constructed by order of Louis
XIII., and destroyed during the Revolution. The fourth edition of it,
which still exists, was built by M. Lassus in the florid style of the
first years of the fifteenth century.

The one thing which strikes the visitor to the Holy Chapel above
everything else, and which cannot but make a lasting impression on him,
is the wonderful beauty of the stained glass windows already referred
to. They date, for the most part, from the reign of Saint Louis, and
were put in on the day the building was consecrated in 1248. In their
present condition and form, however, they take us back only to the
year 1837. During forty-six years (1791 to 1837) the Holy Chapel was
given up to all kinds of uses. First it was a club-house, then a flour
magazine, and finally a bureau for official documents. This last was the
least injurious of the purposes to which it was turned. Nevertheless
the incomparable stained glass windows were interfered with by the
construction of various boxes and cupboards along the sides of the
building, no less than three metres of the lower part of each window
being thus sacrificed. Certain glaziers, moreover, employed to take down
the windows, clean them, and put them back, had made serious mistakes,
restoring portions of windows to the wrong frames. The subjects of the
stained art-work are all from the Holy Scriptures, and on a thousand
glass panels figure a thousand different personages.

The restoration of the windows had been entrusted, after a public
competition, to M. Henri Gérante, a French artist who, more than any
other, has contributed to the resurrection of the seemingly lost art
of painting on glass. But, unhappily, M. Gérante died before beginning
his work, which, thereupon, was divided between M. Steintheil, for the
drawing and painting, and M. Lusson for the material preparation. Their
labours were crowned with the most complete success. Entering the Holy
Chapel one is literally dazzled by the bright rich colours from the
windows on all sides, blending together in the most harmonious manner.


Right and left of the nave the place is shown where Saint Louis and
Blanche de Castille were accustomed to sit opposite one another to
hear mass and other religious services. A corner, moreover, is pointed
out, with an iron network before it, where, according to a doubtful
tradition, the suspicious Louis XI. used to retire in order to hear mass
without being seen; perhaps also to watch the faithful at their prayers.
In many an old French church corners and passages may be met with,
protected by a network or simply by rails, which served, it is said, to
shut off lepers from the general congregation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Closely associated with the Palais de Justice is the Tribunal of
Commerce, which has its own code, its own judges and functionaries.
Three centuries ago the necessity was recognised in France of leaving
commercial and industrial cases to the decision of men competent, from
their occupation, to deal with such matters. Paris owes its Tribunal of
Commerce to King Charles IX.; but the code under which issues are now
decided dates only from September, 1807--from the First Empire, that is
to say. The commercial judges are named for two years by the merchants
and tradesmen domiciled in the department of the Seine. Formerly the
Tribunal of Commerce, or Consular Tribunal, held its sittings at the
back of the Church of Saint-Méry in the Hôtel des Consuls, the gate of
which used to support a statue of Louis XIV., by Simon Guilain.


This mercantile court consists of five merchants, the first bearing
the title of judge, and the four others that of consuls. The Tribunal
of Commerce was removed from the old house in the Rue Saint-Méry in
1826, to be installed on the first storey of the newly constructed
Bourse. Soon, however, the place assigned to it became inadequate for
the constantly increasing number of cases brought before the court;
and a special edifice was erected for the Tribunal of Commerce in
the immediate vicinity of the Palais de Justice. This structure,
quadrilateral in form, is bounded on the north by the Quai aux Fleurs,
on the east by the Rue Aubé, on the south by the Rue de Lutèce, and on
the west by the Boulevard du Palais. To build a new Palais de Justice
it was necessary to destroy all that existed of the ancient Cité. One
curious building, which, after undergoing every kind of modification,
ultimately, in order to make room for the Court of Commerce, disappeared
altogether, was the ancient Church of Saint Bartholomew. This sacred
edifice during the early days of the Revolution, when churches had
gone very much out of fashion, became the Théâtre Henri IV., to be
afterwards called Palais Variété, Théâtre de la Cité, Cité Variété, and
Théâtre Mozart. Here was represented, in 1795, "The Interior of the
Revolutionary Committees," the most cutting satire ever directed against
the tyranny of the Jacobins; and, in another style, "The Perilous
Forest, or the Brigands of Calabria," a true type of the ancient
melodrama. Suppressed in 1807, this theatre underwent a number of
transformations, to serve at last as a dancing saloon, known to everyone
and beloved by students under the title of The Prado.


The cupola of the Tribunal of Commerce is a reproduction, as to form, of
the cupola of a little church which attracted the attention of Napoleon
III. on the borders of the Lake of Garda while he was awaiting the
result of the attack on the Solferino Tower. The Audience Chamber of
the Tribunal is adorned with paintings by Robert Fleury, representing
incidents in the commercial history of France from Charles IX. to
Napoleon III.



The _Sapeurs-pompiers_--The Prefect of Police--The _Garde
Républicaine_--The Spy System.

The Tribunal of Commerce, standing north of the Rue de Lutèce, has for
pendant on its south side (that is to say, between the Rue de Lutèce and
the quay) the barrack of the Republican Guard and two houses adjoining
it, one of which is the private residence of the Prefect of Police:
where, moreover, he has his private office; while the second contains
the station of the firemen of the town of Paris.

The Fire Brigade, or corps of Sapeurs-pompiers, is partly under the
direction of the Prefect of Police, partly under that of the Minister
of War, who takes charge of its organisation, its recruitment, and its
internal administration. Much was said at the time of the terrible fire
at the Opéra Comique in 1887 of the evils of this dual system; the chief
of the corps, an officer appointed by the War Minister, being often an
experienced soldier, but never before his appointment a skilled fireman.
There is a reason, however, for placing the Sapeurs-pompiers under the
orders of the Minister of War. During the campaign of 1870 and 1871 the
Germans refused to recognise the military character of corps not holding
their commission from this minister. Thus the National Guards, as a
purely civic body, were not looked upon as soldiers, and were threatened
with the penalties inflicted on persons taking up arms without authority
from the central military power. In the next war against Germany the
French propose to call out the whole of their available forces; and
to be recognised as regular troops the Sapeurs-pompiers must have a
military organisation and act under military chiefs formally appointed
and responsible to a superior officer. All this, however, could surely
be accomplished without rendering the corps unfit for the special duties
assigned to it.

The Sapeurs-pompiers are organised in twelve companies, forming two
battalions, and are distributed among the 150 barracks, stations, and
watch-houses comprised in the twenty districts, or _arrondissements_, of

The Magistracy of the Prefect of Police was created under the Consulate
of the 1st of July, 1800, when the Central Power took over the general
police duties entrusted under the Monarchy to the Lieutenant-General of
Police, and which had been transferred by the Revolution to the Commune
of Paris. The Prefect is specially empowered to take, personally,
every step necessary for the discovery and repression of crime and
for the punishment of criminals. He is charged, moreover, under the
authority of the Minister of the Interior, with all that relates to
the administrative and economic government of the prisons and houses
of detention and correction, not only in Paris, but throughout the
department of the Seine, as well as in the communes of Saint-Cloud,
Sèvres, Meudon, and Enghien, suburbs of Paris belonging to the
department of Seine-et-Oise.

The Prefect of Police has beneath his orders all the police of the
capital, or rather of the department to which the capital belongs. This
service is divided into two special organisations: Municipal Police
and Agents of Security. The "Security" force consists of three hundred
agents with the title of inspector, commanded by five chief inspectors,
ten brigadiers, and twenty sub-brigadiers. These agents are employed
in arresting malefactors, and are viewed with intense hatred by the
criminal class generally. The Municipal Police counts an effective of
about 8,000 men, commanded by 38 peace officers, 25 chief inspectors,
100 brigadiers, and 700 sub-brigadiers. The entire expenditure of the
Prefecture of the Police Service amounts to twenty-five million francs
a year, of which eleven millions are put down for pay and the remainder
for uniforms, office expenses, and all kinds of extras.

"If," says a French writer who knows London as well as Paris, "our
police is not always so clear-sighted and so clever as it might be,
it is, at any rate, more tolerant than vexatious. Our 'keepers of the
peace' do not impose on the Paris population all the respect that the
English people feels for its policemen; nor have they the same rigid
bearing or the same herculean aspect. But, on the other hand, they are
without their brutality--quite incredible to anyone who has not lived
in London. Nearly all have been in the army, and they preserve the
familiar aspect of the French soldier; while of the rules laid down
by the Prefecture, the one they least observe is that which forbids
them to talk in the street with servant maids and cooks. But they are
intelligent, ingenious, possessed of a certain tact, and brave to the
point of self-sacrifice. They are at present more appreciated and more
popular, with their tunic, their military cap, their high boots, and
their little cloak, which give them the look of troops on a campaign,
than were the Sergents de Ville whose swallow-tail coat and black cocked
hat were so much feared by rioters under the reign of Louis Philippe."

The Barracks of the Prefecture are occupied by the Garde Républicaine,
which succeeds the Garde de Paris, the latter having itself succeeded
the Garde Municipale, which was simply the Gendarmerie Royale of the
Town of Paris, created under the Restoration. After the Revolution
of 1848 the name of the Garde Municipale was changed, as after the
Revolution of 1830 the title of Gendarmerie Royale was abolished.
Notwithstanding alterations of name and certain slight modifications
of uniform, the Republican Guard is a legion of gendarmerie like
the different corps that preceded it. Commanded by a colonel, the
Republican Guard is divided into two detachments or brigades, each
under a lieutenant-colonel; the first consisting of three battalions
of infantry, the second of three squadrons of cavalry. The whole force
comprises 118 officers, with 2,800 men beneath their orders--2,200
infantry, and 600 cavalry.

The Republican Guard, one of the finest corps that can be seen, belongs
to the cadres of the regular army; and it served brilliantly in the war
of 1870 and 1871. Its special duties, however, are to keep order in the
City of Paris; though, in consideration of its mixed character, the pay
assigned to it is furnished, half by the State, half by the Town of
Paris. Among other merits it possesses an admirable band, in which may
be found some of the finest orchestral players in a capital possessing
an abundance of fine orchestras. The evidence of a Garde Républicaine,
or gendarme, is accepted at the police courts as unimpeachable. The
written statement drawn up by a gendarme may be denied by the accused,
but it cannot be set aside.

"As a matter of fact," says M. Auguste Vitu, in his work on "Paris,"
"very few evil results are caused by this rule; for the gendarme is
honest. But he may make a mistake. In London, the magistrate, having
generally to deal only with policemen of his own district, knows them
personally, can judge of their intelligence and disposition, and is
able in certain cases to see whether they are obscuring or altering
the truth. He exercises over them, in case of negligence or error,
accidental or intentional, the right of reprimanding and of suspending
them. In Paris the 'judges of correction,' before whom, at one time or
another, every one of the 'keepers of the peace' or of the Republican
Guards (altogether about 10,000 men) may appear, can only accept their
evidence. It is doubtless sincere, but there is no way of testing it."

Of the spy system in connection with police administration it is
difficult to speak with accurate knowledge, for the simple reason that
it is not until long afterwards that secret arrangements of this kind
are divulged. But in principle the system described by Mercier more than
a hundred years ago still exists.

"This," writes that faithful chronicler, "may be termed the second part
of Parisian grievances. Yet, like even the most poisonous reptile, these
bloodhounds are of some service to the community: they form a mass of
corruption which the police distil, as it were, with equal art and
judgment, and, by mixing it with a few salutary ingredients, soften its
baneful nature, and turn it to public advantage. The dregs that remain
at the bottom of the still are the spies of whom I have just spoken; for
these also belong to the police. The distilled matter itself consists
of the thief-catchers, etc. They, like other spies, have persons to
watch over them; each is foremost to impeach the other, and a base
lucre is the bone of contention amongst those wretches, who are, of all
evils, the most necessary. Such are the admirable regulations of the
Paris police that a man, if suspected, is so closely watched that the
most minute transaction in which he is concerned is treasured up till
it is fit time to arrest him. The police does not confine its care to
the capital only. Droves of its runners are sent to the principal towns
and cities in this kingdom, where, by mixing with those whose character
is suspicious, they insinuate themselves into their confidence, and
by pretending to join in their mischievous schemes, get sufficient
information to prevent their being carried into execution. The mere
narrative of the following fact, which happened when M. de Sartine was
at the head of this department, will give the reader an idea of the
watchfulness of the police. A gentleman travelling from Bordeaux to
Paris with only one servant in his company was stopped at the turnpike
by the Custom House officer, who, having inquired his name, told him he
must go directly to M. de Sartine. The traveller was both astonished
and frightened at this peremptory command, which, however, it would
have been imprudent to disobey. He went, and his fears soon subsided at
the civil reception he met with; but his surprise was greatly increased
when the magistrate, whom, to his knowledge, he had never seen before,
calling him by his name, gave him an account of every transaction that
had taken place previous to the gentleman's departure from Bordeaux,
and even minutely described the full contents of his portmanteau. 'Now,
sir,' continued the Lieutenant de Police, 'to show that I am well
informed I have a trifle more to disclose to you. You are going to such
and such an hotel, and a scheme is laid by your servant to murder you
by ten o'clock.' 'Then, my lord, I must shift my quarters to defeat his
wicked intention.' 'By no means, sir; you must not even take notice of
what I have said. Retire to bed at your usual hour, and leave the rest
to me.' The gentleman followed the advice of the magistrate and went to
the hotel. About an hour after he had lain down, when, no doubt, he was
but little inclined to compose himself to rest, the servant, armed with
a clasp-knife, entered the room on tip-toe, drew near the bed, and was
about to fulfil his murderous intention. Then four men, rushing from
behind the hangings, seized the wretch, who confessed all, and soon
afterwards paid to the injured laws of humanity the forfeit of his life."

[Illustration: A POMPIER.]

Since the Revolution the number of spies employed in France has
doubtless diminished. But they have existed in that country, as in
others, from time immemorial. A French writer, dealing with this
subject, traces the history of espionage to the remotest antiquity;
the first spies being, according to his view, the brothers of Joseph,
who were for that reason detained when they visited him in Egypt as
Pharaoh's minister. The Romans employed spies in their armies, and both
Nero and Caligula had an immense number of secret agents. Alfred the
Great was a spy of the chivalrous, self-sacrificing kind; for, risking
his life on behalf of his own people he would assuredly, had he been
recognised in the Danish camp, have been put to death. The spy system
was first established in France on a large, widely organised scale by
Richelieu, under whose orders the notorious Father Joseph became the
director of a network of spies which included not only all the religious
orders of France, but many persons belonging to the nobility and middle
classes. This sort of conspiracy had, moreover, its correspondents

The Police, strongly organised under Louis XIV., included a numerous
body of spies. But all that had before been known in the way of
espionage was eclipsed in Louis XV.'s reign, when the too famous De
Sartine, Lieutenant of Police, gave to his spy system a prodigious
extension. Under the administration of De Sartine spies were employed
to follow the Court; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs maintained a
subdivision of spies to watch the doings of all foreigners arriving in
Paris, and to ascertain, in particular, the object of their visit. This
course of action is followed to the present day in Russia, not only
secretly, but in the first instance openly. Thus the chief of a bureau
connected with the Foreign Office questions the stranger in the politest
manner as to his motive in coming to Russia, the friends, if any, that
he has there, his occupation, and his pecuniary resources.

A report is attributed to the above-named Lieutenant of Police in which
it is set forth that to watch thoroughly a family of twenty persons
forty spies would be necessary. This, however, was an ideal calculation,
for, in reality, the cost of the spy system under Louis XV., as set down
in the official registers of the police, did not amount annually to
more than 20,000 francs. The Government had, however, at its disposal
much larger sums received for licences from the gambling houses, and as
fines and ransoms from evil-doers of all kinds. Berryer, the successor
of De Sartine--bearer of a name which, in the nineteenth century, was
to be rendered honourable--conceived the idea, inspired, perhaps, by
a familiar proverb, of employing as spies criminals of various kinds,
principally thieves who had escaped from prison or from the pursuit
of the police. These wretches, banded together in a secret army of
observation, were only too zealous in the performance of the work
assigned to them; for, on the slightest negligence or prevarication,
they were sent back to the hulks or to gaol, where a hot reception
awaited them from their former comrades in crime. Hackney-coachmen,
innkeepers, and lodging-house keepers were also engaged as spies, not to
speak of domestic servants, who, through secret agencies, were sometimes
supplied to householders by the police themselves. Many a person was
sent to the Bastille in virtue of a _lettre de cachet_ issued on the
representation of some valet before whom his master had uttered an
imprudent word.

[Illustration: A GUARDIAN OF THE PEACE.]

Mercier's picture of the spy system in Paris a few years before the
Revolution is, to judge from other contemporary accounts, in no way
exaggerated. The Revolution did not think even of suppressing espionage,
but it endeavoured to moralise this essentially immoral, if sometimes
necessary, institution. In a report on this subject dated November 30,
1789, only a few months after the taking of the Bastille, the following
significant passage occurs:--"We have been deprived of a sufficient
number of observers, a sort of army operating under the orders of the
old police, which made considerable use of it. If all the districts
were well organised, if their committees were wisely chosen and not too
numerous, we should apparently have no reason to regret the suppression
of that odious institution which our oppressors employed so long against
us." The writer of the report was, in fact, recommending, without being
apparently aware of it, a system of open denunciation necessitating
previously that secret espionage which he found so hateful; for before
denouncing it would be necessary to observe and watch. Nevertheless,
the Police of the Revolution employed no regular spies, registered,
organised, and paid, until 1793; though this did not prevent wholesale
denunciation on the part of officious volunteers. Robespierre, however,
maintained a spy system more or less on the ancient pattern; and when
the Empire was established, Napoleon's famous Prefect of Police, Fouché,
made of espionage a perfect science. Fouché had at his service spies
of all classes and kinds; and the ingenious Mme. de Bawr has, in one
of her best tales, imagined the case of a poor curé, who, after the
suppression of churches and religious services, calls upon Fouché, an
old schoolfellow of his, to ask for some employment; when the crafty
police minister assigns a certain salary to his simple-minded friend and
tells him not to do any serious work for the present, but to go about
Paris amusing himself in various cafés and places of entertainment,
after which he can look in from time to time and say what has chiefly
struck him in the persons he has seen and the conversations he has
heard. At last the innocent curé finds that he has been doing the work
of a spy. Fortunately, when he discovers to what a base purpose he has
been turned, Napoleon has just restored public worship; whereupon, by
way of amends, Fouché uses his influence with the Emperor to get the
poor man re-appointed to his old parish.


Under the Restoration the spy system was maintained as under the Empire,
but with additional intricacies. Fouché had been replaced by Vidocq,
who, among other strange devices for getting at the thoughts of the
public, obtained from the Government permission to establish a public
bowling alley, which collected crowds of people, whose conversations
were listened to and reported by agents employed for the purpose. The
bowling alley brought in some 4,000 to 5,000 francs a year, which
was spent on additional spies. The Prefect Delavau, with Vidocq as
his lieutenant, went back to the system of Berryer under the ancient
_régime_, taking into the State service escaped criminals, who for the
slightest fault were sent back to gaol. An attempt was made by the same
Delavau, in humble imitation of Berryer, to get into his service all
the domestics of Paris; and in this way he renewed an old regulation by
which each servant was to keep a book and bring it to the Prefecture
of Police on entering or leaving a situation. To their credit, be it
recorded, most of the servants abstained from obeying this discreditable
order. Finding that his plan for watching private families through their
servants did not answer, Delavau multiplied the number of agents charged
with attending places of public entertainment.

"The Police," writes M. Peuchet in his "Mémoires tirés des Archives
de la Police," "will never learn to respect an order so long as its
superintendents are taken from the hulks and feel that they have their
revenge to take on the society which has punished them." The justice
of this remark has since been recognised. The first care of Delavau's
successor, the honourable and much regretted M. de Belleyme, was to
dismiss, and even to send back to their prisons, the army of cut-throat
spies employed by the Prefect he replaced. At present, though his
occupation stands no higher in public opinion than of old, the spy is
not the outcast that he formerly was. Without being an honest man in the
full sense of the word, he is not literally and legally a criminal. It
is even asserted that the French spy of our own time is a man of some
character; by which is probably meant that he has never been convicted
of any offence, that he does not drink, that he has no depraved tastes,
and that in a general way he can be depended upon. "Espionage," says
Montesquieu, "is never tolerable. Otherwise the trade would be exercised
by honourable men. From the necessary infamy of the person must be
inferred the infamy of the thing." This, in effect, is just what the
Minister d'Argenson said when he was reproached with engaging none but
rogues and knaves as spies. "Find me," he replied, "decent men to do
such work!" The decent men have now, it appears, been found. So much the

As, however, there is said to be honour among thieves, so there
is sometimes honesty among spies. Witness the case of the Abbé
Lenglet-Dufresnoy, simultaneously employed by Louis XIV. to keep watch
over Prince Eugène, and by Prince Eugène to report all that was done by
Louis XIV., and who is said to have given the most exact information to
both his employers.




The Place du Parvis--The Parvis of Notre Dame--The Hôtel-Dieu--Mercier's

In the matter of police administration and of civic government
generally; the Hôtel de Ville is to the whole of Paris what the Mansion
House and the Guildhall are to that part of London known specially as
the City. The Hôtel de Ville has charge, moreover, of all the Paris
hospitals and benevolent institutions. The general administration of
the hospitals is entrusted to a Director, under the surveillance of a
Consultative Committee.

The most ancient and most celebrated of all the Paris hospitals is the
Hôtel-Dieu, occupying a space which is bounded on the north by the Quai
aux Fleurs, on the south by the Place du Parvis, on the west by the Rue
de la Cité, and on the east by the Rue d'Arcole.

The Place du Parvis deserves a word of mention to itself. The word
"Parvis" has several derivations, the most popular of which is from the
Latin _paradisus_. The ancient form of the French word was _paraïs_ or
_paravis_, contracted into _parvis_; and it was applied to the open
space in front of a church because, in the days of the "mysteries,"
it was here that the paradise of the play was located. According to
another derivation, the "parvis" is the ground outside a church which
"_pare_" or "guards" the principal door--_huis_ in the ancient French.
In this sense the word is used to denote, in the Jewish Temple, the
space around the tabernacle. _Parvis céleste_ is a phrase employed by
French poets to signify heaven or the firmament; which does not at all
prove--indeed seems to disprove--that _parvis_ means, or ever did mean,
the same thing as _paradisus_. The _parvis_ of the old churches was,
in any case, used as a place of penance for those who had scandalised
the town by some offence against good morals; and it was there that on
certain occasions holy relics were brought for exhibition to the people.
The temples of Greece and Rome were surrounded by enclosures, as if to
separate them from the public thoroughfare; and the first Christian
churches had enclosures in front of the principal entrance, where tombs,
crosses, statues, and sometimes fountains were to be seen. After the
twelfth century the _parvis_ ceased to be enclosed; though so late as
the sixteenth century the Parvis of Notre Dame appears, by exception, to
have been shut in by a wall not more than three feet high, through which
there were three different gateways.

The Parvis of Notre Dame served in ancient days the most varied
purposes. Here, before the establishment of the University of Paris,
public schools were held. It was a place of punishment, moreover; and
it was on a scaffold erected in the Parvis of Notre Dame that Jacques
de Molay and the Templars heard the sentence read which was afterwards
executed upon them (March 18, 1314) in the Île aux Vaches, as the little
island was anciently called where now stands the statue of Henri IV.
Here, too, under Francis I., Huguenots were given to the flames.

Jacques de Molay, the last grand master of the Templars, was born in
Burgundy, and entered the order in 1265. He distinguished himself in
Palestine, in the wars against the Mussulmans. Elected grand master in
1298, he was preparing to avenge the defeats which the Christian arms
had recently sustained, when in 1305 he was recalled to France by Pope
Clement V. The pretext for this summons was a projected union of the
order of Templars with that of the Hospitallers. But the true object
of Philip the Fair, for whom the Pope had acted only as instrument,
was the destruction of the order, whose immense wealth had excited the
monarch's covetousness. On the 13th of October, 1307, all the Templars
were arrested at the same hour throughout France; and a process was
instituted against them in which every form of justice was violated.
Thirty-six knights expired under torture, and several owned to the
crimes and the shameful immorality of which they were falsely accused.
Molay himself, in the agony of torture, allowed some words to escape
him; but before dying nearly all the victims retracted the utterances
wrung from them by pain. The Pope, throughout this tragic affair,
followed the directions of the French king, to whom he owed his tiara.

To go back from history to legend, it was in the open space afterwards
to become the Parvis of Notre Dame that in 464 Artus, King of Great
Britain, son of Uther, surnamed Pendragon pitched his camp when invading
Gaul and ravaging the country. Gaul was at that time governed for the
Emperor Leo by the Tribune Flollo, who retired to Paris and there
fortified himself. Artus now defied Flollo to single combat. The Tribune
accepted, and the duel took place on the eastern point of the Île de la
Cité, with lance and hatchet. Blinded by the blood which flowed from a
wound he had received in the head, Artus invoked the Virgin Mary, who,
it is said, appeared to him in presence of everyone, and covered him
with her cloak, which was "lined with ermine." Dazzled at this miracle,
Flollo lost his sight, and Artus had now no trouble in despatching
him. In memory of the Virgin's interposition, Artus adopted ermine for
his coat-of-arms; which for a long time afterwards was retained by the
kings and princes of Britain. He wished at the same time to consecrate
the memory of his triumph, and accordingly erected on the very ground
where the combat had taken place a chapel in honour of the Virgin,
which at last became the cathedral church of Paris. Then Artus (or
Arthur) returned to his British island, and there founded the Order of
the Knights of that Round Table which is still preserved in Winchester

[Illustration: A GENDARME.]

Until the Revolution the Parvis of Notre Dame was shut in north and
south by populous districts through which ran narrow, ill-built streets,
and which contained several buildings of importance. Since then a clean
sweep has been made of all the tumble-down buildings in the ancient
Cité, between the two banks of the Seine north and south, between the
Cathedral on the east and the barracks of the Republican Guard on the
west. The southern part of the Parvis has been transformed into a sort
of English garden, in the centre of which stands an equestrian statue
of Charlemagne by the sculptor Rochet.

In old French, the second of two substantives joined together did duty
as genitive; so that Hôtel-Dieu signified the hotel (or house) of God,
just as in some ancient French towns _Mère-Dieu_, as the sign of an
hotel, meant not, as is sometimes ignorantly supposed, "God the Mother,"
but "The Mother of God." The Hôtel-Dieu or Hôtel de Dieu (a house, that
is to say, in which the poor and suffering were received and attended
in the name of God and under His auspices) was founded about 660, in
the time of Clovis II., son of Dagobert, by Saint Landri, twenty-eighth
bishop of Paris. Here he was accustomed to receive, at his own expense,
not only sick people, but also beggars and pilgrims. _Medicus et
Hospes_, such was the motto of the bishop, who might justly claim the
double title of physician and host. In the course of centuries the good
work begun by Saint Landri was continued on a large scale by the French
kings, with Philip Augustus, Saint Louis, and Henri IV. prominent among
them. Among the benefactors of the Hôtel-Dieu must also be mentioned the
Chancellor du Prat, and the first President, Pomponne de Bellièvre.

The old Hôtel-Dieu, after undergoing all kinds of repairs, was at
last condemned as too small and too ill-ventilated. In 1868 a new
hospital was begun just opposite the old one; and the building as it
now stands, large, airy, and in every respect commodious, was finished
in 1878. With abundance of space at their command, the architects of
the modern Hôtel-Dieu made it their sole aim to secure for the patients
every possible advantage, and their first care was to provide spacious
wards replete with light and air. One result has been that in a larger
edifice the number of the beds has, in accordance with the best hygienic
principles, been greatly diminished.

In the time of Saint Louis the old Hôtel-Dieu received 900 patients.
This number was increased under Henri IV. to 1,300, and under Louis XIV.
to 1,900. At times, however, the sick or wounded persons admitted were
far more numerous; and in 1709 the number of patients in the Hôtel-Dieu
is said to have reached 9,000. Not, however, the number of beds; for
in the same bed several patients, at the risk of infection, contagion,
and frightful mortality, were placed together. The new Hôtel-Dieu, on
the other hand, contains only 514 beds: 329 medical beds, 169 surgical
beds, and sixteen cradles. The building having cost fifty million
francs, it follows that each particular bed has cost nearly one hundred
thousand francs; and philanthropists point out that at 6,000 francs per
bed, "the ordinary figure in England and other countries," more than
8,000 patients might have been provided for in lieu of 500. It must be
remembered, on the other hand, that the Hôtel-Dieu contains, besides
its hospital service properly so called, an administrative department:
including amphitheatres of practical surgery, laboratories of pharmacy,
chemistry, etc., which alone cost fourteen millions of francs.
According, moreover, to the original plan as approved by the principal
professors and physicians of the Hôtel-Dieu, there was to have been an
additional storey containing 260 beds, to which the patients below were
to have been transferred on certain days for change of air and to allow
the lower rooms to be thoroughly ventilated and cleaned. This additional
storey cost four millions of francs, and it had already been completed,
when, for reasons unexplained, but which, according to M. Vitu, were
political, it was pulled down.

The general plan of the Hôtel-Dieu as it now stands comprises two masses
of parallel buildings: one beside the Parvis of Notre Dame, the other
alongside the Quai Napoléon; the two façades, anterior and posterior, of
the edifice being connected laterally by galleries at right angles to
the Seine. The administrative department of the Hôtel-Dieu is in that
part of the building which faces the Parvis. On the ground floor, to
the left, is the Central Bureau of Hospitals; the head-quarters of the
hospital service, not only of Paris, but generally of the Department of
the Seine. The staff consists of twenty physicians, fifteen surgeons,
and three accoucheurs chosen by competition; and from this body are
selected the physicians and surgeons of the various Paris hospitals.
Formerly patients were admitted on mere application; but at present they
are carefully examined by the physicians of the Central Bureau, who give
out tickets of admission and assign beds so long as there is room. If
the Hôtel-Dieu is full the applicants for medical care are sent to other
hospitals. Adjoining the Central Bureau are the rooms where out-door
patients receive gratuitous advice.

The wards occupied by the patients are lighted by two rows of windows,
north and south, and they look out upon the interior courtyards, which
are planted with trees. This arrangement allows air to enter the
well-kept apartments, and the rays of the sun to light up the curtains
and white beds of a model hospital, where everything possible has been
done to relieve the suffering and depression of its unhappy inmates. In
the ophthalmic wards curtains of a particular kind are so arranged as
only to admit the degree of light which the patients can bear.

Visitors to the Hôtel-Dieu, as to other hospitals in Paris, cannot fail
to observe that the air is less pure in the men's than in the women's
wards. This is to be explained by the men being allowed the only solace
possible under the circumstances, that of tobacco. Nor are their grey
dressing-gowns by any means so becoming as the white frocks and white
caps worn by the female patients.

Many of the wards contain only from two to eight beds. There is a
sitting-room, moreover, with lounges, chairs, and sofas for the
convalescent, not to speak of an open gallery above the portico, where
patients who are well enough may, in fine weather, stretch their limbs.
The upper storey of that part of the building which faces the Quai aux
Fleurs used to be occupied by the community of Dames Augustines, who
from time immemorial had had no other abode and no other head-quarters.
But after the civil government had withdrawn from the Dames Augustines
the hospital service of _La Pitié_ and _La Charité_, they all assembled
at the Hôtel-Dieu, where additional sleeping rooms were prepared for
them beneath the roof. Subscriptions were solicited for them in a
pastoral letter from the Archbishop of Paris, dated December 2, 1888;
and a new retreat was then found for them in the Hospital of Notre
Dame de Bon Secours. One duty imposed upon them, in the days when
the Hôtel-Dieu was composed of two large buildings on the banks of
the Seine, was to wash, one day every month, whatever might be the
temperature, 500 sheets. The sisters, equally with novices, were obliged
to take part in these laundry operations. An ancient print, preserved in
the National Library, gives a faithful representation of the washing of
the 500 sheets.

Admirable as has been the work accomplished in recent times by the
Hôtel-Dieu, the place seems to have been little better than a pest-house
at the period when Mercier wielded his conscientious pen. "A man meets
there," he wrote, "with a death a thousand times more dreadful than
that which awaits the indigent under his humble roof, abandoned though
he be to himself and nature alone. And we dare call that the House
of God!--where the contempt shown to humanity adds to the suffering
of those who go there for relief! The physician and servant are
paid--granted; the drugs cost nothing to the patient--true again; but
he will be put to bed between a dying man and a dead corpse; he will
breathe an air corrupted by pestiferous exhalations; he will be subject
to chirurgical despotism; neither his cries, his complaints, nor his
expostulations will be attended to; he will have nobody by to soothe
and comfort him; pity itself will be blind and barbarous, having lost
that sympathising compassion, and those tears of sensibility, which
constitute its very being. In this abode of human misery every aspect
is cruel and disgusting; and this is called the House of God! Who would
not fly from the bloody, detested spot? Who will venture within a house
where the bed of mercy is far more dreadful than the naked board on
which lies the poorest wretch? This hospital, miscalled Hôtel-Dieu,
was founded by Saint Landri and Comte Archambaud in the year 660 for
the reception of sick persons of either sex. Jews, Turks, and infidels
have an equal right to admission. There are 1,200 beds, and constantly
between five and six thousand patients. What a disproportion! Yet the
revenues of the hospital are immense. It was expected that the last fire
which happened in this edifice would have been improved to the advantage
of the patients, by the construction, on a healthier spot, of a new
and more extensive structure. But no; everything remains on the same
footing; though it is but too well proved that the Hôtel-Dieu has every
requisite to create and increase a multitude of disorders on account of
the dampness and confinement of the atmosphere. Wounds soon turn to a
mortification; whilst the scurvy makes the greatest havoc amongst those
who, from the nature of their maladies, are forced to remain there for
some time. Thus, the most simple distempers soon grow into complicated
diseases, sometimes fatal, by the contagion of that ambient air. Both
the experience and observation of the naturalist concur to prove that a
hospital which contains above one hundred beds is of itself a plague.
It may be added that as often as two patients are laid up in the same
room they will evidently hurt each other, and that such a practice is
necessarily injurious to the laws of humanity. It is almost incredible,
yet not the less true, that one-fifth of the patients are annually
carried off. This is known and heard of with the most indifferent


Nor does Mercier stop here. "Clamart," he continues, "is the gulf that
swallows up the remains of those hapless men who have paid the last
debt to nature in the Hôtel-Dieu. It is an extensive burying-ground,
or rather a voracious monster whose maw is ever craving for new food,
though most plentifully supplied. The bodies are there interred without
a coffin and only sewed up in the coarsest linen cloth. At the least
appearance of death the body is hurried away, and there are many
instances of people having recovered under the hasty hand that wrapped
them up; whilst others have been heard to cry "mercy" when already
piled up in the cart that carried them to an untimely grave. The cart
is drawn by twelve men. A priest, covered with filth and mud, carrying
a hand-bell and cross, are all the funeral pomp reserved for these
unfortunate victims. But at that hour all is one! Every morning at four
o'clock the dismal cart sets off from the Hôtel-Dieu, and, as it rolls
along, strikes terror into the neighbourhood, who are awoke by the
awful sound of that bell. A man must be lost to all feeling who hears
it unmoved. In certain seasons, when mortality was most rife, this cart
has been seen to go backwards and forwards four times in four-and-twenty
hours. It contains about fifty corpses, besides children, who are
crammed between their legs. The bodies are cast into a deep pit, and
are next covered with unslackened lime. This crucible, which is never
shut up, seems to tell the affrighted looker-on that it could easily
devour all the inhabitants that Paris contains. Such is the obedience
paid to the laws, that the decree of the Parliament prohibiting all
buryings within the walls of this city has at no time been carried into
execution. The populace never fail on the day of All Souls to visit
that cemetery, where they foresee that their bodies will one day be
carried. They kneel and pray, and then adjourn to a tavern. To this
spot, where the earth is fattened with the spoils of mankind, young
surgeons resort by night, and, climbing the wall, carry off the dead
corpses to make upon them their bloody experiments. Thus, the poor find
no asylum even in death. And such is the tyranny over this unfortunate
part of the community, that it does not cease till their very remains
are hacked and hewed so as not to retain the least resemblance of man."

[Illustration: RUE DE RIVOLI.]



The Hotel de Ville--Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie--Rue Saint-Antoine--The

The Hôtel de Ville, new by its architecture, is old by its history,
and to some extent by the buildings still surrounding it; though the
ancient streets of the neighbourhood have during the last forty years
been gradually disappearing. Close to the Church of St. Gervais and
St. Protais stood the street significantly named Rue du Martroi--of
martyrdom, or death-punishment; also the Rue de la Mortellerie, where
the workers in "mortar"--stone-masons that is to say--were in the
habit of meeting when out of work. With this may be connected the
name of Place de Grève, formerly borne by what is now called the
Place de l'Hôtel de Ville. The word _grève_ signifies in the present
day a strike. Originally it meant simply the condition of being
without employment; and it was on the Place de Grève that artisans who
found, like Othello, their occupation gone, assembled in search of an
employer. Afterwards this became a place of execution; and here it was
that Ravaillac, Cartouche, Damiens, and such illustrious victims as
the Constable of Saint-Pol under Louis XI., and Lally-Tollendal under
Louis XVI., were decapitated, quartered alive, and otherwise tortured.
"_La journée sera rude_," said Damiens, when, having already undergone
various tortures, he learned that he was to be torn to pieces by four
horses; and "rough" indeed have been the days passed by the unhappy
wretches brought to punishment on the Place de Grève.

After the Revolution of 1830, when the Hôtel de Ville became all at once
a place of high political importance, the open space in front of it was
looked upon as unworthy any longer to serve as a slaughter-ground, and
the Place Saint-Jacques now became the head-quarters of the guillotine;
which was afterwards to be transferred to the Place de la Roquette.
The region of Paris commanded by the Hôtel de Ville forms a long
irregular parallelogram, comprising, for the most part, the districts
of Saint-Méry, Saint-Gervais and the Arsenal, bounded on the south
by the Seine, on the west by the Place du Châtelet and the Boulevard
Sébastopol, on the east by the Saint-Martin Canal and the Boulevard
Bourdon, on the north by the Rue de Rivoli and the Rue Saint-Antoine,
rejoining the Boulevard Bourdon at the Place de la Bastille. To the
construction of the Rue de Rivoli is due the happy change which has
taken place in this populous region, formerly deprived of light and air,
and so overcrowded that the inhabitants were always suffering from some
serious epidemic. The streets of the neighbourhood must at that time
have been good specimens of those so energetically condemned by Arthur
Young in one of his descriptions of Paris.

"This great city," he wrote in the very year of the Revolution, "appears
to be in many respects the most ineligible and inconvenient for the
residence of a person of small fortune of any that I have seen; and
vastly inferior to London. The streets are very narrow and many of them
crowded, nine-tenths dirty, and all without foot-pavements. Walking,
which in London is so pleasant and so clean that ladies do it every
day, is here a toil and a fatigue to a man, and an impossibility to a
well-dressed woman. The coaches are numerous, and, what is much worse,
there is an infinity of one-horse cabriolets, which are driven by young
men of fashion and their imitators, alike fools, with such rapidity
as to be real nuisances and render the streets exceedingly dangerous
without an incessant caution. I saw a poor child run over and probably
killed, and have been myself many times blackened with the mud of the
kennels. This beggarly practice of driving a one-horse booby-hutch about
the streets of a great capital flows either from poverty or wretched
and despicable economy; nor is it possible to speak of it with too
much severity. If young noblemen at London were to drive their chaises
in streets without footways as their brethren do at Paris, they would
speedily and justly get very well threshed or rolled in the kennel.
This circumstance renders Paris an ineligible residence for persons,
particularly families, that cannot afford to keep a coach; a convenience
which is as dear as at London. The _fiacres_ (hackney coaches) are much
worse than at that city; and chairs there are none, for they would
be driven down in the streets. To this circumstance also it is owing
that all persons of small or moderate fortune are forced to dress in
black with black stockings: the dusky hue of this in company is not
so disagreeable a circumstance as being too great a distinction; too
clear a line drawn in company between a man that has a good fortune
and another that has not. With the pride, arrogance, and ill-temper
of English wealth, this could not be borne; but the prevailing good
humour of the French eases all such untoward circumstances. Lodgings
are not half as good as at London, yet considerably dearer. If you do
not hire a whole suite of rooms at an hotel you must probably mount
three, four, or five pair of stairs, and in general have nothing but a
bed-chamber. After the horrid fatigue of the streets such an elevation
is a delectable circumstance. You must search with trouble before you
will be lodged in a private family, as gentlemen usually are in London;
and pay a higher price. Servants' wages are about the same as at that
city. It is to be regretted that Paris should have these disadvantages,
for in other respects I take it to be a most eligible residence for such
as prefer a great city. The society for a man of letters or one who has
any scientific pursuit cannot be exceeded. The intercourse between such
men and the great, which, if it is not upon an equal footing, ought
never to exist at all, is respectable. Persons of the highest rank pay
an attention to science and literature, and emulate the character they
confer. I should pity the man who expected, without other advantages
of a very different nature, to be well received in a brilliant circle
at London because he was a Fellow of the Royal Society. But this would
not be the case with a member of the Academy of Sciences at Paris; he
is sure of a good reception everywhere. Perhaps this contrast depends,
in a great measure, on the difference of the governments of the two
countries. Politics are too much attended to in England to allow a due
respect to be paid to anything else; and should the French establish a
freer government, academicians will not be held in such estimation when
rivalled in the public esteem by the orators who hold forth liberty and
property in a free parliament."

Napoleon I. began the Rue de Rivoli, tracing it alongside the Tuileries
Gardens and the Palais Royal to the Louvre as far as the Rue de Rohan.
Napoleon III. continued the great conception of his uncle and pushed on
the Rue de Rivoli through the mean habitations and crowded streets in
the neighbourhood of the Palais Royal, of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, and
of the Halles as far as the upper part of the Rue Saint-Antoine.

The most celebrated, and certainly the most beautiful, monument in
the street is the tower of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie; so named from
its having been built close to the great butchers' market of Paris.
Constructed in 1153, the church, which at first was little more than
a chapel, was rebuilt in 1380, but not completed with the principal
porch and the tower until the reign of Francis I. The tower is now all
that remains of the church, which in 1737, under the Revolution, was
alienated by the Administration of Domains and soon afterwards pulled
down. Having become private property, the tower passed from hand to
hand until 1836, when it was offered for sale, and purchased by the
Municipality for 250,000 francs. This sum was not dear for a masterpiece
of Gothic art in its last and most delicate period, when it was about
to disappear in presence of the Græco-Roman Renaissance. Begun under
the reign of Louis XII. in 1508, the tower was finished fourteen years
afterwards in 1522. It measures fifty-two metres in height from the
stone foundations to the summit. The platform of the steeple (which is
reached by a staircase of 291 steps) is surrounded by a balustrade,
which supports, at the north-west angle, a colossal statue of Saint
Jacques. This statue replaces the ancient one which the Revolutionists
of 1793 precipitated on to the pavement, though they respected the
symbolical animals placed at the four corners of the balustrade.
These have been carefully restored. From the height of the platform a
magnificent view may be obtained.

"One sees," wrote Sanval under Louis XIV., "as one looks over the
town the distribution and course of the streets like the veins in
the human body. Unfortunately this incomparable view can no longer
be obtained--not at least without much difficulty. The tower of
Saint-Jacques has been put in the hands of an astronomical and
meteorological society, which denies access to the public, though on
rare occasions it admits a few favoured persons to its experiments,
which take place at night."

It must here be mentioned that at the foot of the tower is a statue of
Pascal, who continued from its top the observations he had begun from
the summit of the Puy de Dôme. The writer Nicholas Flamel, librarian
to the University of Paris, and Pernelle, his wife, both buried in the
vaults of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie, had been the benefactors of this
church; and their memory is preserved in the name, Nicholas Flamel,
given to the street which, beginning on the right of the tower, leads
from the Rue de Rivoli to the Rue des Lombards.

Around the tower of Saint-Jacques is a large square, well planted
with trees. Further on, towards the east, the Rue de Rivoli runs
past the Hôtel de Ville and the Napoleon Barracks. Of the Church of
Saint-Gervais, one side of which looks towards the Rue de Rivoli,
mention has already been made. Close to the point where the Rue de
Rivoli and the Rue Saint-Antoine meet, is an offshoot from the Rue
Saint-Antoine called Rue François Miron, after the independent provost
of merchants under the reign of Henri IV. In this street stands the
Hôtel de Beauvais. From the windows of this mansion Anne of Austria,
accompanied by the Queen of England, Cardinal Mazarin, Marshal Turenne,
and other illustrious personages, witnessed the procession headed by her
son, Louis XIV., and her daughter-in-law, Marie Thérèse of Austria, when
the newly married couple made their solemn entry into Paris through the
Gate of Saint-Antoine, August 26, 1660.

Running from the Rue Saint-Antoine to the Rue Charlemagne is a narrow
street scarcely twelve feet broad, with walls of extraordinary height.
Rue Percée it was originally named. For some years past it has been
called Rue du Prévôt, because at its south-east corner it joins the
former mansion of the Provost of Paris, of which the principal entrance
is in the Rue Charlemagne. The series of open courtyards known as
the Passage Charlemagne, in which all sorts of trades are carried
on, lead to the very centre of one of the most interesting and least
known monuments of old Paris. It is composed of two blocks of parallel
buildings constructed in the style of the first years of the sixteenth
century, when French architects were beginning to throw aside the
fantasies of Gothic art to subject themselves to the straight lines of
the Neo-Roman style. After passing through various hands, and finally
from François Montmorency, Governor of Paris, to Cardinal Charles de
Bourbon--the structure was presented by the latter to the Jesuits, who
attached to it a chapel dedicated to St. Louis and St. Paul. The Church
of St. Louis and St. Paul possesses, among various works of modern
art, the first picture known to have been painted by Eugène Delacroix:
"Christ in the Garden of Olives." This work is dated 1816.



The house given to the Jesuits was taken from them in 1767 on their
expulsion from France, and it then became the general repository of all
maps, plans, and other documents relating to the French navy, and at the
same time the Library of the Town of Paris. A passage leading from the
Rue Saint-Antoine to the Rue Saint-Paul separated formerly the Church or
Chapel of Saint-Éloi, where Charles VI. was baptised, from the cemetery
of the same name, where the man in the iron mask, under the name of
Marchiali, was buried. Here, too, Rabelais, Hardouin, and Mansard, the
architect, were interred. Rabelais died on the 9th of April, 1553, in
the Rue des Jardins, not very far from the mercers' house where Molière
went to live nearly a century later.


The Rue Saint-Antoine was interrupted, until the Revolution of 1789, by
the Bastille. This fortress was composed of eight towers, four looking
towards the Town, that is to say towards the Rue Saint-Antoine, and
four towards the country, that is to say the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
Curiously enough it was no despot, but Étienne Marcel, Provost of the
Merchants, who built the original Bastille, destined afterwards to be
enlarged (in 1370) by Hugues Aubriot, Provost of Paris.

[Illustration: HÔTEL DE BEAUVAIS.]

It was from the Hôtel de la Rochepot, in the Rue Saint-Antoine, that
Henri II. was accustomed to view the burning at the stake of his
Protestant victims. In this street, too, was one of the earliest of the
Protestant places of worship established in France at the very beginning
of the Reformation. Few persons are aware, though the fact has been
pointed out by M. Athanase Coquerel the younger, that the Reformation
of the sixteenth century, before breaking out in Germany and elsewhere,
had already appeared in Paris. It had for cradle the left bank of the
Seine separated at the time from the town and its suburbs, and divided
into quarters subject to two special jurisdictions: the University
and the vast territory of the Abbaye of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Was
it not natural, asks M. Coquerel, in spite of the jealous vigilance
of the Sorbonne, that the schools of Paris in which Abailard had so
boldly attacked scholasticism should be the first to wake up to the
new spiritual life? When professor at the college of Cardinal Lemoine,
Lefèvre d'Étaples published in 1512 his "Commentary on St. Paul," in
whose epistles he pointed out, five years before Luther, the essential
doctrines of the Reformation. This book was dedicated to the powerful
abbé of Saint-Germain, Briçonnet, under whose auspices was formed
in Paris the first group of ardent propagators of the new ideas.
During forty-three years the Reformation spread gradually through the
university, the court, and the town; always keeping for headquarters the
Faubourg Saint-Germain, which gained the name of "little Geneva," and
which is now the most Catholic quarter in Paris. The first Protestant
put to death in France for his religious views was one of the pupils of
Lefèvre d'Étaples, a student named Pauvent, born in the year 1524. The
martyrdom of Pauvent was followed by that of many other Huguenots.

Calvin was then studying at Paris, but could not remain there. The
rector of the university, Nicholas Cop, a secret promoter of the
Reformation, had commissioned the young Calvin to write a discourse for
the re-opening of the term, which, according to custom, was delivered
on November 1, 1533, in the Church of the Mathurins, built on a portion
of the site of the Emperor Julian's baths. The heresies contained in
this discourse were denounced to the Parliament by several monks. The
rector found it necessary to take flight to Bâle, where he became a
pastor. Calvin followed his example, and was obliged, it is said, to
escape through one of the windows of his college.

The first place in Paris where the Reformation was publicly preached
was the Louvre. Here Queen Margaret of Navarre, sister of Francis I.,
Briçonnet's studious and learned friend, ordered her chaplain, Gérard
Roussel, and other disciples of Lefèvre d'Étaples to preach in her
presence; for which reason Lemaud, of the Order of Cordeliers, declared
publicly in the pulpit that she deserved to be put into a sack and
thrown into the Seine. The rage of the priests was shared by the people,
and the cry of "Death to the heretics!" was frequently heard about the
town. "To be thrown into the river," says a chronicler of the time,
"it was only necessary to be called a Huguenot in the open street, to
whatever religion one might belong." In all the public places of Paris,
on the bridges, and in the cemeteries Protestants were constantly
burned. In 1535 Francis I., followed by his three sons, the court, the
Parliament, and the guilds of all the trade associations, took part
in a general procession, which halted at six of the public places,
where six Protestants, suspended by iron chains, were burnt to death.
"L'estrapade" this form of punishment was called; and not many years ago
the name was still borne by an open space on the left bank of the Seine.

Henri II. imitated his father. One day he assisted, from the window of a
house in the Rue Saint-Antoine, at the execution of a Protestant tailor
who was burnt alive. But the eyes of the martyr, steadily fixed on his,
so frightened him that though this was not the last heretic he sentenced
to death, it was the last he saw die.

The Protestants of Paris had not at that time either churches or clergy,
but they already had schools. "Hedge schools" they were called, from
being held in the country. They would not have been permitted in the

The first Protestant place of worship established in Paris was at
a house in the Pré-aux-Clercs. Protestant congregations were often
surprised; and in 1557 a number of Protestants assembled for worship
at a house in the Rue Saint-Jacques, opposite the building where the
Lycée Louis le Grand is now located, were besieged by a number of
priests attached to the Collège du Plessis. The populace took part in
the attack; and after remaining indoors six hours, those who at last
went out were stoned, and in several instances killed. The rest of
the congregation, to the number of 135, were made prisoners, and many
of them sentenced to death. Among those executed was the young and
beautiful widow of a member of the Consistory, Mme. de Graveron, who,
"seated on the tumbril, showed a rosy countenance of excellent beauty."
Her tongue had been cut out, which was often done in those days to
prevent the exhortations which martyrs might address to the mob. At
other times, as afterwards at the execution of Louis XVI., a constant
rolling of drums was kept up. It was granted to Mme. de Graveron as a
special favour that flames should be applied only to her feet and face,
and that she should be strangled before her body was burnt.

The Protestant poet, Clément Marot, to whom Francis I. had given a
house, called the House of the Bronze Horse (now Number 30, Rue de Condé
and 27, Rue de Tournon), translated at this epoch some of the psalms
into French verse; and his version had an extraordinary vogue even at
the court. The students who, at the close of day, were accustomed to
amuse themselves in the Pré-aux-Clercs opposite the Louvre, replaced
their ordinary songs by the psalms of Clément Marot; and it became the
fashion with the lords and ladies of the court to cross the Seine in
order to hear the singing of the "clerks." Often they would themselves
join in, and the Huguenot King of Navarre, Antoine de Bourbon, was
frequently seen singing the psalms in the "meadow" at the head of a long
procession of courtiers and students.

But persecution, which for a time had ceased, began anew: Marot was
obliged to fly. In spite of the danger by which they were threatened,
the deputies of the Protestant churches of France met at Paris in the
Faubourg Saint-Germain, and there, in 1559, held their first national
Synod. Francis I., husband of Mary Stuart, allowed the cruel work of
his father to be continued. Under his reign the illustrious chancellor
Du Bourg was burnt and hanged; as to which Voltaire declared that
"this murder did more for Protestantism than all the eloquent works
produced by its defenders." Cardinal de Lorraine made many other
victims, surrounding on one occasion a Protestant place of assembly,
and taking all he could find within. There were secret passages,
however, communicating with the buildings around, so that many persons
effected their escape. The secret head-quarters of the Reformed Church
in France were in the Rue des Marais-Saint-Germain, now called the Rue
Visconti. Its ancient name, which need scarcely have been changed, was
borne by it for more than three centuries; during which time it was
inhabited, or frequently visited, by all the old Protestants of Paris:
by the D'Aubignés and the Du Moulins; as later on by the Duke de la
Rochefoucauld, Mme. de Sévigné, Racine and Voltaire, Mme. Clairon and
Adrienne Lecouvreur.



Meanwhile the Reformation was constantly gaining ground in Paris.
Coligny and his two brothers, one of whom was a cardinal, joined it
openly; whereupon a monk, Jean de Han, preached against him, taking for
his text, "Ite in castellum quod contra vos est," and translating it
thus: "Fall upon Châtillon, who is against you." On becoming Regent,
Catherine de Médicis, hesitating between the two religions, tried to
bring together the Châtillons and those champions of Catholicism, the
Guises. With a view to conciliation the conference of Poissy was held;
and though no positive result was secured, the Reformed religion was
allowed to be practised openly, though its places of worship were, for
the most part, beyond the City walls.

From time to time, however, a Protestant "temple" was attacked and
burnt; and once, when one of these onslaughts caused a riot, Gabaston,
Chief of the Watch, was hanged for arresting indiscriminately the
rioters of both religions. The massacre of Vassy (directed by Guise,
who boasted that he would cut the edict of toleration in favour of the
Protestants with the edge of his sword) and two civil wars were but the
prelude to the terrible Massacre of Saint Bartholomew.

[Illustration: RUE GRENIER-SUR-L'EAU.]

The extermination of the heretics had been recommended many times to
Catherine de Médicis by Philip II., by the Duke of Alva, and by Pope
Saint Pius V. (Letter 12 of Charles IX. and Papal Bull of August 1,
1568). The queen, after much hesitation, took a sudden resolution,
when the Guises aggravated the situation by causing the assassination
of Coligny. Catherine obtained, at the last moment, the consent of the
king. But it was the brother and successor of Charles, it was Henri III.
who assumed the direction of the massacre, and posted himself on the
centre of the bridge of Notre Dame, in order to see what took place on
both banks of the river. How the bell of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois gave
the signal for the massacre, and how Coligny, after escaping with some
severe wounds from the first attack, was afterwards put to death, has
already been told. In the midst of the general slaughter a few Huguenots
of distinction remained safe. Charles IX. kept in his own room the
eminent surgeon, Ambroise Paré, of whom he had need, and his old nurse,
Philippe Richard, whom he loved. Nor did anyone venture to attack Renée,
daughter of Louis XII., a zealous Protestant, who was fortunate enough
to save a few of her young co-religionists by giving them shelter in
her mansion on the left bank of the river. Two days after the massacre
thanksgivings were offered up by the clergy, who headed a procession in
which all the Court, with the exception of Henri of Navarre, afterwards
Henri IV. of France, took part. The King was congratulated from the
pulpit by the Bishop of Asti on having "in one morning purged France of
heresy." Little did the prelate foresee that the Church of Saint-Thomas
of the Louvre in which he was preaching would, some two centuries later,
become the recognised centre of this same heresy.

Condé now abjured at Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and Henri de Navarre at
the Louvre; but the Reformed Church was far from being destroyed. Only
a few months after the massacre, Bérenger de Portal left to this church
(whose re-establishment he ardently desired) a sum sufficient for the
maintenance of the pastors and the education of candidates for the

The Rue Saint-Antoine touches the Boulevard Bourdon, thus named in
memory of Colonel Bourdon, of the 11th Dragoons, killed at Austerlitz.
The building which now dominates all this district is the Arsenal, built
by the Emperor in 1807 as a granary of reserve for provisioning Paris;
at present occupied by manufacturers and workmen of various kinds.
The Arsenal was erected on the site of the "little arsenal," built by
Francis I. The new structure extends south to the Quai Morland, so
styled in honour of the colonel of the Chasseurs of the Guard killed at
Austerlitz. Augmented and renovated by various architects, the Arsenal
contains a library of which the charming writer, Charles Nodier, was at
one time the custodian. The collection was first formed by M. d'Argenson
and the Marquis de Paulmy, Minister of State, who was the last Governor
of the Arsenal before the suppression of this military establishment
by Louis XVI. in 1788, on the eve of the Revolution. To gratify his
own private tastes as a bibliophile, M. de Paulmy had got together a
library of about 100,000 volumes and 10,000 manuscripts, which was
increased by the addition of upwards of 26,000 works from the sale of
the Duke de la Vallière's collection. To prevent the dispersion of the
books after his death, M. de Paulmy sold the collection in 1785 to the
Count of Artois for a certain number of annuities, which the Count
omitted to pay. The library was, all the same, looked upon as government
property, and confiscated as such in 1790. Enriched by the confiscation
of other libraries in the neighbourhood, the Library of the Arsenal
was thrown open to the public by the Imperial Government, which at the
same time undertook the payment of the annuities due to M. de Paulmy's
heirs. It now comprises about 350,000 volumes, 6,500 manuscripts, and a
magnificent collection of prints. It contains, among other interesting
documents, the original papers composing the archives of the Bastille,
published in part by M. Ravaisson. A clock of ebony and gilt by Louis le
Roy, which adorns the entrance, is said to be worth upwards of 40,000
francs; and two of the side rooms are full of curious woodwork, and of
interesting objects of all kinds.

In a room occupied at one time by the Duke de Sully are preserved the
archives of the Saint-Simonians, including the sealed memoirs of Le Père
Enfantin, which are not to be published until thirty years after his
death; Enfantin's colossal bust in the style of Michael Angelo's Moses,
a portrait of Saint-Simon, and another of Mme. Thérèse, the divinity, or
at least the Egeria, of the sect.

It was at the Arsenal, when Charles Nodier was librarian, that Victor
Hugo, in the midst of a great literary gathering, recited his first
poems, soon afterwards to be given to the world under the title of "Odes
et Ballades."

A complete list of the writers who have occupied the post of librarian
at the Arsenal would include Ancelot, Paul Lacroix (better known as Le
Bibliophile Jacob), Édouard Thierry, Hippolyte Lucas, and the Viscount
de Bornier, author of "La Fille de Roland," "Agamemnon," "Attila," and

Among the interesting places in the neighbourhood of the Arsenal must
be mentioned the little covered market to which the name of Ave Maria
has been given. It marks the site of the old tennis court of the Black
Cross, where Molière erected his second theatre after the failure of
the first; and with so little success that he was imprisoned for debt
contracted in the name of the company.

The Rue des Nonnains d'Hyères, which joins the Rue Saint-Antoine, leads
to the Pont Marie, by which the Seine is crossed to reach the Island of
Saint-Louis. Parallel to this street is the Rue Geoffrey Lasnier, which
is scarcely five-and-twenty feet wide, and which has nothing whatever
attractive about it. Here, nevertheless, at No. 26, stands the hotel
built by the Constable de Montmorency, and restored in the early part of
the eighteenth century, when it was known as the Hôtel de Châlons.

Most of the houses in this curious street are at least three centuries
old. Wanderers in search of the quaint will pass from it to the Rue
Grenier-sur-l'eau, which leads through the Rue des Barres to the very
threshold of the Church of Saint-Gervais. The Rue Grenier-sur-l'eau is
so narrow that it would scarcely admit of the passage of a bath chair.
It is a lane of walls, without doors or windows, into which light
scarcely penetrates.

The Island of Saint-Louis, between the Île Louviers, which precedes it
above bridge, and the Island of the City, which follows it below, was
nothing but pasture-land until the beginning of Louis XIII.'s reign.
It was composed at that time of two islets, a small one called the
Isle of Cows, and a larger one known as the Isle of Notre Dame. In
1614 Christophe Marie, general constructor of the bridges of France,
undertook to connect these two islets, to furnish them with streets
and with a circumference of stone quays, and to join the whole to
the right bank by a bridge leading to the Rue des Nonnains d'Hyères.
In 1647 the work had been completed, and the island was covered with
buildings. Its principal street crosses it lengthwise from east to west.
Rue Saint-Louis-en-l'Île it is called, and it contains two remarkable
buildings, the Church of Saint-Louis and the Hôtel Lambert. The Church
of Saint-Louis was begun in 1664 by Louis Le Vau, continued by Gabriel
Leduc, and completed in 1726 by Jacques Doucet, who constructed the
cupola. The steeple, thirty metres high, is built of stone, and is in
the form of an obelisk. The ornamental sculpture is the work of Jean
Baptiste de Champaigne, nephew of the painter, Philippe de Champaigne.
The church contains fine paintings by Mignard, Coypel, Lemoine, and
Eugène Delacroix.

At the beginning of the Rue Saint-Louis, towards the north, commanding
a superb view of the Upper Seine, stands the Hôtel Lambert, built by
Le Vau, Louis XIV.'s principal architect. The first proprietor of the
Hôtel Lambert, Nicholas Lambert de Thorigny, spared nothing to make it
a magnificent abode. The decoration of the interior was entrusted to
Lesueur le Brun and other celebrated painters of the time. The treasures
which the Hôtel Lambert originally contained have in the course of its
varied fortunes been dispersed. It passed after the death of Lambert
de Thorigny into the hands of M. de La Haye, farmer-general, and
successively into those of the Marquis du Châtelet-Laumont, and of M.
Dupin, another farmer-general, brother of the celebrated Mme. d'Épinay.
The internal decorations suffered much from these constant changes of
ownership. At the death of M. de La Haye, the painting on the ceiling
of one of the rooms, "Apollo listening to the prayer of Phaeton,"
by Lesueur, was removed from the Hôtel Lambert to the Luxembourg
Gallery, where it may still be seen. Most of the other paintings were
transferred, at the time of the Revolution, to the Louvre.

Many distinguished persons have resided at the Hôtel Lambert, including
Voltaire when he was writing the "Henriade"; and it was here that M.
de Montalivet, in 1815, after the battle of Waterloo, had a celebrated
interview with Napoleon. Later on the Hôtel Lambert became a girls'
school; then a depot for military stores; until finally, towards 1840,
it was offered for sale, and purchased by Prince Czartoryski, to whose
family it still belongs.

The Quai d'Anjou, which looks towards the north, is rich in associations
of various kinds. The façade of Number 17 bears these words inscribed
on a marble slab, "Hôtel de Lauzun, 1657"; and beyond the principal
door this other inscription: "Hôtel de Pimodan." Lieut.-General Count
de Pimodan was the first inhabitant of this hotel, which was built for
him in 1657, and which he occupied until the time of his fall. It was
the abode of the Marquis de La Vallée de Pimodan at the time of the
Revolution. Under the reign of Louis Philippe a number of distinguished
writers lived successively or simultaneously in the mansion: Roger
de Beauvoir, who published a collection of tales called "The Hôtel
Pimodan"; Théophile Gautier, Charles Baudelaire, and others. It now
gives shelter to a wonderful collection of books and objects of art
brought together by Baron Pichon, one of the most eminent members of the
Society of French Bibliophiles.

Quitting the Island of Saint-Louis to return to the quay and square of
the Hôtel de Ville, we reach the Avenue Victoria, which runs to the
right of Boccador's façade, and which received this name in honour of
Queen Victoria, who paid a visit to the Emperor and to the town of Paris
in 1855, at the height of the Crimean War. The avenue in question leads
to the Place du Châtelet, which is enclosed between two monumental
façades, those of the Théâtre Lyrique and of the Théâtre du Châtelet.
The Place du Châtelet was formed in 1813 on the site of the Grand
Châtelet; an ancient castle of Gallo-Roman origin, which defended at
this point the entrance to the City. It had been entirely rebuilt in
1684; and in 1813 only a few towers of the original building remained.
The Châtelet was a court of justice with civil, criminal, and police
tribunals. Beneath the buildings of the Grand Châtelet, and in the
towers, were confined an enormous number of prisoners. Their dungeons
were horrible. A Royal decree of the 23rd of August, 1780 (nine years,
be it observed, before the Revolution) ordered the destruction of all
subterranean prisons. The jurisdiction of the Châtelet having been
abolished by the Revolution, its buildings remained unoccupied until
1802, when they were entirely destroyed.

Of the two theatres which shut in the Place du Châtelet, the one
to which the ancient building gives its name is much the larger.
It accommodates 3,000 spectators, to whom some of the best-known
spectacular pieces have been submitted, including _Michael Strogoff_,
_Les Pilules du Diable_, etc.

[Illustration: THE PONT MARIE.]

The theatre on the other side of the Place du Châtelet, and which
belongs to the town of Paris, has been occupied since the year 1887 by
the Opéra Comique, the establishment having been transferred to it soon
after the disastrous fire which consumed the historic Salle Favart.
It was originally the Théâtre Lyrique; directed by M. Carvalho, and
associated with the triumphs of Mme. Miolan Carvalho, and the earliest
successes of Christine Nilsson. Burnt by the Communards in May, 1871,
it was re-opened as a dramatic theatre under the title of Théâtre
Lyrique-Historique, afterwards to become Théâtre des Nations, Théâtre
Italien, Théâtre de Paris, and finally in 1888 Opéra Comique. The
interior of the house is more remarkable for elegance than for comfort.
It holds 1,500 spectators. The Opéra Comique, as here established,
receives an annual subvention of 300,000 francs.

The Boulevard de Sebastopol, which starts from the north of the Place
du Châtelet, was, as the name sufficiently denotes, constructed in
1855; opening a broadway through the compact mass of old houses enclosed
between the Rue Saint-Denis and the Rue Saint-Martin. It caused the
destruction of no interesting edifices, and its roadway, thirty metres
wide, is lined solely with new and lofty houses five storeys high. Here
traders, artisans, and even artists are to be found: engravers and
workers in metal, lamp-manufacturers, workers in bronze, haberdashers,
mercers, clock-makers, jewellers, druggists, opticians, confectioners,
dyers, lace-makers, button-makers, crape-makers, artificial flower
makers, glovers, etc. This broad thoroughfare leads us to the end of
the Boulevard Saint-Denis, passing behind the chancel of the Church
of Saint-Leu, whose front entrance belongs to the Rue Saint-Denis,
and behind the square of the Conservatory of Arts and Trades, which
belongs to the Rue Saint-Martin. The street of the Lombards (Rue des
Lombards) so much enlarged as to be no longer recognisable, is still
the headquarters of the drug trade, wholesale and retail. But it does
not now, as in former days, possess a monopoly for confectionery and
sweetmeats. Even the Faithful Shepherd (_Fidèle Berger_), as one
celebrated shop for the sale of bonbons was called, and which gave its
title to the comic opera by Adolphe Adam, has migrated to a newer and
more fashionable locality.

The Rue de la Verrerie, just opposite, runs in a direct line to the Rue
Saint-Antoine. It has preserved in a remarkable manner its physiognomy
of two centuries ago; thanks to the architecture of its fine mansions,
which has nobly resisted the ravages of time. Who would ever imagine
that this dark and narrow street, which is constantly blocked by the
most ordinary traffic, was enlarged in 1671 and 1672 because it was the
ordinary route along which Louis XIV., coming from the Castle of the
Louvre to that of Vincennes, was in the habit of passing, besides being
the road by which foreign ambassadors made their formal entry into Paris?

[Illustration: RUE ST.-LOUIS-EN-L'ÎLE.]

At the corner of the Rue de la Verrerie and the Rue Saint-Martin
stands the Église Saint-Merry, or Méry. The name, spelt both ways, is
in either form a corruption of Saint-Méderic, a monk of the monastery
of Saint-Martin d'Autun, who lived a strange life in a cell, and died
in odour of sanctity on the 29th of August, 1700. The church was
reconstructed as long ago as the tenth century, at the expense of Odo
the Falconer, whose body, enclosed in a tomb of stone, was discovered in
1520. The legs were encased in boots of gilded leather. Odo the Falconer
was one of the warriors who defended Paris in 886 against the attacks of
the Normans. The actual edifice was begun in the reign of Francis I.,
between 1520 and 1530, and not finished until 1612, under the minority
of Louis XIII. Constructed in the form of a Latin cross, the Church of
Saint-Merry has two lateral entrances. But from the south side, that
is to say, from the Rue de la Verrerie, only a gate of the principal
entrance can be seen, together with the two turrets terminating in bell
towers, along which "chimæras dire" are crawling. Buried under the
Church of Saint-Merry are Chapelain, author of "La Pucelle," and the
Marquis de Pomponne, Minister of Louis XIV. To the north of Saint-Merry
stood the cloister of the canons, separated from the church by the
façade of the Rue du Cloître, and by two narrow little streets bearing
the expressive names of Brisemiche and Taillepain, on account of the
daily distributions of bread of which they were the scene. At the back
of the church the name of the Rue des Juges-Consuls recalls the fact
that the first Tribunal of Commerce created by Charles IX. was installed
there in a mansion which had belonged to President Baillet in 1570.
The Tribunal of Commerce was, in the seventeenth century, the centre
of a group of money-changers and bankers, who so infested the Rue
Saint-Martin and the Rue Quincampoix as to render them impassable.

The Rue Quincampoix is for ever associated with the name of Law, a
Scotch banker related to the Argyll family, and son of a goldsmith and
banker who died at Venice in 1729.

Law (John Lauriston Law) was born at Edinburgh in 1671, and he is
said at an early age to have studied assiduously the doctrine of
chances, which he applied to games of hazard. Whether in virtue of
his arithmetical combinations or of that luck which during a long
course of years never deserted him, he won large sums of money at the
gambling-table, after which he turned his attention to gambling on a
wider scale: finance, that is to say. He was still in his twenty-fifth
year when, as the result of a love affair, he fought a duel, for which
he was sentenced to death. His punishment was commuted to that of
imprisonment for life; but he succeeded in escaping, left England, and
for some time travelled through the different states of Europe, playing
everywhere with success, and proposing everywhere, but without success,
a new system of public credit, due to his inexhaustible imagination.

The system would, according to its inventor, multiply one hundredfold
the resources of the State by putting into circulation a quantity of
paper money, based upon the revenue from taxes and Government property
of all kinds, coin, according to Law, being insufficient for the
requirements of a large nation. The Regent of Orleans, captivated by
this brilliant scheme, saw in it the means of saving France, at the
time (1716) threatened by national bankruptcy. He, in the first place,
granted to Law the privilege of establishing a general bank with a
capital of 6,000,000 francs, divided into 12,000 shares of 500 francs
each, with a discount of 25 per cent. to anyone purchasing a thousand
shares. The shares were readily taken and the bank proved a great

Then, in connection with the bank, Law started successively the
Mississippi Company, the Senegal Company, the China Company, the French
East India Company, and companies for coining the State money and
farming the State revenue. Having now got into his hands all the sources
of public income, he made over his bank to the State, and was himself
appointed Controller-General of Finance. Instead, however, of helping
commerce, Law's creations merely stimulated the spirit of speculation;
so that priests, nobles, merchants, shopkeepers, workmen, all began to
gamble in stocks and shares. Intoxicated by his success, Law issued an
excessive number of shares: "watering" them, according to the financial
expression of the present day. In due time, notwithstanding all kinds
of expedients (such as forced currency for the new paper money) to keep
them at par, the shares lost value in the market, and soon fell to
such a point that their depreciation caused a general panic. There was
no class in which some, and, indeed, many of Law's shareholders were
not to be found; and ere long the inventor of the new system of credit
became the object of so much public indignation that he went in danger
of his life. There was a riot in the Palais Royal, and Law's carriage
was stopped by a band of infuriated persons in the public street. A man
of great nerve and of commanding presence, Law looked from the carriage
window and exclaimed in a haughty tone: "Back, you rabble!" (_Arrière
canaille!_) on which his assailants retired. This method of appeasing
the stormy waters was tried the next day with less success by Law's
coachman. His master was not inside the carriage. The vehicle, however,
had been recognised, and the coachman found his progress impeded by an
angry mob. "Back, you rabble!" he cried, in imitation of his master;
when the mob, unwilling to receive from the servant the defiance which
they had listened to in all humility from the master, tore him from his
box and put him to death.

Another carriage story of the same period, likewise associated with
finance, has a less tragic conclusion. A footman who had learnt, by
listening to the conversation of his master at dinner-table, the art of
speculating, had at last made a sufficiently large fortune to be able
to buy himself a carriage. As soon as he had taken possession of it,
he paid a visit to the Rue Quincampoix, a narrow street near the Rue
Saint-Martin, where the bankers, brokers, and speculators interested
in Law's various enterprises had their headquarters. After transacting
a little business, the enriched flunkey entered a much-frequented café
and refreshed himself. Some time afterwards, in a fit of absence due
either to preoccupation or to the effect of alcoholic liquors, he left
the café and, instead of getting into his carriage, got up behind it.
"You have made a mistake, sir," called out the coachman; "your place is
inside." "I know it is," replied the proprietor of the vehicle, suddenly
recovering his presence of mind; "I wanted to see whether there was room
for a pair of lacqueys behind."

If footmen became aristocrats, noblemen, in those subversive days,
turned tradesmen.

The Regent made his money with the greatest ease, by simply fixing the
official value of the shares he held at a figure which suited his book.
The members of the Court followed his lead. One of them, the Duke de la
Force, did business on an extended scale. Nothing was too high or too
low for him; and on one occasion, being unable to realise the value of
his paper in any more profitable form, he took for it the contents of
a grocer's shop. It was now necessary to sell the goods; on which the
licensed grocers of the capital complained to the Lieutenant of Police
that the Duke was entering into illegal competition with them. The
Lieutenant did his duty, and the Duke's tea and sugar were confiscated.

A footman named Languedoc, sent by his master to the Rue Quincampoix to
sell some shares at a fixed rate, disposed of them for 500,000 francs
more than the appointed price, and pocketing the balance, started as a
gentleman on his own account, engaged servants and changed his name to
that of Monsieur de La Bastide, by which he was thenceforth known.

In times of feverish speculation the surest winners are the
brokers--those happy intermediaries who, whether their clients buy
or sell, sink or swim, steadily take their commission. A famous
intermediary of the Rue Quincampoix was a certain hunchback, who used
to let out his hump as a desk for buyers, sellers, and dealers of all
kinds. In a comparatively short time he is said to have realised as much
as 50,000 francs.

When the financial crash arrived, it was felt necessary to punish
someone, and proceedings were taken against Law by the Parliament of
Paris. Law, as completely ruined as the most unfortunate of his victims,
escaped to Belgium, and thence to England, to die ultimately in Italy.

"When I took service in France," he wrote to the Duke of Orleans, "I
had as much property as I needed. I was without debts and I had credit;
I left the service without property of any kind. Those who placed
confidence in me have been driven to bankruptcy, and I have not the
means of paying them."

At the time of his great failure, and for a long time afterwards, if not
to the present day, Law was looked upon as a mere swindler; whereas he
was nothing worse than a sanguine, over-confident, perhaps even reckless
speculator. It has been seen that by his speculations he impoverished
himself as well as others.

"The machine he had invented," says one of his critics, M. Gautier, "was
ingenious; but in a country like France, without industrial resources,
it could not find sufficient motive power. Law thought he could remove
this difficulty by joining to his mechanism an artificial motive power.
He was wrong. The banks can no more found credit than credit can produce
capital. They can turn to the best account a value that exists. But to
create value is beyond their power."

According to another French economist, M. Levasseur, "Law acted with
the precipitation and violence of a man who, penetrated with the truth
of his own ideas, marches straight towards his goal without caring
whether the generality of persons understand him or not, and who becomes
irritated when natural obstacles present themselves which he had not

Law himself, while asserting his own moral integrity, admitted that he
had made mistakes. "I do not maintain," he said, "that I was right on
every point. I acknowledge that I committed errors, and that if I had
to begin again I should act differently. I should advance more slowly
but more surely, and should not expose the State and my own person to
the dangers necessarily resulting from a general panic." He persisted,
however, in asserting that, though his mode of action had been faulty,
he nevertheless possessed the true secret of national wealth. "Do not
forget," he wrote from his place of exile, "that the introduction of
credit has done more for commercial transactions between the countries
of Europe than the discovery of India; that it is for the Sovereign to
give credit, not to receive it, and that the people of every country
have such absolute need of it that they must return to it in spite of
themselves, however much they may mistrust the principle."


"We must render to this man," says M. Levasseur, "the justice he merits.
He was not, as has sometimes been said, an adventurer who had come to
France to profit by the weakness of the Regent. If he was wanting in
that political prudence by which nations should be guided, and if he
was wrong in some of his theories, he had at least fixed principles,
and he occupied his whole life, not in making his fortune, but in
ensuring the triumph of his ideas.... France allowed him to die in
poverty. Yet if the recollection of the misery caused by the ruin of
his system was somewhat too recent to give place to gratitude, France
ought nevertheless to have felt grateful to him for the generous ideas
he had put forth. He laboured to extend the commerce of the country,
to re-establish the navy, to found colonies. He suppressed onerous
privileges. He endeavoured to do away with venality in the magistracy;
to create a less tyrannical and more simple administration of the tax
system. Finally he established a bank, which, could it have survived,
would have helped powerfully to develop commerce and would have
augmented considerably the wealth of the country."

It is not generally known that, besides introducing a new system of
credit, Law was the inventor of pictorial advertisements. Specimens,
however, have been preserved of the pictures issued by him in connection
with the "flotation" of his Mississippi scheme, one of which represents
the Indians on the banks of the river, dancing with joy at the approach
of the French, who had come to civilise them.



CENTRAL PARIS (_continued_).

Rue de Venise--Rachel--St. Nicholas-in-the-Fields--The _Conservatoire
des Artes et Métiers_--The _Gaité_--Rue des Archives--The Mont de
Piété--The National Printing Office--The Hôtel Lamoignon.

The Rue Quincampoix and the Rue Saint-Martin are connected by a narrow
lane or alley scarcely ten feet wide, called Rue de Venise, which has
a sinister renown in connection with the speculative mania of Law's
time. Here it was, in the month of April, that a rich banker was
enticed, under pretext of a sale of shares, and assassinated by Laurent
de Mille and Count Horn, that same Count Horn whose servant, passing
himself off as master, played so infamous a trick upon poor Angelica
Kaufmann, ancestress of Pauline in the drama of _The Lady of Lyons_. A
little higher up in the Rue de Venise, and, leading likewise to the Rue
Quincampoix, is the Passage Molière, which owes its name to the Théâtre
Molière, opened on the 4th of June, 1791, with a representation of the
_Misanthrope_. In 1793 it was re-baptised Théâtre des Sans-Culottes.
Its first director under its new name was Boursault-Malesherbes,
comedian, member of the Convention, and farmer of public games. Closed
and re-opened a score of times, this house became in the early years of
Louis Philippe's reign a theatre for dramatic instruction, where Mlle.
Rachel received her first lessons from Saint-Aulaire.

Universally recognised as one of the greatest of French actresses,
Rachel, of Jewish race, was born on the 28th of February, 1821, at Munf,
a Swiss village in the Canton of Argovia. Her father and mother were,
however, both French; the former, Jacques Felix, being a native of Metz,
the latter, Esther Hayn, of Guers, in the department of the Lower Rhine.
In the year 1831, Rachel, under her true name of Elisa, was a street
singer at Lyons, where Choron, director of an important musical academy,
chanced to hear her. He was so struck by the beauty of her voice that
he called upon Elisa's parents, and induced them to settle in Paris,
where he promised to take charge of their little daughter's musical
education. He suggested that she should adopt in lieu of "Elisa" the
more impressive name of Rachel. But before her studies had progressed
very far she lost her voice; and Choron placed her in a dramatic class
directed by Saint-Aulaire. This professor, a retired comedian who
understood the art of acting better than he had ever practised it,
had taken the Salle Molière just spoken of; and here during the years
1834, 1835, and 1836 Rachel was made to play a great variety of parts,
including nearly every leading character in the plays of Corneille,
Racine, and Molière. The charges for admission to the Salle Molière were
moderate, but the house was always full when Rachel had been announced
to play, and the tickets on these occasions were sold at a premium.

One day M. Védl, treasurer of the Théâtre Français, went to the Salle
Molière to see a soubrette whom his manager thought of engaging. He was
about to leave the theatre, when Saint-Aulaire begged him to remain
in order to see a pupil who had not yet appeared, and of whom he
entertained the greatest hopes. This, of course, was little Rachel, who
was about to play the part of Hermione in _Andromaque_. She resembled
none of the other pupils whom the emissary from the Théâtre Français had
seen. She was small in stature and had a hard, almost a harsh voice;
which, however, was firm and impressive, and, when the young girl became
excited, almost musical. After the performance, M. Védl complimented
the young actress, and promised to do his best for her at the important
theatre with which he was connected. He at once spoke of her to M.
Jouslin de La Salle, director of the Français, who, after seeing her
in _Tancrède_, arranged a special performance, which was attended,
in the character of judges, by M. Samson and Mlle. Mars. "She is too
short," objected one of the party. "She will grow," replied Mlle. Mars
significantly; and on the recommendation of the manager of the Théâtre
Français she was admitted to the Conservatoire.

Rachel entered the class directed by M. Samson, one of the principal
actors of the Théâtre Français, and under his tuition made rapid
progress. Tempted, however, by an engagement offered to her at the
Gymnase, she soon left the Conservatoire for that theatre, where she
achieved a certain success as Suzette in Scribe's _Mariage de Raison_.
The experiment, however, was not altogether satisfactory, and she
returned to the Conservatoire, and remained until May, 1838, when,
on the recommendation of M. Samson, she was engaged at the Théâtre
Français. Her first appearance there, as Camille in _Les Horaces_, took
place on the 12th of June in this same year. She was then but sixteen
years old, and only moderately pretty. Short for her age, she had the
further disadvantage of being marked with the small-pox. With narrow
chin, high cheek-bones, and a projecting forehead, she had brilliant,
expressive eyes, at once thoughtful and full of fire. The pose of her
head was admirable, and all her gestures were marked by dignity and
distinction. Calm and self-contained throughout the greater part of
the performance, she never abandoned herself to her emotion even while
expressing the most ardent passion. There was intensity in all she did,
and so novel, so individual was her style that she inspired her audience
with the strongest personal admiration. She had now established her
position at the greatest theatre in Europe; but it was at the little
Salle Molière that she had first learned to act.

In the immediate neighbourhood, on the ancient territory of the Abbaye
Saint-Martin, stands the Church of St. Nicholas-in-the-Fields, where the
mayor or bailiff of the abbaye resided. Dating from the twelfth century,
this church was rebuilt in 1420, and underwent various processes of
modification and reconstruction until it received its definite form in
1576. Every style, from the Gothic of Charles VI. to the Neo-Roman of
Henri III., has left its imprint in the highly composite architecture
of this church, said to be the longest and the broadest in all Paris.
In one of the chapels of the nave, dedicated to Saint Martin, is a
picture which represents Saint Martin curing the leper by taking him
in his arms; and the inscription sets forth that the priory of Saint
Nicholas-in-the-Fields was founded on the spot where this miracle took
place. In the fields of this church lie buried the philosopher Gassendi,
and the historians Henri and Adrien de Valois, together with Malle de
Scudéry, who wrote the once celebrated novels, "Le Grand Cyrus" and

[Illustration: RUE DE VENISE.]

Under the Revolution the Church of Saint Nicholas-in-the-Fields was
converted into "The Temple of Hymen." Most of the property belonging to
the religious community of Saint-Martin was sold by the Revolutionary
Government. On a portion of what remained was built the Conservatoire
des Arts et Métiers, which was created by a decree of the year 1794,
though it did not finally take form until four years afterwards. The
building, as it now exists, was partly restored, partly reconstructed,
between the years 1852 and 1862, by M. Vandoyer.


The "arts and crafts," until the time of the Revolution, formed close
corporations of their own. The origin of these unions and guilds
was very remote. In the middle ages the rules on the subject of
apprenticeship were most severe; and after seven years' subjection to a
master the artisan became only a "companion" or varlet, and could still
work only under the direction of a full member of the guild. To pass
as master it was necessary for a "companion" to produce a masterpiece
and to pay, moreover, certain dues, onerous for a mere workman; which
forced a great number of these varlets to remain in their original
condition. The corporations of arts and crafts were governed by a number
of edicts which regulated not only the quality and quantity of the work
to be done, but prescribed methods of manufacture, and provided for the
settlement of disputes between artisans and merchants, or artisans and
private persons engaging their services. These strange organisations had
the worst effect in an economical sense, and many endeavours were made
long before the Revolution to destroy the monopolies they created. In
1776, thirteen years previously to the Revolution, the corporations of
arts and crafts were abolished by the famous Minister, Turgot. But the
edict was evaded, and it was not until the Revolution, when things that
were abolished were abolished for ever, that the French guilds finally


The "Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers," established soon after the
Revolution, had no direct connection with the "arts and crafts," whose
organisation into guilds and close corporations had been suppressed.
It was thought desirable, however, to form a central depôt where newly
invented machines, together with machines whose utility had been
tested, might be placed together for public inspection. Vaucanson,
chiefly remembered by his ingenious automatic contrivances, had formed
a collection of machines, which during his lifetime he threw open to
working men, and at his death bequeathed to the monarchical government.
Thus the nucleus of the important collection formed by the Republic
already existed under Louis XVI.

That the exhibition of machines, as superintended during the last days
of the monarchy by M. Vandermond, was a sight worth seeing is shown
by Arthur Young having gone to see it when he was making, throughout
France, that tour of inquiry which was destined to become famous. "I
visited," he writes in 1789, just one month before the taking of the
Bastille, "the repository of royal machines, which M. Vandermond showed
and explained to me with great readiness and politeness. What struck me
most was M. Vaucanson's machine for making a chain which, I was told,
Mr. Watt, of Birmingham, admired very much, at which my attendants
seemed not displeased. Another for makin