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Title: Memoirs (Vieux Souvenirs) of the Prince de Joinville
Author: Joinville, François-Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Marie d'Orléans, prince de, 1818-1900
Language: English
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MEMOIRS (VIEUX SOUVENIRS) OF THE PRINCE DE JOINVILLE

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY LADY MARY LOYD



CHAPTER I

1818-1830


I was born at Neuilly-sur-Seine, on the outskirts of Paris, on the 14th
of August, 1818. Immediately after my birth, and as soon as the
Chancellor of France, M. Dambray, had declared me to be a boy, I was
made over to the care of a wet nurse and another attendant. Three years
later I passed out of female hands, earlier, somewhat, than is
generally the case, for a little accident befell my nurse, in which my
eldest brother's tutor, an unfrocked priest, as he was then discovered
to be, was also concerned. My earliest memory, and a very hazy one it
is, mixed up with some story or other about a parrot, is of having seen
my grandmother, the Duchesse d'Orleans-Penthievre, at Ivry. After that
I recollect being at the Chateau of Meudon with my great-aunt, the
Duchesse de Bourbon, a tiny little woman; and being taken to see the
Princesse Louise de Conde at the Temple, and then I remember seeing
Talma act in Charles the Bold, and the great impression his gilt
cuirass made upon me.

But the first event that really is exceedingly clear in my recollection
is a family dinner given by Louis XVIII. at the Tuileries on Twelfth
Night, 1824. Even now, sixty-six years after, I can see every detail of
that party, as if it had been yesterday. Our arrival in the courtyard
of the Tuileries, under the salute of the Swiss Guard at the Pavillon
Marsan and the King's Guard at the Pavillon de Flore. Our getting out
of the carriage under the porch of the stone staircase to the deafening
rattle of the drums of the Cent Suisses. Then my huge astonishment when
we had to stand aside halfway up the stairs, to let "La viande du Roi,"
in other words, his Majesty's dinner, pass by, as it was being carried
up from the kitchen to the first floor, escorted by his bodyguard.

At the head of the stairs we were received by a red-coated Steward of
the Household, who, as I was told, bore the name of de Cosse, and,
crossing the Salle des Gardes, we were ushered into the drawing-room,
where the whole family soon assembled: to wit, Monsieur, who afterwards
became Charles X., the Duc and Duchesse d'Angouleme, the Duchesse de
Berri, my father and mother, my aunt Adelaide, my two elder brothers,
Chartres and Nemours, my three sisters, Louise, Marie, and Clementine,
and last and youngest of all, myself. There was only one person present
who did not belong to the Royal House of France, and that was the
Prince de Carignan, afterwards known as Charles Albert, a tall, thin,
severe-looking person. He had just served in the ranks of the French
army, with all the proverbial valour of his race, through the Spanish
campaign of 1823, and he wore on his uniform that evening the worsted
epaulettes given him on the field of battle by the men of the 4th
Regiment of the Guard, with whom he had fought in the assault on the
Trocadero. Presently the door of the King's study opened, and Louis
XVIII. appeared, in his wheeled chair, with that handsome white head
and in the blue uniform with epaulettes which the pictures of him have
rendered so familiar. He kissed each of us in our turn, without
speaking to any of us except my brother Nemours, whom he questioned
about his Latin lessons. Nemours began to stammer, and was only saved
from disgrace by the opportune entrance of the Prince de Carignan.

At dinner the Twelfth Night customs were duly observed, and when I
broke my cake I found the bean within it. I must confess the fact had
not been altogether unforeseen, and my mother had consequently primed
me as to my behaviour. This did not prevent me from feeling heartily
shy when I saw every eye fixed on me. I got up from the table, and
carried the bean on a salver to the Duchesse d'Angouleme. I loved her
dearly even then, that good kind Duchess! for she had always been so
good to us, ever since we were babies, and never failed to give us the
most beautiful New Year's gifts. My respectful affection deepened as I
grew old enough to realize her sorrows and the nobility of her nature,
and I was always glad, after we were separated by the events of 1830,
to take every opportunity of letting her know how unalterable my
feelings for her were. She broke the ice by being the first to raise
her glass to her lips, when I had made her my queen, and Louis XVIII.
was the first to exclaim, "The Queen drinks." A few months later the
king was dead, and I watched his funeral procession from the windows of
the Fire Brigade Station in the Rue de la Paix, as it passed on its way
to Saint-Denis.

Then came the echo of the excitement caused by the coronation of
Charles X., that great ceremonial of which the Cathedral of Rheims was
the scene, and which, coming as it did after all the horrors of the
Revolution, gave rise to the sanguine hope that the ancient monarchy
would repair every disaster now, just as it had in the time of Charles
VII. But our childish ideas were not of so far-reaching a nature. It
was the splendour displayed that interested us--the dresses, the
carriages, and so on, of the princes and ambassadors who came from all
parts of the world to greet the opening of the new monarch's reign.
Numbers of artists solicited my father's permission to do his portrait,
in the gold and ermine robes of a prince of the blood which he wore at
the coronation, and our pet amusement at the time was to go and see
papa "sitting as Pharamond." I said Pharamond, like my elders, although
my own historical knowledge was of the most elementary description. To
be frank, I was exceedingly backward, and have always remained so. My
mother had taught me to read, but beyond that I had reached the age of
six knowing nothing or hardly anything. But I was a very good rider and
went out alone on a pony Lord Bristol had given my father, which I rode
boldly, and I might even say recklessly. The pony's name was Polynice.
He and I understood each other perfectly, and I was his friend to the
last. I took care he should end his days in the park at St. Cloud,
where he roamed in freedom, with a stable of his own to retire into if
the fancy took him. Often and often I have been to see him, in that
same stable, which he ended by never leaving except to come and greet
us, and warm himself in the sunshine. He died, there, fortunately for
himself, full of years, just before the pleasant revolutionary
occurrences of 1848, in which he would certainly have had his share.
But my father desired me to be something more than a mere horseman. He
got me a tutor, and from that day out, for several years, my
recollections are divided, to the exclusion of everything else, between
my education and my life with my family. My tutor was called M.
Trognon, and his name brought many a jest upon him, amongst others a
line of Victor Hugo's in Ruy Bias about that

 Affreuse compagnonne,
 Dont la barbe fleurit et dont le nez trognonne.

[Illustration: Looks a little like a courtroom unfortunately without a
caption.]

"Fleurit" was an allusion to Cuvillier-Fleury, my brother Aumale's
tutor, and Victor Hugo thought he owed both the gentlemen a grudge. M.
Trognon, a distinguished pupil of the Ecole Normale, had begun his
teaching career as professor of rhetoric at the college at Langres,
where, coming in one day to take his class, he found his desk occupied
by a donkey, which his pupils had established in his seat "Gentlemen,"
he said as he went out, "I leave you with a professor who is worthy of
you." Soon after, he was recalled to Paris, as assistant to M. Guizot
in his courses of historical lectures at the College of France.

He was not only an accomplished university man, but something else
besides, as we learnt from a copy of the Figaro, which our eldest
brother brought back from college. In this newspaper we read, in fact,
a set of verses by Baour-Lormian, beginning thus:--

 Que me veut ce Trognon, pedagogue en besicles,
 Dans la fosse du Globe enterrant ses articles!

There was no doubt about it. My tutor was a journalist, and these lines
a revengeful answer to an article of his in the Globe, a newspaper
which, as we soon learnt, he had founded in concert with Pierre Leroux,
Dubois, Jouffroy, Remusat, and some others. We discovered too that our
journalist was a freethinker as well, and author of a thick octavo book
which had been condemned by the Index at Rome, a fact which did not
prevent his dying in the most religious frame of mind possible, well
nigh in the odour of sanctity. My tutor was, in truth, of too lofty an
intelligence to persevere long in that religious nihilism, that denial
of the existence of a future state, which, spreading from religion to
family life, and from thence again to the affairs of the State, ends by
leaving nothing standing but animal man and his animal passions and
appetites. The long death-struggle of a passionately loved sister, who
was supported by the constant ministrations of the Bishop of Beauvais,
M. Feutrier, and her calm end, of which he was an eyewitness, began the
change within him. When, in later years, the Abbe Dupanloup, then Vicar
of the Church of the Assumption, was charged with the care of my
religious education, he and Trognon became very intimate, and death
alone interrupted the close communion then established between these
two great minds.

The first years of my education were very happy. Anything dry about it
was liberally compensated for by the constant intimacy of the family
circle. We were three sisters and six brothers (this last number soon
reduced to five by the death of my brother Penthievre), all living
together, eating together, often doing lessons together, together
always in all games and pleasure parties and excursions. What a joyous
band we were may easily be guessed. Each boy had his own tutor, and two
governesses were in charge of my sisters. So long as tutors and
governesses only had to deal with their own pupils, all went well, but
when the brothers and sisters were all together, and influenced by the
spirit of insubordination and love of playing pranks which the elder
ones brought back from school, we made life hard and sour to the
preceptorial body. But they got on, somehow. The GRANDSPARENTS, as we
called our parents, taken up as they were by their social engagements,
left all initiative to the tutors. Each of these was only expected to
enter daily in a book his report and opinion of the pupil committed to
his care. This book was seen by my father, and he added his own remarks
and orders, and then returned it.

Our day generally began at five o'clock in the morning. The elder ones
went to school to attend their classes, took their meals and played
with the boarders, and came home after evening school. The boys who
were not at school and the girls spent the day doing their lessons. In
the evening, pupils and teachers of both sexes all dined together, and
then went to the drawing-room, where there was always company, for my
parents received every evening. Thursdays and Sundays, which were
school holidays, were given up specially to lessons in what were known
as accomplishments: drawing, music, physical exercises, riding,
fencing, singlestick, dancing, &c. On Sundays, every one, great and
small, dined at "THE GREAT TABLE," and this life of ours was as regular
as clockwork summer and winter alike.

In winter time we lived in the Palais-Royal, which then was not at all
what it is nowadays. Where the Galerie d'Orleans is now to be seen,
there were hideous wooden passages, with muddy floors, exclusively
occupied by milliners' shops, and peopled, it was said, by thousands of
rats. To get rid of this collection of shanties, they were sawn through
below, and allowed to come down with a crash. Crowds of people came to
witness the collapse, in the hope of seeing the expected multitude of
rats rush out. There was not a single one! They had all cleared out in
good time. Such is the wisdom of the brute creation!

When I first lived at the Palais-Royal, I had a room in the Rue de
Valois, which overlooked the Boeuf a la Mode restaurant, and opposite
there dwelt an old lady, always dressed in black, who regularly every
day, at the very same hour, placed an indispensable article of domestic
use upon her window-sill, so that it was as good as a clock to us.
Later on, I changed my room for one looking over the courtyard, facing
the rooms occupied by an actor at the Comedie-Francaise named
Dumilatre, and his daughters; Dumilatre, whom I knew well, having seen
him play those small tragedy parts which consist in making a dignified
exit and saying, "Yes, my lord," had the same habits as my black lady,
and the same object used to appear upon his window-sill with equal
regularity. I had only changed my clock!

It was during the winter sojourn at the Palais-Royal, too, that our
masters and their lessons multiplied. And several of these masters were
oddities, amongst others our professor of German. Picture a little
bland-mannered old man, dressed all in black, with satin breeches,
woollen stockings, enormous shoes, and a broad-brimmed hat. He had been
tutor to Prince Metternich in his youth. I know not what chance had
later driven him into France--where, during the Terror, he became one
of the secretaries of the much-dreaded Committee of Public Safety at
Strasbourg. He lived alone with his daughter, whom he often sent to
Germany, not by the ordinary means of communication, but concealed in
the van which was sent periodically into Hungary to fetch supplies of
leeches for the hospitals, which circumstance made us conclude that the
simple name of "Herr Simon" by which he called himself probably
concealed some deep mystery. Nothing, alas! remains to me of his
German, nor of that of a valet of the same race, who had been put about
me, so ill adapted has my mental constitution always proved to any
foreign language.

Another oddity was our dancing master, an Opera dancer, named Seuriot.
What a fine presence that man had! His lesson, which we all took
together, like a little corps de ballet, was a great amusement to us,
especially because of the theatrical stories we used to make him tell
us. One day he arrived in a great state of excitement, and addressing
the governesses he said, "Ladies, you see before you a man who had a
remarkable escape yesterday. The ballet called Les Filets de Vulcain
was being danced, I was playing Jupiter, and I was just going to ascend
in my glory, with Mercury beside me, when I felt that same glory was
out of order, and I had only just time to jump off, and to shout to
Mercury, 'Jump, my friend, jump, don't lose an instant!' Well, well!"
During the pauses in the lesson, when his fiddle ceased, and while he
wiped the perspiration from his brow, we used to crowd round him and
ask him questions. The elder ones always tried to get him on the
subject of a danseuse named Mademoiselle Legallois, one on which he
would descant unendingly. This was the lady who on one occasion
appeared in a ballet as the allegorical representative of Religion,
which fact caused it to be said of a certain [Illustration: Man and
woman dancing.] Marshal of France "qu'il s'etait eteint dans les bras
de la religion" (that he had passed away peacefully in the arms of
religion). But the moment we were seen crowding round and whispering
with the old dancer, the governesses would charge down upon us with
their "What is it? What is it?" and we began our BATTEMENTS and our
steps again. Personally I owed one of the earliest successes in my life
to old Seuriot. I had profited so much by his lessons, that I appear to
have danced the minuet in a quite remarkable way, so much so that my
parents had a complete crimson velvet dress in the style of the last
century made for me, with the indispensable three-cornered hat and a
sword with knots of ribbon. Thus accoutred, with powdered head and
pigtail, I had to give several performances of my minuet, which I
danced with my sister Clementine, both of us displaying all the airs
and graces of bygone times. My marquis's dress, of which I was
excessively proud, served me also for a fancy dress ball given by the
Duchesse de Berri, at which, identifying myself too much with my
character, I had a quarrel with a Cossack of my own age, young de B--
about a partner. In my fury I drew my sword, he did likewise, and we
were just falling on each other, when the Duchesse rushed up crying,
"Stop, you naughty children! Take their swords away, M. de Brissac!" As
for my sister Clementine, who was at the ball too, wearing her minuet
gown, and looking utterly bewitching in her powder and her looped-up
dress, she attracted the notice of Charles X., to whom she doubtless
brought back memories of his own youth. He came to her and kissed her,
and gazed at her for a long time, holding her hand. Then, turning to my
father, he said, "Monsieur, if I were forty years younger, your
daughter should be Queen of France," whereupon he kissed her over again.

Our dancing lessons, which were looked upon as recreation, alternated
with walks about Paris. The girls went in one direction, and the boys
in another. When we went out thus, one tutor alone took the extra duty
of looking after us. When it was Trognon who came out, we always
expected to be taken to Sautelet's, a bookseller in the Rue de
Richelieu, whose establishment became, I recollect, in later days, the
head office of the NATIONAL. There Trognon would hold forth amongst the
journalists, while the clerks talked to us. I remember their showing me
the splendid manuscript of the Memoirs of Saint-Simon, which Sautelet
was then publishing. When, on the other hand, it was Cuvillier-Fleury
who marshalled us, the objects of our walks became more varied, and we
soon began to discover that there was not unfrequently a petticoat
somewhere about. Yet I owe to him the precious memory of a visit to the
studio of Eugene Delacroix; and also of one to M. de Lavalette,
Postmaster-General under the first Napoleon, a most interesting man,
well known for his celebrated escape on the eve of the day appointed
for his execution, after the Hundred Days, when his wife came and took
his place, and brought him garments to escape in. But oftenest of all
we used to go to a bookseller's in the Rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts, who
was a great friend of Fleury's, and we were always sure to find either
him or his charming wife at home.

Fleury's friendship for this bookseller was indeed the cause of a
comical adventure. In the confusion of the first few days of the
Revolution of 1830, the gentleman in question appeared before us with
white belt and a sword over his civilian's dress. "Look here, Fleury,"
said he, "what use can I be to you today?" Fleury considered for a
minute, and then he said he really didn't quite see, but that after all
he thought nobody had troubled their heads about the Prefecture of
Police. "I'll be off there," said my bookseller, and off he went,
appointed himself Prefect of Police, and performed all his functions
for several days. I have never heard of him since.

Turn about with these walks, too, we had lessons in gymnastics, of
which science a certain Colonel Amoros was the apostle. This worthy
colonel gave prizes to everybody, so as to make his classes popular.
These prizes took the form of collars, inscribed in large painted
letters with the particular merit of the pupil rewarded, such as
agility, courage, strength, &c. One pupil was given a prize for "hidden
virtue." After the gymnastic lessons came riding lessons, for which we
were taken to the Cirque Olympique, I and my two elder brothers being
always put in the charge of a single tutor. But as he invariably found
the riding school too cold, he used to go and shut himself up in the
manager's room, and leave us to the tender care of Laurent Franconi and
the rough riders, which amounted to leaving us to ourselves. This icy
cold arena, in the Place du Chateau-d'Eau consisted of one immense
hall, where the place of the pit was taken up by the circus or riding
school for all sorts of horsemanship, which circus was connected with
the stage by inclined planes, whenever a military piece with battles in
it was performed. In this circus Laurent Franconi made us practise "la
haute ecole," and his assistants. Bassin and Lagoutte, taught us to
vault on horseback, astride and sitting, and standing upright--after
every fashion, in fact. And to our great amusement, too, these lessons,
falling as they did on Sunday afternoons, generally coincided with the
rehearsals on the stage, in which we joyfully took our share during the
intervals we were allowed for rest, scaling the practicable scenery, or
taking part with the artists in certain interludes not mentioned on the
programme. This was not indeed our only initiation into theatrical art,
a career bearing so much analogy to that of every prince. Taking
advantage of the close proximity of the Palais-Royal to the
Comedie-Francaise, my father had added a regular course of dramatic
literature to the educational plan he had laid out for us. So very
often when the old stock plays were being given at the Francais, he
would take us by a door leading from his drawing-room into the passage
which separates the side scenes from the artists' green-room, and leave
us in his box--the three centre ones on the grand tier thrown
together--returning to fetch us at the end of the performance. Those
evenings at the Comedie-Francaise were our greatest joy, and taught us
many a useful lesson, filling our heads with classic literature far
more efficiently than all the reading and courses of lectures in the
world. But those unlucky classics were very much neglected. They were
not a bit the fashion. There would hardly be two hundred people in the
theatre, and all the boxes were empty. A wretched orchestra, conducted
by a stout man of the name of Chodron, squeaked a tune that set
everybody's teeth on edge. Up would go the curtain, without any
warning, in the very middle of some phrase in the music which would
break off with a sigh from the clarionet, and drearily the play would
begin. We were all eyes and ears in spite of that, and nothing in the
play of the tragic actresses--Madame Duchesnois, Madame Paradol, and
Madame Bourgoin--ever escaped us. I can see and hear yet all
Corneille's plays, and Racine's too, and Zaire, and Mahomet, and
L'Orphelin de la Chine, and many more. But what we longed for most
impatiently were Moliere's plays. They were our prime favourites, and
what actors too! Monrose, Cartigny, Samson, Firmin, Menjaud, and Faure,
whose appearances as Fleurant in Le Malade and Truffaldin in L'Etourdi
we always greeted with delight, on account of the properties he carried
in his hand. This same Faure, an old soldier of 1782, never failed to
say to my father, as he escorted him to the door, taper in hand, "Ha,
Sir! this is not the camp at la Lune!" referring to a bivouac just
before the battle of Valmy. It was always a great amusement to us to go
along the passages behind the scenes, especially when the classic Roman
processions were being formed up there for the tragedies, for among the
lictors and the other Romans we recognized many of the clerks and
workmen employed about the Palais-Royal, and we used to bid them good
day, and call them by their names, and be very proud indeed of speaking
to artists, and we went home to our own fold, imitating the call in the
theatre: "On va-a commmencer! On co-mmence!" (Going to begin, just
beginning).Sometimes too we were taken to see modern plays, but that
did not happen often. Yet even now I seem to hear the actor Armand,
just before 1830, talking thick behind his Directoire cravat, in TOM
JONES:--

 Point d'amis, point de grace,
 A la session prochaine il faudra qu'on y passe!

and the whole house rose at him! I remember also being taken to the
first night of Henri III., and being very much amused by the cups and
balls and the pea-shooters. I was much affected too by the death of
Arthur, a charming page in a violet dress, played by Mile. Despreaux,
who afterwards became Madame Allan. I had no eyes for anybody else. As
we were going away, my father leading me by the hand, we found the
Duchesse de Guise, Mademoiselle Mars, panting, and wrapped in a
rose-coloured satin cloak lined with swansdown, waiting for the
compliments which my father showered on her. She had not impressed me
nearly so much as the page in violet.

Talking of Henri III., a play we took great interest in, because its
author, quite unknown at the time, belonged to our household, I will
recall here a recollection connected with the name of Alexandre Dumas.
Everybody knows he began life as a clerk in my father's library at the
Palais-Royal. The chief librarian was Vatout, whose works, and perhaps
too some well-known songs, have gained him a seat in the Academy. But
Vatout was never in the library by any chance. The real librarian, and
a very worthy fellow he was, was a man of the name of Tallencourt. He
was an old soldier, and this caused him to be elected captain of a
grenadier company in the Citizen Guard--a position to which, in the
first blush of his enthusiasm, he attached an exaggerated importance.
Well, some time after Dumas had resigned his position in the library,
in the midst of the riots which occurred so frequently about that
period, we saw Tallencourt come home one day in full warlike attire,
with his bearskin cap and his cloak, and a very gloomy countenance.
"What do you think has just happened to me? I was in command of a patrol
in my ward--as we had heard several shots, we were advancing with the
greatest caution, in double file, keeping close to the walls, with our
eyes and ears open. All at once I heard a shout--'Here's for you, de
Tallencourt!' and then a shot. Well, the shout--that voice--it was
Alexandre Dumas' voice!" "Oh, nonsense!" we all cried. But he stuck to
it--and we resisted the violent inclination to laugh that assailed us,
convinced as we were that if the worthy man really had recognized the
voice, he had been the victim of a prank of Alexandre Dumas, who had
doubtless enjoyed the fun of seeing the rout of his former chief and
his brave "guernadiers"!

When our father did not take us to the Theatre Francais, we spent our
evenings in those beautiful rooms in the Palais-Royal where he had
gathered together so many admirable pictures and works of art,
plundered and dispersed since by the revolutionists and their tribe,
together with the splendid furniture which was used to burn a
detachment of the 14th Regiment of the Line alive, on the 24th of
February, on which day it was on guard at the Palais-Royal. And to
think that a French Chamber actually voted national rewards to people
who had made an AUTO DA FE of French soldiers who were guilty of
defending till death the post which duty and honour at once made sacred
to them! But let that pass; worse things happen nowadays, but at the
happy time I speak of nobody thought of the possibility of such
shameful doings. This is what men call progress! As far as we ourselves
were concerned, we spent our evenings in all the carelessness of our
youth, playing together merrily and noisily in the family drawing-room,
a large gallery running from the courtyard to the Rue de Valois. The
games were liveliest on Sundays and Thursdays, because, those days
being school holidays, our merry band was reinforced by my brothers'
class-mates, MM. de Laborderie, Guillermy, d'Eckmul, Albert, &c., &c.,
and by Alfred de Mussetas well, whom I still seem to see, with his blue
coat and gilt buttons, his fair curly hair, and his melancholy and
somewhat affected ways. We generally played "prisoners' base"--a game
to which the great gallery was very well suited. Sometimes there was
dancing, and then my mother's eye was always on de Musset, who seemed
to scorn our games and to be inclined to pay assiduous court to my big
sisters.

Our games never interfered with the coming and going of visitors and
habitual guests and old friends of my father's, who had been his
friends before the Revolution. There was the Duc de la Rochefoucauld,
"the good Duke," as he was called, very much dreaded by us children
because he was always kissing us, and smelt so strongly of tobacco; and
M. de Lally-Tollendal; and then friends of more recent date, General
Gerard, Raoul de Montmorency, Madame de Boigne, the Princesse de Poix,
the Princesse de Vaudemont, besides many others, soldiers, artists,
diplomats, and ladies--every one, in fact, who was distinguished either
by their personal charm, by mental qualities, or by the brilliancy of
their career. Some amongst the number were more congenial to me than
others; such as Francois Arago, the astronomer, inexhaustible in wit
and humour, whether he was recounting his adventures when he was in
captivity in the Barbary States, or the way he plagued his colleague
Ampere, a soldier like himself in the regiment of the "Parrots in
mourning," as he dubbed the Institute, in his southern accent, because
of its green and black uniform. And then Macdonald, Marmont, Molitor,
and Mortier, the four Marshals whose name began with M, the heroes of a
hundred fights, the living embodiment of the renown our arms had won.
We used all of us to try and hear whatever they said, whatever stories
they told, and to gather up any information or anecdote touching the
military glory of our country.

The diplomats interested us less--I will not speak of M. de Talleyrand,
whose face and figure were striking enough, though they made but little
impression on our uninformed imaginations. Yet I remember the fits of
laughter we went into one day, when my father, in a fit of absence,
aped the great man's limp as he crossed the drawing-room to receive
him. We delighted in Pozzo di Borgo, the Russian Ambassador, because as
soon as his burly presence appeared his jokes and witty sallies and his
stories provoked loud and inexhaustible shouts of laughter. All
children love cheery people. There was another diplomat whose arrival
we always looked forward to, the Bailli de Ferrette, Minister of the
Grand Duke of Baden--and this for two reasons. First of all because of
that title of "Bailli," which seemed to belong to another world, or at
all events to a harlequinade, and then on account of the extraordinary
appearance of the man--he looked like a skeleton in powder. We were
quite ignorant in those days, it is needless to remark, of the fact
that this cool, proper-looking Bailli was a great musician, a
first-class performer of the STABAT MATER, whose inspiration however
depended on his having the shoulders, very DECOLLETEE ones too, of a
charming nightingale, over whom the Opera and Opera-Comique fought for
many a day, as the desk he laid his music on. Sometimes when the
evening was half over a bell was heard like the one in the fourth act
of the HUGUENOTS. "There's the big bell," we would cry. It was the
signal that Madame la Dauphine or Madame la Duchesse de Berri was
coming to pay us a visit, and my father would tear off, with all of us
after him, to receive the visitor on the staircase. But our season at
the Palais-Royal closed with the winter, and the first fine days saw us
migrate to Neuilly, to the general delight.

Neuilly! I can never write the word without feeling moved, for it is
bound up with all the happiest memories of my childhood, and I salute
that name with respect akin to that which I would show a dead man!
Those who never knew the Neuilly of which I would speak must imagine to
themselves a very large country house, of no architectural pretension,
consisting almost exclusively of sets of ground-floor rooms, tacked one
on to the other on much the same level, with delightful gardens, and
standing in the middle of a very large park which stretched from the
fortifications to the Seine, just where the Avenue Bineau now runs.
Within the park walls there were fields and woods and orchards, and
even islands, the chief of which was called the "Ile de la Grande
Jatte," and the whole of one reach of the Seine, the whole within a
quarter of an hour's journey from Paris. This beautiful demesne, the
favourite residence of my father and mother, who had made it, and were
always adding new beauties to it, and who lived there in those days,
far from political cares, and surrounded by their many children, who
were all devoted to them, was also the place that we loved best. We
were so near town that our education, our masters, our lessons at home
or in school, went on just as if we were in Paris, while we had the
advantage of fresh air and country life, with all its liberty and its
natural and spontaneous exercise. At five o'clock in the morning,
before lessons or school began, we were galloping about in the big
park. In play hours, and on the Thursday and Sunday holidays, the whole
troop of children roamed the fields, almost unaccompanied, the older
ones looking after the youngest. We used to make hay, and get on the
hay-cocks, and dig potatoes, and climb the fruit-trees, and beat the
walnut-trees. There were flowers everywhere, fields of roses, where we
gathered splendid bouquets every day, without their ever being missed
even. Then we used to go boating and swimming. Boys and girls, equally
good swimmers all, would plunge in turn into the little arm of the
Seine enclosed within the park, and nothing more delicious can be
imagined than to cast oneself into deep water near the bridge at
Neuilly, and to let oneself drift down almost as far as Asnieres, under
the great willows, returning afterwards on foot by the "Ile de la
Grande Jatte."

This island, laid waste now and turned into a slum, was covered then
with venerable trees, and intersected by those "shady paths" sung by
Gounod, in which we loved to lose ourselves in all the carelessness of
our childhood, and perhaps too in the first awakening instincts of our
youth. Nothing but a memory remains of that enchanting spot. It was
confiscated by Napoleon III. on some flimsy pretext or other, and
forthwith cut to pieces, so as to destroy every trace of those who had
owned and lived in it. It is as much as I can do, as I drive along the
Avenue Bineau, to find, among the villas which have been built all over
it, some well-known tree or other, behind which I used to lie in wait
to shoot the hares, which a big dog I had trained to the work used to
put up for me As for the house itself, after being the scene of a
terrible orgie, it was sacked and burnt down by the conquerors in the
glorious fight of February 1848. Not a stone of it remains. All the
works of art within it were destroyed But I know of one stray bit saved
from the wreck. The traveller who goes to see the museum at Neufchatel,
in Switzerland, may observe, alongside of the picture which represents
M. de Montmolin, an officer of the Swiss Guard, allowing himself to be
murdered on the 10th of August, sooner than give up the flag which was
intrusted to his loyal care, a very small canvas, carefully mended up.
That fragment is the principal figure in Leopold Robert's first
picture, and his masterpiece, L'IMPROVISATEUR, which used to hang in
the billiard-room at Neuilly. Either a salvage man, or a looter of
enlightened taste, cut it out with a penknife, in the midst of the
conflagration, and it is the only thing that was saved.

But let me come back to my story.

In my father's sitting-room at Neuilly, and the billiard-room more
especially, with the doors on the terrace open, the evenings used to be
spent, in a circle of neighbours, friends, and habitual visitors.

These evenings had such a decisive influence on my future destiny that
I cannot do otherwise than speak of them.

That billiard-room is before me now, with the pictures that adorned it,
all of them masterpieces--L'Improvisateur, by Leopold Robert; La Feeme
du Brigand, by Schnetz, Faust and Marguerite, by Ary Scheffer; Venice,
by Ziegler--hanging round.

I see the most frequent guests too. First two abbes, whose names--the
Abbe de Saint-Phar and the Abbe de Saint-Albin--were a significant
inheritance due to the frailty of their great-grandparents many years
before the Revolution And yet another abbe, with powdered side curls,
L'Abbe de Labordere, a former Grand Vicar of Frejus' who somehow or
other, I know not how, had become mayor of Neuilly. Then there was the
Marechal de Gouvion de Saint-Cyr, our near neighbour, who always had a
circle round him; and admirals too, the Comte de Sercey, with his
pigtail--an Indian veteran, Admiral Villaumetz; and generals and
officers besides, whose stories of their campaigns used to fill us with
enthusiasm. Amongst the generals who were friends of the family there
was General Drouot, who was very fond of me, and would take me on his
knee and tell me stories. I had seen Horace Vernet's picture, La
Bataille de Hanau, which represents Drouot on foot amongst his guns,
just as the Bavarian Cuirassiers are charging through them. That had
been quite enough to fire my ardour, and I wanted to be an artilleryman
too. Just about the same time, my father was presented with a
twelve-pounder howitzer by the Vincennes artillery, and Colonel de
Caraman came to try it with us. We fired shots in the park, at the
rising ground near Villiers, and my military enthusiasm was wrought up
to the highest pitch. I tormented my mother till she had an artillery
uniform made for me, and when I had it on my back I thought my fortune
was made. After having been taken to the fair at Neuilly, and seeing
the non-commissioned officers of the Regiment of the Guard quartered at
Courbevoie dancing with the pretty laundresses belonging to the
village, I tried hard to force my sisters to join me in imitating the
particular style of dance I had seen them perform. I have heard it said
that my choregraphic performance was fairly successful, but there my
fancy for the military career ended. General Drouot went back to Nancy;
I did not see him again, and I soon fell under other and more lasting
influences.

Among my father's aides-de-camp there was a young cavalry
lieutenant-colonel, the Comte d'Houdetot, who had begun life as a
midshipman. He was a very clever man, and one of the most delightful
story-tellers imaginable. By birth a creole, from the Mauritius, he and
his family had happened to come back to Europe on board the corvette La
Regeneree, commanded by that same Admiral Villaumetz, our neighbour and
constant visitor in the billiard-room. At the time of the voyage
D'Houdetot was a baby in arms, and in an action between the Regeneree
and the English, at the Loos Islands, his wet nurse was cut in two by a
round shot, which gave rise to a saying of his, "I have more right to
promotion than anybody. Lots of people have had horses killed under
them, but I'm the only man in the French army that ever had a woman
killed under him."

Mutually attracted by this common memory, the former middy and the old
admiral used to spend their evenings relating their adventures to each
other and their stories, which had begun by interesting, ended by
fascinating me. It was worth while to hear D'Houdetot tell about the
battle of Trafalgar, at which he had been present as a midshipman on
board the Algesiras, commanded by his uncle Admiral Magon, how, as he
lay on the poop, with both his legs broken by the bursting of a shell,
he saw his uncle the admiral receive his death-blow, at the very moment
when, wounded already, and his hat and wig carried away by a shot, he
had thrown himself on to the nettings, shouting to his crew, "The first
man who boards that ship with me shall have the Cross;" and how too,
the boarding party having been driven back, the mizzen-mast of the
Algesiras, cut through by a round shot, fell across the British ship,
throwing a comrade of D'Houdetot's, the midshipman of the maintop,
beyond it, into the sea, and how that middy swam back to the Algesiras.
And then came the story of the tempest after the battle, in which
victors and vanquished alike struggled together to escape shipwreck,
under the command of Lieutenant de la Bretonniere, in later days my own
commanding officer, who succeeded in bringing the ship into Cadiz.
There D'Houdetot was lying upon the mole, under a burning sun, feverish
and exhausted with pain, when the hand of a woman, whom his youth had
touched, spread a fan over "the poor little fellow's" head, to protect
him from the blaze. He drew the ministering hand to him, and kissed it,
and to that simple act he owed his escape from the horrors of an
overcrowded hospital, teeming with typhus. He recovered, re-embarked on
board the frigate Hermione, and was wrecked with her. "Trafalgar and a
shipwreck in the space of two years," he used to say, "gave me enough
of a seafaring life." He got leave to be transferred to the cavalry,
and covered himself with glory in the heroic charges at the battle of
the Moskowa; but his heart always remained with his old sailor
comrades, and he never tired of talking about them.

As for old Villaumetz, his whole life had been spent on board ship. He
had gone with M. d'Entrecasteaux to search for La Peyrouse; he had
commanded the squadron from which Prince Jerome Bonaparte deserted with
his ship the Veteran, and his stories of sea fights and adventures were
endless. Listening to them first inspired me with that longing to enter
the naval career which never left me again.

My first attempts at seafaring were made at Treport, during the short
holiday trips we used to take to the Chateau d'Eu. I was dreadfully
sea-sick every time, but that did not dismay me; and then the honest
sailors, with their simple, open, resolute faces, attracted me
irresistibly I used to envy them their risky life, as I watched their
boats from the jetty at Treport, running in before the gale. That
settled the matter; I was regularly fascinated, in short. And that love
of my life will last as long as I do. Besides the sailoring charm which
Treport had for me, many a pleasant memory of my life is bound up with
Eu and Randan. My parents were accustomed in holiday times to take us
for a little trip either to Eu or to Randan, a large property in the
Auvergne belonging to my aunt. During these journeys, lessons and
school hours and study of every kind were intermitted, and this alone
sufficed to give them a sovereign charm. It should be added that in
those days travelling was not what it is now, and that these trips gave
rise to many little adventures, for which we were always on the look
out. My father had had a big carriage built with room for twelve people
in it, which held the whole family, and which, with all due deference,
was very like a travelling menagerie-van. A courier used to ride on
ahead to order post horses; another rode just in front of the carriage.
When each stage was finished, the six horses that were to draw us for
the next were led up: wicked, cross-grained stallions they were, that
squealed and bit and kicked. They got harnessed somehow or other; and
then out came the dapper postilions, with their hats trimmed with gay
ribbons, cocked on one side, some of them still wearing powder and with
their hair tied in a club. They had waistcoats trimmed with dozens of
silver buttons, and close-fitting pantaloons covered their legs. Margot
would bring out the great iron-bound boots, into which they shoved
those same legs; they were hoisted laboriously on to their horses; the
postmaster shouted, "Now then, in with your spurs, and let them go!"
and off we went full tear, bells jingling and whips cracking, to the
admiration of the women and children of the village gathered round to
see the show. Once we were off, things calmed down; but the postboys
had no control whatever over their horses, who knew the road, and did
the stage, from force of habit, at their own pace. If we came across
other carriages or wagons on the road, it was just a question as to
whether our team would take us too much out of their way, or not
enough. Such meetings were proclaimed by yells from the postilions. If
the horses did not go far enough to one side, there would be a terrible
collision, and a volley of oaths, together with a clashing of lanterns
and a clatter of broken windows. If the horses got too far out of the
way, the carriage would first of all tilt towards the sideway, slope
more and more, and frequently end by turning over gently into the
ditch. Then a clamour would rise from the menagerie, everybody first
feeling themselves all over, and then laughing, while the great machine
was being lifted up, preparatory to a fresh start. A little farther on,
it might be, another accident would occur. We would be passing through
a village, and, to create a sensation, the postboys would begin
cracking their whips in concert. The horses would get excited, and the
pace would increase. It was all very well if the village street was a
straight one, but if there was an angle in it the horses would take it
too short, and there would be a violent collision with the kerbstone at
the corner. Then all the wheelwrights and all the innkeepers, ever on
the watch for such mishaps, would hurry up. The repairs would take four
hours perhaps, whereat the GRANDSPARENTS would storm, but we children
were jubilant. Confusion reigned supreme, and we could write to our
little friends, "We were upset at such and such a place; we broke down
at such another." We got lots of copy out of it.

There was no great interest about our visits to Randan. We used to
leave the high-road at Aigueperse. Six or eight pairs of oxen were
harnessed to the carriage, and Auvergnats in their costumes and
broad-brimmed hats (there were still costumes there, in those days),
with goads in their hands, drove the team, the carriage swinging
backwards and forwards on the muddy roads, up hill and down dale; it
was hard work getting there, but we did get there at last. The great
entertainment of the visit was to go and see Madame la Dauphine, who
went through a cure at Vichy every year.

It was far pleasanter to stay at Eu. The old castle of the Guises was a
mere tumbledown barrack at the time I speak of. The passages had waves
in them like the sea. When there was a storm the whole house shook, and
the smaller children used to feel quite frightened, when, after
listening to Anatole de Montesquiou's ghost stories, of an evening,
they had to go through the Guise Gallery, with all its dreadful
portraits which seemed to step out of their frames to the dreary
whistle of the sea-wind. But all the same we loved the old place. It
was quite out of the common run. Just as we used to go and see Madame
la Dauphine at Vichy from Randan, we used to go from Eu to see Madame
la Duchesse de Berri, at Dieppe, which she had made her summer
residence. We accompanied her once to the lighthouse at Ailly under the
escort of her guard of honour, a squadron of Cauchoise women on
horseback. In illo tempore--those days; all Norman women, and those of
the Caux district especially, did their errands and their marketing on
horseback. There were very few vehicles to be seen. The prettiest of
the peasant girls had been selected; and it was really a pleasure to
see them prancing, to the number of forty, round the Duchess's
carriage, with their captain and lieutenant riding at each door, all
dressed alike, in white, in the full Cauchoise costume, chignon and cap
with lace lappets, each on her pacing hack, which she managed to
perfection. When a halt was made, the squadron dismounted, each girl
holding her horse--a most charming effect it made in the Norman
landscape. I never heard where the guard was quartered, but I am quite
convinced there never can have been any difficulty about finding the
necessary billets. I M de Murat, Prefect of the Lower Seine, was the
originator of this idea. He was a charming fellow, but so absent, that
one morning, when the Duchesse de Berri sent for him, he hastily put
on his sword and his smartest uniform, and hurried in his
three-cornered hat to wait on Madame, without discovering, till he got
there, that he had forgotten his breeches!

[Illustration: Ladies and men on horseback.]

A great change came into my life in 1828. I was ten years old; my turn
had come; I was sent to school, and entered the College Henri IV. Ay di
me! as the Spanish lament has it. When I pass by Saint-Etienne du Mont,
and look at the Tower of Clovis, and the great walls of that learned
prison in which I spent three years, the memories that come back to me
are not pleasant--far from it. My life there was mortally tedious, and
I did no good whatsoever. My whole education has been gained by reading
(I was and I have always remained passionately fond of reading), by
observation, and by listening to those people who know how to hold my
attention. I listened with all my ears and all my heart to the Abbe
Dupanloup, when he gave me religious instruction; to Pouillet, when he
taught us physical science; to the great Arago, when he put a sextant
into my hands for the first time in my life. Later on, to Michelet,
when I attended the course of historical lectures he gave to my sister
Clementine; and later yet, to the lessons on law which were given us by
M. Rossi, the minister of Pius IX. But Greek and Latin, and hours spent
over an exercise or a translation with a fat dictionary to keep me
company! Oh, mercy on me! From the scholastic point of view I was
simply a DUNCE, nothing but a dunce. Yet I managed to scramble one
prize--the shabbiest of them all--the second for Latin versions in the
seventh class! I was presented with my reward at the prize
distribution, to the tune of "Vive Henri IV." Vive ce roi vaillant, ce
diable a quatre . . .! "At the same moment I received, from a stout
red-faced gentleman, a wet kiss--much too wet a kiss--which gave me no
pleasure whatsoever. I recollect the porter at the college was
nicknamed "Boit-sans-soif"; that my greatest joy was to go out by his
door, after evening school, and go down the Rue de la Montagne or the
Rue des Sept-Voies playing a thousand pranks as I went, and that my
grief used be keen indeed when I had to go back the next morning. Yet
some good comrades I had whom I dearly loved, and amongst whom I
improved in playing various games, and learned the art of both giving
and receiving kicks and cuffs. But, take it all in all, my schooldays
are, as they say in mathematics, "a minus quantity" to me.



CHAPTER II

1830-1833


[Illustration: Boy waving flag and shooting a gun.]

The Revolution of 1830 broke out during my schooldays. I was twelve
years old--too young therefore, by far, to estimate its character,
political or social, correctly. I only remember that it filled me with
the deepest astonishment. Never having witnessed any kind of
disturbance, I had not the faintest notion what a revolution might be
like. I had always seen the King and the Royal Family treated with a
respect which, indeed, they have never forfeited, and I was a hundred
miles from the thought that they could possibly be banished. It is a
fact, nevertheless, that the beginning of 1830 differed from other
years, and that something seemed to be brewing. Strange remarks were
made at school, over and over again, even among us little ones; our
tutors, all of them connected with the press, were what was called in
those days "dans le mouvement"--abreast of the times, and they never
stopped talking politics. Where were they not talked, indeed? It was a
downright disease. The speech of M. de Salvandy, on the occasion of the
fete given by my father at the Palais-Royal in May, that year, in
honour of the King of Naples, my uncle and godfather, may be called to
mind. "A real Neapolitan fete indeed, Sire!--for we are dancing on a
volcano."

And a truly Neapolitan fete it was, not only on account of the presence
of the sovereigns of the two Sicilies, and of the ideal beauty of the
night, but also by reason of the tarantella, a sort of ballet, which
was danced in the middle of the evening, by Madame la Duchesse de Berri
and thirty of the most beautiful young ladies of the Faubourg
Saint-Germain, in Neapolitan costume, among whom I think _I_ still see,
compact of grace and elegance, the lovely Denise du Roure, soon to
become Comtesse d'Hulst. The tarantella was followed by a polonaise,
led by Comte Rodolphe Appony and the Duchesse de Rauzan, resplendent in
blue and gold. A more sedate dance, this, performed by noble lords and
ladies, all in Hungarian costume, and escorted by pages, bearing their
respective banners. It would have been hard to say which of the ladies
taking part in these two dances bore off the palm for aristocratic
beauty. They were worthy representatives of their race.

The Royal Family, headed by Charles X., was present at this fete,
whereat pre-eminence of every kind was gathered together and every
class represented, and where cordiality seemed universal. After the
entrance of the two sets of dancers in costume, the King went out to
walk on the terrace which runs along the top of the Galerie d'Orleans.
The night was so warm and lovely that the ladies were walking about in
their low gowns, and the dazzling illuminations made it as bright as
day. The courtyard of the Palais-Royal was closed, but an immense crowd
filled the gardens, trying to see as much as possible of the gay
doings. I was running in front of Charles X. as he walked along, and I
saw his tall form advance to the parapet of the terrace on the garden
side, with that truly royal air he had about him. He waved his hand
several times in greeting to the crowd, which at that short distance,
and under that brilliant light, must have recognized him perfectly, not
by his features only, but by his full uniform of Colonel-General of the
Guard, and also by the retinue that followed him. But there was no
shout of "Vive le Roi!" nor any hostile one either. The surging crowd
only seemed to be rather more stirred, and the same uproar rose from it
as one may hear on a firework night, when some fine set-piece is set
alight. One last wave of the hand, with a "Bonjour, mon peuple!" which
the King spoke half in jest and half in earnest, and Charles X.
departed. I was never to see him again. Immediately afterwards, or
nearly so, the crowd laid hands on the chairs in the garden, piled them
up on the grass plots where the midday gun stood, and set them on fire.
The troops had to be called out to clear the garden, and that first
scene of public not, so new to me, filled me with astonishment and rage
as well.

Shortly after this fete came the taking of Algiers--a Proof of the
national strength, of political courage and foresight--a brilliant
military exploit, performed under the "drapeau blanc," which might well
have roused the enthusiasm of the nation, tightened the bond between
France and her king, and reconciled the people to their ancient flag.
It did nothing of the kind. The taking of Algiers was received like an
ordinary piece of news, and the tricolour flag was regretted as deeply
as ever. For the platform and the press--but especially the press, the
mightiest instrument of destruction of modern times--had done their
work. The days of the Government of the Restoration were numbered. Not
that it had been blameworthy. Both at home and abroad it had certainly
been the best of all the administrations that had succeeded each other
since 1789. But it had endeavoured to govern like a patriarch, for the
present good and the future greatness of France, and to withstand the
assaults of those unprincipled individuals who looked on their country
simply as a farm to make money out of. So bit by bit it had been
demolished, just as everything has been demolished these past hundred
years, in the name of laws and principles which dissolve every kind of
government, and which will soon make it absolutely impossible for
society to exist. The hour when the words, "Get out of that, and let me
take your place," the real and only object of our successive
revolutions, should resound, was on the very stroke.

On the 25th of July we had all been dining at Saint-Leu with M. le Duc
de Bourbon, an old cousin of ours, who never meddled with politics, and
led a leisured and delightful life between Chantilly and Saint-Leu,
never coming to Paris except to pass through it, although the beautiful
palace there which bears his name, the Palais Bourbon, belonged to him.
His great passion was for sport, in which he excelled; and my father
had made a friend of him by giving him the hunting in all his forests.
There was another reason too, and perhaps after all it was the chief
one, for this cordiality, that my parents had consented to receive the
Baronne de Feucheres, who held great sway over the Duke, but who had
never been admitted to Court. I can see the handsome old man yet,
laconic in speech, his profile of the most strongly marked Bourbon
type, his hair and pigtail white, with his tightly buttoned blue coat,
from which a lace frill escaped, and his trousers, which were always
much too short, showing his white stockings underneath. On the evening
I speak of there had been a great gathering at Saint-Leu--a big dinner,
then a drawing-room play, acted by Madame de Feucheres and the Duke's
gentlemen. In the audience were many officers of the Royal Guard, and
numerous other persons, whose names were known to me from having heard
them quoted as being amongst those ardent Conservatives called at that
time the "Ultras." One of them, a M. de Vitrolles, attracted my
attention by holding a long conversation with my father in one of the
intervals between the acts. He has since related this conversation in
his Memoirs, and also the conviction it gave him of the horror with
which the idea of a fresh revolution filled my father. Their only
disagreement was as to the means to avert it. Which of the two was in
the right?

That evening we went back to Neuilly, and the next morning, 26th of
July, as we were just getting ready, Nemours and I, to start for
school, somebody opened the door and launched the remark to our tutors:
"The coup d'Etat is in the Moniteur!" "What!" "Yes! The Decrees."
Whereupon the tutors rushed to the family drawing-room, whither we
followed them. There sat my father, thunderstruck, the Moniteur in his
hand. When he saw the tutors come in, he threw up his arms in despair,
and let them fall again. After a silence on his Part, during which my
mother rapidly acquainted the gentlemen with the state of affairs, my
father said: "They are mad!" That was all, and after another silence, a
long one--"They will get themselves banished again. Oh! for my part, I
have been exiled twice already. I will not bear it again: I stay in
France!"

I heard no more, for it was schooltime, and we had to get into the
carriage; but those words and that first impression remain graven on my
memory.

That day at school was just like any other, but the next, the 27th, as
we came back from the College Henri IV, it was easy to see that there
was a great stir in Paris Deligny's swimming school, at the corner of
the Quai d'Orsay, where we went after school, according to custom, to
take our bath, was full of young men discussing and holding forth, and
relating incidents, true or not, which had occurred during the day. The
Place Louis XV., now the Place de la Concorde, was occupied by the
troops. There was a regiment of Foot Guards, a battalion of the Swiss
Guard, the Lancers of the Guard, the Artillery of the Military
School--magnificent troops all of them, the finest I have seen in any
country, and of which the English Foot Guards alone in these days give
any idea. Officers inspired in the highest possible degree with esprit
de corps and chivalrous devotion, old non-commissioned officers, many
of whom had seen the wars of the Empire, commanding seasoned soldiers,
young in years but old in discipline and instruction, and all proud of
the splendid uniform they wore--such was the Royal Guard. And what
shall I say of the superb Swiss battalions, acknowledged by ancient
tradition to be the finest infantry in the world? These splendid
troops, which might have rendered such great service to France on the
battlefield were to disappear within two days. Upon them too I had
looked my last. Close to the Porte Maillot we met the Duchesse de
Berri, riding amongst a numerous group of equerries. We exchanged
friendly greetings. No doubt her instinct as a woman and a mother led
her to try to keep in touch with passing events.

The next morning, the 28th, we knew Paris to be in open revolt. Cannon
boomed, the great bell of Notre-Dame sounded the tocsin, and naturally
we did not go to school. But the masters who gave my sisters lessons
came out to Neuilly, and from them, in turn, we learnt what was going
on within the capital--barricades in all the streets--the troops on the
defensive--the tricolour hoisted everywhere.

On the 29th, the struggle grew closer to us. A bullet fell whistling in
the park. According to the fugitives from Paris, the insurrection had
triumphed, the troops of the line were fraternizing with the rebels,
and the Guard was retiring on Saint-Cloud to gather round the King. I
pass over all the rumours and false reports accompanying this news,
which was all too true. And what were we doing during these anxious
hours? We obeyed various impulses. The first, a fervent sympathy with
our soldiers, who were engaged in the struggle--ces pauvres soldats,
the real France, the real PEOPLE, obeying the noblest
motives--honour--duty opposing the POPULACE, whose envy and evil
instincts had been let loose by a handful of ambitious men. And we knew
no rest till the whole staff of the household had repaired to the
various gates of the park, to open them to the soldiers, separated,
dispersed, threatened with massacre as they were. They were brought in
and fed, and given caps and blouses instead of their uniforms, and put
across to the other side of the Seine in boats. And with all that, so
full is the heart of man, and yet more that of the child, of
contradiction, that we followed the current and made tricolour
cockades, my sisters and I, and all of us! There is no doubt the
fascination of the tricolour flag had a good deal to do with the
rapidity with which the Revolutionary powder-train took fire.

As there must always be a laughable side, even to the grimmest events,
the comic element was supplied in this case by our professors of
languages, drawing, and so forth, who had not dared to go back into
Paris after leaving it on the 28th, on account of the fighting. When
they had made up their minds to return on the 29th, we persuaded those
of them who wore moustaches that they would run very great risks, and
even be taken for soldiers in disguise. Whereupon the schoolroom was at
once turned into a barber's shop, where a general shaving was
performed, with the inevitable change of appearance resulting
there-from, which increased the alarm of the individuals operated upon
tenfold.

While our professors were shaving off their moustaches, our father was
disappearing from Neuilly. His movements were rigorously concealed from
us, and I never learnt what they really were even in later days. So I
will not attempt to speak of them. We were soon aware of the bare fact
that he was in Paris, exercising public functions which were somewhat
ill-defined as yet; and on the evening of the 31st my mother informed
us that we were going to join him at the Palais-Royal. [Footnote: It is
not for me to pass judgment on my father's conduct in accepting the
crown in 1830. There is no doubt the July Revolution was a great
misfortune. It gave a fresh blow to the monarchical principle, and it
unfortunately encouraged those who speculate in insurrection. But I
know as a fact that my father never desired it, and indeed watched its
approach with the deepest sorrow. When the throne of Charles X.
collapsed without his being able to defend it in any way, he certainly
felt the most passionate desire to escape the common exile and to
continue living a life which was to him the happiest of lives in
France. The struggle one over, and the country in revolt from end to
end, he realized that the only way in which he could escape exile was
to associate himself with the movement, and at the outset he certainly
did it solely in the hope of bringing back Henri V. to the throne. When
this hope failed him, he yielded to the entreaties of those persons who
implored him as the only person in a position to do it, to check France
on that fateful descent which must bring her from the Republic to a
Dictatorship, and so on to invasion, and to mutilation. He delayed that
disastrous succession of events for eighteen years, at the risk of his
own life, which was incessantly threatened, and history will do him
honour for it in spite of the injustice of human nature.]

We started about eight o'clock at night, my mother, my aunt Adelaide,
and we children, in an omnibus, so as not to attract notice. We began
to come to barricades at the Barriere de l'Etoile, but openings had
been made in them already, large enough for carriages to pass through,
all which openings were watched by guards of armed people--I beg their
pardons, I was mistaken--armed CITIZENS, playing at soldiers and
police, who stopped and cross-questioned everybody in the most childish
fashion. The omnibus could not get beyond the Place Louis XV., so many
obstacles did we find in the way. We got out, and my mother divided us
into twos, and told us to scatter and meet again at the Palais-Royal.

Paris was a curious sight that night, lighted up everywhere with lamps,
and tricolour flags at every window. How people found time to make up
so many emblems in those two days is a mystery! The streets were all
torn up, and the paving-stones piled into the barricades, mixed up with
overturned carriages, casks, and rubbish of all kinds. Behind these
barriers were extemporized guardians, passers-by, people walking about
with guns and firing them off every minute, and everybody, man, woman,
and child, wore huge tricolour cockades in hats and caps or bonnets, or
in their hair.

In the centre of a great crowd on the Place du Palais-Royal there was
one of the Laffitte et Caillard diligences, which had been used as a
barricade, and set up again. It was full of people inside, and they
clustered on the roof like bees, all of them singing in chorus. Between
the choruses, sharp volleys of musketry rang out, and the vehicle,
drawn by three or four hundred people holding on to ropes, tore round
the square, amid a concert of varied yells. Though it was very late
when we reached the palace, it was all lighted up, and every door stood
open. Anybody who chose could go in, and when we went up the stairs we
found many people already settled on the steps, prepared to spend the
night there. We saw my father in his study, and then we were sent to
bed, or rather to camp out in the rooms we usually slept in. The next
day the firing slackened, but the general idleness continued; everybody
was walking about. Soon the question of food began to press, for all
supplies and trade were stopped by the universal barricades. Everybody
asked everybody else what was going on, a subject upon which every one
except the leaders was profoundly ignorant. The multitude was just like
an immense flock of sheep, whose shepherds had been driven away, and
who seemed to wonder why the new dogs who were to herd them did not
make their appearance. There was no bad feeling; now and then there
would be a panic, everybody taking to their heels, nobody knew why, and
then stopping again and bursting out laughing. Sometimes a noise arose,
and swelled as it drew nearer. It was some popular leader going to the
Hotel de Ville or the Palais-Royal, with two or three claqueurs before
him, to stir up an enthusiasm in which everybody shared, without having
a notion of the name of the hero they were acclaiming, yet glad to be
able thus to show off their civic rights. Then there would be a fit of
general tenderness. Everybody kissed everybody else vehemently. In some
cases a transport of patriotism thus calmed itself; in others perhaps
it was the effect of the extreme heat, and the consequent thirst, which
had not gone unquenched, and in others, again, it was merely the
relaxation of morals an era of universal brotherhood brought with it.
The hero of this general and infectious kissing match was Lafayette.
Everybody wanted to kiss him. A great rattle of drums having announced
his arrival at the Palais-Royal one day, he had to take his stand in
one of the drawing-rooms, in front of me, and be kissed by thousands of
persons of all ages. I did it, like all the others, but I saw people I
knew come up again many times over to be kissed by the illustrious
veteran, and each time their agitation seemed to increase.

Every one went in and out of the Palais-Royal as they chose. It was a
strange march past, of people of all sorts, who came to take notes, see
how the wind blew, and give in an adhesion which might be more or less
disinterested. Some of them, inspired by real devotion, came to try if
they might even yet serve a cause that was so dear to them. Thus I saw
M. de Chateaubriand led into my mother's drawing-room by Anatole de
Montesquiou. And, on the other hand, I saw Savary, Duc de Rovigo,
notorious in connection with the Duc d'Enghien, in full uniform, booted
and spurred, leave the study, whither he had gone to offer my father
his services.

One evening, as we were all gathered together, we heard a great noise
coming from the staircase. We hurried towards it. A crowd of armed men,
with lighted torches, were coming up, shouting loudly and waving flags.
At their head came five or six pupils of the Ecole Polytechnique, with
their three-cornered hats cocked and swords drawn. Behind them a woman
in man's attire, red belt and close-fitting pantaloons, was being borne
in triumph. She was a heroine of the barricades, whom the yelling crowd
desired to introduce to my father, and he had to receive her. This
scene filled me with disgust, and it was soon followed by another, no
less painful. The leaders of the Revolution had sent an army of
volunteers to dislodge the old King and his Guard from Rambouillet.
They did not turn him out, first of all because the King himself had
decided to disband his guard and retire to Cherbourg with no escort but
four companies of his bodyguard; and, secondly, because these same
volunteers, numerous as they were on leaving Paris, melted away rapidly
on the road, and above all things took good care not to venture within
range of the Guard's fire. Nevertheless, they returned in triumph from
Rambouillet, bringing back the royal horses and carriages, which they
had seized without striking a blow. I was horrified to see the great
carriages, with six or eight horses, still driven by the wretched
coachmen and postilions, in their state liveries, enter the Place du
Palais-Royal--believing as I did that they were bringing back the King
and his family as prisoners, into the very jaws of the Revolution. But,
happily, this was not the case. The only people in the carriages were
some young blackguards, dressed up in extraordinary garments,
dressing-gowns and cotton caps, and I know not what other masquerading
trash, intended to call forth the ribald jokes of the multitude. It was
a disgusting scene. The days passed on, and by degrees Paris returned
to its ordinary life. The streets were repaired, vehicles began to
circulate again. Soldiers, gendarmes, policemen, were to be seen once
more, and a certain sense of security revived. At all events the
eternal struggle of order against disorder began afresh. Those who
formed the most turbulent element of the Revolutionary party were
induced, by degrees, to engage in the army, and were drafted off to
Algiers, under the title of "Regiments de la Charte." It was less easy
to get rid of a Guard of Honour, numbering some two or three hundred
men, which had formed itself on its own responsibility, nominally for
the protection of my father and of the Palais-Royal. This guard was
always in the vestibule and on the staircase, night and day alike. It
was an omnium gatherum of vagabonds, prowling ruffians of the vilest
kind, ragged scamps, all carrying arms, stolen from every sort of
place, among others from the Musee d'Artillerie, whence some had gone
so far as to borrow cuirasses and helmets that had belonged to the
warriors of the League. Of course they all had to be fed and paid. The
chief of the band was a midshipman in the navy, on leave in Paris at
the time the Revolution broke out, of the name of Damiguet de Vernon,
who died afterwards with the rank of general in the army. Whenever my
father went out, to go to the Chamber of Deputies or elsewhere, this
rabble turned out and saluted after a fashion of its own, with drums
beating and trumpets blowing. It was a scene quite worthy of Callot's
pencil. To get rid of this worthy set, the midshipman was at once given
a lieutenant's commission in the mounted Municipal Guard, under pretext
of a reward from the nation, and clothes were bestowed on his band,
wherewith they hastened to decamp on the first sign of the introduction
of anything like discipline into their ranks.

Our regular routine began again too. After over a week's holiday, I was
put back to school, where we immediately made a revolution of our own,
by insisting that the bell which rang for class and mealtimes should be
replaced by a drum. If, as I went into school with my folding desk
under my arm, I came across the column of big boys coming down from
their class-rooms, I used to get many a cuff to the tune of "Take that,
your young Majesty!" or the slang saying of the day, "Have you seen
Leontine?"--this last from the name of Leontine Fay, a favourite
actress with young people. But, apart from that, my life was as
monotonous as ever it had been. The riots and attempts at insurrection
which succeeded each other with something very like regularity seemed
to diversify it but very little. Yet I did feel a certain excitement
the first time I witnessed one of these attempts at sedition. Our
evening was just over at the Palais-Royal, and I had gone up to my
room, when loud shouts, and an ejaculation of "Oh, good gracious!" from
my valet, made me run to the window. The Court of the Palais-Royal was
closed, but all the galleries were filled with a surging, yelling
crowd, the more violent of whom were battering at the staircase door
facing Chevet's shop. "They are going to break it in and come upstairs:
they'll be here in another moment," we said to ourselves. "What is to
be done?"

Amidst the general shouting, yells of "Death to Louis Philippe!" were
to be heard. Then, all at once, in the gaslight, I saw the policemen's
swords twinkle, pinking people in all directions. Soon the troops came
hurrying up with fixed bayonets, and the rabble took to their heels at
the sight of them. This crowd had just come back from Vincennes,
whither it had gone to demand the heads of Charles X.'s ministers, who
were shut up in the fortress, from General Daumesnil, "the man with the
wooden leg," and having failed in that attempt it wanted to have my
father's instead.

So that affair ended; but fresh opportunities for creating disturbances
soon occurred, and were as eagerly seized upon. One was during a great
diplomatic dinner given by my father in the dining-room of the
Palais-Royal, which looks out on the Cour des Fontaines. I was sitting
by Lord Granville's daughter, and doing my best to make myself
pleasant, when the uproar of the riot burst upon us suddenly and
interrupted all the talk. Everybody looked at everybody else, and then
down at their own plate, and everybody looked very sorry to be where he
was at that moment. Then the noise of a great trampling of hoofs on the
pavement revealed the fact that the cavalry was charging, whereupon the
sky cleared, and conversation began again, though not without some
appearance of effort.

Another time, again, matters became more serious. The riot--I don't
remember which it was now, there were so many of them!--became very
threatening at one moment. I see my father still, taking Casimir Perier
by the arm, and shouting in his ear, "Tell them to serve out ball
cartridge, ball cartridge, do you hear?" Casimir Perier, as excited as
himself, was rushing away, when he was stopped by an officer, who said,
"There are three students of the Ecole Polytechnique, sent to parley,
waiting below."

"Parley for whom? For the rioters? For the insurrection? Lay hands on
them! Lock them up in prison."

"But, sir," said the officer, himself a former student at the Ecole
Polytechnique, "I can't: I've given them my word!" But Casimir Perier
was not there to listen even just then I observed a man of woebegone
appearance, sitting in a corner of the drawing-room in which the
foregoing scene had taken place. One of my eldest brother's
aides-de-camp, General Marbot, was walking up and down in front of him,
never taking his eyes off him. "What are you doing there?" I asked the
general.

"I'm keeping my eye on that gentleman you see there."

"Who is he?"

"The Prefect of Police."

"Really?"

"They say he is playing us false"

And there you see a specimen of the plight you find yourself in on the
morrow of a revolution, when order needs restoring not only in the open
streets but in the highest quarters in the State.

For my own part, I was always delighted to hear the drums call the
National Guard--and consequently all our masters, tutors, and
professors, who served in it--to arms, at each fresh outbreak of
disturbance.

It meant interrupted studies, and, above all, interrupted attendance at
school, where, however, luckily for me, I was not to stay much longer.
Seeing that I did no good there whatever, my father decided, in the
spring of 1831, to remove me altogether, and as my taste for a naval
career was growing stronger and stronger, he resolved to make a sailor
of me But before I seriously entered the profession he wished me to
make a sea-voyage. So I was sent to Toulon, to be shipped as volunteer
pilot's apprentice, on board the Arthemise frigate, commander Latreyte.
I was barely thirteen I could not have begun at a better age.

After bidding the tenderest farewell to my father and mother, my aunt,
and my brothers and sisters, from whom I had never been parted before,
I was packed into a post-chaise with Monsieur Trognon, and off we
started.

As far as Lyons our journey was uneventful, but when we got there M.
Paulze d'Ivoy, the prefet, and M. Vitet, author of Barricades des Etats
de Blois, took possession of me, nominally to show me the town--in
reality to make me the pretext for certain demonstrations in favour of
the new order of things. I was driven about, to Fourvieres, to La
Croix-Rousse, and so forth, and had the best of receptions from their
sturdy inhabitants. Thirteen-year-old lad as I was, I had to receive
the officers of the National Guard--very military indeed they were,
with their uniform with its white facings, copied from that of the
Imperial Guard. And these receptions and official entertainments, which
were not at all to my personal taste, were repeated all along the road
till we got to Toulon, marked by increasing animation and fervour as we
got farther south, and as the population through which we passed became
more and more divided by political passions. At Valence I found an
enormous crowd of people, and the garrison and National Guard both
under arms, while a tall lieutenant-colonel, of the 49th Regiment of
the Line, insisted on my inspecting the troops in person.

He took my hand with one of his, with the other he waved his sword, and
led the plaudits. His name was Magnan, and he was a Marshal of France
before he died. At Mornas, the native place of the famous Baron des
Adrets, the reception took a very original shape. As we drove up to the
posting-house, I saw a great crowd, and the National Guard drawn up in
two ranks, on the right and left of the postilions who were to take us
on. The carriage pulled up between the ranks, and I fancied I saw a
sort of suppressed smile on the countenances of the National Guard. It
did not last long, for the commandant in the wildest excitement rapidly
gave the words of command: "Present arms--Fire!" And they were followed
by the most abominable noise, every man having presented arms with his
finger on the trigger of his musket. The crowd cheered tremendously,
the horses plunged and reared, and there was a terrible disturbance,
which seemed to afford the keenest joy to the officer in command. There
was nothing very striking at Orange, nor at Avignon. Speeches by the
authorities, visits to the public buildings, very much the same routine
as that which official receptions have nowadays made so familiar to
everybody. But at Orgon, between Avignon and Aix, it was a very
different matter. An immense and excited crowd awaited our arrival,
shouting all manner of things. Then the carriage was seized upon by
people who looked drunk, but who were drunk with political passion
alone. It seems the town of Orgon was not reckoned to favour the regime
of 1830. So from every side I was greeted with shouts of "We are
Cavaillon's men! ... We've come down from the mountains so that you may
tell your papa there are no Carlists in Provence." And then they sang
the Marseillaise The horses were taken out of the carriage, the crowd
surrounded it, climbing on the steps, the wheels, the fore-carriage,
the roof. I was like a prisoner in a cage; all I could see out of the
window was the boots of the people who were sitting on the top. They
sang all the verses of the Marseillaise, and bawled between them. A
gentleman contrived to slip up to the carriage door, gave himself out
to be the mayor, and tried to rescue us, calling out: "Gentlemen, this
really is not decent behaviour." All he got for his pains was a shout
of "What the devil do we care about a mayor like you?" I don't know how
long it would have gone on, if a detachment of the battalion of
Government workmen quartered at Orgon, which had been sent for, had not
come to our rescue.

Between Orgon and Marseilles we met the "Regiment de la Charte"
marching from Paris on their way to Algiers, and their passage through
the country did not a little to excite the inhabitants. At Marseilles
the National Guard lined the Allees de Meillan, each man with a bouquet
stuck into the muzzle of his rifle, which he took out and threw into
the barouche in which I sat with General Gazan, so that I was soon
fairly buried, with nothing but my head sticking out, while the crowd
shouted at the top of its voice: "Vive le Prinnche!--Long live the
Prince!" and I heard women's voices adding, "Que sis poulid! Qui est si
joli!"

I had hardly reached Toulon, ere the frigate I had joined put to sea,
my apprenticeship began, and I soon made myself at home among our
sailors, who all of them, officers, petty officers, and seamen alike,
not only showed me an affection which won my heart from the very
outset, but took every pains to make my stay amongst them a pleasant
one, while each in his own special sphere initiated me into all the
details of my duty.

The Arthemise was a fine sailing frigate, of fifty-two guns, with huge
spars--one of the most elegant types of the old-fashioned ships, but an
old-fashioned ship she was indeed. We even had hempen cables instead of
chain ones! The crew, drawn almost exclusively from the lists of
registered seamen, was active and bold on the rigging, but somewhat
insubordinate. The words of command were given amidst volleys of oaths,
and carried out under a hail of blows dealt by the petty officers. The
superior officers, who had all belonged to the old Imperial Navy, clung
to that detestable habit, which has cost us so many reverses, of
completely neglecting the military side of the ship's drill. The only
thing they looked to was navigation. There was indeed a routine of
regulation practice carried out, but it was utterly ridiculous. The ne
plus ultra of perfection in artillery drill, for instance, was supposed
to be when at the word "Ram" all the thirteen rammers of the ship's
battery struck the bore of the guns with irreproachable simultaneity!
Now and then there was a rehearsal of the drill book, but it was always
done amidst universal sleepiness and inattention. There never was one
day's practice, nor even one shot fired, during the whole cruise.

The commander gave me boatswains and sailors to teach me the various
details of my duty, and I soon learnt to give things their right names,
to tie knots, and to climb about the rigging too, though I did not
manage that, the first time, without being horribly frightened. I
remember, when I got as far as the topgallant crosstrees, clinging on,
and not daring to come down till I was driven to it by the jeers of the
on-lookers. But I learnt most of all by observation, and from the
outset I had that indescribable thing that nobody can teach another,
the seafaring instinct. Our cruise was a pleasant one, and our stays in
port were interesting. At Ajaccio I came upon more public functions,
and was the hero of a Bonapartist demonstration. I was borne as though
in triumph to the house where Napoleon was born, where I was received
by a very old Signor Ramolino, brother to Madame Letitia. In common
with my sisters, who drew pictures of Napoleon all over the place, I
professed the greatest admiration for the great warrior. So I asked his
uncle for some souvenir of him, and he presented me with a red
armchair, out of the room in which he was born.

After a visit to the Dey of Algiers, the last representative of those
Barbary Moors who were the "Terror of the Seas," as the Muette de
Portici has it, I received at Leghorn an invitation from the Grand Duke
of Tuscany to come to Florence, and was taken thither by the French
Minister, M. de Ganay, a charming man. There was nothing that excellent
good Grand Duke and his family did not do for me while I staid at the
Pitti Palace, and the only acknowledgment I could make of it all was to
turn my schoolboy talents to constructing a jointed jumping jack, that
turned head over heels, for one of the young princesses whom we used to
call the Archduchess Mimi, and who afterwards married Prince Luitpold
of Bavaria. I returned on board the Arthemise full of gratitude for my
reception, and of admiration for the monuments and artistic marvels I
had seen at Florence and Pisa and Pistoja, and in which, in spite of my
youth, I had taken the deepest interest.

At Naples I found fresh delights in the midst of my mother's family and
my young cousins, of both sexes, one of whom, Antonietta, an admirably
beautiful girl, later became Grand Duchess of Tuscany in her turn.
Nothing indeed could have been more charming than the Naples of those
days. I do not speak of that wondrous setting which will last to all
eternity, but of the Naples of the Neapolitans, gay, noisy, and teeming
with wit, as it was before the plague of politics fell on it, bringing
divisions and gloom, and despoiling it of all its charm of originality;
Naples, with its lazzaroni and its macaroni, and its "corricoli"
tearing along with tinkling bells, crammed with monks and women in
their costumes--the Naples, in fine, of Pulcinella and of Leopold
Robert.

After Naples came Palermo, and then Malta, where we found the
magnificent British squadron, and received the most hospitable of
welcomes from General and Lady Emily Ponsonby, the governor and his
charming wife.

Our stay at Malta ended with a disagreeable incident, hardly
conceivable in these days, when naval discipline may be held up as a
model to every one. On the evening of the day before that on which we
were to weigh anchor, our whole crew deserted in a body. In spite of
the efforts of the officer of the watch, and some others of inferior
rank, who were present, over 300 men seized the boats and dories that
lay alongside of us, and took "French leave" on shore. The next day we
could not start, for we had no crew. We had to apply to the police and
the English garrison, who sent out pickets, collected our rovers, and
brought almost all of them back in the course of the evening, and we
started somewhat humiliated at having given the English such a sad
specimen of the insubordination which always follows on revolutions.
The English have had their revolution too, but they have taken good
care to have no more than the one, and above all not to make laws which
render a periodical recurrence of revolution inevitable. As we had over
300 delinquents, it was impossible to punish them. The men felt this,
and, with the evident intention of setting their officers at defiance,
they spent the next few evenings singing revolutionary songs, some
verses of which they came and yelled on their knees on the quarterdeck.
The firmness of the commanding officers got the better of these
saturnalia, by degrees.

Storms delayed us in the Maltese waters, and we only just missed being
on the spot on the very day when an eruption threw up an island and a
volcano from the depths of the sea, to which they have now returned.
After a long passage, the frigate anchored at Algiers, which in 1831
was still the city of the Deys. Not a street had been widened, nor a
European house built. It was still inhabited by a numerous native
population. The Rue de la Marine, which was like a narrow winding
staircase, was crowded with negro women street sellers, the cafes
filled with Moors wearing huge turbans. To increase the picturesqueness
of the situation, there was fighting going on at the city gates.
Berthezene, the Governor-General, had just been forced to beat a
retreat from Medeah. I could see the firing on the slopes of Kouba from
the frigate, and a column had to be sent out to revictual the
Maison-Carree! Under these circumstances, the Governor bethought
himself that it would be a good thing to show "the King's son" to the
troops, and settled to hold a review the next day. The troops were to
be withdrawn for the moment from the line of defense, and the review
was to be held at Mustapha. I had ventured to suggest that I might go
and see the soldiers in their own lines, hoping thus to get near the
firing, a natural desire enough, seeing I wore a volunteer uniform in
spite of my thirteen years, but nobody listened to me, and to Mustapha
I was taken, mounted on the ex-Dey's white mule, which an artilleryman
persisted in leading by the bridle, in spite of all my indignant
protests.

A real downright review that was! The men had been fighting all the
morning, and Zouaves and linesmen alike looked fierce indeed, with
tanned faces, eyes reddened by the smoke, and a black mark at the
corner of every mouth, from biting off the ends of the cartridges. The
Zouaves had only just been raised, and were not a bit like the Zouaves
of the present day. The ranks consisted mostly of Arabs, who wore
almost the same uniform as the present one, only with bare legs and
slippers on their feet, mingled with Parisian roughs, drafted out of
the "Regiments de la Charte," most of them wearing blouses and caps.
Many of the non-commissioned officers had come from the Royal Guard,
and still wore their blue cloaks. The excessively whimsical get-up of
the officers put the finishing touch to this motley show. Most of them
had adopted the Mameluke dress--white turbans, huge trousers, yellow
boots, a sun embroidered on their backs, and a scimitar. After the
Zouaves I saw the squadron of "Chasseurs Algeriens," the nucleus of the
future "Chasseurs d'Afrique," march past. They wore Turkish dress and
turbans too, all but their commanding officer, a big bearded artillery
captain, who wore a burnous and Arab pistols over his uniform. His name
was Marey-Monge, and he was a general of division when he died.

After the review I was taken back to my ship. The frigate sailed for
Port Mahon, where we underwent a long quarantine, and thence to Toulon,
where we arrived just as the squadron which had forced the mouth of the
Tagus, under the orders of Admiral Roussin, returned, I went over those
fine ships, and especially the Algesiras, with many a regret that the
Arthemise had had no share in the fray. The commander of the Algesiras,
M. Moulac, a tall, strongly built, grey-headed man, the bravest of the
brave, who had fought boldly in all our naval struggles with England,
told me a story which impressed me deeply, and which I here transcribe
just as it remains fixed in my memory:--

"It has been blowing great guns, as you know, all the last few days.
The ship was running under easy sail when I heard a shout of 'Man
overboard!' The lifebuoy was thrown, and, looking astern, I saw the man
had caught it. But it was a raging sea--I saw and felt that to try and
lower a boat to save the poor wretch must expose the men who manned it
to the greatest danger. The crew read in my face the fearful struggle
going on within me, and twenty, thirty, perhaps forty volunteers,
headed by officers and midshipmen, crowded round me, beseeching me
almost on their knees: 'Let us save our comrade, sir! we can't desert
him!' I was weak enough to yield. By unexpected good luck, we managed
to lower a boat without accident, and she started manned by a dozen
men. We saw her, by still greater good fortune, get to the poor fellow
and save him, and I was steering about so as to make it easier for her
to get back, when a huge wave broke over her. A shout of horror went up
from her, and then silence. In another minute I saw my boat capsized,
on the crest of a wave, with two or three men, one of them a
midshipman, clinging to the keel. To shorten their agony, I made as
though I was going ahead. The middy understood that I was forced to
abandon them, for he waved a farewell and let himself go. I had been
weak, but I was cruelly punished. Thirteen men drowned instead of one,
and by my fault!"

I shall never forget the severe expression that came over the
commander's face as he added, laying his hand on my shoulder, "Some
day, boy, you may be in command. May the thought of me remind you
always that duty is inexorable!"

After this final episode in my first cruise I went ashore, but I went
ashore a sailor to the core, and my one idea, when I got back to Paris,
was to acquire the technical information needed for my profession. To
this the years 1832 and 1833 were devoted. M. Guerard, a charming
fellow, universally liked and an incomparable instructor, was my
mathematical teacher. A lieutenant in the navy, M. Hernoux, put me
through the course of study of the Naval School. At the same time I set
assiduously to work to learn drawing. My first master in this line was
M. Barbier, the father of Jules Barbier, the poet and librettist, who,
with Emile Augier, was a class-mate of my young brothers. I did
watercolours too, under an Englishman, William Callow, and oils in
Gudin's studio. But my real master, who taught me to draw, and led and
guided me, and gave me my taste for things artistic, was Ary Scheffer,
with whom I remained on terms of the closest intimacy until his death.

It was somewhere about this time that a French army entered Belgium,
and besieged and took the citadel of Antwerp, and during this campaign
my elder brothers first had the honour of leading our soldiers under
fire. Antwerp once taken, the French Government, content with having
given a proof of activity to Europe, and shown everybody what our
legions could do, at once recalled the army, and my father went to
review it in the cantonments on the frontier where it lay. I made this
journey with him. The troops were splendid, full of zeal and
confidence. I was shown one infantry brigade, which at the time of
mobilization had done marches of sixty to seventy kilometres, so as to
reach the given point at the hour fixed upon. It was an interesting
journey, though a very trying one. Every day there was an entry into
some town, and a partial review, in Siberian cold. And every evening
there was a banquet, and every night a ball. The chief review was held
at Valenciennes. The troops looked magnificent, drawn up on the snow,
and, though it was so terribly cold, a brilliant sun lighted up the
splendid military scene. It was enlivened by a little incident. The
commandant of the fortress of Valenciennes was an old colonel, who had
re-engaged in 1830, after having dabbled somewhat in conspiracy, under
the Restoration. His name was M. de la Huberdiere, and he had had
himself a hat made exactly like Napoleon's, and wore it just after the
same fashion.

During the march past, either from sheer keenness or because he wanted
to attract attention to himself, he edged himself gradually in front of
the staff, on the side where the troops advanced, till at last he was
abreast of the King, so that the troops appeared to be marching past
him. This provoked one of my father's aides-de-camp, Heymes, who went
up to him, and said, saluting, "It seems to me, Colonel, you would be
better placed still if you were on the King's horse!" The shriek of
laughter which greeted this remark may be imagined.

This same Heymes, one of the few survivors of General Leclerc's
expedition to St. Domingo, had, on leaving that charnel-house, become
aide-de-camp to Marshal Ney. He it was who, during the famous retreat
from Russia, was sent to ask the general who was blowing up the
Beresina bridges to suspend the work of destruction, so as to allow of
the passage of the column with the wounded, who must otherwise be
doomed to death. It was worth seeing the expression of his face, severe
enough already, when he repeated the answer the general in question
gave him, with the most southern of accents, "What, my dear fellow! The
wounded! The Emperor has decided to sacrifice them!"

The worthy Heymes did my father a great service a short time after the
review which has led me to mention him. It was at the moment of the
insurrection in June 1832. We were at St. Cloud. It was well known that
the agitators of every description intended to make a demonstration on
the occasion of General Lamarque's funeral, but the demonstration was
not expected to be of any importance. However, at about five in the
evening, we beheld Heymes, in plain clothes, gallop into the courtyard,
on a dragoon's charger, covered with foam. He had just come from the
demonstration, and had witnessed that ordinary prologue to revolutions,
pillage and massacre--pillage of gunsmiths' shops, and massacre of the
officers of the 6th Dragoons, shot down with pistols, without any
provocation whatever, at the head of their squadrons in line.

"You must come to Paris, Sire," he said, as he dismounted. My father
did not wait for him to say it twice, and an hour later he was at the
Tuileries, thence giving the impulse which nipped the revolutionary
attempt in the bud. The next morning he was on horseback amidst the
troops and the National Guard, which hemmed the rioters into the ward
of St. Merri. An incident occurred there which was highly
characteristic of that Parisian population, in whom a generous chord
will always thrill, even in its maddest moments. The King, with my
brother Nemours and his staff, had gone down the Rue des Arcis, at the
end of which lively firing was heard. The troops who were massed in the
street greeted the sovereign with cheers, and he, going forward,
reached a square in which the fighting was actually going on. The
cheering ran from one to another, the soldiers who were engaged ceasing
their fire to join in. This change in the music struck the insurgents
also at last. They stopped firing too, and were to be seen appearing at
the windows, rifle in hand, taking off their caps to the plucky King,
whom they would not have hesitated to shoot at a minute before.

I need not say that as soon as the King and his escort disappeared down
a side street the fight began again, merrier than ever, and the 42nd
Regiment of the line carried the monastery of St. Merri. An historic
regiment that 42nd! After having fought against the "White"
insurrection in the Vendee and the republican insurrection at the St.
Merri monastery, caused the breakdown of Prince Napoleon's Boulogne
adventure, occupied the Chamber of Deputies on the 2nd of December, and
heroically lost its whole strength twice over in the siege of Paris, it
has had the good fortune of being almost the only one of our regiments
to keep its arms and its colours amidst all our mishaps.

There was no further interruption to the course of my studies, except a
journey of the King's to Normandy, on which I accompanied him. The
official object of this journey was to hold a review, at Cherbourg, of
the squadron which had operated, in concert with an English one, in the
North Sea, during the arrangement of the Belgian question. But its
chief end was to go through the Departments in Normandy and enter into
relations with the honest folk who populated them.

The trip was fruitful in incident. The first happened at Bernay, the
native town of the virtuous Dupont de l'Eure, one of those virtuous
individuals who would virtuously have your head cut off sooner than
drop the smallest iota of their vulgar and utopian ideas. The prefect,
M. Passy, had warned the King that amongst the addresses that would be
read to him on his arrival there would be one which would give him a
lecture. Thus warned, we arrived, and having mounted a platform in the
open air, with a verdant dome above it, the reception and the addresses
began. There was nothing very particular at first; at last a "President
de Tribunal" advanced, and the way he made his bow with his prim look,
and the curiosity which stretched every neck, told me at once that the
King was to get the promised lecture. It came, indeed, very studied,
and very impertinent too. Everybody listened in silence. It was all
about courtiers, the danger of listening to flatterers, and so forth.
As it ended, the heads of the president and his friends all came up
with a "Take that, my fine fellow" look.

Then the King replied with the utmost politeness, thanking M. le
President for the advice he had been good enough to give him.
"Flatterers and courtiers," he said, "have indeed done much mischief,
and, sad to say, the race is not yet extinct, for nowadays there are
courtiers who are far more dangerous than the flatterers of princes and
of kings--those courtiers and flatterers of the people, who to buy a
vain and contemptible popularity suggest to them dreams which are
unrealizable and which bring them to misfortune," &c. On this head my
father bestowed a well-directed hiding on the president, which was
constantly interrupted by a running fire of applause, so that the
worthy gentleman ended by not knowing which way to look. Amongst other
eminently French qualities, my father possessed the gift of repartee to
the highest degree. He always knew how to use it, though with a
politeness and good nature which softened whatever might be too sharp
about its sting. This time the blow went home. Our journey, thus begun,
was continued amid constantly increasing cordiality and success. It was
a somewhat tiring manner of life. We went by short stages, from one
reception to another. Everywhere the National Guard and the troops were
under arms. When they were in considerable numbers, we mounted horses,
either lent or requisitioned beforehand. In the evening, wherever we
slept, there would be a great banquet, and generally a ball as well. It
was the duty of us young folk to lead the dancing--a pleasant task
enough, if we could have chosen our partners among the pretty women
whom I was beginning to notice, in spite of my being only fourteen, and
of whom there were many, especially at Grandville and St. Lo. But our
partners were given to us officially, and were chosen from the families
of the authorities. We exerted ourselves to be pleasant in spite of
that. I do not know whether I was succeeding too much or too little at
a ball one night, but I saw the husband's head suddenly appear between
my partner and myself, with the observation, "Well, my wife's not
bad-looking, is she?" and he smacked his lips like a man who has eaten
a good thing.

Falaise was the culminating point in our journey as far as incidents
went. We were to make a halt there, and, as fifteen battalions of the
National Guard were collected, the aide-de-camp, who did duty as
quartermaster too, had seen to getting suitable mounts for the King,
for us, and for Marshals Soult and Gerard, who accompanied us. The
famous fair at Guibray, near Falaise, was just over, and a circus which
had come to enliven it was still there. The circus horses were laid
hands on, and when we arrived we were agreeably surprised to find fine
white horses awaiting us instead of the ordinary nags and troop-horses
we generally had to ride. So we got into the saddle, and the review
began. Just as the King reached the right flank of the line, the band
began to play, and then an unforeseen event occurred Our proud
coursers, thinking that they were at a performance, set each of them to
do his own particular duty. The King, Marshal Soult, and two others of
our party were riding the horses who did that trick called the
"Grand-Ecart," in which all four horses draw together at the same
moment. When their riders pulled at their bridles, the four horses,
feeling themselves reined up, instantly fell into the usual circus
canter. Another horse kept wheeling round and round, and confusion
became general, nobody guessing what had happened until the
aide-de-camp smote his brow, and stopped the band.

The trouble did not end there. The National Guard was in proud
possession of one gun, which it had horsed somehow or other. A jolt
broke the axle-tree, just as it was going past. Then there was a
half-squadron of cavalry mounted on stallions or geldings. But the
trumpeter was on a mare, which fact brought difficulty on poor
Rosinante during the march past. In the evening there was a great ball
in a huge temporary shed, with tiers of seats all round it. All of a
sudden half the tiers collapsed, like cards, and all the ladies were to
be seen, though almost unhurt, on their backs with their legs in the
air, amidst a most awful dust! I must confess we ungallantly seized the
opportunity of the confusion to go off to our beds. The King, too, did
the same, thus escaping from the persecutions of the Polish refugees,
interned at Falaise, who had come to the ball in lancer uniforms worthy
of the merry-andrews at the opera balls, to pester him with their
petitions.



CHAPTER III

1834-1836


My technical education recommenced more vigorously than ever when this
journey was over. It had been decided that before being definitely
placed on the Navy List I must pass my public examination as a
first-class pupil at Brest. So I was prepared accordingly, and received
those successive doses of instruction which the English designate by
the characteristic word "cramming," for which the only French
equivalent I can find is "gaver." My mathematical teacher held a class
for a limited number of youths in a house in the Rue Git-le-Coeur, and
thither I went, to gain the habit of speaking the language of algebra
in public. In contrast to my memories of school lessons, I have the
pleasantest recollections of those I received in that den--for den it
was! This, perhaps, is on account of the good fellows I met there, and
who have been my friends ever since, and also owing to the charm our
kindly instructor wielded over us all. I do not believe there is a
single one of his pupils, from the illustrious Marshal Canrobert down
through my contemporaries, Excelmans, Bonie, Morny, Daumesnil, the
Greffulhe brothers, Friant, Baudin, Valbezen, and many more, to the
younger generation that came after me, who does not cherish the most
grateful and affectionate feelings for the worthy Guerard. When we were
close on the time for my examination, he had me questioned several
times over by the official examiners of the Ecole Polytechnique and
others, so as to accustom me to the surprises of public examinations. I
thus passed through the hands of Baron Reynaud, and of Messieurs
Bourdon, Delille, and Lefebure de Fourcy. This last inspired me with
downright terror, on account of his reputation for methodical
brutality. One of my class-mates had reported to me that well-known
colloquy between him and a candidate who got confused, at he stood
chalk in hand before the black board, and who heard M. Lefebure de
Fourcy's voice saying calmly, "Waiter, just bring a bundle of hay for
this pupil's breakfast." To which the indignant pupil promptly added,
"Waiter, bring two: the examiner will breakfast with me." At length,
crammed to the muzzle with nautical and astronomical calculations, and
all the other sciences the official programme demanded, I started for
Brest, kept up even as I drove along, in the highest state of
preparation. There were a few interludes during the journey. Certain
spots in Brittany were still, early in that year 1834, disturbed by the
consequences of the rising in 1831, and my passage was the signal in
several places for what we call, in parliamentary language, "mouvements
en sens divers," conflicting emotions. Sometimes I saw white
handkerchiefs waving or twisted round hats, doing duty for cockades. At
other points the tricolour demonstrations took a quaint form. I
remember at one place where we changed horses my carriage drew up
between two rows of National Guards, who were keeping back a
considerable crowd of people. At the carriage door appeared the Mayor
with his scarf round his waist, saluting me with this remark: "Sir,
this place is but a hole, but it is a hole in which hearts devoted to
your august family are throbbing;" while at the other the village
priest and his clergy, all in surplice and alb, struck up

 Soldats du drapeau tricolore
 D'Orieans toi qui la's Porte,

and so right through the Parisian to a brass accompaniment.

My examination was held in the great hall of the Prefecture of the Navy
at Brest, before a board of officers, engineers, and professors. It was
a public one; but what alarmed me most at its outset was the presence
of all the pupils of the Naval School, who riled the tiers of seats on
one side of the hall. Luckily the sight of some old chums amongst them
cheered me up, and as the examination went pretty well I soon saw on
their youthful faces, just as actors, they say, read their coming
success on their audience at the theatre, that my cause was won, and
that I was accepted, not only by the scientific big-wigs but by the
universal suffrages of my contemporaries. Yet I was rejoiced when the
sitting was over!

Some days later, at L'Orient, I joined the Sirene frigate, Commander
d'Oysonville, as midshipman, and started on an ocean voyage. This
cruise was uneventful, except for a few little incidents such as always
occur in a sailor's life.

Thus, being in the maintop one day, when topsails were being reefed in
a strong breeze, a rope chanced to break, twisted round my legs, and
carried me into mid air, head downwards. If the sinewy arms of the
captain of the maintop and one of the top men had not caught me as I
passed, I should have fallen into the sea or on the deck, and either
alternative would have been disagreeable. Later on, at the end of the
cruise, we re-entered Brest in a south-westerly squall, under
circumstances which made a very useful impression on me.

We had bad weather for some days, no reliable observations had been
taken, and we were very doubtful as to the frigate's position. Driving
as we were at a great rate, before the gale, we were reckoning on the
occasional partial lightening of the fog to catch sight of and
recognize some point of land or rock, according to which we might steer
our course amongst the reefs which swarm at the entrance of Brest
harbour. We had to be ready to change our course and go about at any
moment. Everybody was on deck, straining his eyes to try and see
something, cool, and steady in nerve, as a well-disciplined body of men
is in face of any danger. But one man was not present, our commanding
officer, whose prompt judgment and word of command alone could bring us
from perilous uncertainty into safety. Our commander was below, in his
cabin, and there he persisted in staying, in spite of the indirect
efforts made by the officer of the watch, the second in command, and
the navigating officer to get him out of it. It was incomprehensible,
and at the same time very alarming. Commander d'Oysonville, who was
churchwarden of St. Roch when he died, was a kind and very honourable
man, but nobody could possibly have been less of a sailor. He was a
first-class organizer, and he carried his theories to the extremist
possible limit. He had one, amongst others, that the captain of a ship
ought to command her from his cabin, so as never to appear before his
crew except on the most solemn occasions, and it was for the sake of
being true to this principle that he refused to show himself in the
circumstances I speak of. His obstinacy very nearly cost us dear, for
on the earnestly longed-for break in the fog suddenly taking place a
point of land was seen. We thought we recognized the Island of Molenes:
the commander was hurriedly informed, and he sent an order to change
our course. A lightening at another point in the horizon showed us some
rocks. "The Pierres Vertes ahead!" sang out a coasting pilot specially
shipped for the voyage, who was looking out from his perch on the
foreyards, and the navigating officer tore off again to warn the
commanding officer. During all these comings and goings the curtain of
fog came down again, and we went driving on towards the reefs at the
rate of twelve knots an hour. It could not be allowed to go on! With or
without leave the second officer took the command, and put an end to an
impossible situation. Our worthy commander only appeared just as we
were dropping anchor in the roadstead, when all uncertainty was over,
and I seem yet to see the looks that greeted his tardy appearance.
Everybody's anxiety had been increased by knowing how he had lost the
ship Le Superbe, seventy-four guns, off the Island of Paros, some years
before, and under very peculiar circumstances. For my own part, I
learnt on this occasion what everything has confirmed me in since--the
danger of uncertain and divided authority either at sea or elsewhere.

When I got back to Paris, having finished the technical portion of my
education, I went on with a course of history, with my sisters,
especially my sister Mary, I applied myself with the utmost fervour to
my drawing. I worked with her daily, under the direction of Ary
Scheffer, and I recollect our grief one morning on finding the Jeanne
d'Arc she was modelling in wax for Versailles, melted by an overheated
stove, had collapsed the whole length of its framework, to such an
extent as to become the merest cripple. By dint of lowering the
temperature, and the use of a screw-jack applied in a peculiar manner,
and vigorously turned by Ary Scheffer and myself, Jeanne d'Arc rose up
again upon her framework, and the damage was soon made good.

About that time too, influenced by the genius of Victor Hugo, my sister
Clementine and I were seized with a perfect passion for old Paris, that
delightful Paris of ancient story. We had Sauval's thick volumes, we
had searched all the old books for traces of the ancient legends, and
we used to spend our afternoons going to see the sites and hunt for the
remains of the places we had read about, There is not a church or a
monument of which we did not know every detail, nor an alley or a
corner in the quarters of the Halles, the Hotel de Ville, the Arsenal,
the Temple, and the Pantheon that we had not carefully explored with
the most fervent interest. What joy it was to us one day when we were
trying to trace the Hotel St. Paul, the old palace of our kings, to
come upon a course of masonry which had undoubtedly belonged to it!

Although I was on shore, I was still devoted to my profession. I used
to see almost all the naval officers who passed through Paris, and
tried to push forward those whom the general body of the profession
singled out as being likely commanding officers. These matters of
promotion, as well as any others that affected naval interests, brought
me into daily touch with the ministers, and my relations with M Theirs
date from that time. Yet, oddly enough, it was riding on horseback that
brought us together! During the King's stays at Camping and
Fontainebleau, and his country trips to Versailles, St. Cloud, and
Raunchy, when he used to invite foreign visitors and his ministers, and
great personages in general, to join in his excursions, M. Thiers was
as much bored as I was at having to go in the carriages and chars a
bancs which drove in a long line one behind the other. We much
preferred accompanying them on horseback, and nothing delighted the
little minister more than to let his mount tear along full gallop with
a loose rein. He had a very firm seat, and was very plucky, especially
on a horse of ours called "Le Vendome," which in his southern accent he
pronounced "Le Vanndomme." I remember one day, at Fontaineblean, as he
was galloping along beside me on that same "Vanndomme," we passed by a
young fagot-gatherer, bending under her load. She straightened herself
at the noise; it was very hot, her jacket had come unbuttoned, and
showed a bare white very well furnished bust. She smiled to M. Thiers,
who pulled his horse up short, turned back to thrust a handful of small
change into the young woman's palm, and started off again full tear, as
if he had had an electric shock, jumping the fallen trees with a
resolution and energy which I had never known him show before.

On another occasion he proved himself a less brilliant horseman. The
statue of Napoleon, that statue which is put up and taken down in every
Revolution, was to be ceremoniously replaced on the top of its column.
The troops and the National Guard were under arms, with their bands and
drums, headed by a splendid drum-major, massed at the foot of the
column. We arrived in state by the Rue Castiglione, so that the column
surmounted by the statue, covered by a veil that was to drop at a given
signal, faced us just as we came out upon the square M. Thiers, in full
uniform, with his minister's hat and feathers, and again riding
"Vanndomme," struck in his spurs, left the procession at full gallop,
and passed before my father, shouting at the very top of his falsetto
voice, "I take your Majesty's pleasure" the words being accompanied by
a wave of his hat which ill-natured people might have said was copied
from General Rapp's gesture in Gerard's picture of the Battle of
Austerlitz at the Louvre. On this signal the drums beat, the bands
played, the statue was unveiled--but M. Thiers had lost control of
"Vanndomme," who, wild with enthusiasm, bolted head down, overthrowing
drums and drum-major, while the little minister clung to his back like
a monkey in a circus. It was a comical sight! But far from laughable
under this same ministry of M. Thiers were the perpetual attempts upon
my father's life. The speculators in revolution, who had been
encouraged by their easy success in 1830, grew discouraged after
several like essays at risings had been severely put down. They then
fell back on assassination. The most serious attempt was Fieschi's, on
July 28, 1835. Together with my two eldest brothers I was to accompany
the King to a review of the National Guard and the regular army, drawn
up on the Boulevards. All of us who were to take part in the
procession, princes, marshals, generals, and aides-de-camp, were
assembled in the drawing-room at the Tuileries, next to the Throne
Room, when the Minister of the Interior, M. Thiers, burst in like a
whirlwind, and, beckoning to my two brothers and me, led us into the
embrasure of a window. "My dear princes," said he, looking at us over
his spectacles, "it is more than likely there will be an attempt on the
life of the King, your father, to-day. We have been warned from several
quarters. They say there will be an infernal machine somewhere near the
Ambigu Theatre. It is very vague, but there must be something at the
bottom of it all. We have had all the houses near the Ambigu searched
this morning to no purpose. Should the King be warned? Should the
review be put off?"

We answered unanimously that the King must be warned but that, brave as
he was well known to be, he would never consent to having the review
put off. So it turned out.

"Look well after your father," repeated M. Thiers, and we mounted our
horses. The review went on well enough, except that we all remarked the
presence of a large number of insolent-looking individuals, with red
carnations in their button-holes--the members, evidently, of the secret
societies, who had not been warned of what was going to happen, but to
be ready for anything that might happen We had not been able to take
any precautions, beyond dividing the care of watching over the King's
person between my brothers and myself and the aides-de-camp on duty One
of us with an aide-de-camp, was to take it in turn to keep just behind
his horse, with our eye on the troops and the crowd, so as to interpose
if we noticed any suspicious gesture. My turn had come to take the post
of watcher, with General Heymes, aide-de-camp in waiting, on my right.
On my left I had Lieutenant-Colonel Rieussec, commanding the legion of
the National Guard before which we were passing. Close to the Ambigu,
not the present theatre--the neighbourhood of which had been
searched--but a former Ambigu, which had been shut up, opposite the
Jardin Turc cafe, we heard a sort of platoon firing like the discharge
of a mitrailleuse, and raising my eyes at the noise I saw smoke coming
from a window which was half closed by an outside shutter.

I had no time to notice more, and at the moment I did not perceive that
my left-hand neighbour, Colonel Rieussec, was killed, that Heymes'
clothes were riddled with bullets and his nose carried away, nor that
my own horse was wounded. All I saw was my father holding his left arm,
and saying to me over his shoulder, "I'm hit!" And so he was: one
bullet had grazed his forehead, another spent one had given him the
blow of which he complained, and a third had passed through his horse's
neck. But that we only knew afterwards, and it was only afterwards too
that we learnt the instrument of the crime had been an infernal
machine. Our first thought was that the firing would go on, so I struck
spurs into my horse, and seizing my father's by the bridle, while my
two brothers struck it behind with their swords, we led him swiftly
through the scene of immense confusion that ensued--horses riderless,
or bearing wounded men, swaying in their seats, broken ranks, and
people in blouses, who rushed upon the King, to touch him or his
horse, with frantic shouts of "Long live the King!" As we retired, I
just saw the taking by assault of the house whence the discharge had
come. The young aides-de-camp had dismounted, leaving their horses
loose, and with the Municipal Guards and the police they scaled the
house and the one next door (the Cafe Barfetti), climbing on to the
verandah and smashing in the windows. Then the review began again. We
had ascertained the King was not wounded, nor we ourselves, but we were
not aware as yet either of the great number or of the names of the
victims. Hereupon M. Thiers appeared beside us, with his white
kerseymere trousers covered with blood. All he said to us was, "The
poor Marshal!"

"Whom do you mean?"

"Mortier! He fell dead across me, crying out, 'Oh, my God!'"

We reckoned ourselves up as we went along. Forty-two dead or wounded:
dead--Marshal Mortier, General Lachasse de Verigny, Colonels Raffet and
Rieussec, Captain Willatte, aide-de-camp to the Minister of War, seven
others, and two women; wounded--Generals Heymes, Comte de Colbert,
Pelet, Blin, and many more. The Due de Broglie was hit full in the
chest by a bullet that flattened out on his star of the Legion of
Honour.

It was not far from the scene of the crime to the farthest end of the
line of troops, so the procession soon retraced its steps. The roadway
where the blow had been struck was nothing but a pool of blood. The
wounded and almost all the dead had been carried away, and I only saw
one corpse, flat on its face in the mud, among the dead horses, but all
the blood about frightened our horses so that we had hard work to get
on.

On the square of the Chateau d'Eau a huge and furious crowd surging
round the station house, which was protected by numerous Municipal
Guards, showed us the assassin, or one of them, had been arrested. The
review was concluded, and my father's self-control was sorely tried by
the unanimity and fervour of the acclamations of which he was the
object from all sides, from soldiers and civilians alike. It is
unnecessary to add that we did not see any more red carnations.

The march past was to take place in the Place Vendome, and the
chancellor's offices were full of ladies of the official world,
gathered round my mother. We dismounted for a moment to go and speak to
them, and here again a moving scene took place. We had been able to
send on an aide-de-camp to assure my mother and aunt and my sisters
that we were safe and sound, but our messenger had not had time to
learn the names of all the victims. So when we mounted the stairs of
the chancellor's offices, some of us all bespattered with blood, all
these women, their brilliant dresses contrasting sadly with their
terrified eyes, rushed upon us to see whether those they loved were
amongst us. Some of them were never to see their dear ones again!

Shortly after this bloody episode in our national history I joined the
Didon frigate, Captain de Parseval, as enseigne de vaisseau. My new
commanding officer, who had joined the navy at a very early age, had
served as a midshipman on board Villeneuve's vessel, the Bucentaure, at
Trafalgar. He was in command of the mizzentop, and saw Nelson's ship,
the Victory, pass slowly astern of the Bucentaure--so close that her
yards caught the other's ensign--while the fifty guns of the British
ship poured their fire one after the other into the stern of the French
one, sweeping her gun-deck from end to end, and laying low four hundred
of her crew. After this commencement of his career, Commander de
Parseval had spent his whole life in fighting and adventure. He had
been in three shipwrecks, one specially terrible one on the Isle de
Sable, near the coast of Nova Scotia, in which (he was a lieutenant at
the time) he swam ashore to get help and save the crew of his frigate.
He died with the rank of admiral, after having had the chief command of
the Baltic Fleet during the Crimean War. He was a charming fellow,
slight and smart-looking, very carefully dressed, as resolute in
command as he was formal as to politeness, a consummate seaman,
managing his ship in first-rate style. I sailed a great deal with him,
and learned much from him, and from the very first I felt a personal
affection for him, which was never belied, and which he reciprocated.
An extra bond of sympathy existed between us--when I was just becoming
deaf, he was deaf already.

We made a cruise for drill, on the Didon, doing a deal of navigation in
all sorts of weathers, and I performed the duties of captain of the
watch--my first attempt at command, my first trial in a responsible
position.

The winter season of 1836 found me back in Paris, where I began my
classes again, and gave myself up in particular to my passion for the
fine arts. This taste of mine was the cause of a terrible blowing up I
got from my father. The jury of the Salon of 1836 refused a picture of
Marilhat's--I think it was his first. Some of the artists who had seen
the young painter's work thought this decision unjust. They grumbled,
and their grumbling got as far as the newspapers. I was curious enough
to go and see the picture at Durand-Ruel's. It was a view of Rome by
twilight, seen between great umbrella pines, I thought it a splendid
picture, and spurred somewhat, I confess, by a spirit of contradiction,
I was seized with an eager desire to acquire it. But I had not a
halfpenny of my own, there was my difficulty! To overcome it, I laid
siege to my aunt Adelaide, who doted on her brother's children as if
they had been her own, and who never (and well the rogues knew it!)
could resist their wheedling. I succeeded, as I had hoped, and
Marilhat's picture became my property. But certain of the jury went and
complained to the King, and I was greeted with, "Oho! so you are going
to set yourself up in opposition! I've trouble enough already with
those artists! It's the Civil List (that means it's me) that takes them
in at the Louvre. I can't be the only judge as to what is accepted and
what isn't. I have to have a jury, the Institute is good enough to
undertake the job--all its members are dying of fright, and I shield
them under my own responsibility, just as I do my ministers, although
it's contrary to the letter of the law--and it's you, one of my own
sons, who comes and sets an example of insubordination! Much obliged to
you, sir!"

My picture was inspected all the same I need hardly say the
grand-parents pronounced it frightful, a regular daub. I hung my head
under this double-barrelled censure, and drooped my ears like a whipped
spaniel, but I stuck to my opinion, and likewise to my Marilhat. I
think it was shortly after this little adventure that I added another
"daub" to my "gallery." One morning as I was busy modelling (for I
dabbled in sculpture too) in my sister Marie's studio, Ary Scheffer
came in, and began telling me about an unknown artist he had met, quite
young, a man of undoubted talent, who was in a terribly
poverty-stricken condition. Six hundred francs would take him out of
his difficulties, and he would give two small pictures, pendants, which
he had just finished, in exchange.

"What do they represent?" I inquired.

"They are both landscapes, connected with episodes in Walter Scott's
novels. One represents the charge of Claverhouse in the Covenanters,
and the other the Army of Charles the Bold crossing the Alps. Come!"
added Scheffer, turning to me. "Be good-natured. If you have six
hundred francs, give them to me!"

I chanced to have the money, and gave it him. "What's your protege's
name?" asked I.

"Theodore Rousseau." Fancy that great artist selling his pictures in
pairs, as furniture, in fact--for bread!

In 1836, too, on February 28, I was present at the first performance of
Les Huguenots, an opera which enchanted me. The action, the music, the
stage setting, the interpretation, made an ensemble that was unique, a
work of art that defied comparison. Nothing on the stage to my mind,
has ever surpassed the duet in the fourth act as created and sung by
Nourrit and Mlle. Falcon. Inspired by the musical and dramatic
situation, these two artists were completely carried away, and their
emotion was as infectious as it was apparent. Mlle. Falcon had a way of
interrupting her singing, to speak the words, "Raoul, ils te tueront!"
with an expression into which her whole soul was thrown, which was the
very embodiment of passion. Ah! Passion indeed! Passion it is that
thrills in every page of that admirable book of Merimee's, La Chronique
de Charles IX., which has given birth in succession to those two
masterpieces, Le Pre aux Clercs and Les Huguenots. And what indeed
would life be without passion? If Fieschi's crime marked the year 1835
with a crimson letter, 1836 was the year of Alibaud's attempt. The
history of my father's reign is nothing but an innumerable succession
of such attempts, some of which came to the birth, while others, again,
miscarried. Alibaud, as my readers are aware, fired point-blank at the
King with a walking-stick gun, which he steadied on the door of the
carriage, as it passed slowly through the Tuileries archway, and missed
him, except that his whiskers were singed by the wad. Neither my
father's courage nor that of my mother and aunt, who were with him,
failed them for a moment. I saw them get out of the carriage at
Neuilly, without for an instant suspecting the risk they had run.

But the time soon came for me to go to sea again, and I was ordered to
join the frigate Iphigenie, of which my old captain, M. de Parseval,
had taken command, as full lieutenant, and we started for the Levant
station. The recollection of a very extraordinary accident which
occurred during this cruise remains with me. We were in the
Archipelago, off the Island of Andros. I had just come off the first
night watch, at midnight, and had got into bed, when I heard somebody
say our consort, a twenty-gun brig, the Ducouedic, Commander Bruat, was
making signals of distress, I got back on deck without delay. The
brig's lights had disappeared. Nothing could be seen of her. It was
blowing great guns, with a heavy sea. We continued in a state of great
anxiety till morning. At last, by the first rays of daylight, we saw
our consort dismasted. She signalled to us for a tow, which was quite
impracticable in the state of the sea. All we could do was to stand by
her, while she tried to get to Syra with her foresail, the only one
left her. This she succeeded in doing. But the extraordinary thing is
that what dismasted her was the contrary action of a tremendous roll,
and a heavy squall, which came just at midnight, when the whole crew
was mustered on deck, to change the watch, and that the mainmast with
all its spars and gear and the maintopmast as well, fell on to the deck
without hurting anybody.

Except for this one accident, all the interest of this fresh cruise of
mine lay on the side of the picturesque. Greece with her mythological,
poetic, and historical memories, and the great severe outlines of her
landscapes, struck me with admiration. But this was quickly
overshadowed by the impression made upon me by my first glimpse of
Asia--the Mussulman East, which Lamartine's Voyage and Decamps'
pictures had made me long so eagerly to know. My joy, therefore, may be
conceived, when I saw, as I landed at Smyrna, the living image of
Decamps' masterpiece, La Patrouille de Smyrne, now at Rotterdam,
passing by me--the very same police officer trotting along on his
hunched-up Turcoman horse, surrounded by his policemen, regular
bandits, running beside him, covered with brilliant rags and glistening
weapons. This worthy police agent, whose name was Hadgy-Bey (which we
promptly turned into "Quat'Gibets"), very soon became our ally. I did
his likeness. He was all smiles whenever we met, and he winked at all
our young midshipmen's pranks One they played was rather too strong,
and roused the fury of the Turks. Smyrna was at that time the most
Eastern of Eastern towns, full of tortuous bazaars, and narrow alleys
winding in and out, in which circulation, difficult enough at all
times, sometimes became impossible for hours, when long strings of
camels, fastened together with ropes, were going along them. Nothing
could have been more vexatious than these blocks, which man and beast
alike seemed to take pleasure in prolonging, whenever the Giaours
seemed annoyed by them.

What, think you, did our middies do? A great many of them together (for
we had a very strong naval squadron at Smyrna just then) hired donkeys,
tied them together with long cords, mounted them, each rider with a
long pipe in his mouth and affecting a quiet Eastern gravity of
demeanour, and off they started.

This farandole, which was quite a kilometre long, went round and round
the bazaars all day, up and down and in and out, stopping all the
traffic, as if a real caravan was passing' through. At first the "true
believers" were puzzled, but when they realized they were being laughed
at they grew furious, and rushed off to get "Quat'Gibets," who held his
fat sides and roared with laughter when they told him what was amiss.
Our midshipmen gave him a regular ovation. We were avenged on camels
and camel men alike. The neighbourhood of Smyrna was delightful, and
brigandage quite unknown. Civilization had not yet taught that
refinement of the art, as practised nowadays, whereby people are
carried off and called upon to get themselves ransomed, on pain of
having their noses or ears, or finally their heads, cut off. It was
quite safe to go anywhere, to canter far along the road to Magnesia, or
to stop and take coffee beside some cool spring in the shadow of the
huge plane-trees, and watch the whole East pass by--caravans from
Diarbekir, half-wild Turcoman tribes, bashi-bazouks from the four
corners of Asia, all of them worthy subjects for an artist's pencil,
and I never stopped drawing them. Coming back to the town, which had
been cooled by the sea-breeze, the "Imbat," we used to spend our
evenings in the Levantine or Armenian society of the place, amongst
grandfathers who were still faithful to their old costume, wrapped in
kaftans, and charming young ladies, with Tacticos on their heads, and
their beautiful figures, which no stays had ever tortured, draped in
half-oriental costumes. Native music, soft and plaintive, sounded, as
we would watch Mademoiselles Peiser, Athanaso, Fonton, Tricon, &c.,
dance the Romaika. Nothing exists, nowadays, of what was so seductive
then. The Orient has kept its sunshine and its colouring, but that
horrible cosmopolitanism has invaded everything. Everywhere there are
stays! and stays steal charm away!

We were young and gay at the time I speak of, and passionate too! Two
of my brother lieutenants fought a duel, much more serious than those
pin-prick encounters which are now the fashion. They fought with
pistols, on the very marine promenade where they had been joking with
young ladies the evening before. Just as the seconds gave the signal to
fire, the sun rose on the horizon. Its first ray glinted on a breast
button on the uniform of one principal: the other man's bullet, as
though drawn by some fatal attraction, struck the button, and killed
our unhappy comrade dead. A midshipman carried off a charming Greek
lady, who was discovered in his cabin after his ship had got out to
sea. And many another strange incident occurred! On leaving Smyrna, the
Iphigenie cruised all about the Archipelago, and along the Anatolian,
Caramanian, and Syrian coasts. Whenever I was not on duty my pencil was
in my fingers, for I had the most enchanting and picturesque of models
under my hand. From Tripoli in Syria I climbed to the top of Mount
Lebanon, whence I saw an immense panorama, with the ruins of Baalbec
and the Desert. We picnicked with the patriarch of the Lebanon and his
monks, under the world-famed cedars, and Bruat had a perfect duel of
jokes there with a witty ship's surgeon named Camescasse, who was one
of our party. I remember a funny saying of this same Camescasse, about
a brother medico of his who retired into Brittany, where his practice
was specially among the local aristocracy. He always called him "The
Avenger of the People."

At Eden, the chief town of the Maronites, the old shiek Boutrouss-Karam
received me with the greatest honours, and I was half drowned with
sprinklings of rose-water, the smell of which I detest. Apart from my
presence, there was a great fete going on at Eden for the marriage of
Boutrouss-Karam's daughter, and the whole Maronitenation had hurried to
it in their best clothes. Such handsome types, such costumes, such
turbans! I was one of the bride's witnesses: she and I had each to keep
a bracelet balanced on our heads during the whole of the ceremony. The
bride shook, and her bracelet fell down. After the ceremony she
received me unveiled. She was a fine tall dark girl, but not a pretty
woman. From Jaffa I journeyed to Jerusalem, and travelled all through
the Holy Land, with a feeling of deep emotion, which was only disturbed
by one vexatious incident. On the day I was to go to the Church of the
Holy Sepulchre, a great crowd had got there before me, and a quarrel,
which degenerated into a general melee, forthwith arose between Greeks,
Jews, and Armenians. It was only by dint of hard knocks that the
Turkish police made way for me to enter the Holy Place, and to crown
the scandal, just as I knelt in deep devotion, before the altar, the
organ began to play the Marseillaise. There was yet another episode
during my stay at Jerusalem. The Governor of the Province waited upon
me to say he had Mehemet Ali's orders to place himself at the disposal
of the son of the King of France, and to do whatever he desired. I
caught the ball on the hop, and replied he was just in time, for I had
just been going to ask his leave to enter the Mosque of Omar, which
stands on the site of the ancient Temple of Solomon. It should be added
that this fine mosque, which is next in holiness in Mussulman eyes to
that at Mecca, and which is now open to all the world, had at that date
never been seen except by the famous traveller Ali Bey.

Governor Hassan Bey tugged his beard when he heard my request, and
seemed very much put out indeed. After a moment's silence he made up
his mind, and said, "Come to-morrow: I'll take you there myself." The
next day I kept my appointment, bringing Bruat and two or three
officers who were making the same trip with me. We entered the mosque,
which is really very beautiful, and went all over it. The Imaums and
Softas, the priests and students, had cast horrified glances upon us
from the moment of our entry. Suddenly one of them began to intone in a
falsetto voice a sort of Litany, to which the crowd replied in chorus.
Soon the Litany turned into angry shouts, and the crowd, led by an old
Negro Imaum, in a yellow robe, who seemed to have worked himself into a
perfect paroxysm of fury, rushed at us with threatening gestures. This
was by no means reassuring, but Hassan Bey was equal to the emergency.
Seizing me by the arm, he put me behind him, with Bruat and the other
gentlemen grouped round me. Then he ordered a dozen Kavasses he had
brought with him to charge, which they did, laying out heavily with
their sticks. Not content with that, he had the most turbulent of the
Softas seized, thrown down at his feet, and beaten without mercy. The
blows hailed down on the poor wretch as if they had been beating a
carpet. This determined attitude cowed the crowd, which fell back to
the far end of the mosque, grumbling. "We will go now," said the Bey.
Once we were outside, he shut us up in a neighbouring mosque, which was
empty, begging us to wait there for him. Soon we heard a great noise
and yelling outside. Presently Hassan Bey reappeared smiling, and let
us out. The crowd had disappeared, and a battalion of Egyptian infantry
had taken its place. Advised by the Bey, we left Jerusalem a day after
this scuffle, with much regret on my part. The sight of all the spots
which are glorified by the splendid stories of our religious history
had impressed me deeply. My imagination had conjured up the very
pictures in Royaumont's illustrated Bible, out of which I had learnt
both the Old and the New Testament. And just as I was about to start,
when I opened the window of the room I occupied in the Latin convent, I
saw just in front of me the picture in that same Bible which represents
David, with hands uplifted in admiration, as he gazes at Bathsheba, the
wife of Uriah the Hittite. I was the David, and Bathsheba was a woman,
looking really magnificent in her eastern robes, who was sitting on the
terrace facing me. Only she was not combing out her hair like the woman
in the Bible picture: she was hunting it for vermin!

I returned from Jerusalem by the Dead Sea, Nazareth, and Acre.

As we were riding along one night, to escape the heat, not far from
Nazareth, we met a troop of horsemen headed by an individual in
Egyptian dress, who announced himself as Ibrahim Aga, sent by Soliman
Pasha to meet me. Just as I was calling up the dragoman to translate
what I had to say to him, Ibrahim Aga said to me in a drawling voice,
"Don't give yourself that trouble, it isn't the least necessary. I am
the Marquis de Beaufort, captain on the staff." He was in fact one of
the very many French officers, who were detached to the Egyptian army
then lying in cantonments in Syria, after its victories over the Turks
at Homs and Konieh. I had seen and greatly admired these troops all
over Syria and at Acre. I was soon to see Soliman Pasha--in other
words, Colonel Selves, a Frenchman, who had organized them, and under
the energetic and iron-willed son of Mehemet Ali, Ibrahim Pasha, had
led them to victory. I beheld a little man, whom long residence in
Egypt had quite orientalized in appearance but who had preserved all
the vivacity of his Gallic wit. The Iphigenie returned to France by
Malta, where I made the acquaintance of Lord Brudenell, since
celebrated under the name of Lord Cardigan, for his famous Balaclava
charge and of Major Rose, a charming fellow, who later became the Sir
Hugh Rose of the Crimean War, and after that Field-Marshal Lord
Strathnairn of the Indian Mutiny. At that moment Major Rose commanded
the 42nd Highlanders, the famous "Black Watch," a splendid regiment,
especially so then, when it consisted of nothing but veterans of
Herculean build. It furnished the Guard of Honour that received me at
the Palace of the Grand Masters when I went to pay my respects to the
governor, and the salute of that splendid body of men in full-dress
uniform and feathered bonnets, with their colours lowered to the
ground, their band playing God save the Queen, and their bagpipes
shrieking under the arches of the palace, was a most striking sight.
That was the first time I heard the bagpipes of the Highland regiments.
I have often heard them since, and they always remind me of that
wonderfully dramatic incident in the great Indian Mutiny, the relief of
Lucknow. In Lucknow, the capital of the kingdom of Oude, a handful of
British soldiers, with the women and children who had escaped the
massacre, had taken refuge in a huge and strongly built place called
the Residency. Isolated in the heart of India, besieged for months on
end, without any outside news, starving, decimated by sickness and the
enemy's fire, women and soldiers alike, with true British pluck, and
having lost all hope of succour, had no thought but to sell their lives
as dearly as possible. All at once the noise of the daily cannonade and
the rifle fire seem to be doubled, and unaccustomed shouts are heard,
like the national "hurrah." The cheering seems to get nearer, but the
Sepoys have so often cheered derisively! Suddenly another sound strikes
on the ear of the besieged. The bagpipes! The bagpipes! And soon they
make out the famous Highland march, The Campbells are coming!
Reinforcements they were, collected from all quarters, English and
Scotch, soldiers and sailors too, commanded by old Lord Clyde of
Balaclava fame. By main force they carried the works the mutineers,
tenfold their strength, had thrown up round Lucknow, bringing
unhoped-for succour from the mother country, nay, bringing actual
salvation with them. A wonderful moment!

I got back to Paris to hear the news of the failure of the first
expedition against Constantine, and the brilliant part my brother
Nemours had played in that terrible business. I never doubted that
signal revenge would soon be taken for the check, and I was in despair
that my being a sailor stood in the way of my asking to be allowed to
have a share in it.

Meanwhile, I was present at a fresh attempt on my father's life. A man
of the name of Meunier fired a pistol at him the day the Chamber of
Deputies was opened. Some movement in the crowd shook the would-be
assassin's arm, but the bullet came into the carriage, smashing the
front window, and my brothers and I were all cut with the broken glass.
I remember a very characteristic remark by one of the Deputies on this
occasion. After the King had departed, as the Members of the Chamber
were talking over the attempt, one of them said, "Ought we to
congratulate the King?"

"Certainly," was the reply; "we always do it."

Shortly afterwards an emulator of Fieschi invented a perfected machine
which should have mowed us all down at the earliest opportunity, but he
was discovered, and destroyed himself, just as he was going to be
arrested, carrying the secret of his accomplices with him.

Amidst political agitation and ministerial ambitions, with which I
troubled myself but very little, the marriage of my eldest brother, the
Duc d'Orleans, and its attendant festivities, took place. The wedding
was at Fontainebleau; there was a great fete at the Hotel de Ville in
Paris, and the formal inauguration of the Museum at Versailles.

The marriage was settled without my brother and Princess Helene ever
having seen each other. Impatient to know her, and anxious to be the
first to greet her on French soil, my brother went to meet her at
Nancy, where she was to arrive with her mother and a lady in waiting.
He rushed forward, saw three ladies, caught his fiancees hand and
carried it to his lips. Not at all! It was the lady-in-waiting's. This
momentary hitch was soon forgotten, and when the Princess entered the
Cour du Cheval-Blanc at Fontainebleau, in her state coach and eight,
amidst the roar of cannon and the beating of drums, we all went down
the great staircase to receive her, with the King at our head, just
like the great lords going down the staircase at Chenonceaux in the
second act of the Huguenots. It was Champs-Elysees, and through the
Gardens to the Tuileries, we on horseback and the Princesses in the
state carriages, with the Orleans state liveries, surrounded by an
immense multitude of people, all the women in brilliant spring
toilettes, and in the loveliest weather, was a splendid sight too. Then
there was a very fine ball at the Hotel de Ville--rather clouded,
though, by a prediction coming from all quarters, that it would be the
occasion of another attempt on my father.

Old Prince Talleyrand, who was almost dying, begged my eldest brother
to go and see him, so that he might add his warning to all the others.
Raising himself to a sitting posture, and with death in his face, he
said: "It won't be a knife or a pistol, it will be a hail of
paving-stones thrown from the roofs, which will crush you all!" We were
grateful for the warning, and we were glad it did not come to pass.
Nothing happened, either in the street or at the ball, where we were
surrounded by an army of chosen 'guests,' and from which we were driven
back at a great pace, escorted by squadrons of cuirassiers, who
glittered in the torchlight. But the crowning point of the fetes was
the inauguration of the Versailles Museum, that museum and dedicated by
my father "To all the Glories of France!" Others besides himself have
given the sadness of irony to that inscription! Every revolution must
be paid for with a price!

On the occasion of this inauguration the King gave a dinner to twelve
hundred people in the galleries of the Palace. Each of us had to
preside over a table, and I should have found mine a somewhat tiresome
task, if among my guests I had not met some very clever men, whose
conversation amused me much. Such were Alphonse Karr, Leon Gozlan,
Nestor Roqueplan, &c.

After dinner there was a theatrical performance--the Misanthrope, given
for the first time with Louis XIV. dresses, acted by Perrier, Provost,
Samson, Firmin, Menjaud, Monrose, and Regnier, with Mmes. Mars, Plessy,
and Mante; and then one act of Robert le Diable, with Duprez,
Levasseur, and Mile. Falcon--and the ballet.

After the performance there was a general promenade in the galleries,
which were lighted up brilliantly. I lay claim to two good ideas, which
came to me during the evening. The first was to plague the King and the
ministers to such an extent, after the act out of Robert le Diable,
that Meyerbeer, whom I fetched, was then and there nominated an officer
of the Legion of Honour, a commonplace distinction enough nowadays, but
which at that time was very exceptional. The second was to ask the
King, also, if he would graciously permit the artists who had taken
part in the performance to join the guests in the promenade in the
galleries. Of this permission I was myself the bearer, and I naturally
extended it to the corps de ballet. When all these young ladies in
their morning dress, and many of them bandbox in hand, appeared walking
about amongst the gaily bedizened folk, some of the fine ladies turned
up their noses. But the medley was a charming one, nevertheless.



CHAPTER IV

1837-1838


After the wedding festivities I went back to sea, a lieutenant still,
on board the Hercule, 100 guns--Captain Casy. Captain, petty officers,
crew, all hands in fact save a few officers, were Provencal. Before a
week was out I caught myself talking with their accent!

We were bound for South America Gibraltar was our first port, and our
reception by the governor, Sir Alexander Woodford, Lady Woodford, and
their charming children was of the kindest. I have a recollection of it
which I treasure all the more in that later in the day I had to do with
another governor with whom I had no cause at all to be satisfied. From
Gibraltar we went to Tangier, the Moorish town I was to bombard some
years afterwards, but where on this occasion I fought with wild boars
only under the guidance of that first-class sportsman, Mr. Drummond
Hay. The beauty of the eyes and colouring and the originality of the
costume of the Jewish girls at Tangier delighted me, but not to the
extent of chasing a certain melancholy from my heart, which had clung
about it ever since the beginning of my cruise, through the long night
watches, and even amidst the amusements of our stays in port. I was
thinking of HER! There always is a HER when one is only twenty! After
Tangier the ship stopped at Santa Cruz in Teneriffe, to take in water,
and during this operation I organized a scientific expedition to the
famous Peak of Teneriffe, which is nearly twelve thousand feet high,
and from which my professor M. Pouillet had asked me to take some
scientific observations. My brother officer, Rigaud de Genouilly, one
of the ship's lieutenants, accompanied me. After two days climbing and
bivouacking for one night at a great height, we were only about five or
six hundred feet or so from the summit, when we were caught up by a
messenger bringing us the captain's orders to get back as fast as we
could. A despatch boat had just anchored at Santa Cruz bringing news
that in consequence of some foreign complication a French squadron had
been ordered to Tunis, and would probably go on to the East. The
Hercule was to join it immediately. We tore down the mountain,
rejoicing in the thought that we were most likely going to do some
firing, and after a passage of twenty days, spent in all sorts of
fighting drill, we cast anchor in the Bay of Tunis, only to have a
bucket of cold water thrown over our heads. The complications on which
we had built a whole structure of danger and glory had passed away. The
squadron we were to have joined had departed, and orders awaited us to
resume our interrupted cruise, and bear away for South America. One
piece of news was we were told was that the expedition which was to go
and avenge our last year's defeat at Constantine was fitting out at
Bona, and that my brother Nemours commanded one of the brigades. Now my
big ship was to revictual at Algiers, and I besought the captain, who
had a free hand, to touch at Bona and give me a chance of seeing my
brother. The passage from Tunis to Bona was delayed by calms, and when
we got in, I found to my great regret that the expedition had started,
but that a small column was being formed which was to join it, starting
on the following morning. At this news I rushed to my captain, and
calling all the resources of persuasion and every wile of diplomacy to
my aid, I strove to convince him that there would be time for me,
during his revictualling, whereat I should be practically useless, to
make a rush to the expeditionary force and get back again, and that if
the King, my father, knew I had happened to be where I was, he would be
much displeased at my turning my back on an enterprise which was to
avenge our national honour. There were no telegraph wires in those
days, and I contrived to get the desired permission. Twenty-four hours
later I turned soldier for the nonce, and started off, mounted and
accoutred and full of fresh dreams of glory, destined once more to
disappointment--a disappointment shared by various engineer and
artillery officers and three Prussians, Messieurs von Willisen,
[Footnote: H. de Willisen, aide-de-camp to the Prince of Prussia, who
afterwards became the Emperor William, was in chief command of the
Holstein army.] von Noville, and Oelrichs, who had arrived too late to
start with the expeditionary force, and, like myself, were endeavouring
to rejoin it. What shall I say about the march of the column to which I
was attached upon Constantine? It lasted over twelve days of fearful
weather, during which no discomfort was spared us. Torrents of rain,
rivers in flood, snowfalls, men dying of cold, stragglers whose shouts
for help only brought us to them to find them lying headless on the
ground, and last of all, a terrible outbreak of cholera, which one of
the regiments in the column brought with it from France. And we had the
mental agony to boot of being kept ever so long at the foot of a
mountain, the Raz el Akbah, which was so sodden that no gun nor vehicle
could get up it, even with triple teams, and listening to the firing of
the attacking batteries before Constantine without being able to get
there.

One day, during this delay, the chief medical officer, by way of
consolation, greeted us with these words at breakfast: "Bad news,
gentlemen; we have just discovered that the cesspools of the hospital
(a miserable hut) have burst, and for the last twenty-four hours they
have been leaking into the spring where we get our drinking water."

"Hang it all, doctor, you really might have kept that to yourself," we
all cried in a breath!

Amid all this suffering and discomfort, physical and moral, the
courage, spirits, good humour and downright gaiety of the soldiers
never failed for a single moment. I had never seen them before under
such trying circumstances, and I thought them quite admirable, and
their officers too,--the very embodiment of devotion. One day, the rear
guard detachment had dropped some way behind the main column, and found
itself stopped by an impetuous torrent, which was swelling visibly
under a deluge of rain. The first men who tried to cross were carried
off their feet, thrown down, and only pulled out with great difficulty.
Without a moment's hesitation all the officers plunged into the water,
though it was up to their arm-pits, and holding on to each other's arms
they formed a sort of animated dam, above which they made their men
cross over, and it was all done in the simplest way. Frenchmen of all
classes, soldiers, sailors, what-not, a splendid race they are, when
the spirit of obedience and discipline inspires them with a sense of
duty! At last we came in sight of Constantine, and shortly after of a
body of cavalry, the Third Chasseurs d'Afrique, sent out to meet us.
From an officer detached in advance we learnt the place had been taken
by assault three days previously, and that the Comte de Damremont,
general in command, had been cut in two by a round shot, while he was
talking to my brother Nemours. Very soon, galloping up to the
Coudiat-Ati, I was in the arms of that good brother, who had behaved so
brilliantly during the whole campaign. He was in the act of inspecting
his brave little army, and we finished the inspection together. Then he
scanned me from top to toe, and the smart soldier spoke instead of the
brother "You can't go about like that, haven't you anything else to put
on?"

"I'm afraid I haven't," I sadly replied, with a humiliated glance at my
short jacket, my trousers turned up with a bit of gutta percha, and my
straw hat covered with waxed cloth, none of which had been improved by
camping out in the mud. The only soldier-like things about me were my
sword and my lieutenant's epaulettes. But they manufactured me a cap, a
naval lieutenant, Fabre Lamaurelle, who had come up with me, lent me
his coat, and so I became presentable.

The sight of the breach excited me greatly, and my first care was to
mount it. If my readers will call up the appearance of the buildings
pulled down when a new street is opened in Paris, they will get some
idea of the picture the top of the breach presented. It was a chaos of
ruins, caused by cannon shot and explosions, without any apparent way
out. The ground was like the moraine of a glacier, scattered over with
caps, epaulettes, and human remains. A soldier of the 2nd Light
Infantry was standing sentry beside a big stone.

"What are you doing there?"

"Do you see that bit of a blue cloak down that hole? The colonel is
underneath that stone, and the bayonets sticking out of the rubbish
belong to the men he was leading. The explosion buried them all alive!"

A terrible trial that explosion was for assaulting columns scattered
through a labyrinth of ruins, and barricaded lanes, and fired at from
all sides by an invisible foe.

But nothing dismayed our brave fellows for an instant. I was told that
at the moment of the catastrophe, when the staff, which was following
the progress of the fight with anxious ears, for there was no seeing
anything, saw the cloud caused by the explosion shrouding the
neighbourhood of the breach, and hundreds of wounded and burnt and
maimed men coming down it, they thought the assault had been repulsed
and that the game was up.

Lamoriciere, commanding the first attacking column, was carried back
blinded, and to everybody's astonishment the commanding officer of the
2nd column, Colonel Combes, was seen returning also. He advanced, sword
in hand, to the General commanding, over whose face an expression first
of wonder and then of anger spread, at the sight of a commanding
officer quitting his post. Nothing daunted, the colonel informed him,
in a few curt sentences, of the state of the fight, and of his own
confidence in its success, ending with these words: "It will be another
glorious day for France and for those who live to see the end of it."
He saluted, tottered--he was dead! No sign of his had betrayed that he
was mortally wounded.

As I listened to the tale I asked General Vallee,--"But what would you
have done, General, if the assault had been repulsed?"

"We should have begun again." As he said it he pressed his lips
together with that fearfully stern expression which, with his short
stature, had earned him the nickname in the army of "Little Louis XI.,"
and an officer behind me who wad heard my question and the answer,
added in an undertone, "And he had taken all his precautions."

"What do you mean?"

"When he was told, the night before the assault, that the ammunition
was giving out, he ordered one round to be kept in reserve for the
battery that played upon the breach--"

"Well?"

"Don't you understand? He meant to fire on the attacking column if it
gave any sign of wavering. He did it once in Spain at the siege of
Tarragona."

There was another scene of war at the opposite end of the town from the
breach at the Kasbah. During the assault all the non-combatant
Mussulman population had taken refuge there, crowding and cramming it
up to the very edge of the ramparts that crowned the precipices of the
Rummel, and either from sheer terror or by dint of the pressure of the
crowd, a cascade of human beings fell from the ramparts on to the rocks
and terraces of the precipice. Heaps of corpses, men, women and
children, but especially women, were caught here and there, and on one
of the heaps an old white-bearded Arab was turning over the dead, one
by one, seeking doubtless for some one who was dear to him.

Having no official position in the army, and as I could not well rest
on laurels I had not won, I spent my time sketching. I began, of
course, with the breach, and installed myself, for that purpose, beside
a human head severed from the trunk, which lay on the ground alongside
of a dead horse in the torn open belly of which a dog had made its
lair. While I was drawing, I heard a bugle sounding a march and soon I
saw the bugler coming out. Upon the breach; behind him marched a
sub-lieutenant, sword in hand, and then in place of men, a string of
donkeys, led by about a dozen Zouave irregulars. Puzzled, I went up to
the bugler and, stopping him, I asked what he was blowing for. "Why,"
he replied rocking from one foot to another with his bugle on his hip,
"this is the volunteer company from Bougie going back to headquarters."

"What?"

"Those are the rifles on the donkeys, there--everybody killed in the
assault; there is nobody left but us." He began blowing again. The
donkeys passed on and I bared my head to them.

Confident in the impregnability of his town, the Bey of Constantine had
left his harem there and the ladies of it were shut up in the palace,
which had been turned into head-quarters, and where I was living with
Nemours. As may be imagined, this harem gave me subjects for many
sketches, which disappeared, unluckily for me, in the sacking of the
Tuileries on February 24th, 1848. In one of the courtyards, planted
with orange-trees and roses, and surrounded by the elegant Moorish
balconies of the Bey's Palace, there was a little door, which had been
confided to the care of the vivandiere of the 47th Regiment and of a
sergeant major of spahis, of the name of Bel-Kassem. It was the door
into the harem and gave access to several courts, surrounded by
galleries, both on the ground floor and first story, on which opened
spacious rooms carpeted with divans and cushions and with shelves all
round piled with quantities of things, knick-knacks, and, above all,
stuffs, especially silken ones. The women--there were over two hundred
of them--spent their lives night and day alike, squatting or lying on
the cushions in these apartments. They were divided into two
categories. The negresses, who formed the great majority, occupied two
court-yards, and these courts exhaled a fetid odour which poisoned the
whole of the Bey's palace, whenever the wind blew from that quarter.
The white and sallow-complexioned women all lived together, they all
wore Arab dress, with more or fewer trinkets, and there were some
pretty women among them. Two were Greeks and there was one really
beautiful Moorish woman, called Ayescha. I did her likeness, and that
of the chief eunuch as well. He was a negro, growing grey, with a
deceitful hypocritical eye all muffled up in very fine haiks which
showed nothing but the tip of his nose, and legs which were entirely
guiltless of calf. That sitting would have been a good subject for a
picture--I drawing, the ladies of the harem hanging over me watching me
work, and the negro standing and swearing as he stood, while Ayescha
went to and fro lavishing the quaintest caresses on him, to keep him in
good temper.

One evening, General Vallee had an entertainment got up for him in the
harem. There were great illuminations, singing, music with tambourine
accompaniment and the danse du ventre. Amongst those present was
General de Caraman, who commanded the artillery. He was seized with
cholera just as he was going away, and was dead by six o'clock the next
morning. Such is life! Several adventures arose out of the fact of the
harem's presence. One fine night, when everybody was asleep, two of the
officers of infantry irregulars on guard took it into their heads to
knock at the door, and were filled with delighted surprise on hearing
the gentle voice of the good-natured cantiniere reply, "Is that you?
Well upon my word," and the door opened. But within less than two
minutes the frightful uproar caused by two hundred women shrieking at
once roused the whole of head-quarters, and our two officers tore full
pace back to the guardroom and got the men under arms. This scare, and
it may be some others too, added to the pestiferous smell from the
negresses' quarters, made the authorities resolve to get rid of all
this human cattle and distribute it amongst the most well-to-do of the
Mussulman population. I went to look on at their departure, which was
presided over by a major on the staff, assisted by a detachment of
irregulars. The women had been warned the evening before, and leave had
been given for each to take away as much as she herself could carry. So
they had spent the whole night rolling as many precious stuffs round
their waists as they could support the weight of, and we found
ourselves face to face with human balloons, like monstrous gourds. They
could hardly walk, even when held up by the soldiers, and getting
through the doorways was more difficult still. Some of them, hauled at
in front and pushed from behind, shot through like the cork of a
champagne bottle. Others, who could not squeeze through at all, were
made over to the soldiers to be reduced to the necessary size, the
whole thing accompanied by a chorus of shouts and objurgations of every
kind. But to pass from the harem to graver subjects. On October 18th, I
was present at the military funeral of the Comte Damremont. It was a
moving sight. Some few hundred yards from the spot where he had been
killed, just at the foot of the breach, a cenotaph had been built of
sand-bags, on which the coffin, with his General's cloak, and his sword
and white feathered hat laid on it, had been placed. The weather had
gone into mourning too, for the occasion. It was a very gloomy day. The
whole Arab population was looking on, squatting on the walls. On the
top of the breach were planted the colours of the 47th Regiment. Below
it the Zouaves' drums rolled a funeral march, while the officers did
obeisance for the last time to the remains of their former general. And
what officers they were too! How many future men of mark there were in
that assemblage, which, not to mention its chiefs, numbered Captains
Niel, Canrobert, MacMahon, St. Arnault, Le Boeuf, Ladmirault, Morris,
Leflo, and many another in its ranks!

The army left Constantine in two detachments. I returned with the
second, which escorted the general in command, who had fallen sick, and
an enormous convoy of fever patients and cripples of all sorts. It was
a dreary journey back, for the column was decimated by cholera, and the
road was strewed with corpses. Every minute soldiers were to be seen
dropping their muskets and writhing in the most awful convulsions. My
brother, who commanded the rear-guard, spent his whole time having the
poor wretches picked up and tied into mule litters. They were thence
drafted into the ambulance wagons, which were crowded already, and
there they died like flies. As soon as a man died, the other occupants
of the wagon united their efforts and heaved him overboard. When the
convoy started every morning a row of corpses marked the spot the
wagons had been on during the night. A detachment of engineers covered
them over with a little soil, but we had hardly moved off before the
Arabs swooped down from all directions and uncovered and stripped them.

I was ill myself by the time the columns got to Bona--fever had me in
its grip, but thanks to severe physicking I was almost my own man again
by the time I rejoined my ship at Algiers. She went to sea almost at
once. I had a relapse at Senegal, but the ocean passage completely
cured me, and I was quite in smooth water by the time we reached the
South American coast. Rio de Janeiro was our first port. I need not
enlarge on the magnificent view presented by the Bay of Rio, which has
been so frequently described by travellers. It was during this stay in
harbour that I first saw the young princess who was later to become the
Princess de Joinville, the devoted companion of my whole life. During
this stay, too, I made an expedition to Minas, the gold mine country, a
long journey on mule-back, through the magnificent monotony of the
virgin forest. One of the mines I went to see, called Gongo-Soco, was
worked by the labour of four hundred slaves, and owned by an English
company who made an enormous profit out of it. I went down it, and,
under the guidance of some Cornish miners, I had a try with a pick and
succeeded in getting out several nuggets as thick as my little finger.
As the vein was principally manganese, we were black all over when we
came out of the mine, but a body of negresses came at once to wash us.
Another expedition I made into the "camp" initiated me into a sort of
sport which was new to me--hunting wild horses with a lasso. After
having admired the extraordinary skill of the camperos in doing this, I
tried it myself, and that not altogether unsuccessfully--it is a
fascinating occupation.

To finish up our stay at Rio, we gave the emperor and his family, and
the whole of society both foreign and Brazilian, a ball on board our
ship. Towards the end of the evening, I turned a young lion I had been
given in Senegal loose in the ball-room, and his appearance somewhat
disturbed the figures of the cotillon.

From Rio the Hercule called in succession at Guiana, Martinique and
Guadaloupe. The low shores of Guiana are clothed with mangrove swamps,
the trees of which seemed scarlet, so covered were they with red
ibises! Nothing more gay-looking can be imagined than the Cayenne
River, and the pretty town standing on its banks--the wooden houses all
separated from each other by gardens in which the tropical vegetation
displays an unexampled luxuriance and variety. Flowers of every hue,
set among huge calabash trees, gigantic palms of every kind, such as
the traveller's palm with its immense fan-shaped leaves, bread-fruit
trees, and many more, charm the eye with a wealth of colour which must
be seen before it can be realized. Though the Cayenne River may be
charming, the other arms of the Guiana delta, great rivers, hedged in
by thick dark forest walls, are far gloomier to the sight. But those
magnificent forests, peopled with creatures of all sorts, and
especially with an infinite number of birds, of the most varied and
dazzling plumage, have the irresistible attraction that hangs about
life in the wilds.

I went up several of these rivers, such as the Aprouague and the Mana
River, and visited the carbets, or villages, of several Indian tribes,
the Norags, and the Galibis, which last were still quite savage at the
time of which I write, armed with bows and arrows, and obtaining a
light by rubbing two bits of stick together--a thing I actually saw
them do. Men and women alike were red-skinned, tartar-eyed, their
smooth hair dyed with "rocou," a sort of madder, and with a small strip
of cotton passed between the legs as their only garment. The women were
particularly frightful. Almost all of them had huge stomachs, which
they held up with their hands just like a monkey's pouch, and all wore
a kind of tight bracelet above and below their knees and ankles, which
caused the intervening parts to swell, and gave their legs the
appearance of skewers with Dutch cheeses on them. Apart from the
savages, the general impression of Guiana remaining with me is that of
a great hot-house, in which everything was as improbably huge as in one
of Gustave Dore's illustrations--where I came across apricots as big as
my head, and caimans ten yards long. As regards the inhabitants, I
recollect Creoles, enervated by the climate, who were as kindly as they
were intelligent; pale-faced women, languorous and seductive, with soft
low murmuring voices; and lastly, just as I passed through, a negro
drum-major of the National Guard, with a great big busby and a plume
that was a dream!

My recollection of Martinique and Guadaloupe bring them back to me as
lovely green islands of volcanic outline. The former especially struck
me as being exceedingly picturesque, its hills covered with
pleasant-looking habitations with the peaks of the Carbet veiled in the
dark clouds brought by the trade winds, for background. I had to review
the troops on the Savana, the promenade of Fort Royal, but I confess I
took more interest in the costume of the beautiful quadroons, or
quarterbred mulatto women, than in the review itself. This costume is
worth describing. A brilliant-coloured bandanna, knotted round the head
in the most fanciful manner, no stays of course, nothing but an
embroidered chemise, showing a magnificent outline, and a
bright-coloured skirt, yellow or rose-coloured, trained at the back,
but gathered up on one side, to show a beautiful bare leg. When I add
that these women often have a creamy white complexion which many a
European would envy, the proud exclamation of the old householder,
dragged I know not why before a court of justice, will be appreciated.
To the Judge's question "What is your profession?" he replied "My
profession! I keep up the supply of Mulattos!" "Je fais des mulatres!"
It was in the days of the greatest prosperity of our beautiful Antilles
that the old boaster spoke. When I arrived, this was already on the
wane, and it really was tiresome not to be allowed to talk about
anything but sugar and emancipation by the Creoles.

Nowadays what we call progress has done its work, and these colonies,
which used to be an element of national wealth, employing a whole navy
of merchantmen, and which served as nursery for the sailors of our
warships, are now no more than machines for electing Radical Deputies,
and thus increasing the number of agents of the national destruction.

At Martinique, we joined the flag of the admiral in command of the
station. I have served under many admirals, one more eccentric than the
other. One of the first, an excellent seaman, had one passion only,
music--and his instrument was the double bass. He spent his time
performing solos on this cumbrous instrument, which he would then put
away in a small apartment known in the old-fashioned navy as la
bouteille. Sometimes the sea-water came through the port, and flooded
everything. When the admiral fetched his double bass out, and began his
tunes, he would notice from the sound that the body was full of water,
and then every sort of dodge would be resorted to, to get the liquid
poured out by the sound holes. The poor admiral! There is a story that
his double bass was victim one day of the spite of certain seamen, who
marked their displeasure by pouring something less clean than sea-water
into the big fiddle. This same gallant admiral having gone ashore once
upon a time, at St. Louis in Senegal, and finding the bar there
continued so impassable that he could not rejoin his ship, sent her
round to Goree, and went there himself overland slung under a camel's
belly, and armed with an umbrella,--which proved his complete ignorance
of the miracles of the Prophet Mohammed.

My commanding officer at the time of which I write was another oddity.
Imagine a thin little man, as hot as pepper, adorned with a hooked nose
and chin, one as huge as the other. A real old-fashioned gentleman,
always tightly buttoned up in the most irreproachably correct of
garments, and with all the exquisite and formal politeness of the old
school. Everybody was fond of the good old fellow, who heightened the
oddity of his appearance on board his own ship by wearing a huge straw
hat like the bell-crowned hat Eugene Sue puts on the head of M. Pipelet
in the Mysteres de Paris, and a song had been composed about him, which
we used to sing together and the chorus of which began "Bon! bon! de la
Bretonniere! Bon Bon!"--la Bretonniere being his name. This same
officer saved Admiral Magon's ship after Trafalgar, and later on he
commanded the Breslaw at Navarino and showed the most consummate
bravery there. His flagship was the Didon, which ship, having run
aground several times, had earned the nickname of "Dido the touching"
(la touchante Didon). Poor old Didon! I had sailed with her before and
the sight of her gave me the same feeling of grateful recollection that
stirs within a man who meets an old love. After a short cruise with the
whole squadron the admiral led the way to the British island of Jamaica.

*******

We had hardly cast anchor before he sent to ask the British Governor
when he would receive him, and, the appointment duly made, he sent for
me to go with him. An aide-de-camp received us at the landing-stage,
silently pointed to the governor's carriage, which awaited us, and
disappeared. The carriage in question was a phaeton with room for two
people in it, and a little seat behind for the groom, who was standing
at the horses' heads with true British correctness. Says the admiral to
me, "Are we to go in that?"

"Yes, sir."

"But," and he took two steps to the rear, "there isn't any coachman."

"You are to drive yourself, sir."

With a half turn to the right he replied, "I! Impossible! I've never
been able to get a horse to go in my life. Do you know how to drive?"

"A little, sir."

"Then take the reins, sir!"

Into the carriage then we got, to the great satisfaction of the groom,
who had guessed rather than understood the misgivings of the French
admiral in the cocked hat. At first, things went pretty well. The groom
showed me the way to Spanish Town, saying "left" or "right" as the case
might be, when, presently we came to a great market crowded with
negresses with blue cotton stuffs twisted round their haunches, all
screaming at the top of their voices. The horses in our phaeton took
fright at the noise, their alarm communicated itself to the negresses,
who ran away, upsetting everything. I lost command of the horses, which
swerved to one side, knocking over the heaps of gourds and water melons
and bananas. There was a terrible scene of confusion. The admiral clung
on with both hands, never stopping shouting "Oh the devil! the devil!
the devil!" However we got through without any serious accident. On the
return journey, conscious of my own incapacity, I offered to give up my
place as whip to the admiral, but he refused with a most determined
"No, no, no; oh NO!"

At the time of my visit, Jamaica was still celebrated for its rum, and
my father had charged me not to forget to bring him a barrel, a
commission I did not fail to execute. But a lamentable accident
happened in connection with that same barrel. It was brought back to
France and duly placed in the cellars at Neuilly, and had been
forgotten for ever so long, when one fine day the King, recollecting
it, ordered some of the contents to be handed round at the end of
dinner. All the guests smacked their lips before-hand; but
disappointment awaited them, and the first taste was followed by a
general grimace of horror. It was simply beastly. Enquiries were set on
foot and here is their result! A distinguished mental specialist, who
had been ordered to take a sea voyage for the benefit of his health,
which had broken down, had got leave from the Minister for Naval
Affairs to sail on board the Hercule. Deeply interested as he was in
his own special subject, he had occupied himself during all our stays
in port in collecting brains, both human and animal, which he
immediately labelled and shut up in a barrel of alcohol, which was
exactly like my barrel of rum. The two barrels had got mixed and my
father and his guests had been drinking rum flavoured with brains!

Our squadron dispersed on leaving Jamaica. The admiral, I think, was to
go to San Domingo, we ourselves to Havana. One of our ships, a
beautiful despatch boat, the Fabert, bore us company the first day. In
the evening, the weather being calm, her commander, a lieutenant, M. de
Pardeillan, came on board us to dine. Little did we think, as we
accompanied him to the head of the companion, that we were bidding him
an eternal farewell. The ship, the crew, and their young captain all
disappeared, and have never been heard of again. The sea swallowed them
all up, and the sea has kept the secret.

As we entered Havana, I was struck by the sight of a whole fleet of
strange-looking ships which lay at anchor under the Morro citadel. They
were long boats, built for speed, with immense sloping spars, like
racing yachts. They were not warships, though they were heavily armed.
They were slavers, for the negro trade was still in full swing in Cuba.
The demand for black labour being constantly on the increase, the
slavers went to fetch it from Africa, and brought it back at all risks,
in spite of the British cruisers. But this importation of black cattle,
which had been humane and kindly enough while it was free, had grown
frightfully barbarous since the successful landing of each cargo had
been exposed to every chance imaginable. The trade, nevertheless, fed
the extraordinary prosperity of the fair Spanish colony, Queen of the
Antilles, and especially that of her capital town, the Havana. The stir
in the port itself was prodigious, and how shall I describe the
animated appearance of the streets, the splendid houses, and the
innumerable churches that met my gaze, and the evidence of luxury
betrayed everywhere, and by everything I saw?

In the days of his wandering exile, my father had sojourned at Havana,
and my first care was to seek out the friends he had left behind him
there. Thanks to them, I soon found myself at home, in the Montalvo,
Penalver, Arminteros, Arastegui, O'Reilly and de Arcos families, whose
charming companionship formed the chief delight of my own stay. My
cousinship with the Queen of Spain caused me to be received with great
honour, also, by the authorities, especially by the Captain General,
Espeieta. A review was arranged for me on the Paseo Tacon, and of that
same review I have an undying recollection. Let my readers imagine a
line formed by the Espana, Barcelona and Habana regiments, the
artillery, and a lancer regiment, splendid troops all of them, under
the command of General Count de Mirasol, with his baton slung at his
buttonhole. And, facing this line, another of the most exquisitely
charming aspect. All the volantes in Havana drawn up in battle array!
The said volantes, peculiar to the place, are gigs without hoods or
aprons, perched on two huge wheels, and each drawn by one horse in
silver-mounted trappings, ridden by a calassero or negro postilion in
flaming livery, laced on every seam. In each volante two ladies
lounged, in evening dress, low-necked, bare-headed, and armed with
fans. Every pretty woman in Havana was there, talking to the occupiers
of the next carriage, looking on and being looked at, and all under a
lovely tropical sunset, which lighted up the sea, whence a soft
refreshing breeze was blowing, on one side, and on the other a forest
of cocoa palms with the fortress of Principe rising above them. The
ensemble of the picture and its details were alike charming, and to us
sailors, just off the sea, it was heightened by contrast. These Havana
ladies add all the charm of Spaniards to a mingling of Creole
indifference with the confidence of well-born women. Their eyes and
complexions are magnificent, their wrists and ankles exquisitely
delicate, and their feet! I never saw anything like them--the feet of a
Chinese woman, only natural, not produced by torture, I brought away a
precious souvenir from Havana, in the shape of a shoe which I knew to
be genuine, but which never met with anything but incredulity till the
sacking of the Tuileries in 1884 bereft me of it altogether.

I remember yet a beautiful excursion in the interior of the island,
partly by rail, partly by volante, along splendid avenues of palmettos,
and thick shady mango trees, to the country house belonging to Dona
Matilda de Casa Calvo, Marquise de Arcos, where I spent two days in the
pleasantest of company, and where Lord Clarence Paget, who was of the
party, astonished us by his talent as a singer. Our delightful stay in
port was brought to a close by a ball given to me by the town of Havana
at the Societad Philarmonica. I had just been dancing that pretty
dance, a sort of slow valse, which is called the Habanera, and I was
walking with my partner, a beautiful Spanish Mexican, with tiny feet,
under the arcades which ran round the patio, when she pulled a
straw-covered cigarette out of her pocket and lighted it. "Don't you
smoke?" she enquired.

"No, Mademoiselle."

"Oh, but yes, I'm sure you will smoke," and she took her cigarette from
her pretty lips and gave it to me to smoke, which I did without
hesitation. That sudden conversion has been a durable one. But I have
often regretted that I could not begin it all over again!

Twenty-four hours later, at two o'clock in the morning, I was wakened
in my cabin by a violent shock. The Hercule had just run aground in the
dangerous waters of the Bahama Channel. Whatever the weather may be,
the running aground of a huge body like a hundred gun ship is a serious
matter. To crown our disgrace, the corvette La Favorite, which sailed
in company with us and had followed us blindly, ran aground at the same
instant. Luckily it was almost calm, and the great Hercule lay quietly
on the sand like a stranded whale. Whenever the least suspicion of a
swell came, she gave a shudder, a sort of wag of her tail, which was
very alarming. If the swell increased she would soon go to pieces, and
every boat we had to launch would never be enough to save the crew. It
was one of those anxious moments in a sailor's life when each man makes
it his business to conceal his own feelings. We set hard to work to get
down a big anchor on the deep-water side. Once it was down and the
cable taut, we began to lighten the ship, pouring all the water
overboard, and getting ready to put the guns over the side. Then
daylight came, and showed us our real position. A long way off we could
see a low island on the coast of Florida, called Looe-Key. The dawn
also showed us, in the offing, the British corvette Pearl, commanded by
our pleasant comrade of some days before, Lord Clarence Paget, who had
sailed from Havana at the same time as we ourselves. As soon as he
perceived our position he hurried to our assistance, and steering with
all the decision and seafaring good sense of the British sailor, he got
as close as possible to us, put down his two anchors at once, and came
to us, saying, "I bring you the only thing I can, a fixed point to work
on."

We thanked him cordially, but, just at that moment, thanks to our
having lightened the ship, and also to the tide, which fortunately
began to rise, the Hercule swayed for a few minutes on her sandy bed,
and then began to float. A sigh of relief broke from every breast,
especially from those of the captain and the unlucky officer of the
watch, whose carelessness had been the original cause of the accident.

A few hours more, and everything but a trifling leak had been put to
rights, and we were on our way to the United States--to a new country,
a young nation, which attracted me as by instinctive sympathy. On our
very arrival in the Chesapeake river, I came across a characteristic
trait. "Can you speak French?" I asked the pilot who hailed us.
Instantly he answered me, in English, "No, I only speak American!" The
claim to separate nationality extended even to the language.

Shortly afterwards I went ashore, and, armed with an itinerary, kindly
drawn up for me by Michel Chevalier, in which he had mentioned all he
advised my seeing, both as to men and things, during the short time at
my disposal, I started on a hasty tour through that splendid country.
That first glimpse of America fulfilled all my expectations, and
delighted me. A young country it was in very deed. Nature itself, to my
European eyes, had a pureness of atmosphere, a richness of vegetation,
a freshness, a general air of youth, unknown in our older countries.
Man too, in his gait, in his independence of mind, and his boldness of
enterprise, betrayed an exuberant vigour of which our populations,
enervated by disappointing experiences, and crushed by routine as they
are, have grown incapable.

As I desired to get from Norfolk in Virginia to Washington, I started
by the Roanoke Railway, on the first day of my trip, and thus crossed
an immense marsh, the "Dismal Swamp." The rails we ran on being laid
open-work fashion on huge piles fifteen feet above the marsh, the whole
road rocked under the weight of the engine, so much as to disturb the
waters of the swamp and startle the numberless snakes and turtles
inhabiting it. It was a most novel sensation. Further on, betwixt
Baltimore and Philadelphia, the train having to cross an arm of the
sea, steamed on full pace; the engine, uncoupling itself, ran ahead on
to a siding, while our train was carried by its own impetus on to the
upper deck of a steam ferry-boat, moored at the end of the line. It
stopped exactly at the right spot, and while the boat crossed the arm
of the sea, we went below and dined at a splendid buffet on the lower
deck, waited on by the prettiest of barmaids.

Further on yet, between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, in that rich
Allegheny country where the coal-beds lie on the surface, and coal
costs five francs a ton, and whence petroleum oil was soon to gush
forth, the travelling was done by canal in the flat country, and by
funicular railways in the mountains, by means of boats built in
sections which hooked together on the water, and were taken apart when
there was a question of climbing up inclined planes. All public works
and means of communication were full of daring things like these, while
in Europe (I speak of the year 1838) we were still at our first
timorous essays at railway travelling.

I travelled through Virginia, passing by all those spots where four and
twenty years later I was to watch the bloodiest battles of the War of
Secession, that first and awful convulsion of the great Republic's
manhood. Reaching Washington, I was most courteously received by
President Van Buren. How often since then I have been back at the White
House, under Presidents Tyler, Buchanan, and Lincoln! How many a
curious scene I have witnessed there, under the rule of the last-named
President, rich as it was in dramatic incident! During that first stay
of mine at Washington I made the acquaintance of three of the greatest
men in the United States--Calhoun, Webster, and Clay--Calhoun of
Carolina, the impassioned Southerner; Webster, the eloquent
representative of New England Puritanism; and Clay of Kentucky, with
his angular face and powerful frame, and a curious mixture of extreme
gentleness and energy in his manner and ways--the very type of the
Western population, the advance-guard of civilization. I was present at
several sittings of the Senate, and heard these gentlemen speak with an
authority which seemed to fascinate their auditors. Washington as a
city, did not interest me at all--bits of town, scattered about in an
ocean of dust, which later on I knew as an ocean of mud; hotels crowded
with canvassers, all devouring so hurriedly at table d'hote time, that the
first arrivals were rising from table when the last ones were sitting
down, and all this amidst a noise of jaws that reminded me of the dogs
being fed in a kennel; the whole population, whether politicians or
canvassers, chewing and spitting everywhere; little society or none at
all, save that formed by the foreign diplomats, most of them clever
men, but bored by their isolation, and consequently disposed to see
everything around them with unfavouring eyes. One of the chief members
of this society at the time of my sojourn was the British Minister, Mr.
Fox, a diplomatist of the old school, past master in forms, and
proprieties, and social refinements--everything that the English sum up
in the word "proper." I was told that one day as he was leaning against
the chimney-piece in a drawing-room where dancing was going on, in deep
conversation with I know not what other personage, an American couple
came and stood just in front of him in a country-dance. Soon the young
man began to show signs of anxiety; his voice grew thick, his cheeks
swelled alternately, and he cast anxious glances at the chimney-piece.
At last he could hold on no longer, and with the most admirable
precision, he shot all the juice of his quid into the fireplace just
between Mr. Fox and his interlocutor. "Fine shot, sir!" the old
diplomat contented himself with saying, with a bow. It may have been
that little incidents of this kind cast a chill on international
relations!

[Illustration with caption: southern scout]

Philadelphia delighted me. It is a cheerful town, with streets planted
with fine trees. The prison there, the first built on the solitary
system, occupied me for a whole day. I went over every corner of it, in
the company of the directors, and of any other officials who could
inform me on the subject. It will be known to my readers that the
system in this prison, at the time of which I write, was that of
absolute seclusion in cells--complete isolation in fact--during the
whole term of sentence. Soon afterwards I visited Auburn Prison, in New
York State, where the condemned person was subjected to a different
regime,--cells at night, but work in common, though in silence, during
the day. I have been over many prisons since, for I have always held
that the management of such places is a pretty reliable thermometer of
the moral condition of the country to which they belong. I know of some
foul ones in states which set up to be very civilized. In France we are
lamentably behindhand in the matter. Though we have some prisons which
are model, we have a great many more which are shamefully behind the
times. For my own part, I have come to the conclusion, from all I have
seen and heard, that seclusion in cells at night, with work in common
during the daytime in small easily managed workshops, or better still,
in the open air as at Portland Prison in England, is the penitentiary
system which offers the fewest drawbacks. I say drawbacks, for no such
system can offer advantages. All the holding forth of philanthropists
about the sad fate of criminals is empty noise. A prison must be a
place of punishment; it can never be an abode of reformation, nor of
reclamation.

Let us pass, from the prisons, to Mr. Norris's great steam engine, and
especially locomotive engine works, which Michel Chevalier had told me
to be sure to go and see; and most interesting, truly, they were. Great
improvements in the construction of locomotives originated in these
works. Mr. Norris had also had a very original and exceedingly American
idea--to make a great orchestra of musical instruments played by steam
instead of by human lungs. I heard, or at all events I was told I
heard, the "Hunting Chorus" in Robin Hood performed by this orchestra,
in which the conductor's baton was replaced by a tap. It was horrible!

After Philadelphia came Niagara, wonderful and peerless. I admired its
picturesque grandeur, but I admired the rapids before the fall every
bit as much. The mighty power of the huge river, the overflow of all
those great lakes, pouring in foaming fury over its rocky bed, for such
a distance and through such splendid scenery, is indescribably
striking. In the midst of the lovely country of the Hudson Highlands,
stands West Point, the famous military school where all the officers of
the American army are educated. I was the guest, while there, of
Colonel de Russy, who was in command, and my stay was full of interest.
There is a curious point about the school, and it is not the least of
the surprises reserved for us by the American democracy. The cadets do
not enter by examination, but by favour. The Senators, or
representatives of each State in the Union, have a right to a certain
number of nominations. The President has the same. Their choice, as a
rule, falls on lads of intelligence, and the only thing asked of them
on joining, is to give proof of a healthy constitution. They know
nothing, and have to learn everything in the school, at which they
consequently spend four years. Well, in spite of the absence of
selection or competition for entrance, the result is quite excellent.
The knowledge, spirit of discipline and duty of the American officer,
and his adaptability to no matter what task, leave nothing to be
desired.

Everybody knows New York, that huge cosmopolitan city, the commercial
capital of the New World, where colossal fortunes are made and lost
with the giddiest rapidity. Its position as being the chief artery of
human activity, is incomparable, but the town--qua town--has this point
in common with all huge agglomerations of commercial buildings. It is
utterly commonplace. I merely passed through it on my way to rejoin my
ship at Newport, but with me there came on one of those splendid
steamers, veritable floating palaces indeed, which the Americans excel
in building, a huge picnic, at which 150 New York ladies were present.
The night passage across Long Island Sound in lovely weather, with all
this gay party dancing and supping, was most delightful.

I left the United States with a feeling of the deepest gratitude for
the sympathetic, almost affectionate, welcome I had everywhere
received, and the most sincere admiration for that great democracy,
ambitious without being envious, where shabby class rivalry is unknown,
where each man endeavours to rise by his own intelligence, worth, and
energy, but where no one desires to drag others down to the level of
his own idleness or mediocrity.

A great community, in which nobody would for a moment suffer the State
to take to itself the right to interfere between father and child by
denying the free disposal of his property, and thence his paternal
authority to the parent.

A great community, where no man need be a soldier unless he chooses,
and where all are free to bring up their children as they think fit, to
practise the religion that pleases them best, and to combine in perfect
freedom for the endowment of church or school. What an example, in many
matters, the young nation sets the old! We left Newport on our return
to France, and after a quick passage of nineteen days, the Hercule
anchored in Brest Roads, on July 10th, 1838.



CHAPTER V

1838


Before six weeks were out, I was at sea again, on my way to Mexico. My
orders to sail reached me at Luneville, where my brother Nemours had
taken refuge, with a cavalry command, from the desperate endeavours of
the grand-parents to get him married, and whither I had followed him
with the same object. Thanks to my brothers, my memory is crowded with
recollections of Luneville and the camp there, beginning with that of
an unlucky captain who ruined his career by stopping his squadron at
galloping drill, before the prostrate form of General Comte de
M--commanding the division, stretched on the broad of his back by a
lively charger with the ringing word of command--"Obstacle!"

During my short visit I lived with my brother in the Chateau, where one
general whiled away his sleepless hours by playing the French horn,
much to the enjoyment of everybody else! Our evenings were spent at the
theatre, where there was a ballet A corps de ballet at Luneville! The
wily manager had got out of the difficulty by composing a choregraphic
scenario called Les Sabotiers, in which the only sign of skill asked of
the lady performers was to swing the sabots on their feet in cadenced
time. A great noise they made, which did not, however, prevent the
Mayor of Luneville from falling asleep regularly every evening in the
municipal box, where he sat enthroned perched on a curule chair as high
as that of Thomas Diafoirus. He even fell off it, during a performance
at which I was present, and so noisily that the shock interrupted the
evolutions of the ballet; and all the officers of the garrison who
filled the stalls, rose with an anxiety which may have been somewhat
affected, and would not be reassured until Mr. Mayor had been fished up
out of the depths of his box, and replaced upon his perch. I recollect,
too, an ascent of the Donon, one of the peaks of the Vosges, with a
charming family of the name of Chevandier, and in the loveliest weather
What a view there was! All Lorraine, all Alsace, with the spires of
Strasbourg--that beautiful country which my forefathers of the old
monarchy had made so truly French. Alas! Alas!

I went back to my duty. I sailed from Brest on the 1st of September,
under the orders of Admiral Baudin, a man who had a whole career of
valiant deeds behind him. One-armed, tall in stature and energetic in
countenance, he straightway inspired respect, and one soon learnt to
recognize him as a commander as intelligent as he was resolute, and
even impassioned. His flag was hoisted on the frigate Nereide. I
followed, with a small corvette of which I had been given command, and
which I had hastily commissioned. Except for the torpedo-boats, and
such small flotilla craft, I do not believe the whole of our present
navy contains such a small vessel as she was She was armed with four
thirty-pounders, and sixteen carronades, mere children's toys, and her
crew amounted to 100 men. But how pretty she was, careening over, level
with the water, with her huge spars sloping backwards; and how
charmingly she was named--La Creole! She was my first command, and I
was twenty! We were bound on an expedition which might give us a chance
of fighting, and I hoped in my turn to follow the example of my elder
brothers, who had so well upheld the honour of our race at Antwerp and
in Africa.

My emotion on leaving France under such circumstances will be readily
understood. My old aide de-camp Hernoux, and Bruat, escorted me outside
the entrance to the port, and returned in the pilot's boat. The last
link with the soil of the mother-country was broken, Forward then, my
boy!

In a few days we were before Cadiz, that lovely Andalusian city. An
African sun had come to heighten its beauty, and it looked like some
exquisite carving in the whitest marble, rising fairylike out of a
sapphire sea. My landing in the evening was just as full of charm. I
hurried to the Alameda, the public promenade, where the silence was
unbroken, save by the plash of the waves breaking at the foot of the
ramparts, or the whisper of the breeze amongst the palm-trees. I caught
sight of mysterious couples sitting in the shadows of the alamos, black
dresses and mantillas blending with the men's "capas," and from these
formless groups a stifled murmur rose, with the noise of fans, like the
beating wings of an imprisoned bird. I wandered through the streets and
the Plazo Santo Antonio. I saw delightful balconies and glistening eyes
that shone behind the lattices; exquisite forms glided over the white
flags on which the moonlight fell. I saw, in fine, a city, a whole
population, instinct with the breath of love, and I caught the
complaint myself. I dreamt of scaling balconies, and of kisses and
tender words, jealous rivals draped in black cloaks, and knife-thrusts
at street corners under the lamps, and all the struggle and danger and
triumph without which life is not life at all.

There happened to be a bull-fight, during our short stay in this port,
at the Puerto de Santa Maria--one of those bull-fights celebrated in
that famous song that every Spaniard hums even nowadays, "Los Toros del
Puerto." I took good care not to miss it, and I will take still better
care not to describe it, although the chief "espada" was Chiclanero,
the handsomest of all those handsome fellows, and the one who was said
to have roused the most violently passionate fondness in the fair sex.
Fifty years ago there were no railroads in Andalusia, nor carriages
either. Majos and Majas (Goya's Majos and Majas still existed in those
days) arrived on horseback from all quarters under the burning
September sun, and no words of mine can give any idea of the motley
crowd in the most brilliant costumes, the perfect orgie of colour
presented by the neighbourhood of the plaza, on which, as a finishing
touch to the quaintness of the scene, a squadron of yellow dragoons did
duty as police! From Cadiz we sailed in company with the frigates La
Gloire and La Medee and two steam corvettes which we had found there,
and reached Cape Saint Antonio, the most westerly point of Cuba, after
a thirty-six days' passage. Once there, the admiral took all the water
and provisions out of the Gloire and the Creole, and sent us to
revictual at Havana, while he went on his way to Mexico and Vera Cruz.
With my habitual extreme indifference to politics (having, in fact,
always hated them), I have forgotten to say WHY we were going to
Mexico. It was the eternal old story. Demands timidly made and then
spurned, insufficient force for action merely increasing the insolence
of our opponents, and then the necessity for sending a large and
expensive expedition to finish up with. A score of war-vessels,
including four frigates and two bomb-vessels, were soon to be collected
before Vera Cruz, with a certain number of troops to be landed, and to
deal authoritatively with the Mexican Government. Meanwhile we were to
go, Captain Laine and I, to Havana, to lay in provisions, take
everything we could to the squadron on board, and also, so the admiral
had told me confidentially, I was to endeavour personally to get
together all the plans and information possible concerning the towns on
the Mexican coast and the fort of Saint Juan d'Ulloa, which had all
once been Spanish. Nothing could have suited me better than this run to
Havana, where we anchored four days later, and of which place I had
carried away such pleasant memories seven months before. And as soon as
I had paid and returned my official visits, I hurried to the Tacon
Theatre, where, in a stage box that I knew right well, I beheld the
charming woman who had begun my education as a smoker so prettily
during my first visit.

We got the worst of news from Mexico. While Admiral Baudin was hurrying
thither by forced marches, as it were, the ships that had got there
before us had well-nigh raised the blockade. The frigate Herminie had
started for France, which she never was to reach. She was wrecked at
the Bermudas. The Iphigenie, which Captain de Parseval still commanded
had been obliged to depart too, with nothing but a remnant of her crew,
the yellow fever, which was then raging, having made terrible ravages
on board. I heard of the death of many a good friend. Captain de
Parseval had only one officer left (Kerjegu, who in later days was my
colleague in the National Assembly) and one cadet, to help him to get
his frigate away. There had been a tempest too, which had done a great
deal of damage to our cruisers. I saw two come in, the Eclipse,
Commander Jame de Bellecroix, and the Laurier, Captain Duquesne, which
had been dismasted in the gale, and which had rigged up temporary
spars, by means of which they had contrived to crawl into port. All the
sails of the Laurier had been carried away, and she was quite helpless
in the storm, so her captain, Duquesne, and his second officer,
Mazeres, lashed themselves on deck, after having sent the crew below.
The violence of the wind laid the ship so completely over on her beam
ends that Lieutenant Mazeres, who was carried overboard by a wave,
caught hold of the maintop and managed to get back on deck. A moment
later the two masts of the brig were broken by the fury of the sea, and
thus she regained her balance and was saved.

Leaving all these cripples to patch themselves up as best they could,
Captain Laine set sail with his frigate and gave me orders to follow.
We reached Sacrificios, the nearest anchorage to Vera Cruz, after a
rapid passage. Here we learnt that the captain of the Medee, M. Leray,
had been sent on a mission to Mexico. Then the admiral himself went off
to Xalapa, to confer with the Mexican ministers. Meanwhile the blockade
went on, enlivened by privations of every kind, short rations of water,
yellow fever, and so forth. Our water was brought from Havana; it came
in barrels, and was frequently black and nauseous when it came out of
them. Yellow fever stalked abroad. I lingered one night, fishing over
the side of the ship, until eleven o'clock, with a strong, healthy,
first-class cadet, who had been under me in the watch on board the
Didon. A foreboding of some sort seemed to weigh on his mind. I tried
to cheer him up, but all in vain. By six o'clock next morning the
terrible "vomito" had carried him off. Poor Gouin! I was very fond of
him. We buried him on the Sacrificios islet, that gloomy cemetery which
later on the Zouaves christened the "Jardin d'Acclimatation."

But little happened to vary the monotony of those weeks of waiting. I
had gone in my boat one day to take soundings in shore, along the coast
stretching from Vera Cruz to Anton Lizardo, when I saw a squadron of
Mexican Lancers in their great white hats, looking like a squadron of
picadors from a bull-ring, come galloping over the sand-hills. It was
more than likely these gentry might fire their carbines at us, and we
had no arms to reply with. So I bethought me of an expedient, which
turned out quite successful. Instead of retiring as fast as we could
row, I ordered my crew to lie motionless on their oars, while with the
help of two men I made as though I were carefully preparing, loading,
and laying a heavy gun, which was nothing more than a large-sized
telescope with which I happened to be provided. The effect was
electric. We saw the Mexican squadron make off full tear in every
direction, to the delight of my crew. One night we had another
adventure. The admiral sent me, with Messrs. Desfosses and Doret, and
two engineer officers, Commandant Mangin-Lecreux and Captain Chauchard,
to make rather an odd sort of reconnaissance. To understand its nature,
my readers must know that the fort of Saint Juan d'Ulloa is set on a
great reef, separated from Vera Cruz by a narrow arm of the sea. On the
edge of the reef looking towards the town, the walls of the fort, into
which huge iron rings for mooring big ships are built, go
perpendicularly down into the sea. On the opposite side the glacis runs
into a sort of large lake formed by two arms of the reef, level with
the surface of the sea. The admiral wanted to know whether the bed of
this lake was level, whether it was fordable, and whether, in case of
necessity, the glacis and the walls of the fort could be reached from
it, after they had been gutted by the big guns.

We started, then, one fine night, reached the belt of reef far away
from the fort, landed, and walking through the water, which was half
way up to our thighs at the start, we bent our course towards the fort,
taking soundings before us, as we went, with long sticks. We found much
the same depth everywhere, and a sandy bed covered with short seaweed.
The sea had doubtless cast all the sand by degrees over the coral reef,
and the currents had levelled it. After a long and tiring march through
the water, during which we had to stop and take breath every now and
again, whispering to each other, like Raffet's engraving of a similar
reconnaissance, "Smoking is forbidden, but you can sit down if you
like," we had got quite close to the glacis when we heard a shout of
"Alerta!" from the sentries. Commandant Mangin, who was determined to
touch the glacis with his hand, was a few steps ahead of us. Suddenly a
noise arose within the fort, and in the twinkling of an eye we saw
about fifty soldiers appear on the crest of the glacis, with their
musket barrels glancing. They rushed down at full speed and sprang into
the water after us. We of course made off as fast as ever we could. For
some minutes it was a downright trial of speed, and Commandant Mangin
was all but caught. But though hostilities were imminent, they had not
yet actually begun. So the soldiers did not fire, and they soon tired
of pursuing us. We got back without any difficulty, except that great
fishes, whose every movement was visible in the phosphorescent water,
would rush between our legs. Sharks, perhaps! There were numbers of
them in those parts.

The admiral had learnt what he wanted to know. A few days more and the
ball opened. The admiral brought the three frigates, Nereide, Gloire,
and Iphigenie (this last came back from Havana with her crew completed
by that of Duquesne's brig), and the two bomb-vessels, broadside on,
and attacked the fort. I had asked leave to share in the fun, and, to
my great grief, he had refused it. He considered my ship too small and
insignificant. "I can't possibly take you. I have put the frigate Medee
aside too, for I don't consider her guns heavy enough." He sent me to
watch the firing of the bomb-vessels, and rectify it if necessary.

Before the firing began an incident occurred in which I was directly
concerned. As the attack appeared imminent, the ships anchored or
moored close to the fort hastened away, and they all passed close to
the point where I was posted. At that moment the admiral signalled to
me, "Ship in sight looks suspicious; stop her" Ambiguous as our
signalling code is, this order seemed evidently to point to seizing one
or several of the vessels just leaving the port. Of these there were
four, to wit, a Belgian ship, chartered by the admiral to take off the
French subjects resident at Vera Cruz if they should be threatened. It
could not be that one. Then there was an American vessel, a quasi
warship, flying a pennant and armed, what is called a revenue schooner.
Thirdly, the British steam-packet Express, also armed and flying a
pennant, commanded by a lieutenant in the British Navy, and borne on
the Navy List as a ship of war. It could be neither of these two, to my
thinking. There only remained a Hamburg vessel, which I ordered to go
and anchor under the guns of the corvette Naiade. But at this instant a
lieutenant in one of the Nereide's boats came to me and shouted, "The
admiral desires you will take the Mexican pilots off all ships going
out of port."

"Off the English packet too?" I inquired.

"The admiral gave no details, he said all pilots."

Though it seemed a serious matter to me, considering the touchiness of
the English, to take a man off one of their warships, I had no course
but to act. The Express had passed astern of me, and I had exchanged
friendly greetings with her captain, Lieutenant Cooke, with whom I was
acquainted. She was far away already. I hoisted the British flag, and
backed my action with a shot across her bow. She brought to, waited for
the boat and officer I sent, and the following conversation ensued:--

My Officer.--"My orders are to ask you for your pilot."

Lieutenant Cooke.--"I want him to get to Sacrificios."

My Officer.--"It isn't a mere request I make you."

Lieutenant Cooke.--"If I don't give him up, shall you take him by
force?"

My Officer.--"We trust you will give him up with a good grace, and that
we need have no recourse to violence."

Lieutenant Cooke.--"That's very well, sir," and the conversation closed
with a shake of the hand, once the British commander had cleared
himself of responsibility. So the pilot entered my boat, whence the
admiral instantly had him fetched. The American revenue schooner gave
hers up without making any difficulty, only declaring the admiral
responsible for any accident that might happen to the ship for want of
a pilot.

I have related this incident of the pilot of the Express in detail
because it gave rise to a heated discussion in the British Parliament,
during which I was personally taken to task and made responsible for a
"violation of international law."

But the admiral gives the signal to open fire, and the cannonade
begins. In one moment I am wrapped in smoke. I not only cannot see to
watch the firing, I cannot even see where I am going. The lead gives
very little depth, and I see the mud disturbed by my keel rising on the
surface of the water. I cannot stay where I am, so I crowd on sail and
get out of the smoke. I repeat my petition for leave to take part in
the fight to the admiral by signal. His heart is touched, and he
answered by the welcome word "Yes," and then I go down the line of
frigates, all hotly engaged, especially the Iphigenie. Every minute or
two I saw splinters of wood flying into the air, cut out by the shot
striking her. She had a hundred and eight in her hull, without counting
her spars. There were eight in her foremasts alone. It was a perfect
miracle everything did not come by the board. That gallant old fellow
Parseval kept walking up and down the poop, rubbing his hands whenever
a shot struck near him. It was really a fine sight. We waved our hands
to each other, and I went and took up my position at the end of the
line of frigates. There I stayed, going to and fro under sail, amid a
little racket of my own making.

There were hard times within the fort. There had been several
explosions already, and it occurred to me to load al my guns with shell
and turn them on a sort of tower, called in fortification a cavalier,
whence the fire was particularly lively. I had very good gunners, but
from my place as commanding officer I could not see where the shots
took effect for the smoke. My second officer who was forward, could
judge better than me. At the first shot he shouted to me "Good! in the
cavalier." The second, "In the cavalier." The third, "In the cavalier."
The fourth--nothing was to be seen. A huge cloud of smoke white above,
black below, rose from the fort, slowly to a great height above it.
When it cleared a little, driven by the wind, there was no cavalier at
all. The whole thing had blown up. My crew shouted with delight, and
the captain of one of the guns performed a brilliant hornpipe. Was it
my shells? Or did the bombs from the bombship do the job? Not one of my
brave fellows on the Creole have the shadow of a doubt. Every man has a
right to his own opinion.

The fire slackened, and I went to take the admiral's orders. The fort
surrendered during the night. The garrison, two thousand strong,
evacuated the place, and a convention was concluded with the general in
command at Vera Cruz for the abstention of both sides from further
hostilities. We then occupied the fort, and the admiral gave me orders
to moor the Creole under its walls, and together with Comte de Gourdon,
commanding the Cuirassier, to put prize crews on board the vessels of
the Mexican Navy lying there. With the exception of one pretty
corvette, the Iguana, which has been incorporated with our own navy,
these prizes were not worth much.

The unlucky fort was in a terrible condition. Shot and shell and
explosions had destroyed everything. A horrible smell rose from the
numerous corpses buried everywhere under the rubbish. Wherever battle
had not done its work the most revolting filth reigned supreme, and all
this under an equatorial sun and in the midst of the yellow fever. The
crew of the Creole was at once set to sanitary work, in company with
the detachment of engineer sappers attached to the expedition. We dug
out the corpses and towed them out to sea, and several very meritorious
instances of self-sacrifice occurred which were duly and publicly
recognised by the admiral.

My aide-de-camp, M. Desfosses, had drawn up a little code of signals,
by means of coloured shirts, with the house of our consul at Vera Cruz,
in case of any emergency. Within five days of the taking of the fort we
learnt by these signals that the French subjects within the town were
in great danger. We immediately sent all our boats to the mole, which
was thronged by a distracted crowd of men, women, and children, all of
whom we received and transferred to the fort.

At the same time our consul informed us that Santa Anna, who had been
appointed generalissimo, had just arrived with troops, that he had
declared the convention null and void, &c., &c., and that we must be
prepared for anything. The admiral, who was some way off, with the
squadron, at the Green Island anchorage, was at once warned. Luckily it
was fine. If it had not been, no communication with him would have been
practicable The admiral himself came that very night, and took up his
quarters on board the Creole. In his usual resolute way, he had at once
decided to forestall the enemy's action, and, taking advantage of its
surprise, to execute such a coup de main with the feeble means at his
disposal, as would make it impossible for the city and forts of Vera
Cruz to harm us for some time to come at all events. Our night was
therefore spent in preparation. The boats of the squadron came in one
after the other without any mishap, bringing all the men who could be
landed. Counting the three companies of artillery holding the fort,
these amounted to about eleven hundred men. We set out between four and
five o'clock in the morning in a thick fog. A portion of the troops
disembarked, commanded by Captain Parseval, were to scale the small
fort on the left of the town with ladders, and then go round the
ramparts, spiking the guns, and destroying everything they came across.
Another body, under Captain Laine, was to do the same thing on the
right-hand side. And a third column in the centre was to land on the
mole, blow up the sea gate, and march on General de Santa Anna's
headquarters to try and seize his person. My own company, numbering
about sixty men, formed the advance guard of this last column, the bulk
of which consisted of the three companies of artillery.

We started then, with our oars muffled to deaden the noise. We could
hardly find our way in the twilight, and had to strain our eyes to see
the mole through the mist. The great gate of the city was closed, no
sentry outside it. Everything was asleep. We landed in dead silence,
and the column formed up. The sappers ran on ahead, laid the powder
bag, and masked it, then a sergeant of sappers lighted the match and
shrank back behind a projecting bit of wall. Bang! The mask of the
petard just grazed our heads, and one side of the gate lay on the
ground. At the same moment firing began in the direction of Parseval's
column. "Forward! God save the King!" We caught sight of the guard at
the gate bolting off, and then lost it in the fog. There wasn't a cat
in the streets. The noise of the musketry fire had driven in anybody
who might have been out. Led by a guide we passed at a swinging pace
down a street which brought us to the Mexico gate. Here the fog lifted
a little. A few shots and bayonet thrusts got rid of the guard at the
gate. Just at this moment a barouche galloped up from within the town.
It was drawn by six mules with picturesque-looking postilions, in
broad-brimmed hats. It was the barouche which had brought Santa Anna,
trying to get into the open country. We shot down two or three of the
mules, but the carriage was empty.

We then received a heavy discharge of musketry from about a hundred and
fifty soldiers who forthwith disappeared down a side street. They were
the headquarters guard. Off we tore after them, and were just in time
to see the last of them go into a big house which my guide informed me
was the headquarters of the military governor. A huge court with
galleries running round it, and above them on the first floor more
arcades, adorned with flowers in pots and climbing plants, met our gaze
when we entered. A sharp fire poured from the first floor the instant
we appeared in the courtyard. Hesitation would be fatal. We must get
upstairs and bring those folk to their senses. A narrow stairway was
the only road. Well, every man must own to some weakness! When I saw
that staircase, up which I should have to go first, and receive the
first volley alone when I got to the top, I wavered for a moment, and
waving my sword, I shouted, "Volunteers to the front!" My
quartermaster, a Parisian, rushed to the staircase, and the sight
brought me back to a sense of my duty. I rushed after him. We raced
against each other, and I had the satisfaction of getting to the top a
good first, followed indeed by my whole company. There was nothing so
very terrible about it after all. At first we found ourselves in a sort
of vestibule; an ill-directed fire, which wounded two of our officers
only, pouring on us through the doors and windows. Then each of us set
to work on his own account. A second boatswain, of the name of Jadot,
and I threw ourselves against a door and broke it in with our
shoulders. When it gave, I was shot forward by my men pushing on behind
me, and hurled into a room full of smoke and Mexican soldiers. One of
them, in a white uniform and red epaulettes (I see his straight Indian
hair and wicked eye yet), was aiming at me with the barrel of his
musket close to my face. I had just time to say to myself, "I'm done
for." But no, there was no shot, the gun fell on my feet, and I saw my
gentleman roll under a sofa carrying the sword with which Penaud, my
lieutenant, had run him through as quick as lightning, stuck between
his ribs.

I believe I rid myself of another great big fellow next, and then, the
first start having been given, there was a general rout, and I found
myself in another room at the end of which I saw several officers, one
a general, standing together very calmly, with their swords sheathed. I
rushed forward with the boatswain Jadot, to protect them from my men,
who were somewhat excited, and the fight was over. The name of the
general, a tall fair handsome fellow, was Arista. In later days he
became President of the Mexican Republic. He surrendered his sword to
me, and I had him taken downstairs, and left him in the hands of
artillery Commandant Colombel, who sent him to the fort. As for Santa
Anna, we could not find him, though his bed was still warm. We took his
epaulettes, and his commanding officer's baton, and Jadot the
boatswain, who had lost his own straw hat in the scuffle, put on his
gold tipped one.

I lost no time in quitting the house, which was full of blood, and
where I was sickened by the sight of the bodies of two wretched women
who had been killed by the fire through the doors Once outside I met
Captain Laine, coming by the ramparts, and carrying out his task of
destruction as he went. He urged me to march with my company on a point
in the town where Parseval's column was keeping up a steady fire,
keeping an eye meanwhile on the churches, the towers of which were
reported to be armed with cannon. I set out on this true "course au
clocher" and presently got to a large building from which we were fired
upon.

We entered. It was the hospital. There was another shindy in a big room
on the ground floor, full of sick, standing up or kneeling on their
beds, scantily covered with red blankets, and all shouting "Gracia!"
"Mercy!" It was a horrible sight. All the poor wretches were more or
less far gone in yellow fever. We went in at one door and hurried out
at the other, and at last we got into a long straight street, at the
end of which we saw a large house with musketry fire crackling from
every window like a great set piece of fireworks. This huge and solid
building, set astride on the ramparts, with doors on to the town, and
doors into the country, was called the "la Merced barracks. Full of
troops as it was, and with reinforcements constantly coming in from
outside, it had stopped Parseval's column ever since the morning, and
was soon to stop Laine's as well. One great door faced the street up
which we were going. Of course it was shut. We brought a gun to bear on
it, and sent a shell into it. Amid the smoke of the discharge, mingled
with the sort of fog that was still hanging, we thought the door was
broken in, and rushed forward. But when we got near we found the cursed
thing was intact, and we were forced to throw ourselves back into the
side streets for shelter, for in one instant the whole head of our
column, six or seven being officers, had been killed or wounded. We
then set to work, sappers, artillerymen, sailors, and all, to throw up
a barricade across the street, so as to bring up a battery of guns, and
break that door right down before beginning the attack afresh. But just
on this the admiral arrived and the chiefs in command took counsel with
him. Considering half our crews were on shore and that the slightest
change in the weather might prevent their getting back on board ship,
and considering too that the admiral's object had been attained, he
gave orders for us to re-embark. The return journey offered no
difficulty, except at the very last moment, when nobody was left on the
mole but the admiral and a few officers. Then, a great sound of
cheering and of warlike music was heard in the town. It was Santa Anna
coming to drive the Frenchmen into the sea. Out he came, on horseback,
on to the mole, at the head of his men, but the launches from the
frigates which were still lying on each side of the jetty fired grape
shot into the head of the column, and laid everybody low,--Santa Anna
and the rest of them. Some fanatics rushed to the end of the mole in
spite of this, to try and shoot the admiral point blank, and he was in
great danger. His coxswain and the midshipman on duty, Halna Dufretay
(an admiral and a senator when he died), covered him with their own
bodies and were both severely wounded. His secretary, who was with him,
and who carried a double-barrelled rifle, killed two Mexicans in two
shots. A great friend of mine was killed there too, a charming young
fellow who had a great future before him--Chaptal, a first-class cadet.
It was known that I was much attached to him and I was given his
aiguillettes (which I sent to his family) as a remembrance of him. When
I got back to the Creole, bringing two of my midshipmen, Magnier de
Maisonneuve and Gervais, with me, both severely wounded, the admiral
sent me orders to fire a shell into the "la Merced" barracks every five
minutes. This closed the day of my baptism of fire. The military
operations of the campaign were over. The fort of Saint Juan d'Ulloa
remained in our hands in pledge. It was the diplomats' business to
complete the work. The admiral dismissed the greater number of his
ships and soon sent me off to Havana, which place I did not reach
without falling in with two of those violent squalls which are called
norte in the Gulf of Mexico. I was to lie there on the watch, ready to
attack privateers if the Mexican Government should resort to that form
of warfare--the fleetness of the Creole fitting her specially for such
service. Meanwhile my visit was very pleasant to me, after the horrors
of Sacrificio and the yellow fever. The commander of an English
corvette, the Satellite, gave a dinner to M. de Parseval, two other
captains and myself, which was so cordial that towards dessert one of
the captains, who shall be nameless, passed his hand gently across his
brow and, murmuring "I don't feel very well," sank straightway
underneath the table. We took him by the legs and shoulders, Parseval
and the English captain and I, but Parseval and the Englishman laughed
so much that we had some trouble in getting him to a bed, on which we
laid him and where he slept till morning. I know not whether it was for
this wound and feat of arms that his native town raised a statue in his
honour.

Of course I sought and found all my former Havanese acquaintances. One
alone was invisible, the lady of the cigarette. In vain I placed myself
night after night before her box. Nobody there! In vain I paid visits
to houses I knew she frequented. The covers were all blank. I was
sorely grieved. So then I bethought me of a stratagem. The Creole set
sail hurriedly, with much bustle, to go and look for a Mexican ship,
reported, so they said, to be at sea. As soon as the day closed in I
made all sail for the port, and leaving my second officer in command,
with orders to pick me up at four o'clock next morning at a certain
distance and in a certain line from the harbour lights, I jumped into
my boat and went ashore. With a bound I was in the theatre. There she
was! And I laugh still when I think of her grandparents' faces when
they saw me appear; but they raised the quarantine forthwith, and when,
soon after, I gave a ball on board the Iphigenie, that charming young
lady was its chief ornament. Beautiful and quaint that ball was, breezy
with victory and duty well performed, the glorious scars of the old
Iphigenie mingling with the splendour of the flowers and the lights.

After staying a month at Havana, as there was no question of pirates, I
was ordered to take the Creole back to Brest, where I arrived in March,
1839. My monkey was the first to see and point out the land from the
top of the rigging. I had hardly got into the roadstead before the
maritime prefect boarded me to tell me I was made a knight of the
Legion of Honour. The worthy admiral insisted on receiving me as such
before the guard, which had been turned out. He drew his sword to give
me the accolade, and made me a little speech, under the fire of which I
did not flinch, though he was deeply moved.



CHAPTER VI

1839


Scarcely had I landed from the Creole when I received the distressing
news of the death of my sister Marie, Duchess of Wurtemberg. It was the
first mourning in our family, the first break in that numerous circle
of tenderly attached brothers and sisters. I adored my sister, who was
a most remarkable woman, witty, as passionate in her antipathies as in
her affections, an artist to the very tips of her fingers. Her death
was a deep sorrow to me, and it saddened my short stay among my own
people. A short stay it was indeed, for I only came ashore in March,
and June found me at the entrance of the Dardanelles, attached to the
staff of Admiral Lalande, commanding our squadron in the Levant.

I had rather a funny little adventure on my way to take up my duty. I
had asked the then Minister of the Interior, M. Duchatel, to give
orders that there should be no official reception when I passed through
Toulon--no firing of guns, nor authorities waiting at the city gates,
nor troops drawn up, all that wearisome and commonplace ceremonial
which I had been through I know not how many times already. The
minister had given his promise, and, strong in his assurance, I was
just getting there quietly in my travelling-carriage, when the sight of
a mounted gendarme, who galloped off the moment he caught sight of us
just after we got through the pass of Ollioules, made me suspect some
treachery or other. Without a second's hesitation I jumped out of the
carriage, the moment the gendarme was out of sight, and desiring my
valet to go on with it, struck across the fields on foot to the
harbour. I had not been mistaken, for soon I heard twenty-one guns
greeting the entrance of my empty vehicle into Toulon, doubtless amid
what the stereotyped official phrase would call, and with good reason
this time, a scene of indescribable enthusiasm.

Important events were occurring in the east in rapid succession at the
time I joined Lalande's squadron. The recommencement of the struggle
between ancient Turkey and that youthful Egypt which the genius of
Mehemet Ali had created, had just ended in the final defeat of the
Turks in the battle of Nezib--a defeat which was closely followed by
the death of Sultan Mahmoud, the last of the determined autocrats of
the race of Othman. Action on the part of the European fleet might
arise at any moment, owing to these complications and the rivalries
thereby excited between England and Russia--great Eastern powers both
of them. Our sole preoccupation therefore during our cruise in the
Dardanelles was to get our ships into such condition that they might
make a good show in the event of anything of the kind occurring. I have
related elsewhere how we succeeded, under the powerful will of Admiral
Lalande, in reconstituting such a fighting fleet as we had never
possessed since the Revolution swept away at one fell swoop the whole
of the navy of Louis XVI., with its body of first-class officers, and
all that collection of traditions both as to discipline and knowledge
which it had gradually acquired.

The admiral's great merit lay in reconstituting these traditions, which
have taken deep root and are carefully treasured still. And the curious
thing, the peculiar trait, about him was that, though he desired
certain results, he would have nothing to do with the means to
attaining them. This state of warlike efficiency was not obtained
without trouble. Constantly under sail, and overtaxed with rough and
unaccustomed forms of drill as the crews were, demoralized too by
accidents--men killed or arms and legs broken--the result insisted on
by the chief in command was only reached by treating them with extreme
severity. On board the Jena, the flagship, corporal
punishment--nowadays found useless, and therefore very properly
abolished--was of daily occurrence. But the admiral ignored it, never
would have it even mentioned to him. He left all that to his flag
captain, my friend Bruat, a most energetic officer. I never heard one
word of reprimand from Admiral Lalande's lips, and once I saw him get
into a fury with one of his captains, who had appealed to his
disciplinary authority. The scene is worth describing.

This worthy captain (his name was Danican) commanded the ship Jupiter,
on which I had taken passage from Toulon to join the squadron, and one
of my earliest duties was to present the new comer, with his staff, to
the admiral. These gentlemen stood in a circle in the great cabin round
Captain Danican, armed to the teeth, cocked hat in hand, and his
sword-belt buckled high up round his little body. There they waited.
"Pere Danican,' as he was familiarly called, a veteran sailor, whose
name is borne by one of the streets in St. Malo, had the most splendid
service record, with this item in particular, that he had been reported
as killed in a fight with the English. He had been struck in the belly
by grape-shot, lost consciousness, and laid out with the rest of the
dead, of whom a list was being made before throwing them overboard one
after the other, when the battle was over They were actually swinging
him backwards and forwards to heave him over the side, when one of his
comrades called out, "Hold on. Let Danican alone. We'll give him a
funeral"--to which ceremony the old Breton owed his life, though it did
not soften the by no means placid character of the strict old
disciplinarian.

And accordingly, something in his eye, when the admiral came skipping
in smilingly, with a commonplace "Good-day, Danican" "Good-day
gentlemen," warned me we were going to have a scene. "Admiral," he
shouted in a voice of thunder, "I have the honour to present the staff
of the ship Jupiter to you--and I take this opportunity, Admiral, of
telling you that it would be impossible to be more dissatisfied with
these gentlemen than I am!" This tirade concluded by a violent wave of
his cocked hat, while the officers stood motionless and stared at the
deck. A thunderbolt falling out of heaven would not have startled the
admiral more than this speech. I never saw any man so put out of
countenance. He shuffled his feet, gave a forced laugh, and not finding
anything to say, stammered some disconnected words, "I trust . . . my
dear. . . Danican .... a regard for duty . . . these gentlemen ....!"
We put a stop to the distressing scene by low bows of dismissal, and
everybody went off in a rage--the officers with their captain, the
captain with the admiral for not supporting discipline, and the admiral
with everybody, including, it may be, his own self.

Nobody was satisfied, which is indeed the invariable consequence of
weakness, for the love of vulgar popularity was the weakness of our
eminent chief, so deeply respected on other accounts. This same
weakness caused him to end his days as a Deputy of the most colourless
opinions.

I cruised for six months outside the Dardanelles, first with the Iena
and afterwards with the Belle-Poule, which had joined the squadron and
of which I had been given command--six months which offered nothing in
the way of wild gaiety, beyond the routine of my duty. True, we saw the
sun rise over Mount Ida every morning, but we never saw the shadow of a
goddess. The utmost we did in the short breathing spaces between our
drills and cruises between Cape Baba and the Isles of Tenedos, Lemnos
and Imbro, was to land at the slaughter-house of the contractor to the
squadron, irreverently styled Charognopolis, for an excursion to the
ruins of Troy, to shoot snipe in the marshes of Simois, or get a hare
on the tomb of Patroclus.

This monotony was broken, however, by the appearance of the Turkish
fleet, which we saw issuing, forty strong, from the Dardanelles,
sailing along in confusion, driving before a strong breeze--altogether
a most stately sight.

We took station abreast of the squadron, saluting the Capitan Pasha,
who on his side ordered his fleet to heave to--a manoeuvre which was
performed amid a fine confusion. A steam launch at once came towards
us. It bore the second in command of the fleet, Osman Pasha, sent by
the Capitan Pasha to request an interview with Admiral Lalande. He
consented and boarded the Turkish ship, taking me with him.

During our passage to the Capitan Pasha's flag-ship, Osman Pasha led us
below, closed all the cabin doors with an air of mystery, and with the
help of a young Armenian dragoman he told us a long story, which I will
sum up in a few words. Constantinople, so he said, was being laid waste
by fire and sword. On the death of Sultan Mahmoud, Kosrew Pasha, who
was no better than a Russian agent, had seized the reins of power. He
stuck at nothing, so long as he kept them. The real Turks, the faithful
Mussulmans, were losing their heads by the hundred; the head of the
faith himself, the Sheik el Islam, had not been spared. He refused to
consecrate the new Sultan until he wore the venerated turban of Othman
upon his head instead of the revolutionary fez, and for this he was
strangled at midnight, with great pomp it is true, and amid the salvos
of artillery due to his exalted rank (a poor consolation, I thought to
myself!). The lives of Osman Pasha himself and of his chief, the
Capitan Pasha, hung by a thread. Wherefore they had both resolved,
instead of fighting against Mehemet Ali, as everybody believed they
would, to make common cause with him, so as to unite all the Mussulman
strength in one single alliance, and make one of those concentrated
efforts which have been the dream of every period and every country
which has been torn by revolution. In plain English, the two chiefs in
command were carrying the unconscious fleet into an act of defection
which was intended to save their own heads. They wanted the admiral's
approbation, which he refused. Then they asked for a French warship to
go with them as a sort of lifeboat, which he promised them, and above
all, they begged that no word, glance, or gesture of ours, during the
visit we were about to pay, might betray the secret confided to us. We
then boarded the Capitan Pasha's flagship, where we had a reception
that was truly oriental in its mingled pomp and duplicity--we alone,
amidst the crowd of courtiers, officers, and foreign representatives
surrounding this commander-in-chief, about to turn traitor, being
possessed of his secret. Not to mention that as we went along the gun
decks, we saw the Turkish gunners smoking their pipes beside the heaps
of cartridges piled between the guns. A highly oriental sight also, and
far from tranquillizing!

By evening the Turkish fleet had disappeared over the horizon, and the
only other recollection my memory holds of this period is that of a
reconnaissance along the northern coast of the Dardanelles, and the
peninsula between Gallipoli and the Gulf of Saron, which reconnaissance
I made with several other officers, under colour of a sporting
expedition in a Turkish boat called a sakoleve and with a view to an
ultimate military occupation of the peninsula. Mayhap the notes made
during this expedition were of use when Gallipoli was occupied in 1854,
at the beginning of the Crimean War.

In the course of the autumn, I beheld Constantinople, that most
wonderful of landscapes, for the first time in my life. And to begin
with, the thing which struck me most were the sunsets over the huge
city. Nothing can give any idea of how magnificent they are, with the
towers and thousand mosques of Stamboul standing out like a mysterious
vision in the misty golden haze, an enchanted city of aerial palaces
hanging in mid-air. In those days the soft evening mists I speak of
were ideal in their transparence, which no smoke ever dimmed, for the
factories and steamboats which now hang their black plumes over
Constantinople were then unknown. Instead of steamers, there were only
those delightful caiques, laden with brightly-dressed passengers,
gliding silently along in their thousands, and leaving as it were
tracks of glistening spangles in their wake. Nothing can ever efface
that sight from my recollection.

Among the caiques, which are quite peculiar to the Bosphorus, was one I
met many a time, and which was indeed well known to everybody. It
belonged to a sister of the late Sultan Mahmoud, celebrated in
Constantinople for her love affairs--a sort of Marguerite de Bourbon,
for whose fleeting favours several people had paid with their heads.
Three oarsmen, splendid white-skinned fellows with long fair
moustaches, and athletic frames scarcely concealed beneath their white
drawers and striped silk gauze shirts, sent their mistress's caique
flying through the water. She was a tall woman, with piercing eyes and
an aristocratic air--always seated between two lovely maids of honour.
I say lovely, for the Turkish woman, when she is unobserved, when she
knows her own beauty and meets eyes whose admiration she desires to
rouse, always finds means of permitting her veil the most delightful if
indiscreet revelations. Consequently I was always on the look-out to
try and get a sight of the Sultana's caique. It must be remembered I
was just off a cruise after long months spent in warlike solitude on
board ship. So, though St. Sophia, with its size and its legend, had
struck me as being the most profoundly devotional edifice I had ever
seen--an impression which the sight of St. Peter's at Rome and of the
Cathedral of Seville has never removed--my attention and curiosity were
much more drawn to the earthly representatives of the houris promised
to the faithful, than to the monuments of the Faith.

The curiosity I speak of led me on a certain Friday to the Sweet Waters
of Asia. I found the loveliest of scenes lying before my eyes that
delicious afternoon towards the end of August. Imagine an immense
meadow, broken up by clumps of trees, sloping down to the swift blue
waters of the Bosphorus, on the other side of which ran wooded hills
dotted with mosques and minarets and gaily painted country houses.
Close to the edge of the water stands a kiosk, and an elegantly-carved
marble fountain. And around the kiosk is a sort of promenade shaded by
huge plane-trees. Under these plane-trees a hundred, or thereabouts,
gaily adorned and plumed arabas, now standing unharnessed in the
meadow, had deposited an army of the smartest Turkish ladies. Some of
them sat beside the water, others round the fountain, others again
followed little pashas mounted on ponies led by eunuchs. What with the
richness of the landscape, the truly oriental light, and the variety
and splendour of the dresses, the whole sight was really fairy-like. We
were very desirous of studying it in detail, and at close quarters. A
line of soldiers cut off the portion of the grove of plane-trees
reserved to women only. But our ambassadress and her daughters, who had
come at the same time as ourselves, had a right to enter it, and we
hurried after them. At first the officer commanding the guard tried to
stop us. However, after a colloquy with the dragoman of our Embassy, he
contented himself with begging us to go through quickly. The ladies of
the Embassy having seated themselves among the Turkish ladies, we did
likewise, and, in spite of the angry glances of the eunuchs, by dint of
mutual curiosity and a little flirtation we spent several hours quite
delightfully. Lots of pretty women, and forbidden fruit into the
bargain. No more veils, no more feredjes. We could scrutinize the
exquisite costumes at our leisure.

When I say "No more veils" I ought rather to say nothing but an excuse
for a veil--a gauze chin covering leaving nose and eyes and eyebrows
bare, and so transparent across the mouth, that where that mouth was a
pretty one, to cover it at all was but an extra piece of coquetry.

All these women were chatting, eating, amusing themselves, some
sitting, some lying down, going and coming, hanging about near the
ladies of the Embassy, to examine the details of their dresses too. If
instantaneous photography had existed in those days, what an infinity
of charming and picturesque groups might have been snatched. I did
venture to make one or two rapid sketches on the sly; but there were
too many eyes upon me, and besides it was an abuse of the toleration
which was being shown us. I could not tear myself away from this most
exceptional sight, which will never be seen again, now the Turkish
ladies have adopted European fashions--boots and petticoats, and stays,
deceiving stays!

But every good thing comes to an end, and besides, as the day wore on,
a great cloud of smoke rose over Constantinople, and steadily increased
in volume. It was evidently a fire. In that country, where all the
buildings except the mosques and a house here and there are wooden--a
fire is a terribly serious thing. Was it Stamboul, or was it Pera, and
with Pera our hotel, that was blazing? Carried along by the sinewy
strokes of our caiqchis, and aided by the current, we went swiftly down
the Bosphorus, landed at Dolma-Batche, and rapidly climbed the Cemetery
Hill. Thence I saw a striking sight. The whole quarter below, called
Kassim Pasha, lying between Pera and Galata, was in flames. Over three
hundred houses were sparks, already burnt out. The wooden houses,
kindled by falling crackled like faggots, and we could see the
conflagration spreading like a spot of oil. Fifty houses away from
those actually on fire, people were turning out, throwing doors and
windows and furniture into the streets, without warning of any kind.
Drawing nearer the scene of the fire, we came upon a troop of
vile-looking fellows, the rioters of our country, grafted onto the
Mussulman fanatic--kavasses were raining blows with their sticks on
this crowd of volunteers (or thieves); firemen, bare-armed and
turbanless, hurried along, with their fire pumps on their shoulders,
shouting shrilly and knocking over people as they went; troops kept
coming up from all quarters, horsemen trotted up at full speed, and
packs of terrified dogs tore wildly through the streets, howling with
pain. It was a singular sight indeed.

Seeing the flames kept gaining ground, and were already licking the
first houses in the European quarter in Pera, I sent orders for the
crews of two of our ships, anchored at Tophana, to land, slipped on my
uniform, and put myself at their head, resolved to try and save the
Frank town. Luckily it was calm, or the attempt would have been quite
hopeless. But the sun had set red, and that presaged wind. There was no
time to be lost. I hurried up with a hundred and fifty sailors. The
first houses on each side of the street of Pera were in flames, but a
spot was pointed out to me, twelve or fifteen houses off, where, the
street narrowing between a stone mosque and some gardens, one might
hope to clear a space to stop the fire, by pulling down the five or six
intervening houses. I had no hesitation in giving the order for this,
my men set eagerly to work, and all the active portion of the Frank
population of Pera were seconding our efforts, when one of the generals
of the garrison, Selim Pasha, came up with his men, and fell into a
fury at the sight of what we were doing. I forthwith seized him by the
hand and dragged him, the dragoman of the Embassy, M. Lauxerrois,
following us, to the top of the minaret of the mosque. Here I said to
the dragoman, "Do show this fool of a pasha that the clearing we are
making is our only chance of saving Pera;" and as M. Lauxerrois began
to translate this into Turkish, "Don't trouble," said Selim Pasha, in
very good French, "I understand." I begged his pardon for the epithet,
but he had passed suddenly already from rage to enthusiasm. He tore
down stairs four steps at a time, and I shortly saw him without his
coat, in trousers and list braces, helping us to pull down the houses,
and setting an example of the utmost activity to his own men.

Down came the houses, one after the other. Our sailors behaved
splendidly. They climbed up on to the roofs and fastened ropes, to
which we harnessed the whole of the population, while the frameworks
were being sawn through below till the whole thing came down with a
crash. Indeed I saw one house come down with five or six sailors
perched on its roof. I rushed forward in horror, thinking they must all
be maimed or killed. Not a bit of it! Only a few hands and feet torn by
nails! Truly God watches over the brave! The fall of one Turkish house
caused a pretty scene! The proprietor was determined to prevent it. He
struck and swore at us,--pulling out his beard. The anticipation of the
destruction of his property drove him wild. Finding nobody paid any
attention to him, he called his women folk to his assistance. They
hastened up like furies, at first. Then, changing their tactics, they
cast themselves on my officers, clasping them in their arms, covering
them with kisses and caresses, and trying "the power of their charms on
them in every imaginable way. It was a curious sight truly to watch by
the light of the flames, and amidst such a cacophony of races, a
handful of sailors stopping the passers-by, Turks as well as the rest,
setting them to work, snatching the fire-pumps from the firemen,
carrying soldiers and generals too along with them, and in fact ruling
the roast in the very middle of Constantinople.

At last, thanks to the fire-pump and thanks to our own selves, the fire
stopped just where we had fought it. I went off then towards the
cemetery, where it was still burning, and where the sight was most
singular. An immense crowd of people, the whole population of the
burnt-out quarters of the town, in every imaginable costume, and silent
like true fatalists, herded on the hill and the plateau, together with
whatever had been saved out of the disaster. Under the red light of the
conflagration, the flames of which shot up in great jets into the
skies, the huge bivouac made a splendid picture, reminding one of the
works of the English painter Martyn, the Last Judgment, Belshezzar's
Feast, and so forth. Stamboul, with her forest of minarets and her
thousands of lights, stood out on the horizon against a lovely starry
sky, and in the foreground the Seraskier sat in a big armchair,
surrounded by an immense staff, seeming very philosophically resigned
to the catastrophe over which he appeared to be presiding. In one hand
he held his pipe, and in the other a slice of melon. We were already
well acquainted, and when he saw me coming up, all blackened with smoke
and ashes, he roared with laughter. But he gave me a slice of his
melon, and very grateful it was to my parched throat.

The fire was under control--that is to say, there was only one block of
houses left burning, and this had no communication with either Galata
or Pera. But the disaster was a great one. Over fifteen hundred houses
had been burnt. The exact number was never known. First because nobody
counted them--that would have been quite contrary to oriental
indifference and fatalism--and then because it would have been
excessively difficult to make them out, in the confused ash heap which
had taken their place. The number of families reduced to destitution
must have been very considerable, but individual charity is very
liberal amongst the Mussulmans, as indeed amongst all people possessed
of religious faith. I got home, at one o'clock in the morning, worn
out. Shortly afterwards the wind rose. If it had begun to blow a little
earlier, nothing would have remained of Pera, of the Frankish town, nor
of the Embassies.

A very few days had gone by when I was bidden to quite a different sort
of entertainment. After the disease of adopting the Gentile's trousers
and frock-coat, yet another disease seized upon Turkey--that of having
a constitution in imitation of the constitutions in vogue amongst the
Giaours, and the Sultan had the kindness to ask me to see one
proclaimed. Concerning the constitution itself, which bore the
altogether Turkish name of "Hatti Schereef de Gulhane," I will say
nothing. First of all because I never read it, and secondly because I
have been told it was "liberal," that is to say, fitted, like M.
Prudhomme's sword, to organize government, and if necessary to destroy
it, this last more frequently--and that is quite enough for me. But the
proclamation ceremony was likely to be curious. So on the appointed day
I started forth in full uniform, to be present at it. It was to take
place within the Seraglio. The first incident in the day was that my
boat met the Russian Minister's caique at the landing-stage, and as
neither of our coxswains would yield to the other there was an awful
bump, which damaged the dignity of our attitudes by knocking us down
like card houses. Then we had to ride rather frisky horses in Turkish
saddles, and this, what with our cocked hats, dangling swords, and
unstrapped trousers, was yet another trial to the dignity of some of my
sailor comrades. Nevertheless, we got without hindrance to a kiosk, the
upper story of which was to be occupied by the Sultan and his harem,
and the lower by the diplomatic corps. A special window had been
reserved for me. Bands began to play, loud shouts were heard. The
Sultan was coming, on horseback, preceded by a crowd of officers and
pashas, in full dress. Between him and them, dressed in a sort of blue
blouse with epaulettes, hobbled a little lame man with a big red head,
a white beard, and a spiteful-looking face. It was Kosrew Pasha, the
Grand Vizier, he who had caused so many heads to fall, the strangler of
the Sheik el Islam. He bowed low several times as he passed me. After
him came the Sultan's pages, handsome young fellows, carrying halberts
and wearing gilt shakos with immense plumes of peacocks' feathers,
aigrettes, or birds of Paradise. In the centre of them was the Sultan
himself, almost hidden by their plumes. He kept his head thrown back
and wore a black cloak trimmed with diamonds and a fez with an aigrette
adorned with the same stones. He dismounted. The Grand Vizier and the
new Sheik el Islam held up the corners of his cloak, while a hideous
negro, with hanging lips and haunches like a woman, covered with
embroideries, advanced to receive him. This was Kislar Aga, chief
eunuch and governor of the harem.

And now everybody has come, "Let the sport begin." From my window I
look out on a broad space, surrounded by beautiful umbrella pines and
sloping gently down to the sea. Beyond is the Asiatic shore of the
Bosphorus and the pretty village of Kadi-Keni. This space is full of
troops, twelve splendid battalions of the Imperial Guard, Lancers and
Artillery. These form a circle, in the centre of which rises a pulpit
covered with some yellow stuff, and around it the pashas and the whole
body of Ulemas and Mollahs, wearing the ancient costume--coloured
kaftans, and big white or green turbans crossed with broad gold
bands--shortly collect. The chief dervishes and the heads of all the
religious sects are there also. All this clergy stands there
motionless, impassive, with lowered eyes, not over pleased, I fancy, at
bottom. Then the crowd makes a rush, which infuriates the Grand Vizier.
He makes towards it, lifting his little leg very high and waving his
handkerchief. At the very sight of him everybody flees, and retires
humbly within bounds. Then the manuscript of the Hatti-Schereef is
brought to him. He carries it respectfully to his lips and forehead,
and hands it over to Reschid Pasha, who ascends the pulpit and reads it
out. That over and finished midst the deepest silence, an Imaum takes
Reschid Pasha's place in the pulpit. He stretches out his arms. All
present do the same, the soldiers stretching out but one on account of
their weapons, and he intones the prayer for the Sultan, which every
one repeats in chorus. After which every man passes his hand across his
eyes and beard and the troops shout "Allah" three times, with
unequalled fervour and passion. Hundreds of cannon are fired in all
directions, and the beautiful sight, lighted up by the most brilliant
of sunshine, has come to an end. The Sultan has departed. The Sultana
Valide sends me a posse of officials, bearing cakes and sweetmeats. I
take leave of Kosrew Pasha and depart also, thinking sadly that if this
Turkish people, so brave on the field of battle and apparently still so
devoted to its sovereign, and so firm in its religious faith, is truly,
in spite of all, a rapidly decaying nation, the miserable rag of paper
read out this day will certainly not save it.

The Sultan gave me an uninteresting audience in the pretty Top-Kapou
Palace--now burnt down, I believe--which stood on the extreme end of
the Seraglio point. I had visited the palace, which was then
unoccupied, with a very witty Pasha who spoke French admirably
well--and whom I had known in Paris--Namick Pasha, commander of the
Imperial Guard. We had gone over all the rooms in the harem, and this
visit, with the explanations and commentaries given me by such a guide,
had been most interesting. One room was a perfect gem, and I cannot
resist the pleasure of describing it. It was very large, circular, the
floor covered with very fine matting. All round it was a little raised
platform, covered with divans. The walls were entirely formed of great
mirrors, in splendid rococo frames of carved wood, gilt. It was
evidently the room in which the harem festivals were held. Between the
mirrors were eight little doors, every one leading to a small apartment
for one woman, fitted with mirrors and divans and each hung with a
different stuff. To complete the whole thing, there was a passage
leading to a bath-house, consisting of several very pretty marble
bath-rooms. The master of all this must have had a good time! All sorts
of details were given me while I was there. The Sultan had no
legitimate wives except those who bear children--so the competition may
be imagined. Mahmoud had had thirty-five children, but only five were
left, two sons and three daughters. The rest had died in infancy. The
actual Sultan, Abdul-Medjid, who was very young at the time of my
visit, had only one wife with child, but his mother, the Sultana
Valide, had just presented him with six young ladies, said to be
charming, as an encouragement. Besides this, every year, at the Feast
of Bairam, the Sheik el Islam gives the Sultan a beautiful slave to
whom he is compelled by the Law and the Prophet to give proofs of his
affection, that very day, on pain of incurring the wrath of Allah. Only
nobody knows whether Allah, up in his celestial home, has reason to be
pleased or not.

Having still a few spare days before I rejoined the squadron, I took
advantage of an Austrian steamer to cross the Black Sea as far as
Trebizond, whence I gazed admiringly on the splendid chain of the snowy
Caucasian peaks. I should much have liked to get as far as Erzeroum, in
the heart of Asia Minor. But as time failed me I contented myself with
travelling at full speed for one day, along the road leading thither,
with the Tartar or postman who carried the mails, so as to obtain some
idea of the country. When I say road I speak figuratively. It was not
even a path. It was a mere track across the woods and rocks and ravines
of that mountainous region, but along that track the Tartar galloped
imperturbably, never stopping however terrible the ground might be.
When the post-carrying experience was over, my comrades and I were more
done up than we had ever been in our lives. The least weary of the
party was the son of our consul at Trebizond, Maxime Outrey, a charming
lad, brought up and dressed a l'orientale, whom we had taken with us as
our dragoman, and who vied with the Tartar in speed and boldness the
whole day long like one possessed. On the way back from Trebizond our
steamer was crammed with passengers coming from every corner of Asia,
the strangest medley of Circassians, Persians, and cat merchants, and
one pasha. I bought a splendid Angora during the passage, and the pasha
bought himself a wife. The whole of the negotiations for the latter
acquisition, the discussions, the examination and verification of the
merchandize, took place in our cabin, and very amusing it was. The
young lady belonged to a Tcherkess family which had eluded the Russian
cruisers, and come alongside of us at Trebizond in big boats with
triangular sails, spotted like a tiger's hide. The head of the family,
a tall old man, was going to Mecca, to seek a cure there for the
horrible agony caused by a Russian bullet which was still in his head.
His sons, handsome fellows in splendid costumes, with fine features and
shoulders broad out of all proportion to waists that were like girls',
were going with him. There were a dozen women besides, and do you know,
my reader, what that pack of women was? Letters of credit, bank notes,
by means of which the old man with his wound expected to pay the
expenses of his journey! Having no cash, he had brought the twelve
best-looking girls in his family with him. He had just disposed of one
on board, and he reckoned on doing the same with the rest all along the
road. We soon made the acquaintance of the party. The girls were
huddled together on deck in a sort of cage or trelliswork, where they
remained, drenched by the sea, four days and three nights, without
their chatter and their outbursts of merriment ever ceasing for a
single instant. They all dreamt of becoming the wives of sultans or
pashas and of living in palaces. As the old man fed them with nothing
but millet, to fatten them, we used to bring them our dessert after
each meal, and so we were soon good friends. Thanks to some trifling
service I rendered the old man, he consented to bringing the prettiest
girl into my cabin, and allowing her to unveil, so that I might do her
picture. I thought the model and her costume both equally lovely, but
the sitting was a very short one. Whether it was shyness or
sea-sickness I know not. But she complained of the heat, began to cry,
and I had to send her away.

I merely passed through Constantinople on my way back. It was the
middle of Ramadan, all the mosques lighted up at night, and the women
promenading in the square of the Seraskier in the daytime--a regular
persil. I went there one day with Paul Daru, Lavalette and Cyrus
Gerard, all members of the embassy M. de Sercey was taking to Persia.
They came from Paris and told me the news from there. In my turn I told
them all about the battle of Nezib, a very interesting description of
which I had had the good luck to hear from two young Prussian officers,
eye-witnesses of it, one of whom became the celebrated Marshal von
Moltke; and also all I learnt about the Eastern question on my visits
to the Embassies, to Therapia and Buyukdere. There I had met all the
chief members of the diplomatic corps, which consisted during my stay
of two French ambassadors, succeeding each other, both of them
instability personified--one was Admiral Roussin, a distinguished
sailor, the other M. de Pontois, a professional diplomat--both of them
very kind, but neither, as a result of their instability, having any
real influence. Beside them two men of tenacity and steadfastness
admirably personified two great powers. Lord Ponsonby, a tall, blunt,
haughty, unsociable old man, represented British perseverance and Lord
Palmerston's prejudices, while M. de Boutenieff, a charming, kindly,
and witty man, liked by everybody and making game somewhat of all,
stood for the great destinies of the Russian people, and the mighty
will of the Emperor Nicholas. An armed Russian intervention in the
Bosphorus was no longer in question, but it was unforeseen as yet that
Russia and England would agree to ruin the work of Mehemet Ali, the
last strength in reality of the Mussulman world, and that the whole of
Europe would join these two powers in their willing alliance for the
isolation and humiliation of France, revolutionary France! No more
allies for us, since we have gone into that mill! We sacrificed 200,000
men in the Crimea. What did we get by it? The garter for Napoleon III.
One word or deed of sympathy for all our reverses? Not the shadow of
one! Revolutionary France has been asked for help. But none has ever
been given her. Would it be rendered her now? God grant it!



CHAPTER VII

1840-1841


I left Constantinople with a farewell glance, full of pleasant
memories, over its forest of minarets, over the Bosphorus and the
smiling Princes Islands, and at the snowy peak too of Mount Olympus,
which, with my taste for mountaineering, I had climbed but a short time
previously. An interesting ascent it had been, first of all through
that Eastern Switzerland around the pretty town of Broussa, and then
over the snow and rocky debris to the summit, whence a matchless
panorama is to be seen. The squadrons, one French and one English,
forming a strong force of ships, were at that time on guard at the
mouth of the Dardanelles. I went back to my duty in ours, which was
still as active and incessantly drilled as ever. The English squadron,
commanded by Sir Robert Stopford, a handsome white-haired old man, was
less restless. But the fleets dispersed before long. Ours sailed for
Smyrna, whence the Admiral sent the Belle-Poule under my command, and
the Triton, Captain Hamelin, back to France. We sailed in company, and
after a somewhat lengthy winter passage, we got to Toulon only to find
ourselves put into thirty-five days of quarantine. Five and thirty days
of prison and solitude and uselessness imposed on a crew without a
single sick man, which was daily inspected by its officers as to
cleanliness, whose health was looked after by three doctors, and which
had just gone through the best and safest of purifying operations--a
long sea voyage. Five and thirty days during which 400 men ate and
drank and lived at the expense of the National Budget without doing the
smallest work for the country--the whole thing inflicted by the
Sanitary Board--a purely local and irresponsible body, with its eternal
round of red tape. A good thing it is indeed that such a monstrous and
intolerable abuse should have been abolished! The only reason it lasted
so long is, that it brought in a revenue to the members of the board.
To begin with, they filled the inn they kept under the title of
"Lazaretto" by force, and then they sold the disinfectants.
"Gentlemen," the sanitary officer would say, with his provencal
accent--"Nous allons faire le parfum." The crew were shut up below, the
officer lighted a sort of pastille which made a great smoke, everybody
pretended to sneeze at once ... and we were disinfected! The farce was
over! There was a great dinner too, which the board gave itself at
Saint Roch, at the expense of the persons in quarantine, which put the
finishing touch to the scandal. Wherefore, during my own detention, I
always had the band on deck as soon as the boat belonging to the board
appeared in the port, and greeted it with the most horrible and
discordant of music. Further, I asked guilelessly for leave to carry on
my ship's firing drill in the Lazaretto Bay, and I took care to open
fire so close to the Lazaretto itself that I heard all the glass in the
windows fall out with a crash. As I expected, I was forbidden to do it
again, the board being furious, and having lodged a complaint, stating
that I used bad cartridges, but I had a delicious moment of vengeance
all the same.

The quarantine came to an end at last, I was given leave, and once
more, with joy, beheld my family, and Paris too. I had spent the
greater part of my existence for the past four years at sea, and I
confess I thirsted somewhat for Paris, dear unrivalled Paris! I got
there in the heart of the winter of 1839, and left it in the first days
of June of the same year. What recollections have I of those four
months of repose? In vain I tax my memory, I can find nothing, or
hardly anything at all. As far as exterior events go, none but the most
infinitesimally small--the eternal wearying struggle between ministers
in esse and in posse, which left the bulk of the public exceedingly
indifferent. If the situation from the external point of view had grown
more serious, at all events it did not inspire anxiety. The strength of
the monarchical principle still made itself felt, in spite of the hitch
in 1830. People reckoned on the King, on his wisdom and farsighted
patriotism, to ward off the dangers, present and future, with which the
ambition of the permanent and persevering governments around us
threaten us, but of which our short-sighted democracy takes so little
account. The King was indeed shortly to justify this confidence by
saving France from a war with a European coalition, about the Eastern
question--a war into which we were being led by the imprudence of M.
Thiers and the bragging of our press and which could have ended in
nothing but disaster.

The governmental machine worked meanwhile, as a whole, with tolerable
smoothness. The House of Peers, the members of which were permanent,
and therefore strangers to electoral compromise, discussed with weight
and authority laws which were really progressive, respecting as they
did the interests and liberties of all concerned; while the Chamber of
Deputies, consisting of unpaid members, voted with much more care for
the public weal than is possible in an assembly of men enslaved by
their election committees, and perpetually haunted by the nightmare of
re-election. An independent magistracy, according to President
Seguier's fine expression, gave sentences, not services, "rendait des
arrets, et non pas des services" while the administration, which was
almost as permanent as the magistracy, had time to do good work and did
it. In short, except for the criminal classes, and those incorrigible
revolutionists who ask perpetually for the impossible, everybody felt
that his security, his liberty, and his faith, were well protected,
and, as I heard said on all sides when I came back from my voyages,
people felt they were well governed. It is true that if I opened the
newspapers I generally read to the contrary in them--but if there were
some few serious organs of public opinion among these journals, edited
by courageous and talented men, who did their best to serve their
country by their writings, whatever their opinions might be, how many
more had editors who were mere slander-mongers, and columns all the
more eagerly read, the more calumnious they were, and the more they
pandered to every envious and subversive passion. Such men were the
spokesmen of that increasingly numerous class of speculators, who
relinquish any useful career to seek fortune in the chances of
politics. According to them, oppression and corruption had grown
intolerable, and would never cease until power passed into their own
immaculate hands. They alone possessed the secret for turning France
into a terrestrial Paradise, by applying in all SINCERITY the great and
high-sounding principles, liberty, equality and fraternity. This
SINCERITY of application, which has been so frequently announced,
dallies somewhat in its coming, especially as regards equality, which
to so many people merely means, "That which I have not nobody else
shall have." The word equality is seductive truly, and in every
self-respecting community equality before the law must be utterly
absolute for all men. But so long as science discovers no means for
making all men equally intelligent and all women equally beautiful, I
shall continue to look upon universal and blind equality as the most
absurd and the most dangerous of chimeras. These reflections did not
occur to me at the period I speak of. I was far too careless in the
year 1840 to bother my head about the conundrums set by our
office-seekers, "place-hunters" as the Americans call them. While they
were amusing themselves with the fancies, envious, irreligious,
unhealthy, and above all self-interested, which they posed as deducing
from the principles of 1789, a far more terrible revolution than the
French one--for it was to strike the poor as well as the rich--was
shortly to burst upon us; the revolution brought about by the use of
steam and electricity and rapidity of communication. Few people in
those days foresaw the complete subversion of all the conditions of
labour and food supply and life itself, which was to overtake all the
peoples gathered together in old-established communities on worn-out
soil, a subversion which is only in its beginning as yet, and the
remedy for which we cannot discover.

One of the first results of the use of steam was to make it essential
for all nations having war fleets to transform their arsenals and their
naval stores. It was absolutely necessary to be able to oppose an
enemy, whose means of attack could overcome wind and tide, with
defensive means of equal power. That was as clear as A B C. This
transformation interested me keenly--for the future of the arm of the
service to which I had fervently devoted my whole life, and which I
desired to see become once more a redoubtable weapon of our country's
power, was bound up with it. But, to carry it through, we had to war
with routine, with the obstinacy bred of old habit, and with the narrow
ideas which were taught in the naval schools. It was a continuous daily
struggle in which I bore an assiduous part.

Apart from this naval question, my time was spent between my home life,
my worship for the fine arts, and the theatre, and also in
boar-hunting, of which I grew passionately fond; and what makes this
curious is that before I tried it I scorned the idea to such an extent
that my brothers tied me up and took me by force the first time. Every
incident of the hunt, the attack, the pursuit, all the unforeseen
occurrences of the chase, leading you nobody knows whither, so that you
even lose yourself in the dark sometimes in strange places, has still
all the charm of struggle and action to me. And what a pleasant party
of sportsmen we used to be, during our visits to Compiegne, to
Chantilly, and above all to Fontainebleau! My brothers and I, the two
Greffuhles, Caumont, Morny, Valewski, Edgard Ney, La Rochette, Casimir
Perier, d'Albufera, Wagram, the de l'Aigles; foreigners too, Bedmar,
d'Ossuna--and officers--and some ladies,--amongst these the beautiful
Duchess of Somerset, who always hunted in a mask, and was invariably
escorted by the charming Prince Labanoff. There were painters too
amongst the most assiduous sportsmen--Jadin and Decamps. Decamps, of
whom I was a fanatical admirer, was just in his best period--so too
were Delacroix and M. Ingres; and all that pleiad of great artists,
young then and in the full flush of their powers--Leopold Robert,
Horace Vernet, Delaroche, my own master Ary Scheffer, Flandrin, and the
landscape painters Marilhat and Corot--this last, in his first manner,
dry and rectilinear, like that of Poussin. Nobody nowadays has any idea
of the eager discussions aroused by the opening of the Salon and the
superior merit of such a picture or statue. Nobody was indifferent:
everybody was either for or against; each man either attacked the
artist or lauded him to the skies. Works of art bring more money now,
according as they are produced by this man or that, but they are less
discussed. Which is the best inspiration for an artist, money or
passion?

The theatres too, the Vaudeville, Varietes, Francais, the Opera, were
delightful. At the Vaudeville, which had migrated after the fire in the
Rue de Chartres to the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, Arnal, the inimitable,
quaintest and cleverest of comic actors, was playing. At the Varietes
they were acting the Saltimbanques, a play every line of which has
passed into proverbs, which all my generation have been repeating for
the last forty years. A woman of genius, Mademoiselle Rachel, had
brought back its long forgotten glory to the Theatre Francais. For my
part I never saw anything so absolutely perfect on the stage. With
hardly any gesture, simply by the play of her countenance, her
expressive glance, and the intonation of her voice, she expressed all
the passions with an intensity that affected all her audience. She had
a genius for dress and drapery. In her peplum she might have been taken
for an antique statue, and she knew how to endue herself with the most
incomparable womanly charm in all her parts, even the most savage ones.
If she had committed murder you would have loved the murderess, and,
strangely enough, this extraordinary woman was never witty except with
her pen.

As for the Opera, the production of the great composers who had made
its glory some years before had ceased. Of that trio of wonderful
artists, Nourrit, Levasseur, and Mdlle. Falcon, only one, Levasseur,
remained. The art of music was taking a rest. To make amends for this,
the opera shone in ballet, fairy-like performances in which pantomime
and trap-doors played as important a part as the actual dancing.
Nothing could have been more enchanting than the Diable Boiteux with
its many and various tableaux and its dresses, and Fanny Elsler dancing
the "cachucha," or the Sylphide or the Revolte du Serail with Taglioni.
I saw my brother Nemours in great danger during a performance of this
last-named ballet. At a certain point the dancers, representing the
revoltees, armed themselves with bows and shot a cloud of arrows into
the wings. Now in the heat of action one of these arrows, launched with
extraordinary vigour but uncertain aim by a charming young lady, one of
the principal dancers, Mcllle. Duvernay, stuck in the column which
separated the Royal Box in the old Le Pelletier house from that of the
Marquis du Hallay, only a few inches from my brother's head. There was
an exclamation from all parts of the house, great confusion on the
stage and many comments made. But "all's well that ends well." That
happy time of youth and carelessness and hunting and theatre-going was
not to last long. Two of my brothers started for Africa--Chartres (as
we always called our eldest brother the Due d'Orleans) was to take over
the command of a division in the column which, under the orders of
Marshal Vallee, was to check the rising prestige of Abd el Kader for
ever at the Mouzaia Pass. My younger brother Aumale, was to have the
opportunity during this expedition of breaking his first lance right
brilliantly. I saw them depart with envy, and to add to my annoyance I
shortly fell ill of a violent attack of measles. One day, as I lay in
high fever, I saw my father appear followed by M. de Remusat, then
Minister of the Interior. This unusual visit filled me with
astonishment, and my surprise increased when my father said,
"Joinville, you are to go out to St. Helena and bring back Napoleon's
coffin." If I had not been in bed already I should have fallen down
flat, and at the first blush I felt nowise flattered when I compared
the warlike campaign my brothers were on with the undertaker's job I
was being sent to perform in the other hemisphere. But I served my
country and I had no right to discuss my orders. And there were two
sides to the question, besides. Above Napoleon, the enemy of my house,
the murderer of the Duc d'Enghien, who at his fall had left that
dangerous game of chance wherein the ignorant herd is so often the dupe
of the political croupier--universal suffrage--as his legacy to ruined
and dismembered France,--there was the matchless warrior whose genius,
even in defeat, had shed immortal glory on our arms. To fetch his ashes
from a foreign land was in a manner to wave the flag of vanquished
France aloft once more--that at least was what we hoped for--and this
view of the case reconciled me to my mission. As soon as I was on my
legs again I started for Toulon, provided with full orders and
instructions, both royal and ministerial, and re-took command of the
Belle-Poule, a command I was to hold in many seas, during three
consecutive years. I felt some regret at leaving Paris, but the delight
at being back amongst the faithful and worthy fellows who made up my
crew, my second family, soon made me forget what I had left behind me.
Presently a certain number of passengers came on board. They formed
what was called the St Helena Mission. Almost all of them had been
comrades of Napoleon in his greatness and in his misfortunes. There
were Generals Bertrand and Gourgaud, M. de las Cazes, &c., &c. During
the long passages of the voyage, the conversation of these gentlemen,
who had been present at so many events and followed the Emperor through
so many adventures, was most deeply interesting. Every day there was a
running fire of anecdote and traits of character, much closer to the
truth doubtless than many a leisurely prepared history. I have often
regretted we had no shorthand writer with us.

During the first days of our voyage we touched at Cadiz to get our last
despatches before starting across the ocean. I was as glad as ever to
see the white walls of Cadiz again, and I made a pilgrimage to the
Cortadura, to the Trocadero (this in memory of the brilliant exploits
of the Royal Guard in 1823), and also to the battle-field of Chiclana,
which witnessed a terrible struggle between ourselves and the English
in February 1811, some of the actors in which I had known. Coming back
from Chiclana after a somewhat cheery luncheon, Arthur Bertrand, the
general's son, well known at that time in the gay world of Paris, gave
us a specimen of the maddest equestrian prowess. He galloped at full
speed across the Alameda at Chiclana, which was paved with slippery
flags, standing upright on his English saddle. There is a providence
that watches over madmen!

A characteristic incident occurred on leaving Cadiz. In case of
delicate negotiations with the English authorities at St. Helena, and
also in order to draw up the protocol for the surrender of the body, a
young diplomat, the Comte Philippe de Rohan Chabot,[Footnote: This
gentleman died in London as French Ambassador, under the title of Comte
de Jarna] had been associated with me.

We had hardly got out of the port of Cadiz, and cut our last
communications with France, when I saw him approach me, looking very
much embarrassed. He offered me a paper to read, saying it was only on
account of his orders he had not communicated it to me before. I cast
my eye over the signature at the foot of the paper and saw the name of
M. Thiers, President of the Council. By these secret instructions,
which were not to be imparted to me till we got to sea, M. Thiers
informed M. de Chabot that he, Chabot, was his direct agent and that he
invested him with superior authority to mine for as long as the mission
should last. Such was the strange missive, aimed not only at the
captain in command of the ship, but also, with an evident intention to
wound, at the King's son--an application in a very small way of that
maxim so dear to M. Thiers, "the King reigns but he does not govern."
Stranger still was the care he took to keep it secret until, being cut
off from France, I was no longer in a position to make any observation
on the contradiction between these fresh instructions and the precise
orders I had received previously. Friends from childhood as we were,
Philippe and I, no idea of conflict between us was admissible. I made
no complaint to any one and treated M. Thiers' behaviour to me with
contempt, but from that day the sympathetic and almost affectionate
relations I had previously lived in with that statesman came to an
end--they were replaced by a sense of deep distrust and a scanty esteem
for his character.

The Belle-Poule put in at Teneriffe to take in provisions and water,
and I took advantage of this stoppage to finish the ascent of the
famous Peak which I had had to break off in 1837. The last cone, all of
crumbly pumice stone, and at a very acute angle, is tolerably tiring.
On the summit is a small plateau, the soft soil of which is covered
with flowers of sulphur and creviced with smoke holes from which
scalding steam keeps escaping. Having got up in two days, we descended
rapidly to the smiling little town of Orotava, built amidst the most
lovely vegetation in a sort of ravine opening out on the sea. The
female population of Orotava has a well-deserved reputation for beauty,
and we were very kindly met by an invitation to make sure of the fact
by being present at an afternoon dance, a sort of "garden party" got up
in our honour--a great temptation truly, but a great perplexity as
well! People coming back off a mountain climb, including two waterless
bivouacs and a pull through the smoke and ashes of a volcano, are not
in ball trim, either as to costume or to cleanliness. After a hasty
council of war, it was decided that we should draw lots for the names
of three of our party, who were to wash themselves, and to whom each of
the non-chosen should furnish the least damaged articles of his own
clothing, so as to put them in proper condition to go to the ball and
keep up the honour of our flag before the belles of Orotava. We retired
into a wood to proceed to draw lots and embellish the elect Fate did
not favour me. I did not go to the ball, but my boots did, and our
comrades came back full of admiration of all they had seen.

From Teneriffe our passage was a slow one. We had calms, storms, even
gales, and then a fresh delay in port at Bahia in Brazil. I had been
advised on leaving Paris to arrange the progress of the mission so as
to make the return of the ashes of the Emperor to Europe coincide with
the opening of the Chambers in the end of December. Indeed I believe
the chief importance of the return of the ashes of Napoleon, in M.
Thiers' mind, lay in this coincidence. It was the tom-tom by beating
which he hoped to drown all those reports and inklings of ministerial
changes which always sprout at such moments in the parliamentary soil.
But it was somewhat difficult to time our arrival to a given moment,
with a sailing ship, and after such a long voyage. Originally I was to
have called at the Cape before going to St. Helena. I thought it better
to replace our stoppage at the Cape by one at Bahia, so as to shorten
the journey and save time. Very uninteresting our stay at Bahia was,
save for the following picturesque incident.

I had chartered a small steamer on which I used to go on sporting
expeditions with some of the officers. They were somewhat in the nature
of voyages of discovery up the rivers which fall into Bahia Bay. During
one of these excursions we had got some considerable distance up the
Cachoeira without seeing a sign of any inhabitants, and leaving our
boat at anchor, we had landed and spent our day in slaying toucans,
parrokeets of all colours, and all the strange birds and beasts
peopling the virgin forest, when at sunset we fell upon a cleared path,
which led us to a wide glade and then to a village, the existence of
which had been hitherto quite unsuspected by us. We entered it and
found it deserted, the doors of all the houses shut. We went towards a
very large square in the middle of the "Pueblo"--it was deserted too.
We entered a fine church, the door of which stood open--not a soul
within it, though the smell of the incense at some recently performed
religious ceremony still hung in the air. In the middle of the square
stood a kiosk, evidently intended for concerts; the instruments of an
orchestra were still there, lying on the chairs before the desks, as if
the music had only been broken off a few minutes previously. This
suddenly deserted village rather puzzled us. But in the hope of
bringing the population back to life, and with a certain spice too of
mischief, we laid down our guns, and seizing on the big drum, and the
abandoned trombones and clarionets, we raised a most alarming noise. It
was mere waste of time, nobody came. The evening was falling, it was
time to get back on board our steamer, and we quietly retook our way
towards her. Night--a moonlight night it was--had completely closed in,
when we got to the mangrove creek, where we had left the small boat
which was to bring us back on board. We were crowding into the little
craft, half aground on the mud, when a great clamour rose from the
forest, and we saw weapons glint through the foliage on all sides. In
the twinkling of an eye, before we had time to get over our surprise, a
crowd of people armed with guns, swords, and pikes, rushed up at top
speed, yelling loudly, and surrounded us, some remaining on shore and
others throwing themselves into the water. We were instantly carried
off, disarmed, separated, soundly thrashed, and dragged into the
forest. Anybody who has looked at the picture of the savages attacking
Captain Cook, in the history of his voyage, will have an exact idea of
the scene. It was not otherwise than picturesque in the moonlight, and
under that tropical vegetation; and it really was an attack by savages
too, most of them negroes, and the rest mulattoes. Very luckily for us,
our surprise and our unloaded guns, and the way we were crowded into
the boat, prevented our making any resistance, otherwise we should
certainly have been massacred, surrounded as we were by 200 armed men.
Each of us had his own little experience in the scuffle. I, for my
part, jumped into the water, knocking up the pikes of two negroes, who
looked as if they were going to spit me, with my gun, and hurriedly
caught a man--with a civilian's hat on his head, a sash over his
shoulder, and a big sword in his hand, who seemed to me to be the
leader of the band--round the waist. I gave him to understand, in a few
words, in bad Portuguese, that I commmanded the French warships
anchored at Bahia, and that if harm came to any of us, he and his
fellows would live to repent it. But before I could finish my speech
the angry crowd fell on me, carried me off, and dragged me to a mound,
against which, as I seemed to understand, they meant to back me and
shoot me. Indeed five or six negroes stationed in front of me hastily
loaded their guns. The situation was far from pleasant, for those who
know the negro race know what they are capable of when swayed by the
paroxysms of excitement into which they work themselves, whether from
drunkenness, or rage, or fear. Fouchard, whom two or three men were
holding a few steps off from me, seeing what was happening, threw off
his captors by a superhuman effort and sprang to my side. We clung fast
to each other, and this caused a fresh struggle and a respite of a
minute's duration, during which the man in the sash, who had quickly
understood this was becoming a bad business for himself, charged at the
head of the most reasonable of his mulattoes. We were captured and
recaptured several times, but victory at last rested with the man in
the scarf, and an explanation became possible. It appears there had
been an election, with considerable disturbances--blessed be elections
in all places and countries!--in the village, on the preceding day. The
inhabitants, in their over-excitement, had been struck first with
surprise, and afterwards with terror on hearing us firing at the
parrokeets. Their terror reached its height when seven or eight
white-skinned men, oddly armed and accoutred, were seen to enter the
village. The whole population fled into the woods. Then noting from
afar how small our number was, and more especially observing our
retreat, valour took the place of fright, and arming itself, it rushed
to the enemy's pursuit! We were set at liberty of course, and apologies
were duly made; but that did not mend the blows received, especially by
one of the lieutenants of the Belle-Poule, Penhoat, who had been half
murdered. We boarded our steamer, and found the English engineer in
charge of her completely drunk. When we told him our story he rushed
below to his engine-room, and fetched out a huge pistol that must have
dated from Cromwell's time; and we had all the trouble in the world to
prevent him from going on shore alone to take signal vengeance on
"those damned niggers."

Leaving Bahia, we had to go a long way down the Southern Atlantic
before we got a favourable wind. We reached St. Helena at last--a great
black rock, a jagged volcanic island resembling Martinique, minus its
splendid vegetation--a scrap of Scotland set in mid-ocean, and swept
incessantly by the Trade wind, which blows with wearisome continuance
and gathers a thick and permanent cloud-clap above the isle. It looked
gloomy from the sea, and the impression on arrival there was gloomy
too. James Town, the capital, is simply a wretched village, stretching
along a narrow valley, shut in by dreary-looking rocks crowned by
forts, to which you climb by staircases counting six hundred steps. The
country around Plantation House, the Governor's residence, the valley
of the Tomb, the Tomb itself with the legendary willows, and Longwood,
the prison house, all are equally gloomy, and equally calculated to
kill the great genius banished thither, by inches.

The business which had brought me was quickly settled between myself
and the Governor, General Middlemore. The orders of the British
Government were clear and precise, and the local authorities showed
great goodwill in carrying them out. They undertook the exclusive care
of the exhumation and transport of the remains over British territory,
and it was all done with the utmost propriety. The only request I made
and obtained was, that the coffin should be opened before it was handed
over to us, so as to be sure that we were taking neither a hotbed of
infection nor an imaginary corpse on board. The Governor himself being
ill I saw but little of him. He commissioned the officer in command of
the troops, Colonel Trelawny, of the Royal Artillery, to represent him.
He was a pleasant man, but decidedly eccentric. His great mania was the
study of genealogy, and he never failed to explain when we met that he
was my cousin, and that we were both related to the late Sultan Mahmoud
on the female side!

When all was ready the exhumation took place, and very imposing it was.
Everybody felt impressed when the coffin was seen coming slowly down
the mountain side, to the firing of cannon, escorted by British
infantry with arms reversed, the band playing, to the dull rolling
accompaniment of the drums, that splendid funeral march which English
people call The Dead March in Saul, but which is really no other than
the ancient Catholic chant of Adeste Fideles. General Middlemore,
dropping with fatigue, formally handed over the body to me; and the
coffin was lowered into the long-boat of the Belle-Poule, which then
started for the ship. The scene at that moment was very fine. It was a
striking moment A magnificent sunset had been succeeded by a twilight
of the deepest calm. The British authorities and the troops stood
motionless on the beach, while our ship's guns fired a royal salute. I
stood in the stern of my long-boat, over which floated a magnificent
Tricolour flag worked by the ladies of St Helena. Beside me were the
generals and superior officers, M. de Chabot and M de las Gazes. The
pick of my topmen, all in white, with crape on their arms, and
bareheaded like ourselves, rowed the boat in silence, and with the most
admirable precision We advanced with majestic slowness, escorted by the
boats bearing the staff. It was very touching, and a deep national
sentiment seemed to hover over the whole scene.

Two days later we set sail for France, which was reached after a
passage of forty-one days. During the passage, feeling anxious at
having had no news from Europe for four months, I spoke several ships,
and amongst others, south of the line, I spoke a Dutch man-o'-war on
her way to Java, which gave us details of the coalition apparently
directed against Mehemet Ali, the Egyptian Viceroy, but aimed, in
reality, at France. Not knowing what might result from the performances
of the allied naval forces on the Syrian coast, we on board the frigate
and her consort, the Favorite, determined to take all usual precautions
in case of war; and each of us made ready, after his own fashion, for
his eventual departure to another world. There was, in most cases, a
great destroying of souvenirs, papers, and compromising correspondence.
General Gourgaud attracted our attention by the trembling care with
which he re-read a perfect mountain of notes in a feminine hand, which
he burnt one by one in a basin, gathering up the ashes and preserving
them in a bottle--not a bad way of keeping tender memories quite safe
from any inquisitiveness But all these warlike preparations were thrown
away. When the Belle Poule cast anchor at Cherbourg on November 30th,
the storm had passed by. My mission closed at Cherbourg, but I found
orders there to tranship the coffin on to a steamboat, and then take it
round to Paris by the Seine, my crew and that of the corvette Favorite
to form the escort. I will not tell the story of this conveying of the
body. At St Helena things had on the whole been done by the British
army on the one part and our naval forces on the other, with all the
chivalrous seriousness and dignity which always attend international
relations when confided to those who wear the sword. In France the
conveyance of the remains of Napoleon took on quite another character.
It was first and foremost a show, in which, as always happens in our
country, many people desired to play a part which was inappropriate and
sometimes ridiculous. I had often to interfere to get things put to
rights again. At La Bouille, for instance, which we reached at
nightfall, to meet the river flotilla to which we were to be
transferred, I was shown, as the vessel which was to receive the coffin
and the staff of the escort, a frightful-looking boat on which a sort
of hideous dais had been built, with all the frippery and plumes of the
Pompes Funebres, an official catafalque worthy of Carpentras or of
Brives-la-Gaillarde. I immediately gave orders for this masterpiece of
bad taste to be destroyed, a coat of black paint given to the boat, and
everything cleared forward, so as to place the coffin there well in
sight, and covered with a violet velvet pall. My men at once fell to
work at this transformation, when a gentleman in evening dress
advanced, and in a tone of great authority, forbade my sailors to touch
anything. "I got my orders from M. Cave (the Director of the Beaux
Arts) and from the Minister. All the decoration was designed by me, and
carried out under my direction, I hold to it, and I forbid anybody to
touch it," he said. "But, my good sir," I replied, "my orders have been
given, and will be carried out." My gentleman became so violent that I
desired him to leave the vessel instantly. "But surely you are not
going to put me ashore at this hour (it was almost dark) in the open
fields? I don't know where I am; I don't see any houses." "That's
nothing to me, you have been insolent, so it is your own fault. Put
this gentleman ashore." Four sailors advanced, but he gave in, and
nobody ever heard of him again. By the following morning the
transformation was complete, and the coffin moving unsheltered up the
course of the river, as though to take possession of the stream, was
much more striking than all the tinsel and canopies imaginable. The
whole voyage up to Courbevoie, the point of arrival, was a mere classic
reproduction of the usual official journey--flags, authorities girt
with tricolour sashes, clergy pronouncing blessings, shaking with
terror all the time, horses, gendarmes, curious crowds of holiday
makers, the only thing lacking being the speeches. From Courbevoie the
body was taken in procession through the Champs Elysees to the
Invalides, with the usual ceremonial, which I had already witnessed in
the cases of Charles X. and the Duchesse d'Orleans, but with one extra
point, the cold, and it was terrible.

At the Invalides four-and-twenty non-commissioned officers advanced to
carry the coffin into the church; but in spite of the most desperate
efforts the veterans could not succeed in lifting it, and I had to make
my sailors carry it. The King received the body at the entrance to the
nave, and there rather a comical scene took place. It appears that a
little speech, which I was to have delivered when I met my father, and
also the answer he was to give me, had been drawn up in Council, only
the authorities had omitted to inform me concerning it. So when I
arrived I simply saluted with my sword, and then stood aside. I saw
indeed that this silent salute, followed by retreat, had thrown
something out; but my father, after a moment's hesitation, improvised
some appropriate sentence, and the matter was afterwards arranged in
the Moniteur. The Church of the Invalides was full to overflowing, the
Chamber of Peers and the Chamber of Deputies being seated in the choir.
The success of the day fell to my brave sailors. Everybody was curious
to see them. Their athletic forms, easy gait, and kindly sunburnt faces
at once won over the general public, especially the feminine portion of
it; and then they were something new to that sight-loving Parisian
population, to whom so many have been given since then, that for want
of a better the only thing offered them at the present moment is Dinah
Salifou and the danse du ventre. What a fall here too, compared vith
the past! During the triumphal passage of the Emperor's ashes down the
Champs Elysees between two ranks of soldiers and National Guards, who
kept back an immense multitude, I had constantly amid the various
shouts caught one of "Down with traitors," which, at first, I did not
understand. I had been so far away. But it was explained to me that
this demonstration was aimed at my father and his ministers, guilty as
they were of having refused to launch France into a general war about
the Eastern question. I fancy my father troubled his head little about
these would-be-wise demonstrators, worthy forerunners of the Boulevard
braggarts who, at a later date, in 1870, so appositely shouted "a
Berlin." He had other matters to preoccupy him. The ease with which all
the Governments in Europe had leagued themselves together, to inflict a
moral check on France, under cover of the Pasha of Egypt, betrayed the
latent hostility of all those powers to our own country. Let us say it
outright. In the eyes of the European monarchies, the Government of
July, by virtue of its origin, and however wise and courageous the
policy of the King, my father, might have been, had always remained a
revolutionary, and therefore a hostile government Nothing else was
possible; and so at bottom it always will be, as long as we continue to
run in the rut along which we have been floundering for the last
hundred years. Look at any country in Europe, no matter which, and see
against whom the established Government carries on the domestic
struggle. Against Nihilists in Russia, Socialists in Germany,
anarchists and unquiet spirits of all kind everywhere, imitations of
those of our own country, and by them encouraged to press on the same
course of demand, and spoliation, and licence. And hence the necessary
consequence, that sovereigns and organized societies, whose first
desire is to exist, and neither to be overthrown nor despoiled, are
always ready to make common cause against that hotbed of bad example,
Revolutionary France. The events of 1840 showed this with the utmost
clearness; and in face of that demonstration the path of duty lay
clear. It was to lose no time in taking, without boastfulness, but also
without weakness, all the necessary measures against the danger which
was constantly threatening, although for the moment it was warded off.
Among these measures was one my father passionately desired, and which
he snatched from the Chambers by sheer tenacity--the fortification of
Paris. This tenacity was necessary, for the struggle was long, bitter,
and inexplicable While it lasted the heroes of the cafes greeted my
father in the streets and at reviews with insulting shouts. The cry,
"Down with the Bastille," had succeeded that of "Down with traitors,"
and all the fainthearted section would have knuckled down. All the
energy of the King, of my brother the Due d'Orleans--as eager as
himself on the question--and of the ministers, was needed to bring them
back into fighting line. The aid too of those patriots of all
shades--and thank God there still are some such!--who put national
independence and honour above party questions, had to be invoked. And
so Paris was fortified Who dares nowadays to say, that this was not a
convincing proof of the King's foresight as a ruler? Who dares to say,
that if hesitation, and desultoriness, and incapacity, and evil chance,
had not clung to the command of our armies in 1870, the German invasion
might not have been broken up upon those ramparts?

The winter of 1841 was also spent in raising our battalions of
Chasseurs-a-pied, the personal work of my eldest brother. I used often
to go and keep him company in the camp at St. Omer, while he was
employing all his great powers in organizing this force. When it was
done he gave a splendid fite, to which he invited the officers of the
English garrisons on the opposite coast, deputing me to receive them. A
few days later the population of Paris was surprised and delighted by
the sight of these ten splendid battalions, in their simple but elegant
uniform, pressing through the streets with swinging step, filling the
courtyard of the Tuileries, and forming up in the space of a few
minutes to be inspected by the King. These fine troops, with their
strong esprit de corps, have since then earned glory by many exploits
in all quarters of the globe. The number of battalions has been raised
from ten to thirty. The organization, given them at the outset by a
vigorous hand, has remained intact. Their uniform even is unchanged,
having escaped the prevalent mania for bringing everything down to the
same level of ugliness. The only thing gone is the original name,
Chasseurs d'Orleans; but what matters the name when the service remains!

My memories of the winter of 1841 are full of recollections concerning
our national defence. Mingled with them, however, are some others of a
less austere nature Masked balls were the rage that year. They were
given in all directions. I was only three-and-twenty, and thought them
all delightful Just at that moment Chicard--the famous Chicard--shared
the sceptre of the opera-balls with Musard, the chief of the orchestra.
A quiet-living worthy tradesman on weekdays, on important occasions an
officer in the National Guard, Monsieur L "le grand Chicard," dressed
in the most eccentric of costumes, led indescribable farandoles to the
sound of broken chairs and pistol shots, accompanied by Musard's
orchestra, at these entertainments. There were balls in the Opera
House, at the Renaissance, the Salle Ventadour, the Varietes--these
last the prettiest and the most fashionable and amusing. Not an evening
coat in the whole ball-room, everybody, men and women alike, in
costume, and everybody acquainted with everybody else. And what gaiety
and go there was about it all' You asked your partner in the
upper-boxes to dance with you, from the floor of the house, and she, to
lose no time, came down outside the balustrades, faithfully passed down
by friendly hands. When the quadrille was over you met jolly comrades
everywhere, with their partners astride on their shoulders, shaking
hands as it were two stories at a time. But there is an end to all
things. My two brothers--Nemours and Aumale--went off to fight in
Africa under General Bugeaud; and, in the month of May, I myself was
sent out to the Newfoundland station.



CHAPTER VIII

1841-1842


I left Cherbourg for Newfoundland on May 19th, 1841. It had been
arranged that I was to go by the North Sea, to put into the Texel, and
to go to the Hague to pay my respects in person to the King of the
Netherlands. Almost as soon as I had disembarked at the Helder, I went
on board the royal yacht, which was to take me to Alkmaar by the Noord
Holland Canal. This yacht, commanded by a very pleasant fellow, a naval
lieutenant, M. Dedel, was really charming. She had been built in the
seventeenth century, and had been used by Admirals Van Ruyter and Van
Tromp when they went to take up their commands. She was covered all
over with gilt carvings, the deckhouse in the stern especially, and
looked as if she had started freshly painted out of one of Backhuysen's
pictures. Once on board her, a legion of horses towed her along, full
trot, and I went to bed. When I awoke, I found the yacht moored beside
the quay at Alkmaar, the city of cheeses, whence a carriage took me to
Haarlem and Amsterdam, along the Haarlem Zee, which has been drained
dry since then, and transformed into splendid meadow land, as the
Zuider Zee will some day be. At Amsterdam I rushed to the museum, where
I was received by M. Apostol, the director, who had known the
Scheffers' father intimately at Rotterdam. Oh that museum! Oh those
prints! But M. de Bois-le-Comte, the French Minister, was pitiless. He
tore me away from all those masterpieces, and forced me to follow the
millround of the programme he had laid out for me. He dragged me off to
Zaandam (Saardam in French). This pretty Japanese-looking village, in
the midst of a wide polder, surrounded by over five hundred windmills,
looking like a row of gigantic sharpshooters, is a resort of pilgrims,
and the holy spot is the hut of Peter the Great. The wretched wooden
house, shut up in a sort of casemate, was the property of the Queen,
sister of the Emperor Nicholas, and the shanty was never mentioned by
her or to her but in the most feeling manner. Flectamus genua!
Leva...ate! Amongst other inscriptions there, I found the names of two
French actors, Dormeuil and Monval, which recall anything but pious
memories to my mind.

From Zaandam I went to the palace, to Van Ruyter's tomb, to the
pelicans in the Zoological Gardens, and then I escaped from the furious
Bois-le-Comte, who would have liked me never to go about except in a
glass case labelled "Ecce the Prince de Joinville." Very kind and very
witty he was, all the same, one of those finished diplomatists of the
old school--a disciple of M. de Talleyrand. He had been everywhere,
seen everything, observed everything, and he kept me under the charm of
his conversation all through my hasty trip in Holland. During the last
preceding years he had represented France in Portugal and Spain
successively, and had been with the two Queens--my future
sister-in-law--Dona Maria in Portugal, and the Regent Christina in
Spain, through all the most violent disturbances, struggles, and
dangers of the military conspiracies in those countries. He never tired
of talking about the courage of these two ladies, the nature of which
was very different in each case. The courage of the Queen of Portugal,
he said, was resolute, but mournful and gloomy. The example she set was
good, but she cast a chill on officers and men alike. Queen
Christina--passionate, a woman to her finger tips, careless of danger,
but shedding tears of nervous excitement when the bullets smashed her
windows and flew hither and thither about the apartments--magnetised
her defenders. In the one case you cried "Welcome, Death!" in the other
you shouted "Forward!" Very interesting indeed was the description
Bois-le-Comte gave me of the La Granja conspiracy. How, having been
warned in the middle of the night of the danger threatening Queen
Christina and her daughters, he got up in haste to hurry to their
assistance, but desired, first of all, to warn the British Minister and
carry him along with him. How, when he reached the house of the
minister, Mr. Villiers, afterwards Lord Clarendon, he rushed without
meeting a soul into his bedroom, where the bed-curtains shook
convulsively at the noise of his entrance, and the head alone of the
minister appeared, saying, "I'll follow you," while a soft voice tried
to detain him, with all the tenderest appeals in the Spanish language.
"I took myself off double quick," said Bois-le-Comte to me; "but I had
recognised the voice."

From Amsterdam we went to the Hague, and as soon as I got there I asked
to see the King. "Let him come at once" was the reply.

King William, young-looking still, with a graceful figure and a kindly
engaging face, framed with a fringe of grizzling beard, had a loud
voice and a hearty laugh. He was witty in conversation. The Queen, whom
I never saw laugh, nor even smile, talked cleverly too, but she picked
her words too obviously. Her daughter, the young Princess Sophia, now
Grand-Duchess of Saxe-Weimar, was clever too. I was watching her dance
at a ball one night, wearing a pretty gown, the chief adornment of
which was an eastern scarf, when her father, to whom I was talking,
said, "Marmotte (her pet name in the family) looks like a Bayadere
to-day." And indeed she had all the grace and charm of one.

My stay at the Hague was one succession of gatherings, dinners, balls,
at which the cordiality of my reception never failed for one minute. It
touched me much, and I have kept a grateful memory of it, for there was
some merit, on the King's part, in its being so. Had we not largely
contributed by our support of the Belgian revolution to lessening his
kingdom by one half? And there had been yet another wound to his
vanity. In his youth King William, then Prince of Orange, full of eager
bravery, had gone to serve in Spain under the Duke of Wellington. He
had been wounded in the ranks of the British army at Waterloo, and on
the strength of these antecedents he had offered himself in 1815 as a
candidate for the hand of Princess Charlotte, heir-presumptive to the
Crown of England. He had been ousted. And by whom? By Prince Leopold of
Saxe-Coburg, whom we had just made King of the Belgians. In spite of
these causes for coldness, at all events, the welcome I was given by
the King, his family, and by every class of that honest and
well-behaved Dutch race, was marked by a constantly increasing
kindliness, which filled Bois-le-Comte and his very witty secretary, La
Rosiere, with delight. Just at the moment of parting, the King made me
a present of an admirable copy in reduced size of Rembrandt's Anatomy
Lesson, which hung in his study, saying, "You are going to
Newfoundland; you shall bring me back a dog in exchange," which
commission I faithfully executed.

To finish up my visit to Holland, I paid a visit to the Naval Arsenal
at Flushing, and as I passed through Zeeland I saw from afar, and not
without emotion, the belfry towers of Bergen-op-Zoom, a town which
witnessed the performance of two of the most brilliant exploits in our
annals. The first--the taking of the stronghold by assault, by Marshal
de Lowendal's army, in 1747. The second--the assault delivered on it on
the 8th and 9th of March, 1814, by the whole English army, and
triumphantly repulsed by a handful of soldiers and sailors commanded by
General Bizannet. The assault under Marshal de Lowendal has been
commemorated first of all in a celebrated song, and later by an
admirable drawing in body colour by Van Blarenberg, which is to be seen
in the Versailles Museum. But the exploit of 1814 has been almost lost
sight of amid our disasters and the subsequent invasion. Very few
people are aware that the British army made a forcible attack on
Bergen-op-Zoom, getting into the town by the port at low tide, and
scaling the ramparts, led and backed up by the inhabitants, who had
risen in favour of the House of Orange, and that the enemy's columns
got as far as the middle of the town, whence, after twelve hours'
fighting, they were driven over the ramparts by the resolute bravery of
the defending force, leaving more prisoners in its hands than its own
fighting men numbered. The details of this splendid page of military
history should be read as told by Colonel Legrand of the Engineers, who
commanded under General Bizannet. In them, among other dramatic
incidents, will be found an episode about a bellringer, which is almost
identical with the one Sardou has incorporated in his fine play Patrie.

From the Texel, or, to be more exact, from Neu-Diep to Newfoundland, by
the north coast of Scotland, the passage, though we made it without
disaster, was terribly trying to both our crews and our ships, which
last were much damaged, and lost nearly all their sails. An incessant
series of gales kept us under green seas nearly all the time. Upon
these followed thick fogs, and finally we fell among numberless
icebergs. So it was with a lively sense of relief that I found myself
anchored at last within the haven of Le Croc, the headquarters of our
squadron during the fishing season. The haven was itself so obstructed
with ice that on the very night of my arrival, with the help of my cook
and some tins of jam, I was able to serve up Neapolitan ices to my
staff, like Tortoni himself.

There was very near being a serious breach of discipline on board the
frigate during our passage. A sailor refused to obey, and threatened
one of the midshipmen--a serious act of insubordination, which,
according to the laws then in force, entailed corporal punishment on
its perpetrator. I immediately called a court-martial, which, having
heard witnesses and defendant, according to regulations, sentenced the
man to a certain number of strokes with the rope's end. The hour for
carrying out the sentence came, the crew was mustered, the officers in
their places and under arms. I was in my cabin, just buckling on my
sword, when my second in command came in like a whirlwind. "They are
going to ask for mercy," he cried; "it's your own fault. The men know
your hatred of corporal punishment. They are going to presume on it. I
beg you'll give me leave to run the first man that opens his mouth
through with my sword." Up till that time I had avoided the use of
corporal punishment, a matter which had been made all the easier for me
by the good feeling and quiet behaviour of the crew I had had under my
command. But this time the scandal had been notorious, the punishment
must be exemplary, and the law applied without mercy. What would become
of the authority of an isolated handful of officers, on the high seas,
among hundreds of seamen, if they had no possible recourse to force, to
punishment drill, or to long terms of imprisonment? What, again, would
become of that purely moral influence, which is indispensable on board
a ship which is practically always at sea, if the maintenance of
discipline was ever liable to the slightest failure? Filled as I was
with even more than the ordinary sense of the imperious claims of duty
on the officer in command, I reassured my subordinate. "Make your mind
easy," I told him. "I would be brayed in a mortar sooner than tolerate
one moment's hesitation in carrying out the sentence. I shall stand at
the head of the crew, and have the punishment carried out in front of
me. The men will read my countenance and nobody will stir, I'll answer
for it!" And so it was. I took my place, all eyes turned on me, and
everything passed off according to rule--To say the scene was not a
painful one to me would be to tell a lie. But duty has to come first.

As my second in command had said, I had a horror of corporal punishment
as laid down by the Convention, a relic of another age, when navy crews
were recruited amongst a set of vagabonds picked up in all quarters. I
thought it degrading. Often, among my brother officers, I had blamed
the unmeasured use I had seen made of it on board ships I did not
command. And glad indeed I was when it was done away with. A commanding
officer invested, and justly so, with unlimited authority on board his
own ship, is sure by intelligence, firmness, and sense of duty, to find
other means than the lash of making the saving law of absolute
obedience to superiors respected, without going such lengths as the
captain of an American warship, who, on his own responsibility, hanged
one of his midshipmen, nearly related to the Minister for Naval
Affairs, who had been guilty of attempted mutiny, from the yardarm.

I will not enlarge here on what has become the Newfoundland Question,
which I have naturally had to study in all its aspects. Suffice it to
recall the fact that when the Island of Newfoundland became British
territory, the conquerors ceded the exclusive right of fishing on half
the coast to France, with the reservation that we were only to remain
temporarily, during the fishing season, and have no permanent
establishments on the island. When these fishing rights were conceded
to us (and they soon became very important, employing as they did over
twenty thousand sailors, and turning the Newfoundland fisheries into
one of the chief training grounds for our service sailors) the island
was well-nigh uninhabited. There are no opportunities for conflict in a
desert country. But little by little the island grew populous. On the
part where we had the fishing rights, the "French Shore," a very
limited, almost insignificant, English population gathered, and, oddly
enough, we ourselves brought it there, desirous as we were to leave
caretakers to look after and keep in order, from one season to the
other, the indispensable establishments for the curing, drying, and
salting of the codfish, which we ourselves could not occupy
permanently. Everywhere, during my cruise, I found this English
population, living by us, and on excellent terms with our
Newfoundlanders. To such a pitch was the excellence of these terms
occasionally carried, that paying a visit one day to a worthy
sea-captain from St. Malo, who had laid up his ship during the fishing
season, and settled on shore, in an English house, I saw two chubby
children burst in, shouting "Papa, papa!" while a young and pretty
Englishwoman, sitting by, never lifted her eyes from her work. "The
little geese," said the worthy Breton, "see me so often, they've got
into the habit of calling me papa!"

This entente cordiale would no doubt have continued indefinitely, and
nobody would have heard any mention of a Newfoundland Question,
endangering the international relations between the two countries, if
the southern portion of the island, entirely English as it was, and
with a temperate climate, had not increased so rapidly in population as
to have a constitution, liberal institutions, a Parliament, and the
consequent elections. The electioneering agents forthwith found they
needed a sensational popular platform, and this platform has ended by
becoming something like the "Irredenta" movement in Italy, a claim for
national rights over the national soil. "Newfoundland for the
Newfoundlanders." There lies the whole of the Newfoundland Question.
Locally, nobody bothers their head about it, but in the press, and on
the phantom-haunted ground of electoral politics, it has kindled many
passions, and may very likely engender ruin and bloodshed some of these
days. These facts taken for granted, I return to my personal
recollections. Unlike most of my brother officers, I found my stay in
Newfoundland (in the summer months, during which we were stationed
there, be it understood) very pleasant. The island is a hilly one,
covered with pine forests. Where the woods fail, there are lakes and
rivers, admirably clear, and swarming with salmon and trout. There was
plenty of game, and all this in the midst of the uninhabited region
where every one can enjoy the completest liberty, with no limits but
those imposed by his own tastes and endurance. If there were no
drawback to all these advantages, Newfoundland in the summer-time would
be a paradise, and there is no such thing as that upon our globe. The
drawback is the flies, little black ones, called the "black fly," the
pest of all northern countries, against which one is quite defenceless.
They get in everywhere; no preservative stops them; no ointment nor any
daubing repels them. During a hunting excursion I made to the Isle of
Groix, so christened by some native of L'Orient, which is about eight
miles off Le Croc, I saw some of my comrades with their heads swelled
up like a hydrocephalous patient's, so that their eyes had disappeared,
half mad with pain from the stings of that infernal fly, and one of our
sailor servants lay on the ground, refusing to move, and begging us
with tears to put a rifle to his head and end his agony.

This Isle of Groix swarmed with creatures that had come over the ice
from the mainland in the winter season. Its steep edges, covered with
an impenetrable arborescent growth, enclosed a great treeless plateau,
a "lande." We used to get on to this lande by walking up the bed of a
rivulet, and once on it we had perfect massacres of winged game,
especially of that sort of gray grouse called ptarmigan by the English.
It was these birds' pairing season. They never flew away, and when we
killed one the other would ruffle up its feathers in a fury and fly
pecking at our legs. The wooded sides of the island must have been full
of reindeer, to judge by the quantities of tracks to be seen on every
side. If we had had one or two hounds to send into the thickets we
might have made hecatombs of them.

From Le Croc I went round all our neighbouring fishing stations--Saint
Julien, the Baie Rouge, &c. Cod were extraordinarily numerous that
year. One haul of the seine at the Baie Rouge brought in eighty-four
thousand cod-fish in one day. It was the golden age of the fishery. Now
the fish have deserted the eastern coast of Newfoundland. Our fishermen
have to take their boats and anchor on the big bank, and there they
stay for months, tossed about by every tempest. They go out
line-fishing in small boats, which are frequently lost in the fog and
never heard of again. Often, too, the fishing vessel herself is cut in
two, in fog or darkness, by some transatlantic liner steaming seventeen
knots an hour, which is out of sight in a few seconds, while the
unlucky boat founders with all hands. A hard and a risky life our bank
fishermen lead. But they come back men, and well-seasoned men too!

From the eastern coast of the island the Bette-Poule took her way to
the western side, passing through the Straits of Belleisle, a narrow
channel which parts Newfoundland from Labrador. The amount of difficult
navigation we met with going through the straits was really
extraordinary. The channel was full of ice-floes, either stranded or
driven about by the currents. A thick fog came down on us, with
zenithal aurora borealis, the electric action of which threw out every
compass, standard and otherwise, on board. No seeing, no steering!
After having been in a very critical position at the entrance of
Forteau Bay, a point on the Labrador coast celebrated for wrecks, I
took the frigate into the haven of Ingornachoix, where we made some
considerable stay, necessitated by the condition of my crew's health.
For some time it had been suffering from the exceptional fatigues of
the cruise. During our stay in Le Croc, in spite of its being a
breathing time, and of every kind of care, many men had been ailing,
and the sickness ended by taking the form of a somewhat serious
epidemic of smallpox. The best thing we could do to stop the mischief
and prevent it from increasing and becoming permanent (which would have
resulted in closing almost all foreign ports to us) was to isolate the
sick. I therefore lost no time in having a hospital constructed on a
pretty wooded isle, which lay just at the entrance to the place where
we were anchored, and in it I settled all my sick men, doing everything
in my power to dry and disinfect the frigate meanwhile. This double
measure was successful, and when we left the bay my crew was completely
restored to health and vigour.

I learnt several things during this long period in harbour, the first
of which was the discovery of the immense quantity of lobsters
frequenting the coast. The first day my men went to walk on shore they
brought back nine hundred, which they had caught among the rocks, and
that without the least difficulty. I do not know whether the
Ingornachoix lobster was like Bayard, without reproach, but without
fear he most certainly was. It was quite enough, when one caught sight
of him in shallow water, to poke a stick at him. He instantly sprang
furiously forth, laid hold of it with his claws, and absolutely refused
to let go. This abundance of lobsters, turned to commercial account
later, when it became known, gave rise to the Lobster Fisheries
Question, one of the stalking-horses of the English Irredentists.
Furthermore, I discovered that since the codfish were becoming rare on
the French Shore of the Straits of Belleisle, our fishermen, to remedy
the scarcity, went over and poached on the English coast of
Labrador--the principal drawback to which contravention of the
agreement was that it gave the English a pretext for doing the same
thing. As the English cruisers not unnaturally shut their eyes to
irregularities which created precedents that might be harmful to us,
our ships of war had either to sanction them by their presence, or, by
opposing them, to exercise in a foreign country a right of keeping
order which was questionable, to say the least of it; both of them
things to be avoided, if possible. And our orders, in fact, were never
to be seen at Labrador. This regulation I conformed to; but behold, one
fine day, a schooner from our local station at St. Pierre Miquelon
casts anchor alongside of me, and the following colloquy ensues between
the lieutenant in command and myself:--

"Where are you going?"

"To Labrador."

"But you know the state of things. There are the gravest objections to
taking one of our warships there."

"I know; but I have special and precise orders from the Minister for
Naval Affairs."

"What orders?"

"I have been ordered to go to Labrador to buy a dog for one of the
secretaries to the minister."

"That's what you have been sent from St. Pierre Miquelon for?"

"Yes."

I had to bow to this. I could not set up my authority as
commander-in-chief against that of the minister, so let the schooner go
on her compromising mission. Soon after, and not without regret, I set
sail to continue our cruise Time had passed swiftly by, between the
attention of every kind the health of the crew had necessitated, the
drill of every sort we had devoted ourselves to, and the gun practice
in the virgin forest, during which the ancient trees had been mown down
by our projectiles We had lived a Robinson Crusoe sort of life on the
largest scale--it is a sort of life I have always had a weakness for.
After building our hospital, we had made limekilns for disinfecting the
frigate, we had been wood-cutters, and charcoal burners, and
carpenters. We had made ourselves spare masts and spars. We had drained
ponds too; explored in all directions, hunting and fishing, and
discovered lakes and rivers.

Though we made good bags during these excursions, they consisted of
small game only. Once I fired at, and to my deep regret I missed, a
silver fox--the animal dressed by nature in the richest and rarest of
all her furs. There were abundant tracks of bear and caribou. We caught
sight once of a huge gray wolf, striped like a zebra. But none of these
larger beasts fell to our guns. We could not have got at them even with
hounds, so continuously far stretching and impenetrable the forest was,
and the only thing we had to help us was Fox, the ship's dog, an
excellent pointer by the way, the pet of everybody on board. He fell
into the sea one day when there was a strong breeze, and was picked up,
still swimming sturdily along to catch up the frigate, on board of
which he had a regular ovation when he got back.

We wound up our Newfoundland cruise with St. George's Bay, the last on
the French Shore, and the only point at which any difficulty was raised
about the exercise of our rights. We there found, in fact, a large
fast-growing and increasingly prosperous Anglo-Canadian village, and in
the presence of its inhabitants we went through the ceremony of
formally forbidding them to fish, which ceremony was greeted by
protests both amicable and bantering. Amicable, because half the
population were French Canadians, talking our own language with a
strong St. Malo accent, and in spite of everything else, the similarity
of origin, language, religion, and habits, established friendly
relations between us and them. Bantering, because first of all our
fishermen no longer frequented St. George, and secondly, because the
prohibition, which was compulsory during the four or five days in the
year during which our warships were present, became simply a dead
letter during the other three hundred and six days of the year. It was
easy, of course, to see that our exclusive right to fish could not be
maintained when once a sufficient indigenous population had settled
there, but it was no less easy to judge that some local arrangement
concerning these exceptional places, conciliating every interest, might
easily be made. Would that be possible nowadays, when electioneering
palaver has embittered the whole business? After leaving St. George, we
spent a long time hunting for our colony of St. Pierre Miquelon in
continuous fogs, and only succeeded in finding it by means of a plan of
my own invention. The weather happening to be moderate, I had several
triangular soundings made while we were under sail, and then
endeavoured to make the mathematical triangle thus obtained tally as to
depth and nature of bottom with Captain Lavaud's chart of the
Newfoundland soundings. So excellent is the chart in question, that the
plan was successful, and gave us bearings by which we got a direct line
for the shore. St. Pierre Miquelon is a bare, wild, hideous islet, but
with a first-class port. Admirable as a victualling station and mart
for our fishermen, its military value as far as our trade is concerned
is absolutely nil. Whatever may be done for it, it will always be at
the mercy of whoever is master of the seas in time of war.

At Halifax, whither I went to meet the officer commanding the British
naval station, we were put into quarantine on account of three
convalescents, relics of the epidemic we had been suffering from. But
it was taken off, thanks to the generous intervention of the
Governor-General of Nova Scotia, Lord Falkland, a splendid-looking man,
well known in Parisian society. Nobody could have been more obliging
nor kinder than this "grand seigneur" and his wife, the daughter of
William IV., were to us.

If Nova Scotia as seen from the sea, with its gloomy coast guarded by
numberless black reefs, recalls that of Brittany, the same resemblance
strikes the traveller who pushes towards the interior of the country,
through its deep and smiling bays; and Halifax Bay in particular, when
its fresh and verdant surroundings are lighted up by brilliant
sunshine, leaves nothing to be desired in the way of charm. I saw it
thus when I arrived, in all the excitement of a regatta, with the
peculiar feature of a race for birch-bark canoes, paddled with
incredible vigour by Mic Mac squaws, or Indian women, in blue blouses
and floating black hair. What a splendid colony Nova Scotia is, too!

The advance post of the huge Canadian territory, protected by its
almost insular position from the rigours of the northern climate, with
all its ports open (not only Halifax, where the fleets of the whole
world could find absolute safety, maritime and strategic, at once, but
Sydney too, surrounded by immense beds of coal), while the St Lawrence
is still choked with ice.

Our short stay in port was wound up by a great dinner given by my
gunroom officers to those of the English frigate Winchester. The meal
was of the merriest, if I may judge by the toasts, the cheers, and the
songs I heard; and the merriment continued on shore, whither the young
people betook themselves together. One of the English midshipmen, a
good-looking lad with a thick crop of carroty hair, returned on board
his own ship with beautiful jet black locks, to the great astonishment
of the first lieutenant; while I beheld two of my cadets appear at a
ball given by the officers of the garrison and indulge in such a
remarkable style of dancing, that I was forced to give them immediate
orders to return on board the Belle-Poule. One of these cadets, by the
way, was a Turk, called Saly. His story was rather a strange one. He
was the son of Saly Pasha, the pasha of Athens, and was a child in his
mother's arms when the city was carried by assault by the Greeks and
their philhellenic supporters, in I know not which year of the Greek
insurrection. All the defenders were put to the sword, and in the
excitement of the fight Saly's mother was murdered, but she had
strength, as she died, to throw her infant into the arms of a
Wurtembergian officer. He, much embarrassed by the gift, passed the
child on, having previously christened it Gottlieb, to a French naval
lieutenant of the name of Quernel, who commanded a vessel off that
coast. When Quernel returned to Toulon, my Aunt Adelaide heard the
incident mentioned. She interested herself in the little Turk, and had
him brought up amongst us. The boy turned out well, entered the navy,
and was a post captain when he died. From Halifax we went to New York,
the frantic bustle and stir in which place contrasted strangely, in my
eyes, with the calm of the Newfoundland deserts and the placidity of
the Blue Noses, as the inhabitants of Nova Scotia are nicknamed. We
were at New York to do some indispensable revictualling, consequent on
the exceptionally rough voyage we had had. Besides much other damage,
we had lost all our sails; they had been carried away one after the
other, and it was absolutely necessary to have at least one set in good
trim, instead of the patched rags still remaining to us, before
undertaking our winter voyage across the ocean.

I took advantage of the time these repairs took up to go and pay my
respects to the President at Washington and thence to make a rapid dash
into the West, in the footsteps of our ancient pioneers, and up to the
farthest limits of civilisation (as they were then, in 1841).

The thing that strikes one most on arriving in the United States, and
in New York in particular, as I have already said, is the extraordinary
bustle that reigns everywhere, and which really stuns one at first. One
feels so bewildered that any idea of a picturesque description
disappears. The only thing one is aware of is bustle. Bustle on land,
where everybody seems to rush as if they were demented--bustle on the
water, where one keeps wondering why the ships of all sizes passing at
full speed in every direction do not collide every other minute. In
complete contrast to our boulevards, Broadway, when you walk along it,
does not seem to contain a single idler. Are there any idle men in
America? Yes, there are some millionaires, who pull up when they have
made their fortunes. Their fellow-citizens assert that they are always
ill at ease, amidst the general activity, and that they go and settle
down in their idleness in Paris, among people like themselves, whose
frivolity they end by copying. They are looked upon as "demoralised
Americans." But they are few in number. As each man has only himself to
reckon on, as he has no hoped-for inheritance to wait for and discount
in idleness, seeing the man in possession owes nothing to his children,
nor to anybody else, and is free to dispose of his property as he
chooses, everybody being free to make his will as he likes, so each man
feels that if he wants to get on he must work. And is not this the
chief cause of the vigour and energy of the great American nation? If
Broadway is a tumult of business, that in the port of New York is worth
seeing too. This port is at the confluence of two arms of the sea, in
front of the public walk called the Battery. Here, towards five o'clock
in the evening, when the steamboats start, the huge floating palaces
may be seen shooting off in every direction, shrieking hoarsely. It is
a maritime pandemonium. In it the American is in his element. Dressed
in black, with a stove-pipe hat, the quid in his cheek causing him to
look as though he grinned sardonically, with one hand on the steering
wheel and the other on the engine-room bell, he drives his ship full
speed through the throng with an audacity, decision, and coolness which
made me shiver at first!

In this manner I left New York and passed along the coast of New Jersey
on my way to Washington, but not without receiving a very friendly
welcome from the naval officer commanding there, Commodore Perry, a
remarkable man, who, half by persuasion and half by force, concluded
the first treaty with Japan, thus opening up that interesting
country--I will not say to civilisation (for I do not know that Japan
has progressed on that account), but to trade, and intercourse with
nations of European origin.

In the very first train I got into I found myself opposite a big man
wearing a moustache and imperial, with a huge walking stick between his
legs, and was told he was the King, or rather Prince, Murat. Next we
passed a fine country property belonging to King Joseph Buonaparte, and
involuntarily I thought of a certain passage in the works of Voltaire,
where Candide meets all the dethroned kings at Venice. There were
others even then whose names I might have added to those of Murat and
Joseph, and the number was to be increased before long. "Special line
of Paris goods," we might almost say, in commercial phrase! Has this
sort of export trade answered with us?

I saw Philadelphia once more, as charming as ever. There was a fine
performance, that night, in the Chestnut Street Theatre, and I had sent
to take places for it. But when I arrived I saw a huge poster over the
door--"Prince de Joinville at 8.30," and beat an instant and hasty
retreat. As soon as I got to Washington I repaired to the White House
to pay my respects to General Tyler. He was a blunt-spoken man with a
big nose, who had successively filled the posts of governor of his own
State (Virginia) and of President of the United States, in each case in
consequence of the death of the actual incumbents, whose deputy he was.
He could not have done better in a hereditary monarchy! Our time at
Washington was taken up with an interchange of compliments of all
sorts. A dinner at the President's, visits to and from the diplomatic
corps, a huge reception, at which I shook hands at least three thousand
times, at the White House. And bouquets, too, in the "language of
flowers!"

We paid a visit, too, to the Naval Arsenal. A very nice little arsenal
it was, in a bad situation, but admirably arranged, and only put in
that particular place to serve as a sort of school of elementary
instruction to the ignorance of Congress, and interest its members in
naval matters. When I say Congress, I should rather say the Chamber of
Representatives. In the United States the Senate is the body which has
the real power, and which actually governs. This assembly, very few in
numbers, especially at the time of which I speak, chosen by the
Chamber, and of which the members were almost invariably re-elected,
had leisure to learn the necessities of administrative government and
to become a permanent body, whose action was both lasting and
intelligent, like the Council of Ten at Venice or the committee of the
Comedie Franjaise. But the Representative Chamber, full as it was of
journalists, who had never studied anything beyond the art of
attracting subscriptions to their papers, knew nothing whatever.
Luckily it only formed a second wheel in the Constitution, but, in
spite of that fact, anything likely to add to its enlightenment was
useful.

I left Washington highly gratified with my reception, but glad to have
got it over, and carried away a most agreeable recollection of our
minister, M. de Bacourt, a most delightfully witty man--a family
virtue, it would seem, to judge by his niece and grand-niece, Madame de
Mirabeau and Madame de Martel (Gyp).

From Washington I went to Buffalo, the train running off the rails on
the way, and that, too, on a viaduct, on which the engine, having
broken through the roadway, was hung up in the framework, like a fly in
a spider's web. I was anxious to go, via the great lakes, to Green Bay
on Lake Michigan, and thence starting from Mackinaw, the old Indian
Michillimackinac, to follow up the track of our officers and soldiers
and missionaries, who pushed on till they discovered the Mississippi.

[Illustration: a large ship on a river]

It was in 1672 that Talon, the Superintendent of "La Nouvelle France,"
having heard from the Indians of the existence of a great river, sent
out an expedition to discover it under Father Marquette, who had great
influence over the Indian tribes. Crossing the great lakes, he landed
at Green Bay, and pushing westwards, he soon reached the "Father of
Waters." It was for Green Bay that I too embarked, at Buffalo, on Lake
Erie, on board the staunch steamer Columbus, the last boat to go to
that place so late in the season (in mid-winter). Our boat was staunch
indeed, some consolation for the slowness of her pace. Of this she soon
gave us proof, for she ran with an awful shock, going eight knots an
hour in the dark, on to a reef of rocks, stopped short, and heeled
over. A big wave caught her and lifted her a second time; there was
another bump. But with the third wave she got across the reef. I rushed
towards the engine, thinking everything must be smashed and the side of
the ship gaping open. But no, not at all!

The captain, who had been taken aback for a moment, merely sent his
quid from one cheek to the other, without saying a word. The whole
thing was over. And, indeed, that was not the only unforeseen incident
during our voyage. We spent one whole night aground in the St. Clair
Lake. Nothing I can say will give any idea of the recklessness with
which the ship was navigated. To begin with, there were no charts; you
went at haphazard, according to information that had come down by
tradition, and yet these lakes are really small oceans, with currents,
and fogs, and squalls coming off the coasts, just like the sea. The
navigation must have been just the same in 1679, when Lassalle, an
officer in the Canadian army, launched the first ship, which he called
the Griffon, in honour of the griffin in the arms of his commanding
officer, the Marquis de Frontenac.

To danger by sea must be added danger by fire for our staunch Columbus.
The boilers were heated with wood--aloewood--out of which pencils and
cigar-boxes are made. It made a very pleasant smell, but being piled up
pell mell in the hold, against the furnaces, it caught fire several
times in my presence, and the stokers would just throw a little water
on it to put it out. On the deck the very high pressure engine worked
exposed and unprotected, amidst sheep and oxen and packages of all
kinds, which were frequently shot against it by the roll of the waves,
and above the whole there rose two stories of cabins, built of light
planking, as thin as paper, quite incapable of standing against the
most moderate seas, but which caught the wind, and made the ship
exceedingly unsteady. During a squall, luckily for us a short one,
which caught us on Lake Michigan, in the middle of the night, the whole
fabric began to give way. I was woke by the water coming in and the
crackling sound of the damage going on in all directions. So I got up,
and found all the Americans on board wearing lifebelts, and greeting me
with the remark, "Sir, you are a sailor, but there are more risks on
our lakes than on the ocean!" and quite right they were.

It was a long passage, and we put in to several places on our way.
First into Detroit, formerly the French Fort Pontchartrain, and now
become the capital of Michigan State. Opposite Detroit runs the
Canadian shore, to which we are borne by a steam ferry boat, and where
the same contrast strikes me as at Niagara. On the American side I find
a very pretty town, with all the comforts of civilisation, a scene of
hard-working activity. On the Canadian shore I see a village of poor
cottages, surrounded with apple orchards, like a village in Normandy,
in front of which the red sentry marches up and down, as stiff as an
automaton. The inhabitants of the said village, French both in feature
and appearance, hurried up in delight when they heard us speaking the
language of their forefathers. "It's the only tongue we know. We don't
want our children to learn any other!" And yet they have been English
for over a century! A strange contrast, indeed, this fidelity to the
memory of their national origin, to their not less sincere fidelity to
the conquering regime, which assures to them the right of willing their
property as they choose, and has freed them from the administrative
tyranny which seems, unfortunately, to cling to us under every regime.

From Detroit we went up the St. Clair River to Lake Huron. The great
river was a magnificent sight, with its banks covered with mighty
forests in all the splendour of their autumnal colouring. Here and
there, on the American side, stood some log cabin, an emigrant's first
shelter. Then we would come on a sawmill, that first of all necessaries
in such a country. On the British side now and again, we saw Indian
wigwams, Huron or Chippewa. At the entrance of Lake Huron bad weather
came on; it snowed, and we took shelter in a bay, where we moored the
ship to the shore close to one of those American forts that fringe the
Indian frontier. They are all alike, these forts; a battlemented wall
of thick planks, with banquettes for riflemen, and loopholed for
heavier guns. Within each are the barracks and the officers' quarters.
This particular fort was called Fort Gratiot. In 1688 its name was Fort
St. Joseph, and it had a French garrison, commanded by Baron de Houtou.
During this stoppage we had an amusing adventure. Our only fellow
passengers on the Columbus, some five or six in number, were an
American officer on his way to take command at Fort Winnepeg; a
Methodist missionary and his wife, who spent the day singing hymns
together, and retired to their cabin at night with all the eagerness of
the most enthusiastic fondness; a young dressmaker going to join her
family at Green Bay; and finally, Miss Mary, the chambermaid, a
handsome, fair, freckled girl, liked by everybody on board. Tired of
being on shipboard, the whole band of passengers, male and female, and
Miss Mary into the bargain, went off to walk and amuse themselves on
shore. Suddenly the people in the fort got wind of our presence. The
major commanding and his officers hastened up, asking where the prince
was, and invited us all into the fort, to rest and refresh ourselves
with them. It was impossible to refuse such a kind and cordial
invitation. It was equally impossible to break up our party--that would
have been unmannerly, and contrary to American ideas of propriety and
equality alike. So we entered a drawing-room, in which the wives and
daughters of the officers quartered in the fort were assembled. They
seemed to falter for a moment, when they beheld our lady companions.
They scanned the Methodist and his wife, and took their measure at once
But the dressmaker and Miss Mary, hanging on the arms of two of my
companions, seemed to puzzle them. Anyhow they hastened towards them,
took them by the hand, led them to the place of honour on the sofa, and
began the conversation with "Do you speak English?" I don't recollect
now how it all went off, but I know we were soon back on board, Miss
Mary and all, under a salute of twenty-one guns.

Mackinaw, a small wooded island, with high shores, and a fort over
which the stars and stripes of the Union floated, looked very
picturesque as we approached it. There was a ruin on one side of the
American guard-house, to which we lost no time in climbing through the
woods. It was the old French fort, and our hearts swelled at the
thought that the French flag was the first to float over this little
Gibraltar, when, some hundred and sixty years previously, our officers
took possession of this magnificent country in the name of their king.

Once more, with the eye of fancy, we saw our white-coated soldiers
mounting guard on those ramparts, whence their gaze must have wandered
over the confluence of the three great lakes and the immense empire
they had won for France, while the Indian tribes hurried from all
quarters to bend the knee to the Great Chief of the Pale Faces. It was
a great and glorious epoch; and what traveller would not feel deeply
stirred when he comes upon such bitter memories of the vanished
grandeur of his country?

Our good ship Columbus got to Green Bay at last, and, stirring up the
mud which obstructs the entrance to Fox River, bore us up that fine
stream and deposited us in front of a large store, surrounded by fifty
houses, there or thereabouts. This settlement was not in the United
States, but on Wisconsin Territory, an embryo State, not populous
enough as yet, nor sufficiently organised, to be called a State, nor
have a voice in the deliberations of the American Union. The country on
the left bank of the Fox River was not even a Territory; it was a
No-Man's Land, where any man might settle where and how he pleased.
Like all the places I had passed through, Green Bay, the "Baie Verte"
of our forefathers (and it still deserves its title) was occupied in
the first instance by the French. After Father Marquette's exploring
journey, twenty soldiers, two sergeants, and four bandsmen, under the
command of Lieutenant du Roussel, were sent thither in 1684 by M. de
Beauchamptrelle, commanding the king's troops at Mackinaw. Now, as I
have said, it possessed a hotel and about fifty houses, inhabited for
the most part by merchants trading with the Redskins. Everybody talked
French, and everybody hastened forward when the boat arrived to ask for
news from the civilised world.

A few Indians, silent and motionless, wrapped in their blankets, looked
on indifferently at the bustle. Squaws shod with moccasins, and the
toes of their little feet turned in, passed by without raising their
heads, their papooses sitting astride on their backs. The somewhat
numerous Indian tribes inhabiting the country were the Menomenis, the
Winnepeg Indians, and the Iroquois, which last had emigrated from
Canada to escape the English yoke. I much regretted not having time to
pay a visit to their wigwams. To the very last they were our most
devoted allies in our wars with the English. I had a talk with one of
the chiefs sons, who told me he still had Montcalm's sword in his
possession, and preserved it as a sacred relic. According to his story,
during the battle of Quebec, probably just at the moment when Montcalm
was mortally wounded, his sword was hung up in a tree, whence it was
taken by one of his faithful Indian followers, and it has always
remained with his tribe. After a great deal of difficulty we succeeded
in procuring saddle horses for ourselves, and a farmer's waggon for our
baggage, and we set forth for the Mississippi. The whole journey was
most interesting. There were no roads--the merest track through woods
interspersed with prairies--along which we went to the lake and fort of
Winnepeg. Beyond that lake we knew there would be nothing but prairie,
stretching far and wide, over which we must steer as though we were at
sea, or else be guided by the mysterious instinct of some trapper. We
met many Redskins in the woods, all busy hunting. Game was very
abundant--waterfowl on the streams, flights of prairie hens (a sort of
grouse), and herds of buck, which constantly crossed our line of march
Here and there was a clearing or first attempt at cultivation, round a
squatter's log cabin.

We were following the first skirmishing line of that army of
civilisation which is overrunning in its steady advance all that wild
country which was once the Indian's sole domain. When this advance
guard collects at any given point, a hotel rises, and beside it the
store where a trader will deal in every kind of merchandise, and
especially in brandy, that most destructive of poisons to all
indigenous races. After the hotel will come the bank, and then the
church and school, and before long the whole will grow into a village
or town, of which the United States will take possession by law. As for
the original squatters, they will make over their log cabins and their
bits of cultivation to new arrivals, of more sedentary tastes than
their own, and will move on further, with their wives and children, to
make a fresh settlement, often exchanging rifle shots with the Redskins
the while, in some spot where they can find that absolute independence
which they prize above all other goods. Thus does the tide of
civilisation, which shall soon cover the whole American continent, move
ceaselessly onward.

But on our own particular road we had got no further than the
squatters, and of them, after the day's march was over, we asked a
hospitality which was always cordially granted.

They were an energetic and a singular race. Here you might come on a
pupil from West Point (the military and polytechnic school of the
United States), a former captain in the army, who had married an Indian
wife, and had to learn French to make himself understood by her and the
other Indians in the neighbourhood, who could speak no other language.
A whole family of little half-breeds, more red than white, swarmed
about him. There again, both father and mother would be white-skinned,
witn splendid children, whom the mother rocked to sleep in the
intervals of preparing an excellent dinner for us with a haunch of
venison we had bought from an Indian who had just killed a buck. Their
log cabin, like all the others, indeed, consisted of one large room
below, with a big fireplace on which perfect tree trunks were burning,
and a loft above it. In these lofts passing travellers like ourselves
slept. And they were not over warm, for the doors and windows only
fitted tolerably, and the weather was frosty. In the evening the sons
of the house--huge fellows who crushed your hand when they shook it,
and who used their axes as well as they used their guns--would come in
from work, and the evenings would be spent sitting smoking and talking
round the fire.

"There are a great many Indians still," I was told, "and they are
rather turbulent; they killed a white man quite lately. The squatters
are very far apart too. But then we haven't to bother our heads or put
ourselves out because of anybody."

At one place, called Fond du Lac, the house was somewhat less primitive
than at our previous halting-places. Our host was a doctor of
cultivated mind, living alone with his family, of whom two, girls, were
very pretty. They made us a cranberry tart, on the memory of which my
grateful palate lingers yet. The worthy doctor was armed to the teeth,
for he had no white neighbours, and over two hundred Indians, so he
told me, prowling around him. He lent me a gun, with which I went out
shooting, and as a matter of fact I did meet a considerable number of
Redskins. As long as they can find game, and here it was plentiful,
they are, as a rule, tolerably inoffensive. Yet these were the remnant
of warlike tribes which had never been thoroughly subjugated, and there
was a hill, not very far off, called "Deadman's Butts," in memory of a
fight waged between them and the French army, backed by three thousand
Chippewa Indians, which ended in a terrible massacre. Notwithstanding
the presence of such neighbours, my host had chosen the spot where he
had pitched his tent right well, for I saw on a map of Wisconsin, which
I chanced to look at many years later, that Fond du Lac had become a
town, with railways running to and from it.

Leaving Fond du Lac, we found ourselves on the prairie, stretching wide
as far as the eye could see; dry yellowish grass (it was the end of
October) covered the slightly undulating plain, with here and there a
scanty clump of trees. It constitutes the plateau (not a very high one)
which separates the Mississippi river system from that of the St.
Lawrence. Our horses cantered gaily over the frozen ground. All at once
we saw a big animal running away from us at a kind of amble. We urged
forward our mounts in pursuit, and got up just in time to see it enter
a clump of brushwood, not fifty paces across. An Indian, who acted as
our guide, went into the thicket after it, gun in hand. A dreadful
roar, which terrified our horses, was followed by the appearance of the
infuriated animal. It was a puma, or panther without spots, which
galloped in a circle round M. de Montholon's horse, and then retreated
into a larger clump of trees, where we thought it prudent to leave it,
as our only arm was a single-barrelled small-bore rifle. Somewhat
further on we saw a big cloud gather on the horizon and rapidly
approach us. The prairie was on fire. We then took the well-known plan
of setting it on fire ourselves just where we were. Within less than
five minutes our fire had run a mile before the wind, going as fast as
a horse can gallop, with a noise like a distant rattle of musketry. We
and our horses entered the space we had set on fire ourselves, while
the big conflagration in the distance, finding no food in front, fled
away to our right and left. I afterwards saw the same sight at night.
It was most beautiful.

As we neared the Mississippi we got into less wild country. I remember
the first hotel where the host said to me, "You have come just in good
time. You'll have something out of the common for dinner. We have been
killing a sheep." Since leaving Green Bay we had been living
exclusively on venison and prairie hens and wild duck. A sheep was a
great rarity. We came upon the Mississippi at Galena in Illinois, so
called on account of its lead mines. When I say mines, I use an
expression which was quite inappropriate at the time of my visit, for
the galena, or lead-ore, lay on the surface of the soil. You saw its
metallic brightness shining out everywhere, and so rich was the ore,
that it yielded seventy-five per cent. of lead, even under the most
summary of processes. Added to this fact, the expense of transport
being infinitesimal, as the huge artery of the Mississippi River ran a
few paces from the beds, the working of them was so profitable that
nobody took the trouble to extract the silver from it. But the result
of this mineral wealth was that everything one eat and drank at Galena
was impregnated with lead, so much so, indeed, that one of my
companions had a fainting fit, caused by the sediment which the eau de
Botot he used for his toilet deposited in his glass. He thought he had
been poisoned. I had not time, when I got to the Mississippi, to go
down it to New Orleans, like our soldiers and explorers, when they made
their first journey across this splendid country, and by it united a
French Canada with a French Louisiana. The journey I had just taken had
lasted longer than I had thought for, and as my duty as a sailor
recalled me imperiously to my ship, my only thought was to rejoin her
as soon as possible. But means of communication in the West were few
and far between--railroads were unknown, roads hardly laid out. We were
fain to go down the Mississippi to where the Ohio falls into it, go up
that river to Cincinnati, and thence get by mail-coach to the railroads
in the older Atlantic States. This return journey was not altogether
uneventful. Our boat, ran aground several times during the descent of
the Upper Mississippi. On one of these occasions we were delayed for
some time near the confluence of that stream with the DesMoines River,
flowing through an exquisite country called Iowa, which in those days
had not yet been annexed by the Union. It swarmed with game. I remember
one shooting expedition I made with the ship's engineer, a young
Kentuckian of colossal stature. We flushed thousands of prairie hens
and other creatures, on whom we poured a hot but harmless fire. In our
own justification I must add that the Kentuckian was shooting with a
bullet, using a huge carbine, so heavy that it took him half a minute
to aim with it, and I with a single-barrelled gun, lent me by a
bar-keeper, with this information, "The barrel is all twisted. You must
aim three or four yards to the right, if you want to hit anything!"

The territory of Iowa was still disputed for by squatters and Indians.
These latter, who exceeded the whites in number, belonged to a great
tribe, both turbulent and warlike, the Saxes and the Foxes. They were
at peace with the Government at the time I speak of, but a deputation
of their chiefs, numbering thirty or forty, came on board our boat, on
their way to Washington, where they desired to lay their grievances
before the President. They arrived on board in full war paint, their
faces painted half red and half yellow, and their heads dressed, like a
cuirassier's helmet, with horsehair and big feathers, their bodies
naked, but hung about with baubles, their legs thrust into leather
breeches, and big blankets over all. Their squaws were with them. They
were ugly, but the men were splendid, with the most resolute and
impassive countenances. They behaved with the greatest dignity while on
board, and never showed any excitement except just as we were passing
by the confluence of the Missouri with the Mississippi. Whether it was
some superstitious feeling that attached itself to that spot, or the
impression made on them by the grandeur of the scene, the meeting of
the two great rivers forming a sort of lake, lighted up by a splendid
sunset, I know not, but they all assembled in the stern of the boat,
and repeated a sort of invocatory prayer. It was a perfect picture.

I did no more than pass through St. Louis, already a large town and the
capital of Ohio. An accident happened to us as we were going up the
Ohio ("La Belle Riviere" of our forefathers), such as does not occur
nowadays, when the Federal Government has caused the engineer
regiments, which add to their other functions those of our "ponts et
chaussees," a simple and economical plan, worthy of general imitation,
to clear the rivers of their different obstructions. We were snagged.

Herewith I explain the expression and the fact. As a consequence of
inundations and falling in of banks and such like, many big trees had,
from time immemorial, been carried down the American rivers. Many of
these trees had ended by catching in the river beds by their roots.
Stripped of their branches, and sharpened to a point by the action of
the water, and bent sloping by the current, they formed, as it were,
huge invisible subaqueous chevaux de frise, on which steamers going up
stream frequently impaled themselves, and this often to the destruction
of the ship and great loss of life. We ran against one of these trees,
somewhat sideways luckily for us, but it stood up on end, and amid a
frightful noise, and a little momentary consternation, carried away one
paddle box and wheel. A snag is only one of the numerous sources of
accident in American river navigation. But one soon gets accustomed to
the carelessness of danger which characterises the Americans, and on
the whole travelling on their river steamers is very pleasant. The
sleeping cabins are invariably clean and comfortable. On certain boats
some are very elegant. I have seen wedding cabins, that is to say
cabins decorated all over with mirrors and brilliantly lighted up,
intended for couples on their wedding journey. And truth compels me to
state that the strict regularity of these honeymoon couples is not too
severely inquired into.

At Cincinnati, the city of porkers, I took to the stage, at Pittsburg
to the canal. Across the Alleghanies I travelled in a coach crammed
with passengers of both sexes. It was a merry journey, during which I
was ceaselessly haunted by memories of the little Danaids, and Pere
Lournois and his forty sons-in-law, getting out of the Auxerre coach to
the sound of the chimes of Dunkirk. "Tutu ... tutu ... mon pere." At
New York I found the Belle-Poule done up as good as new, thanks to the
excellent care of my second in command, M. Charner. But before setting
sail I had to get through a certain number of banquets, followed by
toasts, and even to go to Boston for a great ball in the old town hall,
called the Faneuil Hall, the cradle of American Independence. I made my
entry at that ball preceded and surrounded by an army of solemn
stewards, wearing huge wigs, and with rather a good-looking woman, whom
nobody knew, on my arm. She called herself America Vespuccia, and she
began to swear like any heathen when somebody spilt a glass of lemonade
over her fine velvet gown.

The Belle-Poule weighed anchor at last, but before we got past Sandy
Hook a snowstorm came on. We could not see a yard ahead, and in a few
minutes we had a foot of snow on deck. The rest of our return voyage
was to match, in other words, it was awful. We ran, during its course,
one of those totally unforeseen risks of which a sailor's life is full,
and which, once past, constitutes one of its chief charms. Let my
readers try the following experiment:--Put two small bits of paper in a
basin of water, and disturb the liquid. By what learned men call
capillary attraction the two scraps of paper draw nearer to each other
and finally join together. It was this same capillary attraction which
nearly lost me my frigate and another battleship, the Cassard, which
was our consort. A violent south-easterly squall had come down on us,
and the sea was very heavy. All at once, just as night fell, over a sky
as black as ink and an angry-looking sea, the wind suddenly dropped.
The Cassard, driven by the last puff of wind, and drawn too by
capillary attraction, had got very near us, and soon this nearness
became alarming. We could not get about, for there was not a breath
stirring. We could not launch boats in such a sea to try and tow the
ships apart. Soon the frigate and her consort were tossing convulsively
in the heavy sea, with only the breadth of one wave between them. In
another moment they must crash into each other, and that at night, in
mid-ocean, far from any succour. It was a solemn moment. Although one
watch had been sent to turn in, nobody had cared to stay below. All
were on deck, men and officers alike, with serious faces. The only
sound to be heard was the noise of the sails flapping wildly against
the masts and my voice as I gave the other ship's captain his orders in
case a puff of wind should come from this quarter or that. Night had
come on, and in our heart of hearts we were both of us beginning to
despair, when the longed-for breath of wind came, and the ships drew
apart. Two hours later we were at the mercy of another gale, a
north-westerly one this time, with a bitter frost, which would not have
left a timber of the Belle-Poule and the Cassard if they had been in
collision, but which gave me occasion once more to admire our brave
sailors' courage and devotion. We had to set all sail so as to catch
the first puffs of wind. When the gale came on it became necessary to
furl them again. But having been soaked by the rain of the
south-easterly storm, they had turned under the action of the frost
into perfect icicles. They cracked like glass, cutting the men's
fingers and tearing out their nails. It was a frightfully difficult job
to take in the maintop sail--a very heavy hempen one--which I had kept
out as long as possible, and which had to be furled just when the storm
was at its worst. I watched my poor fellows clinging to the yard for
over half an hour, shaken by the terrible gusts, and still not able to
manage it.

At midnight, when the watch changed, fearing that with limbs benumbed
by the cold as theirs were, they would not be able even to continue
holding on, I sent them orders to come on deck and let fresh men take
their places. But no! they would not! and slowly, surely, they finished
their work. Only when they got down from aloft they came on to the
quarterdeck cap in hand, with bleeding, swollen hands and faces,
saying, "Captain, we have taken the maintop sail in," with that
indefinable but touching look that a man has who has done his duty to
the very end in spite of danger.

My brave sailors, I could have kissed them! But I did what they
appreciated more than that! I had good hot mulled wine ready for them,
and sent them to bed on it! Some days afterwards, in another gale,
between two snow-showers, I saw that rare electric phenomenon called
St. Elmo's fire--jets of electric fire appearing at the points of all
the ship's masts and yards. A spontaneous, unexpected, and most
effective illumination.

And then we entered Toulon harbour, where we saluted the flag of
Admiral Hugon, commanding the squadron to which the Belle-Poule was
about to be attached.



CHAPTER IX

1842


As the squadron was to go into winter quarters at Toulon, and as the
BELLE-POULE had to repair a great many damages, I went back to Paris
towards the end of January, 1842, and plunged joyfully into that most
precious of all possessions amidst the storms and vicissitudes of
politics, my home life. This notwithstanding, the pleasures of the gay
world, then a fairly brilliant one were by no means indifferent to me.
There was a numerous succession of festivities. My brother, the Duc
d'Orleans, gave a magnificent fancy ball in the Pavillon Marsan. All
the elegant and artistic world of Paris was there, dressed either in
historical costumes, faithfully copied from pictures in the museums, or
else in fantastic garments which especially set off the beauty of their
feminine wearers. Mesdames de Contades, de Murat, and Place had adopted
Eastern dress. Madame Thiers wore a rich moyen age costume; Madame de
Plaisance headed a whole quadrille of hunters and huntresses. The
Comtesse Duhesme another, in which both gentlemen and ladies wore the
charming costumes brought into fashion by Giraud's picture, La
Permission de Dix Heures. The beautiful Madame Liadieres shone in a
quadrille of light cavalry men of the time of Louis XV, and
shepherdesses dressed a la Pompadour. The foreigners and members of the
diplomatic body of both sexes were for the most part in dresses taken
from their own national history. Among the artists, Eugene Sue,
Henriquel-Dupont, Tony Johannot, and Louis Boulanger had chosen the
style of Louis XIII. Eugene Delacroix wore a Moorish dress, Horace
Vernet an Arab costume. Winterhalter represented a Florentine of the
fourteenth century, while Amaury Duval, Jadin, Eugene Lamy, Gudin,
Raffet, &c., &c., were all got up with the most studied correctness.
When we went into supper the band of my brother Aumale's regiment, the
17th Light Infantry, transformed into a posse of Arab musicians,
stationed on the staircase, played a whole series of Algerian airs,
which the good fellows had learnt at Mouzala and Medeah, in the olive
woods, or under the blaze of the sun and the heat of the Arab fire. The
guests took their seats round a table on which was the famous
centrepiece, executed after Chenavard's design, by Barye, Pradier,
Klagman, Moine, my sister Marie, and by Ary Scheffer and Paul Delaroche
as well, who laid aside their painters' brushes for the nonce, and
wielded the sculptor's point. It was an admirable piece of work, worthy
of Benvenuto Cellini, broken up, alas! cast to the four winds of
heaven, and lost to France, after the revolution of February.

This fete was THE FETE of that winter. One of those unique and original
entertainments the memory of which lingers with one for long. But there
were others besides.

The King gave a series of concerts and large and small dances every
winter. At these last only a very restricted number of guests
assembled, chosen exclusively among the diplomatic body, the foreigners
chancing to pass through Paris, and young dancing people, especially
those young ladies who ranked high for elegance and beauty. People used
to crowd, at these small dances, to watch the Princess de Ligne dancing
the mazurka with her incomparable Polish grace; just as at the big
balls, which were rather crushes, there would be a crowd, more curious
than admiring, to watch the steps and capers of the Prince de Craon,
the last remaining exponent of that pretentious school of dancing of
which Trenis had been the leader, under the Directoire. These large
crowded balls used to be a great bore, especially to us, who had to
take it in turn to do the honours to the very end of the evening. Yet I
recollect laughing heartily one evening, when this duty had fallen to
me, at seeing an officer of the National Guard, in his cocked hat and
big feather, whose vision had somewhat suffered from the supper he had
just consumed, trying to insist on persuading the Suisse standing at
the door of the ball-room with his cross belts and halbert, to be his
partner in the dance. He made frenzied attempts to drag him away, and
only interrupted them to try the seductive power of the most eccentric
of dancing steps which he performed before him.

Nowadays the race known as the Grand Prix de Paris marks the close of
what people are pleased to call the season. Under the July Monarchy it
was the "Fete du Roi" with its firework display, and its official
receptions, which were tiresome to the last degree. Revolutions may
succeed each other, governments may change, but all the tiresome things
go on for ever. Under the monarchy, the empire, or the republic alike,
it is indispensable, so it would appear, that once in the year at
least, the diplomatic body, clergy, Chambers, officers of the land and
sea forces, and companies and corporations of every kind, should pass
before the chief ruler, whoever he may be, and make a series of
official speeches to him, expressing good wishes which are for the most
part utterly lacking in sincerity, and which the unlucky recipient is
obliged to acknowledge in every sort of commonplace formula. My father
had quite a special talent for varying these answers of his, which he
always extemporised. They were taken down in shorthand, and made over
to Vatout to have a final polish put on them before being sent to the
Moniteur. The witty academician abhorred this duty, which he
irreverently styled "dressing the royal macaroni." For lay figures like
myself, the only interest about these receptions, which were
practically got up for effect, lay in watching the personages we saw
pass. Two long-haired peers of France, who always were among the last
of their Chamber to pass by, used to attract our attention
particularly. They were Victor Hugo and Montalembert; then among the
members of the Paris Municipal Council, Victor Considerant, too, used
to be pointed out to us. Then there was a member of the Institute in a
green coat and black breeches, whose advent we looked forward to with
delight. This worthy gentleman used to come up with three or four
deputations in succession. He would arrive with the first, bow, applaud
enthusiastically after the address, and then, while his deputation was
leaving by the door of exit, he was stepping backwards to the entrance
door to reappear with a second and third party, coming forward each
time with the same low bows and the same demonstrations of enthusiasm.

Among the general officers and diplomats out of active service who took
part in these ceremonies, I used to remark two British admirals, Sir
Sydney Smith and Lord Cochrane, who never failed to attend. They had
each had a brilliant career. The first, with Djezzar Pasha, had
defended St. Jean d'Acre against General Bonaparte's forces. The
second, a tall, fine, bold-looking man, had covered himself with glory
by the most gallant behaviour, both in Europe and Chili, where the
tradition of his valour still survives. Both had done great service to
their country, yet neither, it was said, could return to it. Wherefore?

The reception of the clergy had a quaintness all its own. The
archbishop's discourse was invariably and utterly inaudible. Whether by
accident, or by an unlucky coincidence, it was always drowned by the
noise of the tremendous morning serenade given in the courtyard by the
twelve or fifteen hundred drums of the National Guard and the Paris
garrison, all beating in unison under the guidance of a single
drum-major.

Finally, in the evening, we had the clou of the performance, the
reception of the diplomatic body. There was a certain amount of pomp
about it. The members of the corps assembled in a drawing-room near the
Pavillon Marsan, where a collation was prepared. Thence the King's
aides-de-camp went and fetched them, conducting them through all the
galleries of the Tuileries to the Throne-room, near the Pavilion de
Flore. When all these ambassadors and ministers, with their suites,
appeared at the door of the Throne-room, in their varied uniforms, all
glistening in the candle-light, and slowly moved towards the King, with
three successive bows, the scenic effect was really superb. The only
shadow on the picture was the Introducer of Ambassadors, who filled the
part of master of the ceremonies. I never could make out why, for that
very theatrical part, we had chosen a hideously ugly man with no nose!
We ought to have had some fine handsome fellow to face those
representatives of all the nations in the world. When once the speeches
had been made, and the King and Queen had gone round the circle, the
diplomatic body retired backwards with the same three bows as on
entering, and passed out very slowly, for at the time of which I speak
it was exceedingly numerous. Besides the ambassadors of the Great
Powers there were family ambassadors. And then there were ministers
from every country in the world, including those of the small German
and Italian States, which have now been swallowed up in German and
Italian unity. All these embassies and legations had innumerable
attaches, generally young men of great families attracted by the
gaieties of Paris, and glad to have a uniform and the right of
admittance to all the entertainments at court, at the embassies, and in
society in general. For in those days society did still exist, our
divisions and revolutionary laws having not yet succeeded in destroying
it.

Of all these diplomats, the most liked and the most likeable, beyond
all contradiction, was the Austrian Ambassador, Count Apponyi, a
magnificent Hungarian magnate. The long duration of his mission, his
truly high-bred kindliness, and the salon which his wife, his winning
daughter, his sons, and nephews had been clever enough to make the
first in Paris, had combined to render Count Apponyi most congenial to
us. His English, Russian, and Prussian colleagues confined themselves
exclusively to their official {{Illustration to the right of the text
above with no caption}} duties and to the coolest politeness. It would
have been hard for Lord Cowley (a Wellesley), even had he desired it,
to wipe out the memory of his predecessors, Lords Granville and Stuart
de Rothesay, and above all of the charming daughters of the last-named
peer--beautiful, lovable, and artistic--who became Lady Waterford and
Lady Canning respectively. Among the ministers I still seem to see the
form of Coletti, resplendent in his Greek costume--a true patriot and a
devoted friend to France--and then there was the Swedish Minister,
Comte de Loevenhielm, a charming old gentleman, who had been
page-in-waiting on Gustavus III. the night he was murdered. The Spanish
Ambassador changed with every pronunciamiento. I do not remember the
name of any one of them.

As a novelty, we had a Turkish Ambassador. For centuries there had been
none but temporary Ottoman missions. The first permanently appointed
ambassador we had, before Namick and Reschid Pashas, who both spoke
French very well, was Ahmed Fethi Pasha. He did not know a single word
of our language. I was present at a great dinner in his honour at the
Tuileries, and this is what took place. Of course he had been placed on
my mother's right hand at table, with a Foreign Office interpreter, all
gold lace and decorations, on his other side. As soon as dinner began,
the pasha conceived it incumbent on him to address my mother with a
fine Turkish compliment, which, judging by the way he turned up his
eyes, and laid his hands on his heart, and the bows he made her, must
have been adorned with every flower of Oriental poetry. When his speech
was finished, the pasha turned to the interpreter for him to translate
it to my mother, and this he proceeded to do, the pasha accompanying
and accentuating his remarks with more bows and grimacing and pressure
of his hands to his heart.

Now, behold the translation, which the dragoman, who no doubt had
perused the Bourgeois Gentilhomme, delivered to the Queen. "Madam, I
have a daughter whom I am very anxious to get into the Maison de St.
Denis. To do that I need your Majesty's powerful support. Your Majesty
will understand my seizing this unequalled chance of making my request."

And all the time the good pasha kept on making agitated bows, and my
mother had to keep on smiling at him and returning them!

As regards the condition of things in general, it appeared pacific
enough in that year of grace 1842. The tempest in the East was almost
forgotten, a breath of peace seemed to be passing over Europe, under
the influence of which calm and prosperity reigned in France. We had a
magnificent army, in which my brothers took as much interest as I did
in the navy. And the head of the army was an eminent Minister of War,
Marshal Soult, who, although he looked on M. Thiers as a tiresome
little fidget, employed the fruits of his great experience and long
service in the Ministry in bringing every branch of our land forces to
perfection gradually, and in the most admirably consistent spirit. This
army was waging an incessant war in Africa under a commander no less
eminent than the Marshal himself, General Bugeaud, thus carrying on the
conquest of our splendid Algerian colony, which would have been
peerless indeed if we could have filled it with that excess of
population which other nations still possess, but which has been dried
up, in our case, by our revolutionary laws. Our naval forces were in
good condition too, so far as they could be, on the eve of that great
duel between sails and steam which was to end by revolutionising
everything, in spite of all the delays of the red tape faction.

Of politics, my pet aversion, I will not speak. I had sufficient
curiosity, before writing these lines, to look through the back numbers
of the Moniteur for that period, and started in horror at the terrible
accumulation of useless chatter I came upon. In contrast to these
torrents of fairly inoffensive eloquence, the unofficial press indulged
in a large amount of intemperate writing, far more dangerous, seeing
that it flattered more passions, and that the calumnies thus spread
were much farther reaching. The Government, honest, useful, and
enlightened as it was, consistently patriotic and far-seeing, was able
as yet to thread its way amongst the obstacles cast in its path. Six
more years were to elapse before it was to be completely hemmed in, and
the deluded mob to dance wildly round the throne it had overturned
singing the democratic creed, the chorus of every revolution we have
had the last hundred years.

 Demolissons
 Tant que nous pourrons!
 Apres, nous verrons
 Ce que nous ferons.

But my winter in Paris slipped swiftly by, and towards the end of May
Admiral Hugon's squadron prepared to go to sea, the repairs to the
Belle-Poule were finished, and I started to join my ship.

At Lyons I embarked on a steamer to go to Toulon, and this vessel
brought me to Arles under a lovely sunset. Nothing could be prettier
than the scene on arriving at this picture of an old town, with its
tall towers and the great walls of its amphitheatre, its stone houses
set in the Rhone, and its port full of boats with long graceful lateen
yards. It was Sunday, besides, and the promenade was crowded with
pretty women. I am very fond of the little town, and am always glad to
get back to it. So I lost no time about jumping on shore, and making
over my baggage to the porter from the Hotel du Forum, I took advantage
of the long twilight to see what changes three years had wrought in my
old acquaintance. The women of Arles, a Greek colony, still preserve
the type of countenance so much admired by the ancients, undeteriorated
by their slight admixture of Catalonian blood. The magnificent
monuments of the Roman city, the theatre and the arena, show the rank
it held in ancient Gaul. In the present day it is a well-to-do, gay,
careless town, with a lively and frivolous population, fond of
pleasure, and indulging freely in it. Night overtook me during my walk,
and under the splendid moonlight I could have fancied myself in some
Arab town; I was in a labyrinth of lanes, where the heat of day still
hung. The women sat before the doors in their pretty Sunday dresses,
chattering with the young men, and no carriage nor any sound disturbed
their low talk in that harmonious tongue on which the poems of the
trouveres have shed such glory. It was exquisite. What a beautiful,
nay, what an adorable country is France in all her varied aspects, east
and west, north and south! What endless enchantments they afford, if
only one can get rid of the sickening politics that break up and
destroy everything they touch!

On the morrow I travelled down the Rhone, through the Camargue, with
its droves of oxen and its flights of flamingos, lost in dreamy reverie
as though foreseeing even then that beautiful poem of "Mireille," which
Mistral and Gounod have since rendered immortal.

We sailed from Toulon, a splendid squadron, twenty strong, to manoeuvre
at sea. We were under the orders of Admiral Hugon, "Le Pere la Chique,"
as the men called him. The soubriquet bears its own explanation with
it. Born at Granville and thoroughly Norman in character, the admiral
concealed the most unshakable determination under an appearance of the
greatest good-nature. I never met a more thorough-born sailor. He
divined what weather was coming, foretold it long before the barometer
did, and took all the necessary precautions in advance. He was the very
personification of the seafaring instinct. Besides this, he had a long
record of bravery behind him. At Navarino, where he commanded the
Armide, he came up and lay with true fraternal chivalry between the
Turkish ships and a British frigate that was suffering very much from
their fire, which same service the British corvette Rose rendered him
in return, and with equal gallantry, towards the close of the
engagement.

The consequence of all this was that we all felt ourselves well led,
and had the most absolute confidence in our chief, and I myself was
particularly fond of him. It really was a fine sight both from the
picturesque point of view and from that of a justifiable national
pride, when our twenty white-sailed ships manoeuvred all together,
under the admiral's signal, on the blue Mediterranean waters, with no
sound to break the silence except the shrill voices of the officers of
the watch.

We went on in this fashion, sailing and manoeuvring and firing our
guns, and gauging day by day the respective values alike of officers
and men, till we got to the Gulf of Naples, where we cast anchor, so as
to give everybody a spell of rest and recreation. Very complete the
recreation was, every class of the population joining to give us the
kindliest of welcomes. We sent our crews ashore, and there the
Frenchman's gaiety soon went into partnership with the Neapolitan's.
Everywhere corricoli were to be seen galloping along carrying clusters
of merry sailors. Our ambassador, the Duc de Montebello, who kept great
state and the most open house at the Rothschild palace, introduced our
officers into the most delightful society of Naples, and there was a
succession of parties and merry-makings. By way of response, the
admiral gave a very pretty afternoon party on board his three-decker,
the Ocean, and I a ball on board the Belle-Poule. I had found a goodly
number of old acquaintances, besides my cousins of both sexes, and
especially I frequented the society of a certain charming Tertullia,
who held her daily court at the Palazzo Fernandina, a place of meeting
which all of my generation at Naples must recollect. It was a Spanish
house, belonging to the Toledo family, numerous branches of which were
represented in it, such as the Villafranca, the Alcanicez, the Bivona,
the Sclafani, &c. What charming women of every nationality one met
there! What pleasant parties we organised thence, with Isabella
Colonna, Teresa Sclafani, and that exquisite creature Lauretta Acton,
who afterwards became Madame Minghetti, and many another! Now it would
be a night ascent of Vesuvius, in eruption, and then again a moonlight
excavation at Pompeii. Show me the man who would not have fallen in
love in such company, beneath that exquisite sky, environed and
intoxicated by the indefinable enchantments in which the landscape and
the very air you breathed were steeped! But the signal to get under way
is hoisted at the mainmast of the Ocean, and we must tear ourselves
away from these delights, and start forth with hearts that are heavy,
but full of sweetest memories. And whither? That is the Admiral's
secret!

A few days after our departure we were in the open sea, absorbed in
professional duties and daily drills, when afar off we saw the smoke of
a steamer. Soon the vessel came in sight and hoisted signals for our
admiral, who ordered the fleet to bring to. The sea being calm, an
officer from the steamer boarded the Ocean, and immediately afterwards
we saw the admiral's barge lowered, and he got into it and steered for
the Belle-Poule. Amid the general astonishment and numerous conjectures
caused by this unusual incident, I received my chief at the
companion-ladder. He grasped my hand, squeezed it tight, drew me into
the cabin, and said, "Your brother, the Duc d'Orleans, is dead, killed
in a carriage accident. My orders are to send you to Paris at once."
The rough old sailor's face betrayed his deep emotion. But how shall I
describe my own, under such a terrible and unexpected blow? This
world's sorest sorrows are those that tear the human heart-strings, and
mine was even more bitter than an ordinary grief, for I do not believe
there ever was a more attached family than ours, and not only had I
lost the most beloved of brothers, but the confidant, the guide and the
companion of my whole life. I seemed to see and feel the despair of my
father, above all of my mother, and of my brothers and sisters, too,
under this awful blow, and their sorrow added to my own. For a moment I
stood thunderstruck. Then the admiral left me alone .... I gave over my
ship to my second in command, and within an hour I was on my way to
Toulon, the gloomy faces round me betraying the general feeling that
this was a public misfortune, and that the loss to France was very
great.

It was indeed immense, irreparable. For the past ten years we all, and
with us the whole of France, had looked to my brother as our leader,
the "chef de demain," our chief in the great days that were to come. We
had of course the tenderest affection, the most entire devotion, the
deepest respect for the King, Le Pere, as we always called him amongst
ourselves, but it was to Chartres we turned for guidance always. There
was not one of us who would not from childhood upwards have
unhesitatingly accepted his advice and his authority. How often had we
discussed with him all the chances the future might bring! How often,
too, had he pointed out the various parts he destined each of us to
play, every one of them, we felt, stamped with the good sense and
profound understanding of a born leader of men! And what we, his
brothers, his lieutenants, so to speak, felt about him, the country
felt as well. The King was in the breach, valiantly carrying on the
battle of life, to preserve the peace, calm, and prosperity she was
enjoying to France, and all those who were not blinded by democratic
envy were grateful to him for so doing. But he was growing old, great
complications might arise, and, like us, all had looked confidently to
the young leader who, without ever mixing himself up in the barren
struggles of everyday politics, was ceaselessly preparing himself for
great and important contingencies. For every one else, as well as for
us, I repeat, the Duc d'Orleans was the chef de demain. His incessant
care for the good organisation and perfecting of our military forces,
and the pains he took to select the most deserving men from their ranks
without a shadow of favouritism or regard for birth--such men as
Lamoriciere, Cavaignac, Canrobert, and MacMahon--and to advance them to
the highest positions, had been appreciated by the public. All this was
pour demain, for the morrow. So too in matters civilian. If he did
stretch out his hand, not indeed to incorrigible revolutionaries, but
to men of advanced opinions, who were in opposition to the King's
Government, that too was "for the morrow." It was so as to be able, in
the hour of his country's peril, to serve as the patriotic link between
all the living forces in the nation. The general feeling, alas! both
our own and that of the great majority of thinking men, was that the
bond that might have held these forces together against revolution,
overflowing from within, as well as enemies attacking from without, had
just been snapped. Death had destroyed the anticipated and universally
accepted successor, and with him the chief prop of the July Monarchy.
Thenceforward the ship was to toss uncommanded, objectless and
compassless, at the mercy of every tempest. Men and principles alike
had failed us, and we were to relapse once more into a state of
unstable government. This sad presentiment was only too well justified
by ultimate events.

Physically, my eldest brother was tall, with a slight and exceptionally
elegant figure. In uniform and on horseback he looked magnificent, and
his soldierly presence pleased the troops as much as it did the
populace. As for bravery, he was downright reckless, another cause for
popularity with the masses. Everybody knew he had received a wound in
Africa, before Mascara, by throwing himself boldly among the
skirmishers at a critical moment. It was known, too, that at the
Mouzaia Pass, when the whole army was wearing a cap covered with black
oilcloth, he alone insisted on wearing a bright red one, which marked
him out to all the men as their commanding officer, but which also
exposed himself, and those near him as well, to the enemy's bullets. To
the charm of valour my brother added that of speech, that music of the
tongue to which all men, but especially Frenchmen, are so sensitive.
And to this he added another quality not less seductive, especially in
a prince--he was a good listener; listening, in fact, was one of his
foremost qualities. Surrounded, as he always was, by eminent men of
every nationality, he would assimilate with extraordinary facility and
wonderful retentiveness not only the fruitful ideas which he gleaned
from their conversation, but the very words which struck his fancy. And
these words, as well as those with which his cultivated and thoroughly
French mind and his heart inspired him, he knew how to use with
marvellous effect. What more eloquent than the toast he proposed at a
farewell banquet in the open air, at which his whole division, officers
and men alike, were gathered round him, after their return from the
expedition to the Iron Gates?

"In the name of the King, who four times over has sent his son to serve
in its ranks, I drink to the army of Africa and its general-in-chief,
Marshal Vallee, under whose orders it has accomplished such great deeds.

"To the army which has conquered a vast and splendid empire for France,
opening a boundless field to that civilisation of which it is the
vanguard, and that colonisation of which it is the first pledge.

"To the army that has handled rifle and pick in turn, fighting Arabs or
fever as they came, facing an inglorious death in hospital with stoic
resignation, and which by its brilliant valour has preserved the most
famous traditions of our arms among our youthful soldiers.

"To the army, the flower of that greater French army--the nursery, on
the one battlefield reserved to us alone, of our future military
chiefs--whose heart swells with a just and noble pride in those who
have already risen from its ranks.

"To the army, which, distant as it is from the fatherland, knows
happily nothing of the intestine conflicts waged there, except to curse
them, and which, being as it is the refuge of those who flee them, asks
nothing but to fight nature, Arabs, and the climate, in the general
interest of France.

"And to the illustrious leader, the captor of Constantine, who has
stamped French Africa with the indelible seal of permanent possession,
and planted our flag where the Romans dared not carry their eagles."

The reception given by the soldiers, whose toils and dangers he had
just been sharing, to this vigorous language may be imagined. He had
the supreme charm, both for soldiers and for artists, who always found
a friend and protector in him, and for women as well. But here I touch
a delicate subject, and the most inviolable secrecy checks my pen. Old
Baron James de Rothschild was heard to say in his old age that he yet
had to meet the lady who could resist him. I fancy he boasted somewhat.
I fancy, too, that if he had not met her then, he ended by knowing such
a lady. But I am certain, without going so far as the baron did, that
my brother met few women, in the course of his radiant youth, who did
not respond to his homage, at all events with a secret but tender
emotion. Into what adventures that personal charm of his carried him!
He was saved on one such occasion, from a very risky situation, by his
own sangfroid and boldness. It was at a period when attempted risings
were continually occurring in Paris. Either HE or SHE had had the
somewhat original idea of meeting at a house in a far from poetic
street which still exists--the Rue Tiquetonne. Presently alarming
sounds were heard, and then died away, only to begin again, louder than
ever. Soon the distant rolling of drums sounded, followed by rifle
shots. It was the situation in the fourth act of The Huguenots. They
rushed to the window. The street was full of armed rioters, busily
engaged in building up barricades. How was he, the Prince Royal, known
as he was by everybody, to get away? "I turned up the collar of my
overcoat," he told me, "and I was lucky enough to get into the street
just as they were dragging up a carriage to upset it and make it the
nucleus of the barricade. I caught hold of it at once, helped to turn
it over, and to pile paving-stones and stuff of all sorts over and
round it, with an amount of zeal that disarmed all suspicion. And then
I watched my opportunity and slipped away." In an hour he was in
uniform and on horseback, and the Municipal Guard was carrying HIS
barricade at the bayonet's point. [Footnote: Translator's note.--What
became of the poor lady?]

Such, under his various aspects, was the brother I had lost.

I reached Neuilly in time to be present at his solemn funeral, which
took place at Notre-Dame amid the most touching proofs of the general
sorrow. We took him to the mausoleum at Dreux, and then we shut
ourselves up at Neuilly to cling to each other and mourn him in silence
and retirement.

But though my brother Nemours, upon whom the eventual duties of Regent
fell by the Duc d'Orleans' death, was by that fact prevented from going
away, neither I nor my other brothers, who wore the King's uniform,
were able to remain long in idleness.

Aumale was appointed to the command of the Province of Tittery, in
Algiers. The Belle-Poule was ordered on a cruise along the Guinea Coast
and to South America, touching first of all at Lisbon, and it was
settled that Aumale should take passage on board her as far as that
port. So after a sad farewell we started together to join her at Brest.
As our mourning exempted us from all official receptions, we took the
longest way round, by the Loire Valley, with its ancient castles, the
wild country of Morbihan, and the picturesque scenery of Finistere. Our
first stage was to Blois, where we went to see the castle, an historic
gem, then on to Amboise, Saumur, Angers, Pont-de-Ce, and Nantes.
Everything about that journey--scenery, monuments, memories,
legends--is delightful. It is a touching unfolding of the history of
old France--that France of bygone days, which, with her faded glories
and her chivalrous adventures, consoles those who love her for the
calamities born of revolution. We made a short stay at Nantes, whence
Aumale went to Chateaubriand to look at his property with M. de la
Haye-Jousselin, while I went to Karheil to see the chateau of the
Coislin family. This was for sale, and my father was anxious to buy it
as a centre to the sandy tracts of Saint Gildas and Lanvaux, which he
owned already, and which previous to the year 1830, he had planted with
trees, which had done well.

On my way to Karheil I passed through Blain, where I saw the ruins of
the famous castle of the Rohans, the cradle of that mighty race. Only
two out of the nine towers adorning it are still standing. The rest
were pulled down during the Revolution. The heart tightens at the sight
of these ruins scattered in all directions and the inevitable
repetition of the phrase, "Destroyed during the Revolution." The
Saracens and Huns did no worse things.

In the company of an aged man with powdered wig and side curls, the
picture of an old-fashioned henchman, and armed with full powers from
the Coislin as well as from the Rohan family, I went to see Karheil, a
castle perched on a rock, encircled by a pretty stream. The glades of
the fine park were obstructed by fences, hedges, and ditches, and other
artificial obstacles, which turned them into a steeplechase course--an
arrangement, so M. Bizeul told me, of M. le Marquis "for the amusement
of the people coming to the chateau." Then he looked at me. I know not
what he read in my eyes, but a paroxysm of grief seized him, and he was
almost in tears as he confided to me the sorrow he felt at seeing one
of the oldest and most venerated families in Brittany go down the hill.
And the old friend of the family had good reason to be grieved. There
was good stuff in the Marquis de Coislin of that date. As a young man
he had put himself at the head of his devoted partisans, like a gallant
knight, in the Duchesse de Berry's insurrection. Later on, I had met
him in Paris, a splendid gentleman, whose deep glance breathed passion,
and no doubt inspired it too. Many years later yet, in 1871, those who
saw Charette's Zouaves fighting with the army of the Loire noticed in
their ranks a tall old white-bearded man, a simple Zouave indeed, but
an exemplar of courage and devotion. That was the Marquis de Coislin.
Sad it is that it is through our revolutions and divisions the services
of such men should be lost to France.

From Nantes too I went to see the naval workshops at Indret, where I
was received by exceedingly capable and intelligent chiefs of
departments, and where I saw a body of artificers quite out of the
common, but all of them misplaced in a badly situated establishment,
the original plan of which was utterly defective, and in which they
were forced to vegetate uselessly in spite of their own impotent
efforts and endeavours. Thence we took our way across the Morbihan to
Vannes, which during the whole of my father's reign was administered by
the same prefect, and that with the esteem of every party. An
exceptional case this (especially when the state of latent civil war in
which the department was, is considered), and one much to the credit of
the gentleman in question, M. Lorois. Our journey was so hurried that
we had barely time to kneel at the shrine of St. Anne d'Auray, so
highly venerated by Breton pilgrims, and to give some hasty alms to the
crowd of beggars clustered on the steps of the sanctuary. They all
limped off at once, with a great clatter of crutches and wooden shoes,
to fetch us water from the Bonne-Mere to wash our faces and eyes with.
The journey across Brittany from Nantes to Brest, by Auray, Rosporden,
and Quimper, is a delightful one. Smiling and picturesque scenery
everywhere, old churches too, surrounded by fine trees, and at the
period of which I speak, 1842, the quaintest of costumes as well. Here
withy-cutters, or salt-marsh workers from Guerande, in blouses,
breeches, and long white gaiters, with broad-brimmed hats laden with
charms on their flowing hair. There people from St. Pol-de-Leon, all in
black. Further on, a group of women, in embroidered bodices and quaint
headdresses, kneeling on the open heath, at the foot of a stone cross.
How pretty those little Breton women are with their well-shaped waists
and their short petticoats, showing glimpses of neat blue stockinged
legs, and fresh rosy faces under their white caps! Those eyes of theirs
are cast down devoutly at their prayers, but on feast days they are
raised and shine with passionate fire. On such occasions, if we may
believe report, the pretty little devotees follow the guidance of that
eleventh commandment, which, according to the late Lord Clarendon, sums
up all the rest:

 D'etre pince te garderas,
 Afin de fauter librement--

or, in the English version, "Thou shalt not be found out."

We reached Lisbon after a swift passage. The Tagus is a fine river,
certainly, but, to my mind, the much vaunted panorama of Lisbon does
not merit its reputation. The Tower of Belem alone, with its curious
architecture, enchants the eye, and the enchantment is prolonged, on
landing, by the sight of the exquisite church standing behind it. But
there it ends. All the rest is ugliness. We went ashore in the royal
launch (Falua), a vessel adorned with gilt carvings, and with a silken
awning over her stern. The crew were men from Algarve, with tanned
skins, dressed in short drawers and jackets of amaranth-coloured
velvet, with Venetian caps on their heads. They stood upright to row,
keeping their strokes in time to a sort of litany in the Queen's
honour, which they sang in chorus.

This was not my first visit to Lisbon. I was rejoiced to see the Queen
Dona Maria again. She was one of my childhood's friends, and I was
eventually to become her brother-in-law I know not how many times over.
I also renewed my acquaintance with King Ferdinand, of whom I had not
seen so much. The King, who was an artist to his finger tips, a
distinguished musician, water-colour artist, etcher, and ceramist,
hated politics. This and some other little failings common to us both,
drew us together, and our friendship endured up to his premature death.
I have often been in Portugal since those days, and have always
received a welcome for which I feel the liveliest gratitude. I have met
distinguished men there, and charming, well-informed, and kind-hearted
ladies. I have vowed the sincerest affection alike to both Portugal and
the Portuguese, and my best wishes follow both country and people all
over the world, but I will not commit myself to any opinion as to their
political life.

At the time I speak of, the country possessed two illustrious soldiers,
Marshal Saldanha and Marshal Terceira. On these two, in turn, hinged
the alternate changes made in its constitution, whether by military
insurrection, or other and less unparliamentary means. Such was the
national habit, and the country did not seem the worse for it. As in
our own case, there were two dynastic parties, but what was strange was
that the Miguelists, who opposed Queen Dona Maria, and who, by the way,
were few in numbers, set up for being Legitimists, although they
claimed the right of government for Don Miguel, the representative of
the younger branch of the reigning family. Let wise politicians explain
that as best they may.

I do not recollect whether it was on the occasion of this particular
visit to Lisbon, that at a reception of mine for the diplomatic body at
Belem, the Duke de Palmela, who presented its members (as Minister for
Foreign Affairs), asked me to excuse his hurrying through the ceremony,
as his Duchess was in the act of bringing her fifteenth child into the
world. A palpable proof this, given by the head of its Foreign Office,
of the vitality of the Portuguese nation! Some days later the Duke, a
diplomatist of the old school, who added to his own considerable wit
and cleverness the advantage of having rubbed shoulders with the
greatest diplomatists of the century, such as Talleyrand and
Metternich, asked me to dine with him. It was a splendid banquet. On
our arrival we found the royal archers (so called because they carried
halberts!) lining the staircase. Thence we passed into a splendid suite
of rooms, at the end of which, after we left table, a great door was
thrown open, revealing a magnificent state bed on an estrade with
several steps up to it. And in this bed the newly confined Duchess, to
whom all the guests hastened to pay their duty!

I noticed some fine rifle battalions at a review of the Portuguese
troops, and I had a very amusing talk with the celebrated admiral, Sir
Charles Napier, who was present on horseback, in a British
post-captain's uniform, but with a little hat, a la Napoleon, with a
Portuguese cockade, his trousers all worked up, huge spurs on his feet,
and an enormous cudgel in his grasp.

Finally, the King took us on a sporting expedition to Mafra, among the
mountains which stretch towards Torres Vedras. They are not high, but
steep, and covered with stunted vegetation. It was a picturesque sight
this shooting party, in that mountain country, some of it very
beautiful, where the eye constantly lighted on scenes that were like
pictures of guerilla or partisan warfare. Hundreds of beaters, in their
brilliant costumes, wearing breeches, and with handkerchiefs tied round
their heads, and cloaks flung over their shoulders, climbed up through
the gorges, slipped swiftly along the mountain ledges, and drove a host
of small deer, stags, wild boar, and foxes down to the sportsmen. Even
after the sun had set the firing was still going on.

But both Aumale and I were very eager to see something more of Portugal
than the pleasures and official and political life of Lisbon. So as
soon as we were back from the shooting excursion we started on a
whimsical expedition of our own, which we hoped to carry as far as the
ancient and celebrated university town of Coimbra. All means of
communication being most primitive at that time, we travelled on
horseback, escorted by a former captain on the French staff, who had
been aide-de-camp to the Duke of Ragusa in 1830, who had succeeded his
uncle, Hyde de Neuville, as Marquis of Bemposta in Portugal, and who
had ended by becoming aide-de-camp to King Ferdinand. We formed a
regular caravan, the transport service of which had been undertaken by
a native "Almocreve."

The first day we crossed a sort of desert country, of evil repute,
covered with heather as far as the eye could see--the lowest spurs of
the Sierra d'Estrella, a long mountain chain which rises in Spain, near
Segovia and Avila. Passing through a wild gorge, at a place called
Mecheira, we came upon a band of evil-looking men, gun on shoulder, who
seemed to be out shooting in an easy-going fashion. Our party was both
well-armed and numerous, and I fancy they looked on it as too heavy
game for their rifles. I am all the more inclined to this opinion,
because we met some cavalry patrols a little further on, who had been
sent out in a great hurry, some travellers having been stopped and
stripped at Mecheira that very morning. Two days' travelling brought us
to Alcobaca and Aljubarota. My reader will notice these names beginning
with Al. The Moors have passed this way! Aljubarota is famous for the
battle there, which established the autonomy of the kingdom of Portugal
in 1385. The army commanded by the Grand Master of Avis, Don Jao, had
to do with a Spanish force using firearms (the "needle-gun" of that
date!), which were quite unknown to the Portuguese troops. These last
had both wind and sun and dust against them. But buoyed up by their
native bravery, and by the example of Don Jao, and of the Bishop of
Braga, who rode down the ranks with helmet on head and lance in hand,
they put the Spanish army to flight, and the Spanish King never stopped
till he got to Seville. As for the Grand Master of Avis, who became
King of Portugal, he founded the church and convent of Batalha, which
we had come to see, in memory of his victory.

I know not how to describe ancient buildings. I am no architect; but
things which are stately always strike me deeply; and there is no doubt
about it, Batalha is stately, simple, severe, with that religious stamp
about it which I look for vainly in the churches of our own day. The
doorway, delicately carved, and in beautiful preservation, represents
terrestrial paradise, and every one of the statues of the saints is a
little masterpiece. Behind the church there is a chapel begun by Don
Emmanuel, and which he was never able to finish. This is much to be
regretted, to judge by what already exists. There is some sculpture of
the most extraordinary delicacy--almost like a spider's web. But, alas!
vandals have come upon the scene. The stained glass has gone, and ever
so many statuettes are missing from their niches, sold to collectors or
to passing tourists. Close to the church stands the convent, similar in
style to the convent at Belem. There is one huge Gothic hall, which I
thought superb. The story goes that the vaulted ceiling gave way three
times, and that when it had been built up again the fourth time the
architect stood himself underneath it just as the last scaffolding was
knocked away. The vault stood, and he had his own face carved on one of
the pendentives, thus forming a statuette which is by no means one of
the least beautiful in that splendid building, all the more to be
admired, to my thinking, on account of its being absolutely untouched
by the barbarous hand of the restorer.

We went on to Leiria, where a great market gave us an opportunity of
admiring the beauty of the country women and their charming costumes.
We put up in a posada, in which the stable was on the first floor and
the kitchen on the second, and where we shared rooms with geese and
pigs and a party of travelling gelders from France. After Leiria came
Pombal. These little Portuguese towns are all charming. They seem as if
they belonged to another period altogether. The pillory is still to be
seen in them, and the gaol too; this last a sort of wild beast cage,
with a huge grated window level with the public square, through which
every one can talk, without any surveillance, with the prisoners,
condemned or otherwise, who are all huddled together pell mell. There
were only two young women in the gaol at Pombal. We entered into
conversation with them. By dint of questioning them, and the passers-by
as well, we learnt that they were sisters--and then came the eternal
old tale. The eldest had a lover, and all the rest of it! She had not
courage to put the child out of the way, and her young sister buried it
alive. The unhappy girls had been five months in that cage waiting
their sentence, exposed to all the insults, jests, and coarse remarks
of the populace. What torture to those poor women, who, to judge by
their features and appearance, were evidently of a superior class to
the mere peasants! The elder one, the mother, was very beautiful,
though pale and seemingly weakened by suffering. Her expression was so
gentle it pained me to look at her. "Ah, let no man insult a woman who
has fallen," says the poet.

After the pillory and the gaol we had another memory of the Middle
Ages. Shortly before we got to Coimbra we met one of the great local
families, the Pinto-Bastos, travelling along the road, the ladies in
litters, each borne by two gaily-caparisoned mules, the gentlemen on
horseback, in the costume of the country, and escorted by numerous
serving-men, also mounted, and wearing big caps, breeches, and handsome
velvet jackets with silver buttons. Each man carried his striped
wrapper over his shoulder, and was armed with the huge stick the
Portuguese know how to wield so well. The whole caravan made a fine
effect. Looking at it pass by, you might fancy yourself in the
sixteenth century. All at once, from the crest of some rising ground,
we caught sight of the beautiful and smiling Mondego Valley, with
Coimbra rising in terraces along the river against a fine mountain
background. It was most picturesque. We descended towards a long stone
bridge leading to the town, and each members of our caravan made
himself ready as best he could to give the least handle possible to the
jests with which the students habitually salute all newly-arrived
strangers. The whole corporation was under arms, indeed, in the sable
costume, doublet, breeches and cloak, with which the "Estudiantinas
Espagnoles" have familiarised us, only in this case the Spanish cocked
hat and spoon was replaced by a sort of black Phrygian cap. To our
astonishment, these young gentlemen, instead of poking fun at us, got
off the parapet on which they had been sitting, pulled off their caps
to us, and welcomed us with the most kindly politeness. They knew,
perhaps, that we too had worn our breeches out upon school benches, and
thus saluted us as comrades!

Beyond this friendly row of men in black, we saw the river dotted with
white sails, and on its banks, among the willows, we beheld not a few
of those well-shaped washer-women with turned-up skirts, whom Camoens
christened the nymphs of the Mondego. At the far end of the bridge,
between tall irregular walls, stood a gateway as dark as the entrance
to a Turkish town; and just as we would have passed through it,
mournful objurgations and sorrowful appeals from some invisible mortals
rose around us, while baskets hanging on pulleys came down upon our
heads, and porringers fastened to long reeds started out of holes in
the walls and terrified our horses. The prisoners shut up within those
walls were thus beseeching us to deposit our alms, pecuniary or other,
in their baskets or their porringers! Having dismounted at a good inn,
we discovered that the "Mesonero" (in other words, our host) was the
possessor of two pretty daughters, whom he kept in a tower under lock
and key, so dangerous a town is Coimbra! But we set our wits to work to
catch a sight of the beautiful recluses. By means of a nosegay tied to
the end of a long stick we drew two sprightly faces, well worthy their
reputation, to the window, and so we made acquaintance. Then we were
fetched to go over the university, the honours of which were done us by
the "grand master" in a blue and gold gown, assisted by two professors
who spoke French admirably well. Aumale, being much more lettered and
academic than myself, kept the conversational ball rolling brilliantly.
The huge institution, in which professors and students alike seemed to
me to know their work thoroughly, is admirably organised, and is
venerated throughout the whole country on account of its great
antiquity. To the Portuguese mind it is the fountain-head of all
knowledge; and we were told, in the most artless manner, that if our
universities in France were good it was because they were managed by
professors from Coimbra! From the university we went on to see an
ancient mosque which had been turned into a cathedral, but which still
preserved its thoroughly Moorish character. In Spain and Portugal alike
the Moors have left indelible traces of their passage, both in the
buildings, in the language, and in the types of the two races. Our stay
at Coimbra ended with an expedition to the "Quinta das Lagrimas" (the
Villa of Tears). In the shadow of the gigantic cedars which shelter
this villa, standing in a lovely spot on the banks of the Mondego, the
romantic story of the loves of the Infant of Portugal, Don Pedro, and
of Inez de Castro, as sung by Camoens, and ending in that murder of
Inez, to the punishment of which the whole life of Don Pedro "the
Avenger" was devoted, unfolded itself. The proprietors for the time
being of the villa gave me some of Inez de Castro's hair, which they
had collected when her tomb was violated during the Napoleonic wars. It
is fair hair.

We returned to Lisbon by a different route, over terrible roads,
scarcely more than tracks, across a land of moors and pine-woods,
picturesque enough, but wild and lonely, where we came in broad
daylight on huge wolves, prowling round the flocks of goats, which the
goatherds still call, as in the most primitive times, by blowing on
conch shells. Two days' march brought us within sight of the little
town of Thomar, and at nightfall we reached our halting place--a
horrible "hospedaria," in the kitchen of which we took refuge, chilled,
and aching with fatigue. Aumale dandled the children in the
chimney-corner, thereby winning their fond affections, while I set to
work to make love to the mistress of the establishment, a stout and not
altogether illiterate lady--for she could swear in any language.

Thomar! Were you ever at Thomar? Did you ever even hear of it? Yet how
many a journey has been made, how much trouble has been taken, to see
what is much less worth seeing! The object of my admiration there is a
convent, sacked, alas! and plundered--well-nigh utterly destroyed, but
still the most singularly remarkable building conceivable. The nucleus
of the convent is formed by a round mosque, with coloured pillars, and
a "mirhab," which I still see in my mind's eye, full of long-robed and
turbaned Mussulmans, plunged in solemn meditation. With the Christian
conquest, the mosque became a Christian church, and the mirhab in its
centre the high altar. After the Moors came the Templars, and then the
Knights of Christ, who bravely defended the convent against an
attempted Moorish recapture. A gate is still shown, called the "Gate of
blood" on account of the carnage of which it was the scene. The
Templars and the Knights of Christ have both left their mark upon the
edifice. Later in the day came Don Emmanuel, and with him the rich and
quaint style of his period. A choir and a wonderful doorway were added
to the old mosque, the cloisters were lengthened, and beautiful halls
were erected. Then the Spanish Philips, during their suzerainty over
Portugal, made Thomar their residence, and in the new cloisters they
added to the edifice, the severe and heavy style of architecture which
the gloomy character of Philip II. brought into fashion is exemplified.
The convent is at once an architectural and historical museum, and the
most striking of religious monuments. The silence of the immense
cloisters--there are six or seven of them--is deeply impressive. I
could not tear myself away, every moment seemed to reveal some new and
striking detail. I was roused from my admiration and my reverie by a
volunteer guide who had attached himself to me, and who, seeing me
pause before an exquisite statuette, said, "I'll take it down for you
to carry away with you," adding, when I exclaimed in horror at the idea
"But everybody takes what they like here!" I am happy to be able to add
that we denounced this vandalism as soon as we got back to Lisbon, at
the same time so exciting King Ferdinand's truly artistic feelings by
our description of Thomar that he went there in his turn, and, thanks
to him, the preservation of that unique edifice was thenceforth assured.

We made a delightful journey from Thomar to Lisbon, by Abrantes, at
which place I saw an old gentleman in an antediluvian uniform, wearing
his sword transversely like a powdered marquis in a play, advance
towards me, and throw himself on his knees, embracing mine, and
exclaiming, "Let me embrace the man who brought back Napoleon!" (Le
conducteur de Napoleon), an allusion to my St. Helena expedition, which
somewhat amazed me. When we got back to Lisbon I bade a sorrowful
farewell to Aumale, who departed on board a steamship for Algiers,
there to commence the brilliant campaign which ended in the capture of
Abd-el-Kader's smalah. Horace Vernet's fine picture in the Versailles
Museum perpetuates the memory of this splendid exploit.

My readers are aware that having started to capture the smalah, my
brother got up to it with nothing but his cavalry and far from his
supports, after several night marches, which he contrived to steal on
the enemy. "The enemy is very strong," said Colonel Yusuf, a gallant
officer, who was with the advance guard, hurrying back. "No prince of
my race has ever turned back," was the answer. "Forward!" and the
little force, with the general at its head, threw itself unhesitatingly
on the mass of warriors in front. Its audacity was justified by its
success.

As for me, while Aumale was steaming towards Algeria I was bidding
farewell to my excellent friends and relatives, Queen Dona Maria and
King Ferdinand, and setting sail for Senegal and the Guinea Coast,
where I was to make the round of our colonial settlements.



CHAPTER X

1843


The canoe manned by four paddlers in which I had crossed the bar at
Guet-n-dar was carried high up on the sand on the crest of a huge wave.
A crowd of blacks rushed forward before the wave could come back,
lifted me out, and put me down, with loud shouts of "Petit roi pas
goutte d'eau" (Not a drop of water on our little king), at the feet of
Bobokar, King of Guet-n-dar, a tall negro, dressed in a striped cotton
gown, and with a laced cocked hat on his head, which had seen better
days on a general officer's or a coachman's.

As soon as I was landed, the King of Guet-n-dar (I only call him king
in obedience to the African custom which bestows the title on every
chief who has a right to beat other people)--the King, I say, set
himself to work to make way for me through his subjects crowding round,
with heavy blows from his cudgel, and crossing the tongue of sand
between the Senegal river and the sea, which forms his kingdom, I
entered St. Louis, the capital of our possessions on the West African
coast. While nobody talks anything but sugar at Martinique, nor cod in
Newfoundland, at St. Louis the only subject of conversation is GUM. It
is its staple product, and indeed is found nowhere else, except in
Arabia.

The gum forests are in country belonging to the Arabs, on the right
bank of the Senegal river, and are consequently in the hands of the
Moors, who carry the produce to the river. The various stations we have
established along its course are intended for the protection of the
traders or coloured agents, acting as intermediaries between the
natives, and the white merchants, unable themselves to face the deadly
climate, and also to close the road to the British markets on the
Gambia river to the Moors. To the garrisons of these stations, regular
charnel-houses, our officers and men come out to die, or else to catch
the germ of some incurable illness. I learn that nowadays, by dint of
using quinine as a preventive, and of improvements in some other
respects, the effects of the unhealthy climate have been somewhat
reduced, but when I was there the condition of things was really
terrible. So my first care, when I reached St. Louis, was to go and see
the victims of duty in the hospital into which they were crowded, and
my heart swelled at the sight of all the poor yellow wasted faces many
of them already bearing the signs of approaching dissolution. Poor
brave fellows! How I wished I had crosses to pin on all their breasts,
to soften the last moments of the life they had given for their
country, by a sign of its remembrance of them! But I had not one, and I
could not help feeling furious at the thought that we were close on New
Year's day, and that a perfect rain of honours was about to fall on a
heap of theatrical directors who had done special service to the
government, and private secretaries, and political writers, who had
never been off the Boulevards, the favoured elect of the world of
politics--those odious politics! The dismal, ill-built, rickety
hospital was perfectly well managed at all events, thanks to our naval
surgeons, and also to our admirable sisters of charity, whose names I
cannot pronounce without indulging in another and an indignant
digression.

Can we really have fallen so low as to tolerate that these holy and
noble women, who have lightened so much suffering, and so worthily
sustained the good name of France all over the world, should be
sacrificed in these latter days to a pack of public-house reformers and
would-be strong-minded freethinkers?

From the hospital, that ante-chamber of death, I went to the barracks
for the living, mere dens, built by St. Routine to sealed pattern, at
so much a foot, identically the same in every climate, and absolutely
unsuitable for any. How different from the spacious, airy, comfortable
edifices raised by the English for the comfort and well-being of their
colonial garrisons!

St. Louis is built beside a river, the flat banks of which are seen
stretching away hedged in by masses of green vegetation. In the
mornings the town is usually wrapped in an unhealthy fog. Yet this is
the moment at which the inhabitants are to be seen languidly dragging
themselves along the straight sandy streets, between the negro huts and
a few white houses with terraces before them. When the fog lifts the
place is nothing but a scorching desert. I was to have gone up the
river to inspect our military stations and their garrisons, but the
only available boat was detained outside the bar across the mouth of
the river, which was absolutely impassable. After waiting for it in
vain for several days, I left St. Louis for Goree and Dakar.

At Goree I once more saw the pretty signares, a regularly enlisted
company of mulatto women, which furnishes our officers, civil and
military, with wives and housekeepers during their turn of colonial
service. Then I came again upon my friend the King of Dakar, an old
acquaintance of mine, who sent me his compliments by his "general of
cavalry," a perfect giant in stature, excessively thin, who wore a
stock and a cocked hat, and no breeches.

At Goree I embarked on board the colonial despatch boat Galibi to
inspect our stations on the Gambia and the Cazamanze. This vessel was
herself a curiosity, not indeed as a ship of war, for she was a fine
little steam despatch boat, armed with four guns, but on account of the
organisation and composition of her crew. There were only four whites
on board--the lieutenant in command, a poor fellow who was soon to fall
a victim to the climate and die at his post, a clerk, an engineer, and
a master-gunner. All the rest of the crew were negroes, hypocritically
denominated Government prisoners, whose whole costume, as a rule,
consisted of a monkey-skin cap and a string of grigris, or charms,
round their waists. "Haven't you ever tried to dress them?" said I to
the lieutenant.

"Oh yes, but as soon as they get on shore they instantly sell their
things, or give them away to their women, and come back naked. So I
have given it up."

When it was time for us to start, the captain owned to me that none of
the crew had ever known how to steer, except one negro, who acted as
his butler, and he could only steer in a river, by keeping the ship at
an equal distance from the two banks. He had never been able to
understand anything about steering by the compass at sea. As we had to
go a certain distance at sea before reaching the mouth of the rivers, I
took on board a whaler and crew from my frigate, and my men went to the
wheel. But now a fresh difficulty arose. The single engineer could not
stop by his engine for ever, without taking any rest. Now and then the
care of the machinery had to be confided to a negro, whom he had
trained after a certain fashion, and I confess I felt far from easy
when I saw him handling the levers and taps with all the
self-confidence of a monkey showing off a magic lantern. Besides our
negro crew, there was a perfect menagerie of creatures loose on board.
Gazelles, which were inoffensive enough, I must grant, a legion of
ill-behaved monkeys, and a tame civet. The monkeys never stopped
playing spiteful tricks on everybody all day long, and at night they
all huddled together, clasping each other, with their tails sticking
out like the rays of a star or the spokes of a wheel. If by anybody's
fault or misfortune one of those tails got trodden on, the whole
cluster of monkeys yelled for an hour, just as journalists do if a
finger is laid on one of their fraternity. As for the civet, she used
to offer her company as bed-fellow to each of us in turn, and it was of
the most stinking and disagreeable kind.

We soon reached the mouth of the Gambia River, and, entering it through
a labyrinth of sandbanks, we saw a wide stream with flat shores covered
with mangrove swamps, behind which aquatic form of vegetation huge
trees rose, fantastically tall, and in all the splendour of their
tropical growth. All the rivers of the West African coast present this
identically same appearance. We had hardly entered this one before we
were confronted by one of those international questions which swarm on
the coast in this part of the globe. The Gambia is a British river, but
on its banks is a territory belonging to us, called Albreda, which I
was about to visit. Had we a right to go there direct, up the English
waters of the Gambia, or ought we to stop first of all at St. Mary
Bathurst, the capital of the British possessions on the river, to ask
permission to do so? If a merchant vessel, French or otherwise, tried
to get up to Albreda, the British stopped her by fair words or force,
to maintain their right. But this we were contesting, and as the
business was still in suspense, I passed St. Mary Bathurst without
stopping, and anchored at Albreda. It is not a very important factory.
I was received by four white men and a crowd of negroes. The white
inhabitant stretched on a couch under the veranda of the one-storied
house in which he dwells, has no society beyond that of the signare,
who acts provisionally as his wife, and the crowd of slaves of both
sexes who go and come around him. Fever lurks on every side, and
carries him off on the slightest imprudence. But it is a rich country,
for it is inhabited by a race of negroes, fervent Mussulmans, who are
industrious workers, and the produce of their industry is a lucrative
article of barter. In the evening, after a long walk through the woods,
balmy with a thousand sweet scents, where flights of lovely birds,
long-tailed parrokeets, and black-plumaged widow birds, perched in the
trees, I saw a small British vessel approach, and an officer put off
from her. He had been sent by the governor, who was on board, and had
been going up the river to call on the captain of the French ship, and
express his regret at not having seen him at Bathurst in the morning--a
covert complaint, in fact. On hearing who I was, and that I expected to
go to Bathurst the following day, he sent me word that he would return
and receive me there.

The flagstaff on which our colours had been hoisted having fallen down,
I had it set up again. It was necessary in a disputed country, such as
this was, and pending the Government's decision, that our flag should
wave over our colonists, and protect them from all insult.

Then I landed at Bathurst. Our captives, anxiously directed by the
master-gunner, contrived somehow or other to fire a salute of
twenty-one guns, which was instantly returned from the British forts,
and I went ashore in the whale-boat I had brought from the Belle-Poule.
The commander of the Galibi, who wanted to escort me, had manned a boat
and rigged out his men for the nonce in smart striped shirts and red
caps. Wonderful to relate, they were so electrified by the reception I
was given, and the example of my white crew, that they brought both
shirts and caps faithfully back! I was received on the beach by a
company of what in those days was called the Royal African
Corps--splendid black troops, officered by white men. I had a great
deal of conversation with the governor, a very sensible man, who
expressed the hope that my visit would result in a prompt settlement of
a state of local affairs which might give rise to the most serious
difficulties. He was exceedingly civil to me, and gave me a very fine
dinner-party, before which I was somewhat astonished to see "the
ladies" appear in the drawing-room, in the shape of three very dark
mulattoes, in full evening dress--low bodices, lace
pocket-handkerchiefs, and fans. The doors of the dining-room having
just been thrown open, the governor indicated to me by a gesture that I
was to take one of these ladies into dinner. Not knowing which of them
should take precedence, I held my arm out in the middle of the
drawing-room, and one of the dark-skinned ladies blushingly put hers
within it. Many years afterwards, dining at Washington with that
agreeable man, Charles Sumner, the great abolitionist, and some very
charming ladies, I amused myself by telling him about my Bathurst
dinner, and asked him whether HE had ever given his arm to a negress. I
awaited his answer with some curiosity, to see whether he would dare
answer in the affirmative before the American ladies, who are so
sensitive on the colour question, but he got out of it very adroitly.
"My dear Prince," said he, "in every religion each man has his own
share of work. I preach and you practise. Don't let us mix the two
things up together."

As we were steaming out of the Gambia I saw the commander of the Galibi
on his bridge, in a state of violent excitement, with all his crew
mustered before him, and appealing in the most vehement manner to his
capitaine de riviere (river captain), the title borne by the chief of
the negro crew. I joined him, and he said, "I've just been mustering
the men. I can't recollect all the fellows' names, so I count heads.
I've done it over again four or five times, and there is always one man
too many." And then he began to yell again, "Capitaine de riviere!
What's the meaning of this? There's a man too many!" The capitaine de
riviere, who had stationed himself well forward, pretended not to hear,
but, driven at last from his refuge, he came aft, pulling off his
bell-crowned hat, the distinctive sign of his authority, and,
uncovering his shock of gray hair, like a woollen travelling cap,
murmured in his gentlest tones, "Please, sir, he's a LITTLE PRESENT I
was given at Bathurst!"

We were soon in the Cazamanze, after having very nearly been lost on
the sandbanks obstructing the entrance to the river, on which the sea
breaks furiously. The river is a fine one, wide and deep. I steamed up
it for about a hundred miles. After the few villages near the mouth we
came to a desert country, covered with impenetrable forest and jungle.
We steamed along between two walls of green, and our only excitement as
we went was to watch the numerous hippopotami, who seemed very much put
out by the passing of the Galibi. As we neared our station at Sedhiou,
which I was going to inspect, we noticed several villages, the
inhabitants of which greeted us with yells. The jungle had been cleared
around the houses, over which the great trees stood like huge parasols.
So gigantic was the growth, that sometimes a whole village was
sheltered by one and the same tree. The post of Sedhiou--a brick-built
fort, with a little bastion armed with a gun at each corner--is placed
at a point of great importance on the caravan line from the interior. I
was received by an infantry captain, M. Dallin, who had done the most
excellent service there, but ruined his health, and by two white
soldiers, both wasted by fever. The rest of the garrison consisted of
black soldiers, splendid fellows, brave and faithful, and excellent
workmen, who had done, and were still doing, all the work on the
station.

Thinking of those fine soldiers, and then casting back my memory to the
services recently rendered by their successors, the Senegalese
Riflemen--first-class troops, useful anywhere, like our Algerian
Turcos, who have already proved what they are worth--I ask myself why
we should not utilise the considerable recruiting opportunities Western
Africa offers us to raise a number of negro battalions. They might if
properly enlisted be most usefully employed, especially in those
unhealthy countries where we now squander so many invaluable lives. I
will even go further, for it is my conviction that in thus acting we
should be preparing for the future, and outstripping the march of
events. The state of armed preparation which now exists in Europe--with
every man a soldier, and forced to be a soldier, with every man's
career interrupted, and each man's existence hanging on the chance of
an electoral surprise or a parliamentary incident--cannot possibly
last. It is unhappily to be feared that to escape from this insane
condition of things some violent shock will be necessary, which will
make a clean sweep of the false notions dressed up in fine names which
we have been accumulating for the past century. When that crisis is
over, people will want to be free, as Americans are free--free to do
and to be WHAT THEY CHOOSE, and, especially, free not to be soldiers
UNLESS THEY CHOOSE. There can be no doubt at all that those inventions
of revolutionary tyranny, conscription and compulsory service, will
become the object of universal horror, and that the first person who
dares to take the initiative in abolishing them will be saluted by the
blessings of the entire human race. Wherefore every government will
perforce have to come to what is right and just--to armies consisting
of volunteers and auxiliaries. And who knows whether we shall not then
find the real strength of our army in our black regiments, just as
Russia would in her yellow-skinned ones and Great Britain in her Indian
troops? But I must bring this digression to a close.

As we steamed down the Cazamanze we ran aground, and while the ship was
being got off I went ashore, in a creek, where at the very outset I
disturbed the slumbers of a couple of crocodiles sleeping on a stone. A
moment later I was nearly knocked over by a big boar with reddish
bristles and up-curved fangs, a "wart hog." Then I got into the brush,
tall grass much higher than myself, above which hung the green roof of
the giant trees. Pushing my way along I came to a place where the
ground was trodden and the branches broken, and on which I saw the
traces and fresh tracks of a herd of elephants. Close to me, too, I
heard the crackling caused by the passage of some big animal which I
could not see. We followed the elephants' path, but hindered by the
grasses they had trodden down, and our feet catching in the holes made
in the damp soil by their huge feet, we were soon forced to beat a
retreat. Another wild beast's track led us to an immense glade, like a
small plain, hemmed in by the woods, where we saw herds of antelope
quietly feeding. We started in pursuit of them, but like the ducks on
the ponds, the creatures seemed to have a very correct appreciation of
the distance our guns would carry and the impotent fire we poured on
them disturbed them not. Not a single beast even left the plain to take
shelter in the woods, where we could hear the greater wild ones
howling. Ah! if we had possessed long-range weapons, what a shoot we
should have had, and what a paradise of sport that virgin country was!
But one victim only fell to our rifles, a big monkey, which one of our
sailors killed, and which he and his comrades eat. It was, so it would
appear, a dish to lick your lips over!

For want of game we brought something else back with us from this
expedition up the Gambia and Cazamanze rivers--fever. Not a soul
escaped it, and in spite of the care of the surgeon-major of the
Belle-Poule, who was particularly skilful in treating the malady, we
took a long time to get over it. I went back to Goree, where I was to
see another sad sight. One of our gunboats had come in from a
river-station with only four healthy men out of seventy-five. Typhus
fever was decimating the crew. I had to present the Cross of the Legion
of Honour to the lieutenant in command, M. de Langle, who had behaved
like a hero. I went alongside his ship to see him in the lonely creek
to which the infected vessel had been relegated. A crowd of spectral
figures crept to the ports to look at me. It was a pitiful scene.

I had by this time gone the round of nearly all our possessions along
the West Coast of Africa, and the impression I was carrying away was
far from being a good one. On this coast, as elsewhere, France
originally outstripped all other nations, and the first European
expeditions to the Black Continent were sent out from Dieppe during the
fourteenth century. The principal merchandise they brought back
consisted of ivory, and the branch of industry occupied by working this
substance still exists in that town at the present day. Up to the
eighteenth century all the important factories on the coast were in our
hands. After that date, just as in India and America, where also we had
been the earliest colonists, everything began to go to ruin, and our
possessions dwindled to the unimportant posts I had just been to see.
Since my visit an effort has been made to recommence some extension of
our factories and trade in the locality. The question is whether it
will be successful, and, above all, whether, amidst the vicissitudes of
our politics and the constant state of provisional arrangement in which
we live, we possess the coherence and connectedness of design and
system necessary to that success. I pray it may be so! But there are
two insurmountable obstacles which will always prove stumbling-blocks
to us--the unhealthy climate, deathly indeed to white men, and the
black population, a childish race, who may be disciplined into being
good soldiers, but who will never work except when made to by force,
and that brute force.

Before continuing our cruise along the African coast, the squadron (the
Belle Poule and Africaine, frigates, and Coquette, corvette) went to
the Cape Verd Islands, both to give the crews change of air, to test
the speed of the various vessels, and to take in fresh provisions. This
last object was defeated, in consequence of a curious circumstance. A
Portuguese station in the Bissago Archipelago had been attacked by the
negroes, and when reinforcements had been asked for, the government at
Lisbon had answered by sending two transports to fetch troops from the
Cape Verd Islands,--from Porto-Praya, where we had anchored, in
particular,--and to convey them to the threatened spot. But before
embarking troops they had to be found, and there were none, or rather
they existed on paper only. To supply the want and respond to the
pressing appeal made to him the governor could devise no better plan
than to set an ambush at the gates of the different towns, seize the
country people as they came in, and send them away as soldiers. Of
course, when once wind of this got about, nobody came in, the markets
were deserted, and the towns were famine-stricken. Although the Cape
Verd Islands appear from sea to be nothing but arid mountains, with
bare rocks and rugged slopes, they really are furrowed with delightful
valleys, covered with leafy woods, where innumerable monkeys peacefully
dwell, and in which the flocks of guinea-fowl inhabiting the open
spaces on the islands take refuge from pursuit. There is no more
curious sight to be seen than these mobs of birds, two or three hundred
of them together, tearing along like a contingent of Arab horsemen, at
such a rapid pace that it is impossible to come up with them, on that
rocky soil, even with the best of horses. A native of the island gave
us a luncheon in one of the valleys of which I speak. His house, which
was reached through an avenue of cocoa-palms, stood in the middle of a
grove of enormous orange-trees, over sixty feet in height. We were
waited on at table by handsome negresses, slaves; and these, according
to our host, were the conditions of their life. Their time, except on
Sundays, belonged to their master, who, in return, gave them their
food, and, when necessary, an occasional beating. They dressed
themselves out of the money they earned--Heaven knows how!--lodged
where they best could, and were given a bonus whenever they had a
child--a young slave to add to their owner's stock. It was a simple
arrangement enough. On my return to the African coast, I was to tumble
headlong into all the questions contingent on the slave system, the
suppression of the slave trade, which still existed, and the whole
future of the negro race.

Sierra Leone, our first port, differs from the rest of the invariably
flat African coasts by reason of its background of high mountains, and
the green hills which run down right to the seashore. Between these
hills lies the mouth of a great river, forming an excellent haven, and
a first-rate military and commercial station. But the place is terribly
unhealthy. To give us a taste of local colour, we were surrounded,
before we got into the river, by hosts of sharks, and in a few minutes
we had hoisted five of the huge fishes on board. Then no sooner had we
cast anchor before Freetown, than a gentleman of a certain age, in a
blue coat and white nankeen trousers and a top hat, appeared, asking
speech of the captain. He was sent to me. "Captain," said he, "I've
come to know how many ladies will be wanted for the frigate?"

"Why, sir," I replied in some astonishment, "I don't know; I've not
thought about it yet."

"You see I make it my business, sir, when a man-o'-war comes into port,
to come and offer my services."

"Well, sir, I'm much obliged to you, I won't give you any special
order; I'll leave the business completely to itself."

I never heard why he was so anxious to make sure of a monopoly in his
line of business. Apart from this little incident, our stay in this
port, during which we were treated in the most friendly manner by the
kindliest of governors and his lady, was in no way different from any
other.

Yet Sierra Leone was interesting as being the headquarters of the
British naval station, established to suppress the slave trade, and as
being the place where the slave cargoes found on board the captured
slavers were landed. Freetown and its neighbourhood was full of these
poor wretches, who were denominated, somewhat hypocritically, liberated
Africans; but the government took good care not to liberate them, and
there indeed it was right. To have turned out these human cattle, swept
up in distant raids, now far from home and country, would have been to
cast them infallibly into the clutches of cruel and pitiless native
masters, who would keep back what they could not sell for human
sacrifices or cannibal banquets. It was mere common humanity therefore,
to keep them safe, once they had been caught. But to avoid feeding
useless mouths, the finest men were enrolled as soldiers--the British
government, ever in advance of others, applying a law of compulsory
service, unlimited in period, to their case. The recruiting service
once satisfied, the rest of the poor devils were turned, willy-nilly,
into "free labourers," and the greater part of them were sent as such
to the British Antilles. The ship that bore them thither was no longer
called a slaver, and her cargo were not slaves. But if the names were
changed, the things themselves were terribly alike. Yet philanthropy
and sentimentality were satisfied. And so were the captains and crews
of the British cruisers, for hunting slavers is a lucrative business,
and the prize money earned made them forget the unhealthiness of the
climate and the monotony of the blockade.

The passion for lucre excited on both sides gave rise to actions which
bordered on sheer piracy, concerning which many a tale fell on my ear
all along the Guinea coast. Thus one Frenchman I met had been in
command of a Spanish slaver, which was lying becalmed. He victoriously
repulsed the attacking boats of a British cruiser, and killed the
lieutenant in command of her, who was the first to board the
slave-ship, with his own hand. A slight breeze and the fall of night
enabled him to make good his escape. But no more of this. The negro
trade and the suppression of it, the abuses on both sides, are all of
them bygone things, bereft of interest. Slavery is the one thing that
remains. It always has existed in Africa, and the steady progress made
in that part of the globe by the Mohammedan religion, which admits
slavery, as the basis of the social system, will no doubt still further
help to perpetuate it. Should all the black tribes merge into one huge
Mussulman body, stirred at once by religious fanaticism and by a
passion for slavery, a formidable difficulty will be added to those
which already confront European action in the continent inhabited by
the sons of Ham.

From the liberated Africans of Sierra Leone we came to another
category. A negro republic, with all the necessary
impedimenta--elections, assemblies, newspapers, and the most
exaggerated form of Protestant Puritanism to boot. This Liberian
Republic, founded by an American religious body, is a sort of El Dorado
for the exclusive benefit of freed negroes from the United States, and
is absolutely forbidden ground to the white race. After great
difficulties to begin with, after being abandoned and repopulated more
than once, after times of scarcity during which the miserable freed men
bitterly regretted their lost servitude, the republic has ended by
taking root. There were about ten thousand inhabitants, doing nothing
at all, for the free negro thinks and says, like his slave brother,
"Work no good!" What did they live on then? First of all, on the
sunshine, and then by doing a kind of broker's work between passing
ships and the natives. They vegetated in fact, and if they did not
actually rot in idleness, they owed it to a tall Virginian mulatto, a
very intelligent fellow, extraordinarily like Alphonse Karr in
appearance, "Governor Roberts," with whom I had several long and
interesting talks. He had been sharp enough to get hold of the key of
the cashbox, and by that act had become the sole representative of the
sovereign people. In spite of the constitution, in spite of laws and
regulations, all power was concentrated in his hands, and, save for the
name, his republic was transformed into a tidy little dictatorship.

Leaving Liberia, we slipped away down the Ivory Coast and the Gold
Coast, driven gently along by a scorching wind called the Harmattan.
Our charts were primitive and incomplete, the information they gave
quite inadequate. We had to steer by soundings, very cautiously. The
coast was uniformly low and green, with no distinctive signs upon it.
If we wanted to know where we were, we had to go after some canoe full
of fishermen, and ask our way, hat in hand, as one does in the street.
It was a funny sight to see the great black hull of the Belle-Poule,
with her white sails scarcely filled by the light breeze, hugging the
land, amongst a crowd of canoes full of noisy stark naked savages, hung
with necklaces, and with arrows stuck in their heads of fuzzy hair,
looking like handfuls of horse-hair pulled out of a mattress and
clipped into any number of different shapes. A regular market went on
alongside. Our sailors would pass down a biscuit or some other thing in
their caps, and haul them up again with pineapples, or bananas, or
fish, or perhaps a gray parrot. Thus we sailed along till we came to
some great forts, whose white walls bristled with cannon--Axim, Elmina,
Cape Coast Cattle--the two first flying the Dutch, the last one, the
British flag. All along the Gold Coast and the Slave Coast we were to
come upon these forts, originally constructed to ensure the humane
management of the slave trade, nowadays become very burdensome
stations, of no value but as marts for the barter of palm oil,
oleaginous nuts, and ivory on the one part, against gunpowder, brandy,
glass beads, matches, and the blue cotton cloth known as "guinea cloth"
on the other. I went from Elmina, where the Dutch officers were most
friendly, to Cape Coast, by land, in a palanquin. My companions
travelled in baskets shaped like Egyptian mummies, which tall negroes
carried on their heads, without putting their hands to them. It was not
safe to stir! At Cape Coast, I found yet another mode of locomotion.
Governor Maclean took me for a long expedition along the road towards
Coomassie, the Ashanti King's capital. We travelled in a small
victoria, to which was harnessed a four-in-hand of splendid negroes,
whose backs bore the marks of terrible floggings. In spite of the sandy
road, the team went gaily along full trot, urged forward by the
Governor's incessant cry of "Get on faster, boys!" Then I went back on
board and steered for Accra, another group of forts. Thence to
Crevecoeur, a Dutch fort, and Christianborg, a Danish one, the governor
of which, a charming young fellow, came off to see me. Living as he did
alone amongst the blacks, he was delighted to find himself amongst
people of his own kind again, for a few minutes.

The following day we landed in canoes, for the bar was rough, and I had
been charitably warned not to put my arm or hand into the water. Only a
few days previously an unlucky French sailor, who had wanted to get
back his hat, which had fallen into the water, had had an arm seized
and taken off by a shark. I did as I was bid; we plunged into the surf,
and got through without any drawbacks. Just as I reached the shore a
tremendous fusillade began. It was a reception after the local fashion,
which had been prepared for me: over three thousand dancing natives
doing a sort of Arab fantasia on foot. They wore shell necklaces and
bracelets on their arms and legs. Some had caps made of wild beasts'
skins, or circlets of turkey's feathers on their heads; others again
had gold horns on their foreheads. Everybody was shouting and writhing
about and firing off guns; the elders of the tribe pressed round me
with dancing attendants behind them, who held huge coloured parasols
over their heads. The women exerted themselves as much as the men,
performing the most extravagant and peculiar dances to the sound of
twenty or thirty tomtoms, or great drums, six feet long. The whole
thing made the most extraordinary clatter and uproar. When we got near
the fort, the crowd executed a sham assault on it, the big gun in the
citadel was fired, and I made my triumphal entry between two rows of
soldiers in red Danish uniforms. Nothing could have been more
picturesque.

The governor gave us a splendid lunch, in the European style, in a big
room in the fort. The only thing that was African about it was the
waiting, which certainly did not lack local colour; for it was done by
a score of young negresses, selected for the irreproachable beauty of
their forms, which no veil, not even the very tiniest, concealed. There
they stood, plate in hand, and napkin under arm, without the smallest
shyness, seeing indeed they wore the dress(!) of the country. Imagine
the bronze caryatidae round the new Paris Opera House come down off
their pedestals, and handing round the dishes at a big Parisian
dinner-party! All these young ladies' coquetry had gone to the dressing
of their woolly hair, which was clipped, like garden shrubs, into the
most fanciful shapes, and to the fineness of their skins, which were as
soft and shiny as satin. This resulted from the daily baths they were
in the habit of taking, rubbing themselves also with fine sand. But,
unluckily, the rubbing could not get rid of the negro scent. I have
never been able myself to endure the odour of negroes of either sex;
but I have known people whom it quite intoxicated, and who were always
trying to get reappointed to Senegal, so as to get back to it, in spite
of having had their health shattered by African fevers. It is said,
too, to attract sharks, and that if a white man bathes with a negro
where they swarm, the negro is always seized first. I have no personal
experience of this fact.

A hundred miles west of the forts of Accra we found ourselves opposite
Widah, the chief mart of the kingdom of Dahomey. From the sea we looked
on a sort of sandy dyke, on which the waves broke furiously. Behind the
dyke lay a wide lagoon, some of it a mere marsh, and beyond the lagoon
the flags of France, Spain, and Brazil floated over some forts and
large white European houses. It was the first time we had seen our flag
waving on any spot on the coast since leaving Senegal, and we were very
eager to go and see the station it sheltered. Landing was no easy
matter, and I waited a long time in a big canoe, manned by twenty
paddlers kneeling forward, before the old negro in the stern decided
the attempt to be possible. He never stopped invoking every fetish
under the sun, and sprinkling the sea out of a brandy bottle, keeping
his eye the while on the waves as they came rolling in. Then all at
once he gave a great shout, loudly responded to by the twenty paddlers,
who yelled in cadence, while the canoe flew before the united and
frenzied strokes of their paddles. Two enormous waves passed, leaving
us undamaged; but a third approached, huge and threatening. Should we
get to the shore before it? Would it rise upright and capsize us, or
would it break on us and swamp us? Neither. It did reach us, indeed,
but the old steersman had calculated well; it lifted us up unharmed and
carried us on to the beach, where a hundred negroes laid hold of the
canoe and dragged it high and dry. I was seized myself before I had
time to collect my ideas, and put into a hammock hung upon a long pole,
which five or six tall negroes held horizontally, with arms
outstretched above their heads, during the time it took to cross the
lagoon, where the water was waist high. They set me down at last, at
the gate of the French fort, in the middle of an immense crowd, much
excited at the arrival of a French squadron--there were three ships.

Widah had been, and still was, a very important slave station. France,
England, and Portugal had in former days possessed forts there, and had
successively abandoned them. The Portuguese, Spanish, and Brazilian
factories alone remained in possession of the trade in that country.
They sold European goods to the King of Dahomey, taking slaves, of whom
they had formerly exported large numbers, in exchange, and this was a
source of great riches. But at the time I speak of, with the British
cruisers about, hardly one slaver got through out of every ten. The
King of Dahomey had a glut of slaves on his hands, and cleared them off
by massacring them as human sacrifices at idol feasts. One Frenchman,
M. Provencal, of the firm of Regis, at Marseilles, had lately rehoisted
the national colours at the French fort, rebuilt the dwellings, and set
to work to do legitimate trade, offering his goods to the King of
Dahomey, and taking nothing in exchange but palm-oil and similar
produce. If the slave trade is put down--and when I was on that coast
its days seemed already numbered--that enterprising and plucky
Frenchman will have done more to civilise those countries than all the
more violent measures have accomplished. I was very glad to notice his
action, and gave him the heartiest encouragement to persevere in it.
The courtyard of the station was already full of casks of palm-oil,
which augured well.

Immediately on my arrival I received a visit from the Avogal, the King
of Dahomey's governor at Widah, a big healthy-looking negro, with whom
the only conversation I had was of the most commonplace description. He
was accompanied by two other blacks, with intelligent faces and sharp
eyes, who sat on each side of him without speaking a word, and departed
equally silently. "Those are the censors," said M. Provencal. "Each of
the King's officials is always attended in that fashion to report all
he says and does. If the King should be dissatisfied with him he has
his head cut off." If this habit was universal there would be fewer
office seekers. This king ruled after the antique pattern. He had kept
all his seignorial rights. If any of his subjects married a wife the
lady had first to be presented to him, and if he liked her he kept her.
His authority was unlimited in fact; nevertheless, powerful though he
might be, he was likely to find it hard to change his subjects from
slave-hunters into oil growers.

After the Avogal's visit I went to pay one in my turn to a strange
individual, more of a king in Widah than the King of Dahomey himself,
who could not do without him,--for he supplied him with guns and
gunpowder for his wars, and brandy wherewith to intoxicate his Amazons.
This personage, a Brazilian of the name of Don Francisco de Souza, but
known invariably as Cha-Cha, had been settled at Widah for forty-three
years. He was a veteran slaver, from whom the British had captured
thirty-four ships, two of them quite recently. A little old man, with
quick eyes and an expressive countenance, he was credited with having
two thousand slaves in his barracoons, and with being the father of
eighty male children--the girls had never been thought worth reckoning
up. All his sons had been properly brought up. I saw them walking about
in all directions, uniformly dressed in white suits, and wearing Panama
hats. Most of them were very handsome mulattoes.

The state of the surf, which was impassable, prevented me from getting
back on board, so it was settled that I should dine with Cha-Cha, and
sleep at the French fort, where I installed myself in the former
quarters of the governor, which I shared with M. Provencal. Rather a
comical adventure befell me there. A very aged negro, formerly
gatekeeper of the fort, when M. Dagneau commanded it for the King of
France, had been to pay his respects to me in the morning, and I had
caused him to be given a present for himself and his family in the
shape of a demijohn of brandy, which they first danced round and then
carried off, with great rejoicings. Well, the enthusiasm increased in
measure as the contents of the demijohn disappeared, and towards
evening the courtyard within the fort was invaded, to a great beating
of tomtoms and clucking of women's tongues, by a huge crowd of
Dahomeyan negroes, preceded by a sort of corps de ballet of young
negresses, wriggling themselves about in every conceivable manner. At
their head marched the ci-devant porter in a great state of excitement.
He began a fresh harangue in negro French.

"Croire Anglais tues tous Francais. Voir Francais. Trouver pere.
Contents, tous contents. Envoie commandant a nous. Pitit-Roi. Contents,
tous contents. Tous femmes, tous filles a toi, tous contents!" "Think
English killed all French. See Frenchman. Find father. Glad, all glad.
Sent captain to us. Little king. Glad, all glad. All women, all girls
for you. All glad!" And the young ladies smiled still broader, and
contorted their bodies still more violently, while the tomtoms crashed
louder than ever. It was clear the crowd expected something, and as it
did not see any sign of what it desired, the old negro became yet more
explicit both in speech and gesture. The populace actually expected me
to provide them with a scion of the royal race! And the commander of
the Favorite, Larrieu, flew at me instantly. "Come, Monseigneur," he
cried, "here's a chance of distinguishing yourself. Noblesse oblige!"

"My dear fellow," I replied, "I leave you to represent me," and I beat
an ignominious retreat, which the crowd did not misunderstand, to judge
by the grunts of disappointment I overheard.

That night I dined with Cha-Cha off silver plate, under the light shed
by church candelabra and candlesticks; and the toasts of the King and
Queen, and Prosperity to France, were each saluted by twenty-one guns,
for Cha-Cha's factory and harem, in which he was said to keep a
thousand women, formed a real fortress, bristling with cannon, and with
the additional natural defence of the lagoon before it. Most of
Cha-Cha's children were present at the dinner, and several captains of
slave ships, brimful of stories of their adventures. Cha-Cha made me a
present of a box of Havanas, the like of which the King of all the
Spains had never smoked. I handed it over to Larrieu, and the next day
I returned on board my ship, not without having one or two encounters.

The first of these was with the freshly-landed crews of the slavers
which had been captured the week before, about fifty determined-looking
men of all nationalities, who stopped me and requested in the most
arrogant manner to be taken to some port where they might reengage--an
impossible thing for me to do.

The second encounter was more painful. A crowd of lame or sickly slaves
escaped from the barracoons and threw themselves at my feet, clinging
to my clothes, wailing and beseeching me to buy them. The poor
wretches, who had no market value, and whom therefore the King did not
care to feed, expected to be sent shortly to Abomey for human
sacrifices. There were hundreds of them--a most distressing sight.

After Widah our cruise took on a different aspect. We had come to that
part of the coast called the Bights, consisting of the Gulfs of Biafra
and Benin, between which lies the huge Niger Delta. The weather, which
continued as scorching as ever, became excessively oppressive. The sky
was always dark and the rain never ceased. Sometimes a rift was seen in
the clouds in the distance, it would rapidly increase in size, taking a
funnel shape, and then a tornado would burst, like a tempest in
miniature, lasting only three or four hours, but of extraordinary
violence. During one of these the Belle-Poule had to scud along under
bare poles at the rate of twelve knots an hour. The weather was
excessively unhealthy, but in the whole course of this long cruise I
never lost but one man, who was carried off by a violent inflammation
of the liver. I attribute this good fortune in the first place to the
undoubted cleverness of our surgeon-major, Dr. Loze, whose whole career
had been spent in tropical waters. His theory was that quinine was only
absolutely efficacious if administered at a very fleeting moment in the
course of the fever, between the hot and cold fits, and he always sat
up with his patients himself, so as to catch the favourable
opportunity. In the second place we took quite exceptional hygienic
precautions, especially against the night damp. The crew wore their
winter kit from sunset to sunrise. No man was allowed to lie down on
deck during the night watches, especially while the dew was falling.
They had to walk up and down the whole time, under an awning, which was
always kept up over the deck. In order to carry this out, we never had
more than half watches on duty at night. We had to navigate carefully
and slowly, being short of hands, but the result was well worth the
temporary departure from the usual regulations for life on board a ship
of war.

I went up one of the arms by which the Niger pours it waters into the
Gulf of Guinea on board the Fine, a schooner belonging to the station,
commanded by Captain Lahalle. This arm, known as the Bonny River, is
the trading branch, the one down which passes all the produce which the
mighty Niger--a completely navigable river, with neither cataracts nor
rapids, the great future artery of Equatorial Africa--brings from the
interior of the continent. A negro king of the name of Pepel, more
intelligent than his fellows, had constituted himself broker to this
important trade. The European merchantmen coming up the river anchored
before his town, made over their cargoes to him, and shipped palm-oil,
the chief riches of the country, in their stead. The drawback was that
anything you do with negroes is slow work. Whether it was that the
palm-oil, which came in canoes, and very irregularly, from high up the
river, did not arrive in sufficient quantities, or whether it was
deliberate delay on Pepel's part, a year would sometimes elapse before
the return cargo was completed, and sickness was meanwhile decimating
the crews. Some cases there had been in which everybody had died, in
others, ships had set sail in despair, without completing their full
cargo, and Pepel had triumphed in his bad faith, until a man-of-war
came and made him disgorge. Several times already the authorities oft
the French station had had to chastise him, and it was a service to the
trade of every nation to go and show him one's teeth now and again.
This object it was, together with a certain amount of curiosity, which
had brought us to the Niger River.

When we got to Pepel's town we found eight large Liverpool merchantmen,
partly dismantled, and covered with roofs made of plantain leaves,
surrounded by canoes going incessantly to and from the shore, where
hundreds of negroes loaded them with casks of palm-oil. There was a
stir and commercial activity such as I had not yet seen anywhere on
that coast. The whole trade was exclusively English. To avoid the
mortality to their crews, the English captains had their ships
dismantled as soon as they got into the river, roofed the decks over,
and sent their sailors back to England. The unloading and loading of
the ships were then done by negro labour, as soon as a ship's cargo was
completed, she was manned and sent back to Liverpool with the crew of
some new arrival, and so on ad lib. It was very sensible, very well
suited to the circumstances of the case; but to carry out such a plan
the commercial houses must have had a great many ships, very large
capital, and a spirit of consistency in business affairs no longer
existing in our country. What with our unstable regime, and the
invariably provisional conditions under which we live, we could never
think of such a continuous struggle.

As soon as we had anchored and were preparing to go ashore, a great
uproar attracted my attention, and caused me to hurry out of my cabin
on deck. An unhappy negro who had been bathing close to us, with
numerous companions of both sexes, had just been seized and carried off
by a shark. We could still see the eddy above the spot where the
monster was devouring him. It was the second time I had witnessed such
a scene. These horrible creatures are "fetish" at the mouth of the
Bonny, where its waters join those of the new Calabar River, and human
sacrifices are offered to them. In other words, on certain days of the
year, the people go in procession to the river bar and throw in some
wretched children, who have been told they were being taken to a
festival. The sharks have a fine feast, to the joy of the onlookers,
and amid much beating of tom-toms. This Jew-Jew, or shark-worship, is
one of the most abominable superstitions I have ever met with. At Widah
the snakes were "fetish." Here at Bonny it was the lizards, which is
less cruel. Yet they are hideous enough, those Bonny lizards, huge
creatures over a yard or a yard and a half long. They have temples of
their own, where they are fed, and whence they sally out for walks,
constantly waving their rose-coloured forked tongues, and walking all
sideways, so as not to set their feet on their huge bellies, like great
bags, which they drag after them like trawl nets. One has to go about
with lanterns at night, for to step on these "fetish" gentry would
excite the population into taking the law into its own hands.

During a visit to the English sea-captains, we heard that a French
ship, the Julie of Bordeaux, had just sailed in despair, without having
completed her cargo, paid for in advance, after waiting nine months in
the river, and that Pepel, thinking that we had come on that account,
was shaking in his shoes. But on making inquiries we could find no
trace of any complaint, official or semi-official, having been made,
and further, the Julie was accused of having tried to dabble in the
slave trade. Here was a puzzle for us. What were we to do? Say nothing
to Pepel? Then he would laugh us to scorn, for his conscience pricked
him, we knew. All his canoes had taken to flight when we arrived, and
not a single negro had boarded us. Threaten him? But with what? And
why? To tell how we got out of this hole would be to betray... a
professional secret. All I can say is, that the next morning, in a huge
straw hat, and with a big striped parasol in my hand, I performed the
functions of dragoman to his Excellency Commander Lahalle, full
lieutenant, representing France and the French navy.

We began by crossing a swamp, covered with huge mangrove trees, through
which small canals had been cut to allow of the canoes getting up to
the houses. Under the dark mangrove shadows the long canoes, full of
fierce-looking stark-naked blacks, looked like huge crocodiles, ready
to fly at us. After a time we came alongside Pepel's house, a sort of
labyrinth of clay and straw-built huts. I announced his Excellency the
Commander to a negro who spoke Spanish. We were invited to sit down, a
crowd of blacks assembled, and the elders of the tribe arrived. Lastly
appeared a tall young man wearing a blue cotton shirt and trousers,
with amulets strung round his neck, and a sceptre covered with a
tigerskin in his hand. This was Pepel himself. He understood English
and spoke it a little. We had what is called in those parts a palaver
with him. I spoke very slowly, and the King answered me. We went over a
great many subjects. We were severe--but just! Nothing concerning the
result of this conference ever transpired, but the diplomatic action of
France made itself felt. Something else made itself felt as well, and
that was the horrible smell in Pepel's town, a filthy place, inhabited
by a numerous and hideous population.

When I got outside it I stopped short before a striking sight--a
semi-circular clump of trees so huge that men looked like pigmies
beneath them, giving me much the same impression as the mosque of St.
Sophia at Constantinople had formerly made on me. The trunks of these
trees were like the pillars of some strange cathedral, and it was as
dark beneath them as in some ancient church. The bare sandy soil
swarmed with women, some naked, some clothed, and all tattooed and
painted and striped in various colours, scraping up the earth to find
fresh water, the rarest of all commodities on the African coast. It was
a picture worth painting.

On leaving the Niger (which is British, irrevocably British), fierce
tornadoes drove us swiftly to Fernando Po, a lovely island covered with
forests, over which rises a huge peak, much like the Peak of Teneriffe,
and like it too, almost always lost in the clouds. I anchored close in
shore in an excellent haven, and seized the opportunity to send my crew
to amuse themselves and do their washing on shore. A pretty stream,
which tumbled in one waterfall after another through the masses of
tropical growth, was soon the scene of numerous laundry operations, in
which all the negresses in the neighbourhood insisted on joining,
incited thereto no doubt by the desire of seeing how my four hundred
strapping fellows set about their work.

[Illustration with caption: CITIZEN OF FERNANDO PO.]

From the top of the hill to its foot there rose one great
Africo-European shout of laughter and shriek of delight, which it was a
downright pleasure to listen to.

Officially speaking, Fernando Po was a Spanish possession But not a
single Spaniard lived on the island, and no Spanish flag floated over
it. The English indeed had landed several cargoes of their "liberated
Africans" on it, and an individual, whether official or not I cannot
tell, had also come to govern them. He had built himself a comfortable
house, before which he had planted a flagstaff, from which the Union
Jack waved. After a time he had assumed the style and title of
governor, and I was requested to call on him as such, which I
absolutely refused to do. On my return to Europe, chancing to meet
Comte Bresson, our ambassador in Spain, I mentioned the state of
matters at Fernando Po to him, and soon after received a letter from
him from Madrid, in which he told me the Spanish Government had just
despatched a warship to retake possession of the island. It was well
worth while, for if the British Niger, the German Cameroons, and the
French Gaboon are some day to develop commercially and colonially, as
they seem to give promise of doing, Fernando Po, with its insular
position, its comparatively healthy climate, and its excellent
anchorage, lying as it does at an equal distance from the three centres
of activity, cannot fail to become a most important place both from the
commercial and the military point of view.

I speak of the FRENCH Gaboon. It was not French at the time of my
visit, but it was soon to become so. We had important commercial
interests there, and the idea of forming a colonial station was already
entertained.

Commander Bouet, who had preceded me on the coast, had taken his
gunboat up the river, and had earnestly pressed me to do the same thing
with the Belle-Poule, so as to prove its navigability for the largest
ships, which, once acknowledged, would stamp it as a first-class naval
station. I resolved to make the attempt, though I had no charts, no
levels nor surveys, and the low shores offered no landmarks nor
distinctive signs, not even a tree to guide one. Bouet had merely
warned me that there were dangerous sandbanks to be avoided. "Pooh!
you'll find your way amongst them all right." And so we did indeed, but
it was a regular voyage of discovery.

While we were creeping along with all due caution, a fleet of canoes
joined us from the right bank of the river, where Libreville now
stands, with Qua-Ben, king of the right bank, and his suite, on board.
The chief boarded us, came and greeted me, and then with a
self-important air, established himself, accompanied by the whole of
his suite, on the poop of my frigate. He was a small deformed man, with
a countenance betraying all the spitefulness usual among dwarfs and
humpbacked people. He was huddled into a British naval officer's
uniform. Taken up as I was with the management of my ship, I paid no
attention at all to him. Presently a top man just come down out of the
mizzentop approached me and whispered, "Captain, that king is an awful
rascal. I was here last year with a ship from Nantes, and he stripped
us of everything."

"Are you quite sure?"

"Perfectly, sir, it's Qua-Ben. I know him quite well"

"Very good, call the master-at-arms...Master-at-arms, take that king
over there, and put him in irons!"

Four pairs of sinewy arms lifted up his sable majesty, under the orders
of the master-at-arms, the police officer of the ship, and thus
carried, and followed by his dismayed attendants, the king disappeared
below. He yelled like a dog who has had his paw trodden on, and I
fancied I heard the words "Bouet! Bouet!" here and there. That was
indeed the name he was invoking. When he had once been laid out on his
plank couch, we extracted a complete confession of his misdeeds through
the medium of several interpreters, and we learnt also the fact, which
a summary investigation confirmed, that Commander Bouet had already
chastised him and made him disgorge his plunder once. So I had him set
at liberty, and advised him to meditate on his second warning, and
behave accordingly for the future.

He lost no time in taking himself off, while the Belle-Poule cast
anchor near the left bank of the river, before a town belonging to
another native king known as Denis. This Denis was by no means an
ordinary individual. Some of his predecessors, too, had been
illustrious in their way. His father, who had been kidnapped when very
young and taken to Europe, had played the Chinese bells in a military
band under the first Napoleon's empire, had returned to his own
country, and had finally been called to the highest place in the State.
His son had inherited his father's honours. He was a fine-looking
negro, with grizzled woolly pate, who spoke French fairly well, and
seemed much inclined to come to an understanding with us and open up
his country to trade and civilisation. He came to call on me in great
state, dressed in the handsome uniform of a general of the French
Republic, the cast-off garments of some performer at the Cirque
Olympique. He had a tricolour plume in his hat, a gold laced coat with
lapels turned back on the chest, white breeches, and top boots. He wore
the decoration of the Legion of Honour, which he had been given for
some service or other he had done our fleet in those waters; and a
large gold medal of Queen Victoria, given him by the English, hung down
on a thick chain between his knees. His son--who lived close to the
landing-stage in a big hut with a hoarding round it, like what you see
in Paris round pulled-down houses, on which was written, instead of the
usual warning, "Petit Denis, Fils du Roi" (Little Denis, the King's
Son) in letters a foot high--was anxious to come too. He had a Hussar
uniform, but not knowing how to put it on, he sent at the last moment
to ask for somebody to go and help him to get into it. I lost no time
in detailing the midshipmen of the frigate for this duty, which they
performed with the greatest gusto, dressing up "Petit Denis" just as
the tailor's assistants dress up M. Jourdain in the Bourgeois
Gentil-homme. But the scamps tightened him up to such an extent in his
jacket and belts that he was more dead than alive, and on the brink of
an apopletic attack, by the time he got on board. We gave the royal
family the best welcome at our command. My bandmaster, M. Paulus,
entertained them with his noisiest tunes; but whenever the band stopped
the king cried "Encore! encore!" When the bandsmen got tired out I shut
his majesty up in a little cabin with the three ship's drummers, and
told them to keep rolling till he had enough of it. But the drummers
gave out in their turn, and I had to send the insatiable melomaniac and
his family on shore at last, whether he would or no.

In return for my handsome behaviour to him he invited me to join him in
an elephant hunt. These animals were very numerous in the vicinity, and
were devastating the plantations. But the season was particularly
unhealthy, everybody was ill; we should have had to spend the night in
pestilential marshes, where we were certain to get fever, and as I had
hardly got clear of that we had caught in the Cazamanze River, I had to
refuse the tempting offer. We spent several days in the Gaboon, amongst
a race of negroes who struck me as being more intelligent and more easy
to civilise than any others on the coast. The women, too, had better
features than most negresses. Aquiline noses were to be seen among them
and lips of moderate size, and some had an almost European look. Their
necks and arms and waists were loaded with necklaces and bracelets of
shells or metal, which rattled every time they moved, a somewhat idle
precaution, inspired, so it was said, by the excessive jealousy of
their lords and masters. On the whole I carried away a very good
impression of the future possibilities of the Gaboon, both naval and
colonial.

When the Belle-Poule had finished her cruise along the Guinea Coast she
had orders to go to Brazil; so we set sail for Rio de Janeiro. On our
way thither we touched at He du Prince, a Portuguese possession
entirely covered with coffee plantations, the produce of which
connoisseurs reckon to be the best in the world. Almost the whole of
the island belonged to one lady, who did all in her power to induce our
purser to give up his profession and come and manage her immense
property for her. Failing in this endeavour she sent him a keepsake, in
the shape of a pair of braces embroidered by her own fair hands, just
as we were departing. We took in water at Ile du Prince, and as we had
used up all our stores during our long cruise, I shipped a boat-load of
yams to take the place of potatoes, and completed my victualling,
during a stay of a few hours at Ascension, by taking a large number of
turtle on board. They weighed about six hundred pounds each, and did us
quite well instead of fresh meat.

A sudden change came over my life at Rio de Janeiro, one which my
parents had long desired. I married. My bride was the second daughter
of the Emperor Dom Pedro, Princess Francoise, whose acquaintance I had
made some six years previously, during my first visit to Brazil. The
official request for the princess's hand was made in the King's name by
the Baron de Langsdorff, who was sent over as ambassador extraordinary
for that purpose in the Ville de Marseilles. The wedding was celebrated
at the San Cristofero Palace, and a few days afterwards we started for
Brest, which place we reached after a slow passage of seventy-two days
against contrary winds.

On my arrival I had to give up the command of the Belle-Poule, and I
did not part from the old ship, which had carried me so well and safely
through so many adventures, without a pang of emotion. I felt, when I
clasped my officers' hands in hearty farewell, that I was sure (THEN,
at least) of meeting them again in the course of my professional
career. The painful leave-taking was when I had to say good-bye to my
brave crew, a happy family, in which discipline had been so strictly
established from the very outset of the voyage, that punishment had
become unknown, and whose universal sense of duty had engendered that
mutual affection between officers and men which is the foundation of
true professional zeal and self-sacrifice.

The fine body of fighting men which four years of care and unvaryingly
consistent management had brought to the highest pitch of perfection,
all the brave fellows of whom I felt I could ask anything and be
certain it would be performed, were to be scattered, every man to his
own home. I was never to see them again, except a few, one here and one
there. Nowadays even, after the lapse of fifty years, if chance takes
me anywhere upon the seacoast, I sometimes see some old sailor's eye
fixed on me, altered as I am, as though he were searching the far
depths of his memory. All at once one hand goes up to his cap, and the
other is stretched out to me with a friendly look, and the words "Do
you remember such a one, topman of the maintop--such a storm--such an
escape?"

Then my heart swells, and I say to myself, as I could go on saying for
ever, "There is nothing you cannot do with Frenchmen when they are once
saturated with the spirit of obedience, discipline, and duty!"



CHAPTER  XI

1844


I had hardly got back to Paris when I was shot on to the Admiralty
Board. A great honour it was, no doubt, for a junior like myself to be
associated with such veterans in the profession as numbers among its
members were. But this gathering of experienced men was merely a body
of advisers placed at the disposal of the Minister of Marine, to assist
him with its counsel on any questions he chose to submit to them. The
committee possessed no initiative of its own, and I felt myself
misplaced upon it. I had indeed, and always have preserved, the deepest
respect for its eminent qualities. It has contributed not a little, by
its consistent action and permanent character, to the preservation of
our naval organisation--the worth of which has been proved everywhere,
in the Crimea, on the battlefields in 1870, in Tunis, and in
China--from the results of the conceited ignorance of mushroom
politicians. But in the year 1843 we were on the brink of the
inevitable revolution worked in naval matters by the introduction of
steam. The great object for us was to create, and that rapidly, under
pain of being outstripped by others, a new naval force, more
appropriate, perhaps, than our former one, to our national genius and
resources. Passionately interested as I was in the greatness of my
country, having leisure time to dispose of, since nothing called on me
to plunge into the paltry bargain-making of electoral politics in which
that country was wallowing, having no love of red tape nor excess of
experience to hold me back, I was ardently anxious to be employed where
I could actively assist in creating a powerful element in the national
strength. I therefore merely passed through the Admiralty Board.

My only recollection of it is of having been present at some very long
sittings in a room in the Ministry of Marine, the windows of which look
on to the Rue Royale, which apartment one of my colleagues, Admiral de
Bougainville, had turned into a sort of stovehouse by means of hot-air
pipes, sandbags, screens, and foot muffs. We all nearly died of the
heat, and when another colleague of mine, Baron Charles Dupin, made us
long speeches, I had the greatest difficulty in keeping myself awake.

The Minister of Marine decided, at my entreaty, to appoint a special
naval commission on steam, of which I was a member. The chief
commission did nothing, or scarcely anything--but a sub-commission did
good work. There were five of us--a captain in the navy, M. de Verninac
(who was afterwards Minister of Marine under General Cavaignac); a very
clever engineer, formerly Superintendent at Indret, M. Rossin; an
artillery colonel, M. Durbec; M. Touchard, a naval lieutenant; and
myself. I will not give the full story of our work, and of the constant
battle we had to fight with obstinate habit and dread of
responsibility. All those early attempts of ours at transforming our
navy seem almost childish, looked at from the distance of the
half-century which has since elapsed. And indeed, though my
recollection of them is clear enough, I have no means of verifying it,
all my notes and reports, and all my correspondence relating to the
undertakings in question, having passed out of my hands, in the
following manner:--

Some months after the Revolution in 1848, while I was residing in
England, at Claremont, a visitor's name was brought up to me. The name,
de X., was that of a good family, well known in Normandy and in the
political and scientific world. But instead of one of the faces I was
prepared to see, I beheld that of a most unsatisfactory member of the
family, whom I instantly remembered having seen in Algeria, wearing a
Belgian uniform, and acting as reporter for the Constitutionnel
newspaper. He entered the room and said:

"Do you remember me?"

"Perfectly."

"Well, I've just arrived from your part of the world."

"What do you mean?"

"After the Tuileries were captured, on February 24th (you were in
Algiers just then), I took up my quarters in your rooms. They are very
comfortable rooms. I stayed in them for two months. They were rather
upside down, as you may fancy. Everything worth taking had been carried
off, but the floor was littered with books and papers and a whole heap
of things that everybody had trodden upon. I amused myself by settling
them all up, especially your letters and papers, which I sorted. I
arranged them into several classes. Everything referring to your
missions and to political matters I sent to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, and everything touching the navy to the Ministry of Marine. In
fact, I disposed of everything. But I put aside a few documents
regarding the Princesse de Joinville's business matters in Brazil and
your own private journals of your sea-voyages, and brought them with me
here."

He smilingly showed me a packet he held in his hand, then went on:

"But my journey has cost me a lot of money." "Then say how much you
want, in plain English."

"A hundred louis."

I went and fetched the money, and then showed him the door without
another word, though I could hardly resist kicking him through it. Thus
it was that I learnt what had become of my papers on naval subjects. I
greatly regretted the loss of my private correspondence, and more
especially that of my letters from M. Dupuy de Lome, a most talented
young engineer, much in advance of his times, with whom I had been in
daily intercourse.

Our commission did its best. It made a modest beginning by altering the
fighting armament of our existing ships, placing their guns fore and
aft, so as to permit of their developing their artillery power to the
utmost possible extent, while at the same time exposing the propelling
machinery to as little danger as possible. We turned out ships of
various types, such as the Descartes, the Cuvier, the Pluton, &c. Then
came the turn of the fabric of the ships themselves, and we had a
series of experiments made on the practising ground at Gavres, near
Lorient, to test the penetration of projectiles on every sort of
substance--wood, coal, gutta-percha, iron plates, and finally on iron
plates superimposed one on the other--in other words armour-plating. It
was ten years before the armour plating was actually brought into use,
so great was the delay caused by political agitation in the country.

At Lorient, too, M. Labrousse, a post-captain in the navy, made
experiments to find out the best form to give to the rams of warships,
while a literary man, M. Jal by name, was hunting all the old books and
archives for everything touching the manoeuvres and tactics of ancient
rowing ships and galleys.

Then from paddle-ships we passed on to those with propellers which were
submerged, and therefore much more easy to protect, and I went to watch
the first trials of the newly-invented improvements at sea--that of our
first screw-ship, the Napoleon, a name which was afterwards exchanged
for that of Corse, under which she served as a despatch-boat for over
forty years--of our first ironclad, a screw-ship, too, the Chaptal,
built at Asnieres by M. Cave--and of the Pomone, the first frigate we
built with auxiliary engines, which was fitted with a screw-propeller
designed by a Swedish engineer, Mr. Erickson. But the most interesting
of all these trials was that of the Napoleon, first, because, as I have
already stated, she was our first screwship, and also because that
particular mode of propulsion is of French invention.

An organ-builder at Amiens, of the name of Dallery, was the first
person to think (in 1803) of building a boat driven by a screw. He
ruined himself over it, and broke up all his machinery in his despair.
The idea was taken up again later by M. Sauvage, a shipbuilder, who
made some progress with it. I had known Sauvage, in 1835, in connection
with another invention called a physionotype, by means of which a
mathematically correct impression could be taken of the features of any
face. But as everybody made an appalling grimace before putting their
face into the instrument, the result, though strictly exact, was
monstrously ugly.

There was more future promise about Sauvage's work on the
screw-propeller than about his physionotype, but he himself did not
reap the benefit accruing from it. It became public property. The
English built a trial ship, the Rattler, and the Americans another, the
Princeton. But the Napoleon was earlier than these, and besides was
more successful than either of them. She was originally ordered as a
mail steam-packet, from a private shipyard, by the Ministry of Finance,
which was much bolder as to introducing innovations than the Ministry
of Marine, and her construction was confided to two eminent men--M.
Normand, of Havre, for her hull, and an Englishman, Mr. Barnes, for her
engines and propeller. Each of these gentlemen was equally successful
in his first attempt.

During the summer of 1843 I was in command of a flotilla, formed for
the purpose of making experiments to compare ships of the old-fashioned
type with this little vessel, which we tested in every imaginable way.
At every change in the condition of the sea, M. Normand, Mr. Barnes,
and I myself, who were all three of us escorting the Napoleon on board
the Pluton, used to rush on deck to watch her behaviour. M. Normand
would give us a lecture on her lines and her displacement wave, or the
degree of her rolling or her pitching. Mr. Barnes, a great big
Englishman, said never a word, but pulled a slide-rule out of his
pocket and mumbled algebraic formulae. The ship was commanded in
first-rate style by a very efficient naval lieutenant, M. de
Montaignac, who since that time has acted as Minister for Marine
Affairs.

As nobody had ever seen a screw steamer before, we aroused general
astonishment wherever we went. In the course of our cruise we entered
the Thames, and ascended the Medway from Sheerness to Chatham. It was
in the morning, there was a slight fog. The authorities were informed
of our approach, and were preparing to receive us, only delaying
assembling for that purpose till they had been warned the ship was
close by, either by her being caught sight of, or by the sound of her
paddle-wheels striking the water. But the Napoleon, running swiftly up
through the fog, making no noise whatever with her screw, took them all
by surprise. When the dockyard authorities hurried up they saw her
stop, and then, thanks to her screw, she turned almost in her own
length, and brought up alongside the jetty--a novel proceeding over
which the commodore, an old salt, was still gasping when I went ashore.

During this visit to the Thames the little flotilla went up to
Woolwich, where we were welcomed by the English authorities with that
frank cordiality with which they have almost always received me. We
were shown both the arsenal and the dockyard. In the dockyard basin a
steam corvette with paddle-wheels was lying, which had a new
arrangement of which I had heard a great deal. The sponsons formed
great rafts which could be lowered into the water by an ingenious
mechanical contrivance, and which, in case of its being necessary to
land troops, would carry a large number at a time, and even save the
crew in a case of disaster. This, indeed, did occur in the Crimea and
elsewhere, after our ships had all been equipped with the invention.

Commodore Sir Frederick Collier was good enough to have these rafts
experimented with at my request. I turned my opportunity of seeing them
to good account. When I was back in Paris, some two or three months
later, the English naval captain (his name escapes me, I fancy it was
Smith), who had invented this raft system, asked me to receive him. He
came, so he told me, to offer his plan to the French navy, and on the
strength of the interest with which I had followed the trial of his
boat at Woolwich, he begged me to recommend it to the minister for that
department of affairs. Further, he offered to bring me a model of it.

"Wait one moment," I replied.

I rang the bell, and sent for an old workman who was in my employment.
He came, with a model of my visitor's boat and lowering apparatus in
his hand, constructed on drawings I had made on my return from England.
The inventor stood as though petrified at the sight. The only word he
said was "Wonderful!" It appears I had caught the likeness at once.
What it is to know how to draw!

Let me add, by the way, that the old workman to whom I have just
referred had been a ship's carpenter with the fleet commanded by
Villaret de Joyeuse in the naval engagement which we call the Battle of
the 13th Prairial, and the English that of the 1st of June. At my house
he often met an academician, as old as himself, of the name of Dupaty,
who had also been a sailor, and present at the same battle. The two old
warriors would interchange recollections, which amused me much, and
often interested me deeply as well.

From them I learnt that before the fleet sailed from Brest to fight the
British it was "purified" (epuree). The captain and two lieutenants of
the flag-ship, the Cote d'Or, were guillotined, and the ship's name
changed into the terrifying one of the Montagne. The captain of another
ship, the Jean Bart, had also been beheaded. Thousands of sailors and
seasoned marines, whose opinions were not trusted, were drafted into
the land-forces, and replaced by others who were pure Republicans, but
who did not know their work. POUR ENCOURAGER LES AUTRES, Jean Bon St.
Andre, commissary of the republic with the fleet, and afterwards
prefect of Mayence under Napoleon (his very name marked him out for the
post!), had caused a guillotine to be erected on board every ship. It
was set up forward at the foot of the foremast. Yet all these
terrorising measures and this revolutionary disorganisation did not
bring us victory. They brought indeed nothing but defeat, attended by
downright carnage. The valour of our crews often amounted to actual
heroism. But they had no skill. They were killed, but they could not
deal death themselves. Every English shot told. Every French one flew
wide. It is most distressing, on consulting the annals of the two
navies, to notice the enormous losses on board the French ships
compared with the insignificant number of men killed or wounded on the
English ones. True it is, that at sea, just as on dry land,
extemporised arrangements are disastrous things, and that, as I have
already asserted, nothing can ever replace professional skill and the
long established habit of obedience to superior orders and general
discipline.

That wonderfully dramatic, if sometimes contested episode, of the
Vengeur going down into the waves with all her crew, sooner than
surrender, is supposed to have taken place at the close of the battle
of the 13th Prairial. I have often heard the story attributed to
Barrere, who, being obliged to give an account of the lost battle to
the Convention, endeavoured thus to gild the pill. I questioned my two
old sailor friends eagerly concerning this incident of the struggle
wherein they had both played their part.

On another occasion I made personal inquiries of one of the last
survivors of the Vengeur, to whom I had been commissioned to convey the
Cross of the Legion of Honour. Putting together what I gathered from
these various individuals, and what I collected elsewhere, I believe
the exact truth concerning the episode in question to be as follows:

Towards the end of the fight, after having grappled for a long time, at
close quarters, with the British warship the Brunswick, the Vengeur,
riddled with shot on every side, and utterly dismasted, was shipping
water through her ports with every roll of the sea. In this condition
she must have sunk before long. The engagement was over--it was six
o'clock at night. The English warships Alfred and Culloden, and the
Rattler, cutter, came to the Vengeur's assistance, and set to work,
with the few of their boats which had not been smashed during the
fight, to save Renaudin, her plucky captain, and his son, first of all,
and then take off the crew. The Alfred took off two hundred and
thirteen men, the Culloden and Rattler almost as many more; but the
work of rescue was still going on when the ship foundered, carrying
with her not only all the most seriously wounded men, but about forty
unwounded sailors, who seeing death was inevitable, bravely greeted its
approach with shouts of "Vive la Nation! Vive la Republique!" The story
is such a splendid one as it is, that it needs no imaginary
embellishments whatever.

Let me return for a moment to my excellent academician friend, M.
Dupaty, whose acquaintance I had made in the most absurd fashion. In
the palmy days of the warlike enthusiasm of the Citizen Guard the
worthy Dupaty was a captain in the 1st battalion of the 2nd Legion,
commanded by Commandant Talabot. One evening, when he was on guard at
the Palais Royal, he had been reciting some verses in my father's
drawing-room, and, somewhat intoxicated perhaps by poetic enthusiasm,
he begged the King to put one of his sons into his company. His Majesty
burst out laughing and said:

"There's Joinville, he knows all his rifle-drill very well; he has had
one of the old Invalides to teach him. He'll do for you."

So I was put into a National Guard's uniform, with a knapsack stuffed
with hay on my back (in the ardour of that moment the chic companies
all wore knapsacks), and was sent to drill with my company on the Rue
de Londres drill ground, where the Quartier de l'Europe now stands. A
more ridiculous proceeding cannot be imagined, but old Dupaty was
perfectly enchanted. He was still more delighted when he succeeded in
getting one of his works, a comic opera called Picaros et Diego given
at the theatre in the Chateau of Compiegne, in honour of the marriage
of my sister Louise and the King of the Belgians. But lo! at the climax
of the piece, the principal performer came forward, before the newly
married couple, the Royalties, and all the great personages forming the
audience, and burst forth with a gag couplet, which nobody expected.

 Oui, c'en est fait, je me marie,
 Je veux vivre comme un Caton.
 Il fut en temps pour la folie
 Il en est un pour la raison!
 [Footnote: Rough translation:--
 Yes! all is o'er, I'm going to wed,
 Like Cato I'm resolved to live.
 The time for youthful folly's sped,
 My life to Reason now I'll give!]

As King Leopold was not reckoned to have led a life quite devoid of
love affairs, the appropriateness of the remark had a wonderful effect.
All the grandees hung their heads in a row, and the rest of the
audience struggled with a violent desire to burst out laughing.

But this long digression has carried me far away. I must get back to
England and my little flotilla's stay there. My brother Aumale, who had
accompanied me on my cruise, went with me to Windsor, where we paid our
respects to Queen Victoria. Although in the course of my various
voyages I had touched at several English ports, this was the first time
I really saw England, hospitable England, and the first impression it
made on me was very deep. Though the gray and smoky tint of both sky
and water and buildings, and everything I passed as I went up the
Thames to London Bridge, looked singularly dreary to my eyes, the
immense commercial stir and general activity I saw exceeded anything I
had ever expected to behold. And the ineffaceable impression of this
greatness and power was quickly succeeded by another, no less profound,
and which my long life has only confirmed, that here was a nation which
had known how to pass through a revolution without permitting it to
encroach on its social discipline, nor allowing democratic jealousies
to destroy its traditions and sow discord between the different classes
of its population.

I thought Windsor quite superb. The old castle, surrounded by its
ancient trees, with its foundations lapped by the waters of the Thames,
the national river, and seeming to stretch out its protecting arm over
Eton and the picturesque college--whither the flower of the nation
comes to receive the healthiest and soundest of educations at the hands
of a purely clerical body--is a true symbol of the calm strength and
steady permanence of the English Monarchy.

I had met Prince Albert several times already, in Paris; but I had
never seen Queen Victoria before. Bright and witty, with an arch and
pleasant smile not always quite devoid of mischief, the young sovereign
was in all the freshness and brilliance of her youth and the radiance
of her happiness. She and her royal husband gave us a welcome of which
I preserve the most grateful recollection, and from that day forward I
conceived a profoundly respectful affection for her Majesty, which has
increased with my advancing years.

Our visit to Windsor was short and devoid of striking incident, beyond
the acquaintance I made there with men of eminence in war or state
craft, such as the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, and Lord
Aberdeen. It was at this time that the Queen of Great Britain's journey
to the Chateau d'Eu was decided on. I went with my flotilla as far as
Cherbourg to meet her.

When she got there, she invited me on board her own vessel, the
splendid yacht Osborne, commanded by a son of the late King William
IV., Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence, a very good fellow, but a somewhat
rubicund specimen of the old-fashioned British sailor, with an eye he
had some difficulty in keeping open; which failing earned him the
following reply to his chaffing remark, made to a little schoolboy,
already somewhat sensitive about his personal dignity. "Oh, WHAT a bad
hat you have!"

"And you, what a damned bad eye!"

Lord Aberdeen, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, was also on board the
yacht, besides Lord Liverpool, Lord Charles Wellesley, Colonel Wylde,
and the ladies-in-waiting--that charming Lady Canning whom we had known
in Paris as a child, and who died in India, after having shown great
courage during the terrible Sepoy mutiny, and a not less charming Miss
Liddell, who afterwards became Lady Bloomfield.

The Queen's entrance into Treport was favoured by splendid weather; the
little wet dock, crammed with fishing boats, and the old church, were
gilded by the rays of the setting sun, while opposite us, on the rock
overlooking the port, rose the great cross before which the fishermen's
wives go and pray in stormy weather. We went ashore to the firing of
cannon and the rattle of thousands of sabots on the shingle, among a
good-humoured crowd of sailors, short-petticoated fishwives, and
white-capped Normandy peasant women, all making their comments aloud,
while here and there appeared a gendarme's cocked hat, or the
broad-brimmed headgear of some country cure. It was a picturesque
sight, so gay and noisy, and so thoroughly French, and the young
sovereign seemed delighted with its novelty. There was no cavalry
escort nor lining of the road from Treport with troops; but the
splendid squadrons of the 1st Cuirassiers, in their copper
breast-plates, were drawn up in echelon at regular distances apart in
the open fields, and saluted with their trumpets as we went by; while
at the chateau itself the Guard of Honour was furnished by a battalion
of riflemen drawn up in close order, their dark uniform and military
air causing Lord Charles Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington's son, and a
thoroughbred soldier himself, to exclaim, "Oh, what splendid little
fellows!"

My father had put the Queen into a huge open vehicle, with room for
twelve people in it, like a boat in shape, drawn by a team of eight
horses, harnessed in the French style, with an outrider, coachman,
footmen, and grooms all dressed in red. The postilion, who wore great
boots as in a Van der Meulen picture, was the only servant in a blue
livery. This contrast in colour arose out of a tradition which had been
kept up in the royal stables, that the postilion, being supposed to
have taken off his jacket for the sake of being cool, must always be
dressed in the same colours as the other servants' waistcoats. The
Orleans livery being scarlet with a blue waistcoat, the postilions wore
blue. The Conde livery being chamois-colour, with amaranth waistcoats,
the postilions must wear amaranth, and so on.

The royal waggon with its eight horses was anything but easy to manage
on the narrow Norman roads. And one slight accident occurred of which I
was the unlucky cause. I was riding beside the carriage door, and I got
in the way when it was turning a corner, so that it got locked, and
remained so for some minutes. My father stormed, and the Queen went
into a fit of laughter; but the poor old coachman, a veteran belonging
to the old state stables, cast a look at me that must have been like
Vatel's glance before he ran himself through with his sword. I had
brought disgrace on him at the most solemn moment in his life!

The next day a fresh bit of local colour was provided for the royal
guests. The Queen was taken out driving with posters in the forest. The
postilions, with their clubbed and powdered hair and gaily beribboned
hats, started at a fairly steady pace, but once they were clear of the
crowd they went off at full tear, with loose reins and a great cracking
of whips. The pace was so severe that it was as much as I could do,
with my horse at full gallop, to keep my place beside the carriage
door. The fun was flavoured with a touch of uneasiness, which increased
its charm. The whole period of the Queen's visit was thus spent in
drives and excursions, from which we did our best to banish any touch
of official formality and constraint.

In the evenings there would be a concert, with the artists from the
Conservatoire to sing the chorus from Armide, "Jamais en ces beaux
lieux," the orchestra performing the symphony in A, and a solo on the
horn by Vivier; or else Auber would bring the Opera Comique troupe,
Roger, Chollet, and Anna Thillon; or else Arnot played L'Humonste with
Mdme. Doche. There were Cabinet Ministers there as well. Lord Aberdeen
and M. Guizot held conversations, during which they may or may not have
confided political secrets to each other. Marshal Soult, the President
of the Council, spoke but little, and when he did, the words that fell
from his lips were not always of the most good-tempered sort, as one
unlucky general found out to his cost. This worthy man, no longer
young, who was in command in a neighbouring department, held the grade
of brigadier-general, and, feeling the moment of his retirement was
approaching, he was passionately anxious, before it struck, to make
sure of the three stars that mark the rank of lieutenant-general. He
had been watching his opportunity to try and get the marshal to look
favourably on his request, and he fancied he had found it one morning
when he met him after luncheon, at the entrance of the Galerie des
Guise. The marshal was walking along, limping from an old wound, with
one hand behind his back, and plunged in a meditation which was the
reverse of rose-colour, to judge by the pouting under-lip, which he
always wore when this was the case.

The general approached him, and he stopped short, knitting his brows.

"I am very lucky, Monsieur le Marechal, to have this opportunity of
paying you my respects."

"Pooh!" said the marshal, but the poor wretch went on:

"And as I have this lucky chance, Monsieur le Marechal, I take
advantage of it to inform you of the satisfactory state of the public
mind in my department, and the good results of my work there. Do you
know that only the day before yesterday I had sitting at my own dinner
table, with several people who are devoted to the present order of
things, a Legitimist and ... a Republican!"

"Oh, had you indeed? Then let me tell you you asked them to dine to
meet an idiot!"

And off the marshal went, leaving his unlucky interlocutor aghast at
the sudden collapse of his hopes. I have even heard it said he died of
it!

On her return from Eu, the Queen landed at Brighton, whither I had the
honour of accompanying her, and where she was received with that
general enthusiasm which has never failed to greet her. I remained for
a day as her Majesty's guest in that hideous Pavilion at Brighton, in
those days a royal residence, where nobody could move about or open a
window without being exposed to the fire of all the opera glasses in
the houses opposite This masterpiece of bad taste has been turned into
a casino. It is the one thing it was fitted to be. Then I took those of
our ships which had escorted the Queen to Brighton back to Treport to
act as guardships while the King remained at Eu.

Some years previously a comical scene took place on board one of these
guardships. The King had gone, according to his usual custom, to
inspect the ship in question and her crew, accompanied by the then
Minister for Marine Affairs, a gallant officer who shall be nameless,
but who was better fitted for giving words of command than for
extemporising speeches. Once on board the... Pelican (I will use that
name, though it is not the real one), and the inspection of the crew
being over, the King told the minister he desired to commemorate his
visit by the bestowal of at least one Cross of Honour. The idea was
quite unexpected, but after some consideration it was decided to give
the decoration to the surgeon-major, who had behaved with great
devotion during a recent cholera epidemic. The crew was still
assembled, the King took up his position aft, but the minister, being
perfectly ignorant as to the course the ceremony should take, did not
open his lips. So the scene opened thus:

"Come, Admiral!" said the King. "Tell the drummer to ouvrir le ban."

The admiral in stentorian tones: "Drummer! Ouvrez le ban!"

A silence. Then the King in a whisper: "Say something, Admiral! Tell
them I am going to decorate an officer."

The admiral made a sign of acquiescence, stepped forward, and began
again, in the same stentorian tones:

"Officers and men of the Pelican!"--another pause "His
Majesty"--another pause--"The cholera!"--yet another pause. "Your
gallant surgeon," pointing to him, "your gallant surgeon, I say. The
King desires to reward the officers and men of the Pelican for the
cholera!" (He fired off the word cholera like a cannon shot.) "Appoints
you Legionary" ("Knight," whispers the King very low). "Yes, Knight
Legionary" (the King bent his head in despair). "Knight Legionary of
his Majesty's r-r-royal order of the Legion of Honour! Drummer! Fermez
le ban!"

This was done by the only drummer on board; the gallant surgeon-major
came up to receive his cross, which the King, whose gravity never
forsook him, presented to him with a few kindly words, while all the
spectators made superhuman efforts to control their inclination to
laugh. What dozens of scenes of that kind I have witnessed!

I wound up my term of service at Eu. All there were still full of the
Queen of England's visit, the episodes of which Isabey, Eugene Lamy,
Alaux, and Simeon Fort were very busy transferring to canvas. At last
my little naval division was paid off. I went back to Paris and
re-entered the world, not of politics, but of social intercourse. I
even went to Chantilly Races, a meeting which my brothers had just
established, and which has now become a standing institution. These
races were very different when they first began to what they are in the
present day. There was the same beautiful turfy racecourse, opposite
the ancient castle of the Condes; the horses, too, and the trainers and
jockeys were much the same; but the general public was very different.
There were no railways then to bring huge crowds in numberless specials
and return them to Paris the same evening. The company was less
numerous, but it was more select. People migrated to Chantilly for the
race-week, content with what lodging they could find, and ready to put
up with all the inconveniences of a sort of huge picnic, and spend
every hour both of the day and night amusing themselves as best they
could. It was a kind of summer carnival, with country excursions,
dinners, balls, and merry-makings of every description, at which the
great world and the demi-monde, both of them in considerable force,
sometimes mingled in somewhat noisy fun.

I recollect one extra riotous ball, at which the worthy mayor of
Chantilly, M. Jaquin, thought it his duty to interfere, with the
gendarmerie, to restore order. The worthy magistrate entered, and
commanded the noise to be stopped in the name of the law, at the same
time inquiring who was the proprietor of the house. "Brochet is!"
chorused a hundred voices.

Now Brochet was the surname of a certain fascinating cocotte. "Well,"
said the good mayor paternally, "I should like to speak to M. Brochet."

"That's me!" shouted the same hundred individuals at once. Then there
was a shout of "Long live Jaquin!" and the worthy man was carried round
in triumph, while the fair ladies hastened to exert their blandishments
upon the gendarmes. How could anybody be angry? The representatives of
law and order fraternised with those of--the other thing! and it all
ended in smoke!

So much for our evenings. In the daytime there was hunting. Everybody
followed in merry parties, on horseback, in carriages, or on foot, to
the sound of the horns of the red coated piqueurs of the Orleans family
hunt. The whole thing was full of "go," and I remember seeing one very
pretty woman, out of patience with the slowness of her carriage,
entreat a friend to lend her his horse, and start off on it astride,
not in her riding habit, but in ordinary outdoor costume. The fair
lady's name was Lola Montes, and she later on attained some
considerable celebrity in the kingdom of Bavaria.

After this fashion the lovely month of May was spent. But June brought
me more serious occupation. I was appointed to the command of a
squadron ordered to the coasts of the Empire of Morocco, where we were
on the brink of important events, affecting alike the consolidation of
our Algerian conquests and our relations with other Great Powers Driven
to extremity by the blow given to his prestige by the capture of his
smalah, Abd-el-Kadir was playing a last and desperate card. He had once
more kindled all the Mussulman fanaticism and hatred of the foreign
invader against us We had to fight in every direction. While my brother
Aumale had several sharp engagements, in one of which my younger
brother, Montpensier, was wounded, on the Constantine side of the
country, General Bugeaud was carrying on a daily struggle with the
warlike tribes of the Province of Oran. These tribes, whenever they
were repulsed, crossed the River Moulouia, which was the frontier line
of Morocco, at which our troops had to stop short on account of
European susceptibilities, and thus escaped all chastisement.

The enemy concluded, from the cessation of our pursuit, either that we
did not dare to brave the displeasure of the Emperor of Morocco, or
else that the European Powers, and especially the Power whose flag
floated over Gibraltar, protected the soil of that empire from any
violation. It thus became a sort of citadel, whence any attempt on us
might safely be made without fear of reprisals. There were consequently
perpetual irruptions into our territory, not only of the fanatic
Moorish element, but, covertly, of the Emperor of Morocco's own troops,
whom he had massed, on pretence of keeping watch, close to our
frontier, and in the long run these attacks, which had to be
ceaselessly repulsed at the cost of precious lives, had grown
intolerable. This state of things could not go on The French Government
resolved to put an end to it, and its first step was to despatch the
squadron I had the honour to command. I was to call on the Emperor of
Morocco to withdraw the protection he had given Abdel-Kadir up to that
period; not to allow our enemies to organise expeditions against us on
his territory; and, finally, to reduce the considerable collection of
troops he had amassed on the frontier--the number and attitude of which
both amounted to a threat--to a mere police force. Failing his prompt
acquiescence with my demands, I was to use force at sea, in concert
with General Bugeaud on land, to force Muley Abderrahman to submit.

But I had been expressly desired to carry forbearance to its furthest
possible limit, and in case of our being obliged to take action to let
it be known in the most public manner that we had no idea of conquest.
Above all, I was carefully to avoid anything that might possibly wound
international feelings. And herein lay the difficulty of my task, for
these same feelings were excessively tender. I need hardly say that
this was especially so in the case of England. We had driven away her
trade when we conquered Algeria, and she did not want her commercial
relations with Morocco to meet the same fate. Gibraltar, being in a
state of perpetual semi-blockade on the Spanish side, is obliged to
draw all the necessary supplies for its huge garrison and its smuggling
population from Morocco; and this has gone on for such a length of time
that Englishmen have got into the habit of looking on Tangier as being
an indispensable dependency belonging to that proud citadel on the
Rock, which keeps watch and ward over the gates of the Mediterranean.
Add to this a certain national feeling among the English that the sea
is their special domain, and their consequent jealousy whenever naval
action is taken by any other fleet than theirs, and some idea of the
inflammable elements with which I was about to be surrounded will be
gained. The very announcement of the despatch of my squadron to Morocco
brought forth a demonstration of the national sensitiveness in the
British Parliament. A former minister, Lord Minto, was the first to
echo it in the House of Lords, where he went so far as to do me the
honour of complaining that _I_ should have been entrusted with the
command of the squadron It was decided that ships should be sent to
watch us. Admiral Owen, Commander-in-Chief of the British Mediterranean
Squadron, was ordered to hasten to Gibraltar without delay, and the
Press, as may well be imagined, was not slow to take its share in all
this agitation.

[Illustration with caption: POINT EUROPA, GIBRALTAR.]

Meanwhile I was busily organising my little squadron at Toulon. Twelve
hundred troops, or thereabouts, for disembarkation if necessary, had
been sent me, and as fast as I got my ships ready I sent them on to
Oran, where we were to muster. Just as we were starting a slight
accident occurred, which if I had been superstitiously inclined might
have cast a gloom over the first days of my command. We had towed the
ship Triton, with a body of marines on board, outside the port, one
lovely evening. There we met a steamboat coming from Montpellier with a
company of engineers, under Captain Coffinieres, who were also to be
attached to the expedition. By some mistake in steering the ships
collided. The Triton was slightly damaged; but the steamboat lost her
funnel and spars, and had her bulwarks stove in. There was no damage to
life and limb, beyond an unintentional dip I took, by falling into the
sea while getting alongside the two vessels to judge for myself whether
the collision was a serious one or not. I recollect, as a small matter
of detail, that while we were coming back into Toulon at night, on
board the tug from which I had seen the accident, we made experiments
with the electric light, and that when we turned it on an American
corvette lying in the port, her watch bolted in every direction,
blinded by the dazzling light darted on them suddenly, they knew not
whence. More than forty years elapsed before these experiments received
any practical application. Such is the power of routine!

But I must get back to my ships. Having mustered them all at Oran, and
opened communications with General Bugeaud, I went straight to
Gibraltar, to confer with the English authorities before I did anything
else; and resolved to be the first to offer in the clearest and
frankest way any explanation they might desire of my intentions as to
peace or war, and the part we expected neutral powers to play. Let me
say at once, that from the very first day till the end of the campaign,
I never had occasion to speak otherwise than in terms of the highest
satisfaction of all my relations with the officers holding command in
the British naval force, and more especially with Admiral Owen, Captain
Lockyer, and Captain Provo Wallis. Our intercourse was always frank,
cordial, "straightforward," as English people call it, and very
pleasant in consequence. This was not the case when I had to do with
General Sir Robert Wilson, Governor of Gibraltar, a bitter enemy to
France. In the earliest beginning of his career he had been attached to
the staff of the Russian army, had been through the campaign of 1812,
and borne his part in inflicting the disasters which befell us during
the terrible retreat from Moscow, He played a very active part as
British commissioner with the Allied Armies in 1813, behaving with
great personal valour both at Dresden and Leipsic, and doing us
frequent mischief by the advice he gave to the Allies. Often, in his
very interesting Memoirs, he will be found complacently reckoning up
the losses that we should have suffered if his counsels had been acted
upon. Sir Robert afterwards acquired a certain notoriety in Paris by
acting as the principal agent in the escape of M. de Lavalette in 1815.
A man of occasional chivalrous impulses, but passionate and restless,
to the extent of being incapable of keeping quiet, he looked on his
position as Governor of Gibraltar not as a great military command
alone, but as an active political post, and he had directed all this
activity, through Morocco, against our conquered Province of Algeria,
and so against France herself. His goings to and fro betwixt Gibraltar
and the opposite coast were a matter of common knowledge, and his
newspaper, the Gibraltar Chronicle, edited by his Colonial Secretary,
repeated every statement likely to lower French influence, make little
of our arms, or stir up public feeling against us. Arms and war
material were openly exported to Tetuan and other towns in Morocco
under his very eyes. And, in short, it was easy to trace a great part
of the confidence in their impunity which made Muley Abderrahman and
his government so hostile on our frontier-line, and so insolent in its
replies to our diplomatic agents, to his behaviour.

Such then was the principal personage with whom I had to deal from the
very outset of my mission. He was the object of my first overture. As
soon as I arrived, I proceeded to the Convent, as his official
residence is called, in full uniform, with all the captains belonging
to my squadron. He received me with a politeness that bordered on the
obsequious, and at once began to talk of the danger he apprehended from
the presence of my squadron on that coast and before the Moorish towns;
the danger to peace in general, on account of the conflicts likely to
be provoked; the danger of still further exciting the warlike passions
of the Mussulman population; the danger to the safety of the Christian
natives, the European residents, and the consuls in Morocco; and,
finally, the danger to Mr. Hay, the British Consul-General, who had
just started to give personal counsels of moderation to the Emperor
Muley Abderrahman.

"But indeed, General," I replied, "I shall be too glad not to take my
ships to Tangier, nor to any other point on the Morocco coast, during
the negotiations. We are tired of the state of things caused by the
insolence and hostility of the Moors along our frontier. We are going
to present an ultimatum to put an end to it. We will allow them a
certain interval to reply in, and when that is up, we shall go to
Tangier, either to punish or to forgive them. UNTIL THEN we shall be
very glad of any efforts that may be made to calm public feeling and
facilitate the acceptance of our just demands. UNTIL THEN I am quite
prepared not to take my squadron to the coast of Morocco; but on one
condition only--that the British ships do not go there either. We
cannot allow our dispute to be discussed under the guns of a foreign
fleet, nor that there should be any question of protection or
intimidation in the matter. If you, and the naval authorities with you,
will promise that your ships shall not go to Tangier, I will take mine
to Cadiz, without touching there either, and await the reply to our
ultimatum. Of course I have nothing to say about your small vessels
going to Tangier to protect your fellow-countrymen, and mine will do
the same thing."

That ended my lecture, and I was about to take my leave, but Sir Robert
kept up a conversation on various subjects, till all at once he started
and said:

"Why, I was forgetting the time! The gates will be shut. If you want to
get back to the port, gentlemen, you must start at once. Hurry up! you
haven't a moment to lose."

I always thought that little scene was a got up thing: not indeed for
the sake of the absurd sight of the French admiral and his captains
tearing breathlessly along in full uniform like people who are afraid
of missing a train, but to give us an idea of the strictness of the
regulations under that particular governorship. Of which strictness we
had another proof on the following evening.

A boat coming ashore from the "Jemappes" to take off the officers, who
had been dining on shore, at the postern gate known as the Ragged
Staff, which had been left open for their convenience, made a mistake
in the darkness, and came alongside of another landing stage, the guard
of which turned out and fired a volley, which luckily did not hit
anybody.

The proposal I made during my first visit to Sir Robert was carried
out. I was given a promise that no English ship should appear at
Tangier; and I, on my side, took my squadron to Cadiz, while M. de
Nion, our consul-general, presented our ultimatum to Muley Abderrahman.
Then came a long period of uncertainty. Warships arrived at Tangier
direct from England. As soon as I heard of it I set sail to follow
them; but on my arrival, finding the authorities at Gibraltar had
already recalled them, I returned to Cadiz.

When the answer to our ultimatum did come, it was most unsatisfactory.
The Moorish Government refused to disperse the assemblage of troops
massed on General Bugeaud's front; and even went so far as to demand
that he should be punished for having violated their frontier more than
once, in his pursuit of the bands that had attacked him. And there was
not one word concerning the chief subject of our complaints,
Abd-el-Kadir.

We might have taken immediate steps, on the reception of this news, but
it was indispensable that the safety of our consuls, and our
fellow-countrymen resident in Tangier, whom the first cannon-shot would
expose to all the violence of Mussulman fanaticism, should be ensured
first of all. Then there was the presence of the British Consul-General
at the Emperor's court to be considered. If his mission was not
actually official, it was semi-official at all events; and we were
obliged to await his return. To give some colour to our delay, M. de
Nion sent a fresh summons to Sidi Bousselam, pasha of Larrache, a
clear-sighted and intelligent man, whom the Sultan had deputed to
negotiate with us. A fresh extension of time was granted. I took
advantage of it to get our consuls withdrawn, and went myself to
Tangier to see to the sudden removal of our consul-general and his
family. If this had been attempted a few minutes later, the Moors would
have tried to prevent it. All the other French subjects and people
under our protection, who had put off going on board our ships, were
stopped, except one Jew, who rushed up at full speed, threw himself
into the sea, and managed to come up with my boat. I should add, that
owing to the energetic remonstrances of all the other foreign
representatives, and in particular the Neapolitan Consul, M. de
Martino--a clever and courageous young man who has since risen to the
highest positions in Italy, and who had undertaken to look after our
interests after our consuls had been withdrawn--the embargo thus laid
on our fellow-countrymen's movements was of very short duration.

The departure of the French consuls made a considerable impression both
on the Moorish leaders and on the foreign representatives, who took
alarm at once. The roadstead at Tangier was soon covered, in answer to
their appeals, with foreign warships, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, &c. The
English men-of-war returned, and I brought back my own squadron.

But still the time went by, and Mr. Hay did not appear. General
Bugeaud, away on the frontier, was losing patience, and wrote me letter
after letter, complaining of my tergiversation!" To which I replied,
"Well, General, fire off your guns! If you will begin the fighting I'll
follow your example at once." But the general turned a deaf ear to
that. He answered that pacific overtures which he could not well ignore
were being made him on the frontier side, but that things could not go
on as they were, that his troops were suffering from the heat, that
they were fretting under their enforced inaction. The long and the
short of it was that he would not take the responsibility of the
international complications that might arise out of overt hostilities
in Morocco, and yet he was burning with the desire to throw himself
upon the army lying in front of him and inflict a signal defeat on it.
While he neither urged me on nor tried to check me, diplomacy did its
utmost to restrain my ardour. The French charge d'affaires in London
wrote to point out "the capital importance attached in this country
(England) to the business you have in hand. If it were to come to a
blockade, an occupation of ports and of the coast, &c., I feel quite
convinced that the relations between your Royal Highness and the
British cruisers would keep the peace of the world in general in
constant peril." And the tide kept rising and rising, higher and
higher! In other words, time was going by--in inaction. And some people
were inclined to take inaction for impotence.

At last, on the 4th of August, M. de Nion received an answer, and not
an acceptable one, to his last note, still harping on "the punishment
of the general." We had had enough of that sort of thing. On the 5th a
despatch-boat brought me news of the safety of Mr. Hay, the British
Plenipotentiary, on board an English ship, and of the failure of his
mission. On the 6th I attacked the fortifications of Tangier in the
presence of ships of war of every nation, British battleships, and
Spanish frigates. The object of our demonstration was eminently clear.
We were proving to the Moors, whom we chastised, as to the foreigners
who were looking on, that France intended to ensure her Algerian
frontier being respected, and that no foreign protection would save
those who violated it from punishment.

The shelling of Tangier was much more of a political act than of an act
of warfare. Though eighty pieces of artillery replied to our first
shots, their fire was swiftly silenced by the admirable practice made
by our capital gunners. Not a shot went wide of the enemy's embrasures,
nor did a single one fall on the dwelling-houses, nor on the consular
quarter of the town. Our loss was insignificant I have not the figures
by me, but I do not think we had more than fifteen or twenty men
disabled. No damage was done to the fleet. My ship, the Suffren, had
not more than fifty shots in her hull and spars.

General Bugeaud, with whom I at once communicated, wrote to me soon
afterwards as follows:

I told you on the 11th, that the army would lose no time about
honouring the draft the navy had drawn on it. By the enclosed copy of a
telegram to his Excellency the Minister of War you will see it has kept
its word.

The despatch in question contained the report of the battle of Isly,
which had just been fought; and the letter was dated from the
battlefield itself, on August 14th. On that same 14th of August I was
before Mogador with the squadron. Having sent out three very
intelligent officers, Colonel Chauchard, and Captain Coffinieres of the
Engineers, and a post-captain, the heir to a glorious name, Vicomte
Duquesne, to reconnoitre, I had resolved, on their information, to
choose this particular town and its port, as offering the best chance
of a successful attack. Another consideration too had weighed with
me--the customs duties at Mogador supplied the greater part of Muley
Abderrahman's revenue. We had dissipated his illusions at Tangier, and
while the general was lowering his pride on the battlefield of Isly, I
was going to make a hole in his purse.

Bad weather, rough seas, serious damage to chains, and anchors broken
on the inhospitable rocks, gave us a world of trouble. At last, on the
15th of August, the sea was calmer, and with a favourable breeze we
were able to take up our attacking position opposite Mogador. The town,
being strongly fortified, heavily armed, and having besides had time to
prepare for us, made a much tougher defence than Tangier. But we
mastered it at last, and the fire from the citadel having been silenced
by the guns of the Suffren, Jetnmapes, Triton, and the Belle-Poule
frigate, I took the flotilla into the channel, and landed five hundred
men on the island which forms the port. This was done under a very hot
musketry fire, but it was performed in the boldest and smartest manner,
the men who were wounded in the boats being among the first to spring
on shore. The batteries were carried at the double, and the whole
garrison of the island, about four hundred men, were either killed,
drowned, or driven at nightfall into a large mosque, which they
surrendered the next morning.

There never was a more picturesque sight than the close of that fight,
under a sunset like the one I saw Horace Vernet paint in his fine
picture of the battle of Montmirail. The Moors in their brilliant
dresses were retiring, firing as they went, towards the mosque, whose
great towers rose tall against the sky; while our small craft, running
along the shore on a golden summer sea, supported our soldiers on land
by their fire. I recollect finding myself just at that moment beside a
young sub-lieutenant, fresh from St. Cyr, M. Martin des Pallieres, whom
I had permitted, at his own urgent request, to land as a volunteer,
although his company was not detailed for service. He proudly showed me
his arm, smashed by a ball, saying:

"You see, sir, you did well to let me come!"

The whole of the assault of this island was very well led by Colonel
Chauchard and Captain Duquesne, who was wounded in the engagement.

My first care, the next day, was to send some of my prisoners back to
the pasha of Mogador, with an intimation that if he touched a hair on
the heads of the British Consul and his family, and a few other
Europeans whom he had refused to allow to depart before the attack, I
would take reprisals by putting all the rest of my prisoners to death.
I had the satisfaction of receiving the consul and his belongings on
board my ship, and of transferring them to the English frigate
Warspite, which had been present as a spectator during all our
operations. It was none too soon, for the Arabs and Kabyles from the
neighbouring country were already pouring into the town to sack and
plunder it. The pasha, overwhelmed by their numbers and no longer able
to maintain order, was obliged to take to flight himself, and no
Christian could have remained in the town without running the gravest
risk.

We soon landed in the town of Mogador to complete the work of
destruction begun the day before, spike the guns, smash up the
gun-carriages, and destroy all the munitions of war in the shore
batteries--all of which was performed without a shadow of opposition
being offered. Then I put a garrison on the island, providing it with
heavy guns, to awe the town, which we did not care to occupy, and I
declared the port to be in a state of blockade.

When all this was settled, I sent back the bulk of the squadron to
Cadiz to revictual, and get ready to recommence operations, if
necessary. During the whole of this campaign the only staff I had to
help me to direct sailing and fighting operations, and above all to
supply a naval force numbering seventeen sail, not reckoning my
disembarkation craft, with food, coal, and munitions of war, was one
first lieutenant, who acted as chief of the staff, aide-de-camp, &c.,
one second class cadet to go messages and keep the look out, and the
purser of my own ship, the Suffren.

It is true all these were first-rate men. The two officers have both
become admirals--one is Admiral Touchard and the other Admiral Pierre.
The purser's name was Roumo. I merely mention this detail because, with
the present mania for large staffs, things would be less simply managed
nowadays. I should like to add that I found my best assistance in the
goodwill, pluck, intelligence, and devotion to their country's
interests invariably shown by everybody, without distinction of rank.
In short, the behaviour of the naval force I had the honour of
commanding was even better than I could have expected of it. The
service still bears the same good character, and will continue to bear
it so long as no one lays a sacrilegious hand on an organisation the
value of which has been thoroughly tested, and which now rests on long
and splendid traditions.

But one misfortune befell us. The Groenland, a large transport, was
wrecked some way south of Larrache. By some miscalculation or other she
ran aground, going nine knots an hour, at high water, on a spring tide,
at the foot of a cliff as high as those of the English Channel. When
the fog cleared, some Arabs, very few fortunately, on the top of the
rocks, saw her, and poured their fire into her with perfect impunity.

One of our despatch-boats, the Vedette, becoming aware of the
catastrophe, hurried to the trooper's assistance; but she was almost
powerless, her engines not being strong enough to tow off a big ship
stranded in such a deplorable position. The shots fired from below at
the Arabs on the summit of the cliff only attracted more of them to the
spot. But at all events they were useful in so far as they made me
aware of the disaster.

I was passing by, out at sea, on board the Pluton, on my way to Cadiz,
when the sound of the guns, which was very unexpected thereabouts,
attracted my attention, and steering towards the noise I soon caught
sight of the unlucky Greenland lying close ashore, while the
rifle-shots flashed from the top of the cliff. It was just getting dark
when I reached the spot. I boarded the ship at once, no easy matter,
for a heavy surf was breaking on her stern, the only part of her which
was at all accessible. But they threw me a rope and hoisted me on board.

The unlucky officer in command, Captain Besson, had done everything in
his power after the vessel had gone ashore. He had laid out anchors,
lightened the ship, and cut down her masts and spars. Then, in the
pluckiest way, he had tried to go about, under the full fire of the
Arabs. Fourteen of his men had been killed or wounded at the capstan
bars. But the cables gave way, and the only result of lightening the
ship was that the swell carried her closer in shore. I went down to the
engine-room, which was full of water. It was clear to my mind that her
side was stove in. It was out of the question to make any attempt to
float such a large vessel--a difficult enough job on a friendly
coast--under the rifle-fire of the thousands of Arabs who were sure to
gather on the cliff at daybreak.

If the sea rose, the ship would not only go to pieces, but it would be
impossible to rescue her passengers and crew. I therefore settled to
proceed at once to the removal of the wounded, in the first place, and
then of the rest of the soldiers and sailors on board. This was carried
out without any accident. Captain Besson was the last man to leave his
ship, having first, at my request, set her on fire, so as to leave
nothing in the way of a trophy in the enemy's hands.

On my arrival at Cadiz, besides letters from the Minister for Naval
Affairs, Admiral de Mackau, signifying the approval of his Majesty's
Government of what I had done, I found one from General Bugeaud (who
had been created a marshal), in which he said:

I have just received your despatch of lyth August, which has caused me
the greatest joy. In spite of the great distance between them, the
harmony between our military and naval operations has been complete The
Moorish army was defeated on the 14th, and Mogador was shelled and
captured on the 15th.

Between the two victories, the Princesse de Joinville has made you a
happy father. It seems to me that the young Princess ought certainly to
receive the name of Victoria.

I am very happy to assure you that you cannot be more pleased with your
fleet than the army is with both it and you.

I was busy revictualling and refitting, and reorganising my squadron,
when M. de Martino sent word that Muley Abdurrahman was sueing for
peace, and had given Sidi Bousselam full powers for the purpose.

There was a regular congress of diplomats at Cadiz. M. Guizot had
associated young Decazes--known to all the world in later days as
Marshal MacMahon's Foreign Minister--with M. de Nion, our decharge
d'affaires at Tangier. And then, behind the diplomatic curtain, there
was the British Minister in Spain, Mr. Bulwer, who took the deepest
interest in our proceedings, and like his chief, Lord Aberdeen,
sincerely desired to see the Morocco question dead and buried.
Everybody was eager to draw up protocols. But I thought it much better
to let ourselves be pressed a little, and make the Moors feel a little
keener anxiety to get rid of the blockade on Mogador, which practically
cut off all their supplies. I therefore suggested sending the
interpreter of the fleet, Dr. Warnier--a brave and clever man, one of
the Frenchmen who, with General Daumas, Leon Roche, and others, had,
formerly followed the fortunes of Abd-el-Kadir, and quite capable of
detecting all the tricks of Arab diplomacy--to meet Bousselam, with
orders to ask whether he really was invested with full powers from the
Emperor, and to request him, in that case, to produce an official
document in proof of his assertion. In the event of the reply being in
the affirmative, the squadron to return to Tangier, bringing the French
plenipotentiaries, and with them a treaty ready drawn up, containing
the conditions imposed by France, to be signed within twenty-four hours.

So matters were settled.

And what were the stipulations of the treaty?

Not very many. But it gave the deathblow to Abdel-Kadir, whom the
Emperor of Morocco undertook to proclaim an outlaw. The real treaty of
peace had been signed at Tangier, at Isly, and at Mogador. We had no
object, once we had gained those victories, in imposing too severe
conditions, which would have weakened and even destroyed his authority,
on the Moorish Sovereign. It was far better to have a ruler on our
frontier who had experience both of our armed strength and of our
generosity, and to whose interest it consequently was to live on
friendly terms with us, than to have to keep up a struggle with
Mussulman anarchy, which might end in opening the door to international
intervention.

The treaty inspired by these considerations was duly signed, and the
order to evacuate the Island of Mogador and raise the blockade was
forthwith given. The flag was hoisted once more over the French
consulate, and saluted both on shore and by our ships in port. The
Morocco dispute was closed.

In the result, Abd-el-Kadir, hemmed in in Morocco as he had formerly
been in Algeria, was forced, in 1847, after a short period of wandering
and helplessness, to make his submission to my brother Aumale. From the
date of the signing of the treaty of Tangier up to the present day, no
serious misunderstanding has ever arisen between ourselves and the
Empire of Morocco.

The signature of peace was the signal for the dispersal of the squadron
under my orders. I myself returned to Paris by Havre, where I learnt
that a public reception, which I was not sorry to escape, had been
prepared for me at Toulon. Feeling conscious, as I did, of having done
my country good service during my four months of campaigning, praise
and blame alike were equally indifferent to me.



XII

1844-1848


There were great festivities at Naples, towards the end of 1854, in
honour of the marriage of my brother Aumale and his cousin, the
charming daughter of the Prince of Salerno. During the civil marriage,
which took place at the palace, the King never left off tormenting the
syndic of Naples, who figured in a full black Spanish suit in
seventeenth-century style, and a wig with long floating curls. At the
religious ceremony, numbers of lovely women in court dress, and men
bearing great and historic names--such as the Marquis de Pescaire del
Vasto, the Princes Colonna and Campo Reale, the Dukes of Ascoli and San
Cesarea, and many others--gathered round the Royal Family. France was
represented by Admiral de Parseval and the officers of the squadron,
and by General Durosnel, who was aide-de-camp to my father, after
having served Napoleon in the same capacity. He was an old soldier, the
very personification of honour, with a memory stored with most
interesting recollections. The French Embassy, placed beside these
gentlemen, made a fine figure with the Due and Duchesse de Montebello
at its head, accompanied by M. Lutteroth and his wife, the sister of
that Count Batthyani who was executed in Hungary under such
heartrending circumstances in the year 1848. The general public of
France was represented among the spectators by M. Glais-Bizoin, who
made a less fine effect, as those who have known the triumvir of Tours
in 1870 will readily believe. He was one of the ugliest men in creation.

Then there was the whole diplomatic body, and foremost among its
members the Austrian Minister, Prince Felix von Schwarzenberg, whose
acquaintance I was very glad to make. He was an exceedingly pleasant
man, the very type of a distinguished aristocrat, with a splendid head,
clever and proud-looking at once, and a tall slight figure. He looked
magnificent in his white uniform, that of an Austrian general, and
turned all the ladies' heads. His love affairs were endless, and some
of them have become celebrated, such as his elopement with a great lady
in English society, who, when he left her, ended her days under the
tent of an Arab chief, near Palmyra, described by Edmond About in Le
Roi des Montagnes.

When once his passion was roused, he allowed no obstacle to stand in
his way, and I never saw any man beset a woman with his addresses, in
public, whatever her position might be, with such magnificent
indifference to what people said, or to the consequences which might
possibly ensue. And indeed his audacity generally paid. Later on he
carried it into politics, and with equal success. My readers may know
that he came into power in 1848, when the affairs of the House of
Austria were at their lowest ebb, Vienna in revolution, Hungary in
rebellion, and Lombardy invaded.

Full of confidence in the strength of the dynastic principle in the
country, he induced two incapable emperors to abdicate, himself took
young Francis Joseph to be solemnly invested with his sovereignty at
Santa Lucia, among Radetsky's riflemen, just before the battle of
Novara, made the alliance with Russia which forced Hungary into
submission, and having thus snatched his country from the jaws of
revolution and ruin, died on his feet, just after keeping an
assignation. He was the man who made the well-known and characteristic
remark, "You can do everything with bayonets--except sit on them!"

We had a constant succession of merry-makings. There was a state
performance at the San Carlo, with a ballet danced by very pretty
figurantes, whose tights were pink to below their knees only, the rest
was apple-green. This detail was insisted on to spare the modesty of
the management. I am not aware whether the genuine article profited in
any way by the rule. When the San Carlo was over, we had San Carlino or
Pulcinella. This character, peculiar to the local stage (who is
supposed to have originated in Acerra, as Arlequino did in Bergamo),
supported by his inseparable companion Pancrazio, poked fun to his
heart's content, and in the raciest of burlesque, at all the latest
Neapolitan occurrences and fashions, in a piece entitled Pulcinella
alia Strada Ferrata.

There were balls to go to, when the theatres were over, at the palace,
at the academy, and at our embassy. In the daytime there were shooting
parties at Capo di Monte or Caserta. Those Neapolitan shooting parties
are a thing of the past. I have heard my brother-in-law, King Leopold,
tell how once, when he had been invited by the King to a shoot of large
and small game at Mondragone, at which, in the course of a few days,
three thousand woodcock had been killed, besides other game, he stayed
on for a day longer than the other sportsmen, and in one morning he
brought down sixty woodcock put up by his dog, on the very ground that
had just been shot over.

To wind up our stay at Naples we christened one of the Due de
Montebello's sons. The ceremony was performed after the Italian fashion
in a drawing-room belonging to the Prince of Salerno, himself a
thorough Neapolitan, with his wit and exaggerated drolleries, and the
uproar he made and caused wherever he betook himself. This same uproar
had already terrified the baby, when out of a sort of cupboard chapel a
worthy chaplain, an old friend of my mother's, Monsignore Corbi, was
seen to advance. The monsignore, who was exceedingly ugly, and very
short in stature, had a huge mitre on his head, and looked so
diabolical altogether that the child writhed in terror at the sight,
and screamed in the most unearthly manner, while to quiet it the
dignitary yelled in a squeaky voice, Bello, bello! ("Pretty, pretty!"),
which only terrified it all the more.

On our way back from Naples we were caught in a violent gale outside
the Straits of Bonifacio, which did some damage to the ship and
demoralised the ladies. In consequence of this, instead of going
straight to Marseilles, where a brilliant reception was awaiting the
Duchesse d'Aumale, we put in at Toulon. There the Duchesse landed and
went on to Marseilles by land, while I went round by sea.

But this did not suit the official masters of the ceremonies, and put
out all their preparations for an ovation. The arrival had been planned
to be by sea, and by sea it must be, or everything would be spoilt. So
the poor Duchesse was taken quietly by a roundabout road to the old wet
dock, where she was put on board, and after a slight detour, she
arrived in approved nautical fashion, and disembarked at the foot of
the Cannebiere "amidst a scene of indescribable enthusiasm," as the
official descriptions would say.

The only recollections I have of those Marseilles fetes are musical
ones. First of all that of King Rene's band, with tabour, pipes, and
tambourines, escorting the "prud' hommes" fishermen dressed in Henri
Quatre costumes. And secondly, that of a violoncello solo, admirably
played by Offenbach, who was then quite young, and a musician in heart
and soul, but who had not yet shown his great talent as a composer.

I tore myself, however, from all these rejoicings, which bored me very
much, to go and see the haven of Bouc, the Martigues, and the pool of
Berre, where but very little is required to complete a matchless piece
of Nature's work and turn it into the finest port in the whole world I
was deeply interested in all I saw, in company with Admiral Baudin and
engineers, both military and naval, who had brought all the plans with
them. But our trade still goes to Marseilles and our warships to
Toulon, and the two habits have taken such deep root that it is
hopeless to fight against them. And the conclusion we came to was that,
save as regarded deepening the entrance to the haven of Bouc (which has
since been done), matters were not likely to alter to any very great
extent. I seem yet to hear a young engineer des ponts et chaussees, who
was a member of our party, grumbling between his teeth, as he rolled up
his plans, that there were a good many other things in Provence that
nobody could alter--notably the purity of outline of the Arlesian
girls. He pronounced purete badly, and it sounded like durete. He may
have done it out of mischief, for when he looked at me he burst out
laughing.

All this coming and going between Morocco and Naples had kept me far
away enough from Paris and the battlefield of politics. When I got
back, in the winter of 1845, the July Monarchy had still three years of
life before it, but an odour of sickliness hung about it already.

The St. Vitus's dance of parliamentary politics gave no satisfaction to
anybody except the Jerome-Paturots, to whom it gave a social standing.
But how many envious individuals were there to every one who was
content? Parliament gave no strength then to the Government, which was
the object of almost unanimous attack on the part of the Press; and, by
a strange contradiction, the chief reproach cast at an order of things
which every one was striving to discredit and overthrow was its want of
energy. How often, since that time, have I heard that cry "Be strong,"
which is the invariable death-knell of governments in extremities!

While the love of destruction--which is the essence of the
revolutionary spirit, aided by democratic jealousies, and political
speculators--was openly pursuing its destructive work, unopposed and
unfettered save by empty verbiage and futile restrictions, the healthy
appearance of the daily social life of the capital seemed unchanged.
The peaceful regime of 1830, which had been fortunate enough to endow
France with her first railways, and which was extending them with wise
activity, was soon to see the dawn of one of the most fruitful
discoveries in science--the electric telegraph, the first practical
application of which dates from 1845. The fine arts shone brilliantly
under the encouragement of an enlightened ruler. Eugene Delacroix sent
splendid canvases, the Entree des Croises a Constantinople, among
others, to the Versailles Museum, the generous and personal creation of
King Louis Philippe. Meissonier's masterpieces were spreading his
reputation far and wide, and near him clustered a swarm of great
landscape painters--Corot, Jules Dupre, Rousseau, Troyon. Henriquel
Dupont, that prince of engravers, was sending out wonderful proofs,
such as Gustavus Vasa and the Hemicycle. And what actors there were on
the boards! Not to mention the Theatre Italieri, with that incomparable
trio Grisi, Lablache, and Mario--Parisians by adoption--and then in the
heyday of their talent; the Francais, the Porte-Saint-Martin, and the
Gymnase, all offered us representations which approached very nearly to
perfection.

The recollection of Le Menteur, as played in the Tuileries Theatre by
Firmin, Samson, and Regnier, with Mdmes. Plessy, Anai's, and Augustine
Brohan, is constantly with me. At the Porte-Saint-Martin were Frederic
Lemaltre and Madame Dorval, startling in their poignant truthfulness
and dramatic power in that terrible drama Trente Ans, oil la Vie d'un
Joueur. And at the Gymnase we had Rose Cheri.

If I talk so much about theatres, it must be remembered that the
theatre is one of our glories. What other country has a Comedie
Franchise--an institution two centuries old, miraculously respected, so
far, amidst all our ruins, by the hammer of the revolutionary destroyer.

I talk of theatres, too, because I spent many an evening in them. The
rest passed peacefully away in the "family drawing-room," which well
deserved its name, for we all met there, old and young, big and little,
after the evening meal, which was always partaken of in common.

In that drawing-room, on the first floor of the Tuileries, between the
Pavilion de Flore and the Pavilion de l'Horloge, my mother used to sit
doing her fancy work at a round table lighted by shaded candles, with
my aunt Adelaide, the young princesses, and the ladies-in-waiting near
her. The King sat on a window seat in the billiard-room adjoining the
drawing-room, and there received the despatches brought him by his
secretary, Baron Fain, and read the Times, the only newspaper he was in
the habit of reading daily. It was there the gentlemen visitors,
chiefly diplomats, who wanted to speak to him, joined him; while the
lady visitors sat round the Queen's table, at which the conversation
was general, if occasionally soporific. It used to brighten up again
with the arrival of any ladies whose wit or beauty attracted the men
who had scattered about the drawing-room. This was always the case on
the appearance of Mesdames de St. Aulaire and de Castellane, of some
charming members of the corps diplomatique, the Princess de Ligne,
Mesdames Firmin Rogier and de Stockhausen, or again of three sisters,
daughters of M. de Laborde, Mesdames Delessert, Bocher, and Odier.
Three magnificent Englishwomen, the Sheridan sisters, had formerly
caused a great sensation. Now it was the turn of Princesse Mathilde,
then at the height of her beauty; and there were many others besides.

Among the gentlemen, a strong contingent of our visitors was furnished
by the foreigners passing through Paris--Prince Paul of Wurtemberg,
Prince Max of Bavaria, Prince Paul Esterhazy. Amongst the English were
Disraeli, Bear Ellis, Charles Fox, Monckton Milnes, &c., &c. There were
numbers of Spaniards. Sometimes M. von Humboldt would give us a
reading, not invariably amusing. However, to make up for that, I have
heard Prince Belgiojoso, the husband of the beautiful deep-eyed
Trivulce, sing, with a voice that was exquisite. But the catalogue of
visitors would be an endless one. Yet I cannot pass on without
mentioning among our most constant habitues, at that time Marshal
Sebastiani, one of a circle of intimate friends presided over by my
aunt Adelaide.

This little gathering, of which M. de Talleyrand had been an assiduous
member, and where Marshal Gerard, M. Dupin, Flahaut, a certain General
de Lavcestine (who downright toadied my aunt, her valet de chambre, and
her very parrot), and a few other faithful friends were in the habit of
meeting, took place in the morning, in that charming set of rooms on
the ground-floor of the Pavilion de Flore, the windows of which looked
on the corner of the Pont Royal and on the gate into the Tuileries
gardens. From these windows the quaintest sights were to be seen, not
the least entertaining of which were the Homeric struggles of the
sentries of the National Guard, absolute slaves to their orders, to
prevent dogs which were not led by a string from following their owners
into the Tuileries gardens, in which struggles the bold city guard, in
spite of prodigies of valour, not unfrequently got beaten.

My good aunt Adelaide started, towards springtime in 1845, to pay her
first visit to an estate she owned at Arc-en-Barrois, in the
Haute-Marne, and as she intended leaving it to me in her will she took
me with her. The property in question, originally belonging to Vitry,
the Captain of the Guard under Louis XIII., who killed the Marechal
d'Ancre, had afterwards passed into the hands of the Penthievre family,
and then into the possession of mine, like all the rest of the
Penthievre inheritance. My great-grandfather, the Due de Penthievre,
had lived there a good deal in a fine house, which was of course
plundered and destroyed during the Revolution, notwithstanding the fact
that the good prince had done a great deal of good in that country,
where his name is still venerated.

All the local authorities flocked around to pay their respects on the
occasion of that first visit, and amongst others the prefect of the
department, M. Romieu, who had made himself some celebrity in his youth
by reason of a variety of carnival pranks performed in the company of a
well-known band of boon companions. I recollect them perfectly well.
Among them was Lord Henry Seymour, who paraded the boulevards,
surrounded by ladies in the most elegant costumes, in a carriage and
four, with powdered and beribboned postilions, stopping at the public
squares to harangue the crowd in flowery language, to delighted shouts
of Vive milord l'Arsouille! (Long live the blackguard lord!). And then
there was another Englishman, Lord Clanricarde, the most inimitable of
Pierrots, in a black skull-cap, with his melancholy face whitened,
playing a series of nocturnal jokes, with the roof of a fiacre for his
platform. Count d'Alton, too, M. de Chateauvillard, and others, were
the authors of all kinds of witty fooling. Romieu's best-known exploit
was his having laid a friend, who had been indulging too freely, one
fine night, in the middle of the street, with a lighted lantern laid on
his chest to save him from being run over.

But our prefect was not fond of that particular story, for I remember a
very indirect allusion to it which I was unlucky enough to make in
familiar conversation, during a shooting-party, at which he appeared in
a blue blouse and leather cap, was strongly resented by him. Drawing
himself up, he thus apostrophised me:

"I beg your Royal Highness will give me credit for being a very serious
prefect."

I took the hint, and only talked to him about the damage done by
cockchafers, and the difficulty of getting hard enough stone for the
macadam roads, thenceforward. The poor gentleman, after having played a
certain part in the reaction after the Revolution of 1848, by the
publication of a sensational pamphlet entitled Le Spectre Rouge, died
of grief at the death of a son who was killed at Sevastopol.

I was obliged to make a cure at Vichy during the summer, the successive
fevers I had suffered from in hot climates having affected my liver.
For this purpose I went to the Chateau de Randan, where I endured cruel
anguish of mind, for my daughter fell dangerously ill. She made a happy
recovery, thanks to the care of a young military doctor, at once a
clever physician and one of the kindest of men, named Alphonse
Pasquier. He was murdered by the Communards after the siege of Paris.

From Randan I went to Eu, for a second visit from Queen Victoria, which
was favoured by splendid weather, and was as simple and affectionate in
its nature as her first.

The year 1845 came to an end, and the first recollection that comes
back to me in 1846 is that of a hunting-party, which was marked by a
fresh attempt on my father's life. It was on the 15th of August. We
were all at Fontainebleau, whither the King was fond of going, to watch
the progress of the splendid restoration of the galleries of Francis
the First and Henri II., which he was having carried out. I was
boar-hunting that day with Henri Greffulhe's pack.

During a check we had met the King, who had got out of his carriage at
the cross roads at the Monts de Fays and was amusing himself in a
somewhat Yankee fashion of his by whittling small sticks with his
penknife.

"The quarry is over there, away in the country," he said with the
chaffing air he always took on when there was any question of hunting,
which he detested. He had a way, when the sport was mentioned before
him, of defining it thus:

"A nice sort of amusement, indeed! I used to hunt once upon a time, to
please my father! You get fifty horsemen together. Everybody is got up
in the smartest style. First of all there is a general kicking of
horses all round. All at once somebody shouts 'Found!' and in one
minute every soul is covered with mud from head to foot. You tear along
as hard as your horse can go for two hours without seeing a single
thing. Then there is another whoop, and every soul goes home completely
knocked up--a very fine amusement indeed!"

We left the King to his little sticks, we killed our boar, and we were
on our way home, when, as we were going down the hill from Franchard, a
Hussar officer came galloping up to us, and called out:

"The King has been fired at. He's not hit."

If Providence ever watched over a man it did so that day. The would-be
assassin, Lecomte, a royal forester who had resigned his place, angry
because he had not been given the capital sum producing his pension,
instead of the pension itself, of which he was in receipt, and
overexcited as well by the calumny, abuse, attacks, and threats of all
kinds with which the daily press overwhelmed the King, had determined
to kill his Majesty.

He was an excellent shot, and he went and built himself a platform
behind the wall of the Parquet d'Avon, by which he knew the King's char
a banes must pass. When the carriage went by, at a slow trot, ten paces
from his ambush, he rested his rifle on the wall, and fired. But at the
very instant of the crime his hand must have trembled, for nobody was
touched, neither the orderly officer on duty, Captain Brahaut, who was
riding between the King and the wall, nor Montalivet, who was sitting
talking to my father, on the front seat of the carriage, nor my mother,
the Duchesse de Nemours, my aunt Adelaide, and the Prince and Princess
of Salerno, who were on the other seats. All the bullet did was to cut
the fringe of a sort of awning, which covered the carriage, just above
the King's head.

At the sound of the shot, the intended effect of which nobody mistook,
the two orderly officers, Brahaut and de Labadie, followed by Colonel
Berryer, and several Hussar officers who were in attendance on the
royal party, dashed off at a gallop to surround the enclosure, before
Lecomte could escape from it. At the same moment, one of the grooms
named Millet, who had brought his horse up against the wall, and stood
up on his saddle, saw the assassin making off. He sprang boldly after
him, and had a fearful struggle with him till the officers came up to
his assistance.

When I got back to my father and the Princesses, I found them much
distressed at this fresh attempt at regicide, but calm and
self-possessed to an extent which was far from being my own case. So
true is it that our sharpest anxieties are caused by the suffering, and
dangers of those we love!

About this period I was restored to active duty, being called to
command our evolutionary squadron in the Mediterranean. During the two
years' duration of this command, I only had to follow in the footsteps
of my predecessors, so far as the organisation and instruction of the
ships' crews were concerned, and the maintenance of that spirit of
discipline, devotion, and obedience to superiors which still
constitutes their chief excellence.

But a new duty was cast upon me by the addition, now made for the first
time, of a certain number of steamships to the squadron. I had sailed
already with several squadrons. Whatever the number of ships composing
them, the manoeuvring of the vessels and their tactics, both in sailing
and in action, all depended on one and the same element for all
alike--viz., the strength and direction of the wind And these tactics,
which were the result of centuries of experience, we all of us had put
into practice, and we had them at the tips of our fingers. We knew them
as well as our catechism, in fact. But this new art of simultaneously
navigating ships for whom the laws of wind did not exist, and which
could move in any direction, and with great swiftness, according to the
will and fancy of their captains, without allowing them to collide, was
in its earliest infancy.

My duty then was to make experiments, so as to begin to regulate this
new form of navigation. At once I set about making numerous test
manoeuvres, drawing on the tactics of the ancient galleys, and also on
cavalry movements, at the slow march and at the gallop, for my
inspiration. Then we tried towing in every form. First of all we
harnessed a steamboat to every two warships. In the second year of my
command each floating citadel had her own "spare horse." From that time
out calms and light breezes were vanquished, and the celerity of naval
operations correspondingly increased. Yet, the more we tried it, the
more obviously did the dangers and difficulties caused, especially at
night, by fastening two ships together, one of whom is necessarily a
passive agent, stare us in the face. The union of the tug and the
"towed" was not far distant. The advent of the war steamer, the swift
battleship, independent alike of wind and sea, was close at hand.

The creation of such a ship had preoccupied M. Dupuy de Lome for a long
time past. He had gone to England to see and study everything
there--both in the State dockyards and the building yards at Liverpool
and on the Clyde. We had often talked the whole thing over together,
and our views on the subject were in perfect agreement. At last, during
an interval of leave from my command, he came to me one morning with a
great roll containing two complete designs under his arm. The first for
an armed frigate, BUILT ENTIRELY OF IRON, the second for a wooden line
of battle ship--both to be exceedingly swift. The first design, for the
iron frigate, was Dupuy de Lome's pet scheme.

"Iron-built ships will be the ships of the future," he used to say, and
he was quite right.

But the experiments we had been making at Lorient upon iron plates had
been disastrous. The damage done by oblique firing on them was
terrible. Experiments were indeed being made at the same time, with a
view to armour-plating the hulls of ships, but all that was still in
the dimmest and mistiest future. How were we ever to induce naval
committees, as timid as they were, undoubtedly, all powerful, to assent
to the building of a steam frigate every single detail about which was
to be new and improved?

"The very utmost we shall get," said I to Dupuy, "will be leave to
build your wooden ship. The introduction of the submerged steam
propeller will be their concession to the innovators, and the
old-fashioned wooden hull and spars and gundecks will satisfy the
supporters of the old traditions."

"Very well," he replied, "I'll go and propose my wooden ship."

He did, and he failed. They gave him plenty of smooth words and
compliments, but refused to order his ship to be put on the stocks. The
poor fellow came back to me in despair, and we were mingling our
sorrows, and casting about as to how we had better return to the
charge, when a lucky ministerial crisis threw the Ministry for Naval
Affairs, ad interim, into the hands of M. Guizot. There we saw our
chance.

I want to see him and told him all our story--explaining to him how a
real and material step in naval progress was being adjourned on mere
questions of form; and how the outgoing minister had not dared, in
spite of his own good-will, to shake himself free of administrative
procrastination in this particular.

M. Guizot heard me out, and then asked me what had better be done.

"Why, simply take your own line, and the whole navy will applaud you.
You have full right to do it, so pray sign an order to put a steamship
after M. Dupuy de Lome's designs on the stocks."

He did it, forthwith, and that step gained, our first war steamer was
at once begun. Though Dupuy had a right to all the honours of
paternity, I might have claimed those of the ship's godfather. But she
was still unnamed when the Revolution of 1848 broke out, and christened
her le 24 Fevner, which name was swiftly exchanged for that of
Napoleon--a notion that makes me laugh even yet.

I must now return to my personal recollections of my command, which
began, as usual, with a sojourn at the Salins d'Hyeres, to knock the
crews into shape a bit. Thence I was expected to take the squadron to
Tunis, thus following the usual custom.

These two anchorages, Hyeres and Tunis, had been for a considerable
period the only ports in which the squadron was allowed to lie. It
oscillated between the two; a most tiresome bit of navigation it was.
In the open roads at Tunis, too, we could only lie and roll, a long way
from shore, with no possibility of giving our crews any relaxation
whatsoever. I do not hesitate to say that I objected to being tied to
this rigorously circumscribed field of operations, beyond which it
looked as if we dared not go.

"Crews," said I to the minister, "are like schoolboys. If you want them
to work well you must divert their minds, and give them something to
think about and look at. Give me leave to fight ennui, and the
despondency it brings with it, by taking the squadron about, showing
fresh ground to my young fellows, and taking them into ports where I
shall be able to send them ashore to amuse themselves, and thus break
the enervating monotony of life on board ship."

I gained my point, and we went first of all to the Golfe Jouan. Will it
be believed that our squadrons never went near that excellent anchorage
and lovely spot? They used to be at the Islands of Hyeres. They used to
go out to drill in the open sea, and every Saturday they went straight
back to those same islands, so as to let the married men in the
squadron get back to Toulon to their family duties on the Sunday. I was
the first admiral to break through this rule.

The Golfe Jouan and Cannes, and all that lovely country, were not at
that time what they now are. There was only one single villa at Cannes,
the Villa Eleonore, built by Lord Brougham, the Christopher Columbus of
the locality. He always came to the Tuileries on his way backwards and
forwards between his villa and England; and he invariably sang the
praises of that exquisite coast to us. One evening he made a sketch of
his villa for my mother, which I still possess.

The only gaieties at Cannes in those days consisted in village
festivals, which are known in Provence as Romerages, the equivalent of
the Pardons in Brittany. People went to them on foot, there not being a
carriage in the country I remember I went to the Romerage at Valauris.
The little Provencales in their short petticoats and brown stockings,
and their broad-brimmed black hats, enjoyed themselves to their hearts'
content in the shade to the sound of the galoubet, while my eyes
wandered between the umbrella pines across the wide sea horizon, of
that lapis-blue peculiar to the Mediterranean. It was more primitive
then than it is nowadays, but not a whit less lovely.

From Cannes we were obliged to go to Tunis, but we put in, on our way,
at the Balearic Islands, and at Palma in Majorca, where the Spanish
authorities gave us an excellent reception, and granted me permission,
with the best of grace, to practise some very interesting
disembarkation drill. The captain-general who authorised me to do this
bore the name of Tacon, and had received the title of Duqtie de la
Union de Cuba in recognition of the services he had rendered as
governor-general in that island.

He was a very superior man, under whose most enlightened, but at the
same time most absolute, of governments, the colony rose to the highest
degree of prosperity. Some difficulties with the Home Government had
led to his recall, and he was at Majorca in a state of semi-disgrace.
No longer a young man, he wore a wig of the deepest black, which, so
local tradition affirmed, was made out of the hair of a lady friend
whom he had had shaved in a fit of jealousy.

The King of Aragon, Don Jaime, is buried in the fine cathedral of Palma
His body rests in the sacristy, in the drawer of a kind of press, in
which I saw it lying, while one of the canons, to impress me with a
sense of its perfect preservation, drummed with his fingers on the
stomach of the corpse!

On our way to the Balearic Islands we fulfilled a pious duty. After the
unhappy capitulation of Baylen and its shameful violation, our
unfortunate soldiers, victims of this piece of weakness and disloyalty,
were cast upon an island called Cabrera, a bare and desert spot, where
most of them died of hunger, abandoned and forgotten by the whole
world. Having heard that their bones were lying scattered about
unburied on the isle, I had them laid in consecrated soil, and over
them, through the agency of our consul, M. Cabarrus, we raised a
monument, subscribed for by the whole squadron, with this inscription:

TO THE MEMORY OF THE FRENCH SOLDIERS WHO DIED AT CABRERA.

  ERECTED BY THE EVOLUTIONARY SQUADRON, 1847.

We made a short stay at the inevitable Tunis, and left it under a
shower of presents, from the Order of the Nicham in diamonds to six
thousand dozens of eggs. But the shortness in duration of our visit was
new, and requires some explanation.

One of our first cares, after the completion of our conquest of
Algeria, had been to insure tranquillity on its Moorish frontier to the
west, and its Tunisian boundary on the east. On the Morocco side we had
been forced to have recourse to heavy ordnance for this purpose. On the
Tunisian frontier, where the population is both less fanatical and less
warlike, we had followed a different course of procedure. We had gained
the Bey's friendship by promising to support his power against the
Forte's claim to suzerainty over him. Still, year after year the Sultan
made as though he were fitting out a naval force to send to Tripoli and
exercise this same suzerainty by deposing the Bey; and every year our
squadron used to proceed to Tunis, and stay there wasting its time
while the Turkish ministry and those diplomats who were hostile to our
influence amused themselves by waving the Capitan Pasha's attack before
us like a scarecrow.

This annual repetition of a sham attack by the Turkish fleet and of the
sudden despatch of our squadron, and its subsequent spell of idleness
in Tunisian waters, had degenerated into a farce in which the
ridiculous part fell to our share. So that when I took over the command
of the squadron, with the prospect of seeing it undergo the same course
of humbug again, I could not resist making some representations on the
subject to M. Guizot, a resolute and large-minded man, as solicitous
for his country's honour as for his own. That very year, as it
happened, the Bey of Tunis had had to complain of intrigues and
disturbances stirred up on his eastern frontier by the Turkish pasha,
who was governor of Tripoli.

"Instead of leaving the squadron to dance attendance at Tunis," I said
to M. Guizot, "send it to Tripoli. Its appearance will cause surprise,
for foreign powers never send their squadrons there. I will pay a visit
to the pasha, and speak to him very plainly. The characters in the play
will change hands, and I fancy we shall be rid of all this
Turko-Diplomatic teasing about Tunis for the future."

M. Guizot approved my view. I was given secret orders to go to Tripoli,
and we left Tunis, to the delight of the whole squadron.

Long before the coast of Tripoli is in sight, its whereabouts is
denoted by the gloomy red reflection it casts upon the sky. Soon a few
clumps of date-palms seem to rise out of the water, and at last a
dreary strip of land appears, the uniform straightness of which is
broken only by the mass of white houses and terraces, the minarets and
fortifications, of the town of Tripoli. A few reefs form a far from
safe anchorage, fit for small craft only, and remarkable for the
extraordinary clearness of the water in it. The smallest details of
submarine life are easily followed in a depth of ten to twelve fathoms.

Our ships, which all drew a great deal of water, had to anchor at sea,
opposite the town, tossed about on the swell from a storm somewhere to
the north, which did not actually reach them. Our sudden, unexpected,
and very unusual apparition made a certain sensation both at the
consulates and in the pasha's palace, and all sorts of people hastened
on board, very civil all of them, but also very anxious to know the
meaning of the visit of a complete naval squadron. The pasha's deputy
presented himself with a flood of the honeyed expressions demanded by
Oriental politeness, accompanied by the classical diffa. He did not
bring us six thousand dozens of eggs, like the Tunis people; indeed
they would have been hard to get, I think, in that little favoured
spot, but he brought a very respectable contingent of cackling hens and
of very sea-sick sheep. Our acceptance of these creatures, an earnest
of our pacific intentions, gave him evident satisfaction, and I caused
him to be told that I should ask for an interview with his master,
through our consul.

I set forth, as soon as the said interview had been arranged, with a
large number of officers. The streets through which we had to pass were
narrow, dirty, and wretched-looking, and did not give one at all the
idea of belonging to a town enriched by the commerce of Fezzan and of
Central Africa, of which commerce Tripoli is the chief emporium. They
were crowded, as we passed along, by curious lookers on, consisting
principally of the three thousand idlers who formed the garrison,
Albanian Arnauts most of them, splendid fellows, blue-eyed, with long
fair moustaches, dressed in the fustanella and the rest of the
picturesque palikare costume. I will not go so far as to say the
glances they cast at us were absolutely friendly, but they were
perfectly well behaved.

We climbed up numerous staircases to the pasha's house or Konak, and
were shown into a huge apartment that was almostlike the open air, with
large windows looking on the sea, which admitted a cool refreshing
breeze. The pasha made me sit down beside him on a wide divan, and
after the usual interchange of compliments, pipes, coffee, and
preserves were ceremoniously handed round by numerous servants.

These preliminaries over, I desired the dragoman to request the pasha's
earnest attention to what I was about to say to him. Immediately there
was a general silence, all our officers, who filled one half of the
room, and all the Turkish officers and secretaries, who filled the
other half, pricked up their ears. My speech was very short.

We had come to Tripoli, I said, to salute the representative of our
ancient ally, the Sultan of Turkey. But it was ESSENTIAL, if this
friendship was to be undisturbed, that no act of hostility, direct or
indirect, should be committed against the Bey of Tunis, who was also
our ally, and that nothing should occur on either side to compromise
friendly relations. We had just been impressing this fact at Tunis, and
had come to clo the same thing at Tripoli. The perfectly amicable
nature of our visit proved the value we set on maintaining friendly
relations between the two Regencies, and therefore between France and
the Sultan's Government.

I said no more. When I ceased speaking, the pasha, who, I need scarcely
say, had preserved the most Oriental imperturbability of countenance
during my oration, bowed to me, with his hand on his breast, looking
fixedly at me the while. He had understood me; and I thought I saw a
look of relief flash across his face. It may be that his conscience had
made him fear worse things. He sent a vessel to Malta with despatches
for Constantinople. I gave an account of my proceedings to M. Guizot,
and also informed our ambassador to the Porte, M. de Bourqueney; but we
never had to do sentry duty at Tunis again.

I put to sea at once with the squadron. The tiresome thing about our
visit to Tripoli was the quarantine it entailed on us when we got back
to civilised coasts. With the object of utilising the period of our
enforced sequestration, I requested the governor of Malta to put health
officers on board us, and to allow me to count the ten days I proposed
spending under their surveillance, cruising about within sight of the
island, as quarantine.

This arrangement was accepted by the English authorities, with their
usual friendliness and practical good sense. The ten days were spent in
drill and manoeuvres of all sorts; and then the squadron went to seek
relaxation on the coasts of Sicily and Naples.

We made most agreeable stays in the ports of Syracuse, Augusta, and
Messina, before going to Naples. I took advantage of them to gratify my
passion for mountaineering, and made the ascent of Etna, to the
description of which by Alexandre Dumas I refer my readers.

When we reached the summit, during the night, we saw the immense crater
at our feet, several thousand yards round, full of fire and smoke, out
of which huge stone monoliths towered, of every shade of colour, black
and green and red and yellow. Then the rising sun fell on us, leaving
all the horizon around us in darkness, and when at last its light had
spread everywhere, save on the giant shadow of the mountain itself, we
saw all Sicily and Calabria lying at our feet like a great map, with
the blue sea surrounding it on every side. It was a grand and striking
spectacle.

We descended the mountain rapidly, ten yards at a jump, down the
crumbly pumice slopes of the Val de Bove, to Giarre, where one of the
steamers of the squadron was to take us on board; and while we waited
for her we took a delicious sea bath. We swam out to meet the ship, and
I was much tickled by the astonishment of the commander, enthroned upon
his bridge, when he heard himself hailed out of the sea by a well-known
voice, telling him to stop.

The squadron happened to be at Messina on the 15th of August, the day
of the Barra Festival, which takes place in honour both of the
Assumption of the Virgin and of the entry of Count Roger into Messina,
after he had defeated the Saracens. As far as concerned beauty and
local colour, the festival, which in those particulars yields to none
save that of St. Rosalia at Palermo, was most interesting. But one
detail there was which filled me with horror--the sight of an immense
car, dragged along by a crowd of, wild enthusiasts, laden from top to
bottom with saints, virgins, and angels, represented, for the nonce, by
young people of both sexes, the whole thing surmounted, at a great
height above it, by a huge sun with gilded rays. So far there was
nothing to complain of. But when the car moved along, the rays of the
sun, by an ingenious mechanism, turned as well; and at the end of each
of these rays a poor little brat, dressed like a cherub, and crowned
with roses, had been hung, in a sort of fireman's belt, by its
barbarous parents. The tortures of the poor little creatures, hanging
thus by their middles, under a burning sun, and shaken up by every jolt
the machine gave as it turned, may be imagined.

By the time the abominable thing came past my window, amidst singing
and band-playing and cheering, most of the poor children were swinging
unconscious from the rays of the great sun which jolted heavily at
every turn it made. It was a disgusting sight; but we were the only
people to notice it and be shocked by it.

While at Naples, I was ordered to go to Rome to congratulate the new
Pope, Pius the Ninth, whose election had just taken place, in the name
of France. I started off at once, by Civita Vecchia, and reached the
palace of our embassy at Rome at night. At dawn a great noise made me
hastily open my window, anxious to know the reason of the uproar, and
also to get a first look at the Eternal City, where I was for the first
time in my life. It was raining, and the inhabitants of all the
adjacent houses, as well as the soldiers in the barracks over the way,
were all shouting at the top of their voices Acqua! Acqua! Acqua! It
sounded as if every cockatoo in Australia had settled upon the papal
city.

The rain had been long in its coming, it appears. But my first
impression of Rome was not a very inspiring one. And, indeed, I had
little opportunity of getting any others.

To mark the fact that I had come to the city solely on the Pope's
account, I only stayed two days, so that I saw nothing except the Pope
himself, or I rushed by everything else I was shown so hurriedly, that
it came to the same thing. During those forty-eight hours I was the
sole property of our embassy, and I could not have been in better
hands. We had representatives who were worthy of the name, in those
days,--real diplomats.

The ambassador was M. Rossi, my former teacher, a man of generous
feeling and high intelligence, who was soon to be the victim of one of
the most cowardly crimes ever perpetrated by the revolutionary tribe.
The secretary to the embassy was the present Due de Broglie. By these
two gentlemen I was conducted into the Pope's presence. Being very
ignorant of the proper ceremonial to follow, I asked M. Rossi what I
was to call his Holiness.

"Tres chaint Pere, ou cha Chaintete," he answered, with an accent which
I took good care not to imitate.

Having gone past the fine Swiss Guard, in their sixteenth-century
dress, and their officer in helmet and cuirass, and then past the
Guardia Nobile, and a huge staff of ecclesiastics in violet robes, I
bent low before the sovereign pontiff, and kissed his ring with deep
emotion. Raising my eyes, I saw a handsome old man, tall in stature,
with a kind face, dressed all in white, to whom I delivered the message
of which I was the bearer. At that moment I had a glimpse of a fair
dream, which M. Rossi endeavoured to realise at a later date. It was to
make a close alliance between France and a Confederation of all the
Italian States--our allies already by relationship between the reigning
families, or by community of interest of all kinds--under the
protectorate of the Pope, at once our devoted friend and the head of
the Catholic religion all over the whole world. But the fair dream was
never to come true. Its patriotic promoter, M. Rossi, fell under the
assassin's hand, and every passion--revolutionary, anti-religious, and
anti-French--joined hands to make it fail. In its place we have Italian
unity and a dethroned Pope.

After a pleasant evening at the embassy, with Cardinal Gizzi,
Monsignore de Falloux, the Princes and Princesses of the Massimo
family, and a very charming young lady, Princess Rospigliosi, sister to
a naval cadet attached to my staff, named Champagny, who afterwards
became the Due de Cadore, I returned to Naples by the Pontine Marshes
and Terracina, where the strains of Auber's Fra Diavolo kept springing
to my lips.

The squadron remained in Neapolitan waters until the festival of Pie di
Grotta, on which occasion the King took me with him to a great review
he held--a very noisy and lively scene it was--in the Toledo, the great
artery of the town, with its picturesque vistas on to Vesuvius. The
National Guard was of modern growth, and lamentable at that. Then came
the regular army, and especially four Swiss regiments with their
artillery, a magnificent division of troops. As long as they are here,
I said to myself, there need be no fear of revolutions. But just
because their valour and fidelity promised a reception little to the
taste of the sedition-mongers, those prudent modern condottieri were
waving their warlike pens, and loudly demanding the disembodiment of
these very regiments. It pained me to notice the icy reception given to
the brave fellows as they marched past, and I could not help feeling a
gloomy foreboding.

That sheet anchor of the Neapolitan Monarchy was destroyed before long
by one of those compromises with rebellion so frequent in these
days--disastrous proceedings, which inevitably lead the way by their
evil and demoralising example, to other compromises, infinitely more
lamentable, alas!--I mean compromise with a foreign enemy.

At the time when I bore the King company at that review it was not his
Swiss regiments alone who were the object of the agitators' fury, but
his government and his own person as well. A sort of general conspiracy
against them was brewing, fomented for the most part by foreign agents,
some of them actually diplomats, who thus openly abused the immunity
their functions gave them; and it was propagated by means of the secret
societies which are an endemic plague in Italian countries. King and
Government alike fought as best they could against the current of
revolution, and they did so rightly, in the general interest, for
revolution brings nothing but ruin in its train.

But beside the adventurers who shrank from no crime, and who preached
assassination and plunder, there stood many honourable and enlightened
Neapolitans, who desired the reform of abuses (and God knows there were
plenty of them!) and the progressive amelioration of the moral and
material conditions of existence. Unhappily it was on these men, whose
sole offence lay in their opinions, that the brutality, and I might add
the horrors, of the repressive measures adopted seemed by preference to
fall. The prisons of those days, in which they were confined, were
perfect dens, and I greatly fear they are much the same all over Italy
even now. I doubt, for instance, that the convict prison at Pescara
would yield in the matter of abominations to the convict prison at
Nisida, some forty years ago.

When peoples who have long lived in a state of backwardness, have a
sudden fit of cleanliness, in imitation of more advanced nations, they
are apt to clean the outside walls only, and to leave all their
accustomed filth hidden behind them. I mention these terrible prisons
because, during the visit of the squadron to Naples, I was guilty of
snatching two distinguished men, both much sought after by the police
on account of the offensive opinions I have already spoken of, from
their clutches. M. Lutteroth, the secretary to our embassy, went and
fetched them at night from their hiding-place, and I put them on board
one of my ships, which was sailing at once for Tunis. I have no
recollection of their names. And indeed that was not the only instance
in which we saved people compromised in Italian politics, out of sheer
humanity. Long after the incident of which I speak, a Piedmontese
officer, who performed brilliant services in our African army, side by
side with my brothers, begged Aumale to put him into communication with
our mother. He then conjured her, as a woman and a Neapolitan, to save
a prisoner, who was seriously compromised (whether his relative or his
friend I no longer recollect), from the gallows, and my mother wrote a
most pressing letter to King Ferdinand at his request. The King, who
had always preserved the tenderest and most respectful affection for
his aunt, and glad also, I make no doubt (for he was a kind man), to
have an opportunity of setting mercy above arguments of state, granted
my mother the pardon she craved. The name of the man thus spared was
Nicotera.

This taken for granted, as they say in mathematics, I hie me back to my
squadron at Spezzia, a splendid bay, which at that time we were the
only people to use as an anchorage, but in which the Italians have now
established a great naval arsenal. The bay is very safe and convenient
for drill and practice. But I have one fault to find with it. I never
took my ships there without an epidemic of influenza colds breaking
out, and affecting three or four hundred men in each crew. These
outbreaks are due, in my opinion, to the high wooded mountains which
shadow the bay on the western side, and to its sudden transitions from
the most scorching sunshine to very cool shade. Our ships attracted
several tourists, and one morning I saw a party appear on board,
consisting, amongst other people, of the Marquis de Boissy, a witty and
restless French peer, married to the Comtesse Giuccioli, of Byronian
memory, and of the Marquis Oldoini, accompanied by an exquisite young
lady, his daughter, who afterwards became that superb beauty, the
Comtesse de Castiglione.

M. de Boissy tried to talk politics to me and to reiterate the famous
phrase "Be strong." But whenever anybody began to talk to me about
questions of home politics, with which I had nothing to do, my partial
deafness always became complete.

More cruising and manoeuvring carried the squadron over to Algiers,
which it reached in June, 1847, just when Marshal Bugeaud was giving up
his position as governor-general of the colony. We rendered him
viceregal honours at his departure, and I can still see his grand white
head, as he stood uncovered on the bridge of the ship which bore him
away, and passed slowly between the lines of warships, with their
cannon thundering, drums rolling, bands playing the Marseillaise, and
crews cheering wildly. He left that Algerian territory, which he had so
largely contributed to acquire to France, with a sad heart, and for
ever. But the European horizon was darkening, serious events were
evidently pending, and if war was to result fiom them, France would
have had, in the person of the soldier we were thus saluting, a general
whom all, without exception, would have served with equal devotion and
absolute confidence. To us Frenchmen, this confidence in our leader,
which emboldens every one, and suppresses all doubt and hesitation, is
half the battle. It was possessed, and completely, not by Bugeaud
himself alone--all his lieutenants had acquired it. During fifteen
years of fighting and of detached expeditions, in which they had all,
turn about, held independent commands, both officers and soldiers had
been able to gauge their valour, their intelligence, and that capacity
for bearing the weight of undivided responsibility, which is the great
test of a commander-in-chief. The advantage thus gained was immense.
But are we sure the country got the benefit of all the services which
this band of soldiers, consecrated already by the opinion of their
military compeers, might have rendered her? Was it not rather scattered
to the winds by the ruinous action of political forces?

I took advantage of the squadron's visit to Algiers to make an
excursion to Boghar, on the desert frontier. This expedition was both
interesting and amusing. My first day's stage took me to Blidah, into
which place I made the quaintest entry, surrounded by all the
authorities, who had come out as far as the monument to Sergeant
Blandan to meet me I had not travelled a hundred paces among these
gentlemen before the frankest cordiality began to exist between me and
them. Colonel Claparede, on my right, with whom this meeting was my
first, was asking me if I had ever been fool enough to fall in love;
Colonel Baville, of the Chasseurs d'Afrique, on my left, whose face was
also a new one to me, was inquiring whether I did not agree with him
that children were born with extraordinary rapidity in the African
climate, while Bourbaki, the secretary of the Arab office, was
performing the wildest fantasia in front of us at the head of the
Hadjout Goum.

At Medeah, whither I went by the Mouzai'a Pass, so as to see the scene
of the fights in which my brothers had played such a noble part, I had
another reception, and another fantasia was performed (but this time it
was on foot), by the Coulouglis and the Beni Mzab, wearing great hats
with ostrich feathers in them. Then came a grotesque imitation of the
fantasia, performed by the colonial militia, all drunk, who fired their
pistols off under my nose and blackened my face with powder. General
Marey, commanding at Medeah, owned the Romance vintage in Burgundy, and
gave us some to drink at dinner, which did not diminish the general
cordiality. Ah, well! a glass of good French wine, drunk far from home
and the dissensions of the mother country, among comrades ready to give
their lives for her at any moment, is a thing worth remembering!

Boghar, hideous and scorchingly hot as it is, would be downright
uninhabitable if it were not washed by the waters of the Cheliff. The
necessities arising from our conquest of the country had made it a
revictualling post for our columns, and a trial had just been made
there of a new sort of provision, described as rations maigres. These
consisted of biscuit and dried cod, and not having been issued within
the period reckoned for, they were beginning to go bad. To avoid
financial loss, a pretty numerous garrison had been at once despatched
to Boghar to perform the far from pleasant duty of consuming them.
Thanks to the exertions of the officer in command, M. de Monet, who
afterwards attained the rank of general, and lost both his arms in the
Crimea, the spirit of his men was admirable, but their sanitary
condition was quite deplorable. And when I received the officers, one
of them, a captain of Engineers, with the tacit assent of his chief,
acted as the mouthpiece of the rest in begging me to raise my voice to
put an end to their cruel sufferings. He represented to me that the
unhealthiness of the place was aggravated by a process of poisoning.
The troops had been sent up simply to eat damaged biscuit and stinking
cod. There was no other food issued for the men, and as the
neighbourhood produced nothing whatever, it was impossible to vary it
in any way. Everybody was more or less ill in consequence, and if this
state of things went on they must all die. A distinguished officer, M.
de Cissey, who had been detailed as my aide-de-camp during my trip,
took the poor fellows' case in hand, and undertook to lay their
complaint before the general.

I saw something else at Boghar which was not so depressing--another
fantasia, a huge one, performed by thousands of Arabs, who had hastened
in from all quarters. At the very height of the show, another tribe,
the most picturesque of them all, the Ouled-Nails, arrived on the
scene, having travelled thirty leagues to do homage to me as the "son
of the Sultan." There were 1,500 horsemen and their wives, who were
carried by something like a hundred camels in a kind of palanquin,
covered with gaudy stuffs, which they call "atatich." When they
arrived, the excitement of the fantasia rose to madness. The horsemen
from the south, in their splendid dresses, showed off all their skill,
and whenever one of them performed any specially brilliant feat, the
deafening "you-you" of the women rose from the circle of palanquins as
from the benches of a circus.

The background of this eminently picturesque scene, under the blazing
eastern sun, was the wide horizon of the mountains of Bou Cada and
Taguin, amongst which my brother Aumale captured Abd-el-Kadir's smalah.

On my way back from Boghar I paid a visit to the military works at the
Chiffa Gorge, where the 33rd Regiment of the Line was building a
wonderful road, under circumstances of the utmost danger and
difficulty; and I returned from my tour in Africa feeling deeper
admiration and respect than ever for our soldiers, who are as patient
under hardship, and as plucky when they have to work in dangerous
places, as they are brave in actual battle.

Leaving Algiers, the squadron continued its cruise. We were a great
deal at sea, much more than is feasible nowadays, when it costs
something considerable in fuel to go the smallest distance. We anchored
one evening in a Sardinian bay, where nobody ever stopped by any
chance, but which offered a pleasant resting-place for the night at
that fine season.

After dinner, I gave the officers leave to go ashore. They found a
perfect desert, and any houses they came upon barricaded; but though
human inhabitants were lacking, there was an incredible amount of game.
Hares swarmed upon the ground. At last one inhabitant turned up, and
then some others, and friendly relations were established.

The population, it appeared, had fled at our approach, taking us (I am
not joking, truly) for Barbary Moors, coming to make a raid for slaves.
Information travels slowly in those parts.

We went to Cagliari, Palermo, Leghorn, Spezzia, and Genoa in
succession, and then the squadron returned to winter at Toulon. The
period of my command had run out save for these winter months. Being
much overworked, and far from well, I applied to be relieved of my
functions, and on the 26th November I made them over to Admiral
Trehouard, who had commanded one of the divisions under my orders.
Trehouard was a brave Breton, who had performed a splendid feat during
an action at Obligado in La Plata, where he commanded the French
portion of an Anglo-French flotilla, sent to force its way up the
river, which was blocked by a boom and defended by a number of forts.
The little fleet met with an energetic and obstinate resistance.
Several ships had been put hors de combat, including Trehouard's own,
which was disabled and had half her crew on shore. The struggle lasted
on still, and threatened to end in our defeat, when Captain Hope,
commanding the English contingent, ordered out his boats, and went and
cut through the boom under a hail of bullets, while Trehouard boarded
the last ship he had that was able to move, and ordered her commander,
M. de Miniac, who lost his leg at St. Juan d'Ulloa, to run her ashore
close to the enemy's principal battery.

After a momentary struggle, and in spite of the Argentine officers'
shouts of "Fuego al pelo blanco!" (Fire at the white head!), (Trehouard
was prematurely gray), on the quarterdeck; the moral and physical
result of the hand-to-hand struggle ended in a complete rout of the
enemy. Trehouard was made a rear-admiral, and no man ever deserved his
step better.

A young officer was killed beside him that day whose name was Hello.
His father, a friend of mine, had put him under my wing when he left
the Naval College, and I had watched over his career with sincere
affection for several years. Every time I pass one of the commonplace
statues placed in our public squares in memory of political chatterers
who have died quietly in their beds, I think of all those brave fellows
who have died obscurely for their country, with no funeral oration but
the tears of their broken-hearted families, but who have carried away
to their eternal dwelling-place the proud consolation of duty performed.

I returned to Paris. What a state of things was there! Politics had
overwhelmed everything else. To the lovers of order, who had already
found their condition oppressive, the state of affairs was soon to
become fatal. The makers of sedition, on the other hand, found it most
blessed. But to the country at large, as events have too surely proved,
it was disastrous.

I will not dwell too long on this sad period, my personal recollections
of which are mingled with the events of a well-known page of our
national history.

Towards the beginning of the winter of 1848 the doctors ordered my
wife, who was in very delicate health, to go and spend the cold months
in a southern climate, and I started with her and my children for
Algiers, where I joined my brother Aumale, who had become
governor-general of the colony. I arrived, weighed down with gloomy
forebodings, feeling convinced that by dint of trying to respect those
so-called legal restraints which paralyse a government, but which do so
little to hinder any revolutionary section in its action, we should end
by being overwhelmed, and by hearing the fatal hour strike, the "too
late" that comes with every revolution. Yet I did not believe that hour
so close at hand as it was. For I had hardly settled down at Algiers,
when one fine morning the announcement of the February revolution and
the proclamation of the republic came upon us like the bursting of a
shell. The news arrived in the shape of vague rumours, uncertain
information, reports of various kinds, brought over from Marseilles. As
to the amount of authenticity they possessed--whether the movement was
a general one or confined to Paris only, whether a stand was being made
against it anywhere--on all these points the earliest rumours were
mute, and they were just as silent as to what had befallen the King and
the rest of our family, in the confusion. We were reduced to the
wildest conjectures, and were wondering whether we ought not to start
for France at once, when a steam corvette from Toulon brought me the
following despatch:--

The Minister for Naval Affairs to Monsieur le Prince de Joinville.

28th February, 1848, 8.30 p.m.

Prince,

The well-being of the country demands that you should make no attempt
to dissuade the crews or soldiers of the navy from their obedience to
the Provisional Government. It is important that you should not attempt
to set foot on French soil, nor communicate with any vessel in the
French fleet, till further orders.

Prince, your patriotic instinct will enable you to resign yourself to
this sacrifice, and to perform it unflinchingly. Such is the confident
hope of the Provisional Government.        ARAGO.

The signatory of this despatch had taught me in my youth, and I had
kept up affectionate intercourse with him since. But the coolness with
which the man (a great savant, no doubt, but who up to this had never
done anything but make calculations and handle telescopes) invested
himself with supreme authority amazed me. Exasperated as I was by his
summons "to make no attempt to dissuade the sailors and soldiers of the
navy from their obedience" to his hour-old government, in other words,
from the violation of their oath which he was about to ask of all the
brave fellows, I forgot both my former relations with the man and the
courteous form of his despatch; and I was in a transport of rage as I
handed the missive to Changarnier, commanding the troops, and M.
Vaisse, the civil secretary-general, who were both of them present, in
my brother's study.

"That is a summons from the enemy," I said; "we must do the very
contrary."

But M. Vai'sse was silent, and Changarnier shook his head. I bethought
me then, alas! that in this day of progress of ours the religion of a
man's oath is but an empty word--and I recovered my self-possession.

My aide-de-camp, Commander Touchard, had come from Paris by the same
corvette that had brought me the despatch. He had seen the crash, had
been present when the National Guard, upon whom my brother Nemours had
called to resist the rioters, had overwhelmed him with abuse, had
witnessed the abdication, the scenes in the Chamber, and the King's
final departure. All the way across France, too, except at Toulon,
where the strong hand of the navy made itself felt, Touchard had
watched the eager speculations of the majority on the accomplished
fact, and the struggle as to who should first offer his services to the
Provisional Government, before the corpse of Constitutional Monarchy
was cold--for dead it was, without having struck a blow in its own
defence.

There was no doubt about the King's personal courage. He had proved it
on many battle-fields--at Valmy, Jemmapes, and Nerwinde--and under the
frequent attempts made on him by would-be assassins. With courage of a
rarer kind, he had never hesitated to brave unpopularity, when his
doing so was clearly to the country's interest. But he had striven,
being honest as well as brave, to be faithful to the institutions he
had sworn to maintain, although those who opposed him had long ceased
to respect the fiction of the constitution, and had become a frankly
revolutionist body, which no longer directed its attack against the
ministry of the day, but against the King's own person, and all that
edifice on the summit of which the throne was placed.

Had he chosen to take the initiative, in order to prevent what
ultimately happened, he would not have failed for want of means. When
the army and the administration are in a man's hands, he can do very
much as he chooses. Successive revolutions have destroyed all respect
among us, except respect for main force; and it is a true saying that
if strength begets respect, respect in its turn begets affection. But
the King, who was the most moderate of men, would not go beyond legal
limits except as a last resource. And this characteristic of his was
well and universally known to all, both to friends and foes. While it
discouraged the former, it to some extent encouraged the latter, and so
the signal for recourse to force came from below, the pretorians of the
street rose in rebellion, and the defenders of the law were everywhere
overcome. In a few moments the confusion became general, and the
revolution was an accomplished fact.

And yet, even so late in the day, in other countries than our own
indeed, generals, and others invested with the chief command of the
national troops, have been known to draw their swords and save their
sovereigns and their governments almost in spite of their own selves.
They have been known to maintain the tutelary and inviolable principle
of a traditional monarchy--a principle which is both ancient and
absolute, tracing the line of duty for all men, clear and indisputable,
without any possibility of hesitation or compromise--against and in the
face of all comers. And this principle is one which calls forth the
proudest devotion, seeing it is impersonal, for the king is not the
elected leader of conquerors, oppressing the conquered, but a living
flag, the national rallying-point for all the defenders of the mother
country against her enemies, whether within or without her borders.

This saving process, whether the saved ones would or no, has been seen,
as I say, in other countries, which thus were preserved from that
discord, disorganisation, and disaster of every kind, which are the
inevitable consequence of internal convulsion and revolution.

But the July Monarchy was unhappily very far from representing the
traditional hereditary principle. Born of one insurrection, it was
overthrown by another. Set up on the electoral principle, it fell, as
though in mockery, with a full electoral majority behind it.
Two-and-twenty years later the empire too fell, on the very morrow of a
triumphant plebiscite. Partial and universal suffrage alike have proved
their impotence to defend a government which has ceased to give
satisfaction against the assaults of that army shouting "Get out of
that and let me take your place!" the members of which always make
themselves up as austere patriots. And I cannot help, in this place,
looking sadly back at the fatal consequences which this impotence of
the elective, as compared with the monarchical regime, has had for us.
Why did the Emperor refuse to treat with M. de Bismarck in the name of
France, when he met him, on the evening of Sedan, and asked him to do
so? Why did the unfortunate prince not do the same as two sovereigns in
possession of hereditary rights and duties, Victor Emmanuel after
Novara, and Francis Joseph after Sadowa, who both of them safeguarded
their territory and the honour of their armies? Because he was a
bastard sovereign--and dared not reappear before his electors once he
was beaten.

But to return to my story, to which I have but a few lines to add. The
revolution might have been foreseen and the days of the government of
1830 might have been prolonged. Once it was overthrown, and the dyke
which stemmed the torrent of democracy carried away, its rule, which
was one of chance convenience and not of right, had no further reason
for existence.

That being so, what was I to do? The re-establishment of the legitimate
family on the throne was out of the question. The disasters of our
first revolutionary period had not as yet been renewed in their
terrible logical sequence. We had not yet had our second Waterloo at
Sedan, and very few people thought at that moment of coming back to the
principle the proof of whose title lies in the centuries of unity and
greatness assured by it to France--the one and only principle capable
of checking her on her descent into the abyss of dismemberment,
depopulation, and social destruction, down which she is gliding.

It was clear that another elective regime was about to succeed the one
which had just collapsed--one of those modern edifices, all, whatever
may be the name with which they are decorated, tainted with the same
original weakness--"What the majority has made, the majority has the
right to unmake." In fact--as somebody said in a speech--a perpetually
provisional arrangement Under these ephemeral forms of rule, our
national inferiority in face of other stable and far-sighted
governments is flagrantly evident. The sense of duty wears away,
devoted service is never given without a mental reservation touching
the morrow--that unknown morrow, which checkmates the boldest plans.
Thus constituted, such regimes are all alike, and it was not for the
princes of the House of France to draw their swords to impose one form
of national humiliation rather than another on their country.

When once my father's rule had disappeared, and with it the unvarying
line of duty traced by my absolute filial devotion to him, I watched
the establishment of a republican form of government without annoyance,
for I preferred its clear distinctness to the complicated combinations
which pretended to reconcile two opposite principles by putting
handcuffs on them both.

Like many others, too, I did not doubt that the shock of revolution
would soon bring on a general war. Under such circumstances, it would
have been crime to add the pangs of civil strife to the dangers
threatening our country.

Thenceforward, my duty lay clear before me. My country first of all!
That watchword still exists, thank God, to guide those who yet can love
their country whatever may befall them. When once my first fit of
indignation was over, then, I did not think of returning from Africa,
sword in hand, to set up the throne again. I contented myself with
sending a very commonplace despatch to Arago, and then I utilised the
last days I was to spend on French soil in studying the defensive works
ordered by my brother in view of that war, imminent perhaps, during
which, soldiers before all as we were, we expected, in the illusive
hopes of our youth, to be allowed to keep our place as fighting men.

The moment came at last when our presence at Algiers became
incompatible with the existence of a revolutionary government in Paris,
and we had to rejoin our family in their foreign exile. We decided,
Aumale and I, to embark for England on board the despatch-boat Solon,
Commander Jaures. It was with heavy hearts, though proud ones, that we
went down the Rue de la Marine, under the salutes of the forts, and
accompanied to the last by the whole body of officers, both naval and
military, so many of them our old friends and faithful comrades.

Thirty years of my life had been spent in France. In spite of the
gnawing worm of revolution, my family left her intact, prosperous,
respected, with magnificent armies, both land and sea, and a no less
magnificent colony. I was not to see my country again for
two-and-twenty years, and then in all the horror of invasion and
dismemberment and the terror of the Commune.

THE END





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