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Title: My Memoirs, Vol. VI, 1832-1833
Author: Dumas, Alexandre
Language: English
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MY MEMOIRS

BY

ALEXANDRE DUMAS

TRANSLATED BY

E. M. WALLER

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

ANDREW LANG

VOL. VI

1832 TO 1833

WITH A FRONTISPIECE

NEW YORK

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

1909



CONTENTS



    BOOK I

    CHAPTER I

    Preparations for my Fancy Dress Ball--I find that my
    lodgings are too much after the style of Socrates--My
    artist-decorators--The question of the supper--I go for
    provisions to la Ferté-Vidame--View of this capital town of
    the Canton, by night, in a snowstorm--My nephew's room--My
    friend Gondon--Roebuck hunting--Return to Paris--I invent
    a Bank of Exchange before M. Proudhon--The artists at
    work--The dead

    CHAPTER II

    Alfred Johannot

    CHAPTER III

    Clément Boulanger

    CHAPTER IV

    Grandville

    CHAPTER V

    Tony Johannot

    BOOK II

    CHAPTER I

    Sequel to the preparations for my ball--Oil and
    distemper--Inconveniences of working at night--How
    Delacroix did his task--The ball--Serious men--La Fayette
    and Beauchene--Variety of costumes--The invalid and the
    undertaker's man--The last galop--A _political_ play--A
    _moral_ play

    CHAPTER II

    _Dix ans de la vie d'une femme_

    CHAPTER III

    Doligny manager of the theatre in Italy--Saint-Germain
    bitten by the tarantula--How they could have livened up
    Versailles if Louis-Philippe had wished it--The censorship
    of the Grand-Duke of Tuscany--The bindings of printer
    Batelli--_Richard Darlington, Angèle, Antony_ and _La Tour
    de Nesle_ performed under the name of Eugène Scribe

    CHAPTER IV

    A few words on _La Tour de Nesle_ and M. Frédérick
    Gaillardet--The _Revue des Deux Mondes_--M. Buloz--The
    _Journal des Voyages_--My first attempt at Roman
    history--_Isabeau de Bavière_--A witty man of five foot nine
    inches

    CHAPTER V

    Success of my _Scènes historiques_--Clovis and Hlodewig
    (Chlodgwig)--I wish to apply myself seriously to the study
    of the history of France--The Abbé Gauthier and M. de
    Moyencourt--Cordelier-Delanoue reveals to me Augustine
    Thierry and Chateaubriand--New aspects of history--_Gaule
    et France_--A drama in collaboration with Horace Vernet and
    Auguste Lafontaine

    CHAPTER VI

    _Édith aux longs cheveux--Catherine Howard_

    BOOK III

    CHAPTER I

    An invasion of cholera--Aspect of Paris--Medicine and the
    scourge--Proclamation of the Prefect of Police--The supposed
    poisoners--Harel's newspaper paragraph--Mademoiselle
    Dupont--Eugène Durieu and Anicet Bourgeois--Catherine (not
    Howard) and the cholera--First performance of _Mari de la
    veuve_--A horoscope which did not come true

    CHAPTER II

    My régime against the cholera--I am attacked by the epidemic
    --I invent etherisation--Harel comes to suggest to me
    _La Tour de Nesle_--Verteuil's manuscript--Janin and the
    tirade of the _grandes dames_--First idea of the _prison
    scene_--My terms with Harel--Advantages offered by me to M.
    Gaillardet--The spectator in the Odéon--Known and unknown
    authors--My first letter to M. Gaillardet

    CHAPTER III

    M. Gaillardet's answer and protest--Frédérick and Buridan's
    part--Transaction with M. Gaillardet--First performance
    of _La Tour de Nesle_--The play and its interpreters--The
    day following a success--M. * * *--A profitable trial
    in prospect--Georges' caprice--The manager, author and
    collaborator

    CHAPTER IV

    The use of friends--_Le Musée des Familles_--An article by
    M. Gaillardet--My reply to it--Challenge from M. Gaillardet
    --I accept it with effusion--My adversary demands a first
    respite of a week--I summon him before the Commission of
    Dramatic Authors--He declines that arbitration--I send him
    my seconds--He asks a delay of two months--Janin's letter
    to the newspapers

    CHAPTER V

    Sword and pistol--Whence arose my aversion to the latter
    weapon--Philippe's puppet--The statue of Corneille--An
    autograph _in extremis_--Le bois de Vincennes--A duelling
    toilet--Scientific question put by Bixio--The conditions
    of the duel--Official report of the seconds--How Bixio's
    problem found its solution

    BOOK IV

    CHAPTER I

    The masquerade of the budget at Grenoble--M. Maurice
    Duval--The serenaders--Escapade of the 35th of the
    line--The insurrection it excites--Arrest of General
    Saint-Clair--Taking of the préfecture and of the
    citadel by Bastide--Bastide at Lyons--Order reigns at
    Grenoble--Casimir Périer, Gamier-Pages and M. Dupin--Report
    of the municipality of Grenoble--Acquittal of the
    rioters--Restoration of the 35th--Protest of a smoker

    CHAPTER II

    General Dermoncourt's papers--Protest of Charles X.
    against the usurpation of the Duc d'Orléans--The stoutest
    of political men--Attempt at restoration planned by
    Madame la duchesse de Berry--The _Carlo-Alberto_--How
    I write authentic notes--Landing of Madame near La
    Ciotat--Legitimist affray at Marseilles--Madame set out for
    La Vendée--M. de Bonnechose--M. de Villeneuve--M. de Lorge

    CHAPTER III

    Madame's itinerary--Panic--M. de Puylaroque--_Domine salvum
    fac Philippum_--The château de Dampierre--Madame de la
    Myre--The pretended cousin and the curé--M. Guibourg--M.
    de Bourmont--Letter of Madame to M. de Coislin--The _noms
    de guerre_--Proclamation of Madame--New kind of _henna_--M.
    Charette--Madame is nearly drowned in the Maine--The sexton
    in charge of the provisions--A night in the stable--The
    Legitimists of Paris--They dispatch M. Berryer into la
    Vendée

    CHAPTER IV

    Interview between MM. Berryer and de Bourmont--The
    messenger's guides--The movable column--M. Charles--Madame's
    hiding-place--Madame refuses to leave la Vendée--She rallies
    her followers to arms--Death of General Lamarque--The
    deputies of the Opposition meet together at Laffitte's
    house--They decide to publish a statement to the nation--MM.
    Odilon Barrot and de Cormenin are commissioned to draw up
    this report--One hundred and thirty-three deputies sign it

    CHAPTER V

    Last moments of General Lamarque--What his life had been--
    One of my interviews with him--I am appointed one of the
    stewards of the funeral cortège--The procession--Symptoms
    of popular agitation--The marching past across the place
    Vendôme--The Duke Fitz-James--Conflicts provoked by the
    town police--The students of the École Polytechnique join
    the cortège--Arrival of the funeral procession at the pont
    d'Austerlitz--Speeches--First shots--The man with the red
    flag--Allocution of Étienne Arago 260

    CHAPTER VI

    The artillerymen--Carrel and _le National_--Barricades of
    the boulevard Bourdon and in the rue de Ménilmontant--
    The carriage of General La Fayette--A bad shot
    from my friends--Despair of Harel--The pistols in
    _Richard_--The women are against us--I distribute
    arms to the insurgents--Change of uniform--The meeting
    at Laffitte's--Progress of the insurrection--M.
    Thiers--Barricade Saint-Merry--Jeanne--Rossignol--Barricade
    of the passage du Saumon--Morning of 6 June

    CHAPTER VII

    Inside the barricade Saint-Merry, according to a Parisian
    child's account--General Tiburce Sébastiani--Louis-Philippe
    during the insurrection--M. Guizot--MM. François Arago,
    Laffitte and Odilon Barrot at the Tuileries--The last
    argument of Kings--Étienne Arago and Howelt--Denunciation
    against me--M. Binet's report 301

    BOOK V

    CHAPTER I

    _Le Fils de l'Émigré_--I learn the news of my premature
    death--I am advised to take a voyage for prudence and
    health's sake--I choose Switzerland--Gosselin's literary
    opinion on that country--First effect of change of
    air--From Châlon to Lyons by a low train--The ascent of
    Cerdon--Arrival at Geneva

    CHAPTER II

    Great explanations about the bear-steak--Jacotot--An
    ill-sounding epithet--A seditious felt hat--The carabineers
    who were too clever--I quarrel with King Charles-Albert over
    the Dent du Chat--Princes and men of intellect 323

    CHAPTER III

    22 July 1832

    CHAPTER IV

    Edict unbaptizing the King of Rome--Anecdotes of the
    childhood of the Duc de Reichstadt--Letter of Sir Hudson
    Lowe announcing the death of Napoleon

    CHAPTER V

    Prince Metternich is appointed to teach the history of
    Napoleon to the Duc de Reichstadt--The Duke's plan of
    political conduct--The poet Barthélemy at Vienna--His
    interviews with Count Dietrichstein--Opinion of the Duc de
    Reichstadt on the poem _Napoleon en Egypt_ 353

    CHAPTER VI

    Journey of the Duc de Reichstadt--M. le Chevalier de
    Prokesch--Questions concerning the recollections left
    by _Napoléon en Égypte_--The ambition of the Duc de
    Reichstadt--The Countesse Camerata--The prince is appointed
    lieutenant-colonel--He becomes hoarse when holding a
    review--He falls ill--Report upon his health by Dr. Malfatti

    CHAPTER VII

    The Duc de Reichstadt at Schönbrünn--Progress of his
    disease--The Archduchess Sophia--The prince's last
    moments--His death--Effect produced by the news at
    Paris--Article of the _Constitutionnel_ upon this event

    BOOK VI

    CHAPTER I

    Lucerne--The lion of August 10--M. de Chateaubriand's
    fowls--Reichenau--A picture by Conder--Letter to M. le duc
    d'Orléans--A walk in the park of Arenenberg 383

    CHAPTER II

    News of France--First performance of _Le Fils de l'Émigré_--
    What _Le Constitutionnel_ thought of it--Effect produced
    by that play on the Parisian population in general and on
    M. Véron in particular--Death of Walter Scott--_Perrinet
    Leclerc--Sic vos non vobis_

    CHAPTER III

    La Duchesse de Berry returns to Nantes disguised as
    a peasant woman--The basket of apples--The house
    Duguigny--Madame in her hiding-place--Simon Deutz--His
    antecedents--His mission--He enters into treaty with MM.
    Thiers and Montalivet--He starts for la Vendée 412

    CHAPTER IV

    M. Maurice Duval is made Préfet of the Loire-Inférieure--
    The Nantais give him a charivari--Deutz's persistent
    attempts to see Madame--He obtains a first and then a
    second audience--Besieging of the maison Duguigny--The
    hiding-place--The police searches--Discovery of the Duchess

    CHAPTER V

    First moments after the arrest--Madame's 13,000 francs--What
    a gendarme can win by sleeping on a camp-bed and making
    philosophic reflections thereon--The duchess at the Château
    de Nantes--She is transferred to Blaye--Judas

    BOOK VII

    CHAPTER I

    _Le Roi s'amuse_--Criticism and censorship

    CHAPTER II

    _Le Corsaire_ trial--The Duc d'Orléans as caricaturist--The
    _Tribune_ trial--The right of association established by
    jury--Statistics of the political sentences under the
    Restoration_--Le Pré-aux-Clercs_

    CHAPTER III

    Victor Jacquemont

    CHAPTER IV

    George Sand

    CHAPTER V

    Eugène Sue--His family, birth, godfather and godmother--
    His education--Dr. Sue's wine-cellar--Choir of botanists
    --Committee of chemistry--Dinner on the grass--Eugène
    Sue sets out for Spain--His return--Ferdinand Langlé's
    room--Captain Gauthier

    CHAPTER VI

    Eugène Sue is ambitious enough to have a groom, horse and
    trap--He does business with the maison Ermingot, Godefroi
    et Cie which permits him to gratify that fancy--Triumph
    at the Champs-Élysées--A vexing encounter--Desforges and
    Eugène Sue separate--Desforges starts _Le Kaléidoscope_
    at Bordeaux--Ferdinand Langlé starts _La Nouveauté_ at
    Paris--César and the negro Zoyo--Dossion and his dog

    CHAPTER VII

    Eugène Sue's début in journalism--_L'Homme-Mouche_--The
    merino sheep--Eugène Sue in the Navy--He takes part in the
    battle of Navarino--He furnishes a house--The last folly of
    youth--Another _Fils de l'Homme_--Bossange and Desforges

    BOOK VIII

    CHAPTER I

    The political duels

    CHAPTER II

    _Lucrèce Borgia_--Discouragement--First conception of the
    Historical Romances

    CHAPTER III

    Condition of the Théâtre-Français in 1832 and
    1833--Causes which had led to our emigration from the
    Théatre-Français--Reflections concerning the education of
    dramatic artists

    CHAPTER IV

    Talma--Mademoiselle Mars--The Conservatoire--Macready--Young
    --Kean--Miss Smithson--Mrs. Siddons--Miss Faucit--Shakespeare
    --The limits to dramatic art in France

    APPENDIX

    TRANSLATOR'S NOTE



THE MEMOIRS OF

ALEXANDRE DUMAS

BOOK I



CHAPTER I


Preparations for my Fancy Dress Ball--I find that my lodgings are too
much after the style of Socrates--My artist-decorators--The question
of the supper--I go for provisions to la Ferté-Vidame--View of this
capital town of the Canton, by night, in a snowstorm--My nephew's
room--My friend Gondon--Roebuck hunting--Return to Paris--I invent a
Bank of Exchange before M. Proudhon--The artists at work--The dead
Carnival time was drawing near, and the suggestion Bocage had made
that I should give a ball spread abroad throughout the artist world,
and was flung back at me on all sides. One of the first difficulties
which arose was the question of the smallness of my lodgings--my
rooms comprised a dining-room, sitting-room, bedroom and study, which,
however adequate in size for a dwelling, were too limited for a party.
A ball, given by me, necessitated three or four hundred invitations;
and how could I have three or four hundred people in a dining-room,
drawing-room, bedroom and study? Happily I bethought myself of a set
of four rooms on the same landing, not only empty, but still void of
all decoration--except for the mirrors above the chimney-pieces, and
the blue-grey paper which covered the walls. I asked the landlord's
permission to use this set of rooms for the purpose of the ball
I intended to give. It was granted me. Next came the question of
decorating the rooms. This was the business of my artist friends.
Hardly did they know that I needed them before they came and offered me
their services. There were four rooms to decorate, and they shared the
task between them. The decorators were no other than Eugène Delacroix,
Louis and Clément Boulanger, Alfred and Tony Johannot, Decamps,
Grandville, Jadin, Barye, Nanteuil--our first painters, in fact. Ciceri
undertook the ceilings. The question arose as to whether the subject
should be from a novel or from a play of each of the authors who would
be there. Eugène Delacroix undertook to paint King Rodrigo after
the defeat of the Guadalèté, a subject taken from the _Romancero,_
translated by Émile Deschamps; Louis Boulanger chose a scene from
_Lucrèce Borgia_; Clément Boulanger, a scene from the _Tour de Nesle_;
Tony Johannot, a scene from the _Sire de Giac_; Alfred Johannot, a
scene from _Cinq-Mars_; Decamps promised a Debureau in a cornfield
studded with poppies and corn-flowers; Grandville took a panel twelve
feet long by eight feet wide, in which he undertook to reproduce all
our professions in a picture representing an orchestra of thirty or
forty musicians, some clanging cymbals, others shaking Chinese hats,
some blowing on horns and bassoons, others scraping on violins and
violoncellos. There were, besides, animals at play above each door.

Barye took upon himself the window frames: lions and tigers as large
as life formed these supports. Nanteuil did the surroundings, the
ornamentations and the panels of the doors. This point settled, it
was decided that, four or five days before the ball, Ciceri should
stretch the canvases on the walls and bring paint-brushes, measures and
colours. When the artists had begun their work, they were not to leave
it except to go to bed: they were to be fed and provided with drink in
the house. The collation was to consist of three items.

There now remained a thing of the highest importance to attend to,
namely, supper. I thought of providing the main foundation of this
with game killed by my own hand; this would be both a pleasure and an
economy. I went in search of M. Deviolaine, who gave me leave to shoot
over the forest of la Ferté-Vidame. This was the more delightful as my
old friend Gondon was inspector of it, and I was very sure he would not
grudge a roebuck more or less. Furthermore, the permission included
some friends as well as myself. I invited Clerjon de Champagny, Tony
Johannot, Géniole and Louis Boulanger. My brother-in-law and nephew
were to set out from Chartres and to turn up at the appointed hour at
la Ferté-Vidame. I gave Gondon two days' notice in advance, so that
he could procure the necessary beaters, and it was arranged that we
should stop the night at an inn, the address of which he gave me; that
we should sleep there; that we should shoot the whole of the following
day, and that, according as we were too tired or not, we should either
leave that evening or the next morning. We were to make the journey
in a huge _berline_ which, somehow or other, I happened to possess.
Everything decided upon was carried out punctiliously. We started
between nine and ten in the morning. We reckoned upon arriving about
six or seven in the evening, but snow overtook us when a third of our
journey was done, and, instead of arriving at seven, it was midnight
before we got there, and we had not had anything to warm us the whole
of that long journey except the never-failing wit and charming spirits
of Champagny, to which, as an accompaniment, was joined the noise of a
tin trumpet which he had bought somewhere or other, I know not for what
purpose, its droll sound affording the boon of making us shout with
laughter.

When we arrived, we naturally found everybody asleep; at la
Ferté-Vidame they go to bed at ten in summer and eight in winter. We
set foot on a magnificent carpet of snow, which reminded me of the
wolf-hunts of my youth, with my old friends M. Deviolaine and the
gamekeepers. How many things had happened between the snows of 1817 and
those of 1832 and had melted away even as they! We looked like those
who knocked at the outbuildings of the Castle of the Sleeping Beauty;
nobody answered us, and, as we were getting more and more benumbed, I
was already beginning to talk of breaking in the door of the inn, as I
had at M. Dupont-Delporte's country-house, when, from the other side
of the door, I heard my nephew's voice. He was exactly the age that I
was when going shooting kept me from sleeping--poor boy, he has since
died! Half awake from the pleasure to which he was looking forward
in the next day's sport he woke up completely at the racket we made,
at our desperate cries and, especially, at the sound of Champagny's
trumpet. He exerted himself inside as we did outside, to rouse the
hotel people from their beds. Finally, swearing, scolding, crotchety,
a man got up, calling upon heaven to know if this was the hour to
wake honest people. The door opened and the host's bad temper calmed
down a little when he saw we had come by post-chaise! That made it
justifiable for him to be disturbed at night, and, thenceforward, we
were well received. My brother-in-law had not been able to come. Émile,
my nephew, was alone, and he had naturally taken the best room in the
house, by virtue of his right as first arrival. It was immediately
pointed out to him that, being at the age when one can eat anything, he
was also, naturally, at the age when one gets the worst beds and cold
rooms. His room had a splendid fireplace, in which burned the remains
of a fire which I tended with the conscientiousness of a vestal, until
they brought a load of wood. It was a large room; we held council, and
it was unanimously decided to carry the mattresses from the small rooms
into the large one; that they should be arranged symmetrically against
the wall, and that we should all sleep together. Émile demanded two
things: the honour of being one of the company and the right of putting
his ready-made bed on the floor. He had left a store of warmth in his
sheets which he did not want to lose. These preliminary arrangements
made, we proceeded to supper. Every one was literally dying of hunger,
literally, also, there was equally nothing to eat in the inn. We
visited the henhouse: the fowls had obligingly laid a score of eggs.
That made four eggs apiece; we each had one egg boiled, two in an
omelette and one in the salad. There was bread and wine as might be
required. I think we never had a merrier supper-party or slept better.
At dawn we were awakened by Gondon. He arrived thoroughly equipped for
shooting, with his two dogs. Fifteen beaters, engaged the previous day,
waited for us at the door. The toilet of a sportsman is quickly made.
A huge fire was lit: there was no possibility of eating the remains
of the previous night's supper: we had to be contented with a crust
of bread dipped in white wine. Besides, Gondon spoke of a cold leg of
mutton which would be picked up in passing his house, and which we
should eat in the forest round a great fire between two _battues_; this
welcome intelligence brought back a smile to the most morose lips. We
were shooting a quarter of an hour later. One has one's days of skill
as also one's days of courage. Champagny, an excellent shot usually,
this day shot like a cab-driver, and attributed his awkwardness to the
narrowness of the barrel of his gun. Indeed, I do not know why he shot
with a kind of double-barrelled pistol. Tony Johannot was, I believe, a
complete novice in matters of shooting. Géniole was a beginner. As for
Louis Boulanger, he was accustomed to go shooting pencil in one hand
and sketch-book in the other. There were, then, only Gondon and myself,
both old sportsmen, and, having long rifles, we found ourselves the
kings of the shoot. The shoot does not deserve any special description;
nevertheless, an incident happened at it which has since caused bets
in the forest of la Ferté-Vidame, between the forest gamekeepers and
the Parisian sportsmen who were my successors. We were placed in a
line, as is the custom in a _battue,_ and I had chosen for my position
the angle made by a little narrow footpath and the main road. I had
the path horizontally in front of me, and, behind me, the highroad ran
at right angles. On my right was Tony Johannot; on my left, Géniole.
The beaters drove the game towards us. Every hunted animal, when it
encounters a road, and particularly a footpath, has a propensity to
follow the path, which enables it to see and to run more easily. Three
roebucks, urged on by the beaters, followed the footpath and came
straight for me. Tony Johannot, for whom they were out of range, made
violent signs to me, in the belief that I did not see them. I saw them
perfectly well, but I had the very ambitious idea fixed in my head
of killing all three with two shots. Tony, who did not understand my
inaction, increased his signals. Still I let the three roebucks come
on. Finally, when nearly thirty paces from me, they stopped short,
listening, admirably placed: two crossed their fine, graceful necks
over one another, one looking to the right, the other to the left; the
third kept a little behind, hidden by the two others. I fired at the
first two and brought them down. The third took a leap, but not so
quickly as to avoid my second shot. Then I stood in position to re-load
my rifle, not wishing the whole hunt to be put out for me. In fact,
an instant later, a roebuck passed Gondon, and he killed it. Seeing
my inaction after my two shots, toy companions thought I had missed.
However, Géniole, who was on my left, and Tony, who was on my right,
asked what had become of the roebucks. The enigma was explained to them
by the beaters, who found the three dead bucks thirty paces from me:
two in the path,--they had not stirred!--the other, four yards away, in
the underwood.

That night, returning at nightfall, a final roebuck was so ill-advised
as to start up before us in a sort of clearing. The sun, a little out
of the clouds, was setting literally in a bed of purple; in spite of
this amelioration in the weather on the horizon, the snow continued
falling round us in thick flakes. Suddenly, a buck bounded off fifteen
yards from us. The guns were unloaded, so it was a question for the
quickest loader. Ten or a dozen shots went off almost at the same
time. The buck disappeared in the midst of the fire and smoke. Dogs
and hunters set off in pursuit. I have never seen a more fitting
composition for a picture than that which chance had made--Boulanger
was in ecstasies! He, not having a gun, could see everything without
being distracted. All the night he was haunted by the idea of making
a sketch of that scene: he could not forget it. We brought back nine
roebucks and three hares; I had, for my share, killed five roebucks and
two hares. We dined at Gondon's that night, and we had a very different
supper from that of the night before.

We started next day at dawn and, as night fell, we re-entered Paris
with our nine bucks hanging from the imperial of our carriage, like
a butcher's shop. I summoned Chevet. It was a question of trading by
exchange. I wanted an enormous fish: for three bucks, Chevet undertook
to provide me with a salmon weighing thirty pounds, or a sturgeon
weighing fifty. I wanted a colossal galantine; a fourth buck paid for
that. I wished to have two bucks roasted whole; Chevet undertook to
get them roasted. The last buck was cut up and distributed among the
families of my travelling companions. The three hares provided a pâté.
So it will be seen that the shoot, besides the pleasure derived from
it, gave us the principal constituents of the supper. The rest was only
a matter of attending to detail; this was the business of the staff
belonging to the house. In our absence, old Ciceri--do obeisance, all
of you, to the old man, just as gay to-day, well-preserved and willing,
in spite of his seventy years; do obeisance to him Séchan, Diéterle,
Despléchin, Thierry, Cambon, Devoir, Moinet, you kings, viceroys
and princes of modern decorative art: old Ciceri it was who did the
cloister of _Robert le Diable_!--in our absence, I say, old Ciceri
had had the canvases placed in position and had fixed up the paper.
All was ready even to the paints, pencils and brushes. All the rooms
were warmed with big fires; chairs, stools, footstools of all sizes
were there, and a folding ladder had been bought. Granville, our good
excellent Granville, delightful painter of man, purely as an animal,
and of animals with human intelligence, was the first to set to work.
He it was, indeed, who had the heaviest task on his hands; it will be
recollected that he was burdened with an immense panel and with the
painting of all the top parts above the doors. Alas! it is sad to think
that of those ten artists who put their talent at my disposition, four
to-day lie in the tomb! Of those ten hearts which beat so happily in
unison with my own, four are stilled! Who would have told you then,
in that merry workroom which you covered with your paintings, and
filled with your laughter, in those three days of talking, during which
scintillated incessantly that fascinating wit the secret of which
artists alone have the key; who would have said to you, beloved dead
friends! that, while still young, I should survive you, and that I
should pause when mentioning your names to say to myself, 'It is not
enough for you, their brother, simply to mention their names; you ought
to relate what they were like as men and artists, their characters and
their talents!' A task both sweet and melancholy it is to speak of the
dead that one loves! Moreover, it is midnight; the hour for invocation.
I am alone, no profane gaze appears through the darkness to scare your
sepulchral modesty. Come, brothers! Come! Tell me, in the language of
the dead, that gentle whisper which is like the stream caressing its
banks, the soft sound of leaves rustling in the forest, the gentle
murmur of the breeze sobbing in the reeds, tell me of your life, your
sorrows, your hopes and your triumphs, so that the world, nearly always
indifferent when it is not ungrateful, may know what you were and,
above all, your worth!



CHAPTER II


Alfred Johannot


The first who appears to me, because he was the first who left us, is
pale and sad as he was when living. His hair is cut short, his forehead
is prominent, his glance is both gloomy and gentle beneath his thick
eyebrows, the moustache and beard are russet-brown, the face long and
melancholy. His name is Alfred Johannot, and he has been dead now for
sixteen years.

Come, brother! come nearer to me; it is I, a friend who calls thee.
Speak, tell, in the tongue of the dead, of thy youth and glorious life,
and I will repeat it in the language of the living. Spirits of the
night, silence even the shaking of your moth-like wings, that all may
be still; even thou, too, O Night--silence, dumb son of darkness! The
dead speak low, but I will speak aloud. We have all seen him, young men
of twenty-five, men of forty, old men of seventy. Was he not indeed
such as I have described him to be? Now, here is his biography.

       *       *       *       *       *

He was born with the century, in 1800; with the spring, on 21 March;
he was born in the grand-duchy of Hesse, in the little town of
Offenbach, upon the banks of the charming river beloved of fishermen
and water-sprites, which men call the Mein, which has its source in
Bavaria and which empties itself in the Rhine opposite Mayence. His
father was a wealthy merchant of Frankfort, and his ancestors were
Protestants whom the revocation of the Edict of Nantes had compelled to
take shelter in foreign countries. After a stay of several years in
Lyons, M. Johannot, the father, founded at Frankfort the first great
silk factory. Trade, when it reaches the pitch to which he carried it,
rises to the elevation of poetry; besides, he was an excellent painter
of flowers and spent his life among artists. In 1806, M. Johannot was
ruined and came to settle in Paris. This upheaval, though sad for the
parents, was a happy one for Alfred. Every change and all excitement
amuses childhood. His mother, who adored him, endeavoured to educate
him herself; from thence, perhaps, came that which throughout his
life people took for melancholy, and which was merely the modest
sensitiveness of a heart entirely moulded by a woman's hand.

Alfred Johannot was eight years old when they took him to the Louvre
the first time. You who read these lines will remember the Louvre
under the Empire? It was the rendezvous of all the finest things in
the world; every masterpiece seemed to have the right to be there,
and appeared to be only at home there. He was astounded, deeply
moved, dazzled. He went in a child, without any vocation: he came out
adolescent and a painter. On his return home, he took to his pencil
and never left it again. He had a brother, a clever engraver, Charles
Johannot, who died before he did, also young like him, alas! The
age of the three brothers at the time of the death of each scarcely
reached that of a mature man. This brother lent him his artist's card
of admission to the Louvre and, under the protection of his brother's
name, he was able to work there. When they wanted to punish him cruelly
they said to him: "Alfred, you shall not go to the Louvre to-morrow."
When he was in the Louvre he lived no longer, he did not exist, he was
absorbed in his work, and it was in that that he lived and had his
being.

One day, alone with his thoughts, as was his habit, genius encouraging
him with those sweet whispered words which keep the eyes and lips of
youth always in a smile, he was copying a Raphael, when he felt a hand
laid lightly on his shoulder. He turned round and stood confounded.
In the centre of a circle of officers in military dress and courtiers
in court dress, he stood alone by the side of a man in a very simple
uniform. The hand which this man had lightly placed on his shoulder,
when pressed on the far ends of the earth made the world reel: it was
the hand of Napoleon.

"Courage, my friend!" a voice, almost as soft as a woman's, said to him.

It was the voice of the Emperor. Then the wonderful man went away,
leaving the child pale, dumb, trembling and almost breathless; but, as
he moved away, he inquired who the child was. A secretary stayed behind
from the Emperor's suite, came to Alfred, asked him his name and where
his parents lived, then rejoined the brilliant group, which disappeared
into a neighbouring room.

Some days afterwards, Alfred Johannot's father was appointed inspector
of the library at Hamburg, then a French town. The whole family set
out for this destination and Alfred was not to see Paris again until
1818. He was never to see the Emperor again; but the recollection
of the scene we have just described remained deeply engraved on the
child's memory. I remember one evening, the evening on which he himself
told me the story--it was in my rooms--he took up a pen and paper and
drew a pen-and-ink sketch of the scene. I never saw a finer portrait
of Napoleon, more dignified, greater or more gentle, I will even say
more fatherly. In Alfred's thoughts, the Emperor remained as in 1810,
beautiful, radiant and victorious!

In default of good masters, the child found excellent engravers at
Hamburg; this is the reason that, as a young man, he preferred at
first graving tools to the paint brush. He was thirteen when disaster
overtook the Empire. The enemy laid siege to Hamburg; and Hamburg made
up its mind to resist to the very last and, indeed, its defence was a
celebrated one.

Alfred three times only just escaped death: by a bullet, by starvation
and by typhus fever! One day, when he was on the ramparts, a bullet
flew by two yards from him, a little nearer and it would have been
the end of him; but he was spared. It was a different matter with
starvation and, above all, in the matter of typhus! Hunger weakened
his digestion, typhus burned up his blood: hence, the paleness of his
cheeks and the fever in his eyes: he died in 1837 from the effects of
the famine and fever of 1813.

The whole family, as we have said, returned to Paris in 1818 and
settled near Charles, who then did one of his wonderful engravings,
_Le Trompette blessé,_ by Horace Vernet. The poor people were totally
ruined. It was essential that the children they had nourished should,
in their turn, look after those who had nourished them.

Alfred set to work at first to make engravings for confectioners and
to illuminate images of the saints. This lasted for seven years. It
was Charles who brought in the larger contribution to the common
purse. He died in 1825, just the same age as was Alfred when he died,
thirty-seven. God permitted that, from henceforth, Alfred's powers
should increase, on account of the burden which this misfortune
laid upon him. A young brother and aged parents--these were the
responsibilities which the death of his brother left him!

The world does not sufficiently recognise the story of those saintly
struggles of filial love against poverty, but I shall tell the story
again and again!

Alfred's life was a strange one! He had no youth and was not to have
an old age. The furrows of mature age, which line the careworn brow of
the thinker, were engraved upon him by starvation when he was thirteen,
by exile and by fatigue they were continued when he was eighteen, and
poverty took up the task when he was twenty-five.

"Did you, who knew him, ever see him smile?"

"No." And yet this gravity had nothing in it of the melancholy of
disgust or of despair; it was the calm of resignation.

The first plate which he published--for he began by devoting himself
to engraving: feeling himself to be feeble he sought some support on
which to lean--was that of Scheffer's _Orphelins._ This publication
brought him the patronage of Gérard. In the first instance, this master
entrusted him with a scene from _Ourika,_ then the reproduction of his
great picture of _Louis XIV. présentant Philippe V. aux ambassadeurs
d'Espagne._ From that moment Alfred Johannot became known. It was the
period when English publications introduced the taste for illustrations
into France. Since Moreau, junior, who had admirably reproduced the
pictures of the age of Louis XIV., and particularly those of the time
of Louis XV., there was not a more distinguished engraver in France
than Alexandre Desenne. Alfred went to him and asked to be allowed to
study under his direction. Genius is simple, kind and friendly: Desenne
gave him excellent advice. Then Desenne died, and the only well-known
engraver who was left was Achille Devéria--You knew that fine
intellect? that fecund producer, who, having to choose between genius,
which leaves people to die of hunger, and talent, which can support a
family, tore himself weeping from the disconsolate embraces of genius,
flinging in its arms as a substitute his brother Eugène. Some day I
will tell his story as I am telling Alfred's, and I will compel the
jeering and ungrateful world to bow its head before the pious son, the
industrious father, who, by working sixteen hours a day, kept a whole
family in comfort.

O Devéria, how noble wert thou in God's sight when thou didst deny
thyself the chance of becoming as great in the eyes of men as thou
couldst have been!

But, soon, Devéria left painting and engraving for lithography. Then,
Alfred assumed the first position in book illustration, which his
brother was soon to share and to whom he abandoned it altogether when
he was dying.

During all this time, Tony had been growing up under the protection
of that friendship which had in it both the intimacy of brotherhood
and the protective tenderness of fatherhood. And, from the time when
the young life became connected with that of Alfred, there was no
separation: the figurative phrases about ivy and elms, creepers and
oaks, would seem to have been conceived with these two artists in
view. One day, death broke down the eldest; but the survivor was left,
with his roots springing from the grave of the one who was dead. For,
indeed, from the moment when they joined forces together, they kept
the same step and pace, until it was impossible to say which was ahead
of the other. Tony blended into Alfred, became an engraver with the
engraver, designer and painter with the designer and painter, forming
the unique spectacle of a triple fraternity of blood, mind and talent.
It was not as on the playbills of a theatre, where the name of the
oldest in art precedes that of the younger: one as often spoke of
Alfred and Tony as of Tony and Alfred. Like the inseparable Siamese
twins, a moment came when they themselves wished to separate, but could
not do so. And thus, for ten years, the history of one is that of the
other. One can no more separate this history than, one league from
Lyons, one can separate the Saône from the Rhone; or, a league from
Mayence, the Moselle from the Rhine. When they depended on one another
they felt themselves to be strong. It was no longer the drawings of
others that they engraved, but their own. Aquafortis engraving became
their favourite process; and it was at this time that the vignettes of
Walter Scott, of Cooper and of Byron appeared. All the great literary
names bore their signature. There is little poetry scattered over the
world the illustrations to which have not been traced by their graving
tools.

Then, marvellous to relate, each of them dreamed of still greater glory;
from copyists, they became engravers; from engravers, they decided to
make themselves painters. It was no longer from designs that they
executed their aquafortis work: it was after the charming little pictures
in the Salon of 1831--so remarkable that we returned two or three times
to see them--that they exhibited their plates, which were placed, I
recollect, in the embrasure of a window of the great gallery to the left.
There were twenty-four compositions. From that moment, each became both
artist and engraver at one and the same time.

Let us follow Alfred; we shall return to Tony later. In 1831 Alfred
did his first great easel painting: _L'Arrestation de Jean Crespière_.
This was a success. The same year he finished _Don Juan naufragé_ and a
scene from _Cinq-Mars_.

In 1832 and 1833 he produced _L'Annonce de la Victoire de Hastenbeck_
for King Louis-Philippe's gallery, and _L'Entrée de Mademoiselle
de Montpensier, pendant la Fronde, à Orléans_; in 1834, _François
Ier et Charles Quint_; in 1835, _Le Courrier Vernet saigne et pause
par le roi Louis-Philippe, Henri II., Catherine de Médicis et leurs
enfants_; in 1836, _Marie Stuart quittant l'Écosse,--Anne d'Este,
Duchesse de Guise se présentant à la cour de Charles IX.,--Saint
Martin_,--and _La bataille de Saint-Jacques_.

But during the last two years nature had been exhausted in Alfred;
he succumbed under a final effort. He recognised his condition, and
knew that when the finger of time pointed to the early months of the
winter of 1837 the hour of eternity would strike for him. So the last
eighteen months of his life are prodigious in activity: pictures,
vignettes, water-colours, aquafortis, wood-engravings, pencil sketches,
pen-and-ink drawings, he undertook everything, hurried on and carried
all through. A lifetime would scarcely have been enough to finish what
he had begun, and he only had a few months!

In the midst of this feverish output, this agonising productiveness,
he received a letter from Mannheim. It was from his sister; his father
was ill and desired to see him. He announced his departure; it was in
vain for people to tell him that, however seriously ill his father
might be, his father was not so ill as he was himself; that the old man
had longer to live than the young man: he did not listen to anything;
his father called for him and he felt he must go! He went, he remained
absent three months from Paris and returned late in November. His
father was out of danger; but he was dying. On 7 December 1837, he
died, with his sketches, tools and vignettes on his bed and his eyes
fixed on his unfinished pictures!

       *       *       *       *       *

The phantom has just ceased speaking. Then, turning in its direction I
said to it: It was so, brother, was it not? Have I translated thy words
well? But I saw nothing more than a white vapour which faded away, I
heard nothing but a faint sigh, which was lost in the air after having
articulated the word "Yes!"



CHAPTER III


Clément Boulanger


The whisper dies away and the shade disappears. Another shade comes out
of the ground and advances as silently as the first, but with a more
rapid step. One felt that, in this case, to some extent, the life had
been more bright and that death had suddenly taken this being into its
naked embrace without giving notice beforehand, as it had done in the
case of poor Alfred.

This shade was the painter of the picture entitled _Mort d'Henri II._
and of the _Procession du Corpus Domini._ Short chestnut hair, a rather
narrow but intelligent forehead, blue eyes, long nose, fair moustaches
and beard, complexion fresh and clear, dead lips smiling at life as in
life they had smiled at death: this was the shade of Clément Boulanger.
He bowed his tall figure towards me and I felt his breath touch my
brow, like the kiss of a friend after a long journey. He kissed me on
his return from death.

Poor Clément! He was so bright, so witty, while he was painting in
great washes the scene from the _Tour de Nesle_ representing Buridan
"flung into the Seine," as Villon says, and borrowed from the _Écolier
de Cluny_ by Roger de Beauvoir.

"Friend," I say to him, "I knew but little of your life and still less
of your death. You lived and died far away from me. You rest beneath
the cypresses of Scutari, with the sky of the Bosphorus stretched above
your head and the Sea of Marmora breaking at your feet; the blue doves
come in at the half-opened windows of your chapel and circle round
your tomb like loved friends! Tell me what I do not know, so that I may
relate it to the generation which never knew you."

I seemed to see a spark light up in the hollow eyes of the phantom,
and a kind of smile pass over the pale lips. Life is so good a thing,
whatever people say about it, that the dead tremble every time a living
being pronounces their names.

He spoke and I, in my turn, trembled in astonishment to hear merry
words coming from the mouth of a phantom.

He died without knowing he was going to die; his last convulsion was a
laugh and his last words a song.

       *       *       *       *       *

Clément Boulanger was born in 1812. His mother during pregnancy was
possessed by a singular desire: no matter what happened, she wanted to
take lessons in painting. They procured her a master and she indulged
in the pleasure of daubing away at five or six canvases. Although the
craving was satisfied, the child was _marqué_ (stamped) as midwives
call it: as soon as he could talk, he asked for a pencil; at the age
of four, everything sat for him, cats, dogs, parrots, chimney-sweeps,
errand-boys and water-carriers. At eight, he was sent to a seminary.
From that time, everything in uniform pleased him, all ecclesiastical
pomp delighted him; when he was a choir-boy and whilst attending
and serving at the altar, he sketched the beadle, the chanter, the
officiating priest, in a mass book with a pencil which he hid in the
palm of his hand. His first idea was not to leave the seminary, but
to become both priest and painter; his mother, deeming the studies he
would be obliged to pursue as an artist not very compatible with the
duties of a priest, took him away from the seminary. The child then
asked to go into a studio. His mother was alarmed at this desire: so
many things are learnt in a studio that painting is sometimes the last
thing one learns there; nevertheless, her maternal pride urged her
to agree; with his inclinations, the boy could not fail to become a
great artist. But where place him, until he grew up?--Good! the very
thing!--with a chemist; it would be a middle course; he would learn
there the constituents of colours. Soon he had a laboratory and a
mechanical workshop at his mother's house. In the laboratory he studied
chemistry: in the workshop he made machines, especially hydraulic
machines; he had the tastes of Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus.
One night his mother heard a slight, but queer, noise in his room:
something between a whisper, a wail and a murmur. She rose and stepped
forward, and, when she had reached the middle of her room, she felt
herself being damped by a fine rain; she started back, lit a candle
and, having felt the effect, discovered the cause. The child had made
experiments concerning the physical truth that water tends to find its
own level; he had set a basin in the centre over his mother's room and
a reservoir in his own. The reservoir was six feet above the basin;
a tin pipe, perfectly soldered together and ended by a water-spout,
served as communication between the reservoir and the basin. During
the night the valve had got out of order and the stream of water was
working its way through into Madame Boulanger's bedroom!

In other matters, there was no play going and no money was allowed:
money offers temptation, the theatre prompts the budding of desire.
Every Sunday, vespers and mass! This was the ordinary life of the boy
who, just as he sketched all alone and did his mechanical work by
himself, so did he begin painting by himself.

At fourteen he was attacked by smallpox, and, after being dangerously
ill, remained shut up in his room for a month during his convalescence.
For diversion he painted his courtyard with the porter sweeping. The
picture still exists and it is charming; quite like a little Van
Ostade. A little later, whilst playing, he rediscovered the secret
of painting on glass. After his mother had hesitated between all the
celebrated painters in Paris, she decided on M. Ingres; the morality
of all the others seemed to her to be insufficient or dubious.

At nineteen, he saw his cousin, Marie Elisabeth Monchablon, and
immediately fell in love with her. She was fifteen years old. The
very day he saw her he begged his mother to let him marry her. His
mother was willing enough, but she thought the two children only old
enough to be betrothed and not husband and wife. She imposed two
years of noviciate on Clément. Marie Monchablon painted, also. You
will recollect Madame Clément Boulanger's exquisite water-colour
paintings? You remember Madame Cavé's fine work concerning painting
without the aid of a master? Madame Clément Boulanger and Madame Cavé
are one and the same charming woman, and the same ethereal artist as
Marie Monchablon. The children painted together. Marie began by being
Clément's master; Clément ended by being Marie's. Meanwhile, great
progress was made at Ingres', and great friendship sprang up between
Ingres and his pupil, who was now twenty-one and free, at last, to
marry his cousin. The day after their marriage, the young couple ran
away to Holland. They were in haste to be free and, above all, to
convince themselves of their freedom. For three months nobody knew
what had become of them. They re-appeared at the end of that time. The
turtle-doves returned of their own accord to their dovecot. During
this escapade, Clément had become possessed of the rage for work.
The very day of his return he sketched a _Suzanne au bain,_ which he
finished in three weeks. It is pale and, perhaps, rather monotonous
in colouring, but picturesque in composition. Clément admired two
very opposite artists: Ingres and Delacroix. He showed his picture to
the two masters. Strange to say, they both praised the painter. The
colour pleased M. Ingres; but he blamed the disordered composition.
This was what Delacroix liked, but he blamed the colouring. In short,
each said to the young man, "You will be a painter!" Clément did not
let the grass grow after this twofold promise; he sent for a fourteen
feet canvas and drew upon it the life-size figures of the _Martyre des
Macchabées._ This time, he did not trouble himself much as to what M.
Ingres would say; it was Delacroix he wished to please most of all;
for, whilst admiring the two painters in, perhaps, an equal degree,
his sympathies inclined towards Delacroix. The picture was to glow
with colour. Seven months sufficed for its execution. As in the case
of _Suzanne,_ when the picture was done he called in the two masters.
Delacroix was the first to come this time. He was enchanted; and had
no critical remarks to make to the young man, whom he overwhelmed with
congratulations. Next day, M. Ingres arrived in his turn, uttered
a kind of growl, recoiled as though a reflection in a mirror had
struck his eyes; gradually his growls change to reproaches: it was
ingratitude, heresy, apostasy! M. Ingres went out furious, cursing the
renegade. Crushed by this malediction Clément prepared to set out for
Rome. This had been the ambition of the two young people for a long
time; but their grandparents would never consent to let these young
folk of twenty-one and seventeen, thirty-eight years of age all told,
travel; and without the leave of their grandparents, who held the
purse-strings, how could they travel? There is a Providence who looks
after travellers! A connoisseur visited Clément's studio. As in the
case of Delacroix, the picturesque setting of _Suzanne_ pleased him;
he wanted to put _Suzanne_ in his bedroom alcove. But Clément, who did
not dare to ask 6000 francs for the picture, declared that he did not
wish to sell it by itself and asked 4500 francs for the _Macchabées_
and 1500 francs for the _Suzanne._ The connoisseur wished only to buy
the _Suzanne,_ but Clément pointed out to him that the pictures were
inseparable. The connoisseur did not understand the reason for this
indissoluble bond between the _Suzanne_ and the _Macchabées,_ and he
offered 2000 francs, then 2500, for the _Suzanne_ alone. Clément was
inflexible; the only reduction he made was to offer the two pictures
for 5000 francs. The connoisseur bought the _Macchabées_ in order to
get the _Suzanne,_ and he put the latter in his bedroom and the former
in his garret; and behold the two young people found themselves in
control of the vast sum of 5000 francs! They could go round the world
five times with that! So they ran off to Italy as they had run away to
Holland, taking a travelling carriage to Lyons, crossing Mont Cenis
and reaching Rome in twenty-one days. In visiting Italy, Clément, with
that devouring imagination of his, wanted to see everything. His wife
only desired to see three things: Madame Lætitia, whom they then called
Madame Mère, Vesuvius in eruption and Venice at Carnival time. The two
latter desires arose from simple curiosity; the first from sentiment:
Marie Monchablon was a cousin of General Leclerc, first husband of the
Princess Borghese. There was, therefore, relationship with the Napoleon
family, although obviously very distant; but relationships go much
further back than that in Corsica!

Horace Vernet was director of the school of painting in Rome. The
first visit of the two artists was naturally to Horace Vernet; but, on
leaving his house, there was only the Monte Pincio to cross, the gate
del Popolo to pass and they were in the villa Borghese. Now, at the
villa Borghese lived Madame Mère, whom Madame Clément Boulanger was
very anxious to see. Chance aided the young enthusiast: during Madame
Mère's walk she passed by her. Madame Clément longed to fling herself
on her knees;--I can understand this, for it is just what I did, and
I am not a fanatic, when I had the honour of being received by Madame
Lætitia at Rome, and when she gave me her hand to kiss. Oh! it is
impossible to imagine what antique proportions exile seemed to give to
that woman! I seemed to see the mother of Alexander, of Cæsar or of
Charlemagne. Madame Lætitia looked at the two young people and smiled
upon them as age smiles on youth, as the setting sun smiles on the
East, as benevolence smiles on beauty. Madame Clément returned to her
lodgings intoxicated with joy. She was invited to the palace Ruspoli
that night by Madame Lacroix; still full of delight and not conscious
that she was speaking to the secretary of Madame Mère--

"Ah!" she said, "I can leave Rome to-night."

"Why? You only arrived this morning!"

"I have seen what I came to see."

"Ah! What did you want to see?"

"Madame Mère."

She then related the three desires which brought her to Italy: to see
Madame Mère, an eruption of Vesuvius and the Carnival at Venice.

The secretary listened to this great enthusiasm without making any
comment; but that same evening he related what he had heard to the
mother of Cæsar. She smiled, called to mind the two good-looking young
people she had bowed to in the garden of the villa Borghese and asked
that they should be presented to her on the following day. Next day
they were both introduced to Madame Mère's bedchamber, in which the
famous old lady usually dwelt.

"Come here, my child," said Madame Lætitia, beckoning to the young wife
to come near, "and tell me why you were so anxious to see me."

"Because people say that sons resemble their mother." Madame Lætitia
smiled at that delicious flattery, more than ever charming from the
lips of seventeen.

"Then," she replied, "I hope you will have a son of your own, madame!"

"An unfortunate wish, Princess, for I should prefer a daughter."

"Why so?"

"Why should you wish me to bring forth a boy, since the Emperor is no
longer here to give him his epaulettes?"

"All the same, have a son and there may, perhaps, be a Napoleon on the
throne when he is of age for service."

This strange prophecy was realised! Madame Clément Boulanger has had a
son; that son is now twenty-two, and he is employed under a Napoleon in
the Government offices.

Some days later, invited to the soirées of Queen Hortense, Madame
Clément Boulanger valsed for the first time,--as a young girl, she
had never been allowed; as a young wife, she had not yet had time
to do so;--she valsed, we say, for the first time, and with Prince
Louis. After this they began seriously to set to work. Madame Clément
Boulanger had seen all she desired in seeing Madame Mère, but she would
have been very disappointed had she been prevented from seeing the rest!

Meanwhile, Clément had finished a companion picture to the _Macchabées_
and had sketched out the tournament of the Tournelles: the subject was
_Henri II., tué, à travers sa visière, par l'Éclat de lance de Gabriel
de Montgomery._ This picture appeared at the Exhibition of 1831, and is
now at the château de Saint-Germain.

From Rome the lovers started for Naples. Madame Clément was _enceinte,_
and in order to produce a happy pregnancy Providence arranged the
eruption of 1832. From Naples they returned to Florence. There Clément
completed and exhibited in a church his picture of the _Corpus Domini._
This picture was a great success, so great, that the Contadini from
the environs of Florence, who came to see the picture in processions,
hearing it constantly said that it was a representation of the _Corpus
Domini_ and, not knowing what _Corpus Domini_ meant, believing that
it was the painter's name, openly called Clément Boulanger and his
wife M. and Mme. Corpus Domini. Meanwhile, the young couple took hasty
excursions into the country and, as the parents could not leave little
Albert behind, they put him in a basket which a man carried on his
head. This was the son of Corpus Domini, and bearing this title, no
goat-herd but would give him of her milk.

In his spare moments Clément remembered his chemical studies: he
invented a kind of paper which concealed ink. You only had to dip the
pen in the water-jug, stream or river, or simply in your mouth, to
write with water or with saliva, and the writing became black as fast
as the nib of the pen formed the letters. It was such a wonderful
invention that they decided to start a paper factory under illustrious
patronage. This patronage was granted and a sheet of the chemical paper
was taken to Madame Clément. Unluckily or luckily, Madame Clément had
a cold; she sneezed; the damped paper became black all over where it
had been wetted. This gave the spectators much food for reflection.
It would be impossible to use the paper on a rainy day or days when
one had a cold or on days when one was tearful. The factory idea was
renounced.

Clément Boulanger returned to Paris in the month of February 1832;
and from the 10th to the 15th March of the same year, so far as I can
recollect, he covered with his broad and easy style of painting a panel
twelve feet by ten in my house.

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1840 Clément Boulanger set out for Constantinople. For a year and
a half he had been at Toulouse, where he painted the _Procession,_
which is now at Saint Étienne-du-Mont. This work in the provinces had
wearied him: he wanted the open air, change of scene, the stir of life,
in short, instead of a sedentary life, he accepted the suggestion made
him by the traveller Tessier, who was going to make excavations in
Asia-Minor; and, commissioned by the department of Fine Arts to paint a
picture of excavations, Clément, as we have said, set out in 1840. They
reached Magnesia near the Mendere river and began to dig in the ground.
This preliminary work appeared to Clément to be the most exciting,
animated part of the business; he felt that it, at any rate, ought to
be reproduced. He made a sketch in the full heat of the midday sun
and, during his work, got one of those attacks of sunstroke that are
so dangerous in the East. Brain fever ensued: he was far from all aid;
there were only bad Greek doctors near him, of the type that killed
Byron. They hung à hammock inside a mosque and laid the poor invalid in
it. Delirium set in by the third day; on the fifth, he died laughing
and singing, unconscious that he was dying. All the Greek clergy in
Constantinople came to pay respect to the body of the poor traveller,
who had died at twenty-eight years of age, far away from his friends,
his family and his country! Twenty-eight years of age! do you realise?
Compare that age with what he had done! The body was carried away on
the back of a camel.

There, as here, everybody loved him. People of all lands and in every
kind of costume followed the procession. All the French ships in
the roadstead carried their flags at half-mast and their ensigns of
mourning. The whole staff of the embassy came out to meet the body at
the gate of Constantinople, and a procession of over three thousand
persons followed it to the French church. There he lies, sleeping, like
Ophelia, still smiling and singing!



CHAPTER IV


Grandville


Delicate and sarcastic smile, eyes sparkling with intelligence,
a satirical mouth, short figure and large heart and a delightful
tincture of melancholy perceptible everywhere--that is your portrait,
dear Grandville! Come! I begin to have as many friends below ground
as above; come to me! tell me that friendship is stronger than the
grave and I shall not fear to go down to your abode, since, dying, one
rejoins one's dead friends without leaving the living ones.

You will remember, dear Grandville, when I went to call upon you in
your garret in the rue des Petits-Augustins, a garret from whence I
never came out without carrying away with me some wonderful sketches?
What good long talks we had! What fine perceptions! I did not think
of asking you then where you came from, neither where you were going;
you smiled sadly at life, at the future; you had had some sadness
forced out from the depths of your heart. It was easily explained, you
were a connecting-link between Molière and la Fontaine. That which I
did not think to ask of the artist when he was full of life, energy
and health, I now ask of him when he is dead and laid in the grave.
You have forgotten, you say, dear Grandville? I understand that. But
there is one of your friends, a man of heart and of talent who has not
forgotten: take Charles Blanc, and add to what he has forgotten that
which you yourself can remember. Your life was too uninteresting, you
say? Very well, but the public takes as much interest in the humble
vicar of Wakefield in his village parish as in the brilliant Ralegh at
the court of the proud Elizabeth--You will try to remember? Good!--I
will put it down.

       *       *       *       *       *

Grandville was born at Nancy. He was the successor, compatriot, one
might almost say the pupil, of Callot. His real name was Gérard; but
his father, a distinguished miniature painter, had renounced his family
name to take the theatrical name of his grandfather, an excellent
comedian who had more than once brought smiles to the lips of the two
exiles, Hanislas and Marie Leczinski, one of whom had been a king
and the other of whom was to become a queen. The grandfather was
called Grandville. This child, who was to create a world of his own,
half animal, half human, who was to explain the scent of flowers by
making the flower the mere external covering of woman, who, by means
of imagery drawn from human life, was to endow the stars with those
beauteous eyes which flash amidst the darkness and with which they are
supposed to gaze upon the earth, this child, I say, was born on 13
September 1802. He was born so weak that it was thought for a moment he
was only born to die, but his mother took him in her arms and hid him
so completely in her heart, that Death, who was looking for him, passed
by and saw him not. But the child saw Death, and that is why he has
since then painted him so accurately.

As a youth, he was taciturn but observant, watching everything with
those large melancholy eyes of his, which seemed as though they were
looking for and finding in everything some side unknown and invisible
to other eyes. It is this side which he has shown in all beings and
created things, from the giant to the ant, from man to mollusc, from
the star down to the flower. Others find fault with the world as
the good God has made it, but, powerless to refashion it, they rest
satisfied with railing at it; Grandville not only did not scoff at it,
but even re-created one of his own.

At twelve he entered the school at Nancy, and he left at fourteen. What
did Latin, Greek or even French matter to him? He had a language of his
own, which he talked in low tones to that invisible master whom we call
genius, a language which, later, he was to speak aloud to the whole of
creation. When I went to see Grandville and found him holding a lizard
in his hand, whistling to a canary in its cage or crumbling bread in a
bowl of red fishes, I was always tempted to ask him: "Come, what does
the fish, canary or lizard say to you?"

Grandville began to draw at fourteen; I am mistaken, he had always
drawn. Exercises and translations were scanty in his college
exercise-books, but illustrations--as they have since been termed--to
the subject of la rose, rosa and to the translation of _Deus creavit
cælum et terrant_ were marvellous! So, one day, the masters showed
these exercise-books to his father. They meant them to be the means of
getting the child a scolding; but the father saw more than the masters
did: they only saw an indifferent Latin scholar; the father saw a
great artist. All saw correctly, but each turned his back and looked
in an opposite direction from that of the others. Grandville was from
that day introduced into his father's studio, and had the right to
make sketches without being obliged to do exercises and translations.
When a sitter came to sit for a miniature in M. Grandville's studio,
he sat both to father and son. The sitter, however, only saw the work
of the father because that was a finished, varnished and touched-up
portrait, whilst the son's was a beautiful and excellent caricature,
at which the father would laugh heartily when the sitter was gone, but
which he advised his son to hide deep among his drawings, wondering
each time how it was that the man's face had some likeness to the
head of an animal. Meantime, an artist called Mansion passed through
Nancy, and went to call on his confrère Grandville, who showed him his
miniatures; the artist visitor looked at them rather contemptuously,
but, when he came to the youth's drawings, he fastened on them eagerly
and looked at them as though he would never stop looking, repeating:
"More!" as long as there were any more left.

"Let me have this lad," he said to the father, "and I will take him to
Paris."

It was hard to give up his boy, even to a brother artist; and yet
Grandville's father knew very well that one cannot become a great
artist unless one goes out into the great centres of civilisation. He
adopted a middle course, which appeased his conscience and comforted
his heart. He _promised_ to send the boy to Paris. Six months went by
before this promise was put into execution; at last, recognising that
the lad was wasting time in the provinces, the father made up his mind.
A hundred crowns were put into one of the young artist's pockets, a
letter to a cousin in the other, and he was commended to the care of
the conductor of a diligence; thus the great man of the coming future
started for Paris. The cousin's name was Lemétayer; he was manager of
the Opéra-Comique. He was a clever man, whom we all knew, very popular
in the artist world, and intimate with Picot, Horace Vernet, Léon
Cogniet, Hippolyte Lecomte and Féréol.

I shall be asked why I put Féréol, a singer, with Picot, Horace Vernet,
Léon Cogniet and Hippolyte Lecomte, four painters? Well, just as M.
Ingres, who is a great painter, lays claim to be a virtuoso, so it was
with Féréol, who, though an excellent opera-singer, laid claim to be a
painter.

Alas! We know others, too, besides M. Ingres and Féréol, who are
ambitious in the same way! Now, it happened one day that Féréol,
having carried one of his compositions to Lemétayer, it was seen by
Grandville, and Grandville, in his disrespect for Féréol's painting,
began to draw it over again, as Féréol might have begun singing over
again one of the airs of M. Ingres. Meanwhile, Hippolyte Lecomte came
in. We do not know whether Hippolyte Lecomte has, like M. Ingres and
Féréol, some hobby besides his art; but we know he was a man possessed
of good common sense and of good judgment. It was exactly what the
young man wanted, and he passed from M. Mansion's studio to that of
Lecomte. And, M. Mansion's pupil kept an old grudge against his master.
This was what occasioned it--

With his delightful imagination, which was as picturesque when he was
a child as when a man, Grandville had invented a game with fifty-two
cards. Mansion thought this game so remarkable that he fathered it
under his own name with the title of _La Sibylle des salons._ I once
saw the game at Grandville's, when he was in a good humour and turning
over all his drawings; there was something very fantastic about it.
When with Hippolyte Lecomte, there was no longer any question of
drawing--he had to paint. But painting was not Grandville's strong
point--pencil or pen were his to any extent! He painted, like Callot,
with a steel pen. Pencil, pen and style spoke admirably the language of
the artist and adequately expressed what he wanted to say!

Then, suddenly, lithography comes on the scenes. Grandville is
attracted to, looks at and examines the process, utters a cry of
delight, and feels that this is what he must do. Grandville, like
Clément Boulanger, was a seeker, never satisfied with what others
found for him to do, at times discontented with what he had found for
himself. Callot had substituted in his engravings the spirit varnish of
musical instrument-makers for soft varnishes. Grandville executes his
lithographs after the manner of engravings: he cuts into the stone with
a hard pencil, shades with cut lines, specifies his outlines and draws
no more, but engraves; it was at this time that the series of drawings
representing the _Tribulations de la petite propriété_ appear and that
of the _Dimanches d'un bon bourgeois._ Grandville then lived at the
hôtel Saint-Phar in the boulevard Poissonnière, the room since occupied
by Alphonse Karr, an artist who also used his pen as an engraving tool
instead of writing with it.

About 1826 Grandville left the hôtel Saint-Phar and went to live in a
sort of garret situated opposite the Palais des Beaux-Arts, where I
made his acquaintance. Alas! I also lived in another sort of garret;
the twenty-five francs which, upon Oudard's _entreaty,_ M. de Broval
had just added to my salary, did not allow me to live in a first floor
of the rue de Rivoli; my garret, however, was envious of Grandville's:
an artist's studio, no matter how poor he is, always contains more
things than the room of an ordinary workman; a sketch, a statuette, a
plaster-cast, an old vizorless helmet, some odd bits of armour with
traces of the gold damascening, a stuffed squirrel playing the flute, a
gull hanging from the ceiling with wings spread, looking as though it
still skimmed the waves, and a strip of Chinese material, draped before
a door, give to the walls a coquettish air which rejoices the eye and
tickles the fancy. And the painter's studio was a gathering-place for
talks. There, and in the adjacent studios, were to be found Philippon,
who was to found _La Caricature_ and, later, his brother, who founded
_Le Journal pour rire_; Ricourt, the persistent maker of improbable
stories; Horeau, the architect; Huet, Forest, Renou. When they were
flush of money they drank beer; on other days they were content to
smoke, shout, declaim and laugh. Grandville laughed, declaimed,
shouted, smoked, and drank but little. He remained seated at a table,
a sheet of paper before him, pen or pencil in hand, smiling betimes,
but everlastingly drawing. What did he draw? He himself never knew.
A fancy bordering on the nonsensical guided his pencil. Birds with
monkeys' heads, monkeys with fishes' heads, the faces of bipeds on the
bodies of quadrupeds: a more grotesque world than Callot's temptations
or Breughel's sportive demons, When two hours had gone by, full of
laughter, noise and smoke for the others, Grandville had drawn from
his brain, as from some fanciful circle, a whole new creation, which
certainly belonged as much to him as that which was destroyed by the
Flood belonged to God. It was all very exquisite, very clever, very
enchanting; and expressed very clearly what it wished to interpret;
the eyes and gestures speaking such a droll language that, by the
time one had to leave them, one had always spent upwards of half an
hour or an hour looking at them, trying to discover the meaning of
them--improvised illustrations of stories unknown by Hoffmann. It was
in this way he prepared, composed and published _Les Quatre saisons de
la vie, Le Voyage pour l'éternité, Les Metamorphoses du jour,_ and,
finally, _La Caricature,_ in which all the political celebrities of the
day sat for him or before him. Then came 1832.

Grandville had offered that my portrait should be one of the first; he
was one of the first to come and mount his platform, smoothing out his
panel on a folding ladder and sketching the parts that reached above
the height of the door. Two months afterwards, I went on a voyage. Did
I see him again? I have my doubts. Only news of his tremendous works
reached me. These were _Chansons de Béranger, Gargantua au berceau,_
the _Fables de la Fontaine, Les Animaux peinte par eux-mêmes, les
Étoiles, les Fleurs animées._ Then, in the midst of all these merry
figures which fell from his pencil and pen came heartrending and bitter
sorrows; his wife and three children died one after the other; when
the last died, he himself fell ill. It was as though the voices of his
four beloved ones were calling him to them. His conversation changed in
character; it became more elevated; no more studio laughter or youthful
joking was to be heard. He talked of that future life towards which he
was going, of that immortality of the soul of which he was to know the
secret; he soared into purest ether and floated on the most transparent
clouds.

On 14 March 1847, he became insane; and he died three days later in
the house of Dr. Voisin, at Vauvres. He is buried at Saint-Mandé,
near his wife and three children, and if the dead are still endowed
with sympathy, he has but to stretch out his arm to touch the hand of
Carrel!



CHAPTER V


Tony Johannot


Grandville disappeared. Did he mount up to heaven on the rays of one
of those stars with the faces of women, to whom he made love? Did he
lie down to sleep in the tomb, to listen, during the sleep of death, to
the growing of those women to whom he had given the stems of flowers?
Oh! that is the great secret which the grave guards mysteriously, which
death cannot tell life, which Hamlet asked fruitlessly of Yorick, of
his father's ghost, of the interrupted song of Ophelia!

This secret my two dear and excellent friends who died on the same
day--4 August 1852--Tony Johannot and Alfred d'Orsay, would assuredly
have told me if it had been permitted to them. What poetry of sorrow
could, then, be adequate to express the feelings of my heart the
morning I woke to receive two such letters as these?


    "MY DEAR FATHER,--Did you ever hear anything equal to this?
    I went to Tony Johannot's house yesterday with your letter,
    to ask him if he could undertake the vignettes for _Isaac
    Laquedem,_ and they said to me: 'Sir, he has just died!'

    "Tony Johannot dead! I met him the day before yesterday
    and we made an appointment for to-day. Dead! This single
    syllable felt like the tolling of a bell. It awoke the same
    kind of vibration in my heart. Dead! Tony Johannot is dead!
    If people die like this, one ought never to leave those
    one loves. Come back at once to Paris or I shall start for
    Brussels.--Yours, "ALEX. DUMAS, _fils"_


    "MY DEAR DUMAS,--Our well-beloved Alfred d'Orsay died this
    morning at four o'clock, in my arms laughing, talking,
    making plans and without any idea he was dying. One of
    the last names he uttered was yours, for one of his last
    projects was to renew the lease of your shooting, which
    he much enjoyed last year. The funeral will take place
    the day after to-morrow at Chambourcy. Come, if my letter
    reaches you in time! It would be a comfort to Agénor and to
    the Duchesse de Grammont to have you with them at such a
    time.--Yours affectionately, "CABARRUS"


Another time I will tell you the whole of d'Orsay's history, d'Orsay
the gentleman, the man of fashion, the artist, and, above all, the man
of kindly heart; and I shall certainly not have room in one chapter to
do that. For the present, let us restrict ourselves to Tony Johannot,
the one among the four dead men whose lives I am relating with whom I
was the most intimate.

       *       *       *       *       *

He was born in 1803, in the little town of Offenbach, as was his
brother; I have given the history of his parents and of his early days
in relating that of Alfred. He must, therefore, appear before our
readers as a young man in the same frame as Alfred; it was in this
way, indeed, that the _Artiste_ published them in its two excellent
portraits of those twin-geniuses of art. Tony was delightful in those
days, when about thirty years old: a clear, fresh complexion which a
woman might have envied, short, curly hair, a dark moustache, small,
but bright, intelligent and sparkling eyes, medium height in figure
but wonderfully well-proportioned. Like Alfred, he was silent; but he
was not as taciturn: his melancholy never went so far as depression:
he was a man of few words and never launched out into a long sentence,
but what he said always showed delicacy of perception and flashes of
wit. Finally, his talent reflected his character like a mirror, and
any one not knowing him could have formed a perfectly correct idea of
him from his drawings, vignettes and pictures. The first time I saw
him, if I remember rightly, was at the house of our dear good friend,
Nodier. Nodier was very fond of both of the brothers. Tony brought a
lovely water-colour to Marie Nodier. I can see it now: it represented a
woman being murdered, either a Desdemona or a Vanina d'Ornano. It was
meant for Marie's album. We drew together at once without hesitation,
as if our two hearts had been in search of one another for twenty-five
years; we were the same age, almost, he a little younger than I. I have
related in these Memoirs that we went through the Rambouillet campaign
side by side and that we returned from it together. A score of times
he had tried to make a portrait sketch of me; a score of times he had
erased the paper clean, rubbed off the wood, scratched the paint off
the canvas, dissatisfied with his work. It was in vain I told him it
was a good likeness.

"No," he said, "and no one could do it, any more than I can."

"Why so?"

"Because your face changes in expression every ten seconds. How can one
make a likeness of a man who is not like himself?"

Then, to compensate me he would turn over his portfolios and give me a
charming drawing of _Minna et Brenda,_ or a lovely sketch of the _Last
of the Mohicans._

The chief merit of the character of Tony Johannot and the particular
note of his talent was that gift of heaven bestowed specially on
flowers, birds and women--charm. Tony even delighted his critics. His
colour was, perhaps, a trifle monotonous, but it was cheerful, light
and silvery in tone. His women were all like one another, Virginie
and Brenda, Diana Vernon and Ophelia; what did it matter since they
were all young and beautiful and gracious and chaste? The daughters of
the poets, to whatever country they belong, have all one and the same
father-genius. Charlotte and Desdemona, Leonora and Haidée, dona Sol
and Amy Robsart are sisters. Now who can reproach sisters for bearing a
family likeness?

Other illustrators found fault with Tony for monopolising every book
as they blamed me for monopolising every newspaper. Ah! well, Tony has
been dead eighteen months; let us see where, then, are those vignettes
which were only waiting for a chance to be produced? Where, then,
are all the illustrated _Pauls and Virginies,_ the _Manon Lescauts,
Molières, Coopers, Walter Scotts_ which were to cause those of the poor
dead artist to be forgotten? Where, then, are the fancies and whims
which are to succeed this rage? Where is the art which is to replace
this trade? So far as I am concerned, since they have brought the
same reproach of monopolising against me, and an occasion offers to
say a word on this subject, I will say it without circumlocution. At
the present moment, 15 December 1853, I have for some time past more
or less left _La Presse_ free, _Le Siècle_ free, _Le Constitutionnel_
free; I have only one more story to write for _Le_ _Pays_: see, you
victimised gentlemen, the gates stand open, the columns are empty;
besides _Le Constitutionnel, Le Siècle, La Presse,_ you have _La
Patrie, l'Assemblée nationale, Le Moniteur,_ the _Revue de Paris,_ the
_Revue des Deux Mondes;_ write your _Reine Margots,_ gentlemen! Write
_Monte-Cristo,_ the _Mousquetaires, Capitaine Paul, Amaury, Comtesse de
Charny, Conscience, Pasteur d'Ashbourn_; write all these, gentlemen!
do not wait till I am dead. I have but one regret: it is that I cannot
divert myself from my gigantic work by reading my own books; distract
my thoughts by letting me read yours, and I assure you it will be a
good thing for both me and yourselves and, perhaps, even better for you
than for me.

Tony did as I did; he first of all worked at the rate of six hours a
day, then eight, then ten, then twelve, then fifteen: work is like
the intoxication of hashish and of opium: it creates a fictitious
life inside real life, so full of delicious dreams and adorable
hallucinations that one ends by preferring the fictitious life to the
real one. Tony then worked fifteen hours a day--which speaks for itself.

Thus, after he had exhibited with his brother, the series of
_tableaus-vignettes_ to which I have referred in connection with
Alfred, he did the following by himself: _Minna et Brenda sur le bord
de la mer, La Bataille de Rosbecque, La Mort de Julien d'Avenel,
La Bataille de Fontenoy, l'Enfance de Duguesclin, l'Embarquement
d'Élisabeth à Kenilworth, Deux Jeunes Femmes près d'une fenêtre, La
Sieste, Louis XIII. forçant le passage du Méandre,_ a subject taken
from George Sand's _André,_ a subject from the Gospels, one from the
_Imitation of Christ, Le Roi Louis-Philippe offrant à la reine Victoria
deux tapisseries des Gobelins au Château d'Eu._ Then, after failing
to exhibit in the Exhibitions of 1843, 1845 and 1846, he sent twelve
pictures in 1848, five in 1850, three in 1851 and, in 1852, a _Scène
de village_ and the _Plaisirs de l'automne._ Three or four years
previously, Tony's friends had been alarmed by a thing which, in spite
of the fear of the doctors, seemed nevertheless quite impossible.
He had been threatened with pulmonary phthisis. Nothing could have
been more solidly constructed, it must be said, than Tony Johannot's
chest, and, allowing for immoderate ambition, never were lungs more
commodiously situated for fulfilling their functions; so Tony's friends
did not feel anxious. He coughed, spat a little blood, took a course
of treatment and got better. He had not stopped working. Work is a
factor of health in the case of all who are producers. He had just
done his _Évangile_ and _Imitation of Christ,_ he had stopped work on
an oil-painting of _Ruth and Boaz_ to start upon illustrations to the
works of Victor Hugo, when, suddenly, he sank down and fell on his
knees. He was struck by a crushing attack of apoplexy. On 4 August
1852, he died. The twofold news came too late: I could neither follow
d'Orsay to the cemetery of Chambourcy, nor follow Tony Johannot to the
cemetery of Montmartre. There it is that the creator of many charming
vignettes, many fascinating pictures, sleeps in the vault where his two
brothers Charles and Alfred had preceded him.



BOOK II


CHAPTER I


Sequel to the preparations for my ball--Oil and distemper
--Inconveniences of working at night--How Delacroix did his task
--The ball--Serious men--La Fayette and Beauchene--Variety of
costumes--The invalid and the undertaker's man--The last galop--A
political play--A moral play


Let us return from painters to paintings. The eleventh decorator had
signed himself Ziégler. We did not reckon on him, but he had foreseen
what might happen; one panel had been left blank and this was given to
him on which to make a scene from _La Esmeralda._ Three days before
the ball, everybody was at his post: Alfred Johannot was sketching his
scene from _Cinq-Mars_; Tony Johannot, his _Sire de Giac;_ Clément
Boulanger, his _Tour de Nesle;_ Louis Boulanger his _Lucrèce Borgia;_
Jadin and Decamps worked in collaboration at their _Debureau,_
Grandville at his _Orchestre,_ Barye at his _Tigres,_ Nanteuil at his
door-panels, which were two medallions representing Hugo and Alfred de
Vigny. Delacroix alone failed to answer to the appeal: they wanted to
dispose of his panel, but I answered for him.

It was very diverting to see the start for this steeplechase between
ten painters of equal merit. Each of them, without, apparently,
watching his neighbour, followed with his eyes first the charcoal
then the paint-brush. None of them--the Johannots in particular,
being engravers and designers of vignettes and painters of easel
pictures--were accustomed to the use of distemper. But the painters
of large canvases soon got into the way of it. Among these, Louis
and Clément Boulanger seemed as though they had never worked in any
other medium. Jadin and Decamps discovered wonderful tones in this
new method of execution, and declared they never wanted to paint in
anything again but distemper. Ziégler took to it with some ease, Barye
made belief that it was water-colour on a grand scale, but easier and
more quickly done than water-colour on the small scale. Grandville
drew with red chalk, charcoal and Spanish white chalk, and produced
prodigious effects with these three crayons. We waited with curiosity
for Delacroix, whose facility of execution has become proverbial. As
I have said, only the two Johannots were behindhand. They knew they
would not be finished if they did not work at night. Consequently,
whilst others played, smoked and gossiped, both continued their day's
work when night came, rejoicing in the tones given them by the light,
and the superiority of lamplight to that of day, for painting intended
to be seen by lamplight. They did not stop working till midnight,
but they caught up with the others by so doing. Next day, when light
broke, Alfred and Tony uttered cries of despair: by lamplight they had
mistaken yellow for white and white for yellow, green for blue and
blue for green. The two pictures looked like huge _omelettes aux fines
herbes._ At this juncture Ciceri _père_ came in. He had but to glance

at the two pictures to guess what had happened.

"Bravo!" he said; "we have a green sky and yellow clouds! But that is a
mere nothing!"

Indeed, it was more specially in the sky that the error had been
committed. He took up the brushes and with broad, vigorous, powerful
strokes he repainted the skies of both pictures in one minute: the one
calm, serene and azure, leaving a glimpse of the splendours of Dante's
paradise through the blue of the firmament; the other low, cloudy,
charged with electricity, ready to burst forth into lightning flashes.

All the young painters learnt in an instant the secrets of decoration,
which they had been hours groping after on the previous day. Nobody
cared about working at night. Besides, thanks to the lesson given by
Ciceri _père,_ things were progressing with giant strides. There was no
more news of Delacroix than if he had never existed. On the night of
the second day I sent to him to ask if he remembered that the ball was
fixed for the next day. He sent reply that I need not be anxious and
he would come at breakfast-time next morning. Work began with the dawn
next day. Most of the workers, moreover, had their task three-quarters
finished. Clément Boulanger and Barye had done. Louis Boulanger had
no more than three or four hours' work. Decamps was putting the last
touches to his _Debureau,_ and Jadin to his poppies and corn-flowers;
Grandville was at work on his door tops, when, as he had promised,
Delacroix arrived.

"Well, now, how are you getting on?" he asked.

"You see for yourself," said each worker, standing aside to let his
work be seen.

"Oh, really! but you are doing miniature-work here! You should have
told me: I would have come a month ago."

He went round all the four rooms, stopping before each panel and
finding something pleasant to say to each of his confrères, thanks to
the charming spirit with which he is endowed. Then, as they were going
to breakfast, he breakfasted too.

"Well?" he asked, when breakfast was done, turning towards the empty
panel.

"Well, there it is!" I said. "It is the panel for the _Crossing of
the Red Sea_; the sea has gone back, the Israelites have crossed, the
Egyptians have not yet arrived."

"Then I will take advantage of the fact to do something else. What
would you like me to stick up there?"

"Oh, you know, a King Rodrigo after a battle:

    'Sur les rives murmurantes
    Du fleuve aux oncles sanglantes,
    Le roi sans royaume allait,
    Froissant, dans ses mains saignantes,
    Les grains d'or d'un chapelet.'"

"Ah, is that what you want?"

"Yes."

"You will not ask me for something else when it is half done?"

"Of course not!"

"Here goes, then, for King Rodrigo!"

And, without taking off his little black coat which clung closely to
his body, without turning up his sleeves or taking off his cuffs, or
putting on a blouse or cotton jacket, Delacroix began by taking his
charcoal and, in three or four strokes, he had drawn the horse; in
five or six, the cavalier; in seven or eight, the battlefield, dead,
dying and fugitives included; then, making sufficient out of this rough
sketch to be intelligible to himself, he took up brushes and began to
paint. And, in a flash, as if one had unveiled a canvas, one saw appear
under his hand, first a cavalier, bleeding, injured and wounded, half
dragged by his horse, who was as hurt as himself, holding on by the
mere support of his stirrups, and leaning on his long lance; round
him, in front and behind him, the dead in heaps; by the riverside,
the wounded trying to put their lips to the water, and leaving tracks
of blood behind them; as far as the eye could see, away towards the
horizon stretched the battlefield, ruthless and terrible; above it all,
in a horizon made dense by the vapour of blood, a sun was setting like
a red buckler in a forge; then, finally, a blue sky which, as it melted
away into the distance, became an indefinable shade of green, with rosy
clouds on it like the down of an ibis. The whole thing was wonderful
to see: a circle gathered round the master and each one of the artists
left his task to come and clap his hands without jealousy or envy at
the new Rubens, who improvised both composition and execution as he
went on. It was finished in two or three hours' time. At five that
afternoon, owing to a large fire, all was dry and they could place the
forms against the walls. The ball had created an enormous stir. I had
invited nearly all the artists in Paris; those I had forgotten wrote
to remind me of their existence. Many society women had done the same,
but they asked to be allowed to come masked: it was an impertinence
towards other women and I left it to the responsibility of those who
had offered it. It was a fancy dress ball, but not a masked one;
the order was strict, and I hired two dozen dominoes for the use of
impostors, whoever they might be, who attempted to introduce themselves
in contraband dress.

At seven o'clock, Chevet arrived with a fifty-pound salmon, and a
roebuck roasted whole, served on a silver dish which looked as though
it had been borrowed from Gargantua's sideboard, and a gigantic pâté,
all to correspond. Three hundred bottles of Bordeaux were put down to
warm, three hundred bottles of Burgundy were cooling, five hundred
bottles of champagne were on ice.

I had discovered in the library, in a little book of engravings by
Titian's brother, a delightful costume of 1525: hair cut round and
hanging over the shoulders, bound in with a gold band; a sea-green
jerkin, braided with gold, laced down the front of the shirt with
gold lace, and fastened at the shoulder and elbows by similar lacing;
breeches of parti-coloured red and white silk; black velvet slippers,
à la François I., embroidered in gold. The mistress of the house, a
very handsome person, with dark hair and blue eyes, was in a velvet
dress, with a starched collarette, and the black felt hat with black
feathers of Helena Formann, Rubens's second wife. Two orchestras had
been set up in each suite of rooms, in such a way that, at a given
moment, they could both play the same air, and the galop could be
heard throughout the five rooms and the hall. At midnight, these five
rooms afforded a wonderful spectacle. Everybody had taken up the idea
with the exception of those who styled themselves staid men; every one
had come in fancy dress; but it was in vain that the serious-minded
men pleaded their seriousness; no attention whatever was paid to it;
they were compelled to clothe themselves in dominoes of the quietest
colours. Véron, a staid person, though he could also be merry, was
muffled up in rose colour; Buloz, who was serious and melancholy
in temperament, was decked out in sky-blue; Odilon Barrot, who was
ultra-serious to solemnness, had obtained a black domino, in virtue of
his twofold title of barrister and député; finally, La Fayette, the
good, the fashionable and courtly old gentleman, smiling at all this
foolishness of youth, had, without offering any opposition to it, put
on the Venetian costume. This man had pressed the hand of Washington,
had compelled Marat to hide in caves, had struggled against Mirabeau,
had lost his popularity in saving the life of the queen, and on 6
October had said to a royalty of ten centuries old: "Bow thyself
before that royalty which yesterday was called the people!" This
man--who, in 1814, had thrust Napoleon from his throne; who, in 1830,
had helped Louis-Philippe to ascend his; who, instead of falling, had
gone on growing in power during revolutions--was with us also, simple
as greatness, good as strength, candid as genius. He was, in fact,
the subject of astonishment and admiration for all those entrancing
beings who saw, touched and spoke to him for the first time, who
brought back to him his younger days; he looked at them earnestly,
gave both his hands to them and responded with the most polite and
courteous words to all the pretty speeches the charming queens of the
Paris theatres addressed to him. You will recollect having been the
favourites of that famous man for one whole night, you--Léontine Fay,
Louise Despréaux, Cornélie Falcon, Virginie Déjazet? You recollect your
amazement in finding him simple and gentle, coquettish and gallant,
witty and deferential, as he had been forty years before at the balls
of Versailles and the Trianon? One moment Beauchene sat down by him,
and this juxtaposition made a singular contrast: Beauchene wore the
Vendéen costume in all its completeness: the hat surrounded with a
handkerchief, the Breton jacket, short trousers, gaiters, the bleeding
heart on the breast, and the English carbine. Beauchene, who passed for
a too Liberal Royalist under the Bourbons of the Elder Branch, passed
for too Royalist a Liberal under the Younger Branch. So, General La
Fayette, recognising him, said with a charming smile--

"Monsieur de Beauchene, tell me, I beg you, in virtue of what privilege
are you the only person here who is not wearing a disguise?"

A quarter of an hour later, both were seated at an écarté table, and
Beauchene was playing against the Republican of 1789 and of 1830, with
gold bearing the effigy of Henry v.

The sitting-room presented the most picturesque appearance.
Mademoiselle Mars, Joanny, Michel Menjaud, Firmin, Mademoiselle Leverd
had come in the costumes belonging to _Henri III._ It was the court of
the Valois complete. Dupont, the offended soubrette of Molière, the
merry soubrette of Marivaux, was in a Boucher shepherdess costume.
Georges, who had regained the beauty of her best days, had taken the
costume of a Nettuno peasant-girl, and Madame Paradol wore that of Anne
of Austria. Rose Dupuis had one like Lady Rochester. Noblet was in
harlequin's dress; Javureck was a Turkish slave-girl. Adèle Alphonse,
who was making her first public appearance, arriving, I think, from
Saint Petersburg, was a young Greek girl. Léontine Fay, an Albanian
woman. Falcon, the beautiful Jewess, was dressed as Rebecca; Déjazet,
as du Barry; Nourrit, as a court abbé; Monrose, as a soldier of Ruyter;
Volnys, as an Armenian; Bocage, as Didier. Allan--who, no doubt, took
himself for a serious-minded person like Buloz and Véron--was clad
in a white necktie, black coat and trousers; but, over the toilet of
a gilded youth, we had insisted on putting a cabbage-green domino.
Rossini had taken the costume of Figaro, and vied in popularity with
La Fayette. Moyne, our poor Moyne! who had so much talent and who, in
spite of his talent, died of hunger, killing himself in the hope that
his death would bequeath a pension to his widow--Moyne had taken the
costume of Charles IX.; Barye was dressed as a Bengal tiger; Etex,
as an Andalusian; Adam, as a doll; Zimmermann, as a kitchen-maid;
Plantade, as Madame Pochet; Pichot, as a magician; Alphonse Royer,
as a Turk; Charles Lenormand, as a native of Smyrna; Considérant, as
a bey of Algiers; Paul de Musset, as a Russian; Alfred de Musset, as
a weather-cock; Capo de Feuillide, as a toreador. Eugène Sue, the
sixth of the serious men, was in a pistachio domino; Paul Lacroix,
as an astrologer; Pétrus Borel, who took the name of Lycanthrope, as
Young France; Bard, my companion in the Soissons expedition, as a page
of the time of Albert Dürer; Francisque Michel, as a vagabond; Paul
Fouché, as a foot-soldier in the Procession of Fools; Eugène Duverger,
as Van Dyck; Ladvocat, as Henri XI.; Fournier, as a sailor; Giraud,
as a man-at-arms of the eleventh century; Tony Johannot, as Sire de
Giac; Alfred Johannot, as young Louis XI.; Menut, as a page of Charles
VII.; Louis Boulanger, as a courtier of King John; Nanteuil, as an old
soldier of the sixteenth century; Gaindron, as a madman; Boisselot,
as a young lord of the time of Louis XII.; Châtillon, as Sentinelli;
Ziégler, as Cinq-Mars; Clément Boulanger, as a Neapolitan peasant;
Roqueplan, as a Mexican officer; Lépaule, in Highland dress; Grenier,
as a seaman; Robert Fleury, as a Chinaman; Delacroix, as Dante;
Champmartin, as a pilgrim; Henriquet Dupont, as Ariosto; Chenavard, as
Titian; Frédérick Lemaître, as Robert Macaire covered with spangles.

Several droll incidents enlivened the evening. M. Tissot, of the
Academy, conceived the notion of making himself up as an invalid; he
had scarcely entered, when Jadin came in as an undertaker's man and,
lugubrious crêpe on his hat, followed him from room to room, fitting
his pace to his and every five minutes repeating the words: _"I am
waiting!_" M. Tissot could not stand it and, in half an hour's time,
he left. At one time, there were seven hundred persons present. We had
supper at three in the morning. The two rooms of the empty flat on my
landing were converted into a dining-room.

Wonderful to relate there was enough for everybody to eat and to drink!
At nine o'clock in the morning, with music ringing in their heads,
they began a final galop in the rue des Trois-Frères, the head of the
procession reaching to the boulevard whilst the tail was still frisking
in the courtyard of the square. I have often thought since of giving a
second ball like that one, but it always seemed to me that it would be
quite impossible.

It was about this time that they performed at the Odéon a play which
made some sensation, first on account of its own merit, and, also, from
the measure that it suggested. This play had for title: _Révolution
d'autrefois, ou les Romains chez eux._ The authors were Félix Pyat and
Théo.

They had taken for their hero the mad Emperor, whom, six years later,
I tried in my turn to put on to the stage--Caligula. There was
scarcely any plot in the play; its principal merit was that which
was attached to its subtitle: _Les Romains chez eux._ Indeed, this
was the first time people had seen the toga worn, and buskins on the
feet, and the speech, actions, and eating as had been the case in real
life. The subject was the death of Caligula and the succession of
Claudius to the throne. Unfortunately for the longevity of the play,
it contained a scene which seemed to imply a disrespectful allusion
to the leader of the Government. It was the third scene of the last
act. One soldier represented Claudius as being perfectly suitable for
the Romans, because he was _big, fat_ and _stupid._ It is impossible
to describe the effect which this _big, fat_ and _stupid_ produced;
there was at that period a terrible reaction against Louis-Philippe.
The insurrection of the month of June still brooded upon all spirits.
They applied these three epithets to the head of the Government,
doing him the justice which he was at any rate to deserve sixteen or
seventeen years later. I had not been present at the first performance.
I succeeded, after great difficulty, in getting a seat at the second.
Take careful note that I am speaking of the Odéon. All Paris would have
come to Harel's theatre, for I think he still had the Odéon then, if
the play had not been stopped at the third performance. And the most
curious thing was that nobody, neither manager nor authors, counted
much on the work, which was readily to be seen by the way in which
it was mounted. Apart from Lockroy and Provost, the whole play was
distributed amongst what is called in theatrical parlance _la troupe
de fer-blanc_ ("a fit-up crowd"). Arsène played Chéréas and Moëssard,
Claude. Seventeen days later the Porte-Saint-Martin played a piece
which was to cause a scandal of another order. It was called: _Dix ans
de la vie d'une femme, ou les mauvais conseils._ The leading part was
played by Dorval. The play of _Dix ans de la vie d'une femme_--the
first manuscript at least--was by a young man of thirty or so, named
Ferrier. Harel, while reading it, had seen in it a sequel to _Joueur_
and had coupled Ferrier with Scribe. The result of this alliance was a
play fit to make people's hair stand on end, a drama which Mecier or
Rétif de la Bretonne would hardly have put their names to!

Something like eighteen years later, we were discussing, at the Council
of State, before the commission formed to prepare the law connected
with theatres the question of dramatic censorship and theatrical
liberty, and, on this head, I heard Scribe attack _immoral literature_
more violently than was usual with him. He demanded a censorship which
should be a salutary check to keep talent from the excesses of all
kinds to which it was too apt to surrender itself. I allowed myself to
interrupt the austere orator, and addressed this question laughingly so
that it could be heard all over the room.

"Come, tell us, Scribe, does the drama entitled _Dix ans de la vie
d'une femme_ come under the head of moral literature?"

"What?"

I repeated the question.

Scribe replied in the same laughing spirit in which he had been
attacked. Read the work again and you will see it would have been
difficult for him to reply otherwise. You shall judge for yourselves.
We have so often seen our works and those of the Romantic school taxed
with immorality by people who uphold M. Scribe as a moral author,
that it must really be permitted us to repeat the accusation here and
to show, _play in hand,_ how far they pushed the scandal at times in
the opposite camp. The wide point of view which the outline of these
Memoirs embraces makes us hope that such an exposition may not be
looked upon as a digression. At all events, those of our readers who
think it irrelevant are quite at liberty to pass over the following
chapter.



CHAPTER II


_Dix ans de la vie d'une femme_


This is what _Dix ans de la vie d'une femme_ was like. Adèle Évrard
has married M. Darcey, a rich landowner, a worthy and excellent man,
full of concern for, attention towards and kindnesses to his wife--a
sort of Danville of the _École des vieillards,_ with this difference,
that Darcey is only forty. Adèle, Madame Darcey, has the same Christian
name as Madame d'Hervey; but, instead of being like the heroine of
_Antony,_ ready to struggle to the point of preferring death to shame,
Adèle of _Dix ans de la vie d'une femme_ was born possessed of every
evil tendency that could be fostered by bad influences. Now such bad
influences were not wanting in her case. Adèle, daughter of an honest
merchant, wife of an honest man, had made the acquaintance--(where,
the narrative does not say, but it ought to have done: these things,
even on the stage, ought to be explained)--Adèle, we repeat, had made
the acquaintance of two disreputable women named Madame Laferrier and
Sophie Marini. At the raising of the curtain, Adèle is chatting with
her sister; of what? Of a subject young wives and girls are eternally
talking about--Love. Clarisse loves a fascinating young man named
Valdeja, who holds a position of attaché to the Embassy at Saint
Petersburg, far away from her. There is but one disquieting element in
that love--the character of the recipient is inclined to melancholy.

Meanwhile, M. Darcey arrives. At the first words he pronounces, one
can recognise that he is an excellent man, half father, half husband;
his wife, whom he adores, will have the sunny side of life; only the
feathers, silks and velvets of married life if she will but obey his
orders, or rather, accede to her husband's wishes, which are very
simple and reasonable. He wishes her to cease from seeing two persons
who are of more than equivocal antecedents, whose conduct and ways are
not consistent with the behaviour of a respectable woman, or with the
duties of the mother of a family. Adèle promises in a fashion which
means that she will break her promise. Her husband goes out, called
away from home on business which will detain him half the day; Clarisse
goes to attend to household matters, and Madame Darcey stays alone.
Hardly is she left thus before she is told that Madame Laferrier,
Sophie Marini and M. Achille Grosbois have come. Her first impulse is
to recall the promise she has made to her husband; the second, to put
it on one side. Enter these ladies and M. Achille.

We can imagine the turn the conversation takes, particularly when,
on seeing Adèle's troubled looks as she welcomes her friends, they
discover something fresh has happened in the household and that
Darcey has forbidden his wife to receive Sophie and Amélie. Such
a prohibition, which should make two women who possess merely the
faintest feelings of pride fly for very shame, only incites our two
hussies: they do not merely content themselves with paying an ordinary
call at the château; they invite themselves to dinner. Furthermore, as
though they had expected the affront that had been offered them, they
prepare their revenge: M. Rodolphe is to come.


    "Qu'est-ce que M. Rodolphe? demande Adèle.

    --Un jeune homme charmant!

    --Qu'est-ce qu'il est?

    --Il va à Tortoni.

    --J'entends bien ... Mais qu'est-ce qu'il fait?

    --Il déjeune le matin chez Tortoni, et le soir, vous le
    trouvez, en gants jaunes, au balcon de tous les théâtres. Du
    resté, il est garçon, possède vingt-mille livres de rente,
    et est adorateur d'Adèle.

    --De moi?

    --Il te poursuit partout sans pouvoir t' atteindre, et, en
    désespoir de cause, nous adore, Sophie et moi, parce que
    nous sommes tes meilleures amies!"


And, upon this somewhat vague intelligence, that Rodolphe breakfasts at
Tortoni's and is at night in the stalls at the theatres wearing yellow
gloves, Adèle receives M. Rodolphe and invites him to dinner with her
friends and M. Achille Grosbois. At this juncture, Clarisse runs in
joyously: she tells her sister that a coupé, drawn by two horses with
the most beautiful coats and a coachman in elegant livery, sent as a
gift from M. Darcey, are just coming into the château courtyard.

    "Comment! Ju n'avais pas encore de coupé? dit une des
    visiteuses.

    --Il y a trois ans que mon mari m'en a donné un! dit
    l'autre."

And the effect M. Darcey intended to produce by his driver and carriage
and pair is completely lost. But, as Adèle's father arrives in this
fine equipage, however little enthusiasm Madame Darcey puts into her
appreciation of a present she has looked forward to for so long, she is
obliged to leave her dear friends, not to see the carriage, coachman
and horses, but to welcome M. Évrard. Amélie follows her, for fear, no
doubt, that the paternal embraces may awaken some proper feeling in her
friend's heart. Sophie, M. Achille, M. Rodolphe and Clarisse remain
together. Conversation is difficult between a virtuous young girl and
such creatures; but wait, Sophie means to keep up the conversation.
She thanks Clarisse for a little sum the latter has given her. Sophie
Marini had undertaken to collect money as a charitable lady, and
fulfils, by so doing, a pious duty. For what had this person been
collecting? Oh, that is a perfectly simple matter: for a young girl
who has been deserted by a shameful seducer.

    "Oh! voilà qui est horrible! s'écrie Rodolphe,--_étendu sur
    une chaise._

    --Je ne vous nommerai pas le séducteur, quoique je le
    connaisse, reprend Sophie; ce serait inutile: il n'est plus
    en France, il est très-loin, à l'étranger ... en Russie.

    --En Russie! répète Clarisse vivement,--sans s'apercevoir
    que, devant elle, jeune fille et demi-maîtresse de maison,
    il y a un monsieur qui reste _étendu sur une chaise._

    --Oui, en Russie, où il occupe une fort belle place! Et,
    certainement, ce Valdeja aurait bien pu ...

    --Valdeja! s'écrie Clarisse."

Well! the poison is shed, the poor child is wounded to the heart! Adèle
re-enters. She thinks she will have a meal prepared in the pavilion
in the park. The whole company then go out to luncheon. Some minutes
later, M. Darcey returns, and he learns that the best wines from his
cellar, and the finest fruits from his garden are being served to
entertain M. Achille and M. Rodolphe, whom he does not know at all,
and Mesdames Sophie Marini and Amélie Laferrier, whom he knows but
too well. He asks himself if it is possible his wife can so soon have
forgotten the promise she made him, when Amélie, Sophie and Achille
appear on the scenes and proceed to talk freely without perceiving the
master of the house.

    "AMÉLIE.

    Nous voici revenus au point d'où nous étions partis.. Il est
    charmant, ce parc; mais c'est un véritable labyrinthe.

    SOPHIE.

    Heureusement, nous n'y avons pas rencontré le Minotaure!

    ACHILLE.

    Il est à Paris.

    DARCEY, _qui s'est tenu a l'écart, s'avance près d'Amélie._

    Non, monsieur!

    _Exclamation générale._

    ACHILLE.

    Ma foi! monsieur, qui se serait douté que vous étiez là à
    m'écouter? Rien de plus dès obligeant que d'être écouté!
    Vous excuserez la plaisanterie, j'espère?

    DARCEY.

    Monsieur ...

    ACHILLE.

    L'air de la campagne pousse singulièrement aux bons mots,
    et, sans examiner s'ils sont exacts, la langue s'en
    débarrasse.

    DARCEY.

    Je comprends cela â merveille; mais j'ai un grand travers
    d'esprit: je n'aime pas les fats.

    ACHILLE.

    Ah! vous n'aimez pas!...

    DARCEY.

    Ah! vous n'aimez pas!...

    DARCEY.

    Non, je ne les amie pas; et, quand ils s'introduisent chez
    moi (regardant les deux dames), dans quelque compagnie
    qu'ils se trouvent, je les chasse sans balancer.

    ACHILLE, _sur les épines._

    Fort-bien, fort-bien!--Je disais tout à l'heure.

    DARCEY, _élevant la voix._

    Monsieur, vous m'avez compris ...

    SOPHIE, _à Amélie._

    Il n'y a pas moyen d'y tenir: sortons, ma chère! Elle sort
    en donnant la main à Achille.

    DARCEY.

    Je serais désolé de vous retenir.

    AMELIE.

    Monsieur, un pareil outrage.

    DARCEY.

    Madame Laferrier me permettra-t-elle de la reconduire
    jusqu'à sa voiture?"

    And whilst Darcey turns his back, the following scene takes
    place between Adèle and Rodolphe.

    "RODOLPHE, _un bouquet à la main._

    Eh bien, où sont dont ces dames?

    ADÈLE.

    Dieu! M. Rodolphe, parlez! éloignez-vous!

    RODOLPHE.

    Et pourquoi donc?

    ADÈLE.

    Mon mari est de retour.

    RODOLPHE.

    Eh! que m'importe?

    ADÈLE.

    Il vient de nous faire une scène affreuse.

    RODOLPHE, _gaiement._

    C'est comme cela que je les amie, les maris!

    ADÈLE.

    Mais, pour moi, monsieur; pour moi, de grâce, parlez!

    RODOLPHE.

    Pour vous, c'est différent, il s'y a rien que je ne fasse.
    Mais mon respect, ma soumission me priveront ils de votre
    présence? Dois-je désormais renoncer à ce bonheur?

    ADÈLE.

    Il le faut. _Je ne puis plus vous voir._

    RODOLPHE.

    Chez vous, je le comprends; mais dans le monde. Chez vous,
    amies?...

    ADÈLE, _avec crainte._

    Monsieur, vous me faites mourir!

    RODOLPHE.

    Un mot de consentement, un seul mot, et je pars; sinon, je
    reste.

    ADÈLE.

    Parlez, parlez, je vous en supplie!

    RODOLPHE, _lui baisant la main._

    Ah! que je vous remercie!"

    He escapes by the bottom of the garden; then Darcey returns.

    "DARCEY.

    Leur voiture est sur la route de Paris.... Maintenant,
    madame, voulez-vous que nous passions au salon?

    ADÈLE.

    Monsieur, est ce la le commencement du rôle de mari?

    DARCEY.

    Oui, madame.

    ADÈLE, _sortant._ Alors, malheur à celui qui ose s'en
    charger!

    DARCEY, _la suivant des yeux, et sortant après elle._

    Malheur à toi, si tu écoutes d'autres conseils que ceux de
    la raison!"

In the second act, Adèle is the mistress of Rodolphe. Thus, the wife
has not even the excuse of seduction; she has not been overcome, given
in through weakness, hesitated; she yielded as Sophie Marini or Amélie
Laferrier would; then the interest grows. A wife is lost, but without
any efforts to save herself!

Valdeja has arrived from Russia; he is gloomier, more bitter, more
averse to women than ever. A young girl who loved him, whom he was
counting upon marrying, who was almost his betrothed, has written to
him through her father that she does not love him, and could not love
him. Hence, Valdeja's sadness, his vow to be avenged on other women
for the sufferings this one has caused him. Darcey does not know who
the young girl is: an extraordinary thing, considering the degree of
intimacy between himself and Valdeja, and that that young girl is his
sister-in-law. But to proceed!...

Adèle enters. She exercises that insincere tenderness towards her
husband, that assiduity which is affected by deceitful women. At the
first words, Valdeja is not taken in by it. Adèle tells her husband
that she has just learnt that her father is ill; she therefore proposes
to go and see him, but she will return to dinner.

    "Vraiment! Il est neuf heures du matin, dit Darcey, et à six
    heures tu seras rentrée?

    --A moins qu'on ne me retienne; ce pauvre père si bon!

    --Il me semble qu'en envoyant Créponne ou Baptiste
    s'informer de sa santé ...

    --Oh! ce serait d'une indifférence ... Et puis, Clarisse,
    _ma jeune sœur,_ m'a écrit: elle désire me voir, sans doute
    au sujet du mariage dont il est question pour elle, tu sais?

    --Ah! mademoiselle votre sœur va se marier!"

Here we see Valdeja informed that Clarisse is going to be married, as
she has been told that Valdeja had been unfaithful to her. After this,
Adèle insists so much on her father's illness, and on the fact that
the letter from her sister Clarisse is very urgent, that her husband
gives her complete liberty to go where she wished. The eagerness with
which she takes advantage of this liberty rouses Valdeja's suspicions,
and under pretext of having to make various visits, a letter from a
Russian prince to be handed to a M. Laferrier, and so on, he goes out
at a venture to follow Madame Darcey, when they announce the arrival of
Clarisse.

    "Alors, répond Darcey, dites à Adèle que sa sœur est là.

    --Madame est sortie.

    --C'est étonnant! Je n'ai pas entendu sa voiture, et il y a
    trop loin pour qu'elle aille à pied.

    --Madame avait envoyé Baptiste à la place voisine pour faire
    avancer un fiacre.

    --Un fiacre? C'est singulier! dit Darcey."

Clarisse comes in; her father has nothing whatever the matter with
him! but his credit is on the point of being destroyed by bankruptcy.
He needs a hundred thousand crowns to save him. Valdeja offers them.
But Darcey will not allow a stranger to pay the debts of his family:
he puts the hundred thousand crowns at the disposition of Clarisse's
father.

Let us pass on to the following scene and we shall see if Adèle
d'Hervey--poor Adèle, against whom there has been this outcry because
she was a respectable woman!--is not a model of virtue (_rosière_[1])
compared to Adèle Darcey. Note, particularly, that our confrère Scribe,
author of _Dix ans de la vie d'une femme_ and of _Héloise et Abeilard,_
is one of the warmest partizans for a dramatic censorship. Consult the
archives of the State Commission oh this point. Further, we will try
ourselves to procure these archives, and there will be found stated our
three opinions: Eugène Scribe's, Victor Hugo's and that of Alexandre
Dumas--a matter not without a certain amount of interest to all who are
connected with literature.

Let us return to our drama. The stage represents an elegant boudoir in
the house of Madame Laferrier. Adèle is there, waiting for Rodolphe.
You will admit that I was not so far wrong in calling Madame Laferrier
a disreputable woman. There is, I think, another name to designate
women who lend their boudoirs to friends when the latter tell their
husbands that their fathers are dying in order to obtain liberty
to go and meet their lovers. But set your mind at rest. Adèle and
Rodolphe only come there to quarrel. True, the quarrel is sufficiently
disgraceful in itself.

    "Qu'avez-vous à me reprocher, madame?

    --Votre oubli de toutes les convenances. Avant hier, par
    exemple, quand vous me donniez le bras, oser saluer sur le
    boulevard mademoiselle Anastasie, une figurante de l'Opéra!

    --Du chapeau seulement, sans mains, sans grace, comme on
    salue tout le monde.

    --Je l'avais une vue déjà une fois sortir de chez vous.

    --C'est ma locataire. J'amie les arts, moi ...

    --Je vous prie de me rendre mes lettres et mon portrait.

    --Dès demain, mon valet de chambre Sylvestre vous portera
    vos lettres, et, quant à votre portrait, a médaillon que
    j'avais fait faire, qui ne me quittait jamais, le voici,
    madame.

    --C'est bien! le voilà donc revenu dans mes mains.
    _(L'ouvrant pour le regarder.)_ Dieu! que vois-je? et quelle
    indignité! Le portrait de mademoiselle Anastasie!

    --Est-il possible? C'est délicieux! Je me serai trompé en le
    prenant ce matin. _(Textuel)."_

Rodolphe goes out kissing Adèle's hand, calling her cruel, and
promising never to forget her kindnesses.

    "Ce pauvre Rodolphe! un charmant cavalier! dit Amélie, qui
    était présente à l'entretien."

One would have thought after the impertinences M. Rodolphe had been
permitted to commit, Amélie would scarcely recall _ce charmant
cavalier_ to Adèle's memory. Perhaps, though, this might have happened,
if the name of Valdeja had not been pronounced. This incident gives
another turn to the conversation.

    "Valdeja!" exclaims Amélie; "Sophie Marini's deadly enemy?"

    "Lui-même ... Sais-tu ce que Sophie Marini a contre lui?

    --Elle ne me l'a jamais confié; mais on prétend qu'autrefois
    elle l'a amie. Puis; il a découvert qu'il avait des rivaux,
    et il s'est vengé d'une maniéré indigne.

    --Comment cela?

    --En la faisant trouver à un dîner où il avait invité tous
    ceux qu'elle avait préférées. On ne dit pas combien il y
    avait de couverts. _(Textuel.)"_

At this point, Créponne, Adèle's maid, comes on the scene. She has
been hunting for her mistress for six hours past: at Rodolphe's and
at Madame Marini's house. Clarisse coming to the house has revealed
all: her father is not ill, and she never wrote! What is to be done?
Fortunately, Amélie is there.

    "Y a-t-il longtemps que vous n'êtes allés, toi et ton mari,
    chez madame de Longpré, dont tu me parles souvent?

    --Quinze jours environ.

    --Assieds-toi là, et écris.

    --Que veux-tu que je lui écrive?

    --Assieds-toi toujours. (_Dictant._) 'Si, avant de m'avoir
    vue, le hasard vous mettait en rapport avec mon père ou mon
    mari, n'oubliez pas que je suis arrivée aujourd'hui chez
    vous dans un état affreux; que j'y suis restée longtemps,
    et que je'en suis repartie en fiacre. Je vous envoie mon
    chapeau et mon mouchoir. Vous me les renverrez demain par
    votre femme de chambre.' Date et signe. Commences--tu à
    comprendre?

    --Oui, mon bon ange!"

    --En arrivant chez toi, tu te trouveras mal, et je réponds
    du reste.

    --Dieu! que c'est simple et bien! _(Textuel.)_"

At this moment a servant announces that a gentleman is asking to see
madame.

    "Il prend bien son temps, répond Amélie; qu'il s'en aille!

    --Il prétend qu'il n'est que pour un jour à Paris, et qu'il
    apporte à madame des lettres et des nouvelles du prince
    Krimikoff.

    --Ce pauvre prince! il pense encore à moi!--

    --Dis au monsieur d'attendre là dans la pièce qui touche à
    ce boudoir; dans un instant, je suis à lui, je le recevrai."

Why _in the room adjoining that boudoir_ we ask? Why, of course, so
that the gentleman can hear what is going to be said; there is no
deeper motive behind it than that! See for yourself, however: when the
servant has gone out, the dialogue continues between Adèle and Amélie.

    "Une chose m'inquiète, maintenant: ce sont ces lettres et ce
    portrait que Rodolphe a entre les mains.

    --C'est ta faute; je t'ai dit vingt fois de ne pas écrire.
    Tu veux toujours faire à ta tête!

    --Il n'en a que trois, et il m'a bien promis devant toi de
    me les renvoyer demain par son valet de chambre.

    --Espérons-le! Allons, va-t'en vite!

    --De ce côté?

    --Oh! non, tu serais vue par cet étranger.

    --Eh! mais j'y pense, maintenant, nous sommes là a parler
    tout haut, et l'on entend de ton petit salon tout ce qui se
    dit ici.

    --Qu' importe! cet étranger ne sait peut-être pas le
    français."

Adèle is satisfied with the suggestion that a Russian does not
understand French, the current language of Russia; she does not reflect
that a Russian who cannot talk French would not ask to speak with
Amélie, who is not supposed to be a woman who knows Russian. Valdeja
enters behind the two women, brought in by a servant.

    "Je n'étais pas si mal où j'étais! se dit Valdeja, et, dès
    qu'à travers cette légère cloison j'ai eu reconnu la voix de
    madame Darcey, j'eusse mérité de ne plus rien entendre de ma
    vie, si j'eusse perdu un mot de leur conversation!"

What does Valdeja think of doing now? That is quite simple: to carry
off Adèle's handkerchief and letter. Unfortunately, Amélie, when taking
her friend home, has carried them away with her. But, do not be uneasy,
when she returns she will bring them back, and this will give occasion
to a curious scene, as you are about to hear.

Valdeja, who speaks French perfectly, although a foreigner, for he is
a Spaniard, has been charged by Prince Krimikoff with a letter for M.
Laferrier. This letter begins the affair. So they chat about Prince
Krimikoff.

    "Dans quel état l'avez-vous trouvé? demande Amélie.

    --Fort triste et fort maussade.

    --Changé à ce point! Je l'ai vu ici, il y a six ans: il
    était charmant.

    --Je sais cela. Il m'a dit que vous l'aviez trouvé charmant.

    --Il vous l'a dit?

    --Chut!... Parce que je sais vos heures intimes avec lui, ce
    n'est pas une raison pour les publier.

    --Monsieur! M. Krimikoff est un fat ... Je nie positivement.

    --A quoi bon? Parce qu'on arrive du fond de la Russie, nous
    croyez-vous en dehors de la civilisation? Là-bas, comme ici,
    la vie bien entendue n'est qu'un joyeux festin; et de quel
    droit. M. Krimikoff se réserverait il le privilège d'une
    ivresse exclusive?

    --Eh! mais, monsieur, permettez-moi de vous dire que voilà
    d'affreux principes."

At the same time, as the author is careful to state, Amélie utters
these words _smiling._ Valdeja continues:

    "Affreux à avouer, doux à mettre en pratique.

    --Monsieur!

    --Ne le niez pas, je sais tout ... Car cette lettre que j'ai
    là, cette lettre n'est pas pour votre mari, comme j'ai dit:
    elle est pour vous."

It is, indeed, unfortunate that it is for Madame Laferrier and not for
M. Laferrier; for, although they talk much about it, the spectators do
not see M. Laferrier at all. It would certainly be interesting to see
the husband who would adapt himself to such a wife! Listen carefully
and follow the turn the conversation is going to take.

    "Mais, continue Valdeja, à votre seul aspect, je me suis
    repenti de m'en être chargé ... Il me semblait cruel de
    vous apporter, de la part d'un autre, des hommages que
    j'étais tenté de vous rendre, et de vous voir lire devant
    moi ce que je n'osais vous dire.

    --Un rival?... Permettez! Je ne vous cacherai pas que les
    brilliantes qualités de M. Krimikoff, m'avaient frappée;
    cependant, sans le piège qu'il m'a tendu, je serais, je
    l'atteste, restée irréprochable."

What, then, is the snare Prince Krimikoff has laid for Madame
Laferrier? The author does not say. But it must be the same order of
snare which Valdeja sets for her. Poor Amélie! Let us admit that she
has naturally a great talent for allowing herself to be caught in a
trap.

    "Irréprochable! s'écrie Valdeja avec chaleur.

    --Eh! bon Dieu! de quel mot vous servez-vous la? Qu'est-ce
    que c'est que _vertueuse_? (_Riant._) Ah!

    --Ah! sur mon âme, voilà d'étroites idées, d'anciennes
    façons bien pauvres, et je croyais la France moins arriérée.
    Vous arrêter un instant à de pareilles distinctions?

    --Ah! madame, j'avais d'abord conçu une meilleure idée de
    vous!"

You may imagine Amélie's joy at the thought of the good opinion the
noble stranger has conceived of her. Valdeja goes on, _raising his
tones:_

    "Quand on adopte un régime, il faut tâcher qu'il soit bon.
    Je ne connais qu'un enseignement respectable, c'est celui
    de nos passions. La nature y est pour tout, la société pour
    rien. Plaisir, ivresse, déüre, voilà des mots auxquels nos
    cœurs répondent.... Vous le savez, vous qui ne pouvez, même
    en ce moment, contenu vos pensées qui s'allument (_il lui
    prend la main,_) vous dont le pouls s'active, dont l'œil
    s'enflamme et rit là en silence de tous ces aphorismes de
    vertu.

    --Monsieur, Monsieur ...

    --A quoi bon ces vains scruples? Je vous comprends, je vous
    suis, je vous devance peut-être.

    --Parlons d'autre chose, je vous prie.

    --Voyez, votre mémoire vous domine, vos souvenirs sont dans
    votre sang; vous vous rappelez tout ce que vaut, dans la
    vie, un moment d'illusion.

    --Laissez-moi!

    --Ce que peut un bras qui serre ...

    --Laissez-moi!

    --Un souffle, qui renverse!

    --Oh! grâce! grâce!"

You see very clearly that instead of stopping, Valdeja continues:

    "Venez! dit il en prenant Amélie par la taille.

    --Écoutez! (_On entend le bruit d'une voiture._) C'est mon
    mari! Voilà sa voiture qui rentre."

Ah! so we are to see this worthy M. Laferrier after all! The noise of
the carriage, which would have disturbed anybody else, helps Valdeja,
on the contrary, to wind up the scene, which we should agree was
becoming difficult between people who have only just met for the first
time, one of whom hates and despises the other.

    "Vous quitter ainsi, s'écrie Valdeja, sans un gage, sans un
    souvenir? (_Apercevat le mouchoir resté sur la table._) Ah!
    Ce mouchoir, qui est le votre ...

    --Monsieur ...

    --Là, là, sur mon cœur; il y restera comme votre image!

    --Monsieur, rendez-moi mon mouchoir.

    --Jamais! Adieu, adieu, madame!"

And, in spite of Amélie's cries of "My handkerchief, my handkerchief!"
Valdeja goes out, forgetting to take leave at his departure. The
curtain falls. Let us now see what happens in the third act.

In the first scene of the third act, we are at Valdeja's rooms in a
furnished house. He is alone, seated at a table, holding in his hand
the handkerchief which he has taken from Madame Laferrier. He waits
for his moujik Mourawieff. Mourawieff has been deputed by Valdeja to
procure the letters and portrait _artfully._ Perhaps Valdeja, as a
civilised being, ought to have lent assistance to the skill of a moujik
only arrived in Paris the previous day, who, consequently, could not
be very much up to date in French manners; but he has overlooked this
detail, which, as it concerns the reputation of the wife of a friend,
deserves, perhaps, that some attention should be paid to the matter.

The consequence is that Mourawieff acts as cunningly as a moujik; he
waited for Rodolphe's servant at the door of No. 71 of the rue de
Provence, where the frequenter of the café Tortoni stays; he makes sure
that the servant is the bearer of the letters and portrait; and, in
wrestling terms, he trips him up. Sylvestre falls, loosing letters and
portrait. Mourawieff takes possession of them and arrives, running. Do
not let us complain: Mourawieff's clumsiness is a skilful move on the
part of the author and will give us an excellent scene presently. I say
presently, because, before it, there is one which we do not consider
very happy--from the moral point of view be it understood: we are not
concerning ourselves here, be careful to notice, with the literary
merits of the drama. No, we will imagine ourselves Academicians--what
more can you desire? we are all mortal!--commissioned to make a report
on the most moral play acted in 1832 at the boulevard theatres; our
confrère Scribe competes for the prize for morality: we examine his
play with all the more care as we know he is a fanatical partisan of
the censorship, and we make our report.

The unfortunate scene is that where Valdeja opens the packet and reads
the letters addressed to M. Rodolphe by his friend's wife. The perusal
of them confirms him in the resolution to leave his friend in ignorance
of everything; but he takes upon himself to avenge that friend's
honour and to fight a duel with Rodolphe. He therefore takes a brace
of pistols and a couple of duelling swords and makes himself ready to
go in search of Rodolphe at 71 rue de Provence. He meets the man he
is looking for on the threshold of his door. Rodolphe has also, like
Valdeja, a brace of pistols in his hands and two swords under his arm.

That Valdeja, who probably wishes a duel without witnesses, should take
pistols and swords and go armed like a Malbrouk on his way to the
war, in search of the man of whom he has to demand the vindication of
a friend's honour, is conceivable enough in all conscience. But that
Rodolphe, who has none of these motives, instead of sending his seconds
as is done between well-bred people, should come himself and go up the
stairs with sword under his arm and pistols in hand, instead of leaving
all the weapons in his carriage, is altogether senseless. No matter,
for, as we have already said, we are not fishing in those waters. The
scene containing this improbable incident is original and well drawn;
that is sufficient. Bravo! bravo! bravo! But you shall see where it
vexes us that our confrère has taken advantage of the absence of the
censorship. The two young people agree to fight with pistols. It is
Rodolphe who suggests the weapon.

    "Le pistolet, soit! répond Valdeja.

    --Chacun les nôtres.

    --J'y consens.

    --Dites-moi donc,--reprend Rodolphe tenant, ainsi que
    Valdeja, sa boîte à la main,--nous avons l'air de
    bijoutiers, courant les pratiques.

    --Pourquoi non? La mort est un chaland tout comme un autre,
    et nos âmes sont, dit on, des joyaux divins.

    --_Vieilles idées sans base et sans soutien_!

    --Pour l'un des deux, Rodolphe, le doute aura cessé
    d'exister aujourd'hui.

    --Va comme il est dit!"

Both go out. The second scene of the third act brings us into a room in
Évrard's house. The whole family is in a state of rejoicing; Darcey's
100,000 francs have saved Évrard from ruin. They bless Darcey. Albert
Melville, Clarisse's future husband, takes advantage of this moment of
expansiveness to try to obtain from his fiancée a positive statement
as to the state of her affections. Clarisse feels that of a sister for
him, the tenderness of a friend, but she will never be in love with
him. Albert is resigned; enumerating Clarisse's excellent qualities,
he thinks he will be happy in his lot. The scene is interrupted by
the arrival of Adèle. For a long time she has not been to her father's
house, but, invited by him as well as her husband to a little family
gathering, she complies with the invitation. Behind her enters M. and
Madame Dusseuil, her uncle and aunt. As for M. Darcey, no one knows
if he is coming; Adèle has not seen him since the morning. As they
are wondering about his coming, the door opens and he enters pale and
constrained.

Now begins a scene, dramatic in its simple domesticity. Darcey has
found his wife's letters. The author does not tell us how, for these
letters cannot have been put in his way for two hours after the
departure of Valdeja; which leads us to surmise that, Valdeja not
having returned within two hours, he must be dead. Never mind by what
means Darcey has discovered the letters; he has them, and that is the
chief point, and he comes as before a family tribunal to ask each
member what is the punishment a friend of his ought to inflict on a
wife who has deceived him.

    "Je pardonnerais, mon frère, dit Clarisse, dans l'espoir
    d'obtenir par le repentir ce qu'un autre sentiment n'aurait
    pas en assez de force pour faire naître.

    --Moi, je la tuerais! dit Albert."

Adèle's father is questioned in his turn.

    "ÉVRARD.

    Ma foi, je la mènerais à ses parents; je les ferais juges
    entre elle et moi; je leur dirais: 'La voilà! le mauvais
    germe a étouffé le bon; il a porté ses fruits; ils sont
    murs, récoltez-les! et je la leur laisserais.

    DARCEY.

    Eh bien, c'est vous qui l'avez jugée.

    ADÈLE, _avec anxiété._

    Mais qui donc?...

    DARCEY.

    Je ne la tuerai pas, je ne la traînerai pas sur les bancs
    d'un tribunal; mais je vous la rendrai, mon père! Car, cet
    homme, c'est moi! Cette femme, c'est votre fille!

    ADÈLE.

    _Ce n'est pas vrai!_

    ÉVRARD.

    Adèle vous a trahir?

    ADÈLE.

    Je ne suis pas coupable! il ne m'aime plus: c'est un
    prétexte.

    DARCEY.

    Et Rodolphe, l'avez-vous oublié depuis hier?

    ADÈLE.

    _Qui, Rodolphe?_

    DARCEY.

    Rodolphe, votre amant!

    ADÈLE.

    _Je ne connais pas de Rodolphe!_

    DARCEY.

    Vous ne connaissez pas de Rodolphe?

    ADÈLE.

    Non.

    DARCEY, _lui mettant ses lettres sous les yeux._

    Lisez donc! lisez! Voilà les pièces du procès; ces lettres,
    ce sont les siennes. Adieu!

    Justice est faite!..."

Nothing further remains for Darcey to do but to be avenged on Rodolphe;
but, as one might expect, he has been killed by Valdeja. In the fourth
act, we are at Adèle's house: it is modest to the very verge of
mediocrity, for Adèle is short of money; she holds a pen in her hand
and has paper before her; she is on the point of humbling herself to
her husband and asking help from him. She prefers that humiliation
to becoming the mistress of an Italian banker named Rialto. Sophie
and Amélie enter. You can guess the scene: the pen is flung across
the table, the paper upon which the first letters were already
traced is torn up; the proposals of Rialto are accepted. The shameful
treaty bears the stamp of self-sacrifice. Albert Melville has lost
his position in the offices of the Exchequer; Rialto, who is at the
head of all the loans, gets him restored to it and Albert Melville
marries Clarisse. What is the reason for this anxiety for the welfare
of Albert Melville and Clarisse on the part of the three women? Stop
a minute! The marriage of these two young people will cause Valdeja
to give way to despair. Whereupon, Valdeja comes forward. He comes on
behalf of Darcey, whose kindness of heart is touched by the physical
sufferings of the woman: as woman, not as his wife. Adèle is nothing to
him personally now, only from the point of view of ordinary humanity;
she no longer belongs to his family; she is his neighbour merely.
Adèle, who has nearly accepted this conjugal charity, refuses it at
the instigation of the two women. Valdeja is more cheerful than usual:
he smiles in spite of himself at the contretemps which destroys the
prospect of the marriage of Albert and Clarisse for ever. But, when
promising to yield herself to Rialto, Adèle asks that Albert's post
may be given back to him, and, within ten minutes' time, the post
is restored to him, the marriage is arranged and the young folk are
wedded! It is not very probable that all this could take place in ten
minutes; but one knows that actual times does not exist on the stage.
When Valdeja learns that it is the hatred of the three women which has
just destroyed his last hope, he renews his oath of hatred, which they
listen to with laughter. The curtain falls upon that oath. It rises
upon a pretty garden with a summer-house on the left.

For three years Adèle is Rialto's mistress, and she lives with him
just as though she were his wife. She has all she wants, even to the
lover of her heart's desire. This lover's name is M. Hippolyte. Rialto
promises to buy her houses, carriages and horses, and she loathes him.
M. Hippolyte gives her a simple bouquet and she worships him. See him
enter upon the scenes.

"Bonjour! ma chère Adèle!

--Ah! arrivez donc, monsieur! Je m'entretenais de vous.

--Et, moi, je pensais à vous. _Vous le voyez, ma chère Adèle, des
fleurs, votre image ..._."

It is evident that if Hippolyte has made the conquest of Madame Darcey,
it is an affair of the heart in which her mind has no part whatever.
Besides, Hippolyte is grave to solemnity. He sends Créponne, the
chambermaid, away and stays alone with Adèle. It is she who begins the
conversation.

    "Voyons, qu'est-ce qui pesé si fort sur la gaieté
    aujourd'hui? demande-t-elle.

    --J'ai quelque chose de si important à te dire.

    --Quoi donc?

    --Ma chère Adèle, depuis trois mois, je suis aimé de toi;
    depuis six semaines, j'ai formé le projet d'être ton mari,
    et je viens te t'annoncer.

    --Ah! ah! ah! ah! fait Adèle éclatant de rire.

    --Qu'y a-t-il donc de si risible?

    --Je ris parce que.... Ah! ah! ah! mais c'est une
    plaisanterie."

This hilarity, sufficiently ill-timed when confronted with so serious
a proposal, does not disconcert Hippolyte in the least. He had come
of age the previous day and wished to profit by his majority to marry
Adèle in hot haste. Rialto is announced.

    "C'est votre père? demande ingénument Hippolyte.

    --Oui, mon ami; il faut partir à l'instant, par ici, par la
    porte de ce pavillion.

    --Pourquoi donc?

    --Il ne faut pas qu'il vous voie, ou tout serait perdu!
    Éloignez-vous, de grace!

    --_Du tout!_ Je veux voir monsieur votre père, moi; j'ai à
    lui parler."

You guess why Hippolyte wants to speak to Rialto; Hippolyte, who
attributes Adèle's immoderate laughter to playfulness of character,
wishes to ask Rialto for his daughter's hand in marriage! Rialto laughs
as loudly at this demand as Adèle had done. The poor lover might just
as well have demanded the hand of the daughter of Democritus. But
Hippolyte insists more pertinaciously to Rialto than he has done to
Adèle; his tutor, to whom he has boasted of the virtue and beauty of
the woman he loves, comes. The joke continues for about ten minutes;
and then Rialto, whose laughter has suffered several checks, thinks
it is time to put a stop to it. He sends the lover to the right about
and takes Adèle by the arm to go a walk with her. You shall see what
happens; and one thing you certainly will not have expected!

    "HIPPOLYTE, _arrêtant Rialto par le bras._

    Monsieur, c'est beaucoup plus grave que vous ne pensez!

    RIALTO.

    C'est possible; mais, si vous êtes malade du cerveau, je ne
    suis pas médecin.

    ADÈLE.

    Mon Dieu! laissons là cet entretien.

    HIPPOLYTE.

    Non, madame; je forcerai bien monsieur votre père à ne pas
    me refuser.

    RIALTO.

    C'est ce que nous verrons.

    HIPPOLYTE.

    Un mot suffira. Et, puis qu'il n'y a pas d'autre moyen,
    daignez me répondre, monsieur, connaissez-vous l'honneur?

    RIALTO.

    Eh bien, oui, je le connais. Qu'est-ce que vous en voulez
    dire?

    HIPPOLYTE.

    Tenez-vous au vôtre et à celui de votre famille?

    RIALTO.

    Sans doute que j'y tiens.

    HIPPOLYTE.

    Arrangez-vous, alors, pour qu'il ne souffre pas des
    atteintes que je lui ai portées, et tâchez de réparer avec
    le mari le dommage que l'amant lui a fait.

    RIALTO.

    L'amant?

    ADÈLE.

    Ne l'écoutez-pas!

    HIPPOLYTE.

    L'amant! Depuis trois mois, madame m'appartient!

    RIALTO.

    Ah! ah! qu'est-ce que vous me dites là?

    HIPPOLYTE.

    ADÈLE.

    Ce qui est.

    C'est une horreur!

    HIPPOLYTE.

    Et si vous avez un cœur de père ...

    RIALTO.

    Eh! monsieur, je ne suis pas son père!

    HIPPOLYTE.

    Vous n'êtes pas son père?

    RIALTO.

    Ni son père, ni son frère, ni son oncle, ni son mari ...
    Comprenez-vous, maintenant?

    HIPPOLYTE, _stupéfie._

    Ah! ce n'est pas possible!

    RIALTO.

    Aïe! aïe! belle dame, vous m'en faisiez donc en cachette? Et
    mes billets de mille fanes comptaient pour deux, à ce qu'il
    paraît!

    ADÈLE.

    Il n'en est rien, je vous jure!

    RIALTO.

    Ah! ah! ah! Et vous, mon brave, vous voulez épouser des
    femmes qui vivent séparées de leurs maris, et que des
    protecteurs consolent!..."

We think we ought to spare our readers, especially our feminine ones,
the rest of the scene. This may, indeed, be _nature,_ as they say in
studio terms; but it is vile nature! Pah! And to think that once in
my life I did something nearly like it in a play entitled _Le Fils de
l'Émigré_! But do not be anxious, when I come to that, I will deal with
myself severely!

At the fifth act, we find ourselves in a _mean room of wretched
appearance._ Three years have passed since Adèle has been turned out by
Rialto and deserted by Hippolyte. Sophie waits for Adèle. The two women
recognise one another.

    "Ah! c'est toi, Sophie, dit Adèle.

    --Tu me reconnais? C'est heureux! Pour moi, je l'avoue
    j'aurais en quelque peine ...

    --Je suis donc bien changée? reprend Adèle.

    --Tu as l'air souffrant ...

    --Et toi, depuis trois ans que tu as quitté Paris?...

    --J'étais allée en Belgique avec mon mari, lorsqu'il est
    parti pour ce pays-là, sans le dire à ses créanciers, cm les
    fournisseurs en sont tous là: se ruiner en entreprises, en
    spéculations, quand il y a tant d'autres moyens!

    --Et il ne lui est rien resté?

    --Rien, que des dettes; répond Sophie avec amertume. Mais,
    moi, _j'avais encore des espérances_: un oncle paralytique,
    M. de Saint-Brice; qui, veuf et sans enfants, avait une
    immense fortune, et je suis revenue en France à Paris,
    où j'ai appris que, _par la grâce du ciel,_ il venait de
    mourir. Mais, vois l'horreur, il m'a déshéritée!"

It is Valdeja who induced M. de Saint Brice to strike this great
blow; so you see that the love for Sophie felt by the ex-attaché to
the Embassy at St. Petersburg has not made much progress. We say the
_ex-attaché,_ because during the six years he stays in Paris to attend
to the affairs of his friend Darcey and those of his pupil Hippolyte,
Valdeja must be no longer attached to but detached from the Embassy.
During those last three years Adèle has made the acquaintance of M.
Léopold, the son of a rich wine merchant, who has taken up his place
as his father's successor; _but unfortunately this succession has not
lasted long._

"Et tu ne l'as pas abandonné? demande Sophie.

Je le voudrais, dit Adèle; je n'ose pas. Il est si violent, il me
tuerait!"

Besides, Adèle has discovered secrets which make her tremble: M.
Léopold _entices extravagant young men and robs them._ She has no hope
left except in her sister, to whom she has written.

Créponne enters and gives a letter to Adèle; it is from Clarisse, who
is always good and charitable and loving! Her husband has forbidden
her to see her sister; but, at two o'clock, hidden by a cloak, she
will come on foot. Adèle must arrange to be alone. Sophie reads the
letter at the same time with Adèle. She sees in it a means of injuring
Clarisse and will meditate upon it.

    "Adieu, dit elle à madame Darcey. Si j'ai quelque chose de
    nouveau, je viendrai te revoir.

    --Je crains que Léopold ne se fâche, et que cela ne lui
    déplaise.

    --Eh bien! par exemple!

    --Pour plus de sûreté, quand tu auras à me parler, ne monte
    pas par le grand escalier, où l'on pourrait te voir, mais
    viens par celui-ci, dont voici la clef."

The key is just the thing Sophie wants to carry out her plan. But now
that she has the key, the only thing she is in need of is some money
with which to buy food.

    "Tu n'aurais pas quelque argent à me prêter dit elle?

    --J'en ai si peu!

    --Et, moi, je n'en ai pas du tout. Je te rendrai cela dès
    que j'aurai obtenu ce que je sollicite.

    --Bientôt?

    --Je te le promets.

    --A la bonne heure, car sans cela.... Tiens!"

At this moment M. Léopold arrives; he smells the money, pounces upon it
and confiscates it, as he says by _order of the police._ That will give
you an idea of monsieur's ways of procedure; but you will see plenty
more. He wants money, much money.

Adèle must ask it from her parents.

    "Vous savez bien qu'ils sont morts de chagrin, lui dit Adèle.

    --Oui, à ce qu'ils disent, répond Léopold."

This is pretty talk, too pretty, indeed. There is still M. Rialto, but
Adèle refuses to apply to him. To M. Hippolyte then....

    "ADÈLE.

    Plutôt mourir que d'avoir recours à lui!

    LÉOPOLD, _haussant la voix._

    Il le faut, cependant; car je veux, et vous ne me connaissez
    pas, quand on me résiste.

    ADÈLE.

    Léopold, Léopold, vous m'effrayez!... _(a part)._

    Ah! Dieu! qui m'arrachera de ses mains?

    LÉOPOLD.

    Là, au secrétaire ... voilà ce qu'il vous faut pour écrire.

    _Entre Créponne._

    CRÉPONNE, _bas à Adèle._**

    Une dame, enveloppée d'un manteau, est là dans votre chambre.

    ADÈLE, _de même._
    C'est ma sœur, c'est Clarisse!

    LÉOPOLD, _l'arrêtant par le bras._
    Où vas-tu? Tu ne sortiras pas d'ici que tu n'aies écrit.

    ADÈLE.
    O mon Dieu!

    LÉOPOLD, _la faisant asseoir au secrétaire._

    Allons, une lettre à la Sévigné, et pour cela, je vais
    dicter: 'Cher Hippolyte....

    ADÈLE.

    Je ne mettrai jamais cela.

    LÉOPOLD.

    Hippolyte, tout court.

    ADÈLE, _écrivant._

    'Monsieur....'

    LÉOPOLD.

    A la bonne heure, je n'y tiens pas. _(Dictant.)_ Monsieur,
    une ancienne amie bien malheureuse ...

    CRÉPONNE.

    C'est bien vrai!

    LÉOPOLD.

    Je ne mens jamais ... _(Dictant.)_ Est menacée d'un affreux
    danger dont vous seul pouvez le sauver.

    ADÈLE.

    Mais c'est le tromper!

    LÉOPOLD.

    Qu'en savez-vous? Je ne mens jamais ... (_Dictant._)
    'Si tout souvenir, si toute humanité n'est pas éteinté
    dans votre cœur, venez à son secours! Elle vous attendra
    aujourd'hui rue ...' Mets ton nom et ton adresse. 'Prenez
    avec vous de l'or, beaucoup d'or. Vous saurez pourquoi.'

    ADÈLE, _indignée._

    Je n'écrirai jamais cela.

    LÉOPOLD, _dictant d'un ton impératif._

    'Vous saurez pourquoi, et j'ose croire que vous m'en
    remercierez.' _(Lui prenant les mains.)_

    Allons! écris, je le veux!

    ADÈLE.

    Mais que prétendez-vous donc faire? le forcer à jouer, le
    dépouiller?

    LÉOPOLD.

    Cela me regarde ... Signe!"

Adèle signs and Léopold goes out. But Adèle quickly orders Créponne to
run to Hippolyte, to warn him of the snare that is being laid for him.
Adèle then goes to her sister. Créponne stays alone talking to herself
while putting on her shawl. Whilst addressing herself to this twofold
occupation, the door of the little staircase opens slowly, and Albert
appears, shrouded in a cloak.

    "Encore un qui arrive, dit la femme de chambre. Il en sort
    donc ici de tous côtés?"

You perhaps suppose that Créponne, who is not tongue-tied, will go up
to the newcomer and ask him who he can be to have possession of his
mistress's house key? But no, she quietly moves off to the opposite
side. Ah! confrère, though you are very clever and ingenious, I would
verily rather have committed what they call in theatrical language _un
loup._ True, had Créponne spoken to the man wrapped in a cloak, she
would have recognised Albert, whom she would have told that his wife
was there and that would have been the end of scene one of the fifth
act.

You understand, dear reader? Sophie had sent the key Adèle gave her to
Albert, and, when doing so, took good care, of course, to tell Melville
that his wife had arranged a meeting with Valdeja; then she writes to
Valdeja, in Clarisse's name, to tell him he will find her ... where? I
have no notion, for the author of the play does not give the address
of the house. It is a needless precaution, and makes no difference, be
assured!

Albert, who wishes to hear all, hides in a cupboard. Whilst he is
hiding, Valdeja enters! You can guess the situation. Valdeja and
Clarisse meet; great is their astonishment, especially on the part
of Clarisse; but, finally, they explain matters. The sole thing that
Clarisse sees in it all is that she is incurring a real danger.

    "Ah! mon Dieu! s'écrie-t-elle, je suis perdue, déshonorée!
    Qui pourrait me secourir, me protéger?

    --Moi, Clarisse! dit Albert sortant du cabinet."

Albert and Valdeja exchange friendly greetings; they have learned to
esteem one another. Valdeja goes away by a door at the back. Albert
gives money to Adèle; Clarisse gives her a gold chain, then Albert and
Clarisse go out by the little staircase. Scarcely have they disappeared
before a noise is heard outside, then a pistol shot and cries of "Help!
murder!" Adèle rushes terrified towards the stairs, and the curtain
falls without any further explanation; but those who are anxious to
guess without being told suspect that Léopold has taken Albert for
Hippolyte and fired on him. The second part of the fifth act shows
Adèle on a pallet-bed, ill and coughing and at death's door. Having
spent her last crowns in a lottery, she has nothing to fall back upon
but a gold chain which she has given to Sophie to sell. She would fain
have chosen a more reliable agency, for she begins to mistrust her
former friend; but it is necessary that it should be Sophie who sells
the chain. You shall see why.

    "Ma chère, cela va mal! dit Sophie en rentrant. Tu sais,
    cette chaîne que tu tenais de ta sur?

    --Eh bien?

    --J'ai été pour la vendre chez le bijoutier notre voisin, un
    vieux qui l'a regardée attentivement; puis il m'a dit: 'De
    qui tenez-vous cette chaîne?--D'une dame de mes amies.--Qui
    est elle --Que vous importe?--C'est que, a-t-il ajouté en
    feuilletant un registre, cette chaîne, à ce qu'il me semble,
    est au nombre des objets qui, lors de l'affaire Léopold,
    nous ont été signalés par la police.'"

How can the chain have been marked by the police when Adèle had
received it from her sister before the assassination? Then Sophie lost
her head; and with good reason, too! When she sees how clever the
police are she runs away; the jeweller calls his assistants and they
follow her; they know she is there.

    "Mais on ignore qui tu es?

    --Peut-être, car j'ai rencontré, en montant, la propriétaire.

    --Je ne la connais pas.

    --En bien, sais-tu quelle est cette femme? Notre ancienne
    amie!

    --Amélie Laferrier?

    --Elle-même!"

What a pity it was not her husband! We shall, perhaps, see him. But
he is not there, you may be sure, and I have a great longing to be
presented to him. At this moment there is a knock at the door. It is
a Sister of Charity. Adèle has written to the mayor, under the name
of Madame Laurencin; she has depicted her misery in pitiable terms;
the Sister of Mercy has been told and comes. Guess who that Sister of
Charity is? It is Clarisse! Clarisse, who finds her sister weak, broken
down, dying! Clarisse is in mourning, for Albert is dead. When Adèle
recognises Clarisse, she faints away. Whilst Clarisse is bringing her
back to consciousness with salts, the magistrates enter, brought by
Amélie Laferrier. Naturally the meeting lacks effusion. The magistrates
have come to arrest Madame Laurencin; but, as they must do this
legally, they have sent to fetch the mayor. He arrives, and is Darcey,
Amélie's husband, having become mayor of his arrondissement, thanks to
conduct diametrically opposite to that of his wife! He is followed by
his faithful Valdeja. The author does not tell us if Valdeja has been
appointed deputy mayor under Darcey; it is likely, for, without this,
how would he be there?

    "Quelle est cette femme que l'on parle d'arrêter? demande
    Darcey.

    --C'est la vôtre, monsieur! votre pauvre femme!

    --Ma femme! répond Darcey, qui repousse le mot avec
    indignation."

    It is a rude shock for Adèle: knowing herself to be dying,
    she raises herself up and asks her husband's forgiveness.

    "Jamais! répond Darcey."

    Adèle utters a cry and falls into an armchair.

    "DARCEY, _se laissant entraîner, dit à Valdeja, qui le
    pousse vers Adèle._

    Tu le veux? Eh bien ... _(En ce moment, Adèle rend le
    dernier soupir.)_ Dieu! il n'est plus temps!

    VALDEJA.

    Elle expire! _(À Amélie et à Sophie.)_ Femmes, prenez ce
    cadavre! prenez-le donc, il est à vous ... Vos œuvres
    méritaient un salaire: le voilà! Honte à vous et à toutes
    vos semblables! _(À Darcey) À toi la liberté!_

    DARCEY, _lui montrant Clarisse._

    _Et à toi, je l'espère, bientôt le bonheur!_"

These two last touches are a trifle harsh, it seems to us, before the
body of Adèle and Clarisse's mourning garb; so harsh that, were we
members of the Academy and deputed to award the prize for morality, it
would be a ground for withholding the prize from the drama _Dix ans de
la vie d'une femme._


[Footnote 1: TRANSLATOR'S NOTE, _Rosière_.--A young girl who in village
life is awarded the prize of a rose for virtue.]



CHAPTER III


Doligny manager of the theatre in Italy--Saint-Germain bitten by the
tarantula--How they could have livened up Versailles if Louis-Philippe
had wished it--The censorship of the Grand-Duke of Tuscany--The
bindings of printer Batelli--_Richard Darlington, Angèle, Antony_ and
_La Tour de Nesle_ performed under the name of Eugène Scribe


The curious discussion to which we have referred[1] proves, among other
things, that the author of _Dix ans de la vie d'une femme,_ the drama
to which Mercier or Rétif de la Bretonne hardly dared subscribe their
names, holds two very distinct opinions, which he does not reckon upon
reconciling: one as legislator, and one as poet, since he asked the
State Commission to suppress the _small immoral theatres,_ and applied
for a censorship which should be a salutary check to restrain talent
from the _excesses of all kinds_ to which it is too commonly given.
The fact is that, had there been a censorship in 1832, my confrère
Scribe's talent, which I appreciate more than any one, restrained
by _a salutary check,_ would never have given to timorous souls the
spectacle of a play which has remained, not as the model, but as the
most advanced specimen, of dramatic _eccentricity._ It was M. Scribe,
who, in the following sentence which he pronounced before the State
Council, suggested to me the word I wanted--"There is not much money
made by really literary plays; success is often achieved better by
_eccentricities_ and _attacks against morality and the government._"
Furthermore, my illustrious confrère possesses a fine reputation as a
man of moral character, not only in France but still more abroad; and I
am going to relate an anecdote on this subject, which has its amusing
side.

I lived for two years in Florence before a single theatrical manager
thought of playing anything of mine; because I was an immoral man, no
play, whether in the original or translated, could be performed in any
one of the theatres of the City of Flowers. One fine morning, when I
was still in bed, I heard a voice I knew in my sitting-room, and the
sound of a friend's name. The voice and the name were those of Doligny.
You remember that I spoke about Doligny in connection with the Tompson
of _Richard Darlington,_ and that I paid full justice to the remarkable
manner in which he had acted the part. Very well, it was Doligny, who,
actor and manager, came with a French company to seek his fortune in
Italy. Everywhere else fortune has three forelocks: in Italy it has
only one; everywhere else, it turns on a single wheel: in Italy, it
turns on two. Which is to say that, in Italy, more than anywhere else,
fortune is for everybody, and particularly for the managers of literary
enterprises, an Atlanta difficult to overtake and to seize by the hair.
Doligny, then, went from Turin to Milan, from Milan to Rome, from Rome
to Naples, from Naples to Venice, from Venice to Bologna, in the hope
of overtaking fortune. He had not yet succeeded. Finally, he thought
he saw a vision of gold in the direction of Florence. He smote his
forehead and said to himself: Why have I not thought of that before?
What he had not thought of was my presence at Florence. I carry about
with me--where it comes from I have no idea; but there it is, indeed--I
carry about an atmosphere of life and excitement which has become
proverbial. I lived three years at Saint-Germain; well, the inhabitants
themselves, respectable subjects of the Sleeping Beauty, did not know
themselves any longer. I communicated to the town a spirit of energy
which they took at first for a sort of epidemic, a contagious fever,
like that produced by the bite of the Neapolitan spider. I bought the
theatre, and the best actors of Paris, coming to supper with me, played
from time to time, before sitting down to table to give themselves an
appetite, either _Hamlet_ or _Mademoiselle de Belle-Isle,_ or _Les
Demoiselles de Saint Cyr,_ for the benefit of the poor. Ravelet had not
horses enough, Collinet had not rooms enough, and the railway admitted
to me, once, an increase of 20,000 francs takings per annum since I
lived at Saint-Germain. It is true that, at the time of the elections,
Saint-Germain considered me too _immoral_ to have the honour of being
its representative. Saint-Germain had then waked up, or nearly so.
It had its forest for horse exercise, went to the theatre and set up
on my terrace fireworks which they sent for from Paris, to the great
astonishment of Versailles, which, from time to time, rose out of
its tomb and looked with vacant eyes over the hills of Louveciennes,
and said in dying tones: "What is Saint-Germain doing to make such
a commotion as this? Look at me, do I move? Good heavens! When one
is dead, it is not a time for having fireworks, going to the play or
riding on horseback! Look at me, I sleep like an Academician, and I
even push respect for conventions to the point of never snoring!"

Versailles lay down again in its gilded sepulchre, where, as it said,
it never even snored. One day the king was annoyed by the noise which
came from the direction of Saint-Germain, so much so that he took heed
not to hear the faintest breath of wind coming from Versailles. He sent
for M. de Montalivet, although he had no love for intellectual people.
Montalivet and Vatout were the two exceptions at the court.

"My dear Count," said Louis-Philippe, "do you know what has happened?"

"What, sire?"

"We have succeeded in waking up Saint-Germain (they had made the king
think he had brought about this miracle himself); we will manage to
galvanise Versailles into life, with the picture gallery and fountains,
on each first Sunday in the month!"

"Sire," replied Montalivet, "would you like Versailles instead of being
as gloomy as death to be merry even to the point of foolishness!"

"My dear Count," replied the king, "I will not conceal from you that it
would give me the greatest pleasure."

"Very well, Sire, Dumas has a fortnight's durance as National
Guardsman: command that he spend it here at Versailles."

The king turned his back on M. de Montalivet and did not speak a word
to him for a month after. What came of it? Versailles became more and
more gloomy, and, after passing from melancholy to darkness, passed
from darkness to funereal depths.

As to Saint-Germain, I do not know what became of it; but I have
been assured that, since my departure, it has been seized with the
spleen and simply shakes with agony. Now it was the knowledge of this
vivifying quality which attracted Doligny to Florence. He said to
himself: As Dumas is in Tuscany, Tuscany must have again become the
department of the Arno, and we shall laugh and earn money. Doligny was
mistaken: people laugh all over Italy; but they do not laugh at all in
Tuscany. As to earning money there, I only knew the Comte de Larderette
who made a fortune there; but his speculation had nothing literary
about it.... I listened to Doligny's exposition of plans with a growing
melancholy which could not fail to have discouraged him.

"Well," he asked me, "am I mistaken?"

"In what?"

"Do you not go to the court?"

"As little as I can; but I do go."

"Do you not go into society?"

"As little as possible; but, of course, I do see something of it."

"Have you no friends?"

"As few as possible; I have some."

"Do you think my actors are poor ones?"

"I do not know them."

"Do you not think the performance of your plays will pique people's
curiosity?"

"Yes, indeed."

"Do you not believe, in short, that, thanks to all this, I can make
money?"

"I believe you can; but...."

"But what?"

"You must do it with other plays than mine."

"Why so?"

"Because they will not allow you to play them."

"They will refuse to let me perform your plays?"

"Yes."

"What reason will they give for their refusal?"

"They won't give any."

"All the same, my dear friend, there must be some reason at the bottom."

"No doubt."

"Tell me what it is."

"My friend, you are asking me to make a painful confession."

"Tell me what it is."

"I do not know how to tell you a thing that I am ashamed to confess
even to myself."

"Remember that my fortune depends on it!"

"My friend, I am an immoral author."

"Bah!"

"Yes."

"Who said so?"

"_Le Constitutionnel_; so the thing has spread abroad from the east to
the west, from the south to the north." "You fill me with dismay!"

"What else can I do!..."

"Still, I am going to send them your plays."

"Send them, but it will be useless."

"But surely when they have read them...."

"Yes, but they won't read them."

"Yet they will refuse?"

"For the sake of appearances."

"Well, I wish to have a clear conscience in the matter." "Have a clear
conscience, my dear fellow; it will only cost you your expenses for
hiring, if you have already hired the theatre."

"Why of course I have hired it."

"The deuce! Send the plays then."

"This very day."

"Go! only let me know of the refusal directly you receive it."

"What's the good?"

"Who knows? Perhaps I may then have some fresh idea."

"Why have you not one now?"

"Ah! my dear fellow, ideas are capricious damsels which will not let
themselves be taken except when they fancy, and the whim of my idea
is not to produce anything until after the refusal of the grand-ducal
censorship." "All right, we must humour your fancy I suppose." Doligny
went away in despair at the probable refusal which threatened him, and
yet with a certain degree of hopefulness in the idea that might spring
up from that refusal. Three day later I saw him again. Owing to the
protection of Belloc the ambassador, a delightful man, the refusal was
only delayed for three days. This was a great favour; it might have
been put off for a month, six weeks--for ever!

"Well?" I said, when I caught sight of Doligny.

"Well, as you said."

"Refused?"

"Refused."

"What plays did you send?"

"_Richard Darlington, Antony, Angèle, La Tour de Nesle._"

"Heavens! You went to work with a vengeance! the four most immoral
plays of an immoral author."

"Do you think if I had sent others?"

"Useless."

"Then, the only thing left is to make use of your idea!"

"You had set special store by those four plays?"

"I believe they would have produced the best results. However, if you
think you can obtain leave for others more easily...."

"Oh! that does not matter."

"Why?"

"Well, I have taken upon me to obtain permission, that is all you mind
about?"

"Of course! will you undertake that."

"I win."

I picked up my hat.

"You are going?"

"Come with me."

"I will follow you with confidence."

"That is right."

I was writing at that time a big 'work on painting, entitled _La
Galerie des Offices._ I took Doligny to the printer's.

"My dear Batelli," I said as I entered, "you must do me a service."

"With pleasure, Monsou Doumasse."

"This is it."

"What is it?"

"I want you to re-bind these four plays, to change the four titles and
to put another author's name to them."

"That is easy enough. Just tell me exactly what you want."

"You see this one?"

"_Richard Darlington,_ drama in three acts of seven scenes, by Monsou
Alessandre Doumasse."

"Just so. Very well, you must substitute _L'Ambitieux ou le Fils du
bourreau,_ by M. Eugène Scribe."

"Bene! Next?"

"You see this?"

"_Angèle,_ drama in five acts by Monsou Alessandre Doumasse."

"You must put: _L'Échelle de femmes,_ by M. Eugène Scribe."

"Bene! Next?"

"You see this one?"

"_Antony,_ drama in five acts by Monsou Alessandre Doumasse."

"Put _L'Assassin par amour,_ by M. Eugène Scribe."

"Bene! Next?"

"You see this one?"

_"La Tour de Nesle,_ by MM. Gaillardet et * * *."

"Put: _L'Adultère puni,_ by M. Eugène Scribe."

"Bene! bene!"

In an hour's time, the bindings were set up, sewed, and glued; the same
day the four plays were deposited on the censor's desk. Three days
after they were returned signed for permission.

The censors had not made any remarks whatever, they had not found a
single word to say against them. It is a wonder that the Committee
of Censorship had not proposed to the grand-duke to found a prize
for virtue, in favour of four such edifying plays. That same night,
the whole town, except MM. les Censeurs knew that the performance of
four plays by M. Alexandre Dumas had been sanctioned under the moral
signature of Eugène Scribe. I never had such a success. They thought
these four works the very perfection of innocence; the grand-duke, the
most innocent man in his grand-duchy, was applauded to the echo!

Scribe, on that occasion, was about to receive the Cross of the
Commander of Saint-Joseph. Fortunately for Scribe, somebody or other
revealed the trickery to the grand-duke. Scribe was beside himself with
fear.


[Footnote 1: See Appendix.]



CHAPTER IV


A few words on _La Tour de Nesle_ and M. Frédérick Gaillardet--The
_Revue des Deux Mondes_--M. Buloz--The _Journal des Voyages_--My first
attempt at Roman history--_Isabeau de Bavière_--A witty man of five
foot nine inches.


Let us leave Italy--to which we shall soon return--and come back to
our plays, which, by an innocent subterfuge, as a moral author called
it, I had played in the capital of His Imperial Highness the Grand-Duke
of Tuscany.

Two had already been acted at Paris in the month of April 1832,
at which date we have arrived_--Antony_ and _Richard;_ but there
were still two to be performed, _La Tour de Nesle_ and _Angèle._
May I be prevented, now I come to speak of the making of the first
of these plays, from saying anything which may arouse the dormant
susceptibilities of M. Gaillardet! Since 2 June 1832, that is to say
for the past twenty-five years, I have composed upwards of forty dramas
and eight hundred volumes; it will, therefore, be taken for granted
that I have no interest whatever in laying claim to one paternity more
or less. But the matter made such a stir at the time, it unravelled
itself so ostensibly, that I have scarcely the right to pass it over
in silence; but, whilst we are upon the subject, I promise only to
cite the facts of which I have proof, and to divest those facts of any
sentiment either of hatred or of attack. Since that time, M. Gaillardet
has left France for America, Paris for New Orleans. To my great joy, he
has, I am told, made a fortune out there; to my still greater joy, my
books, so I am assured, have not been detrimental to his good fortune.
So much the better! Happy he to whom Providence gives a double share of
rest, and, when scarcely a third of life is passed, after a brilliant
début, permits him to throw down his pen and to rest on his laurels,
French laurels, which are the most to be envied of any, and to repose
on a bed of American flowers, brightest of all the flowers that bloom!
In the darkness which, though dispersed for a time, gradually returns
to envelop him once more in its beloved shade, such a man, like Horace,
keeps happy things for the present and puts care behind him till the
morrow; such a man knows not the daily struggle and nightly labour; he
does not live by lamplight, but by the light of the sun. He lies down
when the robin sings his evening song and wakes when the lark begins
to sing; nothing disturbs the order of Nature for him; his day is day
and his night is night; and, when his last day or final night comes, he
has lived his life within its natural limits. I shall have gone through
mine hurrying along on the brakeless engine of work. I shall not have
sat down at any table belonging to those lengthy banquets where people
stay till they become intoxicated; I shall have tasted from all sorts
of cups; and the only ones I shall have drained to the dregs (for man's
existence, however rapid, always has time for doing this) will have
been the bitter cups!

At this time, in 1832, however, I had not yet become the being I now
am. I was then a young man of twenty-nine, eager after pleasure, eager
for love and for life, eager after everything, in fact, but hatred.
It is a strange thing that I have never been able to hate on account
of any personal wrong or injury. If I have harboured any antipathy in
my heart, if I have shown, either in my words, or in my writings, any
aggressive sentiment, it was against those people who set themselves
against the growth of art, and who opposed progress in politics. If
to-day, after twenty-five years have elapsed, I attack, M. Viennet, M.
Jay, M. Étienne, the whole of the Académie, in short, or, at any rate,
the major portion of its members, it is not in the least because these
gentlemen collectively signed petitions against me or, individually,
prohibited my plays; it is because they hindered France from marching
towards the supreme conquest of art, and founding a universal monarchy
of the intellect. If, after thirty years, I bear a grudge against
Louis-Philippe, it is not because he stopped my salary when I gave
myself to literature, or because he demanded my resignation when I had
a drama received at the Théâtre-Français; it is because this would-be
citizen-king had a rooted aversion to new ideas, an instinctive
distaste for all movements which tended to advance the human race.
Now, how can you expect me, who am all for progress, to admit without
question, on whatever side I meet them, death, or inaction, which is
the likeness of death!

Already, in 1832, I began to find that, working for the theatre--I
will not say did not occupy my time sufficiently, but--occupied my
mind too much in one direction. I had, as I have mentioned, tried to
write some short novels: _Laurette, Le Cocher de Cabriolet, La Rose
rouge._ I have told how I had them printed, under the title _Nouvelles
Contemporaines,_ at my own expense, or, rather, at that of my poor
mother, and that six copies were sold at 3 francs a copy; which left
me 582 francs out of pocket. One of the six sold copies, or, rather,
probably, one of the three or four hundred copies that were given away,
fell into the hands of the editor of the _Revue des Deux Mondes,_
and he made up his mind that, poor as these stories were, the author
who had written them could, by dint of working, make something as a
novel-writer.

That editor was M. Buloz; who, under the reign of Louis-Philippe, had
become a power in the State; now he still is a powerful influence
in literature. Be it clearly understood, M. Buloz is not a power on
account of his personal literary abilities, but by the literary merits
of others of whom he made free use. Hugo, Balzac, Soulié, de Musset and
I had invented the facile style of literature; and we have succeeded,
whether ill or well, in making a reputation with that fluent style of
writing.

M. Buloz had himself invented the boresome style of literature and,
for good or for ill, made his fortune out of it, wearisome though it
was. It is not in the least the case that, when M. Buloz takes it into
his head to write, he is not as tiresome as, or even more so than,
Monsieur So and So; but it is not enough merely to write in order to
produce real literature. M. Nisard explained once, with difficulty,
laboriously and wearisomely, what ease of style in literature was. We
will ourselves try to tell, in as amusing a way as we can, what the
laboured style of literature is. True, we could put a reference here
and say, "See M. Désiré Nisard or M. Philarète Chasles"; but we know
our readers would rather believe us than go and look for themselves.
MM. Désiré Nisard and Philarète Chasles will be dealt with in their own
turn. Let us now turn our attention to M. Buloz.

M. Buloz, first a compositor, then a foreman in a printing house,
was, in 1830, a man between thirty-four or five years of age, of pale
complexion, with a thin beard, eyes that did not match properly,
features of no particular character and yellowish, sparsely grown hair;
as regards temperament, he was taciturn and almost gloomy, disinclined
to speak, because of an increasing deafness, cross-grained on his good
days, brutal on his bad ones, and, at all times, doggedly obstinate. I
knew him through Bixio and Bocage. Both were intimate with him at that
time.[1] M. Buloz has since been to them, as he has been to everybody,
faithless in friendship when not downright ungrateful for service done
him. I do not know how he gets on with Bixio now; but I believe he is
very horrid to Bocage. We were not rich in those days; we had our meals
in a little restaurant in the rue de Tournon, adjoining the _hôtel de
l'Empereur Joseph II.,_ where, I can assure you, they served very bad
dinners at six sous the plateful.

M. Ribing de Leuven had a newspaper, which sold very badly, a _journal
de luxe,_ and wealthy people took up the fad and ruined themselves over
it; it was called _Le Journal des Voyages._ Adolphe and I persuaded M.
de Leuven to sell this paper to Buloz.

Buloz, Bocage, Bonnaire and, I believe, even Bixio, collected some
funds and became proprietors of the above-mentioned paper, which
took the title of _La Revue des Deux Mondes._ This occurred in 1830
or 1831. We all set to work with our best efforts on this newspaper,
which we looked upon as a child belonging to all of us and loved with a
paternal affection. The first milk I gave it to feed on was a _Voyage
en Vendée,_ which is partly to be found in these Memoirs. Then, this
is what happened to me: I have told how profoundly ignorant I was in
history and of my great desire to study it. I heard a great deal of
talk about the Duc de Bourgoyne and I read the _Histoire des ducs
de Bourgoyne,_ by Barante. For the first time, a French historian
let himself have free play in picturesque writing of history and in
simplicity in the telling of legends.

The work begun by the romances of Sir Walter Scott had by now matured
in my mind. I did not yet feel strong enough to write a long novel; but
there was then a kind of literature being produced which kept a middle
course between the novel and the drama, which had some of the influence
of the one and much of the arresting qualities of the other, wherein
dialogue alternated with narrative; this type of literature was termed
"_Scènes historiques."_

With my inclinations already biased towards the theatre, I set myself
to dissect, to relate and to put these historical scenes into dialogues
from the _Histoire des ducs de Bourgoyne._ They were taken from one of
the most dramatic periods of France, the reign of Charles VI.; they
provided me with the dishevelled personage of the mad king, with the
poetic figure of Odette, the imperious and licentious character of
Isabel of Bavaria, the careless one of Louis d'Orléans, the terrible
character of John of Burgundy, the pale and romantic one of Charles
VII.; they gave me l'Ile-Adam and his sword, Tanneguy-Duchatel and his
axe, the Sire de Giac and his horse, the Chevalier de Bois-Bourdon and
his gold doublet and Perinet-Leclerc and his keys. But they offered
me still more; I, who was already a creator of scenes, they provided
with a well-known stage upon which to plan my characters, since the
events all took place in the neighbourhood of Paris or in Paris itself.
I began to compose my book, driving it before me as a labourer urges
forward his plough, without knowing exactly what is going to happen.
The result was _Isabeau de Bavière._

As fast as I finished these scenes, I took them to Buloz, who carried
them to the printing office, and printed them, and, every fortnight,
the subscribers read them.

From that time there sprang up in my work my two chief qualities,
those which will give a value to my books and to my theatrical works
in the future; dialogue, which is the groundwork of drama; and
the gift of narrative, which is the foundation of romance. These
qualifications--you know how frankly and unguardedly I talk of
myself--I have in a superior degree. At that period, I had not yet
discovered two other qualities in myself, none the less important,
which are derived from one another--gaiety and a lively imagination
People are lighthearted because they are in good health, because they
have a good digestion, because they have no reason for sadness. That
is the cheerfulness of most people. But with me gaiety of heart is
persistent, not the light-heartedness which shines through grief--all
sorrow, on the contrary, finds me either full of compassion for others,
or profoundly depressed with myself--but which shines through all the
worries, material vexations and even lesser dangers of life. One has a
lively imagination because one is lighthearted; but this imagination
often evaporates like the flame of spirits or the foam on champagne.
A merry man, spirited and animated of speech, is, at times, dull and
morose when alone in front of his paper with pen in hand. Now work, on
the contrary, excites me; directly I have a pen in my hand, reaction
sets in; my most freakish fancies have often sprung out of my dullest
days, like fiery lightnings out of a storm. But, as I have said, at
this period of my youth, I did not recognise in myself either this
imagination or this lightness of spirit.

One day, I introduced Lassailly to Oudard. He wanted help, I think.
My letter, instead of being dismal, was merry, but with a gaiety that
was importunate and full of sympathy. Lassailly read the letter, which
he was to take in person, and, turning towards me, he said with a
stupefied air--

"Well! this is comical!"

"What?"

"Why, you possess wit!"

"Why should I not? Are you envious?"

"Ah! you are probably the first man of five foot nine who has ever been
witty!"

I remembered this saying more than once whilst creating Porthos, it
was more pregnant than it seemed at the first utterance. My brevet for
wittiness was, then, bestowed on me by Lassailly, a good fellow, who
was not lacking in a certain sort of merit, but who, as regards wit,
was as badly equipped by nature as the fox whose tail was cut off was
with cunning. Besides, at that period I should have recognised the
marvellous quality of mirthfulness which I had latent within my soul,
fearfully hidden from all eyes. Then, the only mirth permissible was
satanic, the mirth of Mephistopheles or of Manfred. Goethe and Byron
were the two great sneerers of the century. In common with others
I had put a mask on my face. Witness my portrait sketches of that
period: there is one of Devéria, written in 1831, which, with a few
alterations, could perfectly stand for the portrait of Antony. This
mask, however, was gradually to fall and to leave my real face to be
disclosed in the _Impressions de Voyages._ But, I repeat, in 1832 I
was still looked upon as a Manfred and a Childe Harold. But, when one
is of an impressionable temperament, this kind of whim only takes one
during a headstrong period; and, the times themselves, being gloomy
and terrible, were instrumental to the success both of my début as a
democratic poet and also as a romance writer.


[Footnote 1: M. Buloz's ambition was to have a review. I had the good
fortune to help him in this ambition; I think I have previously said
how; may I be excused if I repeat myself.]



CHAPTER V


Success of my _Scènes historiques_--Clovis and Hlodewig (Chlodgwig)
--I wish to apply myself seriously to the study of the history of
France--The Abbé Gauthier and M. de Moyencourt--Cordelier-Delanoue
reveals to me Augustin Thierry and Chateaubriand--New aspects of
history--_Gaule et France_--A drama in collaboration with Horace Vernet
and Auguste Lafontaine


My _Scènes historiques sur le règne de Charles VI._ were my first
successful things in the _Revue des Deux_ _Mondes._ We shall presently
see the result which this proved success had for me. That success
decided me to write a series of romances which should extend from
the reign of Charles VI. to our own day. My first desire is always
limitless; my first inspiration even to achieve the impossible. Only
when I become infatuated, half through pride and half through love of
my art, do I achieve the impossible. How?--I will try to tell you,
although I do not understand it very thoroughly myself: by working as
nobody else works, cutting off all the extraneous details of life and
doing without sleep. When once ambition has taken shape in my thoughts
my whole mind is set to the putting of it into execution. Having
discovered a vein of gold in the well of the beginning of the fifteenth
century, in which I had been digging, I never doubted, so great was
my confidence in myself, that at each fresh well I dug in a century
nearer our own times, if I did not find a vein of gold I should at
least find one of platinum or silver. I put the silver last because, at
this period, platinum still held an intermediary value between silver
and gold. Nevertheless, one thing made me uneasy: from the fifteenth to
the nineteenth century, from Charles VI. to Napoleon, I should teach
history to the public whilst learning it myself--but who would teach it
me from Clovis to Charles VI.? May I be forgiven for saying _Clovis._
I called it so then, I still call it so now, but, from 1833 to 1840, I
spoke of _Hlodewig (Chlodgwig)._ True, no one understood whom I meant;
that is why I returned to calling it _Clovis_--like the rest of the
world.

I decided to write a few pages of introduction to my novel, _Isabeau
de Bavière,_ which was intended to open the series of my historical
novels. You shall judge of my ignorance and appreciate my innocence,
for I am going to tell you something that certainly no one else would
admit. To learn the history of France, of which I did not know a word
in 1831 (except that connected with Henri III.), and which, in common
with general opinion, I held to be the most wearisome history in the
whole world, I bought the _Histoire de France,_ at the request of, and
in response to, the Abbé Gauthier, since revised and corrected by M. de
Moyencourt. So I bravely set to work to study the history of France,
copying out such notes as the following as seriously as possible, which
summed up a whole chapter poetically:

    "MÉMOIRES D'ALEX. DUMAS

     En  l'an quatre cent vingt, Pharamond, premier roi,
     Est connu seulement par la salique loi.
                      *
     Clodion, second roi, nommé le Chevelu,
     Au fier Aétius cède, deux fois vaincu.
                      *
     Francs, Bourguignons et Goths triomphent d'Attila.
     Chilpéric fut chassé, mais on le rappela.
                      *
     Clovis, à Tolbiac, fit vœu d'être chrétien;
     Il défait Gondebaud, tue Alaric, arien;
     Entre ses quatre fils partage ses États,
     Source d'atrocités, de guerres, d'attentats.
                      *
     Childebert, en cinq cent, eut Paris en partage;
     Les Bourguignons, les Goths éprouvent son courage."

And this went on up to Louis-Philippe, of whom this is the distich--

     "Philippe d'Orléans, tiré de son palais.
     Succède à Charles-Dix, par le choix des Français."

There was in these quatrains and distichs, instructive though they
were, one singular feature which, indeed, distressed me somewhat:
amongst all these verses, there were only two to be found which were
feminine. There must verily be a reason for that: as the _History
of France_ was specially intended for schools, it was necessary,
doubtless, to bring before the notice of school children as few evil
ideas as possible, that might even indirectly remind them of a _genus_
which brought destruction upon the human race. I apparently took my
notes with desperate seriousness, and deemed that I already knew enough
history to teach it to others when, by good fortune, Delanoue came to
my study. Quick as I had been in hiding my Abbé Gauthier, revised by M.
de Moyencourt, Delanoue saw the action.

"What are you reading there?" he asked.

"Nothing."

"Nothing? Why you had a book in your hand!"

"Oh! a book ... yes."

No doubt he imagined it was some obscene book which I wished to conceal
from him. He insisted in such a manner that it was impossible to resist
him.

"There," I said to him, rather humiliated at being surprised reading
such an elementary subject as a history of France.

"Oh! Abbé Gauthier's history ... well, upon my word!" And, without
needing to cast a glance at the book, he repeated--

    "Neuf cent quatre vingt-sept voir Capet sur le trône.
    Ses fils ont huit cents ans conservé la couronne!"

"Oh, you know it by heart?"

"It is the companion to _Racine's grecques_--

    'O, se doit compter pom septante;
     Ὀδελός la broche tournante.'"

Delanoue assumed in my eyes fabulous proportions of learnedness.

"What! do you not know the Abbé Gauthier's _Histoire de France_ and the
_Jardin des Racines grecques,_ by M. Lancelot?"

"I know nothing, my dear fellow!"

"It must make you laugh."

"Not very much."

"Then why do you read it?"

"Because I want to get exact details about the early centuries of our
history."

"And you are looking for them in the Abbé Gauthier?"

"As you see."

"Ah! You are funny! Did you get your details for _Henri III._ from
this?--

    "'Henri-Trois, de Bologne, en France est ramené,
    Redoute les ligueurs, et meurt assassiné!'"

"No, from l'Estoile, Brantôme, d'Aubigné, and the _Confession de
Sancy_; but I did not know there was anything like that about Mérovée
or Clovis."

"In the first place, they are not called Mérovée and Clovis now."

"What are they called, then?"

"Méro-wig and Hlode-wig; which mean _the eminent warrior_ and _the
celebrated warrior."_

"Where did you see that?"

"_Parbleu!_ in the _Lettres sur l'histoire de France_ by Augustin
Thierry."

"The _Lettres sur l'histoire de France,_ by Augustin Thierry?"

"Yes."

"Where can it be got?"

"Anywhere."

"What does it cost?"

"Perhaps 10 or 12 francs, I am not sure exactly how much."

"Will you be so good as to buy it for me and have it sent in as soon as
you leave me?"

"Nothing could be simpler."

"Do you know any other books on this period?"

"There is Chateaubriand's _Études historiques_ and the original sources
of information."

"Who are these?"

"The authors of the Decline, Jornandès, Zozimus, Sidonius Apollinaris,
Gregory of Tours."

"Have you read all those authors?"

"Yes, partly."

"Did the Abbé Gauthier not read them?"

"In the first case he could not have read Augustin Thierry, who has
written since his death. As to Chateaubriand, he was his contemporary,
and historians never read contemporary historians; finally, as regards
Jornandès, Zozimus, Sidonius Apollinaris and Gregory of Tours,
I suspect the Abbé Gauthier of never having even known of their
existence."

"But whence, then, did he get his history?"

"From the Abbé Gauthier's who wrote the same sort of histories before
him."

"Will you also buy me Chateaubriand at the same time as Thierry?"

"Certainly."

"See; here is the money ... I shall not see you again."

"No; but you want your Augustin Thierry and Chateaubriand?"

"I confess I do."

"You shall have them in a quarter of an hour's time." And I had them a
quarter of an hour later.

I opened one of the books haphazard.... I had alighted on Augustin
Thierry. I read--I am mistaken, I did not read, I devoured--that
marvellous work on the early kings by the author of the _Conquête
des Normands_; then the sort of historical tableaux entitled _Récits
Mérovingiens._ Then, without needing to open Chateaubriand, all the
ghosts of those kings, standing on the threshold of monarchy, appeared
before me, from the moment when they were made visible to the eyes of
the learned chronicler--from Clodio, _whose scouts reported that Gaul
is the noblest of countries, full of all kinds of wealth, and planted
with forests of fruit trees,_ who was the first to wield the Frankish
rule over the Gauls, to the great and religious-minded Karl, _rising
from table filled with a great fear, standing for a long time by a
window which looked to the east, with arms crossed, weeping without
stanching his tears,_ because he saw on the horizon the Norman vessels.
I saw, in fact, visions which I had never suspected hitherto, a whole
living world of people of twelve centuries ago, in the dark and deep
abysses of the past. I remained spellbound. Until that moment I had
believed Clovis and Charlemagne were the ancestors of Louis XIV.; but
here, under the pen of Augustin Thierry, a new kind of geography was
revealed, each race flowed by separately, following its own particular
channel through the ages: Gauls, as vast as a lake, Romans, as noble as
a river, Franks, as terrible as a flood, Huns, Burgundians, West-Goths
as devouring and rapid as torrents. Something equivalent to what
happened in me at General Foy's repeated itself. I perceived that,
during the nine years which had rolled by, I had learnt nothing or next
to nothing; I remembered my conversation with Lassagne; I understood
that there was more to see in the past than in the future; I was
ashamed of my ignorance, and I pressed my head convulsively between my
hands. Why, then, did not those who knew produce their knowledge? Oh!
I did not know at that period with what fatherly goodness God treats
men; how he makes some into miners who extract gold and diamonds from
the earth, of others, the goldsmiths who cut and mount them. I did not
know that God had made Augustin Thierry a miner and me a goldsmith.

I was seven or eight days hesitating before the enormous task which I
had to accomplish; then, during that halting time, my courage returned
to me and I bravely set to work, forgetting everything for the sake of
the study of history. It was during this period that I wrote _Térésa_
and the piece of which I am about to speak. Horace Vernet had sent a
large picture from Rome depicting _Édith aux longs cheveux cherchant
le corps d'Harold sur le champ de bataille d'Hastings._ It was a
picture belonging to the category that Vernet laughingly styled his
grand manner. It was singularly fascinating to me on account of the
heroine's name, not because of the subject. I was seized with the whim
to write a drama with the title _Édith aux longs cheveux._ One could
only write in verse a drama with so poetical a title. _Charles VII._
had somewhat familiarised me with what is still called at the Academy
the language of the gods. How was all this which I saw but imperfectly,
and which it was an absolute necessity I should study, to remain in my
poor brain without its bursting? And be careful to notice that I was
as yet only brooding over the earliest races. How was I to disentangle
the surroundings of Charlemagne and his son and to represent the
interests and types of the Frankish race? How was I to pick out the
Eudes and Roberts, the National Kings who sprang up and reigned over
the conquered land which was to produce its Camilles and Pélages? It
was staggering to know nothing at thirty of what other men knew when
they were twelve. I had studied the theatre; I knew enough about it
to be satisfied on that head. I must, then, study history as I had
studied the theatre, and I believed that history was a barrier put in
my path. Who was there to tell me that there would be a fresh course
of study to make, longer, drier and more arduous than the preceding
one? The study of the theatre had taken me five or six years. How much
time was the study of history going to take me? Alas! I should have to
study it for the rest of my life! If I had studied at the age of other
people, I should have had nothing else to do but produce! I had as yet
only the title to my drama. It need hardly be said that all I knew
about the battle of Hastings was that which I had read in Sir Walter
Scott's _Ivanhoe._ So I purposed to compose something after the style
of Shakespeare's _Cymbeline_ and not a historical drama. Accordingly,
I read by chance a romance by Auguste Lafontaine--I would indeed like
to tell you which but I have forgotten--all I remember is that the
heroine's name was Jacobine. However, if you wish to remove all doubts
about the matter, my friend Madame Cardinal, rue des Canettes, will
tell you. She knows her Auguste Lafontaine by heart. Anyhow, Jacobine
is made to take a narcotic and is put to sleep so that she may pass for
dead, and, thanks to this supposed death, which releases her from the
trammels of the earth, she can marry her lover. It is a little like
_Romeo and Juliet;_ but what is there on this earth here below which
does not resemble some other idea, more or less? You will notice that
I had already had this tiresome drama in my head for a very long time;
for I had suggested it to Harel in the month of August 1830, instead
of _Napoléon,_ which I strongly disliked doing. We have seen how Harel
fought and overcame my resistance. As for _Édith aux longs cheveux,_ he
had refused it outright, and you will see directly that he was not ill
advised in doing so.



CHAPTER VI


_Édith aux longs cheveux--Catherine Howard_


Here is the story of _Édith aux longs cheveux_; you will meet her again
under another name, clad in another garb and, instead of moving along
in five acts, dragging behind her a tail of eight scenes.

A young girl who has been deserted lives in a sort of Eden surrounded
by green shade, singing birds and flowers; a river flows, encroaching
on one corner of her garden, as on the Arno or the Canal de la Brenta,
and beautiful young people pass by on it who make her dream of love,
and beautiful noblemen who make her dream ambitious dreams.

One of these noblemen notices her, and stops before the graceful
apparition, penetrates into what he believes is a fairy palace and
finds a young maiden, who looks as though she were the sister of the
birds and the flowers which surround her; like them, she sings; like
them, she is white and rosy and sweet scented. He falls in love with
Edith. But Edith cares for nothing but the court and balls and fêtes
and royal pomp. Ethelwood is the king's favourite; and, meantime,
she allows herself to be loved by Ethelwood. Edith is one of those
women who are as white as marble and as cold at heart as marble; she
is like the statue of an ancient courtesan, dug up from the ruins of
Pompeii, which is touched to life by the daylight and sunshine. She is
alive, but that is all; it is useless to expect love from her. It is
very seldom I created such characters in my books or dramas as this,
but I had an example before me at the time. That example lured me on;
there is always a little of the outside material world in the ideal
inner world of the artist. She tells Ethelwood that she loves him,
but she does not; for, behind Ethelwood, she looks towards the king.
The king has also seen her; it is fated that certain women cannot be
seen without being loved. The king sees Edith and loves her. But who
is she and how is she to be approached? The king knows nothing about
it; he needs ministers to help him to his love, as he needs them in
his kingdom; and if Ethelwood helps him to support half his power,
Ethelwood will also help him to carry the weight of his love. That
which Ethelwood dreaded happens: the king falls in love with the same
woman that he does. This woman is his very life; he wishes to keep
her from the king at no matter what price. On the following day he
has to visit Edith with the king. He has the night before him and on
his side--night, the faithful ally of lovers, we must also add the
capricious friend, for she betrays almost as often as she serves! He
sets off; in two hours' time he is with Edith. He presses into her hand
a flask filled with the potent drug which only exists on the stage and
is only to be found among Shakespeare's alchemists. When the lover sees
her, beautiful and young and almost loving for the first time--for she
is thinking of the king, whilst fondling Ethelwood--he hesitates even
to put this masterpiece of creation to sleep. Sleep, said the ancients,
is brother to Death. But suppose the sister be jealous of the brother
and pluck the soul of that beautiful child, like a flower from a tomb,
during her sleep! A ballad Edith sings about a vassal espoused by a
king decides him; the narcotic is poured into the maiden's glass;
she has hardly drunk it before a deadly stupor spreads over her; she
feels herself growing numb; she cries out, calls, instinctively pushes
Ethelwood from her and falls asleep in despair thinking she is dying.
He returns to the palace; next day, when he returned with the king
they find Edith dead. She is laid in a vault; the king and Ethelwood
go down into it and the king kneels. Ethelwood remains standing with
his hand on the girl's heart, fearing that life has disappeared and
is turned into death. He feels a slight throbbing in her veins and
thinks the icy marble is gradually becoming warmer. What will happen
if Edith wakes? He makes a pretext of the king's grief and drags him
away, just as Edith's heart is beginning to flutter beneath his hand.
Edith is left alone and wakes like Juliet; but, when Juliet awakens,
she finds Romeo waiting for her. Edith is alone with the dead, with all
the terrors and superstitions of the young girl: she cries and calls
and shakes the door of the vault; it opens and Ethelwood appears. For
the first time she flings herself into his arms with the effusion of
gratitude. It is not a king bringing her a crown, but something much
greater and more precious, a far more providential gift: a saviour who
brings her life. For some moments she loves him with the whole strength
of the life which she thought she had lost. Her expression is so open
and true and spontaneous that she deceives the poor lover. He thinks he
is beloved and tells her everything. The king has seen her and is in
love with her. Then, for the benefit of the audience only, under the
guise of the loving girl, one of the characteristics of the ambitious
woman begins to reveal itself. Ethelwood confesses his ruse to Edith:
he tells her how he made her take a drug to put her to sleep; he
discloses to her what he had hidden from her until now, that he is one
of the highest nobles in the State; but this no longer satisfies Edith!
He tells her that, during her sleep, the king came down into her vault,
and prayed on his knees by the side of the adored body which he took
for a corpse; and that he, Ethelwood, a prey to the anguish of despair,
awaited, dagger in hand, for the first movement of Edith and the first
sigh from the king to stab the latter.

In the midst of the poor fool's story, Edith follows her own train of
thought only. The king loves her! Why not be the king's wife rather
than that of the king's favourite?... Did not the king put his ring
of betrothal on her finger?... A ring--it is a crown in miniature!
Meantime, Edith must be got out of the tomb, which weighs heavily on
her, and take advantage of the night to reach Ethelwood's château.
Ethelwood will go and explore the surroundings and then, if the road
be deserted, he will return and fetch Edith. Edith is left alone for
a moment and makes use of the time to search for traces of the king's
footsteps on the damp flagstones, and the marks of his hand on the cold
marble. In that brief moment she discloses her heart and the abyss of
ambition which has swallowed up all her love.

Ethelwood returns to fetch her. It is almost with regret that she
leaves the vault where a king has kissed her brow and passed a ring on
her finger. The next act is in the count's château. Edith seems happy.
Ethelwood is happy. The arrival of the king is announced. What has
he to do at the count's home? Edith would know why; obliged to hide
herself from being seen by the king, she does it in such a way as not
to lose a word he says to the count.

The king is profoundly sad. Like all wounded hearts, he seeks for
conflict; the war with France affords a diversion for his grief; he
will go on the Continent. But he wants a firm and trustworthy regent
for his State during his absence; he has thought of Ethelwood, who
shall be the regent, and, to reward him for his devotion, and, still
more, to attach him to the interests of the kingdom, sure as he is of
his loyalty, he will give him his sister in marriage.

Ethelwood tries to refuse this twofold honour; he objects that Princess
Eleanor--I think she was called Eleanor; I am not very certain, but
the name of the princess does not affect the matter: in theatrical
slang the princess would be called la princesse _Bouche Trou_ (_i.e._ a
stop-gap princess)--the Princess Eleanor does not love him. Ethelwood
is mistaken, the princess does love him. He refuses everything. This
refusal at first surprises, then annoys, the king.... A quarrel springs
up between subject and king. The subject puts his hand on his sword
hilt. Henceforth, he will incur confiscation, degradation, death on the
scaffold; he will become poor, renounce his rank, will brave death, but
he will marry no other woman than Edith. The king goes away, forbidding
him to follow: but Ethelwood is the king's host; he must conduct him
to his château gates; he must hold his stirrup and give his knee for
the king to mount his horse. Scarcely has the king gone out and the
count disappeared behind him, than a thick tapestry is raised and
Edith enters on the scene. She has seen nothing save that the king is
young and beautiful; heard nothing but that he loves her. Ethelwood's
devotion, his refusal to marry the king's sister, the danger he is
incurring, all glide over her heart like a breath on a mirror. She goes
to the window. Ethelwood is on his knees holding the king's stirrup.
In the office which, where nobility of spirit is present, is regarded
as an honour, Edith sees nothing but shame; and, looking at the king,
covered with gold and precious stones, surrounded with the homage of
a people, as in a purple mantle, grown great by the lowliness of all
who are around him, she lets fall the whisper, "If only I could be
queen!..." At this moment Ethelwood returns. He makes up his mind,
Edith shall know him as he is. He asks for pen, paper and ink. He is
going to write his will.

"Are you going to die then?" asks Edith.

"No; but I am going to make you a return for all you have done for me.
I only poured you out half the liquid contained in the flask; the rest
was for myself, in case it had turned out to be a poison instead of a
narcotic."

"Well?"

"I have drunk the rest of that liquid from the flask."

Edith grows pale; she begins to understand. The parchment upon which
Ethelwood has rapidly traced a few lines will tell to every one that
the count has taken refuge from the king's anger in death. As Edith lay
in her grave, Ethelwood will be laid in his; and, as he watched over
her, she, in her turn, shall watch by him; as he had the key of death,
she shall have the key of life. Edith fights against this idea; she
measures her own weakness, urges her ambition, but too late: Ethelwood,
when he left the king, had taken the narcotic. He totters, pales, falls
into Edith's arms as he puts the key of the vault into her hand saying--

"Till to-morrow!"

Next day, instead of opening the gates of life to her lover, Edith
takes the king her betrothal ring. The king at first thinks she is the
ghost of the woman whom he loved; then, by degrees, he is satisfied; he
joyously touches the warm and living hand which he had touched when it
was dead and cold; he renews to the Edith full of life the offers he
had made to the Edith asleep in the tomb. The young girl turns giddy
and needs to recollect all her promised ambitions. The key of the vault
where her lover lies burns like red-hot iron. She goes to the window
and asks if the river which flows at the foot of the palace is very
deep.

"It is a gulf which swallows up all that is thrown into it."

Edith turns her head aside, and with a smothered cry lets the key fall
into it, saying--

               "Que pour  l'éternité.
L'abime l'engloutisse, ou le courant l'entraîne!

LE ROI.

Que faites-vous, Édith?

ÉDITH.

Moi, rien ... je me fais reine!"

I had pondered over this subject for two years, and had worked for
something like three to four months at the plan of this fine work. I
was reasonably well satisfied with it, not because of its merit, but
on account of the trouble it had cost me: in other words, I believed
I had achieved a masterpiece. So, for the first time in my life--and
also for the last--I invited two or three friends to come to hear the
reading of it which I had to give before the Théâtre-Français. I had a
splendid audience. My delusion lasted to the end of the first act; but
I must say it went no further. At the end of that act, I already felt
that my _chef d'œuvre_ had not caught on with the public. By the second
act, it was still colder. By the third, it was frigid! One of the
greatest punishments that can be imposed on an author, in expiation of
his plays, is to read before a committee that has come with benevolent
intentions, and to feel these intentions little by little fading away,
turning yellow, falling at the breath of boredom, as autumn leaves
fall under the killing winds of winter. Ah! what would one not give,
at such a moment, not to have to go on to the finish, but to roll up
one's manuscript, make one's bow and depart! But no such fate! In
spite of the service the author would render to his audience, he is
condemned to read and the audience to hear. He must go to the very
end! He must descend the staircase of this tomb step by step, colder
than the staircase of death itself! This was, I repeat, the first time
the thing had happened to me; a just punishment for my pride. I rose
immediately after the last hemistich and went out, leaving _Édith aux
longs cheveux_ on the committee table. I felt that, this time, it was
not a narcotic she had taken, like Juliet, but a fine, good poison
she had swallowed, like Romeo. However, I had not the courage to go
away without an answer. So I waited for it in the manager's office.
It was Mademoiselle Mars herself who brought it me. Poor Mademoiselle
Mars! She wore a funereal expression; one would have said that she had
returned from Ethelwood's obsequies, after having the day before been
at those of Edith. She beat about the bush in all sorts of ways to
break it to me that the committee did not think my play was suitable
for acting. According to her, the play was only half written, "What
became of Edith after she had flung the key into the abyss? What
became of Ethelwood, enclosed in the vault? What became of the king's
sister, who was enamoured of this living dead man? Was it possible that
Providence could look on at such a crime without interfering? That
divine justice could hear of such a grievance and find no true bill?
There must be a sequel to be joined to such a beginning, a second part
to attach to this first. Was there no way of turning the sister of
the king to account? Could she not represent faithfulness, as Edith
represented ingratitude? Could she not descend into the vault to see
her dead lover as the king had done to see his dead fiancée? Could not
that happen to the sister which had nearly happened in the king's case
and Ethelwood?..."

I took hold of Mademoiselle Mars's hand.

"The play is saved," I said to her; "it shall be called _Catherine
Howard._ Thanks to you, I perceive the ending.... Where are my friends
that I may announce the good news to them?"

But my friends were far away. They found a disused door by which they
could make sure of fleeing without meeting me. Next day I received a
letter from the secretary of the Comédie-Française, which invited me to
take away the manuscript. "Fling it into the fire!" I replied. I do not
know whether he obeyed my instructions; but I know I never saw it again
and the only verses which I remember are the two and a half I have
quoted--

    "On les immola tous, sire:--ils étaient trois mille!"

And that was how the beautiful _Édith aux longs cheveux_ was buried.

We will tell in due order and place how there came into existence her
sister, _Catherine Howard,_ who was not worth much more than she was,
and who died in the flower of her age, in the year of grace 1834.



BOOK III



CHAPTER I


An invasion of cholera--Aspect of Paris--Medicine and the scourge
--Proclamation of the Prefect of Police--The supposed poisoners--Harel's
newspaper paragraph--Mademoiselle Dupont--Eugène Durieu and Anicet
Bourgeois--Catherine (not Howard) and the cholera--First performance of
_Mari de la veuve_--A horoscope which did not come true


Meantime, France had been anxiously following the progress of cholera
for some time past. Starting from India, it had taken the route of the
great magnetic currents, had crossed Persia, reached St. Petersburg
and stopped at London. The Channel alone separated it from us. But
what is the distance between Dover and Calais to a giant who has just
done three thousand leagues? So it crossed the Channel at a single
stride. I remember the day when it struck its first blow: the sky was
sapphire blue; the sun very powerful. All nature was being born again,
with its beautiful green robe and the colours of youth and of health
on its cheeks. The Tuileries was studded with women as a greensward
is with flowers; revolutionary risings had died down for some time,
leaving society a little peace and permitting spectators to venture
out to the theatres. Suddenly, a terrible cry went forth, uttered in
a voice like those mentioned in the Bible which thrill through the
atmosphere, hurling maledictions on the earth from the skies: "The
cholera is in Paris!" They added: "A man has just died in the rue
Chauchat; he was literally struck down dead!" It was exactly as though
a veil of crape was stretched between the blue sky and the bright sun
and Paris. People rushed out into the streets and fled to their homes,
shouting: "The cholera! the cholera!" as, seventeen years before,
they had shouted: "The Cossacks!" But, no matter how well they closed
their doors and windows, the terrible demon of Asia slipped in through
the chinks of the shutters and through the keyholes of the doors.
Then people attempted to fight it. Science came forward and tried to
wrestle with it at close quarters. It touched it with its finger-tips,
and science was floored. Science rose stunned but not vanquished; and
began to study the disease. Sometimes, people died in three hours'
time; at others, in even less time still. The sick man, or, rather,
the condemned, suddenly felt a slight shivering: then came the first
stage of cold, then cramp, then the terrible and ceaseless dysentery;
next the circulation was stopped by the thickening of the blood; the
capillaries were altered; the sick man became black and died. But none
of these stages was positively fixed; they might follow or precede or
intermingle with one another; each separate constitution brought its
own variety of the malady. Further, these were but symptoms; people
died with symptoms as of some unknown disease. The corpse was visible,
but the assassin invisible! It struck and the blow was seen, but it was
useless to search for the dagger. People were doctored by guesswork;
as a man surprised by a thief in the night strikes out into the gloom
by chance, hoping to hit the thief, so science wielded its sword in
the darkness. In Russia, they treated cholera with ice. The attacks
there presented the symptoms of typhoid. Opinion was divided on this
point. Some administered tonics, that is to say, punch, warm wine,
Bordeaux and Madeira. Others, thinking only of the abdominal pains,
treated them with both the systems in vogue at that period, either by
the physiological system of Broussais, which consisted in bleeding
the sick and putting leeches on the stomach and abdomen--a treatment
which attempted to attack the inflammatory part of the disease--or by
opiates, calmatives and soothing medicines, like opium, belladonna
and hellebore--this was to deal with the pain more than the disease.
Others, again, tried warmth, hot-air baths, rubbing, burning iron. When
the cold stage was attacked in time, and by energetic reaction they
succeeded in overcoming the cold, the patient was generally saved. All
the same, they only saved about one out of every ten! This was the
reverse of the tithe.

The scourge struck the poorer classes by preference, but it did not
spare the rich. The hospitals were crowded with terrible rapidity. A
man would fall ill in his home; two neighbours put him on a stretcher
and carried him to the nearest hospital. The sick man often died
before he got there, and one, if not both, of the carriers would take
his place upon the stretcher. A ring of frightened faces would form
round the dead, and a cry would sound from the crowd. A man with one
of his hands to his chest and the other to his body would writhe like
an epileptic, fall to the ground, roll on the pavement, turn blue and
expire. The crowd would disperse terrified, lifting hands to heaven,
turning their heads behind them and flying for the sake of flight, for
the danger was everywhere; it did not understand the distinctions the
doctors made between the three words: epidemic, endemic and contagious.

The doctors were heroic! Never general on the bloodiest field of
battle ran dangers equal to those to which the man of science exposed
himself in the midst of the hospitals or as he went from bed to bed
in the town. The Sisters of Charity were saints and often martyrs.
The strangest rumours got abroad, springing from one knows not where,
and repeated by the people with curses and menaces. They said that
it was the fault of the Government, which, to get rid of the surplus
population filling up Paris, caused poison to be thrown into the
fountains and into the casks of the wine merchants. Paris seemed to
be seized with madness; those even whose offices made it a duty to
reassure others were afraid. On 2 April, the Prefect of Police, M.
Gisquet, addressed the following circular to the Police Commissaries:--

    "MONSIEUR LE COMMISSAIRE,--The appearance of the
    cholera-germ in the capital, the source of active anxiety
    and of real sorrow for all good citizens, has given the
    perpetual enemies of order a fresh opportunity for spreading
    infamous calumnies against the Government throughout the
    population; people have dared to say that the cholera is
    nothing short of poisoning effected by the agents of those
    in authority in order to decrease the population and to turn
    aside the general attention from political questions.

    _"I am informed that, to give credit to these atrocious
    conjectures, certain wretches have conceived the project
    of going through the public-houses and butchers' shops
    with bottles and packets of poison, either to throw into
    the fountains or wine casks or on to the meat, or simply
    to seem to do so and then get arrested in the very act by
    accomplices, who, after having made out that they were
    attached to the police, will countenance their escape, and,
    finally, set everything at work to demonstrate the reality
    of the odious accusation directed against authority._

    "I need only point out such designs to you, monsieur, to
    make you feel the necessity of redoubling your vigilance
    over the establishment of dealers in liquids and butchers'
    shops, and to urge you to warn the inhabitants against
    attempts which they have a personal and powerful interest in
    preventing. If such audacious attempts are carried out, I
    need hardly tell you how important it will be to seize the
    culprits and to place them in the hands of justice. It is a
    task in which you will be seconded by all friends of order
    and by all respectable people.--Receive, etc.

    "GISQUET"

An hour after the appearance of such a circular, the Prefect of Police
ought to have been prosecuted. But nothing was done. M. Gisquet
answered a blunder by a libel. It was no longer the agents of the
Government who poisoned the fountains and wine casks to reduce the
population and turn attention away from political affairs, it was the
Republicans who threw bottles of poison over the butchers' stalls to
depopulate the Government of Louis-Philippe! One could understand
the first accusation, which sprang out of ignorance; but the second!
which came from authority and from such a quarter! a quarter which
ought to be the best informed on such affairs as these! The people
only asked not to have to believe in the presence of the plague: that
invisible enemy, which struck from the heart of the clouds, irritated
the people by its invisibility. They refused to believe that one could
die of an atmospheric poison, from so pure a sky and so radiant a
sun. A material, visible, palpable cause would do its business much
more effectually--at all events, revenge could be taken on a tangible
cause. Placards containing nearly the same accusations were pasted
up. The same day crowds collected round these placards and then they
took themselves off to the barriers. Poor unfortunate wretches were
knocked down by sticks, assassinated by knife-thrusts, torn by the
nails of women and the teeth of dogs. A man would be pointed at with
a finger--pursued, attacked and killed! I saw one of these terrible
executions from a distance. The crowd moved towards the barrier: one
could count the heads by the thousand, each one a wave of that angry
ocean; a great number of butcher-boys with their aprons spotted with
blood were mixed up in that frightful sea, each apron among all those
waves like a crest of foam. Paris threatened to become worse than a
great charnel-house: it threatened to become a vast slaughter-house.
The prefect was obliged to retract and to recognise that an assassin, a
murderer, a poisoner who escaped all capture, had broken loose, and was
hiding himself in Paris. That assassin, murderer and poisoner was the
cholera!

Oh! who ever saw Paris at that time would forget it, with its
implacable blue sky, its mocking sun, its deserted walks, its solitary
boulevards, its streets strewn with hearses and haunted by phantoms?
Places of public entertainment looked like immense tombs. Harel put the
following paragraph in the newspapers during the performances of _Dix
ans de la vie d'une femme:_--

    "It has been noticed with surprise that theatres are the
    only public places where, whatever the number of spectators,
    no case of cholera had yet appeared. We present this
    INCONTESTABLE fact for scientific investigation."

Poor Harel! He still had his wits about him, when nobody else had
any left or even dreamt of such a thing! It was the Terror of 1793
on a grand scale. In 1793, the worst days counted their thirty or
thirty-five victims. Now, the newspapers admitted to between seven
and eight hundred deaths per day! It was a strange thing! But other
diseases seemed to have disappeared; they were stayed from sheer
stupefaction; death had no longer any but the one way of striking. One
left a friend at night, shook his hand, saying, _"Au revoir_!" and, th
next day, a voice would come from one knew not where, out of chaos,
would whisper in one's ear--

"You knew such and such a person?"

"Yes ... Well?"

"He is dead!"

One had said _au revoir_; it was _adieu_ one ought to have said instead.

Soon, there was a shortness of coffins: in that terrible _steeplechase_
between death and the coffin-makers, the latter were outdistanced. They
wrapped the bodies in tapestries; they rumbled along ten, fifteen,
twenty, to the church at once. Relatives followed the common carts or
not, as the case might be. Each knew the number of his own dead and
mourned them. A mass was said for all collectively; then they wended
their way to the cemetery, and tipped the contents of the tapestry into
the common grave, and covered them all over with a shroud of lime.

The 18th of April was the crisis of the first outbreak--the numbers
rose to nearly a thousand! At that time, I lived, as I have said,
in the rue Saint-Lazare, in the square d'Orléans, and I saw from my
windows every day fifty to sixty funerals pass on their way to the
Montmartre cemetery. It was with this prospect before my eyes that I
wrote one of my gayest comedies: _Le Mari de la veuve._ This is how
the play came about. Mademoiselle Dupont, the excellent soubrette
of the Comédie-Française, who laughed with such rosy lips and white
teeth, she who was the most impudent Martine I have ever seen, had
obtained a benefit performance. I had known her more at Firmin's house
privately than at the theatre; she had never acted in any of my plays.
One morning--it was, so far as I can recollect, the very day before 29
March, on which day the cholera was to burst forth--she came to see me.
Everything was ready for her benefit. She came to ask me to write her a
narrative scene. It was Saturday, I think: the performance was to take
place on the following Tuesday or Wednesday. There was no time to lose.
I am stupid at improvising anything appropriate to such an occasion as
this; and yet how could I refuse the charming soubrette a demand of so
little importance?

"Defer the performance until Saturday," I said to her, "and, instead of
one scene, I will write you a one-act comedy."

"Will you promise to do this?"

"On my honour!"

"I will go and see if it be possible, and I will return in an hour's
time."

Twenty minutes later I received a note from Mademoiselle Dupont telling
me she had obtained a respite of twelve days, and asking me to make
a part in it for Mademoiselle Mars. I had not been on very friendly
terms with Mademoiselle Mars since _Antony,_ and she had not taken the
trouble to make it up with me.

Now I had one friend, a man of infinite cleverness, head or second in
command at the Home Offices,--a friend who has since made his name in
the Government. He was called, and happily still calls himself, Eugène
Durieu. I had met him two or three times during the past year, and
every time he had given me the subject for a play, either in one act,
or two or in three. But I do not know why we had never yet settled
anything. I wrote to him and he came to me.

"Let us look over your subjects," I said; "I want a play in one act for
Mademoiselle Dupont's benefit"--

"Are you crazy? She is billed for next Tuesday!"

"It is put off for a week."

"And you think a play could be written, read, distributed, learned and
played between now and then?"

"I will do my part."

"Really."

"A day to write the play, one to get it re-copied, one for reading
it; there will still be seven days for the rehearsals; a luxurious
allowance!"

Eugène Durieu recognised the correctness of the calculation and gave me
the benefit of his ideas. We thought of the subject of _Le Mari de la
veuve_; but the plan was a long way from completion.

"Listen!" I said to Durieu, "it is noon; I have business until
five o'clock. Anicet Bourgeois wishes to have his turn at the
Théâtre-Français; why, I don't know. Some whim of his! Go and find him
for me; settle the outlines of the drama with him, return together
at half-past four and we will dine together. In the evening we will
arrange the numbering of the scenes; I can set to work on the play
to-night or to-morrow morning, and, in any case, at whatever time I
start upon it, it shall be finished twenty-four hours later."

Durieu left at a run. I returned at five, as I had said, and found my
two collaborators at the task. The foundations were not yet laid; I
came to the rescue. They left me at midnight, leaving me a number of
scenes nearly completed. The next day, as I had promised, I set to
work. I was at my third or fourth scene when the chambermaid entered,
looking terrified and as pale as death.

"Ah! Monsieur! Monsieur! Monsieur!" she said.

"Well, what is the matter, Catherine?"

"Ah! Monsieur it is ... My God! My God!"

"What?"

"It is the cholera ... Ah! Monsieur, I have the cramp!"

"The cholera is in Paris?"

"Yes, monsieur, it is, the scoundrel!"

"_Diable!_ Are you sure what you say is true?"

"A man has just died in the rue Chauchat, monsieur. He had only been
dead a quarter of an hour, and he is already as black as a nigger!"

"How did they treat him?"

"By rubbing, monsieur; but it was no use ... Black, monsieur--quite
black!"

"Perhaps they rubbed him with a blacking-brush."

"Oh, monsieur, you may joke!... Rue Chauchat, monsieur, in the rue
Chauchat!"

Now, the rue Chauchat is next to the rue Saint-Lazare. What could
prevent the cholera in leaving the rue Chauchat from passing along the
rue Saint-Lazare and knocking at my own door?

"If the cholera rings, do not open to it, Catherine," I resumed. "I am
going to see what is happening."

I took up my hat and went out. Then it was that I saw with my own eyes
the spectacle of terror that I have tried to describe. I returned home,
very much disinclined to write my comedy, I confess, and I wrote to
Mademoiselle Dupont:--

    "MA BELLE MARTINE,--I presume that when you settled the day
    for your performance you had reckoned without the cholera.
    It has just come from London and made its début two hours
    ago in the rue Chauchat. Its début is making such a
    commotion that it will, I am afraid, spoil your takings.
    What ought I to do about the one-act comedy?--Yours always,
    ALEX. DUMAS"

Mademoiselle Dupont was at home, and I received the following reply by
the same messenger as had taken my letter:--

    "MY DEAR DUMAS,--My benefit has been on the way for such
    a long time that I want it done with, one way or another.
    Finish your play, then, I beseech you; it must take its
    chance.--Always yours, DUPONT"

So I returned to _Le Mari de la veuve._ The play was finished in
twenty-four hours, as I had promised. The principal part pleased
Mademoiselle Mars, and she accepted it. Her presence in a play was
a guarantee for speed. Indeed, we have already said how honest
Mademoiselle Mars was in theatrical matters and with authors. She came
punctually to the rehearsals, in spite of the cholera, and enraged
me just as much over one act as she would have done over a five-act
play. Each day she found some thing to correct; and I had to take the
play home and make the correction there. This was how _Le Mari de la
veuve_ was created, with that funereal background of which I have just
been telling you. The play was exquisitely mounted: the five parts it
contained were filled by Mademoiselle Mars, Monrose, Anaïs, Menjaud and
Mademoiselle Dupont.

The play was performed on the appointed day. The cholera had proved
a troublesome competitor; there were not five hundred people in the
theatre. The play had but a moderate success and obtained even a round
of hissing. After Menjaud had been caught in a shower, he re-entered
the castle shaking himself.

"What weather!" he said; "I am as drenched as College wine!"

A spectator hissed; no doubt some schoolmaster. The saying, though,
was not mine; I had heard it said to Soulié a few days before, and had
utilised it because I thought it so funny.

It was a fresh proof to me of the truth of the saying that what suits
one person to perfection jars on another. I have hunted in all the
newspapers for an account of the performance and cannot find any trace
of it except in the _Annuaire historique_ by Lesur and the _Gazette
de France._ My readers will allow me to lay before them the twofold
appreciation offered by criticism on the work: it is short and sincere.
Here is Lesur's--

    THÉÂTRE-FRANÇAIS

    "_Performance for the benefit of Mademoiselle Dupuis ..."_

    [In the first place, Lesur is wrong: he should have said
    _Mademoiselle Dupont_.]

    "_Le Mari de la veuve,_ a Comedy in one Act, in prose by
    M....

    "No theatrical performance on a Benefit day ever offered
    a more melancholy aspect and a more scanty assembly. The
    cholera had invaded Paris; the town was given over to
    terror, riot ran rife through the street, drums beat at the
    hour for the opening of the box office. There were very few
    spectators that night bold enough to breathe the smell of
    camphor and lime in the solitudes of the Théâtre-Français
    in order to judge the merits of the new play. Under these
    circumstances, the absent hardly lost much.

    "A few pleasant incidents and witty sayings, and the talent
    of Mademoiselle Mars, might be able to support this slight
    work for a _dozen or so of performances._

    "The author, who, doubtless, is not blind as to the
    unimportant nature of the play, maintains his anonymity."

    That is one! Now let us pass on to the _Gazette de_ _France._

    "A short Comedy has recently been performed: _Le Mari de_
    _la veuve,_ by M. Alexandre Dumas, which, although the
    dialogue is written with plenty of go and naturalness,
    offers very little in the way of common sense as to
    plot and truth of characterisation; but the play is so
    agreeably acted by Monrose, Menjaud, Mademoiselle Mars and
    Mademoiselle Dupont, that it ought to cause great amusement
    and much laughter among those who are inclined to make fun
    of the quibblers and silent indifference of the smaller
    newspapers against the Théâtre-Français, and to go oftener
    to this theatre than to _Atar-Gull_ or to _Madame Gibou."_

The play has now been performed over three hundred times since its
first appearance.



CHAPTER II


My régime against the cholera--I am attacked by the epidemic--I
invent etherisation--Harel comes to suggest to me _La Tour de
Nesle_--Verteuil's manuscript--Janin and the tirade of the
_grandes dames_--First idea of the _prison scene_--My terms with
Harel--Advantages offered by me to M. Gaillardet--The spectator in the
Odéon--Known and unknown authors--My first letter to M. Gaillardet


The cholera was running its course, but we had arrived at the stage of
getting accustomed to it. In France, alas! we get used to everything!
It was even said that the best way of fighting the cholera was not to
think about it but to live as far as possible in one's ordinary way.
This régime suited me excellently at the period in question. I wrote
_Gaule et France,_ a work which fatigued me very much in the way of
study, to such an extent that I was not sorry to forget my day's work
in the evening. Every night, accordingly, I had some friends with me:
Fourcade, Collin, Boulanger, Liszt, Châtillon, Hugo at times, Delanoue
nearly always. We talked and talked of art; sometimes we persuaded Hugo
to read us poetry; Liszt, who never required much pressing, thumped on
a bad piano with all his might, and he ended by breaking it to pieces;
so the evening would fly by without any one thinking any more of the
cholera than if it had been at St. Petersburg or Benares or Pekin.
Besides, it had been calculated that five hundred deaths per day, out
of a million of men, was not quite one death per thousand, and, taking
everything into consideration, one had far more chance of being one of
the thousand living souls than the one dead one. This calculation, it
will be seen, was exceedingly reassuring. In the midst of all this,
Harel, who was at loggerheads with Hugo, came to me from time to time
to tease me to write him another play. He made out that it was a most
favourable time, that nothing was being a success elsewhere, and that
the first-comer to make a success under such circumstances would have a
run of a hundred performances.

As for the cholera, he treated it as a myth, and put it on a level with
the ghosts of Semiramis and of Hamlet; he put a bit of paper into his
snuff-box to remind himself that he was in Paris. The object of his
pursuing me with such determination was a drama entitled _La Tour de
Nesle,_ in which he said there was originality enough to set all Paris
on fire with excitement. I rejected the tempter energetically, telling
him that the same subject had been suggested to me twice before; once
by Roger de Beauvoir, author of _L'Écolier de Cluny;_ also by Fourcade,
who, at that time, was anxious to produce literature.

Henri Fourcade was Fourcade's brother, my old friend, of whom I
have already spoken with reference to my early love affairs at
Villers-Cotterets; who, it will be recollected, danced so well, and
had in his pocket a second pair of gloves to change, when he went to
the ball--a luxury at which I had been struck dumb. One night, then,
when we had been laughing, talking, spouting verses, playing music, and
having supper, as I was about to see my friends out and was lighting
them from the top of my landing, I felt suddenly overtaken with a
slight trembling in my legs; I took no notice of it and lent against
the bannisters, half to light those who were going downstairs and half
to support myself, as I shouted a ringing, cheerful _au revoir_! to
them. Then, when the sound of their footsteps was lost in the square, I
turned round to go into my rooms.

"Oh, monsieur!" said Catherine to me, "how pale you are!"

"Nonsense; am I really, Catherine?" I said laughingly. "Go and look in
the glass, sir, and see."

I followed her advice and looked in the glass. I was, indeed,
exceedingly pale. At the same time, I was seized with a shaking which
gradually turned to a violent shivering fit.

"It is queer," I said; "I feel very cold."

"Ah! monsieur," cried Catherine; "that is how it begins."

"What, Catherine?"

"The cholera, monsieur."

"You think I have the cholera then, Catherine?"

"Oh! I am sure of it, monsieur."

"Oh! Then, Catherine, let us lose no time: get a lump of sugar, dip it
in ether and fetch a doctor."

Catherine went away, tumbling against the furniture as she left, and
exclaiming--

"Oh! _mon Dieu!_ Master has the cholera!"

Meanwhile, as I felt my strength failing rapidly, I went up to my bed,
undressed myself as fast as possible, and lay down. I shivered more
and more. Catherine returned; the poor girl was nearly off her head:
instead of bringing me a lump of sugar dipped in ether, she brought me
a wineglassful of ether. When I say full, I should add that, by good
fortune, her hand had trembled so much that the glass was no more than
two-thirds full. She gave it to me. With more reason for my condition
than she, I hardly knew what I was doing; I did not remember what it
was I had asked her for, and was ignorant of the contents of the glass
she held out to me, I carried it to my lips and swallowed a whole ounce
of ether at a gulp. I felt as though I had swallowed the sword of the
Avenging Angel! I heaved a sigh, closed my eyes, and my head fell back
on the pillow. No chloroform ever produced a quicker result. From that
moment and for two hours my unconsciousness lasted, I knew nothing
at all; only, when I opened my eyes again, I was in a vapour bath
which, by means of a pipe, my doctor was administering to me beneath my
bedclothes, whilst a good neighbour was rubbing me on the top of the
sheets with a warming-pan full of embers. I do not know what I shall
feel like in hell, but I shall never even there be more nearly roasted
than I was that night. I spent five or six days without being able to
put a foot out of my bed; I was literally exhausted. Every day Harel's
card was brought in; he was told, as was everybody else, that I could
not see visitors. When I again opened my doors to people, the first
thing I saw through the half-opened door was his smiling, clever face.

"What about the cholera?" I asked.

"It has departed!"

"Are you sure of it?"

"It did not pay its expenses.... Ah! my friend, what a capital time for
launching a drama!"

"Do you think so?"

"There will be a reaction in favour of the theatres; besides, you saw
what I put in the newspapers?"

"Yes, about the places of entertainment not having had a single case
of cholera in them.... My dear Harel, you are the cleverest man of the
nineteenth century!"

"Oh! not so!"

"Why not?"

"You can well see why not, since I cannot get you to write me a play."

"In all conscience, am I in a fit state for doing it?"

"You?..."

He shrugged his shoulders.

"I am possessed with all the devils of a fever."

"They will give you an inspiration."

"But, seriously, let me see what your play is about."

"Well, I am going to tell you the truth."

"Really?"

"On my honour."

"Harel! Harel! Harel!"

"How stupid you are!"

"You can see very well that I did not make you say it."

"But if you make me say it; it only proves your cleverness, because you
make me stupid."

"Come, stop affectations! what were we saying?"

"That a young man from Tonnerre, named Frédérick Gaillardet, has
brought me a MS. which has some ideas in it, but he has never had
anything to do with the stage; it is not, dramatically speaking, any
good as it is. But I have entered into treaty with him because I have
my own plans."

"Let us hear what they are."

"For a long time Janin has wanted to write a drama."

"Good!"

"I said, 'Here is your excuse ready to hand!' I took my young author's
MS. to him."

"Next?"

"He read it."

"And then?"

"He agreed with me that there was dramatic material in it.

"And that drama ...?"

"He has hunted for it for six weeks, and not found it."

"Then he has added nothing to the original manuscript." "Indeed, he has
rewritten it."

"What then?"

"It is better written, but no more fit for acting."

"So that it has already two authors?"

"You need not trouble yourself about Janin."

"Why not?"

"Because, this morning, he took his own MS. and that of M. Gaillardet
in his arms, and flung them on Georges's sofa, saying to me, 'You and
your drama there can go to the devil! '"

"Then you came to me; thanks!"

"What does that matter to you, my friend? Read this."

"But I tell you I am very weak. I cannot even read."

"I will send Verteuil to you; he will read the piece to you: he reads
very well."

"Shall I not get into trouble with your young man?"

"He is as meek as a lamb, my dear fellow!"

"I see, and you wish to shear him?"

"There is no talking seriously with you."

"Send Verteuil to me."

"When?"

"When you like."

"He shall be here in an hour."

"Very well, are you going?"

"I have no mind to stay."

"Why not?"

"You would only have some one to contradict you."

"Oh! I do not promise anything."

"That is needless, since you are pledged."

"To what?"

"To deliver me the play in a fortnight."

"Harel!"

"Take pains over Georges' part."

"Harel!"

"Good-bye!"

Harel was gone.

"Oh, the brute!" I muttered, falling back on to my pillow; "he will
give me a relapse."

An hour later, as Harel had said, Verteuil was in the house. He
expected to find me sitting up and convalescent; but he found me in
bed, burning with fever, and reduced in weight by twenty-five pounds. I
frightened him.

"Oh!" he said, "you are not going to work in that state?" "What the
deuce do you expect else, my dear fellow, as Harel insists on it!"

"No, I will take the MS. away, and tell Mademoiselle Georges that it is
impossible, short of killing you."

"Is there anything in that MS.?"

"Certainly, it has some ideas, but..."

"But what?"

"Ah! you shall see ... I dare not say."

"Then leave it to me; I will read it."

"When?"

"At my leisure. Is the writing clear, by the way?"

"I recopied it myself."

"Good!"

"I have only brought Janin's version of the MS., to save you as much
time as possible."[1]

"Is there much difference between the two MSS.?"

"What do you mean?"

"Structurally?"

"It is the same thing, except for one or two tirades added by Janin."

"What about the form?"

"Oh well! it has style, you know; it is smart, brilliant, trenchant."

"I will take note of that."

"When do you wish me to return?"

"Return to-morrow."

"At what hour?"

"About noon."

"To-morrow at noon, then; rest as much as you can till then."

"I will try.... Adieu."

"Adieu!" He gave me his hand.

"Take care of yourself, you are frightfully feverish."

"That is just what I am reckoning upon. A thousand compliments to
Georges; she need not be anxious; if there is a suitable rôle for her,
it shall be created, or I will know the reason why."

"Have you nothing else for me to tell her?"

"Only that that I love her with all my heart."

Verteuil went away, leaving me alone with the fever and the copy of
Janin's MS.

Once again I repeat it (and these lines are addressed to M. Frédérick
Gaillardet), Heaven save me, after the lapse of twenty-one years, from
seeming to have hostile intentions towards a man who did me the honour
of risking his life against mine, in exchanging pistol shots with me;
but I must, according to my accustomed frankness, relate things as they
happened, very certain that, if it is still necessary at this date, the
memories of Bocage, of Georges, of Janin and of Verteuil will agree
with mine. Having made this assertion, I will continue my narrative.
When left to myself, I began to read the manuscript. The play began at
the second scene, that is to say, with Orsini's monologue. Finally, the
second scene, which was then the first, remained pretty much as it was.
There was, as Verteuil had told me, and as I myself recognised later,
no other difference between M. Gaillardet's MS. and Janin's than the
style. Janin, as is known, is, in this respect, a master before whom
small fry bow and great ones salute. But a complete tirade, probably
the most brilliant in the whole drama, belonged to Janin: it was the
one of the _grandes dames._ Did he avenge himself here on some _lady,_
some one he believed to be a _great lady_? I do not know at all; but
although the tirade is well known, we will reproduce it here.

    "BURIDAN. Vous ne savez donc pas où nous sommes?

    PHILIPPE. Où sommes-nous?

    BURIDAN. Vous ne savez donc pas quelles sont ces femmes?

    PHILIPPE. Vous êtes tout ému, Buridan!

    BURIDAN. Ces femmes, n'avez-vous pas quelque soupçon de
    leur rang?... N'avez-vous pas remarqué que ce doivent être
    de grandes dames?... Avez-vous vu, car je pense qu'il vient
    de vous arriver, à vous, ce qui vient de m'arriver, à
    moi,--avez-vous vu, dans vos amours de garnison, beaucoup
    de mains aussi blanches, beaucoup de sourires aussi
    froids?... Avez-vous remarqué ces riches habits, ces voix
    si douces, ces regards si faux? Ce sont de grandes dames
    voyez-vous!... Elles nous fait chercher dans la nuit par une
    femme vieille et voilée, qui avait des paroles mielleuses.
    Oh! ce sont de grandes dames!... A peine sommes nous entrés
    dans cet endroit éblouissant, parfumé et chaud à enivrer,
    qu'elles nous accueillis, avec mille tendresses, qu'elles se
    sont livrées à nous sans détour, sans retard, à nous tout de
    suite, à nous inconnus et tout mouillés de cet orage. Vous
    voyez bien que ce sont de grandes dames!... A table,--et
    c'est notre histoire à tous deux, n'est-ce pas?--à table,
    elles se sont abandonées à tout ce que l'amour et l'ivresse
    ont d'emportement et d'oubli; elles ont blasphémé; elles ont
    tenu d'étranges discours et d'odieuses paroles; elles ont
    oublié toute retenue, toute pudeur, oublié la terre, oublié
    le ciel. Ce sont de grandes dames, de très-grandes dames, je
    vous le répète!"

The first fault which struck me, a theatrical man, in the work, was
that the play began really at the second scene, and, consequently, none
of the parts were known or the characters properly revealed; so that
while reading this tower scene, the tavern scene began to appear to me
as in a cloud. But I did not stop short there, it was not a suitable
moment. I began the second; but I protest that I did not go further
than the eighth or tenth page. The drama completely deviated from the
course which, in my opinion, it ought to have taken.

The essential crux of the drama to me was the struggle between Buridan
and Margaret of Burgundy, between an adventurer and a queen, the one
armed with all the resources of his genius, the other with the powerful
allies of her rank. Of course, genius is naturally made to triumph
over power. Then I had had an idea in my head for a long time which I
thought highly dramatic; and I wanted to try to get that situation put
before the public.

A man is arrested, sentenced, and laid in the depths of a dungeon,
without resource or hope; a man who will be lost if his enemy has
the courage not to come and mock at his abasement, but to have him
poisoned, strangled, or stabbed in his corner; the man will be saved
if his enemy yields to the desire to come and insult him for the last
time; for, with speech, the sole weapon left him, he would frighten his
enemy so that the latter would loosen the chains on his arms a little,
and the iron collar round his neck, and open to him the door which he
had hitherto so carefully closed upon him, and lead forth in triumph
the man who expected that, if he ever left his living tomb at all, it
would only be to mount the scaffold.

The struggle between Margaret of Burgundy and Buridan gave me the idea
for this situation. It will be well understood that I did not let such
a scene slip. It is the one that has since been named _la scène de la
prison._ That settled, I did not trouble any further over the rest. I
wrote to Harel that I was his man for _La Tour de Nesle,_ and begged
him to come and arrange the terms under which this new drama should be
done.

I must explain to the public what I mean by settling the terms. I
wished--since Janin loyally, more than loyally, generously, withdrew
from the collaboration--that M. Gaillardet, who had temporarily given
up his share to Janin, should take that share to himself again. At that
period, unless under private treaty, author's rights at the theatre
Porte-Saint-Martin, for which M. Gaillardet's drama was intended,
were 48 francs for author's share and 24 francs' worth of tickets per
night. Consequently, 24 francs for author's rights and 12 francs' worth
of tickets were conceded to Janin. Janin, as we have said, gave up
his share; I wanted this share to be returned to M. Gaillardet, and
my rights to be settled independently, as if I had been a complete
stranger to the work. I laid down also, as a condition, _sine quâ
non,_ that my name should be left. It was agreed in the contract with
Janin that his name should be given. Harel raised no difficulties over
granting me my separate treaty, which was the same as in _Christine_:
10 francs per hundred of the takings, and 36 to 40 francs' worth of
tickets, I believe. Nothing could be objected to, as the rights were
proportional--if it paid, I gained; if it did not, I only made a light
demand on the receipts. Now, take careful notice, that, at this time
of cholera, two or three hundred francs were quite large takings. The
Odéon once played before one spectator who refused to have his money
returned, and insisted that they should go through the performance
for him and then hissed it. But, by hissing, the wretched man raised
a weapon against himself; the manager sent for a police officer, who,
with the excuse that the hisser disturbed the performance, put him
outside the doors. Harel, I say, made no difficulty of any kind over my
separate contract; but he did over my wishing to maintain my incognito:
I had a hard struggle over this, and he poured upon me all the dazzling
splendours of his wit and the thundering ammunition of his paradoxes. I
held out and Harel retired conquered. It was settled and signed that I
was to have my separate contract, that I should not be named, that M.
Gaillardet should alone be mentioned by name on the night of the first
performance and on the bills, and that he alone should take the whole
of the rights granted by the Porte-Saint-Martin theatre at the time
when he signed his treaty; but, I reserved to myself the right to put
the drama under my own name among my complete works. From that moment,
Verteuil never left me; he came every morning, and, as much dictated
as written by his hand, every night he carried a scene away with him.
After the prison scene, Harel rushed in. It was a _chef d'œuvre,_ which
would even put the success of _Henri III._ into the shade. I laughed. I
really must let my name be given; it was impossible otherwise. I grew
angry, and Harel took himself off in despair. Theatrical managers, in
those days, had a singular idea to which, indeed, they have returned
latterly: it was that they made more money, with equal merit, when
the name of the author was known, than if it were unknown. I think
they were mistaken. The better the name be known, the more it rouses
jealous feelings on the part of criticism: the less it be known,
the more kindly does criticism favour it. Criticism, which does not
produce children of its own, only picks up and fondles orphans which
it can adopt; but it turns, angry and growling, on those children who
are supported by a vigorous parentage. Nowadays, managers have fallen
into the opposite abuse. They have hunted out from the collections
of proverbs all the pieces which were no good at all--comedies which
were not comedies, dramas which were not dramas--and played them with
more or less success. The object of this attempt was, I believe, meant
at least to prove that dramatic art is an art by itself; a rare and
difficult one, seeing that Greece has only bequeathed to us Æschylus,
Euripides, Sophocles and Aristophanes; Rome, only Plautus, Terence and
Seneca; England, only Shakespeare and Sheridan; Italy, only Machiavelli
and Alfieri; Spain, only Lopes de Vega, Calderon, Alarcon and Tirso de
Molina; Germany, only Goethe and Schiller; and France, only Corneille,
Rotrou, Molière, Racine, Voltaire and Beaumarchais; that is to say,
but twenty-three names floating on an ocean of twenty-three centuries!
Actually, this is what happens in my opinion: more noise is made round
the work of a known author; people wait for and receive the appearance
of such work with greater curiosity; but the public also becomes more
exacting in proportion as the reputation of the writer increases: they
get tired of hearing a man called _happy_; as the Athenians grew tired
of hearing Aristides called _the Just_; and reaction operates with a
harshness all the stronger as the previous favouritism has been great.
Finally, the man who falls, if unknown, only falls from the height of
the play by which he has made his début; the known author who falls, on
the contrary, falls from the height of all his past successes. I have
experienced this in my own case; at three epochs in my life, reaction
has disturbed me to the point that, in order to keep the footing I
had arrived at, I had to exert greater efforts than those I had made
in reaching that stage. We are not far from the first of these epochs,
and I will relate this phase of my life with the same simplicity as
I have related the rest. After nine days of work, which retarded my
convalescence by more than a month, Verteuil carried away the last
scenes of the drama, with the following letter addressed to Harel:--

    "DEAR FRIEND,--Do not be distressed at these two last
    scenes. They are weak, I grant; when I got to the end, my
    strength failed me. Look upon them as null and void, as they
    will have to be rewritten. But give me two or three days'
    rest, and don't be uneasy. I begin to be of your opinion:
    there are the elements of a tremendous success in the
    work.--Yours always,

    "ALEX. DUMAS"

After the fourth act, the poorest in the whole work, Harel had written
to me--

    "MY DEAR DUMAS,--I have received your fourth act. Hum! hum!
    Your King Louis, the headstrong, is a droll figure, indeed!
    But, he has abundance of wit, and wit makes anything go
    well. I await the fifth act.--Yours etc. HAREL"

The fifth act arrived; only, it was even worse than the fourth! Harel
rushed to me with crape on his hat and his head covered with ashes. He
was in mourning for his lost success. Nothing I could say reassured
him; I must set to work again that very night. Two days later, the
scenes were rewritten, and Harel's mind set at rest. The same day I
wrote to M. Gaillardet, keeping as far as possible to my own side of
the proceedings:--

    "MONSIEUR,--M. Harel, with whom I have been in continual
    business relations, has come to ask me to give him _some
    advice_ about a work _by you_ which he wishes to put on the
    stage.

    "I seized with pleasure the opportunity of bringing forward
    a young fellow-dramatist, whom I have not the honour of
    knowing, but to whom I most sincerely wish success. I have
    smoothed down all the difficulties which would present
    themselves to you in the putting into rehearsal of a first
    piece of work, and _your_ play, as it now is, seems to me
    capable of succeeding.

    "I do not need to tell you, sir, that you _alone_ will be
    the author, and that _my name will not even be mentioned_;
    this is the condition under which I undertook the work to
    which I have been so fortunate as to be able to add. If
    you look upon what I have done for you in the light of a
    kindness, allow me to _give_ it you rather than _sell_ it
    you.

    "ALEX. DUMAS"

Indeed, from my point of view, at any rate, it was really giving my
services; although I had superseded Janin as collaborator, I did not
take either the author's rights nor the rights to tickets belonging to
the collaboration, which, in the contract, remained in Harel's hands,
and by virtue of which Harel returned to Janin. Had Harel the right,
from Janin's consent, and at his (Janin's) entreaty to substitute me
for Janin? I think he had, as my substitution left M. Gaillardet's
name alone on the bills, and gave him 48 francs for rights and 12
for tickets, instead of 24 francs for rights and 6 for tickets. M.
Gaillardet gained, therefore, from the monetary point of view, as he
received double; and he gained in reputation, because his name alone
appeared. It remains to prove that the Contract Janin-Gaillardet and
Harel had passed under the control of the former contract, according
only 48 francs in rights and 12 in tickets. This will be easy for me
to do with the two dates. The Contract of Janin-Gaillardet and Harel
was signed on 29 March 1832, and the fresh treaty, which still holds
good to-day at the Porte-Saint-Martin theatre, was not signed between
M. Harel and the Commission of Authors, till the following 11 April.
I repeat, I would rather have passed over this ridiculous quarrel as
to the paternity of the play in silence; but I am compelled to lay
details before my readers which will interest them but indifferently,
but for which, however, they would have the right to ask if I passed
them over in silence. I am writing the history of art during the first
half of the nineteenth century; I speak of myself as of a stranger;
I lay my plays open to the inspection of my natural arbitrator, the
public; it shall judge my work, as they say at the palace. I will
neither make out M. Gaillardet to be right or wrong; I will write
merely a recitative, and not an argument--

    _Ad narrandum, non ad firobandum._



[Footnote 1: In the Paris edition of the _Souvenirs,_ 1854, both
M. Gaillardet's and M. Janin's MSS. are referred to as having been
brought, both here and later.]



CHAPTER III


M. Gaillardet's answer and protest--Frédérick and Buridan's part
--Transaction with M. Gaillardet--First performance of _La Tour de
Nesle_--The play and its interpreters--The day following a success
--M. ***--A profitable trial in prospect--Georges' caprice--The manager,
author and collaborator


Great was my astonishment when I received an answer from M. Gaillardet,
which, instead of being full of gratitude, was a protest. He wrote
that the play was his own and belonged only to him; that he had not
intended to have, and never would have, a collaborator. I confess I was
astounded. The play, as everybody thought, was unactable as it was,
and Janin had given it up, openly admitting that he did not know what
to do to make it better. I flew off to Harel. I had not asked him to
communicate the agreement to me, but had simply believed in his word. I
accused him of having deceived me. He thereupon took the contract from
his desk and made me read it.

This is what it was, verbally--

    "Between MM. Gaillardet and Jules Janin on the one part:

    "And M. Harel, manager of the Porte-Saint-Martin, on the
    other part;

    "It is agreed as follows:

    "MM. Gaillardet and Jules Janin remit and hand over to M.
    Harel, a five-act drama entitled _La Tour de Nesle_, to be
    played at the Porte-Saint-Martin theatre.

    "M. Harel receives the work and will have it performed
    immediately.

    "Copy made at Paris, 29 March 1832.

    _Signed_: "F GAILLARDET.  J. JANIN.  HAREL"

As MM. Janin and Gaillardet _remitted and handed over_ their
drama conjointly, M. Gaillardet must have had a collaborator, and
that collaborator was stated to be M. Janin. Now, he always had a
collaborator; only, that collaborator did not take half his rights
from him, and was not called Janin or anybody else, since he was
never named at all. I can but believe that it was the person of Janin
who was regretted by M. Gaillardet; for, as we saw, he himself wrote
later that Janin had been surreptitiously imposed upon him. Harel
had no difficulty in convincing me that it was within his rights to
bring me M. Gaillardet's drama, as it had been _remitted_ and _handed
over_ to him without embargo. The drama had not been done over again
by me; had it been necessary to rewrite the play completely I should
certainly never have undertaken the task; but what was done was done
straightforwardly and in good faith. The welfare of the theatre, ruined
by the riotings and cholera, rested entirely on this work. I was the
first to advise that the arrival of M. Gaillardet should be awaited.
After the delivery of the first scene, moreover, the play had been put
in rehearsal. Now, at the first of these rehearsals, a very curious
incident happened. The two principal parts had been given to Georges
and Frédérick; but, as I have said, the cholera upset everything.
Frédérick, who came to listen to the reading of the first act, and who
had carried away the part, was afraid of the cholera; he kept away in
the country and, in spite of the notices of the rehearsals, gave no
sign of life. Five or six rehearsals took place before he turned up or
sent news of himself. He was a man of capricious talent, violent and
passionate, and, accordingly, very natural in passionate, violent and
capricious characters. He was the French Kean. Harel could neither
wait for the end of Frédérick's fear nor for that of the cholera. He
decided to engage some one else since Frédérick persisted in staying
away; and he looked about him. Bocage was out of an engagement: he
entered into negotiations with him. Bocage took the part, promised to
rehearse it in spite of all the choleras on the earth, returned home,
and began to study it. Next day, he came to the theatre without his
manuscript: he knew his first scene. The report of what had occurred
reached Frédérick; he rushed up, and I never saw anybody in such a
state of vexation as he was. Frédérick is a great actor, an artist of
talent and feeling; he was hurt in both these directions. He offered as
much as 5000 francs to Bocage if the latter would give up his part, but
Bocage refused it, and the part remained his.

Your grief was a fine sight, Frédérick, and I shall never forget it!

The rehearsals continued with Bocage and Mademoiselle Georges. One
day, Harel, who then lived in the rue Bergère, sent to fetch me. M.
Gaillardet had just arrived, and the following extract represents his
state of mind. I will borrow from him direct, so much do I desire to
remain neutral in this discussion.

    "... I started, and before going home I went dressed as I
    was in my travelling costume, to see M. Harel.

    "'I am ruined!' he said to me. 'I have deceived you, that is
    the truth. Now what shall you do?'

    "'Stop the play.'

    "'You will not succeed in doing that; _I shall change the
    title and play it_; you can attack me for piracy, theft,
    plagiarism, anything you like. You will obtain 1200 francs
    indemnity. If you allow it to be played, on the contrary,
    you will gain 1200 francs, etc. etc.'

    "He said the truth, for that is the protection our judges
    ordinarily allow to an author who has been defrauded."

If I remember rightly, it was in this interval that I arrived. The
discussion was violent on both sides, and the explanations were
equally violent. We had to leave Harel to hunt up seconds on both
sides. Harel, however, intervened, calmed us down, and induced
M. Gaillardet to sign a deed by which we acknowledged ourselves
joint-authors of _La Tour de Nesle._ We each reserved to ourselves the
right to put our names to the play in our complete works. The play was
to be played and published under the name of M. Gaillardet alone; but
Harel insisted that there should be asterisks after his name. When this
deed was signed, the rehearsals went on uninterruptedly.

As the play developed, it assumed great proportions, and I began to
believe, with Harel, that it would be a big success. The parts of
Marguerite and of Buridan were just made for Georges and for Bocage,
who were both splendid in them. Lockroy, who, out of friendship for
me, played the part of Gaultier d'Aulnay, was deliciously youthful and
loverlike and poetic in it; Provost (as Savoisy), Serres (as Landry)
and Delafosse (as Philippe d'Aulnay) completed the characters.

The day of the first performance came: 29 May 1832; I had sent a
box ticket to Odilon Barrot, telling him I would dine with him, and
reserving a place for myself in his box. The dinner lasted longer than
we expected; Madame Odilon Barrot, then young and charming, always a
clever and original woman--a rare thing among women--was upon thorns.
The great demagogue had no notion anybody could feel so much impatience
to see a first performance of a play. We arrived in the middle of the
second scene, just in time to hear the tirade of the _grandes dames._

The theatre was in a state of boiling excitement: the audience felt
the success of the play, it was in the air, they breathed it. The end
of the second scene is terrible in its impressiveness: Buridan leaping
from the window into the Seine, Marguerite revealing her bleeding
cheek, and exclaiming--" 'Look at thy face and then die,' saidest
thou? Let it be done as thou wishest.... Look, and die!" This was all
startling and terrible! And, when, after the orgy, the flight, the
assassination, the laughter extinguished in groans, the man flung
into the river, the lover of a night pitilessly murdered by his royal
mistress, the careless and monotonous voice of the night watchman is
heard calling, "Three o'clock and a quiet night: Parisians sleep!" the
audience burst forth into loud applause.

The third scene is poor, I must candidly admit; it was nearly all
written by me, and it was a bit of gagging; still, it does not allow
interest to languish; the second had sated the spectators for a
time. It will be recollected that, except for an alteration in the
staging, the second scene was almost entirely the same as in M.
Gaillardet's manuscript. The end of the third scene, however, relieves
the beginning; the last scene was entirely concerned with Gaultier
d'Aulnay, who comes to demand vengeance for the murder of his brother
from Marguerite of Bourgogne, without knowing that the murder had been
committed by her. Lockroy's exhibition of grief was magnificent.

The fourth scene was scarcely better than the third; it was the
one where Buridan and Marguerite meet in the Orsini tavern, where
Marguerite tears from the diary entrusted to her lover the famous page
which proves the murder. The principal scene was an improbable one; I
had tried my hand at it three or four times before I succeeded. Let me
add that I have never been satisfied with it; Georges, who, for her
part too, felt it was false, did not play it so well as the others. But
the audience was captivated, and in that frame of mind which accepts
everything.

The fifth scene was short, spirited, sensitive and full of surprises.
The arrest and exit of Buridan made the greatest sensation. Finally,
came the famous prison act.

One day, my son asked me--he had not yet written plays at that time--

"What are the first principles of a drama?"

"That the first act be lucid, the last short and, above all, that there
be no prison scene in the third!"

When I said that I was ungrateful: I have never seen such an effect
as that prison act, and it was marvellously played, besides, by the
two actors concerned with it, Who have the whole responsibility of it.
Serres (Landry) was delightfully artless and whimsical in it. Bocage,
with his great Sicilian eyes, his teeth as white as pearls, and his
black beard, was of a physical beauty to which, perhaps, I have only
seen one other man attain: Mélingue, one of the most beautiful actors I
ever saw on the stage.

After the prison scene, the other might be indifferently either good or
bad, for success was assured. This was not unfortunate!

The seventh scene, like the third, was the weakest in the work; it was
saved by its wit, and because, all things considered, the spectators,
like Harel, thought King Louis, the headstrong, was _a droll figure._

Finally came the fifth act, which had so much frightened Harel. It
was divided into two scenes: the eighth, of a diabolical humour; the
ninth, which, for appalling dramatic character might be compared with
the second. Something about it reminded one of the ancient fatalism
of Sophocles, blended with the scenic terrors of Shakespeare. So its
success was enormous, and the name of M. Frédérick Gaillardet was
proclaimed amidst loud applause.

Madame Odilon Barrot was in ecstasy, and enjoyed herself like a
schoolgirl. Odilon Barrot, little accustomed to melodramatic theatrical
displays, was astounded that emotion could be carried so far. Of
course, as in the case of _Richard Darlington,_ Harel came and made me
all sorts of offers if I would consent to have my name mentioned. I had
refused in _Richard,_ where nothing pledged me to it; I refused more
firmly still in the case of _La Tour de Nesle_, where I was bound both
by a promise of honour and a written one.

I returned home, I vow it, without a single feeling of regret. It was,
however, the first performance of a play which was to hold the bills
for nearly eight hundred times! Next day, several of my friends, who
knew the part I had taken in _La Tour de Nesle,_ came to pay me their
compliments. Amongst these was one of my best friends, Pierre Collin.

"Do you know what Harel has done?" he said to me as he was coming in.

"What has he done?"

"What he has put on the bills?"

"No."

"Instead of proceeding as in mathematics, from the known to the
unknown, he has proceeded from the unknown to the known."

"I do not understand."

"Instead of putting: 'MM. Gaillardet et ***,' he has put et 'MM. *** et Gaillardet.'"

"Oh, the rascal!" I exclaimed, "he will cause me a fresh quarrel with
M. Gaillardet; and, what is worse, this time M. Gaillardet will be in
the right." I took up my hat and walking-stick.

"Where are you going?"

"I am going to Harel. Will you come with me?"

"I must go to my office."

"Then, quick, call a carriage! I will drop you there in passing."

I was at Harel's five minutes later.

"Ah! there you are!" he said to me; "you have learnt the trick I have
played off on Gaillardet?"

"It is because I have learnt of it that I have hurried here.... It is
very wrong of you, my dear friend!"

"Really! Why? Was it not agreed that the asterisks should precede M.
Gaillardet's name? It is your right: you are four years his senior in
theatrical matters."

"But it is the custom for asterisks to follow a name."

"Custom is a fool, my dear; we will either change it or put some sense
into it; we both have enough and to spare when the devil takes us!"

"Say you have quite enough by yourself."

"Ah! You would betray me? You would go against me?"

"Oh no, I remain neutral; only, if M. Gaillardet calls on me as a
witness, I shall be obliged to tell the truth."

"My dear fellow, we have a great success already; with a touch of
scandal we shall have a tremendous success.... If M. Gaillardet
objects, our scandal is to hand. He will then have done something for
the play at any rate."

"Harel!"

"Oh! you are really delightful! You think it is enough to make
masterpieces and to say, 'I did not do them.' Very well, whether it
suits you or not, all Paris shall know that you did."

"Go to the devil! I wish I had never touched your cursed play....
Listen, some one is ringing your bell; I bet it is M. Gaillardet."

Harel opened his door and listened a moment.

"Who is it?" he asked.

"I do not know, sir," the servant answered; "it is a man carrying a
stamped paper."

"A stamped paper?... This is something of a novelty! Show him in."

The man was a sheriff's officer who came on behalf of M. Gaillardet,
and who, like Haman for Mardocheus, served as a _herald to his fame._
The stamped document was a summons before the Tribunal of Commerce,
seeking to force M. Harel to remove the unlucky asterisks.

"Good!" I cried, "this is a joint affair! I shall find the same when I
get back home. You were an idiot to play this prank!"

Harel rubbed his hands together until all his joints cracked.

"A fine lawsuit," he said, "an excellent lawsuit! I only ask two such
per year for six years and my fortune is made!"

"But you will lose the case!"

"I know that, very well."

"In that case it will be a bad lawsuit."

"First of all, I would have you to know that a lawsuit is not
necessarily a bad one because one may lose it; and if I lose it I shall
appeal."

"But you will lose it then, for I tell you I shall be against you."

"You will say that you have nothing to do with the play, I suppose?"

"I shall say that I must not be named."

"Meanwhile, you will be mentioned at the Tribunal of Commerce, at the
Court of Appeal, by M. Gaillardet's solicitor and by your own; the
newspapers will copy the law proceedings, the three asterisks will
have made the public talk when placed before the name, and will do so
if they are put after it; the MSS. will be put in, M. Gaillardet's,
Janin's and yours.... My dear fellow, I only reckoned upon a hundred
performances; now I will bet on two hundred."

"May the devil take you!"

"Will you not stay to dinner with us?"

"Thanks."

"Yes, indeed.... Does not Georges bless you?"

"Is she satisfied with her success?"

"Delighted! Although you have rather sacrificed her part to Bocage, you
will admit."

"Good! is she also going to bring an action against me?"

"She has a good mind to do so, and it might, indeed, happen, unless you
promise to write a play for her."

"Oh! I promise her that, if that is all she wants."

"She has an idea."

"It is not divorce?" Georges had been teasing me for a long time to
write her a play upon the Emperor's divorce.

"No, don't be anxious!"

I went up and saw her. She was as beautiful as the conquering
Semiramis. We greeted each other as cordially as we always do when we
meet. I told her the whole story about M. Gaillardet, and I was grieved
to see that she thought Harel entirely in the right.

"Well, all right," I said; "let us not talk any more about it.... By
the bye, what is this he tells me?"

"Harel?"

"Yes."

"Some tomfoolery."

"Exactly.... He tells me that you had an idea in your mind."

"Insolent man!"

"An idea for a play, be it understood. _Peste!_ You have something much
better than ideas: you have your caprices."

"Not with you, in any case!"

"That is just what I complain of."

I went on my knees before her and kissed her lovely hands.

"Tell me then, Georges, shall we be held ridiculous in the eyes of
posterity, for having come in contact with one another without the
assistance of which Descartes talks."

"Be quiet, you big animal! and go and talk such nonsense to your dear
Dorval."

"Oh! Dorval!... poor Dorval, I have not seen her for an age!"

"Good! when you have been living door to door with her."

"Precisely so! Formerly we had only one door between us! Now we have a
wall."

"A partition only!"

"Bravo! Ah! but let us hear your idea."

"Well, my dear, I have played princesses and I have played queens ...

"And even empresses!"

"Stop, that is for you to do." She lifted up to me her beautiful hand,
which I stopped to kiss in its passage.

"And even empresses!" I repeated.

"All right, I want to play a woman of the people."

"Yes! I know you! You would play that in a velvet dress and all your
diamonds."

"No! I tell you, I mean a woman of the people, a beggar-woman!"

"Bah! Come forward as far as the footlights, stretch your hand out
to the audience, and there would be no more play, or rather no more
beggar-woman."

"What pasture have you been browsing on to-day?"

"On one which grew in your dressing-room one day when Harel shut me up
to write _Napoléon."_

"Come, be quiet with you, and write me my play."

"A beggar-woman.... We have Jane Shore; will that do for you?"

"No; Jane Shore is a princess; I want a woman belonging to the people,
I tell you."

"I do not know how to draw such women."

"You aristocrat!"

"Come, have you a subject?"

"I know some one who has one."

"Send me that some one."

"I will."

"Who is it?"

"Anicet."

"This happens most luckily, for I owe him a play."

"How is that?"

"We did _Térésa_ together, and my name appeared; we will do your
_Mendiante_ together, and his name shall be on it."

"Oh! it is a regular craze with you not to give your own name?
_Richard! La Tour de Nesle!_ You will end by only putting your name to
bad dramas."

"Do you mean that in connection with _Catherine Howard?_"

"No, I said it ... at a venture."

Some one knocked at the door.

"Good!" she continued, "here is Harel coming to worry us."

"Let us see. Come in; what do you want?"

"I bring news from M. Gaillardet."

"A second writ?"

"No, the copy of a letter which will be in all the newspapers
to-morrow."

"Oh! leave us in peace!" said Georges.

"Wait then, till I have read it you."

"My dear Harel, I tell you you are disturbing us greatly."

"I do not think so!" he said.

Indeed, I was still on my knees in front of Georges.

"Listen."

He read--

    "30 _May_

    _"To the Editor._

    "DEAR SIR,--Yesterday I was alone named as the author of
    _La Tour de Neste,_ to-day my name is on the playbills,
    preceded by two M's, and * * *. It is an error or a piece of
    malice of which I will neither be the victim nor the dupe.
    In any case, will you please announce that, in my contract
    as on the stage, and as, I trust, on to-morrow's bills, I am
    and intend to be the sole author of _La Tour de Neste._
    F. GAILLARDET"

"There!" said I to Harel, "that is flat."

Harel unfolded a second letter.

"Here is my reply," he said.

"My dear man, the only answer you can make is to change the position of
the stars."

"That does not enter into my planetary system.... Listen."

And he read--

    "1 _June_

    _"To the Editor._

    "This is my answer to the extraordinary letter from M.
    Gaillardet, who claims to be the sole author of _La
    Tour de Neste._ The play, entirely as far as style is
    concerned, and nineteen-twentieths, at least, as regards
    its composition, belongs to a celebrated collaborator who,
    for private reasons, did not wish to give his name after the
    immense success it received. Scarcely anything left is of
    the original work of M. Gaillardet. I assert this and will
    prove it, if need arises, by comparison of the MS. compared
    with that of M. Gaillardet.--Yours etc.

    "HAREL"

On 2 June, the newspapers contained this reply from M. Gaillardet--

    "_To the Editor._

    "By way of an answer to M. Harel, please be so good as to
    insert the enclosed letter, written to me by the _celebrated
    collaborator_ of whom M. Harel speaks, which I received at
    Tonnerre, where I first learnt that I had a collaborator.

    F. GAILLARDET"

My letter followed. I must confess the insertion of my letter surprised
me. It was, to say the least, tactless on M. Gaillardet's part, for he
thereby made an adversary of a man who wished to remain neutral. It was
no longer possible for me to keep silent; the newspapers, always rather
malevolent towards me, began to attack me, and I had had a quarrel
the day before with M. Viennet of the _Corsaire_ in the very office
of that newspaper, which very nearly ended in a duel. Furthermore,
I felt vaguely that, before this matter was ended, there would be
swordplay or pistol practice to be given or received. After all the
mortifications the work had cost me, I should much prefer that this
should be with M. Gaillardet than with any other person. In addition to
all this, since my attack of cholera, I was excessively weak. I could
not eat, and I was attacked every night by feverishness, which put me
into an abominable temper. So I seized my pen and, smarting under the
disagreeable impression that I had just received from the publishing of
my letter, I replied--

    _"To the Chief Editor of the Newspaper._

    "SIR,--Allow me first of all to thank you for the insertion
    of the letter I wrote to M. Gaillardet, reproduced in your
    yesterday's issue. It will be a proof to the public mind
    of the delicacy which I desired to exercise in my dealings
    with this young man; but that delicacy has, it seems to me,
    been very ill appreciated: the only two conversations I had
    with him proved to me that he could not understand it.[1]
    But how could M. Gaillardet not be conscious that, at least,
    the insertion of this letter would necessitate a reply on my
    part, that it could only be one disadvantageous to himself,
    and that, hunting for ridicule with a lantern, he could not
    fail to be more fortunate than Diogenes? Very well, the
    answer which he compels me to make is as follows--

    "'I have not read M. Gaillardet's MS.; it only left M.
    Harel's hands for a second and it was returned to him at
    once; for, in consenting to write a work under a title and
    about a known situation, I was afraid of being influenced by
    a work anterior to my own, and thus lose the freshness which
    is essential to me before I can do such a piece of work.'

    "Now, since M. Gaillardet thinks the public is not
    sufficiently informed about this sorry business, let him
    convoke the arbitration of three men of letters, _of his
    own choice,_ and come before them with his MS., while I
    will with mine; they shall then judge on which side is the
    delicacy of feeling and on which the ingratitude.

    "In order that I may be faithful to the extreme limits of
    the conditions which I self-sacrificingly imposed upon
    myself in the letter I wrote to M. Gaillardet, allow me,
    sir, not to give my name here, any more than I have done on
    the bills.

    "THE AUTHOR OF THE MANUSCRIPT OF _La Tour de Nesle_"

Henceforth, it will be understood, war was declared between M.
Gaillardet and myself.



[Footnote 1: I am obliged, in order not to alter the text, to reproduce
the letters in their entirety; only, I now disapprove of every wounding
expression contained in mine.]



CHAPTER IV


The use of friends--_Le Musée des Familles_--An article by M.
Gaillardet--My reply to it--Challenge from M. Gaillardet--I accept
it with effusion--My adversary demands a first respite of a week--I
summon him before the Commission of Dramatic Authors--He declines
that arbitration--I send him my seconds--He asks a delay of two
months--Janin's letter to the newspapers


Although great events were gathering like a dreadful storm on the
horizon, and were about to take place in the midst of the miserable
controversy about which we are writing, I think it is better, as we
have begun it, to follow it to the end, rather than to return to it
later.

M. Gaillardet persisted in his lawsuit and won it. I have mentioned
that I had completely refused to second Harel in his defence. The
ill-advised stars which had stolen a march upon M. Gaillardet's name
were obliged to fall behind it; but, as Harel had wished, all Paris
knew that I was the real author of _La Tour de Nesle._

Did this do the drama much good? I have my doubts about it; I have
already expressed my opinion upon the pleasure the public takes in
making the reputation of an unknown young man at the expense of
established reputations. Two years went by, during which _La Tour de
Nesle_ ran its two to three hundred performances. I thought no more
about the old quarrel; I had only published _Gaule et France_ during
those two years--a very incomplete work, from the point of view of
science, but singularly noteworthy from the point of view of the
prediction with which it ends--and had _Angèle_ performed, when, one
morning, a friend of mine (friends are very useful sometimes, as we are
about to see), came into my room when I was still in bed, and, after a
few preliminary words, asked me if I had read _Le Musée des Familles._
I looked at him with an obviously astonished air.

"_Le Musée des Familles_?" I asked. "On what grounds should I have read
that paper?"

"Because it contains an article by M. Gaillardet."

"So much the better for _Le Musée des Familles."_

"An article on _La Tour de Nesle_."

"Ah! an article on the drama?"

"No, on the tower."

"Well, how does that affect me?"

"Because in M. Gaillardet's article on the tower he speaks of the play."

"Well, what does he say? Come to the point."

"He says it is his best drama."

"He ought to be ashamed of himself. It is one of my best, he means."

"You ought to read it."

"What is the good?"

"Because it may perhaps have to be replied to."

"M. Gaillardet's article?"

"Yes."

"Do you think so?..."

"Good heavens! Read it."

I called Louis. The servant I then had was called Louis; he was a droll
fellow whom I found drunk from time to time, when I returned home at
night, and who gave as an excuse that as he had to fight a duel the
next morning he must drown his thoughts. I hurried him away to Henry
Berthoud, the publisher of _Le Musée des Familles,_ with a message
asking him to send me the number which contained M. Gaillardet's
article. Louis returned with the required number, and this is what I
read


    "LA TOUR DE NESLE

    "One evening the setting sun lit up the sky with a purple
    red colour, and bordered the horizon that lay between Sèvres
    and Saint Cloud with a ribbon of fire; I was on the Pont
    des Arts, with M. de Jouy's _L'Ermite_ in my hand. Guided
    by the Academician, I had come there as an observer to the
    centre of a bird's-eye view; for this particular place is
    a focus where a thousand rays meet and converge. Opposite
    to me, the city, the cradle of Paris, with its houses piled
    up in the shape of a triangle, and as close to one another
    as a battle corps; at the head of the city, the Pont Neuf,
    with its ancient arches and its nine adjoining streets. To
    the left, the Louvre, which is no longer the old Louvre,
    with its heavy tower and belfry; the Tuileries, that royal
    _pied-à-terre,_ whose name is ennobled with the dignity
    of time and of the revolutions which have passed over its
    head; a monument of which can be said, as Milton said of
    Satan: 'Lightning has struck it and marked its face!' To the
    right, the Mint, the sole building in Paris which, together
    with the Timbre-Royal and the Morgue, possess a physiognomy
    of their own, and, so to speak, show the nature of their
    existence. Below, the Institut and the Bibliothèque Mazarine.

    "I had reached thus far in my _circumspection,_ when my
    _cicerone_ (I still refer to M. de Jouy) informed me, in a
    footnote, that at this place formerly stood the tower of
    Nesle, from the top of which, according to the chroniclers,
    several queens or princes were forced to fling themselves
    into the Seine, to get rid the more surely and swiftly
    of the misfortune they had drawn down upon themselves. I
    was much struck by this anecdote. When still young and at
    college, I had read Brantôme and what it contained about the
    tower of Nesle; but the recollection of it had been effaced
    from my memory: it now returned to me vividly and suddenly.
    Assuming a twofold power from the hour and the place where I
    stood, it returned with redoubled force and impressiveness;
    it completely took possession of me.... For the first time,
    I detected the drama, and my first and best drama was
    conceived!

    "There is something both attractive and terrible in this
    story of debauchery and of princely slaughters, consummated
    in the night, at midnight, between the thick walls of
    a tower, with no witnesses but the burning lamps, the
    attendant assassins, and God watching all! Something which
    takes possession of the soul, in the hutchery of these young
    men (they were all young and beautiful!) who had come there
    weaponless and without mistrust,... a truly royal quarry,
    which hyænas and tigers might envy! But I am letting myself
    run away in these poetical reflections, and I forget that I
    am, and only desire to be, a story-teller.

    "Let us first speak of the building, then, afterwards, I
    will speak of its mysteries. At the time of King Philip,
    the Beautiful, and his sons, the boundaries of Paris were
    limited, on the left bank of the Seine going down, by an
    enclosure made by Philippe-Auguste, who gave his name to it.
    That enclosure, the walls of which correspond pretty nearly
    to the later towers of the Louvre, had, for their outer
    defence, a moat which communicated with the Seine, and took
    the water to the Gate of Bussy. Beyond the enclosure, were
    the great and little pré-aux-Clercs, so called because they
    were used on fête days as a promenade by the students of
    the university. They covered the space now occupied by the
    rues des Petits-Augustins, Marais-Saint-Germain, Colombier,
    Jacob, Verneuil, de l'Université and of Saints-Pères, etc.
    On this space, and adjoining the enclosure, was the hôtel de
    Nesle, which had a façade of eleven great arcades, with a
    close which was planted with trees, the end of which, on the
    quayside, was close to the Church of the Augustines. This
    mansion occupied the situation of the College Mazarin, the
    hôtel de la Monnaie and other contiguous sites: its spacious
    court, its buildings and its gardens were almost bounded by
    the rues Mazarine and Nevers and the quai Conti, formerly
    called quai de Nesle.

    "Amaury de Nesle, the owner of the mansion, sold it, in
    1308, to Philippe le Bel for the sum of 5000 livres;
    Philippe le Long gave it to Jeanne de Bourgogne, his wife,
    and she, in her will, ordered it to be sold, and the money
    applied to the foundation of a college which was called the
    Collège de Bourgogne. In 1381, Charles VI. sold it to his
    uncle, the due de Berry. Finding the gardens too small,
    the latter, in 1385, added seven acres of land to them,
    situated outside the town moats, and, in order to establish
    communication, he had a bridge built over the moat. This
    outer portion was called the _petit séjour de Nesle._ From
    the hands of the Duc de Berry, the mansion passed into those
    of several other princes and, finally, was sold outright by
    Henri II. and Charles IX. in 1552 and 1570. Upon its ground
    various constructions rose up, such as the hôtel de Nevers,
    the hôtel de Guénégaud, which has since taken the name of
    Conti; later again still, what remained of this mansion was
    pulled down to make room for the Collège Mazarin, now the
    Palais de l'Institut. At the western end of the mansion,
    in the angle made by the course of the Seine and the moat
    of the enclosure de Philippe-Auguste, were the gate and
    tower of Nesle, the only ones which were represented on the
    engraving placed at the head of this account. The gate was
    a kind of fortress comprised of a building flanked by two
    round towers, between which was the entrance from the town.
    This was reached by a stone bridge supported on four arches,
    and re-establishing the communication intercepted by the
    moat, which was very wide at this spot.

    "It appears that, for a long time, this gate had been closed
    to the public; for I read letters patent of 13 April 1550,
    addressed to the provost and aldermen, authorising them to
    'cause the gate of Nesle to be opened, for the convenience
    of the neighbourhood, and for foot passengers and horses
    only, not for the use of waggons or pack horses subject to
    the payment of toll.' I further read in these letters that
    'the faubourg had been ruined by the wars, and reduced to
    arable land; and, having begun to be rebuilt under François
    I., who had allowed it to be done, it was one of the finest
    suburbs of any of the towns of France. Whereupon, request
    being made by the town, the opening of the said gate is
    allowed.'[1]

    "It was by this gate of Nesle that Henri IV. entered Paris,
    after having besieged that side of the city, in 1589. It
    was still in existence under the reign of Louis XIV. Now as
    to the tower; it was situated some few feet to the north
    of the gate, on the point of land which was formed by the
    moat where it reunited itself to the Seine: the river
    bathing it at its foot. It was round in shape, was about
    a hundred and twenty feet in height, and overlooked the
    roof of the gallery of the Louvre. It was yoked to a second
    tower containing the spiral staircase, and was not so large
    in diameter, but still higher. At first sight, one would
    have said they were like two sisters, one of whom had the
    heritage of the strength and the maturity of age, and the
    other the lightness and graces of youth. More pointed and
    slender, this tower was the look-out one; more _solid_ and
    _staid,_ the former trusted to its strength and waited.
    Both were joined to the neighbouring gate by a wall, their
    ally, these three forming a complete whole, which faced
    south-west, and was continued by ramparts which, together
    with several other works, completed the defence.

    "On the other bank, opposite these, rose the Louvre, and, in
    the angle between the Louvre and the Wall of Paris, was a
    tower similar to them, which they called the _tour du Coin._
    In times of danger, an iron chain, one end of which was
    fixed to the _tour de Nesle,_ stretched across the Seine,
    and, held up at various distances by boats, was fastened to
    the _tour du Coin,_ and barred from that side of the river
    the entrance from the city of Paris.

    "Originally, the door and gate of Nesle bore the name of
    Philippe Hamelin, their builder or their first owner, I
    do not know which. Later, they derived their name from the
    mansion, which had become important. The windows of the
    tower and one terrace of the mansion looked over the river.

    "Brantôme (I now return to him), in the second paragraph,
    art. Ier of his _Femmes Galantes,_ relates that a Queen of
    France, whom he does not name, ordinarily lived there, 'who
    was on the watch there for passers-by, calling out to them
    and making them come to her; and throwing them from the top
    of the tower, _which still stands,_ to the water below to
    drown them.... I do not wish to say, he adds, that this was
    true; but the common people, the greater portion of Paris,
    at least, declare this; and no man so simple but who, if
    you showed him the tower alone, and questioned him concerning
    it, would say it was so.'

    "Jean Second, a Dutch poet, who died in 1536, supported
    Brantôme's assertion in a piece of Latin verse which he
    composed about the tower of Nesle.[2]

    "Mayeme mentions it in his _History of Spain_, vol. I, p.
    560. Villon, who wrote his poems in the fifteenth century,
    at a still nearer date to the event, adds his testimony
    to it. Giving several new details, he informs us that the
    wretched victims were shut into sacks before being flung
    into the river. In the second strophe of his _Ballade des_
    _Dames du temps jadis,_ he asks--

               "... Où la royne
        Qui commanda que Buridan
        Fût jeté, en ung sac, en Seine?"

    "This Buridan, of whom Villon speaks, escaped from the trap,
    we know not how. He retired to Vienna, in Austria, where
    he founded a university, and his name became famous in the
    schools of Paris in the fifteenth century.

    "In 1471, a Master of Arts of the University of Leipzig
    wrote a small work entitled _Commentaire historique sur
    les jeunes écoliers parisiens que Buridan,_ etc. It will
    be seen that the story of the tower of Nesle had become of
    European fame. The queen, of whom Brantôme, Jean Second,
    Mayeme and Villon, all speak, was taken to be, successively,
    Jeanne de Navarre, wife of Philippe le Bel; next, Marguerite
    de Bourgogne, first wife of Louis X., as well as his two
    sisters, Jeanne and Blanche, all three daughters-in-law of
    Philippe le Bel.

    But Robert Gaguin, a historian of the fifteenth century,
    comes forward in defence of Jeanne de Navarre. After
    speaking of the conduct of the three princesses, wives of
    the three sons of Philippe le Bel and of their punishment,
    he adds: 'These disorders and their frightful consequences
    gave birth to a tradition injurious to the memory of Jeanne
    de Navarre, wife of Philippe le Bel. According to that
    tradition, she caused students whom she attracted to her
    to be thrown into the river from the window of her room.
    Only one single student, Jean Buridan, had the good luck to
    escape the penalty he had incurred; this is why he published
    this epigram (before his self-exilement): _Ne craignez
    pas de tuer une royne; cela est quelquefois bon_ (Reginam
    interficere nolite timere; bonum est).'

    "Thus, Gaguin does not contest the fact; on the contrary,
    he confirms it and develops it, only complaining--and not
    without reason--that it was attributed to Jeanne de Navarre,
    who did not live at the same time as Buridan. As regards
    Margaret of Burgundy and her sisters Jeanne and Blanche,
    they have not the safeguard or the protection of a date,
    nor of the verdict of history. All the world knows, on the
    other hand, that the three sisters were in other ways guilty
    of the most scandalous conduct; two of them had their two
    brothers, Philippe and Gaultier d'Aulnay as their lovers;
    the tower of Nesle then belonged to the Princess Jeanne,
    and was their meeting-place. But, one day, says Geoffrey of
    Paris--

        "'Tout chant et baudor et leesce
        Tornés furent à grand destrèce,
        Du cas qui lors en France avint:
        Dont escorcher il eu convint,
        Deux chevaliers joli et gaie,
        Gaultier et Philippe d'Aulnay.'

    "In fact, these two young men were suddenly arrested as
    well as the queen and her sisters, the princesses. Philippe
    confessed that he was the lover of Margaret, wife of Louis
    x., and Gaultier that of Blanche, Comtesse de la Marche.
    This confession made, says Geoffrey--

        "'L'eure ne fut pas moult retraite
        Que donnée fut la sentence;
        Si furent jugiés sans doutance
        Les deux chevaliers de leur _paire._
        D'une sentence si amère
        Por leur traison et péchié,
        Que ils furent escorchié,
            .    .    .    .    .
        Et puis entrainé et pendu!'

    "Margaret and Blanche were taken to the Andelys, where
    they were flung, says Geoffrey, into a kind of underground
    dungeon.

        "'Longuement en prison là furent,
        Et de confort moult petit urent.
        L'une ne l'autre ni ot aise;
        Mais toutes voies plus à mal aise
        Fut la royne de Navarre,
        En haut estoit; et à la terre
        La comtesse fut plus aval,
        Dont elle souffroit moins de mal,
        Car elle estoit plus chaudement.
        Ce fut justice voirement,
        Car la royne cause estoit,
        Du péché que elle avoit fait.'

    "From this prison they were transferred to the
    Château-Gaillard, a Normandy fortress. There, by order of
    Louis x., Margaret was strangled with a towel, according to
    some, and with her own hair, according to others. Blanche
    was spared and divorced, and took the veil at the Abbey of
    Maubisson, where she ended her life. But Jeanne was even
    more fortunate; she had been arrested, like her sisters--

        "'Et, quand la comtesse ce vit,
        Hautement s'écria et dit:
        Por Dieu, oiez moi, sire Roi;
        Qui est qui parle contre moi?
        Je dis que je suis preude fame,
        Sans nul crisme, sans nul diffame;
        Et sé nul ne veut contre dire,
        Gentil Roy, je vous réquier. Sire,
        Que vous m'oiez en deffendant
        Sé nul ou nulle demandant
        Me fait chose de mauvestie,
        Mon cuer sens si pur, si traitie,
        Que bonnement me détiendrai,
        Ou tel champion baillerai,
        Qui bien saura mon droit deffendre,
        S'il ovus pies à mon gage prendre.'

    She succeeded, indeed, in justifying herself more or less,
    and her husband Philippe le Long took her back again.

    "FRÉDÉRICK GAILLARDET"

There was nothing in all this particularly offensive to me; but I had
been so greatly annoyed over the whole business, that I had promised
myself, on the very first opportunity that presented itself, to be
disagreeable to M. Gaillardet, and I did not intend to let this
opportunity slip by. The occasion appeared and I seized it. I wrote,
_ab irato,_ the following letter, and I did wrong. I cannot do more
than confess it, I hope.


    "TO M. S.--HENRY BERTHOUD


    "MONSIEUR LE DIRECTEUR,--In turning over one of your back
    numbers, I chanced upon an article in which M. Gaillardet
    relates how he wrote his drama of _La Tour de Nesle._
    I should never have believed that such details were of
    sufficiently lively an interest to the public; but, as M.
    Gaillardet thinks otherwise, I will submit to his opinion,
    and I will relate, in my turn, how I wrote mine.

    "I must first of all admit that its birth or, rather, its
    incarnation, its earliest idea, dawned on my mind in a
    less sudden and inspired and, consequently, less poetical,
    a manner than in his case. It did not strike me on the
    Pont des Arts, towards the evening of a beautiful summer
    day, at that hour when the ray of the western sun purples
    the horizon of the great city; it did not come to me,
    indeed, while I was gazing at the Mazarin Palace, vulgarly
    known as the Institut. That is why my _Tour de Nesle_ is
    so unacademic. No; but you will, perhaps, recollect the
    disastrous time when the cholera leapt from St. Petersburg
    to London, and from London to Paris, and fell upon the
    Hôtel-Dieu, spreading its wings over the doomed city like
    a black pall. The rich man in his selfishness, first of
    all, hoped that the plague-laden breath of this demon would
    restrict itself to a mortality among the poor; that the
    aristocratic scourge would only decimate the dwellers in
    lodgings or garrets, and that it would think twice before
    it knocked with its trailing shroud at the doors of the
    mansions of the opulent Chaussée or the noble Faubourg. He
    thought it had gone mad I He shut the padded shutters of his
    windows so that no sound should reach him; he ordered his
    valets to fight fresh candles, to bring in more bottles of
    wine, to sing more songs. Then, at the close of the orgy, he
    heard the shout at his door:--It was the Asiatic angel come,
    like the Commander after Don Juan's feast, to seize him by
    the hair, saying: 'Repent thee and die!'

    "Oh I then there was universal desolation, indeed I and it
    was curious to see how the rumour of the first cry of death
    from a rich household went resounding through the faubourg
    Saint-Honoré to the Luxembourg, and from the Luxembourg
    to la Nouvelle-Athènes; how, suddenly, all who lived
    encircled within that elegant triangle were stirred by a
    growing terror, and thought of nothing but flight, and shut
    themselves in their carriages emblazoned with the arms of
    Crécy, of Marengo or of the Bourse. More than one of these
    carriages, before it reached the end of the street, came
    into collision with a waggon covered with black on its way
    to the cemetery, and more than one fugitive met Death, the
    incorruptible Customs' officer, who forbade him to go beyond
    the frontier, recognising him as his, and having marked him
    for the tomb beforehand.

    "Then, to the noise of these barouches, berlins and
    post-chaises, which increased in every direction, and tore
    along the roads, there succeeded a dull and continuous
    sound. A long file of hearses of all descriptions, from a
    simple black curtain converted into one (for these funeral
    equipages were soon insufficient for the number of guests
    invited), followed incessantly, at a walking pace, in a
    triple line, and before them yawned the jaws of a cemetery.
    Then, by another route, the carriages returned, empty and
    impatient to be refilled. All things disappear before the
    incessant fear of death: the Bourse was mute; the walks
    became solitary; the places of entertainment deserted; the
    theatre Porte-Saint-Martin, that king of money-makers, took
    9000 francs only during the whole month of April.

    "One of the bomb-shells which had burst over Paris struck
    me. I was still laid on my bed, feverish, but convalescent
    when M. Harel came and sat by my bedside. The disease from
    which his theatre was suffering was following the reverse
    course from mine. M. Harel is one of those gladiators who,
    if not the strongest, are, at least, the most agile I know:
    a man of calculated cool-headedness, clever by nature,
    eloquent from necessity. For five years, I believe, fortune
    and he wrestled with one another and struggled in the lists
    that go by the name of the pit of a theatre; certainly, more
    than once, he bit the dust, but, more than once, he also
    floored his adversary and, each time the thing happened,
    the goddess did not rise except with empty pockets.
    Nevertheless, this time, he himself confessed she had her
    dagger at his throat!

    "With a man like M. Harel, circumstances may change from ill
    to good, and from good to ill ten times in one day; but,
    in either case, it is always a pleasure to see him because
    he is always amusing to listen to: Give him Mascarille and
    Figaro for _valets de chambre_ and, if he does not get the
    better of them, I wish I may be a Georges Dandin. It was,
    then, with the usual pleasure which his presence gave me, no
    matter, as I have previously said, what the position I might
    be in with respect to him, that I saw M. Harel come in. This
    time, moreover, I thought we were on friendly terms, and
    his visit was a real bit of good luck to a convalescent. He
    recounted to me, in the wittiest manner imaginable, all the
    tribulations the theatre was undergoing, enough to drive an
    ordinary man mad, and ended by saying that if my brains
    were as empty at that moment as his theatre he was a ruined
    man.

    "An author's head is rarely quite dried up; he has always,
    in one of the drawers of that marvellous piece of furniture
    which we call the brain, two or three ideas which are
    awaiting the period of incubation necessary for each of
    them before they can come forth alive. Unfortunately, or,
    perhaps, fortunately, none of these ideas was, at the
    moment, ready to be born from me, and they each needed
    several more months of gestation unless they were to come
    forth into the world still-born. M. Harel gave me a week.

    "There are two ways of working at literary work as a whole
    and dramatic work in particular: one is conscientious, the
    other pecuniary; the first artistic, the second bourgeois.
    In the first method, one works thinking only of oneself;
    in the second, thinking only of the public, and the great
    evil of our profession is that it is very often the
    pecuniary work which prevails over the conscientious, and
    the bourgeois upholding itself over the artistic scheme.
    Which means that, when one works for oneself, one sacrifices
    all public requirements to personal, whilst, if one works
    for others, one sacrifices all personal demands to public;
    and this does not prevent, whatever their fate, an author
    having works to which he is indifferent and those for which
    he has a predilection. Now, it is useless to say that works
    of predilection are not created in a week. I stuck to it,
    then, not to give up any of the ideas I had in my head at
    that moment; and, M. Harel seeing this, he incontinently
    mentioned one of those which he had in his MSS. boxes at his
    theatre.

    "'_Pardieu!_' he said to me, 'there is in one of the three
    or four hundred dramas received at the Porte-Saint-Martin a
    subject which would suit your style of work admirably, and
    in which Mademoiselle Georges would have a fine part.'

    "'What is it?'

    "'A Margaret of Burgundy.'

    "'I cannot take it: I refused to deal with it the other day
    when some one suggested it to me.'[3]

    "'But why?'

    "'Because a friend of mine, who, I think, has much more
    cleverness than you, which is saying a good deal, is doing a
    drama on it.'

    "'Who is he?'

    "'Roger de Beauvoir?'

    "'You are mistaken! It is a novel entitled, _L'Écolier de
    Cluny.'_

    'Oh! then another difficulty is removed! I am all the more
    pleased to plunge into the stream of the fourteenth century
    at the time when cholera has come to pay me a call, for I
    know my Louis le Hutin to my finger-tips.'

    "'So it is understood I send you the MS. to-morrow.'

    "'But the author! Will it suit his ideas?'

    "'The play belongs to me; mine by fair and square contract:
    I have the right to have it rewritten at my own pleasure,
    by whomsoever I think fit. And, believe me, I feel sure
    the author will prefer that you should touch it up rather
    than any one else.... Besides, let me tell you everything
    frankly.'

    "'I warn you that, after that declaration, I shall be on my
    guard!'

    "'Exactly so ... You know Janin is rather friendly towards
    me?'

    "'Yes.'

    "'Very well, I begged him to rewrite this play, as it
    is unactable as it is, and I only took it after he had
    consented to overhaul it ...'

    "'Then you do not need me?'

    "'On the contrary, for it was Janin himself who told me
    to come to you. He has toiled and moiled at it; he has
    put marvellous style into it; "I have Janin's MS. in my
    possession; it is, indeed, perhaps the work on which he best
    displayed the wealth and flamboyant versatility of his pen.
    This is so true, that when my drama was done I made use of
    his work as the gold dust with which to besprinkle my own,"
    but, finally, he was the first to realise that there was no
    play in what he had done. This morning, he came into my room
    with an armful of papers, which he flung at me, telling me
    that you were the only one who could put it into shape, that
    I should kill him with worry, that he had the cholera and
    that he was going to apply a score of leeches.'

    "'Very well, send me all these old papers to-morrow?'

    "'Will you set at it immediately?'

    "'I will try; but on one condition.'

    "'What is it?'

    "'That I shall not appear at the rehearsals, and that my
    name shall not figure on the bills; because I am doing this
    for you and not for myself. So give me your word of honour?'

    "'My word of honour!'"

    "I have already mentioned that, at the time M. Harel came to
    hunt me up, I was suffering from fever, a state of mind, as
    every one knows, extremely favourable to the concoction of
    works of the imagination. Therefore, the very same day, my
    character of Margaret of Burgundy was decided upon, my rôle
    of Buridan drawn out and part of the plot contrived. Next
    day M. Harel arrived with his manuscript.

    "'Here the thing is,' he said.

    "'What a pity! it comes too late.'

    "'How is that?'

    "'Your drama is finished.'

    "'Bah!'

    "'Send me your secretary to-night; he shall have the first
    scene.'

    "'Ah! my dear friend! You are ...'

    "' One moment! Let us concern ourselves with business
    matters now.'

    "'But you know that, between us ...'

    "'Ah! it is not of my own I wish to speak; it is of those
    of your young man.... You have made the young man sign a
    contract, you told me?'

    "'Yes.'

    "'On what conditions?'

    "'Why, according to the usual Porte-Saint-Martin terms: 2
    louis per performance, I for himself, I for Janin, and 12
    francs' worth of tickets.[4]

    "'As Janin renounced his part in the collaboration, does he
    give up his rights?'

    "'There is no doubt on that head; he was the first to say so
    to me.' 'Then, your young man enjoys the benefit of Janin's
    withdrawal, and has the treaty entirely to himself?'

    "'Nothing of the kind!'

    "'Why?'

    "'Because, with your rights, which are in addition to the
    ordinary arrangements, that would cost me a ruinous sum per
    night. Besides, he only claims one louis; he expects to have
    a collaborator: he will get his louis and his collaborator;
    only, the latter, instead of being named Janin, will be
    called Dumas, and, instead of being named, will not hear of
    it.'

    "'Yes; but I would like this young man to be satisfied with
    me, all the same.'

    "'There is a way; let him deduct his second louis from your
    rights.'

    "'Yes, but then, you, on your side, will take the sum of 20
    francs' worth of tickets; that will make even money for him.'

    "'I am anxious it should.'

    "'Do you agree to that?'

    "'Perfectly.'

    "'Let us draw it up.'

    "I took up pen and paper and the treaty was drawn up and
    signed.

    "'Is there anything besides to take over in what you have
    brought there?' I continued, pointing to the manuscript
    lying on my bed.

    "'Why, yes, in the first act ... Understand clearly that
    this MS. is Janin's; I have not brought you the other, which
    is illegible.' 'I will see that after I have written mine.'

    "'Then I shall have something to-night?'

    "'Yes, the first scene.'

    "'That is well; Verteuil shall be with you at ten
    o'clock.'[5]

    "I spent the day scratching the nib of a pen on paper.
    Verteuil came that night at the appointed hour; I was dead
    tired, but the scene was done; it was the tavern scene.

    "'At what time must I return?' said Verteuil to me.

    "' To-morrow, at four.'

    "'And shall I have the second scene?'

    "'You shall have it.'

    "'Wonderful!...'

    "'Only, leave me in peace.'

    "'I will take myself off at once.'

    "'Verteuil took his leave. I then remembered what M. Harel
    had said to me of the beauties of style, which, according to
    him, existed in the beginning of the work. The first thing I
    caught sight of, on looking at the names of the characters,
    was that the principal hero was called _Anatole,_ a name
    which seemed to me singularly modern for a fourteenth
    century drama; but I went on with my reading undiscouraged.
    There was a suggestion of plot, of which I took advantage,
    and, as I have said, admirable things in the way of style.
    However, I only took the tirade of the _grandes_ _dames._
    Thus, it is at Janin, and not at me, that the marquises of
    the faubourg Saint-Germain ought to throw stones. As far as
    the second, third, fourth and fifth acts were concerned,
    they diverged so greatly from ordinary theatrical rules,
    that it was impossible to extract anything from them;
    nevertheless, the magic of the style made me read them
    right to the end; but, when I had read the manuscript, I
    laid it down and did not open it again.

    "Next day, Verteuil was prompt and I was punctual, and he
    carried off his second scene. When the first three acts were
    done, they were read to the actors without waiting for the
    last two. According to our compact, my name was not uttered,
    I never appeared at the reading, and M. Harel took the place
    of the presumed author, who was still absent from Paris.

    "In a week's time, M. Harel had his drama completely
    finished. I then wrote to the young man to tell him that
    his first performance was going to take place. He never
    favoured me with an answer; but took carriage, came to Paris
    and found his rehearsal tickets at his rooms. He rushed to
    the Porte-Saint-Martin, came in as they began the second
    act, listened to it quite quietly, also to the third; but,
    at last, losing patience after the prison scene, he came up
    on to the stage and asked if they were soon going to begin
    the rehearsal of his play, or if they had made him come
    solely and simply to listen to somebody else's drama. The
    actors began to laugh. The resemblance in the names suddenly
    occurred to his mind, and he saw clearly that he had said a
    foolish thing.

    "'What,' said Bocage to him, 'do you not recognise your
    child, or has it been changed at nurse?'

    "The young man did not know what to reply.

    "'Are you dissatisfied with the prison scene?' continued
    Bocage.

    "'Not at all,' said the young man, who began to regain his
    self-possession; 'on the contrary, it seems to me very
    effective.'

    "'Very well, but you shall see your second act,' resumed
    Bocage; 'that will please you indeed!'

    "The young man saw his second act, and declared it to be
    exactly to his taste. Only, he seemed much to regret that
    the name of Anatole had been exchanged for that of Gaultier
    d'Aulnay.

    "The young man followed the rehearsals of _his drama_ most
    carefully, making objections at random to which nobody
    listened, and corrections which they took good care not to
    follow.

    "The day of the representation arrived. Carefully though I
    had kept the secret on my side, the indiscreet interest of
    the manager, the jokes of the actors, even the complaints
    let slip as to the _author,_ had denounced me to the public
    as the real culprit; a certain way of handling, in the
    construction of the play, and qualities of style impressed
    with an individual stamp of its own, at each moment rose
    up to accuse me more and more; in short, there was not
    one single person in the theatre but who expected to hear
    my name pronounced by the lips of Bocage, when he came to
    announce, according to custom, that the play they had had
    the honour of performing was by Monsieur * * * He named the
    young man.

    "I had just fulfilled the last engagement that I had set
    myself, and, certainly, it was the most difficult. To hear a
    whole theatre stamping, applauding with hundreds of hands,
    demanding with the frenzy of triumph your name as the
    author, which is equivalent to your person, your life and
    your renown, and to give up instead of your own an unknown
    name to the halo of publicity; and all this when one might
    have done otherwise, since no sort of promise binds you,
    since no engagement whatever has been entered into, this
    is, believe me, the philosophy of delicacy pushed to the
    extremest limit.[6]

    "When the performance was over, I caught sight of our young
    man as I was going downstairs with the audience. He modestly
    received the compliments of all his friends and was riding
    the high horse in the centre of a group of them. Janin was
    going down at the same time as I. We exchanged one of those
    looks which nobody could understand; then we went away arm
    in arm, laughing all along the boulevard, at the young man,
    at the public and, most of all, at ourselves. Next day, M.
    Harel, who made out that the absence of my name on the bills
    was prejudicial to him, invented one of those methods which
    were peculiar to himself, of telling the public, tacitly,
    what it was impossible to tell it outright, and he drew up
    his bill in these terms--

                       "LA TOUR DE NESLE
              "_Drame en cinq actes, en prose_
                   "DE MM. *** ET GAILLARDET

    "He had, as we see, reversed the rules of algebra, which lay
    down that one should proceed from the known to the unknown,
    and not from the unknown to the known. It was impossible to
    give proof, I think, of a more knowing ignorance and of a
    more ingenious blunder. Which seeing, the young man wrote
    the following letter to the editor of the _Corsaire...._.

We are acquainted with that letter as well as with Harel's answer: I
have quoted them previously.

    "That answer did not hinder the young man, who was a
    barrister, from bringing an action against M. Harel, but it
    was a singular action, as you shall see. He never dreamt
    of taking the asterisks from the bill altogether; it was
    a question, therefore, solely, of changing the position
    of them. A request was, consequently, presented by the
    young man to the Tribunal de Commerce, to have the things
    re-established in algebraical position; this request asked
    for a decree which should authorise the young man to put
    himself first. Until then all went well, and the young man
    had not completely forgotten the small service I had just
    done him, and the way in which I had done it; witness the
    following letter which he had written me when starting his
    lawsuit--

    'MY DEAR MASTER,--I wish to renew my thanks for your good
    and loyal conduct in my affairs yesterday; but, since Harel
    is intractable, I will not yield him an inch of ground, and
    I am going to fight him. If, indeed, as he says, the honour
    of his management is imperilled, so is my word compromised;
    and _I am too far pledged with the public and with my
    friends to remain quiet._

    "'Do not let this business worry you, my dear master, and
    particularly do not let it prevent you from going away
    when you wish; only, in that case, I would ask you of your
    goodness to make one trivial declaration,[7] so that Harel
    may be brought to trial, and made to overcome his obstinacy
    by the certain prospect of a conviction against him. A
    thousand pardons for all the upset these miserable, wretched
    quarrels are causing you. A thousand cordial thanks.

    "'4 _June_ 1832'

    "Owing to my declaration, the sentence was pronounced
    and the unlucky asterisks were condemned to be put last.
    Meanwhile, a singular idea had presented itself to the
    young man: namely, to sell the MS. without my knowledge.
    Consequently, he went in search of Duvernoy and told him
    that he was the author of _La Tour de Nesle,_ and that he
    had come to do business with him.

    "Duvernoy, who knew how things had been going, came
    in search of me, and warned me of the action of my
    _collaborator._ We settled there and then the conditions of
    the sale. It was fixed at 1400 francs, 700 of which were
    to be handed to the young man. Doubtless, this sum did not
    appear to the young man proportionate to the merit of _his
    drama_; for he threatened Duvernoy and me with a second
    lawsuit if we fixed the basis of terms on these conditions.
    At the end of a fortnight he signed a contract of sale for
    a sum total of 500 francs. The young man would have done
    better, you see, to go on letting me look after his business
    affairs. It is needless to say that only one single name
    appeared on the pamphlet, as was the case on the bills. You
    will, perhaps, think that in consideration of this last deed
    of division my young man held me discharged?

    "At the time I was occupied with the publication of my
    complete works I received a letter from him. What do you
    think he told me in that letter? He told me that he had just
    learnt with the greatest surprise that I had the presumption
    to put _his drama_ amongst mine. As one sees, the matter
    had degenerated into buffoonery. I replied to the young man
    that, if he continued to bother me with his nonsense, I
    should print his manuscript in the preface of my own. This
    intimation was a genuine thunderbolt to the poor devil. He
    did not know that M. Harel had made me a present, as a kind
    of premium, of the autograph MS. after the signing of my
    agreement for _Angèle._

    "Next day I received, by a sheriff's officer, an invitation
    to place my manuscript in its author's hands, because, he
    said, he had just negotiated its _sale._ The thing will
    at first appear odd, but it will be understood, when one
    reflects that, with the exception of one scene, the drama
    was entirely unrevised; the publisher, then, could not have
    been in his right senses, but the author was well within his
    rights.

    "M. Philippe Dupin, to whom I sent both the MSS., and who
    still has them in his possession, replied to our adversary
    that we were ready to surrender the said autograph, but
    that we would only do so in exchange for a copy collated
    under the inspection of three dramatic authors and
    certified conformable to them. The young man reflected
    for a fortnight, then withdrew his demand. This was the
    third lawsuit he had begun against me, in order to gain
    for himself 12,000 francs. Since that time I have heard
    no further mention of the young man, and I do not at the
    present day know if he be dead or alive. That is how my
    _Tour de Nesle_ was composed. As for M. Gaillardet's, I am
    not aware if it is, as he says, his best drama; I still only
    know it from reading it, and I shall wait until he has it
    played before deciding if it be better than _George_ and
    _Struensee._--Faithfully, etc.,

    "ALEX. DUMAS"

The days rolled by, and I knew that my future adversary went shooting
every morning, and I was kept informed of the progress which he made.
Finally, appeared the famous answer. Let me be permitted to reproduce
it in full, with the insults it contains. It is probable that M.
Gaillardet to-day regrets his insults towards me, as I regret my
violence towards him.[8]

    "TO M. S.--HENRY BERTHOUD

    "MONSIEUR LE DIRECTEUR,--I published an article in the
    twenty-first number of _Le Musée des Families_ which you did
    me the honour to ask from me on the ancient tower of Nesle.
    In that article, I related cursorily, and under the form of
    a chat without any sort of pretension, how the idea had come
    to me to write a drama, the first conception of which no one
    has contested with me; a drama printed and published over
    two years ago, and performed to-day for the two hundredth
    time under my name, by the consent of M. Dumas himself. I
    did not say a word of M. Dumas; I did not make any allusion
    to the judicial and literary discussion which arose formerly
    between him and me. Anyone can be convinced of this by
    reading my article. I should have a scruple, indeed, against
    reviving a quarrel long since extinguished, and to which an
    amicable transaction put an end; a transaction proposed by
    M. Dumas himself, as I shall tell in due course, by which
    the public controversy that I had then desired and provoked
    was settled in its earliest stages. However that may be,
    to-day M. Dumas returns to the affair; he rekindles the
    cold and scattered ashes, piling them up with his hands and
    stirring them to life with his breath, and relights the
    fire, at the risk of burning his own fingers at it. Since he
    has thrown down the glove, I pick it up. He has incited me,
    I reply to him. So much the worse for him if he be wounded
    in this game, if his reputation chances to be compromised
    thereby: it does not rest with me to avoid the fight.... I
    am the offended, the insulted one I and, if ever retaliation
    be permissible, it is to him who has not sought the
    attack.... To such an one, vengeance is sacred and reprisals
    holy, he employs the right of natural and legitimate defence!

    "I come, then, to the _complete and true story of La Tour
    de Nesle._ I will base my recital on proofs _written and
    signed_ by the actual personages in this story, and, when
    proofs shall fail me, I will put before the readers' eyes
    the suppositions and probabilities of the case, and say to
    him: 'Consider and judge!' But, in a lawsuit like this,
    where _honour_ is everything, where the written proof of
    many of the general facts cannot be set forth (for that, the
    future would need to have been foreseen and divined as to
    what would happen), where each of the litigants in certain
    circumstances must be _believed,_ because he has always
    told the truth in others, where he who has once lied, on
    the contrary, is no more worthy of credence; in an affair,
    in fact, where good faith ought to prevail over lying,
    when both have nothing to show beyond _their word,_--I
    must, and I will, before all else, convince my adversary of
    _inaccuracy_ (I will be polite in expression), and, that
    _inaccuracy_ proved, I will bind it on his forehead like the
    inscription of a brand at the head of a standard, so that
    the stigma may survive and hover incessantly over the guilty
    one, before the eyes of the judges in this suit.

    "M. Dumas declares (I begin with the first sentence of
    his article relative to _La Tour de Nesle),_ that, having
    received a visit from M. Harel, the latter said to him,
    'The play belongs to me; mine by fair and square contract;
    I have the right to have it rewritten at my own pleasure,
    by whomsoever I think fit....' And, further: 'You have
    made the young man sign a contract, you told me?' 'Yes.'
    'On what conditions?' 'Why, according to the usual terms
    of the Porte-Saint-Martin: 2 louis per performance, 1 for
    himself, 1 for Janin and 12 francs' worth of tickets.' Then,
    in a note, M. Dumas adds: 'This treaty is still in the
    possession of M. Harel.' Very well, the more words the more
    _inaccuracies._ Here is the only treaty which ever existed
    between me and M. Harel; it is the one they made me sign, by
    what manœuvre I will tell later, when they made me accept
    the collaboration of M. Janin."

Then followed the text of that treaty, which the reader knows.

    "'The drama was played,' says M. Dumas; 'they gave the
    name of the _young man._ (M. Dumas has throughout used
    _that expression_ to designate me.) To hear a whole theatre
    clapping, demanding your name and, instead of one's own,
    an unknown name given up to the halo of publicity; and all
    this _when one might have done otherwise, since no sort of
    promise binds you, since no engagement whatever has been
    entered into,_ this is the philosophy of delicacy pushed to
    the extremest limit.'

    "Well, here is the letter I received from M. Dumas before
    the performance, and the _conditions_ on which alone I
    consented to allow the play to be acted."

That letter, the first that I wrote to M. Gaillardet, will not have
been forgotten.

    "Now, reader, decide. In the case of M. Dumas, which holds
    its head highest, the _philosophy_ of delicacy, or, indeed,
    that of _assurance_? 'Duvemoy came in search of me,'
    continues M. Dumas, 'and we _settled_ there and then the
    conditions of the sale. It was _fixed_ at 1400 francs, 700
    of which were to be handed to the _young man._ Doubtless
    this sum did not appear to the _young man_ proportionate to
    the merit of his drama.... In a fortnight's time, he signed
    a contract of sale for a sum total of 500 francs. The _young
    man_ would have done better, you see, to go on letting me
    look after his business affairs.'

    "Here is a declaration signed by M. Duvemoy.

    "'By the same impartial spirit which made me give a
    declaration to M. Alexandre Dumas in which I acknowledged
    that M. Gaillardet had offered me the MS. of _La Tour de
    Nesle_ (we shall see this later), I assert that _there was
    never any question_ of 1400 francs for the price of the said
    MS., but of a sum which, I believe, was to be 1000 francs.
    DUVERNOY

    "'PARIS, 8 _Septembre_ 1834'

    "I have much more to say and all the _philosophies_ to
    quote! but they will find room in my narrative; for, now,
    yes,--now, I feel myself quite strong enough to undertake
    them!

    "It was on 27 March that I read my drama _La Tour de Nesle_
    to M. Harel in the presence of M. Janin and of Mademoiselle
    Georges. The drama was received. 'Dumas could not have done
    better!' exclaimed the manager, enthusiastically. 'There
    is, however, something to touch up in the style, which is
    not at all dramatic; but do not worry yourself about that;
    begin another drama, and Janin will do us both the favour
    of revising some pages.' I did not quite comprehend how M.
    Janin, who had never written a play, could have a dramatic
    style, to use the manager's expression. 'But, if he has not
    written one,' I said to myself, 'he has heard a great many,
    which, perhaps, comes to the same thing.'

    "I therefore professed that I should be extremely flattered
    and most grateful if M. Janin would indeed _smooth down_ a
    few sentences. M. Janin consented with ready willingness,
    and I left M. Janin and Mademoiselle Georges joyfully. I was
    in the seventh heaven.... My rapture did not last long.

    "Two days later, 29 March, I went to see what my _Janinised_
    drama had become. What was my surprise to see a whole act
    _rewritten_! 'It is a big piece of work,' I said aside to
    the manager. 'M. Janin did much more than I had desired;
    but I do not think my style so bad that he need ...' 'No,
    no, certainly,' replied M. Harel; 'but Janin has thrown
    himself thoroughly into it, he will at least want his
    share.' 'What! his share?' 'Yes, his half.' 'But it is a
    collaboration then?--there is some _misunderstanding_; I
    will go and tell M. Janin.' 'Ah! what are you going to do?
    You will offend Janin, Janin the most influential of the
    critics! You will make an enemy for life.' 'Bah!' 'I tell
    you it is so. You do not know what the theatre is! But ...
    besides they have set to work on it! It is not intact. You
    are bound on both sides! etc., etc.,' to such an extent that
    M. Harel, seeing me quite stunned, took a sheet of paper,
    scrawled upon it the agreement that I have transcribed
    above, and made me sign it.... And that is how I got my
    first collaborator.

    "Then, I attributed that occurrence to a misunderstanding;
    now, I attribute it to a _very good understanding_: ideas
    change with time!

    "Then the day came for M. Janin to read us his work. I said
    nothing, for, as far as I can, I exercise charity, even
    towards my enemies!... Let it be known only that, by common
    accord, the work was judged null and void. Janin withdrew
    and gave up the task (I will give the written proof), and
    M. Harel returned purely and simply to my drama. Now, since
    the day upon which I read my play, I had conceived new ideas
    and improvements, due as much to discussion and to the
    criticisms of the manager as to my own reflections. But,
    in order to enlighten the public as to the true mysteries
    of the birth of _La Tour de Nesle,_ and, as it were, to
    initiate it into the phases and developments of the work by
    which this drama was conceived, abnormal in its success and
    by reason of the quarrels which it raised, I am about to
    establish succinctly what the drama was, _as a whole,_ and
    in comparison with the drama performed, which I read to M.
    Harel, and which was returned to me at the epoch of which
    I am speaking. It will be easy to all to understand me at
    once (who has not seen _La Tour de Nesle_?), and to _verify_
    me afterwards, M. Dumas having the original MS. in his
    possession, and able to show it to whomsoever desires to see
    it; also, people may be confident that I shall say _less_
    rather than _more._ I quote from memory and my adversary has
    the book!"

Here, M. Gaillardet gave the résumé of his first MS.; then he continued
thus--

    "The reader has already gathered at what points the _two_
    dramas coincide. Are not these points, in the small portion
    I have quoted, and quoted faithfully (for if I were the
    man to make up an audacious lie, my adversary would hold
    in his hands the means of exposing me!)--are not _those
    points already_ the fundamental basis of the _acted_ drama?
    Are they not the bones and marrow, the substance and
    framework?... Indeed I I venture to say that had I done
    _only that_ in the play, I should have done more than half
    the drama, consequently ten, twenty times more than M. Dumas
    allows me, since he allows me _nothing. Very well!_ he has
    dared to write and to print it in all his letters! But,
    after what we know of him, of what can we and should we be
    surprised?

    "M. Harel had expressed much regret to me; first, because
    the drama was not _en tableaux_; that style suited the
    ways of his theatre better, and the success of _Richard_
    supported the opinion; secondly, that I had not made Buridan
    the father of Gaultier and of Philippe, whose mother
    (Marguerite) was alone known. 'That would complicate the
    plot,' he said to me. Finally, he thought it improbable
    that Marguerite, a queen and all-powerful, would not have
    had Buridan arrested and got rid of, at the first words of
    his revelation. At the juxtaposition of these two latter
    objections a sudden ray of light sprang up in me. Let
    Buridan be the _father_ indeed, by means of a pre-existing
    intrigue, and let him be arrested by Marguerite, who wanted
    to rid herself of him; then, at the moment of his greatest
    peril, let him make himself known, and there would be the
    opportunity for a magnificent scene--capital! The prison
    scene was hit upon.

    "Two days after that on which Janin had given up the drama,
    like an athlete, exhausted by a task too heavy for him, I
    took to M. Harel, the manager of the Porte-Saint-Martin,
    a _scenario_ which was pretty nearly that of _La Tour de
    Nesle._ I am, however, going to point out the differences.

    "Orsini was not a tavern-keeper; that was Landry, although
    both were men belonging to the tower of Nesle. As for
    Orsini, he was one of those magicians extremely feared
    in his time under the name of _envoûteurs._ A confidant
    of Marguerite, he receives at his house the courtiers, a
    part very much like that of Ruggieri in _Henri III._; it
    is on that account, I think, that M. Dumas has made him a
    tavern-keeper instead of Landry.

    "Secondly, the prison scene was arranged like this so that
    Buridan might finish his part holding Marguerite's hands,
    and say to her, 'Délie ces cordes!' Marguerite, falling on
    her knees obediently, and freeing him with _one single cut._
    M. Dumas has _tripled_ that action by causing Buridan only
    to be unbound after _three attempts._

    "He is miles beyond me, as tried talent far exceeds feeble
    inexperienced effort, as attainment exceeds inexperience.

    "As far as the truth of what I advance is concerned, it will
    be detected by all impartial readers, first, in the accuracy
    and faithfulness of its details, if I may so express it; I
    do not merely relate what is in the actual _Tour de Nesle,_
    but things that _are not to be found in that,_ among others,
    one scene in the fourth act. Buridan comes as a gipsy,
    and not as a captain, to visit the _wizard_ Orsini. The
    latter wants to overawe the gipsy, who revealed to him the
    murders of the tower of Nesle as he had revealed them to
    Marguerite; and soon the magician falls at the gipsy's feet,
    seized with the very superstitions he himself instils into
    the vulgar-minded, to enquire if, perhaps, there be true
    sorcerers! This scene was bound to disappear directly Orsini
    was made an inn-keeper.

    "Finally, as to probability, I might say concerning the
    _proof_ of my word, that I have the actual words of M. Dumas
    in the letter in which he says to me: 'Harel has come to ask
    my _advice_ about a drama by _you_ which he wishes to put on
    the stage. _Your play ..._ that which I have been happy to
    have been able to _add_ to it ... etc.' Nobody speaks like
    this of a work in which he has done _everything._

    "Next, a line from M. Harel, which I received before my
    departure (_after Janin's withdrawal,_) in which he says to
    me: 'Write to me; take care of your health and, above all,
    _work_! 'There were then, modifications, changes decided
    upon, a _work to be done_!... They deny it; I assert it and
    assert it with proof!... It is for the reader to decide the
    matter.[9]

    "So, now, you will perceive that it will matter little to me
    whether M. Dumas either had or had not my _first_ MS. in his
    possession. I have proved that he has had my second plan;
    from another source, he himself confesses to have possessed
    and partly copied Janin's MS. which was mine _spoilt...._
    What more do I need?

    "I will, therefore, resume my story from where I left
    off. _Felonies_ were about to succeed one another like
    file-firing. It was on 8 April when I took my _scenario_ to
    M. Harel. My father died on the 9th; he had come to Paris on
    purpose to fetch me away from the contagion which reigned
    over the city, and his joy in being present at my first play
    induced him to remain with me! This recollection breaks my
    heart!... On the 10th, as a messenger of death, I went to
    console my poor mother. This was the night of the same day
    on which M. Harel wrote me the note wherein he said, '_Take
    care of your health_!' Wretched irony, flung at me between
    a misfortune which had come upon me and an act of robbery
    which was about to overtake me! 'Go,' he had said to me; 'I
    have a play before yours: you have three months before you.
    Take it easy and write to me!'

    "I had scarcely been gone a month before I had to write
    to M. Janin to ask him about an announcement relative to
    _La Tour de Nesle._ A book had just appeared upon the same
    subject (_L'Écolier de Cluny),_ and I did not wish it to be
    thought that my play was taken from the book. Janin replied--

    "'I will willingly do what you ask me: but what is the good?
    I announce the approaching performance of your play. I say
    _your_ and not _our,_ because I count for _absolutely_
    nothing in it; you know the matter rests between you and
    M. Harel; that was agreed upon a long time ago, etc. JULES
    JANIN'

    "'10 _May_ 1832'

    "After that, not a word further. I wrote to Paris, and I
    learnt that M. Dumas _has been made and has constituted
    himself_ my collaborator. I leave the reader to imagine what
    my feelings were!...

    "Beside myself, trembling with rage and indignation, I
    wrote to M. Harel to forbid him to act the play; to M.
    Dumas to beg him to prevent it. 'You have doubtless been
    misinformed,' I said to him; 'the play belongs to me and
    to me alone; I do not wish to have collaborators at all,
    certainly not clandestine ones, imposed upon me; I therefore
    appeal to you, for your own honour's sake, and I point out
    to you the necessity for stopping the rehearsals, etc.'

    "No answer either from M. Harel or M. Dumas!... I set off,
    and, before going to my home, I went in travelling garb, as
    I was, straight to M. Harel. 'I am ruined!' he said to me;
    'it is true I have deceived you.... Now, what are you going
    to do?... Stop the play!--You will not succeed in doing
    that; I shall change the title of it and play it. You can
    attack me for forgery, theft, plagiarism, what you like: you
    would obtain 1200 francs damages. Ask a lawyer! If, however,
    you let it be played you will gain 12,000 francs, etc.'
    He spoke the truth, for such is the protection ordinarily
    granted by our judges to the author who is robbed!... I
    returned home, pale with rage, and it was then I found the
    grandiloquent letter from M. Dumas, quoted by me at the
    beginning of this article. Such are the principal facts.

    "Now, what do you say to those lines of M. Dumas? 'I
    wrote to the young man, and the young man _never favoured
    me with an answer_!' This time it is the philosophy of
    _truthfulness,_ with a vengeance! Nobody would have believed
    it, if I had not held the _evidence_ and the _means_ of
    proving what I am stating! M. Dumas not having yielded to
    the request or to the summons that I sent him to stop the
    rehearsals of the play (which was the first, if not the
    second, of his _mistakes,_ from which he will never clear
    himself, because it proves his _complicity),_ and M. Harel
    threatening to play in spite of me--which, both morally and
    physically, he was capable of doing,--there was nothing
    else left for me to do but to let my drama be performed,
    and according to the _conditions_ stipulated in M. Dumas's
    letter, in which he stated that _his name would not be
    given,_ that I should be the _sole author,_ that he wished
    to _tender_ me a service and not to _sell_ it me.

    "Very well, then, the day following the first performance,
    _asterisks_ appeared on the playbills _before_ my name, and
    now, M. Dumas wants to replace _my name_ by his: it will be
    seen what encroachments these were! This is not all. When
    it came to payment, they would not give me more than _one
    share._ Now, listen carefully: during the current April, the
    Commission of Authors had made an agreement with M. Harel,
    before the performance of my play, which stipulated for a
    fee of ten per cent, for the authors, in the performances
    _to come on_ at the Porte-Saint-Martin. I had, then, the
    right to the benefit of this agreement. M. Dumas enjoyed
    it, and more beside; he also received two and three hundred
    francs per night. What did they leave me? Forty-eight
    francs, the price of an old agreement! and M. Dumas took
    _half_ of it from me--that is the service he wished to
    _tender_ me, and not to _sell_!!!

    "There was nothing for it but to go to law to protest
    against such deeds, as there is nothing but the police
    station against theft and pickpocketting. I therefore had
    recourse to the law courts.

    "If more proof _still_ be needed, I have it at hand,
    drawn up and set forth in the legal deeds, _properly
    attested,_ which began the examination of this trial. But
    it would seem that the trial a little alarmed M. Dumas's
    public conscience, for he suggested to me to stop it by a
    compromise.

    "In that compromise--First, we both acknowledged each
    other as _joint_ authors of _La Tour de Nesle;_ second, it
    was specified that this play should always be published
    and acted under _my name,_ followed by asterisks; third,
    M. Dumas guaranteed me a settled sum of 48 francs per
    performance, and _half_ of his tickets. 'To what sum do
    they amount?' I asked him in all good faith. 'To 36 francs,
    upon my honour!' he replied, glancing at M. Harel; so I
    accepted 18 francs' worth of tickets. Next day, M. Harel
    would not fulfil the above-mentioned compromise, as far as
    it concerned himself, although he had been the instigator
    of, and witness to, it. It needed a _trial_ to compel him
    to do it, and M. Dumas blamed him on that occasion.... I
    had that to thank him for ... it was the _first_ and _last_
    time. He also quoted my letter.

    "A little while later, I learnt that M. Dumas, who had
    declared to me upon his honour that there would only be 36
    francs' worth of tickets, had over 50! But, while taking
    the oath, he had looked at M. Harel. The MS. was still for
    sale. Barba, who had offered 1000 francs for it, and never
    1400, would give no more than 500 francs. Half that sum
    should have been paid down to each of us there and then,
    and the remainder in six months from that date. In a few
    days' time, when I went to M. Barba to get my 125 francs, I
    learnt that M. Dumas had come and taken my share of the cash
    _payable_ down with his own, _saying he was authorised to do
    so by me_!

    "There is something so incredible in such an act, so petty,
    so degrading to the _man of letters,_ that I should not have
    dared to cite it, had I not possessed the proof, written
    by M. Dumas himself. Indeed, when Barba informed me of
    _that,_ not venturing to believe it, I wrote to M. Dumas,
    who replied that he had, indeed, received 250 francs; but
    Barba had said he had special arrangements with me (did
    they not say that it was Barba who had wished to pay there
    and then?); that, moreover, he had enabled me to exact the
    same advantage for myself as for him ... that I could make
    use of his letter to get myself also paid at once, that he
    authorised me, etc. This was making use of a first _fraud_
    in order to commit a second, two _indelicacies_ instead of
    one! I should have preferred to be settled by a six months'
    bill.[10] Now, Monsieur Dumas, what do you suppose I should
    reply to you--you who treated me in your letter as though
    I were a _poor devil_ of a fellow?... I am too well-bred
    for you to guess. Now, in order to escape the sooner out of
    these unworthy details, which present so ill a picture, I
    will state that I should never oppose the insertion of _La
    Tour de Nesle_ among M. Dumas's complete works (although
    that right resulted strictly as mine from the terms of our
    transaction together), if M. Dumas had consented to make a
    simple mention of my collaboration in that play. That is
    the method followed nowadays by M. Scribe. But, to a polite
    letter M. Dumas replied by one of those _incivilities_ of
    which he claims the monopoly.[11]

    "Finally, if I asked M. Dumas for my _first_ MS. through
    a sheriff's officer, it was because it was, on his part,
    incredible disloyalty to put side by side with this _sole_
    and only MS. a play which had had at the least three!

    "This is the truth about _La Tour de Nesle_ and the whole
    truth. I should add to the documents which I have brought
    forward and to the proofs I have given, that, summoned
    before our peerage, the Commission of Authors, I cited and
    enumerated all these details and facts before M. Dumas in
    person! And there, as here, I more than once felt my cheeks
    flush with involuntary shame. Up to now, M. Dumas seemed
    great and sacred in my eyes, with the greatness of talent,
    the sacredness of art. So, if, after this controversy, which
    he provoked, another should follow it, my hand may indeed
    tremble ... for behind M. Dumas the _man,_ there is the
    _artist,_ and, beneath the _shame,_ is his _fame._

    "P.S.--In support of his statements, M. Dumas has produced
    various certificates, to each of which I shall only concede
    what is necessary in order to the appreciation of their
    worth and weight.

    "I will say nothing of M. Harel, who was the primary culprit
    in the whole affair, and whose _accomplice_ M. Dumas is. M.
    Dumas ought to be ashamed to call upon such a witness.

    "M. Verteuil, _M. Harel's secretary,_ asserts to having gone
    to M. Dumas's house to fetch the five acts of _La Tour de
    Nesle_ (excellent!) as he wrote them, to having re-copied
    his manuscript entirely (better and better!), which had no
    sort of resemblance with _that_ (which?) of M. Gaillardet,
    a MS. which was in my possession about three months....
    Ah! Monsieur Verteuil, I pull you up here!... _La Tour de
    Nesle_ was performed on 31 _May._ It was on 29 March (look
    at the date at the top) when my MS. was received. I left
    on 10 _April_; M. Dumas was my collaborator on the 11th.
    He declares he did his work in _a week,_ and you declare
    that my MS. had _then_ been _about three months_ in your
    possession?... Oh I Monsieur Verteuil, you are indeed
    _secretary to M. Harel._

    "M. Duvernoy certifies that I wished to sell the drama (I
    believe him there, indeed!). He asserted to me that M. Dumas
    had quoted a _false_ price; this is rather more positive.
    There now only remains M. Janin's attestation. Ah! that, I
    confess, I scarcely expected. M. Janin writes that nothing
    can be more accurate than the details given by M. Dumas,
    which _he thinks_ he remembers and that, on the whole, M.
    Dumas's reply is _truthful_! and M. Dumas declares that
    _Janin, accepted by me as a collaborator, had given his
    rights to him and been sent by M. Harel_! This is too much!
    M. Janin, then, forgets that _he had no further rights,_
    that he _had waived his claim,_ that he _had proclaimed this
    to me_ in a letter _written_ and _signed_ in his own hand?

    "This is not all, and, since I must tell it you, reader, be
    informed that, after the first performance of _La Tour de
    Nesle,_ it was M. Janin who _bound me_ to protest; it was
    _at his house_ that I wrote my protest; it was _he_ himself
    who _wanted_ to dictate it to me and _did do so_! He was
    furious with MM. Harel and Dumas. This is not all yet; in
    consequence of the lawsuit which arose between M. Harel and
    myself before the Tribunal de Commerce, M. Janin _himself_
    wrote to M. Darmaing, to support a protest that I made to
    the _Gazette des Tribunaux_: 'I beg M. Darmaing to insert
    the enclosed short note, I entreat it _in my own name,_ and
    that of M. Gaillardet. I do not understand the stubbornness
    with which they seek to rob this young man of _that which
    belongs to him,_ etc.' (See _La Gazette des Tribunaux, 1_
    July 1832.) What do you say to it, reader? I had promised to
    relate the petty secrets of this apostasy, but I have not
    space; and, besides, I reflected that it was not worth the
    trouble, and so I sign myself--"F. GAILLARDET"

After this reply, it will be realised that M. Gaillardet had no right
to delay our duel, as, not having spared me less than I had him, it was
I who considered myself the injured party. So, after a fresh call on
the part of my seconds, the meeting was fixed for 17 October 1834.



[Footnote 1: _Histoire de Paris,_ by Félibien, vol. iii. of the
 proofs, p. 378, Collect, B.

[Footnote 2: "Epigramm, libro," p. 140. edit. Lugd. Batav.]

[Footnote 3: "In fact, Fourcade, one of my best friends, son of the
Consul-General of that name, had come a few days previously to make me
this offer. It will not be surprising, I think, in a letter of this
kind, that I mention every one by name; for a name written out plainly
saves me testimonials and certificates."]

[Footnote 4: This treaty is still in the possession of M. Harel.]

[Footnote 5: Verteuil is M. Haxel's secretary.]

[Footnote 6: "This had already happened to me in _Richard_; but, this
time, it was not the voice of my _amour propre_ which compelled me
to restrain myself, but the entreaties of my collaborator. Ten times
during the performance, Dinaux and M. Harel came into my box to beg
me with growing solicitations as the drama increased in popularity to
give out my name. They have not forgotten the firmness of my refusal,
I believe; but neither shall I forget the friendly delicacy of their
entreaties."]

[Footnote 7: "The object of that declaration was to make it known
that I resigned being put first, and that I had never solicited that
position."]

[Footnote 8: See Appendix.]

[Footnote 9: "'I, the undersigned, one of the managers of
the newspaper, _l'Avant-Scène,_ ex-inspector-general of the
Porte-Saint-Martin theatre, under M. de Lhéry, M. Harel's predecessor,
assert that, a short time before M. de Lhéry's retirement, M. F.
Gaillardet communicated with me concerning a MS. of _La Tour de Nesle,_
in five acts without scenes, of which he was the sole author; that,
later, and before his departure for the provinces, M. Gaillardet showed
me a new plan of the same drama in scenes, in which was pretty nearly
the whole of the original _Tour de Nesle;_ a plan that had just been
settled, he said, between himself and M. Harel. In witness of which,
etc., DUPERRET']

[Footnote 10: "Here is M. Barba's statement--

"I think I remember (it is more than two years ago) that half the
purchase money of _La Tour de Nesle_ was given, in cash, to M. Dumas
on his saying that that was agreed upon with M. Gaillardet, which the
latter denied. He was then obliged by the terms of our agreement to
accept my note for his share.

BARBA '29 _August_ 1834' ]

[Footnote 11: "'You have written _Struensee_!' he says to me. Does
M. Dumas think to prove by that that I have done nothing in _La Tour
de Nesle_? He forgets, then, that he, too, has written also _La
Chasse et l'Amour, La Noce et l'Enterrement_? (who has heard these
plays mentioned?) Then the wretched _Napoléon,_ which has had two
Waterloos, dragging with it in its second the downfall of the Odéon
and of M. Harel! then, immediately after _La Tour de Nesle, Le Fils de
l'Émigré,_ which had three performances with M. Anicet; _Angèle,_ which
had thirty with M. Anicet; _La Vénitienne,_ which had twenty with M.
Anicet; _Catherine Howard,_ which has had fifteen without M. Anicet?
Are we really to suppose that M. Dumas is not therefore the author of
the beauties of _Antony,_ of _Henri III.,_ and of _Christine_? It has
surely been said so here and there, and even partly proved! Perhaps it
is to this that I owe M. Dumas's attack? But he need not be anxious: I
shall never write a _Gaule et France_ and certainly not a _Madame et la
Vendée._]



CHAPTER V


Sword and pistol--Whence arose my aversion to the latter
weapon--Philippe's puppet--The statue of Corneille--An autograph _in
extremis_--Le bois de Vincennes--A duelling toilet--Scientific question
put by Bixio--The conditions of the duel--Official report of the
seconds--How Bixio's problem found its solution


I had wished the duel to be one with swords; M. Gaillardet insisted
it should be with pistols. I have a strong repugnance to that weapon;
it seems to me brutal and more that of a highway robber, who attacks
a traveller from the shelter of a wood, than that of the honourable
combatant defending his life. The thing I dread most in pistol-duelling
(but I have only fought twice with this weapon) is unskilfulness, much
more than dexterity. Indeed, two or three years before the period in
which the events I am relating took place--namely, before 1834--I had
had a pistol-duel; I have not spoken of it, not being able to give
the name of the man against whom I fought, nor to tell the reasons
why I was fighting. In that duel, which took place at seven in the
morning in the bois de Boulogne, in the neighbourhood of Madrid, my
adversary and I were placed at twenty paces distance from one another.
Lots were drawn as to who should fire first and the advantage fell to
my adversary. I planted myself, with pistol loaded, at a distance of
twenty paces and I waited for the firing with the muzzle of the barrel
of my weapon in the air.

My adversary fired. I saw his hand tremble and the bullet strike the
ground six lengths in front of me, and, at the same time, however, I
felt what seemed like the sharp cut of a whip on my leg. It was the
flattened bullet which struck the calf of my leg as it rebounded,
making a wound two inches deep and forcing into my wound a piece of my
trousers and boot. The pain was so great that I unconsciously pressed
the trigger of my weapon and the charge went off into the air. The
seconds then decided that the firing held good, and that any pistol
discharged in a duel was discharged against the adversary.

I requested it to be continued, and the seconds began to re-load the
weapons; but, during that operation, whether from shaken nerves, or
loss of blood, I nearly fainted. It was, therefore, impossible to go
on with the duel. Consequently, I got into my carriage, and, as I did
not wish to return to my mother in the state I was in, I had myself
driven to Deligny's Swimming School, where my friend père Jean gave
me a bathing-closet and sent to the rue de l'Université for Roux, the
clever surgeon. Roux was not at home, but they brought back one of his
assistants. The young man examined the wound, and, as the ball had
passed through almost from one side to the other where it had entered,
he decided it was shorter to begin the search by the aid of a fresh
wound than to fumble about in the other; the swelling, moreover, made
that almost impracticable. It was done as he wished; the young man
opened the calf of my leg and extracted first the bullet, next the
piece of boot and, finally, the fragment of my trousers; then they
neatly put pad of lint on both sides of my wound, and bound up my
leg, and I returned home hopping on one foot, telling my poor mother
that I had torn my leg with a splinter of wood while bathing. I had,
therefore, good reason for not having a liking for pistols--well though
I shot with them, and, at that time, I was a remarkable shot--but M.
Gaillardet insisted and I accepted his weapon. All the same, I wished
to prove to his seconds that if I insisted on swords, it was not,
indeed, for want of skill to use the weapon preferred by my opponent.
I consequently invited Soulié and Fontan to come to Gosset's. It was
a singular thing! the seconds had drawn by lot their fighter, or,
rather, M. Gaillardet and I had so drawn our seconds, and fate gave me
Longpré and Maillan, who were simple acquaintances, and it gave Soulié
and Fontan to M. Gaillardet, who were both my friends. Soulié, Fontan
and I, then, went to Gosset's the night before the duel. A boy named
Philippe usually loaded my pistols. He it was, therefore, who went to
take down the puppet and to put up the bull's eye.

"No," I said to Philippe, "leave the puppet."

"But monsieur is not in the habit of firing at the puppet."

"I will only fire ten bullets, Philippe; it is merely to show these
gentlemen that I am not one of your poor shots."

Philippe left the doll.

I put my first bullet an inch above its head; the second an inch below
its feet; the third an inch to its right side, and the fourth an inch
to its left side. "Now that it cannot escape either above, below, to
right or to left, I am going to break it with my fifth bullet." And
I broke it with my fifth. I aimed the sixth bullet at the ground; it
stopped short at ten paces, almost. I shot at it with the remains of
the contents of my pistol. At that moment, a swallow came and alighted
on a chimney and I killed it. Fontan and Soulié exchanged looks. One
of my principles was never to draw sword or to shoot before others;
this time I had made an exception in their favour. Soulié himself shot
extremely well; I had been his second four or five years previously,
in a duel he had had with Signol, and in an experiment similar to this
which I had made I had seen him break the small and large hand of a
cuckoo clock one after the other at a distance of fifteen yards.

"Philippe," I said, as I came out, "I have to fight a duel to-morrow;
I wish things to go off fair and square. Take with you ammunition and
pistols that I have never used, powder and shot, and be at Saint-Mandé
by noon."

Philippe promised to do what he was bidden and we went away.

The affair assumed a seriousness I had never realised till then. I went
to Bixio, begging him, as usual, to be present at the duel, not in the
capacity of second, but in that of surgeon. The meeting was to be at
twelve o'clock at Saint-Mandé! We were to go by the mail-coach. If I
were not wounded or killed, we should immediately leave the field of
battle for Rouen, where there was to be an inauguration of the statue
of Corneille. Fontan, Dupeuty and I had been appointed by a majority of
votes to represent dramatic authors. Bixio accepted, of course; he was
to come and fetch me from the rue Bleue, where I lodged at the time.
I returned home to take certain precautionary measures concerning my
son and daughter, in case of my death. As regarded my mother, since
the poor woman knew that I was going a journey of some length, I left
a score of letters written from different towns in Italy; if I was
killed, they could hide the truth from her by letting her believe I
was still alive by the receipt of a letter at intervals, as though it
had just arrived by post. These preparations took up the whole night.
I only slept towards five in the morning. At ten o'clock, when my two
seconds came in, they found me still asleep. The affair was still on.
We were to have breakfast at the café des Variétés. There, my carriage
came for us and we were to be taken and brought back by my horses;
then, on the return (if return there were to be), we should take
post-horses and start, as I have said, for Rouen. I sent Maillan and
Longpré on in advance to order breakfast. I went downstairs ten minutes
after them. I had, at all risks, taken duelling swords under my cloak;
I still hoped the matter would end that way. I met Florestan Bonnaire
on the staircase, whom I have already mentioned in connection with
Madame Sand. He had an album in his hand.

"Stop," he said, "are you going out?"

"Yes."

"Are you in a hurry?"

"Why?"

"Because, if you are not in a hurry, I wish you would go upstairs and
write a few lines of poetry in my album."

"All right! Take the album upstairs; and leave it. On my return I will
put you a scene in it from _Christine_ or from _Charles VII."_

"You cannot do it at once?"

"No, honestly I can't."

"Go along with you!"

"On my word of honour, I am in a hurry, and I would not be late for the
whole world!"

"Where are you going?"

"I am off to fight a duel with Gaillardet."

"Bah!"

"Better late than never."

"Oh, then, my dear friend, write me my lines at once, I entreat."

"Why?"

"If you are going to be killed, see how interesting it would be for my
wife to have the last lines you had written!"

"You are right, I had not thought of that. I would not like to deprive
Madame Bonnaire of this chance; let us go up, my friend."

We went upstairs, I wrote ten lines in the album and Bonnaire left
me delighted. I was, indeed, a little later than my seconds; but I
had such a good excuse to offer them that they forgave me. Bixio came
and joined us at the café. We were at Saint-Mandé by noon. We found
Gosset's lad there, waiting for us with freshly cleaned pistols which
no one had hitherto used. Looking behind the carriage, we saw a
hackney carriage following us. We suspected it was our adversary and
his seconds.

We got down at the appointed place. The hackney opened, but we only saw
Soulié and Fontan get out of it. M. Gaillardet had said that he would
come by himself. They ran to me. I had already noticed the strange fact
that they scarcely knew M. Gaillardet, whilst we were old friends. So
all their sympathies were for me. I asked them to make one final effort
to make M. Gaillardet fight with swords, warning them that if, at the
first shot, nothing happened, I should demand a reloading of pistols.
They promised to do their best in the matter of the change of weapons.
At that moment a carriage appeared and stopped a few yards from us.
M. Gaillardet got out of it. He was in regular duelling toilet: coat,
breeches and black waistcoat, without a single white spot anywhere on
him, not even his shirt collar.

It was with the recollection of the effect he made on me thus clad,
that, sixteen years later, I wrote the scene between Comte Hermann and
Karl, a scene where, at the moment of letting his nephew go to fight a
pistol duel, Comte Hermann buttons Karl's coat and tucks the ends of
his collar under his cravat. It is well known how difficult it is to
hit a man clad wholly in black. When Carrel was wounded by Giradin, a
year or two later, it was on the few threads from the end of his yellow
waistcoat which stuck out beyond his black coat.

I shared my observation with Bixio.

"Where will you aim?" he asked me.

"I do not know, upon my word," I replied.

Suddenly I squeezed him by the arm.

"Well?" he asked.

"He has cotton wool in his ears," I said; "I will try to break his head
for him."

Meanwhile, M. Gaillardet was talking animatedly with the seconds, and
it was easily seen that his gestures were negative ones. Indeed, he
refused a third time to fight with swords. His two seconds came to
announce that his resolution on this point was immovable; there was
nothing more left to do but to choose a spot for the duel. We left the
carriage where it was, instructing the driver to come when he heard the
firing and we plunged into the wood. After walking for five minutes we
found a suitable opening: straight and without the sun. There were but
the final settlements to make--the business of the seconds--they met
and entered into committee. Meanwhile, I placed the letters intended
for my mother, in case of accident, in Bixio's charge. My final
injunctions to him were delivered in so simple a manner and in such
confident tones, that Bixio took my hand and pressed it, saying--

"Bravo! dear fellow! I should not have believed you would have been so
cool under the circumstances."

"It is on such occasions that I am cool," I said to him; "I slept badly
the night after M. Gaillardet's provocation; but, it is part of my very
character--temperament, whatever you like to call it--from a doctor's
point of view, to be far less moved by danger the nearer it approaches
me."

"I should very much like to feel your pulse when you are actually
standing up against one another."

"Just as you like; that is easily done!"

"We will see how many more beats it gives from excitement."

"I, too, would like to know; it is a matter of interest to me
personally."

"Do you think you will hit him?"

"I am afraid not."

"Try, though."

"I will do my best ... You have a grudge against him then?"

"I, not the least in the world; I do not know him."

"Well, then?"

"Have you read Mérimée's _Le Vase étrusque_?"

"Yes."

"Well, he says that every man killed by a bullet turns round before he
falls; I should like to know if this is true, from the point of view of
science."

"I will do my best to gratify your desire."

The seconds separated from one another. Fontan and Soulié went towards
M. Gaillardet and de Longpré, and Maillan came to me.

"Well," they said, "we have claimed that the choice of arms ought to be
decided by lot; but M. Gaillardet's seconds maintain the contrary; we
have come to consult you."

"You know very well what my opinion is; I will fight with what you
will, but I should prefer swords."

"Fontan and Soulié are reporting to M. Gaillardet, as you see. Stop,
they are coming to us."

And, indeed, Soulié and Fontan were doing so, and we met them half-way.

"M. Gaillardet," said Soulié, "has just declared to us that if he does
not fight with pistols, he will not fight at all."

"Toss five francs in the air," I said to my seconds; "and draw up a
written declaration of the refusal of these gentlemen to refer the
matter to lot."

De Longpré flung up a 5-franc piece, but Soulié and Fontan stood silent.

"All right," I said; "I accept M. Gaillardet's weapons, but I demand a
declaration of the facts of the case."

They tore a piece of paper from a note-book, and on the crown of a hat
Maillan wrote a report of the facts I have just given.

This pertinacity on my part cut short the conference. Pistols were
accepted by me, and there only remained the settling of the terms. I
wished we might be allowed to advance upon one another, and only to
fire at our own will.

"M. Gaillardet," I said, "has laid down the terms about the arms; it
seems to me that, in exchange for the concession which I have made him
in adopting them, I, in my turn, have the right of deciding the way we
shall use them."

"My dear friend," said Soulié to me, "the combatants have no rights; it
belongs to the seconds to choose all rights."

"Very well! I request, if not as a demand, at least by way of
suggestion, that my wish be submitted to M. Gaillardet."

The seconds went aside, and I found myself again alone with Bixio.

"_Sacredieu_! my dear fellow," I said to him, "that lad over there
irritates me so much that I am dying to get even with him."

"Ah, try! you will have cleared up a very curious point in science."

Five minutes later, Maillan and de Longpré returned to me.

"Well," they said, "all is arranged."

"Good!"

"You are to be placed fifty yards from one another ..."

"Why fifty yards?"

"Oh come, wait a bit. And you have the right to walk fifteen yards
towards one another."

"Ah!"

"You are not satisfied?"

"It is not all that I wanted, but one must be satisfied with what one
can get. Come, mark off the distances, my lads!"

"You see, Soulié and Fontan are doing it."

"Will you have the side where you now are?"

"As I am here, I may as well stay."

The gentlemen set to work to measure the distances, and I went on
chatting with Bixio. Meantime, the shooting--boy loaded the pistols.
The fifteen yards which we might walk over were marked by two sticks
put across the pathway. They took M. Gaillardet his pistol and brought
me mine. I took it in my right hand and held out my left for Bixio to
feel my pulse. M. Gaillardet was ready at his post. I signed to him to
wait till Bixio had made his observation.

"Tell him then not to take any notice of me, but to fire just the
same," said Bixio.

Bixio's character runs entirely on those two lines.

My pulse beat sixty-eight to the minute.

"Now go along with you!" Bixio said to me, "and do not hurry yourself."

Then he went into the wood with the four witnesses. I went and took up
my position. Soulié clapped his hands three times. At the third clap
M. Gaillardet ran the distance which separated him from the limit and
waited. I walked towards him deviating from the straight line a little
so as not to give him the advantage of helping himself to take aim by
the path. M. Gaillardet fired at my tenth yard. I did not even hear the
whistle of the bullet. I turned towards our four friends. Soulié, as
pale as death, was leaning against a tree. I bowed my head and waved my
pistol at the witnesses to show them that nothing had happened. Then
I wanted to take the few yards I still had left me; but my conscience
glued my feet to the soil, telling me that I ought to fire from the
spot where I had sustained fire. And, I lifted my pistol and looked for
the famous white point which the cotton wool in his ears promised me.
But, after M. Gaillardet had fired, he had stood back to receive my
fire, and, as he protected his head with his pistol, his ear was hidden
behind the weapon. I had therefore to find another spot; but I feared
to be accused of having taken too long a time in aiming, not being able
to give, as an excuse, that I had not found the spot I was looking for.
So I fired at random. M. Gaillardet flung his head back. I thought at
first that he was wounded, and I confess I then felt a vivid feeling
of joy for a thing I should have regretted now with all my heart.
Fortunately, he was not hit.

"Come, let us re-load our arms," I said, flinging my pistol at the
boy's feet, "and let us stay in our places, which will be a saving of
time."

Let me be allowed, in conclusion, to substitute the written statement
of the proceedings for my own recital. My feet, as when I sustained M.
Gaillardet's fire, still seemed glued where I stood.

    "Bois DE VINCENNES, 17 _October_ 1834, 2.45 P.M.

    "After the drawing up of our first note, the adversaries
    were placed at fifty paces apart, with power to advance
    each to within fifteen paces of one another. M. Gaillardet
    reached the limit and fired the first; M. Dumas fired
    second; neither of the shots went home. M. Dumas then
    declared he did not wish matters to end there, and demanded
    that the combat should be continued until the death of one
    of the two. M. Gaillardet acceded; but the seconds refused
    to re-load the arms. Whereupon M. Dumas proposed to continue
    the duel with swords. M. Gaillardet's seconds refused. Then
    M. Dumas urged that pistols should be re-loaded; but the
    seconds, after a long deliberation, and having tried to
    overcome his obstinacy, did not feel they could lend their
    countenance to a contest which could not but end fatally.
    Consequently the seconds withdrew and carried off the arms,
    and this withdrawal put an end to the duel.

    "FONTAN, SOULIÉ, MAILLAN, DE LONGPRÉ"

The seconds withdrew, and I found myself alone with M. Gaillardet,
Bixio and the brother of M. Gaillardet, who had come through the wood
just as the firing took place. I then proposed to M. Gaillardet, as we
now had two seconds and two swords, to make use of both men and arms.
He refused. Thereupon Bixio and I got into the carriage and returned by
the road to Paris.[1]

We set out by mail-coach a couple of hours later for Rouen, with Fontan
and Dupeuty.

Bixio was twice again my second; but one of the two duels was with
swords, and the other not taking place at all, he had not the chance
of assuring himself as to whether a man wounded or killed by a bullet
turns round before he falls. He had to make the experiment on himself.

In the month of June 1848, as, in his capacity of representative of the
people, Bixio was walking with his customary courage by the Panthéon
barricade, a bullet, fired from the first floor of a house in the rue
Soufflot, hit him above the collar-bone, ploughed into his right lung,
and, after a course of fifteen to eighteen inches, lodged near the
spine. Bixio turned round three times and fell.

"_Without any doubt of it one turns round!"_ he said. The problem was
solved.



(PUBLISHERS' NOTE.)

"My DEAR FOURNIER,--A decree passed by the Courts in 1832 ordered that
_La Tour de Nesle_ should be printed and billed with my name alone; and
this was done, in fact up to 1851, the period when it was forbidden.
Now that we are going to revive it, I allow you, and even beg you, to
join my name with that of Alexandre Dumas my collaborator, to whom I
wish to prove that I have forgotten our old quarrels, and only remember
our good relations in the past, and the large part his incomparable
talent had in the success of _La Tour de Nesle._--Yours, etc., F.
GAILLARDET

"PARIS, 25 _April_ 1864"

[TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.--The above note appears in the current edition of
the Memoirs. In the Appendix to the Paris edition of 1854 will be found
a long letter by M. F. Gaillardet, dated 12 April 1854, which Dumas did
not reproduce in the Brussels edition.]


[Footnote 1: In order to close the story of this quarrel, which made
such a stir in the literary world, we think we had better reproduce
here the letter which M. Gaillardet, with an impulse which does him
honour, wrote spontaneously to M. Marc Fournier, manager of the
Porte-Saint-Martin, since the revival of _La Tour de Nesle_ at that
theatre, in 1861.]



BOOK IV


CHAPTER I


The masquerade of the budget at Grenoble--M. Maurice Duval--The
serenaders--Escapade of the 35th of the line--The insurrection it
excites--Arrest of General Saint-Clair--Taking of the préfecture
and of the citadel by Bastide--Bastide at Lyons--Order reigns at
Grenoble--Casimir Périer, Garnier-Pagès and M. Dupin--Report of the
municipality of Grenoble--Acquittal of the rioters--Restoration of the
35th--Protest of a smoker


It was with great happiness that I abandoned the literary side of
my life, which had just compelled me, very much against my will, to
be disagreeable to a man against whom I have preserved no rancour,
and who, besides, about the time we have reached, had given up the
theatre and, having published a remarkable book, so I am assured, _La
Chevalière d'Éon,_ left for America, and rendered the immense service
to French literature of spreading and popularising it in the country of
Washington Irving and of Cooper; it was, I repeat, with great pleasure
that I abandoned the literary side of my life to take up again the
thread of political events which agitated the year 1832, even if they
had not as yet stained Paris with blood and thrown a pall of mourning
over France. Let us be permitted to take them up a little farther back
than the month of June, which saw them burst forth; we will return all
too soon to that terrible moment.

After the trial of the artillery, of which I have given an account,
the old secret societies, endued with the Carbonist principles of
1821, were reorganised, and, at the same time, new societies were
created. Our readers are acquainted with the name of the Society of the
"Friends of the People," and that of the "Rights of Man": these, in a
measure, were the parent societies; but two other societies had sprung
up side by side with them: the Société Gauloise, which, at the time of
the combat, proved itself one of the most ardent in flying to arms;
and the organising Committee of the Municipalities, which connected
itself by invisible but real bonds with the famous Society of the
Philadelphians, which, under the Empire it had failed in overturning,
had, for its principal leaders, Oudet, Pichegru and Moreau. Bastide
was affiliated to the latter society, the principles of which were
Babouvist; so, at the Lyons insurrection, which, caused by poverty,
was of a socialistic tendency, Bastide was sent in to the insurgent
town to see what the Republican party could gain from it. All was over
by the time he arrived; but he thought he could discern the seeds of
fresh insurrections in the dying one, and returned with the idea that
something might be done in that direction. So he only stayed a short
time in Paris, and soon set off again for the départements of Ardèche
and Isère. There he found that fiery Dauphiné population which, in
1788, were the first to keep their States for Vizille; which, since
1816, had conspired against the Bourbons, and, since 1832, against
Louis-Philippe. On 13 March he returned from a tour in the mountains
with the two brothers Vasseur, both since dead, the eldest of whom was
representative of the people in the Legislative Assembly; and, as they
approached the gates of Grenoble, they learnt that the town, which they
had left perfectly quiet, was in flames. This is what had happened.

On 11 March the young people had organised a masquerade which
represented the Budget and the two supplementary Trusts, New
regulations forbade this masquerade; but ancient custom had prevailed
over new rules, and the masquerade procession had--left Grenoble by the
gate of France and was making straight for the Esplanade, where General
Saint-Clair was to hold a review of the garrison exactly at that hour.
The general was aware of the interdiction against the masquerade; but,
like a sensible man, he pretended not to see it. Unluckily, M. Maurice
Duval, préfet of Isère, was less tolerant. It was the same M. Maurice
Duval whom we shall meet again three or four months later, talking to
Madame la duchesse de Berry with his hat on his head.

M. Maurice Duval, furious that the young folk of the town had
transgressed the order, requested M. de Saint-Clair to make the
soldiers take up arms. The result of this order was that when our
masqueraders wanted to re-enter the town they found not only that
the gate was shut, but also that behind each closed gate were a
hundred or so of grenadiers waiting for them, armed to the teeth. The
masqueraders, who were not above ten or twelve, could not believe in
such an exhibition of force; consequently they marched resolutely
upon the grenadiers, who fixed their bayonets. Unfortunately the
crowd which followed them thought it was a joke, as they did, and
determined to enter also; there were horsemen and carriages among
them, but the grenadiers thought of nothing but their orders, and
stood firm. The crowd, pushed upon the bayonets, began to complain
that these were entering their bodies. The complaints were succeeded
by cries of "Down with the grenadiers!" and showers of stones followed
this cry. A collision seemed imminent. Colonel Bosonier l'Espinasse
took upon himself to command that the gates be opened. The grenadiers
withdrew; the crowd was swallowed up in the town, and, in the midst of
this commotion, the masqueraders, the first cause of all the uproar,
disappeared. Instead of being satisfied with this ending, which
conciliated everybody, M. Maurice Duval protested against the weak
giving in, and made out that the Government would fall into contempt if
he did not take his revenge.

A masked ball was announced for the night; M. Maurice Duval forbade it.
The mayor, a sensible man, rushed to the préfecture and pointed out to
M. Maurice Duval that if they were deprived of a pleasure upon which
they were counting, this interdict would produce the very worst effect
on people whose heads were already excited.

"What of that?" returned M. Duval, so one was told.

"What of that? Why, there will be a riot!"

"Good! the rioters will fling stones at the soldiers; but, if they
fling stones, the soldiers will put bullets into them, that is all."

This retort, the truth of which there is nothing to establish, spread
throughout the town.

At night, in the theatre, there were outcries to hold the ball
forbidden by the préfet; but matters went no further than that.

Next day the town seemed quiet; but a rumour spread abroad that they
were going to give a charivari that night to M. le préfet. The Dauphiné
charivaris are celebrated; some time previously they had given one at
Vizille, which had made much stir. In the morning M. Maurice Duval
was warned of the project. So he sent an order to the mayor to put a
battalion of the National Guard under arms. Now this despatch,--by what
cause or from what reason is still unknown,--sent from the préfecture
at noon, never reached the Mairie until a quarter to five in the
evening. This was too late: the summons could not take effect.

The charivari was no empty threat. About eight at night a gathering
began to collect: it had nothing hostile about it, for nearly a third
of it was composed of women and children. This crowd, which had no
arms, nor even at that moment, at least, any means necessary for the
giving of a charivari, was contented with shouts of laughter, uttering
of halloes, and occasionally cries of "Down with the préfet!"

This was all very disagreeable, but ranked, however, among the insults
to which not merely public functionaries are exposed, but Conservative
deputies even still more. A summons could put an end to the gathering
of the crowd; but M. Duval was not content with merely re-establishing
order; he wished to punish those who had annoyed him. He gave orders to
MM. Vidal and Jourdan, police commissaries, to go to the barracks where
the soldiers had been confined for four hours, each to take a company,
and to _surround,_ the agitators. Amongst these agitators, a tipsy
youth was bringing notice upon himself by his droll gesticulations
and frantic shouts. The police agents made way through the crowd to
arrest the _charivariseur_ from the midst of its numbers. The crowd
let them do so, and the young man was taken away to the guardhouse.
But the arrest was hardly accomplished before all those men who had
kept silence, and given way to two policemen, reproached themselves
with their cowardice, and excited one another, clamouring at the top of
their voices for the prisoner. Then the charivari began to change its
aspect: it turned to a riot. It was at this moment, and as the first
deputy of the mayor was about to set the prisoner free--who, ignorant
of the cause of all the uproar, had been asleep in the guardhouse--that
the grenadiers and light infantry appeared: the grenadiers, led by
M. Vidal, were advancing across the Place Saint-André; the infantry,
led by M. Jourdan, by the rue du Quai. These were the only two ways
of egress. The soldiers wore the gloomy expression which indicates
determined purpose. They marched in file, advanced in silence,
the drummers having their drums on their backs. Suddenly M. Vidal
disappeared, and across the Place Saint-André this order was given
from between the officer's clenched teeth--"Soldiers, forward!" The
grenadiers lowered their rifles at this order--charged their bayonets
and advanced at charging pace, taking up the whole width of the street.
The crowd fled by the rue du Quai, the only outlet which seemed open
to it; but in that street it met and dashed against another crowd
which was flying before the infantry. Then on all sides a frightful
tumult took place in the crowd thus threatened, and it was drowned in
the voice of an officer who gave this laconic order--"Fix bayonets!
charge!" Almost at the same moment cries of pain succeeded those of
terror; one could distinguish this from the anguished tones which cried
out--

"Pardon!... Help!... Murder!"

Luckily the windows of a study opened and some thirty persons rushed
into the shelter thus afforded. M. Marion, councillor to the _cour
royale_ of Grenoble, flung himself into the entry of Bailly's shop, and
there met a man covered with blood. A student named Huguet, wishing
to protect a woman threatened with a grenadier's bayonet, threw
himself in front of her and received on his arm the blow meant for
her. A cabinetmaker named Guibert backed up against the wall, seeing
the circle of bayonets come towards him, cried out, "Do not hit me!
I am not making any disturbance!" He received three thrusts from the
bayonets, one of which, in the groin, sent him spinning close to the
statue of Bayard.

Imagine that statue, after three hundred years, looking on with the
eyes of the chevalier _sans peur et sans reproche,_ and judge of his
amazement!

It was in the midst of this turmoil that Bastide and the two brothers
Vasseur arrived. The opportunity for which the intrepid agent of the
Société des Municipalités was looking had come to meet him. The two
brothers Vasseur exchanged a few words with the associates, and, during
the night, all the young men, enrolled in secret companies, rushed
off to meet Bastide. All were of opinion that the moment had come to
_strike the blow._ There was such enthusiasm in those young heads at
this period, such courage in all young hearts, that they had scarcely
realised their conviction before they were trying to imbue others with
the idea that the time for action had come. Every one thought that the
fiery atmosphere he breathed was the atmosphere of the whole of France.
It was then decided that, next day, they should take advantage of all
the circumstances and try to get up a more serious struggle. It was,
indeed, a wonder they waited till the morrow.

Next day everything was just what the patriots could desire: public
anger was at its height, and general indignation overflowed. The number
of wounded was exaggerated, and they said the journeyman cabinetmaker,
Guibert, was dead. On all sides an inquest was being demanded. The
procureur-général, M. Moyne, said openly that he should prosecute the
guilty parties, whoever they were.

The _Cour royale_ took up the matter. All these rumours, all this
budding news, spread and increased with fearful rapidity, like a storm
roaring in the air. The curses of the city were concentrated on the
préfet and the 35th regiment of the line--on those who had given the
orders, and those who had carried them out.[1] About ten o'clock in the
morning the rappel beat in every street of Grenoble: the National Guard
was being called out by order of the municipal councillors. But at the
same time that the National Guards were going to their posts, the young
men who formed no part of the National Guard ran hither and thither,
passing about among the armed men, exchanging a few brief words with
them which proved that the whole population shared the same feeling,
and, asking for rifles, spread the flames of the insurrection that was
already visible.

Then two very separate and distinct and decided authorities revealed
themselves: the municipal authority, which proceeded by means of
gentleness and conciliation; and the regal authority, which exercised
compulsion and terror.

Two proclamations both appeared simultaneously; one proceeding from
the mayor's side, the other from that of the préfet; the préfet's
proclamation was torn down with cursings; the mayor's was applauded
enthusiastically. At this moment the roof of the Hôtel de Ville filled
with infantry, whose rifles could be seen shining in the shade; the
_piqueurs_ of the previous day were recognisable, and from all parts
shouts of "Down with the préfet! Down with the 35th of the line!" went
up. The préfet, who thought he had taken all the coercive measures
necessary, waited at the préfecture, having by him General Saint-Clair
and all his staff.

At this instant M. Maurice Duval, MM. Ducruy, Buisson and Arribert
were announced. These three well-known names, honourably known names,
belonged to the municipal council of the town. They came to ask the
préfet for the surrender to the National Guard of the positions
occupied by the 35th of the line!

General Saint-Clair had realised the gravity of the situation; he
guessed that something more serious than a quarrel supervening a
charivari was exciting them down below; he discerned in it the
counter-stroke of the Parisian risings; that there was Republican
influence at work. Therefore, in spite of the opposition of the préfet,
he announced that he was prepared to give up to the National Guard all
the positions which contained under a dozen men.

"Does the guard which watches at the gate of your hôtel understand?"
asked the préfet.

"That is the first I shall give up," replied the general.

In fact, the order was about to be given when a great noise was heard
in the courtyard of the préfecture. The crowd had invaded it, and blows
resounded on the gates.

"What does that signify?" General Saint-Clair asked.

"Parbleu!" replied M. Maurice Duval, laughing, "that means that with
your fine measures of conciliation we, you and I, shall be flung out of
the windows!"

The betting was a hundred to one that the prophecy would be fulfilled;
so the general, his staff and the préfet left the defence of the
préfecture to a detachment of firemen, and hastened into the hall of
the Mairie. They found a large number of the National Guard collected
there to defend the Hôtel de Ville and the municipal council, if these
should be attacked, but they did not seem in the least degree disposed
to extend that protection to the préfet and General Saint-Clair. The
latter was not mistaken, for he felt there was something unknown and
more portentous beneath all this than a provincial riot; it was Bastide
and the brothers Vasseur--old campaigners, whose first stripes traced
back to Carbonarism--who were leading the movement.

At the cry that went up in the town of "Guibert is dead!" Bastide had
conceived an idea which he had communicated to his companions; it was
to pick up the body and carry it about the streets, shouting--"To
arms!" We know what a similar procession, leaving the Vaudeville
Theatre in 1830, had produced, and we have since seen what the same
manœuvre did after the famous discharge of the 14th of the line on the
boulevard des Capucines. Consequently, Bastide sent men to Guibert's
dwelling. The dead body was to be borne to the house occupied by the
brothers Vasseur, and the cortège was, from there, to march through all
the streets of the town. Whilst they were going to Guibert's house, the
younger Vasseur reorganised the volunteer corps with which, in 1830, he
had attempted to invade Savoy. A desperate chamois-hunter, he had then
carried on a most curious warfare among the mountains, which deserved
a historian all to itself. Later, he was exiled from France, and
travelled over Mexico and Texas; and, on his return, he was seized with
cholera, and died. He was a man of lofty purpose, adored at Grenoble,
specially by the men with whom he had made the strange enterprise of
stirring up and conquering Savoy.

As he ran to announce that his volunteer corps was ready, the
messengers sent to Guibert's home to get the body came to tell in a
whisper that Guibert was very ill, but not dead. This was a great
disappointment; at the same time, with his usual cleverness, Bastide
changed his plan: as people's spirits seemed prepared for bold
undertakings, the voluntary corps of the younger Vasseur afforded
him actual power; he ordered them to march upon the préfecture. It
was the noise of the invasion led by Bastide which had echoed in the
apartments, and had obliged General Saint-Clair and M. Maurice Duval to
take refuge in the Mairie, in order not to be flung out of the windows,
as the préfet said. At the same time, Vasseur the younger, with his
volunteer corps, drew up in front of the Mairie windows. So, when
General Saint-Clair made the suggestion of giving up to the National
Guard all the posts with less than a dozen men at them, a voice rose up
and shouted, "It is too late!"

What is it in those four words of eleven letters that is so fatal and
cabalistic?

The insurgents now demanded the occupation of all the posts held by the
National Guard with the exception of the three town gates, which were
to be guarded by the National Guard, artillery and engineers unitedly.
The conditions were severe. General Saint-Clair determined to face the
insurgents instead of sending a parley; he went into the courtyard
himself and wanted to harangue the crowd. But a young man came from out
the crowd with his arm in a sling. It was Huguet, who had been wounded
the previous day. He exchanged a few vivacious words with the general
which were only heard by those around them, but which the latter
repeated to others; and it was thus they learned that Huguet, with
the vigour of a man who had risked his life the day before, protested
against the return of the 35th of the line. Universal applause greeted
Huguet's protest; whilst Vasseur, thinking it was time to learn why
he and his volunteers were there, embraced him before everybody.
The effect of this salutation was electrical. They shouted, "_Vive
Vasseur! Vive Huguet! Vive le Maire!... Down with the préfet! Down with
the 35th of the line!"_

A young man called Gauthier stretched out his arm, seized General
Saint-Clair by the collar, and cried aloud--

"General, you are my prisoner!"

The general offered no resistance, although the soldiers were within
call of his voice, and he knew he had only to say a word to bring
about a more terrible struggle than that of the previous day; but he
hesitated to give that word, and followed the man who arrested him.
They took the general to his hôtel, and Vasseur placed sentinels from
his volunteer company at every door. At the same time, Bastide, who
was studying the whole situation, thought that the moment had come to
assault the préfecture. The doors were forced in at the first attempt,
and, in spite of the resistance of the firemen, the insurgents entered
the vestibule and tried the doors of the apartments: they were all
solidly barricaded on the inside. A street urchin--they are everywhere
to be found, and always at the head of any uproar--succeeded in
breaking and forcing open the lower panel of a door. Bastide slipped
through the aperture and received a blow from a bayonet which tore his
coat and scratched his breast; but he seized the bayonet with both
hands, and the soldier, drawing his rifle towards himself at the same
time drew in Bastide, who found himself inside, snatched the rifle from
the soldier's hands, and opened the two sides of the swinging door to
those who followed him. The préfecture was captured.

The rumour had gone abroad that the préfet was hidden in a cupboard.
Bastide himself presided over the opening of all the cupboards; but
they were empty--of préfets, at any rate. The next thing was to take
the citadel. At Grenoble, as in ancient Arx, the citadel is situated on
a hill, and commands the whole town. Bastide asked for some volunteer
to take the citadel with him; an artillery-man named Gervais came
forward. They both climbed the steep slope; when they reached within
twenty yards of the sentry, the latter cried--

"Who goes there?"

"The Commandant of the fortress," replied Bastide.

The sentry presented arms and let Bastide and M. Gervais pass. The
taking possession was as rapidly carried out as the entry. Bastide,
who remembered his profession of artillery captain, had six pieces of
cannon brought out and put in position in the square. When they had
reached that place, their success had reached its height. Nothing,
indeed, had been prepared that could give a serious check to such a
sudden attack. Whilst Bastide was entering the préfecture and carrying
the citadel, timid hearts were alarmed to see the direction in which
the fiery spirits were going. Reaction began to set in.

When Bastide came down into the town again, after making sure of the
citadel, he found that the National Guard had relieved the posts at
General Saint-Clair's hôtel. It had taken all Vasseur's influence over
his men to prevent a collision between them and the volunteer corps.
From that time Bastide realised that, if Lyons did not rise, all was
lost. General Saint-Clair, who desired to restore the peace which he
had not been able to maintain, spoke of sending a deputation to General
Hulot, charged with asking him for the return of the 35th. He mentioned
the name of M. Julien Bertrand. Bastide offered and was accepted. M.
Bress, aide-de-camp of General Saint-Clair, was added to them, and they
all three set out for Lyons. It will be understood that the mission
demanded by Bastide was only an excuse. He wanted to confer with the
Republicans of Lyons, and to ascertain what could be done.

One single power was left at Grenoble after they left: the municipal.
The préfet was sheltering in the barracks--the National Guard was
distributing cartridges through the mayor.

The three deputies reached Lyons in the middle of the night. They were
at once taken to General Hulot. Bastide was the spokesman.

"Grenoble is taken; General Saint-Clair is a prisoner; the préfet is in
hiding, or has taken flight; thirty-five thousand insurgents occupy the
town; and the peasants of the surrounding country are beginning to come
down from the mountains."

This news, given with the air of perfect truth, which neither M.
Bertrand nor M. Bress denied, frightened General Hulot, who acceded
to the retreat of the 35th and the sending away of the préfet, gave a
written order to M. Bress and despatched him straight to Paris.

Bastide left General Hulot's house with M. de Gasparin, Mayor of Lyons.
M. de Gasparin held advanced Liberal opinions: he reminded Bastide that
he was the son of the regicide, and that all his inclinations were
towards Republicanism. Bastide left M. de Gasparin and immediately put
himself into communication with the Republicans of Lyons, whom he had
seen during his last tour. They assured him that, if Grenoble only
held out forty-eight hours, they would begin a 24th of November more
terrible than the first. And, indeed, that 24th of November burst out
in 1834. Bastide set out for Grenoble. All had calmed down during his
absence. The volunteer corps was disbanded, and constitutional order
was re-established everywhere. They offered Bastide the choice of
taking refuge for himself in Piedmont or Savoy; but he feared that,
by following this advice, he would pass for an insurrectionary agent,
and contented himself with taking a boat and going down the Rhone with
the two brothers Vasseur, who lived in the département de l'Ardèche;
when there, the three conspirators would be at home, and would have
a thousand means of evading search. At Romans they were all three
arrested and taken back to Grenoble. At the same time, M. Huguet was
arrested, he who had harangued General Saint-Clair, also M. Gauthier,
who had arrested the general. Meanwhile General Hulot's orders had been
carried out, and on 16 March the 35th of the line had left the town.

Casimir Périer, bilious and irritable all over, still more irritable
on account of the disease to which he was to succumb two months later,
learnt this news with rage. Casimir Périer was a minister of strong
aversions and petty views; to him France was divided into friends
and enemies. His desire was not to govern France, but to destroy his
personal enemies. A financier, he wanted peace before all else; he did
all in his power to keep up the revenue, and made impossible efforts to
increase it still more. The Bourse actually went into mourning at his
death!

By his order _le Moniteur_ published an article in praise of the 35th.
This was nothing: from the point of view of the Government the 35 th
had merely done its duty. But, simultaneously with these praises,
which had been allowed to pass, the article added that the military
had only resisted aggression: that many were already wounded when they
charged, whilst, on the contrary, the injuries of the agitators had
been exaggerated. These inaccuracies were common knowledge; but one
knows that the Government of King Louis-Philippe did not shrink from
that sort of thing. MM. Duboys-Aymé and Félix Réal, deputies of the
arrondissement of Grenoble, wrote to _le Moniteur_ to give the real
facts of the case. _Le Moniteur_ refused to put in their letters.
In the sitting of 20 March, M. Duboys-Aymé asked leave to speak,
mounted the rostrum and questioned the minister upon the subject of
the occurrences at Grenoble. Garnier-Pagès, an advanced leader of the
Republican party in the Chamber, supported him.

"How can the Government bestow blame or praise without previous
inquiry? How can it be satisfied from the préfet's report that the
préfet did right; from the report of the military commandant how
decide that the armed-force acted rightly; from the report of the
procureur-général how be satisfied to extol the procureur-général?"

"I," the orator said, "do not judge harshly like that. Although I may
say that the correspondence and the two newspapers of Grenoble--papers
of absolutely opposite opinions--relate the facts in the same way;
although we have a thousand proofs to one that the rioters were not
summoned to disperse by the town authorities, I should but speak
hypothetically, and I say: _If those orders were not carried out, still
the citizens were killed!"_

At these final words the Centres took up the dubious phrase and turned
it into the affirmative; they shouted loudly, so that the speaker could
not go on.

M. Dupin ascended the rostrum; the Centres quietened down. They knew
that, under any circumstances, M. Dupin was the King's advocate, both
in the law-courts and in the tribune.

Here is a specimen of the speech of the deputy for la Nièvre--

    "How can you expect a government to progress," asked
    M. Dupin, "when at the very heart of the national
    representation itself--a microcosm of the population, among
    the trustees of its power--the first movement is not in
    favour of the authorities and the instruments of law, and
    the first impulse is to put authority in the wrong and
    reason to flight? It is said that the Riot Act was not read;
    but when should it be read? When public gatherings become
    disquieting by their outcries and by their presence, but
    not when a violent aggression displays itself by methods of
    action and open attacks."

At these words the president of the Council rose; though pale, he had
a fiery and energetic soul in his sickly, debilitated body, and he
exclaimed--

"That is the question; speak!"

M. Dupin, encouraged by the president of the Council and by the cries
of the Centres, continued--

    "When legal order is called upon, it must submit itself to
    the rules of legality. If I am attacked by a malefactor
    in the streets of the town, I invoke the help of the
    magistrates, the legal protection of authority; but if,
    single-handed, I am attacked on the high road, I become
    a magistrate in my own cause, and I defend myself from
    anything and everything.... Think of it, gentlemen, can a
    French army consent to quit its hearths, its family, to
    be at the disposal of the magistrates, to watch over the
    defence and protection of its citizens, and yet allow itself
    to be insulted, attacked, killed at a street corner and at
    the bottom of a passage? Messieurs, I am certain that the
    whole population of Grenoble is indignant.

    "M. GARNIER-PAGÈS.--Yes, indignant, that is true.

    "M. DUBOYS-AYMÉ.--Indignant, but against authority.

    "M. DUPIN.--It is indignant against the authors of the
    disturbance. Who, then, brought about these troubles and
    misfortunes? Not the young men, who were simply amusing
    themselves with an inoffensive masquerade. IT IS AN
    ABOMINABLE CRIME, IT IS TO SIMULATE THE MURDER OF THE KING!"

Thus a great confession had just been made by M. Dupin, the king's man.

The king _is the Budget and the two supplementary trusts._ To make game
of the two and the Budget by means of a masquerade is to simulate the
murder of the king! An enemy would not have said anything better. O La
Fontaine! good La Fontaine! what stones M. Dupin has flung at the head
of his friend Louis-Philippe! This last one was one of the heaviest.

A few days later, a report arrived from the municipality of Grenoble.
It stated--

"1. That the masquerade of 11 March in no way typified the
assassination of the king.

"2. That the National Guard had been convoked too late to assemble.

"3. That no shouts in any way hostile to the Government or to the king
had been uttered beneath the préfet's windows.

"4. That M. Duval had, indeed, given the order to the Commissaries of
the Police to surround the gathering of people, but not to disperse it.

"5. That no legal summons had been made.

"6. That the place of gathering was destitute of stones that could be
thrown at the soldiers.

"7. That amongst the wounds given to the citizens, fourteen had been
received from behind.

"8. That one soldier only had entered the hospital four days after the
events of the 12th, for some inflammatory attack consequent on a kick.

"9. Finally, that the events of the 13th were the inevitable result of
the exasperation of mind caused by a flagrant violation of the law, and
that the conduct of the National Guard of Grenoble had been not only
irreproachable, but even deserved the gratitude of the citizens."

Better still, the tribunal of the Police Correctionnelle, before which
the accused had been sent, for want of power to hand them over to the
Court of Assizes, decided that their conduct had not been more than
imprudent; in consequence of which decision Bastide was liberated, and
returned to Paris.

Not one witness had desired to recognise him, not even the fireman
who had dealt him a blow in the chest with his bayonet, and from whom
Bastide had snatched his gun. But the Government could not be wrong,
and the 35th returned to the town, drums beating, bands playing, slow
matches ready. Only one protest was made, which will illustrate the
French mind.

An approaching workman, who did not know for what deadly object this
match was intended, remarked to the gunner--

"My friend, please let me have a light for my pipe."


[Footnote 1: See Appendix.]



CHAPTER II


General Dermoncourt's papers--Protest of Charles X. against
the usurpation of the Duc d'Orléans--The stoutest of political
men--Attempt at restoration planned by Madame la duchesse de Berry--The
_Carlo-Alberto_--How I write authentic notes--Landing of Madame near
La Ciotat--Legitimist affray at Marseilles--Madame set out for La
Vendée--M. de Bonnechose--M. de Villeneuve--M. de Lorges


Now that we have seen what was happening in the east of France, let
us see what was happening in the west. In order properly to estimate
the fire which was about to set Paris aflame, we must cast a glance on
that which was devouring the provinces. Having followed the attempts
of the Republican party in the départements of the Rhone and of Isère,
let us follow those of the Legitimist party in the départements of La
Loire-Inférieure Morbihan and la Vendée.

Further, we can guarantee the exact accuracy of the incidents we are
about to give: they are taken from the papers of General Dermoncourt,
my father's aide-de-camp, of whom I have often had occasion to speak;
and amongst those papers were a large number of notes sent by the
Duchesse de Berry herself, which had been used in the second edition of
the book, _La Vendée et Madame,_ published by General Dermoncourt in
1834.

It will not have been forgotten that, by a strange coincidence of
circumstances, it was this General Dermoncourt and the same M. Maurice
Duval with whom we have just been concerned in connection with the
troubles at Grenoble, who, the one being commandant of the military
force, the other representing the regal authority, took Madame la
duchesse de Berry in her hiding-place at Nantes.

Let us say a few words about the way in which the insurrection of la
Vendée had been set going, and as to the point it had reached at the
period to which we have now come; a few words which will form a sequel
to what we have just related of the events at Lyons and Grenoble.
Twenty years ago everybody was acquainted with the smallest details
of what we are about to describe; now, every one has forgotten them.
History passes quickly in France! In another part of our _Memoirs_ we
followed Charles X. and the Royal Family to Cherbourg. On 24 August
1830 the old king protested at Lulworth against the usurpation of the
rights of his family, and reserved to himself power over the regency
until the majority of his grandson.

Here is the protest, which, I believe, has not been published in
France--

    "We, Charles, the tenth of that name, _by the grace of
    God, King of France and of Navarre._[1] The misfortunes
    which have just burst over France, and the desire to guard
    against greater, decided us on the 2nd day of the current
    month, in our Château of Rambouillet, to abdicate the
    crown, and at the same time we induced our beloved son to
    renounce his rights in favour of our grandson, the Duc de
    Bordeaux. By a similar deposition, dated yesterday, at
    the same place, and repeated in the second Act, we named
    provisionally as lieutenant-general of the kingdom a prince
    of our blood who has since accepted from the hands of rebels
    the usurped title of King of the French. After an event
    of such a nature, we cannot hasten too soon to fulfil the
    duties which devolve upon us, as well in the interests of
    France, a sacred trust which has been handed on to us by
    our ancestors, and in our unswerving confidence in divine
    justice. For which reasons we protest, in our own name and
    in that of our successors, against all usurpation of the
    legitimate rights of our family to the crown of France. We
    revoke and declare the above-mentioned deposition null by
    which we entrusted the lieutenant-generalship of the kingdom
    to the Duc d'Orléans.

    "We reserve to ourselves the prerogative of the regency
    so long as there is need for it, until the majority of
    our grandson Henri V., who was called to the throne in
    consequence of the Act issued at Rambouillet on the second
    day of this month; this majority, fixed by Crown Statutes
    and the tradition of the kingdom, will be reached at the
    beginning of his fourteenth year, on the 30th day of the
   ARLES" month of September 1833.

    "In case it shall please providence to remove us before the
    majority of King Henri V., his mother, our beloved daughter,
    the Duchesse de Berry, shall be Regent of the kingdom. The
    present declaration shall be made public and communicated
    to those who are rightly concerned in the matter when
    circumstances shall ordain.

    "Drawn up at Lulworth, the 24th day of the month of August
    of the year of grace 1830, the sixth of our reign.
                                           _Signed:_ CHARLES

Nevertheless, six months later, Madame la duchesse de Berry having
thought a third Vendée possible, and having communicated that belief
to the old king, he gave her a letter, dated from Edinburgh, addressed
to the Royalists in France, so that, in spite of his declaration of 24
August, they should recognise her at once as Regent. The declaration is
as follows:--

    "M ***, Head of the Civil Authority in the province of ***,
    shall combine with the principal authorities to draw up
    and publish a proclamation in favour of Henri V., in which
    they shall announce that Madame, Duchesse de Berry, shall be
    regent of the kingdom during the minority of the king, her
    son, and that she shall take the title upon her entry into
    France; for such is our will.

                                        "_Signed_: CHARLES

    "EDINBURGH, 27 _January_ 1834"

Since her departure from France, Madame la duchesse de Berry, whose
body was enfeebled, temper changeable and spirit vigorous and
adventurous, had dreamed of playing the part of Maria Theresa. La
Vendée was her Hungary, and the valiant woman, leaving Paris by way of
Rambouillet, Dreux and Cherbourg, hoped to re-enter it _viâ_ Nantes,
Tours and Orléans. The whole of her little Court, whether through
interest or from blindness, painted France to her as ready to rise
up. Letters from la Vendée even left no doubt on the point. M. de
Sesmaisons himself a statesman and consequently competent to judge
in the matter, besides being a peer of France, at that time wrote to
Madame--

    "Let Her Royal Highness but come to Vendée and she will see
    that my stomach, although European in its stoutness, will
    not prevent me from leaping either the hedges or ditches! If
    Madame de Staël called M. de Lally-Tollendal the stoutest
    of sentient beings, M. de Sesmaisons might be styled the
    _stoutest of political men."_

The following anecdote is related of him:--

When M. de Sesmaisons came from Nantes to Paris by public conveyance,
he was in the habit of taking two places in the carriage, less from
selfishness than from courtesy; for, though living in the present
century, he was a type of the courtesy of another epoch, as he was a
type of loyalty for all ages. Having changed his valet, and being about
to start for Paris, he sent his new servant to the mail coach-office to
reserve his two places as usual. The man returned two minutes later.

"Well," M. de Sesmaisons asked him, "can I have my two places?"

"Yes, monsieur le Comte; only one will be in the coupé and the other
inside."

Carried away by all these exhortations, and still more by her own
wishes, Madame wrote on 14 December to M. de Coislin--

    "I have long been aware, my dear comte, of the zeal and
    devotion which you and yours are ready to show for my son's
    cause. I would like to reiterate that, on such occasions,
    I will count on you, as you may rely on me for gratitude.
                                                  MARIE CAROLINE

    "14 _December_ 1831"

It was therefore decided in the little Court of Massa--Madame had gone
to Italy after she left England, and lived in a town in the duchy of
Modena--that public spirit in France had arrived at a sufficient point
of maturity to be acted upon. Consequently a letter in cipher, written
in invisible ink, informed all the leaders in the south and west of
France to make themselves ready. Here is the translation of that
letter. The first undeciphered word which betrayed all the rest was
_Lyon_--

    "I shall make known to Nantes, Angers, Rennes and Lyons
    that I am in France; prepare to take up arms as soon as you
    receive notice to that effect, and calculate that you will
    probably receive it about the 2nd or 3rd of next May. If
    messengers cannot pass through, public report will inform
    you of my arrival, and you will take up arms without delay."

On 24 April 1832, Madame embarked on the steamer _Carlo-Alberto,_ which
she had chartered at her own expense. The princess put into port at
Nice; on the evening of the 28th she reached the waters of Marseilles,
in sight of the Planier lighthouse, in the neighbourhood of which she
was to join forces with her followers. The period between the night
of the 19th to the 30th was fixed for the movement which was to burst
forth at Marseilles.

From this moment we can follow Madame la duchesse de Berry step by
step, without fear of making mistakes for one instant, as to her
itinerary, or as to the events which accompanied her entry into France,
and her journey through the southern provinces. This is how we are
sure of the facts which we are going to relate. My connection with
General Dermoncourt is known; I do not know when it began; it went back
to my infancy. Dermoncourt was one of those rare friends who remain
faithful through ill fortune; and from the moment I came to Paris, like
Lethières, another friend of my father, he held out an encouraging
hand to me. He had commanded in la Vendée: it was he who had received
Madame when she came out of the chimney-place where she was hidden.
Being obliged to choose between the frank and open face of the general
and the préfet's surly one, the princess placed herself in his hands
and under the protection of his honour. He has often related to me
during our long talks all the episodes in that war. Once I suggested
he should jot down all his recollections on paper, and he agreed to
do so. I looked over his work; I put it into a possible shape, whilst
religiously retaining the substance, and the first edition of _La
Vendée et Madame_ appeared. The book made a great stir; three thousand
copies were sold in less than a week. Everybody read it, even the
princess herself.

Madame was much astonished to find in a book where Republican
sentiments were openly avowed such complete impartiality and courtesy.
She sent to thank General Dermoncourt; and, as a few details were
erroneous, or lacking in complete accuracy, she offered notes to
General Dermoncourt in case he should publish a second edition.

The ingratitude of the Government left General Dermoncourt almost in
a state of destitution. A first edition brought him in 2000 francs, I
believe; a second edition, producing the same amount, was to him like
manna dropped from the skies. He accepted the comments of Madame la
duchesse de Berry, and advertised a second edition, revised, corrected
and increased to twice the thickness by authentic notes given to
the author since the first publication. Unfortunately, I knew the
source whence the notes came, and I was afraid that they would give
a Legitimist tone to the book. I authorised Dermoncourt to take what
suited him in the first edition, but I refused to lend a hand in the
second. The second edition appeared, and had as great a success as the
first.

I was not mistaken. Unconsciously to the general, probably, the
tricolour flag had faded in his hands, and, as far as those were
concerned who only gave superficial attention to the matter, it could
be taken for a white flag, or, at any rate, a white-washed one.

Nowadays, when my opinions are sufficiently well known for me not
to fear being accused of any other motive than sympathy with the
misfortunes of the woman, I do not hesitate, now we have reached this
period in our history, to make use of the notes which have remained at
my disposition. The reader will therefore have an official itinerary
and authentic facts put before him. Having concluded this digression,
we will return to our narrative.

Landing was very laborious. A strong fishing-boat appeared for several
nights at the Planier lighthouse, was signalled and recognised:
the sign to come nearer was given, and it came alongside the
_Carlo-Alberto._ But there was a heavy sea; the two boats, lifted one
after the other without harmony in their movements by the furious
waves, collided, fell apart, came nearer and knocked up against one
another; the moment had to be seized, when the two sides were nearly
on a level, to spring from one to the other at the risk of a dangerous
descent upon the wet and consequently slippery seats of the boat. At
last, the trans-shipment was accomplished. The princess crossed from
the steamer into the ship's boat with six persons from her suite, and a
pilot who had been in Madame's service for a long while, and who knew
all the points of the coast, as well as the different rallying signals
that might indicate that the shore was dangerous, or that they might
land in safety.

The boat which had come to meet the princess was a fishing-boat:
its sails were saturated with sea water, which never dries; the
water stood stagnant in the bottom; the tar with which the boat was
repaired exhaled a nauseous and disgusting odour; moreover, it was
without a bridge, without shelter from the cold and piercing sea
wind, and it allowed the crest of the waves which broke against
its sides to pour over in-board, sometimes in wet spray, at times
in a heavy rainfall. The princess and her companions were ill clad
for such a condition of things; added to this, they were overtaken
by that intolerable indisposition called _sea sickness._ Imagine a
dark, cold, gloomy night, and you will have an idea of the hour which
passed after leaving the steamer for the fishing-smack. At last they
thought they had reached the landing-place, when, on approaching the
land, they perceived a light on the shore. As they came nearer, it
increased in size and became decipherable: what they had at first
taken for the pre-concerted signal transformed itself into a blazing
fire, and, by the aid of a night-glass, they could distinguish eight
to ten coastguardsmen warming themselves by the fire. They had to
take themselves off hastily to a distance; and yet it was imperative
they should land before daybreak. Unluckily, the point whereat the
coastguardsmen had established themselves was the only one where it was
possible to land; almost everywhere else the coast was inaccessible.
They risked themselves among the rocks, and succeeded in grounding by a
miracle.

Madame had shown admirable courage during the three hours that had
just elapsed. She was possessed of one of those delicate and nervous
organisations which seem as though they could be crumpled up by a
breath, but which, nevertheless, do not enjoy the full use of their
powers until storms are in the air and in their hearts. As she landed,
she uttered a cry of joy.

"Come," she said, "forget it all: we are in France!"

Yes, they were in France, and there their real danger began.

Happily, the pilot who had just brought the boat to land on an almost
inaccessible shore was also as well acquainted with the inland
country as with the seacoast; he took command of the little band, and
respectfully but firmly pointed out to the princess and her companions
that they must start at once to gain a hiding-place before day broke.

Madame was expected at a house three leagues from the shore, belonging
to an old officer devoted to her cause; but when she reached the house
its owner did not think the retreat safe enough, and she had to go
three-quarters of a league farther to another dwelling-place. The route
taken was among rocks and by almost impracticable ways. It was broad
daylight when at last they arrived. The princess was horribly tired,
as were also those who accompanied her; but as she did not complain,
no one else dare do so. The house was an ideal hiding-place for
conspirators; it was lonely, and surrounded by woods and rocks.

They insisted that Madame should go to bed; but she would not consent
until she had seen two members of her suite set off for Marseilles.
These persons were charged with the mission of informing M * * *
of her arrival. M * * * was one of the people who had made himself
responsible to the princess for an insurrection in her favour, not only
at Marseilles, but also throughout the whole of the south.

We will indicate by asterisks, by initials, or by name, according as
we shall judge it advisable to have more or less regard for their
position, those persons who took part in the enterprise the course of
which we are relating.

The same night, one of the messengers returned with a note; it was
short, but significant. It enclosed this simple statement, "Marseilles
will move to-morrow."

The other person had remained to take part in the movement. Madame
was beside herself with delight. According to what she had been told,
Marseilles and the South only wanted the opportunity to rise in her
favour. Night came; but, in spite of the fatigues she had gone through,
the princess slept little. The first arm of her party was engaged, and
was in action at that very moment. This is what really took place.

Throughout the night the town was thronged with Legitimist gatherings,
carrying the white standard, and shouting, "_Vive Henri V.!_" At three
o'clock in the morning a dozen armed men appeared at the Church of St.
Laurent, got possession of the keys of the tower, and, whilst some
rang the tocsin, others set up the white standard; others, without
the tocsin, had done the same at the Patache. The tricolour had been
dragged in the gutter. At the same time, the esplanade de la Tourelle
was crowded with people. It was said that the Duchesse de Berry and M.
de Bourmont were expected on the _Carlo-Alberto._ This rumour was set
about with the object of diverting the attention of the police towards
the sea. Finally, a great crowd still resorted to the Palais de Justice
with shouts of "_Vive la ligne! vive Henri V.!_"

Unhappily for Madame's fortunes, the sub-lieutenant who commanded that
post was a patriot, almost a Republican, and, instead of sympathising
with the cries and the movement, he came out of his guardhouse,
commanded the gathering to disperse and, upon a refusal to do this
by the person who appeared to be leader, he seized him by the collar
and, after a pretty violent struggle, flung him into the guardhouse.
The leader was hardly arrested before a panic of terror took hold of
the conspirators: cries of "Save yourselves!" were heard, the soldiers
fell upon the fugitives and three fresh arrests were made. At two
o'clock in the afternoon a frigate left the harbour to give chase to
the _Carlo-Alberto,_ which could be discerned floating on the horizon,
without sail or steam; but, at sight of the hostile disposition
being taken against her, the _Carlo-Alberto_ got up steam and set
sail, shrouded herself in smoke and sail and disappeared towards the
south-east.

It was fortunate for the Duchesse de Berry; they believed she was on
board, and, the _Carlo-Alberto_ having regained the high seas, they
were convinced it carried her away with it. She, however, waited still
in the little house. The persons who remained with her could form an
idea of her impatience as one, two, three hours went by. At last, at
four o'clock, two messengers arrived, scared and breathless. They
shouted--

"The movement has failed! You must quit France instantly!"

The duchesse bore up against the blow, and had the courage to smile.

"Leave France?" she said, "I do not see that; the urgent thing is to
go from here, in order not to compromise our hosts; people may have
followed the messengers."

Besides, it was not an easy matter to leave France. The _Carlo-Alberto_
had disappeared; they could only reach Piedmont again by following
Hannibal's route. Would it not be worth while risking everything,
to take a short cut across France, and to take advantage of the
conviction of the police that the Duchesse de Berry had fled on the
_Carlo-Alberto,_ in order to attempt in la Vendée an insurrection which
had just miscarried so pitifully at Marseilles?

Such was the opinion of the duchesse, and, with that rapidity of
decision which is one of the potent elements in her adventurous
character, she gave the order to prepare for departure. They had
neither carriages, nor horses, nor mules; but the duchesse asserted
that, having passed her apprenticeship in travelling on foot, she felt
she had sufficient strength to travel in that way during the next
night, and, if necessary, the following nights also.

There only remained, therefore, to find a guide. They sent for a
reliable man and started about seven in the evening. Night came on
fast; it was dark, they could scarcely see where to set their feet;
in a few hours' time all trace of the footpath had disappeared. They
stopped and tried to take their bearings. They found they were in
the midst of rocks interspersed with stunted olive-trees; the guide
was doubtful: he looked alternately at the earth and at the sky, both
equally dark; finally, when urged by the impatience of the duchesse, he
admitted that they were lost.

"Upon my word!" says the duchesse. "I am delighted! I am so tired that
I was going to ask you to go no farther."

So, serving her apprenticeship to a bivouacking life, she wrapped
herself in her cloak, and lay down on the ground and slept. The same
thing happened to the Duchesse de Montpensier when she fled from
France, with Colonel Thierry.

Madame awoke, frozen with cold and very ill; her indisposition seemed
sufficiently serious to cause her travelling companions much anxiety.
Happily, during her sleep they had hunted about and found a sort of
hut which was used by shepherds as shelter during storms. They carried
the duchesse there, where she waited all day by a fire of heather and
dried branches. Meantime, one of Madame's companions, M. de B----l, who
belonged to that part of the country, had gone in quest of a carriage.
He returned at daylight with a cabriolet which would only hold three
persons. They had, therefore, to separate, and arranged a meeting-place
at M. de B----l's house, at G***.

Madame, M. de Ménars and M. de B----l got into the cabriolet, and were
able to find an excellent road not four yards from the place where they
had spent the night. Half-way on the first stage, they debated as to
where they should sleep. The awkward situation was that Madame reckoned
on stopping with a gentleman whose house, unluckily, was shut up. It is
true his brother lived quite near, but he was a Republican.

"Is he a trustworthy man?" asked the duchesse.

"The most trustworthy man I know!" replied M. de B----l.

"That is well! Then take me to him."

They wanted to argue the point with Madame.

"It is useless," she said, "I have decided to stop there."

Two hours later, Madame rang at the door of the political enemy of
whom she had come to ask for shelter. Madame and her two travelling
companions were shown into the salon.

"Whom shall I announce to monsieur?" the servant asked.

"Just ask him to come down," said the duchesse; "I will tell him who I
am myself."

A minute later, the master of the house came into the salon. Madame
went up to him.

"Monsieur," she said, "I am aware that you are a Republican, but an
outlaw is allowed no opinions: I am the Duchesse de Berry."

The Republican bowed, put his house entirely at the disposal of the
princess, and, after having passed one of her quietest and best nights
there, Madame set off again the next day for a little village where
she had a rendezvous with several of her partisans, and with M. de
Bonnechose in particular. He was the same good excellent young fellow
whose acquaintance, it will be recollected, I had made at Trouville.

Another carriage had to be procured, for M. de Bonnechose was not to
leave the princess again; therefore, a four-seated char-à-banc was
bought and the cabriolet left behind.

M. de B----l was leader of the party; he was seated near the princess
on the first seat, protected by a screen; MM. de Ménars and de
Bonnechose sat on the back seat.

During a rapid descent, edged on one side by rocks and on the other by
a precipice, the horse ran away. It was night; after a violent shock,
M. de Ménars and M. de Bonnechose suddenly saw a voluminous object fall
from the hood of the carriage. Both believed it was Madame la duchesse
de Berry, who had been shot out of the carriage by the shaking: the
object having human form lay motionless on the road; if it was the
princess, she was either killed or grievously wounded. Unfortunately,
there was no means of stopping the carriage; it continued its rapid
descent for nearly a kilometre. At last the iron step, which had been
forced out of place, came in contact with the roadway and made a kind
of brake; M. de Bonnechose, young and light, jumped to the ground and
sprang clear of the carriage; he found Madame very calm, with no other
anxiety but that the wind had carried her mantle away. The carriage was
badly damaged. They walked on foot to a blacksmith's forge, where the
necessary repairs were made. The same day, the princess was received
into the family of M. de B----l.

There it was she had fixed the first rendezvous, and all whom she had
called to it were present; they urged that Madame should not go too
far, but, on the contrary, retrace her steps and leave France. The
princess replied with decision--

"If I left France without going to la Vendée what would the brave
people of the West say, who have given so many proofs of devotion to
the royal cause? They would never forgive me, and I should deserve the
reproaches they have many times made to my relatives, even more than
they deserve it![2] As I promised them, four years ago, to come amongst
them in case of misfortune, and as I am already in France, I will not
go out of it without keeping my promise.... We will start to-night;
prepare for my departure."

The duchesse's friends renewed their entreaties; they enumerated the
dangers she had run; but an argument of that nature was more likely to
incite than to hinder.

"God and St. Anne will help me!" she said; "I have had a good night,
and I am rested; I wish to start to-night."

The order given, there was nothing else to be done but to obey it.

M. de B----l made preparations for this departure in the greatest
secrecy. He procured a travelling carriage from the next village,
which, on the following night, was to wait at a given hour and place;
unluckily, it only had three seats in it. Madame chose to accompany M.
de Ménars and M. de Villeneuve, a relative of the Marquis de B----l,
and they set out the same evening.

M. de Villeneuve, known and respected throughout the South, was
bearer of a passport for himself, his wife and one servant. M. de
Lorge solicited the humble title of valet-de-chambre, and, at the
hour for departure, came to offer his services to Madame in a suit of
livery. It reminds one of Charles Edward at Culloden, and of Louis
XVI. at Varennes. Madame held out her hand so that those who could not
accompany her could salute it, assigned a rendezvous in the West, and
left for la Vendée, where we shall follow her.


[Footnote 1: See Appendix.]

[Footnote 2: The reader knows Charette's letter to the Comte d' Artois
after the defeat at Quiberon.]



CHAPTER III


Madame's itinerary--Panic--M. de Puylaroque--_Domine salvum fac
Philippum_--The château de Dampierre--Madame de la Myre--The pretended
cousin and the curé--M. Guibourg--M. de Bourmont--Letter of Madame to
M. de Coislin--The _noms de_ _guerre_--Proclamation of Madame--New kind
of _henna_--M. Charette--Madame is nearly drowned in the Maine--The
sexton in charge of the provisions--A night in the stable--The
Legitimists of Paris--They dispatch M. Berryer into la Vendée


They had to reach the place where the carriage was by narrow footpaths
which were difficult and full of brambles; Madame lost her shawl among
them. This was during the night between Thursday and Friday, 4 May. The
carriage, brought by MM. de B----l and de Villeneuve, was waiting at
the appointed place. The night was calm, silent and clear; although the
moon was only in its first quarter, they could see for some distance.
Now they thought they could perceive a man on horseback standing on the
road. One of the gentlemen slipped among the hillocks and returned to
announce that the man on horseback was a gendarme. At the same time,
they began to hear the steps of a troop of horses, and could see the
sparks flying from the still distant hoofs of the cavalry.

Should they depart like fugitives or boldly expose themselves by
remaining? Madame was for the bold course! if they fled, no matter
how quickly, they would be sure to be overtaken; if they stayed, and
suspicion was not aroused, they had a chance by not awaking it.

The troop advanced at a fast trot, and they were soon noticed. They
were a dozen post-horses ridden by three postilions bringing back
relays from some starting-place. Seeing Madame's carriage on the road,
they offered their services. M. de B----l replied in Provençal patois
thanking them, and they continued on their road. Behind them went the
carriage, and the gendarme was behind that. M. de B----l, uneasy,
followed, running on foot after the carriage. The gendarme gained upon
the barouche, and was about to catch it up, when M. de B----l rushed to
the door, saying--

"Here comes the gendarme; God protect you!"

Madame looked through the glass placed in the back of the carriage,
and saw, indeed, that the gendarme was only" a few yards away,
regulating his horse's pace to that of the princess's horses. What
could they think, except that this man, having seen a carriage stopped
and surrounded by several individuals--and that at eleven o'clock at
night--had conceived suspicions and, not daring to attack so numerous
a company alone, wished to give the alarm to the first brigade he
should meet On the road? M. de B----l could not run on foot the whole
stage; so he stopped and sat by the roadside, waiting for news when
the coachman should return. When the duchesse reached the posting inn
where she had to take fresh horses, she looked anxiously around her.
The gendarme had disappeared. No doubt he had gone to warn the brigade.
They hurried the livery-stable keeper as much as they could, and set
off with only two horses, in order to allay suspicions; but they were
scarcely out of the village before they found the gendarme again.
He looked like a fairy knight sprung out of the ground. The general
opinion was that there was no gendarmerie station in the village which
they had just passed through, and that they would be arrested at the
next village. A few yards from the posting inn, the gendarme took a
side road, and they never saw him again. When they reached the other
side of the village, where they expected to be arrested, and saw that
the road was free, they breathed again.

"Well, what does Your Highness think about our gendarme?" asked M. de
Villeneuve.

"Either he is a precious simpleton who does not know how to mind his
own business," said the duchesse, "or he is a cunning blade who has
recognised me; and who, if I succeed, has in his pocket already, in
advance, his brevet as officer and some few hundred louis to equip
himself with. In any case, he can brag of having put me in a great
fright!"

M. de B----l learnt these details upon the return of the coachman, and
went back home somewhat reassured. On 4 May, they continued on the way
towards Toulouse, _via_ Nîmes, Montpellier and Narbonne, travelling
night and day, and only stopping early in the mornings for breakfast,
to make her toilette and to give time for the stablemen to oil the
carriage. They changed horses at Lunel.

"Where are we?" asked the princess.

"At Lunel, madame," replied M. de Villeneuve.

"Oh!" said she, "if that excellent D***, who sent me in Italy a cask
of wine of his own growing, knew that I was stopping to change horses
at this moment, how he would come running here! But we must not be
imprudent."

They set off again without informing M. D***. On 5 May at 7.30 P.M.,
the Duchesse de Berry entered Toulouse in an open barouche, without any
sort of disguise to prevent those who had seen her from recognising
her. As usual, the carriage drew up before the posting inn; those who
were out of work and the inquisitive soon came running up. Amongst
these spectators was a young man of fashionable appearance, who gazed
with an expression that was less that of idleness and more that of
curiosity than other people's; Madame pretended to be asleep without,
on her side, losing sight of him, and he fixed his gaze so persistently
upon her.

"My dear Monsieur de Lorge," said Madame, whilst the horses were being
changed, "go and bring me a hat which will shade my face more."

M. de Lorge leapt from his seat and made his way to a milliner's shop.
The curious spectator followed him, entered the shop with him, came out
with him and, touching him on the shoulder, he said--

"My dear de Lorge, Madame la duchesse de Berry is here."

"Well, yes, my dear Jules," replied the person whom he interrogated.

"Where is she going?"

"Into la Vendée."

"La Vendée is overrun with troops!"

"We know it."

"Then why go there? The provinces she is now travelling through afford
more favourable chances; Madame can stay in Toulouse in all safety. In
a moment's time I will have proved everything.... I absolutely must
speak to her."

"Very well, so be it! Speak to her."

"Not at this moment; that would be imprudent. I will come in the
carriage in your seat, and, when out of the town, we will confer
together!"

M. de Lorge returned to the carriage, handed the new hat to the
duchesse, climbed up nimbly to his seat, the person he had designated
by the name of Jules took his place by him, to Madame's great
astonishment, and the carriage set off again at a gallop. When outside
the town, the newcomer leant towards Madame.

"Eh! Monsieur de Puylaroque," she exclaimed, "is it indeed you! Ah! now
I know it is you, I am at peace. I am happy! How has it come about that
we have met? It is Providence who has sent you, for I badly wanted to
talk to you. I have lost half my skill; you will give it back to me."

"Whatever Your Highness wills; she knows that I am entirely devoted to
her; but, above all, I entreat you, Madame, not to go into Vendée!..."

"Where would you have me go?"

"Remain in Toulouse; there you will find rest and safety."

"I do not want either the one or the other; I am seeking for conflict.
As regards what you say of la Vendée, nothing annoying will happen to
me there. La Vendée, you say, is overrun with soldiers? So much the
better! I knew a good number of those who were in the barracks; they
will also know me and will not fire upon me, I will answer for it! I
have promised my faithful Vendéens to go and visit them. I will fulfil
my word; if circumstances which I cannot foresee compel me to make
myself scarce, come and look for me and I will return to the South with
you. But, as I am here in France, do not let us talk of going out of
it."

When Madame had made up her mind, it was a foregone conclusion that she
would stick to it.

M. de Puylaroque was, therefore, obliged to give up his plan; he left
the carriage and returned to Toulouse. A week later, he started to
rejoin Madame in la Vendée. When she left Toulouse, Madame went by
Moissac and Agen, then she left the Bordeaux road to follow that _via_
Villeneuve d'Agen, Bergerac, Sainte-Foy, Libourne and Blaye--Blaye,
which, when it watched her pass through, kept dumb as to the future!
They made for the château of the Marquis de Dampierre, who had not been
forewarned of the visit he was about to receive; but he was an intimate
friend of M. de Lorge, who took upon him to answer for his devotion.
From this château, situated half-way between Blaye and Saintes, the
duchesse intended to give notice to her friends in Paris of her
arrival, to confer with the leaders of the future insurrection, and to
issue her proclamations throughout la Vendée. But, before reaching the
Marquis de Dampierre's château, they had to pass that of a relative
of his, which was only separated from the road by the river. There
was a ferryboat to tempt the travellers. The adventurous spirit of
Madame could not withstand the desire to pay a visit to the unknown
friend; besides, M. de Villeneuve urged it. It was necessary to inquire
there if M. le marquis de Dampierre was at home. They got down and
crossed the ferry. M. de Villeneuve introduced himself, and presented
the princess to the master of the château as his wife. They were
just going to sit down to table, and proposed that M. and Madame de
Villeneuve should share the breakfast; the proposal was acceded to. It
was a Sunday; the master of the château, whilst waiting for breakfast,
proposed to his guests to go to Mass. Dangerous as this was to Madame's
incognito, it was impossible to refuse such a proposition. Madame went
to church on foot, on her host's arm, passing through the crowd boldly,
holding her head high. It is true that, when at church, the heat and
fatigue overcame her, and the princess took advantage of the curé's
sermon, which lasted an hour, to sleep for that hour.

The sound of chairs which follows the peroration of a sermon
woke Madame, and she heard the "_Domine salvum fac regem_
LUDOVICUM-PHILIPPUM" for the first time. After breakfast, they started
on their journey again. In the evening of 7 May, the Duchesse de Berry
arrived at the gate of the château de Dampierre. M. de Lorge got down
and rang. In England, they know who is demanding entrance by the manner
in which the visitor knocks. M. de Lorge rang in the aristocratic
manner, as one who has no time to wait; M. de Dampierre himself
appeared.

"Who is there?" he asked.

"I, de Lorge! open quickly! I have brought Madame la duchesse de Berry
to you."

The master of the house took a jump backwards.

"The Duchesse de Berry!" he exclaimed. "What! Madame?"

"Yes, she herself.... Open!"

"But," M. de Dampierre continued, "you are unaware that I have a score
of people staying with me, that they are in the salon and ..."

"Monsieur," said the Duchesse de Berry, putting her head out of the
door, "I think I have heard it said somewhere that you have a cousin
who lives fifty leagues from here?

"Madame de la Myre; yes, Madame."

"Then open your door, monsieur, and present me to the personages in
your society under the name of Madame de la Myre."

"Madame, pray believe," exclaimed M. de Dampierre, "that I have only
raised these objections in your own interest; but if you do me the
honour of insisting ..."

"I do insist."

M. de Dampierre hastened to open the wicket. Madame jumped out of the
carriage, put her arm within that of the master of the house, and
made her way to the salon. It was empty. During the absence of M. de
Dampierre, every one had retired to his own room.

When the Duchesse de Berry entered the salon, followed by M. de Ménars,
M. de Villeneuve and M. de Lorge, who had divested himself of his suit
of livery and resumed that of a gentleman once more, she found no one
there but the mistress of the house, and two or three persons to whom
the Duchesse and M. de Lorge were presented under the name of M. and
Madame de la Myre.

Next evening, M. de Villeneuve, knowing Madame was in safety, again
departed for Provence. The following day also, Madame underwent the
second introduction at breakfast. No sort of doubt arose as to the
identity of the counterfeit Madame de la Myre. On the following Sunday,
the curé of the parish to which the château belonged, came, as usual,
to dine with M. le Marquis de Dampierre, who presented Madame under
his cousin's name, as he had done to his other guests. The curé came
towards the duchesse with the intention of bowing; but, when half-way
across the intervening interval, he fixed his eyes on her, stopped, and
his face assumed so comic an air of stupefaction, that the duchesse
could not refrain from bursting out laughing. When Madame had visited
Rochefort, in 1828, the good man had been presented to her, and he
recognised her.

"My dear curé," M. de Dampierre said to him, "excuse me, but I really
cannot refrain from asking you what there is in my cousin's face which
attracts your gaze to it."

"Because, Monsieur le Marquis," said the curé, "because Madame, your
cousin ... Oh! but it is amazing! Yet it is impossible! for, in fact
..."

The rest of the good curé's sentence was lost in a confused and
unintelligible murmur.

"Monsieur," Madame said in her turn, addressing the worthy curé, "allow
me to associate myself with my cousin in asking what is the matter."

"It is like," replied the curé, "like a leaf out of a vaudeville of
Scribe, or one of Alexandre Duval's comedies; your Royal Highness
resembles the cousin of M. le Marquis like ... No, I am wrong; M. le
Marquis's cousin resembles Your Royal Highness. That is not what I
mean--Oh! but I could swear...."

The duchesse lapsed into fits of laughter. But, at this moment, the
dinner bell rang. M. de Dampierre, who saw what delight the good curé's
surprise caused the duchesse, placed him opposite to her. The result
was that, instead of dining, the curé never ceased looking at Madame,
and repeating--

"Oh! but it is incredible! in truth I could have sworn it ... but yet
it is impossible!"

Rash and inconsequent as a child, Madame spent nine days at the
château, and no one except the curé had any notion of questioning her
identity as to name and cousinship. On the second day, a messenger
set off for la Vendée with three notes. In the first, the duchesse
asked a man who was in her confidence to find her an undiscoverable
hiding-place. The second was addressed to one of the principal Vendéen
leaders, and was couched in these terms:--

    "In spite of the check which we have just met, I am far from
    looking upon my cause as lost: I have infinite confidence in
    its justice. My intention, therefore, is to go on pleading
    unceasingly, and I beg my advocates to hold themselves in
    readiness to plead ... on the first day."

The third note was addressed to M. Guibourg, and was specially
remarkable for its laconicism. This is it.

    "You will be told where I am; come, without a moment's loss
    of time. Not a word to a single soul!"

Thirty hours later, M. Guibourg was with the princess. Madame's first
words were--

"Where is M. le maréchal de Bourmont?"

No one knew, M. Guibourg knew no more than the rest. The maréchal was
not at Nantes, and they did not know either the route he had taken, or
the retreat in which he was hidden. Nothing could be done without M. de
Bourmont, who was the soul of the enterprise; he was the only person
who, by the influence of his name, could make la Vendée rise, and, in
virtue of his office of maréchal de France, exact the obedience of
officers of all ranks. Madame had not heard a word of M. de Bourmont
since the day she had parted from him.

"Come," she said cheerfully to M. Guibourg, "do not let us be cast down
by small hindrances, we do not allow ourselves to be discouraged by
reverses; nevertheless, what is to be done?"

"As Madame has persisted in burning her boats," replied M. Guibourg,
"since she has made up her mind to come into la Vendée, where she is
expected, I would counsel her to leave this château as quickly and
secretly as possible. The principal leaders from the two banks of
the Loire can be rallied round Madame within forty-eight hours' time;
Madame can make her purposes known to them, and, assisted by their
advice, she can come to a decision."

"Very good!" said the duchesse, "you shall start to-morrow, and I will
start the day after. Upon my arrival there, I will take counsel with
the leaders you have informed."

But, next day, Madame called M. Guibourg to her.

"I have changed my mind," she said, "and do not intend to consult any
one; the majority will be for an adjournment, and all risings in la
Vendée must take place, I am told, during the first fortnight in May,
the time when country pursuits give a holiday in some measure to the
farmers; we are, then, late. Besides, in their interests, upon whose
faith I have come, all the chiefs told me they were ready to act;
to ask them if they are, will be to doubt their word. I am going,
therefore, to make my intentions known to the whole of France. Here is
the letter addressed to M. de Coislin:--

    "Let my friends be reassured: _I am in France,_ and soon _I
    shall be in la Vendée_; from there, my definite orders will
    come to you: you will receive them before the 25th of this
    month. Prepare, therefore. That was only a blunder and a
    mistake in the South; I am satisfied with their intentions;
    they will keep their promises. My faithful province of the
    West will never fail in theirs.--In a short time, the whole
    of France will be called upon to resume its ancient dignity
    and happiness. M. C. R.

    "15 _May_ 1832"

Added to this letter was the note containing the _noms de guerre_ under
which the conspirators were to hide themselves, and to correspond: as
follows:--

"Guibourg--_Pascal,_ the Maréchal--_Laurent,_ Madame-_Mathurine,_
Maquille--_Bertrand,_ Terrien--_Cœur de Lion,_ Clouët--_Saint-Amand,_
Charles--_Antoine,_ Cadoudal--_Bras-de-Fer,_ Cathelineau--_Le
Jeune_ or _Achille,_ Charette-_Gaspard,_ Hébert--_Doineville,_
d'Autichamp--_Marchand,_ de Coislin--_Louis Renaud."_

The same day, Madame la duchesse de Berry had a few hundred copies
of the following proclamation distributed, printed by a portable
hand-press.

    "_Proclamation of Madame la duchesse de Berry, régente de
    France_

    "Vendéens, Bretons, and all inhabitants of the faithful
    provinces of the West! Having landed in the South, I have no
    fear of travelling in the midst of dangers through France to
    fulfil a sacred promise to come among my brave friends, and
    to share their perils and their labours. I am at last among
    this nation of heroes! _Make an opening for the fortune of
    France!_ I place myself at your head, sure of victory when
    with such men as you. Henri V. appeals to you; his mother,
    regent of France, dedicates herself to your happiness. Some
    day, Henri V. will be your brother-at-arms if the enemy
    threaten our faithful country. Let us re-echo our old and
    our new cry: '_Vive le roi! Vive_ _Henri V.!'_
                                                 MARIE-CAROLINE

    "ROYAL PRINTING-HOUSE OF HENRI V."

Preceded by this proclamation, Madame again started on her journey, 16
May 1832. She was accompanied by M. and Madame de Dampierre, by M. de
Ménars and M. de Lorge, who had resumed his disguise of a servant's
livery. M. de Dampierre's horses drove Madame as far as the first
posting stage, where she took fresh ones and continued her journey
by Saintes, Saint-Jean-d'Angely, Niort, Fontenay, Luçon, Bourbon and
Montaigu.'

The Duchesse de Berry travelled in broad day and in an open carriage,
through the country over which, four years before, she had passed on
horseback, going from château to château, and surrounded by the people
who collected during her progress. It was a miracle that M. de Ménars,
landowner in the country, accustomed to all the electors both as
elector and candidate, past-president of the great college of Bourbon,
was not recognised at every step. No doubt, both were protected by
their very imprudence. It is true Madame wore a brown wig; but she
had kept her own blond eyelashes with the brown wig. All at once her
travelling companions noticed this, and pointed it out to her: such
a discrepancy must be remedied as soon as possible. Madame moistened
a corner of her handkerchief with saliva, rubbed it on M. de Ménars'
boot, and, thanks to the boot blacking, obtained a suitable black
wherewith to harmonise the colour of her eyebrows with that of her
wig. At Montaigu, where they relayed horses, M. de Lorge, dressed as a
servant, was obliged, in order not to belie his costume, to eat with
the servants, and to help to harness the horses.

M. de Lorge got through his part as though he had been playing in
amateur theatricals.

On 17 May, at noon, Madame and M. de Ménars alighted at M. de N***'s
château; the two travellers at once changed costumes with the master
and mistress of the house, who immediately got into the carriage in
their place, and continued the journey with M. and Madame de D***.
The postilion, whom the servants had made tipsy in the kitchen whilst
the masters were exchanging dresses above, noticing nothing, being
half-drunk, bestrode his horse and took the road for Nantes, never
suspecting that his passengers had been changed, or, rather, that they
had exchanged themselves. The duchesse had arranged a meeting-place
for her friends in a house, situated about a league from the château,
belonging to M. G***. Towards five in the afternoon, she took the
arm of M. O*** and reached this house with him on foot, where they
were soon rejoined by MM. de Ménars and Charette. They were clad in
blouses, and wore hobnailed shoes. Madame left that night to reach a
hiding-place they had contrived for her in the commune of Montbert;
she was accompanied by M.M. de Ménars, Charette, and by la R***e.
Four or five peasants escorted the travellers; they asked of Madame
whether she wished to make a détour, or to cross the Maine by the ford.
As Madame wished to accustom herself to every kind of peril at one fell
swoop, she chose dangers rather than slowness. They conferred together
a moment as to where they should cross the river, and settled to cross
it near Romainville, by a kind of bridge of piles, which afforded
an indifferently good sort of ford. A peasant who knew the locality
took the head of the column, sounding the path with a stick, which he
held in his right hand, whilst, with his left, he drew the duchesse
after him. When the peasant and Madame had got two-thirds across the
river, they felt the pile crumble under their feet on which they had
thought they might venture. They both tottered and fell into the water.
Madame fell head over heels and disappeared, entirely submerged. M.
Charette sprang in at once, caught her by the heel, and drew her from
the river, but she had been under water for five or six seconds and
had lost consciousness. Madame's companions would not let her go any
farther; they took her back to the house she had left. She changed all
her clothes from head to foot, and decided to take the longer road,
and to ride behind a peasant. On account of this détour, she did not
reach the village of Montbert until 18 May. She had supper, and slept
in the house which had been prepared for her. But the house was poorly
furnished. The princess's companions did not like her to undergo the
privations which such penury inflicted upon her; they spoke to her of a
celebrated provision dealer of Nantes, called Colin, who sold excellent
conserves in tins for journeys of long distance. Madame agreed to give
in to this sybaritism. They had to find an intelligent and discreet
man to go and make their purchases, and suggested to Madame the parish
sexton. Madame had a little chat with the man, who pleased her, and was
charged with the commission. They had relied on his prudence: he was
too prudent. His purchases achieved, he told the provision merchant, in
order to allay suspicions, to send the boxes to Pont-Rousseau, where he
would await them. Now, whilst he was loading his horse with the boxes,
a patriot passed by. Patriots generally have their eyes wide open on
all occasions; but, in this instance, he of Nantes had his particularly
wide open. Our man saw the tin boxes, took them for powder boxes, and
imagined they were meant for the Chouans. Whilst the sexton loaded his
remaining boxes, the patriot got the start and warned the gendarmerie
of Souniers. They arrested the churchman in his transit, and took him
back to Nantes. The boxes were opened and, instead of munition, they
found vegetables; but, although vegetables may appear very inoffensive,
to suspicious minds they have a certain signification. When the sexton
was interrogated as to the rank in life of those who had charged him
with this gastronomic commission, he replied that they were persons
unknown to him, and that they waited on the heath of Génusson. He had
indicated a point opposite to where the Duchesse de Berry really was.
Some gendarmes went to the heath of Génusson, which, we may be very
sure, was deserted. The sexton was taken to the prison of Nantes. A
peasant had seen him amidst the gendarmes, and had taken to his heels
to warn the duchesse. For greater safety, Madame left her hiding-place,
as she knew the sexton too little to judge the length to which his
devotion would run, and she took refuge in a stable. She there spent
the night and day of the 19th with the farmer's oxen. One of these
animals took a fancy to her, and came several times to breathe in her
face.

"I want," she said, laughing at her situation the next day, "to be
painted as soon as I can manage it, _tête-à-tête_ with the fat ox which
came so pleasantly to _puff_ in my face."

Another ox had directed his affections towards M. de Ménars, and had
spent the night licking his face; but M. de Ménars was so tired that
he had received the animal's caresses without waking.

In the midst of a terrible storm and beating rain, at 1 o'clock in the
morning of 20 May, Madame left the farm to go to L----e, an occupied
country house, belonging to the family of la R----e, situated in the
commune of Saint-Philibert. The roads were fearful, and a deep bog
intersected the way; they could only advance across the miry marsh by
sounding the way step by step. M. Charette had committed Madame to the
care of his young comrade, de la R----e, to whose home they were going;
so, in order to cross the dangerous passage, the young man wished to
trust to his own devices; he took Madame on his shoulders and, when
risking his first step in the marsh, he said--

"Madame, it is possible that I may sink and disappear in some peat-bog;
but, directly you see me about to disappear, throw yourself to one side
with as quick and strong a movement as you can; the dangerous spots are
not usually large; I shall be lost, but you will be saved!"

Twice this nearly happened, twice Madame felt M. de la R----e sink
up to his waist; but each time, happily, he succeeded in extricating
himself from the predicament. Madame arrived at daybreak and, tired out
as she was, she set out in the evening, after having had lunch and some
sleep, to receive some persons from the country side, and to have much
joking over the two unprincely kinds of death to which she had nearly
succumbed. This new stage took her to a sister of M. de la R----e. Her
hostess did not in the least expect the visit, and was not overjoyed at
receiving her.

On the night of the 21st, the duchesse set off again; she had to reach
the M---- commune of Leyé. She stayed there until Monday the 31st,
that is to say for ten days. The house was inconvenient, and it was
not a safe retreat; moving columns were constantly passing by the
door; and it was evident that suspicions were aroused. But still the
rendezvous was given to M. de Bourmont, M. Berryer and M. R----. They
were obliged to attend. The letter written by the duchesse to the
Royalists had reached its destination; only, Madame had forgotten to
give the key of the cipher note which accompanied it. M. Berryer set to
work to discover it, and found it. It was the sentence _Le gouvernement
provisoire,_ substituted by the twenty-four letters of the alphabet.

Madame's letter had caused great trouble among the idle Royalists
planted in the central rays of light in Paris; they knew public
opinion more clearly than the Royalists of Maine and la Vendée and
the Loire-Inférieure; though it was true that the government of King
Louis-Philippe was becoming more and more unpopular, yet, that was a
reason for waiting, and not for hurrying things on; as to hoping for
anything from Madame's attempt, nobody was blind enough to flatter
himself on that score.

Accordingly, the Parisian Royalists met together on the evening of
the 19th, to consider the best means of making Madame acquainted with
the true situation of matters in France. It was a serious and almost
depressing meeting; they looked upon the danger as imminent, and
consequently agreed that one of the principal leaders should go to la
Vendée to the princess. MM. de Chateaubriand, Hyde de Neuville and
Berryer were the three heads. MM. de Chateaubriand and Hyde de Neuville
were the objects of a surveillance which it was difficult to baffle; it
would be guessed where they were going before they could reach Orléans,
and they would be arrested or followed. M. Berryer offered to execute
the commission. A lawsuit called him to the assizes at Vannes early in
June. A note drawn up by M. de Chateaubriand, giving an epitome of the
opinion, if not of the majority, yet of the bulk, of the meeting, was
put in his hands. The rest was left to his devotion and his eloquence.
His business was to make Madame leave la Vendée. He left Paris on the
morning of 20 May, and reached Nantes on the 22nd. Let us be permitted
to follow the famous orator in his picturesque journey through bye
lanes, in the heart of thickets and hedges; we will answer for the
accuracy of the details, which were given to us in 1833 by M. Berryer
himself.



CHAPTER IV


Interview between MM. Berryer and de Bourmont--The messenger's
guides--The movable column--M. Charles--Madame's hiding-place--Madame
refuses to leave la Vendée--She rallies her followers to arms--Death
of General Lamarque--The deputies of the Opposition meet together at
Laffitte's house--They decide to publish a statement to the nation--MM.
Odilon Barrot and de Cormenin are commissioned to draw up this
report--One hundred and thirty-three deputies sign it


Hardly had M. Berryer reached Nantes, before he learnt that M.
de Bourmont had been there a couple of days. He went to see him
immediately. M. de Bourmont had received the order of 15 May, relative
to the taking up of arms, fixed for the 24th, but he agreed with M.
Berryer, after what he had seen and heard during his short stay at
Nantes, that there was no hope to be placed on that insurrection, which
he regarded as a _deplorable affray._ It was so much his own opinion,
that he had taken upon himself to send _almost_ a counter-order to
the Vendéen chiefs, hoping that when he saw Madame he should succeed
in inducing her to give up her plans. The counter-order had been
transmitted by M. Guibourg to M. de Coislin _père,_ who, in his turn,
was to tell those whom it concerned. This is the letter from M.
Guibourg, and the copy of the order of M. de Bourmont--

    "MONSIEUR LE MARQUIS,--I have the honour to send you a copy
    of the order that I am deputed to hand you on behalf of M.
    le Maréchal:--

    'Delay the execution of the orders you have received for
    the 24th May for a few days, and do not let anything
    visible be seen until you have fresh news, but continue your
    preparations.

    "'LE MARÉCHAL COMTE DE BOURMONT

    "'22 _May, noon'"_

M. de Bourmont, therefore, approved of M. Berryer's reason for going
to Madame, and all was prepared the same day for his departure. At two
o'clock in the afternoon, M. Berryer got into a little hired trap,
and, as he did so, he asked the confidential person whom the duchesse
had at Nantes what route he should take, and where Madame was living,
whereupon the man pointed with his finger to a peasant hanging about at
the end of the street on a dapple-grey horse, and said merely, "You see
that man? You only have to follow him."

Indeed, hardly had the man on the grey horse seen M. Berryer's carriage
start before he put his mount to a trot, which allowed the former to
follow him without losing sight of him. In this way they crossed the
bridges and entered the country. The peasant did not even turn his
head, and seemed to trouble so very little about the carriage to which
he served as guide, that there were moments when M. Berryer thought
himself the dupe of some mystification or other. As for the driver,
who was not in his confidence, he could give no other directions when
he asked: "Where are we going, master?" than, "Follow that man." The
driver obeyed this injunction strictly, not busying himself henceforth
any more over the guide, than the guide troubled himself over him.

After a journey of two and a half hours, which were not without
disquiet for M. Berryer, they reached a little hamlet. The man on the
grey horse stopped before the inn: M. Berryer did the same; one got
down from his horse, the other from his carriage, to continue the road
on foot. M. Berryer told his driver to wait until 6 o'clock in the
evening of the next day, and then he followed his strange guide. After
going a hundred yards, he entered a house, and as, during the journey,
M. Berryer had gained upon him, the former entered it almost at the
same time. The man opened the door of the kitchen, where the mistress
of the house was alone, and pointing to M. Berryer, who walked behind
him, he only said the words--

"Here is a gentleman who must be guided."

"He shall be guided," replied the mistress of the house.

Scarcely had she uttered these words before the guide opened the door
and left, without giving M. Berryer time to thank him, or to exchange a
word or to pay him. The mistress of the house signed to the traveller
to be seated, and, without addressing a single word to him, continued
to apply herself to her household affairs as though no stranger was
present.

A silence of three-quarters of an hour went by after the strict
politeness of M. Berryer's reception, and it was only broken by the
arrival of the master of the house. He bowed to the stranger without
displaying either surprise or curiosity; only, he looked at his wife,
who repeated to him from where she stood, and without interrupting
what she was doing, the same words that the guide had used, "Here is a
gentleman who must be guided."

Whereupon, the master of the house threw at his guest one of those
uneasy, sharp, quick glances, which are characteristic of the Vendéen
peasantry; then his face resumed the expression of good nature and
simplicity which was native to it. He advanced towards M. Berryer, hat
in hand.

"Monsieur desires to travel in our country?" he said to him.

"Yes, I want to go further."

"Monsieur no doubt has his papers?"

"Yes."

"In order?"


"Perfectly."

"And in his own name, I presume?"

"In my own name."

"If monsieur will show them to me, I will tell him if he can travel
quietly in our country."

"Here they are."

The peasant took them and ran his eye over them; he had no sooner
caught the name of M. Berryer than he folded them up again, saying--

"Oh, that is all right! Monsieur can go anywhere with those papers."

'You will take upon you to provide me with a guide?"

"Yes, monsieur."

"I want one as soon as possible."

"I will go and saddle the horses."

At these words, the master of the house went out and, ten minutes
later, re-entered.

"The horses are ready."

"And the guide?"

"He waits for monsieur."

And, as a matter of fact, M. Berryer found a farm lad at the door
already mounted, and holding a horse by the hand; scarcely had he
put his foot into the stirrups before his new conductor started as
silently as his predecessor had done. After two hours' riding, during
which no word was exchanged between M. Berryer and his guide, they
arrived towards nightfall at the door of one of the farmsteads which
are honoured with the name of a château. It was half-past eight in the
evening; M. Berryer and his guide got down from their horses, and both
went inside. The farm lad addressed a servant, and said to him--

"This gentleman wishes to speak to monsieur."

The master was asleep; he had spent the previous night at a rendezvous,
and the day on horseback; he was too tired to get up: one of his
relatives came down in his stead. He welcomed M. Berryer and, directly
he had learnt his name and the object of his journey, he gave orders
for departure. He himself undertook to serve as guide to the traveller,
and, ten minutes later, both left on horseback: in a quarter of an
hour's time, a cry sounded a hundred yards in front of them; M. Berryer
trembled, and asked what it was.

"It is our scout," replied the Vendéen chief; "he is asking in his own
fashion if the way is clear. Listen, and you will hear the reply." At
these words, he stretched out his hand, and put it on M. Berryer's arm
to make him pull his horse up. A second cry then went up, coming from a
greater distance off; it seemed like the echo of the first, so like was
it.

"We can go forward, the road is free," replied the chief, putting his
horse to the spur.

"Then we are preceded by a scout?"

"Yes, we have one man two hundred yards ahead of us and another the
same distance behind."

"But who are the people who answer?"

"The peasants whose cottages lie along the road. Pay attention when you
pass by one of them, and you will see a little dormer-window open and
a man's head slip out, stay motionless for an instant as if he were a
stone, and only disappear when we are out of sight. If we were soldiers
from some neighbouring cantonment, the man who will only look at us as
we pass would immediately come out by a back door; then, if there were
any gathering in the district, he would soon warn it of the approach of
the column which believed it was about to take it by surprise."

At this moment, the Vendéen chief interrupted himself.

"Listen," he whispered, stopping his horse.

"What is it?" said M. Berryer. "I only heard the usual cry of our
scout."

"Yes, but no other cry has replied to it; there are soldiers in the
neighbourhood."

He put his horse into a trot upon these words, and M. Berryer did the
same; almost at the same instant, the man who formed the rear-guard
caught them up at a gallop. They found their guide motionless and
undecided at the forking of the two roads. The path desected and, as
no one had answered his cry from either side, he did not know which of
the footpaths he must take; both would lead the travellers to their
destination. After a minute's deliberation in low tones between the
chief and the guide, the latter plunged out of sight into the dark
alley to the right; five minutes afterwards, M. Berryer and the chief
started at a walk along the same path, leaving their fourth companion
motionless at the place they left, and five minutes later he also
followed them. Three hundred yards further on, M. Berryer and the
chief found that their scout had stopped; he signed to them to command
silence, and said in a whisper--"A patrol!" They could, indeed, hear
the regular step of a troop on the march; it was a moving column which
was making its nightly round. The noise soon came nearer to them, and
they saw against the sky the outline of the soldiers' bayonets, who,
in order to avoid the water which collected in the deep paths, had
followed neither of the two roads, the bifurcation of which had caused
the guide a momentary hesitation, but had climbed the slope, and were
walking between the two hedges, on the ground which overlooked the
two sunk footpaths by which it was enclosed. Had a single one of the
four horses neighed, the little troop would have been taken prisoners;
but they seemed to understand the position of their masters, and kept
silence like them, so the soldiers went on unsuspecting whom they
had closely passed by. When the sound of their steps was lost in the
distance, the travellers resumed their march. At half-past ten o'clock,
they turned off the road and entered a wood. The little band got down
and left the horses under the care of the two peasants, while M.
Berryer and the chief went on their way alone. They were not very far
distant from the farmhouse where Madame was; but, as they wanted to
enter by a back door, they had to make a détour, and to cross through
some marshes where they sank almost up to their knees; at last the
dark little mass of buildings which formed the farmstead, surrounded
with trees, appeared, and soon they reached the door. The chief knocked
in a particular way. Steps approached, and a voice asked, "Who is
there?" The chief replied with the agreed-upon word, and the door was
opened. An old woman performed the office of concierge; but she was
accompanied, for greater security, by a tall, robust fellow, armed with
a stick, which, in such hands as his, would have proved as formidable
as any other weapon.

"We want M. Charles," said the chief.

"He is asleep," replied the old woman; "but he told us to inform him if
any one came. Go into the kitchen while I wake him."

"Tell him it is M. Berryer who has come from Paris," added the latter.

The old woman left them in the kitchen and went away. The travellers
went close up to the huge fireplace, where a few embers left of the
day's fire still remained. One end of a beam was fixed into the chimney
place, whilst the other end was held tight in a kind of claw made by
a crack--it was one of those pieces of inflammable firwood, used in
Vendéen cottages instead of a lamp or candle. In ten minutes' time,
the old woman came in and told M. Berryer that M. Charles was ready to
receive him, and that she had come to lead him to him. He thereupon
followed her, and ascended behind her a wretched staircase, which
was outside the house, and seemed to be fixed along the wall, till
he reached a small room on the first floor, the only one, indeed,
which was at all habitable in the miserable farmhouse. This room was
occupied by the Duchesse de Berry. The old woman opened the door, and,
remaining outside, shut it after M. Berryer. His attention was at first
entirely taken up by Madame. She was lying on a poor, coarsely carved,
worm-eaten wooden bedstead, in very fine linen sheets, covered with a
Scotch shawl of red and green plaid; she had on one of those muslin
nightcaps worn by the women of the country, with lappets, falling on
the shoulders. The walls were bare; a miserable white-washed fireplace
warmed the room, which, in the way of furniture, only contained a table
covered with papers, upon which rested two brace of pistols: in one
corner of the apartment there was a chair on which had been flung the
complete dress of a young peasant, and a black wig.

We have said that the object of the interview between M. Berryer and
the duchesse was to persuade the latter to leave France; but, as we
cannot report the details of that conversation concerning general
interests without compromising private interests, we will pass it
over in silence; as we have made our readers well acquainted with
the men and things of this period, they will easily fill them in for
themselves. Only by three o'clock in the morning did Madame give in to
the arguments which M. Berryer had taken upon his own responsibility to
convey to her. Although the duchesse could see for herself that there
was but little chance of success attending an armed insurrection, it
was not without crying and despair that she yielded.

"Very well, it is settled," she said, "I am to quit France; but I shall
not come back to it again, take heed, for I do not wish to return with
foreigners; they are but waiting for a chance, as you well know, and
the moment will come: they will come and ask for my son--not that they
will trouble themselves much more over him than they did over Louis
XVIII. in 1813, but it will be a means for them to have a share in
Paris. Very well, then, they shall not have my son! for nothing in
this world shall they have him; I will rather carry him away into the
mountains of Calabria! Look here, Monsieur Berryer, if it is necessary
to buy the throne of France by the cession of a province, a town, a
fortress or a cottage, like that in which I am, I give you my word, as
regent and as mother, he shall never be king."

Finally, Madame made up her mind. M. Berryer took leave of her at
four in the morning, taking with him her promise to rejoin him at
noon in the second house he had put up at, which was situated four
country leagues from the place where he had left his coachman. When
the duchesse arrived there, she was to get into the little hired
conveyance, and to return to Nantes in the company of M. Berryer, there
to take coach with her fictitious passport, and, travelling right
through France, to go out of it by the Mont Cenis route. M. Berryer
stopped at the place agreed upon, and waited there for Madame from
noon until six o'clock. Only then did he receive a message from her;
the duchesse had changed her decision. She wrote to him that she had
linked too many interests to hers, drawn too many lives to her own lot,
to escape alone from the consequences of her descent into France, and
to leave them pressing upon others; that, therefore, she had decided
to share to the end the fate of those whom she had implicated; only,
the taking up of arms, at first fixed for 24 May, was put off till the
night of the 3rd to the 4th of June.

M. Berryer returned to Nantes in consternation. On the 25th, M. de
Bourmont received a letter from the duchesse confirming what she had
written to M. Berryer; as follows:--

    "Having resolutely determined not to leave the Western
    provinces, and to entrust myself to fidelity of long
    standing, I count on you, my good friend, to take all the
    necessary measures for the taking up of arms, which will
    take place during the night of 3rd to 4th June. I call to
    my aid all courageous people; God will help us to save our
    country! No danger, no fatigue will dishearten me; I shall
    put in my appearance at the first rallying.

    "MARIE-CAROLINE, _Regent of France_ "VENDÉE, 25 _May_ 1832"

Immediately upon receipt of this letter, M. de Bourmont wrote a note to
M. de Coislin in the following terms:--

    "As Madame has courageously resolved not to abandon the
    country, and is rallying round her all who wish to preserve
    France from the misfortunes which threaten her, make known
    to all that they are to hold themselves ready on Sunday, 3
    June, and that they arrange throughout the following night
    to act together, according to the directions we have given.
    Make very certain your orders are conveyed to everybody and
    to all points.

    "MARÉCHAL COMTE DE BOURMONT"

This, then, was how things were in la Vendée when the report of the
death of General Lamarque ran through Paris. It followed that of
Casimir Périer by only a few days: the two strong athletes were rudely
strangled during their struggles in the Tribune, which seem to have
killed them both. But the soldier survived the tribune by a few days.
The impression produced by these two deaths was very different: nothing
could be compared with the unpopularity of the one, and the popularity
of the other. This death coincided with the famous affair of the
_compte rendu._ We live so fast, and the gravest events pass over so
quickly, that oblivion comes as rapidly as nightfall. Not one young man
of thirty knows definitely to-day what the affair of the _compte rendu_
was that we indicate was of so grave a nature.

After M. Laffitte gave up the seals of power, he returned to the
Opposition; this was simple enough, since it was in order to bring
about an easy reaction that Louis-Philippe had banished his prime
minister and his old friend. M. Laffitte's Opposition was the most
Conservative imaginable from the standpoint of enlightened politics. If
anything could add to the duration of the reign, condemned in advance,
it was the plan expounded by him to his co-religionists on the Left:
this theory, of which M. Laffitte was the High Priest, and M. Odilon
Barrot the Apostle, consisted in recovering possession of power by the
help of a parliamentary majority, to make the infusion of political
clemency triumphant, and to make the monarchy _definitively_--the word
is Louis Blanc's--guardian over liberty; a narrow but honest dream,
which, compelled to tread between reaction and insurrection, could
never become a reality.

As for the Radical deputies, they were divided into two representative
shades of opinion, the most advanced led by Garnier-Pagès, the other by
M. Maugnin; their object was to renew a sort of league after the type
of those of the Guises, with the object of leading the Bourbon monarchy
unconsciously, in 1836 or 1837, to be what the Valois monarchy of 1585
or 1586 had been.

To sum up, with the exception of those who have since been called the
_centriers,_ the _ventrus_ and the _satisfaits,_ that is to say, that
ruminant kind of being which looks in all times towards the trough of
the Budget and the rack of the Civil List, everybody was dissatisfied.
All the malcontents, desirous of a change, whether of system or of
persons, but who only desired to reach such changes by constitutional
means, gathered together during the month of May at M. Laffitte's to
attempt a last supreme effort. Pure Republicans who, on the contrary,
only admitted insurrectionist methods, and marched separately in their
strength and liberty, sleeping on their arms, took no part whatever in
this meeting, the leaders of which were MM. Laffitte, Odilon Barrot,
Cormenin, Charles Comte, Mauguin, Lamarque, Garnier-Pagès and La
Fayette. The last three sailed by the limits of Constitutional and
Republican opposition, quite closely, not indeed so near as to belong
to our camp, that of militant Republicanism, but near enough to let
themselves be drawn along with it. The meeting at Laffitte's was
composed of upwards of forty deputies. M. Laffitte spoke and summed
up the situation with the threefold clearness of the orator, the
financier and man of honour, and he suggested an address to the king.
It was the old method, always repulsed, but always returning to the
charge, under the name of _parliamentary remonstrances_ in the time
of absolute monarchy, and by the title of an _address_ in the time of
constitutional monarchy.

Garnier-Pagès, a just, incisive character, had but two words to say
with which to fight the proposition victoriously. Could any one not
mad conceive the illusion that royalty would consent to admit itself
guilty, to recognise its errors and to make honourable amends to the
nation? No, the monarchy and the nation were in a complete state
of rupture. The nation must be appealed to concerning the errors
of the monarchy. Garnier-Pagès would go so far as to term those
errors treasons, and this sent a shudder down the spines of certain
deputies of the Opposition. The upshot of the meeting was that the
Opposition put its grievances before the nation under the form of a
report. A commission was appointed, consisting of MM. La Fayette,
Laffitte, Cormenin, Odilon Barrot, Charles Comte and Mauguin. MM. de
Cormenin and Odilon Barrot were given the task of each drawing up
the report separately; they would decide finally whether to choose
either report or to destroy both reports. The work of each of the
two editors bore signs of his own individual characteristics: M. de
Cormenin too much recalled the bold pamphleteer who signed himself
_Timon le Misanthrope._ M. Odilon Barrot, on the contrary, seemed too
exclusively to bind up the future of France with the monarchical form
of government. Neither of the two plans was adopted. It was decided
to unite MM. de Cormenin and Barrot's two reports into one, or,
rather, to draw up the manifesto in common, and it strongly resembled
a declaration of war. Both left for Saint-Cloud in the morning and
returned with the manifesto in the evening. It was in M. de Cormenin's
handwriting; but it was easily seen that Odilon Barrot had had a great
deal to do in the drawing up. However, whatever the share M. Barrot
had in this work, the report assumed the character, if not exactly
of a threat, at least of a severe and solemn warning. It appeared on
28 May 1832. One hundred and thirty-three deputies had signed it. It
made a profound impression, and the death of General Lamarque, one of
the principal signatories to the manifesto, threw a dark and almost
mysterious shade upon the situation, such as the hand of death seems to
cast over certain fatal days.



CHAPTER V


Last moments of General Lamarque--What his life had been--One of
my interviews with him--I am appointed one of the stewards of the
funeral cortège--The procession--Symptoms of popular agitation--The
marching past across the place Vendôme--The Duke Fitz-James--Conflicts
provoked by the town police--The students of the École Polytechnique
join the cortège--Arrival of the funeral procession at the
pont d'Austerlitz--Speeches--First shots--The man with the red
flag--Allocution of Étienne Arago


On 1 June, at half-past eleven in the evening, General Lamarque had
breathed his last. His death was a great event. At that period the
Republican party used Napoleon's name as a weapon. Now, General
Lamarque--a thing which would be much more difficult to define now
than in those days, when people judged much more by instinct than by
education--General Lamarque was, at that time, a supporter of the
Empire and also of liberty, a soldier of Napoleon and a friend of La
Fayette. Napoleon, it will be remembered, had made him Maréchal de
France at Saint-Helena. Neither the Bourbons of the Elder Branch, nor
those of the Younger, had had sufficient intelligence to ratify the
appointment; but, in the eyes of France, it was, indeed, one of her
maréchals who had just died. Then, too, there was really something
grand about his death, by reason of the circumstances under which it
happened and the particular incidents which had accompanied it. A
multitude of sayings after the style of Cato and Leonidas were quoted
that General Lamarque had said on his deathbed. He died heroically and
yet regretting life. The thought which had dwelt in his heart as long
as it beat was--"I have not done enough for France!"

The illness of which the general died seemed to deceive the doctors;
sometimes the invalid appeared to be on the high way to convalescence
and the bulletin of his health would announce the good news to his
friends; sometimes a fatal crisis put the sick man further back than
the improvement had carried him. He himself was never deceived by
these passing improvements. His friends, Drs. Lisfranc and Broussais,
attended him with the devotion both of science and of friendship.

"My friends," the general invariably said to them, "I am grateful for
your care; I am touched by it, but you will not vanquish the disease!
You have hope and you want me to hope; in vain, I feel I shall succumb."

Then, a minute later, he added with a sigh--

"Ah! I am sorry to die! I should have liked to serve France still
longer.... And, too, I am specially disappointed not to be able to
measure swords with Wellington, who made his reputation by the defeat
he inflicted at Waterloo; I have made a study of him; I knew his
tactics and I am quite sure I should have beaten him!"

Laffitte went to see him as often as his busy life allowed. At the last
visit he paid him, France alone was the leading topic of conversation.

"Oh! my friend! my friend!" the invalid said, as he said good-bye to
him, "reserve your strength for France; she alone is great! We are
all small.... But," he added, weighed down by a never-ceasing idea,
"I depart still full of regret that I have not been able to avenge my
country for the infamous treaties of 1814 and 1815."

It was General Lamarque who uttered the sublime phrase that was flung
at an orator who was boasting of the peace which had been brought about
with the return of the Bourbons--

"The peace of 1815 is no peace; it is a halt in the mud!" General
Exelmans, the other old war comrade who was to survive him by twenty
years to die from a fall off his horse, came also to see him, and to
try to restore hope, which, as we have said, had long before died in
the heart of the invalid.

"What matter," he exclaimed, in a kind of impatience, "what matter that
I die, provided my country lives?"

In a moment of discouragement, when he saw open before him the grave,
which had swallowed up much patriotism, he had the sword of honour
brought to him which had been given him by the officers of the Hundred
Days, whose cause he had pleaded with much fervour and great success;
then, sitting up in bed, he drew the sword from its scabbard, looked at
it a long time, laid it across his knees, and finally carried it to his
lips, saying--

"My dear officers of the Hundred Days! They gave it me to be used, and
I have not used it!"

Once, overcome by grief, in the presence of Dr. Lisfranc, he made an
onslaught against the impotent art which we call medicine. Suddenly,
perceiving before whom he was speaking, he said--

"I curse medicine, but I bless doctors, who do a lot with the small
amount of knowledge which science places in their hands. Embrace me,
Lisfranc, and do not forget that I loved you very much!"

His last moments were, as we see, worthy of a soldier; he had struggled
against death as Leonidas against Xerxes; his bed had been the
battlefield. An hour before he died, in the agony which his sufferings
betrayed by his starts and shudderings, he opened his eyes, which had
been closed for thirty-six hours, and three times he uttered the two
words: "Honour! Country!"--the two words engraved on the Cross of the
Legion of Honour. He breathed his last an hour after he had uttered the
cry which had been that of his whole lifetime.

It is said that a dying man achieves greatness; it is true, both
morally as well as physically. General Lamarque increased enormously in
greatness in everybody's eyes.

They remembered the boy volunteer of nineteen, the young captain of
the famous infernal column, bringing to the Convention a strip of flag
taken from the enemy, and winning from that great and terrible Assembly
a vote pronouncing Captain Lamarque to have deserved well from his
country. How splendid his military life had been through the thirty
years that had passed since then!

They remembered Caprée, Calabria, the Tyrol and Wagram, where he broke
the Austrian army three times; they recalled and extolled his struggles
each day in Catalogne, against Wellington, who never conquered him
and whom he hoped to conquer. Then, too, his political life, as a
member of the Tribune, was none the less fine; his presence in all the
struggles in the Chamber; his voice always raised on behalf of the
honour and defence of France; his entreaties in favour of liberty when
it was threatened; his cries of alarm each time he saw the Revolution
compromise; ill and weak as he was up to the day he took to his bed,
he never kept silence or yielded when any question of national honour
arose.

When General Foy died, he at least left us Lamarque, as Miltiades
left Themistocles. When General Lamarque died, he left behind him
the heritage of a race of warriors which has given generals to the
battlefield and tribunes to the Chamber. In spite of all the right
he had to public recognition, the Government of Louis-Philippe, who
only regarded General Lamarque as an enemy, and rejoiced at the fall
of an enemy, only accorded to his obsequies the tribute of honour
strictly due to the political and military position of a general;
all the funeral arrangements were left to the pious care and to the
responsibility of his friends and family.

I was made a steward by the family and had the charge of seeing that
the artillery took its proper place behind the funeral car. This honour
was, in a way, a souvenir which the dead bequeathed to the living. In
common with General Foy and General La Fayette, General Lamarque had
been very friendly to me, due, indeed, more to memory of my father than
to my own personal valour. But still, when he knew, about the close
of 1830, that I had returned from la Vendée, where I had been sent
by General La Fayette, he begged me to go and see him. We talked for
long of the Vendée as he had known it in 1815, when he was going on a
mission from a fresh government; I told him all I thought about it,
namely, that, some day or other, it threatened to rise in revolt. Every
word of mine answered to some foresight of his own. I traced out my
journey for him with blackheaded pins and indicated the probable places
where there would be gatherings. He left for Nantes on the following
day. But they did not let him reach his destination; at Angers he was
stopped by an order recalling him.

We believe this measure was the result of those niggardly schemes
which the ministry of Casimir Périer labelled with the title of wide
political vision, and I believe I am not wrong in applying to him the
same explanation that I did not hesitate to apply to Louis-Philippe,
after the interview I had the honour to have with him upon our return
from Vendée.

The revolution of 1830 had been so sudden that, for a moment, we
Republicans thought it was complete; the report of its arms and its
cries of liberty had reverberated throughout Belgium, Italy and Poland;
three nations rose and cried, "France, come to our aid!" An appeal like
this France always listens to, and General La Fayette replied in the
name of France. The most lively and popular sympathy had, moreover,
burst forth in our towns and countrysides in favour of revolutions
carried out on our own lines; partial and distant eruptions of that
great volcano whose crater is in Paris, and which seems at times
extinct, like Etna, but, as deceptive as Etna, is always burning!
Shouts of "_Vivent l'Italie, la Belgique et la Pologne!_" filled our
streets and entered everywhere through the windows and doors of
royal and ministerial palaces. It was scarcely three months after
the Revolution; at that period all still glowed with the sun of the
Three Days, the grand voice of the people was still listened to, and
the Government only had to promise through General La Fayette, as we
have said above, for the nations of Belgium, Italy and Poland to be
kept from perishing. And we heard the cries of joy of these foreign
patriots in less than four months change to cries of distress. But what
other could we expect? Let them succour Italy by sending one of the
old generals, who would have shown them the way to make a new army,
and Poland by diverting the Czar's plans, by inciting--an easy task
for us--Turkey on one side and Persia on the other. Thus caught in a
triangle of fire, we should leave Russia to contend, and we should
divide between our two neighbour nations the most effective aid of our
presence and of our arms. The people, true and profound of instinct,
would thus feel, without being able to account for the means, the
three probable results, and they would receive with shouts of joy the
proclamation of the ministerial system of nonintervention, and the
royal promise that the Polish nationality should not perish.

Advanced as were the ministers of Louis-Philippe's kingdom, they must
either go to war or forswear it: by making war, they would get into
trouble with kings; by forswearing it, they would get into trouble with
the people. One way only remained: to prove to the country that it had
too much to do in respect of its own affairs to busy itself in meddling
with those of others; it was like giving to France an internal fever,
as we have already said; through being taken up with its own sufferings
it would have more sympathy for those of others. A small civil war
in la Vendée would help its outlook wonderfully. It was therefore
necessary to send far out of that country, upon which they wished to
experiment, all strong men who might compromise movements from their
beginnings, and all shrewd men who might guess the real cause of those
movements.

Now, Lamarque was both a strong man and a far-seeing one; so they did
not give him time to arrive on the scene of civil war. It was to these
circumstances I owed the honour of coming in contact with General
Lamarque and of not being forgotten by the family at the time of
rendering the last honours to the conqueror of Caprée. I went to tell
my friends Bastide and Godefroy Cavaignac of my appointment, and asked
them if they had arranged anything for the morrow. They had a meeting
at Étienne Arago's for the same evening, who, as I have previously
said, was lieutenant in the 12th Legion of Artillery, and who, in case
of a triumphant insurrection, was designed by a secret organisation to
be mayor of the first arrondissement; the son of the noted barrister
Bernard (of Rennes), was his associate. Arago lived in Bernard's house,
which was at the corner of the place and rue des Pyramides. Nothing
was settled at this meeting; no sort of plan was drawn up or scheme
fixed upon: each one was left to his own devices to act according to
circumstances. Nevertheless, the detachment of artillery commanded
for the funeral cortège appeared armed at the house of mourning and
provided themselves with cartridges.

On 5 June, the day fixed for the funeral, I went at eight in the
morning to the general's house, in the faubourg Saint-Honoré. In my
capacity as steward I had no rifle, nor, consequently, any cartridges.
There were already, by eight o'clock, over three thousand persons in
front of the house. I saw a group of young people who were preparing
a kind of ammunition-waggon with ropes. I went up to them and asked
them what they were busy with. "They were arranging the ropes," they
replied, "with which to draw the funeral car." At the same time, they
informed me that General Lamarque's body was lying in state in his
sleeping-room and that people were defiling past the bed of state.
I went and put myself in the queue and filed past in my turn. The
general in full uniform was laid on his bed, with his gloved-hand on
his bare sword; he had a fine head, and his dignity was increased
by the majesty of death. Those who passed by did so in silence and
veneration, stooping as they reached the foot of the bed and sprinkling
holy water on the corpse with a bough of laurel. I passed by as the
rest did and went back into the street again. I was extremely weak from
the effect of the cholera, I had lost all my appetite and scarcely ate
an ounce of bread a day. The day promised to be a fatiguing one: so I
went into my friend Hiraux's, whose café was, as we know, at the corner
of the rues Royale and Saint-Honoré, and I waited until the time for
departure, trying to take a cup of chocolate. At eleven, a rolling
of drums called me to my post. They had just brought down the coffin
under the great gate, shrouded with black. All the various elements
which go to the formation of a funeral procession rolled along the rue
and faubourg Saint Honoré--National Guards, workmen, artillerymen,
students, old soldiers, refugees of all countries, citizens from every
town; leaving, like a twin lake, their waves rolling across the place
de la Madeleine and the place Louis XV. At the roll of the drums,
all this crowd disentangled itself and every one rallied round his
own leader, flag and banner. Many only had laurel or oak branches
for banners and flags. All this passed before the eyes of the four
squadrons of carabiniers who occupied the place Louis XV. The 12th
Light Infantry waited at the other end of Paris on the very place de
la Bastille. The Municipal Guard, on its side, was placed at intervals
along the route which extended from the Préfecture de Police to the
Panthéon. A detachment of the same guard protected the Jardin des
Plantes. A squadron of dragoons covered the place de Grève with a
battalion of the 3rd Light. Finally, a detachment of soldiers of the
same troop stood ready to mount their horses at the Célestins barracks.
The remaining troops were confined in their respective barracks, and
orders were given that regiments from Rueil, Saint-Denis and Courbevoie
should be sent if needed.

There were then in Paris, on the morning of that terrible day, nearly
eighteen thousand men of the line and light infantry; four thousand
four hundred cavalry; two thousand of the garde municipale infantry
and cavalry. Nearly eighty thousand men in all. We had been told of
this increase of troops--for we had friends even in the War Office--an
increase due indisputably to the circumstances under which they found
themselves; they had added that the Government only waited an excuse
for showing its strength; this meant that, instead of fearing a riot,
they desired one. But there was so much ardour in the young political
head which constituted the Republican party, that directly the match
touched the flint, the spark flashed forth which was to fire the
powder-magazine, the very powder-magazine which was to blow us all up.
We were congregated on the place Louis XV. with all the heads of the
secret societies. Only one of these societies, the Société Gauloise,
was in favour of fighting. The previous day, the _Société des Amis du
peuple_ had met in the boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle and had decided, as
we had done on our part, that firing was not to be begun, but that it
should be answered if it were begun by the soldiers. As will be seen it
needed only a single shot to lead to a general slaughter.

In addition to this state of things, the heat was stifling, the
atmosphere charged with electricity, and huge black clouds rolled over
Paris, as though the sky were in mourning and wanted to take part
in the funeral ceremony, by the rolling of its thunder. It is quite
impossible to-day, at this distance of time, twenty-two years later,
to give any idea of the degree of excitement to which the crowd had
reached, when it received from its leaders the order to take the place
assigned to each corps, corporation, society and nation, in the funeral
procession. It was not a cortège; it was a federation round a funeral
bier. At half-past eleven, under a driving rain, the state-carriage
moved forward drawn by thirty young men. The corners of the pall were
held by General La Fayette--who had a working man by his side wearing
the July decoration, on whose arm the general leant from time to
time when the paving became too slippery--by MM. Laffitte, Isay and
Châtelain, of the _Courrier français_; by the Maréchal Clausel and
by General Pelet; and, lastly, by M. Mauguin and a student from the
École Polytechnique. Behind the bier walked M. de Laborde, questor
to the Chamber, preceded by two ushers, accompanied by MM. Cabet and
Laboissière, stewards of the cortège, and followed by a number of
deputies and generals. The principal deputies were--

MM. le maréchal Gérard, Tardieu, Chevandier, Vatout, de Corcelles,
Allier, Taillandier, de Las Cases fils, Nicod, Odilon Barrot, la
Fayette (Georges), de Béranger, Larabit, de Cormenin, de Bryas,
Degouve-Denuncques, Charles Comte, le général Subervie, le colonel
Lamy, le Comte Lariboissière, Charles Dupin, Viennet, Sapey,
Lherbette, Paturel, Bavoux, Baude, Marmier, Jouffroy, Duchaffaut,
Pourrat, Pèdre-Lacaze, Bérard, François Arago, de Girardin, Gauthier
d'Hauteserve, le général Tiburce Sébastiani, Garnier-Pagès, Leyraud,
Cordier, Vigier.

The principal generals were--

MM. Mathieu Dumas, Emmanuel Rey, Lawoestine, Hulot, Berkem, Saldanha,
Reminski, Seraski.

Of these three latter, the one was a Portuguese and the two others were
Poles. With them were the maréchals de Camp Rewbell, Schmitz, Mayot and
Sourd.

After the deputies and generals came the exiles of all countries, each
group carrying its own national banner. Two battalions formed the
escorting troop and marched in echelon on each side. Then--just as, in
the midst of its quays, the flowing river overflows its banks after a
storm--rolled by nearly six hundred artillerymen with loaded rifles
and cartridges in their cartridge-boxes and pockets; then ten thousand
of the National Guard without guns, but armed with sabres; then groups
of working men intermingled with members of secret societies; then
thirty, perhaps forty or fifty thousand citizens! All these moved past
in the rain. The cortège turned at the Madeleine along the boulevard,
crowded on both sides with women and men, forming a variegated carpet,
which the citizens at their doors or windows, men, women and children,
took part in as though on a tapestry pattern. Not one of the ordinary
sounds men make at great gatherings issued from that crowd. Only, from
time to time a signal was given and, with incredible cohesion, the
cry was uttered by a hundred thousand voices whilst flags, banners,
pennons, branches of laurel and of oak were waved--

    "_Honneur au général Lamarque!_..."

Then all lips were silent; and the branches of oak and laurel, pennons,
banners and flags expressed no more motion than as before a brief and
hot squall during a tempest. All was as silent and nearly as still as
death. But in the air there floated an invisible something, whispering
low: "Misfortune!" All eyes were fastened on us, the artillerymen. They
knew well that if anything burst forth it would be from among the ranks
of the men in that severe uniform who marched side by side, with gloomy
looks and clenched teeth, who, like impatient horses shaking their
plumes, shook the red streamers on their shakos. I could the better
judge of these arrangements, as, under instruction from the family, I
did not walk in the ranks, but by the side of the artillery. From time
to time, men of the people whom I did not know broke through the hedge,
and shook me by the left hand--I held my sabre in my right--and said to
me--

"The artillery need not be anxious, we are here!"

It took nearly three-quarters of an hour to get to the rue de la Paix.
There, a movement was, all at once, set on foot which no one at first
understood. It was not in the programme. The head of the cortège was
drawn in the midst of unintelligible shoutings in the direction of the
place Vendôme. I ran to make inquiries: thanks to my uniform and to a
certain popularity which it had already acquired, and especially to the
gold-fringed tri-coloured scarf which I wore on my left arm, everybody
made way for me. I therefore gained with more ease than I should have
expected the head of the column, which was already moving into the rue
de la Paix. And this is what had happened.

At the top of the rue de la Paix, a man dressed as an operative, but
who it was easy to recognise belonged to a higher class, had broken
away from the boulevards and was exchanging a few words with the young
people attached to the hearse. Soon, a cry went up--

"Yes, yes, the soldier of Napoleon, round the column!... To the column!
To the column!"

And, without consulting either generals or deputies or police, whether
in uniform or without, a unanimous impulse made the catafalque deviate
from the straight line and it was hurried into the rue de la Paix. This
was episode the first of that day's journey. I ran and resumed my place.

"What is the matter?" they asked me.

"The hearse is going to be taken round the column."

"Will the post present arms?" a voice asked.

"_Pardieu!_" said another voice, "if they do not present arms of their
own accord they shall be made to do so by force."

"Honour to General Lamarque!" shouted a hundred thousand voices.

Then, as before, all returned to silence: the head of the cortège
reached the place Vendôme. Suddenly, a great shudder went through the
crowd: that serpent with its thousand coils trembled at the least
shock from head to the tail. At the sight of the cortège coming out
on the place Vendôme, the picket of the staff officers remained shut
inside the guardhouse. The sentinel alone paced up and down before the
door. A shout sounded--

"Honour to General Lamarque! Honour to General Lamarque!"

At the same time, a fiery crowd rushed upon the staff officer's
guardhouse. The commandant did not even attempt to offer resistance;
after a moment of parleying, he ordered his soldiers out, took the
field and presented arms. This first episode prepared for the struggle
by showing that the most lukewarm spirits were ready for an outburst.
This successful issue was looked upon as a victory. It is, moreover,
probable that the head of the guardhouse had had no orders of any kind.

The procession round the column had no connection whatever with the
programme; the officer yielded, not from fear, but from the sympathy
which, no doubt, his soldierly heart felt towards the remains of the
great general and the famous member of the Tribune. He did wisely, for
a terrible collision would else have taken place; and as it was so
close to the Tuileries, who knows what would have happened? The cortège
regained the rue de la Paix, and resumed its sombre and silent march
along the boulevards. It reached the club in the rue de Choiseul, now
the _Cercle des Arts_; the balcony was filled with members of the club.
Only one had his hat on his head; he was Duke Fitz-James. I guessed
what would happen and I confess I trembled. I knew Duke Fitz-James very
well indeed, and he, on his side, returned my friendship heartily. I
knew that, if forced, he would rather be torn to pieces than take off
his hat. I was, therefore, most anxious that he should raise it of his
own accord. Just at that moment, whether by chance or by pre-concerted
provocation, the insistent phrase, "Honneur au général Lamarque!" was
echoed, followed by the cry, "Take off your hat! Off with your hats!"
At the same time, a hailstorm of stones broke the windows of the house.
The duke was obliged to withdraw. Three days later, I asked him for an
explanation of this show of bravado, as it was very much out of harmony
with his courteous manners.

"I cannot answer you as to this," said the duke; "the explanation of
the riddle will reach you from la Vendée."

Indeed, a letter from the noble duke was found among the papers of
Madame la duchesse de Berry, giving the explanation of the keeping on
of the hat: it was a signal to which no one responded, or, rather, to
which only those replied who could not understand it. This incident
stopped the procession for nearly ten minutes; the National Guards
appeared upon the terrace and asserted that what had been taken for
an insult from the ex-peer of France was only an aberration; and the
catafalque resumed its route through the crowd, as a heavy-laden
vessel, which has the wind against it, painfully cleaves through the
waves of the sea. From that moment all doubt ceased in my mind, and
I was convinced that the journey would not be done without resort
to firearms. The six hundred artillerymen with their pale faces and
frowning brows were also convinced of it. However, no other incident
occurred during the course from the Choiseul Club to the Saint-Martin
Gate. After passing the Gymnase, the rain had stopped falling; but
thunder rumbled incessantly, intermingling with the rolling of the
drums. The presence of the police placed at intervals along the sides
of the procession put the finishing touch to the irritation in people's
minds. Their aggressive air caused the feeling that they were there to
get up a quarrel; or, much more likely, instead of being inclined to
alienate quarrels, to stir them up with all their might. Opposite the
theatre, a woman observed to a man of the people who carried a flag,
that the Gaulois-cock was a bad emblem of democracy. The bearer of
the standard, in all probability sharing this opinion, reversed the
flag, broke the Gaulois-cock under foot and put in its place a branch
of willow, the tree of mourning and friend of the tomb. A policeman
saw this substitution and the conditions under which it was made; he
sprang forward and snatched the standard from the hands of the man who
carried it; the latter resisted, and the policeman drew his sword and
struck him in the throat. At the sight of blood, a cry of rage went
forth from every mouth; twenty swords, sabres and daggers came out of
their scabbards. The policeman recognising that I was a steward, sprang
to my side, crying, "Save me!" I pushed him in among the ranks of the
artillerymen; some were of a mind to protect him, others to tear him to
pieces; for five minutes he stood as pale as a corpse between life and
death. The more generous feeling carried the day, and he was saved. At
the same moment, all looks were attracted towards the same direction.
An insult was offered by another policeman to a veteran captain, who
drew his sword and attacked him. The policeman, on his side, drew his
sword from its sheath and defended himself furiously. When he attained
the pavement he buried himself out of sight in the density of the
crowd, where his flight could be noted by the imprecations which rose
as he passed through. The young man wounded by the first policeman had
been able to continue on his way, leaning on the arms of two friends.
Only, he had taken off his collar, and the blood from his gaping wound
flowed on to his shirt and down his coat. His July decoration (I
remember that it was a July ribbon) had become as red as the ribbon
of the Legion of Honour. From this moment the conviction went through
all minds that a bloody affray was approaching. Everything, in fact,
seemed to suggest the use of arms; the rolling of drums, the noise of
the tamtams, the fluttering of the flags of all countries, the constant
struggle between liberty and slavery, the cries of "Honneur au général
Lamarque!" becoming more and more frequent and every time assuming a
more distinctly threatening character, the earth beneath and the skies
above, and all that rent the air, combined to incite people's minds to
a pitch of excitement filled with danger.

"Where are they leading us?" a terrified voice cried from the midst of
a group of students.

"TO THE REPUBLIC!" replied a strong, sonorous voice, "_and we invite
you to suffer with us to-night in the Tuileries!"_

A kind of groan of joy greeted this invitation, which, in a different
sense, recalled that of Leonidas to those of Thermopylæ, and I saw
men who had no arms tear up the stakes which were used as props for
the young trees that had just been planted on the boulevard in place
of the old ones knocked down on 28 July 1830. Others broke the trees
themselves to make into clubs.

The 12th Light were, as I have said, drawn up in line on the place de
la Bastille. For an instant, it was thought the conflict would begin
there; but, all at once, an officer came out from the front line, and
advancing towards Étienne Arago, with whom he talked for a moment, he
said to him--

"I am a Republican, I have pistols in my pockets; you can rely upon us."

Several artillerymen, who, like myself, had heard these words,
shouted: "_Vive la ligne!_" The cry uttered by us was taken up with
enthusiasm: they knew we should not give such a cry without reason. The
line replied by a shout nearly as unanimous of: "_Honneur au général
Lamarque!_" These words, "The line is on our side," repeated from rank
to rank, ran through the whole length of the cortège like lightning. At
the same time, loud shouts were heard of "_L'École Polytechnique!...
vive l'École! vive la République!_" These were inspired by the sight of
some sixty students running with disordered raiment, bareheaded, some
with swords in their hands. They had been consigned to their quarters
and had broken out, overturning General Tholosé, who had tried to
oppose their coming out; they had come to throw their popular name
and their uniform, still blackened with the powder of July, into the
insurrection. The artillery received them with open arms; they knew
that, few though they were in number, they were a powerful support.
Their arrival produced so much effect that, at sight of therm the band
which preceded the hearse spontaneously played the _Marseillaise._ No
idea can be formed of the enthusiasm with which the crowd greeted that
electrifying air, forbidden for over a year. Fifty thousand voices
repeated in chorus, "_Citizens, to arms!_" To this chant, the cortège
crossed the place de la Bastille and traversed the boulevard Bourdon,
advancing between the Saint-Martin canal and the public granaries.
A platform was put up at the entrance to the bridge of Austerlitz;
from it the farewell orations were to be given. After these were
pronounced, the body of General Lamarque continued its route towards
the département des Landes, where it was to be interred, whilst the
procession returned to Paris.

It was after three o'clock in the afternoon; I had had nothing since
the previous night, except the cup of chocolate from my friend Hiraux:
I was literally dropping from exhaustion. The speeches bade fair to
be long, and, naturally, tedious; so I proposed to two or three of
the artillerymen to come and dine at the _Gros Marronniers,_ and they
accepted.

"Will anything happen?" I asked Bastide before I went off.

"I think not," he said, looking round him, "and yet, do not be
deceived, the 29 July is in the air."

"In any case, I shall not go far away," I said, and I went.

"Are you going away?" Étienne Arago said to me.

"I will return in a quarter of an hour."

"Make haste, if you wish to take part!"

"How can I, I have neither rifle nor cartridges?"

"You must do as I have done, put pistols in your pockets."

He showed me the butt-end of a pistol sticking out of his pocket.

"_Diable!_" I exclaimed, "if I thought anything would happen I would
dispense with dinner!"

"Oh! don't be anxious, if there is anything it will last long enough
for you to come back before dessert."

That was probable, so we went off without scruples. I was so weak that
I was obliged to lean on the arm of my two companions, and I very
nearly fainted before entering the restaurant. They made me drink iced
water and I revived. Everything was topsy-turvy, and we had great
difficulty in getting waited on. We were engrossed in a huge fish-pie,
the main dish always served in a dinner _à la Râpée,_ when we heard a
volley of firing, but so peculiar in sound that we never doubted but
that it was the discharge over the hearse in honour of the illustrious
dead.

"To the memory of General Lamarque!" I said, raising my glass.

My two companions pledged me. Then we heard four or five single shots.

"Oh! oh!" I exclaimed, "that is another tale altogether! Those shots
sound like sport."

I ran on to the quay, where I climbed up on a railing. Nothing could
be made out except that there was a great commotion about the pont
d'Austerlitz.

"Pay quick and come and see what that music is," I said to my two
companions.

We flung 10 francs on the table; but, as the firing increased, we did
not ask for our change, we started running towards the barrier. The
sound of firing had given me back my strength. When we reached the
barrier, we found it guarded by men in blouses who, on perceiving us,
shouted, "_Vivent les artilleurs!_" We ran up to them.

"What has been happening?" we asked.

"Only that they are firing on the people, and the artillery has
returned the fire; père Louis-Philippe is at his last gasp and the
Republic is proclaimed. _Vive la République!"_

We looked at one another. The triumph seemed to us too complete for the
short time it had taken to happen in. But this is what had actually
happened, and the stage things had reached. I said that, as we left,
they were about to begin the orations. Banners of every nation had been
taken up on to the platform--Polish, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese
waved their standards of every colour above the catafalque, and amongst
them was the flag of the German Union seen floating for the first time,
black and red and gold.

General La Fayette had begun by saying a few lofty, calm and serene
words, in keeping with the grand old man who uttered them; then came
Mauguin, less restrained; Clausel, more military; then the Portuguese
General Saldanha. Whilst the orators were speaking, the young men went
from group to group disseminating news, such as: "They are fighting at
the Hôtel de Ville!" or, "A general has just declared himself against
Louis-Philippe Others, "The troops have revolted!" or, "They are
marching upon the Tuileries!" No one believed such rumours seriously,
and yet they warmed and stirred people's spirits and hearts. After
our battery had passed through the boulevard, it took up its position
near the platform. There were gathered Étienne Arago, Guinard, Savary,
corresponding by means of signs with Bastide and Thomas, who were on
the boulevard Bourdon. In the middle of General Saldanha's speech,
attention seemed suddenly distracted; cries, commotion and rumours drew
all eyes towards the boulevards. A man clad in black, tall, thin and
as pale as a ghost, with dark moustaches, holding in his hand a red
flag edged with black fringe, and mounted upon a horse which he had
difficulty in steering through the crowd, waved his blood-coloured
flag, on which was written in black letters--

                         "LIBERTY OR DEATH!"

Where did the man come from? Neither at the trial or sentence was this
told. All that was known was that his name was Jean-Baptiste Peyron,
and that he came from the Basses-Alpes. He was condemned to ONE MONTH'S
imprisonment. We none of us knew him. Was he excited, as he said
himself, by a feeling of enthusiasm bordering on madness? Was he a
seditious agent? The mystery has never been elucidated. But, wherever
he came from and whatever the motive by which he was animated, his
appearance was greeted with unanimous disapproval. General Exelmans
shouted in a voice which dominated every other--

"Not the red flag! the flag of terror; we only want the tricolour,
which is that of glory and liberty."

Two men then sprang on General Exelmans, and tried to drag him towards
the canal. It was never known who they were. He shook them off and came
across to the Comte de Flahaut.

"What is to be done?" General Exelmans asked.

"Run to the Tuileries and warn the king of what is going on."

They both rushed off to the Tuileries. At that moment, two young men
unharnessed General La Fayette's carriage and led it towards the Hôtel
de Ville. Simultaneously, and as though the impulse had been associated
with the appearance of the man with the red flag, a column of dragoons
came out of the Célestins barracks. M. Gisquet had sent the order,
which ought to have been given by General Pajol, Commander of the First
Military Division. The appearance of the dragoons, which at first,
however, meant nothing hostile, as their pistols were in their holsters
and their rifles hung at their saddlebows, yet produced a certain
amount of commotion along the boulevard Bourdon. Étienne Arago saw the
effect and leant over towards Guinard's ear.

"I think it is time to begin," he said.

"Begin!" Guinard answered, laconically.

Arago did not wait to hear it twice; he rushed on to the platform. A
student had followed after General Saldanha; Arago took his place and
shouted--

"We have had enough of that kind of speech! Few words are needed and
they are _Vive la République!_ It was to that cry General Lamarque
began his military career, it is to that cry we should follow his
remains. _Vive la République!_ Follow me, those who agree with me!"

Not one word of the allocution was lost; scarcely was it seen that
a lieutenant of the artillery was going to speak before everybody
kept silence. Besides, the name of Arago, which was very popular,
had circulated in a whisper below the tremendous shout of "_Vive la
République!"_

At the last words of his speech, Arago took possession of one of the
flags from the platform, and, flag in hand, with Guinard and Savary by
his side, he rushed to our battery. But, in the commotion which had
followed the speech, the crowd had broken the ranks of the artillerymen
in such a way that the three leaders, followed only by about thirty
men, had disappeared from the sight of their other companions. At this
moment, some shots were heard in the boulevard Bourdon.

Let us follow the fortunes of Arago, Guinard and Savary; we will return
presently to the other portion of the struggle.



CHAPTER VI


The artillerymen--Carrel and _le National_--Barricades of the
boulevard Bourdon and in the rue de Ménilmontant--The carriage
of General La Fayette--A bad shot from my friends--Despair of
Harel--The pistols in _Richard_--The women are against us--I
distribute arms to the insurgents--Change of uniform--The meeting
at Laffitte's--Progress of the insurrection--M. Thiers--Barricade
Saint-Merry--Jeanne--Rossignol--Barricade of the passage du
Saumon--Morning of 6 June


The group of artillerymen who guided the three leaders we have
just mentioned went down at double quick pace, shouting, "_Vive la
République!_" along the right bank of the canal. Some fled before them,
others rallied round; there was a frightful tumult. At the place de
la Bastille they rejoined the 12th Light; after what the officer had
said they were sure of these. So the soldiers let the artillery go
by. The major saluted them and nodded his approval. At the boulevard
Saint-Antoine, a cuirassier, whose name I have forgotten, joined the
artillerymen. There was a cuirassier on 5 June as there was a fireman
on 15 May. When the cuirassier reached the guardhouse of the boulevard,
at the corner of the rue de Ménilmontant, he rushed into the guardroom,
sword in hand; the people followed him. In an instant, the guardhouse
was taken and the soldiers disarmed. They continued along the boulevard
to shouts of "_Vive la République!_" cries which were almost everywhere
received with cheers. At the top of the rue de Lancry, they met Carrel
on horseback. He came, like a general, to find out the state of things
for himself.

"Have you a regiment with you?" he asked.

"We have them all with us!" he was told.

"That is too much; I only want one," he said, laughing, as he resumed
at a gallop his way along the Bastille road. The artillerymen took the
rue Bourbon-Villeneuve. At sight of them, the guard at the Bank ran for
their rifles, but, to the great astonishment of the insurgents, they
presented arms. They could not, however, go through the whole of Paris
in this fashion; they were a few yards from the Vaudeville, where they
deposited the flag; they rapidly ate a few bites of food and made for
the _National,_ in the rue du Croissant. The Republicans flocked there,
and, in the midst of them, men who held intermediary opinions, like
Hippolyte Royer-Collard, for example. Meanwhile Carrel arrived, and his
opinion was awaited impatiently.

"I have not great faith in the barricade," he said; "we succeeded in
1830 by an accident. Those who are of different opinion from me may
move the paving-stones. I shall not persuade them to do it, nor shall
I disapprove; but, in saving _le National_ and in preventing them from
compromising it as a newspaper, I shall keep a bodyguard round until
to-morrow. Believe me, it takes more courage to say to my friends what
I am saying than to attempt with them that in which they are going to
engage."

As Carrel uttered these words, Thomas arrived from the boulevard
Bourdon.

"There is nothing for us to do here," said Thomas; "let us go away!"

At the same instant, the enthusiasts came out from the _National_
offices and went to consult together at Ambert's, in the rue
Godot-de-Mauroy.

We will now relate what had happened in the boulevard Bourdon, from
whence Thomas had come. As we said before, the dragoons had issued
from the Célestins barracks and, after advancing rapidly, had stopped
two hundred yards from the bridge. The multitude confronted them in
terror. At this moment, the carriage of General La Fayette came out
of the crowd drawn by young men. Those who marched before it shouted,
"Make room for La Fayette!" The dragoons opened their ranks to let
the general and the youths and the carriage pass. Scarcely had the
general gone by before several shots rang out. Who fired those shots?
Impossible to state, we did not ourselves know. It is the eternal
question which history puts over and over again, without truth ever
being able to formulate a reply; it was the enigma of 10 August, of 5
June and of 24 February. Instantly, the dragoons were beaten down with
stones; children slipped even underneath the horses' bodies and ripped
up the animals under the men. The conduct of the dragoons and of their
commandant, M. Dessolier, was admirable; they sustained everything
without either charging or firing. The attack was to come from another
side. A sub-officer was despatched at a gallop to tell the colonel, who
remained in the Célestins. The sub-officer reported, and the colonel
decided not only to extricate his men by making a diversion, but,
better still, to catch the insurgents between two fires. He came at
the head of a second detachment, which, with trumpeters at its head,
issued forth from the place de l'Arsénal. But scarcely had it proceeded
a hundred yards before a discharge of musketry burst forth and two
dragoons fell. Then the dragoons broke into a gallop, and, to avenge
themselves for the attempted fusillade, charged the crowd along the
boulevard Bourdon. A second discharge went off and Commandant Cholet
fell dead. Then resounded the cry, "To arms!" Bastide and Thomas were
at the opposite end of the boulevard Bourdon. They had not begun the
attack, but, on the contrary, were attacked. They resolved not to
recede by a single yard. A barricade was put up in a few minutes. It
was defended by three principal leaders, Bastide, Thomas and Séchan.
A dozen of the students of the École Polytechnique, a score of
artillerymen and as many more of the populace rallied round them.

As though his tall figure did not run double the danger of the other,
Thomas mounted on top of the barricade; Séchan took hold of him from
behind, put his arms round him and made him come down. They kept their
position unmoved. The firing came from the Arsenal, from the pavillon
de Sully, and from the public granaries all at the same time. The
colonel of dragoons had had his horse killed under him; the lieutenant
was mortally wounded. A bullet had just hit Captain Briqueville. The
order to retire was given to the dragoons who doubled back along the
rues de la Cerisaie and Petit-Musc. The barricade was cleared; it was
futile to continue the struggle on the outskirts of Paris; it was in
the heart of it that fires must be lit. Thomas, Bastide and Séchan
flew along the boulevard Contrescarpe and re-entered Paris, shouting:
"To arms!" Thomas ran to confer with the _National._ Bastide, Séchan,
Dussart, Pescheux d'Herbinville, erected a barricade across the
entrance to the rue de Ménilmontant, where Bastide and Thomas lived,
and had a shed full of wood for burning. Meanwhile, the students,
the pupils of the École and the populace had taken possession of the
hearse. Shouts of "To the Panthéon" were heard.

"Yes! yes! to the Panthéon," all voices repeated.

The hearse was drawn up before the Panthéon. The municipal cavalry
barred the way. It was attacked and offered resistance, but was driven
back towards the barrière d'Enfer. Two squadrons of carabiniers came
to its aid, and, thanks to this reinforcement, it kept the mastery of
the convoy. The insurgents dispersed down the faubourg Saint-Germain,
shouting: "To arms!"

Paris was on fire from the barrière d'Enfer to the rue de Ménilmontant.
Meanwhile, the young men who had taken out La Fayette's horses and were
drawing his carriage heard the firing and cries of "Aux armes!" and the
fusilade which increased on all sides. They were tired of remaining
inactive. The person sitting on the back seat leant forward towards the
person on the seat opposite.

"An idea!" he said.

"What is it?"

"Suppose we fling General La Fayette into the river and say that
Louis-Philippe has drowned him?..."

The youths began to laugh--fortunately, it was merely a joke. That
evening, at Laffitte's, the noble old man related the anecdote to me.

"Ah! ah!" he said, "after all it was not a bad idea, and I do not know
whether I should have had the courage to oppose it, supposing they had
tried to put it into execution."

To this state, then, had Paris reached when we appeared at the
barrière de Bercy, and when the populace, on guard, informed us
that Louis-Philippe was at his last gasp and that the Republic was
proclaimed. We went along the boulevard Contrescarpe in hot haste. At
the place de la Bastille we found the 12th Light, who let us pass. The
boulevards were nearly deserted. When we got to the rue de Ménilmontant
I saw a barricade; it was guarded by a single artillery-man. I went
up to him and recognised Séchan, rifle on shoulder--the same rifle of
which I have already spoken in connection with the famous night at the
Louvre. I stopped; I knew nothing positively, so I asked him for news
and begged him to explain why he was alone. The rest were famished with
hunger and were eating a hasty meal in Bastide's woodshed. They must
run at the first sound of firing. I learnt from Séchan what had passed
in the boulevard Bourdon and I went on my way. My two companions of
the route rushed down the rue de Bondy; I followed the boulevard. It
was intersected at the top of the street and the faubourg Saint-Martin
by a detachment of the line; the men were drawn up in three rows. I
was asking myself how I could go through that triple line alone, in
my hostile uniform, when I discovered among the ranks an old battery
comrade. True, I nearly fought a duel with him at the time over a
difference of opinion. He was dressed in a round jacket, a policeman's
helmet and a pair of the buttoned knickerbockers called charivaris.
He had a double-barrelled gun in his hand, and had joined the troops
as an amateur. Having recognised him, I thought I might feel easy and
continued to advance, making signs with my hand. He lowered his gun. I
thought he had recognised me, and was joking or wanted to frighten me,
so I still went forward. Suddenly, he disappeared in a cloud of fire
and smoke and a bullet whistled in my ears. I saw things were serious.
I was by the café de la Porte-Saint-Martin. I wanted to run into the
theatre passage, but it was closed. I thrust the door of the theatre
open with one kick. The fourth or fifth performance of _La Tour de
Nesle_ was put up on the bills. I ran to the property stores. I came
across Harel on the stage. He tore his hair at seeing his successful
run interrupted. As he perceived that I was turning away from him, he
said, "Where are you going?"

"To the property stores."

"What do you want there?"

"Have you such a thing as a rifle?"

"_Pardieu!_ I have a hundred. You know very well we have just been
playing ... that is to say, unfortunately not I, but Crosmer ...
_Napoléon à Schönbrünn."_

"All right, I want a rifle."

"What for?"

"To return one of my friends a bullet he has just sent at me. Only, I
hope to be more adroit than he was."

"Oh! my friend!" exclaimed Harel, "you are going to get the theatre
burnt down!" And he placed himself in front of the door leading to the
property stores.

"Pardon, my friend," I said to him, "I will give up the rifles as they
are yours; but give me the pistols that I presented for the second
representation of _Richard_: not only are they valuable ones but,
also, they were a present."

"Hide the pistols!" cried Harel to the man who had charge of the
properties.

They hid them so well that I never saw them again. Furious, I went up
to the second storey. Through the small windows of the theatre, forming
a long square, I could see all that was happening on the boulevard.
The soldiers were still at their post, and my friend--the man with the
double-barrelled gun, policeman's helmet and charivari--was with them
yet. I was mad that I had not even the smallest pea-shooter. Whilst I
was looking through this aperture, so narrow that it permitted me to
see without being seen, an act of great signification was taking place
opposite the theatre. A dragoon rushed up at full speed, bringing an
order. A child was hidden behind a tree on the boulevard with a stone
in his hand. Just as the dragoon passed by, the child hurled the stone
and it struck the soldier's helmet. The dragoon hesitated, but did
not stop to pursue the child, and went his way at full gallop. But a
woman--the child's mother, probably--came out stealthily behind him,
seized him by the collar and gave him a good hiding. I lowered my head.

"The women are not with us this time," I said; "we are lost!"

At that moment, I heard Harel calling me in a pitiful voice. I went
down. By the door which I had burst open in order to get into the
theatre, a score of men had entered and were demanding arms. They, too,
had bethought themselves of _Napoleon à Schönbrünn._ Harel already saw
his theatre being pillaged from top to bottom, and called me to help
him, relying on my name, already popular, and upon my uniform as an
artillery-man. I went and faced the crowd, which stopped when it caught
sight of me.

"Friends," I said to them, "you are honest men."

One of them recognised me.

"Stop," he said, "it is M. Dumas, the commissioner of the artillerymen."

"Precisely; so you see we can understand one another." "Why, yes! since
you are on our side."

"Then listen to me, I beg."

"We will."

"You do not want to ruin a man who is of your own opinions, an exile of
1815, a prefect of the Empire?"

"We? we only want arms."

"Very well, then, M. Harel, the manager, was prefect during the Hundred
Days and was exiled by the Bourbons in 1815."

"Then _Vive M. Harel!..._ Let him give us his rifles and put himself at
our head."

"A manager of a theatre is not master of his opinions; he is dependent
on the Government."

"If he will let us take his rifles we will not ask anything further
from him."

"Be patient and we shall have them! But I will give them to you."

"Bravo!"

"How many of you are there?"

"About a score."

"Harel, have twenty rifles brought out, my friend." Then, turning
towards the good fellows, I said--

"You must understand clearly that it is I, M. Alexandre Dumas, who lend
you these guns; those who get killed I will not bother, but those who
survive shall bring back their arms. Is that agreed to?"

"On our word of honour!"

"Here are twenty rifles."

"Thanks!"

"That is not all; you must write upon the doors: _No arms left!_"

"Who has got any chalk?"

"I will call the head carpenter. Darnault, a piece of chalk!"

"Here it is."

"Go and write!" I said to my men.

And one of them, rifle in hand, in sight of the detachment of the Line,
went and wrote on the three doors of the theatre, "_No arms left,_" and
signed it.

Then the twenty men shook hands with me, and went away, shouting,
"_Vive la République!_" and flourishing their rifles.

"Now," I said to Darnault, "barricade the door."

"Upon my word," said Harel, "the theatre is your own from this moment,
my dear friend, and you can do what you please in it. You have saved
it!"

"Let us go and see Georges, and tell her she and the theatre are saved."

We went upstairs; Georges was nearly dead with fright. On seeing me
enter, dressed as an artillery-man, she cried aloud, "Are you going out
in that costume?"

"Of course!"

"But you will be killed before you reach the faubourg Poissonnière."

"Well, that is quite possible ... and if my friend G. de B. had not
taken such bad aim it would already have happened."

"Harel, lend him some clothes."

"Ah! yes, why not, Tom?"

"Well, at any rate, send for some of your own; I will not let you go
out in that wretched uniform."

"Well, we will see!"

Harel called Darnault.

"Darnault, have you any of your men here?"

"Yes, I think so," said Darnault; "there is Guérin."

"Send him to fetch some clothes from Dumas's."

"Give me a note," said Darnault to me.

"Lend me your pencil."

I wrote a few pencil lines on a scrap of paper, and he ran off. A
quarter of an hour later, Guérin returned safely. For that matter, the
road was perfectly cleared. I rapidly dressed myself in my ordinary
clothes, and put my uniform under the care of Darnault--not wishing
to entrust it to Georges, who would certainly have had it burnt--and
I reached M. Laffitte's house by the faubourg Saint-Martin, the
passage de l'Industrie, the rue d'Enghien and the rue Bergère. I did
not get there till seven in the evening. La Fayette came to it by the
boulevard. It was here he related to me the anecdote about the river.
We went into Laffitte's house together, which I had not entered since
the month of July 1830. The news that from all sides of Paris had
reached this centre, of opposition, almost of insurrection, was as
follows:--

On the right bank, they were masters of the Arsenal, of la Galiote
guardhouse, of that of the Château-d'Eau and of the Mairie of the
8th Arrondissement; the Republicans had control of the Marais, the
firearms factory at Popin court had been carried by assault, and twelve
hundred rifles were given up to them; they had got to the place des
Victories, and were preparing to attack the Bank and the Hôtel des
Postes. But the rue Saint-Martin and its neighbouring streets was where
the insurrection was concentrated, and the whole of that quarter was
busy transforming itself into an impregnable fortress. The troop, still
very disturbed by the events of 1830, did not know with whom it ought
to side; should it stand by the Government, or should it turn to the
People?--1830 pointed to the latter course.

With regard to the National Guard, the appearance of the man with the
red flag had flung it into a state of consternation. It saw nothing in
the insurrection of 5 June and the shouts of "_Vive la République!_"
but a return to the Terror; it rallied rather for defence than for
attack, and it was said that a whole battalion, massed on the pont
Notre-Dame, had opened way to let eight insurgents pass through. So the
Government, aware that the troops would do nothing except in concert
with the Garde Nationale, had concentrated the control of all the
military forces in the Capital in the hands of Maréchal Lobau. It was
at this moment, when all this news was being bandied about, that we
entered M. Laffitte's salon. The sight of General La Fayette produced
an outcry, and people rose and went up to him.

"Well, general," they all called from all quarters, "what have you been
doing?"

"Messieurs," he said, "brave young fellows came to my house and
appealed to my patriotism."

"What did you say to them?"

"I replied, 'The more riddled with holes the flag is, the more glorious
it is! Find a spot for me where a chair can be put and I will sit in it
and get myself killed there.'"

The deputies gathered at Laffitte's looked at one another.

"Now, messieurs," said Laffitte to them, with that sweet smile which
never left him, even in times of greatest danger, "what do you say to
that?"

"What did Maréchal Clausel say?" asked a voice.

"I can tell you," replied Savary, who had just entered, and had heard
the question; "I have just come from him."

"Ah!"

"I urged him to join us, and he replied, 'I will join you if you are
sure of a regiment.' 'Eh, monsieur!' I said to him, 'if we had a
regiment we should have no need of you!' Whereupon I left him."

"Messieurs," said Laffitte, "if we are going to throw ourselves into
the insurrection, there is no time to lose; we must instantly proclaim
the deposition of the king, and appoint a provisional government, so
that Paris may wake up to-morrow to find a proclamation on all the
walls."

"Will you sign it, general?" continued Laffitte, addressing himself to
La Fayette.

"Yes," La Fayette replied simply.

"I will too," said Laffitte; "we must have a third." The general and
the banker looked round; nobody offered.

"Ah! if only Arago were here!" said Laffitte.

"You know that you can count upon him," I hazarded; "he will not deny
you: I have just left his brother, who is in the very thick of the
insurrection."

"We can risk our own heads," said Laffitte, "but not those of our
friends."

"Was it not done in 1830 for the Comte de Choiseul?"

"Yes; but the situation is more serious than in 1830."

"It is the same," I ventured to say.

"Excuse me! in 1830 we had the Duc d'Orléans with us."

"Behind us!"

"Still, he was there, and the proof of it is that to-day he is king."

"If he is the king, General La Fayette will recollect that it was no
fault of ours."

Yes, wisdom lay in the young heads! I saw nothing was going to be done
in this direction, and that the night would be spent in discussion. I
went out: this was the easier to manage as I was a personage of but
little importance, and probably no one noticed my absence. It was my
intention to go either to the _National,_ or to Ambert; but, when I
regained the boulevard, I learnt that they were fighting in the rue du
Croissant. I had no arms. Furthermore, I could scarcely stand, for I
was consumed with fever. I took a cab and drove home. I fainted as I
was going upstairs, and they found me unconscious half-way up between
the first and second landing. Whilst I was being discovered on my
staircase, and being undressed and put to bed, the insurrection pursued
its course.

Let us follow it behind the scenes at the barricade of the rue
Saint-Merry. We had left Séchan guarding the barricade in the rue de
Ménilmontant by himself. As soon as his comrades had done their meal,
they rejoined him. At nine o'clock in the evening they had not yet been
disturbed. The more advanced positions of the troops did not exceed the
rue de Cléry. There was a great perturbation at the headquarters, where
a certain number of generals and ministers had collected. Maréchal
Soult, by virtue of his age and experience, found himself the natural
president of this gathering. But he was perhaps the most undecided
amongst them all. He remembered 29 July 1830 and the anathemas attached
to the name of the Duc de Raguse. One general proposed to give the
troops the order to withdraw, to draw them up on the Champ de Mars and,
from thence, to re-enter Paris sword in hand. This strange strategical
idea might have been adopted, but the prefect of police, M. Gisquet,
opposed it with all his might. The collision, it will be remembered,
had started upon an order of his given to the dragoons, and, during
the three days the struggle lasted, he was more earnest in the fight
and bolder in making extreme proposals than the boldest of the
generals. The discussion went on until they were obliged to act; the
danger assumed formidable proportions: the insurgents had successively
carried the positions at the Bastille, la Lingerier, Blancs-Manteaux
and the marché Saint-Martin, and repulsed the Municipal Guard with
great losses. At eight at night the news arrived at headquarters
that a barricade had just been constructed by the little bridge of
l'Hôtel-Dieu; that the Municipal Guard, forced to beat a retreat, had
surrendered the quai aux Fleurs to them; that they had completely
surrounded the préfecture of police. Next, they issued orders to
recall the troops into the town; a battalion of the 12th Light left
Saint-Denis at the same time as the 14th came up from Courbevoie. The
battery of the École militaire had been summoned to the Carrousel. A
battalion of the 3rd Light and a detachment of the 6th Legion cleared
the boulevard de la Madeleine; at the Saint-Martin gate, two squadrons
of carabiniers were stationed opposite the theatre, and General Schramm
had taken up his position with four companies at the top of the Ambigu.
At six o'clock P.M. only, and after repeated charges, the dragoons
succeeded in making themselves masters of the place des Victoires, and
it was in the presence of M. de Lemet, and passing through a double
hedge of the National Guard, that the runners set off. About a quarter
past nine P.M., Étienne Arago commanded, in the uniform of an artillery
lieutenant, a night patrol of a score of men, completely armed, amongst
whom were Bernard (de Rennes) fils, Thomas and Ambert; it joined forces
with Bastide, Dussart, Pescheux d'Herbinville and Séchan. The barricade
behind which I had seen Séchan alone with his rifle then numbered
nearly forty defenders. They spent the night making fortifications.
M. Thiers had arrived about the same hour at the headquarters. He had
seen the fire near by; by chance, he dined that day at the _Rocher de
Cancale_ with Mignet and Haubersaert; they had been surrounded for a
moment by the insurgents, who were concentrated in the environs of the
Cloître Saint-Merry, and had not the faintest idea that three of the
hottest partisans for Louis-Philippe were near to them. M. Thiers had
recounted so many battles in his _Histoire de la Révolution_ that he
was something of a general himself. Arrived at the place du Carrousel,
he made his staff out of MM. Béranger, Kératry, Madier de Montjau and
Voisin de Gartempe, who were there, and distributed cartridges whilst
telling the deputies who were so inclined to come and join him where he
was. Only nine answered to the invitation.[1] They knew the king was to
come, and waited for him with great impatience. They would know what
he would do by the expression of his face. The king arrived, calm, and
even smiling. As we have said, with reference to the manner in which
he possessed himself of the throne, he was by no means audacious but
he had great courage.

It was only then that the defence was organised. The insurrection
was really situated at the heart of Paris. The rue Saint-Martin
was occupied by two barricades, one to the north at the top of the
rue Maubuée, the other to the south, powerfully fortified, almost
impregnable, at the top of the rue Saint-Merry. In the space between
these two barricades, a house had been selected by the insurgents for
use both as fortress and general quarters and ambulance. It was Number
30. The position had been chosen by almost as clever a strategist as M.
Thiers. It looked on the rue Aubry-le-Boucher, consequently if people
came along by that street they fell under a fourfold fire; if they
attacked in the rear, they had to deal with the men on the barricades.
A man named Jeanne, wearing the July decoration, who had earned a
twofold celebrity by his courage in the conflict and his steadfastness
before the judges, commanded this dangerous post. Two or three old
soldiers were making bullets with lead torn from the gutters; children
went and tore down the advertisements from the walls and brought them
to make wads. We will presently publish the narrative of one of the
children in its simplicity.

Suddenly, some one came to tell the Republicans, half of whom were
without arms, that in the courtyard of that very house, No. 30, an
armourer's shop was to be found. This was marvellous news indeed. The
shop was open, and, without disorder or confusion, all the rifles it
contained were distributed, and all the powder was portioned out in
equal measures. The distribution was just completed when several shots
were heard and the cry "To arms!"

This is what had happened:--

A column of the National Guard, which was reconnoitring in the rue
Saint-Martin, had come to give help to the barricade.

"_Qui vive_?" cried the sentinel.

"Friends!" the commander of the column hastened to reply.

"Are you Republicans?"

"Yes, and we have come to help you."

"_Vive la République!_" the defenders of the barricade shouted in
chorus.

A friend of mine, called Rossignol, could not resist the pleasure of
being the first to shake hands with his co-religionists; he leapt over
the barricade, and went towards the National Guards shouting, "You are
welcome!" But at the same instant a cry went forth from the ranks of
the National Guard--

"Ah! brigands! We have got you at last."

"Fire, friends!" cried Rossignol, "they are Philippists." And a
discharge was fired from inside the barricade, killing five men of the
National Guard.

It was the counterpart of: "A moi d'Auvergne! c'est l'ennemi." Only,
more luckily than the Chevalier d'Assas, Rossignol re-entered the
barricade safe and sound through a hailstorm of bullets.[2]

After a terrible struggle, and after returning to the charge three
times, the National Guard was repulsed, and old men who had left off
making their bullet casts, children who had stopped making wads to take
up arms, laid their guns down and resumed their task. A lad of twelve
had been wounded in the head by the first discharge; Jeanne could not
make him leave the barricade, either in his capacity as leader or as a
friend.

The National Guard went away and left their dead and wounded; but, as
soon as the field of battle was cleared, Jeanne and his men cleared
the barricade and picked up the wounded, whom they carried to their
ambulances. A medical student who was one of the insurgents dressed
their wounds, aided by two women. About a hundred yards from the
barricade of the rue Saint-Merry, one was erected in the passage
du Saumon, which had its sentinels spread out all along the rue
Montmartre. At eight at night, Maréchal Lobau gave orders to take it,
no matter at what cost; he meant by daybreak the next day to clear
the rue Montmartre. They fought all night long. Those who guarded
the barricade made this oath over the bodies of the comrades who had
fallen--

"We will either go out conquerors or be carried away dead!"

The ground floor or _entresol_ of a café which no longer exists was
used as an ambulance, whilst, from the windows of the first and second
storeys, from time to time, there rained into an extended sheet
cartridges thrown by unknown hands. There were only twenty defenders
of the barricade. When, after a fight lasting nine hours, the soldiers
at last cleared the barricade, they found eight dead men lying on
the pavement, seven wounded and disabled lying on beds on the ground
floor of the café, and a pupil of the École Polytechnique dying on the
billiard-table. The four other insurgents had succeeded in escaping.

On the morning of the 6th, the insurrection had receded and
concentrated itself in two quarters: on the place de la Bastille
and at the entrance to the faubourg Saint-Antoine and in the rues
Saint-Martin, Saint-Merry, Aubry-le-Boucher, Planche-Mibray and Arcis.
The Government united its whole efforts to carry these last positions.
From the next day the place de la Concorde was crowded with Artillery;
two battalions hurried from Saint-Cloud, and three regiments of cavalry
entered Paris from Versailles, drawing their guns with them. As to the
barricade in the rue de Ménilmontant, it held out until daybreak; but,
as it was too exposed on all sides, it could not hold out longer; those
who guarded it took refuge with Bastide and Thomas, and escaped by a
little window that looked out on a small street.

At four o'clock in the morning it was rumoured that everything had
quietened down. After a feverish night I got up to find out the news;
but, not being able to walk, I took a carriage. I drove to the rue des
Pyramides. I hoped to see Arago there and learn the news from him.
But neither he nor Bernard, fils (of Rennes) had returned; M. Bernard
(of Rennes) and his charming daughters (whom I have not seen again, I
believe, since that day) were very anxious; but whilst I was there a
vigorous ringing of the bell announced with certainty some news either
good or bad. They ran to the door and uttered a cry of joy. The father
had his son back again, and the sisters beheld their brother again.
I left the excellent family fondling their prodigal child, and went
upstairs to Arago's rooms. He had taken off his artillery uniform.

"What barricade have you been behind all night?" he asked me, when he
saw I was as pale as death.

"In my bed, unluckily.... And you?"

He related the story of the barricade in the rue de Ménilmontant.

"Is that all you know?" I asked.

"What more do you think I know? I left my rifle,... but come to the
_National_ with me, where we shall find news."

We went down, and, on the stairs, we met Charles Teste, who was going
to Bernard (de Rennes).

"Ah! there you are, deserter," he said to Arago.

"How a deserter?" exclaimed the latter. "I have just come from
fighting."

"It is just that that I mean; but there are various ways of deserting:
you were the _maire,_ and your place was not behind a barricade, but
at your own offices; when one is the head, one must not make oneself a
branch.

... _Parbleu!_ I too would have liked to take up my gun, it would not
have been a very wicked thing to do, but I said to myself, 'Stay,
Charles! You are the head, and you must not take the part of an arm
too!'"

To those who knew Charles Teste, these words summed up the man himself
in the one word--duty. We reached the _National_; it was very difficult
to get into the offices, as they were very crowded. There we learned of
the dispersion of the barricade au Saumon, but, at the same time, we
also learned that the one in the rue Saint-Merry still held its ground.
Latouche entered at this moment in great perturbation.

"It is all over!" he said.

"What, quite over?"

"Yes, quite."

"Have you come from it?"

"No, but I have just met some one who has."

"Good!" said Arago, "there is hope left yet.... Who will come with me?"

I yearned to go, but I could scarcely walk; a capital young fellow, a
friend of ours, Howelt, wearing the July decoration, whom I still come
across from time to time, came forward.

"Go to Laffitte's," Arago said to me, "and tell François, if he is
there, that I have gone to find out the news."

I went to Laffitte's. The whole gathering was in a frightful state of
confusion. They proposed to send a deputation to Louis-Philippe to
protest against the revolt of the previous day. But let it be said
that the proposition was rejected with horror and scorn. I recollect a
saying of Bryas, which was superb in its indignation. His son, a pupil
at the École Polytechnique, was among the insurgents. La Fayette also
refused to take a step towards the king.

"Why this aversion," cried a voice; "_is not the Duc d'Orléans the best
of Republicans?_"

"Ah! as the opportunity presents itself of denying the proposal
erroneously attributed to me," exclaimed the noble old man, "I deny it."

Finally, they appointed three representatives, not to make apologies in
the name of the insurrection, but to implore the clemency of the king
in favour of those who were still held. These three representatives
were François Arago, Maréchal Clausel and Laffitte. Clausel declined,
and Odilon Barrot was substituted. We other young men had not been
able to get into the Committee Room, but I had met Savary in the
courtyard--Savary, a member of the Institut, the great geometrician
and physicist and astronomer and scientist of means, of whom death has
since deprived his country before he had lived half an ordinary life!

We were very harmonious in opinions and, as our republic was not one
shared by everybody, we at once seized upon one another to thresh out
our ideas of a Utopia. So we had met and thus were occupied whilst
waiting there together. Arago came out first, and we ran to him. Louis
Blanc, who, in his capital _Histoire de Dix Ans,_ has not let a single
detail of that great period escape unnoticed, mentions our interview in
these terms:--

"As M. Arago came out, he met Savary and Alexandre Dumas in the
courtyard, a savant and a poet, both very excited; they had no
sooner learnt what had passed at M. Laffitte's, than they broke into
passionate and bitter speech, saying that Paris had only waited for one
signal to rise in revolt, and that the deputies who were so ready to
disclaim the efforts of the people were grossly culpable towards their
country.

"'But is not everything at an end now?' asked François Arago.

"'No,' said a man of the people who was present, listening to our
conversation, 'they are waiting for the tocsin from the Church of
Saint-Merry, _for so long as a sick man's death rattle can be heard he
is alive._'

"I was struck with the expression and, as will be seen, I did not
forget it."


[Footnote 1: Louis Blanc, _Histoire de Dix Ans._]

[Footnote 2: Noël Parfait, _Episodes des_ 5 _and 6 June_ 1832.]



CHAPTER VII


Inside the barricade Saint-Merry, according to a Parisian child's
account--General Tiburce Sébastiani--Louis-Philippe during the
insurrection--M. Guizot--MM. François Arago, Laffitte and Odilon
Barrot at the Tuileries--The last argument of kings--Étienne Arago and
Howelt--Denunciation against me--M. Binet's report


Whilst MM. Laffitte, François Arago and Odilon Barrot were on their way
to see the king, let us see what was going on behind the Saint-Merry
barricade.

One of those strokes of good luck which at times happens to us enables
us to take the reader behind the scenes. A child of fourteen who was
there, and who has since become a very distinguished man, sent me the
following details three years after the cessation of the insurrection,
written in his own hand, which I will reproduce in all its native
simplicity. After a lapse of nineteen years I have discovered the paper
creased and the ink turned yellow, but the story exact and faithful.


"THE BARRICADE SAINT-MERRY

"On the morning of 5 June 1832 my father sent me on an errand along
the boulevard du Temple. It was the day of the funeral of the famous
General Lamarque and there were large crowds in the place de la
Bastille and along the boulevards. Like the true child of Paris that
I am, eager to know everything, I stopped at each crowd: they were
talking hotly about politics; several persons were so exasperated that
they broke the little trees newly planted in place of those which had
been sawed down in 1830, to make the barricades. We are well aware,
they said, that they will not be of much use against rifles and
cannons, but they are first-rate against spies and policemen. There was
nothing for it but for me to play truant. Instead, then, of returning
home promptly, urged on by my insatiable curiosity I soon reached
the Porte Saint-Martin; then I caught sight of General Lamarque's
procession in the distance. The hearse came on slowly and stopped from
time to time. I was surprised to see so few troops at a general's
funeral-cortège; there were at the most only enough soldiers to keep
some order during the march. At my age one judges the magnificence of a
funeral procession by the number of troops which accompany it, and as a
few weeks before I had seen at Casimir Périer's splendid cortège long
and wide columns of soldiers marching on both sides of the carriage, I
was at first astonished that they did not pay the same military honours
to a general as to a banker.

"There were no soldiers; but an immense crowd flooded the boulevards,
pushing and squeezing to get near the hearse. People were attached
to it and drew the catafalque, shouting from time to time: 'Honour
to General Lamarque!' That cry went all through me each time I heard
it. They were quarrelling to get hands on the ropes: every one wanted
the honour of drawing the precious burden; it was then, for the first
time, that I heard men call each other by the name of _citizens._ Every
face was stamped with an indefinable electrical enthusiasm, which was
communicated through the whole of the crowd; a strong emotional feeling
which was neither of grief nor of reflection lit up every face. I was
only fourteen then, and I felt the enthusiasm to the bottom of my
heart, and an emotion which no language could possibly express.

"'Bah!' I said, 'my father will scold me, but never mind that! I must
pull that rope; some day, if I have any children, I will tell them, "I
too helped to draw General Lamarque's hearse!" Just as my grandfather
is always telling us, "I too belonged to the federation!"'

"Hardly had I hold of the rope--and that was not in a hurry, I can
tell you,--when they stood in file! and I realised that the number of
soldiers more or less had nothing to do with the matter, but that it
was worth more to be a general of one's country than a minister of
Louis-Philippe. At the end of a hundred yards I had to give up my
place to others: they would have killed me, I believe, to take the rope
from me, so I let go and planted myself in front of one of the hedges
which the people formed all along the boulevard; but I was violently
pushed by the surging of the crowd against a dragoon's horse, and I
had one of my big toes nearly broken. It was horribly painful, but,
upon my word, it seemed as though enthusiasm could give me courage to
bear the pain, if not actually make me forget it, for, hopping along, I
followed the cortège as far as the place d'Austerlitz. The vast crowds
which were gathering there became more and more menacing. A man with a
long beard was haranguing the citizens; he held a red flag, and wore a
Phrygian cap. They were discussing preparations for a fight. I listened
to it all without understanding much of what it meant. Suddenly, a
squadron of cavalry rushed full tilt at the people in a terrible
charge: several shots were fired at the same time. Although wounded in
the foot, as I have said, I did not stay to be the last on the square.
As I was running away, I recognised a friend of mine called Auguste.

"'Where are you going?' I asked him.

"'With the Republicans, of course!' he replied.

"'What to do?'

"'To attack all the guardhouses at the barriers. Are you coming?'

"'Rather! Yes.' And I went. A few of the guardhouses made resistance,
but nearly all surrendered without firing. I had no arms, to my
disgust. Fortunately, during the attack on one of the positions, a
young man, well dressed and with refined manners, fired a pistol; it
was overloaded: the butt end went one way and the muzzle another, and
the young man fell backwards. I leapt upon the muzzle, picked it up and
put it in my pocket, intending to cock it on the sly.

"'Good! the Republicans have artillery,' said Auguste.

"Meanwhile the young man of the pistol picked himself up; he was hurt
in the hand, and blood was flowing copiously.

"'Where is there a piece of rag?' he said; 'who has a bit of linen?'

"A boy in a blouse tore his shirt and gave strips of it to the injured
man, who kissed him.

"'How funny it is!' I said to Auguste. 'I have never cried at a play
and yet I am crying now.'

"In less than three hours, all the guardhouses were taken and disarmed
on the place de la Bastille. At that moment, I thought seriously of
going back to my father, but two artillerymen of the National Guard
asked me if I would do them a kindness. I agreed, of course. They told
me to go to the top of the faubourg Saint-Jacques to tell their mother,
Madame Aumain, that her sons were all right; that they would probably
return home a little later, but that, meantime, she must not be uneasy.
I went with Auguste, looking upon it as a sacred duty to give a mother
news of her children, and forgetting that my own mother might be just
as uneasy as the mother to whom I was going. I should also add that,
fearing my father's anger, I delayed as long as I could the moment for
returning. We found Madame Aumain at the address given. The lady asked
us eagerly how long it was since we had left her sons, and where we
had left them; then she put a host of questions to us about the events
of the day. She seemed to take the greatest interest in the success of
the Republicans. A rather tall girl of exquisite beauty, probably the
sister of the two artillerymen, was there, listening and questioning.
Delighted with the importance bestowed on us by our errand, Auguste
and I bragged like true children of Paris. When the ladies had learned
all they wished to know--and they took over an hour in doing so--they
urged us to return to our respective parents promptly. In spite of our
fears of being severely scolded on our return, we decided to follow
their advice, and left Madame Aumain, resolved not to stay on our way.
Unfortunately, the traffic was stopped. When we reached the bridges, no
use! it was impossible to go over. Then we retreated under a doorway
with other individuals, similarly stopped short. But the concierge
turned us out at eleven o'clock. Not being able to cross the river, and
afraid of being taken up by the patrols, we returned to Madame Aumain,
who received us as a mother would her own children, and we improvised
a bed in the dining-room. Next day, at four in the morning, Madame
Aumain woke us, and told us to go quickly home, so as not to leave our
mothers in anxiety any longer. It was easy to say, "Go home!" but to
return from the faubourg Saint-Jacques to the faubourg Saint-Antoine,
you must pass the Hôtel de Ville. More than two thousand men were
stationed on the place de Grève; there was no way of passing through,
and we stopped for two or three hours to watch the soldiers going and
coming. Every moment big detachments were arriving, and succeeding one
another all along the quays. About seven, an officer ran up scared,
and shouted 'To arms!'[2] Then, all inquisitive people rushed towards
the rue des Arcis. We ran in common with everyone else to see what
was going on in that district. A strong barricade was supported on
one side against the corner of the rue Aubry-le-Boucher, and, on the
other, against No. 30 rue Saint-Martin. They could see well enough that
Auguste and I were not enemies, so the Republicans allowed us to pass
the barricade. At some distance from the first, there was a second at
the top of the rue Maubuée. In the intervening space were sixty armed
men. Old men and children were making cartridges. Women were dealing
out lint. Over each barricade a red flag floated. One citizen held it
up in his left hand, whilst brandishing a sword in his right. One of
two men shouted out to the soldiers--

"'Come on, you sluggards! We are waiting for you.'

"A detachment of soldiers appeared in the rue des Arcis at that
moment. A young girl, whose lover was among the insurgents, and who
stood watching from a window, saw them before anybody else did, and
cried, 'To arms,' At the cry of 'To arms!' uttered by the girl, the
Republicans took their places, and prepared to repulse the soldiers.
The standard-bearers remained motionless on their barricades, ready
to sustain the fire. It did not keep them waiting long, and a
standard-bearer fell dead. The place was not long vacant; another
sprang on the barricade, re-erected the flag and, ten minutes later,
also fell. But it seemed they had agreed to see to it that the red
flag should still stand, for a third Republican took the place of the
second, and again the flag floated. The third was killed like the
two others. A fourth took his place and fell near the three others.
Then a fifth. The sixth was a working man, a house painter; he seemed
to be protected by a charm; for more than an hour he waved the flag,
shouting, '_Vive la République!_' At last, at the end of an hour, he
slowly got down and leant near the door of the house numbered 30,
against which Auguste and I were standing. Then he fell heavily,
heaving a sigh: he had said nothing, but he had been hit close to the
heart. His brother, who saw him fall, dropped his gun for an instant
to come and look after him; but, seeing he was nearly dead, and, sure
that his efforts would be useless, he kissed him repeatedly, took up
his rifle again, climbed up on the barricade, and slowly took aim,
each time that he fired shouting, '_Vive la République!_' Each time,
the sixty men who defended the barricade repeated the same cry, and
the cry of sixty men, surrounded by 20,000 soldiers, made the throne
of Louis-Philippe totter. Finally, both the soldiers and the National
Guard at the outskirts of the city were forced to beat a retreat,
after three hours' struggle. Meanwhile, Auguste and I, who had not
been able to fight, climbed on to the railings of the shop of a wine
merchant, and shouted with all the strength of our lungs--'_À bas
Louis-Philippe!_' The truce was not for long: in an hour's time,
soldiers and National Guards returned to the charge. Then the fight
began again. Meanwhile Auguste and I returned to our doorway, and at
times we made lint while at others we cast bullets. I often put my head
out of the alley to see what was going on when the firing was hottest:
then Auguste dragged me back with all his might.

"'Come, look here, do you want to get killed?' he cried.

"Then he would look out in his turn, and it became my turn to grab
hold of him. Once, when I had pulled him back more roughly than was
permissible, he was angry, and, whilst the people outside were fighting
with guns, we fought with our fists. We were both in the right: death
was speedy, and the whistling of the bullets so continuous that it
sounded like the noise of the wind through a badly-fitting door. No
one had yet eaten anything from morning until three in the afternoon.
At three, a distribution of brown bread was announced from the house
opposite that where we were hiding. Then we ran across the street to
fetch our rations in the thick of the bullets. We were just about to
bite into our loaves as quickly as possible, when suddenly we heard
the cry, 'We are lost!' Then we saw that, whilst the defenders of the
barricade still kept possession of it, a dozen people, as curious as
ourselves, rushed into the house to seek hiding-places. Auguste and I,
who were there already, took the lead, and, climbing the stairs four
at a time, soon reached the attic. There was a way out of the attic
through a narrow dormer-window, and a man sat astride the roof, holding
a strong arm to those who wished to cross to the other side and who
were not afraid of attempting that aerial route. Auguste and I did not
hesitate for one moment; from roof to roof we gained a window, and
found ourselves inside the garrets of another house. The inhabitants of
the attic helped us to enter, to the great anguish of the landlord, who
shouted on the staircase, 'Be off with you, you scamps! You will burn
my house down!' But, as you may well imagine, nobody took any notice
of the landlord; all installed themselves as best they could. Things
were much worse when he saw two or three combatants, black with powder,
arrive in their turn, rifles in hand.

'At least fling away your weapons!' he cried, tearing his hair.

'Throw our rifles away?' replied the fighters.

'Never!'

'But what do you mean to do?'

'To defend ourselves unto death.'

"And as they had no more bullets, but some powder left, they tore the
rods from the curtains and slipped them up the muzzles of their guns.

"As for us, who had no arms, and whom the struggle had not transported
to such a degree of heroic exaltation as this, we went down to the
cellars, which were full of packing cases and vegetables, and we hid
ourselves as well as we could. A dozen people descended after us,
and also hid themselves to the best of their ability. On the cellar
stairs several Republicans planted themselves, standing ready to
defend themselves to the last extremity. At that moment we heard the
roar of cannon, which shook the house to its base. The paving stones
of the barricade flew into splinters, and rebounded on the pavement.
Then only was it that I realised the extent of the danger we were
running. My first idea was that the house was going to fall, and that
we should be buried under its ruins. Then I sank on my knees and,
weeping, said all the prayers I could remember. I asked my father and
mother's forgiveness for having disobeyed them and for having left
them in trouble; I fervently called upon God, and beat my breast with
all my might. Auguste showed less despair, and waited death with more
courage than I. From time to time we pressed one another tightly in
our arms. During one of these embraces he noticed that I still had
the barrel of the pistol in my pocket, and he made me throw it to a
corner of the yard. Several voices shouted, 'Shoot him if he will not
speak!' It was the concierge that was being threatened thus, because he
refused to tell where we were hidden. Five minutes later, the door of
the cellar was violently broken in, and three or four soldiers sprang
on the stairs. Some shots exploded, which lit up the cellar strangely
and filled it with smoke. Then, whilst other voices shouted 'Lights!'
thirty to forty soldiers rushed into the cellar. From that moment I
saw no more; I only heard cries of pain, a clashing of steel, and I
felt a hand take me by the neck and shake me violently. Then the hand
lifted me two feet from the ground and flung me against the wall. I
fell in a faint on the bottom of the cellar steps. Yet from the depths
of my unconsciousness, whilst unable to shake myself free from it, I
felt those who went up and down the cellar steps pass over my body.
At last I succeeded in rousing myself by a violent effort of will. I
first got up on one knee with my head bent as though it were so heavy
that I could not hold it; then, at last, by the assistance of the wall,
I got on to my feet. At that moment an officer caught sight of me and
sprang at me, kicking and cuffing me: 'What!' he exclaimed, 'are there
even street urchins here?' At the same time a soldier gave me a blow
with the butt end of his gun. This flung me against the wall, and
instinctively I put up my hands, otherwise my skull would have been
broken. Auguste, who followed me, was more lucky; whilst they were
mauling me he slipped rapidly up the stairs and escaped a portion of
the ill-treatment that those met with who were found in the cellar. At
last, with hard cuffs, they made me go up into the yard, and, like all
the other prisoners, I was kept in sight under the carriage gateway of
No. 5. Our guard was made up of a sergeant and two soldiers. I had been
crying so long and been so badly handled that I could scarcely stand on
my legs; so in a few minutes I felt I was going to faint again. I held
out my arms and called for help. The sergeant sprang forward and caught
me. Whilst I was fainting, I did not hear plainly what the good man was
saying: I gathered, however, that he was sorry for me, and gave me into
the soldier's care.

"That brought me back to my senses in a few minutes, and I opened
my eyes again. Then I told him how I came to be there, and the
circumstances which had brought Auguste and me to this. My story bore
the stamp of such truthfulness that he was touched, and promised he
would do us no harm. We remained over half an hour under this doorway,
and during that time I was present at all the atrocities which could
be committed during a civil war. The victorious soldiers, irritated by
their losses, wanted to shed blood in compensation for shed blood. They
fired on everybody, without troubling whether they were Republicans or
inoffensive citizens; from time to time a dull thud was heard: we did
not even seek to ascertain the causes of the noise. It was the wounded
being pitched out of the windows, and, as they fell, they slid down the
roofs and fell on the pavement. They brought a Republican, taken with
arms in his hand, opposite the door and crushed him with blows from the
butt end of their guns, spitting him with bayonet thrusts.

"'Wretches!' he cried, 'respect the conquered and prisoners, or give me
some sort of weapon and let me defend myself.'

"They loosed him, knocked him over with their rifle butts and shot him
point blank.

"Oh! monsieur, I swear that, when a child of fourteen sees such things,
he prays to God all his life he may not see them again.

"In No. 30, on the third floor, some soldiers seized a wounded man by
his legs and arms and threatened to throw him out of the window. His
body was already half in space and about to be flung on the pavement,
when other soldiers below, who were firing on the roofs and through the
windows, were horrified at this action, and threatened to fire on their
comrades. The man was not thrown down. But was he saved, for all that?
I have no idea. Soon the sergeant with whom I had made friends received
orders to take us to the guardhouse des Innocents. We went through the
rue Aubry-le-Boucher and by the front of the markets. As it rained at
the time, a great number of soldiers stood under the arcades; as we
passed they reviled us, shouting to their comrades--

"'Knock the ruffians down! Kill them!'

"I never took my eyes off the good and kind sergeant, and, whilst
a crowd of curious spectators watched us pass and the crowd made a
sort of block, he made me a sign. I slipped between the two soldiers,
Auguste following me. The crowd made way for us and closed in after us;
the soldiers let fly a big oath as though they were furious, though
really at heart they were delighted. Our sergeant seemed to have
endowed each of his men with some of his own kindliness of heart.

"I ran home without stopping, and fell like a bomb into the midst of my
family. My mother fainted; my father stood speechless. They had been
told that I had been flung over the pont d'Austerlitz into the Seine.
They thought I had died the day before. I was very ill. My father sent
me to bed and I nearly had brain fever. I am told, Monsieur Dumas, that
this story will interest you, and I send it you.

"Ah! You whose voice is powerful say clearly and say often--

"'_ANYTHING RATHER THAN CIVIL WAR!_'"

What the poor child said is only too true: there were terrible acts
of vengeance done on that fatal 6 June, by both the troops and the
National Guard. It is a happiness to mention here the name of General
Tiburce Sébastiani, whose unending kindness has made us forget (and
even worse than forget), the welcome his eldest brother gave us on our
arrival in Paris.

General Tiburce Sébastiani, better than any one, could raise the
blood-stained veil which we throw over those atrocities; for he was a
providence to the wounded whom they finished off slowly, and to the
prisoners whom they meant to shoot. Not being able to stand, I had sat
down in a chair in the Café de _Paris,_ I think it was, and there I
waited for news, when, all at once, cries resounded of "_Vive le roi!_"
uttered by the National Guard, and the king appeared on horseback
accompanied by the Minister of the Interior, for War and for Commerce.
At the club in the rue de Choiseul, he stopped and held out his hand to
a group of armed National Guards; even those who, sixteen years later,
were to overthrow him, uttered cries of savage joy at the honour he
was paying them. He then continued on his way. When I saw him pass,
calm and smiling and unconcerned about the danger he was incurring, I
felt a sort of moral vertigo, and I asked myself if the man who saluted
to these many cheers was not verily a man elect, and if one had the
right to strike a blow at a power with which God Himself, by declaring
for him, seemed to side. And at each fresh attempt at assassination
made against him, from which he escaped safe and sound, I put the same
question to myself, and, each time, my conviction got the better of the
doubt, and I said--"No, things cannot remain as they are!" The traces
of this conviction will be discovered all through my works--in the
Epilogue to _Gaule et France,_ in my letter addressed from Reichenau
to the Duc d'Orléans, in my visit to Arenenberg, in my articles on the
death of the Duc d'Orléans.

This ride seemed to open the series of attempted assassinations of
Louis-Philippe; for the attempt at M. Berthier de Sauvigny's cabriolet,
on the place du Carrousel, cannot seriously be regarded as an attempt
on the king. On the quay not far from the place de Grève, a young
woman lay with her wounded husband's rifle to her cheek; but the weapon
was too heavy, and her hand too weak: the weight of the gun lowered her
hand and the shot was not sent. The king returned about two o'clock.
M. Guizot awaited him in his cabinet. The statesman and the king
remained together for an hour. No one knows what was decided during
that _tête-à-tête_; but we may be sure that M. Guizot, according to the
character we know of him, would not be for conciliatory measures. As M.
Guizot left by one door, an open carriage brought MM. François Arago,
Laffitte and Odilon Barrot. I take the following details from the lips
of our famous savant himself. He reminded me of them as he leant on my
arm during the walk of 26 or 27 February 1848, to the Bastille. He was
then a member of the Provisional Government which reigned for a brief
space over the kingdom of Louis-Philippe.

An open carriage, as we said, containing MM. Arago, Laffitte and Odilon
Barrot entered the Tuileries courtyard. Scarcely had it turned the
corner of the gateway, when a stranger stopped the horses, and ran
excitedly to the window. "Do not enter," he said.

"Why not?" asked Odilon Barrot.

"Guizot is leaving."

"Very well, what then?"

"Guizot is your personal enemy, and, perhaps, is giving the order to
arrest you at this very moment, as in the case of Cabet and Armand
Carrel."

The three commissioners thanked the unknown person; but, not believing
there was any danger--or at least, not any imminent--they went on their
way, got out of the carriage, and had themselves announced to the king.
The king soon gave orders for them to go in. At the moment when he was
just passing through the door, M. Laffitte turned round to his two
colleagues, and whispered to them--

"Let us be on our guard, gentlemen! he is going to try to make us
laugh."

It was a strange moment to choose for fearing such a means of
controversy. But M. Laffitte boasted he knew the king better than any
body else. It was an assumption allowable to the man who had given him
his popularity, and sold the forest of Breteuil.

The king, in fact, received the three deputies with a tranquil face,
almost smiling. He told them to be seated, which indicated that the
audience would be long, or, at all events, would be as long as the
gentlemen wished it to be. Louis Blanc, who was informed by all three
actors in that scene, has related it in full detail. I will not add
anything, therefore, to it, but put it in dialogue form, which makes it
perhaps more vivid.

The situation was a grave one: insurrection at Lyons, insurrection at
Grenoble, insurrection in la Vendée, riots or revolution everywhere.
But there remained the question as to what were the causes of these
bloody troubles and terrible collisions. According to the opinion
of the three deputies, it was the reaction brought about by getting
farther day by day from the programme of July. The king said it was the
spirit of Jacobinism, not properly extinguished under the Convention,
the Directory and the Empire, which strove to revive the Days of the
Terror. He instanced the appearance of the man with the red flag, whom
the Republicans sent back to the rue de Jerusalem, whence he made out
he had come.

A conversation based on such lines between a barrister and a king
threatened to be of long duration. A sinister sound which was to
be heard in the streets of Paris more than once under the reign of
Louis-Philippe now made itself heard, and cut the conversation in half,
as a blow from a scythe cuts a snake in two.

"Sire, do I hear wrongly?" asked Laffitte, trembling, "Is that cannon?"

"Yes;... they have pushed on," said the king, "to take the Monastery
of Saint-Merry without too great loss of life."

"Sire," Laffitte continued, "you are less severe with respect to the
Legitimists than towards the Republicans." "In what way?"

"Your Majesty employs strange dealings towards them!"

"Listen, Monsieur Laffitte," said the king, "I always remember the
saying of Kersaint: 'Charles I. was beheaded, and his son ascended
the throne; James II. was only exiled, and his race died out on the
continent.'"

"Sire," said Arago, "we had hoped, however, that, when Casimir Périer
died, this system of reaction and of persecution would stop."

"So," replied the king, laughing, "they attribute this system to a
minister?"

"No, but at least we hoped it was his work."

"You are mistaken, monsieur," said the king, frowning; "the system is
mine; M. Casimir Périer was but an instrument in my hands, strong, and
yet pliant like steel; my will has always been, is now and ever shall
be immovable. Once only it gave way, as you very well know," added
the king. "As M. de Salvandy has said, 'At my fête du Palais-Royal we
marched over a volcano--the Revolution, which has spread its principles
through every nation in Europe--but every nation has not an Orléans on
the throne to suppress them.'"

It was a very differently specified programme than that of the
Hôtel-de-Ville. Then M. Arago rose--

"Sire," he said, "after hearing the expression of such opinions as
that, do not ever count on my co-operation."

"What do you mean by that, Monsieur Arago?"

"That never, under any capacity, will I serve a king who binds the
hands of progress; for, in my opinion, progress is only another name
for a well-conducted Revolution."

"Neither more nor less, sire," said Odilon Barrot.

But the king, touching him on the knee, said--

"Monsieur Barrot, recollect that I have not accepted your resignation."

In fact, on 24 February 1848, at seven in the morning, M. Barrot was
appointed Minister. True, at noon, he was so no longer! the revolution,
which the king boasted to have suppressed, carried him away as a
hurricane carries off a dead leaf.

The three deputies got up. As nothing could be done, there was nothing
to be said. They were accompanied on their return to the Hôtel Laffitte
by the report of cannon. We have related, or, rather, a child of
fourteen, an eye-witness, has related the end of the terrible scene.
One of our friends, Étienne Arago, was among the Republicans while his
brother was with the king. We saw him setting off with Howelt; the same
night, thinking I was ill, he wrote to me as follows:--

    "MY DEAR DUMAS,--All is over, for to-day, at any rate. The
    men at the Cloître Saint-Merry fell, but as they should,
    like heroes. In a word, this is what we saw with our own
    eyes: We left, as you know, with Howelt; we went along the
    boulevards, and down the rue du Petit-Carreau. Having gone
    through the zone of fire which swept the adjacent streets,
    we saw at the end of the rue Aubry-le-Boucher, where No. 30
    rue Saint-Martin is visible, that approach was possible.
    We had just arrived between two attacks. We took advantage
    of it to proceed as far as the barricade; it had just been
    deserted. All was concentrated at No. 30; both attack and
    defence. We went to a herbalist's and, behind the bunches of
    herbs hung in his window, we saw the taking of No. 30. The
    artillery arrived. Can you not imagine my state? I trembled
    lest my brother Victor, a captain at Vincennes, were among
    the artillerymen. When I meet you, I will tell you what we
    saw. Finally!... We only left the street at half-past six. I
    returned to the Vaudeville, where I came across Savary; he
    had met you, he told me, at Laffitte's, and there you had
    both spoken with my brother François.

    "I received word from Germain Sarrut to warn me that a
    warrant had been issued against me.--Yours,

    "ÉTIENNE ARAGO"

I was not too easy on my own account. I had been seen and recognised
in artillery dress by everybody on the boulevard; I had distributed
arms at the Porte-Saint-Martin; finally, I knew that, in the December
of the preceding year, a denunciatory epistle against me had been
addressed to the king. It was a strange document! it was discovered
in 1848 among Louis-Philippe's papers, and fell into the hands of one
of the unknown friends of whom I often speak and for whose friendship
I am grateful. That friend sent it to me. It is a report dated 2
December 1831, bearing the number 1034. I will transcribe it exactly,
although I truly hold a secondary and episodic place in it. It will
prove that what I say of my opinions, which are always the same, is not
exaggerated. Besides, I think the moment is not very opportunely chosen
to brag of being a Republican. It is an authentic report, and bears M.
Binet's signature. I need hardly say that I had not the honour of that
gentleman's acquaintance. (_See_ Appendix.)



BOOK V


CHAPTER I


_Le Fils de l'Émigré_--I learn the news of my premature death--I am
advised to take a voyage for prudence and health's sake--I choose
Switzerland--Gosselin's literary opinion on that country--First effect
of change of air--From Châlon to Lyons by a low train--The ascent of
Cerdon--Arrival at Geneva


On the morning of 7 June, Harel came to my house. "Come," he said,
"dear friend, you must lose no time. Peace is re-established; as is
the case after all great upheavals, there is going to be a reaction
in favour of the theatres. People must forget the cholera and the
riotings; the cholera has died a natural death; the insurrection is
killed; which proves that Louis-Philippe is stronger than Broussais.
Where have you got to in _Le Fils de l'Émigré_?"

"My dear friend, three acts are done."

"Done ... written out?"

"Done and written out! but I declare to you that, for the moment, I am
unequal to set to it again. I am broken down with fatigue, consumed
with fever and have lost all appetite!"

"Finish _Le Fils de l'Émigré,_ and then go a journey.... You will make
prodigious sums of money this summer; you can very well take a little
rest!"

"Have you any money to give me?"

"How much do you want?"

"A thousand francs or so ... two perhaps ... and authority to draw upon
you for as much."

"Give me my two last acts and I will give you the money and a draft."

"You know I think it execrable."

"What?"

"_Le Fils de l'Émigré._"

"Bah! You told us the same about _La Tour de Nesle...._ Georges is
delighted with the prologue, and Provost also."

"All right, when you go, ask Anicet to come and see me.... I will try
to do my best."

Anicet came to me in a quarter of an hour's time. He is a conscientious
worker and an indefatigable hunter-up of things; no one could do his
part more generously in a collaboration. I have already said that he
brought me the plan of _Térésa_ almost entirely done. I gave him the
idea of _Angèle_; and, at the same time, it was he who discovered
not _Muller médecin_ but _Muller malade de la poitrine,_ namely,
the profoundly melancholy side of the work. The idea of _Le Fils
de l'Émigré_ was his; the execution--specially in the three first
acts--was entirely mine. We did the two last acts together during 7 and
8 June.

On 9 June I read in a Legitimist newspaper that I had been taken with
arms upon me in the affair at the Cloître Saint-Merry, judged by
court-martial during the night and shot at three in the morning. They
deplored the premature death of a young author of such hopeful promise!
The news wore such a stamp of truth; the details of my execution,
that I had, by the way, borne with the greatest courage, were so
circumstantial; the information was derived from such a good source
that, for the moment, I had my doubts and felt myself all over. For the
first time the newspaper said something nice of me; but then the editor
believed I was dead. I sent him my card and wrote on it, "_Avec tous
mes remercîments._"

As my messenger went out, another came in, bringing a letter from
Charles Nodier. It was couched in these terms:--

    "MY DEAR ALEXANDRE,--I have at this moment read in a
    newspaper that you were shot on 6 June at three in the
    morning. Be so good as to tell me if it will prevent you
    from coming to dine to-morrow at the Arsenal, with Dauzats,
    Taylor, Bixio and in fact our usual friends.--Your very good
    friend, CHARLES NODIER

    "who will be delighted at the opportunity to ask you for
    news of the other world."

I made answer to my beloved Charles that I had just read the same news
in the same paper; that I was not sure myself whether I was alive; but
that, body or shade, I would be with him next day at the hour named.
However, as I had not eaten much for the last six weeks, I added that
it would be more a question of my shadow than my body; I was not dead,
but distinctly very ill! Moreover, I had been warned by an aide-de-camp
of the king that the possibility of my arrest had been seriously
discussed; I was advised to go and spend a month or two abroad, then to
return to Paris, and on my return no more would be said. My doctor gave
me the same advice in hygiene as His Majesty's aide-de-camp gave me
in politics. I had always had a great desire to visit Switzerland. It
is a magnificent country, the backbone of Europe, the source of three
great rivers which flow to the north, east and south of our continent.
Further it is a republic, and, small as it was, I was not at all sorry
to see a republic. Moreover I had a notion I should be able to turn my
travels to account.

I went in search of Gosselin, to whom I offered to write a couple of
volumes on Switzerland. Gosselin shook his head: according to him,
Switzerland was a played-out country about which there was no more to
write; everybody had been there. It was in vain I told him that if
everybody had been there everybody would go, and that, supposing those
who had been there would not read my book, I should at all events be
read by those who were going; but I could not succeed in convincing
him. I, therefore, decided to regard the two or three months I was to
spend in Switzerland as time wasted. I sent Harel the last two acts
of the _Fils de l'Émigré_; he gave me the 3000 francs promised, and I
received a draft to draw upon him for another 2000 francs. At last,
provided with a proper passport, I started on the night of 21 July.[1]

As will be well understood, I have no intentions of beginning over
again here my _Impressions de Voyage:_ I will only tell in my Memoirs
what has not found a place in my first narrative, it will not be much
for frankness is one of my qualities: it has made me many enemies, but
I do not thank God any the less for having given me this virtue. The
reader may, then, make himself easy: I am going to take him as rapidly
as possible over the route on which, in my _Impressions de Voyage,_ I
was obliged to stop at every step.

The day after my departure from Paris, I arrived at Auxerre. The change
of air began to produce its effect upon my health; at Auxerre, seated
at the table where the diligence dinner was served, I regained a little
appetite. An enormous dish of cray-fish drove away all my doubts! I
ate, so I should not be long before I was better. I slept at Auxerre,
wishful to give the good fairy we call Sleep time to complete his
work. The ancients called Sleep the brother of Death; but, exact as
they were in their definitions, in my opinion, they are ungrateful to
Sleep: it is the restorer of strength; the source whence youth derives
its energy, and health conceals its treasury. Ah, good gentle sleep of
youth! how well one feels that thou art life! Lose love, lose fortune,
even hope, if only sleep comes: for the time being, it will return to
you all that you have lost. _For the moment_, I say, indeed; but it is
exactly by means of the sorrow you take up again directly you open
your eyes that you understand how sweet and potent sleep is!

We stopped afresh at Châlon. A friend who was there suggested to
me that, instead of the urban curiosities, the great cellars like
catacombs, we should visit a freak of nature and a ruin made by time:
the Reaux-Chignon and the château de la Roche-Pot. I have described the
one and told about the other; it will all be found in my _Impressions
de Voyage._ The drought had interrupted the service of steamboats for
some time; however, on returning to Châlon, we learnt that a boat
drawing eighteen inches of water only was going to attempt the voyage.
We embarked next day about noon, and reached Mâcon, indeed, but it was
impossible to go further: it was too much to expect eighteen inches
of water of the Saône. Places in the carriages had been reserved for
three days past. I was very simple-minded at that period. Alas! I must
say I have kept that silly characteristic intact. Boatmen came seeing
my predicament, and as the wind was favourable, proposed to row me to
Lyons in six hours. I allowed them eight; they deemed there was no
need for such an addition of time, and that I had been too generous.
Consequently, we settled the fare, and they took me to a big boat in
which a dozen innocents like myself were packed together. Among them
were three or four who had a double right to this title--some poor
babies of five or six months old, accompanied by their nurses. I made
a grimace when I saw the company into which I was brought; but bah!
six hours are soon passed! It was one o'clock in the afternoon, by
seven we should be at Lyons. But, instead of starting at one, we did
not leave till three. Our boatmen thought us too comfortable, seated
on top of one another as we were, and they probably counted on putting
a second row across us. Luckily, they did not succeed. After two hours
of fruitless waiting, they at last unmoored. The wind kept the promise
it had made us on starting pretty much for an hour, and during that
hour we made a league or a league and a half. Then the wind fell. I had
thought that, should occasion arise, our boatmen would apply themselves
to the oars; but no! we descended the Saône at the same rate as a
drowned dog which floated twenty paces from us! Next day, at three in
the afternoon, just at the same time as our drowned dog, which kept
us company faithfully, we recognised the île Barbe. We reached Lyons
fifty minutes later. My health must have been already much stronger to
withstand the night I had just passed on the Saône. We stayed three
days in Lyons, and, on the third, at three in the afternoon, we took
carriage for Geneva. At six in the morning the conductor opened the
carriage door, saying, "If the gentlemen would like to do a bit of the
way on foot they will have time." It was an invitation offered us by
our horses who found that the carriage was quite heavy enough to pull
up the incline of Cerdon without us. This climb begins the first slopes
of the Alps; it leads to the fort de l'Écluse, posted astride the road,
under the arch of which they scrutinise passports. After three hours'
walk, on coming from Saint-Genis the conductor, whom I had begged to
tell me the exact moment when I got into Switzerland, turned round
towards me and said--

"Monsieur, you are no longer in France."

"How far are we from Geneva?"

"An hour and a half's walk."

"Then let me get out and I will walk the remainder of the way."

The conductor complied with my request and, at the end of an hour and a
half's walk, I entered the birthplace of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and of
Pradier.


[Footnote 1: See Appendix.]



CHAPTER II


Great explanations about the bear-steak--Jacotot--An ill-sounding
epithet--A seditious felt hat--The carabiniers who were too clever--I
quarrel with King Charles-Albert over the Dent du Chat--Princes and men
of intellect


I returned to Florence in 1842 for a very sad and distressing ceremony;
I returned to attend the funeral of the Duc d'Orléans.

It is one of the singular features of my life to have known all the
princes; and, with the most Republican ideas imaginable, to have been
attached to them with the deepest affection of my heart. Now, who
informed me at Florence of the death of the Duc d'Orléans? Prince
Jérôme-Napoléon. I had just dined at Quarto--a charming country-house
four miles from Florence--with the father of the ex-King of Westphalia,
when, taking me aside, he said--"My dear Dumas, I am going to tell you
news which will cause you much pain."

I looked at him with anxiety.

"Monseigneur," I said to him, "I have received news of my two children
this morning; they are well; except for accidents which may have
happened to them, I am prepared for anything."

"Well, the Duc d'Orléans is dead!"

I confess this came upon me like a thunderbolt. Uttering an exclamation
and bursting into tears I threw myself into the prince's arms.

"Oh! monseigneur," I said to him, "I have cared for but two princes,
for him and for you. For him more than for you, I frankly admit; now I
have but you to care for."

Was it not a strange thing to see a man weeping for a duke of Orléans
in the arms of a Bonaparte? I left for Livorno that same night, and
next day I went on board the steamer at Genoa. The sea was rough, and
landed me quite done up in the City of Palaces; I found at _table
d'hôte_ a friend who had arrived from Naples more tired even than
myself: he offered to return with me by post-chaise, but on condition
we crossed by the Simplon, which he had never seen. I accepted. We
hired a sort of cariole and started. When we had crossed the Simplon
and got clear of the Valais, we pulled up at the door of the _Poste_
inn at Martigny. The host, hat in hand, politely came and invited us
to take a meal in his house in passing. We thanked him and said we
had dined at Sion, so he retired as politely as he had come. "What a
delightful inn-keeper!" my friend said to me.

"You think so?"

"Why, yes."

"If I told him my name I think I should probably be obliged to give him
a drubbing while we waited for our relay of horses."

"Why?"

"Because, instead of making capital out of a joke I played on him, he
had the silliness to be vexed at it and to wish I was dead."

"You?"

"Oh yes, me!"

"Bah!"

"Just recall it to him and tell him that we will stay a little time if
perchance he can give us a beef-steak of bear flesh."

"Hi! Monsieur!... _Monsieur le maître de l'hôtel!_" exclaimed my
friend, before I had had time to stop him. The _maître de l'hôtel_
turned round.

"My companion here says he will stop for dinner with you if you have by
chance a steak of bear flesh."

I have seen many faces express agitation in my life; in consequence of
terrible news, unexpected accidents, serious wounds ... but I never
saw any face more concerned than that of the unfortunate _maître de
poste_ at Martigny.

"Ah!" he exclaimed, seizing his hair with both hands, "again! always
the same cry!... Is no traveller to pass by without making the same
joke?"

"Yes!" resumed my companion, "I read about it in M. Alexandre Dumas's
_Impressions de Voyage_ ..."

"The _Impressions de Voyage_ by M. Alexandre Dumas!" shrieked the
wretched inn-keeper; "are there still people who read it?"

"Why should they not read it?" I ventured to ask.

"Because it is an atrocious book, full of lies; people have been burned
at the stake who did not deserve it as much as that man.... Oh! M.
Alexandre Dumas!" went on the unlucky vendor of soup, passing from
rage to exasperation, "if only I ever get hold of him in private one
of these days! but I shall have to go to Paris to get even with him.
He will not go through Switzerland again, he dare not! he knows I am
waiting to strangle him: I have told him so. All right; if you see him,
if you know him, tell him once more from me, tell him every time you
meet him, tell it him over and over again."

He went into his house like a madman, like one furious and driven to
despair.

"What is the matter with your master?" I asked the postilion....

"Ah! people say he has been infected with a sort of craze, which a
gentleman from Paris caused him when he passed by here."

"And so he wishes to kill the gentleman from Paris?" "Yes, he wishes to
kill him."

"Outright."

"Without mercy."

"Suppose the gentleman from Paris suddenly said to him, 'Here I am!'
What would he do."

"Oh! he would fall down dead in a fit, without a doubt."

"All right, postilion. When you return, you tell your master that M.
Alexandre Dumas has passed by, that he wishes him long life and all
kinds of prosperity. Now start!"

"Ah! that's a good joke!" said the postilion, setting off at a galop.
"Ah! Yes, I'll tell him, indeed! he shall know it, and how he will tear
his hair at not having recognised you.... Come! Grise, come, gee up!"

My companion was very thoughtful.

"Well," I asked him, "a penny for your thoughts?"

"I am trying to discover the reason for that man's hatred against you."

"You do not understand it?"

"No."

"You remember the bear beef-steak in my _Impressions de Voyage_?"

"Of course! it is the first thing that I read in it."

"Well, it was at that good fellow's house that the incident of M.
Alexandre Dumas eating a bear-steak in 1832 happened."

"Well?"

"Many others like you read of the bear-steak; so, one fine day, a
traveller, more curious, or with less appetite, than others said, when
he looked at the menu--

"'Have you any bear?'

"'Excuse me?' the host replied.

"'I asked if you had any bear.'

"'No, monsieur, none.'

"And, for the moment, the incident was closed. Then one, two days or a
week later, a second traveller puts his alpenstock in the comer behind
the door, flings his hat on a chair, shakes the dust from his shoes and
says to the _maître de l'hôtel_--

"'Ah! I am at Martigny, surely?'

"'Yes, monsieur.'

"'At the _Hôtel de la Poste_?'

"'This is the _Hôtel de la Poste._'

"'It is here one can get bear to eat then.'

"'I do not understand.'

"'I say that this is where one can taste bear.'

"The _maître de l'hôtel_ looked at the traveller in amazement.

"'Why here more than anywhere else?' he asked.

"'Because it was here that M. Dumas had it.'

"'M. Dumas?'

'Yes, M. Alexandre Dumas.... Do you not know M. Alexandre Dumas?'

"'No.'

'The author of _Henri III.,_ of _Antony_ and of _La Tour de Nesle_?'

"'I have not the pleasure of his acquaintance.'

'Ah! he says, in his _Impressions de Voyage,_ that he ate bear at your
inn ... but, as you have none in the house at the moment, we will not
trouble about it: we will have it some other time. Come, what have you
got?'

'Monsieur can choose for himself, here is the menu!'

'Oh! I cannot be bothered! Give me what you like: since you have no
bear, I don't care what it is.'

"And, with a disgusted air, finding it all very poor, the second
traveller ate the dinner they served him.

"Next day, or the day after, or the following week, a traveller came in
who, without saying anything, put his knapsack down, seated himself at
the first table he came to and knocked against a glass with a knife,
shouting--"'Garçon!'

"The waiter came.

"'What can I do for you, monsieur?'

"'A bear-steak.'

"'Ah! ah!'

"'Be quick and let it be underdone!'

"The waiter never budged.

"'Well, don't you understand me, donkey?'

"'Only too well.'

"'All right then, order my steak.'

"'But monsieur seems to want a special sort of steak.'

"'A steak of bear's flesh.'

"'Yes ... We haven't it.'

"'What, you haven't any?'

"'No.'

"'Go and fetch your master.'

"'But, monsieur, my master ...'

"'Go and fetch your master!'

"'But, monsieur.'

"'I tell you to go and fetch your master!'

"The traveller rose with such imperiousness that the waiter saw there
was only one thing for him to do--to obey. He disappeared saying--

"'I am going to fetch him. I am going.'

"'You asked to see me, monsieur,' said the _maître de l'hôtel_ in five
minutes' time.

"'Ah! that is all right!'

"'Had I only known monsieur specially wished to speak to me ...'

"'I wished to see you because your waiter is such a fool!'

"'That is possible, monsieur.'

"'An impertinent fellow.'

"'Has he had the impudence to neglect monsieur?'

"'He is an idiot, and he will ruin your establishment.'

"'Oh! oh! this is becoming serious.... If monsieur will tell me what he
has to complain of.'

"'Well! I ask him for a bear-steak and he pretends not to understand.'

"'Ah! ah! it is ...'

"'Have you bear or have you not?'

"'Monsieur, allow me ...'

"'Have you bear?'

"'Really, monsieur ...'

"'Bear or death. Have you bear?'

"'Really, monsieur, no.'

"'You should have admitted it at once then,' said the traveller,
reloading his knapsack.'

"'What is the matter, monsieur?'

"'I am going.'

"'Why are you going?'

"'Because I am going.'

"'But why?'

"'Because I only came to your cookshop to taste bear. As I find you
haven't any, I am going to look for it elsewhere.'

"'Still, monsieur ...'

"'Come, _furth!_ and out the traveller went, saying, 'It seems you show
special favour to M. Alexandre Dumas; but it also seems to me that a
traveller in Burgundy wines is worth much more attention than a man of
letters.'

"The inn-keeper stands dumbfounded.

"Now, you know, my dear fellow, that blessed _Impressions de Voyage_
has been widely read, printed and reprinted: not a day passed but some
eccentric traveller would ask for a bear-steak. French and English
appear to have gone to the _Hôtel de la Poste_ to drive the unlucky
inn-keeper to distraction. Never was Pipelet, when he refuses to
give his hair to Cabrion, to Cabrion's friends and acquaintances,
more unhappy, tormented or desperate than the unhappy, tormented and
desperate _maître de poste_ of Martigny. A French inn-keeper would
have taken the bull by the horns and changed his signboard; instead of
the words _Hôtel de la Poste,_ he would have put, _Hôtel du Bifteck
d'Ours._ He would have bought up all the bears in the surrounding
mountains; and, when they fell short, he would have provided beef, wild
boar, horse, anything, so long as it was flavoured with some unknown
sauce or other. He would have made his fortune in three years' time and
retired at the end of it, buying his stocks to the extent of 100,000
francs, and he would have blessed my name. The present man made his
fortune all the same, but more slowly, and through such incessant fits
of anger that he ruined his health--and cursed my name.

"What harm has that done you?"

"It is always disagreeable to be cursed, my friend."

"But, after all, what truth is there in your bear-steak story?"

"Some and none?"

"What do you mean by some and none?"

"Three days before I went by, a man had been on the hunt for a bear and
had wounded it mortally; but, before it died, it had killed the man and
devoured part of his head. In my capacity of dramatic poet, I put the
thing into a scene, that is all. The same thing happened to me as did
to Werner at the inn of Schwartzbach, to his drama of _Vingt Quatre
Février."_

"What happened to Werner?"

"Ah! upon my word, my dear friend, you ought to buy my _Impressions de
Voyage_ and open the first volume and you will know."

Whereupon, we continued on our way.

That, dear readers, is the pure truth, revealed for the first time,
concerning the bear-steak which made such a stir in the world twenty
years ago. Ah, well! I have never been fortunate with my strokes of
fame.

One of my creations, which had almost as European a celebrity as the
bear-steak, was Jacotot; not the inventor of the famous method of
orthography; but a Jacotot of my own; the Jacotot of my _Impressions de
Voyage._

"Ah! yes, yes, the waiter in the café at Aix." Precisely, dear readers;
you see, indeed, how celebrated Jacotot is since you remember his name."

"Who doesn't remember the name of Jacotot!"

"I can, then, say openly, that I made Jacotot's fortune, for he is rich
and has retired; Jacotot has a town-house in Aix and a country-house
on the lake of Bourget. Yet, like the master of the posting-inn at
Martigny, Jacotot holds me in execration, he loathes me and curses me!
The reason for such ingratitude? I wounded his _amour propre_; again
because of putting him in my book; the number of enemies my dramatic
talent has made me is incalculable! Any man who is not, like myself,
overcome with a passion for the picturesque, any writer who does not
feel compelled to paint when he writes, who had occasion to bring
Jacotot upon the scenes for the first time, would have said simply,
'Jacotot comes on.' He would not have thought it necessary to state
whether Jacotot was beautiful or ugly, well dressed or ill, young or
old. But to me '_Jacotot enters_' seemed insufficient, and I had the
misfortune to say, 'Jacotot entered; _he was nothing but a coffee-house
waiter.'_ This was the first wounding epithet for Jacotot who, it is
true, was a coffee-house waiter, but who, no doubt, desired to be taken
for a solicitor's clerk. I went on: 'He stopped in front of us, a
stereotyped smile _on his fat, stupid face,_ which must have been seen
to have been appreciated.'"

That was what really embroiled me with Jacotot, the physical portrait
I drew of him; all the good I was able to say of him, which has
immortalised him, has not effaced from his memory the unhappy epithet I
applied to his face.

In the year of grace 1854, nearly a quarter of a century after the
publication of the unlucky _Impressions de Voyage_ which fell foul of
many susceptibilities, there was a traveller on the road to Aix who had
a desire to know Jacotot: he went to the café and did as I had done. He
called Jacotot: the _maître du café_ came to him.

"Monsieur," he said, "the person for whom you are inquiring has made
his fortune and retired."

"Ah! _diable!_" said the traveller. "I wanted to see him."

"Oh! you can see him."

"Where?"

"At his home."

"Oh! but to disturb him, solely and simply to say that I have a desire
to see him is perhaps really a little too inquisitive."

"Eh! stay though, you can see him without disturbing him."

"How?"

"That is he, over there, against his door, with his hands in his
pockets and his body in the sun."

"Thanks."

The traveller got up, went across to the other side of the square
and passed two or three times in front of Jacotot. Jacotot perceived
that it was he whom the traveller wanted; and, as he was a capital
fellow, when his _amour-propre_ is not over-excited, he smiled at the
traveller. The traveller was emboldened by the smile.

"You are M. Jacotot, I believe?" he asked him.

"Yes, monsieur, at your service."

"So you have retired?"

"Two years since, as you see!... I am a citizen, a good citizen now,"
and he struck his stomach with the palms of his two hands.

"I offer you my congratulations, Monsieur Jacotot."

"You are indeed good."

"I know some one who has not been injured by your bit of good fortune."

"Who, monsieur?"

"Alexandre Dumas, the author of the _Impressions de Voyage."_

Jacotot's face became discomposed.

"Alexandre Dumas," he repeated.

"Yes."

"Is it because he said I had a stupid face?" exclaimed Jacotot,
slamming the door violently as he went into his house.

The traveller had paid his farewell call on Jacotot, for, from that
moment, if Jacotot caught sight of him on one side, he turned away in
another direction.

In the same country I have a third enemy, very much more serious than
the two others, and for a thing of almost as little importance, and he
is His Majesty Charles-Albert, King of Sardinia. During my sojourn at
Aix I made two excursions: one to Chambéry and the other to the Dent
du Chat. Both were made noteworthy: one by an act of great imprudence,
the other by a serious accident; imprudence and accident would probably
have passed over unnoticed had I not pointed them out in those fatal
_Impressions de Voyage._ The imprudence was to go into the capital of
Savoy wearing grey hats, as my companions and I did. You will ask,
dear readers, what imprudence there was in wearing grey hats instead
of black felt ones. There would have been none in 1833, but it was
very unwise in 1832; and here is an extract of a few lines from my
_Impressions de Voyage_--

    "At four p.m. of the same day we reached Chambéry. I will
    say nothing about the public monuments of the capital of
    Savoy; I was not able to enter into any of them because
    I wore a grey hat. It seems that a dispatch from the
    Tuileries had called forth the strictest measures against
    the seditious felt, and that the King of Sardinia did not
    wish to be exposed to a war against his beloved brother
    Louis-Philippe d'Orléans over such a futile matter. As I
    insisted, and declaimed energetically against the injustice
    of such a proceeding, the Royal Carabiniers, who were on
    guard at the palace gate, said facetiously to me that, if
    I absolutely persisted, there was at Chambéry a building
    inside which they were allowed to take me, namely, the
    prison. As the King of France, in his turn, would probably
    not wish to be exposed to a war against his dear brother
    Charles-Albert, over so unimportant a personage as his
    ex-librarian, I replied to my interlocutors that they were
    doubtless very charming for Savoyards and very witty for
    carabiniers, but I would insist no longer."

Savoy is a singular country: Jacotot was angry because I said an
injurious thing about him; the carabiniers were angry because I paid
them a compliment. So much for the imprudence. Let us now pass to the
accident.

After supper, a dozen bathers, joyous companions, four of whom,
alas! are now dead, proposed, in order not to leave one another, to
go and see the sun rise from the top of the Dent du Chat. It is a
sharp-pointed mountain peak which owes its name to its shape, and its
bare, verdureless cone looks down upon Aix. The suggestion was acceded
to; they put on their boots and dressed for the journey, then they set
out. I did the same as the others, although I have not much taste for
making ascents; I suffer from giddiness; and, to be high up, even if
there is no danger, is more painful to me than actual danger which may
present itself under quite another form. As in the case of Chambéry,
let me be permitted to quote a few passages from my _Impressions de
Voyage_; it will absolve the reader from turning back to it--

    "We began to climb at half-past twelve midnight; it
    was a strange sight, that march by torchlight. At two,
    three-quarters of our way were done, but the remaining part
    was so dangerous and difficult that our guides made us halt
    to wait for the first rays of dawn. When this appeared we
    continued our way, which soon became so steep that our
    breasts nearly touched the slope on which we were walking
    in single file. Each one displayed his skill and strength,
    clinging, with his hands, to the heath and little shrubs
    and, with his feet, to the roughness of the rock and to the
    inequalities in the ground. We heard the stones which we
    loosened roll down the slope of the mountain, which was as
    steep as a roof; and then we followed them with our eyes
    till we saw them fall into the lake, with its blue sheet,
    which lay stretched out a quarter of a league below us.
    Our guides themselves could not help us, as they were busy
    trying to discover the best way; but, from time to time,
    they advised us not to look behind us for fear of turning
    faint or giddy: and their admonitions, made in short,
    concise tones, told us the danger was very real.

    "Suddenly, one of our comrades who followed immediately
    after them uttered a cry which made our flesh creep. As a
    means of support he had tried to place his foot on a stone
    already shaken by the weight of those who had preceded him.
    The stone broke away and the branches to which he had also
    clung, not being strong enough to bear the weight of his
    body alone, broke between his hands.

    "'Catch hold of him!' shouted the guides.

    "But this was easier said than done. Each one of us had
    already great difficulty in holding himself up. So he passed
    by us without a single one of us being able to stop him; we
    thought he was lost and, with the perspiration of terror on
    our brows, we watched him breathlessly until he was close to
    Montaigu, the last of us all, and he stretched out a hand
    and seized him by the hair. For one moment it was doubtful
    if both would not fall; it was a short but awful moment, and
    I will answer for it that none of those who were there will
    forget the length of the second, while we watched the two
    men swaying over a precipice of two thousand feet depth, not
    knowing whether they were going to be precipitated over, or
    succeed in catching hold of the ground again.

    "We reached at last a little fir wood which, without making
    the path less steep, made it more comfortable because of
    the facility the trees offered us of catching hold of their
    branches or leaning against their trunks. The opposite
    border of the little forest almost touched the base of bare
    rock, whose shape has given its name to the mountain; holes
    irregularly hollowed out in the stone afforded us a sort of
    staircase which led to the summit.

    "Only two of us attempted this last climb; not that
    the journey was more difficult than that we have just
    accomplished, but it did not promise us a more extended
    view, and the one we had in front of us was far from
    compensating us for our fatigue and bruises. We therefore
    left them to climb up their steeple and we sat down to
    extract stones and thorns from ourselves. Meanwhile, the
    climbers reached the top of the mountain, and, as proof of
    having captured it, they lit a fire and smoked their cigars
    round it.

    "They came down in a quarter of an hour, taking good care
    to put out the fire they had lit, curious though they were
    to know if the smoke had been noticed down below. We ate a
    small meal, then our guides asked us if we wanted to return
    by the same route, or to take another and a longer one,
    but much easier. We unanimously chose the latter. By three
    o'clock we were in Aix, and, in the centre of the square,
    the gentlemen had the proud pleasure of still seeing the
    smoke of their beacon fire. I asked them if, now that I had
    had so much enjoyment, I might be allowed to go to bed. As
    every one probably felt the need of doing the same, they
    told me there was no objection. I believe I should have
    slept for thirty-six hours on end if I had not been awakened
    by a great noise. I opened my eyes, it was dark; I went to
    the window, and I saw all the town of Aix in a commotion.
    The population, including children and old people, had
    come out on the public square, as in former times they did
    during riotings in Rome. Every one was talking at once,
    and snatching at glasses, and looking up into the air fit
    to break their spines; I thought there must be an eclipse
    of the moon. I dressed quickly to go and see my share of
    the phenomenon, and went down armed with my spy-glasses.
    The whole atmosphere was coloured with a red reflection,
    the sky seemed inflamed; the Dent du Chat was on fire! The
    fire lasted for three days. On the fourth, they brought
    our smokers in a bill of 37,500 francs odd. The smokers
    thought the sum a little too strong for a dozen arpents of
    wood, the situation of which made it impossible to get at.
    Consequently, they wrote to our ambassador at Turin to try
    to get something cut down in the bill. He must have managed
    it very well, because the bill returned to them in a week's
    time to be paid was reduced to 780 francs.

    "Thanks to my grey hat, which had aroused the
    susceptibilities of the Chambéry Carabiniers, and to the
    part I had taken in the excursion and the firing of the Dent
    du Chat the states of King Charles-Albert were shut against
    me for six years."

I told in due place how, in 1835, I was shamefully driven out of Genoa
and how triumphantly I returned there in 1838. May I be permitted a
slight digression here on princes and ship captains?

I have noticed that, in general, neither of them like men of
intellect. Indeed, if a man of cultivated mind find himself at a
prince's table, at the end of ten minutes, without complete dumbness
on his part, it is the man of mind who will be the true prince, to
whom people will address their conversation, it is he who will be
made to speak, it is he to whom they will listen. The prince by birth
is completely annihilated--he no longer exists as such, and is only
distinguishable from other guests in two ways: whilst other guests are
talking he is silent; whilst they laugh he sulks. You will say, in such
a case, if the cultured man is really clever he will keep silence in
order to let the prince assert his princehood. But then the clever man
will be no longer such--he will be a courtier. Numbers of clever men
have been disgraced because of their abilities. Cite me one instance of
a fool disgraced for his folly. It is the same with ship captains as
with princes.

Whenever a clever man is on board and the weather is fine, the captain
is nowhere. People crowd round the man of intellect, whilst the captain
paces alone on the poop. It is true, that, if there is a storm the
captain becomes captain once more, but only so long as the storm lasts.
You tell me there are princes who have intellect. Of course! I have
known, and still know, some; but their estate compels them to hide
it. It was impossible to have a more charming, delicate or graceful
mind than that of M. le duc d'Orléans; and yet no one could hide it
better than he could. One day, when he had made one of those delightful
repartees with which his conversation abounded when he had to do with
artists, I asked him--

"_Mon Dieu,_ monseigneur, how is it that you, who are one of the
wittiest men I know, have so little reputation for being a wit?"

He began to laugh.

"How delicious you are!" he said; "do you suppose I allow myself to
show wit to everybody?"

"But, monseigneur, you show it to me, and at your very best too."

_"Parbleu!_ because I know you are equally witty, you are always as
witty as, if not more than, I; but with imbeciles, my dear Monsieur
Dumas!... I have enough to do to make them forgive me for being a
prince, without giving them more to forgive by being a man of wit....
So it is agreed that, when you wish, not so much to give me pleasure as
to do me a service, you must say that I am an imbecile!"

Poor dear prince!



CHAPTER III


22 July 1832


The day after the magnificent fire, one of our bathers, who had
returned from Chambéry, entered the room where we met together, saying--

"Messieurs, have you heard the news?"

"No."

"The Duc de Reichstadt is dead."

The Duc de Reichstadt had, indeed, died on 22 July, at eight minutes
past five in the morning, the anniversary day on which letters-patent
from the emperor had appointed him Duc de Reichstadt, and on which he
had learnt of the death of his father the Emperor Napoleon. His last
words had been--

"_Ich gehe unter! Mutter! Mutter!_" (I am sinking--Mother! Mother!)

Thus it was that, in a foreign language, the child of 1811 bid adieu to
the world!

The inquiries we made concerning the young prince, that pale historic
figure which faded from day to day whilst the phantom figure of his
father grew bigger and bigger, enable us to give a few details about
his brief life and sad death that are perhaps not known.

Victor Hugo, the man to whom one must always turn when it is a question
of measuring the giant Napoleon, wrote the poetic history of the young
prince in a few strophes. Let us be permitted to quote them. To say we
love the exiled poet, comforts our heart; to say that we admire him,
assuages our regrets. The tomb is deaf, but, perhaps, exile is even
still more dear. Our voice is one that our friends will hear in the
grave and in exile. Yesterday, the Duc d'Orléans; to-day, Hugo.

    "Mil huit cent onze!--ô temps où des peuples sans nombre
    Attendaient, prosternés sous un nuage sombre.
             Que le ciel eût dit oui!
    Sentaient trembler sous eux les États centenaires.
    Et regardaient le Louvre, entouré de tonnerres
             Comme un mont Sinaï!

    Courbés comme un cheval qui sent venir son maître.
    Ils se disaient entre eux: 'Quelqu'un de grand va naître;
    L'immense empire attend un héritier demain.
    Qu'est-ce que le Seigneur va donner à cet homme
    Qui, plus grand que César, plus grand même que Rome,
    Absorbe dans son sort le sort du genre humain?'

    Comme ils parlaient, la nue éclatante et profonde
    S'entr'ouvrit, et l'on vit se dresser sur le monde
             L'homme prédestiné!
    Et les peuples béants ne purent que se taire;
    Car ses deux bras levés présentaient à la terre
             Un enfant nouveau-né!"

The child was the King of Rome,--the one who had just died. When his
father had shown him on the Tuileries balcony, as Louis XIV. had shown
Louis XIV. from the balcony of Saint-Germain, he was the heir to the
most powerful crown in existence; at that period, the emperor drew
after him in his orbit one half of the Christian population; his orders
extended and were obeyed over a space which included nineteen degrees
of latitude; and eighty millions of men cried "_Vive Napoleon!"_ in
eight different tongues.

But let us return to the poet--

    "O revers, ô leçons! Quand l'enfant de cet homme
    But reçu pour hochet la couronne de Rome;
    Lorsqu'on l'eut revêtu d'un nom qui retentit;
    Lorsqu'on eut bien montré son front royal qui tremble
    Au peuple, émerveillé qu'on puisse tout ensemble
             Être si grand et si petit!

    Quand son père eut, pour lui, gagné bien des batailles;
    Lorsqu'il eut épaissi de vivantes murailles
    Autour du nouveau-né, riant sur son chevet;
    Quand ce grand ouvrier, qui savait comme on fonde.
    But, à coups de cognée, à peu près fait le monde
             Selon le songe qu'il rêvait;

    Quand tout fut préparé par les mains paternelles,
    Pour doter l'humble enfant de splendeurs éternelles.
    Lorsqu'on eut de sa vie assuré les relais;
    Quand, pour loger un jour ce maître héréditaire,
    On eut enraciné, bien avant dans la terre.
             Le pied de marbre des palais;

    Lorsqu'on eut, pour sa soif, posé devant la France
    Un vase tout rempli du vin de l'espérance ...
    Avant qu'il eût goûté de ce poison doré,
    Avant que de sa lèvre il eût touché la coupe,
    Un Cosaque survint, qui prit l'enfant en croupe,
             Et l'emporta tout effaré!"

The story of the poor child can only be made up out of contradictory
evidence. Let us borrow from M. de Montbel a letter which tells of the
impatience with which the announcement of his birth was waited for in
the imperial city of Vienna--

    'VIENNA, 26 _March_

    "It would be difficult to do justice to the impatience
    with which they here expected the news of the delivery
    of Her Majesty the Empress of the French. On Sunday the
    24th, at ten in the morning, uncertainty was at an end:
    the telegraphic dispatch which announced the happy news
    was transmitted to the Ambassador of France four days
    and one hour after that event, by Major Robelleau, first
    aide-de-camp to General Desbureaux, Commandant of the Fifth
    Military Division. The report of it soon spread abroad and
    caused general joy.

    "M. de Tettenborn, aide-de-camp to Prince de Schwartzenberg,
    left Paris by day, and, arriving fourteen hours after
    Chevalier Robelleau, confirmed the happy news. Finally, a
    courier from the French Cabinet arrived on the morning of
    the 25th, bearing the official letter by which the Emperor
    Napoleon announced the birth to his august father-in-law.
    His Majesty's satisfaction was extremely great, and was
    shared by the whole Court. The Ambassador of France being at
    home indisposed, the first Secretary to the Embassy went to
    the palace, was taken to the emperor's cabinet and had the
    honour of handing to His Majesty his Master the Emperor's
    letter. On that same Sunday, the day chamberlain was sent by
    the emperor to the Ambassador of France to congratulate him.
    _The ambassador received the congratulations equally of M.
    le comte de Metternich,_ and of the whole diplomatic corps.

    "To-morrow, there will be a grand drawing-room at the Court
    on the occasion of the birth of the King of Rome. Every one
    says it will be a very brilliant gathering."

Perhaps it will be interesting to compare the congratulation of M.
le comte de Metternich to the Ambassador to France--dated 25 March
1811--with the information given on 31 October 1815 by the same Comte
de Metternich, to M. le baron de Sturmer, Commissary to His Imperial
and Apostolic Majesty at the Isle of Saint-Helena--

    "The allied powers having agreed to take the most particular
    measures to render any enterprise on the part of Napoleon
    Bonaparte impossible, it has been concluded and decided
    between them that he shall be taken to the Isle of
    Saint-Helena, that he shall there be entrusted to the care
    of the British Government; that the Courts of Austria, of
    Russia and of Prussia shall send their agents to reside
    there, to make sure of his presence but without being
    charged with the responsibility of guarding him; and that
    His Most Christian Majesty shall also be invited to send a
    French agent to the place of Napoleon Bonaparte's detention.

    "In consequence of this decision, sanctioned by special
    agreement between the Courts of Austria and Russia, and
    Great Britain and Prussia, dated from Paris, 2 August 1815,
    His Majesty the Emperor, our august master, has condescended
    to appoint you to reside at Saint-Helena in the capacity of
    his representative.

    "The guarding of Napoleon Bonaparte being specially
    entrusted to the British Government, you are not charged
    with any responsibility on that head; but you can make
    sure of his presence by what means and in what manner you
    like in concert with the governor. You must be careful to
    be convinced of his existence by the evidence of your own
    eyes, and you must draw up an official report, which must be
    signed by you and your colleagues and countersigned by the
    governor; each of the agents will be expected to submit a
    copy of this report every month to his Court, furnished with
    their signatures and a countersign from the governor.

    "You will take the greatest care to avoid any sort of
    communication with Napoleon Bonaparte and the individuals
    of his suite. You will positively refuse any overtures they
    might seek to set up with you; and, in case they allow
    direct approaches, you will immediately report such to the
    governor.

    "Although you will not be at all responsible for the
    guarding of Bonaparte, nor of the persons comprising his
    suite, if it comes to your knowledge that they are employing
    means to evade or to keep up communications outside, you
    will warn the governor without delay.

    "Your functions will be confined to those indicated in the
    present instructions. You will abstain with most scrupulous
    punctiliousness from all solitary action, our positive
    intention being that you act in concert with your colleagues
    and always in accord with them and with the governor. You
    will make use of every opportunity that may present itself
    to convey your reports direct to us."

    "METTERNICH"

    "PARIS, 31 _October_ 1815"

So much for the political view: now let us look at the poetic--

    "Oui, l'aigle, un soir, planait aux voûtes éternelles,
    Lorqu'un grand coup de vent lui cassa les deux ailes;
    Sa chute fit dans l'air un foudroyant sillon;
    Tous alors sur son nid fondirent avec joie;
    Chacun selon ses dents se partagea la proie:
    L'Angleterre prit l'aigle, et l'Autriche l'aiglon.

    Vous savez ce qu'on fit du géant historique.
    Pendant six ans, on vit, loin derrière l'Afrique,
        Sous les verrous des rois prudents,
    --Oh! n'exilons personne! oh! l'exil est impie!--
    Cette grande figure en sa cage accroupie,
        Ployée et les genoux aux dents.

    Encor, si ce banni n'eût rien aimé sur terre!
    Mais les cœurs de lion sont les vrais cœurs de père;
        Il aimait son fils, ce vainqueur!
    Deux choses lui restaient dans sa cage inféconde:
    Le portrait d'un enfant et la carte du monde,
        Tout son génie et tout son cœur!

    Le soir, quand son regard se perdait dans l'alcôve,
    Ce qui se remuait dans cette tête chauve,
    Ce que son œil cherchait dans le passé profond,
    Tandis que ses geôliers, sentinelles placées
    Pour guetter nuit et jour le vol de ses pensées,
    En regardaient passer les ombres sur son front,

    Ce n'était pas toujours, sire, cette épopée
    Que vous aviez naguère écrite avec l'épée,
        Arcole, Austerlitz, Montmirail;
    Ni l'apparition des vieilles pyramides,
    Ni le pacha du Caire et ses chevaux numides
        Qui mordaient le vôtre au poitrail;

    Ce n'était pas ce bruit de bombe et de mitraille
    Que vingt ans sous ses pieds avait fait la bataille
        Déchaînée en noirs tourbillons,
    Quand son souffle poussait sur cette mer troublée
    Les drapeaux frissonnants penchés dans la mêlée,
        Comme les mâts des bataillons;

    Ce n'était pas Madrid, le Kremlin et le Phare,
    La diane au matin fredonnant sa fanfare,
    Les bivacs sommeillant dans les feux étoilés,
    Les dragons chevelus, les grenadiers épiques,
    Et les rouges lanciers fourmillant dans les piques.
    Comme des fleurs de pourpre en l'épaisseur des blés;

    Non, ce qui l'occupait, c'est l'ombre blonde et rose
    D'un bel enfant qui dort la bouche demi-close,
        Gracieux comme l'Orient;
    Tandis qu'avec amour sa nourrice enchantée,
    D'une goutte de lait au bout du sein restée,
        Agace sa lèvre en riant!

    Le père, alors, posait les coudes sur sa chaise;
    Son cœur plein de sanglots se dégonflait à l'aise;
        Il pleurait d'amour éperdu ...

    Sois béni, pauvre enfant, tête aujourd'hui glacée,
    Seul être qui pouvait distraire sa pensée
        Du trône du monde perdu!

                        ***

    Tous deux sont morts! Seigneur, votre droite est terrible!
    Vous avez commencé par le maître invincible,
        Par l'homme triomphant;
    Puis vous avez enfin complété l'ossuaire.
    Dix ans vous out suffi pour filer le suaire
        Du père et de l'enfant!

    Gloire, jeunesse, orgueil, biens que la tombe emporte!
    L'homme voudrait laisser quelque chose à la porte;
        Mais la mort lui dit: 'Non!'
    Chaque élément retourne où tout doit redescendre!
    L'air reprend la fumée et la terre la cendre;
        L'oubli reprend le nom."

I decidedly prefer poetry to politics. Do you not agree with me, dear
reader? Now, how did the poor exiled child live and die; the poor
eaglet that fell out of its nest? That is what we are going to tell in
the following chapters.



CHAPTER IV


Edict unbaptizing the King of Rome--Anecdotes of the childhood of the
Duc de Reichstadt--Letter of Sir Hudson Lowe announcing the death of
Napoleon


It was at Schönbrünn, in the same palace in which the emperor lived
during 1805, after Austerlitz, and, in 1809, after Wagram, that
Marie-Louis and her son were received by the Imperial family of
Austria. As the first care of England had been to despoil Napoleon of
his title of Emperor, so the first care of Francis II. was to take away
the name of Napoleon from his grandson.

On 22 July 1818 the Emperor of Austria published the following edict:--

    "We, Francis II., by the grace of God, Emperor of Austria;
    King of Jerusalem, Hungary, Bohemia, of Lombardy and
    of Venice, of Dalmatia, Croatia, Esclavonia, Gallicia,
    Lodomeria and Illyria; Archduke of Austria, Duke of
    Lorraine, of Saltzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, the
    high and low Silesia; Grand-Prince of Transylvania; Margrave
    of Moravia; Count-Prince of Hapsburg and of the Tyrol,
    etc. etc.; would have it known that--As we find that, in
    consequence of the act of the Vienna Congress and the
    negotiations which have since taken place in Paris with our
    principal allies, in putting into execution in the matter
    of determining the title, rank and personal relations of
    Prince François Joseph-Charles, son of our beloved daughter
    Marie-Louise, Archduchess of Austria, Duchess of Parma, of
    Plaisance and of Guastalla, we have accordingly decreed as
    follows:--

    "1. We give to Prince François-Joseph-Charles, son of our
    beloved daughter the Archduchess Marie-Louise, the title of
    Duc de Reichstadt, and we at the same time command that in
    future all our authorities and every private person shall
    give him, when addressing him either by word of mouth or in
    writing, at the beginning of the speech, or heading of a
    letter, the title of Most Serene Duke, and in the text that
    of Most Serene Highness.

    "2. We permit him to have and to make use of special
    armorial bearings: to wit, gules with fesse of gold, two
    lions passant with their backs turned to the right, one in
    chief the other in point; one oval placed on a ducal mantle
    and stamped with a ducal crown; for support two griffins,
    sable armed, picked out and crowned with gold, holding
    banners on which the ducal arms shall be repeated.

    "3. Prince François Joseph-Charles, Duc de Reichstadt, will
    take rank in the Court and throughout the whole extent of
    our Empire, immediately after the princes of our family and
    the Archdukes of Austria.

    "Two identical copies of the present declaration and
    ordinance, signed by us,'have been dispatched to inform
    every one whose business it is to conform to them. One copy
    has been deposited in our private family archives of Court
    and State. Issued in our capital and residence of Vienna,
    the 22nd of July of the year 1818, the twenty-seventh of our
    reign. FRANÇOIS"

It was, as one can see, impossible better to conceal this poor
intruder, of which the family was ashamed. There was no more mention
of his being a Frenchman, or his name of Napoleon, than if France had
not existed or than if it had never had an Empire. He will no longer
have any family name: he will have the name of a duchy; he will not
have that of _Majesty_ or _Sire_; he is to be Most Serene Highness.
Of the French Eagle, the eagle which in 1804 flew from the Pyramids
to Vienna, which in 1814 flew from steeple to steeple as far as the
towers of Notre-Dame, there is no more question than of the name of
the nationality; the Duke of Reichstadt will have _two lions d'or
passant upon gules,_ like a count of the Holy Empire--not even the
Buonaparte star; not even the bees of the isle of Elba. He will take
rank at Court after the princes of the Imperial family. Thus, he is
not even a prince of the Imperial family in his own right through his
mother!--Silence as to his father! He has no father and never had;
moreover, the father he might have had calls himself simply, or is
so called by Sir Hudson Lowe, _General Bonaparte._ True, there is a
future for the poor disinherited one in the love of his grandfather,
who worships him; if he behaves himself well, he will be a colonel
in an Austrian or a Hungarian regiment! There was also the future of
Marcellus and the one that Providence is keeping for him out of its
profound pity! And yet the poor child remembered; and that was his
martyrdom. One day--he was scarcely six years old--he came up to the
emperor, leant against his knees, and said--

"Dear grandfather, is it not true that when I was in Paris I had pages?"

"Yes," replied the emperor, "I believe you had."

"Is it not true, too, that they called me the King of Rome?"

"Yes. You were called King of Rome."

"Well, then, grandpapa, what does being King of Rome mean?"

"It is useless to explain it to you, as you are no longer it."

"But why am I not?"

"My child," replied the emperor, "when you are grown up, it will be
easy to instruct you on that point. For the moment, I will just tell
you that, in addition to my title of Emperor of Austria, I join that of
King of Jerusalem, without having any sort of power over the city. Very
well, you are King of Rome as I am King of Jerusalem."

Another time the young prince was playing with lead soldiers, amongst
which were a good number of irregular Cossacks. A painter, M. Hummel,
who was painting his portrait, came to him.

"Have you ever seen Cossacks, monseigneur?" he asked.

"Yes, certainly, I have seen them," replied the child: "they were
Cossacks who escorted us when we left France."

The painter asked M. Dietrichstein, his tutor, when the prince's
portrait was finished, "With what order ought I to decorate His
Highness, Monsieur le Comte?"

"With the Order of Saint-Stephen, which His Majesty the Emperor of
Austria sent him in his infancy."

"But, Monsieur le Comte," said the child, "I have many others besides
that!"

"Yes, monseigneur; but you do not wear them any longer."

"Why?"

"Because they have been abolished."

Poor child! it was not the orders that had been abolished; but his
fortune which had fallen.

At that age, the Duc de Reichstadt was perfectly beautiful, with
great blue eyes and rose-leaf complexion, and long, fair, curly hair
falling on to his shoulders. All his movements were full of grace and
prettiness; he spoke French with the accent peculiar to Parisians. He
had to learn German, and it was a great business and a daily and hourly
struggle and difficulty.

"If I speak German," he said, "I shall not be French any more."

However, the Duc de Reichstadt was obliged to resign himself to learn
M. de Metternich's tongue, and it was the one he constantly spoke when
he had learned it with the princes of the Imperial family.

One day, a courier from M. de Rothschild arrived in Vienna; he brought
great news, news which, in former times, would have been announced by
comets and earthquakes: Napoleon had died on May 1821! The news reached
Vienna on 22 July--the day on which, three years previously, the Duc de
Reichstadt had lost his name; the day on which, eleven years later, he
was to lose his life.

The Comte de Dietrichstein was absent, and the emperor charged M.
Foresti with the telling of the fatal news to the young duke, who
had just reached his tenth birthday. M. Foresti adored the prince;
he had been with him since 1815. He broke the news with all kinds of
circumlocution, but, at the first words he uttered, the prince said--

"My father is dead, is he not?"

"Monseigneur ..."

"He is dead?"

"Indeed, yes!"

"How could one want him to live ... over there!" exclaimed the child,
bursting into tears.

Contrary to the custom of Imperial etiquette, he wore mourning for a
year; he insisted on it when they tried to make him give it up. They
appealed to the emperor, who replied--

"Leave it to the child's own heart."

If you wish to know in what fashion the news was officially announced
to the Court of Vienna, see the original letter of Sir Hudson Lowe to
Baron Sturmer--

    "SAINT-HELENA, 27 _May_ 1821

    "MONSIEUR LE BARON,--He is no more! A disease which,
    according to the opinion current in his family, was
    hereditary, carried him to the grave on the 5th of this
    month: tumour and cancer of the stomach near the pylorus.
    On opening the body, with the consent of the persons of his
    entourage, they discovered an ulcer close to the pylorus
    which caused adherence to the liver; and, on opening the
    stomach, they could trace the progress of the disease. The
    interior of the stomach was almost entirely a _mass of
    cancerous disease, or of scirrhous portions advancing the
    cancer._ His father died of the same disease at the age of
    thirty-six; it should have struck him down when he was on
    the throne of France at the hour fixed by fate, _according
    to his own way of thinking on the subject._ He was not
    confined to his room until 17 March; but a change had been
    noticeable in him since last November, an unusual pallor and
    a peculiar way of walking. He, however, took exercise twice
    a day, generally in a little carriage; but his paleness and
    weakness seemed always to persist.

    "He was offered the advice of English doctors, but he would
    not receive any visit from them until 1 April, the month
    before his death. It was Professor Antomarchi who attended
    him before this period and continued to do so to his
    decease: it was he, too, who opened the body in the presence
    of nearly every doctor on the island. Dr. Arnott, of the
    20th Regiment, a very clever and experienced man, was called
    in to see him on 1 April, and continued to attend him to the
    last. He has notified his gratitude to him by bequeathing
    him a gold snuff-box, the last he used, on which he engraved
    with his own hand the letter N. He has also left him a sum
    of money (five hundred pounds).

    "Comte Montholon is the principal depositary of his last
    wishes; Comte Bertrand only came second.

    "He had strongly urged Comte Bertrand to do his utmost to
    make peace with me, saving always his sense of honour: I was
    not even told of this. He made advances, and, as I have no
    rancour in my disposition (as far as a person can judge of
    himself), I did not repulse them.

    "It was, however, all along more on account of the
    pretensions of the great marshal and his wounded pride,
    rather than those of the emperor, that caused matters to
    go wrong here from the very first; and from information
    received, it is evident that towards the end the emperor
    began to see this.

    "There is a codicil to his will by which all the effects
    here are left to Comtes Bertrand and Montholon and to
    Marchand. Montholon is the principal executor. They knew
    nothing, or they said they knew nothing, of the will.

    "In view of the time you spent here, I am induced to think
    that these few details will be specially interesting to you,
    and I will not make excuses for intruding them upon you.
    Give my compliments and those of Lady Lowe to Madame la
    baronne de Sturmer, and, believe me always, Your faithful
    and obedient Servant,

    "H. LOWE, M.P."

    "_P.S_.--Bonaparte had himself guessed the cause of his
    illness. Some time before his death, he desired that his
    body should be opened, in order, as he told Bertrand and
    Montholon, to discover if there were any means of saving his
    son from the malady.

    "Excuse my scrawl.

    "H. L."

Do you notice that, in no part of the letter is the name of the dead
man used? It is only in the postscript that it falls from the pen of
the herald of death.

Was it not because the gaoler was ashamed to pronounce the name of his
captive; the executioner felt remorse in pronouncing the name of the
sufferer? When Napoleon was dead the whole world turned its attention,
which had been divided between Schönbrünn and Saint-Helena, solely
towards Schönbrünn.



CHAPTER V


Prince Metternich is appointed to teach the history of Napoleon to
the Duc de Reichstadt--The duke's plan of political conduct--The poet
Barthélemy at Vienna--His interviews with Count Dietrichstein--Opinion
of the Duc de Reichstadt on the poem _Napoléon en Égypte_


"Prince Metternich," says M. de Montbel, "was expressly charged to
teach the Duc de Reichstadt the _exact and complete_ history of
Napoleon." What irony! To charge the man who signed the instructions of
M. de Sturmer, the representative of Austria Saint-Helena, to teach the
son the _exact and complete_ story of the father whose name the son no
longer bore, whose title and arms he no longer carried!

Poor prisoner! Could they but have added this torture to thy agony by
saying to thee, "Thy son only knows thee through the appreciation and
according to the narrative of M. de Metternich!"

"I desire," said the Emperor Francis to the Prime Minister, "that the
duke should respect the memory of his father, take example from his
great qualities and learn to know his faults in order to avoid them
and be warned against their fatal influence. Speak to the prince about
his father as you would like people to speak of you to your own son.
Do not, because of that, hide the truth from him, but instruct him, I
repeat, to honour his memory."

"'Henceforth," says M. de Montbel, with an artlessness which might very
well be intended more for sarcasm than duplicity, "M. de Metternich
directed the Duc de Reichstadt in his superior historical studies. By
putting before him unexceptionable documents, he accustomed him to know
the good faith of factions and the justice of party spirit; he tried
to form his mind to habits of sane criticism, to enlighten his reason
by teaching him to appraise actions and events from their causes as
well as judge them from results. The Duc de Reichstadt received this
advanced education with great enthusiasm: the justice and penetration
of his mind made him fully appreciate its importance. In proportion
as he read works relative to the history of our days _he consulted
the Prince Metternich in all his doubts,_ he loved to question his
experience and his recognised cleverness in many great events in which
he had taken an active part. From this time the young duke displayed
habitual eagerness to be near M. de Metternich."

The poor child's whole life was henceforth to be contained in the few
lines we have just quoted.

Once, when he met the emperor and the prince together, he went up to
them and said--

"The chief object of my life ought to be that I should not be unworthy
of my father's renown; I shall attain this noble end, as far as it
is in my power. I shall some day succeed in making one of his high
qualities my own by avoiding the rocks they made him encounter. I shall
fail in the duties his memory lays upon me if I become the plaything
of factions and the tool of intrigues. The son of Napoleon can never
descend to the despicable rôle of an adventurer!"

From the moment the Duc de Reichstadt showed such reasonableness, M. de
Metternich and the Emperor of Austria had henceforth nothing more to
fear.

It was about this time, and when the political education of the young
prince had been finished by M. de Metternich, that Méry and Barthélemy
published, on 10 November 1828, their poem, _Napoléon en Égypte._ The
tremendous success of the poem is well known. Henceforward one pious
idea sprang up in their hearts and in their minds; one of them would
go to Vienna and offer to the young duke the epic poem, the hero of
which is his father. Barthélemy went. We will let him describe his
pilgrimage, and will afterwards relate the effect his presence produced
in Vienna.

    "The object of my journey being to be presented to the
    Duc de Reichstadt and to offer our poem to him, you may
    imagine I neglected no possible means of attaining it.
    Among the numbers of people who testified some interest in
    the matter, some were entirely without influence, others,
    with some reason, feared to mix themselves up in an affair
    of this nature. So I found myself reduced to being my
    own adviser and protector. I thought that, instead of
    making use of roundabout ways, which would have drawn down
    serious suspicions as to my peaceful intentions, it would
    be better to approach the object of my journey at Vienna.
    Accordingly, I presented myself to the Comte de Czernin,
    who is the emperor's _Oberhofmeister,_ an office which I
    believe answers to that of grand chamberlain. The venerable
    old man received me with a kindness and complaisancy which
    touched me much; and when I propounded to him the object of
    my visit, he did not seem at all surprised at it: only he
    told me to address myself to Comte Dietrichstein, who was
    specially responsible for the young prince's education, and
    he even wished me to introduce myself under his auspices.
    I did not lose a moment, on quitting Comte de Czernin, but
    presented myself immediately to M. Dietrichstein. It gave
    me genuine pleasure to be in the company of one of the
    most amiable and highly accomplished lords of the Court
    of Vienna. To the office of first tutor to the Duc de
    Reichstadt he added the office of director of the library,
    and, in view of this latter title, I could boldly put
    forward my condition as a man of letters. He indeed told me
    that our names and works were known to him; that he had even
    taken the trouble to send to France for all the brochures
    which we had published up to that time, and that he was
    impatiently awaiting our last poem. As I had armed myself
    with a copy ready for any opportunity, I hastened to offer
    him one, and even! to write and sign a dedication to him
    inside it, which appeared to please him much. Encouraged by
    this reception, I thought it a propitious moment to make a
    decisive overture.

    "'Monsieur le Comte,' I said to him, 'as you have shown such
    great kindness to me, I will venture to pray you to help me
    in the business that has brought me to Vienna. I have come
    with the sole object of presenting this book to the Duc de
    Reichstadt; no one can second me better in my design than
    his head-tutor. I hope that you will indeed accede to my
    request.'

    "At the first words of this humble, verbal request,
    the count's face assumed an expression not so much of
    displeasure as of uneasiness and constraint; he seemed to
    be amiable enough to have emboldened me to make the demand,
    and, no doubt, he would have preferred not to be under the
    necessity of answering me. After a few minutes' silence, he
    said to me--

    "'Is it really true that you have come to Vienna to see
    the young prince?... Who can have encouraged you in such a
    proceeding? Is it possible that you have reckoned on your
    journey being successful? They must indeed have false, and
    even ridiculous, notions in France about what goes on here?
    Do you not know that the politics of France and those of
    Austria are equally opposed to it, and that no stranger
    whatever, especially not a Frenchman, can be presented to
    the prince? What you ask is, therefore, totally impossible.
    I am truly sorry that you have taken such a long and
    troublesome journey without any chance of success,' etc.,
    etc.

    "I replied that I had no commission from anybody to come to
    Austria; that it was my own action, and that I had decided
    on the journey without outside pressure; that in France it
    was generally thought not to be difficult to be presented to
    the Duc de Reichstadt, and that they had even been assured
    that he received the French with most particular kindliness;
    that, besides, the precautionary measures which kept
    foreigners away did not seem to me to apply to me, simply
    a man of letters, or to an inconspicuous citizen, who had
    never filled any political rôle or office.

    "'I perceive,' I added, 'that my zeal may seem exaggerated
    to you; yet reflect that we have just published a poem
    on Napoleon. Is it, then, strange that we should wish to
    present it to his son? Do you think a literary man has a
    hidden object? You only have to convince yourself to the
    contrary. I do not ask an interview with the prince without
    witnesses: it shall be before you, before ten persons if you
    like, and if a single word escapes from me which can alarm
    the most suspicious political feeling, I consent to end my
    days in an Austrian prison.'

    "The tutor replied that all the rumours spread abroad
    through France on the subject of persons presented to
    the Duc de Reichstadt were completely false: that he
    was persuaded that the object of my journey was purely
    literary, and detached from all political thought; but that,
    nevertheless, it was impossible for him to go beyond his
    orders; that the strictest guard prevented this kind of
    interview; that the measures taken were not the result of
    momentary caprice, but of a constant system adopted by both
    the Courts; that it was not applicable to me alone, but to
    all who attempted to approach the prince, and that I should
    be wrong to feel myself especially hurt on account of it.

    "'In fact,' he added, 'these rigorous measures should be
    excused on the ground of fear of an attempt upon his person.'

    "'But,' I said to him, 'an attempt of that nature is always
    to be apprehended on behalf of the Duc de Reichstadt, for
    the duke is not surrounded by guards. A resolute man could
    always gain access to him, and one second would suffice to
    commit a crime! Your watchfulness is, therefore, at fault
    in this respect. Now you, perhaps, fear that too free
    conversation with foreigners may reveal secrets to him or
    inspire him with dangerous hopes; but, with all your power,
    Monsieur le Comte, is it possible for you to prevent a
    letter, a petition, some warning, being transmitted to him,
    openly or clandestinely, whether during a walk, or at the
    theatre, or in any other place? For instance, if, instead
    of having frankly applied to you, I had posted myself in
    his way; if I had boldly gone up to him, and, in your very
    presence, had handed him a copy of _Napoléon en Égypte_
    ... you can very well see how I could have ruined all your
    precautions, and I could have fulfilled my object, though,
    I confess, it would have been by violent means; but then, it
    is none the less true that the prince would have received my
    copy, and would have read it, or, at least, would have known
    the title of it.'

    "M. Dietrichstein made me a reply which froze me with
    astonishment--

    "'Listen, monsieur; be very sure that the prince only hears
    or sees or reads what we wish him to read or see or hear. If
    he received a letter, an envelope, a book, which had evaded
    our vigilance, and it came to him without passing through
    our hands, believe me, his first care would be to hand it
    to us before opening it; he would not decide to look at it
    until we had pronounced he could do so safely.'

    "'After that, Monsieur le Comte, it seems to me that the son
    of Napoleon is very far from being as free as in France he
    is supposed to be!'

    "Answer--'The prince is not a prisoner ... but he is in a
    quite peculiar position. Please do not press me any further
    with your questions: I cannot satisfy you thoroughly: give
    up the plan which brought you here. I repeat, it is an
    absolute impossibility.'

    "'Very well, you take away all hope from me! I can certainly
    not apply to any one else after your decision, and I feel
    it is useless to renew my entreaties; but, at all events,
    you cannot refuse to give him this copy in the name of the
    authors. He has no doubt a library, and the book is not
    dangerous enough to be placed on the Index.'

    "M. Dietrichstein shook his head irresolutely. I saw it was
    painful to him to overwhelm me with two refusals on the same
    day; so, not wishing to compel him to be too explicit, I
    bade him good-bye, begging him to read the poem, to convince
    himself that it contained nothing seditious, and hoping
    that, being convinced, he would consent to favour my second
    request.

    "About a fortnight later, I returned to the head-tutor
    and resumed my former importunities. He was amazed at my
    persistency.

    "'I really do not understand you!' he said to me; 'you place
    too much importance on seeing the prince. Be satisfied to
    know that he is happy, that he is without ambition. His
    career is all mapped out: he will never go near France; _he
    will not even think of doing it._ Repeat all this to your
    compatriots; disabuse their minds, if it be possible. I do
    not ask you to keep what I have told you secret; quite the
    reverse: I beg you, on your return to France, to announce
    it, and even to write of it if you like. As for the placing
    of your copy, do not count on it. Your book is extremely
    beautiful as poetry; but it is dangerous for the son of
    Napoleon. Your style is full of imagination and vivacity of
    description; these qualities, and the colouring you give to
    history, all might excite enthusiasm in his young head and
    vivify the germs of ambition, and these, not being able to
    produce any result, would only serve to disgust him with
    his actual position. He knows all he ought to know about
    history,--that is to say, dates and names. You must see,
    after this, that your book cannot be suitable for him.'

    "I still insisted for some time; but I soon saw that the
    head-tutor only listened to me out of civility. I did not
    wish to exhaust myself over useless prayers, and therefore,
    disabused of my innocent chimera, I looked upon the visit as
    a farewell audience and only thought of returning to France.

    "Up to the moment of my departure I continued to visit
    the persons who had testified to so much interest in me.
    At one of these peaceful gatherings they repeated to me
    a suggestion of the Duc de Reichstadt which struck me
    particularly. I had it from a reliable source, and if I were
    not afraid of damaging the fortune of that person, I would
    mention her here; but we will content ourselves with the
    statement that she saw the prince in familiar intercourse
    every day. Latterly, the odd youth seemed absorbed by one
    rooted idea; he was entirely distracted during his lessons.
    Suddenly he struck his forehead impatiently, and let slip
    these words:--

    "'But what do they wish to do with me then? Do they think I
    have a head like my father's?...'

    "One must conclude, therefore, that the living rampart
    which surrounded him had been cleared; that a letter or an
    indiscreet envelope had been sprung upon him, and for once
    he had violated the orders which they prescribed him, of
    not reading anything without the consent of his teachers."

The poet not being able to see the Duc de Reichstadt privately, at
least did not mean to leave Vienna without seeing him in public. He
learnt, one day, that the prince was to go that night to the theatre;
he took a stall and seated himself opposite the Court box.

His lines will tell better than my prose what effect that appearance
made upon him:--

  "Bientôt, dans une loge où nul flambeau ne brille,
  Arrivent gravement César et sa famille,
  De princes, d'archiducs, inépuisable cour,
  Comme l'aire d'un aigle ou le nid d'un vautour.
  On lisait sur leurs fronts, dans leur morne attitude,
  Les ennuis d'un plaisir usé par l'habitude.
  Un lustre aux feux mourants, descendu du plafond,
  Mêlait sa lueur triste au silence profond;
  Seulement, par secousse, à l'angle de la salle,
  Résonnait quelquefois la toux impériale.
  Alors, un léger bruit réveilla mon esprit;
  Dans la loge voisine, une porte s'ouvrit,
  Et, dans la profondeur de cette enceinte obscure,
  Apparut tout à coup une pâle figure ...
  Éteinte dans ce cadre au milieu d'un fond noir,
  Elle était immobile, et l'on aurait cru voir
  Un tableau de Rembrandt chargé de teintes sombres,
  Où la blancheur des chairs se détache des ombres.
  Je sentis dans mes os un étrange frisson;
  Dans ma tête siffla le tintement d'un son;
  L'œil fixe, le cou roide et la bouche entr'ouverte,
  Je ne vis plus qu'un point dans la salle déserte:
  Acteurs, peuple, empereur, tout semblait avoir fui;
  Et, croyant être seul, je m'écriai: 'C'est lui!'
  C'était lui! Tout à coup, la figure isolée
  D'un coup d'œil vif et prompt parcourut l'assemblée.
  Telle, en éclairs de feu, jette un reflet pareil
  Une lame d'acier qu'on agite au soleil.
  Puis, comme réprimant un geste involontaire,
  Il rendit à ses traits leur habitude austère,
  Et s'assit. Cependent, mes regards curieux
  Dessinaient à loisir l'être mystérieux:
  Voyant cet œil rapide où brille la pensée,
  Ce teint blanc de Louise et sa taille élancée.
  Ces vifs tressaillements, ces mouvements nerveux,
  Ce front saillant et large, orné de blonds cheveux;
  Oui, ce corps, cette tête où la tristesse est peinte,
  Du sang qui les forma portent la double empreinte!
  Je ne sais toutefois ... je ne puis sans douleur
  Contempler ce visage éclatant de pâleur;
  On dirait que la vie à la mort s'y mélange!
  Voyez-vous comme moi cette couleur étrange?
  Quel germe destructeur, sous l'écorce agissant,
  A sitôt défloré ce fruit adolescent?
  Assailli, malgré moi, d'un effroi salutaire,
  Je n'ose pour moi-même éclaircir ce mystère.
  Le noir conseil des cours, au peuple défendu,
  Est un profond abîme où nul n'est descendu:
  Invisible dépôt, il est, dans chaque empire,
  Une énigme, un secret qui jamais ne transpire;
  C'est ce secret d'État que, sur le crucifix,
  Les rois, en expirant, révèlent à leurs fils!
  Faut-il vous répéter un effroyable doute?
  Écoutez ... ou plutôt que personne n'écoute!
  S'il est vrai qu'à ta cour, malheureux nourrisson,
  La moderne Locuste ait transmis sa leçon,
  Cette horrible pâleur, sinistre caractère,
  Annonce de ton sang le mal héréditaire;
  Et peut-être aujourd'hui, méthodique assassin,
  Le cancer politique est déjà dans ton sein!
  Mais non! mon âme, en vain de terreurs obsédée,
  Repousse en frissonnant, une infernale idée;
  J'aime mieux accuser l'étude aux longues nuits,
  Des souvenirs amers ou de vagues ennuis.
  Comme une jeune plante à la tige légère.
  Que poussa l'ouragan sur la terre étrangère,
  Loin du sol paternel languit et ne produit
  Que des fleurs sans parfum et des boutons sans fruit,
  Sans doute, l'orphelin que la grande tempête
  Emporta vers le Nord dans son berceau de fête,
  Aujourd'hui, comprimant de cuisantes douleurs,
  Tourne vers l'Occident des yeux chargés de pleurs!..."

The poet had collected as much as he could during his voyage: he had
seen the poor Imperial child from afar, at the back of a box! He went
away predicting, as we see, a precocious and early death.

If we believe M. de Montbel, after the departure of Barthélemy
_Napoléon en Égypte_ was read by the Imperial family in the presence of
the Duc de Reichstadt, who listened to the reading with the profoundest
indifference: he merely contented himself with saying that they had
done right not to let the author of such a work have access to him.

Was he really so indifferent, so deceitful and ungrateful?



CHAPTER VI


Journey of the Duc de Reichstadt--M. le Chevalier de
Prokesch--Questions concerning the recollections left by _Napoléon
en Égypte_--The ambition of the Duc de Reichstadt--The Comtesse
Camerata--The prince is appointed lieutenant-colonel--He becomes hoarse
when holding a review--He falls ill--Report upon his health by Dr.
Malfatti


In the month of June 1830 the Emperor of Austria left Vienna, as was
his custom every year, to visit some of his provinces; this year it
was Styria's turn to be honoured with the emperor's tour. His Majesty
took with him Marie-Louise and her son, and they arrived at Gratz.
There they found Lieutenant-Colonel Prokesch of Osten, who had just
been travelling in Greece, Asia Minor, the Holy Land, Egypt and Nubia.
He was a distinguished man, both by birth and by personal qualities;
he had published several military treatises; among others one on the
campaign of 1812 and one on that of 1815. The emperor invited him to
dinner, and he was placed at table next to the Duc de Reichstadt. The
prince addressed him first.

"I have known you for a long while," he said to him, "and I am very
much interested in you."

"How have I managed to deserve such interest on your part,
monseigneur?" asked the Chevalier de Prokesch.

"I have read and studied your work on the battle of Waterloo, and I was
so pleased with it that I have translated it into French and Italian."

After dinner, the prince addressed numerous questions about the East
to the traveller, about its actual condition and the character of its
inhabitants.

"What do they remember of my father in Egypt?" he asked.

"They remember him as a meteor which passed dazzlingly through their
country."

"You are talking, monsieur," the duke replied, "of men of superior
ideas like Mohamet-Ali, Ibrahim-Pacha; but I am speaking of the people,
the Turks and Arabs and Fellahs; I ask you what all those folk think of
General Bonaparte? Having had to bear the evil effects of the wax, do
they not harbour a deep resentment?"

"Yes, doubtless. At first there was unfriendly feeling; but, later,
it gave place to other sentiments, and there now only remains a great
admiration for the memory of your illustrious father. The hatred which
exists between the Turks and the Arabs is so great that, to-day,
present evils have totally effaced the memory of the evils they had to
endure at another period."

"I am aware of that explanation," said the duke; "but the multitude
generally considers a great man after the manner in which it looks at
a beautiful picture, without the power to account for what goes to
constitute its merit: so the impression he leaves in their memories
must be but ephemeral. Only superior minds can appreciate great men and
preserve the memory of them."

"You are mistaken in this case, monseigneur: the people are faithful to
their religion. Great men are gods who do not permit other divinities,
or who discuss them before admitting them. The people judge by their
feelings, and not by mental appreciation; and they worship the
immortals from enthusiasm."

The Duc de Reichstadt often spoke of the captains of antiquity,
preferring Cæsar to Alexander, and Hannibal to Cæsar. The following is
the eulogium which, according to the Chevalier de Prokesch, he gave on
the conqueror of the Trebia, Trasimena and of Cannes.

"He is the finest military genius of antiquity; the cleverest man in
strategy of his age. He has been reproached--by whom? by academic
pedants and library strategists,--for not knowing how to take advantage
of the success he had obtained; but conceive the difference there
existed between Hannibal, chief of an empire, freely disposing of his
resources, and the simple general of a jealous republic? of a senate
made up of those who envied him, and of narrow minds which, by shameful
schemings, refused the means of assuring the triumph of his arms?
Hannibal has the merit of having trained Scipio for his victories; and
one of the greatest phenomena of ancient times is to see this general,
by his genius, make a nation of shopkeepers successful for so long as a
military people."

We will not criticise these ideas beyond saying that they are a little
stilted, after the classical style. Did the son of the man whose
incoherent style strode with giant steps or with lion-like leaps,
bursting ever into images, talk thus? M. de Montbel and M. le Chevalier
de Prokesch will reply. And then the style of the lines we have just
read will explain what follows.

"You have a noble aim before you, monseigneur," said M. de Prokesch
to the young duke. "Austria has become your adopted country.... (Poor
child, he remembered the Cossacks because they had brought him out
of France!). Austria has become your adopted country, and with your
talents you can prepare yourself to do it immense services in the
future!"

"I feel it as you do, monsieur," replied the Duc de Reichstadt. "My
ideas must not demean themselves by disturbing France; I do not wish to
be an adventurer, I do not particularly wish to serve as the instrument
and laughing-stock of Liberal views. It will be a sufficiently noble
ambition for me to try some day to walk in the footprints of Prince
Eugène de Savoie. But how am I to prepare myself for so great a rôle?
How am I to attain to such a height? I want to find round me men whose
talents and experience will facilitate the means, if possible, of
providing this honourable career."

Is this in the very least the style you would have supposed the son
of the man of the proclamations of Marengo, of the Pyramids and of
Austerlitz to have used! True, when we borrow from Reichstadt through
M. de Montbel it is translated from Carlism, and when he borrows from
M. de Prokesch it is translated from the Austrian.

The revolution of July came and made itself heard throughout the whole
world. This time the eyes of a whole party turned towards Napoleon II.,
and, strange to say, it was M. de Talleyrand who took upon himself to
be the organ of that party at Vienna! Needless to say, all proposals
were rejected. Then a woman of sturdy courage, of the Napoleon family,
both in spirit and in face, tried to arouse in the young prince's mind
something of what Ulysses meant to demand from Achilles, lost amongst
the daughters of Deidamia. This woman was the Comtesse Camerata,
daughter of Elisa Bacciochi. She arrived in Vienna one day, and lodged
at the Hôtel du Cygne in the rue de Carinthia.--It was about the
beginning of November 1830. One night, when returning to the house of
M. d'Obenaus, his tutor, the Duc de Reichstadt found a young woman,
wrapped in a Scotch plaid, waiting for him on the staircase landing.
When she caught sight of the duc, she moved quickly towards him, took
his hand, pressed it and then carried it to her lips with an expression
of the liveliest tenderness. The prince stopped, amazed.

"Madame," M. d'Obenaus asked, who accompanied the Duc de Reichstadt,
"what are you doing, and what do you want?"

"Who shall prevent me from kissing the hand of the son of my sovereign?"

Then she vanished. A few days later, the duke found a letter in an
unknown writing on his table, and opened it.

It was dated 17 November, and contained the following lines:--

    "PRINCE,--I write to you for the third time. Tell me if you
    have received my letters, and whether you mean to act as
    an Austrian archduke or as a French prince. In the first
    case, deliver up my letters: by destroying me you will
    acquire a more lofty position, and this act of devotion will
    redound to your glory. But if, on the contrary, you take
    advantage of my advice, if you play the man, you shall see
    how obstacles will give way before a calm and strong will.
    You will find a thousand means of speaking to me, which I
    cannot compass alone. You can only have hope in yourself: do
    not let the thought of putting confidence in some one else
    even enter your mind! You know that if I asked to see you
    even before a hundred witnesses my request would be refused;
    you know that you are dead to all that is French and to
    your family. In the name of the horrible tortures to which
    the king of Europe has condemned your father; in thinking
    of that anguish of banishment by which they have made him
    expiate the crime of being too generous towards them,
    remember that you are his son, that his dying looks were
    settled on your face; steep yourself in these horrors, and
    impose upon them the punishment of seeing you seated on the
    throne of France! Take advantage of this chance, prince!...
    I have perhaps said too much: my fate is in your hands, and
    I can tell you that if you make use of my letters to destroy
    me the thought of your cowardice will give me more suffering
    than anything they may make me endure! The man who hands you
    this letter is commissioned also to bring back your reply.
    If you are honourable you will not refuse me one.

    "NAPOLEONE CAMERATA"

This letter frightened the young prince dreadfully: it was an appeal
straight, clear and positive. "Are you an Austrian archduke or a French
prince?" That was the question. The duke opened his heart to the
Chevalier de Prokesch concerning this incident and the uneasiness it
caused him.

"You know very well," he said to him, "that I shall not take as guide
of my conduct, and as guarantors of my future, persons of so exalted a
character; but I find myself in a genuinely embarrassing position. It
is due to my feelings towards the emperor (when the Duc de Reichstadt
talks of _the emperor_ he always means the Emperor Francis II.), as
also to the dignity of my situation, that I should not hide either my
troubles or my doings; it would seem acting wrongly to him to be silent
about this circumstance. On the other hand, I do not wish to injure
the countess; she is wanting in prudence, but she has a right to my
consideration.... Besides, she is a woman. Yet my first duty is towards
the emperor. Could you not go to the Comte de Dietrichstein for me,
and confide to him what has happened, and ask him to settle matters so
that the Comtesse Camerata shall not be put to any persecution or any
unpleasantness and not be compelled to go away from Vienna?"

After looking carefully into the affair, the Chevalier de Prokesch
approved of the prince's resolution, and willingly undertook the
mission His Highness had confided to him. Next day he received a note
as follows:--

    "Since I saw you I have received a fresh letter from the
    Comtesse Camerata. It was d'Obenaus' valet de chambre who
    put the first one on my table, which I confided to your
    care--send it me back; it is expedient and necessary for
    me to speak of it to Obenaus. I will arrange things so as
    to avoid all mischief-making and scandal; but I will not
    reply. Let there be no further question about that. I hope
    to see you at six o'clock to resume our reading.
    FRANÇOIS DE REICHSTADT"

Although the Comtesse Camerata had received no reply, she did not look
upon herself as beaten. At the risk of what might happen to her, she
still remained for three weeks in Vienna, putting herself everywhere
in the prince's path: at the theatre, at Prater and at Schönbrünn. But
the Duc de Reichstadt showed no signs of knowing her! Tired of this
silence, she finally went away to Prague. The prince's conduct met
with its reward: that same month the emperor--the Emperor Francis II.
of course--made him a lieutenant-colonel; but, as though fate wished
to make him understand that he must be Cæsar or nothing--_Aut Cæsar
aut nihil_--at the first words of command he tried to utter his voice
became hoarse, and he was obliged to discontinue his duty. A frequent
cough followed the hoarseness. The prince fell ill of the disease which
was to cause his death.

Let us hear what his own doctor said about it--Dr. Malfatti:--

    "I was called in by the Duc de Reichstadt as his regular
    doctor in the month of May 1830. I succeeded three men
    of high reputation: the celebrated Frank and Drs. Goëlis
    and Standenheimer. M. de Herbeck had filled the office of
    surgeon-in-ordinary to the prince. These doctors had not
    left any diary of the young duke's ?health. M. le Comte de
    Dietrichstein was good enough to supply this deficiency by
    informing me of many particulars which it was indispensable
    to know.

    "The prince ate very little, and without appetite; his
    stomach seemed too weak to bear the nourishment which his
    singularly rapid and even alarming rate of growth required:
    at the age of seventeen he had attained the height of five
    feet three inches! He suffered from slight throat ailments
    from time to time; he was subject to a habitual cough and
    a daily discharge of mucus. Dr. Standenheimer had already
    manifested great anxiety about the prince's predisposition
    towards phthisis of the trachea. I made note of the
    prescriptions that had been used against these disquieting
    symptoms.

    "I was guided in my early research by the personal knowledge
    that I possessed of a morbid hereditary disposition in
    the Napoleon family, and I ascertained the existence of
    a cutaneous affection (_herpes farinaceum_.) I could not
    approve the use of cold baths and swimming, which the
    surgeon, M. de Herbeck, had also fought against, probably
    solely because of the knowledge he had discovered of the
    weak constitution of the prince's chest. With the object
    of acting on the cutaneous system, I made use of muriatic
    baths and seltzer water mixed with milk. The prince was to
    go into the army the following autumn; there lay all his
    hopes and desires: he had obtained the much-solicited leave.
    I did not commend myself to his good graces, as you may
    imagine, when I positively opposed this change of living. I
    disclosed my reasons to his august parents in a memorandum,
    which I addressed to them on 15 July 1830. I stated that,
    in his excessive rate of growth, out of proportion to
    the development of the various organs and the general
    disposition to weakness, especially of the chest, any
    additional illness might be extremely dangerous, whether now
    or in the future, and that, consequently, it was imperative
    to protect the prince from every possible atmospheric
    influence, and any effort of voice, to which he would be
    continually exposed in military service.

    "My memorandum was well received by the emperor, and the
    entrance upon military service was adjourned for six
    months. By means of assiduous care and artificial methods
    of diverting the disease, the alarming symptoms visibly
    subsided. The winter passed by happily, but he still
    continued to grow.

    "In the spring of the year 1831 the prince entered upon
    his military career. From that moment he threw aside all
    my advice; I was merely a spectator of an uncontrolled
    enthusiasm and an unbridled excitement over his new duties.
    He would henceforth not listen to anything but his passion,
    which led his feeble body into privations and fatigues
    absolutely beyond his strength. He looked upon it as a
    shame and cowardly to complain when under arms. Besides,
    in his eyes I had committed the grave offence of delaying
    his military career: he seemed to fear my professional
    observations might yet stop it. So, although he treated
    me with extreme kindness in social relations, as a doctor
    he did not tell me a single word of the truth. It was
    impossible for me to make him continue the use of sea-water
    baths and mineral waters which had been very valuable to him
    during the previous year. He said he hadn't time. Several
    times I caught him by surprise at the barracks, in a state
    of extreme fatigue. One day, especially, I found him lying
    on a sofa, exhausted and worn out. Not able to deny, then,
    the painful condition to which I saw he was reduced, he
    said to me--

    "'I am annoyed with my wretched body, which cannot keep up
    with my mental energies!'

    "'It is, indeed, trying,' I replied, 'that your Highness
    has not the power of changing your body as you change your
    horses when they are tired. But I entreat you, monseigneur,
    to take heed that you have an iron spirit in a body of
    crystal, and that the abuse of your will can only be
    disastrous to you.'

    "His life was then, indeed, like a consuming fire. He
    scarcely slept for four hours, although, naturally, he
    needed much sleep; he ate hardly anything; his life was
    wholly concentrated on tactical manœuvres and all kinds of
    military exercises. He took no rest, his growing tallness
    did not stop him; he gradually became thinner, and his
    complexion became livid in colour. To all my questions he
    always replied--

    "'I am perfectly well!'

    "In the month of August he was attacked by a violently
    feverish catarrh, and the only thing I could get him to do
    was to keep to his bed and room for one day. We conferred
    with General Comte Hartmann upon the necessity of putting
    a stop to a régime that was very dangerous for his frail
    existence. You will remember the dire period of the invasion
    of cholera in Vienna, the misfortunes which followed upon
    the first outbreak of that scourge, the generous conduct of
    the inhabitants of Vienna, the wise precautions of those
    in authority, the help and example the emperor and the
    members of the Imperial family gave, impervious to the fear
    to which the disease gave rise on its appearance. The Duc
    de Reichstadt would not be separated from his soldiers or
    leave their barracks; the emperor could not but appreciate
    this sentiment, which was but compatible with the duties of
    a prince; but we had a sacred and urgent duty on our side,
    to rescue this young man from a position which evidently
    tended to his destruction. I put to him the imminent
    dangers he could allay by a speedy change of his way of
    living and absolute rest; in a situation so critical as
    his the least attack of the prevailing disease would be
    fatal. Comte Hartmann undertook to present this report to
    the emperor, who sent orders I was to come and repeat it
    verbally in the presence of the Duc de Reichstadt, at the
    end of the military review he was to conduct next day at
    Schmolz, near Vienna. I went punctually at the appointed
    hour, to the field where the manœuvres were held, where the
    emperor, wishful to reassure people against their terror of
    contagion, was mingling with his troops and subjects. When
    the review was over, I went to His Majesty and repeated my
    report. The emperor then addressed the young prince--

    "'You have heard what Dr. Malfatti says. You will
    immediately go to Schönbrünn.'

    "The duke bowed respectfully in token of obedience, but,
    when he stood up again, he flung me an indignant glance.

    "'It is you, then, who have had me put under arrest?' he
    said angrily, and he walked rapidly away."

But he was obliged to obey the emperor's commands all the same, and
that was what Dr. Malfatti desired.



CHAPTER VII


The Duc de Reichstadt at Schönbrünn--Progress of his disease--The
Archduchess Sophia--The prince's last moments--His death--Effect
produced by the news at Paris--Article of the _Constitutionnel_ upon
this event


The Duc de Reichstadt's stay at Schönbrünn was favourable to his
health. The prince went on horseback daily to the great manœuvres, but
with the commander-general; this was the emperor's expedient for saving
his grandson from using his voice and tiring his lungs. Once only, when
the emperor was present at the review, the duke urged to be allowed to
take the command of his battalion and obtained leave to do so.

The hunting season came, and the emperor expressed a desire that his
grandson should not be exposed to the fatigue of long chases and to
the inclemency of the chilly autumn days; but the Duc de Reichstadt
insisted and followed the hounds. At the second he was obliged to
return without being present at the "gone away," and the old symptoms
again appeared. These were an irritating cough, principally from the
trachea and bronchial tubes; weakness, which led to constant desire to
sleep; and dyscrasia of the whole cutaneous system. Henceforward Dr.
Malfatti advised the prince most carefully to avoid all efforts of any
nature, and principally those of the vocal organs. This advice meant a
complete breaking off of all the prince's military habits; so he hid
his sufferings as much as possible, and had, at least, strength of will
enough not to show it if he could not prevent being ill. Several times
the duke urged the emperor to let him take up his military service
again, but the emperor always opposed it. Three important men died at
Vienna towards the end of the year: Comte de Giulay, Baron de Frémont
and Baron de Siegenthal. The young prince, who for some days had
pretended to be much better, begged the emperor's leave to follow Baron
de Frémont's funeral cortège with the troops. The Emperor yielded,
and a fresh indisposition was the result of this condescension.
Finally, for the last time--it was at General de Siegenthal's funeral
service--the prince appeared with his troops on the place Joseph. The
temperature was very cold; in the middle of the commands he was giving
to his battalion he lost his voice. When he returned home he felt ill
enough to allow the doctor to be called in, and confessed that he had
gone out that morning when he was in a high state of feverishness.
It was found to be rheumatic, bilious and catarrhal fever, and soon
took an acute form; it reached its crisis on the seventh day, after
which it passed from the nature of sub-continuous fever to that of
intermittent quotidian fever. Dr. Malfatti decreed that, as soon as the
season allowed, the prince should go to the waters of Ischl. At last,
once more, they succeeded in arresting the fever; but fresh imprudent
actions revived the disease.

"It seemed," said the doctor, in despair, "as though this unfortunate
young man was possessed of a fatal obsession, which compelled him
towards suicide!"

The spring was still more disastrous to the invalid than the winter
had been; it was impossible to stop him from going out. Overtaken two
or three times by rain, he was taken with shivering fits, which led to
fever and congestion of the liver.

In the month of April his pulse quickened, shiverings came on and he
grew visibly thinner and thinner. Drs. Raiman and Vichrer, who were
called in to take the place of Dr. Malfatti, who was ill with gout,
were frightened: in concert with the prince's ordinary physician, they
prescribed baths of soup: the wasting away on account of the failure
of the digestive powers compelled them to this method, which was to
feed the invalid by means of absorption. Again signs of improvement
showed themselves, and after a while the duke was well enough for the
emperor to allow him, on the advice of the doctors, to take the air
on horseback and in a carriage, but only on condition these exercises
should be indulged in most moderately. He submitted to these orders
for some days; then, having persisted in going out in cold and damp
weather, he was tempted by the invigorating air to put his horse to
the gallop instead of returning home. That same night, when he should
have gone to bed and kept warm, he drove to the Prater in an open
carriage. The Prater is situated on an island in the Danube, and is
extremely damp; but that did not prevent the prince from staying there
until after sunset. This imprudence resulted in such weakness on his
return that, when a wheel of his carriage broke and he sprang out on
the road, he had not strength enough to hold himself up and fell on
his knees. Next day inflammation of the lungs set in, and the prince
became deaf with the left ear. The situation was so serious that Dr.
Malfatti asked that Drs. Vivenot, Vichrer and Turcken might be called
in for consultation. He was charged from the emperor to tell them
that, without troubling themselves about political considerations,
which until then had restricted the Duc de Reichstadt's journeying to
Austria, they might order him a voyage to any country which they might
deem suitable to restore his health, except France. They prescribed a
journey to Italy and a stay at Naples. The invalid could not believe
such a favour had been granted him, and sent Dr. Malfatti to M. de
Metternich to make certain from the lips of the minister that no
embargo would be put upon his travels.

"Tell the prince," replied M. de Metternich, "that with the exception
of France, the gates of which it does not depend on me to open, he can
go into whatever country he likes, the emperor putting the restoration
of his grandson's health before all other considerations."

The invalid had cause for fear: soon he grew so weak that there could
not even reasonably be any question of travelling for him. They
informed the Archduchess Marie-Louise of the state of her son, and told
him that the moment for receiving the viaticum had come.

The etiquette of the Court of Vienna decreed that the princes of the
Imperial family should take part in this sad ceremony in the presence
of the whole Court. No one dared speak of it to the duke, not even
Michel Wagner, the palace chaplain, who had been his religious director
in his youth, so strict a matter was it at the Court of Vienna. A woman
it was who undertook both to warn the invalid, and also to put the news
in a form which should hide part of the horrible truth from the prince.
This woman was the Archduchess Sophia.

She told the prince that, as she was soon going to communicate, she
wished to do so by his bedside, in hope that her prayers to heaven for
his cure might be more efficacious when made during the mysterious act
of the Eucharist; and she begged the sick man to take the sacrament at
the same time as she did, so that their prayers might go up to heaven
together.

The Duc de Reichstadt acceded.

It can be imagined how profound was the meditation and how sad the
ceremony. The prince prayed for the safe delivery of the Archduchess
Sophia, who was near her accouchement; she prayed for the cure of the
Duc de Reichstadt, who was near his death! The invalid, who was then
at Vienna, desired to be moved to Schönbrünn, and the return of spring
having warmed the air the doctor supported the prince's wish. The
removal took place without serious accident, and the prince even seemed
a little better after it. Unfortunately, one day, in spite of all the
entreaties that could be made to prevent him, he wanted to drive to
Laxenbourg, two leagues from Schönbrünn, and in an open carriage.
He stayed out an hour, and received the respectful greeting of the
officers, talked much, and came back through a violent storm. During
the night following this day of imprudent acts he was seized by a
feverish attack, accompanied with a burning thirst; obstinate coughing
brought on expectoration, almost a vomiting of blood, and, for the
first time, the prince complained of sharp pain in his side.

A fresh consultation was held, and the doctors looked upon the
invalid's condition as hopeless.

The Archduchess Marie-Louise arrived. She had passed through Trieste in
order to see the emperor, who was there at the time; she there fell ill
herself, and had been obliged to stay for fifteen long days. Still ill,
her anxiety, however, overcame her weakness. She continued her journey,
and arrived on the evening of 24 June. The prince wished to go to his
mother, but at the first attempt at locomotion he realised his strength
was inadequate. Nevertheless the joy of seeing his mother once more
had a happy effect upon him; there had been a sensible improvement in
the disease for the last three weeks, at any rate there was an arrest
of the malady; the fever lessened, the nights passed over without very
great perspirations, and the prince could lie on either side without
pain. But the crafty and deceptive course of disease of the lungs is
well known, usually fastening upon young and vigorous constitutions
who do not want to die; the disease seems at times, like the invalid
himself, to have need of rest and to stop fatigued; but nearly always
this moment of stoppage is made use of by the direful miner to dig a
fresh sap, and the subterranean work is revealed suddenly by fresh
symptoms, which show that, during the feigned halt, the disease has
made cruel progress. The heat had become very great and the fever
redoubled its efforts; the cough became more obstinate than ever; a
second hæmorrhage happened, and the prince threw up blood in quantity.

The population of Vienna took a very lively interest in the fate of
this unhappy lad; they stopped any one in the streets whom they knew
belonged to his household; from all parts letters arrived pointing out
remedies. These innocent empirics at least showed anxious sympathy,
though they were deficient in scientific knowledge.

A terrible storm broke out during the night of 27 June; one of those
storms which the pride of kings believed to have been let loose by
the hand of the Lord because of them; the lightning struck one of the
eagles on the palace of Schönbrünn. From this time the people's opinion
coincided with that of the doctors, and they gave up hope. As the
lightning had struck an eagle, the son of Napoleon was going to die.
The prince went out no more; only when the fighting for breath, which
was almost continuous, made him think that he would find some relief
in the outer air, did they carry him out on the balcony. Soon it was
impossible for him to leave his bed; at the least movement of his body
he fainted away. Then he began to talk of his approaching death, and to
show the distaste he had always had for an existence which had opened
out with a vast horizon, whilst fate had forced him to vegetate in a
narrow circle. Was it actual disgust with life, or was it a desire to
comfort those around him? Only on 21 July did he confess that he was
suffering dreadfully, and murmured several times, "O my God! my God!
when shall I die?"

His mother entered when one of these outcries was escaping him, and
he at once repressed the expression of pain which had spread over his
face, received her with a smile and, to her questions about his health,
replied that he was doing well, and made plans with her for the journey
to the north of Italy. That evening Dr. Malfatti announced that he
feared a mortal crisis would take place during the night; Baron de Moll
watched in a neighbouring room, unknown to the prince, who had never
allowed any one to sit up with him. About one o'clock in the morning
he seemed to be dozing; but at half-past three he sat up suddenly, and,
after violent and vain efforts for breath, he exclaimed--

"_Mutter! mutter! ich gehe unter!_" ("Mother! mother! I am dying!")

At this cry the Baron de Moll and the valet de chambre entered and
seized him in their arms, trying to quieten him; but he was battling
with death.

"_Mutter! mutter!_" he repeated.

Then he fell back. He had not expired, but he was in that twilight
state which separates life from death. They hastened to tell the
Archduchess Marie-Louise and the Archduke François, in whose arms
the Duc de Reichstadt had expressed a desire to die. All the princes
came hurriedly; Marie-Louise had not strength to stand, nor even to
reach him; she fell on her knees and crawled the few steps between
herself and her son. The sick man could not speak any more; but his
nearly-closed eyes could still settle on his mother, and he showed
her by a look that he recognised her. Five o'clock in the morning
struck; he seemed to hear the vibrations of the pendulum, and to count
the strokes. Eternity had just sounded for him on the bronze! He
soon made a sound of farewell; the priest who was present showed him
heaven opening before him and, at eight minutes past five, without a
convulsion or a struggle, without even any pain, he gave up his last
sigh. He had lived for twenty-one years, four months and two days. His
life had been obscure; his death made a less vivid sensation in France
than might have been expected. To the French, and in the eyes of the
French, the prince was an Austrian.

Our nation is a proud one; not even at the cost of its throne would it
have let the Emperor Maximilian, even if he had been the Son of God,
give it to his eldest son; it did not at all like such a prince to
show no expression of regret, and preferred the man who, to reconquer
it, made almost mad efforts, to the one who lay down quietly in
resignation to the decrees of Providence.

By a singular freak of fate the Duc de Reichstadt, as we have already
mentioned, died in the same bed that Napoleon, as conqueror, had slept
in twice: the first time after Austerlitz, the second after Wagram!
The father and son slept their last sleep in it with a space of eleven
years between them, and now they slept on the bosom of their common
mother--only, the ocean rolled between their two dead bodies.

Perhaps our readers will be curious to know how, after the lapse of
twenty-two years, the French press appreciated this event, which
contained something both fatal and providential in it, and happened at
the moment when a new king was trying to found a new dynasty on the
soil of France, a country ever rebellious against dynasties. The news
was only known in Paris on 1 August. We will open a newspaper which we
had sent for for another purpose, and we there read the article we are
about to place before our readers. The paper is the _Constitutionnel;_
we do not know by whom the article is written, but it seems a good one.

    "PARIS, 1 _August_

    "The son of Napoleon is dead. This news, which had been
    long expected, has produced in Paris a sorrowful but calm
    sensation. So obscure an end to a life which gave promise of
    a splendid destiny, a pale, last ray of vast glory, such as
    that which has just died out, affords a melancholy subject
    for meditation! The people will mourn deeply and seriously,
    for it is in the people especially that the memories of
    Imperial glory have left enduring traces.

    "The details of the last moments of Napoleon's son are still
    wanting to us; his death has been surrounded by mystery,
    as was his life. We are, however, assured that he saw the
    approach of death with a fortitude worthy of his father.
    When he realised that the fatal hour had come, he disposed
    of the few remaining worldly goods which he had left, in
    conformity with the wishes previously expressed by the
    Emperor of the French, in favour of young Louis-Napoleon,
    son of the ex-King of Holland, who fought in the ranks of
    the last defenders of Italian liberty. We understand that a
    letter written by the illustrious dying man to inform his
    cousin of the bequest contains evidence of the troubles
    which poisoned and, no doubt, shortened his existence.

    "It must indeed have been a bitter one! Tom away from the
    cradle, from his country and his family, to be confined in a
    sumptuous prison; deprived of guidance at the age when his
    mind had much need of direction; submitted to tyrannical
    etiquette; a stranger in the midst of a Court, which beset
    him with doubtful loyalty, to whom could he confide if
    not in the watchful attendants commissioned to deceive
    him, perhaps to corrupt him? From whom could he obtain
    information of what he most wanted to know--of his fate,
    his future, his duties? His tutors, we are assured, left
    him for a long time in ignorance of his father's history!
    If the few friends he had been allowed to meet are to be
    believed, the young Napoleon had been endowed by nature
    with an upright mind and a generous heart; barren gifts,
    which only served to make his loneliness more crushing and
    death a welcome boon! His life has ended opportunely for the
    honour of the name he bore: he will not have dragged that
    great name through a long time of inaction; he will not have
    dishonoured it in the service of politics, of courts or of
    party intrigues; he will not have played the ridiculous and
    odious rôle of a pretender, and history will not have to
    reproach him with having been a scourge to his country.

    "The young Napoleon has, in the hands of Austria, been
    both an object of terror to herself and a bugbear to the
    France of the Restoration. His name alone, uttered by M.
    de Metternich, would have made Louis XVIII. and Charles X.
    tremble, and been sufficient to repulse every attempt that
    was contrary to Austrian politics; and yet, prudence would
    never have let them realise the menace contained in such
    a name. Such menace would, perhaps, not have been without
    effect, even after the Revolution of 1830, on the statesmen
    who have controlled our politics, although it would not
    have been more serious now than at any other period.

    "Austria, therefore, is delivered from her fears, and robbed
    of the instrument of trouble which she had at her disposal
    against us.

    "Napoleon II. had, in France, at least, a number of
    partisans, if not exactly a party. It is a heritage
    factions will dispute over amongst themselves and with the
    government, a heritage which will remain to those who know
    best how to rally the popular masses to a sense of the true
    interests of the country."

    The rest of the paper contained a manifesto from the English
    press, telegraphic despatches about Don Pedro's expedition
    and an analysis of _Mademoiselle de Liron_--a novel by M. E.
    J. Deléchuze.



BOOK VI



CHAPTER I


Lucerne--The lion of August 10--M. de Chateaubriand's fowls--Reichenau
--A picture by Conder--Letter to M. le duc d'Orléans--A walk in the
park of Arenenberg


I have already said that I have no intention of beginning over again
my account of my peregrinations through Switzerland. However, I will
ask my reader's leave to place before him three small extracts from my
_Impressions de Voyage,_ which are indispensable to the course of these
Memoirs. They were published in 1834, and concern M. de Chateaubriand,
Monseigneur le due d'Orléans and Her Majesty Queen Hortense; they
contain my own independent opinions; and some strange light will be
shed now and then on the future of the poet. If a statesman had written
what I am about to quote, he would have been looked upon as a prophet.

Let us follow the order of my visits to Lucerne, to Reichenau and to
Arenenberg, and begin by M. de Chateaubriand.

    _A tout seigneur, tout honneur._

    "M. DE CHATEAUBRIAND'S FOWLS

    "The first news I learned on arriving at the _Hôtel du
    Cheval blanc_ was that M. de Chateaubriand was living in
    Lucerne. It will be recollected that, after the revolution
    of July, our great poet, who had dedicated his pen to the
    defence of the fallen dynasty, voluntarily exiled himself,
    and did not return to Paris until he was recalled to it by
    the arrest of the Duchesse de Berry. He lived at the Hôtel
    de l'Aigle. I soon dressed myself with the intention of
    going to pay him a call. I did not know him personally: at
    Paris I had not dared to present myself, but, out of France,
    at Lucerne, isolated as he was, I thought it might be some
    pleasure to him to see a compatriot. I therefore boldly
    presented myself at the Hôtel de l'Aigle. I asked the hôtel
    waiter for M. de Chateaubriand. He replied that he had just
    gone out to feed his fowls. I made him repeat it, thinking I
    had heard wrongly; but he made me the same reply the second
    time. I left my name, at the same time asking the favour of
    being received the next day.

    "Next morning a letter was handed to me from M. de
    Chateaubriand, sent the previous evening: it was an
    invitation to breakfast at ten o'clock; it was nine then, so
    I had no time to lose. I leapt out of bed and dressed. For a
    very long time I had wanted to see M. de Chateaubriand; my
    admiration for him was the religion of my childhood; he was
    the man whose genius had been the first to stray out of the
    beaten paths to mark out for our young literature the road
    it has since followed; he had alone excited more hatred than
    all the cenacula put together; he was the rock against which
    the jealous waves, still stirring against us, had beaten in
    vain for fifty years; he was the file on which the teeth
    were used which had tried to bite us.

    "So, when I put foot on the first step of the staircase,
    my heart nearly failed me. Entirely unknown, I felt that I
    should be at least crushed under such immense superiority;
    for at that time the point of comparison was wanting by
    which to measure our respective heights, and I had not
    resource enough to say, as Stromboli might to Monte Rosa,
    'I am only a hill, but I contain a volcano!' When I reached
    the landing I stopped.... I believe I should have hesitated
    less to knock at the door of a conclave. Perhaps at that
    moment M. de Chateaubriand thought I was keeping him waiting
    out of politeness, while I dared not go in from feelings
    of veneration. Finally, I heard the waiter coming up the
    stairs; I could not stay any longer outside the door, so I
    knocked. M. de Chateaubriand himself came and opened it;
    he must have formed a strange opinion of my manners if he
    did not attribute my embarrassment to its true cause. I
    stuttered like a country bumpkin; I did not know whether I
    ought to go in in front of him or behind. I think that, like
    M. Parseval before Napoleon, if he had asked me my name, I
    should not have known what to reply. But he did better than
    that: he held out his hand to me.

    "During breakfast we talked. One after the other he reviewed
    all the political questions which were being discussed at
    that period, from the tribune to the club, with the lucidity
    of a man of genius who went to the bottom of things, and
    like a man who estimates principles and interests at their
    right value and has no illusions about anything. I was
    convinced that M. de Chateaubriand looked upon the party to
    which he belonged as henceforth lost, believing that the
    whole future rested in a socialistic Republicanism, and
    that he remained attached to his cause more because he saw
    it was unfortunate than because he thought it good. It is
    thus with all great souls: they must devote themselves to
    something; when it is not to women, it is to kings; when not
    to kings, then to God. I could not resist remarking to M. de
    Chateaubriand that his theories, though Royalist in form,
    were fundamentally Republican.

    "'Does that surprise you?' he said, smiling. 'It surprises
    me still more! I have progressed without willing it, like a
    rock rolled along by the torrent; and now, behold! I find I
    am nearer to you than you are to me!... Have you seen the
    Lion of Lucerne?'

    "'Not yet.'

    "'Well, let us go and see it.... It is the most important
    monument in the town. You know upon what occasion it was
    erected?'

    "'In memory of 10 August.'

    "'That was it.'

    "'Is it a beautiful thing?'

    "'It is better than that: it is a beautiful idea!'

    "'There is but one drawback: the blood shed for the monarchy
    was bought from a republic, and the dead Swiss Guards were
    but the strict payment of a bill of exchange.'

    "'That is no less remarkable in a time when there were many
    people who let their bills be protested.'

    "As will be seen, we differed in our ideas on that point;
    that is the misfortune of opinions which are divided into
    two opposite principles; every time necessity brings them
    together, they understand one another in theory but they
    separate over facts.

    "We reached the monument, which is situated at some distance
    from the town, in General Pfyffer's garden. It is a rock
    cut perpendicularly, with its base bathed by a circular
    pool; a grotto forty-four feet long by forty-eight feet
    high has been hollowed out in the rock, and in this grotto
    a young sculptor from Constance, named Ahrorth, has carved
    a colossal lion after a plaster model by Thorwaldsen.
    Pierced through by a spear, with the broken fragment left
    in the wound, the lion is dying, covering with its body
    the fleur-de-lis emblazoned shield which it can no longer
    defend. Above the grotto are the words, '_Helvetiorum fidei
    ac virtuti,'_ and below this inscription the names of
    the officers and soldiers who perished on 10 August. The
    officers numbered twenty-six and the soldiers seven hundred
    and sixty. This monument, moreover, acquired a greater
    interest from the fresh revolution which had just taken
    place, and from the renewed fidelity displayed by the Swiss.
    Yet it was an odd thing! the disabled soldier who watches
    over the lion spoke much to us of 10 August but did not say
    a word of 29 July. The more recent of the two catastrophes
    was that which he had already forgotten. It is quite
    simple: 1830 had but driven a king away, 1792 had driven
    out royalty. I pointed out to M. de Chateaubriand the names
    of those men who had done honour to their signature, and I
    asked him which names would be inscribed on the gravestone
    of royalty to balance these popular names if a similar
    monument were raised in France.

    "'Not one!' he replied.

    "'Do you really mean that?'

    "'Perfectly; the dead do not get themselves killed.'

    "The history of the July Revolution lay entirely in those
    words: 'Nobility is loyalty's true buckler; so long as she
    has worn it on her arm, she has driven back foreign warfare
    and smothered civil war; but, from the day when, in anger,
    she imprudently breaks it, she is defenceless. Louis XI. had
    slain the great vassals; Louis XIII. the grand seigneurs
    and Louis XIV. the aristocrats, so that, when Charles X.
    called to his aid the d'Armagnacs, the Montmorencys and the
    Lauzuns, his voice only called up shades and phantoms.'

    "'Now,' said M. de Chateaubriand, 'if you have seen all you
    want to see, we will go and feed my fowls.'

    "'By the way, that reminds me of something; when I called
    yesterday at your hôtel the waiter told me you had gone
    out to fulfil that country occupation. Does your scheme of
    retirement go so far as make you a farmer?'

    "'Why not? A man whose life has been like mine, driven
    by caprice, poetry, revolutions and exile over the
    four quarters of the globe, will be happy, I think, to
    possess--if not a châlet among the mountains (I do not like
    the Alps)--a meadow in Normandy or a farm in Brittany. I am
    decidedly of opinion that this is the vocation for my old
    age.'

    "'Allow me to doubt it.... You remember Charles Quint at
    Saint-Just; you are not one of the emperors who abdicate
    or one of the kings whom people dethrone: you are one of
    those princes who die under a canopy and are interred like
    Charlemagne, with his feet on a shield, his sword by his
    side, a crown on his head and a sceptre in his hand.'

    "'Take care! it is so long since I have been flattered, and
    I am quite capable of letting myself be carried away by it.
    Come, let us go and give the chickens their food.'

    "Upon my honour, I could have fallen on my knees before
    this man, so simple and yet at the same time so great was
    he. We went by the bridge of la Cour, which crosses an arm
    of the lake; after Rapperssweil's bridge, it is the longest
    covered one in Switzerland. We stopped about two-thirds of
    the way across, at some distance from a spot covered with
    reeds. M. de Chateaubriand drew a piece of bread from his
    pocket which he had put there after breakfast, and began to
    crumble it in the lake. Soon a dozen water-fowls came out
    from a kind of isle formed by the reeds, and began hastily
    to fight over the repast prepared for them by the hand
    that had written the _Génie du Christianisme, les Martyrs_
    and _Le dernier des Abencerrages._ For a long while,
    without saying anything, I watched the singular spectacle
    of this man leaning over the bridge, his lips curved in
    smiles, but with sad, grave eyes. Gradually his occupation
    became mechanical, his face assumed an expression of deep
    melancholy, his thoughts passed across his broad brow as
    clouds across a sky; among them were memories of country,
    family and tender friendships, more gloomy than others. I
    guessed that this moment was reserved by him wherein to
    meditate on France, and I respected his meditation as long
    as it lasted. In the end, he made a movement and heaved a
    sigh. I went nearer, and he remembered I was there and held
    out his hand.

    "'But if you regret Paris so much,' I said to him, 'why not
    go back to it? Nothing exiles you from it, and everything
    calls you back.'

    "'What would you have me do?' he replied. 'I was at
    Cauterets when the July Revolution took place. I returned to
    Paris: I behold one throne in blood and another in the mud,
    lawyers drawing up a charter and a king shaking hands with
    rag-and-bone men.... It was sad unto death, especially when,
    as in my case, one is filled with great traditions of the
    monarchy. I went away from it all.'

    "'From some words you let drop this morning, I believe you
    recognise popular sovereignty?'

    "'Yes, there is no doubt it is good from time to time
    for royalty to be tempered again at its source, which is
    election; but, this time, they knocked off a bough of the
    tree, a link of the chain: it was Henri V. they should have
    elected and not Louis-Philippe.'

    "'You are wishing but a sad wish for the poor child,' I
    replied. 'Kings of the name of Henri are unlucky in France:
    Henri I was poisoned, Henry II. killed in a tournament,
    Henris III. and IV. were assassinated.'

    "'Very well, but, at all events, it is better to die by
    poison than in exile; it is sooner over and one suffers
    less!'

    "'But shall you not return to France?'

    "'If the Duchesse de Berry, after having committed the
    madness of returning to la Vendée, commits the foolishness
    of letting herself be captured there, I shall return to
    Paris to defend her before her judges, if my advice has not
    prevented her from appearing there.'

    "'If not?'

    "'If not,' pursued M. de Chateaubriand, crumbling up a
    second piece of bread, 'I shall continue to feed my birds.'"

Two hours after this conversation, I left Lucerne in a boat rowed
by two rowers. Some time afterwards, I was at the Grisons, not far
from the little town of Reichenau, whose name awakened in my memory a
singular recollection.

During my term in the offices of the Duc d'Orléans I had been for a
long time instructed to give tickets to persons desirous of visiting
the apartments of the Palais-Royal or of walking in the park at
Monceaux. They could see the rooms on Saturdays and walk in the
park on Thursdays and Sundays. On the days when the apartments were
visited, the duke and duchess and Madame Adélaïde and the rest of
the princely family kept themselves to one or two rooms, where they
lived in retirement from ten in the morning till four in the evening,
and yet it often happened that some inquisitive visitor, whilst the
footman was engaged in another direction, would turn a key, half open
the door, stretch out his head and plunge into the ducal retreat. The
first thing people went to see above everything else was the picture
gallery--not that all the pictures were good, far from it, indeed!
but there were several which were the cause of talk at the time;
these were the battle-pictures by Horace Vernet, four masterpieces,
marvellous productions, to which I have already referred--the battles
of _Montmirail, Hanau, Jemmapes_ and of _Valmy._ There was one point
particularly in the _Battle of Montmirail_ which attracted attention:
in the background, under a grove of trees, hidden in the mist, was a
horseman trotting on a white horse. Horse and rider between them were
only four inches in breadth by two in height, and yet that little
white-and-grey spot had been enough to exclude the picture from the
Salon of 1821. The microscopic cavalier was, as we said when we were
specially occupied with Horace Vernet, no other than the Emperor
Napoleon.

When they had looked well at these four battle-pictures, for which they
had come on purpose to the Palais-Royal, the footman said, "Messieurs
et mesdames, will you come this way, please?" They followed him, and he
took the inquisitive ones to a little _genre_ painting, representing a
handsome young man in a blue coat and leather breeches, with his eyes
raised to heaven, pointing out, to a dozen children who surrounded him,
the word _France_ written on a terrestrial globe. This fine youth was
the exiled Duc d'Orléans, giving geography and mathematical lessons at
the Reichenau College.

I saw that small picture by Couder once again; I was, as I have said, a
few miles from Reichenau, and I decided to go and see the room in which
the actual King of France had spent one of the most honourable years of
his life, earning 5 francs per day. I have often heard it said that, in
spite of his sixteen millions from the Civil List, and his Château des
Tuileries, perhaps even because of these, he at times would murmur, "O
Reichenau! Reichenau!..."

I therefore did those few miles--two or three followed the banks of the
Rhine, which is slate colour at this spot and yet blue in Germany--and
I reached Reichenau. I wrote the following letter the same day to the
Duc d'Orléans, which will be found produced in its entirety in my
_Impressions de Voyage_:--

    "MONSEIGNEUR,--The date of this letter and the place from
    whence it is sent will readily explain the sentiment to
    which I am yielding in addressing Your Highness. I am not
    speaking to the royal hereditary prince of the crown of
    France, of His Majesty King Louis-Philippe, now reigning,
    but to the Duc de Chartres, pupil of Henri IV., of the Duc
    d'Orléans, teacher at Reichenau. I write to Your Highness
    from the very room in which your exiled father taught
    arithmetic and geography; or, rather, from that same room,
    pressed by the post time, I send to Your Highness the page
    I have just torn from my album."


    "REICHENAU

    "The little Grisons village is in no way remarkable except
    for the strange story with which its name is associated.
    Towards the end of last century burgomaster Tscharner,
    from Coire, had set up a school at Reichenau. They were
    looking out in the canton for a teacher in French, when a
    young man presented himself to M. Boul, headmaster of the
    establishment, bearing a letter of recommendation signed
    by bailie Aloys Toost of Zizers. The young man was French,
    spoke his mother tongue, English and German, and, besides
    these three languages, could teach mathematics, physics and
    geography. The find was too marvellous and too rare for
    the headmaster of the college to let him escape; besides,
    the youth was modest in his claims. M. Boul settled with
    him to come at 1400 francs per annum, so the new professor
    was immediately installed and entered upon his duties.
    This young professor was Louis-Philippe d'Orléans, Duc de
    Chartres, to-day King of France.

    "It was, I admit, with emotion intermingled with pride that,
    in this very place, in the room situated in the middle of
    the corridor, with its folding door, its flower-painted side
    doors, its corner chimney-places, its pictures of Louis XV.
    surrounded with gilt arabesques and its decorated ceiling;
    it was, I say with keen emotion, that, in this room, where
    the Duc de Chartres had taught, I gathered information
    concerning the strange vicissitudes of a royal personage
    who, not wishing to beg the bread of exile, worthily bought
    it with his work.

    "One single teacher, a colleague of the Duc d'Orléans, and
    a single scholar, one of his pupils, still lived in 1832,
    the period at which I visited Reichenau. The teacher was,
    the novel-writer Zschokke, and the scholar was burgomaster
    Tscharner, son of the man who had founded the school. The
    worthy bailie Aloys Toost died in 1827, and was buried at
    Zizers, his native village. Now, there remains nothing more
    of the college where a future King of France had taught save
    the schoolroom we have described and the chapel adjoining
    the corridor with its reading-desk and altar surmounted
    by a crucifix painted in fresco. The rest of the buildings
    have been turned into a kind of villa belonging to Colonel
    Pastalluzzi, and this memorial, so honourable for every
    Frenchman that it deserves to rank among our national
    memorials, threatens to disappear with the generation of
    old men who are dying out, were there not living a man of
    artistic feeling, who is noble and great, who will not, we
    hope, let anything be forgotten which is honourable for
    himself and for France. That man is yourself, Monseigneur
    Ferdinand d'Orléans, who, having been our schoolfellow, will
    also be our king; you who, from the throne which you will
    one day ascend, will lay one hand on the old monarchy and
    the other on the young republic; will inherit the galleries
    which contain pictures of the battles of _Taülebourg,
    Fleurus, Bouvines_ and of _Aboukir,_ of _Agincourt_ and
    of _Marengo_; you who are ignorant that the fleurs-de-lis
    of Louis XIV. are the lance-heads of Clovis; you who know
    so well that all the glories of a country are glorious no
    matter when they saw birth, or what sun made them flourish;
    you, in fact, who by your royal fillet can bind together a
    thousand years of memories, and assume the consular dignity
    of the lictors who will march in front of you!

    "So it will be a delight to you, monseigneur, to recall
    the little lonely port, the voyager beaten by the sea of
    exile, the sailor driven by the wind of proscription, where
    your father found a noble shelter against the tempest; it
    will be worthy of you, monseigneur, to give orders that
    the hospitable roof shall be again raised for hospitality,
    and, on the very site where the old building fell in ruins
    shall be erected a new one, destined to receive every
    son of exile who shall come, staff of exile in hand, to
    knock at its doors as your father came, irrespective of
    his opinions and country; whether he be threatened by the
    anger of peoples or pursued by the hatred of kings; for,
    monseigneur, the future, though serene and blue for France,
    which has accomplished its revolutionary work, is big with
    storms for the rest of the world! We have sowed the seeds
    of liberty so broadcast in our excursions through Europe
    that, on all sides, they spring up like corn in May; so well
    that it only needs a ray of sunshine to ripen the most
    distant harvests.... Throw your glance back over the past,
    monseigneur, and then concentrate it upon the present. Have
    you ever felt more shaking of thrones, or encountered more
    discrowned travellers on the highways? You see, indeed, that
    it will be necessary, some day, to found an asylum, were it
    but for the sons of kings whose fathers cannot, like yours,
    be teachers at Reichenau!"

I wish to return from Reichenau by way of Arenenberg. The comparison of
a teacher of mathematics King of France with an exiled Queen of Holland
pleases the imagination of poets. Besides, indeed, when quite a child,
I had heard much ill spoken of Napoleon and much good of Joséphine! Now
what did I see in Queen Hortense but Joséphine's case over again? I
persisted, therefore, in seeing Queen Hortense, and any détour, however
long, was but nothing compared with that desire. But, since I do not
wish these lines to be taken for tardy flattery--I insist on being
thought incapable of flattering any one but exiles or dead people--I
will write here what I wrote about Queen Hortense in 1832. I copy the
following passage from my _Impressions de Voyage_:--

    "As the château d'Arenenberg is only a league's distance
    from Constance, I was seized by a great desire to pay
    my homage at the feet of fallen majesty and to see what
    remained of a queen in a woman when fate has torn the crown
    from her head, the sceptre from her hand and the robes
    from her shoulders; from that queen, moreover, who was
    the gracious daughter of Joséphine Beauharnais, sister of
    Eugène, and the diamond in Napoleon's crown.

    "I had heard so much of her in my youth as a beauteous
    and good fairy, most gracious and charitable, from the
    daughters to whom she had given a dowry, the mothers whose
    children she had redeemed, and the prisoners for whom she
    had obtained pardon, that I worshipped her. Add to this, the
    remembrance of the romances which my sister sang about the
    queen, which were so impressed on my heart by memory that
    even now, although it is twenty years since I heard these
    lines and music, I could repeat both without forgetting a
    word, and I could jot down the music without transposing
    a note. These romances about a queen are sung by a queen;
    a combination which can only be seen in the _Thousand and
    One Nights,_ and which has remained in my mind like a glad
    surprise."[1]

I had no letter of introduction to the Comtesse de Saint-Leu; but I
hoped that my name was not entirely unknown to her; I had already
written at that time _Henri III., Christine, Antony, Richard
Darlington, Charles III._ and _La Tour de Nesle._

When I reached Arenenberg, it was too early in the morning to present
myself to the queen. I left my card with Madame Parquin, reader to
the Comtesse de Saint-Leu, and sister of the noted barrister of that
name, and I took advantage of a fine storm which had just risen to go
for a sail on the lake. On my return, I found an invitation to dinner
awaiting me at the hôtel; then a letter from France had found me out
there, an act of cleverness which was a great achievement on the part
of the Swiss post: it contained the manuscript ode by Victor Hugo on
the death of the King of Rome. I went on foot to the queen's residence
and read the letter as I went.

All the details of that gracious hospitality which the queen made me
accept for three days can be seen in my _Impressions de Voyage._ I
merely wish to reproduce here a conversation which revealed an odd
profession of faith in the present--if it be borne in mind that the
_present_ of that time corresponded with September 1832--and a singular
forecast of the future.


    "A WALK IN THE PARK AT ARENENBERG

    "The queen and I took about a hundred steps in silence. I
    was the first to interrupt it.

    "'I believe you have something to tell me, Madame la
    Comtesse?' I asked.

    "'True,' she said, looking at me; 'I wanted to talk to you
    of Paris. What news was there when you left it?'

    "'Much bloodshed in the streets, many wounded in the
    hospitals, too few prisons and too many prisoners.'

    "'You saw the 5th and 6th of June?'

    "'Yes, madame.'

    "'Pardon, I am perhaps going to be inquisitive; but, from
    some words which you said yesterday, I believe you are a
    Republican.'

    "I smiled.

    "'You are not mistaken, madame; and yet, thanks to the
    sense and to the colour which the papers representing the
    party to which I belong and am in sympathy with (though
    not with all its methods) have given to that word, before
    accepting the qualification which you give me, I will ask
    your permission to lay bare my principles before you. To
    any other woman such a profession would be absurd; but
    you, Madame la Comtesse, as queen, must have heard so many
    serious speeches, and, as woman, so many frivolous ones,
    that I shall not hesitate to tell you at what point I join
    myself to Republican Socialism and where I am at variance
    with revolutionary Republicanism.'

    "'You are not, then, agreed among yourselves?'

    "'We have the same hopes, madame, but the means by which
    each one of us wishes to act are different. Some talk of
    chopping off heads and dividing properties; these are
    ignorant and insane.... You are surprised that I do not
    employ a stronger term by which to designate them ... it
    is unnecessary: they are neither afraid nor to be feared;
    they think themselves strongly in advance and are totally
    behind the times; they date from 1793 and we are in 1832.
    Louis-Philippe's government makes a show of being in great
    fear of them, and would be much vexed if they did not exist;
    for their theories are the quiver from whence they derive
    their weapons. These are not Republicans, they are believers
    in a _commonwealth._ Others there are who forget that France
    is the oldest sister among the nations, who do not remember
    that her past is rich with traditions, and go searching
    about among the constitutions of Switzerland and England
    and America for that one which shall be most applicable to
    our country. They are dreamers and Utopians: wrapped up
    in their cabinet theories, they do not perceive in their
    imaginary applications that the constitution of a people can
    only last so long; that it is born but of its geographical
    situation, that it springs from its nationality and that
    it is in unison with its customs. The result is that as no
    two people under heaven have the same geographical position
    or have identical national characteristics and habits, the
    more perfect a constitution is, the more individual it is
    and the less, consequently, is it applicable to another
    locality than that which gave it birth. These people are not
    any longer Republicans but _Republicists._ Others there are
    who think that an opinion only means a light blue silk coat,
    a large lappelled waistcoat and a flowing tie and pointed
    hat: they are the parodists and the brayers. These excite
    riots, but take good care to keep out of them; they erect
    barricades and leave others to get killed behind them; they
    compromise their friends and hide themselves thoroughly as
    though they themselves were the compromised. These are not
    Republicans, they are _Republiquets_! But there are others,
    madame, to whom the honour of France is sacred, and not
    to be touched; to whom a promise is a sacred engagement
    which they will not suffer to be broken by either king
    or people; a noble and immense fraternity which extends
    to every country that is suffering, every nation that is
    waking up; these have shed their blood in Belgium, Italy and
    Poland, and returned to be killed or captured at the Cloître
    Saint-Merry: they, madame, are Puritans and martyrs. A day
    will come when not only will the captives be released from
    prisons but when the bodies of the dead will be looked for
    in order to raise tombstones above them. The only wrong they
    can be accused of is of having been in advance of their age,
    and been born thirty years too soon. These, madame, are the
    true Republicans.'

    "'I have no need to ask you,' the queen said to me; 'you
    belong to that party.'

    "'Alas! madame,' I replied, 'I cannot wholly boast of that
    honour.... Certainly, all my sympathies are with them; but,
    instead of letting myself be carried away by my feelings,
    I have appealed to my reason; I want to do for politics
    what Faust did for science: go down and touch the bottom. I
    was for a year plunged in the depths of the past; I entered
    it with instinctive opinion, I left it from reasoned-out
    conviction. I saw that the revolution of 1830 had brought
    us a step forward, it is true, but that it had simply
    led us from the aristocratic monarchy to the bourgeois
    monarchy, and this bourgeois monarchy was an era which must
    be exhausted before it could arrive at popular magistracy.
    Henceforth, madame, without doing anything to bring myself
    nearer to the government from which I had parted company,
    I have ceased to be an enemy to it; I watch it tranquilly
    running its period, and I shall probably see the end of it;
    I applaud what good it does, I protest against the evil;
    but, at the same time, without either enthusiasm or hatred.
    I neither accept nor reject it: I submit; I do not look on
    this as good fortune, but I believe it to be a necessity.'

    "'But to hear you talk, there will be no chance for it to
    change.'

    "'No, Madame ... not for long years at least.'

    "'Suppose, however, the Duc de Reichstadt had not died, and
    that he had made an attempt.'

    "'I believe he would have failed.'

    "'True, I forgot that, with your Republican opinions,
    Napoleon must appear to you a tyrant.'

    "'I beg your pardon, madame, I look at it from another point
    of view. In my opinion Napoleon was one of those men who
    were elected from the beginning of time, and have received
    a providential mission from God. One judges such men not
    according to their own will-power, which has made them act
    as they did, but according to the degree of divine wisdom
    which has inspired them; not according to the work they have
    done, but according to the result it has produced. When this
    mission is accomplished, God recalls them, and they believe
    they are dying, but they really go to render their account.'

    "'And, according to you, what was the emperor's mission?'

    "'One of liberty.'

    "'Do you know that others quite different from me will ask
    you for proof of your statement?'

    "'Even to you will I give it.'

    "Proceed! you have no idea how deeply I am interested in all
    this!'

    "'When Napoleon, or, rather, Bonaparte, appeared before our
    fathers, madame, France was emerging from a revolution, not
    from a Republic. In one of its fits of political fever it
    was flung so much in advance of other nations that it had
    disturbed the world's equilibrium. It needed an Alexander to
    deal with this Bucephalus, an Androcles with this lion! The
    13 Vendémiaire brought them face to face: and the Revolution
    was beaten. The kings, who should have recognised a brother
    in the cannon of the rue Saint-Honoré, thought they had
    an enemy in the dictator of 18 Brumaire; they mistook the
    Consul of a Republic in him who was already the head of a
    monarchy, and, insane as they were, instead of keeping him
    prisoner in a general peace, they made European war upon
    him. Then Napoleon rallied round him all the youth, courage
    and intellect of France, and spread them abroad over the
    world. A reactionist, as far as we were concerned, wherever
    he passed among other nations he was in a state of advance,
    and flung the seeds of revolution broadcast: Italy, Prussia,
    Spain, Portugal, Poland, Belgium, Russia herself, turn by
    turn, called their sons to the sacred harvest; and he, like
    a tired labourer after his day's work, folded his arms and
    watched them gathering it in, from the top of his rock at
    St. Helena. Then it was that he had a revelation of his
    divine mission, and there dropped from his lips a prophecy
    of a future Republican Europe.'

    "'Do you believe, then, that, if the Duc de Reichstadt had
    not died, he would have continued his father's work?'

    "'In my opinion, madame, men like Napoleon have neither
    fathers nor sons: they are born like meteors in the twilight
    of the dawn, and light up the sky from one horizon to the
    other as they cross it before they are lost in the twilight
    of the night.'

    "'What you are saying is not consoling to those of his
    family who preserve some hope.'

    "'It is as I say, madame; for we have only given him a place
    in our heavens on condition that he did not leave any heir
    on the earth.'

    "'But he bequeathed his sword to his son.'

    "'The gift was fatal, madame, and God broke the bequest.'

    "'You terrify me, for his son, in turn, bequeathed it to
    mine.'

    "'It will be heavy for a simple officer of the Swiss
    Confederation to bear!'

    "'Yes, you are right, for the sword is a sceptre.'

    "'Take care lest you go astray, madame! I am, indeed,
    afraid that you only live in the deceptive and intoxicating
    atmosphere which exiles carry away with them; the times
    which continue to march for the rest of the world seem to
    stand still to outlaws: they still see men and things as
    they left them. Yet men's faces change and so do the aspect
    of things; the generation which saw Napoleon pass as he
    returned from the isle of Elba is dying out daily, madame,
    and that miraculous march is already more than a memory: it
    is a historical fact.'

    "'So you think it is hopeless for the Napoleon family to
    return to France?'

    "'If I were king, I would recall it to-morrow.'

    "'That is not what I meant.'

    "'Otherwise, there is very little chance.'

    "'What advice would you give to a member of that family who
    should dream of the resurrection of the glory and power of
    the Napoleons?'

    "'I would counsel him to wake up.'

    "'If he persisted in spite of that first advice (which in my
    opinion is the best), and asked you for a second piece of
    advice?"

    "'Then, madame, I would tell him to obtain the cancelling of
    his exile, to buy a plot of ground in France and to make use
    of the immense popularity of his name to get himself elected
    a deputy, to try by his talent to win over the majority of
    the Chamber, and to use it to depose Louis-Philippe and
    become elected king in his stead.'

    "'You think,' said the Comtesse de Saint-Leu, with a
    melancholy smile, 'that all other methods would fail?'

    "'I am convinced of it.'

    "The comtesse sighed. At that moment the breakfast bell rang
    and we took our way back to the château, pensive and silent.
    The comtesse did not address a single word to me as we
    returned, but, when we reached the door, she stopped, and,
    looking at me with an indefinable expression of anguish,
    said--

    "'Oh! I wish my son were here and could have heard what you
    have been saying!'"


[Footnote 1: Do not let it be forgotten that these lines were written
under Louis-Philippe, at the time when the Bonapartes were exiled.]



CHAPTER II


News of France--First performance of _Le Fils de l'Émigré_--What _Le
Constitutionnel_ thought of it--Effect produced by that play on the
Parisian population in general and on M. Véron in particular--Death of
Walter Scott--_Périnet Leclerc--Sic vos non vobis_


As I have said, I stayed three days at Arenenberg.[1] I had found
French newspapers there, which I had missed since my departure from
Aix, and I posted myself up in the news of France. M. Jay had replaced
M. de Montesquieu at the Academy. Faithful to its traditions, the
Academy, having a choice between M. Jay, a mediocre political writer,
and M. Thiers, an eminent historian, had chosen M. Jay. The Institute
had done pretty much the same thing: M. Lethière, that dear good friend
of my father, author of _Brutus condamnant ses fils,_ having died, MM.
Paul Delaroche, Schnetz and Blondel were put on the lists to succeed
him. You would have betted, would you not, dear readers, on Schnetz or
on Delaroche? Well, you would have lost: MM. Schnetz and Delaroche each
had three votes, and M. Blondel had eighteen.

Mademoiselle Falcon had come out in the rôle of Alice in _Robert le
Diable._ A pupil of Nourrit, she had had a splendid success. Poor
Cornélie! her success was to be as short as it had been great: two
years after her début an accident took away her voice!

Then, political lawsuits had followed, one after another: the Seine
Court of Assizes had delivered two death sentences, one against a
man named Cuny, and the other against one called Lepage. These two
sentences had moved the Parisian public profoundly: since the death of
Louis XVIII., it had become unaccustomed to capital punishments for
political offences. Next had come the less serious sentence against
the Saint-Simonians; then, the affair of the man with the red flag.
I have tried to paint the effect the appearance of this man produced
at the funeral of General Lamarque. He was condemned to _a month's
imprisonment_! Solicitor-General Delapalme, who had nearly given up
the prosecution, to the great surprise of everybody, only extricated
himself by arguing that the accused man was out of his mind. The
Republicans interpreted the thing differently, the man with the red
flag was looked upon by them as an agent to provoke an insurrection:
hence the indulgence of the public government. The last news that I
read was less interesting to others, but brought a feeling of remorse
to my mind: the performance of _Le Fils de l'Émigré_ was announced to
come on next at the Porte-Saint-Martin. I did not fail, therefore, to
ask at each inn where I stopped, "Have you a French paper?" On arriving
at Kœnigsfelden, the place where the Emperor Albert was assassinated
by Jean de Souabe, his nephew, I renewed the question. "Yes, monsieur,"
mine host replied; "I have _Le Constitutionnel."_

_Le Constitutionnel,_ it will be recollected, was my old enemy. It
had declared war upon me over _Henri III._ and I had replied to
its cannonading by _Antony;_ it was I who had invented the famous
announcement of the discontinuing of subscriptions; so I could not have
received news of my natural son through a more evil-inclined channel;
but, as I had left it in the hands of Anicet without acknowledging it
in any way, and it was a condition _sine qua non,_ that I should not be
named, I thought the news would be indirect.

I opened _Le Constitutionnel,_ then, with quite a steady hand. Great
was my surprise to read at the head of the article--

   "THÉÂTRE DE LA PORTE-SAINT-MARTIN
      _Le Fils de l'Émigré_
Drama by MM. ANICET BOURGEOIS and ALEXANDRE
                DUMAS ..."

I realised at once that, from the moment my name appeared, the play had
been a failure. I was not mistaken. If, however, you wish to see how
_Le Constitutionnel_ deals with the performance, read the following
lines, which will give an idea of the urbanity with which the cricitism
was inserted in MM. Jay and Étienne's journal. It is true, the article
was not signed. Moreover, as I register my successes with a naïveté
which, at times, is looked upon as conceit, I am not sorry to register
an out-and-out failure. I have had two such in my life: _Le Fils de
l'Émigré_ at the Porte-Saint-Martin and _Le Laird de Dumbicky_ at the
Odéon; but, as I was present at the latter, I will myself undertake to
give an account of it when the suitable moment comes. I shall be more
polite to myself than is the anonymous critic in the _Constitutionnel_;
but I shall not take further trouble about it; my readers may rest
perfectly easy on that point.

So I summoned to my aid all the philosophy I possessed, and I read--


            "THÉÂTRE DE LA PORTE-SAINT-MARTIN
               _Le Fils de l'Émigré_
        Drama by MM. ANICET BOURGEOIS and ALEXANDRE
                          DUMAS


    "Le Comte Édouard de Bray, a French émigré, takes refuge
    in Switzerland; there he has taken service in the Austrian
    Army, which attempts to invade France from that quarter. The
    count has chosen his allies badly: beaten with them (since
    our brave armies do beat their enemies utterly), he takes to
    his legs and shelters in an armourer's shop at Brientz. The
    armourer, Grégoire Humbert, a man of honour and of humanity,
    takes in the fugitive, whom he desires to save from the
    pursuit of the Republicans. Humbert is the more zealous and
    devoted because he knew Comte Édouard: the comte is several
    months at Brientz, and even leaves Grégoire Humbert under
    the table after an orgy, Humbert's virtue and sobriety
    having gone somewhat astray on that day. The worthy armourer
    has not forgotten this memorable escapade of drunkenness; so
    he helps Comte Édouard to escape out of the window, whilst
    the French soldiers' rifles are beating at his door.

    "Comte Édouard de Bray thus saved, you would imagine that
    he would feel the very liveliest gratitude for the brave
    man who saved him from being shot or hung. Oh! nothing of
    the kind! Our real, our great drama, it is said, is not so
    juvenile as to accustom us to such natural and middle-class
    sentiments; it must, of course, have something quite
    different--something detestable, ignoble and ridiculous
    forsooth!

    "This is what the Comte de Bray does in conformity with the
    triple requirements of great drama. Scarcely out of danger,
    he writes to Grégoire Humbert: 'You think yourself a happy
    father and husband; you are deceived, Humbert. During the
    night of the orgy I spent with you, your wife was waiting
    for you in her bed: I slipped into your place; the son she
    is to present you with is not yours.'

    "If you ask for an explanation of the Comte de Bray's
    infamy, you will learn that he has sworn implacable hatred
    to the people, and that he begins to put it into operation
    upon his benefactor. It is out of such subjects as these
    that writers have the presumption to make plays nowadays,
    and drama which is to move and interest people!

    "The comte's letter throws Humbert into despair; he takes a
    dagger and wants to kill his wife.... At this moment, the
    back of the stage reveals the scene of an accouchement,
    which follows upon the dagger scene; 'I have the honour
    of announcing to you the birth of the émigré's son.' The
    priest blesses the newly born infant; mother and child are
    doing well. This spectacle disarms Humbert, who sheathes his
    dagger; but he must kill some one, so, instead of Madame
    Humbert and her dubious offspring, he means to kill Édouard.
    Unfortunately, he is too late, Édouard is far away. The
    armourer does not give up his revenge on that account; he
    will beget a second son by his wife, a son who shall be his
    to kill the father of the first son, with the responsibility
    of whom he is obliged to saddle himself, '_Is pater est
    quem nuptiæ demonstrant.'_ Humbert, certainly, understood
    revenge as well as anybody possibly could; to beget a child
    by Madame Humbert solely to avenge himself is the supremest
    kind of cleverness. These lovely things I have just laid
    before you form what is nowadays called a _prologue_; it was
    formerly simply called the first act.

    "Twenty years pass over. Humbert died ruined, pursuing
    Édouard, whom he has never been able to meet with; for
    twenty years he had been unlucky in his search! Otherwise,
    his project of vengeance had succeeded to perfection: the
    second son was born, grew up and, in place of the dead
    Humbert, Pietro, his faithful servant, teaches the son to
    handle a sword, in readiness for the moment when Comte
    Édouard shall be encountered, and when he shall kill him.
    There is a family of armourers for you, and they could give
    points on matters of revenge to the ancient Greek families,
    whose fury our tragic authors have put before us for some
    time past. Humbert and his faithful Pietro had not found
    Édouard. I, who had nothing to do with him, found him in
    Paris, where he was exercising the noble profession of spy:
    as a count and secret agent of the Superior Police. The
    drama preserves and maintains to us something of interest
    and elevation. Besides his pleasures as a spy, Édouard
    continues to cultivate his hatred against the people: he
    has seduced a young girl, with whom he has been living
    for two years; _item,_ he has carried away a young man
    called Georges Burns from his artisan work and made him
    his secretary; his object is to corrupt Georges, as he has
    corrupted Thérèse, out of hatred to the people. We could not
    have believed in such madness, if we had not seen and heard
    it. But we are not at the end, there is yet another story.

    "This Georges Burns is none other than the son of Édouard
    and of Madame Humbert. Georges changed his name after his
    putative father had died bankrupt. Georges is proud and
    does not wish to resume the name of his supposed father
    until after he has paid all his debts. Édouard, who does
    not know the clue to this enigma, looks upon the youth as
    merely Georges Burns. From this juncture, we enter upon an
    incredible chaos of ignominy and absurdities; we are at
    first tempted to laugh at the crude combination of style,
    incoherence of scenes and pell-mell of persons and to take
    it for a parody. I frankly thought it was meant as a parody.

    "These two clever people, I said, want to make fun of the
    monstrosities which degrade our theatres, and to avenge
    good feeling and taste and language by a good satire....
    As caricature and satire exaggerate the absurdities or the
    vices of those at whom they want to strike, our satirists
    have piled up in their parody crudity upon crudity, mountain
    upon mountain, crime upon crime, filth upon filth, to
    bring the more shame upon our licentious dramatists. But I
    have been assured that _Le Fils de l'Émigré_ was written
    seriously as a great drama.

    "Then, no longer being able to laugh, I have no resource
    left but ennui and disgust--an ennui and disgust with
    which I do not desire to oppress my readers by dragging
    them step by step through that den of slavery, murder and
    prostitution: I might just as well invite them! to spend a
    day at Poissy, at the Madelonnettes, at la Conciergerie, the
    place de Grève or the private cabinet of M. Vidocq, with the
    executioner's minions; for there is nothing else in this
    ignoble play. Comte Édouard de Bray, whom you know to be a
    spy, blunders unpardonably and breaks burglariously into
    houses.

    "Thérèse, the young girl he has carried off, becomes a
    prostitute very quickly and goes from man to man with
    wonderful facility. Georges Burns, or, rather, Georges
    Humbert, steals from his mother 30,000 francs meant for the
    payment of her husband's debts, and assassinates Thérèse,
    whom he had lived with after Comte Édouard had done with her.

    "To crown these lovely performances, you have a condemnation
    to the galleys and a sentence of death. Édouard is sent to
    the galleys for forgery; Burns to the scaffold for murder.
    In the prison, between the branding and the guillotine,
    father and son recognise one another, and Georges learns
    the secret of his birth. You would think the authors would
    stop short there, and have some pity on us. Poor folk! who
    think that people will respect you more than the general
    opinion, and everything which has hitherto been respected in
    good and healthy literature! No, you have not had enough of
    this hideous spectacle: you must see the galley-slave bound
    to his chains, the condemned with his hands tied behind his
    back and head shaved, marching to ... Here the public rose
    in a body and would not see or hear any more; they turned
    sick with disgust; the women rose or turned their eyes away
    to hide the sight of the head about to be cut off; they
    hooted, they shouted down these shameful doings, and justice
    was done. Criticism of such plays as these is impossible;
    one leaves them as quickly as one can, as one kicks aside a
    repulsive object. What have we come to, when a talented man
    puts his name to this drama as to a sign-post? It is true
    that the author has, this time, found his punishment in the
    very offence itself; his talent seems to be completely dead."

So I was assassinated by _Le Constitutionnel,_ exactly on the same
spot where the Emperor Albert had been assassinated by his nephew.
Unfortunately, I doubt whether that assassination was as valuable
to the future as the fine scene one can read in the fifth act of
Schiller's _Wilhelm Tell,_ which takes place between the murderer of
Gessler and the assassin of the emperor.

I returned to Paris towards the beginning of October. All the
newspapers had copied the example of _Le Constitutionnel_; they had
gone for me tooth and nail, the kill was complete; they did not leave a
shred of flesh on my bones. I met Véron, who delivered me a lecture on
my immorality which I shall never forget. He had asked me for something
for _La Revue de Paris,_ of which he was editor; but, after _Le Fils
de l'Émigré,_ he had no room for my name among the company of decent
people. I also came across several theatrical managers who had become
short-sighted during my absence and did not recognise me. I have had
these falls two or three times during my life--not reckoning others
still awaiting me--I have always risen above them, thank God! and I
hope that, if it happens again, God will extend the same grace to me.
My private motto is _"J'ayme qui m'ayme,"_ and I could perfectly well
add, _"Je ne hais pas qui me hait";_ but our family motto is "_Deus
dédit_, _Deus dabit"_ ("God has given, God will give").

So I gave up the theatre for a time. Besides, I had begun my book on
_Gaule et France,_ and I wanted to finish it. The execution of this
book was a singular thing. I sought learning myself in order to teach
others; but I had a great advantage: in going thus by chance through
history, it happened to me as it happens to a man who does not know his
way and gets lost in a forest; he is lost, it is true, but discovers
things unknown, abysses where no man has descended, heights none have
scaled.

_Gaule et France_ is a historical book full of mistakes; but it ends
by the strangest prophecy which has ever been printed sixteen years
beforehand. We will see what it was in due time and place.

Towards the end of September, we heard in France of the death of Walter
Scott. That death made a certain impression on me; not that I had the
honour of knowing the author of _Ivanhoe_ and of _Waverley,_ but the
reading of Walter Scott, it will be recollected, had a great influence
on my early literary life. Beginning by preferring Pigault-Lebrun to
Walter Scott, and Voltaire to Shakespeare, a twofold heresy from which
my well-loved Lassagne had redeemed me--Lassagne who, since I talked of
him to you, has gone where half my friends have gone,--having, I say,
preferred Pigault-Lebrun to Walter Scott, I had come to saner views,
and, not only had I read all the Scottish author's romances, but I had
tried to make two plays out of his works: the first, we know, with
Frédéric Soulié; the second by myself. Neither was played, and neither
was suited to the stage.

Walter Scott's qualities are not at all dramatic; admirable as a
painter of manners, costumes and characters, Walter Scott is completely
incapable of painting the passions. With manners and characters one can
concoct comedies, but there must be passion to make dramas. Scott's
only impassioned romance is _Kenilworth Castle_; so it is the sole one
which provided a really successful drama, and yet three-quarters of the
success was due to the _dénoûment,_ which was put on the stage, and
which brutally flung in the eyes of the public the terrible spectacle
of Amy Robsart's fall over the precipice. But my work on Scott had
not been useless, although it had remained fruitless; one only
understands the structure of a man by dissecting dead bodies; so one
only understands the genius of an author by analysing it. The analysis
of Walter Scott had made me understand the novel from another point of
view than that of our country. A similar fidelity to manners, costumes
and characters, with more lively dialogue and more natural passions,
seemed to me to be what we needed. Such was my conviction, but I was
far enough yet from suspecting that I should attempt to do for France
what Scott had done for Scotland. I had only then published my historic
scenes, _Le Chevalier de Bois-Bourdon, Isabel le Bavière_ and _Périnet
Leclerc,_ and, as we shall see, the thing had succeeded badly enough,
or was but a very poor success. One has such luck at times.

I published my _Scènes historiques_ in _La Revue des Deux Mondes_; so
no one read them. In my absence, Anicet Bourgeois and Lockroy conceived
the notion of putting these scenes together and composing a drama under
the title of _Périnet Leclerc._ It was, indeed, an honour which they
paid to these scraps of history, unostentatiously scattered through a
review. The play was a great success. Although I had done at least as
much of it as of _Le Fils de l'Émigré,_ they were most careful not to
utter my name. _Le Constitutionnel,_ which had torn from my face, in
the first work, the veil of incognito, obliterated it this time with
all its strength, and praised the drama highly. Listen: M. Lesur, in
his _Annuaire_ had said, apropos of _Le Fils de l'Émigré_--

    "This play recalls the drunken slave which the Lacedémonians
    used to point out to their children to disgust them with
    drunkenness, and it ought to lead the public, if such a
    thing be possible, to purer and more reasonable ideals
    in dramatic literature. The object of the authors was to
    compare the corruption of the nobility with the virtue of
    the people, and, starting with this view, which is of no
    value nowadays, there is no vice, immorality or infamy that
    they have not accumulated in the person of their émigré
    le Marquis de Bray and of his worthy son; _it is a mass
    of turpitudes, a sequence of scenes as false as they are
    ignoble, which it would disgust us to enumerate._ The public
    permitted M. Dumas's _La Tour de Nesle,_ but, this time, it
    has not been so complaisant: it hooted, hooted outrageously
    _a monstrous production which made all parts of the theatre,
    pit, boxes and galleries, turn sick with disgust and avert
    their eyes with horror._ It is to be hoped that this severe
    and deserved lesson will impel the author of _Henri III.,_
    of _Christine_ and of _Antony_ and _Richard Darlington,_ not
    to prostitute his talent again by putting his hand to such
    works."

The article, it will be seen, does not mince words (and between
ourselves, be it said, dear reader, without reaching Anicet's ears, it
seemed to be an execrable thing!) But, take careful notice that it is
to me M. Lesur addresses himself, I, who had not been named and whose
name was not on the bills; he had taken good care to expose me after a
failure, but took equal care to conceal me when it was a question of
success.

Here is the proof:--


    "THÉÂTRE DE LA PORTE-SAINT-MARTIN (3 Sep. 1832)

    "First performance of _Périnet Leclerc,_ a prose drama in
    five acts by MM. ANICET BOURGEOIS and LOCKROY.

    "Fine scenes, noise, stir and magnificent decorations and,
    above all, a situation of the supremest interest in the
    fifth act, have made this drama a complete success. _It
    bears witness to literary and historic studies very rare in
    modern dramatists, and has in general the great advantage
    over most of the plays of this theatre, particularly_ _LE
    FILS DE L' ÉMIGRÉ, of not revolting the spectator constantly
    by a jumble of crimes and pictures of debauchery each more
    horrible than the last."_

Caught, Monsieur Dumas! But there is something stronger still. Some
time after I collected my _Scènes historiques_ into two volumes a paper
noticed it, and accused me of having literally copied the principal
scenes of my fictitious historical book from the fine drama by MM.
Anicet Bourgeois and Lockroy!

Ah! my dear good fellow, are you simply ignorant or do you write in bad
faith? You would rather not reply? Then let us ask M. Lireux.


[Footnote 1: See Appendix.]



CHAPTER III


La Duchesse de Berry returns to Nantes disguised as a peasant
woman--The basket of apples--The house Duguigny--Madame in her
hiding-place--Simon Deutz--His antecedents--His mission--He enters into
treaty with MM. Thiers and Montalivet--He starts for la Vendée


Meantime, they learnt in Paris of the arrest of the Duchesse de Berry,
at Nantes. It would have needed less news than this to divert the
public indignation raised against me on account of the unlucky _Fils
de l'Émigré._ We left Madame la duchesse de Berry with M. Berryer in
a poor Vendéen cottage, where she lived under the name of M. Charles;
we saw her giving way to the entreaties of the famous barrister, and
promising to quit France; she was to rejoin M. Berryer at noon the same
day at a given spot, to return with him to Nantes, to cross through
France by coach--thanks to the passport he brought for her--and to
return to Italy by the Mont Cenis route. M. Berryer had waited for an
hour at the arranged meeting-place, when he received a dispatch from
Madame, who told him that too many interests were bound up with hers
for her to abandon them. She therefore remained in la Vendée; only,
the taking up of arms, fixed for 24 May, was deferred till the 3rd or
4th of June. We shall not be suspected of any intention of giving the
history of the Civil War of 1832. The object of these Memoirs is not
to relate official matters, but details which certain advantages of
position or of friendship have put us in the way of knowing.

Now, who captured the Duchesse de Berry? General Dermoncourt, my old
friend. Who was his secretary? The very same Rusconi who has been my
secretary for twenty-one years, and who received from the hands of M.
de Ménars the famous historical hat that was momentarily deflected from
its habitual use by Madame la duchesse de Berry.

We will take up our narrative again at the moment when Madame,
driven on all sides by events at Maisdon, at la Caraterie, Chêne, la
Pénissière and at Riaillé, resolved to return to Nantes. This plan,
which at first seemed foolhardy, was, however, the one which offered
most security. When at Nantes, the Duchesse de Berry would find safe
shelter; she therefore only had to find a means of getting there
without discovery. She cut the knot herself by announcing that she
would return to Nantes on foot clad as a peasant and followed only by
Mademoiselle Eulalie de Kersabiec. They had scarcely three leagues to
walk. M. de Ménars and M. de Bourmont left after them, and entered
Nantes undisguised although they were very well known; they crossed
the Loire in a boat opposite the meadow des Mauves.[1] At the end of a
quarter of an hour's walk, the huge shoes and cotton stockings to which
the duchess was unused hurt her feet. She tried, however, to walk on:
but, deeming that if she kept to her footwear, she could not continue
her journey, she sat down on the bank of a ditch, took off her shoes
and stockings, stuffed them into her great pockets and began to walk
barefoot. Soon, however, noticing from the peasant women who passed by
that the fineness of her skin and the aristocratic whiteness of her
legs might betray her, she went to one of the low hills by the roadside
and, with some of the dark-coloured earth, she made her legs brown with
it and pursued her journey. There were still two good leagues to go.
It must, indeed, have been a wonderful subject for philosophic thought
for those who accompanied her, this spectacle of the woman who, two
years before, had her position as queen mother at the Tuileries and
possessed Chambord and Bagatelle, drove out in her carriages with six
horses, escorted by bodyguards brilliant in gold and silver; who went
to spectacles she had commanded, preceded by runners shaking torches;
who filled the hall with her presence alone, and, when she returned
to the château and regained her splendid chambers, walked over doubly
thick Persian and Turkey carpets for fear the parquetted floor should
hurt her childish feet;--to-day, this same woman, still smirched with
the powder of battlefields, surrounded by dangers, outlawed, having
no escort or courtiers beside one young girl, went to seek a shelter
which might, perhaps, close its doors to her, clothed in the dress of a
peasant woman, walking barefooted on the sharp sand and angular pebbles
of the road. It was a singular thing that, at this date, nearly every
country had its kings running barefoot along its highways!

However, the journey was made, and as they came nearer to Nantes all
fears disappeared. The duchess was clothed in her costume and the
farmers she had passed had not noticed that the little peasant woman
running slowly past them was anything but what her clothes indicated:
it was much, indeed, to have deceived the inquisitive instincts of
country people, who have no rivals, possibly no equals, in this
respect, unless it be soldiers.

At last they arrived in sight of Nantes: and Madame put on her shoes
and stockings again before entering the town. When crossing the bridge
of Pyrmile, she fell into the midst of a detachment of soldiers which
was coming off duty under the command of an officer whom she recognised
perfectly well, having seen him in former days doing duty at the
Château. She reminded MM. de Ménars and Bourmont of this coincidence
when they arrived some hours after her.

"I think the officer in command of that detachment on the bridge has
recognised me: he looked hard at me," she said; "if it be so, and happy
days come to me, his lot will be fortunate, he will be rewarded!"

Opposite the Bouffai, the duchess felt her shoulder touched. She
trembled and turned round. The person who had just taken that liberty
was a worthy old woman, who, having put her basket of apples on the
ground, could not replace it on her head by herself.

"My children," she said to the duchess and Mile, de Kersabiec, "help me
to lift up my basket and I will give you each an apple."

Madame soon took hold of one handle and signed to her companion to take
hold of the other, the basket was balanced on the good woman's head,
and she went away without giving the promised reward; but the duchess
stopped her by the arm--

"Well, mother, where is my apple?" she asked. The apple-seller gave her
one, and Madame was eating it with an appetite sharpened by a three
leagues' walk, when, lifting her head, her eyes fell on a placard
bearing these three words in big letters:--

                           "ÉTAT DE SIÈGE"

It was the Government notice which put four of the départements of la
Vendée outside the pale of common law. The duchess went up to the bill
and calmly read it right through, in spite of the entreaties of Mlle.
de Kersabiec, who pressed her to gain the house at which she was to be
received; but Madame observed that it was too interesting a matter for
her not to acquaint herself with it. At last she resumed her journey,
and, a few minutes later, she reached the house where she was expected,
and where she took off her muddy garments, which were preserved as a
memento of the event. Soon, she left this first refuge to go to the
ladies Duguigny, at No. 3 rue Haute-du-Château.

The position of the Duguigny's house was pleasant, it looked out over
the château gardens and beyond to the Loire and the meadows which
bordered it. They had prepared her a room with a secret hiding in it.
The room was no more than a third storey attic, the secret place was a
nook by the fireplace in a corner: it was reached by the back of the
chimney and opened with a spring. It had been used since the first
Vendéen Wars to save priests and other outlaws. M. de Ménars lived in
this house with the duchess. One would have thought that, after many
journeys and fatigues, on finding a quiet, safe retreat she could have
taken some rest and returned to her favourite occupation of tapestry
and flowerpainting, talents in which she excelled; but, after the plans
she had meditated carrying out, which had, in some measure, given her
more masculine tastes, those futile pursuits were no longer to her
liking, and did not suffice for that active spirit.

She resumed a correspondence, which she had dropped for some time,
with the Legitimists of France and abroad, the principal object of
which correspondence was positively to inform them that in case of an
invasive war against France, which then seemed threatening, her son
should never put himself in the train of foreigners, and to ask them,
if need arose, to unite their efforts to those of all other Frenchmen
to repulse them. The papers found in the secret room testified to the
aim and to the magnitude of the work she had set herself to do. Her
letters amounted to over nine hundred in number; they were nearly all
in her own handwriting, with the exception of a few by M. de Ménars.
She had twenty-four different ciphers in which to correspond with the
various parties in France; she wrote in cipher with remarkable ease.

One of the distractions with which she provided herself, with M.
Ménars' assistance, was to paste up the whole of the grey paper which
to-day forms the decoration of the attic. During the duchess's stay in
Nantes, cholera made some ravages and daily she saw from her windows
soldiers or inhabitants being carried to the cemetery. One night she
was seized with colic and vomiting, causing the greatest anxiety to
those around her. She herself was alarmed.

"How are my feet and hands?" she said. "When they become cold, rub
them, put burning hot bricks to them and send for a doctor and priest."
They assured her she should have the services of both, but she would
not have them summoned until the more alarming symptoms set in.
However, the sickness stopped and the invalid grew better.

Madame took her meals down on the second floor: to her table were
admitted M. de Ménars and Mademoiselle Stylite de Kersabiec--who had
joined her--the two ladies Duguigny and, lastly, M. Guibourg, who,
after his escape from the prison of Nantes, had also found a refuge
in the same house, but only three weeks before the duchess's arrest.
Very often, the meals were interrupted by false alarms caused by some
detachment of troops coming in or going out of the town; then a bell,
which communicated with the room from the ground floor, would give the
signal for a retreat.

The duchess passed five months in this way. But the activity with which
the Chouans were hunted down left them no chance of rallying together;
also, the soul and head of the war was no longer with them. The 56th
Regiment, which arrived about the end of June, permitted the military
authorities to organise a still more energetic chase and a still
stricter look-out; the cantonments were reinforced, moving columns
ploughed the country in all senses of the meaning; finally, all hope
for the partisans of Henri V. of rekindling a serious war soon vanished.

Meantime, the rumour had gone abroad that the duchess was hidden in
Nantes; General Dermoncourt was certain of its truth and had given the
higher authorities almost material proofs of the presence of Madame
in the town; but, as the fugitive's retreat was only known to a few
persons, who were completely devoted to her, whatever credence the
civil and military authorities gave to the general's warning, they had
small chance of discovering her; besides, the duchess had become the
object of extreme watchfulness on the part of her friends, who felt
the necessity of isolating her completely in the centre of the town
in order to prevent the police agents from getting at her. So she was
inaccessible to every one except M. de Bourmont, who exercised his
privilege with as much prudence as reserve. It was about this time that
the Jew Deutz came to the town.

Hyacinthe-Simon Deutz, was born at Coblenz in January 1802. At the
age of eighteen he went to M. Didot as a working printer. A short
time later, his brother-in-law, M. Drack, becoming a Catholic, Deutz,
being furious at the conversion, threatened him so savagely that Drack
warned the police. However, two or three years later, his Judaistic
fanaticism softened on this point; he himself showed a desire to
embrace the Catholic religion, and, through his brother-in-law,
solicited an audience with the Archbishop of Paris. That prelate,
thinking his conversion would be quicker and more efficacious at Rome,
advised him to go there. Deutz actually made that journey early in
1828; he was recommended in the most pressing manner by M. de Quélen
to Cardinal Capellari (afterwards Gregory XIV.), then préfet to the
propaganda. Pope Leo XIX. gave him into the care of Father Orioli, of
the Collège des Cordeliers, for instruction in the Catholic religion.
For some time, and on several occasions, Deutz seemed to have changed
his resolution. He wrote in 1828, "I have experienced several days of
storm; I was even on the point of returning unbaptized to Paris; it was
Judaism dying in me; but, thanks to God, my eyes are entirely unsealed
and, ere long, I shall have the happiness of becoming a Christian."
Finally judged fit to receive baptism, his godfather was Baron
Mortier, first secretary to the Embassy, and his godmother an Italian
princess. Thus, by deceiving God, he learned how to betray men. A while
after, he was presented to the Pope, who received him with the greatest
kindness. A pension of 25 piastres (125 francs) per month had been
allowed him since his arrival in Rome from the funds of the propaganda.
His brother-in-law Drack, introduced by Baron Mortier to the Duchesse
de Berry, had by her been appointed librarian to the Duc de Bordeaux.
It was then that the Pope got Deutz entered as a boarder at the
Convent des Saints-Apôtres, and he continued publicly to affect the
same devotion to religion. Nevertheless, those who lived in intimacy
with him had very quickly guessed with what interested motives he had
made his abjuration. Most of his early patrons, seeing they were being
fooled by him, gradually deserted him; soon, the only supporter he had
left was Cardinal Capellari, who, only seeing him occasionally, still
kept up the same interest in him.

In 1830, Deutz, under the pretext of not wishing to live on charity,
obtained from Pius VIII., then Pope, 300 piastres with which he set out
to start, so he said, a bookshop in New York. After he had lived upon
the money made by his books he returned to Europe and reached London
in the autumn of 1831. He was recommended to the Jesuits established
in England, and introduced himself to Abbé Delaporte, almoner to
the Chapel of the Émigrés and French Legitimists, who put him into
communication with the Marquis Eugène de Montmorency, then resident
in London. Deutz got himself noticed by his extraordinary assiduity
in attending the chapel services, praying fervently and frequently
communicating; he thus secured the kindly notice of M. de Montmorency,
a very religious man, who invited him to his table and even to some
sort of intimacy.

About this time Madame de Bourmont was preparing, with her daughters,
to rejoin her husband in Italy. M. de Bourmont recommended Deutz to
her as a wise and reliable man, who might be useful to her on her
journey; he was, besides, devoted body and soul to the Legitimist
cause and to religion. Deutz went the journey with Madame de Bourmont
and behaved himself so well that, on her arrival, she in her turn
recommended him warmly to the Duchesse de Berry. When the princess went
to Rome, the Pope also spoke to her of Deutz as a man to be relied
upon, capable of carrying out intelligently the most important and
delicate missions. He notified that she could make use of him with
entire confidence when occasion required. Such occasion was not long
in offering itself. Just when the duchess was preparing to make her
descent upon France, Deutz arrived at Massa and offered his services to
Madame; he came from Rome and was going to Portugal to fulfil various
missions which the Holy Father had entrusted to him, amongst others,
that of taking, on his journey to Genoa, a dozen Jesuits to don Miguel,
who had asked for them in order to found a college. Madame received
him kindly and, knowing that he would cross Spain to reach Portugal,
she accepted his offer with pleasure and willingness, telling him she
would take advantage of his kindness and his devotion, and giving him
her orders from time to time. So great was her idea of Deutz's delicate
sensitiveness at the time, such interest had he roused in her, that she
said one day to one of the French people round her--

"I believe poor Deutz is in want of money. I have none at the moment,
and he is so sensitive I dare not give him this jewel to sell, which
is, I believe, worth 6000 francs. Kindly sell it for me and give him
the money without telling him what I am obliged to do to procure it."

So he set off on his mission, passing by way of Catalonia and
Madrid. In that city, upon the letter of introduction of a minister
plenipotentiary of the Italian States to whom the Pope had sent
him, he obtained an introduction to one of the princes of the Royal
Family of Spain, from whom he managed to extract money, although
he was abundantly supplied with it by both the Holy Father and the
Duchesse de Berry. That little act of fraud, of which he boasted when
he returned to Madrid from Portugal, proves that Deutz was already
treacherous, and that any means seemed good to him that satisfied his
thirst after gold. As he travelled under the auspices of the Court
of Rome, he mostly stayed in convents, where he was well received,
and got himself noticed for his fervent zeal for the Catholic faith.
Upon his arrival in Portugal, although well provided with letters
from the Pope, he could not obtain an audience with don Miguel except
after great difficulties and several months' stay. It was, I think, in
connection with some loan don Miguel wanted to contract at the time
in Paris that a banker of that capital, who knew of this project and
desired to derive profit out of it for the duchess, wrote or caused to
be written, in the current August, to Deutz, then in Portugal, that he
would willingly undertake the loan on condition don Miguel would allow
the deduction of ten per cent, in favour of the Duchesse de Berry, and,
knowing him to be devoted to the cause and interests of the princess,
he would let him negotiate the business, hoping he would employ every
means his sagacity could think of to bring it about successfully.
But it appears Deutz did not succeed in this enterprise. About the
month of September 1832, he returned from Portugal to Madrid, and
had several interviews with the French Legitimists, whose confidence
in the scamp was countenanced by the duchess's example. He, however,
committed various indiscretions of conduct in Portugal, which might
have inspired them with doubts, but the certain knowledge that Madame
had proved his fidelity allayed all uneasiness. Upon his departure
for France, he was charged with important dispatches, the contents
whereof would have seriously compromised those who had written them
and those to whom they were addressed. One of the French Legitimists
who was then in Madrid having declared his intention of accompanying
him as courier, Deutz told him it would not be safe for the secretary
to the Embassy at Madrid to travel with a Frenchman. This circumstance
at first aroused no suspicion; but a part of the letters confided to
Deutz, and principally those he had been advised to leave at Bordeaux,
to be addressed from there with greater safety to the duchess and other
persons, never reaching their destination, it has since been imagined
that he gave them up to the Paris police upon his return to France, and
that the supposed secretary to the Embassy was none other than an agent
who accompanied him and who, no doubt, served him as intermediary to
transmit to the police the information he got from the knave.

It appears that, just about this time, they had not put much energy
into the discovery of Madame's hiding-place, because they hoped the
adventurous princess, seeing the uselessness of her attempts and all
her resources being exhausted, would decide to leave French soil and
thus rid the Government of a great difficulty; but, when they saw
that she persisted in remaining in a country still in a state of
fermentation, where her presence was dangerous, they set themselves
seriously to find means of seizing her person at no matter what price.

The police, fertile in strategies, thought they could make use of Deutz
and of the correspondence he carried to make the duchess fall into a
trap and so fall into the hands of the Government agents. Consequently,
they made overtures to this traitor; he had been presented at Court;
he had seen renegades become illustrious; he was conscious of his
strength and the means and power at his disposal; he knew that it was
in the salons of ministers that perfidy and State reasons met together;
he wished, then, to treat with the Government alone. He therefore
obtained an audience with M. de Montalivet, and it was in the cabinet
of his Excellency that they settled the price of an infamous piece of
treachery.

What passed during that interview, what promises were made, what
offers accepted, remains a secret between the minister and Deutz; for
I presume Providence does not interfere in these affairs seeing they
succeed. Still, they hesitated to make use of the instrument when they
had found it, and great was the embarrassment at the château. The
Duchesse de Berry, arrested, would become answerable before a Court of
Assizes which might very easily condemn her to death; the king, it is
true, had his right of pardon; but there are moments when that right
is as difficult to exercise as is the right of death. On the other
side, to leave the duchess alone was not without its inconvenience; the
Chamber was stupid enough to grow tired of civil war as of anything
else, and to demand a stop to it; in short, M. de Montalivet was
exceedingly embarrassed by his traitor, not knowing what to do and
almost in despair at having been so clever.

About this time ministerial changes took place; M. de Montalivet passed
on to the civil list, and M. Thiers to the Home Office. The young
minister saw in this change of place a means of getting rid of his
Judas by sending him elsewhere to ask for his thirty pieces of silver;
but Deutz raised difficulties; he had begun the business with the count
and wished to conclude it with him; he knew M. de Montalivet, and did
not know M. Thiers. Finally, after much parleying, M. de Montalivet
persuaded him to accompany him in his carriage to M. Thiers. M. Thiers
had too much tact and finesse not to seize upon the occasion to make
his appointment less unpopular, and he was too clever not to try by a
grand _coup_ to get himself forgiven. The capture of the Duchesse de
Berry would draw the Chamber to him and the Chamber pretty well meant
the nation. M. Thiers would thence become a national hero.

Deutz left for la Vendée, accompanied by Joly, the inspector of police,
and arrived there under the name of Hyacinthe de Gonzaque.


[Footnote 1: See, for fuller details, _La Vendée et Madame,_ an account
written by me from Dermoncourt's notes.]



CHAPTER IV


M. Maurice Duval is made Préfet of the Loire-Inférieure--The Nantais
give him a charivari--Deutz's persistent attempts to see Madame--He
obtains a first and then a second audience--Besieging of the maison
Duguigny--The hiding-place--The police searches--Discovery of the
duchess


Some days after Deutz's arrival in Nantes, no doubt in order to
combine measures with him, M. Maurice Duval was made préfet of the
Loire-Inférieure. This unpopular appointment, the callous dismissal of
M. de Saint-Aignan and the manner in which he received the news of his
replacement, all elated the spirits of the Nantais; further, M. Maurice
Duval's Grenoble reputation preceded him; one alone of these reasons
would have been enough to cost him an ordinary charivari: all these
reasons together were worth what, under governments by majorities, may
be termed the King of Charivaris.

It was on 19 October that the news spread through Nantes of the
dismissal of M. de Saint-Aignan and the appointment of M. Maurice
Duval, who was to have arrived the same day but did not do so until the
following day, the 20th. Soon the most hostile demonstrations began to
be shown. Those who had instruments for making a hurly-burly, such as
skillets, rattles, whistles, speaking-trumpets which could be heard
a mile off, etc. etc., instinctively laid hands on them; those who
had none ran to borrow them from their friends; those, finally, who
had neither instruments nor friends, used the oddest means of taking
part in the great popular concert which was being prepared; some went
through the town in search of bells, unfastened them from the very
cows which chance led in their way; others seized little bells from a
founder's and, with a stick, carried at each end by two men, set up a
walking tocsin. A general levy of cow-horns was made and more than six
hundred persons were provided with this instrument, which, as every one
knows, needs no preparatory study. A dealer in whistles, who, apart
from this event, would never have got rid of his wares, established
himself in the square and sold everything he had on his stall!

Between four and five o'clock, a party of musicians assembled; in
order to do greater honour to the préfet, they decided to go in front
of him; consequently, they threaded their way along the road by which
the majesty must arrive. The authorities, who had seen the general
enthusiasm and were afraid of stopping it in its first inception,
satisfied themselves by sending a staff officer to M. Maurice Duval to
warn him of the reception being prepared for him. M. Maurice Duval,
profiting by the warning, sent his carriage alone and entered the town
incognito. He thus momentarily paid his inconvenient visitors tit
for tat. Nevertheless, the report soon spread abroad that the préfet
had arrived at the _Hôtel de France_ in the place de la Comédie.
The charivariseurs burst into the square, but it was too small to
hold them all: the body of musicians alone, like one of those huge
tarentula spiders, crammed itself into the square and spread its legs
out into all the adjacent streets; it was a racket fit to split the
head of a deaf man! Persons whose word could be trusted, who lived
two leagues from the town, have since declared upon their honour that
they had heard the uproar; it is not surprising: there were probably
ten thousand musicians, five thousand more than Nero had, who, as we
know, made a great fuss of his music. When the concert was at its
height, a man on foot forced himself through the popular flood and
made vain efforts to enter the _Hôtel de France,_ the doors of which
were shut; he was compelled to mingle among the charivariseurs and
to join in the chorus with them: it was M. Maurice Duval. Next day he
took possession of the préfecture. The news of his installation at
least assured the musicians that their pains had not been lost upon the
object for whom they were intended. Consequently, about five o'clock,
the orchestra banded itself together on the place de la Préfecture; it
was larger and noisier than on the previous night! but, as our French
character soon tires of everything, even of a charivari, on the third
day a large portion of musicians were missing at the call. The powers
then thought they could put an end to the serenade. Between six and
seven in the evening, squadrons of gendarmerie and infantry of the
line issued out on the square and took possession of the surrounding
streets. The performers thought with reason it was time to finish,
and retired before the troops, continuing to make a row during their
retreat, which bore quite the colour of a victory. Next day, perfect
calm was restored, and M. Duval made a speech in which he pleaded that
he had been misjudged, saying, among other things, that his works bore
witness to his patriotism. Now, as the work upon which he counted the
most in order to convert people's minds was the capture of the duchess,
he began to contrive measures to prevent her escaping. This leads us
naturally to Deutz.

We have said what vigilance surrounded Madame; she herself had even
decided it was necessary to become invisible to her friends when it was
not indispensable to receive them: this circumstance nearly brought
failure upon the treacherous schemes. Deutz knew very well that the
duchess was in Nantes, but the whole city was equally well informed
of that. The house she lived in was the important thing to know and
this Deutz did not know. He succeeded in getting his arrival known to
her; but the duchess, fearing at first that this was a snare of the
police or that some other man than Deutz might present himself under
his name, refused to receive him, at least until he had entrusted
his dispatches to a third party. Deutz sent reply that he was going
to spend a few days at Paimbeuf, and, on his return, he proposed to
do himself the honour, with the hope of being more fortunate, of
soliciting Madame afresh for the audience he had asked of her. He did
really leave Nantes with his companion, M. Joly, attached to his person
as a police constable or guard. Both went to Paimbeuf, one posing as
a capitalist anxious to buy land, and the other as a surveyor. The
journey lasted upwards of a week or ten days. On his return, Deutz
renewed his instances, but without any greater success; he then
determined to send to the duchess the important dispatches which he was
entrusted to hand to her. On receiving the papers Madame was thoroughly
convinced of his identity, and no longer hesitated to receive him.
There, on Wednesday, 28 October, at seven in the evening, Deutz was
conducted to the house of the ladies Duguigny, where he was introduced
without knowing either the street or the place of interview. After an
hour and a half's interview he took leave of the duchess, convinced
that she left the house the same time as he did and that she had
received him at the house of some devoted persons and not at her own.
He could not, therefore, either give sufficiently accurate information
as to locality, nor swear positively enough in what place they were
certain to find the fugitive, for them to risk an attempted arrest
which might have no other result than that of putting the duchess on
her guard.

Deutz asked for a second interview, pretending that he had been so
much agitated in the princess's presence that he had forgotten to
communicate things of the highest importance. The duchess and those
round her did not think she ought to receive him a second time; not out
of distrust of him, but for fear that, being a stranger to Nantes, he
might be observed and followed by the police. They therefore replied
that they would send for the dispatches which he had for the duchess,
but that she refused to receive him personally. So positively expressed
a refusal threw all the agents of the superior and inferior police into
a state of alarm. They discovered a nun who had, and deserved, Madame's
complete confidence; Deutz, under his guise of piety, easily deceived
the good sister and persuaded her that he had really most important
matters to communicate to the duchess, which he had forgotten through
emotion during his first interview with her. The sister, convinced that
the demanded audience must be of great concern to Madame, hastened
to entreat her to see him. Meanwhile, Deutz and his companions
applauded themselves on their happy idea of making piety and trust
the accomplices of their treachery. The good nun returned triumphant,
bringing the promise for an audience on 6 November. That errand, made
with the best intentions, is said to have since cost her many tears!

Deutz rushed to give notice to the police. Nothing could have been
easier than for the duchess to leave Nantes: more than a hundred and
fifty of her followers, well known and seriously compromised since
the taking up of arms, had left France, and not a single one had been
arrested. The duchess knew this very well. She often said, "I can
leave when I like!" Her friends urged her to leave France, where her
presence could be no longer of service to her cause; to persuade her to
do so, they represented to her that the chiefs of her party, who were
most deeply complicated on her account, were daily exposed, because,
attached to her fortunes by their pledges and feelings of honour, they
would not leave their country whilst she herself remained in France and
incurred dangers. A safe means was proposed by M. Guibourg; a vessel
was found and equipped; finally, the duchess consented to fly; she was
to take with her M. de Ménars and Petit-Paul (Mademoiselle Eulalie
de Kersabiec), This decision was taken on 4 November, and the day of
departure was fixed for the 14th.

On 6 November, at four in the afternoon, Deutz was brought to the
duchess, but clever agents watched all his proceedings and followed his
track. Scarcely had he entered the maison Duguigny before he recognised
the locality; it was therefore probable that the duchess lived here.
When Deutz was admitted to the princess, he rehearsed to her with
much skill and in moving tones a story he had concocted upon the
important matters he had forgotten concerning her dear Henri and good
Louise; he spoke with enthusiasm of his great admiration for Madame's
courage and of his devotion to her noble cause. He was interrupted
in the expression of his sentiments by the arrival of a letter which
the duchess gave to M. de Ménars. It was written in white ink; M. de
Ménars wet it with some prepared water which made the characters become
readable, and then handed it to the duchess, who read it aloud before
Deutz. The writer recommended Madame not to neglect any precaution; and
said they knew she would be betrayed by a person in whom she had entire
confidence. Turning towards Deutz, Madame then said--

"You hear, Deutz? they tell me I shall be betrayed by some one in whom
I have entire confidence. Will that be you?"

"Oh! Madame," replied Deutz, with that aplomb peculiar to great
traitors, "Your Royal Highness cannot imagine such infamy on my
part! I, who have given many unmistakable proofs of my fidelity! But
certainly too many precautions cannot be taken."

The duchess dismissed Deutz, after an hour's interview, showering
tokens of confidence and kindness upon him. He soon flew off to the
préfet's house. Whilst passing the dining-room, he had glanced through
the half-opened door and counted seven places laid at the table; he
knew that the Demoiselles Duguigny lived by themselves in the house:
it was therefore evident that the duchess was going to dine there.
Deutz told M. Maurice Duval what he had seen, and urged him to hurry
so that they might arrive in the middle of dinner, as he was uncertain
whether the duchess was stopping in the house.

The préfet, who, since morning, had been planning measures with the
military authorities, to whom the state of siege gave ruling power,
quickly repaired to Comte d'Erlon, after he had previously entrusted
Deutz to the care of a policeman, who was not to leave him whilst they
were making sure of the truth of his statement. General Dermoncourt was
immediately informed by Comte d'Erlon, and, ten minutes later, all the
military preparations were arranged and orders given to the commander
of the town, Colonel Simon Lorrière.

Quite a large body of troops was necessary, for two reasons: first,
because there might be a revolt among the population; secondly, because
they had to surround quite a block of houses. Consequently, nearly
twelve hundred men were on foot. They had had orders to be ready since
the morning. The two battalions were divided into three columns,
commanded by General Dermoncourt, who was accompanied by Comte d'Erlon
and the préfet, who directed operations. The first column, headed by
the commandant of the fort, went down le Cours, leaving sentinels one
by one along the walls of the bishop's garden and the houses contiguous
to it, passed along by the château fosses and reached the front of the
maison Duguigny, where it deployed. The second and third columns, with
General Dermoncourt at their head, crossed the place Saint-Pierre and
there divided: one with the general remaining at its head went down the
high street, made a turn by the rue des Ursulines and rejoined M. Simon
Lorrière's column by the rue Basse-du-Château; the other, after the
general left it, went straight down the rue Haute-du-Château and, under
the leadership of Colonel Lafeuille of the 56th, and of Commandant
Vairés, joined the two first and united with them opposite the maison
Duguigny. Thus the investment was complete.

It was about six o'clock in the evening and a beautiful night. Through
the windows of the apartment where the duchess was, she could look
out on a calm sky and the rising moon and see, cut out clear against
the light, like a dark silhouette, the massive, motionless and silent
towers of the ancient château. There are moments when nature seems so
gentle and friendly that it is impossible to believe a threatening
danger lurks in the midst of such calm! The fears awakened by the
letter the duchess had received from Paris vanished before this scene,
when, suddenly, M. Guibourg, upon going nearer to the window, saw
bayonets glitter as the column led by Colonel Simon Lorrière advanced
towards the house. Instantly, he flung himself backwards, crying,
"Save yourself, Madame, save yourself!" Madame rushed at once to the
staircase and every one followed her. The hiding-place had been tried;
it was known that it could only hold a certain number, and those of
a certain size, and this order was adopted. It could, at a pinch,
hold four persons, during the time of an ordinary visit. When they
reached it and opened the door in the chimney, M. de Ménars entered,
and was followed by M. Guibourg; there remained Mademoiselle Stylite
de Kersabiec, who did not want to go in before Madame. The duchess
laughingly said to her--

"By the rules of good strategy, Stylite, when a retreat is being made
the commander should remain to the last."

Mademoiselle Stylite then went in and the duchess behind her.

The soldiers opened the street door as that of the hiding-place was
shut; they invaded the _rez-de-chaussée,_ preceded by inspectors of
police from Paris and Nantes, who marched pistols in hand: one of
them, in his inexperience of the use of that weapon, fired and wounded
his hand. The band spread over the house. The general's duty was to
surround it, and he had done it: the duty of the police was to search
it, and he let them do it. M. Joly perfectly recognised the interior
from the details Deutz had given him. He found the table, which had
not yet been sat down to, with its seven covers laid, although the
two Demoiselles Duguigny, Madame Charette and Mademoiselle Céleste de
Kersabiec were, apparently, the only inhabitants of the room. He began
by quietening the minds of these ladies and, going upstairs like a man
accustomed to the house, he went straight to the attic, recognized it,
and said in a voice loud enough for the duchess to hear--

"This is the audience chamber."

From that moment, Madame had no longer any doubt that the treachery of
which the letter from Paris spoke came from Deutz.[1] That letter lay
open upon the table; M. Joly took possession of it and thus gained the
proof that Madame was in the house; he had but to find her. Sentinels
were posted in every room, whilst soldiers closed all means of egress.
The people collected in a crowd and formed a second circle round the
soldiers. The whole town had come out into the squares and streets,
but not a single royalist sign was shown, only grave curiosity; every
person felt the importance of the event about to happen.

Search was begun inside the house, furniture was opened when the keys
were discovered, broken into when they were missing. Sappers and masons
sounded the floors and walls with great blows from axes and hammers.
Architects, taken into every room, declared it was impossible, after
comparing the internal construction with the external for them to
enclose a hiding-place or, indeed, to discover it if they did; in one
of the rooms they found various articles, such as prints, jewellery,
silver, belonging to the ladies Duguigny, which, at that juncture,
added to the certainty of the princess's residence in the house. When
the architects reached the attic, whether from ignorance or from
generosity on their part, they declared that here, less than any other
place, there could not be a secret hiding-place. They then passed on
to the neighbouring houses, where the search was continued; after an
instant the duchess heard the blows of a hammer being struck at the
wall of the room next to her hiding-place; they were hit with such
force that pieces of plaster were loosened and fell on the captives
and, for a moment, they were afraid that the whole wall would crash
down upon them. Madame also heard the abuse and swearing of the tired
soldiers enraged at the fruitlessness of their searchings.

"We shall be cut to pieces," she said, "that will be the end of us, my
poor children!"

Then, addressing her companions, she said--

"It is for my sake you are in this terrible situation!"

Whilst these things were going on above, the ladies Duguigny had
displayed great nerve and, although kept in sight by the soldiers,
they had sat down to table, inviting Madame Charette and Mademoiselle
Céleste de Kersabiec to do the same. Two other women were even more
particularly the objects of surveillance on the part of the police:
these were the lady's-maid, Charlotte Moreau, whom Deutz had pointed
out as very devoted to the duchess's interests, and the cook, Marie
Bossy. The latter was taken to the château and from there to the
barracks of the gendarmerie, where, seeing she withstood all threats,
they tried bribery: bigger and bigger sums were successively offered
her, but she persisted that she did not know where the Duchesse de
Berry was. As for Baroness Charette, she was first of all mistaken
for one of the Kersabiec ladies, and taken after the dinner with her
supposed sister to the latter's house, which is thirty or forty yards
higher up the same street.

Well, after fruitless searchings through half the night, they began
to slacken their efforts; they thought the duchess had escaped, and
two or three other useless descents attempted in other localities
seemed to point to the same conclusion. The préfet, therefore, gave
the signal for a retreat, leaving a sufficient number of men to occupy
every room in the house, out of precaution, whilst police agents
established themselves on the ground floor; the surrounding of the
house was continued and the National Guard came to relieve half the
troops of the line whilst they took a little rest. This distribution
of sentinels left two gendarmes in the attic which contained the
hiding-place; the hiders were, therefore, obliged to keep motionless,
fatiguing as was the position for four persons crowded into a space
three and a half feet long by eighteen inches wide at one end and eight
to ten inches at the other. The men experienced one more discomfort
still, the place was narrower in the highest part, thus leaving them
scarcely room to stand upright, even if they put their heads among the
rafters; in addition to this, it was a damp night and the fog filtered
in through the slates and on the prisoners; but no one dared complain,
as the princess did not do so. The cold was so keen that the gendarmes
who were in the room could not stand it; one of them went downstairs
and came back with some blocks of peat and, ten minutes later, a
magnificent fire was blazing in the fireplace against the door behind
which the duchess was concealed. This fire, which was only lit for the
benefit of two persons, was soon of advantage to six; and, frozen as
they were, the prisoners at first congratulated themselves; but the
comfort the fire brought soon changed to insufferable discomfort: the
door and the wall of the chimney-place, becoming warm, communicated an
ever increasing heat to the little retreat; soon the wall was so hot
they could not bear to touch it, and the door became red-hot at the
same time; furthermore, although it was not yet dawn, the work of the
searchers began again; iron bars and planks of wood struck the wall of
the hiding-place with redoubled blows till it shook; it seemed to the
prisoners as though they were knocking down the maison Duguigny and
the neighbouring houses. The duchess had then no other chance of hope;
if she withstood the flames, she would be crushed beneath the ruins.
Still, her courage and cheerfulness never left her through it all,
and several times, as she has since told, she could not keep herself
from laughing at the free soldierly conversation of the two guardian
gendarmes; one of them made a hint that was more than slight upon the
effect produced by camp--beds; the duchess made a mental note of this
suggestion, and we shall see with what result. But the conversation
soon dragged; one of the gendarmes was asleep, in spite of the fearful
din they were making close to him in the next houses; for, for the
twentieth time, the search was concentrated round their hiding-place.
His companion, warmed for the moment, had ceased attending to the fire
and the door and wall grew cold again. M. de Ménars had managed to
loosen several slates from the roof and the outer air had freshened the
internal atmosphere. All fears turned on the demolishers; they hammered
on the wall next the prisoners with great blows and against a cupboard
near the fireplace; at each blow the plaster was loosened and fell in
dust inside; at last, they thought they were lost, but the workman left
that part of the house which, from the instinct of destroyers, they had
explored very minutely. The prisoners breathed again and the duchess
thought she was saved. But that hope did not last long.

The gendarme who kept watch, seeing the noise had definitely stopped
and wishing to take advantage of the moment of silence, shook his
comrade so that he could have his turn of sleep. The other had grown
cold during his sleep and woke up frozen. He had hardly opened his
eyes before he set to work to get himself warm again: consequently, he
relit the fire and, as the peat did not burn up fast enough, he used
a huge bundle of _Quotidienne_ newspapers which had been thrown under
the table in the room to light up the fire, which again sparkled in
the fireplace. The fire produced by the papers gave out a thick smoke
and a more lively heat than the peat had done the first time. Hence
arose now a very real danger to the prisoners. The smoke penetrated
through the cracks in the chimney-wall, which had been shaken by the
hammerings, and the door, which was not yet cold, was soon as red-hot
as a forge. The air of the hiding-place became less and less fit to
breathe; those inside were obliged to put their mouths to the cracks
between the slates in order to breathe the fresh air in place of the
fiery air inside. The duchess suffered the most, for, having been the
last to enter, she had to lean against the door. Each of her companions
offered repeatedly to change places with her, but she would not
consent. Meanwhile, to the danger of being suffocated was added a new
one, that of being burned alive. The door, as we have said, was red-hot
and the bottom of the ladies' clothing threatened to catch fire.
Already, two or three times the fire had caught the duchess's dress
and she had put it out with her hands, burning them so that for a long
time after she bore the marks of the bums. Every minute the air inside
became rarer and the outer air which came through the holes in the
roof was too small in quantity to refresh it. The prisoners grew more
and more stifled. To remain ten minutes longer in that furnace would
be to endanger the duchess's life. Each of them begged her to go out,
but she alone did not wish to do so. Great tears of anger rolled down
from her eyes and were dried on her eyelids by the hot air. The fire
again burnt her dress and again she extinguished it. But the movement
she made in getting up lifted the latch of the door and it opened a
little way. Mlle. de Kersabiec at once put out her hand to draw it back
into its place and burnt herself very severely. The movement of the
door had rolled away the turfs leant against it, and had roused the
attention of the gendarme, who was relieving his boredom by reading the
_Quotidienne,_ and who thought he had built up his pyrotechnic edifice
with great firmness. The sound produced by Mlle. de Kersabiec's efforts
caused a strange notion to spring into his head: he imagined there were
rats in the chimney and, thinking the heat was going to compel them to
come out, he awoke his comrade and both put themselves in readiness to
give chase to them with their sabres. All this time the heat and smoke
were increasing the tortures of the prisoners more and more. The door
moved and one of the gendarmes said, "Who is there?" Mlle. Stylite
replied--

"We will give ourselves up: we are going to open the door; take away
the fire."

The two men sprang to the fire which they at once kicked aside. The
duchess came out first; she was obliged to put her feet and hands on
the burning hearth; her companions followed her. It has half-past nine
in the morning, and for sixteen hours they had been shut up in the
hiding-place without any food.


[Footnote 1: Amongst the men in Paris whom King Louis-Philippe believed
to be most devoted to him, persons who kept him informed of all that
went on at the Tuileries and in the Government, were friends pledged to
the duchess; it would, indeed, be very interesting to mention the names
of those who had sent this warning to Madame, if the naming of them
were not on my part a denunciation.]



CHAPTER V


First moments after the arrest--Madame's 13,000 francs--What a gendarme
can win by sleeping on a camp-bed and making philosophic reflections
thereon--The duchess at the Château de Nantes--She is transferred to
Blaye--Judas


Madame's first words were to ask for Dermoncourt. One of the gendarmes
went downstairs to fetch the general. He quickly came up to the
duchess, accompanied by M. Baudot, the deputy to the king's attorney at
Nantes, as well as by several officers who were there.

When the general entered, the princess had left the hiding-place and
was in the room where she had seen Deutz, which M. Joly had called the
_audience chamber._ She was concealed behind a kind of cupboard to
avoid being stared at by the inquisitive persons who came up on purpose
to look at her. Hardly had Mlle. de Kersabiec uttered the words,
"The General!" than Madame came out and rushed so quickly towards
Dermoncourt as nearly to fall into his arms.

"General," she said earnestly, "I give myself up to you and trust
myself to your sense of honour."

"Madame," he replied, "Your Highness is under the protection of the
honour of France."

He conducted her to a chair; her face was pale, her head bare, her hair
was as short on her forehead as a man's: she wore a _Neapolitan_ dress,
simply made and of a brown colour, with holes burned in it near the
bottom; and her feet were shod in small list slippers. As she sat down,
she remarked to Dermoncourt, pressing his arm vigorously--

"General, I have nothing to reproach myself with; I have fulfilled the
duty of a mother to reconquer the heritage of her son."

Her voice was curt and emphatic. Hardly was she seated, before she
looked round for the other prisoners and, not seeing M. Guibourg, she
sent for him; then, turning to Dermoncourt, she said--

"General, I desire not to be separated from my companions in
misfortune."

The general promised it in the name of Comte d'Erlon, hoping that the
general-in-chief would respect his promise.

Madame seemed very much agitated and, although pale, was as excited as
though she were in a fever. The general brought her a glass of water,
with which she moistened her lips; its coolness calmed her a little.
Dermoncourt suggested she should drink another glassful: she accepted
his offer, but it was not an easy matter to obtain a second glass in
that house, as everything was turned upside down. At last they brought
one, but the duchess would have had to drink it without sugar if
Dermoncourt had not caught sight of M. de Ménars in a corner. Luckily,
he bethought him that he was a likely man to carry sugar about with
him. He asked him, so sure he was that he would have some and, indeed,
after feeling about in his pockets, M. de Ménars found two lumps,
which he offered to the general. The duchess melted them in the water,
stirring them with a paper-knife, for it would have taken too much time
to find a spoon, and it was quite useless to think of trying to do so.
When the princess had drunk, she made Dermoncourt sit down by her.

Meantime, Rusconi and the general's aide-de-camp had gone to Comte
d'Erlon and M. Maurice Duval to tell them what had happened. M. Maurice
Duval arrived first. He entered the room with his hat on his head
as though there was not a woman prisoner there who, by her rank and
misfortunes, deserved more respect than had ever been paid to himself.
He went up to the duchess, looked at her, whilst he cavalierly put up
his hand to his hat and scarcely raising it from his head, he said--

"Ah! Yes it is indeed she!"

Then out he went to give his orders.

"Who is that man?" the princess asked the general.

Her question was natural enough, for the préfet came on the scenes
without any of the distinguishing marks of his high administrative
position.

"Does Madame not guess?" replied Dermoncourt.

The princess looked at the general with a slight smile.

"Can it be the préfet," she said.

"Madame could not have guessed more correctly had she seen his licence."

"Did the man serve under the Restoration?"

"No, Madame."

"I am glad indeed to hear, it, for the sake of the Restoration."

At this moment, M. Maurice Duval re-entered and asked for the duchess's
papers. Madame told him to look for them in the hiding-place; they were
in a white portfolio which had been left there. The préfet fetched it
and brought it to the duchess.

"Monsieur le préfet," she added with dignity, "the matters enclosed
in this portfolio are of little importance; but I desire to give them
to you myself, so that I can tell you their intended destination."
Whereupon she opened it.

"See," she said, "this is my correspondence.... This," she added,
drawing out a little painted figure, is a _Saint-Clément,_ to which I
am particularly devoted, and now so more than ever."

"Does Madame know how much money she has?"

"There ought to be in the hiding-place about 30,000 francs, monsieur,
of which 12,000 belong to persons of my suite."

As the préfet wanted to verify the sum, one of the two gendarmes
brought him a bag, in which were nearly 13,000 francs in gold,
one-half in Spanish money, which, in the confusion, he had taken the
precaution of putting on one side.

"How did the bag get into your hands?" the préfet asked the gendarme.

"Madame gave it to me, saying it was for me."

"What! Madame gave it you and said it was for you?"

"Yes."

"How did she come to make you such a present?"

"She asked which of the two gendarmes had slept on the camp-bed from
midnight to four in the morning. I said it was I: then she turned to my
companion and asked if it was so? and he replied that it was. Then she
held out the bag to me and told me to take it."

"It was a joke," said the préfet.

"I think so too," said the poor gendarme, casting a last glance on the
heap of gold; "so you see I brought it to you."

The préfet put the 13,000 francs to the other 17,000 and took it all
away to the préfecture.

When, a year later, I wrote _La Vendée et Madame,_ and the Duchesse de
Berry heard that the 13,000 francs had been taken from her protégé,
she wrote to the general to inform him that, by the same post, she
was writing to the Government to call upon it to render up the 13,000
francs to its rightful owner. The gendarme was then at Limoges. They
sent him the 13,000 francs, but they expelled him from the army.

Hardly was the visit about the money and the papers over before the
Comte d'Erlon arrived, and he exercised towards Madame all that
courteousness of a man of the world which the préfet had thought it
unnecessary to employ. The duchess leant towards the general--

"You have promised not to leave me," she said to him in a whisper.

"I will keep my word to Your Highness," replied the general.

The duchess then rose quickly and went up to the Comte d'Erlon, saying--

"Monsieur le Comte, I have given myself up to General Dermoncourt; I
pray you to allow him to remain with me. I have also asked him not
to let me be separated from my unfortunate companions, and he also
promised me that; will you respect his promises?"

"The general has promised nothing that I am not ready to grant, Madame;
and you will ask nothing of me which it is in my power to grant that I
will not concede with all possible haste."

The duchess was reassured by these words and, seeing that Comte d'Erlon
was talking apart with the general in low tones, she drew aside from
them and discreetly talked to M. de Ménars and to Mlle, de Kersabiec.
Comte d'Erlon then observed to the general that M. de Ménars and Mlle,
de Kersabiec might stay with the Duchesse de Berry; but that he was
under the conviction that M. Guibourg would be claimed by the judicial
authorities to be replaced in the position he occupied before his
escape, as a criminal trial was started against him. He thought the
duchess ought to be taken to the château as soon as possible; he had
even given all the necessary orders for that removal before he came to
the duchess. Dermoncourt then returned to Madame and asked her if she
felt better.

"Better? Why do you ask me that?"

"Because, if Madame can walk or is not afraid of driving, it is urgent
we should leave the house at once."

"Leave the house? Where are we to go?" she asked, looking sharply at
the general: "Where are you going to take me?"

"To the château, Madame."

"Oh yes! and from there to Blaye, no doubt!"

Mlle. de Kersabiec went up to the general, and said--

"General, Her Royal Highness cannot go on foot, it is not suitable."

"Mademoiselle," replied Dermoncourt, "allow me to differ from you. If
there are any insults to encounter, which I doubt, a carriage will not
protect Madame from such insult; but I will answer for it that my arm
will at least be a safe shield against anything of the sort."

Then, turning to the duchess--

"Believe me, Madame, let us walk. As the distance is short, you need
only put a hat on your head and fling a cloak round your shoulders and
all will be right."

Then Rusconi rushed downstairs and brought up three hats, which
probably belonged to the ladies Duguigny. Amongst them was a black one.
Dermoncourt suggested that the duchess should wear that.

"Yes," she said, "it would be more fitting under the circumstances."

She then took the general's arm and, addressing her companions, she
said--

"Come, friends, let us go!"

As she passed through the attic, she threw a last look at it and at the
door in the chimney-place which was still open.

"Oh! general," she said, laughingly, "if you had not made war against
me after the fashion used against St. Laurence--which, by the way, is
unworthy of military generosity--you would not have me upon your arm
now."

When they left the house, M. Guibourg headed the procession with a
legal magistrate and another public functionary; then came Mlle. de
Kersabiec with the préfet and Comte d'Erlon; General Dermoncourt
followed them immediately with the duchess and M. de Ménars, and
behind them came several staff officers. When they reached the street
the préfet suggested that the colonel of the National Guard should
offer his arm to the duchess. She consented quite graciously. The
troops of the line and National Guards formed a hedge from the house
of the Demoiselles Duguigny as far as the château, and, behind them,
as much as space permitted, in lines ten times thicker than that of
the soldiers, the population crowded round. Among the men watching
the duchess pass by were some with eyes blazing with hatred from old
memories; so muffled murmurs rolled along the route and soon even
shouts rent the air, but General Dermoncourt stopped and, flashing his
dark eyes around, growled rather than spoke the words--

"Come now, where is the respect due to prisoners, specially when they
are women?"

They were silent. All the same it was a good thing there was only
sixty yards between the house of the ladies Duguigny and the château,
and, indeed, that distance would have been too long without the
respectful attentions with which the generals had surrounded the
duchess. Their deference commanded the silence of the multitude that
had been buffeted about by the civil war which for six months had been
muttering round the vicinity of Nantes, ruining its trade and mowing
down its inhabitants. Finally, the château was reached, the drawbridge
crossed and the gate shut upon the procession. Madame had shown no
sign of fear during the journey beyond pressing the general's arm more
tightly. After crossing the court of the château, they went up the
stairs, but the duchess was so weak from all the emotion she had just
gone through that Dermoncourt felt her bend over and press his arm
with all her weight. At last she reached the room intended for her,
which the colonel of artillery, the governor of the castle, hastened to
offer her. There, feeling better, she told the general she could eat
something. As a matter of fact, having been disturbed just as she was
going to sit down to the table, she had not eaten anything for nearly
thirty hours. As no orders had been given for breakfast, and it would
have kept her too long till it was prepared, the colonel suggested to
Madame a glass of frontignan and some biscuits, which she accepted. But
Madame ate very little then on account of a tertian fever which had
attacked her regularly during the last two or three weeks. Breakfast
was not ready for three-quarters of an hour; when it was announced,
General Dermoncourt offered his arm to the duchess to take her to the
dining-room. As she sat at the table, she turned smilingly to her
cavalier.

"General," she said, "if I were not afraid it would be said that I was
trying to beguile you I would suggest you should share my repast."

"And I, Madame," replied the general, "if I dared, would willingly
accept, for I have not had anything since eleven yesterday morning."

"Oh, oh! general," said the duchess laughing, "then we are quits."

The préfet came in whilst they were at table. He, too, was as hungry as
Madame and Dermoncourt, but the duchess took good care not to invite M.
Maurice Duval to sit down with her. The préfet soon went away straight
to a sideboard where they had just brought the partridges cleared away
from the duchess's table, called for a knife and fork and began to eat,
turning his back on the princess. Madame looked at him, then turned her
eyes to the general--

"General," she said, "do you know what I regret most in my present
situation?"

"No, Madame."

"Two sheriffs to call that gentleman to account."

When breakfast was finished, the duchess returned to the salon. There,
General Dermoncourt asked her permission to leave her. General d'Erlon
was holding a review of the National Guard and of the troops of the
line in which he was obliged to take part.

"When shall I see you again?" asked the princess.

"As soon as the review is over, Madame," replied the general, "and I
presume it will not be long."

Scarcely had Dermoncourt got thirty yards outside the bâteau, before
a trumpeter of the gendarmerie caught him up, out of breath, saying
that the duchess was asking for him instantly. He added that she seemed
furious with the general. Interrogated as to the cause of this anger,
the soldier replied that after some words addressed by Madame to Mlle.
de Kersabiec, he attributed it to M. de Ménars having been sent to
another building instead of being placed in her anteroom. Fearing,
indeed, that they had not treated M. de Ménars with the respect he had
ordered, the general returned at once and went to him, finding him so
unwell that he had flung himself on his bed without the strength to
undress himself. The general offered to be his valet, but as there were
neither tables nor chairs in his room and he could not stand it was not
an easy office to perform; the general therefore called a gendarme to
his assistance and, between them, they managed to put M. de Ménars to
bed. When he was in bed, the general told him that the duchess had had
him called back and that he would, no doubt, have a scene with Madame
over his separation from her. M. de Ménars then charged Dermoncourt to
reassure Madame about his condition and to tell her that he only felt
a passing faintness and that he was well satisfied with his quarters.
The general immediately repaired to the duchess, who, when she saw him,
leapt rather than walked to him.

"Ah! monsieur," she exclaimed, in a voice trembling with anger, "so
this is how you have begun--this is how you keep your promises--it
augurs well for the future. It is indeed horrible!"

"What is the matter, Madame?" asked the general.

"You promised me I should not be separated from any of my companions,
and at the very outset you put Ménars in another part of the building
from mine."

"Madame is mistaken," replied Dermoncourt. "M. de Ménars, it is true,
is in another part of the castle, but the tower Madame occupies leads
to his rooms."

"Yes, only one has to go downstairs and up again by another staircase."

"Madame is again mistaken," replied the general. "You can get to M. de
Ménars by going down to the first floor and along by the apartments."

"If that is so, let us go, monsieur, and see poor Ménars at once," said
the duchess.

Whereupon, she took the general's arm and drew him towards the door.

"Has Madame forgotten that she is a prisoner?" he asked her.

"Ah! true," murmured the duchess; "I thought I was still in a castle,
and I am in a prison. At least, general, I hope it will not be
forbidden me to send and inquire how he is?"

"I wished to bring you news myself," said the general, "I have come
from him."

"Well, how is he?"

The general then told the duchess the care he had taken of M. de
Ménars. Such marks of attention, she well understood, had been paid
more to her than to M. de Ménars, and they touched her keenly.

"General," she said, in tones which showed that her anger had
evaporated, "I thank you for all your kindness to Ménars; but he indeed
thoroughly deserves it, for he is not an adherent of my train."

It was too late to go to the review, so the general remained with
Madame, who expressed a desire to write to her brother, the King of
Naples and to her sister, the Queen of Spain.

"I have only to acquaint them with my ill luck," she said. "I am afraid
they will be uneasy concerning my health and false rumours may reach
them because of the distance that separates us from one another. By
the way," she added, "what do you think of the political conduct of my
sister, the Queen of Spain?"

"Why, Madame," Dermoncourt replied, "I think she is following the right
course."

"So much the better, general," she went on, sighing, "provided she
attains to good in the end! Louis XVI. began as she began."

The duchess then noticed that Dermoncourt had a black scarf in which at
times he put his arm.

"How is your arm going on, general?" she asked.

"Very well; but how did Madame know about it!"

"Ah! I heard at Nantes; they told me it was one of my horses which
threw you. I said, 'Oh! it was a good act on the horse's part,' for I
confess I was not sorry for the accident: you have done us much harm! I
hope, however, it was not very serious."

"You see, Madame," replied Dermoncourt, "your wish was granted in
advance. I am almost cured."

"Tell me, General," asked the duchess, "shall I be allowed to see the
newspapers?"

"I do not see any objections. Will Madame tell me those she would like?"

"Well, _l'Echo_ first, then _La Quotidienne,_ and lastly, _Le
Constitutionnel."_

"_Le Constitutionnel_ for you, Madame?"

"Why not?"

"Will you be prepared to abjure your politics as Henri IV. did his
religion and to say: 'Paris indeed deserves a _charter_?'"

"Do you think that reading the venerable _Constitutionnel_ can convert
me?"

"Certainly! It is a paper packed with arguments and eloquent with
conviction!..."

"Never mind, I will venture: I should also like _Le Courrier français."_

"_Le Courrier!_ but Madame forgets it has become ultra-Liberal."

"Listen, general: I like everything that is broad and loyal; I also
want _l'Ami de la Charte."_

"Come now, that is Jacobin!"

"I want it from another motive, general," she said to Dermoncourt, in
a melancholy tone; "it always calls me Caroline, curtly, and that was
what I was called as a young girl; now I regret my girlhood's name, for
that of my wifehood has not brought me happiness."

There was a moment's silence, then the duchess asked Dermoncourt if he
knew her before the events of July.

"No, Madame," he replied.

"But did you, then, never come to Paris?"

"Pardon, Madame," replied Dermoncourt; "I was there twice during the
Restoration."

"What! general, you came twice to Paris and never saw me?"

"For a good reason," Dernoncourt replied.

"Tell me what it was."

"When I saw Madame coming from one direction I took myself off in
another as quickly as possible."

"It was not very gallant of you, monsieur; why did you act like that?"

"Why, Madame? I beg you to forgive my frankness, which is, I admit,
somewhat _blunt_; but it was because I did not like the Restoration.
It can be imagined after this, Madame, that if I have been fortunate
enough to do something to give you pleasure, at all events, I have done
so without any ulterior motive, and all the more as Your Highness is
not in a position to be able to offer me any reward."

The duchess smiled; then, turning towards Mademoiselle de Kersabiec,
she said--

"Isn't he a good fellow, Stylite?"

"Yes, Madame; it is a pity he is not on our side." Whereupon,
Dermoncourt hastened to reply--

"All that Madame has the right to demand in the way of respect,
attention, consideration and care in the overpowering position in which
she finds herself placed, she will obtain from me; all the services
she can ask and I can grant her, I will; but nothing in the world is
capable of making me forget my duty."

Then, turning to Mlle. de Kersabiec--

"You have heard what I say, Mlle. Stylite," said he, "I hope that,
whilst I have the honour of being with Madame, you will be so good as
never to return to this subject."

"You hear him, Stylite," said Madame--"let us talk of something else."

Then, in a different intonation of voice, she said--

"Have you seen my son, general?"

"I have never had that honour."

"Ah! He is a good lad, very quick, very heedless, but French through
and through, like myself."

"You love him greatly?"

"As much as a mother can love her son."

"Well, will Madame permit me to say that I do not understand how, since
all is at an end in la Vendée--as, after the battles of Chêne and of
la Pénissière, all hope was lost--she did not think of returning to
the side of the son she loves so much: we have beaten her, however."
"General, it was you who seized my correspondence, I think?"

"Yes, Madame."

"Have you read my letters?"

"I have committed that indiscretion."

"Well, then, you must have seen that, directly I put myself at the head
of my brave Vendéens, I resolved to submit to all the consequences
of insurrection.... Why! it was for me they rose up and risked their
heads, and should I have deserted them?... No, general, their fate
shall be mine and I have kept my promise to them. But I should have
been your prisoner a long time before; I should have put an end to it
all by giving myself up, if one fear had not pursued me."

"Which was?"

"I was well aware that, directly after I was made a prisoner, I should
be claimed by Spain, Prussia and Russia. The French Government, on its
side, would wish to try me, naturally enough; but, as the Holy Alliance
would not permit me to appear before a Court of Assizes--for the
dignity of all the crowned heads of Europe is concerned in it--there is
but one step from this conflict of interests to a coolness, and from a
coolness to war; and, as I have already told you, I do not wish to be
the excuse for an invasive war. _All for France and by France_ was the
motto I adopted and from which I do not wish to depart. Besides, who
could satisfy me that, were France invaded, it would not be divided? I
desire it to remain whole!"

Dermoncourt smiled.

"Why do you laugh?" she said to him.

He bowed without replying.

"Come, I want to know why you are laughing?"

"I am laughing at Your Highness's fears of a foreign war...."

"And at my small fear of a civil war, also?"

"I beg Madame to remark that she completes my thought and not my
sentence."

"Oh! that cannot wound me, general; for, since I came into France, I
have been mistaken about the disposition of people's minds; I thought
that France would rise; that the army would pass over to my side;
_the more so in that I was invited to return to France more by my
enemies than by my friends._ Then, too, I dreamed of a sort of return
from the Isle of Elba. After the battles of Maisdon, of la Caraterie,
of Chêne, of la Pénissière and of Riaillé, I gave positive orders
to all my Vendéens to return home; for I am French before all other
considerations, general, and, to prove this, at this present moment,
when I find myself once again among these excellent French faces, I
cannot believe myself to be in prison. All my fear is lest I am sent
elsewhere; they are certain not to leave me here; I am too near the
seat of insurrection. They have, indeed, talked of transferring me to
Saumur; but that is still a riotous town. As a matter of fact, general,
they are in a more embarrassing position than I am myself!"

As she spoke the last words, she rose and walked about with her hands
behind her back like a man. After a second, she stopped short and went
on--

"If I am in prison, I hope, at least, that I am not in solitary
confinement and that M. Guibourg may dine with me?"

"I do not see any objection, Madame, the more so as I think it is the
last time he will have that honour."

Whether she did not hear these words, or paid no heed to them, the
duchess did not reply to Dermoncourt; and, as it was night, and the
dinner-hour was approaching, he asked the princess's leave to withdraw,
and obtained his orders for the next day at the same time. At ten
o'clock next day, the artillery colonel in command of the château came
to Dermoncourt's rooms; he came to announce a fresh burst of anger from
the duchess. She had almost as much cause for it as on the previous
day. M. Guibourg--as the Comte d'Erlon had warned the duchess--had
been put back into prison during the night; so, when the duchess asked
why he did not come to breakfast, they told her the news, for which a
sentence dropped by Dermoncourt the previous day would have prepared
her if she had listened to it. The duchess had cried out against the
treachery and had called the general a _Jesuit._ That insult was so
odd from Madame's lips that Dermoncourt was still laughing at it when
he came to her. She received him with the same petulance as on the
previous day and almost with the same words.

"Ah! So this is how things are going, monsieur? I should never have
believed it; you have deceived me shamefully!"

The general feigned astonishment as before, and asked her what was the
matter.

"Guibourg has been carried off in the night and taken to prison in
spite of the promise you made me that I should not be separated from my
_companions in misfortune."_

"I should desire to fulfil all Madame's wishes, but it does not depend
upon either me or Comte d'Erlon to prevent the law from claiming M.
Guibourg. He had been summoned before his arrest: the Court of Assizes
at Loir-et-Cher was served with the writ, and M. Guibourg was to be
transferred to Blois to be tried there. No legal power could get him
off. As regards Mlle. de Kersabiec and M. de Ménars, who are not under
prosecution, they remain with Your Royal Highness; thus you see,
Madame, that Comte d'Erlon and I have not failed to keep the promise we
gave you."

"But, at any rate, why was I not warned?"

"Here again, Madame, I have nothing to reproach myself with, since,
when allowing M. Guibourg to dine with you yesterday, I added the
words--'_All the more as it will probably be the last meal he will have
the honour of taking with Madame._'"

"I never heard that."

"The general said it though, Madame," gently interrupted Mlle. de
Kersabiec.

"But why not, explain more clearly?"

"Because," replied Dermoncourt, "Madame had gone through so many shocks
during the day that I wished to let her have a good night at all
events, and I knew she would not sleep if she had been informed that,
during her sleep, they would transfer M. Guibourg to prison."

"Why did you not say something, Stylite, since you heard the general's
words?"

"Because of the same reason as the general's, Madame." The duchess
quietened down and seemed even to be pleased with the tactfulness
Dermoncourt had exercised under the circumstances. Upon the observation
he next made to her, that he had noticed she was still wearing the same
dress as on the day before in which were the holes caused by the burns,
and the same stockings, she replied--

"The few things I have are at the house of the Demoiselles Duguigny;
besides, my dear general, during the life I have led for six months
past I have scarcely troubled myself about my wardrobe, that is why I
have nothing. Will you be so good as to go to the ladies and bring me
back what is there?"

"I am at Madame's commands."

The duchess wrote a note and handed it to the general. One of the
deputy-king's solicitors, who happened to be present, who had sealed
up the room which the princess had occupied, as well as the room
containing the hiding-place, was told by the general to go to the
premises and bring back the articles mentioned in the note.

"We consequently betook ourselves," says Dermoncourt, "to the maison
Duguigny, where we found very few things, as the duchess had told us.
Among the articles mentioned in the note, there should have been a box
full of bonbons; we found the box but it was empty. On returning from
my errand to the duchess, I gave an account of it and pointed out that
I had indeed found the box, but that the bonbons had disappeared."

"Oh!" said Madame, "the bonbons? That is not surprising, they were
eaten."

"What sort does Madame prefer? I will have the privilege of obtaining
them for her."

"If the bonbons have been eaten, I will accept the offer. I prefer
sticks of chocolate with sweetmeats on top."

"Then Madame will allow me?"

"Certainly."

The general called his secretary, Rusconi, and transmitted the
duchess's wishes to him. Half an hour later, Madame had a basketful of
bonbons. Dinner was announced at half-past six, and Dermoncourt took
leave of the duchess.

"Good-bye till to-morrow, general," she said with quite childish
gaiety, "and be sure do not forget to bring more bonbons."

The general went away. At nine o'clock Comte d'Erlon took the trouble
to go to Dermoncourt's house himself to tell him that it was believed
for certain that M. de Bourmont was at la Chaslière.

"If that be so, general," replied Dermoncourt, "I will take fifty horse
with me and, to-morrow morning, M. de Bourmont shall be here."

He set off at eleven o'clock. At midnight they waked the duchess, Mlle.
Stylite de Kersabiec and M. de Ménars; they got into a carriage, which
drove them to the fosse, where a steamer waited for them, containing
MM. Polo, deputy-mayor of Nantes; Robineau de Bourgon, colonel of
the National Guard; Rocher, artillery standard-bearer of the same
corps; Chousserie, colonel of the gendarmerie; Ferdinand Petit-Pierre,
adjutant of the fort of Nantes; and Joly, commissioner of the Paris
police, who was to conduct the duchess to Blaye. Madame was accompanied
on her way to the steamer by Comte d'Erlon, M. Ferdinand Favre, mayor
of Nantes and by M. Maurice Duval, préfet. On stepping from the
carriage, she looked round for Dermoncourt and, not seeing him, she
asked where he was. They told her he was away on military business.

"Humph! See," she said, "one more pretty trick!"

The general in command of the division, the préfet and the mayor of
Nantes were to accompany the duchess as far as Saint-Nazaire, and only
to leave her after she had embarked on the brig _La Capricieuse._ As
she stepped on board, Madame inquired if M. Guibourg was to follow her;
the préfet replied that it was impossible. Then she asked him for pen
and ink and wrote the following note:--

    "I have entreated for my old prisoner and they are going
    to write about it. God helping us, we shall see each other
    again. Greetings to all our friends. God keep them! Have
    courage, and put your trust in Him. _Saint-Anne_ is the
    patron saint of we _Bretons."_

This note was entrusted to M. Ferdinand Favre, who religiously sent
it to its destination. The boat started at four o'clock and glided
silently past the sleeping town; by eight they were on board _La
Capricieuse._

Madame remained at anchor in the roadstead for two days, the wind being
contrary. At last, at seven a.m. on the 11th, _La Capricieuse_ unfurled
her sails and, towed by the steamer, which did not leave her until
she was three leagues out at sea, she majestically vanished into the
distance: four hours later, she had disappeared behind the headland of
Pornic.

As for Dermoncourt, he returned to Nantes on the 9th at eight a.m., not
having found any one at the château de la Chaslière, as may very well
be supposed.

Meantime, M. de Bourmont was quietly in the country near Condé
(Maine-et-Loire), where he had gone the very day of the duchess's
departure for Blaye. He had left Nantes at six p.m., never suspecting
that the superior police authorities would have the incivility of
preventing him from visiting his estates and putting his affairs in
order. From there, he returned to Lyons by Angers, where he was very
warmly welcomed into a Legitimist household, which offered him so safe
a retreat that he decided to prolong his stay there. The ladies of the
house were very devoted and very inquisitive, having been told he was
one of the leaders of the Legitimist party, but they did not know he
was M. de Bourmont. They were very much puzzled to find out who this
reserved and cautious personage might be, and exhausted themselves in
conjectures. Finally, whether M. de Bourmont's dress gave them the
notion or whether their imagination ran away with them, they ended by
persuading themselves that he was an ecclesiastic; and, unknown to him,
to do him a pretty kindness, they put up in one of the rooms of the
house an altar adorned as best they could, and procured the necessary
vessels and ornaments. Next morning they came and told him with a
satisfaction which they expected he would share, that all was prepared
for him to say mass in the house.

M. de Bourmont listened with great seriousness to this proposition,
which he made up for afterwards; but, not wishing to destroy an error
in the ladies' minds so favourable to the incognito he wished to
keep, he excused himself to them by saying he was in the habit, when
travelling, of taking a tablet of chocolate in the morning, and had
already taken his daily portion; he could not, therefore, present
himself before the altar. The good ladies were convinced, and their
veneration was increased for a man who displayed such scrupulousness.
However, M. de Bourmont reflected that the altar was prepared, that
they would think it very strange if he did not use it, and that he
would be exposed to fresh importunities; so he sent for the master of
the house and announced he was going away immediately. His host was
astounded at this quick resolution; but M. de Bourmont put his mind at
rest by saying--

"Your ladies wished to make me say mass this morning; if I remain, they
will, perhaps, make me sing vespers in the afternoon. That is why I am
going."

He at once took the coach, not for the purpose of going abroad, but to
stay a few days in Paris. Finally, he left for Geneva and, whilst he
was safely travelling from Lyons to Paris and from Paris to Geneva, the
superior police sought for him in la Vendée: whether from stupidity or
intention, they looked everywhere but where he was. In the pamphlet
Deutz published, he boasts that it was on the advice which he gave
to M. Maurice Duval that M. de Bourmont was not disturbed. He had
sold Madame but preserved M. de Bourmont!... But Deutz was terribly
punished: Hugo inflicted the following verses on him: _A l'homme qui a
livré une femme!_

  "A L'HOMME QUI A LIVRÉ UNE FEMME

  O honte! ce n'est pas seulement cette femme,
  Sacrée alors pour tous, faible cœur, mais grande âme,
  Mais c'est lui, c'est son nom dans l'avenir maudit,
  Ce sont les cheveux blancs de son père interdit;
  C'est la pudeur publique en face regardée,
  Tandis qu'il s'accouplait à son infâme idée;
  C'est l'honneur, c'est la foi, la pitié, le serment,
  Voilà ce que ce juif a vendu lâchement!

  Juif! les impurs traitants à qui l'on vend son âme
  Attendront bien longtemps avant qu'un plus infâme
  Vienne réclamer d'eux, dans quelque jour d'effroi,
  Le fond du sac plein d'or qu'on fit vomir sur toi!

  Ce n'est pas même un juif! c'est un païen immonde,
  Un renégat, l'opprobre et le rebut du monde,
  Un fétide apostat, un oblique étranger,
  Qui nous donne du moins le bonheur de songer
  Qu'après tant de revers et de guerres civiles,
  Il n'est pas un bandit écumé dans nos villes,
  Pas un forçat hideux, blanchi dans les prisons,
  Qui veuille mordre en France au pain des trahisons.

  Rien ne te disait donc dans l'âme, ô misérable!
  Que la proscription est toujours vénérable;
  Qu'on ne bat pas le sein qui nous donna son lait;
  Qu'une fille des rois dont on fut le valet
  Ne se met point en vente au fond d'un autre infâme,
  Et que, n'étant plus reine, elle était encor femme?

  Rentre dans l'ombre où sont tous les monstres flétris
  Qui, depuis quarante ans, bavent sur nos débris!
  Rentre dans ce cloaque! et que jamais ta tête,
  Dans un jour de malheur ou dans un jour de fête,
  Ne songe à reparaître au soleil des vivants!
  Qu'ainsi qu'une fumée abandonnée aux vents,
  Infecte et dont chacun se détourne au passage,
  Ta vie erre au hasard de rivage en rivage.

  Eh! tais-toi, que veux-tu balbutier encor?
  Dis, n'as-tu pas vendu l'honneur, le vrai trésor?
  Garde tous les soufflets entassés sur ta joue ...
  Que fait l'excuse au crime et le fard sur la boue?

  Sans qu'un ami t'abrite à l'ombre de son toit,
  Marche, autre juif errant, marche avec l'or qu'on voit
  Luire à travers les doigts de tes mains mal fermées!
  Tous les biens de ce monde en grappes parfumées
  Pendent sur ton chemin, car le riche ici-bas
  A tout, hormis l'honneur, qui ne s'achète pas!

  Hâte-toi de jouir, maudit! et sans relâche
  Marche! et qu'en te voyant on dise: 'C'est ce lâche!...'
  Marche! et que le remords soit ton seul compagnon!...
  Marche sans rien pouvoir arracher de ton nom!
  Car le mépris public, ombre de la bassesse.
  Croit d'année en année et repousse sans cesse;
  Et va s'épaississant sur les traîtres pervers
  Comme la feuille au front des sapins toujours verts!

  Et quand la tombe, un jour,--cette embûche profonde,
  Qui s'ouvre tout à coup sur les choses du monde,--
  Te fera, d'épouvante et d'horreur agité,
  Passer de cette vie à la réalité,
  La réalité sombre, éternelle, immobile!
  Quand, d'instant en instant plus seul et plus débile,
  Tu te cramponneras en vain à ton trésor;
  Quand la mort, t'accostant, couché sur des tas d'or.
  Videra, brusquement ta main crispée et pleine,
  Comme une main d'enfant qu'un homme ouvre sans peine;
  Alors, dans cet abîme où tout traître descend,
  L'un roulé dans la fange, et l'autre teint de sang.
  Tu tomberas, perdu sur la fatale grève
  Que Dante Alighieri vit avec l'œil du rêve!
  Tu tomberas damné, désespéré, banni!
  Afin que ton forfait ne soil pas impuni,
  Et que ton âme, errante au milieu de ces âmes,
  Y soit la plus abjecte entre les plus infâmes!
  Et, lorsqu'ils te verront paraître au milieu d'eux.
  Ces fourbes dont l'histoire inscrit les noms hideux,
  Que l'or tenta jadis, mais à qui, d'âge en âge.
  Chaque peuple, en passant, vient cracher au visage,
  Tous ceux, les plus obscurs comme les plus fameux.
  Qui portent sur leur lèvre un baiser venimeux;
  Judas, qui vend son Dieu; Leclerc, qui vend sa ville.
  Groupe au louche regard, engeance ingrate et vile,
  Tous, en foule, accourront joyeux sur ton chemin.
  Et Louvel, indigné, repoussera ta main!"

The poet's malediction pursued the guilty man. Thanks to the enormous
sum he had received, which he has always denied, saying he betrayed
his benefactress to obey a patriotic feeling which urged him to rid
his country from civil war; thanks, we say, to this enormous sum, he
found a wife ... a woman who consented to couple herself to such a
man! But this was not all; he must also find a mayoralty. Deutz put
up successively for the twelve mayoralties of Paris; now, as he had
not been resident for the six months which the law exacted, they were
closed to him, and glad to have an excuse for forbidding him to put
his foot on their threshold. Then he went outside its borders and
presented himself to M. de Frémicourt, mayor of la Villette. By what
subterfuge did he discover that magistrate's religion? By what forgery
did Deutz fabricate a certificate of residence for over six months in
the house of M. Pierre Delacour, No. 41 rue de Flandre? What portion
of his shameful gold did he have to part with to get that certificate?
We do not know. We only know he was married at la Villette by M. de
Frémicourt. Now, see what happened. Two years later, M. de Frémicourt
and M. Gisquet both put up as deputies for the arrondissement of
Saint-Denis. M. Gisquet, the Government candidate, begged M. de
Frémicourt to leave the Saint-Denis arrondissement to him, where he
was sure of election, and to become the candidate for Cambrai, where
M. de Frémicourt's election would be as certain as his would be at
Saint-Denis. M. de Frémicourt gave way to the entreaties of the préfet
de police and put up for Cambrai in opposition to M. Taillandier. He
was about to overcome his opponent when M. Taillandier learnt that he
was the M. de Frémicourt who had married Deutz. M. Taillandier left
instantly for la Villette, brought away the civil act announcing the
fact of the marriage of Deutz, presented himself before M. Pierre
Delacour, obtained from him and from the tenants of house No. 41, in
the rue de Flandre, a certificate stating that Deutz had never lived in
that house, and, fortified by the act and the certificate, he overthrew
his opponent, who, although he had been ignorant of the fraud, was
hooted out upon the single accusation, "M. de Frémicourt is the mayor
who married Deutz!" There was, we see, still some generous feelings
left in France. Now what became of Deutz? Did he die in poverty, as
some say? Did he go to the United States, as say others? We do not know
what to say. All the biographers leave Deutz alone after his crime, as
if such a Judas must be left to God to be dealt with! God preserve all
honest men from coming in contact with him, if he be living! and if he
be dead, from passing over his grave!



BOOK VII


CHAPTER I


_Le Roi s'amuse_--Criticism and censorship


Whilst M. Thiers's police were arresting Madame la duchesse de Berry at
Nantes, the censorship was stopping the drama of _Le Roi s'amuse_ at
Paris. The performance had taken place on 22 November. I cannot give
an account of it, for I was not present; a slight coolness had crept
into my relations with Hugo; friends in common had nearly set us at
variance. The day after the performance the play was cruelly forbidden,
and the author had to appeal from that decision before the Tribunal
de Commerce. Under any other circumstances, the Opposition newspapers
would have sided with Victor Hugo; they would have cried out against
this oppression and tyranny. But not here! the hatred they bore towards
the romantic school was so great, that they vied with one another, not
so much to put the Government in the right, as to who should put the
author most in the wrong.

Listen to what criticism said of the work of one of the most eminent
poets who had ever lived. We will follow it in its own words and treat
it fairly. We do not know who wrote the article we have in our hands:
it is unsigned; only, it is a specimen of what was done then, has been
done since and will probably always be perpetrated in criticism. A
shameful specimen! But let us judge for ourselves.

    "THÉÂTRE-FRANÇAIS

    _Le Roi s'amuse.'_

    A poetical drama in five acts by M. VICTOR HUGO.

    "Criticism attempted after _Hernani_ and specially after
    _Marion Delorme,_ to make M. Victor Hugo listen to two
    pieces of _wholesome truth_ politely expressed, as is due
    to a man of great and genuine talent; the first is that the
    _efforts of M. Victor Hugo revealed absolute impotence_ _and
    sterility of conception;_ the second, that M. Victor Hugo
    adopted a pernicious system which, instead of conducing to
    originality, drove him to the _trivial_ and _absurd._ ..."

Certainly it is impossible to be more polite. The natural consequence
of this advice ought to have been to make Hugo return to his odes and
romances. Luckily, M. Hugo believed himself to be as strong as those
who told him these _wholesome truths,_ and he has continued in spite
of criticism. To this disastrous pig-headedness of the poet we owe
_Lucrèce Borgia, Marie Tudor, Ruy Blas, Angelo_ and _Les Burgraves._

    "M. Hugo has taken no notice of these truths: he has
    persisted in writing dramas, and, far from modifying his
    system, he has exceeded it in a monstrous fashion. In his
    first dramas, he still preserved some principle of truth and
    of beauty, some feeling of morality and decency, even amidst
    his eccentricities. In _Le Roi s'amuse,_ he rids himself
    of everything and tramples history, right, morality, the
    dignity of art, delicacy, under his feet. There is progress
    ..."

Still under cover of the same virtue of politeness, let us follow the
critic--

    "In the first place, the subject of the drama is not
    historic, although historical characters figure in it.
    We will pass that over, for, as time flies, it is a
    peccadillo. But at least a conscientious author in
    assigning a rôle to his historical personages in a
    _fictitious case_ or rather _action_ should so apply it as
    not to calumniate them; the realistic school is bolder and
    has few scruples. You shall see how M. Hugo treats King
    François I., the court of that prince, and the poet Clément
    Marot on the stage of the Comédie-Française...."

Ah! monsieur critic, it well becomes you to defend ill-treated poets!
You who have treated M. Hugo so finely! It is true that, in your eyes,
M. Hugo is not a poet of the same calibre as Clément Marot. Turn your
glasses back, monsieur critic, and take the measure of the author of
the _Odes et Ballades Orientales, Feuilles d'automne, Notre-Dame de
Paris, Hernani_ and _Marion Delorme,_ even if you have to stand on
tip-toe or, if necessary, climb on a chair to do so.

    "In the first act, we are at the court of François i.:
    sounds of distant music are heard; there is a ball. A ball
    was a novelty some years ago! There is one in every play ..."

Where on earth do you find one in _Henri III.,_ monsieur critic? Or in
_Christine_ or _Richard Darlington_ or in _La Tour de Nesle_?... Where
can you discover a ball in _Hernani_ or in _Marion Delorme?_ There is,
it is true, a kind of musical entertainment in _Hernani,_ a sort of
ball in _Antony,_ but you see it has not been overdone.

    "Soon they will be indispensable," continued the critic. "So
    François I. is in search of amusement and seeks everything
    he can to be entertained. The courtiers talk, laugh and
    seek to amuse him. There are a great number of them: M. de
    Cossé, M. de Simiane, M. de Montmorency, Clément Marot and
    a host of high-born people, and, in their centre, the king
    and Triboulet, the king's jester, in cloth of gold, a fool's
    bauble in his hand. Madame de Cossé lets her glove fall; the
    king picks it up. The gentlemen laugh and gossip about the
    _wife of Cossé._ The king is in love with her; Triboulet
    advises him to get rid of the husband: that is, to have him
    hung; the king is amused and so are the courtiers. After
    this, there is no more about the _wife of Cossé,_ and we do
    not see her again. This is indeed a pity, for she is pretty.

"The action does not begin yet, but the conversations continue.
Triboulet tells the king much evil about savants and poets, and we hear
François I. say later that _it is not weather fit to turn even a poet
out of doors._ The courtiers, for their part, discuss the mistress of
Triboulet. One of them replies--

                         'Ma foi de gentilhomme,
    Je m'en soucie autant qu'un poisson d'une pomme!'"

Here the critic is mistaken and I wonder at it, his error benefits him
nothing. It is not a nobleman who says the lines quoted by the critic,
neither are they addressed to Cossé or about his wife. The man who
utters them is the king, and the people, for whom he cares so little,
are the savants.

                         "TRIBOULET.
    Les femmes, sire, ah! Dieu!... c'est le ciel, c'est la terre,
    C'est tout! mais vous avez les femmes, vous avez
    Les femmes! Laissez-moi tranquille, vous rêvez
    De vouloir des savants.

                           LE ROI.
                          Ma foi de gentilhomme,
    Je m'en soucie autant qu'un poisson d'une pomme!"

"At this juncture, the Comte de Saint-Vallier appears on the scenes; he
comes on to utter deadly reproaches against the king, who has granted
him his life, _for having conspired_ (it should be _because he has_ and
not _for having,_ but critics do not look so closely into things as
that) to seduce his daughter Diane de Poitiers. It is noticeable that
M. Victor Hugo is singularly fond of old men and puts them in all his
dramas. But the language he puts into the mouth of Saint-Vallier is
noble and fine. So the lines were applauded unanimously but the tirade
is lengthy...."

This was the opportunity, monsieur critic, since you have quoted the
lines you thought ridiculous, to have quoted some at least that you
thought beautiful. True, such quotation would have destroyed the
harmony of the sarcastic tone of your criticism. But we will quote
them instead of you. Listen attentively to the language of the man who
writes these lines, he who is in all good faith advised not to write
for the theatre any more because he is impotent, sterile, trivial and
absurd.

"SAINT-VALLIER

  Une insulte de plus!--Vous, sire, écoutez-moi
  Comme vous le devez, puisque vous êtes roi!
  Vous m'avez fait, un jour, mener pieds nus en Grève;
  Là, vous m'avez fait grâce ainsi que dans un rêve,
  Et je vous ai béni, ne sachant, en effet,
  Ce qu'un roi cache au fond d'une grâce qu'il fait.
  Or, vous aviez caché ma honte dans la mienne.
  Oui, sire, sans respect pour une race ancienne,
  Pour le sang des Poitiers, noble depuis mille ans!
  Tandis que, revenant de la Grève à pas lents,
  Je priais dans mon cœur le Dieu de la victoire
  Qu'il vous donnât mes jours de vie en jours de gloire,
  Vous, François de Valois, le soir du même jour,
  Sans crainte, sans pitié, sans pudeur, sans amour,
  Dans votre lit, tombeau de la vertu des femmes,
  Vous avez froidement, sous vos baisers infâmes,
  Terni, flétri, souillé, déshonoré, brisé
  Diane de Poitiers, comtesse de Brézé!...
  Quoi! lorsque j'attendais l'arrêt qui me condamne,
  Tu courais donc au Louvre, ô ma chaste Diane!
  Et lui, ce roi sacré chevalier par Bayard,
  Jeune homme auquel il faut des plaisirs de vieillard,
  Pour quelques jours de plus, dont Dieu seul sait le compte,
  Ton père sous ses pieds, te marchandait ta honte;
  Et cet affreux tréteau, chose horrible à penser!
  Qu'un matin le bourreau vint en Grève dresser,
  Avant la fin du jour, devait être, ô misère!
  Ou le lit de la fille, ou l'échafaud du père!
  O Dieu qui nous jugez, qu'avez-vous dit là-haut,
  Quand vos regards ont vu, sur ce même échafaud,
  Se vautrer, triste et louche, et sanglante et souillée,
  La luxure royale en clémence habillée?...
  Sire! en faisant cela, vous avez mal agi.
  Que du sang d'un vieillard le pavé fût rougi,
  C'était bien: ce vieillard, peut-être respectable,
  Le méritait, étant de ceux du connétable;
  Mais que pour le vieillard vous ayez pris l'enfant;
  Que vous ayez broyé sous un pied triomphant
  La pauvre femme en pleurs, à s'effrayer trop prompte,
  C'est une chose impie et dont vous rendrez compte!
  Vous avez dépassé votre droit d'un grand pas:
  Le père était à vous, mais la fille, non pas.
  Ah! vous m'avez fait grâce! ah! vous nommez la chose
  Une grâce! et je suis un ingrat, je suppose!
  Sire, au lieu d'abuser ma fille, bien plutôt
  Que n'êtes-vous venu vous-même en mon cachot?
  Je vous aurais crié: 'Faites-moi mourir ... Grâce!
  Oh! grâce pour ma fille, et grâce pour ma race!
  Oh! faites-moi mourir! la tombe et non l'affront!
  Pas de tête plutôt qu'une souillure au front!
  Oh! monseigneur le roi, puisque ainsi l'on vous nomme,
  Croyez-vous qu'un chrétien, un comte, un gentilhomme
  Soit moins décapité, répondez, monseigneur,
  Quand, au lieu de la tête, il lui manque l'honneur?'
  J'aurais dit cela, sire, et, le soir, dans l'église,
  Dans mon cercueil sanglant, baisant ma barbe grise,
  Ma Diane au cœur pur, ma fille au front sacré,
  Honorée, eût prié pour son père honoré!...
  Sire, je ne viens point redemander ma fille:
  Quand on n'a plus d'honneur, on n'a plus de famille.
  Qu'elle vous aime ou non d'un amour insensé,
  Je n'ai rien à reprendre où la honte a passé.
  Gardez-la!--Seulement, je me suis mis en tête
  De venir vous troubler ainsi dans chaque fête;
  Et jusqu'à ce qu'un père, un frère ou quelque époux
  --La chose arrivera--nous ait vengé de vous.
  Pâle, à tous vos banquets je reviendrai vous dire:
  'Vous avez mal agi, vous avez mal fait, sire!'
  Et vous m'écouterez, et votre front terni
  Ne se relèvera que quand j'aurai fini.
  Vous voudrez, pour forcer ma vengeance à se taire,
  Me rendre au bourreau; non! vous ne l'oserez faire.
  De peur que ce ne soit mon spectre qui, demain,
                            _(Montrant sa tête.)_
  Ne vienne vous parler, cette tête à la main!"

One can conceive why the critic does not quote the lines we have just
put before the reader: What would become of his prose by the side of
such verse? After this splendid outburst of Saint-Vallier, the king,
enraged, exclaims--

    "On s'oublie à ce point d'audace et de délire!...
                   _(A. M. de Pienne.)_
    Duc, arrêtez monsieur!

            TRIBOULET.
                               Le bonhomme est fou, sire.

            SAINT-VALLIER, _levant le bras._
    Soyez maudits tous deux!
                     _(Au roi.)_
                                 Sire, ce n'est pas bien:
    Sur le lion mourant vous lâchez votre chien!
         _(A Triboulet.)_
    Qui que tu sois, valet à langue de vipère,
    Que fais risée ainsi de la douleur d'un père,
    Sois maudit!
              _(Au roi.)_
                   J'avais droit d'être par vous traité
    Comme une majesté par une majesté.
    Vous êtes roi, moi père, et l'âge vaut le trône.
    Nous avons tous les deux au front une couronne
    Où nul ne doit lever de regards insolents,
    Vous de fleurs de lys d'or, et moi de cheveux blancs.
    Roi, quand un sacrilège ose insulter la vôtre,
    C'est vous qui la vengez;--c'est Dieu qui venge l'autre!"

The critic goes on--

"The Comte de Saint-Vallier finishes his harangue and goes out cursing
the king and Triboulet. The king laughs, Triboulet seems thunderstruck.
_This riot of unedifying conversations, the hall and the character of
Comte de Saint-Vallier_ are in no sort of way connected with the action
of the play, and _the whole of the first act is taken up in informing
us that Triboulet has a mistress and that the gentlemen of the court
wish to take her away from him...._"

Say, monsieur critic, that you _personally see no connection between
the ball and M. de Saint-Vallier and the action,_ but forbear from
saying they have no connection in any way whatever. You are blind and
deaf, monsieur critic; but, luckily, we shall not stop our ears and
put out our eyes for the sole satisfaction of being like you. Stay, you
shall see why M. de Saint-Vallier is not connected with the action. The
author takes the trouble to tell you himself--

    "It appears that writers of criticism pretend that their
    morals are scandalised by _Le Roi s'amuse._ The play
    disgusted the modesty of the gendarmes; the Léotaud Brigade
    was there[1] and thought it obscene; officers of morality
    hid their faces and M. Vidocq blushed; accordingly, the
    word of command which the censorship gave the police was
    stammered out in our midst for some days in these terse
    words--

    "'THE PLAY IS IMMORAL.'"

Halloa! my masters! Silence on this point. Let us explain ourselves,
however; not to the police, with whom I, an honest man, decline to
discuss such matters, but to the few respectable and conscientious
persons who, upon hearsay, or after seeing the performance, allowed
themselves to be led away into sharing that opinion, for which,
perhaps, the name alone of the guilty poet should have been sufficient
refutation. The drama is now printed and, if you were not at the
performance, read it; if you were, still read it. Bear in mind that
this representation is less a representation than a battle, a sort of
battle of Montlhéry (excuse us for this rather ambitious comparison),
which the Parisians and the Burgundians both claimed to have _won_
according to Mathieu. The play is immoral. Do you think so? Is it so
fundamentally? The groundwork of the play is as follows:--

    "Triboulet is deformed, ill, the court buffoon, a threefold
    wretchedness which makes him evilly disposed. He hates the
    king because he is king, the lords because they are lords,
    and men because they have not all got humps on their backs;
    his only solace is unceasingly to pit the lords against
    the king, to break the weakest against the strongest. He
    depraves, corrupts and debases the king, drives him to
    tyranny, ignorance and vice. He sets him at loggerheads with
    all the noble families, unceasingly pointing out some wife
    to seduce, a sister to carry off, a daughter to dishonour.

    "The king is like an omnipotent puppet in the hands of
    Triboulet, he cuts off lives whilst the buffoon plays his
    jokes: one day at a fête, just when Triboulet is urging the
    king to carry off M. de Cossé's wife, M. de Saint-Vallier
    finds his way to the king and openly upbraids him for
    the dishonour of Diane de Poitiers. The father whose
    daughter the king has taken is made game of and insulted by
    Triboulet. He lifts his arm and curses Triboulet. _And from
    this the whole flay springs._ The real subject of the drama
    is M. DE SAINT-VALLIER'S MALEDICTION."

Why did you say then, monsieur critic, that "_the unedifying riot of
conversations, the hall and the character of Saint-Vallier_ ARE IN NO
WAY CONNECTED WITH THE ACTION." You do not seem to me to understand
the author. But let us see what the author says; we will see what you
have said afterwards. We will promise you not to compare his prose with
yours. Listen to what Victor Hugo says himself. We are at the second
act--

    "Upon whom does this malediction fall? Upon Triboulet,
    the king's fool? No, upon Triboulet as man, as a father
    with a heart, who has a daughter. All lies in the fact of
    Triboulet possessing a daughter: she is all he has in the
    world. He conceals her from all eyes in a deserted quarter
    and a lonely house. The more he circulates the contagion of
    vice and of debauchery through the town, the more closely
    he keeps his daughter walled up and isolated. He brings up
    his child in innocence, faith and modesty. His greatest fear
    is lest she come to harm; for, wicked as he is, he knows
    how much suffering it brings. Well, the old man's curse
    strikes Triboulet through the only thing he loves in the
    world--his daughter. The very king whom Triboulet urges on
    to abduction seduces his daughter. The fool is struck by
    Providence exactly in the same way as M. de Saint-Vallier,
    and, when his daughter is seduced and lost, he lays a snare
    for the king to revenge her: but it is his daughter who
    falls into it. Thus, Triboulet has two pupils, the king
    and his daughter; the king whom he instructs in vice, his
    daughter whom he has brought up to virtue. The one destroys
    the other. He intends to abduct Madame de Cossé for the
    king, but it is his daughter whom he carries away. He means
    to assassinate the king to avenge his daughter, but instead
    assassinates her. The chastisement does not stop half-way;
    the malediction of Diane's father is fulfilled upon the
    father of Blanche. Doubtless it is not for us to decide if
    the conception is dramatic or not; but it is certainly a
    moral one."

Well, reader, what is your opinion?

"Why! the same as Victor Hugo. But why, then, does the critic look upon
it and understand it so wrongly? Is he blind and deaf?"

Oh, dear reader, that would be too great a happiness for you and us!
No, you know the proverb--"None so blind as those who wont see, or so
deaf as those who do not wish to hear."

What the author says of the curse of Saint-Vallier is so true that the
second act opens with these words of Triboulet--

    "Ce vieillard m'a maudit!"

But, as we have said, the critic does not perceive this. He continues
his analysis--

    "At the second act Triboulet wanders through the night near
    a modest house next to the hôtel de Cossé. A man with a
    hideous expression comes and offers him his services. His
    trade is killing; his charges are not dear, and he works
    at home and in the town. Triboulet replies that he has no
    need of him at present. Saltabadil (the bandit's name)
    goes off and Triboulet enters the house. He then utters a
    long monologue expressing all the suffering his trade of
    king's jester causes him. Here, M. Hugo again breaks into an
    eloquent and brilliant tirade in beautiful lines ..."

Why not quote them, monsieur critic? Ah! yes, but the fine verses would
scorch his lips.[2]


    "Triboulet enters his daughter's house and expresses all his
    parental affection for her," continues the critic. "Here
    again," he adds, "are several beautiful verses ..."

And he passes them over; but are beautiful lines so common that you
scorn them thus? Can you write them? or can your wife or your friends?
Can M. Planche or M. Janin or M. Lireux compose in the same style as
this?

"BLANCHE.
  ... Mon bone père, au moins, parlez-moi de ma mère!

TRIBOULET.
  Oh! ne réveille pas une pensée amère:
  Ne me rappelles pas qu'autrefois j'ai trouvé
  --Et, si tu n'étais là, je dirais: 'J'ai rêvé!'--
  Une femme, contraire à la plupart des femmes,
  Qui, dans ce monde, où rien n'appareille les âmes,
  Me voyant seul, infirme, et pauvre, et détesté,
  M'aima pour ma misère et ma difformité!
  Elle est morte, emportant dans la tombe avec elle
  L'angélique secret de son amour fidèle,
  De son amour passé sur moi comme un éclair;
  Rayon du paradis tombé dans mon enfer!
  Que la terre, toujours à me recevoir prête,
  Soit légère à ce sein où reposa ma tête!

BLANCHE.
  Mon père ...

TRIBOULET, _à sa fille._
          Est-il ailleurs un cœur qui me réponde?
  Oh! je t'aime pour tout ce que je hais au monde!
  --Assieds-toi près de moi. Viens, parlons de cela
  Dis, aimes-tu ton père? Et puisque nous voilà
  Ensemble, et que ta main entre mes mains repose,
  Qu'est-ce donc qui nous force à parler d'autre chose?
  Ma fille, ô seul bonheur que le ciel m'ait permis!
  D'autres ont des parents, des frères, des amis,
  Une femme, un mari, des vassaux, un cortège
  D'aïeux et d'alliés, plusieurs enfants, que sais-je?
  Moi, je n'ai que toi seule! Un autre est riche;--eh bien,
  Toi seule es mon trésor, et toi seule es mon bien!
  Un autre croit en Dieu; je ne crois qu'en ton âme!
  D'autres ont la jeunesse et l'amour d'une femme;
  Ils ont l'orgueil, l'éclat, la grâce et la santé;
  Ils sont beaux; moi, vois-tu, je n'ai que ta beauté!
  Chère enfant!--ma cité, mon pays, ma famille,
  Mon épouse, ma mère, et ma sœur, et ma fille.
  Mon bonheur, ma richesse, et mon culte, et ma loi,
  Mon univers, c'est toi, toujours toi, rien que toi!
  De tout autre côté, ma pauvre âme est froissée.
  --Oh! si je te perdais!... Non, c'est une pensée
  Que je ne pourrais pas supporter un moment!
  Souris-moi donc un peu.--Ton sourire est charmant!
  Oui, c'est toute ta mère!--Elle était aussi belle.
  Tu te passes souvent la main au front comme elle,
  Comme pour l'essuyer, car il faut au cœur pur
  Un front tout innocent et des yeux tout azur.
  Tu rayonnes pour moi d'une angélique flamme,
  A travers ton beau corps, mon âme voit ton âme.
  Même les yeux fermés, c'est égal, je te vois.
  Le jour me vient de toi! Je me voudrais parfois
  Aveugle, et l'œil voilé d'obscurité profonde,
  Afin de n'avoir pas d'autre soleil au monde!"

Well! monsieur critic, shall I tell you something? If a fairy, as in
the pretty children's tales you have not read, for you were never a
child, came with his golden wand in his hand and said to me: "What
do you wish, desire and pine for? Ask, I serve youth, fortune and
ambition; at one word, you can have twenty-five years added to your
life or be a millionaire or a prince!" I should say to him, "Oh good,
beauteous fairy, I would like to be able to compose such lines as the
above."

But now let us follow the critic through the third act. It relates how
Blanche is taken to the Louvre; how the king recognises in her whom
he supposes to be Triboulet's mistress the Blanche with whom he is
enamoured, and how Blanche recognises in the king the Gaucher Mahiet
whom she loves; how Blanche, not knowing whither to fly, and seeing an
open door, flies through it and finds herself in the king's private
chamber; how the king then enters behind her and shuts the door; after
which the lords troop in, laughing, followed by Triboulet in despair.
But let us allow the critic to speak--

    "Triboulet comes on and looks at them all. The queen wants
    the king and they have just sent for him. 'He is not
    yet up.--But he was here just a moment ago.--He is out
    hunting.--But his huntsman are not out.'

  --'On vous dit, comprenez-vous ceci?
  Que le roi ne veut voir personne.

TRIBOULET.
                                  Elle est ici!'

    "Triboulet wants to push his way into the king's room, but
    the courtiers fling him back; he implores them. They laugh
    at him and Triboulet pours out upon them insults and curses.
    'You are no nobles,' he says to them,

                    'Au milieu des huées,
  Vos mères aux laquais se sont prostituées!'

    "_And the gentlemen put up with this!_"

Yes they bear it, monsieur critic, and I will tell you why. All the
lords who have lent themselves to abduction, and are quite prepared to
put their hands to violation, think they have carried off Triboulet's
mistress and learn suddenly they have carried away his daughter. You
do not say that that has escaped your memory: it is told in beautiful
lines, and Ligier's voice is not one anybody can pretend not to hear.

              "M. DE PIENNE, _riant._
  Triboulet a perdu sa maîtresse!--Gentille
  Ou laide, qu'il la cherche ailleurs.

TRIBOULET.
                            Je veux ma fille ...

TOUS.
Sa fille!

TRIBOULET, _croisant les bras._
          C'est ma fille!--Oui, riez maintenant!
  Ah! pous restez muets! Vous trouvez surprenant
  Que ce bouffon soit père, et qu'il ait une fille?
  Les loups et les seigneurs n'ont-ils pas leur famille?
  Ne puis-je avoir aussi la mienne? Allons, assez!
  Que si vous plaisantiez, c'est charmant; finissez!
      .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
  Elle est là!
           _(Les courtisans se placent devant la porte du roi.)_

MAROT.
              Sa folie en furie est tournée.

TRIBOULET, _reculant avec désespoir._
  Courtisans! courtisans! démons! race damnée!
  C'est donc vrai qu'ils m'out pris ma fille, ces bandits!
  Une femme, à leurs yeux, ce n'est rien, je vous dis!
  Quand le roi, par bonheur, est un roi de débauches,
  Les femmes des seigneurs, lorsqu'ils ne sont pas gauches,
  Les servent fort.--L'honneur d'une vierge, pour eux,
  C'est un luxe inutile, un trésor onéreux.
  Une femme est un champ qui rapporte, une ferme
  Dont le royal loyer se paye à chaque terme.
  N'est ce pas que c'est vrai, messeigneurs?--En effet,
  Vous lui vendriez tous, si ce n'est déjà fait.
  Pour un nom, pour un titre, ou toute autre chimère,
        _(A M. de Brian.)_
  Toi, ta femme, Brion!
        _(A M. de Gardes.)_
  Toi, ta sœur!
                  _(Au jeune page de Pardaillan.)_
                      Toi, ta mère?"


The critic is surprised that all the lords are silent. It does not
surprise us, especially if they have children of their own.

Is not the despair of a father, at the destruction of his daughter,
frightful and solemn and fateful enough to cause instant silence? The
author of the work, a father, who wrote this magnificent line--

    "Et les cœurs de lion sont les vrais cœurs de père,"

thought so. Is he wrong? So much to his credit. If you are right, the
more is it to your discredit!

But if this be so, you say, he ought to have pointed us out a beauty
instead of a defect. Oh! he warns you loudly enough. Listen again--

  "UN PAGE _se verse un verre de vin au buÿet, et se met à boire
  en fredonnant:_

  Quand Bourdon vit Marsaille,
  Il a dit à ses gens:
  'Vrai-Dieu! quel capitaine ...'

  TRIBOULET, _se retournant._
  Je ne sais à quoi tient, vicomte d'Aubusson,
  Que je te brise aux dents ton verre et ta chanson!"

You see among the whole of those courtiers, only one sneers, and he
a child of fifteen, who knows nothing about paternity. Oh! you say,
that is true enough; but it is too involved, we missed the point. Such
things, messieurs, are not visible to the outer eye, they are felt; the
heart has eyes to see them.

Then, you add, you have no children. True, eunuchs and critics usually
die without posterity.

We had got to the words, monsieur critic--

    "And the gentlemen put up with that, _and when Triboulet
    bade them they went away._ TRIBOULET REMAINS ALONE, and soon
    his daughter rushes out dishevelled, beside herself, and
    flies into his arms."

Ah! you see more clearly than you say, monsieur critic, for here you
lie! No, it does not happen like that at all.

  "TRIBOULET.
  Ah! Dieu! vous ne savez que rire ou que vous taire!
  C'est donc un grand plaisir de voir un pauvre père
  Se meurtrir la poitrine, et s'arracher du front
  Des cheveux que deux nuits pareilles blanchiront!

    _(La porte de la chambre du roi s'ouvre; Blanche en sort
    éperdue, égarée, en désordre; elle vient tomber dans les
    bras de son père avec un cri terrible.)_

   BLANCHE.
   Mon père, ah!...

   TRIBOULET, _la serrant dans ses bras.
             _ Mon enfant! ah! c'est elle! ah! ma fille!
   Ah! messieurs!
     _(Suffoqué de sanglots, et riant au travers.)_
                   Voyez-vous, c'est toute ma famille,
   Mon ange!--Elle de moins, quel deuil dans ma maison!
   --Messeigneurs, n'est-ce pas que j'avais bien raison?...
               _(A Blanche.)
   _ Mais pourquoi pleures, tu?

   BLANCHE.
                              Malheureux que nous sommes!
   La honte ...

   TRIBOULET.
              Que dis-tu?

   BLANCHE.
                              Pas devant tous ces hommes!
   Rougir devant vous seul!

   TRIBOULET, _se tournant vers la porte du roi.
                            _ Oh! l'infâme!--Elle aussi!

   BLANCHE.
   Seule, seule avec vous!

   TRIBOULET, _aux seigneurs.
                            _ Allez-vous-en d'ici!
   Et, si le roi François par malheur se hasarde
   A passer près d'ici ...
                            _(A M. de Vermandois.)_
                            Vous êtes de sa garde,
   Dites-lui de ne pas entrer,--que je suis là!
                          _(Les seigneurs sortent.)_"

You can see well enough, monsieur critic, that Triboulet is not alone
when his daughter comes and flings herself into his arms, _and that if
the lords go out,_ it is not because the king's fool has ordered them
out, but because they know how to conduct themselves before the father
of Blanche. Instead of being false, as you make out, the scene, on the
contrary, is so profoundly wrought that you did not dare to follow it
in its deepest wounds; this was an unknown abyss to your comprehension.
Oh! monsieur critic, to ply your trade, you must be almost as great as
the writer you criticise. Can a Lilliputian analyse a Gulliver?

"At this moment," the critic continues, "the Comte de Saint-Vallier,
who is being led to the Bastille, recommences his imprecations against
François I., and says--

    'Puisque, par votre roi d'outrages abreuvé,
    Ma malédiction n'a pas encor trouvé,
    Ici-bas ni là-haut, de voix qui me réponde.
    Pas une foudre au ciel, pas un bras d'homme au monde,
    Je n'espère plus rien.--Ce roi prospérera.

    TRIBOULET, _relevant la tête._
    Comte! vous vous trompez!--Quelqu'un vous vengerai!'"

You see, monsieur critic, you are wrong; M. de Saint-Vallier
does serve an end.

"The third act is revoltingly immoral!" the critic
pursues. "The same disgusting features await us in
the fourth act. We see the house of the brigand Saltabadil;
a sort of pothouse. The king comes there in
the middle of the night; he sits down to table and calls
for drink: they bring it him."

We will let the author reply to the accusation expressed
in such beautiful language. If the work is moral in construction,
can it be immoral in execution? The question
thus put seems to us to answer itself. But let us see.
Probably there is nothing immoral in the first or second
act. Is it the situation in the third act which shocks
you? Read the third act and tell us if the impression
which, in all probability, it produces, is not of profound
purity, virtue and rectitude?

"Is it the fourth act? But since when has a king been
forbidden to pay court to a public-house servant on
the stage? It is no novelty in history, nor in the theatre:
history permits us to show you François I. drunk in the
kennels of the rue du Pelican. To take a king to a low
place is nothing new either: the Greek theatre--the classical
one--did it; Shakespeare, who is of the romantic theatre,
did it. Very well then, the author of this drama has not
done so. He knows all that has been written about
the house of Saltabadil; but why make out that he has
said what he has not said? Why force him to exceed
a limit which is entirely beside the mark, which he has
not exceeded? The gipsy Maguelonne so much maligned
is surely not bolder than all the Lisettes and Martons of
the old-school theatre. Saltabadil's pothouse is a hostelry,
a tavern, the tavern de la _Pomme de pin,_ a suspected
inn and a cut-throat place may be! but not a brothel; it is
a sombre, terrible, horrible, fearful place if you like, but
it is not an obscene one. There remain details as to
style. Read! the author accepts as judges of the strict
severity of his style the same persons who are shocked by
Juliet's nurse and Ophelia's father, by Beaumarchais
and by Regnard, by the _École des femmes_ and _Amphitryon,_
by Dandin and Sganarelle, and by the great scene
in _Tartufe._ Tartufe was also accused of immorality, in
his time. Only, in this case, when it was necessary to
be frank, the author had to do it at his own risk and peril,
but always with gravity and restraint; he wished his
art to be chaste, but not prudish."

Let us return to the criticism.[3]

"Saltabadil is to give up the body at midnight. The
king, half drunk, is at his house, defenceless and laid
down, and it is a quarter to twelve. Maguelonne begs her
brother to spare so good looking a young fellow. The
brigand refuses, for he is an honest brigand and conducts
his trade conscientiously; only, he desires that some one
else should appear so that he may kill him and deliver him
up in place of the other. Blanche has returned and hears
everything; she has been seduced by the king; she does
not love him, for he consorts with the most degraded of
women. But Blanche will die for him! _This is a devotion
on the part of a young girl which no one but M. Victor Hugo
would have conceived possible._ ..."

Why so? Do you mean to say that Victor Hugo is the
only one who has a large enough heart to understand
such devotion? Then it seems to me that the blame
turns singularly into praise.

"Blanche knocks at the door, goes in ... and the
curtain falls. Why does not M. Hugo show us the
assassination? What is one horror more? In the fifth
act, Triboulet comes in front of the pothouse. It is
a stormy night; midnight strikes. The brigand then
opens his door and drags a sack along the ground containing
a dead body. He receives the remainder of the twenty
crowns and shuts his door. Triboulet puts his foot on the
body, saying--

    'Ceci, c'est un buffon! et ceci, c'est un roi!'

    Then he raves over the body and curses it, and struts about
    and prates of glory, of revolutions and of crowns, and
    returns to the body and addresses these extraordinary lines
    to it--

    'M'entends tu? m'entends-tu? m'entends-tu? m'entends-tu ...'"


It would, indeed, be very extraordinary if it were thus, but,
unfortunately, there is no such line. This is the real line, or, rather
these are the lines--

    "Je te hais, _m'entends-tu_? c'est moi, roi gentilhomme;
    Moi, ce fou, ce bouffon; moi, cette moitié d'homme,
    Cet animal douteux à qui tu disais: 'Chien!'
    C'est que, quand la vengeance est en nous, vois-tu bien,
    Dans le cœur le plus mort, il n'est plus rien qui dorme;
    Le plus chétif grandit, le plus vil se transforme,
    L'esclave tirs alors sa haine du fourreau,
    Et le chat devient tigre, et le bouffon bourreau!'"

Far enough, you will agree, from the line invented by the critic--

"M'entends-tu? m'entends-tu? m'entends-tu? m'entends-tu?"

    "Finally," continues our Aristarchus, "after an interminable
    monologue" (certainly interminable if you have understood
    all the lines in the same fashion as the one you have
    quoted, but which, were you a poet, monsieur critic, would
    seem short to you!),[4] "Triboulet drags the body to him and
    is going to fling it into the Seine, when a cavalier comes
    out of the tavern and disappears along the quay. Triboulet
    has recognised the king; then he tears open the sack, and,
    by the light of a torch, he recognises his daughter! He
    calls for help, and torches are brought! Blanche still
    breathes; they fetch a doctor, but she dies immediately he
    arrives, and Triboulet falls dead the same instant.

    "Such is this monstrous play, in which history is set
    at naught, the manners of the times misconstrued, the
    characters of François I. and of Clément Marot dishonoured
    and reviled, wherein _hardly_ any beautiful lines shine
    to redeem the emptiness of the conception, the absence of
    clever conduct, the absolute want of interest: where, in
    short, the horrible and ignoble and immoral are all mixed up
    together in a chaotic confusion."

Well, monsieur critic, are you satisfied? Are you being well avenged
at the expense of the man of genius? Have you trodden his dramas
sufficiently under foot, as Triboulet trod on the corpse of the person
he thought his enemy? No! You begin your monologue again. Ah! it seems
short to you, does it not? because it is one of hatred.[5] Proceed
then! the hatred of the petty for the great is not groundless, and at
all times, as Triboulet shows us with regard to the king, and as you
exhibit with regard to the drama, such hatred ever yearns to slay.

"At the first performance," adds the critic, "a scandal was caused by
the crazy and _tumultuous admirers_ who, at each hiss that was raised,
shouted, 'Down with the idiots! Put the brutes out!' It was a large,
well-drilled cohort of friends who were sent into the theatre before
the proper hour, and they applauded to excess all that the public
thought truly disgusting. Notwithstanding this, and in spite of this
extraordinary _claque,_ the hissing was strong enough for the name of
M. Victor Hugo to be flung out amidst the tumult. In spite of this
startling failure, a second performance was announced for Thursday.
Compared with this, _Hernani_ is a genuine masterpiece ..." (Ah!
monsieur critic, if we had but the time how we would like to read what
you said about _Hernani_!) "and Boileau's epigram against Corneille
might be applied to M. Victor Hugo.

    "'Après _l'Agésilas,_
        Hélas!
      Mais, après _l'Attila,_
        Holà!'"

Do you not think these four lines of Boileau against the author of the
_Cid,_ of _Cinna_ and of _Polyeucte_ were among the unworthy things he
wrote? But Boileau at least confined himself to denouncing the plays
of old Corneille as weak: he did not denounce them to the police as
immoral. Then, with great satisfaction, the critic ends up his article
in these words--

    "We learn to-night that the ministre des travaux publics has
    given orders to stop the performance of the play."

Now let us follow the drama of our friend Victor Hugo before the
Tribunal de Commerce, as we have followed it on the stage of the
Théâtre-Richelieu, only let the author himself speak. M. Victor Hugo's
prose is much better than mine, consequently my readers will have no
ground for complaint.

    "The appearance of this drama at the theatre gave rise
    to an unprecedented ministerial act. The day after the
    first performance, the author received from M. Jouslin
    de la Salle, stage manager of the Théâtre-Français, the
    following note, the original copy of which he preserves most
    preciously--

    "'It is half-past ten and I have just received the _order_
    to suspend the performance of _Le Roi s'amuse._ M. Taylor
    has sent me the order on behalf of the Government.

    "'23 _November.'_

    "The first impulse of the author was to doubt it. The act
    was arbitrary to the point of incredibility. In fact,
    what is called the _Charte-Vérité_ says, 'The French have
    the right of _publishing..._' Note that the text does not
    merely say the _right of printing,_ but, large and clear,
    the _right of publishing._ Now, the theatre is only another
    means of publication, like the press, like sculpture or
    lithography. The liberty of the theatre is, therefore,
    implicitly indited in the Charter with every other form
    of liberty of thought. The law adds fundamentally, 'The
    censorship can never be re-established.' Now, the text does
    not say the _censorship of newspapers or of books,_ it says
    _censorship_ in general, all censure, that of the theatres
    as well as of writings. The theatre cannot, then, henceforth
    be legally censured.

    "Besides, the Charter says, 'Confiscation is abolished.'
    Now, the suppression of a theatrical play after
    representation is not merely a monstrous act of censorship
    and arbitrariness, it is confiscation out and out, it is the
    violent robbery of a property belonging to the theatre and
    the author.

    "Finally, to make all plain and clear, to preserve the four
    or five great special principles which the French Revolution
    has cast in bronze intact on their granite pedestals, in
    order that they cannot surreptitiously attack the common
    right of the French with forty thousand ancient damaged
    arms which rust and disuse have eaten away in the arsenal
    of our laws, the Charter, in a final article, expressly
    abolishes all that which in laws anterior to it would be
    contrary to its wording and its spirit. This is explicit.
    The ministerial suppression of a theatrical play attacks
    its liberty through the censorship, and its copyright
    through confiscation. Our whole sense of public right rises
    in revolt against such a method of procedure. The author,
    unable to believe in such insolence and folly, rushed to
    the theatre. There, the fact was confirmed, in every
    particular. The Government had, indeed, notified the _order_
    in question, by its divine right of governance. It had no
    reasons to offer. It had taken his play, deprived him of his
    right and seized his property. There was but one thing more
    to do to the poet--to put him into the Bastille.

    "We repeat, at the time we are living, when such an act
    comes and bars your way and lays hands on you roughly,
    the first feeling is one of profound surprise. A thousand
    questions occur to your mind--Where is justice, where is
    right? Can such things really happen? Was there, indeed,
    such a thing as the July Revolution? It is evident we are no
    longer in Paris! In what pachalic do we live?

    "The Comédie-Française, stupefied and struck with
    consternation, wished to try some advances towards the
    Government to obtain the revocation of this strange
    decision, but its labour was in vain. The divan, ... I mean
    the council of ministers, had met during the day. On the
    23rd, it was an order from the Government--the same on the
    24th. On the 23rd, the play was only suspended; on the 24th,
    it was definitely forbidden. The theatre was even enjoined
    to erase the four dreadful words '_Le Roi s'amuse._' The
    unlucky Théâtre-Français was, moreover, instructed that it
    was not to complain or to breathe a word. It may be fine,
    loyal and noble to resist such Asiatic despotism; but
    theatres dare not do it. The fear of the withdrawal of their
    privileges makes them serfs and slaves, liable to taxation
    and statute-labour at the mercy of eunuchs and the dumb.

    "An author should be and remain a stranger to these
    theatrical proceedings. He, a poet, does not depend upon any
    Government. His duty as a free writer forbids him to make
    the entreaties and solicitation he might make if he meanly
    consulted his own interests. But to ask for grace from a
    power is to admit that power. Liberty and ownership are not
    matters for antechamber settlement. A right does not solicit
    like a favour. For a favour he must beseech the Government;
    but for a right he appeals to the country. He must, then, go
    to the country for redress. There are two ways of obtaining
    justice: public opinion and the law courts. He chose both.
    The case is already judged and won in the eyes of public
    opinion. Here the author must warmly thank all thoughtful
    and independent persons connected with literature and
    the arts, who showed him on that occasion many proofs of
    sympathy and cordiality. He reckoned upon their support
    in anticipation. He knows that, when it is a question of
    struggling for liberty of intellect and thought, he will not
    go singly to battle.

    "Let us say, in passing, that the ruling power, with very
    mean-spirited calculation, prided itself it would have on
    that occasion, as its auxiliaries, the literary passions
    that have for a long period raged round the author. Literary
    hatreds the author supposed were even more tenacious than
    political animosities, seeing the former have their root
    in _amour propre,_ and the latter simply in principles.
    The Government is mistaken. Its brutal act has disgusted
    right-thinking men in all camps. There rallied round the
    author to oppose arbitrariness and injustice those even who
    a little time before had attacked him the most violently.
    If, by chance, a few inveterate haters persisted, they
    have since regretted the momentary support they gave to
    the Government. Every honourable and loyal man amongst the
    author's enemies stretched out hands to him, even though
    ready to begin the literary battle again as soon as the
    political fight is at an end. In France, whoever he is who
    is persecuted, his sole enemy is the persecutor.

    "So, now, having settled that the Government's act is
    detestable, unjustifiable, impossible in right, we will
    condescend for a moment to discuss it as a material fact,
    and try to find of what elements it would seem to have been
    composed. To this end, the first question which presents
    itself is one which everybody will put--What can be the
    motive for such a measure?

    "Certainly, if we deign to condescend for one moment to
    accept the ridiculous fiction that, in this instance, it
    is the care of public morals which moves our rulers, and
    that, shocked by the condition of licence into which certain
    theatres have fallen during the last six years, they wished
    at last, urged to extreme measures, to make an example, in
    the teeth of all laws and rights, of one work and writer,
    the choice of the work would, it must be confessed, be a
    singular one, but the choice of the author would be no less
    strange. In fact, who is the man that this short-sighted
    power attacks so strangely? A writer so placed that, though
    his talent may be contested by everybody, his character
    is called in question by no one. He is a man of avowed,
    proved and established character, a rare and valuable thing
    in these days. A poet who was the first to be disgusted
    with the licence to which the theatres were yielding; who,
    eighteen months ago, upon the rumour that the inquisition
    of theatres was going to be illegally re-established, went
    himself personally, with several other dramatic authors to
    warn the Government that it ought to guard against such
    a measure; and who there openly urged for a repressive
    law to regulate the excesses off the stage, whilst yet
    protesting against the censorship in such severe words
    that the Government is very sure not to forget them. He is
    an artist devoted to art, who has never sought success by
    ignoble means, who has been accustomed all his life to look
    the public straight in the face; a sincere and temperate
    man who has already fought more than one battle for liberty
    and against despotism; who, in 1829, in the last year of
    the Restoration, rejected everything which the Government
    then offered him in compensation for the interdict laid on
    _Marion Delorme,_ and who, more than a year later, in 1830,
    after the revolution of July, refused, in spite of the
    advantages to his material interests, to allow that same
    _Marion Delorme_ to be played, because it might have been
    made the occasion of attack and insult against the fallen
    king, who had proscribed it; a very simple line of conduct,
    no doubt, that every man of honour would have followed
    under similar circumstances, but which, perhaps, might have
    rendered him henceforth inviolate from all censure, and
    about which he wrote himself in 1831 as follows: 'Successes
    gained by hunting out scandals and by making political
    allusions hardly pleased him.' He admits that 'such success
    is worth but little and is short-lived. It is precisely when
    there is no public censorship that authors should criticise
    one another, honestly and conscientiously. In this way,
    they will exalt the dignity of art: when people have entire
    liberty it is desirable to keep within due bounds.'

    "Now, that the supposed immorality of the drama is reduced
    to nothing, now that all the display of evil and shameful
    arguments lies beneath our feet, now is the time to point
    out the true motive of the measure, the motive behind the
    scenes in the Court, and the motives they do not give
    because they dare not admit them among themselves, and
    therefore have carefully concealed them beneath a pretext.
    This motive has already transpired among the outside public
    and the public has guessed it correctly. We will say no
    more about it. It is probably of service to our cause that
    we should set our adversaries the example of courtesy and
    of moderation. It is good that the lesson of dignity and
    wisdom be set the Government by a private individual, by
    him who is persecuted to the body which is persecuting him.
    Though we are not of the number of those who think to cure
    their own wounds by poisoning the wounds of others, it is
    but too true that there is, in the third act of this play,
    a line where the untoward sagacity of some familiars of the
    palace discovered an allusion (I ask you myself where is
    this allusion?), of which neither the public nor the author
    had thought until then, but which, when proclaimed in this
    fashion, becomes the cruellest and most deadly of insults.
    It is all too true that this line was enough to cause the
    order to be given for the playbills of the Théâtre-Français
    to be taken down, in order that the curiosity of the public
    should not again be afforded the sight of that little
    seditious phrase, _le Roi s'amuse._ We will not quote the
    line which is such a red rag to a bull; furthermore, we
    will not point it out unless we are pushed to the last
    extremity, and people are imprudent enough to make us take
    our stand upon it in self-defence. We will not revive old
    historic scandals. We will spare as far as possible an
    exalted personage the consequences of the thoughtlessness
    of his courtiers. It is possible to be generous in warfare
    even to a king. We mean to be so. Only, let those in power
    consider the inconvenience of having as friend a bear, as
    it were, who crushes with the pavingstone of censorship the
    imperceptible allusions which happen to cross their minds.
    We are not even sure that we do not feel some sympathy for
    the ministry itself. To tell the truth, the whole thing
    inspires us with great pity. The Government of July is
    new-born, it is only thirty months old and still in its
    infancy, with the puerile passions of childhood. Is it,
    indeed, worthwhile to spend much virile anger against it?
    When it is full-grown, then we will see.

    "Meantime, to look at the question for a moment from the
    individual point of view, the censorial confiscation under
    consideration perhaps causes more injury to the author of
    this drama than of any other. In fact, for the fourteen
    years he has been writing, not one of his works but has had
    the unfortunate distinction of being chosen as a battlefield
    upon its appearance, and disappeared after a more or less
    lengthy period in the dust and smoke and turmoil of a
    battle. Therefore, when he produces a play for the theatre,
    the most important thing to him of all, as he cannot expect
    a quiet audience after the first night, is a series of
    performances. If it happens on the first day that his voice
    is drowned in uproar, that his idea is not understood, the
    following days may correct the first one. _Hernani_ had
    fifty-three performances, _Marion Delorme_ had sixty-one;
    _Le Roi s'amuse,_ thanks to ministerial violence, only had
    one. The injustice done the author is assuredly great. Who
    can give him back intact at the point he left off, the third
    experiment, so important to him? Who can tell him what might
    have occurred after the first performance? Who can give him
    back the public of the morrow, a public ordinarily impartial
    and without friends or enemies, the public which teaches the
    poet and which the poet instructs?

    "We are at a curious period of political transition. One
    of those moments of general lassitude when all kinds of
    despotic acts are possible in society, even the most
    advanced ideas of emancipation and of liberty. France
    advanced rapidly in July 1830; she did three good days'
    work then; she made three great oases in the field of
    civilisation and of progress. Now, many are harassed, many
    are out of breath, many demand a halt. They want to keep
    back the energetic spirits who are not tired, but still
    press on; they wish to wait for the laggards who have
    stopped behind and give them time to catch up. Hence, a
    strange fear of everything that moves and talks and thinks.
    It is an odd situation, easily defined. They are all the
    elements which are afraid of ideas; the league of interests
    clashing with the movement of theories begins, and takes
    fright at systems: the merchant who wants to sell; the
    street which is frightened of the counting-house; the armed
    shop on the defensive.

    "In our opinion, the Government takes unfair advantage of
    this disposition to repose, this fear of fresh revolutions.
    It has come to petty tyranny. It does wrong towards itself
    and towards us. If it thinks there is indifference now in
    people's minds towards liberty of ideas, it is mistaken; it
    is only lassitude. It will demand severe account some day of
    all the illegal actions that have been accumulating for some
    time past. What a dance it has led us! Two years ago, one
    feared for order; now, one trembles for liberty! Questions
    of free thought, of intellect and of art are imperiously
    mowed down by the viziers of the King of the Barricades.
    It is profoundly sad to see how the revolution of July has
    ended, _mulier formosa supernè._

    "No doubt, if one only considered the slight importance of
    the work of the author now in question, the ministerial
    measure which has smitten it down is not a great matter.
    It is but a malicious little literary _coup d'état_ whose
    only merit is that of not spoiling the series of arbitrary
    acts of which it forms a part. But, if we look higher, we
    see that this affair is not merely one that affects a drama
    and a poet, but, as we said at first, both liberty and the
    rights of ownership are involved in the question. Great and
    serious interests are involved in it, and, although the
    author be compelled to deal with this important affair by a
    simple commercial lawsuit at the Théâtre-Français, not being
    able to attack the Government directly, barricaded behind
    the principles of non-receivers of State advice, he hopes
    that his cause will be regarded as a great one in the eyes
    of all when he takes it to the bar of the Consular tribunal,
    with liberty in his right hand and proprietorship in his
    left. He will himself speak of the need for the independence
    of his art. He will plead his right resolutely with gravity
    and simplicity, without personal animosity, and yet, at the
    same time, fearlessly. He counts upon the concurrence of
    all, upon the free and cordial support of the press, on the
    justice of opinion and on the equity of the courts. He has
    no doubt he will be successful. The state of siege will be
    raised in literary precincts as in political.

    "When that is done, and he has secured his liberty as poet
    and as citizen intact, inviolable and sacred, he will
    peaceably return to his life's work, from which he has been
    violently torn away, which he would like never to have had
    to leave. He has his duty to do, he knows, and nothing will
    distract him from it. For the moment, the political rôle has
    come to him: he has not sought it out, but he accepts it.
    Surely the power which attacks us will not have gained much,
    in forcing us who are artists to quit our conscientious,
    tranquil, honest, serious task, our sacred task, a task
    which belongs to the past and to the future, in order to
    mix ourselves indignant and angry with the irreverent and
    scoffing audience which, for the last fifteen years, has
    watched the various poor devils of political bunglers as
    they pass by hooting and whistling, thinking they are
    building up a social edifice because they go daily, at great
    trouble to themselves, sweating and panting, to cart heaps
    of legal schemes from the Tuileries to the Palais-Bourbon
    and from the Palais-Bourbon to the Luxembourg!

    30 _November_ 1832."

On 19 December 1832, the matter came before the Tribunal de Commerce.
All the artist world of Paris gathered together in the Salle de la
Bourse, surprised to find itself in such good company. After his
barrister had spoken, Victor Hugo rose and made the following speech:--

    "Gentlemen, after the eloquent orator[6] who so generously
    lends me the powerful assistance of his speech, I should
    have nothing to say if I did not believe it my duty not
    to let pass the daring, culpable act which has violated
    our public rights through my person without a solemn and
    serious protest. This is not an ordinary cause, gentlemen.
    It seems to some persons, at the first glance, to be only
    a simple commercial action, a claim for indemnity for the
    non-execution of a private contract--in a word, simply the
    lawsuit of an author against a theatre. No, gentlemen, it
    is more than that, it is the lawsuit of a citizen against
    a government. The basis of this matter is a play forbidden
    _by order_; now, a play forbidden by order is censorship and
    the Charter abolished censorship; a play forbidden by order
    is confiscation. Your sentence, if favourable to me, and,
    it seems to me, I do you wrong to doubt it, will be to lay
    the blame manifestly, although indirectly, at the door of
    censorship and confiscation.

    "You see, gentlemen, how the horizon of this cause lifts
    and widens. I plead here for something higher than my own
    interest, I plead for my rights in general, for my right to
    think, and to possess, that is to say, for the common right
    due to all. Mine is a general cause, as is absolute equity
    yours. The minor details of the case are lost sight of
    before the question thus put. I am not simply a writer, you
    are not merely consular judges. Your conscience confronts
    mine. At this tribunal, you represent a great idea, and I,
    at the bar, stand for another. Your seat is justice; mine,
    liberty. Now, justice and liberty are made to be heard.
    Liberty is right, and justice is free.

    "This is not the first time that M. Odilon Barrot has told
    you before me, gentlemen, that the Tribunal of Commerce has
    been called upon to condemn, without departing from its
    jurisdiction, the arbitrary acts of those in authority. The
    first tribunal to declare the ordinances of 25 July 1830
    illegal has been forgotten by no one, it was the Tribunal
    of Commerce. You, gentlemen, will follow that memorable
    precedent, and, although the question is much smaller, you
    will uphold right to-day as you upheld it then; you will,
    I hope, listen to what I have to say to you with sympathy;
    you will warn the Government by your sentence, that it is
    on a bad path, and is wrong to degrade art and thought; you
    will give me back my rights and property; you will brand
    the police and censorship on the brow, who came by night to
    steal my liberty and my property from me by breaking the
    Charter.

    "What I say here I say without anger, the reparation I
    demand of you I ask with due gravity and moderation. God
    forbid I should spoil the beauty and rectitude of my cause
    by violent words! He who has right on his side has strength,
    and the strong scorn violence.

    "Yes, gentlemen, right is on my side. M. Odilon Barrot's
    admirable argument has victoriously proved to you that
    the ministerial act which has forbidden _Le Roi s'amuse,_
    is arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional. It is in vain
    for them to attempt to revive a law of the Reign of Terror
    by attributing the censorship to authority, a law which
    commands in clear terms the theatres to play the tragedies
    of _Brutus_ and of _Wilhelm Tell_ three times per week, only
    to give republican plays, and to stop representations of
    all work which tends, I quote word for word, '_to deprave
    the public mind and to awaken the shameful superstition of
    royalty._' Gentlemen, dare the actual supporters of the new
    royalty indeed invoke such a law, and invoke it against _Le
    Roi s'amuse_? Is it not evidently abrogated in its text
    as in its spirit? Made for the Terror, it died with the
    Terror. Is it not the same with all imperious decrees by
    which, forsooth, officials will have the right not merely to
    censure theatrical works, but the power of sending an author
    to prison according to its own good pleasure without trial?
    Do such things exist nowadays? Was not all this irregular
    and haphazard legislation solemnly done away with by the
    Charter of 1830? We appeal to the solemn oath of 9 August.
    The France of July did not reckon for either conventional or
    imperial despotism. The Charter of 1830 did not allow itself
    to be gagged either by 1807 or by '93.

    "Liberty of thought in all its various methods of
    expression, at the theatre as in the press, in the pulpit
    as in the tribune, there, gentlemen, lies one of the
    fundamental principles of our public rights. No doubt each
    of these modes of expression needs an organic law in accord
    with the fundamental law, a law of good faith, repressive
    but not preventive, which, leaving each career at liberty,
    shall imprison licence under strict penal laws. The
    theatre in particular as a public place, we are anxious to
    declare, does not know how to protect itself from the legal
    surveillance of the municipal authority. Well, gentlemen,
    this law, easier to make, probably, than is commonly
    supposed, which each of us dramatic poets has probably
    constructed in his own mind more than once, is wanting, and
    is not created. Our ministers, who produce year in year out
    from seventy to eighty laws per session, have not deemed it
    fitting to make such a one as this. A law for theatres did
    not seem urgently needed. Not urgent, when it concerns the
    liberty of thought, the progress of civilisation, public
    morality, the reputation of families, the tranquillity
    of Paris, which means that of France, and, indeed, the
    tranquillity of Europe itself!

    "A law affecting the liberty of theatres ought to have been
    proclaimed since 1830, in the spirit of the new Charter,
    but it is still wanting, I repeat, through the fault of the
    Government. Past legislation has evidently fallen away, and
    all the sophistries with which they plaster its ruins will
    not build it up again. So, between a law which no longer
    exists and one which is still needed, the authorities do
    not possess the right to stop a play at a theatre. I will
    not linger over what M. Odilon Barrot has demonstrated so
    supremely well.

    "Here an objection of secondary importance arises which
    I am, however, going to discuss. True, such a law is
    needed, people will say, but in the absence of legislation,
    ought authority to be completely defenceless? Might there
    not appear suddenly on the stage one of those infamous
    pieces--evidently made on purpose to make money and
    scandal--where all that is sacred in religion and morality
    and in the heart of man is insolently scoffed at and
    ridiculed; where all that goes to make the peace of family
    life and of citizenship is held up to question; where even
    living personages are pilloried on the stage amidst the
    hootings of the multitude? Do not State reasons lay upon the
    Government the duty of closing the theatre to such monstrous
    work, in spite of the silence of law? I do not know,
    gentlemen, if such a type of work has even been produced,
    and I do not wish to know, or to believe it, and I will not
    accept here, in any degree whatever, the task of denouncing
    them; but, even in such a case, I declare, whilst deploring
    the scandal caused, and realising that others would advise
    the State to stop works of this kind immediately, and at
    once to demand the Chambers for a bill of indemnity, I would
    not relax the strictness of the principle. I would say to
    the Government: See the consequences of your negligence
    to create a law so pressingly needed as a law affecting
    theatrical liberty! You have done this wrong, repair it
    and hasten to ask the Chambers for penal legislation,
    and, meantime, pursue the guilty drama with the code of
    the press, which, until special laws be made will, in my
    opinion, rule all public fashions. I say, in my opinion, for
    this is but my own personal view. My illustrious defender
    would, I know, only allow liberty to theatres with greater
    restrictions than I should; I speak here not with the
    opinion of a lawyer, but with the simple common sense of
    the citizen; if I am wrong, do not let my words be laid to
    the account of my defender, but at my own door solely. I
    repeat it, gentlemen, I would not relax the strictness of
    the principle; I would not grant the ruling authorities the
    power to confiscate liberty even in a case, apparently,
    where it was legitimate, for fear a day would come when it
    would confiscate it in all cases; I think that to repress
    scandal by arbitration is to create two scandals in place of
    one, and I say with an eloquent and serious-minded man who
    must shudder to-day at the way in which his disciples apply
    his doctrines: '_Il n'y a pas de droit au-dessus du droit_'
    ('There is no right over right').

    "Now, gentlemen, if such an abuse of power, exercised even
    upon a licentious, impudent or defamatory work would have
    been inexcusable, how much more so when it fastens upon a
    work of pure art, when it picks out for proscription among
    all the plays which have been produced for the last two
    years, a serious composition, strict in its morality? And
    that is precisely what the left-handed power which governs
    us has done in stopping _Le Roi s'amuse._ M. Odilon Barrot
    has proved to you that it has acted without justice; I will
    prove that it has acted without reason.

    "The motives that those who are in with the police have been
    whispering abroad for some days to explain the prohibition
    of this play are of three kinds: there is the moral reason,
    the political reason and--we must say the words though
    they be laughable--the literary reason. Vergil relates
    that several ingredients went to make up the thunder which
    Vulcan made for Jupiter. The petty ministerial thunder
    which has struck my play, which the censorship had forged
    for the police, is made up of three bad reasons rolled up,
    intermingled and united, _très imbris torti radios._

    "There is, first of all, or, rather, there was, the moral
    reason. Yes, gentlemen, I swear it, because it seems
    incredible, the police made out at first that _Le Roi
    s'amuse_ was, I quote the actual expression, 'an _immoral
    play._' I have already silenced the police on that point.
    In publishing _Le Roi s'amuse,_ I declared openly, not
    for the benefit of the police, but for those honourable
    men who wished to read me, that the drama was profoundly
    and strictly moral. No one has disbelieved me and no one
    will, it is my profound conviction as an honest man. All
    the precautions the police for a time succeeded in raising
    against the morality of this work have disappeared at the
    time I am now speaking. Four thousand copies of the book
    issued to the public have pleaded this trial in their own
    way, and these four thousand advocates have won their cause.
    In such a matter, also, an affirmative is sufficient; I
    shall not, therefore, enter upon a superfluous discussion.
    Only, for the sake of the future as well as the past, I
    would have the police to know, once for all, that I do not
    write immoral works. Let this be taken as conclusive, for I
    shall not return to it again.

    "After the moral argument there comes the political. Here,
    gentlemen, as I can only express the same ideas in other
    terms, allow me to quote you a page from the preface I put
    to the drama ..." (We have ourselves laid that page of
    preface before our readers.)[7]

    "After moral and political reasons, come the literary.
    A Government stopping a play for literary reasons is a
    strange thing, but it is not, however, without foundation.
    You remember--if by chance it was worth your trouble to
    remember it--that, in 1829, at the period when the first
    works called _romantic_ appeared upon the stage, about the
    time when the Comédie-Française received _Marion Delorme,_
    a petition signed by seven persons was presented to King
    Charles X. to demand that the Théâtre-Français be closed by
    the king, simply to the works of what was called the _New
    School._ Charles took it laughingly, and replied wittily
    that in literary questions he had only _his place_ in the
    _pit of the theatre_ like the rest of us. The petition
    collapsed beneath ridicule. Well, gentlemen, to-day many
    of the signers of this petition are deputies, influential
    deputies belonging to the majority, having a share in the
    governmental powers and voting for the budget. What they
    timidly petitioned for in 1829, they are able, all-powerful
    as they are, to carry out in 1832.

    "Public rumour, in fact, says that it was they who, the day
    after the first performance, approached the minister at the
    Chamber of Deputies and obtained a promise from him under
    the most moral and politic excuses imaginable, that _Le Roi
    s'amuse_ should be stopped. The minister, an ingenuous,
    innocent and candid man, bravely took up the challenge; he
    could not distinguish beneath all those wrappings the direct
    and personal animosity; he believed he was performing a
    political proscription. I am sorry for him, they made him
    execute a literary proscription. I will not say more on
    this point.... It inspires me with infinitely less anger
    than pity; it is odd, that is all. The Government lending
    assistance to the Academy in 1832! Aristotle become the law
    of the State once more! An imperceptible literary revolution
    being carried on at the brink of, and in the midst of,
    our great political revolutions! The deputies who deposed
    Charles X. working in a tiny corner to restore Boileau! How
    despicable!...

    "Gentlemen, I will sum up. By stopping my play, the
    Government has not, on the one hand, an article of law to
    quote from; on the other, not a single valuable reason to
    give. This measure has two aspects, both equally bad: as
    law, it is arbitrary; as reasoning, it is absurd. What,
    then, can the power which has neither reason nor law on
    its side allege as its motives? Its caprice, fancy, desire
    --that is to say, nothing!

    "You will do justice, gentlemen, to that desire, fancy,
    caprice. Your sentence, by giving me the case, will inform
    the country of this business--which is but small as compared
    with the greatness of the ordinance of July--what _force
    majeure_ there is in France besides that of the law, and
    that at the basis of this trial there is an illegal order
    which the Government did wrong to issue, and the theatre
    was wrong to obey; your sentence will teach the powers
    that its very friends blame it candidly on this occasion;
    that the rights of every citizen are to be respected by
    all Governments, that, given the conditions of order and
    of general safety are fulfilled, the theatre ought to
    be respected like other means of expression of public
    thought, and that, whether it be the press, the tribune
    or the theatre, none of the loopholes for the escape of
    liberty of intellect can be closed without peril. I address
    myself to you with profound faith in the worthiness of my
    cause. I shall never be afraid under similar occasions of
    grappling with a ministry hand to hand; the law courts are
    the natural judges of honourable duels of pure right against
    arbitrary dealings, duels less unequal than people think;
    for if, on the one side, there is a whole Government, and,
    on the other, only a simple citizen, that simple citizen
    is, indeed, strong when he can bring an illegal act before
    your bar, ashamed of being thus exposed to public view and
    public scourging, and confronting it as I am doing with four
    articles from the Charter!

    "I do not, however, disguise from myself that the present
    time is not like the latter years of the Restoration, when
    resistance to the encroachments of the Government was so
    much applauded and so popular. The ideas of stability and
    of authority are momentarily more in favour than those of
    progress and of freedom. It is a natural reaction after
    that rough revival of all our liberty at a rush styled the
    Revolution of 1830. But this reaction will not last long.
    Our ministers will some day be surprised by the implacable
    memory with which the men even who compose their majority
    then will recall all the grievances they seem to have
    forgotten so quickly to-day; moreover, let that day be
    late or soon in coming it will not matter: on that score I
    neither look for applause nor fear invective; I have but
    followed the strict monitions of my right and my duty.

    "I ought to say here that I have strong reasons for
    believing that the Government will take advantage of this
    fleeting torpor of the public mind formally to reestablish
    the censorship, and my affair is but a prelude, a
    preparation, a step to a putting of all theatrical liberty
    outside general laws. By not making a repressive law, by
    purposely letting licence have free scope on the stage for
    the past two years, the Government imagines it has created,
    in the opinion of respectable men, who might be disgusted
    with that licence, a prejudice in favour of dramatic
    censorship. In my opinion it is mistaken, and the censorship
    will never be anything else in France than an unpopular and
    illegal proceeding. As far as I myself am concerned, whether
    the censorship of the theatres he re-established by an
    illegal decree or an unconstitutional law, I declare I will
    never submit to such an act of authority without protesting;
    and I make such a protest solemnly now and here both for the
    present and for the future.

    "Further, observe how wanting in greatness, openness and
    courage the Government has been in the series of arbitrary
    acts which have succeeded one another for some time past. It
    has slowly, subterraneously, surreptitiously, indirectly,
    tortuously undermined the beautiful though incomplete
    edifice which the revolution of July had reared. It always
    took us treacherously from behind when we least expected.
    It dared not censure my play before the representation; it
    stopped it the following day. It attacks our most vital
    liberties; it cavils at our best attained efforts; it bases
    its despotism on a heap of ancient worm-eaten and repealed
    laws; it lies in wait to rob us of our rights in that Forest
    of Bondy of imperial decrees, through which liberty never
    passes without being stripped....

    "I say it is for the probity of the law courts to stop its
    course, which is as dangerous to it as to us. I say that
    the ruling power is specially wanting in greatness and
    courage by the underhand manner in which it has performed
    this hazardous operation, which each Government in strange
    blindness attempts in its turn, and which consists in
    substituting, more or less rapidly, arbitrariness for the
    constitution, despotism for liberty.[8] ... If it only
    continues for some time longer in this way, if the proposed
    laws are adopted, the confiscation of all our rights will
    be complete. To-day, they take away my liberty as a poet
    by censure: to-morrow, they will take away my liberty as
    a citizen by a gendarme; to-day, they banish me from the
    theatre: to-morrow, they will banish me from the country;
    to-day, they stop my mouth: to-morrow, they will transport
    me; to-day, the state of siege is in literature: to-morrow,
    it will be in citizenship; in liberties, guarantees,
    charters, public rights, in a word, annihilation!

    "If the Government be not better advised by its own
    interests to stop at the precipice while there is yet time,
    before long we shall have all the despotism of 1807 without
    its glory: we shall have the Empire without the Emperor. I
    have only a word more to say, gentlemen, and I desire it may
    be in your mind whilst you are deciding. There has been in
    this century but one great man, Napoleon, and but one great
    thing, liberty! The great man is no more with us, let us try
    to have the great thing. V. HUGO."

Of course it goes without saying that the tribunal pronounced itself
incompetent to deal with the case, and no justice at all was done to
the poet.



[Footnote 1: The agent Léotaud who arrested M. de Chateaubriand in
1832.]

[Footnote 2: See Appendix.]

[Footnote 3: See Appendix.]

[Footnote 4: See Appendix.]

[Footnote 5: _Ibid._]

[Footnote 6: M. Odilon Barrot.]

[Footnote 7: See Appendix.]

[Footnote 8: See Appendix.]



CHAPTER II


_Le Corsaire_ trial--The Duc d'Orléans as caricaturist--The _Tribune_
trial--The right of association established by jury--Statistics of the
political sentences under the Restoration_--Le Pré-aux-Clercs_


Let us return to the political trials which were a feature of the close
of the year 1832. Of course, at this period, a political trial was
thought more of than a literary one, and people were much more sure
of being acquitted if they had conspired against the Government than
if they had conspired against the Academy. The trial of the newspaper
_Le Corsaire_ followed that of _Le Roi s'amuse,_ or even, I believe,
preceded it. _Le Corsaire_ was then republican; it had given an account
of the 5th and 6th of June according to our point of view. It is an
odd thing: every newspaper which supported the revolution in politics,
supported the _statu quo_ in literature. I will relate, shortly,
my quarrel with Carrel. This is how the _Corsaire_ had expressed
itself. We quote only the passage which was impeached by the public
prosecutor:--

    "... The National Guard of the suburbs had arrived, and it
    was in the actual courtyard of the Tuileries itself that
    cartridges and brandy were distributed. All at once, the
    roar of firing was heard on the quai de la Mégisserie, in
    the rue Saint-Martin, by the Saint-Méry convent and in the
    rue Montmartre and Saint-Honoré. Soon, cannon intermingled
    with it, and, during this time, a considerable number of
    soldiers went to various quarters of the city; the drums
    beat the invitation to the citizens, but the greater mass
    of them listened unheeding and declined Civil War. One part
    of the city was barricaded. A royal parade had taken place.
    The King of the French and his son the Duc de Nemours,
    accompanied by M. de Montalivet, sword in hand, and by M.
    d'Argout, provided with the crutch he had not discarded
    since his last illness, as the ministerial newspapers
    grotesquely put it, had gone through the boulevards and
    returned by the quays. More than fifteen hundred cavalry
    escorted the king. Meantime, blood was shed in the quartier
    Saint-Martin. The National Guard of the district showed
    an excitement of which it was difficult thoroughly to
    understand the cause; the firing did not cease; more than
    forty thousand men were in action...."

This article was prosecuted for provoking to rebellion. As can be seen,
it was not amiably disposed to the July Government, and the question
ought, we think, to have been put in an entirely different way. Had
the attacked Government the right of defending itself? Without a doubt
it had. Had it the right to distribute brandy and cartridges in the
Tuileries courtyard? Certainly! Had we not indeed seen M. de Rumigny
distributing powder and shot and wine at the Palais-Royal on 31 July
and 1 August, on the morning of the parade of Rambouillet? Yes; but
then the action was sympathetic and approved, whilst, to-day, there
was immense opposition organised against Louis-Philippe, and all his
actions were blamed, even those of legitimate defence.... They attacked
the king, they attacked the princes, they attacked the ministers: this
had all been well done and well received.

Philippon, the witty editor of the _Journal four rire,_ had conceived
the idea of depicting Louis-Philippe in the shape of a _fear_: all the
walls of Paris were covered with this grotesque likeness. He published
the journal _La Caricature,_ to which Decamps contributed some of his
early drawings, and _La Caricature_ was a tremendous success. Everyone,
even the Duc d'Orléans, had a hand in it. We know that the prince could
draw cleverly and with originality and that he also engraved. I still
possess drawings and engravings by him. He was a pupil of Fielding,
and drew animals with great skill. One day, an idea for a caricature
came into his head, inspired by the daily quips which the Chamber made
at his father: it was to draw the king as Gulliver and the deputies as
Lilliputians. The king was laid full length asleep, bound and gagged,
with all the Lilliputian population about him, taking advantage of
his enforced immobility to feel him over and examine him. A host of
episodes each funnier than the others sprang out of the first idea.
M. Jacques Lefebvre, the banker, was rolling a 5-franc piece towards
the effigy of King Louis-Philippe with the same amount of exertion as
a wheelwright rolls a wheel. M. Humann, Minister of Finance--so far
as I can recollect--at that time, and consequently, supervisor of the
excise duties, was plunged up to the knees in the powder so strongly
appreciated by Sganarelle, and sneezing fit to shake his head off. M.
Ganneron, who had made his fortune in tallow, came forward candle in
hand towards the bridge made by Gulliver's half-open breeches, less
courageous than the Comte Max Edmond of the _Burgraves,_ and uncertain
whether he might venture into the darkness of the cavern. M. Thiers and
M. Guizot, who already disputed power between them, had each stretched
a rope from the fobs of the king's waistcoat, and advanced each with
scales in hand towards the two royal fobs which bore the titles of
_Ministère de l'intérieur_ and _Ministère des affaires Étrangères_; M.
Thiers's scales were labelled _Libéralisme_ and M. Guizot's _Réaction._
M. Mold and M. Dupin were playing on a see-saw. All these Lilliputians
were as lifelike as possible. We need not speak of the king, who was
eight to ten inches in length and a perfect portrait. But this is the
most curious part of the story.

The Duc d'Orléans had obtained his stones from the lithographic
office of Motte, father-in-law of our dear friend Achille Devéria.
They forgot to say that this piece of lithography, not being intended
for the public, did not need to be deposited with the Ministère de
l'intérieur: the head workman did the thing in all conscientiousness
and sent in a proof to the Ministère de l'intérieur; it was signed
F.O., the duke's usual signature, for Ferdinand d'Orléans. It need
hardly be said that the print was not only forbidden publication, but
taken to the king.

The king recognised his son's signature! We can comprehend the paternal
dressing-down His Royal Highness received. Honourable amends were made:
the lithographer scratched out the head, and, instead of that of the
Chief of the State, put the first head that came into his mind.

In 1834, the Duc d'Orléans gave me two copies of this caricature, one
_before the head was scratched out_ and one _after_; I was stupid
enough to let myself be robbed of both. If the Duc d'Orléans were still
living, I had only to ask him for others, and I did not then realise
the price they were worth. This digression is intended to convey an
idea of the sort of opposition that was raised at that period.

_Le Corsaire,_ then, was prosecuted for provoking to rebellion. The
jury retired to deliberate for form's sake, but soon came out and
pronounced the manager of the _Corsaire_ not guilty. The trial of _La
Tribune_ succeeded that of the _Corsaire._ M. Bascans was acquitted
as M. Viennot had been. Then came the affair of the _right of
association._ Nineteen members of the Society of Friends of the People
were summoned before the juries of the second court. They were accused
of having been leaders and administrators of a political meeting of
over twenty persons. This was quite a different matter from the two
preceding acquittals! After three quarters of an hour's deliberation,
M. Fenet, foreman of the jury, read this declaration--

    "_Re the first question._--'Has there been an association
    gathering on fixed days to discuss politics?'--'Yes,'

    "_Re the second question_.--'Did those gatherings take place
    without authorisation from the Government?'-'Yes.'

    [After these two affirmations everybody believed of course
    that the accused were certain to be found guilty.]

    _"Re the third question_.--Are the accused guilty?'-'No.'"

The whole court broke into applause. Thus the _right of association_
was established by jury. People were beginning to grow sick of
political sentences. Statistics had just been published giving the
list of those sentenced during the Restoration: the Bourbons of the
Elder Branch had in fifteen years cut off _a hundred and eighteen
heads_ and sentenced fourteen _contumacious persons_; it had condemned
seventeen to penal servitude with hard labour, nineteen to a term
of penal servitude; seventy-two to transportation, eighteen to
imprisonment, thirty-five to temporary banishment. In conclusion, the
general total of sentences, whether heavy or light, from death penalty
to supervision, mounted to _two thousand four hundred and sixty-six_
I In the midst of all these events, on 12 December Hérold produced a
masterpiece: _Le Pré-aux-Clercs._

Art is a king which walks smilingly through revolutions, looking down
with contempt on all the upheavals it survives.



CHAPTER III


Victor Jacquemont


As this blood-stained year 1832 drew to a close, in which cholera alone
had deducted from the population of France a tithe of ninety-five
thousand deaths, the authorities of Bombay were mourning the death of
Victor Jacquemont, a young savant of the highest distinction. Being a
scholar, Victor Jacquemont detested men of imagination; he particularly
hated us dramatists. He had left France in 1828 before the great
literary movement which ensued, and he only judged of it by the leading
articles in the newspapers.

"It is all in bad taste!" he said, in one of his letters, which a
_friend_ of mine showed me with the usual eagerness one's friends have
for thrusting such kinds of stuff under one's nose. "In laying aside
the Greeks and Romans, and the nobility of our old theatres, we have
not been happy in their successors."

He called us _messieurs de l'horrible._ Poor Jacquemont! I hardly knew
him; I saw him once at General La Fayette's, who treated him like a
son. The famous old man had a sure instinct for friendship: all who
became great later were honoured by his friendship or protection.

The death of Jacquemont hardly made any impression in France; he was
totally unknown by his compatriots; his reputation dated from the
posthumous publication of his works, and especially of his private
correspondence, which every cultured man "has read. I say cultured
man, for there are no more inveterate hunters-out of talent than your
man of culture. Now there is real wit at the bottom of Jacquemont's
correspondence, although it is of a dry and sceptical type. As for
belief, that is another matter altogether; he evidently doubted
everything, even God. In his last letters to his family, he does not
express a word of hope for another life; the immortality of the soul,
with Jacquemont, is not even as much as a dream. The letter in which he
bids farewell to his brother, and, through his brother, to the whole
family, is full of despair. I will not say that there is no resignation
in it, but it reads like the work of an unconcerned person. Jacquemont
talks of himself in it as he would speak of a casual acquaintance. Put
the letter into the third person; let the dying man substitute _he_ for
_I,_ and you have the official announcement of the death of a stranger,
made by an indifferent person. See if the letter is that of a man dying
four thousand leagues from his country:

    "BOMBAY, INVALID OFFICERS' QUARTERS,

    "1 _December_ 1832

    "DEAR PORPHYRE,--I came here ill thirty-two days ago,
    and for thirty-one I have been in bed. In the poisonous
    forests of the isle of Salsette, exposed to the burning sun
    during the most unhealthy season, I caught the germs of the
    disease, attacks of which I have often felt since my journey
    to Adjmir, but I had disguised from myself their true
    nature. It is inflammation of the liver. The pestilential
    exhalations have done for me. As soon as my illness began,
    I made my will and put my affairs in order. My interests
    are entrusted to the honourable and friendly care of Mr.
    James Nicol, an English merchant here, and to M. Cordier at
    Calcutta. Mr. Nicol was my host on my arrival in Bombay. No
    old friend could have lavished more affectionate care upon
    me. Nevertheless, at the end of a few days, while I was
    still able to be transported, I left his house, which is in
    the fort, in order to occupy a convenient and spacious set
    of rooms in the quarter of the invalided officers, in a most
    airy and healthy situation by the seacoast, a hundred yards
    from my doctor, Dr. MacLennan, the cleverest in Bombay,
    whose admirable care long since made him my very dear friend.

    "The cruellest thought, dear Porphyre, when we are dying in
    a far country, for those who love us, is the idea of the
    loneliness and desertion in which we may be passing the last
    hours of our existence. Well, my dear fellow, you can find
    comfort in the assurance I give you that, since my arrival
    here, I have not ceased to be overwhelmed with the most
    affectionate and touching attentions of a number of good
    and kindly men. They come and see me constantly, humour my
    sick whims and forestall my every fancy. Mr. Nicol more
    than any one; Mr. John Box, a member of the Government; an
    old engineering colonel, Mr. Goodfellow; a very kind young
    officer, Major Mountain, and others still, whom I have not
    mentioned. The excellent MacLennan nearly risked his own
    health for my sake; for several days during a crisis which
    seemed likely to end fatally, he came twice each night. I
    have absolute confidence in his skill. At first, I suffered
    greatly; but for a long time I have been reduced to a state
    of weakness which is almost exempt from pain. The worst is
    that for thirty-one days I have not slept more than one hour
    in all. But these sleepless nights are very quiet ones, and
    do not seem desperately long.

    "Happily, the disease is drawing to its close; it may not
    be fatal, although most probably it will. The abscess
    or abscesses formed since the first inside the liver,
    which, until a recent period, promised to disperse by
    absorption, seem to have increased, and bid fair shortly
    to open externally. All I desire is to escape quickly out
    of the wretched state in which I have been lingering for
    a month past, no matter by what means it he. My mind is
    perfectly clear, as you can see; it has only been rarely
    and temporarily clouded during several violent paroxysms
    of pain at the beginning of my illness. I have generally
    calculated upon the worst, so have never been unusually
    depressed. My end, should it come, looks sweet and peaceful.
    If you were here seated on my bed, with our father and
    Frédéric, I should be brokenhearted, and should not regard
    death with such serenity and resignation. Be comforted, and
    console our father; console one another, my dear ones. But
    I am exhausted with this effort to write. I must bid you
    farewell! Farewell ... Oh! how your poor Victor loves you!
    Farewell for the last time! I can only write in pencil as
    I lie on my back. For fear the letters get rubbed out, the
    excellent Mr. Nicol will copy this letter in ink, so that I
    may be certain you will read my last thoughts.

    "VICTOR JACQUEMONT

    "I have been able to sign what the admirable Mr. Nicol has
    been so good as to copy. Farewell once more, my dear ones!"

Only one single sentence from the man's heart: "Farewell! Oh! how
your poor Victor loves you!" It explains entirely why a literature
full of sentiment must have been antipathetic to that cold, learned
intellectual temperament.

Happily, two men undertook to send to the family, heart-broken by the
unexpected loss far away from them, the melancholy consolations which
the dying man had not thought of giving them. A dying man who knows he
is beloved ought to console those whom he is going to leave as much as
he can; he ought to have pity on those whom he causes to weep: hearts
are cured by being softened, not by being turned to stone. The man who
has wept much alone can appreciate the truth of what I say here.

This is Mr. James Nicol's letter to Jacquemont's brother. Mr. James
Nicol is an Englishman, remember, and yet the letter is written in
French, a tongue other than his own. But there is one universal
language for the heart.

    "BOMBAY, 17 _December_ 1832

    "MY DEAR SIR,--Although a stranger to you, fate has allotted
    it to me to communicate to you an event which you did not
    expect. It is with the deepest regret I am obliged to
    transmit to you your brother Victor's last letter, and to
    communicate to you the sole consolation which is left to
    you, that of telling you of the peaceful and painless end he
    made on 17 December.

    "Your brother came to my house on 29 October from Tanna,
    being in a very weak state of health, in consequence of an
    illness he had recently had, which he thought would speedily
    be cured by the sea breezes of this island, and his strength
    quickly restored. The evening of his arrival he took a walk
    of half a league with me, and, next day, paid various calls;
    but he came back early, thoroughly exhausted. I advised him
    to see a doctor at once; Dr. MacLennan saw him the same
    evening. I enclose in this letter for your satisfaction the
    account the doctor wrote of his illness. As your brother
    has himself told you, he suffered terribly at the beginning
    of his illness, and, from the first, he was informed of the
    dangerous nature of the disease. On 4 November he made his
    will, a copy of which I enclose herewith. About 8 November
    the disease appeared to take a favourable turn; and he
    still entertained the hope of recovering his health, when
    the formation of an abscess appeared. He then became daily
    weaker, but preserved throughout his illness a calm and
    contentedness I have never seen equalled. I left him on 6
    December nearly in the same condition as on the preceding
    days, but without any symptoms of near dissolution. However,
    on the 7th, about three in the morning, he was seized with
    violent pains, which lasted for two hours. Dr. MacLennan was
    with him at the time. At five A.M. your brother sent for
    me: he was not suffering when I arrived; but a great change
    had taken place in his looks since the previous night, and
    I could hardly restrain my tears. Then, taking my hand, he
    said to me: 'Do not grieve; the time draws close, and my
    wishes are about to be fulfilled. I have been praying to
    heaven for it for the last fortnight. It is a happy release.
    Were I to live now the disease would probably make the rest
    of my life miserable.... Write to my brother, and tell how
    peacefully and happily my last days passed....'

    "He repeated to me that he wished me to send his manuscripts
    and collections to France, and went into the most elaborate
    details concerning his funeral arrangements, which he
    wished to be celebrated with Protestant rites. He asked me
    to put up a simple gravestone with this inscription upon it--

                   'VICTOR JACQUEMONT
               NÉ À PARIS LE 8 AOUT 1801
                      MORT À BOMBAY
            APRÈS AVOIR VOYAGÉ PENDANT TROIS
                       ANS ET DEMI
                       DANS L'INDE'

During the course of the day he had several attacks
of vomiting, and his breathing was considerably affected;
but he kept the use of his faculties as perfectly as when
in good health. He was only disquieted about his death,
adding: 'I am very comfortable here, but I should be
much better in my grave!' About five P.M. he said to
me: 'I am now going to take my last drink from your
hand, and then die.' A violent fit of vomiting ensued,
and he was laid back in his bed completely exhausted.
He opened his eyes at times, and until within twenty
minutes before his death he seemed to recognise me. At
sixteen minutes past six, he rendered up his spirit into
the arms of death in his sleep.

"He was buried the following evening with military
honours, as a member of the Légion d'honneur, and was
followed by members of the Government, and by many
other people.

"I feel the sincerest sympathy with you and your
father in this irreparable loss. I only knew your
brother during his illness, and only had the melancholy
satisfaction of contributing to the best of my ability to
his needs during his illness. In conformity with your
brother's wishes, I have sent off by steamer with
all possible care the articles of natural history which
remained in my possession; they are packed in eleven
cases and barrels, for which I enclose the invoice and
bill of lading, signed by the captain of the French vessel,
_La Nymphe_ of Bordeaux. I wrote to the Commissaire
Général de la Marine at Bordeaux, asking him to smooth
over any difficulties that might arise in connection with
them. Be so good as to write to him about the things.
I have also dispatched a box addressed to your father,
containing all the writings your brother left with me.[1]
I have put his Order of the Légion d'honneur, which
your brother particularly instructed me to send you, in
the case containing his papers. I also send you his watch
and pistols. Be so good as to separate the catalogues
belonging to the collections from the other writings, and
send them to the Royal Museum. I have the honour
to be, dear Sir, yours, etc. JAMES NICOL."

The epitaph drawn up by the dying man himself is
terribly curt and dreary. The lost child called Antony
would have found something more filial for his unknown
mother than this philosopher for his. Besides the mother
who bore us, is there not also the mother who receives
us into her arms;--the everlasting grave as well as the
temporary cradle? Ought not the arid and devouring
climate of India to make the gentle land of his birth most
precious to the sufferer?

Oh, violets and daisies which shall one day spring up
on my grave, how I should regret you if I had to sleep my
last sleep beneath the burning sands of Bombay! The
soul may, perhaps, be but a dream; but the perfume of
flowers is a reality.

To the letter of Mr. James Nicol was joined the account
of Jacquemont's illness by Dr. MacLennan, the length of
which we greatly regret prevents us from reproducing
here;[2] it proves to what a point the excellent doctor had
risked his own health, as the dying man had said. Nor
were these the only tokens of sympathy which the family
of their famous dead received. MM. Cordier, Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire
and de Jussieu wrote the following letter to
M. Jacquemont, the father:--

"PARIS, 21 _May_ 1833

"SIR,--We have sympathised with the blow which has
just struck you down too much not to feel a desire to associate
ourselves with your grief, by bearing testimony to our
own share in it. The administration of the Museum, which
had entrusted your son with the mission he honourably
fulfilled, and to which he has sacrificed his life, feels the
cruel loss in a double capacity; it has lost in him a traveller
in whom it placed complete reliance, and science has lost
a naturalist of most brilliant promise.

"We are authorised to hope that, owing to the wise
precautions he took during his last days, the fruits of the
fatal journey will not be lost; that M. Victor Jacquemont's
work will bear fruit and their results develop, though,
doubtless, less brilliantly than as if under his own direction,
yet in a sufficient manner to cause his efforts to be appreciated,
both in actual accomplishment and as an example
of what further work he would have done had he lived.

"You may rely upon it that nothing will be neglected
on our part to attain to this end, and in order to give you
the only real consolation which is left you.--We are, sir,
etc.,

_"Les professeurs administrateurs du Muséum_

  "CORDIER, Director
  GEOFFROY-SAINT-HILAIRE
  A. DE JUSSIEU"


As a matter of fact, all Victor Jacquemont's writings reached Paris
safe and sound. I saw them in M. Guizot's hand once when I had been to
ask his help in saving the life of a man under sentence of death, who
was to be shot the next day. I wanted a word from M. Guizot to this
end, and he wrote on a spare sheet from among Jacquemont's manuscripts.
The man was saved; but I will tell the story in its proper place. That
is how the name of Jacquemont perhaps occupies a more important place
in my memory and in my Memoirs than it should.


[Footnote 1: The whole of Victor Jacquemont's writings, and the
description of the principal objects of natural history which the
collections comprised, that he sent to the Natural History Museum of
Paris, have been published by MM. Firmin Didot frères, under the title
of _Voyage dans l'Inde,_ 6 vols, in 4to, four of printed matter and two
containing 290 plates and 4 maps (1841-44).]

[Footnote 2: The letter will be found in the Paris edition of the
_Souvenirs of Dumas,_ 1855, vol. vii.]



CHAPTER IV


George Sand


Now let us say a few words about the literary productions of the year
1832. We have seen its important theatrical works: _Térésa, Louis XI.,
Dix Ans de la vie d'une femme, Un duel sous Richelieu, La Tour de
Nesle, Clotilde, Périnet Leclerc_ and _Le Roi s'amuse._

M. Lesur's Annual List, which sums up the year's work, complains of the
_lack of productiveness_ of those twelve months, which only produced
TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SEVEN works, among which are the eight dramas
above mentioned.

See what the chronologist says about the novels; his usual kindly
inclination towards contemporary literature will be detected therein:--

    "Romances multiply as fast as ever; they swarm everywhere
    and jostle one another in order to put before us an
    energetic display of trivialities: novels of manners,
    historical novels, psychological, physiological,
    pathological novels; tales and comic and fantastic stories
    of every sort and colour!"

Yes, Monsieur Lesur; and, among those abounding novels, we have, in
fact, two masterpieces by Madame Sand, _Indiana_ and _Valentine,_ and
one of Eugène Sue's best works, _La Salamandre._

But let us deal first with Madame Sand, that hermaphrodite genius who
combined the strength of a man with the grace of a woman; who, like the
ancient sphinx, the ever-mysterious enigma, crouched on the extreme
borders of art with the face of a woman, the claws of a lion and the
wings of an eagle. We will return afterwards to Eugène Sue.

Madame Sand came to Paris a short time before the Revolution of 1830.
What did she come there to do? She will herself tell you with her
accustomed frankness. Madame Sand wears a woman's clothes, but only as
garments to cover her and not for purposes of concealment; of what use
is hypocrisy when one possesses strength?

    "A short time before the Revolution of 1830," says the
    authoress of _Indiana,_ "I came to Paris with the object of
    finding occupation, not so much of a lucrative nature as
    a sufficiency. I had never worked except for pleasure; I
    knew in common with everybody else that _un peu de_ _tout_
    meant _rien en somme._ I laid great stress on work which
    would permit me to remain in my own home. I did not know
    what to turn to. Drawing, music, botany, languages, history,
    I had nibbled at them all, and I regretted very much
    that I had not gone deeply into any of them; for, of all
    occupations, the one that attracted me least was to write
    for the public. It seemed to me that, apart from a rare
    talent for it, which I did not feel to possess, it was of
    less use than any other. I should, then, much have preferred
    a particular profession. I had often written for my own
    personal amusement. It appeared to me to be very impertinent
    to pretend to be able to amuse or interest other people,
    and nothing could have been less congenial to my reserved
    character, a dreamer, and eager for intimate friendships
    rather than for public exposure of one's most intimate
    thoughts. In addition to this, I knew my own language only
    very imperfectly. Educated on classical reading, I saw
    romanticism spreading everywhere. I had at first scoffed
    at it and rejected it from the solitudes of my own private
    corner, and from the depths of my inner conscience, but,
    when I acquired a taste for it, I became enthusiastic; my
    taste, which was then unformed, wavered between the past and
    the present, without knowing where to settle, liking both
    without knowledge and without seeking a means of reconciling
    them."

It is impossible better to describe the state of perplexity in which
genius is placed during a certain period of life, drawn forward by
faith and backward by doubt. Meanwhile, as the author of _Indiana_
was then only twenty-five, and had to choose between the bread of
independence and daily bread, she took up both painting on fans and
painting portraits at 15 francs apiece and also wrote a novel. It was
all very precarious work, the poorest transfer copies varnished over
produced a greater effect than the young artist's water-colours; for 5
francs--and a better likeness than hers--the same portraits could be
had which she sold for 15; finally, the novel seemed so poor to George
Sand that she did not even attempt to turn it to account. However, she
felt that her true vocation was literature, and she decided to consult
some successful literary man.

There was at this period a _littérateur_ in Paris of incontestable and
almost uncontested genius, a writer of the first rank, at all events
as regards originality. He had published various novels, and the most
striking of them had obtained as strange a success as, at the present
moment, _Ourika_ and _Édouard_ have had. He had tried the theatre and
written a comedy for the Français; it had collapsed amidst thunderous
noise! I have given an account of his first and only performance. His
name was Henri de Latouche. He was a compatriot of George Sand and a
friend of the family. George Sand decided to look him up.

De Latouche, as I have already said, I knew but slightly, and, about
1832, I quarrelled with him because I was not Republican enough to
suit him, or, rather, because I belonged to a different style of
Republicanism than his. He was at this time a man of forty-five, with
a face that scintillated with intellect, with a rather corpulent frame
and very courteous manners, although they covered an infinite fund of
irony. His language was choice and his speech pure and well-modulated;
he spoke as he wrote, or, rather, as he dictated. Was he a suitable
guide for a beginner? I have my doubts. De Latouche was arbitrary
in his opinions; he thought that all who were not devoted to him
were hostile, all not for him against him. As timid as a chamois,
he continually believed there was a hatched conspiracy on the way
to calumniate and destroy him. He retired into his retreat at la
Vallée-aux-Loups. His enemies accused him of cowardice and tried to
pursue him there; but, if they ventured too far, they returned with
their faces marked as with a tiger's claws. He began by teasing the
poor novice cruelly, condemning, like Alcestis, all her literary
attempts.

    "Nevertheless," says George Sand, "beneath all the jeerings
    and criticism, the sportive, trenchant, amusing mockery he
    heaped upon me in our interviews, reason, taste, in a word,
    art, presented itself to me. No one excelled more than he
    in the destruction of the illusions of conceitedness; but
    no one had more kindly delicacy in preserving hope and
    courage. He had a sweet and touching voice, an aristocratic
    and clear pronunciation, and a manner that was both alluring
    and teasing. The eye that was put out when he was a child
    did not disfigure him in the least, the only trace of the
    accident left was a kind of red fire which shot from the
    pupil and gave him a strange look of brilliancy when he was
    excited."

No, the eye did not disfigure de Latouche's face, but it disfigured his
character terribly! Perhaps, also, he owed some portion of his latent
talent to this blind eye, as Byron did to his lame foot. We will go
on quoting George Sand's own words, which complete the picture of de
Latouche's character:--

    "M. de Latouche loved to instruct, to reprove, to lay down
    the law; but he quickly lost patience with vain people, and
    turned his wit against them in derisive compliments, which
    were inexpressibly malicious. When he met a mind disposed
    to profit by his lessons, his satire was more kindly; his
    clutch became paternal and his fiery eye softened; and,
    after he had emptied the overflowings of his wit upon you,
    he let you see a tender, sensitive heart beneath, full of
    devoted and generous feeling."

Six months went by in this kind of work between pupil and master, the
master pointing out what the scholar ought to read, himself reading
them to her in his own fashion--namely, relating the book to her
instead of reading it, adding to the author's narrative the brilliant
embroideries of his imagination, letting fall from his lips at every
word he uttered a pearl or diamond, as did the fairy in the _Thousand
and One Nights,_ of whom we all read in our childhood.

De Latouche was editor of _Le Figaro_ at this period; a species of
hussar of opposition, an officer of light cavalry which daily tilted
against the Government. The ordinary editors of the paper were Félix
Pyat and Jules Sandeau. George Sand was added to them. This addition
was a sort of diploma of bachelor of letters. De Latouche's three
pupils (I hope, since George Sand accepted the title, that the others
will not disown it) had one common editorial office where they met
daily at a given hour. It was in this office, seated at the little
tables covered with green cloths, that they each wrote _copy._ Copy,
be it understood, is in this case very improperly the synonym for
manuscript. De Latouche gave out a subject; they enlarged upon it, and
the paper appeared to be written by one single mind, since it had but
a single spirit, and that spirit descended, like the Holy Spirit upon
the apostles, in tongues of fire upon his disciples. But all these
attentions did not serve to make the poor pupil able to dispense with
her master. The future author of _Indiana_ and of _Valentine,_ and of
so many other wonderful books, did not know how to write a newspaper
article, nor how to be brief. De Latouche reserved for her all the
sentimental anecdotes which admitted of some enlargement of treatment;
but George Sand found she always had to confine herself to the narrow
limits of half a column, a column, or a column and a half at most,
and, when the article had _begun_ to _begin,_ it had to be ended off;
there was no room left for more.

Out of the ten articles George Sand gave to her editor-in-chief, often
not a single one was of any use, and often he lit his fire with the
copy which, she declares, was no good for anything else. Yet every day
he said to her--

"Do not be discouraged, my child. You cannot write an article in ten
lines; but, some day, you will write novels in ten volumes. Try, first
of all, to rid your mind of imitations; all beginners start by copying
others. Don't be anxious, you will gradually find your own feet, and be
the first to forget how it all came to you."

And, as a matter of fact, during six weeks of the spring of 1832, which
she spent in the country, George Sand wrote a novel in two volumes.
That novel was _Indiana._ She returned from the country, went to
see Latouche and confessed, trembling, the fresh crime she had just
committed.

"What good luck!" exclaimed de Latouche; "it will be said that I
foresaw this; I have looked for and found you a publisher; give him
your novel."

"Will you not have a look at it, then?" asked the author.

"No, you are hard to read, and I do not like reading manuscript. Take
the two volumes to the publisher, claim your 1200 francs, and I will
criticise the work in its printed form."

As George Sand knew of nothing better to do than to follow this advice,
she did as she was told. Sometimes we say _he_ and sometimes _she_; I
hope George Sand will excuse us! Have we not said that her wonderful
genius was as hermaphrodite as _la Bragoletta_ of her master!

A month later, George Sand received from her publisher the twelve
copies reserved for the author. _Indiana_ had been published that very
day. De Latouche entered.

"Oh! oh!" he said, scenting out the volumes fresh from the press, as
the ogre in Tom Thumb smelt the fresh flesh; "what is this?"

"Alas!" replied the trembling pupil, "it is my book."

"Ah! yes, _Indiana,_ I remember."

But we will let George Sand herself tell about this momentous occasion
in her life.

    "He seized a volume with avidity, cut the first pages with
    his fingers, and began to make fun as usual, exclaiming,
    'Ah! imitation, imitation, the usual style! Here is Balzac,
    _were that possible_!' Coming out with me on the balcony
    which runs round the roof of my house, he said over again
    to me all the clever, excellent things he had already
    told me, upon the necessity of being oneself, and not
    imitating others. At first, I thought he was unjust, but,
    as he went on speaking, I agreed with him. He said I must
    return to my water-colours upon screens and snuff-boxes,
    which amused me, certainly, more than other pursuits, but
    for which, unfortunately, I found no sale. My position
    had become desperate; and yet, whether because I had not
    entertained any hope of success, or was provided with the
    light-heartedness of youth, I was not upset by my judge's
    sentence, and passed a very tranquil night. Upon awaking, I
    received this letter from him which I have always kept:--

    "'Forget all my severe remarks of yesterday, forget all the
    hard things I have said to you the last six months; I have
    spent the night reading your book, etc....'

    "There follow two lines of praise, which only friendship
    could have prompted, but which he had the bad taste to put
    down, and the note ends with the paternal words: 'Oh, my
    child, I am proud of you!'"

With _Indiana,_ George Sand put one foot inside the literary world;
with _Valentine_ she put both. You know now how the masculine and
virile genius who calls herself George Sand began her career.



CHAPTER V


Eugène Sue--His family, birth, godfather and godmother--His
education--Dr. Sue's wine-cellar--Choir of botanists--Committee of
chemistry--Dinner on the grass--Eugène Sue sets out for Spain--His
return--Ferdinand Langlé's room--Captain Gauthier


Twenty kilometres from Grasse there lies a small seaport called La
Calle; it is the cradle of the Sue family, celebrated both in science
and letters.

La Calle is still peopled by members of this family, which, probably,
composes half the population. It was from here that, towards the close
of the reign of Louis XIV., a young, adventurous student set up as a
doctor in Paris. Becoming successful, he sent for his nephew to come to
the capital. Both became very distinguished: Pierre Sue, as Professor
of Forensic and Librarian of the Medical School--he left behind him
works of great scientific value--Jean Sue, as Head, surgeon to the
Hospital de la Charité, Professor of the School of Medicine, Professor
of Anatomy at the École des Beaux-Arts, and surgeon to King Louis XVI.
This latter was succeeded by Jean-Joseph Sue, who, besides the post of
Professor to the Beaux-Arts, which he inherited from his father, became
principal doctor to the king's military household. It was Eugène Sue's
father who had the famous discussion with Cabanis about the guillotine,
the inventor making out that a person guillotined only felt a slight
chill on the neck, while Jean-Joseph Sue, on the contrary, maintained
that it was dreadfully painful, and defended his opinion by arguments
which proved his profound knowledge of anatomy; and by experiments
made by some German doctors and others. We read all the discussion in
connection with our _Mille et un Fantômes_; and we admit to having
taken a lively interest in it.

Eugène Sue was born on 1 January 1803. He was, consequently, five
months younger than I, and a few days older than Victor Hugo. His
godfather was Prince Eugène and his godmother the Empress Joséphine;
hence, his Christian name Eugène. He was suckled by a goat, and, for a
long while, preserved the queer, hopping gait of his foster-mother. He
studied, or, rather, did not study, at the Collège Bourbon:--like all
men who are destined to make for themselves an original and eminent
position in literature, he was an execrable scholar. His father, a
ladies' doctor, who gave a course of natural history lectures for the
benefit of society people, was married three times. He was wealthy,
possessing nearly two million francs, and he lived in the rue du
Chemin-du-Rempart, a street which has disappeared, but which was then
situated behind the Madeleine. The whole of this quarter was at that
time occupied by timber-yards: the ground then not being worth half
what it now is. M. Sue had a fine house there and a magnificent garden.
In the same house as M. Sue, lived his sister, the mother of Ferdinand
Langlé, who wrote upwards of fifty comic operas with Villeneuve between
1822 and 1830.

At the period at which we have arrived, 1817 to 1818, the two cousins
went together to the Collège Bourbon, that is to say, Ferdinand Langlé
went to the college, and Eugène Sue was supposed to go there. He had
a private tutor at his residence, Father Delteil, a plucky Auvergnat
five feet in height, who, in fulfilment of his tutorial duties, did not
hesitate to have hand-to-hand tussles with his pupil, when he fled into
the garden only to be pursued after the fashion of Virgil's Galatea.
When in the garden, the rebellious pupil gained an arsenal containing
arms defensive and offensive. The defensive arms were the borders of
the botanical garden, amongst which he took refuge, where his tutor
dared not follow him for fear of trampling under foot the rare plants
which the fugitive scholar crushed pitilessly without remorse under
foot; the offensive arms were the supporting stakes which bore labels
with the scientific names of the plants thereon, stakes which Eugène
Sue converted into javelins, and with which he overcame his master with
a skill that would have done honour to a pupil of Castor and Pollux,
the two cleverest javelin throwers of antiquity.

When it was demonstrated to Eugène's father that his son's vocation
was to throw javelins and not to expound Horace and Vergil, he took
him away from college, and made him enter as an assistant-surgeon at
the hospital attached to the king's household, of which he himself was
head-surgeon. It was situated in the rue Blanche. Eugène Sue there
found his cousin, Ferdinand Langlé, and the future doctor, Louis Véron.

We have said that Eugène Sue had many of his foster-mother's
characteristics: the scamp of the household, ever ready to play wicked
tricks, especially on his father, who had just remarried, and who
treated him very harshly. But he avenged himself well in respect of
this harsh treatment! Dr. Sue employed his pupils in preparing his
course of natural history lectures; the preparations were conducted in
a splendid anatomical room that had been bequeathed to the Beaux-Arts.
It contained, among other things, the brain of Mirabeau, preserved in
a glass jar. The legitimate organisers were Eugène Sue and Ferdinand
Langlé, and a friend of theirs called Delâtre, who afterwards became,
and probably still is, a doctor of medicine; the amateur assistants
were Achille Petit, and that old and clever friend James Rousseau, whom
I have often mentioned. The preparations were quite dreary enough, but
were rendered more so because close at hand were two cupboards full
of wine, to which the nectar of the gods was but as the white wine
of Limoux: these wines were presents which the Allied Sovereigns had
given to Dr. Sue after 1814. There was Tokay, given by the Emperor of
Austria; Rhenish wines, given by the King of Prussia; Johannisberg
wines, given by M. de Metternich; and, finally, a hundred bottles of
Alicante, given by Madame de Morville, which bore the most respectable
and venerable date 1750. They had tried every possible means of
opening the cupboards, which had virtuously resisted persuasion as
well as force; they despaired of ever making the acquaintance of
Madame de Morville's Alicante, M. de Metternich's Johannisberg, the
King of Prussia's "Liebfraumilch," and the Emperor of Austria's Tokay,
otherwise than by the samples which, at Dr. Sue's grand dinners, he
poured out for his guests into glasses the size of a thimble, when, one
day, while fumbling about in a skeleton, Eugène Sue found, by chance,
a bunch of keys. They were the keys of the cupboards! First, they laid
hands on a bottle of Tokay, sealed with the Imperial seal, and emptied
every drop in it; then they hid the bottle. The next day it was the
turn for the Johannisberg, and, the day after, for the "Liebfraumilch";
next followed the Alicante. They disposed of these three bottles in
the same way as the first. But James Rousseau, who was the oldest
and, consequently, possessed superior knowledge of the world to that
of his young friends, who had only just ventured their first steps
upon the slippery ground of society, judiciously pointed out that, at
the rate they were going, they would quickly make a hole which Dr.
Sue's eyes would perceive, and so find out the truth. He therefore
made the astute suggestion of drinking but a third of the contents
of each bottle, filling them up with some composition which should
look as much like wine as possible, recorking them scientifically and
putting them back in their places again. Ferdinand Langlé approved the
suggestion, and added an amendment: namely, to proceed to the great
and solemn occasion of opening the cupboard in old-fashioned style, to
the accompaniment of the singing of choruses. Both propositions were
carried unanimously. That same day they opened a cupboard to a chorus
copied from _La Leçon de botanique,_ by Dupaty. The Corypheus sang--

    "Que l'amour et la botanique
    N'occupent pas tous les instants;
    Il faut aussi que l'on s'applique
    A boire le vin des parents!

    CHŒUR.
    Buvons le vin des grands parents!"

Then precept was followed by example. When started, they composed a
second chorus for the work. Their work consisted especially in stuffing
the magnificent birds which they received from all four quarters of the
globe.

This is the chorus of the workers--

    "Goûtons le sort que le ciel nous destine;
    Reposons-nous sur le sein des oiseaux;
    Mêlons le camphre à la térébenthine.
    Et par le vin égayons nos travaux."

Whereupon, they took a second pull at the bottle, which was soon
half-emptied. They next had to follow James Rousseau's counsel and fill
it up. For this purpose they appointed a chemical committee, comprised
of Ferdinand Langlé, Eugène Sue and Delâtre; later, Romieu was added to
it. This chemical committee concocted a horrible mixture of treacle,
liquorice and burnt sugar, replaced the wine with the improvised
mixture, recorked the bottle as carefully as possible and put it back
in its place. When it was a white wine, they clarified the preparation
with beaten-up white of egg. But punishment occasionally falls upon the
guilty.

M. Sue gave large and splendid dinner-parties: at dessert, they
sometimes drank Madame de Morville's Alicante, sometimes His Majesty
the Emperor of Austria's Tokay, at others, M. de Metternich's
Johannisberg, or the King of Prussia's "Liebfraumilch." All went
swimmingly if they happened to fall upon an unopened bottle; but,
if they lit upon one examined and corrected by the committee of
chemistry.... Well, they had to swallow the drink! Dr. Sue tasted
his wine, made a slight grimace, and said, "It is good, but wants to
be drunk!" This was so great a truth, and the wine did indeed cry
out to be drunk, that next day they began drinking it again. Such a
performance was bound to end in a catastrophe, and this one proved no
exception. One day, when they believed Dr. Sue to be at his country
place of Bouqueval, from whence they reckoned he could not well return
in the day, they managed, by dint of various seductive overtures to
the cook and the servants, to have an excellent dinner served them on
the lawn in the garden. All the bird-stuffers, the chemical committee
included, were present, lying about on the grass, crowned by roses like
Sybarites, drinking Tokay and Johannisberg, or, rather, having drunk
it, when, suddenly, the door of the house leading out into the garden
opened, and the commander appeared--the commander being Dr. Sue. Every
one of them fled and hid; Rousseau alone took up his empty glass,
refilled a second glass, and, stumbling forward straight towards the
doctor, he said--

"Ah! dear Doctor Sue, this is the famous Tokay! Let us drink the health
of the Emperor of Austria!"

One can imagine the doctor's wrath when he found the empty Tokay bottle
on the grass, together with two bottles of Johannisberg and three
of Alicante. They had drunk the Alicante like common wine. Talk of
thievery, of procureur du roi, of police correctionnelle, rolled in the
air like thunder rolling in the clouds during a storm. Profound was
the terror of the guilty parties. Delâtre knew of a dried-up well near
Clermont and proposed to take refuge in it!

A week later, Eugène Sue set out as assistant to explore the country
of Spain (in 1823). He did this and stayed a year at Cadiz, only
returning to Paris at the beginning of 1825. The heat of the Trocadero
had made his hair and moustache grow; he was as beardless as an apple
when he left, and he returned as hairy as a king of the primitive
races and as bearded as a moujik. This capillary growth doubtless
flattered the doctor's vanity, but it did not serve to unloosen his
purse-strings, which he kept tightly shut.

Desforges who had a small private fortune, and Ferdinand Langlé whose
mother worshipped him, were the two Crœsuses of society; several
times, as did Crœsus with Cæsar, they presented not 30,000,000
sesterces, but 20, 30, 40, 50 and even 100 francs to the most
necessitous of the joyous band. Besides his purse, Ferdinand Langlé put
at the disposition of the members of the society, who were never sure
of a bed or supper, his own room in M. Sue's house, and the meal his
mother always put ready for him every night.

Ferdinand Langlé, then a tall fellow of twenty-three, author of a
dozen vaudevilles, lover of the charming girl called Fleurriet, who
died before her time, an actress at the Gymnase,[1] rarely slept at
home, but, as the servant told his mother that Ferdinand lived with the
frugality of a monk, the good mother ordered a meal to be put upon his
bedroom table every night. The servant put the supper on the table, and
the key of the little street door in an agreed spot. When a belated one
was homeless he turned his steps to the rue du Chemin-du-Rempart, put
his hand into a hole in the wall, found the key there, opened the door,
religiously put the key back in its place, drew the door to behind
him, lit the candle and, if he were the first to come, ate, drank and
slept in the bed. If a second followed the first, he found the key in
the same place, entered in the same way, ate the remains of the fowl,
drank the rest of the wine, lifted the bedclothes in his turn and dived
underneath them. If a third followed, the same game was played with
the key and door, only the visitor found no more fowl or wine and no
room in the bed, but ate the rest of the bread and drank a glass of
water and stretched himself upon the couch. And so _ad infinitum._ If
the number increased immoderately, the last-comers drew a mattress
from the bed and slept on the floor. One night, Rousseau arrived last
and counted fourteen legs. It was in this room that Henry Monnier and
Romieu met for the first time and made each other's acquaintance. Next
day they thee'd and thou'd each other, and continued to do so until
Romieu was appointed prefect and _tutoya_-ed people no more. Next
morning, they were pretty often awakened by a visitor, a brigadier
of the _Gardes,_ who, in passing by, came to look at the state of
Ferdinand Langlé's wine cellar. This brigadier, whom I knew well,
deserves particular mention. His name was Gauthier de Villiers. He was
not only one of the bravest soldiers in the army, but one of the most
active boxers in France. The word boxer applies here to his whole body.
What became of Captain Gauthier, I have no idea. I would gladly see him
once more, even at the risk of his breaking my wrist in shaking hands.
He had the courage and the good-heartedness of Porthos. Not for the
whole world would he have given a fillip to a child; but he had more
wit than M. de Pierrefonds. He had served in the Horse Grenadiers of
the Empire; he had made a special name for himself as a sabreman; when
he charged and stabbed an enemy on horseback, he would lift him from
his horse by the strength of his wrist and throw him behind him, as
though he were a truss of hay. Gauthier stopped with one hand a tilbury
that was going at full trot. He would get off his horse, put it on his
shoulders and carry it for ten, fifteen or twenty yards with almost as
much ease as his horse carried him. He would pick up a china plate and
put his finger through it with the same ease as a bullet passes through
a cardboard target. One day at the barracks, they did him an injustice
for which he wanted to have satisfaction. He waited on the bridge of
the Tuileries for King Louis XVIII., who was to come out. Just as His
Majesty's carriage passed out at a fast trot, as usual, Gauthier leaped
to the horses' heads and stopped the coach dead. Louis XVIII. put his
head out of the window and recognised his brigadier _aux_ _gardes._

"Ah! it is you," he said, in his little piping voice, "it is you,
Gauthier. Well, what do you want, my friend?"

Gauthier then came up and laid bare his request.

"I will examine into it, I will examine into it," replied Louis XVIII.

A week later justice was done Gauthier.

He had a special gift for saving life. If a man fell into the water and
was drowning, Gauthier jumped in and saved him; if any house caught
fire and some tardy inmate was in risk of being burned, Gauthier
would save the laggard. He saved old Vatteville from the Odéon
conflagration, and thirty-seven or eight others besides. Gauthier went
out in the African campaign as interpreter, and lived at Algiers. In
the expeditions made round the town, he took a little cannon of four,
instead of a rifle. When he came up to the enemy he put it in position
for firing, and discharged it. At other times, he was contented with
a rampart gun. While in the guards he had a magnificent horse which
had the following history. It had the twofold fault of throwing its
rider to the ground, and, when he was there, of bending to bite him:
they decided to kill it. But, when proceeding to the execution,
Gauthier came into the Hôtel du quai d'Orsay, and saw the whole company
assembled together, deploring the loss of such a splendid horse. He
inquired into the matter.

"Good!" he said, "I will tackle it; but on condition that, if I conquer
it, it shall be mine."

The bargain was agreed to, and they handed him a bridle. The horse
quietly allowed itself to be mounted; so Gauthier had not much trouble
in leaping on its back. When he was there, the horse began its tricks
and games, shying to right and to left, etc., but the rebellious
animal did not know with whom it had to deal. Gauthier began to press
his knees in; the horse, which was breathing hard, redoubled its
leapings: Gauthier pressed more strongly. It was a splendid struggle
to watch; the horse was vanquished, and ended by falling on its knees
and lying down. Gauthier leapt off to free himself from the animal,
then he waited. The horse was cured of his first fault, which consisted
in throwing its rider; it must also be cured of its second habit of
biting. As we have said, Gauthier remained standing ten yards from
the horse. He had subjugated it like another Alexander; it remained
to find out if he was to be devoured by it like another Diomede. In
fact, as the horse regained its breath its eye went red, its nostrils
smoked with anger; it raised itself on its fore legs, then on its hind,
looked at its enemy, neighed and rushed upon him. Gauthier waited for
it in the position of a boxer; he gave it a blow on the nose and broke
two teeth, the horse reared with pain, turned round on its hind legs,
and went into its stable. It was conquered. You, d'Arpentigny, will
remember that, you too, Leroi and Ferdinand Langlé, my old friends in
the Guards?

Well, Gauthier was one of the morning callers. He went straight to the
cellar, applied his lips to the flask of rum or brandy, and swallowed
as much as was in it. He began by feeling in his pockets; we must do
him that justice, but they were as empty as the cellar. Then, seeing
three or four waistcoats and as many trousers lying about haphazard,
he began to pass them in review. The sleepers watched him do it, one
eye half open and the other completely shut; they were quite easy,
for it was neither their waistcoats nor their trousers that Gauthier
wanted: he could hardly get into the largest--he wanted their contents,
and they contained nothing. Romieu alone manifested some disquietude;
he had 19 sous in his waistcoat pocket. Gauthier fell upon the
treasure. Romieu wanted to get up and dispute possession of his 19 sous
with Gauthier. Gauthier pinned him down on his sofa with one hand, and,
with the other, rang for the servant. When he appeared, Gauthier said
to him--

"Go and fetch 19 sous' worth of brandy."

The servant prepared to obey.

"But, _sacre bleu!_" said Romieu, "I live in the faubourg
Saint-Germain: as least leave me a son to cross the pont des Arts."

"That is quite reasonable," said Gauthier, putting back one son into
Romieu's waistcoat. "Go and fetch me 18 sous' worth of brandy," he said
to the servant.

It was upon that day and occasion that the robbed one, whom
Gauthier had deprived of his 18 sous, but not of his spirits and
quick-wittedness, made the famous chanson--

          "J'nai qu'un son,
           J'nai qu'un son,
    La richess' n'est pas l'Pérou!
    Je dîn'rai je ne sais pas où;
    Mais, pour sûr, je n'ai qu'un son!"

I forget the rest of it, so ask Henri Monnier to sing it you and he
will recollect as vividly as I do the occasion upon which it was made.


[Footnote 1: I have already spoken of her in connection with my
literary beginnings with de Leuven. Castaing was accused of having
poisoned her, but she really died from the effects of a fit of anger
against Poirson, manager of the Gymnase, concerning the engagement by
that theatre of Madame Théodore. The fit of anger brought on brain
fever, which carried her off in forty-eight hours.]



CHAPTER VI


Eugène Sue is ambitious enough to have a groom, horse and trap--He
does business with the maison Ermingot, Godefroi et Cie which permits
him to gratify that fancy--Triumph at the Champs-Élysées--A vexing
encounter--Desforges and Eugène Sue separate--Desforges starts _Le
Kaléidoscope_ at Bordeaux--Ferdinand Langlé starts _La Nouveauté_ at
Paris--César and the negro Zoyo--Dossion and his dog


Time rolled on and Eugène Sue grew up, and Dr. Sue kept his
purse-strings drawn tighter and tighter. Eugène wanted to have a groom,
horse and trap; it was necessary to have recourse to expediency. He
was put into communication with two worthy capitalists who sold wine

to young persons of good family who felt a vocation for trading; their
names were MM. Ermingot and Godefroi. We do not know whether these
gentlemen still pursue the trade; but we will risk quoting their names,
hoping they will not take the following words for an advertisement.

MM. Ermingot and Godefroi made inquiries, and they found that Eugène
Sue was to inherit 100,000 francs from his maternal grandfather, and
about 300,000 or 400,000 from his father. They concluded that they
might risk somewhat. Eugène Sue received an invitation to lunch at
Bercy with one or two of his friends. He decided to take Desforges,
who was regarded as a society man in whom Dr. Sue had the greatest
confidence. They were expected at the _Grands_ or _Gros Marroniers,_
I forget which. It was a splendid lunch; they made the two young men
taste the wines they had on hand, and Eugène Sue, to whom wine was
particularly seductive, was so pleased with them, that he bought
some there and then for a sum of 15,000 francs, which he settled for
at once by bills of exchange. The wine was deposited at the house of
a third party, with power to Eugène Sue to let them be tasted and to
sell them, and so make what profit he could out of them. That profit,
at the lowest estimate, must have been at least from 5000 to 6000
francs. A week later, Eugène Sue sold back to a confederate of Ermingot
& Godefroi Company his lot of wine for the sum of 1500 francs ready
money. He lost 13,500 francs upon the speculation; but, nevertheless,
he had 1500 francs of money in hand at once with which to realise his
wish to possess a groom, horse and trap, an ambition which, for over a
year, had disturbed the sleep of the two friends.

"How could he get a groom and horse and trap," the reader asks, "for
1500 francs?"

It is incredible what credit 1500 francs ready money will give,
especially when one is a son of good family, and when one can apply
to one's father's tradespeople. They bought the trap from Sailer, the
doctor's carriage-dealer, and gave him 500 francs on account; they
bought the horse from Kunsmann, where they took riding lessons, and
gave him about 500 francs. They remained in possession of 500 francs:
they engaged a groom, whom they clothed completely from head to
foot. That was not ruinous, for they had credit at the tailor's, the
bootmaker's and the hatter's. They had attained this magnificent result
at the beginning of the winter of 1824-25. The trap was kept through
the winter. In the spring, they decided to ride on horseback, to greet
the appearance of the first leaves. One morning they set out; Desforges
and Eugène Sue were on horseback, followed by their groom, also on
horseback. The groom made awful grimaces, which the passers-by were at
a loss to account for. Desforges and Eugène Sue alone knew the cause of
the working of poor John's facial muscles: they had bought him which
morning boots which were too tight, and it had taken the combined
efforts of both masters to get their servant into them. Half-way to the
Champs-Élysées, as they were scattering greetings to men and smiles to
ladies, a green conveyance drew up and a head appeared and examined the
two elegants with stupefaction. The head belonged to Dr. Sue; the green
vehicle was what the family called the three-lamped carriage: it was a
low conveyance, invented by