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The Memoirs of Victor Hugo by Victor Hugo

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it will be because I want to."

"Hear! hear! He is right," murmured several voices.

And we passed on.

After many detours M. Froment-Meurice ushered us
into a small room where he left us while he went to inform
Lamartine that I wished to see him.

The glass door of the room gave on to a gallery, passing
along which I saw my friend David d'Angers, the great
statuary. I called to him. David, who was an old-time
Republican, was beaming. "Ah! my friend, what a glorious
day!" he exclaimed. He told me that the Provisional
Government had appointed him Mayor of the Eleventh
Arrondissement. "They have sent for you for something of
the same kind, I suppose?" he said. "No," I answered,
"I have not been sent for. I came of my own accord just
to shake Lamartine's hand."

M. Froment-Meurice returned and announced that Lamartine
awaited me. I left Victor in the room, telling him
to wait there till I came back, and once more followed my
obliging guide through more corridors that led to a vestibule
that was crowded with people. "They are all office
seekers!" explained M. Froment-Meurice. The Provisional
Government was holding a session in the adjoining
room. The door was guarded by two armed grenadiers of
the National Guard, who were impassible, and deaf alike
to entreaties and menaces. I had to force my way through
this crowd. One of the grenadiers, on the lookout for me,
opened the door a little way to let me in. The crowd
immediately made a rush and tried to push past the sentries,
who, however, aided by M. Froment-Meurice, forced them
back and closed the door behind me.

I was in a spacious hall that formed the angle of one of
the pavilions of the Hotel de Ville, and was lighted on two
sides by long windows. I would have preferred to find
Lamartine alone, but there were with him, dispersed about
the room and talking to friends or writing, three or four
of his colleagues in the Provisional Government, Arago,
Marie, and Armand Marrast. Lamartine rose as I entered.
On his frock-coat, which was buttoned up as usual, he wore
an ample tri-colour sash, slung across his shoulder. He
advanced to meet me, and stretching out his hand, exclaimed:
"Ah! you have come over to us! Victor Hugo is a strong
recruit indeed for the Republic."

"Not so fast, my friend," said I with a laugh. "I have
come simply to see my friend Lamartine. Perhaps you
are not aware of the fact that yesterday while you were
opposing the Regency in the Chamber, I was defending
it in the Place de la Bastille."

"Yesterday, that was all right; but to-day? There is
now neither Regency nor Royalty. It is impossible that
Victor Hugo is not at heart Republican."

"In principle, yes, I am. The Republic is, in my opinion,
the only rational form of government, the only one worthy
of the nations. The universal Republic is inevitable in the
natural course of progress. But has its hour struck in
France? It is because I want the Republic that I want it
to be durable and definitive. You are going to consult the
nation, are you not?--the whole nation?"

"The whole nation, assuredly. We of the Provisional
Government are all for universal suffrage."

At this moment Arago came up to us with M. Armand
Marrast, who held a folded paper in his hand.

"My dear friend," said Lamartine, "know that this
morning we selected you for Mayor of your arrondissement."

"And here is the patent signed by us all," said Armand

"I thank you," said I, "but I cannot accept it."

"Why?" continued Arago. "These are non-political
and purely gratuitous functions."

"We were informed just now about the attempted revolt
at La Force," added Lamartine. "You did better than
suppress it, you forestalled it. You are loved and respected
in your arrondissement."

"My authority is wholly moral," I rejoined; "it could
but lose weight in becoming official. Besides, on no
account would I dispossess M. Ernest Moreau, who has borne
himself loyally and valiantly throughout this trouble."

Lamartine and Arago insisted: "Do not refuse our brevet."

"Very well," said I, "I will take it--for the sake of the
autographs; but it is understood that I keep it in my

"Yes, keep it," said Armand Marrast laughingly, "so
that you can say that one day you were ~pair~ and the next
day ~maire~."

Lamartine took me aside into the recess of a window.

"It is not a mairie I would like you to have, but a ministry.
Victor Hugo, the Republic's Minister of Instruction!
Come now, since you say that you are Republican!"

"Republican--in principle. But in fact, I was yesterday
peer of France, I was yesterday for the Regency, and,
believing the Republic to be premature, I should be also
for the Regency to-day."

"Nations are above dynasties," went on Lamartine. "I,
too, have been a Royalist."

"Yes, but you were a deputy, elected by the nation; I
was a peer, appointed by the King."

"The King in choosing you, under the terms of the
Constitution, in one of the categories from which the
Upper House was recruited, but honoured the peerage and also
honoured himself."

"I thank you," said I, "but you look at things from
the outside; I consider them in my conscience."

We were interrupted by the noise of a prolonged fusillade
which broke out suddenly on the square. A bullet
smashed a window-pane above our heads.

"What is the matter now?" exclaimed Lamartine in
sorrowful tones.

M. Armand Marrast and M. Marie went out to see what
was going on.

"Ah! my friend," continued Lamartine, "how heavy
is this revolutionary power to bear! One has to assume
such weighty and such sudden responsibilities before one's
conscience and in presence of history! I do not know how
I have been living during the past ten days. Yesterday I
had a few grey hairs; to-morrow they will be white."

"Yes, but you are doing your duty as a man of genius
grandly," I commented.

In a few minutes M. Armand Marrast returned.

"It was not against us," he said. "How the lamentable
affray came about could not be explained to me. There
was a collision, the rifles went off, why? Was it a
misunderstanding, was it a quarrel between Socialists and
Republicans? No one knows."

"Are there any wounded?"

"Yes, and dead, too."

A gloomy silence followed. I rose. "You have no
doubt some measures to take?" I said.

"What measures?" answered Lamartine. "This morning
we resolved to decree what you have already been able
to do on a small scale in your quarter: the organization of
the citizen's National Guard--every Frenchman a soldier
as well as a voter. But time is required, and meanwhile--"
he pointed to the waves and eddies of heads
surging on the square outside--"look, it is the sea!"

A boy wearing an apron entered and spoke to him in
low tones.

"Ah! very good!" said Lamartine, "it is my luncheon.
Will you share it with me, Hugo?"

"Thanks, I have already lunched."

"I haven't and I am dying of hunger. At least come
and look on at the feast; I will let you go, afterwards."

He showed me into a room that gave on to an interior
court-yard. A gentle faced young man who was writing
at a table rose and was about to withdraw. He was the
young workman whom Louis Blanc had had attached to the
Provisional Government.

"Stay where you are, Albert," said Lamartine, "I have
nothing of a private nature to say to Victor Hugo."

We saluted each other, M. Albert and I.

The little waiter showed Lamartine a table upon which
were some mutton cutlets in an earthenware dish, some
bread, a bottle of wine and a glass. The whole came from
a wine-shop in the neighbourhood.

"Well," exclaimed Lamartine, "what about a knife and fork?"

"I thought you had knives and forks here," returned
the boy. "I had trouble enough to bring the luncheon,
and if I have got to go and fetch knives and forks--"

"Pshaw!" said Lamartine, "one must take things as
they come!"

He broke the bread, took a cutlet by the bone and tore
the meat with his teeth. When he had finished he threw
the bone into the fireplace. In this manner he disposed of
three cutlets, and drank two glasses of wine.

"You will agree with me that this is a primitive repast!"
he said. "But it is an improvement on our supper last night.
We had only bread and cheese among us, and we all drank
water from the same chipped sugar-bowl. Which didn't,
it appears, prevent a newspaper this morning from
denouncing the great orgy of the Provisional Government!"

I did not find Victor in the room where he was to have
waited for me. I supposed that, having become tired of
waiting, he had returned home alone.

When I issued on to the Place de Grve the crowd was
still excited and in a state of consternation at the
inexplicable collision that had occurred an hour before. The
body of a wounded man who had just expired was carried
past me. They told me that it was the fifth. It was taken,
as the other bodies had been taken, to the Salle Saint Jean,
where the dead of the previous day to the number of over
a hundred had been exposed.

Before returning to the Place Royale I made a tour for
the purpose of visiting our guard-houses. Outside the
Minimes Barracks a boy of about fifteen years, armed with
the rifle of a soldier of the line, was proudly mounting
guard. It seemed to me that I had seen him there in the
morning or the day before.

"What!" I said, "are you doing sentry duty again?"

"No, not again; I haven't yet been relieved."

"You don't say so. Why, how long have you been here?"

"Oh, about seventeen hours!"

"What! haven't you slept? Haven't you eaten?"

"Yes, I have had something to eat."

"You went to get it, of course?"

"No, I didn't, a sentry does not quit his post! This
morning I shouted to the people in the shop across the way
that I was hungry, and they brought me some bread."

I hastened to have the brave child relieved from duty.

On arriving in the Place Royale I inquired for Victor.
He had not returned. I was seized with a shudder of fear.
I do not know why the vision of the dead who had been
transported to the Salle Saint Jean should have come into
my mind. What if my Victor had been caught in that
bloody affray? I gave some pretext for going out again.
Vacquerie was there; I told him of my anguish in a whisper,
and he offered to accompany me.

First of all we called upon M. Froment-Meurice, whose
establishment was in the Rue Lobau, next to the Hotel de
Ville, and I asked him to have me admitted to the Salle
Saint Jean. At first he sought to dissuade me from seeing
the hideous sight; he had seen it the previous day and was
still under the impression of the horror it inspired. I
fancied his reluctance was a bad sign, that he was trying to
keep something from me. This made me insist the more,
and we went.

In the large Salle Saint Jean, transformed into a vast
morgue, lay the long line of corpses upon camp bedsteads.
For the most part they were unrecognisable. And I held
the dreadful review, quaking in my shoes when one of the
dead was young and slim with chestnut hair. Yes, the
spectacle of the poor blood-stained dead was horrible
indeed! But I could not describe it; all that I saw of each
body was that it was not that of my child. At length I
reached the last one, and breathed freely once more.

As I issued from the lugubrious place I saw Victor, very
much alive, running towards me. When he heard the firing
he had left the room where he was waiting for me, and not
being able to find his way back, had been to see a friend.


May 3, 1848.

On February 24 the Duke and Duchess Decazes were
literally driven from the Luxembourg. And by whom?
By the very denizens of the palace, all employs of the
Chamber of Peers, all appointed by the grand referendary.
A rumour was circulated in the quarter that during the
night the peers would commit some anti-revolutionary act,
publish a proclamation, etc. The entire Faubourg Saint
Jacques prepared to march against the Luxembourg.
Hence, great terror. First the Duke and Duchess were
begged, then pressed, then constrained to leave the palace.

"We will leave to-morrow. We do not know where to
go. Let us pass the night here," they said.

They were driven out.

They slept in a lodging-house. Next day they took up
their abode at 9, Rue Verneuil.

M. Decazes was very ill. A week before he had undergone
an operation. Mme. Decazes bore it all with cheerfulness
and courage. This is a trait of character that women
often display in trying situations brought about through
the stupidity of men.

The ministers escaped, but not without difficulty. M.
Duchtel, in particular, had a great fright.

M. Guizot, three days previously, had quitted the Hotel
des Capucines and installed himself at the Ministry of the
Interior. He lived there ~en famille~ with M. Duchtel.

On February 24, MM. Duchtel and Guizot were about
to sit down to luncheon when an usher rushed in with a
frightened air. The head of the column of rioters was
debouching from the Rue de Bourgogne. The two ministers
left the table and managed to escape just in time by way
of the garden. Their families followed them: M. Duchtel's
young wife, M. Guizot's aged mother, and the children.

A notable thing about this flight was that the luncheon
of M. Guizot became the supper of M. Ledru-Rollin. It
was not the first time that the Republic had eaten what
had been served to the Monarchy.

Meanwhile the fugitives had taken the Rue Bellechasse.
M. Guizot walked first, giving his arm to Mme. Duchtel.
His fur-lined overcoat was buttoned up and his hat as usual
was stuck on the back of his head. He was easily
recognisable. In the Rue Hillerin-Bertin, Mme. Duchtel noticed
that some men in blouses were gazing at M. Guizot in a
singular manner, She led him into a doorway. It chanced
that she knew the doorkeeper. They hid M. Guizot in an
empty room on the fifth floor.

Here M. Guizot passed the day, but he could not stay
there. One of his friends remembered a bookseller, a great
admirer of M. Guizot, who in better days had often declared
that he would devote himself to and give his life for
him whom he called "a great man," and that he only hoped
the opportunity for doing so might present itself. This
friend called upon him, reminded him of what he had said,
and told him that the hour had come. The brave bookseller
did not fail in what was expected of him. He placed
his house at M. Guizot's disposal and hid him there for ten
whole days. At the end of that time the eight places in a
compartment of a carriage on the Northern Railway were
hired. M. Guizot made his way to the station at nightfall.
The seven persons who were aiding in his escape entered
the compartment with him. They reached Lille, then
Ostend, whence M. Guizot crossed over to England.

M. Duchtel's escape was more complicated.

He managed to secure a passport as an agent of the Republic
on a mission. He disguised himself, dyed his eye-brows,
put on blue spectacles, and left Paris in a post-chaise.
Twice he was stopped by National Guards in the towns
through which he passed. With great audacity he declared
that he would hold responsible before the Republic those
who delayed him on his mission. The word "Republic"
produced its effect. They allowed the Minister to pass.
The Republic saved M. Duchtel.

In this way he reached a seaport (Boulogne, I think),
believing that he was being hotly pursued, and very nervous
in consequence. A Channel steamer was going to England.
He went on board at night. He was installing himself for
the voyage when he was informed that the steamer would
not leave that night. He thought that he had been
discovered and that he was a lost man. The steamer had
merely been detained by the English Consul, probably to
facilitate, if necessary, the flight of Louis Philippe.
M. Duchtel landed again and spent the night and next day
in the studio of a woman painter who was devoted to him.

Then he embarked on another steamer. He went
below at once and concealed himself as best he could
pending the departure of the vessel. He scarcely dared to
breathe, fearing that at any moment he might be recognised
and seized. At last the steamer got under way. Hardly
had the paddle wheels begun to revolve, however, when
shouts of "Stop her! Stop her!" were raised on the quay
and on the boat, which stopped short. This time the poor
devil of a Minister thought it was all up with him. The
hubbub was caused by an officer of the National Guard,
who, in taking leave of friends, had lingered too long on
deck, and did not want to be taken to England against his
will. When he found that the vessel had cast off he had
shouted "Stop her! " and his family on the quay had taken
up the shout. The officer was put ashore and the steamer
finally started.

This was how M. Duchtel left France and reached England.


May 3, 1848.

The Orleans family in England are literally in poverty;
they are twenty-two at table and drink water. There is
not the slightest exaggeration in this. Absolutely all they
have to live upon is an income of about 40,000 francs made
up as follows: 24,000 francs a year from Naples, which
came from Queen Marie Amlie, and the interest on a sum
of 340,000 francs which Louis Philippe had forgotten under
the following circumstances: During his last triumphal
voyage made in October, 1844, with the Prince de Joinville,
he had a credit of 500,000 francs opened for him with
a London banker. Of this sum he spent only 160,000
francs. He was greatly amazed and very agreeably surprised
on arriving in London to find that the balance of
the 500,000 francs remained at his disposal.

M. Vatout is with the Royal Family. For the whole of
them there are but three servants, of whom one, and one
only, accompanied them from the Tuileries. In this state
of destitution they demanded of Paris the restitution of
what belongs to them in France; their property is under
seizure, and has remained so notwithstanding their
reclamations. For different reasons. One of the motives put
forward by the Provisional Government is the debt of the
civil list, which amounts to thirty millions. Queer ideas
about Louis Philippe were entertained. He may have been
covetous, but he certainly was not miserly; he was the most
prodigal, the most extravagant and least careful of men:
he had debts, accounts and arrears everywhere. He owed
700,000 francs to a cabinet-maker; to his market gardener
he owed 70,000 francs *for butter*.

Consequently none of the seals placed on the property
could be broken and everything is held to secure the
creditors--everything, even to the personal property of the
Prince and Princess de Joinville, rentes, diamonds, etc.,
even to a sum of 198,000 francs which belongs in her own
right to the Duchess d'Orleans.

All that the Royal Family was able to obtain was their
clothing and personal effects, or rather what could be found
of these. Three long tables were placed in the theatre of
the Tuileries, and on these were laid out all that the
revolutionists of February had turned over to the governor of
the Tuileries, M. Durand Saint-Amand. It formed a queer
medley--court costumes stained and torn, grand cordons of
the Legion of Honour that had been trailed through the
mud, stars of foreign orders, swords, diamond crowns, pearl
necklaces, a collar of the Golden Fleece, etc. Each legal
representative of the princes, an aide-de-camp or secretary,
took what he recognised. It appears that on the whole
little was recovered. The Duke de Nemours merely asked
for some linen and in particular his heavy-soled shoes.

The Prince de Joinville, meeting the Duke de Montpensier,
greeted him thus: "Ah! here you are, Monsieur;
you were not killed, you have not had good luck!"

Gudin, the marine painter, who went to England, saw
Louis Philippe. The King is greatly depressed. He said
to Gudin: "I don't understand it. What happened in
Paris? What did the Parisians get into their heads? I
haven't any idea. One of these days they will recognise
that I did not do one thing wrong." He did not, indeed,
do one thing wrong; he did all things wrong!

He had in fact reached an incredible degree of optimism;
he believed himself to be more of a king than Louis XIV.
and more of an emperor than Napoleon. On Tuesday the
22nd he was exuberantly gay, and was still occupied
solely with his own affairs, and these of the pettiest
character. At 2 o'clock when the first shots were being
fired, he was conferring with his lawyers and business
agents, MM. de Grante, Scribe and Denormandie, as to
what could best be done about Madame Adelaide's will. On
Wednesday, at 1 o'clock, when the National Guard was
declaring against the government, which meant revolution,
the King sent for M. Hersent to order of him a picture of
some kind.

Charles X. was a lynx.

Louis Philippe in England, however, bears his misfortune
worthily. The English aristocracy acted nobly; eight
or ten of the wealthiest peers wrote to Louis Philippe
to offer him their chteaux and their purses. The King
replied: "I accept and keep only your letters."

The Duchess d'Orleans is also in straitened circumstances.
She is on bad terms with the d'Orleans family
and the Mecklenburg family is on bad terms with her. On
the one hand she will accept nothing, and on the other she
can expect nothing.

At this time of writing (May, 1848) the Tuileries have
already been repaired, and M. Empis remarked to me this
morning: "They are going to clean up and nothing of the
damage done will be apparent." Neuilly and the Palais-Royal,
however, have been devastated. The picture gallery of the
Palais-Royal, a pretty poor one by the by, has
practically been destroyed. Only a single picture remains
perfectly intact, and that is the Portrait of Philippe Egalit.
Was it purposely respected by the riot or is its preservation
an irony of chance? The National Guards amused, and
still amuse, themselves by cutting out of the canvases that
were not entirely destroyed by fire faces to which they take
a fancy.


There entered my drawing-room in the Place Royale one
morning in March, 1848, a man of medium height, about
sixty-five or sixty-six years of age, dressed in black, a red
and blue ribbon in his buttonhole, and wearing
patent-leather boots and white gloves. He was Jerome Napoleon,
King of Westphalia.

He had a very gentle voice, a charming though somewhat
timid smile, straight hair turning grey, and something
of the profile of the Emperor.

He came to thank me for the permission that had been
accorded to him to return to France, which he attributed
to me, and begged me to get him appointed Governor of
the Invalides. He told me that M. Crmieux, one of the
members of the Provisional Government, had said to him
the previous day:

"If Victor Hugo asks Lamartine to do it, it will be done.
Formerly everything depended upon an interview between
two emperors; now everything depends upon an interview
between two poets."

"Tell M. Crmieux that it is he who is the poet," I
replied to King Jerome with a smile.

In November, 1848, the King of Westphalia lived on
the first floor above the entresol at No. 3, Rue d'Alger. It
was a small apartment with mahogany furniture and woollen
velvet upholstering.

The wall paper of the drawing-room was grey. The
room was lighted by two lamps and ornamented by a heavy
clock in the Empire style and two not very authentic pictures,
although the frame of one bore the name: "Titiens,"
and the frame of the other the name: "Rembrandt." On
the mantelpiece was a bronze bust of Napoleon, one of
those familiar and inevitable busts that the Empire
bequeathed us.

The only vestiges of his royal existence that remained
to the prince were his silverware and dinner service, which
were ornamented with royal crowns richly engraved and gilded.

Jerome at that time was only sixty-four years old, and
did not look his age. His eyes were bright, his smile
benevolent and charming, and his hands small and still
shapely. He was habitually attired in black with a gold
chain in his buttonhole from which hung three crosses, the
Legion of Honour, the Iron Crown, and his Order of
Westphalia created by him in imitation of the Iron Crown.

Jerome talked well, with grace always and often with
wit. He was full of reminiscences and spoke of the Emperor
with a mingled respect and affection that was touching.
A little vanity was perceptible; I would have preferred pride.

Moreover he received with bonhomie all the varied
qualifications which were brought upon him by his strange
position of a man who was no longer king, no longer
proscribed, and yet was not a citizen. Everybody addressed
him as he pleased. Louis Philippe called him "Highness,"
M. Boulay de la Meurthe "Sire" or "Your Majesty,"
Alexandre Dumas "Monseigneur," I addressed him as
"Prince," and my wife called him "Monsieur." On his
card he wrote "General Bonaparte." In his place I would
have understood his position. King or nothing.



In the evening of the day following that on which
Jerome, recalled from exile, returned to Paris, he had
vainly waited for his secretary, and feeling bored and
lonely, went out. It was at the end of summer (1847).
He was staying at the house of his daughter, Princess
Demidoff, which was off the Champs-Elyses.

He crossed the Place de la Concorde, looking about him
at the statues, obelisk and fountains, which were new to the
exile who had not seen Paris for thirty-two years. He
continued along the Quai des Tuileries. I know not what
reverie took possession of his soul. Arrived at the Pavillon
de Flore, he entered the gate, turned to the left, and began
to walk up a flight of stairs under the arch. He had gone
up two or three steps when he felt himself seized by the
arm. It was the gatekeeper who had run after him.

"Hi! Monsieur, monsieur, where are you going?"

Jerome gazed at him in astonishment and replied:

"Why, to my apartments, of course!"

Hardly had he uttered the words, however, when he
awoke from his dream. The past had bewitched him for a
moment. In recounting the incident to me he said:

"I went away shamefacedly, and apologizing to the porter."



The insurrection of June presented peculiar features
from the outset.* It suddenly manifested itself to terrified
society in monstrous and unknown forms.

* At the end of June, four months after the proclamation of the
Republic, regular work had come to a standstill and the useless
workshops known as the "national workshops" had been abolished by the
National Assembly. Then the widespread distress prevailing caused the
outbreak of one of the most formidable insurrections recorded in history.
The power at that time was in the hands of an Executive Committee of
five members, Lamartine, Arago, Ledru Rollin, Garnier-Pages and
Marie. General Cavaignac was Minister of War.

The first barricade was erected in the morning of Friday,
the 23rd, at the Porte Saint Denis. It was attacked the
same day. The National Guard marched resolutely against
it. The attacking force was made up of battalions of the
First and Second Legions, which arrived by way of the
boulevards. When the assailants got within range a
formidable volley was fired from the barricade, and littered
the ground with National Guards. The National Guard,
more irritated than intimidated, charged the barricade.

At this juncture a woman appeared upon its crest, a
woman young, handsome, dishevelled, terrible. This
woman, who was a prostitute, pulled up her clothes to her
waist and screamed to the guards in that frightful language
of the lupanar that one is always compelled to translate:

"Cowards! fire, if you dare, at the belly of a woman!"
Here the affair became appalling. The National Guard
did not hesitate. A volley brought the wretched creature
down, and with a piercing shriek she toppled off the
barricade. A silence of horror fell alike upon besiegers
and besieged.

Suddenly another woman appeared. This one was even
younger and more beautiful; she was almost a child, being
barely seventeen years of age. Oh! the pity of it! She,
too, was a street-walker. Like the other she lifted her skirt,
disclosed her abdomen, and screamed: "Fire, brigands!"
They fired, and riddled with bullets she fell upon the body
of her sister in vice.

It was thus that the war commenced.

Nothing could be more chilling and more sombre. It is
a hideous thing this heroism of abjection in which bursts
forth all that weakness has of strength; this civilization
attacked by cynicism and defending itself by barbarity. On
one side the despair of the people, on the other the despair
of society.

On Saturday the 24th, at 4 o'clock in the morning, I, as
a Representative of the people, was at the barricade in the
Place Baudoyer that was defended by the troops.

The barricade was a low one. Another, narrow and high,
protected it in the street. The sun shone upon and
brightened the chimney-tops. The tortuous Rue Saint Antoine
wound before us in sinister solitude.

The soldiers were lying upon the barricade, which was
little more than three feet high. Their rifles were stacked
between the projecting paving-stones as though in a rack.
Now and then bullets whistled overhead and struck the
walls of the houses around us, bringing down a shower
of stone and plaster. Occasionally a blouse, sometimes a
cap-covered head, appeared at the corner of a street. The
soldiers promptly fired at it. When they hit their mark
they applauded "Good! Well aimed! Capital!"

They laughed and chatted gaily. At intervals there
was a rattle and roar, and a hail of bullets rained upon the
barricade from roofs and windows. A very tall captain
with a grey moustache stood erect at the centre of the
barrier, above which half his body towered. The bullets
pattered about him as about a target. He was impassible
and serene and spoke to his men in this wise:

"There, children, they are firing. Lie down. Look out,
Laripaud, you are showing your head. Reload!"

All at once a woman turned the corner of a street. She
came leisurely towards the barricade. The soldiers swore
and shouted to her to get out of the way:

"Ah! the strumpet! Will you get out of that you
w--! Shake a leg, damn you! She's coming to
reconnoitre. She's a spy! Bring her down. Down with
the moucharde!"

The captain restrained them:

"Don't shoot, it's a woman!"

After advancing about twenty paces the woman, who
really did seem to be observing us, entered a low door which
closed behind her.

This one was saved.

At 11 o'clock I returned from the barrier in the Place
Baudoyer and took my usual place in the Assembly. A
Representative whom I did not know, but who I have since
learned was M. Belley, engineer, residing in the Rue des
Tournelles, came and sat beside me and said:

"Monsieur Victor Hugo, the Place Royale has been
burned. They set fire to your house. The insurgents
entered by the little door in the Cul-de-sac Gumne."

"And my family?" I inquired.

"They are safe."

"How do you know?"

"I have just come from there. Not being known I was
able to get over the barricades and make my way here.
Your family first took refuge in the Mairie. I was there,
too. Seeing that the danger was over I advised Mme. Victor
Hugo to seek some other asylum. She found shelter with
her children in the home of a chimney-sweep named Martignon
who lives near your house, under the arcades."

I knew that worthy Martignon family. This reassured me.

"And how about the riot?" I asked.

"It is a revolution," replied M. Belley. "The insurgents
are in control of Paris at this moment."

I left M. Belley and hurriedly traversed the few rooms
that separated the hall in which we held our sessions and
the office occupied by the Executive Committee.

It was a small salon belonging to the presidency, and was
reached through two rooms that were smaller still. In these
ante-chambers was a buzzing crowd of distracted officers
and National Guards. They made no attempt to prevent
any one from entering.

I opened the door of the Executive Committee's office.
Ledru-Rollin, very red, was half seated on the table. M.
Gamier-Pages, very pale, and half reclining in an armchair,
formed an antithesis to him. The contrast was complete:
Garnier-Pags thin and bushy-haired, Ledru-Rollin
stout and close-cropped. Two or three colonels, among
them Representative Charras, were conversing in a corner.
I only recall Arago vaguely. I do not remember whether
M. Marie was there. The sun was shining brightly.

Lamartine, standing in a window recess on the left, was
talking to a general in full uniform, whom I saw for the
first and last time, and who was Ngrier. Ngrier was
killed that same evening in front of a barricade.

I hurried to Lamartine, who advanced to meet me. He
was wan and agitated, his beard was long, his clothes were

He held out his hand: "Ah! good morning, Hugo!"

Here is the dialogue that we engaged in, every word of
which is still fresh in my memory:

"What is the situation, Lamartine?"

"We are done for!"

"What do you mean by that?"

"I mean that in a quarter of an hour from now the Assembly
will be invaded."

(Even at that moment a column of insurgents was coming
down the Rue de Lille. A timely charge of cavalry
dispersed it.)

"Nonsense! What about the troops?"

"There are no troops!"

"But you said on Wednesday, and yesterday repeated,
that you had sixty thousand men at your disposal."

"So I thought."

"Well, but you musn't give up like this. It is not only
you who are at stake, but the Assembly, and not only the
Assembly, but France, and not only France, but the whole
of civilization. Why did you not issue orders yesterday to
have the garrisons of the towns for forty leagues round
brought to Paris? That would have given you thirty
thousand men at once."

"We gave the orders--"


"The troops have not come!"

Lamartine took my hand and said;

"I am not Minister of War!"

At this moment a few representatives entered noisily.
The Assembly had just voted a state of siege. They told
Ledru-Rollin and Garnier-Pages so in a few words.

Lamartine half turned towards them and said in an

"A state of siege! A state of siege! Well, declare it
if you think it is necessary. I have nothing to say!"

He dropped into a chair, repeating:

"I have nothing to say, neither yes nor no. Do what
you like!"

General Ngrier came up to me.

"Monsieur Victor Hugo," he said, "I have come to
reassure you; I have received news from the Place

"Well, general?"

"Your family are safe."

"Thanks! Yes, I have just been so informed."

"But your house has been burnt down."

"What does that matter?" said I.

Ngrier warmly pressed my arm:

"I understand you. Let us think only of one thing.
Let us save the country!"

As I was withdrawing Lamartine quitted a group and
came to me.

"Adieu," he said. "But do not forget this: do not
judge me too hastily; I am not the Minister of War."

The day before, as the riot was spreading, Cavaignac,
after a few measures had been taken, said to Lamartine:

"That's enough for to-day."

It was 5 o'clock.

"What!" exclaimed Lamartine. "Why, we have still
four hours of daylight before us! And the riot will profit
by them while we are losing them!"

He could get nothing from Cavaignac except:

"That's enough for to-day!"

On the 24th, about 3 o'clock, at the most critical moment,
a Representative of the people, wearing his sail
across his shoulder, arrived at the Mairie of the Second
Arrondissement, in the Rue Chauchat, behind the Opera.
He was recognised. He was Lagrange.

The National Guards surrounded him. In a twinkling
the group became menacing:

"It is Lagrange! the man of the pistol shot!* What
are you doing here? You are a coward! Get behind the
barricades. That is your place--your friends are
there--and not with us! They will proclaim you their chief; go
on! They at any rate are brave! They are giving their
blood for your follies; and you, you are afraid! You have
a dirty duty to do, but at least do it! Get out of here!

* It was popularly but erroneously believed that Lagrange fired the
shot that led to the massacre in the Boulevard des Capucines on
February 23.

Lagrange endeavoured to speak. His voice was drowned
by hooting.

This is how these madmen received the honest man who
after fighting for the people wanted to risk his life for

June 25.

The insurgents were firing throughout the whole length
of the Boulevard Beaumarchais from the tops of the new
houses. Several had ambushed themselves in the big house
in course of construction opposite the Galiote. At the
windows they had stuck dummies,--bundles of straw with
blouses and caps on them.

I distinctly saw a man who had entrenched himself behind
a barricade of bricks in a corner of the balcony on the
fourth floor of the house which faces the Rue du
Pont-aux-Choux. The man took careful aim and killed a good many

It was 3 o'clock. The troops and mobiles fringed the
roofs of the Boulevard du Temple and returned the fire
of the insurgents. A cannon had just been drawn up in
front of the Gait to demolish the house of the Galiote and
sweep the whole boulevard.

I thought I ought to make an effort to put a stop to the
bloodshed, if possible, and advanced to the corner of the
Rue d'Angoulme. When I reached the little turret near
there I was greeted with a fusillade. The bullets pattered
upon the turret behind me, and ploughed up the playbills
with which it was covered. I detached a strip of paper as
a memento. The bill to which it belonged announced for
that very Sunday a fte at the Chteau des Flours, "with
a thousand lanterns."

* * * * *

For four months we have been living in a furnace.
What consoles me is that the statue of the future will issue
from it. It required such a brazier to melt such a bronze.


July 5, 1848.

Chateaubriand is dead. One of the splendours of this
century has passed away.

He was seventy-nine years old according to his own
reckoning; according to the calculation of his old friend
M. Bertin, senior, he was eighty years of age. But he had
a weakness, said M. Bertin, and that was that he insisted
that he was born not in 1768, but in 1769, because that
was the year of Napoleon's birth.

He died yesterday, July 4, at 8 o'clock in the morning. For
five or six months he had been suffering from
paralysis which had almost destroyed his brain, and for
five days from inflammation of the lungs, which abruptly
snuffed out his life.

M. Ampere announced the news to the Academy, which
thereupon decided to adjourn.

I quitted the National Assembly, where a questor to succeed
General Ngrier, who was killed in June, was being
nominated, and went to M. de Chateaubriand's house, No.
110, Rue du Bac.

I was received by M. de Preuille, son-in-law of his
nephew. I entered Chateaubriand's chamber.

He was lying upon his bed, a little iron bedstead with
white curtains round it and surmounted by an iron curtain
ring of somewhat doubtful taste. The face was uncovered;
the brow, the nose, the closed eyes, bore that expression
of nobleness which had marked him in life, and which was
enhanced by the grave majesty of death. The mouth and
chin were hidden by a cambric handkerchief. On his head
was a white cotton nightcap which, however, allowed the
grey hair on his temples to be seen. A white cravat rose
to his ears. His tawny visage appeared more severe amid
all this whiteness. Beneath the sheet his narrow, hollow
chest and his thin legs could be discerned.

The shutters of the windows giving on to the garden were
closed. A little daylight entered through the half-opened
door of the salon. The chamber and the face were illumined
by four tapers which burned at the corners of a table
placed near the bed. On this table were a silver crucifix,
a vase filled with holy water, and an aspergillum. Beside
it a priest was praying.

Behind the priest a large brown-coloured screen hid the
fireplace, above which the mantel-glass and a few engravings
of churches and cathedrals were visible.

At Chateaubriand's feet, in the angle formed by the bed
and the wall of the room, were two wooden boxes, placed
one upon the other. The largest I was told contained the
complete manuscript of his Memoirs, in forty-eight
copybooks. Towards the last there had been such disorder in
the house that one of the copybooks had been found that
very morning by M. de Preuille in a dark and dirty closet
where the lamps were cleaned.

A few tables, a wardrobe, and a few blue and green
armchairs in disorder encumbered more than they furnished
the room.

The adjoining salon, the furniture of which was hidden
under unbleached covers, contained nothing more remarkable
than a marble bust of Henry V. and a full-length
statuette of Chateaubriand, which were on the mantelpiece,
and on each side of a window plaster busts of Mme.
de Berri and her infant child.

Towards the close of his life Chateaubriand was almost
in his second childhood. His mind was only lucid for about
two or three hours a day, at least so M. Pilorge, his former
secretary, told me.

When in February he was apprised of the proclamation
of the Republic he merely remarked: "Will you be any
the happier for it?"

When his wife died he attended the funeral service and
returned laughing heartily--which, said Pilorge, was a
proof that he was of weak mind. "A proof that he was in
his right mind!" affirmed Edouard Bertin.

Mme. de Chateaubriand's benevolence was official, which
did not prevent her from being a shrew at home. She
founded a hospice--the Marie Thrse Infirmary--visited
the poor, succoured the sick, superintended crches,
gave alms and prayed; at the same time she was harsh
towards her husband, her relatives, her friends, and her
servants, and was sour-tempered, stern, prudish, and a
backbiter. God on high will take these things into account.

She was ugly, pitted with small-pox, had an enormous
mouth, little eyes, was insignificant in appearance, and
acted the ~grande dame~, although she was rather the wife
of a great man than of a great lord. By birth she was only
the daughter of a ship-owner of Saint Malo. M. de
Chateaubriand feared, detested, and cajoled her.

She took advantage of this to make herself insupportable
to mere human beings. I have never known anybody less
approachable or whose reception of callers was more
forbidding. I was a youth when I went to M. de
Chateaubriand's. She received me very badly, or rather she
did not receive me at all. I entered and bowed, but Mme.
de Chateaubriand did not see me. I was scared out of my
wits. These terrors made my visits to M. de Chateaubriand
veritable nightmares which oppressed me for fifteen days
and fifteen nights in advance. Mme. de Chateaubriand hated
whoever visited her husband except through the doors that she
opened. She had not presented me to him, therefore she
hated me. I was perfectly odious to her, and she showed it.

Only once in my life and in hers did Mme. de Chateaubriand
receive me graciously. One day I entered, poor
little devil, as usual most unhappy, with affrighted
schoolboy air and twisting my hat about in my hands. M. de
Chateaubriand at that time still lived at No. 27, Rue Saint

I was frightened at everything there, even at the servant
who opened the door. Well, I entered. Mme. de Chateaubriand
was in the salon leading to her husband's study. It
was a summer morning. There was a ray of sunshine on
the floor, and what dazzled and astonished me much more
than the ray of sunshine was a smile on Mme. de Chateaubriand's
face. "Is that you, Monsieur Victor Hugo?" she said. I
thought I was in the midst of a dream of the
_Arabian Nights_. Mme. de Chateaubriand smiling!
Mme. de Chateaubriand knowing my name, addressing me by
name! It was the first time that she
had deigned to notice my existence. I bowed so low
that my head nearly touched the floor. She went on: "I
am delighted to see you." I could not believe my ears.
"I was expecting you," she continued. "It is a long time
since you called." I thought then that there certainly
must be something the matter either with her or myself.
However, she pointed to a rather large object of some kind
on a little table, and added: "I reserved this for you. I
felt sure you would like to have it. You know what it is?"
It was a pile of packets of chocolate made by some religious
institution. She had taken the stuff under her protection
and the proceeds of its sale were to be devoted to charitable
works. I took it and paid for it. At that time I had to live
for fifteen months on 800 francs. The Catholic chocolate
and Mme. de Chateaubriand's smile cost me 15 francs; that
is to say, a fortnight's board. Fifteen francs meant as much
to me then as 1,500 francs does now.

It was the most costly smile of a woman that ever was
sold to me.

M. de Chateaubriand, at the beginning of 1847, was a
paralytic; Mme. Rcamier was blind. Every day at 3
o'clock M. de Chateaubriand was carried to Mme. Recamier's
bedside. It was touching and sad. The woman
who could no longer see stretched forth her hands
gropingly towards the man who could no longer feel; their
hands met. God be praised! Life was dying, but love still



What had to be determined before the Assembly and
the country was upon whom devolved the heavy responsibility
for the painful days of June. The Executive Committee was
then in power; ought it not to have foreseen
and provided against the insurrection? General Cavaignac,
Minister of War, and, moreover, invested with dictatorial
powers by the National Assembly, had alone issued orders.

Had he issued them in time? Could he not have crushed
the riot at the outset instead of permitting it to gain
strength, spread and develop into an insurrection? And,
finally, had not the repression which followed victory been
unnecessarily bloody, if not inhuman?

As the time for rendering an account approached
Cavaignac became thoughtful and his ill-humour was
manifest even in the Chamber.

One day Crmieux took his seat on the ministerial bench,
whence he approved with an occasional "Hear! Hear!"
the remarks of the orator who occupied the tribune. The
speaker chanced to belong to the Opposition.

"Monsieur Crmieux," said Cavaignac, "you are making
a good deal of noise."

"What does that matter to you?" replied Crmieux.

"It matters that you are on the ministerial bench."

"Do you want me to leave it?"


Cremieux rose and quitted his bench, saying as he did so:

"General, you compel me to leave the Cabinet, and it
was through me that you entered it."

Crmieux, in point of fact, had, as a member of the
Provisional Government, had Cavaignac appointed Minister of

During the three days that preceded the debate, which
had been fixed for the 25th, the Chamber was very nervous
and uneasy. Cavaignac's friends secretly trembled and
sought to make others tremble. They said: "You will
see!" They affected assurance. Jules Favre having
alluded in the tribune to the "great and solemn debate"
which was to take place, they burst into a laugh. M.
Coquerel, the Protestant pastor, happening to meet
Cavaignac in the lobby, said to him: "Keep yourself in hand,
General!" "In a quarter of an hour," replied Cavaignac
with flashing eyes, "I shall have swept these wretches
away!" These wretches were Lamartine, Gamier-Pages,
and Arago. There was some doubt about Arago, however.
It was said that he was rallying to Cavaignac. Meanwhile
Cavaignac had conferred the cross of the Legion of
Honour upon the Bishop of Quimper, the Abb Legraverand,
who had accepted it.

"A cross for a vote," was the remark made in the Chamber.
And these reversed roles, a general giving a cross to
a bishop, caused much amusement.

In reality we are in the midst of a quarrel over the
presidency. The candidates are shaking their fists at each
other. The Assembly hoots, growls, murmurs, stamps its feet,
crushes one, applauds the other.

This poor Assembly is a veritable ~fille a soldats~, in love
with a trooper. For the time being it is Cavaignac.

Who will it be to-morrow?

General Cavaignac proved himself to be clever, and
occasionally even eloquent. His defence partook more of the
character of an attack. Frequently he appeared to me to
be sincere because he had for so long excited my suspicion.
The Assembly listened to him for nearly three hours with
rapt attention. Throughout it was evident that he possessed
its confidence. Its sympathy was shown every moment, and
sometimes it manifested a sort of love for him.

Cavaignac, tall and supple, with his short frock-coat, his
military collar, his heavy moustache, his bent brow, his
brusque language, broken up by parentheses, and his
rough gestures, was at times at once as fierce as a soldier
and as passionate as a tribune. Towards the middle of his
discourse he became an advocate, which, as far as I was
concerned, spoiled the man; the harangue became a speech
for the defence. But at its conclusion he roused himself
again with a sort of real indignation. He pounded on the
desk with his fist and overturned the glass of water, much
to the consternation of the ushers, and in terminating he

"I have been speaking for I know not how long; I will
speak again all the evening, all night, all day to-morrow,
if necessary, and it will no longer be as an advocate, but as
a soldier, and you will listen to me!"

The whole Assembly applauded him enthusiastically.

M. Barthlemy Saint Hilaire, who attacked Cavaignac,
was an orator cold, rigid, somewhat dry and by no means
equal to the task, his anger being without fierceness and
his hatred without passion. He began by reading a
memoir, which always displeases assemblies. The Assembly,
which was secretly ill-disposed and angry, was eager to
crush him. It only wanted pretexts; he furnished it with
motives. The grave defect in his memoir was that serious
accusations were built upon petty acts, a surcharge that
caused the whole system to bend. This little pallid man
who continually raised one leg behind him and leaned
forward with his two hands on the edge of the tribune as
though he were gazing down into a well, made those who
did not hiss laugh. Amid the uproar of the Assembly he
affected to write at considerable length in a copybook,
to dry the ink by sprinkling powder upon it, and with great
deliberation to pour the powder back into the powder-box,
thus finding means to increase the tumult with his
calmness. When M. Barthlemy Saint Hilaire descended from
the tribune, Cavaignac had only been attacked. He had
not then replied, yet was already absolved.

M. Garnier-Pags, tried Republican and honest man,
but with a substratum of vanity and an emphatic manner,
succeeded M. Barthlemy Saint Hilaire. The Assembly
tried to crush him, too, but he rose again amid murmurs.
He reminded his hearers of his past, invoked recollections
of the Salle Voisin, compared the henchmen of Cavaignac
to the henchmen of Guizot, bared his breast "which had
braved the poignards of the Red Republic," and ended by
resolutely attacking the general, with too few facts and too
many words, but fairly and squarely, taking him, so to
speak, as the Bible urges that the bull be taken, by the

Garnier-Pages propped up the accusation that had almost
been laid low. He brought the personal pronoun much too
frequently into the discussion; he acted ill-advisedly, for
everybody's personality ought to have been effaced in view
of the seriousness of the debate and the anxiety of the
country. He turned to all sides with a sort of disconsolate
fury; he summoned Arago to intervene, Ledru-Rollin to
speak, Lamartine to explain. All three remained silent,
thus failing in their duty and destiny.

The Assembly, however, pursued Garnier-Pages with its
hooting, and when he said to Cavaignac: "You wanted to
throw us down," it burst into a laugh, at the sentiment
as well as at the expression. Garnier-Pages gazed at the
laughing house with an air of despair.

From all sides came shouts of: "The closure!"

The Assembly had reached a state in which it would not
listen and could no longer hear.

M. Ledru-Rollin appeared in the tribune.

From every bench the cry arose: "At last!"

Silence ensued.

Ledru-Rollin's speech had a physical effect as it were;
it was coarse, but powerful. Garnier-Pages had pointed
out the General's political shortcomings; Ledru-Rollin
pointed out his military shortcomings. With the vehemence
of the tribune he mingled all the skill of the advocate.
He concluded with an appeal for mercy for the
offender. He shook Cavaignac's position.

When he resumed his seat between Pierre Leroux and
de Lamennais, a man with long grey hair, and attired in a
white frock-coat, crossed the Chamber and shook
Ledru-Rollin's hand. He was Lagrange.

Cavaignac for the fourth time ascended the tribune. It
was half past 10 o'clock at night. The noise of the crowd
and the evolutions of the cavalry on the Place de la
Concorde could be heard. The aspect of the Assembly was
becoming sinister.

Cavaignac, who was tired, had decided to assume a
haughty attitude. He addressed the Mountain and defied
it, declaring to the mountaineers, amid the cheers of the
majority and of the reactionaries, that he at all times
preferred "their abuse to their praise." This appeared to be
violent and was clever; Cavaignac lost the Rue Taitbout,
which represented the Socialists, and won the Rue de
Poitiers, which represented the Conservatives.

After this apostrophe he remained a few moments motionless,
then passed his hand over his brow.

The Assembly shouted to him:

"Enough! Enough!"

He turned towards Ledru-Rollin and exclaimed:

"You said that you had done with me. It is I who have
done with you. You said: 'For some time.' I say to you:
'For ever!'"

It was all over. The Assembly wanted to close the debate.

Lagrange ascended the tribune and gesticulated amid
hoots and hisses. Lagrange was at once a popular and
chivalrous declaimer, who expressed true sentiments in a
forced voice.

"Representatives," said he, "all this amuses you; well,
it doesn't amuse me!"

The Assembly roared with laughter, and the roar of
laughter continued throughout the remainder of his
discourse. He called M. Landrin M. Flandrin, and the gaiety
became delirious.

I was among those whom this gaiety made heavy at
heart, for I seemed to hear the sobs of the people above
these bursts of hilarity.

During this uproar a list which was being covered with
signatures and which bore an order of the day proposed by
M. Dupont de l'Eure, was passed round the benches.

Dupont de l'Eure, bent and tottering, read from the
tribune, with the authority of his eighty years, his own
order of the day, amid a deep silence that was broken at
intervals by cheers.

The order of the day, which was purely and simply a
reiteration of the declaration of June 28: "General
Cavaignac has merited well of the fatherland," was adopted
by 503 votes to 34.

Mine was among the thirty-four. While the votes were
being counted, Napoleon Bonaparte, son of Jerome, came
up to me and said:

"I suppose you abstained?"

"From speaking, yes; from voting, no," I replied.

"Ah!" he went on. "We ourselves abstained from
voting. The Rue de Poitiers also abstained."

I took his hand and said:

"You are free to do as you like. For my part I am not
abstaining. I am judging Cavaignac, and the country is
judging me. I want the fullest light thrown upon my
actions, and my votes are my actions."





In February, 1849, in the midst of the prevailing sorrow
and terror, fetes were given. People danced to help the
poor. While the cannon with which the rioters were
threatened on January 29, were, so to speak, still trained
ready for firing, a charity ball attracted all Paris to the
Jardin d'Hiver.

This is what the Jardin d'Hiver was like:

A poet had pictured it in a word: "They have put summer
under a glass case!" It was an immense iron cage
with two naves forming a cross, as large as four or five
cathedrals and covered with glass. Entrance to it was
through a gallery of wood decorated with carpets and

On entering, the eyes were at first dazzled by a flood of
light. In the light all sorts of magnificent flowers, and
strange trees with the foliage and altitudes of the tropics,
could be seen. Banana trees, palm trees, cedars, great leaves,
enormous thorns, and queer branches twisted and mingled
as in a virgin forest. The forest alone was virgin there,
however. The prettiest women and the most beautiful
girls of Paris whirled in this illumination ~a giorno~ like a
swarm of bees in a ray of sunshine.

Above this gaily dressed throng was an immense resplendent
chandelier of brass, or rather a great tree of gold
and flame turned upside down which seemed to have its
roots in the glass roof, and whose sparkling leaves hung
over the crowd. A vast ring of candelabra, torch-holders
and girandoles shone round the chandelier, like the
constellations round the sun. A resounding orchestra perched
high in a gallery made the glass panes rattle harmoniously.

But what made the Jardin d'Hiver unique was that
beyond this vestibule of light and music and noise, through
which one gazed as through a vague and dazzling veil, a
sort of immense and tenebrous arch, a grotto of shadow
and mystery, could be discerned. This grotto in which
were big trees, a copse threaded with paths and clearings,
and a fountain that showered its water-diamonds in sparkling
spray, was simply the end of the garden. Red dots
that resembled oranges of fire shone here and there amid
the foliage. It was all like a dream. The lanterns in the
copse, when one approached them, became great luminous
tulips mingled with real camellias and roses.

One seated one's self on a garden seat with one's feet in
the grass and moss, and one felt the warmth arising from a
heat-grating beneath this grass and this moss; one happened
upon an immense fireplace in which half the trunk
of a tree was burning, in proximity to a clump of bushes
shivering in the rain of a fountain. There were lamps
amid the flowers and carpets in the alleys. Among the
trees were satyrs, nude nymphs, hydras, all kinds of groups
and statues which, like the place itself, had something
impossible and living about them.

What were people doing at this ball? They danced a
little, made love a little, and above all talked politics.

There were about fifty Representatives present that evening.
The negro Representative Louisy Mathieu, in white
gloves, was accompanied by the negrophile Representative
Schoelcher in black gloves. People said: "O fraternity!
they have exchanged hands!"

Politicians leaning against the mantels announced the
approaching appearance of a sheet entitled the "Aristo," a
reactionary paper. The Brea affair,* which was being
tried at that very moment, was discussed. What particularly
struck these grave men in this sinister affair was that
among the witnesses was an ironmonger named "Lenclume"
and a locksmith named "Laclef."

* General Bra was assassinated on June 25, 1848, while parleying
with the insurgents at the Barrire de Fontainebleau.

Such are the trivial things men bring into the events of God.


March, 1849.

The men condemned to death in the Bra affair are
confined in the fort at Vanves. There are five of them:
Nourry, a poor child of seventeen whose father and mother
died insane, type of the gamin of Paris that revolutions
make a hero and riots a murderer; Daix, blind of one eye,
lame, and with only one arm, a ~bon pauvre~ of the Bicetre
Hospital, who underwent the operation of trepanning three
years ago, and who has a little daughter eight years old
whom he adores; Lahr, nicknamed the Fireman, whose
wife was confined the day after his condemnation, giving
life at the moment she received death; Chopart, a
bookseller's assistant, who has been mixed up in some rather
discreditable pranks of youth; and finally Vappreaux
junior, who pleaded an alibi and who, if the four others
are to be believed, was not at the Barrire de Fontainebleau
at all during the three days of June.

These hapless wights are confined in a big casemate of
the fort. Their condemnation has crushed them and turned
them towards God. In the casemate are five camp beds
and five rush-bottomed chairs; to this lugubrious furniture
of the dungeon an altar has been added. It was erected at
the end of the casemate opposite the door and below the
venthole through which daylight penetrates. On the altar
is only a plaster statue of the Virgin enveloped in lace.
There are no tapers, it being feared that the prisoners
might set fire to the door with the straw of their mattresses.
They pray and work. As Nourry has not been confirmed
and wishes to be before he dies, Chopart is teaching him
the catechism.

Beside the altar is a board laid upon two trestles. This
board, which is full of bullet holes, was the target of the
fort. It has been turned into a dining-table, a cruel,
thoughtless act, for it is a continual reminder to the
prisoners of their approaching death.

A few days ago an anonymous letter reached them. This
letter advised them to stamp upon the flagstone in the centre
of the casemate, which, it was affirmed, covered the orifice
of a well communicating with old subterranean passages
of the Abbey of Vanves that extended to Chtillon. All
they had to do was to raise the flagstone and they could
escape that very night.

They did as the letter directed. The stone, it was found,
did emit a hollow sound as though it covered an opening.
But either because the police had been informed of the
letter, or for some other reason, a stricter watch than ever
has been kept upon them from that moment and they have
been unable to profit by the advice.

The gaolers and priests do not leave them for a minute
either by day or by night. Guardians of the body cheek
by jowl with guardians of the soul. Sorry human justice!

The execution of the condemned men in the Bra affair
was a blunder. It was the reappearance of the scaffold.
The people had kicked over the guillotine. The bourgeoisie
raised it again. A fatal mistake.

President Louis Bonaparte was inclined to be merciful.
The revision and cassation could easily have been delayed.
The Archbishop of Paris, M. Sibour, successor of a victim,
had begged for their lives. But the stereotyped phrases
prevailed. The country must be reassured. Order must
be reconstructed, legality rebuilt, confidence re-erected!
And society at that time was still reduced to employing
lopped heads as building material. The Council of State,
such as it then was, consulted under the terms of the
Constitution, rendered an opinion in favour of the execution.
M. Cresson, counsel for Daix and Lahr, waited upon the
President. He was an emotional and eloquent young man.
He pleaded for these men, for the wives who were not yet
widows, for the children who were not yet orphans, and
while speaking he wept.

Louis Bonaparte listened to him in silence, then took his
hands, but merely remarked: "I am most unhappy!"

In the evening of the same day--it was on the Thursday--the
Council of Ministers met. The discussion was
long and animated. Only one minister opposed recourse
to the scaffold. He was supported by Louis Napoleon.
The discussion lasted until 10 o'clock. But the majority
prevailed, and before the Cabinet separated Odilon Barrot,
the Minister of Justice, signed the order for the execution
of three of the condemned men, Daix, Lahr and Chopart.
The sentences of Nourry and Vappreaux, junior, were
commuted to penal servitude for life.

The execution was fixed for the next morning, Friday.

The Chancellor's office immediately transmitted the order
to the Prefect of Police, who had to act in concert with
the military authorities, the sentence having been imposed
by a court-martial.

The prefect sent for the executioner. But the executioner
could not be found. He had vacated his house in
the Rue des Marais Saint Martin in February under the
impression that, like the guillotine, he had been deposed,
and no one knew what had become of him.

Considerable time was lost in tracing him to his new
residence, and when they got there he was out. The
executioner was at the Opera. He had gone to see "The
Devil's Violin."

It was near midnight, and in the absence of the executioner
the execution had to be postponed for one day.

During the interval Representative Larabit, whom
Chopart had befriended at the barricade of the barriers,
was notified and was able to see the President. The
President signed Chopart's pardon.

The day after the execution the Prefect of Police summoned
the executioner and reproved him for his absence.

"Well," said Samson, "I was passing along the street
when I saw a big yellow poster announcing The Devil's
Violin. 'Hello!' said I to myself, 'that must be a queer
piece,' and I went to see it."

Thus a playbill saved a man's head.

There were some horrible details.

On Friday night, while those who formerly were called
~les maitres des basses oeuvres~* were erecting the scaffold at
the Barrire de Fontainebleau, the ~rapporteur~ of the
court-martial, accompanied by the clerk of the court, repaired
to the Fort of Vanves.

* The executioner in France is officially styled ~l'executeur
des hautes-oeuvres~.

Daix and Lahr, who were to die, were sleeping. They
were in casemate No. 13 with Nourry and Chopart. There
was a delay. It was found that there were no ropes with
which to bind the condemned men. The latter were allowed to
sleep on. At 5 o'clock in the morning the executioner's
assistants arrived with everything that was necessary.

Then the casemate was entered. The four men awoke.
To Nourry and Chopart the officials said: "Get out of
here!" They understood, and, joyful and terror-stricken,
fled into the adjoining casement. Daix and Lahr, however,
did not understand. They sat up and gazed about them with
wild, frightened eyes. The executioner and his assistants
fell upon them and bound them. No one spoke a word.
The condemned men began to realise what it all meant
and uttered terrible cries. "If we had not bound them,"
said the executioner, "they would have devoured us!"

Then Lahr collapsed and began to pray while the decree
for their execution was read to them.

Daix continued to struggle, sobbing, and roaring with
horror. These men who had killed so freely were afraid to

Daix shouted: "Help! Help!" appealed to the soldiers,
adjured them, cursed them, pleaded to them in the
name of General Bra.

"Shut up! "growled a sergeant. "You are a coward!"

The execution was performed with much ceremony. Let
this fact be noted: the first time the guillotine dared to
show itself after February an army was furnished to guard
it. Twenty-five thousand men, infantry and cavalry,
surrounded the scaffold. Two generals were in command.
Seven guns commanded the streets which converged to the
circus of the Barrire de Fontainebleau.

Daix was executed first. When his head had fallen and
his body was unstrapped, the trunk, from which a stream
of blood was pouring, fell upon the scaffold between the
swing-board and the basket.

The executioners were nervous and excited. A man of
the people remarked: "Everybody is losing his head on
that guillotine, including the executioner!"

In the faubourgs, which the last elections to the National
Assembly had so excited, the names of popular candidates
could still be seen chalked upon the walls. Louis
Bonaparte was one of the candidates. His name appeared on
these open-air bulletins, as they may be termed, in company
with the names of Raspail and Barbs. The day after the
execution Louis Napoleon's name wherever it was
to be seen had a red smear across it. A silent protest, a
reproach and a menace. The finger of the people pending
the finger of God.


April, 1849.

Antonin Moyne, prior to February, 1848, was a maker
of little figures and statuettes for the trade.

Little figures and statuettes! That is what we had
come to. Trade had supplanted the State. How empty
is history, how poor is art; inasmuch as there are no more
big figures there are no more statues.

Antonin Moyne made rather a poor living out of his work.
He had, however, been able to give his son Paul a good
education and had got him into the Ecole Polytechnique.
Towards 1847 the art-work business being already bad, he
had added to his little figures portraits in pastel. With a
statuette here, and a portrait there, he managed to get

After February the art-work business came to a complete
standstill. The manufacturer who wanted a model for a
candlestick or a clock, and the bourgeois who wanted a
portrait, failed him. What was to be done? Antonin
Moyne struggled on as best he could, used his old clothes,
lived upon beans and potatoes, sold his knick-knacks to
bric--brac dealers, pawned first his watch, then
his silverware.

He lived in a little apartment in the Rue de Boursault,
at No. 8, I think, at the corner of the Rue Labruyre.

The little apartment gradually became bare.

After June, Antonin Moyne solicited an order of the
Government. The matter dragged along for six months.
Three or four Cabinets succeeded each other and Louis
Bonaparte had time to be nominated President. At length
M. Leon Faucher gave Antonin Moyne an order for a bust,
upon which the statuary would be able to make 600
francs. But he was informed that, the State funds being
low, the bust would not be paid for until it was finished.

Distress came and hope went.

Antonin Moyne said one day to his wife, who was still
young, having been married to him when she was only
fifteen years old: "I will kill myself."

The next day his wife found a loaded pistol under a piece
of furniture. She took it and hid it. It appears that
Antonin Moyne found it again.

His reason no doubt began to give way. He always carried
a bludgeon and razor about with him. One day he
said to his wife: "It is easy to kill one's self with blows of
a hammer."

On one occasion he rose and opened the window with
such violence that his wife rushed forward and threw her
arms round him.

"What are you going to do?" she demanded.

"Just get a breath of air! And you, what do you want?"

"I am only embracing you," she answered.

On March 18, 1849, a Sunday, I think it was, his wife
said to him:

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

He was religious, and his wife, with loving watchfulness,
remained with him as much as possible.

He replied: "Presently!" and went into the next room,
which was his son's bedroom.

A few minutes elapsed. Suddenly Mme. Antonin
Moyne heard a noise similar to that made by the slamming
of a front door. But she knew what it was. She started
and cried: "It is that dreadful pistol!"

She rushed into the room her husband had entered, then
recoiled in horror. She had seen a body stretched upon
the floor.

She ran wildly about the house screaming for help. But
no one came, either because everybody was out or because
owing to the noise in the street she was not heard.

Then she returned, re-entered the room and knelt beside
her husband. The shot had blown nearly all his head away.
The blood streamed upon the floor, and the walls and
furniture were spattered with brains.

Thus, marked by fatality, like Jean Goujon, his master,
died Antonin Moyne, a name which henceforward will
bring to mind two things--a horrible death and a charming


June, 1849.

The working men who sat in the Luxembourg during
the months of March and April under the presidency
of M. Louis Blanc, showed a sort of respect for the
Chamber of Peers they replaced. The armchairs of the
peers were occupied, but not soiled. There was no insult,
no affront, no abuse. Not a piece of velvet was torn, not a
piece of leather was dirtied. There is a good deal of the
child about the people, it is given to chalking its anger,
its joy and its irony on walls; these labouring men were
serious and inoffensive. In the drawers of the desks they
found the pens and knives of the peers, yet made neither
a cut nor a spot of ink.

A keeper of the palace remarked to me: "They have
behaved themselves very well." They left their places as
they had found them. One only left his mark, and he had
written in the drawer of Louis Blanc on the ministerial

Royalty is abolished.
Hurrah for Louis Blanc!

This inscription is still there.

The fauteuils of the peers were covered with green velvet
embellished with gold stripes. Their desks were of
mahogany, covered with morocco leather, and with drawers of
oak containing writing material in plenty, but having no
key. At the top of his desk each peer's name was stamped
in gilt letters on a piece of green leather let into the wood.
On the princes' bench, which was on the right, behind the
ministerial bench, there was no name, but a gilt plate
bearing the words: "The Princes' Bench." This plate and the
names of the peers had been torn off, not by the working
men, but by order of the Provisional Government.

A few changes were made in the rooms which served as
ante-chambers to the Assembly. Puget's admirable "Milo
of Crotona," which ornamented the vestibule at the top of
the grand staircase, was taken to the old museum and a
marble of some kind was substituted for it. The full length
statue of the Duke d'Orleans, which was in the second
vestibule, was taken I know not where and replaced by a
statue of Pompey with gilt face, arms and legs, the statue
at the foot of which, according to tradition, assassinated
Caesar fell. The picture of founders of constitutions, in
the third vestibule, a picture in which Napoleon, Louis
XVIII. and Louis Philippe figured, was removed by order
of Ledru-Rollin and replaced by a magnificent Gobelin
tapestry borrowed from the Garde-Meuble.

Hard by this third vestibule is the old hall of the Chamber
of Peers, which was built in 1805 for the Senate. This
hall, which is small, narrow and obscure; supported by
meagre Corinthian columns with mahogany-coloured bases
and white capitals; furnished with flat desks and chairs in
the Empire style with green velvet seats, the whole in
mahogany; and paved with white marble relieved by lozenges of
red Saint Anne marble,--this hall, so full of memories, had
been religiously preserved, and after the new hall was built
in 1840, had been used for the private conferences of the
Court of Peers.

It was in this old hall of the Senate that Marshal Ney
was tried. A bar had been put up to the left of the
Chancellor who presided over the Chamber. The Marshal was
behind this bar, with M. Berryer, senior, on his right, and
M. Dupin, the elder, on his left. He stood upon one of the
lozenges in the floor, in which, by a sinister hazard, the
capricious tracing of the marble figured a death's head.
This lozenge has since been taken up and replaced by another.

After February, in view of the riots, soldiers had to be
lodged in the palace. The old Senate-hall was turned into
a guard-house. The desks of the senators of Napoleon and
of the peers of the Restoration were stored in the lumber
rooms, and the curule chairs served as beds for the troops.

Early in June, 1849, I visited the hall of the Chamber
of Peers and found it just as I had left it seventeen months
before, the last time that I sat there, on February 23, 1848.

Everything was in its place. Profound calmness reigned;
the fauteuils were empty and in order. One might have
thought that the Chamber had adjourned ten minutes previously.



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