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The Paris Sketch Book by William Makepeace Thackeray

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Not a frequenter of those fashionable places of entertainment
showed a more amiable laisser-aller in the dance--that peculiar
dance at which gendarmes think proper to blush, and which squeamish
society has banished from her salons. In a word, Harmodius was the
prince of mauvais sujets, a youth with all the accomplishments of
Göttingen and Jena, and all the eminent graces of his own country.

"Besides dissipation and gallantry, our friend had one other vast
and absorbing occupation--politics, namely; in which he was as
turbulent and enthusiastic as in pleasure. La Patrie was his idol,
his heaven, his nightmare; by day he spouted, by night he dreamed,
of his country. I have spoken to you of his coiffure à la Sylla;
need I mention his pipe, his meerschaum pipe, of which General
Foy's head was the bowl; his handkerchief with the Charte printed
thereon; and his celebrated tricolor braces, which kept the
rallying sign of his country ever close to his heart? Besides
these outward and visible signs of sedition, he had inward and
secret plans of revolution: he belonged to clubs, frequented
associations, read the Constitutionnel (Liberals, in those days,
swore by the Constitutionnel), harangued peers and deputies who had
deserved well of their country; and if death happened to fall on
such, and the Constitutionnel declared their merit, Harmodius was
the very first to attend their obsequies, or to set his shoulder to
their coffins.

"Such were his tastes and passions: his antipathies were not less
lively. He detested three things: a Jesuit, a gendarme, and a
claqueur at a theatre. At this period, missionaries were rife
about Paris, and endeavored to re-illume the zeal of the faithful
by public preachings in the churches. 'Infâmes jesuites!' would
Harmodius exclaim, who, in the excess of his toleration, tolerated
nothing; and, at the head of a band of philosophers like himself,
would attend with scrupulous exactitude the meetings of the
reverend gentlemen. But, instead of a contrite heart, Harmodius
only brought the abomination of desolation into their sanctuary. A
perpetual fire of fulminating balls would bang from under the feet
of the faithful; odors of impure assafoetida would mingle with the
fumes of the incense; and wicked drinking choruses would rise up
along with the holy canticles, in hideous dissonance, reminding one
of the old orgies under the reign of the Abbot of Unreason.

"His hatred of the gendarmes was equally ferocious: and as for the
claqueurs, woe be to them when Harmodius was in the pit! They knew
him, and trembled before him, like the earth before Alexander; and
his famous war-cry, 'La Carte au chapeau!' was so much dreaded,
that the 'entrepreneurs de succès dramatiques' demanded twice as
much to do the Odeon Theatre (which we students and Harmodius
frequented), as to applaud at any other place of amusement: and,
indeed, their double pay was hardly gained; Harmodius taking care
that they should earn the most of it under the benches."

This passage, with which we have taken some liberties, will give
the reader a more lively idea of the reckless, jovial, turbulent
Paris student, than any with which a foreigner could furnish him:
the grisette is his heroine; and dear old Béranger, the cynic-
epicurean, has celebrated him and her in the most delightful verses
in the world. Of these we may have occasion to say a word or two
anon. Meanwhile let us follow Monsieur de Bernard in his amusing
descriptions of his countrymen somewhat farther; and, having seen
how Dambergeac was a ferocious republican, being a bachelor, let us
see how age, sense, and a little government pay--the great agent of
conversions in France--nay, in England--has reduced him to be a
pompous, quiet, loyal supporter of the juste milieu: his former
portrait was that of the student, the present will stand for an
admirable lively likeness of


"Saying that I would wait for Dambergeac in his own study, I was
introduced into that apartment, and saw around me the usual
furniture of a man in his station. There was, in the middle of the
room, a large bureau, surrounded by orthodox arm-chairs; and there
were many shelves with boxes duly ticketed; there were a number of
maps, and among them a great one of the department over which
Dambergeac ruled; and facing the windows, on a wooden pedestal,
stood a plaster-cast of the 'Roi des Français.' Recollecting my
friend's former republicanism, I smiled at this piece of furniture;
but before I had time to carry my observations any farther, a heavy
rolling sound of carriage-wheels, that caused the windows to rattle
and seemed to shake the whole edifice of the sub-prefecture, called
my attention to the court without. Its iron gates were flung open,
and in rolled, with a great deal of din, a chariot escorted by a
brace of gendarmes, sword in hand. A tall gentleman, with a
cocked-hat and feathers, wearing a blue and silver uniform coat,
descended from the vehicle; and having, with much grave
condescension, saluted his escort, mounted the stair. A moment
afterwards the door of the study was opened, and I embraced my

"After the first warmth and salutations, we began to examine each
other with an equal curiosity, for eight years had elapsed since we
had last met.

"'You are grown very thin and pale,' said Harmodius, after a

"'In revenge I find you fat and rosy: if I am a walking satire on
celibacy,--you, at least, are a living panegyric on marriage.'

"In fact a great change, and such an one as many people would call
a change for the better, had taken place in my friend: he had grown
fat, and announced a decided disposition to become what French
people call a bel homme: that is, a very fat one. His complexion,
bronzed before, was now clear white and red: there were no more
political allusions in his hair, which was, on the contrary, neatly
frizzed, and brushed over the forehead, shell-shape. This head-
dress, joined to a thin pair of whiskers, cut crescent-wise from
the ear to the nose, gave my friend a regular bourgeois
physiognomy, wax-doll-like: he looked a great deal too well; and,
added to this, the solemnity of his prefectural costume, gave his
whole appearance a pompous well-fed look that by no means pleased.

"'I surprise you,' said I, 'in the midst of your splendor: do you
know that this costume and yonder attendants have a look
excessively awful and splendid? You entered your palace just now
with the air of a pasha.'

"'You see me in uniform in honor of Monseigneur the Bishop, who has
just made his diocesan visit, and whom I have just conducted to the
limit of the arrondissement.'

"'What!' said I, 'you have gendarmes for guards, and dance
attendance on bishops? There are no more janissaries and Jesuits,
I suppose?' The sub-prefect smiled.

"'I assure you that my gendarmes are very worthy fellows; and that
among the gentlemen who compose our clergy there are some of the
very best rank and talent: besides, my wife is niece to one of the

"'What have you done with that great Tasso beard that poor
Armandine used to love so?'

"'My wife does not like a beard; and you know that what is
permitted to a student is not very becoming to a magistrate.'

"I began to laugh. 'Harmodius and a magistrate!--how shall I ever
couple the two words together? But tell me, in your correspondences,
your audiences, your sittings with village mayors and petty councils,
how do you manage to remain awake?'

"'In the commencement,' said Harmodius, gravely, 'it WAS very
difficult; and, in order to keep my eyes open, I used to stick pins
into my legs: now, however, I am used to it; and I'm sure I don't
take more than fifty pinches of snuff at a sitting.'

"'Ah! apropos of snuff: you are near Spain here, and were always a
famous smoker. Give me a cigar,--it will take away the musty odor
of these piles of papers.'

"'Impossible, my dear; I don't smoke; my wife cannot bear a cigar.'

"His wife! thought I; always his wife: and I remember Juliette, who
really grew sick at the smell of a pipe, and Harmodius would smoke,
until, at last, the poor thing grew to smoke herself, like a
trooper. To compensate, however, as much as possible for the loss
of my cigar, Dambergeac drew from his pocket an enormous gold
snuff-box, on which figured the self-same head that I had before
remarked in plaster, but this time surrounded with a ring of pretty
princes and princesses, all nicely painted in miniature. As for
the statue of Louis Philippe, that, in the cabinet of an official,
is a thing of course; but the snuff-box seemed to indicate a degree
of sentimental and personal devotion, such as the old Royalists
were only supposed to be guilty of.

"'What! you are turned decided juste milieu?' said I.

"'I am a sous-préfet,' answered Harmodius.

"I had nothing to say, but held my tongue, wondering, not at the
change which had taken place in the habits, manners, and opinions
of my friend, but at my own folly, which led me to fancy that I
should find the student of '26 in the functionary of '34. At this
moment a domestic appeared.

"'Madame is waiting for Monsieur,' said he: 'the last bell has
gone, and mass beginning.'

"'Mass!' said I, bounding up from my chair. 'You at mass like a
decent serious Christian, without crackers in your pocket, and
bored keys to whistle through?'--The sous-préfet rose, his
countenance was calm, and an indulgent smile played upon his lips,
as he said, 'My arrondissement is very devout; and not to interfere
with the belief of the population is the maxim of every wise
politician: I have precise orders from Government on the point,
too, and go to eleven o'clock mass every Sunday."'

There is a great deal of curious matter for speculation in the
accounts here so wittily given by M. de Bernard: but, perhaps, it
is still more curious to think of what he has NOT written, and to
judge of his characters, not so much by the words in which he
describes them, as by the unconscious testimony that the words all
together convey. In the first place, our author describes a
swindler imitating the manners of a dandy; and many swindlers and
dandies be there, doubtless, in London as well as in Paris. But
there is about the present swindler, and about Monsieur Dambergeac
the student, and Monsieur Dambergeac the sous-préfet, and his
friend, a rich store of calm internal debauch, which does not, let
us hope and pray, exist in England. Hearken to M. de Gustan, and
his smirking whispers, about the Duchess of San Severino, who pour
son bonheur particulier, &c. &c. Listen to Monsieur Dambergeac's
friend's remonstrances concerning pauvre Juliette who grew sick at
the smell of a pipe; to his naïve admiration at the fact that the
sous-préfet goes to church: and we may set down, as axioms, that
religion is so uncommon among the Parisians, as to awaken the
surprise of all candid observers; that gallantry is so common as to
create no remark, and to be considered as a matter of course. With
us, at least, the converse of the proposition prevails: it is the
man professing irreligion who would be remarked and reprehended in
England; and, if the second-named vice exists, at any rate, it
adopts the decency of secrecy and is not made patent and notorious
to all the world. A French gentleman thinks no more of proclaiming
that he has a mistress than that he has a tailor; and one lives the
time of Boccaccio over again, in the thousand and one French novels
which depict society in that country.

For instance, here are before us a few specimens (do not, madam, be
alarmed, you can skip the sentence if you like,) to be found in as
many admirable witty tales, by the before-lauded Monsieur de
Bernard. He is more remarkable than any other French author, to
our notion, for writing like a gentleman: there is ease, grace and
ton, in his style, which, if we judge aright, cannot be discovered
in Balzac, or Soulié, or Dumas. We have then--"Gerfaut," a novel:
a lovely creature is married to a brave, haughty, Alsacian
nobleman, who allows her to spend her winters at Paris, he
remaining on his terres, cultivating, carousing, and hunting the
boar. The lovely-creature meets the fascinating Gerfaut at Paris;
instantly the latter makes love to her; a duel takes place: baron
killed; wife throws herself out of window; Gerfaut plunges into
dissipation; and so the tale ends.

Next: "La Femme de Quarante Ans," a capital tale, full of exquisite
fun and sparkling satire: La femme de quarante ans has a husband
and THREE lovers; all of whom find out their mutual connection one
starry night; for the lady of forty is of a romantic poetical turn,
and has given her three admirers A STAR APIECE; saying to one and
the other, "Alphonse, when yon pale orb rises in heaven, think of
me;" "Isadore, when that bright planet sparkles in the sky,
remember your Caroline," &c.

"Un Acte de Vertu," from which we have taken Dambergeac's history,
contains him, the husband--a wife--and a brace of lovers; and a
great deal of fun takes place in the manner in which one lover
supplants the other.--Pretty morals truly!

If we examine an author who rejoices in the aristocratic name of le
Comte Horace de Viel-Castel, we find, though with infinitely less
wit, exactly the same intrigues going on. A noble Count lives in
the Faubourg St. Honoré, and has a noble Duchess for a mistress: he
introduces her Grace to the Countess his wife. The Countess his
wife, in order to ramener her lord to his conjugal duties, is
counselled, by a friend, TO PRETEND TO TAKE A LOVER: one is found,
who, poor fellow! takes the affair in earnest: climax--duel, death,
despair, and what not? In the "Faubourg St. Germain," another
novel by the same writer, which professes to describe the very pink
of that society which Napoleon dreaded more than Russia, Prussia,
and Austria, there is an old husband, of course; a sentimental
young German nobleman, who falls in love with his wife; and the
moral of the piece lies in the showing up of the conduct of the
lady, who is reprehended--not for deceiving her husband (poor
devil!)--but for being a flirt, AND TAKING A SECOND LOVER, to the
utter despair, confusion, and annihilation of the first.

Why, ye gods, do Frenchmen marry at all? Had Père Enfantin (who,
it is said, has shaved his ambrosial beard, and is now a clerk in a
banking-house) been allowed to carry out his chaste, just,
dignified social scheme, what a deal of marital discomfort might
have been avoided:--would it not be advisable that a great reformer
and lawgiver of our own, Mr. Robert Owen, should be presented at
the Tuileries, and there propound his scheme for the regeneration
of France?

He might, perhaps, be spared, for our country is not yet sufficiently
advanced to give such a philosopher fair play. In London, as yet,
there are no blessed Bureaux de Mariage, where an old bachelor may
have a charming young maiden--for his money; or a widow of seventy
may buy a gay young fellow of twenty, for a certain number of
bank-billets. If mariages de convenance take place here (as they
will wherever avarice, and poverty, and desire, and yearning after
riches are to be found), at least, thank God, such unions are not
arranged upon a regular organized SYSTEM: there is a fiction of
attachment with us, and there is a consolation in the deceit ("the
homage," according to the old mot of Rochefoucauld) "which vice pays
to virtue"; for the very falsehood shows that the virtue exists
somewhere. We once heard a furious old French colonel inveighing
against the chastity of English demoiselles: "Figurez-vous, sir,"
said he (he had been a prisoner in England), "that these women come
down to dinner in low dresses, and walk out alone with the men!"--
and, pray heaven, so may they walk, fancy-free in all sorts of
maiden meditations, and suffer no more molestation than that young
lady of whom Moore sings, and who (there must have been a famous
lord-lieutenant in those days) walked through all Ireland, with rich
and rare gems, beauty, and a gold ring on her stick, without meeting
or thinking of harm.

Now, whether Monsieur de Viel-Castel has given a true picture of
the Faubourg St. Germain, it is impossible for most foreigners to
say; but some of his descriptions will not fail to astonish the
English reader; and all are filled with that remarkable naïf
contempt of the institution called marriage, which we have seen in
M. de Bernard. The romantic young nobleman of Westphalia arrives
at Paris, and is admitted into what a celebrated female author
calls la crême de la crême de la haute volée of Parisian society.
He is a youth of about twenty years of age. "No passion had as yet
come to move his heart, and give life to his faculties; he was
awaiting and fearing the moment of love; calling for it, and yet
trembling at its approach; feeling in the depths of his soul, that
that moment would create a mighty change in his being, and decide,
perhaps, by its influence, the whole of his future life."

Is it not remarkable, that a young nobleman, with these ideas,
should not pitch upon a demoiselle, or a widow, at least? but no,
the rogue must have a married woman, bad luck to him; and what his
fate is to be, is thus recounted by our author, in the shape of


"A lady, with a great deal of esprit, to whom forty years'
experience of the great world had given a prodigious perspicacity
of judgment, the Duchess of Chalux, arbitress of the opinion to be
held on all new comers to the Faubourg Saint Germain, and of their
destiny and reception in it;--one of those women, in a word, who
make or ruin a man,--said, in speaking of Gerard de Stolberg, whom
she received at her own house, and met everywhere, 'This young
German will never gain for himself the title of an exquisite, or a
man of bonnes fortunes, among us. In spite of his calm and
politeness, I think I can see in his character some rude and
insurmountable difficulties, which time will only increase, and
which will prevent him for ever from bending to the exigencies of
either profession; but, unless I very much deceive myself, he will,
one day, be the hero of a veritable romance.'

"'He, madame?' answered a young man, of fair complexion and fair
hair, one of the most devoted slaves of the fashion:--'He, Madame
la Duchesse? why, the man is, at best, but an original, fished out
of the Rhine: a dull, heavy creature, as much capable of
understanding a woman's heart as I am of speaking bas-Breton.'

"'Well, Monsieur de Belport, you will speak bas-Breton. Monsieur
de Stolberg has not your admirable ease of manner, nor your
facility of telling pretty nothings, nor your--in a word, that
particular something which makes you the most recherché man of the
Faubourg Saint Germain; and even I avow to you that, were I still
young, and a coquette, AND THAT I TOOK IT INTO MY HEAD TO HAVE A
LOVER, I would prefer you.'

"All this was said by the Duchess, with a certain air of raillery
and such a mixture of earnest and malice, that Monsieur de Belport,
piqued not a little, could not help saying, as he bowed profoundly
before the Duchess's chair, 'And might I, madam, be permitted to
ask the reason of this preference?'

"'O mon Dieu, oui,' said the Duchess, always in the same tone;
'because a lover like you would never think of carrying his
attachment to the height of passion; and these passions, do you
know, have frightened me all my life. One cannot retreat at will
from the grasp of a passionate lover; one leaves behind one some
fragment of one's moral SELF, or the best part of one's physical
life. A passion, if it does not kill you, adds cruelly to your
years; in a word, it is the very lowest possible taste. And now
you understand why I should prefer you, M. de Belport--you who are
reputed to be the leader of the fashion.'

"'Perfectly,' murmured the gentleman, piqued more and more.

"'Gerard de Stolberg WILL be passionate. I don't know what woman
will please him, or will be pleased by him' (here the Duchess of
Chalux spoke more gravely); 'but his love will be no play, I repeat
it to you once more. All this astonishes you, because you, great
leaders of the ton that you are, never fancy that a hero of romance
should be found among your number. Gerard de Stolberg--but, look,
here he comes!'

"M. de Belport rose, and quitted the Duchess, without believing in
her prophecy; but he could not avoid smiling as he passed near the

"It was because M. de Stolberg had never, in all his life, been a
hero of romance, or even an apprentice-hero of romance.

"Gerard de Stolberg was not, as yet, initiated into the thousand
secrets in the chronicle of the great world: he knew but
superficially the society in which he lived; and, therefore, he
devoted his evening to the gathering of all the information which
he could acquire from the indiscreet conversations of the people
about him. His whole man became ear and memory; so much was
Stolberg convinced of the necessity of becoming a diligent student
in this new school, where was taught the art of knowing and
advancing in the great world. In the recess of a window he learned
more on this one night than months of investigation would have
taught him. The talk of a ball is more indiscreet than the
confidential chatter of a company of idle women. No man present at
a ball, whether listener or speaker, thinks he has a right to
affect any indulgence for his companions, and the most learned in
malice will always pass for the most witty.

"'How!' said the Viscount de Mondragé: 'the Duchess of Rivesalte
arrives alone to-night, without her inevitable Dormilly!'--And the
Viscount, as he spoke, pointed towards a tall and slender young
woman, who, gliding rather than walking, met the ladies by whom she
passed, with a graceful and modest salute, and replied to the looks

"'Parbleu!' said an elegant personage standing near the Viscount de
Mondragé, 'don't you see Dormilly ranged behind the Duchess, in
quality of train-bearer, and hiding, under his long locks and his
great screen of moustaches, the blushing consciousness of his good
luck?--They call him THE FOURTH CHAPTER of the Duchess's memoirs.
The little Marquise d'Alberas is ready to die out of spite; but the
best of the joke is, that she has only taken poor de Vendre for a
lover in order to vent her spleen on him. Look at him against the
chimney yonder; if the Marchioness do not break at once with him by
quitting him for somebody else, the poor fellow will turn an idiot.'

"'Is he jealous?' asked a young man, looking as if he did not know
what jealousy was and as if he had no time to be jealous.

"'Jealous! the very incarnation of jealousy; the second edition,
revised, corrected, and considerably enlarged; as jealous as poor
Gressigny, who is dying of it.'

"'What! Gressigny too? why, 'tis growing quite into fashion:
egad! I must try and be jealous,' said Monsieur de Beauval. 'But
see! here comes the delicious Duchess of Bellefiore,'" &c. &c. &c.

Enough, enough: this kind of fashionable Parisian conversation,
which is, says our author, "a prodigious labor of improvising," a
"chef-d'oeuvre," a "strange and singular thing, in which monotony
is unknown," seems to be, if correctly reported, a "strange and
singular thing" indeed; but somewhat monotonous at least to an
English reader, and "prodigious" only, if we may take leave to say
so, for the wonderful rascality which all the conversationists
betray. Miss Neverout and the Colonel, in Swift's famous dialogue,
are a thousand times more entertaining and moral; and, besides, we
can laugh AT those worthies as well as with them; whereas the
"prodigious" French wits are to us quite incomprehensible. Fancy a
duchess as old as Lady ---- herself, and who should begin to tell
us "of what she would do if ever she had a mind to take a lover;"
and another duchess, with a fourth lover, tripping modestly among
the ladies, and returning the gaze of the men by veiled glances,
full of coquetry and attack!--Parbleu, if Monsieur de Viel-Castel
should find himself among a society of French duchesses, and they
should tear his eyes out, and send the fashionable Orpheus floating
by the Seine, his slaughter might almost be considered as
justifiable COUNTICIDE.


Anybody who was at C---- school some twelve years since, must
recollect Jack Attwood: he was the most dashing lad in the place,
with more money in his pocket than belonged to the whole fifth form
in which we were companions.

When he was about fifteen, Jack suddenly retreated from C----, and
presently we heard that he had a commission in a cavalry regiment,
and was to have a great fortune from his father, when that old
gentleman should die. Jack himself came to confirm these stories a
few months after, and paid a visit to his old school chums. He had
laid aside his little school-jacket and inky corduroys, and now
appeared in such a splendid military suit as won the respect of all
of us. His hair was dripping with oil, his hands were covered with
rings, he had a dusky down over his upper lip which looked not
unlike a moustache, and a multiplicity of frogs and braiding on his
surtout which would have sufficed to lace a field-marshal. When
old Swishtail, the usher, passed in his seedy black coat and
gaiters, Jack gave him such a look of contempt as set us all a-
laughing: in fact it was his turn to laugh now; for he used to roar
very stoutly some months before, when Swishtail was in the custom
of belaboring him with his great cane.

Jack's talk was all about the regiment and the fine fellows in it:
how he had ridden a steeple-chase with Captain Boldero, and licked
him at the last hedge; and how he had very nearly fought a duel
with Sir George Grig, about dancing with Lady Mary Slamken at a
ball. "I soon made the baronet know what it was to deal with a man
of the n--th," said Jack. "Dammee, sir, when I lugged out my
barkers, and talked of fighting across the mess-room table, Grig
turned as pale as a sheet, or as--"

"Or as you used to do, Attwood, when Swishtail hauled you up,"
piped out little Hicks, the foundation-boy.

It was beneath Jack's dignity to thrash anybody, now, but a grown-
up baronet; so he let off little Hicks, and passed over the general
titter which was raised at his expense. However, he entertained us
with his histories about lords and ladies, and so-and-so "of ours,"
until we thought him one of the greatest men in his Majesty's
service, and until the school-bell rung; when, with a heavy heart,
we got our books together, and marched in to be whacked by old
Swishtail. I promise you he revenged himself on us for Jack's
contempt of him. I got that day at least twenty cuts to my share,
which ought to have belonged to Cornet Attwood, of the n--th

When we came to think more coolly over our quondam schoolfellow's
swaggering talk and manner, we were not quite so impressed by his
merits as at his first appearance among us. We recollected how he
used, in former times, to tell us great stories, which were so
monstrously improbable that the smallest boy in the school would
scout them; how often we caught him tripping in facts, and how
unblushingly he admitted his little errors in the score of
veracity. He and I, though never great friends, had been close
companions: I was Jack's form-fellow (we fought with amazing
emulation for the LAST place in the class); but still I was rather
hurt at the coolness of my old comrade, who had forgotten all our
former intimacy, in his steeple-chases with Captain Boldero and his
duel with Sir George Grig.

Nothing more was heard of Attwood for some years; a tailor one day
came down to C----, who had made clothes for Jack in his school-
days, and furnished him with regimentals: he produced a long bill
for one hundred and twenty pounds and upwards, and asked where news
might be had of his customer. Jack was in India, with his
regiment, shooting tigers and jackals, no doubt. Occasionally,
from that distant country, some magnificent rumor would reach us of
his proceedings. Once I heard that he had been called to a court-
martial for unbecoming conduct; another time, that he kept twenty
horses, and won the gold plate at the Calcutta races. Presently,
however, as the recollections of the fifth form wore away, Jack's
image disappeared likewise, and I ceased to ask or think about my
college chum.

A year since, as I was smoking my cigar in the "Estaminet du Grand
Balcon," an excellent smoking-shop, where the tobacco is
unexceptionable, and the Hollands of singular merit, a dark-
looking, thick-set man, in a greasy well-cut coat, with a shabby
hat, cocked on one side of his dirty face, took the place opposite
me, at the little marble table, and called for brandy. I did not
much admire the impudence or the appearance of my friend, nor the
fixed stare with which he chose to examine me. At last, he thrust
a great greasy hand across the table, and said, "Titmarsh, do you
forget your old friend Attwood?"

I confess my recognition of him was not so joyful as on the day ten
years earlier, when he had come, bedizened with lace and gold
rings, to see us at C---- school: a man in the tenth part of a
century learns a deal of worldly wisdom, and his hand, which goes
naturally forward to seize the gloved finger of a millionnaire, or
a milor, draws instinctively back from a dirty fist, encompassed by
a ragged wristband and a tattered cuff. But Attwood was in nowise
so backward; and the iron squeeze with which he shook my passive
paw, proved that he was either very affectionate or very poor.
You, my dear sir, who are reading this history, know very well the
great art of shaking hands: recollect how you shook Lord Dash's
hand the other day, and how you shook OFF poor Blank, when he came
to borrow five pounds of you.

However, the genial influence of the Hollands speedily dissipated
anything like coolness between us and, in the course of an hour's
conversation, we became almost as intimate as when we were
suffering together under the ferule of old Swishtail. Jack told me
that he had quitted the army in disgust; and that his father, who
was to leave him a fortune, had died ten thousand pounds in debt:
he did not touch upon his own circumstances; but I could read them
in his elbows, which were peeping through his old frock. He talked
a great deal, however, of runs of luck, good and bad; and related
to me an infallible plan for breaking all the play-banks in Europe--
a great number of old tricks;--and a vast quantity of gin-punch
was consumed on the occasion; so long, in fact, did our conversation
continue, that, I confess it with shame, the sentiment, or something
stronger, quite got the better of me, and I have, to this day, no
sort of notion how our palaver concluded.--Only, on the next
morning, I did not possess a certain five-pound note which on the
previous evening was in my sketch-book (by far the prettiest drawing
by the way in the collection) but there, instead, was a strip of
paper, thus inscribed:--

Five Pounds. JOHN ATTWOOD,
Late of the N--th Dragoons.

I suppose Attwood borrowed the money, from this remarkable and
ceremonious acknowledgment on his part: had I been sober I would
just as soon have lent him the nose on my face; for, in my then
circumstances, the note was of much more consequence to me.

As I lay, cursing my ill fortune, and thinking how on earth I
should manage to subsist for the next two months, Attwood burst
into my little garret--his face strangely flushed--singing and
shouting as if it had been the night before. "Titmarsh," cried he,
"you are my preserver!--my best friend! Look here, and here, and
here!" And at every word Mr. Attwood produced a handful of gold,
or a glittering heap of five-franc pieces, or a bundle of greasy,
dusky bank-notes, more beautiful than either silver or gold:--he
had won thirteen thousand francs after leaving me at midnight in my
garret. He separated my poor little all, of six pieces, from this
shining and imposing collection; and the passion of envy entered my
soul: I felt far more anxious now than before, although starvation
was then staring me in the face; I hated Attwood for CHEATING me
out of all this wealth. Poor fellow! it had been better for him
had he never seen a shilling of it.

However, a grand breakfast at the Café Anglais dissipated my
chagrin; and I will do my friend the justice to say, that he nobly
shared some portion of his good fortune with me. As far as the
creature comforts were concerned I feasted as well as he, and never
was particular as to settling my share of the reckoning.

Jack now changed his lodgings; had cards, with Captain Attwood
engraved on them, and drove about a prancing cab-horse, as tall as
the giraffe at the Jardin des Plantes; he had as many frogs on his
coat as in the old days, and frequented all the flash restaurateurs'
and boarding-houses of the capital. Madame de Saint Laurent, and
Madame la Baronne de Vaudrey, and Madame la Comtesse de Jonville,
ladies of the highest rank, who keep a société choisie and
condescend to give dinners at five-francs a head, vied with each
other in their attentions to Jack. His was the wing of the fowl,
and the largest portion of the Charlotte-Russe; his was the place at
the écarté table, where the Countess would ease him nightly of a few
pieces, declaring that he was the most charming cavalier, la fleur
d'Albion. Jack's society, it may be seen, was not very select; nor,
in truth, were his inclinations: he was a careless, daredevil,
Macheath kind of fellow, who might be seen daily with a wife on each

It may be supposed that, with the life he led, his five hundred
pounds of winnings would not last him long; nor did they; but, for
some time, his luck never deserted him; and his cash, instead of
growing lower, seemed always to maintain a certain level: he played
every night.

Of course, such a humble fellow as I, could not hope for a
continued acquaintance and intimacy with Attwood. He grew
overbearing and cool, I thought; at any rate I did not admire my
situation as his follower and dependant, and left his grand dinner
for a certain ordinary, where I could partake of five capital
dishes for ninepence. Occasionally, however, Attwood favored me
with a visit, or gave me a drive behind his great cab-horse. He
had formed a whole host of friends besides. There was Fips, the
barrister; heaven knows what he was doing at Paris; and Gortz, the
West Indian, who was there on the same business, and Flapper, a
medical student,--all these three I met one night at Flapper's
rooms, where Jack was invited, and a great "spread" was laid in
honor of him.

Jack arrived rather late--he looked pale and agitated; and, though
he ate no supper, he drank raw brandy in such a manner as made
Flapper's eyes wink: the poor fellow had but three bottles, and
Jack bade fair to swallow them all. However, the West Indian
generously remedied the evil, and producing a napoleon, we speedily
got the change for it in the shape of four bottles of champagne.

Our supper was uproariously harmonious; Fips sung the good "Old
English Gentleman;" Jack the "British Grenadiers;" and your humble
servant, when called upon, sang that beautiful ditty, "When the
Bloom is on the Rye," in a manner that drew tears from every eye,
except Flapper's, who was asleep, and Jack's, who was singing the
"Bay of Biscay O," at the same time. Gortz and Fips were all the
time lunging at each other with a pair of single-sticks, the
barrister having a very strong notion that he was Richard the
Third. At last Fips hit the West Indian such a blow across his
sconce, that the other grew furious; he seized a champagne-bottle,
which was, providentially, empty, and hurled it across the room at
Fips: had that celebrated barrister not bowed his head at the
moment, the Queen's Bench would have lost one of its most eloquent

Fips stood as straight as he could; his cheek was pale with wrath.
"M-m-ister Go-gortz," he said, "I always heard you were a
blackguard; now I can pr-pr-peperove it. Flapper, your pistols!
every ge-ge-genlmn knows what I mean."

Young Mr. Flapper had a small pair of pocket-pistols, which the
tipsy barrister had suddenly remembered, and with which he proposed
to sacrifice the West Indian. Gortz was nothing loth, but was
quite as valorous as the lawyer.

Attwood, who, in spite of his potations, seemed the soberest man of
the party, had much enjoyed the scene, until this sudden demand for
the weapons. "Pshaw!" said he, eagerly, "don't give these men the
means of murdering each other; sit down and let us have another
song." But they would not be still; and Flapper forthwith produced
his pistol-case, and opened it, in order that the duel might take
place on the spot. There were no pistols there! "I beg your
pardon," said Attwood, looking much confused; "I--I took the
pistols home with me to clean them!"

I don't know what there was in his tone, or in the words, but we
were sobered all of a sudden. Attwood was conscious of the
singular effect produced by him, for he blushed, and endeavored to
speak of other things, but we could not bring our spirits back to
the mark again, and soon separated for the night. As we issued
into the street Jack took me aside, and whispered, "Have you a
napoleon, Titmarsh, in your purse?' Alas! I was not so rich. My
reply was, that I was coming to Jack, only in the morning, to
borrow a similar sum.

He did not make any reply, but turned away homeward: I never heard
him speak another word.

Two mornings after (for none of our party met on the day succeeding
the supper), I was awakened by my porter, who brought a pressing
letter from Mr. Gortz:--

"DEAR T.,--I wish you would come over here to breakfast. There's a
row about Attwood.--Yours truly,


I immediately set forward to Gortz's; he lived in the Rue du
Helder, a few doors from Attwood's new lodging. If the reader is
curious to know the house in which the catastrophe of this history
took place, he has but to march some twenty doors down from the
Boulevard des Italiens, when he will see a fine door, with a naked
Cupid shooting at him from the hall, and a Venus beckoning him up
the stairs. On arriving at the West Indian's, at about mid-day (it
was a Sunday morning), I found that gentleman in his dressing-gown,
discussing, in the company of Mr Fips, a large plate of bifteck aux

"Here's a pretty row!" said Gortz, quoting from his letter;--
"Attwood's off--have a bit of beefsteak?"

"What do you mean?" exclaimed I, adopting the familiar phraseology
of my acquaintances:--"Attwood off?--has he cut his stick?"

"Not bad," said the feeling and elegant Fips--"not such a bad
guess, my boy; but he has not exactly CUT HIS STICK."

"What then?"

"WHY, HIS THROAT." The man's mouth was full of bleeding beef as he
uttered this gentlemanly witticism.

I wish I could say that I was myself in the least affected by the
news. I did not joke about it like my friend Fips; this was more
for propriety's sake than for feeling's: but for my old school
acquaintance, the friend of my early days, the merry associate of
the last few months, I own, with shame, that I had not a tear or a
pang. In some German tale there is an account of a creature most
beautiful and bewitching, whom all men admire and follow; but this
charming and fantastic spirit only leads them, one by one, into
ruin, and then leaves them. The novelist, who describes her
beauty, says that his heroine is a fairy, and HAS NO HEART. I
think the intimacy which is begotten over the wine-bottle, is a
spirit of this nature; I never knew a good feeling come from it, or
an honest friendship made by it; it only entices men and ruins
them; it is only a phantom of friendship and feeling, called up by
the delirious blood, and the wicked spells of the wine.

But to drop this strain of moralizing (in which the writer is not
too anxious to proceed, for he cuts in it a most pitiful figure),
we passed sundry criticisms upon poor Attwood's character,
expressed our horror at his death--which sentiment was fully proved
by Mr. Fips, who declared that the notion of it made him feel quite
faint, and was obliged to drink a large glass of brandy; and,
finally, we agreed that we would go and see the poor fellow's
corpse, and witness, if necessary, his burial.

Flapper, who had joined us, was the first to propose this visit: he
said he did not mind the fifteen francs which Jack owed him for
billiards, but he was anxious to GET BACK HIS PISTOL. Accordingly,
we sallied forth, and speedily arrived at the hotel which Attwood
inhabited still. He had occupied, for a time, very fine apartments
in this house: and it was only on arriving there that day that we
found he had been gradually driven from his magnificent suite of
rooms au premier, to a little chamber in the fifth story:--we
mounted, and found him. It was a little shabby room, with a few
articles of rickety furniture, and a bed in an alcove; the light
from the one window was falling full upon the bed and the body.
Jack was dressed in a fine lawn shirt; he had kept it, poor fellow,
TO DIE IN; for in all his drawers and cupboards there was not a
single article of clothing; he had pawned everything by which he
could raise a penny--desk, books, dressing-case, and clothes; and
not a single halfpenny was found in his possession.*

* In order to account for these trivial details, the reader must be
told that the story is, for the chief part, a fact; and that the
little sketch in this page was TAKEN FROM NATURE. The latter was
likewise a copy from one found in the manner described.

He was lying as I have drawn him,* one hand on his breast, the
other falling towards the ground. There was an expression of
perfect calm on the face, and no mark of blood to stain the side
towards the light. On the other side, however, there was a great
pool of black blood, and in it the pistol; it looked more like a
toy than a weapon to take away the life of this vigorous young man.
In his forehead, at the side, was a small black wound; Jack's life
had passed through it; it was little bigger than a mole.

* This refers to an illustrated edition of the work.

"Regardez un peu," said the landlady, "messieurs, il m'a gâté trois
matelas, et il me doit quarante quatre francs."

This was all his epitaph: he had spoiled three mattresses, and owed
the landlady four-and-forty francs. In the whole world there was
not a soul to love him or lament him. We, his friends, were
looking at his body more as an object of curiosity, watching it
with a kind of interest with which one follows the fifth act of a
tragedy, and leaving it with the same feeling with which one leaves
the theatre when the play is over and the curtain is down.

Beside Jack's bed, on his little "table de nuit," lay the remains
of his last meal, and an open letter, which we read. It was from
one of his suspicious acquaintances of former days, and ran thus:--

"Où es tu, cher Jack? why you not come and see me--tu me dois de
l'argent, entends tu?--un chapeau, une cachemire, a box of the
Play. Viens demain soir, je t'attendrai at eight o'clock, Passage
des Panoramas. My Sir is at his country.

"Adieu à demain.



I shuddered as I walked through this very Passage des Panoramas, in
the evening. The girl was there, pacing to and fro, and looking in
the countenance of every passer-by, to recognize Attwood. "ADIEU À
DEMAIN!"--there was a dreadful meaning in the words, which the
writer of them little knew. "Adieu à demain!"--the morrow was
come, and the soul of the poor suicide was now in the presence of
God. I dare not think of his fate; for, except in the fact of his
poverty and desperation, was he worse than any of us, his
companions, who had shared his debauches, and marched with him up
to the very brink of the grave?

There is but one more circumstance to relate regarding poor Jack--
his burial; it was of a piece with his death.

He was nailed into a paltry coffin and buried, at the expense of
the arrondissement, in a nook of the burial-place beyond the
Barrière de l'Etoile. They buried him at six o'clock, of a bitter
winter's morning, and it was with difficulty that an English
clergyman could be found to read a service over his grave. The
three men who have figured in this history acted as Jack's
mourners; and as the ceremony was to take place so early in the
morning, these men sat up the night through, AND WERE ALMOST DRUNK
as they followed his coffin to its resting-place.


"When we turned out in our great-coats," said one of them afterwards,
"reeking of cigars and brandy-and-water, d--e, sir, we quite
frightened the old buck of a parson; he did not much like our
company." After the ceremony was concluded, these gentlemen were
very happy to get home to a warm and comfortable breakfast, and
finished the day royally at Frascati's.



Any person who recollects the history of the absurd outbreak of
Strasburg, in which Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte figured, three
years ago, must remember that, however silly the revolt was,
however, foolish its pretext, however doubtful its aim, and
inexperienced its leader, there was, nevertheless, a party, and a
considerable one in France, that were not unwilling to lend the new
projectors their aid. The troops who declared against the Prince,
were, it was said, all but willing to declare for him; and it was
certain that, in many of the regiments of the army, there existed a
strong spirit of disaffection, and an eager wish for the return of
the imperial system and family.

As to the good that was to be derived from the change, that is
another question. Why the Emperor of the French should be better
than the King of the French, or the King of the French better than
the King of France and Navarre, it is not our business to inquire;
but all the three monarchs have no lack of supporters; republicanism
has no lack of supporters; St. Simoninnism was followed by a
respectable body of admirers; Robespierrism has a select party of
friends. If, in a country where so many quacks have had their day,
Prince Louis Napoleon thought he might renew the imperial quackery,
why should he not? It has recollections with it that must always be
dear to a gallant nation; it has certain claptraps in its vocabulary
that can never fail to inflame a vain, restless, grasping,
disappointed one.

In the first place, and don't let us endeavor to disguise it, they
hate us. Not all the protestations of friendship, not all the
wisdom of Lord Palmerston, not all the diplomacy of our distinguished
plenipotentiary, Mr. Henry Lytton Bulwer--and let us add, not all
the benefit which both countries would derive from the alliance--can
make it, in our times at least, permanent and cordial. They hate
us. The Carlist organs revile us with a querulous fury that never
sleeps; the moderate party, if they admit the utility of our
alliance, are continually pointing out our treachery, our insolence,
and our monstrous infractions of it; and for the Republicans, as
sure as the morning comes, the columns of their journals thunder out
volleys of fierce denunciations against our unfortunate country.
They live by feeding the natural hatred against England, by keeping
old wounds open, by recurring ceaselessly to the history of old
quarrels, and as in these we, by God's help, by land and by sea, in
old times and late, have had the uppermost, they perpetuate the
shame and mortification of the losing party, the bitterness of past
defeats, and the eager desire to avenge them. A party which knows
how to exploiter this hatred will always be popular to a certain
extent; and the imperial scheme has this, at least, among its

Then there is the favorite claptrap of the "natural frontier." The
Frenchman yearns to be bounded by the Rhine and the Alps; and next
follows the cry, "Let France take her place among nations, and
direct, as she ought to do, the affairs of Europe." These are the
two chief articles contained in the new imperial programme, if we
may credit the journal which has been established to advocate the
cause. A natural boundary--stand among the nations--popular
development--Russian alliance, and a reduction of la perfide Albion
to its proper insignificance. As yet we know little more of the
plan: and yet such foundations are sufficient to build a party
upon, and with such windy weapons a substantial Government is to be

In order to give these doctrines, such as they are, a chance of
finding favor with his countrymen, Prince Louis has the advantage
of being able to refer to a former great professor of them--his
uncle Napoleon. His attempt is at once pious and prudent; it
exalts the memory of the uncle, and furthers the interests of the
nephew, who attempts to show what Napoleon's ideas really were;
what good had already resulted from the practice of them; how
cruelly they had been thwarted by foreign wars and difficulties;
and what vast benefits WOULD have resulted from them; ay, and (it
is reasonable to conclude) might still, if the French nation would
be wise enough to pitch upon a governor that would continue the
interrupted scheme. It is, however, to be borne in mind that the
Emperor Napoleon had certain arguments in favor of his opinions for
the time being, which his nephew has not employed. On the 13th
Vendemiaire, when General Bonaparte believed in the excellence of a
Directory, it may be remembered that he aided his opinions by forty
pieces of artillery, and by Colonel Murat at the head of his
dragoons. There was no resisting such a philosopher; the Directory
was established forthwith, and the sacred cause of the minority
triumphed, in like manner, when the General was convinced of the
weakness of the Directory, and saw fully the necessity of
establishing a Consulate, what were his arguments? Moreau, Lannes,
Murat, Berthier, Leclerc, Lefebvre--gentle apostles of the truth!--
marched to St. Cloud, and there, with fixed bayonets, caused it to
prevail. Error vanished in an instant. At once five hundred of
its high-priests tumbled out of windows, and lo! three Consuls
appeared to guide the destinies of France! How much more
expeditious, reasonable, and clinching was this argument of the
18th Brumaire, than any one that can be found in any pamphlet! A
fig for your duodecimos and octavos! Talk about points, there are
none like those at the end of a bayonet; and the most powerful of
styles is a good rattling "article" from a nine-pounder.

At least this is our interpretation of the manner in which were
always propagated the Idées Napoléoniennes. Not such, however, is
Prince Louis's belief; and, if you wish to go along with him in
opinion, you will discover that a more liberal, peaceable, prudent
Prince never existed: you will read that "the mission of Napoleon"
was to be the "testamentary executor of the revolution;" and the
Prince should have added the legatee; or, more justly still, as
well as the EXECUTOR, he should be called the EXECUTIONER, and then
his title would be complete. In Vendemiaire, the military
Tartuffe, he threw aside the Revolution's natural heirs, and made
her, as it were, ALTER HER WILL; on the 18th of Brumaire he
strangled her, and on the 19th seized on her property, and kept it
until force deprived him of it. Illustrations, to be sure, are no
arguments, but the example is the Prince's, not ours.

In the Prince's eyes, then, his uncle is a god; of all monarchs,
the most wise, upright, and merciful. Thirty years ago the opinion
had millions of supporters; while millions again were ready to
avouch the exact contrary. It is curious to think of the former
difference of opinion concerning Napoleon; and, in reading his
nephew's rapturous encomiums of him, one goes back to the days when
we ourselves were as loud and mad in his dispraise. Who does not
remember his own personal hatred and horror, twenty-five years ago,
for the man whom we used to call the "bloody Corsican upstart and
assassin?" What stories did we not believe of him?--what murders,
rapes, robberies, not lay to his charge?--we who were living within
a few miles of his territory, and might, by books and newspapers,
be made as well acquainted with his merits or demerits as any of
his own countrymen.

Then was the age when the Idées Napoléoniennes might have passed
through many editions; for while we were thus outrageously bitter,
our neighbors were as extravagantly attached to him by a strange
infatuation--adored him like a god, whom we chose to consider as a
fiend; and vowed that, under his government, their nation had
attained its highest pitch of grandeur and glory. In revenge there
existed in England (as is proved by a thousand authentic documents)
a monster so hideous, a tyrant so ruthless and bloody, that the
world's history cannot show his parallel. This ruffian's name was,
during the early part of the French revolution, Pittetcobourg.
Pittetcobourg's emissaries were in every corner of France;
Pittetcobourg's gold chinked in the pockets of every traitor in
Europe; it menaced the life of the godlike Robespierre; it drove
into cellars and fits of delirium even the gentle philanthropist
Marat; it fourteen times caused the dagger to be lifted against the
bosom of the First Consul, Emperor, and King,--that first, great,
glorious, irresistible, cowardly, contemptible, bloody hero and
fiend, Bonaparte, before mentioned.

On our side of the Channel we have had leisure, long since, to re-
consider our verdict against Napoleon; though, to be sure, we have
not changed our opinion about Pittetcobourg. After five-and-thirty
years all parties bear witness to his honesty, and speak with
affectionate reverence of his patriotism, his genius, and his
private virtue. In France, however, or, at least among certain
parties in France, there has been no such modification of opinion.
With the Republicans, Pittetcobourg is Pittetcobourg still,--
crafty, bloody, seeking whom he may devour; and perfide Albion more
perfidious than ever. This hatred is the point of union between
the Republic and the Empire; it has been fostered ever since, and
must be continued by Prince Louis, if he would hope to conciliate
both parties.

With regard to the Emperor, then, Prince Louis erects to his memory
as fine a monument as his wits can raise. One need not say that
the imperial apologist's opinion should be received with the utmost
caution; for a man who has such a hero for an uncle may naturally
be proud of and partial to him; and when this nephew of the great
man would be his heir likewise, and, hearing his name, step also
into his imperial shoes, one may reasonably look for much
affectionate panegyric. "The empire was the best of empires,"
cries the Prince; and possibly it was; undoubtedly, the Prince
thinks it was; but he is the very last person who would convince a
man with the proper suspicious impartiality. One remembers a
certain consultation of politicians which is recorded in the
Spelling-book; and the opinion of that patriotic sage who avowed
that, for a real blameless constitution, an impenetrable shield for
liberty, and cheap defence of nations, there was nothing like

Let us examine some of the Prince's article. If we may be allowed
humbly to express an opinion, his leather is not only quite
insufficient for those vast public purposes for which he destines
it, but is, moreover, and in itself, very BAD LEATHER. The hides
are poor, small, unsound slips of skin; or, to drop this cobbling
metaphor, the style is not particularly brilliant, the facts not
very startling, and, as for the conclusions, one may differ with
almost every one of them. Here is an extract from his first
chapter, "on governments in general:"--

"I speak it with regret, I can see but two governments, at this
day, which fulfil the mission that Providence has confided to them;
they are the two colossi at the end of the world; one at the
extremity of the old world, the other at the extremity of the new.
Whilst our old European centre is as a volcano, consuming itself in
its crater, the two nations of the East and the West, march without
hesitation, towards perfection; the one under the will of a single
individual, the other under liberty.

"Providence has confided to the United States of North America the
task of peopling and civilizing that immense territory which
stretches from the Atlantic to the South Sea, and from the North
Pole to the Equator. The Government, which is only a simple
administration, has only hitherto been called upon to put in
practice the old adage, Laissez faire, laissez passer, in order to
favor that irresistible instinct which pushes the people of America
to the west.

In Russia it is to the imperial dynasty that is owing all the vast
progress which, in a century and a half, has rescued that empire
from barbarism. The imperial power must contend against all the
ancient prejudices of our old Europe: it must centralize, as far as
possible, all the powers of the state in the hands of one person,
in order to destroy the abuses which the feudal and communal
franchises have served to perpetuate. The last alone can hope to
receive from it the improvements which it expects.

"But thou, France of Henry IV., of Louis XIV., of Carnot, of
Napoleon--thou, who wert always for the west of Europe the source
of progress, who possessest in thyself the two great pillars of
empire, the genius for the arts of peace and the genius of war--
hast thou no further mission to fulfil? Wilt thou never cease to
waste thy force and energies in intestine struggles? No; such
cannot be thy destiny: the day will soon come, when, to govern
thee, it will be necessary to understand that thy part is to place
in all treaties thy sword of Brennus on the side of civilization."

These are the conclusions of the Prince's remarks upon governments
in general; and it must be supposed that the reader is very little
wiser at the end than at the beginning. But two governments in the
world fulfil their mission: the one government, which is no
government; the other, which is a despotism. The duty of France is
IN ALL TREATIES to place her sword of Brennus in the scale of
civilization. Without quarrelling with the somewhat confused
language of the latter proposition, may we ask what, in heaven's
name, is the meaning of all the three? What is this épée de
Brennus? and how is France to use it? Where is the great source of
political truth, from which, flowing pure, we trace American
republicanism in one stream, Russian despotism in another? Vastly
prosperous is the great republic, if you will: if dollars and cents
constitute happiness, there is plenty for all: but can any one, who
has read of the American doings in the late frontier troubles, and
the daily disputes on the slave question, praise the GOVERNMENT of
the States?--a Government which dares not punish homicide or arson
performed before its very eyes, and which the pirates of Texas and
the pirates of Canada can brave at their will? There is no
government, but a prosperous anarchy; as the Prince's other
favorite government is a prosperous slavery. What, then, is to be
the épée de Brennus government? Is it to be a mixture of the two?
"Society," writes the Prince, axiomatically, "contains in itself
two principles--the one of progress and immortality, the other of
disease and disorganization." No doubt; and as the one tends
towards liberty, so the other is only to be cured by order: and
then, with a singular felicity, Prince Louis picks us out a couple
of governments, in one of which the common regulating power is as
notoriously too weak, as it is in the other too strong, and talks
in rapturous terms of the manner in which they fulfil their
"providential mission!"

From these considerations on things in general, the Prince conducts
us to Napoleon in particular, and enters largely into a discussion
of the merits of the imperial system. Our author speaks of the
Emperor's advent in the following grandiose way:--

"Napoleon, on arriving at the public stage, saw that his part was
to be the TESTAMENTARY EXECUTOR of the Revolution. The destructive
fire of parties was extinct; and when the Revolution, dying, but
not vanquished, delegated to Napoleon the accomplishment of her
last will, she said to him, 'Establish upon solid bases the
principal result of my efforts. Unite divided Frenchmen. Defeat
feudal Europe that is leagued against me. Cicatrize my wounds.
Enlighten the nations. Execute that in width, which I have had to
perform in depth. Be for Europe what I have been for France. And,
even if you must water the tree of civilization with your blood--if
you must see your projects misunderstood, and your sons without a
country, wandering over the face of the earth, never abandon the
sacred cause of the French people. Insure its triumph by all the
means which genius can discover and humanity approve.'

"This grand mission Napoleon performed to the end. His task was
difficult. He had to place upon new principles a society still
boiling with hatred and revenge; and to use, for building up, the
same instruments which had been employed for pulling down.

"The common lot of every new truth that arises, is to wound rather
than to convince--rather than to gain proselytes, to awaken fear.
For, oppressed as it long has been, it rushes forward with
additional force; having to encounter obstacles, it is compelled to
combat them, and overthrow them; until, at length, comprehended and
adopted by the generality, it becomes the basis of new social

"Liberty will follow the same march as the Christian religion.
Armed with death from the ancient society of Rome, it for a long
while excited the hatred and fear of the people. At last, by force
of martyrdoms and persecutions, the religion of Christ penetrated
into the conscience and the soul; it soon had kings and armies at
its orders, and Constantine and Charlemagne bore it triumphant
throughout Europe. Religion then laid down her arms of war. It
laid open to all the principles of peace and order which it
contained; it became the prop of Government, as it was the
organizing element of society. Thus will it be with liberty. In
1793 it frightened people and sovereigns alike; then, having
clothed itself in a milder garb, IT INSINUATED ITSELF EVERYWHERE IN
THE TRAIN OF OUR BATTALIONS. In 1815 all parties adopted its flag,
and armed themselves with its moral force--covered themselves with
its colors. The adoption was not sincere, and liberty was soon
obliged to reassume its warlike accoutrements. With the contest
their fears returned. Let us hope that they will soon cease, and
that liberty will soon resume her peaceful standards, to quit them
no more.

"The Emperor Napoleon contributed more than any one else towards
accelerating the reign of liberty, by saving the moral influence
of the revolution, and diminishing the fears which it imposed.
Without the Consulate and the Empire, the revolution would have
been only a grand drama, leaving grand revolutions but no traces:
the revolution would have been drowned in the counter-revolution.
The contrary, however, was the case. Napoleon rooted the
revolution in France, and introduced, throughout Europe, the
principal benefits of the crisis of 1789. To use his own words,
'He purified the revolution, he confirmed kings, and ennobled
people.' He purified the revolution, in separating the truths
which it contained from the passions that, during its delirium,
disfigured it. He ennobled the people in giving them the
consciousness of their force, and those institutions which raise
men in their own eyes. The Emperor may be considered as the
Messiah of the new ideas; for--and we must confess it--in the
moments immediately succeeding a social revolution, it is not so
essential to put rigidly into practice all the propositions
resulting from the new theory, but to become master of the
regenerative genius, to identify one's self with the sentiments of
the people, and boldly to direct them towards the desired point.
PEOPLE, as the Emperor said; you should feel like it, your
interests should be so intimately raised with its own, that you
should vanquish or fall together."

Let us take breath after these big phrases,--grand round figures of
speech,--which, when put together, amount like certain other
combinations of round figures to exactly 0. We shall not stop to
argue the merits and demerits of Prince Louis's notable comparison
between the Christian religion and the Imperial-revolutionary
system. There are many blunders in the above extract as we read
it; blundering metaphors, blundering arguments, and blundering
assertions; but this is surely the grandest blunder of all; and one
wonders at the blindness of the legislator and historian who can
advance such a parallel. And what are we to say of the legacy of
the dying revolution to Napoleon? Revolutions do not die, and, on
their death-beds, making fine speeches, hand over their property to
young officers of artillery. We have all read the history of his
rise. The constitution of the year III. was carried. Old men of
the Montagne, disguised royalists, Paris sections, PITTETCOBOURG,
above all, with his money-bags, thought that here was a fine
opportunity for a revolt, and opposed the new constitution in arms:
the new constitution had knowledge of a young officer who would not
hesitate to defend its cause, and who effectually beat the
majority. The tale may be found in every account of the
revolution, and the rest of his story need not be told. We know
every step that he took: we know how, by doses of cannon-balls
promptly administered, he cured the fever of the sections--that
fever which another camp-physician (Menou) declined to prescribe
for; we know how he abolished the Directory; and how the Consulship
came; and then the Empire; and then the disgrace, exile, and lonely
death. Has not all this been written by historians in all
tongues?--by memoir-writing pages, chamberlains, marshals, lackeys,
secretaries, contemporaries, and ladies of honor? Not a word of
miracle is there in all this narration; not a word of celestial
missions, or political Messiahs. From Napoleon's rise to his fall,
the bayonet marches alongside of him: now he points it at the tails
of the scampering "five hundred,"--now he charges with it across
the bloody planks of Arcola--now he flies before it over the fatal
plain of Waterloo.

Unwilling, however, as he may be to grant that there are any spots
in the character of his hero's government, the Prince is,
nevertheless, obliged to allow that such existed; that the
Emperor's manner of rule was a little more abrupt and dictatorial
than might possibly be agreeable. For this the Prince has always
an answer ready--it is the same poor one that Napoleon uttered a
million of times to his companions in exile--the excuse of
necessity. He WOULD have been very liberal, but that the people
were not fit for it; or that the cursed war prevented him--or any
other reason why. His first duty, however, says his apologist, was
to form a general union of Frenchmen, and he set about his plan in
this wise:--

"Let us not forget, that all which Napoleon undertook, in order to
create a general fusion, he performed without renouncing the
principles of the revolution. He recalled the émigrés, without
touching upon the law by which their goods had been confiscated and
sold as public property. He reestablished the Catholic religion at
the same time that he proclaimed the liberty of conscience, and
endowed equally the ministers of all sects. He caused himself to
be consecrated by the Sovereign Pontiff, without conceding to the
Pope's demand any of the liberties of the Gallican church. He
married a daughter of the Emperor of Austria, without abandoning
any of the rights of France to the conquests she had made. He
reestablished noble titles, without attaching to them any
privileges or prerogatives, and these titles were conferred on all
ranks, on all services, on all professions. Under the empire all
idea of caste was destroyed; no man ever thought of vaunting his
pedigree--no man ever was asked how he was born, but what he had

"The first quality of a people which aspires to liberal government,
is respect to the law. Now, a law has no other power than lies in
the interest which each citizen has to defend or to contravene it.
In order to make a people respect the law, it was necessary that it
should be executed in the interest of all, and should consecrate
the principle of equality in all its extension. It was necessary
to restore the prestige with which the Government had been formerly
invested, and to make the principles of the revolution take root in
the public manners. At the commencement of a new society, it is
the legislator who makes or corrects the manners; later, it is the
manners which make the law, or preserve it from age to age intact."

Some of these fusions are amusing. No man in the empire was asked
how he was born, but what he had done; and, accordingly, as a man's
actions were sufficient to illustrate him, the Emperor took care to
make a host of new title-bearers, princes, dukes, barons, and what
not, whose rank has descended to their children. He married a
princess of Austria; but, for all that, did not abandon his
conquests--perhaps not actually; but he abandoned his allies, and,
eventually, his whole kingdom. Who does not recollect his answer
to the Poles, at the commencement of the Russian campaign? But for
Napoleon's imperial father-in-law, Poland would have been a
kingdom, and his race, perhaps, imperial still. Why was he to
fetch this princess out of Austria to make heirs for his throne?
Why did not the man of the people marry a girl of the people? Why
must he have a Pope to crown him--half a dozen kings for brothers,
and a bevy of aides-de-camp dressed out like so many mountebanks
from Astley's, with dukes' coronets, and grand blue velvet
marshals' bâtons? We have repeatedly his words for it. He wanted
to create an aristocracy--another acknowledgment on his part of the
Republican dilemma--another apology for the revolutionary blunder.
To keep the republic within bounds, a despotism is necessary; to
rally round the despotism, an aristocracy must be created; and for
what have we been laboring all this while? for what have bastiles
been battered down, and king's heads hurled, as a gage of battle,
in the face of armed Europe? To have a Duke of Otranto instead of
a Duke de la Tremouille, and Emperor Stork in place of King Log. O
lame conclusion! Is the blessed revolution which is prophesied for
us in England only to end in establishing a Prince Fergus O'Connor,
or a Cardinal Wade, or a Duke Daniel Whittle Harvey? Great as
those patriots are, we love them better under their simple family
names, and scorn titles and coronets.

At present, in France, the delicate matter of titles seems to be
better arranged, any gentleman, since the Revolution, being free to
adopt any one he may fix upon; and it appears that the Crown no
longer confers any patents of nobility, but contents itself with
saying, as in the case of M. de Pontois, the other day, "Le Roi
trouve convenable that you take the title of," &c.

To execute the legacy of the revolution, then; to fulfil his
providential mission; to keep his place,--in other words, for the
simplest are always the best,--to keep his place, and to keep his
Government in decent order, the Emperor was obliged to establish a
military despotism, to re-establish honors and titles; it was
necessary, as the Prince confesses, to restore the old prestige of
the Government, in order to make the people respect it; and he
adds--a truth which one hardly would expect from him,--"At the
commencement of a new society, it is the legislator who makes and
corrects the manners; later, it is the manners which preserve
the laws." Of course, and here is the great risk that all
revolutionizing people run--they must tend to despotism; "they must
personify themselves in a man," is the Prince's phrase; and,
according as is his temperament or disposition--according as he is
a Cromwell, a Washington, or a Napoleon--the revolution becomes
tyranny or freedom, prospers or falls.

Somewhere in the St. Helena memorials, Napoleon reports a message
of his to the Pope. "Tell the Pope," he says to an archbishop, "to
remember that I have six hundred thousand armed Frenchmen, qui
marcheront avec moi, pour moi, et comme moi." And this is the
legacy of the revolution, the advancement of freedom! A hundred
volumes of imperial special pleading will not avail against such
a speech as this--one so insolent, and at the same time so
humiliating, which gives unwittingly the whole of the Emperor's
progress, strength, and weakness. The six hundred thousand armed
Frenchmen were used up, and the whole fabric falls; the six hundred
thousand are reduced to sixty thousand, and straightway all the
rest of the fine imperial scheme vanishes: the miserable senate, so
crawling and abject but now, becomes of a sudden endowed with a
wondrous independence; the miserable sham nobles, sham empress,
sham kings, dukes, princes, chamberlains, pack up their plumes and
embroideries, pounce upon what money and plate they can lay their
hands on, and when the allies appear before Paris, when for courage
and manliness there is yet hope, when with fierce marches hastening
to the relief of his capital, bursting through ranks upon ranks of
the enemy, and crushing or scattering them from the path of his
swift and victorious despair, the Emperor at last is at home,--
where are the great dignitaries and the lieutenant-generals of the
empire? Where is Maria Louisa, the Empress Eagle, with her little
callow king of Rome? Is she going to defend her nest and her
eaglet? Not she. Empress-queen, lieutenant-general, and court
dignitaries, are off on the wings of all the winds--profligati
sunt, they are away with the money-bags, and Louis Stanislas Xavier
rolls into the palace of his fathers.

With regard to Napoleon's excellences as an administrator, a
legislator, a constructor of public works, and a skilful financier,
his nephew speaks with much diffuse praise, and few persons, we
suppose, will be disposed to contradict him. Whether the Emperor
composed his famous code, or borrowed it, is of little importance;
but he established it, and made the law equal for every man in
France except one. His vast public works and vaster wars were
carried on without new loans or exorbitant taxes; it was only the
blood and liberty of the people that were taxed, and we shall want
a better advocate than Prince Louis to show us that these were not
most unnecessarily and lavishly thrown away. As for the former and
material improvements, it is not necessary to confess here that a
despotic energy can effect such far more readily than a Government
of which the strength is diffused in many conflicting parties. No
doubt, if we could create a despotical governing machine, a steam
autocrat,--passionless, untiring, and supreme,--we should advance
further, and live more at ease than under any other form of
government. Ministers might enjoy their pensions and follow their
own devices; Lord John might compose histories or tragedies at his
leisure, and Lord Palmerston, instead of racking his brains to
write leading articles for Cupid, might crown his locks with
flowers, and sing [Greek text omitted], his natural Anacreontics;
but alas! not so: if the despotic Government has its good side,
Prince Louis Napoleon must acknowledge that it has its bad, and it
is for this that the civilized world is compelled to substitute for
it something more orderly and less capricious. Good as the
Imperial Government might have been, it must be recollected, too,
that since its first fall, both the Emperor and his admirer and
would-be successor have had their chance of re-establishing it.
"Fly from steeple to steeple" the eagles of the former did
actually, and according to promise perch for a while on the towers
of Notre Dame. We know the event: if the fate of war declared
against the Emperor, the country declared against him too; and,
with old Lafayette for a mouthpiece, the representatives of the
nation did, in a neat speech, pronounce themselves in permanence,
but spoke no more of the Emperor than if he had never been.
Thereupon the Emperor proclaimed his son the Emperor Napoleon II.
"L'Empereur est mort, vive l'Empereur!" shouted Prince Lucien.
Psha! not a soul echoed the words: the play was played, and as for
old Lafayette and his "permanent" representatives, a corporal with
a hammer nailed up the door of their spouting-club, and once more
Louis Stanislas Xavier rolled back to the bosom of his people.

In like manner Napoleon III. returned from exile, and made his
appearance on the frontier. His eagle appeared at Strasburg, and
from Strasburg advanced to the capital; but it arrived at Paris
with a keeper, and in a post-chaise; whence, by the orders of the
sovereign, it was removed to the American shores, and there
magnanimously let loose. Who knows, however, how soon it may be on
the wing again, and what a flight it will take?


"Go, my nephew," said old Father Jacob to me, "and complete thy
studies at Strasburg: Heaven surely hath ordained thee for the
ministry in these times of trouble, and my excellent friend
Schneider will work out the divine intention."

Schneider was an old college friend of uncle Jacob's, was a
Benedictine monk, and a man famous for his learning; as for me,
I was at that time my uncle's chorister, clerk, and sacristan;
I swept the church, chanted the prayers with my shrill treble, and
swung the great copper incense-pot on Sundays and feasts; and I
toiled over the Fathers for the other days of the week.

The old gentleman said that my progress was prodigious, and,
without vanity, I believe he was right, for I then verily
considered that praying was my vocation, and not fighting, as
I have found since.

You would hardly conceive (said the Captain, swearing a great oath)
how devout and how learned I was in those days; I talked Latin
faster than my own beautiful patois of Alsacian French; I could
utterly overthrow in argument every Protestant (heretics we called
them) parson in the neighborhood, and there was a confounded
sprinkling of these unbelievers in our part of the country. I
prayed half a dozen times a day; I fasted thrice in a week; and, as
for penance, I used to scourge my little sides, till they had no
more feeling than a peg-top: such was the godly life I led at my
uncle Jacob's in the village of Steinbach.

Our family had long dwelt in this place, and a large farm and a
pleasant house were then in the possession of another uncle--uncle
Edward. He was the youngest of the three sons of my grandfather;
but Jacob, the elder, had shown a decided vocation for the church,
from, I believe, the age of three, and now was by no means tired of
it at sixty. My father, who was to have inherited the paternal
property, was, as I hear, a terrible scamp and scapegrace,
quarrelled with his family, and disappeared altogether, living and
dying at Paris; so far we knew through my mother, who came, poor
woman, with me, a child of six months, on her bosom, was refused
all shelter by my grandfather, but was housed and kindly cared for
by my good uncle Jacob.

Here she lived for about seven years, and the old gentleman, when
she died, wept over her grave a great deal more than I did, who was
then too young to mind anything but toys or sweetmeats.

During this time my grandfather was likewise carried off: he left,
as I said, the property to his son Edward, with a small proviso in
his will that something should be done for me, his grandson.

Edward was himself a widower, with one daughter, Mary, about three
years older than I, and certainly she was the dearest little
treasure with which Providence ever blessed a miserly father; by
the time she was fifteen, five farmers, three lawyers, twelve
Protestant parsons, and a lieutenant of Dragoons had made her
offers: it must not be denied that she was an heiress as well as a
beauty, which, perhaps, had something to do with the love of these
gentlemen. However, Mary declared that she intended to live
single, turned away her lovers one after another, and devoted
herself to the care of her father.

Uncle Jacob was as fond of her as he was of any saint or martyr.
As for me, at the mature age of twelve I had made a kind of
divinity of her, and when we sang "Ave Maria" on Sundays I could
not refrain from turning to her, where she knelt, blushing and
praying and looking like an angel, as she was. Besides her beauty,
Mary had a thousand good qualities; she could play better on the
harpsichord, she could dance more lightly, she could make better
pickles and puddings, than any girl in Alsace; there was not a want
or a fancy of the old hunks her father, or a wish of mine or my
uncle's, that she would not gratify if she could; as for herself,
the sweet soul had neither wants nor wishes except to see us happy.

I could talk to you for a year of all the pretty kindnesses that
she would do for me; how, when she found me of early mornings among
my books, her presence "would cast a light upon the day;" how she
used to smooth and fold my little surplice, and embroider me caps
and gowns for high feast-days; how she used to bring flowers for
the altar, and who could deck it so well as she? But sentiment
does not come glibly from under a grizzled moustache, so I will
drop it, if you please.

Amongst other favors she showed me, Mary used to be particularly
fond of kissing me: it was a thing I did not so much value in those
days, but I found that the more I grew alive to the extent of the
benefit, the less she would condescend to confer it on me; till at
last, when I was about fourteen, she discontinued it altogether, of
her own wish at least; only sometimes I used to be rude, and take
what she had now become so mighty unwilling to give.

I was engaged in a contest of this sort one day with Mary, when,
just as I was about to carry off a kiss from her cheek, I was
saluted with a staggering slap on my own, which was bestowed by
uncle Edward, and sent me reeling some yards down the garden.

The old gentleman, whose tongue was generally as close as his
purse, now poured forth a flood of eloquence which quite astonished
me. I did not think that so much was to be said on any subject as
he managed to utter on one, and that was abuse of me; he stamped,
he swore, he screamed; and then, from complimenting me, he turned
to Mary, and saluted her in a manner equally forcible and
significant; she, who was very much frightened at the commencement
of the scene, grew very angry at the coarse words he used, and the
wicked motives he imputed to her.

"The child is but fourteen," she said; "he is your own nephew, and
a candidate for holy orders:--father, it is a shame that you should
thus speak of me, your daughter, or of one of his holy profession."

I did not particularly admire this speech myself, but it had an
effect on my uncle, and was the cause of the words with which this
history commences. The old gentleman persuaded his brother that I
must be sent to Strasburg, and there kept until my studies for the
church were concluded. I was furnished with a letter to my uncle's
old college chum, Professor Schneider, who was to instruct me in
theology and Greek.

I was not sorry to see Strasburg, of the wonders of which I had
heard so much; but felt very loth as the time drew near when I must
quit my pretty cousin, and my good old uncle. Mary and I managed,
however, a parting walk, in which a number of tender things were
said on both sides. I am told that you Englishmen consider it
cowardly to cry; as for me, I wept and roared incessantly: when
Mary squeezed me, for the last time, the tears came out of me as if
I had been neither more nor less than a great wet sponge. My
cousin's eyes were stoically dry; her ladyship had a part to play,
and it would have been wrong for her to be in love with a young
chit of fourteen--so she carried herself with perfect coolness, as
if there was nothing the matter. I should not have known that she
cared for me, had it not been for a letter which she wrote me a
month afterwards--THEN, nobody was by, and the consequence was that
the letter was half washed away with her weeping; if she had used a
watering-pot the thing could not have been better done.

Well, I arrived at Strasburg--a dismal, old-fashioned, rickety town
in those days--and straightway presented myself and letter at
Schneider's door; over it was written--


Would you believe it? I was so ignorant a young fellow, that I had
no idea of the meaning of the words; however, I entered the
citizen's room without fear, and sat down in his ante-chamber until
I could be admitted to see him.

Here I found very few indications of his reverence's profession;
the walls were hung round with portraits of Robespierre, Marat, and
the like; a great bust of Mirabeau, mutilated, with the word
Traître underneath; lists and republican proclamations, tobacco-
pipes and fire-arms. At a deal-table, stained with grease and
wine, sat a gentleman, with a huge pigtail dangling down to that
part of his person which immediately succeeds his back, and a red
nightcap, containing a TRICOLOR cockade as large as a pancake. He
was smoking a short pipe, reading a little book, and sobbing as if
his heart would break. Every now and then he would make brief
remarks upon the personages or the incidents of his book, by which
I could judge that he was a man of the very keenest sensibilities--
"Ah, brigand!" "O malheureuse!" "O Charlotte, Charlotte!" The
work which this gentleman was perusing is called "The Sorrows of
Werter;" it was all the rage, in those days, and my friend was only
following the fashion. I asked him if I could see Father
Schneider? he turned towards me a hideous, pimpled face, which I
dream of now at forty years' distance.

"Father who?" said he. "Do you imagine that citizen Schneider has
not thrown off the absurd mummery of priesthood? If you were a
little older you would go to prison for calling him Father
Schneider--many a man has died for less;" and he pointed to a
picture of a guillotine, which was hanging in the room.

I was in amazement.

"What is he? Is he not a teacher of Greek, an abbé, a monk, until
monasteries were abolished, the learned editor of the songs of

"He WAS all this," replied my grim friend; "he is now a Member of
the Committee of Public Safety, and would think no more of ordering
your head off than of drinking this tumbler of beer."

He swallowed, himself, the frothy liquid, and then proceeded to
give me the history of the man to whom my uncle had sent me for

Schneider was born in 1756: was a student at Würzburg, and
afterwards entered a convent, where he remained nine years. He
here became distinguished for his learning and his talents as a
preacher, and became chaplain to Duke Charles of Würtemberg. The
doctrines of the Illuminati began about this time to spread in
Germany, and Schneider speedily joined the sect. He had been a
professor of Greek at Cologne; and being compelled, on account of
his irregularity, to give up his chair, he came to Strasburg at the
commencement of the French Revolution, and acted for some time a
principal part as a revolutionary agent at Strasburg.

["Heaven knows what would have happened to me had I continued long
under his tuition!" said the Captain. "I owe the preservation of
my morals entirely to my entering the army. A man, sir, who is a
soldier, has very little time to be wicked; except in the case of a
siege and the sack of a town, when a little license can offend

By the time that my friend had concluded Schneider's biography, we
had grown tolerably intimate, and I imparted to him (with that
experience so remarkable in youth) my whole history--my course of
studies, my pleasant country life, the names and qualities of my
dear relations, and my occupations in the vestry before religion
was abolished by order of the Republic. In the course of my speech
I recurred so often to the name of my cousin Mary, that the
gentleman could not fail to perceive what a tender place she had in
my heart.

Then we reverted to "The Sorrows of Werter," and discussed the
merits of that sublime performance. Although I had before felt
some misgivings about my new acquaintance, my heart now quite
yearned towards him. He talked about love and sentiment in a
manner which made me recollect that I was in love myself; and you
know that when a man is in that condition, his taste is not very
refined, any maudlin trash of prose or verse appearing sublime to
him, provided it correspond, in some degree, with his own

"Candid youth!" cried my unknown, "I love to hear thy innocent
story and look on thy guileless face. There is, alas! so much of
the contrary in this world, so much terror and crime and blood,
that we who mingle with it are only too glad to forget it. Would
that we could shake off our cares as men, and be boys, as thou art,

Here my friend began to weep once more, and fondly shook my hand.
I blessed my stars that I had, at the very outset of my career, met
with one who was so likely to aid me. What a slanderous world it
is, thought I; the people in our village call these Republicans
wicked and bloody-minded; a lamb could not be more tender than this
sentimental bottle-nosed gentleman! The worthy man then gave me to
understand that he held a place under Government. I was busy in
endeavoring to discover what his situation might be, when the door
of the next apartment opened, and Schneider made his appearance.

At first he did not notice me, but he advanced to my new
acquaintance, and gave him, to my astonishment, something very like
a blow.

"You drunken, talking fool," he said, "you are always after your
time. Fourteen people are cooling their heels yonder, waiting
until you have finished your beer and your sentiment!"

My friend slunk muttering out of the room.

"That fellow," said Schneider, turning to me, "is our public
executioner: a capital hand too if he would but keep decent time;
but the brute is always drunk, and blubbering over 'The Sorrows of

I know not whether it was his old friendship for my uncle, or my
proper merits, which won the heart of this the sternest ruffian of
Robespierre's crew; but certain it is, that he became strangely
attached to me, and kept me constantly about his person. As for
the priesthood and the Greek, they were of course very soon out of
the question. The Austrians were on our frontier; every day
brought us accounts of battles won; and the youth of Strasburg, and
of all France, indeed, were bursting with military ardor. As for
me, I shared the general mania, and speedily mounted a cockade as
large as that of my friend, the executioner.

The occupations of this worthy were unremitting. Saint Just, who
had come down from Paris to preside over our town, executed the
laws and the aristocrats with terrible punctuality; and Schneider
used to make country excursions in search of offenders with this
fellow, as a provost-marshal, at his back. In the meantime, having
entered my sixteenth year, and being a proper lad of my age, I had
joined a regiment of cavalry, and was scampering now after the
Austrians who menaced us, and now threatening the Emigrés, who were
banded at Coblentz. My love for my dear cousin increased as my
whiskers grew; and when I was scarcely seventeen, I thought myself
man enough to marry her, and to cut the throat of any one who
should venture to say me nay.

I need not tell you that during my absence at Strasburg, great
changes had occurred in our little village, and somewhat of the
revolutionary rage had penetrated even to that quiet and distant
place. The hideous "Fête of the Supreme Being" had been celebrated
at Paris; the practice of our ancient religion was forbidden; its
professors were most of them in concealment, or in exile, or had
expiated on the scaffold their crime of Christianity. In our poor
village my uncle's church was closed, and he, himself, an inmate in
my brother's house, only owing his safety to his great popularity
among his former flock, and the influence of Edward Ancel.

The latter had taken in the Revolution a somewhat prominent part;
that is, he had engaged in many contracts for the army, attended
the clubs regularly, corresponded with the authorities of his
department, and was loud in his denunciations of the aristocrats in
the neighborhood. But owing, perhaps, to the German origin of the
peasantry, and their quiet and rustic lives, the revolutionary fury
which prevailed in the cities had hardly reached the country
people. The occasional visit of a commissary from Paris or
Strasburg served to keep the flame alive, and to remind the rural
swains of the existence of a Republic in France.

Now and then, when I could gain a week's leave of absence, I
returned to the village, and was received with tolerable politeness
by my uncle, and with a warmer feeling by his daughter.

I won't describe to you the progress of our love, or the wrath of
my uncle Edward, when he discovered that it still continued. He
swore and he stormed; he locked Mary into her chamber, and vowed
that he would withdraw the allowance he made me, if ever I ventured
near her. His daughter, he said, should never marry a hopeless,
penniless subaltern; and Mary declared she would not marry without
his consent. What had I to do?--to despair and to leave her. As
for my poor uncle Jacob, he had no counsel to give me, and, indeed,
no spirit left: his little church was turned into a stable, his
surplice torn off his shoulders, and he was only too lucky in
keeping HIS HEAD on them. A bright thought struck him: suppose you
were to ask the advice of my old friend Schneider regarding this
marriage? he has ever been your friend, and may help you now as

(Here the Captain paused a little.) You may fancy (continued he)
that it was droll advice of a reverend gentleman like uncle Jacob
to counsel me in this manner, and to bid me make friends with such
a murderous cut-throat as Schneider; but we thought nothing of it
in those days; guillotining was as common as dancing, and a man was
only thought the better patriot the more severe he might be. I
departed forthwith to Strasburg, and requested the vote and
interest of the Citizen President of the Committee of Public

He heard me with a great deal of attention. I described to him
most minutely the circumstance, expatiated upon the charms of my
dear Mary, and painted her to him from head to foot. Her golden
hair and her bright blushing cheeks, her slim waist and her
tripping tiny feet; and furthermore, I added that she possessed a
fortune which ought, by rights, to be mine, but for the miserly old
father. "Curse him for an aristocrat!" concluded I, in my wrath.

As I had been discoursing about Mary's charms Schneider listened
with much complacency and attention: when I spoke about her
fortune, his interest redoubled; and when I called her father an
aristocrat, the worthy ex-Jesuit gave a grin of satisfaction, which
was really quite terrible. O fool that I was to trust him so far!

The very same evening an officer waited upon me with the following
note from Saint Just:--

"STRASBURG, Fifth year of the Republic, one and indivisible, 11

"The citizen Pierre Ancel is to leave Strasburg within two hours,
and to carry the enclosed despatches to the President of the
Committee of Public Safety at Paris. The necessary leave of
absence from his military duties has been provided. Instant
punishment will follow the slightest delay on the road.

Salut et Fraternité."

There was no choice but obedience, and off I sped on my weary way
to the capital.

As I was riding out of the Paris gate I met an equipage which I
knew to be that of Schneider. The ruffian smiled at me as I
passed, and wished me a bon voyage. Behind his chariot came a
curious machine, or cart; a great basket, three stout poles, and
several planks, all painted red, were lying in this vehicle, on the
top of which was seated my friend with the big cockade. It was the
PORTABLE GUILLOTINE which Schneider always carried with him on his
travels. The bourreau was reading "The Sorrows of Werter," and
looked as sentimental as usual.

I will not speak of my voyage in order to relate to you
Schneider's. My story had awakened the wretch's curiosity and
avarice, and he was determined that such a prize as I had shown my
cousin to be should fall into no hands but his own. No sooner, in
fact, had I quitted his room than he procured the order for my
absence, and was on the way to Steinbach as I met him.

The journey is not a very long one; and on the next day my uncle
Jacob was surprised by receiving a message that the citizen
Schneider was in the village, and was coming to greet his old
friend. Old Jacob was in an ecstasy, for he longed to see his
college acquaintance, and he hoped also that Schneider had come
into that part of the country upon the marriage-business of your
humble servant. Of course Mary was summoned to give her best
dinner, and wear her best frock; and her father made ready to
receive the new State dignitary.

Schneider's carriage speedily rolled into the court-yard, and
Schneider's CART followed, as a matter of course. The ex-priest
only entered the house; his companion remaining with the horses to
dine in private. Here was a most touching meeting between him and
Jacob. They talked over their old college pranks and successes;
they capped Greek verses, and quoted ancient epigrams upon their
tutors, who had been dead since the Seven Years' War. Mary
declared it was quite touching to listen to the merry friendly talk
of these two old gentlemen.

After the conversation had continued for a time in this strain,
Schneider drew up all of a sudden, and said quietly, that he had
come on particular and unpleasant business--hinting about
troublesome times, spies, evil reports, and so forth. Then he
called uncle Edward aside, and had with him a long and earnest
conversation: so Jacob went out and talked with Schneider's FRIEND;
they speedily became very intimate, for the ruffian detailed all
the circumstances of his interview with me. When he returned into
the house, some time after this pleasing colloquy, he found the
tone of the society strangely altered. Edward Ancel, pale as a
sheet, trembling, and crying for mercy; poor Mary weeping; and
Schneider pacing energetically about the apartment, raging about
the rights of man, the punishment of traitors, and the one and
indivisible republic.

"Jacob," he said, as my uncle entered the room, "I was willing, for
the sake of our old friendship, to forget the crimes of your
brother. He is a known and dangerous aristocrat; he holds
communications with the enemy on the frontier; he is a possessor of
great and ill-gotten wealth, of which he has plundered the
Republic. Do you know," said he, turning to Edward Ancel, "where
the least of these crimes, or the mere suspicion of them, would
lead you?"

Poor Edward sat trembling in his chair, and answered not a word.
He knew full well how quickly, in this dreadful time, punishment
followed suspicion; and, though guiltless of all treason with the
enemy, perhaps he was aware that, in certain contracts with the
Government, he had taken to himself a more than patriotic share of

"Do you know," resumed Schneider, in a voice of thunder, "for what
purpose I came hither, and by whom I am accompanied? I am the
administrator of the justice of the Republic. The life of yourself
and your family is in my hands: yonder man, who follows me, is the
executor of the law; he has rid the nation of hundreds of wretches
like yourself. A single word from me, and your doom is sealed
without hope, and your last hour is come. Ho! Gregoire!" shouted
he; "is all ready?"

Gregoire replied from the court, "I can put up the machine in half
an hour. Shall I go down to the village and call the troops and
the law people?"

"Do you hear him?" said Schneider. "The guillotine is in the
court-yard; your name is on my list, and I have witnesses to prove
your crime. Have you a word in your defence?"

Not a word came; the old gentleman was dumb; but his daughter, who
did not give way to his terror, spoke for him.

"You cannot, sir," said she, "although you say it, FEEL that my
father is guilty; you would not have entered our house thus alone
if you had thought it. You threaten him in this manner because you
have something to ask and to gain from us: what is it, citizen?--
tell us how much you value our lives, and what sum we are to pay
for our ransom?"

"Sum!" said uncle Jacob; "he does not want money of us: my old
friend, my college chum, does not come hither to drive bargains
with anybody belonging to Jacob Ancel?"

"Oh, no, sir, no, you can't want money of us," shrieked Edward; "we
are the poorest people of the village: ruined, Monsieur Schneider,
ruined in the cause of the Republic."

"Silence, father," said my brave Mary; "this man wants a PRICE: he
comes, with his worthy friend yonder, to frighten us, not to kill
us. If we die, he cannot touch a sou of our money; it is
confiscated to the State. Tell us, sir, what is the price of our

Schneider smiled, and bowed with perfect politeness.

"Mademoiselle Marie," he said, "is perfectly correct in her
surmise. I do not want the life of this poor drivelling old man:
my intentions are much more peaceable, be assured. It rests
entirely with this accomplished young lady (whose spirit I like,
and whose ready wit I admire), whether the business between us
shall be a matter of love or death. I humbly offer myself, citizen
Ancel, as a candidate for the hand of your charming daughter. Her
goodness, her beauty, and the large fortune which I know you intend
to give her, would render her a desirable match for the proudest
man in the republic, and, I am sure, would make me the happiest."

"This must be a jest, Monsieur Schneider," said Mary, trembling,
and turning deadly pale: "you cannot mean this; you do not know me:
you never heard of me until to-day."

"Pardon me, belle dame," replied he; "your cousin Pierre has often
talked to me of your virtues; indeed, it was by his special
suggestion that I made the visit."

"It is false!--it is a base and cowardly lie!" exclaimed she (for
the young lady's courage was up),--"Pierre never could have
forgotten himself and me so as to offer me to one like you. You
come here with a lie on your lips--a lie against my father, to
swear his life away, against my dear cousin's honor and love. It
is useless now to deny it: father, I love Pierre Ancel; I will
marry no other but him--no, though our last penny were paid to this
man as the price of our freedom."

Schneider's only reply to this was a call to his friend Gregoire.

"Send down to the village for the maire and some gendarmes; and
tell your people to make ready."

"Shall I put THE MACHINE up?" shouted he of the sentimental turn.

"You hear him," said Schneider; "Marie Ancel, you may decide the
fate of your father. I shall return in a few hours," concluded he,
"and will then beg to know your decision."

The advocate of the rights of man then left the apartment, and left
the family, as you may imagine, in no very pleasant mood.

Old uncle Jacob, during the few minutes which had elapsed in the
enactment of this strange scene, sat staring wildly at Schneider,
and holding Mary on his knees: the poor little thing had fled to
him for protection, and not to her father, who was kneeling almost
senseless at the window, gazing at the executioner and his hideous
preparations. The instinct of the poor girl had not failed her;
she knew that Jacob was her only protector, if not of her life--
heaven bless him!--of her honor. "Indeed," the old man said, in a
stout voice, "this must never be, my dearest child--you must not
marry this man. If it be the will of Providence that we fall, we
shall have at least the thought to console us that we die innocent.
Any man in France at a time like this, would be a coward and
traitor if he feared to meet the fate of the thousand brave and
good who have preceded us."

"Who speaks of dying?" said Edward. "You, Brother Jacob?--you
would not lay that poor girl's head on the scaffold, or mine, your
dear brother's. You will not let us die, Mary; you will not, for a
small sacrifice, bring your poor old father into danger?"

Mary made no answer. "Perhaps," she said, "there is time for
escape: he is to be here but in two hours; in two hours we may be
safe, in concealment, or on the frontier." And she rushed to the
door of the chamber, as if she would have instantly made the
attempt: two gendarmes were at the door. "We have orders,
Mademoiselle," they said, "to allow no one to leave this apartment
until the return of the citizen Schneider."

Alas! all hope of escape was impossible. Mary became quite silent
for a while; she would not speak to uncle Jacob; and, in reply to
her father's eager questions, she only replied, coldly, that she
would answer Schneider when he arrived.

The two dreadful hours passed away only too quickly; and, punctual
to his appointment, the ex-monk appeared. Directly he entered,
Mary advanced to him, and said, calmly,--

"Sir, I could not deceive you if I said that I freely accepted the
offer which you have made me. I will be your wife; but I tell you
that I love another; and that it is only to save the lives of those
two old men that I yield my person up to you."

Schneider bowed, and said,--

"It is bravely spoken. I like your candor--your beauty. As for
the love, excuse me for saying that is a matter of total
indifference. I have no doubt, however, that it will come as soon
as your feelings in favor of the young gentleman, your cousin, have
lost their present fervor. That engaging young man has, at
present, another mistress--Glory. He occupies, I believe, the
distinguished post of corporal in a regiment which is about to
march to--Perpignan, I believe."

It was, in fact, Monsieur Schneider’s polite intention to banish
me as far as possible from the place of my birth; and he had,
accordingly, selected the Spanish frontier as the spot where I was

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