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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States

for the Southern District of New York.

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Printers & Stereotypera, N. Y.


§, p. |. §t milmmut,


Paris, February/ y, 18.30.

My Dear M. de Villemessant :

I HAVE just arrived from Havana. Here is the latest
news : The Eachel company is disbanded. The two
worlds are now strewn with the numerous waifs of this
terrible shipwreck.

Eachel remains an invalid, on the island of Cuba ; not
so ill as is reported. Sufficiently so, however, for her
to have positively refused to give a single representation
to the Antilles. Yesterday a letter was received from her.
She will be in Paris in a month and a half, perhaps two
months, when the severely cold weather is past.

(At the time we wrote this letter, it was to have been
so. Every one knows now that Mademoiselle Rachel
preferred to release herself from so prolonged an exile.)

Her sister Sarah left for Charleston. She is going, it
is said, to New York, where she wishes to form a com-
pany for the representation of comedy and the drama.

Mademoiselles Durey and Briard have also remained
in North America.

That countiy being utterly devoid of amusement, I


preferred embarking immediately from Havana with the
rest of the army, on board the Clyde, an excellent
English steamer, -which took us straight to the island of
St. Thomas.

We were fortunate, since this island was enameled
with yellow fever, in being able to take refuge from it,
forthwith, on board the Atrato, another English steamer,
which, notwithstanding terrible weather, and terrific gales
that tore our sails and broke one of our masts, landed us
safe and sound at Southampton, on the 30th of January,
1856, in twenty days and nights. That was all!

Then how voluptuously we pressed the British soil,
with what profound dehght we swooned upon a basket
of Allied oysters.

Truly, if it were only for the j)leasure one feels on
landing, it would be worth while to make sea voyages for-
ever. At Southampton, Raphael Felix, his sisters Lia
and Dinah, and M. Felix, their father, parted from us
without a tear, and sailed for London. The rest of us
embarked precisely where we were ; it was much easier,
and on the 31st, at four o'clock in the morning, we could
have landed at Havre, where, during the visits of the
custom-house agent, I caught the most charming cold in
the head possible.

Now, my dear Monsieur de Villemessant, do you not
perceive, as I do, that the moment has arrived to relate
the Odyssey of French tragedy in America? I have
come from over there with a volume of anecdotes, of
stories, of gossip. A whole volume, you will see ! I will


confess to you, bosido, that it vvus pnrtly for tlii.s tliut I
went tboro. I luul no idea of traversing four tliousand
leagues in a multitudo of countries, each one still more
fmitastio than the otliers, to abandon myself exclu-
sively to the tirades of that great Jocrisso, who calls
himself Hippolytus, and that false merchant of dates,
named Bajazet ! Oh ! no !

(Hero we shall ask permission to insert a httle paren-
thesis — it is the second, and shall be the last — to confess, "
in all humility, that these by no means literary surnames,
granted so cavalierly by us to the two heroes of Racine,
have not failed to open under our feet an abyss of most
bitter reproaches. Now that we have made this confes-
sion, we will risk another — still, in all humility ! — that is,
that these vituperations have not changed, by one iota, our
opinion of the personages in question — they arc detestable
characters, and we will never give it up. The refractory
Hyppolytus is a contraband savage, who no more resem-
bles the son of Theseus than that morose Bajazet is like
the Grand Turk ! Pardicu ! but Ilacine can well afford
to be guilty uf those two villainous creations, since he has
given us others so beautiful ! Besides, to applaud indis-
criminately, is to applaud nothing; and to cry up as
subhme this " deplorable prince " and his turbaned col-
league, is to consider as quite ordinary the admirable
characters of Phedre, Agrippina, Hermione, Clytem-
nestra — I pass them by, and some even better — to put an
end to this little parenthesis, which will not finish of
itself! We continue the letter to Villcmessant.)


I have written about everything, observed everything !

And I beg you to beheve that I have a terribly long
account to narrate to you since my letter to Koger do
Beauvoir — the same that I thank you for having so gra-
ciously inserted in your Figaro, and which has been
translated over there in English, Spanish, and probably
in Mohegan and in Eed-skin.

Those good Yankees were enraged with me, in the
United States. One journal considered it very strange
that I allowed myself to say what I did of a country, the
only thing of which I did not speak being the language.
Incredible assurance, you will admit ! As if one were
obliged to learn Enghsh to have a right to see houses
burning, and jicople disemboweling each other !

To sum up — I am dehghted to have visited North
America, because it is a duty disposed of, and I shall
never have to return there, thank God !

I am delighted to have seen the Antilles and Florida,
because they are really splendid and wonderful !

I am delighted, finally, and above all, to have come
back to my good city of Paris, for one may well talk and
act as if there were only Paris, and there never will be
any place but Paris.

So you see that it is scarcely possible to find a man
more enchanted than I ; yet nevertheless you may put
the finishing touch to all those delights, by opening the
columns of the Figaro to the publication of: Rachel and
the New World.

I will guarantee that this shall be curious and amus-


ing. This conviction is, porliiips, very pn-tiUilious ; liuf,
ma Jul ! I have been so f;ir.

I await your roply and press yonr hand.
Dcvotodly yours,

l:6on beauvallet.

It will be asked, perhaps, in honor of what Saint have
wo placed tliis letter — written two months ago, on our
return to France — at the head of this volume.

It is very easily explained.

If we had not addressed the said missive to the very
accomplished editor of the Figaro — (Bah ! let us tell hun
the bare truth, now tliat we have no further need of
him!) — it is as plain as daylight that Villemessant would
not have been able to reply to us : " Your idea suits to a
T. Work fast! The arms of Figaro are open to receive

Without this compliance it would have been quite
impossible to have published our tour in the afore-men-
tioned Journal. Eepulsed in that quarter, it is more
than likely that we should have been prevented from
carrying elsewhere our "gaiters," as well as our ac-
counts of the other world.

The said accounts, not having been published in any
journal, our friend Cadot could not have thought for an
instant of republishing them, whatever might have been
his inclination. And that is why the letter in question,
finding itself to be the sole and unique cause of this
book, parades so majestically on the first page.


Several days after its appearance iu the columns of the
Figaro (Feb. 14tli), H. tie Villemessant — already men-
tioned — published the following note :

*' We commence to-day, under the title of Rachel and
the New World, a great success de curiosite ; to Figaro —
who first acquainted the public, in all its details, with
the agreement between Mademoiselle Rachel and her
brother; — its manager being the first to publish the
names and the salaries of the artists who compose the
troupe of M. Raphael ; who first made known the sum
total of the receipts realized in New York by the Felix
family ; — to Figaro it belongs to relate the Odyssey of
which Mademoiselle Rachel has been the Ulysses in
America. M. Leon Beauvallet, the Hippolytus of the
tragic muse in her chase for millions in the New World,
will, at our request, be pleased to give, in seven or eight
days, a succinct but complete account of this adventurous

It must be understood that it is not this meagi-e recital
that we intend offering you to-day. That would be but
a poor attraction, and the leaves of this book would run
great risk of remaining uncut.

No ! no ! this second edition of our jaunt in America
has been — we shall not have the presumption to say
"revised and corrected;" but certainly greatly increased.
Ah ! we had already threatened you with these numerous
additions ; bo pleased to remember it, and forgive us for
the sake of the intention.

Before closing this preface, observe — I bog, oh ! ye


who read prefacos (which, believe me, is a bad habit,) —
observe that wo have not availed ourselves, for your
commeudatioii, of the establisliQd address, " dear read-
ers," and that for a very natural reason; because wo
know nothing falser or more illogical than this expres-

" Dear readers," as if it worc^ not to be read except
by intimate friends !

We know, on the contrary, that more than one among
you will not fail to heap upon this poor book and its
poor author epithets by no means charitable ; that is
melancholy, but as we cannot help it, wo shall resign

We proscribe, then, unpltyingly, from this volume,
the two words in question, and we take this occasion to
do the same with those of "beautiful lady readers," an
expression as absurd as the other.

If our lady readers are beautiful, they certainly do not
need us to tell it them ; if they are not, we shall appear,
at least, too good to throw in their faces a flattery or an
impertinence. Two tilings equally useless, that we hato
as wo hate the plague, and from which wo fly with all the
rapidity of our pen.

That aiTanged, wo commence.


Preface .

Chap. I.

Chap. II.
Chap. III.

Chap. IV.
Chap. V.

Chap. VI.

Chap. VII.

FIRST PART.— Before Leaving.
Which may serve for a second Preface, if you


Which, naturally, treats of Eistori

In which Mdlle. Eachel decides to go into


In which Millions are spoken of too lightly
Which is nothing but the Contract of Mdlle,


In which you read of another Engagement,

not exactly Mdlle. Rachel's
Which is only in continuation of the preceding




SECOND FART.— From Here, over There.
Chap. I. In which, on a certain Fi'iday, they leave

Pai-is 47

Chap. II. In which we alight among the English . 50

Chap. III. In which the Felix Enterprise begins well

enough 53

Chap. IV. At the end of which Mdlle. Rachel is fined . 56
Chap. V. In which we play in London for the last time GO

Chap. VI. In which we make the Acquaintance of the

Pacific 65

Chap. VII. How they eat on board G9

Chap. VIII. In which it is shown that the Dessert is still

more dismai than the Dinner ... 74



Chap. IX. In which the Pacific commences her frolics . 77
Chap. X, In which we chat of the Box and the

Flageolet 82

Chap. XI. Too foggy 85

Chap. XII. The last dinner on board .... 90
Chap. XIII. . In which the "Marseillaise" appeal's on the

tapis 94

Chap. XIV. Land! Land! • 97

THIRD PART.— The Imperial City.

Chap. I. Which may give an idea of New York . 103

Chap. II. In which each one takes Lodgings where he

can get them 109

Chap. III. In which we treat of a certain unpleasant

species of insect 113

Chap. IV. In which the Million-hunt begins . . . 117
Chap. V. First night in New York ... .122

Chap. VI. In which Mdlle. Rachel comes on the scene

and Jenny Liud also 128

Chap. VII- In which it is plainly seen that the American

does not bite well at Tragedy . . . 135
Chap. VIII. In which there is more talk about the Swedish

Nightingale 140

Chap. IX. In which we don't play as much as we would

like 146

Chap. X. Which is very far from being a lively one . 151

Chap. XI. In which there is a good deal said in favor of

the Eachel Company . . . . . 1 50
Chap. XII. In which Shop-keepers and Savages are men-

• tioned IGS

Chap. XIII. Which is little else than a letter to Roger do

Beauvoir 175

Chap. XIV. In which the Million-hunt is furiously con-
tinued 184

Chap. XV. Which contains the History of the Marseillaise

in the United States . • . . .190

FOURTH PART.— The Modern Athens.
Chap. I. In which we ^^i a taste of American Railroads 1 99

Chap. II Which treats of Elections and Squirrels 203



CfiAi'. Iir. In Avhic'li wo glance at tho Modern Alliens . tJOS
Chap. IV. In which it is shown that Boston is ft literary

cily i»12

Chap. V. In which tho Proas begins to show its teeth . 218

Chap. VL lu which wo part from Boston on good terms 223

riFTFI PAET.— Return to New York.
Chap. I. Jules J.iuin in the United States . . . 227

Chap. II. In which we scarcely know to what Theatre

to devote ourselves 2G1

Chap. III. Adieu to New York 2G8

Chap. IV. Which is all about Gambling-houses and

Robbers 272

Chap. V. In which is to be seen a play of Imagination 276

SIXTH PART.~TuE Quaker City.

Chap. I. Killing time in Philadelphia . . . 27'J

Chap. II. lu which everybody catches a magnificent cold 282

Chap. III. In which Million-hunting begins to be poor

sport 286

Chap. IV. A weU-fed Canard 291

SEVENTH PART.— Southward.
Chap. I. In which tho Railroads become more and more

impossible 295

Chap. II. In which there is talk about the Son of Louis

XVI ... 299

Chap. III. In which may be seen Female Vampires and

Birds of Prey 306

Chap. IV. In which you are introduced to a New Saint 309
Chap. V. In which we einbark for tho West Indies . 313

EIGHTH PART.— The Queen of the Antilles.

Chap. I. In which people speak Spanish at every step 319

Chap. II, In which it is a great deal hotter than in an

oven 323

Chap. III. In which the Beds are not so soft as they

might be 327



Chap. IV. lu which too many glasses begin to bo taken 33ii
Chap. V. In which tho Sundays are not like United

States Sundays 336

Chap. VI. In which the Felix Enterprise flaps only one

wing 341

Chap. VII. La Noche Buena 348

Chap. VIII. In which the Birds make themselves happy . 352
Chap. IX. In which everything runs on from bad to

worse 355

Chap. X. In which the negroes are not so very un-
happy, after all 363

Chap. XI. In which we are up to our necks in Figures 368
Chap. XII. In which Mdlle. Rachel thinks her Company

might as well move on .... 375

NINTH PART.— From There, Here.

Chap, I. In which wo speak of the Pacijic, and

naturally, of shipwreclis

Chap. II. In which we pass by Monsieur Soulouque

Chap. III. En route for Europe ....

Chap. IV. Mdlle. Eachel writes in the Papers

Chap. V. IIow all finishes with a Lawsuit

Chap. VI. Which suddenly finds itself the last of all




lirst |art




It would not have been, perhaps, entirely
unsuitable to have begun this little volume by-
some biography of Mademoiselle Eachel, and
by an account, more or less brief, of her previ-
ous dramatic tours in France, England, Belgium,
Switzerland, Germany, and the Empire of the

But all that would have made an endless

story, and our poor little diable of a volume

would have become, quite unconsciously, an

immense folio !
. 1


A dangerous transformation ! wliich would
not have failed to have recalled to everybody the
famous saying of Perrin Dandin: " Now let us
go on to the flood?" That is what we did!
And throwing aside the youth of our great
tragedienne, all adventurous as it was, not giv-
ing even a recollection to her numerous ex-
cursions in old Europe, we returned naturally
and vigorously to nos moutons of the Figaro^
that is to say, to the Odyssey of the tragic
muse in young America !

A prodigious, impossible event, about which
all the newspapers in the world made it their
duty to entertain their readers during three
hundred and sixty-five long days — that is, for one
whole year ! And the last word is not yet said !

Rachel in America !

This news astonished at first ; excited after-

Such a whim was not to be believed. One
could almost pardon all her old escapades,
and understand that of St. Petersburg and
Moscow ; but a voyage to the other world !
Ah! for a certainty, that exceeded a joke, and
the public began to grumble in good earnest !


If it had merely grumbled; but it was not
contented with that !

It was as jealous as a tiger, and wished at
any price to avenge itself on this ungrateful
Kachel, whom it loved so much and who again
betrayed it ! And for whom, grand Dim! — For
savages !

And see the luck of this Othello-Public!
Scarcely had it spoken, ere the vengeance that
it demanded with hue and cry, came of itself,
in the person of a fliir Italian, an unknown,
who, by chance, plays tragedy, who, by good
fortune, has taleut, and who fell from the
clouds one fine morning, quite unexpectedly,
like the Dcus ex machina of the antique.




La RisTORi ! From this moment, to her, to
her only, the enthusiastic crowd hurled the
bouquets and the acclamations that the im-
prudent Rachel had dared to disdain ! La
Ristori ! — she became " the great speculation
of Paris during the exhibition!" as Auguste
Villemot said in one of his charming chats in
the Figaro.

La Ristori! — "What is she?" — adds the
witty chronicler (pardon, my dear Villemot ; I
rob you like a fellow in the woods). " What is
she?" — talent, genius, or an accident? Must
her success be accepted according to its in-
trinsic value, or must we deduct from it the
malicious pleasure that seems to be experienced
in using it as a battering-ram to demolish the
reputation of Mademoiselle Rachel. She, with
her disdainful sorties and her triumphal re-
appearances, finds at last with whom she has


to deal. The hostile critic has now a plan ol'
operations, and the work of ruin, begun by
sapping, is effected by an infernal train. The
synagogue is touched, and the high priest has
ordered prayers. I sincerely believe that Ma-
demoiselle Rachel will survive all this; but
she will learn from it that one must despise
nothing, not even the public — a libertine who
dotes on new adventures. " So, either for love
of herself, or malice toward her rival," la Ristori
found all Paris at her feet. The "rage," a ca-
pricious goddess, who, in this country, embraces
her favorites even to suifocation, put on her
forehead this star of the elect, whose fame has
gone forth to the four corners of the globe.
" La Ristori ! Have you seen la Ristori? Tell
us of la Ristori !"

No room for anything else — in prose, in
verse, in pamphlet, in conversation, in every
formula of human language, a universal con-
sent to celebrate the goddess. M. Jules Janin
wrote about her, inter alias, a very eloquent
article. Only it seems to me that, in the last
column of his edifice, he got a little out of
breath in showing that la Ristori leaves la


Rachel intact and invulnerable. Our Parisian
public always proceeds unfortunately by the
means of comparison and exclusion. With the
assistance of malignity and reaction, there is
no lack of persons who affirm to-day that Ma-
demoiselle Rachel has never recited a hemis-
tich without disgracing it. That recalls a very
good repartee of Madame de Stael : A man,
who was aware of her spite against the Em-
peror, said one day in her presence, thinking
to flatter her greatly, that Bonaparte had never
possessed either talent or courage. " Sir," re-
plied with severity the author of Corinne,
" you would have a great deal of trouble to
convince me that Europe prostrated herself for
fifteen years at the feet of a fool and a pol-

In our turn, it seems to us difficult to admit
that Mademoiselle Rachel should, for fifteen
years, have enveloped in a complete mystifi-
cation the superior intelligences, the press,
artists, and the liege public, which knows so
^ well how to defend itself against an attempt
to impose on it that which is not to its liking.
For fifteen years Maximes and Araldis have been


thrown at the feet of Mademoiselle Rachel, to
trip her np. She has passed over these mani-
kins in her triumphal marcli. To-day the case
is more serious ; la Kistori holds the lyre with
seven chords, and of these seven chords of the
human soul, Rachel has never touched but
two. That is the state of the question. And
this gallant Figaro, who is just by nature, says
beside, in reference to it :

"We are, in truth, overgrown children;
after we have amused ourselves for some time
with a fine toy, if we are given another, we
immediately forget the first ; and it is fortunate
if we do not break it by striking it against the
new one."

We had a beautiful tragic play-thing, Made-
moiselle Rachel ; the Italians showed us an-
other, la Ristori ; crac ! here w^e are, at this
moment, trying to break Rachel with la Ris-
tori, as if the domains of theatrical art were
not vast enough to offer two seats of honor to
two women of different but equal talent — the
one in tragedy, the other in the drama.

The greatest hmt of this age, the paini Du-
mas, is one of those w^ho threw away, most


Spitefully, the Rachel toy for the Ristori toy.
It is true that the Rachel toy has never en-
tertained him much in his day. Rachel has
played Saint Ybaret too often, and Dumas not
often enough ; that is his criterion.

The other day, then, Dumas, the papa, wit-
nessed from his box the performance of Marie
Stuart, and the enthusiast cried, m his de-
lirium :

" Bravo ! bravissimo ! that woman is Mars,
Lecouvreur, Clairon, Duchenois, Georges, Le
Kain, Talma, Kean, Macready — all, united in
one single talent 1 Bravo ! bravo !"

Some one near him murmured, timidly,
"However, Monsieur Dumas, Mademoiselle

"Eh* Monsieur," replied Dumas, brusquely,
"to be able to judge correctly of Ristori's
genius oae must understand Italian profoundly.
Do you know Italian welU"

"Yes, Monsieur Dumas, as you know
French !"

" Then," said Dumas, with the most ex-
quisite good-humor, " I said truly, you do not
know Italian !"




Seeing this rage, this fury, this nameless
enthusiasm for the new comer, Mademoiselle
Kachel, who, all along, has been undecided as
to the proposition of her brother Raphael, and
who had found, each day, some new pretext
for not signing, definitely, the American agree-
ment, wished now to leave, as soon as possible,
the insolent country which had had the au-
dacity to invent another grande tragedienne.

High authority did its best to keep her ! It
was trouble thrown away. She paid no atten-
tion even to her nomination of professor of
declamation at the Conservatoire, wliich nomi-
nation appeared at full length in the Monitew

Go, she would !

To eftect that, she consented to everything,

even to give a series of representations at the


Theatre-Frangais (a thing wliicli, until then, she
had unplacably refused).

They say, besides, upon this subject (is it true?
— that is the question), that it was not solely to
obey the authorities that she deigned to re-
appear on the French stage, but, partly, to
prove to her old courtiers that if they had
changed she had not !

And, in fact, she had several truly splendid
nights, and, as a queen still, she left lier palace
in the rue Richelieu.

For a performance of Phedre, it is said (is
it a false rumor?) that she sent a box to her
triumphant rival, with a charming letter.

Myrrha hastened to accept both the letter
and the boX; and did not wait to be begged to

Ah!" said she, envyingly, "how happy is

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Online LibraryLéon BeauvalletRachel and the New world. A trip to the United States and Cuba → online text (page 1 of 17)