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Paris to the south of France, uncared for except by a
small number of those who will never think of her
without gratitude for having had the privilege of
knowing her.

# # # # #

Nor can I speak of Mme. Pelouze without thinking
of the grande dame on the other side, — for the Grevy

11



THIRTY YEARS

party and Gambetta's party soon came to be the more
or less opposing sections in Republican destinies — , of
Mme. Edmond Adam, nee Juliette Lamber, a very
different kind of woman from Mme. Pelouze, an
authoress of great distinction, a woman of an excep-
tionally brilliant intellect, who influenced all who
approached her and who was the Egeria of half the
great men of her time in France. For years with her
husband, and, after M. Adam's death in 1877, alone,
she was Gambetta's sincere and constant adviser and
friend. In 1880, as I remember her, fair and forty,
she was an extremely handsome and commanding
personality, who, at the functions she graced with her
presence, was always the centre of attraction. Her
mind, along with its feminine power of divination,
had certain masculine qualities which made men
solicit her opinions and treat them with a consideration
I have never seen in any other case to such a degree.
Her vitality was so absorbed in the affairs of France
that she had neither time nor energy for the frivolities
and flirtations of many clever women. But I am
speaking of her as if she were no longer among us.
Far from having abandoned the things of this world,
she is still mentally as brilliant and enthusiastic as
ever for the causes she deems good. I met her again
in 1908 at Prague, busy with her ever-green passion
for the reunion of the Slav races as a bulwark, if
I understand her aright, against the spread of
Germanism ! I fear this passes my comprehension.

*■«. Jfc Jfr ■&

•TC *5T* TV" W

Amid all these new friends and acquaintances,
Blowitz stands out in high relief among my earlier
French recollections, and though he is no longer even
known by name to a younger generation, there are

12



LAUNCHED IN PARIS

many of an older one who knew Blowitz personally,
and even for them, besides those who read his articles,
his personality has always remained interestingly
obscure. His memoirs are no real clue to the man,
and no one who had any real affection for Blowitz
would do him the injustice of disguising his faults,
which were neither paltry nor sordid, but as much a
part of his interesting and picturesque personality as
his qualities.

In stature he was short, on account of the abnormal
shortness of his legs. His head was not out of pro-
portion to his trunk, and he looked well-proportioned
when seated. When I first knew him, he was obliged
to have a desk with a bay to accommodate his person
and write with ease. A sturdy moustache and side
whiskers, which he wore brushed outwards, a bald
head and the hands of a giant completed the massive
outline of a form which mere touches of expression
from the caricaturist sufficed to make comic. Even
a comical situation was enough, as in Sir F.
Gould's famous cartoon in the Westminster Gazette
of December 6, 1899, without the slightest deflection
from nature. His manner had a certain distinction.
His keen, observant glance and swarthy Oriental
repose of features were so interesting that no one
thought of the almost grotesque disproportion of
his limbs.

His mode of thought was almost as eccentric as his
body. He had the vanity, generosity, insight and
cleverness absolute of the Semite. Yet he did not see
the futility of proclaiming himself and all his charac-
teristics Slavonic. He was born in Bohemia, at a
place a few miles from Pilsen, called Biovics, and
according to his own account his family name was

13



THIRTY YEARS

Opper. This resembled Oppert too much to deceive
the most willing of believers. I had frequent occasions
to see how easy it was to deceive this master of
practical psychology when his personal vanity or
preconceived ideas were concerned.

.v. .u. -y. Jj. «m.

All this did not prevent Blowitz from being one of
the survivals of a period of great men — a period which
produced Darwins, Herbert Spencers, Disraelis, Glad-
stones, Bismarcks, Gambettas and a galaxy of genius,
the like of which has since then had no equals.

It was at that time customary to call Emile de
Girardin : le roi des journalistes. Blowitz was next
in succession, and called, without exaggeration, le
prince des journalistes. Open The Times at any date
down to the end of the eighties, and you will see that
he gave his opinions en prince as his own, and that his
opinions were discussed as original sources of know-
ledge. With the rise of the new democracy and the
disappearance of the old " governing " personalities,
his influence waned.

W* flF tt tt tF

In his palmy days, those of M. Thiers, the Due
Decazes, Leon Say, Jules Simon, Dufaure, Duclerc,
de Marcere, he wrote as if he belonged to the Roman
Catholic, though more or less liberal, upper class of
France, as the approved aristocratic critic of the
reforms which were paving the way for a new era.
Those were the days of journalists like John Lemoinne
and J. J. Weiss, whose names stood for ideas, i.e.,
before the days of sensationalism and a new order of
things in which men like these have no place. Blowitz
was one of them.

His judgments, however, when not based on

H



LAUNCHED IN PARIS

immediate contact with human character, were
generally warped and unsound. He loved to envelop
his descriptions in mystery, and often reminded one
more of the fantastic combinations of the Arabian
Nights than of the sober, unromantic situations of the
West. The story he tells in his Memoirs of how he
got the Berlin Treaty is one of these fantastic stories.
He told it, no doubt, to cover the responsibility of
M. Waddington, the French delegate, who is believed
to have given him the text in return for many kind
services Blowitz had rendered to him, if not for pure
friendship's sake. At the time it was currently stated
that the culprit was Disraeli, who gave him the text
as a present to his old friend The Times, but I made
Waddington's acquaintance through Blowitz, and
knew they were on terms of considerable intimacy.
It is not of much importance now where Blowitz
obtained the treaty and possibly, as I know from
experience, he had only the merit of being the corre-
spondent of The Times. I obtained the terms of the
Brussels " General Act on the Slave Trade," for
which there was almost as keen a scramble, and as
its fragments were adopted translated them, and
sent the whole text to The Times forty-eight hours
before it was signed, and then telegraphed permission
to publish it. No other paper had it. Any other
discreet correspondent of The Times would have been
equally able to get it first, as I did.

•T? TT tF "H* TT

Blowitz' ability was that of putting facts together
and making a good consecutive story. This he could
do with safety, because he was familiar with the known
facts in every case. All he needed, as a rule, was a
link. When he had this, his story was ready.

15



THIRTY YEARS

He asked no questions. This, sometimes, brought
him into conflict with eminent persons whose opinions
he recorded, as I perceived more than once.

One day when I was lunching at his house in the
Rue Tilsitt, I found Nubar Pasha was among the
guests. Madame de Blowitz whispered to me : C'est
un dejeuner d'affaires. Nubar aura la parole ; ne
l'interrompez pas." I suppose the other guests were
similarly warned, but barely a word throughout the
lunch did Nubar say. Blowitz probed the dusky,
clever-looking Oriental (he was an Armenian), duskier
than and as clever as himself, on his Egyptian policy,
sent out his feelers groping round Nubar's faint
protesting movements. A nod here, a shake of the
head there, an occasional glance of his eyes, a little
contraction of the forehead, a clearing of his throat
that came to nothing, a furtive glance round the table
were all Blowitz had to work upon. Not a word said
Nubar, except to ask Madame de Blowitz for news of
her nephew, Stephane Lausanne, and of her niece, or
whether she had been to some concert. My neighbour
whispered, " Se taire pour ecouter ce grand causeur ! "
But Blowitz talked incessantly, giving Nubar most
interesting details on current affairs. My neighbour
observed sarcastically that Blowitz had wasted his
time and a good lunch. He was wrong. I drove
with Blowitz to The Times office, and he was now as
taciturn as his guest had been. " I must digest all
that he has told me," he said quite seriously. It
sounded like an upside-down commentary on what I
had just been witnessing. The next day The Times
contained a long article by Blowitz on Egyptian
affairs, the source of which was unmistakable. A day
later I heard the angry voice of Nubar in Blowitz'

16



LAUNCHED IN PARIS

room at the office expostulating. " But," said
Blowitz, " the question is whether it is true or not
true. Is it not true ? " Nubar had to admit that
every word was true. They separated friends,
Blowitz having convinced Nubar that his indiscretion
had rendered Nubar an immense service. He had
added, he afterwards told me with a sly twinkle in
his eye, that he had no objection to Nubar's disavowing
the article.

Sometimes he was disavowed, as by Bismarck and
by Gambetta, but nobody paid much heed to dis-
avowals. A disavowal merely gave the interviewed
person the benefit of the article without the
responsibility.

The famous article on Gambetta's policy suggested
its source as that on Nubar's policy had done.
Blowitz had come back in the same railway com-
partment with Gambetta from Versailles where the
Chambers then sat, and taken part in a general con-
versation with other passengers. The Versailles-Paris
parliamentary train in those days served the purpose
of a club where men talked over matters of public
policy and parliamentary strategy pretty freely.
Mrs. Emily Crawford, correspondent of the Daily
News, was authorized by Gambetta to disclaim the
implied origin of the article, but nobody could deny
the accuracy of the views Blowitz had attributed to
Gambetta. His power lay, as I have said, in his
intimate knowledge of foreign affairs, and his personal

acquaintance with the men who directed them.
# # # # #

He was also singularly aided by an excellent
memory.
t.y. 17 c



THIRTY YEARS

A distinguished British politician and author,
speaking recently of Blowitz, told me Delane had
given him as an instance of Blowitz' extraordinary-
memory, his having at a pinch written out from
memory a long speech of Gambetta's. He thought
it would have been simple to ask Gambetta for it.
He was mistaken. In the first place, Gambetta could
not have given it to him, and Blowitz' memory,
provided nothing intervened, accounted for the
rest.

Blowitz spoke with a rolling Slavonic intonation
French, German, Italian and Spanish. His English
had been acquired in later life and was execrable.
Among the difficulties he could not overcome was the
difference between " How do you do ? " and " Good-
bye." He sometimes combined them, saluting his
friends in the same breath with " Good-bye, How do
you do ! "



Blowitz had the adventurer's love of the wealthy and
powerful. In him, poverty or failure excited no pity,
and one who afforded him no copy was a " nobody,"
the lowest rank to which a man could descend. A
criminal on a large scale excited Blowitz' imagination
and he dwelt with an almost friendly interest on
rascality that amounted to genius. In those days
Blowitz was a journalist, and nothing but a journalist,
devoted to The Times body and soul, and ready to
sacrifice his very life to his professional duty.

He was as different from the sentimental Gambetta
as any man could be. Gambetta hated Blowitz as
a hanger-on and sycophant, and Blowitz despised
Gambetta as an unpractical political simpleton.

18



LAUNCHED IN PARIS

Gambetta's organ, the Republique francaise, never
lost an opportunity of saying unflattering things about
the great journalist. On one occasion it published a
more than usually bitter article about M. Oppert de
Blowitz, a converted Jew, a naturalised Frenchman,
enjoying the hospitality of France, and betraying the
country which had been kind to him to a foreign
newspaper, etc. Letters poured in from all sides
expressing the indignation of the writers at this
virulent attack. Blowitz piled them up as they
arrived, and put a weight on the top.

He read a couple of them. One was from Hely
Bowes, correspondent of the Standard, a really good
fellow whom his friends all loved. Blowitz handed it
to me. It was a kind, well-meant letter, but it
irritated Blowitz, and he " chucked " the whole lot
unread into the waste-paper basket. " Meme Bowes
ne peut cacher sa joie. Leurs condoleances sont aussi
ineptes qu'elles sont impertinentes. S'il ne leur etait
pas doux de me patroner, ils auraient feint de ne
1' avoir pas lu."



Shortly afterwards Lord Lytton came to Paris. I
made his acquaintance through my friend, Sir
Frederick Pollock. He was very inquisitive about
Blowitz, whom he had seen but not yet met. " He looks
an ugly little mongrel," he observed. " I suppose the
inner man is much like the outer one." He seemed
unfriendly to the Prince des Journalistes. Blowitz,
however, soon conquered the Bohemian ambassador.
The next time we met was at a British Chamber of
Commerce banquet. Lord Lytton, who was the
kindest and most jovial of ambassadors, was walking

19 c 2



THIRTY YEARS

up and down a side room with his arm embracing
Blowitz' ample torso.

# * # # #

Madame de Blowitz was a lady of great distinction,
and there was nobody who was not pleased to accept
her invitations. She did the honours of her household
like a true Provencal woman, a grande dame to the
manner born. She was the only woman, however,
who ever mistook me for my father. My first-born
had just made its appearance on the human stage.
She knew me quite well, but her husband introduced
me as " Monsieur Barclay pere." She turned to me
and to my astonishment said, " Monsieur, je vous
felicite de votre fils qui d'ailleurs vous ressemble
beaucoup, beaucoup."

In his later years, when his sight failed him, Blowitz
grew suspicious of everybody ; I seemed to be one of
the few exceptions. Once a week at least, he would
inquire if I were going to some function, because he
wished to sit next me. With his declining health,
his Oriental imagination ran riot. Dreams became
realities, and with his fading sight, he discerned
enchantments and romance more than ever.
# # # * #

Laurence Oliphant, that most unaccountable of
beings, in ordinary intercourse a " visionary cynic "
as somebody called him, told me he considered his
discovery of Blowitz the one redeeming incident of
a wasted life. When he (Oliphant) was Times
correspondent, he had wanted an ingenious fellow
who would " se glisser dans les milieux politiques,"
and bring him gossip. Some unconscious foresight
had prompted him to go and ask Thiers to recommend

20



LAUNCHED IN PARIS

him a man. Thiers seemed to expect the inquiry.
" I was just going to send a man who was here a few
minutes ago with a letter of introduction to you,"
said the President. " He is an adventurer in Paris,
but well known at Marseilles, whence he has just
turned up with a letter of warm commendation from
friends of mine there. You can trust him." It was
providential.

So, this man, said Oliphant, born in Bohemia, of
God-only-knew what origin, had left Marseilles, where
he had lived for many years as a teacher, with the idea
of starting a new life in Paris, and walked straight, as
it were, into The Times office, and became the greatest
journalist of his time. What premonition had made
him break up his home at Marseilles, where he was
married to a charming woman of sufficient means
to ensure comfort, and at forty years of age start on
a new career ! It was like Joan of Arc !



Blowitz told me two stories which do not figure in
his Memoirs, and which are too good to be forgotten.
The one was of M. Thiers, by whom Blowitz was
frequently invited to his presidential functions. On
one occasion when he was invited to the Presidency,
there were a number of Prefets dining with him.
Thiers wished to know them all personally in order
to judge of their abilities so far as a few minutes
conversation would permit. It was at an anxious
time. The President looked very grave, said practi-
cally nothing and ate less. Blowitz after dinner
approached him to ask if there was any discomforting
news. " Rien du tout," answered M. Thiers. " But
you looked so preoccupied, M. le President, during

21



THIRTY YEARS

the dinner that I feared there might be some trouble."
" Je n'etais preoccupe, mon ami, que de mes prefets.
Je les regardais manger. Pour etre bon prefet, il faut
avoir la digestion facile. II y en a qui deviennent
rouges comme des ecrevisses. Cela n'est pas bon pour
la Republique." And he went on seriously explaining
to Blowitz that a good prefect must be moderate in his
libations, have a good digestion, weigh his words and
rise from the table as self-possessed as when he sat
down.

The other story was of Lord Lyons. After a late
debate in the Chamber, Thiers had handed in his
resignation, and Blowitz, who, probably alone of
journalists, knew of M. Thiers' decision, had sent a
long telegram to The Times about the inauspicious,
but as he believed, final decision. There was a
reception at some Embassy that evening. Blowitz
was necessarily late, and as he ascended the staircase,
he met Lord Lyons coming down. " Vous savez que
Thiers est a l'eau," whispered Blowitz. " Repechez-
le," murmured back Lord Lyons. Blowitz drove
immediately to the Presidency and found that the
resignation was withdrawn. His wire to London
arrived just in time to prevent a gaffe, which would
have been due to his superior knowledge !

After a few years I resigned my post on The Times,
though with Blowitz I continued on terms of intimate
friendship to the end of his life. From him shortly
before his death I received the following touching
letter in reply to one of mine regretting that I had
not been asked to join in a testimonial to him,
thanking me for a friendship which had been a greater
pleasure to me than it could possibly have been of
service to him : —

22



LAUNCHED IN PARIS

" 2 Rue Greuze. io Jan., 1903.
" My very dear Friend, — I presume that you must have
returned from England and that I can write you to your
address in Paris in reply to your very kind and friendly letter
of December 23. Be sure that I appreciate very highly your
good feelings towards myself and that I remember with a
grateful sense the powerful and successful assistance which I
have received from you and which has so largely contributed
to the quite unexpected greatness of my success. The
organisers of the token offered to me by my colleagues have
exclusively invited acting correspondents and I, since, really
regret that your name does not figure on the remarkable work
of art which has been offered to me, and which I hope to
be able to show you as soon as you will find time to call at the
rue Greuze, where you are sure it will give me great pleasure
to see you."

In his palmy days people credited Blowitz with
making large profits besides his salary. He was
vendu to everybody who could make use of The Times .
That, when he died, his fortune was found to be quite
insignificant silenced his detractors, as the same fact
had silenced the detractors of Gambetta. Men
endowed with public spirit have little time to make
fortunes. Enthusiasts give or lose what they have, but
calumny never tires of whispering the contrary till the
answer comes from its victim's grave.



23



CHAPTER II

REPUBLICAN SALAD DAYS AND BISMARCK

I grew up with the Republic.
On May 9, 1876, when I invaded the gay city,
the Republic was still barely out of its infancy.
Its parliamentary baptism, fifteen months earlier
(January 30, 1875), when the adoption of the title of
President of the Republic was the first parliamentary
recognition of the existence of the Republic as the
established form of government, had not been an
unqualified victory for the Republicans. Owing to
dissensions among their opponents, then the majority,
it was carried by one vote, by 354 votes against 353 !
Marshal MacMahon had been appointed the previous
year (March 19, 1874) for a period of seven years by
an isolated legislative enactment. A section of his sup-
porters now voted for the adoption of the Septennate
as a principle, vaguely hoping that it would facilitate
the election of the Due d'Aumale, on whom they relied
as a popular future President to lead France by
gentle suasion back to her old royalist allegiance.

The electors, however, showed no particular desire to
return to any of the old allegiances, and in February,
1876, they had returned a Republican majority of 360
against a minority of 170, made up of a composite
opposition, with hostility to the Republic as their only
common denominator. The honest but politically
unpractical Marshal tried, in spite of this Republican
victory, to rely for government on the support of this
heterogeneous minority.

24



REPUBLICAN SALAD DAYS

When I began to frequent the meetings of the
French parliament and watch the still anxious game
of Republican politics, the venerable and respected
M. Dufaure was Prime Minister and the Due Decazes
Minister for Foreign Affairs. With the Due, Blowitz,
who had already risen to a towering position in
journalism, was on familiar terms.

•IT 'Jp "lr W *n*

I have never pinned my faith to the story of the
Franco-German crisis of 1875 with the conviction
of a sincere believer. This does not apply to
Blowitz's share in denouncing it. He told me what
happened just as it has since been recorded in his
" Memoirs," except that in his memoirs he does not
mention that Prince Hohenlohe * was also behind him.

It was customary in those days when diplomatists
carried on their warfare with the assistance of the
foreign correspondents of leading newspapers,
especially those of London, to date " tendential "
communications from any but the real place of origin.
Thus Blowitz would date a note furnished by Decazes
from Rome, whence some friend of his, he would allege,
who was inclose connection with diplomacy had written
to him explanations of such or such an incident ; or
it would be that the text of such or such a document
had been sent him from Vienna. As identical com-
munications are sent out to the ambassadors, respon-
sibility for indiscretion was often fixed on the wrong
man by a public who were not, like the diplomatic
people themselves, able to detect the supercherie.

The story of the crisis arose out of the announce-
ment that an addition of some 140,000 men was to be

1 Prince Hohenlohe succeeded Count v. Arnim as German Ambassador to
France in May, 1874.

25



THIRTY YEARS

made to the French army under the new law for its
reorganisation.

The French ambassador at Berlin, the Vicomte de
Gontaut-Biron, was an ardent Roman Catholic and
reactionary who, however fascinating his personal
charm may have been — and it was no doubt con-
siderable, seeing that he was a great favourite at
the Berlin Court — excited, perhaps, the jealousy of
the " iron " Chancellor. The Prince could not stand
the well-groomed, suave, gay Frenchman and dis-
trusted the clerical reaction with which the ambassador
was associated. The election of Marshal MacMahon
to the Presidency, the increase of the army, the
militant tone of the French press, and the possibility
of a new coup d'etat, for which a foreign war might be
a pretext, made Germany suspicious. M. de Gontaut-
Biron appears to have had little intercourse with
the responsible heads of the administration, and to
have consorted chiefly with the court circle and
the Prussian aristocracy who fluttered around it.
The French ambassador's famous letter which had
caused the alarm in France and which Blowitz saw,
stated that a German diplomatist whom he had met
at the British Embassy, Herr von Radowitz, had told
him that Count von Moltke, who had great influence
over the Emperor, had proved to His Majesty the
necessity of another and immediate war with France.
The German armies were to dash over the frontier
to Paris, exact a ransom of ten milliards spread over
twenty years, without power of anticipation, and keep
garrisons in France till it was paid. Why Radowitz,



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