John Frederick Macdonald.

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made our way down the BouF Mich' we dis-
approved of Paul, and felt disappointed in him,
and wished that he had got upon a chair and
made a generous speech, and thereby done credit
to himself and to the Jeunesse. Every cafe was
full, and we entered many, hoping always to hear
the name of Captain Dreyfus. But everywhere the
talk was the same — always of boats and bicycles.


Paris of the Parisians

So, discontentedly enough, we wandered on, and
had just stopped to wait for the crazy little
omnibus that goes to Montmartre, when Bibi la
Puree came in view. He carried his umbrella,
and he wore his rose, but his expression was sad
and his step slow. Limply he shook hands ; and
we knew from his manner that he had a strange
story to unfold. *' Friends,'' he began, " Bibi, the
brother of Verlaine, the pride of the Quarter, the
accomplice of Karl, has been in prison. Bibi was
fool enough to stray from the land of the students,
and to cross the bridge, and to loiter on the
boulevards. And Bibi had a quarrel with an
infamous bourgeois, and a struggle with a police-
man, and an audience with a magistrate who
condemned him to sit in a cell for fifteen days."
No details followed ; no description of what
really took place ; but we understood the real
nature of Bibi's offence and told him sympathetic-
ally that the students had now returned and that,
in future, he would have no need to look for
umbrellas in so far and unfriendly a quarter as
the boulevards. And Bibi's eye glistened again,
and his " shake-hand '' was warm as he said good-
bye. " What,'* was our parting shot, " does Bibi
think of the Verdict?" "Bibi," he answered,
" has but one reply — N'en parlons plus."

It is almost an hour's drive from the Boul'
Mich' to Montmartre, and through mean streets.
Rows of wine-shops line either side of the way ;

"N'en Parlons Plus" 39

you only get a glimpse of the boulevards. When
the hill commences, cabs and omnibuses begin to
slacken, then to walk, and then to crawl. All
kinds and conditions of people make the ascent —
boulevardiers, students sometimes, tourists en
route for the Moulin Rouge. When we had
reached the middle of the hill, strains fell upon
our ear. They came from a disreputable fellow,
with a sheath of songs, and a scarlet sash that
reminded one of those sinister idlers who haunt the
sides of the Seine. No violin accompanied him,
no guitar — he was even less of a vocalist than
those wandering minstrels who chant sentimental
airs in corners and courts. " N'en Parlons Plus "
he was shouting as we came up. " Dix centimes !
N'en Parlons Plus." Few sought for sous, how-
ever ; and so he sang —

Le cauchemar est fini, car la France est vengee,

Qu'importe que Ton a gracie Dreyfus ?

La nation entiere, heureuse et soulagee,

N'a plus qu'un desir — c*est qu'on n'en parle plus.

" Quite right,'' observed a portly gentleman next
to us. '' Quite right — N'en parlons plus."

Wild sounds came from the Conservatoire de
Montmartre, presided over by M. Henri Martin,
wit and cabaret-proprietor. It was the *' reouver-
ture," the first night of the season, and the chief
chansonnier was singing another version of " N'en
Parlons Plus." Still, the Montmartrois must have
their joke ; and although M. Martin declared that

40 Paris of the Parisians

the first to refer to Rennes would be immediately
fined, a chansonniere was introduced as the sister
of the "Veiled Lady/' and no other than "Blanche."
Others were announced as "Speranza" and the
"Demi-Dieu/' At the cabaret of the Four Arts
we were told that any one who mentioned the
"Affaire" would be expelled; at Heaven, Hell,
and Death, the same proclamation was made from
a pulpit, a cauldron, and a coffin. And as we
drove furiously down the hill, a noisy party passed
us singing the Conservatoire version of "N'en
Parlons Plus."

The Halles was our next and last destination ;
and it was three in the morning when we arrived.
Carts and baskets of vegetables stood in the way ;
it was difficult to walk. At corners, queer old
women sold coffee and soup. Business had not
yet begun, however ; and so we sought out the
famous cellars of the Halles, where, until five in the
morning, the market-people sip and smoke and
sing and talk. There are four cellars, leading out
of one another, furnished with rude chairs, tables,
and a very old piano. And as we reached the last
stair and passed into a smoky atmosphere, the same
wretched minstrel whom we met on the hill rose
and announced — "N'en Parlons Plus."

Horrified, we fled. Outside a number of
porters were quarrelling over a copy of the
Aurore, As they were on the verge of coming
to blows, a policeman intervened, and with unusual

"N'en Parlons Plus" 41

good-humour inquired what was ihe matter. ** If

Dreyfus," began one, *'did not " '*Soyez

raisonnable,'' replied the policeman. '' N'en parlons

Flying again, we found ourselves at last in a
quiet street. No one was about ; we walked
without encountering a soul for quite half a mile.
Then, all at once, a strange couple came along —
husband and wife, the first stumbling, the second
scolding. As they passed us, the wife said fiercely :
" This, old scoundrel, is the fifth time you have
been drunk since Sunday last." " Voyons, voyons,
hiccoughed her husband. " N'en parlons plus.




Whosoever first informed the Latin Quarter that
its rejoicings in honour of the new century had
been premature deserves, in the opinion of Paul
and others, to be banished like M. Deroulede or
imprisoned like Jules Guerin. Ten years, indeed,
were not enough, says Mdlle. Mimi : he should be
doomed to sit alone on the lie du Diable for ever
or made to sift pepper in Cayenne ; says Karl, it
should be his unhappy fate to serve as secretary to
Quesnay de Beaurepaire ; says Bibi, it should be
his dismal lot to live in a land where umbrellas are
unknown. Before he spoke the Quarter was
calm. It had feasted, and was recovering. It had
resolved to rest awhile, abandoning dissipation.
Now, flushed, furious, revengeful, it seeks '' Lui '*
— "L'Infame." Seek him it may, but vainly.
Threaten him it may, but without doing him
injury. He has vanished ; he has escaped, and —
all that the Latin Quarter knows is that some one
— "Lui" — told a waiter not to rejoice over the

46 Paris of the Parisians

arrival of the new century until the first day of
1 90 1, that the waiter repeated the advice, that
certain students accepted it, that others disagreed,
that voices rose, that threats were exchanged, that
friends became foes on the spot, that the fever of
last May and June and July returned, that a reign
of terror known as the " Nouvelle Affaire '* began.
Whereas certain students open the discussion
with the resolution to be reasonable, others have
become so desperate as to declare that hencefor-
ward they can accept nothing, believe nothing,
and, what is more, deny nothing. Bitterly they
plead that they are old-fashioned, behind the times.
They cannot help themselves ; they are bewildered
by this age in which the impossible becomes the
probable ; in which paradoxes prosper ; in which the
wildest fable is accepted as a truth. ** See Mimi,
dear,'* says Paul wildly, " see this glass. It stands.
It holds bock. See, I drink from it. See, I put it
down again. Still, your poor Paul would not
swear solemnly that it was a glass or that it con-
tained golden bock. He dare not ; he may not,
for were he to be so rash some one would say,
' Imbecile, it is a glass no longer but a bottle ; and
it contains brandy and not bock ; and you, O Paul,
are no longer Paul but Pierre ; and Pierre is Pierre
no more but Paul ; and it is we, we the enlightened,
we the initiated, who have changed all that.' "
Mdlle. Mimi is surprised ; Mdlle. Mimi does not
understand, and in order to make himself clear

'' Nouvelle Affaire ! " 47

Paul asks her her age. " Nineteen," replies Mdlle.
Mimi. "So you think/' replies Paul. "Know
then that you are eighteen ! " But Mdlle. Mimi is
honest enough to protest ; Mdlle. Mimi refuses to
allow Paul to be deceived : Mdlle. Mimi insists that
she is just nineteen. " So you think/* repeats
Paul. " But know that you did not count until
you were one year old. Know that before the
first twelvemonth had passed, you were ageless,
sexless, a mystery that had to wait. Know that
your birth certificate is false, that the priest who
christened you could be prosecuted, that you had
no more right to be called a child before you were
one year old than we have a right to call this the
new century." Mdlle. Mimi, however, is entirely
bewildered, and even a little angry. " I was never
sans sexe," she replies, " never a mystery. And
the priest who christened me christened my mother,
and he was a clever man, and a good man, and he
often used to be surprised that I was so advanced
for a child of one." "So he thought," answers
Paul hysterically. " But know that he is no longer
a priest, that he may have been one once, but that
wise men have changed all that. They would tell
him that he is an acolyte or a choir-boy, or a pew-
opener, or a grave-digger, to-day." "Voyons
Paul, sois raisonnable," says one of the initiated,
"ficoute." And, when Paul had brushed his hair
from his brow and clasped Mdlle. Mimi's hand, his
tutor tells him that the year one did not begin until


Paris of the Parisians

the year two, and that sages have learnt this suddenly
from the Bible, and that they can name the chapter
and the line, and that the discovery is as important
as the discovery of America, or as the invention of
electricity, or as the finding of the phonograph,
because it proves the almanac to be all wrong.
" The world has been deceived," he concludes.
"It is for us, the Jeunesse of Paris, the Future, to
assist research by supporting these sages. Be one
of us, Paul. Glory awaits us, fame. Thank,
instead of condemning, the man whom you and
others call — ' L'Infame.' Europe, too, will thank
him some day. Europe will decorate him. Europe
will build him monuments. Europe will give him
a place in her history, with others who are respon-
sible for this ^ Nouvelle Affaire.' '*

At other tables the same discussion rages. So
furious is it, so alarming, that one imagines oneself
back in early 1899. Each war has been opened
by the question: "What is your age.^^" Each
answer has been greeted with the query : " How do
you know ? *' And if the new-century man declares
himself to be twenty-three, the old-century man (he
who waits for 1901) proclaims him to be twenty-
two ; and if the new -century man asks for an
explanation, the old-century man goes back to the
year one which was not one and which only
became one with the year two. Soon every one
has told his age and been contradicted. Soon
everybody wonders when he was born and when he

'' Nouvelle AiFaire ! '' 49

was really alive. Soon all but the old -century
men have been asked to believe that they were
ageless for the first twelvemonth, sans sexe for
the first twelvemonth, dead for the first twelve-
month, and not alive until that first unfortunate
twelvemonth was done. None of these are con-
vinced, however. " Let the new century dawn
one when we are dead," plead many, " but admit
that we were one when we were one, and not one
when we were two, and not two when we were

three, and not *' " Peace," exclaims Paul.

" Let us rather speak like Richepin's abbe who
also taught strange things, saying all together :
'Avec AUM, avec amu, avec uma, avec uam,
avec MAU, avec mua, avec aum, salut et bene-
diction en To, ocean du Tout dont je suis la
goutte Rien, ocean du Rien dont je suis la goutte
Tout ! Amen ! ' " " Why ? " asks Pierre.
*' Because," answers Paul, "it is foolish to be
reasonable when it is fashionable to be insane."

Mdlle. Mimi, however, has been pondering over
the matter, and, after a while, tells Mdlle. Musette
that she hare the
wooden horses hang at a standstill, with the least
little dwindling oscillation.

All around and about are the rustlings of the
trees, the hissing of the water, the sweet sharpness
of the birds. Shadow-lattice shifts and quivers,
blonde lights dance between. On the lawn
the water plays and blows, filling the grass with
diamonds. Butterflies flicker above the marguer-
ites, papilloner-papillonant. The saturated gera-
nium leaves drip to the earth, the scent of the
heliotrope, the breath of the grass mingle and
fail. . . .

Clink-clank^ down goes the chain, in go the
children under the rippling flag. Their families
accompany them — faithful creatures who sit on
the bench by the railing, keeping the balls and
pails, battledores, hats, and other discarded

The brisk woman bustles, the melancholy man
lounges. *' Ho-op la ! *' exclaims the brisk woman,
and hoists a small boy by his arm-pits,.and plumps
him into the saddle ; wearily the melancholy man

Garden of the Luxembourg 6i

bends and adjusts the stirrup. '* Entrez, Made-
moiselle, . . . Allez-vous en!" she cries to
approaching guests — the person with two sous
clasped in the hand, or parent looming as
guarantee, the waif who would slip in on private
research ; he strolls to the entrance and hooks
up the chain at the back of the one, in the
face of the other.

Adventurous babies, eluding their mothers,
stagger to the circle. As the star to the moth
it gleams and spins, and they come ; they come,
and unnoticed work their way under the chain.

" Prenez garde aux enfants ! '* A shout rings
suddenly. A scream from the mother out-
side — a rush, a snatch from the woman within
— the baby is extricated from amongst the beasts'
legs, just as the roundabout was to have turned —
is handed back over the railing, shaken and
hugged. Sharp rebuke from the brisk woman ;
sharp reply from the flushed mother. The melan-
choly man drops his startled eye-brows once more,
and gapes. . . .

Here they come from all sides, the guests,
guardians and customers : in they go under
the beckoning flag. Here comes a weighty
bourgeoise, torrents of crape from the back of
her bonnet, paths of it up the sides of her skirt,
abundance of jet on her bust, — with her a dry
little sprig in pink print, brown boots, and white
cotton gloves, a yellow straw hat with a frill of

62 Paris of the Parisians

white muslin. She sits straight in her saddle,
taking care that her frill does not brush the pole.
She remains in her seat for two rounds in suc-
cession, and claims a red sugar stick from the
brisk woman. Once she catches the widow's
eye ; the dull lips are touched with brightness
amidst the pearl powder ; a flicker lights for an
instant her own pinched features. Here comes a
beggar, stooping and thin : she fastens her child
in the saddle herself, she stays by him till the last,
she leaves him tremulously. It is a great event,
this first ride. She tries not to show her emotion.
She tries not to look each time he passes and beam
to his radiant smile. Half shy, half resentful, she
glances from the corners of her eyes to see if she
has been observed. Here come the mother of
Gaston, and Gaston. Gaston is gay from school.
The brows of Gaston are bound with laurel. He
is decked in a flannelette blouse, with a fresh silk
neck-tie under his chin. His mother wears merino,
a bonnet with a pink rose, and a prominent brooch.
She removes the victorious paper band with its
green, green leaves and tinsel star, and preserves it
against his return. She also holds his Sunday cane
with the dog's head handle, and the scarlet and
gilt-bound prize. Here comes a very superb
young person, leading an infatuated grandfather.
He lifts her into a boat. There she sits in her
glory — kid shoes, stockings au jour, frock of fluted
pink silk ; her hat, slipped off from her head, a

Garden of the Luxembourg 63

hump of bows and lace on her back ; golden
curls clotted about her face ; a wrist with a
bangle. Reluctantly he parts from her : she lets
him go without a look. He sits on the bench
with his stick between his knees, his hands on the
knob of the stick, his chin on his hands. Just
once or twice as she sails by she turns in his
direction, and allows herself to dimple.

Good mothers bring their offspring for educa-
tion. Here comes one with her own mother, with
her son and her nourrice. She takes her son by
the hand ; the nourrice in crimson cloak and
streamers carries the baby.

" Certainly he can go," says the mother to her
mother : " why not ?

" He is too young.'

'' Too young ! four years old ! Wouldn't you
like to go, Henri ? ''

Henri, in brown holland, turns thoughtful eyes
on the beasts, but refuses to commit himself. The
nourrice, appealed to, shrugs her shoulders and
juts her underlip.

"Come on!" says his mother, with sudden

" Mathilde ! " screams the grandmother.

But Mathilde laughs back, " Tant pis ! "

Henri is bound to an elephant. He silently
stretches a hand to his mother, as though to say,
" I trust you — my blood be upon your head.**
She jumps on to a horse beside him with a rosy


Paris of the Parisians

revelation of silk petticoat, a gleam of heels.
Flurried, she adjusts her skirt, steadies the horse
swinging beneath her, laughing a little nervously.

Outside the railing the grandmother waits with
long upper lip, and creases of disapproval on either
side of her nose. The nourrice prudently holds
aloof, and rocks the baby. The organ begins, the
horses turn. ^ Round they go, hand in hand,
mother and son, the horse buried beneath her
flounces, her skirt sweeping the dusty ground.
Henri sits firm, grips hard, stares straight ; at
last, as they slacken, Mathilde can fling out in
triumph —

" He wants to stop on ! ''

Her mother replies briefly, pointedly ; turns
her back, and walks away. The nourrice hesitates
between them. Mathilde pauses, peers close at
Henri, says lightly —

'* Tiens, mon ami, nous reviendrons demain."

They go out, she aff^ectedly humming, strutting
upon her high heels. And they go down the alleys
— the broad, slow-moving crimson back, the trot-
ting atom in brown, the two mothers, both with
heads held high, one on either side of the nourrice
— pass down the alleys to the terrace, and disappear.

Round by the marguerites come three dark
forms. Two little girls in heavy hats, a young
father in deep mourning between them ; two little
girls in new black skirts, their pigtails tied with
black ribbon. Each child wheels a doll's per-

Garden of the Luxembourg 65

ambulator, and guides it attentively, grating and
squeaking, over the gravel. One after the other
they wheel in at the entrance, their father behind
them. They steer to the bench : here they look
back and up into his face, and state they must
take their dolls with them. They unbutton the
mackintosh aprons and draw out the dolls. And
he will take good care of the perambulators
while they are gone, and not let them slip and
run ?

'* Let us ride on the lions, Marcelle, veux-tu ?''
" Mais non, Jeannette," says he ; " you must
go in the boat, my little one."

" But we always went on the lions ! "
" But the boat is safer — for the dolls." He
opens the door and puts them into the boat,
and shuts the door, and going to the bench sits
opposite them, holding the perambulators in each
hand. They in the meanwhile fuss and chatter,
settle their skirts, settle their dolls, till the horses
begin to move. Stiff at once, they sit in ex-
citement, their hands prim in their laps. " Au
revoir ! " and the boat goes by.

The toneless organ mumbles on, the wooden
horses turn and turn. Still mechanically holding
the toys, his face fades, he slips into reverie. . . .
" Psst ! " With a start he wakes and sees them
calling. The horses have stopped. He lifts them
out of the boat again, clumsily smooths their
skirts, touches up their sashes. Chattering, fuss-

66 Paris of the Parisians

Ing, they put the dolls back in the perambulators ;
and he bends with them, raising the pillows for
the dear creatures, buttoning the mackintosh over
their precious toes.

One after the other they wheel out at the
entrance, he following, hovering ; he takes his
place between them, stooping to listen to their
babble ; and they go away together, past the white
marguerites, across the red -gold avenue, to the
far-oiF leafy paths — three black forms in the rich
blue day, growing smaller and smaller ; three
dark dots in the distance — wavering an instant ;
vanished. . . .

" II y a un loup la-dedans ! "

The words are said close by. They are said to
a person who stands, arrested in his course, a few
paces before me. They are said by his mother.
With a pleasant warmth I recognise the biologist.

For the fifth time this afternoon, by daring or
strategy, he has escaped, and reached the entrance
of the wooden horses. For the fifth time his
harassed mother has pounced upon him. Now
with a last desperate inspiration she cries, " II y a
un loup la-dedans ! '*

I glance at her — she at me ; and she turns and
appeals —

'* N'est ce pas, Mademoiselle, il y a un loup ? '*

He fastens his eyes upon me, half disdainful,
half afraid ; but as I look into that limpid gaze,
on the sulky red mouth, the indomitable dumpling

Garden of the Luxembourg 67

form, I defer my answer — hesitate — am lost. Over
his head I meet his mother's eyes, and we flash in a
sudden sympathy. Colouring, melting, she looks
down with a frown and a smile, shrugs her
shoulders, rubs up his hair.

** lis sont insupportables, les enfants ! " and
catching him high in her arms, covers his face
with kisses. . . .

All about with a background of dahlias, multi-
coloured, matching the flowers, in their ample
cloaks and their checkered crowns sit the nourrices.
On the chairs, on the benches, hats flutter, skirts
mingle, mothers gossip.

Under the trees, in the web of shadows and
lights, the alleys are dotted with scarlet of parasols.
Skipping-ropes gleam, shuttlecocks toss. To and
fro moves the gray figure of the loueuse de chaises,
the white figure of the patissier with tray of
golden galettes. Down the avenue trundles the
watering-cart and its spirting arrows, leaving the
dust deliciously blistered behind it.

Dark and damp is the earth of the flower-beds
now at the close of the day, brilliantly the wet leaves
twine in the hedge of blossom. The sycamore
trees hang still ; the terrace lies mellow. Over-
head the pigeons flap heavily by.

Round go the wooden horses to the toneless
tune of the organ. Under the tent-shaped roof
enwreathed with foliage, round they go, three by
three, each with its load. The tune stops, the

68 Paris of the Parisians

horses stop ; the children dismount, pass out at
the gate, disperse, are gone : the tune starts, the
horses start ; new children sit there in the place of
the old. Round go the wooden horses in the
depths of the summer afternoon, in the warmth
and scents of the evening, round and round and
round to the monotonous tune of the organ.

On the lawn the water has caught the sun and
plays in a rainbow. Over the marguerites, like
petals lost in the air, white butterflies wander.
Beyond the parapet of the terrace is a bloom of
oleanders. Behind the trees, by the green of the
grass, milky-cool bends the Watteau lady.

Outside the garden, encompassing, confining,
rolls the traffic of the town.

K. W. M.



Not only bands and fountains play in the Luxem-
bourg Garden ; not only senators stroll about its
paths. Students take air by Murger's statue ;
their tribute to his " Vie de Boheme.** Fairer
Bohemians pass to and fro, independent little
persons. *'Des Mees," says a student. *'Yais/'
replies another. Their step and style, the decision,
the serge skirt, the straw hat betray them : they
are English or American. Art calls them across
the ocean and channel. Eight in the morning
sees them in Julian's studio ; dusk in their flats,
mysterious three-roomed retreats. Here, abound
fans and ferns and frames and china follies.
Here, the chairs, amassed by degrees, difl^er in
complexion and shape. Here, most conspicuous,
most substantial of all, stands the Sommier. . . .
It is not a valuable object ; you may buy one any
day for nine or ten francs. It is not popular with
polite society ; the proud ignore it. It belongs to
Bohemia : holds there at all seasons a proud

72 Paris of the Parisians

position. It is ruffled in the morning ; smooth at
noon ; gorgeous at five ; very white when dark.

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