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a bit."

First French Lady : " Enfin ! "
(Her cry of triumph is followed by another
from her friend ; before them, in a garden of
currants and crumbs, lie broken bits of bun. Not
considerable morsels ; only ragged atoms, threads.
These they pick up daintily with their forks ; the
atoms tremble, waver, fall. Neighbouring buns,
discouraged by their brothers' defeat, hold out no
longer ; and the muffin lying still, lets itself be
torn.)

Shrill Voice : ** Mamma, may I have a bun .^"
Mamma: "Yes, Harry dear, but it's your
fourth."

Pretty and stylish English Girl: "A
bun, please."

Young Englishman : "I'll chance a muffin."



The Bun Abroad 147

Chatty little Frenchman: *' Zat will be
two buns, mees. (Tb fair American) I, also, will
eat ze bun/'

(Bun-eating follows, briskly and smoothly ;
without silver forks. All four trifles surrender
easily and amiably ; so does the muffin of the
young Englishman. Nor are there crumbs and
currants left on their plates and tables, or on the
floor — convincing evidence that ** the bun " should
be handled and not forked.)



SOME NIGHT FACES



SOME NIGHT FACES

No sooner have you taken your ticket at the
theatre than you perceive a pair of hard eyes
watching you through a glass door. Confidently,
by way of a passage or a staircase, you approach.
The eyes glisten as you come. The eyes light up
when you have arrived. The eyes belong to the
person who opens the door, the ouvreuse. She is
stout, or she is extremely thin. She has a black
dress, and black hair. She wears a cap, or she
sports a blue ribbon. She ogles you. She smiles
upon you. She would have you leave your hat and
coat and stick with her. " Merci,'' you reply. She,
however, insists. It is hot within. It is stuffy.
The stalls are small ; you are stout. Your hat
and coat would suffer were you to take them with
you ; your stick would not fail to trip your neigh-
bours up ; you would do well to leave all three
with her. " Merci," you protest. But her hand
goes forth greedily ; she would rob you of your
things. "Merci," you complain. Then, feverishly,



152 Paris of the Parisians

she turns upon your companion and begs for her
cloak, declaring that it will get crumpled, even
torn, possibly spoilt for ever within. '' Merci,''
says your companion. *' Rien a faire," mutters
the ouvreuse to a friend ; then shrugging her
shoulders, leads you to your seat. There, she
thrusts a programme into your hand. You pay
her. Hurriedly she disappears. The orchestra
strikes up ; but the ouvreuse returns, bearing
what she calls a banc, a footstool. A gift, you
think ; a tender attention prompted by remorse,
a politeness to be accepted and not paid for.
" Merci," you say quite cordially as she installs
the stool. And the play begins.

Upstairs, behind the glass door, the ouvreuse
still waits. She approaches everybody ; she ogles
everybody ; she would take charge of every coat
and cloak. Few give in to her, however ; and
those who do, capitulate only through sheer fright.
Some scorn her altogether ; and she remembers
these. Should they lose themselves in a corridor
later on, she will send them wrong. Should she
pass them in the stalls, she will poke her pro-
grammes into their eye and tread mercilessly on
their feet. In a bag strapped round her waist she
carries change. And it is wise to inspect her
fifty centime bits and francs — for she is never
without Argentine money and Swiss coins on
which the figure does not stand but sits : abandoned
money, worthless money, the most infamous in



Some Night Faces 153

France. . . . The first entr'acte arrives ; and
again you see the ouvreuse near your seat. She
is in quest of some one ; and that some one seems
to be you. Her eye is upon you. She is un-
doubtedly coming your way; she has passed every-
body else. Inquiringly, you look up, and see
her hand outstretched. '* Pourquoi ? '' you ask.
" Pour le banc de Madame," she replies. Over-
whelmed, you demand '' Combien.'^ " She, how-
ever, prefers to leave it to you. And so you
fumble in your pockets, and find only a five- franc
piece. And so the ouvreuse offers to change it,
and gives you Argentine money or Swiss coins
on which the figure sits. And so you protest,
and the ouvreuse counts out silver pieces and
coppers laboriously, one by one. And so the
people behind murmur because the curtain has
gone up, and you, confused, give the ouvreuse
more than you think. And so the footstool was
not a tender attention, not a politeness, not a
gift.

• « ■ • •

Midnight. Tables are still occupied on the
boulevard terraces, gay people take liqueurs before
going home. In the cafe itself a band plays ; yet
it can be heard out there distinctly. Pedlars
pass : first of all, the olive merchant. He has his
name on his hat. He has his address on his tub.
He is well known on the boulevards ; and he is
respected. Unlike his brothers on the Boul' Mich',



154 Paris of the Parisians

he does not pester you with his wares. Pausing
before the tables he looks at you, raises his eye-
brows, waits. For two sous he gives ten olives,
spreading them out neatly on a sheet of paper.
And he collects many sous, for Parisians are fond
of impromptu refreshment. Often he makes the
waiters a present of two or even three olives,
and, from all accounts, can well afford to. " He
has a country house,'' declares a gar^on, as the
olive merchant passes on. . . . Not so dignified
is the nut man. No one credits him with a
country house ; but the waiters relate that he
has travelled in many a land, and that he can
speak almost every tongue. Still, he cannot
distinguish an American from an Englishman, and
is given to protesting that he saw you every
morning for six consecutive years in New York.
All Americans love nuts. All Americans are
generous. For the sake of old times, in memory
of the dear old city, you are urged to buy two
sous' worth. Business, he declares, is bad, because
Parisians prefer olives to nuts, and their children
nougat. Still, several consommateurs make nuts
do service for the second course of their midnight
meal. . . . ^'Nougat," cries the next pedlar, a
negro. He wears a gaudy turban and brilliant
robes. And his teeth shine. He smiles to show
them. He is never serious. He must grin.
Like a juggler, he balances a tray in his hand,
tosses it, catches it, holds it on his head, lowers it



Some Night Faces 155

again, then hands it round. His wares are white
and pink and green, studded with almonds.
Thin paper envelops each stick. ''Nougat," he
cries. And few consommateurs lose this oppor-
tunity to finish their repast elegantly, with dessert.
. . . Opposite, on a bench, sits a row of ragged
fellows staring sullenly at the cafe. No one
notices them ; no one seems to be conscious of
their presence. Some are mere boys ; others are
weather-beaten old fellows, all are *' mouchers,'*
veritable gueux, forlorn and solitary, thirsty too,
and hungry. No one knows how they live, and
no one cares. Certain is it that they cannot make
a livelihood out of cigar stumps, cigarette ends, and
charred tobacco. Sullenly, silently, they watch :
watch the pedlars pass, watch the consommateurs
eat and drink, watch the waiters bring new liqueurs,
watch the consommateurs pay and go, watch the
gar^ons clear away the chairs and tables, watch
them carry the shutters out and put them up.
Other cafes close, and it is dark. Now and then
a stooping figure rises from the bench and slouches
off. It moves a hundred yards, and stops. It
sinks on another bench where there is more room.
It shivers. It lays itself out. It turns as though
tormented by some memory or some grief. It
shivers again. It turns once more. Then lies still
at last.



lA-haut



lX-haut

Close contact with the clouds, say mountaineers,
is intoxicating. You are not yourself amidst so
much air. Serious thought evaporates. You speak
strangely. A dangerous exhilaration, mischievous
to the mind, sets in. Not only Alpine climbers
know these emotions. They besiege the Mont-
martrois, poor soul ! perched on a summit of a
hill, the loftiest position in Lutetia. He presides
over Paris, as it were. He must stoop to see her.
He is as much in the air as the flag that flies on
the top of the Eiff'el Tower, and just as fantastic.
He has not, like others, his mad moments : they
are all mad. Even the arms of his Moulin whirl
slower than his brain. He has chronic fever. He
is all pulse. He is the victim of too much oxygen ;
and calm depresses him. Grave people, grave
housings — museums and the rest — he abhors. He
has no liking for books, architecture, armour, and
relics of the old world. Nor for their collectors —
superannuated sages ; nor, indeed, for anything



i6o Paris of the Parisians

dusty or dull. To live madly is his philosophy.
And lo ! for the indulgence of it dens and caverns
reveal themselves in which grown men arrayed as
angels, devils, or undertakers, caper and chant.
Heaven, Hell, Death : Montmartre boasts all three,
almost side by side. Montmartre pays them mid-
night calls. From clouds to coals, to coffins, it
passes ; from blue to red, to black. Gold gleams,
too, in each ; the gold of bock, served by waiters
with wings, or tails, or black glazed hats ; Mont-
martre's pet puppets, fond of hinting for cigarettes,
passionate in their pursuit of pour-boires. Mer-
chants later on, they tempt you with tapers, medals,
and other mementos — *' deux sous la piece."
Accept these trifles, though they be the last things
in the world you covet. Fumble for sous. Earn
their blessing, or expect their withering wit.

Festive explorers, however — those blown to
France by the breeze of either ocean or channel —
have assisted at much of Montmartre's madness.
They know the Moulin as well as the Louvre, and
have heard many a chansonnier at the Quat'z' Arts,
Conservatoire, and Treteau de Tabarin. Of these,
therefore, it is needless to speak. Opposite the
Treteau, however, there stands a cabaret into
which few foreigners venture, and it is called the
" Cabaret Bruyant " — not Bruant, and owned by
Bruant*s rival, Alexandre. He proclaims himself
to be a ** realist " ; and so he sings about prisons,
prostitutes, thieves, and is accompanied chiefly by



Lk-Haut i6i

a drum. His waiters wear queer caps, and his
singers are girt with ragged fringes — they also are
" reaUsts," and describe the ruffians who beat them
and also Hve on them, and who hide behind trees
on the exterior boulevards when it is dark. Here
the ceiling is low, and the tables and benches are
uncouth. Here there are doors, keys, and other
ugly trophies from the prison of Mazas. Here
stuffed and sinister birds watch Alexandre as he
struts about. Ordinary clothes would not suit so
profound a realist : and Alexandre's consist of a
velvet coat, velvet trousers, a red shirt, a huge
belt, and Wellington boots. A stage would be
too simple a spot for so terrible a singer ; and so
Alexandre mounts a bench. Loudly he sings,
brutally, and in argot. Crimes are planned,
murders committed, executions conducted, before
you. Now and then the drum booms, and
Alexandre's voice rises : *' A Mazas. A Mazas."
In the background, at a counter, sits Madame
Alexandre. She is handsome and she is stout.
She believes her husband to be a genius, but
shivers over his songs. She is glad to take
him away from their sinister cabaret at two in the
morning, and start, there and then, in their
carriage, for their "country home." There she
has a garden, flowers, fowls, ducks, and, of course,
a lake. There she potters about the place all
day in a dressing-gown. There she and her
husband lead a regular and rural life. " You must

M



1 62 Paris of the Parisians

visit us," she says. " You must come to dejeuner.
You must see our flowers. You shall have fresh
eggs, fresh butter, fresh milk. You shall rest in a
lawn beneath a blue sky, surrounded by green, and
. . .'' The drum booms again, and Alexandre's
voice rises once more : " A Mazas. A Mazas."

Almost opposite are the restaurants of the
'' Abbaye '' and " Dead Rat." No one approaches
them much before two ; then they are packed.
Both have tzigane bands and both provide supper
— Montmartre ladies dart to and fro. But the
gaiety of the " Abbaye " is not the gaiety of the
Taverne Lorraine, for its clientele is neither young
nor frank nor fresh. There is noise enough ; and
when the tziganists play spirited airs, when a
table is cleared away for a lady to dance, when a
glass is smashed, when a chair is overturned, when
a voice rises, when a quarrel ensues, when the
manager comes up, there is excitement enough
too. The flower woman enters, and her basket is
the freshest thing in the place. It empties quickly,
and she is glad to go. Restless young fellows,
prematurely old, wander about with a scowl for
their friends and an afi^ectionate smile for all those
whom they have never met and do not know. A
monstrous waiter beams on them, however, and is
sometimes persuaded to dance with them and to
tell of how he was christened in champagne one
night " le gros glouglou." Often Armand plays
with Edouard's hat, and Edouard with Armand's



Lk-Haut 163

— both laugh insanely if one falls off and stooping
to raise it, fall too. Then " Glouglou " comes to
the rescue, and Armand clasps his neck while
Edouard pulls his legs, and " Glouglou '* totters,
and a circle forms to see whether " Glouglou " can
resist, and how Armand and Edouard will find their
feet. Occasionally, a Montmartre lady quarrels
with her friend. The chasseur is called, and seizes
her. She struggles as she is carried out.

Not every one is mad in Montmartre, however ;
nor every one so sinister as Alexandre, nor every
one so insane as the Armands and Edouards of the
'' Abbaye '' and " Dead Rat." Higher on the hill,
in dim mean streets, are other cabarets, closely
curtained, approached by the well-informed and
very daring only. But the low chanting that
issues occasionally from these sinister-looking nooks
is not the chanting of thieves, nor the subsequent
applause their dishonest glee over the division of
particularly splendid booty. You may safely enter.
At rude tables sit worthy men and women, smoking,
knitting, drinking sour wine, drinking in too the
songs of a quaintly-clad quartette with pale faces,
long hair, velvet coats and scarlet waistbands, who
make a picturesque tableau in the background.
One has a vioHn, another a guitar gay with ribbons.
They strike a chord, and a third rises.

Sadly he announces his song — "the music by
my friend." It is only a trifle : a tribute to his
Muse. She inspires him, you think, with a strange



164 Paris of the Parisians

melancholy. Other ditties, all sad, all simple,
follow. Sous, not five -franc pieces, alas, are
dropped into the collector's bag. And the min-
strels rise to go. Down the street they hasten,
gaunt figures ; their ribbons and scarlet sashes
flying. They sing and collect sous again in a
second wine-shop ; by midnight their sad faces
and sad ditties have touched the humble audience
of a third. Up the hill they hurry, a tall row ;
into dimmest Montmartre, into bare attics — their
homes. Books and easels are more plentiful than
beds and blankets. Studious singers, you think :
say rather singing-students, student-chansonniers,
for so they are. Paints are bought and fees paid
out of that bag of sous ; educations finished,
scholars and artists made. Precious bag : thrice
precious sous ! what help your plentiful coming in
bestows ; what hope ! To what high purpose are
you employed ! Alas, you and your givers have
been scarce of late in these rude cabarets. Your
passing to other hands (to Bruant's, to Alexandre's,
to gayer, madder dens) has reduced the number of
picturesque quartettes with velvet coats and vivid
waistbands. They, albeit poets, lack wild wit and
the power to caper. They, unlike most chanson-
niers, are talented and pure. They, in spite of
their efforts, cannot charm the Montmartrois ;
and so they are rare on the hill to-day.



THE TRAGEDIES OF
MONTMARTRE



THE TRAGEDIES OF MONTMARTRE

It sometimes happens that a popular chansonnier does
not fulfil his evening engagement at Montmartre.
" Our distinguished poet and friend is unable to
appear," announces the director ; " another will take
his place." No one minds much ; no one wonders ;
the entertainment goes on. When the audience
has dispersed, and only habitues sit sipping in the
cabaret, some one may ask what is wrong with the
" distinguished poet and friend." " J^nerve,"
replies the director. No one is surprised ; no
one is alarmed ; the waiter goes round. Many
a performance is conducted without the popular
chansonnier, and without further announcement
from the director. He tells the habitues, how-
ever, that their ** distinguished poet and friend "
is gravely ill. No one is jealous of him, no one
speaks harshly of him, when the lights go out.
" Pauvre Marcel," says the director a week later.
" Pauvre Marcel," repeat the habitues. "Pauvre
Marcel," echoes Montmartre when it learns that



1 68 Paris of the Parisians

the popular chansonnier is dead or that he has
become insane. Directors themselves have passed
away suddenly ; they no more than their chan-
sonniers have been able to withstand the false and
feverish atmosphere of the ''Butte." It killed
Rodolphe Salis, founder of the " Chat Noir.'* It
killed his brother Gabriel, first proprietor of the
" Ane Rouge." It helped to kill Andhre Joyeux,
second host of the same cabaret. " Pauvre
Rodolphe," " Pauvre Gabriel," " Pauvre Andhre,"
said Montmartre.

Four years ago, towards eight at night, Rodolphe
Salis dined. His chansonniers sat at the same
table. Journalists often joined them. Waiters in
black silk stockings served. Old lamps burned
dimly ; not so dimly but that the *' Black Cat "
might be seen watching her master from every
corner, not so dimly but that row upon row of
mocking masks and grotesque puppets caught
one's eye, not so dimly but that Salis himself
might be observed. He was short, and he was
slight. He had red hair and a red beard. His
eyes were green, his forehead was wrinkled, his
hands were almost transparent and never still.
He looked forty, and moved so restlessly, spoke
so nervously, that his friends often said, '' Maitre,
you will go mad." He, raising his glass, would
laugh then. At dessert Salis would ask the jour-
nahsts what had taken place during the day, and
they, drawing out notes, announced that the



The Tragedies of Montmartre 169

Government had fallen, or that a Russian grand-
duke had been seen driving with a professional
beauty, or that misfortune had befallen a notorious
demi - mondaine. Other news was reviewed :
literary news, theatrical news, scandalous news,
news of the " Butte," and Salis listened attentively.
Then, over coJfFee and cigars, the chansonniers
read Salis their latest verses, and he would applaud
or find fault, and add a line here or strike out
two there, and call them '' veritable poets," or
condemn them as "lazy and lamentable fools."
Bocks followed the liqueurs, and Salis would swallow
two or three ; often, feeling depressed, he took as
many absinthes. By nine he was more restless,
more nervous than ever ; and when the lights
were turned up, and spectators came in, his eyes
were wild and his hand shook, but he saluted his
guests amiably, and sipped bocks with them, and
told them stories feverishly, and addressed for-
eigners as " monseigneur," and bade them view
his "black cats" until the entertainment began
upstairs. On the ceiling, along the walls, over
the old fireplace, above the door, black cats of all
sizes and all ages crept and crouched, watched
and reflected, smiled and sneered. All had yellow
eyes and spiky whiskers. All had curly tails.
All were the sons or the daughters, the grand-
children, or the great-grandchildren, of the great
"Black Cat" who, beneath a dull red lamp, had
been sitting proudly on a poster outside the cabaret



170 Paris of the Parisians

for years. " Le chat noir, ses enfants — les petits
chat noirs/* Sahs would say ; then, leading his
guests upstairs, pointed out more black cats on
the staircase, and more in the little theatre itself,
all creeping or crouching, all watching or reflect-
ing, all smiling or sneering, all with yellow eyes,
spiky whiskers, and curly tails. " Mes princes,
mes princesses," said Salis, "you are in the sweet
and sacred abode of the world-renowned Black
Cat. Her chansonniers will amuse you. I myself
will amuse you. You shall depart amused." And
the chansonniers sang, blithely or sadly ; and
shadow-plays were produced, showing politicians
and Pierrots ; and, finally, Salis took possession of
the gangway, and, strolling up and down, criticised
the fall of the Government, or poked fun at the
grand-duke who had been seen driving with a
professional beauty, or deplored the misfortunes
of the notorious demi-mondaine. As he spoke
his eyes flashed and his hands twitched ; as he
went on he hurried up and down the gangway
gesticulating wildly ; before he was done he had
reviewed the latest literary news, theatrical news,
scandalous news, and news of the "Butte." At
twelve the audience dispersed, and Salis was ex-
hausted. By half-past twelve he had taken more
bocks or more absinthes. At one he was supping
with his chansonniers, journalists, friends, drinking
deeply, talking wildly, amazing them all with his
mad spirits, nervous movements, caustic wit.



The Tragedies of Montmartre 171

They often would say again, '' Maitre, you will
go mad." He, raising his glass, would laugh
more than ever then. They, as time went on,
warned him. He, almost insane, tried to smother
their fears. They at last saw the end coming.
He before long realised that he was doomed.
And so — Salis went to bed because he was
enerve. And so — the cabaret of the "Black
Cat " was conducted by another until her master
"should get well.'' And so — Salis disappeared,
so the " Black Cat '' vanished, suddenly and sadly,
for ever and for ever from the " Butte."

When the poster of the " Black Cat " was
taken down, Gabriel Salis, in the "Ane Rouge"
near by, was perhaps the only man in Mont-
martre who did not sigh. He and his brother
had been bitter enemies from first to last.
But Gabriel drank too, and got nervous also.
Gabriel, from haranguing his audience in the same
manner as his brother, was soon exhausted.
Gabriel, fearing to die like Rodolphe, sold his
cabaret to Andhre Joyeux, and, according to
Joyeux's startling poster, trotted away on a red
ass laden with bags of gold. He trotted into the
country, and bought a chateau ; but the change
came too suddenly also, and too late. Soon
Gabriel Salis died.

At once proud of his cabaret, Joyeux had it
hung with sketches, caricatures, mocking masks,
grotesque puppets, and, of course, vivid effigies of



172 Paris of the Parisians

the *' Red Ass." At once popular in the *' Butte,*'
Joyeux was well patronised. Odd characters came
to his house : pale poets, disreputable old fellows
soiled with smoke and spoilt by absinthe, mys-
terious ladies who were anxious to read you their
plays, books, and poems on the spot. Here it
was customary to call for rounds of applause.
Here it was usual to join in the choruses. Here
it was the invariable practice to make fun of a
wizened little madman with gold spectacles and
one hard eye. He, believing in the applause,
expressed his thanks with emotion ; and Joyeux,
mounting a chair, would reply that Montmartre
needed no thanks, that it was for Montmartre to
do the thanking, and that Montmartre wished to
show its appreciation of his genius by crowning
him with a wreath of pure white roses. He,
bowing his head, received the wreath ; and Joyeux,
the pale poets, the disreputable old fellows, the
mysterious ladies, would shake with merriment.
Mad nights ! Salvation Army girls came in and
sang — Joyeux would sell their papers, Joyeux
would give them sous. Foreigners came in, and
were embarrassed — Joyeux would show them the
treasures of the '' Red Ass," Joyeux would soon
set them at their ease. And he, like Salis, walked
to and fro. And he, also, harangued his audience.
And he, too, was an unusual wit.

Life on the " Butte " was the theme most
employed by Joyeux in his songs. He, like all



The Tragedies of Montmartre 173

Montmartrois, believed that humour in Paris was
to be enjoyed only in the Rue des Martyrs and
about the Place Pigalle. The Montmartrois, he
declared, possessed genius. The Montmartrois


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