Walter F Lonergan.

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financier of German origin, who was paid to back the
Panama Company on the Bourse. In the fanciful list
published by the Marquis de Mores in the newspaper
La France later on, men were made to receive so little


as twenty and thirty pounds. M. de Blowitz was
currently reported to have '* touched " a cheque for
£4,000, and a minor Correspondent of an English
paper was said to have been satisfied with a cheque
for £40.

There was commotion when it was boldly asserted
that Baron Mohrenheim, Russian Ambassador to the
Third Republic, was among the "pot de vineurs" of
Panama. I think that the compilers of the fanciful
list asserted that he had received about ;^20,ooo. No
notice was taken of the assertions made in the French
papers, but the Correspondents of foreign journals
who had reproduced the rumours about the Russian
Ambassador received notice to quit French territory
within twenty-four hours.

The Correspondents expelled were four in number —
a German, an Italian, a Hungarian, and an English-
man. I knew only one of them, the German, Herr
Otto Brandes, who represented the Berliner Tagblatt
in Paris. Herr Brandes, a tall, good-looking and
affable Teuton, had been in the German diplomatic
service, and had fought in the campaign of 1870-71.
Leaving the diplomatic service, he embarked with
heart and soul in journalism. I never knew a man so
enthusiastic about his craft. While he was in Paris
he carefully attended the Parliamentary debates, and
his favourite phrase, " Ca se corse,'' when discussion
was becoming serious in the House, was frequently
quoted in the Press gallery. He used to equal Herr
Singer, of the New Free Press and Signor Caponi,
then of the Tribuna and the Perseveransa, in his
attention to Parliamentary affairs. More than these,
however, he watched and reported everything of any


interest happening in Paris. He was at all the first
nights, and I have seen him studying a trumpery show
opened at Belleville.

All this was done for the benefit of the readers of
the Berliner Tagblatt, but Herr Brandes had to pay
for the echo from Paris about Baron Mohrenheim.
He and his family were hooted at Asnieres, outside the
city, where they lived, and the windows of their villa
were broken. Brandes went to England, to which
country his wife belongs, and never returned to Paris.
The Russian Ambassador was thus avenged by the
French Government.

Later on came Admiral Avellan and his Muscovites
from Toulon. The Russian sailors were hugged in
the streets of Paris, and cynics who hinted that it
would be well to invite them to a banquet of tallow
candles were nearly assassinated. It was all " Vive
la Russie" but there were not wanting Frenchmen
who reminded the enthusiasts that they would have
to pay dearly for the friendship of the Tsar.

Just before the Russians came there was some
entertainment afforded to the English in Paris by the
Norton fiasco. M. Millevoye alleged in the Chamber
that he had proof from correspondence found at the
British Embassy, and given to him by Norton, a
coloured man of Mauritius, that several French
politicians had been bought over by England. M.
Clemenceau was supposed to have had ;^20,ooo in the
"deal "with the English Government. All this was
believed for a time, but the documents were found to
be as apocryphal as those in the Parnell case. The
correspondence was forged in the most barefaced, and
at the same time in the most imbecile, manner. The


spelling was atrocious, and some of the allusions to
persons and events were what an inelegant writer
called ** cock-eyed." The writers of the spurious
letters were said to be Mr. Lister and Mr. Lee, of the
British Embassy. The forgers had evidently taken
Mr. Lister's name at random, but Mr, Lee, who is now
Sir H. Austin Lee, K.C.M.G., C.B., was then, as he
is at present, one of the most familiar figures in Paris
society. Before he came over to succeed Mr. Carew
as private secretary of the Earl of Lytton, he had a
well-filled career. He had been on many Royal
Commissions, and had acted as private secretary to
Sir Charles Dilke, Lord E. Fitzmaurice, Mr. James
Bryce, and Sir J. Ferguson. He is now Councillor
of Embassy, Commercial Attach^, Resident English
Director of the Suez Canal Company, and member of
the Managing Committee of the same. It was this
high and distinguished official who, according to
Norton, was writing bad English to a colleague who
was replying in the same fashion, and making allusions
to Miss Maud Gonne, who at this time first appeared
on the Paris horizon. Norton and Ducret of the
Cocarde were justly punished for their acts.^

Some livelier events happened at this time and
called my attention to the streets again. Senator
Berenger had protested against a masquerade
organised in the district near Montmartre by students.
A procession went round the Moulin Rouge, and a
woman of the town appeared as a Montmartre Godiva

* It was not known clearly if M. Millevoye and his friends
were hoodwinked by Norton or not. There was a theory at the
time that Norton was only used as a tool by those who wanted
to raise hush-money by means of the forged documents.


on horseback. Some of the students were prosecuted
for this, and one of the biggest riots that I ever saw
out of Ireland at election time raged for hours in the
Latin Quarter. The students rushed along the
Boulevard Saint Michel destroying everything before
them. They tore down kiosques, smashed windows,
and fought the big men of the city police. They were
no match for these burly constables, who walked over
them, and soon gained the mastery. A man, not a
student, was killed by a porcelain matchbox used as a
missile in a cafe, and this caused more rioting, but the
police were again victors, as they always are in Paris.
In the region of la haute politique diplomatists and
journalists were discussing the Siamese boundary
question. With this I had nothing to do, but I know
that it caused my colleague, Mr. Ozanne, many
journeys to the Embassy and to the French Foreign
Office. The French Foreign Office was disposed to
be very reticent in those days when France and
England were not friendly. There was little to be
gleaned there about the Siamese question, and Mr.
Constantine Phipps, then at the British Embassy, was
the chief informant of the English journalists. The
tension between France and England at the time was
indicated to a certain extent by the articles of the
Hon. G. N. Curzon and of Mr. Demetrius Boulger in
the Nineteenth Century. Mr. Curzon, whose motto
is " Salus Indise suprema lex," denounced M. de
Lanessan, Governor-General of the French Far-
Eastern settlements, for having sent troops to take
Stung-Treng and Khong island on the Mekong, by
virtue of the fact that the French had erected forts in
the region in 1884. Mr. Boulger, on his side, com-


merited on the vanity of the grande nation. The
matter, fortunately for the hopes of the founders of
the subsequent entente cordiale, and notably of Sir
Thomas Barclay, was settled towards the end of
1893. France and England agreed to an '^ Mtat
tampon," a ** buffer State," and all danger of collision
was avoided. The Siam controversy which had
begun in 1884 between M. Jules Ferry and Lord
Lyons was ended.

At this time I lost touch with the Chamber of
Deputies to a considerable extent. I was not there
when M. Jaures, the Socialist leader, was beginning
to make felt his own influence and that of his party.
I was present, however, when the Anarchist Vaillant
threw his bomb. I saw the tall, gaunt figure of a
pale-faced man rise in one of the galleries and fling
something. There was a flash, then the noise ot
an explosion, and smoke. No great damage was
done, but Vaillant was tried and guillotined in
February, 1894. On February the 12th Emile
Henry, another Anarchist, threw a bomb in the
Cafd Terminus, near the Gare Saint Lazare. I was
at the Theatre Frangais when that happened, and
heard of it from young Vitu, as he was then, son of
Auguste Vitu, who for long years was dramatic critic
of the Figaro, an important post, in which he was
succeeded by Emmanuel Arene, the Corsican senator,
who was one of those politicians said to have received
some of the eggs out of the Panama basket. Emile
Henry did not do much damage any more than
Vaillant. He evidently wanted to kill off a few
of the bourgeois people frequenting the Caf6
Terminus, where they listened every evening to the


music of an indifferent orchestra. Henry, in trying to
escape, put a few bullets into a policeman, who bravely
grappled with him and held him until help came.
The dynamiter, recognised and identified as the man
who had carried the bomb to the offices of the Carmaux
Company previously, thus causing the disastrous ex-
plosion in the police Commissariat of the Rue des
Bons Enfants, was guillotined on the Place de la
Roquette by Deibler, who was very busy towards the
close of 1893 and in the beginning of 1894.

Before 1893 finished we had the general elections,
and the deaths occurred of Marshal de MacMahon
and Charles Gounod. The elections were notable for
the defeat of the redoubtable M. Clemenceau in the
Var, and when that event was known in Paris, shouts of
" A bas les Anglais " were raised. The news came to
Paris very late from the Var, and I obtained it at the
office of the Gaulois, where there was undisguised jubila-
tion over the fall of the man whom the Conservatives
know as the ''komine sinistre.'' At this period, however,
the Conservatives had to go into mourning over the
electoral defeat of the great Catholic champion. Count
Albert de Mun, descendant of the philosopher Helvetius
and of Madame de Stael, who was ousted from the
new Parliament, as well as M. Georges Clemenceau,
leader of the Radicals.


Death of Marshal MacMahon and Charles Gounod — Death o£
Jules Ferry and H. Taine — Max Lebaudy and Liane de
Pougy — The DeHlahs of the Third RepubHc — The assas-
sination of President Carnot — His funeral described by
Clement Scott — President Casimir Perier — Verdi at the
Opera — French and Italians — M. Casimir Perier's resigna-
tion—Death of M. Waddington.

THE Republicans gave grand State funerals to
Marshal de MacMahon and Charles Gounod,
both of whom died in the autumn of 1893. The
Marshal's funeral was the finest military display that
I have ever seen, with the exception of that at the
interment of Baron Bauer, an Austrian War Minister,
who died while I was in Vienna some years back.
Baron Bauer's funeral was attended by the Emperor
Francis Joseph. His Majesty walked on foot after
the mail-clad knight on horseback who followed the
bier and is known in Vienna as the '* Iron Rider."
In the cortege were all the variegated uniforms of the
Austro- Hungarian army. Paris could not show such
military variety on the occasion of the Marshal's
funeral, but there were nearly one hundred thousand
troops out, and these were the dlite of the army.
The Russian Admiral Avellan and his men joined
in the funeral of the former President of the Republic,



whose body was carried to the crypt of the Hotel des
Invalides, there to rest with those of the first
Napoleon and some of his great captains.

The funeral of Charles Gounod was an artistic one,
like that of Rossini during the closing days of the
Second Empire, and that of Ambroise Thomas later
on. I only saw Gounod once, when he was conduct-
ing his " Redemption " at the Trocad^ro. This
oratorio, first heard at the Birmingham Festival in
1SS2, was one of his great successes, but he was
a man of many failures. In his old age he was
very patriarchal in appearance, and when I saw him
at the Trocad^ro, a few years before his death, his
face bore traces of melancholy.

Two other persons of dissimilar careers and of
great reputation — Jules Ferry and Hippolyte Taine —
also passed away, but in the earlier part of 1893.
Their funerals were almost unnoticed, at least by
the crowd. Ferry had lingered in politics for a time
as President of the Senate, but he was clean forgotten
by the people. As for Taine, who killed himself
by overwork, he was only remembered by scholars
and literary people when he vanished from the scene
of his monumental labours.

Before I close my narrative of events in which
I was interested and in touch with during 1893, I
must refer to two persons who were brought into
prominence that year. One was Max Lebaudy, and
the other was Madame Liane de Pougy. Max
Lebaudy was brought out owing to his extravagant
expenditure. The ''pe^i^ sucrier," suhsequGiitly known
as the " millionaire conscript," inherited part of the
six millions of francs left by his father, the sugar


king of Paris. Max set steadily to work to get
through his share of the paternal estate, when his
mother, Madame Lebaudy, interfered and he was
put into the hands of a conseil judiciaire which
was to check his prodigality. While Max was
spending a few millions of francs his mother, whose
efforts to have a conseil judiciare appointed were
frustrated, was living on a few hundreds, and would
hardly go to the expense of keeping a maidservant.
To Max Lebaudy I shall have to refer later on,
as he again came out prominently when he had to
join the army as the " millionaire conscript."

Madame Liane de Pougy began to be heard of
in November, 1893, when one of her suivantes, an
acute woman, tried to blackmail the Marquis de
MacMahon, grand-nephew of the Marshal-President.
The Marquis, a full-blooded man of thirty-six or
thirty-seven, was one of Liane de Pougy 's earliest
adorers. He spent large sums of money on her
upkeep, and her servant tried to get more out of
him. There was a lawsuit, and as far as I can
remember the Marquis paid a good deal to get out
of the affair.

Liane de Pougy I first saw in a box at the
Opera Comique. Her hair was then dark and
she wore a tiara of diamonds. Afterwards she
dyed her head and seemed a blonde. Under either
flag she is, or rather was, a most beautiful woman,
more beautiful even than the " belle Madame
Gauthereau'' of the eighties. Madame de Pougy
was originally married to a naval officer, from whom
she was soon separated. I saw her with various
men from time to time, and she must have had


dozens of admirers and adorers, among those best
known being the Marquis de MacMahon, Max
Lebaudy, and M. Bischoffsheim. Young men and
old crowded around her. Younger sons robbed
their fathers and mothers and borrowed heavily for
her, as was done in the case of Cora Pearl during
the Second Empire. This, too, has been done for
Madame de Pougy's rivals in beauty, Emilienne
d'AlenQon, who was connected with some of the
" Panamists," the " beautiful Otero," *' la belle
Cassive,'' of the shapely limbs, formerly of the Folies
Dramatiques and then of the Theatre des Nouveaut^s
on the Boulevard des Italiens, at whose feet the
impecunious son of a prominent Republican politician
shot himself a few years since. The affair happened
at Lyons, where the lady had gone to fulfil a
professional engagement. I think that Liane de
Pougy was far superior to any of these by birth,
and her beauty in youth was of a more refined type
than theirs. She imitated them in going on the
music-hall stage in order to display her charms to
the best advantage and to make more money, as her
train de vie was enormously expensive. It was
reported at one time that she was about to marry
that erratic half-genius Jean Lorrain, the man of
many rings, who wrote short plays for her, and who
died only recently, of spinal decay. I do not know
if Madame de Pougy ever entertained this notion,
but had Lorrain lived and the marriage taken place,
the union of two such strange creatures could not
have lasted many months. Madame de Pougy gets
well advertised and kept before the public owing to
the numerous accidents which happen to her. Once


she pretended to take poison and was ill for some
weeks. Some time after her horses were stolen, and
in October, 1906, she was slightly injured in a street
accident. The English newspapers referred to the
affair under the attractive heading " Paris Beauty
Run Over."

Anarchists, as we only too well know, were again
prominent and murderous in the year 1894. I find
from my notes that the first explosion of the year
took place at Foyot's restaurant, close to the
Luxembourg and the Senate. By a strange irony
of circumstances, at Foyot's on the evening of the
explosion in April, 1894, was the "literary Anarchist "
Laurent Tailhade. He was dining with a young
person of interesting appearance when the dynamiter
loomed up at a window and laid his bomb on the
sill. The explosive was not intended for Tailhade,
but for any bourgeois cossu who might be dining at
Foyot's, which is a noted place for good cooking and
good wine. The dynamiter would no doubt have
been glad to see dozens of bourgeois blown up ; but
as it was, he only broke the window and nearly
blinded for life a literary man who affected to be in
sympathy with Anarchy, and who admitted recourse
to " the resources of civilisation," as the Fenian
dynamiters used to say.

This extraordinary man Tailhade, who was the
author of the phrase ''que le geste soil beau,'' or that
anything is admissible when done with a fine move-
ment, has of recent times abjured what he formerly
adored. After having descended so low as the
anarchist sheet the Libertaire, we found him



"weeping on the waistcoat" of M. Arthur Meyer,
and writing articles for the fashionable and Conserva-
tive Gaulois. He went in, as a matter of fact,
among the men whom he had so often branded in
his fierce, tortuous, and tormented prose. There
has been no style in French literature so strange as
that of Tailhade, except, to a certain extent, that
of Jean Lorrain. But the latter was comparatively
subdued and refined, whereas Tailhade is brutally
realistic. I have never read anything more vigorous
and terrible than the following passages on Paris
of the past. They are from Tailhade's series of
articles '* Les Reflets de Paris," and are well worthy
of quotation : "II est commun, poncif, rebattu, et
meme journalistique, dans les matins oii somnole une
verve collabescente, de dire adieu au pittoresque et
de lamenter ce qui fut le Paris d'autrefois. Jardins
moribonds, architectures desuetes, carrefours assainis,
boites a locataires et cages a punaises, les murailles
antiques paraissent, un moment avec leurs papiers
deteints, leurs portes crevees, leurs escaliers beants,
avec les taches innomables qu'ont faites a leurs
parois cinq cents ans d'humanit^, puis branlent au
coup de pioche et croulent dans un hourvari soudain,
parmi les nuages de poussiere et les cataractes de
platras. Ici des generations defuntes ont v6cu la vie,
ont aime, ont souffert ; des vieillards se sont endormis
dans la paix du neant, des meres ont rhythme d'une
chanson inquiete le souffle des berceaux. L'adultere
a gravi ces marches derobees ; des etreintes d'amour
et des spasmes de mort ont fait vibrer ces murs
deserts, ces demeures profanees. Pulvis et umbra


Nor is Tailhade tender towards his contemporaries.
Of the poet Verlaine, " LeHan, poor Lelian," who died
in 1896, he wrote : " Verlaine, si admire, si admirable,
encore que lourdement surfait, traina aux bras de son
ami Cazals I'alcoolisme et la vermine de ses derniers
ans. Malgre le prestige de la gloire, malgre I'esprit
delicieux des moments lucides, on ne pouvait aimer
cette loque de poete qu'avec un mouchoir sous
le nez."

Of Edouard Drumont he wrote : "Ce petit employe
de I'Hotel de Ville en 1867, a garde la crasse
insaponifable des bureaux." This is Drumont the
unsoapable, with his face dUgoutier, and his
" barbe hospitaliere qui consternera d'envie, parmi
les bien heureux, le pediculaire Benoit Labre."
Maurice Barres, genial man as he is, has not escaped
the lash of the terrible Tailhade. The author of
" Les Deracines," " L'Appel au Soldat," and " Leurs
Figures " is reproached for his personal appearance,
notably " son dos circonfiexe, sa voix dure et seche
d'eunuque, sa jaunisse d'envieux, ses dents a pivots,
son air emprunte de cuistre qui met pour la premiere
fois les pieds dans un salon." And again, his
" cheveux plats de sacristain, nez crochu, oreilles telles
un rebord de pot de chambre, avec je ne sais quoi de
godiche et de constipe qui fait songer a un foetus en
rupture de bocal."

Of Francois Coppee, Academician, poet and
converted sinner, Tailhade wrote: "Coppee a qui
ses infirmites et sa haute devotion impartirent le
sobriquet d' Agnus Dei."

Of Christianity this fearful man wrote, before he
threw himself into the arms of Arthur Meyer: " Le


Christianlsme invent^ par les esclaves a ravale jusqu'a
la plus honteuse barbaric le monde greco-romain
effacant tout vestige de raison et de beaute, at a
pose sur I'univers, comme une chape de plomb, son
manteau de folie et de laideur."

Tailhade, after he recovered from his injuries
received at Foyot's restaurant, returned to his literary
and journalistic work, and had to go to prison for
some time by reason of his inflammatory articles in
the violent newspapers of the Anarchists. The latter
desisted for some time from frightening the public,
and all went on smoothly until that Sunday, the 24th
of June, 1894, when President Carnot was assassinated
at Lyons by the Italian Anarchist Caserio Santo.
This murderer was supposed to be avenging the
rigorous action of the French Government towards
Italian workmen in salt mines in the South of
France. Caserio may have also been influenced by
French Anarchists who had a desire to revenge the
dynamiters who had been sent to the guillotine.

The news came late to Paris on that Sunday night.
We in the office of the Telegraph first heard of it
from the policemen at the Bourse. The confirmation
came from the newspaper offices and the Elysee,
where the terrible news had been broken to Madame
Carnot and her sons. On the following Sunday
the murdered President was accorded one of the most
magnificent funerals ever seen in Paris. The late
Clement Scott wrote of it, in his own style, that "it
was roses, roses all the way." The funeral wreaths
were immense, and came from all parts, denoting
the popular feeling over the act of the Anarchist.
Clement Scott was over with Mr. Le Sage, the late


W. Beatty-Kingston, and Mr. Bennett Burleigh to
write up the funeral, which filled nearly two pages
of the Telegraphy about seven men in all being on
the task.

Mr. Bennett Burleigh was over chiefly to keep an
eye on anything exceptional that might happen.
All sorts of things had been expected — revolution,
dynamite bombs, more assassinations of public
personages, but nothing occurred.

M. Casimir Perier was quietly elected on the 27th
of June, 1894, and he walked in the funeral of his
murdered predecessor. This was courageous enough
on the part of the new President, whose squat, thick-
set form was noticeable in front of the chief mourners
and was a mark for bomb or bullet.

A few days more and all was forgotten. President
Carnot was placed near his grandfather, whose remains
had been brought from Magdeburg for interment in
the Pantheon. Caserio Santo was guillotined in
August, 1894, and the deed perpetrated at Lyons
passed into history. It is wonderful how soon the
French, nowadays, recover from shocks, alarms,
surprises, and crises. Time was when the whole
nation vibrated over the least thing — the fall of a
Cabinet, for instance. But they went on as usual
after President Carnot's assassination, which had been
preceded by menaces of foreign war, the Panama
crisis, and many changes of Ministry. This apparent
apathy of the French nation has been attributed by
some observers from abroad to the fact that the
people know full well that, whatever may happen, the
administration of the country will go on. It will
be controlled by the Chamber, which has more power


in this respect than the House of Commons. The
bureaux of the Chamber are not only Boards of
Inquiry but real and influential administrative com-
mittees. There is a good deal of truth in all this.
The French people are, no doubt, confident that

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Online LibraryWalter F LonerganForty years of Paris → online text (page 11 of 25)