Walter F Lonergan.

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whatever may happen in the way of a financial
scandal, a political assassination, or a Cabinet crisis,
the affairs of the country will be In good hands.
But there was another reason, and that was pre-
dominant in Carnot's time, more perhaps than it is
now, when a younger generation has come on the
scene. It was this, that the French people, and
especially the Parisians and residents in departments
bordering on and not far from the metropolis, had
suffered so severely from the effects of the great
upheaval of 1870-71, that they desired peace and
quiet at any price.

Great things were hoped from the new President,
Casimir Perier, whom I saw at close quarters in the
Opera on the night of the first performance in Paris
of Verdi's " Otello," which had been produced about
a year or two before at the Scala in Milan. I had
the good fortune to attend both the dress rehearsal
and ih^ premiere of " Otello." At the dress rehearsal
I was quite close to the maestro Giuseppe Verdi,
then making his last visit to Paris. The scene was
most interesting to me as well as to the others who
were privileged to witness it. Verdi sat at a table in
what may be termed the pit of the Opera, the usual
seats being cleared away. Near the Italian composer
were seated M. Sardou and M. Gailhard, manager
of the Op6ra. It was during this rehearsal that Verdi,
referring to Madame Rose Caron, said *' Ho trovato


la mia Desdemona." At \he premiere of " Otello,"
next evening, President and Madame Casimir-Perier
were in their box and Verdi, amid great clapping of
hands and shouting of " Vwes," appeared in a box
near the stage, wearing the grand cordon of the
Legion of Honour.

There was a rift in the lute, however. Public
opinion was then dead against the Italians owing to
the rioting in the South of France salt mines and
to the assassination of the unlucky President Carnot.
Accordingly there were those at the Op^ra that night
who murmured at the honours conferred on Verdi
arid depreciated his music. French composers present
were jealous and sneered at Verdi's best effects as
claptrap. Nothing pleased them, not even the
splendid singing of Alvarez and of Rose Caron, who
was especially impressive in the closing scenes of
the opera of " Otello."

One of the most acrid of Verdi's critics was that
now vanished wit and boulevardier, Aurdien Scholl.
I sat next to him in the orchestral stalls, and when
I applauded Alvarez in the "Farewell for ever"
scene, Scholl scowled at me through his eyeglass,
that monocle once so well known at Tortoni's and
at Bignon's, and said : " What are you doing that
for.-^ Why, man, it's all claptrap, and only fit for a
beuglant. They wouldn't stand it in a third-class
music-hall." This was overheard by old Signor
Caponi, correspondent of the Perseveranza and
other Italian papers, who was near. Caponi almost
wept for joy over the reception given to his far
more distinguished fellow-countryman, and as he
heard SchoH's bitter remarks he shook his head,


whereupon the Frenchman took pity on him and said
good-humouredly : "Eh bien, mon vieux Caponi etes-
vous content, hein?" and the old ex-Carbonaro smiled
faintly. Caponi was still living when I left Paris, and
seemed destined to go on for years in his lonely
bachelorhood. He outlived poor Scholl, who died
a few years ago.

Scholl had been married to the daughter of an
English brewer, and was divorced from her. They
did not live together so long as Count Boni de
Castellane and Jay Gould's daughter, and Scholl was
supposed to have ;^i,ooo a year from the brewer
as peace money.

After that night at the Opera President Casimir
Perier's star began to wane. The hopes entertained
of him declined. The Moderate Republicans, to
whose party he belonged, were overborne by
Radicals and Socialists. A Socialist had been
returned for the President's own borough of Nogent-
sur-Seine. Then ensued the death of Auguste
Burdeau, President of the Chamber of Deputies,
who was Casimir Perier's best friend, and over
whose dead body he wept. Next came the trial
of Captain Dreyfus, in December, 1894, and the
sentence passed on him angered not only his co-
religionists, but also the Socialists who were
opposed to the Army. These, known as Anti-
Militarists, made a good deal of noise over the
sentence on M. Dreyfus and upbraided the President
of the Republic for having given way to the War
Office staff.

Towards the close of 1894 the Socialists renewed
their attacks on the President of the Republic. Their

Jean Casimir-Perier.

To face t,. 185.


newspapers were venomous and talked of raising
ghosts or skeletons. It was thought that there
was about to be another big scandal, or crop of
scandals. And all this time Madame Casimir Perier
was being terrified almost out of existence by the
dozens of threatening letters from Anarchists as
well as from scandalmongers and blackmailers which
were reaching the Elys^e every day.

We had the news of President Casimir Perier's
resignation on the night of January 15, 1895, and
were rather staggered by it. The country, as usual,
bore it well, and it was in reality only the politicians
and the journalists who were excited. The man in
the street, and even the publicans or marchands de vin
in the street, did not care a button about the resigna-
tion of the President of the Republic.

M. Casimir Perier stated that he resigned as the
Chamber of Deputies had refused to sanction the
separation of the powers, that is to say, the separation
of its own authority and the authority of the Council
of State. This question had been discussed in the
Chamber on January 14, 1895, ^"^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^
fall of the Dupuy Cabinet. The discussion was
over the guarantee of interest payable by the State
to the Orleans and the Midi Railway Companies.
The Council of State decided that the guarantee
should be payable until 1956, the end of the period
of concession, and not until 19 14, as the Government
wished. M. Millerand, a Socialist, subsequently
known facetiously as the " Baron," proposed during
the discussion that M. Raynal, a former Minister
who had carried through the negotiations with the
railway companies, should be prosecuted for criminal


neglect. The House agreed to a committee being
formed for the investigation of this matter. M. Raynal,
be it noted, was Minister of the Interior when
M. Casimir Perier was President of the Council
of Ministers, or Premier, from November, 1893, to
May, 1894. ^^ that Cabinet, too, were M. Burdeau,
M. Spuller, author of the celebrated phrase about
resprit nouveau — the new spirit, which was to be one
of toleration, and which gave hope to the Catholics,
and General Mercier, who was so prominent during
the Dreyfus agitation.

After M. Millerand had called for the prosecution
of M. Raynal, another deputy, M. Trelat, brought
forward an order of the day that the Chamber
respected the principle of the separation of powers,
that is to say, of its own authority and of the
authority of the Council of State. The Government
endorsed this, but the House rejected it, and
M. Casimir Perier seized it as his motive for wishing
to leave the Elys^e. This principle of the separation
of powers he described in his message as the founda-
tion-stone of every liberal regime. He added that
he did not wish, nor had he power in the absence
of a voted budget, to ask the Senate for the
dissolution of a Chamber which, through its political
impotence, ran the risk of becoming revolutionary.
Finally, M. Casimir Perier said that he had hoped
the Presidency of the Republic would have been
defended by those who had urged him to accept it,
but it was not. His friends, his troops in fact, had
made common cause with the Socialists.

Thus went out the President who had given such
hope on his election — and no wonder. He came of


a family of political eminence. His grandfather was
Prime Minister, to use the English term, in 1831,
and his father, who died in 1876, was Minister
of the Interior under M. Thiers. He himself, when
President of the Council of Ministers, seemed to be
a strong man with a will of his own and great
determination. But the ''■ paperassiers,'' whom Roche-
fort had denounced in his own case, and the
Socialists had proved too much for him.

M. Casimir Perier, now dead, led the life of a
private gentleman, sometimes in Paris and some-
times in his country residence at Nogent-sur-Seine.
He crossed the Channel occasionally with his son.
In fine weather he was often met bicycling with his
son along country roads and lunching at a wayside
inn, although he was one of the richest men in France.

Many French notabilities passed away during the
closing months of President Carnot's tenure of office,
and also during the short stay of M. Casimir Perier
at the Elys^e. M. Waddington, son of English
parents who had adopted French nationality, and
who was English to the French, although they had
him as a Cabinet Minister and an ambassador, died in
January, 1894. I saw him once at the residence
of Campbell Clarke, who was a friend of his.
M. Waddington was first married to a French lady.
Mademoiselle Lutteroth, and next to an American,
Miss Mary Alsopp King. Among others whom I have
seen and known a little, and who died in 1894, were
Leonlde Leblanc, the friend once of the Due
d'Aumale, who died In February, 1894 ; Count
Ferdinand de Lesseps ; and M. Burdeau. Leonlde
Leblanc was a labourer's daughter, who, although she


had not passed through the Conservatoire, entered the
Comedie FranQaise through the influence of her
ducal admirer. Late in Hfe she fell in with a rich
"Panamist," who when he once talked of sitting where
the Due d'Aumale used to sit in the old time, was
scornfully reminded by the actress, then getting old,
that he had only taken over the Duke's leavings.


Leonide Leblanc and her rivals — Auguste Burdeau's career —
Madame Alboni and her gendarme — The passing of the
" Reptiles " — The Madagascar expedition — Rochefort's
return from Portland Place — A famous couturier's career —
Charles Worth of Lincolnshire — His Royal and Imperial
patrons — His methods of work and his prices — Death of
Dumas the Second — A theatrical funeral — Max Lebaudy's
sad end — The Vampires — The romance of Armand

THIS Leonide Leblanc, whom I saw buried in
February, 1894, was one of the most fascinating
women of her time. Her decline was darkened by
the success of younger and more aggressive women,
such as Madame Liane de Pougy, Armande Cassive
(for whom foolish young Bixio shot himself, as young
Duval had done for Cora Pearl), Cleo de Merode, who
riveted the momentary attention of a monarch, and
four or five others who were, and are still, to a certain
extent, the favourites of millionaires. All these,
however beautiful, were eclipsed by the stately and
statuesque actress who was the " amie " of the Due
d'Aumale. Intellectually she rose high above any
of them, and she was similarly superior to Cora Pearl
the horsey and to another woman of the Second
Empire, Marguerite Bellanger, who in her decline
married a petty officer of the British Navy. And



yet Leonide Leblanc was only a labourer's daughter.
The vanity of earthly things came home to me as
I saw her thinly attended funeral going slowly
towards Pere La Chaise on that dull day in February,
1894. Auguste Burdeau, to whose death I have
referred in the previous chapter, was like Leonide
Leblanc in this, that he came from nothing. His
father was a workman, and he himself was appren-
ticed to a weaver in Lyons, where he was born, in
1 85 1. A studious boy, he was noticed by somebody,
and was sent to Paris, where he won a prize for
philosophy in 1870. He fought in the war and was
wounded, became subsequently a professor of philo-
sophy, and entered Parliament in 1885. He acquired
a reputation for financial ability, reported on the
extension of the Charter of the Bank of France, and
had a memorable lawsuit with Edouard Drumont,
who accused him of being in the pay of the
Rothschilds. Burdeau died as President of the
Chamber of Deputies in December, 1894. His wife
died in 1896, watched, it was said, to the last by
secret service spies who were supposed to be after the
papers — that is to say, the compromising letters, if
any — left by her husband. The lady was born in
Chili, and had Irish blood in her veins. Her first
husband was a M. Burdeau also, being the brother
of the politician. The latter married her after she
came to Paris in her widowhood and without much
money, as her husband, who had been a commercial
traveller, had little to leave her.

Count Ferdinand de Lesseps died, like M. Burdeau,
in the last month of 1894. His passing attracted
as little notice as did that of the Comte de Paris,


who died in exile. The Comte de Paris was suffering
from cancer, and it is also supposed that his death
was hastened by the Boulangist agitation, in which
many of his adherents had joined. By a strange
circumstance, I heard of the death of the Comte de
Paris in September, 1894, before any of the French
or English journalists. I was calling on a famous
star of the Opera, who was to give me a special
portrait of herself to be published in an illustrated
paper mainly devoted to reproducing photographs of
actresses, singers, and ballet-dancers. The ballerina
whose portrait I was to receive was under the
patronage of one of the most prominent Royalists,
who paid for her fiat, her carriage and horses, and
her coals. He happened to be in the place when I
called and communicated the news to his '' chere
amie,'' who told me about the Count's death. I must
say that the ''■ chere amie,'" and also her venerable
mother, spoke of the loss to the Royalist party with
great feeling, and the older lady wept.

Reference to the Opera reminds me that the year
1894 likewise saw the death of that great singer
Madame Alboni. This lady died in Paris, where she
had lived so long. She passed away in the same
month that President Carnot was assassinated at
Lyons. She had been first married to the Marquis
of Pepoli, and her second husband was a Major
Zieger, a stalwart Alsatian who belonged to the Paris
Municipal Guards, and used to be known as
" Alboni's gendarme." In remembrance, no doubt,
of her husband's connection with the Municipal
Guards, Madame Alboni left a large sum of money
in her will to City of Paris charities, controlled by the
" Assistance Publique " department.


There also vanished from life's busy scene at this
period Herr Ludwig Cramer, a strange personality,
not French, but German. Cramer, who was long
Correspondent in Paris of the Cologne Gazette,
was at one time the most hated foreigner domiciled
in France. He was supposed to be, like Beckmann,
to whom I have already referred, one of the principal
spies of Bismarck, as well as one of the most active
representatives of the so-called " reptile Press."
Cramer could not have an office in Paris through fear
of the mob getting at him, especially in those days
when the people were still excited over Alsace-
Lorraine, and went about on the day of the national
fete smashing the windows of brasseries wherein
German beer was sold. In lieu of an office the
Correspondent of the Cologne Gazette went to a
cafe to do his work, and spent twenty francs daily in
the establishment. To his surprise one evening, the
lar.dlord of the place gave him notice to quit, being
afraid, as he said, lest the patriots should wreck the
place when they knew that M. Cramer was there.
Accordingly Cramer had to go to all sorts of hole-
and-corner places to conduct his correspondence. He
never appeared at the Chamber of Deputies or at
public functions, but put forward to represent him at
such places a diminutive German gentleman with
a face resembling that of Charles XH. of Sweden,
as seen in pictures of that famous king and
warrior. This deputy, a most harmless and in-
offensive man, was known as the Baron de Scheidlein.
He went regularly to the Chamber of Deputies, where
he had a large scroll of paper before him, on which
he generally had to inscribe but the mere fact of the


German Ambassador's attendance at the debates.
This used to engender mirth and jokes in the
"tribune" or box allotted to the foreign Press, and
the " baron " was frequently reminded, with irony, that
the Ambassador was in his seat. Von Scheidlein
never seemed to mind the jokes. He booked the
presence of the Ambassador calmly, and went on
looking into the Chamber from his height. The
" baron " was for a long time Secretary of the
Foreign Press in Paris, but it brought him little
prestige. It was doubtful if he could do anything
for the press but the poorest "reportage." No one
ever saw anything signed by him in German papers,
and he always looked a crushed, resigned man who
had no chance of distinguishing himself His lot was
made worse by the French, who attributed to him
every slip perpetrated by the printers of the Cologne
Gazette. Thus for years he and Cramer too, in an
indirect way, were saddled with the enormous gaffe in
the description of a great funeral in Paris, which
appeared in their paper. This was that " Monsieur
Corbillard " walked at the head of the cortege. For
long years the French indulged in this " Corbillard "
joke, and the Cologne Gazette men were represented
as having taken a hearse for a man, as somebody else
did with the Piraeus.

Baron de Scheidlein disappeared from Paris soon
after Cramer's death. I believe that Cramer, when
he broke down, was generously assisted by the
Countess Marie Muenster. His end was sad, and
not unlike that of some other correspondents of the
foreign Press in Paris, who have passed away far
from relatives, and from real friends, and lacking



funds to pay for medical assistance and for medicines.
This, I have been told, happened in the case of a
most able writer, a lady, who died a few years ago
in Paris. She had written many volumes, had cor-
responded for newspapers, and her work occasionally
appeared in the leading reviews published in London.
She died in her prime, full of promise never destined
to be realised.

Two writers of a far different kind disappeared
likewise towards the end of 1894, but not into the
tomb. They had to " leave their country for their
country's good." One was Edouard Portalis, and
the other his sometime assistant, Raoul Canivet.
I knew these men, especially Canivet, who was one
of the most entertaining of Frenchmen.

He was a roturier, but Portalis was of high
lineage, and was supposed to have got through a
large fortune. He took to journalism, wrote splendid
articles, but not being able to earn sufficient money
for his numerous needs, he tried to blackmail the
proprietors of clubs where it was supposed that
gambling went on. This led to his prosecution.
Canivet was in the same boat, and was also the
recipient of private and confidential State documents
from M. de Lanessan, who was recalled from the
Far East in December, 1894. That has not hurt
M. de Lanessan, who is to the front again in politics,
whereas Canivet has disappeared. Canivet when
managing the Paris, an afternoon paper, was
strongly backing M. de Lanessan's go-ahead policy
as regards Siam.

During the earlier part of 1895, soon after the
election of President Felix Faure, the haute politique


predominated for a time, and foreign correspondents
were chiefly engaged watching developments after
England backed out of joining Russia, France and
Germany in the matter of the claims of the victorious
Japs, who had crushed their neighbours the Chinese.
The three powers just mentioned had protested
against the Shimonoseki Treaty ; but nothing came
of this, and the Far East began to be forgotten —
comparatively so, at least, until the ruder awakening
of the great conflict in which the Russians, the
friends and allies of France, met at the hands of the
terrible Japs the same fate as the Chinese.

In this year also the French were occupied with
the Expedition to Madagascar, which ended with
the capture of Antananarivo by General Duchesne's
troops in September, 1895. Some attempts were
made in Paris to get up enthusiasm over the depar-
ture of a rather large body of troops from the capital
for the seat of so-called war. There was little
enthusiasm, however.

The days were over when departures of soldiers
evoked popular acclamation and made Parisians
generous in their distributions of wine, food, and
tobacco to the disappearing heroes. The soldiers
whom I saw in 1895 starting from Paris seemed
to march towards Madagascar with the utmost apathy,
and many of them looked melancholy as they thought,
no doubt, of the prospect in store for them in a far-
off, unknown country, where they might have to
leave their bones, "poor beggars, their bones."

Henri Rochefort came back to Paris from London,
under the amnesty law, while preparations for the
expedition to Madagascar were being pushed forward.


The grey-headed Mephistopheles of French politics —
for he looks like the diabolical tempter of Doctor
Faustus — reached the Gare du Nord on Sunday
evening, February 3, 1894. His friends and followers
turned out in large numbers to meet him. Nearly
all the Nationalists and Boulangists were there.
Maurice Barres, novelist and deputy, was a prominent
figure, and Ernest Roche, faithful disciple of the
master, went tearing through the streets in the
master's carriage, shouting and stirring up the
enthusiasm of the mob. Only Rochefort's bitterest
enemies were sorry to see the man back in his old
haunts after his exile, however comfortable, in Port-
land Place. That exile, after all, was in reality
pleasant enough, for Rochefort, if he regretted the
Bois and the boulevards, often found enjoyment in
London. He used to drive in grand style through
Bond Street and Piccadilly. I once saw him, delighted
as a boy, in a gondola at the Exhibition in South
Kensington where Venice was reproduced. He had
two ladies with him, one of whom was, I think,
Madame Adam, the old friend whose money assisted
him after his escape from the French penal settle-
ments in New Caledonia. On his return to Paris
from London, Rochefort resumed his old life, varying
his light literary work by the customary excursions
to the races and to the auction-rooms of the Rue
Drouot. He also wrote his Memoirs, but I do not
think that they attracted much attention, for the
reason that they had all been discounted before.
Rochefort's adventurous and agitated life had been
too frequently written about, and that with copious-
ness of detail, to make his memoirs seem fresh. He

Henri Rochefort.

To face p. 197.


has certainly been one of the most curious figures
of the nineteenth century. He is still, in the new
era, attracting a fair share of attention as a long-
lived celebrity of Paris who is at every fete and
function, looking fresh and fit enough, notwithstand-
ing the inroads of time. Some years back, when
he had that notable newspaper duel with Madame
S^verine, whom he taunted with being the inannite^
or nourishing-pot, of Labruyere, a once famous jour-
nalist and duellist, the lady retorted by describing
Rochefort as having one foot in the grave and
being a decrepit, wasted old man. This was a false
description, particularly at the time, for Rochefort
was then as full of life and go as ever he was. Late
in life Rochefort, who has had at least two families of
children, married a Belgian lady, Mademoiselle Ver-
voort, whose brother uttered that famous dictum,
already quoted, that there are two classes of journalists,
one for the dead dogs and one for good business. I
first saw this lady at Versailles Assembly, where she
was with Rochefort in 1884, on the occasion of the
debates over the proposed revision of the Constitu-
tion. She was always dressed perfectly, but I do
not know if she went to Worth or not. She could
hardly have done so in 1884, if she partook of Roche-
fort's antipathy to the English ; for Worth, it will be
remembered, was an Englishman. That antipathy
on the part of Rochefort lasted until he was in exile
in London after the Boulangist fiasco. When he

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