Walter F Lonergan.

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returned to Paris he had lost it.

Mention of Worth recalls to me the fact that this
celebrated couturier died in March, 1895. I saw
him once at his rooms in the Rue de la Paix. I had


been attending the marriage of the daughter of
Baron and Baroness Gustave de Rothschild with
Baron Leonino of Milan, a relative. It took place
in the Synagogue of the Rue de la Victoire, near
the bank of the Rothschilds in the Rue Laffitte, and
was a very magnificent affair. All Paris, and all
London as well, was interested in it. As I wanted
to say something in my account of the wedding rela-
tive to the dresses of the bride and the bridesmaids,
which had been designed by the renowned M. Worth,
I went to see that gentleman. He kindly volunteered
to send one of his leading ladies to help me in the
delicate matter at issue, but having subsequently
communicated with Baroness Gustave de Rothschild
on the subject, a peremptory order came from that
lady, forbidding any mention of her daughter's
wedding garment in newspapers. M. Worth was
very sorry, and so was I. I never saw him any more.
He died in his villa at Suresnes, outside Paris,
leaving; his orreat business to his sons.

Charles Worth was born at Bourne, in Lincolnshire,
and was the son of a solicitor, who did not prosper in
life. In 1838 young Worth was apprenticed to
Messrs. Swan & Edgar, and about seven years later
was in Paris, employed in the shop of one Gagolin,
a silk mercer. In joint partnership with a Swede,
Charles Worth, of Bourne, took the place in the
Ru de la Paix which has had empresses, queens,
and princesses among its patrons and frequenters.
He was first patronised by Russian grand-duchesses,
chiefly, I should think, through the instrumentality of
his Swedish partner. The firm also began to be
noticed in the newspapers, and then came the Empress


Eugenie, Princess Metternich and the ladies of the
Tuileries. Those were days of splendour and luxury,
but Worth never lost his head. He was a votary of
the simple life, or was at any rate what the Irish would
call a " fine, honest, decent, respectable man," who was
domesticated and brought up a family. I have heard
that he distinguished himself greatly by inventing a
walking dress composed of a short skirt and a jacket
of the same material.

Not very long before he died Worth made the
following rather interesting statements about his work
and his patrons : " Those ladies are wisest who leave
the choice to us. By so doing they are always better
pleased in the end, and the reputation of the house is
sustained. Curiously enough, the persons who realise
this fact most clearly are precisely those whom you
might fancy the most difficult to please. For example,
a telegram comes from the Empress of Russia, * Send
me a dinner dress ! ' Nothing more. We are left
absolute freedom as to style and material. Not that
the Empress is indifferent in the matter of dress.
Quite the contrary. She will sometimes require that
all the ladies' costumes at a certain ball be pink, or
red, or blue. And her own dresses are always master-
pieces of elegance. The point is that she trusts our
judgment rather than her own. In the same way
recently we have received over twenty telegrams from
Madrid for ball dresses, and we shall make them up as
we think fit. We can finish a costume in twenty-four
hours. French ladies have ordered a dress in the
morning and have danced in it at night. I once made
a gown for the Empress Eugenie in three hours and a
half That would not, of course, do for elaborate work.


It often takes weeks to complete an embroidered
gown. For the Coronation of the Tsar and Tsaritsa
we had to make a Court train. It was for the
Empress, and was covered with magnificent embroidery
in real silver. Women were engaged on it night
and day for six weeks. As to prices paid we have
had 120,000 francs for a single gown, the lace alone
costing 118,000 francs. We have sold a cloak for
45,000 francs, of which 44,000 francs went for the fur.
We have worked for all the Courts, but never for
Queen Victoria."

Charles Worth was buried very simply, with
Protestant rites. He was soon forgotten in busy
Paris. Six months after him a greater man, Louis
Pasteur, died, and Dumas fils passed away also.
Dumas died in November, 1895. I saw him only a
few weeks before he fell ill. It was near the Madeleine,
and after having saluted him in the customary French
fashion, I complimented him on his apparently robust
health. "Yes," he said, "I am fairly well, but I am
tired, although I have only walked from the Gare St.
Lazare down here, and that reminds me of age."
There was a dreamy look in the usually bright, pene-
trating eyes, and the dramatist also walked with some
difficulty. He was no longer the brisk, active man
whom I had met on the road between Dieppe and
Le Puy a few years previously. Dumas died the
victim of a cold caught in the damp weather of late
autumn. His neighbour at Marly, M. Sardou, had
invited him to attend the unveiling of Emile Augier's
statue, and Dumas went to Paris for the purpose of
doing so on a wet and chilly morning. M. Sardou
passed through the ordeal of bad weather unhurt, but


Dumas returned home coughing and sneezing. He
had to take to his bed, and was nursed carefully until
he died by his second wife, the daughter of a former
actor at the Com^die Fran9aise, and by his daughters.

It was a strange scene, the burial of Alexandre
Dumas in the Montmartre Cemetery. All the theatrical
people of Paris were there. I had not seen so many
of them in the melancholy place since the funeral of
Perrin, a director of the Comedie Fran9aise. It was
the last act — the curtain ringing down on the dead
dramatist, who was literally carried from the stage to
the grave. Vanitas vanitahtm ! He went to the tomb
his hearse followed by the whole company of the
Th^^tre Fran9ais. It was curious to note the stage
faces, pinched and pale or yellow in the cold air.
M. Le Bargy, as one of the official chief mourners, was
manifestly out of place there. The brilliant jeune
premier looked seedy, shabby even, off the boards.
So too did Mademoiselle Brandes and the others who
beamed in beauty by night at the footlights. Madame
Rdijane was in a theatrical mourning dress, sable cloak,
black-plumed hat, and jet ornaments. Emile Zola
appeared near the vault in a fawn-coloured overcoat
which was out of keeping. Victorien Sardou looked
like an undertaker, and was evidently overcome with
grief, for he had a hand in the dead man's undoing, i

The friends of Dumas fils still venerate his memory
at an annual dinner organised by one of his most
faithful henchmen. Only a few weeks after I had
followed the funeral of Dumas to the Montmartre
Cemetery young Max Lebaudy, the petit sucrier

^ Sardou admitted this himself. As I have previously shown,
he had Dumas out on a cold, wet morning.


and the '* millionaire conscript," died of pulmonary-
consumption. The youth was really hastened to the
tomb by his feverish life, and also by the rigour of
military discipline which he had tried, but unsuccess-
fully, to elude. He was surrounded by a crowd of
vampires before he died. Some of these had bled him
for money, promising to get his term of army service
cancelled. Others blackmailed him and wanted hush
money for keeping compromising paragraphs out of
the papers. He was nursed in his last moments by
Mademoiselle Marsy, of the Com^die Fran9aise, who
was supposed to be his devoted and disinterested
friend. Anyhow she was more devoted and dis-
interested than Liane de Pougy, who endeavoured to
tap his relations for money on the strength of documents
in her possession. Max died in December, 1895, ^^^
in March, 1896, the adventurers who had endeavoured
to bleed and blackmail him were tried for "chantage."
The record of the trial is classified at the Palais de
Justice as the " affaire des chantages contre Max
Lebazidy." The men accused were De Cesti, Balensi,
who was a banker, the Vicomte de Civry, and Jacques
Saint-Cere. The latter was the most remarkable man
of the lot. He was really one Armand Rosenthal,
a German Jew who succeeded as a journalist in Paris.
He wrote on foreign politics for the Figaro, on Society
matters for the Vie Parisienne, and was also retained
for the New York Herald by Mr. J. G. Bennett,
whom he once protected from an assault in a place of
nocturnal revelry. Rosenthal rented a large and
luxurious flat in one of the expensive streets near the
Op6ra, and there, in the days of his glory, he received
not only celebrities in art, literature and the drama,


but Cabinet Ministers and Ambassadors. He was
married to the divorced wife of a distinguished German,
and she assisted him in his pecuHar journaHstic work.
At the trial of the blackmailers of Max Lebaudy,
Rosenthal would have got off cleared had not his past
been brought up. Nobody could prove that he
had actually blackmailed the petit sucrier, but the
presiding magistrate referred at some length to a
previous conviction for breach of trust and confidence.
Rosenthal had, in fact, been condemned by default
to thirteen months' imprisonment sixteen years before
his alleged blackmailing of Lebaudy. At the time he
was an adventurer in France, and sold real or spurious
jewellery. In this connection he was accused of
having pawned watches entrusted to his keeping for
repair by women of no reputation. The production
in court of the previous conviction was the death-blow
of Jacques Saint-Cere, who could no longer show his
face in the offices of important newspapers. Then he
founded the Cride Paris, a weekly sheet, but this did
not enable him to keep up his old train de vie,
so he died. Some say that he poisoned himself, others
hold that he lives somewhere still under an assumed
name. The man was the nephew of Mgr. Bauer,
a Jew who became a Catholic, a prelate of the Church
of Rome, and domestic chaplain to the Empress
Eugenie. Mgr. Bauer was one of the most extra-
ordinary prelates who ever wore the purple. During
the Second Empire he was seen everywhere, even
behind the scenes at the Opera. He was an imitation,
to a certain extent, of one of those Abbds de Cour
who flourished in the seventeenth and in part of
the eighteenth century. After the fall of the Empire


he disappeared, and was heard of no more. I have
been told that he was occasionally seen on the
boulevards in the eighties dressed as a layman. One
of the brothers of this ecclesiastic was a sort of stock-
broker or banker in Madrid. As to the father of
Jacques Saint-Cere, he was said to be a man who
had attained importance as a cook or caterer for high
personages at Berlin.

Of other events in 1896 besides the trial of the
blackmailers of Max Lebaudy, which took place in
the month of March of that year, I propose to speak
in the next chapter.


M. Meline and ithe Affaire — Ambroise Thomas and the Con-
servatoire — Cleo de Merode and the Kings — M. Cernuschi
the Bi-metalHst— The Coming of the Tsar— Dr. E. J.
Dillon on the Imperial visit — The Charity Bazaar Fire —
A visit to Fleet Street — Opening of the Affaire — My talk
with Maitre Demange, Defender of Dreyfus — Madame
Hadamard's Tears — Maitre Demange's Prediction — The
" Leakages," and the " Bordereau."

EARLY in 1896 M. Meline, who uttered during
his tenure of office that unlucky phrase " There
is no Affaire Dreyfus," formed his Cabinet, v^^hich
lasted until June, 1898. M. M61ine would, no doubt,
have been glad to see the affaire hushed up, but
the champions of the transported Captain of Artillery
were too strong for him. He had accordingly to
swallow his unlucky phrase and to retire before the
force of the storm. His term of power was marked
by many events of varying importance. Only just
before he formed his Cabinet, in April, 1896, one
of my most esteemed and valued friends in Paris, the
composer Ambroise Thomas, died in his residence at
the Conservatoire in the Faubourg Poissonniere, of
which he was director. He was not a great com-
poser, but he was a fine old Frenchman. I was
introduced to him by Jules Garcin, a celebrated



French violinist who was for some years before his
death director of the concerts at the Conservatoire.
Garcin was a near neighbour of mine, and made me
acquainted with many of the celebrities of his pro-
fession, but as usual I had little time wherein to
cultivate their society. What I saw of that society
impressed me favourably, and I found the French
men of music most interesting and agreeable persons.
I was of opinion when meeting and foregathering
with them that there was less rivalry and more good-
fellowship among them than was the case with the
people of the stage, the authors, and the pressmen.

Ambroise Thomas had a splendid funeral service
at the Trinite Church, the same place where Alboni
had sung over the coffin of Rossini, just before the
war of 1870 broke out. Rossini's funeral service was
described by Felix Whitehurst, of the Telegraph, in
his own glowing way. I think that the service for
Ambroise Thomas was equally elaborate. Services
of the kind are always magnificent in Paris, and the
colleagues of dead musicians exert all their art to
make them so.

It was about this time that another person con-
nected with the operatic world of Paris began to
attract attention. This person assuredly had not
been identified, like Ambroise Thomas, composer of
"Mignon" and "Hamlet," with high art. I allude
to Mademoiselle Cl^o de M^rode, of the operatic
ballet. She was not a star, but she was beautiful and
wore her hair plaited over her ears. She does this
still, but it no longer attracts the attention of kings.
Because the King of the Belgians had noticed her
in the foyer de la danse, she was called Cleopold by


the journalists and the name remained. The King
had been attracted, not only by her appearance, but
by her name of Merode. She has, it appears, some
relationship with the Belgian noble family whose
name she bears, but her mother was a minor actress
of Vienna. The public attention called to this inter-
esting person made all her companions at the Opera
jealous. One of these, a statuesque Italian, Mademoi-
selle Torri, with whom I once talked over the case
of Cleo de Merode, clinched the argument by the
remark : " Que voulez vous ? Elle n'est pas une
artiste, mais elle est une belle femme." Cleo fancied
that she had claims to artistry, and after having left the
Opera went on tour and danced in Greek fashion
before the Germans and Russians with some success.
Cleo was also to the front in May, 1896, when Fal-
guiere exhibited her as a nymph in the Salon of the
Champs Elysees. It was naturally considered that
she had posed to the sculptor in as absolute a manner
as Pauline Bonaparte, Princess Borghese, had posed
to Canova. Cleo wrote to the papers to state that
M. Falguiere had worked from her bust only. The
matter then dropped, as they say in some newspapers,
and Paris began to be interested in something else.

In this same year I find recorded in my notes the
deaths of M. Cernuschi, Jules Simon, and Eugene
Spuller ; also the engagement of Major Patrice de
MacMahon to Marguerite, daughter of the Due de
Chartres and sister of the Princess Waldemar of
Denmark ; the farewell fete given by Lord Dufferin
at the British Embassy ; the expulsion of Liane de
Pougy from Russia ; the passing of the Due de
Nemours ; the squabble over Abel Hermant's " La


Meute," which the Prince de Sagon and his son
Hehe de Talleyrand, Max Lebaudy's society guide,
resented ; the quarrel between L6on Daudet and
M. Simon, newspaper director ; and the visit of Tsar
Nicolas II. to Paris.

On these Parisian happenings I propose to touch
briefly. The three men to whose deaths I refer —
Cernuschi, Jules Simon, and Spuller — I knew fairly
well. Cernuschi, the Italian Croesus and champion
of bimetallism, who became a naturalised Frenchman,
was a notable personality. He conquered Paris more
by his wealth than by his campaigning in favour
of bi-metallism. I once went to hear him lecture
on this hobby of his, and came away without having
understood a single word of what he said. The
subject of the lecture was arid, and the lecturer spoke
Italian- French. He was the despair even of the
technical reporters who sat under him. In private
M. Cernuschi's French was intelligible enough, but
in public, as a speaker, he was terrible. In his
splendid house on the borders of the Pare Monceau,
full of Buddhist statues and souvenirs, he once gave
an entertainment which I attended in company with
a thousand others. In the midst of it he jumped on
a table, waving a tricolour, and sang the " Marseillaise,"
to emphasise his feelings towards France and the
Republic. He was a fine, patriarchal figure, and
was noted for his generosity. He was frequently
"tapped" by needy politicians and journalists and
rarely refused a loan or a donation. It is doubtful if
many of those who were in debt to him followed his

Jules Simon, who was partly Jewish and partly a


Emile Combes.


To face p. 209,


Celt, passed away soon after his meeting at Berlin
with the Emperor William, who consulted him on
some economic questions of the day. He used to
live in a house close to the Madeleine, his near
neighbour being Henri Meilhac the dramatist. These
two dissimilar men talked when they met of anything
but politics. Meilhac was a man of the theatre, and
spoke about it freely. Jules Simon could talk well on
the same subject, for he had been Minister of Public
Instruction, &c., and in that capacity had a good deal
to do with at least the endowed playhouses. As
a politician he followed every movement keenly, was
deeply interested in English affairs, and had, I believe,
known Richard Cobden, John Bright, Sir Robert
Peel, and Mr. Gladstone.

Eugene Spuller, the gros Badois, in allusion to
his German origin, was not so scholarly as Jules
Simon, but he was a good writer and an efficient
speaker. I once heard him and M. Rouvier boast
at a commercial banquet in the Hotel Continental of
their very humble origins. One was the son of a
mason, the other of a cooper or something of that
sort, and they both became Cabinet Ministers.
Unlike M. Rouvier, the gros Badois was a com-
paratively poor man.

Of the other events besides these deaths the most
noteworthy was the coming of the Tsar and Tsaritsa
in October, 1 896. The preparations for that event were
on a stupendous scale. Not only were there triumphal
arches and flags everywhere, but the trees near the
Rond-point of the Champs Elys^es were covered
with artificial flowers, according to a scheme planned
by a decorator of theatres. I chiefly remember the



Tsar's visit owing to the fact that it brought me
into touch for the second or third time with that
remarkable man Dr. E. J. Dillon. That well-known
authority on Russia, its rulers and its people, was sent
over to Paris for the Tsar's visit by the Editor of the
Daily Telegraph. With him came Mr. J. M. Le Sage,
who organised the correspondence during the visit.
Four Correspondents, including Dr. Dillon, did the
work and the watching, for it was expected that a
bomb might blow to bits at any moment the Tsar, the
Tsaritsa, and their friend President Felix Faure, not
to speak of the baby Grand Duchess Olga. It was
said that the Tsar would go about as a Haroun-al-
Raschid, that he would throw off all official trammels
for a while, and, in fact, imitate his uncles the Grand
Dukes who " do " Paris from top to bottom, in what
has been known for long years as ''la tournde des
grand DucsT I think the Tsar Nicholas is not strong
enough to stand that sort of tournie. It would soon
kill him off, or cripple him. Here is how a very witty
French writer, " one of the crowd " of witty writers,
described what the Tsar's uncles do when they are in
Paris. He refers chiefly to the Grand Duke Vladimir,
but " Ex uno " may be said. ** C'etait I'autre soir a la
Comedie Frangaise. Salle comble, soir de premiere.
Un grand silence. La scene est pathetique. Des
yeux se mouillent de larmes. Tout a coup, a I'avant
scene — I'avant scene de droite — un ronflement eclate,
un ronflement sonore — un roulement de tambours, un
grondement d'orage, qui arrete les com^diens en
scene et fait sursauter la salle. Les mains croisees
sur le ventre, les jambes allongees, la tete appuyee a
la cloison de la loge, le Grand-due Wladimir doirt du
sommeil du juste.


*' II ne faut pas lui en vouloir. C'estla fatigue. II est
debout depuis le matin. II a couru Paris dans tous
les sens. II a visit6 les coins pittoresques de la
capitale, il a essaye deux automobiles, il est entre,
dans quelque quinze magasins, il a dejeune dans un
grand cabaret — et on sait comment dejeune un grand
due — il a essay6 une troisieme automobile, il est alle
aux courses, il a fait un tour au Bois il est alle rendre
quelques visites, il s'est promene sur la boulevard, il
est monte un moment au cercle, il est rentre
s'habiller, il a dine dans un grand restaurant — et on
sait comment dine un grand-due — il s'est rendu ensuite
au theatre ; apres, il a soupe — puis. . . Mais glis-
sons. Et il a recommence le lendemain. Et c'est
comme ga tous les jours. Alors, n'est ce pas, ou peut
bien I'excuser ! "

This French picture of a Grand Duke's day in Paris
is not by any means exaggerated. At the same time I
have known some foreign — that is to say, non- French
— millionaires, who put in an equally strenuous time
while staying in Paris. The fact was that they did
not know how to fill up their time, and they wanted a
new excitement or emotion every moment. I have
known some of them to fling their money around in
cafes, but I have never seen any of them so absurdly
generous and extravagant as the English millionaire
who threw bank-notes to Covent Garden porters.

Tsar Nicholas went around Paris secretly, in a
closed carriage, once or twice during his visit in
October, 1896, but he did not tire himself. All the
newspaper men were watching his merest movements.
Everything that he did and everything that he said
was carefully chronicled.


Dr. Dillon's performances in the way of producing
copy on this occasion were enormous. He was ailing,
but he wrote nearly six columns about the illuminations
of Paris, and three or four concerning the new bridge
intended for the Exhibition of 1900 and called after
Tsar Alexander the Third.

Mr. W. T. Stead has already put on record the
capacity for work, the versatility, and the achieve-
ments of Dr. Dillon. I can only add that he is the
most marvellous writer whom I have seen at work.
When he first came to the office of the Daily Tele-
graph in Paris, he wrote all day and far into the night.
When he finished his correspondence from Paris for
the Telegraph he started to write magazine articles
for London, articles for a Russian paper, and in
between he contrived to revise the proofs of a book
devoted to the higher criticism of the Old Testament.
I saw him once equally busy when he was Telegraph
Correspondent in Vienna. In order to accompany
me around the Kaiserstadt he broke off writing an
elaborate article on Russian finance and the trans-
lation of a document in one of the Semitic languages.
That he can write pure and faultless English is proved
in his book on the sceptics of the Old Testament, a
copy of which he was good enough to send me with
his autograph.

The year 1896 concluded with one or two events
worthy of notice. In November died Mgr. d'Hulst,
rector of the Catholic Institute, and a prominent figure
in the Chamber of Deputies. He had been brought
up by Queen Marie Amelie, and was supposed to be
of Royal parentage. He was an able debater and
speaker of the academical sort, and wrote a good


deal in the review called the Correspondant. An
interesting event of the same period was the
apotheosis of Madame Sarah Bernhardt, organised
by her burly friend Henri Bauer, formerly an influ-
ential dramatic critic, but who has disappeared from
the ranks of the active writers of Paris.

I have good reason to remember the year 1897.
In April of that year I was at Brest and Ushant,

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Online LibraryWalter F LonerganForty years of Paris → online text (page 13 of 25)