Walter F Lonergan.

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down, nobody seemed to trouble about the colonel's
suicide and the new aspect of the Dreyfus case.

It was far otherwise in Paris. When I returned
there from Marseilles I found the men in the street
engaged in discussing the affaire. There was never
so much commotion before over any event. M.
Godefroy Cavaignac, who had believed in Henry,
and in the bordereau, and everything piled up against
Alfred Dreyfus, resigned his portfolio as War
Minister. General Zurlinden succeeded him, and
soon resigned also, General Chamoine being ap-
pointed. Revision was the result.

In this same month of September the Empress
of Austria was assassinated at Geneva by Lucchesi,
and Paris as well as every other city was thrilled
by the news. The French Anarchists and Anar-


chists of other nations living in Paris kept themselves
very quiet at the time, as the assassination of
the harmless Empress Elizabeth was resented in

Then we had the Fashoda alarm and menaces
of war between France and England. The Sirdar,
afterwards Lord Kitchener, who had ousted from the
Nile mud Major, afterwards Colonel Marchand, was
execrated by many patriotic Frenchmen. Marchand
was extolled as the orreatest and the most daring- of
explorers. The meeting at Fashoda between the
tall and commanding British officer of the Egyptian
army, and the small, almost puny. Frenchman of
the Colonial Service, was strong in its contrasts.
This I realised when I saw both Lord Kitchener and
Colonel Marchand some time after in Paris.

The Fashoda affair and the affaire Dreyfus
marched together, as the French say, in those closing
months of 1898. On October 5th the Court of
Cassation was called upon to declare whether or
not a " new fact " tending to prove the innocence
of Alfred Dreyfus, convicted of high treason, had
come to light. The " new fact " was the suicide
of Colonel Henry, and M. Manau, Procureur General
applied for the revision of the case, to the Criminal
Chamber of the Court of Cassation, on behalf of
Madame Dreyfus.

Next ensued the fall of M. Henri Brisson's Cabinet
over this very question of revision, on the first day
that the Chamber met after the recess following the
General Election of May, 1898. M. Dupuy formed
the new Cabinet on October 31st, M. Delcasse being
retained at the Foreign Office, M. Lockroy in the


Naval Department, and M. Peytral at the Exchequer.
M. Brisson had fallen on October 25, 1898, and on
the following evening the Sirdar, then Sir Herbert
Kitchener, came up to Paris from Marseilles, where he
had landed on his return from Egypt. I went down
to the Gare de Lyon to see the Sirdar arrive, and
found the station crowded with enthusiastic French
patriots. They had come, not to meet the Sirdar,
assuredly, but to welcome home and to acclaim Captain
Baratier, who had been one of Marchand's com-
panions and assistants in the expedition across Africa,
from the West to Fashoda and the Nile.

I never knew if the arrival by the same train
in Paris of the Sirdar and of Baratier was a mere
coincidence, or if it had been decided by Marchand's
backers to send on their man then in order to make
the English " avaler un couleuvre'' Baratier and those
with him were in the middle carriage of the train
as it came into the station, and as they were seen
at the windows, a tempest of vivats burst out and
was continued for about a quarter of an hour. Sir
Herbert Kitchener, Sir Henry Rawlinson, and another
officer. Captain Rawson, who was accompanying the
Sirdar, were in a carriage near the end of the train
and stepped out quietly on the platform, received
by nobody, unless the representatives of the London
papers who were present, and M. Lemoine, Messrs.
Cook's agent, could be said to be their welcomers.

I saw Sir Herbert Kitchener looking curiously at
the crowd of men and women who were acclaiming
Captain Baratier. Then he turned away and was
piloted by M. Lemoine to a vehicle which took himself
and the officers with him to one of the hotels of


Messrs. Cook & Son, near the Gare du Nord. That
was the first and last time that I saw him who has
become Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. As to Major
or Colonel Marchand, his temporary competitor for
a few acres of Nile mud, I saw him first when he
marched with his blacks in the annual review of
troops on July 14, 1899. But the Fashoda affair was
destined soon to be forgotten, and the entente cordiale
had the effect of causing it to be buried. Marchand
was promoted Colonel, but did not prosper. He met
with the same apathy that was shown to the French
explorers and colonisers of old, and there are those who
hold that he injured himself by his own persistent
impatience, grumbling, and cantankerousness.

In the height of the excitement caused by Dreyfus
and the Fashoda affair, the British colony in Paris,
and especially those among them who were cor-
respondents of newspapers, received a great shock
owing to the sudden death of Mr. Hely Hutchinson
Bowes, who had represented the Standard under the
Johnsonian regime for over thirty years. It had been
several years since any Correspondent had died in
Paris. The representatives of the Morning Post
and of the Daily News, Mr. Noyse Brown and
Mr. G. M. Crawford, went over to the majority in
the early eighties. Mr. Bowes was a small, wiry
man, full of energy, bubbling over with wit, appa-
rently built to pass eighty, but he began to grow
very feeble in 1897, and had to be attended by a
man-servant to the office of the Standard. He ought
to have retired, but as he needed money for an
expensive family, he continued to work on. One
night in the early part of November, 1898, he went


home to his house in the Rue Bassano from the
Standard office in the Rue de la Paix, and complained
to Mrs. Bowes that he felt suddenly ill. I heard that
he died in his arm-chair a few hours after he had
complained to his wife of being in pain. Mr. Bowes
had in early life been connected with Galignani s
Messenger, as his father was. He spoke French of
Paris, and was even wittier in that language than he
was in the tongue of his forefathers. You looked in
vain for any of the wit in his correspondence, which
was political and arid, but his conversation was most
entertaining. Maitre Cluny of the Paris bar, once
sat beside Hely Bowes, without knowing him, at a
public dinner, and was fairly dazzled by the little
Englishman's caustic observations, sallies of wit,
bon mots, and jokes, all emitted in faultless French.^
After the dinner Maitre Cluny went about inquiring
who was the brilliant little Englishman who had so
entertained and dazzled him.

Hely Bowes was long assisted in his Paris work
by Mr. Thomas Farman, who afterwards became
Correspondent of the Tribune, and betv/een them they
turned out very serious sheaves of correspondence for
their important paper. A good deal of it was rejected
owing to exigencies of space, and also because Mr.
Hely Bowes, when wound up to go on some political
topic in which he was interested keenly, could not
stop himself, and accordingly he wrote occasionally
much more than the Standard required. This has
often happened to other Paris Correspondents of
London newspapers, who, imagining the British
public to be as interested as they are themselves in
some French political question, write too much about


it, and are then surprised because their copy is cut
down, bowdlerised, eviscerated, or rejected altogether.

I have referred to events in 1898 as exciting. The
ensuing year opened amid still greater excitement.
The battle of the newspapers over the Dreyfus
revision raged fiercely, and the discussion of the case
in public and private was keen. Go where you would,
the affaire was sure to be brought up.

Then in the middle of February, 1899, ensued the
mysterious death of President Felix Faure. That
came as a thunderclap to everybody. We heard it
at the Daily Telegraph office, then near the Bourse,
about ten o'clock in the evening. My colleague, Mr.
Ozanne, and I were talking to Mr. d'Alton Shee, a
young Frenchman of Irish descent, about his friend
Wallon, a man who had gone out to try to see
Captain Dreyfus in Devil's Island, and who was to
write some reports from there for the Telegraph, as
well as for the French newspaper to which he usually
contributed. Suddenly there was a telephone ring,
and the news of the President's death came. Mr.
d'Alton Shee, who was to have received some money
for transmission to his friend Wallon, had to go away
without it, as the sudden death of the President of the
Republic necessitated all the attention of the office.
We had to set to work in order to collect details of
the death, and this was a difficult thing to do at eleven
o'clock at night. Then a biographical notice of the
deceased President, the circumstances of his election,
and a narrative of happenings during his tenure of his
post, had to be transmitted to London. All this kept
us at work until far into the night.

On the day following President Faure's death Paris


was full of the most extraordinary rumours and the
most fearful reports of scandals. It was said that
Felix Faure had died in the arms of a woman, that
he had been poisoned by a belle Juive, who was in the
pay of the Dreyfus syndicate, and that he had com-
mitted suicide to avoid terrible revelations about
himself, about his family, and about the family of his
wife, whose father had been in trouble with the law,
and so on. These rumours and reports attained such
dimensions that the private secretary of the deceased
President actually published in the columns of the
Figaro an authentic narrative of M. Faure's move-
ments and acts on the day of his death. By this it
was proved that M. Faure did not leave the Ely see
Palace by a secret exit on the evening of the i6th
of February, 1899, and that he died in his own room
after having been indisposed there for some hours
before his death. All this did not prevent the dis-
semination of scandalous gossip.^ On the day before
the President's funeral M. Sebastien Faure, an
Anarchist, published in his paper alleged full details,
with plans, of the President's visit to a lady on the
afternoon of his death, and of his removal in a dying
condition from the lady's boudoir to the Elys^e.
For weeks tongues wagged over all this scandalous
gossip, and the lady was sometimes said to be the
wife of a Belgian artist, and sometimes it was given
out that she was a pretty actress at one of the
subsidised theatres. Colour was lent to all these
scandalous rumours by the fact, which was well

^ There was also a rumour that a lady who had been visiting
the President at the Elysee left a bunch of poisoned violets
on the mantelpiece of his study.


known, that Felix Faure was fond of going about
Paris occasionally in disguises. Sometimes he did
not disguise at all, but drove about the streets in
his ordinary clothes, not in a carriage but in a common
fiacre, or fly. I have once or twice seen him driving
in this way towards metropolitan districts which are
by no means fashionable. Thus the mystery of his
death deepened. What was true about it was that
when he felt his last end approaching, he called his
wife and begged her pardon for any wrongs that
he might have done her during their long years of
union. There was no priest at the Elys^e to attend
the dying President, and it is recorded that somebody,
probably the President's daughter, now married to
a literary man, M. Goyau, threw open a window
and shouted to the servants or guards to go for a
priest. Anyhow, it is true that a priest attached
to the Madeleine was stopped In the Faubourg
St. Honors by a servitor at the Elysee, and was
requested to go to see M. Faure, who was very ill.
The ecclesiastic, who was returning from a dinner-
party, and was not, in the circumstances, provided
with the holy oils and so forth, called on a colleague
and sent him to the Elysee, where he found the
President in extremis.

Fdix Faure was one of the most ornamental of the
"civilian" Presidents of the Republic, and he was
almost a soldier. It must be remembered that there
were two military and picturesque Presidents, General
Trochu, who did not hold office long, and MacMahon.
Thiers was an undersized '' p^kin,'' Jules Grevy a
solemn-faced and be-whiskered barrister, Carnot a
rigid, geometrical figure with a black beard, Caslmir-


Perier a plain, prosaic person who might be any-
body, while M. Loubet and M. Fallieres are of the
successful yeoman or farmer type. Felix Faure was
solidly grand, and at the same time was a fine specimen
of a man. Some compared him to a general of the
United States Army, others held that he looked Hke a
successful London City man who was also a colonel
of militia or volunteers. M. Faure, it must be
remembered, saw a good deal of service in the war of
1870-71 as a commander of mobiles, and he rode well.
At army manoeuvres he usually galloped with the
generals, and wore a specially smart suit of clothes
with a peaked cap, which gave him a military appear-
ance. He was also a grand man when en voyage.
He travelled like a monarch, and it was said that the
ex-tanner of Touraine and former ship-owner at
Havre had his head turned by his position, and that
he was rehearsing for the role of king or of emperor.


President Loubet — M. Deroulede's attempted coup d'etat — M.
Loubet at home — M. Waldeck- Rousseau's return to politics
— His career at the Bar — General the Marquis de Galliffet —
From carpet-knight to hero — Home-coming of Dreyfus —
Baffling the press — Fort Chabrol and its defender — The
French and the Boers — Paul Kruger and President Loubet
— The exhibition of 1900 — The Tsar and Tsaritsa at Com-
piegne — RepubHcan ladies — Madame Waldeck-Rousseau
and the cake.

ON Saturday, the i8th of February, 1899, every-
body connected with politics and newspapers
was at Versailles for the election of a successor to
President F^lix Faure. There was the traditional
luncheon at the Hotel des Reservoirs, and then the
lobbying, the gossiping, and the voting. To the tall
and commanding F^lix Faure succeeds a dumpy little
man, Emile Loubet, who has been several times a
Cabinet Minister, and is known as a plain, practical
politician, nowise brilliant, but a ready speaker, versed
in the law, experienced also in other ways, and there
are no scandals about him or his wife, or their
relatives. The Nationalists call him " Panama "
Loubet, but that does not matter, nor do the rotten
eggs matter when they are thrown at his carriage
as he drives back from Versailles, after his election
to the highest office in the State. M. Emile Loubet



only shrugged his shoulders at the shouts of
"Panama" and at the hurricane of putrid eggs.
He consoles himself always, does M. Loubet, with
mots. He has certain caustic and almost witty
phrases ready to his tongue, and he can even, as a
man once said, " lancer des traits de bonhomme

I was at the Elysde on the day of President
Faure's funeral. It was the 23rd of February, 1899.
M. Loubet came along in his carriage, escorted by
cuirassiers, and walked into the mansion of mourning
which he was soon to occupy. He seemed at the
time to be the calmest, most self-possessed, and most
matter-of-fact man whom I had ever beheld. Nothing
moved him, not even the placing of the huge coffin or
casket enclosing his predecessor in the funeral car.
At the service at Notre Dame, I also saw M. Loubet
unmoved. I have heard that his wife, Madame
Loubet, took the new honours also in a matter-of-fact
fashion. A phrase attributed to her at the time was,
" Nous allons en augmentanty As everybody knows,
both M. and Madame Loubet, like their immediate
predecessor and their successors at the Elysee, are
of humble provincial origin. They both come from
Montelimar, in the South, or in the beginning of the
South, where M. Loubet's father drove mules to
market and where Madame Loubet's people sold pots,
pans, and all manner of domestic utensils.

On the evening of the day that President Faure
was buried in the Cemetery of Pere La Chaise, M.
Paul D^roulede tried his hand at a species of coup
d'etat but failed. He wanted to get General Roget,
who was returning to Reuilly barracks at the head


of the regiments which had been at the funeral, to
march on the Elys^e and capture the place. General
Roget, a quiet, unassuming warrior, who looks as
if he were a brother of Ernest Reyer, the composer
of " Salammbo " and of ** Sigurd," would do nothing
of the sort. So M. D^roulede was arrested, and
his attempt at a coup dUtat was heartily hissed
and ridiculed. Failing to effect a pronunciamiento in
France, he went to Spain, the real land of pronuncia-
mientos, and remained there until he was pardoned
and permitted to return to the land of his birth in
December, 1905.

This was a very lively time for all newspaper people.
During it we were reinforced at the Telegraph office
by Dr. Dillon, who returned to Paris later on for
the purpose of trying to meet Captain Dreyfus on
his coming to France for the second court-martial.
Comparative quiet ensued for a few months after the
election of M. Loubet, but a great uproar was caused
by the action of a Royalist, Baron de Cristiani,
who, in a mad moment, attempted to assault the new
President at the Auteuil races on Sunday, the 4th of
June, 1899. The President's hat was struck, and the
Baron was arrested. On the following Sunday —
Grand Prix day — the whole of the course at Long-
champs was guarded by an army of soldiers and
police. This tremendous display of force led to
the fall of the Cabinet, and M. Dupuy, who had been
President of the Council since October, 1898, was
succeeded by M. Waldeck- Rousseau. And in the
meantime the Court of Cassation had ordered the
revision of the Dreyfus case, and the Captain was
coming home from Devil's Island in the cruiser Sfax
to be tried by court-martial at Rennes.


Now ensued a momentous period, and the new
Cabinet formed was expected to do great things.
Here was Waldeck- Rousseau in power, after a long
absence from active service in politics, and he had
General the Marquis de Galliffet, another most
interesting man, as his War Minister. M., or rather
Dr., de Lanessan, his troubles in the question of Siam
and his quondam connection with Portalis and
Canivet being forgotten, becomes Minister of Marine;
M. Millerand, the Socialist " Baron," is at the head
of the Department of Commerce ; and M. Caillaux is
Chancellor of the Exchequer. M. Delcass6, who
seems immovable, remains at the Foreign Office.

Of these men M. Waldeck- Rousseau and General
de Galliffet were the most notable. Waldeck- Rousseau,
whom I used to see frequently at the Palais de Justice
after he had returned to the Bar, was, so to say, born
in the law. His father was an advocate at Nantes,
and he himself became a barrister at an early age.
Entering the political arena, he captivated Gambetta,
who had him as his Minister of the Interior from
November, 1881, to January, 1882. He was sub-
sequently in the Cabinet of Jules Ferry from
February, 1883, to April, 1885. While he was at
the Interior, Henri Rochefort labelled him Waldeck
le pommadS, owing to the fact that he was always
carefully dressed and groomed. M. Waldeck-
Rousseau was generally, in fact, very neatly attired,
and was often compared to a well-groomed English-
man, although I have seen him at the Palais de Justice
wearing very indifferent pantaloons under his advo-
cate's gown. After Jules Ferry's fall in 1885, M.
Waldeck- Rousseau was seen rarely at the Palais

M. Waldeck-Rousseau.

To face p. 240.


Bourbon. He went to the other Palais, that of the
law, and had there a lucrative practice for long years.
He was retained in the Panama affair for, I think,
Charles de Lesseps. He acted as advocate for
Max Lebaudy, the *' millionaire conscript," and
was the first to unmask the frauds of the notorious
Madame Humbert. While he was at the bar, M.
Waldeck-Rousseau was elected a Senator, and in
1895 his political friends put him forward? as a candi-
date at the election for President of the Republic in
succession to M. Casimir-Perier.

There is no doubt that but for the terrible malady
which made him a martyr, and caused his death,
M. Waldeck-Rousseau would have become President
of the Republic. He would have lent some dignity
to the position. His wife, daughter of a fashionable
tailor, who left her a large fortune, would have made
an admirable Presidente. She would appear every
whit as aristocratic as Madame la Marechale de
MacMahon, Duchesse de Magenta, and would have
known better than that lady how to treat the Republi-
can parvenus and struggle for lifeurs, to use a word
invented by Alphonse Daudet, who were invited to
the Elysee. In spite of the amorous adventures with
which he was credited when he was Minister of the
Interior in the old days, M. Waldeck-Rousseau re-
mained to the last a most devoted husband. Pious
Catholics who remembered that he originated the law
against the religious orders saw the hand of Providence
in the afflictions which beset his wife and himself.
Madame Waldeck-Rousseau was suffering as well as
her husband. She was obliged to bear a most pain-
ful operation in a convent which was under the ban



of the bill against monastic institutions brought in
by her husband. The lady recovered after the opera-
tion, but, later on, when her partner had to bear the
knife of the surgical specialist, he died. The
Catholics who blamed Waldeck-Rousseau were told
that he did not intend to apply the measures against
the monastic and conventual people so rigorously
as they were applied by his successor, M. Combes.
They were also reminded that the deceased states-
man had as a personal friend a Dominican friar,
Pere Vincent Maumus, who frequently saw him before
he died.

The other interesting man in the Waldeck-Rousseau
Cabinet of 1899 was General the Marquis de Galliffet.
This man is every inch a soldier, and is the smartest
of soldiers even in his old age. He was furious
because he had to retire from active service, having
attained the age of sixty-five, although he only looked
then about fifty. During the Second Empire the
Marquis de Galliffet was one of the carpet-knights
at the Elys6e. He was among those who " capered
nimbly in a lady's chamber, to the lascivious pleasings
of a lute," but he broke with all this and sought hard
service as a cavalryman in Africa. In 1862 he married
a daughter of the banker Charles Laffitte. In the
Mexican War the Marquis de Galliffet was severely
wounded in the stomach, and hovered for a time
between life and death. The wound did not require
that the Marquis should be provided with a ventre
d' argent, as some have asserted. During the Franco-
German War the Marquis de Galliffet was in the thick
of the heaviest fighting. At Sedan he was in the
cavalry charge which drew from King William of


Prussia the exclamation, ' ' Ak ! les braves gens ! "
The Marquis was made Brigadier-General on the
field of battle for his bravery on this occasion.
There was periodical controversy, however, as to
whether General de Galliffet commanded in this
famous charge or not. The honour was also claimed
by General de Beauffremont. When the Commune
was put down Galliffet entered Paris at the head of
the troops. A serjeant brought to him Henri Roche-
fort. The non-com. was holding a revolver over the
head of the pamphleteer, and was ready to shoot him
at a word or a nod from the General. " No, don't
shoot him," said Galliffet; "they would say that I
wanted revenge." Rochefort was accordingly taken
to the prison at Versailles, whence he was subse-
quently sent to the penal settlements of New Cale-
donia with others who had been associated with the
Commune. He owes a deep debt to General de

There used to be a rumour in Paris that General
de Galliffet was the real originator, with M. Joseph
Reinach, of the agitation in favour of Captain Dreyfus.
Of this I know nothing, except that M. Reinach, when
engaged as an officer of the territorial army at some
manoeuvres, acted as aide-de-camp to the Marquis de
Galliffet.^ The two also foregathered a good deal in

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Online LibraryWalter F LonerganForty years of Paris → online text (page 15 of 25)