Walter F Lonergan.

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Rousseau, Renan, Taine, Prevost Paradol, Merimee,
Ozanam, Joubert, and Amiel.

When About succeeded Taine at Jauffret's in 1853
he had just returned from the French School at
Athens, and was full of fun and frolic. " About goes
into Society for us," wrote Taine to his friend
Edouard de Suckau in January, 1854. " His brother-
in-law tells me that he often goes to three houses in
an evening. What a butterfly!" Taine himself
disliked Society in his earlier years, and he was
reproached once rather brutally by Sainte-Beuve, who
told him that he knew only books and not men.
About soon left Jauffret's school and made a most
determined plunge into the vortex of letters. Fortu-
nately for himself he succeeded soon, and became
a prosperous author and journalist.

Literary men, as I have said, chiefly occupied the
attention of my old Latin Quarter friends and myself.
We were vaguely interested in art, music, and the
drama. We knew that Sardou, Dumas fils, Emile
Augier, Meilhac, and Halevy existed, but we did
not trouble overmuch about their plays. Sardou
at the time had created an uproar by his " Rabagas,"
supposed to be aimed at Leon Gambetta and the
Republicans. That fascinated us in the Latin
Quarter, but we contented ourselves with reading
the bits of the play which were published. How we
enjoyed the pungent, facile satire, the description of
the Flying Toad Inn at Monaco where Rabagas
unloosed the floodgates of his eloquence before
'* I'avocat sans cause et le m^decin sans client, I'auteur
siffl6, le commis chass^e, un banqueroutier, deux


escrocs, sept imbeciles et huit ivrognes, " and the
description of the Russian adventurer, General
Pdtrowlski, who had " eight thousand decorations and
no linen ! "

Another " drawer of the long bow " in drama
whom we appreciated a little in those far-off days was
Eugene Labiche, but it was chiefly for his " Chapeau
de Faille de Italie," that now threadbare story of the
wedding guests who passed the night in the lock-up
with bride and bridegroom.

In music our tastes were equally simple. We
were quite satisfied with Auber, Harold, Boieldieu,
Offenbach. We knew not Wagner then, although
an attempt had been made before the fall of the
Empire, by Princess Metternich, to get the Parisians
to accept him. They did not, and everybody knows
the result. Wagner's fierce diatribes against the
French at the time of their defeat made them exclude
his operas from Paris until a few years since. The
first attempt to produce " Lohengrin " at the Op6ra
in the early eighties was opposed by stink-pots, which
were flung about the house. Since then Wagner
has been enthroned in Paris, and thousands of amiable
fanatics in that city are ready to assassinate you if
you prefer any other composer. I have learned to
appreciate and to enjoy Wagner, as well as any
English, French, or German fanatic, but I do not
allow him to take all their glory away from Mozart,
Beethoven, Carl Maria Von Weber, Rossini, and the
French composers whom I have already mentioned.
I as well as my former friends of the Latin Quarter
enjoyed going to the old Opera Comique to hear the
''Domino Noir," the " Cheval de Bronze," "La


Muette de Portici," known in England as " Massani-
ello," and we also saw the "Grande Duchesse,"
" Genevieve de Brabant," and " Orphee aux Enfers "
at the Varieties. At that time we had to take seats
among the gods, and often to stand amid the deities,
owing to the crowded state of the house and the
damaged condition of our finances, but we enjoyed
the play as well as the youth of twenty is supposed
by B^ranger the ballad-maker to enjoy his garret.

As to art matters in those days, my young French
friends and myself were as ignorant as any Philistine.
We occasionally roamed through the Louvre, and
looked languidly at the pictures by Raphael, Eugene
Delacroix, Poussin, Horace Vernet, Ingres, Meisson-
nier. Napoleonic pictures appealed to us, but we
only heard very vaguely of the great landscape men
and the Barbizon School. When in closer touch
with intellectual and artistic life in Paris, I soon
appreciated all the famous French painters, and
enjoyed their work. I cannot say that I knew many
artists personally, although I could easily have done
so. I was once introduced to Carolus Duran, now
head of the French School in Rome, and found him
a most genial gentleman. His value as an artist is
hotly contested, but that is no concern of mine. He
was one of the Frenchmen whom I have some reason
to like. He, too, had struggling days in the Latin
Quarter. Not far from where I lived in the seventies
— the region of Saint Sulpice — there is a street, that
of Notre Dame des Champs, wherein stands a cheap
restaurant ornamented with pictures by Duran,
Henner, and several other celebrated painters who
had their meals in the place when they were rapins


at the School of Fine Arts. " Most of them have
their own carriages and cooks now," said the landlord
of the restaurant to me when I went to visit the
place in 1885.

Some of my old student friends of the " Pays
Latin " keep their own cooks and carriages also.
They have become prosperous lawyers, doctors,
chemists, and professors. Even the litUrateurs
amongst them have not all come to grief. They
have not, after temporary triumphs, fallen back, like
Henri Murger and, in later years, Paul Verlaine the
poet. A few became ^^ brass eurs de lettres," as Zola
used to say, or notables commergants in the literary
market. They sold their writings to advantage, and
if they did not pocket millions (and what French or
other authors ever do 1), they attained comparatively
lettered ease.


Royalists, Bonapartists, and Republicans — The May dates —
The Due de Broglie and Marshal MacMahon— The
romance of the MacMahons — Irish kings and French
noblemen — The doctor and the widow — Bismarck and
the RepubHc — Gambetta's dinners — Madame de Paiva —
The onyx staircase.

CIRCUMSTANCES again compelled me to leave
France while M. Thiers was President of the
Republic, and I spent some years in wanderings
which, if unwise and unprofitable from the practical
point of view, were fruitful in experience of the
world. Wherever I was I watched events in France
very closely, especially after the election of Marshal
de MacMahon. The events then required very
careful attention. They followed so quickly that
Frenchmen themselves were puzzled over dates such
as the 24th of May, 1873, the i6th of May, 1874, and
the 1 6th of May, 1877. These periods are continually
referred to in French newspapers as the 24th of May,
the 1 6th of May, the date of the year being omitted
through laziness and ignorance combined. It is hardly
necessary to remind the intelligent reader that on
the 24th of May, 1873, the Royalists and Bona-
partists overthrew Thiers, who was succeeded by
Marshal de MacMahon. The new President chose



as head of his Cabinet the once famous Due de
Broglie who had been trained in the Guizot school.
On the 1 6th of May, 1874, the Due de Broglie
went out, but replaced Jules Simon on the i6th of
May, 1877. Two years later he and the Marshal
President were replaced by the out - and - out
Republicans who shattered the hopes of all who
were aiming at a monarchical restoration. One of
the principal events of this period, and one in which
I took a deep interest even at a distance from
Paris, was the trial of Marshal Bazaine, who died
a few years back, a broken-down, destitute man, in
Madrid, and some of whose relatives have recently
been trying to clear him from the charges of treason,
for which he was arraigned in December, 1873.
As is well known, Bazaine was tried by a court
martial, of which the Due d'Aumale was President,
and he was condemned to the penalty of death
with military degradation for having capitulated
"■en rase caryipagne''' while Commander-in-Chief of
the Army of the Rhine. There were three other
counts in the indictment, one of which charged the
prisoner with having entered into negotiations with
the enemy, verbally or in writing, " without having
previously done all that duty and honour dictated."
Marshal de MacMahon commuted the death sentence
into one of detention in a fortress. Bazaine was
sent to a little Eden of a place — the He Sainte-
Marguerite in the South of France — whence he
escaped in August, 1874, and one of his first visits
on regaining his freedom was to the Empress

Marshal de MacMahon I met several times after


his resignation in 1879. I saw him at the garden
party given by Lord Lyons on the occasion of the
first Victorian Jubilee. A few years after I ap-
proached him on the subject of his Memoirs, but
he refused to pubHsh them for general reading, and
kept them for his family. I also met the Marshal
now and again in a street where I lived, and had
as a neighbour one of his old brothers-in-arms.
The Marshal was a fine specimen of a soldier, and
showed his Irish ancestry very remarkably in his
face. By reason of this he was interesting to me,
although I have been told that the MacMahons, the
Marshal included, were, like the Hennessey s of
cognac celebrity, not always too well pleased to be
reminded of their ancestry. The modern Hennesseys
are partly English, partly French. They descend
from Charles Hennessey, Squire of Ballymacmoy,
in the County of Cork, who settled in France in
the eighteenth century and prospered in his com-
mercial pursuits.

Marshal de MacMahon's pedigree has been
frequently contested, but I believe that a French
writer, M. Alfred Duquet, who has made a study
of famous soldiers of the First and Second Empires,
has a correct account of it. M. Duquet worked from
memoirs of the MacMahon family published in
France, from a life of the Marshal published in
Dublin in 1859, from annals of the city of Autun
in Burgundy, near which town the Marshal's people
lived, and from other documents, including a strange
one entitled " Liste des Officiers deserteurs et rebelles
a leur patrie, denonces dans I'assemble^ nationale,
Paris, Laurent, 1791." This list is in the French


National Library, and from it can be verified the
fact that the Marquis Charles Laure MacMahon,
uncle of the Marshal, commanded the 38th
Dauphin^ regiment at the time of the Great Revo-
lution, and that he was the first colonel of the
French Army who passed over to the enemy. He
subsequently joined the suite of the Comte d'Artois,
brother of Louis XVI IL

M. Duquet is not tender towards the memory of
the Marshal, and spares neither him nor his ancestors.
He derides the notion that the MacMahons descended
from Irish kings, or rather he admits the fact, but
only for the purpose of giving the Irish kings a knock
on the head. "Green Erin," he writes, "was of old
spotted all over with Liliputian kingdoms, and each
petty tyrant claimed the sovereignty of the island."
M. Duquet might also have quoted one of the numbers
of Whitaker's Almanack giving a list of the numerous
Irish kings and of their rivalry and its consequences,
which were frequently tragic.

The real and less remote history of the MacMahon
family is this. I had it from an old French lawyer
who knew the MacMahons well, and it is corroborated
by what M. Duquet has written. John Baptist
MacMahon, grandfather of the Marshal, was born
at Limerick in June, 17 15, one hundred years
before the battle of Waterloo. He was the son of
Patrick MacMahon and Margaret O'Sullivan. This
MacMahon was sent to France, whither his father
had gone as a refugee after the battle of Aughrim, at
the age of sixteen. He studied medicine and received
a doctor's degree from the University of Rheims
in August, 1739. He was very poor at the time,


Marshal MacMahon.

[E. Appcvt

To face p. 31.


and was maintained by an Irish priest settled in
France. He tried to set up as an apothecary in
a town in Burgundy, after having been supported for
a time at Autun by a shoemaker. His horizon
brightened in 1742, when, under the patronage
of a royal physician, Antoine Gayton, he was
permitted to practise at Autun.

In 1746 Dr. John Baptist MacMahon was called in
to attend Lazare de Moray, Governor of Vezelay, who
with his two brothers, Claude, Marquis de Vianges and
Jacques, Dean of Autun, possessed the finest estate in
Burgundy. Lazare married, when sixty-eight years
old, one of his relatives, Charlotte le Belin, who was
only eighteen. This January and May union was not
productive of children. The venerable husband died
without heirs in 1748, and two months afterwards
Dr. MacMahon was living in his chateau.

In April, 1750, the doctor married the young widow
at Sully, in spite of the opposition of her brothers-in-
law, the marquis and the dean. On the 30th of
August, 1750, a girl, Fran9oise, was born. A few
years after the doctor obtained the mastery over the
marquis and the dean, who disinherited their nieces,
and made Madame MacMahon their universal legatee.
The nieces contested the will of the last of the two
brothers de Moray, and there was a long lawsuit.
The doctor was triumphant, and by a decision of the
Parliament of Paris of June, 1763, he and his wife
entered into possession of property valued at two
milHon five hundred thousand pounds. MacMahon
was naturalised since 1749, and was enrolled among
the nobility in 1750.

Of this marriage were born Charles Laure Mac-


Mahon, Marquis de Vianges, Maurice Francois, father
of the Marshal, Duke of Magenta, and Pierre Mac-
Mahon. There was a second Jean Baptist MacMahon
in France at this period. He was cousin of the other,
and was known as MacMahon of Leadmore. He was
likewise a doctor of medicine, and was at the Court of
Frederick the Great of Prussia at the same time as
Voltaire. It is said that this MacMahon, who in early-
life was destined for the priesthood, prided himself on
being an atheist. The fact is recorded in Marechal's
" Dictionnaire des Athees, anciens et modernes."
This MacMahon of Leadmore died in Paris in
September, 1786.

The father of the Marshal President, Maurice
Frangois MacMahon, was Lord of Eguilly, of Sivry, of
Voudenay, and Baron of Sully. He was born at
Autun in Burgundy, the old Augustodunum of the
Romans, in October, 1754. He became a lieutenant-
general in the Royal Army, and in 1792 married at
Brussels Pelagie Marie Riquet de Caraman, who died
in 1 8 19. The husband died in 1831. They had five
sons and four daughters. The Marshal Marie Edme
Patrice Maurice de MacMahon, Duke of Magenta,
inherited the title of Count from his brother
Bonaventure, second son of Maurice FranQois
MacMahon and the daughter of the Marquis de
Caraman. The Marshal was married in 1854 to
Elizabeth Charlotte Sophie de la Croix de Castres.
It is to be noted that the ennobling particle de is
not printed in old documents relating to the Mac-

In any case, it is satisfactorily settled that if
Marshal MacMahon did not descend from Brian


Boroimhe, the " Brian the Brave " of Moore's song,
his less remote ancestors were of a good Irish
stock. His pedigree was better than that of any
of the other Presidents of the Third French Republic,
except perhaps M. Carnot and M. Casimir Perier.
Thiers was the son of a Marseilles blacksmith, and,
as Grenville Murray wrote long ago, he came to Paris
to seek his fortune, " with an essay on Vauvenargues
in his pocket." Jules Grevy sprang from a family
of peasants of the Jura ; Felix Faure was also of
humble origin and worked as a tanner when young ;
Emile Loubet's father was in the mule trade at
Mont^limar in the South ; and Armand Fallieres
is from an ordinary Southern struggling stock.

Of Madame de MacMahon, the Duchesse de
Magenta, wife of the Marshal, I have but little to
say. She belonged to a great French family, and
was more aristocratic than her soldier husband, who
tried to be civil to everybody. His wife, on the
other hand, was often distinctly cold towards the
Republicans who had to be invited to the Elysee
during the " MacMahonate." This attitude of the
Duchess embittered the opposition and partially led
to the campaign organised against her husband.

I must now attempt to narrate the progress and
development of the Third Republic and to deal with
the periods with which I am most familiar. The
Third Republic, as Herr Bebel reminded M. Jaures
at the International Congress of 1906 at Amsterdam,
was the work of Prince Bismarck. This is to a
great extent true. We have it from the recently
published memoirs of Prince Hohenlohe, Ambassador
in Paris from 1874 to 1885. When this diplomatist



was about to be appointed Ambassador he had an
interview with the Iron Chancellor, who observed that
" German interests enjoined before all things that
France should not grow sufficiently powerful inter-
nally and gain sufficient prestige externally to be able
to acquire allies. A Republic and domestic ferment
were a guarantee of peace. He admitted, however,
that a strong Republic would furnish a bad example
for monarchical Europe, but it appeared to him, so
I understood him to say, that the Republic would
be less dangerous than the Monarchy, which would
promote all manner of intrigue in foreign countries.
An Orleanist monarchy would not, however, suit us.
The Bonapartes would be better, but the existing
state of things is by far the best."

Now the same Bismarckian idea as to the advan-
tages of a French Republic from the German point of
view comes out in the diary of Comte d'Herisson,
"Journal dun officier d'ordonnance," published long
before the memoirs of Prince Hohenlohe— the
famous " Denkwurdigkeiten " which have caused
such a flutter in Germany and elsewhere.

Comte d'Herisson was with Jules Favre at Ver-
sailles while that statesman was discussing with
Bismarck the bases of the armistice of January, 1871.
Jules Favre was plainly told by the Iron Chancellor
that Germany found it more advantageous to treat
with the Republicans, because she did not want a
revival of the Second Empire, which could be brought
about easily. In the French publication of the pro-
ceedings in the Arnim case issued by Plon in 1875
it is also shown that Bismarck instructed Prince
Hohenlohe, Ambassador in Paris, to oppose in every


way any attempt to re-establish the Monarchy and to
work for the consoHdation of the RepubHc, as a
Republic was the safest Government from the German

Both Gambetta and Jules Ferry conjured up the
spectre of Germany in order to impress the electors
during the campaign which led to Marshal MacMahon's
resignation in 1879. Jules Ferry, as we all know,
was an ardent advocate of Germany, and tried to
bring about a rapprochement with that country.
Gambetta was less disposed to treat with Bismarck, for
he was afraid to risk his popularity as a patriot. He
was very near it, however, as we learn from the
''Correspondence" of Count Henckel Von Donners-
marck with Gambetta and the two Bismarcks, father
and son, published in Stuttgart in 1901.

There is a touch of romance in this part of the
history of the early period of the Third Republic.
Count Henckel Von Donnersmarck was the third
husband of the notorious lady whom the Parisians
knew as Madame de Paiva. She lived in a magnificent
private residence in the Champs Elysees, and in 1877,
and after, many of the principal Republicans frequented
her salon, to which access was gained by a staircase
in onyx. This escalier d'onyx was a subject of
much gossip for many years.

Madame de Paiva was a Russian adventuress, and
was currently reported to be a spy for Bismarck. Leon
Gambetta assiduously attended the lady's receptions,
and being a notorious bon vivant, he enjoyed her
French and Russian dinners. Madame de Paiva's
residence was subsequently taken over by a restaur-
ateur named Cubat, who failed. It was there that the


other famous bon vivant, George Augustus Sala,
who equalled Gambetta in his love of the good things
of the table, had one of his last dinners in Paris. He
narrated at the time in the Daily Telegraph, with great
wealth of detail, that dinner at Cubat's, which included
sturgeon stewed in champagne — a dish for Tsars and
Grand Dukes.

Returning to Gambetta, his visits to the Hotel
Paiva induced the husband of the hostess to plan a
meeting between the French "Tribune" and Bis-
marck. The latter agreed to see Gambetta at Varzin
in 1878. They were to talk about a mutual under-
standing as to the reduction of the war estimates in
both countries, and also to concert a mutual plan of cam-
paign against Rome, for Bismarck was at that epoch
engaged in the kulttirkampf. Bismarck was afraid that
the French Catholics would obtain the sympathy of
Austria and become dangerous politically. Gambetta,
not wishing to compromise his popularity with the
masses, did not go to Varzin, but in September, 1878,
he launched his famous phrase, "clericalism is the

Impartiality precludes me from following either
Republicans or Monarchists in their contending
versions of the events leading up to the consolidation
of the Third Republic. I cannot help noting, how-
ever, the coincidence of Bebel's remark to M. Jaures
at the Amsterdam Congress with the contentions of
the French Conservatives, who continually assert that
the Third Republic is the Republic of Bismarck.

The Conservatives go so far as to assert that the
Republic is still under the heel of Germany, and in
proof of this they very ably couple the fall of M.


Delcasse, at the instigation of Prince Bulow in 1905,
with the recall of Vicomte de Gontaut-Biron from the
French Embassy at Berlin in 1877. That Ambassador
was, it is affirmed by the French Conservatives, re-
called by order of Prince Bismarck, who did not find
him sufficiently Republican in his sentiments and acts.
Now, in the Hohenlohe memoirs nothing is said about
M. de Gontaut-Biron's anti-Republicanism, but it is
clearly set forth that the French Ambassador was no
longer a persona grata, to use a cant phrase, with the
Iron Chancellor, because he curried favour, as a French
Monarchist, with the old Emperor William, and par-
ticularly with the Empress Augusta.

Anyhow, with or without Bismarck, the Third
French Republic was planted firmly on its feet after
Marshal de MacMahon resigned in a huff and left the
Elys^e gladly to his successor, the son of the Jura
peasant. MacMahon often remarked after his resig-
nation that he had spent more than his allowance of
£\Q,ooo a year while Chief of the State. This ex-
penditure was almost on a Royal or Imperial scale,
and it has been by no means imitated by the Marshal's
successors, and certainly not by Jules Gr6vy.


The Grevy family — Daniel Wilson — Madame Grevy and the
King of Greece — M. Wilson and M. de Blowitz — The
Daily Telegraph Paris office — Newspaper work in Paris —
The Morning News and Galignani's Messenger — Thackeray
on Galignani — His " Ballad of Bouillabaisse " recalled —
Bouillabaisse in Paris and Marseilles.

PRESIDENT Jules Grevy was one of those
French Republicans in whom I could never
take a great interest. Others have raved about his
intellectual acumen, his legal and general learning,
and his knowledge of men. All the men of his set —
Gambetta, Ferry, Spuller, Challemel-Lacour, the
Pelletans, father and son, his son-in-law, Daniel Wil-
son, the " Glaswegian," Rouvier — in these I found
much interest, as I did in the two eminently different
yet characteristic Frenchmen, Henri Rochefort and
Georges Clemenceau, also representative Republicans.
All these men have the merit of undoubted ability, and
cannot be called commonplace. Jules Ferry was
notable both as lawyer and journalist. Of Alsatian
origin, he had read German writers, great and small.
One of his authors was Hoffmann, writer of the
" Phantasiestucke," which were printed in 1814.
These stories appeared in French as the " Contes fan-
tastiques d' Hoffmann." Ferry sprang into notoriety



Jules Grew.


To face p. 39.


by parodying this title in his famous newspaper
articles as the " Comptes fantastiques d'Haussmann,"
in which he joined in the strong criticism on the
expenditure of Baron Haussmann, Prefect of the
Seine, who beautified Paris by obliterating slums

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