Walter F Lonergan.

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and opening new thoroughfares, but was attacked
in Parliament in 1869 for alleged mismanagement
of the city finances. Subsequently Ferry became
the most notable of Republican statesmen.

Of the others whom I have mentioned as interest-
ing, Challemel-Lacour was an undoubted scholar, and
has written on the German philosophers. The gossips
credited him with a liaison when he was Ambassa-
dor in London, the other party being a French laun-
dress. Whatever may have been his private life,
Challemel-Lacour had both learning and intellect to
recommend him. Like Ferry, he was a r^publicain
de gouvernement.

Jules Gr^vy was a mere dryasdust lawyer, a com-
monplace speaker and writer in comparison with the
others mentioned. He first seems to have entered
into celebrity as a Republican in 1869, when he
was returned for his native Jura, obtaining twenty-
two thousand votes against the eleven thousand given
to the Imperial candidate.

At that time other Republicans came into promi-
nence. Henri Rochefort was already well known as
the pamphleteer of the Lanterne. Peyrat, Deles-
cluze, Challemel-Lacour, and several editors were
tried for raising subscriptions for a monument to
Baudin, a " victim of the Deux Decembre." They
were defended by Emmanuel Arago, Gambetta, and
several less-known lawyers. They were all con-


demned, and the Government included some of them
in a second process which was chiefly aimed at M.
Hebrard, of the Temps, and two other editors.
M. Hebrard still lives a "prosperous gendeman."
He is to be seen any day on the Boulevard des
Italiens or at the office of his important newspaper.
I once met him, and found him to be one of the
most friendly of Frenchmen, and I do not think
that any members of his efficient staff" of writers
and reporters can have serious grievances against

Another Republican who was to the front In
those days was Charles Floquet, who subsequendy
went down in the Panama bubble, after having
served the Republic faithfully for years. It was
he who uttered the cry " Vive la Pologne Mon-
sieur!" as one of the predecessors of the present
Tsar of Russia was visiting the Palais de Justice
of Paris.

Floquet, Ferry, Gambetta, Challemel-Lacour, and
also Clemenceau and Rochefort, were very much to
the front during the closing days of the Second
Empire, but I find little mention anywhere of Jules
Gr^vy, except in connection with his defeat of the
Napoleonic candidate in the Jura in 1869.

He came forward with a vengeance in the eighties,
shortly after I took up my residence permanently in
Paris. So also did his son-in-law, Daniel Wilson,
previously referred to as the " Glaswegian," owing
to his Scottish ancestry. The gossips of those days
had a good deal to say about Jules Grdvy and M.
Wilson's mother, as well as about M. Wilson himself
and Madame Grevy. The Chief of the State, who


succeeded MacMahon, was popularly and also socially-
supposed to have married his cook when he was a
struggling barrister, and before his connection with
politics assisted him in occasionally securing fat briefs
for guano and other commercial companies. Madame
Grevy was known to the facetious as "Coralie," and
there was a story sedulously circulated in Paris to
the effect that she once playfully asked King George
of Greece " how his Belle Helene was getting on ? "

M. Daniel Wilson was also frequently called the
*' Dauphin " in those days, as he married Made-
moiselle Marguerite Gr^vy. He had belonged to
the fast set in his youth, and was among those who
took the Cora Pearls and the Fanny Howards of the
time to supper at the celebrated Cafe Anglais on the
Boulevard des Italiens, which G. A. Sala used to
describe as a sepulchre, owing to Its white frontage
and rather monumental aspect. Cjhose suppers at the
Caf6 Anglais have often been written about in books
on Paris, and are still recalled occasionally in news-
papers. There have been some livelier suppers under
the Third Republic, notably one some years since,
when a crowd of rich rakes had at table one nipfht in
a restaurant not far from the Caf6 Anglais a bevy of
belles de nuit, collected from the streets, and who,
after they became intoxicated with champagne, be-
haved like furies let loose from hell. Some tried to
dance among the glasses on the table, and others
rushed madly around the room, as Hans Breitmann
might say, "mid fery leetle on."

I must confess that I was rather sorry for Daniel
Wilson's fall. I first met him at a boat race on the
Seine, of which sporting event he was umpire and


adjudicator to the winners of the Sevres cup offered
by his father-in-law. He impressed me very favour-
ably as he talked excellent English to Mr. G , the

English undertaker, who was one of the organisers of
the race. Wilson was then a tall, brown-bearded and
fair-haired man, who might pass for a German or
Austrian. I saw him afterwards with M. de Blowitz,
of the Times, on the occasion of the unveiling of
the Washington statue in the Place des Etats-Unis, a
Franco-American ceremony at which Mr. Levi Mor-
ton, then American Minister, not Ambassador, for that
title was accorded later, presided. That was only a
short time before M. Wilson had to retire from
political life over the traffic in " decorations," and by
reason of the fall of his father-in-law. He went to
live with his children in the magnificent residence of
his father-in-law in the Jena Avenue, a building con-
structed with the money made and saved by M. Grevy
at the Elys^e.

It was just before this period, in 1884, that I
obtained a place in the Paris office of the Daily
Telegraph, and became more in touch with events
that were happening. Previously my contributions
of the literary or journalistic order had been confined
to papers such as the Weekly Graphic, for which,
when Mr. Locker was editor, I wrote a good many
articles on French life and events happening in
France. It was through my old and valued friend,
Herman Charles Merivale, that I obtained an intro-
duction to Mr., afterwards Sir, Campbell Clarke, who
had succeeded after an interval Felix Whitehurst as
Paris Correspondent of the great daily of Peterborough


I often wondered how I, an obscure Irishman,
an adventurer, managed to enter the Daily Telegraph
office in Paris. When I first came to London, a
raw youth, with foolish ambitions, I tried to obtain
employment on the Telegraph, but I might as
well have asked for a well-paid sinecure in the
Royal household. An editor with whom I had
some dealings, having written occasionally for his
weekly sheet, advised me to send an article to the
Telegraph as a specimen of my art. That editor
was, of course, fooling me to the top of my bent ; but,
believing the man was serious, I wrote an article on
the " Infallibility of the Pope," and sent it boldly to
the Telegraph. My article was actually critical of
an editorial which had appeared in the Telegraph
on the same subject, namely " Papal Infallibility."
Naturally, I received no invitation either to assist Mr.,
afterwards Sir, Edwin Arnold in editing the Daily
Telegraph or even to become a " new man " among
the reporters or "subs."

My false friend the editor of the weekly chuckled
when he heard that I had sent an article on Papal
Infallibility to Peterborough Court. I was disgusted
both with him and with the editor of the Telegraph,
and after knocking vainly at other doors, I gave up
the idea of settling in London as a journalist or
author, and did anything for a living.

It was strange that years after my discomfiture
in Fleet Street my chance should come from the same
great paper to which I had sent the unlucky ecclesi-
astical article, which has long been consigned to the
waste-paper basket.

Herman Merivale, who was instrumental in getting


me work on the Telegraph, lived for some time
at Eastbourne. I called on him for the purpose of
writing something about his career as a dramatist for
a local paper and for a London monthly. He gave
me full particulars of his stage career, and I wrote
them out. He had only some time previously been
connected with the production of an adaptation from
the French, and he was busily engaged in literary
work, writing every week for the Spectator, besides
doing articles for reviews.

Merivale introduced me to his estimable wife, who
collaborated a good deal with him later on. To our
mutual surprise Mrs. Merivale and I found that we
were not only Irish, but that we came from the same
town. After that I was a frequent visitor to Hazard
Side, the name of Merivale's residence in the Sussex
seaside town. When I told him that after a third
ineffectual effort to obtain regular employment on
a London paper, I proposed to return to Paris, and to
do anything there that my hands could find to do, he
at once offered to give me a letter to his old friend
Campbell Clarke.

Nearly two years elapsed ere I availed myself of
Merivale's kindness. I was in Paris working in a
lawyer's office by day and writing for chance news-
papers by night, when it occurred to me that it would
be more profitable to seek permanent employment on
a journal.

At that time a Mr. Chamberlain, who had been
private secretary to Mr. James Gordon Bennett,
founded a smart little daily in Paris called the
Morning News. To this contributed some of the
London Correspondents in Paris, notably J. Clifford


Millage of the Chronicle, Theodore Child of the
World and the Illustrated London News, and who
had formerly been working with Campbell Clarke
on the Telegraph, Vandam of the Globe, and, I
believe, Mr. Richard Whiteing, to whose book, "Living
Paris," I added some pages for the edition prepared in
view of the Exhibition of 1889. Joined with Mr.
Chamberlain in the working of the Morning News
was Mr. Ives, who had also been in the employment
of Mr. J. G. Bennett.

I entered into negotiations for a place on the
Morning News, and, to my delight, one day received
a genial letter from Mr. Chamberlain asking
me to walk round to his office. By the same post
came a letter from Herman Merivale, telling me to go
to see his friend Campbell Clarke at once. I hesitated
between the two letters. Campbell Clarke I did not
know then, and Chamberlain I had found to be an
excellent fellow — one of those men, in fact, who are
too good to be editors. After a few moments of
indecision I made up my mind and saw Campbell
Clarke, who engaged me to assist him and Mr.
Ozanne at a good wage. I remained over twenty-
two years in the Paris office of the Daily Telegraph,
and have no reason to regret it. My dream, however,
of a literary life was at an end, and I saw that it would
be impossible to earn enough to keep me in Paris
comfortably without binding myself to a regular daily

As to Chamberlain, I never saw him again.
Mr. Ives, I beHeve, is still an active journalist. As
to the Morning News it only lasted about eight
months, and then became amalgamated mysteriously


with the American Register, owned by Dr. Evans,
the American dentist, who with some others helped
the Empress Eugenie to reach Sir John Burgoyne's
yacht, and to escape to England on the fall of the
Second Empire. The little News, which was
undoubtedly a bright paper, was killed by that mighty
potentate In the newspaper world, Mr. James Gordon
Bennett, when he founded the Paris Herald, one of
the most newsy as well as one of the most enter-
taining journals ever printed. Chamberlain made a
final effort to keep the News afloat on the strength
of sixteen thousand francs borrowed from Mr. Levi
Morton, the U.S. Minister already referred to, but the
effort proved futile.

About the same period the once famous Galignanis
Messenger received its death-stroke from the same
source. Galignani lingered, but only in a con-
sumptive state, for several years after it passed from
the heirs of the two brothers who founded it into the
hands of Mr. Bennett and others. Mr. Bennett gave
it up ; it returned to the Galignani family, represented
by M. Jeancourt, who continued to direct it in
connection with the library and shop, but again
transferred it, this time to the Horatio Bottomley
group. It was also for a time in the hands of Messrs.
Sewell and Maugham, the English solicitors of the
Faubourg St. Honore, and I believe it numbered then
among its contributors the author of " 'Lisa of Lam-
beth" and other notable novels, W. Somerset
Maugham. Finally Galignani changed title and
was conducted for several years by various proprietors
as The Daily Messenger, the last editor being Mr.
R. Lane, who subsequently became manager of the


Paris Daily Mail. Galignani had long been a
landmark in the British colony in Paris. At one time
it had contributors such as Edward King and
Theodore Staunton, Americans, and Englishmen,
among whom may be mentioned Theodore Child,
E. H. Barker, author of " Wanderings by Southern
Waters," now British Vice-Consul at Treport, and
H. F. Wood, of the Morning Advertiser, who wrote
the *' Passenger from Scotland Yard," "The English-
man of the Rue Cain," and a valuable book on Egypt.
One of the contributors to Galignani was also Mr.
Thomas Longhurst, of the Economist, who may claim
to be the oldest British inhabitant of Paris, for he
joined the firm of Messrs. Galignani far back in the
fifties. The Galignanis, as is pretty well known, were
Italians from Brescia, who, after a career as couriers in
the old days before Messrs. Cook were in business,
settled in Paris, opened the library and bookshop of
the Rue de Rivoli, which has been patronised by
many celebrities, English and French, and founded
their daily newspaper, then a boon to travellers on
the Continent.

I wrote once for Galignani, but not in prose. It
was a brief funeral dirge on the occasion of the death
of the survivor of the two " brave Brescians," as they
were called in the Standard. It was published over
my initials, and caused a slight uproar among certain
British colonists, who resented my audacity in trying to
pose as what they were pleased to call a poet. Shortly
afterwards I applied, audaciously, for the second time,
for a post on Galignani, but was told amiably the old,
old story, that there was no vacancy on the staff. I
afterwards learned from my friend E. H. Barker,


already referred to, and who was for a long time on
the Galignani staff, with his friend Mr. Galigan, an
interesting Irishman from Leeds, that the way to get
on the paper was "to make yourself a nuisance until
they engaged you." This recipe was given to Mr.
Barker by the old correspondent of the Standard in
Paris, Mr. Hely Bowes, who with his father had been
connected with the paper founded by the " brave
Brescians " in the days when Thackeray, Dickens,
and Wilkie Collins were temporary residents in Paris.
I must not forget to mention that no less a person
than Thackeray was once a sub-editor on Galignani.
In a letter written by the author of " Pendennis " to
Mrs. Brookfield, dated November, 1848, he says : " I
am glad to see among the new inspectors in the
' Gazette ' in this morning's papers my old acquaintance,
Longueville Jones, an excellent, worthy, lively,
accomplished fellow, whom I like the better because
he threw up his fellow and tutorship at Cambridge
in order to marry on nothing a year. We worked
on Galignani s Messenger for ten francs a day, very
cheerfully, ten years ago, since when he has been a
schoolmaster, taken pupils, or bid for them, and
battled manfully wuth fortune." According to a con-
tributor to the Gentleman s Magazine, it was twelve
and not ten years before the writing of that letter
that Thackeray had been one of the two sub-editors
on the "little quarto newspaper no bigger than an
old-fashioned sheet of letter-paper." Galignani was
certainly a very small sheet then, as may be seen
from an inspection of the files in the old offices in
the Rue de Rivoli. It subsequently attained the
size of an ordinary modern daily newspaper.


It was, doubtless, while connected with Galignani
that Thackeray gained experience for his " Paris
Sketch Book " and the immortal " Ballad of
Bouillabaisse," The tavern and the "New Street of
the Little Fields " would be near Galignani's offices.
The " hotchpotch of all sorts of fishes " was no
doubt good. I have had better Bouillabaisse so
far as variety of fish went, in Paris than in Mar-
seilles. In the latter place they give lobster,
rouget de Marseille, and a few bits of small shell-
fish. In Paris you get bits of fish from northern
as well as southern waters, and also lobster and
mussels. The garlic flavouring is better in Marseilles,
as the ail of the midi is superior to that sold in the
north. The fashionable place for Bouillabaisse at
Marseilles is at Roubion's, on the Corniche, but I have
had it as good at Pascal's and at places on the

Still alluding to Thackeray, I must record here that
he was supposed to have also been a frequenter of the
Cafe de Londres, near the Madeleine. I was taken
there once by the late J. Clifford Millage, who knew
Paris well. We tasted some Scotch whisky which,
according to Millage, had been in the cellars of the
cafe since the time of Thackeray.


La haute politique — The Egyptian Question — The Near
East — Mr. Lavino and Russia — M. de Blowitz saves France
— The real importance of M. de Blowitz — His remarkable
position — Bismarck and Ferry — Bits of big news — ThedEall
of Ferry.

WHEN I joined the staff of the Daily Telegraph
in Paris in March, 1884, what is known as
la haute politique was in the ascendant. I was not
engaged to write on poHtical subjects of an inter-
national character, but to watch home politics, to be
present at Communist or Anarchist meetings, and to
take my turn at the theatres when Mr. Campbell
Clarke was unable to attend the production of new
plays. The work was constant and absorbing, and
it soon made me think that I had no past and no
future. I felt that I had always been at it, that I
had never had any parents, and that I had received
no education whatever. Campbell Clarke was a most
courteous man, but he sometimes contrived to make
those with him feel that they were utter and absolute
nonentities. And this was done without any
hectoring, blustering, or arrogance.

In those years of pure hack work I again learned
a good deal. My wandering life in early years had
brought me into touch with all conditions of men,



and I attained to a very considerable knowledge of
human nature, which, despite what some of the
psychologists say, is at bottom much the same. It
is actuated by the same impulses in France and
England, as well as elsewhere, although it may be
true that, as Mr. Henry James remarks somewhere in
*' The Tragic Muse," " a poor man does not believe
anything in the same way that a rich man does."

Now, in a new atmosphere, I began to see how
things were worked in France more closely than
before. For about four years after joining the
Telegraph staff in Paris I had, in order to watch
home politics, to attend the Chamber of Deputies
nearly every day. In the late afternoon I returned
to the office of the Telegraph, then in the Place
de rOp^ra, wrote out a report on the business in the
Chamber, and assisted in clearing off the events of
the day. When I reached home after midnight, I
realised that I was earning my money.

If I had not to deal directly with the haute politique,
I began to learn a good deal about it through occasion-
ally condensing articles from the Temps and the Ddbats.
These condensations or analyses were to follow the
more or less original remarks of the chief Correspon-
dent. In this way I became a small authority on the
Egyptian Question, for instance, which was paramount
then. I felt proud in knowing something about the
** Law of Liquidation," and could criticise its defects,
notably as regards the provision by which it was
enacted that if in any year the revenues assigned to
the bond-holders should fail to cover the interest on
the debt, the balance should be taken from the
revenues at the disposal of the Treasury, the adminis-


tration being thus jeopardised, as it ran the risk of
collapse if called upon to provide for any extraordinary

Although never in Egypt, I was able to keep
before my mind's eye in connection with the financial
state of the country in 1884 the Kharadji lands and
the Ushuri lands, the former being taxed up to a
certain extent by the administration, while the others
given to Moslems were only liable to the tithes
prescribed by the Koran. The Egyptian Question
was dealt with almost daily at that time by the
brothers Charmes, who wrote for the D^bats, while in
England then, as now, the leading authority was Mr.
E. Dicey, C.B. Mr. Dicey, who was then editor of
the Observer, was a frequent visitor to the residence
of Mr. and Mrs. Campbell Clarke, as they were
known then. I last saw Mr. Dicey in Paris when he
was specially commissioned by his old friend, Sir
Edward Lawson, now Lord Burnham, to attend the
funeral of the Due d'Aumale.

Events in Egypt were, however, overshadowed in
1884 by the still higher politics of the nearer East.
The Balkan Peninsula was in the thoughts of every
politician, and speculations were afloat as to the
designs of Russia, as well as of Prince Bismarck, who
was hatching surprises for France. Russia was well
watched at that time by Mr. William Lavino, then
Correspondent of the Telegraph at Vienna, whither he
went after an apprenticeship under Campbell Clarke,
and who has since obtained the succession of the
celebrated M. de Blowitz. Mr. Lavino was for
about two years in the Paris office of the Telegraph,
and I use the term " apprenticeship " advisedly,


for Campbell Clarke, although in later years he
did not follow politics closely, was at one time a
good authority on international problems. He was,
moreover, in touch with many ambassadors and
diplomatists, and could have held his own with M.
de Blowitz had he the special ambition and the
spasmodic energy of that noted journalist, as well
as his incentives to keep to constant work. M. de
Blowitz, it must be remembered, was not a rich man,
whereas Campbell Clarke was a member of the family
of the chief of the paper which he represented in

While Mr. Lavino was thus watching Russia from
his vantage-ground in Vienna, we in Paris kept our
eyes on Bismarck and on the storm clouds drifting
over France from Germany. These, as is well
known, rolled temporarily away while Jules Ferry was
at the Quai d'Orsay as French Foreign Minister.

There had been ominous mutterings of war ever
since 1875. That epoch, its alarms, the scare at the
time were ably dealt with by M. de Blowitz, who was
much chaffed, then and after, for his seemingly
bombastic claims to an influence on the events that
were happening. He even asserted to have had
a hand in averting the danger from France. There
was a story current at the time that leading French-
men and French women used to say to the Times
Correspondent, " Blowitz, save us, save everybody,
save France," and then they hugged the little man
who was supposed to be both omnipotent and omnis-
cient. The publication of the Hohenlohe memoirs
has shown that M. de Blowitz was closely identified
with the events of 1875. The entry alluding to his


intervention is worth quoting. Referring to a meeting
between Prince Hohenlohe and M. de Blowitz in May,
1875, ^t a soiree given by the Due Decazes, French
Foreign Minister, when the Times Correspondent
intimated that he was about to " write an article "
on the prevailing anxieties, the memoirs state : "He
[Blowitz] has not paid any regard to my objections
because, as I have since learned, he was convinced
that by frankly describing the prevalent anxieties he
would evoke a reply in the form of declarations which
would help to establish peace. But he has gone
further than he told me that he intended to go. His
line of argument, which in conversation bore an
impartial character, has become what I warned him
that it might become, an attack upon Germany. The
editorial department of the Times received his article
on May 5th, and then telegraphed to various Corre-
spondents on the Continent for information on the

Online LibraryWalter F LonerganForty years of Paris → online text (page 4 of 25)