Walter F Lonergan.

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presented by the ambassador, the attaches and
their families, and some old colonists, as, for
instance, the late Hon. Alan Herbert, M.D., one
of the very few men left of the days of Lord
Henry Seymour, Sir Richard Wallace, Mr.
Mackenzie Greaves, Grenville Murray, Felix White-
hurst, General D'Ainslie, the Hon. Denis Bingham,
Sir E. Blount, and others who were in Paris before
the Franco-German war ^ and during the early days

^ Among those old British colonists in Paris were also Sir John
Cormack ; Dr. McCarthy, whose father had been tutor to Louis
Philippe's children, and brought over from- Cork Oliffe, after-
wards Sir Joseph Oliffe, the discovei'er of Deanville, and
O'Meagher, of the Times ; Mackenzie, of Galignani's Messenger ;
who left ^7,000 and a collection of curiosities ; and E. Noyce
Browne, of the Morning Post. Browne and Whitehurst were
rivals for the patronage of the Emperor. Whitehurst was less
sedate than Browne, who had married a Colonel's daughter and
was a family man. He himself was of humbler origin than his
wife, and had a public-house in his family. The establishment
was at Brentford.


of the Third Republic. There are, and have been
in the British colony from time to time very
notable persons of whom little was heard. They
cultivated, if not the simple, at least the quiet,
unostentatious life, and did not court publicity.

The American colony in Paris, if less select, or at
least more democratic, than the important part of the
British contingent, is strong, numerous, and above all,
wealthy. There are very few poor Americans in
Paris. This was borne in upon me once by a Catholic
clergyman. Father Osmund Cooke, formerly of the
Passionists' Church of the Avenue Hoche, who was
in close touch with both colonies. He told me that
he was once generously invited to send on some of his
deserving poor to the American church of the Rue
Bayard. There they would receive some assistance,
as the upholders of the church had no poor to

The Americans in Paris have their historic names
from the past, as well as the English, and the greatest
of these is that of Benjamin Franklin. In our times
such men as Franklin have been rare in the Paris
American colony, but their place has been taken,
prominently, too, by the monied magnates from
over the Atlantic. When I settled in Paris as a
resident, twenty-five years back, little was heard of
save the marriages of the daughters of American
" kings " of various sorts to needy noblemen who
were French or Italian. A realistic 7not was
coined by some French boulevardier — I think that
it must have been Aurelien Scholl, or one of the others
who used to meet at Tortoni's for the afternoon
absinthe or vermouth, long ago — to describe the


process of marrying American girls to the needy
noblemen. It was ** manurer les /raises" — to manure
the strawberry leaves of the coronets. This is one of
the acute and cutting mots of which the French
are masters. It has lingered in my memory with a
stinging remark made once by an actress who was
jealous of the candidature of an older rival for a place
in the Comedie Fran9aise. "If they admit her there,"
said the jealous histrionic lady, "z7 faut dorer le
dome " — that is to say, make it like the Hotel des
Invalides — the hospital of old and disabled pen-

I do not know precisely how many American
heiresses are inhabiting the houses of the old French
nobility in the Faubourg St. Germain or the Faubourg
St. Honore. Their portraits and sketches of their
careers appear from time to time in French and
American pictorial reviews. When I settled in Paris
the chief Transatlantic heiress was Miss Mackay,
daughter of the Bonanza king, whom Americans
used to remind me was once a porter in Dublin.
Miss Mackay was married to a prince of the famous
house of Colonna at the Papal Nunciature. The
Mackays soon after left Paris, chiefly owing to the
tremendous row caused when Mrs. Mackay slashed
her portrait by Meissonnier as it did not please her.
The picture was paid for, but all the artists, authors,
and journalists flew to arms in order to avenge the
affront offered to their great painter, the master
Meissonnier. For weeks Paris was ringing with the
affair, and one of the foremost foes of the American
"upstarts" was M. Jules Claretie, who was then
a regular contributor to the Temps, as he is In


these days, after a long absence from the columns
of Senator Hebrard's paper. ^

The next Franco-American marriage which I have
good cause to remember was that of Count Boni de
Castellane with Jay Gould's daughter, Miss Anna
Gould. That event seemed to have srone off
under the happiest auspices. A few years after it,
Parisians were rushing to the Avenue des Champs
Elysees to see the imitation Trianon built with
Jay Gould's money for his daughter and her
French husband. The place was an exact replica
of the Versailles Trianon, built for Madame de

The imitation Trianon had hardly been finished
when there were ominous rumours of dissensions
between the Countess de Castellane and her husband.
It was also darkly hinted that the Gould millions were
being squandered. The hints one morning came out,
with a remote resemblance to hard facts, in the front
page of the Figaro, and led to a tragedy. The
Figaro had at that time a working connection
with the Daily Telegraph, and it was from the
Telegraph office that the rumours of the Castellane
dissensions floated to the Figaro. When the
paragraph about the affair appeared in the French
paper. Count Boni de Castellane and his father, the
Marquis, rushed to the Rue Drouot and asked to see
the editor of the Figaro. They were ushered into
the sanctum of M. F. de Rodays, and Count Boni at
once taunted that gendeman with having libelled him.

^ Meissonnier took a lot of trouble over the portrait, making
not only a fine likeness of Mrs. Mackay, but doing full justice to
her splendid attire, which included a gorgeous Rembrandt hat.


Before M. de Rodays could reply he received two
bullets in the legs, and was disabled for months.

Now since that tragedy the dissensions in the
Castellane family are of public notoriety, and have
been related with great wealth of detail in English
and in American newspapers. The suit for divorce
brought by the Countess de Castellane, nde Anna
Gould, was on for hearing in the Paris Civil Court on
the 31st of October, 1906. Although it is actionable
in France to publish Divorce Court proceedings, some
London newspapers at least risked prosecution. This
also was done by several English newspapers in 1905,
in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Macbride, in which the
wife, formerly Miss Maud Gonne, brought charges
against her husband. In the Castellane case the
Count was referred to as nourishing fourteen ladies in
luxury, Maitre Cruppi, who held a brief for the
Countess, said that she did not charge her husband
with extravagance and with trying to keep money
from her, although she could do so, but her chief
reason for bringing the action was owing to his
cruelty and to his infidelity. Once in 1895 ^^e
Count pinched his wife until the blood came, and
he soon after that boxed her ears. He had, it was
alleged, five flats and a villa at Neuilly for mistresses;
once misconducted himself with a lady at a country
house, and on another occasion pretended that he was
dying, and asked for a certain woman to be sent to
cheer him up in his last moments. His wife made
the doctor go to see him. The medical man soon
pierced through the sham, and made the Count get
out of bed. It was after that the Countess resolved
to sue for a divorce.


That divorce was granted on November 14, 1906.
The Court accorded a divorce to the Countess *' on
account of the wrongs and grievances inflicted
by the husband, and gives to her the custody of the
children, whom she may not move from French soil
without the authorisation of their father."

And this was the end of the great marriage between
the scion of a noble French family and the daughter
of the wealthiest man in America. How well I
remember the interest taken in the engagement of
Miss Anna Gould to Count Boniface de Castellane,
in February, 1895. Count Boniface, or Boni, is related
to the Talleyrands through Josephine, daughter of
Dorothea, Princess of Courland and Sagan and
Duchesse de Dino. Dorothea had been favourite
niece and nurse of the celebrated Talleyrand, Bishop
of Autun, who served so many masters. She lived
with him in the hotel or private residence in the
Rue Saint Florentin, near the Tuileries, afterwards
occupied by Baron Alphonse de Rothschild. Dorothea
married Edmund de Talleyrand, and her daughter
Josephine married the Marquis Henri de Castellane.
The latter was grandfather of Count Boni, who
married Jay Gould's daughter. There was a Marquis
Maurice de Talleyrand, who had married a Miss
Joseph Beers Curtis, of New York, and was subse-
quently divorced from her. This was a precedent for
the Castellane-Gould marriage, which has also ended
in a divorce.

The Castellanes were for some years after marriage
united enough. The Countess became a strong
Nationalist as well as Royalist. In June, 1899,
when there were demonstrations on the great race-


courses over the assault on President Loubet at
Auteuil, committed by Baron de Cristiani, the
Countess joined the manifestants of the Nationalist
side, and was going about shouting, as some of the
Frenchmen said at the time: ** Vive Vamde! Vive
Pamde ! " This imperfect pronunciation of French on
the part of the young Countess was, as usual, pro-
ductive of mirth to those priding themselves on their
perfect utterance of that language.

No reference, however fragmentary, to the American
colony in Paris would be interesting without
including that remarkable man, Mr. James Gordon
Bennett. It cannot be gainsaid that of all the foreign
residents in Paris the proprietor of the New York
Herald has the most predominating place. He is
a rickissime, a " multi-millionaire," a " newspaper
king," a foremost figure in all events, especially those
of a sporting character, happening in Paris, Nice,
Cannes, or Monte Carlo. I have seen Mr. Bennett
in various places — in his splendid residence in the
Avenue de Champs Elysees, at his Paris office, in
a brasserie refreshing himself with a glass of four-
penny beer, in the very thick of a crowd, driving four-
in-hand, riding in the Bois, and on the top of an
omnibus. At one time he is in the outskirts of
Timbuctoo or Teheran, at another enjoying a stroll
on the Paris boulevards, smoking a pipe of fragrant
tobacco on his balcony at Beaulieu, or watching the
petits cheveaux gambling game in a seaside casino.
And all the time he has his hand on the working of
his newspapers. Nothing escapes his attention in the
way of news. He has had the very best reporters
that money could buy, and he has also had able


writers. He is a very Moloch for men, and has
used up hundreds of notable journalists. Mr. Bennett
was born in New York in 1841, and seems to be one
of those men who are built to go on for ever. He
had a fall from his mail-coach once in Paris. The
fall would have killed two ordinary men, but it did
not kill him. He was in the hands of the sursfeons
for months, and then recovered his usual strenorth.

I saw him walkino^ on the boulevards soon after his


recovery. He was as brisk and vigorous as ever,
and, as his fellow-countrymen would say, " hard as
nails." The strangest thing in connection with
Mr. Bennett is that his name is never printed in his
own newspapers, but he gets an international ad-
vertisement through his patronage of automobilism.
He has also a habit of keeping out of the American
and European editions of the Herald the names of
persons whom he does not like.


Americans in Paris — Mr. J. G. Bennett — Mr. Joseph Pulitzer —
Other Americans — Sardou's " Thermidor " — Origin of the
" Bloc " — The Empress Frederick in Paris — Her cold
reception — Death of Prince Napoleon — The bloodstained
shirt and M. Constans — Franco- Russian foregatherings —
A prelate's prosecution — M. Constans and M. Laur — The
'■^ ^ournee des Gifles^^' or a political Boxing-day — Ravachol
the dynamiter.

ONE of those who were out of favour for many
years with the powerful proprietor and director
of the Herald was the elder Coquelin. When the
latter was starring in the States some years ago
orders were issued from Paris that his name was
never to be printed in any editions of the Herald.
I do not know if M. Constant Coquelin cared much
about this ostracism from the columns of an influential
newspaper. I know that he once told Campbell Clarke
that he never read any but French newspapers. Of
this I had my doubts, in the first place because the
two Coquelins are from Boulogne-sur-Mer, know
English well, have often been in London, and in the
second place French actors by no means disregard
what the foreign Press may have to say about them.
It was not a humorous fancy that prompted the
obliteration of M. Coquelin's name from the Herald^



but displeasarex mething that had been said by
the great French »median. It was at the time
passing strange to note that all the minor persons
accompanying M. Coquelin, the satellites around the
star, were duly mentioned and often favourably noted
in the Herald.

One of the predominating figures at " first nights "
in Paris is Mr. Bennett, but he only 2Xl^x\^^ premieres
of the sensational sort. I have never seen him in
any of the Montmartre or boulevard guignols or boxes.
He never misses a new play by Sardou, or a new
"creation" of Sarah Bernhardt. He is a frequent
visitor to the Opera, but I think he prefers the drama
to music. This I infer only from an entertaining
ancedote of the great newspaper magnate narrated
by Mr. T. P. O'Connor in one of his papers. This
runs that when once on board his yacht the Lysistrata
— or rather the Lysistrate, for I think Mr. Bennett
took the name from M. Maurice Donnay's play, and
not straight from Aristophanes — the proprietor of the
Herald made a man of music who was in attendance
sing over and over again, while accompanying himself
on the piano, the song about Misther Riley : —

"Are you Misther Riley that kapes this hotel,
Are you Misther Riley they spake of so well ?
Then begor, Misther Riley, you're lookin' quite well."

But the *' Commodore " is fond of repetition, and
has kept up for years in his Paris edition the
excruciating jokes of the " old Philadelphia lady "
and " Patrick." Another eccentric feature of the
Herald of Paris consists in the letters published in
its columns, in some of which Mr. Bennett jumps



on his correspondents, while in others he is
jumped on himself. In spite of the antique and
repeated jokes and the eccentric letters, the Paris
Herald is a mine of news, and its reviews of literature,
art, music, and the drama are usually done by com-
petent men. As I have already pointed out, Mr.
Bennett has the knack of attracting remarkable
journalists to his paper. Of these, among the most
remarkable were Stanley, Russell Young of old, and
in later times, Barnard, Meltzer, Gordon Smith, and
Aubrey Stanhope. There have been other capable
men on the Herald in Paris as well as in New York,
but their names escape my memory. From time to
time some notable Frenchmen — Henri Rochefort, for
instance — have contributed to its columns.

Another prominent American in Paris is Mr. Joseph
Pulitzer, proprietor of the New York World. His
brother, Albert Pulitzer, is, or was until recently, a
resident in Paris. Joseph Pulitzer does not now come
to Paris so frequently as he did towards the end of the
last century, when his sight began to fail. In the early
eighties I used to see Mr. Joseph Pulitzer reading the
newspapers in a humble establishment, known as
Neale's Library, in the Rue de Rivoli. This place was
enlarged later on and is now in the hands of Messrs.
W. H. Smith and Son. At Neale's Library of old a
good many celebrities might be met, but it never had
the prestige of Galignani's, where, in the days gone by,
were to be seen Thackeray, Dickens, Wilkie Collins,
Frank O'Mahoney or "Father Prout," G. A. Sala,
Edmund Yates, when he was on the New York
Herald staff, and a host of other men distinguished
in various walks of life.


The Americans in Paris whom I knew best were,
of course, the journalists. These latter were
frequently coming and going, particularly those of
the Herald and World. Mr. Pulitzer's capacity for
absorbing men is as great as that of Mr. Bennett,
and I have seen many a New York World man,
from Mr. Ives to Mr. Stethson and Mr. McKenna.
Among the more permanent journalists serving
American papers in my time were Lamar Middleton
of the Chicago Daily News, Barnard, already referred
to, Valerien Gribayedoff, who is artist as well as
writer, and is known among his friends as " Grib "
tout court, and Victor Collins, an Irishman who
wrote for the New York Sun. Mr. Conway, who
for a long time represented the famous " Willie "
Hearst in Paris as Correspondent of the New York
Journal, I never met. I believe that he went over to
assist Mr. Hearst in his unsuccessful campaign for
the governorship of the State of New York. Conway
belonged to what used to be known as the " fallen
angel" or "spoiled priest" lot in Paris. There are
about half a dozen of these, English and American.
Nearly all work for the Press, but I believe that one
or two ex-ecclesiastics have not been able to get
beyond shops or stores, and are obliged to "sell
things " in order to keep themselves afloat. Some
of the " fallen angels " have made remarkably good
journalists, and write ably for the English and
American Press. One thing is noticeable about them,
and that is, they do not attack their Church, as some
of the French ex-ecclesiastics are inclined to do.
They have never been so truculently disposed
towards religion as M. Charbonnel, for instance,


who "threw his cassock on the nettles" one day,
and the next was inditing fierce attacks on his former
colleagues in the columns of a most venomous anti-
clerical paper.

Leaving minor matters, I must now call up some
of the other more important or interesting events of
the year 1891. The year, as I have noted already,
was remarkable for two events which happened
towards its close. These were the suicide of General
Boulanger and the death of Earl Lytton at the
Embassy in the Faubourg St. Honore.

I must go back to the beginning of the year,
when in January, 1891, Sardou's Thermidor led to
disturbances at the Theatre Fran9ais and in the
streets. As is well known, Sardou had depicted
Robespierre in a manner which the Republicans,
Radicals, and Communists deemed unfavourable. I
saw nothing of the rows at the theatre, for the
reason that Campbell Clarke held me back from the
place, and said that he would go himself. I believe
that he was under the impression that I would join
in the demonstration against Sardou, who had received
me so angrily at Marly in 1888. I was very sorry
not to have seen the disturbances, and it is probable
that I would have had some part in them, as I
had in those of the Boulangist period. ^

I was present in the Chamber of Deputies, how-
ever, when the disturbances over Thermidor were
brought on for discussion. It was then that M.
Clemenceau launched the simple word ''bloc" which
"caught on" everywhere, and which has since come
to mean so much, a whole party in Parliament
being known as '"blocards." M. Clemenceau, in his


speech about Thermidor denounced any attempt to
ridicule or make litde of Robespierre, and declared that
the Revolution and its men must be accepted e^i bloc.

In the following February there were some minor
disturbances, this time over the visit of the Empress
Frederick of Germany to Paris. The Empress was
asked by her son to invite French artists to send their
pictures to an exhibition about to be opened in Berlin.
Prince Hohenlohe states in his memoirs that the
Empress gave mortal offence by first going to Bonnat
and others, appearing to overlook such men, for
instance, as Carolus Duran. I was rather surprised to
read that Carolus fired up about this, and applied a
nasty name to the Empress. Some of the overlooked
artists may probably have endorsed, if not participated
in, the commotion caused by the visit of the Empress.
This was attributed to the Patriotic League, or the
Boulangists, who wanted an excuse for bringing
themselves forward. The Empress Frederick had
accordingly to curtail her stay in the inhospitable
city, and I was at the Gare du Nord when, attended
by the German Ambassador and his family and staff,
she hurried over to England. Her son, the Emperor
William, took his revenge for the affront to his mother
and to himself by increasing the measures of rigour in
Alsace-Lorraine. The French have not forgotten
Alsace-Lorraine, but the Germans are viewed with
less hostility at present in France, and especially in
Paris, where they participated largely in the last
Universal Exhibition. Moreover, since that time,
1900, German traders in Paris have increased in num-
bers, and they have no need now to give themselves
out as Austrians or Swiss.


Shortly after the agitation over the Empress
Frederick's visit, there died at Rome a man who once
filled a large space in Parisian history. This was
Prince Jerome Napoleon, cousin of the Emperor
Napoleon III., and husband of Princess Clotilde of
Savoy, ^ daughter of Victor Emanuel, grandfather of
the present King of Italy. Prince Napoleon, as
he was called in Paris, when they did not use the
nickname of " Plonpon," in memory of his absence
from the Crimean campaign, lived in the Avenue
d'Antin, and was heard of a good deal. While full of
the Bonapartist spirit, and mindful of the traditions of
his family, he cultivated the society of Republicans,
and was regarded as a Freethinker, because he attended
the hogs' pudding banquets organised by anti-clericals
on Good Fridays for the purpose of annoying the
Catholics, who fast rigidly on that day. I do not think
that Prince Napoleon attended these banquets in his
later years in Paris. In any case, it is certain that his
attitude towards the Church changed when he became
old, either through aversion to the policy of the
Republicans, who were beginning the campaign
against Rome which developed to such an enormous
extent in this century, or owing to the influence of
his wife, the Princess Clotilde, who has led the life
of a lay nun. There is no reason why this Princess
should not be canonised eventually by her Church, as
were St. Elizabeth of Hungary and other royal saints.
In spite of the examples of her father and her husband,
both notorious free-livers and by no means given to

I Princess Clotilde was originally in love with the Due de
Chartres, when he was at the Turin Military School. To prevent
a marriage she was "made over '' to Prince Jerome Napoleon.


acts of piety, she has retained throughout life her
original fervour and devotion. I last saw the Princess
Clotilde at the funeral of Princess Mathilde Napoleon.

Prince Napoleon died hard, and his last mot charac-
terised the man. " I can succeed in nothing," said he
on his deathbed, " not even in dying." Another man
of a far different mould, and differing also in station
from Jerome Napoleon, said before he passed away,
•* I am dying beyond my means." This, too, might
apply to " Plonplon," who had got through a large
part of his fortune when he was expelled from Paris,
with the other princes of families that had reigned in
France. His repudiation of his son, Prince Victor,
before he died, caused a split in the Bonapartist
party. Prince Jerome had left the succession as
leader of the party to Prince Louis, his other son,
but the latter did not want it. Whatever the
heritage may be worth in the future, it is absolutely
valueless now, and Prince Victor is not likely to try
to do anything rash while the Empress Eugenie and
his mother. Princess Clotilde, are alive.

Among other events in 1891 was the shooting of
several persons by the troops and gendarmes during
the strikes at Fourmies in the North of France. This

Online LibraryWalter F LonerganForty years of Paris → online text (page 9 of 25)