MEMOIRS (VIEUX SOUVENIRS) OF THE PRINCE DE JOINVILLE
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY LADY MARY LOYD
I was born at Neuilly-sur-Seine, on the outskirts of Paris, on the 14th of August, 1818. Immediately after my birth, and as soon as the Chancellor of France, M. Dambray, had declared me to be a boy, I was made over to the care of a wet nurse and another attendant. Three years later I passed out of female hands, earlier, somewhat, than is generally the case, for a little accident befell my nurse, in which my eldest brother's tutor, an unfrocked priest, as he was then discovered to be, was also concerned. My earliest memory, and a very hazy one it is, mixed up with some story or other about a parrot, is of having seen my grandmother, the Duchesse d'Orleans-Penthievre, at Ivry. After that I recollect being at the Chateau of Meudon with my great-aunt, the Duchesse de Bourbon, a tiny little woman; and being taken to see the Princesse Louise de Conde at the Temple, and then I remember seeing Talma act in Charles the Bold, and the great impression his gilt cuirass made upon me.
But the first event that really is exceedingly clear in my recollection is a family dinner given by Louis XVIII. at the Tuileries on Twelfth Night, 1824. Even now, sixty-six years after, I can see every detail of that party, as if it had been yesterday. Our arrival in the courtyard of the Tuileries, under the salute of the Swiss Guard at the Pavillon Marsan and the King's Guard at the Pavillon de Flore. Our getting out of the carriage under the porch of the stone staircase to the deafening rattle of the drums of the Cent Suisses. Then my huge astonishment when we had to stand aside halfway up the stairs, to let "La viande du Roi," in other words, his Majesty's dinner, pass by, as it was being carried up from the kitchen to the first floor, escorted by his bodyguard.
At the head of the stairs we were received by a red-coated Steward of the Household, who, as I was told, bore the name of de Cosse, and, crossing the Salle des Gardes, we were ushered into the drawing-room, where the whole family soon assembled: to wit, Monsieur, who afterwards became Charles X., the Duc and Duchesse d'Angouleme, the Duchesse de Berri, my father and mother, my aunt Adelaide, my two elder brothers, Chartres and Nemours, my three sisters, Louise, Marie, and Clementine, and last and youngest of all, myself. There was only one person present who did not belong to the Royal House of France, and that was the Prince de Carignan, afterwards known as Charles Albert, a tall, thin, severe- looking person. He had just served in the ranks of the French army, with all the proverbial valour of his race, through the Spanish campaign of 1823, and he wore on his uniform that evening the worsted epaulettes given him on the field of battle by the men of the 4th Regiment of the Guard, with whom he had fought in the assault on the Trocadero. Presently the door of the King's study opened, and Louis XVIII. appeared, in his wheeled chair, with that handsome white head and in the blue uniform with epaulettes which the pictures of him have rendered so familiar. He kissed each of us in our turn, without speaking to any of us except my brother Nemours, whom he questioned about his Latin lessons. Nemours began to stammer, and was only saved from disgrace by the opportune entrance of the Prince de Carignan.
At dinner the Twelfth Night customs were duly observed, and when I broke my cake I found the bean within it. I must confess the fact had not been altogether unforeseen, and my mother had consequently primed me as to my behaviour. This did not prevent me from feeling heartily shy when I saw every eye fixed on me. I got up from the table, and carried the bean on a salver to the Duchesse d'Angouleme. I loved her dearly even then, that good kind Duchess! for she had always been so good to us, ever since we were babies, and never failed to give us the most beautiful New Year's gifts. My respectful affection deepened as I grew old enough to realize her sorrows and the nobility of her nature, and I was always glad, after we were separated by the events of 1830, to take every opportunity of letting her know how unalterable my feelings for her were. She broke the ice by being the first to raise her glass to her lips, when I had made her my queen, and Louis XVIII. was the first to exclaim, "The Queen drinks." A few months later the king was dead, and I watched his funeral procession from the windows of the Fire Brigade Station in the Rue de la Paix, as it passed on its way to Saint-Denis.
Then came the echo of the excitement caused by the coronation of Charles X., that great ceremonial of which the Cathedral of Rheims was the scene, and which, coming as it did after all the horrors of the Revolution, gave rise to the sanguine hope that the ancient monarchy would repair every disaster now, just as it had in the time of Charles VII. But our childish ideas were not of so far-reaching a nature. It was the splendour displayed that interested us—the dresses, the carriages, and so on, of the princes and ambassadors who came from all parts of the world to greet the opening of the new monarch's reign. Numbers of artists solicited my father's permission to do his portrait, in the gold and ermine robes of a prince of the blood which he wore at the coronation, and our pet amusement at the time was to go and see papa "sitting as Pharamond." I said Pharamond, like my elders, although my own historical knowledge was of the most elementary description. To be frank, I was exceedingly backward, and have always remained so. My mother had taught me to read, but beyond that I had reached the age of six knowing nothing or hardly anything. But I was a very good rider and went out alone on a pony Lord Bristol had given my father, which I rode boldly, and I might even say recklessly. The pony's name was Polynice. He and I understood each other perfectly, and I was his friend to the last. I took care he should end his days in the park at St. Cloud, where he roamed in freedom, with a stable of his own to retire into if the fancy took him. Often and often I have been to see him, in that same stable, which he ended by never leaving except to come and greet us, and warm himself in the sunshine. He died, there, fortunately for himself, full of years, just before the pleasant revolutionary occurrences of 1848, in which he would certainly have had his share. But my father desired me to be something more than a mere horseman. He got me a tutor, and from that day out, for several years, my recollections are divided, to the exclusion of everything else, between my education and my life with my family. My tutor was called M. Trognon, and his name brought many
a jest upon him, amongst others a line of Victor Hugo's in Ruy Bias about that
Affreuse compagnonne, Dont la barbe fleurit et dont le nez trognonne.
"Fleurit" was an allusion to Cuvillier-Fleury, my brother Aumale's tutor, and Victor Hugo thought he owed both the gentlemen a grudge. M. Trognon, a distinguished pupil of the Ecole Normale, had begun his teaching career as professor of rhetoric at the college at Langres, where, coming in one day to take his class, he found his desk occupied by a donkey, which his pupils had established in his seat "Gentlemen," he said as he went out, "I leave you with a professor who is worthy of you." Soon after, he was recalled to Paris, as assistant to M. Guizot in his courses of historical lectures at the College of France.
He was not only an accomplished university man, but something else besides, as we learnt from a copy of the Figaro, which our eldest brother brought back from college. In this newspaper we read, in fact, a set of verses by Baour-Lormian, beginning thus:—
Que me veut ce Trognon, pedagogue en besicles, Dans la fosse du Globe enterrant ses articles!
There was no doubt about it. My tutor was a journalist, and these lines a revengeful answer to an article of his in the Globe, a newspaper which, as we soon learnt, he had founded in concert with Pierre Leroux, Dubois, Jouffroy, Remusat, and some others. We discovered too that our journalist was a freethinker as well, and author of a thick octavo book which had been condemned by the Index at Rome, a fact which did not prevent his dying in the most religious frame of mind possible, well nigh in the odour of sanctity. My tutor was, in truth, of too lofty an intelligence to persevere long in that religious nihilism, that denial of the existence of a future state, which, spreading from religion to family life, and from thence again to the affairs of the State, ends by leaving nothing standing but animal man and his animal passions and appetites. The long death-struggle of a passionately loved sister, who was supported by the constant ministrations of the Bishop of Beauvais, M. Feutrier, and her calm end, of which he was an eyewitness, began the change within him. When, in later years, the Abbe Dupanloup, then Vicar of the Church of the Assumption, was charged with the care of my religious education, he and Trognon became very intimate, and death alone interrupted the close communion then established between these two great minds.
The first years of my education were very happy. Anything dry about it was liberally compensated for by the constant intimacy of the family circle. We were three sisters and six brothers (this last number soon reduced to five by the death of my brother Penthievre), all living together, eating together, often doing lessons together, together always in all games and pleasure parties and excursions. What a joyous band we were may easily be guessed. Each boy had his own tutor, and two governesses were in charge of my sisters. So long as tutors and governesses only had to deal with their own pupils, all went well, but when the brothers and sisters were all together, and influenced by the spirit of insubordination and love of playing pranks which the elder ones brought back from school, we made life hard and sour to the preceptorial body. But they got on, somehow. The GRANDSPARENTS, as we called our parents, taken up as they were by their social engagements, left all initiative to the tutors. Each of these was only expected to enter daily in a book his report and opinion of the pupil committed to his care. This book was seen by my father, and he added his own remarks and orders, and then returned it.
Our day generally began at five o'clock in the morning. The elder ones went to school to attend their classes, took their meals and played with the boarders, and came home after evening school. The boys who were not at school and the girls spent the day doing their lessons. In the evening, pupils and teachers of both sexes all dined together, and then went to the drawing-room, where there was always company, for my parents received every evening. Thursdays and Sundays, which were school holidays, were given up specially to lessons in what were known as accomplishments: drawing, music, physical exercises, riding, fencing, singlestick, dancing, &c. On Sundays, every one, great and small, dined at "THE GREAT TABLE," and this life of ours was as regular as clockwork summer and winter alike.
In winter time we lived in the Palais-Royal, which then was not at all what it is nowadays. Where the Galerie d'Orleans is now to be seen, there were hideous wooden passages, with muddy floors, exclusively occupied by milliners' shops, and peopled, it was said, by thousands of rats. To get rid of this collection of shanties, they were sawn through below, and allowed to come down with a crash. Crowds of people came to witness the collapse, in the hope of seeing the expected multitude of rats rush out. There was not a single one! They had all cleared out in good time. Such is the wisdom of the brute creation!
When I first lived at the Palais-Royal, I had a room in the Rue de Valois, which overlooked the Boeuf a la Mode restaurant, and opposite there dwelt an old lady, always dressed in black, who regularly every day, at the very same hour, placed an indispensable article of domestic use upon her window-sill, so that it was as good as a clock to us. Later on, I changed my room for one looking over the courtyard, facing the rooms occupied by an actor at the Comedie-Francaise named Dumilatre, and his daughters; Dumilatre, whom I knew well, having seen him play those small tragedy parts which consist in making a dignified exit and saying, "Yes, my lord," had the same habits as my black lady, and the same object used to appear upon his window-sill with equal regularity. I had only changed my clock!
It was during the winter sojourn at the Palais-Royal, too, that our masters and their lessons multiplied. And several of these masters were oddities, amongst others our professor of German. Picture a little bland-mannered old man, dressed all in black, with satin breeches, woollen stockings, enormous shoes, and a broad-brimmed hat. He had been tutor to Prince Metternich in his youth. I know not what chance had later driven him into France—where, during the Terror, he became one of the secretaries of the much-dreaded Committee of Public Safety at Strasbourg. He lived alone with his daughter, whom he often sent to Germany, not by the ordinary means of communication, but concealed in the van which was sent periodically into Hungary to fetch supplies of leeches for the hospitals, which circumstance made us conclude that the simple name of "Herr Simon" by which he called himself probably concealed some deep mystery. Nothing, alas! remains to me of his German, nor of that of a valet of the same race, who had been put about me, so ill adapted has my mental constitution always proved to any foreign language.
Another oddity was our dancing master, an Opera dancer, named Seuriot. What a fine presence that man had! His lesson, which we all took together, like a little corps de ballet, was a great amusement to us, especially because of the theatrical stories we used to make him tell us. One day he arrived in a great state of excitement, and addressing the governesses he said, "Ladies, you see before you a man who had a remarkable escape yesterday. The ballet called Les Filets de Vulcain was being danced, I was playing Jupiter, and I was just going to ascend in my glory, with Mercury beside me, when I felt that same glory was out of order, and I had only just time to jump off, and to shout to Mercury, ' Jump, my friend, jump, don't lose an instant!' Well, well!" During the pauses in the lesson, when his fiddle ceased, and while he wiped the perspiration from his brow, we used to crowd round him and ask him questions. The elder ones always tried to get him on the subject of a danseuse named Mademoiselle Legallois, one on which he would descant unendingly. This was the lady who on one occasion appeared in a ballet as the allegorical representative of Religion, which fact caused it to be said of a certain Marshal of France "qu'il s'etait eteint dans les bras de la religion" (that he had passed away peacefully in the arms of religion). But the moment we were seen crowding round and whispering with the old dancer, the governesses would charge down upon us with their "What is it? What is it?" and we began our BATTEMENTS and our steps again. Personally I owed one of the earliest successes in my life to old Seuriot. I had profited so much by his lessons, that I appear to have danced the minuet in a quite remarkable way, so much so that my parents had a complete crimson velvet dress in the style of the last century made for me, with the indispensable three-cornered hat and a sword with knots of ribbon. Thus accoutred, with powdered head and pigtail, I had to give several performances of my minuet, which I danced with my sister Clementine, both of us displaying all the airs and graces of bygone times. My marquis's dress, of which I was excessively proud, served me also for a fancy dress ball given by the Duchesse de Berri, at which, identifying myself too much with my character, I had a quarrel with a Cossack of my own age, young de B— about a partner. In my fury I drew my sword, he did likewise, and we were just falling on each other, when the Duchesse rushed up crying, "Stop, you naughty children! Take their swords away, M. de Brissac!" As for my sister Clementine, who was at the ball too, wearing her minuet gown, and looking utterly bewitching in her powder and her looped-up dress, she attracted the notice of Charles X., to whom she doubtless brought back memories of his own youth. He came to her and kissed her, and gazed at her for a long time, holding her hand. Then, turning to my father, he said, "Monsieur, if I were forty years younger, your daughter should be Queen of France," whereupon he kissed her over again.
Our dancing lessons, which were looked upon as recreation, alternated with walks about Paris. The girls went in one direction, and the boys in another. When we went out thus, one tutor alone took the extra duty of looking after us. When it was Trognon who came out, we always expected to be taken to Sautelet's, a bookseller in the Rue de Richelieu, whose establishment became, I recollect, in later days, the head office of the NATIONAL. There Trognon would hold forth amongst the journalists, while the clerks talked to us. I remember their showing me the splendid manuscript of the Memoirs of Saint-Simon, which Sautelet was then publishing. When, on the other hand, it was Cuvillier-Fleury who marshalled us, the objects of our walks became more varied, and we soon began to discover that there was not unfrequently a petticoat somewhere about. Yet I owe to him the precious memory of a visit to the studio of Eugene Delacroix; and also of one to M. de Lavalette, Postmaster-General under the first Napoleon, a most interesting man, well known for his celebrated escape on the eve of the day appointed for his execution, after the Hundred Days, when his wife came and took his place, and brought him garments to escape in. But oftenest of all we used to go to a bookseller's in the Rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts, who was a great friend of Fleury's, and we were always sure to find either him or his charming wife at home.
Fleury's friendship for this bookseller was indeed the cause of a comical adventure. In the confusion of the first few days of the Revolution of 1830, the gentleman in question appeared before us with white belt and a sword over his civilian's dress. "Look here, Fleury," said he, "what use can I be to you today?" Fleury considered for a minute, and then he said he really didn't quite see, but that after all he thought nobody had troubled their heads about the Prefecture of Police. "I'll be off there," said my bookseller, and off he went, appointed himself Prefect of Police, and performed all his functions for several days. I have never heard of him since.
Turn about with these walks, too, we had lessons in gymnastics, of which science a certain Colonel Amoros was the apostle. This worthy colonel gave prizes to everybody, so as to make his classes popular. These prizes took the form of collars, inscribed in large painted letters with the particular merit of the pupil rewarded, such as agility, courage, strength, &c. One pupil was given a prize for "hidden virtue." After the gymnastic lessons came riding lessons, for which we were taken to the Cirque Olympique, I and my two elder brothers being always put in the charge of a single tutor. But as he invariably found the riding school too cold, he used to go and shut himself up in the manager's room, and leave us to the tender care of Laurent Franconi and the rough riders, which amounted to leaving us to ourselves. This icy cold arena, in the Place du Chateau-d'Eau consisted of one immense hall, where the place of the pit was taken up by the circus or riding school for all sorts of horsemanship, which circus was connected with the stage by inclined planes, whenever a military piece with battles in it was performed. In this circus Laurent Franconi made us practise "la haute ecole," and his assistants. Bassin and Lagoutte, taught us to vault on horseback, astride and sitting, and standing upright—after every fashion, in fact. And to our great amusement, too, these lessons, falling as they did on Sunday afternoons, generally coincided with the rehearsals on the stage, in which we joyfully took our share during the intervals we were allowed for rest, scaling the practicable scenery, or taking part with the artists in certain interludes not mentioned on the programme. This was not indeed our only initiation into theatrical art, a career bearing so much analogy to that of every prince. Taking advantage of the close proximity of the Palais-Royal to the Comedie-Francaise, my father had added a regular course of dramatic literature to the educational plan he had laid out for us. So very often when the old stock plays were being given at the Francais, he would take us by a door leading from his drawing-room into the passage which separates the side scenes from the artists' green-room, and leave us in his box—the three centre ones on the grand tier thrown together—returning to fetch us at the end of the performance. Those evenings at the Comedie-Francaise were our greatest joy, and taught us many a useful lesson, filling our heads with classic literature far more efficiently than all the reading and courses of lectures in the world. But those unlucky classics were very much neglected. They were not a bit the fashion. There would hardly be two hundred people in the theatre, and all the boxes were empty. A wretched orchestra, conducted by a stout man of the name of Chodron, squeaked a tune that set everybody's teeth on edge. Up would go the curtain, without any warning, in the very middle of some phrase in the music which would break off with a sigh from the clarionet, and drearily the play would begin. We were all eyes and ears in spite of that, and nothing in the play of the tragic actresses—Madame Duchesnois, Madame Paradol, and Madame Bourgoin—ever escaped us. I can see and hear yet all Corneille's plays, and Racine's too, and Zaire, and Mahomet, and L'Orphelin de la Chine, and many more. But what we longed for most impatiently were Moliere's plays. They were our prime favourites, and what actors too! Monrose, Cartigny, Samson, Firmin, Menjaud, and Faure, whose appearances as Fleurant in Le Malade and Truffaldin in L'Etourdi we always greeted with delight, on account of the properties he carried in his hand. This same Faure, an old soldier of 1782, never failed to say to my father, as he escorted him to the door, taper in hand, "Ha, Sir! this is not the camp at la Lune!" referring to a bivouac just before the battle of Valmy. It was always a great amusement to us to go along the passages behind the scenes, especially when the classic Roman processions were being formed up there for the tragedies, for among the lictors and the other Romans we recognized many of the clerks and workmen employed about the Palais-Royal, and we used to bid them good day, and call them by their names, and be very proud indeed of speaking to artists, and we went home to our own fold, imitating the call in the theatre: "On va-a commmencer! On co-mmence!"(Going to begin, just beginning).Sometimes too we were taken to see modern plays, but that did not happen often. Yet even now I seem to hear the actor Armand, just before 1830, talking thick behind his Directoire cravat, in TOM JONES:—
Point d'amis, point de grace, A la session prochaine il faudra qu'on y passe!
and the whole house rose at him! I remember also being taken to the first night of Henri III., and being very much amused by the cups and balls and the pea-shooters. I was much affected too by the death of Arthur, a charming page in a violet dress, played by Mile. Despreaux, who afterwards became Madame Allan. I had no eyes for anybody else. As we were going away, my father leading me by the hand, we found the Duchesse de Guise, Mademoiselle Mars, panting, and wrapped in a rose- coloured satin cloak lined with swansdown, waiting for the compliments which my father showered on her. She had not impressed me nearly so much as the page in violet.
Talking of Henri III., a play we took great interest in, because its author, quite unknown at the time, belonged to our household, I will recall here a recollection connected with the name of Alexandre Dumas. Everybody knows he began life as a clerk in my father's library at the Palais-Royal. The chief librarian was Vatout, whose works, and perhaps too some well-known songs, have gained him a seat in the Academy. But Vatout was never in the library by any chance. The real librarian, and a very worthy fellow he was, was a man of the name of Tallencourt. He was an old soldier, and this caused him to be elected captain of a grenadier company in the Citizen Guard—a position to which, in the first blush of his enthusiasm, he attached an exaggerated importance. Well, some time after Dumas had resigned his position in the library, in the midst of the riots which occurred so frequently about that period, we saw Tallencourt come home one day in full warlike attire, with his bearskin cap and his cloak, and a very gloomy countenance." What do you think has just happened to me? I was in command of a patrol in my ward—as we had heard several shots, we were advancing with the greatest caution, in double file, keeping close to the walls, with our eyes and ears open. All at once I heard a shout—'Here's for you, de Tallencourt!' and then a shot. Well, the shout—that voice—it was Alexandre Dumas' voice!" "Oh, nonsense!" we all cried. But he stuck to it—and we resisted the violent inclination to laugh that assailed us, convinced as we were that if the worthy man really had recognized the voice, he had been the victim of a prank of Alexandre Dumas, who had doubtless enjoyed the fun of seeing the rout of his former chief and his brave "guernadiers"!
When our father did not take us to the Theatre Francais, we spent our evenings in those beautiful rooms in the Palais-Royal where he had gathered together so many admirable pictures and works of art, plundered and dispersed since by the revolutionists and their tribe, together with the splendid furniture which was used to burn a detachment of the 14th Regiment of the Line alive, on the 24th of February, on which day it was on guard at the Palais-Royal. And to think that a French Chamber actually voted national rewards to people who had made an AUTO DA FE of French soldiers who were guilty of defending till death the post which duty and honour at once made sacred to them! But let that pass; worse things happen nowadays, but at the happy time I speak of nobody thought of the possibility of such shameful doings. This is what men call progress! As far as we ourselves were concerned, we spent our evenings in all the carelessness of our youth, playing together merrily and noisily in the family drawing-room, a large gallery running from the courtyard to the Rue de Valois. The games were liveliest on Sundays and Thursdays, because, those days being school holidays, our merry band was reinforced by my brothers' class-mates, MM. de Laborderie, Guillermy, d'Eckmul, Albert, &c., &c., and by Alfred de Mussetas well, whom I still seem to see, with his blue coat and gilt buttons, his fair curly hair, and his melancholy and somewhat affected ways. We generally played "prisoners' base"—a game to which the great gallery was very well suited. Sometimes there was dancing, and then my mother's eye was always on de Musset, who seemed to scorn our games and to be inclined to pay assiduous court to my big sisters.
Our games never interfered with the coming and going of visitors and habitual guests and old friends of my father's, who had been his friends before the Revolution. There was the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, "the good Duke," as he was called, very much dreaded by us children because he was always kissing us, and smelt so strongly of tobacco; and M. de Lally- Tollendal; and then friends of more recent date, General Gerard, Raoul de Montmorency, Madame de Boigne, the Princesse de Poix, the Princesse de Vaudemont, besides many others, soldiers, artists, diplomats, and ladies—every one, in fact, who was distinguished either by their personal charm, by mental qualities, or by the brilliancy of their career. Some amongst the number were more congenial to me than others; such as Francois Arago, the astronomer, inexhaustible in wit and humour, whether he was recounting his adventures when he was in captivity in the Barbary States, or the way he plagued his colleague Ampere, a soldier like himself in the regiment of the "Parrots in mourning," as he dubbed the Institute, in his southern accent, because of its green and black uniform. And then Macdonald, Marmont, Molitor, and Mortier, the four Marshals whose name began with M, the heroes of a hundred fights, the living embodiment of the renown our arms had won. We used all of us to try and hear whatever they said, whatever stories they told, and to gather up any information or anecdote touching the military glory of our country.
The diplomats interested us less—I will not speak of M. de Talleyrand, whose face and figure were striking enough, though they made but little impression on our uninformed imaginations. Yet I remember the fits of laughter we went into one day, when my father, in a fit of absence, aped the great man's limp as he crossed the drawing-room to receive him. We delighted in Pozzo di Borgo, the Russian Ambassador, because as soon as his burly presence appeared his jokes and witty sallies and his stories provoked loud and inexhaustible shouts of laughter. All children love cheery people. There was another diplomat whose arrival we always looked forward to, the Bailli de Ferrette, Minister of the Grand Duke of Baden- -and this for two reasons. First of all because of that title of "Bailli," which seemed to belong to another world, or at all events to a harlequinade, and then on account of the extraordinary appearance of the man—he looked like a skeleton in powder. We were quite ignorant in those days, it is needless to remark, of the fact that this cool, proper-looking Bailli was a great musician, a first-class performer of the STABAT MATER, whose inspiration however depended on his having the shoulders, very DECOLLETEE ones too, of a charming nightingale, over whom the Opera and Opera-Comique fought for many a day, as the desk he laid his music on. Sometimes when the evening was half over a bell was heard like the one in the fourth act of the HUGUENOTS. "There's the big bell," we would cry. It was the signal that Madame la Dauphine or Madame la Duchesse de Berri was coming to pay us a visit, and my father would tear off, with all of us after him, to receive the visitor on the staircase. But our season at the Palais-Royal closed with the winter, and the first fine days saw us migrate to Neuilly, to the general delight.
Neuilly! I can never write the word without feeling moved, for it is bound up with all the happiest memories of my childhood, and I salute that name with respect akin to that which I would show a dead man! Those who never knew the Neuilly of which I would speak must imagine to themselves a very large country house, of no architectural pretension, consisting almost exclusively of sets of ground-floor rooms, tacked one on to the other on much the same level, with delightful gardens, and standing in the middle of a very large park which stretched from the fortifications to the Seine, just where the Avenue Bineau now runs. Within the park walls there were fields and woods and orchards, and even islands, the chief of which was called the "Ile de la Grande Jatte," and the whole of one reach of the Seine, the whole within a quarter of an hour's journey from Paris. This beautiful demesne, the favourite residence of my father and mother, who had made it, and were always adding new beauties to it, and who lived there in those days, far from political cares, and surrounded by their many children, who were all devoted to them, was also the place that we loved best. We were so near town that our education, our masters, our lessons at home or in school, went on just as if we were in Paris, while we had the advantage of fresh air and country life, with all its liberty and its natural and spontaneous exercise. At five o'clock in the morning, before lessons or school began, we were galloping about in the big park. In play hours, and on the Thursday and Sunday holidays, the whole troop of children roamed the fields, almost unaccompanied, the older ones looking after the youngest. We used to make hay, and get on the hay-cocks, and dig potatoes, and climb the fruit-trees, and beat the walnut-trees. There were flowers everywhere, fields of roses, where we gathered splendid bouquets every day, without their ever being missed even. Then we used to go boating and swimming. Boys and girls, equally good swimmers all, would plunge in turn into the little arm of the Seine enclosed within the park, and nothing more delicious can be imagined than to cast oneself into deep water near the bridge at Neuilly, and to let oneself drift down almost as far as Asnieres, under the great willows, returning afterwards on foot by the "Ile de la Grande Jatte."
This island, laid waste now and turned into a slum, was covered then with venerable trees, and intersected by those "shady paths" sung by Gounod, in which we loved to lose ourselves in all the carelessness of our childhood, and perhaps too in the first awakening instincts of our youth. Nothing but a memory remains of that enchanting spot. It was confiscated by Napoleon III. on some flimsy pretext or other, and forthwith cut to pieces, so as to destroy every trace of those who had owned and lived in it. It is as much as I can do, as I drive along the Avenue Bineau, to find, among the villas which have been built all over it, some well-known tree or other, behind which I used to lie in wait to shoot the hares, which a big dog I had trained to the work used to put up for me As for the house itself, after being the scene of a terrible orgie, it was sacked and burnt down by the conquerors in the glorious fight of February 1848. Not a stone of it remains. All the works of art within it were destroyed But I know of one stray bit saved from the wreck. The traveller who goes to see the museum at Neufchatel, in Switzerland, may observe, alongside of the picture which represents M. de Montmolin, an officer of the Swiss Guard, allowing himself to be murdered on the 10th of August, sooner than give up the flag which was intrusted to his loyal care, a very small canvas, carefully mended up. That fragment is the principal figure in Leopold Robert's first picture, and his masterpiece, L'IMPROVISATEUR, which used to hang in the billiard-room at Neuilly. Either a salvage man, or a looter of enlightened taste, cut it out with a penknife, in the midst of the conflagration, and it is the only thing that was saved.
But let me come back to my story.
In my father's sitting-room at Neuilly, and the billiard-room more especially, with the doors on the terrace open, the evenings used to be spent, in a circle of neighbours, friends, and habitual visitors.
These evenings had such a decisive influence on my future destiny that I cannot do otherwise than speak of them.
That billiard-room is before me now, with the pictures that adorned it, all of them masterpieces—L'Improvisateur, by Leopold Robert; La Feeme du Brigand, by Schnetz, Faust and Marguerite, by Ary Scheffer; Venice, by Ziegler—hanging round.
I see the most frequent guests too. First two abbes, whose names—the Abbe de Saint-Phar and the Abbe de Saint-Albin—were a significant inheritance due to the frailty of their great-grandparents many years before the Revolution And yet another abbe, with powdered side curls, L'Abbe de Labordere, a former Grand Vicar of Frejus' who somehow or other, I know not how, had become mayor of Neuilly. Then there was the Marechal de Gouvion de Saint-Cyr, our near neighbour, who always had a circle round him; and admirals too, the Comte de Sercey, with his pigtail—an Indian veteran, Admiral Villaumetz; and generals and officers besides, whose stories of their campaigns used to fill us with enthusiasm. Amongst the generals who were friends of the family there was General Drouot, who was very fond of me, and would take me on his knee and tell me stories. I had seen Horace Vernet's picture, La Bataille de Hanau, which represents Drouot on foot amongst his guns, just as the Bavarian Cuirassiers are charging through them. That had been quite enough to fire my ardour, and I wanted to be an artilleryman too. Just about the same time, my father was presented with a twelve- pounder howitzer by the Vincennes artillery, and Colonel de Caraman came to try it with us. We fired shots in the park, at the rising ground near Villiers, and my military enthusiasm was wrought up to the highest pitch. I tormented my mother till she had an artillery uniform made for me, and when I had it on my back I thought my fortune was made. After having been taken to the fair at Neuilly, and seeing the non- commissioned officers of the Regiment of the Guard quartered at Courbevoie dancing with the pretty laundresses belonging to the village, I tried hard to force my sisters to join me in imitating the particular style of dance I had seen them perform. I have heard it said that my choregraphic performance was fairly successful, but there my fancy for the military career ended. General Drouot went back to Nancy; I did not see him again, and I soon fell under other and more lasting influences.
Among my father's aides-de-camp there was a young cavalry lieutenant- colonel, the Comte d'Houdetot, who had begun life as a midshipman. He was a very clever man, and one of the most delightful story-tellers imaginable. By birth a creole, from the Mauritius, he and his family had happened to come back to Europe on board the corvette La Regeneree, commanded by that same Admiral Villaumetz, our neighbour and constant visitor in the billiard-room. At the time of the voyage D'Houdetot was a baby in arms, and in an action between the Regeneree and the English, at the Loos Islands, his wet nurse was cut in two by a round shot, which gave rise to a saying of his, "I have more right to promotion than anybody. Lots of people have had horses killed under them, but I'm the only man in the French army that ever had a woman killed under him."
Mutually attracted by this common memory, the former middy and the old admiral used to spend their evenings relating their adventures to each other and their stories, which had begun by interesting, ended by fascinating me. It was worth while to hear D'Houdetot tell about the battle of Trafalgar, at which he had been present as a midshipman on board the Algesiras, commanded by his uncle Admiral Magon, how, as he lay on the poop, with both his legs broken by the bursting of a shell, he saw his uncle the admiral receive his death-blow, at the very moment when, wounded already, and his hat and wig carried away by a shot, he had thrown himself on to the nettings, shouting to his crew, "The first man who boards that ship with me shall have the Cross;" and how too, the boarding party having been driven back, the mizzen-mast of the Algesiras, cut through by a round shot, fell across the British ship, throwing a comrade of D'Houdetot's, the midshipman of the maintop, beyond it, into the sea, and how that middy swam back to the Algesiras. And then came the story of the tempest after the battle, in which victors and vanquished alike struggled together to escape shipwreck, under the command of Lieutenant de la Bretonniere, in later days my own commanding officer, who succeeded in bringing the ship into Cadiz. There D'Houdetot was lying upon the mole, under a burning sun, feverish and exhausted with pain, when the hand of a woman, whom his youth had touched, spread a fan over "the poor little fellow's" head, to protect him from the blaze. He drew the ministering hand to him, and kissed it, and to that simple act he owed his escape from the horrors of an overcrowded hospital, teeming with typhus. He recovered, re-embarked on board the frigate Hermione, and was wrecked with her. "Trafalgar and a shipwreck in the space of two years," he used to say, "gave me enough of a seafaring life." He got leave to be transferred to the cavalry, and covered himself with glory in the heroic charges at the battle of the Moskowa; but his heart always remained with his old sailor comrades, and he never tired of talking about them.
As for old Villaumetz, his whole life had been spent on board ship. He had gone with M. d'Entrecasteaux to search for La Peyrouse; he had commanded the squadron from which Prince Jerome Bonaparte deserted with his ship the Veteran, and his stories of sea fights and adventures were endless. Listening to them first inspired me with that longing to enter the naval career which never left me again.
My first attempts at seafaring were made at Treport, during the short holiday trips we used to take to the Chateau d'Eu. I was dreadfully sea- sick every time, but that did not dismay me; and then the honest sailors, with their simple, open, resolute faces, attracted me irresistibly I used to envy them their risky life, as I watched their boats from the jetty at Treport, running in before the gale. That settled the matter; I was regularly fascinated, in short. And that love of my life will last as long as I do. Besides the sailoring charm which Treport had for me, many a pleasant memory of my life is bound up with Eu and Randan. My parents were accustomed in holiday times to take us for a little trip either to Eu or to Randan, a large property in the Auvergne belonging to my aunt. During these journeys, lessons and school hours and study of every kind were intermitted, and this alone sufficed to give them a sovereign charm. It should be added that in those days travelling was not what it is now, and that these trips gave rise to many little adventures, for which we were always on the look out. My father had had a big carriage built with room for twelve people in it, which held the whole family, and which, with all due deference, was very like a travelling menagerie-van. A courier used to ride on ahead to order post horses; another rode just in front of the carriage. When each stage was finished, the six horses that were to draw us for the next were led up: wicked, cross-grained stallions they were, that squealed and bit and kicked. They got harnessed somehow or other; and then out came the dapper postilions, with their hats trimmed with gay ribbons, cocked on one side, some of them still wearing powder and with their hair tied in a club. They had waistcoats trimmed with dozens of silver buttons, and close-fitting pantaloons covered their legs. Margot would bring out the great iron-bound boots, into which they shoved those same legs; they were hoisted laboriously on to their horses; the postmaster shouted, "Now then, in with your spurs, and let them go!" and off we went full tear, bells jingling and whips cracking, to the admiration of the women and children of the village gathered round to see the show. Once we were off, things calmed down; but the postboys had no control whatever over their horses, who knew the road, and did the stage, from force of habit, at their own pace. If we came across other carriages or wagons on the road, it was just a question as to whether our team would take us too much out of their way, or not enough. Such meetings were proclaimed by yells from the postilions. If the horses did not go far enough to one side, there would be a terrible collision, and a volley of oaths, together with a clashing of lanterns and a clatter of broken windows. If the horses got too far out of the way, the carriage would first of all tilt towards the sideway, slope more and more, and frequently end by turning over gently into the ditch. Then a clamour would rise from the menagerie, everybody first feeling themselves all over, and then laughing, while the great machine was being lifted up, preparatory to a fresh start. A little farther on, it might be, another accident would occur. We would be passing through a village, and, to create a sensation, the postboys would begin cracking their whips in concert. The horses would get excited, and the pace would increase. It was all very well if the village street was a straight one, but if there was an angle in it the horses would take it too short, and there would be a violent collision with the kerbstone at the corner. Then all the wheelwrights and all the innkeepers, ever on the watch for such mishaps, would hurry up. The repairs would take four hours perhaps, whereat the GRANDSPARENTS would storm, but we children were jubilant. Confusion reigned supreme, and we could write to our little friends, "We were upset at such and such a place; we broke down at such another." We got lots of copy out of it.
There was no great interest about our visits to Randan. We used to leave the high-road at Aigueperse. Six or eight pairs of oxen were harnessed to the carriage, and Auvergnats in their costumes and broad-brimmed hats (there were still costumes there, in those days), with goads in their hands, drove the team, the carriage swinging backwards and forwards on the muddy roads, up hill and down dale; it was hard work getting there, but we did get there at last. The great entertainment of the visit was to go and see Madame la Dauphine, who went through a cure at Vichy every year.
It was far pleasanter to stay at Eu. The old castle of the Guises was a mere tumbledown barrack at the time I speak of. The passages had waves in them like the sea. When there was a storm the whole house shook, and the smaller children used to feel quite frightened, when, after listening to Anatole de Montesquiou's ghost stories, of an evening, they had to go through the Guise Gallery, with all its dreadful portraits which seemed to step out of their frames to the dreary whistle of the sea-wind. But all the same we loved the old place. It was quite out of the common run. Just as we used to go and see Madame la Dauphine at Vichy from Randan, we used to go from Eu to see Madame la Duchesse de Berri, at Dieppe, which she had made her summer residence. We accompanied her once to the lighthouse at Ailly under the escort of her guard of honour, a squadron of Cauchoise women on horseback. In illo tempore—those days; all Norman women, and those of the Caux district especially, did their errands and their marketing on horseback. There were very few vehicles to be seen. The prettiest of the peasant girls had been selected; and it was really a pleasure to see them prancing, to the number of forty, round the Duchess's carriage, with their captain and lieutenant riding at each door, all dressed alike, in white, in the full Cauchoise costume, chignon and cap with lace lappets, each on her pacing hack, which she managed to perfection. When a halt was made, the squadron dismounted, each girl holding her horse—a most charming effect it made in the Norman landscape. I never heard where the guard was quartered, but I am quite convinced there never can have been any difficulty about finding the necessary billets. I M de Murat, Prefect of the Lower Seine, was the originator of this idea. He was a charming fellow, but so absent, that one morning, when the Duchesse de
Berri sent for him, he hastily put on his sword and his smartest uniform, and hurried in his three-cornered hat to wait on Madame, without discovering, till he got there, that he had forgotten his breeches!
A great change came into my life in 1828. I was ten years old; my turn had come; I was sent to school, and entered the College Henri IV. Ay di me! as the Spanish lament has it. When I pass by Saint-Etienne du Mont, and look at the Tower of Clovis, and the great walls of that learned prison in which I spent three years, the memories that come back to me are not pleasant—far from it. My life there was mortally tedious, and I did no good whatsoever. My whole education has been gained by reading (I was and I have always remained passionately fond of reading), by observation, and by listening to those people who know how to hold my attention. I listened with all my ears and all my heart to the Abbe Dupanloup, when he gave me religious instruction; to Pouillet, when he taught us physical science; to the great Arago, when he put a sextant into my hands for the first time in my life. Later on, to Michelet, when I attended the course of historical lectures he gave to my sister Clementine; and later yet, to the lessons on law which were given us by M. Rossi, the minister of Pius IX. But Greek and Latin, and hours spent over an exercise or a translation with a fat dictionary to keep me company! Oh, mercy on me! From the scholastic point of view I was simply a DUNCE, nothing but a dunce. Yet I managed to scramble one prize—the shabbiest of them all—the second for Latin versions in the seventh class! I was presented with my reward at the prize distribution, to the tune of "Vive Henri IV." Vive ce roi vaillant, ce diable a quatre . . .!" At the same moment I received, from a stout red-faced gentleman, a wet kiss—much too wet a kiss—which gave me no pleasure whatsoever. I recollect the porter at the college was nicknamed "Boit-sans-soif"; that my greatest joy was to go out by his door, after evening school, and go down the Rue de la Montagne or the Rue des Sept-Voies playing a thousand pranks as I went, and that my grief used be keen indeed when I had to go back the next morning. Yet some good comrades I had whom I dearly loved, and amongst whom I improved in playing various games, and learned the art of both giving and receiving kicks and cuffs. But, take it all in all, my schooldays are, as they say in mathematics, "a minus quantity" to me.
The Revolution of 1830 broke out during my schooldays. I was twelve years old—too young therefore, by far, to estimate its character, political or social, correctly. I only remember that it filled me with the deepest astonishment. Never having witnessed any kind of disturbance, I had not the faintest notion what a revolution might be like. I had always seen the King and the Royal Family treated with a respect which, indeed, they have never forfeited, and I was a hundred miles from the thought that they could possibly be banished. It is a fact, nevertheless, that the beginning of 1830 differed from other years, and that something seemed to be brewing. Strange remarks were made at school, over and over again, even among us little ones; our tutors, all of them connected with the press, were what was called in those days "dans le mouvement"—abreast of the times, and they never stopped talking politics. Where were they not talked, indeed? It was a downright disease. The speech of M. de Salvandy, on the occasion of the fete given by my father at the Palais-Royal in May, that year, in honour of the King of Naples, my uncle and godfather, may be called to mind. "A real Neapolitan fete indeed, Sire!—for we are dancing on a volcano."
And a truly Neapolitan fete it was, not only on account of the presence of the sovereigns of the two Sicilies, and of the ideal beauty of the night, but also by reason of the tarantella, a sort of ballet, which was danced in the middle of the evening, by Madame la Duchesse de Berri and thirty of the most beautiful young ladies of the Faubourg Saint-Germain, in Neapolitan costume, among whom I think I still see, compact of grace and elegance, the lovely Denise du Roure, soon to become Comtesse d'Hulst. The tarantella was followed by a polonaise, led by Comte Rodolphe Appony and the Duchesse de Rauzan, resplendent in blue and gold. A more sedate dance, this, performed by noble lords and ladies, all in Hungarian costume, and escorted by pages, bearing their respective banners. It would have been hard to say which of the ladies taking part in these two dances bore off the palm for aristocratic beauty. They were worthy representatives of their race.
The Royal Family, headed by Charles X., was present at this fete, whereat pre-eminence of every kind was gathered together and every class represented, and where cordiality seemed universal. After the entrance of the two sets of dancers in costume, the King went out to walk on the terrace which runs along the top of the Galerie d'Orleans. The night was so warm and lovely that the ladies were walking about in their low gowns, and the dazzling illuminations made it as bright as day. The courtyard of the Palais-Royal was closed, but an immense crowd filled the gardens, trying to see as much as possible of the gay doings. I was running in front of Charles X. as he walked along, and I saw his tall form advance to the parapet of the terrace on the garden side, with that truly royal air he had about him. He waved his hand several times in greeting to the crowd, which at that short distance, and under that brilliant light, must have recognized him perfectly, not by his features only, but by his full uniform of Colonel-General of the Guard, and also by the retinue that followed him. But there was no shout of "Vive le Roi!" nor any hostile one either. The surging crowd only seemed to be rather more stirred, and the same uproar rose from it as one may hear on a firework night, when some fine set-piece is set alight. One last wave of the hand, with a "Bonjour, mon peuple!" which the King spoke half in jest and half in earnest, and Charles X. departed. I was never to see him again. Immediately afterwards, or nearly so, the crowd laid hands on the chairs in the garden, piled them up on the grass plots where the midday gun stood, and set them on fire. The troops had to be called out to clear the garden, and that first scene of public not, so new to me, filled me with astonishment and rage as well.
Shortly after this fete came the taking of Algiers—a Proof of the national strength, of political courage and foresight—a brilliant military exploit, performed under the "drapeau blanc," which might well have roused the enthusiasm of the nation, tightened the bond between France and her king, and reconciled the people to their ancient flag. It did nothing of the kind. The taking of Algiers was received like an ordinary piece of news, and the tricolour flag was regretted as deeply as ever. For the platform and the press—but especially the press, the mightiest instrument of destruction of modern times—had done their work. The days of the Government of the Restoration were numbered. Not that it had been blameworthy. Both at home and abroad it had certainly been the best of all the administrations that had succeeded each other since 1789. But it had endeavoured to govern like a patriarch, for the present good and the future greatness of France, and to withstand the assaults of those unprincipled individuals who looked on their country simply as a farm to make money out of. So bit by bit it had been demolished, just as everything has been demolished these past hundred years, in the name of laws and principles which dissolve every kind of government, and which will soon make it absolutely impossible for society to exist. The hour when the words, "Get out of that, and let me take your place," the real and only object of our successive revolutions, should resound, was on the very stroke.
On the 25th of July we had all been dining at Saint-Leu with M. le Duc de Bourbon, an old cousin of ours, who never meddled with politics, and led a leisured and delightful life between Chantilly and Saint-Leu, never coming to Paris except to pass through it, although the beautiful palace there which bears his name, the Palais Bourbon, belonged to him. His great passion was for sport, in which he excelled; and my father had made a friend of him by giving him the hunting in all his forests. There was another reason too, and perhaps after all it was the chief one, for this cordiality, that my parents had consented to receive the Baronne de Feucheres, who held great sway over the Duke, but who had never been admitted to Court. I can see the handsome old man yet, laconic in speech, his profile of the most strongly marked Bourbon type, his hair and pigtail white, with his tightly buttoned blue coat, from which a lace frill escaped, and his trousers, which were always much too short, showing his white stockings underneath. On the evening I speak of there had been a great gathering at Saint-Leu—a big dinner, then a drawing- room play, acted by Madame de Feucheres and the Duke's gentlemen. In the audience were many officers of the Royal Guard, and numerous other persons, whose names were known to me from having heard them quoted as being amongst those ardent Conservatives called at that time the "Ultras." One of them, a M. de Vitrolles, attracted my attention by holding a long conversation with my father in one of the intervals between the acts. He has since related this conversation in his Memoirs, and also the conviction it gave him of the horror with which the idea of a fresh revolution filled my father. Their only disagreement was as to the means to avert it. Which of the two was in the right?
That evening we went back to Neuilly, and the next morning, 26th of July, as we were just getting ready, Nemours and I, to start for school, somebody opened the door and launched the remark to our tutors: "The coup d'Etat is in the Moniteur!" "What!" "Yes! The Decrees." Whereupon the tutors rushed to the family drawing-room, whither we followed them. There sat my father, thunderstruck, the Moniteur in his hand. When he saw the tutors come in, he threw up his arms in despair, and let them fall again. After a silence on his Part, during which my mother rapidly acquainted the gentlemen with the state of affairs, my father said: "They are mad!" That was all, and after another silence, a long one— "They will get themselves banished again. Oh! for my part, I have been exiled twice already. I will not bear it again: I stay in France!"
I heard no more, for it was schooltime, and we had to get into the carriage; but those words and that first impression remain graven on my memory.
That day at school was just like any other, but the next, the 27th, as we came back from the College Henri IV, it was easy to see that there was a great stir in Paris Deligny's swimming school, at the corner of the Quai d'Orsay, where we went after school, according to custom, to take our bath, was full of young men discussing and holding forth, and relating incidents, true or not, which had occurred during the day. The Place Louis XV., now the Place de la Concorde, was occupied by the troops. There was a regiment of Foot Guards, a battalion of the Swiss Guard, the Lancers of the Guard, the Artillery of the Military School— magnificent troops all of them, the finest I have seen in any country, and of which the English Foot Guards alone in these days give any idea. Officers inspired in the highest possible degree with esprit de corps and chivalrous devotion, old non-commissioned officers, many of whom had seen the wars of the Empire, commanding seasoned soldiers, young in years but old in discipline and instruction, and all proud of the splendid uniform they wore—such was the Royal Guard. And what shall I say of the superb Swiss battalions, acknowledged by ancient tradition to be the finest infantry in the world? These splendid troops, which might have rendered such great service to France on the battlefield were to disappear within two days. Upon them too I had looked my last. Close to the Porte Maillot we met the Duchesse de Berri, riding amongst a numerous group of equerries. We exchanged friendly greetings. No doubt her instinct as a woman and a mother led her to try to keep in touch with passing events.
The next morning, the 28th, we knew Paris to be in open revolt. Cannon boomed, the great bell of Notre-Dame sounded the tocsin, and naturally we did not go to school. But the masters who gave my sisters lessons came out to Neuilly, and from them, in turn, we learnt what was going on within the capital—barricades in all the streets—the troops on the defensive—the tricolour hoisted everywhere.
On the 29th, the struggle grew closer to us. A bullet fell whistling in the park. According to the fugitives from Paris, the insurrection had triumphed, the troops of the line were fraternizing with the rebels, and the Guard was retiring on Saint-Cloud to gather round the King. I pass over all the rumours and false reports accompanying this news, which was all too true. And what were we doing during these anxious hours? We obeyed various impulses. The first, a fervent sympathy with our soldiers, who were engaged in the struggle—ces pauvres soldats, the real France, the real PEOPLE, obeying the noblest motives—honour—duty opposing the POPULACE, whose envy and evil instincts had been let loose by a handful of ambitious men. And we knew no rest till the whole staff of the household had repaired to the various gates of the park, to open them to the soldiers, separated, dispersed, threatened with massacre as they were. They were brought in and fed, and given caps and blouses instead of their uniforms, and put across to the other side of the Seine in boats. And with all that, so full is the heart of man, and yet more that of the child, of contradiction, that we followed the current and made tricolour cockades, my sisters and I, and all of us! There is no doubt the fascination of the tricolour flag had a good deal to do with the rapidity with which the Revolutionary powder-train took fire.
As there must always be a laughable side, even to the grimmest events, the comic element was supplied in this case by our professors of languages, drawing, and so forth, who had not dared to go back into Paris after leaving it on the 28th, on account of the fighting. When they had made up their minds to return on the 29th, we persuaded those of them who wore moustaches that they would run very great risks, and even be taken for soldiers in disguise. Whereupon the schoolroom was at once turned into a barber's shop, where a general shaving was performed, with the inevitable change of appearance resulting there-from, which increased the alarm of the individuals operated upon tenfold.
While our professors were shaving off their moustaches, our father was disappearing from Neuilly. His movements were rigorously concealed from us, and I never learnt what they really were even in later days. So I will not attempt to speak of them. We were soon aware of the bare fact that he was in Paris, exercising public functions which were somewhat ill-defined as yet; and on the evening of the 31st my mother informed us that we were going to join him at the Palais-Royal. [Footnote: It is not for me to pass judgment on my father's conduct in accepting the crown in 1830. There is no doubt the July Revolution was a great misfortune. It gave a fresh blow to the monarchical principle, and it unfortunately encouraged those who speculate in insurrection. But I know as a fact that my father never desired it, and indeed watched its approach with the deepest sorrow. When the throne of Charles X. collapsed without his being able to defend it in any way, he certainly felt the most passionate desire to escape the common exile and to continue living a life which was to him the happiest of lives in France. The struggle one over, and the country in revolt from end to end, he realized that the only way in which he could escape exile was to associate himself with the movement, and at the outset he certainly did it solely in the hope of bringing back Henri V. to the throne. When this hope failed him, he yielded to the entreaties of those persons who implored him as the only person in a position to do it, to check France on that fateful descent which must bring her from the Republic to a Dictatorship, and so on to invasion, and to mutilation. He delayed that disastrous succession of events for eighteen years, at the risk of his own life, which was incessantly threatened. and history will do him honour for it in spite of the injustice of human nature.]
We started about eight o'clock at night, my mother, my aunt Adelaide, and we children, in an omnibus, so as not to attract notice. We began to come to barricades at the Barriere de l'Etoile, but openings had been made in them already, large enough for carriages to pass through, all which openings were watched by guards of armed people—I beg their pardons, I was mistaken—armed CITIZENS, playing at soldiers and police, who stopped and cross-questioned everybody in the most childish fashion. The omnibus could not get beyond the Place Louis XV., so many obstacles did we find in the way. We got out, and my mother divided us into twos, and told us to scatter and meet again at the Palais-Royal.
Paris was a curious sight that night, lighted up everywhere with lamps, and tricolour flags at every window. How people found time to make up so many emblems in those two days is a mystery! The streets were all torn up, and the paving-stones piled into the barricades, mixed up with overturned carriages, casks, and rubbish of all kinds. Behind these barriers were extemporized guardians, passers-by, people walking about with guns and firing them off every minute, and everybody, man, woman, and child, wore huge tricolour cockades in hats and caps or bonnets, or in their hair.
In the centre of a great crowd on the Place du Palais-Royal there was one of the Laffitte et Caillard diligences, which had been used as a barricade, and set up again. It was full of people inside, and they clustered on the roof like bees, all of them singing in chorus. Between the choruses, sharp volleys of musketry rang out, and the vehicle, drawn by three or four hundred people holding on to ropes, tore round the square, amid a concert of varied yells. Though it was very late when we reached the palace, it was all lighted up, and every door stood open. Anybody who chose could go in, and when we went up the stairs we found many people already settled on the steps, prepared to spend the night there. We saw my father in his study, and then we were sent to bed, or rather to camp out in the rooms we usually slept in. The next day the firing slackened, but the general idleness continued; everybody was walking about. Soon the question of food began to press, for all supplies and trade were stopped by the universal barricades. Everybody asked everybody else what was going on, a subject upon which every one except the leaders was profoundly ignorant. The multitude was just like an immense flock of sheep, whose shepherds had been driven away, and who seemed to wonder why the new dogs who were to herd them did not make their appearance. There was no bad feeling; now and then there would be a panic, everybody taking to their heels, nobody knew why, and then stopping again and bursting out laughing. Sometimes a noise arose, and swelled as it drew nearer. It was some popular leader going to the Hotel de Ville or the Palais-Royal, with two or three claqueurs before him, to stir up an enthusiasm in which everybody shared, without having a notion of the name of the hero they were acclaiming, yet glad to be able thus to show off their civic rights. Then there would be a fit of general tenderness. Everybody kissed everybody else vehemently. In some cases a transport of patriotism thus calmed itself; in others perhaps it was the effect of the extreme heat, and the consequent thirst, which had not gone unquenched, and in others, again, it was merely the relaxation of morals an era of universal brotherhood brought with it. The hero of this general and infectious kissing match was Lafayette. Everybody wanted to kiss him. A great rattle of drums having announced his arrival at the Palais-Royal one day, he had to take his stand in one of the drawing- rooms, in front of me, and be kissed by thousands of persons of all ages. I did it, like all the others, but I saw people I knew come up again many times over to be kissed by the illustrious veteran, and each time their agitation seemed to increase.
Every one went in and out of the Palais-Royal as they chose. It was a strange march past, of people of all sorts, who came to take notes, see how the wind blew, and give in an adhesion which might be more or less disinterested. Some of them, inspired by real devotion, came to try if they might even yet serve a cause that was so dear to them. Thus I saw M. de Chateaubriand led into my mother's drawing-room by Anatole de Montesquiou. And, on the other hand, I saw Savary, Duc de Rovigo, notorious in connection with the Duc d'Enghien, in full uniform, booted and spurred, leave the study, whither he had gone to offer my father his services.
One evening, as we were all gathered together, we heard a great noise coming from the staircase. We hurried towards it. A crowd of armed men, with lighted torches, were coming up, shouting loudly and waving flags. At their head came five or six pupils of the Ecole Polytechnique, with their three-cornered hats cocked and swords drawn. Behind them a woman in man's attire, red belt and close-fitting pantaloons, was being borne in triumph. She was a heroine of the barricades, whom the yelling crowd desired to introduce to my father, and he had to receive her. This scene filled me with disgust, and it was soon followed by another, no less painful. The leaders of the Revolution had sent an army of volunteers to dislodge the old King and his Guard from Rambouillet. They did not turn him out, first of all because the King himself had decided to disband his guard and retire to Cherbourg with no escort but four companies of his bodyguard; and, secondly, because these same volunteers, numerous as they were on leaving Paris, melted away rapidly on the road, and above all things took good care not to venture within range of the Guard's fire. Nevertheless, they returned in triumph from Rambouillet, bringing back the royal horses and carriages, which they had seized without striking a blow. I was horrified to see the great carriages, with six or eight horses, still driven by the wretched coachmen and postilions, in their state liveries, enter the Place du Palais-Royal—believing as I did that they were bringing back the King and his family as prisoners, into the very jaws of the Revolution. But, happily, this was not the case. The only people in the carriages were some young blackguards, dressed up in extraordinary garments, dressing-gowns and cotton caps, and I know not what other masquerading trash, intended to call forth the ribald jokes of the multitude. It was a disgusting scene. The days passed on, and by degrees Paris returned to its ordinary life. The streets were repaired, vehicles began to circulate again. Soldiers, gendarmes, policemen, were to be seen once more, and a certain sense of security revived. At all events the eternal struggle of order against disorder began afresh. Those who formed the most turbulent element of the Revolutionary party were induced, by degrees, to engage in the army, and were drafted off to Algiers, under the title of "Regiments de la Charte." It was less easy to get rid of a Guard of Honour, numbering some two or three hundred men, which had formed itself on its own responsibility, nominally for the protection of my father and of the Palais-Royal. This guard was always in the vestibule and on the staircase, night and day alike. It was an omnium gatherum of vagabonds, prowling ruffians of the vilest kind, ragged scamps, all carrying arms, stolen from every sort of place, among others from the Musee d'Artillerie, whence some had gone so far as to borrow cuirasses and helmets that had belonged to the warriors of the League. Of course they all had to be fed and paid. The chief of the band was a midshipman in the navy, on leave in Paris at the time the Revolution broke out, of the name of Damiguet de Vernon, who died afterwards with the rank of general in the army. Whenever my father went out, to go to the Chamber of Deputies or elsewhere, this rabble turned out and saluted after a fashion of its own, with drums beating and trumpets blowing. It was a scene quite worthy of Callot's pencil. To get rid of this worthy set, the midshipman was at once given a lieutenant's commission in the mounted Municipal Guard, under pretext of a reward from the nation, and clothes were bestowed on his band, wherewith they hastened to decamp on the first sign of the introduction of anything like discipline into their ranks.
Our regular routine began again too. After over a week's holiday, I was put back to school, where we immediately made a revolution of our own, by insisting that the bell which rang for class and mealtimes should be replaced by a drum. If, as I went into school with my folding desk under my arm, I came across the column of big boys coming down from their class-rooms, I used to get many a cuff to the tune of "Take that, your young Majesty!" or the slang saying of the day, "Have you seen Leontine?"—this last from the name of Leontine Fay, a favourite actress with young people. But, apart from that, my life was as monotonous as ever it had been. The riots and attempts at insurrection which succeeded each other with something very like regularity seemed to diversify it but very little. Yet I did feel a certain excitement the first time I witnessed one of these attempts at sedition. Our evening was just over at the Palais-Royal, and I had gone up to my room, when loud shouts, and an ejaculation of "Oh, good gracious!" from my valet, made me run to the window. The Court of the Palais-Royal was closed, but all the galleries were filled with a surging, yelling crowd, the more violent of whom were battering at the staircase door facing Chevet's shop. "They are going to break it in and come upstairs: they'll be here in another moment," we said to ourselves. "What is to be done?"
Amidst the general shouting, yells of "Death to Louis Philippe!" were to be heard. Then, all at once, in the gaslight, I saw the policemen's swords twinkle, pinking people in all directions. Soon the troops came hurrying up with fixed bayonets, and the rabble took to their heels at the sight of them. This crowd had just come back from Vincennes, whither it had gone to demand the heads of Charles X.'s ministers, who were shut up in the fortress, from General Daumesnil, "the man with the wooden leg," and having failed in that attempt it wanted to have my father's instead.
So that affair ended; but fresh opportunities for creating disturbances soon occurred, and were as eagerly seized upon. One was during a great diplomatic dinner given by my father in the dining-room of the Palais- Royal, which looks out on the Cour des Fontaines. I was sitting by Lord Granville's daughter, and doing my best to make myself pleasant, when the uproar of the riot burst upon us suddenly and interrupted all the talk. Everybody looked at everybody else, and then down at their own plate, and everybody looked very sorry to be where he was at that moment. Then the noise of a great trampling of hoofs on the pavement revealed the fact that the cavalry was charging, whereupon the sky cleared, and conversation began again, though not without some appearance of effort.
Another time, again, matters became more serious. The riot—I don't remember which it was now, there were so many of them!—became very threatening at one moment. I see my father still, taking Casimir Perier by the arm, and shouting in his ear, "Tell them to serve out ball cartridge, ball cartridge, do you hear?" Casimir Perier, as excited as himself, was rushing away, when he was stopped by an officer, who said, "There are three students of the Ecole Polytechnique, sent to parley, waiting below."
"Parley for whom? For the rioters? For the insurrection? Lay hands on them! Lock them up in prison."
"But, sir," said the officer, himself a former student at the Ecole Polytechnique, "I can't: I've given them my word!" But Casimir Perier was not there to listen even just then I observed a man of woebegone appearance, sitting in a corner of the drawing-room in which the foregoing scene had taken place. One of my eldest brother's aides-de- camp, General Marbot, was walking up and down in front of him, never taking his eyes off him. "What are you doing there?" I asked the general.
"I'm keeping my eye on that gentleman you see there."
"Who is he?"
"The Prefect of Police."
"They say he is playing us false"
And there you see a specimen of the plight you find yourself in on the morrow of a revolution, when order needs restoring not only in the open streets but in the highest quarters in the State.
For my own part, I was always delighted to hear the drums call the National Guard—and consequently all our masters, tutors, and professors, who served in it—to arms, at each fresh outbreak of disturbance.
It meant interrupted studies, and, above all, interrupted attendance at school, where, however, luckily for me, I was not to stay much longer. Seeing that I did no good there whatever, my father decided, in the spring of 1831, to remove me altogether, and as my taste for a naval career was growing stronger and stronger, he resolved to make a sailor of me But before I seriously entered the profession he wished me to make a sea-voyage. So I was sent to Toulon, to be shipped as volunteer pilot's apprentice, on board the Arthemise frigate, commander Latreyte. I was barely thirteen I could not have begun at a better age.
After bidding the tenderest farewell to my father and mother, my aunt, and my brothers and sisters, from whom I had never been parted before, I was packed into a post-chaise with Monsieur Trognon, and off we started.
As far as Lyons our journey was uneventful, but when we got there M. Paulze d'Ivoy, the prefet, and M. Vitet, author of Barricades des Etats de Blois, took possession of me, nominally to show me the town—in reality to make me the pretext for certain demonstrations in favour of the new order of things. I was driven about, to Fourvieres, to La Croix- Rousse, and so forth, and had the best of receptions from their sturdy inhabitants. Thirteen-year-old lad as I was, I had to receive the officers of the National Guard—very military indeed they were, with their uniform with its white facings, copied from that of the Imperial Guard. And these receptions and official entertainments, which were not at all to my personal taste, were repeated all along the road till we got to Toulon, marked by increasing animation and fervour as we got farther south, and as the population through which we passed became more and more divided by political passions. At Valence I found an enormous crowd of people, and the garrison and National Guard both under arms, while a tall lieutenant-colonel, of the 49th Regiment of the Line, insisted on my inspecting the troops in person.
He took my hand with one of his, with the other he waved his sword, and led the plaudits. His name was Magnan, and he was a Marshal of France before he died. At Mornas, the native place of the famous Baron des Adrets, the reception took a very original shape. As we drove up to the posting-house, I saw a great crowd, and the National Guard drawn up in two ranks, on the right and left of the postilions who were to take us on. The carriage pulled up between the ranks, and I fancied I saw a sort of suppressed smile on the countenances of the National Guard. It did not last long, for the commandant in the wildest excitement rapidly gave the words of command: "Present arms—Fire!" And they were followed by the most abominable noise, every man having presented arms with his finger on the trigger of his musket. The crowd cheered tremendously, the horses plunged and reared, and there was a terrible disturbance, which seemed to afford the keenest joy to the officer in command. There was nothing very striking at Orange, nor at Avignon. Speeches by the authorities, visits to the public buildings, very much the same routine as that which official receptions have nowadays made so familiar to everybody. But at Orgon, between Avignon and Aix, it was a very different matter. An immense and excited crowd awaited our arrival, shouting all manner of things. Then the carriage was seized upon by people who looked drunk, but who were drunk with political passion alone. It seems the town of Orgon was not reckoned to favour the regime of 1830. So from every side I was greeted with shouts of "We are Cavaillon's men! ... We've come down from the mountains so that you may tell your papa there are no Carlists in Provence." And then they sang the Marseillaise The horses were taken out of the carriage, the crowd surrounded it, climbing on the steps, the wheels, the fore-carriage, the roof. I was like a prisoner in a cage; all I could see out of the window was the boots of the people who were sitting on the top. They sang all the verses of the Marseillaise, and bawled between them. A gentleman contrived to slip up to the carriage door, gave himself out to be the mayor, and tried to rescue us, calling out: "Gentlemen, this really is not decent behaviour." All he got for his pains was a shout of "What the devil do we care about a mayor like you?" I don't know how long it would have gone on, if a detachment of the battalion of Government workmen quartered at Orgon, which had been sent for, had not come to our rescue.
Between Orgon and Marseilles we met the "Regiment de la Charte" marching from Paris on their way to Algiers, and their passage through the country did not a little to excite the inhabitants. At Marseilles the National Guard lined the Allees de Meillan, each man with a bouquet stuck into the muzzle of his rifle, which he took out and threw into the barouche in which I sat with General Gazan, so that I was soon fairly buried, with nothing but my head sticking out, while the crowd shouted at the top of its voice: "Vive le Prinnche!—Long live the Prince!" and I heard women's voices adding, "Que sis poulid! Qui est si joli!"
I had hardly reached Toulon, ere the frigate I had joined put to sea, my apprenticeship began, and I soon made myself at home among our sailors, who all of them, officers, petty officers, and seamen alike, not only showed me an affection which won my heart from the very outset, but took every pains to make my stay amongst them a pleasant one, while each in his own special sphere initiated me into all the details of my duty.
The Arthemise was a fine sailing frigate, of fifty-two guns, with huge spars—one of the most elegant types of the old-fashioned ships, but an old-fashioned ship she was indeed. We even had hempen cables instead of chain ones! The crew, drawn almost exclusively from the lists of registered seamen, was active and bold on the rigging, but somewhat insubordinate. The words of command were given amidst volleys of oaths, and carried out under a hail of blows dealt by the petty officers. The superior officers, who had all belonged to the old Imperial Navy, clung to that detestable habit, which has cost us so many reverses, of completely neglecting the military side of the ship's drill. The only thing they looked to was navigation. There was indeed a routine of regulation practice carried out, but it was utterly ridiculous. The ne plus ultra of perfection in artillery drill, for instance, was supposed to be when at the word "Ram" all the thirteen rammers of the ship's battery struck the bore of the guns with irreproachable simultaneity! Now and then there was a rehearsal of the drill book, but it was always done amidst universal sleepiness and inattention. There never was one day's practice, nor even one shot fired, during the whole cruise.
The commander gave me boatswains and sailors to teach me the various details of my duty, and I soon learnt to give things their right names, to tie knots, and to climb about the rigging too, though I did not manage that, the first time, without being horribly frightened. I remember, when I got as far as the topgallant crosstrees, clinging on, and not daring to come down till I was driven to it by the jeers of the on-lookers. But I learnt most of all by observation, and from the outset I had that indescribable thing that nobody can teach another, the seafaring instinct. Our cruise was a pleasant one, and our stays in port were interesting. At Ajaccio I came upon more public functions, and was the hero of a Bonapartist demonstration. I was borne as though in triumph to the house where Napoleon was born, where I was received by a very old Signor Ramolino, brother to Madame Letitia. In common with my sisters, who drew pictures of Napoleon all over the place, I professed the greatest admiration for the great warrior. So I asked his uncle for some souvenir of him, and he presented me with a red armchair, out of the room in which he was born.
After a visit to the Dey of Algiers, the last representative of those Barbary Moors who were the "Terror of the Seas," as the Muette de Portici has it, I received at Leghorn an invitation from the Grand Duke of Tuscany to come to Florence, and was taken thither by the French Minister, M. de Ganay, a charming man. There was nothing that excellent good Grand Duke and his family did not do for me while I staid at the Pitti Palace, and the only acknowledgment I could make of it all was to turn my schoolboy talents to constructing a jointed jumping jack, that turned head over heels, for one of the young princesses whom we used to call the Archduchess Mimi, and who afterwards married Prince Luitpold of Bavaria. I returned on board the Arthemise full of gratitude for my reception, and of admiration for the monuments and artistic marvels I had seen at Florence and Pisa and Pistoja, and in which, in spite of my youth, I had taken the deepest interest.
At Naples I found fresh delights in the midst of my mother's family and my young cousins, of both sexes, one of whom, Antonietta, an admirably beautiful girl, later became Grand Duchess of Tuscany in her turn. Nothing indeed could have been more charming than the Naples of those days. I do not speak of that wondrous setting which will last to all eternity, but of the Naples of the Neapolitans, gay, noisy, and teeming with wit, as it was before the plague of politics fell on it, bringing divisions and gloom, and despoiling it of all its charm of originality; Naples, with its lazzaroni and its macaroni, and its "corricoli" tearing along with tinkling bells, crammed with monks and women in their costumes—the Naples, in fine, of Pulcinella and of Leopold Robert.
After Naples came Palermo, and then Malta, where we found the magnificent British squadron, and received the most hospitable of welcomes from General and Lady Emily Ponsonby, the governor and his charming wife.
Our stay at Malta ended with a disagreeable incident, hardly conceivable in these days, when naval discipline may be held up as a model to every one. On the evening of the day before that on which we were to weigh anchor, our whole crew deserted in a body. In spite of the efforts of the officer of the watch, and some others of inferior rank, who were present, over 300 men seized the boats and dories that lay alongside of us, and took "French leave" on shore. The next day we could not start, for we had no crew. We had to apply to the police and the English garrison, who sent out pickets, collected our rovers, and brought almost all of them back in the course of the evening, and we started somewhat humiliated at having given the English such a sad specimen of the insubordination which always follows on revolutions. The English have had their revolution too, but they have taken good care to have no more than the one, and above all not to make laws which render a periodical recurrence of revolution inevitable. As we had over 300 delinquents, it was impossible to punish them. The men felt this, and, with the evident intention of setting their officers at defiance, they spent the next few evenings singing revolutionary songs, some verses of which they came and yelled on their knees on the quarterdeck. The firmness of the commanding officers got the better of these saturnalia, by degrees.
Storms delayed us in the Maltese waters, and we only just missed being on the spot on the very day when an eruption threw up an island and a volcano from the depths of the sea, to which they have now returned. After a long passage, the frigate anchored at Algiers, which in 1831 was still the city of the Deys. Not a street had been widened, nor a European house built. It was still inhabited by a numerous native population. The Rue de la Marine, which was like a narrow winding staircase, was crowded with negro women street sellers, the cafes filled with Moors wearing huge turbans. To increase the picturesqueness of the situation, there was fighting going on at the city gates. Berthezene, the Governor-General, had just been forced to beat a retreat from Medeah. I could see the firing on the slopes of Kouba from the frigate, and a column had to be sent out to revictual the Maison-Carree! Under these circumstances, the Governor bethought himself that it would be a good thing to show "the King's son" to the troops, and settled to hold a review the next day. The troops were to be withdrawn for the moment from the line of defense, and the review was to be held at Mustapha. I had ventured to suggest that I might go and see the soldiers in their own lines, hoping thus to get near the firing, a natural desire enough, seeing I wore a volunteer uniform in spite of my thirteen years, but nobody listened to me, and to Mustapha I was taken, mounted on the ex- Dey's white mule, which an artilleryman persisted in leading by the bridle, in spite of all my indignant protests.
A real downright review that was! The men had been fighting all the morning, and Zouaves and linesmen alike looked fierce indeed, with tanned faces, eyes reddened by the smoke, and a black mark at the corner of every mouth, from biting off the ends of the cartridges. The Zouaves had only just been raised, and were not a bit like the Zouaves of the present day. The ranks consisted mostly of Arabs, who wore almost the same uniform as the present one, only with bare legs and slippers on their feet, mingled with Parisian roughs, drafted out of the "Regiments de la Charte," most of them wearing blouses and caps. Many of the non- commissioned officers had come from the Royal Guard, and still wore their blue cloaks. The excessively whimsical get-up of the officers put the finishing touch to this motley show. Most of them had adopted the Mameluke dress—white turbans, huge trousers, yellow boots, a sun embroidered on their backs, and a scimitar. After the Zouaves I saw the squadron of "Chasseurs Algeriens," the nucleus of the future "Chasseurs d'Afrique," march past. They wore Turkish dress and turbans too, all but their commanding officer, a big bearded artillery captain, who wore a burnous and Arab pistols over his uniform. His name was Marey-Monge, and he was a general of division when he died.
After the review I was taken back to my ship. The frigate sailed for Port Mahon, where we underwent a long quarantine, and thence to Toulon, where we arrived just as the squadron which had forced the mouth of the Tagus, under the orders of Admiral Roussin, returned, I went over those fine ships, and especially the Algesiras, with many a regret that the Arthemise had had no share in the fray. The commander of the Algesiras, M. Moulac, a tall, strongly built, grey-headed man, the bravest of the brave, who had fought boldly in all our naval struggles with England, told me a story which impressed me deeply, and which I here transcribe just as it remains fixed in my memory:—
"It has been blowing great guns, as you know, all the last few days. The ship was running under easy sail when I heard a shout of 'Man overboard!' The lifebuoy was thrown, and, looking astern, I saw the man had caught it. But it was a raging sea—I saw and felt that to try and lower a boat to save the poor wretch must expose the men who manned it to the greatest danger. The crew read in my face the fearful struggle going on within me, and twenty, thirty, perhaps forty volunteers, headed by officers and midshipmen, crowded round me, beseeching me almost on their knees: 'Let us save our comrade, sir! we can't desert him!' I was weak enough to yield. By unexpected good luck, we managed to lower a boat without accident, and she started manned by a dozen men. We saw her, by still greater good fortune, get to the poor fellow and save him, and I was steering about so as to make it easier for her to get back, when a huge wave broke over her. A shout of horror went up from her, and then silence. In another minute I saw my boat capsized, on the crest of a wave, with two or three men, one of them a midshipman, clinging to the keel. To shorten their agony, I made as though I was going ahead. The middy understood that I was forced to abandon them, for he waved a farewell and let himself go. I had been weak, but I was cruelly punished. Thirteen men drowned instead of one, and by my fault!"
I shall never forget the severe expression that came over the commander's face as he added, laying his hand on my shoulder, "Some day, boy, you may be in command. May the thought of me remind you always that duty is inexorable!"
After this final episode in my first cruise I went ashore, but I went ashore a sailor to the core, and my one idea, when I got back to Paris, was to acquire the technical information needed for my profession. To this the years 1832 and 1833 were devoted. M. Guerard, a charming fellow, universally liked and an incomparable instructor, was my mathematical teacher. A lieutenant in the navy, M. Hernoux, put me through the course of study of the Naval School. At the same time I set assiduously to work to learn drawing. My first master in this line was M. Barbier, the father of Jules Barbier, the poet and librettist, who, with Emile Augier, was a class-mate of my young brothers. I did watercolours too, under an Englishman, William Callow, and oils in Gudin's studio. But my real master, who taught me to draw, and led and guided me, and gave me my taste for things artistic, was Ary Scheffer, with whom I remained on terms of the closest intimacy until his death.