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Calamity of the German war, but made Frenchmen have persuasive facility of herself more formidable than ever as speech-he looked to office, crosses of a, military power. Thanks to her vast the Legion, and a pension in retreat. internal resources, she has continued Now the man who speaks habitually to prosper and pay her way, though she with the voice of the Temps or the has reorganized her forces at an enor- Debats is far more of a power than the mous expense, and replaced the strong man who may make so brief a stay in no.'ural frontiers of Alsace and Lorraine the ministry that the office messengers with artificial defences which experts have scarcely time to identify him. See pronounce to be well-nigh impregnable. recent caricatures in the Charivari, Yet assuredly stability of government passim. Moreover, the leading presshas done nothing for her, and "states- men not only have the agreeable sense men” rise to the surface with startling of permanency, but they are as well rapidity, to disappear like bubbles on paid as the ministers and infinitely the stream. Aspirants are beginning more independent. The hopes the to realize that the path to power may Parisian press hold out to the ambibe made somewhat too easy. A jealous tious intellects of young France are rival asks no better luck than to push forcibly illustrated by the present state an embarrassing opponent up to the of things in journalism. We know on premiership. The victim must either sure authority that nothing is more be precipitated from that sad eminence desperately speculative than the venor take the plunge sooner or later. His ture of some clever young provincial single object is to fall with a certain who would take to journalism as dignity, so that in the universal shatter- Career-or as the entrance to politics. ing or discrediting of political reputa. If his contributions have the luck to be ticns, the revolution of the wheel of for- accepted in some provincial paper, he tune may give him a second chance. It is selcom or never paid. If he is poor, was thought that ministries had suc- he struggles on and perseveres in a ceeded each other with startling garret on the French counterpart of the rapidity in the first ten years of Louis little oatmeal which is said to have Philippe's reign; but with the extension nourished the early Edinburgh review. of the suffrage and the democratic ers. It is touching and admirable to apotheosis, the pace has been think of his manfully doing his best celerated with phenomenal velocity. work, and keeping the fires of inspira“Ma foi," exclaimed Talleyrand, “il est tion alive, cheered only by some faint, bien distingué," when he saw an un- distant hope. Then perhaps the day decorated Englishman at a brilliant comes when, like the Chatteris actors court reception where every one was in “Pendennis,” he finds he has attracted glittering with crosses and stars. And the notice of an omnipotent manager in that may be said now of any fairly the capital. The countryman goes up to prominent politician who has not Paris, transfers his literary headfigured and failed as a Cabinet min- quarters to the Café Chose, is permitted ister.
or invited to sign his articles; and Mr. Morley discussed the power of the tuenceforward, if he can stay as well press, not long ago, at a literary gather- as go the pace, his future is assureá, ing in London. Whatever it may be The successful writer who signs is open here, in Paris it is distinctly tending to to tempting offers, and it is necessary to increase, because
there is greater pay him handsomely to retain his serstability in the press than in the vices. Moreover, he has a character to Parliament. Formerly the sparkling maintain, and though he may.
be leader-writer who had made himself a unscrupulous or sophistical, in the main name and become an authority almost he is consistent. His support is courted, invariably sought the suffrages of a and if he be not actually bought, there constituency. If he could speak half as are indirect ways in which a minister well as he could write – and most or promoter can engage the alliance of
an effective pen. If the worst comes to means cheap, but the others which have the worst, and his profession palls on replaced them, and are most in vogue him, he knows that he can always try for the moment, seem to seek to recoma turn at the government of France. irend themselves by extortionate
Now that préfets pass like Cabinet charges. Still more significant is the ministers, the minor official appoint fact that the foreign ambassadors find ments no longer offer the former in the outlay which used to suffice insuffducements to frugal Frenchmen who cient now. For diplomatic hospitality love a comfortable and assured income, must satisfy and gratify the guests, and the ribbon of the Legion, and local the haute finance, which is not the least reverence. The prizes in successful important element of the society which journalism take many forms, and the is to be conciliated, expects to be enterleading journals are closely associated tained as it entertains. There is a with the high finance. In France, as in lower stratum filled by the people of Germany, many of the journals, like the passage, who flock to the grand hotels railways, are financed by great Hebrew
or occupy a sumptuous apartment for capitalists. It is no new thing; and to the season. They have made their piles go no further back than the Second by pork or petroleum, by stocks or silver Empire, Captain Bingbam gives a strik in North America; they have swindled iug example of the power of the Roths- the State and the foreign immigrants in childs. Alfred de Musset, who was shy Argentina or Mexico; they have enand sensitive, had been persuaded to riched themselves by Transvaal gold or read a new poem at the Tuileries on the by diamonds in the Orange Free State; distinct understanding that only the or they may be simply respectable emperor and his consort were to be parvenus who, having more money than present. During the reading a gentle- they need, have gone over to Paris to man entered, and the poet stopped. It have a good time. Their careless exmight have been expected that the penditure may be beneficial to trade, emperor would have resented the un
but it forces up the cost of living to all precedented intrusion, but the gentle classes. The result is a choice of alter
was Baron Rothschild. As he natives to the many whose modest or deprecated the money-lender's hold precarious incomes are barely suffover an impecunious client, the poet cient for their wants. Either they had to be flattered into compliance, and carry French frugality to parsimony, the master of many millions remained pinching and saving, or they are to listen. We do not say that the dev- tempted to risk small speculative venotees of mammon have become more
tures. If they win, they increase their eager or more unscrupulous since then, stakes, for there is no such enticing for that could hardly be. But the wor- passion as successful gambling. There ship of mammon has become more ab- are still leviathans who conceive daring sorbing and exclusive since the plu- schemes and plunge heavily for millions tocracy is become the aristocracy of the of francs, as in those days of the Empire democratic republic. Paris lost the and imperial concessions and sleeping show and seductive glitter which gilded partnerships with all-powerful ministhe extravagances and corruptions of ters, which Zola has depicted in the the Empire. The Elysian fields in the Debacle with exceptionally realistic fashionable hours of the afternoon are vigor. But now the class of players has more like the sombre realms of Pluto, deteriorated, as at the tables of Monte though in fact Plutus is evidently the Carlo. Still, as Paris will always be the presiding deity. Vulgar ostentation is heart of France, the Bourse is more the predominating feature, and if one than ever the soul of Paris. It is the would shine, money one must have. financial journals, or the financial colThe old restaurants which have disap- umns in the political papers, which are peared-the Café de Paris, the Trois sought and read with most anxious Frères, and Philippe's — were by no avidity. Nothing gives more piquancy
to your morning paper than the possi- can menace by their mass meetings and bility that some sudden rise or fall may semi-secret societies the demagogues announce either temporary riches or and tribunes who are eager to truckle ruin. The spread of dangerously spec- to them. Had Boulanger had a grain ulative investment is obviously de- more resolution, had there been moralizing to any community, but, Fleury to force him to set the spark to though, we confess, we can detect few those explosive materials, the conspirasigns of that-it should conduce to tors of the Café de la Madeleine might amicable international relations. The have succeeded like Kinglake's Brethman who has an open bull account, or ren of the Elysée. who has placed his savings in Egyp- The chief interest and value of Captians or in South African mines, cannot tain Bingham's volumes are that they desire that his country should quarrel throw some novel and instructive light with the English, however much he on the course of French history since may dislike us. Nor does he. But the prince president, after making his neither the careful père de famille nor coup d'état, claimed to have re-estabthe hardy speculator can control the lished the empire on national suffrage. irresponsible rhapsodists of the Assem. They are desultory and gossipy, and we bly or the firebrands in the press, who must necessarily treat them in a gossipy play solely for their own hands, and and desultory fashion. The writer pander to the blind passions of the pop- speaks with a certain authority. Mar. ulace.
ried to a Frenchwoman, he mixed much One other set of adventurers we must in Parisian society; he acted as correadvert to, who still set their faces spondent to the original Pall Mall, to the towards the capital in spite of hard Scotsman, and other papers; he was aleconomical facts and sore discourage ways on the search for facts; he had the ment. They are a dangerous legacy of entrée to the ministries and the salons. the ostentation and indirect corruption. He says he kept no diaries; but, like M. of the Empire, as they were the back- Blowitz, the famous correspondent of bone and partly the origin of the Com- the Times, he has a marvellously exact mune. When Haussmann was carry- and tenacious memory.
We have ing out his wholesale demolitions and
checked his volumes, so far as they conreconstructions, he employed crowds of
cern the Empire, with those of Felix workmen at high wages. Distress in Whitehurst, who, when corresponding the provinces was relieved by the as
for the journal “with the greatest cirsurance of engagements in Paris. The
culation in the world,” was a favored Empire passed, but the workmen remained to recruit the ranks of the Com. Cloud, and Compiègne. We know that
and petted guest at the Tuileries, St. munists and draw wages for playing at Whitehurst would introduce ladies and soldiers. The building which gave gentlemen to the emperor without even them employment had increased the room-rents and the cost of living by
the ceremony of a previous request; and
we have found Whitehurst, who knew sweeping away the old rookeries and rabbit-warrens. Labor chômes now,
more of the court gossip than most men,
always in essential accordance with and the monts de piété of the northern
Bingham. Moreover, the writer can quarters do brisker business at
of present than the Bourse. Yet a golden vouch personally for the truth tradition is slow to die out, and ill- various statements which seem someinformed provincials still flock to the
what startling. Captain Bingham's fabled El Dorado where the rich veins reminiscences of the two sieges-and were exhausted a quarter of a century through both he remained in residence ago. Nor need we add that there can as correspondent, per balloon or otherbe no more perilous element than a
wise-are especially curious, and his mass of precariously employed work- sketches of celebrities or notorieties are
and men, in possession of the suffrage, who shrewd, incisive, entertaining,
freely illustrated by suggestive anec- financiers, coulissiers, and promoters dote.
looking out for lucrative concessions. The “Recollections” begin in the It was certain that every public enterspring of 1865 with the death of De prise was handicapped with exorbitant Morny. The emperor owed a debt of commissions; it was as certain that no gratitude to the astuteness and deter- State secret could be kept if money mination of his illegitimate brother, were to be made by selling it. and, to do him justice, he was not back- The French might have looked leniward in paying such debts. He gave ently on such palace scandals, as the the embarrassed duke the Mexican imperial intrigue with Marguerite question; he mixed himself up in the Bellanger, of which we have such an scandalous affair of the Jecker bonds; amusing account as might make matter and so the shady transactions of the for a comedy at the Palais Royal. They speculative Swiss banker led on to had been accustomed to the amorous Queretaro, Sedan, and Wilhelmshöhe. indiscretions of their greatest monarchs As for De Morny, he was the most of Henri Quatre and Louis Quatorze. brilliant and attractive type of the They might have tolerated the financial adventurers who were the treacherous scandals, for tbey sympathized with props of the Empire. Dissipated and and envied the fortunate offenders. prodigal, he had nevertheless high But the Empire to maintain itself was intellectual qualities, and he exercised bound to be successful, and to flatter a magnetic fascination on individuals. the national pride by the glorification of Notoriously à faithless husband, he the great nation. When the emperor's charmed his wealthy and highborn wife star was eclipsed and he lost credit into devoted attachment. He grasped for political sagacity, his constitutional at money like Fouquet, and like Fou- adversaries seized the opportunity, and quet he lavished it magnificently on the Radical agitators began to raise graceful hospitality and the generous their heads. Even in early days he had patronage of genius and the arts. But been faced in the Assembly by three money he was bound to have, and so sarcastic and incisive debaters who had the ill-fated Maximilian was sent to taxed all the suavity and tact of the Mexico. "He preferred leaving this President De Morny. But Favre, world as the Regent d'Orleans did. He Picard, and Emile Olivier were guarded had to choose between renouncing the in their invective, and studiously conpleasures or sins of youth and a sudden fined themselves to the limits of correct catastrophe, and he chose the latter." parliamentary debate. Now there were It gives an idea of his sumptuous style ugly storm-warnings in the perorations of living, that when he died there were of popular demagogues, who may have one hundred and forty-five horses in his been actuated by enthusiasm,
the stables. But that extravagance was thirst for notoriety, or by far-sighted one of the weaknesses of the Second as worldly wisdom. The emperor of Rusof the First Empire. Adventurers sia honored his parvenu brother with a sprung from nothing, or with no family visit on the occasion of the Exhibition inheritance, received liberal salaries, of 1867. Politically it was merely an which they were expected to spend. unfortunate contretemps that the czar Lavish as the salaries were, the rivalry should have been shot at in the Champs of ostentation made them insufficient, Elysées. It was more ominously sigand if he lived on his appointments, the nificant that the illustrious guest should husband and father saw no means of have been insulted at the Palais de providing for his family. To give a Justice by a lawyer who had already man exalted hereditary rank with in the ear of the courts. It was coarsely adequate income was virtually com- uncivil, to say the least, when M. pelling him to practise Oriental Floquet, stepping forward, shouted corruption. So the ministers naturally "Vive la Pologne!" with general apbecame the sleeping partners of proval. For it has always been the fate
of unlucky Poland to be the object of tering. He was banished of course, or the sentimental attachment of subver rather he took flight; but when the sive France, though nothing but disap- pestilential little news-sheet had been pointments and baffled hopes have come proscribed in France, a good stroke of of relations that have invariably been contraband business was being done beabruptly broken off when French self- tween Brussels and Paris. Each smug. ishness demanded the sacrifice of the gled copy of the Lanterne fetched a protégé. Had the Empire been as stable fancy price, and passed from hand to as it appeared to superficial observers. hand, to be read with keen expectation. Floquet had finished his career before it The laughers were with Rochefort. was well begun. But in French politics Louis Napoleon was not so cold blooded it is the unexpected one may confidently a man as is generally supposed, and we expect, when а. man has physical fancy he paid Rochefort the compliment stamina as well as talent and pluck. of cordially detesting him. He would The exiles of Cayenne or New Cale- gladly have dropped him down an donia may come home to fill high oubliette à la Catherine de Medicis, or Cabinet office, and trim the sails of the welcomed him to Compiègne and St. State in critical emergencies, if they do Cloud with Merimée and About. But not actually steer the ship. Floquet, Rochefort was one of those branded by the Imperialists as the grained and envenomed assailants blackest of sheep, lived to become pres- who are neither to be petted nor flatident of the Chamber and prime minis- tered. Assuredly, in spite of common ter. And dear as the Russian Alliance
sense and self-interest, he would have is to France, even Russian statesmen stung the hand that sought to caress consented to tolerate him in the latter him. Like Floquet, he survived to play capacity. They knew, to be sure, that
a conspicuous part in French politics, it was hardly worth while to object and to be a thorn in the side of Thiers since, though there to-day, he would
and Gambetta. The elections of May surely be gone to-morrow.
went daily against the government. Meantime Rochefort caused far more The great industrial and commercial anxiety than Floquet. Had his nerve cities cast in their lots with democratic been equal to his intellectual audacity, Paris. The Empire, in dire distress, had he might more than once have precip- declared for Liberal institutions; but itated a crisis, and notably at the the conversion was too sudden to seem funeral of Victor Noir. Martyrdom, in sincere. Emile Olivier, who was althe shape of fine or imprisonment, he ready understood to be transacting with was ready to court, but he shrunk be- the system he had bitterly denounced. fore bullets and the sabres of the
hooted down by crowded gendarmerie. He stung like a hornet, audience when he sought to obtain a he was perpetually renewing his venom, hearing. Among the notable members and the hum, like that of the restless then returned to the Assembly was M. mosquito, was ever troubling the tran- Jules Grévy. In connection with him, quillity of the autocrats of the Tuileries. Captain Bingham gives another strikA typical French wit, the fluency, fire, ing example of the irony of circumand fertility that fed the daily Lan- stances, and the instability of French terne were simply amazing; he had political convictions. The moral is that something of the blighting mockery of a wise man should never commit himVoltaire; he had a diabolical instinct for self, however strongly he may feel at making self-seeking statecraft ludi- the moment. Opposing Louis Napoleon crous; and more damning than all was for president, Grévy had insisted with the undeniable fact that the Empire sup- forcible arguments that there should plied unfailing subjects for his satire. be no such office. He preferred the Like the hornet or mosquito, he was al- form of government by committees. ways ready to search out the exposed And yet!—before he became officially points, or to sting an open sore into fes- the first man in France, Captain Bing