Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Chapter 12




June, 28, 1844.

* Louis Philippe.

The King told me that Talleyrand said to him one day:

"You will never be able to do anything with Thiers,
although he would make an excellent tool. He is one
of those men one cannot make use of unless one is able to
satisfy them. Now, he never will be satisfied. It is
unfortunate for him, as for you, that in our times, he cannot
be made a cardinal."

A propos of the fortifications of Paris, the King told me
how the Emperor Napoleon learned the news of the taking
of Paris by the allies.

The Emperor was marching upon Paris at the head of
his guard. Near Juvisy, at a place in the Forest of
Fontainebleau where there is an obelisk ("that I never see
without feeling heavy at heart," remarked the King), a
courier on his way to meet Napoleon brought him the news
of the capitulation of Paris. Paris had been taken. The
enemy had entered it. The Emperor turned pale. He
hid his face in his hands and remained thus, motionless,
for a quarter of an hour. Then, without saying a word,
he turned about and took the road back to Fontainebleau.

General Athalin witnessed this scene and recounted it
to the King.


July, 1844.

A few days ago the King said to Marshal Soult (in
presence of others):

"Marshal, do you remember the siege of Cadiz?"

"Rather, sire, I should think so. I swore enough before
that cursed Cadiz. I invested the place and was forced to
go away as I had come."

"Marshal, while you were before it, I was inside it."

"I know, sire."

"The Cortes and the English Cabinet offered me the
command of the Spanish army."

"I remember it."

"The offer was a grave one. I hesitated long. Bear
arms against France! For my family, it is possible; but
against my country! I was greatly perplexed. At this
juncture you asked me, through a trusty person, for a
secret interview in a little house situated on the Cortadura,
between the city and your camp. Do you remember the
fact, Monsieur the Marshal?"

"Perfectly, sire; the day was fixed and the interview

"And I did not turn up."

"That is so."

"Do you know why?"

"I never knew."

"I will tell you. As I was preparing to go to meet you,
the commander of the English squadron, apprised of the
matter, I know not how, dropped upon me brusquely and
warned me that I was about to fall into a trap; that
Cadiz being impregnable, they despaired of seizing me,
but that at the Cortadura I should be arrested by you;
that the Emperor wished to make of the Duke d'Orleans
a second volume of the Duke d'Enghien, and that you
would have me shot immediately. There, really," added
the King with a smile, "your hand on your conscience,
were you going to shoot me?"

The Marshal remained silent for a moment, then replied,
with a smile not less inexpressible than that of the King:

"No, sire; I wanted to compromise you."

The subject of conversation was changed. A few
minutes later the Marshal took leave of the King, and the
King, as he watched him go, said with a smile to the person
who heard this conversation:

"Compromise! compromise! To-day it is called
compromise. In reality, he would have shot me!"


August 4, 1844.

Yesterday the King said to me:

"One of my embarrassments at present, in all this affair
of the University and the clergy, is M. Affre."*

* Archbishop Affre was shot and killed in the Faubourg Saint
Antoine on September 25, 1848, while trying to stop the fighting
between the troops and insurgents.

"Then why, sire," said I, "did you appoint him?"

"I made a mistake, I admit. I had at first appointed
to the archbishopric of Paris the Cardinal of Arras, M. de
la Tour d'Auvergne."

"It was a good choice," I observed.

"Yes, good. He is insignificant. An honest old man of
no account. An easy-going fellow. He was much sought
after by the Carlists. Greatly imposed upon. His whole
family hated me. He was induced to refuse. Not knowing
what to do, and being in haste, I named M. Affre. I
ought to have been suspicious of him. His countenance
is neither open nor frank. I took his underhand air for
a priestly air; I did wrong. And then, you know, it was
in 1840. Thiers proposed him to me, and urged me to
appoint him. Thiers is no judge of archbishops. I did
it without sufficient reflection. I ought to have
remembered what Talleyrand said to me one day: 'The
Archbishop of Paris must always be an old man. The see is
quieter and becomes vacant more frequently.' I appointed
M. Affre, who is young; it was a mistake. However, I
will re-establish the chapter of St. Denis and appoint
as primate of it the Cardinal de la Tour d'Auvergne.
The Papal Nuncio, to whom I spoke of my project just
now, laughed heartily at it, and said: 'The Abbé Affre
will commit some folly. Should he go to Rome the Pope
will receive him very badly. He has acted pusillanimously
and blunderingly on all occasions since he has
been an archbishop. An archbishop of Paris who has any
wit ought always to be on good terms with the King here
and the Pope yonder.'"


August, 1844.

A month or two ago the King went to Dreux. It was
the anniversary of the death of the Duke d'Orleans. The
King had chosen this day to put the coffins of his relatives
in the family vault in order.

Among the number was a coffin that contained all the
bones of the princes of the House of Orleans that the
Duchess d'Orleans, mother of the King, had been able to
collect after the Revolution, when the sepulchre was
violated and they were dispersed. The coffin, placed in
a separate vault, had recently been smashed in by the fall
of an arch. The debris of the arch, stones and plaster,
had become mingled with the bones.

The King had the coffin brought and opened before him.
He was alone in the vault with the chaplain and two
aides-de-camp. Another coffin, larger and stronger, had been
prepared. The King himself, with his own hands, took,
one after the other, the bones of his ancestors from
the broken coffin and arranged them carefully in the new
one. He would not permit any one else to touch them.
From time to time he counted the skulls and said: "This
is Monsieur the Duke de Penthièvre. This is Monsieur
the Count de Beaujolais." Then to the best of his ability
and as far as he was able to he completed each group of

This ceremony lasted from nine o'clock in the morning
until seven o'clock in the evening without the King taking
either rest or nourishment.


August, 1844.

Yesterday, the 15th, after having dined at M. Villemain's,
who lives in a country house near Neuilly, I called
upon the King.

The King was not in the salon, where there were only
the Queen, Madame Adelaide and a few ladies, among
them Mme. Firmin-Rogier, who is charming. There
were many visitors, among others the Duke de Brogue
and M. Rossi, who were of the dinner party at which I had
been present, M. de Lesseps, who lately distinguished
himself as consul at Barcelona, M. Firmin-Rogier and the
Count d'Agout.

I bowed to the Queen, who spoke to me at length about
the Princess de Joinvile, who was delivered the day
before yesterday, and whose baby arrived on the very day the
news of the bombardment of Tangier by its father was
received. It is a little girl. The Princess de Joinvile
passes the whole day kissing her and saying: "How
pretty she is!" with that sweet southern accent which the
raillery of her brothers-in-law has not yet caused her to

While I was talking to the Queen, the Duchess d'Orleans,
dressed in black, came in and sat beside Madame
Adelaide, who said to her: "Good evening, dear Helene."

A moment afterwards, M. Guizot, in black, wearing
a chain of decorations, with a red ribbon in his buttonhole
and the badge of the Legion of Honour on his coat, and
looking pale and grave, crossed the salon. I grasped his
hand as he passed and he said:

"I have sought you vainly during the past few days.
Come and spend a day with me in the country. We have
a lot to talk about. I am at Auteuil, No. 4, Place

"Will the King come to-night?" I asked.

"I do not think so," he replied. "He is with Admiral
de Mackau. There is serious news. He will be occupied
all the evening."

Then M. Guizot went away.

It was nearly ten o'clock, and I also was about to take
my departure when one of Madame Adelaide's ladies of
honour, sent by the Princess, came and told me that the
King desired to speak with me and requested that I would
remain. I returned to the salon, which had become
almost empty.

A moment later, as ten o'clock was striking, the King
came in. He wore no decorations and had a preoccupied
air. As he passed by he said to me:

"Wait until I have gone my round; we shall have a
little more time when everybody has left. There are only
four persons here now and I have only four words to say
to them."

In truth, he only tarried a moment with the Prussian
Ambassador and M. de Lesseps, who had to communicate
to him a letter from Alexandria relative to the strange
abdication of the Pacha of Egypt.

Everybody took leave, and then the King came to me,
thrust his arm in mine and led me into the large
anteroom where he seated himself, and bade me be seated,
upon a red lounge which is between two doors opposite the
fireplace. Then he began to talk rapidly, energetically,
as though a weight were being lifted from his mind:

"Monsieur Hugo, I am pleased to see you. What do
you think of it all? All this is grave, yet it appears graver
than it really is. But in politics, I know, one has
sometimes to take as much into account that which appears
grave as that which is grave. We made a mistake in taking
this confounded protectorate.* We thought we were
doing something popular for France, and we have done
something embarrassing for the world. The popular effect
was mediocre; the embarrassing effect is enormous.
What did we want to hamper ourselves with Tahiti (the
King pronounced it Taëte) for? What to us was this pinch
of tobacco seeds in the middle of the ocean? What is the
use of lodging our honour four thousand leagues away in
the box of a sentry insulted by a savage and a madman?
Upon the whole there is something laughable about it.
When all is said and done it is a small matter and nothing
big will come of it. Sir Robert Peel has spoken
thoughtlessly. He has acted with schoolboy foolishness. He has
diminished his consideration in Europe. He is a serious
man, but capable of committing thoughtless acts. Then
he does not know any languages. Unless he be a genius
there are perforce gaps in the ideas of a man who is not
a linguist. Now, Sir Robert has no genius. Would you
believe it? He does not know French. Consequently
he does not understand anything about France. French
ideas pass before him like shadows. He is not malevolent,
no; he is not open, that is all. He has spoken without
reflection. I judged him to be what he is forty years ago.
It was, too, forty years ago that I saw him for the first
time. He was then a young man and secretary of the
Earl of--(I did not quite catch the name. The King
spoke quickly). I often visited that house. I was then
in England. When I saw young Peel I felt sure that he
would go a long way, but that he would stop. Was I
mistaken? There are Englishmen, and of the highest rank,
who do not understand Frenchmen a bit. Like that poor
Duke of Clarence, who afterwards was William IV. He
was but a sailor. One must beware of the sailor mind, as
I often say to my son Joinville. He who is only a sailor
is nothing on land. Well, this Duke of Clarence used to
say to me: 'Duke d'Orleans, a war between France and
England is necessary every twenty years. History shows
it.' I would reply: 'My dear duke, of what use are
people of intelligence if they allow mankind to do the same
foolish things over and over again?' The Duke of Clarence,
like Peel, did not know a word of French.

* The protectorate of Tahiti.

"What a difference between these men and Huskisson!
You know, Huskisson who was killed on a railway.
He was a masterly man, if you like. He knew
French and liked France. He had been my comrade at
the Jacobins' Club. I do not say this in bad part. He
understood everything. If there were in England now a
man like him, he and I would ensure the peace of the
world.--Monsieur Hugo, we will do it without him. I
will do it alone. Sir Robert Peel will reconsider what he
has said. Egad! he said that! Does he even know why
or how?

"Have you seen the English Parliament? You speak
from your place, standing, in the midst of your own party;
you are carried away; you say more often than not what
others think instead of what you think yourself. There is
a magnetic communication. You are subjected to it.
You rise (here the King rose and imitated the gesture of an
orator speaking in Parliament). The assembly ferments
all round and close to you; you let yourself go. On this
side somebody says: 'England has suffered a gross insult;'
and on that side: 'with gross indignity.' It is simply
applause that is sought on both sides. Nothing more.
But this is bad. It is dangerous. It is baleful. In
France our tribune which isolates the orator has many

"Of all the English statesmen, I have known only one
who was able to withstand this influence of assemblies.
He was M. Pitt. M. Pitt was a clever man, although he
was very tall. He had an air of awkwardness and spoke
hesitatingly. His lower jaw weighed a hundredweight.
Hence a certain slowness which forcibly brought prudence
into his speeches. Besides, what a statesman this Pitt
was! They will render justice to him one of these days,
even in France. Pitt and Coburg are still being harped
upon. But it is a childish foolishness that will pass. M.
Pitt knew French. To carry on politics properly we must
have Englishmen who know French and Frenchmen who
know English.

"Look here, I am going to England next month. I
shall be very well received: I speak English. And then,
Englishmen appreciate the fact that I have studied them
closely enough not to detest them. For one always begins
by detesting the English. This is an effect of the surface.
I esteem them, and pride myself upon the fact. Between
ourselves, there is one thing I apprehend in going to
England, and that is, a too warm welcome. I shall have to
elude an ovation. Popularity there would render me
unpopular here. But I must not get myself badly received
either. Badly received there, taunted here. Oh! it is
not easy to move when one is Louis Philippe, is it,
Monsieur Hugo?

"However, I will endeavour to manage it better than
that big stupid the Emperor of Russia, who went riding
full gallop in search of a fall. There is an addle-pate for
you. What a simpleton! He is nothing but a Russian
corporal, occupied with a boot-heel and a gaiter button.
What an idea to arrive in London on the eve of the Polish
ball! Do you think I would go to England on the eve of
the anniversary of Waterloo? What is the use of running
deliberately into trouble? Nations do not derange their
ideas for us princes.

"Monsieur Hugo! Monsieur Hugo! intelligent princes
are very rare. Look at this Pacha of Egypt, who had a
bright mind and who abdicates, like Charles V., who,
although he was not without genius, committed the same
foolish action. Look at this idiotic King of Morocco!
What a job to govern amid this mob of bewildered
Kings. They won't force me into committing the great
mistake of going to war. I am being pushed, but they
won't push me over. Listen to this and remember it: the
secret of maintaining peace is to look at everything from
the good side and at nothing from the bad point of view.
Oh! Sir Robert Peel is a singular man to speak so wildly.
He does not know all our strength. He does not reflect!

"The Prince of Prussia made a very true remark to my
daughter at Brussels last winter: 'What we envy France,
is Algeria. Not on account of the territory, but on
account of the war. It is a great and rare good fortune for
France to have at her doors a war that does not trouble
Europe and which is making an army for her. We as yet
have only review and parade soldiers. When a collision
occurs we shall only have soldiers who have been made by
peace. France, thanks to Algiers, will have soldiers made
by war.' This is what the Prince of Prussia said, and it
was true.

"Meanwhile, we are making children, too. Last month
it was my daughter of Nemours, this month it is my
daughter of Joinville. She has given me a princess.
I would have preferred a prince. But, pish! in view
of the fact that they are trying to isolate my house
among the royal houses of Europe future alliances must
be thought of. Well, my grandchildren will marry
among themselves. This little one who was born
yesterday will not lack cousins, nor, consequently, a husband."

Here the King laughed, and I rose. He had spoken
almost without interruption for an hour and a quarter.
I had only said a few words here and there. During this
sort of long monologue Madame Adelaide passed as she
retired to her apartments. The King said to her: "I will
join you directly," and he continued his conversation with
me. It was nearly half-past eleven when I quitted the

It was during this conversation that the King said to

"Have you ever been to England?"

"No, sire."

"Well, when you do go--for you will go--you will see
how strange it is. It resembles France in nothing. Over
there are order, arrangement, symmetry, cleanliness,
wellmown lawns, and profound silence in the streets. The
passers-by are as serious and mute as spectres. When,
being French and alive, you speak in the street, these spectres
look back at you and murmur with an inexpressible mixture
of gravity and disdain: 'French people!' When I
was in London I was walking arm-in-arm with my wife and
sister. We were conversing, not in a too loud tone of voice,
for we are well-bred persons, you know; yet all the
passers-by, bourgeois and men of the people, turned to gaze at us
and we could hear them growling behind us: 'French
people! French people!'"

September 5, 1844.

The King rose, paced to and fro for a few moments, as
though violently agitated, then came and sat beside me
and said:

"Look here, you made a remark to Villemain that he
repeated to me. You said to him:

"'The trouble between France and England a propos
of Tahiti and Pritchard reminds me of a quarrel in a café
between a couple of sub-lieutenants, one of whom has
looked at the other in a way the latter does not like. A
duel to the death is the result. But two great nations
ought not to act like a couple of musketeers. Besides, in
a duel to the death between two nations like England and
France, it is civilization that would be slain.'

"This is really what you said, is it not?"

"Yes, Sire."

"I was greatly struck by your observation, and this very
evening I reproduced it in a letter to a crowned head, for
I frequently write all night long. I pass many a night
doing over again what others have undone. I do not say
anything about it. So far from being grateful to me they
would only abuse me for it. Oh! yes, mine is hard work
indeed. At my age, with my seventy-one years, I do not
get an instant of real repose either by day or by night. I
am always unquiet, and how can it be otherwise when
I feel that I am the pivot upon which Europe revolves?"

September 6, 1844.

The King said to me yesterday:

"What makes the maintenance of peace so difficult is
that there are two things in Europe that Europe detests,
France and myself--myself even more than France. I
am talking to you in all frankness. They hate me because
I am Orleans; they hate me because I am myself. As
for France, they dislike her, but would tolerate her in other
hands. Napoleon was a burden to them; they overthrew
him by egging him on to war of which he was so fond.
I am a burden to them; they would like to throw me down
by forcing me to break that peace which I love."

Then he covered his eyes with his hands, and leaning
his head back upon the cushions of the sofa, remained thus
for a space pensive, and as though crushed.


September 6, 1844.

"I only met Robespierre in society once," said the
King to me. "It was at a place called Mignot, near Poissy,
which still exists. It belonged to a wealthy cloth
manufacturer of Louviers, named M. Decréteau. It was in
ninety-one or two. M. Decréteau one day invited me to
dinner at Mignot. I went. When the time came we took
our places at table. The other guests were Robespierre
and Pétion, but I had never before seen Robespierre.
Mirabeau aptly traced his portrait in a word when he said
that his face was suggestive of that of 'a cat drinking
vinegar.' He was very gloomy, and hardly spoke. When he did
let drop a word from time to time, it was uttered sourly and
with reluctance. He seemed to be vexed at having come,
and because I was there.

"In the middle of the dinner, Pétion, addressing M.
Decréteau, exclaimed: 'My dear host, you must get this
buck married!' He pointed to Robespierre.

"'What do you mean, Pétion?' retorted Robespierre.

"'Mean,' said Pétion, 'why, that you must get married.
I insist upon marrying you. You are full of sourness,
hypochondria, gall, bad humour, biliousness and
atrabiliousness I am fearful of all this on our account. What you
want is a woman to sweeten this sourness and transform
you into an easy-going old fogey.'

"Robespierre tossed his head and tried to smile, but
only succeeded in making a grimace. It was the only
time," repeated the King, "that I met Robespierre in
society. After that I saw him in the tribune of the
Convention. He was wearisome to a supreme degree, spoke
slowly, heavily and at length, and was more sour, more
gloomy, more bitter than ever. It was easy to see that
Pétion had not married him."

September 7, 1844.

Said the King to me last Thursday:

"M. Guizot has great qualities and immense defects.
(Queerly enough, M. Guizot on Tuesday had made
precisely the same remark to me about the King, beginning
with the defects.) M. Guizot has in the highest degree,
and I esteem him for it profoundly, the courage of his
unpopularity among his adversaries; among his friends he
lacks it. He does not know how to quarrel momentarily
with his partisans, which was Pitt's great art. In the
affair of Tahiti, as in that of the right of search, M. Guizot
is not afraid of the Opposition, nor of the press, nor of the
Radicals, nor of the Carlists, nor of the Legitimists, nor of
the hundred thousand howlers in the hundred thousand
public squares of France; he is afraid of Jacques Lefebvre.
What will Jacques Lefebvre say? And Jacques Lefebvre
is afraid of the Twelfth Arrondissement.* What
will the Twelfth Arrondissement say? The Twelfth
Arrondissement does not like the English: we must stand firm
against the English; but it does not like war: we must
give way to the English. Stand firm and give way.
Reconcile that. The Twelfth Arrondissement governs
Jacques Lefebvre, Jacques ]Lefebvre governs Guizot; a
little more and the Twelfth Arrondissement will govern
France. I say to Guizot: 'What are you afraid of?
Have a little pluck. Have an opinion.' But there they
all stand, pale and motionless and make no reply. Oh!
fear! Monsieur Hugo, it is a strange thing, this fear of
the hubbub that will be raised outside! It seizes upon
this one, then that one, then that one, and it goes the
round of the table. I am not a Minister, but if I were,
it seems to me that I should not be afraid. I should see
the right and go straight towards it. And what greater
aim could there be than civilization through peace?"

* Twelfth District of Paris.

The Duke d'Orleans, a few years ago, recounted to me
that during the period which followed immediately upon
the revolution of July, the King gave him a seat at his
council table. The young Prince took part in the
deliberations of the Ministers. One day M. Merilhou, who
was Minister of Justice, fell asleep while the King was

"Chartres," said the King to his son, "wake up Monsieur
the Keeper of the Seals."

The Duke d'Orleans obeyed. He was seated next to
M. Merilhou, and nudged him gently with his elbow.
The Minister was sleeping soundly; the Prince recommenced,
but the Minister slept on. Finally the Prince
laid his hand upon M. Merilhou's knee. The Minister
awoke with a start and exclaimed:

"Leave off, Sophie, you are tickling me!"

This is how the word "subject" came to be eliminated
from the preamble of laws and ordinances.

M. Dupont de l'Eure, in 1830, was Minister of Justice.
On August 7, the very day the Duke d'Orleans took the
oath as King, M. Dupont de l'Eure laid before him a law
to sign. The preamble read: "Be it known and decreed
to all our subjects," etc. The clerk who was instructed to
copy the law, a hot-headed young fellow, objected to the
word "subjects," and did not copy it.

The Minister of Justice arrived. The young man was
employed in his office.

"Well," said the Minister, "is the copy ready to be
taken to the King for signature?"

"No, Monsieur the Minister," replied the clerk.

Explanations. M. Dupont de l'Eure listened, then
pinching the young man's ear said, half smilingly, half

"Nonsense, Monsieur the Republican, you just copy it
at once."

The clerk hung his head, like a clerk that he was, and
copied it.

M. Dupont, however, laughingly told the King about it.
The King did not laugh. Everything appeared to be a
serious matter at that time. M. Dupin senior, Minister
without a portfolio, had entered the council chamber. He
avoided the use of the word and got round the obstacle. He
proposed this wording, which was agreed to and has always
been used since: "Be it known and decreed to all."


The State carriage of Louis Philippe was a big blue
coach drawn by eight horses. The interior was of gold
coloured damask. On the doors was the King's monogram
surmounted by a crown, and on the panels were royal
crowns. The roof was bordered by eight little silver
crowns. There was a gigantic coachman on the box and
three lackeys behind. All wore silk stockings and the
tri-colour livery of the d'Orleans.

The King would enter the carriage first and seat himself
in the right hand corner. Then the Duke de
Nemours would take his place beside the King. The
three other princes would follow and seat themselves, M.
de Joinville opposite the King, M. de Montpensier
opposite M. de Nemours, and M. d'Aumale in the middle.

The day the King attended Parliament, the grand
deputations from both Houses, twelve peers and twenty-five
deputies chosen by lot, awaited him on the grand staircase
of the Palais Bourbon. As the sessions were nearly
always held in winter, it was very cold on the stairs, a
biting wind made all these old men shiver, and there are
old generals of the Empire who did not die as the result
of having been at Austerlitz, at Friedland, at the cemetery
at Eylau, at the storming of the grand redoubt at Moskowa
and under the fire of the Scottish squares at
Waterloo, but of having waited in the cold upon these

The peers stood to the right and the deputies to the
left, leaving the middle of the stairs clear. The staircase
was partitioned off with hangings of white drill with blue
stripes, which was a poor protection against draughts.
Where are the good and magnificent tapestries of Louis
XIV.? They were indeed royal; wherefore they were
taken down. Drill is a common material and more pleasing
to the deputies. It charms and it freezes them.

The Queen arrived first with the princesses, but without
the Duchess d'Orleans, who came separately with the
Count de Paris. These ladies walked quickly upstairs,
bowing to right and left, without speaking, but graciously,
followed by a swarm of aides-de-camp and grim turbaned
old women whom M. de Joinville called "the Queen's
Turks"--Mmes. de Dolokieu, de Chanaleilles, etc.

At the royal session of 1847, the Queen gave her arm to
the Duchess de Montpensier. The princess was muffled up
on account of the cold. I could see only a big red nose.
The three other princesses walked behind, chatting and
laughing. M. Anatole de Montesquiou came next in the
much worn uniform of a major-general.

The King arrived about five minutes after the Queen;
he walked upstairs even more quickly than she had done,
followed by the princes running like schoolboys, and bowed
to the peers on the right and the deputies on the left. He
tarried a moment in the throne-room and exchanged a few
greetings with the members of the two deputations. Then
he entered the large hall.

The speech from the throne was written on parchment,
on both sides of the sheet, and usually filled four pages.
The King read it in a firm, well modulated voice.

Marshal Soult was present, resplendent with decorations,
sashes, and gold lace, and complaining of his rheumatism.
M. Pasquier, the Chancellor, did not put in an appearance.
He had excused himself on the plea of the cold and of his
eighty years. He had been present the year before. It
was the last time.

In 1847 I was a member of the grand deputation. While
I strolled about the waiting room, conversing with M.
Villemain about Cracow, the Vienna treaties and the
frontier of the Rhine, I could hear the buzzing of the groups
around me, and scraps of conversation reached my ears.

COUNT DE LAGRANGE.--Ah! here comes the Marshal (Soult).

BARON PEDRE LACAZE.--He is getting old.

VISCOUNT CAVAIGNAC.--Sixty-nine years!

MARQUIS DR RAIGECOURT.--Who is the dean of the
Chamber of Peers at present?

DUKE DE TREVISE.--M. de Pontecoulant, is he not?

MARQUIS DE LAPLACE.--NO, President Boyer. He is

PRESIDENT BARTHE.--He is older than that.

BARON D'OBERLIN.--He no longer comes to the Chamber.

M. VIENNET.--They say that M. Rossi is returning from Rome.

DUKE DE FESENZAC.--Well, I pity him for quitting
Rome. It is the finest and most amiable city in the world.
I hope to end my days there.


BARON THENARD.--I prefer Naples.

M. FULCHIRON.--Yes, Naples, that's the place. By the
by, I was there when poor Nourrit killed himself. I was
staying in the house next to his.

BARON CHARLES DUPIN.--He took his life? It was not
an accident?

M. FULCHIRON.--Oh! it was a case of suicide, sure
enough. He had been hissed the previous day. He could
not stand that. It was in an opera composed expressly for
him--"Polyceucte." He threw himself from a height of sixty
feet. His voice did not please that particular public.
Nourrit was too much accustomed to sing Glück and
Mozart. The Neapolitans said of him: "Vecchico canto."

BARON DUPIN.--Poor Nourrit! why did he not wait!
Duprez has lost his voice. Eleven years ago Duprez
demolished Nourrit; to-day Nourrit would demolish Duprez.

MARQUIS DE BOISSY.--How cold it is on this staircase.

COUNT PHILIPPE DE SEGUR.--It was even colder at the
Academy the other day. That poor Dupaty is a good man,
but he made a bad speech.

BARON FEUTRIER.--I am trying to warm myself. What
a frightful draught! It is enough to drive one away.

BARON CHARLES DUPIN.--M. Français de Nantes had
conceived this expedient to rid himself of those who came
to solicit favours and abridge their solicitations: he was
given to receiving people between two doors.

M. Thiers at this time had a veritable court of deputies
about him. After the session he walked out in front of me.
A gigantic deputy, whose back only I could see, stepped
aside, saying: "Make way for historical men!" And the
big man let the little man pass.

Historical? May be. In what way?

Victor Hugo