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Chapter 31


January. 1849.

The first month of Louis Bonaparte's presidency is drawing
to a close. This is how we stand at present:

Old-time Bonapartists are cropping up. MM. Jules
Favre, Billault and Carteret are paying court--politically
Speaking--to the Princess Mathilde Demidoff. The
Duchess d'Orleans is residing with her two children in a
little house at Ems, where she lives modestly yet royally.
All the ideas of February are brought up one after the
other; 1849, disappointed, is turning its back on 1848.
The generals want amnesty, the wise want disarmament.
The Constituent Assembly's term is expiring and the Assembly
is in savage mood in consequence. M. Guizot is
publishing his book _On Democracy in France_. Louis
Philippe is in London, Pius IX. is at Gaete, M. Barrot is
in power; the bourgeoisie has lost Paris, Catholicism has
lost Rome. The sky is rainy and gloomy, with a ray of
sunshine now and then. Mlle. Ozy shows herself quite
naked in the role of Eve at the Porte Saint Martin;
Fréderick Lemaitre is playing "L'Auberge des Adrets" there.
Five per cents are at 74, potatoes cost 8 cents the bushel,
at the market a pike can be bought for 20 sous. M.
Ledru-Rollin is trying to force the country into war, M. Prudhon
is trying to force it into bankruptcy. General Cavaignac
takes part in the sessions of the Assembly in a grey
waist-coat, and passes his time gazing at the women in the
galleries through big ivory opera-glasses. M. de Lamartine
gets 25,000 francs for his "Toussaint L'Ouverture." Louis
Bonaparte gives grand dinners to M. Thiers, who had him
captured, and to M. Mole, who had him condemned.
Vienna, Milan, and Berlin are becoming calmer. Revolutionary
fires are paling and seem to be dying out everywhere on
the surface, but the peoples are still deeply stirred.
The King of Prussia is getting ready to seize his sceptre
again and the Emperor of Russia to draw his sword. There
has been an earthquake at Havre, the cholera is at Fécamp;
Arnal is leaving the Gymnase, and the Academy is nominating
the Duke de Noailles as Chateaubriand's successor.

Victor Hugo