« AnteriorContinuar »
and paid as sich. When I sees gennelfolks I knows ’em. She wos a stunner!'”
“My dear mamma,” interrupted Lady Caroline, hastily, “ they are playing the last part of the intrata–Grisi will be on in a moment—do let us listen."
“Nonsense, child," returned the countess ; " there's plenty of time. Pray go on, Mr. Scatterjoke."
“ The fellow,” continued that gentleman, “put so much emphasis into his last words, that he excited my curiosity to have the whole adventure. He told it in a few words :
“Out of vich street they come,' said he, “I wouldn't take upon me to say, but Upper-Grovener was nighest handy to where I took up. I sees the gent a-lookin' round him, and holds up my wipp, as it might be so ; “Keb," says he, and in he puts the lady, and as he follers, “drive yer best,” says he, “to Fullem Chutch and beck, and here's a suvrin' for the job."
“ Mamma," again interposed Lady Caroline; but the countess took no notice, and Mr. Scatterjoke went on:
“There's summot a-goin' wrong with the Harry-stockrisy, says I to myself, or this 'ere shine wouldn't be. A nobbier one than the lady I never set eyes on—and the gent he was a fine 'ansum feller. But she wos a reg'lar bewty, quite tip-top. 'Twarn't her dress, vich it warn’t by no manner of means remarkable, but the way she had with her. She didn't say much, but her werds wos like double-instilled honey; so young, too, she wos—a long ways under twenty I'll be bound ; p'raps not more than seventeen and a harf, or eighteen at most. Well, sir, out to Fullem I driv, waitin' outside in the shade with my keb while the parson was a makin' one on 'em, and wen the cerrymony was over, sharp was the werd, and beck agin I brings 'em into Park-lane, and becos I'd done it quick, and to the gent's sattisfaction, he gives me harf a suvrin' exter. “Now go,” says he, “and wait for me at the bottom of Suth-Ordleystreet, I shall be there in ten minnits;" and as I turned with the keb, he disappears with the lady round the corner, and I never see nuthen no more on him from that time to this. I waited harf an 'our, and then, thinks I, this 'ere's a do, to put me off the sent, tho' he needn't ’ave minded : wen gents behaves 'onnerable they needn't to fear nuthen from
I should ’ave been glad to see him agin tho', for wen I looked into my keb I found the lady had left her pocket-ankecher behind her. It wos more liker a spider's web nor a ’ankecher, with Bristles lace all round the hedges, and sumthen or other imbrorder'd in the corner. I've got it 'ere in my 'att, if you'd like to see it, sir : it's kep my edd nice and cool.'
“So saying, the fellow lifted his hat and took out the handkerchief, as damp as a wet pancake, and put it into my hand. I shook it open, and looking at one of the corners, I saw the letters
“Gracious goodness !” exclaimed Lord Cackle and Captain Fipley both together, “ Lady Caroline is ill. She is fainting !"
And before the words were well uttered she had fallen from her chair -pale as a lily.
Great was the commotion, not only in Lady Dancette's box, but in all the adjoining ones. Cackle and Fipley, like mad lovers—as they were rushed to the saloon for restoratives, returning in a moment, one with a glass of jelly, which he had hastily snatched from the counter, the other
with a sponge-cake and an empty tumbler. Lady Dancette was armed with smelling-salts, and these proved more serviceable than the lovers' appliances, but it was several minutes before Lady Caroline revived ; when she did so, she complained, in a feeble voice, of being so very ill, that the whole party hurried out of the box, and supporting her down stairs as well as they were able, the carriage was hastily called up, and the earl and countess and their daughter were driven rapidly home to Grosvenor-square.
The "scandal in high life” soon circulated far and near. Before the rest of the opera, which was not listened to, was over, everybody begun guessing-very wide of the mark, as most knowing people generally are. Mr. Scatterjoke, however, refused to repeat the story any more, for knowing himself what the initials on the handkerchief were-which no one else did—and coupling with that knowledge the fact of Lady Caroline Caper's sudden illness, and her previous anxiety to interrupt him, he came to the only right conclusion ; but being too much of a gentleman to get a lady into a scrape, he protested that the whole affair was a thing of his own invention.
The fashionable world, however, would not be baulked. High or low, there is nothing people like so much as a victim, and when that victim is young and beautiful, their satisfaction is only a thousand times greater. It was “her duty,” said every mother who had-or had not-a daughter, to “unmask hypocrisy," and "assist in punishing disobedience;" and one noble lady carried her sense of principle so far as to drive about London for five days in the hope of discovering the cabman who drove “the guilty pair” to Fulham. Fortunately her carriage was overturned in Shoreditch on the sixth day, and her ladyship was so terribly bruised that she kept her bed for a whole fortnight afterwards.
It is a pity that something worse did not befal Lord Mooncalfe, for when the story of “the abduction” reached his ears, he began “ to put this and that together," as the old idiot said to a knot of his cronies at Boodle's, and across his hazy perceptions there floated the image of Lady Caroline Caper, who, he remembered at last, was “ the pretty girl he saw in the cab at Albert-gate.” Like a friend, therefore, he went to communicate his suspicions to Lord Dancette; but when he reached Grosvenorsquare he found the house shut up, and “all the family,” said Mr. Walrus, the hall-porter, " packed up and gone to Italy, Rome, and Naples.”
Mr. Walrus must have been wrong as to their immediate destination, for it was only last week that, being at Carlsbad, I saw in the “ Fremdenbuch” at the "Paradies,” amongst the names of the visitors, those of “ the Earl and Countess of Dancette and Mr. and Lady Caroline Maplehurst.”
I conclude from this fact that an éclaircissement took place without the assistance of Lord Mooncalfe, and that Lord and Lady Dancette were wise enough to reconcile themselves to what they could not help.
I was told, however, by the “ Ober-Herr-Director” at the Sprudel, that the quantity of that saline spring swallowed by the “Edelgeborner-Englischer-Graf,” and the “Gnädige-Frau,” his countess, was something imposing ; or, to use his own words, “Ganz und gar ungeheuer," and what stress he laid upon the last word any one may imagine who has heard a German in a state of astonishment.
So that it seems the Earl and Countess of Dancette required a great. deal of cooling
LOUIS PHILIPPE AND MADEMOISELLE RACHEL.* DR. VÉRON continues his revelations of persons and things in a fourth volume with the same amusing racy spirit as at first. This latest contribution to the personalities of our own times carries us to the monarchy of July; lays bare the personal eccentricities of the Citizen King; deals rather lengthily with M. de Montalivet; is more sketchy when treating of the fine arts under the same monarchy; surpasses itself on the theme of Rachel, and assumes the genuine doctorial and dictatorial tone when treating of the Constitutionnel and its dignified editor.
With such an embarras de richesses to deal with, it is impossible to do more than select a few characteristic bits. Speaking of that restless political agitator, Duvergier de Hauranne—the deputy who first organised the banquets which became the signal of the revolution of 1848
“ Wanting the oratorical talent which raised his friends to the ministry, he became a mere horse-fly, persecuting his friends, whether ministers, secretaries of state, directors, or even clerks, with his restlessness. He even rendered the life of the ushers intolerable.”
He is the man who is constantly getting up your stairs ; he pulls your bells till they get out of order, he wears your carpets, he sticks himself by the side of your pillow, he thrusts his feet in your slippers. If you are at work, and some one comes in without having himself announced, it is he! You are just about to start for the Chambers, or for a council of ministers : there he is again! You have that moment sat down to dinner : he arrives. You are about to go to bed : he makes his appearance. When
he is still there!
Some deputy asks a favour. “Do not grant it,” says M. Duvergier de Hauranne ; "he is suspected-a moderate."
A public functionary solicits advancement. “Refuse,” says M. de H.; “he is the friend of an elector who votes on the wrong side.".
"Why do you invite Monsieur So-and-so to dinner ?" he inquires of you ; "he laughed the whole time you were addressing the house."
When M. D. de Hauranne is leading the Opposition, he runs about :
"Be early to morrow morning at the committee,” he says to one. and excite interruptions if M. Guizot speaks,” he says to another. some witty remarks against the law under discussion,” he says to M. Thiers ; "and do not spare epigrams against those who support it. Monsieur Thiers, do promise me especially to be amiable and expansive with the Left; be social with the republicans! As to me, I will take charge of the personal attacks and discussions in our papers."
Again, of another well-known opposition member of Louis Philippe's Chambers, M. de Rémusat:
Amiable revolutionist, ever young, smiling, and obliging, De Rémusat is rather a great literary name than that of a distinguished politician or statesman. He is especially a man of distinction in saloons and in academies ; always ready to be enthusiastic in the cause of that which is worthy, that which is noble; redolent of those sweet and charming things which the French wit and the taste of our fathers bequeathed us, considering it proper and useful that governments that infringed, no matter in how small an amount, upon free discussion, should be duly lectured; willingly neglecting all the great interests
* Mémoires d'un Bourgeois de Paris, par le Docteur L. Véron. Tome Quatrième.
• Lead “ Get up
of the country, merely that bis abstract theories might triumph, yet never mixing himself up with the crowd of common agitators and banqueters ; in one word, playing the part of a deputy only in an ingenuous and polite language, with honesty and white gloves !
The antithesis is worthy of Bilboquet. It reminds us of a story told of Louis XVIII., who never wore gloves, whilst the Duke of Orleans (afterwards Louis Philippe) was never without his hands being covered. The two were one day closeted, discussing the manner in which the young princes of the Orleans family should be educated. Louis was for private tutors, the duke for public universities; and as the discussion grew warm, the king pulling the duke's gloves by the tips, succeeded in drawing them off and placing them on the table, whereupon the duke put them on again without interrupting the conversation, while the king set himself to work just as steadily to remove them. The ancien régime did not wear gloves in-doors, the fashion was introduced from England. Talking of the princes of the Orleans family, we are told that the Duke d'Aumale is engaged upon a history of the Condés, whose curious and important archives he inherited.
Louis Philippe and his son, the young Duke of Orleans, appear, from specimens of their correspondence given by Dr. Véron, to have been fond of introducing a few words of English, just as many English affect to interlard their correspondence and conversation with French. Some of these little sentences are characteristic specimens of the Anglo-Franc language. We have, for example, Louis Philippe writing, à propos of the Spanish marriages, “If so, then tel it be so." And in the same letter we have “pugnant with evil.” We do not select these ; they are the only two. The young
Duke of Orleans is made to write “ tout le monde est very good spirits.” Most likely the mistakes are Dr. Véron's.
Louis Philippe, we are told by the same authority, never read a French newspaper. The political appreciation by the English papers of his government alone excited his curiosity, and often aroused his indignation. “ What would it be,” said one of his ministers to him one day, “if you were to read the French papers ?”
The Citizen King appears to have been very absent at times. M. Martin du Nord was presenting one day, at Eu, a batch of justices and solicitor-generals who had been recently appointed, and came to be sworn in. Among them was M. de Montfort, first-cousin to M. Laplagne, minister of finances, who had been appointed solicitor-general at Nîmes. On advancing towards the king—“Well,” inquired Louis Philippe, “how is the cold?”
M. de Montfort, astonished at the interest taken by the king in his health, answered that it was nothing. “Eh! eh !” said the king, “ I was frightened it might degenerate into whooping-cough.” Louis Philippe thought that he was speaking to Blache, the medical attendant on the princes, and was anxious about a slight cold which the Count de Paris was labouring under. Louis Philippe used often to repeat the words of Henry IV. : “Justice will be done to me only after my
death.” Dr. Véron writes in a spirit of just appreciation of the relations of the Bourgeoisie with a first Bourgeois king :
In our opinion the Bourgeoisie is, in politics, far too restless, too capricious an element, and too easily intimidated or duped, for any government to find
in it an intelligible, a durable, or a firm support. The bourgeois of Paris is, in the nineteenth century, just what he has always been : it is always the same Gallic, penetrating, bantering mind; quick in detecting errors, and ever ready to blame the faults or the follies of princes. The mind of the bourgeois of Paris is upon this point endowed with singular intuition ; he foresees, he predicts, and he seldom deceives himself.
In my childhood, in the midst of the gossip—not of saloons, but of the counter-I often heard it said at my father's, that Josephine was a providence, a protecting fairy to Napoleon, and as often was it prophesied that the divorce with Josephine would soon be the signal and the cause of incessant adversities.
During my youth, under the Restoration, the observing, judicious mind of the bourgeois of Paris, discerned with just appreciation the qualities of Louis XVIII., his common sense, and his prudence, and affirmed, without fear, that there could be no revolution under his rule ; but it was at the same time predicted openly many years before 1830, that the chivalrous, adventurous, distrustful, passionate character of Charles X., if he succeeded to the throne, would most assuredly make him lose his crown.
Neither did the bourgeois of Paris deceive himself, when he saw in the Princess Adelaide a courageous and skilful counsellor for Louis Philippe. By a combination of circumstances almost unexampled, her brother became an exile two months after her death.
It is that everything is known, everything is repeated in Paris ; curiosity is there especially directed to the private life of princes. Their tastes, their inclinations, even their most familiar habits are studied and spied into. Upon these data the bourgeois of Paris composes, draws, lays down all the outlines, all the sinuosities, all the prominent features of the characters of those who are called upon to reign, and practical moralist as he is, he concludes from these studies to what follies, and to what faults, those whom their birth or their situation arms with supreme power, will allow themselves to be carried away.
The bourgeois of Paris is less clear-sighted in respect to his own defects, he closes his eyes to his own evil inclinations, his capriciousness, his puerile vanity, his unreasonable exactions, as well as to all his other weaknesses.
The bourgeois of Paris, in his limited power, gives himself up to follies which become the pretext and the occasion of revolutionary days; he cries, half in fun, Vive la Charte ! he shouts, still laughing, Vive la Réforme! And next day he is surprised that, answering to his call, the populace, whose brutal hand breaks everything that it touches when it is aroused, is ready to upset all things, overthrow throne, government, and society, in the brief space of three days. Then the bourgeois of Paris becomes anxious, begins to despair, and swears at each successive revolution that he will never be caught again.
From the time of the Fronde, the bourgeois of Paris has only been the victim or the dupe of deep rascality, or of skilful ambition. Sometimes the bourgeois of Paris has allowed the camisole de force to be put on him, as in the days of la T'erreur, by a Robespierre or by a Marat; sometimes he has allowed himself to be duped as by a Cardinal de Retz or a Thiers. He allowed himself to be persuaded, under the Restoration, that all his liberties were to be taken from him.
And he began to shout Vive la Charte ! Under Louis Philippe, he allowed himself to be persuaded that he was living under a tyrant, and then he cried Vive la Réforme! Louis Philippe believed that his policy was repudiated, and his crown lost, when passing, the morning of the 24th of February, amid the ranks of the national guard, he no longer found in the bourgeois of Paris in uniform, gun on his shoulder, sword by his side, that enthusiasm, that devotion, which had for eighteen years upheld him on the throne. Yet power was with Louis Philippe especially modest and bourgeois. He honoured and esteemed before all things family ties; he wore a round hat, and carried an umbrella ; he occupied the least possible space ; he took the least assuming, the least offensive title. The_king called himself King of the French ; the power called itself Liberty, Public Order.