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Tallemant des Réaux relates that a Spaniard, seeing the King Louis XIII. take off his hat to several persons who were in the court of the Louvre, said to the Archbishop of Rouen, who was by his side : “ What! does your king take off his hat to his subjects?” “Yes," replied the archbishop, “he is


“Oh! the king, my master, knows much better how to keep his place : he only takes off his hat to the consecrated host, and that very much against his will."

What would this Spaniard have said had he seen King Louis Philippe taking off his hat, shaking hands with the people, and singing la Marseillaise. Such condescensions availed him, with so capricious a nation, as little as the bonhommie of Louis XVI., or the chivalry of Charles X., availed his predecessors.

M. Casimir Périer said, upon the occasion of General Lobau superseding La Fayette as commandant of the national guard : “Since we have a king citizen, we do not want a citizen king.”

A characteristic anecdote is told of this General Lobau. The Count de Montalivet went at two o'clock in the morning to the general who was in bed.

“General,” said the count, “La Fayette has given in his resignation; will you accept the command of the national guard of Paris ?”

"On no account.”
“But we expect an insurrection to-morrow.”
“ Then I accept; but let me sleep now !"
And now for the heroine of the fourth volume-Rachel.

It would be difficult to imagine anything more affected or fatuous than the manner in which the first appearance of this renowned actress is related. The idea of seeking for shade and solitude in a public theatre is essentially badaud—thoroughly Parisian—the apology for condescending to look towards the boards is purely Veronic. But the sight of this clever and accomplished young actress awakened what he calls “confused memories" in the mind of this know-all and everything of the capital of the civilised world. “By dint of interrogating my memory," he tells us, “ I realised the semblance of that singular physiognomy playing the part of la Vendéene at the Théâtre du Gymnase; I remembered, also, a young girl, poorly dressed, coarsely shod, who, when questioned in my presence, in the corridors of the theatre, as to what she was doing, replied to my great astonishment, in the most serious manner possible, Je poursuis mes études.' I detected in Mademoiselle Rachel this singular physiognomy of the Gymnase, and that young girl so poorly dressed who was pursuing her studies."

There is a singular want of generosity in this reminiscence of Rachel's early days. The reputation of one whom he professes to admire so much, and to love so warmly, ought to have been dear to the publicist as the apple of his eye. But it is a trifle to the revelations which follow:

Deeply are those to be pitied who in the arts do not know how either to detest or to admire : pictures, statues, monuments, singers, or players, I detest or I admire. The young Rachel astonished me; her talent roused all my passions. I hastened away to my friend Merle, whose tastes and literary impulses were like my own, to induce him to attend the early performances of her whom I already called my little prodigy. “ That child," I said to him, “ when the twelve or fifteen hundred select, who constitute public opinion in Paris, shall


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have heard her and judged her, will be the glory and fortune of the Comédie Française."

This was the very year that Dr. Véron had left the Opera, and his active mind had nothing to busy itself with for the moment but the success of the young tragedian. According to his own account of the new monomania, it led him, before asking his friends how they were when he met them, to say, “Have you seen her in `Horace,' or in - Andromaque?' Many whom I thus addressed did not know whom I was speaking about. This used to put me in a passion. I reproached them for their ignorance, and was not even sparing of abuse. The pleasures and the joys of my summer of 1838 were," he adds, “afterwards insured; my emotions as an habitué of the Théâtre Français would more than compensate me for the pleasures of the fields, the incidents and surprises of travel!"

Notwithstanding the enthusiasm, carried even to the abuse of those who were unacquainted with its object, Dr. Véron mournfully complains that June, and after it July, went by without many converts being made. It was in vain that Rachel played Camille, Emilie, Hermione, “the apostles of this new religion, of this new divinity, preached in a desert.” But in the month of August, notwithstanding the canicular heats, the débuts of Mademoiselle Rachel in the same parts were better attended. “When the theatre began to fill, I used to wipe my brow, and, turning round with a gaze of self-satisfaction, I used to say to myself, · Mademoiselle Rachel and I will triumph yet over the public. Here at least are some people who possess common sense.'

At length, in the month of October, the young tragedian played nine times : the poorest receipt (Monime in “ Mithridate") was 3669 francs 90 centimes. The receipts exceeded 6000 francs when she played Hermione ; "it was a complete victory, an astounding triumph.'

« Racine and Corneille,” says the enthusiastic publicist, were revived among us as in the great age of Louis XIV.; a passionate popularity encompassed the young tragedian and the old tragedy."

It is to be hoped that Rachel is duly sensible of her obligations to Dr. Véron. He it was who first discovered her genius ; he it was who first proclaimed it to his friend Merle and to the world at large; and he it was who chivalrously supported her débuts amidst canicular heats, and at the sacrifice of the fields and incidents of travel. It appears that all were not so clear-sighted as Dr. Véron :

When still very young, Mademoiselle Rachel, already on the lists of the Conservatoire, solicited private lessons from an artist, justly esteemed, and of known ability-M. Provost, secretary to the Comédie Française. At the sight of this poor girl, frail and delicate, he said, “ Child, go and sell flowers."'Young · Hermione took her revenge in after times for this contemptuous estimate of her resources made by an artist and bad prophet. The theatre was crowded, all the boxes were filled with fashionable people. Mademoiselle Rachel was playing Hermione. Enthusiastically applauded, called back with frenzy, she hastened, while the curtain was down, to fill her Greek tunic with the flowers that had been thrown on the stage ; thus loaded, she went up to the man who had counselled her to sell flowers, and kneeling with the most enchanting coquetry; “I have followed your advice, M. Provost,” she said ; " I sell flowers.' will you buy some of me?" The learned professor raised the young artist with a smile, and expressed bis satisfaction at having been so completely deceived.

The reputation of Mademoiselle Rachel soon extended from the arena of competent judges, and from the “fine flower” of the aristocracy to the mass of the public. Rachel in her earlier days added a success of youth and attractive beauty to her naturally great abilities.

Nothing was spoken of, both in great and small publications, but of the luminous and charming star, casting its flood of light over the grey and cold heaven of tragedy, and of the Théâtre Français. Merle, and J. Janin, by their enthusiastic praise, gave titles of nobility to this young actress. Every one tried more than another to envelop the young

artist with the most romantic interest, by relating her miseries and her sufferings during her wandering life as a child. The arts vied in illustrations of this favourite of the tragic muse; nothing was seen but Rachels in lithography, in painting, and in statuettes.

Great names and large fortunes take a pleasure in playing the part of Mecænas to rising talent. It became a matter of fashion and luxury to have the " savage Hermioneat every soirée. She soon reckoned among her friends, loading her with kindnesses and presents, the greatest persons of Spain, at that time in Paris : the Duchess of Berwick and of Alba, the beautiful Marchioness of Alcanicès, the Princess d’Anglona, the Countess of Toreno and her sister Mademoiselle Incarnacion, M. de Roca de Togares, now Marquis de Molins, the Marquis de Los Llanos, &c. The family of Noailles received her in the morning. The Duke of Noailles became her assiduous adviser; he often passed whole evenings with her alone in literary conversation and paternal intimacies.

The Countess Duchâtel was as passionately fond of the seductive child of Melpomene, as her grandfather had been before her of Mademoiselle Duchesnois ; she was never happy but when Mademoiselle Rachel was seated at her table or in her saloons. Count Duchâtel, minister of state, gave her a “coquettish library" of French classics and works of morality.

The réunions and literary parties of Madame Récamier at the Abbayeaux-Bois were not complete without Mademoiselle Rachel; she managed to please and to charm even by the side of that distinguished lady, who, without fortune, having no longer the graces of youth, still knew how to preserve the friendship

of the illustrious, and gathered together in a room in a convent the most polished society of the day to converse upon literary topics, or to listen to a chapter of the "Mémoires d'OutreTombe," written the previous evening. The young actress astonished and charmed the little literary church of the Abbey in the Wood, " by her air of chastity and mystical purity.”

On the occasion of one of these literary mornings, which were often renewed at l'Abbaye-aux-Bois, Mademoiselle Rachel had been requested by Madame Récamier to repeat before M. de Châteaubriand a few scenes from the part of Pauline, in “Polyeucte :"

Mon épouse, en mourant, m'a laissé ses lumières;
Son sang, dont tes bourreaux viennent de me couvrir,
M'a désillé les yeux, et me les vient d'ouvrir:

Je vois, je sais, je crois !
The scene was at this moment interrupted by an unexpected visit; the
Archbishop of was announced.

“ Monseigneur," said Madame Récamier, a little embarrassed, “allow me to present Mademoiselle Rachel to you ; she was kind enough to repeat before us a scene from Polyeucte.''

" I should be grieved beyond description," replied the august prelate, “ to

interrupt the fine verses of Corneille.” But from scruples full of delicacy Mademoiselle Rachel declined to continue the part of Pauline before the archbishop. She would not exclaim as if she was converted to Christianity“ Je vois, je sais, je crois !" and thus lie in the presence of a minister of the Catholic Church.

“ If monseigneur will permit me,” she said, in a most respectful and graceful manner, “I will recite some verses from •Esther.'” She thus remained, thanks to the work penned by Racine for the demoiselles de Saint Cyr, faithful to the Jewish religion.

When Mademoiselle Rachel had concluded, the archbishop praised her highly. “We priests of the Lord,” he said, “ have not often the pleasure of coming near great artists. I shall, however, have twice had that good luck in my lifetime. At Florence I heard Madame Malibran at a private party, and I shall now owe to Madame Récamier the pleasure of having heard Mademoiselle Rachel. In order to utter as she does such noble verses, she must feel all the sentiments that they express." Mademoiselle Rachel made a most charming obeisance, and answ

swered, her eyes lowered, but with firmness, “ Monseigneur, je crois !"

The young tragedian exhibited in this unanticipated position wit and taste enough to enchant an archbishop.

It would never have done for Dr. Véron not to number himself among the Mecænases of the fashionable world, “the fine flowers of aristocracy,” and entertain the rising genius féted by the noble and the rich.

In the month of October, 1838, he relates—“I occnpied une vaste rez-dechaussée, with a garden in the rue Taitbout. My friends persuaded me to give a ball to my old pensionnaires of the opera. Mesdames Taglioni, Falcon, Elssler, and Dumilâtre were there, with Mesdemoiselles Mars, Rose Dupuis, and Dupont, at this festival of artists. One of my literary friends, a frequenter of the coulisses at the Théâtre Français, had undertaken to invite in my name Mademoiselle Rachel, M. Samson, her tutor, and Madame Félix, her mother. The young tragedian, who, to believe her, put her foot for the first time dans un salon, excited the most sympathising surprise at her entrance. She was dressed in white, without a flower or a trinket. In the world and the intimacy of society the tragic mask of Mademoiselle Rachel is replaced by the most graceful and smiling physiognomy. Hermione' was wonderful in tact, in talent, and in manner. *Hermione' did not dance."

That society, Dr. Véron remarks, which afterwards exaggerated the weaknesses of the woman, and accused her of unpardonable errors, would only see in her, in the morning of her celebrity, virtues, a pure heart, a heart incapable of evil thoughts, or of those strong passions which she knew, they used to say, so well how to depict, without herself feeling them.

When still very young, Mademoiselle Rachel became a pupil in music at the school of Choron. Her intelligence caused her to be distinguished by her master. “What is your name, my little dear ?" inquired of her one day Choron, whose school for religious music was subsidised by the state under the Restoration. “ Elizabeth Rachel,” was the answer. “ That name of Rachel won't do for our exercises of Christian piety. You must call yourself Eliza.” The tragedian that was to be, had already a contralto voice. “ You will only find parts for your voice, my dear child, in the Italian Opera," added Choron. She soon gave up the study of music. A retired actor of the Théâtre Français, who had never made himself a reputation, M. Saint-Aulaire, kept a school for elocution, and he adopted Mademoiselle Rachel as a pupil, also when still almost a child. He used to call her ma petite diablesse.


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As a mere child also, Rachel used to take parts in private theatricals, of all kinds—male and female-in comedy or tragedy. Dr. Véron says he is not sure if she was not much run after as a mere girl at the Théâtre Molière, under the name of “the little Eliza.” M. Poirson, who gave “La Vendéenne” at the Gymnase for her debut, said, in his turn: * This name of Eliza won't do for a play-bill. Have you no other name?” “My name is Elizabeth Rachel." “ Ah! that will do: Rachel ! that is a name one remembers, and that does not belong to every one. For the future you will call yourself Rachel.” The choice of a name is more important than is generally imagined for success on the stage. Poirson recommended her to enter upon a serious course of study, and predicted great success for her in tragedy. The young artist then placed herself under the exclusive direction of M. Samson, professor at the Conservatoire. M. Véron remarks upon this, that no doubt the teaching of

. M. Samson must have been eminently useful to the young tragedian, but certain it is also that only one Rachel came forth from the well-attended classes of the distinguished professor. While it is certain that Mademoiselle Rachel studied her parts assiduously, still M. Véron justly insists that her successes have depended more upon natural gifts than upon study of her art.

Nature (he says) has endowed Mademoiselle Rachel with all the gifts necessary for excellence. Her voice has both volume and power; it is susceptible of a variety of inflexions; she knows how to express fury without sbrieking or squeaking. There is no vicious pronunciation ; her lips and mouth are beautifully adapted for a correct and perfect articulation. There exists an harmonious distance between the tip of the ear, which is well curved and small, and the curve of the shoulder; all the movements of the head derive dignity and elegance from this. In stature she is above the mean, supple and thin. Since her débuts and her improved means, Mademoiselle Rachel has, however, gained flesh. Her feet and hands are delicately attached to her body; her step is noble and proud. Her breast alone is narrow and poor. See Mademoiselle Rachel in the midst of other young ladies, even of high birth, and she is at once to be distinguished by the natural dignity and nobility of her manners : successu patuit dea. It would be impossible for her to make a movement, to take a place, or assume an attitude that is awkward or unbecoming. She dresses with a marvellous art, and on the stage, slie shows that she has made an intelligent study of antique statuary.

Her tragic physiognomy is capable of expressing despair, pride, irony, and disdain-disdain, that arm of as powerful effect in theatrical as it is in oratorical art.

Wedo not write in the language of a mere courtier or fatterer. We discuss with equity a distinguished talent. On that account we must add our conviction, that Mademoiselle Rachel makes up for a great quality in which she is deficient, by her art, her skill, and her charms. A greater amount of sensibility might justly be demanded from her in some of her parts; she gives life to every word, every gesture, every look in the expression of violent passions, but her heart little knows how to depict and express tenderness or love. The great talent of the artist often fails when she has to paint the grief of the heart. In her tragic play the afflictions of the mind become the expression of physical pain, and she jerks her utterance, agitates herself, and throws herself convulsively about. Thus it is she represents antique grief and pagan sorrows. That which comes from the heart is spoken with more depth, greater simplicity; the voice alone is the passionate and sympathetic interpreter of the joys and the tortures of the soul. It is not without reason that it has been said of more than one great tragedian : “ She has tears in her voice." Champmeslé, Adrienne Lecouvreur,

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