The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Stones of Paris in History and Letters, Volume 1 (of 2)

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Title: The Stones of Paris in History and Letters, Volume 1 (of 2)

Author: Benjamin Ellis Martin

Charlotte M. Martin

Release date: January 25, 2013 [eBook #41914]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Melissa McDaniel and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)


Transcriber's Note:

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation in the original document have been preserved.

On page 153, "corrival" should possibly be "co-rival".

On page 201, "Que ne fut rien" should possibly be "Qui ne fut rien".

On page 269, the phrase "with a strange, most ponderous, yet delicate expression in the big, dull-glowing black eyes and it" possibly contains a typo.





Vol. I



Copyright, 1899, by







Three Time-worn Staircases 11
The Scholars' Quarter of the Middle Ages 73
Molière and his Friends 103
From Voltaire to Beaumarchais 191
The Paris of the Revolution 221


From drawings by John Fulleylove, Esq. The portraits from photographs by Messrs. Braun, Clément et Cie.

Molière (from the portrait by Mignard in the Musée Condé, at Chantilly) Frontispiece
The so-called Hôtel de la Reine Blanche (from a photograph of the Commission du Vieux Paris) facing 28
Balcony of the Hôtel de Lauzun-Pimodan, on Île Saint-Louis 47
"Jean-sans-Peur," Duc de Bourgogne (from a painting by an unknown artist, at Chantilly) facing 56
The Tower of "Jean-sans-Peur" 70
The Church of Saint-Séverin facing 74
Rue Hautefeuille, a Survivor of the Scholars' Quarter 81
The Interior of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre facing 82
Pierre de Ronsard (from a drawing by an unknown artist, in a private collection) facing 88
Balcony over the Entrance of the Cour du Dragon 92
Clément Marot (from the portrait by Porbus le Jeune, in a private collection) facing 94
René Descartes (from the portrait by Franz Hals, in the Musée du Louvre) facing 100
The Stage Door of Molière's Second Theatre in Paris 114
The Stamp of the Comédie Française 121
The Molière Fountain facing 128
The Door of Corneille's Last Dwelling (from a drawing by Robert Delafontaine, by permission of M. Victorien Sardou) facing 142
Pierre Corneille (from the portrait by Charles Lebrun) facing 148 x
Rue Visconti. On the right is the Hôtel de Ranes, and in the distance is No. 13 facing 160
La Fontaine (from the portrait by Rigaud-y-Ros) facing 176
Boileau-Despréaux (from the portrait by Largillière) facing 184
Voltaire (from the statue by Houdon in the foyer of the Comédie Française) facing 192
The Hôtel Lambert 198
The Seventeenth-century Buildings on Quai Malaquais, with the Institute and the Statue of Voltaire facing 212
Charlotte Corday (from the copy by Baudry of the only authentic portrait, painted in her prison) facing 222
The Refectory of the Cordeliers facing 230
The Carré d'Atalante in the Tuileries Gardens 236
The Girlhood Home of Madame Roland facing 244
No. 13 Quai Conti 258
Monogram from the former entrance of the Cour du Commerce, believed to be the initials of the owner, one Girardot (from a drawing by Robert Delafontaine, by permission of M. Victorien Sardou) 269



This book has been written for those who seek in Paris something more than a city of shows or a huge bazaar, something better than the cabaret wherein François I. found entertainment, and yet not quite—still in Hugo's phrase—the library that Charles V. esteemed it. There are many lovers of this beautiful capital of a great people, who, knowing well her unconcealed attractions, would search out her records and traditions in stone, hidden and hard to find. This legitimate curiosity grows more eager with the increasing difficulties of gratifying it in that ancient Paris that is vanishing day by day; and, in its bewilderment, it may be glad to find congenial guidance in these pages. In them, no attempt is made to destroy that which is new in order to reconstruct what was old. In telling the stories of those monuments of past ages that are visible and tangible, reference is made only to so much of their perished approaches and neighbors as shall suffice for full realization of the significance of all that we are to see. This significance is given mainly by the former dwellers within these walls. We shall concern ourselves with the human document, illustrated by its surroundings. The student of history can find no more suggestive relics of mediæval Paris than the still existing towers 2 and fragments of the wall of Philippe-Auguste, which shall be shown to him; for us, these stones must be made to speak, not so essentially of their mighty builder as of the common people, who moved about within that enclosure and gave it character. In like manner, the walls, which have sheltered soldiers, statesmen, preachers, teachers, workers in art and letters, illustrious men and women of all sorts and conditions, will take on the personality of these impressive presences. When we stand beneath the roof of that favorite personage in history, that spoiled child of romance, who happens to be dear to each one of us, we are brought into touch with him as with a living fellow-creature. The streets of Paris are alive with these sympathetic companions, who become abiding friends, as we stroll with them; and allow none of the ache, confessed to be felt in such scenes, despite her reasoning, by Madame de Sévigné. Nor do they invite, here, any critical review of their work in life, but consent to scrutiny of their lineaments alone, and to an appreciation of their personal impress on their contemporaries and on us. So that essays on themes, historic, literary, artistic, can find no place in this record. Indeed, labor and time have been expended "in hindering it from being ... swollen out of shape by superfluous details, defaced with dilettanti antiquarianisms, nugatory tag-rags, and, in short, turned away from its real uses, instead of furthered toward them." In this sense, at least, the authors can say in Montaigne's words, "ceci est un livre de bonne foy." 3

In this presentation of people and places it has been difficult, sometimes impossible, to keep due sequence both of chronology and topography. Just as Mr. Theodore Andrea Cook found in the various châteaux of his admirable "Old Touraine," so each spot we shall visit in Paris "has some particular event, some especial visitor, whose importance overshadows every other memory connected with the place." With that event or that visitor we must needs busy ourselves, without immediate regard to other dates or other personages. Again, to keep in sight some conspicuous figure, as he goes, we must leave on one side certain memorable scenes, to which we shall come back. Each plan has been pursued in turn, as has seemed desirable, for the sake of the clearness and accuracy, which have been considered above all else. The whole value of such records as are here presented depends on the preliminary researches. In the doing of this, thousands of books and pamphlets and articles have been read, hundreds of people have been questioned, scores of miles have been tramped. Oldest archives and maps have been consulted, newest newspaper clippings have not been disregarded. Nothing has been thought too heavy or too light that would help to give a characteristic line or a touch of native color. A third volume would be needed to enumerate the authorities called on and compared. Nor has any statement of any one of these authorities been accepted without ample investigation; and every assertion has been subjected to all the proof that it was possible to procure. Those countless 4 errors have been run to earth which have been started so often by the carelessness of an early writer, and ever since kept alive by lazy copiers and random compilers. These processes of sifting are necessarily omitted for lack of space, and the wrought-out results alone are shown. If the authors dare not hope that they have avoided errors on their own part, they may hope for indulgent correction of such as may have crept in, for all their vigilance.

It is easier, to-day, to put one's hand on the Paris of the sixteenth century than on that of the eighteenth century. In those remoter days changes were slow to come, and those older stones have been left often untouched. A curious instance of that aforetime leisureliness is seen in the working of the ordonnance issued on May 14, 1554, by Henri II. for the clearing away of certain encroachments made on the streets by buildings and by business, notably on Rue de la Ferronerie; that street being one of those used "for our way from our royal château of the Louvre to our château of the Tournelles." It was fifty-six years later, to the very day, that the stabbing of Henri IV. was made easy to Ravaillac, by the stoppage of the king's carriage in the blockade of that narrow street, its obstructions not yet swept out, in absolute disregard of the edict. From the death of the royal mason, Charles V., who gave a new face and a new figure to his Paris, to the coming of Henri IV., who had in him the makings of a kingly constructor, but who was hindered by the necessary destruction of his wars, there were two centuries of steady growth of the 5 town outward, on all sides, with only slight alterations of its interior quarters. Many of these were transformed, many new quarters were created, by Louis XIII., thus realizing his father's frustrated plans. Richelieu was able to widen some streets, and Colbert tried to carry on the work, but Louis XIV. had no liking for his capital, and no money to waste for its bettering. His stage-subject's civic pride was unduly swollen, when he said: "À cette époque, la grande ville du roi Henri n'était pas ce qu'elle est aujourd'hui."

At the beginning of the eighteenth century we find Paris divided into twenty quarters, in none of which was there any numbering of the houses. The streets then got their names from their mansions of the nobility, from their vast monasteries and convents, from their special industries and shops. These latter names survive in our Paris as they survive in modern London. The high-swinging street lanterns, that came into use in 1745, served for directions to the neighboring houses, as did the private lanterns hung outside the better dwellings. Toward the middle of that century the city almanacs began a casual numbering of the houses in their lists, and soon this was found to be such a convenience that the householders painted numbers on or beside their doors. Not before 1789 was there any organized or official numbering, and this was speedily brought to naught during the Revolution, either because it was too simple or because it was already established. To this day, the first symptom of a local or national upheaval, and the latest sign of its ending, are the ladder and 6 paint-pot in the streets of Paris. Names that recall to the popular eye recently discredited celebrities or humiliating events, are brushed out, and the newest favorites of the populace are painted in.

The forty-eight sections into which the Revolution divided the city changed many street names, of section, and renumbered all the houses. Each lunatic section, quite sure of its sanity, made this new numbering of its own dwellings with a cheerful and aggressive disregard of the adjoining sections; beginning arbitrarily at a point within its boundary, going straight along through its streets, and ending at the farthest house on the edge of its limits. So, a house might be No. 1187 of its section, and its next-door neighbor might be No. 1 of the section alongside. In a street that ran through several sections there would be more than one house of the same number, each belonging to a different section. "Encore un Tableau de Paris" was published in 1800 by one Henrion, who complains that he passed three numbers 42 in Rue Saint-Denis before he came to the 42 that he wanted. The decree of February 7, 1805, gave back to the streets many of their former names, and ordered the numbering, admirably uniform and intelligible, still in use—even numbers on one side of the street, odd numbers on the other side, both beginning at the eastern end of the streets that run parallel with the Seine, and at the river end of the streets going north and south. For the topographer all these changes have brought incoherence to the records, have paralyzed research, and crippled accuracy. In addition, 7 during the latter half of the nineteenth century, many old streets have been curtailed or lengthened, carried along into new streets, or entirely suppressed and built over. Indeed, it is substantially the nineteenth century that has given us the Paris that we best know; begun by the great Emperor, it was continued by the crown on top of the cotton night-cap of Louis-Philippe, and admirably elaborated, albeit to the tune of the cynical fiddling of the Second Empire. The Republic of our day still wields the pick-axe, and demolition and reconstruction have been going on ruthlessly. Such of these changes as are useful and guiltless are now intelligently watched; such of them as are needlessly destructive may be stopped in part by the admirable Commission du Vieux Paris. The members of this significant body, which was organized in December, 1897, are picked men from the Municipal Council, from the official committees of Parisian Inscriptions, and of Historic Works, from private associations and private citizens, all earnest and enthusiastic for the preservation of their city's monuments that are memorable for architectural worth or historic suggestion. Where they are unable to save to the sight what is ancient and picturesque, they save to the memory by records, drawings, and photographs. The "Procès Verbal" of this Commission, issued monthly, contains its illustrated reports, discussions, and correspondence, and promises to become an historic document of inestimable value.

The words rue and place, as well as their attendant 8 names, have been retained in the French, as the only escape from the confusion of a double translation, first here, and then back to the original by the sight-seer. The definite article, that usually precedes these words, has been suppressed, in all cases, because it seems an awkward and needless reiteration. Nor are French men and French women disguised under translated titles. If Macaulay had been consistent in his misguided Briticism that turned Louis into Lewis, and had carried out that scheme to its logical end in every case, he would have given us a ludicrous nomenclature. "Bottin" is used in these pages as it is used in Paris, to designate the city directory: which was issued, first, in a tiny volume, in 1796, by the publisher Bottin, and has kept his name with its enormous growth through the century.

The word hôtel has here solely its original significance of a town house of the noble or the wealthy. In the sense of our modern usage of the word it had no place in old Paris. Already in the seventeenth century there were auberges for common wayfarers, and here and there an hôtellerie for the traveller of better class. During the absences of the owners of grand city mansions, their maîtres-d'hôtel were allowed to let them to accredited visitors to the capital, who brought their own retinue and demanded only shelter. When they came with no train, so that service had to be supplied, it was "charged in the bill," and that objectionable item, thus instituted, has been handed down to shock us in the hôtel-garni of our time. With the emigration of 9 the nobility, their stewards and chefs lost place and pay, and found both once more in the public hotels they then started. No hôtels-garnis can be found in Paris of earlier date than the Revolution.

In their explorations into the libraries, bureaus, museums, and streets of Paris, the authors have met with countless kindnesses. The unlettered concierge who guards an historic house is proud of its traditions, or, if ignorant of them, as may chance, will listen to the tale with a courtesy that simulates sympathy. The exceptions to this general amenity have been few and ludicrous, and mostly the outcome of exasperation caused by the ceaseless questioning of foreigners. The concierge of Châteaubriand's last home, in Rue du Bac, considers a flourish of the wet broom, with which he is washing his court, a fitting rejoinder to the inquiring visitor. That visitor will find Balzac's Passy residence as impossible of entrance now as it was to his creditors. The unique inner court of the Hôtel de Beauvais must be seen from the outer vestibule, admission being refused by a surly concierge under orders from an ungenerous owner. The urbanity of the noble tenant of the mansion built over the grave of Adrienne Lecouvreur is unequal to the task of answering civil inquiries sent in stamped envelopes. All these are but shadows in the pervading sunshine of Parisian good-breeding. In making this acknowledgment to the many who must necessarily remain unnamed, the authors wish to record their recognition of the sympathetic counsel of Mlle. Blanche Taylor, of Paris, and of George H. Birch, 10 Esq., Curator of the Soane Museum, London. Cordial thanks are especially given to the officials of the Hôtel de Ville, in the bureau of the Conservation du Plan de Paris, to M. Charles Sellier of the Musée Carnavalet, to M. Monval, Librarian of the Comédie Française, to M. G. Lenôtre, and to M. Victorien Sardou, for unmeasured aid of all sorts, prompted by a disinterestedness that welcomes the importunate fellow-worker, and makes him forget that he is a stranger and a foreigner. 11




We are to see a Paris unknown to the every-day dweller there, who is content to tread, in wearied idleness, his swarming yet empty boulevards; a Paris unseen by the hurried visitor, anxious to go his round of dutiful sight-seeing. This Paris is far away from the crowd, bustling in pursuit of pleasure, and hustling in pursuit of leisure; out of sound of the teasing clatter of cab-wheels, and the tormenting toot of tram-horns, and the petulant snapping of whips; out of sight of to-day's pretentious structures and pompous monuments. To find this Paris we must explore remote quarters, lose ourselves in untrodden streets, coast along the alluring curves of the quays, cruise for sequestered islands behind the multitudinous streams of traffic. We shall not push ahead just to get somewhere, nor restlessly "rush in to peer and praise." We shall learn to flâner, not without object, but with art and conscience; to saunter, in the sense of that word, humorously derived by Thoreau from Sainte-Terre, and so transform ourselves into pilgrims to the spots sacred in history and legend, in art and literature. In a word, if you go with us, you are to become Sentimental Prowlers. 14

In this guise, we shall not know the taste of Parisine, a delectable poison, more subtle than nicotine or strychnine, in the belief of Nestor Roqueplan, that modern Voltaire of the boulevards. And we shall not share "the unwholesome passion" for his Paris, to which François Coppée owns himself a victim. Nor, on the other hand, shall we find "an insipid pleasure" in this adventure, as did Voltaire. Yet even he confesses, elsewhere, that one would "rather have details about Racine and Despréaux, Bossuet and Descartes, than about the battle of Steinkerk. There is nothing left but the names of the men who led battalions and squadrons. There is no return to the human race for one hundred engagements, but the great men I have spoken of prepared pure and lasting pleasures for mortals still unborn." It is in this spirit that we start, sure of seeking an unworn sentiment, and of finding an undraggled delight, in the scenes which have inspired, and have been inspired by, famous men and women. Their days, their ways, they themselves as they moved and worked, are made alive for us once more by their surroundings. Where these have been disturbed by improvements, "more fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea," we get curious suggestions from some forgotten name cut in the stone of a street corner, from a chance-saved sign, a neglected tourelle, or a bit of battered carving. And where the modern despoiler has wreaked himself at his worst—as with the Paris of Marot, Rabelais, Palissy—we may rub the magic ring of the archæologist, which brings instant reconstruction. So that we 15 shall seem to be walking in a vast gallery, where, in the words of Cicero, at each step we tread on a memory. "For, indeed," as it is well put by John Ruskin, "the greatest glory of a building is not in its stones, or in its gold. Its glory is in its age, and in that deep sense of voicefulness, of stern watching, of mysterious sympathy, nay, even of approval or condemnation, which we feel in walls that have long been washed by the passing waves of humanity."

These stone and brick vestiges of the people of old Paris are to be sought in its byways, narrow and winding; or hidden behind those broad boulevards, that have newly opened up its distant quarters, on the north or on the south. Sometimes these monuments have been brought into full view across the grassed or gravelled spaces of recent creation, so showing their complete and unmarred glory for the first time in all the ages. Thus we may now look on Notre-Dame and the Sainte-Chapelle, in dreamy surrender to their bedimmed beauty, that persuades us that Paris can hold nothing in reserve more reverend in comely old age. Yet, almost within touch of these two, stands a gray tower, another sturdy survivor of the centuries. Between the northern side of Notre-Dame and the river-bank, a happy chance has spared some few of the streets, though fewer of the structures, of this earliest Paris of Île de la Cité. This region recalls to us, by its street-names in part, and partly by its buildings, its former connection with the cathedral. In Rue des Chantres it lodged its choristers, and Rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame 16 records the site of the clerical settlement, beloved by Boileau, wherein dwelt its higher officials. Rue Chanoinesse has its significance, too, and we will stop before the wide frontage of differing ages, whose two entrances, Nos. 18 and 20, open into the large courts of two mansions, now thrown into one. This interior court was a garden until of late years, and while grass and flowers are gone forever, it keeps its ancient well in the centre and its stone steps that mounted to the salons. Those salons, and the large court, and the smaller courts beyond—all these courts now roofed over with glass—are piled high with every known shape of household furniture and utensil in metal; notably with the iron garden-chairs and tables, dear to the French. For this vast enclosure is the storage dépôt of a famous house-furnishing firm, and is one more instance of the many in Paris of a grand old mansion and its dependencies given over to trade.

By the courtesy of those in charge, we may pass within the spacious stone entrance arch of No. 18, and pick our way through the ordered confusion, past the admirable inner façade of the main fabric, with its stately steps and portal and its windows above, topped by tiny hoods, to a distant corner; where, in the gloom, we make out the base of a square tower and the foot of a corkscrew staircase. We mount it, spirally and slowly. The well-worn stone steps are narrow, and the turn of the spiral is sharp, for this tower was built when homes were fortresses, when space was precious, and when hundreds huddled within walls that will hardly hold 17 one thriving establishment of our day. In this steep ascent, we get scant assistance from our hold on the rude hand-rail, roughly grooved in the great central column—one solid tree-trunk, embedded in the ground, stretching to the top of the stairs. Experts assure us that this tree was fully five hundred years old, when it was cut down to be made the shaft of this stairway, nearly five hundred years ago. For this stone tower is evidently of late fifteenth-century construction. The mediæval towers were round, whether built upon their own foundations or rebuilt from Roman towers; and they gave way to square towers when battering-rams gave way to guns, in the fifteenth century. Yet this pile of masonry is known as "la tour de Dagobert," and with no wish to discredit this legend, cherished by the dwellers in this quarter, we may quote Brantôme concerning certain local traditions of the Tour de Nesle: "Je ne puis dire si çela soit vrai, mais le vulgaire de Paris l'affirme."

We can say, with certainty, that this tower was never seen by Dagobert, for, long before this tree had sprouted from the ground, he lived in the old Palace, the home of the early kings, at the other end of the island. There he flourished, for the ten years between 628 and 638, in coarse splendor and coarser conviviality, his palace packed with barbaric gold and silver, with crude wall paintings and curious hangings. For this monarch made much of the arts of his day, whenever he found leisure from his fighting and his drinking. Because of his love of luxury, a century of cyclopædias 18 has "curved a contumelious lip" at his "corrupt court." On the other hand, he has been styled "Saint Dagobert" by writers unduly moved to emotion by his gifts to the churches at Saint-Denis, Rheims, Tours; and by his friendship for certain bishops. But Rome, mindful of sundry other churches plundered and destroyed by him, has not assented to this saintship. We may accept his apt popular epithet, "le bon," which meant, in those bellicose days, only merry or jovial; an easy virtue not to be denied by priggish biographers to this genial ruffian. By turns, he devoted himself to the flowing bowl in his palace there, and to building religious edifices all over the face of France. And he has accentuated the supremacy of the Church over all the warriors and the rulers of his day, in the soaring majesty of the two towers that dominate the buried outlines of his favorite church of Saint-Martin at Tours, solid and lasting in their isolation. There the man is brought almost into touch with us, while here only his name is recalled by this tower, which he never saw.

The shadow-land of ancient French history, into which we have made this little journey, is not darker than this narrow staircase, as we creep dizzily upward, losing count of steps, stopping to take breath at the infrequent windows, round-topped at first, then square and small. It is with surprise that we realize, stepping out on the tower-roof, that our standing-place is only five floors from the ground; and yet from this modest height, overtopped by the ordinary apartment house of 19 Paris, we find an outlook that is unequalled even by that from Notre-Dame's towers. For, as we come out from the sheltering hood of our stair-way top, the great cathedral itself lies before us, like some beautiful living creature outstretched at rest. Words are impertinent in face of the tranquil strength of its bulk and the exquisite delicacy of its lines, and we find refuge in the affectionate phrase of Mr. Henry James, "The dear old thing!"

Beyond the cathedral square, over the bronze Charlemagne on his bronze horse, glints the untravelled narrower arm of the Seine; we turn our heads and look at its broader surface, all astir with little fidgetty bateaux-mouches and big, sedate barges. At both banks are anchored huge wash-houses and bathing establishments. From this island-centre all Paris spreads away to its low encircling slopes, to the brim of the shallow bowl in which it lies. In sharp contrast with all that newness, our old tower stands hemmed about by a medley of roofs of all shapes and all ages; their red tiles of past style, here and there, agreeably mellowing the dull dominant blue of the Paris slate. On these roofs below jut out dormers, armed with odd wheels and chains for lifting odd burdens; here on one side is an outer staircase that starts in vague shadow, and ends nowhere, it would seem; far down glimmers the opaque gray of the glass-covered courts at our feet. A little toward the north—where was an entrance to this court, in old days, from a gateway on the river-bank—is the roof that sheltered Racine, along with the legal gentry 20 of the Hôtel des Ursins. And all about us, below, lies the little that is left of la Cité, the swept and set-in-order leavings of that ancient network of narrow streets, winding passages, blind alleys, all walled about by tall, scowling houses, leaning unwillingly against one another to save themselves from falling. This was the whole of Gallic Lutetia, the centre of Roman Lutetia, the heart of mediæval Paris, the "Alsatia" of modern Paris; surviving almost to our time, when the Second Empire let light and air into its pestilent corners. Every foot of this ground has its history. Down there, Villon, sneaking from the University precincts, stole and starved and sang; there Quasimodo, climbing down from his tower, foraged for his scant supplies; there Sue's impossibly dark villany and equally impossible virtue found fitting stage-setting; there, François, honest and engaging thief, slipped narrowly through the snares that encompassed even vagabonds, in the suspicious days and nights of the Terror.

The nineteenth century, cutting its clean way through this sinister quarter, cutting away with impartial spade the round dozen churches and the hundreds of houses that made their parishes, all clustered close about the cathedral and the palace, has happily left untouched this gray tower, built when or for what no one knows. It is a part of all that it has seen, in its sightless way, through the changing centuries of steady growth and of transient mutilation of its town. It has seen its own island and the lesser islands up-stream gradually alter their 21 shapes; this island of the city lengthening itself, by reaching out for the two low-shored grassy eyots down-stream, where now is Place Dauphine and where sits Henri IV. on his horse. The narrow channel between, that gave access to the water-gate of the old Palace, has been filled in, so making one island of the three, and Rue de Harlay-au-Palais covers the joining line. So the two islands on the east—Île Notre-Dame and Île aux Vaches—have united their shores to make Île Saint-Louis. The third island, most easterly of all—Île des Javiaux of earliest times, known later as Île Louvier—has been glued to the northern bank of the mainland, by the earthing-in of the thin arm of the river, along the line of present Boulevard Morland, and Quai Henri IV. And the two great islands as we know them—the permanent outcome of all these topographical transformations—have been chained to each other and to both banks, by numerous beautiful bridges.

Our tower raised its head in time to see the gradual wearing away of the mighty Roman aqueduct, that brought water to the Palais des Thermes of the Roman rulers—whose immense frigidarium is safe and sound within the enclosure of the Cluny Museum—from the Bièvre, away off on the southern outskirts. This aqueduct started at the point where later was built the village of Arceuil—named from the mediæval, or late, Latin Arculi—where was quarried the best stone that builded old Paris; and curved with the valley of the Bièvre like a huge railway viaduct, leaving that stream when it bent in its course to the Seine near the Salpêtrière, 22 and entering the town along the easterly line of Rue Saint-Jacques, and so straight away to the baths. This tower well remembers the new aqueduct, constructed massively on the ruins of the Roman, between 1613 and 1633, from Rungis, still farther south, to the Luxembourg Palace. Imperial and royal baths must have pure water, while wells and rivers must perforce content the townspeople. They had their aqueduct at last, however, laid, still along the top of these others, during the Second Empire. It is worth the little trip by rail to Arceuil to see the huge arches that climb along the valley carrying these piled-up conduits.

Our old tower has seen the baby town creep, from its cradle on the shore, up that southern slope to where on its summit it found the tomb of its patron, Sainte Geneviève—one tower of her abbey still shows gray above the garden-walls of Lycée Henri IV.—and thence, its strength so grown as to burst its girdle of restraining wall, it strode far afield. Roman and Christian settlements, with all their greenery—palace, abbey, and school, each set within its spacious gardens—gradually gave place to these serried shining roofs we see, here and there pierced by church spires and punctuated by domes. And on the northern bank, our tower has seen the rising tide of the centuries swallow up the broad marshes along the shore and the wide woodlands behind; bearing down Roman villa and temple, Christian nunnery and monastery, washing away each successive breakwater of wall, until 23 it surged over the crest of the encircling hills, now crowned by the imposing basilica of the Sacred Heart on Montmartre.

It may have been here in time to look down on the stately procession escorting the little ten-year-old Henry IV., the new King of England, from the Palace to the cathedral; wherein was celebrated the service by which one English cardinal and two French bishops tried to consecrate him King of France. It saw, when the ceremony was ended, the turbulent mob of common French folk crowding about the boy-king and his English escort as they returned, and ignominiously hustling them into the Palace. Not many years later, on April 13, 1436, it possibly saw the French soldiery march into Place de Grève, over the bridge and through the streets behind, from their captured gate of Saint-Jacques; and not many days thereafter, the English soldiery hurrying along behind the northern wall from the Bastille to the Louvre, and there taking boat for their sail to Rouen; the while the Parisian populace, mad with joy on that wall, welcomed the incoming friend and cursed the outgoing foe.

Our tower has watched, from its own excellent point of view, the three successive fires in and about the Palace, in 1618, 1736, and 1776. Between them, these fires carried away the constructions of Louis XII., the vast Salle des Pas-Perdus, the ancient donjon, the spires and turrets and steep roofs that swarmed about the Sainte-Chapelle, whose slender height seems to spring more airily from earth to sky by that clearance. 24 Only that chapel, the Salle-des-Gardes, the corner tower on the quay, the kitchens of Saint-Louis behind it, and the round-capped towers of the Conciergerie, are left of the original palace. The present outer casing of this Tour de l'Horloge is a restoration of that existing in 1585, but the thirteenth-century fabric remains, and the foundations are far earlier, in the view of the late Viollet-le-Duc. Its clock dates from 1370, having been twice restored, and its bell has sounded, as far as our tower, the passing of many historic hours. It rang menacingly an hour later than that of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, which had been advanced by the queen-mother's eagerness, on Saint Bartholomew's night. It was en carillon all of Friday, June 12, 1598, for the peace procured by Henri IV. between Spain and Savoy; and the birth of his son was saluted by its joyous chimes, at two o'clock of the afternoon of Friday, September 28, 1601.

Nearly two years later—on Friday, June 20, 1603—our tower stared in consternation, out over the end of the island, at the gallant Henry treading jauntily and safely across the uncompleted arches of the Pont-Neuf, from shore to shore. The new bridge was a wonder, and in attempts to climb along its skeleton, many over-curious citizens had tumbled into the river; "but not one of them a king," laughed their king, after his successful stepping over. The bridge was built slowly, and was at last ready for traffic on February 6, 1607, and has stood so strong and stable ever since, that it has passed into a proverb as the common comparison 25 for a Frenchman's robust health. It is the only bridge between the islands and either bank that has so stood, and this tower has seen each of the others wrecked by fire or flood. The tall wooden piles, on which the mediæval bridgeways were built, slowly rotted, until they were carried away by the fierce current. And fire found its frequent quarry in the tall houses that lined either side of the roadway, shops on the lower floor, and tenants above.

Thus our tower doubtless heard, on Friday, October 25, 1499, the wrenching and groaning of the huge wooden piles of Pont Notre-Dame—its first pile driven down by temporarily sane Charles VI.—as they bent and broke and tumbled into the Seine, with their burden of roadway and of buildings; whereby so thick a cloud of dust rose up from the water, that rescue of the inmates was almost impossible. Among the few saved, on that calamitous holiday of Saint-Crespin and Saint-Crespinien, was a baby found floating down-stream in its cradle, unwet and unharmed. So, too, Pont aux Meuniers and all its houses and mills fell in fragments into the stream on December 22, 1596. It was a wooden bridge, connecting the island end of Pont au Change diagonally with the shore of the mainland. It is reported that the dwellers on the bridge were rich men, many of them slayers and plunderers of the Huguenots on the festival of Saint Bartholomew. So it was said that the weak hand of city supervision, neglecting the bridge, was aided by the finger of God, pushing it down! 26

The Petit-Pont dropped into the Seine no less than six times between the years 1206 and 1393. The earliest Roman bridge, it had carried more traffic than any later bridge, and had been ruined and reconstructed time and again, until stone took the place of wood for its arches and road-way and houses. But the wooden scaffoldings used for the new construction were left below, and were the means of sacrificing it to an old woman's superstition. On April 27, 1718, she launched a sébile—a wooden bowl—carrying a bit of blessed bread and a lighted taper, in the belief that this holy raft would stop over, and point out, the spot where lay the body of her drowned son. The taper failed in its sacred mission, and set fire to a barge loaded with hay, and this drifted against the timbers under the arches, and soon the entire bridge went up in flames. When again rebuilt, no houses were allowed upon it. With the falling of all those bridges and all that they held, the river-bed grew thick with every sort of object, common and costly. Coins from many mints found their way there, not only through fire and flood, but because the money-changers, warily established on the bridges, dropped many an illicit piece from their convenient windows into the river, rather than let themselves be caught in passing counterfeits. This water museum has been dragged from time to time, and the treasures have gone to enrich various collections, notably that of M. Victorien Sardou.

With all helpless Paris, our tower watched the old Hôtel-Dieu—on the island's southern bank, where now 27 is the green open space between Petit-Pont and Pont au Double—burning away for eleven days in 1772, and caught glimpses of the rescued patients, carried across Place du Parvis to hastily improvised wards in the nave of Notre-Dame.

Unscathed by fire, unmutilated by man, unwearied by watching, "Dagobert's Tower" stands, penned in by the high old buildings that shoulder it all around. Hidden behind them, it is unseen and forgotten. The only glimpses to be got of its gray bulk are, one from the neighboring tower of the cathedral, and another from the deck of a river-boat as it glides under Pont d'Arcole; a glimpse to be caught quickly, amid the quick-changing views of the ever-varied perspective of the island's towers and buttresses, pinnacles and domes.

Far away from the island and its river, over the edge of the southern slope, behind the distant, dreary, outer boulevards, we find another ancient staircase. It is within the vast structure known as "la maison dîte de Saint Louis," commonly called the "Hôtel de la Reine Blanche." The modern boulevard, which gets its name from the astronomer, philosopher, and politician, Arago, has made a clean sweep through this historic quarter, but it has spared this mansion and the legend, which makes it the suburban dwelling of Blanche of Castile. Hereabout was all country then, and a favorite summer resort of the wealthy citizens, whose modest cottages and showy villas clustered along the banks of the Bièvre; a free and wilful stream in the early years of the thirteenth century, often in revolt and sometimes 28 misleading the sedate Seine into escapades, to the disquiet of these faubourgs. From its gardens, portly meadows smiled townward to Mont-Sainte-Geneviève, crowded with its schools, and to the convent gardens, snuggling close under the shelter of the southern wall of Philippe-Auguste.

To-day, all this quarter is made malodorous by its many tanneries and dye-works; they have enslaved the tiny Bièvre and stained it to a dirty reddish brown; so that it crawls, slimy and sluggish and ashamed, between their surly walls and beneath bedraggled bridges, glad to sink into the Seine, under the Orleans railway station. Its gardens and meadows are covered by square miles of stone, and the line of the old wall is hidden behind and under modern streets. And this so-called country home of Queen Blanche, become plain No. 17 Rue des Gobelins, yet refuses, in its mediæval dignity, to regard itself as a mere number in a street, and withdraws behind its wall, its shoulder aslant, to express its royal unconcern for the straight lines of city surveyors. These have not yet stolen all its old-time character from the remaining section of the street, nor spoiled such of its old-time façades as are left. This one at No. 19 demands our especial scrutiny, by its significant portal and windows, and by the belief that it was originally joined in its rear to No. 17, the two forming one immense structure of the same style of architecture. When was its date, who was its builder, what was its use, are undisclosed, so far, and we may follow our own fancies, as we enter through the narrow gateway 29 into the front court of "Queen Blanche's house." Its main fabric on the ground floor, with its low arched window, insists that it is contemporary with the clever woman and capable queen, to whom legend, wider than merely local, brings home this building. Yet its upper windows, and the dormers of the wing, and the slope of the roof, suggest a late fifteenth or an early sixteenth century origin; and the cornice-moulding is so well worked out that it speaks plainly of a much later date than the mediæval fortress-home. In a tourelle at either end is a grand spiral staircase, as in Dagobert's Tower, and, like that, these turn on huge central oak trunks. Here, however, the steps are less abrupt; the grooving of the hand-rail, while it testifies to the stroke of the axe, is less rude; and daylight is welcomed by wider windows. Each of the three floors, that lie between the two staircase turrets, is made up of one vast hall, with no traces of division walls. Whether or no a Gobelin once made usage of this building, as has been claimed, it has now come into a tanner's service, and his workmen tread its stairs and halls, giving a living touch of our workaday world to these walls of dead feudalism.

The So-called Hôtel de la Reine Blanche.

(From a photograph of the Commission du Vieux Paris.)

It was in 1200 that Blanche of Castile was brought to France, a girl of twelve, for her marriage with little Louis, of the same ripe age. His father, Philippe-Auguste, was a mighty builder, and Paris flourished under him, her "second founder." In the intervals between crusades against infidels and wars with Christians, he founded colleges and gave other aid to the university on 30 this bank; he pushed on with his strong hand the building of Notre-Dame and of the old Hôtel-Dieu on the island; he removed his residence from the ancient Palace, there, to the Louvre on the northern bank, constructed by him to that end—his huge foundation-walls, with some few capitals and mouldings, may be seen deep down in the substructures of the present Louvre—he shut in the unfenced cemetery of the Innocents from the merry-makers who profaned it; he roofed and walled-in the open markets in the fields hard by that burial-ground; and he paved the streets of the Cité. To meet this last outlay, he was lavish with the money of the citizens, notably of Gérard de Poissy, who was moved to donate one-half of his entire fortune by the sight of the King, "sparing neither pains nor expense in beautifying the town." Sparing himself no pains for the bettering of his beloved capital, Philippe-Auguste spared no expense to its worthy burghers, and in their purses he found the funds for his great wall. This he planned and began, toward the close of the twelfth century, when at home for awhile from the warfaring, during which he had captured the "saucy Château-Gaillard" of his former fellow-crusader, Richard the Lion-Hearted.

Around the early Lutetia on the island, with the river for its moat, there had been a Gallo-Roman wall, well known to us all; and there was a later wall, concerning which none of us know much. We may learn no more than that it was a work of Louis VI., "le Gros," early in the twelfth century, and that it enclosed the 31 city's small suburbs on both banks of the mainland. Where this wall abutted on the two bridge-heads that gave access to the island, Louis VI. converted the wooden towers—already placed there for the protection of these approaches by Charles II., "le Chauve," in the ninth century—into great gateways and small citadels, all of stone. They were massive, grim, sinister structures, and when their service as fortresses was finished, they were used for prisons; both equally infamous in cruelty and horror. The Petit Châtelet was a donjon tower, and guarded the southern approach to the island by way of the ancient main-road of the Gaul and the Roman, known later as the Voie du Midi, and later again as the Route d'Orléans, and now as Rue Saint-Jacques. This châtelet stood at the head of Petit-Pont, on the ground where Quais Saint-Michel and Montebello meet now, and was not demolished until late in the eighteenth century. The Grand Châtelet ended the northern wall where it met Pont au Change, and its gloomy walls, and conical towers flanking a frowning portal, were pick-axed away only in 1802. It had held no prisoners since Necker induced Louis XVI. to institute, in La Force and other jails, what were grotesquely entitled "model prisons." On the building that faces the northern side of Place du Châtelet you will find an elaborate tablet holding the plan of the dreary fortress and the appalling prison. When we stroll about the open space that its destruction has left, and that bears the bad old name, we need not lament its loss.

Then came the wall of Philippe-Auguste, grandly 32 planned to enclose the closely knit island Cité and its straggling suburbs on either bank, with all their gardens, vineyards, and fields far out; and solidly constructed, with nearly thirty feet of squared-stone height, and nearly ten feet of cemented rubble between the strong side faces. Its heavy parapet was battlemented, numerous round towers bulged from its outer side, the frequent gates had stern flanking towers, and the four ends on both river-banks were guarded by enormous towers, really small fortresses. The westernmost tower on this southern shore—with which section of the wall, built slowly from 1208 to 1220, we are now concerned—was the Tour de Nesle, and its site is shown by a tablet on the quay-front of the eastern wing of the Institute. Alongside was the important Porte de Nesle. Thence the wall went southwesterly, behind the line made by the present Rues Mazarine and Monsieur-le-Prince; then, by its great curve just north of Rue des Fossés-Saint-Jacques, it safeguarded the tomb and the abbey of Sainte Geneviève, and so bent sharply around toward the northeast, within the line of present Rues Thouin, du Cardinal-Lemoine, and des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, to the easternmost tower on Quai de la Tournelle, and its river-gate, Porte Saint-Bernard. That gate, standing until the end of the eighteenth century, had been titillated into a triumphal arch for Louis XIV., in whose time this quay was a swell promenade and drive. It still retains one of its grand mansions, the Hôtel Clermont-Tonnerre, at No. 27 on the quay, with a well-preserved portal. 33

Of the stately sweep of this wall we may get suggestive glimpses by the various tablets, that show the sites of the tennis courts made later on its outer side, and that mark the places of the gates; such as the tablet at No. 44 Rue Dauphine. The street and gate of that name date from 1607, when Henri IV. constructed them as the southern outlet from his Pont-Neuf, and named them in honor of the first dauphin born to France since Catherine de' Medici's puny sons. This Porte Dauphine took the place, and very nearly the site, of the original Porte de Buci, which stood over the western end of our Rue Saint-André-des-Arts, and was done away with in the cutting of Rue Dauphine. There was a gate, cut a few years after the completion of the wall, opening into the present triangular space made by the meeting of Rue de l'École-de-Médecine and Boulevard Saint-Germain, and this gate bore this latter name. Of the original gates, that next beyond Porte de Buci was Porte Saint-Michel, a small postern that stood almost in the centre of the meeting-place of Boulevard Saint-Michel and Rues Monsieur-le-Prince and Soufflot. Next came the important Porte Saint-Jacques, mounting guard over the street now of that name, nearly where it crosses the southern side of new Rue Soufflot, named in honor of the architect of the Panthéon. On that southwest corner is a tablet with a plan of the gate. It was a gate well watched by friends within, and foes without, coming up by this easy road. Dunois gained it, more by seduction than force, and entered with his French troops, driving the English before him, on the 34 morning of Friday, April 13, 1436; and Henry of Navarre failed to gain it by force from the League, on the night of September 10, 1590. Stand in front of Nos. 174 and 176 of widened Rue Saint-Jacques, and you are on the spot where he tried to scale that gate, again and again.

More than suggestions of the wall itself may be got by actual sight of sections that survive, despite the assertions of authorities that no stone is left. At the end of Impasse de Nevers, within a locked gate, you may see a presumable bit. In the court that lies behind Nos. 27 and 29 Rue Guénégaud is a stable, and deep in the shadow of that stable lurks a round tower of Philippe-Auguste, massive and unmarred. At No. 4 Cour du Commerce a locksmith has his shop, and he hangs his keys and iron scraps on nails driven with difficulty between the tightly fitted blocks of another round tower. Turn the corner into Cour de Rohan—a corruption of Rouen, whose archbishop had his town-house here—and you shall find a narrow iron stairway, that mounts the end of the sliced-off wall, and that carries you to a tiny garden, wherein small schoolgirls play on the very top of that wall. Down at the end of Cour de Rohan is an ancient well, dating from the day when this court lay within the grounds of the Hôtel de Navarre, the property of Louis of Orleans before he became Louis XII. In style it was closely akin to the Hôtel de Cluny, and it is a sorrow that it is lost to us. Its entrance was at the present Nos. 49 and 51 of Rue Saint-André-des-Arts, and the very ancient walls in the rear court of 35 the latter house may have belonged to the Hôtel de Navarre. When Louis sold this property, one portion was bought by Dr. Coictier, who had amassed wealth as the physician of Louis XI., and this well was long known by his name. It has lost its metal-work, which was as fine as that of the well once owned by Tristan l'Hermite, Coictier's crony, and now placed in the court of the Cluny Museum.

Continuing along the course of the great wall, we find a longer section, whereon houses have been built, and another garden. At the end of the hallway of No. 47 Rue Descartes is a narrow stairway, by which we mount to the row of cottages on top of the wall, and beyond them is a small domain containing trees and bushes and flower-beds, and all alive with fowls. Still farther, in a vacant lot in Rue Clovis, which has cut deep through the hill, a broken end of the wall hangs high above us on the crest, showing both solid faces and the rubble between. Its outer face forms the rear of the court at No. 62 Rue du Cardinal-Lemoine. Still another section can be seen in the inner court of No. 9 Rue d'Arras, its great square stones serving as foundation for high houses. And this is the last we shall see of this southern half of the wall of Philippe-Auguste.

When that monarch lay dying at Mantes, he found comfort in the thought that he was leaving his Paris safe in the competent hands of his daughter-in-law—whose beauty, sense, and spirit had won him early—rather than in the gentle hold of his son, misnamed "le 36 Lion." He lived, as Louis VIII., only three years, and "la reine blanche" (the widowed queens of France wore white for mourning, until Anne of Brittany put on black for her first husband, Charles VIII.) became the sole protector of her twelve-year-old son, on whom she so doted as to be jealous of the wife she had herself found for him. She ruled him and his hitherto unruly nobles, and cemented his kingdom, fractured by local jealousies. He is known to history as Saint Louis, fit to sit alongside Marcus Aurelius, in the equal conscience they put into their kingly duties. Voltaire himself ceases to sneer in the presence of this monarch's unselfish devotion to his people, and gives him praise as unstinted as any on record.

His Paris, the Paris of his mother and his grandfather, was made up of la Cité on the island, under the jurisdiction of the bishop; the northern suburb, outre-Grand-Pont or la Ville, governed by the Prévôt des Marchands; the southern suburb, outre-Petit-Pont or l'Université, appertaining to the "Recteur"; all ruled by the Prévôt of Paris, appointed by and accountable to the King alone. Hugo's "little old lady between her two promising daughters" holds good to-day, when the daughters are strapping wenches, and have not yet got their growth. In all three sections, the priest and the soldier—twin foes of light and life in all times and in all lands—had their own way. They cumbered the ground with their fortresses and their monasteries, all bestowed within spacious enclosures; so walling-in for their favored dwellers, and walling-out from the common 37 herd outside, the air and sun, green sights, and pleasant scents. There were no open spaces for the people of mediæval days. Indeed, there were no "people," in our meaning of that word. The stage direction, "Enter Populace," expresses their state. There were peasants in the fields, toilers in the towns, vassals, all of them—villains, legally—allowed to live by the soldier, that they might pay for his fighting, and serve as food for his steel; sheep let graze by the priest, to be sheared for the Church and to be burned at the stake. This populace looked on at these burnings, at the cutting out of tongues and slicing off of ears and hacking away of hands by their lords, in dumb terror and docile submission. More than death or mutilation, did they dread the ban of the Church and the lash of its menacing bell. Their only diversion was made by royal processions, by church festivals, by public executions. So went on the dreary round of centuries, in a dull colorless terror, until it was time for the coming of the short, sharp Terror dyed red. Then the White Terror, that came with the Restoration, benumbed the land for awhile, and the tricolored effrontery of the Second Empire held it in grip. Against all royalist and imperial reaction, the lesser revolutions of the nineteenth century have kept alive the essential spirit of the great Revolution of 1789, inherited by them, and handed down to the present Republic, that the assured ultimate issue may be fought out under its Tricolor. France, the splendid creature, once more almost throttled by priest and soldier, has saved herself by the courage of 38 a national conscience, such as has not been matched by any land in any crisis.

They who by the grace of God and the stupidity of man owned and ordered these human cattle of the darkest ages, had their homes within this new, strong town-wall; in fat monasteries, secluded behind garden and vineyard; in grim citadels, whose central keep and lesser towers and staircase turrets, stables and outer structures, were grouped about a great court, that swarmed with men-at-arms, grooms, and hangers-on. And so, endless walls scowled on the wayfarer through the town's lanes, narrow, winding, unpaved, filthy. On a hot summer day, Philippe-Auguste stood at his open window in the old Palace, and the odor of mud came offensively to the royal nostrils; soon the main City streets were paved. When a king's son happened to be unhorsed by a peripatetic pig nosing for garbage, a royal edict forbade the presence of swine in the streets; the only exceptions being the precious dozen of the abbey of Petit-Saint-Antoine. There were no side-paths, and they who went afoot were pushed to the wall and splashed with mud, by the mules and palfreys of those who could ride. They rode, the man in front, his lady behind, en croupe. Open trenches, in the middle of the roadway, served for drainage, naked and shameless; the graveyards were unfenced amid huddled hovels; and the constant disease and frequent epidemics that came from all this foulness were fathered on a convenient Providence! This solution of the illiterate and imbecile could not be accepted by the 39 shining lights of science, who showed that the plague of the middle of the sixteenth century came from maleficent comets, their tails toward the Orient, or from malign conjunctions of Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter. Ambroise Paré, the most enlightened man of his day, had the courage to suggest that there were human and natural causes at work, in addition to the divine will. And the common-sense Faculty of Medicine, toward the close of the sixteenth century, indicted the drains and cesspools as the principal origin of all maladies then prevalent.

The only street-lighting was that given fitfully by the forlorn lanterns of the patrol, or by the torches of varlets escorting their masters, on foot or on horse. Now and then, a hole was burned in the mediæval night by a cresset on a church tower or porch, or shot out from a cabaret's fire through an opened door. When tallow candles got cheaper, they were put into horn lanterns, and swung, at wide intervals, high above the traffic. There, wind or rain put an untimely end to their infrequent flicker, or a "thief in the candle" guttered and killed it, or a thief in the street stoned it dead, for the snug plying of his trade. The town, none too safe in daylight, was not at all safe by night, and the darkness was long and dreary, and every honest man and woman went to bed early after the sunset angelus. Country roads were risky, too, and those who were unable to travel in force, or in the train of a noble, travelled not at all; so that the common citizen passed his entire existence within the confines of his compact parish. Nor 40 could he see much of his Paris or of his Seine; he looked along the streets on stone walls on either side, and along the quays at timbered buildings on the banks. These rose sheer from the river-brink, and from both sides of every bridge, barring all outlook from the roadway between; their gables gave on the river, and from their windows could be seen only a little square of water, enclosed between the buildings on both banks and on the neighboring bridge. So that the wistful burgher could get glimpses of his river only from the beach by the Hôtel de Ville, or from the occasional ports crowded with boats discharging cargo.

These cargoes were sold in shops on ground floors, and the tenants were thick on the upper floors, of dwellings mostly made of timber and plaster, their high-fronted gables looking on the street. This was the custom in all towns in the Middle Ages, and it is a striking change that has, in our day, turned all buildings so that their former side has come to the front. The old Paris streets, in which shops and houses shouldered together compactly, already dark and narrow enough, were further narrowed and darkened by projecting upper floors, and by encroaching shop-signs, swinging, in all shapes and sizes, from over the doorways. Each shop sold its specialty, and the wares of all of them slopped over on the roadway. Their owners bawled the merits and prices of these wares in a way to shock a certain irritable Guillaume de Villeneuve, who complains in querulous verse, "They do not cease to bray from morning until night." With all its growth in coming 41 years, the city's squalor grew apace with its splendor, and when Voltaire's Candide came in, by way of Porte Saint-Marcel here on the southern side, in the time of Louis XV., he imagined himself in the dirtiest and ugliest of Westphalian villages. For all its filth and all its discomfort, this mediæval Paris—portrayed, as it appeared three hundred years later, in the painful detail and inaccurate erudition of Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris"—was a picturesque town, its buildings giving those varied and unexpected groupings that make an architectural picture; their roofs were tiled in many colors, their sky-lines were wanton in their irregularity, and were punctuated by pointed turrets and by cone-shaped tower-tops; and over beyond the tall town walls, broken by battlements and sentry-boxes, whirled a grotesque coronet of windmill sails.

Turning from this attractive "Maison de la Reine Blanche," from this quarter where her son Louis learned to ride and to tilt, and glancing behind at the famous tapestry works, the Gobelins, of whose founder and director we shall have a word to say later, we follow the avenue of that name to Rue du Fer-à-Moulin. This little street, named for a sign that swung there in the twelfth century, is most commonplace until it opens out into a small, shabby square, that holds a few discouraged trees, and is faced by a stolid building whose wide, low-browed archway gives access to the court of the Boulangerie générale des Hôpitaux et Hospices. This was the courtyard of the villa of Scipio Sardini, 42 whose name alone is kept alive by this Place Scipion—all that is left of his gardens and vineyards. Yet his was a notable name, in the days when this wily Tuscan was "écuyer du Roi Henri II.," and in those roaring days of swift fortunes for sharp Italian financiers, under the queen-mother, Catherine de' Medici. This man amassed scandalous riches, and built his villa, mentioned by Sauval as one of the richest of that time, here amid the country mansions that dotted this southern declivity. Of this villa only one wing still stands, and it is with unlooked-for delight that we find this admirable specimen of sixteenth-century architecture, of a style distinct from that of any other specimen in Paris. The façade, that is left in the court of the Boulangerie, is made up of an arcade of six semi-circular arches on heavy stone pillars, a story above of plum-colored brick cut into panels by gray stone, its square-headed windows encased with the same squared stone, and an attic holding two dormers with pointed hoods. Set in the broad band between the two lower floors, were six medallions, one over the centre of each arch; of these six, only four remain. These contain the heads of warriors and of women, boldly or delicately carved, and wonderfully preserved; yet time has eaten away the terra-cotta, wind and wet have dulled the enamel that brightened them. The buildings about this court and behind this unique façade are commonplace and need not detain us. It was in 1614 that the General Hospital took the villa and enlarged it; in 1636, to escape the plague, the prisoners of the Conciergerie were installed 43 here; and it has served as the bakery for the civil hospitals of Paris for many years.

We go our way toward our third staircase, not by the stupidly straight line of Rue Monge, but by vagrant curves that bring us to the prison of Sainte-Pélagie, soon to disappear, and to the Roman amphitheatre just below, happily rescued forever. Here, in Rue Cardinal-Lemoine, we slip under the stupid frontage of No. 49 to the court within, where we are faced by the hôtel of Charles Lebrun. We mount the stone steps that lead up to a wide hall, and so go through to a farther court, now unfortunately roofed over. This court was his garden, and this is the stately garden-front that was the true façade, rather than that toward the street; for this noble mansion—the work of the architect Germain Boffrand, pupil and friend of Hardouin Mansart—was built after the fashion of that time, which shut out, by high walls, all that was within from sight of the man in the street, and kept the best for those who had entry to the stiff, formal gardens of that day.

Pupil of Poussin, protégé of Fouquet, friend of Colbert, Lebrun was the favorite court painter and decorator, and the most characteristic exponent of the art of his day; his sumptuous style suiting equally François I.'s Fontainebleau, and Louis XIV.'s Versailles. He aided Colbert in the founding of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, and in the purchase by the State of the Gobelins. This factory took its name from the famous dyer who came from Rheims, and tinted the clear Bièvre with his splendid scarlet, says Rabelais; 44 so that it took the name of la Rivière des Gobelins, of which Ronsard sings. The statesman and the artist in concert built up the great factory of tapestries and of furniture, such as were suitable for royal use. Made Director of the Gobelins and Chancellor of the Academy, and making himself the approved painter of the time to his fellow-painters and to the buying public, Lebrun's fortune grew to the possession of this costly estate, which extended far away beyond modern Rue Monge. The death of Colbert—whose superb tomb in Saint-Eustache is the work of his surviving friend—left him to the hatred of Louvois, who pushed Mignard, Molière's friend, into preferment. And Lebrun, genuine and honest artist, died of sheer despondency, in his official apartment on the first floor of the factory, facing the chapel. His rooms have been cut up and given over to various usages, and no trace can be found in the Gobelins of its first director.

His body rests in his parish church, a few steps farther on, through ancient Rue Saint-Victor, now curtailed and mutilated. Along its line, before we come to the square tower of Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet, we skirt the dirty yellow and drab wall of the famous seminary alongside the church, and bearing its name. Its entrance is at No. 30 Rue de Pontoise, and among the many famous pupils who have gone in and out since Calvin was a student here, we may mention only Ernest Renan. In 1838, the director of the school being the accomplished Dupanloup, this boy of fifteen came fresh from Brittany to his studies here. We shall 45 follow him to his later and larger schools, in other pages. When Jean "le Moine," the son of a Picardy peasant, came to sit in a cardinal's chair, and was sent to Paris as legate by Pope Boniface VIII., he established a great college in the year 1303. For it he bought the chapel, the dwellings, and the cemetery of the Augustins that were all in fields of thistles. So came the name "du Chardonnet" to the church now built on the ruins of Lemoine's chapel, in the later years of the seventeenth century. Lebrun decorated one of its chapels for the burial of his mother, and his own tomb is there near hers. Some of his work still shows on the ceiling; and in an adjacent chapel, in odd proximity, once hung a canvas from the brush of Mignard. In striking contrast, the busts of the two men face each other in the Louvre; that of Mignard is alert with intelligence in face and poise of head, while Lebrun's suggests a somewhat slow-witted earnestness.

From this short stay in the realm of Louis the Unreal, we go to the island that bears the name of the Louis who was called a saint, but who was a very real man. All the streets along here that take us to the river, as far easterly as the one that bears the name of Cardinal Lemoine, were cut through the grounds of his college and of the Bernadins, an ancient foundation alongside. Of the buildings of this vast monastery, the refectory remains, behind the wall on the western side of Rue de Poissy. This characteristic specimen of thirteenth-century architecture, but little spoiled by modern additions, is used for the caserne of the Sapeurs-Pompiers. 46 Here, at the foot of the street on the river-bank on our right, is the great space where Boulevard Saint-Germain comes down to the quay, and where the old wall came down to its great tower on the shore. On our left, as we cross broad Pont de la Tournelle, we get an impressive view of Notre-Dame. And now we find ourselves in a provincial town, seemingly far removed from our Paris in miles and in years, by its isolation and tranquillity and old-world atmosphere. Its long, lazy main street is named after the royal saint, and its quays keep the titles of royal princes, Bourbon, Orléans, Anjou. A great royal minister, Maximilien de Béthune, gives his name to another quay, and his great master gives his to the new boulevard crossing it. Henry often crossed his faithful Sully, but they were at one in the orders issued, in the year before the King's murder, for the sweeping away of the woodyards, that made this island the storehouse of the town's timber, and for the construction of these streets and buildings. The works planned by Henri IV. were carried out by Marie de' Medici and Louis XIII. A concession was given for the laying out of streets and for the buildings on this island, and for the construction of a new stone bridge to the Marais, to the three associates, Marie, Le Regrettier, Poultier, who gave their names to the bridge and to two of the streets. There was already a small chapel in the centre, the scene of the first preaching of the First Crusade, and this chapel has been enlarged to the present old-time parish church. Just within its entrance is the bénitier, filled with water from the 47 mouth of a marble cherub who wears a pretty marble "bang." It came from the Carmelites of Chaillot, in souvenir of "Sister Louise."

The sites on the island's banks, newly opened in the early years of Louis XIII.'s reign, were in demand at once for the mansions of the wealthy, and a precocious city started up. Corneille's Menteur, new to Paris and the island, rhapsodizes in one of his captivating flights, this time without lying:

"J'y croyais ce matin voir une île enchantée,

Je la laissai déserte et la trouve habitée;

Quelque Amphion nouveau, sans l'aide des maçons,

En superbes palais à changé ses buissons."

We shall come hither again, in company with Voltaire to one of these palaces, with Balzac to another. In these high old houses in these old streets dwelt old families, served by old retainers devoted to their mistresses, who hugged their firesides like contented tabby-cats. They had no welcome for intruders into their "Ville-Saint-Louis" from the swell quarters on the other side of the river, and it used to be said that "l'habitant du Marais est étranger dans l'Île."

Balcony of Hôtel de Lauzan-Pimodan on Île de Saint-Louis.

Pont Louis-Philippe—an absurdly modern issue from 48 this ancient quarter—carries us to the quay of the Hôtel de Ville, and we may turn to look in at Saint-Gervais, its precious window as brilliant as on the day it was finished by Jean Cousin. Passing in front of the imperious statue of Étienne Marcel, staring at the river that was his grave, we cross Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, once Place de Grève, when it had in the centre its stone cross reached by high steps, and its busy gallows close at hand. We forget its horrid memories in the sight of the new Hôtel de Ville, of no memories, good or bad, to dash our delight in this most nearly perfect of modern structures; perfect in design, execution, and material, a consummate scheme carried out to the last exquisite detail by architects, sculptors, and decorators, all masters of their crafts.

Our direct road takes us through the Halles, their huge iron and glass structures the lineal descendants of those heavy stone Halles, started in the twelfth century here in the fields, when the small market on the island no longer sufficed. Their square, dumpy pillars, and those on which the houses all about were once supported, survive only in the few left from the seventeenth-century rebuilding, now on the north side of Rue de la Ferronerie. Standing in that arcade, we look out on the spot where Ravaillac waited for the coming of Henri IV. The wretched fanatic, worked on by whom we shall never know, had found Paris crowded for the Queen's coronation, and had hunted up a room in the "Three Pigeons," an inn of Rue Saint-Honoré, opposite the Church of Saint-Roch. Here or in another 49 tavern, while prowling, he stole the knife. The narrow street was widened a little by Richelieu, and few of its ancient buildings are left. Returning through this arcade, once the entrance to the Cemetery of the Innocents, to Rue des Innocents just behind, you will find many of the old charniers absolutely unchanged. They form the low-ceilinged ground floor of nearly all these buildings between Rue Saint-Denis and Rue de la Lingerie. Perhaps the most characteristic specimen is that one used for a remise de voitures à bras, a phrase of the finest French for a push-cart shed! And under No. 15 of this street of the Innocents, you may explore two of the cemetery vaults in perfect preservation. They are come to less lugubrious usage now, and serve as a club-room for the teamsters who bring supplies to the markets over-night, and for the market attendants who wait for them. Their wagons unloaded, here they pass the night until daylight shall bring customers, drinking and singing after their harmless fashion, happily ignorant or careless of the once grisly service of these caves. The attendants in the cabaret on the entrance floor, tired as they are by day, will courteously show the cellars, one beneath the other. One must stoop to pass under the heavily vaulted low arches, and the small chambers are overcrowded with a cottage piano and with rough benches and tables; these latter cut, beyond even the unhallowed industry of schoolboys, with initials and names of the frequenters of the club, who have scarred the walls in the same vigorous style. The demure dame du comptoir above assures you that 50 you will be welcomed between midnight and dawn, but bids you bring no prejudices along, for the guests are not apt, in their song and chatter, to "chercher la délicatesse"!

The Church of the Innocents, built by Louis "le Gros" early in the twelfth century, had on its corner at Rues Saint-Denis and aux Fers—this latter now widened into Rue Berger—a most ancient fountain, dating from 1273. This fountain was built anew in 1550, from a design of the Abbé de Clagny, not of Pierre Lescot as is claimed, and was decorated by Jean Goujon. Just before the Revolution (1785-88), when church and charnel-houses and cemetery were swept away, this fountain was removed to the centre of the markets—the centre, too, of the old cemetery—and has been placed, since then, in the middle of this dainty little square which greets us as we emerge from our cabaret. To the three arches it owned, when backed by the church corner, a fourth has been added to make a square, and the original Naiads of Goujon have been increased in number. Their fine flowing lines lift up and lend distinction to this best bit of Renaissance remaining in Paris. And here we are struck by the ingenuity shown by making the water in motion a signal feature of the decoration—another instance of this engaging characteristic of French fountains.

A few steps farther north take us to Rue Étienne Marcel, cutting its ruthless course through all that should be sacred, in a fashion that would gladden the sturdy provost. For all its destructive instincts, it yet 51 has spared to us this memorable bit of petrified history, the tower of "Jean-sans-Peur." At No. 20, on the northern side of this broad and noisy street, amid modern structures, its base below the level of the pavement, stands the last remaining fragment of the Hôtel de Bourgogne; which, under its earlier name in older annals as the Hôtel d'Artois, carries us back again to the thirteenth century, for this was the palace-fortress built by the younger brother of Saint Louis, Robert, Count of Artois. He it was who fell, in his "senseless ardor," on the disastrous field of Massouah, in 1250; when the pious King and his devoted captains were made captive by the Sultan of Egypt, and released with heavy fines, so ending that Sixth Crusade.

The Hôtel d'Artois was a princely domain, reaching southward from the wall of Philippe-Auguste to Rue Mauconseil, a road much longer then, and extending from present Rue Saint-Denis to Rue Montorgueil, the two streets that bounded the property east and west. Some of its structures backed against the wall, some of them rested upon its broken top. For the grounds and gardens enclosed within this northern enceinte—completed between 1190 and 1208—stretched to its base, leaving no room for a road on its inner side. Because of this plan, and because this wall crumbled gradually, its broken sections being surrounded and surmounted by crowding houses, no broad boulevards were laid out over its line—as was done with its immediate successor, the wall of Charles V.—and it is not easy to trace it through modern streets and under modern structures. 52 The only fragment left is the tower in the court of the Mont-de-Piété, entered from Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, and it is of build less solid than those we have seen on the southern bank. In the pavement of the first court is traced the line of the wall up to this tower. With this exception, we can indicate only the sites of the towers and the course of the wall.

The huge Tour Barbeau was at the easternmost river end, on Quai des Célestins, nearly at the foot of our Rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul. It commanded Port Saint-Paul, chief landing-place of river boatmen, and guarded the Pôterne des Barrés. That name was also given to the small street—now Rue de l'Ave Maria—that led from this postern-gate. They owe that name indirectly to Saint Louis. Returning from the Holy Land, he had brought six monks from Mount Carmel, and housed them on the quay, called now after their successors, the Célestins. The black robes, striped white, of these six monks, made them known popularly as "les Barrés." Our wall ran straight away from this waterside gate, parallel with and a little to the west of present Rue des Jardins, then a country road on its outer edge, to Porte Baudoyer, afterward Porte Saint-Antoine, standing across the space where meet Rues Saint-Antoine and de Rivoli. This was the strongest for defence of all the gates, holding the entrance to the town, by way of the Roman and later the Royal road from the eastern provinces. From this point the wall took a great curve beyond the bounds of the built-up portions of the town. The Pôterne Barbette, 53 its next gate, in Rue Vieille-du-Temple, just south of its crossing by Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, lost its old name in this name taken from the Hôtel Barbette, built a century later, outside the wall here. Next came the gate in Rue du Temple, nearly half way between our Rues de Braque and Rambuteau. Through this gate passed the Knights Templar to and from their great fortified domain beyond. The Pôterne Beaubourg, in the street of that name, was a minor gateway, having no especial history beyond that contained in the derivation of its name, "beaubourg," from a particularly rich settlement, just hereabout. Next we come to two most important gates, Saint-Martin and Saint-Denis, across those two streets, that guarded the approaches by the great roads from Senlis and Soissons, and the heart of the land, old Île de France, and from all the northern provinces. Between the Saint-Denis gate and that at Rue Montorgueil, lay the property of the Comte d'Artois, and he cut, for his royal convenience, a postern in the wall that formed his northern boundary.

From this point our wall went in another wide curve to the river-bank, within the lines of old Rues Plâtrière and Grenelle, the two now widened into modern Rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau. The country road that is now Rue Montmartre was guarded by a gate, opened a few years after the completion of the wall, and its site shown by a tablet in the wall of No. 30 of that street. A small gate was cut at the meeting of present Rues Coquillière and Jean-Jacques-Rousseau. Nearly opposite 54 the end of this latter street, where Rue Saint-Honoré passes in front of the Oratoire, was the last public gate on the mainland. Thence the course was straight away to the river shore, as you may see by the diagram set in lighter stone in the pavement of the court of the Louvre. These stones mark also the huge round of the donjon of the old Louvre, on whose eastern or town side the wall passed to the river-side Tour-qui-fait-le-Coin. This tower was of the shape and size of the opposite Tour de Nesle, which we have already seen at the point where the southern wall came down to the shore; and between the two towers, a great chain was slung across the Seine to prevent approach by river pirates. Pont des Arts is almost directly over the dip of that chain. So, too, the river was protected at the eastern ends of the wall; the Barbeau tower was linked to the solitary tower on Île Notre-Dame, and that again across the other arm of the Seine, to the immense tower on Quai de la Tournelle. This island Tour Loriaux rose from the banks of a natural moat made by the river's narrow channel between Île Notre-Dame and Île aux Vaches, and this bank was afterward further protected by a slight curtain of wall across the island, with a tower at either end. Four centuries later, when this island wall and its towers had long since crumbled away, that moat was filled up—Rue Poulletier, the modernized Poultier, lies over its course—and the two small islands became large Île Saint-Louis.

And now, we have seen la Cité, la Ville, l'Université, 55 all girdled about by Philippe-Auguste's great wall. The City could spread no farther than its river-banks; the University was content to abide within its bounds, even as late as the wars of the League; the Town began speedily to outgrow its limits, and within two centuries it had so developed that the capacious range of a new wall, that of Charles V., was needed to enclose its bustling quarters. That story shall come in a later chapter.

One hundred years after the death of Robert of Artois, his estate passed, by marriage, to the first house of Burgundy, whose name it took, and when that house became extinct, in the days of Jean "le Bon," second Valois King of France, it came, along with the broad acres and opulent towns of that duchy, into his hands, by way of some distant kinship. This generous and not over-shrewd monarch did not care to retain these much-needed revenues, and gave them, with the resuscitated title of Burgundy, to his younger son, "recalling again to memory the excellent and praiseworthy services of our right dearly beloved son Philip, the fourth of our sons, who freely exposed himself to death with us, and, all wounded as he was, remained unwavering and fearless at the battle of Poictiers." From that field Philip carried away his future title, "le Hardi." By this act of grateful recognition, rare in kings, were laid the foundations of a house that was to grow as great as the throne itself, to perplex France within, and to bring trouble from without, throughout long calamitous years. This first Duke Philip seems 56 to have had the hardihood to do right in those wrong-doing days, for he remained a sufficiently loyal subject of his brother Charles V., and later a faithful guardian, as one of the "Sires de la Fleur-de-Lis," of his nephew, the eleven-year-old Charles VI. He married Margaret, heiress of the Count of Flanders, and widow of Philippe de Rouvre, last of the old line of Burgundy, and she brought, to this new house of Burgundy, the fat, flat meadows and the turbulent towns of the Lowlands, and also the Hôtel de Flandres in the capital, where now stands the General Post-office in Rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau.

Duke Philip, dying in 1404, bequeathed to his eldest son, John, nick-named "Jean-sans-Peur," not only a goodly share of his immense possessions, but also the pickings of a "very pretty quarrel" with Louis de Valois, Duc d'Orléans. This quarrel was tenderly nursed by John, who, as the head of a powerful independent house, and the leader of a redoubtable faction, felt himself to be more important than the royal younger brother. Ambitious and unscrupulous, calculating and impetuous, he created the rôle on his stage, played with transient success by Philippe-Égalité, four hundred years later. He rode at the head of a brilliant train and posed for the applause of the populace. He walked arm in arm with the public executioner, Capeluche, and when done with him, handed him over to the gallows. Finding himself grown so great, he schemed for sole control of the State. The one man in his way was Louis of Orleans, the mad 57 king's only brother, the lover of the queen, and her accomplice in plundering and wasting the country's revenues. He was handsome and elegant, open in speech and open of hand, bewitching all men and women whom he cared to win. "Qui veult, peut," was his braggart device, loud on the walls of the rooms of Viollet-le-Duc's reconstructed Pierrefonds, whose original was built by Louis. In its court you may see the man himself in Frémiet's superb bronze, erect and alert on his horse. The horse's hoofs trample the flowers, as his rider trod down all sweet decencies in his stride through life. He was an insolent profligate, quick to tell when he had kissed. In his long gallery of portraits of the women who, his swagger suggested, had yielded to his allurements, he hung, with unseemly taste, those of his lovely Italian wife, Valentine Visconti, and of the Duchess of Burgundy, his cousin's wife; both of them honest women. For this boast, John hated him; he hated him, as did his other unlettered compeers, for his learning and eloquence and patronage of poetry and the arts; he hated him as did the common people, who prayed "Jesus Christ in Heaven, send Thou someone to deliver us from Orleans."

"Jean-sans-Peur," Duc de Bourgogne.
(From a painting by an unknown artist, at Chantilly.)

At last "Jean-sans-Peur" mustered his courage and his assassins to deliver himself and France. Isabelle of Bavaria had left her crazed husband in desolate Hôtel Saint-Paul, and carried her unclean court to Hôtel Barbette—we shall see more of these residences in another chapter—where she sat at supper, with her 58 husband's brother, on the night of November 23, 1407. It was eight in the evening, dark for the short days of that "black winter," the bitterest known in France for centuries. An urgent messenger, shown in to Orleans at table, begged him to hasten to the King at Saint-Paul. The duke sauntered out, humming an air, mounted his mule and started on his way, still musical; four varlets with torches ahead, two 'squires behind. Only a few steps on, as he passed the shadowed entrance of a court, armed men—many more than his escort—sprang upon him and cut him down with axes. He called out that he was the Duke of Orleans. "So much the better!" they shouted, and battered him to death on the ground; then they rode off through the night, unmolested by the terrified attendants. The master and paymaster of the gang, who was watching, from a doorway hard by, to see that his money was honestly earned, went off on his way. A devious way it turned out to be, for, having admitted his complicity to the Council, in his high and mighty fashion, he found himself safer in flight than in his guarded topmost room of this tower before us. He galloped away to his frontier of Flanders, cutting each bridge that he crossed. It was ten years before he could return, and then he came at the head of his Burgundian forces, and bought the keys of Porte de Buci, stolen by its keeper's son from under his father's pillow. Entering Paris on the night of Saturday, May 28, 1418, on the following day, the Burgundians began those massacres which lasted as long as there were 59 Armagnacs to kill, and which polluted Paris streets with corpses. Within a year, John, lured to a meeting with the Dauphin, afterward Charles VII., went to the bridge at Montereau, with the infinite precautions always taken by this fearless man, and there he was murdered with no less treachery, if with less butchery, than he gave to his killing of Louis of Orleans.

Valentine Visconti, widow of Orleans, had not lived to see this retribution. Her appeal to the King for the punishment of the assassin was answered by pleasant phrases, and soon after, in one of his sane intervals, was further answered by the royal pardon to Burgundy, for that "out of faith and loyalty to us, he has caused to be put out of the world our brother of Orleans." She had counted on the King's remembering that, in the early years of his madness, hers had been the only face he knew and the only voice that soothed him. She crept away to Blois with her children, and with Dunois, her husband's son but not her own. The others were not of the age nor of the stuff to harbor revenge, and to him she said: "You were stolen from me, and it is you who are fit to avenge your father." These are fiery words from a rarely gentle yet courageous woman, grown vindictive out of her constancy to a worthless man. She is the one pure creature, pathetic and undefiled, in all this welter of perfidy and brutality. "She shines in the black wreck of things," in Carlyle's words concerning another "noble white vision, with its high queenly face, its soft proud eyes," of a later day. There, at Blois, she died within the year. 60

It would carry us too far from this tower to follow the course of the feud between the heirs of these two houses. "Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, Luxembourg, and Brabant, Earl of Holland and Zealand, Lord of Friesland, Count of Flanders, Artois, and Hainault, Lord of Salins and Macklyn," was a high and puissant prince, and versatile withal. "He could fight as well as any king going, and he could lie as well as any, except the King of France. He was a mighty hunter, and could read and write. His tastes were wide and ardent. He loved jewels like a woman, and gorgeous apparel. He dearly loved maids-of-honor, and, indeed, paintings generally, in proof of which he ennobled Jan van Eyck.... In short, he relished all rarities, except the humdrum virtues." Charles of Orleans, son of Louis, was of another kidney. Spirited at the start, this prince was spoiled by his training, "like such other lords as I have seen educated in this country," says Comines; "for these were taught nothing but to play the jackanapes with finery and fine words." Young Charles d'Orléans took his earliest lessons in rhyme, and he rhymed through life, through his twenty-five years of captivity in England, until he was old Charles, the pallid figure-head of a petty, babbling, versifying court. And the quarrel between the two houses came to nothing beyond the trifle of general misery for France.

It was only when Burgundy came into collision with the crafty Dauphin of France, the rebellious son of Charles VII., who had fled from his father's court 61 and taken refuge with Duke Philip the Good, that this great house began to fail in power. When that Dauphin, become Louis XI., made royal entry into Paris, this Hôtel de Bourgogne showed all its old bravery. From its great court, through its great gate on Rue Saint-Denis, into the space behind the town gate of that name, Duke Philip rode forth on the last day of August, 1461, at his side his son—then Comte de Charolais, known later as Charles "le Téméraire"—to head the glittering array of nobles, aglow with silken draperies and jewels, their horses' housings sweeping the ground, who await the new King. Few of them are quite sure "how they stand" with him, and they hardly know how to greet him as he enters, but they take the customary oaths when they get to Notre-Dame, and thence escort him to the old palace on the island. There they feasted and their royal master pretended to be jolly, all the while speculating on the speedy snuffing-out of these flashing satellites. On the morrow he took up his residence in the Hôtel des Tournelles, almost deserted within, and altogether without. For the populace crowded about this Hôtel de Bourgogne, all eyes and ears for the sight and the story of its splendors. Its tapestries were the richest ever seen by Parisians, its silver such as few princes owned, its table lavish and ungrudging. The duke's robes and jewels were so wonderful that the cheering mob ran after him, as he passed along the streets, with his attendant train of nobles and his body-guard of archers. 62

With his death died all the pomp and show of this palace. His son, Charles the Bold, wasted no time in Paris from the fighting, for which he had an incurable itch, but no genius. He kept this deserted house in charge of a concierge for his daughter Mary, "the richest heiress in Christendom," who was promised to five suitors at once, and who married Maximilian of Austria at last. Their grandson, the Emperor Charles V., in one of the many bargains made and unmade between him and François I.—the one the direct descendant of Louis of Orleans and the other the direct descendant of John of Burgundy—gave up to the French crown all that Burgundy owned in France, one portion of it in Paris being this Hôtel de Bourgogne. By now this once most strongly fortified and best defended fortress-home in all the town was fallen into sad decay, its spacious courts the playground of stray children, its great halls and roomy chambers a refuge for tramps and rascals. So François, casting about for any scheme to bring in money, and greedy to keep alive the tradition, handed down from Hugh Capet, that gave to his crown all the ground on which Paris was built, sold at auction this old rookery, along with other royal buildings and land in the city, in the year 1543. This hôtel was put up in thirteen lots, this tower and its dependencies, Burgundian additions of the first years of the fifteenth century, being numbered 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, and while all the other structures were demolished, these were kept entire by the purchaser, whose name has not come down to us. They 63 may have been "bid in" by the State, for they reappear as crown property of Louis XIII.; and he gave "what was left of the donjon of the Hôtel d'Artois" to the monks of Sainte-Catherine du Val-des-Écoliers, in exchange for a tract of their land on the northern side of Rue Saint-Antoine, just west of Place Royale. By this barter it would seem that he intended to carry out one of his father's cherished schemes, to be spoken of in a later chapter.

In this donjon the good monks established "storehouses" for the poor, a phrase that may be modernized into "soup-kitchens." These were under the control of a certain "Père Vincent," who has been canonized since as Saint Vincent de Paul. This peasant's son had grown up into a tender-hearted priest, bountiful to the poor with the crowns he adroitly wheedled from the rich. For he had guile as well as loving-kindness, he was a wily and a jocular shepherd to his aristocratic flock, he became the pet confessor of princesses and the spiritual monitor of Louis XIII. So zealous was he in his schemes for the relief of suffering men and women, and signally of children, that Parliament expostulated, in fear that his asylums and refuges would fill Paris with worthless vagrants and illegitimate children. His is an exemplary and honored figure in the Roman Church, and his name still clings to this tower; local legend, by a curious twisting of tradition, making him its builder!

While its buyer, at the auction, is unknown to us, we do know to whom was knocked down one lot, that 64 holds records of deeper concern to us than all the ground hereabout, thick as it is with historic footprints. The plot on the southeasterly corner of the property, fronting on Rue Mauconseil, was purchased by a band of players for a rental in perpetuity. The Parliament of Paris had not recognized the King's claim to all these ownerships, and would not give assent to some of the sales; and this perpetual lease was not confirmed by that body without long delay. We may let the players wait for this official warranty while we see who they are, whence they come, and what they play.

It was a religious fraternity, calling itself "La Confrérie de la Passion de Notre Seigneur, Jésus-Christ," and it had been formed, during the closing years of the fourteenth century, mainly from out of more ancient companies. The most ancient and reputable of these was "La Basoche," recruited from the law clerks of the Palais de Justice, players and playwrights both. This troupe had enjoyed a long, popular existence before it received legal existence from Philippe "le Bel," early in that same fourteenth century. From its ranks, reinforced by outsiders—among them, soon after 1450, a bachelor of the University, François Villon—were enlisted the members of "Les Enfants sans Souci." Other ribald mummers called themselves "Les Sots." Men from all these bands brought their farcical grossness to mitigate the pietistic grossness of our Confrérie, and this fraternity soon grew so strong as to get letters-patent from Charles VI., granting it permission 65 for publicly performing passion-plays and mysteries, and for promenading the streets in costume. Then the privileged troupe hired the hall of Trinity Hospital and turned it into a rude theatre, the first in Paris, the mediæval stage having been of bare boards on trestles, under the sky or under canvas. On the site of this earliest of French theatres are the Queen's fountain, placed in 1732 on the northeast corner of Rues Saint-Denis and Grenéta, and the buildings numbered 28 in the latter and 142 in the former street. There, in 1402, the confrères began the work that is called play, and there they remained until 1545. Then, during the construction of the new house, they took temporary quarters in the Hôtel de Flandres, not yet cut up by its purchaser at the royal sale, and settled finally, in 1548, in the Théâtre de l'Hôtel de Bourgogne. By then an edict of François I. had banished from the stage all personations of Jesus Christ and of all holy characters; such other plays being permitted as were "profane and honest, offensive and injurious to no one."

The name "mystery" does not suggest something occult and recondite, even although the Greek word, from which it is wrongly derived, sometimes refers to religious services; it carries back, rather, to the Latin word signifying a service or an office. The plays called "mysteries" and "moralities" were given at first in mediæval Latin, or, as time went on, in the vernacular, with interludes in the same Latin, which may be labelled Christian or late Latin. They were rudimentary essays in dramatic art, uncouth and grotesque, 66 in tone with that "twilight of the mind, peopled with childish phantoms." Hugo's description of the "très belle moralité, le bon jugement de Madame la Vierge," by Pierre Gringoire, played in the great hall of the Palais de Justice, is too long and labored to quote here; well worth quoting is the short and vivid sketch, by Charles Reade, of the "Morality" witnessed in puerile delight by the audience, among whom sat Gérard, the father of Erasmus, at Rotterdam, in the same brave days of Louis XI. of France and Philip the Good of Burgundy.

He shows us the clumsy machinery bringing divine personages, too sacred to name, direct from heaven down on the boards, that they might talk sophistry at their ease with the Cardinal Virtues, the Nine Muses, and the Seven Deadly Sins; all present in human shape, and all much alike. This dreary stuff was then enlivened by the entrance of the Prince of the Powers of Air, an imp following him and buffeting him with a bladder, and at each thwack the crowd roared in ecstasy. So, to-day, the equally intelligent London populace finds joy in the wooden staff of the British Punch. When the Vices had vented obscenity and the Virtues twaddle, the Celestials with the Nine Muses went gingerly back to heaven on the one cloud allowed by the property-man, and worked up and down by two "supes" at a winch, in full sight of everybody. Then the bottomless pit opened and flamed in the centre of the stage, and into it the Vices were pushed by the Virtues and the stage-carpenters, who all, with 67 Beelzebub, danced about it merrily to sound of fife and tabor. And the curtain falls on the first act. "This entertainment was writ by the Bishop of Ghent for the diffusion of religious sentiments by the aid of the senses, and was an average specimen of theatrical exhibitions, so long as they were in the hands of the clergy; but, in course of time, the laity conducted plays, and so the theatre, we learn from the pulpit, has become profane."

The dulness of moralities and mysteries was relieved by the farces, spiced and not nice, of the "Sots" and the "Basoche" on their boards. They made fun of earthly dignitaries, ridiculing even kings. Thus they represented Louis XII., in his Orleans thirst for money—never yet quenched in that family—drinking liquid gold from a vase. Their easy-going monarch took no offence, avowing that he preferred that his court should laugh at his parsimony, rather than that his subjects should weep for his prodigalities. To win applause, in his rôle of "le Père du Peuple," he encouraged the "powerful, disorderly, but popular theatre," and he patronized Pierre Gringoire, whose plays drew the populace to the booths about the Halles. The poet and playwright, widower of Hugo's happily short-lived Esmeralda, had been again married and put in good case by the whimsical toleration of Louis XI., if we may accept the dates of Théodore de Banville's charming little play. That monarch, easily the first comedian of his time, allowed no rivals on the mimic stage, and it languished during his reign. Nor did it flourish 68 under François I., whose brutal vices must not be made fun of. Henri IV., fearless even of mirth, which may be deadly, not only gave smiling countenance to this theatre, but gave his presence at times; thus we read that, with queen and court, he sat through "une plaisante farce" on the evening of January 12, 1607. The Renaissance enriched the French stage, along with all forms of art, bringing translations through the Italian of the classic drama. The theatre of the Hôtel de Bourgogne became La Comédie Italienne, and its records recall famous names, on the boards and in the audience, throughout long and honorable years. The troupe was not free from jealousies, and did not escape secessions, notably that of 1598, when the heavy old men of the historic house cut adrift the light comedians and the young tragedians, who had been recruited within a few years, mainly from the country. Those who remained devoted themselves to the "legitimate drama," yet found place for approved modern work, such as that of young Racine. The seceders betook themselves to buildings on the east side of Rue de Renard, just north of Rue de la Verrerie, convenient to the crowded quarter of la Grève; but removed shortly to the theatre constructed for them from a tennis-court in Rue Vieille-du-Temple, in the heart of the populous Marais. You shall go there, a little later, to see the classic dramas of a young man from Rouen, named Corneille. These players called themselves "Les Comédiens du Marais," and by 1620 had permission from Louis XIII. to take the title 69 of "La Troupe Royale." A few years later, perhaps as early as 1650, all the Paris of players and playgoers began to talk about a strolling troupe in the southern provinces and about their manager, one Poquelin de Molière. How he brought his comedies and his company to the capital; how he put them both up in rivalry with the two old stock houses; how he won his way against all their opposition, and much other antagonism—this is told in our chapter on Molière.

In the cutting up of the ancient domain of Robert of Artois, after the royal sale, a short street was run north and south through the grounds, and named François, since feminized into Rue Française. It lay between the tower, whose lower wall may be seen in the rear of the court of No. 8, and the theatre buildings, which covered the sites of present Nos. 7 and 9 of this street and extended over the ground that now makes Rue Étienne Marcel. The main entrance of the theatre was about where now hangs the big gilt key on the northern side of that fragment of Rue Mauconseil, still left after its curtailment by many recent cuttings. Gone now is every vestige of the theatre and every stone of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, except this tower of "Jean-sans-Peur."

The Tower of "Jean-sans-Peur."

By happy chance, or through pious care, this precious fragment has survived the centuries that looked with unconcern on things of the past, and has come into the safe keeping of our relic-loving age. It is an authentic document from the archives of the earliest architecture of the fifteenth century, convincing in its 70 proof of the strength for defence of ducal homes in that day. Its massive stones are scrupulously shaped and fitted, the grim faces of its quadrangular walls are softened by wide ogival windows, its top is crowned all around by a deep cornice. Above, the former corbelled machiolations, heavy yet elegant, are debased 71 into water-spouts, and a new roof has been added. Only the southern and eastern sides of the oblong are wholly disengaged, the other faces being mostly shut in by crowding buildings. On the angle behind is a tourelle supported by corbels, and in the ogival door is a tympanum, in whose carvings we make out a plane and a plumb-line. This was the device of John of Burgundy, worn on his liveries, painted and carved everywhere. Louis of Orleans had chosen a bunch of knotted fagots as his emblem, with the motto "Je l'ennuie;" and Burgundy's arrogant retort was the plane that cut through all that was not in plumb-line with his measurements, and the motto in Flemish "Ik houd," meaning "Je le tiens."

The great hall within has been partitioned off into small rooms, fit for the workingmen and their families formerly installed here; so that its ancient aspect of amplitude and dignity is somewhat marred. We "must make believe very much," to see either the sinner John mustering here his assassins, who file out through that door to their rendezvous with Orléans, or the saint Vincent gathering here his herd of hungry children. Happily, the grand stairway, on one side, is unmutilated, and it serves to bring home to us the ample magnificence of these Burgundian dukes. Dagobert's stair crawls, through twisting darkness, within its tower; Blanche's stair modestly suggests a venture toward ease and elegance in life; here we mount the stairway of a feudal château, broad and easy and stately, fitting frame for bejewelled courtiers 72 and iron-clad men-at-arms. Its one hundred and thirty-eight steps, each a single stone, turn spaciously about the central column, which does not reach to the tower top. Its upper section is carved into a stone pot, from which springs a stone oak-tree to the centre of the vaulted ceiling of the broad platform that ends the stairway, the ribs of the vaulting outlined by carved branches and foliage. On each floor below, a large chamber, deserted and dreary, opens on the landing-place; from this upper stage a narrow staircase leads, through the thickness of the wall and up through the tourelle on the angle, to the tiny chamber occupied by John of Burgundy, tradition tells us. Here in his bedroom, that was an arsenal, at the top of his impregnable tower, the fearless one found safety and sleep. We peep out from his one small window, and far down we see the swarming length of Rue Étienne Marcel, and hear the low pervasive murmur of Paris all astir, accented by the shrill cries of the boys from the adjoining school, at play in the courtyard of our tower. Their voices chase back to their shadowy haunts all these companions of our stroll through the ages, and call us down to our own time and to our Paris of to-day.



The Church of Saint-Séverin.


On that river-bank of the City-Island which is called Quai aux Fleurs, you will find a modern house numbered 11; and you will read, in the gold letters of the weather-stained stone slab set in the front wall, that here, in 1118, dwelt Héloise and Abelard. Their ideal heads are carved over the two entrance doors. This is the site of the pleasant residence occupied by Canon Fulbert, looking across its own garden and the beach to the river—one of the dwellings in the cloisters that were set apart for the clergy and clerks of the cathedral, and of the many parish churches clustering about it. The chapter of Notre-Dame owned nearly all this end of the island eastwardly from the boundaries of the old Palace, and had built up this clerical village of about three dozen small houses, each within its garden and clump of acacias, all sequestered and quiet. You may see one of these houses, still owned by the cathedral, and happily left unchanged, at No. 6 Rue Massillon. Its low two stories and tiled roof on the court keep their old-time look, and within is a good staircase, with a wooden railing of the days before wrought iron came into use. Boileau-Despréaux has mounted this staircase, 76 for he certainly visited this abode of the Abbé Ménage, who had literary and scientific salons here, on Wednesday evenings. Boileau himself lived in these cloisters for many years, and here he died; and here had died Philibert Delorme and Pierre Lescot. These and many another, not connected with the Church, sought this quarter for its quiet. It was quiet enough, shut in as it was by its own walls, that made of it a cité inside the City of the Island. The two gates at the western ends of present Rues du Cloître-Notre-Dame and Chanoinesse, with two others on the shore, were safely closed and barred at nightfall, against all intrusion of the profane and noisy world without. So greedy for quiet had the dwellers grown, that they would not permit the bridge—the Pont-Rouge, the seventeenth-century predecessor of Pont Saint-Louis—to step straight out from Saint Louis's island to their own, lest the speed of traffic should perturb them; they made it turn at an angle, until it set its twisted foot on the retired spot where now Rues des Ursins and des Chantres meet in a small open space. The southern shore by the side of the cathedral was given up to the Archbishop's palace and garden; and the piece of waste land, behind the cathedral and outside the wall, known as Le Terrain, was in 1750 banked up into the quay at the end of the present pretty garden. All around the northern and eastern sides of the original Notre-Dame, stretched the Gothic arched cloisters, and in them the Church taught what little it thought fit its scholars should learn.

Here, toward the end of the eleventh century, Pierre 77 Abelard was an eager pupil of Guillaume de Champeaux; and early in the next century, here and in the gardens of Saint-Geneviève, he was a honey-tongued teacher. He lodged in the house of Canon Fulbert, in whose niece of seventeen—less than half his own age—he found an ardent learner, not alone in theology. Here, on this spot, she taught herself that devotion to the poor-spirited lover who was so bold-spirited a thinker; a devotion, that, outlasting his life by the twenty years of her longer life, found expression in her dying wish, put into verse by Alexander Pope:

"May one kind Grave unite each hapless Name,

And graft my Love immortal on thy Fame."

He died at the Priory of Saint-Marcel near Châlons, whose prior sent the body, at her request, to Héloise, then Abbess of the Convent at Nogent-sur-Seine, and famed as a miracle of erudition and piety. She was buried in the grave she there dug for him, and in 1800, when her convent was destroyed, leaving no stone, the tomb and its contents were removed to the Museum of French Monuments in Paris, and in 1817 they were placed in Père-Lachaise.

We willingly lose sight of Abelard's sorry story in face of his splendid powers. These came into play at a period of mental and spiritual awakening, brought about by unwonted light from all quarters of the sky. Theological questions filled the air; asked, not only by priests and clerks, but by the silly crowd and by wistful children, and by gray-headed men sitting on school 78 benches. The Crusades, failing in material conquest, had won the Holy Land of Eastern Learning; and Constantinople, lost later to the Christian world, gave to it fleeing Greek scholars, carrying precious manuscripts, Byzantine logic and physics, all through Europe. Pious soldiers, coming home with wealth; stay-at-home churchmen, who had amassed riches; royalty, anxious to placate Rome—all these built colleges, founded scholarships, endowed chairs, subsidized teachers.

From the cloisters on the island—the cradle of the University, as the Palace at the other end of the island was the cradle of the Town—from the new cathedral that Abelard had not seen, the schools stepped over to the mainland on the south. There, on the shore, were built the College of the Four Nations, and the School of Medicine, alongside that annex of the old Hôtel-Dieu, which was reached by the little bridge, that went only the other day, and that led from the central structure on the island. From this shore the scholars' quarter spread up the slope to the summit of Mont-Sainte-Geneviève. There teachers and scholars met in the cloisters of the great abbey, that had grown up around the tomb of the patron saint of Paris, where now stands the Panthéon. Of the huge basilica, its foundations laid by Clovis—who had paid for a victory by his baptism into Christianity—there is left the tower, rising, aged and estranged, above the younger structures of the Lycée Henri IV. Its foundations under ground are of Clovis, its lower portion is of eleventh-century rebuilding, 79 its upper portion of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The plan of his cloisters, and some of its stones, are kept in the arches of the college court, to which one enters from No. 23 Rue Clovis. And, in the street named for his wife, Clotilde, you may see the massive side wall of the abbey refectory, now the college chapel.

Around about the southern side of the abbey, and around the schools on the slope below, that were the beginning of the University, Philippe-Auguste threw the protecting arm of his great wall. Within its clasp lay the Pays Latin, wherein that tongue was used exclusively in those schools. This language, sacred to so-called learning and unknown to the vulgar, seemed a fit vehicle for the lame science of the doctor, and the crippled dialectics of the theologian, both always in arms against the "new learning." It was not until the close of Henri IV.'s reign, that it was thought worth while to use the French language in the classes. All through the Middle Ages, this University was a world-centre for its teaching, and through all the ages it has been "that prolific soil in which no seeds, which have once been committed to it, are ever permitted to perish." While la Cité was the seat of a militant Church, and la Ville the gathering-place of thronging merchants, this hill-side swarmed with students, and their officials were put to it to house them properly and keep them orderly. They got on as best they might, ill-lodged, ill-fed, ill-clad, often begging, always roistering, in the streets. By day the sedate burghers of the other quarters 80 trembled for their ducats and their daughters, and found peace only when night brought the locking of the gate of the Petit-Châtelet, and the shutting up in their own district of the turbulent students.

Turbulent still, the students of our day, of every land and all tongues—except Latin—stream through the streets of the Latin Quarter, intent on study, or on pleasure bent. Only the Revolution has ever thinned their ranks, what time the Legislative Assembly nearly wrecked the parent University, with all its offspring throughout France. Napoleon rescued them all, and by his legislation of 1806 and 1808, the University has been builded solidly on the foundations of the State. The ancient scholars' quarter, unlighted and undrained and unhealthful, is almost all gone; its narrow, tortuous streets are nearly all widened or wiped out; open spaces and gardens give it larger lungs; its dark, damp, mouldy colleges have made way for grandiose structures of the latest sanitation. Yet the gray walls of the annex of the Hôtel-Dieu still gloom down on the narrow street; the fifteenth-century School of Medicine, its vast hall perverted to base uses, is hidden behind the entrance of No. 15 Rue de la Bucherie; and above the buildings on the west side of Rue de l'Hôtel-Colbert rises the rotunda of its later amphitheatre. Rue Galande retains many of its houses of the time of Charles IX., when these gables on the street were erected. Except for the superb façade at No. 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie—a municipal residence dating from about the middle of the eighteenth century—that 81 venerable street remains absolutely unaltered since its very first days, when the parchment-makers took it for their own. Some of their parchment seems to be still on sale in its shop windows. In the ancient house No. 8 Rue Boutebrie you will find as perfect a specimen 82 of a mediæval staircase, its wooden rail admirably carved, as is left in Paris. And the street of the Mountain of Sainte-Geneviève still winds, stonily steep, up the slope.

Rue Hautefeuille, a Survivor of the Scholars' Quarter.

Nothing of Rue du Fouarre, as it was known to Rabelais and Dante, is left but its name in the broadened curtailment of this most ancient street. That name comes from the old French word meaning "forage," and was given to it at the time when the wealthier students bought near there and brought into it the trusses of hay and straw, which they spread on the floor for seats during the lectures, the reader himself being seated on a rude dais at the end of the hall. The forage market is still held, not far away, in Place Maubert. And the churches of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre and of Saint-Séverin are unchanged, except by age, since those days when their bells were the only timekeepers for lecturers and lectured; giving signal, throughout the day, for the divisions of the classes, until vespers told that the working-day was done. The schools opened with the early mass at Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, then the chapel adjoining the Hôtel-Dieu, now an exquisite relic of simple twelfth-century Gothic. Still older had been Saint-Séverin, a chapel of the earliest years of the monarchy, destroyed by the Normans when they camped just here in 866, besieging the island city and making their onslaught on the wooden tower that guarded the abutment of the Petit-Pont on the mainland. The twelve heroes, who held that tower against the Norman horde, are commemorated by the tablet 83 in the wall of Place du Petit-Pont. Saint-Séverin was rebuilt in the thirteenth century, and its vast burial-ground on the south covered by the buildings and the street of la Parcheminerie. So that of the University seen by Dante, we can be sure only of the body of Saint-Séverin—its tower was built in 1347—and of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, and the buildings that are glued to it.

The Interior of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre.

Dante's bronze figure looks pensively down from the terrace of the Collége de France on all the noise and the newness of modern Rue des Écoles. The date of his short stay in Paris cannot be fixed, but it was certainly after his exile from Florence, therefore not earlier than 1302, and probably not later than 1310, his own years being a little less, or a little more, than forty. There can be no doubt as to his having visited Paris, for Boccaccio, his admirer and biographer, records the fact; told him perhaps by the elder Boccaccio, who lived in the capital—where his famous son was born—and who probably met the expatriated poet there. And in the tenth canto of "Paradiso," we find these words in Longfellow's translation:

"It is the light eternal of Sigieri,

Who, reading lectures in the street of straw,

Did syllogize individious verities."

This closing line, meaning that Sigier of Brabant had the courage to speak truths that were unpopular, explains why he was Dante's favorite lecturer. In Balzac's pretty fragment of romance, in which the great Frenchman makes so vivid the presence of the great 84 Italian, the home of the latter is in one of the small houses on the extreme eastern end of the City Island—such as the modest dwelling in which died Boileau-Despréaux, four centuries later. From there, Balzac has Dante ferried over to Quai de la Tournelle, and so stroll to his lectures. But Dante's home was really in that same street of straw, to which he had come from his quarters away south on the banks of the Bièvre, too far away from the schools. He had taken up his abode in that rural suburb, on first coming to Paris, as did many men of letters, of that time and of later times, who were drawn to the pleasant, quiet country without the walls.

There was one among these men to whose home, tradition tells us, Dante was fond of finding his way, after he had come to live in the narrow town street. The grave figure goes sedately up Rue Saint-Jacques, always the great southern thoroughfare, passing the ancient chapel of the martyrs, Saint-Benoît-le-Bétourné, and the home and shelter for poor students in theology, started by the earnest confessor of Saint Louis, Robert de Sorbon. The foundations of his little chapel, built in 1276, were unearthed in 1899 during the digging for the new Sorbonne; and its walls are outlined in white stone in the gray pavement of the new court. Not a stone remains of the old Sorbonne, not a stone of the rebuilt Sorbonne of Richelieu, except his chapel and his tomb; well worth a visit for the exquisite beauty of its detail. But the soul of the historic foundation lives on, younger than ever to-day, in its seventh century of 85 youth. Through Porte Saint-Jacques, Dante passes to the dwelling, just beyond, of Jean de Meung, its site now marked by a tablet in the wall of the house No. 218 Rue Saint-Jacques. No doubt it was a sufficiently grand mansion in its own grounds, for it was the home of the well-to-do parents of the poet, whose lameness gave him the popular nickname of "Clopinel," preferred by him to the name by which he is best known, which came from his natal town. In this home, a few years earlier, he had finished his completion of "Le Roman de la Rose," one of the earliest of French poems, a biting satire on women and priests, begun by Guillaume de Lorris. "Clopinel" carried on the unfinished work to such perfection, that he is commonly looked on as the sole author. Dante admired the work as fully as did Chaucer, who has left a translation into English of a portion:—so admirable a version that it moved Eustace Deschamps to enthusiasm in his ballad to "le grand translateur, noble Geoffroi Chaucer." And Dante liked the workman as well, his equal in genius, many of their contemporaries believed; and we shall not aggrieve history, if we insist on seeing the grim-visaged Florentine and the light-hearted Gaul over a bottle of petit vin de Vouvray or de Chinon—for the vineyards of this southern slope of Paris had been rooted up by the builder early in the twelfth century—in the low-browed living-room, discussing poetry and politics, the schism in the Church, the quarrel between the French King and his spiritual father of Rome. 86

Behind us in Rue Saint-Jacques, beneath the new Sorbonne, we have left the site of the chapel of Saint-Benoît-le-Bétourné. The entrance to its cloisters and gardens was opposite Rue du Cimetière-Saint-Benoît, a short street, now widened, that retains a few of its ancient houses, the cemetery at its farther end being entirely builded over. This entrance-gate is standing in the gardens of the Cluny Museum, and we see it as it was first seen by the boy François Villon, and last seen when he fled under it, after killing a priest in the cloisters. He got his name from the worthy canon of Saint-Benoît, Guillaume de Villon, who took in the waif and gave him a roof and food, and tried to give him morals; and it is by his name that the poet is known in history rather than by the other names, real or assumed, that he bore during his shifty life. He lived here with his "more than father," as the young scamp came to own that the canon had been; whose house in the cloister gardens, named "la Porte Rouge," was not far from the house of the canon Pierre de Vaucel, with whose niece François got into his first scrape. Loving her then, he libelled her later in his verse.

Full of scrapes of all sorts were his thirty short years of life—he was born in the year of the burning of Joan the Maid, and he slips out of sight and of record in 1461—and it needed all his nimble wits to keep his toes from dangling above ground and his neck from swinging in a noose. They did not keep him from poverty and hunger and prison. Parliament, nearly hanging him, banished him instead from Paris, and the footsore cockney 87 figure is seen tramping through Poitou, Berri, Bourbonnais. Louis XI. finds him in a cell at Meung and, sympathizing with rascality that was not political, sets him free and on foot again; so playing Providence to this starveling poet as he did to Gringoire. And from Meung, François Villon steals out of history, leaving to us his "Small" and "Large Testament," a few odes and sonnets, with bits of wholly exquisite song. No French poet before him had put himself into his verse, and it is this flavor of personality that gives its chiefest charm to his work. We are won by the graceless vagabond, who casts up and tells off his entire existence of merriment and misery, in the words of Mr. Henley's superb translation:

"Booze and the blowens cop the lot."

He seems to be owning to it, this slight, alert figure of bronze in Square Monge, as he faces the meeting-place of wide modern streets. The spaciousness of it all puzzles him, who prowled about the darkest purlieus, and haunted the uncleanest cabarets, of the old University quarter. He is struck suddenly quiescent in his swagger; his face, slightly bent down, shows the poet dashed with the reprobate; his expression and attitude speak of struggling shame and shamelessness. His right hand holds a manuscript to his breast, his left hand clasps the dagger in his belt. Behind, on the ground, lie the mandolin of the poet-singer and the shackles of the convict. It is a delightfully expressive statue of François Villon, by his own election one of 88 the "Enfants sans Souci," and by predestination a child of grievous cares.

From Square Monge it is but a step to the tablet that marks the place of Porte Saint-Victor, on the northern side of the remnant left of the street of that name. It is but a step in the other direction to the tablet on the wall of No. 50 Rue Descartes, which shows the site of Porte Saint-Marcel, sometimes called the Porte Bordée. Through either of these gates of the great wall one might pass to the home of a poet, a hundred years after Villon had gone from sight; like him, born to true poetry, but unlike him who was born to rags, Pierre de Ronsard was born to the purple. He was a gentleman of noble lineage, he had been educated at the famous Collége de Navarre, the college at that period of Henri III. and of the Duke of Guise, le Balafré—its site and its prestige since taken by the École Polytechnique—he had entered the court of the Duke of Orleans as a page, he had gone to Scotland as one of the escort of Madeleine of France, on her marriage with James V. He was counted among the personal friends of Mary Stuart and of Charles IX., and by him was selected always as a partner in tennis. That King visited Ronsard here, and so, too, did his brother Henri III. Tasso found his way here, while in Paris in 1571, in the train of Cardinal Louis d'Este. It seems that nothing in all France was to Tasso's taste, except the windmills on Montmartre; easily in view, at that day, from the Louvre, at whose windows he watched the ceaseless whirling of their sails, which mitigated his boredom. Twenty years 89 earlier, Rabelais was fond of ferrying across the river, from his home in Rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul, to prowl about his once familiar haunts in this quarter, and to drop in on Ronsard and Baïf, the leaders of the school of "learned poets." They lived in Rue des Fossés-Saint-Victor, the street formed over the outer ditch of the wall, now named Rue du Cardinal-Lemoine. Their house and grounds, just at the corner of present Rue des Boulangers, have been cut through and away by the piercing of Rue Monge. Here, Ronsard looked across the meadows to the Seine, while he strolled in the gardens, book in hand, eager "to gather roses while it is called to-day," in the words of Mr. Andrew Lang's version of the "Prince of Poets." For Ronsard's deafness, which had cut short his adroit diplomatic career, had given him quicker vision for all beauty; and his verse, Greek and Latin and French, trips to the music made in him by the sights and scents of summer, by roses and by women, by the memories of "shadow-loves and shadow-lips." And, still rhyming, this most splendid of that constellation—those singers, attuned to stately measure, called the Pleiades—died in the year 1585, soon after his sixtieth birthday.

Pierre de Ronsard.
(From a drawing by an unknown artist, in a private collection.)

From here we go straight away over the hill of Sainte-Geneviève and through Porte Saint-Michel—nearly at the meeting-place of Rues Soufflot and Monsieur-le-Prince and Boulevard Saint-Germain—to the house, also in the fields outside the wall, where dwelt Clément Marot, a poet who sang pleasantly of the graces of life, too, but who had a more serious strain 90 deep down. The "Cheval d'Airan"—so was the house named—was a gift to the poet from François I. "for his good, continuous, and faithful services." These services consisted chiefly in the writing of roundelays and verses, in which "he had a turn of his own," says Sainte-Beuve; a turn of grace and of good breeding, and no passion that should startle the King's sister, good Marguerite of Navarre, who had made him her groom of the chamber. He had been a prisoner at Pavia with the King, and his life had been spent in the camp and the court. At Ferrara, in 1534, he had met his fellow-countryman Calvin, and returned to Paris to prove his strengthened convictions in the new heresies by those translations of the psalms, which carried comfort to Calvin and to Luther, and which have given to their writer his permanent place in French literature. During this period he lived in this grand mansion, the site of which is exactly covered by the houses No. 27 Rue de Tournon and No. 30 Rue de Condé. And from here Marot went into exile, along with the well-to-do Huguenots, who clung together in this quarter outside the wall. "Nous autres l'appelons la Petite Genève," said d'Aubigné, and that appellation held for a long time. Its centre was the short, narrow lane in the marshes, named later Rue des Marais-Saint-Germain, and now Rue Visconti, wherein the persecuted sect had their hidden place of worship. On its corner with the present Rue de Seine was the home of Jean Cousin, that gentleman-worker in stained glass—the sole handicraft allowed to men of birth—who has left for our 91 joy that exquisite window in the Church of Saint-Gervais. At the western end of the lane was the residence built for himself by Baptiste du Cerceau, son of the illustrious Jacques Androuët, and as stanch as was his father for the faith. His great mansion took up the whole end of the block, on the ground covered now by the equally large building that makes 32 Rue Jacob, 21 Rue Bonaparte, and 23 and 25 Rue Visconti. A portion of this latter structure may be of the sixteenth century. Baptiste du Cerceau, a Huguenot by birth and bringing-up, had yet joined Henri III.'s famous "Forty-Five," in 1575, when he was only twenty years old. For ten years he served that King as soldier and architect, and then, rather than attend mass or conform against his convictions, he left King and court and home in 1585. He came back with Henri IV. as royal architect, to find that his elegant residence had fallen into ruin.

Balcony over the Entrance of the Cour du Dragon.

When Bernard Palissy, released from his dungeon in Bordeaux, came to Paris, he was made "Worker in Earth and Inventor of Rustic Figulines," for the new abode in the Tile Fields, beyond the Louvre, that was planned for the Queen-Mother, Catherine de' Medici. "Bernard of the Tuileries," as he was known, in order to be near his work, lodged on the northern side of Rue Saint-Honoré, just east of present Rue de Castiglione. Later he removed to Rue du Dragon, nearly opposite the little street now named in his honor, and so became one of the colony of "la Petite Genève." Here he worked as he worked always in his passion for perfection 92 in ornamental pottery, giving to it all "my affection for pursuing in the track of enamels," in his own quaint words. For his single-mindedness in praising his Creator, and in making worthy images of His creations, he was looked on as a "huguenot opiniâtre," and hated by the powers of the Church and State, who, failing to burn him, because of the mercy of the Duke of Mayenne, cast him into the Bastille. With all Paris hungry, during the siege of the League by Henry of Navarre, the prisoners took their turn, and this old man renewed the experience of his youth, when he had starved himself for his beloved enamels. And so, at the age of eighty, in the year of the stabbing by Jacques Clément of the most Christian King, Henri III., Bernard Palissy died in his cell "naturally," the report 93 said. A medallion of the great potter may be seen over the entrance of a house in Rue du Dragon, and his statue stands in the little garden of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, not far away. He is in his workman's garb, gazing down at a platter on which he has stamped his genius in clay.

We have seen John Calvin, fresh from Picardy, a student at the Collége du Cardinal-Lemoine, in Rue Saint-Victor, and this is his only residence in Paris known to us. Appointed Curé of Pont l'Evêque, at the age of sixteen, he was induced by a daring relative to read the Bible, and the ultimate result was Calvinism, as it has been interpreted by his bigoted disciples. The immediate result was his persecution by the Sorbonne, and his flight to Ferrara, about the year 1534. There he met with welcome and protection, as did many a political fugitive of the time, from Renée, the reigning duchess, as kindly a creature as was her father, Louis XII. of France. But her goodwill could not prevail against the ill-will of the Church, and Calvin was forced to find his way finally to Switzerland, to live there for thirty useful years. Marot, who was with Calvin in Ferrara, went back to Paris, still countenanced at court; but no favor of king or king's sister could save a sinner who would eat meat during Lent; and in 1543 Marot was forced to flee to Italy, and died in Turin in 1544. He lives less in his special verse than in his general influence, along with Rabelais and Montaigne, in the formation of French letters. These three cleansed that language into literature, by purging 94 it of the old Gallic chaos and clumsiness of form.

So the Church made a desert, and called it peace, and "Little Geneva" was at last laid waste, and those leaders, who escaped the cell and the stake, were made refugees, because they had been insurgents against enslaved thought. But they left behind them him who has been styled the "Martyr of the Renaissance," Étienne Dolet. Here, in Place Maubert, this bronze figure on the high pedestal, which he somehow makes serve as a Protestant pulpit, looks all the martyr, with his long, stubborn neck, his stiff spine of unbending conviction, his entire attitude of aggressive devotion to principle. In life he was so strong and so genuine that he made friends almost as many as enemies. That glorious woman, Marguerite of Navarre—whose absurd devotion to her brother Francis is only a lovable flaw in her otherwise faultless nature—stood by Dolet as she stood by so many men who had the courage to study and think and speak. She saved him from execution, when he had killed a man in self-defence at Lyons, and she should have been allowed to sit at table with the friends who gave him a little dinner in the Pays Latin to celebrate his escape. Among those about the board were Marot, Rabelais, Erasmus, Melancthon, tradition says, and says no more. We are told nothing about the speechmakers, and we can only guess that they were terribly in earnest. Dolet was soon again in arrest for printing books forbidden by the Church; his trial resulted in an acquittal. Soon again 95 he was arrested for importing the forbidden literature, and escaped from prison. Rearrested, he was speedily convicted, and on August 3, 1546, he was burned in Place Maubert, on the spot where they have put his statue.

Clément Marot.
(From the portrait by Porbus le Jeune, in a private collection.)

It was during one of his visits in later life to Paris that Erasmus came to be among these convives; perhaps at the time he was considering, before declining, the offer of François I. to make him the head of the great Collége Royal, planned—and no more than planned—by the King on the site of the Hôtel de Nesle, where Mazarin afterward placed his College of the Four Nations, now the seat of the Institute. Many years before this visit, some time between 1492 and 1497, Erasmus had lived in Paris, a poor and unhappy student in the Collége Montaigu. It had earned the nickname of "Collége des Haricots," because of the Lenten fare lavished on its inmates—beans, stale eggs, spoiled fish, and that monotony broken by frequent fasts. Erasmus had a Catholic conscience, as he owns, but a Lutheran stomach withal, and this semi-starvation, with the filth and fleas in the rooms, sickened him and drove him home to cleanly and well-fed Flanders. From this college, he says in his "Colloquia," "I carried nothing but a body infected with disease, and a plentiful supply of vermin." A few years later young Rabelais suffered similar horrors at the same college, and has cursed its memories through Grangousier's capable lips. This "galley for slaves" was indeed used as a prison during the Revolution, and 96 was torn down in 1845, to give place to the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.

From Place Maubert we walk up Rue Monge—named from the great savant of the First Empire—and down to the seventeenth century, to where, on the corner of Rue Rollin, we find the tablet that records the scene of Blaise Pascal's death in 1662. He lived and died in the house of his sister, in the fields just beyond Porte Saint-Marcel. Thirty-one years before, he had left Auvergne for Paris, a precocious lad of eight, already so skilled in mathematics and geometry that he produced his famous treatises while still in his teens, and at the age of twenty-three was known for his abilities throughout Europe. No man dying, as he did, not yet forty years of age, has left so distinct and permanent an impress on contemporary, and on later, thought.

He gained the honor of being hated by the Church, and the Jesuits named him "Porte d'Enfer." His only answer was the philosophic question, "How can I prove that I am not the gate of Hell?" This many-sided genius invented the first calculating machine and the first omnibus. The line was started on March 18, 1662, and ran from the Palace of the Luxembourg to the Bastille. Its route was probably by Rue de la Harpe—almost all gone under Boulevard Saint-Michel—across Petit-Pont and the Island and Pont Notre-Dame, to Place de Grève, and thence by Rues François-Miron and Saint-Antoine, to the gate and the prison at the end. 97

It was long a matter of dispute between the towers of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie and Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas—this latter much nearer his home—as to which one had been selected by Pascal for the experiments he made, to prove his theory of atmospheric pressure, and to refute the theory of his opponents. Within a few years this question has been answered by an old painting, found in a curiosity shop, which represents Pascal, barometer in hand, standing on the top of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie, beside the statue of the Chimæra, that has been carried to the Cluny Museum. This figure alone would fix the spot, but, in addition, the picture gives a view of old Paris that could be seen only from this point of view. This elegant isolated tower—all that is left of a church dating from the beginnings of Christian construction, and destroyed during the Revolution—was itself erected late in the fifteenth and early in the sixteenth century, and shows the last effort of mediæval Gothic in Paris. It is now used as a weather observatory. Pascal's statue, by Cavelier, has been placed under the great vaulted arch that forms its base, and all about, in the little park, are instruments for taking and recording all sorts of atmospheric changes.

It may have been while driving between this tower and his sister's house, that Pascal's carriage was overturned on Pont-Neuf, and he narrowly escaped death by falling or by drowning. From that day he gave up his service to science, and gave himself up solely to the service of God. Into his "Thoughts" he put all his depth 98 of reflection and his intensity of feeling, all his force and finish of phrase. Yet, always behind this Christian philosopher, we are conscious of the man of feeling, who owns that he could be drawn down from his high meditations, and could be drawn up from his profound melancholy, by "un peu de bon temps, un bon mot, une louange, une caresse."

His body was laid in the Abbey Church of Sainte-Geneviève, and was removed, on the destruction of that edifice in 1807, to its successor in tradition and sentiment, Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. It rests at the base of one of the outer pillars of the Lady Chapel, opposite the spot of Racine's final sepulture. The two tablets from their original tombs have been set in the pillars of the first chapel on the southern side of the choir, just behind the exquisite rood-screen.

When aged Rue Rollin was quite young it was christened Rue Neuve-Saint-Étienne, and it was bordered by cottages standing in their own gardens, looking down the slope across the town to the river, this being the highest street on the hill-side. Its length has been lessened by Rue Monge, and that portion left to the east of the new street is now Rue de Navarre. Rue Monge was cut through the crest of the hill, so that one must mount by stone steps to the old level of the western end of Rue Neuve-Saint-Étienne, named anew in honor of the scholar and historian, who has given his name also to the great college, since removed from this quarter to Boulevard Rochechouart, away off on the northern heights. Charles Rollin was an earnest student, an unusually 99 youthful Rector of the University, and principal of the College of Beauvais in 1696, and a writer of history and belles-lettres of great charm but little weight. He was, withal, an honest soul, somewhat naïve, of simple tastes and of quiet life. So he came to this secluded quarter, when a little over seventy, and here he died in 1741. His cottage is numbered 8 in the street, and is occupied by the school of Sainte-Geneviève, whose demure maidens do no violence to his tranquil garden in which they stroll. For their use a small pavilion has been built in the rear of the garden, but there is no other change. The two Latin lines, inscribed by him in praise of his rural home within the town, remain on an inner wall of his cottage at your left as you enter.

Fifty years later another writer found a quiet home in this same street. Hidden behind the heavy outer door of No. 4, a roomy mansion built in 1623 by a country-loving subject of Louis XIII., is a tablet that tells of the residence here, from 1781 to 1786, of Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. A man of finer qualities and subtler charm than Rollin, his work is of no greater weight in our modern eyes, for with all the refinement of imagination and the charm of description that made his pen "a magic wand" to Sainte-Beuve, his emotional optimism grows monotonous, and his exuberant sensibility flows over into sentimentality. In the court of his house is an ancient well, and behind lies a lovable little garden, with a rare iron rail and gateway. This traveller in many lands, this adorer of 100 nature, took keen delight in his outlook, from his third-story windows, over this garden and the gardens beyond, to the Seine. Here in 1784 he wrote "Studies from Nature," an instantaneous success, surpassed only by the success of "Paul and Virginia," published in 1786. Possibly no book has ever had such a vogue. It was after reading this work, in Italy, that the young Bonaparte wrote to Bernardin: "Your pen is a painter's brush." Yet his reading of the manuscript, before its publication, in the salon of Madame Necker, had merely bored his hearers, and the humiliated author had fled from their yawns to this congenial solitude.

The narrow street has suffered slight change since those days, or since those earlier days, when René Descartes found a temporary home, probably on the site of present No. 14, a house built since his day here. That was between 1613, when he first came from Brittany, and 1617, when he went to the Netherlands. But there can be found no trace of the stay in this street, nor of the secluded home in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, of the founder of Cartesian philosophy—the first movement in the direction of modern philosophy—the father of modern physiology, as Huxley claims, and of modern psychology, as its students allow. His wandering life, in search always of truth, ended in 1650, at the court of Christina of Sweden. His body was brought back to France by the ambassador of Louis XIV., and placed in the old Church of Sainte-Geneviève. In 1793, the Convention 101 decreed its removal to the recently completed and secularized Panthéon, and from there it was carried for safe keeping, along with so many others, to the Museum of French Monuments. In 1819 it found final resting-place in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in the third chapel on the southern side of the choir. The man himself lives for us on the wonderful canvas of Franz Hals in the gallery of the Louvre.

René Descartes.
(From the portrait by Franz Hals, in the Musée du Louvre.)

The Paris of the north bank has its slope, that looks across the Seine to this southern slope, and that has come to be its Scholarly Quarter. The high land away behind the lowlands stretching along the northern bank was taken early by the Romans for their villas, and then by nobles for their châteaux, and then by the bourgeoisie for their cottages. As la Ville grew, its citizens gave all their thought to honest industry and to the honest struggle for personal and municipal rights, so that none was left for literature. When its time came, the town had spread up and over these northern heights, and men of letters and of the arts were attracted by their open spaces and ample outlook. So large a colony of these workers had settled there, early in the nineteenth century, that some among them gave to their hill-side the name of "la Nouvelle Athènes." Its vogue has gone on growing, and it is crowded with the memories of dead pen-workers, and with the presence of living pen-workers. So, too, are the suburbs toward the west, and this Scholars' Quarter on the southern bank, which is barely touched on in this book, given so greatly as it is to history, archæology, 102 architecture, and other arts. All this wide-spread district awaits the diligent pen that has given us "The Literary Landmarks of London," to give us, as completely and accurately, "The Literary Landmarks of Paris."




In the early years of the seventeenth century there stood a low, wide, timbered house on the eastern corner of Rues Saint-Honoré and des Vieilles-Étuves. To the dwellers in that crowded quarter of the Halles it was known as "la Maison des Singes," because of the carved wooden tree on its angle, in the branches of which wooden monkeys shook down wooden fruit to an old wooden monkey at its foot. This house, that dated from the thirteenth century surely, and that may have been a part of Queen Blanche's Paris, was torn down only in 1800, and a slice of its site has been cut off by Rue Sauval, the widened and renamed Rue des Vieilles-Étuves. The modern building on that corner, numbered 92 Rue Saint-Honoré, is so narrow as to have only one window on each of its three floors facing that street. Around the first story, above the butcher's shop on the entrance floor, runs a balcony with great gilt letters on its rail, that read "Maison de Molière." High up on its front wall is a small tablet, whose legend, deciphered with difficulty from the street, claims this spot for the birthplace of Molière. This is a veracious record. The exact date of the birth of the eldest son of Jacques Poquelin and Marie 106 Cressé, his wife, is unknown, but it was presumably very early in January, 1622, for, on the fifteenth of that month, the baby was baptized "Jean Poquelin," in his father's parish church of Saint-Eustache—a new church not quite completed then. The name "Baptiste" was, seemingly, added a little later by his parents.

On this corner the boy lived for eleven years; here his mother died, ten years after his birth, and here his father soon married again; he removed, in 1633, to a house he had inherited, the ground floor of which he made his shop of upholstery and of similar stuffs, the family residing above. It was No. 3 Rue de la Tonnellerie, under the pillars of the Halles, possibly, but not certainly, on the site of the present No. 31 Rue du Pont-Neuf. In a niche, cut in the front wall of this modern building, has been placed a bust of Molière and an inscription asserting that this was his birthspot, a local legend that harms no one, and comforts at least the locataire.

Hereabout, certainly, the boy played, running forward and back across the market. On its northern side, near the public pillory, was another house owned by his father, on the old corner of Rue de la Réale, and its site is now covered by the pavement of modern Rue Rambuteau. It is pleasant to picture the lad in this ancient quarter, as we walk through those few of its streets unchanged to this day, notably that bit of Rue de la Ferronerie, so narrow that it blocked the carriage of Henri IV., a few years before, and brought 107 him within easy reach of the knife of Ravaillac as he sprang on the wheel.

François Coppée, not yet an old man, readily recalls the square squat columns of the old Halles, and, all about, the solid houses supported by pillars like the arcades of Place des Vosges; all just as when young Poquelin played about them. Plays, as well as play, already attracted him; he loved to look at the marionettes and the queer side-shows of the outdoor fairs held about the Halles; and his grandfather, Louis Cressé, an ardent playgoer, often took him to laugh at the funny fellows who frolicked on the trestles of the Pont-Neuf, and at the rollicking farces in the Théâtre du Marais. No doubt he saw, too, the tragedies of the theatre of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and this observant boy may well have anticipated the younger Crébillon's opinion, that French tragedy of that day was the most absolute farce yet invented by the human mind. For this was a little while before the coming of Corneille with true tragedy.

This son of the King's upholsterer cared nothing for his father's trade, and not much for books. He learned, early, that his eyes were meant for seeing, and he not only saw everything, but he remembered and reflected; showing signs already of that bent which gave warrant, in later life, for Boileau's epithet, "Molière the Contemplator."

He was sent, in 1636, being then fourteen years old, to the Collége de Clermont, named a little later, and still named, Lycée Louis-le-Grand. Rebuilt during 108 the Second Empire, it stands on its old site behind the Collége de France, in widened Rue Saint-Jacques. Here, during his course of five years, he was sufficiently diligent in such studies as happened to please him; and was prominent in the plays, acted by the scholars at each prize-giving. He made many friendships with boys who became famous men; with one, just leaving school as he came, who especially stood his friend in after life—the youthful Prince de Conti, younger brother of the great Condé. And this elder brother became, years after, the friend and protector of the young actor-playwright, just as he was of some others of that famous group, Racine, La Fontaine, Boileau. All these, along with all men eminent in any way, were welcomed to his grand seat at Chantilly, and were frequent guests at his great town-house, whose salon was a rival to that of the Hôtel de Rambouillet. His mansion, with its grounds, occupied the whole of that triangular space bounded now by Rues de Vaugirard, de Condé, and Monsieur-le-Prince. At the northern point of that triangle, nearly on the ground now covered by the Second Théâtre Français, the Odéon, stood the prince's private theatre; wherein Molière, by invitation, played the rôles of author, actor, manager. Molière's customary rôle in this great house was that of friend of the host, who wrote to him: "Come to me at any hour you please; you have but to announce your name; you visit can never be ill-timed."

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin betook himself early to the 109 boards for which he was born, from which he could not be kept by his course at college or at law. He studied law fitfully for a while; sufficiently, withal, to lay up a stock of legal technicalities and procedure, which he employed with precision in many of his plays. So, too, he took in, no doubt unconsciously, details of his father's business; and his references, in his stage-talk, to hangings, furniture, and costumes, are frequent and exact.

The father, unable to journey with the King to Narbonne in the spring of 1642, as his official duties demanded, had his son appointed to the place, and the young man, accompanying the court and playing tapissier on this journey, saw, it is said, the execution of Cinq-Mars and de Thou. In the provinces at this time, or it may have been in Paris earlier, he met, became intimate with, and soon after joined, a troupe of strolling players, made up of Joseph Béjart, his two sisters Madeleine and Geneviève, and other young Parisians.

This troupe was touring in Languedoc early in 1642, and was rather strong in its talent and fortunate in its takings; in no way akin to that shabby set of barnstormers satirized by Scarron in his "Roman Comique." We cannot fix the date of Poquelin's début in the company, but we know that—with the unhallowed ambition of the born and predestined comedian—he began in tragedy, and that he was greeted by his rural audiences with hootings, punctuated by the pelting of fried potatoes, then sold at the theatre door. And we know 110 that the troupe came north to Rouen in the autumn of 1643, playing a night or two in the natal town of Corneille. It is a plausible and a pleasing fancy that sees the glory of French dramatic art of that day, at home on a visit to his mother, receiving free tickets for the show, with the respects of the young recruit to the stage, the glory of French dramatic art at no distant day. The troupe had gone to Rouen and to other provincial towns only while awaiting the construction of their theatre in the capital, contracted for during the summer. At last, on the evening of December 31, 1643, it raised its first curtain to the Parisian public, under the brave, or the bumptious, title of "l'Illustre Théâtre."

To trace, from his first step on Paris boards, the successive sites of Molière's theatres is a delightful task, in natural continuation of that begun in an earlier chapter, where those theatres in existence before his time were pointed out. In England, we know, stage-players were "strollers and vagabonds" by statute; not allowed to play within London's walls. All their early theatres were outside the City limits. The Globe, the summer theatre of Shakespeare and his "fellows"—"whereon was prepared scaffolds for beholders to stand upon"—was across the Thames, on Bankside, Southwark. So, too, were the Hope, the Rose, the Swan. The Curtain was in Shoreditch, Davenant's theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and the Blackfriars theatre on Ludgate Hill, just without the old wall.

The early playhouses of Paris were built—but for 111 another reason—on the outer side of the town wall of Philippe-Auguste, and their seemingly unaccountable situations are easily accounted for by following on either bank the course of that wall, already plainly mapped out in preceding pages.

This magnificent wall of a magnificent monarch had lost much of its old significance for defence with the coming of gunpowder, and a new use was found for it, in gentler games than war, as the town outgrew its encircling limits. In the Middle Ages, tennis—the oldest ball-game known—was a favorite sport of kings and of those about them. It was called le jeu de paume, being played with the hand until the invention of the racket; the players standing in the ditch outside the wall, against which the ball was thrown. Beyond the ditch was built the court for onlookers, the common folk standing on its floor, their betters seated in the gallery. When the game lost its vogue, these courts were easily and cheaply turned into the rude theatres of that day, with abundant space for actors and spectators; those of low degree crowding on foot in the body of the building, those who paid a little more seated in the galleries, those of high degree on stools and benches at the side of the stage, and even on the stage itself. This encroachment on the stage, within sight of the audience, grew to such an abuse that it was done away with in 1759, and the scene was left solely to the players.

Where a tablet is let into the wall of the present Nos. 12 and 14 Rue Mazarine, then named the Fossé-de-Nesle—the 112 ancient outer ditch of the old wall—a roomy playhouse had been contrived from a former tennis-court owned by Arnold Mestayer, a solid citizen of the town, captain of the Hundred Musketeers of Henri IV.'s day. This was the theatre taken by the Béjart troupe and named "l'Illustre Théâtre." Here young Poquelin made his first bow to Paris. The building stood on the sites of the present Nos. 10, 12, and 14 Rue Mazarine, its only entrance for spectators reached by an alley that ran along the line between Nos. 14 and 16, and so through to Rue de Seine, to where the buildings extended over the ground now covered by Nos. 11 and 13. These latter houses are claimed by local legend for Molière's residence, and it may well be that the rear part of the theatre served as sleeping-quarters for the troupe. The interior of No. 11 is of very ancient construction, its front being of later date. In the wall between it and No. 9—a low wooden structure, possibly a portion of the original fabric—is hidden the well that served first the tennis-players and then the stage-players. There is no longer any communication between these houses in Rue de Seine and those in Rue Mazarine. These latter were built in 1830, when the street was widened, that portion of the old theatre having been demolished a few years earlier.

It was in June, 1644, that the name Molière first appears, signed—it is his earliest signature in existence—among the rest of the company, to a contract with a dancing man for the theatre. How he 113 came to select this name is not known, nor was it known to any of his young comrades; for he always refused to give his reasons. What is known, is that it was a name of weight even then, proving that, within the first six months of the theatre's existence, his business ability had made him its controlling spirit. But his abilities as manager and as actor could not bring success to the theatre. Foreign and civil wars made the State poor; wide-spread financial troubles made the people poor; that cruelly cold winter froze out the public. "Nul animal vivant n'entra dans notre salle," are the bitterly true words, put into the mouth of the young actor-manager, by an unknown writer of a scurrilous verse.

He and the troupe were liberated from their lease within the year, and, early in 1645, they migrated over the river to the Jeu de Paume de la Croix-Noire. On either end of the long, low building at No. 32 Quai des Célestins is a tablet; the western one showing where stood the Tour Barbeau that ended the wall on this river-bank; that at the eastern end marking the site of this theatre, just without the wall. It had an entrance on the quay-front for the boatmen and other water-side patrons, another in Rue des Barrés for its patrons coming by coach. Molière lodged in the house—probably a portion of the theatre—at the corner of the quay and of Rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul—that country lane wherein had died Rabelais, nearly a century earlier. Little Rue des Barrés, already seen taking its name from the barred or striped gowns of the 114 monks who settled there, is now Rue de l'Ave-Maria, and at its number 15 you will find the stage entrance of this theatre, hardly changed since it was first trodden by the players from over the river. There is the low and narrow door, one of its jambs bent with the 115 weight of the more modern structure above, and beyond is the short alleyway, equally narrow, by which they passed to the stage. At its inner end, where it opens into a small court, is the stone rim of a well, half hidden in the wall. It is the well provided in each tennis-court for the players, and handed on, with the court itself, for the use of the actors. Molière has leaned over this well-curb to wash away his rouge and wrinkles. It is an indisputable and attractive witness of his early days. In Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, where he knelt at the altar for his marriage and stood at the font with his son; in Saint-Eustache, where he carried his second son for baptism; in Saint-Roch, where he wrote his name as godfather of a friend's daughter—within these vast and dim aisles, his bodily presence is vaguely shadowed forth; here we can touch the man.

Stage Door of Molière's Second Theatre in Paris.

What sort of plays were presented at this house we do not know, the only record that remains referring to the production of "Artaxerxes" by one Mignon. Whatever they played, neither the rough men of the quay and of Port Saint-Paul, nor the bourgeoisie of the Marais, nor the fine folk of Place Royale, crowded into the new theatre.

During this disastrous season, the troupe received royal commands to play at Fontainebleau before the King and court, and later, by invitation of the Duc de l'Éperon, at his splendid mansion in Rue de la Plâtrière—that mansion in which lived and died La Fontaine, half a century later. Neither these fashionable 116 flights, nor the royal and noble patronage accorded to the troupe, could save it from failure and final bankruptcy. Molière, the responsible manager, was arrested for the theatre's poor little debt for candles and lights. He was locked up for a night or two in the dismal prison of the Grand Châtelet, once the fortress of Louis "le Gros," torn down only in 1802, on whose site now sparkles the fountain of Place du Châtelet. From this lock-up, having petitioned for release to M. d'Aubray, Civil Lieutenant of the town and father of the Marquise de Brinvilliers, Molière was released by the quickly tendered purse of Léonard Aubry, "Royal Paver and Street Sweeper," who, when filling in the Fossé-de-Nesle and laying out over it the present Rue Mazarine a year before, had made fast friends with the young actor. "For his good service in ransoming the said Poquelin," the entire troupe bound itself to make Aubry whole for his debt.

Now they cross the river again to their former Faubourg Saint-Germain, taking for their house the Jeu de Paume de la Croix-Blanche, outside the wall on the south side of the present Rue de Buci, between the carrefour at its eastern end and Rue Grégoire-de-Tours. Here they played, still playing against disaster, from the end of 1645 to the end of 1646, and then they fled from Paris, fairly beaten, and betook themselves to the southern provinces. We cannot follow their wanderings, nor record their ups and downs, during the twelve years of their absence. In the old play-bills we find the names of Béjart aîné and 117 of his brother Louis, of their sisters Madeleine and Geneviève. Toward the end of their touring they added to the family, though not to the boards, Armande, who had been brought up in Languedoc, and who was claimed by them to be their very young sister, and by others to be the unacknowledged daughter of Madeleine.

Molière, the leader and manager of the troupe from the day they started, was then only twenty-five years of age, not yet owning or knowing his full powers. These he gained during that twelve years' hard schooling and rude apprenticeship, so that he came back to the capital, in 1658, master of his craft, with a load of literary luggage such as no French tourist has carried, before or since.

Under princely patronage, won in the provinces, his troupe appeared before Louis XIV., the Queen-Mother, and the entire court, on October 24, 1658, in a theatre improvised in the Salle des Gardes of the old Louvre, now known as the Salle des Caryatides. The pieces on that opening night were Corneille's "Nicomède" and the manager's "Le Docteur Amoureux." In November, the "troupe de Monsieur"—that title permitted by the King's brother—was given possession of the theatre in the palace of the Petit-Bourbon. It stood between the old Louvre, with which it was connected by a long gallery, and the Church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, and was torn down in 1660 to make place for the new colonnade that forms the present eastern face of the Louvre. The dainty Jardin de 118 l'Infante covers the site of the stage, just at the corner of the Egyptian Gallery.

In this hall Molière's company played for two years, on alternate nights with the Italian comedians, presenting, along with old standard French pieces—for authors in vogue held aloof—his provincial successes, as well as new plays and ballets invented by him for the delectation of the Grand Monarque. From this time his remaining fifteen years of life were filled with work; his brain and his pen were relentlessly employed; honors and wealth came plentifully to him, happiness hardly at all.

While at this theatre Molière lived just around the corner on Quai de l'École, now Quai du Louvre, in a house that was torn away in 1854 for the widening of present Rue du Louvre. Many of the buildings left on the quay are of the date and appearance of this, his last bachelor home.

Driven from the Petit-Bourbon by its hurried demolition in 1660, Molière was granted the use and the privileges of the Salle of the former Palais-Cardinal, partly gone to ruin and needing large expenditure to make it good. It had been arranged by Richelieu, just before his death, for the presentation of his "Mirame." For the great cardinal and great minister thought that he was a great dramatist too, and in his vanity saw himself the centre of the mimic stage, as he really was of the world-stage he managed. He is made by Bulwer to say, with historic truth: "Of my ministry I am not vain; but of my muse, I own it." 119 His theatre in his residence—willed at his death to the King, and thenceforward known as the Palais-Royal—was therefore the only structure in Paris designed especially and solely for playhouse purposes. It stood on the western corner of Rues Saint-Honoré and de Valois, as a tablet there tells us. During the repairs Molière took his troupe to various châteaux about Paris, returning to open this theatre on January 20, 1661. This removal was the last he made, and this house was the scene of his most striking successes.

It is not out of place here to follow his troupe for a while after his death, and so complete our record of those early theatres. His widow, succeeding to the control of the company, was, within three months, compelled to give up the Cardinal's house to Lulli, the most popular musician of that day, and a scheming fellow withal. The unscrupulous Florentine induced the King to grant him this Salle des Spectacles for the production of his music. The opera held the house until fire destroyed it in 1763, when a new "Academy of Music" was constructed on the eastern corner of the same streets; this, also, was burned in 1781. Above the tablet recording these dates on this eastern-corner wall is a fine old sun-dial, such as is rarely seen in Paris, and seldom noticed now.

The widow Molière, being dispossessed, found a theatre in Rue Mazarine, just beyond her husband's first theatre, "in the Tennis-Court where hangs a Bottle for a Sign." For it had been the Jeu de Paume de la Bouteille, and now became the Théâtre Guénégaud, 120 being exactly opposite the end of that street. Within the structure at No. 42 Rue Mazarine may be seen the heavy beams of the front portion of its fabric, where was the entrance for the public. The space behind, now used for a workshop, with huge pillars around its four sides, served for the audience, and the stage was built farther beyond. On the court of this house, and on the contiguous court of No. 43 Rue de Seine, stood a large building, whose first floor was taken by Madame Molière, and in its rear wall she cut a door to give access to her stage. The entrance for the performers was in the little Passage du Pont-Neuf, and under it there are remains of the foundations of the theatre. Here, in May, 1677, the widow took the name of Madame Guérin on her marriage with a comedian of her company. And we feel as little regret as she seems to have felt for her loss of an illustrious name. In the words of a derisive verse of the time:

"Elle avoit un mari d'esprit, qu'elle aimoit peu;

Elle prend un de chair, qu'elle aime davantage."


This was the first theatre to present to the general public "lyric dramas set to music," brought first to France by Mazarin for his private stage in the small hall of the Palais-Royal, where they were presented as "Comédies en Musique, avec machines à la mode d'Italie." They bored everybody, the fashion for opera not yet being set. On October 21, 1680, by letters-patent from royalty, the troupe of the Théâtre Guénégaud was united to that of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, 121 and to the combined companies was granted the name of Comédie Française, the first assumption of that now time-honored title. The theatre became so successful that the Jansenists in the Collége Mazarin—the present Institute—made an uproar because they were annoyed by the traffic and the turmoil in the narrow street, and succeeded in driving away the playhouse in 1688. After a long search, the Comédie Française found new quarters in the Jeu de Paume de l'Étoile, built along the outer edge of the street made over the ditch of the wall, named Rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain, now Rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie. At its present No. 14, set in the original front wall of the theatre, between the second and third stories, a tablet marks the site; above it is a bas-relief, showing a Minerva reclining on a slab. She traces on paper, with her right hand, that which is reflected in the mirror of Truth, held in her left hand. At the rear of the court stands the old fabric that held the stage. Since those boards were removed to other walls—the story shall be told in a later chapter—the building has had various usages. It now serves as a storehouse for wall-paper. During the Empire it was taken for his studio by the artist Antoine-Jean Gros, the successor of David and the forerunner of Géricault; so standing for the transition from the Classic 122 to the Romantic school. It is not true that he killed himself in this studio. He went out from it, when maddened by the art critics, and drowned himself in the Seine in the summer of 1835.

It was a great bill with which the Comédie Française opened this house on the night of April 18, 1689, for it was made up of two masterpieces, Racine's "Phèdre" and Molière's "Le Médecin Malgré Lui." A vast and enthusiastic audience thronged, with joyous clatter, through narrow Rues Mazarine and Dauphine, coming from the river. The Café Procope, recently opened just opposite the theatre, was crowded after the performance, the drinkers of coffee not quite sure that they liked the new beverage. And so, at the top of their triumphs, we leave the players with whom we have vagabondized so long and so sympathetically.

Molière, at the height of his career, had married Armande Béjart, he being forty years of age, she "aged twenty years or thereabout," in the words of the marriage contract, signed January 23, 1662. No one knows now, very few knew then, whether the bride was the sister or the daughter of Madeleine Béjart, Molière's friend and comrade for many years, who doubled her rôle of versatile actress with that of provident cashier of the company. She was devoted to Armande, whom she had taken to her home from the girl's early schooling in Languedoc, and over whom she watched in the coulisses. She fought against the marriage, which she saw was a mistake, finally accepted 123 it, and at her own death in 1672 left all her handsome savings to the wife of Molière.

In the cast of the "École des Maris," first produced in 1661, appears the name of Armande Béjart, and, three months after the marriage, "Mlle. Molière"—so were known the wives of the bourgeoisie, "Madame" being reserved for grandes-dames—played the small part of Élise put for her by the author into his "Critique de l'École des Femmes." Henceforward she was registered as one of the troupe, the manager receiving two portions of the receipts for his and her united shares. She was a pleasing actress, never more than mediocre, except in those parts, in his own plays, fitted to her and drilled into her by her husband. She had an attractive presence on the boards, without much beauty, without any brains. Her voice was exquisite, opulent in tones that seemed to suggest the heart she did not own. For she was born with an endowment of adroit coquetry, and she developed her gift. She was flighty and frivolous, evasive and obstinate, fond of pleasures not always innocent. Her spendthrift ways hurt Molière's thrifty spirit, her coquetry hurt his love, her caprices hurt his honor. His infatuation, a madness closely allied to his genius, brought to him a fleeting happiness, followed by almost unbroken torments of love, jealousy, forgiveness. In his home he found none of the rest nor comfort nor sympathy so much needed, after his prodigious work in composing, drill-work in rehearsing, and public work in performing at his theatre, and at Versailles and Fontainebleau. 124 He got no consolation from his wife for the sneers of venomous rivals, enraged by his supremacy, and for the stabs of the great world, eager to avenge his keen puncturing of its pretence and its priggishness. And while he writhed in private, he made fun in public of his immitigable grief, and portrayed on the stage the betrayed and bamboozled husband—at once tragic and absurd—that he believed himself to be. These eleven years of home-sorrows shortened his life. On the very day of his fatal attack, he said to the flippant minx, Armande: "I could believe myself happy when pleasure and pain equally filled my life; but, to-day, broken with grief, unable to count on one moment of brightness or of ease, I must give up the game. I can hold out no longer against the distress and despair that leave me not one instant of respite."

The church ceremony of their marriage had taken place on February 20, 1662, at Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, as its register testifies. He had already left his bachelor quarters on Quai de l'École, and had taken an apartment in a large house situated on the small open space opposite the entrance of the Palais-Royal, the germ of the present place of that name. His windows looked out toward his theatre, and on the two streets at whose junction the house stood—Saint-Thomas-du-Louvre and Saint-Honoré. The first-named street, near its end on Quai du Louvre, held the Hôtel de Rambouillet, which was a reconstruction of the old Hôtel de Pisani, made in 1618, after the plan and under the eye of the Marquise de Rambouillet. 125 She is known in history, as she was known in the salons of her day, by her sobriquet of "Arthénice"—an anagram coined by Malherbe from her name Catherine. Hither came all that was brilliant in Paris, and much that pretended to be brilliant; and from here went out the grotesque affectations of the Précieuses Ridicules. The mansion—one of the grandest of that period—having passed into other hands, was used as a Vauxhall d'Hiver in 1784, as a theatre in 1792, and was partly burned in 1836. The remaining portion, which served as stables for Louis-Philippe, was wiped away, along with all that end of the old street, by the Second Empire, to make space for the alignment of the wings of the Louvre. The buildings of the Ministry of Finance cover a portion of the street, and the site of Molière's residence, in the middle of the present Place du Palais-Royal, is trodden, almost every day of the year, by the feet of American women, hurrying to and from the Museum of the Louvre or the great shop of the same name.

After a short stay in their first home, Molière and his wife set up housekeeping in Rue de Richelieu. It is not known if it was in the house of his later domicile and death. Their cook here was the famous La Forêt, to whom, it is said, Molière read his new plays, trying their effect on the ordinary auditor, such as made up the bulk of the audiences of that time. Servants were commonly called La Forêt then, and the real name of this cook was Renée Vannier. Within a year, domestic dissensions came to abide in the household, 126 and it was moved back to its first home, where Madeleine had remained, and now made one of the ménage. To it came a new inmate in February, 1664, a boy, baptized at Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, having the great monarch for a godfather, and for a godmother Henrietta of England, wife of the King's brother, Philippe d'Orléans, and poisoned by him or his creatures a few years later, it is believed. These royal sponsors were represented at the christening by distinguished State servants, the whole affair giving ample proof of this player's position at the time.

A little later, we have hints that the small family was living farther east in Rue Saint-Honoré, at the corner of Rue d'Orléans, still near his theatre, in a house swept away when that street was widened into Rue du Louvre. From this house was buried, in November, 1664, the child Louis, the burial-service being held at Saint-Eustache, their parish church, Molière's baptismal church, his mother's burial church. Here, too, in the following year, August, 1665, he brought to the font his newly born daughter, Esprit-Madeleine. In October of this same year he took a long lease of an apartment in their former house on the corner of Rue Saint-Thomas-du-Louvre, and there they stayed for seven years, removing once more, and for the last time, in October, 1672, to Rue de Richelieu.

Where now stands No. 40 of that street, René Baudelet, Tailor to the Queen by title, had taken a house only recently builded, and from him Molière rented nearly every floor. His lease was for a term 127 of six years, and he lived only four and a half months after coming here. The first floor was set apart for his wife, whose ostentatious furnishing, including a bed fit for a queen, is itemized in the inventory made after her husband's death. He took for his apartment the whole second floor, spaciously planned and sumptuously furnished; for he, too, was lavish in his expenditure and loved costly surroundings. His plate was superb, his wardrobe rich, his collection of dramatic books and manuscripts complete and precious. His bedroom, wherein he died, was on the rear of the house, and its windows looked over the garden of the Palais-Royal, to which he had access from his terrace below, and thence by steps down to a gate in the garden wall. Thus he could get to his theatre by way of those trim paths of Richelieu's planning, as well as by going along the street and around the corner. You must bear in mind that the galleries of the Palais-Royal, with their shops, were not constructed until 1784, and that Rues de Valois and Montpensier were not yet cut; so that the garden reached, on either side, to the backs of the houses that fronted on Rues de Richelieu and des Bons-Enfants. Many of the occupants had, like Molière, their private doors in the garden wall, with access by stone steps. One of these staircases is still left, and may be seen in Rue de Valois, descending from the rear of the Hôtel de la Chancellerie d'Orléans, whose Doric entrance-court is at No. 19 Rue des Bons-Enfants.

The house now numbered 40 Rue de Richelieu and 128 37 Rue Montpensier was erected soon after 1767, when the walls that had harbored Molière were torn down to prevent them from tumbling down. The present building has an admirable circular staircase climbing to an open lantern in the roof. The houses on either side, numbered 37 bis and 35 Rue Montpensier, retain their original features of a central body with projecting wings, and so serve to show us a likeness of Molière's dwelling. Their front windows look out now on the grand fountain of the younger Visconti's design, erected to Molière's memory in 1844, at the junction of Rue de Richelieu and old Rue Traversière, now named Rue Molière. This fountain, flowing full and free always, as flowed the inspiration of his Muse, is surmounted by an admirable seated statue of the player-poet by Seurre, the figures of Serious and of Light Comedy, standing at his feet on either side, being of Pradier's design. And in Rue de Richelieu, a little farther south, at the present Nos. 23 and 23 bis—once one grand mansion, still intact, though divided—lived his friend Mignard, and here he died in 1795. The painter and the player had met at Avignon in 1657-8, and grew to be life-long friends, with equal admiration of the other's art. Indeed, Molière considered that he honored Raphael and Michael Angelo, when he named them "ces Mignards de leur âge." Certainly no such vivid portrait of Molière has come down to us as that on the canvas of this artist, now in the gallery at Chantilly. It shows us not the comedian, but the man in the maturity of his strength 129 and beauty. His blond perruque, such as was worn then by all gallants, such as made his Alceste sneer, softens the features marked strongly even so early in life, but having none of the hard lines cut deeper by worry and weariness. The mouth is large and frank, the eyes glow with a humorous melancholy, the expression is eloquent of his wistful tenderness.

The Molière Fountain.

Early in 1667 we find Molière leasing a little cottage, or part of a cottage, at Auteuil, for a retreat at times. He needed its pure air for his failing health, its quiet for his work, and its distance from the disquiet of his home with Armande and Madeleine. He had laid by money; and his earnings, with his pension from the King—who had permitted to the troupe the title of "His Majesty's Comedians"—gave him a handsome income. He was not without shrewdness as a man of affairs, and not without tact as a courtier. Success, in its worst worldly sense, could come only through royal favor in that day, and no man, whatever his manliness, seemed ashamed to stoop to flatter. Racine, La Fontaine, the sterling Boileau, the antiquely upright Corneille, were tarred, thickly or thinly, with the same brush.

Auteuil was then a tranquil village, far away from the town's turmoil, and brought near enough for its dwellers by the silent and swift river. Now it is a bustling suburb of the city, and the site of Molière's cottage and grounds is covered by a block of commonplace modern dwellings on the corner of Rue Théophile Gautier and Rue d'Auteuil, and is marked by a tablet 130 in the front wall of No. 2 of the latter street. It has been claimed that this is a mistaken localization, and that it is nearly opposite this spot that we must look for his garden and a fragment of his villa, still saved. The conscientious pilgrim may not fail to take that look, and will ring at the iron gate of No. 57 Rue Théophile Gautier. It is the gate of the ancient hôtel of Choiseul-Praslin, a name of unhappy memory in the annals of swell assassins. The ducal wearer of the title, during the reign of Louis-Philippe, stabbed his wife to death in their town-house in the Champs Élysées, and poisoned himself in his cell to save his condemnation by his fellow-peers of France. The ancient family mansion has been taken by "Les Dominicaines," who have devoted themselves for centuries to the education of young girls, and have placed here the Institution of Saint Thomas of Aquinas.

A white-robed sister graciously gives permission to enter, and leads the visitor across the spacious court, through the stately rooms and halls—all intact in their old-fashioned harmony of proportion and decoration—into the garden that stretches far along Rue de Rémusat, and that once spread away down the slope to the Seine. Here, amid the magnificent cedar trees, centuries old, stands a mutilated pavilion of red brick and white stone or stucco, showing only its unbroken porch with pillars and a fragment of the fabric, cut raggedly away a few feet behind, to make room for a new structure. Over the central door are small figures in bas-relief, and in the pediment above one reads, 131 "Ici fut la Maison de Molière." It would be a comfort to be able to accept this legend; the fact that prevents is that the pavilion was erected only in 1855 by the owner of the garden, to keep alive the associations of Molière with this quarter!

It is in his garden, behind the wall that holds the tablet, that we may see the player-poet as he rests in the frequent free hours, and days withal, that came in the actor's busy life then. Here he walks, alone or with his chosen cronies: Rohault, his sympathetic physician; Boileau, a frequent visitor; Chapelle, who had a room in the cottage, the quondam schoolfellow and the man of rare gifts; a pleasing minor-poet, fond of fun, fonder of wine, friendly even to rudeness, but beloved by all the others, whom he teased and ridiculed, and yet counselled shrewdly. He sympathized with, albeit his sceptic spirit could not quite fraternize with, the sensitive vibrating nature of Molière, that brought, along with acutest enjoyment, the keenest suffering. In this day-and-night companionship, craving consolation for his betossed soul, Molière gave voice to his sorrows, bewailing his wife's frailties and the torments they brought to him—to him, "born to tenderness," as he truly put it, but unable to plant any root of tenderness in her shallow nature—loving her in spite of reason, living with her, but not as her husband, suffering ceaselessly.

This garden often saw gayer scenes of good-fellowship and feasting, and once a historic frolic, when the convives, flushed with wine, ran down the slope to the 132 river, bent on plunging in to cool their blood, and were kept dry and undrowned by Molière's steadier head and hand. His ménage was modest, and his wife seldom came out from their town apartment, but his daughter was brought often for a visit from her boarding-school near by in Auteuil. He was beloved by all his neighbors, to whom he was known less by his public repute than by his constant kindly acts among them. It was not the actor-manager, but the "tapissier valet-de-chambre du Roi," then residing in Auteuil, who signed the register of the parish church, as god-father of a village boy on March 20, 1671; just as he had signed, in the same capacity, the register of Saint-Roch on September 10, 1669, at the christening of a friend's daughter, Jeanne Catherine Toutbel. These signatures were destroyed when all the ancient church registers, then stored in the Hôtel de Ville, were burned by the Commune.

On the night of Friday, February 16, 1673, while personating his Malade Imaginaire—its fourth performance—Molière was struck down by a genuine malady. He pulled through the play, and, as the curtain went down at last, he was nearly strangled by a spasm of coughing that broke a blood-vessel. Careful hands carried him around to his bedroom on the second floor of No. 40, where in a few days—too few, his years being a little more than fifty—death set him free from suffering.

This fatal crisis was the culmination of a long series of recurrent paroxysms, coming from his fevered life 133 and his fiery soul, that "o'er informed the tenement of clay," in Dryden's phrase. And his heart had been crushed by the death of his second boy, Pierre-Jean-Baptiste-Armand, in October of the previous year. Then, on the physical side, he had been subjected throughout long years to constant exposure to draughts on the stage, and to sudden changes within and without the theatre, most trying to so delicate a frame. His watchful friend, Boileau, had often urged him to leave the stage before he should break down. Moreover, it distressed Boileau that the greatest genius of his time, as he considered Molière, should have to paint his face, put on a false mustache, get into a bag and be beaten with sticks, in his ludicrous rôle of comic valet. But all pleading was thrown away. The invalid maintained that nothing but his own management, his own plays, and his own playing, kept his theatre alive and his company from starvation; and so he held on to the end, dying literally in harness. His wife appeared too late on the last scene, the priest who was summoned could not come in time, and the dying eyes were closed by two stranger nuns, lodging for the time in the house.

The arm-chair, in which sat the Malade Imaginaire on the last night of his professional life, is treasured among the relics of the Théâtre Français. It is a massive piece of oak furniture, with solid square arms and legs; the roomy back lets down, and is held at any required angle by an iron ratchet; there are iron pegs in front for the little shelf, used by the sick man 134 for his bottles and books. The brown leather covering is time-worn and stitched in spots. It is a most attractive relic, this simple piece of stage property. Its exact copy as to shape, size, and color is used on the boards of the Théâtre Français in the performances of "Le Malade Imaginaire." And, with equal reverence, they kept for many years in the ancient village of Pézénas, in Languedoc—where the strolling troupe wintered in 1655-6, playing in the adjacent hamlets and in the châteaux of the seigneurie about—the big wooden arm-chair belonging to the barber Gély, and almost daily through that winter occupied by Molière. Upon it he was wont to sit, in a corner, contemplating all who came and went, making secret notes on the tablets he carried always for constant records of the human document. It has descended to a gentleman in Paris, by whom it is cherished.

The curé of Saint-Eustache, the parish church, refused its sacrament for the burial of the author of "Tartufe." "To get by prayer a little earth," in Boileau's words, the widow had to plead with the King; and it was only his order that wrung permission from the Archbishop of Paris for those "maimed rites" that we all know. They were accorded, not to the player, but, as the burial register reads, to the "Tapissier valet-de-chambre du Roi." Carried to his grave by night, he was followed by a great concourse of unhired mourners, of every rank and condition; and to the poor among them, money was distributed by the widow. The grave—in which was placed the French Terence 135 and Plautus in one, to use La Fontaine's happy phrase—was dug in that portion of the cemetery of the Chapel of Saint-Joseph, belonging to Saint-Eustache, that was styled consecrated by the priesthood. This cemetery going out of use, the ground, which lay on the right of the old road to Montmartre, was given to a market. This, in its turn, was cleared away between 1875 and 1880, and on the site of the cemetery are the buildings numbered 142 and 144 Rue Montmartre, 24 and 26 Rue Saint-Joseph. Over the grave, as she thought, the widow erected a great tombstone, under which, tradition says, Molière did not lie. Tradition lies, doubtless, and Armande's belated grief and posthumous devotion probably displayed themselves on the right spot. The stone was cracked—going to bits soon after—by a fire built on it during the terrible winter a few years later, when the poor of Paris were warmed by great out-of-door fires. The exact spot of sepulture could not be fixed in 1792, when the more sober revolutionary sections were anxious to save the remains of their really great men from the desecrations of the Patriots, to whom no ground was consecrate, nor any memories sacred. Then, in the words of the official document, "the bones which seemed to be those of Molière" were exhumed, and carried for safe keeping to the Museum of French Monuments begun by Alexandre Lenoir in 1791, in the Convent of the Petits-Augustins. Its site is now mostly covered by the court of the Beaux-Arts in Rue Bonaparte. Those same supposed bones of Molière were transferred, early in the present century, to 136 the Cemetery of Père-Lachaise, where they now lie in a stone sarcophagus. By their side rest the supposed bones of La Fontaine, removed from the same ground to the same museum at the same time; La Fontaine having really been buried, twenty-two years after Molière's burial, in the Cemetery of the Innocents, a half-mile from that of Saint-Joseph!

Our ignorance as to whether these be Molière's bones, under the monument in Père-Lachaise, is matched by our unacquaintance with the facts of his life. And we know almost as little of Molière the man, as we know of the man called Shakespeare—the only names in the modern drama which can be coupled. We have no specimens of the actual manuscript, and few specimens of the handwriting, of either. The Comédie Française has a priceless signature of Molière given by Dumas fils, and there are others, it is believed, on legal documents in notaries' offices, but no one knows how to get at them.

His portraiture by pen, too, would have been lost to us, but for an old lady who has left a detailed and vivid description of "Monsieur Molière." This Madame Poisson was the daughter of Du Croissy, whose name appears in the troupe's early play-bills; and the wife of Paul Poisson, also an actor with Molière, and with his widow. Madame Poisson died in 1756, aged ninety-eight, so that she was an observant and intelligent girl of fifteen at the time of Molière's death. In her recollections, written in 1740, she says that he was neither stout nor thin; in stature he was rather tall than 137 short, his carriage noble, his leg very fine, his walk measured, his air most serious; the nose large, the mouth wide, the lips full, his complexion dark, his eyebrows black and heavy, "and the varied movements he gave them"—and, she might have added, his whole facial flexibility—"made him master of immense comic expression."

"His air most serious," she says; it was more than that, as is proven by hints of his companions, and shown by strokes in the surviving portraits. All these go to assure us of his essential melancholy. Not only did he carry about with him the traditional dejection of the comic actor, but he was by character and by habit contemplative—observant of human nature—as well as introspective—peering into his own nature. The man who does this necessarily grows sad. Molière's sadness was mitigated by a humor of equal depth, a conjunction rare in the Latin races, and found at its best only in him and in Cervantes. This set him to writing and acting farces; and into them he put sentiment for the first time on the French stage. There is a gravity behind his buffoonery, and a secret sympathy with his butts. So, when he came to write comedy—that hard and merciless exposure of our common human nature, turned inside out for scorn—he left place for pity in his ridicule, and there is no cruelty in his laughter. His wholly sweet spirit could not be soured by the injustices and insolences that came into his life. If there was a bitter taste in his mouth, his lips were all honey. "Ce rire amer," marked by Boileau in the 138 actor's Alceste, was only his stage assumption for that character. The inborn good-heartedness that made his comedy gracious and unhostile, made his relations with men and women always kindly and generous. You see that sympathy with humanity in Mignard's portrait, and in the bust in the foyer of the Comédie Française, made by Houdon from other portraits and from descriptions. Under the projecting brow of the observer are the eyes of the contemplator, shrewd and speculative, and withal infinitely sorrowful, with the sadness of the man who knew how to suffer acutely, mostly in silence and in patience; and this is the face of the man who made all France laugh!

Pierre Corneille stands in bronze on the bridge of his natal town, Rouen, where he stood in the flesh of his twenty-eight years, among other citizens who went to welcome Louis XIII. and his ruler, Richelieu, on their visit in 1634. The young advocate by profession and poet by predilection presented his verses in greeting and in honor of the King, and was soon after enrolled one of the small and select band of the Cardinal's poets. With the Cardinal's commission and a play or two, already written when only twenty-three, he made his way to Paris. For nearly thirty years, the years of his dramatic triumphs, Corneille lived alternately in Paris and in Rouen, until his mother's death, in 1662, left him free to make his home in the capital. In that year he settled in rooms in the Hôtel de Guise, now the Musée des Archives, whose ducal owner was a patron of the 139 Théâtre du Marais, close at hand. At his death, in or about 1664, Corneille sent in a rhymed petition for rooms in the Louvre, where lodging was granted to men of letters not too well-to-do. His claim was refused, and he took an apartment in Rue de Cléry during that same year. It was a workman's quarter, and none of its houses were very grand, but that of Corneille is spoken of as one of the better sort, with its own porte-cochère. Pierre's younger brother, Thomas, came to live in the same house. And from this time on, the two brothers were never parted in their lives. They had married sisters, and the two families dwelt in quiet happiness under the common roof. This house in Rue de Cléry cannot be fixed. It may be one of the poor dwellings still standing in that old street, or it may no longer exist. It is the house famous in anecdotal history for owning the trap-door in the floor between the working-rooms of the brothers, which Pierre—at loss for an adequate rhyme—would lift up, and call to Thomas, writing in his room below, to give him the wished-for word.

This dull street formed the background of a touching picture, when, in 1667, Corneille's son was brought home, wounded, from the siege of Douai. The straw from the litter was scattered about the street as the father helped them lift his boy to carry him into the house, and Corneille was summoned to the Châtelet, for breaking police regulations with regard to the care of thoroughfares; he appeared, pleaded his own cause, and was cast in damages! 140

Here in 1671, Corneille and Molière, in collaboration, wrote the "tragedy-ballet 'Psyche'"; this work in common cementing a friendship already begun between the two men, and now made firmer for the two years of Molière's life on from this date. The play was begun and finished in a fortnight, to meet the usual urgency of the King in his amusements. Molière planned the piece and its spectacular effects, and wrote the prologue, the first act, and the first scenes of the second and third acts; Corneille's share being the rest of the rhymed dialogue and the songs. It was set to music by Lulli—"the incomparable Monsieur Lulli," as he was called by Molière—whose generous laudation of the musician was not lessened by his estimate of the man. For Lulli was not an honest man, and he prospered at the expense of his fellows. His magnificent home was built by money borrowed from Molière, whose widow was repaid as we have seen. Lulli's hôtel is still in perfect condition as to its exterior, at the corner of Rues des Petits-Champs and Sainte-Anne. This latter front is the finer, with its pilasters and composite capitals, its masks carved in the keystones of the low entresol windows, and the musical instruments placed above the middle window of the first grand floor.

They make a pretty picture, not without a touch of the pathetic—and M. Gèrôme has put it on canvas—as they sit side by side, planning and plotting their play: Molière at the top of his career, busy, prosperous, applauded; Corneille past his prime and his popularity, beginning to bend with age and to break in spirit. He 141 had, by now, fallen on evil days, which saw him "satiated with glory, and famished for money," in his words to Boileau. Richelieu may not have done much for him, but he had been at least a power in his patronage, and his death, in 1642, had left the old poet with no friend at court, albeit the new minister, Mazarin, had put him on the pension list. His triumphs with "Le Cid" and "Les Horaces" had not saved him from—nor helped him bear—the dire failures of "Attila" and of "Agésilas." Poetry had proved a poor trade, royalty had forgotten him, Colbert's economies had left his pension in arrears along with many others, and finally, after Colbert's death, the new minister, Louvois, had suppressed it entirely. Against the earlier default he had made patient and whimsical protest in verse; each official year of delay had been officially lengthened to fifteen months; and Corneille's Muse was made to hope that each of the King's remaining years of reign might be lengthened to an equal limit!

The contrast between the two figures—the King of French Tragedy shabby in Paris streets, the King of French people resplendent at Versailles—is sharply drawn by Théophile Gautier in his superb verses, read at Corneille's birthday fête at the Comédie Française, on June 6, 1851. Gautier had not been able to find any motive for the lines, which he had promised to prepare for Arsène Houssaye, the director, until Hugo gave him this cue.

The faithful, generous Boileau—the man called "stingy," because of his exactness, which yet enabled 142 him always to aid others—offered to surrender his own well-secured and promptly-paid pension in favor of his old friend; a transfer not allowed by the authorities, and the King sent a sum of money, at length, to Corneille. It came two days before the poet's death, when he might have quoted, "I have no time to spend it!" There is extant a letter from an old Rouen friend of his who, visiting Paris in 1679, describes a walk he took with Corneille, then aged seventy-three. In Rue de la Parcheminerie—that ancient street on the left bank of the Seine, which we have already found to be less spoiled by modern improvements than are its neighbors—Corneille sat down on a plank by a cobbler's stall, to have one of his worn shoes patched. That cobbler's stall, or its direct descendant, may be seen in that street, to-day. Corneille counted his coppers and found just enough to pay the cobbler's paltry charge; refusing to accept any coin from the proffered purse of his friend, who, then and there, wept in pity for such a plight for such a man.

The Door of Corneille's Last Dwelling.
(From a drawing by Robert Delafontaine, by permission of M. Victorien Sardou.)

Age and poverty took up their abode with him—as well as his more welcome comrade, the constant Thomas—in his next dwelling. We cannot be sure when they left Rue de Cléry, and we find them first in Rue d'Argenteuil in November, 1683, the year of Colbert's death. That old road from the village of Argenteuil had become, and still remains, a city street absolutely without character or temperament of its own; it has not the merit even of being ignoble. And the Corneille house at No. 6, as it was seen just before its destruction, was 143 a gloomy and forbidding building. It had two entrances—as has the grandiose structure now standing on its site—one in Rue d'Argenteuil, on which front is a tablet marking this historic scene of the poet's death, and the other in Rue de l'Évêque. That street was wiped out of existence by the cutting of Avenue de l'Opéra in 1877-8, which necessitated the demolition of this dreary old house. Its most attractive relic is now in the possession of M. Victorien Sardou, at his country house, at Marly-le-Roi, in the porte-cochère, with its knocker. Every guest there is proud to put his hand on the veritable knocker lifted so often by Corneille's hand.

That hand had lost its fire and force by this time, and the poet's last months were wretched enough in these vast and desolate rooms on the second floor, so vast and desolate that he was unable to keep his poor septuagenarian bones warm within them. Here came death to him on Sunday, October 1, 1684. They buried him in his parish church, Saint-Roch, a short step from his home; and on the western pillar within the entrance a tablet to his memory was placed in 1821. The church was so short a step, that, feeble and forlorn as he was, he had found his way there early of mornings during these last years. And in his earlier years, when living in Rue de Cléry, he had often hurried there, drawn by the strong and splendid Bossuet, whose abode was either in Rue Sainte-Anne hard by, or in the then new mansion still standing in Place des Victoires. Here in the church, as we stand between Corneille's tablet and 144 Bossuet's pulpit, the contrast is brought home to us of the two forms of eloquence that most touch men: that of this preacher burning with ancient Hebraic fire, and that of this dramatist glowing with the white-heat of classicism.

After the burial, the bereft Thomas removed to rooms in Cul-de-sac des Jacobins, only a little way from his last home with Pierre. This blind alley has now been cut through to the market of Saint-Honoré, and become a short commonplace street, named Saint-Hyacinthe. Twenty years the younger of the two, Thomas was, during his life, and has been in his after-renown, unduly overshadowed by his imperishable brother. He had a rare gift of versification, and a certain skill in the putting together of plays. Of them he constructed a goodly lot, some few of them in collaboration. His "Timocrate," played for eighty consecutive nights at the Théâtre du Marais, was the most popular success on the boards of the seventeenth century. His knack in pleasing the public taste was as much his own as was his mastery of managers, by which he got larger royalties than any playwright of his day. He was a competent craftsman, too, in more weighty fabrications, and turned out, from his factory, translations and dictionaries, which have joined his plays in everlasting limbo.

All the early theatrical productions of Pierre Corneille were originally put on the stage of the Théâtre du Marais, which had been started by seceders from the theatre of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, as has been told in 145 our first chapter. After a temporary lodgment in the quarter of the Hôtel de Ville, it was soon permanently housed in the recast tennis-court of the "Hôtel Salé." There it remained until 1728, when Le Camus bought the place and turned the theatre into stables. Where stands modern No. 90 in the widened Rue Vieille-du-Temple was the public entrance of the theatre. The "Hôtel Salé," the work of Lepautre, is still in perfect condition behind the houses of Rue Vieille-du-Temple. Its principal portal is at Rue Thorigny, 5, with a side entrance in Rue Saint-Gervais-des-Coutures. Known at first as the Hôtel Juigné, it was popularly renamed, in the seventeenth century, the "Hôtel Salé," because its rapacious owner, Aubray de Fontenay, had amassed his wealth by farming out the salt tax—that most exacting and irritating of the many taxes of that time.

Through a lordly arch in Rue Thorigny, we pass into the grand court, and find facing us the dignified façade, its imposing pediment carved with figures and flowers. Within is a stately hall, made the more stately by the placing at one end of a noble chimney-piece, a copy of one at Versailles. In the centre a superb staircase rises, wide and easy, through a sculptured cage, to the first floor; its old wrought-iron railing is of an exquisite pattern; nothing in all Paris is nearer perfection than this staircase, its railing, and its balustrade. In the rooms above, kept with reverence by the bronze-maker who occupies them, admirable panelling and carvings are found. The façade on the gardens—now shrunk from their former spaciousness to a small court—is 146 most impressive, with ancient wrought-iron balconies; in its pediment, two vigilant dogs watch the hands that move no more on the great clock-face between them.

The Théâtre du Marais had been established here by the famous Turlupin, made immortal in Boileau's verse, who, with his two comic confrères—baker's boys, like the brothers Coquelin of our day—kept his audiences in a roar with his modern French farces farcied with old Gaulish grossness. It was he who invented the comic valet—badgered and beaten, always lying and always funny—who was subsequently elaborated into the immortal Sganerelle by Molière. He, while a boy, had sat in this theatre, watching Turlupin; and when he had grown into a manager, he is said to have bought some of the stage copies of these farces, when Turlupin's death disbanded his troupe.

These "Comédiens du Marais" were regarded with a certain condescension not unmingled with disdain by their stately confrères left at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, who were shocked when Richelieu, becoming bored by their dreary traditional proprieties, sent for Turlupin and his troupe to give a specimen of their acting in his palace. And the great cardinal actually laughed, a rare indulgence he allowed himself, and told the King's Comedians that he wished they might play to as good effect!

Still, the Théâtre du Marais was not entirely given over to farce, for it alternated with the tragedy of the then famous Hardy; and Mondory, the best tragedian 147 of the day, was at one time the head of the troupe. Mondory had brought back from a provincial tour, in 1629, the manuscript of "Mélite," by a young lawyer of Rouen, named Corneille. This piece was weak, but it was not a failure. And so, when the author came to town, his tragedies were played at this theatre and drew crowds to the house. There they first saw the true tragic Muse herself on the French boards. Those rough, coarse boards of that early theatre he planed and polished, with conscience and with craft, and made them fit for her queenly feet; and through her lips he breathed, in sublime tirades, his own elevation of soul, to the inspiration of that shabby scene. For the first time in the French drama, he put skill into the plot, art into the intrigue, taste into the wit; in a word, he gave to dramatic verse "good sense"—"the only aim of poetry," Boileau claimed—and showed the meaning and the value of "reason" on the stage; and for the doing of this Racine revered him.

As to Corneille's personality, we are told by Fontenelle—his nephew, a man of slight value, a better talker than writer, an unmoved man, who prided himself on never laughing and never crying—that his uncle had rather an agreeable countenance, with very marked features, a large nose, a handsome mouth, eyes full of fire, and an animated expression. Others who saw Corneille say that he looked like a shopkeeper; and that as to his manner, he seemed simple and timid, and as to his talk, he was dull and tiresome. His enunciation was not distinct, so that in reading his own verses—he 148 could not recite them—he was forcible but not graceful. Guizot puts it curtly and cruelly, when he writes that Corneille was destitute of all that distinguishes a man from his equals; that his appearance was common, his conversation dull, his language incorrect, his timidity ungainly, his judgment untrustworthy. It was well said, in his day, that to know the greatness of Corneille, he must be read, or be seen in his work on the stage. He has said so in the verse that confesses his own defects:

"J'ai la plume féconde et la bouche stérile,

Et l'on peut rarement m'écouter sans ennui,

Que quand je me produis par la bouche d'autrui."

In truth, we must agree with Guizot, that the grand old Roman was irrevocably doomed to pass unnoticed in a crowd. And he was content that this should be. For he had his own pride, expressed in his words: "Je sais ce que je vaux." He made no clamor when Georges de Scudéry was proclaimed his superior by the popular voice, which is always the voice of the foolish. And when that shallow charlatan sneered at him in print, he left to Boileau the castigation that was so thoroughly given. His friends had to drive him to the defence of his "Cid" in the Academy, to which he had been elected in 1647. His position with regard to the "Cid" was peculiar and embarrassing; it was Richelieu, the jealous playwright, who attacked the successful tragedy, and it was Richelieu, the all-potent patron, who was to be answered and put in the wrong. The 149 skirmish being ended, with honor to Corneille, he retired into his congenial obscurity and his beloved solitude. And there the world left him, alone with his good little brother Thomas, both contented in their comradeship. For in private life he was easy to get on with, always full of friendliness, always ready of access to those he loved, and, for all his brusque humor and his external rudeness, he was a good husband, father, brother. He shrank from the worldly and successful Racine, who reverenced him; and he was shy of the society of other pen-workers who would have made a companion of him. His independent soul was not softened by any adroitness or tact; he was clumsy in his candor, and not at home in courtier-land; there was not one fibre of the flunky in his simple, sincere, self-respecting frame; and when forced to play that unwonted rôle, he found his back not limber enough for bowing, his knees not sufficiently supple to cringe.

Pierre Corneille.
(From the portrait by Charles Lebrun.)

And in what light he was looked upon by the lazy pensioned lackeys of the court, who hardly knew his face, and not at all his worth, is shown by this extract from one of their manuscript chronicles: "Jeudi, le 15 Octobre, 1684. On apprit à Chambord la mort du bonhomme Corneille."

Jean Racine came to Paris, from his native La Ferté-Milon in the old duchy of Valois—by way of a school at Beauvais, and another near Port-Royal—in 1658, a youth of nineteen, to study in the Collége d'Harcourt. That famous school was in the midst of 150 the Scholars' Quarter, in that part of narrow, winding Rue de la Harpe which is now widened into Boulevard Saint-Michel. On the site of the ancient college, direct heir of its functions and its fame, stands the Lycée Saint-Louis. The buildings that give on the playground behind, seem to belong to the original college, and to have been refaced.

Like Boileau-Despréaux, three years his senior here, the new student preferred poetry to the studies commonly styled serious, and his course in theology led neither to preaching nor to practising. He was a wide and eager reader in all directions, and developed an early and ardent enthusiasm for the Greeks and the Latins.

As early as 1660 he had made himself known by his ode in celebration of the marriage of Louis XIV.; while he remained unknown as the author of an unaccepted and unplayed drama in verse, sent to the Théâtre du Marais.

Racine's Paris homes were all in or near the "Pays Latin," for he preserves its ancient appellation in his letters. On leaving college, in 1660-61, he took up quarters with his uncle Nicolas Vitart, steward and intendant of the Duchesse de Chevreuse, and secretary of her son the Duc de Luynes. Vitart lived in the Hôtel de Luynes, a grand mansion that faced Quai des Grands-Augustins, and stretched far back along Rue Gît-le-Cœur. It was torn down in 1671. La Fontaine had lodgings, during his frequent visits to Paris at this period, a little farther west on Quai des Grands-Augustins, 151 and he and Racine, despite the eighteen years' difference of age, became close companions. La Fontaine made his young friend acquainted with the cabarets of the quarter, and Racine studied them not unwillingly. Just then, too, Racine doubtless met Molière, recently come into the management of the theatre of the Palais-Royal. An original edition of "Les Précieuses Ridicules," played a while before this time at the Hôtel du Petit-Bourbon, bears on its title-page "Privilège au Sr. de Luyne." This was Guillaume de Luyne, bookseller and publisher in the Salle des Merciers of the Palais de Justice; and at his place, a resort for book-loving loungers, we may well believe that the actor-manager made acquaintance with the young poet, coming from his home with the Duc de Luynes, within sight across the narrow arm of the river.

Not as a poet was he known in this ducal house, but as assistant to his uncle, and the probable successor of that uncle, who tried to train him to his future duties. Among these duties, just then, was the construction of the new Hôtel de Luynes for the Duchesse de Chevreuse. This is the lady who plays so prominent a rôle in Dumas's authentic history of "The Three Musketeers." The hôtel that was then built for her stands, somewhat shorn of its original grandeur, at No. 201 Boulevard Saint-Germain, and you may look to-day on the walls constructed under the eye of Jean Racine, acting as his uncle's overseer. This uncle was none too rigid of rule, nor was the household, from the duchess down, unduly ascetic of habit; and young 152 Racine, "nothing loath," spent his days and eke his nights in somewhat festive fashion. His anxious country relatives at length induced him to leave the wicked town, and in November, 1661, he went to live at Uzés, near Nîmes, in Languedoc. Here he was housed with another uncle, of another kidney; a canon of the local cathedral, able to offer church work and to promise church preferment to the coy young cleric.

Racine was bored by it all, and mitigated his boredom, during the two years he remained, only by flirting and by stringing rhymes. The ladies were left behind, and the verses were carried to the capital, on his return in November, 1663. He showed some of them, first to Colbert and then to Molière, who received the verse with scant praise, but accepted, paid for, and played "La Thébaïde"—a work of promise, but of no more than promise, of the future master hand. It was at this period, about 1664, that Racine, of his own wish, first met Boileau, who had criticised in a kindly fashion some of the younger poet's verses. Thus was begun that friendship which was to last unmarred so many years, and to be broken only by Racine's death.

With Corneille, too, Racine made acquaintance, in 1665, and submitted to him his "Alexandre." He was greatly pleased by the praise of the author of the "Cid"; praise freely given to the poetry of the play, but along with it came the set-off that no talent for tragedy was shown in the piece. It was not long before the elder poet had to own his error, and it is a sorrow to record his growing discontent with the younger 153 man's triumphs. Racine believed then and always, that Corneille was easily his master as a tragic dramatist; a belief shared with him by us of to-day, who find Corneille's tragedies as impressive, his comedies as spirited, as ever, on the boards of the Comédie Française; while Racine's tragic Muse seems to have outlived her day on those boards, and to have grown aged and out of date, along with the social surroundings amid which she queened it.

Racine's reverence for his elder and his better never wore away, and on Corneille's death—when, to his place in the Academy, his lesser brother Thomas was admitted—it fell to Racine, elected in 1673, to give the customary welcome to the new Academician, and to pay the customary tribute to his great forerunner. He paid it in words and in spirit of loyal admiration, and no nobler eulogy of a corrival has been spoken by any man.

On his return to town, in 1663, Racine had found his uncle-crony Vitart living in the new Hôtel de Luynes, and in order to be near him he took lodging in Rue de Grenelle. It was doubtless at the eastern end of that street, not far from the Croix-Rouge—a step from Boileau in Rue du Vieux-Colombier, and not far from La Fontaine on Quai Malaquais. Here he stayed for four years, and in 1667 he removed to the Hôtel des Ursins. This name had belonged to a grand old mansion on the north bank of Île de la Cité, presented by the City of Paris to Jean Juvénal des Ursins, Prévôt des Marchands under Charles VI. In the old prints, we see its two 154 towers rising sheer from the river, and behind them its vast buildings and spacious grounds extending far away south on the island. According to Edouard Fournier, a painstaking topographer, all this structure was demolished toward the end of the eighteenth century, and over its site and through its grounds were cut the three streets bearing its name of des Ursins—Haute, Milieu, Basse. Other authorities claim that portions of the hotel still stand there, among them that portion in which Racine lived; his rooms having remained unaltered up to 1848. The street is narrow and dark, all its buildings are of ancient aspect, and on its south side is a row of antiquated houses that plainly date back to Racine's day and even earlier. It is in one of these that we may establish his lodgings.

The house at No. 5, commonly and erroneously pointed out as his residence, is of huge bulk, extending through to Rue Chanoinesse on the south. No. 7 would seem to be still more ancient. No. 9 is simply one wing of the dark stone structure, of which No. 11 forms the other wing and the central body, massive and gloomy, set back from the street behind a shallow court, between these wings. In the low wall of this court, under a great arch, a small forbidding door shuts on the pavement, and behind, in a recess, is an open stairway leading to the floor above. No. 13 was undoubtedly once a portion of the same fabric. All these street windows are heavily barred and sightless. These three houses evidently formed one entire structure at first, and this was either an outlying portion of the Hôtel des Ursins, 155 or a separate building, erected after the demolition of that hôtel, and taking the old name. In either case, there can be no doubt that these are the walls that harbored Racine. The tenants of his day were mostly men of the law who had their offices and residential chambers here, by reason of their proximity to the Palais de Justice. With these inmates Racine was certainly acquainted—the magistrates, the advocates, the clerks, of whom he makes knowing sport in his delightful little comedy, "Les Plaideurs." It was played at Versailles, "by royal command," before King and court in 1668. This was not its original production, however; it had had its first night for the Paris public a month earlier, and had failed; possibly because it had not yet received royal approval. Molière, one of the audience on that first night, was a more competent critic of its quality, and his finding was that "those who mocked merited to be mocked in turn, for they did not know good comedy when they saw it." This verdict gives striking proof of his innate loyalty to a comrade in trade, for he and the author were estranged just then, not by any fault of Molière, and he had the right to feel wronged, and by this unasked praise he proved himself to be the more manly of the two.

The piece was an immediate success at Versailles. The Roi Soleil beamed, the courtiers smiled, the crowd laughed. The players, unexpectedly exultant, climbed into their coaches as soon as they were free, and drove into town and to Racine, with their good news. This whole quiet street was awakened by their shouts of congratulation, 156 windows were thrown open by the alarmed burghers, and when they learned what it meant, they all joined in the jubilation.

Racine lived here from 1667 to 1677, and these ten years were years of unceasing output and of unbroken success. Beginning with his production of "Andromaque" in the first-named year, he went, through successive stage triumphs, to "Phèdre," his greatest and his last play for the public stage, produced on New Year's Day of 1677, at the Hôtel de Bourgogne. It was on these boards that almost all his plays were first given.

Then, at the age of thirty-seven, at the top of his fame, in the plenitude of his powers, he suddenly ceased to write for the stage. This dis-service to dramatic literature was brought about by his forthcoming marriage, by his disgust with the malice of his rivals, by his weariness of the assaults of his enemies, by his somewhat sudden and showy submission to the Church—that sleepless assailant of player and playwright. He hints at the attitude of the godly in his preface to "Phèdre," assuring them that they will have to own—however, in other respects, they may or may not esteem this tragedy—that it castigates Vice and punishes Badness as had no previous play of his. Doubtless he was hardened in this decision, already made, by the hurt he had from the reception of this play in contrast with the reception of a poorer play for which his own title was stolen, which was produced within three nights of his piece, and was acclaimed by the cabal that 157 damned the original. Nor was it only his rivals and enemies who decried him. "Racine et le café passeront," was La Harpe's contemptuous coupling of the playwright with the new and dubious drink, just then on its trial in Paris. His mot has been mothered on Madame de Sévigné, for she, too, took neither to Racine nor to coffee. And a century later it pleased Madame de Staël to prove, to her own gratification, that his tragedies had already gone into the limbo of out-worn things.

Racine's whole life—never notably sedate hitherto, with its frequent escapades and its one grand passion—was turned into a new current by his love match with Catherine de Romenet. On his marriage in June, 1677—among the témoins present were Boileau-Despréaux and Uncle Vitart, this latter then living in the same house with his nephew—Racine ranged himself on the side of order and of domestic days and nights. He gave proof of a genuine devotedness to his wife; a good wife, if you will, yet hardly a companion for him in his work at home and in the world outside. It is told of her, that she never saw one of his pieces played, nor heard one read; and Louis, their youngest son, says that his mother did not know what a verse was.

The earliest home of the new couple was on Île Saint-Louis. Neither the house nor its street is to be identified to-day, but both may surely be seen, so slight are the changes even now since that provincial village, in the heart of Paris, was built up from an island wash-house and wood-yard under the impulse of the plans 158 prepared for Henri IV., by his right hand, Sully. And in this parish church, Saint-Louis-en-l'Île—a provincial church quite at home here—we find Racine holding at the font his first child, Jean-Baptiste, in 1678.

Two years later he moved again, and from early in 1680 to the end of 1684 we find him at No. 2 Rue de l'Eperon, on the corner of Rue Saint-André-des-Arts. Here his family grew in number, and the names of three of his daughters, Marie-Catherine, Anne, and Élisabeth—all born in this house—appeared on the baptismal register of his parish church, Saint-André-des-Arts. This was the church of the christening of François-Marie Arouet, a few years later. The Place Saint-André-des-Arts, laid out in 1809, now covers the site of that very ancient church, sold as National Domain in 1797, and demolished soon after.

This residence of Racine was left intact until within a few years, when it was replaced by the Lycée Fénelon, a government school for girls. There they read their "Racine," or such portions as are permitted to the Young Person, not knowing nor caring that on that spot the author once lived.

From here he removed, at the beginning of the year 1685, to No. 16 Rue des Maçons. That street is now named Champollion, and the present number of his house cannot be fixed. It still stands on the western side of the street, about half way up between Rue des Écoles and Place de la Sorbonne; for none of these houses have been rebuilt, and the street itself is as secluded and as quiet as when Racine walked through it. 159 Here were born his daughters Jeanne and Madeleine, both baptized in the parish church of Saint-Séverin—a venerable sanctuary, still in use and quite unaltered, except that it has lost its cloisters. And in this home in Rue des Maçons he brought to life two plays finer than any of their forerunners, yet, unlike them, not intended for public performance. "Esther" was written in 1689 to please Madame de Maintenon, and was performed several times by the girls at her school of Saint-Cyr; first before King and court, later before friends of the court and those who had sufficient influence to obtain the eagerly sought invitation. "Athalie," written for similar semi-public production, two years later, failed to make any impression, when played at Versailles by the same girls of Saint-Cyr. After two performances, without scenery or costumes, it was staged no more, and had no sale when published by the author. Yet Boileau told him that it was his best work, and Voltaire said that it was nearer perfection than any work of man. Indeed, "Athalie," in its grandeur and its simplicity, may easily outrank any production of the French pen during the seventeenth century. And, as literature, these two plays are almost perfect specimens of Racine's almost perfect art and diction; of that art, wherein he was so exquisite a craftsman; of that diction, so rich, so daring, so pliable, so passionate, yet restrained, refined, judicious.

In May, 1692, we learn by a letter to Boileau, Racine was still in Rue des Maçons, but he must have left it shortly after, for in November of this year he brought 160 to be christened, in Saint-Sulpice, his youngest child, Louis. This is the son who has left us an admirable biography of his father, and some mediocre poems—"La Religion" and "La Grâce" being those by which he is best known. So that Saint-Sulpice was, already in November, 1692, the church of his new parish; and the house to which he had removed in that parish, wherein the boy was born, stands, quite unchanged to-day, in Rue Visconti. That street was then named Rue des Marais-Saint-Germain, having begun life as a country lane cut through the low marshy lands along the southern shore. It extends only from Rue de Seine to Rue Bonaparte, then named Rue des Petits-Augustins. Near its western end, at the present number 21, the Marquis de Ranes had erected a grand mansion; and this, on his death in 1678, was let out in apartments. It is asserted that it is the house of whose second floor Racine became a tenant. Within the great concave archway that frames the wide entrance door is set a tablet, containing the names of Racine, of La Champmeslé, of Lecouvreur, and of Clairon, all of whom are claimed to have been inhabitants of this house. That tablet has carried conviction during the half-century since it was cut and set, about 1855, but its word is to be doubted, and many of us believe that the more ancient mansion at No. 13 of the street was Racine's home. Local tradition makes the only proof at present, and the matter cannot be absolutely decided until the lease shall be found in that Parisian notary's office where it is now filed away and 161 forgotten. We know that Mlle. Lecouvreur lived in the house formerly tenanted by Racine, and that she speaks of it as being nearly at the middle of the street, and this fact points rather to No. 13 than to No. 21. And we know that Mlle. Clairon had tried for a long time to secure an apartment in the house honored by memories of the great dramatist and the great actress; for whose sake she was willing to pay the then enormous rental of 200 francs. But the tablet's claim to La Champmeslé as a tenant is an undue and unpardonable excess of zeal. Whatever Racine may have done years before in his infatuation for that bewitching woman, he did not bring her into his own dwelling!

Rue Visconti.
On the right is the Hôtel de Ranes, and in the distance is No. 13.

She had come from Rouen, a young actress looking for work, along with her husband, a petty actor and patcher-up of plays; for whose sake she was admitted to the Théâtre du Marais. How she made use of this chance is told by a line in a letter of Madame de Sévigné, who had seen her play Atalide in "Bajazet," and pronounced "ma belle fille"—so she brevets her son's lady-love—as "the most miraculously good comédienne that I have ever seen." It was on the boards of the Hôtel de Bourgogne that she showed herself to be also the finest tragédienne of her time. She shone most in "Bajazet," and in others of Racine's plays, creating her rôles under his admiring eye and under his devoted training. He himself declaimed verse marvellously well, and had in him the making of a consummate comedian, or a preacher, as you please. La Champmeslé was not beautiful or clever, but her stature was 162 noble, her carriage glorious, her voice bewitching, her charm irresistible. And La Fontaine sang praises of her esprit, and this was indeed fitting at his age then. She lived somewhere in this quarter, when playing in the troupe of the widow Molière at the Théâtre Guénégaud. When she retired from those boards, she found a home with her self-effacing husband in Auteuil, and there died in 1698.

The first floor in the right wing of the court of both 13 and 21 is said to be the residence of Adrienne Lecouvreur. She had appeared in 1717 at the Comédie Française, in Rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie, and had won her place at once. The choice spirits of the court, of the great world, of the greater world of literature, were glad to meet in fellowship around her generous and joyous table. Among them she found excuse for an occasional caprice, but her deepest and most lasting passion was given to the superb adventurer, Maurice de Saxe. His quarters, when home from the wars—for which her pawned jewels furnished him forth—were only a step down Rue Bonaparte from her house, on Quai Malaquais. They were at No. 5, the most ancient mansion left on the quay, with the exception of No. 1, hid behind the wing of the Institute. He died at Chambord on November 30, 1750, and at this house, May 17, 1751, there was an auction of his effects.

There came a time when the meetings of these two needed greater secrecy, and he removed to Rue de Colombier, now named Rue Jacob. The houses on the north side of this ancient street had—and some of them 163 still have—gardens running back to the gardens of the houses on the south side of Rue Visconti. These little gardens had, in the dividing fence, gates easily opened by night, for others besides Adrienne and Maurice, as local legend whispers. Scribe has put their story on the stage, where it is a tradition that the actress was actually poisoned by a great lady, for the sake of the fascinating lover. He stood by her bedside, with Voltaire and the physician, when she was dying in 1730, at the early age of thirty-eight, in one of the rooms on this first floor over the court. Voltaire had had no sneers, but only praise for the actress, and smiles for the woman whose kind heart had brought her to his bedside, when he was ill, where she read to him the last book out, the translation of the "Arabian Nights." He was stirred to stinging invective of the churlish priest of Saint-Sulpice, who denied her church-burial. In the same verse he commends that good man, Monsieur de Laubinière, who gave her body hasty and unhallowed interment. He came, by night, with two coaches and three men, and drove with the poor body along the river-bank, turning up Rue de Bourgogne to a spot behind the vast wood-yards that then lined the river-front. There, in a hole they dug, they hid her. The fine old mansion at No. 115 Rue de Grenelle, next to the southeast corner of Rue de Bourgogne, covers her grave. In its garret, thrown into one corner and almost forgotten, is a marble tablet, long and narrow, once set in a wall on this site, to mark the spot so long ignored—as its inscription says—where lies an actress of admirable esprit, of good 164 heart, and of a talent sublime in its simplicity. And it recites the efforts of a true friendship, which got at last only this little bit of earth for her grave.

Yet a few years further on, the same wing on the court of this dingy old house sparkled with the splendid personality of Hippolyte Clairon, who outshines all other stars of the French stage, unless it be Rachel. Here she lived the life of one of those prodigal princesses, in whose rôles she loved to dazzle on the boards of the Comédie Française, where she first appeared in 1743. It was her public and not her private performances that shocked the sensitive Church into a threat of future terrors for her. When, in the course of a theatrical quarrel, she refused to play, she was sent to prison, being one of "His Majesty's Servants," disobedient and punishable. She preferred possible purgatory to present imprisonment, and went back to her duty.

To this house again came Voltaire, as her visitor this time, along with Diderot and Marmontel and many such men. Garrick came, too, when in Paris—came quietly, less eager to proclaim his ardent admiration for the woman than his public and professional acclamation of the actress in the theatre. Her parts all played, she left the stage when a little past forty, and, sinking slowly into age and poverty and misery, she died at the age of eighty in 1803.

All these flashing fireworks are dimmed and put to shame by the gentle glow and the steadfast flame of the wood-fire on Racine's home hearthstone. It lights up the gloomy, mean street, even as we stand here. 165 He was, in truth, an admirable husband and father, and it is this side of the man that we prefer to regard, rather than that side turned toward other men. Of them he was, through his over-much ambition, easily jealous, and, being sensitive and suspicious as well, and given to a biting raillery, he alienated his friends. Boileau alone was too big of soul to allow any estrangement. These two were friends for almost forty years, in which not one clouded day is known. The letters between them—those from 1687 to 1698 are still preserved—show the depth of Racine's manly and delicate feeling for his friend, then "in his great solitude at Auteuil." They had been appointed royal historiographers soon after Racine's marriage in 1677, and, in that office, travelled together a good deal, in the Ghent campaign of 1678 and again with the army in other fields. They worked together on their notes later, and gathered great store of material; but the result amounted to nothing, and they were posthumously lucky in that their unfinished manuscript was finally burned by accident in 1726.

Whether with Boileau in camp, or alone in the Luxembourg campaign of 1683—Boileau being too ill to go—or at Namur in 1692, or with the King and court at Fontainebleau, Marly, Versailles, in these royal residences where he had his own rooms, wherever he was, Racine never seemed to cease thinking of his home, that home in Rue des Maçons when he first went away, and for the last seven years of his life in Rue Visconti. When absent from home he wrote to 166 his children frequently, and when here he corresponded constantly with his son, who was with the French Embassy at The Hague. To him he gave domestic details and "trivial fond records" of what his mother was doing, of the colds of the younger ones, and of the doings of the daughter in a convent at Melun. He sends to this son two new hats and eleven and a half louis d'or, and begs him to be careful of the hats and to spend the money slowly.

Yet he was fond of court life, and, an adroit courtier, he knew how to sing royal prowess in the field and royal splendor in the palace. He had a way of carrying himself that gave seeming height to his slight stature. His noble and open expression, his fine wit, his dexterous address, his notable gifts as a reader to the King at his bedside, made him a favorite in that resplendent circle. And he was all the more unduly dejected when the Roi Soleil cooled and no longer smiled on him; he was killed when Madame de Maintenon—"Goody Scarron," "Old Piety," "the hag," "the hussy," "that old woman," are the usual pet epithets for her of delicious Duchesse d'Orléans—who had liked and had befriended him, saw the policy of showing him her cold shoulder, as she had shown it to Fénelon. From this shock, Racine, being already broken physically by age and illness, seemed unable to rally. As he sank gradually to the grave he made sedulous provision for his family, dictating, toward the last, a letter begging for a continuance of his pension to his widow, which, it is gladly noted, was afterward 167 done. He urged, also, the claim of Boileau to royal favor: "We must not be separated," he said to his amanuensis; "begin your letter again, and let Boileau know that I have been his friend to my death."

His death came on April 21, 1699. His body lay one night in the choir of Saint-Sulpice, his parish church, and then it was carried for burial to the Abbey of Port-Royal. On the destruction of that institution, his remains were brought back to Paris, in 1711, and placed near those of Pascal, at the entrance of the lady-chapel of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. Racine's epitaph, in Latin, by Boileau, the friend of so many men who were not always friendly with one another, is cut in a stone set in the first pillar of the southern aisle of the choir.

Jean de la Fontaine began to come to Paris, making occasional excursions from his native Château-Thierry, in Champagne, toward 1654, he being then over thirty years of age. A little later, when under the protection and in the pay of the great Fouquet, his visits to the capital were more frequent and more prolonged. He commonly found lodgings on Quai des Grands-Augustins, just around the corner from young Racine, and the two men were much together during the years 1660 and 1661. La Fontaine made his home permanently in the capital after 1664, when he arrived there in the train of the Duchesse de Bouillon, born Anne Mancini, youngest and liveliest of Mazarin's many dashing nieces. Her marriage with 168 the Duc de Bouillon had made her the feudal lady of Château-Thierry, and if she were not compelled to claim, in this case, her privilege as châtelaine over her appanage, it was because there was ampler mandate for the impressionable poet in the caprice of a wilful woman. Incidentally, in this flitting, he left behind his provincial wife. He had taken her to wife in 1647, mainly to please his father, and soon, to please her and himself, they had agreed on a separation. They met scarcely any more after his definite departure. There is a tradition that he chatted, once in a salon somewhere, with a bright young man by whom he found himself attracted, and concerning whom he made inquiry of the bystanders, who informed him that it was his son. Tradition does not record any attempt on his part to improve his acquaintance with the young stranger, or to show further interest in his welfare.

He did not entirely desert his country home, for the duchess carried him along on her autumnal visits to Château-Thierry. He took advantage of each chance thus given him to realize something upon his patrimony, that he might meet the always pressing claims on his always overspent income.

He writes to Racine during one of these visits, in 1686: "My affairs occupy me as much as they're worth it, and that's not at all; and the leisure I thus get is given to laziness." He almost anticipated in regard to himself the racy saying of the Oxford don of our day of another professor: "Such time as he can save from 169 the adornment of his person he devotes to the neglect of his duties." But La Fontaine neglected not only his duties all through life, but, more than all else, did he neglect the care of his dress. A portion of the income he was always anticipating came from his salary at one time, as gentleman in the suite of the dowager Duchesse d'Orléans, that post giving him quarters in the Luxembourg. These quarters and his salary went from him with her death. For several years after coming to town with the Duchesse de Bouillon he had a home in the duke's town-house on Quai Malaquais.

This quay had been built upon the river-front soon after the death, in 1615, of Marguerite de Valois, Henri IV.'s divorced wife. The streets leading from Quais Malaquais and Voltaire, and those behind, parallel with the quays, were cut through her grounds and through the fields farther west. This was the beginning of the Faubourg Saint-Germain. To save the long detour, to and from the new suburb, around by way of Pont-Neuf, a wooden bridge was built in 1632 along the line of the ferry, that had hitherto served for traffic between the shore in front of the Louvre and the southern shore, at the end of the road that is now Rue du Bac. The Pont Royal has replaced that wooden bridge. One of the buildings that began this river-front remains unmutilated at the corner of Quai Malaquais and Rue de Seine, and is characteristic of the architecture of that period in its walls and roofs and windows clustering about the court. It was the many years' dwelling of the elder Visconti, and his 170 death-place in 1818. The house at No. 3 was erected early in the nineteenth century, on the site of Buzot's residence, as shall be told in a later chapter. In it Humboldt lived from 1815 to 1818. The associations of No. 5 have already been suggested. The largest builder on the quay was Cardinal Mazarin, whose college, to which he gave his own name, and to which the public gave the name Collége des Quatre-Nations, is now the Palais de l'Institut. He paid for it with money wrung from wretched France, as he so paid for the grand hôtel he erected for another niece, Anne Marie Martinozzi, widow of that Prince de Conti who was Molière's school friend. On the ground that it covered was built, in 1860-62, the wing of the Beaux-Arts at Nos. 11 and 13 Quai Malaquais. That school has also taken possession of the Hôtel de Bouillon of the cardinal's other niece, almost alongside. It had been the property of the rich and vulgar money-king Bazinière, whom we shall meet again, and he had sold it to the Duc de Bouillon. The pretty wife of this very near-sighted husband had the house re-decorated, and filled it with a marvellous collection of furniture, paintings, bric-à-brac. She filled it, also, by her open table twice a day, with thick-coming guests, some of whom were worth knowing. The hôtel came by inheritance in 1823 to M. de Chimay, who stipulated, in making it over to the Beaux-Arts, in 1885, that its seventeenth-century façade should be preserved, and by this agreement we have here, at No. 17 Quai Malaquais, an admirable specimen of the competence of the 171 elder, the great Mansart. It is higher than he left it, by reason of the wide, sloping roof, with many skylights toward the north, placed there for the studios within, but its two well-proportioned wings remain unchanged, and between them the court, where La Fontaine was wont to sit or stroll, has been laid out as a garden. While living here he brought out the first collection of his "Contes" in 1665, and of his "Fables" in 1668. His "Les Amours de Psyché," written in 1669, begins with a charming description of the meetings in Boileau's rooms of the famous group of comrades.

From this home he went to the home of Madame de la Sablière, with whom, about 1672, he had formed a friendship which lasted unbroken until her death. This tender and steadfast companionship made the truest happiness of La Fontaine's life. For twenty years an inmate of her household, a member of her family, he was petted and cared for as he craved. In her declining years she had to be away from home attending to her charitable work—for she followed the fashion of turning dévote as age advanced—and then he suffered in unaccustomed loneliness. His tongue spoke of her with the same constant admiration and gratitude that is left on record by his pen, and at her death he was completely crushed.

When he was invited by Madame de la Sablière and her poet-husband to share their home, they were living at their country-place, "La Folie Rambouillet," not to be mistaken for the Hôtel de Rambouillet. Sablière's 172 hôtel, built by his father, a wealthy banker, was in the suburb of Reuilly, on the Bercy road, north of the Seine, not far from Picpus. The Reuilly station and the freight-houses of the Vincennes railway now cover the site of this splendid mansion and its extensive grounds. Here Monsieur de la Sablière died in 1680, and his widow, taking La Fontaine along, removed to her town-house. This stood on the ground now occupied by the buildings in Rue Saint-Honoré, nearly opposite Rue de la Sourdière. In the court of No. 203 are bits of carving that may have come down from the original mansion. Here they dwelt untroubled until death took her away in 1693. It is related that La Fontaine, leaving this house after the funeral, benumbed and bewildered by the blow, met Monsieur d'Hervart. "I was going," said that gentleman, "to offer you a home with me." "I was going to ask it," was the reply. And in this new abode he dwelt until his death, two years later.

Berthélemy d'Hervart, a man of great wealth, had purchased, in 1657, the Hôtel de l'Éperon, a mansion erected on the site of Burgundy's Hôtel de Flandre. M. d'Hervart had enlarged and decorated his new abode, employing for the interior frescoes the painter Mignard, Molière's friend. The actor and his troupe had played here, by invitation, nearly fifty years before La Fontaine's coming. It stood in old Rue Plâtrière, now widened out, entirely rebuilt, and renamed Rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau; and on the wall of the Central Post-office that faces that street, you will find 173 a tablet stating that on this site died Jean de la Fontaine on April 13, 1695.

Madame d'Hervart was a young and lovely woman, and as devoted to the old poet as had been Madame de la Sablière. She went so far as to try to regulate his dress, his expenditure, and his morals. Congratulated one day on the splendor of his coat, La Fontaine found to his surprise and delight that his hostess had substituted it—when, he had not noticed—for the shabby old garment that he had been wearing for years. She and her husband held sacred, always, the room in which La Fontaine died, showing it to their friends as a place worthy of reverence.

He was buried in the Cemetery of Saints-Innocents, now all built over except its very centre, which is kept as a small park about the attractive fountain of Saints-Innocents. The Patriots of the Revolution, slaying so briskly their men of birth, paused awhile to bring from their graves what was left of their men of brains. Misled by inaccurate rumor, they left La Fontaine's remains in their own burial-ground, and removed what they believed to be his bones from the graveyard of Saint-Joseph, where he had not been buried, along with the bones they believed to be those of Molière, who had been buried there. These casual and dubious remains were kept in safety in the convent of Petits-Augustins in present Rue Bonaparte, until, in the early years of the nineteenth century, they were removed for final sepulture to Père-Lachaise.

No literary man of his time—perhaps of any time—was 174 so widely known and so well beloved as La Fontaine. He attracted men, not only the best in his own guild, but the highest in the State and in affairs. Men various in character, pursuits, station, were equally attached to him; the great Condé was glad to receive him as a frequent guest at Chantilly; the superfine sensualist, Saint-Évremond, in exile in England, urged him to come to visit him and to meet Waller. He nearly undertook the journey, less to see Saint-Évremond and to know Waller, than to follow his Duchesse de Bouillon, visiting her sister, the Duchess of Mazarin, in her Chelsea home. It was at this time that Ninon de Lenclos wrote to Saint-Évremond: "You wish La Fontaine in England. We have little of his company in Paris. His understanding is much impaired."

Racine, eighteen years his junior, looked up to La Fontaine as a critic, a counsellor, and a friend, from their early days together in 1660, through long years of intimacy, until he stood beside La Fontaine's bed in his last illness. He even took an odd pleasure in finding that he and La Fontaine's deserted country wife had sprung from the same provincial stock. Molière first met La Fontaine at Vaux, the more than royal residence of Fouquet, at the time of the royal visit in 1661. La Fontaine wrote a graceful bit of verse in praise of the author of "Les Fâcheux," played for the first time before King and court during these festivities, and the two men, absolutely opposed in essential qualities, were fast friends from that time on. "They make fun of the bonhomme," said the ungrudging 175 player once, "and our clever fellows think they can efface him; but he'll efface us all yet."

It is needless to say that La Fontaine was beloved by Boileau, the all-loving. That kindly ascetic was moved to attempt the amendment of his friend's laxity of life, and to this blameless end dragged him to prayers sometimes, where La Fontaine was bored and would take up any book at hand to beguile the time. In this way he made acquaintance with the Apocrypha, and became intensely interested in Baruch, and asked Boileau if he knew Baruch, and urged him to read Baruch, as a hitherto undiscovered genius. During his last illness, he told the attendant priest that he had been reading the New Testament, and that he regarded it as a good, a very good book.

In truth, his soul was the soul of a child, and, childlike, he lived in a world of his own—a world peopled with the animals and the plants and the inanimate objects, made alive by him and almost human. He loved them all, and painted them with swift, telling strokes of his facile pen. The acute Taine points out that the brute creations of this poet are prototypes of every class and every profession of his country and his time. His dumb favorites attracted him especially by their unspoiled simplicity, for he loathed the artificial existence of his fellow-creatures. With "a sullen irony and a desperate resignation" he let himself be led into society, and he was bored beyond bearing by its high-heeled decorum. It is said that he cherished, all his life long, a speechless exasperation with the 176 King, that incarnation of pomposity and pretence to his untamed Gallic spirit. Yet this malcontent had to put on the livery of his fellow-flunkies, and his dedication, to the Dauphin, of his "Fables," is as fulsome and servile as any specimen of sycophancy of that toad-eating age.

Yet, able to make trees and stones talk, he himself could not talk, La Bruyère tells us; coloring his portraiture strongly, as was his way, and rendering La Fontaine much too heavy and dull, with none of the skill in description with his tongue that he had with his pen. He may be likened to Goldsmith, who "wrote like an angel and talked like poor Poll." Madame de Sablière said to him: "Mon bon ami, que vous seriez bête, si vous n'aviez pas tant d'esprit!" Louis Racine, owning to the lovable nature of the man, has to own, too, that he gave poor account of himself in society, and adds that his sisters, who in their youth had seen the poet frequently at their father's table in Rue Visconti, recalled him only as a man untidy in dress and stupid in talk. He gave this impression mainly because he was forever dreaming, even in company, and so seemed distant and dull; but, when drawn out of his dreams, no man could be more animated and more delightful.

La Fontaine.
(From the portrait by Rigaud-y-Ros.)

So he was found by congenial men, and so especially by approving women. These took to him on the spot, women of beauty and of wit, and women commonplace enough. To them all his prattle was captivating, devoid as it was of the grossness so conspicuous in his 177 poems. He depended on women in every way all through his life; they catered to his daily needs, and they provided for his higher wants; they helped him in his money troubles, they helped him in all his troubles. And he requited each one's care with a genuine affection, not only at the time, but for all time, in the record he has left of his gratitude and his devotion to these ministering women. His verse is an unconscious chronicle of his loves, his caprices, his inconstancies, and his loyalties. Nor did a woman need to be clever and cultivated to be bewitched by his inborn, simple sweetness. A matter-of-fact nurse, hired to attend him during an illness which came near being fatal, said to the attending priest: "Surely, God could not have the courage to damn a man like that."

This memory he has left is brought pleasantly home to the passer-by in Rue de Grenelle by the sign of a hotel, a quiet clerical house, frequented by churchmen and church-loving provincials visiting Paris. The sign bears the name "Au bon La Fontaine," in striking proof of the permanent place in the common heart won by this lovable man.

He was content to drift through life, his days spent, as he put it in his epitaph on "Jean," one-half in doing nothing, the other half in sleeping. He had no library or study or workroom, like other pen-workers; he lived out of doors in the open air, and wandered vaguely, tasting blameless epicurean delights. Some of us seem to see, always in going along Cours la Reine, that quaint figure, comical and pathetic, as he 178 was seen by the Duchesse de Bouillon on a rainy morning, when she drove to Versailles. He was standing under a tree on this wooded water-side, and on her return on that rainy evening he was standing under the same tree. He had dreamed away the long day there, not knowing or not caring that he was wet. He explained, once when he came late—inexcusably late—to a dinner, that he had been watching a procession of ants in a field, and had found that it was a funeral; he had accompanied the cortége to the grave in the garden, and had then escorted the bereaved family back to its home, as bound by courtesy.

This genuine poet, of dry, sly humor and of unequalled suppleness of phrase, was by nature a gentle, wild creature, and by habit a docile, domesticated pet, attaching himself to any amiable woman who was willing to give him a warm corner in her heart and her house. And how such women looked on him was prettily and wittily put by one of them: "He isn't a man, he is a fablier"—a natural product of her own sudden inspiration—"who blossoms out into fables as a tree blossoms out with leaves."

Nicolas Boileau began his acquaintance with Molière by his tribute of four dainty verses to the author of "L'École des Femmes," and the friendship thus formed was broken only by the death of Molière, to whose memory Boileau inserted his magnificent lines in the "Epître à Monsieur Racine." It was Boileau who criticised the early verse of young Racine, so 179 justly and so gently, that the two men were drawn together in an amity that was never marred. It was Boileau who, after nearly forty years of finding him out by the distrustful Racine, was acknowledged to be "noble and full of friendship." It was Boileau who sang without cessation praises of Racine to Louis XIV., and who startled the nimble mediocrity of his majesty's mind by the assertion that Molière was the rarest genius of the Grand Monarch's reign and realm. It was Boileau who made, in his fondness for La Fontaine, the unhappy and hopeless attempt to reform his friend's loose living, and in so doing nearly led to the undoing of La Fontaine's goodwill for him. It was Boileau, prompted by compassion for Corneille's impoverished old age, who offered to surrender his own pension in favor of the distressed veteran of letters. It was Boileau who found Patru forced to sell his cherished books that he might get food, and it was Boileau who bought them, on condition that Patru should keep them and look after them for their new owner. It was Boileau who tried to work a miracle in his comrade Chapelle by weaning him from his wine-bibbing; and when Chapelle found the lecture dry, and would listen to it only over a bottle or two, it was Boileau who came out of the cabaret the tipsier of the pair. It was Boileau who was known to every man who knew him at all—and he was known to many men of merit and demerit—as a loyal, sincere, helpful, unselfish friend. It was of Boileau that a perplexed woman in the great throng at his burial said, in the 180 hearing of young Louis Racine: "He seems to have lots of friends, and yet somebody told me that he wrote bad things about everybody."

Those friends could have explained the puzzle. They mourned the indulgent comrade who was doubled with the stern satirist. The man, so rigid in morals and austere of life, was tolerant to the foibles of his friends, tender in their troubles, open-handed for their needs. The writer, so exacting in his standard and severe in his judgment, was cruel only with his pen. Trained critic in verse, rather than inspired poet, Boileau had an enthusiasm for good work in others equal to his intolerance of bad. He loathed the powdered and perfumed minauderies of the drawing-room poetasters, and he loved the swift and sure stroke of Molière's "rare et fameux esprit." It was in frank admiration that he demanded of his friend: "Enseigne-moi où tu trouves la rime!" For this impeccable artist in words, who has left his profession of faith in the power of a word in its right place, had to reset and recast, file and polish, to get the perfection he craved. And so this bountiful admirer was easily an unsparing censor. Sincere in letters as in life, he insisted on equal sincerity from his fellow-workers, and would not let them spare their toil or scamp their stint. He watched and warned them; his reproof and his approval brought out better work from them; and he may well be entitled the Police President of Parnassus of his country and his day.

Boileau's sturdy uprightness of spine stood him in 181 good stead in that great court where all men grew sleek and servile, and where no pen-worker seemed able to escape becoming a courtier. His caustic audacity salted his sycophancy and made him a man apart from the herd of flatterers. His thrust was so suave, as well as sharp, that the spoiled monarch himself accepted admonition from that courageous cleverness. "I am having search made in every direction for Monsieur Arnauld," said Louis, when eager in his pursuit of the Jansenists. "Your Majesty is always fortunate; you will not find him," was Boileau's quick retort, received with a smile by the King. When money was needed for Dr. Perrault's new eastern façade of the Louvre and for its other alterations, the King naturally economized in the incomes of other men. The pensions of literary men—in many instances the sole source of their livelihood—were allowed to lapse; that of Boileau was continued by an order that his name should be entered on the Louvre pay-roll as "an architect paid for mason's work." His mordant reply to the questioning pay-clerk was: "Yes, I am a mason." His masonry in the stately fabric of French literature stands unmarred to-day; coldly correct, it may be, yet elegant, faultless, consummate.

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux was long believed to have been born in the country and to have played in the fields as a child, and so to have got his added name des préaux; but it is now made certain that the house of his birth, in 1636, was in Rue de Jérusalem, a street that led to the Sainte-Chapelle, from about the middle 182 of the present Quai des Orfèvres. The only field he knew lay at the foot of his father's garden at Crosne, where the lad was sometimes taken. Fields and gardens had never anything to say to this born cockney, and there is not a sniff of real country air in all his verse. The street of his birth was one of the narrow, dark streets of oldest Paris, on Île de la Cité; and the house, tall and thin, had its gable end on the court of the old Palais de Justice. The earliest air breathed by this baby was charged with satire, it would seem. For the room of his birth had been occupied, nearly half a century earlier, by Jacques Gillot, the brilliant canon of Sainte-Chapelle. In this room assembled in secret that clever band of talkers and writers, who planned and wrote "La Ménippée"; the first really telling piece of French political satire, so telling, in its unbridled buffoonery, that it gave spirit to the arms that shattered the League, and helped to put Henry of Navarre on the throne of France.

After his father's death, young Nicolas kept his home with his elder brother Jérôme, who had succeeded to the paternal mansion, and who gave the boy a sort of watch-tower, built above the garrets, in which he could hardly stand upright. The house, the court, the old palace, were long since swept away, and with them went all the melodramatic stage-setting of Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" and Sue's "Mystères de Paris." Only the Sainte-Chapelle is left of the scenes of Boileau's early years.

He was sent for a while to Collége d'Harcourt, 183 where young Racine came a little later, and was then put to the study of law, the family trade; passing by way of Beauvais College to the Sorbonne. He is known to have pleaded in but one case, and then with credit to himself. Still the law did not please him, any more than did the dry theology and the pedantic philosophy that he listened to on the benches of the Sorbonne. He was enamoured early of poetry and romance, and soon affianced himself to the Muse. This was his only betrothal, and he made no other marriage. He was born an old bachelor, and he soon sought bachelor quarters, driven by the children's racket from his nephew's house—also in the Cour du Palais—where he had found a home. This nephew and this house were well known to Voltaire when a boy, as he tells us in his "Épître à Boileau":

"Chez ton neveu Dongois je passai mon enfance,

Bon bourgeois, qui se crut un homme d'importance."

It is first in the year 1664 that we can place with certainty Boileau's residence in Rue du Vieux-Colombier, in that small apartment which fills a larger place in the annals of literary life than any domicile of that day, perhaps of any day. It was the gathering-place of that illustrious quartette—

"The goodliest fellowship of famous knights

Whereof this world holds record."

Molière comes from his rooms in Rue Saint-Honoré, or from his theatre; crossing the Seine by the Pont-Neuf, 184 and passing along Rues Dauphine and de Bucy, and through the Marché Saint-Germain; moody from domestic dissensions, heavy-hearted with the recent loss of his first-born. Once among his friends, he listens, as he always listened, talking but little. La Fontaine saunters from the Hôtel de Bouillon, by way of Rue des Petits-Augustins—now Rue Bonaparte—and of tortuous courts now straightened into streets. Sitting at table, he is yet in his own land of dreams, until, stirred from his musing, his fine eyes brighten, and he chatters with a curious blending of simplicity and finesse. Racine steps in from his lodging in Rue de Grenelle, hard by; the youngest of the four, he, unlike those other two, is seldom silent, and gives full play to his ironical raillery. Next above him in age is the host; shrewd, brusque, incisive of speech and manner. So he shows in Girardon's admirable bust in the Louvre. The enormous wig then worn cannot becloud the bright alertness of his expression, or over-weigh the full lips that could sneer and the square chin, so resolute. These comrades talked of all sorts of things, and read to one another what each had written since they last met; read it for the sake of honest criticism from the rest, and with no other thought. For never were four men so absolutely without pose, without any pretence of earnestness, while immensely in earnest all the time. In "Les Amours de Psyché," La Fontaine assures us that they did not absolutely banish all serious discourse, but that they took care not to have too much of it, and preferred the 185 darts of fun and nonsense that were feathered with friendly counsel. Best of all, his fable makes plain that there were no cliques nor cabals, no envy nor malice, among the men that made this worshipful band.

(From the portrait by Largillière.)

Their table served rather to sit around than to eat from, for their suppers were simple, and the flowing bowl was passed only when boisterous Chapelle or other bon-vivant dropped in. For others were invited at times, men of the world, the court, and the camp. And Boileau was the common centre of these excentric stars, and when each, in his own special atmosphere of coolness, swayed from the others' vicinage, Boileau alone let no alienation come between him and any one of them. For each, he was what Racine had found him, "the best friend and the best man in the world."

The house was near a noted cabaret, to which they sometimes resorted, at the Saint-Sulpice end of the street. The cabaretier was the illustrious Cresnet, made immortal in Boileau's verse. For the poet was no prude, and enjoyed the pleasures of the table so far as his health permitted; and, a trained gastronomic artist, he knew how to order a choicely harmonized repast. His street is widened, his house is gone, and no one can fix the spot. Yet the turmoil of that crowded thoroughfare of to-day is deadened for us by the mute voices of these men.

We have noted Boileau's camp-following with Racine, in their rôles of royal historiographers—in 1678 and later—but he was not strong enough for these excursions, even though they were made a picnic for 186 the court. He was never at home on a horse, and yet out of place in the mud, and he could not enjoy the laughter he caused in either attitude, before or after he was thrown; laughter that is recorded in the letters of Madame de Sévigné.

It was probably because of Molière's taking a country place at Auteuil that Boileau began to make frequent excursions to that quiet suburb about 1667, and went to live in his tiny cottage there in 1685. "He had acquired it," to use his biographer's words, "partly by his Majesty's munificence, and partly by his own careful economy," so that he was opulent, for a poet. His purchase papers were made out by the notary Arouet—Voltaire's father—who drew up Boileau's pension papers in 1692, and who did much notarial work for the Boileau family. The cottage stood exactly on the ground now covered by the rear wing of the Hydropathic Establishment, at No. 12 Rue Boileau, Auteuil. Here he spent the spring and summer months of many a year, always alone, but with a hand-shake and a smile for his many visitors, men of birth as well as men of brains. Hither Voltaire certainly came, when a lad living with Dongois, for he says, in his pleasant rhymed epistle to Boileau:

"Je vis le jardinier de ta maison d'Auteuil."

To this same "laborieux valet," to this same

"Antoine, gouverneur de mon jardin d'Auteuil,"

Boileau wrote his letter in verse in 1695. The widow 187 Racine came, too, for frequent outings with her children, who loved the garden and adored Boileau, for the peaches he picked for them and the ninepins he played with them. Louis Racine, a sort of pupil of his, says that the old poet was nearly as skilful at this game as in versifying, and usually knocked over the entire nine with one ball. And when he went to town, no warmer welcome met the crusty old bachelor than in Rue des Marais-Saint-Germain, still the dwelling-place of Racine's family.

In great mansions, too, he had long been cordially received. He was a visitor at that of Madame de Guénégaud, which has given its site to the Hôtel de la Monnaie, and its name to the street alongside. He was fond of meeting kindred spirits and kindly hosts in the hôtel of the great Condé and his younger brother Conti. He was one of the select set that sat about the table of Lamoignon, every Monday, at his home in the Marais, to be visited by us later. And whenever old Cardinal Retz came to town, Boileau hastened to the Hôtel de Lesdiguières, of which no stone stands in the street of its name. Here the white-headed, worn-out old fighter, compelled to live in retirement, after the storms and scandals of his active life, was made at home by his admirable niece, Madame de Lesdiguières, and here he was encircled by admiring men and women. Here, writes Madame de Sévigné, his other niece, who came often to sit with him, Boileau presented to Retz early copies of "Le Lutrin," and of "L'Ars Poétique." 188

Boileau could not live in the country in winter, and even in summer he had to go often into town to get the care of his trusted physician. For he was an invalid from boyhood, and all his life an uncomplaining sufferer. But he hurried back, whenever permitted, to the pure air and the congenial solitude of his small cottage, where three faithful servants cared for him; not as would have cared the wife, whom he ought to have had, all his friends said, and so, too, he thought sometimes. He grew lonely as life lengthened, and as he saw his cronies passing away, fast and faster, old Corneille being the last of them to go.

His winters in the great city were spent in lodgings on the island, in the cloisters of Notre-Dame. Their quiet had always attracted him, as he avows in the verse that quivers with his nervous irritability, caused by the noises of the noisiest of towns. He cries, "Does one go to bed to be kept awake?" Indeed, he had rooms in the cloisters as early as 1683, keeping them for town quarters, in the official residence of l'Abbé de Dreux, his old friend, a canon of Notre-Dame. To this address Racine sent him a letter as late as 1687. The ecclesiastical settlement within the cathedral cloisters, and its only remaining cottage, have been spoken of in an earlier chapter. The cloisters themselves survive only in the name of the street that has been cut through their former site.

In 1699 we find Boileau living with his confessor, the Abbé Lenoir, also a canon of the cathedral, who had the privilege of residing within the cloisters. This house 189 stood exactly where now is the southern edge of the fountain behind Notre-Dame, above Le Terrain and the Seine. His rooms were on the first floor, his bed in an alcove, and his windows looked out on the terrace over the river, as we learn by the amiable accuracy of the lawyer who drew up his will. Here Boileau lived through painful years of breaking bodily health, but with unbroken faculties. He yearned for his old home at Auteuil, and yet he was too feeble to go so far. He had sold his cottage to a friend, under the condition that a room should be reserved always for his use. That use never came. One day toward the end, he summoned up strength to drive to the beloved place; but all was changed, he changed most of all, and he hurried home to his lonely quarters, where death found him at ten o'clock in the morning of March 2, 1711.

His devoted servants were requited for years of faithful service by handsome legacies, then the relatives were provided for, and no friend was forgotten. The remainder of his fortune went to the "pauvres honteux" of six small parishes in the City. A vast and reverent concourse of mourners of every rank followed his coffin to its first resting-place. This was in the lower chapel of the Sainte-Chapelle, as he had ordered; the church of his baptism, and of the burial of his mother and father. By a strange chance, his grave had been dug under that very reading-desk which had suggested to him the subject of his most striking production, the heroic-comic poem "Le Lutrin." Early in the Revolution his remains were removed, to save 190 them from fortuitous profanation by the "Patriots," to the Museum of French Monuments established in the convent of the Petits-Augustins, in the street of that name, now Rue Bonaparte. In 1819 his bones were finally placed in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, where, in the chapel of Saint-Peter and Saint-Paul, they are at rest behind a black marble tablet carved with a ponderous Latin inscription.



(From the statue by Houdon in the foyer of the Comédie Française.)


"Dans la cour du Palais, je naquis ton voisin," wrote Voltaire to Boileau, in one of those familiar rhymed letters that soften the austere rhetoric of the French verse of that day. The place of Voltaire's birth, nearly sixty years after that of Boileau, was in the same Street of Jerusalem, at its corner with the Street of Nazareth, and it was only thus as a baby that he came ever in touch with the Holy Land. On November 22, 1694, the day after his birth, he was carried across the river to Saint-André-des-Arts—no one knows why his baptism was not in the island church of the parish—and there christened François-Marie Arouet. His earlier years were passed in the house of Boileau's nephew Dongois, whose airs of importance did not escape the keen infant eyes, as we have seen in the same letter in verse in our preceding chapter. Then he was sent to Lycée Louis-le-Grand, whither we have gone with young Poquelin, seventy years earlier. The college stands in its new stone on its old site in widened Rue Saint-Jacques.

We hear of no break in the tranquil course of young Arouet's studies, beyond the historic scene of his presentation 194 to Mlle. Ninon de Lenclos at her home in the Marais, to which we shall go in a later chapter. This was in 1706, when she owned to ninety years of age at least, and she was flattered by the visit of the youth of twelve, and by the verse he wrote for her birthday. Dying in that year, she left a handsome sum to her juvenile admirer, to be spent for books. So, "secondé de Ninon, dont je fus légataire," the lad was strengthened in his inclination for the career of literature he had already planned for himself, and in his disinclination for the legal career planned for him by his father. The elder Arouet was a flourishing notary—among his clients was the Boileau family—who considered his own the only profession really respectable. He placed his boy, the college days being done, with one Maître Alain, whose office was near Place Maubert, between Rues de la Bucherie and Galande, a quarter crowded then with notaries and advocates, now all swept into limbo. But young Arouet spent too many of his days and nights with the congenial comrades that met in the Temple; "an advanced and dangerous" troop of swells and wits and pen-workers, light-heartedly bent on fun, amid the general gloom brought by Marlborough's victories, and by Madame de Maintenon's persistence in making Paris pious. Father Arouet sent his son away to The Hague; the first of his many journeys, enforced and voluntary. When allowed to return in 1715, he lost no time in hunting up his old associates; and soon, stronger hands than those of his father settled him in the Bastille, in punishment for verse, not written by him, satirizing 195 the Regent and his daughter, Duchesse de Berri. There he spent his twenty-third year, utilizing his leisure to plan his "Henriade," and to finish his "Œdipe." When set free, he came out as Voltaire. Whether he took this new name from a small estate of his mother, or whether it was an anagram of Arouet fils, is not worth the search; enough for us that it is the name of him, who was to become, as John Morley rightly says, "the very eye of eighteenth-century illumination," and to whom we may apply his own words, used magnanimously of his famous contemporary, Montesquieu; that humanity had lost its title-deeds, and he had recovered them.

Once again in the world, he produced his "Œdipe" in 1718, with an immediate and resounding success, which was not won by his succeeding plays between 1720 and 1724. It was during this period that he spasmodically disappeared from Paris, reappearing at Brussels, Utrecht, The Hague; "jouant à l'envoyé secret," as was his mania then and in later years. During one of these flittings as an ambassador's ghost, he met Rousseau, and they were close friends until the day when Rousseau, showing to Voltaire his "Letter to Posterity," was told that it would never reach its address! That gibe made them sworn enemies. In Paris, during these years, Voltaire had no settled home. We have seen him in the salon of Mlle. Lecouvreur, in Rue Visconti, and we have seen him there, a sincere mourner at her death-bed. It has been told in an earlier chapter, how that fine creature had sat by Voltaire's sick-bed, 196 careless of her own danger from the small-pox, with which he was stricken in November, 1723. He frequented many haunts of the witty and the wicked during these years, and a historic scene in one of these has been put on canvas by Mr. Orchardson. One evening in the year 1725, Voltaire was a saucy guest at the table of the Duc de Sully, descendant of Henri IV.'s great minister, in the noble mansion in Rue Saint-Antoine, to be visited by us later. On going out, he was waylaid and beaten by the lackeys of the Chevalier de Rohan-Chabot, who desired to impress by cudgels the warning that, while princes are willing to be amused at the table where sit "only princes and poets," the poets must not presume on the privilege. In the painting, Voltaire reappears in the room to the remaining guests, dishevelled and outraged. Later he challenged Rohan, whose reply came in an order of committal to the Bastille. After two weeks in a cell, Voltaire's request to go to England in exile was gladly accorded by the government.

We all know well the Voltaire of an older day, in his statues beside the Institute and within that building, beside the Panthéon, in Square Monge, and in the foyer of the Théâtre Français. To see him at this younger day, we must turn into the court-yard of the Mairie of the Ninth Arrondissement at No. 6 Rue Drouot—an ancient and attractive family mansion. In the centre of the court is a modern bronze, showing "the ape of genius" at the age of twenty-five, a dapper creature with head perked up and that complacent smile 197 so marked in all his portraits. This smirk may be due less to self-satisfaction than to that physical peculiarity, claimed by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes in his own case, which is caused by the congenital shortening of the levator muscles of the mouth. The statue's right hand rests jauntily on the hip, in the left hand is a book, and the left skirt of the long coat is blown back, showing the sword that was worn by young philosophers who would be young bloods. The pedestal holds two bas-reliefs; the youth in Ninon's salon, the patriarch at Ferney, and cut in it are his words: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."

During his years in England, Voltaire made acquaintance with all the notable men of letters then living, and with William Shakespeare in his works. In them he tolerantly found much merit, but always styled their author a barbarian. Those barbarisms and savageries he civilized and smoothed to his pattern, for his "Brutus" is an unconscious echo of "Julius Cæsar," his "Zaïre" a shadow of "Othello." He refused to call on Wycherly "the gentleman," as Wycherly insisted, but was glad to meet Wycherly the playwright. Nor did Voltaire turn his back on men and women of fashion, but used them so cleverly as to enable him to carry home to France a small fortune, from the subscriptions to his English edition of the "Henriade." He was shrewd in money matters, and a successful speculator for many years. We first hear of him again in Paris in 1729, getting army contracts and making money in queer ways. Yet all through life his pen was always 198 busy, and in this same year it is at work in a grand apartment of the Hôtel Lambert. This was the mansion of M. du Châtelet, husband—officially only—of 199 "la sublime Émilie," with whom Voltaire had taken up his abode. The Hôtel Lambert remains unchanged at the eastern end of Île Saint-Louis, looking, from behind its high wall and its well-shaded garden, at its incomparable prospect. Its entrance at No. 2 Rue Saint-Louis-en-l'Île opens on a grand court and an imposing façade. "This is a house made for a king, who would be a philosopher," wrote Voltaire to his august correspondent Frederick the Great. He himself was neither king of this realm nor proved himself a philosopher in its grotesque squabbles. Madame du Châtelet was as frankly unfaithful to him as to her husband, who was frequently called in to reconcile the infuriated lovers. She was a woman of unusual abilities as well as of unusual indelicacies, with an itch for reading, research, and writing, her specialties being Newton and mathematics.

The Hôtel Lambert.

In 1733 this queer couple found it to their comfort to quit Paris, where Voltaire was ceaselessly beset by the suspicions of the powers that regulated thought in France. They moved about much, to Voltaire's discomfort, living sometimes at Cirey, on the borders of Champagne and Lorraine, with or without the complaisant du Châtelet; sometimes in a mansion taken by Voltaire in Paris. This stood on the corner of two streets no longer existing, Rues du Clos-Georgeau and Traversière-Saint-Honoré, at No. 25 of the latter; and its site now lies under the roadway of new Avenue de l'Opéra. The cutting of this avenue has left unchanged only the northern end of Rue Traversière, and this has 200 been renamed in honor of Molière. To place Voltaire's residence in the old mansion at the new number 25 in this street, as a recent topographer has done, is an ingenuous flight of fancy.

Here Voltaire went back to live after death had taken "la sublime Émilie" from him, from her other lover, and from her husband. This legal husband was less inconsolable than Voltaire, whose almost incredible reproach to the third man in the case makes Morality hold her hand before her face—peeping between the fingers, naturally—while Immorality shakes with frank laughter. On the second floor of this house, Voltaire remained, "de moitié avec le Marquis du Châtelet;" the first floor, which had been her own, being thenceforward closed to them both. Here he tried to find companionship with his selfish and stolid niece, Madame Denis, and with his protégé Lekain. He transformed the garret into a private theatre, for the production of his plays, free from the royal or the popular censor; and for the training of Lekain in the part of Titus, in "Brutus." That promising, and soon accepted, actor made his début at the Théâtre Français in September, 1750, and his patron was not among the audience. From this house, Voltaire went frequently across the river to visit Mlle. Clairon in her apartment in Rue Visconti, so well known to him when tenanted by Mlle. Lecouvreur, twenty years earlier. And from this house, wherein he came to be too desolate and lonely, Voltaire went forth from France in 1751, to find a still more uncongenial home at Potsdam. With his queer life there, 201 and his absurd quarrels with Frederick the Great, this chronicle cannot concern itself.

"Café à la Voltaire" is the legend you may read to-day on a pillar of the Café Procope, in Rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie, directly opposite the old Comédie Française. We have seen the mixed delight and doubt with which coffee was first sipped by the Parisians of the end of the seventeenth century, but it won its way, and in 1720 the Sicilian Procope opened this second Paris café. It soon became the favorite resort by night of the playwrights and play-actors, and the swells among the audience, of the playhouse across the street. Gradually the men of letters, living in and visiting the capital, made this café their gathering-place of an afternoon; so that, on any day in the middle years of the eighteenth century, all the men best worth knowing might be found here. Their names are lettered and their atrocious portraits painted on its inner walls. In the little room on the left, as you walk in on the ground floor, they treasure still, while these lines are written, Voltaire's table. He sat here, near the stage that produced his plays, sipping his own special and abominable blend of coffee and chocolate. With him sat, among the many not so notable, Diderot, d'Alembert, Marmontel, Rousseau, with his young friend Grimm—hardly yet at home in Paris, not at all at home with its language—and Piron, Voltaire's pet enemy, who wrote his own epitaph:

"Ci-gît Piron,

Que ne fut rien,

Pas même Académicien."


Here, on an evening in 1709, sat Alain-René Le Sage, awaiting in suspense the verdict on his "Turcaret," brought out in the theatre opposite, after many heart-breaking delays; for the misguided author had convinced himself that his title to fame would be founded on this now-forgotten play, rather than on his never-to-be-neglected "Gil Blas"!

During the Revolution, while the Café de la Régence, which faces the present Comédie Française, was the pet resort of the royalist writers, this Café Procope was the gathering-place of the Republican penmen; and they draped its walls in black, and wore mourning for three days, when word came across the water in 1790 of the death of Benjamin Franklin, the complete incarnation to them of true republicanism. Toward the unlamented end of the Second Empire, a small group of young American students was to be found, of an evening, in the Café Procope, harmlessly mirthful over their beer. After a while, they were content to sit night after night in silence, all ears for the monologue at a neighboring table; a copious and resistless outburst of argument and invective, sprinkled with Gallic anecdote and with gros mots, and broken by Rabelaisian laughter, from a magnificent voice and an ample virility. They were told that the speaker was one Léon Gambetta, an obscure barrister, already under the suspicion of the police of the "lurking jail-bird," whom he helped drive from France, within a few years.

The old house is to-day only a pallid spectre of its 203 aforetime red-blooded self, and is nourished by nothing more solid than these uncompact memories. Loving them and all his Paris, its kindly proprietor tries to revitalize its inanimate atmosphere by his "Soirées littéraires et musicales." In a room upstairs "ancient poems, ancient music, old-time song," are listened to by unprinted poets, unplayed dramatists, unhung painters. Some of them read their still unpublished works. The patron enjoys it all, and the waiters are the most depressed in all Paris.

Denis Diderot gives the effect in his work, as Gambetta did in the flesh, of a living force of nature. When, at that same table, Diderot opened the long-locked gate, the full and impetuous outflow swept all before it, submerged and breathless. In his personality, as vivid as that of Mirabeau, we see a fiery soul, a stormy nature, a daring thinker, a prodigious worker. His head seemed encyclopædic to Grimm, his life-long friend; and Rousseau, first friend and later enemy, asserted that in centuries to come that head would be regarded with the reverence given to the heads of Plato and of Aristotle. Voltaire could imagine no one subject beyond the reach of Diderot's activity. Arsène Houssaye names him "the last man of the day of dreaming in religion and royalty, the first man of the day of the Revolution." And John Morley, looking at him from a greater distance than any of these, and with keener eyes, ranks him higher as a thinker than either Rousseau or Voltaire. As thinker, essayist, critic, cyclopædist, Diderot is indeed the most striking figure of the 204 eighteenth century. Rugged, uncouth, headlong, we see him, "en redingote de peluche grise éreintée," in the philosophers' alley of the Luxembourg garden, strolling with more energy than others give to striding. Striking and strong he is in the exquisite bust by Houdon in the Louvre, yet with a refinement of expression and a delicacy of poise of the head that are very winning. This effect might have been gained by a Fragonard working in the solid.

Here, under the trees where meet Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rues de Rennes and Bonaparte, it is the student whom we see in bronze, leaning forward in his chair, a quill pen in hand, his worn face bent and intent. This spot was selected for the statue because just there Diderot resided for many years. His house was at No. 12 Rue Taranne, on the corner of Rue Saint-Benoît, and it was torn down when the former street was widened into the new boulevard. Here, young Diderot, refusing to return to the paternal home at Lancres, when he left the Collége d'Harcourt—the school of Boileau and Racine—lived in a squalid room, during his early days of uncongenial toil in a lawyer's office and of all sorts of penwork that paid poorly—translations, sermons, catalogues, advertisements. Here he was hungry and cold and unhappy; here, in 1743, he married the pretty sewing-girl who lived in this same house with her mother, and who became a devoted and faithful wife to a trying husband. For her he had the only clean love of his not-too-clean life. From this garret he poured forth prose, his chosen form of expression, 205 when poetry was the only vogue, and it is by his persistence, perhaps, that prose has come to the throne in France. And it was while living here that he originated the art-criticism of his country; clear and thorough, discriminating and enthusiastic. Earlier notices of pictures had been as casual as the shows themselves; begun in 1673, under Colbert's protection and the younger Mansart's direction, in a small pavilion on the site of the present Théâtre Français, having one entrance in Rue de Richelieu, another in the garden, into which the pictures often overflowed. When Diderot wrote his notices for Grimm, the exhibitions had permanent shelter in the halls of the Louvre. In 1746, still in this house, he published his "Philosophic Thoughts" and other essays that were at first attributed to Voltaire, and that at last sent the real author to Vincennes. There he was kept for three maddening months by an outraged "Strumpetocracy" and a spiteful Sorbonne, on its last legs of persecution for opinion. You may go to this prison by the same road his escort took, now named Boulevard Diderot, with unconscious topographic humor.

To visit "great Diderot in durance," Grimm and Rousseau came by this road; stopping, before taking the Avenue de Vincennes, at a farm-house on the edge of Place du Trône—now, Place de la Nation—where the sentimentalist quenched his thirst with milk. That was the day when Rousseau picked up the paradox, from Diderot, which he elaborated into his famous essay, showing the superiority of the savage man over 206 the civilized man. There is as slight trace to be found of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the Paris of to-day as in the minds of the men of to-day. We see him first, in 1745, at the Hôtel Saint-Quentin of our Balzac chapter, carrying from there the uncomely servant, Thérèse le Vasseur. After this he appears fitfully in Paris through many years. In 1772 he is in Rue Plâtrière—a street now widened and named for him—on the fourth floor of a wretched house opposite the present Post-office. There he was found by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre—as thin-skinned and touchy as Rousseau, yet somehow the two kept friendly—with his repulsive Thérèse, whom he had made his wife in 1768. This preacher of the holiness of the domestic affections had sent their five children to the foundling hospital, according to his own statement, which is our only reason for doubting that he did it. Bernardin found him, clad in an overcoat and a white bonnet, copying music; of which Rousseau knew nothing, except by the intuition of genius. For those who wish, there are the pilgrimages to the Hermitage at Montmorenci, occupied by him in 1756, and nearly forty years later by a man equally attractive, Maximilien Robespierre; and to Ermenonville, the spot of Rousseau's death in 1778. It is easier to stroll to the Panthéon, where, on one side, is a statue of the author of "Le Contrat Social" and "Émile," which gives him a dignity that was not his in life. This tribute from the French nation was decreed by the National Convention of 15 Brumaire, An II, and erected by the National Assembly in 1791. Durable 207 as its bronze this tribute was meant to be, at the time when he was deified by the nation; since then, his body and his memory have been "cast to the dogs; a deep-minded, even noble, yet wofully misarranged mortal." While acknowledging his impress on his generation as an interpreter of moral and religious sentiment, and without denying the claim of his admirers, that he is the father of modern democracy, we may own, too, to a plentiful lack of liking for the man.

Released and returned to his wife in Rue Taranne, Diderot lost no time in beginning again that toil which was his life. With all his other work—"Letters on the Blind, for the use of those who can see," dramas now forgotten, an obscene novel that paid the debts of his mistress—he began and carried out his Encyclopædia. "No sinecure is it!" says Carlyle: "penetrating into all subjects and sciences, waiting and rummaging in all libraries, laboratories; nay, for many years fearlessly diving into all manner of workshops, unscrewing stocking-looms, and even working thereon (that the department of 'Arts and Trades' might be perfect); then seeking out contributors, and flattering them, quickening their laziness, getting payment for them, quarrelling with bookseller and printer, bearing all miscalculations, misfortunes, misdoings of so many fallible men on his single back." On top of all, he had to bear the spasmodic persecution of the Government instigated by the Church. The patient, gentle d'Alembert, with his serenity, his clearness, and his method, helped Diderot more than all the others. And 208 so grew, in John Morley's words, "that mountain of volumes, reared by the endeavor of stout hands and faithful," which, having done its work for truth and humanity, is now a deserted ruin.

As he brought it to an end after thirty years of labor, Diderot found himself grown old and worn, and the busiest brain and hand in France began to flag. By now, he stood next in succession to the King, Voltaire. Yet, for all the countless good pages he has written, it has been truly said that he did not write one great book. Other urgent creditors, besides old age, harassed him, and he had to sell his collection of books. They were bought by the Empress Catharine of Russia, at a handsome value, and she handsomely allowed him to retain them for her, and furthermore paid him a salary for their care. Grimm urged on her, in one of his gossiping feuilles, that have given material for so much personal history, the propriety of housing her library and its librarian properly, and this was done in the grand mansion now No. 39 Rue de Richelieu. We have come to this street with Molière and with Mignard, and there are other memories along this lower length, to which a chapter could be given. We can awaken only those that now belong to No. 50. Here lived a couple named Poisson, and on March 19, 1741, they gave in marriage to Charles Guillaume le Normand their daughter Jeanne-Antoinette, a girl of fifteen. That blossom ripened and rottened into La Pompadour. The house is quite unchanged since that day. In a large rear room on its first floor, in the year 1899, future 209 chroniclers will be glad to note that Moncure D. Conway made an abbreviation of his noble life of Thomas Paine for its French translation. His working-room was in the midst of the scenes of Paine's Paris stay, but not one of them can be fixed with certainty.

The house numbered 39 of this street is occupied by the "Maison Sterlin," a factory of artistic metal-work in locks and bolts and fastenings for doors and windows. It is an attractive museum of fine iron and steel workmanship, ancient and modern. There, in a case, is preserved the superbly elaborate key of Corneille's birth-house in Rouen. The brothers Bricard have had the reverent good taste to retain the late seventeenth-century interior of their establishment, and you may mount by the easy stairs, with their fine wrought-iron rail, to Diderot's dining-room on the first floor, its panelling unaltered since his death there, on July 31, 1784. He had enjoyed, for only twelve days, the grandest residence and the greatest ease his life had known. They had been made busy days, of course, spent in arranging his books and pictures. Sitting here, eating hastily, he died suddenly and quietly, his elbows on the table. On August 1st his body was buried in the parish church of Saint-Roch, and the tablet marking the spot is near that commemorating Corneille, who had been brought there exactly one hundred years before.

This church is eloquent with the presence of these two, with the voice of Bossuet—"the Bible transfused into a man," in Lamartine's phrase—and with the ping of Bonaparte's bullets on its porch; yet there 210 is a presence within, less clamorous but not less impressive than any of these. In the fourth chapel, on your left as you enter, is a bronze bust of a man, up to which a boy and a girl look from the two corners of the pedestal. This is the monument of Charles Michel, Abbé de l'Épée, placed above his grave in the chapel where he held services at times, and the boy and girl stand for the countless deaf-and-dumb children to whom he gave speech and hearing. The son of a royal architect, with every prospect of preferment in the Church, with some success as a winning preacher, his liberal views turned him from this career. His interest in two deaf-mute sisters led him to his life-work. There were others in England, and there was the good Pereira in Spain, who had studied and invented before him, but it is to this gentle-hearted Frenchman that the world of the deaf and dumb owes most for its rescue from its inborn bondage. He gave to them all he had, and all he was; for their sake he went ill-clad always, cold in winter, hungry often. He had but little private aid, and no official aid at all. He alone, with his modest income, and with the little house left him by his father, started his school of instruction for deaf-mutes in 1760.

The house was at No. 14 Rue des Moulins, a retired street leading north from Rue Saint-Honoré, and so named because near its line were the mills of the Butte de Saint-Roch—where we are to find the head-quarters of Joan the Maid. One of these mills may be seen to-day, re-erected and in perfect preservation, 211 at Crony-sur-Ourcq, near Meaux, and above its doorway is the image of the patron-saint, to whom the mill was dedicated in the fifteenth century. This quarter of the town had become, during the reign of Louis XIV., the centre of a select suburb of small, elegant mansions, tenanted by many illustrious men. On the rear of his lot the good abbé built a small chapel, and in it and in the house he passed nearly thirty years of self-sacrifice, ended only by his death on December 23, 1789. When the Avenue de l'Opéra was cut in 1877-8, his street was shortened and his establishment was razed. At the nearest available spot, on the wall of No. 23 Rue Thérèse, two tablets have been placed, the one that fixes the site, the other recording the decree of the Constituent Assembly of July, 1789, by which the Abbé de l'Épée was placed on the roll of those French citizens who merit well the recognition of humanity and of his country. And, in 1791, amid all its troubled labors, the Assembly founded the Institution National des Sourds-Muets of Paris, on the base of his humble school. The big and beneficent institution is in Rue Saint-Jacques, at its intersection with the street named in his honor. And it is an honor to the Parisians that they thus keep alive the memory of their great men, so that, in a walk through their streets, we run down a catalogue of all who are memorable in French history. In the vast court-yard, at that corner, under a glorious elm-tree, is a colossal statue of the abbé, standing with a youth to whom he talks with his fingers. It is the work of a deaf-mute, 212 Félix Martin, well named, for he is most happy in this work.

Like the Abbé de l'Épée, and for as many years—almost thirty of his half-voluntary, half-enforced exile—Voltaire had devoted himself in his own way to the bettering of humanity, crippled mentally and spiritually. He had given vision to the blind, hearing to the deaf, voice to the speechless. He took in the outcast, and cherished the orphan. With his inherent pity for the oppressed, and his deep-rooted indignation with all cruelty, he had made himself the advocate of the unjustly condemned; and none among his brilliant pages will live longer than his impassioned pleadings for the rehabilitation of the illegally executed Jean Calas. And now he comes back from Ferney, through all the length of France, in a triumphal progress without parallel, welcomed everywhere by exultant worshippers. At four in the afternoon of February 10, 1778, his coach appears just where his statue now stands at the end of Quai Malaquais, then Quai des Théatins. He wears a large, loose cloak of crimson velvet, edged with a small gold cord, and a cap of sable and velvet, and he is "smothered in roses." His driver makes his way slowly along the quay, through the acclaiming crowd, to the home of "la Bonne et Belle," the girl he had rescued from a convent and adopted, now the happy wife of the Marquis de Villette. Their eighteenth-century mansion stands on the corner of Rue de Beaune and present Quai Voltaire, unaltered in its simple stateliness. Here Voltaire is visited by all Paris 213 that was allowed to get to him. Mlle. Clairon is one of the first, on her knees at the bedside of her old friend, exhausted by his triumph. She is no longer young, and shows that she owns to fifty-five years, by her retired life at the present numbers 34 and 36 Rue du Bac. There she has her books and her sewing and her spendthrift Comte Valbelle d'Oraison, who lives on her.

The Seventeenth-century Buildings on Quai Malaquais, with the Institute and the Statue of Voltaire.

D'Alembert and Benjamin Franklin are among his visitors, and the dethroned Du Barry, and thirty chefs, each set on the appointment of cook for the master. He goes to the Academy, then installed in the Louvre, and to the Comédie Française, temporarily housed in the Tuileries, the Odéon not being ready. There his "Irène," finished just before leaving Switzerland, is produced, and at the performance on the evening of March 30th he is crowned in his box, his bust is crowned on the beflowered stage, and the palms and laurels and plaudits leave him breath only to murmur: "My friends, do you really want to kill me with joy?" That was the last seen of him by the public. He had come to Paris, he said, "to drink Seine water"; and either that beverage poisoned him, or the cup of flattery he emptied so often. One month after that supreme night, on May 30, 1778, at a little after eleven at night, he died in that corner apartment on the first floor. For thirty years after it was unoccupied and its windows were kept closed.

Almost his last words, as he remembered what the Church had meant to him, and what it might mean 214 for him, were: "I don't want to be thrown into the roadway like that poor Lecouvreur." That fate was spared his wasted frame by the quickness of his nephew, the Abbé Mignot. Here, at the entrance-gate in Rue de Beaune, this honest man placed his uncle's body, hardly cold, in his travelling carriage, and with it drove hastily, and with no needless stops, to Scellières in Champagne. There he gave out the laudable lie of a death on the journey, and procured immediate interment in the nave of his church, under all due rites. The grave was hardly covered before orders from the Bishop of Troyes arrived, forbidding the burial. The trick would have tickled the adroit old man. His body was allowed to rest for thirteen years, and then it was brought back in honor to Paris. A great concourse had assembled, only two weeks earlier, at the place where the Bastille had been, hoping to hoot at the royal family haled back from Varennes. Now, on July 11, 1791, a greater concourse was stationed here, to look with silent reverence on this cortége, headed by Beaumarchais, all the famous men of France carrying the pall or joining in the procession. They entered by the Vincennes road, passed along the boulevards, crossed Pont Royal to stop before this mansion, and went thence to the Panthéon. There his remains lay once more in peace, until the Bourbons "de-Panthéonized" both Voltaire and Rousseau.

Benjamin Franklin had come to visit Voltaire here on the quay, by way of the Seine from Passy, in which retired suburb he was then living. The traces he has 215 left in the capital are to be found in two inscriptions and a tradition. We know that he had rooms, during a part of the year 1776, in Rue de Penthièvre, and his name, carved in the pediment of the stately façade of the house numbered 26 in that street, is a record of his residence in it or on its site. There is another claimant to his tenancy for a portion of this same year. The American who happens to go to or through Passy, on a Fourth of July, will have opportune greeting from the Stars and Stripes, draped over the doorway of the old-fashioned building, more a cottage than a mansion, now numbered 21 Rue Franklin. Its owners do this each year, they tell you, in honor of the great American who occupied the cottage in 1776. Their claim is the more credible, inasmuch as the street has been given his name since his day there, when it was Rue Basse. In the following year he went farther afield, and for nine years he remained in a villa in the large garden, now covered by the ugly École des Frères de la Doctrine Chrétienne, at the corner of Rues Raynouard and Singer. The Historical Society of Passy and Auteuil has placed a tablet in this corner wall, recording Franklin's residence at this spot from 1777 to 1785. His friend, M. Ray de Chaumont, occupied only a portion of his Hôtel de Valentinois, and gave up the remaining portion to Franklin for his residence and his office, eager to show his sympathy for the colonies and his fondness for their envoy. Only John Adams, when he came, was shocked in all his scrupulosity to find an American agent living rent-free! 216 In this garden he put up the first lightning-conductor in France, and in this house he negotiated the treaty that gave the crown's aid to the colonies and made possible their independence. To this spot came the crowd to catch a glimpse of the homely-clad figure, and men of science and letters to learn from him, and ladies from the court to caress him. And it may have been here that he made answer to the enamoured marquise, in words that have never been topped for the ready wit of a gallant old gentleman.

The cortége that accompanied Voltaire's remains to the Panthéon was headed, it has been said, by Beaumarchais; fittingly so, for Beaumarchais was then heir-presumptive to the dramatic crown, and his "Figaro" had already begun to laugh the nobility from out of France. Louis XVI. saw clearly, for once, when he said: "If I consent to the production of the 'Marriage of Figaro,' the Bastille will go." He did consent, and it was played to an immense house on April 27, 1784, in the Comédie Française, now the Odéon. That night the old order had its last laugh, and it rang strangely and sadly. Yet in this comedy, that killed by ridicule—the most potent weapon in France—once played a queen that was, and once a queen that was to be. On August 19, 1785, on the stage of the Little Trianon at Versailles, the Comte d'Artois—brother to Louis XIV., later to be Charles X.—appeared as the Barber, to the Rosina of Marie Antoinette. And, in the summer of 1803, during the Consulate, when Malmaison was the scene of gayeties, 217 a theatre was constructed in the garden, and on its boards, Hortense (soon after Queen of Holland) made a success as Rosina.

Playwriting was merely a digression in the diversified career of this man of various aptitudes, whose ups and downs we have no excuse for dwelling on, as we trace him through Paris streets. There is no tablet to mark his birth, on January 24, 1732, in the house of his father, Caron, the watchmaker of Rue Saint-Denis, opposite the old Cemetery of the Innocents, nearly at Rue de la Ferronerie. Pierre-Augustin Caron he was christened, and it was in his soaring years that he added "de Beaumarchais." This quarter is notable in that it was the scene of the birth and boyhood of four famous dramatists—of Molière, as we have seen, and of Regnard, as we shall see; of Beaumarchais and of Eugène Scribe. To record this latest birth, on December 24, 1791, a tablet is set in the wall of No. 32 Rue Saint-Denis, at the corner of Rue de la Reynie, only a few steps south of the Caron house. It is a plain, old-style house of four stories and a garret, and has become a shop for chocolates and sweets. It has on its sign, "Au Chat Noir"; black cats are carved wherever they will cling on its front and side, and a huge, wooden, black cat rides on the cart that carries the chocolate.

Beaumarchais had a residence at No. 6 Rue de Condé in 1773, and at the Hôtel de Hollande, Rue Vielle-du-Temple 47, in 1776. We shall go there later. On the wall of the house, No. 2 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 218 a tablet marks the site of his great mansion and its spacious gardens. These covered the entire triangle enclosed by Rues Amelot, Daval, and Roquette. He had found the money for this colossal outlay, not in his plays, but in all sorts of mercantile transactions, some of them seemingly shabby. It is claimed that he lost large sums in supplying, as the unavowed agent of the crown, war equipment to the struggling American colonies. His palace went up in sight of the Bastille, then going down. The Parisians came in crowds to see his grounds, with their grottoes, statues, and lake; and he entertained all the swelldom of France. There, one day in 1792, the mob from the too-near Faubourg Saint-Antoine came uninvited, and raided house and grounds for hidden arms and ammunition, not to be found. The owner went to the Abbaye prison and thence into exile and poverty. Returning in 1796, he spent his last years in a hopeless attempt to gather up remnants of his broken fortunes, a big remnant being the debt neglected and rejected by the American Congress. The romance of this "Lost Million" cannot be told here. Beaumarchais died in this house in 1799, and was buried in the garden. When the ground was taken for the Saint-Martin Canal in 1818, his remains were removed to Père-Lachaise. The grave is as near that of Scribe as were their birthplaces. His name was given to the old Boulevard Saint-Antoine in 1831, and in 1897 his statue was placed in that wide space in Rue Saint-Antoine that faces Rue des Tournelles. The pedestal 219 is good, and worthy of a more convincing statue of this man of strong character and of contrasting qualities. And at the Washington Head-quarters at Newburgh-on-Hudson, and at the various collections of Revolutionary relics in the United States, you will find cannon that came from French arsenals, and that, it was hinted, left commissions in the hands of Caron de Beaumarchais.



Charlotte Corday.
(From the copy by Baudry of the only authentic portrait, painted in her prison.)


It is no part of the province of this book to reconstruct the Paris of the Revolution, nor is there room for such reconstruction, now that M. G. Lenôtre has given us his exhaustive and admirable "Paris Révolutionnaire." Despite the destruction of so much that was worth saving of that period, there yet remain many spots for our seeing. The cyclone of those years had two centres, and one of them is fairly well preserved. It is the Cour du Commerce, to which we have already come in search of the tower and wall of Philippe-Auguste. Outside that wall, close to the Porte de Buci, there had been a tennis-court, which was extended, in 1776, into a narrow passage, with small dwellings on each side. The old entrance of the tennis-court was kept for the northern entrance of the new passage, and it still remains under the large house, No. 61 Rue Saint-André-des-Arts. The southern entrance of the passage was in the western end of Rue des Cordeliers, now Rue de l'École-de-Médecine. In 1876, exactly one hundred years after the construction of this Cour du Commerce, its southern half and its southern entrance were cut away by modern Boulevard Saint-Germain, on the northern side of which 224 a new entrance to the court was made. At the same time the houses on the northern side of Rue de l'École-de-Médecine were demolished, and replaced by the triangular space that holds the statues of Danton and Paul Broca among its trees. Those houses faced, across the street, whose narrowness is marked by the two curbstones, the houses, of the same age and the same style, that are left on the southern side of this section of the modern boulevard. One of the houses then destroyed had been inhabited by Georges-Jacques Danton. It stood over the entrance of the court, and his statue—a bronze of his own vigor and audacity—has been placed exactly on the spot of that entrance, exactly under his dwelling-place. The pediment of this entrance-door is now in the grounds of M. Victorien Sardou, at Marly-le-Roi. Danton's apartment, on the first floor above the entresol, had two salons and a bedroom looking out on Rue des Cordeliers, while the dining-room and working-room had windows on the Cour du Commerce. Here in 1792 he had his wholesome, peaceful home, with his wife and their son; and to them there sometimes came his mother, or one of his sisters, for a visit.

In the entresol below lived Camille Desmoulins and his wife in 1792. The two young women were close friends, and M. Jules Claretie has given us a pretty picture of them together, in terrified suspense on that raging August 10th. Lucile Desmoulins knew, on the next day, that the mob had at least broken the windows of the Tuileries, for someone had brought her the 225 sponges and brushes of the Queen! And on the 12th, Danton carried his wife from here to the grand hôtel in Place Vendôme, the official residence of the new Minister of Justice. His short life in office being ended by his election to the Convention in the autumn of that year, he returned to this apartment; to which, three months after the death of his first wife in that same year, he brought a youthful bride. And here, on March 30, 1794, he was arrested. Before his own terrible tribunal his reply, to the customary formal questions as to his abode, was: "My dwelling-place will soon be in annihilation, and my name will live in the Panthéon of history." He spoke prophetically. The clouds of a century of calumny have only lately been blown away, and we can, at last, see clearly the heroic figure of this truest son of France; a "Mirabeau of the sans-culottes," a primitive man, unspoiled and strong, joyous in his strength, ardent yet steadfast, keen-eyed for shams, doing when others were talking, scornful of phrasemongers, and so genuine beside the petty schemers about him that they could not afford to let him live.

Lucie-Simplice-Camille-Benoist Desmoulins had, in his queer and not unlovable composition, a craving for a hero and a clinging to a strong nature. His first idol was Mirabeau. That colossus had died on April 2, 1791, and Desmoulins had been one of the leaders in the historic funeral procession that filled the street and filed out from it four miles in length. Mont-Blanc was then the street's name, and for a few days 226 it was called Rue Mirabeau, but soon took its present name, Chaussée-d'Antin, from the gardens of the Hôtel d'Antin, through which it was cut. The present No. 42, with a new front, but otherwise unchanged, is the house of Mirabeau's death, in the front room of its second floor. Mirabeau's worthy successor in Camille's worship was Danton, near whom he lived, as we have seen, and with whom he went as secretary to the Ministry of Justice. After leaving office, Camille and his wife are found in his former bachelor home in Place du Théâtre-Français, now Place de l'Odéon. The corner house there, that proclaims itself by a tablet to have been his residence, is in the wrong; and that tablet belongs by right to the house on the opposite corner, No. 2 Place de l'Odéon and No. 7 Rue Crébillon. From his end windows in this latter street, when he had lived there as a bachelor, Camille could look slantwise to the windows of an apartment at No. 22 Rue de Condé, and he looked often, attracted by a young girl at home there with her parents. There is still the balcony on the front, on which Lucile Duplessis ventured forth, a little later, to blow kisses across the street. At the religious portion of their marriage, in Saint-Sulpice on December 29, 1790, the témoins of the groom were Brisson, Pétion, Robespierre. The last-named had been Camille's schoolfellow and crony at Lycée Louis-le-Grand, and remained his friend as long as it seemed worth while. The wedding party went back to this apartment—on the second floor above the entresol—for the dîner de noces. Everything 227 on and about the table—it is still shown at Vervins, a village just beyond Laon—was in good taste, we may be sure, for Desmoulins was a dainty person, for all his tears over Marat; his desk, at which he wrote the fiery denunciations of "Le Vieux Cordelier," had room always for flowers. It was here that he was arrested, to go—not so bravely as he might—to prison, and then to execution with Danton, on April 5, 1794. His Lucile went to the scaffold on the 12th of the same month, convicted of having conspired against the Republic by wandering about the gardens of the Luxembourg, trying to get a glimpse of her husband's face behind his prison window. To us he is not more visible in this garden than he was to her, but in the garden of the Palais-Royal he leaps up, "a flame of fire," on July 12, 1789, showing the Parisians the way they went to the Bastille on the 14th.

In the same section with Danton and Desmoulins, and equally vivid with them in his individuality, we find Jean-Paul Marat. His apartment, where lived with him and his mistress, Simonne Evrard, his two sisters, Albertine and Catherine—all three at one in their devotion to his loathsome body—was in a house a little easterly from Danton's, on the same northern side of Rue de l'École-de-Médecine. It was at this house that Marie-Anne-Charlotte Corday d'Armans, on July 13, 1793, presented herself as "l'ange de l'assassination," in Lamartine's swelling phrase. She had driven across the river, from the Hôtel de la Providence. In our Dumas chapter we shall try to find her 228 unpretending inn, and shall find only its site. In the Musée Grévin, in Paris, you may see the baignoire in which Marat sat when he received Charlotte Corday and her knife—a common kitchen-knife, bought by her on the day before at a shop in the Palais-Royal. The bath is shaped like a great copper shoe, and on its narrow top, through which his head came, was a shelf for his papers.

The printing-office of Marat's "L'Ami du Peuple," succeeded in 1792 by his "Journal de la République Française," was in that noisiest corner of Paris, the Cour du Commerce. It was in that end of the long building of two low stories and attic, numbered 6 and 8, now occupied by a lithographer. After Marat's death, and that of his journal, the widow Brissot opened a modest stationer's shop and reading-room in the former printing-office, we are told by M. Sardou. It is an error that places the printing-office at the present No. 1 of the court, in the building which extended then through to No. 7 Rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie. These two lots do, indeed, join in their rear, but Marat has no association with either. In Rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie, certainly, the "Friend of the People" had storage room in the cellar and an office on an upper floor, but it was in one of the tall houses on the western side of the street, just north of the old theatre.

The only claim to our attention of No. 1 Cour du Commerce—a squalid tavern which aspires to the title of "La Maison Boileau"—comes from the presence of Sainte-Beuve. The great critic is said to have rented 229 a room, under his pen-name of "Joseph Delorme," for a long time in this then cleanly hôtel-garni, for the ostensible purpose of working in quiet, free from the importunate solicitors of all sorts who intruded on his home in Rue du Mont-Parnasse, No. 11.

Marat's death was frantically lamented by the rabble, that was quite unable to recognize the man's undeniable abilities and attainments, and that had made him its idolized leader because of his atrocious taste in saying in print exactly what he meant. They carried his body to the nave of the church, and later to its temporary tomb in the garden, of the Cordeliers, a step from his house. In the intervals of smiling hours spent in watching heads fall into the basket, in new Place de la Révolution, they crowded here to weep about his bedraped and beflowered bier. The remains were then placed, with due honors, in the Panthéon. Then, within two years, the same voices that had glorified him shrieked that his body and his memory should be swept into the sewer. It was the voice of the people—the voice of Deity, in all ages and in all lands, it is noisily asserted.

When the Franciscan monks, who were called Cordeliers because of their knotted cord about the waist, came to Paris early in the thirteenth century, they were given a goodly tract of ground just within the Saint-Germain gate, stretching, in rough outlines, from Rues Antoine-Dubois and Monsieur-le-Prince nearly to Boulevards Saint-Germain and Saint-Michel. The church they built there was consecrated by the sainted 230 Louis IX. in 1262, and when burned, in 1580, was rebuilt mainly by the accursed Henri III. New chapels and cloisters were added in 1672, and there were many other structures pertaining to the order within these boundaries. Of all these, only the Refectory remains to our day. The site of the church, once the largest in Paris, is covered by Place de l'École-de-Médecine and by a portion of the school; something of the shape and some of the stones of the old cloisters are preserved in the arched court of the Clinique; bits of the old walls separate the new laboratories, and another bit, with its strong, bull-nosed moulding, may be seen in the grounds of the water-works behind No. 11 Rue Racine, this street having been cut through the monks' precincts, so separating the Infirmary, to which this wall belonged, and that stretched nearly to the rear walls of Lycée Saint-Louis, from the greater portion of "Le Grand Couvent de l'Observance de Saint François."

Turn in at the gateway in the corner of Place de l'École-de-Médecine, and the Refectory stands before you, a venerable fabric of Anne of Brittany's building, with sixteenth and seventeenth century adornments, all in admirable preservation. The great hall, filled with the valuable collection of the Musée Dupuytren, attracts us as a relic of ancient architecture, and as the last existing witness of the Revolutionary nights of the Cordeliers Club. That club had its hall just across the garden alongside the Refectory, in one of the buildings of the cloisters, which, with the church, had been given 231 over to various uses and industries. Hence the name of the club, enrolled under the leadership of Danton, on whom the men of his section looked as the incarnation of the Revolution. To him Robespierre and his republic were shams, and to his club the club of the Jacobins was at first distinctly reactionary. It took but little time, in those fast-moving days, for the Cordeliers, in their turn, to be suspected for their unpatriotic moderation!

The Refectory of the Cordeliers.

We must not leave our Cour du Commerce, without a glance at the small building on the northern corner of its entrance from Rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie. It was here that the first guillotine was set up for experiments on sheep, by Dr. Antoine Louis, Secretary of the Academy of Surgeons, and the head of a committee appointed by the National Assembly on October 6, 1791. On that day a clause in the new penal code made death by decapitation the only method of execution, and the committee had powers to construct the apparatus, which was to supersede Sanson's sword. It was not a new invention, for the mediæval executioners of Germany and Scotland had toyed with "the Maiden," but for centuries she had lost her vogue. On December 1, 1789, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin had tried to impress on the Assembly the need of humane modes of execution, and had dwelt on the comfort of decapitation by his apparatus until he was laughed down. That grim body could find mirth only in a really funny subject like the cutting off of heads! After two years and more, the machine, perfected by Dr. Louis, and 232 popularly known as "La Louisette," was tried on a malefactor in the Place de Grève on April 25, 1792. Three days later the little lady received her official title, "La Guillotine."

Dr. Guillotin had made his model and his experiments at his residence, still standing, with no external changes, at No. 21 Rue Croix-des-Petits-Champs. It was already a most ancient mansion when he came here to live, and perhaps to remain until his death—in bed—in 1814. It had been known as the Hôtel de Bretagne, and it is rich in personal history. To its shelter came Catherine de Lorraine, the young widow of the Duc de Montpensier, the "lame little devil" whom Henri III. longed to burn alive, for her abuse of him after the murder of her brother Guise. Within its walls, Anne of Austria's treasurer, the rich and vulgar Bertrand de la Bazinière—whom we have met on Quai Malaquais—hoarded the plunder which he would not, or dared not, spend. Louis XIV. gave him, later, lodgings in the Bastille, in that tower named Bazinière always after. In this same Hôtel de Bretagne, Henrietta of France, widowed queen of England, made her temporary home in the winter of 1661, near her daughter, lately installed as "Madame," wife of the King's brother, in the Palais-Royal. Returning from England in 1665, this unhappy queen went to the last refuge of her troubled life in the convent she had founded on the heights of Chaillot. From that farther window of the first story on the right of the court, the Comte de Maulevrier, Colbert's nephew, 233 threw himself down to his death on the pavement on Good Friday, 1706. In time the stately mansion became a hôtel-garni, was appropriated as National Domain in the Revolution, and sold in a lottery.

"La Guillotine," having proved the sharpness of her tooth, was speedily promoted from Place de Grève to a larger stage in Place de la Réunion, now Place du Carrousel, and thence in May, 1793—that she might not be under the windows of the Convention—to Place de la Révolution, formerly Place de Louis XV., at present Place de la Concorde. This wide space, just beyond the moat of the Tuileries gardens, had in its centre, where now is the obelisk of Luxor, a statue of the late "well-beloved," then altogether-detested, King for whom the place had been named; and a little to the east of that point the scaffold was set up. Lamartine puts it on the site of the southern fountain, for the effect he gets of the flowing of water and of blood; this is one of his magniloquent phrases, which scorn exactness. On January 21, 1793, for the execution of Louis XVI., the guillotine was removed to a spot just westward of the centre, that it might be well protected by the troops deploying about the western side of the place, and into the Champs Élysées and Cours la Reine. For a while in 1794, the guillotine was transferred to the present Place de la Nation—where we shall find it in a later chapter—to come back to Place de la Révolution in time to greet Robespierre and his friends.

Standing here, we are near the other centre of Revolutionary 234 Paris, made so by the Club of the Jacobins, that met first in the refectory, later in the church of the monastery from which it took its name. The site of these buildings is covered by the little Marché Saint-Honoré and by the space about. The club of the more moderate men, headed by Bailly and Lafayette, had its quarters in the monastery of the Feuillants, which gave its name to the club, and which extended along the south side of Rue Saint-Honoré, eastwardly from Rue de Castiglione; this street being then the narrow Passage des Feuillants, leading from Rue Saint-Honoré to the royal gardens, and to the much-trodden Terrasse on the northern side of those gardens facing the Manège. This building had been erected for the equestrian education of the youth who afterward became Louis XV., and was converted into a hall for the sitting of the Assembly, after that body had been crowded for about three weeks, on coming to Paris from Versailles, into the inadequate hall of the Archbishop's palace, on the southern shore of the City Island, alongside Notre-Dame. The Convention took over the Manège from the Assembly, and there remained until May, 1793, when it removed to the more commodious quarters, and more befitting surroundings, of the Tuileries. The old riding-school, whose site is marked by a tablet on the railing of the garden opposite No. 230 Rue de Rivoli, was swept away by the cutting of the western end of that street, under the Consulate in 1802.

When Maximilien Robespierre came up from Arras—where he had resigned his functions in the Criminal 235 Court, because of his conscientious objections to capital punishment—he found squalid quarters, suiting his purse—which remained empty all through life—in Rue Saintonge. That street, named for a province of old France, remains almost as he saw it, one of the few Paris streets that retain their original buildings and ancient atmosphere. The high and sombre house, wherein he lodged from October, 1789, to July, 1791, is quite unaltered, save for its number, which was then 8 and is now 64. From here, Robespierre was snatched away, suddenly and without premeditation on his part, and planted in the bosom of the Duplay family. They had worshipped him from afar, and when, from their windows, they saw him surrounded by the acclaiming crowd, on the day after the so-called massacres of the Champ-de-Mars of July 17, 1791, the peaceful carpenter ran out and dragged the shrinking great man into his court-yard for temporary shelter. The house was then No. 366 Rue Saint-Honoré. If any reader wishes to decide for himself whether the modern No. 398 is built on the site of the Duplay house, of which no stone is left, as M. Ernest Hamel asserts; or whether the present tall structure there is an elevation on the walls of the old house, every stone of which is left, as M. Sardou insists; he must study the pamphlets issued by these earnest and erudite controversialists. There is nothing more delightful in topographical sparring. The authors of this book can give no aid to the solicitous student; for they have read all that has been written concerning the subject, they have explored the house, 236 and they have settled in silence in the opposing camps!

In the Duplay household, to which he brought misery then and afterward, Robespierre was worshipped during life and deified after death. To that misguided family, "this cat's head, with the prominent cheekbones, seamed by small-pox; his bilious complexion; his green eyes rimmed with red, behind blue spectacles; his harsh voice; his dry, pedantic, snappish, imperious language; his disdainful carriage; his convulsive gestures—all this was effaced, recast, and transformed into the gentle figure of an apostle and a martyr to his faith for the salvation of men." From their house, it was but a step to the sittings of the Assembly. It was but a few steps farther to the garden of the Tuileries and to the "fête de l'Être Suprême," planned by him, when he had induced the Convention to decree the existence of God and of an immortal soul in man. He cast himself for the rôle of High Priest of Heaven, and headed the procession on June 8, 1794, clad in a blue velvet coat, a white waistcoat, yellow breeches and top-boots; carrying in his hand flowers and wheat-ears. He addressed the crowd, in "the scraggiest prophetic discourse ever uttered by man," and they had games, and burned in effigy Atheism and Selfishness and Vice! Such of the stage-setting of this farce as was constructed in stone remains intact to-day, for our wonder at such childishness, and our admiration of the architectural perfection of the out-of-door arena.

From this Duplay house, Robespierre used to go on 237 his solitary strolls, accompanied only by his dogs, in the woods of Monceaux and Montmorenci, where he picked wild-flowers. From this house he went to his last appearance in the Convention on the 9 Thermidor, and past it he was carted to the scaffold, on the following day, July 28, 1794. He had followed Danton within a few months, as Danton had predicted. They were of the same age at the time of their death, each having thirty-five years; the younger Robespierre was thirty-two, Saint-Just was twenty-six, Desmoulins thirty-four, when their heads fell. Mirabeau died at the age of forty-two, Marat was forty-nine when stabbed. Not one of the conspicuous leaders of the Revolution and of the Terror had come to fifty years!

The Carré d'Atalante in the Tuileries Gardens.

When the tumbrils and their burdens did not go along the quays to Place de la Révolution, they went through Rue Saint-Honoré, that being the only thoroughfare on 238 that side of the river. From the Conciergerie they crossed Pont au Change, and made their way by narrow and devious turnings to the eastern end of Rue Saint-Honoré, and through its length to Rue du Chemin-du-Rempart—now Rue Royale—and so to the scaffold. Short Rue Saint-Florentin was then Rue de l'Orangerie, and was crowded by sightseers hurrying to the place. Those of the victims not already confined in the Conciergerie were sent to the condemned cells there, for the night between sentence and execution. The trustworthy history of the prisons of Paris during the Revolution remains to be written, and there is wealth of material for it. There were many smaller prisons not commonly known, and of the larger ones that we do know, there are several, quite unchanged to-day, well worth unofficial inspection. The Salpêtrière, filling a vast space south of the Jardin des Plantes, was built for the manufacture of saltpetre, by Louis XIII.; and, by his son, was converted into a branch, for women, of the General Hospital. A portion of its buildings was set apart for young women of bad character, and here Manon Lescaut was imprisoned. The great establishment is now known as the Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, and is famous for its treatment of women afflicted with nervous maladies, and with insanity. The present Hospice de la Maternité was also perverted to prison usages during the Revolution. Its formal cloisters and steep tiled roofs cluster about its old-time square, but its ancient gardens, and their great trees, are almost all buried beneath new masonry. 239 The façade of the chapel, the work of Lepautre, is no longer used as the entrance, and may be seen over the wall on Boulevard de Port-Royal. Another prison was that of Saint-Lazare, first a lazar-house and then a convent, whose weather-worn roofs and dormers show above the wall on Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis. On the dingy yellow plaster of the arched entrance-gate one may read, in thick black letters: "Maison d'Arrêt et de Correction." Unaltered, too, is the prison in the grounds of the Carmelites, to be visited later in company with Dumas; and the Luxembourg, that was reserved for choice captives. The prison of the Abbey of Saint-Germain was swept away by the boulevard of that name. Its main entrance for wheeled vehicles was through Rue Sainte-Marguerite, the short section left of that street being now named Gozlin. Of the other buildings of the abbey, there remain only the church itself, the bishop's palace behind in Rue de l'Abbaye, and the presbytery glued to the southern side of the church-porch. Its windows saw the massacres of the priests and the prisoners, which took place on the steps of the church and in its front court. When you walk from those steps across the open place, to take the tram for Fontenay-aux-Roses, you step above soil that was soaked with blood in the early days of September, 1792. Some few of the abbey prisoners were slaughtered in the garden, of which a portion remains on the south side of the church, where the statue of Bernard Palissy, by Barrias, stands now. In other chapters, the destruction 240 of the Grand- and the Petit-Châtelet has been noted. La Force has gone, and Sainte-Pélagie is soon to go. And the Conciergerie has been altered, almost beyond recognition, as to its entrances and its courts and its cells. Only the Cour des Femmes remains at all as it was in those days.

There are three victims of the Terror who have had the unstinted pity of later generations, and who have happily left traces of their presence on Paris brick and mortar. The last of these three to die was André-Marie de Chénier, and we will go first to his dwelling. It is an oddly shaped house, No. 97 Rue de Cléry—Corneille's street for many years—at its junction with Rue Beauregard; and a tablet in its wall tells of de Chénier's residence there. Born in Constantinople in 1762, of a French father—a man of genius in mercantile affairs—and a Greek mother, the boy was brought to Paris with his younger brother, Joseph-Marie, in 1767. They lived with their mother in various streets in the Marais, before settling in this final home. Here Madame de Chénier, a poet and artist in spirit, filled the rooms with the poets and artists and savants of the time, the friends of her gifted sons. Hither came David, gross of body, his active mind busied with schemes for his annual exhibitions of paintings, the continuation of those begun by Colbert, and the progenitor of the present Salons; Alfieri, the poet and splendid adventurer; Lavoisier, absorbed in chemical discovery. Here in his earlier years, and later, when he hurried home from the French Embassy in London on the outbreak 241 of the Revolution, André de Chénier produced the verse that revived the love of nature, dead in France since Ronsard, and brought a lyric freshness to poetry that shamed the dry artificialities so long in vogue. That poetry was the forerunner of the Romantic movement. In his tranquil soul, he hoped for the pacific triumph of liberty and equality, and his delicate spirit abhorred the excesses of the party with whose principles he sympathized. He was taken into custody at Passy, early in 1794, while visiting a lady, against whose arrest he had struggled, locked up in Saint-Lazare for months, convicted, and sent to the Conciergerie. He was guillotined in Place de la Nation on July 26, 1794, only the day before Robespierre's fall, and was one of the last and noblest sacrifices to the Terror. We shall look on his burial-place in our later rambles. Müller has made André de Chénier the central figure of his "Roll-Call," now in the Louvre. He sits looking toward us with eyes that see visions, and his expression seems full of the thought to which he gave utterance when led out to execution: "I have done nothing for posterity, and yet," tapping his forehead, "I had something here!"

In 1795 this little house was surrounded by a great crowd of citizens come to bury Louis de Chénier, the father. The Section of Brutus guarded the bier, draped with blue set with silver stars, to suggest the immortality of the soul! And they gave every honor they could invent to the "Pompe funèbre d'un Citoyen Vertueux," whose worthy son they had beheaded. 242

Joseph-Marie de Chénier lived for many years under suspicion of having given his assent if not his aid to his brother's death, albeit the mother always asserted that he had tried to save André. Joseph was a fiery patriot, and a man of genius withal. He wrote the words of the "Chant du Départ" which, set to music by Méhul, proved almost as stirring as the "Marseillaise" to the pulses of the Patriots. Music was one of the potent intoxicants of the time, and the Revolution was played and sung along to the strains of these two airs, and of "Ça ira" and the "Carmagnole." The classic style, which had hitherto prevailed, gave way before the paltry sentimentality and the tinkling bombast of the music adored by the mob. David planned processions marching to patriotic airs, and shallow operas were performed in the streets. Yet Rouget-de-l'Isle, the captain of engineers who had given them the "Marseillaise," was cashiered and put into a cell; being freed, he was left to starve, and no aid came to him from the Empire or the Bourbons, naturally enough. Louis-Philippe's government found him in sad straits, in that poor house No. 21 of the poor Passage Saulnier, and ordered a small pension to be paid to him during his life. His death came in 1836.

Joseph-Marie de Chénier was a playwright, also, and in 1798 he had created a sensation by his "Charles IX.," produced at the Comédie Française, now the Odéon. In the part of the King, wonderfully made up and costumed, Talma won his first notable triumph. "This play," cried Danton from the pit, "will kill 243 royalty as 'Figaro' killed the nobility." Joseph-Marie lived, not too reputably, but very busily, until January 10, 1811; a fussy politician, a member of the Convention, of the Council of Five Hundred, and of the Institute, Section of the French Tongue and Literature, always detested by his associates, by the Emperor, and by the common people.

When the Place Dauphine of Henri IV. was finished, the new industry of the spectacle-makers established itself in the same buildings we see to-day, and gave to the place the name of Quai des Lunettes. Later came the engravers, who found all the light they needed in these rooms, open on three sides. Among them was a master-engraver, one Phlipon, bringing his daughter, Marie-Jeanne—her pet name being Manon—from the house of her birth, in 1754, in Rue de la Lanterne, now widened into Rue de la Cité. It is not known whether the site of that house is under the Hôtel-Dieu or the Marché-aux-Fleurs. Their new home stood, and still stands, on the corner of the northern quay, and is now numbered 28 Place Dauphine and 41 Quai de l'Horloge. The small window of the second floor lights the child's alcove bedroom, where this "daughter of the Seine"—so Madame Roland dubs herself in her "Memoirs"—looked out on the river, and up at the sky, from over Pont au Change to beyond the heights of Chaillot, when she could lift her eyes from her Plutarch, and her thoughts from the altar she was planning to raise to Rousseau. It must be owned that this all too-serious girl was a prig; a creature over-fed for its 244 size, the word has been happily defined. At the age of eleven, she was sent to the school of the "Dames de la Congrégation," in the Augustinian convent in Rue Neuve-Saint-Etienne. It has been told how that ancient street was cut in half by Rue Monge. In its eastern section, now named Rue de Navarre, was Manon's school, directly above the Roman amphitheatre, discovered only of late years in the course of excavations in this quarter. The portion that is left of this impressive relic is in good preservation and in good keeping. Her school-days done, the girl spent several years in this house before us, until her mother's death, and her father's tipsiness, sent her back to her convent for a few months. Then, having refused the many suitors who had thronged about her in her own home, she found the philosopher she wanted for a husband in Jean-Marie Roland de la Platrière, a man much older than she; lank, angular, yellow, bald, "rather respectable than seductive," in the words of the girl-friend who had introduced him. But Manon Phlipon doubtless idealized this wooden formalist who adored her, as she idealized herself and all her surroundings, including The People, who turned and rent her at the last. She gave to her husband duty and loyalty, and it was not until she counted herself dead to earth and its temptations, in her cell at Sainte-Pélagie, that she addressed her last farewell to him, whom "I dare not name, one whom the most terrible of passions has not kept from respecting the barriers of virtue." This farewell was meant for François-Léonard-Nicolas Buzot, Girondist 245 member of the Assembly and later of the Convention. He remained unnamed and unknown, until his name and their secret were told by a bundle of old letters, found on a book-stall on Quai Voltaire in 1864. She had met him first when her husband came from Lyons, with petitions to the Assembly, in February, 1791, and took rooms at the Hôtel Britannique, in Rue Guénégaud. Her salon soon became the gathering-place of the Girondists, where those austere men, who considered themselves the sole salvation of France, were austerely regaled with a bowl of sugar and a carafe of water. Their hostess could not bother with frivolities, she, who in her deadly earnestness, renounced the theatre and pictures, and all the foolish graces of life! The Hôtel Britannique was the house now numbered 12 Rue Guénégaud, a wide-fronted, many-windowed mansion of the eighteenth century. Its stone steps within are well worn, its iron rail is good, its second floor—the Roland apartment—still shows traces of the ancient decorations.

The Girlhood Home of Madame Roland.

Buzot lived at No. 3 Quai Malaquais, an ancient mansion now replaced by the modern structure between the seventeenth-century houses numbered 1 and 5. For when the Convention outlawed the Girondists, and Buzot fled, it was decreed that his dwelling should be levelled to the ground, and on its site should be placed a notice: "Là fut la maison du roi Buzot." So that it would seem that his colleagues of the Convention had found him an insufferably Superior Person.

Leaving this apartment on his appointment to office 246 in 1792, Roland took his wife to the gorgeous salons of the Ministry of the Interior, in the hôtel built by Leveau for the Comte de Lionne, and beautified later by Calonne. It occupied the site of the present annex of the Bank of France just off Rue des Petits-Champs, between Rues Marsollier and Dalayrac. Here, during his two terms of office in 1792 and 1793, Roland had the aid of his wife's pen, as well as the allurements of her personal influence, in the cause to which she had devoted herself. The masculine strength of her pen was weakened, it is true, by too sharp a feminine point, and she embittered the Court, the Cordeliers, the Jacobins, all equally against her and her party. For "this woman who was a great man," in Louis Blanc's true words, was as essentially womanly as was Marie Antoinette; and these two most gracious and pathetic figures of their time were yet unconscious workers for evil to France. The Queen made impassable the breach between the throne and the people; Madame Roland hastened on the Terror. And each of them was doing exactly what she thought it right to do!

On January 23, 1793, two days after the King's death, Roland left office forever and removed to a house in Rue de la Harpe, opposite the Church of Saint-Cosme. That church stood on the triangle made by the meeting of Rues de l'École-de-Médecine and Racine with Boulevard Saint-Germain. On the eastern side of that boulevard, once the eastern side of Rue de la Harpe, where it meets modern Rue des Écoles, stood the Roland house. The students and studentesses, who 247 sip their coffee and beer on the pavement of Vachette's, are on the scene of Madame Roland's arrest, on the night between May 31st and June 1st. On the former day, seeing the end so near, Roland had fled. His wife was taken to the prison of the Abbaye, and given the cell which was to be tenanted, six weeks later, by Charlotte Corday. Released on June 22d and returned to her home in Rue de la Harpe, she was re-arrested on the 24th and locked up in Sainte-Pélagie. It was an old prison, long kept for the detention of "femmes et filles, dont la conduite est onéreuse," and its character had not been bettered by the character of the female prisoners sent there by the Terror. This high-minded woman, subjected to infamous sights and sounds, preserved her serenity and fortitude in a way to extort the "stupefied admiration" of her fellow-prisoners, as one of these has testified. It was only in her cell that the great heart gave way. There she found solace, during her four months' confinement, with Thomson's "Seasons," "done into choice French," with Shaftesbury and an English dictionary, with Tacitus, and her girlhood companion, Plutarch. And here she busied herself with her "Memoirs," "writing under the axe," in her own phrase. In the solitude of her cell, indeed, she was sometimes disturbed by the unseemly laughter of the ladies of the Comédie Française, at supper with the prison-governor in an adjacent cell. We shall see, later, how these ladies came to be here. More acceptable sounds might have come almost to her ears; that of the hymn-singing or of the maiden laughter of the 248 girls in her old convent, only a few steps away. The prison-register contains her description, probably as accurate as matter-of-fact: "Height, five feet; hair and eyebrows, dark chestnut; brown eyes; medium nose; ordinary mouth; oval face, round chin, high forehead." From Sainte-Pélagie she went to the Conciergerie on November 1st, the day after the guillotining of the Girondists, and thence in eight days to her own death. It has been told, by every writer, that she could look over at her girlhood home, as her tumbril crossed Pont au Change. It has not been told, so plainly as it deserves, that her famous utterance on the platform was made fine for historic purposes, as was done with Cambronne's magnificent monosyllable at Waterloo. She really said: "O Liberté, comme on t'a jouée!" With these words, natural and spontaneous and without pose, she is, indeed, "beautiful, amazonian, graceful to the eye, more so to the mind."

Within a few days of her death died her husband and her lover. Roland, on hearing of her execution, in his hiding-place near Rouen, thrust his cane-sword into his breast; Buzot, wandering and starving in the fields, was found half-eaten by wolves. She had confided her daughter Eudora and her "Memoirs" to the loyal friend Bosc, who hid the manuscript in the forest of Montmorenci, and in 1795 published it for the daughter's benefit. The original is said to be in existence, on coarse gray paper, stained with her tears. Sainte-Beuve speaks of them as "delicious and indispensable memories," deserving a place "beside the most sublime 249 and eloquent effusions of a brave yet tender philosophy." When he praises that style, clearer and more concise than that of Madame de Staël, "that other daughter of Rousseau," he does not say all; he might have added that, like Rousseau, she occasionally speaks of matters not quite convenient to hear.

It is difficult to refrain from undue admiration and pity, to remain temperate and modest, when one dwells on the character and qualities, the blameless life and the ignominious death, of Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet. We may look up at his thoughtful face in bronze on Quai Conti, alongside the Mint, where he lived in the entresol of the just completed building, when appointed Director of the Hôtel de la Monnaie by his old friend Turgot, in 1774. We may look upon the house in Rue Servandoni where he hid, and from which he escaped to his death. His other Paris homes have no existence now. His college of Navarre—oldest of all those in the University—has been made over into the École Polytechnique; and the house he built for himself in Rue Chantereine, which was afterward owned by Josephine Beauharnais, has long since disappeared. When only twenty-two years of age he wrote his famous essay on the Integral Calculus, when twenty-six he was elected to the Academy of Sciences. Made Perpetual Secretary of that body in 1777, it came in the course of his duties to deliver eulogies on Pascal, d'Alembert, Buffon, and Franklin, and others of the great guild of science. These are more than perfunctory official utterances, they are of 250 an eloquence that shows his lovable character as well as his scientific authority. He contributed largely to Diderot's Encyclopædia, and put forth many astronomical, mathematical, and theological treatises during his busy life. He wrote earnestly in favor of the independence of the American colonies, and was one of the earliest advocates of the people's cause in France. But he was much more than a man of science and of letters; he was a man with a great soul, "the Seneca of the modern school," says Lamartine; the most kindly and tolerant friend of humanity, and protector of its rights, since Socrates. He believed in the indefinite perfectibility of the human race, and he wrote his last essay, proving its progress upward, while hiding in a garret from those not yet quite perfect fellow-beings, who were howling for his head! He was beloved by Benjamin Franklin and by Thomas Paine. Members of the Convention together, he and Paine prepared the new Constitution of 1793, in which political document they found no place for theological dogma. Robespierre prevented the adoption of this Constitution, having taken God under his own protection. Condorcet made uncompromising criticism, and was put on the list of those to be suspected and got rid of. Too broad to ally himself with the Girondists, he was yet proscribed with them, on June 2, 1793. His friends had forced him to go into hiding, until he might escape. They had asked Madame Vernet—widow of the painter Claude-Joseph, mother of Carle, grandmother of Horace—to give shelter to one of the proscribed, and 251 she had asked only if he were an honest man. This loyal woman concealed him in her garret for nearly one year, and would have kept him longer, but that he feared for her safety, and for that of his wife and daughter, who might be tracked in their visits to him by night. He had finished his "Esquisse d'un Tableau historique des Progrès de l'Esprit humain," full of hope for humanity, with no word of reproach or repining, and then he wrote his last words: "Advice of one proscribed, to his Daughter." This is to be read to-day for its lofty spirit. He gives her the names of certain good men who will befriend her, and among them is Benjamin Franklin Bache, the son of our Franklin's daughter Sally, who had been in Paris with his grandfather.

Then, this letter finished, early on the morning of April 5, 1794, he left it on his table and slipped out, unseen by the good widow Vernet, from the three-storied plaster-fronted house now No. 15 of Rue Servandoni, and still unaltered, as is almost the entire street. Through it he hurried to Rue de Vaugirard, where he stood undecided for a moment, the prison of the Luxembourg on his left, and the prison of the Carmelites on his right, both full of his friends. And on the walls, all about, were placards with big-lettered warning that death was the penalty for harboring the proscribed. Here at the corner, he ran against one Sarret, cousin of Madame Vernet, who went with him, showing the way through narrow streets to the Barrière du Maine, which was behind the present station 252 of Mont-Parnasse. Safely out of the town, the two men took the road to Fontenay-aux-Roses, and at night Sarret turned back. Condorcet lost his way, and wandered about the fields for two days, sleeping in the quarries of Clamart, until driven by hunger into a wretched inn. Demanding an omelet, he was asked how many eggs he would have; the ignorant-learned man ordered a dozen, too many for the working-man he was personating, and suspicions were aroused. The villagers bound and dragged him to the nearest guardhouse at Bourg-la-Reine. He died in his cell that night, April 7, 1794, by poison, it is believed. For he wore a ring containing poison; the same sort of poison, it is said, that was carried by Napoleon, with which he tried—or pretended to try—to kill himself at Fontainebleau. In the modern village of Bourg-la-Reine, five and a half miles from Paris, the principal square bears the name of Condorcet, and holds his bust in marble.

"La Veuve Condorcet" appears in the Paris Bottin every year until 1822, when she died. She had been imprisoned on the identification of her husband's body, but was released after Robespierre's death. She passed the Duplay house every day during those years, going to her little shop at 232 Rue Saint-Honoré. There she had set up a linen business on the ground floor, and above, she painted portraits in a small way. She was a woman of rare beauty and of fine mind, with all womanly graces and all womanly courage. Married in 1786, and much younger than her husband, timorous before 253 his real age and his seeming austerity, she had grown up to him, and had learned to love that "volcano covered with snow," as his friend d'Alembert had said he was. She had a pretty gift with her pen, and her translation into French of Adam Smith's "Theory of Moral Sentiments" is still extant. Her little salon came to be greatly frequented in her beautiful old age.

Condorcet's famous fellow-worker in science, Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, was guillotined in May, 1794, the two men having the same number of years, fifty-one. He was condemned, not for being a chemist, albeit his enlightened judges were of the opinion that "the Republic has no need of chemists," but because he had filled, with justice and honesty, his office of Farmer-General under royalty. Their contemporaries of nearly equal age, Gaspard Monge and Claude-Louis Berthollet, escaped the guillotine, and were among the savants in the train of General Bonaparte in his Italian and Egyptian campaigns. After many years of useful labors, they died peacefully under the Restoration.

Pierre-Simon Laplace, of almost equal years with these four, lived to a greater age, and received higher honors from the Emperor and the Bourbons. Coming from his birth-place in Calvados in 1767, his first Paris home to be found is in Rue des Noyers; one side of which ancient street now forms that southern section of Boulevard Saint-Germain opposite Rue des Anglais, its battered houses seeming to shrink back from the publicity thrust upon them. In that one now numbered 254 57 in the boulevard, formerly No. 33 Rue des Noyers, Alfred de Musset was born in 1810; and in the same row lived Laplace in 1777. In 1787 we find him in Rue Mazarine, and in 1790 in Rue Louis-le-Grand, and this latter residence represents his only desertion of the University side of the Seine. He returned to that bank when placed by the Consuls in the Senate, and made his home in 1801 at No. 24 Rue des Grands-Augustins, and in the following year at No. 2 Rue Christine. These stately mansions of that period, only a step apart, remain as he left them. When Laplace was made Chancellor of the Senate, in 1805, his official residence was in the Luxembourg, and there it continued until 1815, the year of the Restoration. His private residence, from 1805 to 1809, was at No. 6 Rue de Tournon, a house still standing in all its senatorial respectability. He gave this up, and again took up his quarters in the Luxembourg, when made a Count of the Empire and Vice-President of the Senate.

From the Medician palace, which appears in the Bottin of those years as simple No. 19 Rue de Vaugirard, Laplace removed to No. 51 of that street, when the returned Bourbons made him a Peer of France. This house, near Rue d'Assas—named for the Chevalier Nicolas d'Assas, the heroic captain of the regiment of Auvergne during the Seven Years' War—is unaltered since his time. His last change of abode was made in 1818, to Rue du Bac, 100, where he died in 1827. It is a mansion of old-fashioned dignity, with a large court in front and a larger garden behind, and is now numbered 255 108. The growing importance of his successive dwellings, every one of which may be visited to-day, mark his growth in importance as a man of state. The growth of the man of science is represented by his colossal "La Mécanique Céleste," which first appeared in 1799, and was continued by successive volumes until its completion in 1825. Its title, rather than his titles, should be inscribed on his monument.

A little later than these famous confrères, Georges Cuvier appears in Paris—in Hugo's half-truth—"with one eye on the book of Genesis and the other on nature, endeavoring to please bigoted reaction by reconciling fossils with texts, and making the mastodons support Moses." His first home, at the present 40 Rue de Seine, is a fine old-fashioned mansion. He removed to the opposite side of that street in 1810, and there remained until 1816, his house being now replaced by the new and characterless structure at No. 35. Full of character, however, is his official residence as Professor in the Jardin des Plantes, which took again its ancient title of Jardin du Roi during the Restoration. "La Maison de Cuvier" is a charming old building near the garden-entrance in Rue Cuvier, and within is the bust of this most gifted teacher of his time. His genuine devotion to science and his tolerance for all policies carried him through the several changes of government during his life. He completed the Napoleonic conquest of Italy and Holland by his introduction of the French methods of education, perfected by him. The Bourbons made him Baron and Chancellor of the University, 256 and the Orleans king elevated him to the Peerage of France. He died in 1832.

Paul-François-Jean-Nicolas, Comte de Barras—soldier, adventurer, a power in the Convention, the power of the Directory, practically dictator for a while—has added to the hilarity of the sceptical student of history by his "Memoirs," kept concealed since his death, in 1829, until their publication within a few years. Splendidly mendacious in these pages as he was in life, Barras posed always as the man on horseback of his "13 Vendémiaire." On that day, unwittingly yet actually, he put into the saddle—where he stayed—his young friend Buonaparte, whose qualities he had discovered at the siege of Toulon. This artillery officer, while planting his batteries to cover every approach to the Tuileries, where cowered the frightened Convention, took personal command of the guns that faced Saint-Roch. The front of that church still shows the scars of the bullets that stopped the rush of the Sections in that direction. This battery was placed at the Rue Saint-Honoré end of the narrow lane leading from that street to the gardens of the Tuileries—there being then no Rue de Rivoli, you will bear in mind. This lane was known as Rue du Dauphin, because of the royal son who had used it, going between the Tuileries and the church; after that day, it was popularly called Rue du 13-Vendémiaire, until it received its official appellation of Rue Saint-Roch, when widened and aligned in 1807. At this time there were only two houses in the street, near its southern end, and one of them was a hôtel-garni, 257 in which young Buonaparte caught a short sleep on that night of October 5, 1795. The oldest structure in Rue Saint-Roch to-day is that with the two numbers 4 and 6, and it is known to have been already a hôtel-garni in the first years of the nineteenth century, when it was refaced. So that it is well within belief that we have found here Buonaparte's head-quarters for that one night.

Let us now, crossing the river, get on the ground of positive proof, safe from doubts or conjectures. The Duchesse d'Abrantès, wife of that adorable ruffian, Andoche Junot, made a duke in 1807 by the Emperor, writes in her "Memoirs": "To this day, whenever I pass along Quai Conti, I cannot help looking up at the garret windows at the left angle of the house, on the third floor. That was Napoleon's chamber, when he paid us a visit; and a neat little room it was. My brother used to occupy the one next it." Madame Junot had been Mlle. Laure Permon, whose father, an army contractor, had brought his family to Paris early in 1785, and leased for his residence the Hôtel Sillery, formerly the Petit Hôtel Guénégaud. Madame Permon, a Corsican lady, had been an early friend of Madame Buonaparte, and had rocked young Buonaparte in his cradle; so that he was called by his first name in her family, as her daughter shows in this quotation. Finding him at the École Royale Militaire in Paris, she invited him to her house for frequent visits, once for a week's stay, whenever permission could be got from the school authorities. He was a lank, cadaverous, dishevelled 258 lad, solitary, taciturn, and morose; brooding over the poverty that had forced him to seek an unpaid-for scholarship, and not readily making friends with the more fortunate Albert Permon. Yet he came often, and was nowhere so content as in this house before us. It 259 stands far back from the front of the quay, half-hidden between the Institute and the Mint, and is numbered 13 Quai Conti, and its entrance is on the side at No. 2 Impasse Conti. Its upper portion is now occupied by a club of American art students. Constructed by Mansart, its rooms are of admirable loftiness and proportion, and retain much of their sixteenth-century decoration. Here in this salon after dinner, young Buonaparte would storm about the "indecent luxury" of his schoolmates, or sit listening to Madame Permon, soothed by her reminiscent prattle about Corsica and his mother, to whom he always referred as Madame Letitia. Here he first showed himself to the daughters in his new sub-lieutenant's uniform, before joining his regiment on October 30, 1785, and they laughed at his thin legs in their big boots.

No. 13 Quai Conti.

The École Supérieure de Guerre, commonly called the "École Militaire," remains nearly as when constructed under Louis XV., but it is impossible to fix on the room allotted to this student during his year there—a small, bare room, with an iron cot, one wooden chair, and a wash-stand with drawers. The chapel, now unused, remains just as it was when he received his confirmation in it. He arrived at this school, from his preparatory school at Brienne, on the evening of October 19, 1784, one of a troop of five lads in the charge of a priest. They had disembarked, late that afternoon, at Port Saint-Paul, from the huge, clumsy boat that brought freight and passengers, twice a week, from Burgundy and the Aube down the Seine. The 260 priest gave the lads a simple dinner near their landing-place, and led them across the river and along the southern quays—where the penniless young Buonaparte bought a "Gil-Blas" from a stall, and a comrade in funds paid for it—and, stopping for prayers at Saint-Germain-des-Prés, he handed them over to the school authorities.

From that moment every hour of young Buonaparte's year in Paris can be accounted for. And no foundation can be discovered or invented for the fable, mendaciously upheld by the tablet, placed by the Second Empire in the hallway of No. 5 Quai Conti, which claims a garret in that tall, up-climbing, old house as his lodging at that time or at any later time. This flimsy legend need no longer be listened to. Not far away, however, is a garret that did harbor the sub-lieutenant in the autumn of 1787. It is to M. Lenôtre that we owe this delightful find. Arriving in Paris from Corsica, after exactly two years of absence, Buonaparte took room No. 9, on the third floor of the Hôtel de Cherbourg, Rue du Four-Saint-Honoré. That street is now Rue Vauvilliers, its eastern side taken up by the Halles, and its present No. 33, on the western side, is the former hôtel-garni, quite unchanged as to its fabric. Here he was always writing in his room, going out only for the frugal meals that cost him a few sous, and here he had his first amorous adventure, recited by him in cynical detail under the date: "Jeudi 22 Novembre 1787, à Paris, Hôtel de Cherbourg, Rue du Four-Saint-Honoré." 261

On August 10, 1792, Buonaparte saw the mob carry and sack the Tuileries. He was in disgrace with the army authorities, having practically deserted to Corsica, and he had come back for reinstatement and a job. In his Saint-Helena "Memorial," he says that he was then lodging at the Hôtel de Metz in Rue du Mail. This is evidently the same lodging placed by many writers in Rue d'Aboukir, for many of the large houses that fronted on the first-named street extended through to the latter, as shall be shown later. The hotel is gone, and the great mercantile establishment at No. 22 Rue du Mail covers its site.

Gone, too, is the shabbily furnished little villa in Rue Chantereine, where he first called on Josephine de Beauharnais, where he married that faded coquette—dropping the u from his name then, in March, 1796—and whence he went to his 18 Brumaire. The court-yard, filled with resplendent officers on that morning, is now divided between the two courts numbered 58 and 60 Rue de la Victoire; that name having been officially granted to the street, on his return from his Italian campaign in 1797. The villa, kept by the Emperor, and lent at times to some favorite general, was not entirely torn down until 1860. Its site is now covered by the houses Nos. 58 and 60.

Rue Chantereine was, in those days, almost a country road, bordered by small villas; two of them were associated with Napoleon Bonaparte. In one of them, Mlle. Eléonora Dennelle gave birth, on December 13, 1806, to a boy, who grew up into a startling 262 likeness of the Emperor, as to face and figure, but who inherited from him only the half-madness of genius. He lived through the Empire, the Restoration, the Second Republic, the Second Empire, and into the Republic that has come to stay, dying on April 15, 1881. To another modest dwelling in this same street, there came the loving and devoted Polish lady, Madame Walewski, who had thrown herself into the Emperor's arms, when she was full of faith in his intent to liberate her native land. Their son, Alexandre Walewski, born in 1810, was a brilliant figure in Paris, where he came to reside after the fall of Warsaw. A gifted soldier, diplomat, and writer, he died in 1868.

So, of the roofs that sheltered the boyhood of Napoleon, three still remain. Of those loftier roofs that sheltered his manhood, there are also three still to be seen. In the Paris Bottin of the first year of the nineteenth century, the name of Napoleon Bonaparte appears as a member of the Institute, Section of Mechanism, living in the palace of the Luxembourg. In 1805 his address is changed to the palace of the Tuileries, and he is qualified "Emperor of the French;" enlarging that title in 1806 to "Emperor of the French and King." The Tuileries are swept away, and Saint-Cloud has left only a scar. The Luxembourg remains, and so, too, the Palais de l'Élysée, where he resided for a while, and the château of Malmaison has been restored and refurnished in the style of Josephine, as near as may be, and filled with souvenirs of her and of 263 her husband. Her body lies, with that of her daughter Hortense, in the church of the nearest village, Reuil, and his remains rest under the dome of the Invalides—his last roof.

There is a curious letter, said to be still in existence, written by young Buonaparte to Talma, asking for the loan of a few francs, to be repaid "out of the first kingdom I conquer." He goes on to say that he has found nothing to do, that Barras promises much and does little, and that the writer is at the end of his resources and his patience. This letter was evidently written at that poverty-stricken period between 1792 and 1795, when he was idly tramping Paris streets with Junot, the lovable and generous comrade from Toulon; or with Bourrienne, now met first since their school-days at Brienne, who was to become the Emperor's patient confidential secretary. At that period Talma had fought his way to his own throne. Intimate as he had been with Mirabeau, Danton, Desmoulins, Joseph-Marie de Chénier and David, he had, also, made friends with the Corsican officer, either during these years of the letter or probably earlier. He made him free of the stage of the Théâtre Français, and lent him books. His friendship passed on to the general, the Consul, and the Emperor, and it was gossipped that he had taught Bonaparte to dress and walk and play Napoleon. Talma always denied this, avowing that the other man was, by nature and training, the greater actor!

Joseph-François Talma used to say that he first 264 heard of a theatre, from seeing and asking about the old Théâtre de l'Hôtel de Bourgogne, whose entrance was in Rue Mauconseil, opposite the place of his birth, on January 15, 1763. As he grew up he learned a good deal more about the theatre, for he went early and often. He was only fifteen when he was one of the audience in the Théâtre Français, on that night of the crowning of Voltaire, and one of the crowd that tried to unharness the horses, and drag the old man from the Tuileries to his house on the quay. By day the lad was learning dentistry, his father's profession—it was then a trade—and the two went to London to practice. For a while young Talma got experience in that specialty from the jaws of the sailor-men at Greenwich, and got gayer and more congenial experience in amateur theatricals in town. They returned to Paris, and the father's sign, "M. Talma, Dentiste," was hung by the doorway of No. 3 Rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, next to the corner of Rue Saint-Honoré. From the house that was there before the present modern structure, young Talma went across the river to the Comédie Française, on the night of November 21, 1787, and made his début as Seide in "Mahomet."

In our chapter on Molière, we left the Comédie Française, on its opening night in 1689, at the house in Rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie. There it remained for nearly a century, until forced, by overflowing houses, to find a larger hall. While this was in course of construction the company removed, in 1770, to the Salle des Machines in the Tuileries, already transformed 265 into a theatre by the Regent for his ballets. Here the troupe played until the completion of the new theatre in 1782. That new Comédie Française is now the Second Théâtre Français, the Odéon, the second largest hall in Paris. It was burned in 1799 and again in 1818. In 1789 it took the title of Théâtre National; in 1793, Théâtre de l'Égalité was the newest name forced upon the unwilling comedians, who were, as always with that profession, fond of swelldom and favorites of princes. The house being in the very centre of the Cordeliers quarter, in la Section Marat, there was always constant friction between players and audience, and by 1793 this had so exasperated the ruling powers—the sans-culottes—that nearly the whole troupe was sent to prison, charged with having insulted the Patriots on the boards, and with having given "proofs of marked incivism." The ladies of the company, aristocrats by strength of their sex, occupied cells in Sainte-Pélagie, where we have already listened to their merriment. They escaped trial through the destruction of their dossiers by a humane member of the Committee of Safety, and the 9 Thermidor set them free. Talma had already left the troupe in April, 1791, driven away, with two or three friends, by dissensions and jealousies. They went over to the new house which had been constructed, in 1789, at a corner of the Palais-Royal, by enterprising contractors with influential politicians between them. It was called at first Théâtre Français de la Rue de Richelieu, and, in 1792, Théâtre de la 266 République. On Talma's desertion of the old house, there began a legal process against him, exactly like that instituted by the same Comédie Française against M. Coquelin, a century later, when the theatre had for its lawyer the grandson of its advocate of 1792; and the decision of the two tribunals was the same in effect. Talma stayed at the theatre in the Palais-Royal, to which he drew the discerning public, and, after ten years of rivalry, the two troupes joined hands on those boards, and so the Comédie Française came to the present "House of Molière."

It would seem that Talma was a shrewd man of business, and drew money in his private rôle of landlord. He owned the house in which Mirabeau died, in Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin, and always referred to the great tribune as "mon ancien locataire, Mirabeau." Just beyond, in Rue Chantereine, Talma was attracted by the small villa built by the architect Ledoux, for Condorcet, it is said. Perhaps the actor had seen, in that street, an even more plausible actor, Giuseppe Balsamo by name, calling himself the Count Cagliostro. He had established himself in one of the villas in this street, on coming to Paris to ply his trade, toward 1784. And in 1778 the wonder-working Mesmer had set up his machinery and masqueraded as a magician in a house in the same street. Benjamin Franklin went there, one of a government commission sent to investigate the miracles.

In his new residence in Rue Chantereine, Talma welcomed his friends among the Revolutionary leaders, 267 and gave them bouillon in the kitchen, when he came home from the theatre at night. In 1795 he sold the villa to Josephine de Beauharnais, and he always said that her first payment was made to him from moneys sent to her, by her husband, from Italy. It is not known whether Talma owned, or leased, an apartment in No. 15 Quai Voltaire, where he lived from 1802 until 1806. The house, now No. 17, one of the ancient stately structures facing the quay, is somewhat narrower than its neighbors. During the ten years between 1807 and 1817 he had an apartment at No. 6 Rue de Seine; possibly in that pavilion in the court which was built by Marguerite de Valois for her residence, and which has been heightened by having two new floors slipped between the lower and top stories, leaving these latter and the façade much as she built them. His home, from 1818 to 1821, at No. 14 Rue de Rivoli, is replaced by the new structures at the western end of that street, which is entirely renumbered. After two more changes on the northern bank, he finally settled at No. 9 Rue de la Tour-des-Dames. Until 1822 there was still to be seen the tower of the windmill owned by the "Dames de Montmartre," which gave its name to this street. At its number 3, a small hôtel, circular-fronted and most coquettish, lived Mlle. Mars, it is believed, and here she was the victim of the earliest recorded theft of an actress's jewels. The simple and stately house, of a low curtain between two wings, with two stories and a mansard roof, bearing the number 9, is the 268 scene of Talma's last years and of his death, on October 19, 1826. His final appearance had been on June 11th of that year, in his marvellous personation of Charles VI. At this house we shall see Dumas visit the old actor, who had seen Voltaire! Dumas says that Talma spared nothing in his aim at accuracy, historic and archæologic, when creating a new rôle or mounting a new play. Indeed, we know that Talma was the first great realist in costume and scenery, as we know that he first brought the statues of tragedy down to human proportions and gave them life-blood. Dumas dwells especially on the voice of the great tragedian—a voice that was glorious and sincere, and in anguish was a sob.

There is a glowing portrait of Talma from the pen of Chateaubriand, in which he makes plain that the tragedian, while he was, himself, his century and ancient centuries in one, had been profoundly affected by the terrible scenes of the Terror which he had witnessed; and it was that baleful inspiration that sent the concentrated passion of patriotism leaping in torrents from his heart. "His grace—not an ordinary grace—seized one like fate. Black ambition, remorse, jealousy, sadness of soul, bodily agony, human grief, the madness sent by the gods and by adversity—that was what he knew. Just his coming on the scene, just the sound of his voice, were overpoweringly tragic. Suffering and contemplation mingled on his brow, breathed in his postures, his gestures, his walk, his motionlessness." 269

Thomas Carlyle seems strangely placed in the stalls of the Théâtre Français, yet he sat there, at the end of his twelve-days' visit to Paris in 1825. "On the night before leaving," he writes, "I found that I ought to visit one theatre, and by happy accident came upon Talma playing there. A heavy, shortish, numb-footed man, face like a warming-pan for size, and with a strange, most ponderous, yet delicate expression in the big, dull-glowing black eyes and it. Incomparably the best actor I ever saw. Play was 'Œdipe'; place the Théâtre Français."

Monogram from former entrance of the Cour du Commerce, believed to be the initials of the owner, one Girardot.