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This type of unhappy wealth founded, however, the hospital that bears his name. Madame Lebrun herself expired of old age, without any

illness. She had reached the end of her ninetieth year, still holding her“ petits salons.” She was one of the many instances of how favourable to a prolonged life are the use of the intellectual faculties and the cultivation of an amiable and pleasant disposition. The salon of Baron Gérard dates from after the Restoration. The baron was not only an artist, he was a man of the world, a clever man, and, moreover, a proud

He never wore the numerous orders which had been conferred upon him by foreign potentates and others, except when obliged to do so on days of court attendance; it was not that he did not value at their true price that which came from others, but it was that he valued his art still more. In appearance, Gérard was very like the Emperor Napoleon. There was the same type, the fine and delicate features, yet strongly marked, and the eyes that lit up his countenance with an expression of sagacity and penetration. He was born in Italy in 1770, of a French father and an Italian mother. His disposition seemed to partake of his twofold origin, for it was very uncertain. At times he would yield himself up to confidence and delightful intimacy, and then he would as suddenly retrench himself behind ridiculous susceptibilities and absurd pretensions and exactions.

Gérard lived in a house which he had built himself in the Rue Bonaparte, nearly opposite to the church of Saint Germain des Prés. Four little rooms, so arranged that the visitor could pass round from one to another, and a small ante-chamber, constituted what our neighbours designated as “ l'appartement de réception.” Mademoiselle Godefroy, a pupil of Gérard's, made tea at midnight; an old valet handed round precisely the same cakes. Gérard talked, his wife played at whist; she troubled herself with nobody; cards were with her all and everything. Gérard was, as we have observed, a proud man; he was of humble birth, and he had in the early days of his marriage known the exigencies of extreme poverty; he had even occupied a seat as a juryman at the revolutionary tribunals. When he had become a baron, was covered with honours, and held his salons, he was still subjected to the greatest of all annoyances to the pride of a parvenu_he was persecuted by certain unwelcome acquaintances of olden times, who, as is generally the case, pushed themselves forward with the more pertinacity as their presence was the less desired. As an artist, Gérard made his début with his “Belisarius” and “ Cupid and Psyche.” It was only with the assistance of the miniature painter Isabey that he was enabled to accomplish those works. He then became a portrait painter, and between 1800 and 1810 he realised a large fortune, having been sought after by all the kings and princes of the day, till he became known as “the painter of kings, and the king of painters."

The incidents characteristic of salon life must, to judge of an example given by Madame Ancelot, have been sometimes strange enough. The Abbé de Pradt came one evening to Baron Gérard's, where he was introduced to M. de Humboldt, whom he had not met before.

Both had a great deal to say, for both thought a great deal, and had ideas upon all matters. The abbé began the conversation, and kept it up till he had the misfortune to cough a little, when his auditor took the place of orator. He

did not lose a moment; words hurried one after the other, ideas floated to the surface, and sparkles of intelligence flew from the contact.

All those who were in the salon listened religiously; it was thought that Prussia would carry the day by the ingenious sagacity of his perceptions and the length of his arguments; but he had to use his handkerchief, and the Abbé de Pradt seized the opportunity. His eloquence was most seductive, and he made the reasons for his opinions appear so conclusive, that as long as he spoke every one thought with him and like him. M. de Humboldt made ineffectual attempts to resume the thread of his discourse, but the abbé had not finished, and would not give him a chance. At length a real duo ensued ; both began to speak at the same time, without apparently being sensible

of the fact. Each got then his auditors, who listened exclusively to the one in whose favour he was biassed. On their part, the two disputants mutually understood one another. M. de Humboldt since said, laughingly, that he did not lose one of the abbé's words, and to prove the fact, he repeated all that he had said, imitating, at the same time, his voice and gestures, so that they could not be misunderstood.

Madame Ancelot speaks in terms of almost uniform praise of the gentlemen. Mérimée was clear in his expressions and sound in judgment; Eugène Delacroix as graceful and reserved in his conversation as he was impetuous as an artist; Beyle (Stendahl) excelled in vivacity, but Madame Gay, who used to come to Gérard's with her daughter, Delphine (since Madame Emile de Girardin), “spoke in a loud and disagreeable manner, uttering a great deal in praise of herself, and still more in dispraise of others."

The revolution of July, 1830, materially affected the aspect of M. Gérard's salons. Madame Ancelot insists that a Frenchman, notwithstanding his marked instinct for opposition and a permanent criticism of power, possesses to a still higher degree the passion for imitating the manners of the very power that he finds fault with, and that the veriest levelling bourgeois apes and exaggerates all the peculiarities of the reigning sovereign. The fashion of wearing the hair since the accession of Napoleon III. would seem to bear out the lady's views. Now, when Louis Philippe deemed it necessary, as a citizen-king, to introduce “ des habitudes communes,” everything in France, we are told, at once assumed a vulgar aspect, and mercantile ideas prevailed over literature and art alike. The salons partook of the same character, and nobles and gentlemen of graceful manners were, to a great extent, superseded by bearded rapins (artists) and unfledged poets. M. de Mazères, the clever author of the “ Trois Quartiers,” had married a niece of Gérard's. A prefecture took him away from the pursuit of letters, a revolution restored him to them. Thus has it been constantly in France in modern times. Revolutions also brought a number of distinguished refugees to Paris. Such were the Princess Belgiojoso, the learned Orioli, the amiable Count Pepoli, the good Marquis Ricci, and the chivalrous Count Mamiani della Rovère.

Gérard, whose salons were open for thirty long years, with, in summer time, alternate Monday receptions at his mansion at Auteuil, did not live to an old age ; he died suddenly in his sixty-seventh year, yet was he unfortunate enough to survive not only his salons but his reputation. In his latter years the romantic school-faux romantisme, Madame Ancelot calls it-triumphed in public favour over the classical school in art and in literature, and the great painter lived to hear the “Plague

at Marseilles," the “ Consecration of Charles X.,” and “ Louis XIV. naming his grandson King of Spain,” spoken of as things of a bygone age. Gérard had lived indifferent to religious subjects, but he died aroused to a sense of a future state by the poet Céconi, a zealous Roman. He spoke at his last moments of a heaven peopled with graceful angels, and which appeared to him in his agony as filled with a celestial harmony.

“ His imagination," says Madame Ancelot, “which, as an artist, had never had aught but noble aspirations, reflected in his last hour nothing but a heaven full of poetry, of marvels, and of splendours."

The evening of the first representation of Madame Ancelot's “ Marie, ou Trois Epoques," that lady was at her house, Rue de Joubert, waiting for news, when she heard a carriage drive up. She guessed her success ; it is only such that begets friends. The Duchesse d'Abrantès and the Princess Lucien Bonaparte were announced. They were soon followed by others. Gratitude for so many demonstrations of sympathy demanded a supper, although the small hours were creeping on. The duchess enjoyed it all the more. “How pleasant,” she exclaimed, “it is to talk by night; one has no dread of stupid people or of creditors !" It was the secret of her life, that she revealed in her playfulness. Grandeur and misery were at the bottom of everything in the latter years of that marvellous relic of the Empire. Her son, the Duc d'Abrantès of the time, was brought up in the same school. He would hold out a billreceipt, and say: "You see this bit of white paper, it is now worth twenty-five centimes; when I shall have affixed my name to it, it will be then worthless."

The Duchesse d'Abrantès held her salons on the ground-floor, opening upon a garden, in the Rue Rochechouart. In summer the company dispersed over the greensward: "c'etait charmant." Charming in the midst of debts and creditors ! Even strange persons, whom no one knew, and who caused surprise at their presence, were sometimes to be met in the salons of the Duchesse d'Abrantès. Yet was the wife of the ci-devant King of Portugal—Junot—of excellent and most amiable disposition; she was neither haughty nor vain, she was only thoughtless. Madame Ancelot relates one day entering a hackney-carriage in which she found a letter, directed to the duchess, full of harsh and vindictive threats on the part of a creditor. Tea was usually served up at her salons at eleven o'clock. One evening it was past midnight and there was no tea. The plate had gone to the Lombards, and it had been necessary to send to borrow teaspoons. Balzac was especially partial to the Duchesse d’Abrantès, from the passionate love he bore to Napoleon. This love was, however, in no small degree mixed up, as is not uncommonly the case, with personal vanity. Balzac actually raised up an altar at his house, Rue de Cassini, which was surmounted by a statue of Napoleon, and beneath was the following modest inscription :

What he began with the sword, I will finish with the pen. Balzac is said to have been of very uncertain temper—uncertain in all things--in politics, in literature, and even to himself. He would sometimes exaggerate his talent ; at others, doubt its existence altogether. He was skilled in exposing the secrets of human nature, but he was without principle to guide him; he had not an idea of morality, religion,

philosophy, or even patriotism. He had faith in nothing, not even in human nature, still less in a superior nature. He was in appearance what he was in mind; one day dressed in the extreme of fashion, another scarcely clean. In his prosperity he bought a walking-stick, that won renown as “Balzac's cane.” He undertook to have a new waistcoat for every day of the year, but stopped short at the thirty-first. Madame Ancelot avers that “in common with most of the writers of our epoch,” Balzac was utterly ignorant of the art of conversation. The millions which his pen were to win for him and the pressure of his existing debts, were his constant theme. Another of the frequenters of the Duchesse d'Abrantès's salons was the Marquis d’Aligre, one of the wealthiest men in Paris. Half of his income would have placed the duchess beyond the reach of her creditors, and made Balzac an independent man. One evening the marquis came in with an unusually joyous expression of countenance. The duchess asked him what was the matter.

“Oh!” he replied, “ I have just been condemning a fellow to death.”

It is true that this “fellow” was Fieschi, for whom there could be no sympathy, and who had been tried before the Chamber of Peers ; but still, as Madame Ancelot justly remarks, it was not quite the kind of subject to excite hilarity.

Another personage of the day was Count Jules de Castellane, who used to give private theatricals. Being a bachelor, there was a constant struggle among the ladies as to who should have power at his hotel. First it was the duchess, then Madame Gay, next Madame Ancelot. The latter, however, got piqued, and revenged herself by giving a oneact comedy, “ Le Château de ma Nièce," she had written for the Hôtel Castellane, to the Théâtre-Français, where it was played by Mademoiselle Mars with the greatest success.

Count Jules was somewhat like the rest of the party, rather thoughtless in worldly matters. There had one day been a rehearsal at his hotel that lasted five hours. Some of the amateurs announced that they were hungry. There was not a loaf in the hotel, but provisions were sent for to the neighbouring pâtissiers and charcutiers, and a repast extemporised that delighted all parties.

M. Bouilly, the author of several successful pieces, notoriously the “Abbé de l’Epée,” the “Deux Journées,” and “Fanchon laVielleuse,” precisely the opposite to the Marquis d’Aligre. He was in a perpetual state of sentimental sympathy, delighting only in misfortunes, and finding something afflicting in the most ordinary occurrences of life. He was most at home in the public cemeteries, where he was so much in the habit of pronouncing eulogiums upon the defunct, that the undertakers and gravediggers looked upon him as one of themselves. The chef des Pompes Funèbres said one day, after the formulated orations had been made over a distinguished person, in a tone loud enough to be heard by everybody,

"Is it possible that we are to have nothing from you to-day, M. Bouilly ?”

Another time he had to attend two funerals, one at Montmartre, the other at Père la Chaise. Arriving late at the second, he hurried up to where he saw a crowd, and at once broke forth in eloquent lamentations upon the virtues of the deceased father of a family and worthy citizen. When he had finished he looked round for applause, but saw nothing but

was

up

strange faces. He had mistaken the convoi, and pronounced his discourse over the body of a bachelor of little repute.

Englishmen, although rarely seen in the salons of Paris, were by no means excluded. A young Northumberland lord, we are told, fell in love with Mademoiselle Plessy, when she was a beautiful girl of fifteen, playing charades at the Marquise de Malarets. He proposed to marry her on condition that she should reside in the country till she was thirty, when he would introduce her to the fashionable world. The young lady preferred an earlier triumph on the boards of the Théâtre-Français. Another young lord--they are all lords—introduced by the Marquis de Custine at a soirée at Princess Czartoriska's, suddenly disappeared. When sought after, he was making preparations for his immediate departure from Paris. He could not remain there, he said, after having so far forgotten himself as to go to the princess's in his red morocco slippers, a circumstance which nobody seems to have remarked but himself. Had he not have perceived the error, red slippers might have passed into fashion as the last exportation from England.

The end of Madame d'Abrantès was sad. She had to give her pleasant house in the Rue Rochechouart for a less commodious residence in the Rue de Navarin. She borrowed from her friends till they became scarce. Finally she was forced to take refuge in a maison de santé, in the environs of Paris, where she died on a mattress. Her funeral was paid for by a commiserating royalty, and her remains were followed to the grave by Chateaubriand, « cette gloire de nos gloires littéraires,” says the legitimist Madame Ancelot, and by a host of celebrities.

Charles Nodier held salons at the Arsenal frequented by both classicists and romancists, at the time when the war between the two was at its height. The fact was, he used to laugh at both ; all he cared for was to enjoy life and receive distinguished personages. He was also devoted to the card-table, and used to play whilst his literary guests were extolling one another in a slang (argot) only understood by themselves.

When Hugo, with head bent forward, and gloomy, thoughtful aspect, used to repeat, with a voice powerful in its monotony, an ode just penned, could those words Admirable!” “Superb!". " Prodigious !" that were used in his presence, be applied to anything mediocre ?

Impossible!

Then there would be a deep silence that would last a few moments; till some one present would get up, approach the poet with visible emotion, take his hand, and raise up his eyes to heaven.

The crowd listened.

Only one word then made itself heard, to the great surprise of the uninitiated, and that word resounded in all the corners of the salon; it was :

6 Cathedral !"
Then the orator returned to his seat. Another rose up and exclaimed:
"Ogive !"
A third, after having looked around him, hazarded:
"Pyramid of Egypt!”

And then the assembly applauded and repeated altogether the sacramental words.

Charles Nodier has earned an unenviable celebrity for “mistakes” in his writings. The word is a mild one. Thus he relates in one of his

&C

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