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THINGS SEEN.

1838.

TALLEYRAND.

May 19th.

In the Rue Saint-Florentin there are a palace and a sewer. The palace, which is of a rich, handsome, and gloomy style. of architecture, was long called Hôtel de l'Infantado; nowadays may be seen on the frontal of its principal door-way Hotel Talleyrand. During the forty years that he resided in this street, the last tenant of this palace never, perhaps, cast his eyes upon this sewer.

He was a strange, redoubtable, and important personage; his name was Charles Maurice de Périgord; he was of noble descent, like Machiavelli, a priest like Gondi, unfrocked like Fouché, witty like Voltaire, and lame like the devil. It might be averred that everything in him was lame like himself: the nobility which he had placed at the service of the Republic, the priesthood which he had dragged through the parade-ground, then cast into the gutter, the marriage which he had broken off through a score of exposures and a voluntary separation, the understanding which he disgraced by acts of baseness.

This man, nevertheless, had grandeur; the splendors of the two régimes were united in him: he was Prince de Vaux in the Kingdom of France, and a Prince of the French Empire. During thirty years, from the interior of his palace, from the interior of his thoughts, he had almost controlled Europe. had permitted himself to be on terms of familiarity with the

He

Revolution, and had smiled upon it: ironically, it is true, but the Revolution had not perceived this. He had come in contact with, known, observed, penetrated, influenced, set in motion, fathomed, bantered, inspired all the men of his time, all the ideas of his time, and there had been moments in his life when, holding in his hand the four or five great threads which moved the civilized universe, he had for his puppet Napoleon I., Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, Mediator of the Swiss Confederation. That is the game which was played by this man.

After the Revolution of July, the old race, of which he was the high chamberlain, having fallen, he found himself once more on his feet, and said to the people of 1830, seated barearmed upon a heap of paving - stones, "Make me your ambassador !"

He received the confession of Mirabeau and the first confidence of Thiers. He said of himself that he was a great poet, and that he had composed a trilogy in three dynasties: Act I., the Empire of Bonaparte; Act II., the House of Bourbon; Act III., the House of Orleans.

He did all this in his palace, and in this palace, like a spider in his web, he allured and caught in succession heroes, thinkers, great men, conquerors, kings, princes, emperors, Bonaparte, Sieyes, Madame de Staël, Chateaubriand, Benjamin Constant, Alexander of Russia, William of Prussia, Francis of Austria, Louis XVIII., Louis-Philippe, all the gilded and glittering flies who buzz through the history of the last forty years. All this glistening throng, fascinated by the penetrating eye of this man, passed in turn under that gloomy entrance bearing upon the architrave the inscription HOTEL TALLEYRAND.

Well, the day before yesterday, May 17, 1838, this man died. Doctors came and embalmed the body. To do this they, like the Egyptians, removed the bowels from the stomach and the brain from the skull. The work done, after having transformed the Prince de Talleyrand into a mummy, and nailed down this mummy in a coffin lined with white satin, they retired, leaving upon a table the brain-that brain which had thought so many things, inspired so many men, erected so many buildings, led two revolutions, duped twenty kings, held the

world. The doctors being gone, a servant entered; he saw what they had left: Hulloa! they have forgotten this. What was to be done with it? It occurred to him that there was a sewer in the street; he went there, and threw the brain into this sewer.

Finis rerum.

1839.

DIARY OF A PASSER-BY.

DURING THE RIOT OF THE 12TH OF MAY.

SUNDAY, May 12th.

M. DE TOGORES has just left my house. We have been talking of Spain. To my mind, geographically since the formation of the continents, historically since the conquest of the Gauls, politically since the Duke d'Anjou, Spain forms an integral part of France. Jose primero is the same fact as Felipe quinto; the idea of Louis XIV. was continued by Napoleon. We cannot, therefore, without grave imprudence, neglect Spain. In illness she weighs upon us; well and strong she supports us. It is one of our members; we cannot amputate it, it must be tended and cured. Civil war is a gangrene. Woe betide us if we let it grow worse; it will spread upon us. French blood is largely mixed with Spanish blood through Rousiilon, Navarre, and Bearn. The Pyrenees are simply a ligature, efficacious only for a time.

M. de Togores was of my opinion. It was also, he said, the opinion of his uncle, the Duke de Frias, when he was President of the Council to Queen Christina.

We also spoke of Mlle. Rachel, whom he considered mediocre as Eriphila, and whom I had not yet seen.

At three o'clock I return to my study.

My little daughter, in a state of excitement, opens my door and says, "Papa, do you know what is going on? There is fighting at the Pont Saint-Michel."

I do not believe a word of it. Fresh details. A cook in our house and a neighboring wine-shop keeper have seen the Occurrence. I ask the cook to come up. It is true; while passing along the Quai des Orfèvres he saw a throng of young

men firing musket-shots at the Prefecture of Police. A bullet struck the parapet near him. From there the assailants ran to the Place du Châtelet and to the Hôtel-de-Ville, still firing. They set out from the Morgue, which the good fellow calls the Morne.

Poor young fools! In less than twenty-four hours a large number of those who set out from there will have returned there. Firing is heard. The houses are in turmoil. Doors and casements open and shut violently. The women-servants chat and laugh at the windows. It is said that the insurrection has spread to the Porte Saint-Martin. I go out and follow the line of the boulevards. The weather is fine; there are crowds of promenaders in their Sunday dress. Drums beat to arms.

At the beginning of the Rue du Pont-aux-Choux are some groups of people looking in the direction of the Rue de l'Oseille. There are a great crowd and a great uproar close to an old fountain which can be seen from the boulevard, and which forms the angle of an open space in the old Rue du Temple. In the midst of this hubbub three or four little tricolored flags are seen to pass. Comments. It is perceived that these flags are simply the ornamentation of a little barrow in which some trifle or other is being hawked about.

At the beginning of the Rue des Filles-du-Calvaire groups of people look in the same direction. Some workmen in blouses pass near to me. I hear one of them say, "What

does that matter to me? I have neither wife, child, nor mistress."

Upon the Boulevard du Temple the cafés are closing. The Cirque Olympique is also closing. The Gaîté holds out, and will give a performance.

arms.

The crowd of promenaders becomes greater at each step. Many women and children. Three drummers of the National Guard old soldiers, with solemn mien, pass by, beating to The fountain of the Château d'Eau suddenly throws up its grand holiday streams. At the back, in the low-lying street, the great railings and door-way of the Town Hall of the 5th Arrondissement are closed one inside the other. I notice in the door little loop-holes for muskets.

Nothing at the Porte Saint-Martin, but a large crowd peacefully moving about across regiments of infantry and cavalry

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