« AnteriorContinuar »
pig-tailed perukes. These personages, Jules de Goncourt's correspondence, his however, not sufficing to gain the required intellect took an extraordinary turn ; he income, he took to engraving.
would discourse on scholastic philosophy, In 1830 he is described by Gautier as and Louis Veuillot, by no means with dishaving been a charming young man with approval. It seemed to be the only train curly hair, and "as particular as an Eng- of thought on which his mind could dwell Jishman” about his dress, for he was be- with interest, if not with belief. ginning to earn enough to satisfy his fan. He lived until November 1866, in a sad tasies of costume ; and in 1832 he was in strange old age which bis remaining son full swing, and published his “Physiog- Pierre seemed unable to brighten ; the last nomies de la Population de Paris ;" the time he was seen by the De Goncourts he people, the soldiers, the children, the fish- was "maihematiquant” in the middle of wives, the policemen, the Parisiennes, a heap of books. He left behind him ten grandes dames and bourgeoises, indoor and thousand drawings, the manifold pieces out, in curl-papers and in ball dresses, of the Euvre, by which he had delighted yawning, Jaughing, asleep, awake, the France for nearly half a century ; but he bourgeois gentilshommes, and the gentils- had outlived his popularity, and was sinhommes bourgeois, the vagabonds making cerely mourned by none sare the two oratorical poses in the police court, etc. young littérateurs to whom he had proved Gavarni seized them all, and his fame so good a friend. spread far and wide.
It was Gavarni who with Sainte-Beuve In 1847 he came to London, where he inaugurated the diners Magny. Ilere, seems to bave been quite anxiously expect- twice a month, a group of literary men, ed. At that time our social links with comprising, as time went on, all ihe De Paris were very close. But in England Goncourts' familiars, met and dined " à he did not get on very well ; thongh he la bonne franquette,” discussing freely was most intelligently interested in Lon- one another and those outside the charmed don. He snubbed Thackeray, who came circle, little knowing or recking that they full of zeal to invite bim to dinner ; he were making future copy, or at least actually missed, without any excuse, an furnishing materials for the most curious appointment to sketch the Queen, who in memoirs ever published in France, if we common with Prince Albert had the high- except some of the inediæval journals and est admiration for bis genius ; he was fur- diaries, which, after all, though equally ther-horrid thought said to have de. frank, were not published during the lifeclared that an English lady in full dress time of their authors, or at least of those was like a Cathedral ; and finally he went mentioned in their pages with praise or off at a tangent on scientific notions, and, blame. although the most sober of men, took what Lightly posed, and yet sketched with the De Goncourts whimsica!ly call “ le gin no uncertain band, the band of pen and du pays,” to stimulate his researches into women who built up and “invented," to the higher mathematics ! It was high translate an expressive French idiom, what time for him to get back to France, after will go down as modern French literature, an absence of something like two years,
pass before us.
Flaubert, who spent four during which time the Orleans monarchy years in writing one short novel, and that had been replaced by the Republic and novel “ Salammbo ;" and who in the inthe Prince President. It was at the end tervals of hard silent work would sit on a of 1851 that the two young De Goncourts divan, his feet crossed Turkish fashion, first saw Gavarni and found him deep in confiding to all and any who would listen water.color painting and Cartesian Philoso- the plot and incidents of a study of modphy. lle took to them with great kind- ern Eastern life-destined neser to be even ness, told them of all his adventures, and begun by bim-or again throwing aside initiated them into all bis theories and the eternal cigarette, from whose curling ideals, apparently believing in nothing but spiral of smoke he pretended to evolve the mathematics, essaying in vain to wring strange fantasies which lent to his conout the answer of the universe from wbat versation such curious charm, in order to he called “the music of numbers." In dance a grotesque pas seul, dubbed by its fact, after the death of his favorite son, originator “l'Idiot des Salons," and apthe little Jean constantly referred to in parently intended to be taken as a mon
strous parody of the respectable bourgeois white hair.
white hair . . . and his eyes bave borsinugness which the author of “Madame rowed some of the soft bright blue of the Bovary" and his colleagues so abhorred. sky. ... Touched perhaps by our
We catch glimpses of a young strug. greeting, he begins to talk of Russian gling Zola at Magny's, where his undoubt. literature, which he declares to be drifting ed genius and strange power seeins to have toward realism, both as regards fiction and been an accepted fact long before his work the Theatre. lle tells us that the Russians had even acquired the notoriety which in are great readers of reviews, and seems France so often precedes fame. In those ashamed of owning that he and some ten days the Apostle of Realism was a sallow others are actually paid 600 fr. the page. wiry jeune, writing newspaper articles to On the other hand, a book only brings in keep body and soul together, while elabo- about 4000 fr. ;'' and he goes on to say rating the finest novels of the Rougon that there is but one foreign writer popu. Macquart scries. But the chief of the lar in Russia, and that is—Dickens. How party was Théophile Gautier, the most the world has changed ! powerful and self-assertive of them all, Neither of the brothers ever became innever so happy apparently as when en- timate with George Sand, though she had gaged in loud discussion with Sainte-Beuve a sincere admiration for their work. In: or Taine on the inerits or demerits of their troduced to this famous lady confrère by respective gods, Balzac, Homer, and Ra the engraver Manceau, their first imprescinc, yet devoted to the two preity young sion was curiously unpleasant. danghtets who kept house for bim in the “A seated shadow, who remains apsonbre ill-furnished house at Neuilly. parently unconscious of our presence and There the “Sultan de l’Epithète,” as salutations. ... Madame Sand has an ausome one happily designated him, spent tomatic air, she speaks in a monotonous and his idle hours. His work he did in the mechanical voice which is never raised or offices of the Moniteur, seeming only able lowered in tone. . . Manceau, who to write under the impulsion of knowing apparently considered the authoress of that a printer's devil lay in wait round " La Mare au Diable" a kind of show, every corner, and seeing, as he wrote, which perhaps explained her attitude, inthe “ copy" come back in proof line by forms the De Goncourts that her powers of line, for in no other fashion would or did work are prodigious, and that nothing the great critic erer produce his articles. disturbs her. Yes,” says Madame
One fine day, early in the sixties, the Sand, “ there is nothing praiseworthy in brothers received a card inviting them to that, for writing has always been very easy assist at a "petite fête de famille,” to to me. take place in Malle. Gautier's own rooms, And later on comes an account of a visit There they find some thirty guests assem- to Nobant, given by Gautier at one of the bled in front of a miniature stage, of which Magny dinners, and which gives a curious the youthful Puvis de Chavannes, to-day side-light on George Sand's home life. President of the Second Salon, has been “The food was good, but we had 100 the zealous scene-painter. The piece much game and poultıy, also Madame played is entitled " Pierrot Posthume," Calamatta and Alexander Dumas fils. ... in France an ever-new theme. Judith, Lunch is at ten o'clock. . . . Madame the eldest of the three children, and with Sand walks in, looking like the Somnameven then a strange delight in Oriental bula, and remains sleepy through the whole lore, looks graceful as Esmeralda ; Estelle meal . . . then we went into the garden, is a dainty Harlequin ; their brother a and this woke her up somewhat. We had somewhat solemn Pierrot - perhaps a some general conversation about the way thought too posthume, some friend re- in which certain words should be promarks—and Théophile Gautier himself nounced—ailleurs and meilleur, for inmarvellously plays Pantaloon, the young- stance. Not a word touching on est, inerriest, wittiest of them all, and the relation of the sexes ; you would throwing himself with abundant zeal into probably be shown the door if you dared the fun.
to allude to such a thing. . . . At three One evening, Tourguenieff is welcomed, o'clock Madame Sand sets to her 'copy' an honored guest, by the Magny diners, again till six. Dinner is hurried through
“He looks like a gentle giant with his in order to give Marie Caillot time to dine
-she is the maid-servant, a petite Fadette led the Comédie to reconsider its deciadopted by Mme. Sand... After din. sion, “ Henriette Maréchal” was put into ner Mme. Sand plays ‘patience' till mid- rehearsal, with the best actors and acnight without saying a word. . . . Well, tresses of the day in the principal rôles, after a day or two I could stand it no and MM. de Goncourt had notbing left longer, and so suddenly declared that but to express their gratitude to their Rousseau had been the worst writer the energetic and all-powerful friend at Couit. world had known, and this produced a But it had gone forth in the Student's discussion which lasted till one o'clock in quarter that a dull ill-constructed play was the morning.”
going to be played at the National TheaCertainly her malicious confrère knew tre, in order to please a Princess ; the how to avenge the dull hours George Sand Quartier Latin descended on the Palais had made him spend in, her beloved No. Royal with whistles, rattles, and, what was hant, and yet at that time ('62) the more to the purpose, some fifty strong “ Marquis de Villemer” was still unwrit- young voices determined to howl down ten, proving what a latent power there the official play. The ringleader, a young must have been in this quiet somnolent gentleman known as Pipe en bois, wrote a
witty epistle to the authors of the piece, Through all these curious volumes, full which somehow got into all the anti-gov. of a painful disillusionment which intensi. ernmental organs, and practically obliged fies as time goes on, stripping bare first the Director of the Comédie Française io both brothers and then the remaining one, withdraw “ Henriette Maréchal.” This, of the natural affections and beliefs com- after Got, Delaunay, Mme. Arnould Dumon to us all, one gracious and charming plesis, etc., had five times tried in vain to personality flits to and fro, ever bringing make the public at least hear their play, an element of brightness and cheery kind- which was spoken of with admiration and ness into the lives of all those around. even enthusiasm by the leading critics of The Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, to the day, including two such different inen whom constant references are made in the as Jules Janin and Gautier. “Journal des Goncourt,
seems to have
Some twenty years later the same pubplayed the part of fairy godmother to lic, grown presumably older and wiser French men of letters during the Third under the beneficent influence of the ReEmpire ; indeed it was admittedly due to public, applauded “ Henriette Maréchal’' her influence that such men as Flaubert, to the echo ; but only one of the two Gautier, the De Goncomits, not to men- authors was present to enjoy the triumph, tion Sainte-Beuve, threw what influence and receive the congratulations of friends they possessed all on the side of what was and critics, Such are the ironies of fate ; then Law and Order.
for it is recognized that Jules de Goncourt On one occasion, however, Princess bad given some of his best thought to this Mathilde's friendship did the brothers an comedy, if it can be so styled, containing evil turn. “ Henriette Maréchal,” a as it does the mot profond which sums up strangely unequal play, but one which what the whole of modern literature from undoubtedly foreshadowed the modern Balzac downward is always trying to exdramatic school, and brought out, as none press. In “ Henriette Maréchal,” the of their previous work had done, the rare hero, Paul de Breville, says : “Çà finit powers of modern psychological observa- donc l'amour, Louise ?”' but no answer is tion possessed by the two authors, was vouchsafed to the question. blackballed by the Comédie Française ; Even before Jules's death there had ostensibly on account of the subject-cer- been question of what one must call, for tainly a singularly unpleasant onc—but want of a better name, an Académie de more probably because with Emile Au- Goncourt. The brothers ever retained a gier, Duinas fils, and Octave Feuillet, to vivid remembrance of their own early say nothing of De Musset, the Théâtre struggles, and of those of their friends Française was rather suffering from em- who, even more unfortunate than thembarras de richesses, and had no desire for selves, saw themselves absolutely obliged eccentric and startling additions to its to “potboil,” if I may be pardoned the repertoire.
phrase, in order to live while masterpieces Suddenly a message from the Emperor slumbered in their brains. It was with
the generous hope of helping forward say nothing of the quaint, ill-spelled auto-
Neufchateau, and had within it divers
One of the finest collections of Japanese marriage that M. de Goncourt attributes art in the world is contained in the Auteuil the collecting passion which grew with his villa where M. Edmond de Goncourt now growth. This lady lived at Croissy, in lives in solitude, and the walls of this the neighborhood of Paris, and Madame maison d'artiste are covered with exquisite de Goncourt sometimes spent the summer eighteenth-century miniatures, drawings with her and a third relative, a sort of and pastels signed Fragonard, Boucher, domestic colony very common in France. Watteau, and rare Beauvais tapestries, to They would set out on the Sunday after
noons when the little Edmond came home father-in-law the Duc de Pentbievre, I from school, and find their way down the take this account of an inlaid casket, Boulevard Beaumarchais to the Faubourg made of foreign woods, such as they loved St. Antoine, and so to certain vendors of a century ago. curiosities. Tbis was about 1836, and “ It is the casket where my grandthe three ladies are daintily described in mother, elegant in her tastes, kept her their thin muslin gowns, and prunella best Indian cashmeres ; for she had so shoes with curved sandals tied round the many, that I remember at the time of her ankle, "a charming trio. ' Ma tante," death
death my childish astonishment at hearing says M. de Goncourt, was at that time the dealers who came to the sale speak of one of the four or five persons in Paris it as the sale of the Indian lady.' At who loved the old things of a former this date all that remains in the casket betime ; Venetian glass, sculptured ivories, longing to its original owner is a curious inlaid furniture, Genoese velvets, Point account book of the time of the Direcd'Alençon and Porcelaines de Saxe. The toire, at the moment of the depreciation ladies would find the dealer putting up of the paper money—the Assignats—durhis shutters previous to going out to dine ing months when a turkey cost 600 francs. in some tavern at Vincennes, but they This account-book is in the midst of a would generally pick up some precious pile of literary agreements, shares and trifle that was given to Edmond to carry, bonds, paid bills for works of art, family who watched his own feet with careful papers, all the mass of serious archives zeal lest he should trip, while his aunt belonging to the living man, mingled with would look smilingly back with an 'Ed- the relics which he keeps of those who are mond, take care not to break it.'
no more ; where my fingers touch, now " It is certainly these old Sundays which my father's · Croix d'Officier,' now my made the bibeloteur which I have been, mother's wedding-ring, or a fair-haired which I am, and shall be all my life long." curl of my little sister Lili, who died of These
pages recall the house of Victor cholera in 1832—died upon our knees in Hugo at Guernsey, Hauteville House, a compartment of a diligence, while we which was decorated to such an extraor- were in agonizing uncertainty whether to dinary degree with old tapestry, sculptured alight in one of the passing villages, or to oak and Japanese treasures, that it seemed hurry on for help to the next great town.” to detract a little from the value of the The great charm of the “ Maison d'Ardwelling as an exponent of the life of the tiste” consists in the little interspersed man. A perfect furnished house is surely memories of family life which cling to the growth of years.
some unbought relic of the De Goncourt From a charming description of a bed- family-memories in which the essenroom entirely furnished with relics of the tially delicate and kindly nature of the eighteenth century, of which the bed is writer dignifies each reniniscence of the said to have been that of the unfortunate past, and makes every reader feel in him a Princess de Lamballe, when visiting her friend.-Murray's Magazine.
THE GRINDSTONE THEORY OF THE MILKY WAY.
BY J. ELLARD GORE.
The original conception of the “ grind- nomena of the Visible Creation ; and parstone'' or “ disc theory” of the Milky ticularly The Via Lactea. Compris'd in Way, although usually attributed to Sir Nine Familiar Letters from the Author to William Herschel
, is certainly due to his Friend.” This work is very rare. Thomas Wright of Durham, who first Even the great library of the Ponlkova published the theory in the year 1750 in Observatory, Russia, does not possess a a work entitled “ An Original Theory or copy, and it appears from the writings of New Hypothesis of the Universe, founded Kant, Struve, and Arago that neither of upon the Laws of Nature, and solving by them had seen an original copy of Wright's Mathematical Principles the General Phw. work. On the title-page of the copy be