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longer for what is now coming is anything but jolly. Indeed, I am hesitating about going on, and whether I ought not to break off here, under the pretext of seeing the festal procession of the carnival ox, which on this day has attracted the whole of Paris to the boulevards. But, as everybody thinks that it is not worth the while to run after the bœuf gras, the evasion would not hold water for a moment.

Be it so; I will take my courage in both hands and tell the whole sad story.


Au violon! as the Frenchman says-or, in other words, locked up. Saville was the only one of us who retained his good humour. He wore, as before, his false nose, in order to retain his incognito, and hoped for a speedy release. Jones had grown extremely despondent, and made no answer when Saville shouted to him:


"Now you have the desired adventure, and can no longer complain about no notice being taken of you. You are, bel et bien, locked up."


"Don't let us have any bad jokes," the doctor answered; we must send some one to the embassy, and try to get out as soon as possible."

But how had we contrived to get into the violon, after our excellent dinner at the Petit Ramponneau and the hearty leave-taking from honest Krautheimer?

"Speaking accurately, it was your fault," I said, turning to Jones; "if you had not had the unlucky idea of going into the Poule Noire to try your luck at the roulette-table, nothing of this sort would have occurred."

"Abuse me hereafter as much as you please," the doctor angrily interrupted me, "but now reflect on some way of getting out of this confounded place as soon as possible."

"The greatest men, after all, have been imprisoned," Saville began, pathetically, though he still wore the false nose. "I will not allude to Columbus and Galileo, or to Louis XVI., but just think of Thiers and Cavaignac at the time of the coup d'état, and they, too, were confined in Mazas. We are only in the violon of St. Lazare, and hence far better off."

"Saint Lazare!" I suddenly exclaimed, and a glance of hope flashed across my mind. "Why, Saint Lazare belongs to the Faubourg St. Denis, and I am very well acquainted with the police commissary of the quarter. I even did him a service once (by translating an English document), and he is in my debt. Give me pen and paper at once; we are


But where to get pen and paper? The sentry (Jones persisted in calling him the gaoler), who walked up and down outside, and whom we asked for the articles through the small grating in the door, replied to all our applications with the stereotyped phrase, "Attendez jusqu'à

demain matin."

"I have a pencil!" Jones exclaimed.

"All right," I cried; "in that case we are saved."

I took off my shirt-collar, which, as the reader will remember, was made of paper, smoothed the creases, and folded it as well as I could into a note. Then I wrote: "Monsieur Chevalier, on m'a arrêté avec

C'est une erreur.

Venez nous délivrer, je vous priè, et

deux amis.
venez vîte!"—and added my name.

Just as I had finished, we heard the lieutenant giving some orders outside. I took advantage of the opportunity, and handed him my paper, with the words, "Pour M. le Commissaire." The word commissaire is a magical one in the whole police world of Paris-a thorough Open, sesame! The lieutenant at once sent off an orderly with my note. He seemed himself to see that there was some mistake, and treated us with a certain amount of indulgence. At least, we came to this conclusion from the fact that he confined other prisoners brought in after us in a separate cell. Thus we had only two Pierrots with us, who had been there before our arrival-two young fellows, whose sole crime consisted in having drunk a little too much, for they had been picked up in the street; ramassé, as the French say. They were lying on a bench and snoring, and if they could legitimate themselves on the next morning, they would be dismissed with a caution, after paying a fine of two francs fifty centimes. The police of Paris are so indulgent and humane! In the next cell, however, the delinquents were making a frightful din. Judging from the row, they must have been very numerous; but then, we must remember, it was only two days from Ash Wednesday. The number of persons arrested daily at this season is estimated at thirteen hundred, as Monsieur Chevalier afterwards assured us. What reason, then, had we for complaining?

Let us take advantage of the time which must elapse before the commissary's answer arrives to give the reader the requisite explanation. I can do it in a very few words, and it will at once be seen that we were "perfectly innocent," as everybody who is taken up says.

At the Elysée Montmartre there was a merry, mixed party, plenty of masks, no better or worse than elsewhere; and here Jones had the misfortune not to attract attention. Master Saville, with his false nose (we had also put on ours), soon engaged a little grisette, and joined in a quadrille.

A slight remark is necessary here, so that my friend may not be condemned as a mauvais sujet. The grisettes of the Barriers are more respectable (this comparative is certainly rather suspicious) than those of the Quartier Latin; for the latter are frivolous, reckless girls, most of whom have come from the provinces to make their fortune in Paris, and usually die miserably in the hospital or elsewhere at the end of a few years. "Plaignons et passons," says Méry. The grisettes of the Barriers, on the other hand, are daughters of the citizens of the quarter, who certainly attend balls, for the women of Paris want amusement as much as the men, but never without their parents. These grisettes, as a rule, have their "prétendu," or, if the consent of father and mother has been obtained, and a real betrothal has taken place, their "futur," who, after the French fashion, is allowed to take a great many liberties; but an eventual marriage makes all right again, et il n'y a plus rien à dire. In order to obtain his partner's hand, Saville had been obliged to request her lover's permission.

Altogether, it was quite respectable at this Barrier ball. The wild Pierrots, Chicards, and Pochards, male and female, carried on their games chiefly in the galleries and side-rooms, which rendered the great hall more

accessible. Of course it was not a court ball, and we could not, even with the most luxuriant fancy, imagine ourselves at the Hôtel Castellane; but it was far from being the very lowest sort. Indeed, the Salle Barthélémy in many respects stands beneath the Elysée.

At this moment the doctor must have the unfortunate idea of setting out in search of further adventures. Destiny unrelaxingly drove us along dark paths, which, though lighted with gas, were in other respects perilous and full of ruin.

Opposite the Elysée is situated the Poule Noire, a well-known inn of evil reputation. Marchand de vins, restaurant, café, all in one; but in reality a slum. I might call it a gambling hell, if the term did not sound too terribly.

"We need not play," said Jones; "we will only look on. Besides, who knows us? We have our noses."

And so we went in.

Looking out on the street the establishment is in no way different from other coffee-houses. You order something here, and then retire to the back of the house. A dark passage leads into a yard, and thence you reach the gambling-room. Roulette was being played, and for money, as at a real bank; but the banker was surrounded by cigar-cases, portemonnaies, &c., as if they were only playing for such articles, which is allowed. They, however, simply staked their money, and received their winnings in money. Five-and-twenty to thirty persons were standing round the roulette-table; among them were a few dominos and masks, but the rest were workmen, like ourselves. All punted generally with two and five-franc pieces, though here and there a gold coin was produced. Judging from the white clean hands of some of the gamblers, they did not belong to the working classes; but were our hands, without the white cotton gloves, less suspicious?

All at once there was a quarrel between a couple of players and the ⚫ banker, who had won extraordinarily in the last few rounds. It was a difficult point to decide whether he had cheated. The players asserted that the roulette-board hung crooked, and that thus the high numbers won more frequently than the low ones, and, in addition, they had on several occasions received bad money from the bank. There was an immense amount of yelling; heads became hot; a couple of blows were dealt, at first upon the table, but they soon strayed elsewhere. The banker collected his money, leaped up and tried to bolt. Several of the other players now interfered; the banker was seized; sundry chairs assumed a rotatory movement; the cleverest of the party slipped away; suddenly a shrill cry of "La police!" was raised, and all dispersed. We, too, hurried to the door, and right into the arms of the sergeants. de la loi!" was shouted, and we were collared. Saville hurled back his assailant, and thus rendered the affair worse than before. Jones struggled quite as fiercely, and demonstrated that we had got in here by accident; that we had not been playing, but merely looking on, &c. The police did not listen to him, but answered simply, "Suivez nous, messieurs, vous raconterez tout cela au commissaire.' What could we do?

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"Let us put up with the worst," I said to my comrades, in English ; "they cannot make a hanging matter of it."

Resistance would have been simply ridiculous. We therefore surrendered, and followed the sergeants with hanging heads. Outside a patrol took charge of us. It was luckily dark, so that no one saw us; besides, it would have been impossible to recognise us in our disguise.

"No matter," said Saville; "I should not like to go along the Boulevard des Italiens in this state. Doctor," he cried to the third of our party, "what do you say? Are you at length satisfied with your adventure?"

In this manner we arrived at the violon de St. Lazare: the banker and three or four other gamblers who had accompanied us at the outset eventually took another route with their escort, probably to St. Laurent, the chief depôt of the quarter. The corporal appeared to make an exception with us, but we were locked up like the rest, and if I had not made the fortunate discovery of my friendly commissary, we should have remained under lock and key till the next morning, when we would have been examined, signed a protocol, given our names and addresses, paid five or six francs (only drunkards get off for two francs fifty centimes), and would then have been at length restored to liberty, to the civilised world, to the state! Fearful-fearful!

At this moment there was a noise outside, the door of our cell was opened, and the commissary walked in. He had a great difficulty in suppressing his laughter. The hour for our release had arrived. Monsieur le Commissaire is, as I stated, the most respected person in all guardrooms and violons, almost as big as a general or minister: he is omnipotent; that is to say, he can do what he likes.

Excellent M. Chevalier had returned home late (thanks to the Queen of Sheba) from the Opera, and was just going to bed when my collarnote reached him. He put on his paletot again, begirded himself with the tricolor scarf-for he must necessarily appear as a magistrate-and came in person to liberate us.

"C'est un mal-entendu," he said to the officer, who was standing re- • spectfully before him with drawn sword, "je connais ces messieurs, vous les laisserez partir tout de suite." The officer bowed, and we were free.

"I attach one condition, however," M. Chevalier added, turning to me, "to your liberation, and that is, that you will breakfast with me tomorrow in the precise garb you are now wearing, for I should like to give my wife an amusement. I will not listen to any objections," he added, quickly, on seeing that I was about to make a remark. "You have the choice: you will either remain in prison, or breakfast with me to-morrow as ouvriers."

"I will breakfast with you a dozen times, my dear Mr. Commissary," Jones hastily exclaimed, "and in any costume you like, so long as you get me out of here."

"Besides, we have two days more of carnival," the commissary remarked, sportively," and hence you run no risk.”

"I think we had better take a fiacre," Saville said, when we were out in the street, "for a burnt child dreads the fire."



THE year of the "exposition universelle" almost exhausted the vital forces of the Opera. There had been five performances a week. Cruvelli's engagement was at an end, the spirit of song was absent in the person of Roger, the ballet perished with Rosati; there only remained Gueymard, Bonnehée, Obin, and Belval, and the singers and dancers who constituted the usual masculine and feminine resources of the theatre. It was at this epoch that M. Alphonse Royer was called to the direction, and began a new season with "Guillaume Tell," in four acts, and complete.

When Madame Lauters obtained an engagement at the Opera, she addressed herself to Duval, an upholsterer in renown, to furnish an apartment for her. Madame demanded ebony and satin; the upholsterer advocated mahogany and chintz. Matters were still in abeyance when the first representation of "La Trouvère" came on. Before the first act was concluded, Duval whispered behind the scenes, "Ebony and satin; you shall have them." "Wait a little," replied Madame Lauters. "Rosewood and damask," exclaimed Duval, at the end of the second act. "Wait a little longer," persevered the artist; and when at the conclusion she was called for by the unanimous voice of a crowded house, "Meuble de Boule, brocart antique, anything you like," was heard over and above the clamour of congratulations, from the delighted up


"Herculanum" was the most successful opera produced during the Royer administration, yet it had many difficulties to contend with, having been a long time put off, and, when acted, often suspended on account of illness. Nothing, however, equalled the scandal on the occasion of the production of "Tannhauser." It only went through three representations; there was a predetermination to put down the German composer, whose want of modesty created him many enemies.

"Billets de faveur" are in great demand at the Opera. Some people pay a high price in order to appear to have free admission. Requests for such are often addressed to the artists themselves, and that not always in a very complimentary vein. "I return you the stall you were kind enough to send me," wrote a friend to Roger the night he was singing "La Favorite." "I will ask you for it some night when G. is in the part." All directors have their intimate friends, who speak of the administration as "us" or "we." "We do so and so," is always on their lips. A director once sent a box to a statesman whom he wished to conciliate. The latter returned the order with thanks. He could always obtain one, he said, from M. de L. Now, M. de L. was the director's friend, and got his orders through him. Every order given is so much freedom gone. You have no longer any right to refuse to-day what you granted yesterday, and you will be told so every day of your administration; or, "I don't see why you should not do for me what you do for so and so;" or, again, "If you do not send me an order, I shall know

*Sept Ans à l'Opéra. Souvenirs Anecdotiques d'un Secrétaire particulier. Par Nérée-Desarbres.

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