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Paris Revisited by By Henry James


THE GALAXY.

VOL. XXV.—-JANUARY, 1878.—-No. 1.

 

October, 1877.

IT is hard to say exactly what is the profit of comparing one race with another, and weighing against each other the manners and customs of neighbouring countries; but it is certain that as we move about the world, we constantly catch ourselves doing so. This is especially the case if we are in the least infected with the baleful spirit of cosmopolitanism—-that uncomfortable consequence of seeing many lands and feeling at home in none. To be a cosmopolite is not, I think, an ideal; the ideal should be to be a good, positive, contented, cooperative citizen of that political sub-division in which one's eyes have opened upon the light. Being a cosmopolite is an accident, but one must make the best of it. If you have lived about, as the phrase is, you have lost that sense of the absoluteness and the sanctity of the habits of your fellow townsfolk which once made you so happy in the midst of them. You have seen that there are a great many towns in the world, and that each of these is filled with excellent people for whom the local idiosyncrasies are the only thing that is not provincial. There comes a time when one set of customs, wherever it may be found, grows to seem to you about as provincial as another; and then I suppose it may be said of you that you have become a cosmopolite. You have formed the habit of comparing, of looking for points of difference and of resemblance, for present and absent advantages, for the virtues that go with certain defects, and the defects that go with certain virtues. If this is poor work compared with the active practice, in the sphere to which a discriminating Providence has assigned you, of the duties of a tax-payer, an elector, a juryman, or a diner-out, there is nevertheless something to be said for it. It is good to think well of mankind, and this, on the whole, a cosmopolite does. If you limit your generalizations to the sphere I mentioned just now, there is a danger that your occasional fits of pessimism may be too sweeping. When you are out of humour the whole towns suffers, because at such moments one is never discriminating, and it costs you very little bad logic to lump your fellow citizens together. But if you are living about, as I say, certain differences impose themselves. The worst you can say of the human race is, for instance, that the English are a detestable people. They do not, represent the human race for you, as in your native town your fellow citizens do, and your unflattering judgment has a flattering reverse. If the English are detestable, you are mentally saying, there are those admirable French, or those charming Americans, or those interesting Germans. (Of course it is simply by accident that I couple the English name here with the unfavourable adjective. The epithets may be transposed at will.) Nothing can well be more different from anything else than the English from the French, so that, if you are acquainted with both nations, it may be said that on any special point your agreeable impression of the one implies a censorious attitude toward the other, and vice versa. This has a rather shocking sound; it makes the cosmopolite appear invidious and narrow-minded. But I hasten to add that there seems no real reason for even the most delicate conscience taking alarm. The upshot of cosmopolitanism is, I think, to initiate you into the merits of all peoples; to convince you that national virtues are numerous, though they may be very different, and to make downright preference really very hard. I have, for instance, every disposition to think better of the English race than of any other except my own. There are things which make it natural I should; there are inducements, provocations, temptations, almost bribes. There have been moments when I have almost burned my ships behind me, and declared that, as it simplified matters greatly to pin one's faith to a chosen people, I would henceforth cease to trouble my head about the lights and shades of the foreign character. I am convinced that if I had taken this reckless engagement, I should greatly have regretted it. You may find a room very comfortable to sit in with the door open, and not like it at all when the door has been shut. If one were to give up the privilege of comparing the English with other people, tone would very soon, in a moment of reaction, make once for all (and most unjustly) such a comparison as would leave the English nowhere. Compare then, I say, as often as the occasion presents itself. The result as regards any particular people, and as regards the human race at large, may be pronounced agreeable, and the process is both instructive and entertaining.

So the author of these observations finds it on returning to Paris after living for upward of a year in London. He finds himself comparing, and the results of comparison are several disjointed reflections, of which it may be profitable to make a note. Certainly Paris is a very old story, and London is a still older one; and there is no great reason why a journey across the channel and back should quicken ones perspicuity to an unprecedented degree. I therefore will not pretend to have been looking at Paris with new eyes, or to have gathered on the banks of the Seine a harvest of extraordinary impressions. I will only pretend that a good many old impressions have recovered their freshness, and that there is a sort of renovated entertainment in looking at the most brilliant city in the world with eyes attuned to shadier places. Never, in fact, have those qualities of brightness and gayety that are the uncontestable appendage of the city by the Seine seemed to me more uncontentable. The autumn is but half over, and Paris is, in common parlance, empty. The private houses are closed, the fine people are absent, the Champs Elysées have no smart carriages. But I have never seen Paris more Parisian, in the pleasantest sense of the word: better humoured, more open-windowed, more naturally entertaining. Beautiful golden autumn weather helps the case; but doubtless the matter is, as I hinted above, in a large degree “subjective.” For when one comes to the point there is nothing very particular just now for Paris to rub her hands about. The Exhibition of 1878 is looming up as large as a mighty mass of buildings on the Trocadero can make it. These buildings are very magnificent and picturesque; they hang over the Seine, in their sudden immensity and fantastic whiteness, like a palace in a fairy tale. But the trouble is that most people appear to regard the Exhibition as in fact a fairy tale. They speak of the wonderful structures on the Champ de Mars and the Trocadero as a predestined monument to the folly of a group of gentlemen destitute of a sense of the opportune. The moment certainly does not seem very well chosen for inviting the world to come to Paris to amuse itself. The world is too much occupied with graver cares—-with reciprocal cannonading and from chopping, with cutting of throats and burning of homes, with murder of infants and mutilation of mothers, with warding off famine and civil war, with lamenting the failure of it's resources, the dullness of trade, and the emptiness of it's pockets. Rome is burning altogether too fast for even it's most irresponsible spirits to find any great satisfaction in fiddling. But even if there is (as there very well may be) a certain scepticism at headquarters as to the accomplishment of this graceful design, there is no apparent hesitation, and everything is going forward as rapidly as if mankind were breathless with expectation. That familiar figure, the Paris ouvrier, with his white chalky blouse, his attenuated person, and his clever face, is more familiar than ever, and I suppose, finding plenty of work to his hand, is for the time in a comparatively rational state of mind. He swarms in thousands, not only in the region of the Exhibition, but along the great thoroughfare—-the Avenue de l'Opera—-which has just been opened in the interior of Paris.

This is an extremely Parisian creation, and as it is really a great convenience—-it will save a great many steps and twists and turns—-I suppose it should be spoken of with gratitude and admiration, But I confess that to my sense it belongs primarily to that order of benefits which during the twenty years of the empire gradually deprived the streets of Paris of nine-tenths of their ancient individuality. The deadly monotony of the Paris that M. Haussmann called into being—-it's huge, blank, pompous, featureless sameness—-sometimes comes over the wandering stranger with a force that leads him to devote the author of these miles of architectural commonplace to execration. The new street is quite on the imperial system; it must make the late Napoleon III. smile with beatific satisfaction as he looks down upon it from an aristocratic corner of Paradise. It stretches straight away the pompous façade of the Opera to the doors of the Théâtre Français, and it must be admitted that there is something fine in the vista that is closed at one end by the great sculptured and gilded mass of the former building. But it smells of the modern asphalt; it is lined with great white houses that are adorned with machine-made arabesques, and each of which is so exact a copy of all the rest, that even the little white porcelain number on a blue ground, which looks exactly like all the other numbers, hardly constitutes an identity. Presently there will be a long succession of milliners' and chocolate-makers' shops in the basements of this harmonious row, and the pretty bonnets and bonbonnières in the shining windows will have their ribbons knotted with a chic that you must come to Paris to see. Then there will be little glazed sentry-boxes at regular intervals along the kerbstone, in which churlish old women will sit selling half a dozen copies of each of the newspapers, and over the neatly swept floor of asphalt the young Parisian of our day will constantly circulate, looking rather pallid, and wearing very large shirt cuffs. And the new avenue will be a great success, for it will place in symmetrical communication two of the most important establishments in France—-the temple of French music and the temple of French comedy.

I said just now that no two things could well be more unlike than England and France; and I said it with the emphasis that the remark must always have on the lips of a traveller who, having left either country, has just disembarked in the other. It is of course by this time a very trite remark but it will continue to be made so long as Boulogne remains the same lively antithesis of Folkstone. An American, conscious of the family likeness diffused over his own huge continent, never quite unlearns his surprise at finding that so little of either of these two almost contiguous towns has rubbed off upon the other. He is surprised at certain English people feeling so far away from France, and at all French people feeling so far away from England. I travelled from Boulogne the other day in the same railway carriage with a couple of amiable and ingenuous young Britons, who had come over to spend ten days in Paris. It was their first landing in France; they had never yet quitted their native island; and in the course of some conversation that I had with them I was struck with the scantiness of their information in regard to French manners and customs. They were very intelligent lads; they were apparently young university men; but in respect to the interesting country they were about to enter their minds were almost a blank. If the conductor, appearing at the carriage door to ask for our tickets, had had the leg of a frog sticking out of his pocket, I think their only very definite preconception would have been confirmed. I parted with them at the Paris station, and I have no doubt that they very soon began to make precious discoveries; and I have alluded to them not in the least to throw ridicule upon their “insularity”—-which, indeed, being accompanied with great modesty, I thought a very pretty spectacle—-but because this same insularity, as I observed it, gave an edge to my own sense of the brightness and gayety of an arrival in France. I had often had occasion to observe it before; but the entertainment, such as it was, held good.

The brightness always seems to begin while you are still out in the channel, when you fairly begin to see the French coast. You pass into a region of intenser light—-a zone of clearness and colour. The clearness and colour brighten and deepen as you approach the land, and when you fairly stand upon that good Boulognese quay, among the blue and red douaniers and soldiers, the small ugly men in cerulean blouses, the charming fishwives, with their folded kerchiefs and their crisp cap frills, their short striped petticoats, their tightly drawn stockings, and their little clicking sabots—-when you look about you at the smokeless air, at the pink and yellow houses, at the white-fronted café, close at hand, with it's bright blue letters, it's mirrors and marble-topped tables, it's white-aproned, alert, undignified waiter, grasping a huge coffee pot by a long handle—-when you perceive all these things you feel that additional savour that foreignness gives to the picturesque; or feel rather, I should say, that simple foreignness may itself make the picturesque; for certainly the elements in the picture I have just sketched are not especially exquisite. No matter; you are amused, and your amusement continues—-being sensibly stimulated by a visit to the buffet at the railway station, which is better than the refreshment room at Folkstone. It is a pleasure to have people offering you soup again, of their own movement; it is a pleasure to find a little pint of Bordeaux standing naturally before your plate; it is a pleasure to have a napkin; it is a pleasure, above all, to take up one of the good long sticks of French bread—-as bread is called the staff of life, the French bake it literally in the shape of staves—-and break off a loose, crisp, crusty morsel.

There are impressions, certainly, that imperil your good humour. No honest Anglo-Saxon can like a French railway station; and I was on the point of adding that no honest Anglo-Saxon can like a French railway official. But I will not go so far as that; for after all I cannot remember any great harm that such a functionary has ever done me—-except in locking me up as a malefactor. It is necessary to say, however, that the honest Anglo-Saxon, in a French railway station, is in a state of chronic irritation—-an irritation arising from his sense of the injurious effect upon the genial French nature of the possession of an administrative uniform. I believe that the consciousness of brass buttons on his coat and stripes on his trousers has spoiled many a modest and amiable Frenchman, and the sight of these aggressive insignia always stirs within me a moral protest. I repent that my aversion to them is partly theoretic, for I have found, as a general thing, that an inquiry civilly made extracts a civil answer from even the most official looking personage. But I have also found that such a personages measure of the civility due to him is inordinately large; if he places himself in any degree at your service, it is apparently from the sense that true greatness can afford to unbend. You are constantly reminded that you must not presume. In England the railway people never remind you that you must not presume, and I certainly like that better. In France the “administration” is the first thing that you feel; in a little while you get used to it, but you feel somehow that, in the process, you have lost the flower of your self-respect. Of course you are under some obligation to it. It has taken you off the steamer at Folkstone; made you tell your name to a gentleman with a sword, stationed at the further end of the plank—-not a drawn sword, it is true, but still, at the best, a very nasty weapon; marshalled you into the railway station; assigned you to a carriage—-I was going to say to a seat; transported you to Paris, marshalled you again out of the train, and, under a sort of military surveillance, into an enclosure containing a number of human sheep pens, in one of which it has imprisoned you for some half hour. I always feel in one of these places like asking one of my gaolers if I may not be allowed to walk about on parole. The administration at any rate has finally taken you out of your pen, and, through the medium of a functionary who “inscribes” you in a little book, transferred you to a cab of it's own sagacious choosing. In doing all this it has certainly done a great deal for you; but somehow it's good offices have made you feel sombre and resentful. The other day, on arriving from London, while I was waiting for my luggage, I saw several of the porters who convey travellers' impedimenta to the cab come up and deliver over the coin they had just received for this service to a functionary posted ad hoc in a corner and armed with a little book in which he noted down these remittances. The pour boires are apparently thrown into a common fund and divided among the guild of porters. The system is doubtless an excellent one, excellently carried out; but the sight of the poor round-shouldered man of burdens dropping his coin into the hand of the official arithmetician was to my fancy but another reminder that the individual, as an individual, loses by all that the “administration" assumes.

After living a while in England you observe the individual in Paris with quickened attention; and I think it must be said that at first he makes an indifferent figure. You are struck with the race being physically and personally a poorer one than that great family of largely modelled, fresh-coloured people you have left upon the other side of the channel. I remember that in going to England a year ago and disembarking of a dismal, sleety Sunday evening at Folkstone, the first thing that struck me was the good looks of the railway porters—-their broad shoulders, their big brown beards, their well-cut features. In like manner, landing lately at Boulogne of a brilliant Sunday morning, it was impossible not to think the little men in numbered caps who were gesticulating and chattering in one's path, rather ugly fellows. In arriving from other countries one is struck with a certain want of dignity in the French face. I do not know, however, whether this is anything worse than the fact that the French face is expressive; for it may be said that in a certain sense, to express anything is to compromise with one's dignity, which likes to be understood without taking trouble. As regards the lower classes, at any rate, the impression I speak of always passes away; you perceive that the good looks of the French working people are to be found in their look of intelligence. These people in Paris strike me afresh as the cleverest, the most perceptive, and, intellectually speaking, the most human of their kind in the world. (It is hard to compare them with the working people in America, because so many persons in America,. exercising the trades to which I here allude, are foreigners.) The Paris ouvrier, with his democratic blouse, his expressive, demonstrative, agreeable eye, his meagre limbs, his irregular, pointed features, his sallow complexion, his face at once fatigued and animated, his light, nervous organization, is a figure that I always encounter again with pleasure. In some cases he looks depraved and perverted, but at his worst he looks refined; he is full of vivacity, of perception, of something that one can appeal to.

It takes some courage to say this, perhaps, after reading “L'Assommoir”; but in M. Emile Zola's extraordinary novel one must make the part, as the French say, of the horrible uncleanness of the authors imagination. “L'Assommoir,” I have been told, has had great success in the lower walks of Parisian life; and if this fact is not creditable to the delicacy of M. Zola's humble readers, it proves a good deal in favour of their intelligence. With all it's grossness the book in question is essentially a literary performance; you must be tolerably clever to appreciate it. It is highly appreciated, I believe, by the young ladies who live in the region of the Latin Quarter—-those young ladies who thirty years ago were called grisettes, and now are called I don't know what. They know long passages by heart; they repeat them with great vivacity. “Ce louchon d'Augustine” the horrible little girl with a squint, who is always playing nasty tricks and dodging slaps and projectiles, in Gervaise's shop—-is their particular favourite; and it must be admitted that “ce louchon d'Augustine” is, as regards reality, a wonderful creation.

If Parisians, both small and great, have cleverness and vivacity written upon them more distinctly than the people one sees in London, it is striking, on the other hand, that the people of the better sort in Paris look very much less “respectable.” I did not know till I came back to Paris how used I had grown to that English respectable stamp; but I immediately found myself missing it. You miss it in the men much more than in the women; for the well-to-do French woman of the lower orders, as one sees her in public, in the streets and in shops, is always a delightfully comfortable and creditable person. I must confess to the highest admiration for her; an admiration that increases with acquaintance. She, at least, is essentially respectable: the neatness, compactness, and sobriety of her dress, the decision of her movement and accent, suggest the civic and domestic virtues—-order, thrift, frugality, the moral necessity of making a good appearance. It is, I think, an old story that to the stranger in France the women seem greatly superior to the men. Their superiority, in fact, appears to be conceded; for wherever you turn you meet them in the forefront of action. You meet them, indeed, too often; you pronounce them at times obtrusive. It is annoying, when you go to order your boots or your shirts, to have to make known your desires to even the most neat-waisted female attendant; for the limitations to the feminine intellect are, though few in number, distinct, and women have not that quality of imagination which comprehends the cut of masculine garments. Mr. Worth makes ladies' dresses; but I am sure there will never be a fashionable tailoress. There are, however, points at which, from the commercial point of view, feminine assistance is invaluable. For insisting upon the merits of an article that has failed to satisfy you, talking you over—-or under, driving you to the wall, and making you take it; for defending a disputed bill, for paying the necessary compliments or supplying the necessary impertinence—-for all these things the neat-waisted sex has peculiar and precious faculties. In the commercial class in Paris the man always appeals to the woman; the woman always steps forward. The woman always proposes the conditions of a bargain. Go about and look for furnished rooms; you always encounter a concierge and his wife. When you ask the price of the rooms the woman takes the words out of her husbands mouth—-if indeed he has not first turned to her with a questioning look. She takes you in hand; she proposes conditions; she narrows down the bargain; she thinks of things that he would not have thought of.

What I meant just now by my allusion to the absence of the “respectable” in the appearance of the Parisian population was that the men do not look like gentlemen, as so many Englishmen do. The average Frenchman whom one encounters in public is of so different a type from the average Englishman that you can easily believe that to the end of time the two will not understand each other. The Frenchman has always, comparatively speaking, a Bohemian, irregular look; he is not well dressed, his clothes are in what the English call bad form; the expression of his face, it's colouring, it's movement, have not been toned down to the neutral complexion of that which we mean in English speech by good breeding. He is at once more artificial and more natural; the former where the Englishman is positive; the latter where the Englishman is negative. He takes off his hat with a flourish to a friend, but the Englishman never bows. He ties a knot in the end of a napkin and thrusts it into his shirt-collar, so that, as he sits at breakfast, the napkin may serve the office of a pinafore. Such an operation as that seems to the Englishman as naïf as the flourishing of one's hat is pretentious.

I sometimes go to breakfast at a café on the Boulevard, which I formerly used to frequent with considerable regularity. Coming back there the other day, I found exactly the same group of habitués at their little tables, and I mentally exclaimed, as I looked at them over my newspaper, upon their unlikeness to the gentlemen who confront you in the same attitude at a London club. Who are they? what are they? On these points I have no information; but the strangers imagination does not seem to see a majestic social order massing itself behind them, as it usually does in London. What is behind them often, you fancy, is not adapted for exhibition; whereas your Englishmen, whatever may be the defects of their personal character, or the irregularities of their conduct, are pressed upon from the rear by an immense body of private proprieties and comforts, of domestic conventions and theological observances. But it is agreeable, all the same, to come back to a café of which you have formerly been an habitué. Adolphe or Edouard, in his long white apron and his large patent-leather slippers, has a perfect recollection of “les habitudes de Monsieur.” He remembers the table you preferred, the wine you drank, the newspaper you read. He greets you with the friendliest of smiles, and remarks that it is a long time since he has had the pleasure of seeing Monsieur. There is something in this simple remark very touching to a heart that has suffered from that miserable dumbness of the British domestic. But in Paris such a heart finds consolation at every step; it is reminded of that most classic quality of the French nature—-

it's sociability; a sociability which operates here as it never does in England, from below upward. Your waiter utters a greeting because, after all, something human within him prompts him; his instinct bids him say something, and something agreeable. The obvious reflection is that a waiter must not say too much, even for the sake of being agreeable. But in France the people always like to make the little extra remark, to throw in something above the simply necessary. I stop before a little man who is selling newspapers at a street corner, and ask him for the “Journal des Débats.” His answer deserves to be literally given: “Je ne l'ai plus, Monsieur; mais je pourrai vous donner quelquechose à peu près dans même genre—-la 'République Française!'“ Even a person of his humble condition must have had a lurking sense of the great comicality of offering anything as an equivalent for the “genre” of the venerable, classical, academic, aristocratic “Débats.” But my friend could not bear to give me a naked, monosyllabic refusal.

I feel the absurdity of speaking of newspapers just now without speaking of politics—-without alluding to the pregnant issues, as the newspapers themselves would say, of this anxious electoral period. But the theme is too large a one to be treated parenthetically, and I must content myself with expressing my admiration for the tranquillity, moderation, and self-control, under grievous provocation from their opponents, who are in possession of all the government machinery, of the party that has frankly espoused the republic. If it bears itself in victory—-in that victory which is almost certain—-as wisely as it has done in the thick of the struggle, it may fairly be said that the political education of France has begun.

There is another topic which may be touched upon more lightly, and without some reference to which any account of one's impression of Paris after an absence would not be complete. There are two things that the returning votary is likely to do with as little delay as possible. One is to get a good dinner at an approved restaurant; another is to betake himself to the Théâtre Français. It is early in the season; there are no new pieces; but I have taken great pleasure in seeing some of the old ones. I lost no time in going to see Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt in “Andromaque.” “Andromaque” is not a novelty; but Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt has a perennial freshness. The play has lately been revived, to enable her to represent not the great part, the injured and passionate Hermione, but that of the doleful, funereal widow of Hector. This part is a poor one; it is narrow and monotonous, and offers few brilliant opportunities. But Mlle. Sarah Bernhardt knows how to make opportunities, and she has here a very sufficient one, for crossing her thin white arms over her nefarious black robes, and sighing forth in silver accents her dolorous rhymes. Her rendering of the part is one more proof of her singular intelligence—-if the vivacity of her artistic nature. As there is not a great deal to be done with it in the way of declamation, she has made the most of it's plastic side. She understands the art of motion and attitude as no one else does, and her extraordinary personal grace never fails her. Her Andromaque has postures of the most poetic picturesqueness—-something that suggests the broken stem and drooping head of a flower that has been rudely plucked. She bends over her classic confidant like the figure of Bereavement on a bas-relief, and she has a marvellous manner of lifting and throwing back her delicate arms, locking them together, and passing them behind her hanging head.

The “Demi-Monde” of Dumas, fils, is not a novelty either; but I quite agree with M. Francisque Sarcey, the dramatic critic whose word carries most weight, that it is on the whole the first comedy of our day. I have seen it several times, but I never see it without being forcibly struck with it's merits. For the drama of our time it must always remain the model. The interest of the story, the quiet art with which it is unfolded, the naturalness and soberness of the means that are used, and by which great effects are produced, the brilliancy and richness of the dialogue—-all these things make it a singularly perfect and interesting work. Of course it is admirably well played at the Théâtre Français. Mme. d'Ange was originally a part of too great amplitude for Mlle. Croizette; but she is gradually filling it out and taking possession of it; she begins to give a sense of the “calme infernal,” which George Sand somewhere mentions as the leading attribute of the character. As for Delaunay, he does nothing better, more vividly and gallantly, than Olivier de Jalin. When I say gallantly I say it with qualification; for what a very queer fellow is this same M. de Jalin. In seeing the “Demi-Monde” again I was more than ever struck with the oddity of it's morality and with the way that the ideal of fine conduct differs in different nations. The “Demi-Monde” is the history of the eager—-the almost heroic—-effort of a clever and superior woman, who has been guilty of what the French call “faults,” to pass from the irregular and equivocal social circle to which these faults have consigned her into what is distinctively termed “good society.” The only way in which the passage can be effected is by her marrying an honourable man; and to induce an honourable man to marry her, she must suppress the more discreditable facts of her career. Taking her for an honest woman, Raymond de Naujac falls in love with her, and honestly proposes to make her his wife. But Raymond de Naujac has contracted an intimate friendship with Olivier de Jalin, and the action of the play is more especially Jalin's attempt—-a successful one—-to rescue his friend from the ignominy of a union with Mine. d'Ange. Jalin knows a great deal about her, for the simple reason that he has been her lover. Their relations have been most harmonious, but from the moment that Suzanne sets her cap at Naujac, Olivier declares war. Suzanne struggles hard to keep possession of her suitor, who is ardently in love with her, and Olivier spares no pains to detach him. It is the means that Olivier uses that excite the wonderment of the Anglo-Saxon spectator. He takes the ground that in such a cause all means are fair, and when, at the climax of the play, he tells a rousing great lie in order to make Mme. d'Ange compromise herself, expose herself, he is pronounced by the author “le plus honnête homme que je connaisse.” Mme. d'Ange, as I have said, is a superior woman; the interest of the play is in her being a superior woman. Olivier has been her lover; he himself is one of the reasons why she may not marry Naujac; he has given her a push along the downward path. But it is curious how little this is held by the author to disqualify him from fighting the battle in which she is so much the weaker combatant. An English-speaking audience is more “moral” than a French, more easily scandalized; and yet it is a singular fact that if the “Demi-Monde" were represented before an English-speaking audience, it's sympathies would certainly not go with M. de Jalin. It would pronounce him rather a coward. Is it because such an audience, although it has not nearly such a pretty collection of pedestals to place under the feet of the charming sex, has after all, in default of this degree of gallantry, a more generous feeling in regard to women? Mme. d'Ange has blots in her life, and it is doubtless not at all proper that such ladies should be led to the altar by honourable young men. The point is not that the English-speaking audience would be disposed to condone Mme. d'Ange's irregularities, but that it would remain perfectly cold before the spectacle of her ex-lovers pitiless opposition and denunciation, and quite fail to think it positively admirable, or to regard the fib by which he finally clenches his victory as a proof of exceptional honesty. The ideal of our own audience would be expressed in some such words as—-"I say, that's not fair game. Can't you let the poor woman alone?”