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“ The next day the Johannisberg had its put it back in its place. When the wine was turn, the day after the Liebfraumilch, and white, the mixture was clarified with the white then the Alicante. The same thing was done of eggs beaten up." with the three bottles as had been done with the first.
It was natural that all this must end with a " But James Rousseau, who was the oldest, catastrophe. One day that the doctor was and who had in consequence a knowledge of gone to the country and not expected home, the world superior to that of his young friends, the chemical committee had dinner served in who were only just venturing their first steps the garden, and they were gaily washing it on the slippery soil of society-James Rous- down with Tokay and Johannisberg, when seau judiciously observed, that at the rate the gate of the garden opened, and the Comthey were going at a gulf would be rapidly mander appeared. The Commander was effected, that Dr. Sue's eye would plunge into this gulf, and that he would find the truth Doctor Sue. His irritation may be imagined there.
at seeing the empty bottles of Tokay, Joannis" He then made the ingenious proposition berg, and Alicante lying on the greensward. that they should only drink a third of each The terror of the young men alone equalled bottle, and that it should be refilled with a it. Eight days afterwards Eugene Sue was chemical composition, which should resemble
away to Spain to act as sub-assistant-suras much as possible the wine imbibed that day, should be artistically sealed, and put geon during the campaign of 1823. He was back in its place.
at that time twenty years of age. He did not " Ferdinand Langlé supported the proposi- return to Paris till the summer of 1824. The tion, and in his quality of vaudevilliste added fire of Trocadero had developed his hirsute an amendment, which was, that they should appendages, and he came home a handsome proceed to the opening of the cabinets, after young man. the fashion of the ancients—that is to say, with the accompaniment of a chorus.
At this epoch Ferdinand Langlé, who was " The two propositions passed unanimously, some five-and-twenty years of age, had just and the same day the cabinet was opened with entered upon his career as vaudevilliste, and a chorus, imitated from the “ Leçon de Botan- having established an intimacy with an actress ique." The coryphæus sang :
of the Gymnase, Fleuriet by name, he seldom «· Que l'amour et la botanique
returned at night to his apartment at Dr.
always had supper laid out for him in case he
should come home late, and Ferdinand, knowAnd the chorus joined in :
ing this to be the case, used to send any one «Buvons le vin des parents !'
of his friends, who happened to be in want of And then example was added to precept. the accommodation, to his supper and bed. Once launched in the sea of poetry, the pre- This asylum became so well known, that at parators composed a second chorus to lighten last it sometimes happened that one would their work, This work consisted mainly in stuffing, sundry magnificent birds wbich they follow a first, under which circumstances he received from the four quarters of the globe. would eat the remainder of the fowl, drink Here is the chorus of the workmen :
the remainder of the wine-if there was any «• Goûtons le sort que le ciel nous destine;
-and then, lifting up the bed-clothes, he Reposons-nous sur le sein des oiseaux ; would creep in beneath. At other times a Melons lo camphre à la térébenthine,
third, and even a fourth would arrive, in which Et par le vin égayons nos travaux,
case they would find no supper, and have to Upon which each in succession took a pull at the bottle, till it was no longer one-third, but sleep on the sofa, or they would draw a mathalf empty. It was then time to follow out tress from beneath the bed and sleep on the the orders of James Rousseau, and to fill it ground. One night Rousseau arrived the
last; the light had gone out, he felt fourteen " This was the business of the chemical legs before he found a place to lay down in! committee, composed of Ferdinand Langlé, In the midst of this Bohemian life, Eugene Eugene Sue, and Delattre. Romieu was sub- Sue took the fancy to have a horse, a cab, and a sequently added to the number.
. The chemical committee made a frightful groom. In order to gratify this wish he ppmixture of liquorice and burnt sugar, replaced plied to two well-known money-lenders
. the wine drunk by this extemporised mixture, They offered to sell him a stock of admirable corked the bottle as neatly as they could, and/ wine for fifteen thousand francs, which would
fetch one hundred per cent. profit. Eight| Arrived at Toulon, Damon and Pythias days afterwards Eugene sold his bargain back started upon the relics of their Parisian splento the capitalists—who held his bond for fif- dor. These relics, faded as they were, passed teen tho'sand francs - for fifteen hundred for luxury at Toulon. The Toulonnais did francs ready money. A cab was purchased, not like the pretensions of the new-comers, and five hundred francs paid on account; a and nicknamed Eugene le beau Sue (le bossu). horse was procured by similar means, and the The irritation of the townsfolk was still further other five hundred served to dress & groom increased by the young men presuming to pay from head to foot. This magnificent result attention to Mademoiselle Florival, première was arrived at in the winter of 1824 to 1825. amoureuse at the provincial theatre, and who
The cab lasted the whole winter. Unfor- was protected by the sous-préfet. It was an tunately, one morning it was exchanged for insult to the authorities. They did not suo horse-riding. Eugene Sue, accompanied by ceed, however, in gaining admission behind his friend Desforges, and followed by his the scenes, although Desforges urged his claims groom, took an airing in the Champs Elysées. as author of two or three vaudevilles. The They had got nearly half way up the avenue, consecration of Charles X. came to their aid. saluting the men and smiling at the ladies, Desforges suggested an à propos to Eugene when they saw a head issue from the window Sue. The latter indited one, and it was re of a green brougham, and look at them with ceived with enthusiastic applause. astonishment. This head almost affected the In the month of June, 1825, Damon and young men as much as if it had been that of Pythias separated. Eugene Sue remained in Medusa, only instead of petrifying them it possession of his entrées to the theatre and at gave them wings, and they bolted off at a gal- Mademoiselle Florival's; Desforges started lop. The head belonged to Dr. Sue. for Bordeaux, where he founded Le Kaleido
However, they must return home. True, scope. Ferdinand Langlé had at or about that they did not do so till the next day, but the same time founded La Nouveauté at even then justice awaited them at the thres- Paris. Eugene Sue returned from Toulon hold in the person of the worthy doctor. It towards the end of the year, and found all his was necessary to avow all, and lucky it was old chums of the Rue du Rempart engaged so, for the usurers had begun to give trouble on the new periodical. Desforges had abanabout the bond. They were, however, in- doned his provincial speculation and joined duced to give it up for two thousand francs ; the band. Eugene Sue had penned and a little affair before the correctional police, in propos, so he was also asked to contribute which they were compromised, had made to La Nouveauté. He wrote “ L'Homme them more amenable than usual at that mo- Mouche," which appeared in four papers. It ment.
was the first production of the author of But Eugene Sue was sent off to the military " Mathilde ” and of the “ Mystères de Paris." hospital of Toulon, and Desforges, being mas- In the mean time, it can be easily underter of his own actions, accompanied him in his stood that La Nouveauté did not pay its exile. The last night was devoted to a fare- numerous contributors in gold. Dr. Sue also well party. The enthusiasm attained such a continued to be inflexible; he had still on his pitch on that occasion, that Romieu and Mira heart not only the wine drunk, but the wine resolved to accompany the diligence. Eugene spoilt. There was also the wine bought! Sue and Desforges were in the coupé, Romieu Only one resource remained. It was a watch and Mira galloped on either side. Romieu of the time of Louis XVI., with an enamel galloped as far as Fontainebleau, but there he back, surrounded by brilliants, a gift of his was obliged to get off his horse. Mira, in his godmother, the Empress Joséphine. The obstinacy, made three leagues more, and was watch was only parted with in extreme cases; then obliged to stop. The diligence continued it was then taken to the mont-de-piété, where its way majestically, leaving the disabled be- fifty francs were obtained upon it. This occahind. Romieu had to be taken back to the sion presented itself on the Mardi-Gras, or capital on a litter. Mira preferred waiting Shrove Tuesday, of 1826, but when the pro where he was till convalescent; he did not re- ceeds had been devoured, no alternative return to Paris for a fortnight, and then it was mained but to go to the country, and the in the diligence.
young men went to Bouqueyal, Dr. Sue's country seat. "A festival was proclaimed here | own house, he disconcerted by assuming the for Easter. Each guest was to contribute to garb of the artist's valet! Another was the it-one a fowl, another a lobster, a third a persecution of an unfortunate porter, of whom pasty. Now it so happened that each reckon- Russian princesses, German baronesses, and ing upon his neighbor, and all alike being in Italian marchionesses were always asking for want of money, nobody brought anything. Still a lock of hair, whilst an invisible chorus sang, a dinner must be obtained somehow or other,
“Portier, je veux so, there being no other alternative, they cut
De tes cheveux !" the throat of one of the doctor's sheep. Un- The joke assumed a practical character on fortunately it was a beautiful merino that the one occasion, when five or six servants came doctor kept as a specimen. It was cut up, to the aid of the porter, and the troubadours, roasted, and devoured to the last chop. When obliged to convert their musical instruments the doctor heard of this last prank his anger into defensive arms, only got out of the scrape knew no bounds. A commission of sub-as- with the handles of their guitars in their sistant surgeon
in the navy was obtained for hands. So pertinaciously was the persecuEugene, and he was sent off to the West tion continued, however, that the unfortunate Indies.
porter is said to have perished delirious in It was there that he acquired the materials an hospital. This is the origin of Pipelet in for his “Atar Gull,” with its magnificent land- the “Mystères de Paris," and Eugene Sue scapes, 'which seem like fairy dreams. On his has depicted himself in the rapin Cabrion. return to France a decisive engagement was The campaign of Algiers having in the being prepared against the Turks. Eugene mean time been inaugurated, Gudin started Sue embarked as aide-major on board the for Africa, and Eugene Sue, left to himself, Breslau, Captain la Bretonnière, and was once more laid aside the pencil and took up present at the battle of Navarino. He brought the pen. “ Atar Gull,” one of his most comback with him as spoils a magnificent Turkish plete romances, was begun at this period. costume, which was soon devoured, gold lace, Then came the revolution of July. Euembroidery and all. At the same time that gene Sue associated himself with Desforges he was eating the Turkish costume, he was to produce the comedy entitled “ Le Fils de busy with Desforges bringing out “ Monsieur l'Homme.” The predilections of the role Marquis.” His taste for literature appears mancer were manifest. He did not forget to have developed itself at this epoch, for he that he was the godson of Joséphine, and began at the same time his “ Plick et Plock " that his name was Eugene. The comedy in the periodical called La Mode. This was written, it remained in that condition ; the his starting point as a romancer.
Orleanist reaction anticipated the authors. Just at this crisis his maternal grandfather One of the criminals, too—Desforges-had died, leaving him about 80,000 fr. This was become secretary to Marshal Soult. Now it an inexhaustible fortune. The young author, was not to be expected that, as the Duke of at that time about twenty-four years of age, Ragusa owed every thing to Napoleon, he resolved upon this accession of means to give would like to see a play performed in honor up his profession and to devote himself to the of his son. An author's vanity is, however, a fine arts, for which he thought he had a voca- frailty that leads to many acts of imprudence. tion, and with this view he furnished a home Desforges was one day induced to read the to himself, which he filled with curiosities and play to Volnys, a general of the Empire, objects of virtù. In order the better to study who had not been made marshal, and who his new profession, he also placed himself un- therefore held its memory in reverence. der the marine painter, Gudin, who was Volnys was delighted, and asked for a loan scarcely thirty years of age, but whose repu- of the manuscript. Six weeks had elapsed tation was already made.
when a rumor became current that some great The youth of the parties caused the studies event was preparing at the Vaudeville. That to be frequently interrupted by those pranks theatre was at that time under the managewhich seem to have been an essential part of ment of Bossange, himself a joint author, Eugene Sue's life and career. Among others, French fashion, with Soulié, and he was he represented his master at a rendezvous, backed by Déjazet. The two together were and which, when returned by a visit to Gudin's supposed to be capable of any thing.
“One evening, Desforges, anxious to know At this epoch Dr. Sue died, leaving some what was this literary event anticipated at 23,000 to 24,000 fr. per annum to Eugene the Vaudeville, made his way behind the Sue. The legacy came in good time, for the
" Here he fell in with Bossange, and tried 80,000 fr. of his maternal grandfather were to obtain some information from him.
nigh expended. Eugene Sue could now live “ But Bossange was in too great a hurry.
without the aid of literature, but when once “* Ah! mon cher,' he exclaimed, 'I cannot one has put on that tunic of Nessus, woven listen to you now; only imagine Armand has of hope and pride, it is not easily removed been taken ill and cannot come, so that we from the shoulders. Our author then conare obliged to exchange the piece in which tinued his literary career by " La Salamanhe was to appear for one that has only just dre," still one of his best works ; after which been rehearsed, and is not yet known. Come, monsieur le régisseur, is Déjazet ready?'
appeared “ La Coucaratcha," and then “La «« « Yes, Monsieur Bossange.'
Vigie de Koat Ven." “Then give the usual three knocks, and
These three or four works at once placed make the announcement.'
Eugene Sue high among the ranks of modern “ The three knocks were given. •Place on authors, but they at the same time raised the stage!' was shouted out, and Desforges against him that outcry of immorality, which was obliged to take place with the rest be
he was never able to allay completely. Alhind the scenes.
“The régisseur, in white cravat and black exandre Dumas, his biographer, enters at coat, advanced to the footlights, and, making length into the question, on grounds which it the stereotyped bows,
is impossible to discuss in these pages. He «« « Gentlemen,' he said, one of our artists declares that if Alfred de Musset had a having been taken ill at the moment for raising malady of the mind, Eugene Sue suffered from the curtain, we are obliged to give you, in one of the imagination. He believed himself place of the second piece, a new piece which it was not intended to bring forward for three to be depraved ; but whilst Alfred de Musset or four days yet. We, therefore, pray you
became un méchant garçon, Eugene Sue alto accept the exchange.'
ways preserved un brave et excellent cour. “ The public, to whom a new piece was It was his diseased imagination that created given instead of an old one, applauded the such characters as Brulard, Pazillo, and régisseur magnanimously.
he thought that he could be like * The curtain fell to rise again almost im- them, whilst in reality he did not in the most mediately. “At ihis moment, Déjazet was coming
distant way resemble them. He even took a down from her dressing-room in the uniform morbid pleasure in upholding the accusations
1 of an Austrian colonel.
that were made against him, and systemati“• Ah! mon Dieu !' exclaimed Desforges, cally persevered, when they had once oba flash of lightning crossing his mind, 'what tained currency, in giving to them a further are you going to play ?'
consistency. Thus, in his hideous romance of “What am I going to play? I play le Justine,” he makes virtue fall and crime Fils de l'Homme. Now let me go by, monsieur l'auteur.'
triumph, and he excused himself on the plea Desforges's arms fell by his side. Déjazet that if virtue was recompensed here below it was allowed to pass.
would not want to be rewarded in another “The piece met with an enormous success. world. Alexandre Dumas says, in a sum
The performance over, Desforges had the mary, that he, De Leuven, Ferdinand Langlé, door opened, by which he could pass from the and Eugene Sue himself, used often to talk stage to the theatre ; he wished to be the about this mania of the latter to Mephistobearer of the news to Eugene Sue. “ He bustled in the passage against a gen- with laughter. Nothing could be less diar
phelise himself, and that it made them roar tleman who appeared to be in a great hurry. bolical than this“ gai et charmant garçon.”
“ This gentleman was Eugene Sue.
“ Chance had so ordered it that he was in the proofs that Alexandre gives of his gaiety the theatre all the time that Desforges had and talent are unanswerable, but the advobeen behind the scenes."
cacy of his morality is far less convincing, Instinct of authors, we suppose; but what and the very proofs that he gives to support night of the seven is not a dramatic author his view of the matter are not very satisfacor a dramatic monomaniac at one theatre or tory. We must not, however, we suppose, another in Paris ?
measure Eugene Sue's morality in the scale
of a common humanity, but in that of a “ The next day I returned. comparison with the Dumas, the Langlés, the
“I found him annihilated. Mussets, the Desforgeses, and his other con
“ His friend had replied by a refusal, temporaries and associates.
founded on the usual common-places when it
is not convenient to do a person a service. In 1834, Eugene Sue brought out the first
“ But what was most amusing was the postnumbers of a “History of the French Navy.” script to the letter. It was one of his worst works, and was soon "**You talk of going to the country; but discontinued. Eugene Sue's talent was not do not go before you have presented me to at all adapted for history, nor even for his- the English ambassador.? torical romance. Jean Cavalier " is a medi- “This postscript was the culminating point
of ocre production, and yet it is the most im- poor Eugene's exasperation.
** Let them,' he esclaimed,' say again that portant of his historica! works. « Le Morne
I depict society in black colors !' au Diable” is briefer and infinitely better, al- “ The day after, I returned again to see though the fable that the Duke of Monmouth him, not to work, but to see how he was was so hunchbacked that the executioner had getting on. to cut away at him three or four times before “He was laid up with a horrible fever. he could separate the head from the body, is He had been to Chatenay, a little country
house of his own, to repose
his totally inadmissible.
brains on the bosom of a woman whom he During the lapse of the next seven or eight loved : but she had heard of his ruin, and years he published successively, “ Deleytar," had excused herself from meeting him.” “Le Marquis de Létorières," • Hercule
The old story! If there is not much moralHardy," ," "Le Colonel Surville," "Le Com
ity in the man, there is plenty to be gathered mandeur de Malte," and “ Paula Monti," but
from the progress of his career. without any real success.
What terrified Eugene Sue most was, not All this time he lived the life of a grand only that there remained only 15,000 fr., but seigneur. He had a charming house in the that he found that he was in debt some 30,000. Rue de la Pépinière, encumbered with mar- He fell into a deep state of despondency. vels, and which had only one fault, that of One good thing resulted from all this evilresembling a cabinet of curiosities; he had
the-friends of his folly and extravagance disthree servants, three horses, three carriages, appeared, and real friends alone remained all kept in the English fashion ; he had plate about him. Among these was Ernest Leestimated at 100,000 fr.; he gave excellent dinners, and he kept up most expensive fe- gouvé, “a, clear head, an honest heart, a warm
Christian." Another was Goubaux. And the male connexions. The consequence was that two friends set nobly to work to arouse the one fine day he received from his solicitor, in author who had been so suddenly wrecked in answer to a demand for money, a laconic the loss of every thing—fortune, friends, and statement, to the effect that “You have eaten
love! up all your fortune with the exception of
“ Goubaux endeavored to arouse him by an 15,000 fr."
appeal to glory, “Chance, says Alexandre Dumas, led me "But he, smiling sorrowfully, said : My to his house that day. We had a piece to do dear sir, will you permit me to tell you one together; he had written to me several times thing—it is that I have no talent.' to come to him, and I had come.
"What! no talent?' said Goubaux, sur“He was as a man who was thunderstruck. prised. “ He related to me very succinctly, how
"Not in the least! I have had some sucever, what had happened to him, adding : cesses, but trifling; nothing that I have done
“I will not receive those 15,000 fr.; I will has been really my work. I have neither borrow, I will work, and I will give back.' style, nor imagination, nor foundations, nor
What are you thinking of, my dear form; my maritime romances are bad imitafriend?' I said to him. “ If you borrow, the tions of Cooper, my historical romances bad interest of the loan will swallow up far more imitations of Walter Scott. As to my two than your 15,000 fr.'
or three theatrical productions, they are not No,' said he; 'I have an excellent worth mentioning. I have the most deplorfriend.'
way of doing my work : I begin a book 06 A woman?'
without having either a middle or an end to ". More than a woman—a relation—a very it, I work from day to day, driving my plough wealthy relative, who will lend me what I without knowing even the soil that I turn up. want, were it 50,000 fr.'