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reason, who conceives little comfort in the elaborate luxuries which other men spend their lives in toiling to possess, who claims a large field for the exercise of his talents and affections, and feels nothing but trammels in the ordinary methods of cultivating the one and regulating the other. If such natural inclina. tions—and they are coinmon to genius in all places and periodsare combined with a happy physical temperament and a humouristic perception of common things, their possessor may find in some 'port of Bohemia,' not only a refuge from his own isolation and from the contempt of the world which would tread him down to the dull level or drive him into the outer darkness of insanity or crime, but a community of feelings and an identity of interests far above all his expectations. No wonder, therefore, that the relations of Bohemia afford continual aspects not only of amusing contrast with the external social state, but of true and independent interest. Without a daily exercise of courage and endurance-without a consciousness of some intrinsic dignitywithout some ideal of a higher being—the Bohemian existence can suggest little else but comic situations and ludicrous incidents; and thus it is well not to overlook such representations of the better characteristics of this portion of mankind as are agreeably pourtrayed by the hand of Henry Mürger in the volumes before

us,

which profess to describe the manners and sentiments of this community as it appears in Paris within the first half of the present century,

If instead of the hyperbole that “Bohemia is only possible at Paris,' our author had said that the French character was peculiarly adapted to receive and develop the Bohemian nationality, and especially so in Paris, the concentration of France, no one could have doubted the correctness of the assertion. The vagrant professors of the gaie science and the mendicant composers of the pieuses et dévotes soties, were the fathers of the best French poetry and the proper ancestors not only of Clément Marot (the favourite of that royal Bohemian, Margaret de Valois), but of Ronsard, Regnier, and Molière. The rough reality of Rabelais holds its own beside the gentlemanlike nicety of Montaigne, and, above all the courtly and accomplished literature of later times sounds the wail of Rousseau, the pitiful and terrible cry of the ill-conditioned outcast against the society which he hated quite as much for its artificial graces as for its inherent vices. That society, indeed, had been and then was more of a fixed institution, strictly regulated and formally defined, than existed in any other part of the globe. It was a beau monde, enlightened by belles lettres, protected against intrusion by lofty and time-honoured barriers, outside of which everything was deemed vulgar and uncouth. Between this dominion and Bohemia the relations for a long period were those of civil wars, varied by occasional truces, during which the familiar intercourse was more dangerous than the customary hostility: the roués of the Regent were no better than the desperadoes of misery, and the sham classicalities of Bohemia were sometimes as unnatural as the wigs of Corneille or the Garden' of Delille; and so it went on till at last Bohemia, in the fury of poverty and envy, took Marat for its hero and the Père Duchesne for its literature, and so completely guillotined Society, that it has never since appeared in the integrity of its power. Society in its turn was soon avenged by the great renegade of Bohemia, who mercilessly drove back his countrymen within their natural borders, and appropriated to himself and his own the advantages of their extravagance.

The Bohemian is too much of a cosmopolitan to be an earnest politician in any country; but he participated in the advantages which all classes derived from the exercise of constitutional liberty under the two branches of the Bourbon dynasty, and found his intelligence stimulated by the contests of important interests and the rivalries of able men. The rise and growth of the romantic school was the triumphant proof of this development, for not only did Bohemia become the legitimate field of poetry and fiction, but with her wildest eccentricities and most sordid accidents she all but monopolised the press and the stage ; a fact which should not be forgotten in our estimation of the honest and healthy feeling in Mürger's works.

Neither will any one deny the appropriateness of the locality of Paris for all the phases of Bohemian nature. Take, for instance, its stronghold in the Quartier Latin, notorious for centuries for its lax academic discipline and its frequent defiance of the Police, the Court, and even the Church. Those lofty and massive edifices, caravanserais of real or professing students, secluded even from the inquisition of that paternal care which the railroad now brings to bear with invidious speed on the alleged sickness or pleaded poverty of its offspring, stood almost the same as when Ramus fell, the victim of his introduction of the free competitive system and a warning to Mr. Gladstone, or when the battle of the Gallican liberties was fought with Bohemian vigour and license against the Jesuit army of absolutism and Rome. That was a nursery of every open thought and every happy promise-a scene of

• First love, first friendship, equal powers,

That marry with the virgin heart'and which in truth verse can describe so much more becomingly than prose, as Gustave Nadand has shown us :

6 There

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• There stands behind St. Geneviève,
A city where no fancy paves

With gold the narrow streets,
But jovial Youth, the landlady,
On gloomy stairs, in attic high,

Gay Hope, her tenant, meets.
There Love and Labour, hand in hand,
Create a modest fairy-land,

And pleasures rarely pall ;
Each chamber has its own romance,
And young Ambition's frenzies dance

Along the plastered wall.
Enchanted cells of solid stone,
Where hermit never lives alone,

Or beats the moody breast;
Where each one shares his bed and board,
And all can gaily spend the hoard

That never is possest.
Delightful battle-fields of strife
Between the hot redundant life

And boyhood's tender awe ;
Between the lecture and the dance,
The lasses and the lore of France,

The pipe and Roman Law.
But taste improves and Mammon gains,
And the old city wastes and wanes,

And, each succeeding year,
Must some warm nest of young desire,
Some hearth-stone of the sacred fire,

Crumble and disappear.
Until some ancient demoiselle
The stripling of her choice will tell,

With tears and faltering tongue,
'Twas there the Pays Latin stood,
'Twas there the world was really good,

'Twas there that she was young.' Yes, the Quartier Latin may fall, Paris may be improved, till not a trace of its ancient self remains—the monotony of Munich may replace the streets, where every house was a history, but Bohemia will survive, perhaps all the more vigorous and the more dangerous for the loss of its cloisters and its castles.

A chronicler of Bohemia should assuredly be a Bohemian, and Henry Mürger has a fair claim to that nationality. His parents were concierges of some great family, and were turned into the street by the proprietor whom they had served thirtyfive years—a strong anti-social lesson to the child who accompanied them. The father set up as a tailor at the top of a large

a house, in which Garcia the father of Malibran, and afterwards Lablache, occupied apartments. His mother, from some odd fancy, dressed him in blue from head to foot. Malibran fondled and Pauline Garcia played with the little bluet. From an elementary school he passed to an attorney's office, from which he was rescued by his old neighbour Monsieur de Jouy, who built a temple to Voltaire in his garden, and who kept on his table, in a glass case, the toga and the wig in which Talma had performed the doleful tragedy of “Scylla. By his influence Mürger became the private secretary of Count Tolstoy, the confidential correspondent not only of the government but of the Emperor of Russia, the effect of which employment was to make him a very decided democrat, and his first literary essays were in that direction.

The veteran diplomatist, however, seems to have borne no grudge against the young man on account of his free opinions, but to have liberally assisted him, even after he had left his service and started in literature by some radical verses, entitled • Via Dolorosa.' The name of the poem was emblematic of its course, and it went the round of Paris without getting a publisher. The author, in desperation, took to painting, in which he was equally unsuccessful, and was diverted into writing vaudevilles for the · Théâtre de Luxembourg' by his friend Champfleury. How the literary adventurers lived together at this time will best be shown by a pleasant letter in Champfleury's Nuits ď Automne :

• It is now nine years since we were living together, and between us were in possession of seventy francs a month. Full of confidence in the future, we had hired in the Rue de Beau Girard a small apartment at three hundred francs. Youth is no arithmetician. You gave the portiere such a magnificent notion of our furniture, that she let it us on the strength of your good countenance, without a word about references or character.

You brought there six plates (three of them china), a Shakespeare, the works of Victor Hugo, a superannuated chest of drawers, and a Phrygian cap. By the strangest chance I had two mattresses, a hundred and fifty volumes, a sofa, two chairs and a table, and a skull besides,

. The first week we passed most delightfully. We never went out; we worked hard, and smoked hard. I find amongst some old papers a scrap, on which these words are written, “ Beatrix, Drama in five acts, by Henry Mürger, acted at the Theatre, the 18 = ." This was a page torn out of a large blank book, for you had a bad habit of wasting all our paper in writing out the titles of plays. You always seriously added the important word “ acted,” to see how the title looked.

Then

a

a

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• Then came the days of great scarcity.

After a long discussion, each heaping reproaches on the other for our insane prodigality, it was agreed that as soon as the income of seventy francs came in we should keep a strict account of the outgoings. Now this account-book I have also found among my papers : it is simple, laconic, affecting, rich in memories. Nothing could exceed our exactitude the First day of every month. I read on the first November, 1843, “Paid to Madame Bastion for tobacco supplied, two francs.” We also paid the grocer, the restaurant (a real restaurant), the coal-merchant, &c. The First is quite a holiday. I read, “ spent in coffee thirty-five centimes," an extravagance which brought down upon me a string of remonstrances during the evening; but that very day you invested, to my horror, sixty-five centimes in pipes.

• The second of November we paid the washerwoman a large account, five francs. I walked across the Pont des Arts as if I were an Academician, and proudly entered the Café Momus. We had lately discovered that benevolent establishment which furnished a demi-tasse for twenty-five centimes.

“The third of November you decided that as long as our seventy-five francs lasted we should cook for ourselves. In consequence you bought a marmite (fifteen sous), some thyme, and some bay-leaves. As might be expected from a poet, you did use too much bay; the soup

; tasted so strong of it. We also laid in a stock of potatoes.

• Tobacco, coffee, and sugar, as usual.

• It was with strong interjections and gnashing of teeth that we wrote down the expenses of the 4th of November.

• Why did you let me go out with my pockets so full of money? You went into Dagniau's and left twenty-five centimes there. What could you get for twenty-five centimes when the smallest pleasures are so dear? I went to Belleville to see a play gratis, and I took two omnibuses—one to go, the other to return; I was well punished for my prodigality-three francs seventy centimes dropped through a hole in my pocket. How did I dare go home and encounter your indignation ? The two omnibuses of themselves deserved the severest reproach, but the 3, 70! If I had not begun with the plot at Belleville to disarm

you, I was done for. • And yet the next morning, without a thought on these terrible losses, we lent our friend G-, who always seemed to look upon us as his bankers (the house of Mürger and Co.), the enormous sum of thirtyfive sous.

I have thought over by what insidious means G had succeeded in winning our confidence, and I can find none except our fresh and foolish youth. For, two days after, he coolly came again and asked for exactly the same sum.

• Up to November 8th we placed the sum-total correctly at the bottom of each page. It was then forty francs sixty-one centimes. There the addition stops. We could not bear to look the whole in the face any longer. On the 10th of November you bought a thimble.

Now, without being a great observer, it is impossible not to suspect a momentary appearance of a female, although, no doubt,

many

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