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Rubini and Madame Persiani. In consequence, in 1840, a roofed building arose on the spot, adorned by Pradier. This sculptor had a very large family. As a good father, he wanted to take them to the circus, but found it too expensive. He proposed to Dejean, the manager who succeeded Adolphe Franconi, to present him with a statue in exchange for a permanent pass for himself and family. His offer was gladly accepted, and his thanks took the form of " a beautiful amazon breaking an unruly horse for mere amusement."
When the grand reform banquet was prohibited in 1848, barricades were thrown up, the Tuileries ransacked and the prisons opened. In February Louis Philippe abdicated; in June the Red Republicans fortified themselves in the Faubourg du Temple and only surrendered when cannon was brought against their positions; in December Louis Napoleon was elected president of the French republic.
With renewed ardour, Napoleon's victories were won over again in Franconi's ring, while the Cirque in the Champs Elyséesnow called the Cirque National, but soon to be called the Cirque de l'Impératrice-was the spot chosen by Louis Napoleon to distribute crosses of the Legion of Honour, just as his illustrious uncle--in the person of Gomersal-made field-marshals amid the sawdust at Astley's. "It must be said for ourselves," commented Punch, "that in England we only give the dramatic versions of history at our amphitheatres; while in France, they are the places in which the great events of national interest take place." In that jest, the difference between Franconi's and Astley's is indicated. The only history made on the Surrey side of Westminster Bridge was the history of showmanship; but on the Boulevard du Temple changes of politics were often anticipated, if not created, and were always reflected. This can be noted in the changes of Franconi's titles alone. In 1842 it was the Théâtre Impérial du Cirque; in 1848 this changed to Théâtre National (Ancien Cirque); and in 1852, the former title was revived. Whether national or imperial, however, its glory was still the Emperor. It regularly supplied the hungry public with such inflaming fare as "La République," "L'Empire et les Cent Jours," "Les Pages de l'Empereur," "Le Prince Eugène et l'Impératrice Joséphine," "Austerlitz," "Murat," "Masséna," "L'Enfant chéri de la Victoire," "Bonaparte en Egypte," and so forth.
In 1854 the military drama was brought up-to-date at the Hippodrome, a huge arena outside the barrier of l'Etoile, where a considerable force was occupied three or four times a week in resisting the " siege of Silistria." It was got up with such splendour that Punch doubted whether the real thing could have been half so good as the imitation. "It is quite certain," adds this critic," that we have nothing in the British army that can compare with the Scotch regiment of little men with long black beards, which strikes terror into the Russians at the Hippodrome.” In order to give as much reality as possible to the siege, the troops were commanded by real French officers. "We can hardly imagine," writes Punch, "Lord Raglan galloping backwards and forwards on Astley's stage; or H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge dashing up a platform on his richly caparisoned steed, and inviting six mounted supernumeraries to follow him through the upper entrance O.P. side to death or victory."
But the old Franconi's Théâtre Impérial du Cirque was still loyal to Napoleon. Here, in 1860, was staged "L'Histoire d'un Drapeau," by Adolphe D'Ennery, which aroused as much enthusiasm as the earliest of the series. This grand military drama was in twelve tableaux, whose very names revealed the generous nature of the plot. After being embroidered in a French workshop, the flag saw service on the plateau of Rivoli, on the bridge of Arcole, in the battle of the Pyramids; it was carried from the feast of the Nile to a Russian cottage; it survived the snows of the north, welcomed the Emperor on his return from Elba, and lived to triumph at Solferino-the year before these performances were given.
In the large space created by joining arena to stage, three or four hundred soldiers and troops of horse manœuvred. Bayonet charges were delivered, redoubts taken and retaken, horses saved the flag, bivouac fires were lit, batteries were carried by assault, traitors shot and nations captured. National pride, says Georges Cain, was carried to such a pitch that each "super ”—as in former days-agreed to play a French soldier for a franc, although fifty centimes extra was paid to every man willing to represent a Russian, Austrian, or Englishman. It was in such a piece that Colbrun, a diminutive actor, who looked like a boy of fourteen, won glory. In answer to a voice which cried : Surrender, brave Frenchman," when he was surrounded by Cossacks, he
cried, before dispersing his enemies: "If General Cambronne were here, I know what he would say to that."
While however these deeds of heroism were being enacted, the doom of the Boulevard du Crime was sealed. Its seven theatres were pulled down in 1862 to make way for the new boulevard, which Louis Napoleon inaugurated in the December of that year. But the old Franconi's had already been replaced by a circus nearby. Twelve years after the building of the Cirque d'Été, Dejean looked around him for the opportunity of establishing another circus. Arguing that Franconi's was now a theatre, because" scenes in the circle" were no longer performed there, he obtained permission to replace the Cirque-Olympique. Once again he commissioned Hittorf to draught plans, this time for a Cirque d'Hiver. The building began in the April of 1852. Once again Pradier adorned the entrance with statues, and to this day his work remains there. The amazon on one side is entirely his, but the warrior on the other was finished by another, for Pradier died in June. On December 11 the place was opened as the Cirque Napoléon, by the Emperor himself. Like the other cirques of Paris, it was politically fickle: after 1870 it became, for a time, the Cirque National, before returning to its original title of Cirque d'Hiver. Under this name it still stands. After serving for a time as a cinema and as a theatre, it is once again a genuine circus, though the Napoleonic drama is no longer played there. But the enthusiasm of Paris for the new film, dedicated to "the Emperor's" renown, proves that the Napoleonic drama is not
M. WILLSON DISHER
THE PRINCESSE DES URSINS
1. La Princesse des Ursins; Une Grande Dame Française à la Cour d'Espagne sous Louis XIV. Par Mme. SAINT-RENÉ TAILLANDIER.
Paris: Hachette. 1926.
The Princess des Ursins. By MAUD CRUTTWELL. Dent. 1927.
HE life of the Princesse des Ursins was long and eventful, and during the first fourteen years of the eighteenth century she was one of the protagonists in the theatre of European history. Of the preceding fifty-nine years of her existence, as of the eight that were to follow, we know only too little. Even the story of her decade and a half of power bristles with problems, for it has to be disentangled from a web of sources of varying reliability. She herself has left us no coherent account of her life, but from her voluminous correspondence and from contemporary archives, letters and memoirs, it is possible to form an idea of her motives, her aspirations and her achievements. The chance that has occasioned the publication within a few months of each other of two independent biographies of Mme. des Ursins is fortunate for students of human psychology. Each of the learned authoresses writes with authority; each is conscientious, well-documented, and the wielder of a lively pen; yet the several pictures that they present of their subject manifest remarkable discrepancies. Unimportant differences of detail are numerous, but these it would be tedious and rewardless to examine, since even the most painstaking historian is liable to errors of this kind. An indication of some of the broader questions at issue between the two ladies may serve to illuminate, however faintly, the Stygian gloom that separates the biographer of to-day from his eighteenth-century original. Even if this hope be not realized, it may not be unfruitful to consider in brief the career of a remarkable woman, who is known to few in England beyond the minority who have read the memoirs of Saint-Simon, an author himself strongly prejudiced against the princesse after her quarrel with his friend Monsieur, the Duc d'Orléans. A woman, who after fifty-nine years of comparative obscurity suddenly acquires a supreme position in European political history and retains it for fourteen years, is, in any case, a phenomenon deserving attention;
while the story of her disgrace and end is full of salutary moral lessons, which seem surprisingly enough to redound to everyone's discredit but her own.
Marie-Anne de la Trémoïlle, daughter of the Duc de Noirmoutier, was born in 1642 and married, at the age of seventeen, the Prince de Chalais. Four years later her husband was exiled from France for duelling, and the young couple fled to Spain. The next seven years were spent by Mme. de Chalais at Madrid, and here she sowed the seed which was to ripen more than thirty years later in her amazing success at another Spanish court. Her personal charm was extraordinary and, in spite of Mme. Taillandier's incredulity, we have documentary evidence that she succeeded in gaining the favour of the queen-mother, Mariana, sister of the Emperor Leopold I, and regent for her infant son, Charles II. In 1670, for whatever reason, Mme. de Chalais and her husband left Spain and settled in Rome, and later in the same year Mme. de Chalais became a widow at the age of twenty-eight. She remained a widow for five years, but they were not years of inactivity; and here Mme. Taillandier, by failing to consult a reference, has missed a point of capital importance for a true understanding of the psychology of her subject. A series of contemporary documents, quoted by Miss Cruttwell, establishes beyond doubt that during this period Mme. de Chalais was using her friendship with the queen-regent of Spain in an attempt to extract from the Emperor Leopold the title and treatment of Princess of the Empire. This intrigue was rendered abortive by the outbreak of war between the Empire and France, for Mme. de Chalais was still a French subject; but it is clear that, even in her youth, ambition was the motive force of her actions, and that it would be as misguided to regard her as a patriot in essence as to consider her the mere pawn of Louis XIV. After all, thus far she owed Louis little gratitude enough, and we have her own expressed declaration at this time that elle sera, par penchant et par goût, toujours Espagnole. Her overtures to the Emperor were further assisted by a number of cardinals, two at least of whom-d'Estrées and Porto-Carrero-are said to have been her lovers, though she was to encounter them years later in Spain under far less amiable auspices. It may be remarked that, in spite of Saint-Simon's gibe at her mœurs à l'escarpolette, there is no proof that her life was anything but virtuous, which