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VII.?Aspect* of Balzac's Paris. A TEAR ago the-present writer stood before a structure that it has been his habit to visit at the earliest opportunity cn every return to Paris, a structure that Henry James called "the most portentous setting of the scene in all the literature of fiction," and in soul rebelled against the march of progress. The Pension Vauquer of Honore de Balzac's Immortal "Pere Goriot." whprA finrint tlio T.par nf Fr^nrh Action, died in anguish, where Trompe-la-Mort whispered to Eugene de Rastignac in the garden, was trapped by the soldiers of the King, and turned his terrible eyes on his betrayers, Mile. Michonneau and Filde-Soie, had been concerted into an auto service station. For one hundred years it had remaineo much as it had been at the period of the story. Now its Old World quiet was broken by the honk of Ford horns. Eheu fugaccsl The "most portentous setting of the rcene in all the literature of Action" is in a quarter of Paris raiely seen by the casual American visitor, that a n jt\ uerinan c Continued From Preceding Page. worth noting; for if his book were a wholesale condemnation of his superiors and colleagues comment on it would be futile, adverse criticism superfluous. Edmund Burke was right about the culprits any nation does not produce. But three good men and true no more make a nation of statesmen than three soldiers make an army. Baron von Eckardstein obviously tries to be impartial. In the first four chapters he has. assembled a huge mass of intimate material, every line of which shows that England's prime wish was to live in peace with Germany, and that the better minds of Germany were of the distinct conviction that "encirclement" could be avoided and their country's welfare assured only in the event of friendship with and for England. But it was impossible. The Kaiser nagged and ragged and placed orders with his tailor for new tassels for his sword. At the Cowes regatta he played the role not of guest but of bully. To the Prince of Wales he was openly disrespectful, of Queen Victoria- h.> was inconsiderate despite his stodgy gal-' lantry. But England, according to this ? -- ?"tin stands si* tierman nuuinnu.., ? feet and over in thin soled sandals, who could drink lakes of champagne and yet talk coherently and who once ate a whole ham unaided while on a hunting party with the Piince of Wales, was calm and hopcfuL When things looked most bilious the j English Prime Minister, sitting at the dinner table and discussing poll- j tics, was asked "what more he was waiting for." To the astonis1 ment I of his companions he replied, "For j the potatoes." They all ate well in those good old days?twenty j-ears j ago? and Von Eckardstein was then i and is now in a godd humor, which j adds to*the value of what he has to I say. * But then, like a veritable flash ! tiie blue, came the insane Kruger telegram apropos of the Jameson raid. This act of incomprehensible stupidity has been charged to the Kaiser. Von Eckard- j stein, without exactly acquitting his then supreme lord, relates the story j of an eyewitness who claims that ! Freiherr von Marschal), Foreign Sec- ! retary at the time, drafted the silliest J statement ever transmitted wi'h the ! aid of electricity and that the Kais- ! er's aide-de-camp, Admiral von Sen- j den. wheedled his Majesty into allow- j lng it to be sent. Whatever the ti uth j may be. Von Eckardstcin does here what he invariably does in this book: he gives expression to the belief ihat Fritz von Holstein, the unmitigated I Mephistopheles of these rr.emi irs, had a hand if not a hoof in the dirty business, but. seeing how nearly irrepressible tlie flurry was that it caused, shut up in shame or openly denied affiliation with his pals. And close on the heels of this came the Spanish-American war with the Devvey-Diederichs scene in Manila Bay. Von Eckardstein rages again at the infamous insanity of Germany's behavior, thougbT despite Andrew White's own denial, h<> charges our representative at Berlin at the time flatly and squaitly with having said that "America had no intention of annexing the Thilip / THE NEW YORi images at Hon part of the city lying to the south of the Pantheon. Balzac jlaced it definitely in the first lim of the novel. He said: "Mme. Vauquei (nee Conflans) kept a pens-,on bourgcoisc in the Rue Neuve Saint Genevieve just where that street begins to slope toward the Rue l'Arbalete." Tlie street with its slope is there still unchanged, though rather hard to find. Long ago the street name was altered to the Kue Tourneion, wmco may be reached from the Rue de l'Kstrapade, a stone's throw from the Pantheon. The actual number of the house is 24. It is on the right going south, and once the doorway is passed the rough, cobbly roadway breaks sharply into descent. Balzac, visualizing a city as well as its people, was generally swift in rushing to a setting of the scene. The beginning of "Pere Goriot" is typical. "Le Cousin Pons" begins by showing its unhappy hero walking along the Boulevard des Itallens, "with his head bent down, as if tracking some one." The Rue Saint Honore, near tne i'iacp vcnuome, id in the opening note of "The Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau.-' As the it St. James pines, and that Germany had an opening there." But even so, he says, any excuse that Germany had for steaming and fuming around Manila was a very poor on 3. He takes seeming pleasure, too, in remarking that Holstein might have prevented it all, but he refused to confer with his two superiors, while his subordinates, who would have been happy to enlighten him, were afraid to unseal their lips lest they open the next morning s mail only to find that they had been transferred from highly desirable posts to Timbuctoo or some other outlandish main street. Any one who has ever conversed, or rather talked, with a township justice of the peace knows that the ways of politics are dark and devilish. It is probable, however, that no greater support has even been given this fundamental proposition than what this volume contains concerning the attempted Anglo-German agreement. At the very moment when matters were at their worst? Samoa and South Africa wre enjoying preferred positions on the front pages and France and Russia were exchanging conciliatory notes?Germany threw the official offer of an alliance into Lord Beaconsfield's face. He was stunned, for he was a human being But he was amenable to argument, open to conviction. Things dragged on. Sir J?bn Blun1 del! Maple, Baron von Eckardstein's father-in-law, made an address at Brighton in which he said that the Kaiser had paid a visit to Queen Victoria "when the British Empire was in great difficulties." This reached back into history. Ilolstein wrote Eckardst'ein a letter saying "I hope there will be no more speeches of this sort." Clouds of anti-British propaganda rolled across the fatherland. Herbert Bismarck, pining to succeed his father as Chancellor? and never having a shadow of a chance?rejoiced to see them. Docut ments marked "very confidential," "for so-and-so and him only' began to be sent west across the Channel by couriers. In 1900 cipher telegrams came into common use, and Wilhelmstrasse buzzed with the talk of an ultimatum. Open mindedness on the part of the English had llushed the Germane with fresh courage. They "agreed" among themselves to hate England. The rest is known. The failure to form the alliance after four attempts Eckardstein charges to "the morbid nightmares of Ilolstein." Though written since the war, this is not a war book. It is a volume of comment and of priceless documents, many of which were hitherto inaccessible to English readers. The sole allusion to the war is found at the very opening, where the author tells of quoting Field Marshal von llaseler at Itoroange-sous-Mont* faucon in September, 1914. There he stood, this venerable symbol of the imperial army, up to his knees in battle maps, berating the German High Command for it3 gigantic blunders. It is good reading. The purpose of the book is to enable the Germans of to-day to profit j by the mistakes of yesterday. If | they can they are adepts at elimina- j tian and evaluation, for we have in ; this volume an amazing maze of intrigues. That the author loathed j C HERALD, SUNDAY, le and Abroad curtain rises for "La Cousine Pons" the pompous Crevel, in the uniform of a captain of the National Guard, is being driven down the Rue de l'Universite. "La Peau de Chagrin" plunges the reader at once with Raphael into the Palais Royal and the gambling den where he staked and lost. From there Rai Iiael proceeded to the Pont Neuf determined to drown himself, instead to enter the antiquary's shop on the Quai Voltaire. It has been pointed out that if all Copies, in all languages, of all the books of the "Comedle Humaine" were to be deleted of everything but the opening paragraphs, there would still remain a Paris of Balzac worthy of serious consideration and study. H. There is the familiar story of Balzac, at a loss for just the right name to fit a certain projected character, rushing wildly about Paris until he found, over a shop, the sign "Z Marcas." He was as careful in the study of his streets as he was in the study of his characters. To him a street was something much more than a mere thoroughfare. "There j axe certain Paris streets," he wrote in "Ferragus," "as dishonored as can be any man convicted of infamy; then there are noble streets, also streets that are simply honest, also young streats of whose morality the public has not yet formed an opinion; then there are murderous streets, streets older than the oldest possible dowagers, estimable streets, streets that are always clean, streets that are always dirty, workingmen's streets, students' streets and mercantile streets. In short, the streets of Paris have human qualities and Impress us by their physiognomy with certain ideas against which we are defenseless." Here is an example of the care with which he dressed a street that The Rue Visconti. and loathes his chief, Ilolstein. may ! make caution necessary. It is hard | for a disgruntled employe to be fair. That he says the English Government has never made but ono serious midtake?under George III.?may lead some readers, in this era of hot patriotism, to feel that what he says is stained with pro-Britishism. Let them nllayfc their distrust. Vod Ecka^Lstein divulges the hotes, correspondence, messages and what not that show what he did as first aid to an able but ill ambassador. Count Eaul Hatzfeldt. And as to the English, he pays his respects to them by remarking that they can be "calculating, consecutive and callous." When Holstein. thp incxtineniish able bctcnoirc, would receive a document from an accredited attache of the Foreign Office stating that war here or there was imminent he would scrawl on the margin these words: "Inexpressibly naive." Despite the solemnity of this work, the present writer feels that it too betrays an element of naivete on the part of both Fnglish and Germans. The former would send the latter cases of special sauce, the latter would retaliate with bale.? of M'urst and Cans. On the surface it looked as though everything wore lovely and the goose would nicely cook. At the same time the Kmpereor took Lord Lansdowne's hand and said, ' It is not the British ileet but the twenty-four German army corps that constitute the balance of power." Lord Lansdowne actually said, "You know, I don't qute understand him." He would now. And to the layman who reads this book issues that were hopelessly obscure eight years ago will become as clear r?? hnmnn rMsnnin? nrul fnronfnl writing can make tkciu. MAY 14, 1922. I No. 24 Rue Tournefort. Tht "Pere Goriot." ho dppmpd noressnrv to nn pflfwtlvo I setting. The present Place du Carrousel, with its statues of Lafayette and Gambetta, was very different in the early part of the last century. Then the ground was given over to a labyrinth of sinister streets, in one of which, the Rue du Doyenne, Murger found the environment he pictured in his "Vie de Boheme." Balzac used the Rue <tu Doyenne in "La Cousine Bette." It was there, according to the story, that Baron Hulot first saw Valerie Marneffe. Between the little gate leading to the Pont du Carrousel and the Rue du Musee every one having come to Paris, were it but for a few days, must have seen a dozen houses with a decayed frontage where the dejected owners have * attempted no repairs, the remains of an old block of buildings of which the destruction was begun - at mo nine rxapoieon contemplated the completion of the Louvre. This street and the blind alley known as the Impasse du Doyenne are the only passages into this gloomy and forsaken block, inhabited perhaps by ghosts, for there is never any one to be seen. The pavement is much below the footway of the Rue du Ifusee, on a level with that of the Rue Froidmanteau. Thus, half sunken by the raising of the soil these houses are also wrapped In the perpetual shadow cast by the lofty buildings of the Louvre, darken?d on that side by the northern blast. Darkness, silence, an icy chill and the cavernous depth of the soil combine to make these houses a kind of crypt, tombs of the living. Driving in a fiacre past this spot and chancing to look down the little Rue du Doyenne a shudder freezes the soul, and we wonder who can live there and what things may be done there at night, at an hour when the alley is a cut-throat pit and the vices of Paris run riot flnder the cloak of darkness. III. Not merely that labyrinth of strange streets in the shadow of the Louvre is gone. Very little of Balzac's Paris of 1830 remains, whereas The House of the Cat Play by Charles Huard. 3 i Pension Vauquer of Balzacff it is very easy to follow the streets described by Dumas in "The Three Musketeers" and "Twenty Yean After," although the action of the former book was two hundred yean earlier. It has not been a matter of mere chance. Balzac's persistence in seeking out the unusual led him to the very streets that were naturally swept out of existence by the Haussmannizing of Paris. But if most of the streets associated with his creations are gone, manjr of the streets linked with his on life are still to be seen, very alightlir changed, or not changed at all. F1?r example, there is the Rue Visconti, of the rtre pauche, on the edge of the Latin Quarter. To be specifto it is near the Ecole des Beaux Arts, between the Rue Bonaparte and the Rue de Seine. It is a little street so narrow that at one point twe vehicles cannot pass in it. The Rue Visconti was formerly the Rue des Marais Saint-Germain, and theret at No. 17, a house that was^fcter occupied by the studio of Paul Deiaroche, Balzac established the printing press that ruined him. Ruin was not entirely misfortune, for while living over his shop he bccan 'IiM fhmmt-.o " tv*r* to bear his real name as author. Also still existing. though much changed, is the Rue L.esdigulerea, near the Place de la Bastille, where Balzac, at the beginning of his career, lived in an attic and wrots a number of preposterous novels ta imitation of Sir Walter Scott and Fenimore Cooper, signing them with such grotesque pen names as Horace de Suint-Aubin and L>ord R'Hoone. the latter an anagrafh of Honore. There he lived fifteen months, and there he undermined his health by overwork and insufficient nourishment. To the attic he carried his scant supply of food, and from the court pump the bucket of water needed for the making of the coffee that sustained him through the long nights of pen labor. His only relaxation were the long walks in which i/croiiTiuca on touoxcxng rag*. ing Ball. From the drawing . t - - - - - - > "