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ations with the idea of every day life pation and luxury themselves which and common use at all. They have are significant, but the fact that the forgotten all about use and reality and dissipation and luxury hare usurped have made of mere luxury their raison the place of reality and become the one d'être and supreme justification. The serious business of life. The signifiartificial has to them become the real. cant symptoms, accordingly, will be

To this we return as the keynote of those which show us this reality passthese later styles, and it is in this that ing out of the serious and important they portray so effectively the life of things of life. Such facts as that the the class and period to which they Prince de Conti used the dust of a belong. For it is not mere luxury crushed diamond to dry the ink of a which is found in the French Court of billet to his mistress, or that the Queen the eighteenth century. Luxury has gave the Dauphin a carriage covered generally been a habitant of courts. It with rubies and sapphires, or that Mais the fact that luxury has assumed dame de Matignon paid 24,000 livres a control of life, that it has eaten into year to have her hair brushed, or that society's core, eaten realities and duties the Comte d'Artois pulled down and requite away, and become itself the only built a castle to prepare a fête for the serious preoccupation of life, which Queen, or that young de Chenonceaux stamps it, in the French society of the lost seven hundred thousand livres in time, with such peculiar significance. one night's gambling, or that another The remarkable thing about this French courtier kept forty horses for an occasociety is that it is incapable of any sional ride in the Bois de Boulogne, and useful function whatever. The cour- another bought up and emptied the tiers and nobles of Louis XV's reign streets leading to his residence that seem to have lost all power of taking his amours might be conducted in sean interest in anything save court scan- cret, or that Madame du Barry's bills dals and intrigues. Those among them during the time she was in favor whose memory goes back to the man- amounted to some four million livres; ners of an earlier age, an age not desti- such facts as these-and they might be tute of courage, dignity and fortitude, multiplied to fill volumes—are not, after deplore the falling off in virile virtue. all, the kind of facts that best serve They can scarcely credit the change to show the character of the luxury of which has taken place under their very the age. They can be matched, more eyes. There is no principle, not honor or less closely, in the bistories of most itself even, which has not succumbed to aristocracies in most ages.

The facts the corroding effects of frivolity. The which are significant are those which nation is visibly drifting to destruction, testify to the insensibility of this pleasthe signs of an approaching catastrophe ure-loving class to natural instincts and grow daily more threatening, yet so- primitive duties and responsibilities; ciety jests and titters on, incapable of which testify, that is to say, to the ebbrealizing anything save its own dissipa- ing of reality out of the serious things tions and its own elaborate etiquette. of life.' When, for instance, a Comte de

Let us examine this a little more Tilly records that he was brought up closely. Let us take the formula we by valets, or a Duc de Biron, observing applied to the furniture—a decorative that a lackey had the superintendence rather than a useful purpose-and see of his education, remarks, "j'étais d'ailhow it answers as applied to society. leurs comme tous les enfans de mon And in applying this formula to society âge et de ma sorte, les plus jolis habits let us note this: that it is not the dissi. pour sortir, nu et mourant de faim à la

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maison," then we begin to realize what portant which is the really deadly was being deducted from the serious symptom of the French Court life of things of life to pay for the frivolities. the period. The supreme importance It is curious to notice that the value of attached to gaiety and dissipation and children in this society was essentially show has so sucked the strength out of a decorative one. To be trained in the all real and important functions that etiquette of their elders, to be dressed at last the sense for reality has become in the mode, the little boys in ruffles a lost sense. Children are not realand swords, the little girls in rouge ities; wives and husbands are not realand patches with false hair piled on ities; victories and defeats, as we shall their heads, and have their precocious see in a minute, and shame and disgallantry and savoir-faire paraded to honor are not realities. Nothing can the laughter and applause of society, exist, nothing can occur, but it is turned were the uses they were put to. Their immediately into food for jests. The infantine compliments and bons mots defeat of Hochstadt is deplored beare recited with enthusiasm, and they cause the skit on it lacks humor. Rosare allowed to constitute a charming bach is approved because its verses are addition to the lapdog and negro page excellent. Necker's attempts as Minisof their mother's suite.

ter of Finance to stave off national In the same way, when, in turning bankruptcy count for nothing. His fitover the memoirs of the day, we find ness for his office is proved by a parourselves arrested by phrase after ticularly splendid banquet given to the phrase and episode after episode which fashionable world of Paris. Every record how entirely the whole meaning event, however tragic, every crisis, howof marriage and married life has been ever grave, is dealt with as comedy. swamped in a sea of intrigues and In proportion as the unreal has become petty liaisons, the same sense of the real, the real has become unreal. sapping of the serious things of life But this instinct for unreality, which is brought home to us. One almost come to recognize in the court hesitates to intrude moral considera- party as quite unfailing, reveals itself tions into the presence of anything so in much more important than merely irresponsibly go as the society of the social matters. It reveals itself with French Court, for indeed there is some. just as much infallibility in matters of thing disarming and next door to in- state policy and national government. Docent in the excesses of people who It is important to remember in this conare quite unaffectedly and honestly nection that French society and the blind to the serious side of things. At French government were, in spirit, one. the same time, nothing can alter the fact Richelieu's policy, bequeathed by him that fathers and mothers and children to Louis Quatorze, of wrecking feudaland husbands and wives are among ism once and for all by depriving the life's chief realities, and, by a nor- great territorial nobles of their civil mally healthy society, must be duties and responsibilities, was fated treated. The truth, of course, is that to have as grave an effect on the King's where great store is set on trifling things authority as on that of the nobles themand the pursuit of them followed up selves. Shorn of all useful purpose, with intense seriousness, this serious- their authority and functions in their ness has to be paid for in the loss of own departments usurped by crown offia corresponding amount of interest in cials, the aristocrats left their huge what is real and important. It is this châteaux and estates and gravitated to loss of interest in what is real and im- Versailles. If they could not be useful


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let them be ornamental. It had been beginning to unfold to human enterdecreed that the State should be noth- prise. In this latter policy lay, of ing to them, they proceeded to make course, France's true line of progress. society everything. Hence was devel- Her position, both in India and Ameroped that purely decorative purpose ica, was strong. In America she laid which became the distinguishing note claim to the whole basin of the St. of this French society. But that pur

Lawrence and the Mississippi, and was pose did not stop at society.

prepared to back her claims. In 1754 ceeded to corrupt the governing princi- Washington's expedition was forced to ple itself. Imbedded, so to speak, in the capitulate, and in the following year heart of this society, breathing its air, Braddock's much more important force living its life, receiving its influence, was practically annihilated. The Engcut off by it from the outer world, the lish Company of the Ohio was quashed, monarchy became rapidly infected with and English attempts at expansion its spirit. It had created a frivolous everywhere checked and foiled. French class and itself caught the disease. forts and blockhouses rose on every The government which ensued, a gov- eminence and commanded every val. ernment of mistresses and the favorites ley. It was France's avowed object to of mistresses, was animated purely by drive the English east of the Alleghany the prevailing social frivolity. Hence- Mountains, and she was in a fair way forth monarchy and aristocracy ad- by 1755 to accomplish it. Similarly in vance to their doom hand in hand. India the boldness of Dupleix's schemes

We shall not be wandering from of French conquest and dominion our subject if without plunging too seemed justified by circumstances. In deeply into history we dwell just the rivalry between French Pondichery enough on one or two stages of this and British Madras the French settleprogress to bring out the special char- ment had the best of it. Madras fell in acteristic we have in view. Several of 1746. In 1748 the combined land and the chief factors which were leading sea expeditions under Major Lawrence up to the Revolution had their origin and Admiral Boscawen against Ponin the middle years of the eighteenth dichery were repulsed. It is noticeable century, and of these the two chief, per- that in these colonial wars the French haps, were the war of the Austrian Al- leaders were usually men of remarkable liance and the philosophic movement in energy and dash, prompt to act and literature. It is interesting to observe ready to accept full responsibility for how thoroughly in their own manner their actions. Such were La Gallisowas the handling by the Court party of nière, Du Quesne and La Corne in these significant events.

America, and Dupleix, La Bourdonnais, During these middle years of the and Lally in India. They were well eighteenth century two distinct and op- supported, and the vigor with which posed lines of policy were offered to France's interests were served in these France to choose between. One was enterprises is in strong contrast to the a policy of concentration; an internal, nerveless and feeble character of her exclusively European policy, leading to operations in Europe. The truth is that no national development and addressing it was in the opportunities for national itself merely to the adjustment of Euro- expansion promised by India that the pean rivalries. The other was a policy hopes of French development lay, and of expansion, consisting in the recogni- so long as she showed a disposition to tion of the larger opportunities which avail herself of these opportunities the newly realized East and West were France drew to her service all the keen

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most adventurous spirits his mistress governed, was the saying. among her children. Instinctively these The crisis, though the fate of nations felt the inspiration of a truly national hung on it, is purely farcical in moenterprise, and their activity and vigor- tive and idea. La Pompadour, snubbed ous tactics bear witness to the stimu- or noticed by the legitimate Sovereigns lus which arises from co-operating with of Europe, suggests to our fancy a the spirit of the age.

Becky Sharp, railing at the Countess Their designs, however, as we know, of Bareacres, or fawning on the Marcame to nothing. In a few years' quis of Steyne. It was for causes such time French hopes of expansion both as these that the greatest colonizing in America and India were blighted. chances ever laid before a nation were Not for a century was France to re- neglected and thrown away. sume, under healthier auspices, the Needless to say, the whole Court scheme of national development which party threw itself into the Pompadour Du Quesne and Dupleix had fore- quarrel with immense enthusiasm. If shadowed. What flung her back was there was a nation, or society rather, the Austrian Alliance. Of the two which the French nobility could sympapolicies she chose the retrograde one. thize with, it was to be found in ViIn bucklering the cause of Austria

If there was a nation repellant against the progressive races of the to them above all others, it was practiNorth, France associated herself with a cal-minded, unpolished Prussia. Fredset of worn-out, aristocratic, and feu- erick himself might stand for all they dal traditions which were sinking into most despised and least understood in decreptitude. She championed the human nature. They armed for the ideas that were going out against the campaign with delight and an inconideas that were coming in. The cir- ceivable frivolity. It was a new discumstances attending the treaty and traction. With the fatuity which atthe conduct of the war that followed tended them whenever they came in were all of a piece. La Pompadour, as contact with realities, they conceived the reader knows, was the guiding that their march through Germany spirit throughout. It is not every day would be a species of grand boar hunt. that an angry woman can make the Encumbered with baggage trains of fine armed strength of a nation the instru- clothes, perfumes and rare wines, they ment of her jealousies and caprices; but advanced as far as Rosbach, where La Pompadour enjoyed that luxury. Frederick's rough troopers, in the space Frederick never troubled to conceal his of a single hour, scattered them to the opinion of her, and his contemptuous four winds. Between Bernis, La Pom"Je ne la connais pas," when Voltaire padour's minister in Paris, and the presented him her compliments, was generals in the field there ensues a corin stinging contrast to Maria Theresa's respondence which curiously brings out adroit flattery. Old Kaunitz, past mas- for us the spirit in which France was. ter in the diplomacy of courts, easily conducting this enterprise. Soubise, perceived the possibilities of the situ- chosen to command, as we are careation, and, while the Empress plied the fully told, for no military qualificamistress with compliments, made it the tions, but for his ingratiating manners object of his manœuvres to secure the and popularity at court, veils the dislatter's good offices on behalf of Aus- grace of a rout he seems scarcely to tria. That done, all was done. La comprehend under a tissue of euphuPompadour was France's mistress as isms, excuses and compliments. The much as Louis's. Louis reigned and more experienced Saint-Germain writes

bluntly that he had under him a band ils sont indignes de servir. Tous soupiof thieves and assassins who were as rent après le repos, l'oisiveté et l'arready to mutiny in camp as they were gent." The Versailles system of proto run away in the field. “Never was motion is naturally the subject of some anything like it; never was there such criticism. “Our best officers, recogniza rotten army. The king has about the ing that there is no chance of promoworst infantry under the sun and the tion for them since they are not under most undisciplined. How can we fight Court protection, can ill endure to be with such troops ? The country was commanded by a lot of boobies. How covered with our runaway men for should young colonels, la plupart avec forty miles round." He adds savagely, des mæurs de grisette, re-inspire the what was indeed the thought of many, army with the ideas of bonor and con"Our nation has no longer any military stancy?" And for the hundredth time spirit, and the sentiment of honor is the lament is heard that "ignorance, fridead in us." The veteran Belleisle volity, negligence, cowardice have rewrites in similar terms. Never would placed the old virile and heroic virtues." he have believed that those imperial To the actors in these scenes the troops, whose traditions and actions general incapacity and decadence were had been so splendid, could lose thus inexplicable; and to the few who resuddenly their glorious reputation and membered earlier and better traditions become the scorn of Europe. We the present seemed, as Bernis calls it, were not ready,” wails poor Bernis in a horrible nightmare. To us, looking reply; "we had to begin without proper back, the obvious suggestion offers it. preparations; on s'est embarqué témé- self that the strength of France was not rairement." The army has no food, put forth in this war because it was not and no shoes, half of it is without really a French war at all. Engaged clothes and the cavalry lack boots. in a quarrel of the king's mistress, and Saint-Germain cuts in with a few tren- led by the favorites and flunkeys of chant home truths about the men and Versailles, the rout of the French army officers. The army indeed appears to at Rosbach and the disgraces of the be a very faithful image of the nation campaigns that followed reveal to us, at large. "The misery of the soldiers not the degeneration of French charwould make your heart bleed. They acter and courage, but rather the total live abject and despised, like chained separation and divorce of the governing dogs kept for fighting.” The officers body from the realities of French nameanwhile entirely neglect their mill- tional life. It is curious to observe tary duties and devote all their ener- how, while the pride of Choiseul and gies to plundering the country through the soldierly instinct of Saint-Germain which they pass.

and old Belleisle prompt them to a reAs the campaign progresses the rage construction of the army and the conand wonder of those conducting or tinuance of the war, Bernis, weaker watching it increases. "Mon Dieu, que but much more clear-sighted, foretells notre nation est aplatie! et qu'on fait the failure of such a policy and lays a peu d'attention à la décadence du cour- finger on the real cause of mischief. “I age et de l'honneur en France!” “Dans am floored, not by our misfortunes, but cent régiments on ne trouverait pas

by the certainty that the true remedy six bons lieutenants-colonels. Nous ne

will never be applied. There is but one savons plus faire la guerre. Nulle cure-a better government. Give me a nation n'est moins militaire que la good government and I will go on with nôtre ... Nous officiers ne valent rien, the war, but there is no chance of our

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