GOSSIP FROM AND ABOUT FRANCE.
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.]
The triumph of liberty—for the result of the elections is not lees than that—has been hailed with exultation throughout the whole of France. I have seen the most hopeful letters coming from the re- motest provinces; they all contain liberal aspirations and expectations. Everywhere the electors openly stood forward for the Opposition candidates, and publicly found fault with the thraldom of absolute Government. Under the present circumstances, it is better, perhaps, to possess in the Corps Legislatif a sure minority, as long as it is talented, powerful, and unwearied ; because a decided majority of opponents might only give the coup tre'tat men another opportunity for carrying things by force. As it is, they are sorely perplexed, and at a loss to devise expedients for postponing the day of reckoning. If the deputies were to meet immediately, there would be an exciting debate about the infamous manoeuvres resorted to by the prefets and their myrmidons, the popular indignation having this time been roused by too flagrant tricks and downright illegalities. Therefore, the verification of the elections will take place as late as possible. If the Parisians had soon to replace AL Ravin, and probably Jules Fevre, who will most likely be elected a second time at Lyons next Sunday, they would unite to return two more Republicans. But the Deputies can, of course, only decide for which town they prefer to sit after their election is recognized as valid, and then the Imperial Constitution (?) leaves six months' scope for a fresh convocation of the electors. In the meanwhile speculation is rife. One day the Bourse whispers in faint murmurs that Persigny prevails, and plans a kind of coup d'e'tat, beginning with recalling his own decrees of the 24th of November. The next morning the stockjobbers sacrifice him on the altar of conveniency, Billault and Fould being chargjs de l'erecu- tion. The three Pereires, the representatives elect of the Crjdit Mobilier and the Kingdom of Israel, are all but worshipped in the palace of gambling. What the two opposite sects of Brahmins would wish to do is certain enough ; but the mysterious Brahma himself keeps, as usual, his impenetrable look and his own counsel. Dalai-Lamaism is, after all, a beautiful form of government—what a pity that the nineteenth century will not stand it ! What a pity that elections should go wrong! What a pity that Mexico will not give in at once ! Mexico ! there is the sore point—the dismal cause of distress in high quarters. Ten thousand new victims for the yellow fever and Indian bullets will be again despatched, nine ships will sail from Cherbourg with warlike stores. In order to assuage public anxiety, the Moniteur announces that, in addition to nearly 13 millions of musket-cartridges and over 42,000 shots for canons rayes, another million of the first, 20,000 of the second, 9,000 shells, and about 100,000 pounds of gunpowder will be forwarded without
delay. This looks ominous, indeed, especially as the official paper states that on the 23rd of each month a vessel will leave Mexico with the sick and wounded. Nine out of every ten Frenclunen expect a
disaster, and almost rejoice in it. (2ue diable faire Mans cette gaAre2
The thoughtless Mexican adventure wonderfully increased the ranks of the Opposition, and even the Government candidates found it a safer course to pronouce against it. When M. Levy, at Paris, declared so much, a working man shrewdly asked him whether he had said so to the minister who adopted him as his favourite? Ile was obliged to confess he had not, was hissed, and lost his last chance. The poor official candidates were in a sad plight indeed, and had recourse to most extraordinary tricks. But
the Marquis de Fire, who, to the usual mental imbecility of Bonapartist Deputies, seems to unite an uncommon degree of bodily weakness, beats them all. There were sad rumours afloat concerning the state of his mind and his health, and in conse- quence he posted the following attestation from his doctor at every nutirie :—"My dear M. de Pird,—In order to contradict the reports spread with the object of prejudicing your candidateship, I hasten to certify that you are in possession of your intellectual faculties, that your physical condition has so much improved that you are to-day able to walk without a stick, and that I am led to hope that this marked improvement will increase from day to day. —Signed, PISAULT." To this curious document were affixed the words,—" Certified true, the Prtfet d'Ile-et-Vilaine (Rennes).— Signed, FEA rr ."
If there is an improvement in the political world, I cannot say as much of literature and the theatres. I have merely to mention that on the 15th of this month the long-expected biography of Victor Hugo will appear," Victor Hugo racontti par un Minolta de sa Vie." " Witness" seems rather a tame word, speaking of a man's wife, and already some heartless wag has suggested to translate it " an accomplice."
There is, likewise, little to glean in the field of chronique scandakusc, however abundantly the crop may thrive in ordinary times. Would it interest your readers to hear that Paris divides its suffrages not only between the Democratic Gueroult and the clerical Cochin, but also between the English or American lion- tamer Crockett, and the German bear-conqueror Hermann ? Will they take an interest in the information that enthusiastic Bonapartists deplore the victory of M. Thiers over M. Levy, in the same sad strain in which they lament over the French favourite La Toucques being shamefully beaten by the English race-horse the Ranger ? A despairing jockey-club fop, deep in the confidence of Moray, was heard to murmur, in a faint voice, "It is a second Waterloo." I do not exactly know whether the allusion applied to the elections or to the race-course, or whether, what is more probable, the two calamities were blended together in his stricken mind. Apropos of Waterloo, La France (the newspaper Lien entenda) proposes to sue the Pills and the Constitationnel, par nobile, for libel, these papers having charged its immaculate editors with the same kind of treason of which a French general became guilty on the eve of that eventful battle. 11 n'y a pas de quoi. La France did as little to contribute to the success of the Republicans in Paris as that despicable Bourmont helped Wellington in beating Napoleon. Shall 1 speak of the Wielopolaki and Branicki duel, of the single shot fired without effect, and of the well-timed inter- vention of the Belgian police ? Alas ! these topics are neither pointed nor ornamental.
I am, therefore, compelled to turn abroad for amusing incidents ; for, like Moliere, je prends awn Lien ou je le trouce. Coups (Mat have passed the Rhine, and are in great demand all over Germany. At Berlin they set scientifically and methodically at work, whilst at Vienna they prefer pleasure to politics. In the free and easy capital of the Austrian empire there lives a certain Mr. L —, who has great pretensions to piety, though he is by no means averse to worldly enjoyment. As it has been said of the light-minded French abbe of the last century, the altar was his breakfast and the opera his dinner. This gentleman was once upon a time American vice-consul, or something of the kind, and has, in that capacity, imbibed a strong love fur diplomacy, his highest ambition on earth being to become an Austrian plenipotentiary at some petty German Court. Now, he had for bosom friend a former Papal legate, and, inspired by this infallible authority, he determined to save at one stroke religion and morality by a change in the dreep of the corps de ballet. The pink colour of the tights which the ladies of that charming body usually wear was a thorn in his virtuous eyes. What would become of society if such a scandalous imitation of a fleshy tint were allowed to appear for ever on the stage ?
Our Talleyrand en herbe suggested, therefore, to the honoured son of the Church that the fair dancers should in future be sentenced to an ugly green colour, as was whilom the case at Naples. It would be less handsome, indeed, but, at all events, more modest. The pious legate took the hint, and applied to the Minister, who, as a devoted servant of the clergy, gave the necessary orders. Great were the stupefaction and the scorn of the gay Viennese when they beheld their beloved fairies changed into so many gnomes, for until then sprites had enjoyed the monopoly of green trousers. Vienna may bear a wholesale execution of patriots, a Catholic concordat, and even a bombardment ; but to be deprived of flesh-coloured dancers is more than the patience of man can forgive, and there arose such a formidable cry of opposition, mixed with a sarcastic laughter, that the Minister, the Nuncio, and honest Mr. L—, felt obliged to retreat. The eyes of the virtuous and pure are again offended by that odious pink, unless, as their artistic Puritanism is not strong enough to keep them away from the opera, they choose to wear green spectacles. Poor Mr. L— has lost all hope, and whispers the melancholy words sung by his elegiac countrymen over the ruins of the Castle of Heidelberg: "Thus vanish life's
splendours, thus vanishes the idle dream of power!" A GAUL.