CHAPTER X

STUDENT LIFE

THOUGH, owing to writers like Alfred de Musset and Henri Murger, the life of a student in the middle of the last century has become surrounded by a halo of romance, it is probable that at that period the vast majority of young men studying in the Latin Quarter, owing to the force of circumstances, led what would today be considered uncomfortable and even squalid lives. Mimi, Musette and other heroines of romance, seem, however, to have been very charming little ladies, who on the whole wielded an influence for good over most of their lovers. Unlike some of the modern Parisiennes, they are reputed to have been anything but rapacious, while ready to put up with all sorts of privation when, as was too often the case, funds happened to be low. The end of numbers of these poor girls must have been tragic. Some of them no doubt married small tradesmen, but the majority, it is to be feared, drifted into the ranks of the demi-monde which, then as now, had its headquarters on the right bank of the Seine. French writers, however, have not dwelt upon this darker side of the life of a grisette; the fact is that the Parisians, though reputed to be romantic, are at heart the most matter of fact and even cruel people in the world. While a woman is young and pretty they vie with one another in the adulation of her charms, but once old age has disfigured her she ceases to interest and no one pays attention to her any more.

From time immemorial there has been a tendency to idealize the grisette. La Fontaine sang her praises in verses, and other poets have paid tributes to her many good qualities, laying stress upon her love of flowers, frugality and partiality for hard work. Henri Murger, however, in his charming book, Scènes de la Vie de Boh
ème, probably did more to perpetuate her memory than anyone, Mimi and Musette being pictured in a most attractive way. A very sympathetic character, Murger was very indulgent towards female frailty, bearing no ill will to his loves even when they only gave him an hour or so in their spare time, and willingly opening his door to them after they had proved untrue, he not being able to resist the tender memories their reappearance evoked.

Generally impecunious, Murger bore privations with a joyous fortitude deserving of all praise. When the Bank of France issued a new type of note he wrote to a paper commenting upon the event, humorously ending his letter with the remark, "I am told that the new notes are blue." One of his best points was that he never showed any jealousy of colleagues who are more successful than himself. A confirmed optimist, he faced poverty with a smile, nevertheless he was anything but a speedy worker. As far as he was concerned, his saying "there are years when one is not in the mood to work" was quite true.

Murger's origin was humble, his parents having been concierges in the Rue St. Georges, who shortly after his birth were summarily ejected by a cruel landlord, after thirty-five years' service. Migrating to the Rue des Trois Frères, they opened a small tailor's shop.

As a young man Murger lodged in the favorite resort of the Bohemians, in the Rue des Cannettes; and Champfleury, in Contes d'Antoine, recalls how later on he and Murger lived together in the Rue de Vaugirard, their united fortunes amounting to seventy francs a month; how Murger contributed six plates
— three being porcelain — a Shakespeare, the works of Victor Hugo, a superannuated chest of drawers, and a Phrygian cap; while his friend had two mattresses, 150 volumes of books, two other chairs, a table, and a skeleton's head, a grim relic then very popular in the Latin Quarter.

The memory of the Café Momus, which was in the Rue des Prêtres Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois and has long been pulled down, must always be linked with that of Murger, a number of the characters in his masterpiece having been its frequenters. Here the people idealized in La Vie de Bohème were wont to congregate, many a conclave being held by them as to how to make both ends meet and how to get out of scrapes. The owner of the place in those days must have been a kindly man with a very soft corner in his heart for impecunious students. Judging by what Murger has written, such a clientèle was not very profitable, though when a young Bohemian happened to have money he spent it freely till it was gone.

The romance with which Henri Murger invested the Latin Quarter was many years later revived in England by du Maurier with Trilby, the characters in which book are for the most part of a gentle, chivalrous type rarely met with in real life.

Trilby, though represented as having lived all her life in Paris, has not got a Parisian mind. One could not, for instance, imagine her going to the Bal des Quat'z 'Arts without being shocked! In reality, a French girl living in close proximity to students would not be likely to be shocked at anything, and this whether she was virtuous or not, for the French treat prudery as a rather impudent affectation. Few young ladies (for Trilby is a young lady rather than a grisette) would, under the circumstances described by du Maurier, have contrived to remain as virtuous as his heroine is represented to have been. As a matter of fact, any girl of the model class mixing daily with Frenchmen must be a veritable dragon of virtue to avoid becoming lax in her ideas if not in her conduct.  Nevertheless, Trilby is a delightful book, and one which provides a fascinating, if idealized, picture of life in the Latin Quarter at an epoch which has now long passed away.

No one could accuse the modern Parisian student of being a dandy, nevertheless in the days of Alfred de Musset there were young exquisites in the Latin Quarter who, priding themselves upon their dress, wore mauve suede gloves, and always had a bouquet of Parma violets in their buttonholes. At that time the youth of Paris liked to be original, and some students
— great bearded men of ferocious mien — clothed themselves in suits of corduroy and wore huge slouch hats. Others affected the costume of the strong men who were to be seen at the wrestling-booths in the fairs, and wore long red sashes wound many times round the waist. A form of béret more voluminous than that worn by the Basques at one time enjoyed a great vogue among Art students of the Quartier, some of whom presented almost as picturesque an appearance as some of the poorer class of models who knocked at the doors of the studio, in which these young men worked.  Prominent types among the latter have always been the dignified old man ready to pose as Moses or Methuselah, and the women carrying small children — itinerant Madonnas ready to sit for a very small sum, unlike the professionals whose charges are calculated according to a fixed scale.

The entrance to the École des Beaux Arts used to be through the courtyard facing the Rue Bonaparte, the scene outside on a busy morning being especially animated and picturesque. Here are assembled groups of models, the majority Italian, the women and children in bright national costume. A prominent figure is the old father who poses for historical characters, usually a hoary-headed veteran with long, flowing white beard, which came in handy for Biblical scenes. At intervals art students passing in or out stop to exchange a few words with friends among the female models, with whom a number are on good terms. A little wine shop opposite, run by "le père Phillipe," prospered greatly, a noisy crowd of revelers from some studio or other looking in from time to time in order to make some newcomer pay his footing. The ensuing feast was graduated according to the amount of cash available, and the general note.

Formerly curious types used to be found among the students, some of whom spent such money as they had without thought for the morrow. Such a one was the youthful painter who, whenever he found himself without a sou, would, in a fit of despair, go to his lodgings, make his will, leaving most of his immortal works to his English aunt, go to bed, and calmly await death by starvation. In the end his friends, after hunting for him all over the Quartier, would run him to ground and help him to inform his aunt, who generally sent a remittance after which the spendthrift would again resume his normal existence!

Much has been written of the gaiety and good-nature prevalent in Parisian studios. In real life, however, the pranks and jokes played by Art students would be little to the taste of the average Briton to whom much of "the fun" would appear coarse and vulgar. The advent of a new female model is in some studios the occasion for a great deal of rough chaff, the girl, after she has taken off her clothes, being mobbed by a crowd of students who frankly criticize her figure as if she were made of stone or clay. At some art classes, after she had mounted the platform, students try to make her assume ludicrous and even indecent positions the nature of which she does not understand.

Rough scenes sometimes occurred in ateliers to which an unpopular newcomer had managed to intrude. There was a case where an especially unpopular novice was stripped, covered with paint, crammed into a hamper and deposited in the early hours of the morning on the Pont Neuf where, trussed up like a fowl, he remained till an agent having liberated him sent him home in a fiacre.

Mr. Shirley Fox, R.B.A., who worked in the studio of Gérome, has given an animated description of the way novices were treated forty years ago (in Reminiscences of An Art Student's Life in Paris in the 'eighties'). "After having paid their footing they not unnaturally hoped to escape further molestation but such an idea was quickly dispelled. No Sooner," says he, "had the model got down from the table than we were immediately surrounded, and any idea we may have had of sneaking quietly out into the corridor, there, if possible, to remain unnoticed, were completely frustrated. It was decreed that we were to fight duels with paint, which was a very favorite method of initiating newcomers, and most popular among the spectators if not so much relished by the principals concerned. The idea of being copiously besmeared with either Prussian blue or vermilion, which were the colors usually served out to the combatants, did not appeal to me a little bit, so I determined, if possible, to avoid such a result. When we five were ordered to remove our clothing and make ready for the fray, I managed, by a little judicious cunning, to take as long in removing my garments as possible. To have attempted altogether to evade the ordeal would have been, to say the least, unwise, and was not to be thought of; but, by getting in trouble with an obstinate bootlace and other such little devices, I so contrived as to be the last one undressed. The two first ready, who had been extra smart, were now invited to mount the model's table, and each having been armed with a large brush, containing blue and red paint respectively, were instructed to fall to. This they did at first in a very tentative and half-hearted manner, but by a skillful shove from 'the wings' they were brought unwillingly to close quarters, and, one of them having received a large dab of blue in the process, responded by planting a dab of red on the other's chest. This warmed them up a bit, and they set about each other in hearty fashion. This put the spectators in high good humor, and they roared their encouragements to one or the other till the din was deafening. When the two warriors were sufficiently adorned with paint to satisfy public opinion they were allowed to descend, one looking as if recently escaped from a slaughterhouse, the other much like an early Briton in his coat of woad. 'Another two up' was the next order, and I, being still not quite ready, was able to avoid the summons, and watch my two other friends take the floor. They, too, had their little bout, and were soon fairly well decorated with paint. But now the ten minutes' rest was up, and those who wished to get on with their work began to yell 'Enough,' 'Get down, can't you?' etc. Nothing loath, they quickly did so, and I began to have some hope of escaping further attention. But this was not to be. Although pretty small I had not been overlooked, and loud were the yells that I must not be allowed to escape. Fortunately, there was no one left for me to fence with, so my final instructions were to get up on the table and sing. The first part of these injunctions was promptly obeyed, and I was just considering what it were best to try and sing when the working section once more began to make itself loudly heard. 'Get down, you imbecile, can't you?' some one roared. "No! let him sing,' insisted the rowdy brigade. So faction raged round me, and I stood there awaiting a definite decision. To sing would have been an utter farce in the pandemonium which was going on. Some one at last shouted to the model to get up at once and never mind me. This she did, and, as I dared not get down, there stood the pair of us, as nature made us, side by side. The situation was full of possibilities for the practical jokers, so we were ordered to 'pose groups' by the noisy ones, despite the protests of those who wished to work. The model entered cheerfully into the spirit of the thing, and for some minutes we were kept at it, doing our best to render various subjects that were suggested. By this time I was getting used to my novel position, and feeling quite happy once more. However, at last every one had had enough of it, and I, too, was allowed to depart and join the others, whom I found over by the brush-washing sink doing their best, with rags and turpentine, to remove the traces of their recent combat. They greeted me with reproaches for being a sneak in having escaped the painting ordeal, one of them actually proposing that I should then and there be painted by themselves, but this uncharitable suggestion was fortunately not carried out. That such a suggestion should even have been made shows how rapidly our spirits had risen once our troubles were over."

Outside as well as inside the studios the Art student is apt to be mischievous. He is especially fond of playing tricks upon people he does not like as an old lady who lived beneath a certain atelier in the 'eighties' found out. Happening to have annoyed the students above by prying about, some of them fished up her pet goldfish out of the aquarium on her window sill, and fried them on the atelier stove, after which they laid them neatly on a plate garnished with carrots and put them back in the window. Swearing vengeance she called in the police, but of course they could not bring the goldfish back to life. On another occasion the students fished up her parrot in its cage, and having killed it had it stuffed by a taxidermist. The cage was then lowered to its usual place with the door left ajar. The old woman feeling sure that her pet had escaped and would some day return to her left the door of the cage open for days and sure enough one fine morning there was her pet back again on his perch. In vain, however, did she call to him: no answer came, the parrot simply stood on his wired legs and fixed his glassy eyes on his mistress
— while the young ruffians above looked out of their windows and reveled in the scene.

In the 'eighties,' sending in day at the Salon of the Société des Artists Français was generally rather an exciting time for art students. Pictures were then received on March the fifteenth, a few days before the date on which the celebrated chestnut tree in the Tuileries Gardens known as "le marronnier du vingt mars" is supposed to be in leaf. This tradition it is said, arose from the fact that this particular tree happened to be in bloom on the day of Napoleon's entry into the Tuileries on his return from Elba. Curiously enough, the tree in question was usually in leaf before its neighbors, or at least people declared this was the case. Pictures for the exhibition were then received at the northern entrance of the old Palais de l'Industrie up to 6 p.m., and long before that hour a large crowd of art students, and their friends, might be seen outside the doors, outside which a stream of all sorts of vehicles were constantly stopping. Huge furniture vans carrying large frames and canvases alternated with green-grocer's carts and small hand barrows, while struggling porters with large pictures strapped securely to their backs, fought their way through the crowd. When fiacres drove up, those containing artists conveying their own works were received with cheers and chaff from their friends, for which reason they rushed through the crowd as quickly as they could. This was all very well as regards male artists but very embarrassing for ladies who, when they drove up, were at once surrounded by enterprising individuals who, proffering offers of assistance, would occasionally go so far as to snatch exhibits out of their hands, and a pretty woman often had to put up with rather unpleasant jokes and compliments before being able to escape her persecutors. Things sometimes got so bad that the police would make a charge, and a general scuffle would ensue. When this was the case someone generally got arrested and was marched off to the police station near at hand, escorted by a large and noisy party of sympathizers. Once inside the walls of the poste de police, matters soon quieted down however, the prisoners being rarely subjected to any severe penalty. As a matter of fact, they were usually kept in confinement until six o'clock had struck, and then sent about their business.

In the 'eighties' the tradition of Murger's day had pretty well disappeared; the students, however, remained ardent admirers of the fair sex.

Though life in the Quartier Latin during the 'forties' was a good deal idealized in the literature of that day, it seems pretty certain that there was more romance about it than in later years. A tinge of refined domesticity pervades the pages of La Vie de Bohème, but the loves of the modern student of later days are often merely rather indigent representatives of the sisterhood to be found in certain night resorts on the other side of the Seine.

In the 'eighties' when the Rue Saint-André-des Arts contained a number of brasseries with women waitresses, bands of students used occasionally to appear, who, by way of celebrating triumphs at examinations, or a windfall by which one of their number had benefited, indulged in all sorts of extravagances, pulling the girls about and not infrequently frightening the poor things by their wild doings. In those days when a certain number of students had money, it was not unusual for champagne to be called for, a glass of two of which was poured down a girl's neck for luck. Far worse brutalities than this were not unknown, for a young Frenchman when excited is apt to manifest some of the rougher tendencies of the primitive Gaul. Far worse in this respect, however, was the behavior of certain wealthy Argentines, one of whom by a lavish expenditure of cash got the six girls attached to a certain establishment to enter a huge bathing tub filled with champagne, while he and his boon companions caroused close by. In justice to the South Americans, numgers of whom now visit Paris, it should be added that since those days the manners of these visitors from the other side of the Atlantic have generally softened. Such a scene as the one described above would be very unlikely to take place at the present day.

Among the numerous brasseries which exist, or have existed, in the Quartier Latin, may be mentioned the Petit Sénat, started by a good natured young woman called Marinette, who ruined herself by giving too long credit, the Grand Sénat, where the waitresses were supposed to be Spanish, the Café Delphine, where the dandies of the left bank were wont to play all sorts of tricks and Cochon Fidèle in the Rue Cordier, where there was a small museum of a rather improper kind. The Café Huber attained a certain celebrity because in the years before the war a hundred bocks would be obtained there at a cost of twenty francs. La Clinique was a sort of medical brasserie, where a man did juggling tricks with tibias. An old resort was the Café Cordier, the proprietor of which renowned for being able to play billiards with his nose. A more Rabelaisian resort was Les Douze-Fesses, a sort of sing-song which took its name from six female singers attached to the establishment. In the Rue Soufflot at one time flourished Le Muller, where the chief attraction was a greasy pole which a number of damsels nightly attempted to climb. In the Rue de la Seine was a café called Le Vieux Quartier Latin, while L'Ile de Calypso at the end of the Rue Dauphine had as its presideing goddess a once famous demi-mondaine who proudly displayed a mass of jewels acquired in the course of a tempestuous career.

A number of old fashioned brasseries had as their principal attraction waitresses often dressed in fantastic costumes, part of whose duties consisted in sitting at the table of anyone who desired female society. For the most part these ladies, as may be imagined, were not of very rigorous morality, indeed at some brasseries they did not pretend to have any at all. Great consternation indeed was caused among the staff of one of the latter kind when the prettiest of the girls announced her intention of taking the veil, a resolve she eventually carried out. Not that this was really astonishing to anyone acquainted with the psychology of the courtesan who, apt to be sentimental, frequently has a penitent heart which draws her closer to religion than many people noted for their austere morality.

The Brasseries des Femmes, which at one period during the end of the last century abounded in Paris, have now pretty well disappeared. "One will only regret these places," wrote a Parisian student of Bohemianism, "once that they have gone," but most people, who remember such resorts, with their waitresses tricked out in tawdry finery, will not regret them at all. To begin with, the costumes in which these women were dressed; Scotch, Tyrolean, Alsatian and the like, were unattractive in the extreme, while the faces and figures of the wearers were apt to be repulsive, the personnel of such establishments, more often than not, having been drawn from the lower class of street walker parading the outer Boulevard. In addition to this such brasseries led to a great many people drinking more than was good for them, the women waitresses being instructed to do everything in their power to make their clients
— students and others — drink an unlimited number of glasses filled with various fiery decoctions charged at an exorbitant price.

At the present day, the coarser resorts which formerly flourished in the Latin Quartier have to a great extent disappeared, the tendency being for the restaurants and cafés to become mere copies of the smart establishments on the other side of the Seine. Cafés given up to billiard playing have increased of late years, while the spontaneous fun which once distinguished certain vanished resorts has given place to commercialized pleasure of a hackneyed type. Just as the grisette has been supplanted by the cocotte, who has a purse instead of a heart, the old fashioned restaurateur, whose clientele of students looked upon him with justice as a personal friend, has given place to a hard-headed business man whose sole idea is to make as much money as he can in the quickest possible time. It is a rare thing in these days to find a man sufficiently interested in literature and art to be content with making a bare livelihood out of his trade. The industrial revolution which has effected such sweeping changes in modern life has not spared the Latin Quarter, though here and there may be found establishments where an artistic proprietor still maintains some of the traditions of the past.

Though the Great War dealt a terrible blow to the literary and artistic cafés of the left bank, they are not all defunct. The Caméléon, for instance, now on the Boulevard Raspail, is the center of a literary and artistic coterie, which is interested in a wide variety of studies. Alexandre Mercereau, with untiring energy, has made this place a sort of academy of an informal kind. At the Closerie de Lilas opposite the Bal Bullier the poet, Paul Fort, has a circle of admirers, while, at the Café de Parnasse and La Boite a Couleurs, cubist and futurist paintings strike strange notes of color on the walls.

To a great extent, however, the literary café of other days has been supplanted by the American Bar, and where long-haired poets were apt to recite verses the jazz band reigns supreme. The Dome and La Rotonde, of course, still exist, but in an altered form, the latter having a grill room and music upstairs. The Café d'Harcourt, once almost entirely a student resort, has assimilated many of the characteristics of the restaurants on the right bank of the Seine. Purely modern resorts are the Jockey, the Dingo and the Gipsy Bar, although artists, writers and sculptors are occasionally to be seen keeping up the Bohemian traditions of the Quartier. As a matter of fact, most of the real workers go little to cafés at the present day, preferring the quiet of their own rooms to the noise, hustle and smoke which are the concomitants of restaurant life at the present day.

The poet Verlaine passed a good deal of his life in the Quartier Latin, where he used to visit various cafés more or less connected with literature and art. One of his haunts used to be the Soleil d'Or, Place St. Michel, which has now changed its name. In an underground room here used to be held the famous Saturday meetings of "La Plume," which the poet made a point of attending. The Café François Ier, now defunct, was another of his haunts where he was sure to find himself in congenial society. At one time Verlaine used to take his meals at the Restaurant de la Huchette, a miserable place, where a portion of meat cost four sous, and of vegetables two. Clients were expected to bring their own bread, and napkins, which were charged extra, were seldom seen. From time to time the poet would make a sensational entry into this easting-house, accompanied by a crowd of well-dressed young people, who stood treat all round. On such occasions a fair amount of money was spent, but when Verlaine came there alone his dinner seldom cost more than a few sous. In former days, it may be added, there had been famous hostelries in the Rue de la Huchette, at one of which the Abbe Prévost is said to have written Manon Lescaut.

Rivalry has always existed between Bohemian cafés, a state of affairs exemplified at the time when a bust of Henri Murger was put up in the Luxembourg Gardens. After the ceremony an official banquet at six francs a head took place at the Café Voltaire, as a protest against which an opposition banquet of real Bohemians at two francs a head took place at the "Procope." Verlaine was too ill to go, but sent a letter warmly congratulating the company upon having arranged that impecunious Bohemians, unable to afford six francs, should be able to do honor as Murger, whose memory really belonged to the Café Procope, which had always been the resort of the author of Le Vie de Bohème and his friends. Verlaine, as a matter of fact, succeeded in restoring a certain amount of prosperity to the last-named café
é, which, after having been a great Bohemian resort, had fallen upon rather evil days. Most of the poet's followers, however, were seldom in a position to spend much money, and the prosperity of the old café, which for many years had been at a very low ebb, was not materially assisted by their patronage, which, nevertheless, delayed the inevitable closing of the café, which only occurred after Verlaine's death.

At one time the proprietor of a small restaurant in the Rue Saint-Jacques
— a man who dabbled in poetry — declaring that the "great Verlaine" should eat only amidst sympathetic surroundings, gave the poet and a few selected friends unlimited credit. Some astounding evenings ensued, but Viravaud, as the poetical host was called, put no check upon the extravagance of the guests whose talents he so greatly admired. The result was that before very long the poor man found himself completely ruined. Verlaine and his associates, who were not ungrateful people, determined to set their benefactor upon his legs, and eventually succeeded in obtaining for him employment of quite a remunerative kind. As for Viravaud, he always declared that he had enjoyed himself so much while his poetic friends were eating and drinking him out of home, that he had nothing to regret.

Le Jardin De Luxembourg
The Quartier Latin has seen many queer characteristics in its day, including a number who have managed to eke out a livelihood by presuming on the good nature of the students. In recent times, one of these social parasites, known as Bibi-la-Pureé, obtained a certain amount of popularity by claiming to have been on terms of friendship with Verlaine. This may or may not have been true, in any case Bibi made a pretty good thing by selling innumerable penholders,  all of which, he declared, had been used by the eccentric poet. The last of the Latin Quarter characters appears to have been an individual known as Le Roi de la Bohème, who, for a long time, when drunk, was allowed to sleep under a staircase in the Maison des Estudiants. By some means or other he became tolerated as a sort of appendage of this institution. He died in 1923, since which time no one has laid claim to succeed him.

First class cooking is not very common in the restaurants frequented by students, who naturally cannot afford to pay the prices charged on the right bank of the Seine, but here and there little cafés may be found the proprietor of which prides himself on providing clients with excellent fare. Not far from Montparnasse station a restaurateur, M. Felix Rochet by name, has an unpretentious little establshment called "Aux bonnes choses," where the food is of a most admirable kind, the proprietor, who comes of a family of hotel-keepers, looking after everything himself, while his wife presides over the kitchen. Adopting the methods of the good old school, M. Rochet often stakes a seat at tables occupied by old clients, with whom he will discuss the merits of several kinds of Armagnac which are to be found in his cellars, or explain the exact methods employed to produce some of the admirable dishes for which his little restaurant has become famous. M. Rochet, it may be added, possesses an interesting library of cookery books, some of which are embellished with very curious engravings. He knows, indeed, as much about the theory as he does of the practice of the culinary art and, conscientious to a degree, does not allow any dish to be served or any bottle of wine to be opened unless he feels sure that he will have no reason to fear hostile criticism from any client who happens to be a real connoisseur.

Dancing has always been popular in the Quartier Latin, the students of which had a great reputation for terpsichorean agility during the first half of the last century, when in the intervals of their studies for the Baccalauréat those with any cash in their pockets joyfully betook themselves to La Chaumière then looked upon as a place of delirious revelry.

                                                        "Messieurs les éstudiants
                                                         S'en vont a la Chaumière,
                                                         Pour danser le Cancan
                                                         Et le Robery Macaire."

What the latter dance was nobody now seems exactly to know, it having long ceased to be danced by the students or anyone else. Its origin, of course, was the popularity of the famous robber of the Auberge des Adrets, a play which in its day had an enormous success.

Besides La Chaumière, which was located on the Boulevard Montparnasse, there were a number of other balls which have long ceased to exist. Among these were the curiously named Bal Champètre des Allées de la Reine Marguerite, Ruse de Seine, Le Bal des Mille Colonnes, 18 Rue de la Gaité, Le Vieux Chêne, Rue Mouffetard, and Le Bal de la Cave, where rag pickers and other poor wretches danced in an underground cellar. There still exists in the Latin Quarter a number of very respectably conducted places where people from various provinces of France indulge in their local dances, old and new, to the appropriate music of each particular region.

A favorite resort of students in the middle of the last century was the Prado, a ball which was really two balls, one, on a higher level than the other, being frequented only by simply dressed grisettes without hats, while the lower ball was reserved for more grandly dressed girls wearing silks and enormous crinolines. Here were to be seen blue-eyed Maria and Colomba of the dusky locks, Pomponette, Pochardinette and other stars of the Quartier Latin. The two classes of ladies never mixed, and the few steps which separated the ballrooms constituted a barrier of an insurmountable kind.

At the Prado numbers of budding barristers and youthful medicos spent the most joyous hours of their life, and there was much sadness among the students when it was pulled down in 1859.

A still existing students' hall is the Bal Bullier in the Rue de l'Observatoire, which, after being closed for some time, re-opened a year or two ago. Originally founded by a Monsieur Bullier, on ground which had once belonged to the Carthusians, it was for a time called "La Closerie des Lilas," a name which has now been appropriated by a café opposite frequented by students interested in literature and art. The reopening of Bullier was warmly welcomed, the hall in question being to Montparnasse, what the Moulin Rouge is to Montmartre.

In March 1924, a Russian ball was given at Bullier's. Though officially advertised as a "Bal Banal," there was nothing banal about this affair, where all classes of society and every nationality and color are represented. It was a truly cosmopolitan gathering with Cupid, St. Peter and every sort of incongruous character rubbing shoulders with one another. The Devil was officially represented and America had more cowboys than is seen in a seven-reel Western film, while every lady of the Latin Quarter over forty wore short skirts
— without any good reason, while the younger ones contented themselves with bizarre interpretations of various historical characters. An Apache declared that her costume was not complete without a banknote in her sock, and she quickly succeeded in getting one from George Washington impersonated by a gentleman from the land of prohibition in hilarious mood.

The great revel of Art students is, of course, the annual Bal des Quat'z' Arts founded in 1981 by Jules Roques, the editor of the very anti-puritanical Courrier Français in collaboration with the architect, Henri Guillaume, the first ball being given at the Elysée Montmartre. Organized entirely by Art students the costumes are usually a reconstitution of some particular epoch
— while a spirited finale takes (or used to take place) in the courtyard of the École des Beaux Arts ending with a wild dance in the early morning.

After the prizes have been awarded, a good deal of champagne is drunk by the excited crowd which, when all is over, rushes into the streets where a regular carnival takes place. In high spirits, cheering and singing, the dancers jump on to every sort of vehicle they can find, intent upon astonishing the bourgeoisie. After one of these balls the crowd having reached the Place du Carrousel, some of the girls, almost nude, perched upon statues and pedestals, posed amidst uproarious cheering to the astonishment of the passers-by. All sorts of extravagant pranks are played after these balls, the police, usually indulgent enough, coming in for a good deal of chaff. An elaborate joke was played on such an occasion some years ago. Along the line of march of the procession of revelers there happened to be two niches with pedestals on which statues were evidently to be placed. The authorities found these on the morning after the ball occupied by two busts
— one representing La Pudeur, and the other representing Monsieur Béranger, the Senator, who had rendered himself so obnoxious to the students by his efforts to rob the Bal des Quat'z' Arts of its characteristic features.

The Bal des Quat'z' Arts it may be added, has always been noted for the modest amount of clothing worn by ladies taking part in it, a number of whom, generally models, are fond of giving impersonations of Eve.

Entrance tickets for the Bal des Quat'z' Arts are not transferable, and should anyone present himself at the portals of the ballroom without the proper credentials he has a poor chance of getting in.

To what atelier do you belong? asks the member of the Committee told off to scrutinize doubtful arrivals. If the answer is satisfactory the would-be reveler is directed to the left and finds himself in the street with no hope of enjoying an entrancing evening.

In the great days of the Bal des Quat'z' Arts special and private instructions used to be sent to the different ateliers some days before. The following is a specimen:

                                        BAL DES QUAT'Z' ARTS
                                                Moulin Rouge, 21 April 1899.
                                Doors open at 10 p.m. and closed at midnight.

    The card of admission is absolutely personal, to be returned to the Committee before the opening of the ball.

    The Committee will be masked, and comrades without their personal card will be refused at the door. The cards must carry the name and quality of the artist, and bear the stamp of his atelier.

    Costumes are absolutely necessary. Uniform
— the black or colored dress suit, the monk's robe, the workman's blouse and other nauseous types, are absolutely prohibited.

    Should the weather be bad, comrades are asked to wait in their carriages, as the committee of management cannot, under any pretext, risk spoiling the artistic effect of the ball during any confusion that might ensue.

    A great banquet will take place in the grand hall; the buffet will serve as usual suppers for one and baskets for two persons.

    The Committee wish especially to call the attention of their comrades to the question of ladies, whose cards of admission must be delivered as soon as possible, so as to increase their attendance
  — always insufficient.

    Prizes (in the form of champagne) will be distributed themselves by the artistic merit and beauty of their female display.
——


    All the women who compete for these prizes will be assembled on the grand staircase, before the orchestra. The nude, as always is PROHIBITED!

    The question of music at the head of the procession is of the greatest importance, and those comrades who are musical will please give their names to the delegates of the ateliers. Your goodwill in this line is requested
— any         musical gifts, however worthless, will do, as the same tune "Les Pompiers" is always played!
                                                                                                                                       THE COMMITTEE (1899).

Though nudity is in theory strictly forbidden at the ball the question of "dress or no dress" in 1893 led to very serious riots. M. Béranger, the well known Parisian social reformer, whose moralizing zeal was anything but popular with the Parisians, having directed his attention to the Bal des Quat'z' Arts after hearing evidence, took exception to the ladies who attended it wearing so little in the way of costume. Mr. Lozé, then Prefect of Police, in consequence of this, announced his intention of suppressing, or at least modifying, the character of the ball, and in due course brought a charge against its organizers and several models, an unwise interference with the time honored privileges of the students which resulted in several of the latter being sentenced to a short term of imprisonment and fined a hundred francs each. Though the sentences in question were eventually remitted, the majority of the students, being very much incensed, one warm night in June held a mass meeting in the Place de la Sorbonne. A strong force of police held in readiness to stop any disturbance, in the beginning of the evening kept the crowd under control. Eventually, however, a great mass of students gathered in front of the Café d'Harcourt, opposite the Sorbonne and things soon became very likely. A row ensued, during which somebody picked up a heavy stone match box from a café table and threw it at one of the policemen, who in his excitement hurled it back into the crowd, with the result that a student who had had nothing to do with the rioting was so badly hurt that he shortly afterwards died.

This naturally aroused much feeling in the Latin Quarter, and on the Monday following another mass meeting was held in the Place de la Sorbonne, the students subsequently marching in a body to the Chamber of Deputies, crying a "Conspuez Depuy," the latter then being President of the Chamber. Meanwhile some deputies having shown themselves on the Terrace and surveyed the demonstration curses were howled at them, while a number of the students' leaders attempted to climb over the high railing in order to assault the representatives of the people, shouting out the while that the police would be held responsible for the murder of the student. Perceiving that matters were becoming serious and fearing further trouble the authorities, in order to avoid more rioting on the day of the victim's funeral, misled the public as to the hour when the event in question would take place, a piece of trickery which so infuriated the students that things got worse than ever. By the afternoon of the next day indeed the Quartier Latin was in a state of siege, a mob of students tearing up the pavement in the Rue Jacob and erecting barricades near the hospital where their ill-fated comrade had died. The same thing took place in at the Place St. Germain des Prés, where even more formidable barricades were thrown up consisting of overturned omnibuses, tramcars and wrecked newspaper kiosks. Meanwhile the students smashed everything they could lay their hands on, showing fierce indignation against the authorities whom most people blamed for ever having interfered with the Bal des Quat'z' Arts at all. In the end no less than 30,000 troops had to be called out, and after three days succeeded in restoring order, though for some time later the Latin Quarter continued to be patrolled.

A curious incident resulted from all this rioting, in the course of which some students found a girl-child, apparently a couple of weeks old, wrapped in a blanket without any marks to disclose the little creature's identity. The baby was pretty; it was also helpless and homeless. The students had found her close to the Sorbonne on the day of St. Lucy, and they adopted her and christened her Lucie "Bagarre," which word signifies a riot.

The French, unlike the modern English, are very jealous about maintaining personal liberty, and the attempts of Monsieur Béranger to suppress the Bal des Quat'z' Arts only resulted in the loss of a life and the destruction of much property, the ball next year being held as before. In recent years, however, some efforts have, I believe, been made to make ladies taking part in the ball wear more ample costumes, while dancing in the streets in the early morning has been prohibited. Nothing much, however, has come of all this, things going on much as before. The authorities, indeed, mindful of past experiences, have no wish to find themselves confronted by a repetition of the scenes which occurred in 1893.

The Bal de l'Internat organized by medical students in a revel of much the same character as the Bal des Quat'z' Arts, there being in the matter of costume not a stitch between the two, nor does the study of medicine seem to have a more sobering effect than the study of Art. The cards of invitation to the ball held at Bullier's in 1926 stipulated that old fashioned costumes should be worn, a condition which some of the female guests interpreted as meaning breast plates and a fig leaf so fashionable in the Garden of Eden.  The youthful doctors, after showing great energy in the ballroom after the old student fashion, made a descent upon the Boulevard St. Michael or "Boul Mich'." Here they raided the cafés and marched about in single file kicking up, as the phrase goes, no end of a row. One of these monômes, as such processions are called, nearly got into serious trouble, its members, in a highly excited mood, trying to hold up a motor bus and kidnap the conductor. The latter, who presumably was a new arrival in Paris and unused to the little ways of the Latin Quarter, did not take the attempted abduction in good part. Drawing a pistol from his pocket he fired several shots in the air, screamed for the police and would not be persuaded to enter into the fun.  An agent quickly arriving upon the scene managed to calm the man down, after which he told the students to be off or else they would get into serious trouble. As a result of this affair it is said that in future the budding medicos will have to restrict their nocturnal pranks to the ballroom alone, the authorities having warned them not to end their annual revel in the open streets.



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