Sunday, 28th May: The investment of Belleville complete.
Monday, 29th May: Six. p.m., the federal garrison of the fortress of Vincennes surrendered at discretion.
Henri Rochefort, personal enemy of the Empire, republican humourist of the Marseillaise, and the lukewarm socialist of the Mot d’Ordre, who could answer to the judge who demanded his name, “I am Henri Rochefort, Comte de Lucey,” has been reproached by some with his titles of nobility, and with the childish pleasure that he takes in affecting the plebeian. It is said of him that he aspires but to descend, but who would condemn him for spurning the petrifactions of the Faubourg Saint-Germain? A man must march with the times.
Rochefort has distinguished himself among the young men by the marvellous tact that he has shown in discovering the way to popular favour. If I were allowed to compare a marquis to one of the canine species, I should say that he has a keen scent for popularity; but one must respect rank in a period like ours, when we may go to sleep to the shouts of the canaille, and awake to the melodious sounds of “Vive Henri V!” “Long live the King!”
Born in January, 1830, Henri Rochefort was the son of a marquis, although his father, lately dead, was a vaudevilliste and his mother a patissere. From such a fusion might have emanated odd tastes, such as preferring truffles to potatoes, but putting the knife into requisition whilst eating green peas. But in his case Mother Nature had intermingled elements so cleverly that Rochefort could be republican and royalist, catholic and atheist, without being accused for all that of being a political weathercock.
As a writer of drollery and scandal in the Charivari, would it have been well if he had used his title as a badge? Later, when contributing to the Nain Jaune, the Soleil, the Evenement, and the Figaro, when everyone would have been enchanted to call him mon cher Comte, he never displayed his rank, except when on the ground, face to face with the sword or pistol of Prince Achille Murat or Paul de Cassagnac.
A frequenter of cafes, living fast, bitter with journalists, hail-fellow with comedians, he lavished his wit for the benefit of minor theatres, and expended the exuberance of his patrician blood in comic odes. Dispensing thus some of his strength in such pieces as the Vieillesse de Brididi, the Foire aux Grotesques, and Un Monsieur Bien-Mis, in 1868 he founded the Lanterne, and thenceforth became the most ardent champion of the revolutionary party; and in the brilliant articles we all know, he cast its light on the follies of others under the pretext that they were his own. This satirical production reached the eleventh number, when its author,