Horace Vernet has been blessed with but one child, a daughter, who married Paul Delaroche, a distinguished artist. This only child died in 1846.
In the later revolutions which have passed over France, Vernet has not participated. He has lived only in his profession and among his personal friends. He resided for years at Versailles, where he had a splendid mansion, but he removed to Paris a few years since. He is one of the greatest of modern artists, and is revered as an honor to the nation.
[Illustration: EMILE DE GIRARDIN.]
Girardin has been for so many years one of the leading minds of Paris, has been so distinguished as a journalist, that I have thought a slight sketch of his life and character would be acceptable to my readers.
It is said that he never knew the day of his birth, but it occurred in the year 1802. He does not appear to be as old as he in reality is, for his forehead is unwrinkled, his eye sparkles with a fascinating fire, and his hair is not gray. He carries almost always an eye-glass, which gives him the reputation—undeserved—of impertinence. His manners are those of a gentleman of the most refined cast, and, as editor of La Presse, he has long wielded a powerful influence over a class of minds.
Girardin was the illegitimate child of a count of the empire; his mother, taking advantage of the absence of her husband from France, conducted herself in a shameful manner with her lovers, and before her husband had returned, she had presented one of them with the subject of this sketch. Many scandalous stories have been coined by the enemies of Girardin respecting his birth, but the facts we have stated are undeniable. He was placed out at nurse with a woman named Choiseul, who took illegitimate children to the number of ten, from the wealthy and high-born, to care for and nurse. Had it not been for the shrewdness of this old nurse, Girardin would never have known his parents. For a time they came to see their child, in stolen visits, but gradually their visits died away, and were finally given up altogether. But the nurse in her walks about the streets met and recognized the familiar faces of the parents, and ascertained their condition in life.
The father was at this time unmarried, but at the instigation of his master, Napoleon, he wedded a young wife, and soon neglected his illegitimate child. Fearing that his wife would discover his secret, and take revenge upon him, he had the boy secretly removed to the care of an old servant of his, who was furnished with the means to take care of him and teach him all he knew himself, which was but little. He was strictly enjoined to call the child Emile Delamothe. This occurred in 1814. The father now thought that he had acquitted himself of his duty to the boy, and cared no more for him. But he was not blessed in his union—he had no legitimate children.