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Bohemians of the Latin Quarter   By: (1822-1861)

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Vizetelly & Co. London


Preface Chapter I, How The Bohemian Club Was Formed Chapter II, A Good Angel Chapter III, Lenten Loves Chapter IV, Ali Rodolphe; Or, The Turk Perforce Chapter V, The Carlovingian Coin Chapter VI, Mademoiselle Musette Chapter VII, The Billows of Pactolus Chapter VIII, The Cost Of a Five Franc Piece Chapter IX, The White Violets Chapter X, The Cape of Storms Chapter XI, A Bohemian Cafe Chapter XII, A Bohemian "At Home" Chapter XIII, The House Warming Chapter XIV, Mademoiselle Mimi Chapter XV, Donec Gratus Chapter XVI, The Passage of the Red Sea Chapter XVII, The Toilette of the Graces Chapter XVIII, Francine's Muff Chapter XIX, Musette's Fancies Chapter XX, Mimi in Fine Feather Chapter XXI, Romeo and Juliet Chapter XXII, Epilogue To The Loves Of Rodolphe And Mademoiselle Mimi Chapter XXIII, Youth Is Fleeting


The Bohemians of whom it is a question in this book have no connection with the Bohemians whom melodramatists have rendered synonymous with robbers and assassins. Neither are they recruited from among the dancing bear leaders, sword swallowers, gilt watch guard vendors, street lottery keepers and a thousand other vague and mysterious professionals whose main business is to have no business at all, and who are always ready to turn their hands to anything except good.

The class of Bohemians referred to in this book are not a race of today, they have existed in all climes and ages, and can claim an illustrious descent. In ancient Greece, to go no farther back in this genealogy, there existed a celebrated Bohemian, who lived from hand to mouth round the fertile country of Ionia, eating the bread of charity, and halting in the evening to tune beside some hospitable hearth the harmonious lyre that had sung the loves of Helen and the fall of Troy. Descending the steps of time modern Bohemia finds ancestors at every artistic and literary epoch. In the Middle Ages it perpetuates the Homeric tradition with its minstrels and ballad makers, the children of the gay science, all the melodious vagabonds of Touraine, all the errant songsters who, with the beggar's wallet and the trouvere's harp slung at their backs, traversed, singing as they went, the plains of the beautiful land where the eglantine of Clemence Isaure flourished.

At the transitional period between the days of chivalry and the dawn of the Renaissance, Bohemia continued to stroll along all the highways of the kingdom, and already to some extent about the streets of Paris. There is Master Pierre Gringoire, friend of the vagrants and foe to fasting. Lean and famished as a man whose very existence is one long Lent, he lounges about the town, his nose in the air like a pointer's, sniffing the odor from kitchen and cook shop. His eyes glittering with covetous gluttony cause the hams hung outside the pork butcher's to shrink by merely looking at them, whilst he jingles in imagination alas! and not in his pockets the ten crowns promised him by the echevins in payment of the pious and devout fare he has composed for the theater in the hall of the Palais de Justice. Beside the doleful and melancholy figure of the lover of Esmeralda, the chronicles of Bohemia can evoke a companion of less ascetic humor and more cheerful face Master Fran├žois Villon, par excellence, is this latter, and one whose poetry, full of imagination, is no doubt on account of those presentiments which the ancients attributed to their fates, continually marked by a singular foreboding of the gallows, on which the said Villon one day nearly swung in a hempen collar for having looked too closely at the color of the king's crowns. This same Villon, who more than once outran the watch started in his pursuit, this noisy guest at the dens of the Rue Pierre Lescot, this spunger at the court of the Duke of Egypt, this Salvator Rosa of poesy, has strung together elegies the heartbreaking sentiment and truthful accents of which move the most pitiless and make them forget the ruffian, the vagabond and the debauchee, before this muse drowned in her own tears... Continue reading book >>

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