Up to 1886 the name of General Boulanger commands no place upon the page of history. After that year it was scattered broadcast. For four years it was as familiar in the civilized world as that of Bismarck.

A new word was coined in 1886 to meet a want which the general's importance had created. That word was boulangisme, though it would be hard to give it a definition in the dictionary. We can only say that it meant whatever General Boulanger might be pleased to attempt.

George Ernest Jean Marie Boulanger was born in the town of Rennes, in Brittany, in 1837.[1] His father had been a lawyer, and was head of an insurance company. He spent the latter days of his life at Ville-d'Avray, near Paris; and as he did not die till 1884, he lived to see his son a highly considered French officer, though he had not then given promise of being a popular hero and a world-famous man. General Boulanger's mother was named Griffith; she was a lady belonging apparently to the upper middle class in Wales. She had a great admiration for George Washington, and the future French hero received one of his names from the American "father of his country." In his boyhood Boulanger was always called George; but when he came of age he preferred to call himself Ernest, which is the baptismal name by which he is generally known.

[Footnote 1: Turner, Life of Boulanger.]

In 1851 his parents took him to England to the Great Exhibition. He afterwards passed some months with his maternal relatives at Brighton, and was sent to school there; but he had such fierce quarrels with the English boys in defence of his nationality that the experiment of an English education did not answer. At the age of seventeen he was admitted to the French military school at Saint-Cyr, and two years later was in Algeria, as a second lieutenant in a regiment of Turcos. His experiences in Africa were of the kind usual in savage warfare; but he became a favorite with his men, whom he cared for throughout his career with much of that fatherly interest which distinguished the Russian hero, General Skobeleff. -

When the war with Italy broke out, in 1859, Boulanger and his Turcos took part in it. He was severely wounded in his first engagement, and lay long in the hospital, attended by his mother. He received, however, three decorations for his conduct in this campaign, in which he was thrice wounded. On the last occasion, as he lay in hospital, he received a visit of sympathy from the Empress Eugenie, then in the very zenith of her beauty and prosperity.

Boulanger's next service was in Tonquin, where on one occasion he fought side by side with the Spaniards, and received a fourth decoration, that of Isabella the Catholic.

He was next assigned to home duty at Saint-Cyr; and when the terrible war of 1870 broke out, and all the cadets were drafted into the army as officers, he was made major of a regiment, which was at Mezieres, on the Belgian frontier, when MacMahon and the emperor surrendered at Sedan. Boulanger and his command escaped with Vinoy's troops from the disaster, and got back to Paris, where he kept his men in better order during the siege than any other officer. They took part in the sortie made to join Chanzy's Army of the Loire, in November, 1870, and in a skirmish with the Prussians he was again badly wounded. When the Prussian army entered Paris on March 5, 1871, Boulanger and the regiment under his command had the unpleasant duty of guarding the streets along their line of march to insure them a safe passage.

In 1874 when thirty-seven years of age, Boulanger was a colonel, with the breast of his uniform covered with decorations; but he had taken no part whatever in politics, and was not known to have any political views, save that he called himself a fervent Republican, and personally resented any aristocratic assumptions on the part of inferior officers.

In 1881 he was sent by the French Government to the United States, in company with the descendants of Lafayette and Rochambeau, to attend the Yorktown celebration. Amongst all the French delegation Boulanger was distinguished by his handsome person and agreeable manners, while his knowledge of English made him everywhere popular. He was already married to his cousin, Mademoiselle Renouard, and had two little daughters, Helene and Marcelle.

When the Minister of War gave Boulanger his appointment on the mission to Yorktown, he cautioned him that he must not shock the quiet tastes of American republicans by wearing too brilliant uniforms. Fortunately Colonel Boulanger did not accept the hint, and on all public occasions during his visit to this country he attracted the admiration of reporters and spectators as the handsomest man in the French group, wearing the most showy uniform, with the greatest number of glittering decorations. He was tall, with handsome auburn beard and hair, and very regular features. Even in caricatures the artist has been obliged to represent him as very handsome.

After his return to France, Boulanger was sent to Tunis, - a State recently annexed by the French, who were jealous of the power acquired by Great Britain on the southern shores of the Mediterranean by her protectorate in Egypt. Here Boulanger's desire to conduct things in a military way led to disputes with the civil authorities, and he returned to France in 1885, where M. de Freycinet, then head of a new Cabinet, made him Minister of War. He at once set to work to reform the army. He told his countrymen that if they ever hoped to take revenge upon the Germans (or rather revanche; for the words do not mean precisely the same thing), they must have their army in a much better state of preparation than it was in 1870. Instantly a cry arose in France that General Boulanger was the man who sought a war with Germany, and who would lead French armies to the reconquest of Alsace and Lorraine. The French peasantry have never been able to accept the loss of Alsace and Lorraine as an accomplished fact; they look on the retention of those provinces by the Germans as a temporary arrangement until France can at the right moment wrest them out of her powerful rival's hand.

Boulanger's popularity rose to fever-heat. The Boulanger March, with its song, "En revenant de la revue," was played and sung in all the cafes chantants of Paris. The general rode a black horse as handsome as himself. Some one has said, "As a political factor, Boulanger was born of a horse and a song."

In 1886 he advocated the exile of the Orleans princes and the erasure of the Duc d'Aumale's name from the list of French generals. For this he was reproached with ingratitude to the duke, who had once been his commanding officer. His own letter of thanks for kindness, favors, and patronage was produced, and Boulanger could only defend himself by pronouncing it a forgery.

He made many changes in army regulations, which increased his popularity with the army. One was all order to the men to wear their beards, and as in the French army soldiers had always been obliged to shave except when on active service, this was interpreted, in the excited state of public feeling, into an intimation of the probability of a speedy declaration of war. As War Minister, the general also extended the time when soldiers on leave might stay out at night, and relieved them from much of the heavy weight that on the march they had had to carry. He broke up certain semi-aristocratic clubs in the regiments which controlled army opinion, and gave more weight to the sentiments of the sub-officers.

But before long the Ministry, in which he represented the War Department, came to an end, - as, indeed, appears to have been the fate of all the ministries under the administration of M. Grevy. No policy, no reforms, could be carried out under such frequent changes. The popular cry was that the popular favorite must retain his portfolio as War Minister in the new Cabinet; and this occasioned considerable difficulty. The general had begun to be feared as a possible dictator. His popularity was immense; but what his place might be in politics no one could precisely tell. That he was the idol of the nation was certain; but was he a Radical of the Belleville type, or a forthcoming Napoleon Bonaparte, - an Imperialist on his own account, or a Jacobin?

The fall of the second Ministry in which he served put him out of office, and the War Minister who succeeded him proceeded to bid for popularity by fresh reforms, which the Radical Deputies thought might be acceptable to the people. Those who deal with the French peasant should never lose sight of the fact that the peace and prosperity of himself and of his household stand foremost in his eyes. The Frenchman, as we depict him in imagination or in fiction, is as far as possible from the French peasant. If ideas contrary to his selfish interests ever make their way into his mind, they are due to the leaven of old French soldiers scattered through the villages. So when the new Minister of War proposed, and the Chamber of Deputies passed, an ordinance that made it illegal to buy a substitute, and required every Frenchman, from eighteen to twenty-one years of age, to serve in the army, the peasant found small consolation for the loss of his sons' services in the thought that the son of a duke must serve as well as the son of a laborer. Boulanger had introduced no such measure. "Vive le General Boulanger!"

Another measure, passed about the same time, brought great trouble into families. It was a law making education compulsory, and was loaded with vexatious and arbitrary regulations. Every child privately educated had to pass, semi-annually, a strict examination before certain village authorities. This gave rise in families to all sorts of tribulations. France is not exactly a land of liberty; personal liberty is sacrificed to efforts to enforce equality.

General Boulanger after his loss of office was given the command of the Thirteenth Army Corps, and was sent into a sort of exile at its headquarters at Clermont-Ferrand. At the railroad-station in Paris a great crowd awaited him on the day of his departure. It broke down the barriers, and delayed in-coming and out-going trains, as it pressed around him. At first the general seemed pleased by this evidence of his popularity; then he began to feel the truth of what a friend whispered to him, "These twenty thousand men will make you forty thousand enemies," and he grew embarrassed and annoyed by the demonstration. Finally he mounted a locomotive, and made a brief speech to the people; then the train steamed out of the station.

The exile of the general to Clermont-Ferrand, and the harsh measures taken against him by the man who succeeded him in the War Office, caused his popularity with the populace daily to increase. He was felt to be a power in the State, and this, when he perceived it, awakened his ambition.

In November, 1887, when all parties in France were anticipating the resignation of M. Grevy after the exposure of his son-in-law, the majority of Frenchmen, outside the Chamber of Deputies, dreaded the election of M. Jules Ferry to his place, and prophesied that it would be the signal for another civil war. This was the opinion held (rightly or wrongly) by M. Grevy himself, by General Boulanger, and by the Comte de Paris. By the last day of November, when it seemed impossible for M. Grevy to retain office, because no leader of influence in the Chamber would help him to form a ministry, Boulanger, who had come up to Paris, met a small party of his friends, including M. Clemenceau, leader of the Radical party, and Rochefort, the leader of the Radical press, at dinner at the house of M. and Madame Laguerre.[1] M. Laguerre was a deputy who supported Boulanger in the Chamber against his enemies. Two gentlemen present had that afternoon seen M. Grevy, who had implored them to find some leader who would form a ministry; already had M. Clemenceau been thought of, but he was undecided. It was evident that if he would secure the out-of-doors support of Boulanger's popularity, his ministry must include Boulanger. It seemed equally certain that if it did so, it would be beset by enemies in the Chamber. In the midst of a heated discussion on the subject, General Boulanger about midnight was mysteriously called away.

[Footnote 1: See "Les Coulisses du Boulangisme," published in "Figaro," and attributed to M. Mermieux.]

The person who summoned him was the editor of the "Cocarde," the Boulangist newspaper, who had been sounded that afternoon by an agent of the Comte de Paris to know if it were probable that Boulanger would join the Monarchists to defeat the chances of Jules Ferry. The party of the Comte de Paris had recently gathered strength both by the death of the Comte de Chambord and that of the Prince Imperial. But it was also divided. There were those who called themselves of the old school, who held to the high-minded traditions which had caused M. Thiers to say to one of them in 1871, "You are of all parties the most honest, - I do not say the most intelligent, but the most honest;" and the men of the new school, - men of the close of the century, as they called themselves, - who thought all means good that led to a good end, and were for energetic action. To this party belonged the Comtesse de Paris, daughter of the Duc de Montpensier and of the Infanta Luisa of Spain. She had been known to say emphatically: "I don't like people who are always going to do something to-morrow, - like the Comte de Chambord; such princes die in exile."

The Duc d'Aumale, on the contrary, despised crooked ways; and the hope of an intrigue or alliance with General Boulanger was not named to him by his nephew, especially as there was good reason to think he would never have consented to make a useful instrument of the man who had so ill-treated him when Minister of War.

The idea, however, had suddenly presented itself to the agents of the Comte de Paris (if it had not been previously suggested to him) that General Boulanger might be won over to play the part of General Monk, or failing this, that he might not be unwilling to ally himself with the Monarchists to defeat the election of M. Ferry.

It was to hold an interview with the gentleman who represented the cause of the Comte de Paris that Boulanger was summoned from the conference going on at M. Laguerre's.

The Royalist agent proposed that M. Grevy should be retained as president, and promised that his party in the Chamber would support any ministry which should include General Boulanger, and of which he should be virtually the head. In return, Boulanger was to give his support to an appeal to the people, to see what form of government France would prefer. It was added that if Boulanger were Minister of War, he could do what he pleased with the army; and thus France, well managed, might change from a republic to a monarchy by the will of the people and without civil war.

The general listened quietly to these suggestions. "There is nothing you could ask that would be too much to reward the services you would render to our country," said the agent of the Royalists; "and remember that the highest fortunes under a Republic are the most unstable. Give us your word to do what we ask, and then at least M. Ferry will never be president." "I give you my word," said Boulanger. But the other then suggested that so important an arrangement must be ratified by some person higher in the confidence of the Comte de Paris than himself; and he went in haste for the Baron de Makau. That gentleman showed General Boulanger a letter from the Comte de Paris, giving him full powers as his representative. The general was to support the proposal for a popular vote for or against the restoration of monarchy, and to use his influence with the people in its favor. If monarchy were restored, he was to be made head of the army. After a long conversation the general departed, promising to sound the chiefs of the Radicals, and ascertain which of them would be most available to carry out the plan.

But to his friend the editor of the "Cocarde," who seemed alarmed at the extent of his promises, he said, as soon as they were alone together, "I would do anything to avoid civil war and the election of Ferry; but what fools these people must be to put themselves in my power!"

He spoke no more till they returned to the house where they had left the dinner-party. The discussion was going on as before, only M. Clemenceau had made up his mind that he would not undertake to form a ministry, and M. Andrieux had been summoned from his bed to know if he would do so. He expressed his willingness to undertake the task, but said frankly that he could not offer the War Office to General Boulanger. "Anything else, my dear general, you shall have," he said, "and in a few months probably you may have that also; but if you formed part of the Cabinet at first, I could not conciliate the Chamber. You shall be military governor of Paris, - the noblest military post in the world."

But this offer was incompatible with the secret engagements that the general had entered into not an hour before. The conference, therefore, broke up at five in the morning without a decision having been reached.

The next morning the two gentlemen who had been charged by M. Grevy to procure him a prime minister, and if possible a cabinet, reported the failure of their mission. "Then all is over for me," said M. Grevy; "I shall at once send in my resignation."

The resignation was accepted, and greatly to the surprise of the general public, - for already the streets were full of excited citizens, - M. Sadi-Carnot was elected president, almost without discussion, and without disorder. His election put an end to the secret arrangement between Boulanger and the Royalists, and appeared likely to give France a more settled government than it had enjoyed since the Republic came into existence. The Exposition of 1889, too, was at hand, and Paris was very anxious that no political convulsions should frighten away strangers.

The general was deeply hurt by his unpopularity in the Chamber, and by the way in which his former friends had thrown him over; but he still had the mob, the army, and the peasantry for his partisans, nor was he without the sympathy of the Bonapartists.

It was not long before he got into trouble with the War Department for coming to Paris without leave. It had not been usual for a general of division to ask leave of the Minister of War for a brief absence, nor could General Boulanger forget that he himself had been War Minister not many months before.

The general complained bitterly of the way he had been followed up by the police, as if he had been a criminal. "From the time I left the Ministry of War," he said,[1] "I have been spied upon and shadowed like a thief. Even my orderly has been bribed to report facts and falsehoods concerning me. My letters have been opened, and copies of my telegrams lie on every minister's table." He was deprived of his command, and retired from active service.

[Footnote 1: To a reporter for "Figaro."]

This measure, so far from rendering him innocuous to the Opportunist party, brought him into Parliament[2] (as the French Chambers are now called) and increased his popularity. He had been already elected deputy both from the Department of the Aisne and the Department of the Dordogne, - the latter without his proposing himself as a candidate, although he was ineligible, and could not take his seat, since at the time of his election he was an officer of the Government, holding a command. Having now retired into private life, he stood for the Department of Le Nord, where he was received with enthusiasm and elected by an immense majority. From all quarters came telegraphic messages to him from candidates for parliamentary honors, offering to resign their seats in favor of the popular hero. Even Corsica was anxious to have him for her deputy. But it was not only his own election which concerned General Boulanger; he wished to secure the election of his followers. For that purpose election funds were needed, and the alliance with the Royalists was renewed. Whenever a Royalist candidate had a certainty of election, no Boulangist candidate was to contend against him. In other cases the agents of the Comte de Paris were openly to encourage their followers to vote for the nominee of the ally who was to assist the Monarchists to oppose the Government. There would have been great difficulty in raising the money needed for this electoral campaign, had it not been for a lady of high rank, the Duchesse d'Uzes, of unspotted reputation, and of great enthusiasm for the cause of royalty, who poured her whole fortune (over three million francs) into the joint treasury. The alliance between Boulanger and the Royalists was a profound secret. Very few Boulangists suspected that their election expenses were being paid by funds drawn from the purses of the supporters of monarchy.

[Footnote 2: Parliament before this time meant in French history the Provincial Courts, that had chiefly legal functions.]

For more than a year the popularity of "Le brav' General" kept the various ministries that succeeded each other in Paris and their officials all over France, in perpetual anxiety. Boulanger made journeys almost like royal progresses into the Departments. Everywhere crowds cheered him, reporters followed him, his name was in everybody's mouth, his doings filled columns of the newspapers in many languages, and his flower, the carnation, was embroidered on tablecloths and worn in button-holes. All newspapers and reviews seem to have agreed that no man had been so popular in France since the days of the Great Emperor. He liked the position thrust upon him, and accepted gracefully and graciously the adoration he received, - an adoration born partly of infectious curiosity, partly from a love of what is phenomenal, partly from the attraction of the unexpected, and above all from the national need of some object of idolatry. France had been long destitute of any one to whom she might pay personal devotion. Every peasant's cottage throughout France was soon decorated with his chromo. He has even been seen on his black horse adorning the bamboo hut of a king in Central Africa. Pamphlets, handbills, and brief biographies were scattered by his friends throughout the Provinces. His very name, Boulanger - Baker - helped his popularity. A corn-law passed in France was obnoxious to the country, as tending to make bread more dear; "Boulanger is to bring us cheap bread! Long live our Boulanger!" became the popular cry.

But all this enthusiasm seems to have been founded only on expectation. General Boulanger had done nothing that might reasonably have attracted national gratitude and adoration. Yet there was a strong feeling throughout France that Boulanger would save the country from what was called the Parliamentary regime. France had become weary of the squabbles of the seven parties in the Chamber, of the rapid changes of ministry, of the perpetual coalitions, lasting just long enough to overthrow some chief unpopular with two factions strong enough by combination to get rid of him. The Chamber, it was said, though unruly and disorganized, had usurped all the functions of government, and a republic without an executive officer who can maintain himself at its head, has never been known to stand. In France fashion is everything, and in France, in 1888, it was the fashion to speak ill of parliamentary government.

"Why am I a Boulangist?" cried a young and ardent writer of the party.[1] "Why are my friends Boulangists? Because the general is the only man in France capable of carrying out the expulsion of mere talkers from the Chamber of Deputies, - men who deafen the public ear, and are good for nothing. Gentlemen, a few hundreds of you, ever since 1870, have carried on the government. All of you are lawyers or literary men, none of you are statesmen."

[Footnote 1: Le Figaro.]

At the height of the popularity of the general his career was very near being cut short by a political duel. In France, as we have seen in the history of the Duchesse de Berri, it is not an unheard-of thing to get rid of a political adversary by a challenge. After Boulanger had insulted the Duc d'Aumale while he was Minister of War, a challenge passed between himself and an Orleanist, M. le Baron de Lareinty. Boulanger stood to receive the fire of his adversary, but did not fire in return. He was subsequently anxious to fight Jules Ferry; but Jules Ferry declined any meeting of the kind. After he entered the Chamber, his great enemy, Floquet, who was then in the Cabinet, called him in the course of debate "A Saint-Arnaud of the cafes chantants!" Boulanger challenged him for this, and the duel took place with swords. Floquet was slightly wounded, but the general's foot slipped, and he received his adversary's sword-point in his throat. It was almost a miracle that it did not sever the jugular vein. For some time "Le brav' General's" life was despaired of; but when he was pronounced out of danger, Paris amused itself with the thought that the most prominent soldier in the French army had nearly met his death at the hands of an elderly lawyer.

Since the funds furnished to Boulanger for the election expenses of his candidates, and even for his own personal expenses, came from the Royalist party, he was more bound to it than ever; but he pretended to be guided by a body that called itself the National Republican Committee, which he assured his friends, the Monarchists, he used only as a screen. When Madame d'Uzes threw her last million into the gulf, it seemed expedient to the Royalists to exact more definite pledges from Boulanger than his word as a soldier. "If the present Government of France is overthrown," they said, "and an appeal made to the people, who will fill the interregnum? Will General Boulanger, if all power is intrusted to him, consent to give it up, if the nation votes for monarchy? And with all the machinery of government in his hands, is it certain that a plebiscite would be the free vote of the people?"

A general election was to take place in the summer of 1889, at the height of the Universal Exposition. Hitherto the various elections in which Boulanger had contended had been for vacant seats in the old Assembly. He was anxious to test his popularity in Paris by standing for the workman's quarter of Belleville; and in spite of his being opposed by the Radicals in the Chamber, as well as by the Government, he was elected by a large majority.

The Government then changed its method of attack. It brought in a bill changing the selection of parliamentary candidates from the scrutin de liste to the scrutin d'arrondissement. Boulanger therefore would be eligible for election only in the district in which he was domiciled.

Besides the National Republican Committee (which the general called his screen), there was formed all over France a Boulangist society called the League of Patriots. This league was now attacked by the Government as a conspiracy. A High Court of Justice was formed by the Senate, before which its leaders were summoned to appear. Boulanger became seriously alarmed. He did not see how he could act if shut up in prison. His apprehensions were carefully augmented by the heads of the police, who had placed one of their agents about his person.[1] This man showed him a pretended order for his arrest on April 1, 1889. The question of his retirement into Belgium if his liberty were threatened had been already debated by himself and his friends. Nearly all of them were against it. "Let not the people think our general could run away," said some. But others answered, "They will say it is a smart trick; that the general has cheated the Government."

[Footnote 1: Les Coulisses du Boulangisme.]

After seeing the false document which was shown him, with great pretence of secrecy, by the police agent, the general hesitated no longer. On the evening of April 1, accompanied by Madame de Bonnemains, a lady to whom he was paying devoted attention, pending a divorce from his wife, he went to Brussels, followed by his friend Count Dillon, the go-between in financial matters between the Royalists and himself. The Cabinet of M. Carnot had learned the value of the saying, "If your enemy wishes to take flight, build him a bridge of gold."

The departure of the general threw consternation into the ranks of his followers. "It cannot be!" they cried. Then they consoled themselves with the reflection that he must soon return, as he had done once before under somewhat similar circumstances.

But he did not return. The Government had triumphed. Boulanger's power was broken; like a wave, it had toppled over when its crest was highest. The High Court of Justice condemned Deroulede the poet, Rochefort, and Dillon, to confinement for life in a French fortress. The sentence, however, was simply one of outlawry, for they were all with Boulanger.

The exiles did not stay long in Brussels. The Government of Belgium objected to their remaining so near the frontier of France, - for in Brussels a telephone connected them with Paris, - and they went over to London. There, at the general's request, he had an interview with the Comte de Paris. But their conversation was limited to useless compliments and military affairs. Boulanger's power as a political leader was at an end; the friends of the prince would advance him no more funds, and in the elections, which took place very quietly in France during the summer, he and his friends suffered total defeat.

The Government of France - strengthened not only by the success of the Exposition, by its great triumph at the elections, and by the discomfiture of its enemies, but also by the conviction forced upon parliamentary leaders that the country was weary of mere talk and discord, and demanded harmony and action - now became the strongest Government that France had enjoyed for a long time. The Republic had passed the point of danger, the eighteenth year, which had been the limit of every dynasty or form of government in France for over a century. It rallied to itself men from the ranks of all its former enemies, but its greatest victory was over the Monarchists. The wreck of their cause by the alliance with a military adventurer was a blunder in the eyes of one section of the Royalists; in the eyes of another, it was a dishonor that amounted almost to a crime.

Boulanger had rallied to himself the clerical party in France by the promise of a republic strong enough to protect the weak, - "a republic that would concern itself with the interests of the people, and be solicitous to preserve individual liberty in all its forms, especially liberty of conscience, that liberty the most to be valued of all,"[1] Such a republic it seems possible the Third Republic may now become, especially since it is on all hands conceded that there is a reaction in France in favor of religious liberty, for those who are religious as well as for those who are "philosophers."

[Footnote 1: Speech at Tours.]

President Carnot has been an eminently respectable president. He has committed no blunders, and if he has awakened little enthusiasm, he has called forth no animosities. The worst that can be said of him is embodied in caricatures, where he always appears ready to serve some useful purpose, as a jointed wooden figure that can be put to many a use.

The French army is now stronger and better disciplined, and more full of determination to conquer, than any French army has ever been before. But no ruler of France can be anxious to precipitate a war with Germany; and judging from the present state of feeling among the French, there appear to be no serious political breakers ahead. Of course in France the unexpected is always to be expected, and what a day may bring forth, nobody knows.

Sir Charles Dilke tells us that in 1887, when a friend of his was going to France, he asked him to ascertain for him if General Boulanger were a soldier, a mountebank, or an ass; and the answer brought back to him was, "He is a little of them all." The general, after his interview in London with the Comte de Paris, took up his residence in the island of Jersey. He cannot but have felt that his popularity had failed him, and that his enchanter's wand was broken. From time to time he made spasmodic efforts to bring himself again to the notice of the public. He offered repeatedly to return to France and stand his trial for conspiracy, provided that the trial might be conducted before a regular court of justice, and not before an especial committee appointed by the Chambers.

Meantime his domestic relations must have caused him poignant anxiety. His wife was his cousin, - a lady of the haute bourgeoisie in a provincial town. She appears to have felt herself unequal to what might be required of her as the wife of the national hero. She entertained apprehensions that her fate might be that of the Empress Josephine. When her husband became War Minister, she declined to preside over his receptions, and withdrew herself from his official residence, taking with her her two daughters, Helene and Marcelle. Thus deserted, Boulanger became open to scandals and reports, some true, and some false, such as would inevitably be circulated in France concerning such a man's relations with women. It is quite certain, however, that at the height of his popularity he became infatuated with the divorced wife of a Baron de Bonnemains, - a lady well connected, and up to the time when Boulanger became her lover, of unstained reputation. She was also rich, having a fortune of 1,500,000 francs. She was not very beautiful, but was tender, gracious, and womanly. M. de Bonnemains had not made her a good husband, and her friends rejoiced when the law gave her a divorce. General Boulanger and his wife seem to have agreed to sever their marriage tie under the new French divorce law, which requires both parties to be examined by a judge, who is to try if possible to reconcile them; but at the last moment Madame Boulanger refused, upon religious grounds, her assent to a divorce, and the marriage of the general with Madame de Bonnemains became thenceforward impossible.

The story is not a pleasant one, but it is necessary to relate it, because of its results.

Madame de Bonnemains, whose constitution was consumptive, drooped and sickened in Jersey. She removed in the spring of 1891 to Brussels to try one of the new schemes for the cure of pulmonary trouble. The remedy seems to have hastened her death, which took place in July. General Boulanger never recovered from her loss. His friends and his funds had failed him, and the death of this woman, whom he had passionately loved, completely overwhelmed him. He spoke constantly of suicide, and in spite of precautions taken by his friends, he carried his purpose into effect upon her grave in the cemetery of Brussels, October 2, 1891.

Whatever General Boulanger's faults may have been in relation to other women, he was devoted to his mother. The latter, who was eighty-six years old at the time of his death, resided in Paris, and when he was in the city he never suffered a day to pass without visiting her. A lock of her white hair was on his breast when he was dressed for burial.