Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

20 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



•«oUj>ii je, they .ose good J amused, id the follies j accepted with .ums. He was wont and to en'arge on his own egotism was never offensive. He set .u. up as the ideal of a public man. and he kindly encouraged all who listened to him to aim at at- taining some day his own high standing in society. Wherever he appeared he was without a. rival, and ruled supreme and absolute. Be had, induct, passed through many vicissitudes and many transformations in his time. By moral force alone, without any ex- traneous aid, he maintained the lofty position which he acquired 12 or 14 years ago, and kept it to the day of his death. Baron Haussman may swagger at the Hotel de Ville, and sway the destinies of the depart- ment of the Seine but Mangin, the great Mangin— the renowned vendor of blacklead pencils—was the absolute master of the public thoroughf aJ e The flaneur, as he passes near the Place de la Made- leine. about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the Place de la Bastille, or the Chateau d'Eau, will regret that those spots will no more behold that stately form arrayed in velvet tunic, fringed with gold, the cuirass burnished like a mirror, the sword, the gauntlets, and the glit- tering casque, with the winded serpent, surmounted by the full and flowing crest. Hia figure and countenance were martial. His moustache was of the true Imperial cut, the extremities well waxed, and sticking out on each side like i-kewera, and the tuft nearly covered the chin. As he took his stand in his open carriage, drawn by two bay horses in decent harness, his con- fidential assistant, habited in similar but less gaudy costume, behind him, with his right hand (the fore- finger of which displayed a massive gold ring) on his hip, and his look firm, serene, and thoughtful, a murmur used to run round among the multitude, who bowed to him as the very kingot charlatans. It was a glorious moment, and you saw that he felt it, when he rose silent and commanding, and accepted with a sort of disdainful humility the allegiance of the mass at his feet. MANGIN THROWS ASIDE HIS MODESTY. Whatever we know of Mangin is gathered chiefly from what he himself has told us. It is said that he had undergone various vicissitudes and transformations before donning the gorgeous robes or the glittering equipments, which will be long remembered. Like the dentist Duchesne—whose white cravat, black coat, caleche with one horse, and the inevitable barrel organ, the discordant sounds of wbich were doubtless meant to drown the agonising cries of the victim whose teeth he was operating upon, were so well known,— Mangin had followed the beaten track of the open- air artists, but without success. In his speeches he never faded to allude to his former career, and to his struggles when trying to overcome the prejudices of mankind, who never would see any difference between him and the vulgar herd that ran after dirtinction. Conscious of his own power, he relied upon it alone for quietly making his way in the world; but the more humble and modest be was, the more he was left among the mob of adventurers from whom he was ambitious to emerge. He at last resolved to make a bold push. He shuffled off his modesty as he would have shuffled off an old garment at the Temple bazaar; he proc'aimed himself the leader of a movement which should revolutionise the artistic world he trampled under foot false shame, repudiated all intervention be- tween him and the people, whose suffrages he did not so much court as demand as his right; and, strange to say. this arrogant claim was allowed. That there should be no mistake about himself, he announced to his astonished but assenting public that Verdigris, the organ-player, who always sat behind — an odd- looking fellow, with a low forehead, small turned-up nose, a small ho'e in the middle of his face by way of a mouth, and a wondrous length of chin—was behind him, not to prompt or perform any other function beyond grinding his instrument whenever he made him a sign, and for the proper execution of which Verdigris was responsible only to himself. MANGIN AND VERDIGRIS DRESS THEMSELVES. Mangin never arrived on the ground in official cos- tume. He was habited like any ordinary mortal in round hat and paletot and his open carriage with two horses, which he himself always drove, displayed none ofthegaudinefs of the charlatan. Verdigris always sat in the rear, dressed like his master; the only thing remarked was that he carried before him a square box ith an oilcloth covering. When he arrived on the ground—the Place de la Madeleine, the space in front of the New Opera, or the Chateau d'Eau on weekdays, and on Suudays the Place de la Bourse—he stood up, took from a small case his own portrait framed and glazed, placed before him a coffer filled with medals bearing his own likeness, and forthwith assumed the velvet tunic, with its gold fringes, the gauntlets, the cuirass, the sword, and casque. At a sign from his master, Verdigris also put on his official costume, which consisted of a gown of velvet and a casque, without plume or crest of any kind, and without aword, cuirass, or gauntlet. Another sign and Verdi- gris struck up; and the crowd that had already gathered at the sight of the well-known carriage are regaled with the creamy music of the Baccio. MANGIN PBXFABXS TO SPEAK. Then Mangin rose, calm and imposing, from his throne. He scrutinised the crowd thronging to his carriage wheels, looked fixedly at some individual, frowned, and suddenly lowered the visor of his helmet. This produced the effect intended—to excite the im- patience of the multitude who were burning to hear his opening speech. After a few minutes' more coquetry, and the toilette completed, he raised his finger, and the organ was filent; he rang a small bell, advanced to the front of the carriage, raised his hand, stroked his moustache and tuft, opened his mouth as if to speak, and all at once shut it again with an awful frown, and stepped back, as if his eye had alighted on some ha' eful object which deprived him of the power of speech. He knew well, however, the point beyond which he could not push the patience or good-humour of the puhlic, or refuse concessions. MANGIN TELLS HIS AUDIENCE OF THEIR IGNORANCE! It requires a good deal of courage with artists of this cl. sa to treat a theme so perilous as their own surpassing merit, for the theme had long become hackneyed. Yet see with what easy strength and majesty Mangin entered on the topic :— You ask me, gentlemen, who is this knight errant ? What mean these habiliments of former ages, these horses richly caparisoned, this gilded chariot, this music of drum and cymbal, this vast pink parasol beside me ? My answer is,— You are all blind and ignorant, and he who would succeed with you must captivate you with din and glitter. You ask me, sirs, in what my strength lies ? I answer that my strength lies in this my glittering casque, and in my sweeping crest. There was a time, indeed, when I left to mankind, whose good faith I was fool enough to believe in, to find out the lurplA88iog excelleJlce 01 my ware5-those DOW lamoua black- lead pencils; but bitter experience soon proved to me that mankind are absolutely devoid of taste and of common lenile I found that the mass. ere, I repeat, blind and ig- aorant: but I felt within myself the stirrings of genius, and that I was born to be the leading spirit of my time. I have you all now at my feet, and history will give one of its brightest pages to Mangin. MANGIN DISCOVERS A WAY TO FAME! Looking fixedly, as if some one addressed him, he Did :— What did you say, sir ? Mountebank I Well, then, so I am. am a mountebank,—it is my profession. We cannot please every one. One is not a Louis d'Or; and everybody as not the luck to come into the world a grocer! (A roar of laughter ) Do you want to know how I came to be a mountebank? Lend me your ears for a few minutes. Look at this watch (pulling a handsome gold one from his waist coat pocket, and pointing to the hour); formerly I appeared on the public places dressed as sprucely as a notary—neat and respectable, and not gaudy; but I was left alone no- body came near me, I sold not a single pencil. Any other than myself would have sunk under the disgrace of disap- pointment, but I was made of different stuff. One day. I well remember, while I was expatiating to the four winds on the excellence of my wares, Punch passed the people— stuoiri asses—as you all are, gentlemen, followed him m crowds and left me in solitary and penniless grandeur. A sudden thought struck me—" 1 have it," I cried, audso I had. The very next morning I made my appearance in public, habited like Punch, with variations to the present day. And now, gentlemen, you see me, and, what is better still, you buy from me. You laugh (looking fixedly at some one in theciowdj; is it possible for any human being with a head like the one you have, to laugh Beg pardon, sir, for my re- mark hut the fact is, I ask nothing from any of you, and, don't be afraid, I won't give you anything either. My name is Mangin I I sell my pencils, and I make them, un- aided by any one. I have been honoured with a first-class medal at the Great Exhibition of Timbuctoo. I am no idiot. My portrait as I now stand may be seen at the doer of every tobacco shop in Paris, and I tell my pencils at 20 centimes a piece. I now declare that if any inventor, manufacturer, trader, physician, or philanthropist show me better pencils than mine, I will give him I,OOOf -no, not to him, for I abbor betting—but to the poor of the 31st arrondisement. MANGIN DRAWS A PORTRAIT OF A LISTENER Mangiu then took one of his pencils, cut it, and tested its solidity by striking holes with the point in a thin board. He took a sheet of paper, placed it on a board, and looking at some person in the crowd as if he was drawing his portrait, in a few minutes exhibited the head of an ass, at which there was another immense roar of laughter. When I was modestly dressed like any of my hearers (he resumed), I was half-starved, for I did no business. I now have 200 depots in Paris. I breakfast at Maire's, in the Rue Virienne—capital [ fillet of beef slightly underdone, and such Abroad, and Chateau Margot at all my meals. As for my de- tamers, for great merit is always envied, they have long since grown green, while I get rosy and fresh; and I drink claret while they drink nothing but water, like geese as they are. HOW THE SALE WAS CONDUCTED. This was invariably the conclusion of his harangue, which seldom varied, but though repeated so often, teemed to be always welcome. It was accompanied by a play of feature, gesticulation, and inflexions of voice—from tenor to the deepest bass all of a sudden —which it is impossible to describe. He then pro- ceeded to business, opened his sculptured coffer, shook bunches of medal", uncovered a package of his photo- graphic visiting cards, and for the sum of one franc gave a medal, a card, and six pencils, while Verdi- gris's music erew fawt and furious as the purchasers crowded round him. When the clock struck three Maogin ahut up hi-, coffer, doffed his knight y robes and arms, once tuore appeared like a mere mortal, and øtelnly announcing that the sale was over for the day, left his carriage and repaired to his favourite eating-house, Verdigrit remained behind, and for some time was deaf to th, prayers of those who wanted to bay, but, jed pencils as it h's master should He used to make o provinces, and ex- a Poitiers, but with s were afraid of so In Paris, and in Paris *nd rewarded. It was insolent repartees were ^ated like a spoiled child. fH AND FUNERAL. .ded by a considerable number rfe was, according to his own ac- jar, but looked younger. He has /fame, his helmet, his cuirass, his ,ets. The eminence he obtained was Jii merits, and a great man's successor ,Ned with the ability to continue what J the founder has established.
















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