Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Contrerime XLIV


Vous qui retournez du Cathai
     Par les Messageries,
Quand vous berçaient à leurs féeries
     L' opium ou le thé.

Dans un palais d' aventurine
     Où se mourait le jour,
Avez-vous vu Boudroulboudour,
     Princesse de la Chine,

Plus blanche en son pantalon noir
     Que nacre sous l' écaille ?
Au clair de lune, Jean Chicaille,
     Vous est-il venu voir,

En pleurant comme l' asphodèle
     Aux îles d' Ouac-Wac,
Et jurer de coudre en un sac
     Son épouse infidèle,

Mais telle qu' à travers le vent
     Des mers sur le rivage
S' envole et brille un paon sauvage
     Dans le soleil levant ?

You who return from Cathay
     By mailboat, when rocked on the sea
By the magic alchemy
     Of opium or tea.

In a palace of aventurine
     In the waning hour
The princess, Boudroulboudour,
     By you was she seen

Whiter in her black pants 
     Than nacre in the shell?
By moonlight, Jean Chicaille,
     Is it you he wants,

Weeping like the asphodel
     In the Islands of Ouac-Wac,
And swearing to sew in a sack
     His wife, unfaithful,

And untamed as a peahen
     That flies away, ablaze
In the onshore winds and the rays
     Of the rising sun?


Badroulbadour (Arabic بدر البدور, badru l-budūr, "full moon of full moons") is an Asian princess from China whom Aladdin married in the story of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. (The full moon as a metaphor for female beauty is common throughout the Arabian Nights).
She is also mentioned in a poem by Wallace Stevens called The Worms at Heaven's Gate in his book Harmonium.

The Worms at Heaven's Gate
Out of the tomb, we bring Badroulbadour,
Within our bellies, we her chariot.
Here is an eye. And here are, one by one,
The lashes of that eye and its white lid.
Here is the cheek on which that lid declined,
And, finger after finger, here, the hand,
The genius of that cheek. Here are the lips,
The bundle of the body and the feet.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Out of the tomb we bring Badroulbadour.

The name Badroulbadour also appears in the novel Come Dance with Me by author Russell Hoban.

Toulet has fashioned Jean Chicaille from the Chinese Yuan-Tché-Kaï , or Yuan Shikai.

The provisional government of the Republic of China was formed in Nanjing on March 12, 1912 with Sun Yat-sen as President, but Sun was forced to turn power over to Yuan Shikai, who commanded the New Army and was Prime Minister under the Qing government, as part of the agreement to let the last Qing monarch abdicate (a decision Sun would later regret). Over the next few years, Yuan proceeded to abolish the national and provincial assemblies, and declared himself emperor in late 1915. Yuan's imperial ambitions were fiercely opposed by his subordinates; faced with the prospect of rebellion, he abdicated in March 1916, and died in June of that year.

Ouac-Waco : Imaginary islands in 1001 nights inhabited only by women. 

Aventurine: reddish variety of quartz, found by chance, hence its name, containing tiny flakes of mica that reflect the light.

Contrerime XLIII

Ainsi, ce chemin de nuage,
     Vous ne le prendrez point,
D'où j'ai vu me sourire au loin
     Votre brillant mirage ?

Le soir d'or sur les étangs bleus
     D'une étrange savane,
Où pleut la fleur de frangipane,
     N'éblouira vos yeux ;

Ni les feux de la luciole
     Dans cette épaisse nuit
Que tout à coup perce l'ennui
     D'un tigre qui miaule.

So you state your resistance
     To taking the cloudy way,
Where I saw your shining fay
     Smile at me from a distance.

The gold of eve on the pools of blue
     Of a strange savannah
That rains frangipane
     Will not dazzle you;

Nor the light of fireflies
     In the night’s depth
That abruptly is ripped
     By a bored tiger’s cries.

The section of Behanzigue entitled "le cri dans la nuit" gives details of the impressions that inspired this poem: "From Hue to go to Tourane, instead of railroad, if we prefer to stick to the the ancient road of the Col des Nuages, we rent one of these black-bellied sampans ". Further on Toulet speaks of "a thousand fireflies leading in the air their luminous dance" and shows the appearance of a tiger. The Col des Nuages also merits a mention in his Journal.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Contrerime LVIII

C'était sur un chemin crayeux
       Trois châtes de Provence
Qui s'en allaient d' un pas qui danse
       Le soleil dans les yeux.

Une enseigne, au bord de la route,
 -     Azur et jaune d' oeuf,  - 
Annonçait : Vin de Châteauneuf,
       Tonnelles, Casse-croûte.

Et, tandis que les suit trois fois
       Leur ombre violette,
Noir pastou, sous la gloriette,
       Toi, tu t'en fous : tu bois...

C' était trois châtes de Provence,
       Des oliviers poudreux,
Et le mistral brûlant aux yeux
       Dans un azur immense.


Under Provencal skies
Three girls on a chalk road
Went dancing abroad
With the sun in their eyes. 

By the side of the track, 
Blue, egg yellow, a sign
Said : Chateauneuf wine
Arbours, snacks.

While their violet shadow
Followed all three
You, dark shepherd, carefree
Were drunk in the meadow. 

Three girls in Provence, 
Powdery olive trees,
An eye-searing breeze,
The skies azure, immense.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Toulet in Béarn

At the end of 1889 Paul-Jean was back in Béarn. He had planned his return for some time, having written to Jane in August of that year, asking her if she really intended to come home from Mauritius, and with Papa too. He departed Algiers on the 19th of November, 1889, spending three days in Marseille before getting home. His father had in fact just brought Jane back. Jane settled down in la Rafette, chez Aristide Chaline, who had married Amélie, Paul-Jean’s aunt, and who had raised her until her departure for Mauritius eight years previously. Toulet père only stayed a few weeks in France, with his relations, returning to Mauritius in early January 1890. Paul-Jean met them at times at Carresse, or at Pau, or at la Rafette,
He was to stay nine years in Béarn. Apart from brief trips to Spain and Paris, Navarre was to be his constant playground.

J’ai trouvé mon Béarn le même,

Le morne Béarn des jours froids,
Et trouvé tous ceux que j’aime
Les mêmes qu’autrefois.

J’écoute à travers l’air sonore
Croasser les corbeaux, leur cris
Dans mon cœur éveillent encore
Les battements de jadis.

Je revois le vieux mur d’où elle
Que j’aimais, souvent, m’a parlé
Et rien ne me manque, rien qu’elle,
Et l’amour, comme elle envolé.

(Vers inédits, date Carresse 1889.)

In the beginning he didn’t seem to be very serious about becoming a man of letters, but he read much, nourishing and maturing his ideas. Now effectively left to his own devices, Paul-Jean decided to abandon his studies entirely and to live the high life. His port d'attache was officially Le Haget at Carresse, that he had inherited from his mother. The painter Labrouche has left us a description.
« Une tranquille maison d’autrefois, enfouie dans la verdure. Un vieux mur, une grille en fer, la séparent du chemin qui tourne à cet endroit et descend vers le gave. Devant le perron, un très joli jardin très feuillu, plein d’arbres, des ormeaux, des magnolias. Un grand silence. » 
But he was more frequently to be found at Pau, at the Café Champagne (now the Brasserie Royale) or the Petit Casino in the Place Royal. His favourite was the Champagne, where one could make out beyond the statue of the Vert-Galant, (Henri IV) the picturesque scenery of the Pyrenees.  He could be found there almost every day, in late afternoon, a port or an armagnac before him, flashing his ironic wit at his friends and acquaintances, many of whom he had known since childhood – Henri Dartiguenave, Léopold Bauby, or Henry de Monpezat, idle son of the mayor, whom he would later stake for a business venture in the Far East. He became a night-owl, never rising before 3 p.m., arriving at the café at 4 p.m., and dining at the Casino, where he spent the night dancing, gaming and drinking. He only went to bed at 3 or 4 in the morning. Then he started over next day, establishing over a period of nine years a pattern that he took with him to Paris. In the afternoon he explored the environs, Salies-de-Béarn, Biarritz, Bayonne, Saint-Jean-de-Luz - the towns most frequently mentioned in his notebooks. Often he would go surprise his sister at la Rafette, at Saint-Loubès.

He was belligerent in the fashion of the time. Ichas mentions that Paul-Jean duelled with Émile Thore on the steps of the Loustau dwelling in 1896, when he was 28. Jean Thore witnessed the duel.  It is said that at the first sight of blood the young man “manqua de défaillir”. (In 1889 already, Paul-Jean had provoked a duel with Alfred Coste (Chapter on Mauritius). The bone of contention was a girl. His friend Henry de Monpezat was another machismo of privilege. Dyssord relates an imbroglio with some army officers. Having forbidden a local regiment, whose barracks were near, the use of a private road, he noticed one day that the officers were paying no attention to his ban. Montpezat, furious, seized the regimental standard and broke his flagpole across his knee. Four lieutenants provoke him to a duel, there was a fight and two of them were put out of action. There was a scandal, and popular thought consigned to obloquy the hothead and his entourage. (See Note of Monpezat for more on his propensity for duelling).

Echoes of Toulet’s leisure activities are later to be found in his verse – the Foires Saint-Martin, promenades in the Carresse woods, the sleepy banks of the Saleys, a walk beneath the arcades of Bayonne to the detriment of both his heart and his purse, Spanish chocolate chez Guillot, a ride in a calèche, Jurançon.
The contrerimes XXXI, XXXII, XXXIV, XXXV, XLI are evidence of these excursions, although he published nothing between 1889 and 1898. In January1890 he visited Saint-Jean-de-Luz, and Guéthary, where he ended his days:
“A Guéthary, la mer par une fenêtre, un carré bleu tendre et des oiseaux qui passent, continuellement dans le même sens.”

When he wasn’t taking trips or meeting his pals in the Casino, he might go for a promenade with his petites amies “sur les routes de son pays” in the Carresse woods or on the banks of the Saleys.

XXX                                                                                                                la cigale.

Quand nous fûmes hors des chemins
     Où la poussière est rose,
Aline, qui riait sans cause
     En me touchant les mains ; -

L' écho du bois riait. La terre
     Sonna creux au talon.
Aline se tut : le vallon
     Était plein de mystère...

Mais toi, sans lymphe ni sommeil,
     Cigale en haut posée,
Tu jetais, ivre de rosée,
     Ton cri triste et vermeil.

Some evenings he brought them to the carousel at the Saint-Martin fair:

XXXII                                                                                                 Chevaux de bois.

À Pau, les foires saint-Martin,
     C' est à la Haute Plante.
Des poulains, crinière volante,
     Virent dans le crottin.

Là-bas, c' est une autre entreprise.
     Les chevaux sont en bois,
L' orgue enrhumé comme un hautbois,
     Zo' sur un bai cerise.

Le soir tombe. Elle dit : " merci,
     " pour la bonne journée !
" mais j' ai la tête bien tournée... "
     -ah, Zo' : la jambe aussi.

 or to drink a glass of jurançon “couleur de maïs” chez M. Lesquerré, the innkeeper.


Ce fut par un soir de l'automne
     A sa dernière fleur
Que l'on nous prit pour Mgr
     L'Evêque de Bayonne,

Sur la route de Jurançon.
     J'étais en poste, avecque
Faustine, et l'émoi d'être évêque
     Lui sécha sa chanson.

Cependant cloches, patenôtres,
     Volaient autour de nous.
Tout un peuple était à genoux :
     Nous mêlions les nôtres,

Ô Vénus, et ton char doré,
     Glissant parmi la nue,
Nous annonçait la bienvenue
     Chez Monsieur Lesquerré.


Un Jurançon 93
     Aux couleurs du maïs,
Et ma mie, et l'air du pays :
     Que mon coeur était aise.

Ah, les vignes de Jurançon,
     Se sont-elles fanées,
Comme ont fait mes belles années,
     Et mon bel échanson ?

Dessous les tonnelles fleuries
     Ne reviendrez-vous point
A l'heure où Pau blanchit au loin
     Par-delà les prairies ?

Other times he would go as far as Bayonne, where, chez Guillot, under the arcades, he had the happy band share scented chocolate.


-" Bayonne ! Un pas sous les arceaux,
     que faut-il davantage
pour y mettre son héritage
     ou son coeur en morceaux ?

Où sont-ils, tout remplis d' alarmes,
     vos yeux dans la noirceur,
et votre insupportable soeur,
     hélas ; et puis vos larmes ? "

tel s' enivrait, à son phébus,
     d' un chocolat d' Espagne,
chez Guillot, le feutre en campagne,
     Monsieur Bordaguibus.

As for literature, there was no question of it. Walzer remarks that during this period he only wrote 18 lines in his journal and composed about 15 pieces that are found in his Vers Inédits.
But he read prodigiously, became familiar with Greek, quoted by heart great Latin speeches, and read fluently in English, Spanish, Italian.

And much was inspired: the contrerimes included in the text, and those appended.

The character Jean-Prudence Michon-de-Cérizolles in La Jeune Fille Verte talks not just of love, but of baccarat, tyrant of men and gods. Paul-Jean must have sacrificed more than a little to his “caprice” if we are to believe these words a croupier said to him: “Ah! Monsieur, tant que vous vous obstinerez à prendre le baccara pour un jeu de hasard, vous êtes un homme perdu…”  “Ah! Monsieur, as long as you continue to think baccarat is a game of chance, you are a lost man.”
While in Les Tendre Ménages, Antoine de Mariolles Sainte-Mary claims that the auberges of the Pyrennées, be it in the mountains or by the sea, it suffices to satisfy the three instincts of drinking, gambling and loving that are the triple nobility of man, putting him so far above the beasts.

Paul-Jean would abscond as often as he could, often under some false pretext, to Salies-de-Béarn, or to Pau, where he would enjoy the company of friends, many of whom he had known since childhood – Henri Dartiguenave, Léopold Bauby, or Henry de Monpezat. There were others too – d’Astis, John de Bienville Grant, 9th Baron de Longueuil,  Antoine Riquoir, Henri de Montebello.
Dartiguenave recalled: “When he arrived from Carresse, it was with the declared intention of staying twenty-four hours at Pau, but he was still there two weeks later. He never brought any baggage, no case or overnight bag.  As he prolonged his stay, he would call at the Chemiserie Blanc in rue Saint-Louis to buy a shirt, a collar or socks.  He did that every two or three days. As he did the same in the bookshops (especially Ribaud and Lafon); he had an ample supply of books and magazines, a corner of his room became nothing but a pile of linen and papers.”
Bauby recalled: “How often have I gone to pull him out of bed at three in the afternoon. I always found him under the covers, the curtains always drawn, and the room in perfect disarray with such a pile of books that we used to wonder what he could do with them, because, paradoxically, we never thought, any of us, that Toulet did any work, and we were astonished to hear of the publication of Monsieur de Paur in 1898.”
He was not the only one to express disbelief. While waiting for the sale of Le Haget and settle the details of his move to Paris, Toulet rented a room in Pau from 1897, while perhaps M du Paur was ripening. Jean de Longueil, while visiting Mme de la Salette, a neighbour of Toulet at Carresse, asked if she had read his book. “What book,” she asked. “PJ Toulet has written a book?”
“Well, yes.”
“Ah, my dear friend, he is my neighbour, and that is not possible. Had he written a book, I would know about it.”

When he returned to Carresse he left everything behind in his hotel, solely occupied with the many gold louis left at the Casino. The proprietor might send after him to Carresse, if he remembered. As he returned home the porters hurried through the lanes that led from the Place to the Gare. Beret pulled down over his eyes, an eight-day beard, stinking of garlic and white wine, the wanderer returned home. His friends meanwhile might have set out for Jurançon, Chez Lesquerré, having waited in vain for him at the Café Champagne.
He had his choice of hotels at which to stay- le Gassion, Hôtel du Parc, Hôtel du France, Hôtel Beauséjour, or the Hôtel de la Paix.  Later, when he decided to stay in the city, he took a room in the rue Sully. He also lived at 4, rue Bordenave d’Abère; then from 1897 to 1898 he lived at 5 rue Montpensier. By this time he had gambled away the greater part of his fortune, and it was not long before he made the move to Paris.

At this epoch people from Béarn identified themselves as Béarnais first, then French. In the great houses and private palaces, it wasn’t long since Béarnais was the language of formal discourse. Servants were usually addressed in this tongue. Paul-Jean spoke it, especially when in amorous pursuit of the shop-girls and laundresses who constituted his usual prey, and who were themselves more at home in Béarnais than in French. In a letter to himself  dated 25 May 1903 he reminisces about an evening in a little apartment in rue Sully when he was 22  and his companion 18, and the warm breath of the autumn entered through the blinds together with “la rumeur des petites gens, en bas, qui causaient sur le pas des boutiques, en béarnais.”


Quel pas sur le pavé boueux
     Sonne à travers la brume ?
Deux boutiquiers, crachant le rhume,
     S'en retournent chez eux.

- " C'est ce cocu de Lagnabère.
          - Oui, Faustine.
                                - Ah, mon Dieu,
     En çà de Cogomble, quel feu !
-          Oui, c'est le réverbère.

- Comme c'est gai, le mauvais temps...
     Et recevoir des gifles.
- Oui, Faustine. "
                           A présent, tu siffles
      L'air d'Amour et Printemps.  

Querelles, pleurs tendres à boire -
     Et toi qu'en tes détours
J'écoute, ô vent, contre les tours
     Meurtrir ta plume noire.

Hostelleries were not yet common. But one could find some auberges or tables d’hôte such as La Belle Hôtesse at Orthez; the Panier Fleuri at Bayonne, the Hôtel Loustalot and the Cor d’Henric at Oloron. But nothing compared to the Lesquerré, whose kitchen glowed with copper pots, its spit was polished like a Toledo blade, under the spread of the wide mantel, over a fire of oak logs, would not have displeased the Abbé Jérôme Coignard in La Rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque.

Dressed in a beret, the flat horn handle of a makila in his grasp, he would set out for Salies-de-Béarn, a stifling spa popular at the time, and with the advantage of being only six kilometres from Carresse. It was at Salies, Dyssord relates, that Toulet was annoyed by a verbose commercial traveller, who asked him if it were true that his father was in Mauritius. “Indeed”, said Toulet. “And what is he doing there?”, continued the salesman. Toulet took out his pocket watch, consulted it, and replied, “He’s dining.” (Toulet recounts the same incident in one of his letters to himself.)

Dyssord also tells an anecdote about a confrontation between Paul-Jean and a sandal maker who threatened him with a knife for seducing his daughter; the story goes that Paul-Jean so disarmed him with an off-colour joke that he accepted several drinks from him and ended by offering him his wife, and when Paul-Jean seemed reluctant, he launched into a panegyric on his better half, claiming that she was a “goer” (franche du collier) unlike any other.

In a letter to himself, dated March 3rd, 1903, Manila, he remembers the occasion when he came to watch a bullfight but instead he lost ten gold louis at the card table - “manille aux enchères” – money that his wily opponents treated as fleeting as snowflakes in a child’s fist. He writes of the loss and his excessive bad humour – anguished cries, and even more threatening silences, that made of him “one of the least tolerable players”. The Petit Casino of Pau remembered only a player of excellent temperament, imperturbable and disdainful of his bad luck.

He liked the chocolate of chez Guillot, scented, in Spanish style, under the arcades of melancholy Bayonne, or outside the ramparts, some Basque cottages, and the Café Farnier. Then there were random encounters - at Saint-Jean-de-Luz he met a Spaniard who spoke disrespectfully of St Thomas Aquinas. A bather distracted him at dusk as she skinny-dipped from a beach frequented by fishwives.

On the 24th March 1891, Toulet left Saint-Loubès for Bordeaux-Bastide, and he was in Madrid on the 25th, passing through San Sebastian, Vitoria, Burgos and Avila, each of them garnering a comment. The following day, Holy Thursday, he was in Seville, where he witnessed the Holy Week processions. He scribbled in his notebook this poem about the Madonna. 

O Madone à la lourde traîne
Délice et décor de Séville
Qu’aux jours de la Sainte Semaine
On promène à travers la ville,

Pitoyable dame aux sept glaives,
Par le doux Jésus, je vous prie,
Exaucez mon rêve (un rêve)
Et faites, ô Vierge Marie,

Qu’un cœur pour moi seul fleurisse
Castillan, français ou mauresque
Mais qui n’oublie ou trahisse
Jamais, Vierge sainte – ou presque.

An ultimate reservation worthy of Saint Augustine himself!

He waxes most lyrical about the Alcazar, even if it was, he says, a great confection. However, he continues, it is the product of a very particular artistic formula which values voluptuousness in the place of grandeur, and there are corners that belong to paradise, if not to heaven. Arcade follows arcade, the sun shines through and there are delicious blue and white arabesques. And in the Alcazar gardens, a golden hour spent sitting on the grass under the orange trees, backs to the ramparts, and nightingales singing overhead.
He left Seville on Easter Monday, and was back in Madrid on Tuesday when he re-visited  the Prado. Wednesday April 1st was spent at the Escorial, which he found deserted, vast, quiet, boring. The Panthéon redeemed it somewhat, grand and macabre and rich with its royal tombs and long, white row of children’s coffins.
He was back in Salies on April 3rd after spending a day at Biarritz as he passed through.

“After Andalusia, it is old Castille, and La Mancha where Don Quixote has left so many windmills.” For the moment it was Seville that left the most lively souvenir, and later he started one of his poems with these lines:
Comme un papillon du Brésil,
Bleue et noire, ô Séville…
Pour un barbier la belle ville
Et pour moi quel exil !

A verse not found in his collected works. His Journal has more to say on the charms of the flamenco and malagueña, the dancers’ costumes, and drinking manzanilla. What impressed him most were his evenings in the Alcazar, its murmuring fountains and the song of the nightingales.
À l' Alcazar neuf, où don Jayme
     Gratte un air maugrabin,
Carmen dansant dans son lubin :
     Ce n' est pas ce que j' aime.

Mais, à Triana, la liqueur
     D' une grappe1 où l' aurore
Laissa des pleurs si froids encore
     Qu' ils m' ont glacé le coeur.

The return to Béarn served only to emphasise the solitude of Carresse. To add to his loneliness, his grandfather Pierre died on May 8th. Carresse was too quiet, too tranquil – too much for a 24-year-old who had lived the high life in Mauritius and Algiers. In September 1891 he wrote in his journal: “De retour à la maison si triste et solitaire déjà je maudis la campagne et le pesant silence de la nuit qui m’oppresse à peine troublé par la pluie monotone. Que ne puis-je encore entendre les clameurs citadines, le tintement des hautes horloges et le bruit aussi des fiacres ébranlant le pavé !
Il me semble qu’un lourd couvercle s’est refermé sur moi, et que je suis seul, implacablement. J’ai trouvé des lettres amies mais on dirait qu’elles ont été ecrites il y a cent ans. Ne suis-je pas un fantôme égaré parmi des lieux qu’il croit reconnaître ; et tous ceux que j’aime, morts ?
Ô choses, êtes-vous hostiles ? Écrasez-moi si je ne puis vous aimer.

But Pau remained his base and while Joe Guillemin was working through his fortune, Toulet was trying to keep up. He liked Pau because, as he wrote to Tristan Derème in April 1913, from La Rafette, “les horizons en sont tels qu’on voit bien que le Bon Dieu s’en est mêlé Soi-même, au lieu de les faire faire par ses domestiques, comme la Campine, Zanzibar, l’île de Haïnan et quelques autres lieux où je fus sans doute que pour avoir la joie de rentrer en France.”
But what he liked most about Pau was that the girls were compliant, complaisant, accommodating, easy: “C’est que les filles y ont de la politesse et de la vassalité.”
Toulet did not scorn the professionals either. He confided to Francis Jammes his feelings about them:
“C’est curieux, on tient pour des oies toutes ces filles de Pau. Quant à moi, je leur trouve un cru délicieux; un cru qu’il faut savoir dégager.”
“It’s odd, people think of all these Pau girls as so many geese. For my part, I find them a delicious vintage; a vintage that one has to know how to bring out.”

He got to know Jammes during this period, and formed a lasting friendship with him. There was only a year between them – Jammes was born in Tournay in 1868. In the foreword to La Jeune Fille Verte he mentions “this bucolic poet that Béarn is so proud to have given to France.”  He showed some early verse to Jammes, who suggested that they were not ready for publication -  a sentiment that was echoed by Louis de la Salle in Paris. As Toulet admired both of these poets, he had confidence in their criticism. He concentrated on his work in prose, and not until he had discovered the form of the Contrerimes did he begin to write and publish rare examples of his verse.
His friendship with Jammes did not prevent him from playing tricks on him. On one occasion when both were seated on the terrace of the Café Champagne, Paul-Jean called Charlie, the porter, and offered him a hundred sous to bring over a donkey that was tethered across from them at the Hôtel de France. Charlie duly obliged, and when the donkey was before them Toulet turned to Jammes and said, “My dear poet, since you know how to talk to donkeys, say something to him.” Jammes got up and stroked the donkey’s nose. The donkey baulked and tried to bite Jammes’ hand, to the great amusement of Toulet.
Jammes has left his own reminiscences of Toulet, the “young, honey-coloured god”:
“Toulet maigre et long est assis, les pieds dans des sandales blanches, et les mains jointes enserrant son genou droit. Il est tellement replié sur lui-même qu’il a l’air bossu et que son estomac s’appuie sur le genou que j’ai dit…Ses gros yeux bleus de jeune fille vous fixent de sous l’étroit béret basque rabattu sur le front. La lèvre, d’une minceur extrême, se crispe. Il sourit, m’invite à m’asseoir devant son absinthe.  Il sort du lit. Il est cinq heures après midi. C’est être, pour lui, matinal.
Il est gentil. Il me parle de mes vers. In n’en écrit pas, ou, du moins, il ne les produit pas encore. Nous avons quelque vingt-six ans chacun.”

In July1892, he made a brief trip to Paris where his school pal Léon Barthou, (brother of the future minister Louis Barthou, assassinated in Marseilles in 1934) presented him to Charles Maurras and Toulouse-Lautrec in his Montmartre studio, of whom he wrote, then or later, « Toulouse-Lautrec est contrefait, trop court de jambes et s’exprime avec haine, entrecoupant son discours d’une espèce de « hein ? » plaintif et sauvage. »

In 1895 his father wrote to him, offering him a  position managing a tea plantation. Toulet wrote to Jane about this, saying that his father had argued strongly for his taking the job, and that he could not refuse, expecting to travel towards the end of the year; but he remarks, tellingly, that to say that he was excited by the prospect of knowing all there was to know about tea production would be an exaggeration. Needless to say, he never returned to Mauritius. Gaston died on 16 March 1922, at his son Guy’s house at Mon-Loisir-Rouillard.  Paul-Jean later accused him of ruining him - something he was well able to do of his own accord.
 « Je ne sais trop de quoi il mourut… Mon enfance le connut peu, mon adolescence à peine d’avantage. Il était constamment hors de chez lui, occupé d’agriculture, de politique, d’affaire, de mille choses inutiles et coûteuses. »

On the 30 October 1897 Toulet settled in Paris. He was now 30. Having used up the bulk of his inheritance he thought that literature might make up the loss, and decided to write adventures or thrillers for money. But of course he is not cut out for this and fails miserably.
« Je regretterai toute ma vie les terres de famille qu’il m’a fallu vendre. Il y avait des bouquets d’arbres et des familles de serviteurs qui nous appartenaient depuis des siècles. On ne s’en détache pas sans un peu de mélancolie. »

When he arrived he almost immediately met Maurice Sailland, Curnonsky or Curne, who became later the “prince of gourmets.” They became inseparable over the years, and someone remarked they were like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. They were entirely the opposite. Toulet was long and lean as Curnonsky was short and round. As much as Toulet had a bad character, complaining incessantly about everybody and everything, Curne was indefatigably good-humoured; but both of them were epicuriens, loving above all “les belles filles, la bonne chère, et le bon vin”.


Tandis qu' à l' argile au flanc vert,
     Dessus ton front haussée,
Perlait le pleur d' une eau glacée,
     Les dailleurs, à couvert :

" Enfant, riait leur voix lointaine,
     Voilà temps que tu bois.
Si Monsieur Paul est dans le bois,
     Avise à la fontaine.

" Mais avise aussi de briser
     Ta cruche en tournant vite.
Ah, que dirait ta mère. Évite
     Son bras. Prends le baiser. "

... Le temps était couleur de pêche.
     Sur le Saleys qui dort
Un oiseau d' émeraude et d' or
     Fila comme une flèche.

l' ingénue.
D' une amitié passionnée
     Vous me parlez encor,
Azur, aérien décor,
     Montagne pyrénée,

Où me trompa si tendrement
     Cette ardente ingénue
Qui mentait, fût-ce toute nue,
     Sans rougir seulement.

Au lieu que toi, sublime enceinte,
     Tu es couleur du temps :
Neige en mars ; roses du printemps.
     Août, sombre hyacinthe.


De tout ce gala de province
     Où l'on donnait Manon,
Je ne revois plus rien sinon
     Ta forme étrange, et mince ;

Et lorsqu'à ce duo troublant
     Tes yeux me firent signe,
Frissonner le frimas d'un cygne
     Sur ton bel habit blanc ;

Sinon ton frère sur le siège
     Du fiacre vingt-et-huit
Où tu avais l'air, dans la nuit
     D'une image de neige.


L'immortelle, et l'oeillet de mer
     Qui pousse dans le sable,
La pervenche trop périssable,
     Ou ce fenouil amer

Qui craquait sous la dent des chèvres
     Ne vous en souvient-il,
Ni de la brise au sel subtil
     Qui nous brûlait aux lèvres ?





C' était longtemps avant la guerre.

Sur la banquette en moleskine
Du sombre corridor,
Aux flonflons d' Offenbach s' endort
Une blanche Arlequine.

... Zo' qui saute entre deux  MMrs,
Nul falzar ne dérobe
Le double trésor sous sa robe
Qu' ont mûri d' autres cieux.

On soupe... on sort... Bauby pérore...
Dans ton regard couvert,
Faustine, rit un matin vert...
... Amour, divine aurore.


C' était sur un chemin crayeux
     Trois châtes de Provence
Qui s' en allaient d' un pas qui danse
     Le soleil dans les yeux.

Une enseigne, au bord de la route,
     -Azur et jaune d' oeuf, -
Annonçait : vin de Chateauneuf,
     Tonnelles, casse-croute.
Et, tandis que les suit trois fois
     Leur ombre violette,
Noir pastou, sous la gloriette,
     Toi, tu t' en fous : tu bois...

C' était trois châtes de Provence,
     Des oliviers poudreux,
Et le mistral brûlant aux yeux
     Dans un azur immense.

Henri de LABORDE DE MONPEZAT (1868-1929)
In the Dépêche du Midi of 16 October1966, Mme Claire Verne, niece-in-law of Henri de Laborde de Monpezat’s first wife, said of him : « C'était un homme extraordinaire. Quelqu'un genre Léon Daudet. Il y avait en lui du pamphlétaire, du tribun, de l'orateur, avec un rien de condottiere. Il savait démolir quelqu'un d'un coup de patte. Il se battait fréquemment en duel. » (My italics).  
In 1894, aged 26,  after some years of an existence devoted to love and gambling, Montpezat decided to buy a position; Toulet generously provided him with the means. He lent him some money and Monpezat set out for a life of adventure in Indochina, at first joining the civil service in AnnamTonkin in April of that year. He resigned in Novembre 1897, thinking that he hadn’t come so far, to such an exotic location, full of attractions and mysteries, rich with promise and possibilies, to become a mere pen-pusher. He hunted and trapped, cleared land, farmed and raised horses. He also invested in coal-mining. By the time of his death, in 1929, Monpezat was a wealthy man. His landholdings alone, paddy fields and coffee plantations, amounted to some15,000 hectares. He built a vast mansion on Boulevard Carnot, Hanoï.
Having become a delegate of Annam-Tonkin, Monpezat became accustomed to regular trips to France. In Paris, Henri de Monpezat rediscovered Paul-Jean Toulet, almost famous already, who introduced him to the world of writers and artists. Daudet in his memoirs (Salons et journaux (Paris 1920) speaks of Montpezat immersed in his colonial considerations ... and of Toulet filled with glimpses and acid axioms, like La Rochefoucauld.

In 1914 Monpezat was very tempted by a candidacy in some French metropolitan area, in Béarn for example, but finally decided to present himself in Cochin China which had a representation in the Chamber of Deputies, like some old colonies such as Reunion, Senegal, Algeria, etc. His adversary was Ernest Outrey, the battle bitter and dirty. Outrey won by 1,107 votes to 984. The very next day  the opponents met on the field, swords drawn. Monpezat, this time, was the victor: Outrey was wounded on the arm and stomach. However, in September 1918, another  encounter determined his fate for the next while. Divorced from his first in 1916, he had remarried in Tonkin in 1917. It happened that that he met his wife’s seducer, a captain named Joseph Domenach, a member of an economic commission sent to Indochina three or four months before. A discussion ensued, and  rapidly became heated. Monpezat took out his pistol, which he always carrried, and fired at Domenach. Hit in the stomach, Domenach died of his injuries some hours later. Monpezat is arrested and imprisoned. He is given a five years suspended sentence.
Monpezat defended himself. In his closing, he said: "I am determined to live in silence
and in the shadows ... My springs are broken. A lonely old age awaits me ... I had a position, a certain popularity. In the shipwreck of my life, I am just than a wreck. "
His signature, little by little, reappeared in the Indochinese press. In 1924, he returned to his seat on the Higher Council of Colonies. The same year, he created his own daily newspaper, the Volonté Indochinoise. At the beginning of the summer of 1929, he was forced to undergo surgery. He died a few weeks later. « Un homme échappé des romans d'Alexandre Dumas», exclaimed one of the numerous articles published by the Indochinese press on his death. Yet another gushed : « C'était le d’Artagnan de nos assemblées. »

John Charles Moore de Bienville Grant, 9th Baron de Longueuil
was born in 1861 at Bath, Somerset. He was the son of Charles James Irwin Grant and Anne Marie Catherine Trapman. He succeeded to the title of Baron de Longueuil on 3 August 1931. He died on 17 October 1935 at Pau, France.
Louis Barthou
Deputy for Oloron-Sainte-Marie, President of the Council and several times Minister for the Third Republic, including Prime Minister for eight months in 1913. As Foreign Minister, Louis Barthou met King Alexander I of Yugoslavia during his state visit to Marseille in October 1934. On 9 October, the King and Barthou were assassinated by Velicko Kerin, a Bulgarian revolutionary wielding a handgun. A bullet struck Barthou in the arm, passing though and fatally severing an artery. He died of excessive blood loss less than an hour later.
A ballistic report on the bullets found in the car was made in 1935, but the results were not made available to the public until 1974. They revealed that Barthou was hit by an 8mm Modèle 1892 revolver round commonly used in weapons carried by French police. Thus it appears that he was killed by police response rather than by the assassin.