Jasmin's visit to Paris.

Visits Paris with his Son-- Wonders of Paris-- Countries Cousins-- Letters to Agen-- Visit to Sainte- Beuve-- Charles Nodier, Jules Janin-- Landlord of Jasmin's Hotel-- Recitation before Augustin Thierry and Members of the Academy-- Career of the Historian-- His Blindness-- His Farewell to Literature

Jasmin had been so often advised to visit Paris and test his powers there, that at length he determined to proceed to the capital of France. It is true, he had been eulogized in the criticisms of Sainte-Beuve, Leonce de Lavergne, Charles Nodier, and Charles de Mazade; but he desired to make the personal acquaintance of some of these illustrious persons, as well as to see his son, who was then settled in Paris. It was therefore in some respects a visit of paternal affection as well as literary reputation. He set out for Paris in the month of May 1842.

Jasmin was a boy in his heart and feelings, then as always. Indeed, he never ceased to be a boy--in his manners, his gaiety, his artlessness, and his enjoyment of new pleasures. What a succession of wonders to him was Paris--its streets, its boulevards, its Tuileries, its Louvre, its Arc de Triomphe --reminding him of the Revolution and the wars of the first Napoleon.

Accompanied by his son Édouard, he spent about a week in visiting the most striking memorials of the capital. They visited together the Place de la Concorde, the Hôtel de Ville, Notre Dame, the Madeleine, the Champs Elysées, and most of the other sights. At the Colonne Vendôme, Jasmin raised his head, looked up, and stood erect, proud of the glories of France. He saw all these things for the first time, but they had long been associated with his recollections of the past.

There are "country cousins" in Paris as well as in London. They are known by their dress, their manners, their amazement at all they see. When Jasmin stood before the Vendôme Column, he extended his hand as if he were about to recite one of his poems. "Oh, my son," he exclaimed, "such glories as these are truly magnificent!" The son, who was familiar with the glories, was rather disposed to laugh. He desired, for decorum's sake, to repress his father's exclamations. He saw the people standing about to hear his father's words. "Come," said the young man, "let us go to the Madeleine, and see that famous church." "Ah, Édouard," said Jasmin, "I can see well enough that you are not a poet; not you indeed!"

During his visit, Jasmin wrote regularly to his wife and friends at Agen, giving them his impressions of Paris. His letters were full of his usual simplicity, brightness, boyishness, and enthusiasm. "What wonderful things I have already seen," he said in one of his letters, "and how many more have I to see to-morrow and the following days. M. Dumon, Minister of Public Works" (Jasmin's compatriot and associate at the Academy of Agen), "has given me letters of admission to Versailles, Saint-Cloud, Meudon in fact, to all the public places that I have for so long a time been burning to see and admire."

After a week's tramping about, and seeing the most attractive sights of the capital, Jasmin bethought him of his literary friends and critics. The first person he called upon was Sainte-Beuve, at the Mazarin Library, of which he was director. "He received me like a brother," said Jasmin, "and embraced me. He said the most flattering things about my Franconnette, and considered it an improvement upon L'Aveugle. 'Continue,' he said, 'my good friend' and you will take a place in the brightest poetry of our epoch.' In showing me over the shelves in the Library containing the works of the old poets, which are still read and admired, he said, ' Like them, you will never die.'"

Jasmin next called upon Charles Nodier and Jules Janin. Nodier was delighted to see his old friend, and after a long conversation, Jasmin said that "he left him with tears in his eyes." Janin complimented him upon his works, especially upon his masterly use of the Gascon language. "Go on," he said, "and write your poetry in the patois which always appears to me so delicious. You possess the talent necessary for the purpose; it is so genuine and rare."

The Parisian journals mentioned Jasmin's appearance in the capital; the most distinguished critics had highly approved of his works; and before long he became the hero of the day. The modest hotel in which he stayed during his visit, was crowded with visitors. Peers, ministers, deputies, journalists, members of the French Academy, came to salute the author of the 'Papillotos.'

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