Title: My Memoirs, volume 4 (1830 to 1831)
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Translator: E. M. Waller
Release Date: December 6, 2015 [EBook #50630]
Produced by Laura N.R. & Marc D’Hooghe at http://www.freeliterature.org (Images generously made
available by the Hathi Trust.)
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
The original files are provided by InternetArchive.
In this volume, Alexandre Dumas describes the revolution of 1830.
Did my readers think when I began these volumes that my aim was merely egotistic, for the purpose of talking everlastingly of myself? No, indeed; I meant it to serve for a huge frame in which to depict all my brethren in Art, fathers or children of my century, the great spirits and charming personalities, whose hands, cheeks and lips I have pressed; those who have loved me, and whom I have loved; those who have been, or who still are, the ornament of our times; including those I may never have known, and those even who have detested me! The Memoirs of Alexandre Dumas–why, it would be absurd! What could I have become alone, as an isolated individual, a lost atom, a speck of dust amidst so many whirlwinds Simply nothing. But by associating myself with you, by pressing with my left hand the right hand of an artist, with my right hand the left hand of a prince, I became a link in the golden chain which connects the past with the future. No, I am not writing my own Memoirs, but those of all I have known; and as I have come in contact with the greatest and most illustrious people in France, it is really Memoirs of France I am writing.
General La Fayette had a delightful mind, fair and sensible: he erred on the side of goodness, but not from want of ability; he had seen much, and this made up for his lack of book-knowledge. Think what it was for a young
man like me, to talk face to face with the history of half a century–as it were; with the man who had known Richelieu, shaken hands with Major André, argued with Franklin, been the friend of Washington, the ally of the native tribes of Canada, the brother of Bailly, one of the denouncers of Marat, the man who saved the queen’s life, the antagonist of Mirabeau, the prisoner of Olmütz, the representative abroad of French chivalry, the upholder of liberty in France, the person who became a hero by proclaiming the rights of man in the Revolution
of 1789, and again made himself a prominent figure by the part he took in the programme of affairs at the Hôtel de Ville in the Revolution of 1830! Alas! I was terribly ignorant of history at that time, and my admiration of the general was so much that of an amateur as hardly to be flattering to him.