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THE MAHDI’S CHANCELLOR.

The Figaro publishes the following article on M. Olivier Pain :—This is the story of one of ours, a journalist, who went out as a correspondent to the Soudan, who became Generalissimo, then Minister for Foreign Affairs with the conquerors of the English. The thing may appear singular to those who are not acquainted with Olivier Pain. It has surprised none of hia friends- No novel possesses so much interest as his life. We shall endeavor to recount it. Towards the end of the Empiie Pain, who was only three and twenty, devoted himself to poetry. He detested the Emperor, as was the.fashi m among young people In 1861) ha repaired to Sainte-I’elagie to console the victim of Napoleon lit , Charles Oacosta, otherwise ‘ - 0oco.” It was in the vast corridors of that prison that he became acquainted with Rochefort, who was then an inmate. Pain took a great liking to Kochefort, who compensated him by appointing him after the 18th of March Secretary-General to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. From that day Pain fancied he had been placed in this world to reform the maps of Europe, Asia, and Africa. However, on May 24 he abandoned diplomacy to handle a musket. Hia old comrades state that he never ceased fighting on the Palace du Chateau d’Eau until struck down by the seventh wound. Pain had been carried into the house of certain girls who took care of him. The moment he recovered the only object was to quit Paris, which had become too hot for him. He went to Rouen, where he had an old schoolfellow. “I have coma to ask your hospitality.’ “ What do you mean ; you are being hunted ? If they caught us both V The friend considered it more prudent to go and ask the advice of the Oummissaire de Police, who lost no time in arresting the ex-secretary of the Commune and sent him to Paris. Pain was tried by courtmartial and sent to New Caledonia, where he again met Rochefort. There, again, he endeavoured to escape. Rochefort had the same hope, and the only chance was by throwing themselves into the sea. “ But Ido not know how to swim," said Pain. “ Weil, you must, learn." The heat was so intense that the greater part of the 7 day was spent in the water. They would all have died but for this rescue. At the end of the month Fain could swim like a fish. When he felt sure he could do so, the two frieuds escaped, and nothing more was heard of them in New Caledonia, a boat was awaiting them miles off, and further still a steamer. They repaired to England, and thence to Switzerland. When the Turco-Russian war broke out Pain sought the post of war correspondent to some French newspaper. Menier, who at that time edited the Bien Public, promised to publish his letters. The adventurer started. He passed the Russian lines, not without considerable difficulty, and arrived at Plevna, where he became a favorite with Osman Pasha ; but the old Communard was not satisfied with being a simple journalist. The war excited him. He asked for arms, and fought against the Russians. From time to time he served as intermediary between the Grand Duke, who wrote in French, and Osman Pasha. After the defeat of the Russians the Roumanians found Pain in the uniform of a Turkish artillery officer. He vainly endeavored to tear his buttons off. They captured him and made him drive 400 miles in an open cart during the intense cold weather which then prevailed. He was brought to the banks of the Volga, and at Sigerane was shut up in prison and strictly wat ;hed by Russian soldiers. One day Rochefort received from Pain's father a most distressing letter. His son wrote to him—“lam on the point of being tried. They tell me I am sure to De shot. I write that you may know where to search for my body." Rochefort called at once on the Swiss Minister, M. Heridier, and the Chancellor, M. Patru. J'he Council of State took up the affair, and telegraph d to the Swiss charge d’affaires at St Petersburg instructing him to plead on behalf <-f Pain, a Swiss citizen. The charge d'affaires sought an audience of the nimparor Alexander If, who replied, ‘‘ In fact, it would not be fair to try a j mrnaiist. He has fought against us, it is true ; but a reporter must use the best means he can." And this is ■ % how a Communard was saved by an Him

peror. A month later Rochefort was still at Geneva. It was midnight, and he was asleep. Some one knocked loudly at his door. “Who is It?” “It is I.” He recognised the voice. He opened, and saw Pain, s ill dressed in his Turkish uniform, with a fez on his head, but worn out and tired. The amnesty was proclaimed. The fugitive from New Caledonia was among the first to return and see his old friends. He then remained a Parisian journalist until the breaking out of the war between "England and the Soudan. New duties to be performed presented themselves. Pain proposed to the Figaro to go to the Mahdi’a camp The offer was a tempting one. He left He sent in two or three letters ; then we heard no more of him. He had gone so far away that it was Impossible for him to correspond any longer with Francs. Then suddenly the Government received the following intelligence:—“O'ivier Pain has succeeded in reaching the Mahdi’s camp He is General-in-Chief. He has taken part in the capture of Khartoum. He is Minister for Foreign Affairs.” We must hasten to state that he had left France with letters warmly rec nmnending him to the Mahdi. One of these letters had been given by one of the Mahdi’s former tutors, now residing in Paris.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18850415.2.9

Bibliographic details

THE MAHDI’S CHANCELLOR., Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1514, 15 April 1885

Word Count
989

THE MAHDI’S CHANCELLOR. Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1514, 15 April 1885

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