PONS (Sylvain)[*], born about 1785; son of the old age of Monsieur and Madame Pons, who, before 1789, founded the famous Parisian house for the embroidery of uniforms that was bought, in 1815, by M. Rivet, first cousin of the first Madame Camusot of the Cocon d'Or, sole heir of the famous Pons brothers, embroiderers to the Court; under the Empire, he won the Prix de Rome for musical composition, returned to Paris about 1810, and was for many years famous for his romances and melodies which were full of delicacy and good taste. From his stay in Italy, Pons brought back the tastes of the bibliomaniac and a love for works of art. His passion for collecting consumed almost his entire patrimony. Pons became Sauvageot's rival. Monistrol and Elie Magus felt a hidden but envious appreciation of the artistic treasures ingeniously and economically collected by the musician. Being ignorant of the rare value of his museum, he went from house to house, giving private lessons in harmony. This lack of knowledge proved his ruin afterwards, for he became all the more fond of paintings, stones and furniture, as lyric glory was denied him, and his ugliness, coupled with his supposed poverty, kept him from getting married. The pleasures of a gourmand replaced those of the lover; he likewise found some consolation for his isolation in his friendship with Schmucke. Pons suffered from his taste for high living; he grew old, like a parasitic plant, outside the circle of his family, only tolerated by his distant cousins, the Camusot de Marvilles, and their connections, Cardot, Berthier and Popinot. In 1834, at the awarding of the prize to the young ladies of a boarding-school, he met the pianist Schmucke, a teacher as well as himself, and in the strong intimacy that grew up between them, he found some compensation for the blighted hopes of his existence. Sylvain Pons was director of the orchestra at the theatre of which Felix Gaudissart was manager during the monarchy of July. He had Schmucke admitted there, with whom he passed several happy years, in a house, on the rue de Normandie, belonging to C.-J. Pillerault. The bitterness of Madeleine Vivet and Amelie Camusot de Marville, and the covetousness of Madame Cibot, the door-keeper, and Fraisier, Magus, Poulain and Remonencq were perhaps the indirect causes of the case of hepatitis of which Pons died (in April, 1845), appointing Schmucke his residuary legatee before Maitre Leopold Hannequin, who had been hastily summoned by Heloise Brisetout. Pons was on the point of being employed to compose a piece of ballet music, entitled "Les Mohicans." This work most likely fell to his successor, Garangeot. [Cousin Pons.]
[*] M. Alphonse de Launay has derived from the life of Sylvain Pons a drama that was presented at the Cluny theatre, Paris, about 1873.
POPINOT, alderman of Sancerre in the eighteenth century; father of Jean-Jules Popinot and Madame Ragon (born Popinot). He was the officer whose portrait, painted by Latour, adorned the walls of Madame Ragon's parlor, during the Restoration, at her home in the Quartier Saint- Sulpice, Paris. [Cesar Birotteau.]
POPINOT (Jean-Jules), son of the preceding, brother of Madame Ragon, and husband of Mademoiselle Bianchon--of Sancerre--embraced the profession of law, but did not attain promptly the rank which his powers and integrity deserved. Jean-Jules Popinot remained for a long time a judge of a lower court in Paris. He took a deep interest in the fate of the young orphan Anselme Popinot, his nephew, and a clerk of Cesar Birotteau; and was invited with Madame Jean-Jules Popinot to the perfumer's famous ball, on Sunday, December 17, 1818. Nearly eighteen months later, Jean-Jules Popinot once more saw Anselme, who was set up as a druggist on the rue des Cinq-Diamants, and met Felix Gaudissart, the commercial-traveler, and tried to excuse certain imprudent utterances of his on the political situation, that had been reported by Canquoelle-Peyrade, the police-agent. [Cesar Birotteau.] Three years later he lost his wife, who had brought him, for dowry, an income of six thousand francs, representing exactly twice his personal assets. Living from this time at the rue de Fouarre, Popinot was able to give free rein to the exercise of charity, a virtue that had become a passion with him. At the urgent instance of Octave de Bauvan, Jean- Jules Popinot, in order to aid Honorine, the Count's wife, sent her a pretended commission-merchant, probably Felix Gaudissart, offering a more than generous price for the flowers she made. [Honorine.] Jean- Jules Popinot eventually established a sort of benevolent agency. Lavienne, his servant, and Horace Bianchon, his wife's nephew aided him. He relieved Madame Toupinet, a poor woman on the rue du Petit- Banquier, from want (1828). Madame d'Espard's request for a guardian for her husband served to divert Popinot from his role of Saint Vincent de Paul; a man of rare delicacy hidden beneath a rough and uncultured exterior, he immediately discovered the injustice of the wrongs alleged by the marchioness, and recognized the real victim in M. d'Espard, when he cross-questioned him at No. 22 rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevieve, in an apartment, the good management of which he seemed to envy, though the rooms were simply furnished, and in striking contrast with the splendor of which he had been a witness, at the home of the marchioness in the Faubourg Saint-Honore. A delay caused by a cold in the head, and especially the influence of Madame d'Espard's intrigues, removed Popinot from the cause, in which Camusot was substituted. [The Commission in Lunacy.] We have varying accounts of Jean-Jules Popinot's last years. Madame de la Chanterie's circle mourned the death of the judge in 1833 [The Seamy Side of History.] and Phellion in 1840. J.-J. Popinot probably died at No. 22 rue de la Montagne-Saint-Genevieve, in the apartment that he had already coveted, being a counselor to the court, municipal counselor of Paris, and a member of the General Council of the Seine. [The Middle Classes.]
POPINOT (Anselme), a poor orphan, and nephew of the preceding and of Madame Ragon (born Popinot), who took charge of him in his infancy. Small of stature, red-haired, and lame, he gladly became clerk to Cesar Birotteau, the Paris perfumer of the Reine des Roses, the successor of Ragon, with whom he did a great deal of work, in order to be able to show appreciation for the favor shown a part of his family, that was well-nigh ruined as a result of some bad investments (the Wortschin mines, 1818-19). Anselme Popinot, being secretly in love with Cesarine Birotteau, his employer's daughter--the feeling being reciprocated, moreover--brought about, so far as his means allowed, the rehabilitation of Cesar, thanks to the profits of his drug business, established on the rue des Cinq-Diamants, between 1819 and 1820. The beginning of his great fortune and of his domestic happiness dated from this time. [Cesar Birotteau.] After Birotteau's death, about 1822, Popinot married Mademoiselle Birotteau, by whom he had three children, two sons and a daughter. The consequences of the Revolution of 1830 brought Anselme Popinot in the way of power and honors; he was twice deputy after the beginning of Louis Philippe's reign, and was also minister of commerce. [Gaudissart the Great.] Anselme Popinot, twice secretary of state, had finally been made a count, and a peer of France. He owned a mansion on the rue Basse du Rempart. In 1834 he rewarded Felix Gaudissart for services formerly rendered on the rue des Cinq-Diamants, and entrusted to him the management of a boulevard theatre, where the opera, the drama, the fairy spectacle, and the ballet took turn and turn. [Cousin Pons.] Four years later the Comte Popinot, again minister of commerce and agriculture, a lover of the arts and one who gladly acted the part of the refined Maecenas, bought for two thousand francs a copy of Steinbock's "Groupe de Samson" and stipulated that the mould should be destroyed that there might be only two copies, his own and the one belonging to Mademoiselle Hortense Hulot, the artist's fiancee. When Wenceslas married Mademoiselle Hulot, Popinot and Eugene de Rastignac were the Pole's witnesses. [Cousin Betty.]
POPINOT (Madame Anselme), wife of the preceding, born Cesarine Birotteau, in 1801. Beautiful and attractive though, at one time, almost promised to Alexandre Crottat, she married, about 1822, Anselme Popinot, whom she loved and by whom she was loved. [Cesar Biroteau.] After her marriage, though in the midst of splendor, she remained the simple, open, and even artless character that she was in the modest days of her youth.[*] The transformation of the dancer Claudine du Bruel, the whilom Tullia of the Royal Academy of Music, to a moral bourgeois matron, surprised Madame Anselme, who became intimate with her. [A Prince of Bohemia.] The Comtesse Popinot rendered aid, in a delicate way, in 1841, to Adeline Hulot d'Ervy. Her influence with that of Mesdames de Rastignac, de Navarreins, d'Espard, de Grandlieu, de Carigliano, de Lenoncourt, and de la Bastie, procured Adeline's appointment as salaried inspector of charities. [Cousin Betty.] Three years later when one of her three children married Mademoiselle Camusot de Marville, Madame Popinot, although she appeared at the most exclusive social gatherings, imitated modest Anselme, and, unlike Amelie Camusot, received Pons, a tenant of her maternal great-uncle, C.-J. Pillerault. [Cousin Pons.]
[*] In 1838, the little theatre Pantheon, destroyed in 1846, gave a vaudeville play, by M. Eugene Cormon, entitled "Cesar Birotteau," of which Madame Anselme Popinot was one of the heroines.
POPINOT (Vicomte), the eldest of the three children of the preceding couple, married, in 1845, Cecile Camusot de Marville. [Cousin Pons.] During the course of the year 1846, he questioned Victorin Hulot about the remarkable second marriage of Baron Hector Hulot d'Ervy, which was solemnized on the first of February of that year. [Cousin Betty.]