In Albert Camus's novel La chute / The Fall, the main character talks about his life to an unnamed listener. In the second chapter, he makes the following statement while talking about friends and relatives:

Quant à ceux dont c’est la fonction de nous aimer, je veux dire les parents, les alliés (quelle expression !), c’est une autre chanson. Ils ont le mot qu’il faut, eux, mais c’est plutôt le mot qui fait balle ; ils téléphonent comme on tire à la carabine. Et ils visent juste. Ah ! les Bazaine !


As for those whose function is to love us, I mean parents, allies (what an expression!), that's a diffferent story [literally: song]. They always know the right words [literally: word], but they rather serve as bullets; they call like one fires a rifle. And they aim well. Ah! the Bazaines!

The Bazaines is a family with several well-known members, at least in the 19th century:

However, it is not clear to me what the narrator in La chute has in mind when he says "Ah! les Bazaine!" in this context.

NB: Please note that "les Bazaine" is a correct plural form and not an error. When you refer to a family, you use the plural "les", but you don't modify the family name itself. Hence "les Bazaine", without adding an "s" to the family name. So I assume the narrator is not referring only to François Achille Bazaine, who was sentenced to death for treason.


Even though only François Achille Bazaine was accused of treason (and sentenced for it), it appears that his family name became a synonym for treason. Bazaine surrendered an army of 180,000 to the Prussians in October 1870.

In Paris livré, published in 1871, Gustave Flourens already used the phrase "les Bazaine":

(...) ce gouvernement de traîtres dont il révélait chaque perfidie, combattant dans chacune de ses pages les Bazaine et les Trochu, (...).

These words are part of a chapter entitled "La trahison de Bazaine cachée aux Parisiens par Jules Favre" ("Bazaine's treason hidden from the Parisians by Jules Favre"); the text criticizes Favre, vice-president after the capitulation in the Franco-Prussian war, rather than Bazaine.

An unidentified author wrote in Sabaudia in 1872,

Ce Bazaine de l'époque (...) s'enfuit méprisé de tous. (...) En 1870, l'Als[ace et] la Lorraine sont le fruit de cette trahison; (...).
Mais les Bazaine sont rare, (...).


That Bazaine of those days (...) fled under general contempt. (...) In 1870, Alsace and Lorraine are the results of this treason. (...) But the Bazaines are rare, (...).

(The right side of the page was not scanned completely, which leads to gaps in the sentences.)

In Guerre de 1870-1871, published in 1896, Alfred Duquet wrote,

mais il y avait encore moyen de sortir du mortel guêpier où les Mac-Mahon et les Bazaine avaient jeté la France, (...)


but there was still a way to get out of the deadly wasp's nest into which the Mac-Mahons and the Bazaines had thrown France, (...)

Mac-Mahon refers to Patrice de MacMahon (1808 – 1893), French general and politician, who had suffered several military defeats in the Franco-Prussian war.

In Le général Bourbaki, published in 1898 (the year following Bourbaki's death), Léonce Grandin wrote,

C'est elle [la guerre] qui é créé les plus grands homme de notre armée, les Turenne, les Condé, les Villars; c'est elle aussie qui a produit les profondes erreurs de nos souverains, les Soubise, les Contades; nous pourrions dire aussi les ... Bazaine.


It is she [the war; the word is feminine in French] who created our army's greatest men, the Turennes, the Condés [presumably Louis V Joseph de Bourbon-Condé], the Villars; it is also she who produced the deep error of our monarchs, the Soubises [presumably Benjamin de Rohan], the Contades [possibly Érasme Gaspard de Contades]; we might also say the ... Bazaines.

In La Laterne de Bruant, the singer Aristide Bruant included the following words in one of his songs:

Mais ... entendonds-nous: N'en faut plus
S'ils veulent jouer les Bazaine.


But ... let's agree: there's no need for them to play the Bazaines.

Unless the French believed in a family's collective guilt when one family member became guilty of treason or another crime, "les Bazaine" refers to "François Achille Bazaine and other people who would do something similar (or defend him)".

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