Page images
PDF
EPUB

plaisanterie, Monsieurjy perds, parole stranger may have of Paris, who makes d'honneur, Monsieur, j'y perds." his point of observation the Hôtel Meu

But if it is good philosophy to bear rice, and employs as exponents of the meekly with the cheateries of the shop- scene (corresponding to the magnifying keepers, it is doubly so with the shop. glasses of the panorama) the English girls. The high-heeled shoes, and high speaking valets de place. head.gear, that turned the good-natured What, pray, will he know of all the soul of poor Lawrence Sterne, are indeed hôtels garni's—which make up the living gone by; but the grisette presides over quarters of all thorough-bred Parisians? gloves and silks yet, and whatever she Or what, of the families of concierges may do with the heartstrings, she makes living ten souls in a ready furnished room, the purse-strings yield. You will find six feet by nine? or what of the world her in every shop of Paris,-except the within a house—each floor a country, exchange brokers (where there are fat each suite a town, and frequently each middle-aged ladies who would adorn the room a neighborhood, as unknown to the circles of Wall street)—there she stands, next, as if one were in Yucatan, and the with her hair laid smooth as her cheek, other in Mexico? What knows he of over her forehead, in the prettiest blue the whole world of restaurants, scattered and muslin dress imaginable,

-a bit of up and down, in which prince and peanarrow white lace running round the sant finds bis dinner; and where he may neck, and each little hand set off with a pay two sous, or as many napoleons ? bit of the same, and a very witch at a and the cafés, from those brilliant with bargain. With what a gracious smile she gold and mirrors to the dingy salons of detects and receives the poor stranger. St. Antoine ? What knows he of the There may be two at a time—there may eccentricities of cabmen, and the dealers be six--she is nothing abashed. You may in wines and small stores—or of the laugh, she will laugh back ; you may students' dinners, and the garden of the chat, she will chat back; you may scold, Luxembourg-—of the intricacies of the she will scold back. She guesses your Palais Royal, or the Bal Montesquieu ? wants: there they are,--the prettiest He knows nothing of the omnibus, but gloves in Paris. She measures your hand its noise-of the Boulevards, but its

Quelle jolie petite main”—and she as crowds—of the shops, but their prices-of sists in putting a pair fairly on; and the Chatelet, but its height—of the Latin “how many pair does Monsieur wish; a quarter, but its mud-or of Montfaucon, dozen-two dozen ?

but its smells. “ But one! ah !-Monsieur is surely A bjure the valet, and take instead the joking. See, what pretty colors, and so map, the dictionary, the grammar, or a nice a fit. Only two-ah, it is indeed too pocket history. If there be possessed no few, and so cheap; only fifteen francs for knowledge of the language, let us prethe six pair-which is so little for Mon- scribe a garret on the sixth floor, looking sieur”—and she rolls them in a paper, upon a small court-late hours (at home) and there is no refusal. And you slip the and close study. Without a speaking acthree pieces of money upon the counter, quaintance with the language, one meets and she draws them like magic into her (experto crede) with almost innumerable little drawer, and thanks you in a way vexations. A modicum will suffice for pethat makes you think as you go out, that gotiation with the garrulous old mistresses you have been paying for the smiles, and of maisons garnies, who toil up, puffing, nothing for the gloves.

long flights of stairs, turning round Meantime how and where are we living at each step to tell you how easy is the at Paris? We remember crowding our ascent, and to direct your attention to the way into a tent-booth, on a fair day at charming views through the back winStrasburg, and waiting inside until an dows. What visions of dimity curtains, Amazon in short petticoats had finished a and waxed floors, and winding escaliers, fencing match with a soldier of the gar- and dark courts, and little conciergeries, rison, to see a panoramic view of the and fat women with huge bunches of keys chief cities of the world—among which at their girdles, come up to our mind's were New York and New Haven. And eye, in recalling a day's search through on comparing the canvas with our recol- the maisons garnies of Paris ! On the lections, we think the burghers of Stras. Quay, in the Rue de l'Ancienne Comedie, burg may have very like as correct an the Faubourg St. Germain, and the Fauidea of those American cities as the bourg Montmartre : here a busy valet de

chambre, with a white apron, who takes been dwellers. Who can forget the happy six steps at a jump, and insists upon the Madame C—, in the Rue Neuve St. bon local : there, a prim little daughter of Augustin, who serves ber lodgers with the concierge, who trips a long way coffee up six pair of stairs, sometimes at before you, and insists upon showing the hand of the little mischievous Pierre you every vacant room in the house, in the blue blouse, and sometimes by and laughs at your bad French, in a the stumpy little girl who called ber way that makes you talk infinitely “ Ma tante ?” Then there was the worse, and throws open the window, and short, stiff-haired concierge of the Rue St. pulls back the muslin curtains, descant. Thomas du Louvre, who skated over ing all the while in the prettiest possible the tile floors with wax brushes to his language upon the prospect: then, again, feet, grinning and chatting as he moved; obstinate old women with spectacles, and the good-natured soul his wife, who put down their knitting work and with horn spectacles in the box at the drop tremendous curtseys, who would be door, and “ La Maitresse”—a prim old charined to have Monsieur for a lodger – body who wore a white cap to cover who give the best of linen, and who, say her gray hairs, and whom the concierge what you will, insist upon understanding dignitied with the title of Madenioiselle. you to accept their terms unconditionally; There was beside, the happy-looking and when you would undeceive them, shoemaker in the dark court of one of overwhelm you with explications, that the many hotels of the Rue de Seine, and only make matters worse, and you are the little iron gate with the tinkling bell, fain to make all sorts of excuses to be and the crooked and dim corridor, and fairly rid of them. What array of broken the cheerful Abbé Gpromises and prices, of subterfuges and But such recollections do not enough solicitations, throng over the memorial of show how one lives at Paris. Next 10 a single day's search for lodgings ! beds, which are always good, comes

And what a happy rest from all of breakfast. He who takes it at home, them in the little, wax-floored, white-cur or his Hotel, sees not one half of what tained chamber, on the deuxiéme étage of is to be seen in the Parisian world; and a maison particuliere under the shadow who does not prosecute a full acquaintof the Cathedral of San Roch! What a ance with the cafés of the French capiquiet old lady in the concierge—who tal, has not half invested himself with made the bed, and brought up the water, French habitude. The Parisian takes and kindled the fire! And the corset- there his café au lait and his journalmaker next door had all sorts of visit. his demi-tasse and his segar-his misors; and in the mourning shop oppo. tress and his ice; the provincial takes site, every day the shop girls new his dejeuner à la fourchette and his Naarranged the laces, and caps, and cross tional-his absinthe and his wife: even barred muslins, so that we came half to the English take their Galignani and be a connoisseur of modes. Many a their eggs, and the German his beer and quiet afternoon, too, have we leaned out his pipe. It is the arena of the public of the window, watching the goers in at life of Paris : what the Exchange is 10 the cathedral-up the same steps where London, the casés are to the French capwas gathered in the unfortunate days of ital. There the politics and amusements France, the ruthless rabble, to see poor of the day meet discussion, but no geneMarie Antoinette go by to execution. And ral discussion : each table has its party, the loud, full sounding bells, high over and so silently conducted, that the nearthe weather-stained front, chiming at mid- est neighbors are not disturbed. At one, night over the silent city-what memo the two in the dress of the National ries in the sound—what sounds in the Guard are magnifying M. Thiers, and memory of them!

the old gentleman at the next table, with “ fra le più care

gold spectacles and a hooked nose, is Gioje del mondo, è 'l suon delle campane."

, dealing out anathemas upon his head.

Opposite the Porte St. Martin, whose The old Italian had listened to the “ foot ran blood” in the three days of Florentine bells, and we have dreamed July, is the Café de Malte : there are under those of San Giovanni, and of San more stylish cafés, but nowhere do they Roch.

make better coffee between the MadeThere attach other recollections to leine and the Fountain of the Chatean. other neighborhoods, in which we have There G- and myself breakfasted

many a morning, strolling down from butter, and bread such as is comparable the Rue de Lancry a kilometre upon the with nothing but itself, are employing Boulevard -turning in at the corner door the intervals in study of the characters upon the Rue St. Martin-touching our about us, or glancing through the winhats to the little blue dressed grisette at dows, upon the roar of carts, and voi. the dais, who presided over spoons, sugar tures, and omnibuses, and soldiers, and and sous—and took our seats at one of porters, and market-women, and gliding the marble slabs upon the crimson cush. grisettes, all of which suck like a whirlioned seats. We were, in general, but pool round the angles of the Porte St. two of the forty frequenters of the Café Martin. de Malte. Beside us would be some Even now, the reader has not half so lieutenant in scarlet breeches, blue coat, definite an idea of a Paris café as we and ugly cap, very like the tin pail in could wish he had—of the mirrors mula which New England housewives boil tiplying everything to infinity-of the their Indian puddings--with his friend, gilt cornices--of the sanded foors-of some whiskerado, who is tickling his the iron-legged tables—of the German vanity by looking at his epaulettes, and stove with its load of crockery—of the listening applausively to his critiques dais, with its pyramids of sugar-of the upon the army in Algiers. They are garçons in their white aprons, and drinking a dose of absinthe to whet their shouting to the little woman at the desk, appetites for dinner: a thing only to be “ dizneuf-quarante : treize-cinq franc accounted for, from the fact that the offi- -vingt et un-vingt-cinq.". cer dines at mess, and so cares little how Who knows not the Café de Parismuch he eats; and that the whiskerado at least its outward show of a summer's has an invitation to dine with a friend, evening, when the Boulevard before it is and so wishes by double eating to do full of loungers, and the salons full away the necessity of dining tomorrow. within ; and the Café Anglais on the On another side of us, is perhaps an old corner, and the Vefour and the Rotonde man of sixty, who wears a wig, and looks of the Palais Royal? We see before us very wisely over the columns of the now—the blue ocean water is tumbling Presse, and occasionally very crossly, at around, and nor land nor sail in viewa small dog, which an old lady next him the nice-looking, black-haired French holds by a string, and which seems to girl of twenty, who used to come in with be playing sundry amusing and innocent her mamma, every morning at eleven tricks over the old gentleman's boots. precisely, to the Vefour, and hang her The lady, his neighbor, looks fondly at mischievous-looking green sherd bonnet her dog-sipping now and then at her over her head, and arrange the scattered chocolate--throwing bits of crumbs to locks, and smooth the plaits upon her her canine companion--all the while forehead with the flat of her delicate looking anxiously at every new comer hand-giving, all the while, such side through her glasses-possibly watching looks from under it, as utterly baffled for some old admirer; for no circum- the old lady's observation. stancé, nor age, nor place, nor decrepi- take their coffee there yet? or does the tude, can dissipate a Frenchwoman's middle-aged man with the red moustache vanity. Another way are three talkers, bow as graciously as ever to Mademoieach with his demi-tasse, discussing the selle last, and Madame first ? And does National. There are ages from twenty he steal the sly looks over the upper to eighty. There are characters, from columns of the Constitutionnel, as if all the impudent sans culottes to the digni- the news were centred along the top fied scowl of the Girondist. Here is a lines, and as if we were not watching man opposite, with dirty hands, dirty between the rim of our coffee-bowl and nails, uncombed hair and dirty beard, eyebrows, for just such explications of who has finished his coffee, and is poring Paris life? And does the little cock. over a bit of music—altering notes, eyed man at the De Lorme, who breakhumming a tune, and drumming on the fasted on two chops and coffee, still keep table with his fingers. He is doubtless Galignani till every English reader, and an employée of the orchestra of the The we among them, despaired ? atre of the Porte St. Martin opposite. If one wants coffee at near suprise, or We, meantime, over our café au lait, on to six or seven, he must not look for rich as nectar a little pyramid of fresh it in the places we bave named; he radishes, a neat stamped cake of yellow must find his way to the neighborhood

Do they

of the diligence bureaus, or the Chemin ping in for a demi-tasse? The girls were de Fer; or he must dash boldly into the forbidden to look toward the street ; undim salons of St. Antoine, or beyond fortunately, the manager could not arrange the Pont St. Michel, or round the Halle their looking two ways at once; had he au Blé, or Marché des Innocens. There been able, his custom might have conhe will find men in blouses-mechanics tinued-as it was, those who entered -country people, cab-drivers, and jour. once, did not enter a second time; and neymen tailors, discussing the news of the other day we noticed that the windows yesterday, or perhaps six looking over were closed, and an à louer posted on the ihe Constitutionnel of to-day. Such door. men count by the thousands, and make Such are the Parisian breakfast houses, up the tone of popular feeling, with in- and at Parisian breakfasts, eating is the fluence that is derided in the salon, and least that is done. Fat old bourgeois felt in the government-an influence from Lyons, or wool merchants from which, when inflamed, brought to exe Chateauroux, or apple sellers of Norcution a Queen, who said, when told mandy, are not conient with such mimthe people were starving, “Mon Dieu! icry of the provincial dejeuner à la fourwhy do they not buy some of those nice chette, whose abundance would rival a little rolls ?” and an influence which German dinner. Such-and American saved, amid the iconoclasm of the revolu- breakfast eaters, would come within the tion, the statue in the Pons Neuf of Henri same category, until Paris air has supIII., because the old king had said plied Paris habits—must give their orders “ Every workman ought to have a chick- at home, or eat at a Pension, or step into en in his pot for his Sunday's dinner.” the Restaurants within the purlieus of But we have nothing to say but of the the Palais Royal, where dejeuners of two coffee, which is near as good in one place dishes and dessert, and half a botile of as another—that is to say, none is bad. wine, are eaten for a franc and thirty cenOne may bargain with the concierge for times; and down the Rue St. Honore are a morning dish, and take it hot in his “real English breakfasts” for the same. chamber; and they will need it, who at Does - remember the bread that first sight of a wet winter's morning, must used to stand on end like a walking-stick tramp along the muddy rues of the cité in one corner of the salon, at the Pension and the quay, where rises the loathsome in the Rue Beaurigard, and the sour Morgue, to follow the electric movements wine, and the old Madame with her snuffof M. Roux and his crowd of students, box at her elbow, and her fingers and nose through the wards of the Hotel Dieu. bebrowned? And what a keen eye hid unAnd how good after it all,—the hot, der her spectacles, and what blue-looking close air of the lecture room, and the milk, and what sad, sad chops, and what combined smells of sick beds and drugs, a meek Monsieur for helpmeet? Yet it -a fresh pain, viennois, and a luscious was passable, for there was Mademoiselle bowl at the Café Voltaire !

blithe as a cricket all the day ; but there After mid-day, the demi-tasse a l'eau are better pensions than that in the Rue de vie gains upon the café au lait, and for Beaurigard. Par exemple, la Rue de three hours after noon, there is a sensible Bussy. How neatly little Marie arfalling off of visitors, and the trim presi- ranges the rooms, and for management dente leaves her place to dress for the who can surpass Madame C.? Still, evening. And how many sorry old single who wishes to see Parisian life in the men, and quarreling married men, to say morning, must frequent the café. It nothing of such idle observers as we, will would make a very curious subject of not a fresh-faced, bright-eyed, neatly. inquiry to trace the pursuits of the Pardressed fair one, draw to her salon ? isian world between café and dinner ; the Whoever has loitered up the Boulevard stranger dreams it away at the shrine of as far as the terasse by the Porte St. Den- some of the glories of ihe Louvre, or in is, will remember the knot that used to the rich walls of palaces, or under church gather summer forenoons before the win- roofs, or before shop windows, or in the dows of the Café Maure, and will re sunshine of the garden of the Tuilleries. member seeing the two splendidly But what on earth becomes of all the dressed Moorish damsels in the dais. straight capped lieutenants, and middleWhat swanlike necks, and grace of aged women, and lap-dogs, and old men posture, and splendor of plumes! Who who spend an hour over the Debats, and could resist the temptation of drop- men who smoke, and read Charivari ?

It would not be impossible to trace them stomachs, is a matter which one who out, and some time we may do it; now knows Paris better than we might be for dinner. Between dinner and bed, the puzzled to answer. The steaks are none Parisian talks about Le Theatre and Le of the largest, every man who has Roi ; between getting up and café, he walked the Boulevard for an appetite talks of L'Argent and Le chemin de fer, very well knows; indeed we are inclined and thence till five, his talk is of diner to think that the higher the dinner ranks where he shall get it, what he shall get, in fashion, the less it will rank in the and how much it shall cost. The rest of scales. Where do they give more heapthe world are no wiser ; they arrange ing platefuls than at Martin's, under the them for the year; the Parisian arranges shadow of the Odeon? And there a man for the day. One whose means know no may fill himself for his eighteen sous, limit will perhaps dine in his apartments, and enjoy the society of professional and give his orders to the Fournisseur du men, at least the neophytes, who cut Roi, in the Palais Royal, before whose into the fricandeaus in a way that would windows a crowd of little soldiers in do credit to the dissecting room. True, crimson breeches, and of men in blouses, the wainscoting is not of mirrors, and are always looking in upon the swim- the cloths do not “ smell of lavender," ming terrapins, and the salmon, and the and the wine is neither vieux macon nor fruits of every name and country. We malère, and the stews of rabbit are of have, however, nothing to do but with doubtful origin, but here, as every w bere that phase of the Paris life which is elsepresented to every stranger's observation. Turn we then to the Trois Freres, where

“ Il saper troppo quasi sempre nuoce." go such misguided peers as would seem Green-eyed persons say the same of rich, and such rich as would seem peers; Tavernier's stews, but it can hardly be where go, indeed, all who, by paying credited. Madame T. thrives too well high, wish to seem of the elite. No to have thriven on cat's flesh; and there window in the Palais Royal, unless that is surely nothing of the Grimalkin about of Vefour, shows a richer stock of game, the sparkling Mademoiselle who presides or meats, than the Trois Freres. Twenty over apricots and oysters. It is a splenfrancs will pay for an exceeding good did saloon, au premier, in the Palais dinner; besides, one has the honor of Royal, overlooking the whole court, looking upon men with red ribbons in with its crowds of loungers, and limetheir button-holes, and ogling the clean trees, and sparkling fountains, that has dressed grisettes in the dais. As good over its doors the name of Tavernier. dinners may be had elsewhere, but the We have eaten a great many two franc eclat of extravagance belongs to such as dinners at its neat little tables-of soup, the Café de Paris and Trois Freres. It is three dishes, dessert and wine; we wish surprising how much it aids a man's we had by us a bill of fare to copy some good opinion of himself to be the envy among its hundred dishes. Still more, we of the small boys with paper parcels, wish there were some Cruikshank to drop and hungry looking newspaper read rs, in an illustration of the brilliant interior of who see him coming in or out of those that Palais Royal restaurant, on a Decembrilliant restaurants. And the cooking ber evening at 5. How nicely would come is superb—“they will make you five dif- into the foreground those two old Cheeryferent dishes from a nettle pot, and twice ble brothers, who have dined at the same as many from a frog's haunches.” There table, at the same hour, and on nearly are two or three along the Boulevard the same dishes, for a year! One is as which rank little lower, and there is the precise as a mademoiselle of sixty; and British Tavern, where mock turtle is al. The other, with a happy, careless look ways ready, and where English ale may that never became soured under a wife's be drank, and English mustard eaten on regards. One tucks his napkin, carefully. English steaks-saving only the horse- unfolded, in his vest; the other wipes radish. The Parisian is never too aris- it with both hands across his mouth, and tocratic to economize, and even at the drops it carelessly in his lap. One eats Café de Paris have we seen a dinner for weak broth, and the other pea-soup. What two, ordered for five living souls, mother, a group would that long family of English father, maid, and children. How the tive make! There is a boy in jacket, with quotients out of these two dividends, with a collar that covers his shoulders, and a a hungry man for divisor, satisfy five red-faced miss who is by half longer than

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »