Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

and it sees Cæsarism, sword in hand, ferent. For a long time she has permitsitting on the throne, in the temple, in ted any one to say or do any thing the schools ; it sees vice made beautiful, before her, without shame or hesitation, accepted, and worshipped; it sees the if only she may be diverted for a mogrossest materialism mastering a whole ment.” So says one of her own wripeople, and—it can do almost nothing ters. -it is silent, its mouth is shut.

No visitor will fail to be struck with It is a significant fact, that when, two things at Paris. One is, the brilrecently, some of these earnest souls liancy of the city. No city surpasses it proposed to establish a free reading- in this respect—but I felt, when I saw room for the workmen of Paris, the it, that it was the brilliancy of veneering police at once arrested it. No, it could admirably varnished. A more careful not be! Men rarely speak of Cæsarism examination satisfied me that this is so. in Paris; but what are their thoughts? It is not a hearty, substantial, honest,

Paris, in fact, is the city of the stran- real city. The other thing is, the peoger, for by the stranger the people live. ple. Industrious, capable, thorough, Its manufactures are peculiar; they are they certainly are; but they are not most perfect and thorough, and they gay, light-hearted, trivial. They are in are especially of such things as the grim earnest to get something to eat, stranger can and will buy. They pro- and they use every faculty, they strain duce in perfection shoes and gloves, every nerve, they practise every art to clothes in variety, watches and bronzes, accomplish it. But their wonderful, pianos and perfumery, artificial flowers, admirable, superlative quality is shown and all varieties of instruments. As in the patience and good nature with long ago as 1851, the annual product which they know and accept their of these amounted to $292,725,000, and destiny, and make the best of it. I do it may now be double that.

believe there is less of whinipg and The city is made gay and beautiful repining at the situation, and a more to please the eye of the stranger; the widespread determination to enjoy their galleries and museums are free for their poverty, than in any other country of use; the great streets are gay with gas the known world. And this habit of and people; the eating and drinking making the best of things, and enjoyare of the best; thirty theatres, paid by ing small pleasures, might make them the State, nightly open wide their doors, teachers of us in America. The Parisranging from the Grand Opera to the ians have less and enjoy more, while we Theatre Montmartre; circuses and con- have more and enjoy less, than any certs are cheap; balls of all sorts other people. abound; at the Mabille manners are free The brilliant city, then, is the result but good, at the Chateau Rouge they of a thousand years of paternal governare most free, if not good ; “ il y a ment, enlightened by science, softened de la gêne, il n'y a pas de plaisir.” Such by art, tempered by the Church. It is is their motto_"pleasure at any price.” considered by the Parisians certainly, Over two millions of dollars are re- if not by the world, as the finest flower ceived yearly at some nineteen of the of modern civilization. first theatres; and all places of amuse- Is it the best that human nature is ment are thronged.

capable of? I ask you to think of it. Two hundred thousand strangers What is to be its future, what its visited Paris to witness the distribution perfection, it were hard to tell. Believof the Eagles to the army; and the ing, as I do, that such a civilization is numbers who have visited the Great a sham and a delusion, permitted by Exposition reach millions. All have the providence of God to prove to us left their money at Paris. Listen! the folly and feebleness of humanity, I “Of all modern cities Paris is the most do not altogether admire it. Not only eminently ennuyé, gossiping, and indif- do I distrust it, but so do others; and he, the man who has grasped it and at the foot of the throne. More than made it his, as much as any, perhaps. all, that other great adventurer, the

On the 18th of last November (1867), Count von Bismarck, pulls his beard, Louis Napoleon made a speech to his and laughs at his padded figure. He Senate and Corps Législatif, which was has ceased to be the scarecrow of all intended to reassure his own people, Europe, and he knows it. and himself. He said, among other “My dynasty" strikes another note things, “ You will, I trust, vote laws - it is also a wail. The poor boy for which will be submitted to you that whom he has hoped much and sinned will contribute, &c., &c." Observe much, the unhappy victim of his father's " that will be submitted to you !” By corruption, drags out his melancholy whom?

life, and will not live to sit in the Again : “The journey I have made throne his sire has seized. It will not with the Empress to the east and north be strange, then, if this strange man of France has afforded the opportunity should see himself the last of his strange for manifestations of sympathy which line, and that his setting should be solihave touched me profoundly. I have tary and in clouds and darkness; for been able to ascertain that nothing has we should never forget that there is a been able to shake the confidence the God above, and that villany is somepeople have placed in me, and the at- times vanquished on earth. Napoleon tachment they entertain toward my dy- has played a bold and a desperate game, nasty, &c., &c.”

and he has won. But if, to have the “Manifestations of sympathy," and respect of the wise, the esteem of the "my dynasty,” are the key-notes of this noble, the sympathy of the virtuous, the painful moan. Does the man see the love of the poor and weak, be evidences end approaching? Does he see that in of a God-like man, then he has them not all the millions of France, not a thou- -then he is a total failure. sand have any sympathy with his grasp- But we must leave him. The convuled Empire ? that not one of all those sion will come, but not during his lifemillions loves him ? that the conscience time. I do not look for it; his system of France has judged him that the in- is too perfect; and while he divides the tellcct of France scorns him that the spoil of the people with his generals shopkeepers and traders support him and his army, he will keep his seat. only because they fear change ? He We have to see and understand this, knows, and bis people know, that he is and then ard ourselves against the all false, and his Empire a falsehood, glittering idol who is only washed with and yet not a man in all France dare gold. print one word of criticism or condem- To show how differently men see, I nation; not a man dare whisper it venture to give here the criticisms of above his breath; his Senate and Corps a gentleman whose high position and Législatif must vote the laws he sub- whose means of observation entitle his mits, or none. Meantime, starvation to- views to great weight. day presses more heavily upon the peo- “I have read your paper about Paris, and ple of Paris ; placards are posted in the was not surprised to find that you have adoptsecrecy of night, “ Bread, or death!” ed the prevailing American view of the French His moan says, The situation is un

people and Government-a view substantially

the same as that which has been sedulously doubtedly not free from embarrass

inculcated by the English press and stage for ments. Industrial and commercial ac

the past two hundred years or more. I suptivity has slackened; uneasiness is gen- pose it is the more popular view, and will eral in Europe—the harvest is not good therefore be acceptable to your readers, at -dearness is inevitable,” &c. Besides

least on this side of the Atlantic. I think, which, the great Adventurer's schemes

however, if you had seen the French Adminis

tration more nearly and known the French in Mexico have proved a complete fail

people more intimately, you would entertain ure, and the blood of Maximilian smells different views from those expressed in your

paper. You would find that you have under- ferent character, but they were so rare, and so rated them politically, socially, and morally, circumscribed in their range, that they never, and failed to appreciate the obligations under so far as I now recollect, came under my obwhich, for full three centuries that they have servation. held the lead of European civilization, they “I think you overstate the mercenary charhave placed mankind. However, such views acter of matrimonial engagements in France. would astonish rather than gratify your readers, Mercenary marriages are contracted everywho will, I dare say, be charmed and satisfied where, and the most mercenary matches that I with your picture.

hare known in France were between parties “I feel that I should hardly comply with the half American. Some of the pleasantest and promise I made you, if, after what I have most affectionate domestic circles I have erer written, I did not state some of the points on known I found in France. which I differ most widely from you.

" While I do not think the French women “I do not think the French military force is specially noticeable for physical beauty, there more burdensome, in proportion to population, are no women in the world of such taste or of or more expensive, than that of Russia, Prus- such rare companionable qualities. No salons sia, Austria, or even England, counting, as it in the world are so renowned as the French. is proper to do, the naval forces.

“So the French men are a remarkable race; “Louis Philippe depended just as much upon they feed, clothe, and decorate the wealthier the army as Napoleon III. does. If it furnishes class of all civilized countries. They are not the latter more support, it is because he ren- poor, as you seem to suppose, but very rich. ders his administration more acceptable to the The wealth of France is enormous, and, I suspeople from among whom the army is recruit pect, increasing as rapidly as that of any other ed. It is a familiar mot quite current in France, State in Europe. In estimating the social and that the French army never made or prevented physical condition of the French man, you must a revolution. It is true.

not overlook this remarkable fact-that the “I think you entirely overstate the distress Frenchman rarely emigrates, and never within Paris. I know of no people in any city in out the animo revertendi. the world so comfortably fed and clothed, and “You will see by these observations that I where all the material conditions of living are do not share at all the popular impressions so favorable, not excepting our own.

about the French, nor about their sovereign, “You are mistaken supposing that pass- who is a man like the rest of us, and is apiports are a part of the enginery of the police. mated by substantially the same motives as Passports are not required at all of travellers other men, with ability enough to place himentering or sojourning in France. I think you self at the head of forty millions of people, greatly exaggerate also the espionage of the would be." police, which, in all my residence in Paris, I never knew to seek information that all good

I can only add to this, that French citizens were not interested in its procuring. figures seem to sustain the view I have Of course there were cases, no doubt, of a dif- presented.

FAME.

Be not thy heart devoured by love of fame,

That hound wild-howling ever to the moon!

Should'st thou! the world may smile a realm of June
Brimful of flowers, and not a hue shall claim
Thy look ;-ho, what is fame! a transient thing
Treacherous as transient! shadow of a wing
Swift gliding over, leaving thee forever;
Wishing the shadow's blest return, and never
Hailing its mocking balm ;-yea, what is fame!
A bubble blown by chance, an echoing name
And dying with the echo; Genius bears
No certain claim; what gloom its splendor wears,
Missing the sun at which its wing was bent
No! seek not praise but peace, not clamor but content.

TOO TRUE-A STORY OF TO-DAY.

CHAPTER XI.

A QUIET GAME, WELL PLAYED.

from the besetting weakness of Abel,that sad dissipation of his which wasted

the means already too narrow for his MR. DASSEL's first visit to the tene- family. He did not drink, he did not ment-house was not his last. Little smoke, he was saying of his clothes,Toddle would shout with delight when only those wicked lotteries beguiled he heard the voice of the beautiful gen- him and led him astray. Mr. Dassel tleman; while Abby, the girl, a thin shook his head over this failing, casting child, with light hair and angular mo- glances of almost tender pity at the tions like her mother's, would brighten poor apartment and the complaining up into a shy smile not ugly to see, occupant, promising to use all the inthough rather colorless. Their wonder- fluence he possessed to win Bellows off ful visitor was a Prince, like the one from so foolish a passion. she had read about in her torn picture- It is true that the street upon which book, and his gifts were lavish in their the Bellows resided formed a “cut-off” magnificence, for they included a real on Dassel's route from his boardinghobby-horse for Toddle and a splendid house to the store of Borden & De pink dress for herself, besides bon-bons Witt, of which it was but natural that innumerable.

he should avail himself, to shorten his With Mrs. Bellows he was quite in- long walk. Then, in passing, after havtimate. That severe and chilling wom- ing once proved his kindness by calling an had conceived a blind admiration to inquire after a sick child, it might for her visitor which, in any one but a also be natural that he should repeat genuine New England wife, might have the deed which had seemed to give so made her husband shake in his shoes; much pleasure. At first, there was the but with this descendant of the Pil- excuse of the baby's picture, which he grims not a spark of sentiment or ro- desired to see; then, he promised Abby mance mingled with her affection for a slate and pencil, and must bring them the man who understood her and sympa when he passed again. Mrs. Bellows thized with her as Abel never could or was not a simpleton; she had plenty would ! Mrs. Bellows once had been of shrewdness; and she never doubted, pretty, like the gingham dress she delighted as she was with the gentlewore; like that, she was now faded and man's civilities, and confidential as she limp, and yet, she was younger in years became in her disclosures to him, but than the handsome man who dandled that he bad some object in calling, be her baby on his knee while he talked yond her or her children. She could with her. But about this she had no see no object but Miss Bayles. fancies. She never ran to the glass In the eyes of all the family that when she heard him on the stairs, greet- young lady was perfection; she was ing those he chanced to meet in his pretty enough for any man, and her cheery, foreign fashion, to see if her manners were not to be surpassed. To hair were smooth or her collar pinned be sure, Mr. Dassel was a remarkable straight; therefore, if a flush of pleasure gentleman; but that was only to make did mount to her face it was not a flush the fairy-tale come out as it should ; to conceal from the father of her chil- they always had expected that some dren. It was a great relief to her care- wonderful being would see Miss Bayles worn mind to tell, at full length, the and her pictures, fall in love with her, trials of her lot to an appreciative lis-, and carry her off to live in a browntener, including all those which arose stone palace in the gorgeous regions of up-town. So that when Mr. Dassel pallor over his ruddy face. The shock brought confectionery to the little Bel- to him had been great, for he very well lows, and talked long with the mother, knew that chance might have made him no doubt his eyes, mentally, were on the the victim, in place of his unfortunato sweet face of the artist in the adjoining comrade ; while visits of aid and symroom; and the good woman, fascinated pathy to the mourning widow kept as she was by the enjoyment of pouring alive those feelings of horror which he forth her own troubles into an attentive had at first experienced. ear, was not so selfish but that she cut Yet, by a curious fascination, it seemherself off, as it were, and put herself ed that he and Mr. Dassel could hardly away, to summon Miss Bayles, with sit down together for a quiet game, but transparent pretexts, into her room to that the subject was introduced. Dassel meet her destined prince. All the more naturally enough had a great interest in delighted was she when she learned, it. Being correspondent for the house, through their conversation, that they he was interested in their concerns; and had dwelt under the same roof and sat then, as he told the little man opposite at the same table, during those days of -whose blue eyes were fixed upon him, absence in which the artist was at the as he spoke, with an indescribable, halfcountry-house of her rich friends. The eager, half-withdrawn look-he had an Fates themselves had a hand in it, inborn taste for disentangling the thought Mrs. Bellows, and the harder, threads of mysterious crimes or complainer, and more humble her own lot, plicated legal troubles—he should have the more lavishly did she build up been a lawyer, and had almost decided castles-in-the-air for her fair neighbor. to study, yet, for the profession.

An opulent future was slowly unroll- “I have no doubt I could now pass ing itself before the blind footsteps of an examination, having read law, all the young artist, but Mr. Dassel had no

my life, in pursuance of my natural inpart in it such as the imagination of his clinations," he remarked, one evening. humble friend allotted him. Yet he “ And, about this robbery, I never told "ook a deep interest in Miss Bayles; he you, Abel, that since my return from St. devoted many hours to her, both in the Louis, I have come upon a clue which tenement-house and at the villa, paying I think will lead me to the guilty parher attentions delicate and impressive. ties."

Mrs. Bellows did not open her mind “Is that so ?" as freely, on these subjects, to Abel, as The two men looked at each other she would have done, had not a half- across the table. They were alone, Mrs. guilty consciousness that she was hold- Bellows having gone down to spend the ing up the faults of her husband to a' evening with the school-teacher's wife, stranger, restrained her, Abel knew and the children were in bed. that Mr. Dassel came often to his house; It was a cool night, early in Novemhe saw the presents received by the ber. It was a common thing for the children ; also, the guest was as apt to visitor to send out for a pitcher of lager, come when he was at home as when from which he and Abel would drink away. Indeed, to no one did he make moderately as they played their harm. himself more agreeable than to the por- less game; but this evening, Dassel, ter. He frequently spent whole even- complaining of chilliness, had asked ings with him playing draughts and permission to make some hot whiskey backgammon, chatting, between-times, punch. Abel, consenting, drew the coals to the wife and Miss Bayles.

under the kettle, heated the water, and On many occasions the subject of the then told his guest to suit his own robbery at the store came up. The tasto; as for himself, he seldom tasted murder had made a profound impres- whiskey. “Of course not, except to sion upon Abel. He never could speak keep off chills," the visitor responded of it without nervousness, and a slight in his cheery manner; but, when his

« IndietroContinua »