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did for on his return to the Rue de la Paix, being asked by a lady, who was a great admirer of the institution he had visited, "Comment l'avez vous trouvé, monsieur ?" "Comme un enfer," replied Mr. S.; continuing, in his most idiomatic French, "pour ces enfans, je préfèrerais leur couper la gorge." "Quel monstre !" said the lady; and Mr. S. just then remembered that he had left behind him his parapluie vert. "Il faut le chercher bon matin. I must go for it, to that abominable place, before breakfast;" and he went. "Monsieur," he said, addressing the official at the lodge, "Je-suis-venu-pour-chercher." "Fils ou fille?" interrupted the official, for all Frenchmen are impatient of a slow or bungling delivery of their exquisitely conversational language-" Fils ou fille, monsieur ?" "Ah! no, no, no," cried Mr. S. "Pas ça, pas ça! "Qu'est-ce que monsieur cherche donc ?" inquired the official. "Je suis venu pour chercher un parapluie vert-fabrique Anglaise." "Ah! oui. Le voici, monsieur," said the official; and Mr. S. returned, made once more happy by its restoration.
Other things he saw during his stay at Paris. He witnessed (yet) anxious, all the time, at having to deposit his parapluie) the edifying spectacle of the king eating his dinner in presence of his people, which must have been a gratifying exhibition both to his majesty and to them. The Duchess d'Angoulême looked poison at them; and, in return, they seemed to glare upon the whole party as their destined victims. He was also present at the king's fête, when decayed vocalists with sedgy voices were hired to sing his praises from orchestras placed in the Champs Elysées. One of the songs written for this interesting occasion described a being of ubiquitous benevolence, whose life was passed in spreading happiness around him, and every verse ended
Charles Dix est-il, voilà!
Yet in a few weeks he was on his way to England, leaving to Louis Philippe a vacant throne and a similar destiny. "Tout change, monsieur," said a peasant, as I was looking at a ruin on the banks of the Loire. "Oui, mon ami,” I replied, "et surtout en France."
But we must return to our compatriot and his umbrella. He was desirous of seeing the gallery of the Louvre on one of those days when it was open to the public. It would enable him, he said, to know something of the manners and habits of the people. Whether the knowledge he obtained was satisfactory I do not pretend to say. Owing to some peculiar circumstances, the afflux of visitors was excessive; and the female functionary who took charge of sticks and umbrellas, at the counter of a booth erected near the principal entrance, was overwhelmed by the performance of her duties. Mr. S., as he gave her his parapluie vert, and received in exchange a ticket bearing numéro 588, had a sad foreboding that he should never see it again; and there was something of tenderness in the last look with which he regarded it. He wandered through the gallery the mere fraction of an immense crowd, the only thing he could make his remarks upon was the back of the person immediately before him—and, issuing from the impure atmosphere by which he had been surrounded, he presented his numéro at the counter of the booth. "Le voilà, monsieur," said the dame in charge, at the same time presenting him with one of those rustic red deformities, in the shape
of an umbrella, which are carried by the French peasantry, and which had probably found its way to the Louvre from some distant banlieue. Mr. S. thought it so unlikely that this could by any possibility have been substituted for his own, that he merely said very mildly that it was not his. But when the woman told him that there could not be any mistake, and showed him that numéro cinq cent quatre-vingt-huit was attached to it, and therefore it must, of necessity, be the one he had left, his usually fair complexion deepened into scarlet. His, he explained, was a "parapluie vert, fabrique Anglaise." "Mais voici votre numéro, monsieur." "Sacré mille diables, madame!" cried Mr. S., to the astonishment of a gathering crowd; and, finding that rage impeded his utterance of a foreign language, he had recourse to gesticulations of an alarming description, till interrupted by the recommendation of one of the gendarmes that if he had "des réclamations à faire" he had better address himself, the following morning, to the proper bureau. "Parbleu !" said Mr. S. "I y a des lois, n'est-ce pas ?"—" Oui, monsieur," he was answered, fait tous les jours." Mr. S. had a wholesome horror of the police; and, after again rejecting, with scorn and indignation, the flaming red machine of hideous shape, which was once more offered to him, he retired amidst the grins of a considerable gathering of lookers-on. But he was not a man who would tamely submit to wrong. He applied to the bureau. Morning after morning saw him on his way to the Louvre. "Je viens encore, monsieur, pour chercher ce parapluie vert." Again and again he announced himself on the same errand; till at last he was told that he could have no redress. He remonstrated. "Monsieur," blandly replied the official, "votre affaire est faite." The "sacré mille diables" were again upon the lips of Mr. S.; but he calmed himself by translating Shakspeare's "insolence of office" into choice French; and having ascertained that the head of the department, the Directeur-Général des Musées Royaux, was Monsieur le Comte de Forbin, he brought the parapluie vert, fabrique Anglaise, under the immediate notice of the minister. His memorial was favourably received; orders were given for the restitution of his umbrella, or payment of its value. Triumphantly he again went down to the Louvre; was asked the amount of his demand; and-now relenting-he said that, although the value of his parapluie was thirty-five francs, he did not wish to be hard upon the woman, and would take fifteen. The chef de bureau shrugged his shoulders with an expressive grimace; he could not have conceived that any man, after taking so much trouble to gain his object, would forego the advantages of his success; and when Mr. S., receiving his fifteen francs, returned them to be given to the poor, "Ma foi!" exclaimed the chef, "que ces Anglais sont drôles de gens!"
I was not ashamed, even then, to acknowledge Mr. Sevenoaks as my countryman. He took it kindly. Being past mid-day, he pressed me to partake of what he was pleased to term a calf's head farcified; and, over a bottle of Sauterne, he continued his laments on the loss of what he assured me was the best umbrella that had ever been made in England.
ONE OR TWO HABITS OF YOUNG FRANCE.
THE Chinese, a people who may be said to have run the course of civilisation and attained its limits, have long ago given up tobacco for a more rapid and destructive narcotisation by opium. The French, and indeed the English, are following in the same path. The fragrance of Shiraz tambak, inhaled through rose-water; the gentle fumes of the tetune of Latakiyah, imbibed through a long cherry-stick; mild Havannah, or more potent Orinoco, are alike disdained in England for pigtail and Cavendish, in France for Strasbourg and Caporal, smoked in short cutty pipes, by which the little furnace where the tobacco burns is converted into an alembic, and the cherished smoke is distilled into oil, one drop of which, taken inwardly or applied to a flesh wound, is sufficient in most cases to destroy life!
No doubt some get so accustomed to it that five drops would not kill them; but there are on record many cases, and one of a French grenadier, who perished from inadvertently swallowing one drop. Some people get accustomed to anything, as Mithridates would possibly have digested all Orfila; but the results must be horribly pernicious. One of the princes of Condé put some snuff into the wine of the poet Santeuil : the poet drank it and died. Ramazzini relates a case of a girl who died in convulsions from merely having slept in a room where tobacco was ground down into snuff. Helwig narrates another case of two brothers who challenged one another to smoke the most. One fell asleep never to wake up again at his seventeenth, the other at his eighteenth pipe.
But, supposing life to be preserved by a confirmed smoker, it is at an expense that renders it no longer of any value. Stomach and brain are alike affected. Will, memory, spirit, passion, intelligence, activity, even personal dignity, are all sacrificed. All smokers are drinkers. They attempt to dissipate by alcohol the narcotisation of the tobacco.
In Paris, M. Auguste Luchet tells us,* such is the passion for smoking, that home and theatres are alike abandoned for the estaminet. 23rd of February, 1848, two men sat down to smoke in the café of the Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, and they sat there all day in that happy state of unconsciousness that they never knew that a revolution had taken place.
Walk some fine winter's evening into one of these estaminetsbeer and tobacco-palaces-and before you have advanced three steps you will find yourself seized with the most extraordinary sensation; you are involved in a dense cloud of smoke, the lungs repel the noxious air by provoking a sudden cough, but the brain is stupified, and you have not even the power to fly; you must sit down, and after a short time become habituated to the pernicious poisonous atmosphere. People go to cafés-concerts now, where what they get is bad and dear, and what they hear is a disgrace to art; but they go because they can smoke. Any theatre which would authorise Strasbourg or Caporal between the acts
*Les Mœurs d'Aujourd'hui. Par Auguste Luchet. Le Tabac-Le Feu-Le Canot-Le Pourboire-La Blague-La Pose-Le Chantage-Le Loyer-Le Boutique-L'Exil.
would make its fortune now-a-days. If you go on the Boulevards, your predecessor leaves a cloud behind him. It is difficult to get a breath of fresh air now-a-days. If you get into a steamer, your next neighbour puffs away like a chimney; and if you mount the top of an omnibus, the fast young gent who cultivates the friendship of the dissipated-looking driver, sits in front, his smoke poisoning the atmosphere, and the dust of his cigar blowing into your eyes.
Even in a garden, amidst camelias, hyacinths, and roses, the gent smokes -no perfume to him is equal to that of the Nicotiana Tabacum, rustica or repanda. The wife in our times, if she wishes to enjoy the society of her husband, must tolerate smoking at home, if she does not smoke herself. The contagion of smoking is immediate. Exposed to an artillery of throats in combustion, one must either go out or smoke in self-defence.
Napoleon I. snuffed, and tried once to smoke. The result was, a sick headache, a death-like prostration, all the usual symptoms of poisoning by tobacco. The sleep of the confirmed smoker is heavy, feculent, fuliginous; he is aroused with difficulty; a torpor, which it is impossible to shake off, binds all his faculties. A confirmed smoker becomes too idle to confront the daily battle of life: he gives way before it, and sinks into poverty or imbecility.
Young Frenchmen of the rising generation not only smoke, they have also taken to boating-possibly from something they may have seen or heard of as performed on the Thames, or, still more likely, from an example set to them by some fast young Englishmen upon the Seine. Other Frenchmen of a more thoughtful cast have also, as an inevitable result, begun to study, sous le point de vue social et philosophique, what effect the practice of canotage, as they call it, has upon the finances, the habits, the tastes, and language of the said rising generation.
The first canotier in Paris, according to M. Auguste Luchet, was a French student, who had a marked predilection for the sea, so much so, that all his other studies were neglected. His friends lost patience, and his father stopped his allowance; he would have starved but for his mother, who sent him a stock of cheese and preserves. "One day," relates M. Luchet, "there was a feast of cutlets-good things among students are always in common-the young mariner brought his cheese and his preserves in exchange for a chop, and he was made welcome. A poor girl, an orphan, who had fallen upon our hands, no one knew how, acted as help. She was sorrowful that day, and had been weeping. The porter had scolded her, and said she could no longer sleep on some old baskets that lay in the garret, and which had hitherto been her place of refuge. She had no place to go to, and she said so. She had always been a kind of sister to us all, loyally and without preference; misery exchanged for youth, and youth for misery. We sent her to borrow some dominoes, and played for who should provide her with a home. The embryo mariner lost; a smile beamed forth out of the tears of the little girl; she liked the mariner best of us all." It was thus that Paris had its first canotier and its first canotière, for the mariner had a boat on the Seine, which he called the Grand Sagamore, and he took out his petite to have a row in it. Some archaeologists declare that the Belzebub existed before the Grand Sagamore. We cannot decide the question. The student canotier is now a capitaine-marchand, and "la petite" has a
fine house near Honfleur, with a doorway fashioned out in the shape of a wherry, in commemoration of her early fortunes. The door is shown to strangers; and the story of her success in life is related to all who will stop and listen.
Since these primitive times canotage on the Seine has become the fashion, and has its especial club, the essentials for admission into which are to smoke Caporal and drink beer or vin d'Argenteuil. It is not necessary that the candidate should know how to swim. One summer's day a picture-dealer was fishing, in company with a well-known artist, at the Pont d'Asnières. A four-oared boat, with four ladies and a steersman, came rapidly down the river, ran against one of the arches, and was upset. The whole party was thrown into the river. The artist possessed that kind of temperament which does not allow itself to be easily disturbed. Yet upon this occasion he could not help exclaiming, "Confound them, they made me lose a bite." Then, taking out his line very composedly, "Are you going to help them ?" he said. But the picture-dealer was already undressed, and in a moment afterwards groping about in the water like a Newfoundland dog. The artist having the example thus set him, carefully deposited his paletot, hat, clothes, and boots, and then took to the water with the utmost gravity. The leader of the party had in the mean time reached the shore, where he was drying himself in the sun very unconcernedly. The two fishermen succeeded not only in bringing the rest of the crew, but also the ladies, and even a straw hat which was floating down with the stream, safe on shore. Of all these would-be mariners, only the leader knew how to swim, and he reserved his knowledge for his own especial benefit. But he lost upon this occasion the affections of his canotière, and it served him right.
After poisoning the air which they breathe, the next accomplishment most cultivated by the Parisian canotiers is orchestral singing, worthy of St. Lazare or La Roquette. A suitable costume is also a great point, and this is sometimes attained by walking barefoot with a belt and hatchet, or promenading with a lantern in open daylight, as if about to go the rounds. The canotiers have also an argot of their own, in which they introduce a few English words, as "Stop!" "Hard astern!" generally in their wrong places.
The Parisians are celebrated, when they do anything, for having some great national object in view. The institution of canotage upon the Seine was in anticipation of Saint Nicholas becoming a sea-port! Encouragement to naval construction was also another great object. There are now, it is said, some five hundred boats on the Seine, and the Société des Regates Parisiennes holds out promises of doubling the number. The boats are variously designated, as canots, clippers, yoles (yawls), gigs, skiffs, wherries, and godilles. We use the orthography accepted by the society.
M. le Comte de Maussion has, in the "Livre des Cent-et-Un," defined the word "blague" as meaning "the art of presenting oneself in a favourable light, of making oneself of value, and of doing that at the expense of men and things.' At the expense of truth would have been more to the purpose. The word is derived from the name of the sack or bag of the pelican, and which was once much coveted for making bags for tobacco; but having been shamefully counterfeited by bladders of a