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two* places of public amusement,-of amusement for the people, without counting the innumerable ‘guinguettes' at the barriers, where the populace usually hold their Sunday revels. To those who are fond of facts the manners of Paris may
be thus described :There are twenty thousand persons every night at the theatres: five public libraries are constantly full; and one hundred cabinets de lecture. You will find about an equal number of celebrated dancing-masters, and of celebrated teachers of mathematics ;t and the municipality pays one-third more for its fétes than it does for its religion. I
A passion for enjoyment, a contempt for life without pleasure, a want of religion and morality fill the gambling house, the morgue and the enfans trouvés.' Have such been the effects of the revolution ? ... No; the revolution has had little to do with these misfortunes. Before the revolution there were
* A calculation in 1817, since which they are much augmented.
+ I have taken this from « Le Livre d’Adresses.”
Livre," says Fontenelle, qui contient le plus de vérités. # See expenses of the city of Paris.
forty thousand prostitutes ;* there are now six thousand. Before the revolution there were fifteen licensed maisons de jeu,' there are now eight. “ Before the revolution," observes Mercier, “all the money of the provinces passed to the capital, and all the money of the capital passed to its courtezans." Before the revolution, says Chamfort, I remember to have seen a man who quitted the ladies at the opera, because they had no more honour than the ladies of the world. It is not then to be lamented that political events have changed the manners of the Parisians so much, but that they have changed their manners so little; this is the subject for lamentation. There is a change, however, to which political events have no doubt contributed, but which, during the later years of the old government, time and the character of the French were tending to produce. The gradual fusion of the different classes, which ancient usages had kept apart, would, without the shock that blended and confused all ranks violently together, have naturally given to one set of persons many of the ideas and habits of another. You see no longer in Paris a nobility that lives upon credit, and boasts of its
• This calculation is given by Mirabeau.
ruin with ostentation. The families that still inhabit the great hotels of the Faubourg St. Germain are more orderly, more economical, more moral in their habits than heretofore.
But, as in a voluptuous people, the habits of the lower classes mount up to the higher, so in a vain nation the habits of the higher classes descend more naturally to the lower.
The manners of the old aristocracy, then, have had a greater effect upon the manners of the middling classes, than the manners of the middling classes have had upon those of the aristocracy. Among the nobility of the stock exchange, the office, and the counter, there reigns a luxury at present, which, sometimes sighed for by such persons, was rarely seen of old. If you want a proof of this, you have the best, -you have the theatres, where the old scenery, the scenery which represented the apartments of the aristocracy and the 'bourgeoisie' of the ancient "régime,' too costly for the first, too meagre for the last, is obliged to be laid aside, in order to give place to new decorations, where Monsieur Magnon and Monsieur de Montmorency, the rich ‘notaire’and the rich • noble,' equally display an elegant opu
* On vit sur crédit ... on publie avec ostentation qu'on est ruiné . .-See Mercier Tableau de Paris.
lence unaccompanied by pomp. Wealth has lost its ancient and aristocratic splendour, but, in becoming more citizen-like in its air, it has become more complete and finished in its details. " There was greater state in my
the rich," said an old gentleman to me the other day,
more horses, more plate, more servants, -but the table-cloth was not so fine and so clean, the rooms were not so well lighted. The
bourgeoisie,' however, were a different race,they lived frugally and laid by their money, not with the idea of becoming gentlemen themselves, but with the hope and expectation that their great grandchildren might become so. People rose gradually; the son of a shopkeeper purchased a' charge,' his son purchased one higher, and thus by degrees the family which had begun at the shop rose to the magistracy and the Parliament." The diffusion of knowledge, the division of fortunes, have descended and spread tastes, formerly more exaggerated and more confined. The few have lost a habit of extravagance, --the many have gained a habit of expense. There is a smaller number of
squander away their fortune,-there is a smaller number of persons who save. In this, as in every thing else, the striking characteristic of Paris, – of Paris in 1834, -is the kind of universal like
ness that reigns throughout it. The great mass of Parisians (whether we observe their habits, their manners, or their language) are so many casts struck from the same die.
The grand seigneur on his charger, covered with pearls, and dressed in a coat that cost him the price of an election (57,000 francs)* was seen no more after the early days of the reign of Louis XIV. The archbishop with his ecclesiastic pomp,—the courtier with his coach and six, his splendid liveries and his running footmen, disappeared shortly after 1789.- The marshal of the empire, with his fierce familiarity, his prancing horses, and his military magnificence, bade adieu to Paris in 1817.—The old provincial noble, stiff in the rattling carriage magnificently empannelled, proud of his long genealogy, his written discourse, the smile of the minister, and the praise of the Quotidienne,' has vanished from the streets since 1830;-- and lo! before you, are the almost undistinguishable mass of-eighty thousand national guards, and fifteen thousand electors! In this community are confounded journalists, generals, bankers, barbers, the richest capitalists, and the poorest patentee,all classes are comprised in one immense middle class,-a middle class, not like the middle class
* See Bassompierre, t. i. p.