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assistance. And behold! the ancient city of Paris, “the dear Lutetia" of Julian, surrounded by the Seine, and filled by a vast and wretched population! There, proud amidst the sordid roofs around them, rise the graceful and splendid towers of Notre-Dame, that temple of the twelfth* century, which, in spite of the Madeleine, has not been surpassed in the nineteenth!. and there, is the Hôtel Dieu, the antique hospital to which Philippe Auguste gave the straw that had covered the royal chambers of the palace !and there, is the Palais de Justice, where sat the Parliament of Broussel, remarkable in the Chronicle of De Retz !
* Built by Maurice de Sully in 1163.
NOW AND FORMERLY.
Though a nation perpetually changes, the features re
main the same ~Letter of a Sicilian gentleman in the time of Louis XIV.-The likeness between Paris then and Paris now-We see what new ideas and laws have changed—What they have left unaltered -The character of the French displayed in different circumstances-Aspect of Paris in many respects the
- Manners of people illustrated by facts—What the Revolution did–The manners of the old aristocracy have had greater effect upon the manners of the middling classes, than the manners of the middling classes upon those of the old aristocracyThe personages who have disappeared--What you now see in their places—Many places where people may live upon as little, no place where they live so magnificently upon a little as at Paris-Mons. Bontin -Few rich in Paris, few poor—The climate-The hero of a fine day, The lion–The student-Future of Paris—The past.
I CONFESS, for my own part, that I have often been struck by the resemblance which Time,
(that touches and alters, piece by piece, almost all that relates to the existence of a people,) still leaves between century and century. During the life of a nation, as during the life of an individual, the body changes more than once every particle of its materials, but the features, the proportions, the likeness remain; and, as on looking to the dial, we discover from the hour which is marked the course which the hand has had to run, so in regarding a country with intelligence, we may divine its history from the newspapers on our table. The Letter of a Sicilian gentleman gives the following description of Paris in the time of Louis XIV.
“ It is no exaggeration,” says he, “to remark that Paris is one vast hotel. You see every where cafés,' estaminets, taverns, and the frequenters of taverns. The kitchens smoke at all times, and at all times eating is going on. The luxury of Paris is something extraordinary and enormous—its wealth would enrich three cities. On all sides you are surrounded by rich and splendid shops, where every thing is sold that you do not want, as well as every thing which you require. All would wish to live splendidly, and the poorest gentleman, jealous of his neighbour, would live as well as he does. Ribbons, looking-glasses, are things, without
which the French could not live. Fashion is the veritable demon of the nation; one sex is as vain and as desirous of pleasure as the other; and if the women never stir without a mirror, the men also may be seen arranging and combing their wigs publicly in the streets. There is not a people so imperious and so audacious as these Parisians; they are proud of their very fickleness, and say that they are the only persons in the world who can break their promises with honour. In vain you look for modesty, wisdom, persons who ha e nothing to do, (a Sicilian is speaking,) or men who have grown old. But if
But if you do not find modesty, wisdom, or old age, you find obsequiousness, gallantry, and politeness. Go into a shop, and you are cajoled into buying a thousand things you never dreamt of, before you obtain the article you want. The manner of the higher classes is something charming—there are masters who teach civility, and a pretty girl the other day offered to sell me compliments.* The women dote upon little dogs. They command their husbands and obey nobody. They dress with grace. We see them at all hours, and they
* There is still, however, I believe, a Professeur de Maintien' at the ‘Conservatoire Royal de Musique.'
dote on conversation. As to love—they love, and listen to their lovers, without much difficulty—but they never love long, and they never love enough. I have not seen a jealous husband, or a man who thinks himself unhappy and dishonoured because his wife is unfaithful.
“ During the Carême the people go in the morning to a sermon, in the evening to a comedy, with equal zeal and devotion. The Abbés are in great number, and the usual resource of ladies in affliction. The young men are perpetually in the racket-court—the old men pass their time at cards, at dice, and in talking over the news of the day. The Tuileries are the resort of the idle and those who wish, without taking any trouble about it, to be amused. It is there that you laugh, joke, make love, talk of what is doing in the city, of what is doing in the army ; decide, criticise, dispute, deceive. Chocolate, tea, and coffee are very much in vogue; but coffee is preferred to either tea or chocolate; it is thought a remedy for low spirits. A lady learnt the other day that her husband had been killed in battle. “Ah, unhappy that I am !' said she, 'quick, bring me a cup of coffee !'
“ The inhabitants of Paris are lodged upon the sides of the bridges, and even upon the