Views a-foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 434 pages of information about Views a-foot.

I know we will be excused, that, instead of hurrying away to Notre Dame or the Louvre, we sat down quietly to a most complete breakfast.  Even the most romantic must be forced to confess that admiration does not sit well on an empty stomach.  Our first walk was to a bath, and then, with complexions several shades lighter, and limbs that felt us if lifted by invisible wings, we hurried away to the Post Office.  I seized the welcome missives from my far home, with a beating heart, and hastening back, read till the words became indistinct in the twilight.

CHAPTER XLV.

POETICAL SCENES IN PARIS.

What a gay little world in miniature this is!  I wonder not that the French, with their exuberant gaiety of spirit, should revel in its ceaseless tides of pleasure, as if it were an earthly Elysium.  I feel already the influence of its cheerful atmosphere, and have rarely threaded the crowds of a stranger city, with so light a heart as I do now daily, on the thronged banks of the Seine.  And yet it would be difficult to describe wherein consists this agreeable peculiarity.  You can find streets as dark and crooked and dirty anywhere in Germany, and squares and gardens as gay and sunny beyond the Alps, and yet they would affect you far differently.  You could not, as here, divest yourself of every particle of sad or serious thought and be content to gaze for hours on the showy scene, without an idea beyond the present moment.  It must be that the spirit of the croud is magnetically contagious.

The evening of our arrival we walked out past the massive and stately Hotel de Ville, and took a promenade along the Quais.  The shops facing the river presented a scene of great splendor.  Several of the Quais on the north bank of the Seine are occupied almost entirely by jewellers, the windows of whose shops, arranged in a style of the greatest taste, make a dazzling display.  Rows of gold watches and chains are arranged across the crystal panes, and heaped in pyramids on long glass slabs; cylindrical wheels of wire, hung with jewelled breastpins and earrings, turn slowly around by some invisible agency, displaying row after row of their glittering treasures.

From the centre of the Pont Neuf, we could see for a long distance up and down the river.  The different bridges traced on either side a dozen starry lines through the dark air, and a continued blaze lighted the two shores in their whole length, revealing the outline of the Isle da la Cite.  I recognized the Palaces of the Louvre and the Tuileries in the dusky mass beyond.  Eastward, looming against the dark sky, I could faintly trace the black towers of Notre Dame, The rushing of the swift waters below mingled with the rattling of a thousand carts and carriages, and the confusion of a thousand voices, till it seemed like some grand nightly festival.

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Views a-foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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