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Paris: With Pen and Pencil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 239 pages of information about Paris.

La Nouvelle Force is a new prison in a healthier quarter than La Force, and is used for the same purposes.  It contains twelve hundred and sixty separate cells.

Depot de Condemnes is in the Rue de la Roquette, and is a prison for the confinement of persons condemned to forced labor and to death.  It is a very healthy prison and one of the strongest in the world.  A double court surrounds the prison, in which sentinels are constantly kept on guard; the walls are very thick and solid, and each prisoner has a separate cell.  A fountain in the center dispenses water to all parts of the prison.  The number of the inmates is at least four hundred on the average.

The Prison of Correction, situated also in Rue de la Roquette, is for the confinement and correction of offenders under the age of sixteen, who have been pronounced by the judge incapable of judgment.  They are subjected to a strict, but not cruel discipline, in this prison.  It is very healthy, and all its appointments are such as to facilitate the education of the morals and intellect of the inmates.  It is well supplied with water and wholesome diet, and books and religious teachers.  It is divided into separate departments, and one grade of boys is never allowed intercourse with another.  This is a very wise regulation, as under it a fresh, ignorant, and wicked inmate cannot have influence over those who have long been under the discipline of the place.

The Conciergerie is used to confine persons before trial, and it is one of the most famous (or infamous) prisons in the world.  Its historical associations are full of interest.  Its entrance is on the Quai de l’Horloge.  In visiting this prison, the stranger from the new world is struck with the terrible outlines of some of the apartments.  The Salle des Gardes of St. Louis, has a roof which strikes terror into the heart, it is so old and grim.  In one part of the building there is a low prison-room, where those persons condemned to death spend their last hours, fastened down to a straight waistcot.  The little room in which Marie Antoinette was confined, is still shown to the visitor.  There are now three paintings in it which represent scenes in the last days of her life.  The prison-room which confined Lourel, who stabbed the duke de Barry, and the dungeons in which Elizabeth, the sister of Louis XVI., was imprisoned, are shut up and cannot be seen.  There are many histories connected with this old prison, which to repeat, would fill this volume.

The Prison de l’Abbaye is a military prison, and is situated close to St. Germain des Pres.  It was formerly one of the most famous in Paris, and the horrors which it witnessed during the bloody revolution were never surpassed in any city of the world.  Many of the atrocities which were committed in it are now widely known through the histories of those times of blood.  Many of its dungeons are still under ground, and wear an aspect of gloom sufficient to terrify a man who spends but a few moments in them.  The discipline of this prison is very rigid, as it contains only military offenders.

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