Another of the charitable institutions of Paris lends money upon movable effects, the interest charged being very low. This is an excellent provision for emergencies in the lives of poor persons. There are at least a million and a half of articles pledged at this institution yearly, and its receipts are from twenty-six to twenty-eight millions a year. In winters of famine the public are sometimes allowed to pledge property without paying any interest upon it when redeemed. The Mont de Pietie, is the name of this institution, and it has branches all over Paris, and has in its employ, as clerks and otherwise, three hundred persons.
There are savings’ banks in Paris specially adapted to the wants of the poor, and to encourage in them the habit of accumulating property, though in very small sums. A deposit of one franc is received, and one person cannot hold but two thousand francs at one time in one bank of the kind. This institution, however, is not superior to those of its kind in many other countries.
* * * * *
On the southern side of Isle la Cite, there is a small stone building which is certainly one of the “sights” of Paris. I saw it one day when I had been to look at Notre Dame, and was on my way home. I was filled with admiration of the magnificence of the great city, for with Notre Dame and the Louvre in sight, I could not easily entertain other sentiments. A little building arrested my attention, and I saw quite a crowd of persons standing in front of it. It was La Morgue. I entered it, not that I have a penchant for horrors, but to see a sight strangely contrasting with all I had heretofore seen in Paris.