Paris: With Pen and Pencil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Paris.
can go and demand food.  The tickets are dispensed with some care to persons in needy circumstances.  In each of the twelve arrondissements of Paris there is a bureau for the relief of poor women having large families.  When proper representations are made by such females struggling to keep from the alms-house, an allowance is made of bread, firing, meat, and clothing, and sometimes money is given.  There are sometimes as many as thirty thousand dependent in this manner for a part of their income upon the state.  Hence, bureaus are excellent institutions, inasmuch as prevention is always easier than cure.  To save struggling families from the humiliation of a complete downfall to the poor-house, small weekly allowances are made, and in such a way that their pride need not be touched, for it is often done with such secrecy that even the intimate friends of the recipients are unaware of the relation existing between them and the state.  Such an arrangement as this is needed in all the great cities of the world.  London suffers from the want of it.  In some places the parish authorities are at liberty to make grants to poor families, but it is nowhere done with such a system and with such a delicacy as in Paris.

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.

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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. 

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Paris: With Pen and Pencil from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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