Paris: With Pen and Pencil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Paris.

Walking one evening in the Champs Elysees, I found a little family of singers from the Alps, underneath one of the large trees.  You should have heard them sing their native songs, so plaintive and yet so mild.  Father and mother, two little sisters and a brother, were begging their bread in that way.  They were dressed very neatly, although evidently extremely poor.  The father had a violin which he played very sweetly, the mother sang, the two little girls danced, and the boy put in a soft and melancholy tenor.  I hardly ever listened to sadder music.  It seemed as if their hearts were in it, saddened at the thought of exile from their native mountains.  After singing for a long time, they stopped and looked up appealingly to the crowd—­but not a sou fell to the ground.  Once more they essayed to sing, with a heavier sorrow upon their faces, for they were hungry and had no bread.  They stopped again—­not a solitary sou was given to them.  A large tear rolled down the cheek of the father—­you should have seen the answering impulse of the crowd—­how the sous rattled upon the ground.  They saw instantly that it was no common beggar before them, but one who deserved their alms.  At once, as if a heaven full of clouds had divided and the sunshine flashed full upon their faces, the band of singers grew radiant and happy.  Such is life—­a compound of sorrow and gayety.

The Parisian omnibus system is the best in the world, and I found it very useful and agreeable always while wandering over the city.  The vehicles are large and clean, and each passenger has a chair fastened firmly to the sides of the carriage.  Six sous will carry a person anywhere in Paris, and if two lines are necessary to reach the desired place, a ticket is given by the conductor of the first omnibus, which entitles the holder to another ride in the new line.  The omnibus system is worked to perfection only in Paris, and is there a great blessing to people who cannot afford to drive their own carriages.


The Paris Exchange is on the Rue Vivienne, and is approached from the Tuileries from that street or via the Palais National, and a succession of the most beautiful arcade-shops in Paris or the world.  If the day be rainy, the stranger can thread his way to it under the long arcades as dry as if in his own room at the hotel.  I confess to a fondness for wandering though such places as these arcades, where the riches of the shops are displayed in their large windows.  In America it is not usual to fill the windows of stores full of articles with the price of each attached, but it is always so in London and Paris.  A jewelry store will exhibit a hundred kinds of watches with their different prices attached, and the different shops will display what they contain in like manner.  There are, too, in Paris and London places called “Curiosity shop”.  The first time I ever saw one of these shops with its

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