Paris: With Pen and Pencil eBook

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

We went into the printing-office, where a hundred hands were setting the “thought-tracks.”  It seemed as if everyone in the building, from editor-in-chief down to the devil, was solemn with the thought of his high and noble avocation.  There was a half sadness on every countenance, for the future was full of gloom.  I was struck with the fact that the office did not seem to me to be a French office.  There was a gravity, a solemnity, not often seen in Paris.  The usual politeness of a Parisian was there, but no gayety, no recklessness.  Anxiety trouble, or fixedness of purpose were written upon almost every countenance.  In one corner lay piled up to the ceilings copies of the journal, and I half expected to see a band of the police walk in and seize them.  It seemed as if they half expected some such thing, but they worked on without saying a word.  I became at that moment convinced that a portion of the French people had been wronged by foreigners.  There is a large class who are not only intellectual, but they are earnest and grave.  They do not wish change for the sake of it.  They love liberty and would die for it.  Many of this class were murdered in cold blood by Louis Napoleon.  Others were sent to Cayenne, to fall a prey to a climate cruel as the guillotine, or were sent into strange lands to beg their bread.  These men were the real glory of France, and yet they were forced to leave it.




I am fond of being at perfect liberty to ramble where my fancy may lead.  If the sun shine pleasantly this morning, and I would like to hear the birds sing and smell the flowers, I go to some pleasant garden and indulge my mood.  Or, if I am sad, I go to the grave of genius, and lean over the tomb of Abelard and Heloise.

When I lived in Paris, I had no regularity in my wanderings, no method in my sight-seeing, following a perhaps wayward fancy, and enjoying myself the better for it.

One beautiful morning I sauntered out from my hotel, with a friend, who was also a stranger in Paris.

“Where shall we go?” he asked.

“To a little cemetery called Picpus, far away from here.”

“Will it be worth our while to go so far to see a small cemetery?”

“You shall see when we get there.”

We went part of the way by an omnibus, and walked the rest, and when the morning was nearly spent, we stood before No. 15, Rue de Picpus.  The place was once a convent of the order of St. Augustine, but is now occupied by the “Women of the Sacred Heart.”  Within the convent, which we entered, there is a pretty Doric chapel with an Ionic portal.  There was an air of privacy about, the little chapel which pleased me, and a chasteness in its architecture which could not fail to please any one who loves simple beauty.  Within the walls of the court, there is a very small private cemetery, but though private, the porter, if you ask him politely, will let you enter, especially if you tell him you are from America.

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