Paris: With Pen and Pencil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Paris.
busy in political writing and speculations.  At that time he showed me a complete constitution for a “model republic” in France, and a code of laws fit for Paradise rather than France.  The documents exhibited great skill and learning, but the impress of an enthusiast was upon them all.  By his conduct or manner, the stranger would never have supposed that my friend was enthusiastic.  He never indulged in any flights of indignation at the existing state of things, never was thrown off his guard so as to show by his speech or his manner that he was passionately attached to liberal principles.  It was only after I had come to know him well, that I discovered this fact—­that he was a great enthusiast, and so deeply attached to the purest principles respecting human freedom and happiness, that he would willingly have died for them.  Living in Paris, one of the most dissolute cities of the world, he was pure in his morals, and as rigidly honest as any Puritan in Cromwell’s day.  But with all his own purity he possessed unbounded charity for others.  His friends were among all classes, and were good and bad.  One day I saw him walking with one of the most distinguished men of France.  A few days after, while he was taking a morning walk, he met a university student with a grisette upon his arm—­his mistress.  The student wished to leave Paris for the day on business, and asked my friend to accompany his mistress back to their rooms.  With the utmost composure and politeness the radical offered his arm, and escorted the frail woman to her apartments.

Of course, this man was carefully watched by the police.  He was well known, and the eye of the secret police was constantly upon him.  He still clung to his old American passport, for it had repeatedly caused him to be respected when other reasons were insufficient.

I one day wrote a note to a friend in a distant part of the city, and was going to drop it into the post-office when my friend, who was with me, remonstrated.  “You can walk to the spot and deliver it yourself,” said he, “and you will have saved the two sous postage.  I am going that way; let me have the postage and I will deliver it.”

“I will go with you,” I said, at the same time giving him the two sous.  He took them without any remonstrance.  On the way we met a poor old family, singing and begging in the streets.  “They must live,” said my friend, “and we will give them our mite in partnership.”  So he added two sous to those I had given him, and tossed them to the beggars.  This was genuine charity, given not for ostentation, but to relieve suffering and administer comfort.  I found him at all times entirely true to his principles, and became very much interested in him.

We took a walk together one evening, to hear music in the Luxembourg Gardens.  As we approached them, the clock on the old building of the Chamber of Peers struck eight, and at once the band commenced playing some operatic airs of exquisite beauty.  Now a gay and enlivening passage was performed, and then a mournful air, or something martial and soul-stirring.  The music ceased at nine, and a company of soldiers marched to the drum around the frontiers of the gardens, to notify all who were in it that the gates must soon close.

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