Paris: With Pen and Pencil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Paris.
to wander over the half-deserted places, gathering here and there a sou, or shut themselves up in their garret or cellar apartments, and live upon their summer gains.  To the stranger who must be economical, Paris in the winter is not to be desired, for fuel is enormously high in that city.  A bit of wood is worth so much cash, and a log which in America would be thrown away, would there be worth a little fortune to a poor wood-dealer.

The country around Paris is scarcely worth a visit in the winter or early spring months, but in the summer it is far different.  I remember a little walk I took one day past the fortifications.  When I came to the walls of the city, I was obliged to pass through a narrow gate.  All who enter the city are inspected, for there is a heavy duty upon provisions of nearly all kinds which are brought from the provinces into Paris.  The duty upon wines is very heavy.  Upon a bottle of cheap wine, which costs in the country but fifteen sous, there is a gate-duty of five sous.  This is one reason why the poor people of Paris on fete days, crowd to the country villages near Paris.  There they can eat and drink at a much cheaper rate than in town, besides having the advantage of pure air and beautiful scenery.  I witnessed an amusing sight at this gate.  A man was just entering from the country.  He was very large in the abdominal regions, so much so that the gate-keeper’s suspicions were aroused, and he asked the large traveler a few leading questions.  He protested that he was innocent of any attempt to defraud the revenues of Paris.  The gate-keeper reached out his hand as if to examine the unoffending man, and he grew very angry.  His face assumed a scarlet hue, and his voice was hoarse with passion, probably from the fact that he was sensitive about his obesity.  But the gate-keeper saw in his conduct only increased proof of his guilt, and finally insisted upon laying his hand upon the suspicious part, when with a poorly-concealed smile, but a polite “beg your pardon,” he let the man pass on his way.  It is probable the gate-keeper was more rigid in his examinations, from the fact that not long before a curious case of deception had occurred at one of the other gates, or rather a case of long-continued deception was exposed.  A man who lived in a little village just outside of the walls, became afflicted with the dropsy in the abdominal regions.  He then commenced the business of furnishing a certain hotel in Paris with fresh provisions, and for this purpose he visited it twice a day with a large basket on his head or arm.  The basket, of course, was always duly examined, and the man passed through.  He became well-known to the gate-keeper, and thus weeks and months passed away, until one day the keeper was sure he smelt brandy, and searched the basket more carefully than usual.  Nothing was discovered, but the fragrance of the brandy grew stronger, and his suspicions were directed to the man.  He was examined, and it was found that his dropsy could easily be cured, for it consisted in wearing something around his body which would contain several gallons, for the man was really small in size, though tall, and he had made it his business to carry in liquors to the city, and evade the taxes.  But at last, unfortunately, the portable canteen sprung a leak, and this was the cause which led to the discovery.

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