I do not know as I could give the reader a better idea of a great class of women in Paris, than by relating the brief history of these girls, and certainly I could not sketch a sadder picture. To the stranger the social system of France may seem very pleasant and gay, but it is in reality a sorrowful one. While the mistress is young, she has a kind of happiness, but when she loses her beauty, then her wretchedness begins. But I will dwell upon this whole subject more fully in another place.
One of the interesting places which I visited in Paris, is the famous Tapestry and Carpet Manufactory in the Rue Mouffetard. The walk is quite a long one from the Garden of Plants, but the wonders of art and industry which are shown to the visitor, amply repay for the trouble and toil in getting to the manufactory.
I first passed through several rooms, upon the walls of which were hung some of the finest of the tapestries which are finished. I was astonished to see the perfection to which the art is carried. Some of the tapestries, were quite as beautiful as some of the paintings in the Louvre. Each piece was a picture of some spot, scene, or character, and the workmanship is of such an exquisite kind, that it is extremely difficult to believe that real paintings of the highest order are not before you. Yet all the shades and expressions are wrought into the web, by the hands of the skillful workmen. I visited six of the work-rooms, where the men were manufacturing the tapestries. It was a wonderful sight. The workman stands immediately behind the web, and a basket containing woolen yarn, or a thread of every variety or color, is at his feet. The design, usually an exquisite picture, stands behind him in a good light. A drawing of the part of the landscape or figure first to be made is sketched by pencil upon the web, and with the picture to be copied constantly in sight, the workman or artist, as he should be called, works slowly upon his task, glad if in a day he can work into the tapestry a branch, a hand, or an eye. In some of the work-rooms, the finest tapestries were being manufactured, and in others only very fine rugs and carpets.