L'Abbe Constantin — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 120 pages of information about L'Abbe Constantin Complete.

But in the midst of his notes—­Nordlingen, 1645; les Dunes, 1658; Mulhausen and Turckheim, 1674-1675—­he suddenly perceived (Jean did not draw very badly) a sketch, a woman’s portrait, which all at once appeared under his pen.  What was she doing there, in the middle of Turenne’s victories, this pretty little woman?  And then who was she—­Mrs. Scott or Miss Percival?  How could he tell?  They resembled each other so much; and, laboriously, Jean returned to the history of the campaigns of Turenne.

And at the same moment, the Abbe Constantin, on his knees before his little wooden bedstead, called down, with all the strength of his soul, the blessings of Heaven on the two women through whose bounty he had passed such a sweet and happy day.  He prayed God to bless Mrs. Scott in her children, and to give to Miss Percival a husband after her own heart.

CHAPTER V

THE FAIR AMERICANS

Formerly Paris belonged to the Parisians, and that at no very remote period-thirty or forty years ago.  At that epoch the French were the masters of Paris, as the English are the masters of London, the Spaniards of Madrid, and the Russians of St. Petersburg.  Those times are no more.  Other countries still have their frontiers; there are now none to France.  Paris has become an immense Babel, a universal and international city.  Foreigners do not only come to visit Paris; they come there to live.  At the present day we have in Paris a Russian colony, a Spanish colony, a Levantine colony, an American colony.  The foreigners have already conquered from us the greater part of the Champs-Elysees and the Boulevard Malesherbes; they advance, they extend their outworks; we retreat, pressed back by the invaders; we are obliged to expatriate ourselves.  We have begun to found Parisian colonies in the plains of Passy, in the plain of Monceau, in quarters which formerly were not Paris at all, and which are not quite even now.  Among the foreign colonies, the richest, the most populous, the most brilliant, is the American colony.  There is a moment when an American feels himself rich enough, a Frenchman never.  The American then stops, draws breath, and while still husbanding the capital, no longer spares the income.  He knows how to spend, the Frenchman knows only how to save.

The Frenchman has only one real luxury—­his revolutions.  Prudently and wisely he reserves himself for them, knowing well that they will cost France dear, but that, at the same time, they will furnish the opportunity for advantageous investments.  The Frenchman says to himself: 

“Let us hoard! let us hoard! let us hoard!  Some of these mornings there will be a revolution, which will make the 5 per cents. fall 50 or 60 francs.  I will buy then.  Since revolutions are inevitable, let us try at least to make them profitable.”

They are always talking about the people who are ruined by revolutions, but perhaps the number of those enriched by revolutions is still greater.

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L'Abbe Constantin — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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