The Americans experience the attraction of Paris very strongly. There is no town in the world where it is easier or more agreeable to spend a great dial of money. For many reasons, both of race and origin, this attraction exercised over Mrs. Scott and Miss Percival a very remarkable power.
The most French of our colonies is Canada, which is no longer ours. The recollection of their first home has been preserved faithfully and tenderly in the hearts of the emigrants to Montreal and Quebec. Susie Percival had received from her mother an entirely French education, and she had brought up her sister in the same love of our country. The two sisters felt themselves Frenchwomen; still better, Parisians. As soon as the avalanche of dollars had descended upon them, the same desire seized them both—to come and live in Paris. They demanded France as if it had been their fatherland. Mr. Scott made some opposition.
“If I go away from here,” he said, “your incomes will suffer.”
“What does that matter?” replied Susie. “We are rich—too rich. Do let us go. We shall be so happy, so delighted!”
Mr. Scott allowed himself to be persuaded, and, at the beginning of January, 1880, Susie wrote the following letter to her friend, Katie Norton, who had lived in Paris for some years:
“Victory! It is decided! Richard has consented. I shall arrive in April, and become a Frenchwoman again. You offered to undertake all the preparations for our settlement in Paris. I am horribly presuming—I accept! When I arrive in Paris, I should like to be able to enjoy Paris, and not be obliged to lose my first month in running after upholsterers, coach-builders, horse-dealers. I should like, on arriving at the railway station, to find awaiting me my carriage, my coachman, my horses. That very day I should like you to dine with me at my home. Hire or buy a mansion, engage the servants, choose the horses, the carriages, the liveries. I depend entirely upon you. As long as the liveries are blue, that is the only point. This line is added at the request of Bettina.
“We shall bring only seven persons with us. Richard will have his valet, Bettina and I two ladies’ maids; then there are the two governesses for the children, and, besides these, two boys, Toby and Bobby, who ride to perfection. We should never find in Paris such a perfect pair.
“Everything else, people and things, we shall leave in New York. No, not quite everything; I had for gotten four little ponies, four little gems, black as ink. We have not the heart to leave them; we shall drive them in a phaeton; it is delightful. Both Bettina and I drive four-in-hand very well. Ladies can drive four-in-hand in the Bois very early in the morning; can’t they? Here it is quite possible. Above all, my dear Katie, do not consider money. Be as extravagant as you like, that is all I ask.” The same day that Mrs. Norton received this letter witnessed the failure