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England, also, on inquiring about me at the India House in London, was informed I had been killed in action; and the first letter I was able to write, which conveyed the account of the loss of my limb, was a relief to my family.
I was confined to my bed several months by an extensive exfoliation of the thigh-bone, it was amputated not far below the hip, and long before I was able to move about, the commander-in-chief, in reward for my conduct on the occasion, of which the colonel made a favoura. ble report, had conferred on me the adjutancy of the battalion ; and in six months from the time I lost my leg, I was on horseback drilling my men.
To conclude, two of the sepoys who assisted in carrying me off the field, though both young soldiers at the time, were immediately promoted to the rank of non-commissioned officers for their gallant conduct; and the one to whom I am most indebted, I am happy to say, has been several years a jemadar-a commissioned officer.
It is requested that the above may be considered in the light of a fiction ora tale founded on facts, rather than as a correct account of the events that occurred to the writer some thirteen years ago.
Did you never see Venice ? indeed, that's a pity,
A PARISIAN SABBATH.
BY AN AMERICAN TRAVELLER.
“Nous avons une littérature, une philosophie, une religion. Chose remarquable! aucune nation dans l'univers n'a peutêtre pris plus de soin que la France de sa civilization intellectuelle, et de sa civilization morale ; elle en recuille maintenant les fruits.
Journal des Debats, January 1837. “ THANK God,” said I, as this morning I read the article from which the above sentences are taken,—“thank God, religion has at length been restored to France! The evidences of such restoration may be doubtless seen in thronged churches, in the periodical press, in the literature, and particularly in the observance of those sacred institu. tions which religion claims as peculiarly her own. The sabbath I have been taught to believe, is one of those institutions. It will be scrupu. lously observed by a people, who, with their philosophy and their li. terature, possess a religion, and who have taken the extremest care of their intellectual and moral cultivation. “I will walk abroad," con. tinued I. “ It is a pleasant sabbath morning. I wish to contem. plate one impressive proof of the moral regeneration of France. I shall doubtless wander through tranquil streets amidst a serious popu. lation bending its course piously towards the sanctuaries, and every moment will my eye and ear bear witness that the mighty heart of the cit;, for six days deeply agitated has found a much desired sabbath of rest.
I had moved hardly twenty paces from No. 10, Rue de Rivoli, when my ears were saluted by the beating of drums, and the music of a mar. tial band. A thcusand soldiers were following these sounds into the Place Carousel. A review was to take place. I had witnessed many similar reviews on the same spot, but never before on the sabbath. “ Well,” said I, so far as the military are concerned, Paris does not, according to my notion, seem to be rallied about the banners of the Prince of Peace.”
Watching the maneuvering of several companies of the National Guards, I soon lost in laughter all recollection of the sanctity of the time. There can be no wider chasm between the physical appear. ance of men than that which separates the National Guards from the troops of the line. How pitiful seem the latter in those long grey coats and red pantaloons! How villanously diminutive is their stature ! What good-for-nothing expressions look blank on their visages! And yet they handle their muskets with a precision, harmony, and dexterity, that proclaim in every instant the omnipotence of the drill.
But at their side is ranged a battalion of National Guards. Behold their portly stomachs, their massive frames, their fine complexions, their plump cheeks, their eyes full of expression, and their tout-ensemble abounding in consequential citizenship. They are your martial personification of the embonpoint; the idea of that word in another vehicle ; the Falstaff la Français. These are the men unto whom, by its sixty-sixth article, is confided the protection of the charter of 1830. They are men of business. They have pecuniary interests in society, and of course are interested in the pre servation of public tranquillity. They are the peculiar security of
Louis Philippe and his throne. Still do they look any thing but martial ; and as for their bearing, it is altogether unsoldierlike. Your National Guard marches along behind a pair of spectacles, caring little for his gait, still less for his musket; laughing with his comrade, joking with his captain, or muttering to himself; mistaking “ shut pan” for “ shoulder arms,” and apparently requiring for the correspondence of his step with time, the benefit of legs visibly chalked “ left,"
right.” When on duty he is half the time laughed at by others, and the remaining half by himself. He knows that he cuts a laughable figure, that he is each night burlesqued upon the stage, and caricatured in every print-shop under the words, “ Tribulations of the National Guards.” Hence he has no particular ambition to look or walk the soldier. Sometimes he parades in a huge cloak; sometimes he marches smoking a cigar; sometimes he “orders arms” to take snuff; and always is he talking, always does he laugh at his awkward blunders in tactics, and always does he look fat. Indeed slenderness and angularity are no longer national features. The age of lean marquesses has gone by. The French men are fat, the French women are fat, and so far as fatness is concerned, the French children are following on in the footsteps of their parents.
Leaving the military parade, I directed my steps towards the Musée Royal. I perceived its huge doors flung widely open, while hundreds were rushing through them, and thousands were wandering within among its works of art in marble and on canvass. “ Pray,” said I, to a crimson-liveried huisier at the portal, “ is the Louvre open on the sabbath ?"_" Certainly, sir," replied he.“ This is the only public day. The Royal Family visit it on Monday ; on other week days it is opened to those who have permission or passports, but all the world are free to enjoy it on the sabbath.” I took a turn through the apartments. They were thronged with middle and lower classes ; with respectable gentlemen in the red ribbon ; with countrymen in wooden shoes, and grisettes in clean white caps. “Sympathy with art," thought 1, " is indeed wide in this metropolis. It thrives under a dirty jacket as beneath an embroidered mantle ; but Paris artistical is any thing but Paris evangelical.”
Qutting the Louvre, I walked up through the gardens of the Tuilleries. And there the scene was far more stirring, and ten thou. sand times more brilliant than that which I had just left. Some hundreds were reading newspapers; other hundreds were lounging listlessly upon the seats ; hundreds of bucks were sporting their canes and an elegant gait through the promenades ; hundreds of la. dies wandered in magnificent attire around the fountains ; a thousand children jumped the rope, or drove their hoops in every direction, while their nurses—those champaign nurses in hale red cheeks, and broad outbursting bosoms !-laughed, danced, chatted, and thus responded with exuberant joy to all the shouts and all the laughter of the creatures under their charge. “This is certainly a very delightful scene," said I ; " but it seems to be distinguished from its breth. ren on week days only by more resolved enjoyment, more loud and impetuous sport.” By a New Englander, who had been accus. tomed to keep Saturday night with scrupulous observance from sun-down onwards, and who moreover in boyhood had been taught that even an idle whistle upon the sabbath was a profanation of its
holiness, such a scene could hardly be deemed in harmony with the fourth commandment. Indeed I was on the eve of running back for a moment to my apartment, just to see whether I had read aright the article from which is taken the motto of this sketch. And then again was my step arrested by the apprehension that I was falling into that worst and narrowest of all prejudices—the applauding or condemn. ing of others' habits according as they corresponded with, or deviated from the standards which I had been accustomed to contemplate in my own country. “ Notwithstanding all I have seen and am seeing," said I, “ the Parisians may have as much religion as any people on the face of the earth, only they are a little peculiar in their forms of keeping holy the Lord's day;"—and so I walked on past the obelisk to the Champs Elysees.
I found the Champs Elysées thronged ; thronged with elegant carriages; thronged with elegant men and women; thronged with jug. glers at their diablerie, with Punch and Judy at their squabbles, with companies of men at their games of balls, with Turks crying out figs and prunes as “good for the stomach,” with Savoyards grinding hand. organs, with old people each moment lighting and cracking up their matches, and with young people each moment apparently on the eve of making them. I paused for a while before a stationary carriage. In it was a large, fair complexioned man, with enormous whiskers and moustaches, and whose hair, surmounted by a richly-gilded velvet cap, hung in enormous curls down over his shoulders. His jacket was fancifully decorated, and about his waist circled the belt of a splendid yatagan. His carriage was surrounded by fifty idle men, women, and children. The grinding of a hand-organ attached to his establishment having ceased, he arose to address his company. I now perceived that he lacked an arm and a leg. Moving his large black eyes sig. nificantly about him for a moment, he pompously began. He declared that he had been in the armies of the Republic and of Napoleon ; that fighting for the former he had lost an arm, and for the latter a leg; that he had once spared an enemy from the death which was his due, and that in consideration thereof, said enemy had given him the re. ceipt for a certain medicine capable of curing all diseases, and that too in the astonishingly brief space of five minutes. Hereupon he began to reveal certain bottles and phials. I perceived what the fellow was at, and immediately took my leave to observe some other phases of Parisian life on Sunday.
Moving down the Rue St. Honore, I found its shops all open. The milliners were sewing and ogling at the windows ; the shoe. makers were beating their lasts; the legs of the tailors were crossed ; the hatters were at work; the trunk-makers were at work; the sad. dlers were at work; the riband-seller sold her ribands; the marron. roaster sold his marrons ; the patissier sold his paté de foie gras ; and at “ Aux Palmiers,” I saw, as on any profane day, its black-eyed di. vinity shrined within her customary pyramids all transparent, her pastilles and her bonbons. At length I stood before St. Roch. “ Ah, here's a church at last,” said I. Entering, I found it crowded. The Catholic service was proceeding, in company with the most solemn and impressive music. Far be it from me to insinuate any thing derogatory to the motives which led that throng within those walls. It is one of my pleasures to give pictures true, though faint they
may be of some sences which
before me. I do not wish to distort the scene within this sanctuary. I saw there many kneeling forms, many devout expressions, and the eyes of mauy turned hea. venwards, whose thoughts, I trust, were on the same divine pilgrimage. I sincerely hope that this may be a type of all Paris, nay, of all France.
A short walk brought me to the Market of the Innocents. The contrast was striking. A thousand women there trafficking, had been shrived for the day. They were now at their work. All the mar. kets of Paris are open on the sabbath. Indeed, how could it be other. wise ? Suppose them closed. Fifty-two annual gaps in the till now perfect and harmonious history of Parisian gourmandism! You could not close the markets without slightly troubling the restaurants. You could not slightly trouble the restaurants, without deeply troubling the gourmands who there banquet. And more safely may you derange Paris political, or Paris literary, or Paris commercial, than Paris gourmande. To speak out frankly however, a dinner at the Rocher, at Grignon's, or even at Very's, will half reconcile you to this desecration.
Before leaving the Marché des Innocens, I paused an hour to note the forms and modes of its strange population. A brawny, muscular, hoarse-voiced race it is, and a worthy offspring will you soon pronounce it of those poissardes, who in the Revolution helped to storm Versailles, and for mere pastime, as they marched thither, tore a horse into a hundred fragments, devouring him raw, as sweet morsel. Their faces are coarse, and lack meaning. In their broadly built and lusty frames, however, are revealed marvellous capacities for multiplying their image. They are, in general, strongly and comfortably clothed, and about the head of each is invariably bound a particoloured handkerchief. As an illustration of French peasantry, they are interesting. On them the political tornadoes, uptnruing so much in France, have left but slight in. fluences. They talk in the same outlandish patois as ever. They move in nearly the same narrow spheres of action and of enjoyment as did their grand-parents. They come up to Paris in the same huge, awkward, three-wheeled vehicles ; and they bargain with their customers in the same grimaces, shrugs, and “ bahs,” which for ages have characterized the intercourse of the French. Passing one of their stalls, a gruff voice hails you, “ Eh, dites donc, Monsieur, tenez, voyez, Monsieur, voyez.” Not being able to arrest your steps, and deeming you English, the ancient and fish-like croue dis. charges after you a certain quantity of slang, wherefrom you get your first ideas of Parisian Billinsgate. They take their meals conveniently. A little woman advances towards one of them. This little woman carries, suspended from about her neck before her a sort of tray, whereon stands a cooking apparatus. At her left side is a basket filled with slices of meat, and rolls of bread at least three feet long. At her right hangs a pair of bellows, and behind her, drags a sort of crutch, upon which, when stationary, she may lean for repose
“ Eh ben, voul' vous mange ?" “ Ouias,'' responds the market woman. Thereupon the ambulatory cook claps a bit of tripe into her pan, blows up the coals beneath it, cuts two slices from her long bread roll, and placing between them the fried tripe, receives therefore three sous, and walks off to another stall.