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Café du Report. Mademoiselle Mars has furnished one sad chapter in the history of that little room. It is now three o'clock in the afternoon. Let us walk into it. Pretending to read the Cours Au. thentique, you may hear this conversation :-“Tiens, bonjour, maʼme Fricard, comment que ça vous va ?” “Pas trop bien, maʼme Chaffarou. Mes Espagnols me donnent bien du tintouin. Vingtet-un et demie, moi, qu'avais acheté à trente-trois ! It appears that Don Gomes has gone into Asturias. The rascal, he has ruined
“C'est bien fait, maʼme Fricard, pourquoi que vous n'avez pas des ducats. J'ai revendu à bénefice, maintenant je vais acheter de l'Haiti, c'est fini. Je ne prends plus de cinq,-vous ne savez, ma chere, on va le rembourser le cinq, on donnera du trois.”—“Le rembourser ! quelle horreur ! maʼme Chaffarou. Comme si l'on ne ferait pas mieux de rembourser les assignats. J'en ai encore pour six cent mille francs, dans mon secrétaire. V'la bien les gouvernments.” A third woman now rushes in, all business-like. “Don't you know, ladies, Don Carlos has just gained a battle over the Christinos has killed thirty thousand men and taken one cannon. Telegraphic despatch-the Cortes are going into just nothing at all.”—“What a simple thing you are, Madame Potard, for an old midwife,” inter. rupts the Chaffarou ; “ don't you see it's all a trick. Gardez vos coupons. Il.y-aura hausse fin courant,-le report ira bien-de. mandez plutôt à Monsieur Auguste." M. Auguste, a sort of courtier de marrons of the place, has just come in. “ Que voulez vous, mes. dames, des differés, ou des perpétuelles ; des Belges, ou des Ro. mains. Il.y-a long temps que nous n'avons rien fait ensemble. Oserai-je vous offrir un petit verre de Kerch ?"_" Oh, c'est trop fort, Monsieur Auguste, du doux s'il vous plait.”—“ Garçon,” says Auguste, "trois verres d'huile de rose.”—Madame Potard changing her mind, shouts out, “Garçon, décidément, j'aimerais mieux du cognac.” There would be much to amuse in this, were it not for the disastrous impoverishments to which such chat is often but the prologue.
A few steps from the Café du Report bring you to where was, until lately, the Café Mozart, for a short time one of the most mag. nificent and best frequented in all Paris. It had the great disadvan. tage of being in the second story: No Frenchman wishes to ascend stairs in search of coffee. It had, however this, advantage,-its dame-du-comptoir was a heroine. It was Nina Lassave, the mistress of Fieschi, who so gracefully bowed to every gentleman as he entered or left the room. While she presided, that café was in high glory. Thousands on thousands flocked thither, first, to look at her; secondly, to talk with her; and thirdly, to enjoy moka in her pre
Nina sustained her fame with noble self-possession. A little circumstance, however, quite beyond her control, required an ab. sence of nine days into what we should call the country. Alas! she never returned; and the Café Mozart, with its mirrors and music joined the past.
Every theatre has in its vicinity a café. At these cafés, and like. wise those of the Boulevard du Temple, the actors, the actresses, and the dramatic authors of the time principally congregate. You may see them most frequently between ten and twelve at night. There they gather, some to discuss the performances, and some to estimate the applause of the evening. Those who have received the latter
call importantly for kirch or eau-de-vie. Those who have not, merely sip sugared water, and vent their disappointment in repeti. tions of “quel public !-sacré !" The authors sometimes mingle with them, and sometimes sit apart; there they ruminate and com. bine. That gentleman, with eye resting on vacancy, and who but rarely tastes his cool sorbet, is conceiving a dramatic plot. You per. ceive that he has now called for a bavaroise ; he sips it gently. Be assured he has advanced to intrigues and tenderest colloquies. Has he at length taken to Cafe noir? Tis no small proof that his plot is growing thick and romantic,--that he wants the inspiration of its aroma, and the images which its strength and hues may perchance
He has finally become restless, and demanded a carafe of cognac ? You are safe in the remark, that he is at last dealing with the darker passions, that he is composing for the theatre of the Porte St. Martin, and that a catastrophe of revenge and blood is on the eve of development. The dame.du.comptoir notices nothing of all this. She little dreams that, before one week shall have elapsed, she may be applauding or condemning the very work of art, the elements of which have just now been half derived out of dispensations from her own unconscious hand.
The literary patronage of cafés is not always their only one : many are distinguished for their political frequenters. The Cafe Valois and the Cafe de Foy have been renowned resorts for men of "the Restoration, as the Café Lemblin has been frequentod peculiarly by the Liberals ; but it must be acknowledged that these distinctions are not now very strongly maintained. Legitimatists, Doctri. naires, and Republicans, the Dynastiques, and the Anti-dynastiques, may find themselves on any evening glancing at each other from different tables of the same café. Merchants and stock.jobbers meet in great numbers, between twelve and two, before Tortoni's; and in the evening, as you lounge in to melt an ice, you will frequently observe individuals conversing in a style, conclusive to any but the superficial, that their theme is ducats. One of the first steps in Pa. risian business is decidedly to strut daily up and down before Tor. toni's. If you would have the earliest intelligence from any part of the earth, go to Tortoni's. Moreover, if you would enjoy chocolate and_ices, such as no other parts of the earth can equal, go likewise to Tortoni's. Tortoni's ices are as far beyond all other ices as Tag. lioni's dancing is beyond all other dancing. Taking your seat, the garçon presents you a little carte, in the two columns of which, under the words 6 creme" and " • fruits,” you read among other things, citron, vanille, framboise. You select a framboise ; in a few moments the garçon deposits before you a silver plate, whereon stands a goblet holding a spuon, a glass bottle miraculously half filled with frozen water, a little basket of wafer cake, and the fram. boise, ascending, cone. like, six inches above the glass which sustains it. Different persons have different modes of taking an ice. At Tortoni's, I know of no one in particular preferable to any other. If
you be not advanced, however, it may perhaps be well to secure such a position that, while each gelid morceau is vanishing away upon the palate, your eye may rest upon one of the fairest dames. du-comptoir near the Boulevards. Tortoni's ices, moreover, should be taken with extreme slowness, and with little or no conversation. Nothing should be permitted to interfere with the legitimate delight,
which these delicious combinations are intended to create. framboise you pay one franc, likewise leaving two sous on the table for the garçon. Nothing can surpass the brilliancy, and beauty, and vivacity of the scene around Tortoni's on a pleasant summer's vening.
Of the magnificent cafés there are eight or ten, between which I know not how to choose. At the Cafó de Foy one never hears the clatter of dominos ; the game is there forbidden. At the Café du Caveau and the Café d'Orleans the finest moka in the metropolis may be enjoyed. At the Café of the Opera Comique, you drink it from cups of greatest magnitude and weight. At the Café Vivienne it is placed before you on tables of the most beautiful white marble. At the Café des Variétés it is served up in the midst of Oriental splen. dour, and also at Veron's. Suppose we walk into Veron's ; you pro. nounce it instantly more richly ornamented than any other mere café in Paris. The gilding of various parts is in a gorgeous profusion, that recalls whatever you may have read of the golden house of Nero. The ceiling and walls are wrought here and there into the most lovely frescoes of birds and flowers; fauns, nymphs, graces, and images in every fantastic forın ; four immense and gilded chandeliers hang from the ceiling : a tall candelabra rises in the centre of the room, and two beautiful lamps stand on the comptoir. These lights illuminating these colours and this gilding, make the scene brilliant beyond all description. Then the mirrors, so disposed as to double and redouble, nay, twenty times to reflect what has been described. Here is not merely one Café Veron to dazzle and enchant, but a score of them. There is not a café, nor hardly anything else in Paris, which is not abundantly supplied with looking-glasses. The French of Louis Philippe can no more live without them than could the French of Louis XIV. They are not indeed now, as formerly, carried about by ladies as they promenade the streets ; but walking through any street or any passage, you may, if you please, pause at every moment to adjust your locks in a mirror. There are mirrors in every street, mirrors walling the rooms of every dwelling-house, mirrors multiplying every boutique ; there are mirrors in the diligences, and mirrors in the omnibuses ; there is no place too high nor none too low for them; they line the Hall of Diana in the Tuilleries, and reflect the boot-black half a dozen times, as he polishes your nether-self beneath the sign of “On cire les bottes." Paris itself is one of the largest cities of Europe: but Paris in all its mirrors is twenty times larger than the largest city in the world. “It cometh often to pass,” says Bacon, “ that mean and small things discover great, better than great can discover small.” If I were now on those themes, I might detect in their mirrors, not merely ungenerous evidences of their vanity, but one vast school wherein the polished manners of the French have been educated. But here comes the café noir.
Coffee is to the Frenchman what tea is to the Englishman, beer to the German, eau-de-vie to the Russian, opium to the Turk, or chocolate to the Spaniard. Men, women, and children, of all grades and professions, drink coffee in Paris. In the morning, it is served up under the aromatic name of café au lait ; in the evening, it is uni. versally taken as café noir. After one of Vefour's magnificent re. pasts, it enters your stomach in the character of a settler. It leaves
you volatile, nimble, and quick ; and over it might be justly poured those pleasant compliments which Falstaff bestowed on sherris sack. The garçon, at your call for a demi-tasse, has placed before you a snowy cup and saucer, three lumps of sugar, and a petit verre. He ventured the petit verre, inferring from your ruddy English face that you liked liqueur. Another garçon now appears; in his right hand is a huge silver pot covered, and in his left another of the same mate. rial, uncovered : the former contains coffee, the latter cream. You reject cream, and thereupon the garçon pours out of the former in strange abundance, until your cup, ay, and almost the saucer, actually overflow. There is hardly space for the three lumps ; and yet you must contrive somehow to insert them, or that café noir-black it may indeed be called—will in its concentrated strength be quite unman. ageable ; but, when thus sweetly tempered, it becomes the finest be. verage in the whole world. It agreeably affects several senses. Its liquid pleases all the gustatory nerves, its savour ascends to rejoice the olfactory, and even your eye is delighted with those dark, transparent, and sparkling hues, through which your silver spoon perpetually shines. You pronounce French coffee the only coffee. In a few moments its miracles begin to be wrought ; you feel spirituel, amiable, and conversational. Delille’s fine lines rush into your me. mory :
“Et je crois du genie eprouvant le reveil,
Boire dans chaque goutte, un rayon du soleil.”
You almost express aloud your gratitude to the garçon. In his sphere he seems to you a beau-ideal. His hair is polished into ebon. His face has a balmy expression, that enchants you. His cravat is of intensest white. His shirt-bosom is equally elegant. His round. about is neat and significent. Upon his left arm hangs a clean napkin, and his lower extremities are quite wrapped about in a snowy apron. His stockings are white, and he glides about in noiseless pumps. At your slightest intimation he is at your elbow. He is a physiognomist of the quickest perception. He now marks the entrance of yonder aged gentleman with a cane. Calmly he moves for a demi-tasse. That aged gentleman is an habitue. He glances his eye at the titles of half. a.dozen Gazettes, and having found that which he desired, lays it aside, carefully, upon his table. Having divested himself of gloves and hat, he sits down to café noir, and the gazette. That man patronizes only Veron's. He is not its habitue of ten or twenty years, but of forty. It has changed proprietors five times; but, even as Mademoiselle Mars has performed under the Directory, the Consulate, the Empire, the Restoration, and the Revolution, and is still fresh, and true to her vo. cation, so has this habitue survived those five proprietary regimes; still continuing true to Veron’s. With several others he is now considered, as it were, a part of the establishment, and when it exchanges hands its inventory is made out somewhat thus :
12 marble tables
That individual has no physical or moral type out of Paris.
Tapping your cup with a five-franc piece, the garçon approaches, and, taking the coin, advances with it towards the dame-du-comptoir, saying at the same time, “huit-cent.
And where out of France will you find a dame-du-comptoir ? Some of our cockney travellers sometimes call her by the blowsy name of barmaid. But there is a wide ocean rolling between that graceful, elegantly dressed, and universally-recognising divinity, and her to whom that abominable name may be applied, name reek. ing with exhalations from mugs, and beer-bottles, and stable-boys. This lady sits stately behind her comptoir. Two large silver vases stand in front of her, filled with spoons. At her right hand are several elegant decanters, and at her left a score of silver cups piled up with sugar. There is moreover a little bell within reach to sum. mon the garçon, and wide open before her are the treasury-boxes of the café. Her business is to superintend the garçons, and receive the money. Her influence is, by her graceful presence, to refine the whole scene.
You may remark that such public vocation is out of woman's sphere. I can hardly coincide with you. I must say, however, that after some European travel, my ideas with regard to what is woman's legitimate sphere, have become somewhat confounded.
In every country, from Turkey upwards, woman has her certain place. In Italy, in Switzerland, in Germany, in England, in Scot. land, and more than all in civilized and woman-adoring France, I have seen her, in instances without number, performing offices of hardship and notoriety, with which her heaven-given, womanly nature seemed to me totally incompatible.
That the age of chivalry has passed from Europe needs not the meagre evidence that no thousand swords leaped from their scab. bards to save the beautiful Marie Antoinette. Travel over Europe, the proofs shall stare you in the face wherever you go. In Munich a woman does the work of printer's devil. in Vienna I have seen her making mortar, carrying hods, digging cellars, and wheeling forth the clay; and there have I also seen females harnessed with a man, nay, with a dog, and once with even a jackass, to a cart, drag. ging the same through the most public streets of the metropolis. In Dresden she saws and splits wood, drags coal about the city in a little waggon, and wheels eatables for miles through the highways to the mars kets, in a huge barrow. In all these places, in France and Italy, may you note her with basket and scraper, hastening to monopolize the filth just fallen upon the public routes.
In France females do vastly more degrading and out-of-door work than in England, and in Paris they are in as great request as the mirrors themselves. A woman harnesses diligence horses. A woman cleans your boots as you rest them on her little stand at the Pont Neuf. At the theatres it is a woman who sells you your ticket, and other women who take charge of the boxes. At many mere bu. siness-offices it is a woman who does the business. Would
bargain at a Chantier for a load of wood, you bargain with a woman.Would you be conveyed publicly to the south of France, you receive your right to a place in the Coupée from a woman. There is no shop, of whatever description, in which a woman is not concerned. There is indeed hardly a department in which she does not seem to be chief