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myself with the pure · fatigue of enjoyment. No! sooner than that, I would enlist for a Cossack, be littered down upon straw, and dieted upon chopped sheepskins.”
“ From the shortness of our proposed stay,” replied Mr. Wilmot, “ there will be of course many things very worthy of remark, which you will not be able to see at present: it will therefore be our best plan to choose the principal objects, and take time to give them a throrough examination.”
“ Yes," replied Charles ; " and not like Mr. Galignani's scheme, for seeing every thing in Paris in a week, allow, upon a moderate computation, ten minutes to go through the Louvre, and five to examine Les Invalids."
There is nothing perhaps more extraordinary about the capital of France, than the manner in which the finest streets and most magnificent public buildings are scattered amongst the ugliest, narrowest, and
dirtiest parts of the town. The hour of Mr. Melville's arrival was not the most favourable for entering that city; it had been dark some time, and in driving along through several compressed, ill-lighted streets, the only objects he could see were great gateways, or porte-cochères, which, together with the scarcity of windows, gave every house the appearance of a warehouse, and in fact, it struck him altogether very much like some of those streets in the city running along the Thames, the buildings in which are wholly devoted to mercantile purposes. His ideas of Paris had been raised high, and, like all persons who have formed too great an estimate of what they are to enjoy, he was disappointed; he was also somewhat tired, and out of humour; and on arriving at their hotel, he expected to find it corresponding with his fallen ideas of Paris; he was not however very sorry to find himself mistaken, and to meet with excellent apartments, furnished in the most comfortable style,
but at the same time with an air of luxury through the whole, which made him remember that he was in a city devoted to pleasure. Several dishes, cooked to the turning of a minute-glass, and some excellent claret, very soon put all remaining vapeurs noirs to flight; and going to bed, he let his head sink into the one immense pillow placed for its reception, and gave all his fatigues notice to quit against the next day.
As soon as breakfast was over the morning after, he sallied out with Mr. Wilmot, and proceeding down the Rue de la Paix, crossed over the Boulevard, and then without quitting it, turned to the right towards the Rue Fauxbourg Mont Martre. The sight that was presented to Charles Melville was novel and entertaining. Though the month was February, the day was clear and mild, the sun shining as hard as he could shine, considering the weakness of his infant beams at that time of year; it was also at the moment when his rays
have most power, a little after twelve-a moment when the greater part of the male population of Paris contrive some excuse to shew themselves on the Boulevards, either to take a bath, a game of billiards, or a cup of coffee at Tortoni's, to read the journals, or to meet their friends.
The whole place seemed a garden of violets, and Charles found the very air he breathed perfumed with those flowers that, heaped into large baskets, actually lined the broad walk along which they passed. Wherever he turned, there were girls offering little bunches, tied neatly up, to place in the buttonhole, and who would scarcely take any refusal.
One of these little, smiling, black-eyed, demoiselles, before he knew what she was about, had adorned his coat in this fashion, and when he took the flowers from his buttonhole, saying he had no sous, she made him a graceful inclination, saying“ N'importe, monsieur, un autre fois." '
Charles could not resist it, and gave her a franc.
“ If you are so liberal,” observed Mr. Wilmot with a smile, “ you will raise the price of violets. I think,” he added, somewhat more gravely, “ that it is almost a duty people of large fortune owe to those who have less, never, by an overstrained liberality, to raise the value of any thing above its natural level: when we wish to be generous, we ought to bestow any thing as a gift, and never to pay above the just worth of what we receive, for if we do otherwise, we not only make those we oblige ungrateful, but also imposing."
The groups on the Boulevards now attracted Charles's attention, and as, by the frequent bows and looks of recognition which he received, Mr. Wilmot seemed to be acquainted with the principal persons they saw, Charles asked him for some account of those who composed the motley crowd amongst which they were mingled ; and as his companion explained to him, in