A Tourist in Spite of Himself: In Paris


I FIRST visited Paris forty-three years ago. At that time I was a mad Napoleon enthusiast; this is tautological — to be a Napoleon enthusiast one must be mad. But, if my knowledge of French history did not begin at the beginning, it was not confined to Napoleon; nothing is more romantic than the history of that land which we now call France, and the good Sir Walter Scott introduced me to it in his excellent Quentin Durward.

But on the occasion of my present visit, after I was comfortably settled in the Grand Hotel, and had taken a seat at a little table in front of the Café de la Paix and had drunk my glass of black chicory, — which the French politely term coffee,—watching the endless surge of humanity pass to and fro before me, it occurred to me that if I were to get pleasure and profit out of a month’s sojourn in Paris it behooved me to rub up my French history a bit. Time was when, had anyone mentioned Catherine de’ Medici, I should have known that she was the wife of Henry II, and that he had come to his death by a stroke from the lance of Montgomery — but that was years ago. How could I best furbish up my faded recollection of who was who and why, without entering upon a long course of reading? These thoughts took me to Brentano’s, where I bought half a dozen books, including that excellent one, So You’re Going to Paris! It is a delightful refresher: evidently Clara E. Laughlin knows her Paris as I know my London — only better. And so, after my morning cigar and a glance at the Paris edition of the New York Herald, it became my habit to take a book for an hour or two and forget the prosaic present in the romantic past.

Paris is so beautiful and so modern that one sometimes forgets that it is an old, a very old city, and that every inch of it teems with history. It was a delight to read the famous story of the Diamond Necklace, and then loiter down into the old quarter of Paris and visit the house in which Cardinal de Rohan lived when he was made such a fool of; and, after a good long pull at Les Misérables, it was quite in order to take a taxi to the Place des Vosges and visit the house in which Victor Hugo lived when he wrote that great novel. But I determined that, if I took my sight-seeing somewhat seriously during the day, after a fine nap toward sundown I should be in good form for the pleasures of the evening.

For many years I have always stayed at the Grand Hotel; I like everything about it. It has a wonderful location, just across the street from the great Opera House (the critics of which always tire me a little); the rooms are large, the service excellent, and withal one has a feeling of complete independence: no one seems to be watching you. Paris is a noisy city, but if one gets an inside room overlooking one of the courts he never hears a sound of what is going on in the streets, while just outside the door is the famous Café de la Paix, where, if one takes his seat on the pavement, he can — at the expenditure of a few francs for drinks and ices he does n’t want — watch for hours one of the most varied and interesting panoramas in the world. Sit there long enough and you will see everyone you ever knew or heard of, and when you are weary you can retire to your room or stroll to your favorite restaurant.

I am in no sense of the word a boulevardier, but I confess that dining and wining in Paris is a delight; all you have to do is to have a good purse — to know what you want and go and get it. Paris is preëminently a city of restaurants and cafés. Ciro’s, a world-famous establishment and one I like least, is only five minutes away; I wonder does anyone think he is really seeing Paris at Giro’s, or at Philippe’s, or at the PréCatelan? These places are established for and maintained by rich foreigners, chiefly Americans, with more money than brains; I always hate to go to any of them. We went to Giro’s one night to dine with some friends, having taken the precaution to engage a table; and, upon asking the waiter if he spoke English, he replied flippantly, ‘I have no occasion to speak anything else — except American.’ The dinner was not too good, the waiter insolent, — because I would not take his advice, — and the bill terrific. I was ashamed of myself for having spent my money there, and I felt exactly the same way at Foyot’s — that ‘noted old house of the highest class,’ as Baedeker calls it — on the other side of the river, near the Luxembourg. Foyot’s is supposed to be much frequented by French politicians when on pleasure bent, but the night I was there two school-teachers were showing a lot of American schoolgirls the way they should not go, and nothing was very good except the filets de sole, which a French chef can hardly spoil; the artichauts were cold, the crêpes Suzette distinctly poor.

A better place is the Tour-d’Argent, over by the Jardin des Plantes, said to bo the oldest restaurant in Paris, having been established in 1582, — if one can believe what one is told, — and it is renowned for its duck. My good friends, the Crummers (book-collectors always speak of them as ‘the Crummers’) from Omaha, took us there on a night to be remembered. The Tourd’Argent is very tiny and very new in appearance, but with customs all its own. As one leaves, in exchange for an enormous tip one is given a card whereon is written the number of the bird he has consumed; the number of mine was 87,287 (since 1890); seemingly the numbers gave out that year and they started fresh. The awe with which one head waiter, one plain waiter, and one acolyte watched a bespectacled and bewhiskered old gentleman carve our birds must have figured largely in the bill, which was paid by our host with magnificent abandon, as who should say, ‘I never dine for less than ten or twelve dollars a cover in Omaha; why should I expect to spend less in one of the most famous restaurants in the world?’ And, admittedly, a man thinks more highly of himself after receiving a genuflection from the manager of the Tour-d’Argent: at last I am appreciated, one thinks — and I owe this feeling of satisfaction to the Crummers, No one would suspect from seeing the gayety of Mrs. Crummer in a world-renowned restaurant that she had just finished making and publishing a catalogue of her husband’s medical books printed before 1640 — and it will be understood that in those days most medical books were published in Latin! The most serious people in the world become gay in Paris: that is one of the city’s many charms.

We got our revenge one day by giving a dinner party at Poccardi’s, where, in company with many of the countrymen of Mussolini, we dined excellently for just about the price of the tip at the Tour-d’Argent. But we got no salute from Signor Poccardi upon leaving his establishment: there were still three or four hundred diners there and our host may have been worried over the amount of food they were noisily and voraciously consuming — for dining is not an art at the enormous establishment in the Boulevard des Italiens and the Rue Favart, which runs alongside the famous Opéra-Comique. This, by the way, is the place of amusement I enjoy most in Paris. It is no fun for me to go to the theatre: they speak French so rapidly that I only understand one word in five, and this is not enough to enable me to follow the story; and the musical comedies are very poor, and of the variety shows the less said the better. But at the Opéra-Comique they give by no means what we call comic opera, but the lighter operas by such recent composers as Puccini, Charpentier, Mascagni, and the like — and if one is going to the Comique, Poccardi’s is just the place to dine. The prices are not high, and, if the dish of the day is usually italien, it is always excellent: every day is ministrone (accent on the final e) day — a vegetable soup at fourteen cents for a large basinful — and there is an elaborate menu proportionately priced. I like everything about Poccardi’s, from soup to nuts, as the saying is; especially I like the cassata sicilienne, which is a sort of glorified ice cream at twenty cents a slice.

But there is another restaurant farther down the boulevard to which I have been going for forty years, and others forty years before that, and to which others will be going forty years hence, which I like better — Marguery’s. The specialty of this house, filet de sole Marguery, is famous all over the world. All the food is excellent, and if you are told it is not as good as it used to be, don’t believe it: nothing is as good as it used to be, and, anyway, Marguery’s location is unsurpassed. I can sit for hours in one of those glass-fronted rooms overlooking the Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle watching the crowd surge along, especially at the right hour on a fine Sunday afternoon. One sees lovers — the world forgetting — arm in arm, sometimes he with his arm around her, and it is not very unusual to see such a pair stop occasionally and kiss each other, not once but several times.

‘Disgusting,’ said my lady.

‘Why, no,’ replied her husband, ‘we paid good money to see such things done at the theatre last night, to see an exhibition of imitation passion, and now where we can see the real thing for nothing you call it disgusting. Be consistent, my dear.’

Looking out of the window one rainy evening, we observed with interest a youth and a pretty girl hugging one another under an umbrella, which seemed rather to cramp their technique than afford protection from either the rain or the curious. But the curious indeed were few; in general, people in Paris mind their own business. One day I saw a man asleep on a bench in a heavy rain. In Germany he would probably have been arrested; in England he would certainly have been cared for by some royal society organized to care for people who go to sleep in the rain; but in Paris a man, observing him, merely remarked to his companion, ‘That is the way he takes his pleasure,’ and passed on. One is permitted to do pretty much as he will in Paris, and the crowded streets are as interesting as the museums, which are among the finest in the world. Personally, I get greater pleasure out of people than out of things: inanimate objets d’art in a museum are fatiguing; people are always interesting. Who was the wise and witty Frenchman who remarked, ‘I love all mankind except those I know personally’?

The American is a very obvious person; the Englishman is reserved; the Parisian is himself, and quite indifferent to your opinion. The French are very intelligent, self-sufficient, and selfsupporting. There are, speaking broadly, no charities in France. The people are thrifty to the point of avarice; from infancy they are taught to look after themselves, to provide for their old age, and they do; the people who die in absolute penury are, I fancy, very few.


But we were doing a round of the restaurants. Reader, have you ever eaten snails or horse meat? I have eaten both and I prefer snails; snails are, indeed, a great delicacy, and at the sign of L’Escargot d’Or, or the Golden Snail, a very old establishment near the Halles, they are always included in any very recherché meal; indeed, in the neighborhood of the Halles there are a dozen places which announce the interesting fact that snails are there served, by large effigies of the animal or reptile — or whatever it is — in gold, swinging from brackets over their doors. People not accustomed to eating snails must not assume that the snail is a sort of first cousin to the caterpillar, — either the fat or the fuzzy one, — for the edible snail, the snail of commerce, however closely connected with the common or garden snail, from the first moment of its life to its last has but one ambition — namely, to satisfy the appetite of the epicure. They are raised on snail farms—just as terrapins are with us — and they are usually served, in the shells which once afforded them shelter, in a thick, vivid-green sort of mayonnaise. Free yourself from the idea of ‘Snails!’ and you will find them delicious. Horse meat is another matter.

Admittedly, the horse is a noble animal, but that does not make it appetizing. Over the doors of butcher shops where horse meat is sold a golden horse’s head indicates the fact, as is indeed required by law. Horse meat is almost the only meat that the poor Frenchman allows himself. We ate it first, unknowingly, at a little restaurant in Versailles; we had missed the train which was to take us back to Paris and were hungry, and, surrounded by little eating places, we selected what we hoped was a good one, but I had my misgivings from the start. As we took our places at the table, a waiter brought a dish of ragout to a party seated near us, and, as we liked the appearance of it, we ordered some — and found it horse! Horse meat is rather sweet and very tough and stringy, but it is good food. Why should it not be good? The horse is a grain-fed animal of cleanly habit, but it does not come to the table until by years of hard work its flesh has turned to sinew. The British export immense numbers of horses to the Continent, where they are killed and eaten in spite of the wellmeant efforts of English humanitarians to prevent the traffic. Now that we know what becomes of the old horses, tell me what becomes of the old vehicles — the French are much too thrifty not to make use of them in some way. I don’t mean to suggest that they eat them — but if they did, they would make an excellent dish thereof.

The difference between French and English character is suggested by the cooking. The English will have no disguises; the French disguise everything. The English have but one sauce, ‘bread sauce,’ — and it’s nothing to be proud of, — the French have a hundred, every one a work of art. The English throw a cabbage into a kettle of boiling water — and serve; the French look at a frog on the side of a stream and say, ‘ Let us cook and eat it.’ Even so wise a man as Dr. Johnson got a pleasant reaction by referring to ‘the frog-eating French,’ but anyone who has enjoyed frogs’ legs as served in any good restaurant in Paris will suppose that he is regaling himself upon a particularly delicate and succulent piece of chicken.

I doubt if a man can be more pleasantly occupied than in seeking out good eating places in Paris. I, who at home eat just enough to sustain life, found myself going miles to indulge in a famous soupe à l’oignon, or waiting patiently for a seat at Prunier’s for a dozen oysters and a glass of an ambercolored wine — which has been permitted to remain for a moment in the crimson rays of the setting sun and into which some fairy has squeezed a drop or two of lemon. And here I would remark that, once one has become accustomed to the European oyster with its strong and, at first, rather coppery taste, he comes home to find the large American oyster lacking in flavor. Charles Dickens — I think it was Dickens — once said that he never ate an American oyster without thinking he had swallowed a baby. Renowned for its sea food, Prunier’s is also famous for caviar. What would I not give for a portion this very minute, with some hot toast and something more than a suspicion of onion chopped fine, and half a lemon. And if it is August, and Prunier’s is closed, there is Fauchon’s just behind the Madeleine, where the caviar is as good if not better, and much cheaper. Fauchon is a large delicatessen dealer, a glorified grocer who runs a restaurant on the side. I don’t think it is open at night; I patronized it only for luncheons; and, looking out of his second-story window one day into his great store on the opposite side of the street, I saw a huge stack of ‘Superior Bordeaux at forty-eight francs per dozen’ for quarts — and francs at four cents each, mind you. But why stimulate a thirst which you cannot satisfy?

But perhaps of all the restaurants in Paris the best for freedom from fuss and feathers, famous for serving bountiful portions of exquisite focal, is the Bœuf à la Mode. It began doing business just after the French Revolution, and it was a favorite eating place of the great Napoleon. It is in a side street, near the Palais-Royal, but it is necessary to go early to get a good table. Try a portion of the bœuf from which it took its name, with pommes soufflées, or homard thermidor and a bottle of Cliquot, goût américain, followed — if you feel up to it — with crêpes Suzette, made one at a time under your eyes by an artist who expects and deserves a reward; and, as a chasseur chases a taxi, you will, or at least should, murmur to yourself the well-known couplet: —

‘Serenely full, the epicure would say,
Fate cannot harm me, — I have dined to-day.”


Paris is famous for so many things that it is difficult for the tourist to know how best to spend his time. To enjoy one’s food one must exercise, and of all exercise walking is the best. And so I found myself strolling leisurely all over Paris — here, there, everywhere, always bewildered by its beauty. Very high buildings, so popular with us, are not permitted, but every important building is placed with due regard to every other building; it fronts upon either a square or a circle, or is at the end of a broad avenue. There are, in Paris, no accidental happenings of loveliness as there are in London, and it has always been a beautiful city. A hundred years ago the Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Élysées and the great Arc looked very much as they do today, but the magnificent streets that converge upon the Opera House, and the Opera House itself, Paris owes to the wave of extravagance which swept over it in the time of Napoleon III. He gave a favorite, a politician by the name of Haussmann, a free hand, and a new Paris arose. It was done imperially; there was no voting or anything like that — it is only very occasionally that anything important is accomplished by the ballot. The Emperor wanted to make Paris more magnificent than it was and he gave the order; there was tremendous speculation, — men were made and ruined overnight, — but the desired result was attained. And the end is not yet; only within the last year or two has the Boulevard Haussmann been cut through a few solid blocks of houses, so that it now runs — under one name or another, as it was originally planned to do — in practically a straight line from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la République.

They take things slowly in Paris, but they get results. For fifty years they have been at work upon the Church of the Sacré-Cœur on top of Montmartre. It occupies one of the finest sites in the world; from it one looks down upon the whole of Paris. But the most amazing view of the church itself, with its immense white dome and its towers and turrets glistening in the sun, is up the Rue Laffitte where the street crosses the Grand Boulevard; from this point the whole mass seems suspended from the sky. I had not visited this church in many years, and I determined to do so. One can go in a taxi, but it is very roundabout, and I decided one day to walk and I started out bravely; when I got to the Place Pigalle I thought I would taxi the rest of the way; but it was the noon hour and all the chauffeurs I hailed were just about to eat their déjeuner, so I kept on walking. At last I came to a steep flight of steps — and steps are to me as difficult as the way to Heaven — and I balked. An old Frenchwoman, seeing my trouble, remarked, ‘Monsieur will perhaps take the funiculaire,' pointing it out to me. Without a doubt I would, but I spoke too soon, for when I got. there I found a little notice reading, Le funiculaire ne marche pas pour cause de — something, je ne sais quoi. Maybe the railway had gone to lunch too. At any rate, I continued my climb until I reached the top, by which time I was tired and hungry — but one is never hungry very long in Paris. Right on the top of Montmartre is a tiny and very old-fashioned square; I have forgotten the name, but there are restaurants all around, and tables set in the middle, at one of which I got an excellent déjeuner.

My object in climbing to the top of Montmartre was to get the view and see the church, which is indeed magnificent. The churches in Paris are not too interesting; for the most part they are very large and dirty and in poor repair. The superb cathedral of Notre Dame is, of course, in a class by itself, but I get no thrill out of Saint-Eustache, or Saint-Roch, or the Madeleine, or a hundred others. I except always SaintÉtienne-du-Mont, with its fascinating rood loft, totally unlike anything else I know. But, in any event, I much prefer churches to museums; to loiter in an old church, its architecture mellowed by age, to watch in its dim religious light men and women come and drop upon their knees and for a few moments repose their souls, — if that is what they do, — is to me preferable to hoofing it over the hard floors of a picture gallery or museum.

Why are the floors of museums harder than any other floors whatever, and slipperier? They seem especially designed for roller skaters. The Louvre, with the exception of the Vatican at Rome, is the most fatiguing place in the world. Its size is beyond belief, and the exhibits, especially the pictures, are so arranged as to make it necessary for one to pass through acres of canvas before one reaches the masterpieces he wants to see. If I were the custodian of a museum, I should provide visitors with skates, which would enable people who want to say they have ‘done’ the Louvre — or what not — to clean it up in half an hour; or wheel chairs, in which one could be propelled by men to whom fatigue is unknown. I really think that the fatigue which overtakes one in a great museum is due very largely to the poor arrangement of the exhibits; a plan some day will be devised by which each separate object will not rise out of its setting and strike you a blow in the face, as it were.


I was sitting in front of the Café de la Paix late one afternoon when I was joined by a friend w ho said he supposed I was watching Paris — female Paris, that is — put its best foot forward; to which I replied that I had n’t noticed any particularly good feet being put forward. The fact is, French women can’t walk — in the English sense. They have stout legs and bad feet; high heels have caused French feet to be thrown forward, with the result that they have become very broad. An American woman cannot easily be fitted with a shoe in Paris — at least, so I am told. But if French women don’t exercise and can’t walk, I have nevertheless great admiration for them — they are the backbone of the nation. While the men sit around and talk politics, the women work, and with keen intelligence. The Frenchman has always been a pampered animal, and since the war, when practically everyone of military age went to the front and got killed, those that survived have become worse than ever. There are two or three marriageable girls in France to every man, and no girl can get a husband without a dot, and where is the dot to come from? The savings of the people have largely been swept away. I suspect that three girls out of every five in Paris are playing Louise without Charpentier’s music.

A hard blow was struck at the grisettes of Paris when nice American and English girls decided to adopt their style of dress and manners. They resent the assumption by the women of the world, not of their profession, but of their manners and of their style of dressing; the behavior of the American girl in Paris is, they say, ‘shocking,’ and where a French girl smokes one cigarette an English girl consumes ten. And, except on Sundays, one never sees long queues of women waiting at eleven o’clock in the morning to get into a theatre where a silly play is running, as one does in London. French women are the most industrious women in the world, and when they get old they toil harder than ever; always having been accustomed to shift for themselves, they work till they drop, finally at the most menial offices. Watch them in a French theatre. By now they have become veritable harpies; anyone who gets between them and a tip of a franc, or half a franc, will get hurt; but give them what they are entitled to — and it is n’t much — and they are very thankful, poor dears.

It never seems quite right to me that children and poor miserable men and women in the streets of Paris should speak French so beautifully, while I, with all my good fortune and intelligence, speak it so miserably. I understand almost nothing that is said to me, but I speak it fluently enough. I speak a French at which strong men weep; I murder it; I cause the streets to run with blood — no new thing in Paris. I have a small vocabulary, and my verbs have but one tense, which is neither present, past, nor future, but irregular in the extreme sense of that word; however, it serves my purpose and is better than a Frenchman’s English. The French do not care a hoot either for us or for our language. You will frequently find in shops which cater almost altogether to the American trade a man or a woman without a word of English. But they are wiser than we in that they do not rush so; they take time to live and they have a special instinct for finding out what their own business is and minding it. France is a free country, literally that: the French arc permitted to live their own lives and are expected to take care of themselves. They have no passion for uplift or reform, and our type, represented by such men as Carnegie or Rockefeller, is not understood by them; withal they are the best-educated people in Europe, and those who think of the Parisian as sophisticated, always eating of forbidden fruit, should watch the men play croquet in the Luxembourg Gardens. And I can sit for hours and watch the French boys and girls play tennis; they are not hampered by rules, as we are; seemingly they have no net and no bounds, but the game provides amusement, exercise, and companionship even if emulation is lacking.

In all important matters the French are serious and farseeing; we select our wives with scarcely more thought than we give to the selection of a cravat. In France the sobering judgments of the girl’s father and the boy’s father are considered, and a ‘marriage of convenience’ is more likely to end happily than one marched into to the tune of ’I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.’


Paris is a city of light: to say that it is the most beautiful city in the world is but to repeat a commonplace. Old Paris, of which the Musée Carnavalet is the centre, simply overflows with history; indeed, the word is interchangeable with the word ‘romance.’ Modern Paris is out toward the Arc and far beyond; the Parc Monceau is very lovely and the Jardin des Tuileries is superb, but my favorite spot is the Jardin du Luxembourg, where there is always something to watch. I watched one day that wonderful thing, the way of a man with a maid, until his lovemaking became so ardent that I was forced to move my chair and bury myself in the book I was reading — I forget whether it was Hugo or Balzac; either author reads excellently in Paris, as I have known these forty years.

The French have not the slightest interest in any people except themselves, but they are extremely emotional, not to say hysterical, and are ready to fly off the handle at any moment. We were in Paris during the Sacco and Vanzetti affair. Now if there is a man that a Frenchman hates worse than an Englishman, it is an Italian; yet the press and a few agitators got the French so stirred up over the execution of two Italian murderers that one might have supposed that a group of French angels were being done to death by a mob of devils. The night after the news of the execution reached Paris, mobs formed in the streets and the police knew that they were in for trouble; in spite of all the precautions, for a time the mob got the upper hand. In the Boulevard de Sébastopol and the Rue Réaumur, crowds bent on mischief gathered. Visitors to Paris will remember that on many of the wide streets there are trees planted, and in order that water may reach the roots of the trees there arc circular iron grids or gratings formed of relatively small sectors around their trunks, which, when taken up and wielded by two or three angry men, form excellent hammers. A tap with one of these iron hammers against a big plate-glass window instantly brings the window in fragments to the ground. What fun! And then there were the contents of the windows themselves. In less time than it takes to tell it, ail the windows were smashed on both sides of several busy streets, and the mob was really getting the upper hand when the mounted police, who had been guarding the American Embassy, put in an appearance, and in a short time the crowd was dispersed. But it was in an ugly mood. Why? Why should a lot of French shoe and clothing shops be rifled because two Italian criminals had been executed in America? That is exactly the question the proprietors of these shops asked themselves; and there was no satisfactory answer. Trouble was feared with the coming of the second night, but just then someone had the bright idea of telling the crowd that some agitator had spat upon the tomb of the Unknown Soldier who rests under the Arc de Triomphe, and the emotion of the mob was turned in another direction; quiet was restored, and Sacco and Vanzetti were no more heard of.

It was rather distressing to an American to observe the way in which this disgraceful case was presented in practically the whole European press. The fact is — as was admitted sometime since by an English journalist—that a disgraced, impoverished, and humiliated Europe loses no chance of scoring off America. When anything goes wrong over here, Europe is delighted, we are entirely without friends; and Something went very wrong in the management of the Sacco and Vanzetti case. In Italy these men would have had no trial at all; in France or in England, on the evidence submitted, they would have been convicted and promptly disposed of; but over here, thanks to the miserable administration of the law and the power of money, the men were given a chance to pose as martyrs. And at last America was made to figure before the world as a nation in which no innocent man could feel secure of his life. It is not often that I find myself in accord with Senator Borah, our Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, — who has qualified for this position by never going beyond the borders of this country, — but I entirely agree that it would have been a national humiliation and a shameless, cowardly compromise for us to pay the slightest attention to mob protests either at home or abroad.


I am not, and I do not pretend to be, in any respect better than my kind, but I get no ‘kick,’ as the saying is, out of what is called the night life of Paris. There are a great many naughty places in Paris, and when one speaks of them to the Parisian he is invariably told that these places are chiefly patronized by foreigners; and no doubt there are people who go to places and do things in Paris that they would never think of doing at home; but with all that, there are always plenty of French people about and they seem to be enjoying themselves. Indeed, it has always seemed remarkable to me that the French could get any thrill out of many of the entertainments they stage for themselves and for us. I have never been amused — I have frequently been bored to extinction — in the famous night cafés of Montmartre; they may be amusing to one in his childhood, — first or second, as the case may be, — but to an adult in his right mind the affected gayety and abandon are pathetic rather than otherwise.

Paris is always alive and always beautiful. I love to walk in the Place de la Concorde at night to see the electric illumination of the Eiffel Tower, which is beautiful beyond words. It is not merely a crude blaze of light, as our electric lighting is, but lamps like stars come and go on the tall tower; they change their form and color and die away, and blaze up again and finally take the form of Citroën, which, in Paris, has the same significance as Ford with us. And then, returning to one’s hotel, one hears the thud of horses’ hoofs and the tinkling of bells, and a line of great two-wheeled carts comes into sight — carts loaded with beautiful vegetables packed with as much taste and skill as though they were destined for a florist’s window. Do they come from far, I wonder? I know where they are going—to the Halles, which is the great market place of Paris.

But it is time to go to bed; all is as quiet as it was on that night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse — when suddenly in the next room a man begins to use the telephone.

Now the French do not use the telephone as a scientific instrument; rather, they use it as if it were a speaking tube; and when my neighbor finally got his party—he was talking to Berlin — and got through his business, I was as much pleased as he was. I suppose there is a worse telephone system than that of Paris, but it can’t be much worse. French numbers, too, are very puzzling to the foreigner; it always bothers a man accustomed to say, ‘One nine seven,’ for example, to have to do a little sum in mental arithmetic while talking, and say, ‘Cent (one hundred) quatre-vingts (four twenties) dix (that’s ten) sept (that’s seven),’ and the total is the number you are trying to get. It takes time and adds to the hazard of telephoning; but if you are in a hurry, and your party is only a few miles away, you can take a taxi.

Just before we reached Paris there was a strike of all the girl telephone operators. They had, seemingly, no special grievance; they merely wanted to show the power of their union or something. Anyhow, they all went on strike one day and stayed out for an hour, then returned; but no one in Paris knew there had been a strike until he read of it next day in the papers — he just thought that the service was a little rottener than usual. But if the telephone system is awful, the Paris subway is the best in the world —after you have learned how to use it, which I never had any desire to do. I shall be a long time underground; while I live, let me live on top of the world and see and enjoy the sights of Paris.