Obrazy na stronie


ing the streets a gay and lively face. Boulogne is a remarkably clean and orderly place, and in this respect forms a strong contrast to its rival, Calais. It is a famous sea-bathing place, and, during the summer, English residents and visiters form one third of the whole population. Indeed, the town is very ä l'Anglaise-more so, they say, than any other in France. But still there is enough to remind a novice that he is really in another country-in the old world. The military on the docks and in every street; the poor women, bare-footed and bare-headed, performing the labor of beasts of burthen, being in fact, the public porters, and thankful for the chance of carrying your luggage for a few sous; the incessant jabbering in a strange tongue, (strange, alas! to me,) for even the children here, as one sugely remarked, 'talk very good French; the streets without side-walks, and the pictur., esque figures in them; the immense clumsy diligences, arriving and setting off in cautious pace; the street. harpists and music-grinders, (of which we have abundant specimens ;) and sundry other petitioners for your spare change, greeting you in pathetic and musical tones at every turn of the street. The hotels form about one-fourth of all the buildings of the town, and are all crowded. Mine host has a summer pavilion on the banks of the sea, commanding an extensive view of the English coast, etc., and very similar to that at Rockaway, (L. I.,) and to this we are sent in a barouche to dine at the table d'hote, in a large airy hall, which accommodates one hundred or more. The company to-day being mostly English, seemed rather



awkward in this novel mode of dining; and there was no general conversation at the table. My neighbor, a raw Berkshire youth, stared with astonishment when he found I was not English, and still more so that I was an American, the first he had ever seen;' and he looked on me with something of the curiosity that one would inspect an ourang-outang. The shore before the pavilion is covered with little bathing-cars, which are drawn into the water by horses, and there is a handsome assembly-hall near by, for the bathers. After dinner, walked up to the 'barriers' or ramparts, which surround an elevated part of the city, and serve both for fortification and a public promenade. The view from them is very fine.

Friday. A rainy day, and the review and ceremonies in the church are given up. Strangers at the hotels have been invited by the mayor to a grand ball at the 'Salle du Spectacle,' or theatre, this evening. A band of music at the pavilion at dinner. Went to the theatre; great crowd, nine-tenths spectators; much like our Masonic Hall balls, except that there was no room to dance. The élite of the town displayed their best, but the majority were English. It was to be très selecte, and has been the town-talk for a week; yet my companion said, with great surprise, that of one of the prettiest of the dancers he had bought his gloves. Made an appointment to meet him at Amien's cathedral at five A. M.

Saturday.-A most vexatious mistake of my own has lost me my seat again, and I must endure idleness and ennui, in this purgatory, twenty-four hours longer. Hor

Ride from Boulogne to Paris.

rors! What shall I do? Wandered into a museum, and killed an hour. Bought 'Diary of Desennuyée;' miserable trash! Changed it for Mrs. Trollope's Paris and the Parisians;' precious little better. The longest day I have known these two years.)



August 31st.-Found myself actually mounted on the rotonde of a French diligence, and proceeding, at the pace of six or seven miles an hour, toward Paris. Splendid morning; and the roads are thoroughly sprinkled by the late rain. The diligences of this line have been recently modified a-l'Anglaise, but they are yet far inferior in neatness and expedition. This one has two outside rear seats, or the rotonde; the banquette, over the conducteur's seat in front; and the interior, divided into three apartments. The front is called the coupè, and is the highest price. The conducteur is a respectable personage, who overlooks the whole team, delivers the passports, etc., and the fee to him, and the postilion, is always regular, and paid in advance. (The fees to waiters at hotels in France are always charged in the bills; so there is one annoyance well rid of.)

The road to Paris, by Montreuil, Abbeville, and Beauvais, is flat, stale, and unprofitable. There is little to be seen but wheat-fields and pastures, and here and there a bit of a hut, with the philanthropic announcement, 'Loge au pied et au cheval;' which is equivalent, I presume, to the similar English establishments' sign, Entertainment for man and horse.' Montreuil is an antique and strongly


fortified town, entirely surrounded by a high wall, and several outposts. Here we stopped to dine. Abbeville, the next, is the largest town on the route, and quite continental in its appearance. It was a fête-day, and the whole population were amusing themselves in the streets, some with a dancing monkey, others listening to a buffoon, or improvisatrice. Then we passed through Airaines, Granvilliers, and Marseille to Beauvais, famous for its siege in 1472, by the Duke of Burgundy, which was raised by the heroic Jean Hanchette, whose memory is still honored by an annual festival. Here we took a good breakfast, for which our night ride had created an excellent appetite. Passing next through the small villages of Puiseux, and Blaumont-sur-Oise, we came to St. Dennis, the burialplace of the kings of France, and from thence proceeded through a broad, straight, dusty avenue, to the capital, without having any general view; and were set down at the bureaux of the Messageries Royal, where our luggage was slightly examined, and I was then escorted by a young companion, to the Hotel De Lille et d'Albion, opposite the Palais Royal.

Dined at the table d'hote, with a company of thirty, all English. Got a cab and rode over one of the bridges to find my quondam Yankee doctor. Find it necessary to be in earnest now about learning French. My ignorance is rather awkward, but still it is not impossible to make my. self understood; and necessity is the mother of invention.'

'First Impressions' of Paris.


2d.Hired a guide, or interpreter, to show me the localities, and assist me in my business. In the city, in general, I am disappointed. The narrow, filthy streets, with gutters in the centre, and without side-walks, and the antique and irregular buildings, do not realize my notions of gay, elegant Paris. But the extent and magnificence of the public buildings, palaces, gardens, parks, boulevards, etc., are enough to atone for the dirty streets. The gen eral view of the city, from one of the centre bridges, (the atmosphere being wonderfully clear and transparent,) is grand and imposing in the extreme. The luxurious and superb architecture of the Louvre, Tuilleries, Luxembourg, and Palais Royal, and the immense extent, as well as the great beauty and elegance, of the gardens and parks, connected with these palaces, must astonish even the most sanguine.

4th.-Took lodgings with Dr. in Rue D'Enfer, opposite the garden of the Luxembourg, for three abjects, namely to have a guide to the city; to learn French from him and the talkative landlady, and for economy's sake, for I pay but seven and a half francs a week for a snug room with attendance, in a good situation, and can have breakfast (such as it is) for fifteen sous.' *

6th.-Having disposed of most of my business, I commenced lionizing.' First, I walked over Pont des Arts,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* I am particular in the mention of these pecuniary facts, believing that they will be useful to American readers, who may contemplate going abroad.

« PoprzedniaDalej »