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ROLLO IN PARIS,
W. J. REYNOLDS AND COMPANY, No. 24 CORNHILL, 1854.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by JACOB ABBOTT,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED AT THE BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY. G. C. RAND BOOK AND WOOD CUT PRINTER.
[Illustration: Restaurant (Café) on the Boulevards. Page 223.]
[Illustration: ROLLO'S TOUR IN EUROPE.]
ROLLO'S TOUR IN EUROPE.
ORDER OF THE VOLUMES.
ROLLO ON THE ATLANTIC. ROLLO IN PARIS. ROLLO IN SWITZERLAND. ROLLO IN LONDON. ROLLO ON THE RHINE. ROLLO IN SCOTLAND.
PRINCIPAL PERSONS OF THE STORY.
ROLLO; twelve years of age.
MR. and MRS. HOLIDAY; Rollo's father and mother, travelling in Europe.
THANNY; Rollo's younger brother.
JANE; Rollo's cousin, adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Holiday.
MR. GEORGE; a young gentleman, Rollo's uncle.
ROLLO IN PARIS.
Gentlemen and ladies at the hotels, in London, generally dine about six or seven o'clock, each party or family by themselves, in their own private parlor. One evening, about eight o'clock, just after the waiter had removed the cloth from the table where Rollo's father and mother, with Rollo himself and his cousin Jennie, had been dining, and left the table clear, Mr. Holiday rose, and walked slowly and feeblyfor he was quite out of health, though much better than he had beentowards a secretary which stood at the side of the room.
Now, said he, we will get out the map and the railway guide, and see about the ways of getting to France.
Rollo and Jennie were at this time at the window, looking at the vehicles which were passing by along the Strand. The Strand is a street of London, and one of the most lively and crowded of them all. As soon as Rollo heard his father say that he was going to get the map and the railway guide, he said to Jane,
Let's go and see.
So they both went to the table, and there, kneeling up upon two cushioned chairs which they brought forward for the purpose, they leaned over upon the table where their father was spreading out the map, and thus established themselves very comfortably as spectators of the proceedings.
Children, said Mr. Holiday, do you come here to listen, or to talk?
To listen, said Rollo.
O, very well, said Mr. Holiday; then I am glad that you have come.
In obedience to this intimation, Rollo and Jane took care not to interrupt Mr. Holiday even to ask a question, but looked on and listened very patiently and attentively for nearly half an hour, while he pointed out to Mrs. Holiday the various routes, and ascertained from the guide books the times at which the trains set out, and the steamers sailed, for each of them, and also the cost of getting to Paris by the several lines. If the readers of this book were themselves actually in London, and were going to Paris, as Rollo and Jennie were, they would be interested, perhaps, in having all this information laid before them in full detail. As it is, however, all that will be necessary, probably, is to give such a general statement of the case as will enable them to understand the story.
By looking at any map of Europe, it will be seen that England is separated from France by the English Channel, a passage which, though it looks quite narrow on the map, is really very wide, especially toward the west. The narrowest place is between Dover and Calais, where the distance across is only about twenty-two miles. This narrow passage is called the Straits of Dover. It would have been very convenient for travellers that have to pass between London and Paris if this strait had happened to lie in the line, or nearly in the line, between these two cities; but it does not. It lies considerably to the eastward of it; so that, to cross the channel at the narrowest part, requires that the traveller should take quite a circuit round. To go by the shortest distance, it is necessary to cross the channel at a place where Dieppe is the harbor, on the French side, and New Haven on the English. There are other places of crossing, some of which are attended with one advantage, and others with another. In some, the harbors are not good, and the passengers have to go off in small boats, at certain times of tide, to get to the steamers. In others, the steamers leave only when the tide serves, which may happen to come at a very inconvenient hour. In a word, it is always quite a study with tourists, when they are ready to leave London for Paris, to determine by which of the various lines it will be best for their particular party, under the particular circumstances in which they are placed, to go.
After ascertaining all the facts very carefully, and all the advantages and disadvantages of each particular line, Mr. Holiday asked his wife what she thought they had better do.
The cheapest line is by the way of New Haven, said Mrs. Holiday.
That's of no consequence, I think, now, said Mr. Holiday. The difference is not very great.
For our whole party, it will make four or five pounds, said Mrs. Holiday.
Well, said Mr. Holiday, I am travelling to recover my health, and every thing must give way to that. If I can only get well, I can earn money fast enough, when I go home, to replace what we expend. The only question is, Which way will be the pleasantest and the most comfortable?
Then, said Mrs. Holiday, I think we had better go by the way of Dover and Calais, where we have the shortest passage by sea.
I think so too, said Mr. Holiday; so that point is settled.
Father, said Rollo, I wish you would let Jennie and me go to Paris by ourselves alone, some other way.
The reader who has perused the narrative of Rollo's voyage across the Atlantic will remember that, through a very peculiar combination of circumstances, he was left to make that voyage under his own charge, without having any one to take care of him. He was so much pleased with the result of that experiment, and was so proud of his success in acting as Jennie's protector, that he was quite desirous of trying such an experiment again.
O, no! said his father.
Why, father, I got along well enough in coming over, replied Rollo.
True, said his father; and if any accident, or any imperious necessity, should lead to your setting out for Paris without any escort, I have no doubt that you would get through safely. But it is one thing for a boy to be put into such a situation by some unforeseen and unexpected contingency, and quite another thing for his father deliberately to form such a plan for him.
Rollo looked a little disappointed, but he did not reply. In fact, he felt that his father was right.
But I'll tell you, added Mr. Holiday. If your uncle George is willing to go by some different route from ours, you may go with him.
And Jennie? inquired Rollo.
Why! Jennie? repeated Mr. Holiday, hesitating. Let me think. Yes, Jennie may go with you, if she pleases, if her mother is willing.
Jennie always called Mrs. Holiday her mother, although she was really her aunt.
Are you willing, mother, asked Rollo, very eagerly.
Mrs. Holiday was at a loss what to say. She was very desirous to please Rollo, and at the same time she wished very much to have Jennie go with her. However, she finally decided the question by saying that Jennie might go with whichever party she pleased.
Rollo's uncle George had not been long in England. He had come out from America some time after Rollo himself did, so that Rollo had not travelled with him a great deal. Mr. George was quite young, though he was a great deal older than Rollotoo old to be much of a companion for his nephew. Rollo liked him very much, because he was always kind to him; but there was no very great sympathy between them, for Mr. George was never much interested in such things as would please a boy. Besides, he was always very peremptory and decisive, though always just, in his treatment of Rollo, whenever he had him under his charge. Rollo was, however, very glad when his father consented that he and his uncle George might go to Paris together.
Mr. George was out that day, and he did not come home until Rollo had gone to bed. Rollo, however, saw him early the next morning, and told him what his father had said.
Well, said Mr. George, after hearing his story, and what do you propose that we should do?
I propose that you, and Jennie, and I should go by the way of New Haven and Dieppe, replied Rollo.
Why? said Mr. George.
You see it is cheaper that way, said Rollo. We can go that way for twenty-four shillings. It costs two and three pounds by the other ways.
That's a consideration, said Mr. George.
For the pound you would save, said Rollo, you could buy a very handsome book in Paris.
Rollo suggested these considerations because he had often heard his uncle argue in this way before. He had himself another and a secret reason why he wished to go by the New Haven route; but we are all very apt, when giving reasons to others, to present such as we think will influence them, and not those which really influence us.
Mr. George looked into the guide book at the pages which Rollo pointed out, and found that it was really as Rollo had said.
Well, said he, I'll go that way with you.
So that was settled, too.
A short time after this conversation, Rollo's father and mother, and also Jennie, came in. Mr. Holiday rang the bell for the waiter to bring up breakfast. Jennie, when she found that it was really decided that her father and mother were to go one way, and her uncle George and Rollo another, was quite at a loss to determine which party she herself should join. She thought very justly that there would probably be more incident and adventure to be met with in going with Rollo; but then, on the other hand, she was extremely unwilling to be separated from her mother. She stood by her mother's side, leaning toward her in an attitude of confiding and affectionate attachment, while the others were talking about the details of the plan.
I rather think there is one thing that you have forgotten, said Mr. Holiday, and which, it strikes me, is a decided objection to your plan; and that is, that the steamer for to-morrow, from New Haven, leaves at midnight.
That's the very reason why I wanted to go that way, said Rollo.
Why, Rollo! exclaimed his mother.
Yes, mother, said Rollo. There would be so much fun in setting out at midnight. Think, Jennie! added Rollo, addressing his cousin, we should sit up till midnight! And then to see all the people going on board by the light of lanterns and torches. I wonder if there'll be a moon. Let's look in the almanac, and see if there'll be a moon.
But, George, said Mrs. Holiday, you will not wish to set off at midnight. I think you had better change your plan, after all.
But Mr. George did not seem to think that the midnight departure of the boat was any objection to the New Haven plan. He had noticed that that was the time set for leaving New Haven the next night, and he thought that, on the whole, the arrangement would suit his plans very well. He would have a good long evening to write up his journal, which he said was getting rather behindhand. The water, too, would be more likely to be smooth in the night, so that there would be less danger of seasickness. Besides, he thought that both Rollo and himself would become very sleepy by sitting up so late, and so would fall directly to sleep as soon as they got into their berths on board the steamer, and sleep quietly till they began to draw near to the coast of France. The distance across the channel, at that point, was such, that the steamer, in leaving at midnight, would not reach Dieppe till five or six o'clock the next morning.
Accordingly, the arrangements were all made for Rollo's departure the next day, with his uncle George, for New Haven. Jennie finally decided to go with her father and mother. The idea of sailing at midnight determined her; for such an adventure, attractive as it was in Rollo's eyes, seemed quite formidable in hers. Rollo had a very pleasant ride to New Haven, amusing himself all the way with the beauties of English scenery and the continual novelties that every where met his eye. When they at last arrived at New Haven, they found that the harbor consisted merely of a straight, artificial canal, cut in from the sea, where probably some small stream had originally issued. The sides of this harbor were lined with piers, and on one of the piers was a great hotel, forming a part, as it were, of the railway station. There were a few houses and other buildings near, but there was no town to be seen. The railway was on one side of the hotel, and the water was on the other. When the train stopped, one of the railway servants opened the door for Mr. George and Rollo to get out, and Mr. George went directly into the hotel to make arrangements for rooms and for dinner, while Rollo, eager to see the ships and the water, went through the house to the pier on the other side. He found that there was a pretty broad space on the pier, between the hotel and the water, with a shed upon it for merchandise, and extra tracks for freight trains. The water was quite low in the harbor, and the few vessels that were lying at the pier walls were mostly grounded in the mud. There was one steamboat lying opposite the hotel, but it was down so low that, at first, Rollo could only see the top of the smoke-pipe. Rollo went to the brink of the pier and looked down. The steamer appeared very small. It was painted black. There were very few people on board. Rollo had a great mind to go on board himself, as there was a plank leading down from the pier to the top of the paddle box. But it looked rather steep, and so Rollo concluded to postpone going on board till Mr. George should come out with him after dinner.
Rollo looked about upon the pier a few minutes, and then went into the hotel. He passed through a spacious hall, and then through a passage way, from which he could look into a large room, the sides of which were formed of glass, so that the people who were in the room could see out all around them. The front of the room looked out upon the pier, the back side upon the passage way. A third side was toward the vestibule, and the fourth toward the coffee room. There were shelves around this room, within, and tables, and desks, and people going to and fro there. In fact, it seemed to be the office of the hotel.
Rollo advanced to one of the openings that was toward the passage way, and asked which was the way to the coffee room. The girl pointed to the door which led to it, and Rollo went in.
He found a large and beautiful room, with several tables set for dinner in different parts of it, and sideboards covered with silver, and glasses against the walls. On one side there were several large and beautiful windows, which looked out upon the pier, and opposite to each of these windows was a small dinner table, large enough, however, for two persons. Mr. George had taken one of these tables, and when Rollo came in he was sitting near it, reading a newspaper.
Come, Rollo, said he, I have ordered dinner, and we shall just have time to arrange our accounts while they are getting it ready.
So saying, Mr. George took out his pocket book, and also a small pocket inkstand, and a pen, and put them all upon the table.
Your father's plan, he continued, is this: He is to pay all expenses of transportation, at the same rate that he pays for himself; so that, whatever you save by travelling in cheap ways, is your own.
Yes, said Rollo, smiling, I mean to walk sometimes, and save it all.
He is also to pay the expense of your lodgings.
Yes, said Rollo.
Generally, of course, you will have lodgings with him, but sometimes you will be away from him; as, for instance, to-night. In such cases, I pay for your lodgings, on your father's account.
Yes, said Rollo, I understand that.
He also pays the expense of all casualties.
So he said, replied Rollo; but I don't understand what he means by that, very well.
Why, you may meet with accidents that will cost money to repair, or get into difficulties which will require money to get out of. For instance, you may lose your ticket, and so have to pay twice over; or you may get lost yourself, in Paris, and so have to hire a man with a carriage to bring you home. For all such things, the money is not to come from your purse. Your father will pay.
Suppose it is altogether my fault, said Rollo. Then I think I ought to pay.
But your father said that he was sure you would not be to blame for such accidents; though I think he is mistaken there. I have no doubt, myself, that nearly all the accidents that will happen to you will come from boyish heedlessness and blundering on your part.
We'll see, said Rollo.
Yes, said Mr. George, we'll see.
Then, as to your board, continued Mr. George, your father said that you might do as you pleased about that. He would pay it, or you might, and be allowed five francs a day for it.
Five francs is about a dollar, is it not? asked Rollo.
Yes, replied Mr. George, very nearly. But you had better not reckon by dollars, now, at all, but by francs altogether. That's a franc.
So saying, Mr. George took a silver coin out of his pocket, and showed it to Rollo. It was nearly as large as a quarter of a dollar, or an English shilling, but not quite. A quarter of a dollar is worth twenty-five cents, an English shilling twenty-four, and a franc about twenty cents.
You can have five of those a day to pay your own board with.
And how much would it cost me at a boarding house, in Paris, to pay my board? asked Rollo.
Why, we don't board at boarding houses in Paris, said Mr. George. We have rooms at a hotel, and then we get breakfast and dinner wherever we please, at coffee rooms and dining rooms all over the city, wherever we happen to be, or wherever we take a fancy to go. You can get a very excellent breakfast for a franc and a half. A beefsteak, or an omelet, and bread and butter and coffee.
That's enough for breakfast, said Rollo. And then, dinner?
You can get a first-rate dinner for two francs, or even less. That makes three francs and a half.
They never take tea in Paris, said Mr. George. The French don't take tea.
Why not? asked Rollo.
I don't know, replied Mr. George, unless it is because the English do. Whatever is done in London, you generally find that just the contrary is done in Paris.
Don't we have any thing, then, after dinner? asked Rollo.
Yes, said Mr. George. The French generally go and take a seat at a little round table on the sidewalk, and have a little glass of brandy and a cigar.
Here Rollo threw his head back, and laughed loud and long. He was greatly amused at the idea of his making an allowance, in calculating how far his five francs would go, for a glass of brandy and a cigar. Mr. George himself, sedate as he was, could not but smile.
The fact is, said he, at length, there are only two meals to calculate for, and they will not cost, upon an average, more than three francs and a half, if we are prudent and economical, and go to plain and not expensive places. But then there is the immense amount that you will be always wishing to spend for cakes, and candy, and oranges, and nuts, and bonbons of all sorts and kinds. There is an endless variety of such things in Paris. You will find half a dozen cake shops in every street, with fifty different kinds of gingerbread and cake in them, all of the richest and most delicious description.
Yes, said Rollo, I shall want some of those things.
No doubt, said Mr. George, you will make yourself sick eating them, I'll venture to say, before you have been in Paris twenty-four hours.
No, said Rollo, shaking his head resolutely; and I think I had better take the five francs and pay my own board.
Very well, said Mr. George, and that provides for every thing except incidentals. Your father said that I might pay you five francs a day for incidentals and pocket money. That is to include all your personal expenses of every kind, except what we have already provided for. There will be excursions, and tickets to concerts and shows, and carriage hire, and toys that you will want to buy, and all such things. The amount of it is, that your father pays all your expenses for transportation, for lodging, and for casualties. You pay every thing else, and are allowed ten francs a day for it. I am to be treasurer, and to have the whole charge of your funds, except so far as I find it prudent and safe to intrust them to you, and you are to buy nothing at all against my consent.
Nothing at all? asked Rollo.
No, said Mr. George, nothing at all. You are not to expend a single centime in any way that I object to.
What is a centime? asked Rollo.
It is of the value of less than one fourth of a cent, replied Mr. George.
But I should think I might buy such little things as that would come to, of myself, said Rollo. Suppose I should wish to buy a small piece of gingerbread for a cent.
Say for a sou,[A] replied Mr. George. There are no cents in Paris.
[A] Pronounced soo.
Well, rejoined Rollo, suppose I should wish to spend a sou for gingerbread, and eat it, and you should object to it.
Very well, replied Mr. George; and suppose you were to wish to spend a sou for poison, and drink it.
But I should not be likely to buy poison, said Rollo, laughing.
Nor should I be likely to object to your buying gingerbread, rejoined Mr. George. A boy, however, may, it is clear, do mischief with a little money as well as with a great deal; and, therefore, the power in his guardian should be absolute and entire. At any rate, so it is in this case. If I see fit to forbid your expending a single sou for any thing whatever, I can, and you will have no remedy till we see your father again; and then you can ask him to put you under some other person's care. Until he does this, however, the control is absolute and entire in my hands. I would not take charge of a boy on any other terms.
Well, said Rollo, I agree to it.
And now, said Mr. George, I am ready to begin your account.
Mr. George then took a small account book from his pocket book as he said this, and, opening it at the beginning, he wrote across the top of the two pages which came together the words,
Rollo Holiday, in Account with his Father.
On the corner of the left-hand page he wrote Dr., which stands for debtor; and on that of the right-hand page, Cr., which stands for creditor.
There, said he, now I shall enter, from time to time, on the creditor side, all the money that becomes due to you; and on the debtor side, all that I pay to you. Then, by striking a balance, we can always tell how much of your money there is in my hands.
Let me see, continued Mr. George. Your father and mother concluded finally to go by the way of Folkstone. The fare that way is two pound eleven. This way, it is one pound four. I am to pay you the difference. The difference is one pound seven; and one pound seven, in francs, islet me see how much.
Mr. George made a calculation with a pencil and paper, and found that it amounted to thirty-three francs seventy-five centimes.
I don't understand reckoning by francs and centimes very well, said Rollo.
No, replied Mr. George, that is your misfortune; and you'll have to bear it as well as you can till you get out of it.
So Mr. George entered the francsthirty-three seventy-fivein Rollo's book.
You have got thirty-three francs to begin with, said he; that's a pretty good stock.
Now, there is your allowance of ten francs per day. I will enter that weekly. There are three days in this week, including to-day and Sunday. That makes thirty francs.
So Mr. George entered the thirty francs.
There, said he, the whole amount due you up to Monday morning is sixty-three francs seventy-five centimes. That is sixty-three francs and three fourths. A hundred centimes make a franc.
And now, continued Mr. George, I will make you a payment, so as to put you in funds, and that must be put down on the other side. How much would you like?
I don't know, said Rollo; a few francs, I suppose.
Have you got a purse? asked Mr. George. Let me see it.
So Rollo took out a small leather bag which he had bought in London.
That's it, said Mr. George. I'll give you ten francs. When you want more, you can have itthat is, provided it is due to you.
Here Mr. George rang a bell, and a waiter came in immediately. Mr. George handed the waiter a sovereign, and asked him to get change for it in French money. The waiter took the money, and presently came in with five five-franc pieces. These he presented very respectfully to Mr. George. Mr. George took two of them and gave them to Rollo. The others he put into his own pocket. The five-franc pieces were very bright and new, and they were of about the size of silver dollars. Rollo was very much pleased with his portion, and put them in his purse, quite proud of having so much spending money.
And you say that I must not spend any of it without first asking you, said Rollo.
O, no, replied Mr. George, I have not said any such thing. That would be a great deal of trouble, both for you and for me.
But I thought you said that I was not to spend any thing without your consent.
[Illustration: THE DINNER AT NEW HAVEN.]
No, said Mr. George, I said against my consent. I may forbid your spending whenever I think proper; but I shall not do so, so long as I find you always ask me in doubtful cases. Spend for yourself freely, whenever you are sure it is right. When you are not sure, ask me. If I find you abuse the privilege, I shall have to restrict you. Otherwise, not.
Rollo was well satisfied with this understanding of the case; and just then the waiter came in, bearing a handsome silver tureen containing soup, which he put down upon the table, between Mr. George and Rollo. So the writing materials and the purses were put away, and the two travellers were soon occupied very busily in eating their dinner.
Mr. Holiday had two reasons for making the arrangements described in the last chapter, in respect to Rollo's expenses. In the first place, it would gratify Rollo himself, who would feel more independent, and more like a man, he thought, in being allowed thus, in some measure, to have the charge and control of his own expenditures. But his second and principal reason was, that he might accustom his son, in early life, to bear pecuniary responsibilities, and to exercise judgment and discretion in the use of money. Many young men never have any training of this sort till they become of age. Before that time, whenever they wish for money, they go to their father and ask for it. They take all they can get; and when that is gone, they go and ask for more. They have no direct personal motive for exercising prudence and economy, and they have no experience of the evils that result from thriftlessness and prodigality. It is much better for all children that they should have pecuniary responsibilities, such as are suited to their years, thrown upon them in their youth, when the mistakes they make in acquiring their experience are of little moment. The same mistakes made after they become of age might be their ruin.
In carrying the system into effect in Rollo's case, there seemed to be something very abrupt, at least, if not positively harsh, in Mr. George's mode of dealing with him. And yet Rollo did not dislike it. He felt that his uncle was treating him more like a man, on this account, or rather more like a large boy, and not like a child. In fact, a part of the rough handling which Rollo got from his uncle was due to this very circumstanceMr. George having observed that he did not mind being knocked about a little.
After dinner, Rollo proposed to his uncle that they should go out and take a walk.
I will go with you a few minutes, said Mr. George, and then I must return to my room, and write up my journal.
Say half an hour, rejoined Rollo.
Well, replied Mr. George, we will say half an hour.
So they sallied forth upon the pier behind the hotel. Mr. George took a general survey of the harbor, and of the vessels that were lying in it, and also of the peaks and headlands which were seen at the mouth of it, toward the sea.
I should like to be on that hill, said Mr. George, to look off over the channel, and see if I could discern the coast of France from it.
Let's go there, said Rollo.
That would take more than half an hour, replied Mr. George.
Well, at any rate, let's go on board the steamer, said Rollo.
So, taking Mr. George by the hand, he led him along to the brink of the pier. Mr. George looked over, and saw the steamer lying at rest in its muddy bed below.
Is it possible? said Mr. George, in a tone of great astonishment.
Can it be possible? repeated Mr. George.
What? inquired Rollo. What is it that surprises you so much?
Why, to find such a steamer as this for the travel on one of the great thoroughfares between England and France. Let's go down on board.
So Mr. George led the way, and Rollo followed down the plank. The plank landed them on the top of the paddle box. From that place, a few steps led to the deck. They walked along the deck a short distance toward the stern, and there they found a door, and a small winding staircase leading down into the cabin. They descended these stairs, one before the other, for the space was not wide enough to allow of their going together; and when they reached the foot of them they found themselves in a small cabin, with one tier of berths around the sides. The cabin was not high enough for two. There were berths for about twenty or thirty passengers. The cabin was very neatly finished; and there was a row of cushioned seats around it, in front of the berths. In one corner, by the side of the door where Mr. George and Rollo had come in, was a small desk, with writing materials upon it. This Rollo supposed must be the captain's office.
While Mr. George sat surveying the scene, and mentally comparing this insignificant boat to the magnificent steamers on the Hudson River, in America, with their splendid and capacious cabins on three different decks, their promenade saloons, sometimes one hundred and fifty feet long, with ranges of elegant state rooms on either hand, and sofas, and couches, and tête-à-têtes without number, in the middle, his perplexity increased.
I do not understand it at all, said he to Rollo. I thought that there would at least be as much travelling between London and Paris, the two greatest cities in the world, as between New York and Albany. And yet there are half a dozen steamers every day on the North River, carrying from five hundred to one thousand passengers; while here, on the most direct and cheapest route between London and Paris, is one single steamer, that could not possibly carry one hundred passengers, and she only goes once in two days.
Just then a young man, who seemed to be the clerk of the boat, came down the cabin stairs, and, seeing Mr. George and Rollo there, he asked them if they had taken their berths. They said that they had not; but they immediately proceeded to choose their berths, or rather their places, for there were no divisions separating the sleeping-places from each other except what was formed by the cushions. There was a long cushion for each sleeper, covered with crimson velvet or plush; and a round cushion, shaped like a bolster, and covered in the same way, for his head. On these cushions the passengers were expected to lie down without undressing, placing themselves in a row, head to head, and feet to feet. Mr. George chose two of these sleeping-places, one for himself, and the other for Rollo, and the clerk marked them with a ticket.
Our two travellers then went up on deck again, and from the deck they ascended the plank to the pier. It was now nearly sunset, and it was a very pleasant evening. They sauntered slowly along the pier, until they came to a place where some steps led down to the water. There were several small boats at the foot of the steps, and in one of them was a man doing something to the rudder. Rollo saw that on the other side of the water was another long staircase leading down from the bank there, so as to form a landing-place for small boats at all times of tide. He also looked up and down the harbor, but he could see no bridge, and so he supposed that this must be a sort of ferry for the people who wished to cross from one side to the other.
As soon as the man who was in the boat saw Mr. George and Rollo standing upon the pier, he rose up in his boat, and touching his hat at the same time, or rather making a sort of jerk with his hand, which was meant to represent a touch of the hat, he asked him if he would like to be rowed across to the other side.
Why, I don't know, said Mr. George. What's the ferriage?
That's just as the gentleman pleases, said the man, with another jerk at his hat.
And how much do they generally please? said Mr. George. What's the common custom?
O, gentlemen gives us what they likes, said the man. We always leaves it to them entirely.
Mr. George was silent. After a moment's pause, the boatman said again,
Would you like to go, sir? Very nice boat.
Not on those terms, said Mr. George. If you will tell me what the usual ferriage is, I can then tell you whether we wish to go or not.
Well, sir, replied the man, gentlemen usually gives us about twopence apiece.
Twopence apiece. Very well, we will go.
Mr. George did not wait to ask Rollo whether he would like to go before he decided the question. He would have considered this a mere waste of time, for Rollo was always ready to go, no matter where.
So they got into the boat, and were rowed across the water. They ascended the stairs on the other side, and walked a little way in a smooth road which led along the bank. Rollo wished to go farther; but Mr. George said that his time had expired, and that he must go back. But you may stay, said he to Rollo, as long as you please, provided that you come back before dark.
Rollo was much pleased with this permission, as he wished to go to the top of the hill, at the outlet of the harbor, and look at the prospect. He promised to return before dark.
Have you any change, said Mr. George, to pay your ferriage back?
No, said Rollo, I have nothing but my five-franc pieces.
Then I will lend you twopence, said Mr. George. You can pay me the first change you get in France.
But I cannot get any pennies in France, said Rollo.
True, said Mr. George; you will get sous there. You must pay me four sous. A penny is equal to two sous.
I will pay your bill at the hotel, too, continued Mr. George, as I suppose they will make out yours and mine together, and you can pay me your share to-morrow, when we land. Here is your ticket, however. You must take charge of that.
But suppose I lose it? asked Rollo.
Then you will have to pay over again, said Mr. George; that is all. You will lose about twenty francs; unless, indeed, he continued, your father should call it a casualty.
So Mr. George went back to the boat, and Rollo continued his walk, thinking on the way of the question which his uncle had suggested, whether his father would consider the loss of his ticket a casualty or not. He determined, however, very resolutely, that he would not lose it; and so he put it away safely in his wallet, and then went on. The road was very smooth and pleasant to walk in, being bordered by green fields on the one hand, and the water of the harbor on the other. Rollo came at length to the hill. There were successive terraces, with houses built upon them, on the sides of the hill, and paths leading to the summit. Rollo had a fine view of the sea, and of the vessels and steamers which were passing slowly in the offing, on their way up and down the channel; but though he looked long and eagerly for the coast of France, it was not to be seen.
Rollo rambled about the hill for a considerable time; for at that season of the year the twilight continued very long, and it did not become dark till quite late. When, at length, the shadows of the evening began to shut in upon the landscape, he returned to the ferry, and the ferryman rowed him back again to the hotel.
It was now nearly nine o'clock, and, of course, three hours remained before the time of embarkation would arrive. Rollo was not sorry for this, as he thought that there would be enough to amuse and occupy him all this time on and around the pier. His first duty, however, was to go and report himself to Mr. George as having returned from his walk. This he did. He found his uncle very busy in his room, writing his journal.
Now, Rollo, said Mr. George, it is three hours before we are to leave. What are you going to do all that time?
O, I shall find plenty to amuse myself with, said Rollo.
Very well, said Mr. George. You may play about wherever you are sure it is safe. Don't go near the edge of the pier, unless there is somebody at hand to pull you out of the water with a boathook, if you fall in. Amuse yourself as long as you can; and when you are tired of taking care of yourself, come to me, and I will tell you what to do.
Rollo, having received these instructions, left his uncle to his work, and went away. He descended the stairs, and went out upon the pier again, and after amusing himself, by examining every thing there, he concluded to go on board the steamer. A train of cars had arrived from London while he and his uncle had been on the other side of the water, and there were now several new passengers in the cabin, who were choosing and marking their berths, or talking together about the voyage.
Rollo thought that, in order to make sure that his ticket was all right, he would climb up into his berth and see; and then, when he was there, it seemed to him a very funny place to sleep in; so he laid down his head upon the round cushion to try it. While he was in this position, his attention was attracted by the sound of children's voices on the stairs, talking French. Presently these children came into the cabin. Their mother was with them. There were two of them, and they were not more than five or six years old. Rollo was exceedingly astonished to hear such little children talk French so well. Rollo listened to see if he could understand what they said. He had studied French himself for a year or two, and could say a great many things. In fact, he had been accustomed to consider himself quite a good French scholar. But he now found that all his acquisitions dwindled into utter insignificance, when compared with the power over the language possessed by those little girls.
The French party did not remain very long in the cabin where Rollo was, but passed at once through a door which led to a small ladies' cabin near. There were other persons, however, continually coming and going, and Rollo was interested in watching their movements, and in listening to the fragments of conversation which he heard. He found his position very comfortable, too, and the sounds around him produced so lulling an effect, that, before long, he insensibly closed his eyes. In a word, in less than fifteen minutes after he climbed up into his berth to see what sort of a place it was, he had put it fully to the test of experiment, by going fast asleep in it.
In about half an hour after this, Mr. George, coming to the end of a paragraph in his journal, laid down his pen, drew a long breath, looked out the window, and then rang the bell. In a few minutes the chambermaid came.
Mary, said he, I wish to ask the porter to go out and look about on the pier, and in the packet, and see if he can see any thing of that boy that came with me.
Very well, sir, said Mary, with a quick courtesy; and she immediately disappeared.
In about five minutes she came back, and said that the young master was in his berth in the packet, sound asleep.
Very well, said Mr. George, in his turn. Much obliged to you. He then went on with his writing.
The first thing that Rollo himself was conscious of, after falling asleep in his berth, was a feeling of some one pulling him gently by the shoulder. He opened his eyes, and saw before him a face that he did not exactly know, and yet it was not entirely strange. The man had his hand upon Rollo's shoulder, and was endeavoring to wake him.
Your ticket, if you please, sir.
Rollo stared wildly a minute, first at the man, and then about the cabin. It was night. Lamps were burning, and the cabin was full of people. Some were in their berths, some in groups on the seats, and one or two were just preparing to lie down. The engine was in motion, and the ship was evidently going fast through the water. In fact, the steamer was rocking and rolling as she went on, indicating that she was already far out at sea.
Your ticket, if you please, sir, repeated the clerk.
Rollo glanced around to his uncle's berth, and there he saw his uncle lying quietly in his place, his head being on a cushion close to the one on which Rollo's head had been lying.
Uncle George, said Rollo, he wants my ticket.
Well, said Mr. George, without moving, give him your ticket.
Rollo then recollected that he had his ticket in his wallet. So, after fumbling for a time in his pocket, he brought out his wallet, and produced the ticket, and handed it to the clerk.
Thank you, sir, said the clerk, taking the ticket. At the same time he put two other tickets in Rollo's wallet, in the place of the one which he had taken out. As he did this, he pointed to one of the small ones, saying,
That's for the landing.
Rollo shut up his wallet, and put it in his pocket.
A shilling, if you please, said the clerk.
Rollo had no shilling, and was still not much more than half awake. So he turned to his uncle again.
Uncle George, said he, he wants a shilling.
Well, pay him a shilling, then, said Mr. George.
Rollo now felt for his purse, and taking out one of his five-franc pieces, he gave it to the clerk, who, in return, gave him back a quantity of change. Rollo attempted to count the change, but he soon perceived that his ideas of francs and shillings were all in confusion. So he turned the change all together into his purse, put the purse back into his pocket, lay his head down upon his cushion again, shut his eyes, and in one minute was once more fast asleep.
Some hours afterward he woke again, of his own accord. He opened his eyes and looked about him, and perceiving that it was morning, he climbed down from his berth, and then went up upon the deck. The coast of France was all before him, in full view, and the steamer was rapidly drawing near to it. He went to the bow of the vessel to get a nearer view. He saw directly before him a place where there were piers, and batteries, and other constructions indicating a town, while on either hand there extended long ranges of cliffs, with smooth, green slopes of land above, and broad, sandy shores below. In half an hour more the steamer arrived at the entrance of the harbor, which was formed of two long piers, built at a little distance from each other, and projecting quite into the sea. The steamer glided rapidly along between these high walls of stone, until, at length, it entered a broad basin, which was bordered by a continuation of these walls, and hemmed in on every side beyond the walls of the pier with ranges of the most quaint, and queer, and picturesque-looking buildings that Rollo ever saw.
[Illustration: ENTERING DIEPPE.]
These buildings were not close to the pier, but were back far enough to leave room for a street between them and the water. Such a street is called a quay.[B] Quays are built in almost all the cities of Europe where there are rivers or basins of water for shipping; and they are very pleasant streets to walk in, having usually large and elegant buildings on one side, and vessels and steamers on the other.
[B] Pronounced kee.
By the time that the steamer had entered the port, almost all the passengers had come up from below, and Mr. George among the rest. Mr. George came, expecting to find that, as they were now about to land, the baggage would be brought out, and that the several passengers would be called upon to select their own. But there was no movement of this kind. The baggage had all been put down into the hold the night before, and now the hatches were still closed, and there seemed to be no signs of any preparation to open them.
In the mean time, the steamer gradually drew near to the pier. The engine was stopped. Ropes were thrown out. People in queer dresses, some of them soldiers, who were standing on the pier, caught the ropes and fastened them. The steamer was thus brought to her place and secured there.
There was now, however, no rush to get on shore,such as Rollo had always been accustomed to witness on board an American steamer on her arrival,but every thing was quiet and still. By and by a plank was laid. Then the passengers were called upon to get out their tickets. Then they began to walk over the plank, each one giving up his landing ticket as he passed.
When Mr. George and Rollo reached the pier, they found, on looking around them, that they were not yet at liberty. On the opposite side of the quay was a building, with a sign over it, in French, meaning custom-house office for packet boats; and there were two long ropes stretched, one from the stem and the other from the stern of the steamer, to the opposite sides of the door of this building, so as to enclose a space on the quay, in front of the building, in such a manner as to hem the passengers in, and make it necessary for them to pass through the custom house. The ropes were guarded by soldiers, dressed in what seemed to Rollo the queerest possible uniforms. They all talked Frencheven those who had talked English when they came on board the packet boat on the other side.
I can't understand a word they say, said Rollo.
Nor I, said Mr. George; but we can watch and see what they will do.
It did not require long watching, for no sooner had Mr. George said these words than he observed that the passengers were all going toward the door of the custom-house, and that, as they went, they were taking their passports out. Nobody can enter France without a passport. A passport is a paper given to the traveller by his own government. This paper tells the traveller's name, describes his person, and requests that the French government will allow him to pass through their country. Frenchmen themselves must have a passport too, though this is of a little different kind. All must have a passport of some kind or other, and all this machinery of ropes and soldiers was to make it sure that every one of the passengers had the proper document.
The passengers accordingly took out their passports as they went into the custom-house door, and there passed, in single file, before an officer seated at a desk, who took them in turn, opened them, copied the names in his book, and then gave them back to the owners. Mr. George and Rollo followed on in the line. When their passports had been given back to them, they went on with the rest until they came out from the custom-house at another door, which brought them upon the quay outside of the ropes.
What's to be done next? said Rollo.
I am sure I don't know, said Mr. George, I suppose we shall see.
There was an omnibus standing near, marked, For the Iron Road,that being the French name for railroad,but nobody seemed to be getting into it. In fact, the passengers, as fast as they came out from the custom-house, seemed all very quiet, as if waiting for something. A great many of them seemed to be French people, and they fell into little groups, and began to talk very volubly together, some finding friends who had come down to the quay to meet them, and others making friends, apparently, for the occasion, of the soldiers and idlers that were standing around.
Could not you ask some of them, said Rollo, what we are to do next?
I don't believe they would understand my French, said Mr. George. I am sure I don't understand theirs. In a moment, however, he turned to a young man who was standing near, who seemed to be a waiter or servant man belonging to the place.
Do you speak English?
Yes, sir, said the man, in a very foreign accent, but yet in a very pleasant tone.
What are we waiting for? asked Mr. George.
You will wait, sir, for the baggages, and then for the visit of the baggages.
How long? said Mr. George.
Twenty minutes, said the man. He also gave Mr. George to understand that he and Rollo might go and have some breakfast, if they chose. But Mr. George thought it was not safe for them to go away from the spot. So they waited where they were.
In a few minutes the hatches were opened on board the vessel, and the sailors began to hoist out the trunks. As fast as they were brought up to the decks men took them on shore, and carried them into the custom-house by the same door where the passengers had entered. When all the baggage was carried in, the ropes were taken down, and the passengers went to the custom-house door again, to attend to the examination of the baggage. A soldier stood at the door to prevent too many going in at a time. Mr. George and Rollo followed the rest, and at length it came their turn to have their trunks examined. This was done very quickthe officers appearing to think, from the appearance of the travellers, that they would not be likely to have any smuggled goods in their possession. The officer, accordingly, just looked into the trunks, and then shut down the lids, and marked them passed. A porter then took them out at the side door. There, on Mr. George's telling them in French that they were going to Paris by the railroad, the trunks were put upon a cart, while Mr. George and Rollo got into the omnibus, and then they were very soon driving along the quay, in the direction, as they supposed, of the Paris railway station.
The omnibus which Mr. George and Rollo had entered contained several other passengers, some of whom had carpet bags and valises with them, as if they, too, were going to Paris. Besides the driver, there was a conductor, whose place was upon the step of the omnibus, behind. The conductor opened and shut the doors for the passengers when they wished to get in or out, and took the fare.
How much is the fare? said Rollo to Mr. George.
I don't know, said Mr. George, shaking his head. He spoke, however, in a very unconcerned tone, as if it were of very little consequence whether he knew or not.
What are you going to do about it, then? said Rollo.
I shall say, 'How much?' to him, when we get out; and then, if I do not understand his answer, I shall give him a large piece of money, and let him give me back as much change as he likes.
Rollo resolved that he would do so too.
Next to Mr. George and Rollo in the omnibus there sat a gentleman and lady, who seemed to be, as they really were, a new-married pair. They were making their bridal tour. The lady was dressed plainly, but well, in travelling costume, and she had a handsome morocco carriage bag hanging upon her arm. The gentleman was quite loaded with shawls, and boxes, and umbrellas, and small bags, which he had upon his lap or at his feet. Besides this, the lady had a trunk, which, together with that of her husband, had been left behind, to come on the cart. She was very anxious about this trunk, for it contained all her fine dresses. Her husband was interested in the novel sights and scenes that presented themselves to view in passing along the street; but she thought only of the trunk.
What strange costumes, Estelle! said he. Look! See that woman! What a funny cap!
Yes, said Estelle; but, Charley, don't you think it would have been better for us to have brought our trunks with us on the omnibus?
I don't know, said her husband. It is too late to think of that now. I've no doubt that they are safe enough where they are. Look! There's a girl with wooden shoes on. Those are the wooden shoes we have read about so often in books. Look!
Estelle glanced her eyes, for an instant, toward the wooden shoes, and then began to look back along the street again, watching anxiously for the trunks.
At length the omnibus approached the station. It entered through a magnificent portal, under an arch. There was a soldier walking back and forth, with his musket in his hand, bayonet fixed, to guard the entrance. None but actual travellers were allowed to enter. The omnibus, having entered the court, stopped before a splendid portico, where there was a door leading into the building. The passengers paid their fares, and got out. On entering the building, they found themselves in a spacious apartment, with a great variety of partitions, offices, enclosures, and railings, presenting themselves on every hand, the meaning of all which it was very difficult to understand. There were also signs marked first class, and second class, and third class, and placards of notices to travellers, and time tables, and various similar things. On the back side of the room were doors and windows, looking out to a platform, where the train of cars was seen, apparently all ready to set off. But the partitions and railings which were in the way prevented the company from going out there.
There were a number of travellers in this room, several parties having arrived there before the omnibus came. Many of these persons were waiting quietly, talking in little groups, or resting themselves by sitting upon their carpet bags. Others were looking about eagerly and anxiously, wondering what they were to do, or trying to find somebody who could tell them about the baggage. Estelle was the most restless and uneasy of all. She went continually to the door to look down the road, to see if the cart was coming.
Charles, said she, what a shame it is that they don't come with the trunks! The train is all ready, and will go off before they come.
O, no, said her husband; I think not. Don't be anxious about them. I've no doubt they will be here in time. Come with me, and let us look about the station, and see how it differs from ours.
But Estelle would not allow her thoughts to be diverted from her trunk. She remained on the steps, looking anxiously down the road. Some of the other passengers who were unused to travelling, seeing her look so anxious, and not understanding what she said, supposed that some accident had happened, or that some unusual delay had occurred, and they began to be anxious too. Just then a bell began to ring out upon the platform.
There! exclaimed Estelle. The train is going! What shall we do? Why can't you ask somebody, Charles?
Why, I can't speak French, said Charles; and they would not understand me if I ask in English.
Yes they would, said Estelle; I'm sure they would. There are so many English travellers going on these roads now, that it must be that they have men here that speak English. There's a man, said she, pointing to a person in livery who was standing within a sort of enclosure.
Mr. Charles, thus urged, walked across the hall to the railing, though very reluctantly, and asked the man if he could tell him why the trunks did not come.
Sir? said the man, in French, and looking as if he did not understand.
Do you speak English? asked Mr. Charles.
There, said the man, pointing across the room. Mr. Charles looked, and saw another man, who, by the livery or uniform which he wore, seemed to be a porter belonging to the station, standing by a window. He accordingly went across to ask the question of him.
Do you speak English, sir? said he.
Yes, sare, replied the man, speaking with great formality, and in a very foreign accent, making, at the same time, a very polite bow.
What is the reason that our baggage does not come? asked Mr. Charles.
Yes, sare, replied the porter, speaking in the same manner.
Why does not it come? asked Mr. Charles again. We put it upon a cart at the custom-house, and why does not it come?
Yes, sare, replied the porter, with another very polite bow.
Mr. Charles, perceiving that the porter's knowledge of English consisted, apparently, in being able to say, Yes, sir, and mortified at the absurd figure which he made in attempting to make useless inquiries in such a way, bowed in his turn, and went back to Estelle in a state of greater alienation of heart from her than he had ever experienced before. And as this book may, perhaps, be read sometimes by girls as well as boys, I will here, for their benefit, add the remark, that there is no possible way by which a lady can more effectually destroy any kind feeling which a gentleman may entertain for her than by forcing him to exhibit himself thus in an awkward and ridiculous light, by her unreasonable exactions on journeys, or rides, or walks, or excursions of any kind that they may be taking together.
Rollo and his uncle George had witnessed this scene, and had both been much interested in watching the progress of it. Rollo did not know but that there was some real cause for solicitude about the baggage, especially as several of the lady passengers who were standing with Estelle at the door seemed to be anxiously looking down the road.
Do you feel any anxiety about our trunks coming? asked Rollo.
Not the least, said Mr. George, quietly.
Why not? asked Rollo. Are you sure that they will come?
No, said Mr. George; but there are a good many excellent reasons why I should not feel any anxiety about them. In the first place, I have some little confidence in the railway arrangements made in this country. The French are famous all the world over for their skill in systematizing and regulating all operations of this kind, so that they shall work in the most sure and perfect manner. It does not seem at all probable to me, therefore, that they can manage so clumsily here, on one of the great lines between England and France, as to get all the trunks of a whole steamer load of passengers upon a cart, and then loiter with it on the way to the station, and let the train go off without it.
Well, said Rollo, that's a good reason; but you said there were several.
Another is, that, if they are capable of managing so clumsily as to have such a thing happen, we cannot help it, and have nothing to do but to bear it quietly. We put our trunks in the proper place to have them brought here. We could not have done otherwise, with propriety, for that was the regular mode provided for conveying the baggage; and if there is a failure to get it here, we are not to fret about it, but to take it as we would a storm, or a break down, or any other casualtythat is, take it quietly.
Yes, said Rollo; that's a good reason. Are there any more?
There is one more, said Mr. George; and that is, I am not anxious about the trunks coming in season, for I don't care a fig whether they come or not.
O, uncle George! exclaimed Rollo.
I do not, said Mr. George; for if they do not come, the only consequence will be, that we shall have to wait two or three hours for the next train, which will give us just time to ramble about a little in this queer-looking town of Dieppe, and get some breakfast, and perhaps have some curious adventures in trying to talk French. In fact, I rather hope the baggage won't come.
Mr. George was destined to be disappointed in this rising desire, for, while he and Rollo were talking, Estelle came running in to her husband with a countenance full of joy, saying that the cart had come, and urging him to come and get their trunks off as quick as possible. Her eagerness was increased by hearing the bell again, which now began to toll, leading her to think that the train was going off immediately. The porters, however, whose business it was to carry the trunks in, did not seem to be at all disturbed by the sound, but began to take off the trunks, one by one, and convey them up into the station. Here they were placed upon a sort of counter, from whence they were taken off on the other side, and weighed in a curiously contrived pair of scales placed there for the purpose. If any trunk weighed over a certain number of pounds,the amount which, according to the regulations of the road, each passenger was allowed to carry,then the surplus had to be paid for. There was a little office close to the weighing machine; and as fast as the trunks were weighed, the result was reported to the clerk, who made out a bill for the surplus, whatever it was, and the passenger paid it through an opening. If there was no surplus weight, then they gave the passenger a similar bill, which was to be his check for his trunk at the end of the journey. Every thing was, however, so admirably arranged, that all this was done very rapidly.
Mr. Charles, when he found that the trunks were all to be weighed, proposed to go with Estelle to the cars, so as to get a good seat for her; but Estelle chose to remain and make sure that her trunk was attended to. It happened that Mr. George's trunk and Rollo's were weighed among the first; and as soon as they got their checks, Mr. George said,
Now for our seats in the cars.
But which way are we to go? said Rollo.
I don't know, said Mr. George. Go and show that man your ticket, and ask him where we are to go.
In French? said Rollo.
Yes, said Mr. George.
So Rollo went to the man who was standing by a sort of gateway which led through a partition railing, as if he were there to guard the passage; and holding up his little pasteboard ticket, he said, in French,
Where to go?
The man looked at the ticket, and, seeing that first class was printed upon it, he pointed in a certain direction, and said something in French, speaking, however, in so rapid and voluble a manner, that Rollo could not understand a single word. He, however, understood the sign.
This way, uncle George, said Rollo. He says we must go this way.
Following the indication which the man had given, Mr. George and Rollo passed out upon the platform, where they found the train ready for them. There were various attendants upon the platform, dressed in a quaint sort of uniform, the livery, as it were, of the railroad company. One of them looked at Rollo's ticket, and then opened the door of a first-class car. The cars were made like those in England, in separate compartments, each compartment being like a large coach, with one front seat, and one back, facing each other. There were four places; that is, room for four passengers on each seat. Of course, only those at the ends were near the window. Rollo and Mr. George took the two seats nearest the window on the side where they got in, as one of the seats at the opposite side was already occupied by a gentleman. The gentleman seemed to be an Englishman, for he was reading the London Times.
Rollo and Mr. George had been seated only two or three minutes before Estelle and her husband came along, Estelle leading the way. The attendant opened the door of the car, and Estelle, followed by her husband, got in. They passed between Mr. George and Rollo, and stood there for a moment, looking about for a good seat. A freight train was slowly trundling by at this time on an adjoining track, so that what they said was not very audible; but still, Mr. George and Rollo could hear it.
I want a seat by the window, said Estelle, where I can look out and see the country. Ask that gentleman if he would not be willing to take a middle seat, and let us sit together by the window.
We had better go to some other car, said her husband, in an undertone. He wishes to see the country, probably, himself, and has come early, perhaps, so as to get a good seat.
O, no, said Estelle; this is a very nice car; and he would just as soon change as not, I have no doubt. Ask him, Charley; do.
So Estelle moved to one side for her husband to pass. Mr. Charles, thus urged, approached the gentleman, and said, in a very bland and respectful manner,
Should you have any objection, sir, to move your seat, so as to let this lady sit by the window?
The gentleman raised his eyes from his paper, and looked at Mr. Charles an instant, and then answered quietly,
I prefer this seat, sir.
He then went on with his reading as before.
Estelle pouted her lip, and said, though in a tone too low, perhaps, for the gentleman to hear, What a rude man!
We will give you these seats, sir, said Mr. George, if you would like them.
Yes, they'll do just as well, said Estelle, speaking to her husband.
Mr. George rose, and saying, Come, Rollo, he left the car.
Mr. George had some trouble in looking for other seats; but at length he succeeded in finding two that were as good as those which they had left.
I think she might at least have thanked you for giving up your seat to accommodate her, said Rollo.
I did not do it to accommodate her, said Mr. George; I did it to get out of the sight and hearing of her. I would not ride from here to Paris in the same car with such a fussmaker for all the prospects in France. I had rather be shut up in a freight car.
How much trouble she makes her husband! said Rollo.
It is not the trouble, said Mr. George, it is the mortification and annoyance. She is a perpetual torment. If that's the way that young wives treat their husbands on the bridal tour, I'm thankful that I am not a bridegroom.
The train soon set out, and Mr. George and Rollo, forgetting Estelle, soon began to enjoy the ride. They were both extremely interested in the views which they obtained from their windows as they passed along, and with the antique and quaint appearance of the countrythe ancient stone cottages, with thatched roofs; the peasants, in their picturesque dresses; the immense tracts of cultivated country, divided in green and brown patches, like the beds of a garden, but with no fences or enclosures of any kind to be seen; the great forests, with trees planted closely in rows, like the corn in an American cornfield; and the roadways which they occasionally passedimmense avenues, bordered on either hand with double rows of majestic trees, and extending across the country, as straight as the street of a city, till lost in the horizon. These and a thousand other things, which were all the time presenting themselves to view, kept the travellers continually full of wonder and delight.
After going on thus for several hours, the train stopped in a very spacious depot, where there was a large refreshment room; and as one of the attendants called out that there would be ten minutes of rest, both Mr. George and Rollo got out, and went into the refreshment room. They found a great multitude of cakes and meats spread out upon an immense counter, and dishes of every kind, all totally unknown to them. They, of course, could not call for any thing; but, after taking a survey, they helped themselves to what they thought looked as if it might be good, and then paid in the same way, by letting the girls that attended the tables help themselves to money which the travellers held out to them in their hands. They then took their seats again in the car, and soon afterward the train moved on.
The place where they had stopped was Rouen, which, as well as Dieppe and Paris, the reader will find, on examining any map of France. In the course of the ride from Rouen to Paris, Mr. George and Rollo fell into quite a conversation, in which Rollo received a great deal of very good advice from Mr. George in respect to the care of himself when he should get to Paris.
I suppose that I should be sure to get lost, said Rollo, if I should attempt to go out in such a great city alone.
No, said Mr. George, not at all. A person can walk about a great way, sometimes, in a strange city, without getting lost. All he has to do is to take care, at first, to go only in such directions as that he can keep the way home in his mind.
I don't know what you mean, exactly, by that, said Rollo.
Why, suppose you were in a great city, and you come out at the door of your hotel, and there you find a long, straight street. You walk along that street half a mile. Then don't you think you could find your way home?
Yes, said Rollo.
Certainly, said Mr. George, because you have it in your mind that the way home is directly back by that same street, till you come to the hotel. Now, suppose that, after going along in that street for half a mile, you should come to a great church, upon a corner, and should turn there to the right, and go for some distance in another street leading off from the first one; don't you think you could then find your way home?
Yes, said Rollo, I should go back to the church, and then turn to the left, and so go home.
Very well, said Mr. George; by proceeding cautiously in that way, carrying your way home in your mind with you all the time, you can ramble a great deal about a strange city without getting lost, and go farther and farther every day.
Then, besides, if you do get lost, it is of no consequence. You can always ask the way back; or, if worst comes to worst, you can take a cab, and tell the man to drive you home.
Yes, said Rollo, I suppose I could always do that.
Only you must be sure, said Mr. George, not to forget the name of your hotel. Once I was walking about in Paris, and I saw a colored girl on the sidewalk, before me, who seemed to be inquiring something of the people that she met, without appearing to get any satisfactory answer. I thought she was an American girl; and so I went to her, and asked her in French what she wanted to knowfor I observed that she was speaking French. She said she wished to know what was the name of the hotel where most of the Americans lodged. I could not speak French very well myself, and so I could not ask her for any explanations; but I supposed that she belonged to some American party, and had lost her way in going somewhere of an errand, and had forgotten the name of the hotel. So I told her the names of two or three hotels where Americans were accustomed to lodge, and she went away.
Did she find her own hotel? asked Rollo.
I don't know, said Mr. George. I never knew what became of her.
How did she learn French, do you suppose? asked Rollo.
I presume she came from New Orleans, replied Mr. George, where nearly all the people speak French.
Thus our two travellers beguiled their journey, by talking sometimes about the novel and curious objects which presented themselves to view, in the landscape, as the train rolled rapidly along on its way, and sometimes about what they expected to see and to do on their arrival in Paris. At length, the indications that they were approaching the great capital began to multiply on every hand. The villages were more frequent. Villas, parks, and palaces came into view; and here and there an ancient castle reposed on the slope of a distant hill, or frowned from its summit. At length, Rollo, turning his head to the window opposite to the one where he had been looking out, exclaimed suddenly,
Look there! Uncle George, what's that?
Mr. George said that that was Napoleon's famous Triumphal Arch, that forms the grand entrance to Paris, on the way to the royal palaces. It was a large, square building, splendidly adorned with sculptures and architectural ornaments, and towering high into the air out of the midst of a perfect sea of houses, streets, avenues, trees, gardens, and palaces, which covered the whole country around. It stood upon a commanding elevation, which made its magnitude and its height seem all the more impressive. Through the centre of it was a magnificent archway, wide enough for four carriages to pass abreast.
It is the Triumphal Arch, said Mr. George, by which all grand processions enter Paris on great public days of rejoicing. We will go out and see it some day. It is called the Triumphal Arch of Neuilly, because it is on the road that leads to Neuilly.[C]
[C] It is also called the Arc de l'Etoile. Etoile means star, and the French give that name to a place where several roads diverge from one point. Roads so diverging form a sort of star. The reader will find this arch on any map of Paris, with the roads diverging from it.
By this time the Triumphal Arch had passed out of view, and presently the train of cars began to be shut in by buildings, and the usual indications appeared of the approach to a great station. Queer-looking signals, of mysterious meaning,some red, some blue, some round, some square,glided by, and men in strange and fantastic costumes stood on the right hand and on the left, with little flags in their hands, and one arm extended, as if to show the locomotive the way.
At length the convoy (as the French call a railway train) came to a stand, and an attendant, in uniform, opened the door of the car. Mr. George and Rollo got out and looked about, quite bewildered with the magnificence of the scene around them. The station was very extensive, and was very splendid in its construction, and there were immense numbers of people going and coming in it in all directions. Still, every thing was so well regulated that there was no disorder or confusion. There was a line of carriages drawn up in a certain place near the platform; but the coachmen remained quietly by them, awaiting calls from the passengers, instead of vociferously and clamorously offering their services, as is customary at the stations in America. Nor was there any pushing or crowding for trunks and baggage. In fact, the trunks were all to be examined before they could go into the city; for there are separate duties for the city of Paris, in addition to those for France. The baggage was, therefore, all taken from the baggage car, and arranged in an immense apartment, on counters, which extended all around the sides, and up and down the middle; and then, when all was ready, the passengers were admitted, and each one claimed his own. Mr. George and Rollo easily found their trunks, and, on presenting their tickets, an officer required them to open the trunks, that he might see if there was any thing contraband inside. As soon, however, as he perceived that Mr. George and Rollo were foreigners, and that their trunks had come from beyond sea, he shut down the lids again, saying, It is well. A porter then took the trunks and carried them out to a carriage.
Hotel of the Rhine, Place Vendome, said Mr. George, in French, to the coachman, by way of directing him where to go.
[Illustration: THE ARRIVAL.]
Yesyesyesyes, said the coachman.
It is so natural and easy for the French to talk, that they generally use all the words they can to express their meaning, besides an infinity of gestures. Thus, when they wish to say yes, they often repeat the yes four or five times, in a very rapid manner, thus:
Mr. George got into the coach, and Rollo followed him. As they drove along the streets, Rollo tried to look out the window and see; but the window was so small, and the streets were so narrow, and the coachman, moreover, drove so fast, that he had very little opportunity to make observations. At length he caught a momentary glimpse of a monstrous column standing in the middle of an open square; and immediately afterward the carriage drove in under an archway, and came to a stand, in a small, open court, surrounded with lofty buildings. This was the hotel. There was a small room, which served as a porter's lodge, in this court, near where the coach stopped. A girl came to the door of this lodge to receive the guests. She bowed to Mr. George and Rollo with great politeness, and seemed glad to see them. Mr. George spoke to her in French, to say what rooms he wished to engage. What he said, literally translated, was this:
We want two chambers for ourselves, at the third, and an apartment of three pieces, at the second, for a gentleman, lady, and their young girl, whom we attend to-morrow.
The girl, who was very neatly and prettily dressed, and was very agreeable in her manners, immediately said, Very well, and rang a bell. A servant man came at the summons, and, taking the trunks, showed Mr. George and Rollo up to their rooms.
The first Sunday that Rollo spent in Paris he met with quite a singular adventure.
His father and mother had arrived the evening before, and had established themselves quite comfortably in the apartment of three pieces, which Mr. George had engaged for them. An apartment, according to the French use of the term, is not a single room, but a group of rooms, suitable to be occupied by one family. The number of pieces is the number of rooms.
Mr. Holiday's three rooms were a small but beautifully furnished parlor, where they had breakfast, and two bed rooms. One bed room was for himself and Mrs. Holiday, and the other was for Jennie. There were a great many splendid mirrors in these rooms, and other elegant furniture. The floors were not carpeted, but were formed of dark and polished wood, curiously inlaid, with rugs here and there at the doors and before the sofas and chairs. There was a small, square rug before every chair, and a large one before the sofa. There were a great many other curious things to be observed in the arrangements of the room. The fireplace, for example, was closed by plates of sheet iron, which could be shoved up and down like the sashes of a window; while the windows themselves opened like doors, each having a great brass fastening, like a latch, in the middle, and hinges at the sides.
Rollo had gone with his father and mother to church in the morning, and at about one o'clock they returned. Rollo and Jennie remained at home, after one, for an hour or two, waiting for their uncle George to come. He had gone away somewhere, and had not yet returned. While thus waiting, the children sat at the window of their parlor, which they opened by swinging the two sides of the sash entirely back, so that they could see out to great advantage. The window opened down quite low; but there was a strong iron bar passing across from side to side, to keep them from falling out. The children sat at this window, amusing themselves with what they could see in the square. The name of the square was the Place Vendome. There was a very large and lofty column in the centre of it. This column is very greatly celebrated for its magnitude and its beauty. It is twelve feet in diameter, and nearly a hundred and forty feet high. But what is most remarkable is, that the whole exterior of it, enormous as the mass is, is formed of brass. The brass was obtained by melting up the cannons which Napoleon took from his enemies. At the end of one of his campaigns he found that he had twelve hundred cannons which he had taken from the Russians and Austrians, with whom he had been at war; and after reflecting for some time on the question, what he should do with them, he concluded to send them to Paris, and there to have them made into this enormous column, to ornament the centre of the Place Vendome.
The column, though made of brass, is not bright upon the outside, but dark, like bronze, and the surface is ornamented with figures in what are called bas relief, representing the battles and victories in which the cannon out of which the column was composed were taken from the enemy.
Rollo and Jennie, in looking at this column from the window of their hotel, observed that around the foot of it there was a square space enclosed by an iron railing, forming a sort of yard. There was a gate in the front side of this railing. This gate was open; but there were two soldiers standing by it, with guns in their hands, as if to prevent any body from going in.
The column itself, as is usual with such columns, did not stand directly upon the ground, but upon a square pedestal, which was built of massive blocks of granite, resting on a deep and strong foundation; and as the column itself was twelve feet in diameter, the pedestal, being necessarily somewhat larger, was quite a considerable structure. In the front of it, opposite the gate in the iron railing, was a door. The door was open, but nothing was to be seen but darkness within.
I wonder what they do in there? said Rollo. The gate is open, and the door is open; but I suppose the soldiers would not let any body go in to see. Do you suppose, Jennie, that it can be possible that there is any way to get up to the top of the column by going in at that door?
Yes, replied Jennie; and so saying, she pointed eagerly to the top of the column, and added, For there are some boys up there now.
Rollo looked up to the top of the column. There was a statue of Napoleon upon the summit, which appeared to be of about the ordinary size of a man, though it is really about eight times as large as life, being twice as large in every dimension. It looks small, on account of its being so high in the air. Beneath this statue and around the top of the column the children saw that there was a small gallery, with a railing on the outside of it. Several persons were standing on this gallery, leaning on the railing. At first Rollo thought that they were sculptured figures placed there, like the statue of Napoleon on the top, for ornament; but presently he saw some of them move about, which convinced him that they were real men. Two of them were soldiers, as was evident from the red uniform which they wore. But they all looked exceedingly small.
There must be a staircase inside, said Rollo, or else some ladders. If not, how could those men get up?
Yes, said Jennie.
I should like to go up there very much, said Rollo, if I could only get by the soldiers.
I should not dare to go up to such a high place, said Jennie, shaking her head solemnly.
At the foot of the column and outside of the railing which formed the enclosure around the pedestal was a very broad and smooth place, as smooth as a floor, and raised like a sidewalk above the street. It was very broad, and people walked over it in passing through the square. There was only one way of passing through the square, and that was from north to south. From east to west there was no street, but the ranges of houses and palaces continued on those sides unbroken. These edifices presented a very fine architectural frontage toward the square, and gave to the whole space which they enclosed a very rich and grand appearance. Over the doors of two or three of the houses there were small tricolored flags flying; and wherever these flags were, there were soldiers on the sidewalk below guarding the doors. But neither Rollo nor Jennie was able to imagine what this could mean.
About three o'clock, when Rollo and Jennie had began to be tired of looking at the column, their mother came into the room. She said that Mr. Holiday was fatigued and was going to lie down, and that neither he nor herself would go out again. Rollo then asked if he and Jennie might go out and take a walk. His mother seemed to hesitate about it, but presently said that she would go and ask Mr. Holiday if he thought it would be safe. She accordingly went into the bed room, and very soon returned, saying that Mr. Holiday thought it would be safe for them to go if he gave them some directions.
He says, added Mrs. Holiday, that you may get ready, and then go into his room, and he will give you the directions. Only you must not talk much with him, for it hurts him to talk. Hear what he has to say, and then come out immediately.
So the children made themselves ready, and then went into their father's room. They found him sitting in a great arm chair by a window where the sun was shining. He looked pale and tired. When the children came in, however, he turned to them with a smile, and said,
Children, I am glad you are going out to take a walk. You can go very safely, if you follow my directions.
This is the Place Vendome. There are only two ways of going out of it. One leads to the north, and the other to the south.
If you take the road which goes to the north, that is, that way, said Mr. Holiday, pointing, you will go out by the street which is called the Street of Peace.[D] The Street of Peace is straight, and pretty broad; and if you follow it to the end of it, you will come to the Boulevards.
[D] Mr. Holiday called this street, of course, by its French name; but we give its name here in English, for the convenience of the reader, who may, perhaps, not be able to pronounce French.
What are the Boulevards? asked Rollo.
Hush! said Jennie, gently touching Rollo at the same time with her hand.
Boulevards, said Mr. Holiday, means bulwarks. A great many years ago there was a line of bulwarks or fortifications all around Paris; but at length, when the city grew too large for them, they levelled them down and made a very broad and handsome street where they had been, and then afterward made a new line of fortifications farther out. This broad and handsome street, or rather, series of streets, is called the Boulevards. It extends almost entirely around the city. Of course, when you get into the Boulevards, you are in no danger of losing yourselves; for you can go on as far as you please, either way, and then come back to the Street of Peace again, and then come home.
Yes, said Rollo, I understand.
Here Jennie gently touched Rollo again, to remind him that he was not to talk.
You will know the Boulevards at once when you come to them, continued Mr. Holiday, they are so much broader and more beautiful than any of the other streets of Paris. Even the sidewalks are as wide as many ordinary streets; and there are rows of young trees along the edges of the sidewalks. Now, if you choose, you can go out from the Place Vendome on the northern side, by the Street of Peace, and so walk on till you come to the Boulevards. Then you can walk along the Boulevards as far as you please.
Or, continued Mr. Holiday, you can take the opposite course. You can go out of the Place Vendome on the southern side. That will bring you directly in the garden of the Tuileries.
I should like to go into a garden, said Jennie, and see the flowers.
You will see, continued Mr. Holiday, as soon as you begin to go out of the Place Vendome, at a little distance before you, perhaps as far as two or three blocks in New York, a wall of green trees.
A wall of green trees! exclaimed Rollo.
Yes, said his father. It is a thick row of trees growing in the garden, and having the side toward the street trimmed smooth and straight like a wall. The entrance through this range of trees, opposite the gateway where you go into the garden, looks like an archway in a green wall. You will see it before you as soon as you turn the corner of this hotel into the street that leads that way. You can walk straight on till you come to the place. There you will find the entrance to the garden. There is a very high iron palisade along the side of the garden toward the street, with the rows of trees which I have spoken of inside of it. There is a gateway through this palisade where you can go in. There are two soldiers there to guard the gateway.
Then how can we get in? asked Jennie.
O, go right in, replied Mr. Holiday. Pay no attention to the soldiers. They will not say any thing to you. They are only sentinels.
After you pass through the gateway, you keep on in the same direction, without turning to the right hand or to the left, just as if you were going across the garden. You go on in this way till you get to the middle alley, which is a very wide alley, that runs up and down the middle of the garden. This alley is called the Grand Alley, and it is a very grand alley indeed. It is as broad as a very wide street, and it is nearly two miles long.[A] It begins at the palace of the Tuileries, in the middle of the city, and extends through the whole length of the gardens of the Tuileries; and then, passing out through great gates at the foot of the garden, it extends through the Elysian Fields, away out to the great Triumphal Arch of the Star, which you saw from the cars when you were coming into the city.
Now, when you get into the Grand Alley, which you will know by its being the broadest, and smoothest, and most splendid grand walk that you ever saw, you must stop for a minute, and look both ways. I'll tell you what you will see. First, if you turn to the left, that is, toward the east, you will see at the end of the alley, in that direction, a long range of splendid buildings, extending across from side to side. In the opposite direction, at the top of a long, gentle slope, a mile and a half away, you will see the grand Triumphal Arch. That is at the barrier of the city. The view is not entirely open, however, out to the arch. About midway, in the centre of the Grand Alley, is a tall obelisk, standing on a high pedestal, and farther along there are one or two fountains. Still you can see the Triumphal Arch very plainly, it is so large, and it stands so high.
Now, the Grand Alley is nearly two miles long, and, wherever you may be in it, you can always see the palace at one end, the arch at the other, and the Egyptian obelisk in the middle. So that, as long as you walk back and forth in this alley, keeping these things in sight, you cannot lose your way.
Only I ought to say, continued Mr. Holiday, that the garden does not extend all the way to the barrier. The garden extends, perhaps, half a mile. Near the bottom of it is a great basin or pond of water, with a stone margin to it all around. You will have to go round this basin, for the centre of it is exactly in the middle of the Grand Alley. Then you come very soon to the end of the garden, and you will go out through great iron gates, but still you will keep on in the same direction. Here you will come to a very large, open square, with the obelisk in the centre of it, and fountains and statues in it all around. Still you will keep straight on across this square, only you will have to turn aside to go round the obelisk. After you pass through the square, the Grand Alley still continues on, though now it becomes a Grand Avenue, leading through pleasure grounds, with ranges of trees and of buildings on either side. It becomes very wide here, being as wide as two or three ordinary streets, and will be filled with carriages and horsemen. But there will be good broad sidewalks for you on either hand, under the shade of the trees; and you will know where you are all the time, for you can always see the palace at one end of the view, and the great Triumphal Arch at the other, with the obelisk in the middle between them.
The amount of it is, added Mr. Holiday, speaking in a tone as if he were about finishing his instructions, you can go out of the Place Vendome to the north, and keep straight on till you come to the Boulevards, and walk there either way as far as you like. Or you can go south, and keep straight on till you come to the middle of the Grand Alley of the garden of the Tuileries, and then walk in the Grand Alley and the Grand Avenue which forms the continuation of it as long as you like. Which way will you go?
I would rather go to the garden, said Rollo, looking toward Jennie.
Yes, said Jennie, and so would I.
Thus it was settled that they were to take the street which led toward the south from the Place Vendome; and so, bidding their father good by, they went away. Before leaving the house, however, Rollo went to a secretary which stood in the parlor, and took down a map, in order to show Jennie the places which his father had mentioned, and to make it sure that they understood the directions which they had received. Rollo found the Place Vendome very readily upon the map, and the street leading to the gardens. He also found the Grand Alley running through the garden; and following this alley between the rows of trees, he showed Jennie a small circle which he thought must be the basin of water, and the place where the obelisk stood; and finally he pointed out the place where the Grand Alley widened out into the Grand Avenue and led on toward the barrier.
Jennie did not understand the map very well; but she seemed satisfied with Rollo's assurances that he himself could find all the places.
It is all right, you may depend, said Rollo. I can find the way, you may be sure.
So he put up the map, bade his mother good by, and then he and Jennie sallied forth.
The hotel was situated on the corner of the Place Vendome and the street which led toward the garden; and as soon as the children had turned this corner, after coming out from under the archway of the hotel, they saw at some distance before them, at the end of the street, the iron palisade, and the green wall of trees above it, which formed the boundary of the garden.
There it is! exclaimed Rollo. There is the garden and the gateway! and it is not very far!
The children walked along upon the sidewalk hand in hand, looking sometimes at the elegant carriages which rolled by them from time to time in the street, and sometimes at the groups of ladies and children that passed them on the sidewalk. At the first corner that they came to, Rollo's attention was attracted by the sight of a man who had a box on the edge of the sidewalk, with a little projection on the top of it shaped like a man's foot. Rollo wondered what it was for. Just before he reached the place, however, he saw a gentleman, who then happened to come along, stop before the box and put his foot on the projection. Immediately the man took out some brushes and some blacking from the inside of the box, which was open on the side where the man was standing, and began to brush the gentleman's boot.
Now, how convenient that is! said Rollo. If you get your shoes or your boots muddy or dusty, you can stop and have them brushed.
So saying, he looked down at his own boots, almost in hopes that he should find that they needed brushing, in order that he might try the experiment; but they looked very clean and bright, and there seemed to be no excuse for having them brushed again.
Besides, Jennie was pulling him by the hand, to hasten him along. She said at the same time, in an undertone,
Look, Rollo, look! See! there is a blind lady walking along before us!
Blind? repeated Rollo.
Yes, said Jennie; don't you see the little dog leading her?
There was a little dog walking along at a little distance before the lady, with a beautiful collar round his neck, and a cord attached to it. The lady had the other end of the cord in her hand.
I don't believe she is blind, said Rollo.
As the children passed by the lady she turned and looked at them, or seemed to look, and manifested no indications of being blind. Afterward Jennie saw a great many other ladies walking with little dogs, which they led, or which led them, by means of a cord which the owner of the dog held in her hand. There were so many of these cases that Jennie was compelled to give up the idea of their being blind; but she said that she never knew any body but blind people led about by dogs before.
At length the children arrived at the entrance to the garden. It was on the farther side of a broad and beautiful street which ran along there, just outside of the enclosure. The palisades were of iron, though the tops were tipped with gilding, and they were very high. They were more than twice as high as a man's head. The lower ends of them were set firmly in a wall of very substantial masonry. The gateway was very wide, and it had sentry boxes on each side of it. A soldier, with his bayonet fixed, was standing in front of each sentry box. When Jennie saw these soldiers she shrank back, and seemed afraid to go in. In fact, Rollo himself appeared somewhat disposed to hesitate. In a moment, however, a number of persons who came along upon the sidewalk turned in at the gates, and went into the yard. The soldiers paid no attention to them. Rollo and Jane, seeing this, took courage, and went in, too.
On passing through the gates, the children found themselves on a very broad terrace, which ran along on that side of the garden. The surface of the terrace was gravelled for a walk, and it was very smooth and beautiful. While standing on, or walking upon it, you could look on one side, through the palisade, and see the carriages in the street, and on the other side you could look over a low wall down into the garden, which was several feet below. The descent into the garden was by a flight of stone steps. The children, after staying a little time upon the terrace, went down the steps. They came out upon a very broad avenue, or alley, which formed the side of the garden. This alley was very broad indeed, so broad that it was divided into three by orange trees, which extended up and down in long rows parallel to the street, almost as far as you could see, and forming beautiful vistas in each direction. These orange trees, though very large, were not set in the ground, but were planted in monstrous boxes, painted green and set on rollers. The reason of this was, so that they could be moved away in the winter, and put in a building where they could be kept warm.
This broad alley, the great side alley of the garden on the side toward the city, was called the Alley of the Oranges. There is another similar alley on the opposite side of the garden, which is toward the river, and that is called the Alley of the Riverside.
Passing across the three portions of the Alley of the Oranges, the children went on toward the centre of the garden. Instead, however, of such a garden as they had expected to see, with fruits and flowers in borders and beds, and serpentine walks winding among them, as Jennie had imagined, the children found themselves in a sort of forest, the trees of which were planted regularly in rows, with straight walks here and there under them.
What a strange garden! said Jennie.
Yes, said Rollo. But we must not stop here. We must go straight on through the trees until we come to the Grand Alley.
In fact, Rollo could see the Grand Alley, as he thought, at some distance before him, with people walking up and down in it. There were several people, too, in the same walk with Rollo and Jane, some going with them toward the Grand Alley, and others coming back from it. Among these were two children, just big enough to go alone, who were prattling in French together very fluently as they walked along before their father and mother. Jennie said she wondered how such little children could learn to speak French so well. Another child, somewhat older than these, was trundling a hoop, and at length unfortunately she fell down and hurt herself. So, leaving her hoop upon the ground, she came toward the maid who had care of her, crying, and sobbing, and uttering broken exclamations, all in French, which seemed to Rollo and Jane very surprising.
At length the children came out into the Grand Alley. They knew it immediately when they reached it, by its being so broad and magnificent, and by the splendid views which were presented on every hand.
Yes, said Rollo, this is it, I am sure. There is the obelisk; and there, beyond it, on the top of that long hill, is the Triumphal Arch; and there, the other way, is the palace of the Tuileries. Here is a seat, Jennie. Let's go and sit down.
So saying, Rollo led Jennie to a stone seat which was placed on one side of the alley, at the margin of the grove; and there they sat for some time, greatly admiring the splendid panorama which was spread out before them. What happened to them for the remainder of their walk will be described in the next chapter.
After sitting a little time upon the stone bench, Rollo and Jennie rose and resumed their walk. The alley was extremely broad, and it was almost filled with parties of ladies and gentlemen, and with groups of children, who were walking to and fro, some going out toward the Triumphal Arch, and some returning. Rollo and Jennie, as they walked along, said very little to each other, their attention being almost wholly absorbed by the gay and gorgeous scene which surrounded them. At length they perceived that, at a little distance before them, the people were separating to the right hand and to the left, and going round in a sort of circuit; and, on coming to the place, they found that the great basin, or pond of water, which Mr. Holiday had described to them, was there. This pond was very large, much larger than Rollo had expected from his father's account of it. It was octagonal in form, and was bordered all around with stone. There were a number of children standing in groups on the brink, at different places; some were watching the motions of the gold fish that were swimming in the water, and others were looking at a little ship which a boy was sailing on the pond. The boy had a long thread tied to the bow of his ship; and when the wind had blown it out upon the pond to the length of the string, he would pull it back to the shore again, and then proceed to send it forth on another voyage.
Rollo thought it strange that they should be thus employed on the Sabbath; for he had been brought up to believe, that, although it was very right and proper to take a quiet walk in a garden or in the fields toward the close of the day, it was not right, but would, on the other hand, be displeasing to God, for any one, old or young, to spend any part of the day which God had consecrated to his own service and to the spiritual improvement of the soul in ordinary sports and amusements. Jennie, too, had the same feeling; and accordingly, after standing with Rollo for a moment near the margin of the water, looking at the fishes and the vessels, and at the group of children that were there, she began to pull Rollo by the hand, saying,
Come, Rollo, I think we had better go along.
Rollo at once acceded to this proposal, and they both walked on. They soon found themselves passing out of the garden, though the space on each side of the broad alley in which they were walking was bordered with so many walls, palisades, terraces, statues, and columns, and the gateway which led out from the garden into the square was so broad, and was so filled up, moreover, with the people who were going and coming, that it was difficult to tell where the garden ended and the great square began. At length, however, it began to be plain that they were out of the garden; for the view, instead of being shut in by trees, became very widely extended on either hand. It was terminated on one side by ranges of magnificent buildings, and on the other by bridges leading across the river, with various grand and imposing edifices beyond. In the centre of the square the tall form of the obelisk towered high into the air, gently tapering as it ascended, and terminating suddenly at its apex in a point.
The square, though open, was not empty. Besides the obelisk, which stood in the centre of it, on its lofty pedestal, there were two great fountains and colossal statues of marble; and lofty columns of bronze and gilt, for the gaslights; and raised sidewalks, smooth as a floor, formed of a sort of artificial stone, which was continuous over the whole surface, which was covered by it, without fissure or seam. There were roadways, also, crossing the place in various directions, with carriages and horsemen upon them continually coming and going. The great fountains were very curiously contrived. The constructions were thirty or forty feet high. They consisted of three great basins, one above the other. The smallest was at the top, and was, of course, high in the air. A column of water was spouting out from the middle of it, and, after rising a little way into the air, the water fell back into the basin, and, filling it full, it ran over the edge of it into the basin below.
This was the middle basin, and, besides the water which fell into it from the basin above, it received also a great supply from streams that came from the great basin below, like the jets from the hose of a fire engine when a house is on fire. There was a row of bronze figures, shaped like men, in the water of the lowest basin of all, each holding a fish in his arms; and the jets of water which were thrown up to the middle basin from the lower one came out of the mouths of these fishes. The fishes were very large, and they were shaped precisely like real fishes, although they were made of bronze.
The children looked at the fountains as they walked along, and at length came to the foot of the obelisk. They stopped a minute or two there, and looked up to the top of it. It was as tall as a steeple. Rollo was wondering whether it would be possible in any way to get to the top of it; and he told Jennie that he did not think that there was any way, for he did not see any place where any body could stand if they should succeed in getting there. While they both stood thus gazing upward, they suddenly heard a well-known voice behind them, saying,
Well, children, what do you think of the Obelisk of Luxor?
They turned round and beheld their uncle George. They were, of course, very much astonished to see him. He was walking with another young gentleman, a friend of his from America, whom he had accidentally met with in Paris. When the children had recovered from the surprise of thus unexpectedly meeting him, he repeated his question.
What do you think of the obelisk?
I don't believe it is so high, replied Rollo, as the column in the Place Vendome.
No, replied Mr. George, it is not.
Nor so large, added Rollo.
No, said Mr. George.
And I don't believe that there is any way to get to the top of it, added Rollo.
No, said Mr. George, there is not. The column in the Place Vendome is hollow, and has a staircase inside; but this obelisk is solid from top to bottom, and is formed of one single stone. That is the great wonder of it.
[Illustration: THE OBELISK.]
Look up, said Mr. George, to the top of it. It is as high as a steeple. See how large it is, too, at the base. Think how enormously heavy such an immense stone must be. What a work it must have been to lift it up and stand it on its end! Besides, it does not rest upon the ground, but upon another monstrous stone, the pedestal of which is nearly thirty feet high; so that, in setting it up in its place, the engineers had not only to lift it up on end, but they had to raise the whole mass, bodily, twenty or thirty feet into the air. I suppose it was one of the greatest lifts that ever was made.
There is another thing that is very curious about the obelisk, continued Mr. George, and that is its history. It was not made originally for this place. It was made in Egypt, thousands and thousands of years ago, nobody knows how long. There are several others of the same kind still standing. Some years ago, this one and another were given to the French by the government of Egypt, and the French king sent a large company of men to take this one down and bring it to Paris. They built an immense vessel on purpose for transporting it. This vessel they sent to Egypt. It went up the Nile as near to the place where the obelisk stood as it could go. The place was called Luxor. The obelisk stood back at some distance from the river; and there were several Arab huts near it, which it was necessary to pull down. There were also several other houses in the way by the course which the obelisk must take in going to the river. The French engineers bought all these houses, and pulled them down. Then they made a road leading from the place where the obelisk stood to the river. Then they cased the whole stone in wood, to prevent its getting broken or injured on the way. Then they lowered it down by means of immense machines which they constructed for the purpose, and so proceeded to draw it to the river. But with all their machines, it was a prodigiously difficult work to get it along. It took eight hundred men to move it, and so slowly did it go that these eight hundred men worked three months in getting it to the landing. There they made a great platform, and so rolled it on board the float. There was a steamer at hand to take it in tow, and it was brought to France. It then took five or six months to bring it across the country from the sea shore to Paris.
When, at last, they got it here, it took them nearly a year to construct the machines for raising it. They built the pedestal for it to stand upon, which you see is as high as a two-story house, and then appointed a day for the raising. All the world, almost, came to see. This whole square was full. There were more than a hundred thousand persons here. The king came, and his family, and all his generals and great officers. It was the greatest raising that ever was seen.
Why, there must have been just as great a raising, said Rollo, when they first put it up in Egypt.
No, said Mr. George; because there it stood nearly upon the ground, but here it is on the top of a lofty pedestal. Look there! Those are pictures of the machines which they raised it by.
So saying, Mr. George pointed to beautifully gilded diagrams which were sculptured upon one side of the pedestal. There were beams, and ropes, and pulleys without number, with the obelisk among them; but Rollo could not understand the operation of the machinery very well. The obelisk itself was covered on all sides with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, deeply cut into the stone; but the children could not understand the hieroglyphics any better than they could the machinery.
After looking some time longer at the obelisk and the various objects of interest that were around it, the whole party walked on together. Mr. George said that he and his friend were going up the avenue of the Elysian Fields, and that, if Rollo and Jennie would walk along behind them, they would not get lost. Jennie was very glad of this; for the crowd of people that were coming and going was getting to be very great, and she was a little afraid. Rollo, on the other hand, was rather sorry. The Triumphal Arch at the farther end of the avenue was in full view, and thus he felt sure of his way; and he was ambitious of the honor of being the sole guide in the excursion which he and Jane were taking. He, however, could not well decline his uncle's invitation; so, when the two gentlemen moved on, Rollo and Jennie followed them.
The Grand Avenue was a very broad and beautiful roadway, gently ascending toward the barrier, and now perfectly thronged with carriages and horsemen. There were also two side avenues, one on each side of the central one. These were for foot passengers. There were rows of trees between. Beyond the side avenues there extended on either hand a wood, formed of large and tall trees, planted in rows, and standing close enough together to shade the whole ground. They were, however, far enough apart to allow of open and unobstructed motion among them. Under these trees, and in open spaces which were left here and there among them, there were booths, and stalls, and tables, and tents, and all sorts of contrivances for entertainment and pleasure, with crowds of people gathered around them in groups, or moving slowly from one to the other. There were men, some dressed like gentlemen, and others wearing blue, cartmen's frocks; and women, some with bonnets and some with caps; and children of all ages and sizes; and soldiers without number, with blue coats, and dark-red trousers, and funny caps, without any brim, except the visor. In the midst of all these multitudes Mr. George and the gentleman who was with him slowly led the way up the side avenue, Rollo and Jennie following them, quite bewildered with the extraordinary spectacles which were continually presenting themselves to view on every hand. The attention of the children was drawn from one object or incident to another, with so much suddenness, and so rapidly, that they had no time to understand one thing before it passed away and something else came forward into view and diverted their thoughts; and before they had recovered from the surprise which this second thing awakened, they had come to a third, more strange and wonderful, perhaps, than either of the preceding.
A boy, very young, and very fantastically dressed, came riding along through the crowd, mounted on the smallest and prettiest black pony that Rollo had ever seen, and distributing as he passed along some sort of small printed papers to all who came near enough to get them. Rollo tried to get one of the papers to see what it was, but he did not succeed.
How I wish I had such a pony as that! said Rollo.
So do I, said Jennie. But what are the people doing in that ring?
Rollo saw a close ring of people all crowding around something on the ground. There was a man inside the ring, calling out something very loud and very incessantly. Rollo put his head between two of the spectators to see. There was a man seated in the centre, on the ground, with a cloth spread out before him, on which was a monstrous heap of stockings, of all kinds and colors, which he was selling as fast as possible to the men and women that had gathered around him. He sold them very cheap, and the people bought them very fast. He put the money, as fast as he received it, in his cap, which lay on the ground before him, and served him for a cash box.
Come, Rollo, said Jane, pulling Rollo by the hand, we must go along. Uncle George is almost out of sight.
Rollo turned back into the avenue again, and began to walk along. In a moment more he saw a large boy standing behind a curious-looking stove in an open space near, and baking griddle cakes. There was a very nice table by his side, covered with a white cloth, and a plate, on which the boy turned out the griddle cakes as fast as they were baked. There were several children about him, buying the cakes and eating them.
Ah, Jennie, said Rollo, look at these cakes! How I should like some of them! If it were not that it is Sunday, I would go and buy some.
O Rollo! exclaimed Jennie, look here! See what's coming!
Rollo looked, and saw that the ladies and gentlemen on the broad walk before them were moving to one side and the other, to make room for a most elegant little omnibus, drawn by six goats, that were harnessed before it like horses. The omnibus was made precisely like a large omnibus, such as are used in the streets of Paris for grown persons; only this one was small, just large enough for the goats to draw. It was very beautifully painted, and had elegant silken curtains. It was full of children, who were looking out the windows with very smiling faces, as if they were enjoying their ride very much. A very pretty little boy, about seven years of age, was holding the reins of the goats, and appearing to drive; but there was a large boy walking along by the side of the goats all the time, to take care that they did not go wrong. The omnibus belonged to his father, who kept it to let children ride in it on their paying him a small sum for each ride.
Jennie was very much pleased with the omnibus; but what followed it pleased her still more. This was a carriage, made in all respects like a real carriage, and large enough to contain several children. It was open, like a barouche, so that the children who were riding in it could see all around them perfectly well. It had two seats inside, besides a high seat in front for the coachman, and one behind for the footman. There were children upon all these seats. There was one on the coachman's box to drive. The carriage, like the omnibus, was drawn by goats, only there were four instead of six. The coachman drove them by means of long, silken reins.
As soon as the omnibus and the carriage had passed by, and the crowd had closed again behind them so as to conceal them from view, Rollo and Jennie looked about for Mr. George and the other gentleman; but they were nowhere to be seen. Jane was quite frightened; but Rollo said he did not care.
Look there! said Rollo, pointing back.
What is it? said Jennie.
The obelisk, said Rollo.
Jane saw the tall, needle-like form of the obelisk towering into the air from the middle of the great square behind them, and a part of the long front of the Tuileries, at the end of a vista of trees, far beyond.
As long as we have the obelisk in sight, said Rollo, we cannot get lost.
Just then Rollo's attention was called to a broad sheet of paper fastened up upon a tree that he was passing by. He stopped to see what it was. A little girl, about as old as Jennie, came up at the same time, leading the maid who had the care of her by the hand. This child began to read what was printed on the card. She read aloud, enunciating the words very slowly, syllable by syllable, and in a voice so clear, and rich, and silvery, that it was delightful to hear her. She seemed pleased to observe that Rollo and Jane were listening to her; and when she got through she turned to them, as if to apologize for not reading better, and said, in French, and with a pleasant smile upon her countenance,
I am learning to read; but I cannot read too much yet, you see.
By too much she meant very well, that being the way that the French express themselves in such a case.
Rollo understood what she said, but he did not think it prudent to attempt to reply in the same language; so he said simply, in English,
And yet I think my father would give five hundred dollars if I could read French like that. He'd be glad to do it.
As Rollo spoke these words the child looked earnestly in his face, the smile gradually disappearing from her features and being replaced by a look of perplexity and wonder. She then turned and led the maid away.
There were a great many booths and stands about, some in open spaces and some under the trees. At one they had all sorts of cakes for sale; at another toys of every kind, such as hoops, balls, kites, balloons, rocking horses, and all such things; and at a third pictures, some large, some small, some plain, and some beautifully colored. At one place, by the side of the avenue where most of the people were walking, there stood a man, with a tall and gayly-painted can on his back. It was covered with common drapery below; but the top was bright, and towered like a spire above the man's head. There was a round bar, like the leg of a chair, which went from the bottom of the can to the ground, to support it, and take the weight off the man's shoulders when he was standing still. The man was standing still now, and was all the time tinkling a little bell, to call the attention of the people to what he had to sell. It was something to drink. There were two kinds of drink in the can, separated from each other by a division in the interior. There were two small pipes, one for each kind of drink, leading from the bottom of the can round by the side of the man to the front, with stopcocks at the end, where he could draw out the drink conveniently. There was also a little rack to hold the glasses. There were three glasses; for the man sometimes had three customers at a time. While Rollo and Jane were looking at this man, a boy came up for a drink. The man took one of the glasses from the little rack, and filled it by turning one of the stopcocks. When the boy had taken his drink and paid the money, the man wiped the glass with a towel which he kept for the purpose; and then, putting it back in its place on the rack, he went on tinkling his little bell.
In the mean time, the crowd of people seemed to increase, and it appeared to Rollo and Jennie, when they came to observe particularly, that they were nearly all walking one way, and that was up the avenue, as if there were some place in that direction where they were all going. Rollo supposed that, of course, it was a church. He had been told by his father, when they were travelling in England, that when he was in any strange place on Sunday, and wished to find the way to church, one good method was to observe in the streets whenever he saw any considerable number of people moving in the same direction, and to join and follow them. He would, in such cases, his father said, be very sure to be conducted to a church, and after going in he would generally find some one who would show him a seat. Rollo and Jennie had often practised on this plan. In fact, they took a particular interest and pleasure in going to church in this way, as there was something a little of the nature of adventure in it.
When, accordingly, the children observed that the great mass of the people that filled the two side avenues, as well as the carriages that were in the central one, were all moving steadily onward together, paying little attention to the booths, and stalls, and other places and means of amusement which were to be seen under the trees on either hand, he concluded that, while some of the people of Paris were willing to amuse themselves with sports and exhibitions on Sunday, the more respectable portion would not stop to look at them, but went straight forward to church; and he and Jennie resolved to follow their example.
I should like to see all these things very much, said Rollo, some other day; but now we will go on, Jennie, to the church, where the rest of the people are going.
Jennie very cordially approved of this plan, and so they walked on together. It happened that, at the time when they came to this determination, there was walking just before them a party, consisting apparently of a father and mother and their two children. The father and mother walked together first, and the two children, hand in hand, followed. The oldest child was a girl, of about Jennie's age. The other was a very small boy, just beginning to learn to talk. Rollo and Jennie came immediately behind these children, and were very much interested in hearing them talk together, especially to hear the little one prattling in French. He called his sister Adrienne, and she called him Antoine. Thus Rollo and Jennie knew the names of the children, but they had no way of finding out what were the names of the father and mother.
Now, Jennie, said Rollo, in a low tone, I think we had better follow this party, and keep close to them all the time, and then, when we get to the church, perhaps they will give us a seat.
Jennie liked this proposal very much, and so she and Rollo walked along after Adrienne and Antoine, not too near them, but so near as to keep them always in sight. Sometimes the party turned aside from the avenue to walk under the trees, and sometimes they stopped a few minutes to look at some curious exhibition or spectacle which was to be seen. At one place a man had a square marked off, and enclosed with a line to keep the crowd back; and in the middle he had an electrical machine, with which he gave shocks to any of the bystanders who were willing to take them. A boy kept turning the machine all the time. At another place was a little theatre, mounted on a high box, so that all could see, with little images about as large as dolls dancing on the stage, or holding dialogues with each other. The words were really spoken by a man who was concealed in the box below; but as the little images moved about continually, and made all sorts of gesticulations, corresponding with what was said, it seemed to the bystanders precisely as if they were speaking themselves. Besides this, the images would walk about, scold each other, quarrel and fight each other, run out at little doors, and then come in again, and do a great many other things which it was very wonderful to see such little figures do.
There were places, too, where there were great whirling machines, under splendid tents and canopies, with horses, and boats, and ships, and cradles at the circumference of them, all of which were made to sail round and round through the air, carrying the children that were mounted on the horses or sitting in the ships and boats. There were also several places for shooting at a mark with little spring guns, which were loaded with peas instead of bullets. There were figures of bears, lions, tigers, ducks, deer, and other animals at a little distance, which were kept moving along all the time by machinery, for the children to shoot at with the peas. If they hit any of them they drew a prize, consisting of cake or gingerbread, or of some sort of plaything or toy, of which great numbers were hanging up about the shooting place. All these, and a great many other similar contrivances for amusing people, Rollo and Jane saw, as they passed along; but they did not stop to look at them, excepting when the gentleman and lady stopped whom they were following. This was seldom, however; and so they went, on the whole, very steadily forward, up the long and gentle ascent, until, at length, they reached the great Triumphal Arch at the Neuilly Barrier.
As they approached the arch, the children gazed upon it with astonishment, being greatly impressed with its magnitude and height. There were a great many men on the top of it. Their heads and shoulders were visible from below, as they stood leaning over the parapet. They, however, looked exceedingly small.
Rollo and Jennie would have liked to stop and look longer at the arch; but they did not wish to separate from Adrienne and Antoine, who kept walking steadily on all the time with their father and mother. Rollo supposed, as has been said before, that this party were going to some church; but they were not. They were going to a place called the Hippodrome.
The Hippodrome, far from being a church, is a place of amusement. It is used for equestrian performances, and feats of strength and agility, and balloon ascension, and all similar entertainments.
The Hippodrome is a long, oval enclosure, with eight or ten ranges of seats extending all around it, and rising one above another, like the seats of the Coliseum at Rome. There is a roof extending all around over the seats; but the area within is so large that it could not well be covered with a roof. Besides, if there were a roof over it, how could the balloons go up?
Then, moreover, the spectacles which are exhibited in the Hippodrome appear to much better advantage when seen in the open light of day than if they were under the cover of a roof, so long as the spectators themselves are protected from the sun and from any sudden showers.
The area in the middle of the Hippodrome is about one hundred yards long and fifty yards wide. It is so large that there is room for a good wide road all around it, and also for another road up and down the middle, with little gardens of grass and flowers between. At the very centre is a round area, where there is a concealed canal of water to represent a stream. This water is ordinarily covered with planks, and the planks are covered with a very thick canvas carpet, and this with sand; so that the water is entirely concealed, and the horsemen ride over it just as they do over any other part of the area. When they wish to use it, to show how the horses could leap over streams, they take off the sand, roll up the carpet, and carry away the planks; and there they have a very good representation of a stream.
The performances at the Hippodrome are very various. Sometimes whole troops of horse come in from between two great curtains at one end, all elegantly caparisoned and mounted, some by men and some by girls, but all, whether men or girls, dressed in splendid uniforms. These troops ride round and round the area, and up and down in the middle of it, performing a great variety of evolutions in the most rapid and surprising manner.
Then there are races of various kinds. Some are run by beautiful girls, who come out mounted on elegant gray horses that are mottled like leopards, each of the riders having a scarf over her shoulders of a different color from the rest, so that they may be all readily distinguished from each other in the race. Then there are races of chariots, three running at a time, round and round the area; and of small ponies, with monkeys on them for riders. There are various contrivances, too, for athletic and gymnastic feats, such as masts and poles for climbers to ascend, and other similar apparatus. All these things give the interior of the Hippodrome quite a gay and lively appearance, and the area necessary for them is so large that the ranges of seats surrounding it are sufficient to accommodate ten thousand spectators.
It was to this place that Adrienne and Antoine, with their father and mother, were going, while Rollo and Jennie supposed that they were going to a church. There was nothing to lead Rollo to suspect his mistake in the aspect of the building as he approached the entrance to it; for the sides of it were hidden by trees and other buildings, and the portal, though very large and very gayly decorated, seemed still, so far as Rollo could get a glimpse of it through the crowds of people, only to denote that it was the entrance to some very splendid public edifice, without at all indicating the nature of the purposes to which it was devoted.
The immense concourse of people which were pouring into the Hippodrome divided themselves at the gates into two portions, and passed up an ascent to enter at side doors. Rollo and Jane, following their guides, went toward the right. They observed that the father of Adrienne and Antoine stopped at a little window near the entrance, to pay the price of admission for himself and wife and his two children and to get the tickets. He paid full price for his two children, and so took four full tickets. Rollo and Jane did not see him pay the money. They only observed that there was a crowd at the little window, and they saw Antoine's father take the tickets. They did not know what this meant, however; but they followed on. When they all came to the doorway which led up to the ranges of seats, the man whose duty it was to take the tickets supposed that the four children all belonged to the same family, and that they had been admitted at half price, and that, accordingly, two of the tickets were for the father and mother, and the other two for the four children. So he let them all pass on together, especially as there was, at that time, such a throng of people crowding in that there was no time to stop and make any inquiries.
Rollo and Jane were carried along by the current up a flight of stairs, which came out among the ranges of seats; and after moving along for some distance till they came to a vacancy they sat down, and began to look around and survey the spacious and splendid interior into which they had entered. They were at once overwhelmed with the magnificence of the spectacle which was presented to view. Instead of a church, they found a vast open area extended before them, surrounded with long ranges of seats, and laid out in the interior in the most graceful and beautiful manner.
Jennie, said Rollo, after gazing about for some moments, almost bewildered, if this is any kind of meeting at all, I think it must be a camp meeting.
Jennie was completely bewildered, and had no opinion on the subject whatever; so she said nothing.
That's the place for the choir, I suppose, said Rollo, pointing to a sort of raised platform with a balustrade in front, which was built among the seats in the middle of one of the sides of the Hippodrome. But then, he added, after a moment's pause, I don't see any pulpit, unless that is it.
As he said this, Rollo pointed to a balcony with a rich canopy over it, which was built up among the seats, directly opposite to the musician's gallery, on the other side of the arena. This balcony was for the use of the emperor, and his family and friends, when they chose to come and witness the spectacles in the Hippodrome.
These speculations of Rollo's were suddenly interrupted by the striking up of martial music, by a full band of trumpets, drums, clarinets, hautboys, and horns, from the musician's gallery. Soon afterwards the curtains opened at the farther end of the arena, and a magnificent troop of horse, mounted by male and female riders, all dressed in the gayest and most splendid costumes, came prancing in. As soon as Rollo had recovered from his astonishment at this spectacle, he turned to Jennie, and said,
Jennie, it is not any church or meeting at all; and I think we had better go home.
I think so too, said Jennie.
I should like to come here some other day, added Rollo; and I mean to ask my father to let us come. Uncle George will come with us. But now we had better go home.
So the children rose from their seats and began to move toward the door. It was some time before they could get out, so great was the number of people still coming in. They, however, finally succeeded, and were quite relieved when they found themselves once more in the open air.
They turned their steps immediately toward home. Jane, however, soon began to feel very tired; and so Rollo said he would stop the first omnibus that came along. The avenue was full of carriages of every kind; and pretty soon an omnibus, headed down the obelisk, appeared among them. Rollo made a signal for the conductor to stop, and he and Jennie got in.
They had a very pleasant ride back through the Elysian Fields, and around the great square where the obelisk stands. They then entered the street which runs along by the side of the gardens of the Tuileries, and advanced in it toward the heart of the city. Rollo made a sign for the conductor to stop when the omnibus reached that part of the street which was opposite to the entrance into the garden where he and Jennie had gone in. This was, of course, also opposite to the street leading into the Place Vendome. It was but a short walk from this place to the hotel. About six o'clock the children arrived at the hotel, and the table was already set for dinner. Mr. Holiday was reclining on a couch in the room, and Mrs. Holiday had been reading to him. Rollo's uncle George was also in the room. Mrs. Holiday laid down her book when the children came in. Rollo and Jennie sat down upon a sofa, not far from their father's couch. They were glad to rest.
Well, children, said Mrs. Holiday, have you had a pleasant walk?
Yes, said Rollo, a very pleasant walk indeed. We have seen a great many very curious things. But I believe we made a mistake.
What mistake? asked Mrs. Holiday.
Why, we followed a great many people that we thought were going to church; but, instead of that, they led us into a great place that I think was some sort of circus.
Here Mr. George looked up very eagerly and began to laugh.
I declare! said he. I shouldn't wonder if you got into the Hippodrome.
I don't know what it was, said Rollo. When we first went in we saw that it was not a church; but we did not know but that it might be some sort of camp meeting. But pretty soon they began to bring horses in and ride them around, and so we came out.
Here Mr. George fell into a long and uncontrollable paroxysm of laughter, during the intervals of which he said, in broken language, as he walked about the room endeavoring to get breath and recover his self-control, that it was the best thing he had heard since he landed at Liverpool. The idea of following the crowd of Parisians in the Champs Elysées on Sunday afternoon, with the expectation of being conducted to church, and then finally taking the Hippodrome for a camp meeting! Rollo himself, though somewhat piqued at having his adventure put in so ridiculous a light, could not help laughing too; and even his father and mother smiled.
Never mind, Rollo, said his mother, at length. I don't think you were at all to blame; though I am glad that you came out when you found what sort of a place it was.
O, no, said Mr. George, as he gradually recovered his self-control, you were not to blame in the least. The rule you followed is a very good one for England and America; but it does not apply to France. Going with the multitude Sunday afternoons, in Paris, will take you any where but to church.
Notwithstanding the concurrence of opinion between Rollo's mother and his uncle that he had done nothing wrong, neither he nor Jennie could help feeling some degree of uneasiness and some little dissatisfaction with themselves in respect to the manner in which they had spent the afternoon. They had both been accustomed to consider the Sabbath as a day solemnly consecrated to the worship of God and to the work of preparation for heaven. It is true that the day sometimes seemed very long to them, as it does to all children; and though they had always been allowed to take quiet walks in the gardens and grounds around the house, still they usually got tired, before night came, of being so quiet and still. Notwithstanding this, however, they had no disposition to break over the rule which, as they supposed, the law of God enjoined upon them. They fully believed that God himself had ordained that there should be one day in seven from which all the usual occupations and amusements of life should be excluded, and which should be consecrated wholly to rest, to religious contemplation, and to prayer; and they were very willing to submit to the ordinance, though it brought with it upon them, as children, burdens and restrictions which it was sometimes quite onerous for them to bear.
When night came, Rollo found that he always felt much happier if he had kept the Sabbath strictly, than when he attempted, either secretly or openly, to evade the duty. There was a sort of freshness and vigor, too, with which he engaged in the employments of the week on Monday morning, which, though he had never stopped to account for it philosophically, he enjoyed very highly, and which made Monday morning the brightest and most animated morning of the week. So Rollo was accustomed to acquiesce very willingly in the setting apart of the sacred day to religious observances and to rest, thinking that the restraints and restrictions which it imposed were amply compensated for by the peace and comfort which it brought to his mind when he observed it aright, and by the novelty and freshness of the charm with which it invested the ordinary pursuits and enjoyments of life when it was over.
Accordingly, on this occasion, feeling a little dissatisfied with himself and uneasy in mind, in consequence of the manner in which he had spent the afternoon, Rollo determined to make all the atonement for his fault, if fault it was, that was now in his power. Accordingly, when the family rose from the table after dinner, which was about seven o'clock, and his father and mother went and sat upon the sofa together, which stood in the recess of a window looking out upon the Place Vendome, Rollo said to Jane, in an undertone,
Jennie, come with me.
He said this in the tone of an invitation, not of command; and Jennie understood at once, from her experience on former occasions, that Rollo had some plan for her entertainment or gratification. So she got down from her chair and went off with him very readily.
They went out at a door which led into their mother's bed room.
Jennie, said Rollo, as he walked along with her across the room, I am going to get the Bible and sit down here by the window and read in it. Would not you like to read with me?
Yes, said Jennie, if you will find a pretty story to read about. There are a great many toward the first part of the Bible.
Yes, said Rollo, I will.
And let us go into my room to read, said Jennie. I like my room the best.
Well, said Rollo, I like your room best, too.
So Rollo took the Bible off from the table of his father's room, and then he and Jennie went on together into Jennie's room. This room was a little boudoir, which opened from Mr. and Mrs. Holiday's room; it was a charming little place, and it was no wonder that Jennie liked it. It was hung with drapery all around, except where the window was, on one side, and a large looking glass and a picture on two other sides. There was even a curtain over the door, so that when you were in, and the door was shut, and the curtain over it was let down, you seemed to be entirely secluded from all the world. This drapery was green, and the room, being entirely enclosed in it, might have seemed sombre had it not been for the brilliancy and beauty of the furniture, and the variegated colors and high polish of the floor. There was an elegant bedstead and bed in the back part of the room, with a carved canopy over it. There was a bureau also, with drawers, where Jennie kept her clothes; and a little fireplace, with a pretty brass fender before it; and a marble mantel piece above, with a clock and two vases of flowers upon it. There were a great many other curious and beautiful articles of furniture in the room, which gave it a very attractive appearance, and made it, in fact, as pretty a place of seclusion as a lady could desire to have. Jennie enjoyed this room very much indeed; but still, after all, notwithstanding the expensiveness and beauty of the decorations which adorned it, I do not know that Jennie enjoyed it any more than she did a little seat that she had under some lilac bushes, near the brook at the bottom of her father's garden, at home.
There was a small couch in the recess of the window in Jennie's boudoir; and here she and Rollo established themselves, with the Bible lying open before them upon a small table which they had placed before the couch to hold it. They raised their own seats by means of large, square cushions which were there, so as to bring themselves to the right height for reading from the book while it lay upon the table; and they put their feet upon a tabouret which belonged to the room. The tabouret was made for a seat, but it answered an admirable purpose for a foot-stool. As soon as the two children were thus comfortably established, they opened the Bible, and Rollo began to turn over the leaves in the books of Samuel and of Kings, in order to find something which he thought would interest Jennie.
At length he found a chapter which seemed, so far as he could judge by running his eye along the verses, to consist principally of narration and dialogue; and so he determined to begin the reading at once.
Now, said he, Jennie, I will read one verse, and then you shall read one, and I will tell you the meaning of all the words that you don't know.
Jennie was much pleased with this arrangement, and she read the verses which came to her with great propriety. It is true that there were a great many words at which she was obliged to hesitate some little time before she could pronounce them; and there were others which she could not pronounce at all. Rollo had the tact to wait just long enough in these cases. By telling children too quick when they are endeavoring to spell out a word, we deprive them of the pleasure of surmounting the difficulty themselves; and, by waiting too long, we perplex and discourage them. There are very few children who, when they are hearing their younger brothers and sisters read, have the proper discretion on this point. In fact, a great many full-grown teachers fail in this respect most seriously, and make the business of reading on the part of their pupils a constant source of disappointment and vexation to them, when it might have been a pleasure.
Rollo, too, besides the patient and kind encouragement which he afforded to Jane in her attempts to read her verses herself, read those which fell to his share in a very distinct and deliberate manner, keeping the place all the while with his finger, so that Jennie might easily follow him. He stopped also from time to time to explain the story to Jennie, and to talk about the several incidents that were described in it, in order to make it sure that Jennie understood them all. It would have been much easier for him to have taken the book himself, and to have read the whole chapter off at once, fluently. But this would have defeated his whole object; which was, not to do what he could do most easily, but to do good and help Jennie. If a boy were going up a high hill, with his sister in his company, it would be easier for him to go directly on and leave his sister behind. A selfish boy would be likely to do this; but a generous-minded boy would prefer to go slowly, and help his sister along over the rocks and up the steep places.
Rollo and Jane both became so much interested in their reading that they continued it almost an hour. It then began to be dark, and so they put the book away. Their mother came in about that time, and was very much pleased when she found how Rollo and Jennie had been employed; and Rollo and Jennie themselves experienced a substantial and deeply-seated feeling of satisfaction and comfort that all the merry-making of the Elysian Fields could never give. If any of the readers of this book have any doubt of this, let them try the experiment themselves. At some time, after they have been spending a portion of the Sabbath in such a way as to give them an inward feeling of uneasiness and self-condemnation, let them engage for a time in the voluntary performance of some serious duty, as Rollo did, and in the spirit and temper which he manifested, and see how strongly it will tend to bring back their peace of mind and restore them to happiness. To try the experiment more effectually still, spend the whole Sabbath in this manner, and then see with what a feeling of quiet and peaceful satisfaction you will go to bed at night, and with what a joyous and buoyant spirit you will awake on Monday morning.
Before Rollo left Paris, he went, one Tuesday afternoon, with his mother and Jennie and his uncle George, to see the performances at the Hippodrome, and he enjoyed the spectacle very much indeed. Besides the performances which have already been described, there were two others which astonished him exceedingly. In one of these a man came into the middle of the area, and there the assistants lifted up a large and heavy pole, which they poised in the air, and then set the lower end of it in a sort of socket which was made in an apron which the man wore, which socket was fastened securely to the man's hips and shoulders by strong straps, so that he could sustain the weight of the pole by means of them. The pole was about thirty feet high, and the top was branched like a pitchfork. It was shaped, in fact, exactly like a pitchfork, except that there was a bar across from the top of one branch to the top of the other, and a rope hanging down from the middle of the bar half way down to the place of bifurcationthat is, to the place where the straight part of the pole ended and the branches began. Things being thus arranged, a boy, who was about twelve years old, apparently, came out, and, leaping up upon the man's shoulders, began to climb up the pole. When he reached the top of it he took hold of the rope, and by means of the rope climbed up to the bar. Here he began to perform a great variety of the most astonishing evolutions, the man all the time poising the pole in the air. The boy would climb about the bar in every way, drawing himself up sometimes backwards and sometimes forward, and swinging to and fro, and turning over and over in every conceivable position. He would hang to the bar sometimes by his hands and sometimes by his legssometimes with his head downward, sometimes with his feet downward. He would whirl round and round over the bar a great many times, till Rollo and Jane were tired of seeing him, and then he would rest by hanging to the pole by the back of his head, without touching the bar with any other part of his body. All this time the man who held the pole kept it carefully poised, moving to and fro about the area continually in following the oscillations.
[Illustration: THE HIPPODROME.]
The other performance was in some respects more extraordinary still. There was a mast set up in the ground, thirty or forty feet high. At the ground, ten feet from the foot of the mast, there commenced an inclined plane, formed of a plank about a foot or eighteen inches wide, which ascended in a spiral direction round and round the mast till it reached the top. A man ascended this plane by means of a large ball, about two feet in diameter, which he rolled up standing upon it, and rolling it by stepping continually on the ascending side. There was no ledge or guard whatever to keep the ball from rolling off the planenothing but a narrow plank ascending continually, and winding in a spiral manner around the mast. This experiment it was quite frightful to see. Several of the children who were sitting near Mr. George's party began to cry, saying, O, he will fallhe will fall! In fact, Jennie could not bear to look at him, and so she shut her eyes; and even Mrs. Holiday looked another way. But Rollo watched it through, and saw the man go on up to the very top of the mast, and stand there on his ball on the top, forty feet above the ground, with his hands extended in triumph. After remaining there a short time, he came down as he had gone up; and when he reached the ground, he rolled his ball along, keeping on it all the time, till he came to a chariot which was waiting to receive him. He stepped from the ball off to the chariot, and was then driven all around the ring, being received every where, as he passed, with the acclamations of the spectators.
One morning, just after breakfast, when Rollo and Jennie were sitting at the window of their hotel, looking at a band of about forty drummers that were arranging themselves on the Asphaltum, in the Place Vendome, in front of the column, preparatory to an exercise of practice on their instrument, Mr. George came into the room. Mr. George took up a newspaper which was lying upon the table, and, seating himself in a large arm chair which was near, he read from it for a few minutes, and then, laying down the paper, said,
Rollo, how do you pronounce L-o-u-v-o-i-s?
Mr. George did not speak the word, but spelled it letter by letter.
I don't know, said Rollo.
Because, said Mr. George, that is the name of the hotel where I have gone.
What made you go away from this hotel, uncle George? asked Jennie. Didn't you like it?
Yes, replied Mr. George, I liked it very much. But I wanted to change the scene. I had become very familiar with every thing in this part of the city, and with the modes of life in this hotel. So I thought I would change, and go to some other quarter of the city, where I could see Paris, and Paris life, in new aspects.
I wish I had gone with you, said Rollo. I wonder if my father would not let me go now. Is there a room for me at your hotel? he added, looking up eagerly.
I don't know, said Mr. George. You can ask when you go there. But to day I am going to see the Garden of Plants; and you may go with me, if you like.
Well, said Rollo, I should like to go very much.
And may I go, too? said Jennie.
Yes, said Mr. George, if your mother is willing.
Well, said Jennie, joyfully, I'll go and ask her. Only I wish it was a garden of flowers instead of a garden of plants.
So Jennie went to ask her mother if she might go with her uncle George. She soon returned with her shawl and bonnet on, and then, Mr. George leading the way, they all went together down stairs, and got into a carriage which was waiting for them at the door. The carriage was an open one, with the top turned back, so that they all had a fine opportunity to see the streets and the persons passing as they rode along.
Mr. George directed the coachman to drive first to his hotel; and the carriage, leaving the Place Vendome on the northern side, entered into a perfect maze of narrow streets, through which it advanced toward the heart of the city.
After a time, they came to a long, straight street, which led across the city, through the centre of it, from the river to the Boulevards; and when they were about in the middle of this street, the attention of the children was attracted by a very long and gloomy-looking building, which formed one side of the street for a considerable distance before them. It had no windows toward the street, but only a range of square recesses in the walls, of the form of windows, but without any glass. Jennie asked Mr. George if it was the prison.
Not exactly, said Mr. George; and yet there is one room in it where there are more than a hundred men, and they are not permitted to speak a loud word.
Let's go and see them, said Rollo.
Very well, said Mr. George; we will.
So saying, he called upon the coachman to stop opposite to a great archway which opened through the building near the middle of it. Mr. George and the children descended from the carriage and went in under the archway. Looking through, they saw a large court yard, with grass, and trees, and a fountain. They did not, however, go on into this court yard, but turned to the right to a very broad flight of steps which seemed to lead into the building. There was a man in uniform, with a cocked hat upon his head, who stood in the passage way to guard the entrance. He made no objection, however, to the party's going in; and so they all went on up the stairway.
After passing through a series of magnificent passages and vestibules, with very broad staircases, and massive stone balustrades, and other marks of a very ancient and venerable style of architecture, Mr. George led the way through an open door, where the children saw extended before them, as far as the eye could reach, a long range of rooms, opening into one another, and all filled with bookshelves and books. The rooms had windows only on one side; that is, on the side next the courtyard; and the doors which led from one room to the other were all near that side of the room. Thus three sides of each room were almost wholly unbroken, and they were all filled with bookshelves and books. The doors which led from one room to another were all in a range; so that standing at one end, opposite to one of these doors, the spectator could look through the whole range of rooms to the other end. The distance was, moreover, so great, that, though there was a group of several persons standing at the farther end of the range of rooms at the time that Rollo entered, they looked so small and so indistinct that Rollo could not count them to tell how many there were.
It is a library, said Rollo.
Yes, said Mr. George, it is the National Library of Paris, one of the largest libraries in the world. The books have been accumulating here for ages.
I don't see what can be the use of such a large library, said Rollo; nobody can possibly read all the books.
No, said Mr. George, they cannot read them all; but they may wish to consult them. There are often particular reasons for seeing some particular book, which was published so long ago that it is not now to be found in common bookstores; in such cases, people come here, and they are pretty sure to find the book in this collection.
There were several parties of ladies and gentlemen to be seen, at different distances, walking along the range of rooms, all of whom seemed to be visitors. Mr. George, himself, walked on, and the children followed him. They passed from one apartment to another, amazed at the number of books. They were all neatly arranged on bookshelves, which extended from the floor to the ceiling, and were protected by a wire netting in front; so that, although the visitors could see the books, they could not take them down.
Mr. George and the children walked on, until, at length, they came to the end of the range of rooms, and there they found another range, running at right angles to the first, back from the street. They turned and walked along through these rooms, too. The floors of all the rooms were very smooth and glossy, being formed of narrow boards, of dark-colored wood, curiously inlaid, and highly polished. Rollo told Jennie that he believed he could slide on such floors as well as he could on ice, if he thought they would let him try. He knew very well, however, that it would not be proper to try. Besides, he observed that there were standing at different distances along the range of rooms certain men, in uniform, who seemed to be officers stationed in the library to guard against any thing like irregularity or disorder on the part of the visitors.
Besides the books, there were a great many other things to interest visitors in the rooms of the library, such as models of buildings, statues, collections of coins, medals, and precious gems, and other similar curiosities. These things were arranged on tables and in cases made expressly for them, and placed in the various rooms. The tables and cases occupy, generally, the central parts of the rooms that they were placed in, so as not to interfere with the use of the sides of the rooms for books. In one place was a collection of some of the oldest books that ever were printed, showing the style of typography that prevailed when the art of printing was first discovered. Mr. George took great interest in looking at these. Rollo and Jennie, however, did not think much of them; and so, while their uncle was examining these ancient specimens, they went to the windows and looked out into the court yard. This court formed a green and beautiful garden, shaded with trees and adorned with fountains and walks. The visitors could see that the buildings of the library extended in long ranges all around it.
At length, at the end of the second range of rooms, the party came to a third range, which was parallel to the first, and which extended along the back side of the court yard. The children could not go into these apartments, for the entrance to them was closed by a glass partition. They could, however, look through the partition and see what there was within. They beheld a very long hall, which was several hundred feet in length, apparently, and quite wide, and it was lined on both sides with bookshelves and books. Long tables were extended up and down this hall, with a great number of gentlemen sitting at them, all engaged in silent study. Some were reading; some were writing; some were looking at books of maps or engravings. There were desks at various places up and down the room, with officers belonging to the library sitting at them, and several messengers, dressed in uniform, going to and fro bringing books. Mr. George explained to the children that there was another entrance to this room, leading from the court yard by a separate staircase, and that any person who wished to read or study might go in there and sit at those tables, only he must be still, and not disturb the studies of the rest. If he wished for any book, he could not go and get it from the shelves, but must write the title of it in full on a slip of paper, and carry it to one of the desks. The officer would take the slip and give it to one of the messengers, who would then go and get the book.
After looking through the glass partition at this great company of readers and students until their curiosity was satisfied, the children turned away, and Mr. George conducted them back through the long ranges of rooms by the same way that they came. When, at length, they got back to the staircase where they had come up, Mr. George, instead of going out where he had come in, descended by another way, through new corridors and passages, until he came to a room where a considerable number of people were sitting at tables, looking at books of engravings. The sides of this room, and of several others opening into it, were filled with bound volumes of prints and engravings, some plain and some colored, but very beautiful. Many of the volumes were very large; but however large they might be, it was very easy to turn over the leaves and see the pictures, for the tables, or rather, desks, in the middle of the room, were so contrived that a book, placed upon them, was held at precisely the right slope to be seen to advantage by persons sitting before it. Mr. George told the children, in a whisper, that any one might ask for any book there was there, and the attendants would place it on one of the tables for him, where he might sit and look at the prints in it as long as he pleased.
Some day, continued Mr. George, we will come here and look over some of these books; but to-day we must go to the Garden of Plants.
Mr. George then led the children back to the carriage, and ordered the coachman to drive to his hotel.
The hotel was situated on the site of an open square, which, though by no means so grand and magnificent as the Place Vendome, was still a very pleasant place.
There was a fountain in the centre, with a large basin of water around it. Outside of this basin the square was paved with asphaltum, and was as hard and smooth as a floor. The pavement was shaded with trees, which were planted at equal distances all over it; and under the trees there were seats, where various persons were sitting. There were many children, too, playing about under the trees, some trundling hoop, some jumping rope, and some playing horses.
The carriage stopped at the door of the hotel, and Mr. George took the children up to his room. It was a front room, and it looked out upon the square. The children went to the window, and, while Mr. George was getting ready to go, they amused themselves by looking at the children that were playing on the square.
Among the other children, there was a boy, apparently about eight years of age, who was sitting apart from the rest of the children, on a bench by himself. His complexion was dark, and his hair very black and glossy. He was very neatly and prettily dressed, though in a very peculiar style, his costume being quite different from any thing that Rollo had ever before seen. He had a ball in his hand, which now and then he tossed into the air.
He has not any body to play with, said Rollo to Jennie. I have a great mind to go down and play with him while uncle George is getting ready.
Very well, said Mr. George; you can go. I shall not be ready for nearly half an hour. We do not wish to get to the Garden of Plants before twelve o'clock.
Rollo hesitated a little about going down, and while he was hesitating the boy rose from his seat and came toward the hotel. He entered under the archway, and presently Rollo heard him coming up the staircase. He then determined to hesitate no longer; so he went out into the passage way to see him.
The boy had reached the top of the staircase when Rollo went out, and was just then coming along the hall. He looked at Rollo with a smile as he came toward him, and this encouraged Rollo to speak to him.
Can't you find any one to play with you? said Rollo.
The boy shook his head, but did not speak.
He meant by this that he did not understand what Rollo said; but Rollo thought he meant that he could not find any one to play with him.
I will play with you, said Rollo; and as he spoke he held out his hands, with the wrists together and the palms open between them, in a manner customary with boys for catching a ball.
The boy understood the sign, though he did not understand the words. He tossed the ball to Rollo, and Rollo caught it. Rollo then tossed it back again. Presently Rollo made signs to the boy to sit down upon the floor at one end of the hall, while he sat down at the other, explaining his wishes also at the same time in words. The boy talked too, in reply to Rollo, accompanying what he said with signs and gestures. They got along thus together in their play very well, each one imagining that he helped to convey his meaning to the other by what he said, while, in fact, neither understood a word that was spoken by the other, and so took notice of nothing but the signs.
Rollo listened attentively once or twice to short replies that his new friend made to him, in order to see if he could not distinguish some words in it that he could understand; but he could not; and he finally concluded that it must be some other language than French that the boy was speaking. He was sorry for this; for he could understand short sentences in French pretty well, and could speak short sentences himself in reply. When, however, he tried to speak to the boy in French, he observed that he did not appear to understand him any better than when he spoke in English. This confirmed him in the opinion that the boy must belong to some other nation.
After playing together for some time with the ball, the two boys began to feel quite acquainted with each other. Rollo wished very much to find out his new companion's name; so he asked him, in English,
What is your name?
The boy smiled, and throwing the ball across again to Rollo as he spoke, said something in reply; but it was a great deal too much to be his name. What he said was, when interpreted into English, My father bought this ball for me, and gave two francs for it.
Then Rollo thought he would try French; so he translated his question, and asked it in French.
And I am going to carry it with me to Switzerland and Italy, said the boy, speaking still in the unknown tongue.
That can't be your name, either, said Rollo, I am very sure.
Then, after a moment's pause, he added, in an eager voice and manner, as if a new idea had suddenly struck him,
We are going to the Garden of Plantsuncle George, and Jennie, and I; wouldn't you like to go, too?
The boy smiled, and held out his hands for Rollo to roll the ball to him, saying something at the same time which to Rollo seemed totally unmeaning.
He does not understand me, I suppose; but I know how I can explain it to him.
So he rose from the floor, and, by means of a great deal of earnest gesticulation and beckoning, he induced the boy to get up too, and follow him. Rollo led the way into his uncle's chamber. The boy seemed pleased, though a little timid, in going in.
Uncle George, said Rollo, here is a boy that cannot talk. Are you willing that I should invite him to go with us to the Garden of Plants?
Yes, said Mr. George; though I don't see how you are going to do it.
Rollo led the boy to the window, and pointed to the carriage, which stood down before the door below. Then he opened a map of Paris which lay upon the table, and found the Garden of Plants laid down upon it, and showed it to the boy. Then he pointed to his uncle George, to Jennie, and to himself, and then to the carriage. Then he made a motion with his hand to denote going. By these gesticulations he conveyed the idea quite distinctly to his new acquaintance that they were all going to the Garden of Plants. He then finally pointed to the boy himself, and also to the carriage, and looked at him with an inquiring look, which he meant as an invitation to the boy to accompany them. The boy paid close attention to all these signs; and when Rollo had finished, instead of either nodding or shaking his head, in token of his accepting or declining the invitation, as Rollo expected he would have done, he took up the map, and, making certain mysterious gestures, which Rollo could not comprehend, he walked off rapidly out of the room.
Rollo looked at his uncle George with an expression of great astonishment on his countenance.
What does that mean? said he.
Perhaps he has gone to ask his father or his mother, suggested Mr. George.
He has, exclaimed Rollo, he has; that's it, I'm sure.
So Rollo went out immediately into the hall to wait till the boy came back.
In a few minutes a door opened, which led into a suite of apartments in the rear of the hotel, and the boy, with the map in his hand, came into the hall, nodding his head, and looking very much pleased; talking all the time, moreover, in a very voluble but perfectly unintelligible manner. A moment after he came the door opened again, and a very respectably dressed man, of middle age, came into the hall. The boy pointed to Rollo, and said something to this man.
Are you going to the Garden of Plants? said the man to Rollo, speaking in English, though with a very decidedly foreign accent.
Yes, sir, said Rollo.
And did you invite Carlos to go with you?
Yes, sir, said Rollo; only I did not know that his name was Carlos. He told me something very different from that. What language is it that he talks? Is it French?
No, replied the man, it is Spanish. He is a Spanish boy. He cannot understand a word of French or English. But he may go with you to the Garden of Plants.
Are you his father, sir? asked Rollo.
No, replied the man, I am his father's courier.[E]
[E] A courier is a traveling servant. A good courier understands all the principal languages of Europe, and is acquainted with all the routes and modes of travelling. He takes all the care of the party that employs him; makes bargains for them; finds out good hotels for them to go to; pays the bills; obtains all necessary information; and does every thing for them, in fact, which is required in making the tour of Europe.
So saying, the man passed on, leaving Rollo and Carlos together.
Come, Carlos, said Rollo, let us go into uncle George's room, and see if he is not ready to go.
Rollo beckoned as he spoke, and Carlos, understanding his action, though not his words, immediately followed him. In fact, during all his subsequent intercourse with Carlos, Rollo continued to talk to him just as if he could understand, and Carlos talked also in reply.
It is true, that, if Rollo had been asked whether he supposed that Carlos understood what he said, he would have answered no; and yet he continually forgot to act upon this belief, but talked on, under the influence of a sort of instinctive feeling that good plain English, such as he took care to speak, could not fail to convey ideas to any boy that heard it. Under the influence of a similar feeling, Carlos talked Spanish to Rollo, each imagining that the other understood him, at least in some degree, while, in fact, neither understood any thing but the signs and gestures which accompanied the language.
Just as they were about to set out, one of Mr. George's friends called to see him; and when he found that the party were going to the Garden of Plants, he wished to go too. There was scarcely room for so many in the carriage, and so Rollo proposed that he and Carlos should go in an omnibus.
There is an omnibus, said he, that goes there through the Boulevards, close by here; and Carlos and I will go in that, and then we can find you in the garden.
Very well, said Mr. George.
Come, Carlos, come with me, said Rollo; we are going to find an omnibus.
Carlos perceived that Rollo was proposing that they should go somewhere together, but he did not know where, or for what; nor did he care. He was ready to assent to any thing. So he and Rollo, leaving the rest of the party in the act of getting into the carriage, walked along up the street which led to the Boulevards.
Rollo and Carlos had not gone far before they came to a place where two children had set up what they called a chapel, under the archway which led to the interior of the house where they lived. A real chapel, in Catholic countries, is any consecrated place, large or small, containing an altar, and a crucifix, and other sacred emblems, where masses are said and other religious services are performed. Real chapels are made in the alcoves of churches, in monuments over tombs, and in other similar places, and children have toy chapels to play with. There are little crucifixes, and candlesticks, and communion cups, and other similar things for sale at the toy shops. Sometimes the children buy these things and arrange them on a small table, in a corner of the room, for play, just as in Protestant countries they arrange a pulpit and chairs for a congregation, and so make believe have a meeting. Sometimes the children bring out their chapel and set it near the sidewalk, by the street, and then hold out a little plate to ask the passers by for contributions. There are almost always some people more good matured than wise, who will give them a sou or two; and thus they often made up quite a little purse of money.
In this case, as Rollo and Carlos were passing along, the little girl, who was very nicely dressed in holiday costume, held out a small plate, saying,
One sou, gentlemen, if you please, for the little chapel.
Rollo and Carlos stopped to look at the chapel.
What pretty little candles! said Rollo, talking half to himself and half to Carlos, and how tall! I wish I had some of them for Jennie.
I have got a chapel at home, said Carlos.
She wants us to give her a sou, continued Rollo. Would you?
And I will show it to you if you ever come to Barcelona, said Carlos.
I don't know whether to give her a sou or not, said Rollo. Would you, Carlos?
My candlesticks are of real silver, said Carlos, but these are not.
Rollo finally concluded to give the girl a sou, thinking that he was in some measure bound to do it, after having stopped so long to look at her chapel; and then he and Carlos walked on as before. As they went on they continued to talk together, from time to time, Rollo in English and Carlos in Spanish, neither of them, however, paying any attention to what the other said. This was a very good plan, for there was a sense of companionship in this sort of conversation, though it communicated no ideas. They took the same kind of pleasure in it, probably, that birds do in the singing of their mates. In fact, it often happens, when a group of children are talking together in a language which they all understand, that each one talks for the pleasure of talking, and none of them pay any attention to what the others say.
Presently the two boys reached the Boulevard. It was a very broad and magnificent street, and the sidewalks were very wide. The sidewalks, wide as they were, were thronged with foot passengers, and the street itself was full of carriages. Very soon an omnibus came along; but it was full. There are a great many curious contrivances about a French omnibus; one of which is, that there is a sign, with the word complete, in French, painted upon it in large letters. The sign is placed directly over the door of the omnibus behind, and is attached to the top of the coach by a hinge at the lower edge. When the omnibus is full, the conductor who rides on the step behind pulls up this sign, by means of a cord attached to it, and then all the people on the sidewalks can see that there is no room for them. When any passengers get out so as to make room for others, then the conductor lets this sign down, and it lies flat upon the top of the coach, out of sight, until the omnibus gets full again, when it is drawn up as before.
Complete, said Rollo, pointing to the sign, which was up and in full view. That omnibus is full.
Yes, said Carlos, I see him. His cap is so high that he can't wear it in the omnibus, and so he has to take it off.
But there will be another one pretty soon, said Rollo.
If I were a soldier, said Carlos, I would never get into an omnibus at all. I would have an elegant black horse with a long tail, and I would go galloping through the streets on my horse.
At length an omnibus came along which was not full, and Rollo and Carlos got into it. After meeting with various adventures on the way, and changing from one omnibus to another, according to the system which prevails in Paris, they finally reached the gates of the garden. There was a sentry box on each side of the gates, and soldiers, with bayonets fixed, guarding the entrance. There were, however, a great many people going in. The soldiers did not prevent them. They had orders to allow all persons who were quiet and orderly, and had no dogs with them, to enter freely. So Rollo and Carlos passed directly in.
Rollo's first feeling was that of astonishment at the extent and variety of the scenes and prospects which opened before him. Instead of a small garden, laid out in gravel walks, and beds of flowers, as he had imagined, he found himself entering a perfect maze of winding walks, which were bordered on all sides by an endless variety of enclosures, groups of shrubbery, groves, huts, cabins, yards, ponds of water, and every other element of rural scenery. The whole, as it first burst upon Rollo's eye, formed a most enchanting landscape, and extended farther than he could see. The walks meandered about in the most winding and devious ways. The spaces between them were enclosed by neat little fences of lattice work, and were divided into little parks, or fields, in each of which some strange and unknown animals were feeding. There were ponds, with a quantity of birds of the gayest plumage sailing upon them; and green slopes, with goats, or deer, or sheep, of the most extraordinary forms and colors, grazing in them. At one place Rollo stopped to look at a small basin of water, with a broad stone margin all around it, which was completely covered with turtles and tortoises of all colors and sizes. The animals were lying there asleep, basking in the sun. A little farther on was a beautiful little yard, almost surrounded with trees and shrubbery, where three or four ostriches, with long necks, and heads higher than Rollo's, were walking about with a very majestic air. And farther still there was a little field, the occupants of which excited the astonishment of the boys to a still higher degree. They were three giraffes. One of them, with his head twenty feet in the air, was cropping the leaves from the top of a tall tree. The second was standing still, quietly looking at the groups of visitors that were gazing upon him from without the paling; while the third was amusing himself by galloping about the yard, with a sort of rolling motion that it was most astonishing to see.
Rollo and Carlos advanced among these scenes, drawn from one to the other by the new objects which every where presented themselves to view, and uttering to each other continual exclamations of astonishment. In fact, they talked incessantly to one another as they walked on, pointing out, each to the other, whatever attracted their attention, and making all sorts of comments upon what they saw.
Presently a low, bellowing sound was heard among the trees at a little distance.
Hark! said Rollo, in English, putting his hand upon Carlos's shoulder. What's that? I hear a roaring.
Hark! said Carlos, in Spanish. What's that? I hear a roaring.
Neither of the boys understood the words which the other spoke; but they knew very well that they were both listening to and talking about the roaring.
Let's go and see what it is, said Rollo.
We'll go and see, said Carlos.
So off they started together in the direction of the sound. They walked along a short distance, passing several beautiful little enclosures, where quiet and gentle-looking animals, of various forms, were grazing in their mimic pastures, or lying at rest before the doors of the thatched-roofed cabins that had been built for them instead of barns, until at length they came to a place where a long range of buildings opened to view before them, the fronts of which, instead of showing doors and windows, were formed of gratings of iron. The interior of this range was divided into compartments, each one of which formed an immense cage. These cages were all filled with lions, tigers, panthers, leopards, hyenas, and other ferocious beasts of prey. Some were walking to and fro restlessly in their narrow prisons; others were lying down; and others still were crouched in a corner of their cage, where they remained motionless, gazing with a sullen air upon the visitors who stood looking at them from without the grating.
Rollo and Carlos walked back and forth in front of these cages several times, looking at the animals. They admired the beauty and grace of the tigers and leopards, and the majestic dignity of the lions. There were a lion and a lioness together in one cage. The lioness was walking restlessly to and fro; while the lion sat crouched in the back part of the cage, with an expression upon his countenance in which the lofty pride and majesty of his character, and the patience and submissiveness which pertained to his situation, were combined.
Poor fellow! said Rollo; if I had you and your cage in Africa, where you belong, I would open the door and let you go.
Just at this moment the attention of both Rollo and Carlos was suddenly arrested by a most unearthly sound at a little distance from them, which seemed to be intermediate between a scream and a roar. It was so loud, too, as to be truly terrific.
What's that? said Rollo, suddenly, in English.
Ah, what a dreadful bray that is! said Carlos, in Spanish.
Would you go out there and see what it is? said Rollo.
Hark! Let's go there and see what it is, said Carlos.
So the boys started together to go in the direction of the sound.
It is impossible, however, for a stranger in the Garden of Plants to be sure of going any considerable distance in any one direction, for the walks are meandering and circuitous beyond description. They wind about perpetually in endless mazes; and the little fields, and parks, and gardens that are enclosed between them are so enveloped in shrubbery, and the view, moreover, is so intercepted with the huts and cabins built for the animals, and with the palings and networks made to confine them, that it is impossible to see far in any direction. Besides, there is so much to attract the attention, and to excite curiosity and wonder, at every step, that one is continually drawn away from one alley to another, till he gets hopelessly bewildered.
The huts and cabins which were made for the animals were very curious, and many of them were so pretty, with their rustic walls and thatched roof, that Rollo was extremely pleased with them. He stopped before one of them, which was the residence of a pair of beautiful lamas, and told Carlos that he meant to ask his uncle George to take particular notice how it was made, and so make one for him for a play-house when he got home.
And I wonder, said he, where my uncle George and Jennie are. I don't see how we are ever to find them. I did not know that this garden was so large and so full of trees and bushes.
Look there! said Carlos, pointing through an opening in the shrubbery along the winding walk. What are they doing there?
Rollo, understanding the gesture, though not the words, turned in the direction that Carlos indicated, and saw that there was quite a crowd of men, women, and children at the place, all engaged, evidently, in looking at something or other very intently.
Let's go and see, said Rollo.
So the boys went along that way together. They soon came in view of a very high and strong palisade, which, though it was half concealed by trees and shrubbery, evidently enclosed quite a considerable area, in the centre of which was a large stone building, like a castle, with projecting wings and towers, and immense gateways opening into it on various sides. This building was the residence of all the monsters the elephants, the giraffes, the rhinoceros, and the hippopotamus. Each of these species had its own separate apartment in the castle; and the ground surrounding it, within the great palisade, was divided into as many yards as there were doors; so that each kind of animal had its own proper enclosure. In one of these enclosures the rhinoceros was walking about, clothed in his plated and invulnerable hide; and in the next there were two elephants. The crowd of people were chiefly occupied in looking at the elephants. The palisade was very heavy and strong, being formed of timbers pointed at the top, and nearly as high as the elephants could reach. These palisades were, however, not close together. They were far enough apart to allow of the elephants putting their trunks through to the people outside, and also to give the people a good opportunity to look. Though these timbers were thus set at some distance apart from each other, they wore still connected together, and all held firmly in their places, by two iron rails which passed through them all, one near the top, and the other near the bottom, of the palisade, all along the range. They thus formed a fencing so heavy and strong that even the elephants could not break it down.
The visitors could not come quite up to the elephants; for outside of this great palisade, at a distance of about three feet from it, there was a high paling, made expressly to keep the spectators back. At the time when Rollo and Carlos came to the place the elephants were putting their trunks through to the people, in order to be fed with nuts, cake, gingerbread, and other such things which the people had ready to give them. Sometimes they would order the elephants to hold up their trunks and open their mouths, and then the men would try to toss pieces of gingerbread in. The elephants were always ready to do this when ordered, though their mouths, when they opened them, were so small that the people very seldom succeeded in aiming the missile so that it would go in.
Rollo and Carlos looked about among the crowd that were assembled at this place to see if Mr. George was among them; but he was not; and so, after amusing themselves for some time with the elephants, they walked along to see what else there was in the garden.
There were a great many people in the garden besides those who seemed to have come to see the animals. There were groups of children, that seemed to belong in the vicinity, playing in the walks, some jumping ropes, and others building little houses of gravel stones. There were women seated on benches in various little shady nooks and corners, some sewing, others taking care of babies; while others, at little stands and stalls, sold gingerbread and cakes. At one place Rollo stopped to look at two little children that were playing in the gravel and throwing the little pebble stones about. Their grandmother, who was sitting near, said something to them in French.
What does she say? asked Carlos.
She says, replied Rollo, you must not throw gravel in your little sister's face.
The question in this case and the answer fitted each other very well; but it was a mere matter of accident, for neither of the boys understood what the other had said.
Pretty soon the boys came to a place where a great number of people were standing on a sort of parapet, and leaning upon an iron railing, where they seemed to be looking down into some cavity. They hurried to the place, and, stepping up upon the parapet, they looked down too, and found there a range of dens below the surface of the ground, all full of bears. These dens were sunken yards, six or eight feet deep, and enclosed with perpendicular walls all around, so that the bears could not possibly get out. There were iron railings around the top, and a great many people were standing there looking down to the bears. There were four or five of these yards, all in a row; and as there were many great trees overshadowing them, the place was cool and pleasant. Some of the bears were walking about on the stone pavement which formed the bottom of the dens; others were sitting on their hind legs, and holding up their fore paws to catch the pieces of gingerbread which were thrown down to them by the people above. There were a number of little birds hopping about there, picking up the crums that were left, though they took care to keep out of the way of the bears. Rollo and Carlos bought some cakes of gingerbread of a woman who kept a stall near by, and, breaking them into pieces, they threw them down to the bears. They threw the most to a great white bear that was in one of the dens, and who particularly attracted their attention. Rollo told Carlos that he supposed this bear must have come from the north pole. The boys were both by this time rather hungry; but they were so much interested in seeing the bears try to catch the pieces of gingerbread that they did not think to eat any of it themselves, but threw it all down to them, all except one piece which Rollo gave to a little girl who stood beside him, to let her throw it, because she had none of her own. For this kindness the girl thanked Rollo, in French, in a very polite and proper manner.
After being satisfied with seeing the bears, the boys wandered on wherever they saw the most to attract them, until at length they came to what is called the palace of the monkeys, which pleased them more than any thing they had seen. This palace is an enormous round cage, as high as a house, and nearly a hundred feet in diameter, with a range of stone buildings all around it on the back side. These buildings have little rooms in them, where the monkeys live in the winter, and where they always sleep at night. They go out into the cage to play. The cage is formed of slender iron posts and railing, so that the people standing outside can see the monkeys at their sports and gambols. They play with each other in every possible way, and frolic just as if they were in their native woods. They climb up the smooth iron posts, pursuing one another; and then, leaping across through the air, they catch upon a rope, from which they swing themselves across to the branch of a tree. Some of these branches have bells attached to them; and the monkey, when he gets upon such a one, will spring it up and down till he sets the bell to ringing, and then, assisted by the return of the branch, he bounds away through the air to some rope, or pole, or railing that he sees within his reach. The agility which these animals display in these feats is truly astonishing.
Rollo and Carlos watched their evolutions with great interest. There was an excellent place to see, for the land opposite the cage ascended in such a manner that those more remote could look over the heads of those that were nearer. Besides this, there were quite a number of chairs under the trees, at the upper part of this ascent; and Rollo, perceiving that several of them were vacant, sat down in one, and made a sign to Carlos to sit down in another. They could now look at the monkeys, and rest at the same time. Presently a woman came along and said to Rollo, in French,
Please pay the chairs, sir.
Rollo recollected immediately that at all such places in Paris chairs were kept to be let, those who used them paying two sous apiece for the privilege. So he took out four sous and gave the woman.
I did not think of there being any thing to pay for these chairs, said he to Carlos. But then, I don't care. It is worth four sous to get a good rest, as tired as I am. I'm pretty hungry, too. I wish I had not given all my gingerbread to the bears.
Carlos made no reply to this suggestion; though there is no doubt that he would have readily assented to what Rollo said, if he had understood it. The boys remained some time looking at the monkeys, and then strolled away into other parts of the garden. Very soon they came to a place where Rollo spied at some distance before him, under some immense old trees in a sort of a valley, what he thought was a restaurant.
See these monstrous big trees! said Carlos; and there are tables under them.
The boys made all haste to the spot, and found to their great joy that it was a restaurant. There was a plain but very picturesque-looking house, antique and venerable; and before it, on a green, under the spreading branches of some enormous old trees, a number of small tables, with seats around them.
Now, Carlos, said Rollo, we will have some bread and butter and a good cup of coffee.
[Illustration: THE RESTAURANT.]
So they sat down at one of the pleasantest tables, and very soon a waiter came to see what they would have. Rollo called for coffee and bread and butter for two. In a short time the waiter came, bringing two great cups, which he filled half with coffee and half with boiled milk. He brought also a supply of very nice butter, and a loaf of bread shaped like a stick of wood. It was about as large round as Rollo's arm, and twice as long. The waiter laid this bread across the table for Rollo and Carlos to cut off as much from it as they might want. This is what they call having bread at discretion.
The boys enjoyed this banquet very much indeed. Besides the coffee, they had water, which they sweetened in the tumblers with large lumps of white sugar. They talked all the time while they were eating, each in his own language, and laughed very merrily. After all, said Rollo, this is the very best place in the whole garden. Feeding the bears is very good fun; but this is infinitely better.
After remaining for half an hour at the table, and eating till their appetites were completely satisfied, they concluded to go back and see the monkeys again.
In the mean time, Mr. George and his friend, with Jennie, had been engaged in an entirely different part of the garden; for the whole enclosure is so large that it takes many days to see the whole. On one side, bordering on a street, there is a long row of houses and gardens, occupied by professors, who give courses of lectures on the plants and animals which the garden contains. On another is a magnificent range of buildings, occupied as a museum, containing endless collections of dried plants, of minerals and shells, of skeletons, and the stuffed skins of birds and beasts. Then there is a very large tract of level land, between two splendid avenues, all laid out in beds of plants and flowers, forming a series of parterres, extending as far as the eye can reach, and presenting the gayest and most beautiful combination of colors that can be conceived. Jennie was very much delighted with all these things, as she walked about in these parts of the garden with her uncle, though she was somewhat uneasy all the time because she could not see any thing of Rollo.
I don't believe, said she at last to her uncle, as they were standing on the margin of a beautiful little artificial pond, full of lilies and other aquatic plants, I don't believe that we can find him at all in such a large garden.
Yes, said Mr. George; there'll be no difficulty. There is one universal rule for finding boys in the Garden of Plants.
What is that? asked Jennie.
Go to the places where they keep the monkeys and the elephants, said Mr. George; and if you don't find them there at once, wait a few minutes, and they'll be pretty sure to come.
It was as Mr. George had predicted; for, on going to the palace of the monkeys, there they found Rollo and Carlos laughing very heartily to see a big monkey holding a little one in its arms as a human mother would a baby.
The party, when thus united, went together once more over the principal places where the two divisions of it had gone separately before, so that all might have a general idea of the whole domain; and then, going out at a different gate from the one by which they had entered, they went home, all resolving to come again, if possible, at some future day.
ONE day, about one o'clock, after Rollo had been in Paris about a fortnight, he came into the hotel from a walk which he had been taking, and there found his mother and Jennie putting on their bonnets. He asked them where they were going. They said they were going to take a ride with Mr. George.
May I go, too? asked Rollo.
Whyyes, said his mother, hesitatingly. I suppose there will be room. Or you may stay at home here with your father. He is asleep in his room.
It is generally the case with children, both boys and girls, when they are young, that if they can get any sort of consent, however reluctant, from their parents, to any of their requests, they are satisfied, and take the boon thus hesitatingly accorded to them as readily as if it had been granted to them in the freest and most cordial manner. With gentlemen and ladies, however, it is different. They generally have more delicacy, and are seldom willing to accept of any favor unless circumstances are such that it can be granted in a very free and cordial manner. They will scarcely ever, in any case, ask to be permitted to join any party that others have formed; and when they do ask, if they perceive the slightest doubt or hesitation on the part of their friends in acceding to their proposal, they infer that it would be, for some reason or other, inconvenient for them to go; and they accordingly, at once, give up all intention of going.
Rollo, though still a boy, was beginning to have some of the honorable sentiments and feelings of a man; and when he perceived that his mother hesitated a little about granting his request, he decided immediately not to go and ride. Besides, he liked the idea of staying with his father.
Well, said he, I will stay here. My father may wish for something when he wakes up.
I don't suppose, however, after all, added his mother, that it is really necessary for you to stay on his account. His bell is within reach; and Alfred will come immediately when he rings.
But I should like to stay, said Rollo; and besides, I can get ahead one more day in my French.
Rollo was writing a course of French exercises, and his task was one lesson for every day. The rule was, that he was to write this exercise immediately after breakfast, unless he had written it before; that is, either on the same day before breakfast, or on a previous day. Now, Rollo desired to be free after breakfast, for that was a very pleasant time to go out. Besides, there were often plans and excursions formed for that time, which he was invited to join; and he could not join them unless his lesson for the day had been written. So he took pains to write his exercises, as much as possible, in advance. Whenever there came a rainy day he would write two or three lessons, and sometimes he would write early in the morning. He was now nearly a week in advance. Instead of being satisfied with this, however, he began to be quite interested in seeing how far ahead he could get. This feeling was what led him to think that he would take this opportunity to write a French lesson.
Accordingly, when his mother and Jennie had gone, he seated himself at his table and began his work. The writing of the exercise took about an hour. When the work was finished, and while Rollo was preparing to put his books away, he heard a movement in his father's room. He got up from his seat and opened the door, gently, saying,
Father, are you awake?
Yes, said his father. Are you there, Rollo?
Rollo found his father sitting up in a great arm chair, by the side of his bed. He had a dressing gown on.
How do you feel, father? said Rollo.
I think I feel better, said Mr. Holiday. As he said this he put on his slippers, and then stood up upon the rug that lay in front of his bed.
Yes, said he, I certainly feel bettera great deal better.
I am very glad, said Rollo.
Where is your mother? asked Mr. Holiday, as he walked across the room to the glass.
She has gone out to take a ride, said Rollo, with uncle George and Jennie.
That's right, said Mr. Holiday. I am very glad that she has gone. And have you been staying here to take care of me? he asked.
Yes, sir, said Rollo. I have been writing another French lesson. I have got them all written now to next Friday.
Ah, said Mr. Holiday, that's excellent. That's what the farmers call being forehanded.
Now, Rollo, said Mr. Holiday, after a little pause, I feel so much better that I should like to go somewhere and take a ride myself. I don't care much where. If there is any where that you wish to go, I will go with you. Come, I will put myself entirely at your disposal. Let us see what you can do to give me a ride and entertain me.
Rollo was very much pleased indeed with this proposal. He decided instantly what he would do. He had seen that morning an affix, as the French call it, that is, a placard posted on a wall among a hundred others, setting forth that there was to be a balloon ascension that afternoon at the Hippodrome, at three o'clock, to be followed by various equestrian performances. Rollo immediately mentioned this to his father, and asked him if he should be willing to go there. His father said that he should; adding, that he would like to see the balloon go up very much.
Then when we come home, said Rollo, you must ride slowly along through the Elysian Fields, and let me see the booths, and the games that they are playing there.
Very well, said his father; I will take some newspapers with me, and I will sit still in the carriage while you go and see the booths and the games.
This plan being thus resolved upon, and all arranged, Alfred was summoned and ordered to get the carriage ready, and to put the top down. When Alfred reported that the carriage was at the door, Mr. Holiday and Rollo went down and got in, and were soon in the midst of the stream of equipages that were going up the grand avenue of the Elysian Fields. They arrived at the Hippodrome in time to get an excellent seat, and they remained there two hours. They saw the balloon, with a man and young girl in the car below it, rise majestically into the air, and soar away until it was out of sight. The fearless aeronauts seemed entirely at their ease while they were ascending to the dizzy height. They sat in the car waving banners and throwing down bouquets of flowers as long as they could be seen.
After this there was a series of performances with horses, which delighted Rollo very much. Troops of men came out upon the arena, mounted on beautiful chargers, and armed with lances and coats of mail, as in ancient times. After riding their elegantly caparisoned horses round and round the ring several times, they formed into squadrons and attacked each other with their lances in sham battles. After this, fences of hurdles were put up across the course, in various places, and girls, mounted on beautiful white horses and elegantly dressed, rode around, leaping over the fences in a surprising manner. These and similar performances continued until near five o'clock, and then the immense assembly broke up, and the people, some in carriages and some on foot, moved away over the various roads and avenues which diverge from the Star.
Rollo and his father got into their carriage, which had been waiting for them all this time, and passing the Triumphal Arch, they entered the Grand Avenue of the Elysian Fields, on their return to the city.
They descended the slope which led down to the Round Point at a rapid rate. Here, after passing the Round Point, the road became level, and the region of groves and booths, and of games and frolicking, began.
Now, said Rollo, I should like to drive slowly, so that, if I come to any thing that I wish to get out and see, I can see it.
Very well, said his father; give Alfred your orders.
Alfred, said Rollo, draw up as near as you can to the sidewalk on the right hand, and walk the horses, so that I can see what there is.
And in the mean time, said Mr. Holiday, I will read my papers.
So Mr. Holiday took his newspapers out of his pocket and began to read them, while Rollo, standing up in the carriage, began to survey the crowd that filled the walks and groves that bordered the avenue, in order to select some object of attraction to be examined more closely.
Only I wish, father, said Rollo, that I had somebody here with me to go and see the thingsJennie or Carlos. I wish Carlos was here.
It is very easy to go and get him, said his father, with his eyes still on his newspaper.
May I? said Rollo.
Any thing you please, said Mr. Holiday. You are in command this afternoon. You may give Alfred any orders you please.
Then, Alfred, said Rollo, drive to the Hotel Louvois as fast as you can.
As he said this, Mr. Holiday folded up his paper and Rollo took his seat, while Alfred, turning the horses away from the sidewalk, set them to trotting briskly along the avenue.
Only, father, said Rollo, I shall prevent your reading your papers.
No matter for that, said Mr. Holiday. I shall like a good brisk ride along the Boulevards quite as well.
The horses, kept always by Alfred in the very best condition, trotted forward at a rapid rate, leaving scores of omnibuses, cabs, and citadines behind, and keeping pace with the splendid chariots of the French and English aristocracy that thronged the avenue. Presently Rollo observed a peculiar movement among the carriages before them, as if they were making way for something that was coming; and at the same time he saw hundreds of people running forward from the groves and booths, across the side avenues, to the margin of the carriage way.
The emperor! said Alfred, drawing in his horses at the same time.
An instant afterward, Rollo, who, on hearing Alfred's words, started from his seat and stood up in the carriage to look, saw two elegantly dressed officers, in splendid uniforms, galloping along toward them in the middle of the avenue. They were followed at a little distance by two others; and then came a very beautiful barouche, drawn by four glossy black horses, magnificently caparisoned. Two gentlemen were seated in this carriage, one of whom bowed repeatedly to the crowd that were gazing at the spectacle from the sides of the avenue as he rode rapidly along. Behind this carriage came another, with a gentleman and a lady in it, and afterward two more troopers. The whole cavalcade moved on so rapidly, that, before Rollo had had scarcely time to look at it, it had passed entirely by.
The emperor! said Alfred to Rollo. He is going out to take a ride.
Is that the emperor? exclaimed Rollo. He looks like any common man. But if I had four such beautiful black horses as he has got, I should be glad. I would drive them myself, instead of having a coachman.
The movement and the sensation produced by the passing of the emperor and his train along the avenue immediately subsided, and the other carriages resumed their ordinary course. Alfred's horses trotted on faster than ever. A thousand picturesque and striking objects glided rapidly bythe trees and the booths of the Elysian Fields; the tall, gilded lampposts, and the spouting fountains of the Place de la Concorde; omnibuses, cabs, wagons, chariots, and foot passengers without number; and, finally, the tall column of the Place Vendome. Winding round in a graceful curve through this magnificent square, the carriage rolled on in the direction of the Boulevards, and, after going rapidly on for nearly half a mile in that spacious avenue, it turned into the street which led to the hotel. It stopped, at length, before the door, and Rollo got out, while Mr. Holiday remained in the carriage. Rollo went up stairs, and after about five minutes he came down again, bringing not only Carlos with him, but also his uncle George. Mr. Holiday invited Mr. George to go with them for the remainder of the ride. This invitation Mr. George accepted; and so the two gentlemen taking the back seat, and Rollo and Carlos the front, Alfred took them all back to the Elysian Fields together.
They remained nearly an hour in the Elysian Fields. During this time Rollo's father and his uncle George staid in the carriage by the roadside, talking together, while Rollo and Carlos went in among the walks and groves to see the various spectacles which were exhibited there. They would come back from time to time to the carriage, in order that Rollo might describe to his father what they found, or ask permission to take part in some amusement. For instance, at one time he came and said, very eagerly,
Father, here is a great whirling machine, with ships and horses going round and round. Carlos and I want to ride on it. The horses are in pairs, two together. Carlos can get on one of them, in one of the pairs, and I on the other. We can go round twenty times for two sous.
Very well, said his father.
So Rollo and Carlos went back to the whirling machine. It was very large, and was very gayly painted, and ornamented with flags and banners. The vessels and the horses were attached to the ends of long arms, which were supported by iron rods that came down from the top of the central post, so that they were very strong. The horses were as large as small ponies, and the vessels were as big as little boatseach one having seats for four children. When Rollo and Carlos went back, the machine had just taken up its complement of passengers for one turn, and was then commencing its rotation. There were a great many persons standing by it, pleased to see how happy the children were in going round so merrily. There was an iron paling all around the machine, to keep the spectators at a safe distance, otherwise they might come too near, and so be struck, and perhaps seriously hurt, by the horses or the boats, when they were put in motion.
As soon as the twenty turns had been taken the machine stopped, and the children who had had their ride were taken off the horses and out of the boats, all except a few who were going to pay again and have a second ride. Rollo and Carlos then went inside the enclosure, and, going up some steps placed there for the purpose, they mounted their horses. Very soon the machine began to revolve, and they were whirled round and round twenty times with the greatest rapidity. The arms of the machine, too, were long, so that the circle which the horses and the vessels described was quite large, and the whole twenty revolutions made quite a considerable ride.
After finishing their circuit and dismounting from their horses, the boys next came to a whirling machine, which revolved vertically instead of horizontally; that is, instead of whirling the rider round and round near the level of the ground, it carried them up, over, and down. There was a great wheel, which revolved on an axis, like a vertical mill wheel. This wheel was double, and between the two circumferences the seats of the passengers were hung in such a manner that in revolving they swung freely, so as to keep the heads of the people always uppermost. These seats had high backs and sides, and a sort of bar in front for the people to take hold of, otherwise there would have been great danger of their falling out. As it was, they were carried so swiftly, and so high, and the seats swung to and fro so violently when the machine was in rapid motion, that the men and girls who were in the seats filled the ear with their screams and shouts of laughter.
Rollo and Carlos, after seeing this machine revolve, went to the carriage to ask if they might go in it the next time.
No, said Mr. Holiday. I am not sure that it is safe.
So the boys went away from the carriage back under the trees again, and walked along to see what the next exhibition might be. The carriage moved on in the avenue a little way to keep up with them.
The boys strolled along through the crowd a little while longer, looking for a moment, as they passed, now at the stalls for selling gingerbread and cakes, now at a display of pictures on a long line,the sheets being fastened to the line by pins, like clothes upon a clothes line,now at a company of singers, singing upon a stage under a canopy, and now again at a little boy, about seven or eight years old, who was tumbling head over heels on a little carpet which he had spread on the ground, and then carrying round his cap to the bystanders, in hopes that some of them would give him a sou. At length their attention was attracted by some large boys, who were engaged at a stand at a little distance in shooting at a mark with what seemed to be small guns. These guns, however, discharged themselves by means of a spring coiled up within the barrel, instead of gunpowder; and the bullets which they shot were peas. Rollo had seen these shooting-places before, when he went through the Fields on the first Sunday after he came; so he did not stop long here, but called Carlos's attention to something that he had never seen before, which was going on at a place a little under a tree, a little farther along. A large boy seemed to be pitching quoits. There were a number of persons around him looking on. There was a sort of box placed near the tree, the bottom of which was about two feet square. It had a back next the tree, and two sides, but it had no front or top. In fact, it was almost precisely like a wheelbarrow without any wheel, legs, or handles.
[Illustration: SINGING IN THE OPEN AIR.]
The bottom or floor of this box had a great many round and flat plates of brass upon it, about four inches in diameter, and about four inches apart from each other. The player had ten other plates in his hand, of the same size with those which were upon the bottom of the plate. He took these, one by one, and standing back at a certain distance, perhaps about as far as one good long pace, pitched them, as boys do quoits, in upon the floor of the box. What he tried to do was, to cover up one of the disks in the box so that no part of it could be seen. If he did so he was to have a prize; and he paid two sous for the privilege of playing. The prizes consisted of little articles of porcelain, bronzes, cheap jewelry, images, and other similar things, which were all placed conspicuously on shelves against the tree, above the box, in view of the player.
It seemed to the bystanders as if it would be not at all difficult to toss the disks so as with ten to cover one; but those who tried seemed to find it very difficult to accomplish the object. Even if the disks which they tossed fell in the right place, they would rebound or slide away, and sometimes knock away those which were already well placed. Still, after trying once, the players wore usually unwilling to give up without trying a second, and even a third and fourth time, so that they generally lost six or eight sous before they were willing to stop; especially as the man himself would now and then play the disks, and he, having made himself skilful by great practice, found no difficulty in piling up his ten disks wherever he wished them to go.
I could do it, I verily believe, said Rollo. I should like to try. I mean to go and ask my father if I may.
So Rollo went to the carriage to state the case to his father, and ask his permission to see if he could not pitch the disks so as to cover one of the plates on the board. His father hesitated.
So far as trying the experiment is concerned, said Mr. Holiday, as a matter of dexterity and skill, there is no harm; but so far as the hope of getting a prize by it is concerned, it is of the nature of gaming.
I should think it was more of the nature of a reward for merit and excellence, said Mr. George.
No, said Mr. Holiday; for in one or two trials made by chance passengers coming along to such a place, the result must depend much more on chance than on adroitness or skill.
I will tell you what you may do, Rollo, continued Mr. Holiday. You may pay the man the two sous and try the experiment, provided you determine beforehand not to take any prize if you succeed. Then you will pay your money simply for the use of his apparatus, to amuse yourself with a gymnastic performance, and not stake it in hope of a prize.
Well, said Rollo, that is all I want. And off he ran.
It seems to me that that is a very nice distinction that you made, said Mr. George, as soon as Rollo had gone, and that those two things are very near the line.
Yes, replied Mr. Holiday, it is a nice distinction, but it is a very true one. The two things are very near the line; but then, one of them is clearly on one side, and the other on the other. For a boy to pay for the use of such an apparatus for the purpose of trying his eye and his hand is clearly right; but to stake his money in hopes of winning a prize is wrong, for it is gaming. It is gaming, it is true, in this case, on an exceedingly small scale. Still it is gaming, and so is the beginning of a road which has a very dreadful end. Is not it so?
Yes, said Mr. George, I think it is.
As might have been expected, Rollo did not succeed in covering one of the disks. The disks that he threw spread all over the board. The money that he paid was, however, well spent, for he had much more than two sous' worth of satisfaction in making the experiment.
Rollo found a great many other things to interest him in the various stalls and stands that he visited; but at length he got tired of them all, and, coming back to the carriage, told his father that he was ready to go home.
Very well, said his father. I don't know but that your uncle George and I are ready, too, though we have not quite got through with our papers. But we can finish them at home.
So Rollo and Carlos got into the carriage, and all the party went home to dinner.
One evening, when Rollo had been making a long excursion during the day with his uncle George, and had dined with him, at the close of it, at a restaurant's in the Boulevards, he went home about eight o'clock to the hotel to see his father and mother and Jennie, and tell them where he had been. He found his mother in her room putting on her bonnet. She said she was going to take a ride along the Boulevards with a gentleman and lady who were going to call for her.
And where is father? said Rollo.
He has gone to bed, and is asleep by this time. You must be careful not to disturb him.
And Jennie? asked Rollo.
She has gone to bed, too, said his mother; but she is not asleep, and I presume she will be very glad to see you. You can go in her room.
Well, I will, said Rollo. But, mother, I should like to go and ride with you. Will there be room for me?
Yes, said his mother. There will be room, I suppose, in the carriage; but it would not be proper for me to take you, for I am going on an invitation from others. The invitation was to me alone, and I have no right to extend it to any body else.
But this you can do, if you please, continued his mother. You can take our carriage, and let Alfred drive you, and so follow along after our party. Only in that case you would not have any company. You would be in a carriage alone.
Never mind that, said Rollo. I should like that. I would put the top back, and then I could see all around. I should have a grand ride. I'll go. I wish Jennie had not gone to bed; she could have gone with me.
No, replied his mother; Jennie is not well to-night. She has got cold, and she went to bed early on that account. But she will be very glad to have you go and see her.
So Rollo went into Jennie's room. As soon as he opened the door, Jennie pushed aside the curtains, and said,
Ah, Rollo, is that you? I am very glad that you have come.
I can't stay but a little while, said Rollo. I am going to take a ride with mother.
Are you going with mother? asked Jennie.
Not in the carriage with her, replied Rollo; but I am going in the same party. I am going to have a carriage all to myself.
O, no, Rollo, said Jennie, in a beseeching tone. Don't go away. Stay here with me, please. I am all alone, and have not any body to amuse me.
But you will go to sleep pretty soon, said Rollo.
No, replied Jennie; I am not sleepy the least in the world. See.
Here Jennie opened her eyes very wide, and looked Rollo full in the face, by way of demonstrating that she was not sleepy.
Rollo felt very much perplexed. When he pictured to himself, in imagination, the idea of being whirled rapidly through the Boulevards, on such a pleasant summer evening, in a carriage which he should have all to himself, with the top down so that he could see every thing all around him, and of the brilliant windows of the shops, the multitudes of ladies and gentlemen taking their coffee at the little round tables on the sidewalk in front of the coffee saloons, the crowds of people coming and going, and the horsemen and carriages thronging the streets, the view was so enchanting that it was very hard for him to give up the promised pleasure. He, however, determined to do it; so he said,
Well, Jennie, I'll stay. I will go out and tell mother that I am not going to ride, and then I will come back.
For the first half hour after Mrs. Holiday went away, Rollo was occupied with Jennie in looking over some very pretty French picture books which Mrs. Holiday had bought for her that day, to amuse her because she was sick. Jennie had looked them all over before; but now that Rollo had come, it gave her pleasure to look them over again, and talk about them with him. Jennie sat up in the bed, leaning back against the pillows and bolsters, and Rollo sat in a large and very comfortable arm chair, which he had brought up for this purpose to the bedside. The books lay on a monstrous square pillow of down, half as large as the bed itself, which, according to the French fashion, is always placed on the top of the bed. Rollo and Jennie would take the books, one at a time, and look them over, talking about the pictures, and showing the prettiest ones to each other. Thus the time passed very pleasantly. At length, however, Jennie, having looked over all the books, drew herself down into the bed, and began to ask Rollo where he had been that day.
I have been with uncle George, said Rollo. He said that he was going about to see a great many different places, and that I might go with him if I chose, though he supposed that most of them were places that I should not care to see. But I did. I liked to see them all.
What places did you go to? asked Jennie.
Why, first we went to see the workshops. I did not know before that there were so many. Uncle George says that Paris is one of the greatest manufacturing places in the world; only they make things by hand, in private shops, and not in great manufactories, by machinery. Uncle George says there must be as much as eight or ten square miles of these shops in Paris. They are piled up to six or eight stories high. Some of the streets look like ranges of chalky cliffs facing each other, such as we see at some places on the sea shore.
What do they make in the shops? asked Jennie.
O, all sorts of curious and beautiful things. They have specimens of the things that they make up, put up, like pictures in a frame, in little glass cases, on the wall next the street. We walked along through several streets and looked at these specimens. There were purses, and fringes, and watches, and gold and silver chains, and beautiful portemonnaies, and clocks, and jewelry of all kinds, and ribbons, and opera glasses, and dressing cases, and every thing you can think of.
Yes, said Jennie, I have seen all such things in the shop windows in the Palais Royal and in the Boulevards.
Ah, those are the shops where they sell the things, said Rollo; but these shops that uncle George and I went to see are where they make them. We went to one place where they were making artificial flowers, and such beautiful things you never saw. The rooms were full of girls, all making artificial flowers.
Why did not you bring me home some of them? asked Jennie.
WhyI don't know, replied Rollo. I did not think to ask if I could buy any of them.
Then, after we had gone about in the workshops till we had seen enough, we went to the Louvre to see the paintings; though on the way we stopped to see a crèche.
Rollo pronounced the word very much as if it had been spelled crash.
A crash! exclaimed Jennie. Did a building tumble down?
O, no, said Rollo, it was not that. It was a place where they keep a great many babies. The poor women who have to go out to work all day carry their babies to this place in the morning, and leave them there to be taken care of, and then come and get them at night. There are some nuns there, dressed all in white, to take care of the babies. They put them in high cradles that stand all around the room.
Were they all crying? asked Jennie.
O, no, said Rollo, they were all still. When we went in they were all just waking up. The nuns put them to sleep all at the same time. Every cradle had a baby in it. Some were stretching their arms, and some were opening their eyes, and some were trying to get up. As fast as they got wide awake, the nuns would take them up and put them on the floor, at a place where there was a carpet for them to creep upon and play.
I wish I could go and see them, said Jennie.
You can, replied Rollo. Any body can go and see them. The nuns like to have people come. They keep every thing very white and nice. The cradles were very pretty.
Did they rock? asked Jennie.
No, replied Rollo; they were made to swing, and not to rock. They were up so high from the floor that they could not be made to rock very well. We stayed some time in this place, and then we went away.
And where did you go next? asked Jennie.
We went to the Louvre to see the famous gallery of paintings. It is a quarter of a mile long, and the walls are covered with paintings on both sides, the whole distance.
Except where the windows are, I suppose, said Jennie.
No, replied Rollo, there are no interruptions for windows. The windows are up high in the ceiling, for the room is very lofty. There is room for two or three rows of paintings below the windows. It is a splendid long room.
Were the pictures very pretty? asked Jennie.
Not very, said Rollo. At least, I did not think so; but uncle George told me it was a very famous gallery. There were a great many other rooms besides, all carved and gilded most magnificently, and an immense staircase of marble, wide enough for an army to go up and down. There were several large rooms, too, full of ancient marble statues; but I did not like them very much. They looked very dark and dingy. The paintings were prettier than they.
There were a great many persons in the painting gallery at work copying the paintings, continued Rollo. Some were girls, and some were young men. There was one boy there not much bigger than I.
I don't see how so small a boy could learn to paint so well, said Jennie.
Why, he was not so very small, said Rollo. He was bigger than I am, and I am growing to be pretty large. Besides, they have excellent schools here where they learn to draw and to paint. We went to see one of them.
Did it look like one of our schools? asked Jennie.
O, no, replied Rollo; it seemed to me more like a splendid palace than a school. We went through an iron gate into a court, and across the court to a great door, where a man came to show us the rooms. There were a great many elegant staircases, and passage ways, and halls, with pictures, and statues, and models of cities, and temples, and ruins, and every thing else necessary for the students.
Were the students there? asked Jennie.
No, replied Rollo; but we saw the room where they worked, and we saw the last lesson that they had.
What was it? asked Jennie.
It was a subject which the professor gave them for a picture; and all of them were to paint a picture on that subject, each one according to his own ideas. We saw the paintings that they had made. There were twenty or thirty of them. The subject was written on a sheet of paper, and put up in the room where they could all see it.
What was the subject? asked Jennie.
It was something like this, replied Rollo: An old chestnut tree in a secluded situation, the roots partly denuded by an inundation from a stream. Cattle in the foreground, on the right. Time, sunset.
And did all the pictures have an old chestnut tree in them? asked Jennie.
Yes, said Rollo; and the roots were all out of the ground on one side, and there were cows in the foreground of them all. But the forms of the trees, and the position of the cattle, and the landscape in the back ground were different in every one.
I should like to see them, said Jennie.
Then, said Rollo, when we came away from this place we walked along on the quay by the side of the river, looking over the parapet down to the bank below.
Was it a pretty place? asked Jennie.
Yes, said Rollo, a very pretty place indeed. There were great floating houses in the water, for the baths, with wheels turning in the current to pump up water, and little flower gardens along the brink of the stream. At least, in some places there were flower gardens; and in others there was a wall along the water, with boys sitting on the edge of it, fishing. Presently we came to a place where there was an opening in the parapet and stairs to go down to the water. You go down two or three steps first, and then the stairs turn each way. At the turning there was a man who had fishing poles, and nets, and fishing lines to sell or let. He had some to let for three sous an hour. I proposed to uncle George that we should hire two of them and go down and fish a little while.
And what did he say? asked Jennie.
He laughed, and said that for him to spend his time while he was in Paris in fishing in the Seine would be perfectly preposterous. He said that his time in Europe cost him not less than a dollar for every hour.
A dollar for every hour? exclaimed Jennie.
Yes, replied Rollo. He says that his two passages across the Atlantic will have cost three hundred dollars, and the other expenses of his tour as much as five hundred more, which makes eight hundred dollars, and that he will not have more than one hundred days, probably, from the time of his landing in England to the time of his sailing again. That makes it about eight dollars a day. Now, there are not more than eight hours in a day suitable for going about and seeing what is to be seen; so that his time in the middle of the day costs him a dollar an hour; and he could not afford, he said, to spend it in fishing.
However, continued Rollo, he said that I might look at the man's fishing apparatus; and if I found that it was different from that which the boys used in America, I might buy some of it to carry home.
And did you? asked Jennie.
Yes, replied Rollo. And so saying, he put his hand in his pocket and took out a small parcel put up in a piece of French newspaper. He unrolled this parcel and showed Jennie what it contained. Jennie sat up in bed very eagerly in order to see it. First there came out a small net.
This net, you see, said Rollo, is to be put upon a hoop or a ring of wire when I get to America. I did not buy a hoop, because it would fill up my trunk too much. But I can make one when I get home.
Then here are the fishing lines, continued Rollo. I bought two of them. They were very cheap.
The fishing lines were very pretty. Each had a small round cork upon the end of a quill. The corks were red, touched with blue. There was a sinker for each, made of large shot.
The man put in several spare sinkers for me, resumed Rollo, in case these should come off. So saying, he opened a small paper and showed Jennie several large-sized shot, each of which had a cleft in the side of it for putting in the line. The intention was that the lead should be closed over the line, after the line had been inserted in it, by means of a light blow with a hammer, and thus the sinker would be secured to its place.
I like a net best to catch fishes with, said Jennie, because that does not hurt them.
True, said Rollo, a net is a great deal better on that account. You see I put a hoop around to keep the mouth of the net open, and then fasten it to the end of a long handle. Then you stand on the bank of the brook and put the net down into the water, and when a fish comes along you dip him up.
Yes, said Jennie, that is an excellent way.
Then you could put him in a small pail of water, said Rollo, and carry him home, and then you could put him in a bowl and see him swim about.
Yes, said Jennie, I wish you would give me this net.
Well, said Rollo, I will. I shall go down by the river again some day, and then I can buy another for myself.
So you can, said Jennie: or, if you don't get another, I can lend you mine when you wish to fish with it.
So Rollo put up his fishing tackle again, and then Jennie asked him where else he went.
Why, we walked along the quay, said Rollo, a long way, past several bridges, until at last we came to a bridge leading over to an island in the river, where there was a great cathedral church, which uncle George said he wished to see. It was the Church of Notre Dame. It was an immense great church, with two towers very high; but it was very old. The outside of it seemed to be all crumbling to pieces.
Did you go in? asked Jennie.
Yes, replied Rollo. It is open all the time, and people are all the time going and coming. We went in. There was an old woman sitting just inside the door, with a string of beads in her hands, counting them. There were two or three other old women there, knitting. I could not see much of the inside of the church when we first went in, there were so many columns; but I could hear the birds flying about and singing away up high among the vaults and arches.
The birds inside the church! said Jennie. I should think they would drive them out.
I don't know how they could drive them out, said Rollo, it was so high up to where they were flying. The arch of the ceiling seemed like a stone sky. There were so many pillars to keep up this roof, that, when we first went in, we could not see any end to the church at all. However, we walked along, and after a while we came to the end.
There were a great many curious things to see in the church, continued Rollo. There were a great many little chapels along the sides of it, and curious images sculptured in stone, and people doing curious things all about in different places. We walked about there for half an hour. At last we found a congregation.
Yes, said Rollo, we came to a place, at last, which was divided off by a kind of railing; and there was a congregation there, sitting in chairs. Some were kneeling in chairs, and some were kneeling on the stone floor. They were reading in little prayer books and looking about.
Was any body preaching to them? asked Jennie.
No, said Rollo, but there were some priests at the altar doing something there; but I could not understand what they were doing. We stopped there a little while, and then we came away. We walked along to another part of the church, and at length we came to another enclosure, where a great many people were collected. Mr. George went up to see what it was, and he said he believed it was a baptism; but I could not get near enough to see.
And what did you do next? asked Jennie.
Why, we came out of the church, and crossed over by a bridge to this side of the river, and then walked down along the quay till we came to a place where there was a tall bronze column, somewhat like this column in the Place Vendome. Uncle George said that he wished to see it, because it stood on the place where a famous old castle and prison used to stand in former times, called the Bastile. He said that the people made an insurrection and battered the old prison down, because the government was so cruel in shutting up innocent prisoners in it. They built fires against the doors, and battered against them with heavy timbers until they broke them in, and then they let the prisoners out and set the prison on fire. Uncle George said that I should take great interest in reading about it one of these days; but I think I should like to read about it now.
I should, too, said Jennie.
They afterward took away all the stones of the Bastile, continued Rollo, and made this tall bronze column in its place. There is a figure of a man on it, standing on tiptoe.
I should think he would blow down in a high wind, said Jennie.
I don't know why he does not, I am sure, rejoined Rollo. I wanted to go up to the top of the column and see how he was fastened there; but uncle George said he was too tired. So we came away. In fact, I was very willing to come away, for I saw a great crowd at a certain broad place on the sidewalk, not far from there, and I wished to go and see what it was.
And did you go? asked Jennie.
Yes, replied Rollo, and I found it was a man who had made a great ring of people all about him, and was trying to get them to give fifteen sous to see him shut himself up in a small box. The box was on the pavement, all ready. It was quite small. It did not seem possible that a man could be shut up in it.
How big was it? asked Jennie.
O, I don't know, exactly, said Rollo. It was quite small.
Was it no bigger than that, said Jennie, holding her two hands a few inches apart, so as to indicate what she would consider quite a small box.
O, yes, said Rollo, it was a great deal bigger than that. It was only a little smaller than you would think a man could get into. The box was square, and was made of tin, but painted black.
[Illustration: PERFORMANCE ON THE BOULEVARDS.]
There was an organ at one end of the ring, with a man playing upon it, to draw the crowd together. In front of the organ was a woman, with a baby in her arms, and another little child playing about her. The man said that this was his family, and that he had to support them by his experiments. In front of the woman was the box. In front of the box was the man, who stood there, generally, telling what he was going to do, and calling upon the people to throw in their sous. In front of the man was a carpet, on the pavement, and in the middle of the carpet a tin plate. From time to time the people would throw sous over into the circle. The man would then pick them up and put them into the plate, and tell the people how many there lacked. There must be fifteen, he said, or he could not perform the experiment. He kept talking all the time to the people, and saying funny things to make them laugh.
At last all the fifteen sous were in, and then the man went to the box. He brought out a soldier who was standing among the people, and placed him near the box, so that he might shut the cover down when the man was in. The man then stepped into the box. The upper edge of it was not higher than his knees. He then began to kneel down in the box, crossing his legs under him; and then he crouched his body down into it, and curled in his head, and then
Jennie! said Rollo, interrupting himself. He observed that Jennie was very still, and he was not sure that she was listening.
Jennie did not answer. She was fast asleep.
She's gone to sleep, said Rollo, without hearing the end of the story. However, the soldier put the lid down, and shut the man entirely in.
Rollo thought that, as he was so near the end, he might as well finish the story, even if his auditor was asleep.
Rollo's adventures in Paris were brought, at length, for the time being, to a somewhat abrupt termination, by an invitation which he received suddenly at breakfast one morning, from his uncle George, to set off with him the next day for Switzerland. Rollo was very eager to accept this invitation from the moment that it was offered him. It is true that he was not at all tired of Paris; and there were a great many places, both in the city and in the environs, that he was still desirous to see.
Rollo had only one day's notice of the proposed journey to Switzerland, and that day was spent almost entirely in getting the passports ready. This business devolved on Rollo himself, as his uncle was engaged in some other way that day; and he proposed, therefore, that Rollo should undertake the work of getting the passports stamped. Rollo accordingly did so. He took a carriage and went round to the various offices, and attended to the business very well, though he encountered some difficulties in doing it. His uncle George was very much pleased when he came home that night and found that Rollo had got the passports all ready. Carlos went with Rollo to the passport offices, for company, though he could not, of course, render him any assistance.[F]
[F] A full account of Rollo's adventures in getting the passports stamped will be given in the first chapter of Rollo in Switzerland.
Rollo dined that evening with his uncle George and Carlos at a restaurant. There are hundreds of these restaurants scattered all over the city of Paris, and many of them are furnished and decorated in a style of splendor that is magnificent beyond description. Mr. George took Rollo and Carlos to one of the finest of them. It was in the Boulevards.
The aspect of the room, when Rollo entered it, was very imposing. It was lined on all sides with mirrors, with carved and gilded pilasters between them, and a richly ornamented cornice above. The ceiling, overhead, was panelled, and was painted in fresco with the most graceful and elegant devices. The floor was laid in a beautiful mosaic of wood, brilliantly polished. The room was filled with tables, all set out for dinner in the nicest manner, with silver plate, elegant porcelain, and glasses that reflected the light in the most resplendent manner. A great many gay groups of ladies and gentlemen were seated at these tables, taking dinner; while the waiters, with snow-white napkins on their arms, were walking about in a rapid, but in a very gentle and noiseless manner, to wait upon them. At the back side of the room there sat two beautiful young women, behind a sort of counter, which was raised a little above the rest of the floor, so that they could survey the whole scene. It was the duty of these young women to keep the accounts of what was ordered at the several tables, and to receive the money which was paid by the guests, the waiters carrying it to them from the different parties at the tables when they paid. These ladies were the presiding officers, as it were, in the saloon; and the guests all bowed to them very respectfully, both when they came in and when they went away.
Mr. George selected a table for himself and the two boys, and they had an excellent dinner there. There was a printed book, large though thin, on every table, giving a list of the different articlesmore than five hundred in all. From these Mr. George and the boys selected what they liked, and the waiters brought it to them.
The party remained at this restaurant, eating their dinner and taking their coffee after it, for more than an hour; and then they went away.
That evening Rollo went into his father's room to bid his father good by, for he expected to set off for Switzerland the next morning very early. He found his father sitting in an arm chair by a window, reading a book. Mr. Holiday laid his book down and talked for some time with Rollo about his proposed tour in Switzerland, and gave him a great deal of preparatory information about the mountains, the glaciers, the torrents, the avalanches, and other wonderful things that Rollo expected to see. Rollo was very much interested in these accounts.
I am very glad that uncle George invited me to go with him, said he.
So am I, said his father.
Because, added Rollo, I expect to have a very pleasant time.
True, replied his father; but that is not the reason precisely why I am glad that he invited you.
What is your reason, then? asked Rollo.
I am glad, replied Mr. Holiday, because his asking you to go with him into Switzerland is a sign that you have been a good boy while under his care here in France. Boys that are selfish, troublesome, and disobedient, in one ride or journey, find usually that their company is not desired a second time. It is now two or three weeks since your uncle George invited you to come with him from London to Paris, and during all this time you have been mainly under his care; and now he invites you to go with him on a still more extended tour. I think you must have conducted yourself in a very considerate or gentlemanly manner, and proved yourself a pleasant travelling companion, or you would not have received this new invitation.
Rollo was very much gratified at hearing his father speak in this manner. So he shook hands with him, and bade him good by.