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foundly insincere. It may be, or it may not be. I am, it is true, an American - one of a very talented and able race of men; but it has not been given me, the power of knowing the hearts and souls of my fellow-creatures. Omniscience is not one of my specialties, consequently I only judge by what I see and hear; and so, while the French may be, as my clerical British neighbor remarked, “unrestrained by Christian influences, it seems to me, using my “lights,” that the French are a gifted, a brave, a courteous, a deeply-unfortunate and greatly- misunderstood people.
THE SIGHTS OF PARIS.
10 attempt to see in a week a city to which six months might
be devoted, is a discouraging task, but it is a still more hopeless undertaking to tell in one chapter what might well make a volume. The reader will, therefore, be charitable enough just to consider this, not as a description, but as a memorandum of some few of the many things to be seen in Paris.
Most people feel a curiosity to know what traces remain of the ravages of the Communists. I should say, very few. It is indeed astonishing how rapidly and thoroughly damages have been repaired. The palace of the Tuileries is still a ruin, but one hardly noticed it in connection with the vast uninjured pile of the Louvre. An immense scaffolding was already up preparatory to rebuilding the Hotel de Ville. The Column Vendome is in place again; and there are, in the heart of the city at least, no traces of the destruction of private property.
I am at a loss which to place first among the attractions of Paris. I suppose, however, that out of ten persons eight, at least, would say the Louvre; but the great historical edifice of Paris is certainly Notre Dame. Its position is picturesque; its history has formed a prominent feature in many romances; yet when I entered it, by one of those unlucky mental impressions which strike us at the most inopportune moments there came to me, not the visions of the earlier and more glorious days of the cathedral, but the scene described in one of the bitterest passages in that exceedingly bitter book, Kinglake's “Invasion of the Crimea,” in which he describes Notre Dame as being lit up of a chill winter morning by thirty thousand lamps, and resounding with a Te Deum sung in honor of the author of the massacres of December -Louis Napoleon.
The Invalides is a most interesting place, or seemed so to me at least, on account of the old soldiers who live there. I noticed that quite a number of the Englishmen in our party took their hats off to these mutilated old veterans. The tomb of Napoleon is worthy of the man whose ashes repose in it, but the Invalides seems desecrated by being made the burial-place of the lesser Bonaparte. The Napoleon was the only man of his family.
The Pantheon is a strange-looking building, on account of the absence of any outside windows, which gives it a dead-wall appearance. We went down into the vaults, where the French officer in charge read in a high-pitched and most melancholy voice the inscriptions on the tombs of Voltaire and Rousseau. This was translated into English by the guide. A famous echo is concealed about the premises, but I failed to hear it.
The Gobelin manufactory of tapestry is one of the wonders of Paris — the surprise being that such marvelously beautiful work should be produced by processes which look as simple as those used by a Navajo Indian woman in weaving a blanket. It is nearly all done by hand, and the results are pictures - copies of the finest works in the Louvre, and hardly distinguishable from the original. Bob Ingersoll once said that the tapestries he saw in Europe reminded him of a tablecloth at Metamora, in the second week of court; but I am afraid Robert hasn't a good eye
for tapestry. It is astonishing how the varying expressions of the human countenance can be woven. There are some tapestries in Windsor Castle, from the Gobelin, depicting scenes from the story of the Golden Fleece, in which the passions of love, joy, grief and despair are as faithfully portrayed as if done by the greatest painter on earth.
The various arches and columns with which Paris abounds, have been often described. The Arc de Triomphe is the most magnificent; but one gets a trifle tired of military monuments. The names of Napoleon's victories are repeated a thousand times over-attached to streets, to boulevards, to bridges, and finally affixed to all sorts of monuments. Of course I had sooner see a thousand monuments to Napoleon than one to Louis XIV; but one would like to be reminded occasionally of something besides bloodshed.
I passed several times the Champ de Mars, the site of the next international exhibition. The buildings, which were being rapidly pushed forward, are situated on both sides of the Seine. The art building is an immense affair, in the Trocadero, on a rise of ground facing the river. The buildings for other purposes are directly opposite, and connected by a bridge. These last-named buildings are built of iron. The site is a magnificent one.
One of the pleasantest days of my life was spent in a little trip which embraced the Bois de Boulogne, Longchamps, St. Clond, Versailles and Sevres, in the order named. The morning was delightful, and the fair weather covered the expedition, with the exception of that part of the “home stretch” between Sevres and aris, when it rained not with the regular London drizzle, but a genuine American shower - not, of course, as violent as we haye in Kansas, but such as would be considered a good rain in Pennsylvania and that region. One could spend a week at Versailles — not in the town, which is one of the dullest on earth — but in what have been in turn the royal, the imperial, and are now the “national" palaces and grounds. Common things, with something uncommon about them, attract the most attention; and nothing, I believe, was looked at with more interest than the state carriages and harness, which are kept near the palace of the Little Trianon. They were certainly very gorgeous, and, shining in the sun, these moving masses of gold and purple must make royalty for the time an attractive thing. We were shown through the Little Trianon, and saw beautiful pictures, and statues, and furniture; but somehow these empty state apartments always impress me with a sense of dreariness and discomfort. I never saw a state bed that I thought I could sleep in, nor an imperial chair that wouldn't make my back ache-but I suppose kings have some kind of thrice-illustrious and most serene backs adapted to the furniture. I believe I would rather “take mine ease at mine inn” than in any palace of them all.
The Palace of Versailles, a place famous in history, is most remarkable for its immense collection of portraits — French, English, and even American. I actually saw what might be termed an American historical picture; it represents Washington and Rochambeau discussing the plan of attack at Yorktown. As a rule, there is no recognition of the fact among European artists, past or present, of the existence of the continent of North America. However, there is in the Palace of Versailles the picture I have mentioned, and several portraits, among them the iron face and bristling white hair of old General Jackson.