Billeder på siden

to be sure, has been airing at the window, and down in the court-yard, down three flights of stairs, is a stable, but I see no dogs in the yard. Often at night a flea is wandering round me. Victor says that I get them from riding in the omnibus, where there are dirty people; but I do not find that those who ride in carriages are all exempt, and the company in the omnibuses is as good or better than in the Philadelphia horse-cars. Nor is Paris by any means free from certain household insects that are troublesome with us; it would be strange if it were. Yet, if I may judge from the quantities of prunes that France exports, this country is not troubled with the curculio, or plum-beetle. Happy exemption! When I have spoken of it at the Exposition, no one has seemed to know it.

To-day I pay my third and last visit to the girls' normal school. The door upon the street is closed as usual. I ring, and it opens in that invisible manner strange to the new-comer, but which I know is by a cord or something pulled from within. Entering, I tell the concierge that I wish to visit the school. "Ah," she says, "you wish to see mademoiselle; I will ring." (In none of my visits am I introduced to madame the principal. I hear of her not being well; also of her attending the examinations at the Luxembourg.) The concierge rings two loud strokes, and I stand at the door of the main building and wait in the sun. I must try again.

It is the instruction in natural sciences that I desire to hear to-day. Miss S., the attentive superintendent, tells me that during the first year the pupils are taught anatomy and physiology; during the second, botany and physics (I understand her to say as far as dynamic electricity); and

during the third year, the continuation of physics and chemistry. Miss Masson gives a lesson to-day on botany, illustrated by sweet-peas, mushrooms, and bluets, and by drawing on the blackboard by one of the pupils. Miss Masson also puts one of the pupils into the chair to lecture upon vegetable nutrition. I ask Miss S., the superintendent, what is the office of the young lady who was presiding in the class-room when we entered, at about nine in the morning. She answers, "It is the study-mistress of the second year. She watches over the discipline of the class during the whole day, and sleeps in the dormitory of her pupils. If they desire information during their studies, she gives it to them; there is a mistress for each class." I inquire the age of the oldest pupil here. "Twenty," is the answer: "they are all between seventeen and twenty."

I receive permission to put a few questions to this class, which is the second. A question upon the possessions of Great Britain is very minutely answered, but with one important omission; a simple question in mental arithmetic is readily answered; the questions, What are the outlets for the waste matter of the system? in what manner does it pass from the lungs ? and in what from the skin? this class is not prepared to answer. What was Napoleon's prediction? The answer is said to be unknown. To the following question I am told they cannot reply, but probably there are few young women of the same age in our own country that can, as we do not teach generally from the great book of nature: When the moon is in her last quarter, where and when is she to be seen?

Miss S. speaks favorably of the infant school connected with their establishment, which is taught in the manner of Froebel,-i.e., the kindergarten. This school looks interesting, but I find among the boys top-heavy foreheads in

greater proportion than I have ever before observed among the French. I point out two or three to the teacher, and in the manner that is quite common here, she says, "Those children are never healthy." (Can it be that the manner of Froebel calls too much upon the brain?) The way of speaking about the pupils as if they could not hear, or could not be affected by what they hear, is the one to which I have above alluded. I was impressed with the different manner of the nun in the infant school before mentioned with delicacy she called upon certain little ones, to show which were born outside the law.


Before parting finally with Miss S., the attentive superintendent of the normal school, I speak to her about our admitting the public to our schools, and endeavor to show her that to exclude the people from the public schools in our country would be like excluding the king in old France.

This evening, when Victor and I are going to a lecture, madame is ready to cry. "I am always alone," she says. Victor answers, jestingly, "Very well, my child, wilt thou go?" I say something about my being able to take care of the baby, but she replies, "You are not always in Paris;" and with these people to live in Paris doubtless appears to be the summit of earthly living: some other people seem to agree with them, too.

I know not how much the idea is worth, but it has struck me lately that these court-yards, with their stables, etc., are the mode of living of the old French nobility. Take, for instance, the place where we live: the large house that faces on the Rue de and has its back win

[ocr errors]


dows looking on this court-yard, we will call the house of the marquis. Here upon the court-yard are the stable and coach-house, and this building, of which we occupy a portion, may be that of his principal retainer, or retainers, lodged out of the house.

A young man I know, lately received a letter in an official envelope, postage unpaid. When he opened it, it contained the notice of his child's birth returned to him, with additional remarks. He is an ardent republican, and thus his notices were worded:



"Mr. and Mrs. have the honor of informing you of the birth of their daughter, Anita Elisa Liberta.

[blocks in formation]

The following is added by the anonymous writer in a kind of mock Italian, Anita being the name of the wife of Garibaldi: "The poor little one, is she baptized like her papa? Oh, la, la! Long live the Church!" Then there is a line crossed out which, my acquaintance says, is "and the priests." Was it not adding injury to insult to make him pay the postage on this missive? As to the official envelope, it is out of date.


Sunday morning, June 23d.-Madame Leblanc runs out this morning in her water-proof cloak, and without a bonnet, to do some errands, and accompanies her husband to the omnibus. "It was full!" she says. "But if we go to Asnières ?" I ask. "We can take the railway," she replies. "At this hour," she adds, (it is about nine), "there are no omnibuses nor hired carriages to be had! Without the railway it is impossible to travel on Sundays at this time; it is desolating!"

A friend has lent to me a volume of Galignani, of the year 1873. It says that the whole number of births in Paris by the latest return (1869) was 54,397; of these, 15,366 were illegitimate, of which 3509 were recognized by their parents. More than one-fourth of the births in this great city illegitimate; only about one-fourth of these illegitimate children recognized by their parents! Of deaths there were 45,872, of whom 12,170 died in hospitals, almshouses, and prisons; more than one-fourth! Galignani also says, "It has been remarked that families constantly residing in Paris soon become extinct." In another part of this volume will be found statistics on one of the above points, obtained at the Exposition.

Monday, June 26th.-May I be allowed to say that I have not had the pleasure of seeing a fire here, nor any fire

« ForrigeFortsæt »