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Wednesday, May 1st.--The Exposition opens to-day. I see cavalry in a street near the Boulevard des Capucines, and one person thinks that the prince of Italy is there. Another, who seems to be a merchant in the neighborhood, says, "It is probably the escort of a prince," as if this is a matter in which he has no great interest. This evening, Mr. C., the gentleman who has before been mentioned, receives his friends, and I go to his house, and also see the illumination. Little colored lanterns with candles inside make no great show, but the restaurants and the churches. illuminated with gas are much finer. When we leave our friend's house, the young Swiss gentleman, before mentioned, kindly takes me to see the Place de la Concorde, the Hippodrome, and the residence of Marshal MacMahon, which are brilliantly illuminated. There are so many people upon the street, that I ask how long this will be kept up, and the young man thinks until two or three
At our friend's house, in the evening, our names are announced as we enter, but there is no other introduction. Before eleven tea is handed round with sugar, but no milk; also, little sweet biscuits. Madame S. serves, and pours from a bottle into some of the cups brandy or other spirits. One present hands me a circular, showing that his wife and daughter keep a Protestant boarding-school. He tells me that co-education of the sexes is forbidden by law. Our
friend has illuminated his five windows upon the street, and 'way down upon another floor some other windows are lighted by lanterns, but all the rest of the large building is dark. I learn that the holding of the Exposition is considered a victory for the republicans, as it shows what the nation can accomplish under republican rule, after all their reverses. I hear a statement that those who do not illuminate are Bonapartists and clericals. A literary man present becomes very animated in conversation. I endeavor to explain the views of certain persons, and quote the text, "There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding;" but the literary gentleman does not seem to like the expression "the Almighty," but to prefer "natural laws."
Thursday, May 2d.-In a mourning-store near the Madeleine is a picture of a nun, with the inscription, Mourning is a worship for the nun." At the Madeleine they are taking down immense dark hangings within and without the church. I venture to ask the meaning of a large D which, in white, is upon them in several places. "It is for the name of the deceased." "Is it for an ecclesiastic or a private person ?" I ask. "No, madame, it is a military man." These hangings I understand are a part of the funeral pomps of Paris, belonging to the city. Within the church is a large man, whom I imagine to be from the provinces, come to see Paris and the Exposition. As he is about to leave, he bends a knee before one of the statues. I see a box to receive offerings for the poor, who are assisted by Mr. the Curé; Mr. the Curé, being head-priest of the church and his assistants vicars. I also see a large notice, "Offerings for St. Peter's pence.'
After leaving the Madeleine, as I walk the street, I observe at a height upon a large building a long sign, "Great Lying-in House, under the direction of Madame Consultations from one to five." It is very strange to me to see such a sign so conspicuous, and I feel as if there is something rotten in the state. But of these houses I shall say more hereafter. I call to-day to present my letter of introduction to another of the three gentlemen to whom it is addressed; but I do not find him at liberty to offer me such attentions as I have received from Mr. C. (or Carpentier, as I will call him who entertained me in his own house). However, he gives me another letter addressed to a distinguished person,-a professor, and a writer in one of the journals. Before leaving to present this, I speak of the recent illumination and of the affair being kept up very late, but this gentleman says that the restaurants have to be closed at midnight. He adds that it has been desired that they should be kept open later during the Exposition, but he thinks that this would not be favorable to public morals. "You observe," he adds, "the condition of our streets now?" But on this point I cannot decide.
I seek the residence of the distinguished gentleman to whom my new letter is addressed, and am so fortunate as to find him at home and kindly inclined to converse. I tell him what objects I desire to observe in this great city, and among them, mention the drainage. He tells me to write upon the subject to Mr. Prefect of Police, and he suggests this form, "I have come from America to study the administration of the city of Paris, and especially the construction of the sewers. I beg you, then, to grant me permission to visit them. Be pleased, Mr. Prefect, to receive the assurance of my most distinguished consideration." He tells me that a woman must not say to a man,
Yours with respect, unless he be an old man. In speaking of the schools, he tells me that he thinks the visit of a woman to their schools would not be well received by the Brothers of the Christian Doctrine. He adds, that simultaneous instruction, or schools for both sexes, are not permitted, except in small communes, townships where the children are too few to make two schools. On the subject of churches, he tells me that if the government did not support the churches of different persuasions, the Catholics would become all-powerful, adding, that at this time the liberal Protestants can scarcely sustain themselves, as the government does not help them. He means at Paris. He speaks to me of the great controversy which resulted in withdrawing government support from the liberal Protestant church at Paris. Guizot, the historian, was a Protestant, opposed to Martin Pachoud, a liberal, having a chair in the Reformed Church, Mr. Coquerel being his suffragan. The professor adds, that Mr. Guizot told him that liberal Protestantism is not a religion but a philosophy. I myself understand that the views of the liberal Protestants of France are like those of Theodore Parker, or advanced Unitarian.
In speaking of their newspapers, the professor gives me the names of some supporting the different parties. Among others, he mentions L' Union, an organ of the Legitimists or old Bourbons; Le Soleil, of the Orleans party; Le Pays, of the Bonapartists. Of the Democratic journals he gives these in the following order: La République Française, La France, and Le Rappel. All, I understand, are daily, and none bring in an income like that of the Public Ledger, in Philadelphia. What makes this paper so valuable is the advertisements; but the French do not advertise freely in the journals as we do. Of another celebrated Parisian paper, the professor tells me that Figaro
is a rope-dancer; its specialty is scandalous stories; travellers read it in the cars, it amuses them, but it is not fit for families. All my Parisian acquaintances who mention this paper speak of it in a similar manner; but my American. friend does not agree with them.
Friday, May 3d.-A very noticeable thing in Paris is gilding on the outside of buildings, as on the great dome of the Invalides, and on figures on the Grand Opera-house. I do not admire it, nor what I may call the tawdry appearance of the latter building, which cost so much money. I pay, to-day, my first visit to the Exposition, and observe a fine figure in marble of a wounded soldier, which reminds me of the Dying Gladiator; but why a nude, or nearly nude, figure should wear an immense helmet with a tail streaming from it, I cannot tell.
In one of Miss Biddy Fudge's letters from France, as given by Tom Moore, that young lady laments that
Not a monk can be had now for love or for money,
If she were thus dissatisfied with Napoleon I., she would be gratified at Paris now, where so many ecclesiastics are walking about in petticoats and long robes (if these are the names of their articles of dress). They are seen at the Exposition, which is not surprising, for they are considered to be men of peace, and this is a peaceable competition. On the streets there would be more soldiers than in the Exposition. The common soldier, with one sou a day, can scarcely afford to visit it.
I am recommended to the restaurant Duval upon the grounds, and here I find the same class of neat women