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coat he wears a narrow red ribbon, such as I have often before noticed. At first I suppose it to be the badge of an exhibitor; to-day I have thought that it may indicate a deputy; and the little red button or cockade, a senator. I venture, however, to ask this gentleman, on the street, what the ribbon indicates. He says, "It is a decoration. I am a military man." Then I feel that I have been presuming it is the badge of the Legion of Honor. I wonder whether he got that dark skin in Algiers, and whether the streets of Versailles, with his little girl, are not pleasanter than the sun of Africa. Some days after this I go into a great dry-goods store, and close by the entrance, as if to receive customers, stands a large man, wearing the little red ribbon; then I am a little amused.
Returning from Versailles in the car I meet another man who is decorated. He is jolly looking, and he has a little dull, tricolor ribbon at the breast of his coat. This was received for bravery, or good deeds done at a fire. A medal belongs with it, but on common occasions medals are not generally worn.
Tuesday, May 14th.-To-day I visit an asyle or infant school. It is congréganiste; it is kept by nuns, Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. I have the pleasure of meeting here a lady who is a lay officer, an inspectress of several of these schools.
There are both boys and girls, for under the age of six they go to school together. The little ones are exercised upon reading-tablets; and they pronounce the syllables thus: The ap-ple is pret-ty; but they do not pronounce the
words. They are seated upon a sort of graded platform or steps. They are reading in concert, but generally one or more pronounce the syllable and are immediately followed by the rest. Usually one near the top or on the back seats is the skilful one. Of course the exercises are not deeply interesting, and I am able to look around and observe the walls painted of a handsome light-blue, with sentences very neatly painted on them: thus, "Love God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself." "The child Jesus was obedient to Mary and Joseph." On the walls are also painted the written letters of the alphabet, numerals, and other things. There is here an image of Mary, with the infant Jesus, the whole about eighteen inches high. The shelf upon which this image stands seems to be a sort of shrine, for there are plants and candles upon it; and once, during a religious exercise, the candles are lighted. In the outer room is a large, handsome picture of Christ receiving little children, with a plate telling by whom it was presented. The Sisters are in white sun-bonnets or caps, and white cravats doubled on the breast. They wear dark dresses with the sleeves turned up, showing thick white undersleeves, and cotton aprons of dark-blue, with a narrow stripe. Instead of a bell, a Sister has something resembling a snuff-box, or like two muscle-shells hinged together, and this she claps. The nuns are pleasant, especially the elder. They have a lay woman to assist them, a sort of servant. I have spoken of the children's reading; they have also a lesson in numeration. On a blackboard (quite small, about a yard square) she writes the numbers, and they appear to copy them upon their slates, going as high as tens of thousands. They have also a lesson in addition, and some general exercises in geography. At each end of the room are little
benches to receive the children when not seated on the recitation-steps. There are two gravelled yards for them to play in, not very large to be sure, one for the boys and one for the girls, separated by a low fence, furnished with seats and planted with trees. They have some little gymnastic exercise, but nothing of importance. They have two simple religious exercises. The inspectress comes in on a visit, she of whom I have spoken before,-Madame D., a well-dressed and agreeable person, who has charge of five infant schools. She says that there are here a directress, or head-teacher, and two assistants; and that, in these clerical schools, all these are paid equally. One of the assistants is sick to-day. In conversation, the inspectress admires the idea of co-education of the sexes. I tell her that I have seen a statement that one-fourth of the births in Paris are illegitimate. I understand her to reply that these births take place in certain quarters of the city, among ouvriers and ouvrières, or working-people. She asks the principal how many such children there are here, and the Sister answers four: as the children are going out she makes some pretext to call upon these, and three stand up. The inspectress thinks that these are very few in so large a school. I am struck with the nun's knowing so much about them, but I imagine it to be natural for an unmarried, childless woman to interest herself in the children of others. As yet, I had not learned of the wonderful record which France keeps and uses concerning births.
To-day I pay for making a silk dress six dollars. It will be observed that in this thickly-settled country the price of labor is low; but, in Paris, the expenses of living are heavy. When wages are low and food dear, we see how
the poor are likely to fare. I have mentioned my low washing bill, the clothing was very simply made. At Leblanc's we burn candles, not long ones, but they cost about three cents apiece. Victor has a handsome lamp for colza oil; but it does not appear to be a great success. He does not like coal oil. Our sugar is very nice, and is about fourteen and a half cents per pound. It could be obtained very much cheaper, if all obstructions on trade were removed. The octroi or city tax of Paris adds to the cost of many articles, though at the period when these octrois were first established, I suppose that they were intended to make the country-people pay for the privilege of selling in the cities. The octroi upon butcher's meat brought into Paris is about one cent per pound; that on sausages and hams nearly twice as much.* Mrs. Leblanc tells me that there are nine families or persons whose apartments are on our court-yard. Lately, two men are in it beating a carpet, said to belong to the proprietor or landlord, the only person who has a right to have this done in the cour. A man and woman also shake a handsome curtain, and Mrs. L. thinks it probable that the proprietor is getting ready to go to the country. When I ask her how many of the families on this courtyard have children (for as yet I have seen no little ones) she answers that she cannot tell, adding "We do not occupy ourselves with our neighbors." I suggest that the concierge would know, but she thinks it would not do to inquire, saying that the people are réactionnaires, or opposed to the new republic. We have a back-yard also, upon which two of our windows open. In looking out from our height it is almost like a well, it is so small for a yard, and so deep. Nevertheless, we can hang things out the windows to dry,
* 4 Galignani's Guide," 1873.
upon a bit of line. "We are in a cage, " Madame Leblanc once complains to me; but I doubt her desiring to leave this handsome cage to go and live outside of the octroi gates, in the suburbs, at a distance from the life of these streets, and from the animated public gardens.
May 15th.-To-day I visit a grammar school, or, in Paris phrase, a communal school for primary instruction. These schools are divided into Catholic, Protestant, and one Jewish; whence it appears that as Paris is a very large city, either the Jews must all live in one quarter or send their children to other schools. The one I visit to-day is Catholic. The directress or head-teacher tells me that there is no school on Thursday or Sunday, but that the children must meet at the school and be conducted to church on both days by a teacher, who afterwards brings them back to the school, where they separate. I do not understand that teachers are obliged to do this, but that it is expected of them. "But why not let them go with their parents?" I ask. She shrugs her shoulders very expressively. The greater part of the parents do not go themselves. In this school there are four teachers, all married but one. The principal tells me that she has taught in the public schools of Paris for seventeen years, has been married thirteen, and has a son of twelve who is in the college where his father is a professor. I tell her that in my country married women do not generally teach. She replies that in Paris living is dear and salaries are small. She has her residence in the school-building, as is common at Paris.
To-day, I visit principally the fourth or lowest class. The scholars enter at the age of six, not knowing, in general, how to read. The teacher tells me that the parents do