The Cockaynes in Paris; Or, 'Gone abroad'
MI LORD ANGLAIS AT MABILLE.
He is smiling, he is splendid, he is full of graceful enjoyment; on thetable are a few of the beverages he admires; but above all he adores theease of the French ladies in the dance.
COCKAYNES IN PARIS
WITH SKETCHES BY
AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE ENGLISH ABROAD FROM A FRENCH POINT OFVIEW.
JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN, 74 & 75, PICCADILLY.
[All Rights Reserved.]
The story of the Cockaynes was written some years ago,—in the days whenParis was at her best and brightest; and the English quarter wascrowded; and the Emperor was at St. Cloud; and France appeared destinedto become the wealthiest and strongest country in the world.
Where the Cockaynes carried their guide-books and opera-glasses, andfell into raptures at every footstep, there are dismal ruins now. TheVendôme Column is a stump, wreathed with a gigantic immortelle, andcapped with the tri-color. The Hall of the Marshals is a black hole.Those noble rooms in which the first magistrate of the city ofBoulevards gave welcome to crowds of English guests, are destroyed. Inthe name of Liberty some of the most precious art-work of modern dayshas been fired. The Communists' defiling fingers have passed over thecanvas of Ingrès. Auber and Dumas have gone from the scene in thesaddest hour of their country's history. The Anglo-French alliance—thatsurest rock of enduring peace—has been rent asunder, through thetimorous hesitation of English ministers, and the hardly disguisedBourbon sympathies of English society. We are not welcome now in Paris,as we were when I followed in the wake of the prying Cockaynes. My oldconcierge is very cold in his greeting, and carries my valise to myrooms sulkily. Jerome, my particular waiter at the Grand Café, no longerdeigns to discuss the news of the day with me. Good Monsieur Giraudet,who could suggest the happiest little menus, when I went to hisadmirable restaurant, and who kept the Rappel for me, now bowssilently and sends an underling to see what the Englishman requires.
It is a sad, and a woful change; and one of ominous import for ourchildren. Most woful to those of my countrymen who, like the reader'shumble servant, have passed a happy half-score of years in thedelightful society and the incomparable capital of the French people.
Rue de Rome, Paris,
|II.||HE'S HERE AGAIN!||30|
|III.||MRS. ROWE'S COMPANY||39|
|IV.||THE COCKAYNES IN PARIS||45|
|V.||THE COCKAYNE FAMILY||62|
|VI.||A "GRANDE OCCASION"||91|
|VII.||OUR FOOLISH COUNTRYWOMEN||104|
|VIII.||"OH, YES!" AND "ALL RIGHT!"||111|
|IX.||MISS CARRIE COCKAYNE TO MISS SHARP||122|
|X.||"THE PEOPLE OF THE HOUSE"||129|
|XV.||THE FIRST TO BE MARRIED||210|
|XVI.||GATHERING A FEW THREADS||231|
MAMMA ANGLAISE. (A French design.)
|MY LORD ANGLAIS AT MABILLE||Frontispiece|
|CROSSING THE CHANNEL—A SMOOTH PASSAGE||13|
|CROSSING THE CHANNEL—RATHER SQUALLY||14|
|ROBINSON CRUSOE AND FRIDAY||16|
|PAPA AND THE DEAR BOYS||18|
|THE DOWAGER AND TALL FOOTMAN||20|
|ON THE BOULEVARDS||42|
|A GROUP OF MARBLE "INSULAIRES"||46|
|BEAUTY AND THE B——||68|
|PALAIS DU LOUVRE.—THE ROAD TO THE BOIS||72|
|MUSEE DU LUXEMBOURG||77|
|THE INFLEXIBLE "MEESSES ANGLAISES"||105|
|ENGLISH VISITORS TO THE CLOSERIE DE LILAS—SHOCKING!!||109|
|SMITH BRINGS HIS ALPENSTOCK||114|
|JONES ON THE PLACE DE LA CONCORDE||118|
|FRENCH RECOLLECTION OF MEESS TAKING HER BATH||125|
|THE BRAVE MEESS AMONG THE BILLOWS HOLDING ON|
BY THE TAIL OF HER NEWFOUNDLAND
|COMPATRIOTS MEETING IN THE FRENCH EXHIBITION||127|
|VARIETIES OF THE ENGLISH STOCK.—COMPATRIOTS|
MEETING IN THE FRENCH EXHIBITION
|A PIC-NIC AT ENGHIEN||147|
|EXCURSIONISTS AND EMIGRANTS||152|
|BOIS DE BOULOGNE||164|
CROSSING THE CHANNEL—A SMOOTH PASSAGE.
COCKAYNES IN PARIS.
The story I have to tell is disjointed. I throw it out as I picked itup. My duties, the nature of which is neither here nor there, haveborne me to various parts of Europe. I am a man, not with anestablishment—but with two portmanteaus. I have two hats in Paris andtwo in London always. I have seen everything in both cities, and likeParis, on the whole, best. There are many reasons, it seems to me, whyan Englishman who has the tastes of a duke and the means of a half-paymajor, should prefer the banks of the Seine to those of the Thames—evenwith the new Embank[Pg 14]ment. Everybody affects a distinct and deepknowledge of Paris in these times; and most people do know how to getthe dearest dinner Bignon can supply for their money; and to secure theapartments which are let by the people of the West whom nature hasprovided with an infinitesimal quantity of conscience. But there are nowcrowds of English men and women who know their Paris well; men who neverdine in the restaurant of the stranger, and women who are equal to acontroversy with a French cook. These sons and daughters of Albion whohave transplanted themselves to French soil, can show good and truereasons why they prefer the French to the English life. The wearyingcomparative estimates of household expenses in Westbournia, andhousehold expenses in the Faubourg St. Honoré! One of the disadvantagesof living in Paris is the constant contact with the odious atmosphere ofcomparisons.
"Pray, sir—you have been in London lately—what did you pay for vealcutlet?"
CROSSING THE CHANNEL—RATHER SQUALLY.
The new arrivals are the keenest torments. "In London, where I have kepthouse for over twenty years, and have had to endure every conceivabledevelopment of servants' extortion, no cook ever demanded a supply ofwhite aprons yet." You explain for the hundredth time that it is thecustom in Paris. There are people who believe Kensington is the domesticmodel of the civilized world, and travel only to prove at every stagehow far the rest of the universe is behind that favoured spot. He whodesires to see how narrow his countrymen and countrywomen can be abroad,and how completely the mass of British travellers lay themselves open tothe charge of insularity, and an overweening estimate of themselves andtheir native customs, should spend a few weeks in a Parisboarding-house, somewhere in the Faubourg St. Honoré—if he would havethe full aroma of British conceit. The most surprising feature of theEnglish quarter of the French capital is the eccentricity of the Englishvisitors, as it strikes their own countrymen. I[Pg 16] cannot find it in me toblame Gallican caricaturists. The statuettes which enliven the bronzeshops; the gaunt figures which are in the chocolate establishments; theprints in the windows under the Rivoli colonnade; the monsters withfangs, red hair, and Glengarry caps, of Cham, and Doré, and Bertall, andthe female sticks with ringlets who pass in the terra-cotta show of thePalais Royal for our countrywomen, have long ago ceased to warm myindignation. All I can say now is, that the artists and modellers havenot travelled. They have studied the strange British apparitions whichdisfigure the Boulevard des Italiens in the autumn, their knowledge ofour race is limited to the unfortunate selection of specimens who strutabout their streets, and—according to their light—they are not guiltyof outrageous exaggeration. I venture to assert that an Englishman willmeet more unpleasant samples of his countrymen and countrywomen in anAugust day's walk in Paris, than he will come across during a month inLondon. To begin with,[Pg 17] we English treat Paris as though it were a backgarden, in which a person may lounge in his old clothes, or indulge hisfancy for the ugly and slovenly. Why, on broiling days, men and womenshould sally forth from their hotel with a travelling-bag and anopera-glass slung about their shoulders, passes my comprehension.Conceive the condition of mind of that man who imagines that he is animpressive presence when he is patrolling the Rue de la Paix with analpenstock in his hand! At home we are a plain, well-dressed,well-behaved people, fully up in Art and Letters—that is, among oureducated classes, to any other nation—in most elegant studies beforeall; but our travellers in France and Switzerland slander us, and the"Paris in 10 hours" system has lowered Frenchmen's estimate of thenational character. The Exhibition of 1867, far from promoting thebrotherhood of the peoples, and hinting to the soldier that his vocationwas coming to an end, spread a dislike of Englishmen through Paris. Itattracted rough[Pg 18] men from the North, and ill-bred men from the South,whose swagger, and noise, and unceremonious manners in cafés andrestaurants chafed the polite Frenchman. They could not bring themselvesto salute the dame de comptoir, they were loud at the table d'hôte andcommanding in their airs to the waiter. In brief, the English massjarred upon their neighbours; and Frenchmen went the length of sayingthat the two peoples—like relatives—would remain better friends apart.The disadvantage is, beyond doubt, with us; since the froissement wasproduced by the British lack of that suavity which the Frenchcultivate—and which may be hollow, but is pleasant, and oils the wheelsof life.
ROBINSON CRUSOE AND FRIDAY.
From French designs.
Mrs. Rowe's was in the Rue—say the Rue Millevoye, so that we may notinterfere with possible vested interests. Was it respectable? Was itgenteel? Did good country families frequent it? Were all the comforts ofan English home to be had? Had Mrs. Grundy cast an approving eye [Pg 19]intoevery nook and corner? Of course there were Bibles in the bedrooms; andyou were not made to pay a franc for every cake of soap. Mrs. Rowe hadher tea direct from Twinings'. Twinings' tea she had drunk through herbetter time, when Rowe had one of the finest houses in all Shepherd'sBush, and come what might, Twinings' tea she would drink while she waspermitted to drink tea at all. Brown Windsor—no other soap for Mrs.Rowe, if you please. People who wanted any of the fanciful soaps ofRimmel or Piver must buy them. Brown Windsor was all she kept. Yes, shewas obliged to have Gruyère—and people did ask occasionally forRoquefort; but her opinion was that the person who did not prefer a goodCheshire to any other cheese, deserved to go without any. She had beentwenty-one years in Paris, and seven times only had she missed morningservice on Sundays. Hereupon, a particular history of each occasion, andthe superhuman difficulty which had bound Mrs. Rowe hand and foot to theRue Mil[Pg 20]levoye from eleven till one. She had a faithful note of abeautiful sermon preached in the year 1850 by the Rev. John Bobbin, inwhich he compared life to a boarding-house. He was staying with