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the various groups of which the House of Commons is composed, merely as a token of goodwill, and not as any preliminary to immediate legislation. The system is decidedly a vicious one, because it prejudges questions before the nation at large has well considered them; because it adopts suggestions while it is still uncertain whether public opinion will ever sanction them; and because it stimulates spurious demands which, if successfully passed off as genuine, may lead to disastrous consequences. A further objection to the system is that it wastes the time of the House of Commons by useless or irregular discussions, which in such circumstances are certain to arise at short intervals; while it necessarily excites hopes destined never to be realised, and ending, of course, in disappointment, distrust, and disaffection. Of this we had abundant proof during the last week that Parliament was sitting. It cannot be for the interests of parliamentary government that such should be the relations between the Ministry and the House of Commons.
still worse is the element of unreality thus introduced into the proceedings of Parliament, no one knowing what is meant seriously and what is not, and an impression being created that the final cause of all legislation is not the public good, but the safety of the Ministry. It is disrespectful to the House of Commons and injurious to the Crown. Yet it may be almost a necessary condition when the Ministerial party is composed exclusively of independent groups, each bent on the attainment only of its own object, and there is no solid homogeneous majority with sufficient confidence
in the general policy of the Cabinet to allow it a free hand. This alone is a sufficient reason for a speedy dissolution of Parliament, with a view to exchanging the present state of parties for one more in accordance with the principle of parliamentary government. We are threatened next session with something worse than a repetition of the last; and the narrow escape from defeat at the hands of the Irish members which the Government experienced on the 17th of last month, shows what they have got to expect from them when the conflict is renewed next year.
It must not be supposed that all the evil of the Evicted Tenants Bill dies with it. The fact remains that it has been brought in by the Ministers of the Crown, who have promised to introduce it again. The moral effect which Lord Balfour of Burleigh and other speakers in both Houses predicted from the passing of the bill must follow, we fear, in some measure from even the attempt to pass it, and then this result will in turn be converted into a fresh argument in favour of a new bill. The extent to which the Government has trifled with the House of Commons, and forced it into a position which must leave on the popular mind a very poor idea of its efficiency; the utterly unconstitutional recklessness with which the Opposition were silenced on the most important question of the day; and the novel spectacle of "a secession," which was the fitting answer to this outrage, are the other conspicuous notes of the session which has just closed. Few and evil have been its days; wrong and robbery its fruits; truckling and tyranny, by turns, its instruments.
Printed by William Blackwood and Sons.
THE changes which have come about during the last forty years in the aspect of the streets of Paris have been vastly more marked than those which have occurred in London within the same period. The two main reasons of the difference are firstly, that London set to work to modify its ways at a much earlier date than Paris, and that Paris still retained, at the commencement of the fifties, many remainders of ancient sights and customs, and still presented many characteristics of past days, which, on this side of the Channel, had faded out long before; secondly, that, when transformation did at last begin in Paris, it was far more sudden and violent, far more universal and radical, than the mild gradual variations we have introduced in London, and that, in consequence of the utterness of that transformation, an entire city was virtually swept away and a new one put in its place. The
VOL. CLVI.-NO. DCCCCXLVIII.
Paris of the First Empire was still visible in 1850, almost unaltered in its essential features; old houses, old roadways, old vehicles, old cheapnesses, old particularities of all sorts, had been faithfully preserved, and struck both the eye and the pocket of the new-comer as signs of another epoch. It was not till Haussmann began, in 1854, the reconstruction, not only of so many of the buildings of Paris, but-what was far more grave-of its conditions, and practices, and order of existence, that the relics of former life, former manners, and former economies found themselves successively crushed out, and that the brilliant extravagant Paris of Napoleon III. was evolved from the ruins.
At the commencement of the Second Empire Paris was still a city of many mean streets and a few grand ones; still a city of rare pavements, rough stones, stagnant gutters, and scarcely any drainage;
still a city of uncomfortable homes, of varied smells, of relatively simple life, and of close intermixture of classes. This last element -the intermixture of classes-exercised particular influence on the look of the streets as on the home contacts of the inhabitants, and needs to be borne always in mind in endeavouring to reconstitute the former aspects of the place. Of course there were, in those days as always, certain quarters of the town which were tenanted exclusively by the poor; but the great feature was that the poor were not restricted to those special quarters; they lodged everywhere else as well, wherever they found themselves in proximity to their work, in the most aristocratic as in the lowest districts. In almost every house in the fashionable parts of Paris the successive floors were inhabited by a regular gradation of classes from the bottom to the top; over the rich people on the first and second floors were clerks and tradespeople en chambre on the third and fourth, and workmen of all sorts on the fifth and sixth. Thorough mingling of ranks under the same roof was the rule of life: all the lodgers used the same stairs (in those days back staircases scarcely existed); all tramped up and down amidst the careless spillings and droppings of the less clean portion of the inmates. The most finished of the women of the period thought it natural to use the same flight as the dirty children from above them; a lady going out to dinner in white satin did not feel shocked at meeting a mason in white calico coming in; nodding acquaintances between fellow-lodgers were formed when time had taught them each other's faces. The effect of this amalgamation in the houses stretched out naturally into the streets, where, in conse
quence of the nearness of their homes, the various strata of the population of each quarter were thrown together far more promiscuously than they are now. The workers have no place in the new houses, which are built for the rich alone; they have been driven to the outskirts, instead of being spread, more or less, over the whole town: the classes and the masses live now entirely apart, in districts remote from each other, and the growing hate of the masses for the classes has been considerably stimulated by the separation. A totally altered social relationship, a far less friendly attitude and feeling between the top and the bottom, has resulted from the expulsion of so many of the poor from their old homes.
The good streets of Paris forty years ago were therefore far more generally representative than they are to-day. They exhibited the various components of the community with more abundance, more accuracy, and a truer average; universal blending was their normal condition. The stranger learnt more from them in a day about types and categories than he can now learn in a week, for in the present state of things there are, in one direction, regions where a cloth coat is never beheld, and, in another, districts where a blouse is almost unknown. And when to this former medley of persons
and castes we add the notable differences of dress, of bearing, of occupations of the passers-by from those which prevail in the rich quarters now, the contrast of general effect may easily be imagined. Forty years are but an instant in the history of a nation, and yet the last forty years have sufficed to produce an organic change in the appearance of the streets of Paris.
The change extends to every thing to the houses, the shops, the public and private carriages, the soldiers, the policemen, the hawkers' barrows, and the aspect of the men and women. Nearly everything has grown smarter, but everything without exception has grown dearer. Whether the former compensates for the latter is a question which every one must decide for himself according to his personal view.
The shops were of course inferior to what they are now. The show in the windows-the montre, as the French call it was less brilliant and less tempting. They were, however, the prettiest of their time in Europe; and all that they have done since has been to march onward with the century, and, amidst the general progress of the world, to keep the front place they held before. Stores, in the English sense, have never be come acclimatised in Paris (though several attempts have been made to introduce them), mainly because the cooks refuse to purchase food in places where they can get no commission for themselves; but the growth of the Bon Marché and the Louvre, which has been entirely effected within the last forty years, supplies evidence enough that in Paris, as in London, the tendency of the periodoutside the cooks—is towards comprehensive establishments, where objects of many natures can be found at low prices under the same roof. Potin, the universal grocer, supplies even an example of success in spite of the cooks. Yet, notwithstanding the competition of the new menageries of goods, most of the shop windows on the Boulevards and in the Rue de la Paix seem to indicate that the commerce inside is still prosperous. Certain sorts of shops have, it is
true, entirely, or almost entirely, disappeared, partly from the general change of ways of life, partly from the absorption of their business by larger traders. For instance, I believe I am correct in saying that there is not now one single glove-shop left in Paris (I mean a shop in which gloves alone are kept, as used to be the case in former times). The high-class special dealers in lace, in cachemire shawls, in silks, have melted away. At the other end of the scale the herboristes, who sold medicinal herbs, have vanished too; the rotisseurs, who had blazing fires behind their windows, and supplied roast chickens off the spit, have abandoned business; even the hot-chestnut dealer of the winter nights is rarely to be discovered now. Specialities, excepting jewellery, are ceasing to be able to hold their own; emporiums are choking them. them. Measuring the old shops all round-in showiness, in variety of articles, in extent of businessthey were incontestably inferior to those of to-day, though not more so than in any other capital.
The look of the private carriages was also far less bright. were less well turned out; the horses were heavier; the servants were often badly dressed; the driving was, if possible, more careless. French carriages (like French plates and knifes) have always been more lightly made than those of England, and at that time the difference was more marked, because English carriages were more massive than now. The omnibuses and cabs were dirty and uncomfortable; ancient shapes still existed, and, certainly, they did not aid to adorn the streets.
In general terms it may be said that, in Paris as everywhere else— but more perhaps in Paris than elsewhere-there was, in compari
son with to-day, less smartness, less alertness, less hurry, and of course less movement, for the population was much smaller, and the city was still limited by the octroi wall. The relative absence of bustle produced, however, no dulness: the streets were not so noisy, not so crowded, not so businesslike as they have become since; but I think it is quite true to say that they were as bright. The brightness came from one special cause, from a spring of action proper to the time, which produced an aspect unlike that of other days. The great peculiarity, the striking mark and badge, which distinguished the streets of then from the streets of now, were supplied by a something which was nationally proper to the France of the period, by a something which none of us will see at work again in the same form-by the type of the Paris women of the time.
The question of the influence of women on the aspect of out-of-door life has always occupied the attention of travellers. have discussed it-and, especially, the comparative attractiveness of European women of different races and epochs-with many cosmopolitan observers, including old diplomatists from various lands, who, as a class, are experienced artistes en femmes and profound students of "the eternal feminine," and I have found a concordancy of opinion on two points: one, that the women of Paris have always stood first as regards open-air effect (the Viennese are generally put second, though lengths behind); the other, that at no time within living memory have they contributed so largely, so exclusively indeed, to that effect as they did half a century ago. Their performance indoors is not included in the present matter; it is not their talk but their walk,
not their home manner but their outdoor maintien, not their social action in private but their physical effect in public, that concern us here.
The results, to the eye of the passer-by, were admirable; and so were the processes by which the results were reached. The period of Louis Philippe had been essentially honest and respectable; it had discouraged vanities and follies; it had encouraged moderation and prudence; it had reacted on the whole organisation of the life of the time, and, amongst other things, on women's dress. It was a season of economy, of frank acceptance of the fruits of small money, and of an astonishing handiness in making the most out of little. When we look back (with the ideas of to-day) to the conditions of expenditure which prevailed then, it is difficult to believe that, with such limited resources, the woman of the time can have won such a place in the admiration of the world. I am certainly not far wrong in affirming that the majority of the women of the upper classes who ambled about the streets in those days had not spent ten pounds each on their entire toilette, every detail of it included. The tendency of the epoch was towards extreme refinement, but towards equally extreme simplicity as the basis of the refinement. There was no parade of stuffs, or colours, or of façons; there was scarcely any costly material; but there was a perfume of high-breeding and a daintiness of small niceties that were most satisfying to the critical beholder. Finish not flourish, distinction not display, grace not glitter, were the aims pursued. The great ambition-indeed, the one ambition-was to be comme il faut; that phrase expressed the