Paris 1

When a man can contest the point by dint of equipage, and carry on all floundering before him with half a dozen lackies and a couple of cooks—’tis very well, in such a place as Paris—he may drive in at which end of a street he will.

A poor prince who is weak in cavalry, and whose whole infantry does not exceed a single man, had best quit the field; and signalize himself in the cabinet, if he can get up into it—I say up into it—for there is no descending perpendicular amongst ’em with a “Me voici! mes enfans”—here I am—whatever many may think.

I own my first sensations, as soon as I was left solitary and alone in my own chamber in the hotel, were far from being so flattering as I had prefigured them. I walked up gravely to the window in my dusty black coat, and looking through the glass, saw all the world in yellow, blue, and green, running at the ring of pleasure.—The old with broken lances, and in helmets which had lost their vizards—the young in armour bright, which shone like gold, beplumed with each gay feather of the east—all—all tilting at it like fascinated knights in tournaments of yore for fame and love—

—Alas, poor Yorick! cried I, what art thou doing here? On the very first onset of all this glittering clatter, thou art reduced to an atom—seek—seek some winding Alley, with a tourniquet at the end of it, where chariot never rolled or flambeau shot its rays—there thou may’st solace thy soul in converse sweet with some kind Grisset of a barber’s wife and get into such coteries!—

—May I perish! if I do, said I, pulling out the letter which I had to present to Madame de R***.—I’ll wait upon this lady, the very first thing I do. So I called La Fleur to go seek me a barber directly—and come back and brush my coat.

The Wig


When the barber came, he absolutely refused to have any thing to do with my wig: ’twas either above or below his art: I had nothing to do, but to take one ready made of his own recommendation.

—But I fear, friend! said I, this buckle won’t stand.—You may immerge it, replied he, into the Ocean, and it will stand—

What a great scale is every thing upon in this city! thought I—The utmost stretch of an English periwig- maker’s ideas could have gone no further than to have “dipped it into a pail of water”—What difference! ’tis like time to eternity.

I confess I do hate all cold conceptions, as I do the puny ideas which engender them; and am generally so struck with the great works of nature, that for my own part, if I could help it, I never would make a comparison less than a mountain at least. All that can be said against the French sublime in this instance of it, is this—that the grandeur is more in the word; and less in the thing. No doubt the Ocean fills the mind with vast ideas; but Paris being so far inland, it was not likely I should run post a hundred miles out of it, to try the experiment—the parisien barber meant nothing—

The pail of water standing besides the great deep, makes certainly but a sorry figure in speech—but ’twill be said—it has one advantage—’tis in the next room, and the truth of the buckle may be tried in it without more ado, in a single moment.

In honest truth, and upon a more candid revision of the matter, The French expression professes more than it performs.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.