ROLLO IN PARIS,
W. J. REYNOLDS AND COMPANY, No. 24 CORNHILL, 1854.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by JACOB ABBOTT,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED AT THE BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY. G. C. RAND BOOK AND WOOD CUT PRINTER.
ROLLO'S TOUR IN EUROPE.
ORDER OF THE VOLUMES.
ROLLO ON THE ATLANTIC. ROLLO IN PARIS. ROLLO IN SWITZERLAND. ROLLO IN LONDON. ROLLO ON THE RHINE. ROLLO IN SCOTLAND.
PRINCIPAL PERSONS OF THE STORY.
ROLLO; twelve years of age.
MR. and MRS. HOLIDAY; Rollo's father and mother, travelling in Europe.
THANNY; Rollo's younger brother.
JANE; Rollo's cousin, adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Holiday.
MR. GEORGE; a young gentleman, Rollo's uncle.
I.—THE ARRANGEMENTS, 11
II.—CROSSING THE CHANNEL, 34
III.—JOURNEY TO PARIS, 56
IV.—THE GARDEN OF THE TUILERIES, 80
V.—THE ELYSIAN FIELDS, 100
VI.—A GREAT MISTAKE, 122
VIII.—THE GARDEN OF PLANTS, 162
IX.—AN EXCURSION, 183
X.—ROLLO'S NARRATIVE, 202
THE DINNER AT NEW HAVEN, 32
ENTERING DIEPPE, 49
THE ARRIVAL, 77
THE OBELISK, 105
THE HIPPODROME, 140
THE RESTAURANT, 179
SINGING IN THE OPEN AIR, 197
PERFORMANCE ON THE BOULEVARDS, 219
ROLLO IN PARIS.
Gentlemen and ladies at the hotels, in London, generally dine about six or seven o'clock, each party or family by themselves, in their own private parlor. One evening, about eight o'clock, just after the waiter had removed the cloth from the table where Rollo's father and mother, with Rollo himself and his cousin Jennie, had been dining, and left the table clear, Mr. Holiday rose, and walked slowly and feebly—for he was quite out of health, though much better than he had been—towards a secretary which stood at the side of the room.
"Now," said he, "we will get out the map and the railway guide, and see about the ways of getting to France."
Rollo and Jennie were at this time at the window, looking at the vehicles which were passing by along the Strand. The Strand is a street of London, and one of the most lively and crowded of them all. As soon as Rollo heard his father say that he was going to get the map and the railway guide, he said to Jane,—
"Let's go and see."
So they both went to the table, and there, kneeling up upon two cushioned chairs which they brought forward for the purpose, they leaned over upon the table where their father was spreading out the map, and thus established themselves very comfortably as spectators of the proceedings.
"Children," said Mr. Holiday, "do you come here to listen, or to talk?"
"To listen," said Rollo.
"O, very well," said Mr. Holiday; "then I am glad that you have come."
In obedience to this intimation, Rollo and Jane took care not to interrupt Mr. Holiday even to ask a question, but looked on and listened very patiently and attentively for nearly half an hour, while he pointed out to Mrs. Holiday the various routes, and ascertained from the guide books the times at which the trains set out, and the steamers sailed, for each of them, and also the cost of getting to Paris by the several lines. If the readers of this book were themselves actually in London, and were going to Paris, as Rollo and Jennie were, they would be interested, perhaps, in having all this information laid before them in full detail. As it is, however, all that will be necessary, probably, is to give such a general statement of the case as will enable them to understand the story.
By looking at any map of Europe, it will be seen that England is separated from France by the English Channel, a passage which, though it looks quite narrow on the map, is really very wide, especially toward the west. The narrowest place is between Dover and Calais, where the distance across is only about twenty-two miles. This narrow passage is called the Straits of Dover. It would have been very convenient for travellers that have to pass between London and Paris if this strait had happened to lie in the line, or nearly in the line, between these two cities; but it does not. It lies considerably to the eastward of it; so that, to cross the channel at the narrowest part, requires that the traveller should take quite a circuit round. To go by the shortest distance, it is necessary to cross the channel at a place where Dieppe is the harbor, on the French side, and New Haven on the English. There are other places of crossing, some of which are attended with one advantage, and others with another. In some, the harbors are not good, and the passengers have to go off in small boats, at certain times of tide, to get to the steamers. In others, the steamers leave only when the tide serves, which may happen to come at a very inconvenient hour. In a word, it is always quite a study with tourists, when they are ready to leave London for Paris, to determine by which of the various lines it will be best for their particular party, under the particular circumstances in which they are placed, to go.
After ascertaining all the facts very carefully, and all the advantages and disadvantages of each particular line, Mr. Holiday asked his wife what she thought they had better do.
"The cheapest line is by the way of New Haven," said Mrs. Holiday.
"That's of no consequence, I think, now," said Mr. Holiday. "The difference is not very great."
"For our whole party, it will make four or five pounds," said Mrs. Holiday.
"Well," said Mr. Holiday, "I am travelling to recover my health, and every thing must give way to that. If I can only get well, I can earn money fast enough, when I go home, to replace what we expend. The only question is, Which way will be the pleasantest and the most comfortable?"
"Then," said Mrs. Holiday, "I think we had better go by the way of Dover and Calais, where we have the shortest passage by sea."
"I think so too," said Mr. Holiday; "so that point is settled."
"Father," said Rollo, "I wish you would let Jennie and me go to Paris by ourselves alone, some other way."
The reader who has perused the narrative of Rollo's voyage across the Atlantic will remember that, through a very peculiar combination of circumstances, he was left to make that voyage under his own charge, without having any one to take care of him. He was so much pleased with the result of that experiment, and was so proud of his success in acting as Jennie's protector, that he was quite desirous of trying such an experiment again.
"O, no!" said his father.
"Why, father, I got along well enough in coming over," replied Rollo.
"True," said his father; "and if any accident, or any imperious necessity, should lead to your setting out for Paris without any escort, I have no doubt that you would get through safely. But it is one thing for a boy to be put into such a situation by some unforeseen and unexpected contingency, and quite another thing for his father deliberately to form such a plan for him."
Rollo looked a little disappointed, but he did not reply. In fact, he felt that his father was right.
"But I'll tell you," added Mr. Holiday. "If your uncle George is willing to go by some different route from ours, you may go with him."
"And Jennie?" inquired Rollo.
"Why! Jennie?" repeated Mr. Holiday, hesitating. "Let me think. Yes, Jennie may go with you, if she pleases, if her mother is willing."
Jennie always called Mrs. Holiday her mother, although she was really her aunt.
"Are you willing, mother," asked Rollo, very eagerly.
Mrs. Holiday was at a loss what to say. She was very desirous to please Rollo, and at the same time she wished very much to have Jennie go with her. However, she finally decided the question by saying that Jennie might go with whichever party she pleased.
Rollo's uncle George had not been long in England. He had come out from America some time after Rollo himself did, so that Rollo had not travelled with him a great deal. Mr. George was quite young, though he was a great deal older than Rollo—too old to be much of a companion for his nephew. Rollo liked him very much, because he was always kind to him; but there was no very great sympathy between them, for Mr. George was never much interested in such things as would please a boy. Besides, he was always very peremptory and decisive, though always just, in his treatment of Rollo, whenever he had him under his charge. Rollo was, however, very glad when his father consented that he and his uncle George might go to Paris together.
Mr. George was out that day, and he did not come home until Rollo had gone to bed. Rollo, however, saw him early the next morning, and told him what his father had said.
"Well," said Mr. George, after hearing his story, "and what do you propose that we should do?"
"I propose that you, and Jennie, and I should go by the way of New Haven and Dieppe," replied Rollo.
"Why?" said Mr. George.
"You see it is cheaper that way," said Rollo. "We can go that way for twenty-four shillings. It costs two and three pounds by the other ways."
"That's a consideration," said Mr. George.
"For the pound you would save," said Rollo, "you could buy a very handsome book in Paris."
Rollo suggested these considerations because he had often heard his uncle argue in this way before. He had himself another and a secret reason why he wished to go by the New Haven route; but we are all very apt, when giving reasons to others, to present such as we think will influence them, and not those which really influence us.
Mr. George looked into the guide book at the pages which Rollo pointed out, and found that it was really as Rollo had said.
"Well," said he, "I'll go that way with you."
So that was settled, too.
A short time after this conversation, Rollo's father and mother, and also Jennie, came in. Mr. Holiday rang the bell for the waiter to bring up breakfast. Jennie, when she found that it was really decided that her father and mother were to go one way, and her uncle George and Rollo another, was quite at a loss to determine which party she herself should join. She thought very justly that there would probably be more incident and adventure to be met with in going with Rollo; but then, on the other hand, she was extremely unwilling to be separated from her mother. She stood by her mother's side, leaning toward her in an attitude of confiding and affectionate attachment, while the others were talking about the details of the plan.
"I rather think there is one thing that you have forgotten," said Mr. Holiday, "and which, it strikes me, is a decided objection to your plan; and that is, that the steamer for to-morrow, from New Haven, leaves at midnight."
"That's the very reason why I wanted to go that way," said Rollo.
"Why, Rollo!" exclaimed his mother.
"Yes, mother," said Rollo. "There would be so much fun in setting out at midnight. Think, Jennie!" added Rollo, addressing his cousin, "we should sit up till midnight! And then to see all the people going on board by the light of lanterns and torches. I wonder if there'll be a moon. Let's look in the almanac, and see if there'll be a moon."
"But, George," said Mrs. Holiday, "you will not wish to set off at midnight. I think you had better change your plan, after all."
But Mr. George did not seem to think that the midnight departure of the boat was any objection to the New Haven plan. He had noticed that that was the time set for leaving New Haven the next night, and he thought that, on the whole, the arrangement would suit his plans very well. He would have a good long evening to write up his journal, which he said was getting rather behindhand. The water, too, would be more likely to be smooth in the night, so that there would be less danger of seasickness. Besides, he thought that both Rollo and himself would become very sleepy by sitting up so late, and so would fall directly to sleep as soon as they got into their berths on board the steamer, and sleep quietly till they began to draw near to the coast of France. The distance across the channel, at that point, was such, that the steamer, in leaving at midnight, would not reach Dieppe till five or six o'clock the next morning.
Accordingly, the arrangements were all made for Rollo's departure the next day, with his uncle George, for New Haven. Jennie finally decided to go with her father and mother. The idea of sailing at midnight determined her; for such an adventure, attractive as it was in Rollo's eyes, seemed quite formidable in hers. Rollo had a very pleasant ride to New Haven, amusing himself all the way with the beauties of English scenery and the continual novelties that every where met his eye. When they at last arrived at New Haven, they found that the harbor consisted merely of a straight, artificial canal, cut in from the sea, where probably some small stream had originally issued. The sides of this harbor were lined with piers, and on one of the piers was a great hotel, forming a part, as it were, of the railway station. There were a few houses and other buildings near, but there was no town to be seen. The railway was on one side of the hotel, and the water was on the other. When the train stopped, one of the railway servants opened the door for Mr. George and Rollo to get out, and Mr. George went directly into the hotel to make arrangements for rooms and for dinner, while Rollo, eager to see the ships and the water, went through the house to the pier on the other side. He found that there was a pretty broad space on the pier, between the hotel and the water, with a shed upon it for merchandise, and extra tracks for freight trains. The water was quite low in the harbor, and the few vessels that were lying at the pier walls were mostly grounded in the mud. There was one steamboat lying opposite the hotel, but it was down so low that, at first, Rollo could only see the top of the smoke-pipe. Rollo went to the brink of the pier and looked down. The steamer appeared very small. It was painted black. There were very few people on board. Rollo had a great mind to go on board himself, as there was a plank leading down from the pier to the top of the paddle box. But it looked rather steep, and so Rollo concluded to postpone going on board till Mr. George should come out with him after dinner.
Rollo looked about upon the pier a few minutes, and then went into the hotel. He passed through a spacious hall, and then through a passage way, from which he could look into a large room, the sides of which were formed of glass, so that the people who were in the room could see out all around them. The front of the room looked out upon the pier, the back side upon the passage way. A third side was toward the vestibule, and the fourth toward the coffee room. There were shelves around this room, within, and tables, and desks, and people going to and fro there. In fact, it seemed to be the office of the hotel.
Rollo advanced to one of the openings that was toward the passage way, and asked which was the way to the coffee room. The girl pointed to the door which led to it, and Rollo went in.
He found a large and beautiful room, with several tables set for dinner in different parts of it, and sideboards covered with silver, and glasses against the walls. On one side there were several large and beautiful windows, which looked out upon the pier, and opposite to each of these windows was a small dinner table, large enough, however, for two persons. Mr. George had taken one of these tables, and when Rollo came in he was sitting near it, reading a newspaper.
"Come, Rollo," said he, "I have ordered dinner, and we shall just have time to arrange our accounts while they are getting it ready."
So saying, Mr. George took out his pocket book, and also a small pocket inkstand, and a pen, and put them all upon the table.
"Your father's plan," he continued, "is this: He is to pay all expenses of transportation, at the same rate that he pays for himself; so that, whatever you save by travelling in cheap ways, is your own."
"Yes," said Rollo, smiling, "I mean to walk sometimes, and save it all."
"He is also to pay the expense of your lodgings."
"Yes," said Rollo.
"Generally, of course, you will have lodgings with him, but sometimes you will be away from him; as, for instance, to-night. In such cases, I pay for your lodgings, on your father's account."
"Yes," said Rollo, "I understand that."
"He also pays the expense of all casualties."
"So he said," replied Rollo; "but I don't understand what he means by that, very well."
"Why, you may meet with accidents that will cost money to repair, or get into difficulties which will require money to get out of. For instance, you may lose your ticket, and so have to pay twice over; or you may get lost yourself, in Paris, and so have to hire a man with a carriage to bring you home. For all such things, the money is not to come from your purse. Your father will pay."
"Suppose it is altogether my fault," said Rollo. "Then I think I ought to pay."
"But your father said that he was sure you would not be to blame for such accidents; though I think he is mistaken there. I have no doubt, myself, that nearly all the accidents that will happen to you will come from boyish heedlessness and blundering on your part."
"We'll see," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "we'll see."
"Then, as to your board," continued Mr. George, "your father said that you might do as you pleased about that. He would pay it, or you might, and be allowed five francs a day for it."
"Five francs is about a dollar, is it not?" asked Rollo.
"Yes," replied Mr. George, "very nearly. But you had better not reckon by dollars, now, at all, but by francs altogether. That's a franc."
So saying, Mr. George took a silver coin out of his pocket, and showed it to Rollo. It was nearly as large as a quarter of a dollar, or an English shilling, but not quite. A quarter of a dollar is worth twenty-five cents, an English shilling twenty-four, and a franc about twenty cents.
"You can have five of those a day to pay your own board with."
"And how much would it cost me at a boarding house, in Paris, to pay my board?" asked Rollo.
"Why, we don't board at boarding houses in Paris," said Mr. George. "We have rooms at a hotel, and then we get breakfast and dinner wherever we please, at coffee rooms and dining rooms all over the city, wherever we happen to be, or wherever we take a fancy to go. You can get a very excellent breakfast for a franc and a half. A beefsteak, or an omelet, and bread and butter and coffee."
"That's enough for breakfast," said Rollo. "And then, dinner?"
"You can get a first-rate dinner for two francs, or even less. That makes three francs and a half."
"They never take tea in Paris," said Mr. George. "The French don't take tea."
"Why not?" asked Rollo.
"I don't know," replied Mr. George, "unless it is because the English do. Whatever is done in London, you generally find that just the contrary is done in Paris."
"Don't we have any thing, then, after dinner?" asked Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "The French generally go and take a seat at a little round table on the sidewalk, and have a little glass of brandy and a cigar."
Here Rollo threw his head back, and laughed loud and long. He was greatly amused at the idea of his making an allowance, in calculating how far his five francs would go, for a glass of brandy and a cigar. Mr. George himself, sedate as he was, could not but smile.
"The fact is," said he, at length, "there are only two meals to calculate for, and they will not cost, upon an average, more than three francs and a half, if we are prudent and economical, and go to plain and not expensive places. But then there is the immense amount that you will be always wishing to spend for cakes, and candy, and oranges, and nuts, and bonbons of all sorts and kinds. There is an endless variety of such things in Paris. You will find half a dozen cake shops in every street, with fifty different kinds of gingerbread and cake in them, all of the richest and most delicious description."
"Yes," said Rollo, "I shall want some of those things."
"No doubt," said Mr. George, "you will make yourself sick eating them, I'll venture to say, before you have been in Paris twenty-four hours."
"No," said Rollo, shaking his head resolutely; "and I think I had better take the five francs and pay my own board."
"Very well," said Mr. George, "and that provides for every thing except incidentals. Your father said that I might pay you five francs a day for incidentals and pocket money. That is to include all your personal expenses of every kind, except what we have already provided for. There will be excursions, and tickets to concerts and shows, and carriage hire, and toys that you will want to buy, and all such things. The amount of it is, that your father pays all your expenses for transportation, for lodging, and for casualties. You pay every thing else, and are allowed ten francs a day for it. I am to be treasurer, and to have the whole charge of your funds, except so far as I find it prudent and safe to intrust them to you, and you are to buy nothing at all against my consent."
"Nothing at all?" asked Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George, "nothing at all. You are not to expend a single centime in any way that I object to."
"What is a centime?" asked Rollo.
"It is of the value of less than one fourth of a cent," replied Mr. George.
"But I should think I might buy such little things as that would come to, of myself," said Rollo. "Suppose I should wish to buy a small piece of gingerbread for a cent."
"Say for a sou,"[A] replied Mr. George. "There are no cents in Paris."
[A] Pronounced soo.
"Well," rejoined Rollo, "suppose I should wish to spend a sou for gingerbread, and eat it, and you should object to it."
"Very well," replied Mr. George; "and suppose you were to wish to spend a sou for poison, and drink it."
"But I should not be likely to buy poison," said Rollo, laughing.
"Nor should I be likely to object to your buying gingerbread," rejoined Mr. George. "A boy, however, may, it is clear, do mischief with a little money as well as with a great deal; and, therefore, the power in his guardian should be absolute and entire. At any rate, so it is in this case. If I see fit to forbid your expending a single sou for any thing whatever, I can, and you will have no remedy till we see your father again; and then you can ask him to put you under some other person's care. Until he does this, however, the control is absolute and entire in my hands. I would not take charge of a boy on any other terms."
"Well," said Rollo, "I agree to it."
"And now," said Mr. George, "I am ready to begin your account."
Mr. George then took a small account book from his pocket book as he said this, and, opening it at the beginning, he wrote across the top of the two pages which came together the words,
Rollo Holiday, in Account with his Father.
On the corner of the left-hand page he wrote Dr., which stands for debtor; and on that of the right-hand page, Cr., which stands for creditor.
"There," said he, "now I shall enter, from time to time, on the creditor side, all the money that becomes due to you; and on the debtor side, all that I pay to you. Then, by striking a balance, we can always tell how much of your money there is in my hands.
"Let me see," continued Mr. George. "Your father and mother concluded finally to go by the way of Folkstone. The fare that way is two pound eleven. This way, it is one pound four. I am to pay you the difference. The difference is one pound seven; and one pound seven, in francs, is—let me see how much."
Mr. George made a calculation with a pencil and paper, and found that it amounted to thirty-three francs seventy-five centimes.
"I don't understand reckoning by francs and centimes very well," said Rollo.
"No," replied Mr. George, "that is your misfortune; and you'll have to bear it as well as you can till you get out of it."
So Mr. George entered the francs—thirty-three seventy-five—in Rollo's book.
"You have got thirty-three francs to begin with," said he; "that's a pretty good stock.
"Now, there is your allowance of ten francs per day. I will enter that weekly. There are three days in this week, including to-day and Sunday. That makes thirty francs."
So Mr. George entered the thirty francs.
"There," said he, "the whole amount due you up to Monday morning is sixty-three francs seventy-five centimes. That is sixty-three francs and three fourths. A hundred centimes make a franc.
"And now," continued Mr. George, "I will make you a payment, so as to put you in funds, and that must be put down on the other side. How much would you like?"
"I don't know," said Rollo; "a few francs, I suppose."
"Have you got a purse?" asked Mr. George. "Let me see it."
So Rollo took out a small leather bag which he had bought in London.
"That's it," said Mr. George. "I'll give you ten francs. When you want more, you can have it—that is, provided it is due to you."
Here Mr. George rang a bell, and a waiter came in immediately. Mr. George handed the waiter a sovereign, and asked him to get change for it in French money. The waiter took the money, and presently came in with five five-franc pieces. These he presented very respectfully to Mr. George. Mr. George took two of them and gave them to Rollo. The others he put into his own pocket. The five-franc pieces were very bright and new, and they were of about the size of silver dollars. Rollo was very much pleased with his portion, and put them in his purse, quite proud of having so much spending money.
"And you say that I must not spend any of it without first asking you," said Rollo.
"O, no," replied Mr. George, "I have not said any such thing. That would be a great deal of trouble, both for you and for me."
"But I thought you said that I was not to spend any thing without your consent."
"No," said Mr. George, "I said against my consent. I may forbid your spending whenever I think proper; but I shall not do so, so long as I find you always ask me in doubtful cases. Spend for yourself freely, whenever you are sure it is right. When you are not sure, ask me. If I find you abuse the privilege, I shall have to restrict you. Otherwise, not."
Rollo was well satisfied with this understanding of the case; and just then the waiter came in, bearing a handsome silver tureen containing soup, which he put down upon the table, between Mr. George and Rollo. So the writing materials and the purses were put away, and the two travellers were soon occupied very busily in eating their dinner.
CROSSING THE CHANNEL.
Mr. Holiday had two reasons for making the arrangements described in the last chapter, in respect to Rollo's expenses. In the first place, it would gratify Rollo himself, who would feel more independent, and more like a man, he thought, in being allowed thus, in some measure, to have the charge and control of his own expenditures. But his second and principal reason was, that he might accustom his son, in early life, to bear pecuniary responsibilities, and to exercise judgment and discretion in the use of money. Many young men never have any training of this sort till they become of age. Before that time, whenever they wish for money, they go to their father and ask for it. They take all they can get; and when that is gone, they go and ask for more. They have no direct personal motive for exercising prudence and economy, and they have no experience of the evils that result from thriftlessness and prodigality. It is much better for all children that they should have pecuniary responsibilities, such as are suited to their years, thrown upon them in their youth, when the mistakes they make in acquiring their experience are of little moment. The same mistakes made after they become of age might be their ruin.
In carrying the system into effect in Rollo's case, there seemed to be something very abrupt, at least, if not positively harsh, in Mr. George's mode of dealing with him. And yet Rollo did not dislike it. He felt that his uncle was treating him more like a man, on this account, or rather more like a large boy, and not like a child. In fact, a part of the rough handling which Rollo got from his uncle was due to this very circumstance—Mr. George having observed that he did not mind being knocked about a little.
After dinner, Rollo proposed to his uncle that they should go out and take a walk.
"I will go with you a few minutes," said Mr. George, "and then I must return to my room, and write up my journal."
"Say half an hour," rejoined Rollo.
"Well," replied Mr. George, "we will say half an hour."
So they sallied forth upon the pier behind the hotel. Mr. George took a general survey of the harbor, and of the vessels that were lying in it, and also of the peaks and headlands which were seen at the mouth of it, toward the sea.
"I should like to be on that hill," said Mr. George, "to look off over the channel, and see if I could discern the coast of France from it."
"Let's go there," said Rollo.
"That would take more than half an hour," replied Mr. George.
"Well, at any rate, let's go on board the steamer," said Rollo.
So, taking Mr. George by the hand, he led him along to the brink of the pier. Mr. George looked over, and saw the steamer lying at rest in its muddy bed below.
"Is it possible?" said Mr. George, in a tone of great astonishment.
"Can it be possible?" repeated Mr. George.
"What?" inquired Rollo. "What is it that surprises you so much?"
"Why, to find such a steamer as this for the travel on one of the great thoroughfares between England and France. Let's go down on board."
So Mr. George led the way, and Rollo followed down the plank. The plank landed them on the top of the paddle box. From that place, a few steps led to the deck. They walked along the deck a short distance toward the stern, and there they found a door, and a small winding staircase leading down into the cabin. They descended these stairs, one before the other, for the space was not wide enough to allow of their going together; and when they reached the foot of them they found themselves in a small cabin, with one tier of berths around the sides. The cabin was not high enough for two. There were berths for about twenty or thirty passengers. The cabin was very neatly finished; and there was a row of cushioned seats around it, in front of the berths. In one corner, by the side of the door where Mr. George and Rollo had come in, was a small desk, with writing materials upon it. This Rollo supposed must be the "captain's office."
While Mr. George sat surveying the scene, and mentally comparing this insignificant boat to the magnificent steamers on the Hudson River, in America, with their splendid and capacious cabins on three different decks, their promenade saloons, sometimes one hundred and fifty feet long, with ranges of elegant state rooms on either hand, and sofas, and couches, and tete-a-tetes without number, in the middle, his perplexity increased.
"I do not understand it at all," said he to Rollo. "I thought that there would at least be as much travelling between London and Paris, the two greatest cities in the world, as between New York and Albany. And yet there are half a dozen steamers every day on the North River, carrying from five hundred to one thousand passengers; while here, on the most direct and cheapest route between London and Paris, is one single steamer, that could not possibly carry one hundred passengers, and she only goes once in two days."
Just then a young man, who seemed to be the clerk of the boat, came down the cabin stairs, and, seeing Mr. George and Rollo there, he asked them if they had taken their berths. They said that they had not; but they immediately proceeded to choose their berths, or rather their places, for there were no divisions separating the sleeping-places from each other except what was formed by the cushions. There was a long cushion for each sleeper, covered with crimson velvet or plush; and a round cushion, shaped like a bolster, and covered in the same way, for his head. On these cushions the passengers were expected to lie down without undressing, placing themselves in a row, head to head, and feet to feet. Mr. George chose two of these sleeping-places, one for himself, and the other for Rollo, and the clerk marked them with a ticket.
Our two travellers then went up on deck again, and from the deck they ascended the plank to the pier. It was now nearly sunset, and it was a very pleasant evening. They sauntered slowly along the pier, until they came to a place where some steps led down to the water. There were several small boats at the foot of the steps, and in one of them was a man doing something to the rudder. Rollo saw that on the other side of the water was another long staircase leading down from the bank there, so as to form a landing-place for small boats at all times of tide. He also looked up and down the harbor, but he could see no bridge, and so he supposed that this must be a sort of ferry for the people who wished to cross from one side to the other.
As soon as the man who was in the boat saw Mr. George and Rollo standing upon the pier, he rose up in his boat, and touching his hat at the same time, or rather making a sort of jerk with his hand, which was meant to represent a touch of the hat, he asked him if he would like to be rowed across to the other side.
"Why, I don't know," said Mr. George. "What's the ferriage?"
"That's just as the gentleman pleases," said the man, with another jerk at his hat.
"And how much do they generally please?" said Mr. George. "What's the common custom?"
"O, gentlemen gives us what they likes," said the man. "We always leaves it to them entirely."
Mr. George was silent. After a moment's pause, the boatman said again,—
"Would you like to go, sir? Very nice boat."
"Not on those terms," said Mr. George. "If you will tell me what the usual ferriage is, I can then tell you whether we wish to go or not."
"Well, sir," replied the man, "gentlemen usually gives us about twopence apiece."
"Twopence apiece. Very well, we will go."
Mr. George did not wait to ask Rollo whether he would like to go before he decided the question. He would have considered this a mere waste of time, for Rollo was always ready to go, no matter where.
So they got into the boat, and were rowed across the water. They ascended the stairs on the other side, and walked a little way in a smooth road which led along the bank. Rollo wished to go farther; but Mr. George said that his time had expired, and that he must go back. "But you may stay," said he to Rollo, "as long as you please, provided that you come back before dark."
Rollo was much pleased with this permission, as he wished to go to the top of the hill, at the outlet of the harbor, and look at the prospect. He promised to return before dark.
"Have you any change," said Mr. George, "to pay your ferriage back?"
"No," said Rollo, "I have nothing but my five-franc pieces."
"Then I will lend you twopence," said Mr. George. "You can pay me the first change you get in France."
"But I cannot get any pennies in France," said Rollo.
"True," said Mr. George; "you will get sous there. You must pay me four sous. A penny is equal to two sous.
"I will pay your bill at the hotel, too," continued Mr. George, "as I suppose they will make out yours and mine together, and you can pay me your share to-morrow, when we land. Here is your ticket, however. You must take charge of that."
"But suppose I lose it?" asked Rollo.
"Then you will have to pay over again," said Mr. George; "that is all. You will lose about twenty francs; unless, indeed," he continued, "your father should call it a casualty."
So Mr. George went back to the boat, and Rollo continued his walk, thinking on the way of the question which his uncle had suggested, whether his father would consider the loss of his ticket a casualty or not. He determined, however, very resolutely, that he would not lose it; and so he put it away safely in his wallet, and then went on. The road was very smooth and pleasant to walk in, being bordered by green fields on the one hand, and the water of the harbor on the other. Rollo came at length to the hill. There were successive terraces, with houses built upon them, on the sides of the hill, and paths leading to the summit. Rollo had a fine view of the sea, and of the vessels and steamers which were passing slowly in the offing, on their way up and down the channel; but though he looked long and eagerly for the coast of France, it was not to be seen.
Rollo rambled about the hill for a considerable time; for at that season of the year the twilight continued very long, and it did not become dark till quite late. When, at length, the shadows of the evening began to shut in upon the landscape, he returned to the ferry, and the ferryman rowed him back again to the hotel.
It was now nearly nine o'clock, and, of course, three hours remained before the time of embarkation would arrive. Rollo was not sorry for this, as he thought that there would be enough to amuse and occupy him all this time on and around the pier. His first duty, however, was to go and report himself to Mr. George as having returned from his walk. This he did. He found his uncle very busy in his room, writing his journal.
"Now, Rollo," said Mr. George, "it is three hours before we are to leave. What are you going to do all that time?"
"O, I shall find plenty to amuse myself with," said Rollo.
"Very well," said Mr. George. "You may play about wherever you are sure it is safe. Don't go near the edge of the pier, unless there is somebody at hand to pull you out of the water with a boathook, if you fall in. Amuse yourself as long as you can; and when you are tired of taking care of yourself, come to me, and I will tell you what to do."
Rollo, having received these instructions, left his uncle to his work, and went away. He descended the stairs, and went out upon the pier again, and after amusing himself, by examining every thing there, he concluded to go on board the steamer. A train of cars had arrived from London while he and his uncle had been on the other side of the water, and there were now several new passengers in the cabin, who were choosing and marking their berths, or talking together about the voyage.
Rollo thought that, in order to make sure that his ticket was all right, he would climb up into his berth and see; and then, when he was there, it seemed to him a very funny place to sleep in; so he laid down his head upon the round cushion to try it. While he was in this position, his attention was attracted by the sound of children's voices on the stairs, talking French. Presently these children came into the cabin. Their mother was with them. There were two of them, and they were not more than five or six years old. Rollo was exceedingly astonished to hear such little children talk French so well. Rollo listened to see if he could understand what they said. He had studied French himself for a year or two, and could say a great many things. In fact, he had been accustomed to consider himself quite a good French scholar. But he now found that all his acquisitions dwindled into utter insignificance, when compared with the power over the language possessed by those little girls.
The French party did not remain very long in the cabin where Rollo was, but passed at once through a door which led to a small ladies' cabin near. There were other persons, however, continually coming and going, and Rollo was interested in watching their movements, and in listening to the fragments of conversation which he heard. He found his position very comfortable, too, and the sounds around him produced so lulling an effect, that, before long, he insensibly closed his eyes. In a word, in less than fifteen minutes after he climbed up into his berth to see what sort of a place it was, he had put it fully to the test of experiment, by going fast asleep in it.
In about half an hour after this, Mr. George, coming to the end of a paragraph in his journal, laid down his pen, drew a long breath, looked out the window, and then rang the bell. In a few minutes the chambermaid came.
"Mary," said he, "I wish to ask the porter to go out and look about on the pier, and in the packet, and see if he can see any thing of that boy that came with me."
"Very well, sir," said Mary, with a quick courtesy; and she immediately disappeared.
In about five minutes she came back, and said that the young master was in his berth in the packet, sound asleep.
"Very well," said Mr. George, in his turn. "Much obliged to you." He then went on with his writing.
The first thing that Rollo himself was conscious of, after falling asleep in his berth, was a feeling of some one pulling him gently by the shoulder. He opened his eyes, and saw before him a face that he did not exactly know, and yet it was not entirely strange. The man had his hand upon Rollo's shoulder, and was endeavoring to wake him.
"Your ticket, if you please, sir."
Rollo stared wildly a minute, first at the man, and then about the cabin. It was night. Lamps were burning, and the cabin was full of people. Some were in their berths, some in groups on the seats, and one or two were just preparing to lie down. The engine was in motion, and the ship was evidently going fast through the water. In fact, the steamer was rocking and rolling as she went on, indicating that she was already far out at sea.
"Your ticket, if you please, sir," repeated the clerk.
Rollo glanced around to his uncle's berth, and there he saw his uncle lying quietly in his place, his head being on a cushion close to the one on which Rollo's head had been lying.
"Uncle George," said Rollo, "he wants my ticket."
"Well," said Mr. George, without moving, "give him your ticket."
Rollo then recollected that he had his ticket in his wallet. So, after fumbling for a time in his pocket, he brought out his wallet, and produced the ticket, and handed it to the clerk.
"Thank you, sir," said the clerk, taking the ticket. At the same time he put two other tickets in Rollo's wallet, in the place of the one which he had taken out. As he did this, he pointed to one of the small ones, saying,—
"That's for the landing."
Rollo shut up his wallet, and put it in his pocket.
"A shilling, if you please," said the clerk.
Rollo had no shilling, and was still not much more than half awake. So he turned to his uncle again.
"Uncle George," said he, "he wants a shilling."
"Well, pay him a shilling, then," said Mr. George.
Rollo now felt for his purse, and taking out one of his five-franc pieces, he gave it to the clerk, who, in return, gave him back a quantity of change. Rollo attempted to count the change, but he soon perceived that his ideas of francs and shillings were all in confusion. So he turned the change all together into his purse, put the purse back into his pocket, lay his head down upon his cushion again, shut his eyes, and in one minute was once more fast asleep.
Some hours afterward he woke again, of his own accord. He opened his eyes and looked about him, and perceiving that it was morning, he climbed down from his berth, and then went up upon the deck. The coast of France was all before him, in full view, and the steamer was rapidly drawing near to it. He went to the bow of the vessel to get a nearer view. He saw directly before him a place where there were piers, and batteries, and other constructions indicating a town, while on either hand there extended long ranges of cliffs, with smooth, green slopes of land above, and broad, sandy shores below. In half an hour more the steamer arrived at the entrance of the harbor, which was formed of two long piers, built at a little distance from each other, and projecting quite into the sea. The steamer glided rapidly along between these high walls of stone, until, at length, it entered a broad basin, which was bordered by a continuation of these walls, and hemmed in on every side beyond the walls of the pier with ranges of the most quaint, and queer, and picturesque-looking buildings that Rollo ever saw.
These buildings were not close to the pier, but were back far enough to leave room for a street between them and the water. Such a street is called a quay.[B] Quays are built in almost all the cities of Europe where there are rivers or basins of water for shipping; and they are very pleasant streets to walk in, having usually large and elegant buildings on one side, and vessels and steamers on the other.
[B] Pronounced kee.
By the time that the steamer had entered the port, almost all the passengers had come up from below, and Mr. George among the rest. Mr. George came, expecting to find that, as they were now about to land, the baggage would be brought out, and that the several passengers would be called upon to select their own. But there was no movement of this kind. The baggage had all been put down into the hold the night before, and now the hatches were still closed, and there seemed to be no signs of any preparation to open them.
In the mean time, the steamer gradually drew near to the pier. The engine was stopped. Ropes were thrown out. People in queer dresses, some of them soldiers, who were standing on the pier, caught the ropes and fastened them. The steamer was thus brought to her place and secured there.
There was now, however, no rush to get on shore,—such as Rollo had always been accustomed to witness on board an American steamer on her arrival,—but every thing was quiet and still. By and by a plank was laid. Then the passengers were called upon to get out their tickets. Then they began to walk over the plank, each one giving up his landing ticket as he passed.
When Mr. George and Rollo reached the pier, they found, on looking around them, that they were not yet at liberty. On the opposite side of the quay was a building, with a sign over it, in French, meaning custom-house office for packet boats; and there were two long ropes stretched, one from the stem and the other from the stern of the steamer, to the opposite sides of the door of this building, so as to enclose a space on the quay, in front of the building, in such a manner as to hem the passengers in, and make it necessary for them to pass through the custom house. The ropes were guarded by soldiers, dressed in what seemed to Rollo the queerest possible uniforms. They all talked French—even those who had talked English when they came on board the packet boat on the other side.
"I can't understand a word they say," said Rollo.
"Nor I," said Mr. George; "but we can watch and see what they will do."
It did not require long watching, for no sooner had Mr. George said these words than he observed that the passengers were all going toward the door of the custom-house, and that, as they went, they were taking their passports out. Nobody can enter France without a passport. A passport is a paper given to the traveller by his own government. This paper tells the traveller's name, describes his person, and requests that the French government will allow him to pass through their country. Frenchmen themselves must have a passport too, though this is of a little different kind. All must have a passport of some kind or other, and all this machinery of ropes and soldiers was to make it sure that every one of the passengers had the proper document.
The passengers accordingly took out their passports as they went into the custom-house door, and there passed, in single file, before an officer seated at a desk, who took them in turn, opened them, copied the names in his book, and then gave them back to the owners. Mr. George and Rollo followed on in the line. When their passports had been given back to them, they went on with the rest until they came out from the custom-house at another door, which brought them upon the quay outside of the ropes.
"What's to be done next?" said Rollo.
"I am sure I don't know," said Mr. George, "I suppose we shall see."
There was an omnibus standing near, marked, "For the Iron Road,"—that being the French name for railroad,—but nobody seemed to be getting into it. In fact, the passengers, as fast as they came out from the custom-house, seemed all very quiet, as if waiting for something. A great many of them seemed to be French people, and they fell into little groups, and began to talk very volubly together, some finding friends who had come down to the quay to meet them, and others making friends, apparently, for the occasion, of the soldiers and idlers that were standing around.
"Could not you ask some of them," said Rollo, "what we are to do next?"
"I don't believe they would understand my French," said Mr. George. "I am sure I don't understand theirs." In a moment, however, he turned to a young man who was standing near, who seemed to be a waiter or servant man belonging to the place.
"Do you speak English?"
"Yes, sir," said the man, in a very foreign accent, but yet in a very pleasant tone.
"What are we waiting for?" asked Mr. George.
"You will wait, sir, for the baggages, and then for the visit of the baggages."
"How long?" said Mr. George.
"Twenty minutes," said the man. He also gave Mr. George to understand that he and Rollo might go and have some breakfast, if they chose. But Mr. George thought it was not safe for them to go away from the spot. So they waited where they were.
In a few minutes the hatches were opened on board the vessel, and the sailors began to hoist out the trunks. As fast as they were brought up to the decks men took them on shore, and carried them into the custom-house by the same door where the passengers had entered. When all the baggage was carried in, the ropes were taken down, and the passengers went to the custom-house door again, to attend to the examination of the baggage. A soldier stood at the door to prevent too many going in at a time. Mr. George and Rollo followed the rest, and at length it came their turn to have their trunks examined. This was done very quick—the officers appearing to think, from the appearance of the travellers, that they would not be likely to have any smuggled goods in their possession. The officer, accordingly, just looked into the trunks, and then shut down the lids, and marked them passed. A porter then took them out at the side door. There, on Mr. George's telling them in French that they were going to Paris by the railroad, the trunks were put upon a cart, while Mr. George and Rollo got into the omnibus, and then they were very soon driving along the quay, in the direction, as they supposed, of the Paris railway station.
JOURNEY TO PARIS.
The omnibus which Mr. George and Rollo had entered contained several other passengers, some of whom had carpet bags and valises with them, as if they, too, were going to Paris. Besides the driver, there was a conductor, whose place was upon the step of the omnibus, behind. The conductor opened and shut the doors for the passengers when they wished to get in or out, and took the fare.
"How much is the fare?" said Rollo to Mr. George.
"I don't know," said Mr. George, shaking his head. He spoke, however, in a very unconcerned tone, as if it were of very little consequence whether he knew or not.
"What are you going to do about it, then?" said Rollo.
"I shall say, 'How much?' to him, when we get out; and then, if I do not understand his answer, I shall give him a large piece of money, and let him give me back as much change as he likes."
Rollo resolved that he would do so too.
Next to Mr. George and Rollo in the omnibus there sat a gentleman and lady, who seemed to be, as they really were, a new-married pair. They were making their bridal tour. The lady was dressed plainly, but well, in travelling costume, and she had a handsome morocco carriage bag hanging upon her arm. The gentleman was quite loaded with shawls, and boxes, and umbrellas, and small bags, which he had upon his lap or at his feet. Besides this, the lady had a trunk, which, together with that of her husband, had been left behind, to come on the cart. She was very anxious about this trunk, for it contained all her fine dresses. Her husband was interested in the novel sights and scenes that presented themselves to view in passing along the street; but she thought only of the trunk.
"What strange costumes, Estelle!" said he. "Look! See that woman! What a funny cap!"
"Yes," said Estelle; "but, Charley, don't you think it would have been better for us to have brought our trunks with us on the omnibus?"
"I don't know," said her husband. "It is too late to think of that now. I've no doubt that they are safe enough where they are. Look! There's a girl with wooden shoes on. Those are the wooden shoes we have read about so often in books. Look!"
Estelle glanced her eyes, for an instant, toward the wooden shoes, and then began to look back along the street again, watching anxiously for the trunks.
At length the omnibus approached the station. It entered through a magnificent portal, under an arch. There was a soldier walking back and forth, with his musket in his hand, bayonet fixed, to guard the entrance. None but actual travellers were allowed to enter. The omnibus, having entered the court, stopped before a splendid portico, where there was a door leading into the building. The passengers paid their fares, and got out. On entering the building, they found themselves in a spacious apartment, with a great variety of partitions, offices, enclosures, and railings, presenting themselves on every hand, the meaning of all which it was very difficult to understand. There were also signs marked first class, and second class, and third class, and placards of notices to travellers, and time tables, and various similar things. On the back side of the room were doors and windows, looking out to a platform, where the train of cars was seen, apparently all ready to set off. But the partitions and railings which were in the way prevented the company from going out there.
There were a number of travellers in this room, several parties having arrived there before the omnibus came. Many of these persons were waiting quietly, talking in little groups, or resting themselves by sitting upon their carpet bags. Others were looking about eagerly and anxiously, wondering what they were to do, or trying to find somebody who could tell them about the baggage. Estelle was the most restless and uneasy of all. She went continually to the door to look down the road, to see if the cart was coming.
"Charles," said she, "what a shame it is that they don't come with the trunks! The train is all ready, and will go off before they come."
"O, no," said her husband; "I think not. Don't be anxious about them. I've no doubt they will be here in time. Come with me, and let us look about the station, and see how it differs from ours."
But Estelle would not allow her thoughts to be diverted from her trunk. She remained on the steps, looking anxiously down the road. Some of the other passengers who were unused to travelling, seeing her look so anxious, and not understanding what she said, supposed that some accident had happened, or that some unusual delay had occurred, and they began to be anxious too. Just then a bell began to ring out upon the platform.
"There!" exclaimed Estelle. "The train is going! What shall we do? Why can't you ask somebody, Charles?"
"Why, I can't speak French," said Charles; "and they would not understand me if I ask in English."
"Yes they would," said Estelle; "I'm sure they would. There are so many English travellers going on these roads now, that it must be that they have men here that speak English. There's a man," said she, pointing to a person in livery who was standing within a sort of enclosure.
Mr. Charles, thus urged, walked across the hall to the railing, though very reluctantly, and asked the man if he could tell him why the trunks did not come.
"Sir?" said the man, in French, and looking as if he did not understand.
"Do you speak English?" asked Mr. Charles.
"There," said the man, pointing across the room. Mr. Charles looked, and saw another man, who, by the livery or uniform which he wore, seemed to be a porter belonging to the station, standing by a window. He accordingly went across to ask the question of him.
"Do you speak English, sir?" said he.
"Yes, sare," replied the man, speaking with great formality, and in a very foreign accent, making, at the same time, a very polite bow.
"What is the reason that our baggage does not come?" asked Mr. Charles.
"Yes, sare," replied the porter, speaking in the same manner.
"Why does not it come?" asked Mr. Charles again. "We put it upon a cart at the custom-house, and why does not it come?"
"Yes, sare," replied the porter, with another very polite bow.
Mr. Charles, perceiving that the porter's knowledge of English consisted, apparently, in being able to say, "Yes, sir," and mortified at the absurd figure which he made in attempting to make useless inquiries in such a way, bowed in his turn, and went back to Estelle in a state of greater alienation of heart from her than he had ever experienced before. And as this book may, perhaps, be read sometimes by girls as well as boys, I will here, for their benefit, add the remark, that there is no possible way by which a lady can more effectually destroy any kind feeling which a gentleman may entertain for her than by forcing him to exhibit himself thus in an awkward and ridiculous light, by her unreasonable exactions on journeys, or rides, or walks, or excursions of any kind that they may be taking together.
Rollo and his uncle George had witnessed this scene, and had both been much interested in watching the progress of it. Rollo did not know but that there was some real cause for solicitude about the baggage, especially as several of the lady passengers who were standing with Estelle at the door seemed to be anxiously looking down the road.
"Do you feel any anxiety about our trunks coming?" asked Rollo.
"Not the least," said Mr. George, quietly.
"Why not?" asked Rollo. "Are you sure that they will come?"
"No," said Mr. George; "but there are a good many excellent reasons why I should not feel any anxiety about them. In the first place, I have some little confidence in the railway arrangements made in this country. The French are famous all the world over for their skill in systematizing and regulating all operations of this kind, so that they shall work in the most sure and perfect manner. It does not seem at all probable to me, therefore, that they can manage so clumsily here, on one of the great lines between England and France, as to get all the trunks of a whole steamer load of passengers upon a cart, and then loiter with it on the way to the station, and let the train go off without it."
"Well," said Rollo, "that's a good reason; but you said there were several."
"Another is, that, if they are capable of managing so clumsily as to have such a thing happen, we cannot help it, and have nothing to do but to bear it quietly. We put our trunks in the proper place to have them brought here. We could not have done otherwise, with propriety, for that was the regular mode provided for conveying the baggage; and if there is a failure to get it here, we are not to fret about it, but to take it as we would a storm, or a break down, or any other casualty—that is, take it quietly."
"Yes," said Rollo; "that's a good reason. Are there any more?"
"There is one more," said Mr. George; "and that is, I am not anxious about the trunks coming in season, for I don't care a fig whether they come or not."
"O, uncle George!" exclaimed Rollo.
"I do not," said Mr. George; "for if they do not come, the only consequence will be, that we shall have to wait two or three hours for the next train, which will give us just time to ramble about a little in this queer-looking town of Dieppe, and get some breakfast, and perhaps have some curious adventures in trying to talk French. In fact, I rather hope the baggage won't come."
Mr. George was destined to be disappointed in this rising desire, for, while he and Rollo were talking, Estelle came running in to her husband with a countenance full of joy, saying that the cart had come, and urging him to come and get their trunks off as quick as possible. Her eagerness was increased by hearing the bell again, which now began to toll, leading her to think that the train was going off immediately. The porters, however, whose business it was to carry the trunks in, did not seem to be at all disturbed by the sound, but began to take off the trunks, one by one, and convey them up into the station. Here they were placed upon a sort of counter, from whence they were taken off on the other side, and weighed in a curiously contrived pair of scales placed there for the purpose. If any trunk weighed over a certain number of pounds,—the amount which, according to the regulations of the road, each passenger was allowed to carry,—then the surplus had to be paid for. There was a little office close to the weighing machine; and as fast as the trunks were weighed, the result was reported to the clerk, who made out a bill for the surplus, whatever it was, and the passenger paid it through an opening. If there was no surplus weight, then they gave the passenger a similar bill, which was to be his check for his trunk at the end of the journey. Every thing was, however, so admirably arranged, that all this was done very rapidly.
Mr. Charles, when he found that the trunks were all to be weighed, proposed to go with Estelle to the cars, so as to get a good seat for her; but Estelle chose to remain and make sure that her trunk was attended to. It happened that Mr. George's trunk and Rollo's were weighed among the first; and as soon as they got their checks, Mr. George said,—
"Now for our seats in the cars."
"But which way are we to go?" said Rollo.
"I don't know," said Mr. George. "Go and show that man your ticket, and ask him where we are to go."
"In French?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George.
So Rollo went to the man who was standing by a sort of gateway which led through a partition railing, as if he were there to guard the passage; and holding up his little pasteboard ticket, he said, in French,—
"Where to go?"
The man looked at the ticket, and, seeing that first class was printed upon it, he pointed in a certain direction, and said something in French, speaking, however, in so rapid and voluble a manner, that Rollo could not understand a single word. He, however, understood the sign.
"This way, uncle George," said Rollo. "He says we must go this way."
Following the indication which the man had given, Mr. George and Rollo passed out upon the platform, where they found the train ready for them. There were various attendants upon the platform, dressed in a quaint sort of uniform, the livery, as it were, of the railroad company. One of them looked at Rollo's ticket, and then opened the door of a first-class car. The cars were made like those in England, in separate compartments, each compartment being like a large coach, with one front seat, and one back, facing each other. There were four places; that is, room for four passengers on each seat. Of course, only those at the ends were near the window. Rollo and Mr. George took the two seats nearest the window on the side where they got in, as one of the seats at the opposite side was already occupied by a gentleman. The gentleman seemed to be an Englishman, for he was reading the London Times.
Rollo and Mr. George had been seated only two or three minutes before Estelle and her husband came along, Estelle leading the way. The attendant opened the door of the car, and Estelle, followed by her husband, got in. They passed between Mr. George and Rollo, and stood there for a moment, looking about for a good seat. A freight train was slowly trundling by at this time on an adjoining track, so that what they said was not very audible; but still, Mr. George and Rollo could hear it.
"I want a seat by the window," said Estelle, "where I can look out and see the country. Ask that gentleman if he would not be willing to take a middle seat, and let us sit together by the window."
"We had better go to some other car," said her husband, in an undertone. "He wishes to see the country, probably, himself, and has come early, perhaps, so as to get a good seat."
"O, no," said Estelle; "this is a very nice car; and he would just as soon change as not, I have no doubt. Ask him, Charley; do."
So Estelle moved to one side for her husband to pass. Mr. Charles, thus urged, approached the gentleman, and said, in a very bland and respectful manner,—
"Should you have any objection, sir, to move your seat, so as to let this lady sit by the window?"
The gentleman raised his eyes from his paper, and looked at Mr. Charles an instant, and then answered quietly,—
"I prefer this seat, sir."
He then went on with his reading as before.
Estelle pouted her lip, and said, though in a tone too low, perhaps, for the gentleman to hear, "What a rude man!"
"We will give you these seats, sir," said Mr. George, "if you would like them."
"Yes, they'll do just as well," said Estelle, speaking to her husband.
Mr. George rose, and saying, "Come, Rollo," he left the car.
Mr. George had some trouble in looking for other seats; but at length he succeeded in finding two that were as good as those which they had left.
"I think she might at least have thanked you for giving up your seat to accommodate her," said Rollo.
"I did not do it to accommodate her," said Mr. George; "I did it to get out of the sight and hearing of her. I would not ride from here to Paris in the same car with such a fussmaker for all the prospects in France. I had rather be shut up in a freight car."
"How much trouble she makes her husband!" said Rollo.
"It is not the trouble," said Mr. George, "it is the mortification and annoyance. She is a perpetual torment. If that's the way that young wives treat their husbands on the bridal tour, I'm thankful that I am not a bridegroom."
The train soon set out, and Mr. George and Rollo, forgetting Estelle, soon began to enjoy the ride. They were both extremely interested in the views which they obtained from their windows as they passed along, and with the antique and quaint appearance of the country—the ancient stone cottages, with thatched roofs; the peasants, in their picturesque dresses; the immense tracts of cultivated country, divided in green and brown patches, like the beds of a garden, but with no fences or enclosures of any kind to be seen; the great forests, with trees planted closely in rows, like the corn in an American cornfield; and the roadways which they occasionally passed—immense avenues, bordered on either hand with double rows of majestic trees, and extending across the country, as straight as the street of a city, till lost in the horizon. These and a thousand other things, which were all the time presenting themselves to view, kept the travellers continually full of wonder and delight.
After going on thus for several hours, the train stopped in a very spacious depot, where there was a large refreshment room; and as one of the attendants called out that there would be ten minutes of rest, both Mr. George and Rollo got out, and went into the refreshment room. They found a great multitude of cakes and meats spread out upon an immense counter, and dishes of every kind, all totally unknown to them. They, of course, could not call for any thing; but, after taking a survey, they helped themselves to what they thought looked as if it might be good, and then paid in the same way, by letting the girls that attended the tables help themselves to money which the travellers held out to them in their hands. They then took their seats again in the car, and soon afterward the train moved on.
The place where they had stopped was Rouen, which, as well as Dieppe and Paris, the reader will find, on examining any map of France. In the course of the ride from Rouen to Paris, Mr. George and Rollo fell into quite a conversation, in which Rollo received a great deal of very good advice from Mr. George in respect to the care of himself when he should get to Paris.
"I suppose that I should be sure to get lost," said Rollo, "if I should attempt to go out in such a great city alone."
"No," said Mr. George, "not at all. A person can walk about a great way, sometimes, in a strange city, without getting lost. All he has to do is to take care, at first, to go only in such directions as that he can keep the way home in his mind."
"I don't know what you mean, exactly, by that," said Rollo.
"Why, suppose you were in a great city, and you come out at the door of your hotel, and there you find a long, straight street. You walk along that street half a mile. Then don't you think you could find your way home?"
"Yes," said Rollo.
"Certainly," said Mr. George, "because you have it in your mind that the way home is directly back by that same street, till you come to the hotel. Now, suppose that, after going along in that street for half a mile, you should come to a great church, upon a corner, and should turn there to the right, and go for some distance in another street leading off from the first one; don't you think you could then find your way home?"
"Yes," said Rollo, "I should go back to the church, and then turn to the left, and so go home."
"Very well," said Mr. George; "by proceeding cautiously in that way, carrying your way home in your mind with you all the time, you can ramble a great deal about a strange city without getting lost, and go farther and farther every day.
"Then, besides, if you do get lost, it is of no consequence. You can always ask the way back; or, if worst comes to worst, you can take a cab, and tell the man to drive you home."
"Yes," said Rollo, "I suppose I could always do that."
"Only you must be sure," said Mr. George, "not to forget the name of your hotel. Once I was walking about in Paris, and I saw a colored girl on the sidewalk, before me, who seemed to be inquiring something of the people that she met, without appearing to get any satisfactory answer. I thought she was an American girl; and so I went to her, and asked her in French what she wanted to know—for I observed that she was speaking French. She said she wished to know what was the name of the hotel where most of the Americans lodged. I could not speak French very well myself, and so I could not ask her for any explanations; but I supposed that she belonged to some American party, and had lost her way in going somewhere of an errand, and had forgotten the name of the hotel. So I told her the names of two or three hotels where Americans were accustomed to lodge, and she went away."
"Did she find her own hotel?" asked Rollo.
"I don't know," said Mr. George. "I never knew what became of her."
"How did she learn French, do you suppose?" asked Rollo.
"I presume she came from New Orleans," replied Mr. George, "where nearly all the people speak French."
Thus our two travellers beguiled their journey, by talking sometimes about the novel and curious objects which presented themselves to view, in the landscape, as the train rolled rapidly along on its way, and sometimes about what they expected to see and to do on their arrival in Paris. At length, the indications that they were approaching the great capital began to multiply on every hand. The villages were more frequent. Villas, parks, and palaces came into view; and here and there an ancient castle reposed on the slope of a distant hill, or frowned from its summit. At length, Rollo, turning his head to the window opposite to the one where he had been looking out, exclaimed suddenly,—
"Look there! Uncle George, what's that?"
Mr. George said that that was Napoleon's famous Triumphal Arch, that forms the grand entrance to Paris, on the way to the royal palaces. It was a large, square building, splendidly adorned with sculptures and architectural ornaments, and towering high into the air out of the midst of a perfect sea of houses, streets, avenues, trees, gardens, and palaces, which covered the whole country around. It stood upon a commanding elevation, which made its magnitude and its height seem all the more impressive. Through the centre of it was a magnificent archway, wide enough for four carriages to pass abreast.
"It is the Triumphal Arch," said Mr. George, "by which all grand processions enter Paris on great public days of rejoicing. We will go out and see it some day. It is called the Triumphal Arch of Neuilly, because it is on the road that leads to Neuilly."[C]
[C] It is also called the Arc de l'Etoile. Etoile means star, and the French give that name to a place where several roads diverge from one point. Roads so diverging form a sort of star. The reader will find this arch on any map of Paris, with the roads diverging from it.
By this time the Triumphal Arch had passed out of view, and presently the train of cars began to be shut in by buildings, and the usual indications appeared of the approach to a great station. Queer-looking signals, of mysterious meaning,—some red, some blue, some round, some square,—glided by, and men in strange and fantastic costumes stood on the right hand and on the left, with little flags in their hands, and one arm extended, as if to show the locomotive the way.
At length the convoy (as the French call a railway train) came to a stand, and an attendant, in uniform, opened the door of the car. Mr. George and Rollo got out and looked about, quite bewildered with the magnificence of the scene around them. The station was very extensive, and was very splendid in its construction, and there were immense numbers of people going and coming in it in all directions. Still, every thing was so well regulated that there was no disorder or confusion. There was a line of carriages drawn up in a certain place near the platform; but the coachmen remained quietly by them, awaiting calls from the passengers, instead of vociferously and clamorously offering their services, as is customary at the stations in America. Nor was there any pushing or crowding for trunks and baggage. In fact, the trunks were all to be examined before they could go into the city; for there are separate duties for the city of Paris, in addition to those for France. The baggage was, therefore, all taken from the baggage car, and arranged in an immense apartment, on counters, which extended all around the sides, and up and down the middle; and then, when all was ready, the passengers were admitted, and each one claimed his own. Mr. George and Rollo easily found their trunks, and, on presenting their tickets, an officer required them to open the trunks, that he might see if there was any thing contraband inside. As soon, however, as he perceived that Mr. George and Rollo were foreigners, and that their trunks had come from beyond sea, he shut down the lids again, saying, "It is well." A porter then took the trunks and carried them out to a carriage.
"Hotel of the Rhine, Place Vendome," said Mr. George, in French, to the coachman, by way of directing him where to go.
"Yes—yes—yes—yes," said the coachman.
It is so natural and easy for the French to talk, that they generally use all the words they can to express their meaning, besides an infinity of gestures. Thus, when they wish to say yes, they often repeat the yes four or five times, in a very rapid manner, thus:—
Mr. George got into the coach, and Rollo followed him. As they drove along the streets, Rollo tried to look out the window and see; but the window was so small, and the streets were so narrow, and the coachman, moreover, drove so fast, that he had very little opportunity to make observations. At length he caught a momentary glimpse of a monstrous column standing in the middle of an open square; and immediately afterward the carriage drove in under an archway, and came to a stand, in a small, open court, surrounded with lofty buildings. This was the hotel. There was a small room, which served as a porter's lodge, in this court, near where the coach stopped. A girl came to the door of this lodge to receive the guests. She bowed to Mr. George and Rollo with great politeness, and seemed glad to see them. Mr. George spoke to her in French, to say what rooms he wished to engage. What he said, literally translated, was this:—
"We want two chambers for ourselves, at the third, and an apartment of three pieces, at the second, for a gentleman, lady, and their young girl, whom we attend to-morrow."
The girl, who was very neatly and prettily dressed, and was very agreeable in her manners, immediately said, "Very well," and rang a bell. A servant man came at the summons, and, taking the trunks, showed Mr. George and Rollo up to their rooms.
THE GARDEN OF THE TUILERIES.
The first Sunday that Rollo spent in Paris he met with quite a singular adventure.
His father and mother had arrived the evening before, and had established themselves quite comfortably in the "apartment of three pieces," which Mr. George had engaged for them. An apartment, according to the French use of the term, is not a single room, but a group of rooms, suitable to be occupied by one family. The number of pieces is the number of rooms.
Mr. Holiday's three rooms were a small but beautifully furnished parlor, where they had breakfast, and two bed rooms. One bed room was for himself and Mrs. Holiday, and the other was for Jennie. There were a great many splendid mirrors in these rooms, and other elegant furniture. The floors were not carpeted, but were formed of dark and polished wood, curiously inlaid, with rugs here and there at the doors and before the sofas and chairs. There was a small, square rug before every chair, and a large one before the sofa. There were a great many other curious things to be observed in the arrangements of the room. The fireplace, for example, was closed by plates of sheet iron, which could be shoved up and down like the sashes of a window; while the windows themselves opened like doors, each having a great brass fastening, like a latch, in the middle, and hinges at the sides.
Rollo had gone with his father and mother to church in the morning, and at about one o'clock they returned. Rollo and Jennie remained at home, after one, for an hour or two, waiting for their uncle George to come. He had gone away somewhere, and had not yet returned. While thus waiting, the children sat at the window of their parlor, which they opened by swinging the two sides of the sash entirely back, so that they could see out to great advantage. The window opened down quite low; but there was a strong iron bar passing across from side to side, to keep them from falling out. The children sat at this window, amusing themselves with what they could see in the square. The name of the square was the Place Vendome. There was a very large and lofty column in the centre of it. This column is very greatly celebrated for its magnitude and its beauty. It is twelve feet in diameter, and nearly a hundred and forty feet high. But what is most remarkable is, that the whole exterior of it, enormous as the mass is, is formed of brass. The brass was obtained by melting up the cannons which Napoleon took from his enemies. At the end of one of his campaigns he found that he had twelve hundred cannons which he had taken from the Russians and Austrians, with whom he had been at war; and after reflecting for some time on the question, what he should do with them, he concluded to send them to Paris, and there to have them made into this enormous column, to ornament the centre of the Place Vendome.
The column, though made of brass, is not bright upon the outside, but dark, like bronze, and the surface is ornamented with figures in what are called bas relief, representing the battles and victories in which the cannon out of which the column was composed were taken from the enemy.
Rollo and Jennie, in looking at this column from the window of their hotel, observed that around the foot of it there was a square space enclosed by an iron railing, forming a sort of yard. There was a gate in the front side of this railing. This gate was open; but there were two soldiers standing by it, with guns in their hands, as if to prevent any body from going in.
The column itself, as is usual with such columns, did not stand directly upon the ground, but upon a square pedestal, which was built of massive blocks of granite, resting on a deep and strong foundation; and as the column itself was twelve feet in diameter, the pedestal, being necessarily somewhat larger, was quite a considerable structure. In the front of it, opposite the gate in the iron railing, was a door. The door was open, but nothing was to be seen but darkness within.
"I wonder what they do in there?" said Rollo. "The gate is open, and the door is open; but I suppose the soldiers would not let any body go in to see. Do you suppose, Jennie, that it can be possible that there is any way to get up to the top of the column by going in at that door?"
"Yes," replied Jennie; and so saying, she pointed eagerly to the top of the column, and added, "For there are some boys up there now."
Rollo looked up to the top of the column. There was a statue of Napoleon upon the summit, which appeared to be of about the ordinary size of a man, though it is really about eight times as large as life, being twice as large in every dimension. It looks small, on account of its being so high in the air. Beneath this statue and around the top of the column the children saw that there was a small gallery, with a railing on the outside of it. Several persons were standing on this gallery, leaning on the railing. At first Rollo thought that they were sculptured figures placed there, like the statue of Napoleon on the top, for ornament; but presently he saw some of them move about, which convinced him that they were real men. Two of them were soldiers, as was evident from the red uniform which they wore. But they all looked exceedingly small.
"There must be a staircase inside," said Rollo, "or else some ladders. If not, how could those men get up?"
"Yes," said Jennie.
"I should like to go up there very much," said Rollo, "if I could only get by the soldiers."
"I should not dare to go up to such a high place," said Jennie, shaking her head solemnly.
At the foot of the column and outside of the railing which formed the enclosure around the pedestal was a very broad and smooth place, as smooth as a floor, and raised like a sidewalk above the street. It was very broad, and people walked over it in passing through the square. There was only one way of passing through the square, and that was from north to south. From east to west there was no street, but the ranges of houses and palaces continued on those sides unbroken. These edifices presented a very fine architectural frontage toward the square, and gave to the whole space which they enclosed a very rich and grand appearance. Over the doors of two or three of the houses there were small tricolored flags flying; and wherever these flags were, there were soldiers on the sidewalk below guarding the doors. But neither Rollo nor Jennie was able to imagine what this could mean.
About three o'clock, when Rollo and Jennie had began to be tired of looking at the column, their mother came into the room. She said that Mr. Holiday was fatigued and was going to lie down, and that neither he nor herself would go out again. Rollo then asked if he and Jennie might go out and take a walk. His mother seemed to hesitate about it, but presently said that she would go and ask Mr. Holiday if he thought it would be safe. She accordingly went into the bed room, and very soon returned, saying that Mr. Holiday thought it would be safe for them to go if he gave them some directions.
"He says," added Mrs. Holiday, "that you may get ready, and then go into his room, and he will give you the directions. Only you must not talk much with him, for it hurts him to talk. Hear what he has to say, and then come out immediately."
So the children made themselves ready, and then went into their father's room. They found him sitting in a great arm chair by a window where the sun was shining. He looked pale and tired. When the children came in, however, he turned to them with a smile, and said,—
"Children, I am glad you are going out to take a walk. You can go very safely, if you follow my directions.
"This is the Place Vendome. There are only two ways of going out of it. One leads to the north, and the other to the south.
"If you take the road which goes to the north, that is, that way," said Mr. Holiday, pointing, "you will go out by the street which is called the Street of Peace.[D] The Street of Peace is straight, and pretty broad; and if you follow it to the end of it, you will come to the Boulevards."
[D] Mr. Holiday called this street, of course, by its French name; but we give its name here in English, for the convenience of the reader, who may, perhaps, not be able to pronounce French.
"What are the Boulevards?" asked Rollo.
"Hush!" said Jennie, gently touching Rollo at the same time with her hand.
"Boulevards," said Mr. Holiday, "means bulwarks. A great many years ago there was a line of bulwarks or fortifications all around Paris; but at length, when the city grew too large for them, they levelled them down and made a very broad and handsome street where they had been, and then afterward made a new line of fortifications farther out. This broad and handsome street, or rather, series of streets, is called the Boulevards. It extends almost entirely around the city. Of course, when you get into the Boulevards, you are in no danger of losing yourselves; for you can go on as far as you please, either way, and then come back to the Street of Peace again, and then come home."