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Illustration by Franklin Booth, reproduced in tint.
ACH succeeding year, as the When we decided on Paris as a perma
invasion of our compatriots nent place of residence, we chose our home augments, the French capi- on St. Louis Isle. As time went by, we tal is changing its physiog- became fonder and fonder of its history,
nomy. Paris is fast becom- more and more interested in its past, un
20 ing Americanized. There til at length we have come to regard it as are now certain quarters such as Passy and belonging, in a measure, to us. And if tothe Etoile, in fact, the whole Western section, day we wish to show you about the island, where I feel as if I were in the neighborhood it is with something of the pride of a landof Central Park. The signs on the avenue holder who escorts his guests around his de l'Opéra and the rue de Rivoli bear more estate. American than French names and an old Here each house has its distinct personParisian tells me that he can now hardly ality, its own style of architecture and, above recognize the Grand Boulevards.
all, that sympathetic and attractive air posIf you wish to find the Paris of olden sessed so often by things that have lived times, the Paris of Balzac, the Paris of the long and could relate much. A glance at Revolution, the Paris of the seventeenth the high colorless walls, the dingy little and eighteenth centuries, you must fre- streets, and even the sunlit, tree-bordered quent the populous quarters, at present quays suffices to transport me into the past. abandoned by the gentry, and seek out the Everything seems filled with a kind of melglorious mansions of the past now trans- ancholy poesy; to breathe forth the performed into work-houses and factories. fume of history. As I pass each corner I There are many of them, and all through should not be surprised to see a Sedan chair the quartier Saint Merri and near the stop before one of those huge iron grills, and Pantheon, you will constantly come upon a charming powdered lady step out. Or ancestral dwellings now the homes of hun- farther on, from under the massive portedreds of petits métiers parisiens. Stiers parisiens.
cochère of that Louis XIV mansion, is But there yet remains a spot in the me- not a gilded coach with pompous and intropolis which, on account of its privileged solent out-riders going to issue forth and situation, the ravages of time and progress clatter over the cobbles ? have left untouched. It is the “Ile St. Unfortunately the only vestige of these Louis,” the tiny island back of Notre Dame. “good old times” is the water-carrier, for in Discreet little corner, silent little province in the interior of the island there are certain the heart of the mighty city, it still bears its houses so old that their landlord dares not haughty mien and continues its reticent ex- touch their masonry to install modern conistence like those aged persons we have veniences. So every morning the porteur sometimes met, who linger so long that d'eau of tradition, his pails suspended Death seems to have forgotten them, and from a wooden shoulder-piece, mounts the whose rare conversations interest and as- stairs and supplies each apartment with tonish us.
sufficient water to last the day. Copyright, 1908, by Charles Scribner's Sons. All rights reserved.