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- The Paris Sketch Book - 1/64 -


THE PARIS SKETCH BOOK

OF

MR. M. A. TITMARSH

by

WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY

ESTES AND LAURIAT, BOSTON

Publishers

CONTENTS.

THE PARIS SKETCH BOOK.

An Invasion of France

A Caution to Travellers

The Fêtes of July

On the French School of Painting

The Painter's Bargain

Cartouche

On some French Fashionable Novels

A Gambler's Death

Napoleon and his System

The Story of Mary Ancel

Beatrice Merger

Caricatures and Lithography in Paris

Little Poinsinet

The Devil's Wager

Madame Sand and the new Apocalypse

The Case of Peytel

Four Imitations of Béranger

French Dramas and Melodramas

Meditations at Versailles

DEDICATORY LETTER

TO

M. ARETZ, TAILOR, ETC.

27, RUE RICHELIEU, PARIS.

SIR,--It becomes every man in his station to acknowledge and praise virtue wheresoever he may find it, and to point it out for the admiration and example of his fellow-men.

Some months since, when you presented to the writer of these pages a small account for coats and pantaloons manufactured by you, and when you were met by a statement from your creditor, that an immediate settlement of your bill would be extremely inconvenient to him; your reply was, "Mon Dieu, Sir, let not that annoy you; if you want money, as a gentleman often does in a strange country, I have a thousand-franc note at my house which is quite at your service."

History or experience, Sir, makes us acquainted with so few actions that can be compared to yours,--an offer like this from a stranger and a tailor seems to me so astonishing,--that you must pardon me for thus making your virtue public, and acquainting the English nation with your merit and your name. Let me add, Sir, that you live on the first floor; that your clothes and fit are excellent, and your charges moderate and just; and, as a humble tribute of my admiration, permit me to lay these volumes at your feet.

Your obliged, faithful servant,

M. A. TITMARSH.

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION.

About half of the sketches in these volumes have already appeared in print, in various periodical works. A part of the text of one tale, and the plots of two others, have been borrowed from French originals; the other stories, which are, in the main, true, have been written upon facts and characters that came within the Author's observation during a residence in Paris.

As the remaining papers relate to public events which occurred during the same period, or to Parisian Art and Literature, he has ventured to give his publication the title which it bears.

LONDON, July 1, 1840.

AN INVASION OF FRANCE.

Caesar venit in Galliam summâ diligentiâ."

About twelve o'clock, just as the bell of the packet is tolling a farewell to London Bridge, and warning off the blackguard-boys with the newspapers, who have been shoving Times, Herald, Penny Paul- Pry, Penny Satirist, Flare-up, and other abominations, into your face--just as the bell has tolled, and the Jews, strangers, people- taking-leave-of-their-families, and blackguard-boys aforesaid, are making a rush for the narrow plank which conducts from the paddle- box of the "Emerald" steamboat unto the quay--you perceive, staggering down Thames Street, those two hackney-coaches, for the arrival of which you have been praying, trembling, hoping, despairing, swearing--sw--, I beg your pardon, I believe the word is not used in polite company--and transpiring, for the last half- hour. Yes, at last, the two coaches draw near, and from thence an awful number of trunks, children, carpet-bags, nursery-maids, hat- boxes, band-boxes, bonnet-boxes, desks, cloaks, and an affectionate wife, are discharged on the quay.

"Elizabeth, take care of Miss Jane," screams that worthy woman, who has been for a fortnight employed in getting this tremendous body of troops and baggage into marching order. "Hicks! Hicks! for heaven's sake mind the babies!"--"George--Edward, sir, if you go near that porter with the trunk, he will tumble down and kill you, you naughty boy!--My love, DO take the cloaks and umbrellas, and give a hand to Fanny and Lucy; and I wish you would speak to the hackney-coachmen, dear, they want fifteen shillings, and count the packages, love--twenty-seven packages,--and bring little Flo; where's little Flo?--Flo! Flo!"--(Flo comes sneaking in; she has been speaking a few parting words to a one-eyed terrier, that sneaks off similarly, landward.)

As when the hawk menaces the hen-roost, in like manner, when such a danger as a voyage menaces a mother, she becomes suddenly endowed with a ferocious presence of mind, and bristling up and screaming in the front of her brood, and in the face of circumstances, succeeds, by her courage, in putting her enemy to flight; in like manner you will always, I think, find your wife (if that lady be good for twopence) shrill, eager, and ill-humored, before, and during a great family move of this nature. Well, the swindling hackney-coachmen are paid, the mother leading on her regiment of little ones, and supported by her auxiliary nurse-maids, are safe in the cabin;--you have counted twenty-six of the twenty-seven parcels, and have them on board, and that horrid man on the paddle- box, who, for twenty minutes past, has been roaring out, NOW, SIR!-- says, NOW, SIR, no more.

I never yet knew how a steamer began to move, being always too busy among the trunks and children, for the first half-hour, to mark any of the movements of the vessel. When these private arrangements are made, you find yourself opposite Greenwich (farewell, sweet, sweet whitebait!), and quiet begins to enter your soul. Your wife smiles for the first time these ten days; you pass by plantations of ship-masts, and forests of steam-chimneys; the sailors are singing on board the ships, the bargees salute you with oaths, grins, and phrases facetious and familiar; the man on the paddle- box roars, "Ease her, stop her!" which mysterious words a shrill voice from below repeats, and pipes out, "Ease her, stop her!" in echo; the deck is crowded with groups of figures, and the sun shines over all.

The sun shines over all, and the steward comes up to say, "Lunch, ladies and gentlemen! Will any lady or gentleman please to take anythink?" About a dozen do: boiled beef and pickles, and great red raw Cheshire cheese, tempt the epicure: little dumpy bottles of stout are produced, and fizz and bang about with a spirit one would never have looked for in individuals of their size and stature.

The decks have a strange, look; the people on them, that is. Wives, elderly stout husbands, nurse-maids, and children predominate, of course, in English steamboats. Such may be considered as the distinctive marks of the English gentleman at three or four and forty: two or three of such groups have pitched their camps on the deck. Then there are a number of young men, of


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