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The innocents abroad, or, The new Pilgrim's progress

being some account of the steamship Quaker City's pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy land ; with descriptions of countries, nations, incidents and adventures, as they appeared to the author






We went to see the Cathedral of Notre Dame.—We had
heard of it before. It surprises me, sometimes, to
think how much we do know, and how intelligent we are.
We recognized the brown old Gothic pile in a moment; it was
like the pictures. We stood at a little distance and changed
from one point of observation to another, and gazed long at
its lofty square towers and its rich front, clustered thick with
stony, mutilated saints who had been looking calmly down
from their perches for ages. The Patriarch of Jerusalem stood
under them in the old days of chivalry and romance, and
preached the third Crusade, more than six hundred years ago;
and since that day they have stood there and looked quietly
down upon the most thrilling scenes, the grandest pageants,
the most extraordinary spectacles that have grieved or delighted
Paris. These battered and broken-nosed old fellows
saw many and many a cavalcade of mail-clad knights come
marching home from Holy Land; they heard the bells above
them toll the signal for the St. Bartholomew's Massacre, and
they saw the slaughter that followed; later, they saw the
Reign of Terror, the carnage of the Revolution, the overthrow
of a king, the coronation of two Napoleons, the christening of
the young prince that lords it over a regiment of servants in
the Tuileries to-day—and they may possibly continue to stand
there until they see the Napoleon dynasty swept away and the
banners of a great Republic floating above its ruins. I wish
these old parties could speak. They could tell a tale worth
the listening to.

They say that a pagan temple stood where Notre Dame now


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stands, in the old Roman days, eighteen or twenty centuries
ago—remains of it are still preserved in Paris; and that a
Christian church took its place about A. D. 300; another took
the place of that in A. D. 500; and that the foundations of the
present Cathedral were laid about A. D. 1100. The ground
ought to be measurably sacred by this time, one would think.
One portion of this noble old edifice is suggestive of the quaint
fashions of ancient times. It was built by Jean Sans-Peur,
Duke of Burgundy, to set his conscience at rest—he had assassinated
the Duke of Orleans. Alas! those good old times
are gone, when a murderer could wipe the stain from his name
and soothe his troubles to sleep simply by getting out his bricks
and mortar and building an addition to a church.

The portals of the great western front are bisected by square
pillars. They took the central one away, in 1852, on the occasion
of thanksgivings for the reinstitution of the Presidential
power—but precious soon they had occasion to reconsider
that motion and put it back again! And they did.

We loitered through the grand aisles for an hour or two,
staring up at the rich stained glass windows embellished with
blue and yellow and crimson saints and martyrs, and trying
to admire the numberless great pictures in the chapels, and
then we were admitted to the sacristy and shown the magnificent
robes which the Pope wore when he crowned Napoleon
I.; a wagon-load of solid gold and silver utensils used in the
great public processions and ceremonies of the church; some
nails of the true cross, a fragment of the cross itself, a part of
the crown of thorns. We had already seen a large piece of the
true cross in a church in the Azores, but no nails. They
showed us likewise the bloody robe which that Archbishop of
Paris wore who exposed his sacred person and braved the
wrath of the insurgents of 1848, to mount the barricades and
hold aloft the olive branch of peace in the hope of stopping
the slaughter. His noble effort cost him his life. He was
shot dead. They showed us a cast of his face, taken after
death, the bullet that killed him, and the two vertebræ in
which it lodged. These people have a somewhat singular


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 132. In-line Illustration. Image of people peering through bars into a morgue. There is a corpse on the table and discarded clothes hanging on the wall. The caption reads, "THE MORGUE."] taste in the matter of relics. Ferguson told us that the
silver cross which the good Archbishop wore at his girdle was
seized and thrown into the Seine, where it lay embedded in
the mud for fifteen years, and then an angel appeared to a
priest and told him where to dive for it; he did dive for it and
got it, and now it is there on exhibition at Notre Dame, to be
inspected by any body who feels an interest in inanimate objects
of miraculous intervention.

Next we went
to visit the
Morgue, that
horrible receptacle
for the
dead who die
and leave the
manner of their
taking off a
dismal secret.
We stood before
a grating
and looked
through into a room which was hung all about with the
clothing of dead men; coarse blouses, water-soaked; the delicate
garments of women and children; patrician vestments,


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hacked and stabbed and stained with red; a hat that was
crushed and bloody. On a slanting stone lay a drowned
man, naked, swollen, purple; clasping the fragment of a broken
bush with a grip which death had so petrified that human
strength could not unloose it—mute witness of the last despairing
effort to save the life that was doomed beyond all help. A
stream of water trickled ceaselessly over the hideous face. We
knew that the body and the clothing were there for identification
by friends, but still we wondered if any body could love that
repulsive object or grieve for its loss. We grew meditative
and wondered if, some forty years ago, when the mother
of that ghastly thing was dandling it upon her knee, and kissing
it and petting it and displaying it with satisfied pride to
the passers-by, a prophetic vision of this dread ending ever
flitted through her brain. I half feared that the mother, or the
wife or a brother of the dead man might come while we stood
there, but nothing of the kind occurred. Men and women
came, and some looked eagerly in, and pressed their faces
against the bars; others glanced carelessly at the body, and
turned away with a disappointed look—people, I thought, who
live upon strong excitements, and who attend the exhibitions
of the Morgue regularly, just as other people go to see theatrical
spectacles every night. When one of these looked in and
passed on, I could not help thinking—

“Now this don't afford you any satisfaction—a party with
his head shot off is what you need.”

One night we went to the celebrated Jardin Mabille, but
only staid a little while. We wanted to see some of this kind
of Paris life, however, and therefore, the next night we went
to a similar place of entertainment in a great garden in the
suburb of Asniéres. We went to the railroad depot, toward
evening, and Ferguson got tickets for a second-class carriage.
Such a perfect jam of people I have not often seen—but there
was no noise, no disorder, no rowdyism. Some of the women
and young girls that entered the train we knew to be of the
demi-monde, but others we were not at all sure about.

The girls and women in our carriage behaved themselves


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modestly and becomingly, all the way out, except that they
smoked. When we arrived at the garden in Asniéres, we paid
a franc or two admission, and entered a place which had flower-beds
in it, and grass plats, and long, curving rows of ornamental
shrubbery, with here and there a secluded bower convenient
for eating ice-cream in. We moved along the sinuous
gravel walks, with the great concourse of girls and young men,
and suddenly a domed and filagreed white temple, starred
over and over and over again with brilliant gas-jets, burst upon
us like a fallen sun. Near by was a large, handsome house
with its ample front illuminated in the same way, and above
its roof floated the Star Spangled Banner of America.

“Well!” I said. “How is this?” It nearly took my breath

Ferguson said an American—a New Yorker—kept the
place, and was carrying on quite a stirring opposition to the
Jardin Mabille.

Crowds, composed of both sexes and nearly all ages, were
frisking about the garden or sitting in the open air in front of
the flag-staff and the temple, drinking wine and coffee, or
smoking. The dancing had not begun, yet. Ferguson said
there was to be an exhibition. The famous Blondin was going
to perform on a tight-rope in another part of the garden. We
went thither. Here the light was dim, and the masses of people
were pretty closely packed together. And now I made a
mistake which any donkey might make, but a sensible man
never. I committed an error which I find myself repeating
every day of my life.—Standing right before a young lady, I

“Dan, just look at this girl, how beautiful she is!”

“I thank you more for the evident sincerity of the compliment,
sir, than for the extraordinary publicity you have given
to it!” This in good, pure English.

We took a walk, but my spirits were very, very sadly dampened.
I did not feel right comfortable for some time afterward.
Why will people be so stupid as to suppose themselves
the only foreigners among a crowd of ten thousand persons?


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 135. In-line Illustration. Image of two men and a woman. The man in the middle looks surprized and is dropping his walking stick. The caption reads, "WE TOOK A WALK."]

But Blondin came out shortly. He appeared on a stretched
cable, far away above the sea of tossing hats and handkerchiefs,
and in the glare of the hundreds of rockets that whizzed
heavenward by him he looked like a wee insect. He balanced
his pole and walked the length of his rope—two or three hundred
feet; he came back and got a man and carried him
across; he returned to the centre and danced a jig; next he
performed some gymnastic and balancing feats too perilous to
afford a pleasant spectacle; and he finished by fastening to his
person a thousand Roman candles, Catherine wheels, serpents
and rockets of all manner of brilliant colors, setting them on
fire all at once and walking and waltzing across his rope again
in a blinding blaze of glory that lit up the garden and the
people's faces like a great conflagration at midnight.

The dance had begun, and we adjourned to the temple.
Within it was a drinking saloon; and all around it was a


Page 136
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 136. In-line Illustration. Image of a gentleman covering his eyes with his hands, but also peeking through his fingers. The caption reads, "CAN-CAN."] broad circular platform for the dancers. I backed up against
the wall of the temple, and waited. Twenty sets formed, the
music struck up, and then—I placed my hands before my face
for very shame. But I looked through my fingers. They
were dancing the renowned “Cancan.
A handsome girl in the
set before me tripped forward
lightly to meet the opposite gentleman—tripped
back again,
grasped her dresses vigorously
on both sides with her hands,
raised them pretty high, danced
an extraordinary jig that had
more activity and exposure about
it than any jig I ever saw before,
and then, drawing her clothes
still higher, she advanced gaily
to the centre and launched a vicious
kick full at her vis-a-vis that
must infallibly have removed his
nose if he had been seven feet
high. It was a mercy he was
only six.

That is the can-can. The idea
of it is to dance as wildly, as
noisily, as furiously as you can;
expose yourself as much as possible if you are a woman; and
kick as high as you can, no matter which sex you belong to.
There is no word of exaggeration in this. Any of the staid,
respectable, aged people who were there that night can testify
to the truth of that statement. There were a good many such
people present. I suppose French morality is not of that
straight-laced description which is shocked at trifles.

I moved aside and took a general view of the can-can.
Shouts, laughter, furious music, a bewildering chaos of darting
and intermingling forms, stormy jerking and snatching of gay
dresses, bobbing heads, flying arms, lightning-flashes of white


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stockinged calves and dainty slippers in the air, and then a
grand final rush, riot, a terrific hubbub and a wild stampede!
Heavens! Nothing like it has been seen on earth since
trembling Tam O'Shanter saw the devil and the witches at
their orgies that stormy night in “Alloway's auld haunted

We visited the Louvre, at a time when we had no silk purchases
in view, and looked at its miles of paintings by the old
masters. Some of them were beautiful, but at the same time
they carried such evidences about them of the cringing spirit
of those great men that we found small pleasure in examining
them. Their nauseous adulation of princely patrons was more
prominent to me and chained my attention more surely than
the charms of color and expression which are claimed to be
in the pictures. Gratitude for kindnesses is well, but it seems
to me that some of those artists carried it so far that it ceased
to be gratitude, and became worship. If there is a plausible
excuse for the worship of men, then by all means let us forgive
Rubens and his brethren.

But I will drop the subject, lest I say something about the
old masters that might as well be left unsaid.

Of course we drove in the Bois de Boulogne, that limitless
park, with its forests, its lakes, its cascades, and its broad avenues.
There were thousands upon thousands of vehicles
abroad, and the scene was full of life and gayety. There were
very common hacks, with father and mother and all the children
in them; conspicuous little open carriages with celebrated
ladies of questionable reputation in them; there were Dukes and
Duchesses abroad, with gorgeous footmen perched behind, and
equally gorgeous outriders perched on each of the six horses;
there were blue and silver, and green and gold, and pink and
black, and all sorts and descriptions of stunning and startling
liveries out, and I almost yearned to be a flunkey myself, for
the sake of the fine clothes.

But presently the Emperor came along and he out-shone
them all. He was preceded by a body guard of gentlemen on
horseback in showy uniforms, his carriage-horses (there appeared


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to be somewhere in the remote neighborhood of a thousand
of them,) were bestridden by gallant looking fellows, also
in stylish uniforms, and after the carriage followed another detachment
of body-guards. Every body got out of the way;
every body bowed to the Emperor and his friend the Sultan,
and they went by on a swinging trot and disappeared.

I will not describe the Bois de Boulogne. I can not do it.
It is simply a beautiful, cultivated, endless, wonderful wilderness.
It is an enchanting place. It is in Paris, now, one may
say, but a crumbling old cross in one portion of it reminds one
that it was not always so. The cross marks the spot where a
celebrated troubadour was waylaid and murdered in the fourteenth
century. It was in this park that that fellow with an
unpronounceable name made the attempt upon the Russian
Czar's life last spring with a pistol. The bullet struck a tree.
Ferguson showed us the place. Now in America that interesting
tree would be chopped down or forgotten within the
next five years, but it will be treasured here. The guides will
point it out to visitors for the next eight hundred years, and
when it decays and falls down they will put up another there
and go on with the same old story just the same.