University of Virginia Library

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ONE afternoon, in the month of November, 1855, I met
on the Avenue des Champs Elysées, in Paris, my
young friend Herbert J—.

After many desolate days of wind and rain and falling
leaves, the city had thrown off her wet rags, so to speak,
and arrayed herself in the gorgeous apparel of one of the
most golden and perfect Sundays of the season. “All the
world” was out of doors. The Boulevards, the Bois de
Boulogne, the bridges over the Seine, all the public promenades
and gardens, swarmed with joyous multitudes. The
Champs Elysées, and the long avenue leading up to the
Barrière de l'Etoile, appeared one mighty river, an Amazon
of many-colored human life. The finest July weather had
not produced such a superb display; for now the people
of fashion, who had passed the summer at their country-seats,
or in Switzerland, or among the Pyrenees, reappeared
in their showy equipages. The tide, which had been flowing
to the Bois de Boulogne ever since two o'clock, had
turned, and was pouring back into Paris. For miles, up
and down, on either side of the city-wall, extended the
glittering train of vehicles. The three broad, open gateways
of the Barrière proved insufficient channels; and
far as you could see, along the Avenue de l'Impératrice,
stood three seemingly endless rows of carriages, closely
crowded, unable to advance, waiting for the Barrière de
l'Etoile to discharge its surplus living waters. Detachments


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of the mounted city guard, and long lines of police,
regulated the flow; while at the Barrière an extra force of
custom-house officers fulfilled the necessary formality of
casting an eye of inspection into each vehicle as it passed,
to see that nothing was smuggled.

Just below the Barrière, as I was moving with the
stream of pedestrians, I met Herbert. He turned and
took my arm. As he did so, I noticed that he lifted his
hat towards heaven, saluting with a lofty flourish one of
the carriages that passed the gate.

It was a dashy barouche, drawn by a glossy-black span,
and occupied by two ladies and a lapdog. A driver on the
box and a footman perched behind, both in livery, — long
coats, white gloves, and gold bands on their hats, — completed
the establishment. The ladies sat facing each other,
and their mingled, effervescing skirts and flounces filled
the cup of the vehicle quite to over-foaming, like a Rochelle
powder, nearly drowning the brave spaniel, whose sturdy
little nose was elevated, for air, just above the surge.

Both ladies recognized my friend, and she who sat, or
rather reclined (for such a luxurious, languishing attitude
can hardly be called a sitting posture), fairy-like, in
the hinder part of the shell, bestowed upon him a very
gracious, condescending smile. She was a most imposing
creature, — in freshness of complexion, in physical development,
and, above all, in amplitude and magnificence of attire,
a full-blown rose of a woman, — aged, I should say,
about forty.

“Don't you know that turn-out?” said Herbert, as the
shallop with its lovely freight floated on in the current.

I was not so fortunate.

“Good gracious! miserable man! Where do you live?
In what obscure society have you buried yourself? Not
to know Madam Waldoborough's Carriage!”


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This was spoken in a tone of humorous extravagance
which piqued my curiosity. Behind the ostentatious deference
with which he had raised his hat to the sky, beneath
the respectful awe with which he spoke the lady's name, I
detected a spirit of mischief.

“Who is Madam Waldoborough? and what about her

“Who is Madam Waldoborough!” echoed Herbert, with
mock astonishment; “that a Yankee, six months in
Paris, should ask that question! An American woman,
and a woman of fortune, sir; and, which is more, of fashion;
and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any
in Messina or elsewhere; — one that occupies a position,
go to! and receives on Thursday evenings, go to! and
that hath ambassadors at her table, and everything handsome
about her! And as for her carriage,” he continued,
coming down from his Dogberrian strain of eloquence, “it
is the identical carriage which I did n't ride in once!”

“How was that?”

“I 'll tell you; for it was a curious adventure, and as it
was a very useful lesson to me, so you may take warning
by my experience, and, if ever she invites you to ride with
her, as she did me, beware! beware! her flashing eyes, her
floating hair! — do not accept, or, before accepting, take
Iago's advice, and put money in your purse: PUT MONEY
IN YOUR PURSE! I 'll tell you why.

“But, in the first place, I must explain how I came to
be without money in mine, so soon after arriving in Paris,
where so much of the article is necessary. My woes all
arise from vanity. That is the rock, that is the quicksand,
that is the maelstrom. I presume you don't know anybody
else who is afflicted with that complaint? If you do, I 'll
but teach you how to tell my story, and that will cure
him; or, at least, it ought to.


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“You see, in crossing over to Liverpool in the steamer,
I became acquainted with a charming young lady, who
proved to be a second-cousin of my father's. She belongs
to the aristocratic branch of our family. Every family
tree has an aristocratic branch, or bough, or little twig at
least, I believe. She was a Todworth; and having always
heard my other relations mention with immense pride and
respect the Todworths, — as if it were one of the solid satisfactions
of life to be able to speak of `my uncle Todworth,'
or `my cousins the Todworths,' — I was prepared
to appreciate my extreme good fortune. She was a bride,
setting out on her wedding tour. She had married a sallow,
bilious, perfumed, very disagreeable fellow, — except
that he too was an aristocrat, and a millionnaire besides,
which made him very agreeable; at least, I thought so.
For that was before I rode in Madam Waldoborough's carriage.

“Well, the fair bride was most gratifyingly affable, and
cousined me to my heart's content. Her husband was no
less friendly; and by the time we reached London I was
on as affectionately familiar terms with them as a younger
brother could have been. If I had been a Todworth, they
could n't have made more of me. They insisted on my
going to the same hotel with them, and taking a room adjoining
their suite. This was a happiness to which I had
but one objection, — my limited pecuniary resources. My
family are neither aristocrats nor millionnaires; and economy
required that I should place myself in humble and inexpensive
lodgings for the two or three weeks I was to
spend in London. But vanity! vanity! I was afraid of
disgracing my branch of the family in the eyes of the Todworth
branch, and of losing the fine friends I had made, by
confessing my poverty. They went to Cox's Hotel, in
Jermyn Street, and I went with them.


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“Cox's, I fancy, is the crack hotel of London. Lady
Byron boarded there then; the author of `Childe Harold'
himself used to stop there; Tom Moore wrote a few of
his last songs and drank a good many of his last bottles
of wine there; my Lords Tom, Dick, and Harry, — the
Duke of Dash, Sir Edward Splash, and Viscount Flash, —
these and other notables always honor Cox's when they go
to town. So we honored Cox's. And a very quiet, orderly,
well-kept tavern we found it. I think Mr. Cox must
have a good housekeeper. He has been fortunate in securing
a very excellent cook. I should judge that he had
engaged some of the finest gentlemen in England to act as
waiters. Their manners would do credit to any potentate
in Europe: there is that calm self-possession about them,
that serious dignity of deportment, sustained by a secure
sense of the mighty importance of their mission to the
world, which strikes a beholder with awe. I was made to
feel very inferior in their presence. We dined at a private
table, and these ministers of state waited upon us. They
brought us the morning paper on a silver salver; they
presented it as if it had been a mission from a king to a
king. Whenever we went out or came in, there stood two
of those magnates, in white waistcoats and white gloves,
to open the folding-doors for us, with stately mien. You
would have said it was the Lord High Chamberlain and
his deputy, and that I was at least Minister Plenipotentiary
to the Court of St. James. I tried to receive these overpowering
attentions with an air of easy indifference, like
one who had been all his life accustomed to that sort of
thing, you know; but I was oppressed with a terrible sense
of being out of my place. I could n't help feeling that
their serene and lofty highnesses knew perfectly well that
I was a green Yankee boy, with less than fifty pounds in
my pocket; and I fancied that, behind the mask of gravity


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each imperturbable countenance wore, there was always
lurking a derisive smile.

“But this was not the worst of it. If noblemen were
my attendants, I must expect to maintain noblemen. All
that ceremony and deportment must go into the bill.
With this view of the case, I could not look at their white
kids without feeling sick at heart; white waistcoats became
a terror; the sight of an august neckcloth, bowing
its solemn attentions to me, depressed my soul. The
folding-doors, on golden hinges turning, — figuratively, at
least, if not literally, like those of Milton's heaven, —
grated as horrible discords on my secret ear as the gates
of Milton's other place. It was my gold that helped to
make those hinges. And this I endured merely for the
sake of enjoying the society, not of my dear newly found
cousins, but of two phantoms that hovered over their
heads, — the phantom of wealth and the still more empty
phantom of social position. But all this, understand, was
before I rode in Madam Waldoborough's carriage.

“Well, I saw London in company with my aristocratic
relatives, and paid a good deal more for the show, and
really profited less by it, than if I had gone about the
business in my own deliberate and humble way. Everything
was, of course, done in the most lordly and costly
manner known. Instead of walking to this place or that,
or taking an omnibus or a cab, we rolled magnificently in
our carriage. I suppose the happy bridegroom would
willingly have defrayed all these expenses, if I had wished
him to do so; but pride prompted me to pay my share.
So it happened that, during nine days in London, I spent
as much as would have lasted me as many weeks, if I had
been as wise as I was vain, — that is, if I had ridden in
Madam Waldoborough's carriage before I went to England.

“When I saw how things were going, bankruptcy staring


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me in the face, ruin yawning at my feet, I was suddenly
seized with an irresistible desire to go on to Paris. I had
a French fever of the most violent character. I declared
myself sick of the soot and smoke and uproar of the great
Babel, — I even spoke slightingly of Cox's Hotel, as if I
had been used to better things, — and called for my bill.
Heavens and earth, how I trembled! Did ever a condemned
wretch feel as faint at the sight of the priest coming
to bid him prepare for the gallows, as I did at the
sight of one of those sublime functionaries bringing me my
doom on a silver salver? Every pore opened; a clammy
perspiration broke out all over me; I reached forth a
shaking hand, and thanked his highness with a ghastly

“A few figures told my fate. The convict who hears
his death-sentence may still hope for a reprieve; but figures
are inexorable, figures cannot lie. My bill at Cox's was in
pounds, shillings, and pence, amounting to just eleven dollars
a day. Eleven times nine are ninety-nine. It was so
near a round hundred, it seemed a bitter mockery not to
say a hundred, and have done with it, instead of scrupulously
stopping to consider a single paltry dollar. I was
reminded of the boy whose father bragged of killing nine
hundred and ninety-nine pigeons at one shot. Somebody
asked why he did n't say a thousand. `Thunder!' says
the boy, `do you suppose my father would lie just for one
pigeon?' I told the story, to show my cousins how coolly
I received the bill, and paid it.

“This drained my purse so nearly dry that I had only
just money enough left to take me to Paris, and pay for a
week's lodging or so in advance. They urged me to remain
and go to Scotland with them; but I tore myself
away, and fled to France. I would not permit them to
accompany me to the railroad station, to see me off; for I


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was unwilling that they should know I was going to economize
my finances by purchasing a second-class ticket.
From the life I had been leading at Cox's to a second-class
passage to Paris was that step from the sublime to the
ridiculous which I did not wish to be seen taking. I think
I 'd have thrown myself into the Thames before I would
thus have exposed myself; for, as I tell you, I had not yet
been honored with a seat in Madam Waldoborough's carriage.

“It is certainly a grand thing to keep grand company;
but if ever I felt a sense of relief, it was when I found myself
free from my cousins, emancipated from the fearful
bondage of keeping up such expensive appearances, —
seated on the hard, cushionless bench of the second-class
car, and nibbling my crackers at my leisure, unoppressed
by the awful presence of those grandees in white waistcoats.
The crackers tasted sweeter than Cox's best dinners.
I nibbled, and contemplated my late experiences; nibbled,
and was almost persuaded to be a Christian, — that is, to
forswear thenceforth and forever all company which I could
not afford to keep, all appearances which were not honest,
all foolish pride and silly ambition; — as I did after I had
ridden in a certain carriage I have mentioned, and which I
am coming to now as fast as possible.

“I had lost nearly all my money and a good share of
my self-respect by the course I had taken, and I could
think of only one substantial advantage gained. That was
a note of introduction from my lovely cousin to Madam
Waldoborough. That would be of inestimable value to me
in Paris. It would give me access to the best society, and
secure to me, a stranger, many privileges which could not
otherwise be obtained. `Perhaps, after all,' thought I, as
I read over the flattering contents of the unsealed note, —
`perhaps, after all, I shall find this worth quite as much


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as it has cost me.' O, had I foreseen that it was actually
destined to procure me an invitation to ride with Madam

“I reached Paris, took a cheap lodging, and waited for
the arrival of my uncle's goods destined for the Great Exhibition,
— for to look after them (I could speak French,
you know), and to assist in having them properly placed,
was the main business that had brought me here. I also
waited anxiously for my uncle and a fresh supply of funds.
In the mean time I delivered my letters of introduction,
and made a few acquaintances. Twice I called at Madam
Waldoborough's hotel, but did not see her; she was out.
So at least the servants said, but I suspect they lied; for,
the second time I was told so, I noticed, O, the most splendid
turn-out! — the same you just saw pass — waiting in
the carriage-way before her door, with the driver on the
box, and the footman holding open the silver-handled and
escutchioned panel that served as a door to the barouche,
as if expecting some grand personage to get in.

“`Some distinguished visitor, perhaps,' thought I; `or,
it may be Madam Waldoborough herself; instead of being
out, she is just going out, and in five minutes the servant's
lie will be the truth.' Sure enough, before I left the street
— for I may as well confess that curiosity caused me to
linger a little — my lady herself appeared in all her glory,
and bounced into the barouche with a vigor that made it
rock quite unromantically; for she is not frail, she is not
a butterfly, she is not a wasp. I recognized her from a
description I had received from my cousin the bride. She
was accompanied by that meagre, smart little sprite of a
French girl, whom Madam always takes with her, — to
talk French with, and to be waited upon by her, she says;
but rather, I believe, by way of a contrast to set off her
own brilliant complexion and imperial proportions. It is


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Juno and Arachne. The divine orbs of the goddess turned
haughtily upon me, but did not see me, — looked through
and beyond me, as if I had been nothing but gossamer,
feathers, air; and the little black, bead-like eyes of the
insect pierced me maliciously an instant, as the barouche
dashed past, and disappeared in the Rue de Rivoli. I was
humiliated; I felt that I was recognized, — known as the
rash youth who had just called at the Hôtel de Waldoborough,
been told that Madam was out, and had stopped
outside to catch the hotel in a lie. It is very singular —
how do you explain it? — that the circumstance should
have seemed to me something, not for Madam, but
for me, to be ashamed of! I don't believe that the color
of her peachy cheeks was heightened the shadow of a
shade; but as for me, I blushed to the tips of my ears.

“You may believe that I did not go away in such a
cheerful frame of mind as might have encouraged me to
repeat my call in a hurry. I just coldly enclosed to her
my cousin's letter of introduction, along with my address,
and said to myself, `Now, she 'll know what a deuse of a
fellow she has slighted; she 'll know she has put an affront
upon a connection of the Todworths!' Very silly, you
see, for I had not yet — but I am coming to that part of
my story.

“Well, returning to my lodgings a few days afterwards,
I found a note which had been left for me by a liveried
footman, — Madam Waldoborough's footman, O heaven!
I was thrown into great trepidation by the stupendous
event, and eagerly inquired if Madam herself was in her
carriage, and was immensely relieved to learn she was not;
for, unspeakably gratifying as such condescension, such an
Olympian compliment, would have been under other circumstances,
I should have felt it more than offset by the mortification
of knowing that she knew, that her own eyes had


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beheld, the very humble quarter in which a lack of means
had compelled me to put up.

“I turned from that frightful possibility to the note itself.
It was everything I could have asked. It was ambrosia,
it was nectar. I had done a big thing when I fired
the Todworth gun: it had brought the enemy to terms.
My cousin was complimented, and I was welcomed to
Paris, and — the Hôtel Waldoborough!

“`Why have you not called to see me?' the note inquired,
with charming innocence. `I shall be at home to-morrow
morning at two o'clock; cannot you give me the
pleasure of greeting so near a relative of my dear, delightful

“Of course I could afford her that pleasure! `O, what
a thing it is,' I said to myself, `to be a third cousin to a
Todworth!' But the two o'clock in the morning, — how
should I manage that? I had not supposed that fashionable
people in Paris got up so early, much less received
visitors at that wonderful hour. But, on reflection, I concluded
that two in the morning meant two in the afternoon;
for I had heard that the great folks commenced
their day at about that time.

“At two o'clock, accordingly, the next afternoon, — excuse
me, I mean the next morning, — I sallied forth from
my little barren room in the Rue des Vieux Augustins,
and proceeded to Madam's ancient palace in the Rue St.
Martin, dressed in my best, and palpitating with a sense
of the honor I was doing myself. This time the concierge
smiled encouragingly, and ascertained for me that Madam
was at home. I ascended the polished marble staircase to
a saloon on the first floor, where I was requested to have
the obligeance d'attendre un petit moment, until Madam
should be informed of my arrival.

“It was a very large, and, I must admit, a very respectable


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saloon, although not exactly what I had expected to
see at the very summit of the social Olympus. I dropped
into a fauteuil near a centre-table, on which there was a
fantastical silver-wrought card-basket. What struck me
particularly about the basket was a well-known little Todworth
envelope, superscribed in the delicate handwriting
of my aristocratic cousin, — my letter of introduction, in
fact, — displayed upon the very top of the pile of billets
and cards. My own card I did not see; but in looking for
it I discovered some curious specimens of foreign orthography,
— particularly one dainty little note on which
the name was conscientiously and industriously written
out, `Ouâldôbeureau.' This, as an instance of spelling an
English word à la Française, I thought a remarkable success,
and very creditable to people who speak of Lor Berong,
meaning Lord Byron, (Be-wrong is good!) and talk
glibly about Frongclang, and Vashangtong, meaning the
great philosopher, and the Father of his Country.

“I was trying to amuse myself with these orthographical
curiosities, yet waiting anxiously all the while for the appearance
of that illustrious ornament of her sex, to whom
they were addressed; and the servant's `petit moment' had
become a good quart d'heure, when the drawing-room door
opened, and in glided, not the Goddess, but the Spider.

“She had come to beg Monsieur (that was me) to have
the bounty to excuse Madam (that was the Waldoborough),
who had caused herself to be waited for, and who, I was
assured, would give herself `le plaisir de me voir dans un
tout petit moment.
' So saying, with a smile, she seated
herself; and, discovering that I was an American, began
to talk bad English to me. I may say execrable English;
for it is a habit your Frenchwoman often has, to abandon
her own facile and fluent vernacular, which she speaks so
charmingly, in order to show off a wretched smattering she


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may have acquired of your language, — from politeness,
possibly, and possibly from vanity. In the mean time
Arachne busied her long agile fingers with some very appropriate
embroidery; and busied her mind, too, I could n't
help thinking, weaving some intricate web of mischief, —
for her eyes sparkled as they looked at me with a certain
gleeful, malicious expression, — seeming to say, `You have
walked into my parlor, Mr. Fly, and I am sure to entangle
you!' which made me feel uncomfortable.

“The `tout petit moment' had become another good
quarter of an hour, when the door again opened, and Madam
— Madam herself — the Waldoborough — appeared!
Did you ever see flounces? did you ever witness expansion?
have your eyes ever beheld the — so to speak —
new-risen sun trailing clouds of glory over the threshold of
the dawn? You should have seen Madam enter that
room; you should have seen the effulgence of the greeting
smile she gave me; then you would n't wonder that I was

“She filled and overflowed with her magnificence the
most royal fauteuil in the saloon, and talked to me of my
Todworth cousin, and of my Todworth cousin's husband,
and of London, and of America, — occasionally turning
aside to show off her bad French by speaking to the Spider,
until another quarter of an hour had elapsed. Then Paris
was mentioned, and one of us happened to speak of the
Gobelins, — I cannot now recall which it was first uttered
that fatal word to me, the direful spring of woes unnumbered!
Had I visited the Gobelins? I had not, but I
anticipated having that pleasure soon.

“`Long as I have lived in Paris, I have never yet been
to the Gobelins!' says Madam Waldoborough. `Mademoiselle'
(that was Arachne) `m'accuse toujours d'avoir tort, et
me dit que je dois y aller, n'est ce pas, Mademoiselle?


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“`Certainement!' says Mademoiselle, emphatically; and
in return for Madam's ill-spoken French, she added in
English, of even worse quality, that the Gobelins' manufacture
of tapisserie and carpet, was the place the moz
curieuze and interressante which one could go see in Paris.

“`C'est ce qu'elle dit toujours,' says the Waldoborough.
`But I make great allowances for her opinion, since she is
an enthusiast with regard to everything that pertains to

“`Very natural that she should be, being a Spider,' I
thought, but did not say so.

“`However,' Madam continued, `I should like extremely
well to go there, if I could ever get the time. Quand
aurai-je le tems, Mademoiselle?

“`I sink zis day is more time zan you have anozer
day, Madame,' says the Spider.

“`Would you like to go?' says Madam; and as she suggested
ordering the carriage for the purpose, of course I
jumped at the chance. To ride in that carriage! with the
Waldoborough herself! with the driver before and the
footman behind, in livery! Oh!

“I was abandoned to intoxicating dreams of ambition,
whilst Madam went to prepare herself, and Mademoiselle
to order the carriage. It was not long before I heard a
vehicle enter the court-yard, turn, and stop in the carriage-way.
I tried to catch a glimpse of it from the window,
but saw it only in imagination, — that barouche of
barouches, which is Waldoborough's! I imagined myself
seated luxuriously in that shell, with Madam by my side,
rolling through the streets of Paris in even greater state
than I had rolled through London with my Todworth
cousin. I was impatient to be experiencing the new sensation.
The moments dragged: five, ten, fifteen minutes
at least elapsed, and all the while the carriage and I were


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waiting. Then appeared — who do you suppose? The
Spider, dressed for an excursion. `So she is going too!'
thought I, not very well pleased. She had in her arms —
what do you suppose? A confounded little lapdog, — the
spaniel you saw just now with his nose just above the

“`Monsieur,' says she, `I desire make you know ze King
François.' I hate lapdogs; but, in order to be civil, I offered
to pat his majesty on the head. That, however, did
not seem to be court-etiquette; and I got snapped at by
the little despot. `Our compagnon of voyage,' says Mademoiselle,
pacifying him with caresses.

“`So he is going too?' thought I, — so unreasonable as
to feel a little dissatisfied; as if I had a right to say who
should or who should not ride in Madam Waldoborough's

“Mademoiselle sat with her hat on, and held the pup;
and I sat with my hat in my hand, and held my peace;
and she talked bad English to me, and good French to the
dog, for, maybe, ten minutes longer, when the Waldoborough
swept in, arrayed for the occasion, and said,
`Maintenant nous allons.' That was the signal for descending:
as we did so, Madam casually remarked, that something
was the matter with one of the Waldoborough horses,
but that she had not thought it worth the while to give
up our visit to the Gobelins on that account, since a coupé
would answer our purpose; — and the coupés in that quarter
were really very respectable!

“This considerate remark was as a feather-bed to break
the frightful fall before me. You think I tumbled down
the Waldoborough stairs? Worse than that: I dropped
headlong, precipitately, from the heights of fairy dreams
to low actuality; all the way down, down, down, from the
Waldoborough barouche to a hired coach, a voiture de remise,
that stood in its place at the door!


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“`Mademoiselle suggested that it would be quite as well
to go in a coupé,' says Madam Waldoborough, as she got

“`O certainly,' I replied, with preternatural cheerfulness.

“It was a vehicle with two horses and seats for four;
one driver in a red face, — the common livery of your
Paris hackman; but no footman, no footman, no footman!”
Herbert repeated, with a groan. “Not so much
as a little tiger clinging to the straps behind! I comforted
myself, however, with the reflection that beggars must not
be choosers; that, if I rode with Madam, I must accept
her style of turn-out; and that if I was a good boy, and
went in the coupé this time, I might go in the barouche
the next.

“Madam occupied the back seat — the seat of honor in
a coach — with whom, do you suppose? Me? No, sir!
With the Spider? Not even with the Spider! With the
lapdog, sir! And I was forced to content myself with
a seat by Arachne's side, facing the royal pair.

“`Aux Gobelins,' says Madam Waldoborough, to the
driver; `mais allez par l'Hôtel de Ville, le pont Louis Philippe,
et l'Eglise de Nôtre Dame, — n'est-ce pas?
' referring
the question to me.

“I said, `As you please.' And the red-faced driver said,
`Bien, Madame!' as he shut us into the coach. And off
we went by the Hôtel de Ville, the Pont Louis Philippe,
and Nôtre Dame, accordingly.

“We stopped a few minutes to look at the Cathedral
front; then rattled on, up the Quai and across the Pont
de l'Archevêché, and through the crooked, countless streets
until we reached the Gobelins; and I must confess I did
not yet experience any of the sublime emotions I had
counted upon in riding with the distinguished Madam


Page 81

“You have been to the Gobelins? If you have n't, you
must go there, — not with two ladies and a lapdog, as I
did, but independently, and you will find the visit well
worth the trouble. The establishment derives its name
from an obscure wool-dyer of the fifteenth century, Jean
Gobelin, whose little workshop has grown to be one of the
most extensive and magnificent carpet and tapestry manufactories
in the world.

“We found liveried attendants stationed at every door
and turning-point, to direct the crowds of visitors and to
keep out dogs. No dog could be admitted except in arms.
I suggested that King Francis should be left in the coach;
upon which Madam Waldoborough asked, reproachfully,
`Could I be so cruel?' and the Spider looked at me as
if I had been an American savage. To atone for my
inhumanity, I offered to carry the cur; he was put into
my arms at once; and so it happened that I walked
through that wonderful series of rooms, hung with tapestries
of the richest description, of the times of Francis
I., Louis XIV., and so forth, with a detested lapdog in
my hands. However, I showed my heroism by enduring
my fate without a murmur, and quoting Tennyson for
the gratification of Madam Waldoborough, who was reminded
of the corridors of `The Palace of Art.'

`Some were hung with arras green and blue,
Showing a gaudy summer-morn,
Where with puffed cheek the belted hunte blew
His wreathéd bugle-horn.'
And so forth, and so on. I continued my citations in
order to keep Madam's mouth shut; for she annoyed me
exceedingly by telling everybody she had occasion to
speak with who she was.

“`Je suis Madame Waldoborough; et je désire savoir'
this thing, or that, — whatever she wished to inquire


Page 82
about; as if all the world knew of her fame, and she had
only to state, `I am that distinguished personage,' in
order to command the utmost deference and respect.

“From the show-rooms we passed on to the workrooms,
where we found the patient weavers sitting or
standing at the back side of their pieces, with their baskets
of many-colored spools at their sides, and the paintings
they were copying behind them, slowly building up
their imitative fabrics, loop after loop, and stitch after
stitch, by hand. Madam told the workmen who she was,
and learned that one had been at work six months on
his picture; it was a female figure kneeling to a colossal
pair of legs, destined to support a warrior, whose upper
proportions waited to be drawn out of the spool-baskets.
Another had been a year at work on a headless Virgin
with a babe in her arms, finished only to the eyes. Sometimes
ten, or even twenty years, are expended by one man
upon a single piece of tapestry; but the patience of the
workmen is not more wonderful than the art with which
they select and blend their colors, passing from the softest
to the most brilliant shades, without fault, as the work
they are copying requires.

“From the tapestry-weaving we passed on to the carpet-weaving
rooms, where the workmen have the right side
of their fabric before them, and the designs to be copied
over their heads. Some of the patterns were of the most
gorgeous description, — vines, scrolls, flowers, birds, lions,
men; and the way they passed from the reflecting brain
through the fingers of the weaver into the woollen texture
was marvellous to behold. I could have spent some hours
in the establishment pleasantly enough, watching the operatives,
but for that terrible annoyance, the dog in my
arms. I could not put him down, and I could not ask
the ladies to take him. The Spider was in her element;


Page 83
she forgot everything but the toil of her fellow-spiders,
and it was almost impossible to get her away from any
piece she once became interested in. Madam, busy in
telling who she was and asking questions, gave me little
attention; so that I found myself more in the position
of a lackey than a companion. I had regretted that her
footman did not accompany us; but what need was there
of a footman as long as she had me?

“In half an hour I had become weary of the lapdog and
the Gobelins, and wished to get away. But no, — Madam
must tell more people who she was, and make further inquiries;
and as for Arachne, I believe she would have remained
there until this time. Another half-hour, and another,
and still the good part of another, exhausted the
strength of my arms and the endurance of my soul, until
at last the Waldoborough said, `Eh bien, nous avons tout
vu, n'est-ce pas? Allons donc!
' And we allonged.

“We found our coupé waiting for us, and I thrust his
majesty King Francis into it rather unceremoniously.
Now you must know that all this time Madam Waldoborough
had not the remotest idea but that she was
treating me with all due civility. She is one of your
thoroughly egotistical, self-absorbed women, accustomed to
receiving homage, who appear to consider that to breathe
in their presence and attend upon them is sufficient honor
and happiness for anybody.

“`Never mind,' thought I, `she 'll invite me to dinner,
and maybe I shall meet an ambassador!'

“Arrived at the Hotel Waldoborough, accordingly, I
stepped out of the coupé, and helped out the ladies and
the lapdog, and was going in with them, as a matter of
course. But the Spider said, `Do not give yourself ze
pain, Monsieur!' and relieved me of King Francis. And
Madam said, `Shall I order the driver to be paid? or will


Page 84
you retain the coupé? You will want it to take you home.
Well, good day,' — offering me two fingers to shake. `I
am very happy to have met you; and I hope I shall see
you at my next reception. Thursday evening, remember;
I receive Thursday evenings. Cocher, vous emporterez Monsieur
chez lui, comprenez?

“`Bien Madame!' says the cocher.

“`Bon jour, Monsieur!' says Arachne, gayly, tripping
up the stairs with the king in her arms.

“I was stunned. For a minute I did not know very
well what I was about; indeed, I should have done very
differently if I had had my wits about me. I stepped back
into the coupé, — weary, disheartened, hungry; my dinner
hour was past long ago; it was now approaching Madam's
dinner hour, and I was sent away fasting. What was
worse, the coupé was left for me to pay for. It was three
hours since it had been ordered; price, two francs an
hour; total, six francs. I had given the driver my address,
and we were clattering away towards the Rue des
Vieux Augustins, when I remembered, with a sinking
of the heart I trust you may never experience, that I had
not six francs in the world, — at least in this part of the
world, — thanks to my Todworth cousin; that I had,
in fact, only fifteen paltry sous in my pocket!

“Here was a scrape! I had ridden in Madam Waldoborough's
carriage with a vengeance! Six francs to pay!
and how was I ever to pay it? `Cocher! cocher!' I
cried out, despairingly, `attendez!'

“The cocher stopped promptly. Struck with the appalling
thought that every additional rod we travelled
involved an increase of expense, my first impulse was to
jump out and dismiss him. But then came the more
frightful fancy, that it was not possible to dismiss him
unless I could pay him! I must keep him with me until


Page 85
I could devise some means of raising the six francs, which
an hour later would be eight francs, and an hour later
ten francs, and so forth. Every moment that I delayed
payment swelled the debt, like a ruinous rate of interest,
and diminished the possibility of ever paying him at all.
And of course I could not keep him with me forever, —
go about the world henceforth in a hired coach, with a
driver and span of horses impossible to get rid of.

“`Que veut Monsieur?' says the driver, looking over at
me with his red face, and waiting for my orders.

“That recalled me from my hideous revery. I knew I
might as well be travelling as standing still, since he was
to be paid by the hour; so I said, `Drive on, drive

“I had one hope, — that on reaching my lodgings I
might prevail upon the concierge to pay for the coach.
I stepped out with alacrity, said gayly to my coachman,
`Combien est-ce que je vous dois?' and put my hand in
among my fifteen sous with an air of confidence.

“The driver looked at his watch, and said, with business-like
exactness, `Six francs vingt-cinq centimes, Monsieur.'
Vingt-cinq centimes!
My debt had increased five
cents whilst I had been thinking about it! `Avec quelquechose
pour la boisson,
' he added with a persuasive smile.
With a trifle besides for drink-money, — for that every
French driver expects.

“Then I appeared to discover, to my surprise, that I
had not the change; so I cried out to the old woman in
the porter's lodge, `Give this man five francs for me, will

“`Five francs!' echoed the ogress with astonishment:
`Monsieur, je n'ai pas le sou!'

“I might have known it; of course she would n't have
a sou for a poor devil like me.


Page 86

“I then proposed to call at the driver's stand and pay
him in a day or two, if he would trust me. He smiled
and shook his head.

“`Very well,' said I, stepping back into the coach,
`drive to number five, Cité Odiot.' I had an acquaintance
there, of whom I thought I might possibly borrow. The
coachman drove away cheerfully, seeming to be perfectly
well satisfied with the state of things; he was master of
the situation, — he was having employment, his pay was
going on, and he could hold me in pledge for the money.
We reached the Cité Odiot: I ran in at number five, and
up stairs to my friend's room. It was locked; he was
away from home.

“I had but one other acquaintance in Paris on whom I
could venture to call for a loan of a few francs; and he
lived far away, across the Seine, in the Rue Racine. There
seemed to be no alternative; so away we posted, carrying
my ever-increasing debt, dragging at each remove a lengthening
chain. We reached the Rue Racine; I found my
friend; I wrung his hand. `For Heaven's sake,' said I,
`help me to get rid of this Old Man of the Sea, — this
elephant won in a raffle!'

“I explained. He laughed. `What a funny adventure!'
says he. `And how curious that at this time, of
all others, I have n't ten sous in the world! But I 'll tell
you what I can do,' says he.

“`For mercy's sake, what?'

“`I can get you out of the building by a private passage,
take you through into the Rue de la Harpe, and let
you escape. Your coachman will remain waiting for you
at the door until you have traversed half Paris. That
will be a capital point to the joke, — a splendid finale
for your little comedy!'

“I confess to you that, perplexed and desperate as I


Page 87
was, I felt for an instant tempted to accept this infamous
suggestion. Not that I would willingly have wronged the
coachman; but since there was no hope of doing him
justice, why not do the best thing for myself? If I could
not save my honor, I might at least save my person.
And I own that the picture of him which presented itself
to my mind, waiting at the door so complacently, so
stolidly, intent only on sticking by me at the rate of two
francs an hour until paid off, — without feeling a shadow
of sympathy for my distress, but secretly laughing at it,
doubtless, — that provoked me; and I was pleased to
think of him waiting there still, after I should have
escaped, until at last his beaming red face would suddenly
grow purple with wrath, and his placidity change to consternation,
on discovering that he had been outwitted.
But I knew too well what he would do. He would report
me to the police! Worse than that, he would report me
to Madam Waldoborough!

“Already I fancied him, with his whip under his arm,
smilingly taking off his hat, and extending his hand to the
amazed and indignant lady, with a polite request that she
would pay for that coupé! What coupé? And he would
tell his story, and the Goddess would be thunderstruck;
and the eyes of the Spider would sparkle wickedly; and I
should be disgraced forever!

“Then I could see the Parisian detectives — the best
in the world — going to take down from the lady's lips a
minute description of the adventurer, the swindler, who
had imposed upon them, and attempted to cheat a poor
hack-driver out of his hard-earned wages! Then would
appear the reports in the newspapers, — how a well-dressed
young man, an American, Monsieur X., (or perhaps my
name would be given,) had been the means of enlivening
the fashionable circles of Paris with a choice bit of scandal,


Page 88
by inviting a very distinguished lady, also an American
(whose Thursday-evening receptions are attended by some
of the most illustrious French and foreign residents in the
metropolis), to accompany him on a tour of inspection to
the Gobelins, and had afterwards been guilty of the unexampled
baseness of leaving the coupé he had employed
standing, unpaid, at the door of a certain house in the
Rue Racine, whilst he escaped by a private passage into
the Rue de la Harpe, and so forth.

“`No,' said I; `'t is impossible! If you can't help me
to the money, I must try — but where, how can I hope to
raise eight francs, (for it is four hours by this time, to say
nothing of the drink-money!) — how can I ever hope to
raise that sum in Paris?'

“`You can pawn your watch,' says my false friend, rubbing
his hands, and smiling, as if he really enjoyed the
comicality of the thing.

“But I had already eaten my watch, as the French say:
it had been a week at the Mont de Piété.

“`Your coat then,' says my counsellor, with good-natured

“`And go in my shirt-sleeves?' for I had placed my
trunk and its contents in the charge of my landlord, as
security for the payment of my rent.

“`In that case, I don't see what you will do, unless you
take my original advice, and dodge the fellow.'

“I left my fair-weather acquaintance in disgust, and
went off, literally staggering under the load, the ever-increasing
load, the Pelion upon Ossa, of francs, francs,
francs, — despair, despair, despair.

“`Eh bien?' says the driver, interrogatively, as I went
out to him.

“I ordered him to drive back to the Cité Odiot.

“`Bien!' says he, polite as ever, cheery as ever; and


Page 89
away we went again, back across the Seine, up the Champs
Elysées, into the Rue de l'Oratoire, to the Cité, — my
stomach faint, my head aching, my thoughts whirling, and
the carriage wheels rattling, clattering, chattering all the
way, `Two francs an hour and drink-money! Two francs
an hour and drink-money!'

“Once more I tried my luck at number five, and was
filled with exasperation and dismay to find that my friend
had been home, and gone off again in great haste, with a
portmanteau in his hand.

“Where had he gone? Nobody knew: but he had
given his key to the house-servant, saying he would be
absent several days.

“`Pensez-vous qu'il est allé à Londres?' I hurriedly inquired.

“`Monsieur, je n'en sais rien,' was the calm, decisive

“I knew he often went to London; and now my only
hope was to catch him at one of the railway stations.
But by which route would he be likely to go? I thought
of only one, that by way of Calais, by which I had come,
and I ordered my coachman to drive with all speed to the
Northern Railway Station. He looked a little glum at
this, and his `Bien!' sounded a good deal like the `bang'
of the coach-door, as he shut it rather sharply in my face.

“Again we were off, my head hotter than ever, my feet
like ice, and the coach-wheels saying vivaciously, as before,
`Two francs an hour and drink-money! Two francs an
hour and drink-money!' I was terribly afraid we should
be too late; but on arriving at the station, I found there
was no train at all. One had left in the afternoon, and
another would leave late in the evening. Then I happened
to think there were other routes to London, by the way
of Dieppe and Havre. My friend might have gone by one


Page 90
of those! Yes, there was a train at about that time, my
driver somewhat sullenly informed me, — for he was fast
losing his cheerfulness: perhaps it was his supper-time, or
perhaps he was in a hurry for his drink-money. Did he
know where the stations were? Know? of course he did!
There was but one terminus for both routes; that was in
the Rue St. Lazare. Could he reach it before the train
started? Possibly; but his horses were jaded; they
needed feeding. And why did n't I tell him before that I
wished to stop there? for we had come through the Rue
St. Lazare, and actually passed the railway station there,
on our way from the Cité Odiot! That was vexing to
think of, but there was no help for it; so back we flew on
our course, to catch, if possible, the train, and my friend,
who I was certain was going in it.

“We reached the Lazarus Street Station; and I, all in
a frenzy of apprehension, rushed in, to experience one of
those fearful trials of temper to which nervous men —
especially nervous Americans in Paris — are sometimes
subject. The train was about starting; but, owing to the
strict regulations which are everywhere enforced on French
railways, I could not even force myself into the passenger-room,
— much less get through the gate, and past the
guard, to the platform where the cars were standing.
Nobody could enter there without a ticket. My friend
was going, and I could not rush in and catch him, and
borrow my — ten francs, I suppose, by that time, because
I had not a ticket, nor money to buy a ticket! I laugh
now at the image of myself, as I must have appeared then,
— frantically explaining what I could of the circumstances
to any of the officials who would hear me, — pouring forth
torrents of broken and hardly intelligible French, now
shrieking to make myself understood, and now groaning
with despair, — questioning, cursing, imploring, — and receiving


Page 91
the invariable, the inexorable reply, always polite,
but always firm, —

“`On ne passe pas, Monsieur.'

“Absolutely no admittance! And while I was convulsing
myself in vain, the train started! It was off, — my
friend was gone, and I was ruined forever!

“When the worst has happened, and we feel that it is
so, and our own efforts are no longer of any avail, then we
become calm; the heart accepts the fate it knows to be
inevitable. The bankrupt, after all his anxious nights and
terrible days of struggle, is almost happy at last, when all
is over. Even the convict sleeps soundly on the night
preceding his execution. Just so I recovered my self-possession
and equanimity after the train had departed.

“I went back to my hackman. His serenity had vanished
as mine had arrived; and the fury that possessed
me seemed to pass over and take up its abode with him.

“`Will you pay me?' he demanded, fiercely.

“`My friend,' said I, `it is impossible.' And I repeated
my proposition to call and settle with him in a day or two.

“`And you will not pay me now?' he vociferated.

“`My friend, I cannot.'

“`Then I know what I will do!' turning away with a
gesture of rage.

“`I have done what I could, now you shall try what
you can,' I answered, mildly.

“`Écoutez donc!' he hissed, turning once more upon
me. `I go to Madam. I demand my pay of her. What
do you say to that?'

“A few minutes before I should have been overwhelmed
by the suggestion. I was not pleased with it now. No
man who has enjoyed the society of ladies, and imagined
that he appeared well in their presence, fancies the idea
of being utterly shamed and humiliated in their eyes. I


Page 92
ought to have had the courage to say to Madam Waldoborough,
when she had the coolness to send me off with
the coupé, instead of my dinner: `Excuse me, Madam, I
have not the money to pay this man!' It would have
been bitter, that confession; but better one pill at the
beginning of a malady than a whole boxful later. Better
truth, anyhow, though it kill you, than a precarious existence
on false appearances. I had, by my own folly, placed
myself in an embarrassing and ludicrous position; and I
must take the consequences.

“`Very well,' said I, `if you are absolutely bent on having
your money to-night, I suppose that is the best thing
you can do. But say to Madam that I expect my uncle
by the next steamer; that I wished you to wait till his
arrival for your pay; and that you not only refused, but
put me to a great deal of trouble. It is nothing extraordinary,'
I continued, `for gay young men, Americans, to
be without money for a few days in Paris, expecting remittances
from home; and you fellows ought to be more

“`True! true!' says the driver, turning again to go.
`But I must have my pay all the same. I shall tell
Madam what you say.'

“He was going. And now happened one of those wonderful
things which sometimes occur in real life, but which,
in novels, we pronounce improbable. Whilst we were
speaking a train arrived; and I noticed a little withered
old man, — a little smirking mummy of a man, — with a
face all wrinkles and smiles, coming out of the building
with his coat on his arm. I noticed him, because he was
so ancient and dried up, and yet so happy, whilst I was so
young and fresh, and yet so miserable. And I was wondering
at his self-satisfaction, when I saw — what think
you? — something fall to the ground from the waist-pocket


Page 93
of the coat he carried on his arm! It was — will you
believe it? — a pocket-book! — a fat pocket-book, a respectable,
well-worn pocket-book! — the pocket-book of a
millionnaire, by Jove! I pounced upon it. He was passing
on when I ran after him, politely called his attention,
and surprised him with a presentation of what he supposed
was all the time conveyed safely in his coat.

“`Is it possible!' said he in very poor French, which
betrayed him to be a foreigner like myself. `You are very
kind, very obliging, very obliging indeed!'

“If thanks and smiles would have answered my purpose,
I had them in profusion. He looked to see that the
pocket-book had not been opened, and thanked me again
and again. He seemed very anxious to do the polite
thing, yet still more anxious to be passing on. But I
would not let him pass on; I held him with my glittering

“`Ah!' said he, `perhaps you won't feel yourself
injured by the offer,' — for he saw that I was well dressed,
and probably hesitated on that account to reward me, —
`perhaps you will take something for your honesty, for
your trouble.' And putting his hand in his pocket, he
took it out again, with the palm covered with glittering
gold pieces.

“`Sir,' said I, `I am ashamed to accept anything for so
trifling a service; but I owe this man here, — how much
is it now?'

“`Ten francs and a half,' says the driver, whom I had
stopped just in time.

“`Ten francs and a half,' I repeated.

“`Mais n'oubliez pas la boisson,' he added, his persuasive
smile returning.

“`With something for his dram,' I continued: `which
if you will have the kindness to pay him, and at the same


Page 94
time give me your address, I will see that the money is
returned to you without fail in a day or two.'

“The smiling little man paid the money on the spot;
saying it was of no consequence, and neglecting to give me
his address. And he went his way well satisfied, and the
driver went his, also well satisfied; and I went mine,
infinitely better satisfied, I imagine, than either of them.

“Well, I had got rid of Madam Waldoborough's carriage,
and learned a lesson which, I think, will last me the
rest of my life. But I must haste and tell you the curious
dénouement of the affair.

“I was n't so anxious to cultivate Madam's acquaintance
after riding in her carriage, you may well believe. For
months I did n't see her. At last my Todworth cousin
and her yellow-complexioned husband came to town, and I
went with my uncle to call upon them at Meurice's Hotel.
They were delighted to see me, and fondly pressed me to
come and take a room adjoining their suite, as I did at
Cox's; whereat I smiled.

“A card was brought in, and my cousin directed that
the visitor should be admitted. There was a rustle, — a
volume of flounces came sweeping in, — a well-remembered
voice cried, `My dear Louise!' — and my Todworth cousin
was clasped in the buxom embrace of Madam Waldoborough.

“But what did I behold? Following in Madam's wake,
like a skiff towed at the stern of a rushing side-wheel
steamer, a dapper little old man, a withered little old man,
a gayly smiling little old man, whose countenance was
somehow strangely familiar to me. I considered him a
moment, and the scene in the Rue St. Lazare, with
the coupé driver and the man with the pocket-book,
flashed across my mind. This was the man! I remembered
him well; but he had evidently forgotten me.


Page 95

“Madam released Louise from her divine large arms, and
greeted the yellow-complexioned one. Then she was introduced
to my uncle. Then the bride said, `You know
my cousin Herbert, I believe?'

“`Ah, yes!' says the Waldoborough, who had glanced
at me curiously, but doubtfully, `I recognize him now!'
giving me a smile and two fingers. `I thought I had seen
him somewhere. You have been to one or two of my receptions,
have n't you?'

“`I have not yet had that pleasure,' said I.

“`Ah, I remember now! You called one morning,
did n't you? And we went somewhere together, — where
did we go? — or was it some other gentleman?'

“I said I thought it must have been some other gentleman;
for indeed I could hardly believe now that I was
that fool.

“`Very likely,' said she; `for I see so many, — my
receptions, you know, Louise, are always so crowded!
But, dear me, what am I thinking of? Where are you,
my dear?' and the steamer brought the skiff alongside.

“`Louise, and gentlemen,' then said my lady, with a
magnificent courtesy, the very wind of which I feared
would blow him away, — but he advanced triumphantly,
bowing and smiling extravagantly, — `allow me the happiness
of presenting to you Mr. John Waldoborough, my

“How I refrained from shrieking and throwing myself
on the floor, I never well knew; for I declare to you, I
was never so caught by surprise and tickled through and
through by any dénouement or situation, in or off the
stage! To think that pigmy, that wart, that little
grimacing monkey of a man, parchment-faced, antique, —
a mere money-bag on two sticks, — should be the husband
of the great and glorious Madam Waldoborough! His


Page 96
wondrous self-satisfaction was accounted for. Moreover, I
saw that Heaven's justice was done; Madam's husband
had paid for Madam's carriage!”

Here Herbert concluded his story. And it was time;
for the day had closed, as we walked up and down, and
the sudden November night had come on. Gas-light had
replaced the light of the sun throughout the streets of the
city. The brilliant cressets of the Place de la Concorde
flamed like a constellation; and the Avenue des Champs
Élysées, with its rows of lamps, and the throngs of carriages,
each bearing now its lighted lantern, moving along
that far-extending slope, looked like a new Milky Way,
fenced with lustrous stars, and swarming with meteoric