previous next

[259] fete days of the year. Commenced the morning by a visit with Dr. Shattuck to one of the distant hospitals, full of the most disgusting sights and the most impressive moral lessons,—the Hopital des Veneriens. About two o'clock, went over the river to the thronged boulevards; in the streets met the fat ox, which was escorted by a band of butchers on horseback, dressed in the most fantastic costumes. The boulevards and the Rue St. Honore were crowded literally for miles with equipages, with groups of maskers and spectators. An ever-present and most numerous police kept this immense and inflammable multitude in the most perfect order. For several hours I walked or stood on the boulevards, and during all the time saw not a single instance of collision either between those on foot or those in carriages. The people on foot moved on by easy swells without jarring upon each other; the carriages were all kept in regular files or queues, and moved on slowly as a funeral procession. There were many maskers on horseback; others in carts and carriages. This is the Saturnalia of France, and all are privileged for this once to play the fool. I was told that formerly, on this occasion, the young men, the élite of society, appeared habited in fantastic dresses; this is now left chiefly, I think, to the lower orders. Nevertheless, there were many to-day in costume who had gentle blood. Among the fantastic dresses was a man habited like a bear, with an iron collar about his neck, and another man leading him. He sprawled upon the ground, and then reared himself very much like the hugging animal.

Dined at Grignon's, one of the renowned restaurants of Paris; then read at Galignani's reading-room; and at midnight went to the masked ball at the house of the French Opera. On this evening, or rather night, Paris is full of balls; every hall, every musical saloon, and almost every theatre, with its pit floored over, has its ball and its set of maskers. At the French Opera the dancing commenced about one o'clock, or a little after; when I left at four o'clock, the spirit of the dancers and intrigantes had not abated. Nearly all the women were in masks and in fancy dresses; there were many in black dominos. The coup d'oeil was beautiful of the brilliantly dressed assemblage, under a sun-like stream of light from numerous chandeliers, moving in the mazy dance or in the volatile waltz, while the powerful band was pouring out a flood of music. The words for the figures were given through a speaking-trumpet. At four o'clock in the morning, with some friends, I took a carriage, drove over the boulevards still brilliant with the light of the lamps and the windows of the cafes and restaurants, all of which were open to receive and entertain the maskers. Little rest was there in Paris this night, I should think. We stopped about five o'clock at a restaurant on the Boulevard du Temple, where we took something, whether breakfast or supper it would be difficult to tell; and then drove outside the barriers of Paris to what is called the Courtille,—a village the other side of the wall, where, on this night, all the common people assemble to enjoy their dance and their mask. We entered three or four balls, where dancing was proceeding as vigorously as if the streaks of morning had not begun to appear. In some of the corners, leaning on the tables, were some sleepers; but the main assemblage seemed to

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Department de Ville de Paris (France) (4)
France (France) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George C. Shattuck (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: