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Title: Paris Vistas
Author: Gibbons, Helen Davenport
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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PARIS
VISTAS

HELEN DAVENPORT
GIBBONS

[Illustration]



PARIS VISTAS

[Illustration: The Invalides from Pont Alexandre III]



PARIS VISTAS

BY

HELEN DAVENPORT GIBBONS

Author of "A Little Gray Home in France,"
"Red Rugs of Tarsus," etc.

WITH SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS
BY

LESTER GEORGE HORNBY

[Illustration: colophon]

NEW YORK
THE CENTURY CO.
1919

Copyright, 1919, by
THE CENTURY CO.

_Published, December, 1919_



TO
A CRITIC

WHO LIVED MOST
OF THESE DAYS
WITH ME



FOREWORD


Webster defines a vista as "a view, especially a distant view, through
or between intervening objects." If I were literal-minded, I suppose I
should either abandon my title or make this book a series of
descriptions of Sacré Coeur, crowning Montmartre, as you see the
church from dark gray to ghostly white, according to the day, at the end
of apartment-house-lined streets from the _allée_ of the Observatoire,
from the Avenue Montaigne, from the rue de Solférino, and from the Rue
Taitbout. I ought to be writing about the vistas, than which no other
city possesses a more beautiful and varied array, that feature the Arc
de Triomphe, the Trocadéro, the Tour Eiffel, the Grande Roue, the
Invalides, the Palais Bourbon, the Madeleine, the Opéra, Saint-Augustin,
Val de Grâce and the Panthéon.

But may not one's vistas be memories, with the years acting as
"intervening objects"? Has not distance as much to do with time as with
space? Vistas in words can no more convey the impression of things seen
than Lester Hornby's sketches. If you want a substitute for Baedeker,
please do not read this book! If you want a substitute for photographs,
you will be disappointed in Lester's sketches.

The _monuments_ of Paris, ticketed by name and historical events to
tourists whose eyes have had hardly more time than the camera, known by
photographs to prospective tourists who dream of things as yet unseen,
are interwoven into the canvas of my life. The Gare Saint-Lazaire, for
instance, is the place where I was lost once as a kid, where I have had
to say goodbye to my husband starting on a long and perilous journey,
and over which I have seen a Zeppelin floating. Since Louis Philippe was
long before my time, the obelisk always has been in the Place de la
Concorde. And when you pass it, your eyes, meeting the Arc de Triomphe
at the end of the Champs-Elysées, the Carrousel at the end of the
Tuileries, the Madeleine at the end of the Rue Royale and the Palais
Bourbon at the end of the bridge, record vistas as natural, as familiar
as your mother's face in the doorway of the childhood home. Where else
could the Arc de Triomphe be? Of course it looks like that!

I shall not attempt to apologize for the autobiography that comes to the
front in my Paris vistas. Perhaps my own insignificance and unimportance
and the lack of interest on the part of the public in what I do and
think--impressed upon me by more than one critic of earlier
volumes--should deter me from telling how I lived and brought up my
family in Paris. But it is the only way I can tell how I feel about
Paris. Whether the end justifies the means the reader must decide for
himself.

H. D. G.

_Paris, August, 1919._



TABLE OF CONTENTS


(1887-1888)

CHAPTER                                            PAGE

I CHILDHOOD VISTAS                                    3

(1899)

II AT SIXTEEN                                        15

(1908)

III A HONEYMOON PROMISE                              31

(1909-1910)

IV THE PROMISE FULFILLED                             41

V THE PENSION IN THE RUE MADAME                      51

VI LARES AND PENATES IN THE RUE SERVANDONI           63

VII GOLD IN THE CHIMNEY                              76

VIII AT THE BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE                   86

IX EMILIE IN MONOLOGUE                               97

X HUNTING APACHES                                   104

XI DRIFTWOOD                                        112

XII SOME OF OUR GUESTS                              119

XIII WALKS AT NIGHTFALL                             132

XIV AFTER-DINNER COFFEE                             142

XV REPOS HEBDOMADAIRE                               148

XVI "MANY WATERS CANNOT QUENCH LOVE"                154

XVII REAL PARIS SHOWS                               167

XVIII THE SPELL OF JUNE                             181

(1913)

XIX CHILDHOOD VISTAS FOR A NEW GENERATION           193

XX THE PROBLEM OF HOUSING                           201

(1914)

XXI "NACH PARIS!"                                   211

(1914-1916)

XXII AT HOME IN THE WHIRLWIND                       223

XXIII SAUVONS LES BÉBÉS                             231

XXIV UNCOMFORTABLE NEUTRALITY                       243

(1917)

XXV HOW WE KEPT WARM                                253

XXVI APRIL SIXTH                                    262

XXVII THE VANGUARD OF THE A. E. F.                  269

(1918)

XXVIII THE DARKEST DAYS                             277

XXIX THE GOTHAS AND BIG BERTHA                      294

XXX THE BIRD CHARMER OF THE TUILERIES               307

XXXI THE QUATORZE OF TESTING                        313

XXXII THE LIBERATION OF LILLE                       321

XXXIII ARMISTICE NIGHT                              326

XXXIV ROYAL VISITORS                                341

XXXV THE FIRST PEACE CHRISTMAS                      348

(1919)

XXXVI PLOTTING PEACE                                361

XXXVII LA VIE CHÈRE                                 373

XXXVIII THE REVENGE OF VERSAILLES                   378

XXXIX THE QUATORZE OF VICTORY                       385



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


The Invalides from Pont Alexandre III             _Frontispiece_

                                                          FACING
                                                            PAGE

The Madeleine Flower Market                                   16

Looking up the Avenue de l'Opéra                              32

The Rue de Vaugirard by the Luxembourg                        64

Château de la Reine Blanche: Rue des Gobelins                 88

Where stood the walls of old Lutetia                         120

The Panthéon from the Rue Soufflot                           144

Hôtel de Ville from the Pont d'Arcole                        168

Market day in the Rue de Seine                               184

The first snow in the Luxembourg                             224

A passage through the Louvre                                 256

In an Old Quarter                                            272

Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois                                    304

Old Paris is disappearing                                    320

The Grand Palais                                             336

Spire of the Saint-Chapelle from the Place Saint-Michel      368



1887-1888



PARIS VISTAS



CHAPTER I

CHILDHOOD VISTAS


My Scotch-Irish grandfather was a Covenanter. He kept his whisky in a
high cupboard under lock and key. If any of his children were around
when he took his night-cap, he would admonish them against the use of
alcohol. When he read in the Bible about Babylon, he thought of Paris.
To Grandpa all "foreign places" were pretty bad. But Paris? His children
would never go there. The Scotch-Irish are awful about wills. But life
goes so by opposites that when my third baby, born in Paris a year
before the war, was christened in the Avenue de l'Alma Church, Grandpa
Brown's children and grandchildren and some of his great-grandchildren
were present. My bachelor uncle had been living in Paris most of the
time for thirty years. My mother, my brothers, and my sister were there.
We Browns had become Babylonians. We were no longer Covenanters. And we
had no high cupboard for the whisky.

After Grandpa's death, the Philadelphia house was sublet for a year. In
the twilight we went through all the rooms to say good-by. Jocko, our
monkey-doll, was on the sitting-room floor. Papa picked him up and began
talking to him. Jocko tried to answer, but his voice was shaky, and he
hadn't much to say. Papa took a piece of string out of his desk drawer,
and tied it around Jocko's neck. He asked Jocko whether it was too
tight. The monkey answered, "No, sir." Jocko never forgot to say "sir."
We hung him on the shutter of a window in the west room where I learned
to watch the sunset. There we left him. What a parting if we had known
that the tenants' children were going to do for Jocko, and that we
should never see him again! It was bad enough as it was. It is hard for
me, even to-day, to believe that it was Papa and not Jocko who told us
stories about the fairies in Ireland.

A carriage drove us to a place called Thelafayette-hotel. It was very
dark outside and we seemed to have been traveling all night. Papa
carried me upstairs to a room that had light green folding doors. My
little sister Emily was sound asleep and had to be put right to bed.
Papa sat me in a red arm-chair. Beside it were satchels and Papa's black
valise. Wide awake, I looked around and asked, "Is this Paris?" I did
not see why they had to laugh at me.

A steward of my very own on the _Etruria_ told me that she was the
biggest transatlantic liner. People gave me chocolates until I was
sick. So Mama painted a picture of the poor little fishes that could get
no candy in mid-ocean. She made me feel so sorry that when I got more
chocolates I would slip to the railing and drop them overboard. Once,
before I had heard about the fishes, I was lying in my berth. After a
while I began to feel better and to wish that Papa and Mama had not left
me alone. My feelings were hurt because I had to stay all by myself. I
found my clothes and put on a good many of them. My steward came and was
surprised that I was not on deck. He brought me a wide, thin glass of
champagne. It was better than lemonade. The steward told me that by
staying in my cabin I had missed the chance to see the ship's garden. He
buttoned my dress and put on my coat. He found my bonnet. All the time
he was telling me how the ship's garden was hitched to the deck. He
carried me up those rubber-topped steps that smell so when your stomach
feels funny. He hurried all he could and got terribly out of breath. But
we did not reach the deck in time to see the garden. The steward said
that you had to get there just at a certain time to catch it. I wondered
how a ship could have a garden. He replied that he'd like to know where
a ship's cook would find vegetables and fruit, and how there were so
many freshly picked flowers on the dining-room table every day, if the
ship hadn't a garden. To prove it he brought me a plate of cool white
grapes--"picked before the garden went out of sight a few minutes ago,"
he assured me.

So the week at sea passed, and the next thing I remember is London. It
was not a pretty city. Too much rain and smoke that dirtied your frock
and pinafore. These funny names for my dress and apron, and calling a
clock Big Ben, and a queer way of speaking English, form my earliest
memories of London. No, I forgot sources of wonderment. The best orange
marmalade was bitter, and the tooth-powder was in a round tin hard to
open, that spilled and wasted a lot when you did succeed in prying the
lid off.

And in Paris I found that my dress was a "robe" and my apron a
"tab-lee-ay." This was worse than "pinafore," but not so astonishing,
because one expected French words to be different.

Which is the greater joy and satisfaction--always to have had a thing,
or, when you think of something in your life, to be able to remember how
and when it came into your possession? Paris is my home city in the
sense that I cannot remember first impressions of things in Paris. Of
events, yes, and sometimes connected with things, but of things
themselves, no. And I am glad of it. My husband did not see Paris until
he was twenty, and he learned to speak French by hard work. I have
always had a little feeling of superiority here, of belonging to Paris
as my children belong to Paris. But Herbert contests this point of
view. He claims that affection for what one adopts by an act of the
will is as strong as, if not stronger than, affection for what is yours
unwittingly. And he advances in refutation of what I say that he knew
Paris before he knew me!

"_Cinquante-deux Rue Galilée._" I cannot remember learning to speak
French. That just came. But standing on a trunk in the corner of a
bedroom and repeating _Cinquante-deux Rue Galilée_ after Marie is just
as clear in my mind as if it were yesterday instead of thirty years ago.
It is a blank to me how and when we came to Paris and how and when we
got Marie Guyon for our nurse. I recall only learning the number and
street of our _pension_, and the impressiveness of Marie telling me how
little kids get lost in Paris and that in such a case I mustn't cry when
the blue-coated _agent_ came along, but simply say, "_Cinquante-deux Rue
Galilée_."

Clear days were rare--days when it didn't look as if it were going to
rain. Then I would have my long walk with Papa, who didn't stay like
Marie on the Champs-Elysées or in the Tuileries, but who would take me
(Emily was too little) where there were crowds. We would climb to the
roof of the omnibus at the Madeleine and ride to the Place de la
République. Then we would walk back along the Grands Boulevards. Down
that way is a big clothing-store with sample suits on wooden models out
on the side-walk. One day Papa bumped into a dummy wearing a
dress-suit. Papa took off his hat, bowed, and said "_Pardon_." I thought
Papa believed it was a real man. So I told him that he had made a
mistake. But Papa replied that one never makes a mistake in being
polite. I used to dance with glee when we came to the Porte Saint-Denis.
For there, at the place the boulevard now cuts straight through a hill
leaving the houses high above the pavement, the pastry and _brioche_ and
waffle stands were sure of my patronage. Papa may not have had regard
for my digestion, but he always considered my feelings. I used to pity
other little children who were dragged remorselessly past the potent
appeal to eye and nose. The pastry places are still there on that
corner. And a new generation of kiddies passes, tugging, remonstrating,
sometimes crying. As for me, I beg the question. I walk my children on
the other side of the street.

One afternoon Marie took us to buy Papa's newspaper. When we got to the
front door, it was raining. So Marie left us in the _bureau_ and told us
to wait until she returned. But the _valet de chambre_ came along with
his wood-basket empty. He always boasted he could carry any basket of
wood, no matter how high they piled it. So we asked if he could carry
us. Immediately he made us jump in, and told us we must pretend to be
good little kittens, and little kittens were never good unless they were
quiet, and they were never quiet unless they were asleep. When we got
to our room, we could look right in at Papa and Mama through the
transom. We reached out and knocked. The sound came from so high up that
Papa looked curiously at the door. When he opened it we ducked down into
the basket, and were not seen until the valet dumped us out on the bed.

My first memory of a negro was in Paris. Probably they were common
enough in Philadelphia not to have made an impression and I had
forgotten that there were black men. I was paralyzed with fear, thinking
I saw Croqueminot _en chair et en os_. Marie saved me by teaching me on
the spot to stick out my index and little fingers, doubling over the two
between. This charm against evil helped and comforted me greatly. I
found it useful later when I saw suspicious-looking beggars in Rome.
Only, although the gesture was the same, it was _jettatura_ and not
_faire les cornes_ in Italy, and the charm was more efficacious if
concealed. I was glad my dress had a pocket.

Mama and Marie took us to the Louvre. I was filled with anticipation.
For had I not heard some one say at our _pension_ that she had bought
things there for a song? Why spend Papa's money if just a song would do?
I could sing. Marie had taught me a pretty song about "La Fauvette." I
was willing to sing if I could get a doll's trunk. I'd sing two or three
songs for a pair of gloves with white fur on them. But when I sang "La
Fauvette" they only smiled at me. I asked the saleslady to take me to
the toy counter, as I could sing again for things I wanted. I had to
explain a whole lot to Mama and Marie and the saleslady. I suppose I
cried with disappointment. Then a man in black with a white tie came
along and heard the story. He gave me a red balloon and Mama consoled me
by buying me a blue velvet dress.

A few months before the war I was walking in the Rue Saint-Honoré with
an old American friend who was doing Paris. He was brimming over with
French history. Your part was to mention the name of the place you
showed him. He would do the rest with enthusiasm and a wealth of detail.

"What is that church?" he asked.

"Saint-Roch," I answered.

"Saint-Roch! Saint-Roch! Saint-Roch!" he cried in crescendo. "Of course,
OF COURSE, because this is the Rue Saint-Honoré. The Rue Saint-Honoré!"
Beside himself with excitement, he rushed across the street, and up on
the steps. I followed, mystified. My friend was waving his cane when I
reached his side. "It was here," he announced, as if he had made a
wonderful discovery, "right on this spot."

"In Heaven's name what?" I queried.

"The beginning of the most glorious epoch of French history, the birth
of the Napoleonic era."

And then he told me the story of how young Bonaparte, called upon to
prevent a mob from rushing the Tuileries, put his guns on the steps of
Saint-Roch, swept the street in both directions, and demonstrated that
he was the first man since '89 who could dominate a Parisian crowd. "You
wouldn't have thought there was anything interesting about this old
church, would you?" he ended triumphantly.

My eyes filled with tears, and my lips trembled. It was his turn to be
mystified, and mine to lead. I took him inside the church, and back to
the chapel of Saint Joseph. "Here," I said, "on Christmas Eve I came
with my father when I was five years old. It was the first time I
remember seeing the Nativity pictured. Good old Joseph looked down on
the interior of the inn. The three wise men were there with the gifts.
Le petit Jésus was in a real cradle, and I counted the jewels around the
Mother's neck. My father tried to explain to me what Christmas means. He
died when I was a little girl. I brought my firstborn here on Christmas
Eve and the others as they came along. I never knew about Napoleon's
connection with Saint-Roch before. And you asked me whether I would have
thought there was anything interesting about this old church!"

The same place can mean so many different things to so many different
people. Paris was Babylon to my grandfather who never went there. And to
those who go there Paris gives what they seek, historical
reminiscences, esthetic pleasure, intellectual profit, inspiration to
paint or sing or play, a surfeit of the mundane, a diminution or an
increase of the sense of nationality, pretty clothes and hats and
perfumes, "rattling" good food and drink or a "howling" good time. You
can be bored in Paris just as quickly and as completely as in any other
place in the world. You can fill your life full of interesting and
engrossing pursuits more quickly and completely than in any other place
in the world. Best of all you make your home in Paris, with no sense of
exile, and enjoy what Paris alone offers in material and spiritual
values without being abnormal or living abnormally.

My childhood vistas seem fragmentary when I put them down on paper. But
they have meant so much to me that I could choose for my children no
greater blessing than to know Paris as home at the beginning of their
lives.



1899



CHAPTER II

AT SIXTEEN


The family was abroad for the summer, one of those delightful May-first
to October thirty-first summers when school is missed at both ends. The
itinerary was supposed to be planned by letting each member drop into a
hat slips of paper indicating preferences. Mother was astonishingly good
about considering the wishes of all. But as the trip was undertaken for
education as well as vacation, the head of the family did not intend to
make it aimless rambling. Although, to get full benefit of the
strawberry season, we took our cathedrals from south to north in
England, none were omitted. By the time we reached Edinburg, Roman,
Saxon, Early Norman and Gothic were as mixed up in the head of the
sixteen-year-old member of the party as they were in the buildings
inspected. "Inspected"--just the word for an educational tour! Later
visits to East Coast cathedrals have not conquered the instinctive
desire to avoid going inside. Impressions of places were vivid enough.
But I fear Canterbury meant London the next stop; Ely a place near
Cambridge; Peterborough the view from the top of the tower; Lincoln
tea-cakes that crumbled in one's mouth; York a mean photographer who
never sent me films I left to be developed; and Durham a batch of
long-delayed letters from boys at home.

At sixteen strawberries do not satisfy hunger: cathedrals do not feed
the soul.

No, cathedrals and history and the origin of the political institutions
under which I lived interested me very mildly. At sixteen one is too
young to have love affairs that interfere with the appetite, and too
sophisticated to cling to the dream of a cloistered convent life that
followed giving up the hope of being a chorus-girl. The mental effort of
preparing for college (which the tour abroad was to stimulate) could not
claim me to the exclusion of clothes and an engrossing interest in the
doings of the group of boys and girls who formed my "crowd." The trip
abroad was going to give me something to talk about at dinner-parties
and the advantage of wearing clothes bought in Paris. One never looks
forward to the coming winter with as keen anticipation as during the
sixteen-year-old summer. Hair would be put up, and dances and dinners
were a certainty for every Friday and Saturday evening.

[Illustration: The Madeleine Flower Market]

If you believe in the value of first impressions and are in a mood to
love Paris, plan your introduction to the queen of the world for an
evening in June. Do not worry about your baggage. Send a porter from
the hotel afterwards for your trunks. Find a _fiacre_ if you can. An
_auto-taxi_ is second-best, but be sure that the top is off. _Baisser la
capote_ is a simple matter, done in the twinkling of an eye. Of course
the _chauffeur_ will scold. But handling _cochers_ and _chauffeurs_ in
Paris requires the instinct of a lion-tamer. If you let the animal get
the better of you, you are gone. You will never enjoy Paris. Mastery of
Parisian drivers, hippomobile and automobile, does not require a
knowledge of French. Your man will understand "put down the top"
accompanied by the proper gesture. Whether he puts it down depends upon
your iron will and not upon your French!

Best of all stations for the first entry to Paris is the Gare de Lyon.
But that good fortune is yours only if you are coming from Italy or
Spain or if you have landed at Marseilles. The Dover and Boulogne routes
bring you to the Gare du Nord and the Dieppe and Havre and Cherbourg
routes to the Gare Saint-Lazare. In any case, ask to be driven first to
the Pont-Neuf, then along the _quais_ of the Rive Gauche to the
Pont-Alexandre Trois, then to the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Only when
you have gone over this itinerary and have passed between the Grand
Palais and the Petit Palais are you ready to be driven to your hotel. It
is the difference between seeing a girl first at a dance or a
garden-party or running into her by accident in her mother's kitchen
when the cook is on a strike.

How often, in the decades that have passed since June, 1899, have I
wished that the return to Paris had included this program, not only
initially but for every June and July evening of our weeks there. But it
did not. The passionate love of Paris, my home city, that was born in me
as a child, that was re-awakened and deepened in maturity, did not
manifest itself when I was a school-girl as it should have done. The
change from regular lessons to the governess-controlled days of
sightseeing was not as amusing at the time as it seems in retrospect.
Madame Raymond and I were not made for each other. It wasn't
incorrigibility on my part or severity in a nasty way on hers. We just
pulled in different directions, and shocked each other. It began on the
first day. She found that I spoke French well enough not to call for the
usual effort she had to make with American girls and that I did not need
to be told the names of _monuments_ and _jardins_ and _avenues_. The
memories of infancy had been carefully kept alive by word and picture.
Mother had seen to that. Paris meant to me my father. Consequently, I
suppose Madame Raymond's conscience stimulated her to lay stress upon
history and art. She wanted to earn her money.

Mutual lack of comprehension began immediately. My first reading under
Madame Raymond's direction was a volume of Guy de Maupassant's stories,
with markers to show which could be read and which were forbidden. Next
day Madame was horrified to see the markers gone and to learn that I had
sat up late reading without censorship. She told me that a well-bred
_jeune fille_ ought to be ashamed of reading certain things, and refused
to argue about it when I asked her why a _jeune fille_ should be ashamed
of reading the stories she had indicated to be skipped.

"To-day," said Madame Raymond, "I intend to take you to the Cluny
Museum, and then we shall begin the Louvre."

"But," I protested, "I want to go first to Morgan Harjes."

"What for? Madame your mother gave me fifty francs this morning."

"She gave me a hundred and fifty. It isn't for money. I want my
letters."

"If there are any letters for you, Madame your mother will give them to
you if it is good for you to have them!" snapped Madame Raymond.

"Fiddlesticks! My mother doesn't read my letters."

"Letters written to a _jeune fille_ of sixteen years can easily wait.
They are not important. Your education is. Anyway, who would write to
you over here?"

"Well, there is Bill. I'm crazy to know if he passed his examinations
for Yale and how he liked going to the dance at the Country Club with
Margaret when he asked me first. Joe and Charlie went off on a fishing
trip to Canada before I sailed, and I've been waiting a month to know
if they caught anything. Then Harold. He's an older man. You can talk to
him about serious things and his advice is pretty good. Naturally, it
would be--Harold is a member of the bar and knows lots."

"But," said Madame, "you mean to say you write to men and men write to
you?"

"Certainly. Just ask mother. Here, I know how to fix it. You seem to be
in a hurry to go to the Museum. If it interests you, go right along.
I'll take a cab to the bank and follow you later. Meet you at the Cluny
in an hour."

"Alone!" cried Madame; "my conscience would not allow it. Your mother
trusts me."

Madame Raymond hailed a cabby.

"To the Cluny Museum," said she, with finality.

In its setting, the Cluny Museum is one of the most delightful spots in
Paris. On the Boulevard Saint-Michel and the Boulevard Saint-Germain one
has the life of Paris of to-day. Looking out from the little park with
its remains of Roman baths and archæological treasures of old Lutetia
scattered around in the shrubbery, one sees a fascinating _carrefour_ of
the Latin Quarter, noisy, bustling, ever-changing. It is a contrast more
striking than any that Rome affords. On the other side, where one enters
the Museum, you have the atmosphere of the middle ages, with the old
well and the court yard and the fifteenth-century façade. Across the
street, the great buildings of the Sorbonne and Collège de France seem
to be carrying on the traditions of the past. But if you had to go
inside with a governess who insisted on showing you everything in every
room, you would rebel as I did.

Madame Raymond did not have it all in her head. She peered down over the
glass cases and read the descriptions in a high voice, adding pages out
of a guide book from time to time. She was near-sighted. As she droned
along, I plotted a scheme for kidnapping her spectacles. When we left, I
had seen embroideries and laces and carriages and cradles and slippers
of famous people and stolen stained-glass windows to _her_ heart's
content.

We went to Foyot's, opposite the Luxembourg Palace, for lunch. After the
meal was ordered, the waiter brought the _carte de vins_.

"A bottle of Medoc," said Madame. "I prefer red wine, don't you, my
dear?"

"Plain water for me. No mineral water. _Eau fraîche_ out of a carafe,"
said I.

"Extraordinary!" cried Madame.

"I think it is dreadful to drink wine," I protested, half in earnest and
half in joke. "The Bible says strong drink is a mockery. The first thing
I remember about Sunday school is that text."

"Ridiculous," said Madame, "table wine is not alcohol."

"Yes," I continued, "but it is the first steps toward strong drink. You
are going to order a _fine champagne_ with your coffee. You cannot tell
me that brandy is not strong drink."

"Here in France," said Madame, "everybody takes a drink and nobody gets
drunk. You must understand, my dear child, that we have a different
point of view."

"Maybe _you_ don't get drunk," said I, "but how about what one sees in
Brittany?"

"You lack respect," answered Madame. She ignored Brittany. In France,
one is not accustomed to argue with a sixteen-year-old girl. Questioning
the judgment of one's elders is impertinent. Since I have brought up my
own children in France, I am more than half won over to French ideas.
The strong individualism of the American child shocks me now in somewhat
the same way as my "freshness" must have shocked Madame Raymond. I was
ready to contest her belief that American girls had no manners. I have
not taught my children to courtesy--for the simple reason that it is no
longer the fashion in France. But I am far from believing now, as I told
Madame Raymond, that courtesying is affectation. And I fear that my
children have had the example of French children in regard to wine. I am
trying to put down here how I was at sixteen. When, after years in
America, I returned to France, my point of view was different.

But about some things maturity has not changed the opinion of a pert
young American _miss_. French ideas of sex relationship between
adolescents seem to me now as they did then, absurd and false. Nor have
I revised my opinion about high heels and tight corsets, powder and
paint.

It was Madame's duty to take me to the dressmaker's. Before my dress
appeared in the fitting room, I was put into my first pair of corsets.
When they were laced up, I rebelled, took a long breath, and stretched
them out again. Madame Raymond and the fitting woman shook their heads
and assured me that my dress would not fit. My governess sided with the
girl, when she remonstrated against my stretching the lacings. I showed
little interest, too, in Madame Raymond's suggestion concerning the
purchase of a box and a pretty puff with a silk rose-bud for a handle,
which was to contain pink powder.

"I never make up," I declared. "If you put powder and other stuff on
your face when you are young, you are not far-sighted. Ugh! I loathe
pink powder."

One day we went to a _foire_, one of those delightful open-air
second-hand markets that never cease to fascinate Parisians. A man
darted out from a booth and offered to sell me a wedding gown.

"How much is that dress?" I inquired.

"Two hundred francs, Mademoiselle."

"Let me see. I wonder if it is big enough for me. I'm getting married
next week. This would save me the bother of having one made, _n'est-ce
pas?_"

"Certainly, Mademoiselle," cried the merchant delighted.

He pulled out his tape-line and was preparing to measure me when Madame
dragged me away.

"It is not _convenable_, what you are doing," she exclaimed heatedly.
"You must not speak lightly of marriage."

"Oh, it comes to us all like death or whooping-cough."

I must not give the impression that my mind at sixteen was absolutely
insensible to historical sight-seeing and the art treasures of Paris. I
always have loved some of the things in the Louvre, and after the Great
War broke out, I discovered what a privation it was not to be able to
drop in when I passed to look at something in the Luxembourg or the
Louvre. But I did not like overdoses. And I have never gotten accustomed
to crowds of pictures all at once in the field of vision or cabinets and
glass-covered cases filled with a bewildering variety of _bibelots_. How
I came to enjoy the Musée du Louvre will be told in a later chapter of
the decade after Madame Raymond. Why should I not confess frankly that
at sixteen I was more interested in the Magazin du Louvre, even though I
knew I could no longer hope to purchase what I wanted there "for a
song"? The best thing I took away from Paris in 1899 was an
evening-dress with a low neck--my first to go with hair put up. It was
in the middle tray of my trunk, packed with tissue paper and sachet. I
can see now the different colored flowers woven into the soft cream of
its background in such a way that, according to the girdle you chose to
put on, your color effect in night light could be lavender, blue or
rose.

Ten years before my father had taught me to love to ride on the top of
an omnibus, on the _impériale_, as the French called it. Alas that I
should have to use the past tense here. _Impériales_, still the fashion
on Fifth Avenue and Riverside Drive, disappeared from Paris before the
war. I shall tell later of the last horse-driven omnibus. The auto-buses
started out with _impériales_, but banished the upstairs in 1912 and
1913. They were still the vogue in 1908. Madame Raymond objected to the
_impériale_. She hated climbing up and down the little stairs,
especially when carrying an umbrella prevented proper circumspection in
regard to gathering in skirts. And by riding inside one avoided a
_courant d'air_.

On a sunshiny day with a long ride ahead of us, I could not bear the
thought of submitting to my governess's whim. I forgot my manners and
jumped on first. With this advantage I was able to climb quickly to the
top. There was nothing else for Madame Raymond to do but slip the
guide-book hastily into her black silk bag and climb up after me. A man
in uniform came along and stopped in front of me. I was reading, and
did not look up when I offered him the necessary coppers. He took my
money and sat down beside me. Then he laughed and handed it back to me.
He was a sous-lieutenant of the French army. I was not confused by my
mistake, for he gallantly took it as an opening. We chatted in English.
Madame Raymond plucked at my sleeve, whispering admonitions. I was deaf
on that side. Finally she told me that we had reached our destination,
got up and started down. Naturally I followed. I found that we were
still several blocks away from where we were going. We both held our
tempers until we got off. Then the fur began to fly. That night my
adventure was retailed to Mother at the hotel in the Rue de la
Tremoille. Mother sided with the governess.

But the next week, when we were at the Opéra one night, I met my officer
on the Grand Escalier. He came right up to me, and I didn't have it in
my heart to turn my back or treat him coolly. When my governess turned
around, she recognized him. I did not bat an eyelash. I introduced him
to Mother and to her and he managed to get an invitation from Mother to
call on us. This is the only time I was ever glad about the long
intermission--the interminable intermission--between acts at the Paris
Opéra. Afterwards, nothing I could say would convince Madame Raymond
that the second meeting was pure hazard. She told me that she knew he
had slipped me his address and I had written to him to arrange the
rendez-vous. This did not make me mad. What did make me furious was her
condemnation of the supposed intrigue solely on the ground of my age and
my unmarried state. When does a girl cease being too young to talk to
men in France? And why should it not be worse for a married woman than
for an unmarried woman to encourage a little attention?

These questions interested me later as much as they did then. Was the
Old World so different from the New World or was I taking for granted
both a latitude and an attitude at home different from what I was going
to meet? Little did I realize that I was destined to live in Paris as a
bride and to bring up my children there to the age when I should have
these problems to face from the standpoint of a mother of three girls.



1908



CHAPTER III

A HONEYMOON PROMISE


We left Oxford very suddenly. Six weeks in the Bodleian Library, in
spite of canoeing every afternoon, sufficed to go through a collection
of contemporary pamphlets about the Guises. And then we were getting
hungry. Since he never changes the menu, roast beef and roast lamb
alternating night after night, and accompanied by naked potatoes and
cabbage, must content the Englishman. But all who have not a British
birthright either lose their appetites or go wild after a time. We
thought that we could not stand another day of seeing that awful
two-compartment vegetable dish. It never contained a surprise. You could
swear with safety to your soul that when the lid was lifted a definite
combination of white and green would meet your eye.

So, when in the early days of July nineteen hundred and eight the London
newspapers published telegrams from Constantinople that foreshadowed
startling changes in Turkey, we were ready to flit. We had planned to
spend our honeymoon winter in Asia Minor, anyway, and thought we might
as well get out there as soon as possible. The spirit of adventure is
strong in the blood of the twenties and decisions are made without
reflection. It is great to be young enough to have a sudden change of
plans matter to none, least of all to oneself. On Monday afternoon we
were canoeing on the Cherwell, with no other thought than the very
pleasant one of doing the same thing on the morrow. The next afternoon
we were in a train speeding from Calais to Paris, trying to recuperate
from the Channel passage.

Herbert and I both knew Paris. But we did not know Paris together, and
that made all the difference in the world. When we reached the Gare du
Nord, we were as filled with the joy of the unknown as if we had been
entering Timbuktoo. On the train we discussed hotels. A slim pocketbook
was the only bank in the world to draw upon for a long journey. On the
other side was the less commonsense but more convincing argument, that
this was once in our lives, and that if it ever was excusable to do
things up right, now was the time. The pocketbook was so slim, however,
that until we stepped out into the dazzling lights, we were not
altogether sure that it would not be a modest little hotel. We
compounded with prudence by hailing a _fiacre_ instead of one of the new
auto-taxis, and directed the _cocher_ to take us where we wanted to go.

[Illustration: Looking up the Avenue de l'Opéra]

It was the thought of being in the heart of things, right at the Place
de l'Opéra, that prompted us to choose the Grand Hotel. The price of
rooms was preposterous. We took the cheapest they had on the top floor.
The economical choice is sometimes the lucky one. Next time you are in
the Place de l'Opéra, look up to the attic of the Grand Hotel, and you
will see little balconies between the windows. Each window represents a
room. So does each balcony. We drew a balcony. It was just wide enough
for two honeymoon chairs; and it was summer time.

When I was waiting in the vestibule of a New York church for the first
strains of the wedding march, my brother pressed a five-dollar gold
piece inside my white glove. "For a bang-up dinner when you get to
London," he whispered. In London we had been entertained by friends.
This was the time to spend it. The initiated would open his eyes wide at
the thought of the "bang-up" dinner for two for twenty-five francs in
Paris today--or anywhere else in the world. But remember I am writing
about nineteen hundred and eight. Six years before the war, twenty-five
francs would do the trick, and do it well, on the Grands Boulevards. We
had fried chicken with peas, salad and _fruits rafraîchis_ at Pousset's,
and there was some change after a liberal (ante-bellum!) tip.

After dinner we strolled along the Boulevards des Italiens. We came to a
big white place, with a wealth of electric lamps, that spelled
PATHE--PALACE. A barker walked up and down in front, wearing a
gold-braided cap and a green _redingote_. We paused as at the circus.
It was a cinema. Herbert wanted to go in, but I wasn't sure. I had never
seen moving pictures and had heard that they hurt one's eyes. To be a
good sport I yielded. It was a revelation to me, and I felt as I did a
year or two later when I first saw an aeroplane. My censor and literary
critic, who has not the imagination of an Irishman, wants to eliminate
this paragraph. But I have refused. It is true that I had never been to
the cinema before I married him, and I am not sure that it was not his
first time, too. The wonders of one decade are the commonplace of the
next, and in retrospect we should not forget this. "Nineteen-eight" was
to be the wonder year. Is there not an old Princeton song, still in the
book, which was sung with expectation by our fathers? It went something
like this:

    I'll sing of the days that will come,
    Of the changes that many won't see,
    Of the times years and years hence.
    I can tell you where some of you'll be:
    If you don't know I'll give you the tip.
    So catch on and don't be too late:
    If you do, you'll get left and you'll all lose your grip
    In the year nineteen hundred and eight.

And then the chorus, as they used to sing it--that older generation--on
the steps of Nassau Hall:

    In nineteen hundred and eight, in nineteen hundred and eight
    You can go to the moon in a two day balloon;
    In nineteen hundred and eight, in nineteen hundred and eight
    To the north pole you can skate,
    And you'll find Annie Laurie cutting grass on the Bowery,
    In nineteen hundred and eight.

After the movies we went back to the Hotel, and sat out on our balcony
with the brilliant vistas of the Avenue de l'Opéra and the Boulevard des
Italiens before us. We could hear the music of the opera orchestra,
faintly to be sure, but it was there. The spell of six and sixteen came
back. Nearly another decade had passed, but Paris was home to me, and I
had a twinge of regret that we were going farther afield. Had it not
been for the news of Niazi Bey and Enver taking to the mountains in a
revolt against the Sultan, I might have suggested giving up Turkey.

I was glad that we would have to stay long enough to get our passports.
The passport, now the indispensable _vade mecum_ of travelers
everywhere, was needed only for Rumania and Turkey and Russia ten years
ago. To make up for the extravagance of the Grand Hotel we found our way
to the American Embassy and the Turkish Embassy afoot. Every corner of
the Champs-Elysées had brought back memories to me and I was able to
point out to Herbert the _guignol_ to which Marie had often taken my
little sister and me nearly twenty years before. We stopped to listen.
Some of the jokes were just the same. Judy had lost the stove-lid, and
Punch told her to sit on the hole herself. And a useful and
indispensable nursery household article (whose name I shall not mention)
was suddenly clapped by Punch over the policeman's head in the same old
way. The children laughed and clapped their hands in glee. Herbert, on
his side, showed me the walk he used to take every morning from his room
on the Rue d'Amsterdam by the Rue de la Boëtie and the Avenue d'Antin[A]
to the Exposition of 1900, when he was writing feature stories for the
Sunday edition of the _New York World_.

[A] The Avenue d'Antin has become since the victory in the recent war
Avenue Victor Emmanuel III., in honor of Italy's intervention.

With passports obtained and visaed, tickets bought and baggage
registered, we were having our last meal in Paris before taking the
train for Rome. It was a late breakfast on the _terrasse_ of the Café de
la Paix. The waiter was not surprised when we ordered eggs with our
coffee: but we were when we found they cost a franc apiece. As we sat
there, at the most interesting vantage point in Paris for seeing the
passing crowd, my childhood instinct came back with force. I cried, "O!
I do want to come here to live when we return from Turkey!"

Herbert had a fellowship from Princeton for foreign study. It had been
postponed a year so that he could teach for a winter at an American
college in Asia Minor. Then and there we made a decision that was
prophetic. All the other men were going to Germany. The German
universities were a powerful attraction for American university men. The
German Ph.D. was almost a sine qua non in our educational system. You
could not get a Ph.D. in England or in France. Herbert gallantly
sacrificed his on the spot. It was not a revolt against Kultur. Nor was
it clairvoyance.

"On one's honeymoon," Herbert said, "the wife's wish should be law. The
man who starts endeavoring to get the woman he has married to realize
that the things to do are the things he thinks should be done gets into
trouble, and stays in trouble."

The last thing we were looking for on that perfect July morning was
trouble.

"All right," said he, "we'll come back and study in Paris, and if you
want to live here afterwards, I guess we can find some way to do it."



1909-1910



CHAPTER IV

THE PROMISE FULFILLED


"It was alcohol! He was right, that old buck. It was alcohol!"

We were sitting in the restaurant of the Hotel Terminus in Marseilles.
Our month-old baby was lying on the cushioned seat between us. The
maître d'hôtel told us she was the youngest lady that had ever come to
his establishment. Bowls of coffee were before us on the table, and we
were enjoying our French breakfast when Herbert burst out with the
remark I have just recorded.

"What is the matter with you?" I asked.

Shaking with laughter, he told me the story.

"You know the basket with breakables in it? And those two champagne
bottles Major Doughty-Wylie gave us?"

"One of them had boracic acid in it. Well?"

"Yes, yes, that is just it. The customshouse officer spied the bottles
and it did not take him long to uncork one and smell it. He wanted to
stick me for duty."

"What did you do?"

"Protested against paying duty on boracic acid solution. I pointed you
out to him sitting over there with the baby. He yielded
finally--observing that Americans are queer, tough customers, and that
their babies must be husky if their eyes can stand such stuff. But he
got the wrong bottle. Don't you remember that in the second one is pure
grape alcohol, and that is what he sniffed."

Traveling with a baby, when tickets do not allow one to take the
_rapide_ sleeping-cars, has its good points. People do not care to spend
the night in a compartment with a baby. We got to the train early--very
early. We put Christine's wicker basket (her bed) by the door, and found
it to be the best kind of a "reserved" sign. Half a hundred travelers
poked their heads in--and passed on. The sight of Christine acted like
magic to our advantage. The baby started to cry. "Don't feed her yet,"
ordered her dad. "Until this train starts, the louder she cries the
better for her later comfort." As the wheels began to move, a man came
in, put his bag on the rack and sat down. Laughing, he closed the door
and pulled down the curtain.

"I have been watching you," said he. "Yours is a clever game. I have
three little cabbages myself, and I know babies don't disturb people as
much as those who have none think. No," he added, "I must correct
myself, thinking of my mother and my mother-in-law. Even those who have
had many babies forget in the course of time how they were once used to
them. We'll have a comfortable night. Have a cigar, monsieur!"

We did have a splendid sleep. Christine has always been one of those
wonder babies. So we were ready to see Paris cheerfully. Heaven knows we
needed every possible help to being cheerful! For we were embarked upon
a venture that looked more serious than it had the year before. A pair
of youngsters can knock around happily without worrying about
uncertainties. A baby means a home--and certain unavoidable expenses.
Where your progeny is concerned, you can't just do without. We had two
hundred and fifty francs in cash, and the prospect of a six hundred
dollar fellowship, payable in quarterly installments. That was all we
could count upon. Our only other asset was some correspondence sent to
the _New York Herald_ that had not been ordered, but for which we hoped
to be paid.

The Marseilles express used to arrive at Paris at an outlandish hour. It
was not yet six when we were ready to leave the Gare de Lyon. Two
porters, laden down with hand-luggage, asked where we wanted to go. We
did not know. The Paris hotels that had been our habitats in days past
were no longer possible, even temporarily. There was no mother to foot
my bills, and Herbert wasn't a bachelor with only his own room and food
to pay for. I suggested the possibility of a small hotel by the station.
The porters took us out on the Boulevard Diderot. Across the street was
a hotel (whose gilt letters, however, did not omit the invariable
adjective "grand") that looked within our means.

Once settled and breakfasted, the family council tackled the first
problem--Scrappie, gurgling on the big bed. Ever since she was born we
had been traveling, and she naturally had to be with us all the time.
Only now, after five weeks of parenthood, did the novel and amazing fact
dawn upon us that no longer could we "just go out." Scrappie was to be
considered. Without Scrappie, we could have set forth immediately upon
our search for a place to live. With Scrappie--?

There always is a _deus ex machina_. In our case it was a _dea_. Marie
still lived in Paris. The contact had never been lost, and when we went
through Paris on our honeymoon the year before, I had taken my husband
to show him off to Marie. It was decided that I should go out
immediately and find her. A month before we had written that we were
coming to Paris in June, and she would be expecting us. Marie, and Marie
alone, meant freedom of movement. I could not think of trusting my baby
to anyone else.

The address was at the tip of my tongue--22 Rue de Wattignies. A few
people know vaguely of the battle, but how many life-long Parisians know
the street? Not the _boulevardiers_ or the _faubouriens_ of
Saint-Germain, or the Americans, North and South, of the Etoile Quarter.
And yet the Rue de Wattignies is an artery of importance, copiously
inhabited. We had gone in a cab last year, and remembered that it was
somewhere beyond the Bastille. At the corner of the street beyond our
hotel, just opposite the great clock tower of the Gare de Lyon, I saw
the Bastille column not far away. Why waste money on cabs? To the right
of the Bastille lay the Rue de Wattignies, and not very far to the
right. I remembered perfectly, and started out unhesitatingly.

Oh, the Paris vistas! No other city in the world has every hill top,
every great open space, marked by a building or monument that beckons to
you at the end of boulevard or avenue. No other city in the world has
familiar dome or tower or steeple popping up over housetops in the
distance to reassure you wherever you may have wandered, that you are
not far from, and that you can always find your way to, a familiar spot.
The Eiffel Tower, the Great Wheel, the Arc de Triomphe, Sacré Coeur, the
Panthéon, Val-de-Grâce, the Invalides, the Tour St. Jacques, give you
your direction. But when you dip into Paris streets, on your way to the
goal, you are lost. Even constant reference to a map and long experience
do not save you from the deceptive encouragement of Paris vistas. You
can walk in circles almost interminably.

I had done this so often in the old days when I escaped from my
governess. I did so again when I tried to find the Rue de Wattignies.
Perhaps I did not try very hard: for one never minds wandering in
Paris. The life of the streets is a witchery that makes one forgot time
and distance and goal. When I lost sight of the Bastille column, the
labyrinth of St. Antoine streets led me on until I had crossed the canal
and found myself by the Hôpital St. Louis. After the year in the East,
and years before that in America, old houses and street markets held me
in a new world. It was a glorious June day to boot, and after steamer
and train, walking was a keen pleasure. Marital and parental
responsibilities were forgotten. The Hôpital St. Louis brought me back
to the realities of life. I knew that it was north of the Bastille, and
not in the direction of the Rue de Wattignies. Suddenly there came
uneasily into my mind the picture of a husband, a prisoner, patiently
waiting in a very small room in a very small hotel, and a baby demanding
lunch. Conscience insisted upon a cab: for nearly two hours had passed
since I started forth to find Marie. I had left the hotel early enough
to catch her before she might have gone out. What if Marie should not be
at home? "Hurry, _cocher_!"

My panic was unjustified. Marie was at home. Delighted to hear of our
arrival, and eager to see her petite Hélène's baby, she put on her funny
little black hat, and went right down to the waiting cab.

When we got to the hotel, Herbert was eating a second mid-morning petit
déjeuner. He had a copy of the Paris edition of the _New York Herald_,
and showed me, well played up in a prominent place, the last of the
Adana massacre stories he had forwarded by mail from Turkey. This was
the first time he realized that his "stuff" had been exclusive. There
was a pleasant prospect of drawing a little money. So my long absence
brought forth no remark, specially as Scrappie had slept like an angel.

"We played a wise game," said Herbert, "when we sent the stories
smuggled through Cyprus to the _Herald_. We shall not have to correspond
with New York on a slim chance of a newspaper's gratitude. We can get at
James Gordon Bennet right here in Paris." Then he showed me some
advertisements picked out in the column of _pensions_ as promising and
within our means. We had decided to consider nothing outside of the
Latin Quarter.

Marie had not changed a bit. She could not say the same for me although
she fussed over me as if I were five going on six. She forgot that
twenty years had gone since the last time she combed my hair. She
communicated to me the old sense of security. She bathed the baby. She
brought me food and sat beside me, observing that long ago she had to
coax me to take one more mouthful to please her.

"You always were fussy about your food. Ma chère petite Hélène, you
don't eat enough to keep a sparrow alive. You are a naughty one."

She insisted upon my drinking a cup of camomile tea, and took me
straight back to my sixth year by calling it _pipi du chat_. Knowing
that name for camomile tea is one of the tests of whether one really
knows French.

"Marie," I begged, "show me how English people speak French--the way you
used to do!"

But Herbert, who had gone out to get the _Daily Mail_ for its _pension_
list, was coming in the door, and Marie would not show off before
Monsieur. Never did she call me _chère petite Hélène_ when he or any
other person was present. It was always Madame before company. The
_Mail_ had many advertisements of _pensions_ in streets near the
Luxembourg. Marie helped us pick them out. The Luxembourg Garden was an
integral part of the Latin Quarter, and we had to think of Scrappie's
outing.

After lunch we turned Christine over thankfully to Marie and went out
_pension_-hunting together.

"You were lucky in finding Marie," was all Herbert said.

"Yes," I answered, "I really couldn't have left the baby with anyone
else."

"But is Marie the only person in the world? Without her, would you be a
slave for ever and ever? There must be plenty of people that we could
get to look after Scrappie."

"You don't know what it means to have a child!" said Scrappie's mother.

"I guess I look pretty healthy for a fellow who has just landed in Paris
with a wife and a baby and 250 francs!" said my husband.

"Can't make us mad," said I; "we're in Paris."

You pile up on one side of the scale heaps of things that ought to worry
you, but if you put on the other side the fact that you are in Paris,
down goes the Paris side with a sure and cheerful bang, up goes the
other side, and the worries tumble off every which way into nowhere.

The main threads of the world's spider web start very far from Paris in
all directions and the heaviest urge of traffic is towards the centre.
Paris was the centre of the spider web long before Peace Delegates came
here to discover the fact. Students, diplomats, travel-agencies,
theatrical troupes knew it and whole shelves of books have been written,
down the years, to prove it. If Paris is your birth-place, you learn
that you are in the capital of the world long before you know how to
read the books. If you are an expert on ancient coins, if you are a
wood-carver, if you are a singer wanting a voice that will make your
fortune because it was trained in France, if you are a baker, if you are
a burglar, if you are a silk merchant, if you are a professor from
Aberdeen hunting for manuscripts that will prove your thesis concerning
Pelagius, if you are an _apache_, if you are an English
nursemaid,--you'll never be lonely in Paris. No matter how isolated or
queer or misunderstood you were where you came from, in Paris you'll
find inspiration, competition, companionship, opportunity and pals. The
papers tell us every week that the birth rate is going down. But the
population of Paris is increasing. So in peace, in war and in peace
again, there was one constant quantity underpinning existence--Paris,
the centre of the spider web. The spider that lures is liberty to work
out one's ideas in one's own way in a friendly country. It is a wonder
the men who make maps in France can draw lines latitudinally and
longitudinally. What difference did it make then if we had only two
hundred and fifty francs?



CHAPTER V

THE PENSION IN THE RUE MADAME


We started our search for a temporary home at the Observatoire, and good
fortune took our footsteps down the Rue d'Assas rather than down the
Boulevard Saint-Michel. Had we turned to the right instead of to the
left, we should probably have found a _pension_ that satisfied our
requirements on the Rue Gay-Lussac, the Rue Claude Bernard, the Rue
Soufflot, or behind the Panthéon. But a short distance down the Rue
d'Assas, we turned into the Rue Madame, which held two possibilities on
our list. The first place advertised proved to be a private apartment,
whose mistress was looking for boarders for one room who would not only
pay her rent but her food and her old father's as well. We got out
quickly, and kept our hopes up for the second place. It was a small
private hotel just below the Rue de Vaugirard, with a modest sign:
_Pension de Famille_.

A beaming young woman, who told us that she was Mademoiselle Guyénot,
_propriétaire et directrice de la maison_, answered our first question
in a way that won our hearts forever. "Do I mind a baby!" she exclaimed.
"I love them. No trouble in the world. Wish the _bon dieu_ would allow
me to have one myself. If any boarder complains about babies crying in
my house, I ask them how they expect the world to keep on going.
_Parfait!_ Bring the little rabbit right along. Of course there is no
charge. Is it I who will feed her? Think of it, then!" And Mademoiselle
Guyénot opened wide her arms and lifted them Heavenward. Her eyes shone,
and she laughed.

We engaged a room on the court, two flights up, for seventy francs a
week _tout compris_, lodging, food, boots, wine. Lights would not amount
to more than a franc a week. We could give what we wanted for
attendance. The arrangement with Marie was perfect. She would stay at
home and come for the days we wanted her. That meant only her noonday
meal on our _pension_ bill--one franc-fifty.

We got out of the Boulevard Diderot hotel none too soon. The charges
were fully as much as at a first-class hotel (I have frequently since
found this to be the case in trying to economize in travel) and made a
serious dent in our nest-egg. When we reached the _pension_ with our
baby and baggage, we felt that it was only the square thing to acquaint
the new friend who loved babies with our financial situation.

"Oh! la, la," cried Mademoiselle Guyénot, "you may pay me when you
like!"

"You must understand," said my husband, "that we have just come out of
Turkey and have very little money. Of course, as soon as we get
settled, things will be all right again."

Mademoiselle received us in the _bureau_ of her pension with open arms
and lightning French. I could not get it all, but we knew she was glad
to see us. She turned around on her chair and faced us as we sat on an
old stuffed sofa surrounded by our suitcases.

"You must not worry," she exclaimed, "you must not worry _du tout, du
tout, du tout, du tout_.... If you don't pay me I'll keep the baby,
_pauvre chou_."

Mademoiselle's voice went up the scale and down again, dying away only
when she opened her mouth wider to laugh.

Mademoiselle ran the _pension_ single-handed in those days. Now she is
Madame and the mother of two little girls. Monsieur is a mechanical
genius and has himself installed many conveniences. He can paper a room,
rig up a table lamp at the head of a bed, carry in the coal, forage for
provisions with a hand-cart and a cheerful _jusqu'au boutisme_ that
stops at nothing. He is also able to make a quick change in clothes and
bobs up serenely within fifteen minutes after unloading the potatoes,
quite ready to make you a cocktail.

Mademoiselle handled her clients with cheerful firmness. She used to
marshal the forces of her house with a strong and capable hand. You
could not put one over on her then any more than you can now, as some
transients discovered to their confusion. The regulars knew better than
to try. On the other hand if your case was good and your complaint
justified, she defended you with energy. _Liberté_, _égalité_,
_fraternité_ were realities in the Rue Madame.

The clientele was French for the most part: elderly people who had got
tired of keeping house. Folks from the provinces who had come to town to
spend the winter after Monsieur retired from business. Young people,
mostly men, some of them long haired who were studying at the Sorbonne
or elsewhere. And a sprinkling of transients whose chief effect upon the
regulars was allowing them to shift about until they had possession of
the rooms they wanted to keep at a monthly rate. When we went to the
pension we were the only Americans. We paid five francs a day for room
and board like everybody else excepting the old lady who had come to the
house years ago when the rate was four francs fifty. German Hausfraus
may be marvels in management, but I defy any lady Boche to beat
Mademoiselle's efficiency. She got all the work of kitchen and
dining-room done, and well done too, by Victorine the tireless, Louis
the juggler and François the obsequious. Guillaume and Yvonne, a working
menage, looked after the rooms until they got a swell job at the Ritz
Hotel, where tips would count. The other three were fixtures.

In spirit the Rue Madame _pension_ has not changed. The atmosphere
to-day is as it was in nineteen hundred and nine. The table is good,
plentiful, appetizing--and, oh, what a variety of meats and vegetables!
The potatoes are never served in the same way twice in a week, and
Madame Primel, as Mademoiselle is now called, cooks as many different
_plats de jour_ as her number in the street, which is forty-four. There
the reader has my secret! But five francs a day no longer holds. In
nineteen hundred and nineteen five francs will barely pay for a single
meal. Not only has the price of food more than doubled, but the traveler
is beginning to demand comforts that cost. We used to have buckets of
coal brought up, and make a cheerful fire. We used to grope in the dark
when we came home, strike a match, and look for our candle on the hall
table. We used to have a lamp--the best light in the world--in our room.
But now the _pension_ in the Rue Madame has yielded to the demands of a
discontented world. Steam heat, electric lights--these have had their
part in making five francs a day disappear forever. The five franc
_pension_ exists only in the memory of Paris lovers, or in story books
like mine.

At our table were Mrs. Reilly, a sprightly Irish woman called by the
pensionnaires Madame Reely; Monsieur Mazeron, a law student with an
ascetic blond face and hair like a duckling; an elderly couple from
Normandy who had adopted Madame Reely, swallowed her at one gulp of
perfection, only to discover afterwards that they did not understand
her; a Polish doctor and his wife from Warsaw; and others. Madame Reely
made a pretty speech the first night at dinner, proposing that our table
volunteer to help us take care of the baby.

"To-morrow is the Fête Dieu," said she. "I'll go to the early mass so
that I can come back and stay with the baby while you two go to the
later mass. You will see the priests in their robes of ceremony, the
Holy Relics, and a thousand children in the procession. It is too
lovely,--all those little things with their baskets of flowers, throwing
petals in the path of the priests. Who can tell," she went on in a
whispered aside to her neighbor, "it may impress them. One never knows
when new converts are to be added to the blessed Church!"

"And I shall look at the baby," said the Doctor from Warsaw. "Children
are my specialty. That is why I am here, observing in the clinics of
Paris, you see. I shall come to your room to-morrow after breakfast.
Being an American mother, I suppose you give your baby orange juice?"

"Certainly I give her orange juice," said I; "it is good for her."

"_Au contraire! au contraire!_" cried the Doctor, waving his hands. The
Doctor was always "au contraire" no matter what was said and who said
it. Polish character.

In a corner was a tiny table for one. It was for the starboarder, a
young Roumanian, who wore a purple tie held together by a large amethyst
ring. Possibly he wore it because he believed in the ancient legend
about amethysts being good to prevent intoxication. When we entered upon
the scene he was still in high favor. His downfall came later and had to
do with a wide-awake concierge and a luckless kiss at the front door.

The food we had was the kind we used to have in Paris when many visitors
came here with no better excuse than to enjoy the _cuisine_.
Mademoiselle gave us two meat dishes for each meal. If you did not like
calves' liver, Louis would do a trick that landed a steaming plate of
crisp fried eggs (fried in butter, you remember) before you. And that
without being told. Behind the scenes was Victorine.

Victorine invited me into her kitchen to learn how to make _sauce
piquante_.

"Are you married, Victorine?" I queried.

"My cookstove is my husband," she laughed; "his heart is good and warm
and he never leaves me."

During meals Mademoiselle was to be found in the kitchen. She did the
carving herself and tasted everything before it was passed through a
window to Louis.

There was no felt covering under the table-cloth. The serving of the
meal competed with piping, high-pitched, excited voices. Perhaps I
oughtn't to say excited, but the Frenchman in his most ordinary matter
of fact conversation sounds excited to the Anglo-Saxon. He asks you to
pass the bread in the same tone you would use in announcing an event of
moment. At each place was a glass knife-and-fork rest. In France, unless
the first dish happens to be fish, you keep the same knife and fork.
This is the custom in the best of homes. We are prodigal of cutlery
where the French are prodigal of plates. The same knife and fork didn't
matter, because the food was so good. Nor does it matter to-day, because
now there is only one meat dish. Times have changed.

If fruit or pudding ran out, Mademoiselle opened a section of the wall,
finding the key on a bunch that was suspended from her belt on a piece
of faded black tape. From the cupboard she took tiny glasses filled with
confiture or perhaps a paste made of mashed chestnuts and flour slightly
sweetened. The glasses, to the touch, were cylindrical, but when you had
broken the paper pasted across the top and had eaten half way down, the
space was no wider than the fat part of your tea spoon. If your glass
was a cylinder outside, on the inside it was an inverted cone.

The quantities of bread consumed in that house would be appalling to
anybody but a Frenchman. A Turk can live on bread and olives. But a
Frenchman can live on bread alone. If he had to choose between bread and
wine he would forget the wine. When the basket was passed around, the
_pensionnaires_, with a delightful absence of self-consciousness, would
cast their eye over it in order to select the biggest piece. There was
always one person who would look around the room furtively, take the
biggest piece on the plate, slip the second biggest piece into the lap
under the serviette, and then, gazing far away in ostrich fashion, glide
the bread into pocket or reticule. If the dessert happened to be fruit,
an orange or an apple would follow the bread for private consumption
later in the day. Perhaps these people came in for luncheon only and the
bread and fruit was devoured at twilight at some little café where it is
permitted to customers to bring their own supplies, if they buy a drink.
This stretching of luncheon procured the evening meal. If necessity is
the mother of invention, the students of Paris are necessity's
grandmother.

Louis, the arch-juggler, was forced by public opinion to alternate day
by day his point of departure when passing the steaming _plat du jour_.
_Egalité_, you remember, is one-third of French philosophy. It would
never do for the same end of the dining-room to enjoy for two days
running the little privilege of having the first pick at the best piece
of meat in the plate.

François helped in the dining-room. But he was everywhere else too. He
was useful for Louis to swear at and to blame. He was bell-hop,
scullery-boy, errand-man, who needed all of his amazing reserves of
cheerfulness. I wondered when François slept. He was on hand with his
grin and his _oui, madame_, early and late. Once when we slid out of the
house at five in the morning to go on an excursion, we found him in the
lower hall surrounded by the boots of the house. Back of his ear was a
piece of chalk used for marking the number of the room on the soles of
the boots. He was polishing away, moving his arm back and forth with a
diminutive imitation of the swing his legs had to accomplish when his
brush-clad feet were polishing the waxed floors. As a concession to the
early hour, he was whistling softly instead of singing. The whistling of
François fascinated everyone because it came through a tongue folded
funnel-wise and placed in the aperture where a front tooth was missing.
And we would often find him up and about when we came home late at
night. It was a pleasant surprise, when, after calling out your name,
you made ready to walk back to the candlestick table, hands stretched
out before you, to have François suddenly appear with a light. He would
hold out over the table his little hand lamp with the flourish a Gascon
alone can make. You picked out your candlestick by the number of your
room cut in its shining surface. The number had an old-fashioned swing
to its curve, suggesting that the solid bit of brass might have been dug
up from the garden of some moss-grown hostelry after a passage of the
Huns.

Mademoiselle Guyénot insisted that the flagged pavement be washed every
day. François used to fill with water a tin can in the bottom of which
he had punched half a dozen holes. He swung it about the court until
figure eight shaped sprinkle-tracks lay all over the twelve-by-twenty
garden. Afterwards he would take a short-handled broom, bend himself
over like a hairpin, and sweep up the flag-stones. The dirt he
accumulated was made into a neat newspaper package and set aside to wait
until early to-morrow morning when it was put out on the street in the
garbage-pail. François' thin high voice sang incessantly and sounded for
all the world like the piping of a Kurdish shepherd above the timber
line in the Taurus Mountains. In those days woe betide you if you put
trash or garbage on a Paris street later than 8 A. M. It was as unseemly
an act as shaking carpets out of your window after the regulation hour.
Now, even if you are a late and leisurely bank clerk or fashionable
milliner and you don't have to show up at work before 10 o'clock, you
will see garbage-pails along curb-stones and likely as not get a dust
shower furious enough to make you wish you hadn't left your umbrella at
home. The old days--will they come back?

When the band plays soft Eliza-crossing-the-ice music, my mind flies to
several Home-Sweet-Homes. I think of Tarsus, Constantinople, Oxford and
Princeton. But there is no twinge of homesickness. Paris and my present
home there satisfy every want and longing. Among the homes of the past,
however, I think of others in Paris as well as of those of other places.
I never forget the _pension_ in the Rue Madame. Thankfully it is still a
reality. During the past decade it has housed our mothers and sisters
and cousins and friends. We have gone there to see them. And we go there
to see our first warm friend in Paris and her husband and children. From
time to time we have a meal in the old dining-room. We hope the
_pension_ will not disappear or will not be converted into too grand a
hotel. For us it is a Paris landmark.



CHAPTER VI

LARES AND PENATES IN THE RUE SERVANDONI


We spent the first anniversary of our wedding in Egypt. A week later we
arrived in Paris. For prospective residents as well as for tourists,
June is the best time of the year to reach Paris. You have good weather
and long days, both essentials of successful home-hunting. It is an
invariable rule in Paris to divide the year in quarters, beginning with
the fifteenth of January, April, July and October. Whether you are
looking for a modest _logement_ on a three months' lease or a _grand
appartement-confort moderne_--on a three years' lease, the dates of
entry are the same. One rarely breaks in between terms. If you have
passed one period, you must wait for the next _trimestre_. The person
who is leaving the apartment you rent might be perfectly willing to
accommodate you, but he has to wait to get into his new place. So when
we went to the _pension_, we had before us the best home-hunting weeks
of the year, with the expectation of being able to get settled somewhere
on July 15th.

At the _pension_, our room faced on the court, and the _personnel_, from
Mademoiselle Guyénot down to Victorine and François, assured us that we
need not feel bound to stay at home on the days Marie could not come to
us. Marie for years had been sewing four different days of the week for
old _patrons_, and we did not feel certain enough of our own plans and
purse to accept the responsibility of her giving up a sure thing.

"Go out all you want to," urged our friends. "You only have to think
about meal times for the baby. Someone is always in the court sewing or
sorting the laundry or preparing vegetables. Your window is open. We
cannot fail to hear the baby."

But a chorus of _bien sûr_ and _parfaitement_ and _soyez tranquille_ did
not reassure what was as new born as Christine herself--the maternal
instinct. A letter from Herbert's father solved the problem. He inclosed
the money for a baby carriage. We carried Scrappie down the Boulevard
Raspail to the little square in front of the Bon Marché. I kept her on a
bench while Herbert went in to follow my directions as well as he could.
In a few minutes he came out and said he would rather take care of the
baby. It was the first time I had seen him stumped. So I had the joy I
had hoped would be mine all along but of which I did not want to deprive
my husband, seeing that we could not share it. The reader may ask why we
didn't take the baby inside. But it will not be a young mother who puts
that question! With one's firstborn, one sees contagion stalking in
every place where crowds gather indoors.[B]

[B] The critic would have me insert a modification here. Why confine the
fear of the young mother to _indoors_? The critic insists that I used to
be afraid of taking Scrappie into any sort of a crowd, and that my
supersensitive ear translated the bark of every kiddie with a cold into
whooping cough, while I saw measles in mosquito bites on children's
faces.

[Illustration: The Rue de Vaugirard by the Luxembourg]

We did not intend to consider a home that was not within baby-carriage
distance of the Rue Madame. In fact, after a few days in the Luxembourg
Quarter, we were determined to live as near the Garden as possible.
There we were within walking distance of the Bibliothèque Nationale and
the Sorbonne and the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques. Marie, whom
the fact that I was my Mother's daughter did not blind to the extent of
the Gibbons family resources, urged the Bois de Vincennes. But we would
not hear of it.

It is strange how rich and poor rub elbows with each other in their
homes. Paris is no different from American cities in this respect. The
kind of an apartment we _wanted_ would cost more than our total income,
as rents around the Luxembourg for places equipped with electric lights
and bathtubs and central heating seemed to be as expensive as around the
Etoile. Then in the same street--sometimes next door--you had the other
extreme. Our finances pointed to a _logement_ in a workingmen's
tenement. Care for Scrappie's health made our hearts sink every time we
were shown a place that seemed within our means.

Of course there were reasonable places: for many others who demanded
cleanliness had no more money than we. But the Latin and Montparnasse
Quarters are the Mecca of slim-pursed foreigners. People foolish enough
to study or sing or paint are almost invariably poor. Perhaps that is
the reason! We had lots of exercise, and came to know every street
between the Luxembourg and the Seine. Our good fortune arrived
unexpectedly as good fortune always arrives to those who will not be
side-tracked.

Between the Rue Vaugirard and Saint-Sulpice are three tiny streets, the
houses on the opposite sides of which almost rub cornices. The Rue Férou
is opposite the Musée de Luxembourg. On the Rue de Vaugirard is the home
of Massenet. We used to get a glimpse of him occasionally on his
_terrasse_--a sort of roof-garden with a vine-covered lattice on top of
the low Rue Férou wing of his house. The other two streets paralleling
the Rue Férou from the Palais du Luxembourg to the Eglise Saint-Sulpice
are the Rue Servandoni and the Rue Garancière.

On the morning of the Fourth of July we had been diving in and out the
side streets of the Rue Bonaparte and the Boulevard Saint-Germain. At
Scrappie's meal time, we came to a bench in the Square in front of
Saint-Sulpice. It wasn't a bit like a holiday. It was sultry and looked
like rain. We were wondering whether we had better not hurry back to the
_pension_ for fear of getting the baby wet. Just then people began to
stop and look up. A huge balloon was above us. And it carried the
American flag.

"You can't beat it," said my husband. "And we are Americans. Ergo, you
can't beat us!"

Did the sight of the flag do the trick? Anyway, it was our Japanese
"last quarter of an hour." We had come down through the Rue Férou. We
went back for the twentieth time in twenty days through the Rue
Servandoni. Grey houses, topped with beehive chimneys, leaned amicably
against each other and broke the sky line as well as the municipal
_réglement_ (made long after they were) concerning the distance between
houses on opposite sides of streets. Our hearts nearly stopped beating
when we reached Number 21. There was the magic sign (it had not been
there yesterday): _Appartement à Louer_. We stopped short in the middle
of the street. The side-walks are not wide enough to walk on, much less
wheel a baby-carriage along. The grocer on the ground floor saw us take
the bait. Out he came. Did Monsieur and Madame care to see the
_appartement_? If so, he was concierge as well as grocer. He would show
us the place. We drew the new baby-carriage into the dark vestibule and
went up one easy flight of oak balustraded stairs. The grocer pulled a
red-braided bell rope.

A man in shirt-sleeves opened the door. We stepped into a tiny
dining-room where the gas was lit although it was noon. The wall-paper
was yellow, and had sprawling brown figures like beetles. A dark passage
led into an immense room with a generous fireplace. Two windows opened
on the Rue Servandoni. It was a paper-hanger's shop with ladders,
brushes, buckets, rolls and rolls of paper and barrels of flour-paste
around. But the fellow in shirt-sleeves assured us that when his
fittings were out, we would realize what a handsome room it was. "The
dining-room is dark," he admitted, "but you can't match this room for
light and size in any two-room apartment in the Quarter. I know them
all. I am leaving because I have found a ground floor shop. I'll put new
paper on here very cheap."

The _locataire_ assumed that we would take it. So did the
grocer-concierge. Without our asking, Monsieur Sempé told us that the
rent would be one hundred and fifty francs a quarter. We did not have to
make a troublesome lease, just a little agreement involving three
months' notification on either side.

"Don't forget," said Sempé, "that this old house sits between two modern
apartment buildings. The walls are warm. Your neighbors have steam
heat."

"True," confirmed the paper-hanger. But he did not want us to think that
we could be altogether vicariously heated. "Possibly you may not have
noticed," he added, "the fireplace in the dining-room. It heats almost
as well as this one. I'll sell you my grates. _Boulets_ make the best
fire."

The thrill of admiration I had for my husband's magnificent courage when
he signed the paper, and paid out fifty of his last hundred francs "on
account" is with me still.

"We are sure to be able to pay our rent," said he, as we went back to
the _pension_. "We couldn't expect to get anything for less than ten
dollars a month. The first installment of the fellowship money will come
next week, and before then I shall certainly get something out of the
_Herald_. It will have to be enough to buy our furniture."

It never rains but it pours. At the _pension_ we found a letter from Mr.
James Gordon Bennett, asking Herbert to call that afternoon at three
o'clock at 104 Avenue des Champs-Elysées. It was in a blue envelope with
a little owl embossed on the flap, and was signed "J. G. BENNETT" in
blue pencil almost the color of the paper. How often we were to see this
envelope and this signature, and what luck it was going to bring us! We
thought the occasion demanded a celebration. I did Scrappie and myself
up in our best, and we set forth for the Champs-Elysées in an open
_fiacre_--our first ride since we came from the Boulevard Diderot to the
Rue Madame. We waited in the carriage while Herbert went in to collect
his money for the Adana massacre stories.

I watched the door of the big apartment house anxiously. Our furniture
and the rest of the rent for the apartment depended upon the success of
the visit. Half an hour later Herbert's face told me that all was well.
He had sent in a bill of four hundred dollars, and fifty dollars
expenses. Mr. Bennett, he told me, began by scolding him for not making
it in francs, and then gave him a check for twenty-five hundred francs,
which more than covered what Herbert asked for. The Commodore then
offered Herbert a position at five hundred francs a week, and was
surprised when it was declined. He seemed much amused when Herbert
explained that he had come to Paris to study. "But you will go on
special trips in an emergency," said Mr. Bennett. It is enough to say
that the "emergencies" occurred often enough to tide over many a
financial difficulty during years that followed.

Provided with funds after passing by the bank, we took Christine to
Rumpelmayer's to tea, and then drove back the Rue Servandoni to pay the
rest of our rent. When Monsieur Sempé gave us the _quittance_, he
admonished us that we must put enough furniture in the apartment to
cover six months' rent, that is to say, we must be prepared to spend at
least sixty dollars to set up our Lares and Penates. Bubbling over with
good will, Monsieur Sempé and Madame Sempé (who appeared on the scene
the moment it was a question of a receipt for our money) gave us
splendid advice about furniture-buying. They urged us to go to the Rue
de Rennes to some good-sized place where we would see second-hand
furniture on the side-walk, and not to a small _brocanteur_ or dealer in
antiques.

The amount ticked up on the fiacre's taximetre was larger than we had
dreamed we should ever spend gadding about Paris. A few hours before it
would have worried us. We knew this could not keep up--in spite of the
crisp hundred franc notes. Wealth brings a strange sense of prudence. We
drove back to the _pension_, dismissed our _cocher_, and pushed the
baby-carriage around to the Rue de Rennes.

MOBILIERS COMPLETS PAR MILLIERS. "Household furniture sets by the
thousand." That sign read promisingly. We entered, and found a
salesman--excuse me, the proprietor and salesman and cashier--who took
in my clothes and hat, and then assured us that he did not mind the baby
crying and could fit us up in anything from Louis Quatorze to the First
Empire, real or (this as a feeler) imitation. _Salle à manger_ from
eight hundred francs to four thousand; _chambre à coucher_ from four
hundred francs to two thousand six hundred; _salon_ from one thousand
francs to six thousand; splendid _garnitures_ (which means clocks and
candlesticks or vases) of all epochs for our _cheminées_; hatracks for
the hall; kitchen and servants' furniture--all, everything, anything we
needed.

I knew what was in Herbert's reproachful look. He always did
ungraciously blame my mother for the fact that he had so frequently to
counteract my trousseau by embarrassed words. Mostly I let him stumble
along. But as this was his day and as I hadn't taken off the pretty
things worn in honor of the visit to the Champs-Elysées, which was a
break on my part, I thought it was up to me to let the furniture man see
how things stood.

"We have a little apartment," I said, "bedroom and living-room combined,
a very small dining-room and a kitchen. I expect to buy the baby's crib
and mattress aside, but the rest must come out of five hundred francs--I
mean all of it. What can you give us for that?"

I often think the French are essentially poor salesmen. They do not know
how to show their goods and they are too indifferent or too anxious. But
the blessed virtue of chivalry! The blessed sense of proportion! The
blessed instinct of moderation! Our furniture man rose to the occasion
with a grace that made me want to hug him. He kept his smile and bow and
changed with perfect ease from Louis and Napoleons to pitchpine. It
would require figuring. But it could be done. Yes, of course it could be
done. Down into the cellar he took us, and in half an hour he had
arranged to give us all we needed for Francs 532.70. I remember those
figures. And he agreed to take the whole lot back at half-price at the
end of a year!

The furniture man bore a striking resemblance to some one I knew. I
watched him, and tried to place him, as he made out our bill in the
office--seven square feet of glassed-in suffocation surrounded by
_armoires_ and buffets. Dust clung to pages and blotters and yellowing
files; no air ever came in here to blow it away. Where had I seen the
double of our friend? Full forehead, closely-trimmed, pointed beard,
soft black tie--and the eyes. Where _had_ I seen him before? Writing
with flourishes in purple ink, slightly bending over the high desk, he
certainly fitted into some memory picture. Then it came to me! His pen
ought to be a quill. It was William Shakespeare.

"Will-_yum_ Shakespeare!" I cried.

My husband did not think I was crazy. For he was looking at the
furniture man when I made my involuntary exclamation.

"What does Madame say? Is she not content?" asked William Shakespeare.
Herbert's hand shot out behind his back and grasped mine. "Shades of
Stratford-on-Avon," he murmured. We had passed a honeymoon day there
just a year ago.

It was hard to wait until July 15, and then two days longer for the
necessary cleaning by a _femme de ménage_ hired for us by the Sempés.
July 17th was the magical day of our first housekeeping. Never before
had we been together in a place where everything was ours. Tables and
chairs and beds and mattresses, and even the piano rented at ten francs
a month, arrived at Twenty-One on hand-carts drawn by men who pulled
only a little harder against the greasy harness that bound them to their
job than did the dogs under the carts.

Turkish women say that if you must move, abandon the furniture and
dishes; they can be had anywhere. But take with you the rugs and brass
that you love, and you have your home. During the previous winter in
Tarsus, we managed to buy several good rugs, a cradle-shawl, some
candlesticks and Damascus beaten-brass trays out of our eight-hundred
dollar salary. Don't ask me now how we did it. In retrospect it is a
mystery. But we had these things in two big boxes. They were as butter
is to bread with our pitch-pine. No, I'm not going to belittle that
pitch-pine. Years of usage had modified its yellowness, and it took to
our rubbing with a marvelous furniture polish. The floors could have
been better. The wood was hard, however, and we got some sort of a wax
shine on them. The Shakespeare furniture plus rugs and brasses--and
candle light--made a home than which we have never since had better.
Never mind if the dining-room was dark. Never mind if we had to sleep in
our study, and study in our bedroom. Never mind if Scrappie's nursery
was the _salon_, _cabinet de travail_ and _chambre à coucher_ combined.
Never mind if we were compelled to take our baths at the foot of our bed
in a tin basin. It was Paris, our dream city.

We were fully installed by six o'clock. The _femme de ménage_
volunteered to stay with Christine while we went out for supper. Before
finding a restaurant, we climbed the north tower of Saint-Sulpice.
Between us and the mass of verdure that marked the Jardin du Luxembourg
was our home. Up there near heaven, with the city at our feet, we danced
the Merry Widow Waltz, for sheer joy that we had a home of our own in
Paris.



CHAPTER VII

GOLD IN THE CHIMNEY


How can two young people, with a baby and three hundred dollars in cash,
able to count upon a one-year fellowship yielding six hundred dollars,
live a year in Paris? The answer to that question is that it cannot be
done. But we were not in the position to answer it that way. We were in
Paris, and we had the baby. Pride and ambition are factors that refuse
to be overruled by the remorseless logic of figures. If you put a
proposition down on paper, you can prove that almost anything you want
to do is impossible. Successful undertakings are never the result of
logical thinking. Herbert and I would not have had a wedding at all if
we had thought the matter out and had considered the financial side of
life.

Herbert was keeping, however, some prejudices and some prudent reserves,
remembering his father's caution that life has a financial basis.
Sitting there on the packing-case we had picked out for a coal-box in
our study-bedroom, he hauled out an account-book and was fussing over a
missing franc. Our first year was one of constant change of scene, and
we had not "kept house." Now, declared my husband, was the time to turn
over a new leaf. If we knew where and how our money went, financing the
proposition would be easier. With tears in my eyes and biting a pencil
with trembling lips, I rebelled. I could not get interested in that
missing franc.

"I want you to realize now, once for all, that I'm not going to keep
this old cash account. I don't believe in worrying about money. I'm not
going to worry about money and neither are you. There are only three
financial questions: (1) how much money is there? (2) how long is it
going to last? (3) what are we going to do when it's all gone? Two
follows one, and three follows two--one, two, three--just like that!"

I was laughing now, and raised three fingers successively under my
boss's nose.

"As long as we are in one, we are not in two; and when we are in two, we
have not reached three. Let us wait for three until we are in three, or
at least until we know we are about to leave two."

After paying a quarter's rent, the bill for the furniture and cleaning
up sundry little expenses, we had left fifteen hundred francs of the
Gordon Bennett capital. A thousand francs was deposited with Morgan,
Harjes and Company. The other five hundred, in twenty-franc gold-pieces,
the bank gave us in a shiny little pink pasteboard box. Our chimney had
a big hole in the plaster. The wall paper was torn but intact. An ideal
hiding-place. I put the box in the hole and smoothed down the paper.

"This hole is our bank," I announced. "We shall keep no account, and you
and I will take the gold boys when we need them."

Herbert saw a great light. From that moment to this day we have been
free from a useless drudgery and have been able to conserve our energy
for our work. Herbert said, "Agreed! And when the pile gets low, I'll be
like the little boy the old man saw digging."

"What was the little boy digging for?" I chuckled.

"Ground-hogs," answered my husband. "An old man came along and told him
he would never catch a gopher like that, for they could dig quicker than
folks. 'Can't get him?' said the boy. 'Got to get him, the family's out
of meat.'"

Now that the financial credo of the home-makers in the Rue Servandoni is
set forth, I shall not have to talk any more about how we got our money
and how much there was of it. But I had to take my readers into my
confidence, for I did not want them to labor under the misapprehension
that persisted among our neighbors of the Rue Servandoni throughout our
year there. They took it for granted that _les petits américains_ were
living at Twenty-One because that sort of fun appealed to us. We were
just queer. Of course we had plenty of money, and could have lived at
Nineteen or Twenty-Three if we had wanted to! The Parisian, the
Frenchman, the European, of whatever social class, believes that America
is El Dorado and that every American is able to draw at will from
inexhaustible transatlantic gold-mines. During the war the Red Cross,
the Y.M.C.A., and the officers and men of the A.E.F. confirmed and
strengthened this traditional belief. I do not blame my compatriots for
what is a universal attitude among us towards money. On the contrary, my
long years of residence abroad have made me feel that we get more out of
life by looking upon money as our servant than Europeans do, who look
upon it as their master.

The first thing--the practical and imperative thing--when you set up a
home in Paris is to make friends with the concierge. Without his
approval and cooperation, your money, your position, your brains will
not help you in making living conditions easy. The concierge stands
between you and servants, tradespeople, visitors. You are at his mercy.
Traveling in Russia, they used to say to us: lose your pocket-book or
your head, but hold on to your passport. In Paris, dismiss your prize
servant or fall out with your best friend, but hold on to the good-will
of the concierge.

Our first skirmish with the Sempés was an easy victory. We could not
keep the baby-carriage in our apartment, even if we had been willing to
haul it up and down a flight of stairs. Boldly we announced that we
wanted to leave it in the lower hall. "Of course," agreed Monsieur
Sempé. "I was just going to suggest that and to tell you that in my shop
I carry everything, fruits and vegetables as well as dry-groceries."

We took the hint, and seldom went farther afield to do our marketing.
Madame Sempé was the first to call us _les petits américains_. She was
capable and kindly, and our friendship became firmly rooted when she
discovered that we intended to patronize her shop. The Sempé commodities
were good. This was lucky in more ways than one. For the mice knew it
too, and never came upstairs to bother us.

Sempé himself was a genial soul, partly because he always kept a bottle
uncorked. Hard work and temperament, he explained, made him require a
stimulant. He took just enough, you understand, to affect his
disposition pleasantly. If you had a little complaint to make or a favor
to ask, much as you deplored his thirst, you found yourself casting an
eye over the man to make sure of his mood before you spoke. If you
caught him when the bottle was not too full or too empty, he could fix a
lock or put a new mantle on the dining-room gas-jet most graciously.

Our friendship became undying when Monsieur found out that we were the
solution of his financial pinches. He came up one night, and, hooking
his thumbs in his purple suspenders, asked for a loan of "_shong
shanquante francs shusqua sheudi_." _Jeudi_ never came. To Sempé's
intense relief, we agreed to take out the debt in groceries. This was
the beginning of a sort of gentlemen's agreement. A paper, thumb-tacked
to a shelf in the shop, kept the record of our transactions. When I came
to make purchases in the morning or when Herbert dropped in of an
evening to buy a supplement to our dinner for unexpected guests or our
own good appetites, we could see at a glance whether to pay cash for
what we bought or whether we should do a sum in subtraction. It was
generally subtraction, and Sempé, wagging his head, would say, "This
goes well--soon I shall be square with you." But the satisfaction of
being square with the world was never Sempé's for long. The arrival of a
barrel of wine or a load of potatoes would send him running up the
stairs for the money to help finance his business. In spite of our
slender resources we did not feel this to be a hardship. Not
infrequently it was an advantage. First of all things one has to eat. We
always began to get our money back immediately in the necessities of
life. Instead of having our money out in an uncertain loan we took the
attitude that our board was paid for two or three weeks in advance.

In another connection, we had the benefit of the advantageous side of
the Golden Rule.

In our study of Turkish history we had constant use of Von Hammer's
_Histoire de l'Empire Ottoman_. This meant much transcribing by
long-hand at the Bibliothèque Nationale where the typewriter could not
be used. If only we had Von Hammer at home! But it was a rare
book--eighteen volumes and an atlas--far beyond our means. One day we
were browsing at Welter's, the most wonderful bookshop in Paris, on the
Rue Bernard-Palissy off the Rue de Rennes near Saint-Germain-des-Près.
Monsieur Welter, who took pains to become acquainted with and discover
the specialty of every passing _client_, told us that he had a set of
Von Hammer, recently purchased at a London auction. He sent a boy to
bring it out. Oh how tempting it looked, beautifully bound in calf! We
handled it fondly, but turned regretfully away when he said that the
price was two hundred francs.

"Do you not want it?" asked Monsieur Welter, astonished. "It is
indispensable for your work and you do not get a chance often to
purchase a set of Von Hammer. Never will you find it cheaper than this."

"I do want it, and it isn't the price. I'll come back later, hoping you
will not have sold it."

We each had a volume in our hands. I poked my nose between the pages of
mine to sniff the delightful odor to be found only in old books.
Monsieur looked at us, smiled, and said, "You mean that you haven't the
money. You will have it some day. No hurry. Give me your address and the
books will be sent around this afternoon."

The delightful relationship thus began lasted until August, 1914, when
Welter (who never became naturalized although his sons were in the
French army) had to flee to escape internment. His business was
sequestrated. German though he was, we never cease to mourn the only
expert bookman in Paris. We have tried a dozen since, some of them
charming men, but none with the slightest idea of how to sell books.
Welter had book-buyers all over the world. Whenever he came across rare
books in your line, he mailed them to you with the bill. If you did not
want them, you sent them back. Every three months, a statement of the
quarter's purchases came, and you sent a check when you had the money.
One's attention was brought to many valuable sources, and one was able
to buy books of immense value, the possibility of whose acquisition one
had never dreamed of.

Monsieur Welter told me years later, when I recalled the Von Hammer
incident, that he didn't lose five hundred francs a year in bad bills.
"The dealer in old books who does not give all the credit the buyers
need is crazy," he said. "What man interested in the things I deal in
would think of cheating me? Your husband wanted Von Hammer. I saw that.
Any man who wanted Von Hammer would pay for it in time."

We had never had a French book-seller offer us credit, much less send
books on approval when we had not ordered them.

When I think of the hundreds and hundreds of books we bought from
Welter, I realize one of the secrets of the inferiority of the French to
the Germans in business. The French cannot bring themselves to give
credit: they have an innate fear of being cheated, and understand
commercial transactions only in terms of cash. For years I have made a
point of watching French shopkeepers. Invariably they arrange that the
money is in their hands before they give you your package.

The other night I went to the Champs-Elysées theatre to see a show given
by American soldiers of the 88th Division. One act opens with Hiram
Scarum bringing a military trunk into his hotel. Staggering under the
weight, Hiram hobbles across the stage, plants his trunk on the floor,
and sits down on it to mop his brow. He spies a paper across the room,
and investigates to find it is the tag belonging to the trunk. Pulling
himself together, Hiram spits on his hands, wearily shoulders the burden
again, and carries it across the room where he ties the tag to the
handle of the trunk. Then he picks up the trunk and carries it back
where he had first put it down. Hiram is like French commerce. The
Frenchman, with a sense of self-congratulation on his own industry,
carries the trunk to the tag. He is surprised to discover that while he
has been carrying the trunk to the tag, his German competitor has
carried a great many tags and has tied them to a great many trunks. We
hear much in these days about the war after the war. We are told by
Paris newspapers how the French business men are going to capture trade
from Germany. How can the French win in the commercial game? I'm sure I
don't know. One is concerned lest the inability to take the large view
end in disappointment and disaster for the Frenchmen we love. We are
just as sure that our French friends will continue to carry the trunk to
the tag as we are that they ought to get a hustle on, give up their old
ways, and win the game.



CHAPTER VIII

AT THE BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE


There are many libraries in Paris. Some of them are so famous that I
ought to hesitate to call the Bibliothèque Nationale simply "the
library." But I do call it that, not because it is the largest in the
world (a fact that calls forth instinctively admiration and respect from
Americans), but because we love the Bibliothèque from long and habitual
association. It is a part of our life like our home.

In the beginning of the fellowship year, Herbert came to realize that
books could do more for him than lecturers. A magnetic and enthusiastic
lecturer communicates his inspiration: but most professors are decidedly
non-conductors. And then, with rare exceptions, university professors
are not sources themselves. What they do is to stand between you and the
sources. When they have something original and suggestive to say, why
not let them speak to you from the covers of a book? If a book does not
hold you, you can throw it aside and take up another: the lecturer has
you fast for an hour, and you often suffer because his baby did not
sleep well the night before. But when the professor speaks from the
printed page, he has had a chance to eliminate in his final revision
whatever effects of insomnia there may have been in the first draft. If
he hasn't done so, you do not need to read him.

When students become full fledged post-graduates, they are at the
parting of the ways. Either they go directly to the sources, form
independent judgments, and produce original work as a result of
constructive thinking, or they continue to remain in intellectual
dependence upon their teachers. The latter alternative is the more
pleasant course. It requires less effort, and does not make one restless
and unhappy. The pleasant days of taking in are prolonged and the
agonizing days of giving out are postponed. But if a youngster is face
to face with books all day long every day, he either stops studying or
commences to produce for himself. Then, too, he is constantly under the
salutory influence of being confronted with his own appalling ignorance.
Whatever effort he makes, the volumes he summons from the shelves to his
desk keep reminding him that others have given years to what he hopes to
compass in days. The Bibliothèque teaches two lessons, and teaches them
with every tick of the clock from nine a. m. to four p. m.--humility and
industry.

There was, of course, much to be learned at the Sorbonne. But my husband
had already passed through three years of post-graduate work, and was
tired of chasing around from one lecture to another. There were hours
between courses that could not be utilized, and the habit of loafing is
the easiest formed in the world. It was because we were jealous of every
hour in the Golden Year that Herbert and I first turned from the
Sorbonne to the Bibliothèque. Later we came to realize that the only
thing in common between Salles de Conférences of the Sorbonne and the
Salle de Lecture of the Bibliothèque was the lack of fresh air--the
universal and unavoidable torture of indoors everywhere in France.

Nine to four, five days in the week, Herbert lived in the Bibliothèque,
and I went there mornings--when Scrappie was not on my conscience! One
did not have to go out to lunch, as the fare of the _buvette_ was quite
acceptable to those interested in books and manuscripts. The old law of
the time of Louis XIV holds good in this day. No light but that of
heaven has ever been introduced into the Bibliothèque. After gas was
discovered, the law was not changed. Even when electricity came,
presenting an infinitesimal risk of fire, the Government refused to have
the vast building wired. The prohibition of lights extends, of course,
to smoking. You cannot strike a match in the sacred precincts. So, after
lunch we used to go across the street and sit for half an hour in the
Square Louvois.

[Illustration: Château de la Reine Blanche: Rue des Gobelins]

Do you know the Square Louvois? I'll wager you do not. For when one
passes afoot up the Rue Richelieu, he is generally in a hurry to get to
the Bourse or the Grands Boulevards. If you go on the Clichy-Odéon
bus, you whizz by one of the most delightful little green spots in the
city of green spots without noticing it. The Square Louvois has on the
side opposite the Bibliothèque Nationale a good-sized hotel, which was
named after the square. The boundary streets on the north and south are
lined with modest restaurants and coffee bars, within the purse of
_petits commis_ and _midinettes_. In Europe there is not the hurry over
the mid-day meal that seems universal in America. Dyspepsia is unknown.
The humblest employee or laborer has from one hour and a half to two
hours off at noon. There is competition for benches and chairs in the
Square Louvois between twelve-thirty and two. Mothers who are their own
nursemaids have to resist the temporary encroachment of the Quarter's
business world. We from the Bibliothèque make an additional demand. We
must have our smoke and fresh air. And we never tire of the noble
monument to the rivers of France that is the fountain in the center of
the Square.

"Funny, isn't it," said I, "how things turn out to be different from
what you expected--your thesis for instance. Gallicanism is simply a
closed door for the present."

"I tackled too big a subject," admitted Herbert.

We were smoking in the Square after lunching in the buffet of the
Bibliothèque Nationale with the Scholar from Oxford.

"I'll wager," said Herbert, "that those greasy fellows in the _salle de
travail_ discovered long ago what I have just learned. You start with a
general subject and a century. You narrow down until you have a phase
and a decade. If I ever do Gallicanism, it'll be limited to the
influence of the conversion of Henry of Navarre upon the movement. I
could work till my hair was grey developing that. But I should be
narrow-minded and dry as bones when I finished."

"Ah! You must not quarrel with the greasy fellows," put in the Scholar
from Oxford. "That is research. They are not narrow: they are
specialists." The Scholar is a canny Scotchman who gives his r's their
full value, and then some.

Allowing the letter r to be heard for sure is another point of contact
and sympathy between Scott and Frank. Just as the cooler Teutonic
temperament seeks the sun, and has been seeking the sun right down
through history, in trying to reach the Mediterranean, the cooler Scotch
temperament seeks the sun where it is nearest to be found--in France. It
is the attraction of opposites.

"You Americans," said the Scholar, "with your Rocky Mountains and your
Niagaras naturally approach research from the general to the particular.
It is far easier for men born in an older civilization to begin with a
specialist's point of view."

"I know, I know," said Herbert, "I had to work that out and I had to
change my whole subject, too. I wobbled from Gallicanism to Ottoman
history."

"That's no sin," declared Alick. "A man engrossed in research is human.
Going to Turkey was bound to influence your thinking. The traditions of
France still hold you, but the memory of Turkey is strong enough to
change the trend of your work. Go on with your origins of the Ottoman
Empire and be thankful you have discovered a line off the beaten track."

"Yes," I cried, "and for goodness' sake stick to constructive ideas. You
research-fiends waste too much time trying to prove that the other
fellow is wrong. Instead of remaining scientists you get to be
quibblers. But I must leave you now. I cannot put my whole day into the
Bibliothèque. I have to mix up tea-kettles and dusting with pamphlets
and cards for the file."

As Herbert and the Scholar from Oxford passed by the solemn guard at the
door of the _salle de travail_, I lingered in the lobby musing about
what we had been saying. I leaned for a minute against the pedestal of
the Sèvres vase and watched Herbert and Alick take their places side by
side at the old inked desks. I looked through the great polished plate
glass that makes the _salle de travail_ and the _travailleurs_ seem like
a picture in its frame. I knew from experience that once the two men had
got their noses in their books they would not look up. There was no use
in waiting for a smile.

"Boc ou demi?" asked the waiter.

Herbert and I and the Scholar from Oxford were lunching together in the
Quarter. The Bibliothèque was closed for cleaning, so it was an off day.

Herbert and the Scholar asked for _bocs_, and I thinking to be modest
chose a _demi_. My eyes nearly dropped out of my head when the men got
glasses of beer and before me stood a formidable mug that held a pint.
Emilie told me afterwards that if I wanted that much beer again the
waiter would understand better if I ordered "_un sérieux_."

The Scholar from Oxford had the habit of living in our apartment when he
came to Paris. Memories of hospitality on the part of himself and his
wife when we were on our honeymoon in Oxford were fresh, and when the
time came for the Scholar's next look at manuscripts in the Bibliothèque
Nationale, there was no question in our mind--nor in his, for that
matter--as to where he should stay. We set up a folding-bed in the
dining-room and tucked him in. No matter if we did not come back to the
Rue Servandoni at meal time. If we did not want to bother getting up a
meal, we put the apartment key into our pocket and sallied forth on what
we called a baby-carriage promenade. There was always some little place
where we could eat when we got hungry. Once we dined in a _crémerie
chaude_ for no better reason than the attraction of a diverting sign on
the window--_Five o'clock à toute heure_.

To-day we had decided against Brogart's, our usual haunt, on the rue de
Rivoli. At Brogart's you could lunch for Fr. 1.25 with the _plat du
jour_ and a satisfying range of choice in the fixings that went with it.
It was 1.20 if you invested in tickets. Then you were given a
napkin-ring to mark your serviette, and a numbered hole in the open-face
cupboard screwed to the wall beside the high desk where Madame sat while
she raked in the money and kept a sharp eye on her clients. There was a
division of opinion between Mother and me during a flying visit she made
us just before Christmas. We took her to Brogart's. She saw a fellow,
some kind of a wop with a greasy face and long hair, pick his teeth with
a fork. She never went back to Brogart's again. They don't do that in
Philadelphia. At least if they do, Mother had never happened to see
them. Herbert and Alick and I were less difficult to please. To-day it
was only because we had wandered far afield that Brogart's did not see
us. We had found a table that pleased us in a restaurant that bore the
sign "Au rendez-vous des cochers." We were not looking for a novel
experience. We were not tourists, you understand. It was on account of
the budget.

Everybody knows that the cochers of Paris are no fools. They can drive a
horse, but they can drive a bargain too and afterwards settle down on
their high box and fling you shrewd observations about art or politics
or what not. But there is more to it than that. When you have lived a
while in the Latin quarter you know who are the expert judges of
cooking. In the old days, the meal you could buy in a tiny dark
_rendez-vous des cochers_ was as tasty as anything you could enjoy on a
Grand Boulevard at ten times the price. Minor details like a table-cloth
and clean forks and knives with each new plate are not missed when the
_gigot_ is done to a turn and the _sauce piquante_ is just right. The
_rendez-vous des cochers_ restaurant has one distinct advantage over the
swell place on the Boulevards. If you are in a hurry to go to the
Concert Rouge and have had no dinner, you can stop for a second at a cab
driver's restaurant while you buy a portion of _frites_. The luscious
golden potatoes, sprinkled with salt, are wrapped in a paper, and you
consume them as you walk up the Rue de Tournon. They don't mind babies
there. Scrappie was asleep in her carriage. Monsier le Patron came out
and rolled the carriage ever so gently under the awning beside the glass
screen by the restaurant door. He beamed at us benevolently, then
stepped over to explain that he was a _père de famille_ and that
_courants d'air_ inflame babies' eyes.

The Scholar from Oxford is a Scotchman with the Scotch affection for
France. Before the war he came to France and Italy every year to make
enigmatical notes in his own handwriting reduced to cramped proportions.
The notes were placed within columns that were inked out years ago when
he began the monumental work. The columns are drawn across the short
dimension of the paper, so that you have to turn the thing sidewise to
read it.

There is a variety of ink. The row of notes at the top is all in the
same color. Three quarters of an inch in black mark the first year's
hours spent in the Bibliothèque. Run your eye down a space the width of
your thumb and the ink changes. Count how many ink colors you see, and
you'll know how many times the Scholar from Oxford has come abroad on
his grant. He carries his papers in a shiny black oil cloth _serviette_.
He was modestly imperturbable when with my usual vehemence I gave him a
good scolding because he confessed he had no copy of the precious
sheets.

"So worked the old monks in the days of the Reformation," said I, "when
a fellow spent his life time laboriously copying the Bible with his own
hand."

"Ah," mused the Scotchman with his eyes far away, "they were great
scholars, the monks."

"But it was slow," I protested, "often a man did not live long enough to
illuminate the device at the end of his chapter. Only a great enthusiasm
carried his successors to the end."

"Without them, think what we should have lost!"

"But they worked like that, you stubborn one, because there were no
typewriters or secretaries. You cannot persuade me, Alick, that there is
any extra virtue in using their methods today. You should adopt modern
methods so that you could accomplish more. You don't seem to realize
that thirty years from now the world will call you what you are,
Britain's greatest Latin scholar."

Unconvinced that mediaeval methods belong to mediaeval times, the
Scholar from Oxford lit another cigarette. He still persists in carrying
around Europe, in spite of wars, his priceless record of years of labor.
But he has since become Professor of Humanity at a great University. The
chair that he holds dates back to the day of the methods to which he
remains faithful.

Home again, I was making the coffee. But I was not out of the
conversation. Our kitchenette was six feet from the dining-room table.
Herbert started to light his cigar.

"Ah, my lad," said the Scholar from Oxford, staying Herbert's hand, "you
haven't asked the lady's permission!"

"I guess I can smoke in my dining-room," answered Herbert.

"You have to ask my permission then," laughed Alick, "before you smoke
in my bedroom."

Thank heaven, the Bibliothèque Nationale does not make my husband and my
guest stupid. If I could not look forward to jolly evenings, I should
make war upon research work, much as I like Bibliothèque Nationale.



CHAPTER IX

EMILIE IN MONOLOGUE


"Carrots cost money!"

"Yes, Emilie?"

"I had to throw several sous' worth at your window before you got awake
this morning, and when they rolled back some of them fell in the gutter.
Old Sempé saw me take them, and I'm sure he'll ask you to pay for them,"
said Emilie, nodding her round head with its well-oiled straight black
hair. Emilie was no more gifted hirsutely than in other feminine
adornments. Since the day we found her cleaning our apartment, at the
request of the Sempés, I had been studying her carefully to decide
whether new clothes and soap would help her appearance. Clean and togged
out in some of my things, she was not radically changed. But her heart
of gold shone in her eyes, and I was not long in learning to love her.

"You never hear that bell," continued Emilie. "What a conscience you
must have to sleep that way. The carrots are cheaper than paying me from
eight o'clock when you sleep on."

"Never mind about the carrots," I laughed. "We need you for an alarm
clock, and we did not wake up until one fell on the bed."

Emilie was my first servant, and I did not have her all the time. All my
life I had been demanding things from servants, but I had never bossed
one in her housework. I dreaded tackling the problem. Emilie was the
easy solution. The _femme de ménage_ system is one of the advantages of
life in Paris. You do not have to house your servant, and she is not in
the way in a small apartment when you do not want her there. You can
have as much or as little of the _femme de ménage_ as you like, or (as
was more often the case in my first year of Paris housekeeping) as you
can afford to pay for. I put Emilie out of the house when the clock
showed the number of times forty centimes per hour that I could spare.
Forty centimes per hour, did I say? Yes, and that was ten centimes more
than others paid in our street. Now it is a franc per hour, and the
_femmes de ménage_ of 1919 growl most of the time and stop work when
they want to whether your house-cleaning or laundry is finished or not.
Emilie set in deliberately to attach herself to me and accepted all my
vagaries. I flatter myself that it was not so much for the extra two
sous per hour as for the fact that she liked me. My queer ways
interested her. She could never understand why I washed Scrappie's
silk-and-wool undershirts myself, but was willing to pay her several
francs for sitting on the coal-box reading a newspaper or dozing for
hours while I went to the opera.

Emilie was a vaudeville singer and dancer who had lost her figure and
most of her teeth before the bi-decennial of her stage career.

"To think, Madame, that a few years ago the posters on the _Kiosque_ at
the corner of this street used to announce my number at the music-halls,
and to-day I'm down on the floor washing your tiles!"

I was pulling the baby's wool stockings on drying-boards.

"You say you used to be on the stage?" I led on sociably.

"Yes, Madame, _comique excentrique_. That is why I cannot cook. My
profession required me always to eat in restaurants, but I can wash
dishes, clean rooms and build fires. Thanks to God, for the service you
need, I know how to mind babies. I never had anyone to help me with
Marcelle."

Marcelle was a fifteen year old girl, hare-lipped and cross-eyed, but
her mother loved her dearly. Emilie did not say who Marcelle's father
was. But she was not as reticent as the woman of Samaria, and would have
scorned to come to me under false pretenses. _Tout savoir est tout
pardonner._ If you cannot live up to the spirit of that motto, do not
plan a life without worry for yourself in Paris.

"Last year, before I found you, Madame, Marcelle and I were out of
work. When you came in here in July we had earned only fifty francs in
two months. Marcelle did not get her job as laundry apprentice until
October. Oh no, we didn't exactly starve. You can get cold-boiled
potatoes and they sell bits of bread and left over coffee very cheap at
night when the restaurants close."

Here she sat up to wring her floor-rag into the brown water of the pail.

"I hope you'll not regret spoiling me the way you do. You let me talk,
but you can trust me not to forget myself. Take this afternoon when
those ladies are coming for tea. You know how I wait on the table. That
is a rôle. I get my happiness in considering everything a rôle. I play
at being _femme de ménage_. These dirty old clothes are my costume: the
bucket and mop are stage properties."

"Do you like having company at tea?" I broke in.

"That depends."

"On what?"

"On who they are." Here Emilie made up her mind to speak with firmness.
"Now, without indiscretion, Madame, the ladies you asked for this
afternoon are not interesting. I was here when two of them called and
you told them to come to tea."

"Why not?"

"The Latin Quarter is full of women like that. I know. I have worked for
them. I have been cleaning at studios and apartments like yours in this
neighborhood ever since I left the stage. I have seen what these women
paint. Oh la! la! Sometimes you cannot tell the canvas from the palette,
Cubism they call it, to hide the fact that they cannot draw and could
not reproduce a figure or any recognizable object to save their lives.
No, I'm not talking of beginners. I'm talking about the old ones, the
women, Americans and English, who do not know how to paint kitchen
chairs or carry a tune, and yet art schools and music academies flourish
on their fees. They were misfits where they came from. It pays their
relatives to send them money every month so they won't come home. But
why should Paris--that is, our part of Paris--be the dumping ground? You
say that there are more men of that kind than women? Yes, oh yes, many
more. But then, after a certain time men give up posing. They do not
mind being taken at their real value. When they are failures, they admit
it. The women keep on pretending."

Emilie was as good as her word. With a shining face and hair well
slicked back from her ears she appeared at tea time. The ample front was
covered by a clean white apron. She stood at my elbow, her black beady
eyes keen to see what I needed before I asked for it. _Oui, Madame_ and
_voilà, Madame_ came as softly as though, born in a pantry, she had
always served tea. But she could not keep up the play without the
relief of an occasional entr'acte. When she brought me a pot of fresh
tea and guests happened to be looking the other way, she would give a
broad wink and bolt from the room. When the guests left, the kitchen
door was closed.

"I ought to have made one more appearance, Madame," said Emilie a few
moments later as she settled herself comfortably in the steamer-chair
and took a pinch of snuff. "The model servant would have helped them on
with their coats. But I had all I could stand."

"But you did very well, Emilie."

"I got more fun out of it than you did. I said that you were wasting
your time on those people. What did they do? Told you you looked badly.
Asked why you were so tired. Advised you to get a doctor for the baby's
cough. And you think they meant well? That it was solicitude?"

Here Emilie laughed heartily and wiped the snuff off her hands with the
greasy blue apron that now replaced the white one.

"You are _naïve_, dear Madame. Women love to tease each other that way,
especially those who are not well or strong themselves. They hate you
for not having ills. If you told them that you had a physical
examination last week and the doctor said you were in perfect condition,
they would shake their heads gravely and warn you that you are
underweight for your height."

"They did make me mad, I confess, when they volunteered advice about
Scrappie. They used to scold me for nursing my baby and they scolded me
to-day when they heard I had stopped nursing her."

"That's it! That's it!" cried Emilie. "Next time they talk like that,
show them the little thing, beautiful _rose de mai_ that she is, and ask
them in what way she looks badly."

Throughout the year at Twenty-One, Emilie was a tower of strength to me.
When we sent our pitchpine back to William Shakespeare and packed our
rugs and brasses, she was on hand as she had been the day we set up our
Lares and Penates in the Rue Servandoni. She urged that we take her to
Constantinople with us. We did, and never regretted it--if only for her
comments on the Turks and Greeks and Armenians. When she realized that
we needed other care than she could give us, Emilie quietly dismissed
herself and went back to France to live in Bordeaux. We see her there
occasionally. She still wears my old hats and blouses. She is still a
_femme de ménage_. And Marcelle has continued to wield the flat-iron.



CHAPTER X

HUNTING APACHES


I was bathing Christine before the fire. Gabry and Esther came in. The
two girls settled themselves in steamer chairs.

"We want to know if you will let us come and sleep in your dining-room
to-night," asked Esther.

"Sure," I answered, "but, mercy me, the bed in there is a little bit of
a narrow one...."

"That doesn't matter," said Gabry.

"No, indeed," agreed Esther. "We can cuddle up close and we shan't be in
it very long."

The baby began to howl. I had been listening to the girls and the side
of the tub had got hot.

"Poor little dear," said Esther. "Her mother forgot her and she began to
parboil."

I had the baby safely on my lap now wrapped in towels. Emilie carried
away the bath tub.

"What's going on to-night?" I asked.

"Well, it's a fling," said Esther. "You know how it is up at the Hostel.
They are so fussy--you would think it was an old ladies' home. Two boys
that came over in our ship have been studying forestry in some German
school. They are here for the holidays. We got them to promise to take
us with them to-night to see the town--café stuff, you know."

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"To a cellar where they do the Apache dance."

"You don't want to see that," I suggested. "It isn't real. Just a plant
to catch parties like you. Why Herbert and I saw that stunt done in a
cinema the other night. There was a French couple back of us. They
giggled over it. The man said, 'Wait a minute. The police are sure to
come in after that party of Americans are comfortably settled with some
drinks.'"

"You don't mean it," said Esther. "Don't take the edge off our spree."

"I'm not taking off edges. Only in the cinema the other night it was
instructive the way the policemen came in. After they had driven out the
most murderous dancing Apaches, the Americans thought it was too hot and
fled. You ought to have seen the way fake Apaches and barmaids laughed
at them afterwards. What is your plan for the night?"

"First to dinner in some spicy café, then the theatre. We're going to
see _Chantecler_. Everybody's crazy about it."

"Excepting people who think it is silly," put in Gabry.

"Well, if it's silly to see actors dressed up in peacock feathers,"
cried Esther, "we'll have a good time. And there'll be supper somewhere
afterwards."

"Going to make a regular night of it, aren't you?"

"That's just the point. Helen, you're a dear to be so sympathetic. Up at
the student Hostel...."

"Did they object there to your going?"

"They don't know a thing about it. It would never do to tell them."

"Why?"

"They'd begin to preach," protested Esther. "A pack of school teachers
anyway. That's why we want to spend the night here. We'll just explain,
you understand, that we're going to spend the night with their dear
lovely Mrs. Gibbons. And they'll never know a thing about the fun."

The girls were moving towards the door.

"The boys will come here to get us," called Esther. "We'll come down
about half-past six. Herbert won't mind, will he?"

"We must move along now," said Gabry. "I have a singing lesson."

"And I have a fitting at the dressmaker's," added Esther. "Ta, ta,
Helen."

I felt in my bones that I didn't quite know what to do about it and
would wait until Herbert came home.

When Herbert returned from the Bibliothèque Nationale at noon, I told
him about my visitors.

"Why on earth--" he began to comment.

"Oh, they are going to do the Grand Boulevards with a couple of young
American fellows who are in Paris for a vacation," I said.

"What's the matter with those girls," exclaimed Herbert. "What's gotten
into their heads? Do they think they can come here and start off on an
expedition like that? If they were older, it would be different. If
they're afraid to tell the Hostel people, it shows they know well enough
it isn't just the thing for them to do."

"I thought so myself."

"Well, why didn't you right up and say it from the beginning?"

"Girls wouldn't take it from me. My game was to be absorbent and get the
whole story. They're nearly as old as I am. I couldn't dictate to them.
I don't know how to get out of it."

"I see," mused Herbert.

The girls came in about six o'clock to dress for dinner. They had their
suitcases and some flowers, and Esther brought her light blue hat in a
paper bundle. I had told them to telephone their boys to come to dinner
with us before starting out for the theater. This was the only way I
could think of to manage things so that Herbert could see them before
they started away.

Esther put on the pretty bright blue dress she had bought at the model
shop to go with the light blue hat. She placed the hat, still in its
paper cover, on the top of the wardrobe in the dining-room. Gabry
played with Scrappie, sitting on the floor beside her, where she was
tied in her papa's steamer chair. Esther perched herself on the stool in
the kitchen and watched me frying sausages. Herbert came in after a bit
and wheeled right around from the front door into the kitchen. He didn't
have to walk. It wasn't far enough.

"Hello, Esther, what are you up to?" said Herbert.

"Hello, Herb."

"Come on in the other room. I want to talk to you," said Herbert.

He closed the door and I heard them talking hard.

"Gee!" said Gabry. "Esther sounds mad, doesn't she?"

"Herbert's telling her what he thinks of the party," I said.

"He doesn't want us to go, does he?" said Gabry.

"Oh, he's not breaking up the party. Not a bit of it. He only says that
seeing nobody of your crowd knows French and seeing that your mother
made us promise to look after you, he wants to know what café and
theatre you're going to."

Just as a rather mad-looking Esther and a smiling Herbert appeared,
there was a ring at the bell, and in came the boys, two rosy-cheeked
American youngsters. They came into the kitchen to talk to me a moment,
and then Herbert took them into the dining-room to explain things. I
heard him talking with them, nice American chaps they were, not looking
for trouble a bit. Not the type out for the booze, just bright
youngsters who were going on the boulevards out of curiosity.

We lighted up the candles in the bedroom-study. Herbert put some new
ones in the candlesticks on the piano and we soon got things going. One
of the boys was taken into the bedroom-study to play a tune on the
piano, and soon Esther cheered up with a face more or less of an April
one.

"Hello, boys," said Herbert. "The girls have been telling us--Mrs.
Gibbons and I want you to have dinner with us here first so we can talk
over the party."

"Sure," said John. "We have tickets for _Chantecler_."

We sat down and tackled _coquilles Saint-Jacques_.

"You don't want to get in any trouble over this game," Herbert went on.
"Not speaking French and all that...."

"That's so, too," said Joe.

"_Chantecler_ is fine and dandy," said Herbert. "If you want supper
afterwards, here's the address of a nice little café."

"Sunday school picnic," moaned Esther.

"Esther's inconsolable. She thinks I'm spoiling the fun. But these boys
don't want to get into a doubtful little hole. You don't know what
you're doing, Esther," said Herbert.

"I'm as old as your wife, so there."

"You fellows do not want to spend a terrible lot of money. I know you
don't. Esther is mad as a hornet at me because I am going to squelch her
idea of going to Montmartre or Les Halles for a hot old time. I don't
want to seem a poor sport, but you know some of those cafés are fakes,
others are what I shall not mention, and there is a third category of
really dangerous ones. The entire business is carried on to catch and
mulct tourists. If you happen to drift into the fake places, nothing
more serious would happen than getting stuck good and hard. You would
simply have to pay the waiter whatever was on the bill. If you were
considerably older and knew how to speak French, the slumming might
prove interesting--for one evening. But for you the game is not worth
the candle. I don't mind your going for a jaunt along the boulevards,
and I can tell you some of the cafés that are all right. But as for Les
Halles--that doesn't go."

The boys were sensible. They fell in with our suggestions without
discussion. After dinner the four went off to their show. Next morning I
heard Esther telling Scrappie all about it.

"The W.C.T.U. wasn't in it, baby. _Chantecler_ was written to please
kids of your age. There was nobody in that Y.M.C.A. café your daddy sent
us to. My blue hat was the most conspicuous object in the place. We
didn't see a thing. No _types_, no wickedness, no models, more than we
ordinarily see around the Quarter."

Gabry's eyeglasses were shaking on her nose.

"Tell her what Monsieur Sempé said," urged Gabry.

"Yes, baby," said Esther, who was laughing in spite of herself now. "Our
mama boys wanted to be polite in the American way last night. They
brought us here and didn't want to leave us until they saw us inside
your saintly doors. But Monsieur Sempé stopped them down at the street
door. He simply yelled at the boys, '_Ça ne se fait pas à Paris,
Messieurs_.'

"No," concluded Esther, "from start to finish, baby, there was nothing
about our party that would have hurt your lily-white soul."



CHAPTER XI

DRIFTWOOD


I was nursing Scrappie. Herbert came into the bedroom and started to
speak slowly as if he wasn't sure how I would take what he was going to
say.

"Fellow out here who is hungry. What shall I do?"

"Feed him," said I. Herbert did not have to tell me that he had no money
to give the man to buy a meal. "Couldn't you ask him to dinner if he is
all right?"

"Well, he is sort of an old chap," said Herbert doubtfully.

I lighted a candle and put it on the end of the mantel-piece nearest to
the baby's bed. She was perfectly contented to go to sleep alone if she
could watch a candle flicker.

When I had settled Scrappie and opened the window and closed the door
gently, I went into the dining-room and found Mr. Thompson. Sparse grey
hair, watery blue eyes, a talkative individual who hoped he was not
bothering us too much. He wore a frock coat with shiny revers. His cuffs
were unstarched and frayed, but they were clean. Herbert had brought in
some cold boiled potatoes. In those days you bought them cooked at the
_charcuterie_ for the same price that you got them raw at the
greengrocer's. It was a good scheme. You could peel them and slice them
in a jiffy,--then warm them with eggs broken up and scrambled in the pan
beside them. This with cheese and nuts and liqueurs made a meal without
using too much gas. You did it yourself, using no more energy than would
be taken out of you if it had been done by a cook.

Mr. Thompson did not lie when he told Herbert he was hungry. He had
three helpings of everything. He said little during the meal, but he did
not eat with his knife. When it came to cigars, he pushed back his chair
and spread out his hands to the _boulet_ fire. Casting his eye from the
molding to the floor, he included the dining-room and all the rest of
the apartment with a sweeping gesture and a couple of "Ha-Has."

"From the looks of this joint, you two youngsters haven't any more money
than you need. This is a good joke on me, too good a joke to keep to
myself. You have given me a square deal along with a square meal, and I
appreciate it. I have lived for years in this Quarter and have earned
precious little money. Sort of a down-and-outer. I am, I suppose, one of
the Quarter's charity patients. Don't worry. I am not going to beg of
you. First time I came to Paris, it was by way of England. I stayed a
long time in Oxford and made friends with the Cowley Fathers. Then I
buried myself in the Bibliothèque Nationale, for I was starting a thesis
in church history."

"Indeed," cried Herbert. "I have a fellowship in Church History myself.
What is your subject?"

"Religious orders after the Reformation," said Mr. Thompson.

"Have you published anything?" asked my husband.

"No," said Mr. Thompson. "Queer thing life is. We get loose from our
moorings when we least expect it. You won't believe me, but American
generosity was my undoing!"

"How could that be?" I put in.

"Don't you know," said Mr. Thompson, "that we are not as much the
captain of our souls as we like to think?"

He was in a steamer chair now, and lying back, he blew smoke at the
ceiling.

"But you were saying, Mr. Thompson," said I.

"I was saying more than I ought to," he mused.

He had forgotten his cigar. Herbert twisted a bit of newspaper, touched
it to the glowing _boulets_ and held it out to Mr. Thompson. Matches are
expensive in France.

"Oh!" he started. "I was away back years ago. Thank you. I was wrong a
minute ago when I told you I had said too much. I have said too little.
You have made me feel at home, and I shall be frank with you. It
sometimes wrecks a fellow's career if he receives just a little too
much help. What I am talking about is quite a different thing from what
I may have suggested just now. Not a person spoiled with too much money.
But I was spoiled by the fact that at a certain time, I was able to put
my hands on ever so little money when it was not good for me. Not the
money itself, you understand, but the fact that the game is so easy."

"But I don't understand," I protested.

"Of course you don't," said Mr. Thompson.

He threw the butt of his cigar on the floor, put his foot on it, and
took another from Herbert's box.

"Sorry I haven't better cigars to give you," said my husband. "These
_carrés à deux sous_ just suit my speed."

Alas for the _carrés à deux sous_! Of them as of many of our joys we
must say Ichabod.

"The time came when I ran out of money--but altogether out of money, you
understand. I waited until I was pretty hungry before I told anybody.
Then the American Consul did something for me. Somebody gave me a pair
of shoes. Other persons gave me money, and the day was saved. Again I
became absorbed in my work, to be interrupted by poverty. This time I
went to the pastor of the American Church. He looked me over. Must have
thought I was a good case, as he saw to it that several people did
something for me. After all, it comes easily, and I have lived like
that for years. Sometimes my clothes don't fit very well, but what is
the difference. It has grown upon me until I am utterly unfit to earn my
living. You get nothing twice from the Consulate, and churches are not
good for much. Besides, the churches keep a list of dead-beats. It is
the individual Americans one meets that give away their money
carelessly. I found somebody who listened sympathetically to my
hard-luck story. The story itself was no lie the first time. But it was
so easy--there was the temptation. I tell you frankly that I fell. I
discovered that I could do it again when the hard-luck story was not
true."

"I hunted you up," continued Mr. Thompson, "with the idea of getting
something out of you. I suppose if I put as much energy into holding
down a job as I do this, I could earn my living. But the habit of living
on the kindness of other people has me in its grip, and I do not stick
to work when it is given to me. I have been pretty faithful to the
Bibliothèque all these years, for it is heated there. I can read my
paper, write some letters and study a little on my church history. The
thesis is growing slowly, but that is all I can say I have done these
twelve years.

"There are other people who do the same thing, you know. You have met
them without knowing it. Artist fellows, youngsters as well as old ones,
understand the game. Do you know how they work it? It is known now, for
instance, that you receive informally every Wednesday. There are other
days and hosts of women. So it goes. A fellow can get along very cheaply
like that. Pay thirty or forty francs a month for a place to live and
work, two sous each morning for _café au lait_ passed across the
zinc--good coffee too, as you perhaps know. They let you bring your roll
with you if you like. It will cost a sou. One roll and a cup of coffee
is enough after you get used to it. Your only large expense is the noon
meal.

"Generally the evening meal you can pick up. You find in the social
register the names of all the ladies, kind and unobservant, who have
days at home. You stick a big paper on your wall and mark it off in
seven columns, one for each day of the week. You make a list of the
women who have receiving days, and you drop in somewhere every afternoon
about five-thirty. The tea party is pretty well finished, but there is
usually plenty of food left. The ladies have to provide for more than
really come. You do that yourself, Mrs. Gibbons. The ladies do not
notice that you eat more than one or two sandwiches and plenty of cake.
If they do notice it, it makes them feel happy, and there is your
supper. If you do it systematically with a list like mine, you do not
have to go to Mrs. X's house more than twice in the winter. A lot of
people in the American colony have receiving days. It is easy enough to
know them. All of the boys know a few, and we take each other around.
The artist fellows have a cinch. All they have to do, if they have a
conscience, is to present the hostesses to whom they are the most
indebted, with a couple of worthless sketches. Nobody ever suspects
anything.

"You can slide in and out in the Latin Quarter and meet any number of
charming people. They never stay too long and there are always new ones
coming in. No hostess is superior to the flattery implied when her tea
is appreciated. I have learned to praise sandwiches so that I can get a
fair supply. I write an article occasionally, and that covers my rent.
Clothes are an easy matter. Any number of people in Paris will give away
clothes. You see I am a deadbeat. I was a deadbeat to-day when I saw in
the _Herald_ that Mrs. Gibbons was going to be at home this afternoon."

Mr. Thompson got up to go.

"Where did you put your overcoat?" asked Herbert.

"I have none," said my guest.

Herbert's eyes met mine. I telegraphed "Yes."

Certainly we gave Herbert's old overcoat to Mr. Thompson. As we talked
about it afterwards, Herbert observed,

"We could not help giving him the coat, could we?"

"No, of course not."

We never saw Mr. Thompson again. It isn't in the picture. Driftwood!



CHAPTER XII

SOME OF OUR GUESTS


The best fun of having a home is sharing it with your friends. But you
deprive yourself of this fun--in a very large measure, at least--if you
make entertaining a burden or a great expense. In the Rue Servandoni we
tried out theories about hospitality that have become firmly rooted
family principles. Guests are _always_ welcome, and we never feed them
better than we feed ourselves. Company is the rule: not the exception. I
suppose my Irish temperament made this possible in the beginning. Now we
would not give up our way of living for anything in the world. By the
standards of my own family I am not regarded as a good housekeeper. I am
finicky only about cleanliness and the quality and quantity of food. The
rest doesn't matter. That is, I have no almanac to show me when to put
away the winter clothes and when to do Spring house-cleaning. I do not
get "all out of kelter" if the wash is done on Thursday instead of
Monday: and I never "put up" fruit or bake. I buy my preserves from the
grocer and my bread and cake from the baker.

When I look back on Rue Servandoni days and try to analyze my attitude
towards housekeeping, I think first that I may have been demoralized by
living through the Armenian massacres just before going to Paris. It was
enough to make me happy in the morning to realize that my husband and
baby were alive. Did I have a new sense of values, born of suffering? Or
perhaps it wasn't anything as high-brow or pious as that. Perhaps it was
the inheritance of shiftlessness that came down to me from the ancient
Irish kings. This curious form of original sin persists and makes me
able to agree with one who sang when things all got messed up,

    "The cow's in the hammock,
     The baby's in the lake,
     The cat's in the garbage:
     WHAT difference does it make?"

Now I do not claim that my way is altogether right and that my maternal
Pennsylvania Dutch strain does not occasionally assert itself, though
feebly. I enjoy formal and well-ordered entertaining when it is not a
pretense--when I do not have the uncomfortable feeling that my hostess
has worn herself out getting the meal ready or is offering a meal beyond
her income.

The alternative in the Rue Servandoni was to have friends take us as we
were or to make an occasional splurge. The latter was thoroughly
distasteful to us both. We held that what was good enough for ourselves
was good enough for our friends, and that they would rather come to our
simple meals than not come at all. How could we hope to compete with
the Café de Paris or Arménonville? And we knew that many who came to us
paid their cook more than our total income.

[Illustration: Where stood the walls of old Lutetia]

Is not the question of entertaining a good deal like the question of
other people's wealth? If you are continually striving to keep up with
friends richer than you, you are bound to feel poor. We could put our
heads out of our window, and pity ourselves because we were not living
in steam-heated, electric-lighted Number Nineteen or Number
Twenty-Three. But then, across the street, Number Twenty and Number
Eighteen had _logements_ beside which our apartment was a palace.

Shortly after setting up our Lares and Penates in Number Twenty-One, a
friend from Denver dropped in just before supper. He was a judge and
silver-mine owner, the father of one of my Bryn Mawr college-mates. I
urged him to stay. He was excusing himself, when I volunteered the
information that our supper consisted of cornmeal mush with milk, and
that was all. He stayed, and told us that it was the best meal he had
eaten in Paris. "I just love cornmeal mush, and I cannot get it at my
hotel," he said. We believed him. He spoke the truth.

There was always room at our table for friends. An extra plate, and a
little more of what we were having for ourselves--that was all there was
to it. In a big city, especially a city like Paris where shops are in
every street, getting more food quickly is no problem. Herbert would
just slip downstairs to Sempé's for eggs, another chop, another can of
peas, an additional bottle of wine. Next door was the bakery.

The best friends of our married life have come to us through
unpretentious entertaining. The contact of the home is different from
the contact of the office or club or formal gathering, and it has
enabled me to take every step forward with my husband. Our broadened
vision, our intimate sources of information, the steps upward in our
profession are largely the result of the dinner-table and the
after-dinner smoke before the fire. One illustration shows how chance
influences the whole life.

Early in the autumn of 1909, we received a letter from a Paris lawyer
who had just returned from settling insurance claims in
massacre-stricken Cilicia. He had been in Tarsus just after we left, and
wanted to meet us. I wrote back to him, as I would have done to anyone
with an introduction like his, "Come to dinner, and if there is a Mrs.
K. bring her with you." He sought us out in our little street. There was
no Mrs. K., but the spontaneity of the invitation and its inclusiveness
had prompted him to break his rule of not accepting dinner invitations.
He was a charming man, full of information and inspiration. When I
brought on the asparagus, he said that in Poland they put burnt bread
crumbs into drawn-butter sauce. I jumped right up, and exclaimed,
"Nothing easier! We shall have _asperges à la polonaise_ right away." In
three minutes the asparagus was to his taste. The lawyer thought out,
and made a suggestion that would certainly never have occurred to him
had I arranged a formal meeting in response to his letter. He told us
that the experience we had in Turkey we should not regard as accidental.
"Why did the massacres occur? You must have asked yourselves that. Now
drop your research into Gallicanism and French ecclesiastical history. A
thousand men are as well equipped for that as you. Turn your attention
to the Turks and the Eastern Question, and from that go into the study
of the contemporary diplomacy of Europe. The Russian and Hapsburg
Empires are built upon the Ottoman Empire. Study the relation of Turkey
to Poland. This is the field for you!"

In the last few years I have often thought of that evening. We followed
the lawyer's advice. He helped us. He encouraged us. He used to come to
dinner every Tuesday night. We went back to Turkey and came again to
Paris before the Great War. During the years of absence, there had been
frequent correspondence. When we returned, the Tuesday evenings were
resumed. If my husband was ready for the work that came to him with the
war, it is thanks to the Paris lawyer. _The Foundation of the Ottoman
Empire_, _The New Map of Europe_, _The Reconstruction of Poland and the
Near East_, are the outcome of table-talks with the lawyer that began in
the Rue Servandoni.

In the _pension_ of the Rue Madame we met people whom we invited to come
to see us in the Rue Servandoni. We asked them to our table. They came.
And they have been dinner guests in our different Paris homes during the
past decade.

There was the Catholic Archbishop of Cairo, an Arab who had the
story-telling gift of his race. You do not know what it is to hear a
story told until you have listened to an Arab. The Archbishop unfolded
to us the lore of the East. There must have been something about _les
petits américains_ that interested him, for our meals could not compete
with Mademoiselle Guyenot's. He used to sit in the steamer-chair, with
his arms folded over his gold crucifix, his cape thrown back on both
shoulders (which gave a dash of red), the end of a long white beard
rubbing the most prominent buttons of his cassock front, and eyes
twinkling in unpriestly fashion. He was the reincarnation of Nasreddin
Hodja, prince of Anatolian story-tellers. Herbert pokes in his bath. One
night, when Scrappie went to sleep earlier than usual, Herbert started
to make his ablutions before the dining-room fire while I was busy in
the kitchen. The door-bell rang. In came the archbishop. There was a
swift change of persons and rooms. Herbert finished his bath in the
kitchen in an incredibly short time. He did not want to miss a moment
of the archbishop.

Michi Kawai was with me in school as well as in college. Imagine my
delight at finding her one day looking at old furniture in the Rue des
Saints-Pères. If I ever thought of Michi, it was in Tokio. And I never
would have thought of Michi in connection with French antique furniture.
But that is Paris for you. Sooner or later all your friends come to
Paris. You run across them accidentally and invariably they are doing
something you would never have dreamed of associating them with. During
her months in Paris Michi was a frequent visitor in the Rue Servandoni.
She was one of those delightful combinations of Occident and Orient that
Japan produces better than any other nation. She was equally at home
with French and American friends, and, when Emilie was not there, knew
how to juggle my eight cups and saucers and spoons back and forth
between the tea-table and the kitchen, without guests catching on, more
dexterously than any of my American girl friends.

We started our married life among the peoples of the Near East, and we
found them out there just like other folks, when we took the trouble to
come into intimate contact with them. Racially of course they are
different from us as they are different from each other. Greeks,
Bulgarians, Turks, Armenians, Syrians, Egyptians, Persians--each one of
these names calls up faces of people I love. I have known them in their
homes and in my home. A strong tie binds us to the Armenians. When you
have shared the sufferings, dangers and hardships of a people, they
belong to you and you belong to them in a peculiar way. Armenians came
to the Rue Servandoni, poor boys with no money and no home who had
escaped from Turkey, struggling students, successful painters, brilliant
musicians, wealthy merchants. Every collector of Egyptian curios, of
Turkish and Persian rugs, of Oriental pottery, knows Kelekian of the
Place Vendôme. His small shop is wedged in between a florist and a
ticket-scalper. In the window you never see more than half a dozen
objects. There is always a bowl as a _pièce de résistance_, a bowl that
only a Morgan could afford to own. Pause and look over the curtain, the
chances are that you will see Monsieur Kelekian sitting by a glass case
of Egyptian scarabs. He will be smoking, and his right hand will be on
the case. To know Monsieur Kelekian is to have faith in the resurrection
of Armenia and in the future of one of the oldest races of history. We
came to know him through his interest in the Adana massacres. He had
never heard of the Rue Servandoni, and the street was hardly wide enough
for his automobile. But he came to dinner with his wife--in spite of a
disapproving _chauffeur_, who thought there must be some mistake and who
insisted on inquiring for us first at Number Twenty-Three and then at
Number Nineteen. Although his nose never turned down, he became
accustomed to stopping in front of the grocery!

Other _chauffeurs_ and _cochers_ learned during that winter a new street
in Paris, and the first time they, too, made the mistake of stopping
next door. Mrs. Evans, sister-in-law of the famous dentist, had a pair
of black horses that shone like the varnish of her victoria. "Dear Mrs.
Evans," as all the women called her, was interested in every good work.
She approved of my husband, because he was a parson, and of me because I
had lived in a missionary college. She knew we had no money and did not
expect us to have any. Her carriage was ours for afternoon rides in the
Bois de Bologne. Scrappie, "that darling missionary baby," must have her
weekly outing. Mrs. Evans, I am sure, believed that the air was not what
it ought to be in our quarter of Paris and that God had intrusted her
with the responsibility of seeing that we were occasionally transported
elsewhere. During that year we made other friends in the American
Colony, who, like Mrs. Evans, cared for us for what we were. They made
Paris home to us in the old-fashioned sense of the word, and the
intimacies then formed have never been broken.

Gypsy Smith was an English evangelist who came to Paris that winter for
a series of revival meetings in the English-speaking community. He had
been traveling all over the world for twenty years. His wife had had to
stay at home to look after the children. Now, for the first time, she
was free to accompany him, and came to Paris with him. We showed the
Smiths some of the principal tourist points of interest one morning, and
they came home to lunch with us. In the way of entertaining, they had
been "touching the high spots" in Paris, as Gypsy Smith was sought after
by the substantial people of the British and American communities. Our
little home was a revelation to them of the fact that there were other
foreigners living in Paris than the rich. Mrs. Gypsy was greatly pleased
with the novelty of finding "just folks" in Paris. "A cozy little nest
you have here," she said, giving me a nudge with her elbow.

There were so many people to see in Paris, old friends from home as well
as new friends, that I soon began to have my afternoon. On Wednesdays I
received in that tiny dining-room, with my eight cups and saucers and
spoons, just as if I were mistress of a large establishment. At first,
our neighbors thought it was a christening or funeral. When they
realized that _les petits américains_ over the _épicerie_ were having a
weekly "at home," they were confirmed in their impression of our wealth.
I confess that it was crowded at times and that the party had to
overflow into the bedroom. But it was fun, especially when one of my
girlhood friends, who had known me in Germantown days in my mother's
home, would bring her whole family along to see me, and exclaim, "Why,
Helen Brown--!" But I would get them all in.

Two days after Christmas, my husband urged me to go walking with him. He
pointed out that no one would come. But I refused. I had more conscience
when I was young than I have now. Being "at home" meant sticking by the
game. I had cheered up the _boulet_ fire in the dining-room. The cups
were on the table. My china platter held a _gâteau mocha_ of dear
memory. Shall we ever again be able to buy layer-cakes with coffee icing
an inch thick done in the delectable ups and downs like a wedding cake?
And that at one franc-twenty-five?

"Run down, dear, and get me some hot crescents. It's after four o'clock,
so they'll be ready."

"Now, look here. You've got to be sensible. Everyone has hosts of things
to do Christmas week. Nobody will come. We'll eat the cakes for supper.
Let's go over the river."

"No, that wouldn't be fair. Somebody might come."

Herbert got the crescents, put more _boulets_ where I could get them
easily, and was gone.

I settled myself in the steamer-chair. No sound except the ticking of
our little traveling-clock, and the dropping of a _boulet_ on the
hearth. An hour slipped by, and I began to realize that I might just as
well have gone out. A ring at the bell. When I opened the door, there
was my husband holding a bouquet of roses big enough for a bridesmaid.

"Good afternoon," said he, bowing low; "do Mr. and Mrs. Gibbons live
here?"

"To be sure," said I, stifling a giggle. "I am Mrs. Gibbons."

"Indeed." My visitor shook hands with me and explained, "Mrs. Gibbons, I
am delighted to meet you. I knew your husband years and years
ago--before he was married, in fact. The first pleasure I have allowed
myself in Paris is to look up my friend Gibbons and his wife."

He hung hat and overcoat in the hall, and handed me the flowers. "What a
charming dining-room. Dear me, have I intruded? You were having a
party?"

"Just my day at home."

We chatted for a full hour, discussing the fate of the House of Lords,
about which my new friend confided that he was writing an article. He
hoped some editor would publish it. We talked of the possibilities of
next year's Salons and disagreed on the subject of futurist painting. I
told my visitor about the many American friends that were turning up,
and how the Gibbonses realized that if they wanted to get any work done
in Paris they would have to stop acting as guides. What did he think
about adopting a policy of telling people that Thomas Cook had mighty
good guides at ten francs a day? Perhaps, however, we should make the
last exception with him, and show him the town.

We talked of Christmas, and then I was asked if I had a baby. I replied
that of course I did. She was over in the Luxembourg Garden with Marie,
who kept her out late on my at-home day, but who would soon bring her
in.

"People that see resemblance in coloring say she looks like me, but
those that see resemblance in contour say she's the image of her daddy."

"So!" said my visitor.

I put my arms around the contour.



CHAPTER XIII

WALKS AT NIGHTFALL


The Prince whom Tartarin met in Africa had lived a long time in
Tarascon, and knew remarkably well one side of the town. He knew nothing
of the other side. This puzzled Tartarin until he found out that his
noble friend's residence in Tartarin's native town was a compulsory one.
The Prince had ample time to study a certain aspect of Tarascon in
detail from the little window of his penitentiary cell. We do not all
have the privilege of devoting ourselves, as the Prince did, to a minute
study of just one view from just one vantage-point. And yet, in certain
things we share the Prince's experience. We become accustomed to a
definite aspect of the things we see to the exclusion of other aspects.
Thus it is that I know many parts of Paris familiarly as they appear at
nightfall. I could go to these quarters at other times, but I never
have. I fear the breaking of the spell. I fear disillusion. And if you
want to follow me in Paris walks through this chapter, plan your strolls
from five to seven during the winter months.

It began this way. In the Bibliothèque Nationale, as in the Paris of
parks and gardens, the closing hour follows the sun. The Bibliothèque
has no lights. It turns you out at four, half-past four, five or six
according to the season. During the months of longer days, we stayed
until the last bell. In the winter we were put out before the afternoon
was over. One did not feel like making for home immediately. It was too
late to go far afield. We started in to explore Paris in a widening
circle from the Rue de Richelieu. My husband had covered much of this
ground in summer months with the Scholar from Oxford. When the light
held out until late, they had time to visit old Paris with the books of
Georges Cain for guides. In the winter months Herbert took me over this
ground again. But I saw it all at nightfall or after dark.

It was a wonderful discovery, to combine exercise with interesting
sight-seeing at the end of the day. The habit of walks through city
streets, thus formed, has been persisted in through many busy years. I
recommend it, even to tourists. Use your precious days for churches and
museums and palaces. After they are closed, walk for an hour or two each
night. You will find diversity, and, like Horatio, things you never
dreamed of. And no matter how long you live in Paris, there is always
something new to explore and something equally new when you follow
beaten tracks.

You have to be--or grow--catholic in your tastes if you want to enjoy
what Paris at nightfall offers. Of course in the beginning you look for
certain things. You have a goal: tracing the city walls from old
Lutetia to Henri IV; seeking traces of mediaeval days; spotting
Renaissance architecture; visiting historic spots or buildings
associated with famous names or events; reconstructing Paris of the
Revolution; or following the characters of Victor Hugo through _Les
Misérables_. Before long you join all these goals, and jump from
architecture to history, from history to literature. In the end, every
walk you take is the observation of living people inseparable from an
incomparably picturesque setting. It may take a long time to realize
that your primary interest is humankind. But when you do the world is a
kaleidoscope presenting new pictures, wherever you may be, each more
fascinating than the one that preceded it.

"Seek and ye shall find" is a promise with a condition attached to it.
You have to look before you see. An effort of the will is required.
Without that effort, impressions are false or transitory or give no
reaction that sinks deep. We passed close to Messina just after the
earthquake. The captain of our ship obligingly slowed down to
quarter-speed. Passengers crowded against the rail on the Sicilian side
of the straits.

"Why, Messina is all right!" someone cried. "The newspapers have been
exaggerating again."

"Wait," suggested a lawyer. He got out his opera glasses. Others did the
same. As we studied Messina from the sea, and looked for the deep
fissures, the crumbling walls, we found them all along the coast. The
American soldier who told me, "Since I been in France I ain't seen
nothing but kilometres and rain," was not looking for anything else.

Strolling after dark helps to bring into the foreground the human
element in the picture of Paris streets. Your field of vision is
limited. You do not see too many things at once. And you have to keep
your eyes open. Many a quaint corner, many a building, is less often
missed at nightfall than during the day.

Paris is divided into arrondissements, each one with its local
administration, its _maire_, its _mairie_, its postal service, and its
police. The postal authorities have tried in vain to insist upon the
placing of the arrondissement indication upon the letters. But they have
never had much success. It is enough to remember where your friends live
without having to keep in mind twenty different arrondissements! Before
the war your arrondissement meant little to you, and you often did not
know its number if you wanted to be married, to register the birth of a
new baby, or got into difficulties with the police. Since the war,
residents in Paris came to know their own arrondissements because of
bread tickets, passports, income-tax declarations and other annoyances.
But in planning your walks at nightfall, it is helpful to take a map of
Paris and know something about the divisions of the city. We started our
explorations by hazard, and then found to our astonishment that we had
been going from one arrondissement to another, practically following the
numerical order.

The Bibliothèque Nationale is just on the border between the First and
Second Arrondissements. Arrondissements One to Four are the old city on
the Rive Droite between the Grands Boulevards and the Seine.
Arrondissements Five to Seven include similar quarters on the Rive
Gauche. Some of the most interesting strolls are in the outer
arrondissements. But the seven inner arrondissements provide enough for
years without ever having to take the subway or tram.

The four Rive Droite arrondissements stretch from the Place de la
Concorde to the Place de la Bastille, and include the Ile de la Cité and
the Ile Saint-Louis. The three Rive Gauche arrondissements stretch from
the Eiffel Tower to the Jardin des Plantes. On the Rive Droite the Place
de l'Opéra and the Place de la République, and on the Rive Gauche the
Place de Breteuil and the Place de l'Observatoire, are the outer corners
of the inner arrondissements. The Boulevard de Sébastopol on the Rive
Droite and the Boulevard Saint-Michel on the Rive Gauche form the only
straight route, cutting through the mass of tangled streets of
succeeding centuries. Running north and south, this central line divides
the arrondissements as the Seine does, running east and west.

I have a horror of guide-books, partly because I do not know how to use
them (I never have learned!) and partly because I love to find my way
without pre-meditation and by accident. But many of my readers will
never have the same opportunity I have enjoyed of discovering
fascinating spots at nightfall. Why should I resist the temptation of
indicating some of the strolls that make the late winter afternoons
delectable?

Everyone knows the Rue de Rivoli as far as the Oratoire or perhaps to
the Tour Saint-Jacques. At the crossing of the Boulevard Sébastopol, the
Rue de Rivoli leaves the familiar heart of Paris and enters the Fourth
Arrondissement. It becomes the Rue Saint-Antoine a couple of blocks
before the Eglise Saint-Paul. There the first break in the straight line
from the Place de la Concorde occurs. You deflect a little bit to the
right, and before you is the Bastille column. The Rue de Rivoli and the
Rue Saint-Antoine are the main artery of the Fourth Arrondissement. No
quarter of Paris affords more variety in walks at nightfall. Starting
from the Boulevard de Sébastopol, the streets on the left, at angles and
parallel to the main artery, are a labyrinth. Here is the Ghetto in a
setting incomparably more picturesque than the Ghettos of London and New
York. I doubt if even the oldest Paris _cocher_ finds his way here
unerringly. Through some of the streets no carriage can pass. The
narrowest street in Paris, the Rue de Venise, is here. Beginning
opposite the Hôtel de Ville, the Rue du Temple cuts through the Ghetto
all the way to the Place de la République. Then come the equally
interesting right-angle streets, the Rue des Archives and the Rue
Vieille du Temple. On the latter faces the Imprimerie Nationale. And do
not miss the parallel streets, Rue de la Verrerie, Rue du Roi de Sicile,
Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonne, Rue des Rosiers. Further along (now we
are in the Rue Saint-Antoine) the Rue de Birague leads one short block
into the Place des Vosges, one of the rare bits remaining of Paris of
Henri IV.

On the right hand side we have the Hôtel de Ville, the old buildings
behind the Lycée Charlemagne and the Quai des Célestins. Several bridges
cross to the Ile de la Cité and the Ile Saint-Louis. The Pont
Saint-Louis connects the two islands. There is nothing more wonderful in
Paris than to cross the Pont Sully from the eastern end of the Quai des
Célestins, walk through the Rue Saint-Louis-en-l'Ile, and come suddenly
upon the apse of Notre Dame, protected by its flying buttresses.

In the Second Arrondissement, start from the Place des Victoires at the
end of the Rue des Petits-Champs, and find your way through the various
tortuous routes that bring you out on the Grands Boulevards to the
Boulevard Poissonnière, the Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle and the Boulevard
Saint-Denis. A few hundred feet from the Grands Boulevards, to the right
of the Rue Saint-Denis, as you go toward the river, Paris of the
Revolution remains in almost as full measure as in the Sixth
Arrondissement.

We must not leave the Rive Droite without mentioning two walks at
nightfall in the outer arrondissement. From the Place de la République,
the most interesting glimpse of a crowded workingmen's quarter can be
gained in an hour by walking up the Rue du Faubourg du Temple, which
becomes the Rue de Belleville. There is a steep climb until you reach
the Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste. To the right is Ménilmontant, dominating
the famous Père-Lachaise cemetery, and to the left you can climb still
farther to Buttes-Chaumont. The second walk is along the Quai de
Jemmapes, which you reach by turning to the left from the Rue du
Faubourg du Temple just after crossing the canal. A few blocks up, on
the right, through the Rue Grange aux Belles you pass the Hôpital
Saint-Louis, a group of seventeenth-century buildings which continue to
do blessed work in the twentieth century.

Dear me! I have forgotten Montmartre, where you climb endless flights of
stone steps and find--despite the tourist _réclame_--probably more of
old Paris than in any other part of the city.

On the Rive Gauche, the walks at nightfall are more difficult to
indicate. You can go anywhere in the three inner arrondissements, and
you will not be disappointed. Walk year after year and you will begin to
wonder whether you ever will follow out the oftformed resolution of
returning to America to live. In the Seventh Arrondissement the region
between the Quai d'Orsay and the Rue de Sèvres, the Rue des Saints-Pères
and the Invalides is the Faubourg Saint-Germain, where are to be found
the finest residences in Paris, far ahead of anything in the Etoile
Quarter. But unless you are lucky enough to have the _entrée_ to
aristocratic and diplomatic Paris, you can only guess at the beauty of
the gardens whose trees thrust alluring limbs over high walls and at
what is behind the stately portals of the _hôtels_.

In the Sixth Arrondissement the Boulevard Saint-Germain and the Rue de
Vaugirard are the best streets to take as guides in your wanderings.
Between the boulevard and the river, and between the boulevard and the
Rue de Vaugirard, most of the streets are thoroughfares, a swarming mass
of autos and wagons and push-carts, between five and seven.

What shall I say of the Fifth Arrondissement, most fascinating of all to
me because I know it best at nightfall, I suppose? My favorite nightfall
walk in Paris is behind the Panthéon. Start at the Place Maubert, on the
Boulevard Saint-Germain, climb the Rue de la Mont Sainte-Geneviève. Turn
to the left through the Rue Descartes, and you will find yourself in the
Rue Mouffetard. Here you are as far from modern Paris as you will ever
get. You walk for nearly a mile with no interruption of trams and
omnibuses. No taxi cab or truck would dream of using the Rue Mouffetard
as a thoroughfare. And yet, on the Rue Mouffetard, to eat and drink and
dress yourself and furnish your house, you can buy all you need. You do
not have to hunt for it: it is displayed before your eyes. The Rue
Mouffetard. Here you are as far from modern Paris time, and I might
shrink from some of the foodstuffs, if not all, it offers, were I to buy
by sunlight. But by flickering torch-light the Rue Mouffetard is Araby
to me. And I never come out at the Avenue des Gobelins without a sigh.
Why isn't the Rue Mouffetard just a bit longer?



CHAPTER XIV

AFTER-DINNER COFFEE


A visitor once asked me how it was possible for Paris to maintain so
many cafés, and said how distressing it was to see so many women in them
and there was more drinking than in New York or London--question and
inferences all in one breath, just like my sentence. My friend was
bewildered because he did not understand the _raison d'être_ of the café
in French life. He thought that a café was a place to drink according to
the American notion of drinking. The women were bad women in his eyes
and the men on the downward path. To one who holds this curious notion
the number of cafés in Paris and the crowds in them and at the little
tables in front of them are inexplicable and alarming. Cafés,
restaurants, _brasseries_ and _zincs_ line the boulevards, and there are
at least two or three to a block in every street. Owing to the intensive
apartment house life shops of all kinds are more frequent in Paris than
elsewhere, but you may have to walk to get anything you want. To drink
or eat, no. The place is right under your nose.

All restaurants serve drinks. I know of only one non-alcoholic
restaurant in Paris: that is the vegetarian place on the Rue
Notre-Dame-des-Champs! If you did not eat in a "drinking-place," you'd
pretty soon starve. Many of the big cafés do not serve food. Some have
one dish, called the _plat du jour_, with cheese and fruit afterwards.
Others have oysters and snails and their own _specialités_. Others,
while not advertising meals, serve a _table d'hôte_ or a very limited _à
la carte_. In all, however, hot coffee is to be had at all hours and
every kind of a drink is on tap. The _zincs_ are little bits of places
where you get hot coffee, beer or a _petit verre_. Coal and wood
merchants also serve alcohol. In the more humble streets (which are to
be found in every quarter), cafés are dirty stuffy places, known as
_débits_. Rare is the "drinking-place" that has not its _terrasse_. This
may be only a chair or two and a single table on the side-walk.

The _terrasses_ of restaurants as well as of cafés are maintained
throughout the winter. It is a familiar sight to see a table-cloth
flapping in the wind, held down by a salt-cellar and a mustard-pot. The
days are few that you cannot sit out. It does not get very cold in Paris
and an awning protects you from the rain. In some of the boulevard cafés
the _terrasses_ are actually heated by stoves!

The Paris café is wholly different from the American saloon. None thinks
it is wrong to drink in France. Total abstinence is a funny American
idea to our friends overseas. Taking a drink in public is as natural as
putting your arm around your girl in public. Everybody does it. You
rarely see a drunken man or woman just as you rarely see poverty.
Alcoholism (by which is meant poisoning the system and breaking down the
health by excessive use of alcohol) is an evil France has to combat as
much as any other country. But the French have never had it preached to
them that the evil can be overcome by prohibiting the use of wines and
liquors or by the example of a part of the community voluntarily
abstaining for the sake of weaker brothers. The anti-alcohol movement in
France does exist. As the maintenance of war legislation against
absinthe and kindred spirits proves, it has public opinion behind it.
But the connotation of _alcoholic_ is limited in France. The Gallic
sense of proportion prevents the French from extremes in anything. Since
they do not drink to excess, they have no reason for regarding beer and
wines as alcohol. Often your French friends tell you that they never
touch alcohol. In the same breath they offer you delicious wine.

Scruples understood and appreciated in America are often meaningless
when you live in another country. Stick to your white ribbon principles
if you will, but do not persist in your notion that cafés are places
where it is not respectable to be seen. Why cut yourself off from an
indispensable feature of Paris life?

[Illustration: The Panthéon from the Rue Soufflot]

The hour of the _apéritif_ finds the _terrasses_ of the cafés crowded.
You may have difficulty in getting a place outside. Having worked all
day and perhaps having walked home, the Parisian saves a half hour
before dinner for his appetizer. He sits at the little table in front of
his favorite café and watches the passing crowd. It is no hastily
swallowed cocktail, leaning against a bar and shut off from eyes like
mine by a swinging screen door. It is no prerogative of man. Sometimes
on week days and always on Sundays, his wife and children are with him.

When we were living in the Rue Servandoni, we got into the habit of
going out for our after-dinner coffee. The reason was probably the same
as that of most Parisians. Living quarters were small. The baby was
asleep in the front room. Toward the end of the month especially we were
not always in a position to keep the tiny dining-room fire replenished
all evening. We thought of the gas bill. We liked to get a little air.
We were fond of music. Arm in arm we would walk along the Rue Vaugirard
to the Boul' Miche. From the Closerie des Lilas near the Observatoire to
the river you had plenty of choice for your after-dinner coffee. At the
foot of the Rue Soufflot is the Café du Panthéon. On the corner of the
Rue de la Sorbonne is the Café d'Harcourt. Just off the boulevard, on
the Rue de l'Ecole de Medecine, is the Taverne Pascal. These were our
favorites. Pascal has no _terrasse_. We went there when it rained or
when we thought of Munich beer. Harcourt used to have a red-coated
orchestra, and was the gayest place on the Boulevard Saint-Michel. At
the Panthéon you paid two sous more, but the coffee was better. We never
had to spend more than a franc for the two of us. A checker-board or
cards could be had of the waiter. If you wanted to write letters, you
asked for a blotter and pen and ink.

Just around the corner from us, on the Rue de Tournon, was the
Concerts-Rouges, the blessed institution to make unnecessary the tragedy
of would-be musician and singer failing to get a hearing. Pianists,
violinists, cellists and future opera stars had a place to put on their
own concerts at little cost. We were the audience. Of course it was not
all amateurs: the management had to promise an audience. A good
orchestra gathered around the stove in the middle of the room. You sat
in a chair such as they have in school rooms, whose right arm spread out
generously to give space for your notebook. There was room, too, for
coffee-cup or stein. The only rule of the Concerts-Rouges was silence.
You could move your chair away from the music. When you were not
interested in the number, you read or wrote. Many theses and dramas and
poems have been worked out in the Concerts-Rouges.

The Boulevard du Montparnasse, which has since become our home, was not
too far from the Rue Servandoni to be frequented for after-dinner
coffee. The Dôme, on the corner of the Boulevard Raspail, and
Versailles and Lavenue, opposite the Gare Montparnasse, were
after-dinner coffee haunts where friendships that have lasted through
the years were formed. We still sit there. Lavenue, after five years of
silence, again offers music. But we miss Schumacker, beloved of the
Quarter, who fell, they say, in the ranks of the enemy. His face is one
of those I cannot forget. I see him now, blue eyes and bright smile and
bushy hair, bending over his violin on the little platform by the piano.
He seemed to play his heart out and never tired. I always like to write
my letters at Lavenue. When I called for "_de quoi écrire_," the waiter
brought a tiny bottle of ink, spillable and square, sheets of ruled
writing paper and the cheapest quality of manila envelopes in a black
oilcloth folder, whose blotter never blotted. But you did not care. You
listened to the music after each page until it dried.



CHAPTER XV

REPOS HEBDOMADAIRE


In Philadelphia you still find shutters with the rings at the middle of
their closing edge. To one of the rings is tied a piece of tape. In my
grandfather's house of a Sunday the shutters were together almost to the
touching point and held that way by the tape tied to the other ring. A
vertical bar of sunshine filtered through the slit. The parlor was cool
and quiet. Nothing moved. My father told me that when he was a little
boy he had to sit at one of those windows all Sunday afternoon
memorizing passages from the Bible. I wonder if in America there are
still many families who install in their children a repugnance for the
Scriptures by this sort of torture, whose observance of Sunday is
reached by a process of elimination of everything a normal person would
instinctively choose to do on a day of rest, and where there are more
don'ts for the children on Sunday than on Monday. Sunday seems to me a
happier day in America now than it was twenty-five years ago. But for
all that we do not enjoy it the way the French do. Until I lived in
France I never knew the full meaning of what I was singing in the hymn,
"O day of rest and gladness."

The French dress up for Sunday as we do. I suppose as large a proportion
of the Parisians go to church as of Americans in any large city. But
once mass is over the day is given to recreation--and recreation out of
doors. What is more depressing than an English or American city on
Sunday? Sunday in Paris is the most animated day of the week. The French
word _endimanché_ is translated in dictionaries "in Sunday best." It has
a wider connotation. A place as well as a person can be _endimanché_.
The word brings up to the mind of one who has lived in Paris crowds,
laughter, fun, open air. How different from sitting on a chair in a room
with bowed shutters when common sense would dictate getting your lungs
filled with fresh air and worshipping God in communion with nature!

In the Rue Servandoni days we came to know the joy and benefit of the
Continental Sunday. And ever since we have brought up our children to
look forward to Sunday as the best day of the week, the out-of-doors
day, when the family could be together from morning to night.

The great thing about Sunday in Paris is that fathers and mothers and
children go out together, all bound for the same place, and stick
together. The family includes grandfathers and grandmothers, who are
always given the best places in the train, the choicest morsels to eat
and who to the day of their death are the adored center of the family
party. Mother carries the _filet_, a big net with handles filled with
good things to eat, and the baby too small to navigate alone is held in
father's strong arms. You can tell little sisters--and even big
ones--for they are dressed alike. Trams and trains for Versailles, the
Bois de Bologne, Saint-Germain-en-Laye and a dozen other equally
attractive suburbs are not taken by assault. The family waits in line at
the tram station, young and old clutching the precious little tickets
that tell them when it is their turn to get places. Everybody has his
chance, and there is no need to worry about grandmother or the baby.
Trams are not overcrowded: there are seats for all. If there is not the
money to go far from home, or if the weather is too threatening, each
quarter has its park, the Luxembourg, Montsouris, Monceau,
Buttes-Chaumont, Jardin des Plants, Vincennes, or the simple _squares_.
For two cents you have the right to sit on chairs near the band-stand.
First come, first served. The only restriction here is that
baby-carriages must stay outside of the enclosure for music-lovers. In
the baby-carriage zone, nobody minds if a baby howls: you may be in the
same condition at the next minute.

Merry-go-rounds, Punch and Judy, swings and donkey-carts are everywhere
to be found for the children. At four o'clock the woman with fresh rolls
goes by. Hot _gauffrette_ and hokey-pokey venders are always near at
hand. If you do not want hokey-pokey, there is _coco_ to drink. The
innocent Sunday fun is not "the kind of thing no-one would think of
doing." Once I was waiting for the wife of a professor of the Ecole de
Guerre, who was later a brilliant general on the Marne. It was Sunday
afternoon. She excused herself for being late. "I stopped in the square
to listen to the band, and I had to have some _coco_. I never can pass a
_coco_ cart," she explained. More than once have I seen a mother,
elegantly dressed, come hurrying to the garden, sit down on a bench, and
nurse a baby handed to her by a nurse in cap and ribbons. I have done
that myself. Is there anything shocking about this? It is the natural
out-of-doors instinct. Distinguished looking gentlemen wearing rosettes
of the Legion of Honor head family excursions. They do not mind pushing
baby-carriages, either.

On a good day the Seine boats are crowded. From Charenton to
Saint-Cloud, there is an endless procession of boats on a Sunday.
Parisians never tire of the spectacle of their city from the river. They
name the bridges as they pass under them and tell their stories to the
children. River clubs abound, and all Paris seems afloat in row-boats
and canoes. From one end of the city to the other the banks of the Seine
are lined with fishermen who seem never to become discouraged. Seine
boating is not without its dangers. But in the Bois de Boulogne the most
inexperienced learn to row and paddle in the shallow water of the lakes.
A miniature railway crosses a corner of the Bois from the Porte Maillot
to the Jardin d'Acclimatation, where kiddies can ride on elephants and
camels or be drawn by ostriches and zebras.

No park is too small to have its ducks and swans with unlimited capacity
for bread-crumbs, its band-stand, its open-air restaurant where drinks
are served and you bring your own food, and its place without grass
where you can stretch your own tennis-net between trees.

The Seine boats, the subway, and many tram lines land you at the foot of
the Eiffel Tower. An elevator quickly takes you above Paris for a view
that was unique before the days of aeroplanes. Near by is the Great
Wheel, always revolving from morning to night on Sundays. Parisians do
not feel the lack of the roofs of skyscrapers when they want to look
down on their city.

For several hundred yards around the fortifications of Paris the law
forbids the erection of permanent buildings: at least, if you do build
in stone and mortar, you risk having your house destroyed, as many found
to their cost in 1914. This enormous land surface, between the city and
suburbs is covered with wooden shacks of rag-pickers and junk-dealers.
Everyone seems to have a very small holding, as the ground is of little
value either for residential or manufacturing purposes. Here thousands
of Parisians own cabins and have miniature vegetable gardens, which they
cultivate on Sunday, dreaming of the day when there will be enough
money in the bank to retire permanently to some quiet country spot. They
come home with arms filled with vegetables and flowers.

In the year at the Rue Servandoni Herbert and I started to explore on
Sundays the _banlieue_ of Paris. Despite increasing "encumbrances" of
different ages, we have managed to keep up our delightful excursions
from early spring to chestnut time, and often on winter Sundays. But we
do not pretend to have exhausted in ten years the possibilities of
Sunday afternoons. We are always discovering new excursions for the
_repos hebdomadaire_.



CHAPTER XVI

"MANY WATERS CANNOT QUENCH LOVE"


Higher than 1883; higher than 1879; higher than 1876; higher than 1802;
higher than 1740; higher than 1699; equalling the flood of 1658, the
worst in the history of Paris; finally breaking all records, both as to
height attained and as to damage done, such was the daily crescendo of
the press in recording the progress of _la Grande Crue_ during the last
week of January, 1910. No investing army, no Commune, no revolution,
threatened Paris this time. The best friend of Paris had turned against
her. For several days the older generation, who passed through the
trials of 1871, recalled painful memories and feared a worse peril from
the Seine than from the German invaders or the Internationalists.

In the third week of January, from Tuesday to Friday, we were concerned
over the news of devastation wrought by floods in different parts of
France. There was much damage and suffering in our own suburbs.
Sympathetic editorials appeared in the newspapers: relief funds were
opened. On Friday afternoon, when we were taking a walk along the
_quais_ of the Rive Gauche, we had no suspicion what was going to
happen.

Only on Saturday did Paris begin to worry for herself. Neuilly and
Courbevoie were flooded. Loroy reported ten drowned. The Seine, within
the city limits, suddenly rose ten feet. The first subway tunnel, that
of the "Métro" from the Chatelet under the Cité to the Place
Saint-Michel, was filled with water. The river spread into the original
"Métro" line under the Rue de Rivoli. The second tunnel, that of the
"Nord-Sud," was an easy prey because it was still in the course of
construction. The Gare d'Orléans was invaded. Its tracks, which parallel
the left bank of the river under the _quais_, disappeared. The Gare
d'Invalides, whose line runs the opposite direction along the Seine, was
also flooded.

On Sunday morning we heard that in the Rue Félicien-David people were
rowing around in boats. We thought this interesting enough to invest in
a _fiacre_, and took Scrappie in the afternoon to Auteuil. On the way,
we got out and wormed ourselves through the crowd to hear the waters
swishing around the stair-cases down to the train levels at the two
flooded stations. When we reached the Rue Félicien-David and actually
saw people in boats, we bought photographs from an enterprising hawker,
wanting to preserve this souvenir of Paris. Little did most of the crowd
dream that within a few days they would not have to go farther than
their own front windows to see such a sight!

On Monday evening everyone realized that the flood was not a curious
spectacle but a disaster. The river had been rising at the steady rate
of an inch an hour, and by nightfall was sixteen feet above its normal
height. Herbert decided to report the flood. This justified a taxi-cab
by the day. As this was an unheard-of luxury for the Gibbons family,
which had few chances to ride in automobiles at that stage of its
evolution, of course the baby and I decided to profit by the
opportunity, even though it was winter and not the best time of the year
for joy-rides. Anyway, I was interested in the great drama that was
being enacted, and we could tell Scrappie about it later. From notes
taken at the time, I am able to reconstruct the story of days as
stirring as any of those during the Great War.

On Monday afternoon we went up and down the _quais_. All the river
industries, with their wooden buildings squatting on the river bank
under the shelter of the solid ramparts of the _quais_, were swept away.
Freight and customs stations and depots came within the grasp of the
river. At the Entrepôt de Bercy and the Halle aux Vins, barrels of the
spirits and wine were first gently floated and then drawn out into the
angry stream. The water in the Nord-Sud tunnel was threatening the Gare
Saint-Lazare. The Eiffel Tower moved slightly.[C] The cellars of the
public buildings along the river front--Palais de Justice, Chambre de
Deputés, Hôtel de Ville, Monnaie, Institut, Chancellerie de la Légion
d'Honneur, Grand Palais, Louvre--were gradually flooded until their
furnishings were extinguished. At Billancourt we saw the inundation of
the Renault automobile works and the Voisin aeroplane factory. The
effect of the latter disaster reached as far as Heliopolis in Egypt,
where an Aviation Week was scheduled. In those days aeroplanes were in
their infancy and depended upon a single factory for their motors.

[C] My critic says this is not true. He did not see it, and he doesn't
think it is possible that the Tower would have remained standing, if it
had moved during the flood of 1910. But I find this statement in my
notes. Why shouldn't the Eiffel Tower move? I reminded my critic that we
had seen together on our honeymoon at Pisa a tower that had been leaning
for centuries. I do not intend to cross out this statement about the
most striking landmark of Paris, the participant in most of my vistas.

Tuesday morning a heavy snow was falling. Awakened early by an
explosion, we thought that the Pont de l'Alma was being blown up. This
heroic measure had in fact been contemplated by the city engineers in
order to prevent the backing up of the water into the Champs-Elysées
district. The flood was rapidly gaining street after street in Auteuil
and Charenton. A rumor was afloat that we would soon be cut off from the
outside world. This meant a run on provisions and profiteering by
shopkeepers. We yielded to the common impulse and laid in kerosene and
potatoes for ourselves and condensed milk for Scrappie, paying double
prices and thinking we were lucky in having a chance to buy.

On Wednesday morning commenced what we regarded at the time as a real
reign of terror. Underground communication ceased. Owing to the
inundation of their power houses, electric-trams stopped running. The
subway station at Bercy collapsed. Sewers began to burst in all quarters
of the city. A subterranean lake formed under the Rue Royal from the
Place de la Concorde to the Madeleine, and the street was closed to
traffic. In front of the Louvre and at the Pont de la Concorde soldiers
worked night and day raising the parapets higher and building barricades
with paving-stones and bags of cement. By evening the water had reached
a height of thirty feet, breaking all records since 1799. Refugees began
to pour into the city by the thousands and were lodged in the old
Seminary of Saint-Sulpice near us, the Panthéon and other public
buildings. The Red Cross began to be displayed throughout the city.
Boats and sailors arrived from seaports. The markets required
substantial police protection to prevent mobs from taking them by storm.

On Thursday and Friday the fight against the ever-rising waters was
continued with desperate energy. In spite of all that human skill and
labor could accomplish, the Seine pushed its way over parapets and
through barricades, flooding rapidly the _quais_ and adjoining
quarters. By means of subways and sewers (channels opened to the river
by man's hand and that had not existed in the
seventeenth-and-eighteenth-century floods), districts far from the river
suffered equally. Auteuil, Grenelle, Charenton, Bercy were submerged. On
either side of the Trocadéro the palatial private homes of the _quais_
were in the Seine up to the second story. The river appropriated to
itself the entire length of Cours-la-Reine from the Pont de l'Alma to
the Pont de la Concorde, reached the fashionable restaurants at the foot
of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, and partly surrounded the two palaces
of Fine Arts, souvenirs of the Exposition of 1900. The streets between
the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the river formed a transplanted
Venice.

Hotels and stores on the Rue de Rivoli, the Théâtre Français--and even
the Opéra--found their heat and light cut off by the attack of the
Seine. Far away from the _quais_, in the neighborhood of the Gare
Saint-Lazare, the Seine, following the subway tunnel, burst forth into
the Place du Havre and the Cour de Rome. Hasty barricades were of no
avail. One could hardly trust his eyes when he looked up the Boulevard
Haussmann from the Opéra and saw boats flitting back and forth as far as
Saint-Augustin and the Boulevard Malesherbes. On the Rive Gauche the
aspect of Paris grew even more alarming. The Esplanade des Invalides and
the Quai d'Orsay joined the Seine. Soldiers threw a pontoon bridge
across the Esplanade for pedestrians. But taxi-cabs and buses were
compelled to plunge into the water hub-high. We saw motor-drawn vehicles
stalled because the water had reached their engines, while the
old-fashioned _cochers_ went merrily by, proud of their superiority. All
the people in _fiacres_ had to do was to put their feet up on the
_cocher's_ box. The Chamber of Deputies and the Ministery of Foreign
Affairs were approachable by boat. The angle formed by the Boulevard
Saint-Germain, the Quai d'Orsay and the Rue du Bac was all under water.
In this angle the Rue d'Université and the Rue de Lille were practically
inaccessible. We who lived in the Latin, Luxembourg and Montparnasse
Quarters could reach the Seine only by the Rue Dauphine or the Boulevard
Saint-Michel. For increasing torrents soon covered the Rue des
Saints-Pères, the Rue Bonaparte and the Rue de Seine. We had never
realized before how the early builders of Paris, in their determination
to stick to the river for purposes of defence, had reclaimed ground much
lower than the flood level of the Seine, relying upon the masonry of the
_quais_ to keep back the river. In modern times we have undermined the
natural defences of the Rive Gauche by bringing our railways to the
center of the city, by our sewers and by the subways. When you are on a
Seine river-boat, you can see all along the river how we have opened up
the city to floods. Paris, honeycombed underground, fell an easy prey
to the fury of the river. The very skill that added to the material
comfort and well-being of the city made Paris vulnerable when the
unexpected and unprecedented happened.

The Jardin des Plantes, set apart originally for botanical purposes as
its name indicates, has gradually become the Paris "Zoo." Many American
tourists go there because it is the place where Cuvier worked and do not
realize that it is the home of wild animals also. The Jardin
d'Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne is more visited, and I have
often heard my compatriots express surprise at the paucity of what they
think is the Paris "Zoo." The Jardin des Plantes is less fashionable but
much richer in its variety of animals. As it is on the river, it was
invaded by the flood. In the first days, before we realized the calamity
of the rising waters, the Jardin des Plantes was thronged with visitors.
Interest centered around the bear-pits. The polar bears alone seemed to
enjoy splashing in the icy waters. The climbers were soon treed. It was
an engineering feat to rescue them with planks and prod them into
portable cages. The non-climbers narrowly escaped drowning. We watched
them lifted out by cranes, caught in sturdy nets. This was the only
means of rescue as they tore with their claws the bands that were first
placed around them by men whose only experience had been lifting horses
and cows from pits.

When the river broke all records, the whole garden was flooded. Many
keepers were prevented from reaching their posts. The police took
charge. Food supplies were lacking, and the few keepers on hand did not
dare to let their dangerous charges loose. The furnaces were flooded and
there was no heat. In the monkey-houses the shivering animals, perched
high, scolded and growled with chattering teeth. We saw them form a
swinging bridge to lift out of the water's reach one of their number who
seemed unable to climb. Lions and tigers, cold and hungry, roared and
dashed themselves against their bars until the belated order arrived to
shoot them. The hippopotamus, contrary to tradition, drowned. Only the
birds, proud possessors of the secret of aviation, were superior to the
calamity. Here was the occasion for a new Noah. But alas, not even an
ark arrived, and it took Paris many years to restock the garden. Even
now there are no giraffes like those that used to look at us from their
sublime heights.

On the River Droite, the Gare de Lyon was an island. Nearer the flood
took possession of the Quai des Grands Augustins with its famous book
shop, and, on the other side of the Place Saint-Michel, the quaint old
streets up to the Place Maubert. A depression there, where the walls of
old Paris once stood, brought the flood up to the roofs of some little
houses.

In the Rue Servandoni we escaped the flood: for the ground rises
steadily from the Boulevard Saint-Germain to Montparnasse. This put us
considerably above the reach of the river. On Friday afternoon, when we
were facing a danger that stupified all, the flood was at its height. We
conceived the idea of viewing it from the top of Notre-Dame. It was a
long process for us, as hundreds of others thought of the same thing,
and we could not both go up together. I waited with the baby in the taxi
while Herbert _faisait la queue_ (if you do not know what this
expression means it would be well to learn it before visiting Paris!)
After he came down I had my turn. I was cold enough to enjoy the climb.
The view from the top of the tower was unique. The next day would have
been too late. We caught the flood at its flood. Paris was swimming. On
both sides the cathedral had become an angry, menacing rush of water.
Debris and wreckage was choked against the bridge piers. One realized
that habit had given us a sense of proportion to the cityscape. The
effect of diminished ground-floors and abbreviated lamp-posts and trees
was sinister. It was as if elemental forces, subdued and imprisoned when
the earth's surface cooled, had escaped. As I looked down on the scene,
I felt that abysmal water was breaking forth. Where would it end?

After leaving Notre-Dame we rode up one side of the river to Auteuil and
down the other, frequently forced to make long detours. Our remorseless
enemy was making sad inroads upon the Ile-Saint Louis, and it seemed as
if it would soon sweep away the Cité. The Sainte-Chapelle was almost
afloat, as were the Conciergerie and the Tour de l'Horloge. The river
surpassed the parapets. The arches of most of the bridges had vanished.
The colossal statues of the Pont de l'Alma were submerged to their
chins. At the Pont d'Auteuil the water reached the wreath around the
letter N. Although the newspapers warned us that they might be swept
away, the bridges were crowded with sightseers. Curiosity is stronger
than fear. The current carried every conceivable object. At the Pont
d'Arcole the calamity was forgotten in the sport of watching huge
barrels sucked one by one under an arch and jumping high in the air as
they came out on the other side.

Returning from Auteuil as darkness was falling, we had to pass above the
Trocadéro, the Rue de Bassano and the Champs-Elysées. Newsboys were
crying extras: "The river still rises!" We were in darkness. No lights
on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. An engineer regiment was fighting the
water in the Place de la Concorde by the light of acetylene lamps. The
wheezing of an old pump taking water out of the cellar of Maxim's was
the only sign of life on the gay Rue Royale. To return to the Rive
Gauche we had to go down to the Pont-Neuf. The other bridges were now
barred. Does it not speak eloquently for the genius of our ancestors
that, with bridges every few hundred feet, the only one that could be
trusted--the sole link between Rive Droite and Rive Gauche--was the work
of Henri IV at the end of the sixteenth century?

Our _chauffeur_, keeping up a running comment in which the hint as to
his expectation of a substantial _pourboire_ was uppermost, picked his
way as best he could back to the Rue Servandoni. We saw strange sights
that night, wooden paving-blocks floating in a messy jumble; a few
restaurants endeavoring to dispel the gloom with candles; soldiers with
fixed bayonets guarding the inundated quarters. It was bitter cold and
the glare of their fires was weirdly silhouetted in the rising waters,
mingled with the shadows of deserted houses.

The river reached thirty-one feet seven inches at midnight Friday.
During the rest of the night and Saturday it remained stationary.
Saturday evening it began to fall slightly, and on Sunday all Paris was
out in gay holiday attire to view the damage and to celebrate the
retreat of the enemy. Lightheartedness returned immediately. Why worry
about what was over? This is the credo of Paris. But we had seen during
the dark week of flood-fighting a prophetic revelation of the real
character of the people among whom we lived. Little did we dream that
the precious qualities shown in the flood crisis were to be brought out
more than once again in future years. In 1914 we were not surprised at
the courage, persistence, unflagging energy and solidarity with
suffering of the Parisians. The flood, as I look back on it, did more
damage to Paris than was done during the war by German bombs. It was a
more formidable enemy than the Germans. I remember the comment of my old
Emilie: "_Mon Dieu_, this thing is worse than fire. You can fight fire
with water, but with what can you fight water?"

When the newspapers Sunday morning assured us that the danger was over,
I realized how wonderful had been the struggle of civilians and soldiers
against the elemental. It was a manifestation of their love for their
city. And in the quick and generous relief given on all sides--and
unostentatiously--to those who were driven from their homes was the
proof that hearts beat fast and firm to help fellow-citizens as well as
to save the historic monuments that line the banks of the Seine. That is
why, when Herbert went out to preach in the Rue Roquépine church, I gave
him his text from the Hebrew songster: "Many waters cannot quench love;
neither can the floods drown it."



CHAPTER XVII

REAL PARIS SHOWS


For many years the old expression that we can't get rid of, "the Salon,"
has been a misnomer. There are five Salons, and, as going to see the
season's pictures and statues is a form of amusement and distraction in
Paris on a par with theatrical productions, all five are equally
important. Even if one desires to judge by the standard of art,
establishing categories of excellence and importance is impossible. The
longer one lives in Paris, the more one realizes the absolute lack of
criteria in judging artistic achievement. Painters and sculptors, poets
and playwrights and authors, singers and actors do not acknowledge the
existence of the jury of public opinion, much less newspaper critics,
art juries, _premiers prix_, medals, and organizations. Schools are
legion: standards are the taste and liking of the individual. So we let
those who claim temperament and genius have their chance, and we go to
the five Salons with equal zest, just as we look constantly for lights
under a bushel to please us far from the Académie Française and other
bodies of the Institut. In June the two "regular" Salons exhibit
separately, although simultaneously, in the Grand Palais. There is an
autumn Salon of the progressives. The humorists and cartoonists have
their own Salon. Last, but not least (in numbers!) the independents
exhibit what they please in wooden buildings erected on Cours-la-Reine.

On a late June afternoon in 1914, I stood on the steps of the Grand
Palais, after an afternoon in the two big Salons--I mean to say
principal Salons--no, in order to escape criticism let me put it "most
universally accepted as important" Salons. It was raining hard. I never
saw the water come down in sheets the way it did that afternoon. Cabs
were of course unobtainable. The wind made umbrellas no protection. And
I was wearing my best frock. What a bother! Hundreds waited as I did,
preferring the additional fatigue of standing herded almost to
suffocation to spoiling their clothes. Suddenly, the rumor spread of a
flood, a flood as disastrous as 1910. Only this time the water came from
above. So heavy was the rainfall that sewers were bursting and new
excavations for subway extension were caving in. Enterprising newsboys
brought us the evening papers with scare headlines. Not far from where
we were an hour earlier choirboys, going home from practice, were
swallowed up in the earth in front of Saint-Philippe-de-Roule. A
taxi-cab hurrying along the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré disappeared.
The earth opened up under a newspaper _kiosque_ and a shoe store at the
corner of the Boulevard Haussmann and the Rue du Havre. _Eboulements_
everywhere. The Place de l'Alma was a gaping hole, tramway tracks and
pavements falling into the new subway station.

[Illustration: Hôtel de Ville from the Pont d'Arcole]

My mind went back to the dark week of 1910, which I have just described.
Comments of the Salon crowd were identical in reaction to those we heard
after the flood. "Outrageous, the _incurie_ of the municipal
authorities! Something should be done to protect us against this
constant digging. Why, it won't be safe to stick your nose out of doors.
These awful accidents--in Paris, mind you! Something _must_ be done!"
For an hour it went on like that. Then the storm stopped. The sun, still
high at six in June, broke through the clouds. The wind died down. I
started up to the Champs-Elysées with the crowd. More newsboys! This
time the principal headline announced the trial of Madame Caillaux. The
Parisians--and I with them--went down into the Métro. An hour ago such a
risky undertaking would have caused us to shudder with horror. No more
underground for us! As I waited in line for my ticket, the man in front
of me said to his wife, "Now do you really think that Madame Caillaux--"

I laughed to myself. The Medes and Persians boasted of not changing
their laws. The Parisians could boast of not changing their mentality. A
danger over is a danger forgotten. Hurrah for the new sensation! My
readers may think me guilty of skipping suddenly backwards and forwards
in this book from one thing to something entirely different. But
remember that I am writing in Paris and about Paris. Paris is like that.
I went forward to 1914 to get an illustration for 1910. The very day
after we were sure the flood was going down, we lost interest in the
Seine. Our great project of an emergency channel for turning the Seine
at flood-time died in twenty-four hours and will not be revived until
Paris is actually being once more submerged. _Actualité_ is a word for
which we Anglo-Saxons have no equivalent. It means the
thing-of-the-moment-which-is-of-prime-interest. And the press can create
a new _actualité_ overnight.

The Government did this several times during the war in order to relieve
a tense internal political situation. During the last German drive we
had the affair of the false Rodins, and we turned to read about the new
statue exposed as a fake each day before we looked for the new German
advance. When the Clemenceau Cabinet was threatened, a twentieth-century
Bluebeard, with the police daily discovering new wives, was dished up to
us every morning in all the papers.

Back in 1910 we turned from the flood to _Chantecler_. After seven years
of heralding and "puffing," after many mysterious delays that whetted
the appetite, the management of the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin
announced that the curiosity of Paris would be rewarded at the end of
January. The flood was the last postponement. The waters had hardly
begun to recede before public interest was again centred upon
_Chantecler_. When the _répetition générale_ was given on February
sixth, oldest inhabitants and historians of the French theatre were
agreed that not even Hernani nor yet _Le Mariage de Figaro_ had created
so universal an anticipatory interest. Was _Chantecler_ merely an
eccentric literary endeavor or was it to prove a practical theatrical
venture? More than any living writer Rostand had been able to win for
his plays recognition as literature and recognition as "money-winners"
in the theatres of foreign countries as well as his own.

Looking back over a decade I may be wrong in comparing a past with a
present event. But I honestly believe that there was far more interest
in Paris in what was going on at the Porte-Saint-Martin on the evening
of February 6, 1910, than in what took place at Versailles on the
afternoon of June 28, 1919. Interest was lost in the Treaty of
Versailles before it was signed. _Chantecler_ had a fighting chance to
succeed. Just as the curtain started to rise before the cream of French
literary and theatrical circles there was a cry of "_Pas encore!_" M.
Jean Coquelin sprang up from the prompter's box in conventional evening
dress. Was there to be another postponement--a fiasco in the presence of
the invited guests? No: for M. Coquelin began to recite a prologue,
inimitably phrased. He told the audience that they were to be introduced
to a barnyard as soon as the farmer's family had gone. It was Sunday
afternoon, and when the chores were finished, the animals would be left
to themselves. As he spoke, numerous illustrative sounds came from the
stage. We heard the young girls going off with a song on their lips, the
wheels of a receding carriage, the bells of the village church, and
shots of hunters out for their Sunday sport. Then M. Coquelin
disappeared, and the curtain went up.

The first two acts were wildly received. The third act was too long and
modernisms marred the beauty of the verse. The lyrical continuity of the
play was broken by the introduction of a purely satirical effect. The
real reason for lack of sustained interest was the mental confusion and
weariness of having to imagine the actors as animals. The human mind is
incapable of receiving through the sense of vision a representation of
the unreal, where the real is at the same time glaringly evident, and
keep clear, harmonious, concordant images. No ingenuity could make an
actor's figure like a bird's. And then humans do not differ in size like
birds. There was no way of approximating widely different proportions of
the rooster, the black-bird, the pheasant and the nightingale.

In watching _Chantecler_ I had the same painful impression of how we are
handicapped by the multiplicity of necessities we have created for
ourselves in modern days as I had in watching the flood. Our evolution
has bound us fast with chains of our own forging. Physically and
mentally, we have manufactured so many props to lean upon that we can no
longer stand on our own feet. _Chantecler_ cannot be compared with the
animal plays of Aristophanes for in Greek drama there was no attempt to
present to the spectators a visual image in harmony with the audile
image. Nor even in Shakespeare's time was the dramatist limited by the
difficulties of a _mise en scène_. A Midsummer Night's Dream was an
easier proposition for the Elizabethan actor than for Sir Herbert
Beerbohm Tree, despite the properties of Her Majesty's Theatre, the
hidden orchestra playing Mendelssohn's music, and the magic aerial
ballets.

Our next "real show" was the political campaign for the new Chamber of
Deputies that was to inaugurate the fifth decade of the Third Republic
on June first. Herbert spent an inordinate amount of time, I thought, in
puzzling out the voting strength of the Ministerialist and Opposition
groups, and patiently wrote articles for American magazines about
Radical Socialists, Clemenceau and Caillaux, to vary his Turkish
articles. But whether he treated of French leaders and politics or of
Venizelos or of the Young Turks, his articles invariably came back with
a polite rejection slip. We put them away and sold them later, when they
were out of date, for more than we would have gotten then. Our money for
writing came from the _Herald_, and we realized that if you want to
make your living by writing the anchor to a newspaper is not lightly to
be weighed.

But though I was not even mildly interested in Radical Socialists,
Republicans of the Left, Independent Socialists, Progressists and what
not, I did like to go to political meetings. They were good for your
French and good for the opportunity of studying the influence of
politics upon the Latin character. How the French love meetings! They
use our English word instead of _réunion_, just as they always speak of
self-government. But they are not at all like us in politics. There are
as many parties as there are leaders, and their campaigns center around
personalities, not principles.

In 1910, the first round of the election was on April 24, and the final
round on May 8. It just happened that May first was a Sunday, and fell
between the two election Sundays. Throughout the Third Republic, Labor
Day has been a time of fear and trembling for the Paris _bourgeoisie_.
The Cabinet is always anxious on May first. You never can tell what is
going to happen when crowds gather in Paris: so the wise Government does
not allow trouble to be started. Encouraged by the success of their
Ferrer demonstration on the Boulevard de Clichy a few months before, the
revolutionary elements decided to make May Day a big event with the hope
of influencing the second round of the elections. Premier Briand decided
there would be no May Day parade. Believing that the Government would
not dare to come into conflict with them in the midst of their election
struggle, workingmen's unions plastered Paris with boastful posters
announcing a monster demonstration in the Bois de Bologne, followed by a
parade to the Place de la Concorde. This was in open defiance to the
law, which requires a permit for gatherings in the open air and for
parades. But M. Briand was equal to the occasion. Saturday night he
threw twenty thousand troops into Paris. They bivouacked in the Place de
la Concorde, the Place de l'Etoile, and in the Bois. I took Christine to
church. After the service, we went to the Bois for lunch. There were
troops on every road in the part of the Bois indicated in the posters as
the workingmen's rendez-vous. Here and there little tents with the Red
Cross flag were pitched, and to make the picture more impressive doctors
in white coats stood before the door. This scared the workingmen more
than the soldiers did. We saw many of them in their blue blouses. But
they took care not to stop or to walk in numbers.

The _bourgeoisie_ were able to rest easy. Assured that order would be
kept, fashionable Paris flocked in great numbers to the Longchamp races.
Of course we went, too. As Herbert had a story, he bought the best
seats. We were not far from President Fallières, and we saw the spring
fashions. Scrappie created as much of a sensation as some of the gowns.
People who frequent Longchamp are not in the habit of bringing babies
with them. But with me it is always, "love me, love my child."

The unions did not have good luck in the spring of 1910. But no more did
the clericals and monarchists. Hopes of a clerical reaction were
dissipated. Briand was as bitter against the orders as against the
unions. The royalists no longer count. We had many royalist friends.
Some we knew well enough to ask, "How goes the propaganda?" And they
knew us well enough to answer, "_Pas de blague! C'est à rire!_" "Stop
teasing me: it's a joke!" The Duke of Orleans has about as much chance
of being King of France as he has of being President of the United
States. In our estimates of political conditions are we not too apt to
judge France by her checkered past? There is no government in Europe
more assured of stability than the French Republic: and this was as true
in 1910 as it is in 1919.

Public lectures are a source of diversion to Parisians. We Americans
think that we are great on listening to ourselves and others talk. But
crowds in France do not need a political campaign, a religious revival
or a return from near the North Pole to come together for a lecture. The
most surprising topics, treated by men who are not in the public eye,
draw attentive and assiduous audiences. Every day you have a wealth of
choice in free lectures in Paris. Some newspapers publish the lecture
program of the day just as naturally as they publish the theatrical
offerings. At the Sorbonne, the Collège de France, the Ecole des
Hautes-Etudes, the Ecole des Sciences Politiques, the Ecole des Chartes,
the various Musées, and a host of other organizations offer single
lectures and courses of lectures, week days and Sundays, either free or
for a very slight fee. Many of the best courses in the various Facultés
of the University of Paris are open to the public. Just to give one
instance of popular interest in a rather technical subject, we used to
attend the courses in physical geography of Professor Brunhes at the
Collége de France. That year he was treating the formation of the
mountainous center of France. If you did not go early, your chances of a
seat were slim. There were always people standing thronged at the doors
way out into the hall. This was not unusual. Any man who knew his
subject and who could treat it with vigor and wit was sure of a _salle
comble_. His subject did not matter. One did not have to spend money:
free courses were as attractive as those for which a fee was charged. We
discovered that Parisians never cease going to school. One is accustomed
to see only young faces in the class-rooms of American universities. In
the Sorbonne and the Collège de France there are students from sixteen
to seventy.

If music is your passion, you can indulge it to the full in Paris. With
the Opéra and Opéra Comique and Opéra Municipal, there is something
that you really want to see every day, and when the music does not
particularly attract you, you can be sure of an excellent
_divertissement_, as the ballet spectacle is called. Parisians love
choregraphy. And there is choregraphy for all tastes and all moods.
Paris is the mother of the spectacle called _revue_. We have borrowed
the name but not the thing. No _revue_ can be successful in Paris unless
it possesses distinct quality in dances, costumes, _mise en scène_, and
especially in the dialogue. The _revue_ must reflect what Parisians are
thinking about, take into account _actualités_, and interpret the events
of the day. This means constant change in the dialogue, suppression of
old and introduction of new scenes, to the point where you can go to the
same _revue_ in the third month of its run and find something entirely
different as far as the lines go. For six months of the year the bands
of the Garde Républicaine and of the regiments stationed in Paris play
in the gardens and squares on Thursdays and Sundays. The Tuileries
offers from April to October open-air opera and concerts in the heart of
the city. You pay only for your chair.

The foreigner resident in Paris soon becomes aware that he does not have
to leave his own quarter to find a good evening's entertainment. Real
Paris shows are perhaps best to be found far from the Grands Boulevards,
Clichy and Montmartre. From the heights of superior opportunity one
does not want to look down upon the tourist and tell him that he doesn't
really see Paris. But the fact remains that when theatres and
music-halls and restaurants become rendezvous for foreigners they
insensibly lose their distinctive local atmosphere. They begin to cater
to the tourist trade and give their audiences what they come to see.
This is so true of the Folies-Bergère, the Casino de Paris and other
large music-halls that the program has become half English and the
actresses and choruses and clowns are as often of London as of Paris
origin. The same foreign invasion on the stage, following the invasion
in the audience, is to be found at the Ambassadeurs and Marigny on the
Champs-Elysées. Alas! even the Concert Mayol type of music-hall has
succumbed to the temptation of catering to the big world. English and
American "turns" are dragged in by the ears to enliven _revues_ for
those who do not understand French, and the spectacle has become a
totally un-Parisian jumble of vaudeville. But in the little music-halls
of the quarters one still finds the atmosphere that Parisians love and a
program offered to their taste. Herbert and I used to go to a theatre on
the Boulevard Saint-Germain, just off the Boulevard Saint-Michel, where
plays were typically Parisian. Another such theatre exists in the Rue de
la Gaité. In the same street are three music-halls that put on songs and
stage _revues_ for Parisians. There are probably a hundred theatres and
music-halls of this kind whose names do not appear in Baedeker, and
which have resisted successfully the first decade of cinema competition.

Last of all among real Paris shows the _foires_ must not be forgotten.
But I speak of these in another chapter because visiting them is a goal
for a _promenade_ and not the deliberate seeking of an evening's
entertainment. You take in a _foire_ as incidental to a walk, just as
your _apéritif_ or your after-dinner coffee is most often the price you
pay for a seat to watch the passing crowd, which, when all is said and
done, is the real Paris show.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE SPELL OF JUNE


My critic points out that after having been so enthusiastic about walks
at nightfall and having put myself on record as to the exceptional
advantages of seeing Paris in the dark on winter afternoons, rain or
shine, I shall be inconsistent in extolling daylight Paris. Why the
spell of June, when your walks are wholly in daylight? If it were
inconsistency, being a woman I should be within my rights to ask the
critic what he expected. But is it inconsistent? I think not. If I love
to go out in the rain, if I enjoy city streets at night time, it does
not follow that I do not enjoy good weather and the long days of June.
It is another aspect of Paris that we get in our walks. We have time to
go on longer excursions. We "do" the river and open spaces more than old
quarters. And, best of all, in the two Junes of our early married life,
we took the baby with us on our strolls. I felt the spell of June when
we returned to Paris from Turkey in 1909. I felt it more when we were
going back to Turkey in 1910. And ever since, the Paris June has had a
charm all its own, deepening with the years. However I may like autumn
and winter and spring, June is the best month. The spell is partly due
to the knowledge that one is soon going off to the shore or mountains
for the summer, and partly to the thought that it might be the last
June. Each year we have felt that we ought to return to America in the
autumn.

In the Rue Servandoni year, April and May were cold, wet months. Spring
fever did not get us until June. Then we decided that all the wisdom and
profit of our Paris year was not to be found in the Bibliothèque
Nationale. We began to divorce ourselves from daily study by the excuse
that we ought to get together a small library on Turkish history. Where
could the books be bought more advantageously than on the _quais_? From
the Pont des Saints-Pères to beyond Notre-Dame the parapets of the Rive
Gauche are used by second-hand booksellers for the display of their
wares. The _bouquinistes_ clamp wooden cases on the stone parapets. You
can go for more than a mile with the certainty of finding something
interesting at an astonishingly low price. There is no more delightful
form of loafing in the open air. The books are an excuse. They become a
habit. In order to prevent the habit from growing costly, you must make
out a budget. Some days you are only "finding out what is there"; other
days, before leaving home, you divest yourself of all the money in your
pocketbooks and wallet except what you feel you can afford to spend.
Then only are you safe! I do not know of a more insidious temptation to
buy what you do not need than loitering along the _quais_ of the Rive
Gauche. In a few days we spent all we could afford for Turkish history.
But the afternoon walk started earlier and ended later. We never tired
of the _quais_ and the river. We watched fishermen and the barges. We
were amused by the men who bathe and clip dogs. We explored the streets
between the Seine and the Boulevard Saint-Germain. We stood on the Pont
des Arts and watched the people coming home from work. We went often
into Notre-Dame. We glued our noses to the window-glass of the art print
shops around the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. We selected furniture (from the
side-walk!) displayed in the numerous antique shops of the Rue des
Saints-Pères, the Rue Bonaparte and the Rue de Seine. We always came
back at sunset, with the westward glow before us. That was when our
oldest daughter got the taste of going to bed late.

The narrowest street in Paris is the Rue de Venise, which runs from the
Rue Beaubourg across the Rue Saint-Martin to the Rue Quicampoix. But
neither in itself nor in its location is it as picturesque as the Rue de
Nevers, luring you from the Pont Neuf as you cross to the Rive Gauche.
Nowhere else in Paris is one so completely held by the past as in the
Rue de Nevers. Here stood the Tour de Nesle. The Mint now comes up to
one side of this street for a few hundred feet, but elsewhere it is on
both sides as it was in the time of Henri IV. Massive doorways, with
bars of iron and peep-holes covered with grating, tell the story of a
time when one relied upon himself for protection. No _agents_ in the
Paris of the fifteenth century! Going down to the river from the Rue
Servandoni, we always took the Rue de Nevers. In it Scrappie's carriage
seemed like a full-grown vehicle. There was always the nervous fear that
something would be thrown out on us from upper windows, not unjustified,
as more than one narrow escape proved. We used to say that when the baby
was grown up, we should enjoy taking her on one of the promenades of her
infancy, and especially through the Rue de Nevers. We have shown
Christine the street, and hope that she will remember it. But she will
never show it to her children. Some sanitary engineer, successor of
Baron Haussmann, has conceived a project of widening the Rue Dauphine.
The Rue de Nevers will soon disappear. Our only hope is that the war
will have delayed a long time the fulfillment of projects that mean the
disappearance of what remains of mediaeval Paris.

[Illustration: Market day in the Rue de Seine]

The Parisian who goes to New York marvels at our skyscrapers. He is
properly impressed with the hustle and bustle of the New World. But it
does not take him long to note the absence of wide boulevards and the
lack of _ensemble_ in the cityscape. Then he will invariably make two
comments: "There are no trees," and "There is no place to sit down."
Except the Eiffel Tower, Paris does not boast of a "biggest in the
world." It will take Americans centuries to acquire a sense of harmony
and proportion in city building. But shall we ever learn to bring the
out-of-doors into city life? Until we do learn the big American city
will be intolerable in the summer months. Paris, built on ancient
foundations, has increased to a city of millions, and one still feels
that an outing does not mean going to the country. Boulevards and
_quais_ are lined with trees. Every open spot has grass and flowers.
Best of all, when you want to sit down to read your paper or look at the
crowd, there is always a bench. You do not have to go home or indoors to
rest, and wherever you live, a park or boulevard is near at hand.
Parisians are as closely huddled together as New Yorkers. But they can
spend all their leisure time in the open. The privilege of sitting down
on a bench is a blessing. All the year round you can eat or drink out of
doors. I have often marveled at the criticism that the French dislike
open air, simply because they, like other Europeans, do not keep their
windows open at night. The Parisian lives far more in the open air than
the American does. To be out of doors day and night is a natural
instinct from the cradle to the grave. Trees and benches are a large
part of the spell of June in Paris.

Then there were the omnibuses with their _impériales_. When we did not
have the price of a cab, we could get on top of the Montsouris-Opéra or
Odéon-Clichy bus, and go for a few sous from south to north across the
river through the heart of Paris. We climbed to the _impériale_ of the
tram at Saint-Sulpice and rode to Auteuil, on the horse-drawn omnibus
from the Madeleine to the Bastille, from the Place Saint-Michel to the
Gare Saint-Lazare, from the Gare Montparnasse to La Villette, from the
Bourse to Passy, from the Panthéon to Courcelles. Alas! horses and
_impériales_ disappeared before the war. The last omnibus with three
horses abreast was the Panthéon-Courcelles line. It was replaced by
closed motor-bus in 1913. Each year, when June comes round, I long for
these rides. Horses, I suppose, are gone forever. But we still hope for
the revival of an upper story on our motor-buses. There never was--or
will be--a better way of having Paris vistas become a part of your very
being.

_Foire_ means fair. But the term is used for a much more intimate and
vital sort of a fair than we have. The French have big formal fairs in
buildings and grounds, where a little fun is mixed in with a lot of
business. But they have also small street fairs, solely for amusement,
and selling street fairs, where amusements have their full share. The
Paris _foires_ are a distinct institution. There is a regular schedule
for them, as for Brittany _pardons_. From the end of March to the
beginning of November you can always find a _foire_ in the city or the
suburbs. They are held out of doors, generally in the center of a
boulevard. Some of them are important institutions. In the business
_foires_ you range from scrap-iron, old clothes and nicked china and
disreputable furniture at the Porte Saint-Ouen and on the Boulevard
Richard Lenoir to the costliest Paris has to offer on the Esplanade des
Invalides and building materials and engines in the Tuileries. The
purely amusement _foires_ on the Quai d'Orsay, the Boulevard de Clichy,
and at Saint-Cloud stretch for blocks and are attended by all Paris. To
go to them is the thing to do.

But each quarter has its _foire_, underwritten by the shop-keepers and
café proprietors of the neighborhood. They are never widely heralded,
you stumble upon them by chance. And if you want to see real Paris the
little _foires_ give you the closest glimpse it is possible to get of
Paris at play. At the _foires de quartier_ there are no onlookers.
Everybody is taking part. If you do not feel the impulse to get on the
merry-go-round, the dipping boats, the scenic-railway; if you are averse
to having your fortune told; if you feel doubtful of your ability to
throw a wooden ring around the neck of a bottle of champagne; if you are
indifferent to the mysteries of the two-headed calf and the dancing
cobra; if your stomach does not digest _pain d'épice_ and candy made of
coal-tar; if you think your baby ought not to have a rubber-doll or a
woolly lamb or a jumping rabbit made of cat's fur--for heaven's sake
stay away from the _foires_!

Most of the neighborhood _foires_ are held in June. Whatever direction
you take for your evening walk, your ears will give you a goal towards
which to work. The merry-go-rounds have the same class of music as in
America, and the tricks of the barkers--their figures of speech
even--are the same. But the difference between our amusement parks and
the Paris _foires_ is the spontaneous atmosphere of the _foires_, their
setting improvised in the midst of the city, and the amazing childlike
quality of the fun. Seven or seventy, you enjoy the wooden horses just
as much. And there is no dignity to lose. You do not care a bit if your
cook sees you wildly pushing a fake bicycle or standing engrossed in the
front row of the crowd watching a juggler.

The glorious days of June, when we put work deliberately out of our
scheme of things, furnish opportunities for excursions of a different
character than those of Sunday. At the risk of being ridiculed again by
my critic, who has read my praise of _repos hebdomadaire_, I must
confess that Sunday has its drawbacks. The whole city is out on Sunday,
and every place is crowded. Your good time is somewhat marred all day
long by the anticipation of the crowded trains and trams, for a place in
which you wait with much less equanimity than when you left home in the
morning. On week days there are no waits and plenty of room. I can
entice my husband from his work--if it is June!

It is surprising how far afield it is possible to go at little drain on
your strength and pocket-book on a June week-day. We wanted just the
country sometimes. Then it was the valley of Chevreuse,
Villers-Cotteret, luncheon in a tree at Robinson, or the Marne between
Meaux and Château-Thierry. On a very bright day one could choose the
shade of Compiègne, Chantilly, Rambouillet, Versailles, Marly,
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Cloud, Fountainebleau, forests and parks
incomparable. Cathedral-hungry or in a mood for the past, Amiens,
Beauvais, Evreux, Dreux, Orléans, Mantes, Chartres, Sens, Troyes,
Rheims, Laon, Soissons, Noyon, and Senlis are from one to three hours by
train. A good luncheon at little cost is always easily found. And after
lunch you have no difficulty in getting a _cocher_ to take you to the
ruins of a castle or abbey for a few francs.

Inexhaustible as is the _banlieue_ of Paris you are always glad to get
back. From whatever direction you return, the first you see of the great
city is the Eiffel Tower. It beckons you back to the spell of June--in
Paris.



1913



CHAPTER XIX

CHILDHOOD VISTAS FOR A NEW GENERATION


In September, 1910, we went to Constantinople for just one year, as we
had gone to Tarsus for one year. But the lure of the East held us. We
loved our home up above the Bosphorus behind the great castle of Rumeli
Hissar. When the Judas-trees were ablaze and nightingales were singing
that first spring in Constantinople, we forgot Paris and rashly promised
to stay two years longer. Life was full of adventure, the war with
Italy, the war between Turkey and the Balkan States during which our
city was the prize fought for, cholera, the coming of our second baby,
and a wonderful trip in the Balkans. We would not have missed it, no,
but Paris called us again, and we decided to leave the political unrest
and wars of the Near East to return to the peaceful atmosphere of the
Bibliothèque Nationale.

My husband could not get away from Constantinople until the end of June
and then he wanted to pay his way back to Paris by traveling through the
Balkans again after peace was signed with Turkey. With my two children,
I sailed for Marseilles at the beginning of March and reached Paris just
in time to get the last weeks of winter. In the calendar seasons are
conventional. As in the United States, France frequently has winter
until April is well started.

I found a little apartment on the Rue du Montparnasse just north of the
Boulevard. From the standpoint of my friends I suppose the Quarter was a
bit more _comme il faut_ than the Rue Servandoni. I missed the
picturesqueness of our old abode with the _épicerie_ on the ground floor
and the _moyenageux_ atmosphere. But the change to the Montparnasse
Quarter had its compensations. The air, none too good in the great city,
is better around the Boulevard du Montparnasse than in any other part of
the city except Montmartre, Belleville and Buttes-Chaumont. You are on
high ground away from the heavy mists and dampness of the river.
Communications are excellent. You do not have to sacrifice the feeling
of being in a real vital part of Paris, either. We still lived in the
midst of historical association. If Gondorcet hid in the Rue Servandoni
from those who would have chopped his head off during the Terror,
Lamartine was hauled from a house on the Rue du Montparnasse by the
soldiers of Louis Napoleon at the beginning of the _coup d'etat_ of
1851, and to the Rue du Montparnasse flocked the cream of Paris on
Mondays to hear Sainte-Beuve during the Third Empire.

It was a new world opened for the eyes of Christine and Lloyd to live
cooped up in an apartment after the big house at Rumeli Hissar and to
have to walk through city streets to find a garden to play in instead of
simply stepping out of their own front door. But life has its
compensations--everywhere and at all times. You never get anything
without sacrificing something else for it. We have to choose at every
step, and we must turn away from some blessings to obtain others. I love
the country. Theoretically speaking, it is the best place to bring up
children. But living in the open does deprive them of the mental
alertness, of the broad vision from infancy, of the self-reliance, of
the habits of industry that childhood in the city alone can give. And
then, the doctor comes right away when you telephone.

Thirty-Eight Rue du Montparnasse was opposite Notre-Dame-des-Champs, and
only a door down from the Boulevard. From the windows my tots could see
the passing show on the boulevard: and the church was a never-failing
source of interest. Just opposite us was the sexton's apartment, tucked
into the roof of the church. It is characteristic of Paris that a home
should be hidden away in an unexpected corner like this. From the
windows Christine and Lloyd could see the little church children playing
on their flat roof, and out of the door below the choir boys passed in
and out. We went into our apartment at First Communion season. My
childhood enjoyed the "little brides of Christ" in their white dresses
and veils. Every day had its weddings and funerals. The children did
not distinguish between life and death. Whenever carriages stopped in
front of the church, they would jump up and down and shout, "_Mariage_!"

A little sister arrived at the beginning of May. When June came, I was
able to take Emily Elizabeth out to market. Every morning we went down
the Boulevard Raspail to Sadla's, on the corner of the Rue de Sèvres,
and twice a week to the market on the Boulevard Edgar-Quinet. They were
the blessed days, when I had no cook--which meant that I could buy what
I liked to eat, and no nurse--which meant that I saw something of my own
children. Servants are a necessary evil to the housewife and mother that
wants to see something of the world in which she lives. But an
occasional interlude, when everything devolves on mother, is good both
for her and the children.

During the war Sadla's went bankrupt, and for several years the corner
opposite the Hotel Lutetia has been desolate. Probably the firm failed
for the very reason that made it unique among the provision-shops even
of Paris, where the selling of food is as much a work of art as the
cooking of it. We loved Sadla's. Marketing there was always a joy. Your
baby-carriage was not an inconvenience: for everything was displayed
outside on the street. You started with fish and ended with fruit and
flowers, passing by meats and vegetables, canned goods, groceries,
pastry, cakes and candies. The fish swam in a marble basin under a
fountain. You made your choice, and the victim was netted by a
white-clad boy and flopped over the counter to the scales. Live lobsters
sprawled in sea-weed, and boiled ones lay on ice. Oysters from fifty
centimes to five francs a dozen were packed in wicker baskets, passed by
their guardian every few minutes under the fountain. In the _hors
d'œuvres_ and cold meat section, you had your choice of the cheapest
and the most expensive variety of tempting morsels. It made no
difference if you wanted a little chicken wing or a big turkey encased
in truffle-studded jelly, a slice of ham or a whole Yorkshire quarter,
one pickle or a hundred, twenty centimes worth of _salade Russe_ or an
earthenware dishful arranged like an Italian garden landscape, one
radish or a bunch of them. In Paris everybody is accustomed to
purchasing things to eat and drink of the best quality: so you do not
feel that the quality of what you want depends upon the quantity you ask
for. On the meat counters, for instance, single chops, and tiny cutlets
and roasts, and chickens of all sizes, are displayed side by side, each
with its price marked. Apples, pears, tomatoes, bananas, even plums, are
price-marked by the piece. Tarts and cakes are of all sizes. When you
come to flowers, you can buy single roses or carnations. I never tired
of shopping at Sadla's. Nor did the children.

Vegetables and fruits and nuts are mostly bought in the open markets or
from the _marchandes des quatre saisons_, who deal also in dairy
products and poultry and flowers. The markets are held on certain days
in different quarters. The women with push-carts line the streets every
day. They go early in the morning to the Halles Centrales and buy
whatever they find is the bargain of the day, and hawk in their own
quarter, announcing their merchandise by queer cries that even to the
well-trained ear of the French woman need a glance at the push-cart to
confirm what is at the best a guess.

It is fun to buy on the street, and the commodities and price are
sometimes an irresistible temptation. But you have to watch the
_marchandes des quatre saisons_. They have a way of throwing your
purchase on the scales in the manner of an American iceman, and you want
to be ready to put out your hand to steady the needle. Your eye must be
sharp too, to watch that some of the apples do not come, wormy and
spotted, from a less desirable layer underneath the selling layer. It is
a wonderful lesson in learning how to put the best foot forward to watch
the push-cart women arranging their wares on the side-walks around the
Halles Centrales before starting out on the daily round. From the
writings of Carlyle and other seekers after the picturesque, the legend
has grown that the _poissonnières_, who knitted before the guillotine,
are a race apart. But there is as much truth in this belief as in the
belief that our gallant marines did the trick alone at Château-Thierry.
Fish women are no more formidable among Parisiennes than the general run
of _marchandes des quatre saisons_. And ask almost anyone who has lived
in a Paris apartment about her concierge!

Fresh from Montenegro, Herbert reached our new home on the morning of
July fourteenth. He explained that he had left the Greeks and Serbians
and Bulgarians to fight over the Turkish spoils to their heart's
content. He was sick of following wars. He wanted to see his new baby.
It had come over him one night in Albania, when sleeplessness was due to
the usual cause in that part of the world, that by catching a certain
boat from Cattaro to Venice he could get home for the Quatorze.

After he had looked over his new acquisition, we started out for a
stroll by ourselves just to talk things over. We walked down the
Boulevard Montparnasse to the Place de l'Observatoire. Between the
Closerie des Lilas and the Bal Bullier was a big merry-go-round. The
onlookers were throwing multi-colored streamers at the girls they liked
the best among the riders. In the middle of the street a strong man in
pink tights was doing stunts with dumb-bells and the members of his
family.

The same thought came to us both. What a pity the children are missing
this! We hurried back for them, forgetting that we had promised
ourselves a long just-us talk to bridge the months of separation. And we
returned to join in the celebration, my husband pushing the
baby-carriage and I with progeny hanging to both hands. Why do children
drag so, even when you are walking slowly? Every mother knows how they
lean on her literally as well as figuratively.

That Quatorze was the beginning of a new epoch. A new generation was to
have childhood vistas of Paris, but parent-led and parent-shown, as it
had been for me thirty years before. For that is the way of the world.



CHAPTER XX

THE PROBLEM OF HOUSING


When you are in Paris without children you can get along in a hotel or a
_pension_: and you can probably live as cheaply as, if not more cheaply
than, in a home of your own. There are several combinations. Inexpensive
rooms (in normal times) can be found in good hotels: and there are lots
of hotels that take only roomers. You do not, as at a _pension_, have to
be tied down to at least two meals where you live. The advantages of a
furnished-room or a _pension_ are: easy to find in the quarter you wish
to live in; no bother about service; and no necessity to tie yourself up
with a lease. But if you are making a protracted stay, it is wise to
weigh at the beginning the disadvantages with the advantages. You get
tired of the food; you have to associate daily with people whom you do
not like; and--especially if you are of my sex--you have no place to
receive your friends. I think in the end most people who go to Paris and
who follow the line of least resistance, either because it is that or
because they have the idea that they can learn French quicker in a
"French _pension_," regret having missed the opportunity of a home of
their own, of a _chez soi_, as the French say. For you really cannot
feel that you belong in Paris unless you are keeping house. "Be it ever
so humble," you can set up your own home, if you are determined to do
so. There are innumerable wee apartments--a hall big enough to hang up
your coat and hat, a kitchenette, and a room where your bed can be a
couch disguised with a rug and pillows during the day. Studios furnish
another opportunity of making a home of your own. Of course, during the
war and since Paris has been overcrowded. But there will be a return to
normal conditions.

And if you have a family--even one baby--hotel or _pension_ life becomes
unendurable.

When Herbert came back from Turkey in the summer of 1913, we found the
three little rooms and kitchen of Thirty-eight Rue du Montparnasse too
small for us. The first thing Herbert did was to "give notice." The
Paris system of renting is very advantageous if one is looking for a
modest apartment. Your lease is by the term--a term being three
months--and can be canceled upon giving one term's notice. This means
that you're tied down for only six months in the beginning, and after
that for only three months. One can buy simple furniture, as we did in
the Rue Servandoni, and sell it at the end of the year without a great
loss. It is possible to rent an apartment for a year, furnish it and
sell out, at about the same price you would pay for a furnished
apartment. And you will have had the pleasure of being surrounded by
your own things.

The proposition of a furnished apartment looks better than it is. The
French are the worst people in the world for biting a penny. They are
meticulous to a point incomprehensible to Americans. The inventory is a
horror! In taking a villa, whether it be in Brittany, in Normandy, at
Aix-les-Bains, or on the Riviera, you are handed sheets of paper by the
arm's length, on which are recorded not only the objects in each room
but the state of walls, garden, woodwork, carpets, mattresses, pillows
and blankets. You wrestle with the agent when you enter. But he is
cleverer than you are. And when you come to leave, he finds spots and
cracks, nicks in the china, ink-stains, and all sorts of damages you
never thought of. He points to your signature--and you pay! You replace
what is broken or chipped by new objects. You repaint and repaper and
clean. The bill is as long as the inventory. And you find that your
original rent is simply an item.

I do not want to infer that you are entirely free from this annoyance
and uncertain item of expense when you lease unfurnished. Your walls and
ceilings and floors, your mirrors (which in France are an integral part
of the building) and your _charges_ are to be considered. An architect,
if you please, draws up the _état des lieux_, which you are required to
sign as you do the _inventoire_ of a furnished apartment. But the longer
you remain in an apartment the less proportionately to your rent are
the damages liable to be. As for the _charges_, by which is meant your
share towards the carpets in the halls and on the stairs, the lighting,
elevator, etc., in many leases they are now represented by a fixed sum,
and where they are not, you can have a pretty definite idea as to what
they are going to be. The unexpected does not hit you.

Most Paris leases are on the 3-6-9 year basis. You sign for three years.
If you do not give notice six months before the end of the three-year
term, the lease is automatically continued for another equal period. For
nine years, then, you are sure of undisturbed possession, and your
_propriétaire_ cannot raise the rent on you. Leases are generally
uniform in their clauses. You bind yourself to put furniture to the
value of at least one year's rent in the apartment to live in it
_bourgeoisement_ (that is, to carry on no business), to keep no dogs or
other pets,[D] and to sublet only with proprietor's consent. On his
side, the proprietor agrees to give you proper concierge and elevator
service, to heat the apartment for five months from November first to
March thirty-first, and to furnish water, hot and cold, at fixed rates
per cubic meter. The lease is registered at the _mairie_ at the
_locataire's_ expense.

[D] This clause is a dead letter almost everywhere. You are much more
apt to be refused an apartment because you have children than because
you have dogs or birds. In fact, although you often see a sign or are
greeted by the statement NI CHIENS NI ENFANTS, the prohibition, when you
press the concierge, is limited to children. My bitter criticism of the
people among whom I live is the attitude of a large part of them towards
children. They do not like children. They do not want them. And they do
not understand why any woman is fool enough to have "a big family," as
they call my four. This is the most serious problem of contemporary
France. It makes the winning of the war a hollow victory.

You pay the taxes, which are collected directly from you. The municipal
tax runs to about sixteen percent of the annual rental, and now includes
in a lump sum the old taxes for windows and doors. In addition, you pay
a very small tax to recompense the city for having suppressed the
_octroi_ on wines and liquors and mineral waters. A new tax, which no
resident in France who has an apartment can escape, is the income tax.
But unless you are a French subject, you are not compelled to make a
return of your sources of income. Should you choose to be taxed
_d'office_, the collector assesses you on a basis of having an income
seven times the amount of your rental. The concierge is forbidden to
allow you to move from your apartment until you have shown him the
receipts for the current year for all your taxes.

Once you have signed your lease and have arranged to move in, your
troubles are not yet over. Proprietors furnish no chandeliers or other
lights, not even the simplest. You have to go to an electrician, buy
your fixtures, and have them installed, if you have not bought the
lights in the apartment from the previous _locataire_. You must sign
contracts and make deposits for your gas and electric light. The gas
company will rent you a stove and a meter. You pay the charges for
connecting you up. Telephones are in the hands of the government. If you
want a direct telephone, you have to sign a contract. If you want to
have your telephone through the concierge's _loge_, the telephone
service is charged on your quarterly rent bill. In any case, you pay for
the instrument and bell box and the charges for installation. A private
line is not much of an advantage in Paris. The service is scarcely any
quicker. With your telephone by way of the concierge, a message can be
left if you do not answer, and the person calling you is informed if you
are out of town.

The last of your troubles is fire insurance. Thanks to the solid
construction of Paris and careful surveillance, fires are very rare.
During all the years I have lived in Paris I remember no fires except
those caused by the German bombs. However, you do not dare not to
insure. For French law holds you responsible for damage to neighbors'
apartments from water as well as fire, if the fire starts in yours. Your
insurance policy insures your neighbors as well as yourself. The French
law is excellent. It makes you careful. French law, also, by the way,
holds you liable for accidents to your servants, of any kind and no
matter how incurred. You cannot fall back on the joker of contributory
carelessness. All the servant has to prove is that the accident happened
while working for you.

I have forgotten to mention one further formality that was not of
importance before the war but is indispensable now. An old French police
law requires all foreigners to secure a _certificat d'immatriculation_
from the Prefecture of Police as the _sine qua non_ to residence in
Paris. Before the war, no one ever bothered about this. The only
foreigners watched by the police were Russians, due to a provision
France ought never to have agreed to in the alliance with Russia. When
the war broke out and my husband went to get his _permis de séjour_, he
was asked for the first time for this paper. And we had been living in
France on and off for six years, and had leased three apartments! This
was a reason for loving Paris. Nobody bothered you, and you could live
as you pleased and do as you pleased so long as you behaved yourself.
Foreigners were never made to feel that they were foreigners. They
enjoyed equality before the law with Frenchmen. Paris was cosmopolite in
a unique sense. Hindsight blamed the laxity of the French police. But
let us fervently hope that the old spirit of hospitality may not have
changed with the war and that France in regard to Germany may not be as
Rome in regard to Greece. Why be victor if one has to adopt the habits
of the vanquished?

I have gone into the question of the housing problem with too much
precision and detail, I fear, for a book of Paris sketches. But so many
friends have asked me, so many strangers have written me, about taking
up their abode in Paris that I feel what I have said about it will be of
interest to all who are interested in Paris.

We had three months to our new residence. You always have three months
at least in Paris. It is not enough if you are undecided or lazy. It is
plenty if you go about hunting for a home with the same energy and
persistence and enthusiasm that you put into other things. After all,
what is more important than a home? We tramped the quarter, as we had
done in the summer of 1909. But we now had a large family. And we had
realized the fundamental truth of the beautiful old Scotch saying,
"Every bairn brings its food wi' it." So we were able to aspire to two
salons and three bedrooms, to _confort moderne_ (which means central
heat, electric light, bath-rooms, elevator and hot water), and to palms
and red carpet in the doorway.

For us the heart of Paris at that time was where the Boulevard du
Montparnasse is crossed by the Boulevard Raspail. On the Boulevard du
Montparnasse, between Baty's and the Rue Léopold-Robert, a new apartment
house was being built. Before the stairs were finished we climbed to the
sixth floor, lost our hearts to a view of all Paris, and signed a 3-6-9
lease. The war has come and gone. We are still there.



1914



CHAPTER XXI

"NACH PARIS!"


Von Kluck and I had a race to see who would reach Paris first. It was
close. But I won. Lots of my friends thought then and since that I was
foolish to take my children back to Paris at such a time. An American
woman came to Ty Coz, my little summer cottage at Saint-Jean-du-Doigt in
Finistère, to remonstrate with me.

"You must be crazy," she said in her most complimentary tone, "to take
those three children back to Paris now. The Germans are certainly going
to capture Paris, and if they don't do it right away, they'll bombard
the city until it surrenders. My dear Mrs. Gibbons, surely you read the
papers and you see what awful things the Germans are doing in Belgium.
Paris has no chance against their big guns. And they will cut the
railways. You will have no milk, no vegetables. And here you are in
Brittany, where they probably will not come, and if they do, you can get
off to England by sea."

I did not argue. It would have been foolish to tell her that the Germans
would not take Paris. I was no prophet, and denying a danger is not
preventing it. Despite the tigress instinct of every mother to protect
her own, I simply could not feel that to go home was the wrong thing to
do. Herbert wrote and telegraphed approving my desire to return. As my
husband could not leave Paris to come to us, it was manifestly up to us
to go to him. We were more concerned about the possibility of being cut
off from each other than about what the Germans might do to us. I had
one advantage in making up my mind over other women around me. War and
sieges and bombardments did not loom up when I read about the march
through Belgium with the same sense of awfulness as to my neighbors. I
knew that things look worse from a distance than they are on the spot. I
remembered how normally we lived in the midst of massacre in Tarsus and
when the Bulgarians were attacking Constantinople.

The removal of the Government to Bordeaux did not deter me at the last
minute. It did not seem to me an indication that the game was up, but
rather the decision to profit by experience of earlier wars and not
stake the whole war upon the defense of the capital. It was getting cold
at the seashore. I was anxious to direct myself the moving into the new
apartment we had taken. Yvonne, my cook, and Dorothy, my English nurse,
were as eager as I to get back to town. We just didn't let the Germans
bother us! The trunks and baby-beds were loaded in one two-wheeled cart
and the kiddies on hay in another. We grown-ups bicycled along behind
the seventeen kilometres to Morlaix. The Brest _rapide_ carried scarcely
any civilians. We broke in on the seclusion of a colonel sitting alone
in a compartment.

"I pity you, sir," I said.

"Why?" He smiled and threw away his newspaper. That was promising. When
a man puts down his newspaper for me, I know he is interesting. So few
men do. My husband doesn't always. I needed to make friends with the
officer. During the all night journey I wanted to manoeuvre for open
windows, and you cannot do that in France unless you are on the best of
terms with your fellow-travellers.

"Why do I pity you? Because you are invaded by three babies and three
grown-ups when you hoped to keep the compartment for yourself. But you
may not be sorry when you see the supper you are going to help eat--two
roast chickens, salad sandwiches, pears just picked this morning in my
garden, and the best of cider. There is plenty of _café au lait_ in
thermos bottles for breakfast."

The colonel's face brightened. Dining-cars had been suppressed since the
day of the mobilization. He assured me that a soldier did not mind
company at night and always liked food. But he was a bit puzzled about
my breakfast invitation. "Surely you are not going to Paris with these
children," he said. "Are you not afraid?"

"Not as long as there is the French army between my children and the
enemy," I answered.

The colonel leaned back in the corner and shut his eyes. Tears rolled
down his cheeks. It was a long time before he spoke, and all he said
was, "_Merci_! I shall tell that to my regiment to-morrow."

"Monsieur," I insisted, "what I said was nothing. All the women in
France feel as I do. We have got to feel that way. You have the
strength--we must have the faith. If Paris were not my home, I should
not go. But it is my home, and this is the week I always return from the
shore."

More than one hysterical person wrote wonderful and lurid accounts of
Paris in the autumn of 1914. There was an exodus of _froussards_ in the
first days of September and during the whole month refugees poured into
the city. But the great mass of the population was not affected by the
fright of a few. I arrived too late for the most critical days. My
husband assured me that there had been no panic except in the
imagination of certain individuals and officials. I found that very few
of my friends had run away. The _Herald_ appeared every morning, and
Percy Mitchell's voice over the telephone from the Rue du Louvre was
cheery and optimistic. There was no funk in the American colony. Most of
the people I knew were helping get the Ambulance at Neuilly started or
were launching _œuvres_ of their own. I seized on the opening for
layette work immediately, and I started afternoon sewing for Russian and
Polish girls, too, in one of my servants' rooms. I am a quarrelsome
wretch when I get on committees with other women. So I did the
_layettes_ alone in my studio and had only the help of another Bryn Mawr
girl, who lived in Paris, in the _ouvroir_--as gatherings for sewing
were called.

But the panic? The sense of danger? Suspense and worry over the fighting
between the Marne and Aisne? Dread of air raids? I saw none of this. I
heard nothing in the conversation of my friends or servants or
tradespeople to make me feel Paris was in a ferment of excitement or
fear. The anxiety was for loved ones fighting "out there"; the
depression was the pall of death over us. No music, no singing, theatres
closed, cafés shut up at eight o'clock, dark streets--these were the
abnormal features of Paris life in the early months of the war. Whoever
writes or talks in a way to make it appear that staying in Paris was a
test of personal courage is a sorry impostor. There was no danger. None
ever thought of danger.

Nor did we have the discomforts and annoyances and deprivations during
the early period of the war that came to us later. Food was abundant and
prices did not go up. There was plenty of labor. You could get things
done without the exhausting hunt for workers with a willing spirit and
knowledge of their job that we have to make now. In the month of the
Battle of the Marne we moved into 120 Boulevard du Montparnasse. It was
a new house, and we had everything to think of, plumbing, heating,
fixtures, wiring for bells and lights, painting, paper-hanging,
carpentering. All was done without a hitch. The moving-vans worked as in
peace times. Things came by freight from Brittany and Normandy--thirty
boxes in all--and were delivered to us without delay just as if there
were no war. It seems incredible in retrospect that France and Paris
should have been normal (after the first confusion of the mobilization)
despite the terrific struggle for existence within hearing distance. But
it was so. I want to put down my testimony as a housewife and mother of
children in Paris that we lived normally and had no dangers or
difficulties to contend with when the Germans were trying to finish up
the war in a hurry.

On the second Sunday of October we had our first visit from a group of
airplanes. Few bombs were dropped. Herbert and I were walking outside
the fortifications near the Porte d'Orléans when they arrived. We
thought of our kiddies, playing in the Luxembourg, and hurried there.
The children and Dorothy described graphically how two planes had been
over the Garden. But their feeling was wholly curiosity. At that time
Parisians did not realize the danger of air raids.

One Sunday Herbert and I went chestnutting. Despite the swarms of
excursionists around Paris, there are lots of places to pick up on the
road all the chestnuts you can carry. We walked from Saint-Cyr across
country, skirting Versailles, to Marly. With heavy pockets, knotted
kerchief bundles, and the beginning of stiffness in our backs, we
stopped for lunch at a little country hostelry whose _cave_ still has a
big stock of Chambertin of golden years. The critic and I are agreed
upon the wisdom of censoring the name I unthinkingly put in the first
draft of this chapter. Why spoil a good thing? Life is short--and so are
stocks of Chambertin. And there are so many roads and so many hostelries
between Saint-Cyr and Saint-Germain-en-Laye that the little I have said
is a challenge to your love of Burgundy.

Madame told us how history did not repeat itself until the end of the
story. What starts the same way does not always end the same way. We
hope German professors of history will impress this truth upon the next
generation of their close-cropped, bullet-headed students. They are at
liberty to use this illustration if they want. Why limit their Paris
vistas to the provoking sight of the Tour Eiffel in the distance?

"In Soixante-Dix," said Madame, flipping teamsters' crumbs off our table
with a skilful swing of her _serviette_, "I saw my father bury our wines
out there in the garden. It took several days, and he had only my
brother and me to help him. I remember how he mumbled and shook his head
over the possible effect of disturbing the good _crus_. 'They will
never be the same again,' he said mournfully. Much good it did him! We
had our work for nothing. The Germans came. Right where you are sitting,
_M'sieu-dame_, the brutes thumped on the table and called for the best
in the cellar. My father said he had no wine. They went to the cave.
Empty. Then the officer laughed till the tears rolled down his cheeks.
He sat in a chair--sprawled in a chair that cracked under his
swinging--smacked his thighs, and when he could speak, he told his men
to go out into the garden. With their picks and shovels they unearthed
all--all, _M'sieu-dame_.

"So this time I remembered--and I thought hard. My husband was off the
fourth day of the mobilization. Even if I had help, would not the garden
_cache_ a second time be foolish? And the old _crus_ ought not to be
shaken--you are going to taste my Chambertin, and you will agree that it
ought not to risk being shaken. It really ought not. What was I to do?
When the Germans come, will they know the difference? I asked myself. So
I took _vin ordinaire_. I put it in bottles. I sealed it red. I worked
two days to put it on the outer racks and the under racks with the good
wine between. Then I cobwebbed it and moistened it with dust. I built a
fire to dry it. If the Germans were in a hurry they would take the top.
If they had leisure, they would fish in the bottom rows.

"But the Germans never came. I had my work a second time for nothing.
Do you think, _M'sieu-dame_, they will be fooled? I want to know what is
best for next time."

"Next time," cried my husband. "Next time! Do you think there will be a
next time?"

"_Bien sûr_, Monsieur," the woman answered without hesitation. "The
Germans will come again. They will always come. We are not as big,
_hélas_! They will come--unless your country--?"

Suddenly we realized that not the keeper of the inn, but France, France
through a wife and mother, was speaking. A shadow fell upon us that
Chambertin and the crisp autumn air could not dispel.



1914-1915



CHAPTER XXII

AT HOME IN THE WHIRLWIND


After the initial days of mobilization, the German advance, the coming
of the refugees, and the aeroplane raids, Paris became again
astonishingly normal. We got used to the war quickly. A calamity is like
death. It comes. You cannot change it. You must accept it and go on
living. We were in the midst of the whirlwind. We had our ups and downs.
There were periods of unreasonable hope, when we thought the war was
going to end by the collapse of the Germans. And there were periods of
equally unreasoning depression when gloom spread like a plague. Who will
ever forget the hope that came with the Spring of 1915? Mysterious
rumors spread of German demoralization and of the irresistible fighting
machine the British were building up. Our armies were only waiting for
the rainy weather to finish. Then the forward march would commence. But
after a few unsuccessful attempts to break through, French and British
settled down to the life of the trenches. Fortunately the Germans were
equally immobilized. But during the summer, instead of our advance on
the western front, we had to read about the German advance in Poland.
The censorship worked overtime. _Communiqués_ were masterpieces of
clever dissimulation. News was withheld in the hope of a sudden reversal
of the fortune of arms. In the end we had to be told that Warsaw was in
the hands of the Central Empires and that _les Impériaux_ were closing
in on Brest-Litovsk. In the summer of 1915, at the very beginning of the
Italian intervention, the French lost faith in the new ally. Italy,
untouched so far by the war and with the power of making an offensive in
her own hands, could not even prevent Austria from lending powerful aid
in the great German offensive against Russia! Ink and breath were spent
in extolling the union of the Latin races: but the mass of the French
people--from that time on--looked no more for aid to Italy.

[Illustration: The first snow in the Luxembourg]

We deferred hope until the spring of 1916. Surely the British would now
be ready to cooperate with the French in the final offensive of the war!
But the Germans, feeling certain that they had disposed of the Russians,
struck first. The last days of February, 1916, were (if one except
possibly the spring months of 1918) the darkest days of the war.
Although the attacks against Verdun failed, the weather in Paris
combined with sickening anxiety to make us feel that it was
nip-and-tuck. As a contrast, the summer months of the Battle of the
Somme renewed our courage. And just as we were reluctantly realizing
that this onslaught of ours was as indecisive as the earlier German
offensive against Verdun, to which it was the reply, the intervention of
Rumania came to offset the admitted failure of the Dardanelles and
Mesopotamian campaigns. At last, the war was to be decided in the
Balkans! Before the third winter set in, however, we saw Rumania humbled
by Mackensen and the Salonica army as motionless as the armies on the
western front, even though Venizelos had at last succeeded in ranging
Greece on our side. The German machine was not crumbling before a
combination of superior numbers and superior equipment, and managed to
face its enemies on all sides.

So much for what the newspapers said during those thirty months and for
what we thought about the _péripéties_ of the war. After each
disappointment we looked for new reasons to hope. We readjusted
ourselves to living in the midst of uncertainties, bereavements that
would have broken our hearts had they come to us "by the hand of God,"
and increasing social and economic difficulties. France was saved
because the French people never faltered in their belief that _dulce et
decorum est pro patria mori_. France was saved because Paris led a
normal life in the midst of the whirlwind. The Turks have a proverb that
a fish begins to corrupt at the head. If the Parisians had become
demoralized, if they had given up the struggle to live normally and
tranquilly, France would have been lost.

Initial reactions and early symptoms of war fever passed quickly. We
soon opened up our pianos, put on our phonograph records, and took to
singing again. We did not wear mourning. We insisted upon having our
theatres and music-halls. We celebrated Christmas. We stopped making
last year's suits do and refusing to buy finery. For the _poilus_,
coming home to find their women folks shabby, said it was gayer at the
front. We allowed all the German composers except Wagner to re-appear on
our programmes. Some stupidities, such as banishing the German language
from schools and burning German books, we were never guilty of.

I remember reading with amusement and amazement an article in an
American newspaper, written by someone who "did" war-stricken France in
thirty days, in which this statement was made: "There are millions in
France who will never smile again." Upon this absurd and false
hypothesis the article was built. It was easy to be sure that the writer
knew nothing whatever about France in war-time or about psychology, for
that matter. Whoever has had any experience of horrors or who has lived
through a great crisis knows that if you do not laugh you will go crazy.
Normal human beings must have relaxation and recreation. They must
have--or create--normal conditions in abnormal surroundings. You must
go on living. You must have strength to meet burdens. So you laugh and
sing and dance. You entertain people and are entertained. You go to the
theatre. You take exercise. You enjoy your meals. A long face is either
a pose or a sign of mental derangement. In the spring of 1916 I checked
up a dozen of my women friends, all of whom had husbands or sons--or
both--in the war. More than half were widows or had sons killed. The
husbands of two were prisoners in German camps. But all of them were
planning to spend the summer in their country-homes or at the shore,
just as they had done before the war. Is not this the secret of our
ability to hold on during the "last quarter of an hour" and to continue
to hope for victory until we had obtained it?

At the beginning of the second winter, in November, 1915, I sent my
three children to live for a few weeks in my studio, which I had fixed
up especially for them. They had a piano and a phonograph and books and
toys. They moved over with their nurse on a Sunday afternoon, and
thought it was a great lark. The next day their father went to see them
and told them about the arrival of a baby sister.

Tuesday morning the children came to see us. Never shall I forget their
joy. Christine said immediately, "Hello, Hope, let me fix your feet.
Mama, could I tuck her blanket in? Hope's feet are cold. I want to hold
her soon." A little mother, she is. Lloyd, sensitive and reserved,
stood quietly looking. He patted my face and tried to speak. But his
mouth was turning down at the corners for just a second, and I had to
save the day by asking him a cheerful question. Mimi clapped her hands
and danced and said, "I like you, mama, dat's a fine baby." When Herbert
went over to the consulate to register the baby, he took Christine with
him. She heard him say to the Consul-General, Mr. Thackara, that his
French friends were teasing him about the large number of marriage dots
he will have to provide. Christine saw in this a reflection on girl
babies. With a volley of French reproof, which delighted the whole
consular office, she went for him tooth and nail.

Isn't it a joke on me to have so many daughters? I have always thought
myself a good pal, understanding men much better than women. Miss Mary
Cassatt came in. Her comment was subtle. She said simply to Herbert that
she was glad of his assured increase of interest in women's suffrage.
Surprised, Herbert was betrayed into asking why. "Don't you realize,"
exclaimed Miss Cassatt, "that you must begin now to interest yourself in
the future of your girls?" Although the coming of Hope increases the
problems of feminine psychology I shall have to deal with later on, I am
glad the war baby was a girl. My first thought, when they told me, was
that she should not have to carry a gun.

This brings me to her name. 1915 was drawing to a close with so many
darkening shadows--but shadows that did not lessen our faith in the
outcome of the war--that I thought the name imposed upon us by
circumstances. I called her Hope Delarue. Dear old Père Delarue is one
of the best known research scholars in the Jesuit Order. Our friendship,
founded back in Constantinople days, has deepened during the war. When
Herbert went off on his many trips, anyone of which might have proved
the last, he left me in the care of Père Delarue. The dear old man had
been coming to us from time to time with the news of another loss in his
family. His brother, a general in the French army, was killed. His
nephews had fallen. I thought it would comfort him to feel that there
was a child in the world to bear his name. Before going to Suez, Herbert
gave me some flat silver marked H.D.G. It flashed into his brain the day
after the baby was born that the little thing had its mother's initials!

I was up for the first time on Christmas Eve. We had a large party as
usual, with a tree for the children trimmed by the grown-ups. In spite
of the rain we tried to make our Christmas Day a joyful one. There was
the newborn baby to celebrate. At the end of the afternoon, Herbert gave
us a hurried kiss all around, and went out in the rain to catch the
train for Marseilles. He sailed the next day on the _André Lebon_ for
Port-Said. His was the only one of the three passenger boats that week
to escape the submarines. The P. and O. _Persia_ was sunk off Crete and
the Japanese mail went down seventy miles from the Canal.

I did not see my husband for several months, and then he joined us in
Nice for a few days before going to Verdun. It was a joyful reunion.
Herbert admired his children and asked what they had done during his
absence. But he forgot all about poor little Hope, who was taking her
nap. Two hours after his arrival, a lusty cry brought back to his mind
the fact that the number of his children was four.

Memories of these days are not painful, because we did not allow
ourselves to be dominated by pain while they were being lived. The
whirlwind was not of our making, nor had we gone deliberately into the
midst of it. But, finding ourselves there, we made the best of it.
Memories are precious. I would not have missed the Paris vistas of those
years. It is a blessed thing to have in one's mind the long lines of
adverse circumstances and difficulties and anxieties on either side if
at the end is hope realized. And I have my own tangible Hope, a child
whose merry, sunny nature is living proof of how Paris was at home in
the whirlwind.



CHAPTER XXIII

SAUVONS LES BÉBÉS


"M-M-M-Madame m-m-must not be f-f-frightened; he said so!"

My Bretonne cook came to me pale and stammering.

"What is the trouble, Rosali?"

"P-p-policeman at the d-d-door s-s-says he m-m-must see you!"

A spick and span _agent_ came into my drawing-room. He took the
cigarette offered him, and explained the reason for his visit.

"My chief sent me around to ask madame to help. It is a baby case. We
came here because the mother said she got a layette at madame's studio.
Her name is Mlle. A----; do you remember her case? If madame could
come--"

In a few minutes we were walking up the Rue Delambre to the police
station of the Fourteenth Arrondissement. Mlle. A---- had come to me for
baby clothes before she went to the hospital. The child's father was at
the front. When the mother appealed to him to recognize the child, with
the desperate way of a man who is in the trenches facing death, he
replied,

"What's the use! How do I know that the child is mine?"

Before going to the hospital the girl begged me to think of something to
do. When the baby was born we had him photographed and a copy sent to
his father, we wrote, "The baby looks like you as you can see from this
photograph. If you tear up the card or throw it away, the next shell
will kill you."

At the police station, in the stuffy little room where the plain clothes
men sit close to the door leading to the office of the Monsieur le
Commissaire, I found Mlle. A---- and her baby.

"O Madame," she cried, "Jean got our card. He was sitting in a little
circle with some comrades eating dinner. The mail arrived. His name was
called. He rose and walked over to the _vaguemestre_ and, oh, Madame,
just then the shell came. It exploded where Jean had been eating his
dinner, and all his comrades were killed. He says the baby, _pauvre
chou_, looks like him and saved his life."

The _agent_ came with papers. "Will madame sign here?" Jean was
recognizing little Pierrot and was applying for permission to marry the
baby's mother.

An old woman sitting nearby held in her hands a _livret de mariage_.
"_Quel beau bébé!_" she exclaimed. "Is it a girl?"

"No, madame, a boy," replied mademoiselle, smoothing the baby's
swaddling blanket and pinning it tighter around Pierrot's little tummy.

"That's it, that's it," cried the old woman. "I came here to get a
certificate myself. My daughter had a baby born this morning. It's a
boy, too. It was like that in Soixante-Dix. Nearly all the babies born
in war time are boys. O la, la, madame, what a baby! His father is
fighting so he won't have to carry a gun." Here she pulled out a
handkerchief.

The poor help the poor, when it comes to _moral_, as in everything else.
I was sitting in my studio interviewing women who came for baby clothes.
A white-faced girl sat down in the chair at the opposite side of the
table.

"What can I do for you?" said I.

"A little white dress--" she sobbed. "Could you give me a little white
dress?"

"Certainly I 'll give it to you, and lots of other things too."

"I don't need anything else," she said softly, "My baby died this
morning. They did everything at the hospital to save her. She was born
three weeks ago and they let me stay on. They wrapped her in a little
piece of sheeting. I can't stand it to bury her like that!" She put her
head down on the table and wept.

"Shall I give madame a little white dress?"

The twenty other mothers sitting there answered "Yes, give it to her."

To some the tears had come. Others, dry-eyed, clutched their babies.

"And flowers?" said one.

"Yes, she must have money for flowers." I hardly knew what to say to the
girl, but soon the other mothers were talking to her. They were the best
comforters.

How did amateur relief workers get the strength and energy to face the
awfulness of the situation? What we did was not "wonderful." Relief work
was a debt we owed to life. Fatigue could never be thought of. When my
apartment is in a mess from front door to kitchen, straightening looks
hopeless. It used to be discouraging until I pretended I had blinders on
my eyes and began with the nursery table. I took off everything that
didn't belong there and replaced the things that should be there. I
finished the table to the last detail before making the bed. I tried to
work in a leisurely frame of mind without too many glances at the clock.
After a bit one whole room was tidied. Kiddies were requested not to go
in there "till Mama says so." Then I tackled the next room, and so
on--and so on. In relief work, too, you must begin to work on one atom
of the problem. You must put blinders on your eyes to shut out all the
other atoms. It is fatal to let your imagination run away with you,
fatal to envisage the accumulated woe.

Once in the Rue Servandoni days an Englishman came to ask Herbert to
bury his baby. He told me the story of how the baby died, and I cried
all night thinking of the mother. Herbert remonstrated with me for
trying to bear the whole of another's grief. Christ did that and it
broke His heart. His broken heart could save humanity; but as for little
me I could do nobody any good by breaking my heart over them. Relief
work must be constructive with respect to the patient and instructive
with respect to the worker. You have to exercise self-control of emotion
and help yourself to poise by quickly concentrating your mind on what
details of the problem you are fitted to cope with. You learn after a
while that your enthusiasm and sympathy will not do it all. You accept
the fact that you are not indispensable. You realize that you can put a
person on his feet but that to carry him is beyond you. You are not the
only influence for good that is touching his life. This attitude keeps
you both happy and humble. And so you develop confidence in life and
confidence in time. In relief work both life and time are good allies.

My work started in a modest way in my studio in September, 1914. I
wanted to help mothers of newborn babies, and so I called my _œuvre_
SAUVONS LES BÉBÉS. I wrote to friends for money and layettes, and
depended--as all American women in France did--upon the personal
correspondence with individuals and organizations in America to maintain
and develop the work started. I had no committee, and, during the three
years I worked for the babies, only one associate. The French wife of an
American artist joined me in 1915. From Princeton, Germantown,
Philadelphia, Pittsburg, New York, Brooklyn and Boston people I knew and
my readers sent me money and boxes through the American Relief
Clearing-House. My best aids were always and invariably the police, who
sent cases to me and guarded me against imposition. It soon became known
in the Fourteenth (my own) Arrondissement, and the neighbouring Sixth,
Fifth, Thirteenth and Fifteenth Arrondissements, that an American woman
in the Rue Campagne-Première gave layettes to expectant mothers, and
sometimes helped with medicines, milk, vacations, clothes and shoes for
other children. I did not need to advertise or hang out a sign! In less
than three years four thousand mothers of five thousand babies found
their way to the Rue Campagne-Première. Sometimes I was swamped, badly
swamped, but I managed to get around to all in the end. I remember one
time, however, that babies were several months old before I could give
their mothers a complete layette.

There was nothing unusual about my œuvre, in its size, its
singlehandedness, or its spirit. Every American woman in France did what
she could from the very beginning by taking up work as she saw it at
hand--in her own home or neighborhood. Many did much more than I. There
were others in Paris looking after the new-born babies.

In the summer of 1917 we Americans resident in France had to give up,
all of us, the individuality of our _œuvres_. This meant that most of
them went out of existence. When the rumor ran from mouth to mouth in
the American colony that the Red Cross insisted on taking over
everything and would starve out the stubborn individualists, there was
consternation. Since the Red Cross was a Government organization and
controlled shipping, it was possible for them to tell us that we should
receive no more cases of supplies after September first, even if friends
at home kept on sending them. Some were furious; some were offended;
some would give a generous slice of their fortune to fight the
injunction; some laughed. But the charities' trust had come to stay, and
started in to handle things and ride rough-shod over people in a way
that I fear is typically American.

In the early stages of war fever, the Y.M.C.A. and the Army showed the
same symptoms as the Red Cross in France. There was the idea that the
American way is always and exclusively the right way; impatience with
and resentment against existing organizations; a thirst for sweeping
reforms; and the determination that Americans who had been on the ground
from the beginning must be eliminated. The way our splendid Ambulance
at Neuilly was absorbed by the army is a story of Prussianism pure and
simple. The Red Cross men and their wives did not seem to get it into
their heads that we had been at war for three years. I attended a
drawing-room meeting one day, where a hundred women were gathered who
had been sacrificing themselves in relief work ever since the day France
mobilized. More than one had lost her son in the war. A new Red Cross
woman, fresh from America, lectured on what the Red Cross was going to
do. She smiled at us, and her peroration was this: "Now you must realize
that we are at war, and that we are going to put you all to work, all to
work!"

When the excitement cooled down a bit, we realized that these Red Cross
volunteers meant well, that they were devoted and capable, and that we
could not take too tragically their ignorance and inexperience. We
realized that we were tired, that we needed a rest and change, and that
the Red Cross, with its enormous funds and abundant personnel, was in a
position to realize many of our dreams. Our initial resentment was in
part dismay at seeing newly arrived compatriots making the same mistakes
some of us had made in the beginning, and partly their obtuseness in
failing to get the French point of view. Contact with suffering such as
they had never seen before soon mellowed most of the Red Cross
volunteers and they realized that America was coming, as my husband put
it, "not to save France, but to help France save the world."

Outside of hospitals, where there was a reason for it, we had never worn
uniforms: but we got accustomed to seeing them as the A.E.F. grew
although we never could master the meaning of many of them. One morning
a woman in uniform, with service cap and Sam-Browne belt (not forgetting
the nickel ring for hanging a dagger from), appeared in my studio. From
her pocket she took a crisp new loose-leaf notebook, the like of which
could no longer be indulged in by ordinary folks. As she unscrewed and
adjusted her fountain-pen, she said,

"I've been sent to inspect your relief organization."

"You come from the Children's Bureau?" I asked.

"No, Civilian Relief. How do you handle the matter of investigation?"

"Well," I answered, "I cast my eye over the person, size her up, and
give her what she needs. I cannot afford to investigate. You see, I have
no overhead charges and I need all the money I can get for materials and
all the time for handling them. The only expense is for sewing. Even
that money goes to my own women. I give the sewing out to mothers on my
list so they will not have to go out to work. This encourages them to
nurse their babies themselves instead of sending them to a _nourrice_."

"People begging," said my visitor, "are splendid actors, you know."

"Few women who are just about to have a baby are likely to act the
impostor," I answered, "and then I do not consider my women as beggars.
I'm sure that nine out of ten are not. They wouldn't need any aid if
their husbands were not in the trenches earning five sous a day. For the
first two years it was only one sou a day. You can generally tell the
difference between a shifty woman looking for a chance to get something
for nothing and the shattered little mother, unaccustomed to charity,
whose children would go without winter clothes were it not for some form
of outside help. Most of the women who come here look on me as a
neighbor who loves babies and who keeps flannel in her cupboard. I'd
rather give away an occasional layette to a dead beat than bruise the
feelings of timid souls at bay. If you could see them as they come in
here!"

"But you know really that there can be an immense amount of waste of
good material if you don't investigate."

"I may have wasted material, but I've never failed to help. Nobody
investigated me when my baby was born in a Turkish massacre. If they
had, I couldn't have stood it. Of course I have faced the question. I
figure that if I put in one column the number of layettes I give out and
their cost, and beside it what I would spend in time and taxi fares to
investigate, I should find that the price of a badly-placed layette or
two would be less than the cost of investigation."

The inspector took full and rapid notes. Folding them neatly into her
pocket with one clap of her notebook, she left me.

Three days later a young man appeared. He said, "I am here to represent
the Red Cross. Would you mind telling me about your baby work?"

"Are you from the Children's Bureau?"

"No, I am Vital Statistics."

After the Refugees Bureau sent two inspectors to look into my
activities, the Children's Bureau finally did come. They "took over" my
work, which meant that no more babies in my quarter of Paris received
layettes from the United States.

When I finally handed over my _œuvre_ to the Red Cross, the interview
with the husky well-fed football player of a doctor was refreshing. He
was full of enthusiasm, and I felt instinctively that he was an able man
with broad vision and an open mind. But, like all the men at 4 Place de
la Concorde, he did not give the French credit for having already
thought of and worked out many of the problems he wanted to solve. His
attitude towards the French put them in what Abe and Mawruss would call
the "new beginner" class in the matter of baby welfare. He cheerfully
told me of organizing plans for saving French babies, plans which,
compared with what we had been doing, were Kolossal. But the plans
included some things which I knew would not go and others which the
French had already worked out more successfully than my own
compatriots. Puericulture is an advanced science in France, where baby
lives are more precious than anywhere else in the world. I had tried
some of the things he wanted to do and had run up against a stone wall.
So had other American women. I started to sputter, but stopped short of
speech. For I had a lightning vision of how parents must feel when their
children, grown to manhood, plunge into work and do things they might be
saved from if only--. I felt motherly towards this capable young man who
was as old as myself. But something about him gave me confidence that he
would work it out all right. And I knew that he was in no frame of mind
to benefit by my experience.



CHAPTER XXIV

UNCOMFORTABLE NEUTRALITY


The following letter was in my husband's mail one day:

     "A young American came to Paris about twenty-five years ago, lived
     for a time in the Latin Quarter, and then, following the loss of
     his income, obtained a minor position in the office of an importer
     of American goods. He liked his work, rose to a place of
     responsibility, eventually went into business for himself, and
     developed the business to a prosperous issue.

     "He held the theory that the few Americans living and working
     abroad formed the nucleus of American overseas industrial expansion
     and that they were regarded by Europeans as representative of their
     fellow-countrymen. He felt that it was his duty to conduct his
     business and social activities in such a manner as to merit the
     confidence and respect of his hosts. Had he been indifferent to
     these responsibilities or had his patriotic fire ever burned low,
     his association with the active members of the American Chamber of
     Commerce in France and the American Club in Paris would have surely
     recalled and revived them. Every one knows of the results attained
     by these organizations in their effort to maintain the feeling of
     sympathetic understanding between the two great sister republics
     during the long and difficult period of 'watchful waiting.' Such
     services enter into the realm of practical diplomacy and could have
     been rendered efficient only by men of high standing and of the
     highest order of patriotism.

     "I wish to call your attention to the editorial page of an
     American weekly, which boasts of millions of readers, where we see
     a vicious attack upon ourselves. I quote textually: 'Things had
     reached a point among our expatriates, the _fifty-eighth and lowest
     form of cootie_, that in home circles to be pro-American was really
     bad form.'

     "Is this the general opinion in America? Is it shared by people of
     intelligence? The editorial in question apparently adds another
     high authority on public opinion to the previous judgment rendered
     by Mr. Wilson when he classified us as 'unpatriotic Americans
     living abroad.' I am interested in knowing the true facts. Must we
     admit that we are held in small esteem by friends at home because
     we live in France?

     "Sincerely yours,

     "ONE OF THE COOTIES."

Being "cooties" ourselves, in the estimation of the American editorial
writer, we read the protest of the American business man resident in
Paris with the keenest interest and sympathy. In telling about the
attitude of the Red Cross toward our relief organizations, after the
United States intervened in the war, I spoke of only one phase of the
mistrust--even scorn--so many of our compatriots took no pains to
conceal when they learned that we belonged to the American colony. It
was inconceivable that we should be living in Paris and bringing up our
children there and still be good Americans. They questioned more than
our patriotism and our loyalty to the country of our birth. They felt
that there must be some skeleton in the closet of every American family
living abroad. I have never had an American tell me to my face that my
husband was a crook and that we were abroad "for our health," but I
have had them inquire pointedly why on earth this or that friend of mine
lived in exile. And I suppose my friends were asked about the past of
the Gibbons menage!

"How long have you been over?" is a question as common as the "Oh!" with
a curious inflection that meets the confession of a protracted residence
abroad.

I am sure I do not know why the writer in the American weekly read by
millions called us first "expatriates" and then "the fifty-eighth and
lowest form of cooties." I cannot imagine why. He is ignorant of the
people of whom he speaks. He has probably never met anyone in the
American colony of a European city, or has jumped to the conclusion that
an occasional bounder or cad or snob (these are always in evidence)
represents as intensely patriotic and loyal Americans as exist anywhere.
Or he thinks that living abroad means dislike of one's own country.

There are Americans in Europe--and some of them are to be found in
Paris--who have no valid reason for being where they are more than in
another place. There are criminals and courtiers. There are those who
have forgotten their birthright. But they form an infinitesimally small
percentage of the American colony in Paris. Most of our American
residents are business men, painters, sculptors and writers, with the
necessary sprinkling of professional men to minister to their needs, of
the type of the writer of the letter quoted above. Many of them came to
Paris first by accident or as students and just stayed on. Without them
our country would be little known in Europe: and Europe would be little
known in our country. Until the war broke out, it was never realized how
many Americans resided in Paris. Most of them had lived along quietly,
doing their own work and minding their own business. But they had kept
alive the friendship begun in the days of Franklin. Art and literature
have their part in good understanding between nations: but the
foundation and the binding tie are furnished by commerce and banking.
The best representatives of Americanism are business men.

We of the American colony found that out during the war; and we are
sorry for the ignorance and misapprehension and ingratitude of our
compatriots. They judged without inquiry and tried to put into Coventry
the very men whose patience and tact and devotion not only prevented a
break between France and the United States during the years of
uncomfortable neutrality but prepared the way for the intervention of
America and the downfall of Germany.

I may not have perspective. I may be prejudiced. But I do feel that I
have a right to protest against the cruel snap judgments of us made by
those who never realized there was a war between right and wrong until
April, 1917.

_Les amis de la première heure_--the friends of the first hour--as the
French love to call those who refused to obey the injunction to be
"neutral even in thought" were not confined to Americans resident in
France. We had behind us from the first day our friends in America,
friends by the hundreds of thousands, who sent money and medical
supplies, clothing and kits. All who could came to France to help
actively in relief work. But the machinery for the charitable effort of
the United States coming to the aid of France was provided by the
Americans who were permanent or partial residents in France. We were on
the ground. We knew the language. We knew the needs and the
peculiarities of those we were helping.

The greatest service we were privileged to render to our own country and
to France was not ministering to the material needs. What we
accomplished was a drop in the bucket. It was the moral significance of
the relief work that counted. Our Government was neutral. The American
people in the mass were far away from the conflict. The French realized
all the same that individually and collectively the Americans who knew
France or who were in contact with France believed in the righteousness
of France's cause and in the final triumph of France's arms.

Neutrality was uncomfortable. For thirty months we were in an awkward
position. We had to hold the balance between loyalty to America and
friendship for France. On the one hand, we were called upon to
comprehend the slowness of our fellow-countrymen to awaken to the moral
issues at stake, especially after the sinking of the _Lusitania_. On the
other hand, we were called upon to comprehend the impatience and
disappointment of our French friends. We tried to be sensible and to
realize that those who were far from the fray and to whom the war was
incidental could not be expected to share our intense feeling. With rare
exceptions, Americans in Paris did not allow themselves to criticize the
policy of their government in the presence of French or British friends.
That was hard, and required as much tact as we could muster. But when we
were _en famille_, the fur did fly! That was natural. We had a right to
our opinions, and everything we said from 1914 to the end of 1916,
President Wilson and all America with him said in 1917 and 1918. We were
never ashamed of being Americans. That accusation was untrue. But we
were sorry that the awakening came so late. For we saw the toll of human
life growing each month. We feared that France would come out of the war
too weakened to profit by victory if the war dragged on. We were
sometimes nervous about the aftermath.

As I look back upon the first years of the war, American neutrality
appears as a tragedy. It was uncomfortable for us, and disastrous for
France. But we lived through it as we lived through other things. Our
French friends were splendid. Their patience was greater than ours.

We kept our flags ready for the inevitable day. And when it arrived at
last, no Americans were prouder of the stars and stripes than we.



1917



CHAPTER XXV

HOW WE KEPT WARM


In Paris the child of the people is a born artist. He has the instinct
from his ancestors. His taste is formed and cultivated by what he sees
around him--of the present as well as of the past--from the time he
first begins to observe things. Inheritance and atmosphere influence
him. One June day in 1917, our dear friend Thiébault-Sisson, art critic
of the _Temps_, was lunching with us. He drew from his pocket a lot of
photographs. They illustrated the best and most striking of the drawings
by children in the primary schools of the city. M. Thiébault-Sisson had
organized an exposition of children's drawings, done in their ordinary
class work. The photographs were a surprise and a revelation. Having
lived in Paris since the beginning of the war, I could appreciate the
comments of a Parisian, proud of this eloquent showing of precocious
talent. I accepted with alacrity his invitation to see the originals.

The outline, almost always enhanced by bright frank color, where the
three notes of the flag played a perpetual leit-motif, was a feast for
the eyes. In work of this character one expects to see the freshness
and freedom of childhood. What I found that was unusual was the maturity
born of suffering and intense emotion. In the drawings life in wartime
was reflected with a _naïveté_ that excluded neither precision nor vigor
of touch. With compositions of the simplest and most studied character
there was taste and a pretty feeling for color.

The most popular form of drawing was the poster. In one school the
children were given the subject of calling upon the people to economize
gas. One little girl made a few bold strokes outlining a gas-jet and
wrote underneath, "Parisians--Economize Gas!" Asked to admonish the
public to eat less bread, a boy of ten used a potato as a face. The eyes
were almost human in their appeal. "Eat me please!" was written under
the drawing. A further caption stated that it was the duty of patriots
to save the bread for the soldiers. Sugar shortage inspired the idea of
a sugar cone and the same cone cut in half. Under the former was "In
1914" and under the latter "--and now!" The best of these posters were
reproduced by the thousand and put in tram-cars and railway stations.
They did more to call us to order than all the grave _affiches_ of the
Government.

A dominating note, perhaps the strongest after that of the man on
furlough or the poignant expression of emotions experienced when the
news came that father would never return again, was the hunt for coal.
Little observers, inventing nothing of this (for it was seen over and
over again), pictured a coal wagon upon which two or three youngsters
had scrambled and were helping themselves. Generously they were firing
bits of the precious commodity to their little comrades. This was a
drawing made from memory of things seen.

Winter in Paris is often mild: but early in 1917 came a protracted spell
of zero weather that would have taxed the facilities of Paris in
ordinary times. The coal shortage hit us at the worst possible moment.
Transportation was tied up. The mines were not producing. Stocks became
exhausted in a few days. The hunt for coal was cruel because it was
mostly fruitless and because it imposed upon the children weary waits,
hours at a time, in the street in snow and wind, with the thermometer
down to zero.

Whoever saw the crowds massed in a long line in front of the coal
depots, old men, women, children stamping their feet painfully, jostled,
weeping or seized with mute despair at the curt announcement that there
was nothing to do but return to-morrow, will never forget the worst
calamity that fell upon Paris during the war. Children were hit by it
more than all the rest, and in a certain sense more than by the loss of
a father. For they suffered from it in their own flesh, in little hands
chapped till they opened into deep cracks, in little fingers stiffened
and swollen by monstrous chilblains, in frost-bitten feet. For six weeks
the quest for coal was the ruling passion. It inspired the children to
compositions all quite like each other in sentiment and all dominated by
the conviction of an implacable fatality.

In common with most Parisians who lived in modern apartment-houses, we
never had to think of heat. Like hot water, you just turned it on. To
make an effort to have it no more entered into our scheme of things than
to help with the stoking when we were on ship-board. How naturally one
accepts the comforts and conveniences resulting from the work of others
and the smooth moving of modern city life! At first we felt the coal
shortage mildly. It meant piling on extra clothes and having our noses
turn red and then blue, like the dolls with barometrical petticoats. The
apartment was chilly, but we got up as late as we could. For once we
blessed the school system in France which works the children so many
hours that you wonder why the babies do not strike for an eight-hour
day. As long as the municipality could supply them, schools were
especially favored. After school hours and _devoirs_ (we had a wood fire
in one room), bed time soon came for the kids. We set the victrola
going, and everybody danced until they forgot the thermometer.

[Illustration: A passage through the Louvre]

Then we began to discover that coal means more than heat and light. We
found out how many trades were obliged to say "no coal, no work." In a
big city coal is certainly king, and not a limited monarch at that.
Transportation depends on coal, and everything else depends upon
transportation. One day there was a mass meeting of Paris laundresses.
The Government had promised them coal upon payment in advance of a large
part of the price. The order had been placed for weeks: no coal came. It
meant livelihood to the laundresses and cleanliness to the rest of us.
They had the Board of Health with them and the learned doctors of the
Académie de Médecine. Think of the menace of weeks of accumulated soiled
linen! It was all right for the papers to joke about abolishing starched
shirts and cuffs and collars. That was a small part of the problem,
affecting only men. The germs involved in not being able to wash were no
joke.

Elderly people living alone and adult families calculated that it was
cheaper to go to a _pension_ than to keep house. In some cases it was
the only feasible thing. People who had the means started to go south
when conditions in Paris became intolerable. But with little children it
was dangerous to attempt a journey in freezing cold trains.

Just when we had exhausted the little supply of wood we had laid in
originally for the luxury of a wood fire we did not need, our
_propriétaire_ notified us that he could get no more coal for heating or
hot water. And the same day an inspector called to place a maximum of
gas (our only means of cooking) at less than half the amount we
ordinarily consumed.

The law of substitution came into force. We had long been ridiculing the
Germans for their _ersatz_ ingenuity. Were we now to have to seek
substitutes? Cooking is the most vital thing in life next to foodstuffs.
Paris blossomed out with what I thought was an American invention, the
fireless cooker. But they were called _marmites norvégiennes_. I suppose
if we keep on digging at Pompeii we shall find them there. Everyone who
could afford a _marmite_ bought one. You could get them at all prices
and sizes, and the newspapers published daily directions for using them.
If you could not afford a fireless cooker or if you were unable to buy
one (they soon gave out, of course), you took your hatbox from the
Galeries Lafayette and stuffed it with newspapers and sawdust with just
room in the middle for your soup-kettle.

But fireless cookers would not wash clothes. They would not give the
necessary supply of hot water. The law of substitution has a limit. And
what was to be the _ersatz_ for fuel in heating? Gas? Your supply was
already cut down. Electricity? Ditto. Both of these depended upon coal.
Petroleum? The army had commandeered all the supplies for motor
transport and airplanes. Wood alcohol? There was none to be had.

Then began the coal hunt for us. We had been pitying the poor. Now was
our turn. Money was of no value. Other _propriétaires_ had served the
same notice. People with larger purses than ours were in the market for
coal and wood. Our children began to suffer also in their own flesh.

My husband and his secretary gave up work and joined the coal hunters.
They scoured the city in taxi-cabs. Herbert found a man who knew where
there was a ton of anthracite for eighty dollars. He tracked it down and
found that he was the tenth person applying for it that same afternoon.

Then the kiddies came down with measles. Keeping them warm in the way
the doctor ordered was utterly impossible. All we could do was to give
them more blankets. When the baby got congestion of the lungs and heat
and hot baths meant the difference between life and death, I cast my eye
over the apartment appraising the furniture. I no longer thought of how
pretty my Brittany _armoire_ was or how I loved my Empire desk. The
cubic feet of wood was the sole criterion. Dining-room chairs went first
into the fire in Hope's bedroom. The dining-room table, sawed into
little blocks, heated the water for baths. Cupboard doors were taken off
their hinges and converted into fuel. Herbert got a hand-cart and stood
in line for his turn at a place where old lumber from torn-down houses
was being sold. There was a crowd besieging it as if it were a
gold-mine. It was, to the owners. The junk that had been there for years
disappeared at fabulous prices in a few days, doors, clapboards,
window-sashes, shutters, beams, flooring, even lathes.

When our fight for Hope's life became known, friends appeared bringing
treasures. A prominent American manufacturer was at the door one
morning. He had climbed six flights of stairs with a huge bag of bits of
wood gleaned in his factory.

"We calculate pretty close," he said apologetically. "We do not have
much waste in making roll-top desks."

"Don't ask me where I got this sack of coal," said another respectable
Samaritan. I felt his guilt, confirmed when he told me the story
afterwards of how he had stolen it from the back of a wagon. But I was
not asking questions then!

Two burly policemen, unmindful of dignity and uniforms, deposited sacks
of wood on my salon floor. They had come from the Commissariat in the
Fifth Arrondissement. Monsieur le Commissaire, they explained, had said
that the woman who was looking after so many Paris babies in her
_œuvre_ must not be allowed to see her own baby die. They had agreed.
This was the wood from their own office. Why not? For the first time I
cried. Go through my experience, and you will understand how one can
have a passionate love for the French. I am relating here just one
little incident of help unsolicited that came in a crisis. I had never
seen that Commissaire. How he knew my baby was ill was a mystery. But I
have often experienced in my Paris life the impulsive generosity,
carried out at inconvenience and sacrifice, of which this is an example.
There were others who needed that wood as much as I did. But I was a
foreigner who had been working for babies in the Commissaire's district.
A point of honor was involved. Never will you find a Frenchman lacking
when he feels a sense of obligation.

François Coppée wrote a beautiful story about a young French aristocrat
whose life in the army had taught him that half of the world goes
through life struggling constantly to obtain what the other half has
without effort. Perhaps you have read "La Croûte de Pain." After the war
of Soixante-Dix the aristocrat could not bear to see bread wasted. One
day he picked up a crust on the street, brushed off the mud with his
handkerchief and set it on the side-walk where one who needed it would
find it. And then he told his inquiring companion why. I shall always be
like that with coal. For I can never forget how we kept warm in
February, 1917.



CHAPTER XXVI

APRIL SIXTH


Never were Americans in France more perplexed about the state of feeling
in the United States than at the beginning of 1917. The sinking of the
_Lusitania_ and other _torpillages_ had brought forth note after note
from President Wilson: but his spokesmen among the Democratic senators,
especially Senator Hitchcock, were advocating measures to put an embargo
on the export of arms and ammunition. If these men had succeeded, they
would have helped Germany to win the war during 1916. Then President
Wilson was reelected on the slogan, "He has kept us out of the war."
Immediately after his re-election, Mr. Wilson began an attempt to make
peace that seemed to us at the time distinctly unfriendly to the
Entente. The idealism of President Wilson stirred us. But we were living
too close to the war to see the advantage of a "peace without victory."

Our first intimation of a change of attitude in America came one day
when _L'Information_, one of our papers that comes out at noon,
published a cable-gram from Washington, stating that Secretary Lansing
had declared that the reason behind President Wilson's interest in peace
was that the United States felt herself on the brink of war. Herbert and
I were walking home from our studios. He stopped to buy the paper that
the boy on a bicycle was just giving our newswoman. Long experience had
taught us that the noon paper never gave anything new. But one was
always afraid to miss something. That's why afternoon papers are able to
bring out so many editions. When we read this message, we realized that
the President must be at the end of his rope, and that if Germany
persisted in her intention to declare unlimited submarine warfare, our
entering into the conflict was inevitable.

The news of the rupture of diplomatic relations arrived on a Sunday
morning when the streets were full. The dispatches from Washington
contained long excerpts from President Wilson's splendid speech. Relief
rather than joy was the feeling we all had. We said to ourselves, "_At
last!_" Some of our intimate French friends, when we discussed the break
and the reasons the President gave for it, wondered why those reasons
had not been valid long before. It was an echo of our own thoughts. But
French and American were so happy over the new stand taken by the United
States, over the new note in the leadership of President Wilson, that we
did not allow ourselves to criticize the past. All was forgiven on that
last Sunday of January. Over night President Wilson became the most
popular man in France. And just one week before my Parisian friends had
been reading his Senate speech of January twenty-second with a puzzled
expression that turned into anger and indignation.

We had an excellent barometer of what the French _bourgeois_ and
_universitaire_ was thinking in our dear old family doctor. Doctor
Charon had come to us first in the Rue Servandoni days. Christine was
sick one night for the first and only time in her babyhood. The young
father and mother were scared to death. Doctor Charon, whom we had not
known before, was called in. He assured us that there was nothing fatal.
After that he came again for colds. He knew how to scold us and make us
obey. Since then he has been the family friend and censor, entering into
our life as only a doctor can do. He always stopped to chat a minute.
His only son was at the war: he and his wife and two daughters were
doing hospital work. I often felt that his heart was breaking. He
suffered from the war in his soul, which was far worse than suffering in
the flesh.

During the years of uncomfortable neutrality, Herbert and I tried to
reassure Doctor Charon and make him see how impossible it was that all
our compatriots, who had never been in France and knew nothing about
France, could feel the way we did. But we often felt that he loved us
despite the fact that we were Americans. On January 23, 1917, Doctor
Charon talked to us at length about the Senate speech. The way President
Wilson's mind worked was beyond him. He despaired of America. On January
30 he came in with a face transfigured, held out his arms, and kissed
me. We both cried.

"I do not yet understand about your President," he said simply, "but you
were right in telling me not to lose hope in him. To-day he is our
prophet."

During the two years that followed, Doctor and Madame Charon, in common
with all our French friends, had a revelation of the heart of America
beating for France. They saw at close range our relief work. Not only
did we give money without stint, but hundreds of Americans--who had
never known France before--came over to show by tireless personal
service that the friends of France were not limited to the Americans
resident in France or to those who had some point of personal contact.
In the end they realized that we were ready to be as prodigal with our
blood as with our treasure. When my husband received his red ribbon, the
Charons gave a dinner for us. Doctor Charon said: "I have one ambition
now in life--to go to America."

As I have related in another chapter, February and March were tragic
months for Paris. Zero weather and no coal made a combination that took
our attention away from the evolution of public opinion across the
seas. Germany stood firm, resisting the threats and disregarding the
warnings of President Wilson's notes. But we had such an inherent
mistrust of notes that we were not sure until the end of March that some
sort of a modus vivendi would not be patched up, as after the
_Lusitania_ and the _Sussex_.

Were we even sure in the first week of April? Herbert told me to get out
our flags that had been put carefully away since 1914. Although I was
not as optimistic as my husband, I brought out the flags and mended
them. I needed two for our studios. My voice trembled when I asked for
the stars and stripes at the Bon Marché. They had a large stock, mostly
brand-new. They were counting upon the imminent event. The sales girl
told me that they had sold more American flags in the last fortnight
than those of the other Allies put together since the beginning of the
war. She said it gleefully. The new broom was sweeping clean. With all
my pride in my own country, I had my misgivings about too great a
demonstration. Why did not the Government or some of the patriotic
organizations make a propaganda to have the flags of the Allies ready
for display everywhere with the American and French when the day
arrived? I suggested this to my husband, who was a member of the Union
des Grandes Associations Françaises. I knew how I would feel if I were a
Britisher who had been there from the beginning. Would not the French
show that wonderful characteristic of theirs, the sense of proportion?

But when the day arrived, my internationalism and cosmopolitanism, a
gradual and unconscious growth, suddenly disappeared. It was a reversion
to type. I became blatantly American again, and gloried in the fact that
everywhere it was all Stars and Stripes. Why not? This was America's
day. And ever since, despite the theoretical internationalism (or
super-nationalism) I have advocated in common with my husband, I fear
that practically I have been lapsing into a narrow nationalism. It is a
curious phenomenon. I do not attempt to explain it.

On Thursday, April sixth, Herbert went to the American Club to lunch.
Settling down to work had been hard that morning. We were feverishly
awaiting the news. I was just starting lunch with the children when the
telephone rang. Herbert's voice said, "Put out your flag," and then he
hung up.

An hour later he came in a taxi-cab with Carroll Greenough, an American
architect who lived near us. We went for his wife. Then the four of us
did the Grands Boulevards, the Rue de la Paix, and the principal streets
in the heart of Paris. As if by magic the American flag appeared
everywhere. Paris had not waited for the poster of the Municipality, in
which the President of the Municipal Counsel called upon his fellow
citizens to _pavoiser_ in honor of the new Ally. Americans though we
were, we had never seen so many American flags. They expressed the hope
which, though long deferred, had not made the heart sick.

We went to the Ambassadeurs for tea. The terraces were full. We watched
the crowds passing up and down the Champs-Elysées. All that was lacking
was the orchestra to play the Marseillaise and the Star Spangled Banner.
There had been no orchestras in Paris since the beginning of the war.

But the music was in our hearts.



CHAPTER XXVII

THE VANGUARD OF THE A. E. F.


"What class are yuh goin' to git?"

The voice came from a wee island of khaki in a solid mass of horizon
blue. American soldiers! The first I had seen. The American army was to
the French army as were these half dozen doughboys to the station full
of shabby _poilus_. The Gare du Nord has many memories for me, happy and
poignant, but this will always be the most precious. Shall I ever forget
the ticket window around which our boys crowded? We had been saying "How
long, O Lord, how long?" And now they were with us. I moved nearer to
them.

"Why, there's classes--foist, second, and thoid--accordin' to what yuh
pay--see?"

"Aw! What dya mean?"

"Buy fift' and we'll ride foist!"

I volunteered to help them count their change.

"She don't understand and neither do we," said one, hitching a thumb in
the general direction of the girl behind the grating.

"Guess she's got mush in her brain."

"Or feathers!" laughed another.

It was not the class they would ride that was at the bottom of the
trouble. I found that the boys wanted to go to Versailles. They had come
into the Gare du Nord with baggage two days in advance of General
Pershing and his staff. Their officer had given them an afternoon off,
but told them that they were not to wander around Paris. He had
suggested Versailles. This was the only station they knew, and so they
were trying to get to Vers-ales. I took them to the Gare du Montparnasse
and put them on their way. This really was not necessary. I soon
discovered the American soldiers needed no interpreter. They always got
to whatever destination they set their minds upon. But this little scene
at the Gare du Nord was typical of the spirit of our boys during the two
years they were in France. Instead of getting angry, they smiled and
"joshed." In their very nature they had the secret of getting along with
the French.

The afternoon of General Pershing's arrival, the streets around the Gare
du Nord held a crowd the like of which I had not seen in Paris since the
war began. It was the same at the Place de la Concorde. Rooms had been
engaged for the Pershing party at the Hotel Crillon. The ovation at the
Gare du Nord and along the route of the procession was remarkable. When
General Pershing came out on the balcony of the Crillon it was a scene
worthy of the occasion. Paris was not greeting an individual. France was
welcoming America.

For the first time since the beginning of the war Paris celebrated. The
danger that still menaced the city and the bereavements of three years
were forgotten in the frenzy of joy over what everyone believed was the
entry of a decisive factor. Since April sixth insidious defeatist
propaganda had permeated the mass of the people. Seizing upon the
failure of the Champagne offensive in April, which had caused mutinies
in the army that could not be hushed up, German agents--often through
unconscious tools--spread their lies among a discouraged people. America
had declared war, yes, but she intended to limit her intervention to
money and materials. No American army would risk crossing the ocean. The
Americans, like the British, were ready "to fight to the last
Frenchman."

Seeing was believing. Here were the American uniforms. The arrival of
the first American troops, we were assured, would be announced within
the next few days. Perhaps they had already landed at some port in
France? To baffle the submarines we understood that the censorship must
be vigorous. At any rate, an American general and his staff would not be
in Paris without the certainty of an army to follow.

Another source of conviction was afforded us in the fact that on this
day of General Pershing's coming Marshal Joffre made his first public
appearance in Paris. Parisians had never had a chance before to acclaim
the victor of the Marne.

The Americans set up their headquarters in two small _hôtels_ at the end
of the Rue de Constantine, opposite the Invalides. Immediately the boys
of the headquarters detachment marked out a diamond on the Esplanade des
Invalides, and passers-by had to learn to dodge base-balls. The police
did not interfere. Nothing was too good for the Americans. All Paris
flocked to see for themselves the khaki uniforms and to learn the
mysteries of our national game. There was always a crowd around the door
of General Pershing's home in the Rue de Varenne.

The events of the next few weeks will always seem like a dream to me.
The scene of the drama that has influenced so profoundly the history of
the world was shifted from Paris. I went to Saint-Nazaire to see our
boys land and later to their first training-camp in the country of
Jeanne d'Arc. Many of them did not see Paris. Their idea of France was a
long journey of days and nights in freight-cars, with interminable
stops, and ending in small villages where they met rain and mud. But a
fortunate battalion of the First Division had the honor of being the
vanguard of the A. E. F. in Paris.

[Illustration: In an Old Quarter]

They were lodged in the Caserne de Reuilly. On the Fourth of July,
declared a national holiday by grateful France, they paraded through the
streets of our city. We were to become accustomed to American soldiers
in Paris. But these first boys made a unique impression. The moment
of their coming was psychological. Paris never needed encouragement
more.

After this excitement we had another long and anxious wait of eight
months. The Americans came each week, but in dribbles. Between
Gondrecourt and the three ports of Saint-Nazaire, Bordeaux and Brest, it
was necessary to construct the lines of communication while a great army
in America was being gathered and trained. The defeatist propaganda
started up again, the word was spread that the Americans were coming too
slowly and that in France they were to be seen everywhere but at the
front. Were not the French still holding the lines against odds and
giving their lives, while the Americans were in safety? Despite the fact
that General Pershing moved G. H. Q. from Paris to Chaumont in the
Haute-Marne, the number of American soldiers in Paris, through the
necessities of the S. O. S. increased rapidly. The Hotel Mediterranée,
near the Gare de Lyon, was the first large building taken over. Then the
Elysée-Palace Hotel on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées was chartered. The
American flag soon appeared over barracks, garages and other buildings
in all parts of the city. You could go nowhere without seeing the
American uniform, and our automobiles learned to drive as rapidly as the
French. We got accustomed to hearing English spoken on the streets. The
Red Cross, the Y.M.C.A., the Knights of Columbus, and the Jewish
Welfare Board, established hotels and restaurants and reading-rooms and
leased theatres. Our American Ambulance at Neuilly, taken over by the
army, became only one of a number of hospitals.

Not until the spring offensive of the next year were the Americans able
to come in large numbers. Then suddenly a single month brought as many
as the nine preceding months. We had our half million, our million, our
two millions.

The faith of the French in us revived with Cantigny and Château-Thierry.
I am ahead of my chronology. But the men who first fell under the
American flag were those who marched through the streets of Paris, on
July Fourth, 1917. On parade they gave us hope. Fighting they gave us
certitude of victory.



1918



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE DARKEST DAYS


Problems of war time housekeeping in France did not go back to 1914. The
learned political economists who demonstrated to their own satisfaction
that a general European war would not last a year were dead wrong.
Millions were mobilized. Nations were at each other's throats. The
Germans were able to retaliate against the naval blockade by submarine
warfare that threatened to decrease seriously our own communications
with the outside world. But somehow we managed to go through year after
year without feeling the pinch of decreased productivity. And somehow we
accepted the inflation of currency and continued to subscribe cheerfully
to successive war loans with money that came from God knows where. One
hears now much about how we suffered in 1915 and 1916. Morally speaking,
I suppose we did suffer and that we were aware of the strain as time
went on. But from a material point of view the war did not make itself
felt much until 1917. It was only in the spring of that year that a
cartoonist was inspired to draw a necklace of anthracite, tipped off
with an egg for a pendant, over the caption, "Her Jewels." Coal cards,
sugar cards, and bread cards were to us the signs of Germany's weakness.

Successive Cabinets realized well enough the prudence of anticipatory
restrictions. In the autumn of 1916 the newspapers put forth a _ballon
d'essai_. Every day they published a homily on the virtue of practicing
economy. It had no effect on my servants, this constant warning of a
shortage to come. No restaurants obeyed the voluntary rationing
measures. The Government did not dare to introduce obligatory rationing.
Public opinion rebels against restrictions of individual liberty. We had
to feel the pinch before rationing measures were tolerated.

Sugar cards came first. They were "put over" on the public during the
rejoicing over the intervention of the United States. Coal cards were
instituted only after the bitter lesson of the late winter months of
1917 bid fair to repeat itself. Not until October, 1917, did I have to
put my signature as _chef de famille_ (my husband was so often away) on
an application for bread cards handed me by the concierge. A fourth New
Year of war came and went before we experienced what we had read about
in other countries--real lack of necessities. The reserves of everything
gave out suddenly. For the first time ability to spend money freely did
not solve household problems.

Some difficulties were insoluble. They were the difficulties centering
around a shortage of coal supply. I never realized before that in our
modern civilization coal is really a dominating factor in making
tolerable existence in the city. The winter before the sudden giving out
of coal affected only our heating. In the first months of 1918 coal
rationing led to cutting down on gas, electricity and water. In modern
apartments, just as there is no way to heat them except by radiators,
there is no way to light them except by electricity and no way to have
hot water except by turning on the spigot. We were in what the French
call a _cercle vicieux_. We had a fox-and-geese-and-corn problem. For
instance, when a municipal ordinance forbade giving hot water except on
Saturdays and Sundays, your first thought was to heat water on the
kitchen gas-stove. But your allowance for gas was insufficient for
cooking. Nor could you use gas for lighting to save electricity.
Petroleum for lamps or cooking was unobtainable. Everyone made a rush
for candles and wood alcohol. They gave out. When you thought of honey
and jams to make up to the children what they lacked in sugar, everyone
else thought of honey and jams at the same time. We lived on the sixth
floor. The electricity rationing made possible running the elevator only
at certain hours. And when the elevator broke down, all the steel was
going into cannon and all the workers were turning out munitions. You
just walked up six flights of stairs all the time.

Aside from cooking and baths and heat and light, the coal shortage
affected your laundry. So you couldn't change linen more frequently to
compensate for lost baths. In the old days the laundress would cast her
eyes around for more stuff to pack into her bundle, and if you gave her
a free hand, would gather up things that had never been soiled. Now she
picked out of the basket what she saw fit to take. In the same way, I
used to struggle to keep my milk supply down. It was a common trick for
the dairy people to load you up with milk and butter and eggs and cheese
in collusion with your cook. Now you had to beg for enough milk to give
the babies a cup apiece a day; butter arrived in exchange for a heavy
tip; and eggs appeared not when you ordered them but when the dairy
chose to send them--which was rarely.

To have the laundress acting like that, and other people acting like
that, was living in Alice's Looking-Glass House. Things were
contrariwise. One day the laundress came to tell me that she could take
no more work. The wash house where the work used to be done had shut
down. My poor woman was dissolved in tears to think that a business that
she had spent twenty-three years in building up had to drop its
customers. I did the best I could by getting in a scrub woman for the
day to wash the most important things in cold water in the bath-room.
That was hard enough. But how dry them? Old tricks would not go: there
was no heat in the radiators. You see, as I said, all the troubles came
at once and were due primarily to coal shortage. There was no remedy.
Insufficient food supply because of lack of means of transportation.
Insufficient lack of means of transportation because of shortage of coal
for freight engines.

I bought dark jersey dresses for the babies, and lived in dark things
myself.

I was fortunate in having a good cook and nurse who stayed with me
through thick and thin. But when I came to get a _femme de ménage_ for
chamber work I realized how justified were the complaints of most of my
friends. Women could make big money in munition factories. The large
country element, scared away in 1914 or called home to take the place of
men at the front, did not feed Paris with help as in peace time. I had a
succession of giggling sixteen-year-olds, pottering grandmothers, and
useless loafers. One _femme de ménage_ I called "Toothless." She thought
it was an English pet name, and beamed under it. She was a farm hand
from the Marne district. The family fled before the Germans. She was
left in charge until the soldiers drove her out. "Toothless" put the
chickens in a little hay wagon, tied the cows to the back of it, and,
with her employer's silver on her lap, drove alone through the night to
safety. She was herded with other evacuated peasants on a steamer bound
for Bordeaux. The ship was torpedoed and she lost her teeth by the
explosion. I felt very sorry, and regarded her somewhat as a heroine
until the truth dawned on me that she was speaking of a plate. I didn't
think of this myself. She asked me for an advance one day, explaining
that she had to pay it down to a dentist when she ordered _more_ teeth.
A stranded Russian student followed "Toothless." She held out until her
prosperous father sent money from Petrograd through the Russian Embassy.
Try as hard as I could and offer more than I wanted to pay, I could not
get a regular third servant. I used to be amazed at the letters from
American friends, asking me to send them servants. It must have been the
popular notion in the United States that France was full of women eager
for the chance to work.

In the fourth year of the war, we began to feel the drain on the
nation's manhood. The constant killing and crippling and calling to the
colors of older men and boys made it almost impossible to get any work
done. Bells or lights or plumbing out of order--you waited for months.
Where in 1915 I had found half a dozen paper-hangers and painters eager
to bid against each other for the job of renovating my studio, I had to
beg and bribe men to come in 1918. It took me four months to get what I
wanted done. Herbert became expert in carrying trunks and boxes: but
that did him no harm. There is a bright side to everything.

Lines began to form at the grocers and the butchers. One waited and
waited and waited. My servants spent most of the day in the early months
of 1918 in sugar and meat-lines. All over Paris it was _faire la queue_
for everything, even for tobacco and matches.

Although it was an expensive proposition, I found it necessary, with my
large family and constant guests, to buy groceries through an agent. A
large English firm seemed to be able to furnish everything--if you paid
their price. The order-man who came around every week was a rascal named
Grimes. He had the genius of a book-agent, and worked you for an order
by playing on your fears. Here is a monologue that I wrote out one day
just to record how Grimes sold things.

"Rice? First-class American rice?" (Why Grimes called rice "American"
was more than I could understand.) "Still got a little of it--please
don't ask me the price. Don't think of that now. Better let me put you
down for a hundred pounds of it and just shut your eyes to money. Golden
syrup? Just brought three cases of it up from Bordeaux myself. No
telling when we will see any more. The submarines are worse than ever:
awful, isn't it, but it's best that the newspapers don't tell us the
truth. I'm going to let you have two dozen tins of syrup if you don't
tell anyone. It's on account of your kiddies. I recommend that you don't
let older people touch it. Stack it away for the time when your sugar
card--I'm not pessimistic, but I believe you can't be too sure about
sugar cards. A funny fellow over at our place said a neat thing: 'It's
hard to believe in a paper shortage when the Government has voted sugar
cards and those new identity cards.' Biscuits, when have you and I seen
a biscuit? I got a few cases in from America. I'll let you have some.
I'll reserve a couple of hams and some sides of bacon and hang them in
our cellar for you. Gad, you're lucky to have those four babies. It's
only because they need the bacon this winter that I give it to you. Now,
didn't I tell you that you must not think about money? Trust me to give
you a square price. It's safe to say that the beans and other dried
vegetables I'm letting you have will make you shiver when you get the
bill. But if this order figures up to two thousand francs, you can rest
assured that three months from now it would cost you three thousand
francs. And six months from now, with all the good will in the world, I
couldn't get you the stuff.

"No use mentioning flour. Can't give you any. They say that the
Government is meeting on the quiet half the price of the flour before
the bakers see it. Comes high but it pays 'em to keep the people quiet.
Everything else can go up, but not bread. No m'am, I say it positively;
got to give 'em bread and the chance to have a little fun." (I'm sure
that Grimes never studied Roman history, but he had arrived at the
formula of _panem et circenses_.) "But we shan't starve. Better off in
France than they are in England or Germany. Save the bread for lunch and
tea: give the children a cereal in the morning. Just by luck, I have a
few cases of American oatmeal and hominy grits.

"Of course, the porridge means milk. I know what you're going to say.
But I've got hold of powdered milk made in Brittany. They say it's an
American invention. Only one big tin to a person, but then you're six
and we'll count the babies as grown ups. You can't tell how long they'll
be able to keep transporting milk to the city. Order as much canned
goods as I can give you. Canneries are running out of tin. Food we put
up in paraffined paste-board doesn't keep very well, and there is mighty
little paste-board.

"It's a good thing you don't depend upon cocktails to keep you going. I
have a big auto-taxi ticking out there. The man who is going to pay for
it would be glad to let it tick all night just so he got what is inside.
One hundred bottles of gin. You know, the ordinary five-franc gin. I'm
going to get thirty francs a bottle at the Hotel Meurice bar. But
they'll be two bottles short. There they are--yours--right under my hat
on the table.

"Now please let me read over the order. Not a luxury on it. Macaroni,
beans, lentils, prunes, dried-apricots, salt, and yes, there must be
some soap. Better let me put you down for a good hundred bars. The
Marseilles people tell us they have got to stop making it soon."

Then he resumed his reading, and I didn't dare to say a word. On those
rare occasions I was pensive. My husband would say: "You don't need to
tell me. That scoundrel Grimes has been here. Good Lord, I wish we had
an anti-hording law, like England."

"But, oh, Herbert, the children you know."

I tell this story because I believe it illustrates the thought that was
uppermost in the minds of Paris women. We had faith in our armies. We
stuck to our homes. We were willing to stand anything. But the constant
talk of food shortage got on our nerves. We pictured our children
without milk and fats and bread. It was not hard for the Grimeses to
fill pages in their order-books. And you could not reason with us that
laying in supplies was a sin against the community.

In my apartment-house (and it was the same all over Paris because of the
new law) the water-heater was having a good rest. I used to have the
kids bathed every night in the week except Sunday. Sunday was a real day
of rest. My servants liked to go to early mass and Sunday afternoon was
"off" for them and for the governess. Circumstances aided in keeping
this side of Sunday as my Covenanter grandfather would have had it. But
after the restrictions you bathed Sunday morning or never. And you had
to wait for your bath. Inferior coal, parsimoniously stoked, took the
water-heater a long time to get going. We chose the next best to
godliness. Church attendance fell off. The lawmakers who restricted
bathing to Sunday were anticlericals as well as traditionalists.

I had been putting off doing over the apartment and our studios each
spring and fall since the war began, saying to myself that I would wait
until after the war. But in the autumn of 1917 the time had come to do
something. The painter was so short of men that I had to wait three
weeks before he sent someone simply to see what was to be done and to
make an estimate. The men cleaned half the paint in October. They never
came back to do the other half. I was tired of the dull grey wood-work
in my husband's studio and the painted grey wainscotting effect that ran
around the walls shoulder high. The place looked like a battle-ship
turned wrong-side out. Standing in the middle of that studio and looking
up to the skylight, I felt as if the hair was flying right off the top
of my head. The time came when I could stand it no longer. The painter's
soldier son, home on _permission_, agreed with me. But the father shook
his head when I asked him to paint the lower part a cheery buff and the
upper part cream-color. He had no helpers. I pled with him then to give
me the paint properly mixed, lend me brushes and ladders, and I would
send for them and do the work myself. It took me a whole morning to
remove a part of the imitation wainscotting. Then other things more
pressing came up. My husband, who had been oblivious to the old
combination, protested. Fortunately, one of my wounded _filleuls_, who
was able to get around without crutches, did the rest. I helped when I
could: for I do love to paint.

The rugs in my drawing-room needed cleaning. At the Bon Marché they
offered to write my name down in their books. But they warned me that
they could not call for the rugs for three weeks, and that I must
understand that they could not be delivered before January. In the end I
sent the rugs to three different cleaning places and waited from four to
six weeks to get them back.

The curtains of my drawing-room windows were dark green velvet, too
depressing a color for wartime. I wonder how I lived with them so long.
The drawing-room faces north, and I wanted yellow silk curtains to
invite the sunshine in. The curtains should be a frame for the best
picture in the drawing-room--a view of Paris that is the reverse of the
picture described in the first pages of Zola's Paris. The idea ran away
with me, and the momentum of it carried me through the difficulties I
found when I tried to get an upholsterer to make the curtains. We are
all learning new trades. The curtains were made finally by an artist,
who, in order to earn her living through the war years, learned to do
retouching of photographs. She and I worked together at those curtains,
and you would think that an upholsterer made them.

Then the electric-bells--why can't they be fixed so one can wind them
up like a clock? They would not work; that was certain. I unscrewed
their little tops and punched the things like miniature
type-writer-spacers which the buttons ought to have hit: no ring.
Herbert said they "needed new juice" in the batteries. He had the
concierge send up some stuff that looked like salt. I climbed on the
pantry table to reach the suspicious-looking butter crocks hitched to
twisted waxy wires, and poured in the stuff with water according to
orders. Still no ring. Then I telephoned for the electrician. Perhaps he
would consent to send me Jean Claude, the nearsighted, who put in the
wires when we first came and had always been able to make them work.
Jean Claude, we heard, had come back from the war. But the electrician
answered that Jean Claude had been sent to the front again in spite of
his eyes. He would let me have apprentices. The boys were so short that
the big monkey-wrench in their tool-kit was as long as their forearms.
They climbed my step-ladder and tinkered with the bells for most of an
afternoon, while I held the ladder through a sense of paternal
protection for anything as young as that and was glad I had bandages and
ointment in my cupboard. When evening came, they were like the boy in
the song, who said:

    "I don't care what my Teacher says,
     I cannot do that sum!"

Quite naturally they explained that they must ask somebody at the shop
what to do and promised to come back next day.

But they did not return. Luckily our dentist turned up on a forty-eight
hour furlough. He and his wife knocked long and loud at our front-door.
When the first surprise and delight of seeing him back, looking so
bronzed and fit, had passed, I apologized for the bell, and told my sad
story. The problem awakened the dentist's interest. He went walking
about tracing the wires. French wires are all just hitched somewhere
above the picture moulding line so you can see them.

"Aha!" came from the pantry. It was the dentist's voice. At the same
moment there was a prolonged ringing. "That's what comes from earning
your living by making your brains speak through your fingers. Quite
simple, quite simple," said the dentist. "I only arranged this little
affair on the indicator. It was the fourth screw from the back at the
upper line of the plate."

"Sakes," I cried, "get down from there before you give me a toothache!"

We all go through the world lighting up its darkness with our own kind
of lantern.

Throughout the war we have done with clothes as with our houses--making
things do. That went very well at first. But in the fourth winter wear
and tear had to be met. We learned a new scale of values for little
things. A green glass lampshade cost fifteen francs, and you were lucky
to get it. The plug to stick in the hole for an electric light you
scoured the town to purchase at seven francs. The steel wire your
_frotteur_ uses to polish floors quadrupled in price. My _frotteur_ went
to war long ago. His substitute, a chauffeur in the postal service, gave
us two afternoons in a month--his only free time. One day he defended
his service gallantly while he balanced a wet brown cigarette and
cake-walked the steel wire over my _salon_ floor. The long black autos
marked _postes et dépêches_, terror of pedestrians in Paris, do not
really go faster than other autos. We think they do because they were
the first autos to be used extensively in the city, and the fear of
being knocked down by them has stuck in the minds of the public.

I used to have half a dozen "nice little dressmakers" on my list and as
many milliners to whom I could send friends confidently. But as the war
dragged on, one after the other they disappointed me. If it were not
poor cut and shoddy materials, it was inability to make delivery
anywhere near the time promised. Everyone must have been in my position,
because when I turned to the department stores for ready-made things, I
found long lines awaiting for a turn with the sales woman. It is not the
fault of dressmakers. One of them opened her heart to me.

"It is very hard. Like everybody else, I keep hoping the war will end
suddenly. My reputation was made by my _premières ouvrières_. I still
keep on paying them good wages now although I eat into my savings to do
it. I cannot risk having my best girls go over to competitors. We had
our side in the strike of the _midinettes_. If it had not hit me hard, I
should have been amused to see these pretty young things dressed in
clothes cheap in material but _chic_ go marching along the boulevards
winning policemen over at every corner. I raised pay beyond my means,
and have granted the _semaine anglaise_. But they would go to-morrow for
the least thing.

"For twenty years I have had three classes of customers in Paris:
_bourgeoises_ of the solid type, who come to me for the reserved sort of
clothes that sell on line, good material and long wear. They paid my
rent. American women, who came in the summer, or hurried through Paris
in February, headed for the Riviera, wanted an advance idea rapidly
executed. That trade paid my running expenses. From actresses and
mistresses I got fantastic prices for exclusive models I promised not to
repeat. From them I made my profits.

"The first class are deft-fingered like all French women, and do their
own dressmaking now. They get their mourning from the houses that make a
specialty of that trade. The Americans do not come as they used to. My
profitable trade does not have the money for fine clothes or the
opportunity to show them off."

Curious it seems to me now, when I sit down to write a chapter about the
darkest days of the war, that I find myself penning page after page of
the story of petty household difficulties. But I want to be what the
French call _véridique_. This is how we felt during the first winter of
the American intervention, when the A. E. F. was coming to France with
painful slowness and when we were aware that the Germans were preparing
a final desperate _coup_ before Pershing could marshal an army,
effective in training and equipment and numbers. In January and
February, 1918, we were under the reaction of the Russian collapse, of
the awakening to the falsehoods concerning German military strength that
had been spread consistently for three years, of the nervous dread that
the submarines might after all prevent the coming of the Americans. The
little things, strikes, petty annoyances of daily house keeping, steady
increase in the cost of living made the deep impression.

Then came the new German onslaught, the daily long-distance bombardment
and the aeroplane raids every night.



CHAPTER XXIX

THE GOTHAS AND BIG BERTHA


In the early days of the A. E. F., when I was speaking to American
soldiers in the camps, I used to leave a little time for questions at
the end of my talk. The boys always had something in their heads they
wanted to talk about. The scope and variety of their questions were
amazing. But some one was sure to ask:

"Have you ever been in an air raid?"

When I answered in the affirmative, he would say,

"How did you feel?"

For a long time I reasoned like the _poilu_, who said that if his number
was on a German shell it would find him. Herbert and I worked it out
mathematically that our chances of being hit in the enormous area of
Paris were not as great as of being knocked down by one of the crazy
Indians we had for chauffeurs. When any left-over of a man could get a
license to run a taxi-cab in Paris after a course of two days at fifty
francs, why worry about bombs dropped from an occasional Hun plane? If
we had to go, we'd rather be in our beds. Better to be warm and cosy and
run a slight risk, an infinitesimal risk, than the almost certain
alternative of a bad cold by huddling in a drafty cellar. I told the
boys that we took the raids as a matter of course--all in the day's
happenings. I explained my philosophy, which was this.

I once knew a man so afraid of germs that he made his wife wash new
stockings in disinfectant solution. He kept strict surveillance over his
children's diet. No peanuts, pink lemonade,
little-store-around-the-corner candy for them. They were taught to
exercise minute precautions in the every-day round of living. And yet,
for all the bother, they had as many ailments as other children. When
one is leading a normal life and has only imaginary or petty things to
contend with, molehills are magnified. When one is facing a great
crisis, one realizes that health is often simply a matter of lack of
physical selfconsciousness. Most of the things you think about and guard
against do not happen. I remember once seeing a play, in which a Romeo
and a Juliet held the center of the stage, oblivious to fighting in the
distance. The man said: "That is only a battle; this is love." Some
people see the honey in the pot; others cannot take their eyes off the
fly.

I still hold to this way of taking things. It saves a lot of trouble and
makes for peace of mind. But somehow it did not work out to the end in
the air raids. The Germans were finally able to reach Paris when they
wanted to and in appreciable number.

From the beginning of the war to the end of 1917, air raids did not mean
much to Parisians. We read about the awful nights of terror when the
full moon came around in London, and the heavy bombardment of cities
just behind the front lines in France. Aeroplanes did come occasionally
to Paris. But up to 1918 we experienced curiosity and excitement rather
than fear. In 1915 we saw a Zeppelin over the Gare Saint-Lazare. I can
recall nothing particularly startling about any of these raids. When
aeroplanes came and we did not wake the babies, they scolded us the next
day. They wanted to see the fun. Our balconies, looking over the city
from the _sixième étage_ of the Boulevard du Montparnasse, gave us a
wonderful vantage point for seeing the raids.

One January night at the beginning of 1918, the fire engines rushed
through the streets with their horns screaming the hysterical "pom-pom!
pom-pom!" with more vigor than usual. As was our custom, we turned the
lights carefully out and went on the balcony to watch the weird scene
that never failed to fascinate, rockets and searchlights and the firefly
effect of rising French planes. That always comforted us. We had little
thought that an _escadrille_ of German planes could reach Paris. They
never had before. The raids had been only an occasional plane flying
very high and dropping at random a few bombs which burst in different
quarters. The next day you had to hunt hard to find the damage they did.
Remembering our promise to Christine, we woke her up and took her out.

The sounds of the alarm died away. Often we had waited in vain for the
fire from the forts around Paris to warn us that the raiders had
actually arrived in the vicinity of Paris. Then there was another wait
until the first bomb fell. Christine was a bit disgusted at being waked
up for nothing. During the long silence she asked impatiently, "What is
this? The _entre'acte_?"

But Christine was not disappointed. Over our heads we heard distinctly
the harsh engine-sound that distinguished the new German Gotha from
French planes. We heard it several times. When the bombs began to drop,
it was not one or two, but dozens of explosions. We did not think of
going inside. The thought of danger to ourselves did not enter our
heads.

Although we knew the raid had been something different from any we had
experienced up to this time, there was little in the papers about the
events of the night. We thought that we must have been mistaken in the
number of bombs that had fallen. It is not always easy to distinguish
between the explosions of a shell from the _tir de barrage_ and the
explosion of a bomb. Before we got through the first month of 1918 we
had the opportunity of becoming expert in this.

We happened to be lunching with Robert and Edmée Chauvelot. Robert said,
"Did you go down to the cellar last night?"

"No, we never do."

"Why not?" cried Robert.

I explained our air raid philosophy.

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Madame Alphonse Daudet, Edmée's mother, "you must
go down next time. It isn't fair to your children. Your idea sounds
spunky and American--childish you understand. When we have epidemics,
the authorities study remedies. The Huns have decided to concentrate
their energies on Paris now. You must have read the warnings in the
newspapers. The police have collected statistics. We know now that most
of the people killed by German planes were standing at windows or front
doors, or were on the streets, or remained in their top-floor
apartments. What you have been telling your soldier boys in the camps is
all wrong. No precaution ought to be neglected. It is a question of
commonsense, not fear."

"I know how to convince you," said Robert. After lunch he took us to the
Avenue de la Grande Armée not far from the Arc de Triomphe.

"There!" He pointed to a house whose top floors had been blown away.
"That might just as well have been you."

The house was a new one like ours and as solidly built of stone. The
apartment on the _sixième étage_ was pulverized, the one below it was
smashed, and the fourth floor damaged some. But the third floor was
intact. This convinced us. If air raids were now to be frequent, had we
the right to risk the kiddies? We could take the chance for ourselves.
But for them?

All Paris reasoned in the same way. The Gothas began to come every night
during the full moon periods and other times when it was clear. In the
late afternoon we grew accustomed to watch the sky and calculate the
chances of cloudy weather. If the stars came out we were sure that there
would be no undisturbed night's rest. The Government intensified the
batteries of A.D.C. cannon around the city. Patrols of aeroplanes were
multiplied. The _tir de barrage_ became formidable. None could boast any
longer of being able to sleep through air raids. Sirens were put on all
the public buildings to replace the _alerte_ of the fire-trucks. When
the sirens began to wail, not a soul in Paris could complain of not
being warned. Frequently nothing happened after the sirens, because the
_alerte_ was given each time German planes were signalled crossing our
lines in the direction of Paris. Then we would simply wait for the
_berloque_, the bugle signal "all's over," which was sounded by the
firemen riding through the streets on their hook and ladder trucks.

When the Gothas demonstrated their ability to come in numbers, as the
Zeppelins had been doing in London, the municipality, upon orders from
the Ministère de la Guerre, ordered every light out and the instant
stopping of tramway and underground services the moment the _alerte_
was sounded. Engineers went around the city examining cellars and Métro
stations. Houses with solid cellars were compelled to keep their front
doors open until the number of persons they could hold had taken refuge
inside. In front of the house placards were posted with ABRI in large
letters and the number of persons allotted for shelter underneath. The
underground railways had to shut all stations except those deemed safe.
If you were on the street or in an underground train or tramway when the
_alerte_ sounded, you had the choice of walking home or of taking refuge
in the nearest _abri_. At first the theatres and moving-picture houses
protested against being closed down. But one January night a bomb
destroyed completely a house a hundred yards from the crowded
Folies-Bergère. This was enough. After that, if the _alerte_ sounded
before opening time, there was no show. If it sounded during a
performance, theatres and _cinémas_ were evacuated immediately by the
police.

One can readily see the inconvenience of all this. If you planned to go
out for dinner or to a show, you risked a long walk home or being caught
for hours--and then the walk! For it was practically impossible to get
into the underground after the _berloque_ sounded.

On account of the children, from January to April, we went far from home
only on a cloudy or rainy night. If there were engagements we had to
keep on a clear night, there was only one thing to do--bribe a chauffeur
to stand by you with his taxi-cab all evening.

As the _alertes_ were often false alarms, we waited until the _tir de
barrage_ began. Then with servants carrying children wrapped in
blankets, we had to stumble down dark stairs. My husband was often away.
Sometimes I had to go on lecture trips. But we never left Paris at the
same time. Whenever I was out of town, I looked on clear weather as a
calamity and dreaded the full moon. The next morning I would eagerly
scan the paper for news of what happened in Paris. It was no fun.

Cellars of modern apartment houses may be solid, but they are not
spacious. Each _locataire_ has two _caves_, one for storage and coal and
one for wine. The only refuge space is around the furnace and in the
long corridors that lead to the _caves_. We were allotted space for
three hundred. Such a crowd would gather from the streets! I could not
take my children there. At first we went to the concierge's _loge_. As
explosion succeeded explosion, I telephoned the _Herald_ office and
learned the location of the bomb a few minutes after it fell. This was a
way of knowing whether they were in our quarter or across the river. But
this soon ended. For telephone service during the raid was interrupted,
and the concierge's _loge_ was deemed by the police unsafe. Bombs
falling in the street or court were wrecking ground floors. A
solidarity manifested itself among the _locataires_. Those on the first
two or three floors took in the tenants from the upper floors. I was
lucky in having the use of a first-floor apartment alone for my family.
The _locataires_ of this apartment would leave the door open for me.
They went to the cellar! Everything is relative in this life.

At first, the children objected to going down stairs. The younger ones
did not like to be wakened from their sleep. The older ones wanted to
see the raid from the balcony. We sympathized with them. We were missing
so much! After a while, as nothing ever happened to our house, I began
to regret having started to follow the advice of my friends. After all,
was the cellar safe? It was fifty-fifty. I wonder how my children will
feel about Germany as they grow up. They were old enough to have
impressed indelibly upon their minds the memory of these months. They
will never forget the sirens, the sudden waking from sleep, the _tir de
barrage_, and the explosions that sometimes shook our house. Mimi asked
once, "Do the Gothas make that siren noise with their heads or with
their tails?" Fancy the image in the child's mind: the German birds
swooping over Paris shrieking a song of hate and dropping bombs that
meant destruction and death. And when the _berloque_ sounded and we went
up stairs, we could see from our balcony fires here and there over the
city. For the Germans used incendiary bombs.

But we were to have worse than air raids.

The other day I put on the victrola a selection from "Die Walkyrie."
Wotan was singing. The orchestra thundered three motifs. The spring of
the instrument ran down before I could get to wind it up, there was a
rasping shriek. Mimi started.

"That's like an air raid!" cried Lloyd.

But they say the most potent way "to summon up remembrance of things
past" is the sense of smell. Burned toast means to me Big Bertha.

One Saturday morning I was reading the depressing news of the rout of
the Fifth British army. After nearly four years of immobility in the
trenches, the Germans had once more started the march on Paris. The two
older children were out walking with Alice, their _gouvernante_. I was
at home with the babies. It was a jewel of a day, picked from an October
setting and smiling upon Paris in March. The feel of spring was in the
air. For months we had welcomed bad weather as an antidote for Gothas.
But I was glad the morning was so fine. At least there was nothing to
fear until evening. At the end of winter it is a blessing to have the
windows open once more. Suddenly the sirens started. We went out on the
balcony. The streets were filling with people, crowding into the Vavin
Métro station opposite and looking for the houses that were _abris_.
Still the crowds in the Boulevard du Montparnasse got larger. I was
sorry that Easter vacation was starting so early. Were the children in
school, they would be in the cellar. At the Ecole Alsacienne the
children were drilled for air raids as American school children are for
fire. Would Alice take the children to her own home or come back here?
If she went to her house, could she get there in time to telephone me
before the communications were cut off? It was impossible to go out and
look for Christine and Lloyd: for I must stay with the others. Often the
best thing is to sit tight. The children came in.

"It isn't the Gothas--it's balloons. The Germans have sent a lot of them
over us. Everybody says so."

In the unclouded sky there was no sign of aeroplanes. Could they be so
high as to be out of sight? And yet there were explosions near us every
few minutes. They lasted until late in the afternoon. The rumor of a big
gun spread. The noon newspapers and the earlier afternoon ones spoke of
a long distance bombardment to explain the explosions. Shells were
certainly falling. Bits of them, different from bombs, had been picked
up. But the opinion of interviewed experts scouted the theory of a gun
that would carry over a hundred kilometers. Was a new German advance
being hidden from us? Had they reached the gates of the city?

[Illustration: Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois]

That night we had our air raid as usual. The next morning the newspapers
told us that we could now expect to be shelled by day as well as bombed
by night. It was established that the Germans had discovered a means
of sending shells from their old lines all the way to Paris.

We were in the axis of Big Bertha, as the cannon was immediately dubbed.
This was a new and more severe test for nerves. We got accustomed to it.
For the trial, the strength. The kiddies had to have exercise and you
yourself could not be home every minute of the time. But my feeling each
time a shell exploded is the most horrible memory of the war. You never
knew where it fell. On the third day when the children came home from
the Luxembourg, they told me that a shell from Big Bertha had torn away
a corner of the Grand Bassin. I tried to steel myself. One can become a
fatalist for oneself. But it is not easy to be a fatalist for your
children.

Then we had a lull. We were assured that there was only one Big Bertha
or at the most two. The life of the cannon was a hundred shots. Counting
those that fell in the suburbs, the attempt to intimidate Paris was
over.

We were thankful now that we had only the air raids.

I woke up on Thursday morning, thinking to give the children a treat. I
built a wood fire, and started to make some toast. As I sat on the
floor, cutting pieces of bread, I told myself that it would not help to
worry. Perhaps it was true that the Germans had sprung a trick they
could not repeat. At any rate, the news from the front was good. The
British had made a magnificent recovery. The French were helping them
stop the hole. General Pershing was throwing all the Americans in France
into the breach north of Paris. There was something to be thankful for.
Even if Big Bertha started up again, we were as safe from shells in our
own home as anywhere else. I said to myself, "I am going to forget Big
Bertha and put my mind on the children's treat--hot buttered toast for
breakfast." There were enough embers now to make the toast. I speared a
piece of bread with the kitchen fork and held it over the fire.

"Bing!"

The toast dropped from my fork and was burned before I could pick it
out.

Mimi, who was sleeping in the bed close by, woke up.

"Hello, Mama," she said cheerfully. "Dat's Big Bertha again. I did hear
her."



CHAPTER XXX

THE BIRD CHARMER OF THE TUILERIES


The Paris subway system is the best in the world. We make this boast
without fear of contradiction. In London the various lines do not
connect, and require a life study to arrive at the quickest combination.
Even then, old Londoners are in doubt. They say to you, "Piccadilly
Circus? Ah let me see--" Then your guide contradicts himself two or
three times before giving you directions of which he is reasonably sure.
In New York, you have to be certain you are on the uptown or downtown
side, and that you have not mistaken the Broadway line, where you drop
the money in the box, for the Seventh Avenue line, where you buy
tickets. Experience with the Forty-second Street shuttle teaches you
that it is quicker to walk than to ride: you have to walk most of the
way anyhow. New York subways are filthy and stuffy. In Boston you have a
bewildering variety of trolley-cars, stopping at different parts of the
platform and going every which way.

But Paris underground is clean, well-ventilated, orderly. You can go
from any part of the city to any other part quickly and without
confusion. The resident knows his way instinctively. The stranger has
only to follow the abundant and clearly-marked signs. In every station
the signs bear the name of every other station, and if you are in doubt,
there is a map before you. On the doors of cars the stations are marked,
with junction-stops in red, and all the stations of the line you are
taking are indicated on a map which you cannot fail to see.

The subway system of Paris is superb because it has to compete with
excellent surface transportation. It has also to compete with the beauty
of Paris. Unless you are in a hurry or it is a very rainy day, riding
underground is folly. One never tires of going through the streets of
Paris. The joy is constant. I am proud of the "Métro" and "Nord-Sud," as
the two subway systems are called. But I use them as little as possible.
An open _fiacre_ is a temptation never to be resisted. And, until the
last year of the war, it was a temptation thrust under your nose. Best
of all, I love to walk. Our way to the Rive Droite is down the Boulevard
Raspail. At the foot of the boulevard, you have three choices. You can
go straight ahead through the Rue du Bac and over the Pont Royal, by the
Boulevard Saint-Germain and across the Pont de Solférino, or to the end
of the Boulevard Saint-Germain and across the Pont de la Concorde. Each
route is equally inspiring. By the Pont Solférino you have before you a
perfect vista of the Vendôme Column and Sacré-Coeur in the background.
By the Pont de la Concorde you have the Obélisque and the Madeleine in
the background. But I used to prefer the Rue du Bac and the Pont Royal
because of Monsieur Pol. Alas that I have to say "used to"!

After crossing the Seine by the Pont Royal, you enter the Tuileries
Garden at the end of the Louvre. On the left-hand side, before you
reached the Rue de Rivoli, ever since I can remember a little group was
gathered around a man feeding birds. I had to be in a great hurry on the
day I did not join that group.

There is an old saying that every man drifts into his means of
livelihood. That is the reason so few people are doing what they planned
to do, and why there are so many queer ways of earning one's living.
Certainly the first time Monsieur Pol threw bread crumbs to the sparrows
in Tuileries he did not think of doing it for a living. Nor did he dream
that he would become as familiar a Paris landmark as Paul Deroulède in
marble and Jeanne d'Arc in gilt near by. A generation of Parisians may
have forgotten the features of former presidents of the Republic. But
who would not recognize Monsieur Pol? In fact, I have seen Emile Loubet
standing unrecognized in the crowd around the bird charmer.

One day a one-legged soldier limped his way through the crowd to a good
place. In the lines of his face you could read suffering, but the
expression was of a happy child absorbed in the wonder of the moment. On
the sand around the old man's chair a hundred sparrows faced his way,
heads uplifted.

"Get out of this, you rascals! I have had enough of you," cried Monsieur
Pol, stamping his foot and shaking a fist at his battalion. Do you think
they budged? The bird charmer shook his head, and remarked with a gentle
sigh, turning to the crowd, "You see, they have known me a good while.
Mind how you behave," he shouted, addressing the birds again, "here is a
soldier looking at you. Think how he will laugh if you do not stand up
straight. Look how well he's standing himself--with one leg gone."

The birds heard a speech praising their defender, which turned into a
glorification of our _poilus_ in general. How those birds had to listen
to lessons in politics, shrewd comments on the news of the day, the
latest Cabinet crisis, talked-about play, scandal in high life! Since
the war it has been the Germans in Belgium, the Turks in Armenia,
Kerensky and the Bolshevists, and the last three o'clock _communiqué_.
The birds gave their attention to the end. They seemed to know when the
speech was done, when the lesson of faith in France and optimism had
been driven home. They began to fly about the charmer, billing around
his neck and perching on his wide-brimmed hat in search of
bread-crumbs.

Feeding the sparrows was "_un métier comme un autre_." He had names for
all his pets. With "the Englishman" he talked about Edward the Seventh,
Sir Thomas Barclay and the Entente Cordiale, and pressed him on the
subject of the tunnel under the Channel. He complimented "the
Englishman" on the bravery of the Tommies and told him what the French
thought of Sir Douglas Haig. "The Deputy" received frank comments on the
doings at the Palais Bourbon. "The Drunk" was twitted for having to go
without absinthe, scolded for his excesses, and at the end of the
afternoon invited to accompany Monsieur Pol for a drink, the price of
which invariably came from someone in the crowd. Monsieur Pol and his
sparrows would have earned a fortune at any vaudeville house. He was as
witty as a cowboy rope-juggler I saw once in New York, and his lectures
to the birds, if taken down in shorthand, would have made a valuable
contemporary commentary on Paris during the Third Republic. Monsieur Pol
depended upon occasional gifts and the sale of postcards.

During the war he grew gradually more feeble, but could not be persuaded
to accept the care of loving hands stretched out to him on all sides in
spite of the preoccupation of the struggle. When the bread restrictions
came in, he never lacked a sufficient supply for his little friends. I
have seen people give him strips of their own bread tickets. Monsieur
Pol kept coming to the Tuileries until he died in action as truly as
any soldier at the front. His best epitaph is a little verse on the
postcards he sold:

    "Auprès de ces petits, je suis toujours heureux.
     Car je vois l'amitié pétiller dans leurs yeux,
     Et j'éprouve aussitôt, avec un charme extrême,
     Le plus doux des bonheurs: être aimé quand on aime."[E]

[E]

    "Among these little ones I am always happy.
     In their innocent eyes glows friendship,
     And with swelling heart I know the charm
     Of loving and of being loved."



CHAPTER XXXI

THE QUATORZE OF TESTING


Big Bertha, or rather her successors, kept up a sporadic bombardment of
Paris in April and May. A few shells fell again in June. But the effect
of the bombardment, materially and morally, was nothing like that of the
original Big Bertha. The culmination of horror and indignation was
reached on Good Friday afternoon, when a hundred people were killed in
the church of Saint-Gervais. After that the Germans made no other big
killing. They came to realize that Big Bertha could not intimidate or
demoralize Paris. Where the shells fell, however, we shall never forget.

I used to listen with awe (and a bit of envy) to the stories of people
who passed through the siege of 1870. I remember well when I was a child
being told by my father's friends, as we drove in the city, "A shell
burst here in 1870 and tore the front out of a shop: I was sitting at a
café near by"; or, "On that spot the Versailles troops stormed a
barricade and lined its defenders against a wall--there was no quarter."
Now I have my stories to tell! There is hardly a street between the
Boulevard Montparnasse and the Seine that is not associated in my mind
with an aeroplane bomb or a Big Bertha shell. The compensation for
having lived through these days will be the privilege of telling
Americans who come to see us "all about it." As the years go by, I have
no doubt that legends will form themselves in my mind and that I shall
do my full share of innocent and unintentional lying. You want to
impress your listener: so you must make things graphic.

But I shall never be eloquent enough to enhance upon or exaggerate the
nervous tension through which we passed during the spring and early
summer of 1918. From the moment we learned the news of the collapse of
the Fifth British Army, which brought the Germans to Montdidier, until
the tide of battle was definitely turned, we never had an easy moment.
The strain was worse than in 1914. For it lasted months instead of
weeks, and reverses after four years of fighting, with all the world
against Germany, were more difficult to understand and to stand. The
British were just recovering themselves when the Germans fell on the
French, captured the entire Craonne plateau for which we had been
struggling for three years, reoccupied Soissons, and started to advance
once more from the Aisne to the Marne.

It was not easy to be an optimist. We had faith in the holding ability
of the French and British armies; we believed that the Germans were
shooting their last bolt; and we knew that the Americans were arriving
in large numbers. But we had been fooled so often about internal
conditions in Germany! And Russia and the submarine warfare were factors
concerning which we had no exact data. The people who recreate the past
with the advantage of hindsight will tell that they never worried a
minute. They knew things were coming out all right! To listen to them
one would think that they expected all along to happen just what did
happen in the way it did happen. When I hear this kind of talk now I
know that it was either a case of

    "Where ignorance is bliss
    'Tis folly to be wise,"

or hopeless bumptiousness. How strange it is that many of those who tell
you now that the Germans never had a chance ran away from Paris in 1914
and again in 1918.

Parisians passed no fortnight in which there was more anxiety and
uncertainty to their beloved city than the first two weeks of July. The
Germans were widening their pocket. They occupied the right bank of the
Marne from Château-Thierry to Dormans. They crossed the Marne. It was
too late for Germany to hope to win the war. But would they get to
Paris?

On July Fourth I was in reconquered Alsace and my husband was speaking
at Tours. He telegraphed me to join him at Boulogne-Sur-Mer on July
seventh. It took me three days to go in slow trains, with an occasional
lift by motor, the entire length of the front. I saw everywhere reserves
of troops and endless lines of motor-trucks and trains with cannon and
ammunition. The American uniform was ubiquitous. All this gave me a hope
and confidence I had not felt in Paris, where I knew that the Government
was making more elaborate preparations than in 1914 to evacuate the
city. Herbert and I returned to Paris from Etaples on July ninth. The
direct route by Abbéville and Amiens was under the German cannon, so we
had to make a wide detour by Tréport and Beauvais. We both had a raging
fever and it was all we could do to get home from the Gare de Nord.

Doctor Charon came early in the morning and told us that we were down
with the _grippe espagnole_, the plague that was sweeping France and
that had much to do with the general depression. Many a soldier who had
gone through four years of battle unscathed succumbed to this mysterious
disease. It hit one suddenly and the end came quickly. On the other
hand, if the first forty-eight hours passed without complications,
recovery was as rapid. Despite the protests of Doctor Charon, Herbert
got out of bed on the morning of the thirteenth to go to Lyons to the
inauguration of the Pont Président-Wilson. I was up to celebrate the
Quatorze. After it was over, I was glad of the illness that came to keep
me in Paris for this day when we whistled to keep up our courage. Had
the Spanish grip not interfered, I should have returned to my children
in the Little Gray Home near Saint-Nazaire.

The military operations in July, 1918, were not critical from the
standpoint of the safety of France and the success of the Allied cause.
The size of the army America was sending to France put the Germans in
such a hopeless inferiority of numbers that as soon as the table of the
landing of the first million was published we knew that the Germans were
doomed _if the fighting continued_. But we had a growing number of
strikes and a wide-spread defeatist campaign in the rear to contend
with. If Paris were taken, what would be the effect on French public
opinion? This was the stake the Germans were fighting for, and they knew
it was their only hope of salvation.

Never have I loved Paris more than on the Quatorze of testing. Music and
dancing were lacking, of course: for since 1914 we had not danced in
public out of respect to the dead and music had been barred in cafés.
Military bands had other places to play than in Paris. But happen what
might, Parisians were determined to celebrate the fête just as if the
Germans had not crossed the Marne. I went out for the day with friends.
We smiled and laughed and tried to have a good time. The relaxation
helped all to bear the burden. Within limits hedonism has its merits.
"Eat, drink and be merry, for to-morrow we die" is the philosophy that
wins out when a crisis is being faced.

I went to the review in the morning, and made a round of the streets and
the Champs-Elysées Quarter that had been rebaptized in honor of our
Allies. The Paris Municipal Council cannot be accused of lacking
optimism in regard to persons as well as events. Belief in victory and
in the permanent esteem for those who were bringing it to pass led to
changes of names that may not in retrospect have popular approval. The
Avenue du Trocadéro has become the Avenue du Président-Wilson; the
Avenue d'Antin, the Avenue Victor-Emanuel III; the Avenue de l'Alma, the
Avenue Georges V; the Quai Débilly, the Quai de Tokio; part of the Rue
Pierre-Charron, the Rue Pierre I de Serbie; and the Place de l'Alma, the
Place des Alliés.

When Herbert returned from the Quatorze at Lyons, we celebrated the
Franco-American victory of the Marne with a dinner at Parc Montsouris.
Whoever has been to the Pavillon du Lac becomes a regular client. We
discovered this unpretentious little restaurant many years ago when we
were exploring with Christine and the baby-carriage. Ever since Xavier
has been our friend. Xavier does not need to be on the Grands
Boulevards. He prepares the choicest dishes with utmost confidence that
his friends will bring their friends to Montsouris. The Pavillon du Lac
is nearly a mile from the nearest Métro station and no taxicabs are to
be found out there by the fortifications. But difficulty of
transportation is more than compensated for by the restfulness of the
Pavillon du Lac, its _cuisine_--and Xavier, with his good humor and
witticisms, waiting on the table. You eat on the _terrasse_ facing the
park, with its waterfall and lake, and you feel that it is all
yours--park and restaurant. From _patron_ to _chef_, everybody calls you
by name, and most of the people at the tables are your friends. In the
salon is a piano. You dance to your heart's content. Xavier dances with
you.

When I try to write of the Pavillon du Lac, memories crowd in on me
thick and fast. I could have put this restaurant in almost any chapter
of my Paris vistas.

But what place could a dinner at Montsouris enter more appropriately
than on the night of July 18, 1918? We were celebrating better than we
knew. The afternoon _communiqué_ brought with it the certainty that the
miracle of 1914 had been repeated and that Paris was saved again. Did we
realize that the day's fighting was the turning point of the war? I
think not. But we acted as if we did.

Around our table were gathered the American General commanding the
troops in Paris, my husband's chief on the Committee of Public
Information, a French editor, colleagues of the American and British
press, and one of our dearest French friends, whose work for his country
in the hour of trial was bearing splendid fruit. Xavier was at his best.
Had I not recently been in his beloved Alsace from which he had been an
exile since childhood? From _hors d'œuvres_ to _liqueurs_, there was
an uninterrupted flow of good cheer. The strain of years was passing
away.

The climax came when Jim Kerney picked up his cordial glass, twirled it
with his thumb, looked at it regretfully, and sighed,

"The fellow who blew this glass was certainly short of breath."

[Illustration: Old Paris is disappearing]



CHAPTER XXXII

THE LIBERATION OF LILLE


From the Boulevard des Capucines to the Avenue de l'Opéra there is a
convenient short-cut through the Rue Daunou. Newspaper men and other
Americans do not always use the Rue Daunou for the short-cut. It is
better known as the way to the Chatham bar. I ought to know nothing
about the Chatham bar. My acquaintance with that corner should be
limited to the Restaurant Volney and ladies' days at my husband's club
opposite. But I do know the Chatham bar and for a perfectly respectable
reason. It is where my old uncle used to be found when the clerk at his
hotel said that he was not in. The uncle makes me think of a friend of
his and a table with a little brass disk in the center of it to
commemorate assiduous attendance through a long period of years in the
Chatham bar. And the uncle's friend makes me think of the liberation of
Lille. Association of ideas is a strange thing.

Herbert and I sat one evening in the autumn of 1915 before a big map
with my uncle's friend. His fingers lay upon the Flanders portion of
what we had come to call "the front." Bubbling over with excitement, he
exclaimed,

"They have broken through here, I tell you, day before yesterday. I
always knew that when Kitchener's army was ready the trick would be
turned. Of course the censorship is holding up the news, but everybody
knows it. A sharp bombardment that overwhelmed the Boches, and then the
break through. The Boches were routed. Talk about not being able to
storm trenches! The cavalry has passed Lille. At this moment Lille is
liberated. The British must be there in force."

"But," objected my husband, "this is too good to be true. They could not
hold back news like that, you know. If the British are in Lille, the war
is over."

"Of course it is over," insisted my uncle's friend. "We shall have peace
by Christmas."

Mr.--well I won't tell you his name--let us say Mr. Smith, was hardly to
blame for taking the wish for the fact. The rumor of a big break through
the Flanders front was everywhere in Paris. Fourteen months of war had
been enough. The French had waited a year for the British to form an
army. Why shouldn't it be true that now the end had come?

Alas! we were to wait three years more before the lines in Flanders were
crossed; we were to have many costly disappointments like that of
Neuve-Chapelle. But when the moment finally did come, the liberation of
Lille was to mean the beginning of the end.

In October, 1919, when I came back to Paris from the Little Gray Home, I
returned to a city where there was a feeling of victory in the air. The
most conservative had lost their habitual pessimism. The most resigned,
who had come to accept the war as a fatality that would never end as
long as there were men to fight, began to revise their opinions. The
most suspicious, who wagged their heads over _communiqués_ no matter
what the authorities said, felt that after all we were making "some
progress." Each day the list of liberated communes grew longer. But
until some big city was abandoned, Parisians were afraid of having to
pay too big a price to break down the Boche resistance. After all, they
had proved themselves stubborn fighters. They might elect to make a long
"last ditch" combat on lines of which we did not know the existence. But
if they abandoned Lille, that would mean the intention of falling back
to the Meuse. Genuine optimism is as hard to instil as it is to dispel.
In retrospect, many writers are now asserting that Parisians knew the
Boches were beaten after the failure of their last July offensive from
the Vesle to the Marne. But this is not true. Relief over the failure to
reach Paris did not mean certainty of the imminent collapse of
Ludendorf's war machine.

When summertime was over, and darkness came suddenly from one day to
the next, Herbert and I resumed our walks at nightfall. During the war
we had lost our interest in buildings as memorials of the past.
Contemporary history had crowded out ante-bellum associations. The
Eiffel Tower was not a gigantic monstrosity, a relic of the Exposition.
It was a wireless-telegraphy station, the ear, the eye, the voice of
Paris. Tramping by the Champs de Mars, we saw the sentinels in their
faded blue coats of the fifth year and felt sorry for the men up there
always listening in the pitiless cold. Crossing the Pont Alexandre III,
we forgot the splendor of the Czars and thought of Nicholas in the hands
of the Bolsheviki. The Grand Palais no longer recalled brilliant Salons.
We thought of the blind in the hospital there and of the re-education of
mutilated _poilus_. The picture inside was a one-armed soldier learning
to run a typewriter, and a man with both legs amputated sitting on a low
bench, the light of renewed hope in his eyes: for he had found out that
he could still do a man's work in the world by becoming a cobbler. The
newspaper building, whose cellar windows used to fascinate us, was the
place where we waited for the posting of the _communiqué_. The Invalides
was no longer just Napoleon's tomb. It was the place where you went to
see your friends decorated and where you strolled about the central
court to show your children aeroplanes and cannon captured from the
Germans. And you were saddened by the thought that when the last
veterans of the Crimea and Soixante-Dix and colonial wars disappeared,
there would be thousands of others to take the vacant places.

October is chestnut month. From some mysterious source the venders drew
their supply of charcoal when we could not get it. But we were glad of
their luck. Autumn walks would not be complete without the bag of
roasted chestnuts which I could fish out of Herbert's overcoat pocket.

We were going down the Rue de Rennes one night and stopped to get our
chestnuts from the man at the corner of the Rue Sainte-Placide. Herbert
was fumbling for coppers. A boy thrust a newspaper under his nose.

"The Liberation of Lille!" he cried.

We hailed a taxi and made for the Chatham bar. Everything comes to him
who waits. Uncle Alex's friend was waiting.



CHAPTER XXXIII

ARMISTICE NIGHT


On the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour, Paris
heard the news. The big guns of Mont Valérian and the forts of Ivry
roared. The anti-aircraft cannon of the Buttes-Chaumont,
Issy-les-Moulineaux, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Place
de la Bastille took up the message. The submarine moored by the Pont de
la Concorde spoke for the navy. And then the church bells began to ring.
We had heard the tocsin sounded by those same bells at four o'clock on
the afternoon of August 1, 1914. France to arms! We had heard those same
cannon during more than four years announcing the arrival of Tauben and
Zeppelins and Gothas over Paris. But Paris kept the faith and never
doubted that this day would come. The armistice was signed. The war was
over. The victory was ours.

In the Rue Campagne-Première artists' studios are in the buildings with
workingmen's lodgings. House painter and canvas painter work side by
side; writer and printer and book-binder, sculptor, cobbler, and
mattress maker live in the same court. Our little community could exist
by itself, for we have within a few hundred feet all that we need,
tailor and laundress, baker and butcher, restaurant and milk woman, the
stationer who sells newspapers and notions, and the hardware shop where
artists' materials can be had. During these years of danger and
discouragement and depression we have exchanged hopes and fears as we
have bought and sold and worked. We have welcomed the _permissionniares_,
we have shared in the bereavements of almost every family, and we have
greeted the birth of each baby as if it were our own. I was in my studio
when the message of victory arrived. Windows in the large court opened
instantly, and then we hurried down the staircase to pour forth, hand in
hand, arm in arm, into the street. We kissed each other. Flags appeared
in every window and on every vehicle.

The Boulevard du Montparnasse was ablaze with flags and bunting, and
processions were forming. Hands reached out to force me into line. I
managed to break away when I got to the door of my home for the crowd
paused to salute the huge American flag. Herbert, who had reached the
apartment first, was hanging from our balcony. My four children were in
the hall when the elevator stopped. School had been dismissed. They
danced around me. Mimi the five-year-old cried: "No more Gothas, no more
submarines, we can go home to see grandma, and the Americans finished
the war!"

"It is peace, Mimi, peace!" I said.

"What is peace?" asked Mimi bewildered.

I tried to explain. She could not understand. The world since she began
to talk and receive ideas had been air raids and bombardments, and life
was the mighty effort to kill Germans, who were responsible for all
that, and also for the fact that there was not enough butter and milk
and sugar. Mimi knew no more about peace than she did about cake and
boxes of candy and white bread. Questioning my seven year old, I found
that his notions of a world in which men would not fight were as vague
as Mimi's. Lloyd was frankly puzzled. Like Mimi, he believed that the
armistice meant no more Gothas and no more submarines, but he thought
surely that we would go on fighting the Germans. Had not they always
been fighting us? And if we weren't going to fight them any longer,
chasing them back to their own country, what in the world would we do?
And how could Uncle Clem and all the other soldier friends be happy
without any work?

The Artist dropped in for lunch. Together we had seen the war suddenly
come upon France. Together we were to see it as suddenly end. "Do you
know," he said, "everyone in the quarter is going to the Grands
Boulevards. Taxis have disappeared. The Métro and Nord-Sud are jammed.
We may have to foot it, like most people, but if we want to see the big
celebration, we must get over to the Rive Droite this afternoon."

The Artist was right. As Lester and Herbert and I went down the
Boulevard Raspail and the Boulevard Saint-Germain, we seemed to be
following the entire population of the Rive Gauche. To cross the bridge
was the work of half an hour. We kept near the coping, and had time to
see the crew of the submarine _Montgolfier_ engaged in more strenuous
work than sailing under the seas. The _Montgolfier_ was brought up to
the center of Paris a fortnight before to stimulate subscriptions to the
Victory Loan. The Parisians had been allowed to subscribe on board.
To-day the crew was busy trying to keep people off without pushing them
into the river. The crowd in the Place de la Concorde overflowed to the
Champs-Elysées and the Tuileries. Boys were climbing over the German
tanks. They sat astride the big cannon trophies and invaded the captured
aeroplanes parked on the terrace of the Tuileries. Only its steep sides
saved the obelisk.

For many months the horses of Marly, guarding the entrance to the
Champs-Elysées, had been protected by sand-bags and boxed up. A crowd
was tearing off the boards and punching holes in the bags. Air raids
were a thing of the past, and these hidden treasures were a painful
memory which Paris wanted to efface immediately. A gendarme interfered
only to point out the danger of the long nails in the ends of the
boards. He insisted that the nails should be taken out, and then the
boards were given to those who had torn them off. This kindly
interference appealed to the good sense of the crowd. Men were putting
the boards across their shoulders to parade the _poilus_ triumphantly
around the Place. The gendarme was awarded by the honor of a high seat,
too.

The statues of the cities of France formed splendid vantage-points, and
they were crowded with the agile and venturesome. Lille and Strasbourg,
however, were respected. When Lille was delivered last month, the statue
had been covered with flowers and wreaths and flags. As it symbolized
all the invaded regions, new offerings had been coming each day from the
cities and towns that were being freed. In the midst of the joy of the
armistice, this tangible evidence of victory was receiving more
offerings each hour. We could see people moving towards Lille with arms
aloft, in order that flowers should not be crushed in the jam. There was
something sublimely pagan about the offerings to the huge statue. And
Strasbourg! After nearly half a century, this was Strasbourg's day. The
first instinct of the crowd was to tear off the crepe. But the
government had taken precautions. Strasbourg was to be unveiled on the
day Marshal Foch and his army enter the city. So Strasbourg was
protected by a _cordon_ of the Garde Municipale.

On the Rue Royale side of the Hôtel de Coislin, which the American Red
Cross occupied since our entry into the war, the proclamation of the
mobilization was covered by some thoughtful person with glass. It has
remained through these years, defying wind and rain and
souvenir-hunters, a constant reminder in the busy thoroughfare of
Paris's last Great Day. This afternoon a fresh poster had been put
beside it. We read:


INHABITANTS OF PARIS

     It is the victory, the triumphal victory! On all the fronts the
     conquered enemy has laid down his arms. Blood is going to cease
     flowing.

     Let Paris come forth from the proud reserve which has won for her
     the admiration of the world.

     Let us give free course to our joy, to our enthusiasm, and let us
     keep back our tears.

     To witness to our great soldiers and to their incomparable chiefs
     our infinite gratitude, let us display from all our houses the
     French colors and those of our Allies.

     Our dead can sleep in peace. The sublime sacrifice which they have
     made of their life for the future of the race and for the safety of
     France will not be sterile.

     For them as for us "the day of glory has arrived."

     Vive la République!

     Vive la France Immortelle!

     THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL.

Paris had anticipated the advice of the City Fathers. Printers and bill
posters were not quick enough. But the proclamation was read with
enthusiasm. "_Ça y est cette fois-ci!_" cried a girl who had just come
out of Maxim's.

The cry was taken up immediately by all who were gathered around the
poster, and we heard it passing from mouth to mouth as we worked our
way toward the Madeleine. Nothing could express more appropriately and
concisely the feeling of the Parisians than this short sentence. _Cette
fois-ci! This time!_ There had been other times when rejoicing was not
in order. There had been false hopes, just as there had been false
fears. The certitude of victory _cette fois-ci_--a certitude coming so
miraculously a few months after incertitude and doubt--was the
explanation of the fierce mad joy expressed in the pandemonium around
us.

After a mile on the Grand Boulevards, a mile that reminded us of
football days, the Artist said, "This is great stuff now, and will be
greater stuff tonight. I wonder if we had not better try to get around
to other places before dark just to see, you know." Beyond the _Matin_
office, in a side street near Marguéry's, we saw a taxi. The chauffeur
was shaking a five franc note, and heaping curses on a man who lost
himself in the boulevard crowd. We ran to the chauffeur and told him we
would make it up to him for the _cochon_ who had not been good to him.

"Double fare, and a good _pourboire_ beside," Herbert insisted. The
Artist opened the door and started to help me in.

"By all the virgins in France, No! A thousand times no!" growled the
chauffeur, trying to keep us out.

"We meant triple fare," said Lester. I disappeared inside the cab.

"Where do _Messieurs-Dame_ want to go?" asked the chauffeur
despairingly.

"Rue Lafayette, Boulevard Haussmann, Etoile, Avenue des Champs-Elysées,
Invalides, and then we'll leave you at the Opéra," I suggested
hopefully.

"What you want is an aeroplane," he remonstrated. But triple fare is
triple fare. With a show of reluctance, he cranked and we rattled off.
An hour later, after we had escaped being taken by assault a dozen
times, resisted attempts to pull us out and put us out, promised to pay
for a broken window and a stolen lamp, and used cigarettes and
persuasive French on the man upon whose goodwill our happiness depended,
we found ourselves on the Avenue de l'Opéra. By this time the chauffeur
was resigned, so resigned that he tried to cross the Place de l'Opéra.
We were tied up in a mass of other rashly-guided vehicles until the
taxi's tires flattened out under the weight of a dozen Australians who
had climbed on our roof. We were cheerful about it, and the chauffeur
seemed to gather equanimity with misfortune. November 11, 1918, comes
only once in a lifetime. We abandoned our taxi and our money, and tried
it afoot again.

Fortune was with us. We arrived at the moment when Mademoiselle Chénal
appeared on the balcony of the Opéra and sang the "Marseillaise." There
was the stillness of death during the verse. But the prima donna's voice
was heard only in the first word of the chorus. When the crowd took up
the chorus, Paris lived one of the greatest moments of her history. Over
and over again Mademoiselle Chénal waved her flag, and the chorus was
repeated. Then she withdrew. Another verse would have been an
anti-climax. We were carried along the Boulevard des Italiens as far as
Appenrodt's. As Herbert and Lester were talking about the night, more
than four years ago, when they watched the crowd break the windows of
this and other German or supposedly German places, the arc lights along
the middle of the boulevard flashed on. Paris of peace days reappeared.

In the midst of it all, my maternal instinct set me worrying. What if
Alice, the _gouvernante_, had taken the children out into the crowd? I
had gone off without thinking of my chicks. We tried to telephone. On
the last day of the war that proved as impossible as on the first. My
escorts were quite willing to return to the Rive Gauche. There was no
reason why the celebration would not be just as interesting on the Boul'
Miche. I left Herbert and Lester on the terrace of the Café Soufflet,
and hurried back to the Boulevard du Montparnasse. When I reappeared
half an hour later, Christine was with me. She had begged so hard to be
taken to the Grands Boulevards. After all, why not? Christine had lived
through all the war in France. It was her right to be in on the
rejoicing. And I confess that I wanted to hear what she would say when
she saw the lights. She was so young when the war started that she had
forgotten what lighted streets were.

The two men were delighted with the idea of dining across the river.
Despite its reputation for making the most of a celebration, five long
years of the absence of youth had atrophied the Boul' Miche. It was
interesting, of course, but not what we thought it would be.

We dined at the Grand Café. We went early, fearing that even being in
the good graces of the head waiter might not secure a table. But having
a table was not guarantee of the possibility of ordering a meal worthy
of the occasion. The run on food had been too severe for the past two
days. And the market people of the Halles Centrales, so the waiter said,
began their celebration on Saturday, when the German delegates appeared
to demand the armistice. They would withhold their produce for several
days, and get higher prices. The cellars held out nobly, however, so
food could be dispensed with.

During the first hour, mostly waiting for dishes which did not come,
there was a lull. The effort of the afternoon had been exhausting. Some
groups were just about to leave for the theatre when a young American
officer jumped on his chair, holding a slipper in his hand. Pouring into
it champagne, he proposed the health of Marshal Foch, with the warning
that other toasts would follow. Immediately there was a bending under
tables, and other slippers appeared. The fun was on. Cosmopolitans have
seen New Year's Eve _réveillons_ that were "going some," but the
drinking of the health of Foch, Petain, Haig and Pershing will live in
the memory of all who were in the Grand Café on the night of November
11th. Tables were pushed together and pyramided. One after the other the
highest officer in rank in each of the Allied armies was dragged from
his place and lifted up between the chandeliers. Over the revolving
doors at the entrance a young lieutenant led the singing of the national
anthems, using flag after flag as they were handed up to him. The affair
was decidedly _à l'américaine_, as a beaming Frenchman at the next table
said. There was no rowdyness, no drunkenness. It was merrymaking into
which everyone entered. The owner of the first slipper was an American
head nurse, and the first Frenchwoman to jump up on a table had twin
sons in the Class of 1919. During years of anguish we had been subjected
to a severe nervous strain and to repressing our feelings. The French
bubbled over and the English, too, and they were willing to follow the
lead of the Americans, because we have a genius for celebrating audibly
and in public.

[Illustration: The Grand Palais]

Once more out in the night air, following and watching the night crowd,
and joining in or being drawn into the fun, we were struck by the
ubiquity of American soldiers and their leadership in every stunt which
drew the crowd. We felt, too, the spirit of good _camaraderie_ among
the merrymakers. Not a disagreeable incident did we see. The stars of a
cloudless sky looked down on Paris frolicking. But they saw nothing that
Paris, emerging from her noble dignity of suffering and anxiety, need be
ashamed of. Policemen and M.P.'s were part of the celebration.

Lines of girls and _poilus_ danced along arm in arm. The girls wore
kepis, and the _poilus_ hats and veils. No soldier's hat and buttons and
collar insignia were safe. The price of the theft was a chase and a
kiss. Processions crisscrossed and collided. Mad parades of youngsters
not yet called out for military service bumped into ring-around-a-rosy
groups which held captive American and British and Italian soldiers.

The officers and sergeants in charge of American garages were either
taking the day off or had been disregarded. For in the midst of the
throngs our huge army trucks moved slowly, carrying the full limit of
their three tons, Sammies and _midinettes_, waving flags and shouting.

The trophies of the Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Elysées and the
Place de l'Hôtel de Ville were raided. Big cannon could not be moved,
and pushing far the tanks was too exhausting to be fun. But the smaller
cannon on wheels and the caissons took the route of the Grands
Boulevards. Minenwerfer and A.D.C. (anti-aircraft cannon) disappeared
during the afternoon. Why should the Government have all the trophies?
The aspirations of souvenir-hunters were not always limited to the
possible. We saw a group of _poilus_ pulling a 155-cm. cannon on the Rue
du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, some distance from the Rue Royale. They were
actually making off with it! A policeman watched them with an indulgent
smile.

"It's too big," he said. "They'll get tired before the night is over,
and they couldn't hide it anyway. It is good for them to work off their
alcohol. To-morrow the authorities will pick up that cannon somewhere."

The clocks on the Boulevard "islands" were stopped at eight o'clock.
This was not a night to think what time it was, and whether the Métro
had ceased running. Every lamp-post had its cheer-leader or orator.

Confetti and streamers of uncelebrated Mardi Gras and Mi-Carêmes had
their use this night, when four years of postponed festivals were made
up for in few wild and joyous hours. What had begun as a patriotic
demonstration was ending in a carnival. The "Marseillaise" gave place to
"Madelon," favorite doggerel of barracks and streets.

The most dignified had to unbend. A British staff officer, captured by a
bunch of girls, was made to march before them as they held his Burberry
rain-coat like maids of honor carrying a bride's train. He was a good
sport, and reconciled himself to leading a dancing procession, beating
time with his bamboo cane. All the Tommies spied _en route_ were
pressed into line. A French General, who had unwisely come out in
uniform, was mobbed by the crowd. The girls kissed him, and older people
asked to shake his hand. He submitted to their grateful joy with
warm-hearted and gracious dignity. But when a band of _poilus_ came
along, brandishing wicker chairs stolen from a café and asked him to
lead them in a charge, that was too much even for November Eleventh. The
General retired to the safety of a darkened doorway.

There were no bands. It was the people's night, not the army's night,
and tin cans, horns, flags, flowers, voices and kisses were enough for
the people's celebration. You could not have enjoyed it yourself if you
had not the spirit of a child. Children need no elaborate toys to
express themselves, and they don't like to have their games managed for
them, or to have the amusement provided when they are "just playing."

Some Americans rigged up a skeleton with a German cap. They followed it
singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers." The song was as novel as the
skeleton. Where all the Americans came from only Heaven and the
Provost-Marshal knew, and there is a strong probability that the latter
had no official knowledge of the presence of most of them in Paris! Our
soldiers were disconsolate over the fact that they could not buy all the
flags they wanted. The shops were completely sold out, and the hawkers
were reduced to offering _cocardes_. We heard one boy say: "If I can't
get a flag soon, I'll climb one of them buildin's."

"Gee! better not," advised his comrade; "they'd shoot you!"

"Naw! Shootin' 's finished."

The shooting was finished. That is what the signing of the armistice
meant to Paris. And, as it meant the same to the whole world, every city
in the Allied countries must have had its November Eleventh.



CHAPTER XXXIV

ROYAL VISITORS


One night the future King of Siam came to dine with us. I took him into
the nursery to see the children. Mimi sat bolt upright in her crib. She
eyed the young stranger and frowned.

"Hello, king," she said, "where's your crown?"

I confessed to a similar feeling when from the balcony of a friend's
home in the Avenue du Bois de Bologne I saw the King of England riding
into Paris for the first of the welcomes we were giving Allied
sovereigns. It was natural that Great Britain should come ahead of other
nations. England had been the comrade-in-arms from the first days and
aided powerfully in preventing the Germans from reaching Paris in the
fierce onslaught of 1914. But it is a pity that the King was not
accompanied by Marshal French or Sir Douglas Haig. Parisians are
peculiarly sensitive to personality. George V has none. There was
nothing in the rôle he had played during the war to make the crowd feel
that he personified the valiant armies of the greatest and most faithful
ally. If only Beatty or Jellicoe had ridden with him through the Avenue
du Bois and down the Champs-Elysées. The war had not deepened the
enthusiasm of the French for a monarch simply because he was a monarch.
A crown and a royal robe might have helped George with the Paris crowd.
I am not sure even then. As my concierge put it when I told her that I
was going to cheer the royal visitor,

"_Voyons_, what has that king done in the war besides falling off his
horse?"

And then the weather was against our British guest. I do not care what
the occasion is, rain and enthusiasm do not go together in a Paris
crowd.

The King of the Belgians had good weather and received cheers that came
from the heart. We thought of him not as a royal personage but as the
man who had saved Paris at the beginning of the war because he put honor
and his country ahead of personal interest and blood. The French saw in
him also a soldier who had lived the life of the camp sharing the
hardships and dangers of his little army in the corner of Belgium the
Germans were never able to conquer. From the first day of the war to the
signing of the armistice, Albert I did not doff his uniform. He never
asked of his soldiers what he himself was not ready to do. And he came
to Paris with his queen, who had been idolized by the French. No woman
in the world was so popular in France as Elizabeth despite her German
origin.

The protocol for the royal visits was as elaborate as the ceremony
proved to be simple. The guests were received by President and Madame
Poincaré at the little Ceinture station at the Porte Dauphine. Headed
and followed by a single row of _gardes républicaines_ on horse, they
rode in open carriages down the Avenue du Bois de Bologne and the
Champs-Elysées and across the Pont de la Concorde to the Palais d'Orsay
where they were lodged. Infantry regiments, lining the route, aided the
police in keeping order. There was no parade and no music. The attention
and the acclamation of the crowd were concentrated on the visitors. As
state carriages are swung high, every one was able to see the king. The
Avenue du Bois is ideal for a procession. The park slopes up on either
side, affording a clear view for hundreds of thousands. And there are
innumerable trees for boys.

Those who were unable to get to the Avenue du Bois or the Champs-Elysées
at the time the visitors came had a chance to see them in the streets
afterward. For visits were exchanged between the royal visitors and
President Poincaré, and on the second day of the visit they rode in
state down the Rue de Rivoli to receive the freedom of Paris at the
Hôtel de Ville. The return from the Hôtel de Ville was made by the
Grands Boulevards and the Rue Royale. Then on the first evening was the
state dinner at the Elysée and on the second evening the gala
performance at the Opéra. If any one in Paris did not see the
sovereigns, it was not because of lack of opportunity.

The evening before we were to receive President Wilson, Rosalie burst
into my room in great excitement.

"Hush, hush!" I whispered. "I have just put the baby to bed."

But my pretty little cook did not hear me. She hurried to the window and
bounced out on the balcony. I followed.

"What is the matter?" I asked.

"Madame has only to listen: every church bell in Paris is ringing. What
is it, Madame? In my Brittany village the bells rang that way only when
they posted the mobilization order at the _mairie_. Is it the tocsin? Is
the war going to begin again?"

"Of course not," I answered. "It's a whole month since the armistice.
Cheer up, Rosalie, perhaps the Kaiser is dead."

The older children and Elisa and Alice were now with us. The bells
continued ringing, and we heard cannon, one boom after another. It was
the salute that had been given for the royal visitors by the guns of
Mont Valérian. Now we realized that the special train from Brest had
arrived.

"It is the _Président-Vilsonne_!" said Alice in the reverent tone, that
she had been taught to use in speaking of "l'Eternel." If you have heard
a French Protestant reciting a psalm, and pronouncing the beautiful
French word for Jehovah, you will understand what I mean.

My young governess struck the note of the Wilsonian greeting. All that
has happened since that memorable December day has dispelled little by
little the legend of the Wilson who was to deliver the world from the
bondage of war. The French quickly discovered that their idol had feet
of clay. Whether they expected too much from what President Wilson had
said in his speeches or whether his failure to make good his promises
was due to circumstances beyond his power to control is not for us to
judge. We do not know the facts and we have no perspective. But at the
moment we did not foresee the disappointment in store for us. A merciful
providence, veiling the future, allows us the joy of entertaining hopes
without realizing that they are illusions. Legends are beautiful and
touching. But they are most precious when you think they are true, and
nothing can rob one of the memory of moments on the mountain top.

Fearing that the Métro to the Place de l'Etoile would be crowded, we got
up very early that Saturday morning. The day of President Wilson's
coming--whatever day the great event would happen--had been declared
beforehand a holiday. So we could take the children with us. We were
none too soon. All Paris of our quarter was going in the same direction.
Without a grown person for each child, the Métro would have been
difficult. When we came up at Kléber station the aspect of the streets
around the Etoile assured us that the Wilson welcome would break all
records. We passed through side streets to the Avenue du Bois--by the
corner of the Etoile it was already impossible, and thanked our stars
that the friends who invited us to see the royal visits from their
apartment lived on the near side of the street. To cross the Avenue du
Bois would have been a problem.

Lloyd struck against going up to the wonderful vantage point on a fourth
floor. The good things Aunt Eleanor and Aunt Caroline would certainly
have for him to eat meant nothing when he saw boys in trees. Having no
good reason to deny him, his father yielded. My son climbed a tree near
the side-walk with Herbert standing guardian below while the rest of us
were high above.

I shall not attempt to describe the welcome given to President Wilson.
After the carriages passed and the crowd broke, the children went home.
Herbert and I followed the current of enthusiastic, delirious Parisians
down the Champs-Elysées, up the Rue Royale and the Avenue Malesherbes.
Wilson beamed and responded to the greeting of Paris. He did not grasp
what that greeting meant. Clemenceau, Parisian himself, knew that the
power to change the world was in the hands of the man riding ahead of
him. But this is retrospect! I did not realize then that one of the
greatest tragedies of history was being enacted under my eyes. Perhaps I
am wrong in thinking so now. Who knows?

More significant in its potentiality than the initial greeting to
President Wilson was the acclamation that greeted him when he went to
the Hôtel de Ville. Belleville turned out. From the heart of the common
people came the cry, "_Vive la paix Wilsonienne!_" It was taken up and
re-echoed with frenzy when the guest of Paris appeared on the balcony of
the Hôtel de Ville.

The coming of the King of Italy was an anti-climax. Paris, of course,
responded with her customary politeness to the duty of welcoming the
sovereign of France's Latin ally. But heart was lacking in the reception
to Victor Emanuel III. The comparative coolness was not intentional. I
am sure of that. It was simply that we were coming down from the
mountain top to earth.

And when the Peace Conference assembled, Paris very quickly realized
that the hope of a new world was an illusion. Our royal visitors came at
the right moment. Paris will give enthusiastic welcome to other rulers
in future days. But not in our generation! A famous saying of Abraham
Lincoln's comes into my mind. There is no need to quote it.



CHAPTER XXXV

THE FIRST PEACE CHRISTMAS


"Peace on earth: good-will towards men!" For five years the motto of
Christmas had seemed a mockery to us. Our city was the goal of the
German armies. They reached it sometimes with their aeroplanes, and
before the end of the war they reached it with their cannon. Scarcely
fifty miles away from us--within hearing distance when the bombardment
was violent--fathers and sons, brothers and sweethearts were fighting
through the weary years in constant danger of death. Each Christmas
brought more vacant places to mourn. Of course we celebrated Christmas
all through the war. There was little heart in it for grown-ups. But we
had the children to think of. The war must not be allowed to rob them of
childhood Christmas memories.

In 1918, we were looking forward to a Christmas that would be Christmas.
All around us the Christmas spirit was accumulating. The war was over:
we had won. Ever since Armistice Night we had been saying to
ourselves--"And now for Christmas!" We might have to wait for a revival
of the second part of the Christ Child's message. But at least the
first part was once more a reality.

Three days before Christmas I sent a telegram. I took my brother's
enigmatic military address and put two words in front of it, Commanding
Officer. I begged the gentleman to have a heart and send me my brother
for Christmas Day. I told him that I had not seen my family for five
years, that four little children born abroad wanted their uncle, and
that we would welcome the C. O., too, if Christmas in Paris tempted him.
On the morning of December 24 brother appeared, and before lunch many
others I had invited "to stay over Christmas" turned up or telephoned
that they would be with us. I had to plan hastily how the studios in the
Rue Campagne-Première could be turned into dormitories for a colonel of
infantry, a major of the General Staff, captains of aviation and
engineers and the Spa Armistice Commission, lieutenants and sergeants
and privates of all branches. Last year few of the invitations to men in
the field were accepted. This year all came--some all the way from the
Rhine. Bless my soul, we'd tuck them in somewhere. And on Christmas Eve
we were going to have open house for the A. E. F., welfare workers,
peace delegates and specialists, and fellow-craftsmen of our own.

As each house guest arrived, I gave him a job. His "But can't I do
anything to help?" was scarcely finished before he was commissioned to
blankets, armycots, candles, nuts, fruits, bon-bons, drinks, or
sandwiches. "Just that one thing. I rely on _you_ for that," I would
say. None failed me, and the evening came with everything arranged as if
by magic. I have never found it hard to entertain, and the more the
merrier: but when you have American men to deal with, it is the easiest
thing in the world to have a party--in Paris or anywhere else.

Of course I went shopping myself. Herbert and I would not miss that day
before Christmas last minute rush for anything. And even if I risk
seeming to talk against the sane and humane "shop early for Christmas"
propaganda, I am going to say that the fun and joy of Christmas shopping
is doing it on the twenty-fourth. Avoid the crowds? I don't want to! I
want to get right in the midst of them. I want to shove my way up to
counters. I want to buy things that catch my eye and that I never
thought of buying and wouldn't buy on any other day in the year than
December 24th. I want to spend more money than I can afford. I want to
experience that sweet panicky feeling that I really haven't enough
things and to worry over whether my purchases can be divided fairly
among my quartette. I want to go home after dark, revelling in the flare
of lamps on hawkers' carts lighting up mistletoe, holly wreaths and
Christmas trees, stopping here and there to buy another pound of candy
or box of dates or foolish bauble for the tree. I want to shove bundle
after bundle into the arms of my protesting husband and remind him that
Christmas comes but once a year until he becomes profane. And, once
home, on what other winter evening than December 24th, would you find
pleasure in dumping the whole lot on your bed, adding the jumble of toys
and books already purchased or sent by friends, and calmly making the
children's piles with puckered brow and all other thoughts banished,
despite aching back and legs, impatient husband, cross servants and a
dozen dinner guests waiting in the drawing-room?

Paris is the ideal city for afternoon-before-Christmas shopping. Much of
the Christmas trading is on the streets. It gets dark early enough to
enjoy the effect of the lights for a couple of hours before you have to
go home. You have crowds to your heart's content. And Paris is the
department-store city _par excellence_. Scrooge would not have needed a
ghost in Paris. If you have no Christmas spirit, go to the Bazar de la
Rue de Rennes, the Bon Marché, the Trois-Quartiers, the Printemps, the
Galeries Lafayette, Dufayel, the Louvre, the Belle Jardinière and the
Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville. Do not miss any of these, especially the
first and the last. At the Bazar de la Rue de Rennes the Christmas toys
are on counters according to price. Woolworth only tells you what you
can get for five or ten cents. The range of prices on the Rue de Rennes
is adjusted to all pocketbooks. At the Hôtel de Ville you do not have
to wait for a saleswoman at the outside _rayons_. You hold up the
article you want and catch the cashier's eye. He pokes out to you a box
on the end of a pole such as they used to use in churches before we
became honest enough to be trusted with a plate. You put your money in.
If there is change, he thrusts it back immediately.

On the Grands Boulevards and in our own Montparnasse Quarter, the
Christmas crowds were like those of the happy days before we entered
into the valley of the shadow. As we did our rounds, falling back into
peace habits and the old frame of mind, I realized how hollow was our
celebration of the war Christmases, how we pretended and made the effort
for our children's sakes. The nightmare was finished! Really, I suppose,
we had less money than ever to spend and everything was dear. But
everybody was buying in a lavish way that was natural after the
repression of years. Bargaining--a practise in street buying before the
war--would have been bad taste. We paid cheerfully what was asked.

I was hurrying home along the Rue de Rennes with one of my soldier
guests. Herbert and my brother had left us on the Boulevards to get ham
and tongue at Appenrodt's and peanuts and sweet potatoes at Hédiard's. A
vender, recognizing the American uniform, accosted my companion with a
grin, as she held out an armful of mimosa blossoms.

"Fresh from Nice this morning, _mon capitaine_--only fifty francs for
all this!"

"Come, Keith," I cried, "she wants to rob you!"

The woman understood the intent if not the words. Barring our way, she
reached over to her cart and added another bunch, observing, "It's
Christmas and I give our allies good measure." Keith took it all,
saying, "Don't stop me; I haven't spent any money for months--and Mother
always made such a wonderful Christmas. I've got to spend money--a lot
of money." He patted his pocket. "Two months' pay here that I haven't
touched yet!"

Christine arranged the mimosa in tall brass shell cases from
Château-Thierry. "See my flowers!" she exclaimed. "This is better than
war!"

The Consul-General (always a Christmas Eve guest in our home); the
colonel commanding the hospital in the Rue de Chevreuse; a New York
editor and his wife; a _confrère_ of the French press and his wife; a
Peace Delegate; and the head of a New York publishing firm, who looked
in to see if we were really working; sat down with us to dinner,
squeezed in with our A. E. F. guests. When the last flicker of
plum-pudding sauce died down, we set to work for the Christmas Eve
preparations. There was no question of rank or age! Each one fell to the
task at hand. Dishes, glasses, bottles, doilies disappeared into the
kitchen. The table was set for the big party, piles of plates with
knives and forks on each corner, sandwiches and rolls, a cold boiled
ham, a tongue _écarlate_ as tongues come in Paris, turkeys roasted by
our baker, olives, salted almonds, army graham crackers, candy, a tall
glass jar of golden honey worth its weight in gold, and the fruit cake
with sprigs of holly that comes across the Atlantic every Christmas from
a dear American friend. People could help themselves. How and when--I
never worry about that. My only care is to have enough for all comers.

We sent out no invitations. The news simply passed by word of mouth that
friends and friends' friends were welcome on Christmas Eve. In a corner
of the drawing-room the engineers of the party made the Christmas tree
stand up. The trimmings were on the floor. Whoever wanted to could
decorate. With the trenches of five years between us and Germany,
Christmas tree trimmings were pitiful if judged by ante-bellum
standards. I wonder what my children are going to think when they see
this Christmas a full-grown tree with the wealth of balls and stars and
tinsel Americans have to use. In Paris we had so few baubles and pieced
out with colored string and cotton and flags and ribbon. But the effect
was not bad with the brains of half a hundred trimmers contributing to
work out ideas on a tree that did not come up to my chin.

We started the victrola--"Minuit, Chrétien," "It Came upon a Midnight
Clear," "Adeste Fideles," and--whisper it softly--"Heilige Nacht." Then
our guests began to come until salons and hall and dining-room
overflowed into bed-rooms. Never again can I hope to have under my roof
a party like that, representing many of the nations that had fought
together on the soil of France, but with homesick Americans, Christmas
hungry, predominating. The first to arrive were patients from the
American Hospital in the Rue de Chevreuse who had been unable to forget
the nightmare of war when the armistice came.

Crutches and the music, the tree and my children, an American home--the
first reaction was not merriment. I felt instinctively that something
had to be done. "Heilige Nacht" brought a hush. Someone turned off the
phonograph. Bill took in the situation. Everyone in America who reads
knows Bill. He backed up into a corner by the bookcase, took off his
glasses, and began to make a speech.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am an unregenerate soul. There is not a
respectable bone in my body. I am going to sing you a little ditty, the
national anthem of California." Here Bill winked his eyes and opened his
mouth wide to sing:

    "Hallelujah! I'm a bum!"

"The writer of the song is an I. W. W.," he interrupted himself, "and at
the end of the first line from upstairs is heard the voice of his wife
demanding (here Bill changed to high falsetto),

    "Oh, why don't you work
     As other men do?"

Then the I. W. W. answers gently,

    "Why the H---- should I work
     When there is no work to do?"

I told you I was an unregenerate soul. I see that I'm not alone, there
are others here like myself. I want a volunteer to sing my part with me
and volunteeresses, equally unregenerate, for the pointed question of
the I. W. W.'s wife.

"The gentleman there with the eagles on his shoulders--I have for you a
fellow feeling, you are disreputable like me. Come! And the little girl
in the pink dress that only looks innocent. Come you here. And others of
like character join us as quickly as you can push your way through the
admiring audience."

The surgeon from New York, who is as military as any regular army man,
was a good sport. So was the editor's wife. As he reached both hands to
the recruits, Bill did a simple dance step, the contagious step of the
Virginia Reel when other couples are doing the figures. Soon the chorus
was a line that reached the hall. At this moment there were shouts of
laughter at the front door. A parade of alternating khaki and nurse's
blue invaded the salon. Each had a flag or horn. The chorus and parade
joined forces, with Bill as leader, and soon

    "Hallelujah! I'm a bum!"

was being sung in every room of the apartment at the same time. Crutches
were no deterrent to joining the serpentine march from room to room. The
chorus grew and the dining-room was deserted. Strong arms picked up
babies in nighties and we were all in the parade.

I did not know half of my guests and never will. Some of them are sure
to read this and will remember that night in Paris when C. O.'s and
journalists tired of the grind, nurses weary of watching, wounded and
homesick who had not expected to laugh that Christmas Eve, and soldiers
fresh from chilly camps and remote and dirty villages caught the spirit
of Christmas. When people forget their cares and woes, they always
behave like children. The national anthem of California made my party,
where Christmas carols had proved too tear impelling. After "Hallelujah!
I'm a bum!" wore itself out, nobody needed to be introduced to anybody
else and everything disappeared from the dining-room table.

While the party was still raging, Herbert and I slipped for a moment out
on the balcony. Merrymakers with lighted lanterns passed along the
Boulevard du Montparnasse, singing and shouting. Before us lay Paris,
not the Paris dark and fearful to which we had become accustomed when we
stood there after the warning of the sirens and listened for the _tir
de barrage_ to tell us whether the time had come to take the children
downstairs, but Paris alight and alive, Paris enjoying the reward of
having kept faith with France and with the civilized world.



1919



CHAPTER XXXVI

PLOTTING PEACE


"Was it on purpose, Madame," said the Persian Minister to Paris, "that
you wore a green hat today?"

We were lunching with the Persian Delegation. I took off my turban and
dropped it on the floor at the side of the chair.

"Poor hat!" said I. "Look at its color. Brand new, you know, and faded
like that. It happened on the first sunny day after I bought it. We need
to plot a peace so that we can find good German dyes for our clothes.
Why did you want to know if I wore it on purpose?"

"Green is the sacred color of Persia," said the Minister smiling, "and
it pleases us to see it. You were speaking of peace. We need peace and
quickly. And after that--what? We were more or less prepared for war,
but who thought while we were at war about preparing for peace? Not one
of the countries sent delegates with a workable plan. Part of our
preparedness should have been a peace program. Nobody thought a year ago
to call a conference of specialists. That's why negotiations drag on
forever."

"I know," I answered, "we are used to war and we must get used to peace
now that it is coming. The other day at luncheon my husband asked the
children to define war.

"'War is men getting hurted. The Germans did do it and I don't like
'em,' said Mimi.

"'War is men at the front and cannon going off,' said Lloyd.

"'Yes, and war makes the mamas work in the subway, and when it's war you
can't have sugar in your milk and we have air raids and Big Berthas, and
it makes people cry when the soldiers go away from the railroad
station,' said Christine all in one breath.

"And we realized that although it seemed like another world, we
grown-ups could look back to _before the war_; but little children begin
to remember in a world at war."

"And what is peace?" said the Minister. "It will not exist again for
your children and mine until we educate our democracies in international
understanding. The people of one country must know the people of
another. When we say France wants this or Italy wants that, we are not
talking about the people. How much did our Persians know about America
beyond the fact that missionaries came from there? How much did you know
about Persia beyond rugs and kittens and the Rubaiyát? I mean you
collectively. How many of our people and how many of yours understood
what Morgan Shuster was trying to do? No, no, we must not drop
propaganda after the signature of peace. We must have exchange
students--in agriculture and commerce and the professions. And then,"
continued the Minister, "peace must bring us work, work for everybody.
Work is the only remedy for most of the ills of the world. And that
means a common international effort to bring raw materials to, and to
aid in the reconstruction of, the countries that have been
battlefields."

"Will peace give us all of that?" I enquired. "It sounds like the
millennium."

"If we think of peace as an abstract something that will drop on us from
one day to another we shall have no change from the war-breeding
conditions of the past. Permanent peace is a state of mind. A state of
mind among the people and strong enough to control the actions of
political leaders. Understanding, I tell you, understanding is the only
way."

"I am afraid," said I, "it will be a cold day before the people will
have much to say about war and peace. Throughout our politicians are all
tarred with the same brush. Invite a doctor, a brick-layer, a parson and
a mother of five children to come from each country. Sit them down
together at one big table and I'd wager they'd make a good peace
quickly. We like to say that the five per cent. of educated men rule the
other ninety-five per cent. What is the fiendish power that lets rotten
diplomacy order us out to kill each other? The world will have to suffer
a good deal more before we learn the lesson. When wire-pulling and
economic jealousies wish it, the politicians can plunge the peoples into
a war again without their knowing how and why!"

"The war that was to end war," said the Minister, bitterly. He was
thinking of the mockery of the Society of Nations as applied to his own
country.

"This war that was to end war could have ended it," I cried, "if the
Peace Delegates hadn't come here covering their greed and their
imperialism with a camouflage of _belles_ phrases. For the life of me, I
cannot see why some real leader does not emerge at this crisis, and
force the peacemakers to do what the doctor, the concierge, the little
tradesman, the professor,--the people--all knew in the beginning had to
be done. First make peace with Germany. Then sit around the table men
representing the world and draw up a League of Nations. A league without
Germany and Russia is only an offensive or defensive alliance. Same old
game over again. This peace conference doesn't recognize give and take.
It is all take. And they refuse to allow themselves and their frontiers
to be measured by the same tape-line we propose to use on our enemies.
This means simply that we are going to have once more the old-fashioned
peace of might making right. I believe in a League of Nations founded on
Christian principles. It is the only kind of a league that will give the
weak a chance where the strong are concerned. Civilization is on the
upgrade. The reason we are disappointed now and the cause of the unrest
is that we thought we had got far enough along in the process of
evolution to establish a new order of things. And we haven't. Nobody is
willing to give up special privileges, secret treaties, and the balance
of power. The Golden Rule is too simple to try."

"Ah, Madame," said the Persian Minister, "our peacemakers are like the
sparrow in the Persian fable. The sparrow heard that the sky was going
to fall. She flew to her nest and sat there stretching out her wings so
that it would not fall on her little ones."

In my attitude toward the Peace Conference I believe I reflected all
through the attitude of the common people of France, especially the
Parisians. We had suffered too much and too long to want to see Germany
let off easily. Our internationalism had nothing in it of pity for the
Germans. We did not worry about how they were going to feel when they
found out what they were up against. We knew that we could not make the
Germans suffer as they had made us suffer. But we wanted written into
the Treaty conditions that would make our enemies realize their guilt by
finding out that the enterprise had not proved profitable. But along
with this natural and justifiable desire we yearned for some greater
recompense for our own suffering and sacrifices. Our hatred of war had
become as intense as our hatred of the Germans who plunged us into war.
We hailed with joy the assurances of our statesmen that they would make
this time a durable peace, avoiding the mistakes and errors of the past.
Imagine our consternation when we realized that the delegates to the
Conference at Paris were not making peace along new lines. They were
plotting peace along old lines. Weary months passed. The censorship
still muzzled the press. But Parisians knew instinctively that something
was wrong. Before Easter we lost faith in the Conference and hope in its
intention of changing the old order of things.

But the great fact remained that the war was over and that, despite the
soaring cost of living and labor unrest, we were free from having to go
through the horrors of the previous winter. We counted our blessings.

Paris had been the centre of the world during the whole war, the prize
for which the Germans fought, because they knew that success or failure
depended upon taking Paris. When they recrossed the Marne a second time
and retreated from Château-Thierry, the war was lost: and they knew it
then, and only then. You know that last poem of Rostand about the Kaiser
climbing to the top of a tower to witness the final assault against
Paris. Paris deserved the Peace Conference. So logical was the choice
that none protested. It was the only point on which the "principal
Allied and Associated Powers" were agreed. As a resident of Paris I was
proud that we were going to continue for another winter to be the centre
of the world--without certain decided disadvantages the honor had cost
us in the four previous winters! As a writer and the wife of a writer,
tied up by contracts to report the Conference, it meant that we could
stay in our own home and in our own workshops instead of living in hotel
rooms in some other place for long months.

We kept open house for all--from premiers of belligerent states and
plenipotentiaries to delegates of subject nationalities, ignored by the
Big Five. Greeks redeemed and unredeemed, Rumanians and Transylvanians,
Jugo-Slavs of all kinds, Russians from Grand Dukes to Bolshevists,
Lithuanians, Esthonians, Letts, Finns, Poles, Czecho-Slovaks, Ukranians,
Georgians, Armenians, Syrians, Egyptians, Arabs of every persuasion,
Albanians, Persians, Siamese, Chinese, not to speak of the specialists
and propagandists and newspapermen of the Big Five, wrote their names in
my guestbook, ate at my table, and discussed each other over cigars and
cordials before my salon fire. Few lacked honesty of purpose and
sincerity and loyalty to ideals. But the ideals were those of their own
national or racial interests. Aside from a desire to see justice done to
France and Belgium, there was no unity, no internationalism in the views
of my guests. Most of them I respected; many of them I admired; for some
I came to have real affection. My husband and I formed personal ties
that I trust will never be broken. But I confess that the more I
listened to tabletalk and salon talk in my own home, the more bewildered
I grew. I saw the Society of Nations vanishing in the thin air. My own
narrow nationalism, that had been gradually reviving ever since the A.
E. F. started to come to France, was strengthened. After all, was not
all human nature like the nature of my own paternal ancestors, who
believed--as they believed the Bible, with emphasis on the Old
Testament--that

    Ulster will fight
    And Ulster will be right?

I took refuge in the humorous side of the Peace Conference, as I did not
want to get mad or to become gloom-struck and weep. When Fiume came up,
for instance, I would talk to Jugo-Slavs and Italians about getting
seasick on the Adriatic and the respective merits of Abbazia and the
Lido and whether they ever felt like d'Annunzio's lovers talked. The
best fun was with my own compatriots. We Americans had nothing at stake
as a nation, and (if I except a few of Wilson's specialists who never
were listened to but always hoped they would be) the members of the
American Delegation lost no sleep while they were remaking the map of
Europe.

[Illustration: Spire of the Saint-Chapelle from the Place Saint-Michel]

A Pole was explaining to us one day that the Ukranians were not and
never had been a nation, and he was in dead earnest. A captain in the
American Navy had been listening politely for an hour. Then he thought
it was time to change the subject. He turned to me and broke in out of a
clear sky, "Helen, you have no idea how fussy Colonel House is. Found he
couldn't get waffles in Paris. Telegraphed an S. O. S. to Brest. My
machinist spent the better part of two days making a waffle-iron, and it
was so precious and the Colonel was in such a hurry that I sent the
machinist to Paris to take it to him. Don't you think that was the right
thing for me to do, Doctor ----sky? House is pretty close to our
Commander-in-Chief, you know."

When touring Paris starts up again, the Cook megaphone man will add a
new item to his history of the Place de la Concorde: "See that building
on the corner opposite the Ministry of Marine I was tellin' yuh 'bout?
Number Four it is. Offices of the American Peace Commission during the
famous Conference, 'n b'fore that f'r t'ree years American Red Cross
Headquarters. 'N at tother end of the row is th' Hotel Crillon, where
th' Merican delegates lived. There President Wilson tried to make a
'Siety 'v Nashuns!"

And from now on I shall never pass through the Place de la Concorde
without thinking of our press-room at Number Four, where we swapped
rumors and waited for an open covenant, openly arrived at. Press
headquarters were housed in the former concierge's _loge_--three wee
rooms on the ground floor to the right of the porte-cochère as you
enter, and one of those was the post-office of the Delegation. The
quarters were prophetic of the importance and dignity of the press as
looked upon by the leaders of the Conference. The Americans arrived in
Paris with different ideas. The name chosen by the Delegation and
printed on all the stationery was a sign of American naïvety, and caused
much merriment among our British and French friends. AMERICAN COMMISSION
TO NEGOTIATE PEACE. _Negotiate_ peace? Our European allies wondered
where and how such a notion entered the heads of the Americans. We stuck
to the name throughout--but not to the idea.

The Hotel Crillon and Four Place de la Concorde were filled with
Americans--college professors, army and navy officers, New York
financiers, the mysterious Colonel and his family and family's friends,
the other Delegates, Embassy secretaries and clerks, stenographers,
soldiers and sailors, and journalists. The sensible ones were profiting
by the months in the center of the world to see Paris, old and new; hear
music; and do the theatres. For the time spent on their specialties,
trying to influence the course of the peace pourparlers and being
sympathetic to the swarm of representatives, official and otherwise, of
downtrodden races, did not budge a frontier an inch or write one line
into the Treaty of Versailles.

When I applied for a press-card, an American major, whose acquaintance
with a razor seemed no more than what anyone could gain from looking at
a display in a drug-store window, looked me over doubtfully. Was I
really writing for the _Century_ and newspapers to boot? At length he
called a soldier. "Take this lady to get her photograph made," he said.
Up four flights of stairs we climbed. On every landing was a soldier at
a desk. "Through this way, mom," said my guide. He opened a tiny yellow
door all black around the knob, and there were more stairs.

"Wouldn't it be fun to play hide-and-seek at Number Four and in the
Hotel Crillon?" I asked.

"That's just what they're doing here most of the time," said Atlanta,
Georgia. "You never saw anything like it. But you mustn't speak of the
Hotel Crillon. This is the Island of Justice, mom. Yes, mom, it
certainly expects to be that if it isn't yet."

In the garret room of the Signal Corps at the top of the stairs were
five soldiers.

"Hello, boys, what do you think you are doing?" I asked.

"We're still making this here peace," answered a stocky brown-eyed lad,
occupied vigorously with chewing-gum. "Since these guys've come over
from home to help us, though, it is not going as fast as it was before.
Mistake to have thought they'd do it quicker by talking than fighting."

"That's right, too," put in another. "The doughboys c'd a-finished it
'thout all these perfessers and willy-boys. Sit down here, please."

In the gable window was a chair with screens behind it. On the screen
above the chair they put up a number--1949.

"My soul!" I exclaimed. "What's the matter with me? Is that the date?'

"No, ma'am, that's the date when the Conference is going to quit talking
and we can go home."



CHAPTER XXXVII

LA VIE CHÈRE


H.C. of L. is an abbreviation I see often in American newspapers. From
the context it was not hard to guess what it meant. In Paris we call
that "preoccupation" (note the euphemism for "nightmare") _la vie
chère_. But we never mention it in any other tone than that of complete
and definitive resignation. We do not kick against the pricks. We gave
up long ago berating the Government and thinking that anything we can do
would change matters. We pay or go without. Our motto is Kismet. These
are good days to be a Mohammedan or a Christian Scientist. The latter is
preferable, I think, because it is comfortable to get rid of a thing by
denying its existence.

For the sake of record I have compiled a little table that tells more
eloquently than words the price we have paid--from the material point of
view--for the privilege of dictating peace to Germany. Is it not strange
that peace costs more than war? The greater part of the increases I
record here have come since the armistice. The figures opposite the
names of commodities represent the percentage of increase since August
1, 1914:


  FOODSTUFFS

  Beef                  400
  Mutton                350
  Veal                  350
  Poultry               400
  Rabbit                400
  Ham                   400
  Bacon                 225
  Lard                  225
  Paté de foie          300
  Potatoes              325
  Carrots               325
  Turnips               450
  Cabbage               850
  Cauliflower           725
  Artichokes            650
  Salads                200
  Radishes              500
  Oranges               200
  Bananas               400
  Figs                  500
  Prunes                650
  Celery               1900
  Salt                  150
  Pepper                250
  Sugar                 225
  Olive oil             350
  Vinegar               225
  Coffee                150
  Macaroni              150
  Vermicelli            250
  Rice                   25
  Canned goods      200-400
  Butter                350
  Eggs                  400
  Cheese            400-600
  Milk                  150
  Bread                  50
  Flour                 200
  Pastry            300-400
  Ordinary wine         300
  Vins de luxe       50-100
  Champagne             150
  Ordinary beer         200
  Cider                 400

  HEATING AND LIGHTING

  Coal                250
  Charcoal            250
  Kindling-wood       300
  Cut-wood            300
  Gasoline            125
  Wood-alcohol        500
  Gas                 100
  Electricity          50

  CLOTHING

  Tailored suits        150
  Ready-made suits      300
  Shoes             200-300
  Hats                  250
  Neckties              150
  Cotton thread         500
  Cotton cloth          275
  Collars               150
  Shirts            150-350
  Gloves            150-250
  Millinery             150
  Stockings             150
  Needles               500
  Yarn                  500

  LAUNDRY

  Laundry work      150-200
  Potash                350
  Soap                  550
  Blueing               200

  FURNITURE

  In wood      200
  In iron      300
  Mirrors      400
  Bedding      300

  HOUSEHOLD LINEN

  Sheets                    750
  Linen sheeting            900
  Cotton sheeting           900
  Pillow-cases              400
  Dish-towels               600
  Bath and hand towels      400
  Napkins                   500
  Table cloths              400

  TABLE AND KITCHEN

  Cutlery                  125
  Plated-ware              150
  Table china              300
  Kitchen china            200
  Copper kitchen ware      125
  Aluminum ware            100
  Crystal ware             225
  Cut glass            200-350
  Ordinary plates          200
  Fancy plates             150
  Brooms and brushes       125
  Lamps                    250

  MEANS OF TRANSPORT

  Railway tickets       50
  Excess baggage       250
  Sleeping births      400
  Commutation           75
  Taxi-cabs             75
  Omnibuses          35-50
  Tramways           35-50
  Postal cards         100

  STATIONERY AND BOOKS

  Writing-paper               900
  Wrapping-paper             1000
  Paper for printing      500-800
  Newspapers                  100
  Magazines                    50
  Books                       100

  DRUGS AND PERFUMERY

  Fancy soaps                     300-400
  Toilet waters                       200
  Tisanes                             150
  Eucalyptus                          400
  Patent medicines                150-200
  Lozenges                            250
  Powdered drugs                      150
  Prescriptions                       100
  Bottles for Prescriptions       300-525

  TOBACCO

  Smoking tobacco             50-60
  Ordinary cigarettes         40-75
  Cigarette de luxe             100
  Ordinary cigars                50
  Cigars de luxe            100-150
  Snuff                          50

While we decided upon what to do with the Germans, the rest of our
enemies, and the very troublesome races we had liberated, the Chamber of
Deputies passed a national eight-hour law. This did not bring down wages
by the day. In fact, shorter hours of labor led to more insistent
demands for higher wages to meet the increase in _la vie chère_.
Everyone borrowed from Peter to pay Paul.

On the day the German plenipotentiaries arrived at Versailles, my
children insisted on going out to see them. We had to wait until Sunday,
when my husband was free. Out we went on a bright May morning. There
were six Gibbonses, four of them very small, and one of my American
soldier boys. Of course we ate in the famous restaurant of the Hôtel des
Réservoirs, where the Germans were lodged. We did not see the Germans.
The only sensation of the day was the bill for a simple luncheon--two
hundred and eight francs.

"It pays to be the victors!" I exclaimed.

"Those who have anything to sell," modified my husband, grinning
cheerfully (God knows why!) as he bit the end off a ten-franc cigar.

"The children will never forget this historic day," he added, handing
the waiter twenty francs.

"Nor I," said the children's mother.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

THE REVENGE OF VERSAILLES


The memory of my introduction to Versailles is a confused jumble of
stupid governess and more stupid guide-book. When I was sixteen a
governess piloted me through endless rooms of the palace with a pause
before each painting or piece of furniture. To avoid trouble I was
resigned and looked up at the painted ceiling until my neck was stiff.
But I never forgot the Salle des Glaces. It had no pictures or furniture
in it. An historical event connected with it was impressive enough to
hold my attention. I remembered a picture of the crowning of Wilhelm I
in a school-book. Bismarck looked sleek and content. The kings stood
with raised arms, crying "Hoch der Kaiser." Underneath was the caption:
THE BIRTH OF AN EMPIRE.

I did not like that picture. I resented it as I resented the thought of
Alsace and Lorraine under German rule. Ever since a German barber in
Berne mistook me for a boy when I was a little girl and shaved my head
with horse-clippers I have had a grudge against the Germans. And then,
when you have lived long in France, that day in the Salle des Glaces
becomes unconsciously a part of your life. I cannot explain why or how,
but the Salle des Glaces and Metz and Strasbourg are in your heart like
Calais was in Queen Mary's. I have lived under two shadows, the shadow
of Islam and the shadow of Germany. In Constantinople you do not forget
the minarets towering over Saint Sofia. In France you do not forget
Soixante-Dix.

Possessor of Aladdin's lamp, would I ever have dared to ask the genie to
transport me on his carpet to the Salle des Glaces to see Germany,
confessing her defeat before France, sign away Alsace and Lorraine?

All this was in my thoughts on the morning of June 28, 1919, when
Herbert and I were riding in the train to Versailles. Could I be
dreaming when I looked at the square red card in my hand? And yet at
three o'clock in the Salle des Glaces the German delegates were to sign
a dictated peace, which they had not been allowed to discuss, and which
would wipe out the dishonor and the losses of Soixante-Dix.

We went early and we took our lunch with us: for we said to ourselves
that all Paris would be going to Versailles. For once we felt that the
vast lifeless city of Versailles would be thronged. Except on a summer
Sunday when the fountains were playing I had never seen a crowd at
Versailles: and on the days of _les grandes eaux_ the Sunday throng did
not wander far from the streets that lead to the Palace. Always had we
been able to find a quiet café with empty tables on the _terrasse_ not
many steps from the Place des Armes.

We might have saved ourselves the bother of bringing lunch. To our
surprise Versailles was not crowded. After we had wandered around for an
hour, we realized that even the signing of a victorious peace with
Germany was not going to wake up the sleepy old town. The automobiles of
press correspondents and secret service men were parked by the dozen at
the upper end of the Avenue des Reservoirs. Along the wooden palisade
shutting off the porch of the hotel occupied by the German delegation
were as many policemen as civilians. We ate a quiet luncheon in front of
a café down a side street from the reservoir. Besides ourselves there
were only a couple of teamsters on the terrace. Inside four chauffeurs
were playing bridge. Had we come too early for the crowd? At first we
thought this was the reason: afterwards it dawned upon us that the
Parisians were not attracted by the affair at all. How far we had
traveled in six months from the welcome given to President Wilson a week
before Christmas!

The ceremony was spiritless. I pitied the men who had to cable several
thousand words of "atmosphere stuff" about it that night. If only the
Germans would balk at signing! Or if the Chinese would enter at the last
moment in order to get into the League of Nations! The only ripple of
excitement was a signed statement of protest handed out by Ray Stannard
Baker at General Smuts' request. The South African, remembering perhaps
when he was a vanquished enemy and all the painful years that followed
the Boer War, registered his disapproval of the Treaty, although he felt
it was up to him to sign it.

It was all over in less than an hour. Cannon boomed to announce the
revenge of Versailles; out on the terrace a few airplanes did stunts
overhead; and for the first time since the war interrupted mid-summer
gaiety the fountains played.

Margaret Greenough and I had the good luck to meet General Patrick at
the Grand Bassin. He offered to take us back to town in his car. Thus we
became part of the procession. Because of the stars on the wind-shield
and the American uniform, our car was cheered as we passed in the line.
Along the route to Saint-Cloud people gathered to see the
plenipotentiaries. But we felt that they were simply curious to pick out
the notables. There was no ovation, no sense of triumph. It was so
different from the way I expected it to be, from the way I expected to
feel.

In my book of mementos I have the program of the plenary session of the
Peace Conference that was to crown six months of arduous labor,
following five years of war, and to mark a new era in world history.
Beside it is the program of the plenary session in the Palais d'Orsay,
when I heard President Wilson present the project of a League of
Nations. They are simple engraved folders with a couple of lines
recording the events under the heading AGENDA. I ought to regard them as
precious treasures. But they seem to me only the souvenirs of blasted
hopes.

June 28, 1919, should have been an epic, an ecstatic day. It was a day
of disillusion and disappointment on which we abandoned the age-old and
stubborn hope of a peace that would end war. Were we foolish to have
forgotten in the early days of the Peace Conference how slowly the mills
of the gods do grind, and that our diplomats were children of their
ancestors, still fettered by the chains of the past, still confronting
the insoluble problems of unregenerate human nature?

The Peace Conference was a Tower of Babel, where different tongues
championed divergent national interests. The only Esperanto was the old
diplomatic language of suspicion and greed. The mental pabulum that fed
the public was clothed in new terminology. When hammer struck anvil in
the high places, sparks shot out. We caught flashes of liberty,
brotherhood, the rights of small nations. But in the secret conferences
decisions were dominated by the consideration of the interests (as they
were judged by our leaders) of the most powerful.

One day there appeared in our press room in the Place de la Concorde a
Lithuanian, who had made an incredibly long journey, much of it on foot,
to come to the Peace Conference. He had been fired by President
Wilson's speeches. He wanted to tell the American prophet how the Poles,
in his part of Europe, were interpreting self-determination. He did not
see the President. Although touched by his sincerity, we wondered at his
naïvety. Did he really believe that the same principle could be applied
everywhere? Practical common sense urged me to believe that the liberty
propaganda was overdone and that it was impossible to give justice to
everybody. But I was clinging to my idealism as the Lithuanian clung to
his. A plain body like me could not know or understand what was going
on. But why preach idealism in international relations, if an honest
effort to apply justice impartially was impossible? Surely the Great
Powers could act as judges in assigning boundaries between the smaller
nations. Liberty, like the love of God, is "broader than the measure of
man's mind."

Quoting from a hymn I learned in childhood brings me to what I think was
the reason of the failure of the Peace Conference: men forgot. They
labored for the meat which perisheth. They posed as creators of a new
world order but ignored the means of establishing it. They forgot that
Jesus said, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth
his life for my sake shall find it."

"But wait a minute," I hear one say, "did you expect a peace conference
to be run on those lines?"

An ordinary peace conference such as we had always had, where the
victors divide the spoils--certainly not! But this was not to have been
an ordinary peace conference. We had been given to understand that the
Conference at Paris met to incorporate in a document the principles for
which millions had given their lives. Germany stood for the unclean
spirit that was to be exorcised. Men had died on the field of battle for
a definite object. There was the poem that was like a new Battle Hymn of
the Republic, "In Flanders Fields the Poppies Grow."

When nations are not ready to love their enemy or even to love each
other, the creation of a League to do away with war is an absurdity.

Either we believe in the coming of God's Kingdom or else we do not. The
remedy for sin and evil, the means of securing the triumph of right over
might, is in keeping the commandments. The peace-makers forgot the
summary of the law as Jesus gave it in two commandments. If they had
tested their own schemes for world peace by this measure, strange and
rapid changes would have followed. If they had listened to Him as He
spoke to them, it would have been as of old when "no man was able to
answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any
more questions."

The ceremony of Versailles did not lift the shadow of Germany hanging
over France. And when I look at my son, I wonder what will come.



CHAPTER XXXIX

THE QUATORZE OF VICTORY


We may not have been sure of the peace. We were sure of the victory. The
soldiers had done their part. Academic newspaper discussion as to when
the victory parade would be held amused us. The only uncertainty was the
date of signing the Treaty. Once the Treaty was signed, it was taken for
granted that the Quatorze would be the day. Protests about shortness of
time were overruled. It was not a matter for discussion. Nobody paid any
attention to the argument of those intrusted with the organization of
the event. Public opinion demanded that the Allied Armies march under
the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs-Elysées on July Fourteenth.
After the Quatorze of testing, the Quatorze of victory. There was no
question about it. So the powers that be got to work.

There was no need to decide upon the route of the procession. Ever since
August 1, 1914, Parisians who lived on the Avenue de la Grande Armée,
the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, the Rue Royale and the Grands Boulevards,
had been realizing how numerous were their friends. From every part of
France letters had come from forgotten relatives, passing
acquaintances, business associates, who wanted to be remembered when

    Le jour de la victoire est arrivé.

Public opinion dictated, also, two changes in the program as it was
announced. Marshal Joffre must ride the entire length of the route from
the Porte Maillot to the Place de la République beside Marshal Foch. And
the grandstands put up around the Arc de Triomphe and along the Avenue
Champs-Elysées for those who had "pull" must come down. This was to be
the day of the people, and everybody was to have an equal chance. When
it was seen that selling windows and standing place on roofs at fabulous
sums was to give the rich an unfair advantage, the Chamber of Deputies
was forced to pass a bill declaring these gains war-profits and taxing
them eighty per cent. This resulted in the offering of hospitality to
the wounded that big profits might have prevented.

In looking down my vistas of the past year, I see Paris reacting
differently to almost every great day.

On Armistice Night we went mad. From the _exaltés_ to the saddest and
most imperturbable, Parisians spent their feelings. The joy was acute
because it was the celebration of the end of the killing. When a soldier
is frank and you know him well he will tell you, "Any man who claims not
to be afraid at the front is lying." That fear was gone. Men could
unlearn blood-lust: and with honor now. Along with the relief of the
end of the fighting was the joy of the end of separations.

On June 28, Paris thought her own thoughts, pondering over the peace
that had been won. Friends dined with us that night. My victrola played
The Star Spangled Banner--La Marseillaise--Sambre et Meuse--Marche
Lorraine.

"Why don't you dance?" I said to the Inspecteur-Général d'Instruction
Publique. "It's peace! I want to celebrate. I need to shake off the
impression of Versailles this afternoon."

"I asked my concierge that same question," said he, "and she answered,
'We don't rejoice to-day--we wait.' _Les Parisiens ne s'emballent pas._
Wise woman, my concierge."

On the night of July 13, Paris paid her tribute to the dead. Respect for
_les morts_ is ingrained in French character. At the moment of victory
those who had fallen were not forgotten. They came ahead of those who
lived. A gilded cenotaph, placed under the Arc de Triomphe, contained
earth from the many battlefields on which the French had fought. That
night we passed with the throng to pause for a moment with bowed heads
before this tomb that represented the sacrifice of more than a million
soldiers. I thought of Détaille's picture in the Panthéon, and looking
at the crowd about me, mostly women and children in mourning, I asked
myself if this were _La Gloire_. The level rays of the setting sun fell
upon the soldiers on guard. People spoke in whispers. None was tearless.
It was "_Debout les Morts_"! They passed first under the Arc de
Triomphe. Had they not blazed the way for those who would march on the
Quatorze of victory?

Half way down the Champs-Elysées, at the Rond-Point, were heaps of
captured cannon that had stood along the Avenue and in the Place de la
Concorde through the winter since the armistice. They had been gathered
here, and surmounting them was the _coq gaulois_. But around the
Rond-Point huge urns commemorated the most costly battles of the war,
and in them incense was burning.

"Are you going to see the parade?" I asked a friend who had lost two
brothers.

"Certainly," she replied. "Last week my mother went to the grave of my
little brother in the Argonne. She put wreaths on it and prayed there.
The other brother was blown up by a shell. There is no grave for him. So
to-night we shall think of him when we pray before the cenotaph. We
shall spend the night there to have a good place to-morrow."

Herbert and I thought of her and her mother and of many other friends
who were in the crowd around the Arc de Triomphe. We had our own reasons
for bowing before the cenotaph. Dear friends had been lost during those
awful years and in the last weeks one of our own family fell on the
front between the Le Cateau and Guise. It is strange how you go on
living in the midst of war, seeing others suffer, sharing their grief,
and never thinking that the death that is stalking about will enter your
own family circle until the telegram comes. You have helped others at
that moment: and then it is you.

There is a fine sense of balance in French character. One remembers the
dead, but one does not forget the living. Most of those who intended to
go with hearts rejoicing and smiles and laughter to greet the _défilé_
of the Quatorze could not have stood the ordeal unless it had been
preceded by the quiet night watch with the dead.

The Quatorze has always meant to us an early start for the Bois du
Bologne to see the review. Throughout the Third Republic the day had a
distinctly military atmosphere. Who does not remember Longchamp before
the war? Each year Paris went to the review with pride not unmixed with
anxiety. There was a serious aspect impossible for the stranger to
realize and appreciate. After all, the army was not a small body of men
who had given themselves to a military career. It was the youth of the
nation performing a duty imposed upon it by the geographical position of
France. The army was the nation in arms, an institution as necessary for
well-being and security as the police. Longchamp on the Quatorze was the
assurance that the job of protecting France was being well looked
after. And the spectators were the fathers and mothers, the brothers and
sisters, of the army. Every Parisian had passed through the mill. How
often after the review, when the soldiers came from the field, have I
seen middle-aged civilians joking with them in the way one only does
with comrades of one's own fraternity. It was hard for the Anglo-Saxon
to understand this before the war. The Barrack-room Ballads would be
incomprehensible to a Frenchman. "Tommy" was everybody in France.

But this review was different. The intimacy, the sense of the soldiers
belonging to the people and being of the people, had always been there.
Added to it now was the knowledge of what the army had done for France.
There is no country where _la patrie reconnaissante_ means more than in
France. And the great danger was so fresh in our minds! From the
standpoint of the soldier it was different, too. For five weary years
the _poilu_ constantly on duty and not knowing which day might be the
last saw in the soft blue rings of his cigarette smoke the _défilé_
under the Arc de Triomphe and prayed that he and his comrades would be
there. That was the only uncertainty--whether he himself would be spared
for the _jour de la victoire_. If France's soldiers had doubted that the
day would arrive, they could not have continued to sing the
Marseillaise--and the war would have been lost then and there. The
Quatorze of peace days was fun to the spectators but a _corvée_ for the
soldiers who marched. The Quatorze of victory was the realization of the
dream that sustained the soldiers throughout the war. It was the reward
for having believed what they muttered doggedly through their teeth,
"_Nous allons les écraser comme des pommes de terre cuites!_"

One of our _poilus_, a boy to whom we had been through the war as next
of kin, who wore the _médaille militaire_ and whose _croix de guerre_
carried several palms, came to us late in the night before the victory
parade. He said with tears in his eyes,

"The chains are down!"

"What chains?" I asked.

"The chains around the Arc de Triomphe. They have been there since
Soixante-Dix. Do you realize," he cried seizing my hands, "that the last
time soldiers marched under the arch it was Germans? Ah, the Huns, I
hate them! We are supposed to keep our eyes straight before us during
the march, but I shall look up under that arch. I shall never forget the
moment I have lived for."

"And Albert, the ideals that made you enlist, have they survived?"

"They are here," he replied, slapping his chest until his medals
jingled. I made up a lunch for Albert, and off he went to get to the
rendezvous at the Porte Maillot at two A. M.

We had determined that the whole family should see the _défilé de la
victoire_. The younger children might not remember it, but we never
wanted them to reproach us afterwards. How to get there was a problem
that needed working out. The children had an invitation, which did not
include grownups, from Lieutenant Mitchell whose window was in the
American barracks on the north side of the Avenue near the Rue de Berri.
Dr. Lines asked Herbert's mother and Herbert and me to the New York Life
Insurance Company's office at the corner of the Rue Pierre-Charron on
the south side of the Avenue. How take the children to the other side
and get back to our places? There was only one answer. Taxi-cabs that
could go around through the Bois du Bologne and Neuilly or the Place de
la République.

In the court of the building where we have our studios in the Rue
Campagne-Première lives Monsieur Robert, a taxi-chauffeur. Herbert
arranged with him to be in front of our house at six-thirty A. M.,
promising him forty francs, with a premium of ten francs if he got there
before six-fifteen. Then, to guard against break-downs, he found another
chauffeur to whom he made the same offer. On Sunday afternoon Herbert
began to worry. It was bad to have all your eggs in two baskets when you
are looking forward to the biggest day of your life. So a third
chauffeur was found to whom the same offer looked attractive.

We got up at five, had our breakfast, and prepared a mid-morning snack.
Lloyd was on the balcony before six to report. Three times he came to us
in triumph. Our faith in human nature was rewarded. When we got down to
the side-walk we found our chauffeurs examining their engines. My heart
sank. But they explained that feigning trouble with the works was the
only way of keeping from being taken by assault.

We sent Grandmother and the baby directly to Rue Pierre-Charron. That
part was easy. Then, in the other two autos, we started our long morning
ride to get to the other side of the Champs-Elysées and back.
Fortunately, the chauffeurs had seen in the papers that a route across
the Grands Boulevards would be kept open from the Rue de Richelieu to
the Rue Drouot. After waiting a long time in line, we managed to get
across, and made a wide detour by the Boulevard Haussmann to the Rue de
Berri. Shortly after seven we delivered the kiddies to the care of
Lieutenant Mitchell. Our own places were just across the Avenue. But it
took us another hour and a wider detour to get to them. We were glad of
the two taxis. If one broke down, there was always the other. We wanted
to play safe.

From our place on the balcony of the New York Life we had the sweep of
the Avenue des Champs-Elysées from the Arc de Triomphe to the
Rond-Point. On many buildings scaffolding had been run up to hold
spectators. People were gathered on roofs and chimneys. Every tree held
a perilous load of energetic boys. Hawkers with bright-colored
pasteboard periscopes did not have to cry their wares. Ladders and
chairs and boxes were bought up quickly. But the Avenue is wide. All may
not have been able to see. But those behind were not too crowded and at
no time during the morning was all the space taken from the side-walk to
the houses.

At half-past eight the cannon boomed. Another interval: then the low hum
that comes from a crowd when something is happening. Then cheers. The
_défilé de la victoire_ had begun. The head of the procession was like a
hospital contingent out for an airing. There were one-legged men on
crutches and the blind kept in line by holding on to empty sleeves of
their comrades. The more able-bodied pushed the crippled in
rolling-chairs. The choicest of the flowers, brought for the marshals
and generals, went spontaneously to the wounded. Once again the French
proved their marvelous sense of the fitness of things.

Then came the two leaders of France, Marshal Foch keeping his horse just
a little behind that of Marshal Joffre. For two hours we watched our
heroes pass. Aeroplanes, sailing above, dropped flowers and flags. The
best marching was done by the American troops. The French readily
acknowledged that. But they said:

"It is still the flower of your youth that you can put into the parade.
Ours fell _là-bas_ long ago."

After the crowd began to disperse, we made our way across the Avenue to
get the children. As I brought them out through the vestibule a soldier
caught sight of us. He cried:

"Gosh, these ain't no tadpoles!"

When the children acknowledged to being Americans, he asked Mimi whether
she liked rats.

"Yas, I do," said Mimi.

"You wait there a minute. I got a rat I bought from a _poilu_. It's a
tame one."

The soldier brought his rat and did wonderful stunts with it. Mimi
squealed when the rat ran from the soldier's arm to hers and up on her
head. She didn't know whether to like it or be afraid. But the rat
evidently won, for when asked later what she liked best about the
parade, she put that rat ahead of Pershing and Foch.

We never thanked our lucky stars for the view of Paris from our balcony
more than on the evening of the Quatorze of victory. To see all the
wonders of the illuminations we did not need to leave our apartment.
From every park roman candles and rockets burst into pots of flowers,
constellations, the flags of the Allies. The dome of the Panthéon
glowed red. Sacré Coeur stood out green and pink and white against the
northern sky. Revolving shafts of red, white and blue came from the Tour
Eiffel. Church bells rang and on every street corner there was music.

The dear old custom of the night of the Quatorze was revived. We looked
down at the lanterns across the Boulevard Raspail at the intersection of
the Boulevard du Montparnasse. Tables and chairs overflowed from the
side-walk into the street. But there was a large open place around the
impromptu band-stand. People were dancing and the music never stopped.

We heard the call. And we obeyed. When we reached the corner and got
into the street, Herbert held out his arms.

"To everything there is a season," he said.

"A time to mourn and a time to dance," I murmured.

THE END

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

against the use of alchohol=>against the use of alcohol

Eau fraiche=>Eau fraîche

fruits rafraichis=>fruits rafraîchis

which is fourty-four=>which is forty-four

Eglise Saint-Suplice=>Eglise Saint-Sulpice

You make a list of the woman=>You make a list of the women

I have known in them in their homes=>I have known them in their homes

pièce de resistance=>pièce de résistance

What a charming dining-room? Dear me, have I intruded=>What a charming
dining-room. Dear me, have I intruded

Lycé Charlemagne=>Lycée Charlemagne

Rue da la Mont Sainte-Geneviève=>Rue de la Mont Sainte-Geneviève

find yourself in the Rue Mouffetord=>find yourself in the Rue Mouffetard

which are to found in every quarter=>which are to be found in every
quarter

But in the Bois de Bologne=>But in the Bois de Boulogne

Seminary of Saint-Suplice=>Seminary of Saint-Sulpice

undetermined the natural defences=>undermined the natural defences

Clichy and Montmarte=>Clichy and Montmartre

they probably will not come, and if you do=>they probably will not come,
and if they do

born or suffering=>born of suffering

all the grave _offiches_=>all the grave _affiches_

the Académie de Medecine=>the Académie de Médecine

Galéries Lafayette=>Galeries Lafayette

un charme extrème=>un charme extrême

permissioniares=>permissionniares

Rue Royal side of the Hotel de Coislin=>Rue Royale side of the Hôtel de
Coislin

Ca y est cette fois-ci!=>Ça y est cette fois-ci!

a l'américaine=>á l'américaine

cannon on the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore=>cannon on the Rue du
Faubourg-Saint-Honoré

Minuit, Crétien,=>Minuit, Chrétien,

H.C. of L. is an abbrevation=>H.C. of L. is an abbreviation

Pate de foie=>Paté de foie

Coppen kitchen ware=>Copper kitchen ware

Hôtel des Reservoirs=>Hôtel des Réservoirs

la patrie reconnaisante=>la patrie reconnaissante

_la-bas_ long ago=>_là-bas_ long ago

consellations=>constellations

proprietaire=>propriétaire

Rue de Sevres=>Rue de Sèvres

Theâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin=>Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin

the Théatre Français=>the Théâtre Français





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