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sewing, while she has what across the Tweed we and eyes lifted up to silly little Blessed Virgins of should call a “crack," with some neighbour as white plaster, belaced and becrowned; but oh! the chatty, as polite, and as pleasant-looking as herself. eagerness of the faces! Some, hid in retired corners, In public, of course: everything is done in public in seemed to carry with them such a weight of grief, of Paris—and under the very glare of the gas-light; but entreaty, of faith, and lay it down at the feet of madame is quite used to that. Privacy, of any sort those helpless figures—those blank-smiling Marys, or or kind, is apparently neither expected nor desired in most repulsive similitudes of our Lord-that one this curious country, which, with so narrow a line of felt the Divine Spirit beyond it all must have pitied sea between, seems, in many things, the very anti- a worship so ignorant and yet so sincere. podes of our own.
Being Passion-week, the devotees were chiefly This fact began to strike me more and more when, dressed in mourning: some very richly, in silks and next morning, we went into that solemn old church velvets ; some in black gowns evidently improvised of St. Roch, in the Rue St. Honoré.
for the occasion out of shabby wardrobes ; and some It so happened-without any bigoted intentional of the very poorest made no attempt at it at all. avoidance-that never in my life had I been inside a They came just as they were-in their daily rags; Roman Catholic church. The Presbyterian spirit though a Frenchwoman's inborn cleverness and sense (not creed, to which I do not own) is perhaps the of comme il faut seems to make her wear even her most opposite conceivable to the spirit of that reli- rags respectably, at least when she appears abroad. gion which we Protestants, ignoring the obligations I saw here none of the squalidness which one finds of centuries, are prone to call, insultingly, “Popery" mixed up with the same depths of poverty in Engand abhor and abuse with a virulence proverbial to land. The lowest market-woman, coming in with those animosities which arise between kindred, or her basket, setting it down on the church-floor, and between foes who have once been friends. And yet, popping on her knees beside it-for the advantage of
for me, I must confess that having now seen a good a prie-dieu costs a few sous-even she had always a | deal of Roman Catholicism as it exists in France-| clean cap on, and her dress, however common, was the established worship of the people—I have come seldom either dirty or ragged. Besides these poor away with much more respect for it-much more women, too, we noticed a good many children, tolerance-even some sympathy; and yet with a also of the lowest class, but all very tidy; nay, greater objection to it than ever, and a more earnest some of them quite picturesque in their little scarlet wish that it may never advance one step more in our capuchons, for of course they were chiefly girls—the own land. I can hardly account for this anomaly of male element-man or boy-being almost entirely feeling, except by the same peculiarity that would absent from Roman Catholic congregations. They force one to be doubly just to one's enemios, and would come quietly in, stare about them a little, as doubly careful in judging a person towards whom children will, then kneel down and say their prayers one was conscious of feeling a vague dislike.
with a decorous gravity, as if they really meant it Nothing can be more opposed to our English-or and liked doing it. Scotch-devotional idea, than this French church-| And one can well imagine the effect made upon wide, vaulted, full of gilding and ornament; adorned children's minds and on those of the common people, with painting and sculpture like a heathen temple ; who are so like children in many ways-by these sprinkled over with chairs like a concert-room ; and large, dim, peaceful churches, filled with all sorts of circled with an outer stream of people perpetually pretty and awe - inspiring things, dainty Holy walking about and staring around them--at thechapels, Families, large white Christs, sweet-smiling or sorthe pictures, the service, and the worshippers. These rowful-looking saints, every nook of every chapel latter, all kneeling, and absorbed, every one of them, turned into a perfect nest of finery; tinsel, gilding, in an intensity of devotion that there is no mistak, lace, and flowers. Probably the one only sight or ing, and which cannot possibly be pretence, affect us | the beautiful which the very lowest of the low ever most of all. We do not care, comparatively, for the get, is in their churches. But our corresponding fine architecture, the beautiful painted glass, with its class never get it at all. "dim, religious light,” the extraordinarily-decked Whatever we thought of the worship itself-the little chapels, and the high altar, with its huge red morning mass that was going on in two or three cross upon a black ground-all these are sensuous places in the church at once-of the intense devotion externalities ; but we do care extremely for the of the worshippers there could be no doubt. As
spiritual and human element we find here the for the various mummeries -- they were unintel!! atmosphere of earnestness and prayer which seemed ligible to us - almost ludicrous --- mutterings in
to pervade the place. “Prayer--to images !” the anti- an unknown tongue - bowings and scrapings Popery reader will indignantly exclaim. Well, perhaps. triple tapping of breasts and elevating of hands But in many of our churches nobody attempts to pray and arms—sudden poppings down on one knee at all. In Scotland they stand still, and are prayed to. and popping up again-and all those various maIn England they sit still, and are prayed for. Now noeuvres, which I do not like to ridicule lest I should those people, old and young, rich and poor, come be wounding the feelings of some good Christian into the churches and kneel down and pray for them. Catholic to whom they are sacred and dear. Still, selves. True, it is with fingers pattcring over beads, to turn from these, and see the ecstacy of devotion
on the faces of some of the worshippers, and the petual seething and smouldering, not unlike Vesuvius grave religiousness written on all, was a very re- underneath the vines of Portici. Whether the volcano markable thing. How they prayed-whether it was will blaze out again, in our day or our children's, mere vain repetition, pattered over with a vague who can say ? sense that they were thereby helping to “make their We left the grand Exposition that admirable sop salvation," as they express it-we could not know; to Cerberus, which this year has occupied the atten.' but undoubtedly these poor French people did really tion of the whole French people, and flattered their pray, looking meanwhile as if they believed they national vanity by making them hosts to half the should be heard, which is more than can be said of world--and took refuge in the cool grey shadows of many English and Protestant congregations.
the Louvre, I own they startled me. My preconceived idea of Everybody knows tho Louvre; I shall not particu. a Roman Catholic church was a mere show-the very larize a single object there, except one picture, which essence of show and frippery. Plenty of this I found, nearly obliterated all the others-Murillo's celebratel it is true; but I also found something else which I “ Assumption.” Looking at it one can comprehend | did not expect, and which made my heart swell, and the reason why Mariolatry has taken such a firm inclined me to think higher, not of the Roman Catholic hold of the Roman Catholic mind-especially the Church, but of Him who is the Fountain of something female portion of it--because it touches upon the diviner than all churches, who can use and mould all strongest instinct, the deepest passion, in a woman's things-even bad things so as to evolve good and breast. Mary Mother, in all her various phases, neutralise evil. This feeling made me tread softly from the instant which Murillo has here so exquiand reverently-as I think I would even in a Mo- sitely caught, when her pure soul first begins to look . hammedan mosquo-rather than insult by word or forward ecstatically to its maternal hope, until the look my brethren and fellow-creatures, who, how- final moment when all hopos are gone, or changed ever they worshipped, were worshipping one God, and into a faith diviner still, this mysterious life of motherdoing it in earnest.
hood, with its unutterable joy and never-ended suffer. But we could not linger at Saint Roch, for Paris ing, which every woman somehow understands, comes !! was all before us, with only a day and a half into as a sort of shield between poor human nature and which to compress it. That we accomplished this : the blaze of Deity. It may be a most heretical con. saw two or three other churches, including Notre fession, but I can quite understand why sorrowful, Dame; taking "courses” between from the centre of weak, oppressed women, too ignorant to know Gosha old Paris to the Bois de Boulogne in the rapidly- too cowardly to dare to appeal to Him, face to face, rising new city which the Emperor is making; even take to worshipping the Virgin Mary. paid a flying visit to the Exposition, chiefly, I con- We floated down all the other pictures, many vi fess, in order to say we had been there, and to hug them familiar from engravings, on a dim, sleepy ware ourselves in insular conceit upon the vast superiority of pleasant weariness, individualising nothing. In of our own--that all this was done, and thoroughly fact, I am afraid I carried away little beyond the gene | done, so far as it went, reflects, we feel, consider-ral impression of them, and the delicious quiet of the able credit upon our ingenuity. Still, it is impos- place. There were few visitors, too few to interfere sible to give, or to retain, more than a mere impres- with the numerous students busy at work in every sion of the day, in which everything seems to me salon. Lady students predominated. We noticed, now like a "fleeting show" of wide, white streets, with amusement, that always in front of the most busy boulevards, green avenues, bright, hot, statue- ambitious picture, and copying it upon the biggest decked squares, where one tried vainly to con- canvas, was perched some female artist-often i jure up the rattle of the death-cart and the flash of funny little Frenchwoman, middle-aged and pathotithe guillotine. Only for one moment-standing by cally plain, yet with a toilette always careful, let us Cleopatra's Needle, in the Place de la Concorde, say soignée, which expresses it better, in spite of 'where Marie Antoinette stood and looked with one paint-stains and chalk-marks. Moreover, the work
flitting, farewell glance at those same green trees in was very good, much better than that of the gentthe Tuileries Gardens-did the past appear at all rality of lady artists. It was impossible not to possible or probable.
sympathise with these, who evidently earned their Yot these things have been may be again, who bread so hardly; toiling here all day, and going knows? For under all the frivolity and easy in home at night to some humble chamber, au sixième; souciance of this strange French people lurks some- living like solitary winter birds on a bare tree-tor, thing of the tiger--the sudden spring, the mad thirst in some out-of-the-world quartier, till perhaps, lika for blood. We could see it, we fancied, in not a few the birds, they one day drop off it and vanish under facos, chiefly of young ouvriers and artisans ; keen, the snows. intelligent, discontented, fierce; men whose life is a Of men copyists, we saw but few, and these very struggle and repression; men whom one would not second-rate. The cleverest had lost his right arm, like to watch in a popular émeuto or to meet at a and was painting industriously with his left. We barricade. We could comprehend how there is were so interested in this, and by the intent exgoing on-as French people own with bated breath pression of his grey, worn faco, a little severe and -- below that smooth surface of Parisian life, a per- saturnine, likewise perhaps by his rather shabky
clothes, that we hazarded a brief remark, a question | grow up to, whether presently her shrinking shyness about some picture opposite. Probably he thought | would all drop off, and she would blossom out into it interfered with his work, for he answered it so the married woman-the married Frenchwoman-acabruptly that we never ventured a second, I only | cording to our English ideal of the species, which may name this as being the sole instance of brusquerie—it be rather different from the reality-lively, brilliant, did not amount to incivility-that I ever met with entirely self-possessed ; charming, and conscious of from a Frenchman.
her charms; clever, and making the utmost use of her The day was declining, and we had seen more of cleverness, and especially of those qualities in which French buildings than French people. We looked she surpasses all civilized women-tact, savoir faire, forward hopefully to the table-d'hôte; but, alas! it and perfect knowledge of the world. proved to be almost exclusively English. The British A character-you may like it or not-there is much tongue, with Yankee variations, echoed from every to be said for and against it; which we quiet Englishside of the salle à manger : nay, the very dishes, the women are prone to believe the natural outcome of half-raw “bifsteck," and the still more dreadful that state of society in which mariages de convenance gigot, had a fatal presumption of being English, are the rule, and not, as we hope with us, the which we could not sufficiently deplore. One only melancholy exception. The French argue that their plat-decidedly novel-a most extraordinary com- system has its advantages. “Oh, I am sure to be pound of cheese and cauliflowers, caught our insular married: we have no old maids in France," said to palate, and has remained there in memory, and hope- me a lively damsel of fifteen. Plain or pretty, all less admiration, ever since.
take their turn, and fulfil what is regarded as the There was nothing particularly to be admired in natural destiny of woman, without any of the bitter the company; indeed, I have now forgotten them all, jealousies and souring disappointments which deterioexcept two peoplo-the only French people, I fancy, rate the weaker sort of what are severely called our among the number.
“surplus females." Also, these plain, outspoken, They were, seemingly, a newly-married couple. matrimonial bargains, arranged by parents or friends, "He must have been somewhere about five-and-thirty, avoid at least the personal struggle after husbands, with a fine, clear-cut, clever face, or rather less which makes young women often the mock of the merely “clever" than intellectual — of the savant other sex, and the humiliation of their own. kind, I should say. He had also a look of simplicity Heaven forbid I should be supposed to defend these and goodness, besides a certain largeness and nobility “ arranged” marriages; but before we blame our of outline-Norman French, after the type of the neighbours we should take care that our own hands man in Millais's picture of the Huguenots. Indeed, are clean. I have seen many a sham sentimental, there was an air of gentle blood about him down but in reality most mercenary, union, in England, in to his very hands, which were handsomer than which the woman seemed to have, and deserved to one usually sees in Frenchmen. For her-she was have, far less chance of happiness than this gentle lovely: small, delicate, large-eyed : scarcely out of little French bride. And however unwise and danher teens, and as timid-looking as a young hare of gerous may be the system of seclusion practised the wood. She might never have been across her towards young girls in France, taking them direct convent-gate, or out of her mother's sight till now, from the schoolroom to the altar, still, when I think and she seemed to creep to her husband for protection of this young creature, and of other demoiselles I know, against this terrible, unknown, outside world. Though and compare them with certain “fast” young English she was a little frightened of him, too: stole at him ladies whom I have sometimes met, I confess it feels glancos of shy strangeness, and coloured sensitively like turning from a bed of wild garlic in full floweralmost every time he addressed her.
country readers will appreciate the force of the simile Obviously, one of those marriages, essentially -to a bank of primroses, or a nooky hollow of blue and French, which we English regard with such holy white violets. horror, theoretically: though, practically, many of After the table-d' hóte, we again threw ourselves ours are not a whit better; a marriage arranged by into the many-coloured stream of Paris life, and were parents and friends, in which the bride has no drifted on and on through the lighted streets, until voice whatever, nor dreams of having one. The pair we found ourselves a portion of the queer multitude were exceedingly courteous to one another, but had which nightly sits sipping its enfé noir, or café au by no means that air of complete content-even silly lait, in the square of the Palais Royale. Very content-which our English honeymoon couples curious it was to watch the various groups, and show, perhaps a little too plainly. Yet there was listen to their clatter of tongues. They were apsomething very touching in the quiet, protecting parently of the shop-keeping class-decent, wellgravity of the bridegroom, the shy, sweet look of the to-do families, who in England would retire to the bride. She did not dislike him, evidently--this little parlour behind, or take, after business, a quiet gentle, honest-looking man, with twice her years, stroll in the parks, always ending in either their
and probably twice her cleverness; whom, in all pro- own or a neighbour's fireside. Here, no such privacy į bability, she had scarcely seen more than a few formal is ever thought of. “Home” is only chez nous--in
times before she was married to him. Poor little reality as in word ; and what to us is an English1 girl! I wondered what sort of woman she would man's castle, his defence against all the world, would to a Frenchman be a sort of Brixton Penitentiary. , and a pigeon-hole grating between. To one of these, Still, it is their way; it harms us not, and why should a very decent-looking, comely, young woman walked we condemn it? Only, we should not like to follow it. up and knelt down. I followed, being curious to see
Passing the great gates of Saint Roch, now closed what it was, till a severe “Madame, c'est défendu," for the first time in the day, we determined to go compelled my retiring. Soon, threading the crowd, there again next morning. And so began a series of came a priest, in plain black and white vestments, church visitations, which we agreed was the most in no colours; a little, stout, common-looking man, teresting part of our travelling. Whenever we saw a round-faced, with no particular expression; I have church-door open, we went into it; rested from fatigue seen his prototype in many a pulpit in our own in its cool shadows, and studied life-lay and clerical land, and listened to many a dull harmless sermon —from the numberless points of view it afforded us. from the same. He passed into the inner box to I cannot say that it was to us, in any sense, a “ place where the young woman knelt, and then I knew I of worship;” though I believe an honest Protestant had been boldly marching into the very confesmight say many an honest, reverent, humble prayer
sional, in a Catholic church : but it had a certain religious The confession began-of course it was inaudible atmosphere, which was soothing and sweet.
-but I could not keep my eyes from that kneeling This morning at Saint Roch is especially fixed on figure; the face hidden, the shoulders actually shak. my memory. Being Thursday in Passion week, ing with excess of agitation. And when I thought there was something special going on what, we were of the stolid and stupid-looking man I had seen pass too little acquainted with the Roman Catholic ritual | into the opposite pigeon-hole, I felt rising up & very to discover. I suspect it was a sort of service which un-Catholic spirit of disgust and indignation. What is called Ténèbres : at least that was our impres- | could this poor foolish priest, who was neither htission, from the extreme and almost gloomy solem- band nor father, and had probably quito forgotten nity of the intoning and chanting which formed the the relations of son or brother--what could he knot great part of it. It was listened to with earnest de of human nature, and, above all, of woman's nature, votion by a large congregation, filling an enclosed so as to comfort, absolve, or advise, in any case of sin, space in front of the high altar. Before that altar or suffering, or wrong? The two most obnoxious were a number of officiating priests, busy in some per points, to my mind, in the Roman Catholic Church formance or other. Oh, what a blaze of colours, viz., the celibacy of the clergy, and the system of the what vestments, what embroidery and laces! How confessional--came upon me with such force, that I fine a thing it must seem to be a priest, in the eyes should like to have gone up to the young woman and of those little white-stoled boys who go swinging their taken hold of her by those poor quivering shouldas censers backwards and forwards, filling the church and said to her, “Don't be such a fool. Don't lean with a luxurious odour, which to a sensitive organ- your faith upon any priest alive; carry your burda ization is an intoxication of itself! Undoubtedly, direct to Him who said to the weary-laden, 'Coma." the burning of perfumes in religious worship must Put no shield between you and God. A woman should be a lesson learnt from ancient heathendom, whi h confess her sins to no mortal man-except, perhaps, made all the senses subservient to the soul.
if he is worthy of it, her own husband. You poor In addition to this fixed congregation within, a large visionary! rise up from your knees and go home." ambulatory one was perpetually circulating in the Which excellent advice was, of course, neither outer area, or praying in the little chapels. A crowd, given nor taken; and I had to move on in smotherd most conglomerate in character, rich and poor “meet- | indignation, for there was coming round a most maging together," as if they really believed that “the Lord nificent personage, and in such splendid attire, that was the maker of them all.” Here, for instance, I first thought he must be some great officer of state, was an old, a very old woman, yellow as parchment, or church dignitary-perhaps even the Archbishop her nose and chin meeting like a witch's, her shabby of Paris himself—but he turned out to be nothing clothes hanging round her shrunken shape as if upon more than the huissier of St. Roch, that is, the a scarecrow, and her skinny hands clutching the beadle. This grand gentleman, wand in hand, pra dirty tattered breviary that was almost dropping to ceded a mild-looking little old priest, who held out a pieces, leaf by leaf; and beside her, so close that bag for alms, and seldom in vain, even to the poorest the velvet mantle rubbed against the ragged shawl, And when they had made the circuit of the church knelt an elderly lady, dressed in the extreme of they went back into its centre division, and the same fashion, praying out of a splendid gold-embossed vice commenced again. prayer-book. Yet the expression of both faces was The next half-hour I shall not easily forget. The strangely similar; in its intense absorption, its entire roll of the deep bass voices such voices as I never singleness of devotion. Neither noticed the other, heard before in cathedral, or opera, or oratorio-the though, as I said, their attire actually touched-nor mingled majesty and pathos of the music, also usdid they notice us: though we stood a long time like any music I am acquainted with, as it came risira watching them, and finally left them still kneeling and falling, thrilling and sweeping, through the there.
arches of the dim, half-lit church-truly the inventors In several chapels I had remarked a queer sort of of masses, and Catholic ceremonials generally, knek double compartment, with a footstool in each division, well what they were about. If I had believed in all
this, I should have been utterly overcome by it; and almost any kind of worship is better than no worship even as it was, not believing in it at all, convinced that at all. But when coming out of the church we met it was just a beautiful meaningless show, it affected a child's coffin coming in-nobody's child in parme to an almost painful degree. Nothing marvellous ticular, I suppose, for it had so humble a following is there in the fits of ecstatic devotion under the of mourners--I could not help thinking how small all influence of which young Catholics devote themselves this pomp of ceremonial was, compared with the little
for life to the service of the Church, become priests, | dead body lying under the white pall, or the little i and nuns, and sisters of charity. How easily im- spirit far away who might now comprehend the secret | pressible minds might mistake the raptures of mys- of all things.
ticism for the calm, rational faith which works itself In an hour more we had quitted Paris, not very out by the humble fulfilment of life's common duties; regretfully; for its white glaring streets began already how naturally might they fancy they could please to pall upon eyes most accustomed to green fields. It God and buy salvation by a passion of religious was infinitely refreshing toglide out-French railways exaltation, or painful asceticism, rather than by the never do anything but glide--into the open country, holy delights, and as holy self-denials, which He where the Seine lay in broad, glittering, sunshiny ordained for man's ordinary career on earth!
sheets of water on either hand; and the pretty We were not near enough minutely to observe the suburban villas and gardens, just like English officiating priests; but there seemed a great number gardens, with lilacs and laburnums in full bloom, of them, and an equal number of acolytes, or what. began to grow sparser and sparser, as we reached the ever they are called-boys and youths growing up to open country. Real country: the same familiar be priests. One could not help thinking what a hedgerows; the same cowslips in the meadows and heavy loss to France, as a country, all these vowed primroses on the banks; the same sudden blue of alibates must be: socially, even on the most matter woods full of hyacinths, as we passed; yet all this rof-fact principles of political economy, how many beauty was like Ophelia's rue_"worn with a dif
useful masters, householders, and citizens are thus ference." : taken from the duties of the community; and morally, I cannot describe it. Perhaps it was half imaginathe loss is still worse. We Britons, expecting to find tion; but this day's sensations are never likely to
and to the credit of our clergy we usually do find come again until I get into paradise. Everything in the minister of our parish a real man, 'with every was so entirely new, with just enough of the old good and manly quality fairly developed ; a kindly look of things remaining to remind one of the past. neighbour; a tender husband ; a father with a whole Yet the sense of novelty was not as it almost basehold of children to bring up, often through always is - to me, at least -- rather painful than much poverty, in the way they should go; in many otherwise. All the world looked so kindly, so lovely,
es adding to these duties external and social ones, that though it was altogether strange, one lost that such as magistrate, landlord, and general referee - vague dread which always accompanies strangeness, We feel our clergyman to be one of ourselves. We and felt only as if one were born again, and began tan talk to him and consult him; he can understand the world again, looking at it with all a child's fresh our difficulties and sympathise with our cares; for eyes. One wondered whether, in the unknown bay are nearly the same as his own. But the country, where we shall all some day wake up, perfrench curé, be he ever so good and sincere a priest haps as ignorant as little children, perhaps carrying ---23 I believe many of them are how can he with us some dim remembrance of a former state to possibly enter into these things ? Men of God guide us in the awful life to come wherein God "shall In all ages have often been solitary men-Elijahs make all things new"-whether that marvellous and Pauls; but these are exceptional cases. The awakening will be a sensation anything like this? question is, whether, viewed as a whole tribe-an But from such flights of fancy we were speedily plegral portion of the community-the priesthood dragged down by a clatter of conversation. Never,
fan serve God better as exceptional creatures lead. in any language, did I hear so many words crammed cpg exceptional lives, or as being one with their into a given space of time. The incessant oui, oui,
brethren--serving Him, the Father of all men, with oui, and non, non, non, non, where an Englishtheir whole being, instead of only a part of it? Is man would have contented himself with a single
not through the sanctification of human nature, negative or affirmative — the shrugs, the gesticularather than the ignoring of it, that we attain to our tions, the enormous amount of energy and vitality Icarest knowledge of things divine? From God to spent upon what seemed such a small necessity, mein, and from man back again to God, seems to be were quite overpowering. I am sure those two the law of the highest religious life; otherwise it de- Frenchmen, one of them in particular, talked more generates into mere mysticism on the one hand, and in three hours than an ordinary Briton would have mere morality on the other.
| done in three months. Not uncleverly: the French A long homily to spring from the text of this have such a brilliant, graceful, and ingenious way of splendid eoclesiastical show. That it was a very beau. “ putting things,' even the smallest triviality. From unl show we could not deny; nor that there might our neighbours' voluminous and voluble gossip--more of good in it, of some sort, to some people, since like a woman's gossip, though they were an elderly the mere act of faith is an ennobling thing, and and a middle-aged gentleman-I could soon bave