AND 16 OTHER STORIES - online book

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

378                                 Paris Notes
I (disheartened). They are very nice.
He. Good night. (Bows, and retires, quite satisfied with himself.)
That young man could have become a good English scholar by taking the right sort of pains, but he was French, and wouldn't do that. How different is the case with our people; they utilize every means that offers. There are some alleged French Protestants in Paris, and they built a nice little church on one of the great avenues that lead away from the Arch of Triumph, and proposed to listen to the correct thing, preached in the correct way, there, in their precious French tongue, and be happy. But their little game does not succeed. Our people are always there ahead of them Sundays, and take up all the room. When the minister gets up to preach, he finds his house full of devout foreigners, each ready and waiting, with his little book in his hand — a morocco-bound Testament, apparently. But only apparently; it is Mr. Bellows's admirable and exhaust­ive little French-English dictionary, which in look and binding and size is just like a Testament—and those people are there to study French. The building has been nicknamed "The Church of the Gratis French Lesson."
These students probably acquire more language than general information, for I am told that a French ser­mon is like a French speech — it never names a his­torical event, but only the date of it; if you are not up in dates, you get left. A French speech is something like this:
Comrades, citizens, brothers, noble parts of the only sublime and perfect nation, let us not forget that the 2ist January cast off our chains ; that the ioth August relieved us of the shameful presence of foreign spies; that the 5th September was its own justification before heaven and humanity; that the 18th Brumaire contained the seeds of its own punishment; that the 14th July was the mighty voice of liberty proclaiming the resurrection, the