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Truth. (Salt Lake City, Utah) 1901-1908, November 07, 1908, Image 12

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85058310/1908-11-07/ed-1/seq-12/

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W . i
I Paris as Seen by a Westerner
, Formerly Managing Editor Salt Lake Telegram, now on Staff of Paris Edition New York Herald ' A
lhe casual American visitor to Paris stops at a high-priced hotel
where nearly everyone speaks English, drinks a glass of wine on thf
terrace of the Cafe dc la Paix, passes an' evening at the Moulin Rouge
or Maxim's, and departs, boasting that he has "seen" Paris. But
he hasn't.
From the boulevards and the cafes the stranger gets the impres-
sion that Parisians give their entire time to dancing and drinking and
spending money; that they are without a serious purpose in life.
Though '"it takes all kinds of people" to make up this city, like any
other, such an impression does the Frenchman an injustice and, in
entertaining it, the visitor deceives hmsclf.
1 confess that for several weeks 1 was deluded by the same false
notion. But for the last six months we have been living over on the
left bank of the Seine, studying the real Paris life, which isn't all ol
rhe butterfly variety by any means. As a matter of fact Parisians are
extraordinarily frugal the most frugal people on earth, I suppose.
They understand to the full the value of a sou and can give Americans
profitable lessons in judicious saving. The resident who has not a
growing bank account is a rare exception and the proprietors of even
the smallest shops have their bonds stored away for the rainy day.
Clerks and workingmen wear long blouses, whicn look like night-
shirts, and all school-children arc attired similarly. These protect the
clothing and, of course, make it last longer. Parisians never travel
abroad. They rarely leave Paris, in fact, and the French countrymew
seldom emigrate. The result is that their money moves around in a
circle and France has become the financial store-house of Europe. You
will recall that when Uncle Sam became "hard up" last year France
H lent him money.
H One of the greatest things in Paris is its cab system. One can
drive halfway across the city for a franc 20 cents which is less1, I
believe, than it costs to go from the Western Weekly office to the
Short Line station. If you buy a chair or a small table and are in a
hurry to have it delivered, you merely hail a cab, climb in, place the
H piece of furniture across your lap and tell the driver to go ahead.
H Washerwomen deliver the laundry in cabs and market men and
women use the same vehicle of locomotion in going to work.
H It is a blessing that cab-hire is so cheap, for if such a street rail-
way system as exists here were to inflict itself upon Bingham, Utah,
the city council would revoke the franchise within a week. The
H omnibuses arc uncomfortable and, of course, slow. The telephone ser
H vicets abominable, but nobody seems to care. The people, as a rule,
H are in no hurry, so there are 'phones in practically no residences and
H even in comparatively few business houses. There are said to be
350,000 telephones in New York and 200,000 in Chicago, but Paris has
only 45,000.
H Such conditions as these tempt the American to write it "JAY
H Paree" instead of "gay Paree." But there are other reasons. What
H we regard as simple comforts and some things that, in America, are
H counted as actual necessities, are luxuries here. For instance, only
H the aristocrats have bath-tubs in their houses). When he feels moved
H to bathe the ordinary plug mortal does one of three things. He may
H pack his '"change" of clothing into a small grip and hie himself to a
H public bath house, but this method has its disadvantages, for one is
H - never certain of the race or condition of the person who has just prc-
H ceded him in a tub. If he prefers, the soiled one may order his bath
H brought to him. Tubs, hot water and all are delivered in wagons any-
H where in the city for a nominal sum, by a company organized for the
H purpose. But the most popular is the primitive way of remaining in
H one's room and using one's washbowl.
H "We dread the approach of winter for. though we iiave a so-called
H "modem" apartment, for which we pay a "modern" rental, the heat-
H ing facilities threaten to prove inadequate. Parisians depend on
H grates of old-fashioned constiuction and pay dear for fuel. Anna
H Gould s pink marble palace is one of the few houses in town which
H is steam-heated.
H The first thing I do when I get back to God's country is to buy
H a good, square meal. I'm hungry or was until we went to house-
H keeping. I had heard so much about the excellence of French cook-v
H ing that in London I refrained from eating, saving my appetite for
H the great feast to be enjoyed here. The French chef's reputation prob-
H ably is deserved so far as his ability to mix salads and sauces is
H concerned, but a good Kansas Cty beefsteak like Vandeventer and
H Billy Winch and I used to have in old K. C. together can be found
H here only after patient, persistent searching.
Besides, in Paris you are never quite sure whether you are eatiii"
beef or '"mulct." There are 235 markets in town .where horse-meat
sold. It costs just about half as much as beef, but thousands of peo
ple consider it a luxury. Connoisseurs say it is sweet and delectable.
1 am willing to take their word for it. I have never tasted it know
ingly. The Parisian's character is not so different from that of the aver
age human to be found anywhere else, as Americans are led to sup
pose. He works the French equivalents of "Thank you" and "Be? '
pardon" and "If you please" overtime, and the men take off their I
hats to one another, but, also, they elbow the women off the side-
walks, so I have concluded that their reputation for politeness is not v :
entirely merited. At any rate I have been unable to find the original j
perpetrators of the "Alphonse-Gaston" stunt or even any good imi
tators. And the French type which you see in "Peggy From Paris" and
such productions doesn't exist. They are loquacious and volatile, and
insist upon talking with their arms as well as their mouths, but they
do much more bowing and scraping on an American stage than in a
Paris street.
Whenever I become disgusted I go out and look for a funeraJ
procession. When I find one my admiration for the people returns.
For when a cortege passes through the streets every man in sight
whether beggar or millionaire removes his hat. Yet when one ob
serves this pretty little tribute of respect to the dead he wonders at
the lack of consideration which custom shows the living relatives.
The mourners follow the hearse, not in carriages, but on foot, trudg
ing the entire distance from the church or the house to the cemetery.
The Bon Marche, the original of the world's great department
stores, still exists, and is said to continue to do a greater volume of
business than any other retail house on either side of the Atlantic
not excepting Marshall Field's or Wanamaker's. But this, like every
thing else in Paris, except the fashions in feminine finery, is behind
the times in many respects. No Paris store has a pneumatic cash mes
senger system, connecting the counters with the cashier's desk.
When you make a purchase you accompany the clerk to the wrapping
counter, see it "clone up," and then personally pay the cashier, while he
enters in a large book a minute description of every article you have
A bright spot to any American who drifts into the Latin. Quarter
is the club-house of the American Art Association. Most of the
members are students of painting or architecture, but any American
man may join if he is able to prove himself a reasonably good fellow.
'Smokers" and dances are given occasionally, American papers and
magazines are on file, a good cafe is operated in connectionvjih tht
club, and the temporary exiles from "the States" help one anothei "
to overcome the feeling of homesickness when it appears.
Yes, we have been to Maxim's, the Bal Tabarin, the Bullier, the
Dead Rat and a few otners. You recollect that Evelyn Thaw testified
that she and Harry celebrated at the Dead Rat during the greater
part of one night and then went back to the flat and cooked breakfast
on a gas-stove in the bath-tub. I recall this testimony because I fear
that in a previous remark I made to you 1 gave the impression that
there are no bath-tubs in Paris except those you rent just long enough
for a single, brief plunge. v-
Of course everybody knows what Maxim's and these other place! T
are, and you have been there yourself. The girls dance around youl
table while you eat and drink and these cafes and bals have not the
official endorsement of the Y. M. C. A. They are interesting to visit
once or twice, but when you have seen one you have seen the
whole bunch.
I almost forgot to mention that there are also some excellent art
galleries in Paris. If you wish details of these advise me and I'll
gladly send you the catalogues.
To take care of rapidly increasing business, effective November
15th, next, a twelve-section drawing-room elect. t lighted sleeper
will be added to the, equipment of the Salt Lake Route. LOS -,
ANGELES LIMITED, west bound from Salt Lake City to Los
Angeles, daily. This to take care of Intermoumain District, Colo
rado and Northwest passengers, and no doubt will be very much
appreciated, as it practically means a saving of twelve hours in time
for them.

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