THE spirit of Paris could be no more perfectly defined than as that in which the individual confides in himself, and becomes something of worth and value. The general Parisian life offers characteristics peculiarly its own. Among the humbler classes there are thrift and comfort to a far greater degree than in London, and far more than is seen in the Italian cities. The laboring classes have their little reserve fund of money laid by ; they live in comparative comfort and are always able to take a holiday in the Champs Élysées, or a picnic in the Bois, even if it extend no further than the limits of the electric tramway. On a holiday, whole families will be seen ensconced in the comfortable seats in some part of the Bois, the children frolicking on the grass, the mother sewing, the father reading aloud to her from book or newspaper. Nothing could be more simple, sincere and satisfying. They are all comfortably clad, with a certain neatness and sense of taste that is a part of the French birthright, and they take their day’s pleasuring with easy mind and contented heart. For all the sensational tales of immorality in Paris, it is yet a fact that among all the working classes the ties of family life are unusually strong. The wife is closely associated with the husband in everything. He does not go off to his work leaving her at home, but she is by his side. If there is a shop, they keep it together ; if he pulls a fruit car, or vends other matter around the streets, she trots at his side and does the business with the customers. If he is employed as a porter, she will be in some service in the same house. Even when he is employed in repairing streets, or as a workman on new buildings, she is not unfrequently seen guarding some wall in process of construction that pedestrians may not go too near, or engaged in some similar way. The foreigner who looks on and sees these things often jumps to the conclusion that the home side of life is lacking among these classes of the French ; that they have no domesticity. On the contrary. The day’s work over, the man and woman betake themselves together to their room or apartment, and he kindles the fire that she may cook the supper ; or, more likely, they go out together to a table on the sidewalk (if it be in summer), or inside the café, if in cold weather, and partake of the dinner served for a franc. The children are, meantime, committed to the convent, or convent schools, where they are duly cared for; and while a comparison of the methods of the French and the American ménage is not unfrequently supposed to reveal the grave defects of the former, it is not certain that a more intimate knowledge of the French method would not ensure a balance in its favor.
Of course one does not make the rash assertion that there is no poverty terrible poverty in Paris. Of no large city could such an ideal condition of life be predicated. There are the quartiers of the chiffoniersthe rag-pickers ; there are the localities of vice ; but the writer of this volume has never seen those regions ; has of them no knowledge from personal observation, or from statistics, and this volume does not make any pretension to offering the results of a complete study of Paris. It does not pursue the social economics of the city, nor even its philanthropies (the most beautiful element, indeed, in Paris, the Beautiful), nor its social institutions ; these would require professional study and research, in order to deal with them in any adequate manner ; and, more than that, all these aspects of the French metropolis have already been dealt with, in numerous volumes, by savant and statistician in a manner so complete, so accurate, and so able in both presentations and deductions that they stand to date as the final word.
This little record of the crystallized enchantment of many springtimes and early summers in Paris,of flowers and friends and lights and loveliness, all blending in the luminous, opalescent haze of memory, only aims to interpret some of the impressions of the ineffable beauty of rare mornings under the blossoming chestnut trees of the Champs Élysées, of hours passed in the rich galleries and salons of art of summer sunsets, against whose glow the tall towers of the Trocadéro were silhouetted, and whose afterglow enveloped the twin sentinels of Notre Dame in a filmy mist of golden light, shot through with gleams of amethyst and sapphire, as one gazed down the vista of the river. It is only the calling up of lovely images, of the little dinners and friendly cinq l’heures at the private hôtels of those luxurious individuals who have an entire house of their own (the term, hôtel, of course, in Paris, denoting the private residence, as well as a hostelry), or, as more customary, in some pleasant apartment, whose balconied windows look out on the Parc Monceau, or on the stately beauty of the avenues radiating from the Étoile; of the profoundly interesting conferences at the Sorbonne, of wonderful visits to the Observatoire, of late afternoon drives through the wild wood paths of the Bois, of long morning saunterings in old churches and chapels and historic interiors. Or again, out of these memory pictures, there gleams one of a Sunday afternoon in the studios of Raphael Collin ; in the studio intime, the great working room, where immense canvases of his decorative paintings made the place resplendent ; or, again, in the studio, which is a salon as well ; partly lined with his cabinets where, behind the glass doors, are displayed his splendid Oriental collections ; Assyrian vases, jars, and cups, and Indian antiquities ; a numerous array of the most exquisite Tanagra figures ; a bronze Buddha, almost life size, serenely contemplating the vie moderne, and two lesser figures of Buddha of rare and curious workmanship ; masks that hang on the wall ; Oriental pictures ; and a Japanese screen that incites the enthusiasm of the connoisseurs of l’art Orientale; where a portrait of the artist’s father, in a sitting pose, reading a newspaper, is so informed with life that one involuntarily looks for this gentleman of the benignant aspect to lay down his journal and speak. A portrait of the artist’s sister, Mlle. Collin, herself an artist full-length and life-size, in a bewilderingly pretty costume, is another feature of this studio, that enchains the guest ; while more than all, is the impressive and intensely interesting presence of M. Collin himself, one of the most cultivated and charming of French artists, and one of the especially favorite professors in the Académie des Beaux Arts. Lingering in the studio of Professor Collin, one cannot but recall these words of Mrs. Browning, ” I wish to live just as long and no longer than to grow in the soul,” for they seem to express the intent of this artist, who is singularly poised, serene and beneficent ; radiating influence and lofty suggestion and all nobleness of aspiration and achievement in a manner that reveals his own life to be one whose object is to ” grow in the soul.” Great artist that he is ; admirable teacher and counsellor in art, his force and exaltation of temperament impresses one as being the rarer gift, or the finer inflorescence of character.
Like an incantation rises, too, the memory of afternoon hours in the studios of Émile Bourdelle, sculptor and poet, to whom. M. Rodin wrote, in a personal letter :
” . . . You have in you all the elements of true happiness ; and I wish for you that force to regulate and conserve your work so that this force shall not escape. Work work toujours work and you will arrive at great results.”
At a banquet given in honor of Eugène Carrière, M. Bourdelle was the poet of the occasion, and in a letter acknowledging the honor paid him, M. Carrière wrote :
…” To you, cher ami, my great and pro-found emotion, dear friend, and great poet, and great sculptor that you are, I owe you a debt of gratitude.”
In the studios of M. Bourdelle are a number of striking groups of sculpture. One of the photographs obtained for this volume shows the sculptor himself sitting meditatively just behind the group ” La Guerre,” his face leaning on his hand, in his working blouse among his marbles. M. Bourdelle is considered as ranking only second to Rodin in the plastic art.
Reference has already been made in these pages to M. Rodin’s uncanny statue of Balzac ; but since that writing, so swift is the march of the days ” daughters of Time, the hypocritic days “in this wonderful twentieth century, that Rodin has again expressed himself very clearly regarding this work, which, in the most recent of interviews, he declares to mark the crisis of a transition period in his art life. A Paris critic, visiting Rodin at his home in Meudon, writes :
” Au musée Balzac, inauguré il y a quelques jours, figure une maquette signée du grand sculpteur Rodin et représentant l’auteur d’Eugénie Grandet, debout, bras croisés, réfléchissant, appuyé à un angle de table. Cette oeuvre est l’une des nombreuses études qui précédèrent le célèbre Balzac, tant contesté, et qui fut on le sait l’objet de polémiques fameuses.
” Or, l’un de nos confrères ayant recuelli comme vraisemblable certaine rumeur selon laquelle la maquette du musée fut, en son temps, refusée par le comité Balzac, et le bruit ayant couru d’autre part que la statue définitive aurait été composée, en grotesque, par l’artiste vexé, désireux de se moquer de ses juges, nous sommes allé demander à M. Rodin son opinion sur ces appréciations singulières.
” Devant les échafaudages du temple qu’il fait construire pour abriter sa collection d’antiques, à Meudon, sur cette admirable terrasse d’où l’on domine un décor immense, nous apprenons au maître l’étrange nouvelle dont, tout de suite, il sourit.
” Je ne me bats plus pour ma sculpture, dit-il. Elle sait depuis longtemps se défendre par elle-même. Dire que j’ai bâclé mon Balzac à la blague est une insulte qui m’aurait fait bondir autrefois. Aujourd’hui, je laisse passer et je travaille. Ma vie est un long chemin d’étude ; me moquer des autres, ce serait me moquer de moi-même. Si la vérité doit mourir, mon Balzac sera mis en pièces par les générations à venir. Si la vérité est impérissable, je vous prédis que ma statue fera son chemin.”
Thus introducing his subject, he quotes M. Rodin as saying :
” Mais, à l’occasion de cette méchanceté qui fera long feu, je tiens à vous dire ceci : Il est temps que ce soit affirmé, et très haut. Cette oeuvre, dont on a ri, qu’on a pris soin de bafouer parce qu’on ne pouvait pas la détruire, c’est la résultante de toute ma vie, le pivot même de mon esthétique. Du jour oû je l’eus conçue, je fus un autre homme. Mon évolution fut radicale : j’avais renoué entre les grandes traditions perdues et mon propre temps un lien que chaque jour resserre davantage.
” On plaisantera peut-être cette déclaration. J’en ai l’habitude et je ne crains pas l’ironie. Je l’affirme donc très nettement : le Balzac fut, pour moi, un émouvant point de départ, et c’est parce que son action ne s’est pas limitée à ma personne, c’est parce qu’il constitue, en soi, un enseignement et un axiome, que l’on se bat encore sur lui et qu’on se battra encore longtemps. La bataille continue, il faut qu’elle continue. Balzac a contra lui les docteurs de la loi esthétique, l’immense majorité du public et la plus grande partie de la presse critique.
” Qu’importe, il se fera, par force ou par persuasion, une voie vers les esprits. Il y a des jeunes sculpteurs qui viennent le voir, ici, dans l’atelier, et qui pensent à lui en redescendant les sentiers, dans la direction où leur idéal les appelle.
” Il y a des gens du peuple qui ont compris, des ouvriers, de ceux qui continuent, rares dans la foule, l’ancienne tradition des métiers où chacun créait son oeuvre avec sa conscience et n’apprenait pas son art dans les catéchismes officiels.
” Quant au public, il n’est pas blâmable. La faute remonte à ses éducateurs. Le sens de la beauté et le goût de la raison sont perdus. Il n’y a plus chez nous de place ni d’estime pour les hommes qui modèlent leur âme tout seuls. Et puis l’immense majorité ne s’intéresse plus à l’art, ne voit plus rien de l’art que par les yeux de quelques arbitres assermentés.
” Pour moi, sachant la vie courte et la tâche grande, je laisse faire et je continue mon oeuvre au-dessus des polémiques.
” Et voilà comment j’ai composé mon Balzac.”
No translation into English could quite do justice to this inimitable French wit and divination of the unspoken opinions of others. Not that the opinions regarding this creation which still remains the dernier cri in modern art even more than a decade after it was first exposed have been at all inarticulate ; not but that the figure has been nearly a casus belli between nations, not to say individuals ; still there remain depths of unspoken comment which M. Rodin feels, and thus answers. His affirmation that des jeunes sculpteurs, as they go down his hillside after visiting his atelier, will carry with them a new ideal, after seeing this figure, is as true as it is frankly naïve. Nothing could more effectually efface any lingering ” l’ancienne tradition” than the responsive study of this figure, created, as M. Rodin assures us, ” avec sa conscience.” It is manifest that M. Rodin has not, as yet at least, achieved any measure of the broken and the contrite spirit in relation to this work, and that he is in no mood of repentance or of reparation. The time may not be so far distant when Paris will regret that this masterly and marvellous interpretation of Balzac which has called his very innermost life into visible form, is not arresting the eager and ardent attention of every passer-by in the streets of Paris, rather than the more decorous and academic creation fine though it is in its own way of M. Falguère. Rodin chooses his subjects in life as well as in nature at the moment of fullest expression. That, to him, is the psychological moment. Nature,” he says, ” is full of fine form, of design.” He adds that he ” observes long the model ” and then… ” C’est pas cette étude patiente que j’ai retrouvé, parfois, les procédes des Grecs, grâce au travail lui-même, et non en imitant leurs statues.” The key to Rodin’s work is to be found in his temperament, that holds itself aloof from the ordinary currents of life, not with conscious intent, but rather by the force of that atmosphere of mystic exaltation in which he lives and moves and has his being. One of the innumerable critics of Rodin has said that he ” talks about art as a farmer talks about crops,” to which M. Rudolf Dircks rejoins :
” . . . And these abstractions the neurotic images of a Baudelaire, the horrors of the Inferno, the soul of a Victor Hugo, or a Balzac or a Rochefort, or a Peruvian beauty are to him as much the affairs of his daily life and thought as corn and pasture are to a farmer. He talks incessantly of nature, of its secrets, of its beauty, as containing the whole problem, in art, that really matters. He does not approach nature with preconceived ideas. He does not wish to pose or arrange it ; for it has its own poses, its own arrangement, which are sufficient in themselves. ` La nature,’ he tells us ‘se compose elle-même.’ ”
But à nos moutons! The memory pictures of lingerings in the studio of Emile Bourdelle bring before one the impressive bust of his creation, that of Jean Dominic Ingres, ” OEdipus with the Sphinx,” whose ” Francesca da Rimini,” and whose ” Pope Pius VII ” fascinate the lingerer in the galleries of the Louvre or in the Sistine Chapel in the Palace of the Vatican in Rome. Ingres (whose life extended from 1780 to 1867) entered on his work as a pupil of David, thus linking two generations of art. His bust, as modelled by Bourdelle, suggests the deep religious fervor and the impassioned devotion to color that characterized his art.
Eugène Bourgouin is another of the names associated with Sunday afternoon studio talks in Paris. Born in Rheims in 1880, this young artist has already arrived. Before he was twenty-five he had received medals and prizes galore and all that stimulus of sympathetic recognition and encouragement that France gives to her artists.
In the Église Sacre Coeur on Montmartre is the ” Head of Christ,” in relief, as modelled Bourgouin, the upturned, pathetic face; the clasped hands, the thorns resting on the hair, the pathos and the tragedy of the countenance irradiated by that luminous consciousness of eternal purposes, as contrasted with temporal suffering. It is a most remarkable work ; and out of all the representations of the Christ in sacred art,ancient and modern and contemporary,this conception of the young artist stands out with an impressive distinction of its own.
One group of his sculpture entitled ” La Mort et lâ Mer,” is considered very highly in the latter-day art of France.
Bourdelle is celebrated for three busts he has created of Beethoven, each in a different pose of the head, as orders from Germany ; and the expression of the divine composer, in its mingled power, pathos, and patience ; the intent air is wonderfully depicted.
Auguste Lepére is one of those versatile Parisian artists a brilliant raconteur, a delightful host, an artist whose studios offer the most curiously fascinating interior, an etcher, engraver, illustrator, ceramist, printer, bookbinder, as well as a painter, to whom the visitor in Paris is apt to gravitate on a Sunday afternoon. M. Lepère is, himself, more marvellous than his work, and yet his work is as many-sided as it is admirable. When it is recorded that his contribution to the Salon of 1908 (the Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts) consisted of sixty-three paintings and also a series of drawings and sketches, engravings and etchings besides, it will be evident that his art has rank. Of course the paintings were largely of corners and bits of landscape.
One of M. Lepère’s greatest works is an original etching of the Cathedral at Amiens. He is the illustrator of Maupassant’s “Deux Contes ” and ” Les Images de Pierre Ronsard,” also of the ” A Rebours ” of Huysmans. His leading characteristic impresses the visitor as being an almost phenomenal power of swift and complete comprehension of any subject in thought. He grasps an idea, tout complet, with the most incredible swiftness; his eyes take in all the details of a scene in the same way ; and the anomaly is that there is nothing superficial about this gift. Lepère is the very incarnation of modernity. Pierre Hepp, writing of Lepère to the London Athenaeum (in June of 1908), has said :
” Après avoir rendu l’hommage que veut une salle entière consacrée à l’oeuvre peint et gravé de M. Lepère bel artiste de tradition, sinon créateur de formes nouvelles nous pouvons gagner les locaux de la Société des Artistes Français. Il est de règle de constater l’impression de désarroi que l’on éprouve en franchissant le seuil de celui des deux Salons qui se donne pour le refuge officiel de la bonne cause. Ne craignons pas de répéter, au risque d’être banal, qu’un réel découragement s’empare de qui se borne à jeter un coup d’oeil rapide sur les kilomètres de toile peinte que suspendent à leurs parois les plus vastes compartiments dont le Grand Palais dispose.”
M. Siroux, in a lengthy monograph on M. Lepère, notes that with all this marvellous celerity and plasticity of technique, his art is ” essentially serious,” and proceeds :
” He often arrives at that impression of profound emotion and high artistic serenity which is almost allied to semi-religious feeling. This contact with the silence of things,’ this intimate and entire association with nature and the sublime is found in several of the works of Lepère. A sentiment which seems to have profoundly moved Lepère in the finest of his works is the need for and search after ` unity,’ and in this he sometimes reaches heights of real grandeur. It is only the ` Protean ‘ of art, those who are able to approach her under the aspect of several different mediums, those who are not merely executants, but thinkers and theorists, who are able thus to attain to the creation of something superior to nature, that is to say, nature epitomized and transfigured in the calm mirror of one of its finest creations, the deep and transparent soul of an artist. Such glamour of synthetical art you find in the waves which Lepère paints on the flat Vendéan coasts, in the blaze of sunshine with which he illumines his clouds, in the groups of heavy peasants under the bright atmosphere of his villages of Vendée, in the grand peaceful lines of trees bordering his ponds and rivulets.”
The artist’s father was a sculptor, and he was reared in the studio atmosphere. He grew up with the conversation of the studio haunting his mind, and he dreamed of his ideals, Manet and Monet. For he was an Impressionist born. He made an early success of engraving on wood, earning by this means the needful funds for his art study. ” As an engraver,” says M. Siroux, ” his technique goes back to the old masters of the sixteenth century, whose methods of strong design and cursive strokes he has adopted. But for all that Lepère is not archaic. For him, as for the old traditionists, to return to the past is simply to brush off the dusts of tradition and reject cumbersome theories.
One of his most beautiful works is an engraved silver placque in niello for ” La Légende Dorée.” An angel stands in the foreground, her draperies blowing about her, while three others her sister bandare grouped just behind ; the figures are all of indescribable grace and beauty.
The spirit of Paris is felt as that whose persistent aim is ” to become of worth and value.” While poverty and vice and the tricks of the vagabond and the criminal are no more absolutely eliminated in Paris than they are in London or New York, this affirmation still holds true. The poet, the artist, and the littérateur find here a more subtle and profound and instant recognition than perhaps in any other country. It is ” at the Mart of Sordid Things ; ” it is ” at the House of Pleasing Things ; ” the ” Place of Trifling Things,” that the poet loses his divine gift ; throws his power from him as Gyges cast his ring into the sea ; and he finds his wings, as the poet tells us, ” in the Prison House of Pain.”
” From the silence, from the anguish, from the night, Shall the sudden song of singing thrill to flight.”
There are few, indeed, of these great artists who express themselves in painting, poetry or in the plastic art, who have not learned well their lesson ” in the Prison House of Pain ; ” who have not profoundly recognized that discouragements and obstacles not unfrequently incite higher intellectual activity and stimulate the imagination to a degree wholly unattained in conditions of ease ; that, as Matthew Arnold has said,
“The tasks in hours of insight willed May be in hours of gloom fulfilled.”
The celestial visitors are apt to arrive in those ” mournful midnight hours ” which Goethe celebrates.
The artists, the scientists, the men and women who are the great forces of modern progress in France are those who know the Heavenly Powers. A large proportion of them are born of the people, with no capital save that inestimable one of talent and of character. They have trodden the upward path, but they have not lost their souls ” at the Mart of Sordid Things.”
To the feminine guest in Paris one brilliant centre of interest is the Lyceum Club, which occupies a beautiful house in the Rue Bienfaisance, near Saint Augustin’s. The vicinity is one of the most attractive in Paris. Quite near, at the corner of the Rue Monceau and the Boulevard de Courcelles, is the magnificent palace of Prince Murat, whose drawing-room windows on the first floor open on an expanse of terrace, stone-walled and green-hedged, that is hardly less enticing in its dreamy, elusive beauty than are the Colonna Gardens in Rome.
The hôtel of the old and famous De la Rochefoucauld family is not distant. This is still occupied by the present dowager Duchesse de la Rochefoucauld, while the young Duchesse, (formerly Miss Mattie Mitchell, the daughter of the late Senator Mitchell of Oregon) is domiciled in the old Faubourg. Many an epigrammatic maxim ” of the old Duc de la Rochefoucauld, whose name is one of the glories of France, rises to one’s mind in passing the family mansion in the Faubourg.
The house occupied by the Lyceum Club of which Mme. Besnard is the accomplished president, and Mme. Curie; the distinguished scientist, is one of the members formerly belonged to an Italian prince. The richly deco-rated ceilings, the elaborate carvings of the solid mahogany doors, attest its claim to being one of the palatial houses of Paris. Nothing could be more simply cordial and hospitable than this club, whose membership includes the distinguished French women, and many of the American sojourners in Paris and its vicinity. The club life has already proven itself to be a strong bond of unity and mutual sympathies.
No more truly cosmopolitan life can anywhere be found than in Paris. While there are riches and rank and power, and a still existing nucleus of the ancien noblesse who hold themselves in an exclusive society, there are circles not less patrician because more inclusive and liberal. There is a surprising to the foreign visitor almost, indeed, a wonderful esprit du corps among the artistic fraternities. ” Liberty, Equality and Fraternity ” is no mere phrase of rhetoric ; to a remarkable degree it is lived in the daily life, and manifested in loyalty of zeal to a common ideal, and in mutual sympathies, comprehension and encouragement.
In the beautiful white marble church in the Avenue de l’Alma with the Gothic spire pointing upward making itself one of the impressive architectural landmarks on the horizon is fairly focussed the highest expression of the spirit of Paris. In Holy Trinity, or the ” American Church,” as it is sometimes called, there is always burning the living coal on the altar. The interior, all of white marble, seems, indeed, the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is of the purest Gothic design, the vast pillars and arches of the marble entwining in stately beauty. The La Farge windows in their glow of color and the exquisitely wrought reredos alone break the snowy whiteness of walls and arches and roof. The reredos depicts with the clearest presentation, perfect in its simplicity, the great essential truths of the Redemption of mankind, the Nativity, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus, the Christ. Marvellously uplifting and beautiful as is this church when the sunshine without, or the electric lights within, fill it with a golden glory that seems not of earth, it is far more glorified by the faithful and fervent ministry of its founder and rector, Rev. John B. Morgan, D. D., who in August of 1908, celebrated the thirty-fifth year of his work in Paris. Under Dr. Morgan’s inspiring leadership this edifice, which stands pre-eminent in all Europe for the most exquisite architectural beauty of any American church on the Continent, has been built and completed and it is the expression in marble, the crystallization, so to speak, of hopes and beliefs, of noble ambitions and generous aspirations, of faith fulfilling itself in tireless aid to those in need, and of prayer to God and communion with the Holy Spirit. All this beauty of holiness, of the faith that makes faithful, is wrought into this living temple of the Lord.
On every day of the year, at half-past eight in the morning, the Holy Communion is celebrated at the altar. Every week day the church is open to all from nine till five for private prayer. In Dr. Morgan’s church faith constantly expresses itself in works. The church has extended itself in Holy Trinity Lodge, in the Rue Pierre Nicole on the other side of the Seine, where there is a chapel for services ; an industrial school of which Mrs. George Munroe is the directress ; an hospital ; reading-rooms and a circulating library ; classes for a course in French following the lectures delivered at the Sorbonne ; classes in French literature and in history ; lectures and a musicale once each week. At this chapel, St. Luke’s, there are two services each Sunday and on holy days, and it is always open for prayer and meditation. On the first Sunday evening of each month Dr. Morgan himself is the preacher at Trinity Lodge, and St. Luke’s is in charge of Rev. Isaac Van Winkle, M. A. Dr. Morgan is assisted at Holy Trinity by the curate, Rev. H. W. G. Mesny. Miss Carryl Smith is the deaconess in charge of Holy Trinity Lodge and Mrs. Frederick Langley is the superintendent of the mission work. One of the features which Dr. Morgan’s tender consideration designed in his church is a mortuary chapel where the dead may be placed in the interval before burial, or before carrying the body to another country, as is often desired. The customs in Paris had been peculiarly hard for those bereaved and this sacred room is of the greatest comfort and aid to those in sorrow. Under Dr. Morgan’s ministry this church radiates its aid and makes itself one of the greatest forces for moral progress and for helpfulness to those in need. ” Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers ” is the keynote of Dr. Morgan’s teaching; he holds that life is for ministry and aid ; and in his own noble and generous life is daily exemplified the words which he has chosen as the motto of the church paper:
” Work as though you would live forever, Live as though you would die today.”
The long and eminent ministry of Rev. Dr. Thurber in Paris is one of the great chapters of the English-speaking life in the French capital. For a long period of years his ministry in the Presbyterian Church was a noted feature of the American life and the fine social influence of Dr. and Mrs. Thurber will long linger in Paris. His resignation of his pastorate here to accept a leading one in New York was a matter of deep regret to a very large circle of friends as well as to his own parish.
No unimportant factor in all this aspiring, ardent, lovely and progressive life is that beauty which invests Paris with its atmosphere. All beauty warms the heart,” says Emerson, ” is a sign of health, prosperity, and the favor of God. Everything lasting and fit for men,, the Divine Power has marked with this stamp. What delights, what emancipates, not what scares and pains us, is wise and good in speech and in the arts. For, truly, the heart at the centre of the universe with every throb hurls the flood of happiness into every artery, vein, and veinlet, so that the whole system is inundated with the tides of joy. The plenty of the poorest place is too great : the harvest cannot be gathered. Every sound ends in music. The edge of every surface is tinged with prismatic rays.”
The suppression of the religious orders has wrought, a great change in Paris, and has effaced many old landmarks of historic and sacred interest. It has inevitably produced some hard-ship and misfortune, while, in the larger view of the great aims of social advancement, it is generally recognized as a factor in the onward progress of the people. This progress is attested, monumentally, on every side. One drives past the noble group of sculpture in the Avenue Pasteur that commemorates the great benefactor of mankind ; and the Pasteur Institute, occupying an entire block, is one of the Meccas of all scientific men and women who visit Paris.
It is currently declared, as a mot, that Americans make the best Parisians. Certainly the American residents who share the privileges of the French capital are not wanting in effort to contribute to her beauty and richness of opportunities. The Petit Palais recently received a munificent gift of pictures and bronzes, valued at some half million of dollars, from an American resident who prefers to withhold his name. M. Dujardin Beaumetz ( assistant secretary of the State Department of Fine Arts) and M. Henri Lapanze, the curator of the Petit Palais, have received and accepted, on behalf of the state, this splendid collection, which includes a ” Clair de la Lune,” by Jongkind, one of the most marvellous works of that artist, dated 1855 ; ” The Seine at Trocadéro Bridge,” by Lepine ; ” Les Scieurs de Long,” by Sisley ; ” The Scotch Fisherman,” by Saffaelli, ” Les Cygnes,” by La Touche, and also a number of original bronzes by Barye.
The American visitor to the temple under the golden dome of the Invalides, where rests the massive sarcophagus containing the body of Napoleon I, reads over the portals the words that embody the Emperor’s intense love of his country. Something in the atmosphere of untold allurement and charm inspire this love of the sunny land in all her visitors and sojourners ; and this inscription hardly implies a greater devotion to France than her citizens and colonists continuously manifest. The République Français is the object of intelligent and ardent support, and of ever increasing loyalty on the part of the American, as well as the French residents.
Has the patron saint of Paris, Sainte Geneviève, left upon her city the spell of her consecrated energy and sublime faith ? One may not dream amiss in believing that he can still recognize an influence that persists through the ages ; that exalts and ennobles life, and that makes the great and brilliant city one in which the spiritual energy and greatness equals the loveliness and enchantment of atmosphere, and that both meet and are expressed in Paris, the Beautiful.