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the wild pleasures of Paris, and catches
the loose morality of the boursicotier world,
and he neglects shamefully the lady who
has been the wife of his bosom for twenty
years; he feels a sort of rejuvenescence.
Why should he not take advantage of this
strange return of the glow of youth in his
blood? Fifty years will soon be on him; till
that time, vogue la galère, let us snatch at
pleasure as she flies, and play for our
millions. Tartempin's career of success,
however, does not last long without a
break in it, and the juge de paix, to stop
the gap of severe losses, is fain to lend his
hitherto respectable name to bubble
companies, got up with mock capital, to take
in the unwary; and so goes on from extravagant
play to play still more extravagant at
the Bourse, till he risks all he has for a
baisse at a certain crisis of the war against
Austria in Italy, when the peace of Villafranca
comes and ruins him and his family;
and, after a period of deep dejection and
remorse, Tartempin dies of disease of the
heart, while some of the companions of
his folly come to an end by suicide.

Tartempin may, perhaps, have only
ruined himself and those who belong to
him; but generally the fall of a Triton of
the Bourse comes down with annihilating
force upon the shoals of minnows who
sport in his shadow. A true boursicotier
stays at nothing to take in the unwary;
he respects no feelings, divine or human,
and will fabricate, without a twinge of
remorse, a false rumour which shall throw a
capital or a nation into all the convulsions
of patriotic anguish. The last boursicotier
invention in this way was the false despatch
posted at the Bourse of a victory by the
French over the Prussianstwenty-five
thousand Prussians, no less, according to
the report, were taken prisoners, and the
Crown Prince to boot. The news spread
over all Paris in half an hour, and from
thence to the departments. In the evening
of that very same day, news of an opposite
character was received, the severe but
glorious defeat of MacMahon at "Woerth,
and the intense anguish of the disappointment
of the Parisians will not be forgotten
by those who witnessed it. The
Parisian populace, in revenge for being
so played upon, broke into the Bourse;
smashed the corbeil and all they could lay
their hands on; they would have burnt the
building had it not been of stone; and they
demanded loudly that the Bourse should
be shut up altogether during the war.
Such a demand leads one to think of
whether it would be possible to shut up the
Bourse entirelyto suppress it altogether.
This may not be possible, but to regulate
it, and moderate its maleficent passions in
some way, is a reform which we may be sure
a sane society will, at some time or other,
endeavour to effect.


IF I have a peculiarity more marked
than another, it is my intense partiality for
any kind of relaxation or adventure which
will take me from the crushing influence
of a roof. To such an extent have I
humoured this bent of mine, that, on more
than one occasion, I have closed the door
behind me, and not returned till the dust
of many seasons had settled on my household
gods. For years together I have
roamed far and wide, indulging my
vagabond propensities; and once, I actually
stuck to the open for nine months, never
darkening a door for the purposes of sleep,
but contenting myself with mother earth's
bosom for a couch, and the sparkling coverlet
of the heavens for a quilt. That last
sentence, I fancy, does not ring badly, but,
as we are creeping winterwards, it bears a
somewhat chilly construction, and will, I
doubt not, incline the reader to contemplate
with satisfaction the promise of his or her
snug bed.

For many years, then, I held the key
of the fields in various countries and
climes, passing my nights under the wide
expanse of jewelled firmament, with an
exhilarating feeling of liberty, or, when
the sky was overcast and the times " a bit
humid," I philosophically reasoned that,
being thoroughly saturated, matters could
not be much worse. Night after night
have I spent in the flowering glades of the
South, listening to the music of a countless
chorus, in which tree-toad and cigala took
the alto and the bass. And there were
illuminations, too, that sparkled in every
leafy hollow, tiny lamps that flitted to and
fro, as myriads of fire-flies darted here and
there, twisting and twirling in their aerial
dance. At other times I have passed
hours gazing upwards through the black
veil of darkness, watching the dread fireworks
of war, and tracing the elliptical
pathway of the messengers of destruction
as they soared on high, with their lamp of
death, to do their cruel mission in a
beleaguered town.

But what has all this to do with the