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to the administration than the diminution of the
distance causes any economy. The argument
made its fortune. Could it not be applied to
railway travelling?

Granted that a traveller is a more cumbersome
article than a sheet of paper folded and
stuck into an envelope. Granted that the lowering
of the prices would double the number of
travellers, and, consequently, the expenses for
accommodation and locomotion. On that point,
there would be a rule of proportion to settle.
Therefore, without requiring an uniform rate, as
for the post, we might certainly demand a reduction
of the tariff in proportion to the distance.

What is here suggested is not an imaginary
scheme, but an experiment already tried, a
reality in execution. There are several
companies who at this moment apply the system
of diminished charges in proportion to the length
of the journey; but the favour is solely granted
to packages in goods trains. But why should
men be treated differently? Why should living
parcels cost the company more than parcels
done up in packing-cloth? Is it because the
one get up into the carriages of themselves,
whilst the others have to be hauled into their
places by the aid of trucks and pulleys?—because
the former weigh from one to two hundred pounds,
and the latter from one to two thousand?

Before approaching the decorations of the
ladies, let us cast a glance at the decorations of
Paris. Why has half Paris been demolished, to
be built up new again, fresh and fine? M.
Pelletan is not a blind admirer of the change.
Ground is of such enormous value, that room is
ferociously economised. The new houses
display their coquetry to the street; their fa├žade
is adorned with sculptured embroidery; but
enter them. They are nothing but cellular
prisons; there are no chambers, nothing but
closets; not even closets, only ships' cabins.
You can't breathe in them, you are stifled; there
is hardly room to stretch your legs before the
fireplace. The architect thinks he has done
too much for the kitchen, if the cook can stand
upright in it.

They believed that they would ventilate Paris
by opening a multitude of Boulevards right and
left. They have, in fact, ventilated the houses
which look out on the new thoroughfares. But if
the houses of the old time, fronted narrow streets,
they had, at least, behind them, vast courts,
and often even respectable gardens. The
demolition of Paris has put in front what used to be
behind, and has, moreover, diminished the column
of respirable air. The new houses enjoy abundant
daylight on the side next the Boulevards;
but, on the other side, they look into narrow
courts, or rather cellars, where at no time of the
year can the sun shine. As the private apartments
for the most part enter into this sort of
perpendicular well-drain, public salubrity has
lost rather than gained by the revolution of
the trowel.

And that is only one inconvenience. The
English have the good sense to build houses
which will last for a lifetime only, more or
less. They know by experience that from one
century to another, not to say from one generation
to another, Progress changes all the
conditions of human existence. Now, at the pace
at which Progress is stalking along, a century,
now-o'-days, is hardly more than fifty years.
Is it prudent, then, to reconstruct Paris with
hewn stone and iron, when to-morrow,
perhaps, some unknown chemist, now stooping
over his work in a laboratory, will discover
some new system of heating or lighting by
electricity (neither more nor less marvellous than
the telegraph), and already destined to upset the
internal economy of every household?

Paris, it appears, has been rebuilt for three
principal reasons. First, as a measure of
strategy. Paris is now an entrenched camp, with
the Louvre for its quadrilateral. The position
is only to be stormed by cannona tool
which rioters do not find at every gunsmith's.
A second reason has been, to furnish
employment to workpeople. A third, to dress
Paris in Sunday clothes, for the reception of
all the travellers of the universe. The
invention of steam-travelling has converted it into
the inn for Europe: which brings us back to
the question of luxurious ornament, setting
other considerations aside. A sovereign people
ought to have a capital as elegant as a palace;
an artistical people, a capital as splendid as a
museum. The luxury of outward show is the
sign of the superiority which one race has over
another. Some one has defined it to be, the
Beautiful added to the Useful. But, if possible,
it should be restrained to the classes who are
rich enough to indulge in it with impunity. In
that case, luxury is a public servicea means
by which the wealthy restore to society the
overplus of their revenue. But when it
invades all classes without distinction, it hinders
them all from saving anything: that is, prevents
the reproduction of wealth.

Assuredly, during the period when Louis
Philippe reigned without much ceremony, with
an umbrella under his arm, the capital of the
civilised world could show, as at present, handsome
mansions, equipages, and liveries, and
handsome women displayed in ranks in the
balcon of the Opera. But if luxury then kept
its place in France, it took no more than its
place; now, we see it everywhere, and nothing
else. It reigns like the first personage of the
State, like the hero of public conversation.
Wherever you go, you hear talk of nothing but
trimmings and furbelows, millions of francs, and
correctional police.

Behold that lovely young woman, seated or
rather sunk in her arm-chair, her head leaning
on her hand, like the petrified statue of grief.
A silent tear steals down her cheek, and the
convulsive heaving of her bosom sends flashes
from the diamonds that adorn it. Why is she
weeping thus, in the pallor and affliction of
Hecuba? Has death robbed her of her child,
or an earthquake at the Bourse devoured her
fortune? Not at all; her husband has just
refused her a set of ornaments from Froment-