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this bounteous promise of entertainment, we
are not vouchsafed so much as the smallest
particular. There, too, were to be seen men
with strange outlandish beastswith mechanical
toys and automatawith hocus pocus
over again; while, from raised galleries,
comic creatures in fantastic dresses, ranted
Fescinine verses against one another, delighting
immeasurably the crowd below. One
man leads about a bear, shaved close to the
skin, and dressed up in shirt and trousers ; the
most extraordinary lusus naturæ in the wide
world. Another has a huge colossus made
of wood, which, strange to say, speaks,
having a small child of six years' old inside
of him.

A little while before this date there was
the great Coliseum open; a dull, dingy place
of entertainment. Some poor dancing, and
dispiriting sea-fights on a piece of stagnant
water, were its dreary attractions. In course
of time, as was, indeed, fitting, the Coliseum
passed away (whether the stroke came from
execution, as befell other Coliseums, or from
pure inanition of its own, is not known), and
the New Chinese Temple, all gold and glory
stood in its place; place of promenade,
music, and light acting, gorgeous mirrors and
costly refreshment. This was in imitation of
Ranalage, as it was called, and Waux Hall,
of London. The curious orthography, no
doubt, came over with the reding-gotes and
the English mania, Ranalage and Waux Hall
were faint precursors of the glories of Jardins
Mobile and D'Hiver! Dancing, however,
was only allowed between the decorous hours
of seven and eleven.

But, should our Raw Provincial need more
stimulating aliment, let him ask the way to
the Grand Opéra on some Sunday night
before Advent. Rather, let him first hire a
domino in the Rue Saint Honoré, to be had
for the small charge of ten francs, or for a
gold Louis, if he want rich embroidery; and
for six francs, paid at the door, he is free of
the glittering salle and all its delectations
until daybreak. But we have not done with
the Boulevards yet.

There was an entertainment there of a very
strange order, more, indeed, of the drawing-
room character. This was the startling
performance of three persons, a species of
ventriloquism or polyphony. These men could
imitate the buzzing of a fly, the shutting of a
door, the fall of a key, the breaking of a jar.
There, you heard the chanting of the nuns, in
which was to be plainly distinguished those
that were fresh from the old; the sound of a
procession walking; of a funeral train,
interrupted by a break-down and the hoarse
shouting of the coachmen; an exhibition
certainly worth a good franc for admission.

Besides these there were the shows theatrical,
light gossamer pieces which, at our day,
have only shifted their place to the Boulevards
from the Fields Elysian. They were, it is
to be feared, of a very free description,
principally owing to the privilege of acting the
regular drama accorded to the grand theatres.
The little theatres were, however, always full to
overflowing, and the pieces infinitely relished.
It was noted that, about this time, they were
losing their joyous buffooning character, and
were slipping into a sarcastic hitting at the
abuses of the dayall such allusions being
received greedily enough; significant sign
of the times!

If the foreseeing Cardinal, who asked what
was being said of him, and was told that the
people were busy singing, had lived some
time longer, he would have thought twice
before uttering that speech of his, "Never
mind: if they sing they'll pay!" Rather
would he have gone into his closet with a
troubled air. That singing was a serious
matter. All the large theatres closed at nine
o'clock; but these vaudevilles remained open
until midnight.

Prodigious use was made of gigantic
posters and bills, which brought in abundant
grist, falling under the category of
Privilège Exclusif; every such poster having
his tax to pay. Theatrical notices were all
coloured, and were usually placed in each
other's company. The stately royal theatres
with their patents for acting Racine and
heavy legitimate drama, were indignant at
the plebeian who placed the flippant
vaudeville affiches beside them. It was comical
enough to read one under the other, Athalie!
and Jeaunot at the Hair Dyer's!!! or,
perhaps, the tragedy of Castor and Pollux,
shamed by the Little Devil's Hornpipe!!
Advertisements of books, sacred and profane,
treatises on the devout soul, lost dogs,
sermons, &c., were all huddled together in a
queer ruck upon the walls. The bill-stickers
were an order, forty in number, in imitation
or ridicule of the famous academy of forty, and
they enjoyed the exclusive right besides of
hawking the last dying words of criminals.

So far back as this pre-revolutionary
epoch, theatrical observers had remarked on
the mysterious law of combustion to which
great theatres seem subject. Those of Rome,
Amsterdam, Milan, and Saragossa, had all in
their turn been burnt to the ground; and in
the year seventeen hundred and eighty-one,
upon the eighth of June, the Grand Opera
House at Paris was discovered to be on fire.
One of the cords hanging from the draperies
was ignited by a lamp, and so was consumed
what was held to be a noble building
malgré ses défauts, adds the chronicler.

But within little more than four months,
there was standing on the Boulevards a
second magnificent theatretemporary it is
true, but massive and almost enduring in
the quality of its material. "Four months!"
says a bitter radical of the time—"why for
an hospital, they would have been four years
talking over the mere plans!" But in the
meantime, lest poor Paris should be
altogether famished through operatic drought,