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attended to the shop during his long illness;
when he recovered, he removed to the
regular rabbit-skin buyers' Iocality, the Rue St.
Jean de Lateran. In this street he carried on
his business during twenty-five years, and
left the old shop at last, with four hundred
thousand francs in his pocket. He now lives
in the Rue Neuve d'Etienne. He is still in
business with his son as a rabbit-skin and
chiffon buyer; and so popular is he, and so
well known, that anybody can vouch for the
truth of my story." The independent rabbit-
skin buyer here turned to one or two
associates, who all knew the lucky man, and
declared that his fortune was not over-
estimated. And they, also, had stories to tell
of rabbit-skin buyers worth their five and
ten thousand francs. I appeared astonished
whereupon they turned round upon me, a
little hurt, and exclaimed that the Auvergnats
were not beggars.

I endeavoured to estimate the number
of men in Paris deriving their living
from the rabbit-skin trade. On reference to
the report made by the Chamber of
Commerce on Parisian industry, I found no
mention whatever made of the Auvergnats,
who collect the rabbit-skins and hare-skins of
the capital, although it contained an important
chapter devoted to the workmen and work-
women who prepare these skins for the
hatters. Considering that the skins collected
by the Auvergnats give employment to about
six hundred people, who rub the skins, and
drag the hairs from them, and sort and clean
them, and finally hand them over to the hat-
makers, the estimate of my independent
friend was not extravagantly high, when he
put down the number of his fraternity at
three thousand. Many a double profit does
the dealer in rabbit-skins make, upon the
same skin. First, he sells it to be plucked for
the nap of hats; and at last, when the hat
upon which it has been worn gets old and
rusty, all that is valuable in the rabbit-skin
returns to him, to be a second time turned to
profitable account.

It is estimated that the fur plucked
annually from the rabbits' and hares'
skins in Paris, is sold to the hatters, when
manufactured and cleaned, for not less than
two millions and a half of francs. This
estimate, which is one backed by the authority
of the French Chamber of Commerce, will
give the reader some notion of the important
part our Auvergnats play in the commercial
economy of the capital. Let them, some fine
morning, break up their little associations,
withdraw their soup subscriptions from their
box, cease to go their rounds in search of
rabbit-skins, and a considerable body of the
Parisian public would find themselves
strangely puzzled how to proceed with their
business. The fortunes made out of skins do
not appear so extraordinary when we find
that ingenious workmen annually drag from
rabbits' backs about one hundred thousand
pounds sterling. This was the estimate
for eighteen hundred and forty-seven; but the
annual value has probably much increased
since that year. The rabbit-skins of the
Auvergnats not only supply the hat-makers
of the capital with material, but also furnish
quantities of hair to the American market.

Before the rabbits' hairs are ready for the
hat-makers they pass through many processes.
In the first instance, the skin falls into the
vigorous hands of an arracheuse, who with a
large knife drags all the long coarse hairs
from it, leaving only the fine undercoat of
down. It comes next under the notice of the
secreteur, who rubs it with a mercurial
preparation, to loosen the down. This preparation
having been administered, the brosseuse
takes the skin and brushes the down clean;
whereupon the coupeur advances with his
shears, and then the trieuse takes the down
to sort the fine hairs from the coarse.

Even then, the hairs are not ready for the
hatter. The monteuse has to pack up the
various kinds in separate parcels; and
the packets have then to undergo the
soufflage, in order to detect any lurking
coarse hairs left by the arracheuse. At this
work, the men earn, on an average, three
francs a day; some, however, who are very
expert, gain five francs. The women are not
so well paid. The highest daily salary among
them is two francs and a half, the lowest
fifteen sous; the average salary is one
franc thirteen sous.

Thus the Boulevards' dandy wears on his
head, the skin of the rabbit which he may
have eaten last summer, nor dreams how that
gibelotte skin has employed many industrious
people, who live and work in the secluded
byways of the capital.


THE wind which, as the proverb teaches
us, must be ill indeed when it blows no one
good, can scarce be more noxious than
when it is a wind of war. Yet the bullet
has its lesson as well as the billet; and
in the ill wind of the cannon ball and the
surging shell, some indirect good may whistle
sometimes. Every post that reaches England
must bring to many, from the war, missives of
dolor irretrievable and happiness quenched
for ever. But we, the million, who have no
individuality as a million, or as a corporation,
or as a regiment, though as Mr. A, or my Lord
B, or Alderman C, or Private D, we each
may suffer, and have our private griefs; we
the Nobody Everybody, to whom nothing is
anything to speak of; have reason to be
thankful for very many little sidewinds of
good that the great tornado has brought with
its blustering railing. To use an American
locution, the war has "opened up" a variety
of subjects, and made sages and philosophers
of thousands of persons who a few months

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