CHAPTER II

"DANCINGS"

A FEATURE of Paris life is the speed with which a restaurant or night resort, after having been crowded for a time, suddenly loses its vogue and becomes deserted in favor of some rival resort hitherto unpatronized except by the very few. Old Parisians, indeed, have seen many once favorite resorts come and go — Maire's, of which mention has before been made, Durand's, Joseph's, and other smart restaurants are now entirely forgotten, the Jardin de Paris but a memory and the Chat Noir a vanished monument of literary and artistic fame. Its life, indeed, like the life of most cabarets, was short — only a few years. Among popular night haunts of Montmartre the longest lived is the still surviving Abbaye de Thélème which for some twenty years or more has nightly flashed its lights on to the Place Pigalle. This, inappropriately enough, stands on a site once occupied by a church, a fact, however, which does no disturb the Parisians, who for several generations have been used to sacred edifices being destroyed or put to secular use, often of a frivolous kind. A vanished place of amusement the Théatre du Panthéon, in the Rue of St. Jacques, occupied, during the last century a Gothic structure which had originally been the church of St. Benedict rebuilt in 1517, but originally one of the earliest temples of Christianity erected in Paris. From the pulpit here Jean Boucher had maintained the justice of assassinating Henri III, but that did not prevent the body of the church from becoming the scene of vaudevilles and melodramas just as the once sacred character of the site of the Abbaye de Thélème has not prevented it from being the center of the night life of Montmartre.

At one time in the years before the war the waiters here used to wear the dress of monks, but once the Abbaye became a fashionable resort this garb was soon thrown away, and waiters in ordinary evening dress have long seen that visitors are kept sufficiently supplied with what they choose to order in addition to the obligatory champagne.

The Abbaye, though it had had its ups and downs, in in several ways the most pleasant of the Montmartre night resorts, its size causing the atmosphere to be rather clearer than elsewhere, while there is always a good band.

A newer "Dancing" is the Perroquet in the Rue Blanche, sometimes called the Half-Way House, because it is halfway down the hill of Montmartre.  Situated in a portion of the building of the Casino de Paris this place has managed to maintain its popularity unimpaired since it was opened some years ago. A feature here is the curious decoration of the walls on which brightly colored parrots abound. Two strident bands, one of them composed of Africans, play in turn. The Perroquet is always very lively about two in the morning, when, owing to the number of tables, there is usually very little room in which to dance. As, however, this seems to be one of the indispensable conditions of a successful "Dancing" no one ever objects. At this resort dolls and other souvenirs are distributed to lady visitors every night, those given on galas being of a superior quality.

A new and very successful night resort is Florida, mainly frequented by members of the American colony in Paris and English visitors, the demi-monde being conspicuous by its absence. One of the two bands here plays Tangos in a very admirable way. A glass floor illuminated with different colored lights from below created quite a sensation when the place opened. Florida, it may be added, though expansive, is run in a way calculated to appeal to Anglo-Saxon taste.

A Public Ball In The
            "Nineties"

The Grand Écart and Palermo, are new "Dancings," which have attained a considerable vogue.

Florence's in the Rue Blanche, a late night resort which occupies the site of an old and charming garden, is crowded from midnight to dawn with revellers who have begun the night at other places. This is the headquarters of the Charleston, which visitors willing or unwilling are sometimes made to dance, a gigantic African tapping people on the shoulders to remind them their participation on the dance is one of the rules laid down by Florence, the half-caste who gives her name to the place. Such compulsory dancing, of course, produces ludicrous effects, the sight of an old gentleman in spectacles or a fat old South American lady covered with jewellery executing the Charleston, sending everyone into fits of laughter, the sound of which even the strident notes of the jazz band are powerless to drown. Josephine Baker's is a similar resort.

Like do many night haunts both these places are crowded which acts as a great attraction. Pleasure seekers always declare that they like quiet little places where there is plenty of room, but all the same they take good care to leave them alone.

All the "Dancings" mentioned above have a staff of professional dancers, a modern development of a purely Continental kind, which English visitors do not always understand, husbands from the provinces being apt to get annoyed at seeing a young man coming up to his wife or daughter and asking them to dance. As a matter of fact, French women when they visit Boites de Nuit expect these dancers to do this, looking upon them as automatons who are there solely for a female visitor's convenience. The profession of a dancer at a night resort cannot, however, be said to be a "blind alley" occupation not unlikely to degenerate into something worse. The sum such a dancer receives per night is not large, though not infrequently he adds to his income by giving private dancing lessons in the afternoon at from fifty to a hundred francs an hour. The less reputable of these young men, however, often make far more than this out of skittish old ladies who take a fancy to them. There are cases of this sort when the dancer is taken away from the establishment to which he has been attached altogether, and made to dine and spend the entire evening with some elderly siren. This has been known to end in matrimony followed by disaster, for a good-looking young Frenchman of this class, who has married a woman about double his age, once he finds himself in funds, is pretty sure to have other strings to his bow. Still there is something to be said for a system which, for a time at least enables women of a certain age to indulge in the illusion that they have recovered some of the joys of their lost youth. To do the professional dancer justice he is civil and unobtrusive, never pushing himself forward or trying to enter into conversation with his partner of the moment unless she makes overtures to him and shows a desire to talk. On the whole, considering the rather demoralizing atmosphere in which they live, these men, outwardly at least, behave themselves correctly and well
— at the better class of night resort, indeed, they are always gentlemanlike in their behavior.

Several of the Parisian dancing places have female as well as male professionals attached to their staff, a great convenience for unattached bachelors, as it is a serious breach of etiquette according to French ideas to ask any lady one does not know to dance should she be accompanied by a man. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Two or three years ago the present writer went to the Perroquet in Montmartre with a friend. The latter, who was very fond of dancing, happening to catch sight of a pretty woman, evidently a demi-mondaine, sitting with a man at a table, rather diplomatically asked the lady to give him a turn. This, after consulting her escort, she agreed to do. While the couple were dancing, I, being surprised at the cavalier having so readily assented to his lady being whirled about by a stranger, told the former how good natured I thought he had been.

"Not at all," said he, "you see I have got her on my hands for two days, and shall have had quite enough of her before I have done."

He added that he was a Belgian, which did not surprise me as no Frenchman would have consented to his lady leaving him all alone.

A feature of Montmartre dancing places is the vast amount of jewellery worn by quite ugly and often fat old women. As a matter of fact this is the result of the war, many priceless gems belonging to aristocracy having fallen into plebeian hands. Only a short time ago a Russian Princess, obliged to eke out a livelihood by presiding over the cloakroom to a Montmartre cabaret, recognized her historic necklace of diamonds decorating the neck of a high Soviet official's wife, who had been the Princess's cook in St. Petersburg in the days before the war. Many of the new rich to be seen in such pleasure resorts have become aristocratic to the end of their sausage-like fingers. "Heaven preserve us from Democracy," said an obese dame, covered with jewels, as she languidly toyed with  a magnifient necklace of pearls, which should be stripped of their wealth, it will mean the end of the world!"

Some of the rare gems which now decorate the bodies of the wives of profiteers must have highly romantic histories, and, in their day, have witnessed many strange and romantic scenes. Besides those which have been exported from Russia quite a number have drifted from the ancient palaces of Constantinople, where the Sultans were wont to receive the Ambassadors of the Western Powers with great ceremony and state. A few, it is said, have come out of Yildiz, Kiosk itself
— that mysterious retreat of Abdul Hamid, the last of the Grand Signors, who, at bed time, was wont himself to drag his silken mattress into one of the four hundred bedrooms which he thought secured him against assassination, because he slept in a different one every night.

Sometimes, however, the Sultan slept all day and worked all night as the spirit moved him. Abdul Hamid at least was never troubled by trying to decide

                                                                                Which is the Right Life
                                                                                The simple or the Night Life?
                                                                                When, Pray should one rise?
                                                                                At sunset or at sunrise:
                                                                                Which should be upper
                                                                                My breakfast or my supper;
                                                                                Which is the Right Life
                                                                                The simple or the Night Life?
                                                                                    Which Life?

Every now and then a Parisian "Dancing" is rendered picturesque by the presence of a party of Algerian or Moorish notables in their picturesque flowing robes, accompanied, as a rule, by a French officer told off to show them the sights of Paris, the Government of the Republic not being in the habit of frowning upon amusements as far as their guests and protegées are concerned
— as a matter of fact everything is done to see that visitors of this kind have a good time, though I do not think that they are encouraged to remain very long — a wise precaution for Paris has a way of fascinating Orientals as no other capital can do, offering as it does some of the main attractions of the Mahometan heaven!

Though "Dancings" like Florida and the Perroquet appeal to visitors who like to take their wives, or other people's wives, for a night out there are some who yearn for the joys of night resorts run on free and easy lines. At Zelli's, in the Rue Fontaine, is a place of this sort very much like what the Abbaye used to be in the days before the English and Americans began asking ladies there. Here are a number of girls provided by the management to dance with clients, owing to which a solitary bachelor can be sure of having a pleasant evening. Zelli himself, I believe, is an American whose shrewdness combines with the business-like aptitudes of his French wife have brought him success.

Other night haunts of Montmartre are El Garon, le Capitol, Pigall's le Savois and almost innumerable number of small "Boites" and cafés in which congregate the humbler class of cocottes not sufficiently chic or well dressed to ply their calling in smarter resorts. Oddly enough though it might be thought that Montmartre was a rather demoralizing neighborhood for young girls, most of these little demi-mondaines come from other districts of Paris or from the provinces of France. La Montmartroise, indeed, who of necessity sees a good deal of gilded vice, is comparatively rarely attracted by it. A Parisian writer who has made a study of the type in question says, "Educated and brought up in the atelier she loves work and remains forever faithful to it. She never learns the art of wasting time. Gilded leisure bores her. She misses in the boudoir the atmosphere of the work-room, sighing for the bustle of the hive, its spontaneous gaiety. She relishes, indeed, the fine clothes that make her old companion envious, and the luxurious surroundings which flatter her vanity; but she is incapable of becoming the mistress of a house; she is fidgety, unused to give orders, bothered by attentions, and awkward at finding herself no longer her own mistress, In the midst of comparative luxury, when condemned to inaction, she sighs for the past and yearns for the bread of poverty and merriment. A work girl, and the daughter of a workman, she returns to work, even while fortune smiles upon her, in spite of the lover who is ready to pay for her idleness. She is never the slave of any man; she belongs only to herself."

In the early hours of the morning when the "Dancings" and Boites de Nuit of Montmartre become deserted confirmed revelers betake themselves to various bars, where they can partake of a late supper or rather early breakfast prepared in the English fashion.

Kiley's Bar, up to a comparatively short time ago, used to be a very popular late resort in Montmartre. Just after the war Gerald Kiley, who came from Chicago, did his best to keep jazz and One-step going in Paris, a difficult thing to do, the authorities then prohibiting anything of the sort after about eleven o'clock at night, for which reason Kiley shifted about from place to place in order to avoid unwelcome interference, the police being very active in closing night resorts frequented by English and French officers. Later on, however, when all restrictions were relaxed and Paris, especially Montmartre, was once again open all night, Kiley went into partnership with a lady and opened what became a very successful rendezvous for night-birds on la Butte. This place, I believe, still exists, though Kiley himself has long ceased to have anything to do with it, or with another Kiley's Bar which he opened in the Rue Fontaine, also in Montmartre, in 1924.

The Volterra family has played a great part in organizing the nocturnal amusements of La Butte. Monsieur Jules Volterra, the eldest of four brothers, has indeed been called the father of Montmartre. His especial care is or was the Capitol, in the management of which another brother assists him. To yet another belongs El Garon, a popular place with Argentina and other visitors from South America. The Abbaye used to belong to Monsieur Albert Volterra, while a nephew has been actively connected with a number of cabarets. Quite recently a new restaurant and dancing place in the Champs Elysées has been opened under Volterra management
this is the Restaurant Volterra on the site of the Theatre de l'Étoile, which with two excellent bands, one Tango and the other jazz, makes a bid for the patronage of lovers tired of the joys of La Butte. Whether a place of this sort, rather out of the pleasure seekers' track, will prove a success is doubtful, one or two establishments of a similar kind not having secured sufficient patronage to make them pay. The Acacias, for instance, has had a rather checkered career, it management being liable to change. For a time, however, under the direction of Oscar Mouvet and Miss Elsa Maxwell (of whom more anon) it proved quite a success, and there seems to be no reason except its position, not far from the Bois, why it should not again attract a paying clientèle.

Oscar Mouvet, a brother of the famous dancer Maurice, is an American subject born of Belgian parents, who was badly wounded serving with the Foreign Legion in the Great War, after the close of which he came to Paris and became a prominent figure as manager of several night resorts, some of which have proved highly successful. He it was who, in partnership with Miss Elsa Maxwell, ran "Le Jardin de Ma Soeur," a very high-class dancing place near the Boulevard, much frequented by fashionable society. For some reason or other this pleasant resort has now ceased to exist, the premises having been turned into a billiard hall 
— rather a gloomy end for such a place! Things, however, change so quickly in Paris that it would not be surprising if some day its walls ere once more to re-echo to the sound of jazz.

Miss Elsa Maxwell, who has played a great part in starting various night resorts in Paris, is an amusing lady who may be defined as resembling nobody except herself. A born organizer, no one better than she understands how to make a party go, for which reason she is in great request with her friends anxious to have a pleasant evening, for they are sure that besides taking all the trouble off their hands she may be relied upon to ask the right people and see that everyone has a good time. Miss Maxwell, who hails, I believe, from San Francisco, has a knack of knowing everyone in the pleasure-loving society of London and Paris. Besides this, she is possessed of great tact, and has musical gifts of a very high order in their own particular line, playing the piano and singing with great verve and entrain. Extremely good-natured and tactful, Miss Maxwell is equally popular in both of the capitals mentioned above, her energies as an organizer of new places of entertainment being, however, confined to Paris, where she has been connected with quite a number of Society "Dancings" including "Les Acacias," the "So-Different," "Le Jardin de Ma Soeur" and others which were very popular with English and Americans fond of having a good time and of dancing to the music of a good band amid pleasant surroundings. In all probability by the time these lines are in print Miss Maxwell will have started one or two fresh ventures, for her energy is inexhaustible, and she flits from place to place as if perpetual motion were the secret of her lively existence.

The surroundings which pleasure-seekers now expect in Montmartre are very different from those amid which the Bohemians of other days used to take their ease. To begin with La Butte hardly wakens before midnight, when a horde of motors and taxicabs deposit a cosmopolitan crowd at the doors of such Botes de Nuit as may happen to be most in vogue. The simple little orchestra of yore have been replaced by expensive  jazz bands, while new forms of decoration have been adopted, mainly in order to please the Trans-Atlantic visitors, who are the mainstay of Paris at night. Since the war everybody who takes a table at a smart night resort is obliged to order a bottle of champagne, the price of which has recently been raised to an outrageous figure, as much as 300 francs being asked for a metallic concoction of a devastating kind. Formerly most people who went to a Parisian restaurant after midnight took supper, but owing probably to the very indifferent viands now served few now seem to venture on anything more substantial than chicken sandwiches, the price of which is usually about ten shillings in English money. Lady visitors are the real props of such establishments, just as the smart cocottes were of the old-fashioned public halls, most of which have now disappeared. Men rarely go to the smart "Dancings" of Montmartre alone, for it is not amusing to sit there without a party, the company in general being much of the same kind as may be seen in the night clubs of the West End.

As has before been said there still exists haunts in Paris which make a special appeal to the lonely bachelor out to see life. At these places he need not fear being alone long, there being plenty of ladies who make a point of extending a warm welcome to male visitors of a prosperous-looking kind. On the whole it should be added, the Phrynes of modern Montmartre are quieter in their behavior and more civilized than were those of twenty or thirty years ago. The old Moulin Rouge, in the days when the Quadrille Eccentrique was danced there, was
frequented by a good many queer customers of both sexes and it was easy for a foreigner to get into a row.

The disappearance of the
Quadrille Eccentrique it may be added, is not in any way due to interference on the part of the authorities, for under the name of French Cancan it is still executed by professional dancers at the Bal Tabarin in Montmartre.

The dancing craze which has invaded almost every café and restaurant has, however, more or less killed such tempestuous forms of terpsichiore; the modern public, which prefers jazzing to high kicking, would find no pleasure in looking at celebrities of the demi-monde removing their admirers' hats with their toes as their predecessors were wont to do at the old Moulin Rouge. Another result of the mania in question is that though supper places are more numerous and keep open later than ever before, supper, as a meal, has become practically extinct.

In the Paris of pre-war days, after midnight theater-goers frequented certain restaurants, where, to the gentle tinkling of Hungarian bands, they were wont to indulge in a number of dishes. Now nearly everyone merely orders a bottle of champagne, a wine which has become practically obligatory if a visitor wishes to retain a table. The tinkling band of other days has given place to five or six musicians with weird instruments braying forth Trans-Atlantic music, to the strains of which a crowd of couples gyrate.

A modern social development which has its boring side is the practice of dining late, nine or nine-thirty being now quite an ordinary dinner hour.  The result of this, in Paris at least, has been to make everything later all round, the dancing places of Montmartre not opening their doors before midnight, and dancing itself often not commencing before one. Meanwhile, the theaters not having altered their hours, there is an interval after eleven-thirty. For about an hour there is positively nothing to do except take a drive or go to one's hotel. The night resorts not being in full swing till past midnight makes time hand heavy on a pleasure-seeker's hands, for it is not amusing to sit in an empty restaurant or café waiting for the place to become full. There would seem to be a great opening for some sort of lounge where theater-goers might go and have a real supper before proceeding to the dancing places and Boites de Nuit at Montmartre. It is true that there is a considerable number of so-called bars scattered about Paris, but as most of these cater only for persons who wish to eat bacon and eggs about four or five in the morning they are of no use to comparatively early birds desirous of getting something palatable to eat before the nocturnal pleasures of Montmartre begin.

It is indeed a curious thing that in Paris of all cities in the world, it is difficult
— nay, almost impossible — to obtain a really good supper. In the years before the war there were restaurants to which people went after the theater merely with the intention of getting something to eat. Durand's (an excellent restaurant now closed) which was near the Madeleine, though it provided no music, was at one time noted for its suppers. Today all this is a thing of the past, people apparently having no longer any desire to consume anything after midnight except chicken sandwiches and indifferent champagne. In addition to this, most of the restaurants in Paris itself close before supper time, all the night life of the gay city being now concentrated in Montmartre and in a few cafés on the other side of the river. One can, of course, order supper in the dancing places and Boites de Nuit of "la Butte," but in addition to everything being exorbitantly dear, such dishes as are to be obtained are usually not at all attractive, while the cold meats are apt to be of the same dusty kind as used to be served in the Old Continental Restaurant in London after the theaters had closed. What modern visitors to Montmartre seem to want are champagne, music and plenty of lights; all this, of course, is directly connected with the dancing craze which has entirely altered nightlife all over Europe. A purely modern social development is the presence of ladies in the pleasure resorts of Montmartre, from a number of which they have actually driven the cocottes, who in former days considered such haunts their own special preserve. Up to about twenty years ago English or American men when they went to Paris took care not to take their womenfolk to restaurants de nuit. Once the theater was over wives and daughters went back to their hotel; Paris by night was not for them and only a few ladies, supposed to be rather fast, ever attempted to break through a convention which had all the force of an unwritten law. Now, however, Anglo-Saxon wives, daughters, fiancées, mothers and even grandmothers may be found in practically all the better known night resorts of Montmartre, sitting there till four in the morning without turning a hair. Whether this innovation is good or bad it has certainly made English and American women fonder of the French capital, the night life of which so many of them know just as well, and sometimes better, than their menfolk, who in the last century took care to reserve the nocturnal pleasures, both in London and Paris, only for themselves.

In those days, though certain cafés remained open all night, most pleasure seekers were in bed by two or three in the morning unless they had a fancy to go on the expedition known as "la Tournée des Grands Ducs," a round which, in addition to visits to the artistic cabarets of Montmartre, generally included a survey of all sorts of low cafés and underground cellars where the  aristocratic visitors were shown Apaches and their girls executing wild dances and drinking bowls of hot wine, varied by rows and quarrels in which blows were exchanged and knives and revolvers drawn from belts. Though generally accompanied by detectives or secret police, the Russians and their richly dressed female companions were often glad enough to get away safe and sound.

La Tournée des Grands Ducs, it may be added, has been rechristened by the French who now call it La Tournée des Americains, the latter, as a wit said, having stepped into the Ducal spendthrifts' patent leather shoes.

The American millionaires who have taken the places of the Grand-Dukes do not, however, care for seeing low life of which some of them, indeed, have already seen quite enough when young men in the slums of New York. Provided they are able to have an unlimited amount of champagne, most of these worthies are well content to sit in smart dancing places till dawn
— visits to cut-throat dens leave them cold — the only danger, indeed, to which they cheerfully expose themselves being that of having an attack of D.T.

There exists in Paris a number of low haunts to which tourists desirous of seeing life are sometimes taken by the guides who make a living by showing foreigners the sights. Here may be seen ferocious looking Apaches and their women-folk drinking, dancing and quarreling, while in a corner a cadaverous looking individual, after furtively glancing round the den, draws a small packet from his tattered clothes and surreptitiously sniffs a white powder, some of which he generally manages to spill. The visitors, though constantly reassured by their guide, who usually tells them that he is in with the police, are often glad enough to get out of the underground cellars they are taken to see. In reality, however, they should have nothing to fear, the Apaches being, as a rule, merely actors, and the white powder not cocaine but some harmless chemical which has no evil effects. The French, as may be realized from the plays at the Grand Guignol, are very clever at giving people a thrill, and on the whole the tourist who goes round Paris at night gets value for his money.


An Ancient Street

The Russians, previous to the Great War, were very fond of the night resorts of Montmartre, and a considerable number of them were always to be seen there. As a French cynic remarked, the downfall of the Imperial régime has made little difference in this respect, for the Russians are there still, only the tables have been turned, and those who went to be entertained now do the entertaining. There are indeed quite a number of night resorts on la Butte which are entirely run by exiles from Russia. Waiters and chasseurs are in Cossack dress, and everything in character except the champagne, which, though professing to be of the best known brands, might come from anywhere. Quite a number of the dancers and musicians at these places belong to aristocratic families which formerly owned great tracts of country, now handed over to the peasants. Princes and nobles were always rather common in Russia, and today they may occasionally be found playing in the orchestras of dancing places run on Muscovite lines. A few American ladies wanting titles, it is reported, have picked them up there, stipulating, in return for a good round sum down, that their Russian husband, once the marriage ceremony has been concluded, should not see them again. One Countess of this kind, it is said, occasionally visits the Boite de Nuit where her husband plays, and rarely fails to send him a present of a hundred francs, which the poor man is very glad to receive.

When the Russian cabarets were first started they created quite a sensation. The weird cries and wild dancing of handsome giants in Cossack dress, the rather plaintive singing of gypsies from the Volga, combined with the barbaric scheme of decoration usually to be seen in such places, especially attracted visitors from the other side of the Atlantic, who cheerfully paid high prices for champagne served in quaint drinking vessels supposed to have been saved from the Bolsheviks, while liberally contributing to subscriptions for victims of the revolution, organized, they were told by some Grand Duchess or other, with whom as an especial favor those who gave largely were sometimes allowed to shake hands.

On the whole the Russian restaurants, charging, as most of them do, exaggerated prices for special dishes, ought to do pretty well the majority being generally full. Their main drawback is the feeling of depression liable to be engendered by the melancholy spirit with which Slav music is apt to be tinged. As a jovial young Englishman said after an evening spent at on of these resorts, "All that was wanted to make everything complete was a catafalque, a few flowers and a hearse waiting outside!" This was perhaps overstating the case, but there is no getting away from the fact that Russian restaurants in Paris are often somewhat depressing. Some of the best of them, however, provide very good food and, consequently, should go quite well. A feature, of course, is the caviar which American visitors invariably order, believing, no doubt, that Russians, even in Paris, possess facilities though in reality the very opposite is the case, the Bolshevists now in power being very unlikely to assist aristocratic refugees living out of Russia, most of whom, on the contrary, they would be glad to get hold of and kill. The caviar in question, usually quite good, in reality comes from the same source which supplies the best Parisian restaurants, the only difference being, that when served amidst Muscovite surroundings, it is rather more expensive, for Russian cafés
— at least those which appeal especially to foreign visitors, are not cheap. Nevertheless, though as has before been said, they appear to do a roaring trade, very few of them yield a high profit. To begin with, rents are high in the Paris of today, and somewhat costly alterations are generally necessary before a new restaurant can be opened. Though often run on a sort of cooperative principle, the daily expenses of such an undertaking are considerable, a French Maitre d'Hotel, generally with one assistant, being necessary to supervise the staff which, being Russian, is often inclined to be rather happy-go-lucky in its ways. The most costly item, however, is the band, the pay of which, I have been told, not infrequently absorbs the greater portion of the profits. A good musician in these days can command almost any salary in reason, which he may choose to ask, and as he often has a personal following, one of whose reasons for coming to dine is to hear him play, he has often to be humored to a considerable extent.

Another expensive item is that Russian friends of the proprietor are apt to drop in and dine in a sort of friendly way, without thinking of the bill which, in the case of certain number, is never presented, there being a great deal of genial camaraderie among the Russian exiles in Paris, who are very kind to one another and are always ready to help a fellow countryman whose finances are known to be in a poor way.

Accordingly, what with one thing and another, the amateur restauranteur from the banks of the Neva, even though successful, finds it hard enough to live. In connection with this it is noticeable that there are no very smart Russian restaurants in London. I suppose it is understood that they would stand no chance in a city where people prefer great big hostelries like the Carlton and the Savoy.

Paris, on the other hand, is essentially a city of small restaurants, the atmosphere intime of such places being popular with the French, who at the present day, however, are only able to patronize those of an unfashionable kind such as exist in certain streets of Montmartre and of the Quartier Latin. The names of some of these little cafés and wine shops evoke memories of a vanished and more picturesque age. An instance is the one called "Au Clairon des Chasseurs" on la Butte which carries the mind back to the time when the various branches of the French army wore uniforms in color and details of an ornamental kind differing from one another in color and details of which each particular unit was inordinately proud. Gone now the Chasseurs, Cuirassiers and Hussars, the whole French army being dressed in ill-fitting garb of a most depressing kind. "Le petit plumet des Voltigeurs" of which the café-concert stars used to sing is a thing of the past, while the "Aigrette du petit Lieutenant" no longer graces the officers képi, since the Great War flattened and transformed it into one of the most ugly head-dresses ever worn by any military force.

The Parisian restaurateur in these latter days fully appreciates the value of quaint surroundings as a means of attracting clients. This probably was the origin of the small restaurant called "Chez Marianne," Boulevard de Clichy, a curiously decorated little place worth visiting if only on account of a number of relics of the Great Revolution. Here are attractive pieces of china and the like painted with pictures of the chief events in that upheaval, together with portraits of those who played a principal part. A number of old proclamations and broadsheets also hang on the walls. Clients have to sit at a long table, the dining-rooms upstairs being got up rather in imitation of a country inn. Though popular with foreigners a few French are generally to be found dining here
— a rare thing at the present day. It may now be remarked that though English and American visitors to Paris are in the habit of saying that they are always on the look-out for a really old-fashioned restaurant where only French people go they are usually not too happy when taken to such a place. They miss not seeing their friends and are apt to be discontented with the cuisine, which is of a different kind from that supplied to foreigners in the smart cafés run especially for their delectation. Nevertheless La cuisine bourgeoise is usually admirable in its own way, though apt to be better in a private house than in a restaurant, which to a certain extent is obliged to go in for mass production. A perfect meal must be composed of dishes separately cooked, and the plat du jour is seldom satisfactory after the first portions of it have been served.

One of the restaurants which is best known to British and American visitors in the Tour d'Argent, on the left bank of the Seine, to which, however, students never go. Besides being far too expensive for them it is now at least essentially a gourmet's resort, visitors going there specially to feast upon the specialty of the house
— the famous squashed ducks  — each of which has been numbered since the first one was served. Thirty years ago or so, when Frederick, the then proprietor, was in his heyday, this restaurant was decorated in a very unpretentious way, with no carpet and a sanded floor. In addition to a well-earned reputation for good cooking, the Tour d'Argent was then a favorite rendezvous for French wine merchants who had come to Paris on business. Frederick, however, realizing the advantage of having a good foreign clientèle laid himself out to attract English visitors who had money to spend, and in order to please them concocted special dishes which were named after well-known people in the fashionable world. At the same time he popularized the famous ducks, one of which you are still supposed to order when you visit the old place. A dignified Maitre d'Hotel now rules in Frederick's stead, a carpet is on the floor and considerable changes have been made; nevertheless the restaurant which is of considerable antiquity, still remains unique in its own line, attracting a constant stream of patrons from across the river.


 

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