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The driver spoke English very well, and with a telephone voice, surcharged with monkey gestures, we listened to and saw the history of Paris from the advent of Cæsar, Clovis, Charlemagne to Louis and Henry. A city directory would have been a surplusage, and we flattered the "garcon" by seeming to believe everything he said, exclaiming "Oh my!" "Do tell!" "Gee whizz!" "Did you ever!" "Wonderful!" and "Never saw the like!"
As our mentor and nestor pulled up at noted wine cafés to water his horse, we contributed to his own irrigation and our champagne thirst. Be good to yourself.
It was sundown when we nestled in the Hotel Reims, but had been richly repaid in our visit to the king's palace, the great Louvre, St. Denis, Notre Dame and the great cathedrals, picture galleries, cemeteries and monuments that decorated imperial Paris.
The evening before we left Paris we accepted the invitation of Garnier to visit the Latin Quarter. The playwright did not know William or myself, except as young English lords-"Buckingham" and "Bacon," traveling for information and pleasure, sowing "wild," financial "oats" with the liberality of princes.
A well dressed, polite man, with lots of money, and a "spender" from "way back" is a welcome guest in home, church and state; and when it comes to the "ladies," he is, of course, "a jewel," "a trump" and "darling." They know a "soft snap" when they see it.
Some of us have been there.
While basking under the light of flashing eyes
and sparkling wine at the Royal Café, surrounded by a dozen of the artistic "friends" of the "toast of the town," Garnier said he noticed us in the front bench the night before, and knowing us to be Englishmen, was desirous to know how his play, depicting the siege of Jerusalem compared with the new man Shakspere, who had recently loomed up into the dramatic sky.
William winked at me in a kind of sotto voce way, and with that natural exuberance or intellectual "gall" that never fails to strike the "bull's eye," I bluntly said that Garnier's philosophy and composition were as different from Shakspere's as the earth from the heaven!
The Frenchman arose and made an extended bow when his "girl" friends yelled like the "rebels" at Shiloh and kicked off the tall hat of the noted French dramatist! Great sport!
Extra wine was ordered, and then an improvised ballet girl jumped into the middle of the wine room, with circus antics, champagne glasses in hand, singing the praises of the great and only Garnier! Poor devil, he did not know that my criticism was a double ender. Just as well.
I cannot exactly remember how I got to the hotel, but when William aroused my latent energies the next morning, I felt as if I had been put through a Kentucky corn sheller, or caught up in a Texas blizzard and blown into the middle of Kansas.
William was, as usual, calm, polite, sober and dignified, and while he touched the wine cup for sociability, in search of human hearts, I never saw him intoxicated. He had a marvelous capacity of
body and brain, and like an earthly Jupiter he shone over the variegated satellites around him with the force and brilliancy of the morning sun. He was so far above other thinkers and writers that no one who knew him felt a pang of jealousy, for they saw it was impossible to even twinkle in the heaven of his philosophy.
The day before leaving Paris we visited Versailles and wandered through its pictured palaces, drinking in the historical milestones of the past. Here lords, kings, queens, farmers, mechanics, shop keepers, sailors, soldiers, robbers, murderers and beggars had appropriated in turn these royal halls and stately gardens.
Riot and revolution swept over these memorials like a winter storm, and the thunder and lightning strokes of civil and foreign troops had desolated the works of art, genius and royalty.
Nations rise and fall like individuals, and a thousand or ten thousand years of time are only a "tick" in the clock of destiny.
Early on the morning of the seventh of May, 1598, we went on board a light double-oared galley, swung into the sparkling waters of the Seine, and proceeded on our way to Rouen and Havre.
The morning sun sparkling on the tall spires and towers, the songs of the watermen and gardeners, whirring ropes, flashing flags, blooming flowers, green parks, forest vistas, shining cottages, grand mansions and lofty castles, in the shimmering distance gave the suburbs of Paris a phase of enchantment that lifted the soul of the beholder into the fairy realm of dreamland; and as our jolly crew rowed away with rhythmic sweep we lay under
a purple awning, sheltered from the midday sun, gazing out on the works of Dame Nature with entranced amazement.
William, in one of his periodical bursts of impromptu poetry, uttered these lines on
The smallest grain of ocean sand,
God reigns in everything he made-
The moving, ceaseless vital air
We know not why we come and go
The links of life that make our chain
The voice of Nature never lies,
A billion years of life and death
As the stars began to peep through the gathering curtains of night, and the young moon like a broken circle of silver split the evening sky, we came in sight of the busy town of Rouen, with its embattled walls and iron gates still bidding defiance to British invasion.
After a night's slumber and a speedy passage our galley drew up against the side of our stout ship Albion, when gallant Captain Jack O'Neil greeted us on board, and refreshed our manhood with a fine breakfast, interspersed with brandy and champagne.
The next morning, with all sails filled, we wafted away into the open waters of the rolling Atlantic Ocean, touching at the town of Brest, land's end. port of France, and then away to Corunna in Spain, and on to Lisbon, Portugal, where we remained three days viewing the architectural and natural sights of the great commercial and shipping city of the Tagus.
About the middle of May we swung out again into the breakers of old ocean, and held our course to the wonderful "Strait of Gibraltar," separating Europe from Africa, whose inland, classic shores