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eyed German, intent on the business of the hour, and a party of unprotected British females, armour-proof in virtuous exclusiveness. Feeling rather bored after the not too recherché meal, he strolls out on the quay with a cigar. Crowds of men are promenading the broad walk under the trees, enjoying the relaxation from business, and yet not able to forget the commercial incidents of the day. You could not mistake them for anything but brokers and merchants—that noisy, bustling, chattering crowd, reminding one, however humbly, of Manchester and the Stock Exchange(by the way, they dignify Rouen with the name of the Manchester of France.) There are a few women, mostly of the lower grade, in white caps and aprons (very few retain the picturesque high Norman caps and massive gold earrings), and a large sprinkling of soldiers in gay, if somewhat
tawdry uniform. The dapper young officers strut about with their small waists, gold epaulettes, and white kid gloves; and altogether the scene is a very gay and busy one. Sir Guy Wentworth (our hero by courtesy) lounges on to the great suspension bridge, and looks down at the dull coloured Seine, where lie the big masted ships and barges in course of unlading. Great bales, baskets and cases, stone and timber, are piled all along the quay. Carts heavily laden pass to and fro. On one side of the water are the boulevards, hotels, cafés, shops, the Bourse; on the other, great manufactories, and the poorer part of the town. Then he walks to the massive stone bridge to see the statue of Corneille, and looks down towards the green islands in the Seine, and the pretty country beyond. Women pass him with their baskets of live poultry. Numbers of
French poodles wag their tasselled tails at him, and for some time he is tolerably amused by his investigation of the natives, until an uneasy desire to see the little “ Cruche Cassée,” as he calls her, takes possession of him.
“How I wish I could get to paint her!” he thinks. “I should like to make a good likeness of her, and take it to the Louvre, to see if after all there is a real resemblance. I'm glad I brought my brushesnot that I'm likely to get a chance of gratifying my fancy. Quien sabe? Fortune sometimes favours the bold—anyhow, I shall try to see her again. I wonder who she is, and what her belongings are ! She doesn't look much like a French girl. -I never will come abroad alone again," finishes up the young man, with a prolonged yawn, “it's most confoundedly slow.”
The next morning, after breakfast, he
walks out of the hotel, book and pencil in hand, and takes his way up the town with the view of making a sketch of the Rue Eau de Robec, that had pleased his fancy the previous day.
“I must make friends with the abori. gines, and get them to let me sit in a doorway,” he reflects, “or else I shall be the centre of attraction to all the children I saw playing in the gutter yesterday, or, worse still, those witch-like old women. I wonder why the old women abroad are so infernally ugly ?”—(a most appropriate adjective by the way). And thus thinking, he arrives at the commencement of that most curious of old streets, the Rue Eau de Robec. Roughly paved it is, with no footpath, full of old furniture shops-most of the wares exposed in the street-children are playing, and old women knitting in the gutters. And the houses, oh ! the queerest of all queer tenements, all sixes and sevens, of different constructions, ages, and materials. Some the veriest rats' castles, built of wood, with old worm-eaten shutters and tumble-down balconies; some lath and plaster, and cross-beams overhung by great eaves; some, and these in a decided minority, of brick, with good Venetian shutters, and a solid habitable appearance. Pots of flowers are placed in all the windows, giving a cheery look amidst the general ruin-gay tulips, double stocks, roses, cinerarias and bright-eyed geraniums. Under the houses on the right-hand side coming into the town, flows a piece of water, some eight feet wide and four deep, of a dull brown, bringing with it strong odours of the tanyards it has passed on its slugglish way, with sombre tints from the great dyeing places. Every house has its bridge to the street, and here and there