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Meurice's establishment; and, at this moment
of humiliation, she remembers a lady of her
acquaintance fortunate enough to fling four
hundred pounds into her head-dress. She suffers
more cruelly, in every fibre of her body, than
the wretched creatures who bedeck their
persons with the finery of cast-off clothes. She will
have that set of ornaments, nevertheless; she
has said it, she has sworn it; she has it, in fact.
Onlywho paid for it?

The consequence of converting women into
pattern-cards of the fashions is, that luxury and
finery, in the course of time, deprive them of
all sentiment of modesty. The easy duchesses
of the Regency at last selected their waiting-maids
from amongst their lacqueys. Their footmen
laced their bodices or fastened the bows of
their cravats. But would you believe that, in
the latter half of the nineteenth century, there
are bearded millinersman-milliners, authentic
men, men like Zouaveswho, with their solid
fingers, take the exact dimensions of the highest
titled women in Parisrobe them, unrobe them,
and make them turn backward and forward
before them, like the waxen figures in
hairdressers' shops.

You surely know the Rue de la Paixthe
Street of Peaceso called because it
commemorates War under the form of a column.
There resides somewhere in it an Englishman
who enjoys a considerably greater popularity
in the world of furbelows than any Lenten
preacher whatsoever. It must be avowed that
this Anglais has created a novel artthe art of
squeezing in a woman at the waist, with a
precision hitherto unknown. He possesses the
inspiration of handling the scissors, and the
genius of sloping out. He knows to a thread
the exact point where the stuff ought to fit
tight, and where it ought to float loosely. At
first sight he distinguishes, in the contexture
of a lady, what ought to be displayed and
what concealed. Destiny sets him from all
eternity to discover the law of crinoline and
the curve of the petticoat. In other respects
a perfect gentleman, always fresh shaved,
always frizzled: black coat, white cravat, and
batiste shirt-cuffs fastened at the wrist with
golden buttons; he officiates with all the gravity
of a diplomatist who holds the fate of the world
locked up in a drawer of his brain.

When he tries a dress on one of the living
dolls of the Chaussée d'Antin, it is with profound
attention that he touches, pricks, and sounds it,
marking with chalk the defective fold. From
time to time he draws back, in order to judge
better of his work from a distance; he looks
through his hand, closed into the shape of an
eye-glass, and resumes with inspired finger the
modelling of the drapery on the person of the
patient. Sometimes he plants a flower here, and
tries a bow of ribbon at its side, to test the
general harmony of the toilette; meanwhile,
the modern Eve, in process of formation,
resigned and motionless, silently allows her
moulder to accomplish his creation. At last,
when he has handled the taffety like clay, and
arranged it according to his beau ideal, he goes
and takes his place, with his head thrown back,
on a sofa at the further end of the room, whence
he commands the manœuvre with a wand of

"To the right, madame!" The client performs
a quarter of a revolution.

"To the left!" The patient turns in the
opposite direction.

"In front!" Madame faces the artist.

"Behind!" She turns her back.

When all is over, he dismisses her with a
lordly gesture: "That will do, madame."

The Paris élégantes, marvelling at the
delightful ways of their milliner in pantaloons,
came to the conclusion that a man who made a
robe so well, ought finally to put it in place
himselfought to stamp it with the mark of his
lion's claw. Consequently, whenever there is a
ball at court, or at the Hôtel de Ville, or an
evening party of ceremony at the Palais Royal
or the Luxembourg, at about ten o'clock at
night you will see a long file of carriages drawn
up before the house of the foreign ladies'-tailor,
with their melancholy coachmen buried in
their wraps. Their mistresses mount the staircase
of the Temple de la Toilette. As they enter,
they each receive a ticket in the order of
their arrival, and are shown into a waiting-room.
As they can only appear one by one in the
presence of the Pontiff of the Skirt, the last
comers have sometimes to wait a long while.
By a delicate attention, the master of the
mansion does his best to solace as far as possible the
fatigues of the ante-chamber. A buffet, liberally
supplied, offers the consolation of meats and
pastry. The ethereal petites maîtresses of the
Paris saloons lay in a stock of strength for the
polka, by eating pâté de foie gras at discretion,
and washing it down with Malmsey Madeira.
Thus refreshed at the expense of the establishment,
they intrepidly confront the operations of
the toilette. He looks, he inspects, gives a
finishing touch, sticks in a pin, arranges a
flower, and madame has realised the prototype
of elegance. The master gets rid of them one
after the other, turning them off hand rapidly.

Nevertheless, like all great artists, this son of
Albion has his caprices. He will clothe and
criticise, doubtless, any woman; but he prefers
ample women. He believes that these do most
honour to his talent, putting it more plainly in
evidence. For them he reserves all the attentions
and all the ingenious flatteries of his
profession. As to beauties who are reduced
to the meagre volume which is rigorously
indispensable to escape being a ghost, he consents
to dress them, certainlybut without enthusiasm,
solely as a duty of conscience.

There is not the slightest intention here to
cast disfavour on the talent of the English
artist, and still less on his personal character;
he has a profession which he exercises. He is
engaged in a commercial undertaking, and he
endeavours to attract customers; there is no
harm in that, for it makes all the difference to
him between prosperity and ruin. But what