No lover of flowers who visits the French capital should fail to spend a morning at the Flower-market. Though somewhat different in character from similar exhibitions in our own country, it is certainly in no respect inferior. I was in Paris on the last three days of July - days remarkable in the political history of that city, - and so agreeable was my reminiscence of former visits, that I resolved to spend the early part of one of those fete-days at the Marche aux Fleurs. Accordingly, I arose at the dawn of day, and quitting my hotel in the Rue Rivoli, was soon at the Quai aux Fleurs, where the market is held. Long before I had reached the desired place, I was reminded of my approach by the return of earlier visitors. The thrifty housewife, with a Heliotrope under one arm, and a Rose beneath the other, was moving with a brisk step, her affections pro tern, divided between the darlings of her choice, herself apparently unconscious of the busy scene which surrounded her. Then the workman, who had risen long before the hours of labour, in order that he might present to the sharer of his toils a fresh and sweet token of his affection and esteem, was bearing homeward a less costly offering in the shape of a stock or a pot of musk.

How refining and moralising must be the influence of this love of flowers! I wish it were more general among labourers in our own land. But I was aroused from reflection by my arrival at the market, which indeed presented a busy scene.

It is a large paved square, planted with rows of Acacia trees, whose soft and elegant foliage trembling in the breeze harmonised with the animated scene they overshadowed. In the centre of this square was the bureau, where I imagined the market-keeper dwelt, with the view of preserving order and taking toll. Near each end was a fountain, surrounded with a basin of water, apparently constructed for use as well as ornament. Around these and the bureau were lounging men in blouses, with large baskets, flat at one side to fit the back, lying at their feet, waiting to carry off the purchases.

There was a walk in the centre of the square, and the plants were arranged on either side to face the walk. The stalls, which were principally kept by women, who were enjoying their morning's repast of bread and fruit, were set out with order and neatness. There were Oranges, Oleanders, Magnolias, Pomegranates, Roses, Myrtles, Carnations, Balsams, Cockscombs, Tuberoses, Fuchsias, Verbenas, Amaranths, Mignonette, Marigolds, Asters, and indeed almost every plant of the season, mingled together in sweet and inextricable confusion. The plants certainly were not large; they were rather close and compact, laden with blossoms, whose odours rose on every air we breathed. Then the vast quantity of a sort, each seemingly a counterpart of the rest, so nicely surrounded with white paper, and placed so closely together, that the whole reminded one of a large flower-garden. I could not look on such a variety of beautiful objects without wishing to know the prices at which they were sold, and these I found were any thing but extravagant. But I paid for my inquisitiveness. I was quickly beset by the men en blouse before mentioned, who seemed to take it for granted that I could not carry home my purchases.

It was in vain 1 declined their services, though "they were sure Monsieur Anglais would not carry plants through the streets of Paris; and if he did not intend to purchase, he would not demand the price." Who could answer such arguments, backed as they were by reiterated cries from the vendors, "Ce n'est pas cher, Monsieur, ce n'est pas cher." No, indeed, thought I, as I gazed on a pot of Forget-me-not offered for six sous, and contrasted its soft and delicate tints with the sunburnt countenances around, and the horny hands which upheld it; it is not dear; yours is no overpaid occupation; truly thou fulfillest the commandment of thy Maker: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." Having purchased this simple plant, and handed it over to the man en blouse, I was allowed to pursue my course unmolested, my new acquaintance acting as protector.

One of the most striking features of the market was the bouquets. I had noticed them on entering; but I now caught sight of others, the flowers arranged with exquisite taste, and which far surpassed all that I had previously seen. These were lying at one corner of the market, close to a heap of cut flowers, with which a flower girl was busily engaged. Bouquets were made with great rapidity, and sold as rapidly as made. Retiring to a respectful distance, where it was sheltered by an Acacia tree, I resolved to watch the movements of the fair bouqucture, and thus obtain an insight into the difficult art of nosegay-making. Although slight variations were introduced, one general principle seemed to regulate the whole. One of the prettiest that was manufactured was round and flat, and arranged in this manner: - the first act was to collect together a handful of Red Roses - these formed the centre; around them was placed a narrow belt of Mignonette; then a ring of White Carnations; next in order came a band of Purple Pansies; Heliotrope succeeded, not regular as the preceding, but scalloped; then came a band of Pelargonium compactum (salmon-colour), raised a little above the other flowers; last in order was a row of Dahlias and Roses placed alternately; and surrounding the whole, Fern-leaves.

While studying these manoeuvres, I had resolved, if possible, to impress the knowledge thus acquired more thoroughly on the mind by making there and then a bouquet; and seeing the bouquetiere now little occupied, I stated my wishes, and readily obtained permission. My instructress being otherwise engaged, did not notice my proceedings until the bouquet was nearly completed, when to her astonishment she discovered a fac-simile of her own. "C'est mon habitude, Monsieur," said she with unfeigned surprise; "c'est mon habitude!" "Et moi aussi," was my reply. "Ah!" rejoined she, "c'est la mode d'Anglais." Her attention being called off in another direction, I had not the opportunity of undeceiving her, although the gravity with which my attendant, who was in the secret, regarded the whole proceeding excited my risibility more than once. But the pleasant hours passed in the morning air had given me a keen appetite; and having purchased the bouquet, and placed the pot of Forget-me-not beneath my arm, I left the market.

Kryptos.

Largonium compactum (salmon colour), raised a little above the other flowers.

Largonium compactum (salmon-colour), raised a little above the other flowers; last in order was a row of Dahlias and Roses placed alternately; and surrounding the whole, Fern-leaves.

While studying these manoeuvres, I had resolved, if possible, to impress the knowledge thus acquired more thoroughly on the mind by making there and then a bouquet; and seeing the bouquetiere now little occupied, I stated my wishes, and readily obtained permission. My instructress being otherwise engaged, did not notice my proceedings until the bouquet was nearly completed, when to her astonishment she discovered a fac-simile of her own. "C'est mon habitude, Monsieur," said she with unfeigned surprise; "c'est mon habitude!" "Et moi aussi," was my reply. "Ah!" rejoined she, "c'est la mode d'Anglais." Her attention being called off in another direction, I had not the opportunity of undeceiving her, although the gravity with which my attendant, who was in the secret, regarded the whole proceeding excited my risibility more than once. But the pleasant hours passed in the morning air had given me a keen appetite; and having purchased the bouquet, and placed the pot of Forget-me-not beneath my arm, I left the market.

Kryptos.

A Peep At The Paris Flower Market 18500035