The Rue Royale is by no means the only interesting thoroughfare leading from the Place de la Concorde. Far superior to it in size and commercial importance is the famous Rue de Rivoli, which borders the entire Garden of the Tuil-eries. Few streets are better known to foreigners than this, and few have had a more eventful history. One of a thousand incidents connected with this avenue is that of the return of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, when they were brought back to the Tuileries by the people as prisoners of the nation, after their foolish and disastrous attempt to flee from France and to obtain the aid of their fellow sovereigns in putting down the Revolution. It is hard to realize now that these very arches beheld that humiliating scene. It was on a summer day. The heat was dreadful. The royal carriage proceeded as slowly as a funeral car. An enormous crowd of nearly three hundred thousand people pro-duced a cloud of dust which made it difficult to breathe. Several times the Queen threw herself back in the carriage, crying out that she was suffocating. "See, gentlemen," she exclaimed to the hideous faces pressing around the vehicle, "look at my poor little children. We are choking." "Bah!" replied a voice, "that's nothing. We will soon choke you after another fashion!" Meantime all the men in the crowd kept their hats on, - a significant thing in France. It meant that royalty had forfeited respect.
The Interior Of La Madeleine.
The Rue De Rivoli.
In passing through the Place de la Concorde, Louis XVI had noticed that the statue of the King there had its eyes bandaged. "What does that signify?" he asked. "The blindness of the monarchy," was the reply.
At present, in these long arcades, sheltered alike from sun and rain, a ceaseless tide of tourists ebbs and flows before a mile of tempting shops and sumptuous hotels; and the arches echo to a babel of strange tongues, in which at times the English dominates all others, even French. One should be careful never to say anything private here in English; the very walls have ears. In more senses than one we appreciate here the wit of the tourist who exclaimed: "In Paris, when I do not wish to be understood, I speak in French."
Adjoining the Rue de Rivoli for a considerable distance is the Garden of the Tuileries, that large and beautiful expanse where children play, foreigners stare, and Frenchmen promenade, and where, in summer, several times a week, delightful military music stirs the air. Yet, to one who saw this part of Paris twenty-five years ago, something is wanting which evokes a sentiment of sadness. The handsome and historic Palace of the Tuileries is gone - burned by the Communists in 1871. For several years the ruins of the noble edifice were not removed, but lay here, as an impressive object-lesson, reminding one how the Parisian vandals treated that magnificent chateau which, for three hundred years, had been the residence of kings and emperors. It used to be the fashion to remark that in no country except France could such outrageous scenes of violence occur. This criticism was unjust. History proves that no one nation can monopolize the spirit of destruction. It is a characteristic of the lower strata of humanity everywhere, in moments of intense excitement, to burn and ruin public buildings, including even monuments of art. Nothing could be more senseless, or more sure to alienate the sympathies of the civilized world. Yet, under different names, in almost every land the tendency is much the same. Just as the Communists endeavored to destroy the grandest structures and the rarest art treasures in Paris, so Anarchists in England, Spain, and Italy have tried to blow up bridges, theatres, and assembly halls; and even in this land of freedom, rioters (almost invariably of foreign birth) have already done enough to teach us, if we would be wise, the only proper way of dealing with a mob; for as a rule, the party of disorder has no more power than it is allowed to have. I suppose the modern world has witnessed nothing more imposing than many of the scenes enacted in the Tuileries. A brilliant, yet a melancholy one, was that which followed Bonaparte's return from exile in Elba, when he had traversed France without the firing of a single gun, and had regained his empire without the loss of a single life, having subdued all opposing forces by the mere magic of his glance and words, - a deed unparalleled in history. It was on the anniversary of the birth of his little boy that he had thus reentered Paris, but among all the faces grouped around him here, one was still lacking to complete his happiness. It was that of his child, the little King of Rome, - that little prince who had himself been taken forcibly from the Tuileries, despite his tears and cries, as he insisted that his father had told him to remain there; that child whom Bonaparte had merely seen like a celestial apparition in his infancy, and whom he was to see no more, save in delirious dreams or visions of despair upon the wave-encircled rock of St. Helena.