In the Church of St. Barnabe vespers were over; the clergy left the altar; the little choir-boys flocked across the chancel and settled in the stalls. A Suisse in rich uniform marched down the south aisle, sounding his staff at every fourth step on the stone pavement; behind him came that eloquent preacher and good man, Monseigneur C .
In this district were beggars, the very poor, hucksters, Sisters of Charity, rag pickers, street arabs; above all, there were women in tatters walking on tiptoe, who knelt without looking round, poor creatures overwhelmed by the piteous splendour of the altars, looking out of the corner of their eyes, and bending low when the Suisse passed them.
But when they entered the first hall and the gaily- liveried suisse and two footmen had removed their furs, and the Princess' snow boots, then Tamara perceived she was indeed in a glorious home. Princess Ardácheff's house was, and is, perhaps the most stately in all Petersburg.
"'I, too, have a rifle," I repeated. "Yes! I can remember that; but I shall be talking like a poll-parrot for I shan't have the least idea what it means." "You need not know much," Guest answered. "Those words are your passport into the No. 1 Branch of the Waiters' Union, whose committee, by the bye meet at the Cafe Suisse.
I know it was my first black, and I did feel so proud and grown-up when you said I might have it. You'll be asking yourself: "Where is the blue alpaca she bought in the Bon Marché sale, which was in the act of being made when I left for la Suisse?" Up to now I've concealed from you the tragical fact that that horrid little Mademoiselle Voisin completely spoiled it.
A Suisse, halberd in hand, and gorgeous in tri-cornered hat and the red and gold of office, kept the aisle-ways open with firm but kind insistence; and the priests who were directing the children in the body of the church, were wise enough to overlook the disorder, which was not irreverence, but interest. For days, everybody had been thinking of this ceremony; everybody wanted "good places."
Noon had but struck from Notre Dame, next day, as I mounted the steps of the Hotel de Luynes. My swagger, and that brave suit of pearl grey velvet with its silver lace, bore me unchallenged past the gorgeous suisse, who stood, majestic, in the doorway. But, for the first mincing lackey I chanced upon, more was needed to gain me an audience.
In Hamburg I discovered the meeting-place of the No. 1 Branch of the Waiters' Union, and the place itself is now under our control. In that room at the Cafe Suisse will be woven the final threads of the great scheme. How are we to get there? How are we to penetrate its secrets?" "We must see the room first," I remarked. "And then there is the question of ourselves," Guest continued.
"Not at present," he answered. "Mr. Kauffman has a key, but he is gone." "Ah, well!" Guest remarked, "another time. The bill, Karl! For this morning I shall call myself a guest. This afternoon we will take possession my nephew and I!" Guest and I had taken small rooms not a hundred yards from the Cafe Suisse, as the restaurant was called.
In Paris the various component parts which make up the physiognomy of any given portion of the monstrous city, are admirably in keeping with its general character. Thus porter, concierge, or Suisse, whatever name may be given to that essential muscle of the Parisian monster, is always in conformity with the neighborhood of which he is a part; in fact, he is often an epitome of it.
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