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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, September 12, 1891   By:

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VOL. 101.

September 12, 1891.




Seen the Cathedral. Grand. As I am not making notes for a Guide book, shall say nothing about it. "Don't mention it." I shan't. Much struck by the calm air of repose about Reims. So silent is it, that DAUBINET's irrepressible singing in the solemn court yard of the Hotel comes quite as a relief. It is an evidence of life. This Hotel's exceptional quietude suggests the idea of its being conducted like a prison on the silent system, with, of course, dumbwaiters to assist in the peculiarly clean and tidy salle à manger .

"Petzikoff! Blass the Prince of WAILES!" sings out DAUBINET, whose Mark Tapley like spirits would probably be only exhilarated by a lonely night in the Catacombs. Then he shakes hands with me violently. In France he insists upon shaking hands on every possible occasion with anybody, in order to convey to his own countrymen the idea of what a thorough Briton he is.

" Vous avez eu votre café? Eh bien alors allons! pour passer chez mon ami VESQUIER," says DAUBINET, at the same time signalling a meandering fly driver who, having pulled up near the Cathedral, is sitting lazily on his box perusing a newspaper. He looks up, catches sight of DAUBINET, nods, folds up the paper, sits on it, gives the reins one shake to wake up the horse, and another, with a crack of his whip, to set the sleepy animal in motion, and, the animal being partially roused, he drives across the street to us. DAUBINET directs him, and on we go, lumbering and rattling through the town, meeting only one other voiture , whose driver appears infinitely amused at his friend having obtained a fare. Some chaff passes between them, which to me is unintelligible, and which DAUBINET professes not to catch, but I fancy, whatever it is, it is not highly complimentary to our cocher's fares. In one quarter through which we drive, they are setting up the booths and roundabouts for a Fair.

"They can't do much business here," I observe to my companion.

"Immense!" he replies. "But there's no one about."


"There will be," he returns. "Manufacturing town everybody engaged in business. Bell rings Caramba! out they come, like the cigarette makers in Carmen ." Here he hums a short musical extract from BIZET's Opera, then resumes "Town's all alive then, after dinner, back to business evening time out to play, to cafés , to the Fair! God save the QUEEN!"

"But there's nothing doing at night, as we saw when we arrived yesterday," I observe.

"No," says DAUBINET; "it is an early place." Then he sings, "If you're waking" he pronounces it "whacking" "call me early, mothair dear!" finishing up with a gay laugh, and a guttural ejaculation in Russian; at least, I fancy it is Russian. "Ah! voilà! " We have pulled up before a very clean looking and handsome façade . The carriage gates are closed, but a side door is immediately opened, and a neat elderly woman answers DAUBINET's inquiries to his perfect satisfaction. "VESQUIER est chez lui. Entrez donc! " We enter, profoundly saluting the porteress. When abroad, an Englishman should never omit the smallest chance of taking off his hat and bowing profoundly, no matter to whom it may be. Every Englishman abroad represents "All England" not the eleven, but the English character generally, and therefore, when among people noted for their politeness, he should be absolutely remarkable for his courteous manners. As a rule, to which there can be no exception taken, never lose any opportunity of lifting your hat, and making your most polished bow. This, in default of linguistic facility, is universally understood and appreciated in all civilised countries. In uncivilised countries, to remove your hat, or to bow, may be taken as a gross outrage on good manners, or as signifying some horrible immorality, in which case the offender would not have the chance of repeating his well intentioned mistake... Continue reading book >>

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