Paris in 1804
Posted by Inko on January 08, 1998 at 11:43:39:
I didn't know whether to post this here or in Ramble, but it does apply to JA's times, even though in Paris. Last night I was reading "Daily Life in France under Napoleon" when I began laughing over the following passage, re: swimming in the Seine!
"The youth of the First Empire was rightly fond of cold baths, but erred by its ignorance of the use of bathing-drawers, which led strollers on the embankments to fancy they had been transported to the shores of the St. Lawrence or the Potomac, among some savage tribe."
Personally, I don't think George Washington (who lived on the Potomac) was so savage!! ;-) The passage continues:
"'Yesterday evening' complains a censor, 'I saw a mother and daughter gazing from the top of the Pont des Arts at seven or eight completely naked bathers, who, having climbed on some coal barges, were flinging themselves, one after another, into the Seine. The mother was making the most ridiculous remarks on the danger these divers were running, with no thought of the danger incurred by her own daughter.'"
"But perhaps the picture was a little on the black side. A Parisian of the eighteenth century would have been more indulgent towards these bathing enthusiasts and the simplicity of their attire. Witness the tale of Duclos, swimming one day near the Pont-Neuf and retrieving the bonnet of an unknown lady, which a gust had blown into the water. Restoring it to her in naturalibus,, 'Excuse me, Madame,' he said, 'for having no gloves.'"
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.