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French Politeness

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I had heard, as every one has, of the politeness for which the Freneh of all classes are famous ; and I resolved striotly to test it. Ou one of the orowdetl boulevards I saw, one day, a wouian who raight be of any age from sixty to eighty, sittiug bowed as with infirmity, over a stall loaded with apples and orangos ; her wrinkled face the color of time-stained parchmont, hor eyes half closed, and her whole expression betokening stolid sadness and habitual suffering. I made no offer to buy, but doffed niy hat to her, as one instinctively does in France when addressiug any woman, told her I was a stranger, that I desired to reach such a street, naming it, and begged that she would have the goodness to direct me thither. I shall never forget the transformation that took place while I was speaking. The crouched ├╝gure erected itself; the tace awoke, its stolid look and half lts wrinkles, as it seemed, gone ; the apparent sullenness replaced by a geutle and kindly air; while the voicu was [jitched in a pleasant and courteous tone. It said, " Monsieur will be so good as to cross the boulevard just hore, then to pass on, leaving two cross-streets behind hiru ; at the third cross-street he will please turn to the right, and then he will ie so kind as to descend that street until ne shall have passed the cathedntl on the left; Monsieur will be careful not to eave this street until he shall have passed the cathedraland another cross-street ; md then he will turn to the left and continue until he reaches a fountain, after which - " and so on through sundry other turnings and windings, I thanked thfs good woman, but begged that she would have the kindness to re (jeat her directions, as I feared to forget them. Tnat shedid, word for word, with ihe utmost patience and bonhomie, accompanying her speech, as she had done aefore, with little appropriate gestures. l was sorely temped to offer her a piece of money. But something restrained me, and I Hm satis-fied that she did not exDect it So I nierely took of my hat a second time, bowed, and bade her farewell. She dismissed me as gracefully as a grande dame of the Faubourg St. Germain might nomp visitor to her gorgeous boudoir. - Atlantic Monthly for Oclober.


Old News
Michigan Argus