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way-into another, which had more the appearance of a parlor than of a shop. Here one or two girls were sitting at work, doing something to laces, and among them Mademoiselle Pagny herself, a very handsome looking woman, though not very young. She was well formed, and the expression of her countenance was extremely agreeable. She received the visitors, too, with so kind and cordial a smile that she quite won their hearts.
There was a large table in the middle of the room, with broad boxes filled with laces upon it, and other boxes in cases about the room. There was a sofa at one side of the table, and upon it was seated a French lady who had come also to buy laces. This lady was looking at the laces that were upon the table.
The young man placed chairs near the table for Mrs. Morelle and her party, and then proceeded to show Mrs. Morelle the kinds of lace that she called for, Mademoiselle Pagny herself giving him directions from time to time, and answering such questions as he referred to her, which she did with great kindness and affability, so much so that Grimkie seemed more intent in looking at her, than at the laces which his aunt was admiring so much.
"Isn't she pretty ?" said Mrs. Morelle, at
length, seeing how much Grimkie seemed to be taken with the appearance and manners of the lady.
And then looking at the laces again, she added," and are not these pretty laces ?"
"Yes, auntie," said Grimkie. "It is hard to say which is the prettiest, the lady herself or the kind of merchandize she deals in."
The young man smiled and seemed much pleased to hear this, and he looked toward Mademoiselle Pagny with such a significant expression in his countenance, that the lady knowing that Grimkie was speaking of her, asked him what he said. So the young man repeated Grimkie's compliment, translating it into French. Mademoiselle Pagny seemed very much pleased with this compliment,-the more so because as Mrs. Morelle's party spoke the English language, she supposed that they were English people, and the English have the reputation of not being very polite when traveling on the continent, but of showing themselves difficult to be pleased, and making many ill-natured remarks, disparaging to the people and to the customs of the countries that they visit, and boasting of the superior excellence of every thing in their own land. Whether injustice is done to the English, by imputing this ungracious demeanor to them,
it is not for me to say. At any rate, I have met in several instances with English gentlemen traveling on the continent, who were as far as possible from deserving this reproach, and I am sorry to say that I have sometimes met with Americans, who it seemed to me really did deserve it.
The truth is, that when we leave our own country and go to visit a foreign land, we are in some sense the guests of the people of that land, and the same rule of politeness which should prevent our spying out, and commenting upon the faults of family management, or the imperfections and deficiencies of the house or the furniture at a friend's, where we are visiting, should lead us to look as much as possible on the bright side of what we see when traveling in a foreign country, and to endeavor to find things to be pleased with in the people, and in their manners and customs, so far as we can, and not things to find fault with and condemn.
But to return from this digression. Mademoiselle Pagny was much pleased with Grinkie's compliment, and she gave such directions to the young man, and to a girl who was also waiting upon Mrs. Morelle, that they brought out and showed to her a great many laces of all kinds, and gave her a number of explanations, in respect to the manner in which the business was
conducted, and the quantity and the value of the lace that was made in Bayeux.
The laces shown to Mrs. Morelle were in various forms. There were barbes, and flounces, and vails, and collars, and mantles, and scarfs, some of which Mrs. Morelle said, were truly magnificent, and the prices of them were correspondingly great. Mrs. Morelle bought two or three barbes and collars, and also a vail. The party then took leave of Mademoiselle Pagny, and of her polite assistants, and returned to the hotel.
Travelers visiting such a place as Bayeux, when they see how simple the work of making the lace seems, and how easily all the apparatus that is required-the cushion, the bobbins and the pins-could be removed, are often inclined to wonder that such an art, the products of which are prized all over the world, should remain for so many ages confined to one single spot, the spot where it originally came into being. It is true that there are many places where lace is made in Europe, but each district in general produces only one kind, and that kind is usually made no where else, and the practice of making each kind in its own special locality, usually dates from a very remote period-sometimes one so distant, that all accounts of the origin of the art are lost.
There is a mystery connected with this subject which I shall not attempt to explain; but the wonder is not so great as would at first appear, for the difficulty of transferring such a business to any new locality is by no means confined to removing a number of workwomen, with their cushions, their bobbins, and their pins. A great number of subordinate and subsidiary operations have to be performed, each of which becomes a separate trade, and requires skilled workmen, who have been trained to the work from early years. Thus in the case of the Bayeux lace, the making of the silk, which is of a peculiar kind and dye, the manufacture of the cushions and of the bobbins, the invention of the designs for new patterns, the art of pricking these designs upon the cards, and finally the sewing together of the separate pieces of the lace when they are made-for in large articles the work is divided and distributed to a great number of different persons, and then the pieces which they individually produce are sewed together by a method involving a great deal of art -all these and many other operations are essential to the manufacture.
Then besides, for such work a very quiet town is necessary-inhabited by people of simple tastes, willing to sit all day at their cottage