This immense body of laborers was put at work before the middle of December. And how much did they accomplish?
On January 5th a correspondent writes: "Beneath our feet such mire as has not been seen since the first week succeeding the original deluge. . . . From the first fall of snow, upon the 4th of December, the regular scavenger service was suspended, and now, that the snow has melted away, great heaps of offal and filth of all sorts lie rotting in the open air." (The italics are mine.)
In a letter to the "New York Evening Post," dated at Paris, January 6th, Edward King writes: "Coming into the city after a brief journey to Spain a day or two since, I almost fancied myself in New York, so familiar seemed the long banks of snow, garnished with dirt and the refuse from kitchens. The municipal authorities have been unable to maintain their reputation for promptness in street-cleaning, in presence of the unaccustomed snowy visitation."
As late as February 18, 1880, more than two months after the snowfall, and with mild weather intervening, notwithstanding the efforts of 14,000 men and the expenditure of $100,000, "Le Figaro" has the following paragraphs:
"There still remain, in many of the side streets, disagreeable reminders of the snow of last December. Thus, to mention only one instance, but one that counts, we call attention to the streets and passages of the districts bordering on the Eighteenth Ward (arrondissement). The streets and narrow alleys lying between the Rue Ordener and the fortifications, and between the long Rue des Poissonniers and the Avenue de Saint Ouen, are in a wretched state. Heaps of filth, composed of earth-mixed snow, vegetable scraps, and refuse of all kinds, stagnate in the puddles formed by the holes in the pavement.
"The complete repair of this pavement is absolutely necessary. The old women of the quarter quarrel every day about who shall clean in front of the houses, and the streets remain filthy.
"Between the passages Traëger and des Poissonniers there is an open space of about one thousand square feet" (one hundred square metres). "This space is now a mere slough of filth, where the inhabitants, careless of sanitary laws, deposit the most unseemly products of their meals." (Something left to the imagination here.)
"Let there be a hot sun, and an epidemic will sweep away the tenants of these hovels by the hundred.
"Note to the Commission of Hygiene and Public Health, and to the ashmen. The tenants of this quarter have lost the habit of seeing these men."
The extraordinary parallelism between such passages and the comments of our own newspapers in the spring of 1879 will be noticed by every one.
Query? If 14,000 men and $100,000 are unable to clean 2,667 acres of street in Paris in two months after a snow-fall of twenty inches,