By crying out against the bad smells, they have finally persuaded the Parisians, and even foreigners, that these bad smells really exist. Before this concerted outcry, Parisians never noticed that it stunk in their city. Now, behold! they are all up in arms against this pretended infection. Who is to blame? Those incorrigible gabblers—the newspaper men. For a trifle, M. Alphand would be willing to say that it is we who are malicious enough to stink, for the pleasure of giving trouble to the authorities. For the past week it stunk every evening in my quarter, and it stunk strongly. One evening, in particular, it stunk so that I found myself compelled to shut my windows, and then it only stunk the more. On my honor! yesterday morning I had an article to write; I am in the habit of entertaining our readers with all the subjects that interest me, and just at the time when they interest me, and, as it stunk in my quarter, I immediately said, with my usual bonhomie, 'Oh, my children, how it stinks in my quarter!' No, you can not imagine how it stinks in my quarter. This phrase is my witness that I did not ask myself, before uttering this cry of suffering, whether M. Andrieux had made an arrest the night before, nor even whether M, Andrieux was the prefect of police. I said, it stinks, because it stunk, with the ingenuousness of a man who holds his nose, exclaiming, 'My God! how it stinks!"
The war of words between the public and the officials is still going on, and is becoming more virulent. At the session of the Conseil Général of October 26th, M. Raspail is reported to have made "a furious attack on the prefect of police, in reference to the factory at Les Hautes-Bornes, the worst of all the factories surrounding Paris, which had been already closed by M. Léon Renault. In spite of M. Voisin, this factory was reopened, thanks to the influence of M. Léon Say, a friend of M. Pauville, the new owner. The papers drawn against this establishment are flawless. Workmen refuse to labor in summer in its vicinity, and those who do work there are seized with vomiting. In place of closing this pestilential center, it is allowed to grow larger. And this is the history of the other depots and ammonia-factories in the suburbs.
"These bastilles of infection," says M. Raspail, "must disappear, and they will disappear, I assure you, in spite of all possible protection."
This paper is already too long. I have had in its preparation but one object, viz.: to demonstrate that some of the nuisances existing in New York continue to exist, not on account of the ignorance, incompetence, or negligence of officials whose duty it is to abate them, but because there arise in connection with their suppression certain vast problems which are not yet solved anywhere in cities of equal size with this. And these problems do not lie on the surface, but only con-
- "Lancet," October 16, 1880, p. 639.
- "Figaro," October 27, 1880, p. 5.