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Till tossing tops tell where his pathway lies;
Wakening she looks upon the peaceful scene;
EXPOSITION OF 1900
BY F. HOPKINSON SMITH
THE ILLUSTRATIONS ARE FROM WATER-COLOR DRAWINGS MADE FOR THE OUTLOOK BY THE AUTHOR
ROM the huge, round-shouldered The walks were level, trimmed to a bath-chair of an entrance, topped nicety, covered with gravel screened to a
by its tailor-made girl, to the fili- size and kept scrupulously clean, and greed candlestick of a tower straddling sprinkled the moment they became dry. the Court of Honor near the Trocadero, They were bordered by thousands of seats, there stretched during the past summer a and patrolled by nearly as many gengreat park, crowded with big and little darmes, courteous as they were alert. pavilions, palaces, kiosks, booths, and The flower-beds were raked, weeded, and towers of varying degrees of beauty and watered. The flowers bloomed at their ugliness, known to the footsore and weary best. The famous big trees, dear to the as the Exposition of 1900.
heart of every Parisian, threw grateful The iron candlestick, with its search- shadows. The grass was as fresh as that light of a candle and its elevator crawling of a spring meadow. like a fly up and down its thousand feet These pleasure-gardens were so extenof height, was an old friend, and, as the sive that a bird's-eye view of the Exposition “ Eiffel Tower," had served the purposes would have presented only a noble park of a former international display. The studded with trees, brightened by a glistenbath-chair of an entrance was new. It ing river running its entire length and was not, as was the candlestick, made of spanned by great bridges—a park crossed iron, but was fashioned from lath, plaster, and recrossed by avenues and boulevards broken glass, putty, old lace curtains, and on which thousands of pleasure-seekers glue. As every beholder, except the man were constantly wandering. who designed it and the committee who Nor would the park have differed accepted it, was inspired with an almost apparently from many of the other vast irresistible impulse to topple it over into breathing-spaces adorning Paris. Indeed, the Seine, it is to be hoped that its sphere one could well believe that had some of usefulness has already been terminated former habitué of Paris returned unexby the closing of the late Exposition. pectedly and stood on one of the bridges
This iconoclastic tendency, however, that linked together both sections of the ceased the moment that one entered from Exposition grounds on the Pont d'Alma, the Place de la Concorde and, passing for instance and had he looked down through the bath-chair with its incompre- upon the great display, he would have hensible flag-poles of stained glass stand- found it difficult to realize that this paring guard on either side, stepped into ticular section of the great city differed one of the many gardens that everywhere from any other section with which he had gladdened the grounds of the Exposition. once been familiar. Certainly the crowds Copyright, 1900, the Outlook Company.
that thronged its avenues and streets would not have seemed any larger or busier than This illusion would have been heightthose which he had once known along the ened by the ease with which the Exposiboulevards. Nor would the buildings have tion grounds were reached. For the little appeared more costly, the general effect steamers that ply the river landed their more artistic, or the whole more imposing passengers at the very front steps of the He would have seen a new bridge, of several pavilions; the cabs stopped just course—the Pont Alexandre—a wonder- outside the ticket-stands, within stone's ful bridge, the most picturesque in all the throw of the principal palaces, and the world. And he would have seen two new trams and 'buses gathered their crowds at art palaces on the left bank of the river the exit gates. There would have been but fronting the Champs Elysées, in place of one new feature to account for—a greenthe old familiar Palais de l'Industrie. His painted fence twice as high as his head. eye would have caught a row of rounded It would only have been after he had greenhouses glistening in the sun's rays, passed through one of its many openings, and a forest of minarets, domes, and towers and had left a franc behind for the thrust above the tree-tops, besides rows of privilege, that he would have begun to queer kiosks, temples, and booths lining realize that something unusual confronted the water, the whole gayly decorated with him-Paris being always wide open to all flags. But it would hardly have occurred her devotees. to him, as he remembered the years of his But, the gate once passed, he would still absence, that all or any part of this con- be in the city, the same people jostling glomerate mass contained an Exposition him ; here and there, perhaps, an Oriental commemorative of the arts and progress in gay costume, or a Dahomey chief out on of the French Republic during the past a holiday from the Jardin d'Acclimation, century, or was other than one more ex. He would find the buildings less interestpression of the gay and pleasure-loving ing than many of the superb structures spirit of the Parisian.
on the other side of the fence, infinitely It would still be Paris to him—a greater less beautiful than the Palace of the Paris than he had seen years before - Luxembourg with its marvelous gardens, more Paris, perhaps, than he had expected or the Park Monceau, or the Tuileries. to see—but still only Paris. If, to re- For the high green painted fence kept assure himself, he had looked up the only the cabs and omnibuses out; everySeine, or down toward the Tuileries and thing else inside this two inches of plank Notre-Dame, and taken in the sky-line, was the Paris that he had known for years. the same vistas that had delighted him The impression of this being only Paris years before would have delighted him after all was one of the disappointments again. The bridges would have still of the Exhibition. The Government was hooped over the river, the swift steamers not altogether to blame. No other site darting like swallows under the tunnel of was possible. Part of it had been used their arches. His old friend, the Eiffel twice before for similar enterprises, and Tower candlestick, would still have raised there was no other space available within its filigreed shaft high into the blue, the easy reach of four millions of Parisians, bold front of the Trocadero with its the Exposition's chief reliance. So they massive turrets still crowned the hill that fenced in this section of the city itself, dominates the Champ de Mars.
and squeezed into its already crowded Beyond all this his curious eye would, space enough pavilions and palaces to of course, have lighted upon the great hold their own and the world's exhibits. upright Ferris Wheel balanced on the It was, therefore, this transformation, horizon like a child's hoop. He would or rather condensation, which robbed have noticed, too, the huge Globe touch- the present Exposition of many of those ing the earth like a grounded balloon, a inspiring features of dignity and harmony few more round or square buildings-but which have distinguished other exhibitions none of these objects would have counted of recent years, while the necessary hudin the sweep, nor would they have altered dling together of many of the buildings the landscape in his memory. “ Paris is prevented the grouping of the more importhe metropolis of the world,” he would tant structures into an architectural whole. have said—they improve it every year.” Some of the existing features—such as