A CERTAIN popular French tradition would lead us to believe that the palace of the Tuileries has been for centuries past the resort of a demon, familiarly known by the name of 'L'Homme Rouge,' or the Red Man; who is seen wandering in all parts of the Château whenever some great misfortune menaces its regal inhabitants; but who retreats at other periods to a small niche in the Tour de l'Horloge, the central tower built by Catherine de Medicis, and especially devoted to the use of her royal astrologers.
Béranger* has described the royal Red Man as
'Un diable habillé d'écarlate,
Bossu, louche, et roux,
Un serpent lui sert de cravate;
Il a le nez crochu,--
Il a le pied fourchu.'--
But, as it happens, other red men are to be met with in Paris besides the celebrated scarlet devil of the Tuileries; who, after all, is but a sort of metropolitan Zamiel, and little better than the Feuergeist* of a high Dutch melodrama. Whoever, for instance, has chanced to visit the Quai Desaix with the intention of finding the Marché aux Fleurs, or Flower-Market, on any other day than the official Wednesdays and Saturdays when it presents so charming an aspect, may have been startled by the sight of half a hundred reddish men and women, the old iron-vendors who on ordinary occasions ply their unattractive trade beneath the dwarf acacia-trees of La Vallée. Even these, however, are the mere half-castes of the calling; but should some courteous reader be smitten, like ourselves, with a taste for the by-ways rather than the highways of a great city, let him dive into one of those tortuous, fetid, narrow, ten-storied streets of the ancient cité of Paris, where Nôtre Dame uplifts its Gothic towers, and the hospital of the
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Publication information: Book title: The Vampyre, and Other Tales of the Macabre. Contributors: Robert Morrison - Editor, Chris Baldick - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 143.
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