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IT is a paradox, but a certain fact, that by
selfishly over-pampering our national
fastidiousness, our traditional neatness, and our
insular delicacy, we have utterly polluted
and defiled one of the noblest watercourses
in the world. This has occurred in the
metropolis. As a natural consequence, in the
provinces, we have more or less polluted and
defiled other watercourses of inferior rank,
but nevertheless of great positive beauty and
utility. We have banished fish, who would
act as willing scavengers when only small
matters had to be removed; we have
destroyed water-weeds, which would absorb
noxious elements, and give out pure oxygen,
if we would permit them to exist; we have
left no living aquatic type remaining, except
the lowest and the most rudimentary.

The very vastness of the Thames has been
one of the temptations which have made it the
receptacle of outcast filth. The moderate
size of the Seine, flowing through another
large city, saved it from degradation; for
unless Paris absolutely abstained from using
her river as a drain, it must soon become a
disgusting gutter of liquid manure, instead
of an ornamental stream. Why does the
Seine flow so clean and green? Because no
filthy liquids or substances are allowed to
reach it till it has passed the city; and, once
past the city, there is no tide to drive the
waters back. The Thames might become as
bright and sweet, if heads of households and
directors of manufactories would only agree
unanimously to adopt similar measures. In
the French provinces, an equal jealousy very
properly reigns as to any impurities that are
likely to render running streams uncleanly
and unwholesome. If individual interest
trouble the flowing waters, it is not allowed
to trouble them unrebuked. At this
moment, loud and general complaints are made
of the injury done to the streams of the
Scarpe, the Lys, the Marque, and other rivers
in the north, and of the consequent
destruction of the fish, by the admission of the
residues and sewage-waters from the sugar-
makers, distillers, and manufacturers, whose
establishments are built along the rivers'
banks. Petitions to the Prefêts are pouring
in fast; and the sugar-makers, distillers, and
manufacturers, will have to consume and
dispose of their own scum, refuse, rubbish,
and bilge-water, as best they may, at their
own expense.

One main cleanser of modern Paris will be
the grand Égout Collecteur, or Collecting
Sewer, lately constructed, which will carry
whatever it picks up on its way down to the
Seine, into which it empties itself, below the
Bridge of Asnières, after a course of more
than four thousand yards, at the commencement
of which course it receives the contributions
of the sewers belonging to the right
bank of the Seine. But Paris has naturally
the advantage of London, in that, beneath
the stratum of gypseous marl, beneath the
stratum of siliceous marl, arid beneath the
stratum of calcareous marl, there lies a
stratum of calcareous rock some sixteen or
eighteen yards thick. Of this last stratum, a
depth of eight or ten yards has been worked
of old, to furnish building-stone. Infant
Paris, then called Lutetia, literally rose out
of the bowels of the earth; and the space
thus left empty, still remains to serve various
useful purposes. Certain of these hollow
excavations were obliged to be made solid, in
order to enable them to bear the weight of
the monumental buildings that were erected
over them, such as the Observatory, the
Pantheon, and the Val de Grace; but were
subterranean Paris filled up and destroyed,
Paris above-ground would cease to be habitable.
The ancient quarries, thus regulated
and limited in extent, appropriately took the
name of Catacombs, because they were made
the receptacle of the accumulation of bones
resulting from the closing of the intramural
cemeteries. By the aid of these
subterranean thoroughfares, in conjunction with
the sewers, a vast amount of offensive matter
is prevented from ever reaching the Seine at
all. It is carted away, and either applied
crude to the land, or is manufactured into
poudrette, a nearly scentless manure in the
shape of powder, which, as it contains all the
principles, possesses all the fertilising powers,
of night-soil. The preparation of poudrette
is not a delicate trade, nor is a poudrette-
factory a sweet-smelling place. The same
may be said of abattoirs, and other establishments
that are maintained as safeguards of
the public health. But they enable you to

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