A Dying Breed

I was in an office near the Bastille and suddenly, over the noise of the city and the nearby construction, I heard a once-familiar sound– the ringing of a handbell, persistent and traveling. I rushed to the window, thinking it might be the glass man who used to walk through my neighborhood occasionally. He would ring his bell for a while, then stop, looking around at all the windows to see if anyone was waving at him.

This was another old man, and he was a peddlar in the same fashion. But he was one I wish would come to my neighborhood: a knife sharpener!

“Around where I live they’re really a pest,” said one of the guys in the office. “When they show up the neighbors all complain about the noise.”

They won’t have to complain for much longer, I think. I’m glad I’ve had a chance to witness this disappearing detail of old Paris.


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