En 1910, le grand écrivain anglais Arnold Bennett se promenait de nuit dans Paris lorsqu’il observa ce spectacle singulier :
« Walking home, I was attracted, within a few hundred yards of the Opera, by the new building of the Magasins du Printemps. Instead of being lighted up and all its galleries busy with thousands of women in search of adornment, it stood dark and
deserted. But at one of the entrances was a feeble ray. I could not forbear going into the porch and putting my nose against the glass. The head-watchman was seated in the centre of the ground-floor chatting with a colleague. With a lamp andchairs they had constructed a little domesticity for themselves in the middle of that acreage of silks and ribbons and feathers all covered now with pale dust-sheets. They were the centre of a small sphere of illumination, and in the surrounding gloom could be dimly discerned gallery after gallery rising in a slender lacework of iron. » (Paris Nights)
Et un autre extrait amusant:
« It was raining. The boulevard was a mirror. And along the reflecting surface of this mirror cab after cab, hundreds of cabs, rolled swiftly. Dozens and dozens were empty, and had no goal ; but none would stop. They all went ruthlessly by with offensive gestures of disdain. Strangers cannot believe that when a Paris cabman without a fare refuses to stop on a wet night, it is not because he is hoping for a client in richer furs, or because he is going to the stables, or because he has earned enough that night, or because he has an urgent appointment with his enchantress — but simply from malice. Nevertheless this is a psychological fact which any experienced Parisian will confirm. On a wet night the cabman revenges himself upon the bourgeoisie, though the base satisfaction may cost him money. »
J'ai l'impression que les chauffeurs de taxi sont les dignes héritiers des conducteurs des véhicules hippomobiles du 19eme siècle. Rien de neuf sous le soleil !