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Title: Peregrine in France - A Lounger's Journal, in Familiar Letters to his Friend
Author: Bromet, William
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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PEREGRINE IN FRANCE.

A Lounger's Journal,

IN FAMILIAR LETTERS TO HIS FRIEND.


                     "And in his brain,
Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
After a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd
With observation--the which he vents
In _mangled forms_."

                                AS YOU LIKE IT.


_LONDON:_

_Printed by Thomas Davison, Whitefriars_,
FOR JAMES HARPER AND CO., 46, FLEET-STREET.

1816.



PREFACE.


The friend who has ventured to send these letters to the press feels
it necessary to state, in apology for the insufficiency of such a
trifle to meet the public eye, that they are actually published
without the knowledge of Peregrine (who is still abroad) and chiefly
with the view of giving copies to the numerous friends by whom he is
so justly regarded. The editor, therefore, relying on the indulgence
of those friends, humbly also deprecates the stranger critic's
censure, both for poor Peregrine and himself.



LETTER I.


Paris, December 14, 1815.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

Arrived safely at this interesting metropolis, I take the earliest
opportunity of relieving the affectionate anxiety you expressed over
our parting glass, by the assurance that I have happily escaped all
the evils prognosticated by some of our acquaintance from a journey at
this inclement season.

Those indeed of the inquisitive family of John Bull, who look only
for luxury and convenience in travelling, will do well never to
leave the comforts of their own happy island from motives of
expected pleasure, as they will be sure to be fretted by a series
of petty disappointments and vexations which fall to the lot of every
traveller. A little forethought may occasionally be necessary, but I
am convinced that he alone will truly enjoy a continental trip who
knows how at once to reconcile himself to the chances of the moment,
derive from them all the good he can, thank God for it,--and be
satisfied.

Without more prosing I will endeavour to comply with Mrs. ----'s
request, and, trying to overcome my propensity to lounging indolence,
send you, from time to time, such crude observations as may suggest
themselves in my peregrinations through some of the towns and
provinces of France, and during my short stay in the capital; although
I fear all novelty on this subject has already met your eye, from the
abler pens of more accomplished tourists.

At Dover I repaired immediately to the York Hotel, where the host and
hostess justified all you had told me of their attention and civility.
I found that the mail packet would attempt to get out of harbour on
Saturday afternoon; the captain had in vain endeavoured to put to sea
that morning: however, we succeeded on a second trial, and held one
course to Boulogne, which we reached in about four hours. The vessel
was very much crowded, having the mails of four days on board, and the
accumulation of four days' passengers. It was very cold, and I was, as
usual, sea-sick. I went on shore about eleven o'clock that night, and
was conducted to an hotel in the upper town, all those of the lower
town, which are the best, being full. I took under my protection an
English lady proceeding to her husband at Havre-de-Grace. We knocked
up the host, hostess, and drowsy servants, who, however, soon cooked
us some broiled whitings and lean mutton-chops (_coutelets de
mouton_); and after having taken a little _eau de vie_ and warm
Burgundy, I was conducted to my bed-room, having first seen my fellow
traveller safely lodged in hers. The waiter, "_garçon_," was an
Englishman, with all the obliging willingness of the French. I was
surprised to find my dormitory so comfortable, having supped in a
dirty _un_comfortable apartment, in which I believe slept mine host
and his wife, whom we had routed out of their snug quarters from an
alcove at one corner of it. My said bed-chamber was large, and on the
ground floor; at one end was a good wood fire blazing on the hearth,
and at the other a comfortable bed in a recess, with clean sheets,
&c.; over the fire-place a very fine chimney-glass, and upon a large
clumsy deal table stood a basin and ewer of thick French earthenware
and of peculiar form, the basin having that of an English salad-bowl
with a flat bottom,--of course it is inconvenient for its purpose.
Soap is only brought when you ask for it, and is an extra charge. All
the bed-chambers I have yet seen answer this description, which
perhaps you will think tedious; but every thing at the moment, with
the warm colouring of first impressions in a foreign country, was
interesting to me.

On going to the custom-house next morning, I found all my baggage,
except my drawing table, camera, and apparatus; I hope to regain them,
as I gave directions to Mrs. Parker, an Englishwoman, who keeps the
Hotel d'Angleterre, to forward them to me at Paris in case they were
left on board the packet; but there are so many porters (women
principally) who attend upon the landing of a boat, and, like as many
harpies, seize upon your packages, _malgré vous_, that it is more
than probable I shall never see them again; in which case you must not
expect very accurate sketching.

_À propos_, talking of female porters, let me inform you that, in
spite of the boasted gallantry of the French nation, some of the most
laborious part of the work, agricultural as well as commercial, is
performed by women. This may, however, be in a degree owing to the
exhaustion of male population, occasioned by the continued wars in
which unhappy France has been so long involved by the insatiate
ambition of her late ruler.

After managing, as well as I could, the affair of my missing drawing
utensils, I took a cursory view of the town and environs, attended by
a gay, obsequious droll, of the old French school, who hung about me
with such an assiduous importunity it was not possible to shake him
off; he stuck to me like a _burr_, and would fain have accompanied
"_Mi-lord Anglois_" to Paris, or any where else: he brought Sterne's
La Fleur so strongly to my mind, and amused me so exceedingly by his
singing, and skipping about at all calls with such unaffected
sprightliness, that I own I parted with him very reluctantly: but a
poor philosophic lounger, likely soon to be on half pay, had little
occasion for a valet of his qualifications. An accident afforded me a
proof of this good-humoured fellow's honesty, which I cannot deny
myself the pleasure of relating. I had a considerable quantity of
silver pieces in a bag, which, coming untied, the contents rolled on
the bed and floor; I thought I had picked up the whole, but on
returning to my chamber he presented me with several which had fallen
into a fold of the blankets, and which I had overlooked. I afterwards
also recovered a five franc piece from the _fille de chambre_. I
believe, indeed, that the lower orders in France are generally honest,
as well as sober and obliging; and that, although they make no scruple
of outwitting, they will not actually rob John Bull.

Boulogne sur Mer is divided into an higher and lower town; the
intermediate street, in which the church is situated, and which
ascends gradually to the former, is wide and cheerful, and looking
from the top of it, towards the opposite southern hills, an
interesting view presented itself,--the remains of the hut encampments
of Bonaparte's army of England. On the heights, to the northward of
the town, are also the ruins of long streets of soldiers' huts,
mess-houses, &c. Near this encampment Napoleon had begun to build a
noble column, of a species of marble found in a neighbouring quarry:
we saw a very beautiful model of it; the base and part of the shaft,
already built, are about fifty feet from the ground, but the
scaffolding around it runs to the projected height of the capital,
viz. 150 feet, and is strongly bolted with iron. This column, intended
as a trophy of imperial grandeur, would have been, when finished, a
handsome object on the coast, and probably useful to the coasting
mariner as a land-mark; it is now a striking monument of disappointed
ambition, and may afford a salutary moral lesson both to princes and
their subjects!

There are some striking views about Boulogne, which English travellers
hurrying to and from the capital rarely stop to look at. The heights
were every where bristled with cannon and mortars during the war, and
the forts are very strong by art and nature: the approach to the
harbour was therefore truly formidable when the republican flag waved
on this iron-bound coast. This port is very ancient: it was here the
Romans are said to have embarked for Britain, and the remains of a
tower, built by them in the reign of Caligula, are still shewn. The
harbour is also interesting from having been the rendezvous for the
flotilla, which idly threatened to pour the imperial legions on our
happy shores. Of this vaunted flotilla, consisting once of 2000
vessels, scarcely a wreck remains!

Our gallant tars always heartily despised this Lilliputian armada,
unsupported by ships of force, which Boulogne and the ports near it
are incapable of admitting. The harbour here being almost dry at low
water, the French, in one tide, could only have got about 100 of their
puny vessels into the outer roads, where, while waiting for the rest,
they would have been equally exposed to destruction by our vigilant
cruisers, or by a gale at N.W. Nevertheless our enterprising
government, in the spring of 1804, was induced to send over, at no
small cost, an expedition of several vessels, having each in their
interior an immense mass of large stones clamped and cemented
together, which _artificial rocks_ (the wooden exterior being set
on fire) were intended to be sunk at the mouth of the harbour and
channels near it, and thus to block up the poor republican gun-boats
for ever.

The attempt, however, to carry this scheme into execution met with
several obstacles unforeseen by the projector (a civilian and a
foreigner unskilled in nautical affairs), and after various fruitless
efforts, the expedition was wisely abandoned on the representation of
its utter inexpediency, made to the lords of the admiralty by the navy
employed on the service. The stone-ships were in consequence
withdrawn, but I never heard what became of them or their projector
afterwards.

In viewing the sands and neighbouring beach, I was forcibly struck
with the want of enterprise in the French. Such a town possessing
similar advantages in England, would shortly rival Ramsgate or
Brighton, and become, in the season, the resort of fashion. Here, with
every natural capability for a bathing-place, they have neither
machines for bathing, nor lodgings for visitants.

Embellishments, or even repairs, are rarely thought of in the
provincial towns of France; the houses are large, old, and gloomy,
and descend "unaltered, unimproved," "from sire to son," without
any of the cheerful _agrémens_ which render our smallest houses in
England so delightful.

The fishing-boats of Boulogne appeared to me clumsy and ill
appointed--ours are yachts in comparison of them.

Bidding now adieu to the coast, where I have kept you too long, I took
my departure for Paris with a young French gentleman of Calais and the
English lady mentioned before, in a cabriolet. I shall now _whisk_
you speedily to the capital. We slept that night at Vernai, a small
village on the other side of Abbeville, having made a slight repast at
Montreuil, where I inquired of a soldier about your friend S---- ----,
whose regiment, the Inniskillen Dragoons, with the Scots Greys and
Royals, was there.

Montreuil is situated on a very steep hill. Here my passport was
asked for; but I shewed the hilt of my sword instead of it, which
was sufficient. We left Vernai next morning, and breakfasted upon
excellent coffee and mutton chops, for which, with delicious bread
and butter, they charged three francs each.

Abbeville contains 18,000 inhabitants: it is situated in a pleasant
valley, where the river Somme divides into several branches, and
separates the town into two parts. The view, as I approached it, was
very striking; something like Salisbury from Harnam Hill. Two very
fine churches are the most conspicuous objects. On the road we met
the Highland Brigade; and in the town was one regiment halted, and
four others about to be billeted off. I parted from my agreeable
fellow-travellers at Amiens, and proceeded alone in the Diligence.

I am interrupted by the postman, but shall shortly renew my narrative,
and shall not therefore expect to hear from you till I write again.
Adieu!



LETTER II.


Creil, a dirty little town between Clermont and Chantilly. Jan. 14,
1816.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

I take the opportunity of the return of a brother officer to England,
to send you a brief continuation of my journal, knowing that you will
make every reasonable allowance for its imperfection. In my last,
which I wrote to you soon after my arrival at Paris, I believe I
conducted you with me as far as Amiens, a large city, possessing a
beautiful cathedral, which however I had not then an opportunity of
seeing. Here, for the first time, I got into a French Diligence, the
machinery and necessary, or rather _un_necessary appendages of which I
shall not attempt to describe, but shall merely say, that within they
are sufficiently easy, large, and commodious. On my journey to the
capital, I was amused by a warm political conversation between a
Bonapartist and a Royalist, who, I think, was more strenuous in the
cause of Louis than he otherwise would have been, had he not been
honoured with a cross, the ribband of which he wore in one of the
button-holes of his coat.

We dined at Clermont: the first dish brought was vermicelli soup--then
came the meat of which it had been made, but of which, judging that I
had taken its essence in the soup, I declined to partake. Afterwards
came some partridges baked, in a kind of pudding, to rags. Their
flavour had been so abstracted by their covering, I suppose, that I
asked what birds they were. Next entered, swimming in oiled butter, a
fish with a livid-purple head, the name of which I was also obliged to
enquire, and found that it was a barbel. I was soon, however, able to
turn my eyes to a less novel, but more pleasing object, a fowl roasted
and garnished with water cresses, but without liver, gizzard, or
gravy. An omelette, with salad, pears, and walnuts, completed our
dinner, my first regular one in France, and of which, consequently, I
took more notice than usual on such occasions. The wine put down to us
was small, but not badly flavoured: small as it is, however, the
French always mix it with water. This repast, for which we paid each
three francs, would have been better relished by me if some of my
messmates had possessed cleaner hands, and tooth-picks more convenient
than a French table-knife, which is an instrument quite rude enough
for its _intended_ purpose.

I arrived in Paris late on the evening of the 12th of December; and
finding that I could be accommodated with a bed at the hotel where the
diligence stopped, after eating some cold fowl, and drinking half a
bottle of wine, I requested to be shewn to my chamber, the ascent to
which was by a miserable dirty staircase. The room had a tiled floor,
and felt very cold and comfortless; the bed was, however, good, and
furnished with a clean pair of sheets.

Next morning, after being obliged to perform my ablutions without
the use of soap, an article, as I said before, never found in the
bedchambers of France without special requisition, I descended the
common staircase, almost as dirty as any you ever saw in Edinburgh,
and found at breakfast, in the coffee-room, an old gentleman of
Boston, in America. He made me acquainted with the customs of the
house, and introduced me, at dinner, to a gentleman from the Havannah,
and another from a small town near Valenciennes, both of whom could
talk English fluently, and were very sensible, well informed men,
whose society has been very useful to me.

That day being rainy, (and, by the by, _all_ Paris is more dirty
than the dirtiest part of London,) I contented myself with studying
the map of the city; and next morning repaired, brimful of anxious
curiosity, to see the Louvre and its gallery.

Elated as I was, as almost every one must be who goes upon a similar
occasion, and consequently apt for disappointment, I was confounded
by its grandeur. No wonder--the court of the Louvre, which has been
lately restored to its pristine magnificence, is, I am told by my
Flemish friend, who has travelled all over Europe, the most superb
thing of its kind existing. I found my way into the interior by means
of an English officer, who, having conducted me through the gallery of
statues on the ground floor, directed me up stairs to that containing
the pictures.

The collection of statues has been much less encroached on by the
hands of the austere justice, which has lately spoiled this famous
assemblage of the finest works of art, than that of pictures. Of
these, for one remaining, eight or nine have been removed; and many
that are left are not, I think, worthy of having been in company with
those returned to their former habitations.

There are some very fine statues which remain, and among these the
Gladiator Pugnans; but the niches, which were so highly adorned by the
celebrated Venus and Apollo, now yawn upon the mournful spectator with
a melancholy vacancy. The galleries themselves, however, are so grand,
that the sight of them alone may be esteemed a sufficient inducement
for a visit to the Louvre; and indeed they seem to rejoice that their
more attractive inmates have departed.

The picture gallery is badly lighted. It is the longest room I ever
saw. Children, and persons of almost all ranks, were promenading
through it the day I was there, which, I believe, was one on which
it is open to the public at large, under the careful supervision,
however, of some keepers, who wear the livery of the king's household.

In the evening I went to the Theatre Français, and saw Talma in
Ulysse. I shall speak of this very excellent actor afterwards, when I
describe the performance of the French Hamlet. This Theatre, where the
legitimate French drama is represented, is very large, but of a very
inconvenient form. The house is dirty now; but the decorations of
the auditory were not, when new, so splendid as those of our London
playhouses. It is lighted, as are all the theatres of Paris, by an
immense chandelier suspended from the centre of the roof, without the
aid of lamps or candles in front of the boxes. The orchestra, which is
numerous and good, played, at the command of the audience, the
national airs Vive Henri IV. and Channante Gabrielle.

The costume and scenery are very good--the former is superb, and
correctly appropriate; the latter shifted only at the conclusion
of each act. To each tier of boxes the price of admission is
different--becoming less and less as you ascend, a regulation which
ought to be adopted in our London theatres, where it is unreasonable
to take the same price for the upper tier, as for those of the lower
and dress circles. "They certainly manage these things better in
France."--No females are permitted to enter the pit: there are,
however, two seats in front, and four or five at the back, to which
they may go; and the price of such seats is greater than that of the
proper pit. The house was very full, for Talma always fills it; but I
went late, and was badly situated. The afterpiece was adapted from
the Sultan of Marmontel, which we have also on our English stage.

Next day, the 15th, having occasion to enter a hosier's shop, I had
an opportunity of observing how necessary it is to beware of giving
a French shopkeeper the full price which he will first ask for his
goods, as he invariably demands more than they are worth, expecting,
like the Jews in England, to be beat down considerably. His shop was
on the Boulevards du Temple.

The Boulevards is a wide street or highway, with a separate foot-path
on each side, and having between the footway and the coach road a row
of trees, planted at regular distances, in the same way as the Mall in
St. James's Park. The houses on each side are principally private
ones, and large hotels, the residences of the nobility of France.
There are also many small shops and stalls, and a great number of
coffee-houses, and it is one of the principal promenades at Paris. It
serves too as a boundary between the city and its suburbs, and on it
are placed the gates of the city, of which the principal are Porte St.
Denys and Porte St. Martin. They were both erected to perpetuate the
remembrance of the glorious wars of Louis XIV., and are very noble,
being sixty or seventy feet high, and embellished with well executed
bas reliefs. They, like the Temple Bar at London, have each three ways
through them; but they are much loftier than those of Temple Bar. It
was by the Porte St. Martin, which opens into one of the principal
streets of that part of Paris, that the allied sovereigns made their
entry; the Porte St. Denys being the gate by which the kings of France
usually entered.

In the evening I went to the Académie Royale de Musique, or the Opera
House. The performances were Gluck's celebrated opera of Alceste, and
a new ballet, called Flore et Zephyr. The orchestra is very numerous
and ably directed; but the words of the opera are in the French
language, which, in my opinion, is not so fit for musical expression
as the Italian. The scenery and dresses were good, and, what you do
not often find at an opera house, the acting was excellent. The vocal
part of the performance is, however, much inferior to that in London,
as Madame Catalani now sings at the Theatre des Italiens, of which her
husband has lately become the proprietor.

The music of the ballet, which is delightful, is by Venua, whom I have
heard play in concert on the violin in London. The story is prettily
told, and the dancing, of course, the best in Europe. The house
itself, like the Theatre Français, is dirty, and of an inconvenient
form. It is very large, being capable of holding 3000 spectators. It
does not appear, however, so large as the King's Theatre, Haymarket,
nor was it ever so handsomely decorated.

It is not the custom in Paris, as in London, to go full dressed into
the boxes of a theatre. On the contrary, nothing is more common than
to see gentlemen with their great-coats of half a dozen capes, and
ladies with their high walking bonnets, in the principal boxes in the
house.

Next morning, 16th, on my way to St. Cloud, in order to report my
arrival to the commanding officer, I passed through the court of the
Palais des Tuileries, and saw the beautiful triumphal arch from which
the Corinthian horses were lately taken. It is built almost entirely
of the finest marbles, and is adorned with appropriate statues and
bas-reliefs, which cover it in every part. But it is not, I think,
well placed. It is a gate in form, but unlike a gate, it is not
flanked by a fence; on the contrary, it stands alone, at a little
distance from the superb iron rails, with golden tops, which inclose
the court of the palace. It would be an improvement to bring forward
the rail in a line with it, and so make a proper gate of it. The car
at top remains, and the figures of Victory and Peace which conducted
the removed horses; the latter are to be replaced by their models, now
under the hands of the artist.

Upon the Quai des Tuileries I got into one of the many cabriolets
which there ply for passengers to the towns in the neighbourhood. I
passed the Champs Elysées, which appeared in a most forlorn state.
They are planted with trees in every direction, in the trim formality
of the ancient style, having alleys through all parts of them. But I
saw no open lawns, or plots of grass, only one large grove of ugly
trees, like some of the groves in Kensington Gardens, and the paths
through them almost impassable.

In the villages of Plassy and Auteuil there are some large
country-houses belonging to the rich merchants of Paris, but
externally they shew nothing of the snug neatness and apparent
comfort within of the country boxes about London.

The Bois de Boulogne, situated between Auteuil and a large village, at
which I found my regiment, and from which the wood takes its name, is,
I dare say, pretty enough in summer; but it has been much injured by
the _bivouac_ of the English and Hanoverians. In general the small
boughs and tops of the trees have only been cut off; but in one part,
which had been only planted a few years, the young trees have been cut
to the ground. This spoliation of one of their principal places of
recreation has naturally caused much discontent among the Parisians,
and I have often, as an Englishman, been obliged to bear my portion of
their complaints concerning it.

I found Colonel ---- occupying the best bed-room of an excellent house
belonging to a rich cambric merchant of Paris. The room was elegantly
furnished, having the bed in a recess, the back of which was covered
by an immense looking glass, the curtains (which are luxuries not
always met with in the best French houses) being suspended from the
top of the aperture of the recess. I was received with great
cordiality, and pleading indisposition and want of military
equipments, got leave to return to Paris for a few days.

I again mounted into my cabriolet, the day being very stormy, and
proceeded back to Paris as fast as the miserable horse could draw me.
On my way, which, for the greater part, lay along the banks of the
Seine, I had an opportunity of admiring the bridge of Jena, which
Blucher was about to destroy: I am glad he was prevented. It is of
five arches, of a chastely elegant architecture; and the road over
it is plane, as will be that over the Strand bridge at London. The
piers, unlike those of the older bridges here, are very small, but
sufficiently strong to resist the great rapidity of the river, which
occasionally takes place after heavy rains have fallen in the country
from which it flows.

On Sunday the 17th I accompanied my Flemish friend (he having a ticket
of admission for the chapelle royale) to the Tuileries. After waiting
some time for the breaking up of the council, we were permitted to
pass up a very fine marble staircase to the Salon des Marechaux, the
guard-room of the king's body guard. It is a handsome lofty apartment,
hung round with pictures of the French marshals, and having a slight
rail erected across it, in order to prevent the intrusion of those who
have been admitted, upon the passage crossing it from the council
chamber and hall of presentations, to the chapel. In a gallery, which
goes round it, there are a few sets of old armour, and on the ceiling,
which is divided into small compartments, the letter N still remains
in each corner.

The uniform of the guard is very superb; they wear long blue coats
with a silver epaulette on the left shoulder and an aiguillette upon
the right, white kerseymere pantaloons, and long cavalry boots and
spurs: their large helmets, of the Grecian form, are almost covered
with silver embossed ornaments, and the white feathers in them are
of a prodigious length. They are armed with a long straight cut and
thrust sword, and a well finished fuzee or light musquet. Their
cartouch-box belts are made of a broad silver lace, and were it not
for their dirty gloves, they would be the most magnificently appointed
corps I ever saw.

They are all fine young men, and, I suppose, are excellently mounted.
I understand that they are principally men of family, and that before
they can obtain admission to serve in this corps, their friends are
called on to make over to them an allowance of 600 francs per annum;
no great sum, considering that they thereby become equals in rank to
the subalterns of the French army; their captains of companies being
no less than marshals of France. They have, however, too much blood
ever to behave with the requisite steadiness of a private soldier, if
I may judge from the irregularity of the movements which I saw them
put through by the officer who commanded them.

After waiting a considerable time, during which many officers and
gentlemen of the court passed and repassed, the royal cavalcade
approached. I saw Monsieur, and the Duke de Berri, and his majesty,
the grand Monarque. He appeared in good health and in good humour.
Many petitions were presented to him as he passed, all of which he
very graciously received, and put into the hat of a gentleman on his
left hand; I stood next to a poor woman who presented one. His majesty
wore all his stars and crosses, and his blue ribband. The royal dukes
had also their ribbands about them, and as each passed they were
loudly acclaimed. One person behind me distinguished himself by
adding forcibly the epithet _bon_ to his Vive le Roi! His majesty
was followed by the Duchess of Angouleme, attended by three or four
ladies of the court, who, as usual, were no beauties. His majesty
was preceded by his marshals, who, for the most part, are middle-aged
men; they were superbly dressed in richly embroidered velvet coats
and pantaloons, but I did not see one whose physiognomy betokened
much of the great man.

In the chamber of presentations, into which I could not be admitted
because I was not in a court dress or uniform, there were a great
number of officers: it is a most magnificent room, and has in it some
of the most beautiful chandeliers I ever saw. Finding that the chapel
was quite full, and my friend being desirous, like a good catholic, of
attending mass somewhere, we hastened to the cathedral of Nôtre Dame.

This was the first edifice which did not answer my expectations: it is
not so spacious as many of our large religious buildings in England,
nor is its style of architecture so appropriately solemn. The nave was
filled with groups of people, each upon a common rush-bottomed wooden
chair, (some at a very great distance from the priest officiating) and
they seemed to pay little attention to their religious duties, except
in tumbling on their knees whenever they heard the bell ring. The
choir, however, though small, is very grand: it is paved with marble,
the stalls are of finely carved wood-work, and its sculptured
altar-piece, representing the descent from the cross, is excellent.
There are eight large and very good paintings placed over the stalls,
of which the archiepiscopal one is beautiful: but the painted windows
of this cathedral are more adapted to a green-house than a place of
holy worship, being made up of large square panes of differently
coloured glass. It has two square towers at its west end, which are
not so high as those of Westminster Abbey; they are, however, very
richly ornamented externally, and the sculptured work about the grand
entrance is very elaborate, but it is so much blackened and defaced by
time as to have become almost unintelligible.

The great hospital, the Hôtel Dieu, is situated very near to the
cathedral, but of the interior of this I cannot yet give you an
account; its exterior has nothing worthy of notice. Of the Théâtre
de l'Odeon I can only speak of the exterior, which is sufficiently
handsome; it is a modern building in a large square, and approached
by a new street which has the great convenience of a raised curbed
footway; this, you must know, is a very great rarity in Paris, where,
for the want of such a convenience, you are every minute exposed to
the danger of being run over by the carriages and horsemen, who tear
along the streets without any regard for pedestrians.

After a long walk in which I passed the Luxembourg palace, but could
not get admission that day, I found myself in the Boulevards of the
southern quarter of Paris. This quarter is much duller than that to
the north of the river, consisting principally of large houses
standing alone, and surrounded with high-walled gardens.

Proceeding along the Boulevard, I at length arrived at the Hôtel des
Invalides, the Chelsea hospital of Paris; it is a noble building, and
one of the most conspicuous in the city, owing to its high and
splendid dome, half covered with gilt copper: this dome is very
similar in form to those at Greenwich. I went into the chapel, which
differs from all the churches I have seen here, in having convenient
benches for the congregation. The architecture of that part of the
building supporting the dome is very fine, but that of the other parts
of this edifice is plain; I am told that in one of its galleries there
is a collection of models of all the fortified towns of France, but it
requires a special order to obtain admission into it. This building
affords a comfortable asylum for 7000 officers and soldiers, who are
clothed in an old-fashioned military dress, like our Chelsea
pensioners, and who do the military duty of the place.

Not far from the Hôpital des Invalides is the Palais Bourbon, an
extensive building but very low. A new front has been added to it on
the side of the river, at the end of one of the bridges. This, the
most elegant thing I know, is one vast portico, and is the entrance
to the chamber of deputies composing the corps legislatif. It must
be, I think, an imitation of one of the celebrated temples of Greece
or Rome, its architecture is so classical and chaste. Upon four low
pedestals at the foot of the steps, by which you ascend to the doors,
are four colossal figures sitting, representing Sully and Colbert with
two other celebrated statesmen, dressed in the habiliments of their
respective offices.

In the evening I again went to the opera, and was much pleased with
the excellent acting in the Vestal and in Nina. Old Vestris still
keeps his pre-eminent station among the dancers in the ballet: they
say that he is more than sixty years of age. The illustrious commander
of the forces was there in his box, with some of his staff. All this
on Sunday evening, recollect!

Next day, the 18th, I rode to Boulogne, and found myself, by chance
of war, billeted at a boarding-school, in a very good apartment, and
thought myself in high luck. I dined with Colonels ---- and ---- who
requested me to form one of their mess, which honour I of course
accepted.

On Tuesday, the 19th, I attended the battalion inspection of
Lieutenant General Sir H. Clinton, the general officer commanding
the 2d division: they were formed for this purpose, with the 91st
regiment, in one of the great walks in the garden of St. Cloud. The
bridge, over which we passed, is a very long one: it was blown up by
the French on the advance of the allies to Paris this last time, and
is now repaired only in a temporary manner.

The country about St. Cloud is very picturesque; the river winds
luxuriantly through a valley, enclosed by hills planted with
vineyards, and there are an immense number of country seats to be seen
in all directions. On the top of a hill in the neighbourhood is Mount
Calvary, on which a superb edifice has been commenced for the
education of the children of deceased soldiers, but I believe it has
not been proceeded with since the return of Louis XVIII.; the revenues
of the state, I suppose, not being sufficient to enable the government
to spend much on charitable purposes; and charity, no doubt, in
France, as elsewhere, begins at home.

In the afternoon I returned to Paris, at a very slow pace, in a
miserable cabriolet.

On Wednesday, Dec. 20, I went with my American acquaintance, to whom
I had become a Ciceroni, to shew him the Corn Hall. This is a new,
immense, circular building of brick and stone, having an enormous
dome, which is constructed wholly of metal; the rafters are of iron;
the inside of it is of tinned iron, and the outside of sheet copper.
It is lighted by a large skylight in the centre. Its whole area
beneath, into which you enter by a dozen or more gates, is paved, and
completely covered by piles of flour and different grain in sacks.

On the outside there has been placed an old doric pillar of a great
height, on which there is a curiously constructed sun-dial, which
points out every moment of the day: the column, I suppose, is nearly
an hundred feet high; at its bottom there is a small fountain. The
Emperor of Russia, it is said, expressed greater admiration at the
sight of the Corn Hall than of all the other public buildings in
Paris.

The church of St. Eustache, close to the Corn Hall, is a very fine
gothic edifice with a new Grecian front, surmounted by two square
towers. Spires, as in London, are not seen in Paris, all the
churches having either domes or towers. The interior of St. Eustache
is decorated with some good pictures, and there is a charming
statue of the Virgin and child. Its chapels are elegantly fitted up,
particularly one, on the door of which there is a label, informing
you that it contains the relics of some celebrated saint, whose name
I have forgotten.

Next morning, the 21st, I accompanied Mr. G---- to the Lycée d'Henri
IV., where the famous young American calculator, Zerah Colburn, was
placed for the purpose of being educated. Mr. G. is acquainted with
the father of this lad, and I believe is one of the committee, at the
head of which is the worthy Alderman Brydges, of London. The boy is
there learning Latin, but it is very evident that he has no genius for
that expressive poetical language. He is, except on one subject, a
very dull boy, and expresses himself so badly that it is difficult to
understand his meaning. I put a simple arithmetical question to him,
which he quickly answered, and correctly, as I afterwards found. He
appears to be losing the talent which has acquired him the patronage
of the scientific world, without gaining any thing but habits of
indifference to his improvement; in my opinion, it is a loss of time
and expense to endeavour to enlarge this boy's understanding by
giving him a knowledge of the dead languages. Send him to Leslie or
Bonnycastle, and perhaps his extraordinary talent may be improved,
but the air of France is too refined for the genius of a plodder.

On our way to the Lycée d'Henri IV. we went into the new church of St.
Genevieve, or the Pantheon; this is not yet, I believe, completed
within, but from what I saw will be very handsome. It is not, at
present, at all fitted up like a church, but is more like the parts
of St. Paul's cathedral at London not occupied by the choir.

Below the building is the burying place of the great men of France,
but into this we did not enter, the day being wet and cold. Its
exterior is very grand, and its dome, after that of the Hôtel des
Invalides, the finest in Paris. On the pediment, which is adorned with
appropriate sculpture, is this inscription, "Aux grands hommes, la
patrie reconnoissante."

We now entered the church of St. Etienne, in which there is an old
pulpit of carved wood, supported by a crouching human figure, with one
knee on the belly of a lion, which seems crushed by the superincumbent
weight, all formed of some hard wood in excellent preservation. There
are a few fine paintings also, and some tapestry, among which I
discovered, inappropriate enough in a church, a representation of
the siege of Tournay. We next steered for the celebrated tapestry
manufactory, but found that we applied for admission on a wrong day.
On our return we passed by the Hôpital de la Pieté, which is very
large, in order to see the Halle aux Vins, where may be conveniently
stowed not less than 200,000 casks. It is a warehouse for brandies and
vinegar as well as for wines. There are four immense buildings, of a
great many roofs, something like the large tobacco bonded warehouse at
the London Docks. It is quite a new building, and not yet completed.

We then looked into the calf market, which is also sufficiently
convenient for its purpose, the sale of cows and calves, whence they
are taken to be butchered at the public slaughter-houses in the
suburbs.

In the evening I visited one of the minor theatres, le Théâtre de
la Porte St. Martin, of which the music and decorations are very
respectable.

The next day, the 22d, I repaired to the Musée des Monumens Français,
a very interesting collection of the monuments which have been rescued
from the ruins of the churches destroyed during the revolution. There
are an immense number from St. Denys, the burial-place of the French
kings. They are arranged in different apartments, according to their
relative antiquity, from the time of king Clovis to the present. Some
are worthy of attention for their excellent workmanship, and others
for their ancient date. Among the former the monuments of Francis I.
and the Cardinal de Richelieu interested me; and among the latter
the tomb and monument of Abelard and Eloisa, in which are actually
contained the real ashes of these far-famed lovers. Here are also
specimens of painted glass of different ages, and some curious heathen
idols, supposed to have been worshipped by the ancient Gauls. Many of
the larger monuments are placed in a garden, suitably planted with
willows, cypresses, &c. In fact, this museum is the Westminster Abbey
of Paris, and well deserving of being visited by every traveller, who
will find there two conductors equally civil and intelligent.

I afterwards went to the celebrated National Institute, and found my
way into the library, which, though not so large as some others in
Paris, is convenient; and its books, which are all very handsomely
bound, are well arranged. A member, perceiving me to be a stranger,
very politely shewed me the Salle des Séances, where their papers and
communications are read. It is a comfortable warm room, and fitted up
with desks and chairs in a very handsome style, much superior to the
room in which our Royal Society hold their sittings. This gentleman,
upon my telling him that I had the honour of a degree in medicine,
said he should be very happy to introduce me to the president, and
invited me to assist at their next sitting.

I was then conducted by an under librarian through three or four small
apartments, lined with books, (in one of which he pointed out a
curious piece of antiquity from Egypt, a kind of shirt, 4000 years
old,) to the hall where the public sittings of the Institute are
held every quarter. This hall is plain, but neat and convenient. Its
antechambers, however, are magnificent. There are ten or twelve of the
most beautiful statues I ever saw of their kind, representing the most
celebrated philosophers and poets of France, all in sitting attitudes,
and clothed according to the costume of the times in which they
flourished.

There is another library under the same roof, which is a public one,
and of course larger than that of the Institute. I believe it is
called the Mazarine Library. There is in it a large terrestrial globe,
of seven or eight feet diameter, having the boundaries of the land
marked by a small silver fillet neatly inlaid. The globe is of metal,
and the water is painted blue. It is so placed as to be easily
referred to. Round this library there are some fine busts.

Behind the institute are placed the schools of painting and
architecture. I obtained admission into the gallery of models,
belonging to the school of architecture, and was much pleased by a
collection of models of the most celebrated buildings of Greece,
Palmyra, and Rome, executed in cork and plaster, in the same way as
Du Bourg's in London. Here, for the first time, the man who shewed
them to me asked for something _à boire_; and conceiving that his
gallery was not usually open to the public, he got it.

The following morning, the 23d, I went to the Royal Library, which
contains not less than 400,000 volumes, all in one gallery of the
shape of the Greek letter [Pi]. This is open to the public for
reference and amusement. The books are in general well bound. Here
are the famous globes of Coronelli, of nearly forty feet in
circumference. They are seen from the gallery, but they stand in a
room below it, and enter the gallery by a large aperture in the floor.
They have no merit but their size, which, however, does not prevent
them from being easily turned upon their axes. They have been made
fifty or sixty years; and of course the geographical discoveries which
have taken place since are not depicted. Upon every country there is a
representation of the dress and manners of its inhabitants; and on the
various seas of the different kinds of ships made use of on them.
There is also a model of the pyramids of Egypt, and a small group of
bronze statues, representing the great French writers, on the top of
Parnassus, a truly French idea!

Over the library of printed books, in two small rooms, there is a very
complete collection of prints, bound and arranged according to their
different schools. Here I saw several students copying from them.

In another part of the building is the library of manuscripts, where I
also saw some bibles superbly bound in velvet, and ornamented with
chased gold and precious stones. There are likewise exposed in glass
cases, original letters of Henry IV. to la belle Gabrielle, and the
Telemachus of Fenelon, in the hand-writing of that beautiful author.

Many valuable manuscripts, brought here from the Vatican and other
Italian libraries, should, in justice, have been restored with the
pictures and statues of that country; but, I suppose, not being of
such interest to the general mass of the people there, they have been
overlooked. There is also a valuable cabinet of Greek and Roman
medals, and other antiquities; but not knowing this circumstance when
I paid my visit there, I did not see them. The exterior of this large
building has nothing worthy of notice.

From the Royal Library I went to the Museum of Natural History, at the
Jardin des Plantes; and this is certainly a most complete collection
of every created being that could be procured. There are three noble
lions, as many lionesses, and four or five fine bears, one of which,
some years ago, devoured a man who had descended by a ladder into his
den, (a large open place inclosed in high walls,) for the purpose of
getting a piece of money which he had dropt.

The animals, natives of tropical climates, are inclosed in a large
circular building, kept comfortably warm by means of stoves. I was
interested by some camels, which have bred here, as well as by a fine
sagacious elephant. Every thing is perfectly clean, and well secured.
The collection of voracious birds is complete; and as you walk through
the garden, you are surrounded by fowls and ducks, sheep, goats, deer,
and other tame animals, of different kinds.

The Cabinet of Comparative Anatomy is not better than that of the
British Museum: but I saw some beautifully executed wax-work
representations of the progress of the chick in ovo; and a skeleton
of an amazing camelopard. Among the human skeletons is that of the
assassin of General Kleber, who was tortured in Egypt, with a view of
extorting from him the name of the person who had instigated him to
the rash act. The mode of torture used was the application of fire
to his hands, which he endured with surprising fortitude, without
uttering a word of confession. The effects of the fire upon the
bones of the hand are very visible.

The mineralogical collection, and that of serpents, small fishes, and
stuffed birds, I have not seen. The botanical garden does not appear
so good as that of Edinburgh.

There is a convenient anatomical theatre, for the prosecution of
comparative anatomy; and from one part of the garden, near a fine
cedar, planted by Jussieu, a good view of the city of Paris and its
neighbourhood presented itself.

In the evening I saw the celebrated Talma in the character of Hamlet.
It was but seldom that I could trace much resemblance between the
Hamlet of the Théâtre Français and that of our immortal Shakspeare.
From its very close similarity, however, in some parts, it must be an
adaptation from the English. But it has been necessarily very much
altered in order to suit it to the genius of the French stage, which
requires pieces of more regular construction, than those of the wildly
energetic Shakspeare, and that they should have the three unities, as
they are called. In vain I expected the fine opening scene upon the
platform. No ghost appeared during the whole performance; and I could
find nothing like the original till the soliloquy--"To be, or not to
be"--almost literally rendered.

The acting of M. Talma, however, is superior to any thing I have seen
in England; and although the ghost is not introduced, yet it is very
evident, from M. T.'s gestures, that he is not far off. The piece
concludes with the chamber scene, in which Hamlet endeavours to point
out to his mother the ghost of her murdered husband--"look where he
goes, out of the very portal"--also literally rendered. But there is
no Laertes, no Ophelia. The king is deposed. The queen, by the artful
and exquisitely acted insinuations and questions of Hamlet, is almost
made to confess her guilt, of which her suicide is a proof; and Hamlet
ascends the throne of his father. The lady who played the queen is an
excellent performer: I believe her name is Duchesnois. She is not
young, and is of low stature. Talma is not tall.

Next morning, the 24th, after enjoying the luxury of one of the warm
baths, with which Paris abounds, and for which you pay but one franc
and a quarter, with something to the attendant for towels, &c., I paid
my bill at the hotel, where I had lodged since my arrival, and went
with bag and baggage in a cabriolet to my quarters at Boulogne, in
order to unbend my mind a while from the fatigue of ever searching
after novelties.

And here, my dear friend, I must conclude this long epistle. It can of
course give you but little information. I have endeavoured to describe
what I saw faithfully; and generally under the impulse of the ideas
which they at first, _prima facie_, created. I must, therefore,
necessarily have committed some errors, but none, I think, of much
magnitude; these, if you will excuse, and think me not intrusive, at
another opportunity I shall continue my narration.

Yours ever.



LETTER III.


From my thatched mud apartment at Tinques, a miserable village between
St. Pol and Arras. May 26, 1816.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

In compliance with your request, I continue my little journal, and
shall be glad if it afford you half the entertainment which you have
been pleased to say the former part has done; for I fear that the most
interesting of my adventures have already been recounted.

Having learnt, soon after my arrival at my quarters, that the whole
division of Lieutenant-General Clinton was under orders to march on
the 27th Dec., towards the frontiers of Belgium, I determined to pass
the 25th and 26th in seeing the royal palaces and gardens in the
vicinity. Accordingly, on the 25th, Christmas-day, after having
attended the celebration of a high mass at the parish-church, which
was assisted by the rude but solemn music of two immense serpents; and
having witnessed something like a Roman Catholic religious procession,
I went to see the park and waterworks of St. Cloud.

This park, as it is called, is very different to our English parks,
being destitute of the fine open plains and lawns which are so common
to them, and which, indeed, with an Englishman, are as essential to
the existence of a park as its waving woods and sheets of water, or
its animated groups of sheep and deer. It is nothing but an extensive
grove of tall slender trees, like those of the groves in Kensington
Gardens, with narrow avenues cut through it in several directions.
There is, however, one very handsome mall, bordered by lofty stately
trees, of a sufficient width to hold fifty men abreast, and having on
one side a long row of little shops, like those on the public walk at
Tunbridge Wells, which are filled with toys and trinkets during the
three weeks' fair held here every September; and, on the other side,
(at the bottom of a wall which forms this promenade into a kind of
terrace,) flows the river Seine, which is here much wider than at
Paris. This promenade is entered near the bridge of St. Cloud, by a
handsome iron rail-fence, and leads to the cascades and basins of the
water-works.

The boasted cascade, as I saw it, is not superior to that at Bramham
Park in Yorkshire; and I dare say, to some others in England. Its
frogs, and toads, and crocodiles of lead, which swarm in and about it,
although, no doubt, they were esteemed vastly appropriate to the
aquatic scene by M. le Nôtre, are so many hideous colossuses, which
excite the disgust of the spectator, and his contempt of the false
taste which created them for any place but the borders of the river
Styx. There is, however, a most superb _jet d'eau_, which, as to
its height, nearly 100 feet, must give, I suppose, to the Icelandic
traveller, an idea of the celebrated geysers of that island.

I had no opportunity that day of seeing the interior of the palace;
but, from all accounts, I have not thereby lost much, most of its
furniture and paintings having been lately removed. It is situated
above the park, on a steep eminence, and must have a most beautiful
prospect of the meanderings of the river, and of Paris in the
distance.

The next day I went to see another royal chateau at Meudon, near
Sevres. Like that at St. Cloud, it stands upon a hill, and possesses
almost the same view. This was the nursery of the little king of Rome,
but appears to be now quite deserted, and much out of repair, the park
having been lately occupied by the Prussian artillery. Its terraces,
however, are in good order. They are very extensive; and under them
are hot-houses and green-houses of every description. The hills in its
neighbourhood are thickly planted with wood.

On my return I rode through the desolate courts of a large palace,
near that of Meudon, formerly inhabited by a princess of the
blood-royal, but now completely in ruins. The face of the country
hereabouts consists of rocky hills, the sides of which are in general
covered with vines or underwood. A sharp skirmish took place on these
heights when the allies advanced to Paris, on which occasion the
bridges at Sevres and St. Cloud were both blown up by the French, and
are now only repaired in a temporary manner.

The next day, the 27th, after seeing major-general O'Callaghan's
brigade, consisting of the 3d, or buffs, the 39th, and the 91st, march
off for Chantilly and its neighbourhood, and having procured leave to
join them after their arrival there, I returned with my friend Colonel
---- to Paris, who did me the honour to dine with me at my hotel,
after having been shopping together all the morning.

On my way to the Hôtel de Ville next day, I traversed many of the
quays and ports by the river side; of which the largest is the Port au
Blé, where the corn and flour brought by water to the Paris markets is
landed. But, unlike the quays of London, these are quite large enough
for the little traffic which appears to be carried on upon them. They
have no warehouses; but here and there are wooden huts, which are the
counting-houses of the merchants; and on the quays, almost close to
the water's edge, you see immense stacks of hay, of straw, and of
wood, and long rows of casks of wines and cider. The hay, thus
exposed, often becomes wet; and I have more than once, in fine
weather, seen the process of hay-making carried on upon these paved
quays, but with what advantage to it I leave you to judge.

The Hôtel de Ville, or Town Hall, is an old-fashioned and apparently
inconvenient building, of a quadrangular form, with a large court
in the middle; but as Paris cannot boast of the tumultuous
livery-meetings of London, it may perhaps be sufficiently large for
its principal purpose, the transacting of the judicial business of the
department. It forms one side of the Place de Grève, a spacious square
in which the public executions are carried into effect.

On my return I looked into the church of St. Louis St. Paul, formerly
belonging to the Jesuits. It appeared to me unusually plain,
containing but two or three paintings; but it was enriched, prior to
the revolution, by two most superb monuments, and several excellent
pictures. The figures of these monuments, I understand, were of
silver, having their draperies of the same precious metal gilt. They
represented four angels of the human size, holding two gold hearts,
containing the hearts of Louis XIII. and Louis XIV. The exterior of
the building is very highly finished, but possesses no leading feature
of much interest.

On the 29th I walked to one of the extremities of the town to see the
large military hospital at the Val de Grâce. It was originally built,
I believe, for a monastery, and has been a very noble edifice, but it
is now apparently out of repair. The chapel has been turned into a
military storehouse, and the dormitories and other parts now form a
sufficiently convenient military infirmary.

In the evening I went to the Opera: the performances were "Iphigènie
en Aulide," and "Flore et Zephyr." The music of the former is by
Gluck, and consequently learned and elegant, while that of the ballet,
of which I think I gave you an account in my last, is enchantingly
delicious.

Having seen the ballet before, I devoted my whole attention to the
music, by shutting my eyes and reclining on a vacant bench in the box,
and I certainly never experienced more gratification of the kind,
being now and then completely intoxicated by it. No doubt, you have
sometimes felt the same effect in a degree, and can therefore well
conceive the power which has been attributed to music by the ancient
medical writers, upon the human mind, when it was less civilized, but
consequently more susceptible of external impressions; indeed I almost
literally believe what we hear of Orpheus upon this subject.

The next morning I went to the Hôtel des Monnaies, where I saw the
collection of medals, which have been struck from time to time, in
order to commemorate the great events France has experienced since the
accession of Francis the first: they are of copper, and in general
well executed. They may, however, be procured either of gold or
silver, as I was informed by an English countess, who came there to
make inquiries for some which she had ordered to be made for her.

That evening I could not resist the inclination once more to hear
Madame Catalani, at the Théâtre des Italiens. The opera was "Il
Fanatico per la Musica," by Mayer, which has been often played in
London. Catalina's singing is infinitely preferable to any other which
I have heard in Paris, and, if I may judge from the manner in which
the theatre was filled, her talents are duly estimated by the French.
The house is not large, but newly and tastily decorated, and I dare
say she is making money there; although her income, as proprietor of
the theatre, is less sure than when in London she was performing at an
enormous salary. No ballet is played at this theatre.

On Sunday the 31st I repaired to the celebrated gallery of the Palais
de Luxembourg, in order to see the series of paintings, by Rubens,
descriptive of the principal events in the life of Marie de Medicis,
the queen of Henri IV. They are about twenty in number, all of a very
large size, and in excellent preservation. They have been called
Rubens' poem, and certainly with so much justice, that if an accurate
description of them were made in verse, it could not fail of becoming
in every particular an epic poem of the first order.

He has employed, with excellent judgment, a good deal of celestial
machinery, as it is called, and so intelligibly, that any one the
least versed in mythology can at once discover his meaning. I shall
always quote this fine collection as a forcible proof of the very
intimate alliance of painting to poetry; they are not merely sisters,
they are _twin_ sisters; and I now doubt whether Rubens, in the
enjoyment of the former, had not a richer prize than even Milton in
the possession of the latter.

There is another collection of smaller pictures here by Lesueur, which
is also much talked of, but certainly very much inferior to that just
noticed: it describes the life of St. Bruno, the founder of the order
of Carthusians; but unlike Rubens' divine poem, this is a mere insipid
matter-of-fact representation of the adventures of an individual, much
less interesting, to the generality of spectators, than Dr. Syntax or
Johnny Newcome.

In another wing of the palace there is a fine assemblage of views of
the sea-ports of France, exquisitely painted by Vernet, and by Hue a
living artist. In the view of Boulogne, by the latter, there existed a
few months ago a very good likeness of Bonaparte at the head of his
staff, ascending the heights on a review day: he was represented in
the act of giving charity to a crippled soldier; but lately, his
imperial countenance has been "_transmogrified_" to the ugly mug
of Marshal Any-body.

There are also a few good modern statues, among which the Baigneuse,
by Julien, is lovely, being almost equal, in my opinion, to the
far-famed Venus de Medicis: the French are very proud of this statue;
and indeed it must appear to every one, as it struck me, a first-rate
production of human art. The fine marble staircase and the ceilings
must also be noticed as very grand and striking.

The exterior of this palace, which is now the House of Peers, has
nothing very remarkable. It is a large regular building of a pure
style of architecture: but its gardens are almost as fine as those of
the Tuileries; they are, however, in bad condition, owing to the
encampment of the Prussians, which has only of late been broken up:
they were in small wooden huts, built in the principal walks and
avenues of the garden.

By the by, I must not omit to mention that in Rubens' gallery there
was a carpenter at work, mending the inlaid floor, although Sunday; a
pretty example of attention to the fourth commandment.

The church of St. Sulpice, of which I shall next take notice, is one
of the finest structures of its kind in Paris. Its architecture is
very chaste and beautiful, especially that of the interior, which has
more the air of our great religious edifices than French churches
usually have. It possesses many fine chapels, but the chapel of the
Virgin is the most venerable looking spot I have ever seen. Indeed I
was completely awe-struck by it, and almost instinctively returned, to
experience again the pleasing calm which its first appearance had
excited in me. Upon examining the outer wall of the building, I found
that this effect was produced by the ingenious manner in which its
altar piece, which is a _chef d'oeuvre_ in sculpture, received
its light: it is a statue of the Virgin and child, with a surrounding
representation of clouds and little cherubs, placed in a niche, which
is lighted by a small window over the head of the statue. The window
is not discernible, but I suppose it is formed of ground glass, or
something like it; at all events, the effect is almost magical, and
although no catholic, I see no impropriety, in such a vortex of vice
as Paris, in endeavouring by any means, even by an image or a
painting, to abstract the human mind, for one short moment, to ideas
above it.

This church, which is not old, I understand was one of Bonaparte's
favourite churches, and to shew it to more advantage, he pulled down
its surrounding houses, in order to form a large square before it, in
the centre of which he erected a very handsome fountain.

Near this square is the École de Médecine, a large and noble building,
enclosing an open court, from which you enter to the different lecture
rooms. Its style of architecture is pure and manly, and its interior,
as far as I could judge by looking through some of the windows, is
conveniently arranged. I went thither intending to have heard one of
Vauquelin's lectures on chemistry, but, it being holiday-time, there
was no admission. The fountain near it is also worthy of notice, from
its massive Grecian architecture, and its being a reservoir of the
waters from the celebrated aqueduct at Arcueil, which, on account of
their petrifying qualities, are brought to Paris, only, I suppose, to
be used medicinally.

In the evening I accompanied two friends to the parterre of the Opera
House. The performances were Les Badayeres and the ballet of Psyche:
the music of the opera, by Catel, was but indifferent, and poor Psyche
was too much bedeviled.

After the opera we resolved to end the year at the Café de France, in
the Palais Royal, where we supped, _à la mode Anglaise_, on oysters,
bread and butter, and beer, to the apparent astonishment and amusement
of not less than seventy or eighty Frenchmen.

On Monday, 1st January, I went a second time to the Jardin des
Plantes, in order to see that part of the Museum of Natural History
which I had not time to inspect on my former visit. But I found
that the porter had gone holiday-making so I contented myself by
observing the various live foreign animals which may be seen in
various parts of the garden, enclosed in proper fences, and by
ascending a prospect-mount, erected for the purpose of overlooking
Paris and its environs, of which, the day being clear, I had a very
fine view. Returning, I crossed the Pont du Jardin, formerly called
the Pont d'Austerlitz, a noble bridge of iron upon stone abutments;
this and the other iron bridge at Paris, the Pont des Arts, leading
to the National Institute, are the only two where they demand toll
from passengers.

I then walked all along the Boulevards to the Porte St. Denys, passing
the beautiful fountain on the Boulevard de Bondi. This is very large
and circular, and embellished with several well executed figures of
lions couchants, whose mouths serve for the passage of the water.
On my way I passed many groups of people all dressed in their
best clothes, amusing themselves by looking at the drolleries of
mountebanks and puppet shows, with which the Boulevards were swarming;
others were playing at games of skill and hazard, while some were
exercising in swings and round-abouts; indeed it was almost like an
English fair, and it appeared to me that all Paris was merry-making,
on account of the arrival of the new year.

In the evening I went to the Théâtre de la Gaieté, one of the minor
playhouses, but it was so filled by holiday folks that the only vacant
place was the stage box. This house is small and dirty, but the music
and dresses were good. A great many people in the boxes were eating
little holiday sweetmeats. On my return home I witnessed, for the
first time, a slight disturbance in one of the streets, and some
national guards about to break their way into a house.

The next day I repaired to the gallery of the Louvre, in order to
see a collection of the celebrated porcelain exposed for sale there,
from the manufactory at Sevres; and although I found that others
were only admitted upon shewing an order from a certain duke, to whom
I was referred, yet upon my telling the porter that I was a foreigner
about to leave Paris the next day, he very civilly permitted me to
walk up, without further trouble to his grace or myself. They shewed
me several most superb vases of very large dimensions, and a portrait
of Louis XVIII. as large as life, painted upon porcelain. I saw also a
very beautiful desert service of landscapes and sea views, and an
immense variety of inkstands, &c.; but as I am no great admirer of
nick-nackery, I passed by them without observing further than that
though the composition of this celebrated manufacture may be of a
finer texture than ours made at Worcester and elsewhere, yet that
they do not exceed us in the painting and gilding of it.

In the evening I went to witness one of the most abominable scenes
which human nature can possibly present,--a gambling table--but not
without having previously fortified myself against any attack which
might induce me to partake of its horrible iniquity. I first entered
into a large anteroom, in which were stationed two gens-d'armes, (for
strange to say, these sinks of vice are licensed and protected by the
French government,) and three or four men, one of whom asked me for my
hat and stick, which he hung upon a peg at the top of the room by
means of a long pole; near the peg was a number painted on the wall,
and he gave me a small wooden ticket with the same number marked on
it. I suppose there were at least 500 numbers, so extensive was this
den. I then entered a large room, in which was a table surrounded by
the wretches who confide in its dishonourable and ruinous traffic,
upon some of whose countenances might easily be traced the inward
distraction of their souls, while others, callous no doubt by use
to its variable fortune, sat round it with a sottish kind of
indifference. Each person had a short wooden hoe, with which he placed
his stake upon the red or black, as he thought proper, and with which
he brought his adversary's counters to him if he proved successful.

At each table, the men who presided, (the proprietors, I believe, of
the table,) called the bankers, were well dressed, and near them lay
long _rouleaux_ of dollars and louis. There were three tables in
three different rooms, for the convenience, it appeared to me, of the
different classes of gamesters; of those whose customary stake was but
a franc or two, as well as those who risked at each throw their ten or
twenty louis. The greatest apparent discipline was observed, nor was
there any noise or squabbling; and, from what a casual looker-on, like
myself, could see, the chances of the game were nearly equal. This,
however, cannot be the real case, or otherwise the proprietors of
these places could not afford to pay the immense sums which they do
to government for their licenses, which afford a very considerable
revenue, there being a great number of them established in the Palais
Royal.

The rooms were very much crowded and very hot, and I was soon glad to
quit for ever such a scene, into which nothing but a natural, although
perhaps not a laudable, curiosity had induced me to enter.

Repassing the entrance chamber, upon shewing my ticket and paying
three or four sous to the Cerberus of this hell, I regained my hat and
cane, and escaped a better man, I trust, than when I was admitted,
inasmuch as I there received a lesson which will ever prevent me from
resorting, under any circumstances, to a place where loss is ruin, and
success dishonour.

I then went to the celebrated Café des Mille Colonnes, but was
disappointed in not seeing the beautiful _Limonnadière_, who, I
understand, was formerly a _chere amie_ of Murat, and by whom she was
enabled to become the proprietress of this expensive coffee-house. In
her room, however, sat, like a wax figure, to be stared at by every
one, a young woman of a tolerable degree of beauty, very superbly set
off by trinkets of all descriptions, transferred to her, I believe,
for the mere purpose of attraction, by her more beautiful predecessor.
The coffee-room is very large, and fitted up with nothing but
looking-glasses and imitations of marble. Near the centre is a copy of
the Venus de Medicis, which, with its twenty or thirty columns and
pilasters, is reflected in every direction; but it would be difficult
to count, in any one part, its 1000 columns, or even 200 of them.

The next morning, 3d Jan. I started to join my regiment at Creil, but
again returned to Paris upon duty, not having tasted any thing that
day, from five in the morning until eleven at night, but a crust of
bread and a glass or two of brandy; a slight privation, which rendered
a cold fowl, a bottle of Burgundy, and a comfortable bed, the more
cheering and acceptable.

Having accomplished the business which caused my return, I next day
promenaded two or three hours in the gardens of the Tuileries, the
St. James's Park of Paris. They are the boasted _chef d'oevre_ of
Le Nôtre, and in summer, no doubt, are very pretty. There are many
fine statues, most of them copied after the most celebrated antiques,
and four or five fountains, but which only play on holidays. I do
not recollect to have seen any benches, which are so common on our
promenades, but in their stead there are persons who let out chairs,
by the hour, for two of which, I believe, you pay a penny.

Returning by the Boulevards, I saw, for the first time, some French
cuirassiers, or heavy dragoons in armour: the cuirass is made of iron,
and does not appear to be very inconvenient to the wearer, although I
am told that the front and back pieces weigh together 24 pounds; but
it would be a great improvement in the martial appearance of the men,
if their large loose woollen breeches were concealed by something like
the Highland kilt.

The same day I saw reviewed two battalions of the newly organized
Garde Royale, formed principally from the old imperial guard, who
_distinguished_ themselves at the battle of Fleurus, as the French
call our Waterloo; but I did not think much of their appearance. Their
martial music was too noisy, the sound of their clarionets being
overwhelmed by that of their drums and cymbals, which are too large
and too often introduced.

In the evening I went to the house of a person styling himself the
Abbé Faria, a professor of animal magnetism, in order to see its
effects upon those persons susceptible of its influence. The Abbé is
a stout muscular man, of a mulatto complexion, and of a countenance
which has more of the knave than the fool in it. The room was filled
with the best of company of all ages, among whom I met Mr. L. and his
friend Count B. Previous to the Abbé's lecture and the exhibition of
his powers, L. and myself were anxious to know if we were susceptible.
He accordingly requested me to shut my eyes, and applied his finger to
my forehead and temples; but he said I was too robust for his purpose,
but that poor L., who I suppose was trembling as much as if Old Nick
himself had put his claws upon his forehead, was susceptible. The
Count, who, _entre nous_, appears to be a sound sterling man, was
also deemed of too robust a habit.

After a short lecture, in which he affected to treat the subject in a
rational philosophical point of view, and to talk very finely of the
influence of the soul upon the body, and so forth, he called from the
company a lad about sixteen years of age, who placed himself in a
large easy chair in the centre of the room, and retiring himself three
or four paces from him, asked if he wished to sleep,--_Oui_ was the
answer; accordingly the lad threw himself back upon the squab-lining
of the chair, and in a few minutes after, fetching two or three deep
sighs, was apparently in a sound sleep. He was asked if he slept
tranquilly--he answered _non_, with the drawling tone of a person
sleeping. The Abbé then advanced to the chair, and moving his hand
with an air of command, said, "_Calmez, calmez_," loud enough to have
awakened all the people in the room, even had they been sleeping as
you and I sleep. After a short time, having answered _Oui_ to the
question _Dormez vous profondément?_ the Abbé asked him how he
felt,--whether his complaint in the chest was alleviated? to which he
replied in the affirmative. He was next asked what must be done for a
person afflicted with rheumatism, to which question he answered with
the apparent judgment of Hippocrates; for you must know that a person
when thus under the influence of somnambulism, as the Abbé chose to
designate it, has the power of seeing the diseases, and of stating
the proper remedies for them to any one of the company whom he may
be desired to fix his attention upon.

The chair was now taken by a young lady, who did not fall asleep so
soon as her predecessor, owing, as the Abbé said, to her too great
agitation of mind. Two or three "_Calmezs_," however, tranquillized
her, and she became a second Galen, answering to many questions upon
the improving state of health of a young man who had been apparently
dying of consumption, but restored by the wonderful operations of this
fair enchantress and the black magician.

A French colonel then sat down, but his scepticism was at first too
great to permit him to be influenced, for you must know that it
requires implicit faith and great tranquillity of mind in order to
be made susceptible. He got up in a profuse state of perspiration,
without having had a glimpse even of this new light. A very stout
gentleman next sat down, but professing himself an unbeliever of
course arose again no wiser than at first. The French colonel now
mustering all his faith, again disposed himself to be acted on, and
consequently was so. He slept, however, uncomfortably, and the Abbé
asked him if he would drink any thing to refresh him. He answered,
Yes. The Abbé then gave him some plain water, which he told him was
weak spirit and water with sugar, and asked him if he did not taste
them. He said he tasted the spirit but not the sugar. He was asked if
he saw his own heart--Yes. Is it in good order?--Yes. How are your
lungs?--Bad. Do you wish to know what remedies are applicable for
them?--Yes. Come to me again to-morrow at two o'clock--I cannot; I
have an appointment at that hour. Come to me on Sunday--Very well;
at two o'clock. The Abbé then awakened him "_secundum artem_," and
asked him if he recollected any part of the conversation with him,
to which, to the evident confusion of the Abbé, he replied that he
was to come to him again on Sunday, but that he recollected nothing
else.

A little girl of five or six years old was afterwards placed in the
chair, but the Abbé could not affect her.

By the by, I have forgotten to state that he professed to have the
power of paralyzing any part of the body merely by forcibly exclaiming
_Paralysez_, as he did when the young lady was the subject of his
skill; and that this magnetic sleep is so far from refreshing, that
the young man who was under its influence not more than ten minutes,
awoke yawning and quite exhausted by it. So much for animal magnetism,
and its somnifying qualities, which, although many of the first class
of Parisians have implicit faith in it, I have no doubt you will
consider with me mere charlatanism.

The next morning, after lounging away two or three hours in the garden
of the Tuileries and on the Boulevards, studying men and manners as
they are exhibited in Paris, I went into one of the Panoramas, where I
saw a view of Naples, represented under a hazy Mediterranean noon. The
effect was good; but although I made due allowance for its having been
painted seven years, it appeared much inferior as to execution and
finishing to those we have seen in London. The comparison made me more
than ever sensible of the merit of our ingenious countryman Barker.

On the 6th I ascended Mont Martre, and discovered the spot from which
the panoramic view of Paris was taken which was exhibited in London
two years ago; but the weather was so unfavourable, that I did not
recognize its similarity to the scene before me so precisely as no
doubt I otherwise should have done.

Returning, I went to see the foundation of a most superb religious
edifice, which Bonaparte was about to complete, as a kind of military
chapel, under the name of the Temple of Glory. It appears at present
very like one of the celebrated ruins of Palmyra, being nothing more
than a collection of the bases and lower parts of the shafts of its
intended columns. But these are so justly proportioned, and so
classically placed, that it is easy to conceive what would be its
magnificent effect if ever finished.

It is also most advantageously situated, being at the end of one of
the streets passing from the Place Vendôme, in the centre of which
stands the celebrated triumphal column, erected to the glory of the
French armies, and formed in great part of the cannon taken by them in
Germany.

This pillar of vain glory is not so high as the Monument of London,
nor so well terminated at the top. Like the ancient Roman columns,
built for similar purposes, it is surrounded by a belt, encircling
the shaft in a spiral direction, on which are represented the
various actions of the campaign, that terminated with the battle of
Austerlitz, and the occupation of Vienna. These bas-reliefs, however,
although no doubt extremely flattering to French vanity, spoil
altogether the architectural beauty of the column, and would certainly
have been seen to more advantage on the interior of the walls of the
Temple of Glory, or some such building.

The Théâtre des Italiens, where Catalani performs, is a building
deserving notice, as a fine piece of architecture; and, like the
Théâtre de l'Odeon, forms one side of a small square, which renders
the approach to it safe and easy; for in this respect the Opera House
and Théâtre Français are as inconveniently situated as our Drury-lane
or Covent-garden. Speaking of the external appearance of the French
theatres, the Théâtre de l'Opera Comique ought not to be passed by
without observing the well-sculptured _caryatides_ which embellish
its front.

The next day, Sunday, the 7th of January, I visited the Conservatoire
des Arts et Métiers. This is an establishment in the old priory of St.
Martin, for the deposition of all patent machines, which are here
exhibited to the public for their improvement and amusement. Specimens
also of the various manufactures of France in cotton, silk, wool, and
leather, are here deposited, with the tools, utensils, and machines
employed in making them.

One long gallery is filled with models of different manufactories,
such as powder-mills, of which you see the graining-room, and
drying-room, with the different implements so arranged as if the
mill were actually at work. There are also brick and lime-kilns,
iron-founderies, sawing-mills, splitting-mills, porcelain
manufactories, and potteries, oil of vitriol works, and every kind
of public manufactory, all made after a certain scale, and with
such apparent precision, that they give perhaps to a spectator a
more complete idea of their several uses than if he were in the
very manufactories which they represent. I was amused by an immense
collection of little windmills and watermills, both under-shot and
over-shot, with their sieves, &c.

They exhibit also a great variety of lamps, oil being usually burnt in
France, and many different kinds of locks, one of which, a door-lock,
had an ingenious piece of mechanism attached to it, for the purpose of
seizing any one by the hand who should attempt to pick it. But, in
general, the show of locks, as well as every article of hardware and
cutlery, was much inferior to the hard and sharp ware of English make.

The old church of the priory is filled with agricultural implements
and fire-engines. The former, as far as I am a judge, are much ruder
than ours; but different kinds of land must certainly require
different kinds of ploughs and harrows, &c. The fire-engines are
numerous, among which I observed one of Bramah's. I saw too a very
clever kind of fire-escape, consisting of a series of ladders, of
different widths, which are placed upright on a small truck running on
four low wheels, and which, when brought to the required situation,
are worked up one above another to any height, by the means of a
windlass. Among a variety of very beautiful time-pieces, one is
remarkable for the complicated structure of its pendulum. This is made
upon the old English principle, of two self-correcting metals, which
you know thus keep it of the same length in all temperatures and
climates; but the different pieces of metal are joined together in
a curious manner, the use of which I do not understand. The ball of
this pendulum is a little chronometer, keeping, they say, exact time
with the large one, which _itself_ preserves in motion. To another
time-piece, made by a German, there is attached on the top a very
pretty little orrery, inclosed in a glass sphere, on which are
engraved, with fluoric acid, the different, constellations, &c. Here
is also the car in which was performed the first aërial voyage ever
undertaken; but it is a clumsy, heavy thing, of the size and shape of
a large slipper-bath.

On Monday, the 8th of January, I left Paris with regret, but with the
hope of again visiting it, and joined my regiment at Creil, a poor
dirty town, near Chantilly, where I was obliged to content myself with
a nasty unfloored apartment in a miserable auberge. During the first
fortnight I scarcely stirred from the house, the surrounding country
being all under water.

On the 28th of January, having received orders to march for the
frontiers, I left Creil, after sojourning there three weeks, during
which nothing occurred to me worthy of notice, but a trip to
Chantilly, the former residence of the Prince de Condé. But little now
remains of that which was undoubtedly the finest chateau in France,
excepting the stables, and their necessary accompaniments, then
occupied by a detachment of our waggon train, being large enough for
the accommodation of 300 horses. They are at some distance from the
high road, from which they look like the chateau itself. A book is
published, with twenty descriptive plates, giving an account of the
chateau and grounds as they formerly existed, a copy of which I
purchased on the spot.

At Amiens, where I had leave to halt for a few days, I by good luck
got myself billeted on the house of a young gentleman with whom I
travelled from Boulogne sur Mer on my first arrival in this country.
I found his father a sensible, well-educated man, but low and
desponding on account of the general distressed state of his
commercial connexions, and his mother an active domestic woman,
although of a rich and superior family. Being received with great
cordiality, I of course found myself very comfortable. With this
family I might have boarded for four Napoleons per month, including
every thing,--about 40_l._ per annum[1].

          [1] And I saw also an excellent lodging, fit for any
          gentleman's family, at 6_l._ per month.

Amiens is a fine old town, they say of 60,000 inhabitants; but unless
they are closely packed, I should think of not more than 40,000. It
is clean, but dull; and there is only one public building worthy of
notice, the cathedral. This is certainly very fine, but wants a lofty
spire or a handsome tower to make it what it ought to be. It was
built by the English, when the good Henry VI. was King of France,
and in many parts resembles the edifices in England erected during
the same period, especially in its nave, which the French speak
of proverbially, and which I think is the only part of English
fabrication. It is in the form of a cross, as usual, and has two low
square towers at the west end; these have an awkward appearance, and
are badly proportioned to the rest of the building, the one being
lower considerably than the other, but why I do not know, the
necessity of this deviation from architectural uniformity not being
sufficiently evident to pass with me as faultless. The grand entrance
is highly ornamented by an immense number of sculptured busts and
animals, with full-length figures. The interior of the nave is very
chaste and elegant, and the wood-work of the stalls in the choir is
the best finished thing of the kind I ever saw.

There are a few good paintings and statues in the chapels, among which
the statue of the Enfant Pleurant is well worthy of admiration. It is
placed behind the high altar, and was erected to the memory of some
former prior of the cathedral, but it is unfortunately damaged a
little. The stained glass windows are also good and appropriate.

Amiens has been a regularly fortified town; but nothing now remains of
its works except an old defenceless citadel, and its ruined ramparts.
Strangers are however denied access to the citadel, as is generally
the case in the fortified towns of France, although it merely serves
at present for a barrack to the legion of the department. The
ramparts, or boulevards, have been planted, and are a pretty
promenade. Amiens is situated on the Somme, the stream of which,
although small here, is very rapid, and turns several mills in the
city and vicinity. It intersects the town in many parts, and affords
more opportunities of cleanliness than the inhabitants take advantage
of. I went twice to the theatre-once to the parterre for a franc; and
another night took the gentleman on whom I was billeted to the boxes,
paying two francs for each. The company is very good, and the house
convenient and tastily decorated.

Here also is a place like our Exeter 'Change; but the goods there
exposed are very far inferior to ours in every respect. The corn
market is the only other building of note, besides an old hospital,
the Hôtel Dieu.

After a week's residence at Amiens, I came on to St. Pol, and found my
regiment quartered in its neighbourhood, in the most miserable dirty
villages I suppose you ever knew; at one of which, from whence I now
write, I took up my abode, with the requisite resignation to my lot,
content with a good wood fire, a mattress or two, and a sound thatched
roof.

On the 18th of March I set out for Cambray, through Arras and Douay,
the two principal cities in this neighbourhood. Arras contains about
20,000 inhabitants, but is irregularly built, and badly paved. It
possessed formerly a very handsome cathedral, which, I believe, with
all its churches, except one, were demolished by the frenzy of the
revolutionists, during the reign of terror, as it is now and then
called. A new one in its place has been commenced, but has not been
proceeded with for many years. When completed, it will be a very
superb edifice, of Grecian architecture.

The library, which belonged to the clergy of the late cathedral, is
still in good preservation, and in a very handsome building which
formed part of the accompanying Abbey of St. Wast. Most of the books
are theological; but there are also some good collections of prints
and manuscripts. At one end there is a paltry museum of subjects in
natural history, "an alligator stuffed," a comb which formerly formed
part of the toilette of King Dagobert, one of the first race of French
monarchs, and with which I arranged my dishevelled locks, an old
queen's shoe, and a few other paltry antiquities not worthy notice.

The theatre at Arras is dirty, and the company bad; but there are
occasionally very good concerts, at one of which I was much diverted
with the attempt of an amateur to amuse the audience by his singing,
which undoubtedly he did, but not in the manner his egregious vanity
led him to suppose.

A Mademoiselle Noyen was the principal singer, and certainly of no
mean talents. She was living at the same hotel where I chanced to be,
and I had frequent opportunities of listening to her as she was
practising her lesson for the evening.

Arras is one of the towns on which Marshal Vauban exercised his
uncommon talents as an engineer. It is one of the largest fortresses
in France, but, with the exception of the citadel, might easily be
taken by the present mode of warfare. I was at least an hour walking
round its ramparts, which are still kept in pretty good condition. In
consequence of being formerly thought impregnable, one of the gates
long bore this inscription:

    "Quand les Français prendront Arras,
    Les souris mangeront les chats."

It was, however, taken by Louis XIII.; and this distich was then
modified by removing the _p_ from the word _prendront_, thus
making it _rendront_. Arras formerly belonged to the Spaniards,
who built a very large square, surrounded by piazzas and shops, or
_magazins_. There is also a smaller square, at one end of which
is the Hôtel de Ville, a very fine old structure, with an immensely
high tower, surmounted with a large sculptured crown of excellent
workmanship. The barracks are spoken of as the best in France, but
they are apparently much less convenient than those of the fortified
towns in England.

On the 20th I set out in the diligence for Douai, at six o'clock in
the morning; and although its distance from Arras is not more than six
leagues and a half, I was five hours on the road. Douai is a large
city, of 15,000 souls, but capable of containing many more, being in a
great measure deserted. It is strongly fortified, but the works are
rapidly hastening to decay. Here is a large handsome square, the
streets also are well paved, and have the rare convenience of a raised
foot-pavement in many of them. But the weather was so rainy, that I
proceeded as quickly as possible to Cambray in a returning cabriolet,
which luckily I found at the hotel. The Danish contingent of 5000 men,
commanded by the Prince of Hesse, was in the neighbourhood. They
appeared very well liked by the inhabitants on whom they were
billeted, who styled them _braves gens_. Like the English, they
wear a red uniform, and are very well appointed; but their knowledge
of the modern art of war, like Michael Cassio's, can be "but from
bookish theory."

I reached Cambray about five o'clock, but found it so full of English,
it being the head-quarters of the army, that I went to two inns, and
could not find house-room. I then applied for a billet on some
inhabitant from the British commandant, but he was a little sulky at
being intruded upon after office-hours, so I determined upon trying
for admission at some other inn, and found a good table d'hôte and
clean bed-room at the Petit Canard, with tolerable company, and
reasonable charges[2].

          [2] Some of our officers here board with the people on whom
          they are quartered for the trifling sum of two francs per
          diem, 1_s._ 8_d._ English, dining at their own hour, and in
          very handsome style; but then they drink beer instead of
          wine, which is reckoned very dear in this part, two or three
          francs per bottle.

Cambray is not a handsome town: the large _Place_ is irregularly
built; and there is not one public building of any beauty. The
cathedral has been destroyed, nothing of it having escaped but an
old long building, which is now a kind of picture-gallery, where
there are a few small good scriptural pieces, the coffin containing
the ashes of the immortal Fenelon, and a monument to the memory of
some former bishop. There is a plain marble bust of Fenelon at the
foot of his coffin, which is placed upon a stand at one end of the
room. The coffin is quite plain, of oak, bound round here and there
with red tape, and sealed with the seal of the bishoprick. The frail
old tenement, in which the remains of this beautiful writer are
deposited, I believe is inclosed in this outer one, which I kissed
with a literary veneration.

The abbey church of St. Sepulchre is worthy of notice on account
of some very excellent paintings, executed to represent marble
bas-reliefs attached to the walls; the deception is the most complete
I ever witnessed, one more especially in the sacristy.

The barracks were occupied by the guards, who astonish the natives by
the prodigal use of their money; but they were, nevertheless, not in
much estimation by the gentry of Cambray and its neighbourhood, being,
I suppose, too high to submit to the suppleness of French manners,
which require a _bon jour_ and a _doff_ of the hat at every
rencontre. Cambray is one of the strongest places in our possession. I
walked round the citadel, and examined that part of the wall where the
British escaladed, under the command of Sir William Douglass, upon
the last march of the allies to Paris. The storming party _bivouaced_
the night previous to the assault in a burying-ground, just without
the Valenciennes gate, to which many a poor fellow returned next night
to _bivouac_ eternally! I went in the evening to an instrumental
concert at the Hôtel de Ville, where the apparent gentility and beauty
of the audience vied with the precision and execution of the
orchestra. Cambray is well supplied with fish and vegetables, at a
very low rate.

Next day I returned by another road on foot to Arras, in company with
a fellow-pedestrian, whom I overtook on my road, not displeased with
my little excursion.

On the 27th of April I proceeded to Bethune from Arras on foot,
preferring this mode of travelling to that by the diligence, in which
you are almost completely prevented from seeing any part of the
country through which you are travelling; the glass window, which just
serves for the admission of a little light, not being above eight or
ten inches square. The day was fine, the road good, and the prospect
from it beautiful, looking over an immense extent of a fine corn
country, thickly studded with towns and villages, and their
surrounding woods, bounded by lovely blue hills, which I contemplated
with my telescope in perfect rapture.

    "Heavens! what a goodly prospect spreads around!"

The colouring was just like that of Teniers; and here I first felt the
real value of his productions.

Bethune is a small but very strong town, containing nothing remarkable
but its chime of bells and old brick church. The former play every
quarter of an hour; and the hour is twice sounded, once at the proper
time, and once, by way of warning, half an hour before. I returned
next day, taking in my way the ruined abbey at Mont St. Eloy, near
Arras, another mournful victim of the revolution.

I here close my little narration, and shall soon set out in search of
more novelty, but in what direction I have not yet determined. Hoping
this, however, may not prove uninteresting, I remain always,

Your affectionate friend.


Hesdin, between St. Pol and Montreuil, 6th of June, 1816.

P.S. The foregoing letter has been hitherto unavoidably detained, but
I have now an opportunity of sending it to you from this place, where
I am on an excursion to see the fields of Cressy and Agincourt, so
interesting to an Englishman.

The rain has fallen in torrents ever since I came here: not having
therefore a _fair_ opportunity to judge of this town, I can tell
you no more, than that it is said to contain 4,000 inhabitants, and
that it is fortified. Indeed in this part of the country, you cannot
journey five leagues in any direction, without finding yourself
stopped at the gates of some fortified place, for the revision of your
passports. Pointing to the hilt of the sword will not now suffice as
before.

Once more adieu, my dear friend! Believe me ever

Most truly yours,


THE END.



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