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The Idler in France
by Marguerite Gardiner
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THE IDLER IN FRANCE

By MARGUERITE GARDINER, THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON

1841.



CHAPTER I.

NISMES.

I have omitted to notice the route to this place, having formerly described the greater portion of it. I remarked a considerable improvement in the different towns we passed through: the people look cleaner, and an air of business has replaced the stagnation that used to prevail, except in Marseilles and Toulon, which were always busy cities.

Nismes surpasses my expectations, although they had been greatly excited, and amply repays the long detour we have made to visit it.

When I look round on the objects of antiquity that meet my eye on every side, and above all on the Amphitheatre and Maison Carree, I am forced to admit that Italy has nothing to equal the two last: for if the Coliseum may be said to surpass the amphitheatre in dimensions, the wonderful state of preservation of the latter renders it more interesting; and the Maison Carree, it must be allowed, stands without a competitor. Well might the Abbe Barthelemy, in his Voyage d'Anacharsis, call it the masterpiece of ancient architecture and the despair of modern!

The antiquities of Nismes have another advantage over those of Italy: they are kept wholly free from the disgusting entourage that impairs the effect of the latter; and in examining them in the interior or exterior, no risk is incurred of encountering aught offensive to the olfactory nerves, or injurious to the chaussure.

We devoted last evening to walking round the town, and so cloudless was the sky, so genial the air, and so striking the monuments of Roman splendour, that I could have fancied myself again transported to Italy.

Our inn, the Hotel du Midi, is an excellent one; the apartments good, and the cuisine soignee. In this latter point the French hotels are far superior to the Italian; but in civility and attention, the hosts of Italy have the advantage.

We had no sooner dined than half-a-dozen persons, laden with silk handkerchiefs and ribands, brocaded with gold and silver, and silk stockings, and crapes, all the manufacture of Nismes, came to display their merchandise. The specimens were good, and the prices moderate; so we bought some of each, much to the satisfaction of the parties selling, and also of the host, who seemed to take a more than common interest in the sale, whether wholly from patriotic feelings or not, I will not pretend to say.

The Maison Carree, of all the buildings of antiquity I have yet seen, is the one which has most successfully resisted the numerous assaults of time, weather, Vandalism, and the not less barbarous attacks of those into whose merciless hands it has afterwards fallen. In the early part of the Christian ages it was converted into a church, and dedicated to St.-Etienne the Martyr; and in the eleventh century it was used as the Hotel-de-Ville. It was then given to a certain Pierre Boys, in exchange for a piece of ground to erect a new hotel-de-ville; and he, after having degraded it by using a portion of it as a party-wall to a mean dwelling he erected adjoining it, disposed of it to a *Sieur Bruyes, who, still more barbarous than Pierre Boys, converted it into a stable. In 1670, it was purchased by the Augustin monks from the descendants of Bruyes, and once more used as a church; and, in 1789, it was taken from the Augustin monks for the purposes of the administration of the department. From that period, every thing has been done for its preservation. Cleared from the mean houses which had been built around it, and enclosed by an iron palisade, which protects it from mischievous hands, it now stands isolated in the centre of a square, or place, where it can be seen at every side. Poldo d'Albenas, a quaint old writer, whose book I glanced over to-day, attributes the preservation of the Maison Carree to the fortunate horoscope of the spot on which it stands. His lamentations for the insults offered to this building are really passionate.

The Maison Carree is not square, though its denomination might lead one to suppose it to be so, being nearly eighty feet long, and only thirty-eight feet wide. Elevated on a base of cut stone, it is ascended by a flight of steps, which extends the length of the base in front. The walls of the building are of a fine white stone, and are admirably constructed.

The edifice has thirty fluted columns, with Corinthian capitals beautifully sculptured, on which rests the architrave, with frieze and cornice. This last is ornamented with sculpture; and the frieze, with foliage finely executed.

The entrance is by a portico, open on three sides, and supported by two columns, included in the thirty already named, of which six form the front, and extend to the fourth, when commences the wall of the building, in which the other columns are half imbedded, being united in the building with its architrave. The fronton, which is over the portico, has no ornament in the centre; neither has the frieze nor architrave: but some holes mark where the bronze letters of an inscription were once inserted.

This inscription has been conjectured, by the ingenious mode of placing on paper the exact dimensions of the holes which formerly contained the letters of it, and is now said to be as follows:—

C. CAESARI AUGUSTI. F. COS. L. CAESARI AUGUSTI F. COS. DESIGNATO PRINCIPIBUS JUVENTUTES.

But as more holes are found than would be filled by these letters, the conclusion does not seem to me to be justified.

At the far end of the portico is the door of entrance, the only opening by which light is admitted to the building. It is very lofty, and on each side is a pilaster; beneath the cornice are two long cut stones, which advance like a kind of architrave, pierced by a square hole of above twelve inches, supposed to have been intended to support a bronze door.

The original destination of this beautiful edifice still furnishes a subject for discussion among the antiquaries; some asserting it to have been erected by the Emperor Adrian in honour of Plotina, while others maintain it to have been a forum.

At present, it is used as a museum for the antiquities discovered at Nismes, and contains some admirable specimens. Among these are a torso in marble of a Roman knight, in a cuirass, and another colossal torso, with a charming little draped statue seated in a curule chair, and holding a cornucopia in the left hand; a cinerary monument, enriched with bassi-relievi, representing a human sacrifice; a bronze head of Apollo, much injured; and a Janus.

A funereal monument found in the neighbourhood of Nismes in 1824, offers a very interesting object, being in a good state of preservation. It is richly decorated, and by the inscription is proved to have been that of Marcus Attius, aged twenty-five years, erected to him by his mother Coelia, daughter of Sextus Paternus.

So fine is the proportion, so exquisite is the finish, and so wonderful is the preservation of the Maison Carree, that I confess I had much more pleasure in contemplating its exterior, than in examining all that it contains, though many of these objects are well worth inspection.

I should like to have a small model of it executed in silver, as an ornament for the centre of a table; but it would require the hand of a master to do justice to the olive leaves of the capitals of the columns; that is, if they were faithfully copied from the original.

It was, if I remember rightly, Cardinal Alberoni who observed that this beautiful building ought to be preserved in a golden etui, and its compactness and exquisite finish prove that the implied eulogium was not unmerited.

I have nowhere else noticed the introduction of olive leaves in Corinthian capitals instead of those of the acanthus; the effect of which is very good. A design was once formed of removing the Maison Carree to Versailles. Colbert was the originator of this barbarous project, which, however, was fortunately abandoned from the fear of impairing, if not destroying, the beauty of the building. The Emperor Napoleon is said to have entertained a similar notion, and meant to grace Paris with this model of architectural perfection; but it was found to be too solidly built to admit of removal, and he who could shake empires, could not stir the Maison Carree.

The transportation of antiquities from their original site can never be excused, except in cases where it was the only means of insuring their preservation. All the power of association is lost when they are transferred to other places; and the view of them ceases to afford that satisfaction experienced when beheld where they were primarily destined to stand. I can no more fancy the Maison Carree appropriately placed in the bustle and gaiety of Paris, than I could endure to see one of the temples at Paestum stuck down at Charing Cross.

One loves, when contemplating such precious memorials of antiquity, to look around on the objects in nature, still wearing the same aspect as when they were reared. The hills and mountains, unlike the productions of man, change not; and nowhere can the fragments of a bygone age appear to such advantage as on the spots selected for their erection, where their vicinity to peculiar scenery had been taken into consideration.

We spent a considerable time in examining the Amphitheatre, and so well is it preserved, that one can hardly bring one's self to believe that so many centuries have elapsed since it was built; and that generation after generation has passed away, who have looked on this edifice which now meets my view, so little changed by the ravages of that ruthless conqueror Time, or the still more ruthless Visigoths who converted it into a citadel, flanking the eastern door with two towers. In 737 Charles Martel besieged the Saracens, and set fire to it, and after their expulsion it continued to be used as a citadel.

The form of this fine building is elliptical, and some notion of its vast extent may be formed, when it is stated to have been capable of containing above 17,000 spectators.

Its facade consists of two rows of porticoes, forming two galleries one over the other, composing sixty arcades, divided by the same number of Tuscan pilasters in the first range, and of Doric columns in the upper, and an attic, which crowns all. Four principal doors, fronting the four cardinal points, open into the amphitheatre, divided at nearly equal distances one from the other.

The attic has no arcades, pilasters, or columns; but a narrow ledge runs along it, which was probably used for the purpose of approaching the projecting consoles, 120 in number, placed in couples at equal distances between two columns, and pierced with a large hole, which corresponds with a similar one in the cornice, evidently meant for securing the awnings used to prevent the spectators from being inconvenienced by the rain or sun.

These awnings did not extend to the arena, which was usually left open, but were universally adopted in all the Roman amphitheatres, after their introduction by Q. Catullus. The vast extent and extraordinary commodiousness of the amphitheatres erected by the Romans, prove not only the love of the sports exhibited in them entertained by that people, but the attention paid to their health and comfort by the architects who planned these buildings. The numerous vomitories were not amongst the least important of these comforts, securing a safe retreat from the theatre in all cases of emergency, and precluding those fearful accidents that in our times have not infrequently occurred, when an alarm of fire has been given. The mode of arrangements, too, saved the spectators from all the deleterious results of impure air, while the velarium preserved them from the sun. But not only were the spectators screened from too fervid heat, but they could retreat at pleasure, in case of rain or storm, into the galleries, where they were sheltered from the rain. Our superior civilization and refinement have not led to an equal attention to safety and comfort in the mode of our ingress and egress from theatres, or to their ventilation; but perhaps this omission may be accounted for by the difference of our habits from those of the Romans. Public amusements were deemed as essential to their comfort, as the enjoyment of home is to ours; and, consequently, while we prefer home—and long may we continue to do so—our theatres will not be either so vast or so commodious as in those times and countries, where domestic happiness was so much less understood or provided for.

The erection of this magnificent edifice is attributed to Vespasian, Titus, or Domitian, from a fragment of an inscription discovered here some fourteen or fifteen years ago, of which the following is a transcript:—

VII. TRI. PO.....

And as only these three filled the consulate eight times since Tiberius, in whose age no amphitheatre had been built in the Roman provinces, to one of them is adjudged its elevation.

Could I only remember one half the erudition poured forth on my addled brain by the cicerone, I might fill several pages, and fatigue others nearly as much as he fatigued me; but I will have pity on my readers, and spare them the elaborate details, profound speculations, ingenious hypotheses, and archaiological lore that assailed me, and wish them, should they ever visit Nismes, that which was denied me—a tranquil and uninterrupted contemplation of its interesting antiquities, free from the verbiage of a conscientious cicerone, who thinks himself in duty bound to relate all that he has ever heard or read relative to the objects he points out.

Even now my poor head rings with the names of Caius and Lucius Caesar, Tiberius, Trajan, Adrian, Diocletian, and Heaven only knows how many other Roman worthies, to whom Nismes owes its attractions, not one of whom did this learned Theban omit to enumerate.

Many of the antiquities of Nismes, which we went over to-day, might well command attention, were they not in the vicinity of two such remarkable and well-preserved monuments as the Amphitheatre and Maison Carree.

The Gate of Augustus, which now serves as the entrance to the barracks of the gendarmerie, is worthy of inspection. It consists of four arches—two of equal size, for the admittance of chariots and horsemen, and two less ones for pedestrians. The centres of the two larger arches are decorated by the head of a bull, in alto-relievo; and above each of the smaller arches is a niche, evidently meant for the reception of a statue.

A Corinthian pilaster divides the larger arches from the less, and a similar one terminates the building on each side; while the two larger arches are separated by a small Ionic column, which rests on a projecting abutment whence the arches spring. The Gate of France has but one arch, and is said to have been flanked by towers; of which, however, it has little vestige.

The inhabitants of Nismes seem very proud of its antiquities, and even the humbler classes descant with much erudition on the subject. Most, if not all of them, have studied the guide-books, and like to display the extent of their savoir on the subject.

They evince not a little jealousy if any preference seems accorded to the antiquities of Italy over those of their town; and ask, with an air of triumph, whether any thing in Italy can be compared with their Maison Carree, expressing their wonder that so few English come to look at it.

La Tour-Magne stands on the highest of the hills, at the base of which is spread the town. It is precisely in the state most agreeable to antiquaries, as its extreme dilapidation permits them to indulge those various conjectures and hypotheses relative to its original destination, in which they delight. They see in their "mind's eye" all these interesting works of antiquity, not as they really are, but as it pleases them to imagine they once were; and, consequently, the less that actually remains on which to base their suppositions, the wider field have they for their favourite speculations.

This tower is said by some to have been intended for a lighthouse; others assert it to have been a treasury; a third party declares it to be the remains of a palace; and, last of all, it is assumed to have been a mausoleum.

Its form, judging from what remains, must have been pyramidical, composed of several stages, forming octagons, retreating one above the other. It suffered much from Charles Martel in 737, who wished to destroy it, owing to its offering a strong military position to the Saracens; and still more from the ravages of a certain Francis Trancat, to whom Henry IV granted permission to make excavations in the interior of it, on condition that three parts of the product should be given up to the royal coffer.

The result did not repay the trouble or expense; and one cannot help being rejoiced that it did not, as probably, had it been otherwise, the success would have served as an incentive to destroy other buildings.

In the vicinity of the Tour-Magne are the fountain, terrace, and garden, the last of which is well planted, and forms a very agreeable promenade for the inhabitants of Nismes. The fountain occupies the site of the ancient baths—many vestiges of which having been discovered have been employed for this useful, but not tasteful, work.

It was not until the middle of the eighteenth century, that it was suspected that the water which served to turn a mill in the immediate vicinity had been obstructed by the ruins which impeded its course. This obstruction led to excavations, the result of which was the discovery of the remains of buildings, columns, statues, inscriptions, and fragments of rare marbles.

The obstructions being thus removed, and the town enriched by the precious objects found, the persons to whom the direction of the excavation was confided, instead of vigorously pursuing the task, were content with what they had already discovered, and once more closed up the grave in which so many treasures of antiquity were still interred—using many of the materials disinterred for the formation of the terraces which now cover it.

The architect selected to execute this work was Philip Marechal, an engineer, never previously employed, except in military architecture: a fact to which may be attributed the peculiar style that he has exhibited—bastions and trenches being adopted, instead of the usual and more appropriate forms generally used for terraces and canals.

To these are subjoined ornaments of the period in which the work was completed—the fitness of which is not more to HBO commended than that of the work itself: the whole offering a curious mixture of military and rococo taste.

It was in the freshness of early morning that I, yesterday, again visited the garden of the fountain and its fine chesnut trees and laurel roses; the latter, growing in great luxuriance, looked beautiful, the sun having not yet scorched them. The fountain, too, in its natural bed, which is not less than seventy-two French feet in diameter, and twenty feet in depth, was pellucid as crystal, and through it the long leaves that nearly cover the gravel appeared green as emerald.

The hill above the fountain has been tastefully planted with evergreen trees, which shade a delicious walk, formed to its summit.

This improvement to the appearance, as well as to the agrements, of Nismes, is due to Monsieur d'Haussey[1], prefect, whose popularity is said to be deservedly acquired, by his unremitting attention to the interests of the city, and his urbanity to its inhabitants.

Nismes is a gay town, if I may judge by the groups of well-dressed women and men we have observed at the promenade.

It has a considerable garrison, and the officers are occasionally seen passing and repassing; but not, as I have often remarked in England, lazily lounging about as if anxious to kill time, but moving briskly as if on business.

The various accomplishments acquired by young men in France offer a great resource in country quarters. Drawing, in which most of them have attained a facility, if not excellence, enables them to fill albums with clever sketches; and their love of the fine arts leads them to devote some hours in most days to their cultivation.

This is surely preferable to loitering in news-rooms, sauntering in the shops of pretty milliners, breaking down the fences of farmers, or riding over young wheat—innocent pastimes, sometimes undertaken by young officers for mere want of some occupation.

The Temple of Diana is in the vicinity of the fountain, which has given rise to the conjecture that it originally constituted a portion of the ancient baths. Its shape is rectangular, and a large opening in the centre forms the entrance.

Twelve niches, five of which open into the partition of the temple, and two on the right and left of the entrance, are crowned by frontons alternately circular and triangular, and are said to have contained statues. This is one of the most picturesque ruins I ever saw. Silence and solitude reign around it, and wild fig-trees enwreath with their luxuriant foliage the opening made by Time, and half conceal the wounds inflicted by barbarian hands.

I could have spent hours in this desecrated temple, pondering on the brevity of life, as compared with its age. There is something pure and calm in such a spot, that influences the feelings of those who pause in it; and by reminding them of the inevitable lot of all sublunary things, renders the cares incidental to all who breathe, less acutely felt for the time.

Is not every ruin a history of the fate of generations, which century after century has seen pass away?—generations of mortals like ourselves, who have been moved by the same passions, and vexed by the same griefs; like us, who were instinct with life and spirit, yet whose very dust has disappeared. Nevertheless, we can yield to the futile pleasures, or to the petty ills of life, as if their duration was to be of long extent, unmindful that ages hence, others will visit the objects we now behold, and find them little changed, while we shall have in our turn passed away, leaving behind no trace of our existence.

I never see a beautiful landscape, a noble ruin, or a glorious fane, without wishing that I could bequeath to those who will come to visit them when I shall be no more, the tender thoughts that filled my soul when contemplating them; and thus, even in death, create a sympathy.



CHAPTER II.

ARLES.

We stopped but a short time at Beaucaire, where we saw the largo plain on the banks of the Rhone, on which are erected the wooden houses for the annual fair which takes place in July, when the scene is said to present a very striking effect.

These wooden houses are filled with articles of every description, and are inhabited by the venders who bring their goods to be disposed of to the crowds of buyers who flock here from all parts, offering, in the variety of their costumes and habits, a very animated and showy picture.

The public walk, which edges the grassy plain allotted to the fair, is bordered by large elm-trees, and the vicinity to the river insures that freshness always so desirable in summer, and more especially in a climate so warm as this.

The town of Beaucaire has little worthy of notice, except its Hotel-de-Ville and church, both of which are handsome buildings. We crossed the Rhone over the bridge of boats, from which we had a good view, and arrived at Tarascon.

The chateau called the Castle of King Rene, but which was erected by Louis II, count of Provence, is an object of interest to all who love to ponder on the olden time, when gallant knights and lovely dames assembled here for those tournaments in which the good Rene delighted.

Alas for the change! In those apartments in which the generous monarch loved to indulge the effusions of his gentle muse, and where fair ladies smiled, and belted knights quaffed ruby wine to their healths, now dwell reckless felons and hopeless debtors; for the chateau is converted into a prison.

In the Church of St. Martha we saw a relic of the barbarism of the dark ages, in the shape of a grotesque representation of a dragon, called the Tarasque. This image is formed of wood, rudely painted in gandy colours.

Twice a-year it is borne through the streets of Tarascon, in commemoration of the destruction of a fabulous monster that long frequented the Rhone, and devoured many of the inhabitants of the surrounding country, but was at length vanquished by St. Martha; who, having secured it round the neck by her veil, delivered it to the just vengeance of the Tarascons. This legend is received as truth by common people, and our guide informed us that they warmly resent any doubt of its authenticity.

The monument of St. Martha is shown in the church dedicated to her, and her memory is held in great reverence at Tarascon.

The country between this place and Tarascon is fertile and well cultivated, and the cheerfulness of its aspect presents a striking contrast to the silence and solitude of the town. The streets, however, are as clean as those of Holland, and the inhabitants are neat and tidy in their attire.

The houses are for the most part old and dilapidated, looking in nearly as ruined a condition as the fragments of antiquity which date so many centuries before them. Nevertheless, some of the streets and dwellings seem to indicate that a spirit of improvement is abroad.

Our hotel is a large, crazy, old mansion, reminding me of some of those at Shrewsbury; and its furniture appears to be coeval with it, as nothing can be more homely or misshapen. Oak and walnut-tree chairs, beds, and tables form the chief part, and these are in a very rickety condition; nevertheless, an air of cleanliness and comfort pervades the rooms, and with the extreme rusticity of the ameublement, give one the notion of being in some huge old farm-house.

Nor is the manner of the good hostess calculated to dispel this illusion. When our three carriages drove to her door, though prepared for our arrival by the courier, she repeatedly said that her poor house had no accommodation for such guests, and we had some difficulty in persuading her that we were easily satisfied.

She had donned her fete dress for our reception, and presented a very picturesque appearance, as she stood smiling and bustling about at the door. She wore a high cap reminding me of those of the women in Normandy: brown stays; linsey-woolsey, voluminous petticoats; handkerchief and apron trimmed with rich old-fashioned lace; and long gold ear-rings, and chain of the same material, twisted at least ten times round her neck.

She explained to us, in a patois not easily understood, that her house was only frequented by the farmers, and their wives and daughters, who attended the fetes, or occasionally by a stray traveller who came to explore the antiquities.

Before I had travelled much on the Continent, I confess that the appearance of this dwelling would have rather startled me as a sejour for two days, but now I can relish its rusticity; for cleanliness, that most indispensable of all requisites to comfort, is not wanting.

The furniture is scrubbed into brightness, the small diamond-shaped panes of the old-fashioned casements are clean as hands can make them; the large antique fireplace is filled with fresh flowers; and the walnut-tree tables are covered with white napkins.

No sooner had we performed our ablutions, and changed our travelling dresses for others, than our good hostess, aided by three active young country maidens, served up a plentiful dinner, consisting of an excellent pot-au-feu, followed by fish, fowl, and flesh, sufficient to satisfy the hunger of at least four times the number of our party.

Having covered the table until it literally "groaned with the weight of the feast," she seated herself at a little distance from it, and issued her commands to her hand-maidens what to serve, and when to change a plate, what wine to offer, and which dish she most recommended, with a good-humoured attention to our wants, that really anticipated them.

There was something as novel as patriarchal in her mode of doing the honours, and it pleased us so much that we invited her to partake of our repast; but she could not be prevailed on, though she consented to drink our healths in a glass of her best wine.

She repeatedly expressed her fears that our dinner was not sufficiently recherche, and hoped we would allow her to prepare a good supper.

When we were descending the stairs, she met us with several of her female neighbours en grande toilette, whom she had invited to see the strangers, and who gazed at us with as much surprise as if we were natives of Otaheite, beheld for the first time. Cordial greetings, however, atoned for the somewhat too earnest examination to which we had been subjected; and many civil speeches from our good hostess, who seemed not a little proud of displaying her foreign guests, rewarded the patience with which we submitted to the inspection.

One old lady felt the quality of our robes, another admired our trinkets, and a third was in raptures with our veils. In short, as a Frenchwoman would say, we had un grand succes; and so, our hostess assured us.

We went over the Amphitheatre, the dimensions of which exceed those of the Amphitheatre at Nismes. Three orders of architecture are also introduced in it, and it has no less than sixty arcades, with four large doors; that on the north side has a very imposing effect. The corridor leading to the arena exhibits all the grandeur peculiar to the public buildings of the Romans, and is well worthy of attention; but the portion of the edifice that most interested me was the subterranean, which a number of workmen were busily employed in excavating, under the superintendence of the Prefect of Arles, a gentleman with whose knowledge of the antiquities of his native town, and urbanity towards the strangers who visit them, we have every reason to be satisfied.

Under his guidance, we explored a considerable extent of the recently excavated subterranean, a task which requires no slight devotion to antiquities to induce the visitor to persevere, the inequalities of the ground exposing one continually to the danger of a fall, or to the still more perilous chance—as occurred to one of our party—of the head coming in contact with the roof.

We saw also fragments of a theatre in the garden of the convent of La Misericorde, consisting of two large marble columns and two arches.

In the ancient church of St. Anne, now converted into a museum, are collected all the fragments of antiquity discovered at Arles, and in its vicinity; some of them highly interesting, and bearing evidences of the former splendour of the place.

An altar dedicated to the Goddess of Good; the celebrated Mithras with a serpent coiled round him, between the folds of which are sculptured the signs of the zodiac; Medea and her children; a mile-stone, bearing the names of the Emperors Theodosius and Valentinian; a basso-relievo of the Muses; several sarcophagi, votive altars, cornices, pillars, mutilated statues, and inscriptions, are here carefully preserved: but nothing in the collection equals the statue known by the title of the Venus of Arles, found here, and which is so deservedly admired at the Louvre.

An obelisk of granite, about sixty feet high, said to be the only antique one in France, stands on the place of the Hotel-de-Ville. Discovered in 1389, it was not disinterred from the earth in which it was embedded until the reign of Charles IX, and was erected on its present site in 1676, with a dedication to the then reigning sovereign, Louis XIV; A globe, ornamented with fleurs de lis placed on its point, deteriorates, in my opinion, from the beauty of its effect. It was originally in one block, but it was broken in two by its overturn.

Many houses in the streets have portions of columns, friezes, and cornices embedded in their walls; and one of them, occupied by a barber, had a column in front, to which the insignia of his profession were attached. Ruins, said to be those of the palace of Constantine, were pointed out to us, as well as fragments of a forum and baths.

Arles is certainly one of the most interesting towns I have ever seen, whether viewed as a place remarkable for the objects of antiquity it contains, or for the primitive manners of its inhabitants and its picturesque appearance.

The quays are spacious and well built, presenting a very different aspect to the streets; for the former are very populous, being frequented by the boatmen who ply their busy commerce between Lyons and Marseilles—depots for the merchandise being erected along them, while the latter are comparatively deserted.

With this facility of communication with two such flourishing towns, it is extraordinary that Arles should have so long retained the primitive simplicity that seems to pervade it, and that a good hotel has not yet been established here.

Our good hostess provided nearly as substantial a supper for us last night as the early dinner served up on our arrival, and again presided at the repast, pressing us to eat, and recommending, with genuine kindness, the various specimens of dainties set before us. Our beds, though homely, were clean; and I have seldom, in the most luxurious ones, reposed equally soundly.

When our courier asked for the bill this morning, the landlady declared she "knew not what to charge, that she never was in the habit of making out bills, and that we must give her what we thought right."

The courier urged the necessity of having a regular bill, explaining to her that he was obliged to file all bills, and produce them every week for the arrangement of his accounts,—but in vain: she could not, she declared, make one out; and no one in her house was more expert than herself.

She came to us, laughing and protesting, and ended by saying, "Pay what you like; things are very cheap at Arles. You have eaten very little; really, it is not worth charging for." But, when we persisted on having her at least name a sum, to our infinite surprise she asked, if a couple of louis would be too much?—And this for a party of six, and six servants, for two days!

We had some difficulty in inducing her to accept a suitable indemnification, and parted, leaving her proclaiming what she was pleased to consider our excessive generosity, and reiterating her good wishes.



CHAPTER III.

ST.-REMY.

The town of St.-Remy is delightfully situated in a hollow that resembles the crater of an extinct volcano, and is surrounded by luxuriant groves of olive. The streets, though generally narrow, are rendered picturesque by several old houses, the architecture of which is striking; and the place—for even St.-Remy has its Place Publique and Hotel-de-Ville—is not without pretensions to ornament. In the centre of this place is a pretty fountain, of a pyramidal form.

The antiquities which attracted us to St.-Remy are at a short distance from the town, on an eminence to the south of it, and are approached by a road worthy the objects to which it conducts. They consist of a triumphal arch, and a mausoleum, about forty-five feet asunder.

Of the triumphal arch, all above the archivault has disappeared, leaving but the portico, the proportions of which are neither lofty nor wide. On each side of it are two fluted columns, said to have been of the Corinthian order, but without capitals, and the intercolumniations, in each of which are figures of male and female captives.

A tree divides the male from the female; their hands are tied, and chained to the tree; and a graceful drapery falls from above the heads down to the consoles on which the figures stand.

On the eastern side of the arch are also figures, representing two women, by the side of two men. One of the women has her hand on the arm of a chained warrior, and the other has at her feet military trophies; among which bucklers, arms, and trumpets, may be seen. The pilasters that bound the intercolumniations are of the Doric order, and their capitals support the arch.

The cornice and astragals form a frieze, in which military emblems and symbols of sacrifice are intermingled. The archivault is ornamented on each side with sculptured wreaths of ivy, pine cones, branches of grapes and olives, interlaced with ribands. The ceiling of the portico is divided into hexagons and squares, enriched by various designs in the shape of eggs and roses, finely executed.

This interesting monument appears to have been ornamented with equal care and richness on every side, but its decorations have not enabled any of the numerous antiquaries who have hitherto examined it to throw any light on its origin; and the destruction of its architecture must have caused that of its inscription, if, indeed, it ever bore one.

The mausoleum is even more curious than the arch, as being the only building of a similar character of architecture to be seen.

Placed on a large square pediment, approached by two steps, the edifice rises with unequalled lightness and beauty against the blue sky, forming two stages supported by columns and pilasters, united by a finely sculptured frieze. The first stage retreats from the pediment; and the second, which is of a round form, and terminated by a conical-shaped top, is less in advance than the first, giving a pyramidal effect.

The four fronts of the pediment are nearly covered by bassi-relievi, representing battles of infantry; the figures of which are nearly as large as life, and admirably designed.

On the north front is a combat of cavalry; on the west, an engagement, in the midst of which the body of a man is lying on the ground, one party of soldiers endeavouring to take possession of it, while another band of soldiers are trying to prevent them.

The basso-relievo of the south front represents a field of battle, strewed with the dead and wounded, and mingled with warriors on horseback and on foot. On one side is seen a wild boar between the legs of the soldiers; and on the other, a female figure, quite nude, prostrate on the earth before a rearing horse, which some soldiers are endeavouring to restrain.

In the centre of the basso-relievo is an old man expiring, surrounded by several persons; and at one end a soldier, bearing arms on his shoulder, has been left unfinished by the sculptor; there not being sufficient space for the figure, which is partly designed on the adjoining pilaster.

On the east front is a winged female bearing the attributes of Victory, with several women and warriors, and an allegorical personage said to represent a river, because it holds in one hand a symbol of water. This last figure, also, is partly sculptured on the contiguous pilaster, as is the one previously noted, which proves that these ornaments were not executed at the time of the erection of the edifice.

The pediment has a simple cornice around it, and the angles are finished by voluted pilasters without a base, but with Ionic capitals, which have an extraordinary effect. Above the basso-relievo is a massive garland, supported by three boys, at equal distances; and between them are four heads of old men, as hideously grotesque as the imaginations of the sculptors could render them.

The first stage of the mausoleum which rises from this pedestal is pierced by an arch on each side, in the form of a portico, and their archivaults are ornamented by foliage and scrolls.

The arches rest on plain pilasters, with capitals more resembling the Doric than any other order of architecture. On the keystone of each arch is the mark of a youthful male head, surmounted by two wings. The four angles of the first stage are finished by a fluted column, with a capital charmingly executed, like, but not quite, the Corinthian. These columns sustain an entablature or two, which terminate this stage, and its frieze is enriched with sculpture representing winged sea-monsters and sirens with sacrificial instruments.

Above the first stage rises the second, which is of a round form, with ten fluted columns, which support its circular entablature; the capitals of these columns are similar to those of the first stage, and the frieze is ornamented with foliage delicately sculptured.

A round cupola terminates this building, through which the light shines in on every side, although two male statues in togas occupy the centre of it.

To view the height at which these figures are placed, one would suppose they were safe from the attacks of the mischievous or the curious; nevertheless, they did not escape, for, many years ago, during the night, their heads were taken off, and those that replaced them reflect little credit on the taste or skill of the modern sculptor who executed the task.

On the architrave of the entablature of the first stage, and on the north front, is the following inscription:—

SEX. L. M. JVLIEI. C.F. PARENTIBUS. SVEIS.

Various are the opinions given by the writers who have noticed this monument as to the cause for which, and person, or persons for whom, it was erected. Some maintain that the triumphal arch from its vicinity has a relation to the mausoleum, while others assert them to have been built at different epochs.

The inscription has only served to base the different hypotheses of antiquaries, among which that of the Abbe Barthelemy is considered the most probable; namely, that in the three first words are found two initials, which he considers may be rendered as follows:—

SEXTUS . LUCIVS . MARCVS;

and the two other initials, C.F., which follow the word JVLIEI, may be explained in the same manner to signify Caii Filii, and, being joined to Juliei, which precedes, may be received to mean Julii Caii Filii.

Mantour's reading of the inscription is, Caius Sextius Lucius, Maritus JULIAE Incomparabilis, Curavit Fieri PARENTIBUS SUIS; which he translates into Caius Sextius Lucius, Husband of Julia, caused this Monument to be erected to the Memory of his Ancestors, and the victories achieved by them in Provence, which on different occasions had been the theatre of war of the Romans.

Bouche's version of it is,—

{Lucius, } Sextus {Laelius, } Maritus Juliae. {Liberius,}

Istud Cenotaphium,} or, } Fecit Parentibus Suis; Intra Circulum, }

which he asserts to mean,—Sextus, in honour of his Father and Mother, buried in this place, and represented by the two statues surrounded by columns in the upper part of the mausoleum.

Monsieur P. Malosse, to whose work on the antiquities of St.-Remy I am indebted for the superficial knowledge I have attained of these interesting objects, explains the inscription to mean,—

SEXTVS . LVCIVS . MARCVS . JVLIEI . CVRAV . ERUNT . FIERE . SUEIS;

which he translates into Sextus, Lucius, Marcus (all three), of the race of Julius, elevated this monument to the glory of their relations.

M. Malosse believes that the mausoleum was erected to Julius, and the arch to Augustus Caesar—the first being dead, and the second then living; and that the statues in the former, in the Roman togas, were intended to represent the two.

He imagines that the subjects of the bassi-relievi on the four fronts of the mausoleum bear out this hypothesis. That of the east, he says, represents the combat of the Romans with the Germans on the bank of the Rhine (of which river the one on the basso-relievo is the emblem), and the triumph of Caesar over Ariovistus, whoso women were taken prisoners.

The basso-relievo on the south front represents Caesar's conquest of the Allobroges, and the capture of the daughter of Orgetorix, one of the most powerful men of the country, and instigator of the war. The basso-relievo on the north front, representing a combat of cavalry, refers to the victory over the Britons; and that of the west front, to the battle gained by the Romans over the Gauls, in which the general of the latter was killed in the midst of his soldiers, who endeavoured to prevent his being seized by the enemy.

Passages from the Commentaries of Caesar, favour this ingenious interpretation of M.P. Malosse; but the abbreviations adopted in the inscription, while well calculated to give rise to innumerable hypotheses, will for ever leave in doubt, by whom, and in honour of whom, these edifices were erected, as well as the epoch at which they were built.

Who could look on these monuments without reflecting on the vanity of mortals in thus offering up testimonials of their respect for persons of whose very names posterity is ignorant? For the identity of those in whose honour the Arch of Triumph and Mausoleum of St.-Remy were raised puzzles antiquaries as much as does that of the individual for whom the pyramid of Egypt was built. Vain effort, originating in the weakness of our nature, to preserve the memory of that which was dear to us, and which we would fain believe will insure the reverence of ages unborn for that which we venerated!

ON THE TRIUMPHAL ARCH AND MAUSOLEUM AT ST.-REMY.

1.

Yon stately tomb that seeks the sky, Erected to the glorious dead, Through whose high arches sweeps, the sigh The night winds heave when day has fled;

2.

How fair its pillared stories rise 'Gainst yon blue firmament so pure; Fair as they met admiring eyes, Long ages past, they still endure.

3.

Yes, many a race hath left the earth Since first this Mausoleum rose; So many, that the name, or birth, Of dead, or founder, no one knows.

4.

The sculptured pictures, all may see, Were by a skilful artist wrought; But, Time! the secret rests with thee, Which to unravel men have sought.

5.

Of whom were they, the honoured dead, Whose mem'ry Love would here record? Lift up the veil, so long o'erspread, And tell whose dust yon fane doth guard.

6.

Name those whose love outlived the grave And sought to give for aye to fame Mementos of the good and brave, Of whom thou hast effaced the name.

7.

We know but that they lived and died,— No more this stately tomb can tell: Here come and read a lesson, Pride, This monument can give so well.

8.

They lived—they hoped—they suffered—loved— As all of Earth have ever done; Were oft by wild Ambition moved, And basked, perchance, 'neath glory's Sun.

9.

They deemed that they should leave behind Undying names. Yet, mark this fane, For whom it rose, by whom designed, Learned antiquaries search in vain.

10.

Still doth it wear the form it wore, Through the dim lapse of by-gone age; Triumph of Art in days of yore, Whose Hist'ry fills the classic page.

11.

To honour Victors it is said 'Twas raised, though none their names can trace; It stands as monument instead, Unto each long-forgotten race,

12.

Who came, like me, to gaze and brood Upon it in this lonely spot— Their minds with pensive thoughts imbued, That Heroes could be thus forgot.

13.

Yet still the wind a requiem sighs, And the blue sky above it weeps; Thu Sun pours down its radiant dyes, Though none can tell who 'neath it sleeps.

14.

And seasons roll, and centuries pass, And still unchanged thou keep'st thy place; While we, like shadows in a glass, Soon glide away, and leave no trace.

15.

And yon proud Arch, the Victor's meed, Is nameless as the neighbouring Tomb: Victor, and Dead, the Fates decreed Your memory to oblivion's gloom.



CHAPTER IV.

LYONS.

I see little alteration at Lyons since I formerly passed through it. Its manufactories are, nevertheless, flourishing, though less improvement than could be expected is visible in the external aspect of the place.

This being Sunday, and the Fete-Dieu, the garrison, with flags flying, drums beating, trumpets sounding, and all in gala dress, marched through the streets to attend Divine worship. The train was headed by our old acquaintance General Le Paultre de la Motte, (whom we left at Lyons on our route to Italy), and his staff; wearing all their military decorations, attended by a vast procession, including the whole of the clergy in their rich attires and all the different religious communities in the town.

The officers were bare-headed—their spurred heels and warlike demeanour rendering this homage to a sacred ceremony more picturesque. The gold and silver brocaded vestments and snowy robes of the priests glittering in the sun, as they marched along to the sound of martial music, looked very gorgeous; and this mixture of ecclesiastical and military pomp had an imposing effect.

The streets through which the procession passed were ornamented with rich draperies and flowers, reminding me of Italy on similar occasions; and the intense heat of a sun glowing like a fiery furnace, aided the recollection.

Since I have been on the continent, it has often struck me with surprise, that on solemn occasions like the present, sacred music has not been performed instead of military. Nay, I have heard quadrilles and waltzes played, fruitful in festive associations little suited to the feelings which ought to have been excited by solemn ceremonials.

Knowing, by experience, the effect produced on the mind by sacred music, it is much to be wished that so potent an aid to devotional sentiment should not be omitted, malgre whatever may be said against any extraneous assistance in offering up those devotions which the heart should be ever prompt to fulfil without them.

I leave to casuists to argue whether, or how far, music, sculpture, or painting, may be employed as excitements to religious fervour: but I confess, although the acknowledgment may expose me to the censure of those who differ with me in opinion, that I consider them powerful adjuncts, and, consequently, not to be resigned because some—and happy, indeed, may they be deemed—stand in no need of such incitements to devotion.

Who that has heard the "Miserere" in the Sistine chapel at Rome, and seen, while listening to it, "The Last Judgment," by Michael Angelo, on its walls, without feeling the powerful influence they exercised on the feelings?



CHAPTER V.

PARIS.

June, 1828.—A fatiguing journey, over dusty roads, and in intensely hot weather, has brought us to Paris, with no accident save the failure of one of the wheels of our large landau—a circumstance that caused the last day's travelling to be any thing but agreeable; for though our courier declared the temporary repair it received rendered it perfectly safe, I was by no means satisfied on the point.

We have taken up our abode in the Hotel de la Terrasse, Rue de Rivoli, are well-lodged, but somewhat incommoded by the loud reverberation of the pavement, as the various vehicles roll rapidly over it. We were told that "it would be nothing when we got used to it"—an assertion, the truth of which, I trust, we shall not remain sufficiently long to test; for I have a peculiar objection to noise of every kind, and a long residence in Italy has not conquered it.

So here we are, once more, at Paris, after six years' absence from it; and I find all that has hitherto met my eyes in it in statu quo. How many places have I seen during that period; how many associations formed; how many and what various impressions received; and here is every thing around looking so precisely as I left them, that I can hardly bring myself to believe that I have indeed been so many years absent!

When we bring back with us the objects most dear, and find those we left unchanged, we are tempted to doubt the lapse of time; but one link in the chain of affection broken, and every thing seems altered.

On entering Paris, I felt my impatience to see our dear friends there redouble; and, before we had despatched the dinner awaiting our arrival, the Duc and Duchesse de Guiche, came to us. How warm was our greeting; how many questions to be asked and answered; how many congratulations and pleasant plans for the future to be formed; how many reminiscences of our mutual sejour in dear Italy to be talked over!

The Duchesse was radiant in health and beauty, and the Duc looking, as he always does, more distingue, than any one else—the perfect beau ideal of a nobleman.

We soon quitted the salle a manger; for who could eat during the joy of a first meeting with those so valued?—Not I, certainly; and all the rest of our party were as little disposed to do honour to the repast commanded for us.

It was a happy evening. Seated in the salon, and looking out on the pleasant gardens of the Tuileries, the perfume of whose orange-trees was wafted to us by the air as we talked over old times, and indulged in cheerful anticipations of new ones, and the tones of voices familiar to the ears thus again restored, were heard with emotion.

Yes, the meeting of dear friends atones for the regret of separation; and like it so much enhances affection, that after absence one wonders how one has been able to stay away from them so long.

Too excited to sleep, although fatigued, I am writing down my impressions; yet how tame and colourless they seem on paper when compared with the emotions that dictate them! How often have I experienced the impossibility of painting strong feelings during their reign!

[Mem.—We should be cautious in giving implicit credit to descriptions written with great power, as I am persuaded they indicate a too perfect command of the faculties of the head to admit the possibility of those of the heart having been much excited when they were written.

This belief of mine controverts the assertion of the poet—

"He best can paint them who has felt them most."

Except that the poet says who has felt; yes, it is after, and not when most felt that sentiments can be most powerfully expressed. But to bed! to bed!]

I have had a busy day; engaged during the greater portion of it in the momentous occupation of shopping. Every thing belonging to my toilette is to be changed, for I have discovered—"tell it not in Gath"—that my hats, bonnets, robes, mantles, and pelisses, are totally passee de mode, and what the modistes of Italy declared to be la derniere mode de Paris is so old as to be forgotten here.

The woman who wishes to be a philosopher must avoid Paris! Yesterday I entered it, caring or thinking as little of la mode as if there were no such tyrant; and lo! to-day, I found myself ashamed, as I looked from the Duchess de Guiche, attired in her becoming and pretty peignoir a la neige and chapeau du dernier gout, to my own dress and bonnet, which previously I had considered very wearable, if not very tasteful.

Our first visit was to Herbault's, the high-priest of the Temple of Fashion at Paris; and I confess, the look of astonishment which he bestowed on my bonnet did not help to reassure my confidence as to my appearance.

The Duchesse, too quick-sighted not to observe his surprise, explained that I had been six years absent from Paris, and only arrived the night before from Italy. I saw the words a la bonne heure hovering on the lips of Herbault, he was too well-bred to give utterance to them, and immediately ordered to be brought forth the choicest of his hats, caps, and turbans.

Oh, the misery of trying on a new mode for the first time, and before a stranger! The eye accustomed to see the face to which it appertains enveloped in a chapeau more or less large or small, is shocked at the first attempt to wear one of a different size; and turns from the contemplation of the image presented in the glass with any thing but self-complacency, listening incredulously to the flattering encomiums of the not disinterested marchand de modes, who avers that "Ce chapeau sied parfaitement a Madame la Comtesse, et ce bonnet lui va a ravir."

I must, however, render M. Herbault the justice to say, that he evinced no ordinary tact in suggesting certain alterations in his chapeaux and caps, in order to suit my face; and, aided by the inimitable good taste of the Duchesse, who passes for an oracle in affaires de modes a Paris, a selection was made that enabled me to leave M. Herbault's, looking a little more like other people.

From his Temple of Fashion we proceeded to the lingere a la mode, Mdlle. La Touche, where canezous and robes de matin were to be chosen and ordered; and we returned to the Hotel de la Terrasse, my head filled with notions of the importance of dressing a la mode, to which yesterday it was a stranger, and my purse considerably lightened by the two visits I had paid.

Englishwomen who have not made their purchases at the houses of the marchandes de modes considered the most recherche at Paris, have no idea of the extravagance of the charges. Prices are demanded that really make a prudent person start; nevertheless, she who wishes to attain the distinction so generally sought, of being perfectly well dressed, which means being in the newest fashion, must submit to pay largely for it.

Three hundred and twenty francs for a crape hat and feathers, two hundred for a chapeau a fleurs, one hundred for a chapeau neglige de matin, and eighty-five francs for an evening-cap composed of tulle trimmed with blonde and flowers, are among the prices asked, and, to my shame be it said, given.

It is true, hats, caps, and bonnets may be had for very reasonable prices in the shops in the Rue Vivienne and elsewhere at Paris, as I and many of my female compatriots found out when I was formerly in this gay capital; but the bare notion of wearing such would positively shock a lady of fashion at Paris, as much as it would an English one, to appear in a hat manufactured in Cranbourn Alley.

Here Fashion is a despot, and no one dreams of evading its dictates.

Having noticed the extravagance of the prices, it is but fair to remark the elegance and good taste of the millinery to be found at Monsieur Herbault's. His chapeaux look as if made by fairy fingers, so fresh, so light, do they appear; and his caps seem as if the gentlest sigh of a summer's zephyr would bear them from sight, so aerial is their texture, and so delicate are the flowers that adorn them, fresh from the ateliers of Natier, or Baton.

Beware, O ye uxorious husbands! how ye bring your youthful brides to the dangerous atmosphere of Paris, while yet in that paradise of fools ycleped the honey-moon, ere you have learned to curve your brows into a frown, or to lengthen your visages at the sight of a long bill.

In that joyful season, when having pleased your eyes and secured your hearts, your fair brides, with that amiability which is one of the peculiar characteristics of their sex, are anxious to please all the world, and from no other motive than that your choice should be admired, beware of entering Paris, except en passant. Wait until you have recovered that firmness of character which generally comes back to a Benedict after the first year of his nuptials, before you let your wives wander through the tempting mazes of the magasins de modes of this intoxicating city.

And you, fair dames, "with stinted sums assigned," in the shape of pin-money, beware how you indulge that taste for pretty bonnets, hats, caps, and turbans, with which all bountiful Nature has so liberally gifted you; for, alas! "beneath the roses fierce Repentance rears her snaky crest" in form of a bill, the payment of which will "leave you poor indeed" for many a long day after, unless your liege lord, melted by the long-drawn sighs heaved when you remark on the wonderfully high prices of things at Paris, opens his purse-strings, and, with something between a pshaw and a grunt, makes you an advance of your next quarter's pin-money; or, better still, a present of one of the hundred pounds with which he had intended to try his good luck at the club.

Went yesterday to the Rue d'Anjou, to visit Madame Craufurd. Her hotel is a charming one, entre cour et jardin; and she is the most extraordinary person of her age I have ever seen. In her eightieth year, she does not look to be more than fifty-five; and possesses all the vivacity and good humour peculiar only to youth.

Scrupulously exact in her person, and dressed with the utmost care, as well as good taste, she gives me a notion of the appearance which the celebrated Ninon de l'Enclos must have presented at the same age, and has much of the charm of manner said to have belonged to that remarkable woman.

It was an interesting sight to see her surrounded by her grand-children and great-grand-children, all remarkable for their good looks, and affectionately attached to her, while she appears not a little proud of them. The children of the Duc de Guiche have lost nothing of their beauty since their sejour at Pisa, and are as ingenuous and amusing as formerly.

I never saw such handsome children before, nor so well brought up. No trouble or expense is spared in their education; and the Duc and Duchesse devote a great portion of their time to them.

All our friends are occupied in looking out for a house for us; and I have this day been over, at least, ten—only one of which seems likely to suit.

I highly approve the mode at Paris of letting unfurnished houses, or apartments, with mirrors and decorations, as well as all fixtures (with us, in England, always charged separately) free of any extra expense. The good taste evinced in the ornaments is in general remarkable, and far superior to what is to be met with in England; where, if one engages a new house lately papered or painted, one is compelled to recolour the rooms before they can be occupied, owing to the gaudy and ill-assorted patterns originally selected.

The house of the Marechal Lobau, forming the corner of the Rue de Bourbon, is the one I prefer of all those I have yet seen, although it has many desagremens for so large an establishment as ours. But I am called to go to the review in the Champ-de-Mars, so allons for a spectacle militaire, which, I am told, is to be very fine.

The review was well worth seeing; and the troops performed their evolutions with great precision. The crowd of spectators was immense; so much so, that those only who formed part of the royal cortege could reach the Champ-de-Mars in time to see its commencement. No carriages, save those of the court, were allowed to enter the file.

The dust was insupportable; and the pretty dresses of the ladies suffered from it nearly as much as did the smart uniforms of the officers.

The coup d'oeil from the pavilion (where we had, thanks to our chaperon, the Duchesse de Guiche, front seats) was very fine. The various and splendid uniforms, floating standards, waving plumes, glittering arms, and prancing steeds, gave to the vast plain over which the troops were moving a most animated aspect, while the sounds of martial music exhilarated the spirits.

Nor was the view presented by the interior of the pavilion without its charms. A number of ladies, some of them young and handsome, and all remarkably well-dressed, gave to the benches ranged along it the appearance of a rich parterre, among the flowers of which the beautiful Duchesse de Guiche shone pre-eminent.

I was seated next to a lady, with large lustrous eyes and a pale olive complexion, whose countenance, from its extreme mobility, attracted my attention; at one moment, lighting up with intelligence, and the next, softening into pensiveness.

A remarkably handsome young man stood behind her, holding her shawl, and lavishing on her those attentions peculiar to young Benedicts. The lady proved to be the Marchioness de Loule, sister to the King of Portugal; and the gentleman turned out to be her husband, for whose beaux yeux she contracted what is considered a mesalliance.

The simplicity of her dress, and unaffectedness of her manner, invested her with new attractions in my eyes; which increased when I reflected on the elevated position she had resigned, to follow the more humble fortunes of her handsome husband.

How strange, yet how agreeable too, must the change be, from the most formal court, over which Etiquette holds a despotic sway, to the freedom from such disagreeable constraint permitted to those in private life, and now enjoyed by this Spanish princess!

She appears to enjoy this newly acquired liberty with a zest in proportion to her past enthralment, and has proved that the daughter of a King of Portugal has a heart, though the queens of its neighbour, Spain, were in former days not supposed to have legs.

During the evolutions, a general officer was thrown from his horse; and a universal agitation among a group of ladies evinced that they were in a panic. Soon the name of the general, Count de Bourmont, was heard pronounced; and a faint shriek, followed by a half swoon from one of the fair dames, announced her deep interest in the accident.

Flacons and vinaigrettes were presented to her on every side, all the ladies present seeming to have come prepared for some similar catastrophe; but in a few minutes a messenger, despatched by the general, assured Madame la Comtesse of his perfect safety; and tears of joy testified her satisfaction at the news.

This little episode in the review shewed me the French ladies in a very amiable point of view. Their sensibility and agitation during the uncertainty as to the person thrown, vouched for the liveliness of their conjugal affection; and their sympathy for Madame la Comtesse de Bourmont when it was ascertained that her husband was the sufferer, bore evidence to the kindness of their hearts, as well as to their facility in performing the little services so acceptable in moments like those I had just witnessed.

Charles X, the Dauphin and Dauphine, and the Duchesse de Berri, were present—the two latter in landaus, attended by their ladies. The king looked well, his grey hair and tall thin figure giving him a very venerable aspect.

The Dauphine is much changed since I last saw her, and the care and sorrow of her childhood have left their traces on her countenance. I never saw so melancholy a face, and the strength of intellect which characterises it renders it still more so, by indicating that the marks of sorrow so visible were not indented on that brow without many an effort from the strong mind to resist the attacks of grief.

I remember reading years ago of the melancholy physiognomy of King Charles I, which when seen in his portrait by a Florentine sculptor, to whom it was sent in order that a bust should be made from it, drew forth the observation that the countenance indicated that its owner would come to a violent death.

I was reminded of this anecdote by the face of the Duchesse d'Angouleme; for though I do not pretend to a prescience as to her future fate, I cannot help arguing from it that, even should a peaceful reign await her, the fearful trials of her youth have destroyed in her the power of enjoyment; and that on a throne she can never forget the father and mother she saw hurried from it, to meet every insult that malice could invent, or cruelty could devise, before a violent death freed them from their sufferings.

Who can look on this heroic woman without astonishment at the power of endurance that has enabled her to live on under such trials? Martyr is written in legible characters on that brow, and on those lips; and her attempt to smile made me more sad than the tears of a mourner would have done, because it revealed "a grief too deep for tears."

Must she not tremble for the future, if not for the present, among a people so versatile as those among whom she is now thrown? And can she look from the windows of the palace she has been recalled to inhabit, without seeing the spot where the fearful guillotine was reared that made her an orphan?

The very plaudits that now rend the skies for her uncle must remind her of the shouts that followed her father to the scaffold: no wonder, then, that she grows pale as she hears them; and that the memory of the terrible past, written in characters of blood, gives a sombre hue to the present and to the future.

The sight of her, too, must awaken disagreeable recollections in those over whom her husband may be soon called to reign, for the history of the crimes of the Revolution is stamped on her face, whose pallid lint and rigid muscles tell of the horror and affliction imprinted on her youth; the reminiscence of which cannot be pleasant to them.

The French not only love their country passionately, but are inordinately proud of it; hence, aught that reminds them of its sins—and cruelty is one of a deep dye—must be humiliating to them; so that the presence of the Duchesse d'Angouleme cannot be flattering to their amor patriae or amour propre. I thought of all this to-day, as I looked on the face of Madame la Dauphine; and breathed a hope that the peace of her life's evening may console her for the misfortunes of its morning and its noon.

The Duchesse de Berri has an animated and peculiarly good-natured expression of countenance. Her restored gaiety makes the French forget why it was long and cruelly overclouded, and aids the many good qualities which she possesses, in securing the popularity she has so generally acquired in the country of her adoption.

House-hunting again, and still unsuited. Dined yesterday at the Duchesse de Guiche's; a very pleasant party, increased by some agreeable people in the evening. Our old acquaintance, William Lock, was among the guests at dinner, and is as good-looking and light-hearted as ever.

The Marquis l'Esperance de l'Aigle was also present, and is a perfect specimen of the fine gentleman of la Vieille Cour—a race now nearly extinct. Possessing all the gaiety and vivacity of youth, with that attention to the feelings of others peculiar only to maturity and high-breeding, the Count l'Esperance de l'Aigle is universally beloved.

He can talk over old times with the grand-mother with all the wit that we read of, oftener than we meet with; give his opinion of la derniere mode to the youthful mother, with rare tact and good taste; dance with the young daughter as actively and gracefully as any garcon de dix-huit ans in Paris; and gallop through the Bois de Boulogne with the young men who pride themselves on their riding, without being ever left behind. I had frequently heard his praises from the Duchesse de Guiche, and found that her description of him was very accurate.

The house of the Duc de Guiche is a picture of English comfort and French elegance united; and that portion of it appropriated to its fair mistress is fitted up with exquisite taste. Her salons and boudoir are objects of vertu, bijouterie, and vases of old Sevre, enough to excite envy in those who can duly appreciate such treasures, and tempt to the violation of the tenth commandment. Order reigns in the whole arrangement of the establishment, which, possessing all the luxurious appliances of a maison montee, has all the scrupulous cleanliness of that of a Quaker.

Went to the Opera last night, where I saw the debut of the new danseuse Taglioni. Hers is a totally new style of dancing; graceful beyond all comparison, wonderful lightness, an absence of all violent effort, or at least of the appearance of it, and a modesty as new as it is delightful to witness in her art. She seems to float and bound like a sylph across the stage, never executing those tours de force that we know to be difficult and wish were impossible, being always performed at the expense of decorum and grace, and requiring only activity for their achievement.

She excited the most rapturous applause, and received it with a "decent dignity," very unlike the leering smiles with which, in general, a danseuse thinks it necessary to advance to the front of the proscenium, shewing all her teeth, as she lowly courtesies to the audience.

There is a sentiment in the dancing of this charming votary of Terpsichore that elevates it far beyond the licentious style generally adopted by the ladies of her profession, and which bids fair to accomplish a reformation in it.

The Duc de Cazes, who came in to the Duchesse de Guiche's box, was enthusiastic in his praises of Mademoiselle Taglioni, and said hers was the most poetical style of dancing he had ever seen. Another observed, that it was indeed the poetry of motion. I would describe it as being the epic of dancing.

The Duc de Cazes is a very distinguished looking man, with a fine and intelligent countenance, and very agreeable manners.

A propos of manners, I am struck with the great difference between those of Frenchmen and Englishmen, of the same station in life. The latter treat women with a politeness that seems the result of habitual amenity; the former with a homage that appears to be inspired by the peculiar claims of the sex, particularised in the individual woman, and is consequently more flattering.

An Englishman seldom lays himself out to act the agreeable to women; a Frenchman never omits an opportunity of so doing: hence, the attentions of the latter are less gratifying than those of the former, because a woman, however free from vanity, may suppose that when an Englishman takes the trouble—and it is evidently a trouble, more or less, to all our islanders to enact the agreeable—she had really inspired him with the desire to please.

In France, a woman may forget that she is neither young nor handsome; for the absence of these claims to attention does not expose her to be neglected by the male sex. In England, the elderly and the ugly "could a tale unfold" of the naivete with which men evince their sense of the importance of youth and beauty, and their oblivion of the presence of those who have neither.

France is the paradise for old women, particularly if they are spirituelle; but England is the purgatory.

The Comtesses de Bellegarde called on me to-day, and two more warm-hearted or enthusiastic persons I never saw. Though no longer young, they possess all the gaiety of youth, without any of its thoughtlessness, and have an earnestness in their kindness that is very pleasant.

Dined yesterday at Madame Craufurd's—a very pleasant party. Met there the Duc de Gramont, Duc and Duchesse de Guiche, Colonel and lady Barbara Craufurd, and Count Valeski.

The Duc de Gramont is a fine old man who has seen much of the world, without having been soured by its trials. Faithful to his sovereign during adversity, he is affectionately cherished by the whole of the present royal family, who respect and love him; and his old age is cheered by the unceasing devotion of his children, the Duc and Duchesse de Guiche, who are fondly attached to him.

He gives up much of his time to the culture of flowers, and is more interested in the success of his dahlias than in those scenes of courtly circles in which he is called to fill so distinguished a part. It pleased me to hear him telling his beautiful daughter-in-law of the perfection of a flower she had procured him with some trouble; and then adding: "A propos of flowers, how is our sweet Ida, to-day? There is no flower in my garden like her!—Ay, she will soon be two years old."

There is something soothing to the mind in the contemplation of a man in the evening of life, whose youth was spent in all the splendour of a court, and whose manhood has been tried by adversity, turning to Nature for her innocent pleasures, when the discovery of the futility of all others has been made. This choice vouches for the purity of heart and goodness of him who has adopted it, and disposes me to give ample credit to all the commendation the Duchesse de Guiche used to utter of him in Italy.

Lady Barbara Craufurd is an excellent specimen of an English woman. Pretty, without vanity or affectation; gentle, without insipidity; and simple, yet highly polished, in mariners. She has, too, a low, "sweet voice, an excellent thing in woman," and, to me, whose ears offer even a more direct road to the heart than do the eyes, is a peculiar attraction.

Colonel Craufurd seems to be the quintessence of good nature and of good sense. Count Valeski is an intelligent young man, greatly a la mode at Paris, and wholly unspoilt by this distinction. Handsome, well-bred, and agreeable, he is very popular, not only among the fine ladies but fine gentlemen here, and appears worthy of the favour he enjoys.

Several people of both sexes came in the evening to Madame Craufurd's, and we had some excellent music. Madame C. does the honours of her salon with peculiar grace. She has a bright smile and a kind word for every guest, without the slightest appearance of effort.

Still house-hunting; continually tempted by elegantly decorated salons, and as continually checked by the want of room and comfort of the rest of the apartments.

We have been compelled to abandon the project of taking the Marechal Lobau's house, or at least that portion of it which he wishes to dispose of, for we found it impossible to lodge so large an establishment as ours in it; and, though we communicated this fact with all possible courtesy to the Marechal, we have received a note in answer, written in a different style, as he is pleased to think that, having twice inspected his apartments, we ought to have taken them.

In England, a person of the Marechal's rank who had a house to let would not show it in propria persona, but would delegate that task, as also the terms and negotiations, to some agent; thus avoiding all personal interference, and, consequently, any chance of offence: but if people will feel angry without any just cause, it cannot be helped; and so Monsieur le Marechal must recover his serenity and acquire a temper more in analogy with his name; for, though a brave and distinguished officer, as well as a good man, which he is said to be, he certainly is not Bon comme un mouton, which is his cognomen.

Paris is now before us,—where to choose is the difficulty. We saw to-day a house in the Rue St.-Honore, entre cour et jardin, a few doors from the English embassy. The said garden is the most tempting part of the affair; for, though the salons and sleeping-rooms are good, the only entrance, except by a passage derobe for servants, is through the salle a manger, which is a great objection.

Many of the houses I have seen here have this defect, which the Parisians do not seem to consider one, although the odour of dinner must enter the salons, and that in the evening visitors must find servants occupied in removing the dinner apparatus, should they, as generally happens, come for the prima sera.

French people, however, remain so short a time at table, and dine so much earlier than the English people do, that the employment of their salle a manger as a passage does not annoy them.

Went to the opera last night, and saw the Muette de Portici. It is admirably got up, and the costumes and scenery, as well as the tarantulas, transported me back to Naples—dear, joyous Naples—again. Nourrit enacted "Massaniello," and his rich and flexible voice gave passion and feeling to the music. Noblet was the "Fenella," and her pantomime and dancing were good; but Taglioni spoils one for any other dancing.

The six years that have flown over Noblet since I last saw her have left little trace of their flight, which is to be marvelled at, when one considers the violent and constant exercise that the profession of a danseuse demands.

When I saw the sylph-like Taglioni floating through the dance, I could not refrain from sighing at the thought that grace and elegance like hers should be doomed to know the withering effect of Time; and that those agile limbs should one day become as stiff and helpless as those of others. An old danseuse is an anomaly. She is like an old rose, rendered more displeasing by the recollection of former attractions. Then to see the figure bounding in air, habit and effort effecting something like that which the agility peculiar to youth formerly enabled her to execute almost con amore; while the haggard face, and distorted smile revealing yellow teeth, tell a sad tale of departed youth. Yes, an old danseuse is a melancholy object; more so, because less cared for, than the broken-down racer, or worn-out hunter.

Went to Tivoli last night, and was amused by the scene of gaiety it presented. How unlike, and how superior to, our Vauxhall! People of all stations, of all ages, and of both sexes, threading the mazy dance with a sprightliness that evinced the pleasure it gave them.

We paused to look at group after group, all equally enjoying themselves; and the Duchesse de Guiche, from her perfect knowledge of Paris, was enabled, by a glance, to name the station in life occupied by each: a somewhat difficult task for a stranger, as the remarkably good taste of every class of women in Paris in dress, precludes those striking contrasts between the appearance of a modiste and a marquise, the wife of a boutiquier and a duchesse, to be met with in all other countries.

But it is not in dress alone that a similarity exists in the exteriors of Parisian women. The air comme il faut, the perfect freedom from all gaucherie, the ease of demeanour, the mode of walking, and, above all, the decent dignity equally removed from mauvaise honte and effrontery, appertain nearly alike to all. The class denominated grisettes alone offered an exception, as their demonstrations of gaiety, though free from boisterousness, betrayed stronger symptoms of hilarity than were evinced by women belonging to a more elevated class in society.

The dancing, too, surprised as well as pleased me; and in this accomplishment the French still maintain their long-acknowledged superiority, for among the many groups I did not see a single bad dancer.

Around one quadrille party a more numerous audience was collected than around the others, and the entrechats of one of the gentlemen were much applauded. Nods and smiles passing between the dancers and the Duchesse de Guiche, revealed to me that they were among the circle of her acquaintance; and, approaching nearer, I recognised in the gentleman whose entrechats were so much admired, my new acquaintance the Marquis l'Esperance de l'Aigle, of whose excellence in the mazy dance I now had an opportunity of seeing that Fame had not said too much.

The ladies who formed the quadrille were la Marquise de Marmier, the Vicomtesse de Noailles, and Madame Standish; all excellent dancers, and attired in that most becoming of all styles of dress, the demi-toilette, which is peculiar to France, and admits of the after-dinner promenades or unceremonious visits in which French ladies indulge. A simple robe of organdie, with long sleeves, a canezou of net, a light scarf, and a pretty chapeau of paille de riz, form this becoming toilette, which is considered a suitable one for all theatres, except the Opera, where ladies go in a richer dress.

On our return from Tivoli, we had a small party to drink tea, and remained chatting till one o'clock—a late hour for Paris. Among the guests was our old friend Mr. T. Steuart, the nephew of Sir William Drummond, who continues to be as clever and original as ever. His lively remarks and brilliant sallies were very amusing.

Having complained of the want of a comfortable chair last evening, I found a chef d'oeuvre of Rainguet's in my salon this morning, sent me by my thoughtful and ever-kind friend the Duc de Guiche. A connoisseur in chairs and sofas, being unhappily addicted to "taking mine ease" not only in "mine inn," but wherever I meet these requisites to it, I am compelled to acknowledge the superiority of Rainguet over any that I have previously seen; and my only fear is, that this luxurious chair will seduce me into the still greater indulgence of my besetting or besitting sin, sedentary habits.

At length, we have found a house to suit us, and a delightful one it is; once the property of the Marechal Ney, but now belonging to the Marquis de Lillers. It is situated in the Rue de Bourbon, but the windows of the principal apartments look on the Seine, and command a delightful view of the Tuilerie Gardens. It is approached by an avenue bounded by fine trees, and is enclosed on the Rue de Bourbon side by high walls, a large porte-cochere, and a porter's lodge; which give it all the quiet and security of a country house.

This hotel may be viewed as a type of the splendour that marked the dwellings of the imperial noblesse, and some notion of it may be conceived from the fact that the decorations of its walls alone cost a million of francs. These decorations are still—thanks to the purity of the air of Paris—as fresh as if only a year painted, and are of great beauty; so much so, that it will be not only very expensive but very difficult to assort the furniture to them; and, unfortunately, there is not a single meuble in the house.

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