Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Paris As It Was and As It Is by Francis W. Blagdon

Part 6 out of 14

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

_restauration pittoresque_. This part is no less interesting than the
former. We are indebted to it for the reparation of the ravages of
time and of the ignorance of men, who, from their unskilfulness, had
still added to the injury which this master-piece had already

"This essential part of the restoration of works of painting,
requires, in those who are charged with it, a very delicate eye, in
order to know how to accord the new tints with the old, a profound
knowledge of the proceedings employed by masters, and a long
experience, in order to foresee, in the choice and use of colours,
what changes time may effect in the new tints, and consequently
prevent the discordance which would be the result of those changes.

"The art of restoring paintings likewise requires the most scrupulous
nicety to cover no other than the damaged parts, and an extraordinary
address to match the work of the restoration with that of the master,
and, as it were, replace the first priming in all its integrity,
concealing the work to such a degree that even unexperienced eye
cannot distinguish what comes from the hand of the artist from what
belongs to that of the master.

"It is, above all, in a work of the importance of that of which we
are speaking, that the friends of the arts have a right to require,
in its restoration, all the care of prudence and the exertion of the
first talents. We feel a real satisfaction in acquainting you with
the happy result of the discriminating wisdom of the Administration
of the CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS; who, after having directed and
superintended the first part of the restoration, employed in the
second, that of the painting (which we call _pittoresque_) Citizen
ROESER, whose abilities in this line were long known to them, and
whose repeated success had justified their confidence."

After having assured the Institute that they consider the
_pittoresque_ part of the restoration of the _Madonna di Foligno_ as
pure as it was possible to be desired, the Commissioners proceed to
call their attention to some discordance in the original design and
colouring of this _chef d'oeuvre_, and to make on it some critical
observations. This they do in order to prevent any doubts which might
arise in the mind of observers, and lead them to imagine that the
restoration had, in any manner, impaired the work of RAPHAEL.

They next congratulate themselves on having at length seen this
masterpiece of the immortal RAPHAEL restored to life, shining in all
its lustre, and through such means, that there ought no longer to
remain any fear respecting the recurrence of those accidents whose
ravages threatened to snatch it for ever from general admiration.

They afterwards terminate their Report in the following words:

"The Administration of the CENTRAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, who have, by
their knowledge, improved the art of restoration, will, no doubt,
neglect nothing to preserve that art in all its integrity; and,
notwithstanding repeated success, they will not permit the
application of it but to pictures so injured, that there are more
advantages in subjecting them to a few risks inseparable from
delicate and numerous operations, than in abandoning them to the
destruction by which they are threatened. The invitation which the
Administration of the Museum gave to the National Institute to attend
the restoration of the _Madonna di Foligno_ by RAPHAEL, is to us a
sure pledge that the enlightened men of whom it is composed felt that
they owed an account of their vigilance to all the connoisseurs in

[Footnote 1: It may not be amiss to observe that RAPHAEL employed the
_impasto_ colour but in few of his pictures, of which the
_Transfiguration_ is one wherein it is the most conspicuous: his
other productions are painted with great transparency, the colours
being laid on a white ground; which rendered still more difficult the
operation above-mentioned. _Note of the Author_.]


_Paris, December 10, 1801._

"Of all the bridges that were ever built," says Sterne, "the whole
world, who have passed over it, must own that the noblest--the
grandest--the lightest--the longest--the broadest that ever conjoined
land and land together upon the face of the terraqueous globe, is the


The _Pont Neuf_ is certainly the largest, and, on account of its
situation[1], the most conspicuous, and most frequented of any of the
bridges in Paris; but, in the environs of the capital, is one which
surpasses them all. This is the _Pont de Neuilly._

The first stone of the _Pont Neuf_ was laid by Henry III in 1578, and
the foundation of the piles was begun to be formed on the opposite
side; when the troubles of the League forced DU CERCEAU, the
architect, to withdraw to foreign countries. The work was not resumed
till the reign of Henry IV, who ordered it to be continued under the
direction of MARCHAND; but, owing to various causes, the _Pont Neuf_
was not finished till 1674.

The length of this bridge is one thousand and twenty feet, and its
breadth seventy-two; which is sufficient to admit of five carriages
passing abreast. It is formed of twelve arches, seven of which are on
the side of the _Louvre_, and five on the side of the _Quai des
Augustins_, extending over the two channels of the river, which is
wider in this place, from their junction.

In 1775, the parapets were repaired, and the foot-way lowered and
narrowed. SOUFFLOT, the architect of the Pantheon, availed himself of
this opportunity to build, on the twenty half-moons which stand
immediately above each pile, as many rotundas, in stone, to serve as
shops. On the outside, above the arches, is a double cornice, which
attracts the eye of the connoisseur in architecture, notwithstanding
its mouldering state, on account of the _fleurons_ in the antique
style, and the heads of Sylvans, Dryads, and Satyrs, which serve as
supports to it, at the distance of two feet from each other.

As the mole that forms a projection on this bridge between the fifth
and seventh arch, stands facing the _Place Dauphine_, which was built
by Henry IV, it was the spot chosen for erecting to him a statue.
This was the first public monument of the kind that had been raised
in honour of French kings. Under the first, second, and third race,
till the reign of Lewis XIII, if the statue of a king was made, it
was only for the purpose, of being placed on his tomb, or else at the
portal of some church, or royal residence which he had either built
or repaired.

Parisians and strangers used to admire this equestrian statue of
Henry IV, and before the revolution, all agreed in taking him for the
model of goodness. In proof of his popularity, we are told, in the
_Tableau de Paris_, that a beggar was one day following a passenger
along, the foot-way, of the _Pont Neuf_: it was a festival. "In the
name of St. Peter," said the mendicant, "in the name of St. Joseph,
in the name of the Virgin Mary, in the name of her divine Son, in the
name of God?" Being arrived before the statue of the conqueror of the
League, "In the name of _Henri quatre_" exclaimed he, "in the name of
_Henri quatre?_"--"Here!" said the passenger, and he gave him a louis

Unquestionably, no monarch that ever sat on the throne of France was
so popular as _Henri quatre_; and his popularity was never eclipsed
by any of his successors. Even amidst the rage of the revolutionary
storm, the military still held his memory in veneration. On opening
the sepultures at St. Denis in 1793, the coffin of Henry IV was the
first that was taken out of the vault of the Bourbons. Though he died
in 1610, his body was found in such preservation that the features of
his face were not altered. A soldier, who was present at the opening
of the coffin, moved by a martial enthusiasm, threw himself on the
body of this warlike prince, and, after a considerable pause of
admiration, he drew his sabre, and cut off a long lock of Henry's
beard, which was still fresh, at the same time exclaiming, in very
energetic and truly-military terms: "And I too am a French soldier!
In future I will have no other whiskers." Then placing this valuable
lock on his upper lip, he withdrew, adding emphatically: "Now I am
sure to conquer the enemies of France, and I march to victory."

In Paris, all the statues of kings had fallen, while that of Henry IV
still remained erect. It was for some time a matter of doubt whether
it should be pulled down. "The poem of the _Henriade_ pleaded in its
favour;" but, says Mercier, "he was an ancestor of the perjured
king," Then, and not till then, this venerated statue underwent the
same fate.

It has been generally believed that the deed of Ravaillac was
dictated by fanaticism, or that he was the instrument employed by the
Marchioness of Verneuil and the Duke of Epernon for assassinating
that monarch. However, it stands recorded, I am told, in a manuscript
found in the National Library, that Ravaillac killed Henry IV because
he had seduced his sister, and abandoned her when pregnant. Thus
time, that affords a clue to most mysteries, has also solved this
historical enigma.

This statue of Henry IV was erected on the 23d of August, 1624. To
have insulted it, would, not long since, have been considered as a
sacrilege; but, after having been mutilated and trodden under foot,
this once-revered image found its way to the mint or the
cannon-foundry. On its site now stands an elegant coffeehouse,
whence you may enjoy a fine view of the stately buildings which
adorn the quays that skirt the river.

While admiring the magnificence of this _coup d'oeil_, an Englishman
cannot avoid being struck by the multitude of washerwomen, striving
to expel the dirt from linen, by means of _battoirs_, or wooden
battledores. On each side of the Seine are to be seen some hundreds
hard at work, ranged in succession, along the sides of low barks,
equal in length to our west-country barges. Such is the vigour of
their arm that, for the circumference of half-a-mile, the air
resounds with the noise of their incessant blows. After beating the
linen for some time in this merciless manner, they scrub it with a
hard brush, in lieu of soaping it, so that a shirt which has passed
through their hands five or six times is fit only for making lint. No
wonder then that Frenchmen, in general, wear coarse linen: a hop-sack
could not long resist so severe a process. However, it must be
confessed, that some good arises from this evil. These washerwomen
insensibly contribute to the diffusion of knowledge; for, as they are
continually reducing linen into rags, they cannot but considerably
increase the supply, of that article for the manufacture of paper.

Compared to the Thames, even above bridge, the Seine is far from
exhibiting a busy scene; a few rafts of wood for fuel, and some
barges occasionally in motion, now and then relieve the monotony of
its rarely-ruffled surface. At this moment, its navigation is impeded
from its stream being swollen by the late heavy rains. Hence much
mischief is apprehended to the country lying contiguous to its banks.
Many parts of Paris are overflowed: in some streets where carriages
must pass, horses are up to their belly in water; while pedestrians
are under the necessity of availing themselves of the temporary
bridges, formed with tressels and planks, by the industrious
Savoyards. The ill consequences of this inundation are already felt,
I assure you; being engaged to dinner yesterday in the _Rue St.
Florentin_, I was obliged to step into a punt in order to reach the
bottom of the stair-case; and what was infinitely more mortifying to
the master of the house, was that, the cellar being rendered
inaccessible,--he was deprived of the satisfaction of regaling his
guests with his best claret.

On the right hand side of the _Pont Neuf_, in crossing that bridge
from the _Quai de l'Ecole_ to the _Quai de Conti_, is a building,
three stories high, erected on piles, with its front standing between
the first and second arches. It is called


Over the dial is a gilt group, representing Jesus Christ and the
Samaritan woman near Jacob's well, pourtrayed by a basin into which
falls a sheet of water issuing from a shell above. Under the basin is
the following inscription:

_Fons Hortorum
Puteus aquarum viventium._

These words of the Gospel are here not unaptly applied to the
destination of this building, which is to furnish water to the garden
of the _Tuileries_, whose basins were not, on that account, the less
dry half the year. The water is raised by means of a pump, and
afterwards distributed, by several conduits, to the _Louvre_ and the
_Palais du Tribunat_, as well as to the _Tuileries_.

In the middle, and above the arch, is a superstructure of timber-work
faced with gilt lead, where are the bells of the clock and those of
chimes, which ought to play every half-hour.

This tasteless edifice interrupts the view in every direction and as
it is far from being an ornament to the _Pont Neuf_, no one could now
regret its entire removal. Under the old _regime_, however, it was
nothing less than a government.

Among the functions of the governor, were included the care of the
clock, which scarcely ever told the hour, and that of the chimes,
which were generally out of order. When these chimes used to delight
Henry IV, it is to be presumed that they were kept in better tune. It
was customary to make them play during all public ceremonies, and
especially when the king passed.

"The _Pont Neuf_, is in the city of Paris what the heart is in the
human body, the centre of motion and circulation: the flux and reflux
of inhabitants and strangers crowd this passage in such a manner,
that, in order to meet persons one is looking for, it is sufficient
to walk here for an hour every day. Here, the _mouchards_, or spies
of the police, take their station; and, when at the expiration of a
few days, they see not their man, they positively affirm that he is
not in Paris."

Such was the animated picture of the _Pont Neuf_, as drawn by Mercier
in 1788, and such it really was before the revolution. At present,
though this bridge is sometimes thronged with passengers, it presents
not, according to my observation, that almost continual crowd and
bustle for which it was formerly distinguished. No stoppage now from
the press of carriages of any description, no difficulty in advancing
quickly through the concourse of pedestrians. Fruit-women, hucksters,
hawkers, pedlars, indeed, together with ambulating venders of
lottery-tickets, and of _tisane_, crying "_a la fraiche! Qui veut
boire?_" here take their stand as they used, though not in such

But the most sensible diminution is among the shoe-blacks, who stand
in the carriage-way, and, with all their implements before them,
range themselves along the edge of the very elevated _trottoir_ or
foot-pavement. The _decrotteurs_ of the _Pont Neuf_ were once reputed
masters of the art: their foresight was equal to their dexterity and
expedition. For the very moderate sum of two _liards_, they enabled
an abbe or a poet to present himself in the gilded apartments of a
dutchess. If it rained, or the rays of the sun were uncommonly
ardent, they put into his hand an umbrella to protect the economy of
his head-dress during the operation. Their great patrons have
disappeared, and, in lieu of a constant succession of customers, the
few _decrotteurs_ who remain at their old-established station, are
idle half the day for want of employment.

These Savoyards generally practise more than one trade, as is
indicated by the _enseigne_ which is affixed, on a short pole, above
their tool-box.

LA FRANCE tond les
chiens coupe les chats
proprement et sa femme
vat en ville et en campagne

Change the name only, and such is, line for line, letter for letter,
the most ordinary style of their _annonce_. It is, however, to be
presumed, that the republican belles have adopted other favourites
instead of dogs and cats; for no longer is seen, as in the days of
royalty, the aspiring or favoured lover carrying his mistress's
lap-dog in the public promenades. In fact, the business of
dog-shearing, &c. seems full as dead in this part of Paris as that
of shoe-cleaning. The _artists_ of the _Pont Neuf_ are, consequently,
chop-fallen; and hilarity which formerly shone on their countenance,
is now succeeded by gloomy sadness.

At the foot of the _Pont Neuf_ on the _Quai de la Feraille_
recruiting-officers used to unfurl their inviting banners, and
neglect nothing that art and cunning could devise to insnare the
ignorant, the idle, and the unwary. The means which they sometimes
employed were no less whimsical than various: the lover of wine was
invited to a public-house, where he might intoxicate himself; the
glutton was tempted by the sight of ready-dressed turkies, fowls,
sausages &c. suspended to a long pole; and the youth, inclined to
libertinism, was seduced by the meretricious allurements of a
well-tutored doxy. To second these manoeuvres, the recruiter
followed the object of his prey with a bag of money, which he
chinked occasionally, crying out "_Qui en veut?_" and, in this
manner, an army of heroes was completed. It is almost superfluous
to add, that the necessity of such stratagems is obviated, by the
present mode of raising soldiers by conscription.

Before we quit the _Pont Neuf_, I must relate to you an adventure
which, in the year 1786, happened to our friend P-----, who is now
abroad, in a situation of considerable trust and emolument. He was,
at that time, a half-pay subaltern in the British army, and visited
Paris, as well from motives of economy as from a desire of acquiring
the French language. Being a tall, fresh-coloured young man, as he
was one day crossing the _Pont Neuf_, he caught the eye of a
recruiting-officer, who followed him from the _Quai de la Feraille_
to a coffee-house, in the _Rue St. Honore_, which our Englishman
frequented for the sake of reading the London newspapers. The
recruiter, with all the art of a crimp combined with all the
politeness of a courtier, made up to him under pretence of having
relations in England, and endeavoured, by every means in his power,
to insinuate himself into the good graces of his new acquaintance.
P----, by way of sport, encouraged the eagerness of the recruiter,
who lavished on him every sort of civility; peaches in brandy,
together with the choicest refreshments that a Parisian coffee-house
could afford, were offered to him and accepted: but not the smallest
hint was dropped of the motive of all this more than friendly
attention. At length, the recruiter, thinking that he might venture
to break the ice, depicted, in the most glowing colours, the
pleasures and advantages of a military life, and declared ingenuously
that nothing would make him so happy as to have our countryman P----
for his comrade. Without absolutely accepting or rejecting his offer,
P---- begged a little delay in order to consider of the matter, at
the same time hinting that there was; at that moment, a small obstacle
to his inclination. The recruiter, like a pioneer, promised to remove
it, grasped his hand with joy and exultation, and departed, singing a
song of the same import as that of Serjeant Kite:

"Come brave boys, 'tis one to ten,
But we return all gentlemen."

In a few days, the recruiter again met Mr. P---- at his accustomed
rendezvous; when, after treating him with coffee, liqueur, &c. he
came directly to the point, but neglected not to introduce into his
discourse every persuasive allurement. P----, finding himself pushed
home, reminded the recruiter of the obstacle to which he had before
alluded, and, to convince him of its existence, put into his hand His
Britannic Majesty's commission. The astonishment and confusion of the
French recruiter were so great that he was unable to make any reply;
but instantly retired, venting a tremendous ejaculation.

[Footnote 1: By the Plan of Paris, it will be seen that the _Pont
Neuf_ lies at the west point of the Island called _L'Ile du Palais_,
and is, as it were, in the very centre of the capital.]


_Paris, December 13, 1801._

In this gay capital, balls succeed to balls in an almost incredible
variety. There are actually an immense number every evening; so that
persons fond of the amusement of dancing have full scope for the
exercise of their talents in Paris. It is no longer a matter of
surprise to me that the French women dance so well, since I find that
they take frequent lessons from their master, and, almost every
night, they are at a dance of one kind or another. Added to this, the
same set of dances lasts the whole season, and go where you will, you
have a repetition of the same. However, this detracts not in the
smallest degree; from the merit of those Parisian belles who shine as
first-rate dancers. The mechanical part of the business, as Mr.
C----g would call it, they may thus, acquire by constant practice;
but the decorative part, if I may so term the fascinating grace which,
they display in all their movements, is that the result of study, or
do they hold it from the bounteous hand of Nature?

While I am speaking of balls, I must inform you that, since the
private ball of which I gave you so circumstantial an account, I have
been at several others, also private, but of a different complexion;
inasmuch as pleasure, not profit, was the motive for which they were
given, and the company was more select; but, in point of general
arrangement, I found them so like the former, that I did not think it
worth while to make any one of them the subject of a distinct letter.
In this line Madame Recamier takes the lead, but though her balls are
more splendid, those of Madame Soubiran are more agreeable. On the
21st of Frimaire, which was yesterday, I was at a public ball of the
most brilliant kind now known in Paris. It was the first of the
subscription given this season, and, from the name of the apartment
where it is held, it is styled the


Midnight is the general hour for the commencement of such diversions;
but, owing to the long train of carriages setting down company at
this ball, it was near two o'clock before I could arrive at the scene
of action, in the _Rue Grange Bateliere_, near the Boulevards.

After I alighted and presented my ticket, some time elapsed before I
could squeeze into the room where the dancing was going forward. The
spectators were here so intermixed with the dancers, that they formed
around them a border as complete as a frame to a picture. It is
astonishing that, under such circumstances, a Parisian Terpsichore,
far from being embarrassed, lays fresh claim to your applause. With
mathematical precision, she measures with her eye the space to which
she is restricted by the curiosity of the by-standers. Rapid as
lightning, she springs forward till the measure recalling her to the
place she left, she traces her orbit, like a planet, at the same time
revolving on her axis. Sometimes her "light, fantastic toe" will
approach within half an inch of your foot; nay, you shall almost feel
her breath on your cheek, and still she will not touch you, except,
perhaps, with the skirt of her floating tunic.

Among the female part of the company, I observed several lovely
women; some, who might have been taken for Asiatic sultanas,
irradiating the space around them by the dazzling brilliancy of their
ornaments; others, without jewels, but calling in every other aid of
dress for the embellishment of their person; and a few, rich in their
native charms alone, verifying the expression of the poet. Truth
compels me to acknowledge that six or eight English ladies here were
totally eclipsed. For the honour of my country, I could have wished
for a better specimen of our excellence in female beauty. No women in
the world, or at least none that ever I have met with in the
different quarters I have visited, are handsomer than the English, in
point of complexion and features. This is a fact which Frenchmen
themselves admit; but for grace, say they, our countrywomen stand
unrivalled, I am rather inclined to subscribe to this opinion. In a
well-educated French woman, there is an ease, an affability, a desire
to please and be pleased, which not only render her manners
peculiarly engaging, but also influence her gait, her gestures, her
whole deportment in short, and captivate admiration. Her natural
cheerfulness and vivacity spread over her features an animation
seldom to be found in our English fair, whose general characteristics
are reserve and coldness. Hence that striking expression which
exhibits the grace of the French belles to superior advantage.

Although my memory frequently disappoints me when I wish to retain
names, I have contrived to recollect those of three of the most
remarkable women in the ball-room. I shall therefore commit them to
paper before I forget them. Madame la Princesse de Santa-Croce
displayed more diamonds than any of her competitors; Mademoiselle
Lescot was the best dancer among several ladies renowned for dancing;
and Madame Tallien was, on the whole, the handsomest female that I
saw in the room. There might possibly be women more beautiful than
she at this ball, but they did not come under my observation.

I had previously seen Madame Tallien at the _Opera Buffa_, and was
struck by her appearance before, I knew who she was. On seeing her
again at the _Salon des Etrangers_, I inquired of a French lady of my
acquaintance, whose understanding and discernment are pre-eminent, if
Madame T------ had nothing to recommend her but her personal
attractions? The lady's answer is too remarkable for me not to repeat
it, which I will do _verbatim_. "In Madame T------," said she,
"beauty, wit, goodness of heart, grace, talents, all are united. In a
gay world, where malice subsists in all its force, her
inconsistencies alone have been talked of, without any mention being
made of the numerous acts of beneficence which have balanced, if they
have not effaced, her weakness. Would you believe," continued she,
"that, in Paris, the grand theatre of misconduct, where moral
obligations are so much disregarded, where we daily commit actions
which we condemn in others; would you believe, that Madame T------
experiences again and again the mortification of being deprived of
the society of this, or that woman who has nothing to boast of but
her depravity, and cannot plead one act of kindness, or even
indulgence? This picture is very dark," added she, "but the colouring
is true."--"What you tell me," observed I, "proves that,
notwithstanding the irruption of immorality, attributed to the
revolution, it is still necessary for a woman to preserve appearances
at least, in order to be received here in what is termed the best
company."--"Yes, indeed," replied she; "if a woman neglects that main
point in Paris, she will soon find herself lowered in the opinion of
the fashionable world, and be at last excluded from even the
secondary circles. In London, your people of fashion are not quite so
rigid."--"If a husband chooses to wink at his wife's incontinence,"
rejoined I, "the world on our side of the water is sufficiently
complaisant to follow his example. Now with you, character is made to
depend more on the observance of etiquette; and, certainly,
hypocrisy, when detected, is of more prejudice to society than
barefaced profligacy."--The lady then resumed thus concerning the
subject of my inquiry. "Were some people to hear me," said she, "they
might think that I had drawn you a flattering portrait of Madame
T------ and say, by way of contrast, when the devil became old, he
turned hermit; but I should answer that, for some years, no
twenty-four hours have elapsed without persons, whom I could name on
occasion, having begun their daily career by going to see her, who
saved their life, when, to accomplish that object, she hazarded her

Here then is an additional instance of the noble energy manifested by
women during the most calamitous periods of the revolution.
Unappalled by the terrors of captivity or of death, their sensibility
impelled them to brave the ferocity of sanguinary tyrants, in order
to administer hope or comfort to a parent, a husband, a relation, or
a friend. Some of these heroines, though in the bloom of youth, not
content with sympathizing in the misfortunes of others, gave
themselves up as a voluntary sacrifice, rather than survive those
whose preservation they valued more than their own existence. Rome
may vaunt her Porcia, or her Cornelia; but the page of her history
can produce no such exaltation of the female character as has been
exhibited within the last ten years by French women. Examples, like
these, of generosity, fortitude, and greatness of soul, deserve to be
recorded to the end of time, as they do honour to the sex, and to
human nature.

If, according to the scale of Parisian enjoyment, a ball or rout is
dull and insipid, _a moins qu'on ne manque d'y etre etouffe_, how
supreme must have been the satisfaction of the company at the _Salon
des Etrangers!_ The number present, estimated at seven or eight
hundred, occasioned so great a crowd that it was by no means an easy
enterprise to pass from one room to another. Of course, there was no
opportunity of viewing the apartments to advantage; however, I saw
enough of them to remark that they formed a suite elegantly
decorated. Some persons amused themselves with cards, though the
great majority neither played nor danced, but were occupied in
conversing with their acquaintance, There was no regular supper, but
substantial refreshments of every kind were to be procured on paying;
and other smaller ones, _gratis_.

From the tickets not being transferable, and the bearer's name being
inserted in each of them, the company was far more select than it
could have been without such a restriction. Most of the foreign
ambassadors, envoys, &c. were present, and many of the most
distinguished persons of both sexes in Paris. More regard was paid to
the etiquette of dress at this ball than, I have ever witnessed here
on similar occasions, The ladies, as I have before said, were all _en
grande toilette_; and the men with cocked hats, and in shoes and
stockings, which is a novelty here, I assure you, as they mostly
appear in boots. But what surprised me not a little, was to observe
several inconsiderate French youths wear black cockades. Should they
persist in such an absurdity, I shall be still more surprised, if
they escape admonition from the police. This fashion seemed to be the
_ignis fatuus_ of the moment; it was never before exhibited in
public, and probably will be but of ephemeral duration.

I cannot take leave of this ball without communicating to you a
circumstance which occurred there, and which, from the extravagant
credulity it exhibits in regard to the effects of sympathy, may
possibly amuse you for a moment.

A widow, about twenty years of age, more to be admired for the
symmetry of her person, than for the beauty of her features, had,
according to the prevailing custom, intrusted her pocket-handkerchief
to the care of a male friend, a gentlemanlike young Frenchman of my
acquaintance. After dancing, the lady finding herself rather warm,
applied for her handkerchief, with which she wiped her forehead, and
returned it to the gentleman, who again put it into his pocket. He
then danced, but not with her; and, being also heated, he, by
mistake, took out the lady's handkerchief, which, when applied to his
face, produced, as he fancied, such an effect on him, that, though he
had previously regarded her with a sort of indifference, from that
moment she engaged all his attention, and he was unable to direct his
eyes, or even his thoughts, to any other object.

Some philosophers, as is well known, have maintained that from all
bodies there is an emanation of corpuscles, which, coming into
contact with our organs, make on the brain an impression, either more
or less sympathetic, or of a directly-opposite nature. They tell you,
for instance, that of two women whom you behold for the first time,
the one the least handsome will sometimes please you most, because
there exists a greater _sympathy_ between you and her, than between
you and the more beautiful woman. Without attempting to refute this
absurd doctrine of corpuscles, I shall only observe that this young
Frenchman is completely smitten, and declares that no woman in the
world can be compared to the widow.

This circumstance reminds me of a still more remarkable effect,
ascribed to a similar cause, experienced by Henry III of France. The
marriage of the king of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV, with Marguerite
de Valois, and that of the Prince de Conde with Marie de Cleves, was
celebrated at the Louvre on the 10th of August, 1572. Marie de
Cleves, then a most lovely creature only sixteen, after dancing much,
finding herself incommoded by the heat of the ball-room, retired to a
private apartment, where one of the waiting-women of the
queen-dowager, seeing her in a profuse perspiration, persuaded her
to make an entire change of dress. She had scarcely left the room
when the Duke of Anjou, afterwards Henry III, who had also danced a
great deal, entered it to adjust his hair, and, being overheated,
wiped his face with the first thing that he found, which happened
to be the shift she had just taken off. Returning to the ball, he
fixed his eyes on her, and contemplated her with as much surprise
as if he had never before beheld her. His emotion, his transports,
and the attention which he began to pay her, were the more
extraordinary, as during the preceding week, which she had passed
at court, he appeared indifferent to those very charms which now
made on his heart an impression so warm and so lasting. In short,
he became insensible to every thing that did not relate to his

His election to the crown of Poland, say historians, far from
flattering him, appeared to him an exile, and when he was in that
kingdom, absence, far from diminishing his love, seemed to increase
it. Whenever he addressed the princess, he pricked his finger, and
never wrote to her but with his blood. No sooner was he informed of
the death of Charles IX, than he dispatched a courier to assure her
that she should soon be queen of France; and, on his return, his
thoughts were solely bent on dissolving her marriage with the Prince
de Conde, which, on account of the latter being a protestant, he
expected to accomplish. But this determination proved fatal to the
princess; for, shortly after, she was attacked by a violent illness,
attributed to poison, which carried her off in the flower of her age.

No words can paint Henry's despair at this event: he passed several
days in tears and groans; and when he was at length obliged to shew
himself in public, he appeared in deep mourning, and entirely covered
with emblems of death, even to his very shoe-strings.

The Princess de Conde had been dead upwards of four months, and
buried in the abbey-church of _St. Germain-des-Pres_, when Henry, on
entering the abbey, whither he was invited to a grand entertainment
given there by Cardinal de Bourbon, felt such violent tremblings at
his heart, that not being able to endure their continuance, he was
going away; but they ceased all at once, on the body of the princess
being removed from its tomb, and conveyed elsewhere for that evening.

His mother, Catherine de Medicis, by prevailing on him to marry
Louise de Vaudemont, one of the most beautiful women in Europe, hoped
that she would make him forget her whom death had snatched from him,
and he himself perhaps indulged a similar hope, but the memoirs of
those times concur in asserting that the image of the Princess de
Conde was never effaced from his heart, and that, to the day of his
assassination, which did not happen till seventeen years after,
whatever efforts he made to subdue his passion, were wholly

Sympathy is a sentiment to which few persons attach the same ideas.
It may be classed in three distinct species. The first seems to have
an immediate connexion with the senses; the second, with the heart;
and the third, with the mind. Although it cannot be denied that the
preference we bestow on this or that woman is the result of the one
or the other of these, or even of all three together; yet the
analysis of our attachments is, in some cases, so difficult as to
defy the investigation of reason. For, as the old song says, some

Will "whimper and whine
For lilies and roses,
For eyes, lips, and noses,
Or a _tip of an ear_."

To cut the matter short, I think it fully proved, by the example of
some of the wisest men, that the affections are often captivated by
something indefinable, or, in the words of Corneille,

_"Par un je ne sais quoi--qu'on ne peut exprimer."_


_Paris, December 14, 1801._

I have already spoken to you of the _Pont Neuf_. To the east of it,
as you will see by the Plan of Paris, the small islands in the middle
of the Seine are connected to its banks by several bridges; while to
the west, there are two only, though a third is projected, and,
previously to the late rise of the river, workmen were employed in
driving piles for the foundation. I shall now describe to you these
two bridges, beginning with the


Before the revolution, this bridge bore the appellation of _Pont
Royal_, from its having been built by Lewis XIV, and the expenses
defrayed but of his privy purse, to supply the place of one of wood,
situated opposite to the _Louvre_, which was carried away by the ice
in 1684. It is reckoned one of the most solid bridges in Paris, and,
till the existence of the _Pont de la Concorde_, was the only one
built across the river, without taking advantage of the islands
above-mentioned. It stands on four piles, forming with the two
abutments five elliptical arches of a handsome sweep. The span of the
centre arch is seventy-two feet, that of the two adjoining sixty-six,
and that of the two outer ones sixty. On each side is a raised
pavement for foot-passengers, in the middle of which I should imagine
that there is breadth sufficient to admit of four carriages passing

GABRIEL had undertaken this bridge from the designs of MANSARD. The
work was already in a state of forwardness, when, at a pile on the
side of the _Faubourg St. Germain_, the former could not succeed in
excluding the water. A Jacobin, not a clubist, but a Jacobin friar,
one FRANCOIS ROMAIN, who had just finished the bridge of Strasburg,
was sent for by the king to the assistance of the French architects,
and had the honour of completing the rest of the work.

In the time of Henry IV, there was no bridge over this part of the
river, which he used frequently to cross in the first boat that
presented itself. Returning one day from the chace, in a plain
hunting dress, and having with him only two or three gentlemen, he
stepped into a skiff to be carried over from the _Faubourg St.
Germain_ to the _Tuileries_. Perceiving that he was not known by the
waterman, he asked him what people said of the peace, meaning the
peace of Vervins, which was just concluded. "Faith! I don't
understand this sort of peace," answered the waterman; "there are
taxes on every thing, and even, on this miserable boat, with which I
have a hard matter to earn my bread."--"And does not the king,"
continued Henry, "intend to lighten these taxes?"--"The king is a
good kind of man enough," replied the waterman; "but he has a lady
who must needs have so many fine gowns and gewgaws; and 'tis we who
pay for all that. One would not think so much of it either, if she
kept to him only; but, they say, she suffers herself to be kissed by
many others."

Henry IV was so amused by this conversation, that, the next morning,
he sent for the waterman, and made him repeat, word for word, before
the Dutchess of Beaufort, all that he had said the preceding evening.
The Dutchess, much irritated, was for having him hanged. "You are a
foolish woman," said Henry; "this is a poor devil whom poverty has
put out of humour. In future, he shall pay no tax for his boat, and I
am convinced that he will then sing every day, _Vive Henri! Vive

The north end of the _Pont National_ faces the wing of the palace of
the _Tuileries_ distinguished by the name of the _Pavillon de Flore_.
From the middle of this bridge, you see the city in a striking point
of view. Here, the celebrated Marshal de Catinat used frequently to
make it part of his morning's amusement to take his stand, and, while
he enjoyed the beauty of the prospect, he opened his purse to the
indigent as they passed. That philosophic warrior often declared that
he never beheld any thing equal to the _coup d'oeil_ from this
station. In fact, on the one side, you discover the superb gallery of
the _Louvre_, extending from that palace to the _Tuileries_; and, on
the other, the _Palais du Corps Legislatif_, and a long range of
other magnificent buildings, skirting the quays on each bank of the

These quays, nearly to the number of thirty, are faced with stone,
and crowned with parapets breast high, which, in eighteen or twenty
different spots, open to form watering-places. The Seine, being thus
confined within its bed, the eye is never displeased here by the
sight of muddy banks like those of the Thames, or the nose offended
by the smell arising from the filth which the common sewers convey to
the river.

The galiot of _St. Cloud_ regularly takes its departure from the
_Pont National_. Formerly, on Sundays and holidays, it used to be a
very entertaining sight to contemplate the Paris cocknies crowding
into this vessel. Those who arrived too late, jumped into the first
empty boat, which frequently overset, either through the
unskilfulness of the waterman, or from being overloaded. In
consequence of such accidents, the boats of the Seine are prohibited
from taking more than sixteen passengers.

Not many years ago, an excursion to _St. Cloud_ by water, was an
important voyage to some of the Parisians, as you may see by
referring to the picture which has been drawn of it, under the title
of "_Voyage de Paris a Saint Cloud par mer, et le retour de Saint
Cloud a Paris par terre_."

Following the banks of the Seine, towards the west, we next come to


This bridge, which had long been wished for and projected, was begun
in 1787, and finished in 1790. Its southern extremity stands opposite
to the _Palais du Corps Legislatif_; while that of the north faces
the _Place de la Concorde_, whence it not only derives its present
appellation, but has always experienced every change of name to which
the former has been subject.

The lightness of its apearance is less striking to those who have
seen the _Pont de Neuilly_, in which PERRONET, Engineer of bridges
and highways, has, by the construction of arches nearly flat, so
eminently distinguished himself. He is likewise the architect of this
bridge, which is four hundred and sixty-two feet in length by
forty-eight in breadth. Like the _Pont National_, it consists of
five elliptical arches. The span of the centre arch is ninety-six
feet; that of the collateral ones, eighty-seven; and that of the
two others near the abutments, sixty-eight. Under one of the latter
is a tracking-path for the facility of navigation.

The piles, which are each nine feet in thickness, have, on their
starlings, a species of pillars that support a cornice five feet and
a half high. Perpendicularly to these pillars are to rise as many
pyramids, which are to be crowned by a parapet with a balustrade: in
all these, it is intended to display no less elegance of workmanship
than the arches present boldness of design and correctness of

On crossing these bridges, it has often occurred to me, how much the
Parisians must envy us the situation of our metropolis. If the Seine,
like the Thames, presented the advantage of braving the moderate
winds, and of conveying, by regular tides, the productions of the
four quarters of the globe to the quays which skirt its banks, what
an acquisition would it not be to their puny commerce! What a
gratification to their pride to see ships discharging their rich
cargoes at the foot of the _Pont de la Concorde_! The project of the
canal of Languedoc must, at first, have apparently presented greater
obstacles; yet, by talents and perseverance, these were overcome at a
time when the science of machinery of every description was far less
understood than it is at the present moment.

It appears from the account of Abbon, a monk of the abbey of St.
Germain-des-Pres, that, in the year 885, the Swedes, Danes, and
Normans, to the number of forty-five thousand men, came to lay siege
to Paris, with seven hundred sail of ships, exclusively of the
smaller craft, so that, according to this historian, who was an
eye-witness of the fact, the river Seine was covered with their
vessels for the space of two leagues.

Julius Caesar tells us, in the third book of his Commentaries, that,
at the time of his conquest of the Gauls, in the course of one
winter, he constructed six hundred vessels of the wood which then
grew in the environs of Paris; and that, in the following spring, he
embarked his army, horse and foot, provisions and baggage, in these
vessels, descended the Seine, reached Dieppe, and thence crossed over
to England, of which, he says, he made a conquest.

About forty years ago, the scheme engaged much attention. In 1759,
the Academy of Sciences, Belles-Lettres, and Arts of Rouen, proposed
the following as a prize-question: "Was not the Seine formerly
navigable for vessels of greater burden than those which are now
employed on it; and are there not means to restore to it, or to
procure it, that advantage?" In 1760, the prize was adjourned; the
memoirs presented not being to the satisfaction of the Academy. In
1761, the new candidates having no better success, the subject was

However, notwithstanding this discouragement, we find that, on the
1st of August, 1766, Captain Berthelot actually reached the _Pont
Royal_ in a vessel of one hundred and sixty tons burden. When, on the
22d of the same month, he departed thence, loaded with merchandise,
the depth of the water in the Seine was twenty-five feet, and it was
nearly the same when he ascended the river. This vessel was seven
days on her passage from Rouen to Paris: but a year or two ago, four
days only were employed in performing the same voyage by another
vessel, named the _Saumon_.

Engineers have ever judged the scheme practicable, and the estimate
of the necessary works, signed by several skilful surveyors, was
submitted to the ministry of that day. The amount was forty-six
millions of livres (circa L1,916,600 sterling).

But what can compensate for the absence of the tide? This is an
advantage, which, in a commercial point of view, must ever insure to
London a decided superiority over Paris. Were the Seine to-morrow
rendered navigable for vessels of large burden, they must, for a
considerable distance, be tracked against the stream, or wait till a
succession of favourable winds had enabled them to stem it through
its various windings; whereas nothing can be more favourable to
navigation than the position of London. It has every advantage of a
sea-port without its dangers. Had it been placed lower down, that is,
nearer to the mouth of the Thames, it would have been more exposed to
the insults of a foreign enemy, and also to the insalubrious
exhalations of the swampy marshes. Had it been situated higher up the
river, it would have been inaccessible to ships of large burden.

Thus, by no effort of human invention or industry can Paris rival
London in commerce, even on the supposition that France could produce
as many men possessed of the capital and spirit of enterprise, for
which our British merchants are at present unrivalled.

Yet, may not this pre-eminence in commercial prosperity lead to our
destruction, as the gigantic conquests of France may also pave the
way to her ruin? Alas! the experience of ages proves this melancholy
truth, which has also been repeated by Raynal: "Commerce," says that
celebrated writer, "in the end finds its ruin in the riches which it
accumulates, as every powerful state lays the foundation of its own
destruction in extending its conquests."


_Paris, December 16, 1801._

No part of the engagement into which I have entered with you, so
fully convinces me of my want of reflection, and shews that my zeal,
at the time, got the better of my judgment, as my promising you some
ideas on


It would, I now perceive, be necessary to have inhabited France for
several years past, with the determined intention of observing this
great empire solely in that single point of view, to be able to keep
my word in a manner worthy of you and of the subject. It would be
necessary to write a large volume of rational things; and, in a
letter, I ought to relate them with conciseness and truth; draw
sketches with rapidity, but clearness; in short, express positive
results, without deviating from abstractions and generalities, since
you require from me, on this subject, no more than a letter, and not
a book.

I come to the point. I shall consider literature in a double sense.
First, the thing in itself; then, its connexions with the sciences,
and the men who govern. In England, it has been thought, or at least
insinuated in some of the papers and periodical publications, that
literature had been totally annihilated in France within the last
twelve years. This is a mistake: its aberrations have been taken for
eclipses. It has followed the revolution through all its phases.

Under the Constituent Assembly, the literary genius of the French was
turned towards politics and eloquence. There remain valuable
monuments of the fleeting existence of that assembly. MIRABEAU,
BARNAVE, CAZALES, MAURY, and thirty other capital writers, attest
this truth. Nothing fell from their lips or their pen that did not
hear at the same time the stamp of philosophy and literature.

Under the Legislative Assembly and the Convention, the establishments
of the empire of letters were little respected. Literati themselves
became victims of the political collisions of their country; but
literature was constantly cultivated under several forms. Those who
shewed themselves its oppressors, were obliged to assume the refined
language which it alone can supply, and that, at the very time when
they declared war against it.

Under the Directorial government, France, overwhelmed by the weight
of her long misfortunes, first cast her eye on the construction of a
new edifice, dedicated to human knowledge in general, under the name
of _National Institute_. Literature there collected its remains, and
those who cultivate it, as members of this establishment, are not
unworthy of their office. Such as are not admitted into this society,
notwithstanding all the claims the most generally acknowledged, owe
this omission to moral or political causes only, on which I could not
touch, without occupying myself about persons rather than the thing

The French revolution, which has levelled so many gigantic fortunes,
is said (by its advocates) to have really spread a degree of comfort
among the inferior classes. Indeed, if there are in France, as may be
supposed, much fewer persons rolling in riches, there are, I am
informed, much fewer pining in indigence. This observation, admitting
it to be strictly true, may, with great propriety, be applied to
French literature. France no longer has a VOLTAIRE or a ROUSSEAU, to
wield the sceptre of the literary world; but she has a number of
literary degrees of public interest or simple amusement, which are
perfectly well filled. Few literati are without employ, and still
fewer are beneath their functions. The place of member of the
Institute is a real public function remunerated by the State. It is
to this cause, and to a few others, which will occur to you
beforehand, that we must attribute the character of gravity which
literature begins to assume in this country. The prudery of the
school of DORAT would here be hissed. Here, people will not quarrel
with the Graces; but they will no longer make any sacrifice to them
at the expense of common sense.

In this literary republic still exist, as you may well conceive, the
same passions, the same littleness, the same intrigues as formerly
for arriving at celebrity, and keeping in that envied sphere; but all
this makes much less noise at the present juncture. It is this which
has induced the belief that literature had diminished its intensity,
both in form and object: that is another mistake. The French literati
are mostly a noisy class, who love to make themselves conspicuous,
even by the clashing of their pretensions; but, to the great regret
of several among them, people in this country now attach a rational
importance only to their quarrels, which formerly attracted universal
attention. The revolution has been so great an event; it has
overthrown such great interests; that no one here can any longer
flatter himself with exciting a personal interest, except by
performing the greatest actions.

I must also make a decisive confession on this matter, and
acknowledge that literature, which formerly held the first degree in
the scale of the moral riches of this nation, is likely to decline in
priority and influence. The sciences have claimed and obtained in the
public mind a superiority resulting from the very nature of their
object; I mean utility. The title of _savant_ is not more brilliant
than formerly; but it is more imposing; it leads to consequence, to
superior employments, and, above all, to riches. The sciences have
done so much for this people during their revolution, that, whether
through instinct, or premeditated gratitude, they have declared their
partiality towards the _savans_, or men of science, to the detriment
of the mere literati. The sciences are nearly allied both to pride
and national interest; while literature concerns only the vanity and
interest of a few individuals. This difference must have been felt,
and of itself alone have fixed the esteem of the public, and
graduated their suffrages according to the merit of the objects.
Regard being had to their specific importance, I foresee that this
natural classification will be attended with happy consequences, both
for sciences and literature.

I have been enabled to observe that very few men of science are
unacquainted with the literature of their country, whether for
seeking in it pleasing relaxation, or for borrowing from it a magic
style, a fluent elocution, a harmony, a pomp of expression, with
which the most abstract meditations can no longer dispense to be
received favourably by philosophers and men of taste. Very few
literati, on the other hand, are unacquainted with philosophy and the
sciences, and, above all, with natural knowledge; whether not to be
too much in arrear with the age in which they live, and which
evidently inclines to the study of Nature, or to give more colour and
consistence to their thoughts, by multiplying their degrees of
comparison with the eternal type of all that is great and fertile.

It has been so often repeated that HOMER, OSSIAN, and MILTON, knew
every thing known in their times; that they were at once the greatest
natural philosophers and the best moralists of their age, that this
truth has made an impression on most of the adepts in literature; and
as the impulse is given, and the education of the present day by the
retrenchment of several unnecessary pursuits, has left, in the mind
of the rising generation, vacancies fit to be filled by a great
variety of useful acquirements, it appears to me demonstrated, on
following analogy, and the gradations of human improvement, that the
sciences, philosophy, and literature will some day have in France but
one common domain, as they there have at present, with the arts, only
one central point of junction.

The French government has flattered the literati and artists, by
calling them in great numbers round it and its ministers, either to
give their advice in matters of taste, or to serve as a decoration to
its power, and an additional lustre to the crown of glory with which
it is endeavouring to encircle itself; but, in general, the palpable,
substantial, and solid distinctions have been reserved for men of
science, chymists, naturalists, and mathematicians: they have seats
in the Senate, in the Tribunate, in the Council of State, and in all
the Administrations; while LAHARPE, the veteran of French literature,
is not even a member of the Institute, and is reduced to give
lessons, which are, undoubtedly, not only very interesting to the
public, but also very profitable to himself, and produce him as much
money, at least, as his knowledge has acquired him reputation.

It results from what I have said, that French literature has not
experienced any apparent injury from the revolutionary storm: it has
only changed its direction and means: it has still remaining talents
which have served their time, talents in their maturity, and talents
in a state of probation, and of much promise.

Persons of reflection entertain great hopes from the violent shock
given to men's minds by the revolution; from that silent inquietude
still working in their hearts; from that sap, full of life,
circulating with rapidity through this body politic. "The factions
are muzzled," say they; "but the factious spirit still ferments under
the curb of power; if means can be found to force it to evaporate on
objects which belong to the domain of illusion and sensibility, the
result will prove a great blessing to France, by carrying back to the
arts and to literature, and even to commerce, that exuberance of heat
and activity which can no longer be employed without danger on
political subjects."

The same men, whom I have just pointed out, affirm that England
herself will feel, in her literary and scientific system, a salutary
concussion from the direction given here to the public mind. They
expect with impatience that the British government will engage in
some great measure of public utility, in order that the rivalship
subsisting between the two nations on political and military points,
which have no longer any object, may soon become, in France, the most
active and most powerful vehicle for different parts of her interior

Of all kinds of literature, _Epic Poetry_ is the only one in which
France has not obtained such success as to place her on a level with
TASSO and MILTON. To make amends, her poets have followed with
advantage the steps of ARIOSTO, without being able to surpass him.
From this school have issued two modern epic poems: _La guerre des
dieux payens contre les dieux chretiens_, by PARNY and _La conquete
de Naples_, by GUDIN. The former is distinguished by an easy
versification, and an imagination jocose and fertile, though,
certainly, far too licentious. Educated in the school of DORAT, he
possesses his redundance and grace, without his fatuity. His elegies
are worthy of TIBULLUS; and his fugitive pieces are at once dictated
by wit and sentiment: thus it was that CHAULIEU wrote, but with more
negligence. The latter has thought to compensate for the energy and
grace that should give life to his subject (which he considers only
in a playful and satirical light), by a truly tiresome multitude of
incidents. Conceive three huge volumes in octavo, for a poem which
required but one of a moderate size, and, in them, a versification
frequently negligent. These are two serious faults, which the French
will not readily overlook. No where are critics more severe, on the
one hand, against redundance that is steril, and on the other,
respecting the essential composition of verse, which ought always to
flow with grace, even when under restraint. Catholicism, however, has
no more reason to be pleased with the loose scenes presented in this
work, than christianity, in general, has with the licentious pictures
of PARNY; but GUDIN is far less dangerous to Rome, because he will be
less read.

Several authors have devoted their labours to _Tragedy_, during the
course of the revolution. CHENIER has produced a whole theatre, which
will remain to posterity, notwithstanding his faults, as he has
contrived to cover them with beauties. ARNAULT and MERCIER of
Compiegne are two young authors that seem to have been educated in
the school of DUCIS, who is at this day the father of all the present
tragic writers. The pieces which they have produced have met with
some success, and are of considerable promise.

_Comedy_ lost a vigorous supporter under the tyranny of ROBESPIERRE.
This was FABRE D'EGLANTINE. That poet seldom failed of success, drew
none but bold characters, and placed himself, by his own merit,
produce agreeable pieces which succeed. They paint, with an easy and
graceful pencil, the absurdities and humours of society; but their
pieces are deficient in plot and action. FABRE D'EGLANTINE
pourtrayed, in striking colours, those frightful vices which are
beyond the reach of the law. His pieces are strongly woven and easily
unravelled. PICARD seems to have taken GOLDONI, the celebrated
Venetian comic writer, for his model. Like him, an excellent painter,
a writer by impulse, he produces, with wonderful fecundity, a number
of interesting comedies, which make the audience laugh till they shed
tears, and how and then give great lessons. PALISSOT, CAILHAVA, and
MERCIER are still living; but no longer produce any thing striking.

I shall say little of French eloquence. Under the new form of
government, orators have less opportunity and less scope for
displaying transscendant talents than during the first years of the
revolution. Two members of the government, CAMBACERES and LEBRUN,
have distinguished themselves in this career by close, logical
argument, bright conceptions, and discriminating genius. BENJAMIN
CONSTANT and GUINGUENE, members of the Tribunate, shewed themselves
to advantage last year, as I understand, in some productions full of
energy and wisdom. DEMEUNIER and BOISSI D'ANGLAS are already, in the
Tribunate, veterans of eloquence; but the man who unites, in this
respect, all the approbation of that body, and even of France, is
DAUNOU. In exterior means he is deficient; but his thoughts proceed
at once from a warm heart and an open mind, guided by a superior
genius; and his expressions manifest the source from which they flow.

Several capital works of the historic kind have made their appearance
in France within the last ten years; but, with the exception of those
of celebrated voyagers or travellers, such as LA PEROUSE, BAUDIN,
object has been to treat of the arts, sciences, and manners of
Greece, such as the travels of Anacharsis, of Pythagoras, or of
Antenor; those whose subject has not been confined to France, such as
the _Precis de l'histoire generale_, by ANQUETIL; people ought to be
on their guard against the merit even of productions written
mediately or immediately on the revolution, its causes, and
consequences. The passions are not yet sufficiently calmed for us not
to suspect the spirit of party to interpose itself between men and
truth. The most splendid talents are frequently in this line only the
most faithless guide. It is affirmed, however, that there are a few
works which recommend themselves, by the most philosophic
impartiality; but none of these have as yet fallen under my
observation. A striking production is expected from the pen of the
celebrated VOLNEY. This is a _Tableau Physique des Etats Unis_; but
it is with regret I hear that its appearance is delayed by the
author's indisposition.

_Novels_ are born and die here, as among us, with astonishing
abundance. The rage for evocations and magic spectres begins to
diminish. The French assert that they have borrowed it from us, and
from the school of MRS. RADCLIFF, &c. &c. They also assert, that the
policy of the royalist-party was not unconnected with this
propagation of cavernous, cadaverous adventures, ideas, and
illusions, intended, they say, by the impression of a new moral
terror to infatuate their countrymen again with the dull and
soporific prestiges of popery. They see with joy that the taste for
pleasure has assumed the ascendency, at least in Paris, and that
novels in the English style no longer make any one tremble, at night
by the fireside, but the old beldams of the provincial departments.

The less important kinds of literature, such as the _Apologue_ or
_Moral Fable_, which is not at this day much in fashion; the
_Eclogue_ or _Idyl_, whose culture particularly belongs to agrestical
and picturesque regions; _Political Satire_, which is never more
refined than under the influence of arbitrary power; these kinds, to
which I might add the _Madrigal_ and _Epigram_, without being
altogether abandoned, are not generally enough cultivated here to
obtain special mention. I shall make an exception only in favour of
the pastoral poems of LECLERC (of Marne and Loire) of which I have
heard a very favourable account.

At the end of a revolution which has had periods so ensanguined,
_Romance_, (romantic poetry) must have been cultivated and held in
request. It has been so, especially by sentimental minds, and not a
little too through the spirit of party; this was likely to be the
case, since its most affecting characteristic is to mourn over tombs.

_Lyric poetry_ has been carried by LEBRUN, CHENIER, &c. to a height
worthy of JEAN BAPTISTE ROUSSEAU. The former, above all, will stand
his ground, by his weight, to the latest posterity; while hitherto
the lyric productions of CHENIER have not been able to dispense with
the charm of musical harmony. FONTANES, CUBIERES, PONS DE VERDUN,
BAOUR-LORNIAN, and DESPAZE are secondary geniuses, who do not make us
forget that DELISLE and the Chevalier BERTIN are still living; but
whose fugitive pieces sometimes display many charms.

When you shall be made acquainted that Paris, of all the cities in
the world, is that where the rage for dancing is the most
_nationalized_, where, from the gilded apartments of the most
fashionable quarters to the smoky chambers of the most obscure
suburbs, there are executed more capers in cadence, than in any other
place on earth, you will not be surprised if I reserve a special
article for one of the kinds of literature that bears the most
affinity to this distinctive diversion of the Parisian belles, which
has led MERCIER to say, that their city was the _guingette_ of
Europe; I mean _Song_. Perhaps, a subject new and curious to treat
on, would be the influence of vocal music on the French revolution.
Every one knows that this people marched to battle singing; but,
independently of the subject being above my abilities, it would carry
me too far beyond the limited plan which I have prescribed to myself.

Let it suffice for you to know, that there has existed in Paris a
sort of lyric manufactory, which, under the name of "_Diners du
vaudeville_" scrupulously performed, for several years, an engagement
to furnish, every month, a collection of songs very agreeable and
very captivating. These productions are pretty often full of
allusions, more or less veiled, to the political events of the
moment; seldom, however, have they been handled as very offensive
weapons against persons or institutions. The friends of mirth and
wine are seldom dark and dangerous politicians. This country
possesses a great number of them, who combine the talents required by
the gravest magistracy with all the levity of the most witty and most
cheerful _bon vivant_. I shall quote at random FRANCOIS DE
NEUFCHATEAU, the two SEGURS, PIIS, &c. &c. Others, such as BARRE,
DESFONTAINES, and RADET, confine themselves to their exclusive
functions of professed song-makers, and write only for the little
musical theatres, or for the leisure of their countrymen and their

It is impossible to terminate a sketch of the literature of France,
without saying a word of such of the _Journals_ as I have yet
perused, which are specially devoted to it. The _Mercure de France_
is one of those held in most esteem; and habit, as well as the spirit
of party, concurs in making the fortune of this journal. There exists
another, conducted by a member of the Institute, named POUGENS, under
the title of _Bibliotheque Francaise_, which is spoken of very
favourably. But that which appears every ten days, under the name of
_Decade Philosophique_, is the best production of the sort. A society
of literary men, prudent, well-informed, and warmly attached to their
country, are its authors, and deposit in it a well-digested analysis
of every thing new that appears in the arts, sciences, or literature.
Nevertheless, a labour so carefully performed, is perfectly
disinterested. This is the only enterprise of the kind that does not
afford a livelihood to its associates, and is supported by a zeal
altogether gratuitous.

Without seeking to blame or approve the title of this last-mentioned
journal, I shall only remark that the word _Decade_, coupled with the
word _Philosophique_, becomes in the eyes of many persons a double
cause of reprobation; and that, at this day, more than ever, those
two words are, in the opinion the most in fashion, marked by a
proscription that is reflected on every thing which belongs to the
science of philosophy.

This would be the moment to inquire into the secret or ostensible
causes which have led to the retrograde course that is to be remarked
in France in the ideas which have been hitherto reckoned as conducive
to the advancement of reason. This would be the moment to observe the
new government of France endeavouring to balance, the one by the
other, the opinions sprung from the Republic, and those daily
conjured up from the Monarchy; holding in _equilibrio_ two colours of
doctrines so diametrically opposite, and consequently two parties
equally dissatisfied at not being able to crush each other,
_neutralizing_ them, in short, by its immense influence in the
employment of their strength, when they bewilder or exhaust
themselves uselessly for its interests; but I could not touch on
these matters, without travelling out of the domain of literature,
which is the only one that is at present familiar to me, in order to
enter into yours, where you have not leisure to direct me; and you
may conceive with what an ill grace I should appear, in making before
you, in politics, excursions, which, probably, would have for me the
inconvenience of commanding great efforts, without leaving me the
hope of adding any thing to your stock of information.


_Paris, December 18, 1801._

Divided as Paris is by the Seine, it seldom happens that one has not
occasion to cross it more than once in the course of the day. I shall
therefore make you acquainted with the bridges which connect to its
banks the islands situated in that part of the river I have not yet

described. Being out of my general track, I might otherwise forget to
make any further mention of them, which would be a manifest omission,
now you have before you the Plan of Paris.

We will also embrace the opportunity of visiting the _Palais de
Justice_ and the Cathedral of _Notre-Dame_. East of the _Pont-Neuf_,
we first arrive at the


This bridge, which leads from the north bank of the Seine to the _Ile
du Palais_, is one of the most ancient in Paris. Though, like all
those of which I have now to speak, it crosses but one channel of the
river, it was called the _Grand Pont_, till the year 1141, when it
acquired its present name on Lewis VII establishing here all the
money-changers of Paris.

It was also called _Pont aux Oiseaux_, because bird-sellers were
permitted to carry on their business here, on condition of letting
loose two hundred dozen of birds, at the moment when kings and queens
passed, in their way to the cathedral, on the day of their public
entry. By this custom, it was intended to signify that, if the people
had been oppressed in the preceding reign, their rights, privileges,
and liberties would be fully re-established under the new monarch.

On the public entry of Isabeau de Baviere, wife of Charles VI, a
Genoese stretched a rope from the top of the towers of _Notre-Dame_
to one of the houses on this bridge: he thence descended, dancing on
this rope, with a lighted torch in each hand. Habited as an angel, he
placed a crown on the head of the new queen, and reascending his
rope, he appeared again in the air. The chronicle adds that, as it
was already dark, he was seen by all Paris and the environs.

This bridge was then of wood, and covered with houses also of wood.
Two fires, one of which happened in 1621, and the other in 1639,
occasioned it to be rebuilt of stone in 1647.

The _Pont au Change_ consists of seven arches. Previously to the
demolition of the houses, which, till 1786, stood on each side of
this bridge, the passage was sufficiently wide for three carriages.

Traversing the _Ile du Palais_ from north to south, in order to
proceed from the _Pont au Change_ to the _Pont St. Michel_, we pass
in front of the


Towards the end of the ninth century, this palace was begun by Eudes.
It was successively enlarged by Robert, son of Hugh Capet, by St.
Lewis, and by Philip the Fair. Under Charles V, who abandoned it to
occupy the _Hotel St. Paul_, which he had built, it was nothing more
than an assemblage of large towers, communicating with each other by
galleries. In 1383, Charles VI made it his residence. In 1431,
Charles VII relinquished it to the Parliament of Paris. However,
Francis I. took up his abode here for some time.

It was in the great hall of this palace that the kings of France
formerly received ambassadors, and gave public entertainments.

On Whitsunday, 1313, Philip the Fair here knighted his three sons,
with all the ceremonies of ancient chivalry. The king of England, our
unfortunate Edward II, and his abominable queen Isabella, who were
invited, crossed the sea on purpose, and were present at this
entertainment, together with a great number of English barons. It
lasted eight days, and is spoken of, by historians, as a most
sumptuous banquet.

This magnificent hall, as well as great part of the palace, being
reduced to ashes in 1618, it was rebuilt, in its present state, under
the direction of that skilful architect, JACQUES DE BROSSES. It is
both spacious and majestic, and is the only hall of the kind in
France: the arches and arcades which support it are of hewn stone.

Another fire, which happened in 1776, consumed all the part extending
from the gallery of prisoners to the _Sainte Chapelle_, founded by
St. Lewis, and where, before the revolution, were shewn a number of
costly relics. The ravages occasioned by this fire, were repaired in
1787, and the space in front laid open by the erection of uniform
buildings in the form of a crescent. To two gloomy gothic gates has
been substituted an iron railing, of one hundred and twenty feet in
extent, through which is seen a spacious court formed by two wings of
new edifices, and a majestic facade that affords an entrance to the
interior of the palace.

In this court Madame La Motte, who, in 1786, made so conspicuous a
figure in the noted affair of the diamond necklace, was publicly
whipped. I was in Paris at the time, though not present at the
execution of the sentence.

In the railing, are three gates, the centre one of which is charged
with garlands and other gilt ornaments. At the two ends are pavilions
decorated with four Doric pillars. Towards the _Pont St. Michel_ is a
continuation of the building ornamented with a bas-relief, at present
denominated _Le serment civique_.

At the top of a flight of steps, is an avant-corps, with four Doric
columns, a balustrade above the entablature, four statues standing on
a level with the base of the pillars, and behind, a square dome.

These steps lead you to the _Merciere_ gallery, having on the one
side, the _Sainte Chapelle_, and on the other, the great hall, called
the _Salle des Procureurs_. In this extensive hall are shops, for the
sale of eatables and pamphlets, which, since the suppression of the
Parliament, seem to have little custom, as well as those of the
milliners, &c. in the other galleries.

In what was formerly called the _grande chambre_, where the
Parliament of Paris used to sit, the ill-fated Lewis XVI, in 1788,
held the famous bed of justice, in which D'ESPRESMENIL, one of the
members of that body, struck the first blow at royalty; a blow that
was revenged by a _lettre de cachet_, which exiled him to the _Ile de
St. Marguerite_, famous for being the place of confinement of the
great personage who was always compelled to wear an _iron mask_. The
courage of this counsellor, who was a noble and deputy of the
_noblesse_, may be considered as the _primum mobile_ of the
revolution. Under the despotism of the court, he braved all its
vengeance; but, in the sequel, he afforded a singular proof of the
instability of the human mind. After haying stirred up all the
parliaments against the royal authority, he again became the humble
servant of the crown.

After the revolution, the _Palais de Justice_ became the seat of the
Revolutionary Tribunal, where the satellites of Robespierre, not
content with sending to the scaffold sixty victims at a time,
complained of the insufficiency of their means for bringing to trial
all the enemies of liberty. Dumas, at one time president of this
sanguinary tribunal, proposed to his colleagues to join to the hall,
where the tribunal sat, part of the great hall of the palace, in
order to assemble there five or six hundred victims at a time; and on
its being observed to him that such a sight might in the end disgust
the people; "Well," said he, "there's but one method of accomplishing
our object, without any obstacle, that is to erect a guillotine in
the court-yard of every prison, and cause the prisoners to be
executed there during the night." Had not Robespierre's downfall
involved that of all his blood-thirsty dependents, there seems no
doubt that this plan would have been carried into speedy execution.

Nothing can paint the vicissitude of human events in colours more
striking than the transitions of this critical period. Dumas who made
this proposal, and had partially satisfied his merciless disposition
by signing, a few hours before, the death-warrant of sixty victims,
was the very next day brought before the same tribunal, composed of
his accomplices, or rather his creatures, and by them condemned to
die. Thus did experience confirm the general observation, that the
multiplicity and enormity of punishments announces an approaching
revolution. The torrents of blood which tyrants shed, are, in the
end, swelled by their own.

In lieu of a tribunal of blood, the _Palais de Justice_ is now
appropriated to the sittings of the three tribunals, designated by
the following titles: _Tribunal de cassation_, _Tribunal d'appel_,
and _Tribunal de premiere instance_. The first of these, the
_Tribunal de cassation_, occupies the audience-chambers of the late
parliament; while the _grande chambre_ is appointed for the meetings
of its united Sections. The decoration of this spacious apartment is
entirely changed: it is embellished in the antique style; and a
person in contemplating it might fancy himself at Athens.

Adjoining to the _Palais de Justice_, is the famous prison, so
dreaded in the early periods of the revolution, called


From this fatal abode, neither talent, virtue, nor patriotism could,
at one time, secure those who possessed such enviable qualities.
Lavoisier, Malsherbes, Condorcet, &c. were here successively immured,
previously to being sent to the guillotine. Here too the unfortunate
Marie-Antoinette lived in a comfortless manner, from the 2nd of July,
1793, to the 13th of October following, the period of her

On being reconducted to the prison, at four o'clock in the morning,
after hearing her sentence read, the hapless queen displayed a
fortitude worthy of the daughter of the high-minded Maria Theresa.
She requested a few hours' respite, to compose her mind, and
entreated to be left to herself in the room which she had till then
occupied. The moment she was alone, she first cut off her hair, and
then laying aside her widow's weeds, which she had always worn since
the death of the king, put on a white dress, and threw herself on her
bed, where she slept till eleven o'clock the same morning, when she
was awakened, in order to be taken to the scaffold.

Continuing to cross the _Ile du Palais_ in a direction towards the
south, we presently reach the


This bridge stands in a direct line with the _Pont au Change_, and is
situated on the south channel of the river. It was formerly of wood:
but having been frequently destroyed, it was rebuilt with stone in
1618, and covered on both sides with houses. From the _Pont Neuf_,
the back of these buildings has a most disagreeable and filthy
appearance. It is said that they are to be taken down, as those have
been which stood on the other bridges.

In severe winters, when there is much ice in the river, it is
curious, on the breaking up of the frost, to behold families
deserting their habitations, like so many rats, and carrying with
them their valuables, from the apprehension that these crazy
tenements might fall into the river. This wise precaution is
suggested by the knowledge of these bridges, when built of wood,
having been often swept away by ice or great inundations.

The _Pont St. Michel_ consists of four arches. Its length is two
hundred and sixty-eight feet, by sixty in breadth, including the
houses, between which is a passage for three carriages.

If, to avoid being entangled in narrow, dirty streets, we return, by
the same route, to the north bank of the Seine, and proceed to the
westward, along the _Quai de Gevres_, which is partly built on piles,
driven into the bed of the river, we shall come to the


A wooden bridge, which previously existed here, having been
frequently carried away by inundations, Lewis XII ordered the
construction of the present one of stone, which was begun in 1499,
and completed in 1507. It was built from the plan of one JOCONDE, a
Cordelier, and native of Verona, and is generally admired for the
solidity, as well as beauty of its architecture. It consists of six
arches, and is two hundred and seventy-six feet in length. Formerly
it was bordered by houses, which were taken down in 1786: this has
rendered the quarter more airy, and consequently more salubrious.

It was on this bridge that the Pope's Legate reviewed the
ecclesiastical infantry of the League, on the the 3d of June, 1590.
Capuchins, Minimes, Cordeliers, Jacobins or Dominicans, Feuillans,
&c. all with their robe tucked up, their cowl thrown behind, a helmet
on their head, a coat of mail on their body, a sword by their side,
and a musquet on their shoulder, marched four by four, headed by the
reverend bishop of Senlis, bearing a spontoon. But some of this holy
soldiery, forgetting that their pieces were loaded with ball, wished
to salute the Legate, and killed by his side one of his chaplains.
His Eminence finding that it began to grow hot at this review,
hastened to give his benediction, and vanished.

_December 18, in continuation_.

Traversing once more two-thirds of the _Ile du Palais_ in a direction
from north to south, and then striking off to the east, up the _Rue
de Callandre_, we reach the


This church, the first ever built in Paris, was begun about the year
375, under the reign of the emperor Valentinian I. It was then called
_St. Etienne_ or _St. Stephen's_, and there was as yet no other
within the walls of this city in 1522, when Childebert, son of
Clovis, repaired and enlarged it, adding to it a new basilic, which
was dedicated to _Notre Dame_ or Our Lady.

More anciently, under Tiberius, there had been, on the same spot, an
altar in the open air, dedicated to Jupiter and other pagan gods,
part of which is still in being at the MUSEUM OF FRENCH MONUMENTS, in
the _Rue des Petits Augustins_.

These two churches existed till about the year 1160, under the reign
of Lewis the Young, when the construction of the present cathedral
was begun partly on their foundations. It was not finished till 1185,
during the reign of Philip Augustus.

This Gothic Church is one of the handsomest and most spacious in
France. It has a majestic and venerable appearance, and is supported
by one hundred and twenty clustered columns. Its length is three
hundred and ninety feet by one hundred and forty-four in breadth, and
one hundred and two in height.

We must not expect to find standing here the twenty-six kings,
benefactors of this church, from Childeric I to Philip Augustus,
fourteen feet high, who figured on the same line, above the three
doors of the principal facade. They have all fallen under the blows
of the iconoclasts, and are now piled up behind the church. There lie
round-bellied Charlemagne, with his pipe in his mouth, and Pepin the
Short, with his sword in his hand, and a lion, the emblem of courage,
under his feet. The latter, like Tydeus, mentioned in the Iliad,
though small in stature, was stout in heart, as appears from the
following anecdote related of him by the monk of St. Gal.

In former times, as is well known, kings took a delight in setting
wild beasts and ferocious animals to fight against each other. At one
of thege fights, between a lion and a bull, in the abbey of
Ferrieres, Pepin the Short, who knew that some noblemen were daily
exercising their pleasantry on his small stature, addressed to them
this question: "Which of you feels himself bold enough to kill or
separate those terrible animals?" Seeing that not one of them stepped
forward, and that the proposal alone made them shudder: "Well," added
he, "'tis I then who will perform the feat." He accordingly descended
from his place, drew his sword, killed the lion, at another stroke
cut off the head of the bull, and then looking fiercely at the
railers: "Know," said he to them, "that stature adds nothing to
courage, and that I shall find means to bring to the ground the proud
persons who shall dare to despise me, as little David laid low the
great giant Goliah." Hence the attribute given to the statue of king
Pepin, which not long since adorned the facade of _Notre-Dame_.

The groups of angels, saints, and patriarchs, which, no doubt, owe
their present existence only to their great number, still present to
the eye of the observer that burlesque mixture of the profane and
religious, so common in the symbolical representations of the twelfth
century. These figures adorn the triple row of indented borders of
the arches of the three doors.

Two enormous square towers, each two hundred and two feet in height,
and terminated by a platform, decorate each end of the cathedral. The
ascent to them is by a winding staircase of three hundred and
eighty-nine steps, and their communication is by a gallery which
has no support but Gothic pillars of a lightness that excites

Independently of the six bells, which have disappeared with the
little belfry that contained them, in the two towers were ten, one of
which weighed forty-four thousand pounds.

At the foot of the north tower is the rural calendar or zodiac, which
has been described by M. Le Gentil, member of the Academy of
Sciences. The Goths had borrowed from the Indians this custom of thus
representing rustic labours at the entrance of their temples.

Another Gothic bas-relief, which is seen on the left, in entering by
the great door, undoubtedly represents that condemned soul who,
tradition says, rose from his bier, during divine service, in order
to pronounce his own damnation.

None of the forty-five chapels have preserved the smallest vestige of
their ornaments. Those which escaped the destructive rage of the
modern Vandals, have been transported to the MUSEUM OF FRENCH
MONUMENTS. The most remarkable are the statue of Pierre de Gondi,
archbishop of Paris, the mausoleum of the Conte d'Harcourt, designed
by his widow, the modern Artemisia, and executed by Pigalle, together
with the group representing the vow of St. Lewis, by Costou the
elder. Six angels in bronze, which were seen at the further end of
the choir, have also been removed thither.

The stalls present, in square and oval compartments, bas-reliefs very
delicately sculptured, representing subjects taken from the life of
the Holy Virgin and from the New Testament. Of the two episcopal
pulpits, which are at the further end, the one, that of the
archbishop, represents the martyrdom of St. Denis; the other,
opposite, the cure of king Childebert, by the intercession of St.

Some old tapestry, hung scantily round the choir, makes one regret
the handsome iron railing, so richly wrought, by which it was
inclosed, and some valuable pictures, which now figure in the grand

The nave, quite as naked as the choir and the sanctuary, had been
enriched, as far as the space would admit, with pictures, twelve feet
high, given for a long time, on every first of May, by the
Goldsmiths' company and the fraternity of St. Anne and St. Marcel.

On the last pillar of the nave, on the right, was the equestrian
statue of Philip of Valois. That king was here represented on
horseback, with his vizor down, sword in hand, and armed cap-a-pie,
in the very manner in which he rode into the cathedral of
_Notre-Dame_, in 1328, after the battle of Cassel. At the foot of
the altar he left his horse, together with his armour, which he had
worn in the battle, as an offering to the Holy Virgin, after having
returned thanks to God and to her, say historians, for the victory
he had obtained through her intercession.

Above the lateral alleys, as well of the choir as of the nave, are
large galleries, separated by little pillars of a single piece, and
bordered by iron balustrades. Here spectators place themselves to see
grand ceremonies. From their balconies were formerly suspended the
colours taken from the enemy: these are now displayed in the _Temple
of Mars_ at the HOTEL DES INVALIDES.

The organ, which appears to have suffered no injury, is reckoned one
of the loudest and most complete in France. It is related that
Daquin, an incomparable organist, who died in 1781, once imitated the
nightingale on it so perfectly, that the beadle was sent on the roof
of the church, to endeavour to discover the musical bird.

Some of the stained glass is beautiful. Two roses, restored to their
original state, the one on the side of the archipiscopal palace in
1726, and the other above the organ, in 1780, prove by their lustre,
that the moderns are not so inferior to the ancients, in the art of
painting on glass, as is commonly imagined.

Should your curiosity lead you to contemplate the house of Fulbert,
the canon, the supposed uncle to the tender Heloise, where that
celebrated woman passed her youthful days, you must enter, by the
cloister of _Notre-Dame_, into the street that leads to the _Pont
Rouge_, since removed. It is the last house on the right under the
arcade, and is easily distinguished by two medallions in stone,
preserved on the facade, though it has been several times rebuilt
during the space of six hundred years. All the authors who have
written on the antiquities of Paris, speak of these medallions as
being real portraits of Abelard and Heloise. It is presumable that
they were so originally; but, without being a connoisseur, any one
may discover that the dresses of these figures are far more modern
than those peculiar to the twelfth century; whence it may be
concluded that the original portraits having been destroyed by time,
or by the alterations which the house has undergone, these busts have
been executed by some more modern sculptor of no great talents.

Leaving the cathedral, by the _Rue Notre-Dame_, and turning to the
left, on reaching the _Marche Palu_, we come to the


Like the _Pont St. Michel_, this bridge is situated on the south
channel of the river, and stands in a direct line with the _Pont
Notre-Dame_. It originally owed its construction to the following

Four Jews, accused of having killed one of their converted brethren,
were condemned to be publicly whipped through all the streets of the
city, on four successive Sundays. After having suffered the half of
their sentence, to redeem themselves from the other half, they paid
18,000 francs of gold. This sum was appropriated to the erection of
the _Petit Pont_, the first stone of which was laid by Charles VI, in

In 1718, two barges, loaded with hay, caught fire, and being cut
loose, drifted under the arches of this bridge, which, in the space
of four hours, was consumed, together with the houses standing on it.
The following year it was rebuilt, but without houses.

Proceeding to the east, along the quays of the _Ile du Palais_, you
will find the


This little bridge, situated behind the _Hotel-Dieu_, of which I
shall speak hereafter, is destined for foot-passengers only, as was
the _Pont Rouge_. The latter was the point of communication between
the _Cite_ and the _Ile St. Louis_; but the frequent reparations
which it required, occasioned it to be removed in 1791, though, by
the Plan of Paris, it still appears to be in existence. However, it
is in contemplation to replace it by another of stone.[1]

Supposing that you have regained the north bank of the Seine, by
means of the _Pont Notre-Dame_, you follow the quays, which skirt
that shore, till you reach the


This bridge forms a communication between the _Port St. Paul_ and the
_Ile St. Louis_. The _Pont Marie_ was named after the engineer who
engaged with Henry IV to build it; but that prince having been
assassinated; the young king, Lewis XIII, and the queen dowager, laid
the first stone in 1614: it was finished, and bordered with houses,
in 1635. It consists of five arches. Its length is three hundred feet
by sixty-two in breadth. An inundation having carried away two of the
arches, in 1658, they were repaired without the addition of houses,
and in 1789, the others were removed.

Passing through the _Rue des Deux Ponts_, which lies in a direct line
with the _Pont Marie_, we arrive at the


This bridge takes its name from the _Chateau de la Tournelle_,
contiguous to the _Porte St. Bernard_, where the galley-slaves used
formerly to be lodged, till they were sent off to the different
public works. It consists of six arches of solid construction, and is
bordered on each side by a foot-pavement.

You are now acquainted with all the bridges in Paris; but should you
prefer crossing the Seine in a boat, there are several ferries
between the bridges, and at other convenient places. Here, you may
always meet with a waterman, who, for the sum of one _sou_, will
carry you over, whether master or lackey. Like the old ferryman
Charon, he makes no distinction of persons.

[Footnote 1: Workmen are, at this moment, employed in the
construction of three new bridges. The first, already mentioned, will
form a communication between the _ci-devant College des Quatre
Nations_ and the _Louvre_; the second, between the _Ile du Palais_
and the _Ile St. Louis_; and the third, between the _Jardin des
Plantes_ and the Arsenal.]


_Paris, December 20, 1801._

What a charming abode is Paris, for a man who can afford to live at
the rate of a thousand or fifteen hundred pounds a year! Pleasures
wait not for him to go in quest of them; they come to him of their
own accord; they spring up, in a manner, under his very feet, and
form around him an officious retinue. Every moment of the day can
present a new gratification to him who knows how to enjoy it; and,
with prudent management, the longest life even would not easily
exhaust so ample a stock.

Paris has long been termed an epitome of the world. But, perhaps,
never could this denomination be applied to it with so much propriety
as at the present moment. The chances of war have not only rendered
it the centre of the fine arts, the museum of the most celebrated
masterpieces in existence, the emporium where the luxury of Europe
comes to procure its superfluities; but the taste for pleasure has
also found means to assemble here all the enjoyments which Nature
seemed to have exclusively appropriated to other climates.

Every country has its charms and advantages. Paris alone appears to
combine them all. Every region, every corner of the globe seems to
vie in hastening to forward hither the tribute of its productions.
Are you an epicure? No delicacy of the table but may be eaten in
Paris.--Are you a toper? No delicious wine but may be drunk, in
Paris.--Are you fond of frequenting places of public entertainment?
No sort of spectacle but may be seen in Paris.--Are you desirous of
improving your mind? No kind of instruction but may be acquired in
Paris.--Are you an admirer of the fair sex? No description of female
beauty but may be obtained in Paris.--Are you partial to the society
of men of extraordinary talents? No great genius but comes to display
his knowledge in Paris.--Are you inclined to discuss military topics?
No hero but brings his laurels to Paris.--In a word, every person,
favoured by Nature or Fortune, flies to enjoy the gifts of either in
Paris. Even every place celebrated in the annals of voluptuousness,
is, as it were, reproduced in Paris, which, in some shape or another,
presents its name or image.

Without going out of this capital, you may, in the season when Nature
puts on her verdant livery, visit _Idalium_, present your incense to
the Graces, and adore, in her temple, the queen of love; while at
_Tivoli_, you may, perhaps, find as many beauties and charms as were
formerly admired at the enchanting spot on the banks of the Anio,
which, under its ancient name of _Tibur_, was so extolled by the
Latin poets; and close to the Boulevard, at _Frascati_, you may, in
that gay season, eat ices as good as those with which Cardinal de
Bernis used to regale his visiters, at his charming villa in the
_Campagna di Roma_. Who therefore need travel farther than Paris to
enjoy every gratification?

If then, towards the close of a war, the most frightful and
destructive that ever was waged, the useful and agreeable seem to
have proceeded here hand in hand in improvement, what may not be
expected in the tranquillity of a few years' peace? Who knows but the
emperor Julian's "_dear Lutetia_" may one day vie in splendour with
Thebes and its hundred gates, or ancient Rome covering its seven

However, if _Tivoli_ and _Frascati_ throw open their delightful
recesses to the votaries of pleasure only in spring and summer, even
now, during the fogs of December, you may repair to


It might almost be said that you enter this place of amusement
gratis, for, though a slight tribute of seventy-five _centimes_
(_circa_ seven-pence halfpenny sterling) is required for the
admission of every person, yet you may take refreshment to the amount
of that sum, without again putting your hand into your pocket;
because the counter mark, given at the door, is received at the bar
as ready-money.

This speculation, the first of the kind in France, and one of the
most specious, is, by all accounts, also one of the most productive.
It would be too rigorous, no doubt, to compare the frequenters of the
modern PAPHOS to the inhabitants of the ancient. Here, indeed, you
must neither look for _elegantes_, nor _muscadins_; but you may view
belles, less gifted by Fortune, indulging in innocent recreation; and
for a while dispelling their cares, by dancing to the exhilarating
music of an orchestra not ill composed. Here, the grisette banishes
the _ennui_ of six days' application to the labours of her industry,
by footing it away on Sunday. Hither, in short, the less refined sons
and daughters of mirth repair to see and be seen, and to partake of
the general diversion.

PAPHOS is situated on that part of the Boulevard, called the
_Boulevard du Temple_, whither I was led the other evening by that
sort of curiosity, which can be satisfied only when the objects that
afford it aliment are exhausted. I had just come out of another place
of public amusement, at no great distance, called


This is an exhibition in the _Cour des Capucines_, adjoining to the
Boulevard, where ROBERTSON, a skilful professor of physics, amuses or
terrifies his audience by the appearance of spectres, phantoms, &c.
In the piece which I saw, called _Le Tombeau de Robespierre_, he
carries illusion to an extraordinary degree of refinement. His
cabinet of physics is rich, and his effects of optics are managed in
the true style of French gallantry. His experiments of galvanism
excite admiration. He repeats the difficult ones of M. VOLTA, and
clearly demonstrates the electrical phenomena presented by the
metallic pile. A hundred disks of silver and a hundred pieces of zinc
are sufficient for him to produce attractions, sparks, the divergency
of the electrometer, and electric hail. He charges a hundred Leyden
bottles by the simple contact of the metallic pile. ROBERTSON, I
understand, is the first who has made these experiments in Paris, and
has succeeded in discharging VOLTA's pistol by the galvanic spark.

FITZJAMES, a famous ventriloquist, entertains and astonishes the
company by a display of his powers, which are truly surprising.

You may, perhaps, be desirous to procure your family circle the
satisfaction of enjoying the _Phantasmagoria_, though not on the
grand scale on which it is exhibited by ROBERTSON. By the
communication of a friend, I am happy in being enabled to make you
master of the secret, as nothing can be more useful in the education
of children than to banish from their mind the deceitful illusion of
ghosts and hobgoblins, which they are so apt to imbibe from their
nurses. But to the point--"You have," says my author, "only to call
in the first itinerant foreigner, who perambulates the streets with a
_galantee-show_ (as it is commonly termed in London), and by
imparting to him your wish, if he is not deficient in intelligence
and skill, he will soon be able to give you a rehearsal of the
apparition of phantoms: for, by approaching or withdrawing the stand
of his show, and finding the focus of his glasses, you will see the
objects diminish or enlarge either on the white wall, or the sheet
that is extended.

"The illusion which leads us to imagine that an object which
increases in all its parts, is advancing towards us, is the basis of
the _Phantasmagoria_, and, in order to produce it with the
_galantee-show_, you have only to withdraw slowly the lantern from
the place on which the image is represented, by approaching the outer
lens to that on which the object is traced: this is easily done, that
glass being fixed in a moveable tube like that of an opera-glass.
As for approaching the lantern gradually, it may be effected with the
same facility, by placing it on a little table with castors, and, by
means of a very simple mechanism, it is evident that both these
movements may be executed together in suitable progression.

"The deception recurred to by phantasmagorists is further increased
by the mystery that conceals, from the eyes of the public, their
operations and optical instruments: but it is easy for the showman to
snatch from them this superiority, and to strengthen the illusion for
the children whom you choose to amuse with this sight. For that
purpose, he has only to change the arrangement of the sheet, by
requiring it to be suspended from the ceiling, between him and the
spectators, much in the same manner as the curtain of a playhouse,
which separates the stage from the public. The transparency of the
cloth shews through it the coloured rays, and, provided it be not of
too thick and too close a texture, the image presents itself as clear
on the one side as on the other.

"If to these easy means you could unite those employed by ROBERTSON,
such as the black hangings, which absorb the coloured rays, the
little musical preparations, and others, you might transform all the
_galantee-shows_ into as many _phantasmagorias_, in spite of the
priority of invention, which belongs, conscientiously, to Father
KIRCHER, a German Jesuit, who first found means to apply his
knowledge respecting light to the construction of the magic lantern.

"The coloured figures, exhibited by the phatasmagorists, have no
relation to these effects of light: they are effigies covered with
gold-beater's skin, or any other transparent substance, in which is
placed a dark lantern. The light of this lantern is extinguished or
concealed by pulling a string, or touching a spring, at the moment
when any one wishes to seize on the figure, which, by this
contrivance, seems to disappear.

"The proprietors of the grand exhibitions of _phantasmagoria_ join to
these simple means a combination of different effects, which they
partly derive from the phenomena, presented by the _camera obscura_.
Some faint idea of that part of physics, called optics, which NEWTON
illuminated, by his genius and experience, are sufficient for
conceiving the manner in which these appearances are produced, though
they require instruments and particular care to give them proper

Such is the elucidation given of the _phantasmagoria_ by an
intelligent observer, whose friend favoured me with this


_Paris, December 21, 1801._

If Paris affords a thousand enjoyments to the man of fortune, it may
truly be said that, without money, Paris is the most melancholy abode
in the world. Privations are then the more painful, because desires
and even wants are rendered more poignant by the ostentatious display
of every object which might satisfy them. What more cruel for an
unfortunate fellow, with an empty purse, than to pass by the kitchen
of a _restaurateur_, when, pinched by hunger, he has not the means of
procuring himself a dinner? His olfactory nerves being still more
readily affected when his stomach is empty, far from affording him a
pleasing sensation, then serve only to sharpen the torment which he
suffers. It is worse than the punishment of Tantalus, who, dying with
thirst, could not drink, though up to his chin in water.

Really, my dear friend, I would advise every rich epicure to fix his
residence in this city. Without being plagued by the details of
housekeeping, or even at the trouble of looking at a bill of fare, he
might feast his eye, and his appetite too, on the inviting plumpness
of a turkey, stuffed with truffles. A boar's head set before him,
with a Seville orange between its tusks, might make him fancy that he
was discussing the greatest interests of mankind at the table of an
Austrian Prime Minister, or British Secretary of State; while _pates_
of _Chartres_ or of _Perigord_ hold out to his discriminating palate
all the refinements of French seasoning. These, and an endless
variety of other dainties, no less tempting, might he contemplate
here, in walking past a _magazin de comestibles_ or

Among the changes introduced here, within these few years, I had
heard much of the improvements in the culinary art, or rather in the
manner of serving up its productions; but, on my first arrival in
Paris, I was so constantly engaged in a succession of dinner-parties,
that some time elapsed before I could avail myself of an opportunity
of dining at the house of any of the fashionable


This is a title of no very ancient date in Paris. _Traiteurs_ have
long existed here: independently of furnishing repasts at home, these
_traiteurs_, like Birch in Cornhill, or any other famous London cook,
sent out dinners and suppers. But, in 1765, one BOULANGER conceived
the idea of _restoring_ the exhausted animal functions of the
debilitated Parisians by rich soups of various denominations. Not
being a _traiteur_, it appears that he was not authorized to serve
ragouts; he therefore, in addition to his _restorative_ soups, set
before his customers new-laid eggs and boiled fowl with strong gravy
sauce: those articles were served up without a cloth, on little
marble tables. Over his door he placed the following inscription,
borrowed from Scripture: "_Venite ad me omnes qui stomacho laboratis,
et ego restaurabo vos._"

Such was the origin of the word and profession of _restaurateur_.

Other cooks, in imitation of BOULANGER, set up as _restorers_, on a
similar plan, in all the places of public entertainment where such
establishments were admissible. Novelty, fashion, and, above all,
dearness, brought them into vogue. Many a person who would have been
ashamed to be seen going into a _traiteur's_, made no hesitation of
entering a _restaurateur's_, where he paid nearly double the price
for a dinner of the same description. However, as, in all trades, it
is the great number of customers that enrich the trader, rather than
the select few, the _restaurateurs_, in order to make their business
answer, were soon under the necessity of constituting themselves

Book of the day: