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DECORATIONS OF A DINNER TABLE.
works. Little excitement, however, appears to be produced by a few accidental deaths in a city where there are estimated to be so many thousand accidental births every year.
Among the hollow testimonials of rejoicing at the coronation, a dinner was given by the authorities of the city of Paris, at which the king was present. All the art and taste of the Parisians, it is stated, were called forth to ornament the tables and the halls. On the ensuing day, the good citizens of Paris were permitted, on special application and license from the Mayors of the departments of the city, to enter the Maison de Ville, to view the sumptuous decorations that were left undisturbed for exhibition. Having been favored with an order from one of the dozen Mayors of the arrondissements of Paris, with a signature setting forth nearly as many titles as there were words in the passport, we proceeded to view those decorations of the table, for which French confectioners are so celebrated. Delivering our passport at the door to a soldier who guarded it, we entered a dark passage, through which we groped our way until we entered the door of the great hall, where the sudden transition to a dazzling glare of light produced an unexpected and magical effect. The pillars, and even the walls of one of the halls are entirely covered with a cloth or tissue of gold, and from the numerous lights, they reflect a lustre, as if each column were composed of massy gold. Every object, except perhaps the roasted ducks and other edibles, must have appeared at the feast radiant with beams of light, reflected many fold by numerous mirrors with which even the tables are loaded with studied care, to magnify the profusion which they exhibit, and to produce a momentary illusion in the spectator, as if he were beholding one of the golden palaces described in the tales of Eastern romance.
Having been informed that the guillotine is deposited
in one part of this public edifice, called the Maison de Ville, or city Hall, I addressed myself to a gens d'armes, to make inquiries respecting it. He began vociferously to express his astonishment that any gentleman could wish to see that dreadful machine, and vented his abuse against unfeeling Englishmen who delight in cock fights and boxing, and bloody executions. Observing a crowd of auditors to be collecting to hear his tirade against John Bull, or Jacques Roast beef, as this appellation is often comically translated and used by Frenchmen, I retreated and left him to terminate his harangue upon the characteristic want of feeling in Englishmen. I afterwards learned that the keeper of the guillotine, for a stated fee, is glad to set it up ready for operation, for the gratification of such as are willing to pay for the sight of the "dreadful machine."
Having obtained a ticket for admittance to view the palace of the Duc D'Orleans (the present king of France,) we passed an hour in strolling through the various apartments, and in viewing the paintings which they contain. One end of this celebrated palace, called the Palais Royal, is occupied by the Duc D'Orleans, and the other end is occupied by shopkeepers of all kinds, confectioners, coffee-rooms, gaming-houses, and indeed for almost every sort of trade; whilst in the piazzas the courtesans of the city promenade at the approach of evening. It is a sort of Noah's ark for trades, every branch being represented in some part of it. Before the Revolution, the former Duke of Orleans, having squandered immense sums in the indulgence of his profligate habits, resorted to the plan of opening the court-yard of his palace to tradesmen, to gamesters and all other persons, who would pay liberal rents to recruit his exhausted finances. For.
SHOPS OF THE PALAIS ROYAL.
tunately for the present Duke, when other estates of noblemen in Paris were confiscated and sold in fee by the ruling party during the Revolution, this Royal Palace was leased for a term of years. The leases having mostly expired, the proprietor has regained possession of the great revenue from the rents of the shops and chambers of this extensive structure. The edifice is built around the four sides of an open area of five or six acres of ground, which is laid out into flower gardens and shaded walks, and is refreshed by the spouting waters of a fountain. Standing in the middle of this interior area or court yard, and looking around upon the walls of the palace which incloses it on every side, you behold a sheltered walk or arcade, composed of about two hundred arches, and nearly half a mile in circuit. Protected from the inclemency of the weather at all seasons, you may here walk, and derive amusement at every step from showy exhibitions of jewelry and fancy goods of all descriptions, arranged at the shop windows which open upon the arcade. In the evening, this arcade is lighted by two hundred lamps, or more, whilst a mid day brilliancy seems to stream from every shop window.* It is stated that some of these shops are rented by the Duke at the rate of 25,000 francs per annum. To this pretty square, crowds of the citizens and strangers resort at the commencement of the evening, in fine weather, to promenade, and to sit in the chairs kept for this purpose by women, who lease them at two sous each.
* The display of rare and beautiful articles in the shop windows in Paris are tempting sources of expense to strangers, who may here find many of those little articles understood by the term "souvenirs," to gratify those at home, who may place more value on being thus remembered, than on the object itself which may be the proof and lasting pledge of it. This occupation, as far as one's limited means may allow, certainly af fords one of the most pleasing gratifications to the traveller.
GARDEN OF PLANTS.
A humorous caricature of John Bull is exhibited at the windows of the print shops, where a fat unwieldy Englishman is represented as seated in one of these chairs, with his feet placed on a second, and his arms resting on the back of a third, whilst he is resisting the claim of the old lady for six sous for the occupancy of as many chairs as would serve three Frenchmen. At the hour of twilight, the courtesans of the city may be here seen without bonnets and with their hair and drapery arranged with all the studied allurements of art, some of them as if arrayed in ball dresses.
After gaining access to the portion of the palace occupied by the family of the proprietor, we imagined that we were in the presence of the Duke himself, or of some of the high officers of rank, so profusely are the servants covered with liveries of gold lace, and scarlet, and showy epaulettes. Their obsequious attention and bows soon relieved us from every embarrassment.
GARDEN OF PLANTS.
On one of the finest mornings of June, we went to the Garden of Plants. This truly magnificent collection of plants is supported at a great expense by the government, for the instruction as well as for the amusement of the inhabitants of Paris. Strangers are also freely admitted. The first tracts of ground we approached are occupied by culinary vegetables, and by various kinds of fruit trees, distinctly marked with legible labels, that indicate both the botanical and common names of each class.-It is thus that a visitant, without the aid of a Professor, may from mere inspection learn the names of six or seven thousand varieties of plants, all tastefully arranged in little ́beds divided by the low ever-green box. They are so distributed as to present an agreeable diversity of appear.
CEDAR OF LEBANON.-MENAGERIE.
133 ance whilst the scientific classification is still preserved. The humblest floweret is here cherished with fostering care, and the great cedar of Lebanon pushes its massy trunk aloft from the greensward. Its top has here literal ly verified, in relation to civil society, what Horace says of the dangers of pre-eminence in the physical world,
The lofty pines feel most the power
Of wintry blasts."
Daring the mania for levelling, in the days of Robespierre, it is said that certain wary republican politicians conceiv ed that this cedar of Lebanon with its lofty top was set ting a very aristocratical example to the humbler plants in its neighborhood. Unwilling to tolerate even the idea of inequality, they lopped off, it was stated to me, the top of this cedar tree. This act is equalled only by the licentious political absurdities of the same stamp, which were exhibited in the time of Cromwell. One of the members of Parliament was then anxious to alter the form of the Lord's Prayer, by inserting the words "thy republic come," instead of "thy kingdom come," hypocritically observing, that he did not like the idea of living in a kingdom, even in heaven.
In the menagerie are numerous wild animals, some confined in cages or inclosures, and others in deep walled pits or cellars. The most singular spectacle which I noticed was an elephant bathing in a pool of water in the open grounds. The animal, with great apparent delight, immersed himself completely in the water, which closed in ripples over his huge body. He continued submerged, excepting his trunk, which he extended above the surface of the water.
In the department of comparative anatomy, the labors of Cuvier, and of his predecessors, have collected a surprisingly extensive variety of skeletons, from the ponderous bones of the whale, 60 or 70 feet in length, and of the el