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THE PALACE OF THE PETIT TRIANON. 183
From this elevated spot, the beholder contemplates the dif- Chap. ferent waterworks, walks, and gardens, which cover several XVIJ' miles.
The orangery is a beautiful specimen of tuscan architecture, designed by le Maitre, and finished by Mansart. It is filled with lofty orange trees in full bearing; many of which, in their tubs, measure from twenty to thirty feet high. Amongst them is an orange tree which is upwards of four hundred years old. The cascades, fountains, and jets d'eau, are too numerous to admit of minute description. They are all very fine, and are supplied by prodigious engines across the Seine, at Marli. aWu liiree miles distant. The Trianon is a little marble palace, of much beauty, and embellished with the richest decoration.
It stands at the end of the great lake, in front of the palace; and was, by its late royal owners, considered as a summer house to the gardens of Versailles. The whole of this vast building and its grounds, were improved and beautified by Lewis XlVth, for the well known purpose of impressing his subjects, and particularly his .courtiers, with the highest opinion of his greatness, and the lowest of their comparative littleness. Amongst the lords of his court he easily effected his wishes, by accommodating them in a manner unsuitable to their dignity.
After being astonished at such a display of gorgeous magnificence, I approached, with increased delight, the enchanting little palace and grounds of the late queen, distant from Versailles about two miles, called the Petit Trianon, to which she very justly gave the appellation of her " little Palace of Taste."
THE PALACE OF THE PETIT TRIANON.
Here, fatigued with the splendours of royalty, she threw aside all its appearances, and gave herself up to the elegant pleasures of rural life. It is a princely establishment in miniature. It consists of a small palace, a chapel, an opera house, out offices and stables, a little park, and pleasure grounds; the latter of which are still charming, although the fascinating eye, and tasteful hand of their lovely but too volatile mistress, no longer pervade, cherish and direct their growth and beauty. By that reverse of fortune, which the revolution has familiarized, the Petit Trianon is let out by the government to a restaurateur. All the rooms but one in this house were preoccupied, on the day of our visit, in consequence of which we weic obliged to dine in the former little bed room of the queen, where, like the idalian goddess, she used to sleep in a suspended basket of roses. The apertures in the cieling and wainscot, to which the elegant furniture of this little room of repose had once adhered, are still visible.
After dinner we hastened through our coffee, and proceeded to the gardens. After winding through gravelled walks, embowered by the most exquisite and costly shrubs, we entered the elegant temple of Cupid, from which the little favourite of mankind had been unwillingly, and rudely expelled, as appeared by the fragments of his pedestal.
Thy wrongs little god! shall be revenged by thy fair friend Pity. Those who treated thee thus, shall. suffer in. their turn, and. she shall not console them!
From this temple we passed through the most. romantic ay.enues, to a range of rural buildings, called the queen's. farm,
the THE PALACE OF THE PETIT TRIANON.
the dairy, the mill, and the woodinens cottages; which, during the queen's residence at the Petit Trianon, were occupied by the most elegant and accomplished young noblemen of the court. In front of them, a lake terminated on one side by a rustic tower, spreads itself. These buildings are much neglected, and are falling into rapid ruin.
In other times, when neatness and order reigned throughout this elysian scenery, and gracefully spread its luxuriant beauties at the feet of its former captivating owner, upon the mirror of that lake, now filled with reeds and sedges, in elegant little pleasure boats, the illustrious party was accustomed to enjoy the freshness of the evening, tu lill the surrounding groves with the melody of the song, which was faintly answered by the tender flute, whose musician was concealed in that rustic tower, whose graceful base the honeysuckle and eglantine no longer encircle, and whose winding access, once decorated with flowers of the richest beauty and perfume, is now overgrown with moss, decayed, and falling piecemeal to the ground.
Near the farm, in corresponding pleasure grounds, the miller's house particularly impressed us with delight. All its characteristics ..vver«- elegantly observed. A rivulet still runs on one side of it, which formerly used to turn a little wheel to complete the illusion. The apartments, which must have been once enchanting, now present nothing but gaping beams, broken ceilings, and shattered casements. The wainscots of its little cabinets, exhibit only a tablet, upon which are rudely
B B penciled, 186* THE GROUNDS.
Chap. penciled, the motley initials, love verses, and memorandums of xvn" its various visitors.
The shade of the ivy, which, upon all occasions, seems destined to perform the last offices to the departing monuments of human ingenuity, has here exercised its gloomy function. Whilst we were roving about, we were obliged to take refuge from a thunder storm, in what appeared to us a mere barn; upon our entering it, we found it to be an elegant little ball room, much disfigured, and greened over by damp and neglect. In other parts of this petit Paradis, are caves of artificial rock, which have been formed at an immense expense, in which were formerly beds of moss, and through which clear streams of water glided, Belvidcrc temples, and scattered cottages, each differing from its neighbour in character, but all according in taste and beauty. The opera house, which stands alone, is a miniature of the splendid one in the palace of Versailles.
The sylvan ball room, is an oblong square, lined with beautiful treillages. surmounted with vases of flowers. The top is open. When the queen gave her balls here, the ground was covered by a temporary flooring, and the whole was brilliantly lighted. As we passed by the palace, we saw,
in the queen's little library, several persons walking. walf^^.
Could the enchanting beauty of Austria, and the once incensed idol of the gay, and the gallant, arise from her untimely tomb, and behold her most sacred recesses of delight, thus rudely exposed, and converted into scenes of low, and holiday festivity, the temples which she designed, defaced,
their THE GROUNDS.
their statues overthrown, her walks overgrown and entangled, the clear mirror of the winding lake, upon the placid surface of which once shone the reflected form of the Belvidere, and the retreats of elegant taste covered with the reedy greenness of the standing pool, and all the fairy fabric of her graceful fancy, thus dissolving in decay; the devoted hapless Marie would add another sigh to the many which her aching heart has already heaved!
It would be a very desirable thing if Bonaparte would make this his country palace instead of St. Cloud. Upon our return, as we approached Paris, the illuminated bridges of the Seine looked very beautiful, and wc were much pleased with some fireworks, which had a singular effect upon the water.
In the evening, we had some music at Monsieur S 's,
where we were joined by general Marescot, a brave and distinguished officer, much esteemed by Bonaparte. He informed us, that he was on the point of setting out to view and report the condition of all the maritime fortifications in the republic. "You must go with me as my aide-de-camp," said the general
to Mademoiselle D . "I am not fierce enough for a sol
** dier," replied the fair one, with a bewitching smile. "Well "then," observed the sunbrowned general, " should the war "ever be renewed, you shall attend me to charm away its "calamities."
Madame S , like a true french mother, was delighted
with the little compliment, and presenting her snuff box to the gallant Marescot, she said, "thank you, my dear general, "the brave always think generously of the fair.'*
B B 2 CHAP.