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for the interior. To this address, these high authorities, who, Chap. seemed not much given to "the melting mood," after making n" up a physiognomy, as severe, and as iron bound as their coast, laconically observed, that the laws of the republic must be enforced, that they should write to our embassador to know who we were, and that in the mean time they would make out our passports for the town, the barriers of which we were not to pass. Accordingly, a little fat gentleman, in a black coat, filled up these official instruments, which were copied into their books, and both signed by us; he then commenced our "signalcment," which is a regular descriptive portrait of the head of the person who has thus the honour of sitting to the municipal portrait painters of the departement de la Seine inferieure.
This portrait is intended, as will be immediately anticipated, to afford encreased facilities to all national guards, marechauss6es, thief takers, &c. for placing in "durance vile" the unfortunate original, should he violate the laws.
The signalement is added in the margin, to the passport, and also registered in the municipal records, which, from their size, appeared to contain a greater number of heads and faces, thus depicted, than any museum or gallery I ever beheld.
How correct the likenesses in general are, I leave to the judgment of others, after I have informed them, that the hazle eyes of my friend were described "yeux bleu" in this masterly delineation.
If the dead march in Saul had been playing before us all the way, we could not have marched more gravely, or rather
Chap. sulkily, to our inn. Before us, we bad the heavy prospect n" of spending about ten days in this town, not very celebrated for either beauty, or cleanliness, until the municipality could receive an account of us, from our embassador, who knew no more of us than they did. The other english gentlemen were in the same predicament.
However we determined to pursue the old adage, that what is without remedy, should be without regret, and, english like, grew very merry over a good dinner, -consisting of soups, and meat, and fowls, and fish, and vegetables (for such is the order of a french dinner) confectionary and a desert, accompanied with good Burgundy, and excellent Champaign. Our misfortunes must plead our excuse, if the dinner is considered extravagant. Uncle Toby went to sleep when he was unhappy; we solicited consolation in another way. Our signalenients afforded us much diversion, which at length was a little augmented by a plan which I mentioned, as likely to furnish us with the means of our liberation. After dinner I waited upon a young gentleman who was under the care of a very respectable merchant, to whom I had the good fortune to have letters of introduction. Through his means I was introduced to Mons. de la M ,. who received me with great politeness. In the hurry and occupations of very extensive commercial pursuits, this amiable old gentleman had found leisure to indulge himself in works of taste. His noble fortune enabled him to gratify his liberal inclinations. I found him seated in his compting-house, which, from its handsome fur^ niturc and valuable paintings, resembled an elegant cabinet. I
stated the conduct of the municipality towards us, and requested his assistance. After he had shown me his apartments, a fine collection of drawings, by some of the first masters, and some more excellent paintings, we parted, with an assurance that he would immediately wait upon the mayor, who was his friend, and had no doubt but that he should in the course of the next day enable us to leave Havre when and in what manner we pleased. With this agreeable piece of intelligence, I immediately returned to the inn, where it induced us to drink health and success to the friendly merchant in another bottle of champaign.
Passports procured. — Coins. — Town of Havre. — Carts. — Citoyen. —
Chap. If Havre had been a Paradise, the feelings of restraint would m' have discoloured the magic scenery, and turned the green to one barren brown.
As we could relish nothing, u»til we had procured our release, the first place we visited the next morning was, once more, the residence of the municipality, where we found that our worthy friend had previously arranged every thing to our wishes, and upon his signing a certificate, that we were peaceable citizens, and had no intention to overturn the republic, our passports were made out, and upon an exchange of a little snuff, and a few bows, we retired. The other two englishmen had their wishes gratified, by the same lucky incident, which had assisted us. Having changed our guineas for french money, and as in future, when money is mentioned, it will be in the currency of the country, it perhaps may not be unacceptable to subjoin a table of the old, and new, and republican coins. For every guinea of full weight, which we carried over, we received twenty-four livres, or a louis d'or, which is equal to twenty shillings sterling, of course we lost one shilling upon every good guinea, and more, according to the deficiency of weight. The course of exchange COINS. 21
change and commission, with our country, I afterwards found Chap. at Paris, to be one shilling and eight pence, in the pound sterl- nI' ing, against us, but the difference will be progressively nearer par, as the accustomed relations of commerce resume their former habits. I was surprised to find the ancient monarchical coin in chief circulation, and that of the republic, very confined. Scarce a pecuniary transaction can occur, but the silent, and eloquent medallion of the unhappy monarch, seems to remind these bewildered people of his fate, and their past misfortunes. Although the country is poor, all their payments are made in cash, this is owing to the shock given by the revolution, to individual, and consequently to paper credit.
To comprehend their money, it must be known, although the french always calculate by livres, as we do by pounds sterling, that the livre is no coin, but computation.
A louis d'or is twenty-four livres french, or
A grand ecu, or six livre piece,
20 0 English.