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THE MINISTER TALLEYRAND'S LEVEE.
faction, to the traces of approaching civilization, which mark the career of .the present government, in which the want of suitable splendour no longer repels the approach and friendship of those nations which once shuddered at the idea of coming into contact with the infected rags of visionary fraternity. Some indications of this change I saw pourtrayed at the levee of Monsieur Talleyrand, the minister of foreign relations, when I had the honour of being presented to that able and celebrated politician by Mr. B. The hotel of Talleyrand is very superb. We entered the court yard through two lines of about twenty carriages in waiting. Under the portico, were several turks seated, who formed a part of the suite of the turkish embassador, who had just arrived, and was then closetted with Monsieur T
We passed through several noble apartments, preceded by servants, to a magnificent levee room, in which we met most of the. foreign embassadors who were then at the consular court. _ . . ,
After waiting some time, the folding doors of the cabinet opened, the turkish embassy came. out, making their grand salams, followed by Talleyrand, in his rich costume of embroidered scarlet, his hair full dressed, and a shining sabre by his side.
, In his person, he is small and thin, his face is " pale and penetrating." He always looks obliquely, his small quick eyes and features, very legibly express mildness, wit, and subtilty. His right leg appears contracted. His address is insinuating. As the spirit of aggrandizement, which is said to have
actuated The Minister Talleyrand's Levee.
actuated the public and private conduct of Monsieur T
has been so much talked of, it may, perhaps, excite some surprise, when it is mentioned that several persons who know him well, some of whom esteem him, and with some of whom he is not a favourite, declare, notwithstanding the anecdotes related of X Y, and Monsieur Beaucoup d'Argent, in the american prints, that they consider him to be a man, whose mind
is raised above the influence of corruption. Monsieur T
may be classed amongst the rarest curiosities in the revolutionary cabinet. Allied by an illustrious ancestry to the Bourbons, and a royalist from his birth, he was, with unusual celerity, invested with the episcopal robe and crosier*. During the temporary triumph of the abstract rights of man, over the practicable rights of reason, he moved with the boisterous cavalcade, with more caution than enthusiasm. Upon the celebrated national recognition of the sovereignty of man's will, in the Champs de Mars, the politic minister, adorned in snowy robes, and tricolor ribands, presided at the altar of the republic as its high priest, and bestowed his patriarchal benedictions upon the standard of France, and the banners of her departments.
Some time afterwards, in the shape of a secret unaccredited negotiator, he was discovered in the metropolis of England, and immediately transferred, upon the spread wings of the alien bill, to his own shores. Since that period, after having dissociated and neutralized the most formidable foes of his country, by the subtle stratagems of his consummate diplo
* Monsieur Talleyrand is ex-bishop of Autuo.
200 THE MINISTER TALLEYRAND'S LEVEE.
Chap. macy, we beheld him as the successor of la Croix, armed xvni. wjtj1 tne p0werS) and clothed in the gaudy costume of the minister of foreign relations. In the polished Babel of the antichamber of this extraordinary man, I have beheld the starred and glittering representatives of the most distinguished princes of the earth, waiting for hours, with exemplary resignation, contemplating themselves, in all their positions, in his reduplicating mirrors, or examining the splendour and exquisite ingenuity of his time pieces, until the silver sound of his little bell announced, that the invoked and lagging moment of ministerial leisure was arrived.
It is certain that few people possess the valuable qualities of imperturbable calmness and self possession, more than
Monsieur T . Balanced by these amiable and valuable
qualities, he has been enabled to ride the political whirlwind, iand>in the diplomatic cabinet, to collect some advantage from tfhe prejudices or passions of all who approached him. The
-caution and cunning of T have succeeded, where the
ssword and impetuous spirit of Bonaparte would have been unavailing. The splendour of his apartments, and of many of the personages present, displayed a very courtlike appearance, and inclined a stranger, like myself, to think, that nothing of the old government was missing, but the expatriated family of France.
CHAP. CHAPTER XIX.
The College of the Deaf and Dumb. — Abbe Sicard. — Bagatelle.— Police. — Grand National Library. — Bonaparte's Beview. — Tambour Major of the Consular Begiment.—Bestoralion of Artillery Colours.
I HAD long anticipated the delight which I expected to derive from the interesting public lecture of the abb6 Sicard, and the examination of his pupils. This amiable and enlightened man presides over an institution which endears his name to humanity, and confers unfading honour upon the nation which cherishes it by its protection and munificence. My reader will immediately conclude that I allude to the College of the Deaf and Dumb. By the genius and perseverance of the late abbe Charles Michael de l'Epee, and his present amiable successor, a race of fellow beings, denied by a privation of hearing, of the powers of utterance, insulated in the midst of multitudes bearing their own image, and cut off from the participation, within sight, of all the endearing intercourses of social life, are restored, as it were, to the blessings of complete existence. The glorious labours of these philanthropists, in no very distant ages, would have conferred upon them, the reputation and honours of beings invested with superhuman influence. By making those faculties which are bestowed, auxiliary to those which are denied, the deaf are taught to hear, and the dumb to speak. A silent representative
D D language,
202 THE COLLEGE OF THE DEAF AND DUMB.
Chap. language, in which the eye officiates for the ear, and comXIX' municates the charms of science, and the delights of common intercourse to the mind, with the velocity, facility, and certainty of sound, has been presented to these imperfect children of nature. The plan of the abbe, I believe, is before the world. It cannot be expected, in a fugitive sketch like the present, to attempt an elaborate detail of it. Some little idea of its rudiments may, perhaps, be imparted, by a plain description of what passed on the examination day, when I had the happiness of being present.
On the morning of the exhibition, the streets leading to the College were lined with carriages, for humanity has here made a convert of fashion, and directed her wavering mind to objects from which she cannot retire, without ample and consoling gratification. Upon the lawn, in front of the College, were groups of the pupils, enjoying those sports and exercises which arc followed by other children, to whom Providence has been more bountiful. Some of their recreations required calculation, and I observed that their intercourse with each other appeared to be easy, swift, and intelligible. They made some convulsive movements with their mouths, in the course of their communication, which, at first, had rather an unpleasant effect. In the cloister I addressed myself to a genteel looking youth, who did not appear to belong to the College, and requested him to shew me the way to the theatre, in which the lecture was to be delivered. I found he took no notice of me. One of the assistants of the abb6, who was standing near me, informed me, he was deaf and dumb, and