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A FEMALE FRENCH FIB.
entrance.) As we wished to have three rooms, we told her,
we were friends of Messrs. G , (the principal merchants of
Rouen... She said, they were very amiable men, and were pleased to send all their friends to her house (a little french fib of
Madame F 's, by the by, as will appear hereafter); and
she was truly sorry that she could not accommodate us better. We looked into the room, which also looked into the street, was exposed to all its noise, and very small. So we made our bows to Madame F , and proceeded with our wheelbarrow to the Hotel de Poitiers—a rival house. It is situated in the beautiful boulevards, which I have mentioned, and is part of a row of fine stonebuilt houses. Upon our ringing the
bell, Madame P presented herself. We told her, we were
just arrived at Rouen, that we had .the honour of being known
to Messrs. G , and should be happy to be placed under her
roof, and wished to have two lodging rooms and a sitting
room to ourselves. Madame P , who possessed that sort
of good and generous heart, which nature, for its better preservation, had lodged in a comfortable envelope of comely
plumpness, observed, that Messrs. G were gentlemen of
great respectability, were her patrons, and always sent their friends to her house (a point upon which these rival dames were
at issue, but the truth was with Madame P ); that she
would do all in her power to make us happy; but at present, on account of her house being very crowded,. she could only offer us two bedrooms. We were too tired to think of any further peregrinations of discovery; so we entered our bedrooms, which, like most of the chambers in France, had brick
PROCESSION. MADAME G.— REVIEW.
floors without any carpetting; they were, however, clean; and, after ordering a good fire in one of them (for the sudden and unusual frost, which, in the beginning of summer, committed so much ravage throughout Europe, commenced the day we had
first the honour of seeing Madame P ); and, after enjoying
those comforts which weary wanderers require, we mounted our lofty beds, and went to rest.
The next day we presented our letter, and ourselves, to
Madame G , the amiable mother of the gentlemen I have
mentioned. She received us with great politeness, and immediately arranged a dinner party for us, for that day. It being rather early in the morning, we were admitted into her chamber, a common custom of receiving early visks in France*
About eleven o'clock we saw a splendid procession of all the military and civil authorities to the hotel * of the prefect* which was opposite to our inn.
The object of this cavalcade was to congratulate the archbishop of Rouen (who was then upon a visit to the prefect,, until his own palace was ready to receive him) on his deration to the see.
This spectacle displayed the interference of God, in thus making, the former enemies of his worship pay homage to his ministers, after a long reign of atheism and persecution.
About twelve o'clock, which is the hour of parade throughout the republic, we went to the Champ de Mars, and saw a review of the 20th regiment of chasseurs, under the com*
* Hotel, in France, means either an inn, or private house of consequence.
mand THE REVIEW. — MOWS. L'ABBE. 43
mand of generals St. Hiliare and Ruftin> who, as well as Chap. the regiment, had particularly distinguished themselves at ^' "Marengo.
The men were richly appointed, and in general well mounted. They all wore mustachios. They were just arrived from Amiens, where, as a mark of honour, they had been quartered during the negotiation.
The officers were superbly attired. St. Hiliare is a young mdn, and in person much resembles his patron and friend, the first consul; and, they say, in abilities also.
Some of the horses were of a dissimilar size and colour, which had a bad effect; but I was informed, upon making the remark, that they had lost many in battle, and had not had time properly to replace them. They were all strong and fiery, and went through their evolutions with surprising swiftness.
At dinner our party was very agreeable. Next to me sat a little abbe, who appeared to be in years, but full of vivacity, and seemed to be much esteemed by every person present. During the time of teirour (as the French emphatically call the gloomy reign of Robespierre) the blood of this good man, who, from his wealth, piety, and munificence, possessed considerable
I w influence in Rouen, was sought after with keen pursuit.
% Madame G was the saviour of his life, by concealing him,
previous to her own imprisonment, for two years, in different
G 2 this
BRIDGE OF BOATS.
this worthy man has often eaten his solitary and agitated meal, whilst the soldiers of the tyrant, who were quartered upon his protectress, were carousing in the kitchen immediately ahove him.
Soon after our coffee, which, in this country, immediately succeeds the dinner, we went to view the bridge of boats, so celebrated in history. This curious structure was contrived by an augustine friar named Michael Bougeois, it is composed of timber, regularly paved, in squares which contain the stortes, and is 1000* feet in length; it commences from the middle of the quay of Rouen, and reaches over to the Fauxbourg of St. Sever, and carries on the communication with the country which lies south of the city. It was begun in the year 16'26, below it are the ruins of the fine bridge of 13 arches, built by the empress Maud, daughter of Henry I of England. This ingenious fabric rests upon 10 immense barges, which rise and fall with the flowing and subsiding of the tide. When vessels have occasion to pass it, a portion of the platform sufficient to admit their passage is raised, and rolled over the other part. In the winter, when any danger is apprehended from the large flakes of ice, which float down the river, the whole is taken to pieces in an hour. The expense of keeping it in repair is estimated at 10000 livres, or 400 pounds sterling per annum, and is defrayed by government, it being the highroad to Picardy. Upon the whole, although this bridge is so much admired, 1 must confess it appeared to me a heavy per
• The french feet are to the english as 1068 to 1000.
THE QUAY. EXCHANGE. THEATRE.
formance, unsuitable to the wealth, and splendour of the city of Rouen, and below the taste and ingenuity of modern times. A handsome light stone structure, with a centre arch covered with a drawbridge, for the passage of vessels of considerable burden, or a lofty flying iron bridge, would be less expensive, more safe, and much more ornamentaL
The view from this bridge up the Seine, upon the islands below mount St. Catharine, is quite enchanting. Upon the quay, although it was Sunday, a vast number of people were dancing, drinking, and attending shows and lotteries. Here were people of various nations, parading up and down in the habits and dresses of their respective countries, which produced quite the effect of a masquerade. The river Seine is so deep at this place, that ships of three hundred tons burden are moored close to the quay, and make a very fine appearance. The exchange for the merchants is parallel with the centre of the quay, and is a long paved building of about 400 feet in length, open at top, having a handsome iron balustrade, and seats towards the Seine, and a high stone wall towards the town. Over all the great gates of the city, is written, in large characters, "Liberty, Equality, Humanity, Fraternity or Death:" the last two words have been painted over, but. are still faintly legible
In the evening we went to the french. opera, which was very crowded. The boxes were adorned with genteel people, and many beautiful young women. The theatre is very large, elegant, and handsome, and the players were good. I was struck with the ridiculous antics, and gestures of the chef in the orchestra, a