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MONSIEUR PERREGAUX.

female raising her terrified infant, and the two chief combatants, are inimitable. I was informed, by good authority, that the court of Russia had offered 7000/. sterling for it, an unexampled price for any modern painting! but that David, who is very rich, felt a reluctance in parting with it, to the emperor, on account of the climate of Russia being unfavourable to colour.

From this beautiful painting, I went to pay my respects to

Mons. O , who resided at the further end of Paris, upon

whom I had a letter of credit. Upon my arriving at his hotel, I was informed by the porter that his master was at his chateau, about ten miles in the country, with his family, where he lay extremely ill. This news rendered it necessary for me to leave Paris for a day and a night at least.

From Mons. O I went to Mr. Pcrregaux, the rich banker

and legislator, to whom I had letters of introduction. He lives in the Rue Mont Blanc, a street, the place of residence of the principal bankers, and is next door neighbour to his rival Mons. R- , whose lady has occasioned some little conversation. Mons. P 's hotel is xetf superb. His chief

clerks occupy rooms elegantly fitted up, and decorated with fine paintings. He received me in a very handsome manner, in a beautiful little cabinet, adorned with some excellent, and costly paintings. After many polite expressions from him, I laughingly informed him of the dilemma in which I was

placed by the unexpected absence of Mons. O ;upon

which Mons. P in the most friendly manner told mc

that the letters which I had brought were from persons whom

he MONSIEUR PERREGAUX.

he highly esteemed; and that Mr. O was also his friend;

that as it might prove inconvenient for me to wait upon him in the country, he begged to have the pleasure of furnishing me with whatever money I wanted, upon my own draughts. I felt this act of politeness and liberality very forcibly, which I of course declined, as I wished not only to take up what money levanted in a regular manner, but I was desirous of

seeing Mr. O , who was represented to me as a very amiable

man, and his family as elegant and accomplished. I was

much charmed with the generous conduct of Mons. P ,

from whom I afterwards received great attentions, and who is much beloved by the English. I felt it a pleasurable duty not to confine the knowledge of such an act of liberality to the spot where it was so handsomely manifested. The sessions of the legislative assembly had closed the day before my arrival, a circumstance I much regretted, as through his means I should have been enabled to have attended their sittings. The bankers of France are immensely rich, and almost command the treasury of the nation. Mons. P , with the well-timed, silent submission of the flexible reed, in the fable, has survived the revolutionary storm, which by a good, but guiltless policy, has passed over him, without leaving one stain upon his honourable character, and has operated, like the slime of the Egyptian inundation, only to fructify, and increase his fortunes. He once however narrowly escaped. In the time of Robespierre, the Marquis de Chatelet, a few nights before his execution, attempted to corrupt his guards, and told them, if they would

release him, Mons. P would give them a draft to any

amount

8fr BEAUX AND BELLES OF PARIS.

Chap. amount which they might choose then to name. The centinels

IX • •

'__ rejected the bribe, and informed their sanguinary employer

of the offer, who had the books of Mons. P investigated:

lie was in no shape concerned in the attempted escape; but hearing, with extraordinary swiftness, that the marquis, whose banker he had been, and to whom an inconsiderable balance was then due, had implicated him in this manner, /he}instantly with dexterity, removed the page which containedthe last account of the unhappy nobleman, and also his own destiny,

and thus saved his life. Mons, P is a widower; his

daughter, an only child, is married to a wealthy general, a man of great bravery, and beloved by Bonaparte.

I dined this day at the Restaurateur's in the Thuilleries, and

found the effect of Madame H 's charming civility to me.

There were some beautiful women present, dressed after the antique, a fashion successfully introduced by David. This extraordinary genius was desirous of dressing the beaux of Paris after the same model; but they politely declined it, alleging that if Mons. David would at the same time create another climate, warmer, and more regular for them, they would then submit the matter to a committee of fashion. The women, though said, in point of corporal sufferance, to be able to endure less than men, were enchanted with the design of the artist, and, without approaching a single degree nearer to the sun, unmindful of colds, consumptions, and death, have assumed a dress, if such it can be called, the airiness of which to the eye of fancy, looked like the mist of incense, undulating over a display of beauty and symmetry, only to be rivalled by

those FRENCH LADIES. 85

those exquisite models of grecian taste which first furnished Chap. them with these new ideas of personal decoration. Ix'

The French ladies every morning anoint their heads with the antique oil, scented; their sidelocks are formed into small circles, which just touch the bosom; and the hair behind is rolled into a rose, by which they produce a perfect copy of the ancient bust.

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CHAPTER X.

Large Dogs. A Plan for becoming quickly acquainted with Paris.Pantheon. Tombs of Voltaire and Rousseau. Politeness of an Emigrant. The Beauty of France. Beauty evanescent. Place de Carousel. Infernal Machine. FoucJie. Seine. Washerwomen. Fishertvomen. Baths.

CHAP. In the streets of Paris, I every where saw an unusual number * of very large, fierce looking dogs, partaking of the breed of the newfoundland, and british bulldog. During the time of termor, these brave and faithful animals were in much request, and are said to have given the alarm of danger, and saved, in several instances, the lives and property of their masters, by their accustomed fidelity. Upon my arrival in this great capital, I was of course desirous of becoming acquainted with its leading features as soon as possible, for the purpose of being enabled to explore my way to any part of it, without a guide. The scheme which I thought of, for this purpose, answered my wishes, and therefore I may presume to submit it to others.

On the second day after my arrival, I purchased a map of Paris, hired a fiacre, and drove to the Pantheon. Upon the top gallery which surmounts its lofty and magnificent dome, I made a survey of the city, which lay below me, like the chart with which I compared it. The clouds passed swiftly over my head, and from the shape of the dome, impressed me with an idea of moving in the air, upon the top, instead of the bottom of

a balloon.

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