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of Gseecei hi her1 proudest sera, were revived, and laOving besore hini. '".""''
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Æ'v;n?; CHAPTER Xfv:/;
Convent of blue Nuns.^r-Duchefe de Biron.—The bloods Key.—Courts of Justice.—Public Library.—G belines.—Miss Linwod.*—Garden of Plants.—French ,Accemmodation.—Boot Cleaners.—Cat and Dog Shearers.—Monfteur S-——, and Family.
THE English convent, or as it is called, the ecu-, vent of blue nuns, in the Rue de St. Victoire, is the only establishment of the kind, which throughout the republic, has survived the revolution. To what cause its exclusive protection is attributable, is not I believe correctly known. But though this spot of sacred seclusion, has escaped the sinal stroke of extermination, it has sustained an ample share of the general desolation. During the reign of terror it was con-" verted into the crowded prison os the female nobility, who were consined, and afterwards dragged from its cloisters, and butchered by the guillotine, or the daggers of the assaffins. I had a letter of introduction to Mrs. S , one of the sisterhood, a lady of
distinguished family in England. I found her in the refectory. A dignisied dejection overspread her countenance, and her sigure seemed much emaciated by the scenes of horror through which she had
passed. She informed me, that when the nuns were 'in a state of attestation by the order of Robespierre, the convent was so crowded with prisoners, that they were obliged to eat their wretched meals in three different divisions.' The places of the unhappy beings who were led off to execution, were immediately silled by fresh victims. s , .
Amongst those who suffered, was the beautiful young duchesse de Biron, said to be one of the loveliest women of the French court. Her fate was singular, and horrible. One morning, two of the assistant executioners came into one of the rooms, and called upon the female citizen Biron to come forward, meaning the old duchesse de Biron, the mother, who was here immured with her daughter; some one said, which of them do you require ? the hellhounds replied, " Our order was for one only, but "as there are two, we will have both that there "may be no error." The mother and daughter were taken away locked senseless in each others arms. When the cart which carried them arrived at the foot of the scaffold, the chief executioner looked at his paper, which contained a list of his victims, and saw the name of only one Biron; the affistants informed him that they found two of that name in the convent, and to prevent mistake, they had brought both. The principal, with perfect fang froid, said 'it was all well, wrote with his pencil the article " ies" before the name Biron, to which he addad an s; and immediately beheaded both ? s f ^ ':' ''
CHAP. XIVVJ IN TRANCE. 161
Jyir5. S—.— led me to the chapel, to mow me ihe havoc which the unsparing impious hands of the rev
'"ojution had there produced. She put into my hand an immense massy key to open the door of the choir. ««lThat key," skid she, "was made for the master "key of the convent, by the order of Robespierre. "In the time of terror, our gaoler wore it at his belt. w A thousand times has my foul funk within me, ** when it loudly pushed the bolt of the lock aside. "When the door opened, it was either a signal to»pre"pare for instant death to some of those who were "within, or for the gloomy purpose of admitting
1 hew victims." When we entered the chapel, my
*' surprise and abhorrence were equally excited. The windows were beaten thro', the hangings were flap"ping in the wind, the altar was shattered in pieces arid prostrate, the pavement was every where torn up, and the caves of the dead were still yawning upon us. From their solemn and hallowed depths, the mouldering relics os the departed had been raised, by torch light, and heaped in frightful piles of unsinished decay, against the walls, for the purpose of converting the lead, which contained these wretched fragments of mortality into balls sor the musketry of* the revolution. The gardens behind the chapel must have been once very pleasant, but they then had the
, appearance of a wilderness;. The painful uncertainty of many years, had occasioned the neglect and ruin in which I saw them- Same of the nuns were reading; O %
162 , TTHE STRANGER.;-' £cisA|. '3^5fcuH3
upon fluttered seats, under overgrown bowers, aid. gthcrs walking in the melancholy shade of neglected avenues. The effect of the whole was gloomy aiid :^ sorrowful, and fully consirmed the melancholy recital".' 5 which I received from l#rs. S-r-*-- TBonapartei ori* «w said, intends to consirm to these nuns their present residence, by an act of government. ' i :i Iv: &ii}'s
Upon leaving the convent I visited the seats o£ caflation, and justice, in the architectural arrangement of which, I saw but little worthy of minute notice* except the perfect accommodation which pervades all ../s the French buildings, which are appropriated to the administration of the laws. .-vv' . iv.» r.iaS The hall of the sirst cassation, or grand «©urt os ', j • appeal, is very sine. The judges wearc elegant cosVtumes, and were, as well as the advocates, seated; .'^ upon chairs, which were const^^ct^U^-imi&te the; '''^ feats of Roman magistracy, and had a good effect. I was informed that the whole df the ornamental^ vr arrangement was designed by David; I .'»' • ;T - <' r!s
From the courts of justice, I went to the secctedi nai 1 tional library, which is veiy nobje^ and large*and Baa.! a valuable collection of books. Several students.were arranged with great silence and decorum, at." long tables. In one apartment is a very large inge-, i nious model of Rome in a glass, case, and another.of & a. frigate, t," .s.v.'; ii , ,L "v • ut \} ifruy • if a»; A Upon leaving the library I proceeded to the Gob*. .'e> elins, so called frfin^t, .Q^^^m^id^t^:
CHAP"3KV.J-.!ai • SMimtSOSk*-169. '" .1'
itheims, wbo fettled here to the reign, of Francis L This. teaBti&l manusactoryJus a crowd of visitor* eyeryidsy. Upon;the. waJkof the.galleries-, the tap*' I e/fay. is suspended, whkb. exhibits, 'very exquisite copies of various historical paintings* of;Which there are some *£ry costly and beaut ifel specimens. /.The- . artistp work behind the. franie, where the original fepn} whftch they copy; is placed. The whole is a very expensive rational establishment, much of it» prpdnctioais preserved for presents to foreign princes^ u andso^ne of it is.dispcied o£ by public sale. , . w .
Uppn the comparison between the works of the Qobelins andthe beautiful works of Mist Linwoody, . .. L could not help feeling alirtle degree, o£ pride to ob*: ser^e^aitfa^ ingenious cpnntryiWoman didnotap*.q . ,\ pear tasuiffer:byr.itv Toctmush praise cannot be be*.. • stowed, upon; . the itastgMipaintings of her exquisite* . needls, Thitslegswtnunded weinanhas manifested* • 1 by her charming exhibition, that great geniu9 is not? , I always separated, from great, labor,, and . unwearied; perseverance*. !»,"-.. I '-.v«i'r le -j,w* ,5
From the. GobelinsrviBted,the g«r4e» ef plants*; which is considered to ba the largest and most vaki-- . able botftnoical coUectislst in, Europe, and was found-, ed; by^tb^celehrated Enffon, Thegaarden.is laid-out" < innobk walJw, and beds;cc«taining the rarest-plants: * from all paris of the world, each of.which- is neatly*labelled forthe,4a%of students*, Ott»the right of the^-' e^ani&jaiap^