« PreviousContinue »
under deseriptive medallions, the banners of the enemies of the republic, which have been taken during war, the numbers of which are immense. The fame decoration adorns the pilasters and gallery •f the vast, magnisicent dome at the end of the ball.
My eye was naturally occupied, immediately after we had entered, in searching amongst the most battered of the banners, for the British, colors: at last I discovered the jack and ensign of an English man of war, pierced with shot-holes, and blackened with smoke, looking very sulky, and indignantly, amongst the sinery, and tawdry tatters of Italian and Turkiih standards. ... . • .. - -..
the course of this pursuit, I caught the intelligent eye of Madame S —r— She immediately assigned to my search the proper motive. "Ah I" said she, laughingly, and patting me on the-arm with, her fai^ « we are, as ypu fee, my dear Englishman, ,*< very vain; and you are very proud." - •.; - :< .- ;A stranger to the late calamitous war, unable to marshal in hi& mind the enemies of the republic, might here, with a glance of his eye, whUst contemplating this poor result of devastation, enumerate the fees os France, and appreciate the facilities or difficulties of the victory. - -. i <. -';it .,:;! . In observing, amidst thi3 gaudy show of capti«e colors, only two hard-won banners of their rival enemy, he would draw a conclusion too flattering and familiar to an English ear, to render it necessary to be recorded here.
190 THE STRANGER [CHAP. XVT.
tso -;f.'",v' '»;.:'.:? Si^sr 'h. ,vl'i,\i\c,T3',\ cot fcsioiqx* Upon the fbattered standards of Austria, he.woiald;
confer the meed of merited applause., for . heroic^a^
though unprevailing bravery. ; . ;,.-. .... ^
To the banners of Pruffia he would fay, # I kno^ '} not whether principle, or policy ^ or 7 tr^h^fiyj,,Qif "corruption, deterred you from the sield—Yon* "looks exhibit no proofs of sincere resistance— "However, you never belonged to cowards." .. . . ^
The Neapolitan ensign,might excite such sentimentsas these : "You appear for a short time tq «< have faced the battle—You were unfortunate,^nd, *' soon retired." 7 , .; .; i,
To the gaudy drapeauB of the Italian and Turkish legions, which every where present the appearance o£ belonging to the wardrobe of a pantomimic hero, he would observe, "The scent of the battle has not per«fumed you; its smoke has not sullied your shining "silky sides. Ye appear in numbers, but display no ** marks of having waved before a brave, united and, "energetic band." ...... ./..-, i - r 7 u rriJ ooi
In this manner might he trace the various fate^ the war. Upon several of the staffs only two of three.: shreds of colors are to be seen adhering. These -*t» chiefly Austrian. On each side of the chapel are, large, and some of them valuable paintings, by theFrench masters, representing the conquests of the French armies at different eras. >rv';.v«,i
It is a matter not unworthy of observation, that aVn though the revocation, with a keen, and sevage. eye* CHAP. XVI ] IS FRANCE. 191
explored too successfully, almost every vestige of a i^fcl'tendenty-,' the beautiful pavement under th« . dome of the mvalides has escaped destruction. The fleur de lis, surmounted by the crown of France, still refairis its original plate', in this elegant aid costly mar&le flooring* The statutes of the saints have been removed; and their places are supplied by the new order of revolutionary deities; but the names of the ancient sigures have not been erased from the pedestals of the new ones; to which omiffion the spectator is ftidebted for a smile when contemplating the statute of Equality, he reads, immediately below his feet, « St. Louis."
. There is here a costly monument erected to the memory of the brave marstial Turenne, who was killed by a cannon ball in 1675. In my humble opinion, 'it is: too' much in the false taste of French statuary. A group of weeping angels surround the recumbent hero, in the attitudes of operatic sigurantes, in whose faces, and forms, the artist has attempted, too laboriously and artisicially, to delineate the expressions of graceful grief. On each side of the vast arch which divides the dome from the chape!, are raised the tablets of military honor, on which, in - characters of gold, the names of those soldiers are recorded who have distingushed themselvs for their achievements in the late war. As we were contemplating a painting upon a very large scale, in which amongst other sigures, is an uncovered whole length of a warrior, aprudilh-looking lady, who seemed tohave touched (he age of desperation, after having very $6tentively beheld it with her glass for some time,, observed to her party, that there was a great deal of indecorum in the picture. Madam S very shrewdly
whispered in my ear, that the indecorum was in the
remark. . „'
When we were just leaving the chapel, we overheard a sunbrowned soldier, who had lost both Ms legs, observe to his companion, to whom he was explaining the colors, pointing to the banners of the Turkish cavalry, the tops of whose staffs were surmounted with horses' tails, " Look at those ribbands; "they are not worthy of being worn when won." This military hospital is capable of accommodating 3,000 soldiers. The bedrooms, kitchens, refectory and out-ofsices, are very capacious, and, what is rather unusual in France, clean and comfortable. The day before we were there, the First Consul paid a visit to its veteran inhabitants. Amongst them, he recognised an old, and very brave soldier, whose exploits were the frequent theme of his aged comrades.. The young general told him that he should die a Captain, took him in his carriage to dine with him him at Mai Maison, presented him with a medallion of honour, and conferred upon him the rank of a captain, in one of the most distinguished regiment*.
From this place we went to the military school adjoinmg, in which Bonaparte.received the rudiments of that education which was destined to form the foun• «hip. XVI.] -''^TkANciJ- 193
'dation of Es future glory, The building is large and handsome, arid is, from a very natural sentiment, in high favour with the First Consul. There is nothing in it particular to describe. The grounds and gardens are very spacious and sine. In the front of the
.military schobl is the celebrated Champ de Mars, which is an immense flat space os ground. On each
I side are rising terraces of earth, and double rows of trees, and at the further end, the river Seine flows. On days of great national celebrations, this vast plain is surrounded with Gobelins' tapestry, statues, and triumphal arches. After contemplating these obiects of public curiosity, we returned to Mons. S to dinner, where we met a large party of very pleasant people. Amongst them I was pleased with meeting a near relative of an able and upright minister of the republic, to whose unwearied labors the world is not a little inindebted for the enjoyments of its present repose.
After dinner we drove to the beautiful garden of MousTeaux, formerly the property os the due d'Orleans. It is laid out with great taste, and delights the eye with the most romantic specimens of improved rural beauty. It was originally designed by its detestible owner for other purposes than those of affording to a vast and crowded city the innocent delights and recreations of retired and tasteful scenery. In the gloom os its groves, all forts of horrible profanations were practised by this monster and his midnight crew, at the head of whom was Legendre the ButchR