Page images
PDF
EPUB

The orangery is a beautisul specimen of Tuscan architecture, designed by le Maifre, and sini/hed by Mansart. It is silled with lofty orange trees in full bearing: many of which, in their tubs, measure from twenty to thirty feet high. Amongst them is an orange tree which is upwards of four hundred years old. The cascades, fountains, and jets d'eau, are too numerous to admit of minute description. They are all very sine, and are supplied by prodigious engines across the Seine, at Marli, about three miles distant. The Trianon is a little marble palace, of much beauty and embellished with the richest decoration.

It stands at the end of the great lake, in front of the palace; and was by its late royal owners, considered as a summer .house to the gardens of Versailles. The whole of this vast building and its grounds, were improved and beautisied by Lewis XIV. for the well known purpose of impreffing his subjects, and particularly his courtiers, with the highest opinion of his greatness, and the lowest of their comparative littleness. Amongst the lords of his court he easily effected his wishes, by accommodating them in a manner unsuitable to their dignity.

After being astonished at such a display of gorgeous magnisicence, I approached, with increased delight, the enchanting little palace and grounds, of the late queen, distant from Versailles about two miles, called the Petit Trianon, to which she very justly gave the appellation of her "little Palace of Taste." Here fatfgued wi&the splendofsof royalty, she threw aside? all its appearances, and gave herself up to the elegr.nt pleaiares'df rural Kfe. 'It i&a princely establishment in miniature. It consists of a small palace, a chapel an opera house, outoffices and stables, a little park,. and pleasure grounds; the latter of which, are still charming, although the fascinating eye, and tasteful hand of their lovely but too volatile mistress, no longer pervade, cherish and direct their growth and beauty. By that reverse of fortune, which the revolution has familiarized, the Petit Trianon is let out by the government to a restaurateur. All the rooms but one in this house were preoccupied, on the day of our visit, in consequence of which we were obliged to dine in the former little bed room of the queen, where like the Idalian goddess, she used to sleep in a suspended baiket of roses. The appertnres in the ceiling and wainscot, to which the elegant furniture of this little room of repose had once adhered, are still visible.

Aster dinner we hastened through our coffee, and proceeded to the gardens. After winding through gravelled walks> embowered by the most exquisite and costly shrubs, we entered the elegant temple of Cupid, from which the little favorite of mankind had been unwillingly, and rudely expelled, as appeared by-the fragments of his pedestal. v

, Thy wrongs little god 1 shall be revenged by thy fair friend pity. Those who treated thee thus, shall XujEFer in their turn, and she shall not console them \

S

T?rom this temple \repafled through the most Tomantic avenues, to a range of rural buildmgsi cal&d the queen's farm, the dairy, the mill, and the' woodmen's cottages; which, during the queen's residence at the Trianon, were occupied by the most elegant and accomplished young noblemen of the court. £h 'front of them, a lake terminated on one side by a rustic tower, spreads-itself. These buildings are :2**fc& neglected, and are falling into lapid ruin.

In other times, when neatness and order reigned, throughout this-Elysian scenery, and gracefully {pread its luxuriant beauties at theieet of its former captivating owner,' upon the mirror of that; late, now fifed with reeds and sedges, in elegant little pleasure boats, the illustrious party was accustomed ta enjoy- the 'freshness of the evening, to sill thesurroundmg groves with the melody of the song/which Was faintly answered by the tender flute, whose musician was concealed in that rustic tower, whose graceful base tlie honeysuckle and eglantine ho longer 'encircle, and whose winding access, once decorated with flowers of the richest beauty 'arid perfume, is now oVergrdwn with moss, decayed, and ' falling piecemeal to the ground.

Near the farm, in corresponding pleasure grounds, the miller's house particularly impressed us with delight. All its characteristics were elegantly observed. A rivulet still runs on one side of it, Which formerly Wed to tufn'alistJe 'wiect to Complete the arusibn.

The'.aparnB.en.ts> which must, hare, been once eni chanting, now present nothing but gaping beam?, broken, ceilings, and shattered casements. The wainscots o£ its little cabinets, exhibit only a tablet, upon which, are rudely penciled, the motly initials, love ; seises, and memorandums of its various visitors, r The shade of the ivy, which, upon all occasions, seems destined to perform the last offices to the departing monuments of human ingenuity, has here • ii -JESercisedits gloomy function. Whilst we were rov: ing about, we were obliged to take refuge from a thunderstorm, in what appeared to us a mere barn i „ upon our entering it, we found it to be an elegant lit— tie ball room, much dissigured, and greened over by 5:! damp and neglect. In other parts of this petit Par'. edls, are caves of artisicial rock, which have been . formed at an immense expense, in which were fornaerly beds of moss, and through which clear streams of water glided, Belvidere temples, and scattered cottages, each differing from its neighbor in character, but all according in. taste and beauty. The opera r. kouse, which stands alone, is a miniature of the splendid one in the palace os Versailles.

The sylvan ball room, is an oblong square, lined' . with beautiful tr.eillages, surmounted with vases of flowers. The top is open. 'When the queen gave her balls-here, the ground was covered by a temporav xj flooring, and the whole was brilliantly lighted.

As we pasted by the palaces we few, in die queen's

little library, several persons walking.

203' 'Ttt£ STRANGER - [CHAP.-X^II.

Could the enchanting beauty of Austria, and the once incensed idol of the gay, and the gallant, arise from her untimely tomb, and behold her most sacred recesses of delight, thus rudely exposed, and converted into scenes of low, and holiday festivity, the temples which she designed, defaced, their statues, overthrown, her walks overgrown and entangled, theTclear .mirror of the winding lake, upon the placid surface of which once shown the reflected form of theBelvidere, and the retreats of elegant taste covered with the reedy greenness of the standing pool, and all the fairy fabric of her graceful fancy, thus disiblving in decay ; the devoted hapless Marie would add another sigh to the many which her aching heart has already heaved! ..... -' - .„.„.;

It would be a very desirable thing if Bonaparte would make this his country palace instead of St. Cloud. Upon our return, as we approached Paris, the illuminated bridges of the Seine looked very beautiful, and we were much pleased with some sireworks, which had a singular effect upon the water. . , In the evening, we had some music at Monsieur

S 's, where we were joined by general MareJcot,

a brave and distinguished officer, much esteemed by Bonaparte. He informed us, that he was on the point of setting out to view and report the condition of all the maritime fortisications in the republic. "You -'must go with me as my aide-de-camp," said the general to Mademoiselle D——A .« I am not sierce

« PreviousContinue »