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MADAME R . 133
and the celebrated bed of his lady, who was then in Chap.
T J XIII.
The little vanities and eccentricities of this elegant and hospitable woman, will find immediate forgiveness, when it is known that she is now very young, and was married, when a spoiled child of the age of fourteen, to her present husband. She is one of David's most enthusiastic admirers, and has carried the rage for grecian undress, to an extremity, which* even. in the capital, left her without a follower... . .
In the public walks;of the Champs Elysees,. sl*e one evening presented herself in a' dress which almost rivalled the robes of Paradise; the parisians, who are remarkable for their politeness to women, and are not remarkable for* scrupulous sentiments of delicacy, were so displeased with her appearance, that they made a lane to the entrance for her,. and expelled the modern Eve from the Elysian Fields, not with a •*, flaming sword of "wrath," but with hisses softly uttered> and. by gentle tokens ■ of polite disapprobation. .'She tells her friends, that her cabinet is crowded with letters of the most impassioned love, from persons of the first 'fame* distinction,. and Opulence.. In her parties, when. conversation begins to pause, she introduces some of these melting: epistles, which she is said to»read with a bewitching pathos, and never fails to close the fond recital by expressions of the tenderest pity for the sufferings- of their ill-starred authors. She has declared, that some of her lovers equal the Belviderc Apollo in vbeajuty, but that she never has yet seen that being,. who. was perfect enough to be entitled to the possession- of her affections.; Do not smile. Madame R
MADAME R .— PAUL I.
is a disciple of Diana, even slander pays incessant homage to her chastity. Rumour has whispered, in every coiner of Paris, that her husband is only admitted to the honour of supplying the finances of her splendid and costly establishment. Madame R has not yet produced any of the beautiful and
eloquent arguments of Cornelia, to disprove the strange assertion. Her chamber, which constitutes one of the sights of Paris, and which, after what has been just mentioned, may be justly considered, in or out of France, as a great curiosity, is fitted up in a style of considerable taste, and even magnificence. The bed upon which this charming statue reposes, is a superb sofa, raised upon a pedestal, the ascent to which is by a flight of cedar steps, on each side are altars, on which are placed Herculaneum vases of flowers, and a large antique lamp of gold; the back of the bed is formed by an immense pier glass, and the curtains, which are of the most costly muslin, festooned with golden tassels, descend in beautiful drapery from a floral crown of gold. It is said that the late emperor of Russia, after the laborious and successful diplomatic intrigues of messrs. Talleyrand and Sieyes, and a certain lady, became enamoured, by description, with the immaculate goddess of Mont Blanc, and that he sent confidential commissioners to Paris, to report her daily dress, and to order copies of her furniture.
The story may be believed, when the hero of it was weli known to be fully qualified for one of the deepest dungeons of a madhouse. I hope, for the sake of society, and the
repose of the world, that the rest of Madame R. 's admirers
have not United to their passion the bewildered imagination, Chap. which fatally distinguished, and finally closed tire career of XUI'[ her imperial lover.
Mr. R—— is vety polite to the english, and his letters ensure the greatest attention wherever they are produced.
From Mont Blanc I proceeded to the Hotel de Carainand, the residence of the british ambassador, to whom I had a letter of introduction,. from a particular friend of his, and who received me with great politeness. His apartments were handsome, and looked into some beautiful gardens. Amongst the english, who were at this time in Paris, a little prejudice existed against the representative of the british monarch, feom a reason, whieh within die jurisdiction of the lord mayor o£ London and of most corporate towns in England,. will be considered to carry considerable weight. Tire envoy did not celebrate the late- birthday of his sovereign
by a jolly, and convivial dinner. The fact was, Mr. M ,
who by the sudden return of Mr. J , became unexpectedly invested with the dignity of an ambassador, was ki constant expectation of being recalled,. to, make room for
the intended appointment of lord W to the consular
court, in consequence of which,. he had not prepared for die display of those splendid hospitalities,. which, on such occasions,. always distinguish the table of a british house of embassy.
On a Sunday evening*, I went with a party to Tivoli, a favourite place of amusement with the parisians. At the entrance we found, as■ at all the public places, a guard of
Chap. horse, and foot. The admission is twenty sols. The evenXHI* ing was very fine. We passed immense crowds of people, who were flocking to the same place. Amongst them were many elegant, well dressed women, wholly unattended by gentlemen, a circumstance by no means unusual in Paris. This place seemed to be raised by the magic touch of enchantment. We entered upon gravelled walks, which were cut through little winding, and intersecting hillocks of box; those which formed the sides were surmounted by orange trees, which presented a beautiful colonnade; immediately after we had passed them, we entered an elegant treillage of honeysuckles, roses, and eglantine, which formed the grand entrance to the garden. . Here a most animated scene x>f festivity opened upon us. On one side were rope dancers, people riding at the ring, groups of persons playing at shuttlecock, which seemed to be the favourite, and I may add, the most ridiculous diversion; on the other side, were dancers, tumblers, mountebanks, and parties, all with gay countenances, seated in little bowers enjoying lemonade, and ices. In the centre as we advanced, were about three hundred people, who were dancing the favourite waltz. This dance was brought from Germany, where, from its nature, the partners are always engaged lovers; but the french, who think that nothing can be biamable which is susceptible of elegance, have introduced the german dance, without adhering to the german regulation. The attitudes of the waltz are very graceful, but they would not altogether accord with english female notions of delicacy. At a late
fashionable TIVOLI. 137
fashionable parlsian ball, a gentleman present was requested Chap.
* i XIII
by the lady of the house, to waltz with a friend of hers,'
who was without a partner. The person of this neglected fair, was a little inclined to the meagre. The gallant, without the least embarrassment, declined, observing, "Ah! ma "chere Madame qu'exigez vous de moi, ne savez vous pas ** qu'elle n'a point de sein?" In the middle of the platform of the dancers, a very fine full band was playing. At the end of this raised stage, a very capacious indian marquee was erected, which was beautifully illuminated with variegated lamps, and under" its broad canopy, a large concourse of people was seated, some were enjoying conversation, some were playing at buillotte, drinking coffee, &c.; behind this building, was a noble Corinthian temple, from the doors of which, were covered trellis walks, leading to spacious gardens, which were formed to display the different tastes of the english, french, and dutch nations, whose respective names they bore. These gardens are intersected by little canals, upon which several persons were amusing themselves with the diversion of canoe racing. The whole was illuminated by large patent reflecting lamps, which shed a lustre almost as brilliant as the day. A few english were present, amongst them were the duchess of Cumberland, and a few other ladies. These gardens, previous to the revolution, were the property of a wealthy minister of France, who, it is said, expended near one hundred thousand pounds sterling, in bringing them to perfection, which he just saw accomplished, when he closed his eyes upon