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168 ST. ROCQUE— HOTEL DES INVALIDES.
Chap. desty. Considering the rank and estimation which he bears' in the republic, his external appearance is singularly unassuming. I have been with him in the gardens of the Thuilleries, when they were thronged with the fashion and gayety of Paris, where he has appeared in a suit of plain brown cloth, an old round hat with a little national cockade in it, under which he presented a countenance full of character, talent and animation. In this homely puritan garb, he excited more respectful curiosity, wherever he moved, than some generals who paraded before us in dresses upon which the tailor and embroiderer had long laboured, and who added to their stature by laced hats entirely filled with gaudy buoyant plumes.
From Mons. Charles we went to the church of St. Rocque, in the Rue St. Honore. As we entered, the effect of a fine painting of our Saviour crucified, upon which the sun was shining with great glory, placed at the extremity of the church, and seen through several lessening arches of faint, increasing shade, was very grand. This church has been more than once the scene of revolutionary carnage. Its elegant front is much disfigured, and the doors are perforated, in a great number of places, by the ball of cannon and the shot of musketry. Mass was performing in the church; but we saw only few worshippers, and those were chiefly old women and little girls.
From St. Rocque we proceeded to the Hotel des Invalides, the chapel and dome of which are so justly celebrated; The front is inferior to the military hospital at
Chelsea, HOTEL DES INVAHDES ENEMIES COLOURS.
Chelsea, to which it bears some resemblance. The chapel is converted into the Hall of Victory, in which, with great taste, are suspended, under descriptive medallions, the banners of the enemies of the republic, which have been taken during the late war, the numbers of which are immense. The same decoration adorns the pilasters and gallery at the vast, magnificent dome at the end of the hall.
My eye was naturally occupied, immediately after we had entered, in searching amongst the most battered of the banners, for the british colours: 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 finery, and tawdry tatters of Italian and turkisli standards.
In the course of this pursuit, I caught the intelligent eye of
Madame S . She immediately assigned to my search the
proper motive. "Ah!" said she, laughingly, and patting me on the arm with her fan, " we arc, as you see, my dear Englishman, very vain; and you are very proud."
A stranger to the late calamitous war, unable to marshal in his mind the enemies of the republic, might here, with a glance of his eye, whilst contemplating this poor result of devastation, enumerate the foes of France, and appreciate the facilities or difficulties of the victory.
In observing, amidst this gaudy show of captive colours, only two hardworn 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.
170 ENEMIES COLOURS.
Chap. Upon the shattered standards of Austria he would confer *VI' the meed of merited applause for heroic, although unprevailing bravery.
To the banners of Prussia he would say, " I know not whether "principle or policy, or treachery, or corruption, deterred you *; from the field — Your looks exhibit no proofs of sincere "resistance — However, you never belonged to cowards."
The neapolitan ensign might excite such sentiments as these: "You appear for a short tune to have faced the battle — You "were unfortunate, and soon retired."
To the gaudy drapeaus of the italian and turkish legions, which every where present the appearance of belonging to the wardrobe of a pantomimic hero, he would observe, " The "scent of the battle has not perfumed you; its smoke has not "sullied your shining, silky sides. Ye appear in numbers, u but display no marks of having waved before a brave, united "and energetic band:."
In this manner might he trace the various fate of the war. Upon several of the staffs only two or three shreds of colours are to be seen adhering. These are chiefly Austrian. On each side of the chapel are large, and some of them valuable paintings, by the french masters, representing the conquests of the french armies at different eras.
It is a matter not unworthy of observation, that although the revolution with a keen, and savage eye, explored too successfully, almost every vestige of a royal tendency, the beautiful . pavement under the dome of the in valid es has escaped destruction. The fleur de lis, surmounted by the crown of France, •
STATUES— INDECORUM. 171
still retains its original place, in this elegant and costly marble Chap. flooring. The statues of the saints have been removed; and XVI* their places are supplied by the new order of revolutionary deities; but the names of the ancient figures have not been erased from the pedestals of the new ones: to which omission the spectator is indebted for a smile when contemplating the statue of Equality, he reads, immediately below his feet, "St, Louis."
There is here a cosdy monument erected to the memory of the brave marshal 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 groupe of weeping angels surround the recumbent hero, in the attitudes of operatic figurantes, in whose faces, and forms, the artist has attempted, too laboriously and artificially, to delineate the expressions of graceful grief. On each side of the vast arch which divides the dome from the chapel, are raised the tablets of military honour, on which, in characters of gold, the names of those soldiers are recorded who have distinguished themselves for their achievements in the late war. As we were contemplating a painting upon a very large scale, in which, amongst other figures, is an uncovered whole length of a warrior, a prudishlooking lady, who seemed to have touched the age of desperation, after having very attentively beheld it with her glass for some time, observed to her party, that there was a great deal of
indecorum in the picture. Madame S— very shrewdly
whispered in my ear, that the indecorum was in the remark.
z 2 When
THE AGED CAPTAIN MILITARY SCHOOL.
When we were just leaving the chapel, we overheard a simbrowned soldier, who had lost both his legs, observe to his companion. to whom he was explaining the colours, 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 outoffices 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,8 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 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 regiments.
From this place we went to the military school adjoining, in which Bonaparte received the rudiments of that education which was destined to form the foundation of his future glory. The building is large and handsome, and 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 fine. In the front of the military school is the celebrated Champ de Mars, which is an immense flat space of ground. On each 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