Page images
PDF
EPUB

company take their evening amusement in the house, which is very superb. Two of the rooms, where the young people danced, are fitted up to represent, one an arbour, the other an avenue of trees, and both are very good deceptions, the trees being carried up to the ceiling, and arched in the centre, and the doors and windows apparently surrounded by stumps and branches of trees and shrubs.

To the Pavilion d'Hanovre, Tivoli, and Marbeouf, three other gardens, we went in the day-time. The Pavilion d'Hanovre, is a pretty little bijou, something like Frescati. Tivoli is a very extensive fine garden, in the English style, and beautifully laid out: it formerly belonged, with a good house adjoining, to a banker, who, at the time of the Revolution, was found guilty of the crime of being very rich, and consequently was sacrificed on the guillotine, and his house, grounds, and possessions, became national property: the house is let out in lodgings. The gardens of Marbeouf were also in the English style; but they were in such a disorderly neglected state, I saw nothing in them but capability.

While on the subject of public places of amusement, I must make a few remarks on their theatres. I was in general disappointed in them, not finding them equal to our own in brilliancy of effect. I must make one exception in the Opera-house; we found that extremely elegant, and the scenery very fine; the orchestra is capital, and the acting and singing very good; but the indecent dress of the dancers was extremely disgusting indeed. The Theatre Feydeau, and the Comedie Francaise, are fitted up in the most elegant style; and their mode of lighting their theatres is much more brilliant, and a quarter the expence of our's: it is an immense hoop, hanging from the cieling with patent lamps round it: I thought the effect particularly brilliant and beautiful. I took notice that the theatres were very thinly attended, except in the pit and gallery; and I

[ocr errors]

did not observe so much impropriety in the dress of the ladies, as we are taught to suppose exists in Paris. I thought I saw less of it than I have seen in England: the most indecently dressed ladies I saw in Paris were not French ladies. We had the curiosity to go to the masquerade at the Opera-house: the company and dresses were very superb, the room very magnificent, and the dancing very elegant; but there was nothing that a masquerade seems to offer, of wit, character, or mirth; and it was certainly a kind of amusement that did not invite a second visit.

Though liberty and equality are announced on the gateways, walls, and buildings in every street, there is not a more perfect despot in Europe than Bonaparte: he hypocritically affects great plainness in his dress and manners, but his extravagance and splendor in his establishment, palaces, and mode of life, exceeds belief. The Thuillery Palace and St. Cloud's, his two residences, have lately undergone a thorough repair, and complete beautifying; and every part of Europe has been searched for the finest and most expensive articles of furniture, to refit them; for what was considered as sufficient for the magnificence of the Grand Monarch, is by no means equal to Citizen Bonaparte's ideas. At the Palace of the Thuilleries he passes very little time, it is therefore very easy of access to foreigners, who procure a sight of it by applying to the officers of the household for tickets of admission. We procured a sight of it by these means, and were much struck with its splendour and magnificence. The suites of apartments on the second story were formerly occupied by the royal family, and are much in the same style as in the late king's time. There is a very fine highly ornamented gallery, two hundred feet long, hung with rich tapestry, and ornamented with marble statues of all the great men of France: the

Since writing this, the simple Citizen is become a puppet Emperor, and the King-maker of Europe.

late king used it for the state-dinner room, and the Consul now gives his grand dinners in it on parade days, when above two hundred people generally dine with him. 'On the same floor is the state-drawing room, hung with beautiful goblin tapistry, representing Jason's History, and ornamented and furnished in a style worthy of the princely magnificence of Louis XIV. This was the Royal State Drawing Room, and is also Bonaparte's, where he holds his levees, and receives ambassadors and strangers that are introduced to him, and the same state is observed as at Royal levees.

On the same floor they shew the bedchambers, libraries, cabinets, dressing rooms, and different apartments of the late Royal Family, and some of the fine furniture and books remaining; amongst others-the bureau of Louis XVI. a beautiful piece of cabinet work, made in Paris, and which cost 3,000l. sterling.

[ocr errors]

But the magnificence of these apartments is far excelled by the elegance and splendour of the first floor, which is lately fitted up under the immediate direction of Madame Bonaparte. It is impossible to give a correct description of them on so short a survey: each room would take an hour to discover all its beauties and elegancies. I shall only notice five rooms-the first is the common drawing-room, where Madame and her company retire to drink coffee after dinner. It is hung with purple silk, and at every seam a gold bead is passed from the top to the bottom, the cornice very highly gilt and finished, and the ceiling very finely painted : the looking glasses, which are fine plates and immensely large, are on a plan singular and elegant; instead of being framed, they seem inserted in the wall, and the silk hanging drawn back in a drapery, with gold cords and tassels, as if to shew them partially, that it gives the idea of the whole room being looking glass, and only shewn in different places. The chairs and sofa were purple satin embroidered, and frames superbly gilt and highly finished. There was a fine

[ocr errors]

lustre in the middle of the room, and a profusion of beautifu ornaments on the chimney piece, tables, and different places, consisting of small statues of exquisite workmanship, urns of alabaster, and the finest Seve china, beautiful timepieces, gilt figures with sconces, tripods, &c.

The elegance of this room is only a gentle preparation for the splendour of the next, which is Madame Bonaparte's State Drawing Room: its brilliancy is very striking on first entering, and an improvement is made on extravagance in the hangings, which I thought too heavy for elegance; the walls are hung with yellow silk, and instead of being plain and straight, it is plaited all round in thick plaits, and fastened in different places with gold cord, and great quantities of fine gold fringe and tassels, and other ornaments are introduced; but it is too fine to be elegant. The glasses are in the same manner as in the other room, but if possible, more magnificent. There are a dozen chairs, and a sopha of the most beautiful goblin tapestry, lately finished at the manufactory in Paris; the backs and seats are tapestry natural flowers (superior to any embroidery) on a yellow ground, and the frames of the chairs are gilt. There are a dozen smaller chairs set in front of them, for use, of yellow satin and gold, and in the middle of the room was the finest lustre I ever beheld; it cost an enormous sum for glass, its immense size, and the profusion of gilt ornaments about it, must render it very beautiful when it is lighted up, and reflected in the looking glasses. On each side the room, are two inlaid Sienna marble tables in gilt frames, very beautiful, they were formerly, as well as several other ornaments, part of the fine furniture of Versailles; and this room, like the other, is finished with a profusion of beautiful figures, urns, tripods, time-pieces, and other ornaments in white marble, alabaster, bronze, fine china, and gilding.

We were next introduced into the bed-chamber of Citizen Bonaparte and his lady, and it seemed more like what we

read of Eastern magnificence than any thing in this part of the world. There was such a profusion and variety of finery, that it is not easy, correctly to describe this room: the bedhangings were rich blue silk, trimmed in every direction with extremely superb gold fringe, the counterpane was the same silk, with the fringe all round, and rich gold tassels at the corners of the bolsters. On the bedstead nothing was to be seen but gilding and carving, devices of figures, cornucopias of flowers, and every elegant ornament. The canopy was a dome carved and gilt, and round it a drapery of blue silk, with as much gold fringe and finery about it as the Court dress of a birth-day Duchess. The walls were hung with blue silk, with a rich gold moulding and covered with fine pictures, three superb pier glasses, and a chrystal lustre in the middle of the room which cost 10,000l. was part of the finery at Versailles, and though so very expensive, being all wrought crystal, it is not so brilliant as that in the drawing-room. The wash hand basons, ewers, and other utensils in the room were of the finest Seve china, the most beautiful of the kind, and in ornamental forms. There were also two little footstools of Madames, of blue velvet in gilt frames, and trimmed with gold fringe.

This

The next room was Madame Bonaparte's dressing-room, where she breakfasts, and receives her morning company; this room is very elegant, but being more a family room is less magnificent than the others, but it had a number of beautiful and expensive ornaments, and amongst others, a work-box brought from England by Lauriston, as a present to Madame: it is inlaid, and richly ornamented with cut steel, and all the implements within it, of the finest cut and polished steel.

Beyond this room was Bonaparte's library, dressing-room, and private cabinet; in the latter were the busts of Charles Fox and Lord Nelson, neither of them well executed.

« PreviousContinue »