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"So many shops open, that Sunday is little distinguished at Paris-The palaces of Louvre and Thuilleries granted out in lodgings.
"In the Palais de Bourbon, gilt globes of metal at the fire-place.
"The French beds commended-Much of the marble only paste.
"The colosseum (1) a mere wooden building, at least much of it.
"Wednesday, Oct. 18.- We went to Fontainebleau which we found a large mean town, crowded with people -The forest thick with woods, very extensive-Manucci secured us lodgings- The appearance of the country pleasant- no hills, few streams, only one hedge — I
clergy, the nobles, and the commons, and so it might be said that there was no middle rank; but not only did the theoretical constitution of society thus resemble that of England, but so did its practical details. There were first the peers of France, who had seats and voices in the parliament, but were of little weight as a political body, from the smallness of their numbers, and because their parliament had only continued to be, what we still call ours, a high court, and had lost its legislative functions; -next came the noblesse-the gentilhommes-answering to our gentry; then the middle classes of society, composed of the poorer gentry, lawyers, medical men, inferior clergy, literary men, merchants, artists, manufacturers, notaries, shopkeepers, in short, all those who in every country constitute the middle classes, and they undoubtedly existed in France in their due proportion to the gentry on one hand, and the working classes on the other. Johnson's remark is the stranger, because it would seem that his intercourse while in Paris was almost exclusively with persons of this middle class; but it must be observed, that his intercourse and his consequent sources of information were not extensive. Mrs. Piozzi says to him, talking of the progress of refinement of manners in England, "I much wonder whether this refinement has spread all over the continent, or whether it is confined to our own island: when we were in France we could form little judgment, as our time was chiefly passed among the English."-C.
(1) This building, which stood in the Faubourg St. Honoré, was a kind of Ranelagh, and was destroyed a few years after. -C.;
remember no chapels nor crosses on the road Pavement still, and rows of trees.
"N. B. Nobody but mean people walk in Paris. 66 Thursday, Oct. 19. - At court we saw the apartments – The king's bed-chamber and council-chamber extremely splendid -Persons of all ranks in the external rooms through which the family passes—servants and Brunet (1) with us the second time.
- civil to me
senting I had scruples (2) - Not necessary - We went and saw the king and queen at dinner We saw the other ladies at dinner Madame Elizabeth, with the Princess of Guimené - At night we went to a comedy I neither saw nor heard. Drunken women Mrs. T. preferred one to the other.
Friday, Oct. 20. We saw the queen mount in the forest-Brown habit; rode aside: one lady rode aside (3) The queen's horse light gray martingale She galloped We then went to the apartments, and admired them — Then wandered through the palace - In the passages, stalls and shops — Painting in fresco by a great master, worn out- We saw the king's horses and dogs The dogs almost all English - degenerate
(1) Perhaps M. J. L. Brunet, a celebrated advocate. — C.
(2) It was the custom previous to court presentations, that an officer waited on the persons to be introduced, to instruct them in the forms. Johnson's scruples probably arose from this-it was an etiquette generally insisted on to present at foreign courts those only who had been presented to their own sovereign at home. Johnson had never been publicly presented to George III., though he had had that honour in private, and may, therefore, have entertained scruples whether he was entitled to be presented to the King of France; but it would seem that those scruples were not necessary, the rule perhaps extending only to formal presentations at court, and not to admission to see the king dine.-C.
(3) This probably means that the queen was attended by only one lady, who also rode aside; and not that one female attendant rode so, while other ladies rode astride. — C.
horses not much commended - The stables cool; the kennel filthy.
"At night the ladies went to the opera — I refused, but should have been welcome.
“The king fed himself with his left hand as we. Saturday, Oct. 21. In the night I got round We came home to Paris - I think we did not see the chapel Tree broken by the wind-The French chairs made all of boards painted. (1)
“N. B. Soldiers at the court of justice (2) Soldiers not amenable to the magistrates · Dijon women. (3) "Fagots in the palace-Every thing slovenly, except in the chief rooms - Trees in the roads, some tall, none old, many very young and small.
"Women's saddles seem ill made woven with silver Tags to strike the horse. "Sunday, Oct. 22. — To Versailles, a mean (4) town Carriages of business passing Mean shops against the wall- Our way lay through Sêve, where the China manufacture - Wooden bridge at Sève, in the way to Versailles The palace of great extent - The front long; I saw it not perfectly-The Menagerie-Cygnets dark; their black feet; on the ground; tamecyons, or gulls - Stag and hind, young Aviary, very large; the net, wire Black stag of China, small Rhinoceros, the horn broken and pared away, which, I suppose, will grow; the basis, I think, four inches across; the skin folds like loose cloth doubled over his body, and cross his hips; a vast animal, though young;
(1) Meaning, no doubt, that they were not of cedar, ebony, or mahogany, but of some meaner wood coloured over, a fashion which had not yet reached England. - C.
(2) The marechaussée was posted at the gates of the courts of justice; but the interior discipline was maintained by huissiers, ushers, the servants of the court. - C.
(3) See antè, p. 4.
(4) There must be some mistake. Versailles is a remarkably stately town. C.
as big, perhaps, as four oxen -The young elephant, with his tusks just appearing The brown bear put out his paws. all very tame The lion The tigers I did not well view The camel, or dromedary, with two bunches called the Huguin (1), taller than any horse Two camels with one bunch Among the birds was a pelican, who being let out, went to a fountain, and swam about to catch fish his feet well webbed; he dipped he caught
his head, and turned his long bill sideways two or three fish, but did not eat them. "Trianon is a kind of retreat appendant to Versailles
It has an open portico; the pavement, and, I think, the pillars, of marble-There are many rooms, which I do not distinctly remember—A table of porphyry, about five feet long, and between two and three broad, given to Louis XIV. by the Venetian state — In the council-room almost all that was not door or window was, I think, looking-glass- Little Trianon is a small palace like a gentleman's house - . The floor paved with upper brick (2) — Little Vienne - The court is ill paved The rooms at the top are small, fit to soothe the imagination with privacy - In the front of Versailles are small basins of water on the terrace, and other basins, I think, below them- There are little courts-The great gallery is wainscotted with mirrors not very large, but joined by frames -I suppose the large plates were not yet made The playhouse was very large (3) -The chapel
(1) This epithet should be applied to this animal with one bunch.
(2) The upper floors of most houses in France are tiled.-C. (3) That magnificent building, which was both a theatre and a ball-room. It was rarely used; the lighting and other expenses for a single night being 100,000 francs. It is celebrated in the History of the Revolution as the scene of the entertainment given by the Gardes du Corps on the 1st of October, 1789; of which innocent and, indeed, laudable testimony of attachment between them and their unhappy sovereigns, the rebels, by misrepresentations and calumnies, made so serious an affair. -C.-[When at Versailles the people showed us the theatre.
I do not remember if we saw -We saw one chapel, but I am not certain whether there or at Trianon The foreign office paved with bricks [tiles] — The dinner half a louis each, and, I think, a louis over Money given at menagerie, three livres ; at palace, six livres.
Monday, Oct. 23. Last night I wrote to Levet -We went to see the looking-glasses wrought - They come from Normandy in cast plates, perhaps the third of an inch thick — At Paris they are ground upon a marble table, by rabbing one plate upon another with grit between them The various sands, of which there are said to be five, I could not learn- The handle, by which the upper glass is moved, has the form of a wheel, which may be moved in all directions- The plates are sent up with their surfaces ground, but not polished, and so continue till they are bespoken, lest time should spoil the surface, as we were told Those that are to be polished are laid on a table covered with several thick cloths, hard strained, that the resistance may be equal: they are then rubbed with a hand rubber, held down hard by a contrivance which I did not well understand
The powder which is used last seemed to me to be iron dissolved in aquafortis; they called it, as Baretti said, marc de l'eau forte, which he thought was dregs They mentioned vitriol and saltpetre — The cannon ball swam in the quicksilver To silver them, a leaf of beaten tin is laid, and rubbed with quicksilver, to which it unites - Then more quicksilver is poured upon it, which, by its mutual [attraction] rises very high — Then a paper is laid at the nearest end of the plate, over which the glass is slided till it lies upon the plate, having driven much of the quicksilver before it — It is then,
As we stood on the stage, looking at some machinery for playhouse purposes-'Now we are here, what shall we act, Dr. Johnson? The Englishman at Paris??- 'No, no,' replied he, we will try to act Harry the Fifth.'-PIOZZI.]