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Ær. 36.] PARIS-THE APOLLO-SCHLEGEL-HUMBOLDT. 20 you seem to grudge the time, because it is not spent in admiring something else. Mrs. Siddons is a judge of statuary; but I thought I could boast of a triumph over them-in point of taste -when she and some others of our party preferred another Venus to the statue that enchants the world. I bade them recollect the waist of the true Venus-the chest and the shoulders. We returned, and they gave in to my opinion, that these parts were beyond all expression. It was really a day of tremulous ecstacy. The young and glorious Apollo is happily still white in color. He seems as if he had just leapt from the sun! All pedantic knowledge of statuary falls away, when the most ignorant in the arts finds a divine presence in this great created form. Mrs. Siddons justly observed, that it gives one an idea of God himself having given power to catch, in such imitation, a ray of celestial beauty.
“The Apollo is not perfect; some parts are modern, and he is not quite placed on his perpendicular by his French transporters; but his head, his breast, and one entire thigh and leg, are indubitable. The whole is so perfect, that, at the full distance of the hall, it seems to blaze with proportion. The muscle that supports the head thrown back-the mouth, the brow, the soul that is in the marble, are not to be expressed.
“After such a subject, what a falling off it is to tell you I dined with human beings !-yea, verily, at a hotel with Mrs. Siddons, her family, and Segeant Best and party. We were all splendidly dressed-dined splendidly, and paid in proportion; yet I never paid fourteen shillings for a dinner with more pleasure. It was equal to any at Lord Holland's table-a profusion of luxuries and fruits fit to pall an epicure. After dinner we repaired to the Opera—a set of silly things, but with some exquisite music, at which even Mrs. Siddons-exhausted with admiring the Apollo—fell asleep. I should tell you, that last night I was alone at the Orphan of China,' and read the tragedy so as closely to follow, and feel the recitation. ....
Paris, Sept. 12, 1814. ".... I have seen a good deal of French society at Madame de Staël's. Yesterday I dined with Schlegel and Humboldt, who are both very superior men, and with a host of Marquis and Marquises. After much entreaty, they made me repeat ‘Lochiel. I have made acquaintance also with Denon, the Egyptian traveller, who is a very pleasing person, and gave me an admission to the sittings of the Academy. I have been also introduced to the Duke of Wellington at his house.....
“Alas ! all this is lost upon me, at this moment; for the noise and air of Paris are far from agreeing with me; and I must positively this day seek for lodgings some miles removed. I write near the Post-office-on purpose to save another journey to that place—in a street which makes me long for the silence of the Strand, and the smell of Fish-street-hill! But the dirt of Paris is too nauseous a subject; only you must excuse the insipidity of this epistle, when I tell you that I am literally shaken on my seat by the passing carriages. I have been at Versailles ; it is very splendid indeed. The Louvre is now shut; it has been, to be sure, a treat beyond description. I am going to-day to the Jardin des Plantes. My stay in Paris will not exceed the 28th.
T. C." * * * * * *
PARIS, September 16, 1814. “This morning was a dull and rainy one, and I was confined to my lodgings—but I received your letter. I sent a person whom the French call commissary—that is, a little ragged boy, without shoes or stockings—who brought it to me.
“I wrote to you (Sept. 8,) describing the sensations which I experienced at the new sights which Paris presented. The last sheet I sent you was entrusted to Sergeant Best. It was begun in pencil, within two yards of the Apollo of Belvidere. I was within the influence of the burning bush. Since then, though I might sing ça éra, in all other respects, a hurt which I got in my leg by an accidental fall at Dieppe, in tripping too lightly down stairs without counting the steps, festered into a sore, by allowing the wound to rub on a cotton stocking. Though I contrived for several days to hop about Paris in company with Mrs. Siddons, yet at last I was obliged to apply a poultice of herbs to the part, and to keep my chamber for the sake of rest. You must not imagine that it is anything serious—it is only a trifle; but rest is prudent, to ensure my future movements.
“In the meantime, I have visited only the catacombs in a coach ; that is, a coach took me to the gate, from which you descend to the catacombs. My companions were Leslie, the Professor of Mathematics, from Edinburgh, and Dr. Goldie, Miller's friend, whom you have seen. Our party was pleasant, though the object of the visit was very dismal. The catacombs
of Paris are one hundred feet below the surface of the ground, and stretch for miles. The avenues, I think, are six feet high, through which we proceeded with tapers, and through bones and human skulls, piled on each side, to the amount of millions. Two millions is the number generally reckoned. This was a dreadful and gloomy curiosity, but one of the most extraordinary in Paris. There you see the remains of those that fell in the day of St. Bartholomew, and of the heroes that perished on the fatal 2d of September. But enough of this gloomy subject.
“I have been obliged to keep my room, but you see I have not lost my spirits. I look forward to happy days in Sydenham. To-morrow I shall change my lodgings, from a chamber literally six stories high, to one only three, and to all appearance a comfortable apartment. Imagine the cheapness of this place, when I dined well to-day for tenpence, at a good hotel, and got my coffee for sixpence. I often imagine, if the expenses of your family and mine were consolidated, how cheap and happy we could all live at Paris. No doubt things are uncomfortablethe floors are cold and dirty; they never change knives ; a thousand things revolt an Englishman; but they are cheap, civil, and accommodating.
"I forgot to say that, the day before I began to keep the house, I saw the delivery of the Standards, in the Champs Elysées, and heard the king speak a few words in answer to the oath of twenty thousand men under arms. The spectacle was affecting and imposing. I shall never forget the shout of their oath! But yet they are such a light-hearted, vacillating people, that I give but little for either their oaths or their acclamations.
“I have been at the Theatre with the Siddons frequently, and once at a little Theatre with John Kemble—at a piece which pleased me a good deal. The tune of Henri IV. is often played ; it is joyous and pleasant, and always raises my spirits . . When I have seen more of Paris, I shall have exquisite pleasure in describing whatever occurs” . . . . .
* * * * * “ Perhaps you will think it is the effect of the French climate to make me flatter; but you English women are as beautiful in comparison of the French, as I think we-even the handsomest Englishmen-are inferior to the really handsome Frenchmen. As to the French women, I cannot describe to you my ideas of them. There are two sorts of them—the aquiline, or rather, nutcracker faces, and the broad faces : both are ugly. Perhaps, on the whole, the French face here has a broadness at the cheek bones that is very unbecoming. The boasted gait and air of the women have no charms for me. That sweet and Greek cast of countenance, which I verily believe English women have more than any others, is not to be seen in Paris; or, if you see it, you immediately find out that it is an English woman. They cariacature the Englishmen, but have the delicacy, I observe, to spare the women generally. I must confess our men look very JohnBullish ; and nothing that the French say flatters me so much as when they say that they would not take me for un Anglois ! Yesterday I carried my French air very far; two good dumplings of an Englishman and his wife came into the coffee-house where I live, and wished to be told the way to the Luxemburg Gardens. I was sent for to interpret their bad French, but had the roguery to pass for a Frenchman to John and Joan. I spoke a sentence or two so affectedly, and shook my fingers in speaking so Frenchically, that, after receiving my instructions how to go to the Luxemburg—the little fat Englishman having made his bow—the lady said to him in my hearing, “How very civil those French people are !
“I have seen the “Tartuffe' inimitably acted. The French tragic declamation half pleases, half disgusts me. One actress, Mdlle Pelette, affected me a good deal; she is a beauty, like the rest of the French beauties . 7. A poet lodges in the next room to me, who is much more mad than myself; he is continually reading aloud, and the monotonous French verse interrupts my morning sleep.
Paris, October 8, 1814. ... I am here a sort of delegate, to collect whatever amusement I can find for you. Alas! I fear I have ill performed my part. The Louvre has literally engrossed all my time-four hours of every day. It has done me no good that I can count upon. The study of the pictures leaves me still not half, nor the one hundred and twentieth part of a judge ; and as for the luxuriant reveries which it has inspired, I doubt much if they will ever prove applicable to any purpose. But when uneasy thoughts and fears, such as my letters lately expressed, were corroding me, it soothed the demon of melancholy within me, and made me happy for at least a portion of the day. I have seen nothing of any consequence to compare with it.
I went with Dr. Goldie, a very good little man, and another ÆT. 36.] PARIS-VERSAILLES—NOTRE DAME.. 33 physician, a very Scotch one, to see Versailles. I enjoyed the party very much. ... The stairs of Versailles that lead to the door, are Brobdignaggian; the top of the flight makes you dizzy to look down. The view is over a lake of artificial water, like a sea. All is vast and royal; but stiff, French, and squared with horrible taste. The furniture is truly superb. The next day I saw the little palace of Buonaparte, commonly called the Napoleon Elysée. It recalls very lively ideas of the tyrant, when you are shown the bed in which he slept, the desk at which he wrote, all daubed with ink; and the room where his Guards and Mamelukes reposed. The furniture is exquisite; the apartments are hung round with portraits of all his relatives. You are shown also the bed-room and sitting-room of the Empress Maria-Louisa, and the chamber of state where she received her visiters.
Yesterday I visited Notre Dame Church, which, though not equal to St. Paul's or Westminster Abbey, is still worth seeing
-especially from the top, which commands a view of all Paris. Here are shown the Crown and Sceptre of Charlemagne, and the golden Laurel-Crown of Napoleon, with the robe of state which he wore at his coronation—made of many thousands of Cermine skins—and one of gold, weighing in all sixty pounds. I told you in my last that I had visited Madame de Staël, and that she was very kind to me. I shall tell you more of the Duke of Wellington hereafter.
Madame de Staël's friend, Dr. Schlegel, is a very uncommon man. I have had long conversations with him; he is exceedingly learned and ingenious, but a visionary in German philosophy, and by far too mystical. I never fought so hard with any man, or came away in better humor. The exercise of mind with such a one is like an inspiring battle--and to battle we set at the moment we meet. I lent him Dugald Stewart's works. He blames the Scotch and English philosophers for not aiming at the essence of things, and beginning with general principles. I in vain endeavored to vindicate that, since the time of Lord Bacon, the method in philosophy pointed out by that great man had been very properly pursued in England, which was to collect particular truths, and then combine them into general principles or conclusions. In fine, Mons. Schlegel is a visionary and a Platonist, who really believes that the external universe is only a shadow or reflexion of the inward principle of mind.
Denon, the traveller, has been very civil to me. He is an old, entertaining man, as you may imagine. He told me he