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had drawn plans of almost all the great battles that the French had fought. It was an odd circumstance, he added, that he never could obtain the most exact information from the generals who had headed divisions, but collected his knowledge principally from the peasants, who had been spectators.
I have seen also the Jardin des Plantes. Oh, my dear M- , you should have been there too. The first thing you see in this vast entertaining space, which is as large as Hydepark, is the menagerie. A noble lion, of the largest size, is there. I tried to provoke him, shook my cane, and threw something at him ; but he disdained me with a royal look. Besides a lioness, there is a little dog who barks at her and pulls her by the ear: they have been in the same cage many years. There is also another lion, somewhat younger, who will not give himself the trouble to rise, but generally sleeps; his side-look is very striking. Several bears are seen climbing trees, in their ditch-garden below, for apples put there to tempt them. They often sit in a begging posture, and get bread from the passengers. They are fine large animals. For tigers, I think we are better off in England; but the elephant is a wonderful sight. The man reaches up only to the height of his leg, where it joins with the body; his height, I think, must be twelve or fourteen feet. It is curious to see such a mass of life, while his lithe proboscis lifts up minute crumbs at his keeper's bidding.
Passing from the elephant, I met an English party, with whom I was not acquainted, but who, like myself, were searching about for the cabinet of natural curiosities in the museum. As I have found the English rather shy in forming acquaintance, I was determined, though chance threw us together, not to run the risk of being shied, and so kept aloof from them, and alone. One of the ladies-and, between ourselves, rather a handsome one-showed me by her manner that she was aware of the “Great Twalmley !!* After giggling and coquetting a good deal, when she observed one of her friends running in a wrong direction, she called out, loud enough for me to hear, “Come back, come back, he cried in grief !” by which I interpreted that she had read “ Lord Ullin," &c. . . . But to the cabinet of natural history. Bless me, what a collection! It is literally
* Campbell used to tell a story of a man who, coming into collision with another, for a place at the fire in a coffee-house, said, “ Perhaps you do not know to whom you are speaking ?” “No," said the other, “I do not.” “Know, then, that I am the great Twalmley, inventor of the patent box-iron po
ÆT. 36.] PARIS-JARDIN DES PLANTES. Noah's ark stuffed and preserved. Serpents of all size, from the boa constrictor that swallows an ox, to the blind worm ; and birds, from the ostrich, nine feet high, to the humming-bird of an inch. All possible shells, and minerals, and quadrupeds, fishes and reptiles. I spent a day in it, from eleven till six, and came away with my mind so exhausted, that I thought I should have gone into a fever; yet, till it was all over, I did not feel that my pulse was raised, or my eyes weakened and dazzled. The Jardin des Plantes is a noble exhibition. At the head of quadrupeds stands the giraffe, killed by Vaillant in Africa, which appears to be sixteen feet high. The vegetable part is no less perfect and amusing.
I skip from one subject to another, perhaps unconnectedly, but you will forgive me for mentioning a thing that occurs to me. In conversing with Schlegel on the subject of Shakspeare, he told me he had discovered a circumstance in his life, which had escaped the notice of all the English commentators. Say nothing of this, but I will tell it you when we meet; it will remind you of something regarding Sydenham fair, and make you smile.
I have treated you like a great politician in many of my letters, and have told you all that I remarked of the symptoms of the public mind. Since coming to Paris, I have been Iess curious about the opinions of individuals ; for, when you meet an enlightened Parisian, you feel it to be a point of good breeding, not to trouble him much on so delicate a subject. But I remark that the name of the “great monster” is pronounced with much more respect here than in the provinces. When you call him Buonaparte, they immediately correct you, and call him Napoleon, or l’Empereur. Sometimes, out of policy, I give way to this, when I have in view to get information from the party ; but when the Napoleonist is not worth keeping terms with, I persevere in bitterly calling him “Buonaparte,” or the “ Prisoner of Elba.” I told you, I believe, that it is disagreeable to meet with those who have been prisoners in England. Those fellows will come up to you, soliciting a conversation, by saying, “Ah, you are English ; I speak a littel Anglish.” All for the sake of an opportunity of saying something savage of England, where they complain of having been treated barbarously. At first I used to take this in earnest, and tried to soften or remonstrate with them, but when I cannot shake off those speakers of a littel Anglish, I now find it the best way to jaw them, and laugh heartily, telling them, “Ay, you were sharply looked after-no escaping—no, nothing of that sort. Well, you look hearty, after all your cruel treatment. It does a man good to have known a littel adversity, or such like."
The Parisians speak but slightingly of their constitution. Their legislative body appears to be the same that it was under Buonaparte, but I have not yet bought the pamphlet that describes their constitution. I hope to bring it with me to Sydenham. The great topic of conversation is St. Domingo. The French, I hope and trust, will have to abandon it-It will cost them twenty or thirty millions of louis-d'ors, and the lives of half a million of human beings; and thirty millions is, perhaps, one half of all the money at present in the French dominions.
With regard to the good Dr. Jenner, how sorry I am that I got from him no direct commission to execute; it would have been to me the utmost gratification. With regard to vaccination, I think it seems to be as perfectly established here as in England. The provincial medical men with whom I have chanced to meet, speak of practising it as commonly as with us. Apropos to medicine-among the rare things to be seen, the medical school is not the least. There are preparations in wax of the human body, in all states of anatomy and disease. The execution could not be more like Nature, unless the anatomist, like Pygmalion, could obtain a boon from heaven-to turn the imitation of flesh into the reality. But as Pygmalion took his beloved statue into keeping, I doubt if the wax would keep as well after the miracle as before it. These waxen things, by the way, have saved me some few francs in the way of dinners; for, wherever the soul may lie, my memory, with regard to them, lies all in my stomach; and I have several times dined on a peach and dry bread, in consequence of the tender recollections which I carried away of the Ecole de Médecine.
To-morrow I am to be at Madame de Staël's, where the Duke of Wellington is expected. I was introduced to him at his own house, where he was polite enough ; but the man who took me was so stupid as not to have told him the only little circumstance about me that could have entitled me to his notice. Madame de Staël asked him if he had seen me? He said a Mr. &c., had been introduced to him, but he thought it was one of the thousands of that name from the same country; he did not know that it was the Thomas ; but, after which, his Grace took my address in his memorandum-book, adding, he was sorry he had not known me sooner.
ÆT. 36.] PARIS-LOUVRE-PANTHEON-VERSAILLES. 37
PARIS, October 16, 1814. After the Louvre-I know scarcely anything that is quite transcendant. I have been again to see the Jardin des Plantes, which I think comes next to it. The concentration of all Nature's works-vegetable, mineral and animal-into one museum, is indeed a sight worth travelling to see. The Pantheon is a magnificent place—the dome is everything that Greek architecture can do, but still the effect falls far short of the Gothic, on a similar scale. The tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, and others, are below. Their vaults—the only cleanly things I have seen in Paris—are so neat and tidy, that they present the image of rather a comfortable English pantry, than of anything that can overawe the mind.
The French acting in tragedy I do not like; but until I see Talma again, which will be. I trust, on Wednesday, I shall not decide. Their comic acting is perfection. Fleury, when he plays a French Marquis, is—what we so seldom see on our stage --a fop in spirit, but in manners an easy gentleman. He comes in, and rattles to six people, who eagerly wish to speak; they can't get in a word; he speaks, and prattles them all down. He gets drunk--meets an old father, and recounts to him all the follies of his friend the prodigal son of the old fellowslaps him-laughs at him—but is still the gentleman-eren when the words stick in his mouth.
I have been again at Versailles. The intention was to make the basis of the palace a mountain ; it is indeed a mountain scaled by magnificent stairs. But the palace itself is not large enough for the basis--and the trees are clipped with horrible formality. The grand and small Trianons consummate all possible ideas of magnificent furniture. The village is shown where poor Marie Antoinette used to retire and act the play of “La Chasse d'Henri IV.;" and where she played the part of her young beauty—the miller's daughter.
The squares of the Louvre and the Tuileries present an architecture much more perfect than that of Versailles ; and to which there is nothing similar in London-nor perhaps - in the world. The whole sides of the Seine, indeed, for half a league in length, are magnificent; and at night, when the lights are thrown upon the river, which has but a few scattered boats to add to the picturesque-not to hide it, like the craft on our Thames--the moonlight and the reflection of the fires make it the finest city I ever beheld. Notre-Dame rises like our St. Paul's in the centre of Paris. Next to it, and out of the town,
the most noticeable ground-I mean as to mere prospect—is Montmartre, with its windmills—the scene of the last battle. It is not easy to look at the plain where the Russians lost so many thousands--advancing in close columns, to force the heights of Montmartre—without a lively sensation. It is said they might all have been destroyed there, if the French had been properly headed. Thank God, it was otherwise.
When the Louvre was open, it used to be a pleasant place of rendezvous for the English ; independent of the charms of the ' place itself, where there are many thousands of pictures. The French school, including Claude, Poussin and Vernet, make, I assure you, no mean appearance. There is a Deluge, by Poussin, which struck me as the true sublime. But I will not trouble you with my infantine connoisseurship. Any little taste in painting, I know full well I have not got; but the pleasure of the paintings grew upon me—though still far, far inferior to that of the statues. I took leave of the glorious Apollo, not less enchanted than when I met him. I should have knocked down Dr. Schlegel, had not Madame de Staël been present, when he told me it was inferior to the Torso !-vile Fuselesque thing—it is human, the other is divine! But the more I see of the works of Art, and of Dr. Schlegel and his German ideas of the sublime and beautiful—the more I hate the Fuselesque ; for Schlegel and Fuseli are both, I see, of the same school. The Pericles, falsely called Phocion, would enchant you. The Flemish school has, to my poor taste, more fine paint, than fine painting. But I can now see what Raphael and Titian must be to those who better understand them. I should not, indeed, forget Paul Potter's cows. Oh, the dear brutes ! I thought they were not pictures, but poor dumb animals, waiting till the company should disperse--and I was sorry to think they were kept so long in the gallery.
I had a million of things to tell you, and to ask, that were perhaps not worth either asking or telling ; but I am sorry to take leave-yet I must-for I have sat two hours without a fire, and with my feet on a brick floor. With the French it is no joke to get up a fire-even in this cold weather. My chamber-woman, I sometimes think, is making a journey to Prometheus's kitchen for it-she stays so long; and then the poor devil lies squat on the floor, and puffs, with her black eyes starting out of her head, to make the miserable faggot burnexclaiming a thousand times, “ Mon dieu, mon dieu !" at the badness of the wood.