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to cause them to seek their pleasures out of doors. Home is the only place they neglect; it is a place only for their necessities: they must sleep there, and the tradesmen must transact their business there: a bed, a table, and a few chairs are therefore wanted; and a small room or two, uncarpeted and bare, must be hired. I speak, of course, of the middle and inferior classes. But all that is inspiring and comfortable, they seek out of doors; and all that they pride themselves in being able to procure is in the shape of decoration and amuse
"The Palais Royal has grown to be what it is, out of these habits and dispositions, and now presents the most characteristic feature of Paris:-it is dissolute, gay, wretched, elegant, paltry, busy, and idle:-it suggests recollections of atrocity, and supplies sights of fascination :-it displays virtue and vice living on easy terms, and in immediate neighbourhood with each other. Excitements, indulgences, and privations,-art and vulgarity, -science and ignorance,--artful conspiracies, and careless debaucheries,-all mingle here, forming an atmosphere of various exhalations, a whirl of the most lively images, a stimulating melange of what is most heating, intoxicating, and subduing.
"The Palais Royal was the focus of the Revolution: its coffeehouses, its theatres, its cellars, its gambling-houses, its bagnios, poured forth their living streams into its central space, to listen to the invitations of the orators, who in cited the people to carry into effect the tremendous plans organized within its concealments. It here that a joke, or a nod, operating on a loose, reckless, heartless rabble, was, in general, the mandate of torment and carnage, and sometimes, by well-timed and fortunately directed obscenity and falsehood, the instrument of dissipating the fury of those whom
mercy could not soften, and justice could not restrain. A raging, vociferating gang of murderers, men and women, brandished their pikes to destroy the house and family of an aristocrat, who had himself escaped from their fury. An appeal to principle and feeling was out of the question at such a time, and to such beings; but a profligate pleasantry supplied the suitable application. Why pull down his house ?'-exclaimed the intercessor, mounted on a chairit is his landlord's: -why kill his wife?-she is the public's: -why massacre his children?-they are probably some of your own.'-A yell of merriment broke out from the congregation of furies, and the laugh of vice proved, in this instance, a reprieve for the innocent,
"The infamous duke of Orleans, to whom the palace belonged, here expended his immense wealth in nursing, by means of the most horrible immoralities, the Revolution, of which he himself was the victim. The scenes that were acted here at that time are not susceptible of description:--the almost unbounded revenues of this weak and wicked prince, were directed, at the suggestion of the most abominable wretches, to every purpose of hu man depravity, included within the opposite limits of sensual indulgence and cold and cruel ambition. From hence issued out the ferocious mobs of poissardes, and blackguards, whose character and conduct form the history, for several years, of a nation calling itself great. The day at length came, when he who had never been but the creature of those whom he fancied be guided was to perish by the storm he had assisted to raise. The duke of Orleans was dragged to his death by the mobs who had been trained in his pay, and his last journey was marked by an incident truly French :-those who had partaken of the debaucheries and crimes of the Palais Royal, stopped its owner, opposite to its
well known gate, when he was on his way to the fatal machine that was to terminate his miseries and crimes! They wished to read in his haggard countenance the emotions caused by this sight, so pregnant with intolerable recollections; they could not deny themselves the indulgence of this extra barbarity; they would not be deprived of the right of exulting over the fall of guilt, in which they had deeply participated!-Are not these things which were not done in a corner, which twenty-six millions of men saw perpetrated as their public acts, which powerfully influenced the thinking, the habits, and the interests of Europe, and have, more than any other circumstances, contributed to form the character of the age,-are they not the public monuments of France, as much as the pillars which she has erected, or the pictures which she has stolen? She vaunts of her public places the question is, what sentiments and recollections do they chiefly excite? It is these that are to form hér glory,-for glory is an estimate of the mind.
"The Palais Royal is still a place where news and politics are discussed. There is in Paris, what strikes an Englishman as an unusual number of persons, who seem loose from actual occupation, without indicating that they are above it. The period of my visit to that capital, which was shortly after the destruction of a government, the disbandment of an army, and the return of legions of prisoners of war, was more than commonly calculated to display this appearance, but I apprehend, from what I could learn, that it always exists. The crowds of the Palais Royal are thus formed, and it puts on its air of bustling dissipation, and lounging sensuality, at an early hour of the morning. The chairs that are placed out under the trees are to be hired, with a newspaper, for a couple of sous a piecę:-they are soon occupied:
-the crowd of sitters and standers gradually increases,-the buz of conversation swells to a noise,the cafés fill,-the piazzas become crowded, -the place assumes the look of intense and earnest avocation,-yet the whirl and the rush are of those who float and drift in the vortex of pleasure, dissipation, and vice.
"The shops of the Palais Royal are brilliant:-they are all devoted either to toys, ornaments, or luxuries. Nothing can be imagined more elegant and striking than their numerous collections of ornamental clock-cases :-they are formed of the whitest alabaster, and many of them present very ingenious and fanciful devices. One, for instance, that I saw, was a female figure, in the garb and with the air of Pleasure,-hiding the hours with a fold of her scanty drapery;-one hour alone peeped out, and that indicated the time of the day;-the mechanism of the works caused it to be succeeded by the next in succession. Others were modelled after the most favourite pictures and sculptures :-David's Horatii and Curiatii had been very frequently copied. The beauty and variety of the snuff boxes, and the articles in cut-glass, the ribbons and silks, with their exquisite colours, the art of giving which is not known in England,-the profusion and seductiveness of the Magazines des Gourmands,—are matchless. There are also several passages at the back of the place itself, all full of this sort of display, though of an inferior kind, and including the features of vice in more distinct deformity. Many of the shops in these, are kept by small booksellers, who expose their wares beyond their windows on stalls;and the mentioning of this fact induces me to notice here two circumstances highly characteristic of Paris, and indicative of its moral and social state.
"The first is the extreme profligacy of the books and prints that`
are exposed for sale. The vilest publications lie about every where, throwing in your face a grossness which amounts rather to brutality than mere sensuality.” * * * * "United in view to this shameful feature, is one of another kind, and their neighbourhood illustrates the national character. In France you have no security against the existence of an evil, in the possession of what is commonly and naturally opposed to it--the French reconcile fineness with filth, politeness with coarseness, honour with falsehood. In like manner, the shops that present the gross ness above alluded to are crowded with elegant literature, placed out evidently for numerous purchasers. The best French classics, histories, poets, &c., are heaped on every stall, and lie among the trash of political pamphlets, which prove nothing but that there is not a particle of political understanding or principle in all France. The good books must be purchased as well as the bad ones,-and in point of fact, they are purchased. You cannot walk three steps without encountering a stall rich in literature: the bridges and quays are full of them: the entrances of the palaces are hung round with the wares of these itinerant venders,för in Paris, their notions of what may be termed the decorum of elegance are not very troublesome; the passages to the courts of justice are markets for these commodities. The French then read a good deal; and evidences that they do are every where apparent in Paris. The females in the public situations of trade are all seen reading,-never working with their needles. Even the poor girls, who sit by stalls where toys are sold, are generally occupied with a book when not engaged with a customer. I have looked over their shoulders, and seen Madame de Genlis, Madame Sevigné, Voltaire, Marmontel, in their hands. This is just as if, in London, the applewomen
should be observed reading the Spectator, or Boswell's Life of Johnson, or Pope's works-an appearance which would be deemed a phenomenon. The common classes of the French, therefore, are polished and conversable to a degree unknown in England: -the worst of it is, that, in the country of which I am writing, the people's courtesy and chattering mean nothing: they do not prove the existence either of knowledge or of feeling;-uay, the truth is, they prove the want of both. Where words and forms are bonâ fide indicators of their corresponding sentiments, they will always be more sparingly employed than where this connection has been broken. In like manner, there is a certain point of national character and condition, at which reading will be very generally diffused throughout the community, precisely because it has little or no effect in producing earnestness of thinking on the interests and duties of life.
"To return now to the Palais Royal-It may, after this digres sion, be supposed to be the hour of dinner; and the salons of the restaurateurs are all full. In proportion as the homes of the Parisians are uncomfortable in an Englishman's estimation, their places of public resort and refreshment have an air of enjoyment, abundance, frankness, and congeniality, to which he has been utterly unaccustomed. From five to halfpast seven, crowds of both sexes pour into all the numerous receptacles of this description, the invitations to which hang forth so thick as to astonish the British stranger. The price charged within for dinner, is specified on many of the signs, and varies from twentyfive sous,-about one shilling, to four franks,-above three. For these sums four or five dishes a head are promised; half a bottle, or a bottle of wine, a desert of fruit, and bread at discretion
The latter stipulation of this engagement is no trifling one; for it is known that a Frenchman's discretion, in the article of bread, is not of the soberest kind.
"The superior restaurateurs, how ever, specify nothing;-and here both the supply and the serving-up are of the most elegant description. Casts from the exquisite antiques in the Louvre stand in the niches, -lamps, with beautiful shades, throw a noble light on the tables, the waiters are active, and Madame, the mistress, sits in her splendid recess, as a superintending divinity, decorated, stately, yet gracious; her looks full of the consciousness of her sex and station, her manner welcoming, polished, and adroit.—In the artifices of cookery, and all the seductions of the table, the French are adepts:nothing can be more unfounded than the common idea in England, that they are comparatively temperate in this respect. Their variety of dishes tempts the appetite, their rich sauces apply themselves irresistibly to the palate: instead of eating less meat, because they take more soup than the English, they add the additional soup to a much larger repast of meat than is commonly made in England. A little delicate looking woman, will think it no violation to say, 'j'ai mangé pour quatré,”—and really, both females and men apply themselves with a determination, dex terity, and carelessness of observation, to the contents of their numerous dishes, which, in a country where the secret is less known how to redeem by manner the essential grossness of things, would constitute downright gormandizing. "The appearance of ladies sitting among crowds of men in these public rooms startles the English visitor, as a custom that trenches on the seclusion that he is inclined
to think necessary to the preservation of the niost valuable female qualities, in the tenderness of their beauty. It is, however, in this
respect as in many others in Paris; there is no sensibility for any thing beyond the action itself,-there is an utter ignorance that the highest sense of value prompts restraint, concealment, and precaution,there is a thorough indifference for what cannot be sensually enjoyed. Can a woman lose her virtue by dining in this promiscuous assemblage?-can we better shew our regard for women, than by making them our inseparable companions ?--where would they find a compensation for the pleasures of which you would deprive them?-These would be the questions which a Frenchman would put, if he heard you object to the practice in question.
"The advance of the evening throws out still more prominently the native and most peculiar features of the Palais Royal. When the numerous windows of its im mense mass of building are lighted up, and present to the eye, contemplating them from the dark and deserted ground in the center, a burning exterior, leading the ima gination to the 'lively scenes within, perhaps a more impressive spectacle is not to be found in the world. From the foundations of the building, foods of light stream up, and illuminate crowds that make their ingress and egress to and from the cellars, that are places both of amusement and refreshment:-here there are dancing dogs, blind men, who play on mu sical instruments, ballad-singers, petite plays, and the game of dominos. The tables are crowded with men and women,—wives mingle with prostitutes-tradesmen with sharpers: the refreshments are all of a light nature; nothing like intoxication is seen, and there is no very gross breach of decorum in behaviour.
"It is very certain, that if there were any similar places of resort in London, such abominable conduct would prevail among them that they would become insufferable
the causes of which are, that their women of the town are less a peculiar class than those of England, and that the quiet and comfort of their homes are less sacredly preserved, and fondly esteemed.
"Above the cellars and the shops of the Palais Royal, there are the elegant Cafés, the common and licensed gambling houses and bagnios, and, still higher, the abodes of the guilty, male and female, of every description. The first mentioned (the cafés) are in fact brilliant temples of luxury:on entering them for the first time, one is almost struck back by their glare of decoration and enjoyment Ladies and gentlemen in their colours, and statues in their whiteness; and busy waiters, and painted walls, and sparkling delicacies of every kind, are mingled, and repeated, and extended in appearance to infinity, by numerous mirrors, which add vastness to elegance, and the effect of a crowd to the experience of accommodation. In one of these, the Café des milles Colonnes-(so called because its columns are reflected in glasses till they become thousands)
nuisances; whereas, in Paris, there is nothing seen painfully to offend the eye, and this is enough to satisfy the Parisians that they ought not to shock the mind. But the truth is, that grossness of conduct is the natural and becoming barrier that stands between virtue and vice,—it proves that the two are kept totally distinct; that the partizans of the latter feel themselves proscribed, rejected, disowned, by the respectable. They thus carry with them the brand of their infamy, the good shudder at it, and avoid them,-they disgust, instead of alluring, they excite a horror which counteracts the temptations to licentiousness. It is a sign that the virtue of a nation is spurious and debased, not that its vice is scanty and unaggravated, when its manners fail strongly to mark the distinction between the worthy and the reprobate. Where morals are generally loose, where principles are unsettled, and duties ill-understood, and worse practised, the most vicious will assume a companionable decorum of behaviour; for they will feel that they are not much out of the common way: and, being on terms of familiarity and communion with all around them, their iniquity will help to form a generally debased standard, instead of remaining distinct and odious, as a contrast to what is pure and valuable. This is the true secret of what is termed the superior decency of Paris in some respects: it cannot be said to exist in any one instance of superiority in what is good; it is not to be found in a closer regard to the nuptial contract, in a higher sense of what is honourable in transactions between man and man, or in abstinence from sensual indulgences. No, in each and all of these respects, the French are notoriously less strict than the English: but their prostitutes are better behaved, and their public assemblages are not so boisterous;
a priestess of the place presides, with even more than the usual pomp of such persons. She is a fine woman, and admits the stare of her visitors as a part of the entertainment which they have a right to expect. For a minute or two she reads, holding the book delicately at arm's length, and simpering as if to herself at its contents, in the consciousness that she is at least regarded by fifty eyes: then, with a look of official dignity, she receives a customer's money from one of the waiters, and daintily dips her pen into a burnished ink-stand, after which she drops the necessary memorandum on the paper, gracefully displaying her finely-shaped hand, and exquisitely white kid gloves. Occasionally, one of the gentlemen in the coffee-room sits down by her side, and talks gallantry as they do on