« AnteriorContinuar »
for immense sums, quitted Great Britain, and left bis clients to shift for themselves, now passed by them--" He has since,” said Mr. Wilmot, “ made the tour of Europe, and cheated himself (if I may so call it) out of every country in this quarter of the globe.” Actresses and grisettes followed; and then came another worthy of this country, well known as an annuity broker; he made a fortune, and married a lady, and endeavoured to set up the firm of “ Respectability and Co.” Barbers and gamblers filled
the space, till they were encountered by an English peer, who started and bowed to Wilmot, who, on his part, gave his head a sort of haughty toss, and slightly returning the bow, passed on. After they were out of hearing-" That man,” said he,“ comes over for indulgence, and has a kind of parc aux cerfs in the neighbourhood of this town, where, of course, he is very much taken in, and very much laughed at. We are now,"continued he, “approaching aman, of whom you must
have heard much, and who is one of those that redeem our national character amongst foreigners - it is the celebrated British lyrie poet, who, though he has been unfortunate, is universally loved and respected as well as admired.”
After taking a turn or two on the walk, Mr. Wilmot led the way into Tortoni's, where chocolate was set before them, which Charles found as thick as a hasty pudding, and perfumed so strongly, that, without any regard to what might be thought of his bad taste, he left it untouched. They then took a general ramble through the town, preparatory to visiting the several public buildings separately. Many of the streets appeared to the eyes of the stranger fine, but the principal part small and dirty ; the palaces surpassed any thing he had ever beheld; but some of the English churches he thought far superior to the . best of the French externally--but externally alone, for there is a solemn grandeur in the plain undivided interior of a Ro
man Catholic church, to which ours, blocked up as they are by pews and partitions, can never aspire.
The first place they visited, after quitting the Boulevards, was the Place Louis Quinze, alike remarkable in an architectural and historical point of view. Mr. Wilmot requested Charles to keep his eyes on the ground till they were in the centre of the square, and on raising them, a crowd
, of the most magnificent objects burst at once upon his view; straight before was the Garde Meuble, a superb building of the Corinthian order, with all the rich decoration of which it admits; through the centre of this was seen the Rue Royal, extending broad and uniform, till it was terminated by a temple, which Napoleon commenced to Glory, and which, very aptly, he left ruinous and unfinished ; on the right lay the gardens of the Tuileries, and the palace beyond, and on the left the Champs Elysées, going off in long vistas to the Barrier de l'Etoile; and on turning
round the fine bridge of Louis Seize, conducted the eye to the Chamber of Deputies, one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture that Paris possesses. So far every thing was beautiful; but how much more interest did it acquire in the eyes of Charles Melville, when he remembered of what actions it had been the theatre !
On the very spot where he stood, had been exhibited the fireworks on the mar. riage of Louis the Sixteenth ; on that place was he guillotined, as well as the unfortunate Marie Antoinette. Here was placed a statue to Louis the Fifteenth, which was afterwards thrown down, and another to Liberty raised upon its ruins. Here faction after faction, and murderer after murderer, mingled their own blood with that of their victims; and here an invading army sung a hymn over the chains they had cast around France, whose independence the broken sword of Napoleon could defend no longer. From hence they went over to the Lux
embourg embourg Gardens, walked over the spot where Ney was executed, and returning by the Pont Neuf, passed up the Rue St. Honoré, by the Place Vendome, back to their hotel in the Rue de la Paix. Though Charles, as they walked on, saw a great deal to interest him in Paris, there was nothing perhaps which more excited his attention than the conduct of Mr. Wilmot, in whose character he every day perceived some new and remarkable point. He seemed to have a large acquaintance, and knew every part of the city thoroughly: many people, as has before been said, bowed to him as they passed; but of none did he take any more notice than by a slight inclination of the head, never addressing a word to any of them, and they in return, seeming to understand the peculiarity of his manner, passed on without attempting to address him. Though he continued grave, and even perhaps melancholy, Charles remarked that when he did smile, it was the most bland and benevolent ex