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three horses, the postmaster often adds a fourth gratis : and it is the same in Poland and Russia. But in France, on the contrary, if we pay for three, which are charged at twenty-five sous the mile each horse, we are seldom allowed more than two; or, if the third be required, then they are charged at thirty sous each. In my opinion, the justice of the thing would be, the more horses we have, to pay so much the less by the head.
Then, since we had no chaise of our own, we were generally required to pay the price of another horse for a little inconvenient postchaise, so that in all we paid for four horses while we used only two. At Vitry they told us, that they had only a very heavy postchaise, so that we must pay for an additional horse. We did so, and still we had a horse the less. Of this we complained, when the postmaster said, “ Messieurs, c'est une grace qu'on vous fait, puis qu'il fallait payer trente sous par lieue." I replied, that I had heard much of the politesse of the French nation, and after this instance I could not doubt of its truth.
We travelled here as expeditiously as in Russia. Whether this will remain so much longer may be a question, as since the revolution the roads have been very much neglected, and are daily getting worse and
December 17. In the morning we were re-committed to our prison, and proceeded to Epernay, the most famous place in the whole country for champagne
Even over me might this nectar have extended its exhilarating influence, had not an accident, which, trifling as it was, made a powerful impression upon me, thrown me back into my former state of annihilation, even at the moment when I began to feel my heart and spirits reviving
The walls and windows of the room in which we dined, were scratched over with names and verses, after the idle custom so prevalent among travellers.
I was amusing myself with examining them, when unluckily my attention was caught by the letters F. E. with a cross, at the corner of a window.*
Vanished like a flash of lightning were the artificial spirits that the wine had for a moment inspired, and I fell into a state of the most gloomy abstraction. These letters, and the horrible cross, seemed to reproach me that I could yet be sensible to the joys of wine, when those of love were lost to me for ever. He who was never in a like situation, may perhaps smile when I relate that I secretly entreated pardon of my Frederica for having tasted the wine. O God ! what will become of me, if every trifling occurrence can thus torture my heart !
We stopped this night at Chateau Thierry. It was about eight o'clock in the evening when we arrived there, and we quitted the place again at three the next morning.
I ordered a room to be prepared for me directly, and a fire to be made in it, for my present humour was ill assorted to the noisy mirth of my companions. Here I walked up and down, talking to my Frederica, while they were eating and drinking below. The night was tempestuous, and the roaring of the wind was the more awful from the town being situated very high, so that there was nothing to break its force. To this raging of the storm without, was added the crackling of the fire within, and the perpetual creaking of the door, that altogether my soul was impressed with sensations I can hardly describe. The war of nature was congenial with my feelings; the hours I passed here were melancholy, but composing. When I am thus alone, my Frederica seems with me: I talk to her as though she were present, and pour out to her all my heart. Ah! perhaps she may be really present !--perhaps she hovers about
* The cross subjoined to the initials is considered as indicating that they were inscribed by somebody who had just lost some very dear connection.TRANSLATOR.
me as my guardian angel? Oh, why does she not appear for one moment, to give me assurance of her existence! How often have I intreated it! and on this solemn evening I intreated once more !
Chateau Thierry is the birth-place of the admirable La Fontaine. This rendered it much more interesting to me than the celebrated bridge over the hills at Nancy.
The night was passed entirely without sleep; and so it must have been from the storm, even had my own uneasy thoughts not kept me waking. A more violent hurricane, indeed, I scarcely ever remember. It was as if Boreas had unloosed the messengers of his fury into my room.
December 18. We left Chateau Thierry, dined at Meaux, and at length, about six in the evening, weary of our journey, weary almost of life, arrived at
PARIS. I was inexpressibly mortified that it was already dark; yet the shops on both sides of the streets, prettily set out, and handsomely lighted, had a very good effect. The custom of announcing, in large letters, over the door of each house, the name and trade of the inhabitants, pleased me extremely. This practice, indeed, may be observed from the moment of entering the dominions of France. Almost all the houses have also signs, and these are 'usually something golden, as · The Golden Apple,' • The Golden Bowl, The Golden Lion,' The Golden Key.' A strong characteristic feature of French ostentation.
The taste our forefathers had for gaudy colours has been considered as a sign of the infancy of a nation. May not this passion for gold be the distinctive stamp of that period of old age when it is falling back into its second childhood? This favourite or (gold) seems now, however, in some degree to be supplanted by the more fashionable nation' and
‘national.' A few days ago I saw over a door traiteur de la nation. A desperate undertaking, I thought within myself, to feed a whole hungry nation !
December 19. Were I not in the very vortex of dissipation, the present day must fill me with nothing but melancholy images, since it is the anniversary of the institution of our private theatre at Reval. All is now in that town mirth and jubilee. On this day last year, my
Virgin of the Sun' was performed for the first time, when my Frederica played Amazili. How becoming was the wreath in her hair !-Oh God! what anguish of heart lies in these recollections !
Towards evening, we went to walk in the Palais Royal. Schulz has described it so well, that I can add nothing to his description. It made a pleasing, but not a grand impression upon me. The fine range of shops at Petersburgh is little inferior to it.
A man invited us, with a very earnest and noisy eloquence, to come in and see un homme sauvage and une jeune Alsacienne, for only twelve sous. The homme sauvage, who was taken upon the Lord knows what island, had as little of the sauvage in him as myself. He was a handsome young fellow, with a physiognomy similar to that of Jesus Christ. He had a black beard, which had been suffered to grow, and the rest of his dress was truly laughable. Round his head he had a wreath of artificial Aowers, and his outer garment, if garment such a thing might be called, was a large packthread net. What stamped him a savage, as far as I could find, was simply that he eats stones, as many a man has done before, without incurring the like distinction. He first crushed the flints with his teeth, then opened his mouth wide, to shew them champed, then swallowed them, and afterwards let us feel his stomach, where, in truth, we could hear the clatter of a tolerable depôt. There appeared to me no deception in all this : the only thing that wore the semblance of deception was, that he pretended not to be able to speak.
Next appeared the young Alsacian. She was a girl about twelve years old, painted like a Christmas mask, and as dirty as a pig, who wanted to exhibit some common every-day tricks upon the wire. I begged to be excused the performance, and, paying my twelve sous, departed.
Another man was no less vociferous in recommending to our notice a collection of wax figures as large as life, which, indeed, we found well worth seeing. There were the king, the queen, the dauphin, with madame Royale, la Fayette, Baillie, Voltaire, Rousseau, Dr Franklin ; the two celebrated and interesting prisoners, Maseres de la Tude and baron Trenck; the Indian ambassadors, who were once here; madame du Barré asleep, and scarcely half clothed ; Maria Theresa,
Clermont Tonnerre, and a multitude besides, all dressed according to their proper costume, and all, as was generally agreed, extraordinary likenesses. What would I not have given for such a likeness of my Frederica !-Yet am I not a fool ?-
-as if her image were not impressed on my heart much more accurately, and in much more forcible colours, than she could be represented by any artist! But had I such a figure, I would place it by my side at table, as the Egyptians used to do with their mummies. Ah! this was surely an excellent custom.
I could not forbear smiling at seeing Voltaire and Rousseau sitting together very familiarly at a little table, appearing as if they were demonstrating some proposition, perfectly at their ease, and not caring for anything or anybody.
It is amusing to go into the coffee-houses in the Palais Royal. They are full of affiches, annonces, and avertissemens, some of which are very curious. For instance, one announced a servant wanted, who, besides his mother-tongue, French, must understand German, Italian, and English. He must also be able