« PoprzedniaDalej »
Paris: Polish Prince Czartoryski.
decidedly one of the finest, noblest countenances I ever saw. It is expressive at once of dignity, energy, and benevolence. It indicates a contempt of every thing mean.
I must confess I felt rather awkward in this my first -tête-à-tête with a prince. It was so hard to have to say 'your highness' at every sentence, that I finally dropped. it entirely for the plain republican Sir.' He evidently expects this form, but does not insist upon it. He inquired about the condition of his country men in the United States; if they had obtained employment; if they conducted themselves well; what gentlemen had interested themselves for them. I mentioned among others, our respected and munificent fellow citizen S. V. S. Wilder, Esq., and he told the secretary to take his address. He asked if any association for the Poles existed in New-York, and if one could not be formed; if the Americans were not rather partial to Russia, and thought she had done right. This I answer, ed very warmly, and said that, on the contrary, our country had watched with astonishment the conduct of the other powers of Europe in not interfering in behalf of Poland. That the wrongs of Poland were a favorite theme for our school-boys and girls, declamations.
After a conversation of half an hour or more, I took leave, the prince inviting me very cordially to call on him when I returned to Paris. The morning papers state that 'the government (of France) yesterday made an application to Prince Czartoryski for three hundred Poles to go to Spain' for which party,' I did not notice.
I have marvelled at nothing more, in Paris, than the rarity of female beauty. I have been in the Boulevards, and other fashionable resorts, at fashionable hours, many a time and oft; but I do not recollect having seen a single French woman decidedly pretty. In some of the Galle. ries, I observed occasionally a lady who might be called so, but they always proved to be English. It seemed more singular, as the prevalent notions of Paris with us led me. to expect a brilliant display in this line.' But if the French damsels are deficient in personal attractions, they certainly are not in graceful and fascinating manners; and this remark will apply almost equally to the peasant girl and the queen. The style of dress of the Parisian ladies seemed to me very neat, simple, and tasteful, and certainly much less showy than that of the belles of Gotham, who, it must be owned, are apt to be somewhat ultra in the extremes of foreign fashions. There is sound policy, no doubt, in the practice of employing young women as clerks in the shops; they have an irresistible way of recommending their wares, charming you by their ineffable sweetness and apparent naïveté, while they draw as liberally as possible on your purse.
They have a queer way of naming, or dedicating their shops; such as á la belles, Anglaise,' 'á la ville de New. York,' etc. In many of them there is a notification that the prices are fixed and unchangeable; but I understand they generally take care that the Anglaise, (who seem to be proverbial as a wealthy nation,) shall pay a suitable ad
Paris: Beauty-The Military, etc.
'Combien ?' proves to be a very useful word, and answers just as well as Quel est le prix ?' The bill of fare at the restaurants is quite a curiosity. You may have, in the medium establishments, an excellent dinner for twenty-five or thirty cents, including two or three 'plates,' and a choice from nearly one hundred and fifty, beside the desert and the vin ordinaire. Omnibuses origi nated in Paris; and they are now very abundant, convenient, and cheap. You may ride from the Gobelins to Mont Mâitre, about five miles, for six sous; and if you wish to stop on way, they will give you, gratis, a correspondence-ticket to proceed. They are regulated by government, and taxed and licensed for so many passengers.
While admiring the palaces and public buildings in Paris, one cannot but be surprised that the meanest huts should be permitted to remain in their immediate neighborhood, as at the Louvre, Tuilleries, Luxembourg, and the palace of the Institute, where bits of book-stalls and shoemakers' shops are placed against the very walls of those stately edifices.
An American, of course, notices as something strange, the military government, which is every where so apparent. Wherever you go, in public buildings, in the parks, or in the streets, you are always sure to meet soldiers, police. men, or 'secret service' spies. The members of the 'National Guards' are, (apparently for a politic purpose,) interspersed among the 'troops of the line,' or standing army. The National Guards are citizen volunteers, who serve by
turns a certain length of time. Their whole number is about two hundred and fifty thousand, and hence their immense importance to the government.
Paris affords an inexhaustible fund of topics for the travelling letter-writer, but I must recollect that it has been spoken of, occasionally, before. Let me remind you again, my dear that these rough memoranda are not intended to edify any one but yourself.
Ride from Paris to Lyons—Allernative—Contrasts—Approach to Geneva-Distinguished Genevese-Lake Leman-Lord Byron— American Reputation--English Chapels.
Geneva, (Switzerland,) August 19, 1836.-Yes, it is even so! After a rather tedious journey of three days and four nights from Paris, I find myself in Switzerland; in Geneva, looking out upon Lake Leman by moonlight, on a lovely summer evening.
To retrace at four P. M. on the 14th, I seated myself in the diligence for Lyons. One of my companions was a very nice and pretty young lady, who proved to be Paulina Celeste, a Signorina of Milan, returning with her mother from an engagement at the Italian Opera, in London. She was quite intelligent, but could not speak a
Journey to Switzerland.
word of English, except 'very warm,' (and indeed it was ;) but I managed to amuse myself, if not her, in some funny attempts at conversation in French.
We rode out of Paris over Pont Neuf, passing Notre Dame and the Jardin des Plants, and proceeded by a dull level road, (leaving Fountainbleau and St. Dennis on either side,) along the banks of the Yonne to Villeneuve, Pontsur-Yonne, Sens, Joigny, etc., without any remarkable incident, except that I had the pleasure of being left be hind at one of the stopping places, at eleven o'clock at night. The conducteurs, when they have taken your money for the whole route, care very little whether you proceed or not; and I was indebted to a long hill for detaining the diligence till I overtook it, after a hot chase of a couple of miles. The next morning at eleven o'clock, we were graciously allowed time to break our fasts of twenty-seven hours; and a very ordinary dejeuner was despatched, as you may imagine, with considerable zeal.
Nearly two-thirds of the journey is through corn-fields and vineyards, affording no fine scenery, but entering a score of petty villages, made up of the most uncouth and wretched huts imaginable. The only places worth mentioning, were Auxerre, an ancient town, fortified by the Romans; Autun, which we entered under a Roman arch or barrier; Melun, Avallon, Ville-Franche, and Chalonssur-Soane, which latter is quite a pretty place, in a fine situation on the banks of the Soane. We dined there on poulet, pigeon, potage, melon, bits of lobsters two inches