« VorigeDoorgaan »
and men,-of washer-women and soldiers,—of stalls, temples, manufactories and mausoleums? Paris, on a fine day, seen from one of the bridges, is a picture of modern civilization : brilliant, confused, gay, various ; but the picture (and such is the colouring of our times) is a picture in water colours; the shades bright, are not deep: there is not the darkness and the force which we admire in the paintings of Rembrandt and Murillo : there is not the richness that a southern sun spreads around you; but here, as elsewhere, there is a gaiety that veils the northern nature of the clime.
As the population of the Boulevards is the lounging population of Paris, the population of the Quais is rife with Parisian business and activity : as the one breathes a certain ease, the other moves under the spirit of agitation; everybody here has something to do, something to sell, something to buy, somewhere to go; and behind this living wave, ebbing and flowing,—this moving mass of white caps, dark bonnets, red feathers, tattered hats, and gleaming casques-rises darkly the old city, and the stately Faubourg St. Germain. And there is St. Geneviève ! and there is Notre Dame! the tomb of Voltaire and the monument of de Sully—uniting the present with the past,the twelfth century with the eighteenth,—the power of literature with the dominion of the church. One finds a happiness and a glow about the squalid river of the Seine, which all our wealth and grandeur have not bestowed upon the magnificent Thames. The broad quays which ennoble the aspect of this miserable stream betray its poverty,-its poverty as the canal of commerce,—as the carrier and ministrant of that wealth which creates the magazine and fills the warehouse. But there is another wealth, another greatness; that greatness which arises from the cultivation of the arts, from the knowledge and the love of the beautiful; a greatness which the traveller loves and which the statesman should cherish; a greatness which is the greatness of France, and before which you bow as you see the Louvre on the site of the coal-wharf, and find the powder-mill replaced by the Pantheon. And now look to the palace, which, according to the fable of the Dervise, has been of late years a caravanserai for so many travellers ! to the palace where kings and water-carriers have so lately re
velled! * A short time since, and Paris was alarmed by a long line of scaffolding, behind which a conspiracy was supposed planned and executing against the liberties of the people. At length the plot was exposed; where we presumed ramparts, we found a flower-garden: the monarchy this time merely exposed itself to the reproach of bad taste; “ the charta insulted was the charta of le Nôtre ;" and the chef-d'oeuvre of Philibert De Lorme, too, has been defaced, but—not with impunity. The young man yonder stretching out his hand with vehemence and vociferating impetuously to his companion,-and the old man there, with arms folded and shoulders uplifted, regard the filling up of that colonnade as something worse than a fournée of peers, and declares that « in France the arts should be as inviolable as the laws.” One peculiarity distinguishes these gardens, the last refuge of aristocratical pretensions: the people—the people without a hat and a coat—are forbidden to appear in them. A custom will always survive a constitution, and the same
“La chambre à coucher du roi était pleine de porteurs d'eau qui se faisaient rebondir en riant sur le matelas de son lit.”---Chron. de la Révolution de Juillet, 1830.
Francis the First bought the Tuileries, then a house between court and garden, and in the neighbourhood of a spot where tiles ( tuiles ) were manufactured for his mother; Catherine de Medicis purchased the buildings, and the ground in the vicinity, and laid the foundations of a new edifice, which, if the original plans of Bullan and De Lorme had been adopted, would have been even larger than the present one. But the Pavilion in the middle and the light buildings on each side of it were all which formed at that time, and for many years afterwards, the Chateau of the Tuileries. It was not till the reign of Louis XIV that the Tuileries were completed by Leveau. Before this time the garden was separated from the palace by a street called Rue des Tuileries. This garden at that time contained a menagerie, an orangery, and a preserve of game for the royal chasse. It was defended by a high wall, a moat, and a bastion. Le Nôtre changed all this, surrounding the garden with two terraces planted with trees, that one by the Seine, and that one by the Rue de Rivoli, called from the old convent Terrace des Feuillans. Here ran the gardens of the Feuillans and the Capucins, and a long court which led to the old manéges of the Tuileries. On this royal and religious spot was erected the edifice which saw the destruction of the monarchy and the church,—the edifice in which sat the constitutional assembly, the legislative assembly, and the conventional assembly.—Occupied by the Five Hundred during the Directory, it shared in the new changes, was destroyed with its masters, and afforded Bonaparte the space on which he built the Rue de Rivoli.
population that in the three days of July stormed the Tuileries in defiance of an army, retreated on the first of August before the solitary centinel stationed at their gate.
The population of the Tuileries varies naturally with the hour and the heat. The morning is for the sedate and serious old gentleman ; the noon for the bonne and the children ; the afternoon for the more ambitious crowd, in whose midnight dreams yonder walks and orange trees are strangely mingled. There is the theatre of their glory!—the theatre on which a new bonnet is to be tried, a new, compliment to be adventured; there is the stage where the elegance of a mistress is to be diplayed, the reputation of a rival to be destroyed. But if the Tuileries are remarkable, they are remarkable—not only as the lounge of nursery maids, and of that modern race of time-killers who go to these gardens rather for the sake of being seen than of being amused—they are remarkable as the birth of a new epoch, which they still rep resent,—the epoch of gallantry and of the arts,- of Catherine de Medicis, and of Marot-of Marot, who said with so inuch grace,
Si j'étais roi d'Asie,
Then wrote Rabelais and Montaigne,-then commenced the assemblies which intermingled the two sexes ---the royal and courtly assemblies which Brantôme defends as a more honest system of libertinage than that which flourished under the Roi des Ribauds,*—then Lescot revived the science of architecture in the Louvre, and Goujon the graceful art of
* Tu voudrais sçavoir qu'estoit il plus louable au roy ou recevoir une si honneste troupe de dames et damoiselles en sa cour ou bien de suivre les erres des anciens roys du temps passé qui admettaient tant de p. . . ordinairement en leur suite desquelles le roy des Ribauds avait charge et soin de leur faire despartir quartier et logis, et là commander de leur faire justice, Si on leur fesait quelques torts.
... Et que ces Dames étant trêz nettes et saines (au moins aucunes ne pouvaient, &c. &c.-Vide Brantome, t. v.
sculpture, -and bishops, proud of their disobedient beards, * and ladies under the voluptuous sanctuary of the mask,t filled the churches, loitered on the new quay, or circulated in the dark and narrow streets peopled with magicians, and sorcerers, and devils :- epoch celebrated for the invention of silver forks and silk stockings,—epoch of necromancy, of idolatry, of pleasure and of religion,-epoch when you might haye seen the farce “Du débat d'un jeune moine et d'un viel gend'arme par devant le Dieu Cupidon pour une fille"--epoch, when the imagination, still given to magic and devotion, was beginning to decorate debauch! and cruelty and lust, passions which nature seems to have intermingled, had each their horrible sacrifices, and their pompous and voluptuous fêtes; while now the mistress of Henry II.,S now the mother of Charles IX., demanded holocausts for their revels, and mingled the accents of pleasure with the cries for protestant blood. And with the arts came the vices of Italy: robed in sackcloth, the chapelet at his neck, the sovereign of France ** paraded the streets of Paris; or, dressed as a woman, his breast open and bare, and adorned with necklaces, his hair dyed, his eyelids and his face besmeared and painted, delivered himself up in the secret recesses of his palace to the infamies of his mignons ; amongst whom (wild mixture of debauch and devotion!) he distributed the relics and the blessed beads solicited from Rome. the side of the bonfire, the banquet !-by the side of the temple dedicated to the holy worship of the meek Jesus, the columntt consecrated to the impieties of profane astrology! And yet when Catherine from yonder height looked down on the masked and mysterious city at her feet, she saw the same people—here oc
The custom of long beards, which commenced under Francis I., who allowed his beard to grow in order to hide a wound, became general. Adopted by the clergy, it was forbidden by the Parliament, the respectable magistracy of which manfully persevered in shaving.
+ Masks, which came into fashion towards the end of the reign of Francis I., were intended to preserve the complexion, and persevered in for the sake of other conveniences.
# De l'Estoile in speaking of a supposed magician, hung in the reign of Ch. IX., says, that according to that magician, there were thirty thousand sorcerers then in Paris.
Diane de Poitiers. ** Henry III.- De l'Estoile, vol. iv.. ++ Erected by Catherine de Medicis, for her astrological observations.
cupied with magic—there assassinating from superstition-she saw the same people that we see now that we saw but a very short time ago—dressed in the costume of the Carnival,* and pulling down the palace of their archbishop. “ July 4, 1548, the scholars armed, rushed fiercely upon the Abbaye St. Germain des Prés, besieged it, made breaches in its walls, broke down the trees, the trellices, demolished the neighbouring houses. In January,'1549—in May, 1550m similar seditions, but the scholars were not alone on these occasions; the working classes (ouvriers), the shop-boys (varlets de boutiques), joined with the mob. In 1557 the troubles became yet more serious.”... The same troubles preceded the reign of Louis XIV:—for every period of improvement is a period of agitation; and the brave and capricious populace, the rebellious and tumultuous youth of Paris, ever ready for battle, ever eager for change, ever impatient of rule, receiving the character of each era of civilization, have always retained their own-have always been valiant, fickle, insolent, and gay.
It was amidst this mixture of gross and barbarous luxury, of abandoned licence, of mysterious rites, of terrible and sanguinary superstition, that the arts, as I have said, arose; and that love, no longer the guerdon of adventurous chivalry, became the prize of the gentle smile, the whispered compliment, and the graceful carriage. Born of this epoch, the Tuileries, I repeat, represent its character. The ghosts of the Medici may still rove complacently through their gardens, and, amidst the statues of ancient Greece, move a crowd that would have done honour to the groves of Epicurus.
I have been anxious to give a general idea of the aspect of Paris, as it is in such descriptions, as well as in more philosophical disquisitions, that the character of a people is to be found; but I have no intention to speak of all that is interesting or curious in this metropolis. Who has not been fatigued with details of the Jardin des Plantes, the Luxembourg, the Louvre, and the numberless et cætera of modern tourists ?
* The most formidable, and certainly the most picturesque of modern emeutes. Here you saw the mob pulling down the fleurs de lys, and ransacking the episcopal palace; here you saw the harlequin and the domino, and all the buffooneries of a Parisian mastuerade,