2021-04-18 10:18:29

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ENGLISH

IN 1779 Mme. Le Brun painted for the first time the portrait of the Queen, then in the splendour of her youth and beauty.

Under the white dome a wooden ceiling, gilt in the hollows of the carving, has taken the place of an earlier ceiling of massive silver, worth seventy lacs of rupees, which was carried off by the conquerors after some long-ago seizure of the city. Inside, by way of walls, are carvings in marble of twisted lilies, inconceivably graceful and light. And then, at one of the entrances, those marble lattices, once gilt and now bereft of their gold, look just like topaz in the midday sun. After that magic splendour of gold and marbles fused to topaz and amber, the rest of the palacethe sleeping-rooms, the couches inlaid with mosaic flowers, the pierced stone balconies overlooking the Jumnaall seemed commonplace and familiar.Barbier, writing in December, 1758, gives another sarcastic verse going about in society, which, as it was directed against the Kings all-powerful mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, attracted general attention, irritated the King, and caused the author, who was discovered to be an officer of the guards, to be sentenced to a years imprisonment, after which to be banished to Malta, as he belonged to the order of St. John of Jerusalem.

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In Mme. Tallien we have a woman exactly opposite to the other two in character, principles, and conduct. Differing from both of them in birth and circumstancesfor she was the daughter of a Spanish banker of large fortunewith extraordinary beauty, the hot, passionate blood of the south, a nature, habits, and principles undisciplined by authority and unrestrained by religion, she was early imbued with the creed of the revolutionists, and carried their theories of atheism and licence to the logical consequences.A port crowded with steamers taking in coal, and very light barks high out of the water, kept in equilibrium by parallel outriggers at the ends of two flexible spars. These crank boats, made of[Pg 124] planks that scarcely overlap, were piled with luggage, and the boatmen jostle and turn and skim close under the fast-steaming transatlantic liners, amid a bewildering babel of shouts and oaths, under a sun hot enough to melt lead.

It is difficult for those who are accustomed to think of Paris only as it is now, to picture to themselves at all what it was like in the eighteenth century; for until years after the Revolution it was, to all intents and purposes, a medi?val city.Then into a garden with a number of quite narrow, straight paths bordered with nasturtiums, tall daisies, and geraniums, while a tangle of jasmine, china roses, bougainvillea, and poinsettia flourished freely under the shade of tamarind and palm trees. Over a clump of orange trees in blossom a cloud of butterflies was flitting, white patterned with black above, and cloisonns beneath in red and yellow with fine black outlines.

In the chief temple, whose walls were painted all over, a huge Buddha of gold and silver was hidden under wreaths of flowers round his neck, and a diadem of flowers on his brow, where blazed a luminous diamond; and flowers were arranged in a canopy over his head, and were strewn like a carpet on the steps of the shrine.Then at Peshawur again in the evening, girls, with groups of soldiers in red jackets or Scotch kilts; the common women were horrible, whitened,[Pg 251] with loose shirts and tight-fitting trousers. One alone sat at her window wreathed about with mindi flowers in the crude light of a lamp. The others accosted the passer-by, laughing and shouting in shrill tones.

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The childhood of LisetteExtraordinary talentThe conventThe household of an artistDeath of M. VigeDespair of LisetteBegins her careerRe-marriage of her motherThe Dauphine.

Caresne was a painter and poet whose poems and pictures were bad, but his conversation amusing. He wrote the following verses to Lisette, whose rapid progress and intelligence made her seem to be already passing out of childhood into girlhood:

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Apr-18 10:18:29