« ZurückWeiter »
allow them, which drove me back to the hotel in about an hour's time.
SATURDAY, 1411 APRIL.-BEAUTIFUL DAY.
Rose at five, and walked to the Napoleon column, upon the Downs, a couple of miles off. On the road side is a post, with the following inscription upon it:
“ Pas de Calais,
Boulogne sur mer,
La mendicité est interdite." Though there are no poor-laws in France, and I am told, though I can hardly believe it to be true, that there are fewer very poor persons in France, in proportion to population, than in England. But then, , French paupers are not near so nice in their notions as the English,-have not been accustomed on high days and holy-days to discuss an alderman, hung in chains, and all that sort of thing; they will, in fact, keep body and soul together, almost get fat, upon horse flesh and frogs; something upon the same principle, perhaps, that induced George Frederick Cooke to say, that he never knew what the English
beggars did with their old clothes, till he went into Ireland.
However, if the fact be, as above stated, it is, as the Yankees say, “important, if true," and is certainly pregnant with important inferences respecting the French law of landed property, and in some degree, in favour of it, almost enough in fact to produce in one's mind a sort of a French revolution; but then, per contra, it is also stated, that the strength and substance of the French, as a nation, are always deteriorating, and "glorious John” does say, that
“ A man convinced against his will,
Is of the same opinion still.”
The last time I saw this celebrated column was in
1825, when Charles X had not quite done with it. At that time the pedestal, upon which the great man now stands, was emblazoned, with fleur-de-lis, and had a stunted and unfinished appearance, while the shafts of the column retained their original inscription upon them, to the effect, that it was erected to commemorate the conquest of England, by the Emperor Napoleon; but though he dreamt often enough of that achievement by night, he always forgot to do it in the day time, probably, finding it a nut too hard for him to crack, or thinking, perhaps, that discretion is the better part of valour. In 1841, Louis Philippe completed it, as it is at present, and very handsome it looks, though not equal, I think, to the column in the Place Vendôme, Paris. Two of the compartments of the Boulogne shaft contain inscriptions in French and in Latin, to the effect, that in 1804, the Emperor Napoleon distributed the insignia of the Legion of Honour to the 4th corps of the grand army, commanded by Marshal Soult; altogether it would be innocuous to criticism, if it had always told the same tale, as it does at present,-if it had not been at first advisable, to have added another line to the post above-mentioned, which, those who ran, might then have read upon it thus, if it had been Englished,
“Pas de Calais—Department of that name. Boulogne-sur-mer-Boulogne-upon-the-sea.
La mendicité est interdite-Begging is prohibited here.
And, mendicité est interdite-So is lying.".
But, alas ! as Savage well sings
“Oh, memory, thou soul of joy and pain,
And the recollection of the original inscription upon it, renders it a perennial monument of French vanity and of English prowess. The great man is perched aloft, with his face towards Paris, his back towards England; just the reverse of Châteaubriand, who directed his remains to be interred upon a rocky islet, upon the same coast, his face towards England, his back towards France.
After breakfast, we accompanied some of our party about Boulogne, shopping and sight-seeing, to the new cathedral, which like most other public buildings in France, has been a great number of years in hand, with little prospect of its being completed. It has an enormous moorish cupola for a steeple, rising in the centre: underneath it is a very great curiosity, lately discovered, a crypt, the work of the ancient Normans, probably before the conquest, exceeding an acre in extent, with endless ramifications of passages and walls, curiously and brilliantly emblazoned, and yet as dry and as warm as possible—“famous wine vaults," I said, they would make, to the amusement and assent of a large party, assembled there.
Then to a museum, containing a goodly collection of paintings, a library and an interesting assortment of medals, connected with the revolutionary period from 1789 to 1800.
I am partial to Boulogne as a watering-place. It possesses other objects of interest, besides those above-mentioned, is not flat, stale, dull, and unprofitable, like Calais, and the short steam voyages, common to both cities, are, I think, very beneficial to most invalids.
At two, I intended to have returned with the party to London, viâ Folkestone, but as misfortunes have the character of seldom coming single, I found that with my return ticket, I had lost my pass also; and that I could not leave the country without one, so I had to go
and procure a fresh one from the British Consul, and on my return to the pier head, found the Folkestone boat just quitting the harbour for the channel, amidst the plaudits of the people.
“And thus ended the great events of Easter, 1849, great in every sense of the word. For the first time in the memory of man, did the people of England visit