On April 23 1814, John Cam Hobhouse, still in Paris, writes in his diary. He ends the entry by noting: “Tonight I had a dreadful opportunity of seeing the horrid debauchery of the French prostitutes of the lower class.” He does not provide further details.
Went to the review of 4,000 National Guards within the gates of the Tuileries, where Napoleon used to review his troops. The guard was in very good [order] for new troops, and their cocked hats and coats, as Mr Simple has said, certainly give them a military air. They were reviewed by the Count d’Artois, Monsieur, and the duc de Berri, his son who passed the two lines on foot. There was a good deal of acclamation, but not so much as might be expected. Hats were not very readily pulled off, and both that mark of respect and the acclamations were prompted by the Horse Guards, who rode in front of the Princes crying “Chapeau bas Messieurs! – Vive le roi!”
We went to the Luxembourg Gallery today and to the Monument Français first. There are collected the sepulchral statues of celebrated French character. The porter pointed out the many figures of “Le Bon Henri” The enthusiasm of the French for this monarch is at this time most lively. Napoleon used to call him “le Roi de la canaille”. In the pretty garden attached to the building are the tombs of Abelard and Eloïse, Molière, Boileau, &c. This reunion has been made at the expense of every spot in France which formerly possessed the memorials of the [ ] brothers. In the Luxembourg Gallery we saw the famous collection of Rubens’ pictures representing in allegory the history of Mary of Medicis, the gallery of Le Sueur containing the life and caractère of St. Bruno, painted for the Chartreux founded by that saint, and the superb set of Vernet’s ports of France. I was most pleased with the last, although in the collection is a picture representing the sole triumph, almost, that the French navy has to boast – the taking of the Ambuscade. In the same room is a picture of Boulogne or Brest, in which Napoleon is represented on horseback, relieving a sailor on one leg.
Over the gate of the Luxembourg is placed “Palais du Senat Conservateur”. The apartments of that Senate are to the right in entering. We visited them, mounting by a magnificent flight of steps in a quadrangle, the sides of which are adorned with the statues of generals and other heroes of the revolution. There are Kleber and Mirabeau, &c. The apartments attached to the room of sitting are ornamented with large pictures, which as they all of them represented Napoleon in some attractive moment of his life, are now covered with green silk. There is an apartment called “The Chamber of the King of Rome”. The room of sitting is semicircular like a lecture-room, by no means handsome, except the canopy under which Napoleon’s throne was placed may be admired. The chair in which he used to sit – so the conductor told us – is not that which he used to hack with his pen-knife, but that in which he presided at the Council of State.
We dined at Beauvilliers, where entered during dinner Sligo, Lord Lowther, Lord and Robert Milnes. Afterwards I went to the Variétés, where was played Le Souper d’Henri Quatre – the house was full.
Tonight I had a dreadful opportunity of seeing the horrid debauchery of
the French prostitutes of the lower class.