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THE PRESENT EMPRESS OF THE GAULS.,
What's royalty, but pow'r to please myself,
THOUGH Madame Napoleon disposes, at present, of thousands of louis d'ors, as she did formerly of livres and shillings, she is, by her extravagance in dress and by her gambling, several millions of livres in debt. Lately, at Brussels, she lost, in six days ,at cards and dice, fifty thousand louis d'ors, paid for her by the minister of the national treasury, Marbois. According to the periodical print, “ Les Nouvelles à la Main," of Vendemaire, year 12, or October 1803, Madame Napoleon never puts on any plain gown twice, and she changes her dress four or six times every day. In the summer, she makes use of four dozen of silk stockings, and three dozen of gloves and shoes; and, in the winter, she uses three dozen of the best English cotton stockings, and two dozen of French silk stockings every week. She never wears any washed stockings, nor puts on twice the same pair of gloves and shoes. All her chemises are of the finest cambric, with borders of lace that cost ten louis d'ors each; six dozen of chemises, with lace, are made up for her every month. Every three months she exchanges her diamonds and jewels, or has them newly set, according to the prevalent fashion. Four times in the year her plate, china, fur. niture, tapestry, hangings, carpets, &c. are changed according to the seasons. She has ordered, as her regular establishment, two new carriages, and twelve different horses every month; and of the thirty-six
horses in her private stable, her master of the horse has | a power to dispose of twelve every three decades, to be replaced by twelve others of a fashionable celour. Twelve times in the year, all persons belonging to her household receive new accoutrements, or liveries. Her own wardrobe is divided, every thirty days, between her maids of honour. · Madame Napoleon has four distinct established wardrobes, different diamonds, &c. for travelling, for the Thuilleries, for St. Cloud, and Malmaison; and though she cannot reside but in one place at the same time, in the Thuilleries, as well as at St. Cloud and Malmaison, four changes of furniture, &c. are always ordered for the same period. At St. Cloud she has, at the expence of thousands of louis d'ors, improved the bathing cabinet of the late unfortunate queen. By touching certain springs, she can command what perfumes her caprice demands to mix with the water; the reservoir always containing, for fifty louis d'ors, the finest odours and best perfumed waters. By han. dling other springs, she commands the appearance of drawings, or other pictures, elegant or voluptuous, gay or libertine, as her fancy desires. When she wishes to) leave the bath, at the signal of a bell, she is, by a mechanical invention, lifted, without moving herself from the bathing machine, into an elegant, moderately warm, and perfumed bed, where she is dried in two minutes; and from which she is again lifted and aid down upon a splendid elastic sofa, moved, without her stirring, by another piece of mechanism, into an adjoining cabinet for her toilet, of which the furniture and decorations cast 100,000 livres. For the improvements only of
the poet dreaded
her luxurious, though less expensive, bathing-cabinet, at the Thuilleries and at Malmaison, the French rea public has paid 200,000 livres.
ORIGINAL ANECDOTES OF VOLTAIRE.
“'OUTOS E51 YONEwins vegwy." MENANDER.
“A cunning old fox this!" ....I FOUND the philosopher, relates the accomplished monk of Italy, M. Bettinelli*, to be in his conversation very like what he is in his writings. Epigrams stood upon his lips and sparkled in his eyes, which resembled two torches; in which, as well as in his discourse, the graces accompanied by malice were conspicuous. He had a particular style as well in con. versing as in writing; he rarely spoke with simplicity, or like other men; and every thing that he said had either a witty or a philosophical turn. When I arrived at Delices, his then residence, he was in his garden, whither I went to him, and told him who I was. “What!" cried he, “an Italian, a Jesuit, a Bettinelli! it is too great an honour for my cottage. I am but a peasant, as you see; (showing me his staff, which
* M. Bertinelli has disclosed, in a paper to be found in Seward's Literary Miscellanies, the particulars of a visit he paid to Voltaire, and of which the following is a fragment. The monk confesses, that though he had been repeatedly invited by the poet, he had been always fearful of complying, for that he dreaded his versatile humour and licentious principles; but that he resolved on an interview with him, at the request only of Stanislaus, king of Poland.
had one end in a mattock form, and the other having a pruning knife fitted to it;) it is with this instrument that I set my seeds, grain by grain; but my harvest here is more abundant than that which arises from my books, though sown there for the good of the human race." I expressed the pleasure which I experienced in finding him in such health, as to be able to brave the rigour of winter. “Oh! you Italians," replied he, “think that we are obliged, like dormice, to shut our. selves up in holes; but your alps are to us nothing more than a picture, and beautiful objects in perspective. Here, on the banks of my lake, Leman, sheltered from the north winds, I envy you not your lakes of Como and of Guarda. In this solitary retreat, I represent Catullus in his isle of Sirmio; he there composed beautiful elegies, and here I compose good georgics.” At length I delivered to him the king of Poland's letter*, and I instantly perceived that he had discovered the object of my visit, and that an epigram was about to
* M. Bettinelli being at Luneville, and in the presence of the king of Poland, the conversation turned on Voltaire, who had just written to that prince, stating, that he had five hundred thousand livres, with which he was desirous of purcha. sing land in Lorraine, in order that he might go to die near Marcus Aurelius. Stanislaus wished nothing more than to draw him to his court; and, as he loved the Lorrainers, he would gladly have seen expended among them the five hundred thousand livres of Voltaire. « But,” said Stanislaus, “I place no confidence in him; I know he wishes to pave the way for his entrance into France; however, if he is become rational, I would see him with pleasure." As Bettinelli in. tended to pass near Geneva, the king desired him to sound Voltaire, with which request the monk complied.
be directed against my royal commission. “Oh, my dear Sir!” cried he, taking the letter into his hand, "tarry with us; we breathe here the air of liberty and of immortality. I have just laid out a large sum of money in the purchase of a small estate near this place, Ferney, where I propose to end my days, far from knaves and tyrants. But let us go into the house." These few words of the crafty old man made me comprehend, that there would be no negociation to carry on, and stripped me at once of the honours of an ambassador......
.... The conversation often turned on the king of Prussia. Voltaire had received recent information of certain achievments of that prince: “Is it possible". said he. “This man always astonishes nie; I am sorry that I ever quarrelled with him.” He was accustomed to say that the king had the rapidity of Cæsar, but his admiration always ended in some epigram against Cæsar. He had a monkey, which he called Luke, and which name he often applied to the king of Prussia. Expressing my surprise at this, “Don't you see,” said he, laughing heartily, “ that he bites every one whom he comes near."
.... In one of his letters to me, after having thundered, as usual, against the inquisition and the slavery of Italy, and extolled in high terms the free government of England, he added : “ have you ever heard of the poetry of the king of Prussia? He is no hypocrite: he speaks as freely of Christians’as Julian would have done. It seems likely that the Greek and Latin churches will excommunicate him with cannon balls ; but he will defend himself like a devil. You and I