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The Idler in France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 285 pages of information about The Idler in France.

This salon communicates with a corridor behind it, which admits the attendance of servants without the necessity of their passing through the other apartments.  Inside this salon is a chambre a coucher, that looks as if intended for some youthful queen, so beautiful are its decorations.  A recess, the frieze of which rests on two white columns with silvered capitals, is meant to receive a bed.

One side of the room is panelled with mirrors, divided by pilasters with silver capitals; and on the opposite side, on which is the chimney, similar panels occupy the same space.  The colour of the apartment is a light blue, with silver mouldings to all the panels, and delicate arabesques of silver.  The chimney-piece and dogs for the wood have silvered ornaments to correspond.

Inside this chamber is the dressing-room, which is of an octagon shape, and panelled likewise with mirrors, in front of each of which are white marble slabs to correspond with that of the chimney-piece.  The mouldings and architectural decorations are silvered, and arabesques of flowers are introduced.

This room opens into a salle de bain of an elliptical form; the bath, of white marble, is sunk in the pavement, which is tessellated.  From the ceiling immediately over the bath hangs an alabaster lamp, held by the beak of a dove; the rest of the ceiling being painted with Cupids throwing flowers.  The room is panelled with alternate mirrors and groups of allegorical subjects finely executed; and is lighted by one window, composed of a single plate of glass opening into a little spot of garden secluded from the rest.  A small library completes the suite I have described, all the apartments of which are on the ground floor.  There are several other rooms in a wing in the court-yard, and the whole are in perfect order.

I remembered to-day, when standing in the principal drawing-room, the tragic scene narrated to me by Sir Robert Wilson as having taken place there, when he had an interview with the Princesse de la Moskowa, after the condemnation of her brave husband.

He told me, years ago, how the splendour of the decorations of the salon—­decorations meant to commemorate the military glory of the Marechal Ney—­added to the tragic effect of the scene in which that noble-minded woman, overwhelmed with horror and grief, turned away with a shudder from objects that so forcibly reminded her of the brilliant past, and so fearfully contrasted with the terrible present.

He described to me the silence, broken only by the sobs that heaved her agonised bosom; the figures of the few trusted friends permitted to enter the presence of the distracted wife, moving about with noiseless steps, as if fearful of disturbing the sacredness of that grief to offer consolation for which they felt their tongues could form no words, so deeply did their hearts sympathise with it.

He told me that the images of these friends in the vast mirrors looked ghostly in the dim twilight of closed blinds, the very light of day having become insupportable to the broken-hearted wife, so soon to be severed for ever, and by a violent death, from the husband she adored.  Ah, if these walls could speak, what agony would they reveal! and if mirrors could retain the shadows replete with despair they once reflected, who dare look on them?

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