The rooms were square, very large, and extremely lofty; the salon alone was carpetted, and none of them were papered, the drawing-room, the dining-room and the grand salon were ornamented with painted panels, which displayed light-coloured shepherds and shepherdesses in almost every possible attitude. In these rooms, also, there were highly ornamented stoves, which stood out about four feet from the wall, topped with marble slabs, on which were sculptured all the gods and demi-gods of the heathen mythology—that in the drawing-room exhibited Vulcan catching Mars and Venus in his marble net; and the unhappy position of the god of war was certainly calculated to read a useful lesson to any Parisian rover, who might attempt to disturb the domestic felicity of any family in the Bocage.
The house was not above a hundred yards from the high road, from which there were two entrances about two hundred yards apart. There were large wooden, gates at each, which were usually left open, but each of which was guarded by two white-washed lions—not quite so much at ease as those on the pedestals, for they were fixed a-top of pillars hardly broad enough to support them. But this doubtless only increased their watchfulness.
But the glory of the chateau was the large garden behind the house. It was completely enclosed by a very high wall, and, like the house, was nearly square in its proportions. It contained miles of walks, and each walk so like the others, that a stranger might wander there for a week without knowing that he had retraversed the same ground, were it not that he could not fail to recognize the quaint groups of figures which met him at every turn. A few of these were of stone, rudely sculptured, but by far the greater number were of painted wood, and, like the shepherds and shepherdesses in the drawing-room, displayed every action of rural life. You would suddenly come upon a rosy-coloured gentleman, with a gun to his shoulder, in the act of shooting game—then a girl with a basket of huge cabbages—an old man in a fit of the cholic; the same rosy gentleman violently kissing a violet-coloured young lady; and, at the next turn, you would find the violet-coloured young lady fast asleep upon a bank. You would meet a fat cure a dozen times in half-an-hour, and always well employed. He would be saying his prayers—drinking beer—blessing a young maiden, and cudgelling a mule that wouldn’t stir a step for him, till the large yellow drops of sweat were falling from his face. It was inconceivable how so many painted figures, in such a variety of attitudes, could have been designed and executed; but there they were, the great glory of the old gardener, and the endless amusement of the peasants of the neighbourhood, who were allowed to walk there on the summer Sunday evenings.