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of horror without a parallel. Among the paintings there were two Maintenons; one done for her after the death of Louis XIV. during her sojourn at St. Cyr; in the other she is represented with the child of Madame la Vallière at her knee. She was an old woman when these portraits were taken. Though seventy when the former was executed, there is much expression in her features, set off by dark eyes and black hair. The interminable vistas of painted and gilded salons are kept by the present royal family only for show. It is not to be wondered they never should live where every object must recall the most dismal associations. Napoleon used them as a barrack; and the only inhabitants we saw were about half a dozen fogies, not unlike Chelsea pensioners, in blue and silver-laced coats, playing cards at an immense fire, one of whom officiated as our guide to all the melancholy detail of this triste habitation of royal sin and royal sorrows. I remarked there was not one portrait of Maria Antoinette, here or in either of the Trianons.
10th.—At the prisons of Grande and Petite Force; to which, as well as to all the other prisons in Paris, I was fortunate enough, as I have before mentioned, to obtain a carte blanche, through the kindness of an old friend. Into whatever prison I went, I found, to my surprise, my name staring me in the face in a card-rack in the waiting-room; and so I conclude it was in all the rest,—though the application for admission had been only made the day before.
These prisons do not convey any great idea of either comfort or cleanliness. The prison de la Grande Force is for men, the other for disorderly females. In the former two persons are often put to lie in one bed, unless they choose to pay twenty-three sous a week for better accommodation. The prison de la Grande Force usually contains at a time from three to four hundred, -a considerable proportion of whom are boys, who, my guide told me, (in deed I had proof of it,) were by far the most unmanagable of the whole party. We could scarcely make our way through the crowd of these impudent young scoundrels, importuning most clamorously for food, although they get three very sufficient meals a-day; but it sometimes happens that one boy seizes on another's share. The air in some of the passages and cells was very impure, and the passages generally dark. This is one of those prisons denominated a Depôt de Prévention, where prisoners are detained only until their trial. There is a saloon appropriated to the care of the sick, which is daily visited by a physician and surgeon,
without any charge to the patient. They are likewise all regularly visited by the clergy; and those who are able are made to attend chapel. Much care is bestowed on the education of the boys, who pass a certain portion of every day in the school-room, under the direction of masters appointed to instruct them in the first principles of religion and elementary parts of education. These boys sleep alone in separate cells, which are locked up punctually every night, that there may be no personal communication.
The prison de la Petite Force is for women of the town exclusively, and generally numbers
from four to five hundred; — the admissions annually about 3,000. It is only the refractory who are confined here, or such as have been detected committing a breach of the peace. It often happens that the same individual is discharged and admitted a great number of times. One was pointed out to me by the matron, who had been dismissed and received again not less than on seventy different occasions! Such as are able are put to hard labour, the proceeds of which go towards defraying the expenses of their keep. The hours of work and recreation are strictly regulated; and they are required every day to take exercise in the quadrangle of the prison,-a space, I should guess, not above forty or fifty feet square.
The interior of this prison is very close and noisome, owing to the fumes which escape from the stoves, as well as the exhalations incident to crowding. The services of a chaplain are unremittingly bestowed, to try and reclaim these unhappy women from the evil of their ways: but it is a sad consideration, that there are few, very few, in fact hardly any conversions ; which may be as much or more owing to the difficulty of the penitent finding employment, as to any love of vice.
Every possible care is paid to their health, and when restored they are once more enlarged, with liberty to follow their wretched occupation : so that in fact this prison deserves rather to be considered an asylum, and must tend more to encourage than to prevent depravity. However this may be, these women are never allowed to mix with, or to offend the sight of the respectable part of their sex,- there being the strictest regulations of police to prohibit their appearance in the public street.
Before leaving the prison I offered some money to the door-keeper, who had very civilly conducted me over it; but he refused my boon, in a manner to make me feel as if the offer, instead of a favour, had been actually an insult. Ye door-keepers of St. Stephens and Westminster, what would ye have done?
Of all the parties I have been at since I came, by much the most splendid was that of Monsieur Lafitte's. The company were chiefly