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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Theodore Hook (1788–1841)

Mrs. Ramsbottom’s Sight-Seeing in Paris

From “Ramsbottom Papers”

To Mr. Bull

PARIS, January 28, 1824.
SIR: As my daughter Sairy, who acts as my Amaranthus, is ill-disposed with cold and guittar, contracted by visiting the Hecatombs last week, I send this without her little billy that she usually sends. My second daughter has sprained one of her tender muscles in crossing one of the rooms, and my third daughter has got a military fever, which, however, I hope, by putting her through a regiment, and giving her a few subterfuges, will soon abate. I am, however, a good deal embracés, as the French say, with so many invalids.

Since I wrote last, I have visited the Hullaballoo, or corn-market, so called from the noise made in it. Mr. Fulmer told me I should see the flower of the French nation there, but I only saw a crowd of old men and old women; here is a pillow made for judicious astronomy, but it looks like a sun-dial.

We went, on Tuesday, to the symmetery of Chaise-and-Pair, as they call it, where the French and English are miscellaneously interred, and I amused myself by copying the epigrams on the tombstones. One of them, which looked like a large bath, Mr. Fulmer told me was a sark of a goose, which I had previously heard my friend, Mr. Rogers, call Mr. Hume’s shirt.

In the afternoon we went to dine at Beau Villiers’s—not the Mr. Villiers who owes our government so much money—but the smell of the postillions which were burning in the room quite overpowered me. I got better in the evening, and, as the girls were not with us, Mr. Fulmer took me round the Palais Royal, which is a curious place indeed. We saw several Prussian war horses, and went into the “Coffee of Milk Alone,” so called because when Bonyparte confisticated the cargoes from the West Indies, and propagated the use of coffee, the lady who kept this place made a mixture of milk alone, which answered all the purpose of coffee. The room is surrounded by looking-glasses, so that the people are always multiplying who go there. The lady herself was very beautiful, but Mr. Fulmer told me she was constantly reflected upon. Mr. F. took some melted glass, upon which I did not like to venture, but contented myself with a tumbler of catterpillar and water.

Wednesday we went to the Shampdemars (which is opposite to the Père Elisée) and saw a review of the Queerasses of the Royal Guard. The sister of the late Dolphin was present—the Dolphin of France is the same as the Prince of Wales in England. The Duke Anglehome came by, from hunting, just at this time. I am told he is quite a Ramrod in the chace. The troops performed their revolutions with decision, and, having manured all over the ground, fired a fille-de-joy, and returned to their quarters.

We went yesterday to what is their Parliament House, and while we were a-waiting in the antic room, I saw a picture of Lewis de Sweet himself, in a large purple robe, lined with vermin and covered with fleur-de-lice. Being a stranger, I was allowed to look into the chamber; it is not quite what I expected. There seemed to be a man in a box with a bill before him, and the men who were speaking spoke all in French, and looked very shabby and mean; to be sure, they were only the deputies. It would have been more lucky if we had seen the members themselves.

Sairy, I think, has got a puncheon for Mr. Fulmer, and I am afraid is fretting about it, but that is quite cet à dire between us. Mr. B. he says her figure is like the Venus de Medicine, which is owing, no doubt, to the pulling down she has had of late. We are going next week to Sunclew again, but we travel in such an odd carriage, that I cannot prevail upon myself to mention its name.

You must excuse a short letter to-day. I was determined to write, else I thought our friends in Westminster might be disappointed. You shall hear more at large by the next opportunity.

Always yours,

P. S.—If you see Mr. R., tell him Mr. Fulmer has bought him two pictures: one of Ten Years, the other of Old Beaus. I am no judge, but they are very black, and shine beautifully. They are considered shift-doovers in these parts.