Sunday, October 13, 1889

Sunday October 13th.

Since writing the above I have learned that the garden of Versailles are not now 60 miles in dimensions.     They were until after the Revolutions (I could not find out how long) when a good deal of it was sold off.    I cannot find out how large they actually are now, but they are immense at any rate.

I must add that the splendid room the finest in the world has one side, the whole length over 243 ft, a solid mass of mirrors. Windows opposite look out upon the magnificent gardens and fountains and you continually see the reflections of them in the mirrors.

[For Addie’s referenced main entry on her visit to Versailles, see the previous post. NOTE: This entry and the next entry are both dated October 13th, though one is called Sunday and the other Monday, so one of the dates must be wrong.]


October 10, 1889

October 10th, 1889.

We went to Versailles last week and spent the day. It being 14 miles away we took the train (2nd class, 1st class being just twice as much) and reached there in time for breakfast, after which we took a cab which a young officer found for us.    I hesitated thinking it very unkind should he be poor not to give him anything as he had been so much trouble for us, I reluctantly offered it. To my chagrin he politely bowed, tipped his hat and walked off. It reminded me of Miss. Crocher’s experience when she offered a fee to a Count.    We drove about a half mileto Verseilles palace. As we drove up, the size and magnificence of the mass of stone completely appalled us.   The enormous court in front, then the main center ofthe palace with immense wings in each side projecting towards the  entrance in this way.  Louis X1V w s the originator.  He purchased 60 miles of ground and began this stupendous piece of work in 1660, which cost the French government over two hundred millions of dollars and was the direct cause of the 1st Revolution.   That is the original cost and the amount continually expended to keep it up. We went into the main hall or corridor on first floor, passed directly in the gallery of statuary.  This is filled with statues in marble of the noted kings, queens, generals, statesmen of France. A beautiful one of Joan of Arc was most pathetic.   We passed thro gh to the galleries of paintings,successively  picturing the whole history of France from Clovis and Charlemagne down.  One could almost tell the history of this nation had they never read a word, from these pictures. The Crusades under St. Louis 1X occupy a whole room and front of another. The taking of Constantinople by Horace Vernit is a magnificent picture and immense in size.   The wars of Napoleon are pictured by dozens of immense pictures perfectly magnificent.   In each one he is the same magnetic, solitary man communing with himself.   We passed on to the left wing, came to what is called “Salle del Opera” the theater of the kings decorated with chandeliers.   Near here is another gallery of busts and statues of the principal men and women of France up to the 17th century.   On the next floor we see again historical paintings of history up to the Revolutionary of 1830 and then we entered the grand apartments occupied by the various kings and queens from Louis X1V down to Napoleon 111.  We passed through one after the other, dozens it seems to me all called by their names, “Salon de Marie”, Salon de Venus” etc.   Those on the north were the kings which open into each other, and into the throne room.   The Emperor Napoleon 111 opened a brilliant ball in this room with Queen Victoria in a quadrille.   It is immense, and the marble and gilt decorations surpass all imagination, but we were to be still more amazed and delighted as we passed out of this room through the “Salo n Guerre” and “Salon de la Prex” into the gallery of Louis X1V, the most splendid room in the world, 243 ft long, 43 ft high and 35 f  broad.   The ceiling is beautifully frescoed and the walls ornamented marble, pictures, statues etc.  Near and adjoining this gallery are the private reserved apartments of the King L uis XV where he received du Barry and Pompadore.  From this we passed into the bed-room of Louis X1V, the gem of the palace. We saw the bed on which this king died.  On the ceiling is a painting by Paul Veroncu which was taken from Doges palace in Florence by Napoleon 1st.   We passed through to the rooms occupied successively by the queens of all the Louis’.   The room where Marie Antoinette was asleep when the mob came out from Paris, where one of her children were born, through to the queens state apartments, coming round the left wing down stairs we came into the gallery del Empire containing pictures, busts and statues of the Napoleon family.  The “Gallery des Bastiles” is 400 ft long and has pictures of all the great battles of France from the V to X1X century, out of this is “Salle de 1830” illustrating the Revolution, out of this is a room filled with t e historical portraits , among them Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk.  Then follows a room devoted to pictures of royal residences, then a series of 14 rooms filled with portraits of warriors of Frances; then follows the gallery of the kings if France, containg all the kings from Pharomond down to Louis Phillipi.  We then went to the top story and found busts of modern prominent people, George Sand, Rasseau, Voltaire etc. A life sized picture of du Barry and his [corrected to “her” in pencil] children tucked off in one corner.   The French are anything but proud of these second wives of the Louis’, and no mention is made of them in all this display.

We went out into the gardens and Jennie and I nearly went wild All we could say was Oh Lord; Oh Lord;Sixty miles of ground laid out in the most artistic manner.   We walked instead of riding wh which we now regret, and over the space we went we counted twelve fountains.  The largest of these is called Neptune and cost $300000 and is only played on great occasions at an expense of $2000 on each occasion.  The walks the groves, the statuary and flowers surpass all description and I will only say that we were more and more wild with delight with every step.  Walks and drives radiate in every direction from the fountains and one wide avenue leads to theTrianon” two miles away, but we had not time to visit it. It was the country palace of the kings, where Marie Antoinette dressed like a dairy maid and made butter, idling and trifling away the time when the French people were groaning under the awful oppression and taxes which exasperated them into the Revolution of 1789. I have just finished reading it and a new interest is added to everything.  I see and read.

[The typewriter was having some problems in this entry and there are a number of words where a letter is missing. The original typist also made a number of errors.]

[Versailles’ English-language site is here. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site; their page on Versailles includes a lovely photo gallery. Google Cultural Institute has a fairly extensive page on the Palace and Park of Versailles, including old photos, online exhibitions, and the ability to virtually drop into Google Maps’ “street view.”]

[This lengthy entry took me so long to fully transcribe, proof, and research that over the course of this time I went to Peabody Essex Museum, wherein I saw one of the ornamental butter churns that Marie Antoinette used when she and her courtiers pretended to be dairy maids as per this entry. As far as I can determine, the ornamental churn does not appear to be on the museum’s site.]

Tuesday, October 1, 1889

Tuesday October 1st.

Today we went to the Au- Bon-Marchi and Hotel de Cluny. The latter is an old Roman palace founded in the year 292 and in 1340 purchased from the Benedictine Abbots and still retains its medieval interior intact.    The widow of Louis 12 lived here, and her chamber is still called “Los Chambre de Blanche”.    The marriage of Jas. 5th of Scotland was celebrated here.    It is now a museum and is filled with a rare collection of antiques, carvings, Mosaics shoes of all ages from Africa, China, Japan etc; furniture of ancient times, tapestries and Bas reliefs.  The carriages are said to belong to Pope Paul 5th, and are one mass of gilding, glass and decoration; splendid collection of pottery arranged in glass cases. Various potteries have separate cases.   It would take weeks to tell all the wonderful things here, but the Roman baths built in 213 under the palace interested me most.    The cold baths alone being 68 ft in length, 37-1/2 in width and 59 ft high will give you a little idea of the size of these ancient Roman baths.  We went first into the vault entirely of stone with stone coffins ready to receive the dead, or else they had been put in and crumbled away.  Such a cold clammy creepy sensation came over me that I was almost frightened. From this room you go through an iron grating below to the baths. The walls of the old castle are crumbling away and in a state of ruin, but so massively built that they will probably stand for centuries to come.    Some parts are covered with ivies; massive trees lend their shadows and surrounding the decayed garden with very high stone walls covered with moss all unite to make one feel that they are living in the early ages.

I will say right here that the Eiffel tower was two years in building and cost Mr. Eiffel 1,210,000.  He is to receive the income for twenty years when it goes to the city of Paris.

[Looks like Addie had become infatuated with the huge Parisian department store Au Bon Marché. Here is the entry where she had visited it a short time before with her daughters and discussed her visit in detail.]

[The Hôtel de Cluny was, and remains, the name for the building in which the museum is. The museum was once known as the Musée de Cluny but is now typically known as the Musée National du Moyen Âge (National Museum of the Middle Ages). The Musée’s English-language version of its site is here. Alexandre Du Sommerard was the last private individual to own the historic house, and he was also an art collector particularly fascinated by the Middle Ages. When he died in 1842 he left his extensive collection to France. The museum opened just a year later. There are a few lovely photos of the building here.]

[Addie’s most recent entry described her ascent to the top of the Eiffel Tower.]

Monday, September 30, 1889

Monday Sept. 30.

We went today in company of a party of seven to the top of the Eiffel tower, the highest objective point of modern times, 1000 ft from the ground.       We entered first a car containing seats, and sat down, while we were elevated to the first platform. Then we look ed down on Paris; walked around a wide platform with high iron rail and got a fine view from all sides.       We then again entered the elevator and proceeded to the top.       The sensation of going up was perfectly maddening, as we sped up, up, everything growing smaller until we reached the summit, when we got out and spent a half hour in viewing the grand scene below us.       People and things were perfectly distinct, but Oh,so small, like Liliputians, and the whole panorama, the exposition with its Trocado, its main building, build ings of all the different nations; the Beaux Arts, Pictures and sculpture gallery; th e beautiful gardens, flowers, fountains and statuary; the river Seine, filled with steamers [“steamers” had originally been capitalized and was changed to lower-case]; the great city of Paris.                Prominent above all were theHotel-de-Invalides,where the tomb of Napoleon [an “a” in “Napolean” had been corrected] lies; the grand opera house, Notre Dame, Palace of Industry, and four bull [“bill” had been corrected to “bull”] fights going on at one time. All are photographed forever   upon my mind, making a picture the like of which I shall never see again.

[Can you imagine seeing such a sight then? How magnificent it must have been! As I have mentioned here before, the Eiffel Tower was built for the Exposition Universelle de 1889, having been the proposal chosen to commemorate a century since the French Revolution.]

[Officially known today as L’Hôtel national des Invalides, it had been founded by King Louis XIV for soldiers in need. Nineteen years after his death, Napoleon’s body was exhumed and brought there from St. Helena’s. It is still a home for soldiers in need, but in addition to that and Napoleon’s tomb, it also has two churches and three museums. The Esplanade des Invalides was housing a colonial exhibition for this Exposition Universelle, “as well as several state-sponsored pavilions. There was, for instance, a hygiene ‘palace’, a public welfare pavilion, as well as a building dedicated to social economy. The state was therefore much more visible than in the previous fair. The Invalides site also had a very successful panorama called ‘Le panorama de tout-Paris’, which represented the capital’s social life” (quote from this page). I believe that by “Trocado” Addie meant Trocadéro, a site in Paris which was hosting exhibitions for the Exposition; today the Palais de Chaillot stands where it once was.]

Sunday, September ?, 1889

Sunday Sept.——–

This morning we took the children to the English church where Madame Thavenet’s school attend. Soon the young ladies filed in, teacher in front and back. When ended Liliand Win went off with the school. Miss. Grant, General Grant’s niece leading Lilian by the hand and her cousin leading Winifred. They got intoclose carriages and drove off to Nuvelly, which I believe I told you is just outside the gates of Paris. I am so far delighted with the school and think the result of this year will benefit them all their life long.

[This is most likely referencing Sunday, September 25th, since the children were with Addie, but since these entries seem out of order and some of them are undated, I cannot say for sure.]

[As longtime readers know, Lilian and Winifred were attending Madame Thavenet’s boarding school; here is a real photo postcard of some of the girls at the school when it was run by both Madames Thavenet and Taylor. As usual, Addie (and/or the probable transcriber) misspelled Neuilly.]

[As American readers probably already have guessed, “General Grant” is referencing U. S. Civil War leader and then U. S. president Ulysses S. Grant. By the time Addie was in Paris, Grant had died. According to the genealogy posted at the U. S. Grant Presidential Library site, a number of Grant family members lived in various places in Europe at various times in the late 1800’s and earliest 1900’s, but the page doesn’t fully flesh out the later generations so I’m not sure which ones Addie was referencing.]

September 24, 1889

Sept. 24th.

This being Lilian’s birthday we took a cab and went to Neuelly to see her, carrying a beautiful doll from the exposition, some grapes, chocolate, ribbons and material for making dolls clothes, and the dear children were so happy to see us. Lilian cried but “Punk” was courageous as a lion and has never flinched one iota at going into a strange school where there is nothing but French spoken. Lilian says she does not like it, but I am sure she will when the school opens. Their governess is a lovely girl, charming in her manners, speaking English French and German. She says the little girls are charming and full of fun and life. I shall go again Saturday and bring them home for Sunday. I am sure there is nothing in this world that will be as beneficial for the children as this school. They will come home entirely different, and so sweet that even Carl will love them.

[Carl was another of Addie’s children. As usual, Addie misspelled Neuilly, one of the nearest suburbs of Paris, close to where Addie and Jennie were staying.]

[This entry is a good part of why I believe the two undated entries just ahead of it may have actually been written after it and placed out of order in the diary copy that has come down to me. This entry’s date is soon after the last dated entry and this entry also appears to be referencing future events that occur slightly earlier in the diary despite not having occurred yet in this entry. I believe the visit to Au Bon Marché, which happened in the undated entry just before this one, is the upcoming children’s visit that Addie is discussing here, particularly since the other entry says it is from a Saturday and this entry says they will go get the children on the coming Saturday. These out-of-order entries are also part of why I suspect I inherited a transcription of the diary.]

Saturday, September ?, 1889

Saturday Sept.

Today we went for the children and brought them home to stay all night. This P. M. We took them to the Au Bon Marche and a courier took us all over this establishment. It is the largest dry goods house in the world. Established by Mr. Beauicault on the principle that every employee should be interested in the business, and from a small store it has grown to magnificent proportion There are now 3800 employees all having an interest and an income over their salary, either commission on their sales or dividends. Their sales this year allready [the typed “all” has been changed to “already” in pencil] amount to ||33,000,000 francs [the “||” has been added in pencil]. All these statistics the courier gave us as we were shown the “Mosons”. They keep two couriers employed to show visitors the establishment. Ours was very polite and explaned everything to us in English after delivering his lecture in French. He took us first to the room where the evening silks were exhibited entirely surrounded with mirrors and filled with electric lights in front of reflectors, dozens of tables on which the goods are spread and hung up for inspection. Then we went into one of the bundle rooms where they were tying up bundles to be sent out; then on to the express room, where packages were being done up and weighed to be expressed. Then through room after room, countless in number where the goods were stored before being sent into the store proper; cloths, silks, velvets, white goods, carpets, rugs, perfumery, soaps, bric-a-brac and everything in the wide world. We then came to the kitchen for all these employees are fed here, and this kitchen is scrupulously clean and just wonderfull. They bake 8000 loaves of bread a day and when they have an omelet they break 8000 eggs. They have all the wine, meat, vegetables etc. they desire, and each article kept in its own particular room. Then we went on to the Monsieurs dining-room and Mademoiselle’s dining-room, everything light, airy, clean and oh, so comfortable. Then we followed on to the girls bed rooms, and they were just beautiful, about the size of our study, polished floors and mantels, single bed-steads (only one girl in a room) table, workstand, handsome shades and lace curtains all in the most perfect state of order and cleanliness. There are four stories of these rooms, all opening out into a broad corridor. The second story corridor leads into a large parlor for the use of the young ladies in the evening. This contains a piano, pictures, life size oil paintings of Mr. and Madame Beaucicault; marble bust of Monsieur B.’s father, bric-a-brac etc.There is also a library but not extensive. Our courier now led us out across the street to see the barns, and you never saw or conceived any place for horses so fine. A stone building with a wide passage in the center, and on each side stalls in pairs containing the horses. The names of each horse and mate on great brass plates over each double stall The horses were all of the finest, and as they did do [typed “did” is crossed out and changed to “do” in pencil] not go out but every other day and then only six hours they are in splendid condition. The wagons were back, and the arrangements for washing and hitching up etc. complete.

[A blog post including several contemporary illustrations is here. Note that the correct spellings in French are Au Bon Marché for the store and Aristide Boucicaut (not “Beaucicault”) for the founder; Boucicaut had died by the time Addie toured the store. The blog post also paints a much less rosy portrait of working there than Addie’s above entry does. This page discusses the architecture of the building built by Laplanche in 1872, and expanded in 1876 by Boileau and Eiffel; this was the building that Addie toured and which appears to still stand today. This old print shows the incredible size of Au Bon Marché compared to other buildings in its area in Paris. While as of this writing the Wikimedia uploader seems to have dated the depicted year of the print to 1887, the Eiffel Tower appears to me to be rising in the background, and if so, it would depict 1889 at the earliest since the Eiffel Tower premiered at the Exposition Universelle de 1889. Au Bon Marché lives on in Paris as Le Bon Marché.]

[Addie had already visited the Paris morgue, with visits by others included in one of Émile Zola’s novels, and now Addie visited a department store heavily featured via a fictionalized version in another of Émile Zola’s novels, the wildly popular Au Bonheur des Dames (originally published in a serialized version – as was common then – it was then published in the format of a novel in 1883). Perhaps this generally shows how much Émile Zola influenced English speakers’ conceptions of Paris, perhaps it simply shows that Addie was an Émile Zola fan, or perhaps it’s a coincidence. To date I have no explicit evidence that Addie read Émile Zola’s novels in particular, just that Addie enjoyed reading in general. Regardless, there is an interesting, image-heavy online exhibition about the novel and the society it represented on this French site (in both the English and French languages); note that the exhibition is a bit quirky, with the viewer reaching various captions and photos mostly by clicking on displayed graphics.]

[This is the first time Addie has noted seeing electric lighting in Paris. Edison and Swan had been working on electric lighting concurrently in the 1870’s, in the U. S. and U. K. respectively. Edison’s public demonstration of  a group of electric lighting had been on New Year’s Eve 1880 in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where his lab was located, and he had opened the first power station in the U. S. on 4 September 1882, lighting a square mile of one of the wealthiest areas of New York City, including the Stock Exchange; it took till 1884 until another American power station was opened. The Edison General Electric Company wasn’t formed till 1887, just two years before Addie saw electric lamps at Paris’s Au Bon Marché. See this page from the American Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) for more on Edison and early electric lighting in the U. S. Paris had done a number of public exhibits involving electrical lighting from 1878’s Exposition Universelle forward, and in 1888 Paris’s government had begun a plan to introduce public electric lighting; some credit the destruction of buildings in Paris by fires attributed at least partly to gas lighting as a good part of the push behind Paris’s decision. For a 1911 article on Paris’s early electric lighting, see “The Electric Lighting System of Paris” (to view the whole article online, a JSTOR login is required).]

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