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 passed through a small file of the military who stood in the entry, and encountered in the street five dragoons mounted in front of the theatre. I sat in what is called the stalles d'orchestre, being some of the front benches of the pit, which have been parted off from the remainder and subdivided into seats, like arm-chairs. The ticket was twelve francs,—a most costly amusement. Jan. 15 (Monday). This morning, while taking my breakfast at a cafe, and reading a newspaper, I found that the building of the Italian Opera had been burned on the preceding night. This was the very house that I had left, but an hour or so before the flames were discovered. The powerful musical company will undoubtedly be transferred to some other house, as their talent is unrivalled in the whole world; but I am glad to have heard them in their own splendid theatre. The fire was a bad one, and has extended to other buildings. I visited the spot this forenoon, and found the adjacent streets full of spectators, with numerous soldiers on guard protecting the property, and also preventing spectators from approaching the engines, which were manned by bands trained by the government for this purpose, and in uniform. Walked from the boulevards near the Opera to the Sorbonne, and heard for a few minutes Dumas1 on chemistry, and Fauriel2 on Spanish literature. I understood very little of what either said. The former, a very neat gentlemanly person, was talking and experimenting to a large audience, of several hundred. Fauriel, rather an elderly gentleman, say fifty-five or sixty, considered in his lecture the remains of the ancient Phoenicians in Spain. To-night is the anniversary of Moliere's birth, and it was celebrated at the Theatre Francais. Le Tartuffe and Le Malade Imaginaire were both performed, Mars performing the part of Émile in Le Tartuffe. I had not had time to read the plays before going; but carried them with me to the theatre, and followed the actors throughout. After the plays ensued a ceremony, annually repeated, I believe, on this night,—the crowning of Moliere's bust with bays by all the performers, who successively approach it with a laurel crown in their hands, which they place on the head of the statue, amidst the applause of the audience. And this is in honor of the man who was refused burial, on his death, in consecrated ground, because he had been a player! As I passed from the theatre, after midnight, my walk home carried me through the Place du Carrousel, and in front of the Tuileries. This splendid palace of kings was resplendent with lights, and its ample court-yard, the scene of much Revolutionary incident, filled with lines of carriages awaiting
1 Jean Baptiste Dumas, a celebrated chemist and author of works on his specialty was born July 14, 1800. He was minister of agriculture and commerce, 1850-1851, and has held other public offices. He was elected, Dec. 1875, member of the French Academy as successor of Guizot. His efforts have been directed to the promotion of scientific agriculture.
2 Claude Charles Fauriel, 1772-1844. He was a nephew of the Abbe Sieyes; the intimate friend of Guizot, Manzoni, and Madame de Stael; a professor of foreign literature, taking, in 1830, a chair which the Duc de Broglie, then Minister of Public Instruction, had created for him; and a writer upon historical and literary subjects.
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