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I am now at the Ville d'Eû; and, between you and me, they may well call it a ville, for the accommodation is villainous. To those whose English notions of a ville are founded on what they have seen of Pentonville, the Ville of Eû will be full of novelty. The Chateau of Eû is in the centre of a valley, which probably accounts for its valetu
dinarian effects, the place being remarkably healthy. The present building was erected by the Duke of Guise; but it has been a great deal disguised by modern alterations. It came into the possession of the rich Orleans family-already worth several plums-under a cognovit given by Joseph of Lorraine, who not being able to keep up his instalments, the property was put up by some Robins of the 16th century; and the eligible investment was knocked down as it stood to Anna Maria Louis of Orleans : it is a duodecimo edition of the Tuilleries, there being a wonderful family likeness in the chimneys, which were carried, under the Guises or we should, perhaps, rather say, over the Guises — to a height they never reached afterwards.
But I must now tell you what has been going on, and how it went off. The royal party, after landing, started off towards the Chateau in a char-a-banc, which is something like a second-class railway carriage, or a Hampton Court pleasure-van, with the seats down the middle instead of along the sides of it. On arriving at the Chateau, the Queen of England and the King of the French came to the balcony, and the latter went through a series of gymnastic exercises with his hat, twirling it round and round with extreme energy, and illustrating the theory of centripetal and centrifugal force, as applied to the ordinary gossamer. This muscular exhibition, or grand pas d'action, introducing a series of astonishing tours de chapeau, was received with the utmost enthusiasm, and the royal party then withdrew to the banquet.
Not having been present, I am of course unable to tell you what the banquet consisted of; but as cheese and stout had been provided, I have no doubt that, among the various dishes into which culinary ingenuity had twisted these substantial articles, the following were some of the principal :
Fromage dans un embarras de biere douce (Cheese stewed in ale).
Such were a few of the dishes at the banquet; and as the King of the French sat at the head of the table, he seemed to combine in himself a royal pear, though only a
single individual. Queen Victoria was the life of the royal party. Her jokes flew about with royal munificence : her bon mots upon Admiral Mackau were extremely numerous, though it is true the name was rather a suggestive one. Prince Albert was greatly admired by the French ladies, who rather offended him by alluding to him as a joli garçon, the term garçon implying, according to the pocket dictionary, that the
Prince had with him a boyishness, which he thought rather derogatory to his dignity. Louis Philippe appeared to great advantage upon this occasion, and suggested an addition to the “ thousand and one" dishes that were served from the royal cuisuine-tête du Roi, en papillotts.
On the following day (being Sunday), the Queen was entertained by a stroll in the picture gallery, and was introduced to the ancestors of Louis Philippe, when she perpetrated the following pun, which forms a brilliant addition to the archives of the House of Brunswick.
" These are my ancestors,” observed Louis Philippe.
On Monday the Royal party repaired to the forest of Eû, to partake of a pic-nic, a subject which seems to call for the fancy dress of poetry.
At early morning,
Of light and drizzling showers ;
than the matin ;
So, depending on it,
of pure satin.
That bounteous Nature kindly lent;
As well as a capacious tent.