of both his homes.
Edmond About presided, a cheery, middle-aged Frenchman, short and square, with broad head and grayish beard; and I have often regretted that I took no list of the others of his nationality, since it would have doubtless included many who have since become known to fame.
It is my impression that Adolphe Belot
, Jules Claretie
, and Hector Malot
were there, and I am inclined to think that Max Nordau
also was present.
The discussions were in French
, and therefore of course animated; but they turned at first on unimportant subjects, and the whole thing would have been rather a disappointment to me — since Victor Hugo
's opening address was to be postponed — had it not been rumored about that Tourgueneff
was a delegate to the convention.
Wishing more to see him than to behold any living Frenchman, I begged the ever kind secretary, M. Zaccone
, to introduce me to him after the adjournment.
He led me to a man of magnificent bearing, who towered above all the Frenchmen, and was, on the whole, the noblest and most attractive literary man whom I have ever encountered.
I can think of no better way to describe him than by saying that he united the fine benignant head of Longfellow
with the figure of Thackeray
; not that Tourgueneff
was as tall as the English