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[243]

My French master came to-day, and I talked with him an hour or more. I found myself interested in him, and we kept up the ball of conversation very well.

Jan. 27. At the Sorbonne heard a portion of the lecture of Poret on the history of Philosophy, in which he considered the philosophical opinions of Heraclitus, and concluded by promising to discuss those of Anaxagoras. After this, in the same room, I heard a long lecture from Guigniaut,1 on Geography. The professor appeared to be about forty or forty-two years old, neatly dressed, with rather a dark countenance and dark hair. His manner was any thing but fluent, and yet he was very much excited by his subject. He treated of the first population of Greece, so that his lecture savored of an historical as well as a geographical character. Some idea of the extensive way in which he treated the subject may be formed from the fact that this point alone—namely, the first population of Greece—was to be treated in three or four lectures.

This evening received an invitation from M. Foelix to dine with him to-morrow; after some hesitation, accepted it.

Jan. 28. In the morning went to the other side of the river for the forenoon. Saw my friends, the Ticknors; read newspapers at Galignani's; and punctually, at half-past 5, presented myself at the apartments of M. Foelix. I was shown into the salon, which was without a carpet, where I found the younger of the two sisters of Foelix, and also a gentleman, whom I afterwards found to be a member of the Chamber of Deputies,—I could not catch his name. My French was sadly taxed to make my salutations in a proper way. I succeeded without any very great offence against grammar or propriety, and entered into conversation. Very soon appeared the elder sister, who speaks a little English, and M. Foelix, and a German of quite striking and attractive appearance, about fifty years of age; I could not catch his name,—I think it was Mohl. When dinner was announced, the German offered his arm to the elder sister and the deputy to the younger, and I walked into the salle à manger alone. All the rooms were cold as the arctics, but there was a little stove for this apartment, which came near the table, by the side of which I was placed, as a mark of attention. There were cards with the names of each guest placed at their respective plates. In the course of the dinner I talked with the elder sister, by my side, in English,—sometimes both speaking English, and sometimes I speaking French and she speaking English. In the course of the dinner, however, I was appealed to by the deputy with regard to the Constitution of the United States and those of the different States; the qualifications of electors, the terms of office, &c.; the present state of parties, slavery, banks, &c. Excited by the occasion, I threw myself upon my resources and spoke. I felt conscious of continual blunders; but I also felt that I was understood, so that I was making language serve its principal purpose,—namely, to convey thought. I often spoke little better

1 Joseph Daniel Guigniaut was born May 15, 1794. His studies were at first in the ancient mythologies, and afterwards in geography and history. He took the lead in founding the French School at Athens.

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