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[209] all this, reduced by the French to nothing, for every one of her estates was confiscated, and herself with all her children and grandchildren shut up in one small, poor house in Cadiz during the whole siege. She has often described to me how gayly and happily she lived there; and when I was in Cadiz, I was told she continued during the whole siege the most light-hearted person in the garrison. She keeps the most splendid Spanish establishment in Madrid, and passes every Thursday at her country-seat, where I used sometimes to go with the Duke de Laval, to take a late dinner, and ride into Madrid in the evening; but still she did not like to have a great deal of company at her tertulias; and as there was no gaming, not many of the higher class of Spaniards liked to come. She, however, always had her children; and her children are the first persons at court, both by their talents and culture. . . .

Of course all these houses were but places where I went only now and then, either to exercise myself in speaking Spanish, to see foreign, new, and strange manners, or to meet one or two persons that interested me. The society on which I relied for rational conversation and agreeable intercourse was the foreign and diplomatic, which had its stated rendezvous and amusements, five evenings every week, and afforded a refuge on the others.

On Sunday evening there was always a quiet, sober party at Sir Henry Wellesley's. He himself is a man of not more than common talents, but of sound judgment, and altogether a respectable English gentleman.

The chief secretary of the legation, Mr. Vaughan, is a Fellow of Oxford, about five-and-thirty years old, who, though in the opposition, has made his way by talent and learning, and is soon to become a minister. For five years he had a travelling fellowship, and employed it in going through the interior of Asia, crossing down from Russia into Persia, and coming back by Palestine and Greece; altogether one of the most romantic expeditions I have ever heard of, and he himself altogether an interesting man. . . . .

On Tuesday evening everybody went to the soiree of the Countess de Balbo, wife of the ambassador from Sardinia. She is now very old, and being a Parisian, and daughter of a man distinguished by his rank and talents, had to pass through many vicissitudes during the Revolution, and relates a vast number of interesting anecdotes of French society, from the time of Buffon and Franklin down to the elevation of Bonaparte. The Count was no doubt the most learned and sound man in Madrid. He has passed a great part of his life in

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