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[211] of which he is immoderately fond. His wife, Mad. de Tatistcheff, is a Polish woman, old enough to have a daughter by an earlier husband grown up, but still beautiful, and an accomplished coquette. The daughter, who has been educated entirely in England, is without much talent or beauty; natural, simple, and good, and with a French and an English girl, whom Mad. de Tatistcheff has in her family, made a pleasant society. Wednesday evening, however, was the most splendid evening in the week at Madrid. Mad. de Tatistcheff had fitted up a neat theatre, and the party always began by a little French farce or comedy, which some of the diplomatists performed well, and which was amusing. She, however, never took a part in it, but reserved herself for an exhibition of more taste and effect afterwards; I mean the singularly striking and beautiful one of making natural pictures, for which her fine person admirably fitted her. This art was invented by the famous Lady Hamilton. When Goethe was in Italy, he was bewitched with it, and when he afterwards published his Wilhelm Meister, gave such glowing descriptions of the effect it is capable of producing, that all Germany took the passion for a while, and it has ever since been more successfully practised there than anywhere else. Mad. Schulze of Berlin, who represents in public, is now the most admired; but I never was where she exhibited, and those who have seen both, say Mad. de Tatistcheff is more beautiful, and does it with more taste and talent. . . . .

Compared with the magical effect it produces, the most beautiful picture is cold and dead, and the most beautiful woman uninteresting and prosaic; for here you have all the fancy, taste, and poetry of art, glowing with life and starting into reality; and while on the one hand the painter's talent chooses the attitude, arranges the costume, and distributes the lights and the colors, on the other, the warm, living form and the eye beaming with intelligence and feeling come to his aid, and give a grace beyond the reach of art. I shall therefore always remember Mad. de Tatistcheff's representations of Guercino's Penitent Magdalen, of Domenichino's Sibyl, of Raphael's St. Cecilia, and indeed all the many wonderful living pictures she made, as among the most striking pleasures I have enjoyed in Europe. Indeed, in all respects, if her husband made a great figure at court and in the palace, she sustained his reputation well in her drawing-room; for her Wednesday-evening fete, beginning with a play and these beautiful magical exhibitions, and ending as it always did with a ball, was the most splendid one in the week.

On Thursday evening, however, Lady Wellesley followed her,—

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