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Paris, December 10, 1818, to January 12, 1819.1—The dinner-hour at Paris is six o'clock or half past 6. I always dined in company, generally either at Count Pastoret's, at the Duc de Duras', at the Count de Ste. Aulaire's, or, if I had no special engagement, at the Duc de Broglie's, on whose table I always had a plate. Dinner is not so solemn an affair at Paris as it is almost everywhere else. It is soon over, you come out into the salon, take coffee and talk, and by nine o'clock you separate. Half an hour later the soirees begin. They are the most rational form of society I have yet seen, but are here pushed to excess. Those who are known and distinguished so much as to be able to draw a circle about them, take one or two evenings in each week and stay at home to receive, with very little ceremony, all whom they choose to invite to visit them. There are, therefore, a great number of these parties, and often, of course, several fall on the same night. A person who has an extensive acquaintance will make several visits of this sort every evening,. . . . and that he is in fact obliged to do it is its only objection; for if it were possible to take just as much of it as you like and no more, I do not know that a system of social intercourse could be carried to greater perfection than this is in France. . . . . You come in without ceremony, talk as long as you find persons you like, and go away without taking leave, to repeat the same process in another salon. . . . . The company is very various, but it should be remembered, to the credit of French manners, that men of letters are much sought in it. I was never anywhere that I did not meet them, and under circumstances where nothing but their literary merit could have given them a place. . . . . All, however, is not on the bright side. . . . Almost everybody who comes to these salons comes to say a few brilliant things, get a reputation for esprit,—the god who serves for Penates in French houses,—and then hasten away to another coterie to produce the same effect. This is certainly the general tone of these societies; it is brilliant, graceful, superficial, and hollow. . . . .

I had a specimen of the varieties of French society, and at a very curious and interesting moment, for it was just as the revolution took place in the Ministry, by which the Duke de Richelieu was turned out, and Count Decazes put in. . . . . The most genuine and unmingled ultra society I met, was at the Marchioness de Louvois'. She is an old lady of sixty-five, who emigrated in 1789,

1 Summary such as he made at the end of his visits in other cities.

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