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[254] and returned in 1814; and her brother, the present Bishop of Amiens, who was then French Minister at Venice, retreated at the same time to the upper part of Germany, and continued an exile as long as the family he served. I never went there that the old lady did not read me a good lecture about republicanism; and if it had not been for the mild, equal good sense of the Bishop, I should certainly have suffered a little in my temper from her attacks, supported by a corps of petits Marquis de l'ancien regime, who were always of her coterie. . . .

The Duchess de Duras' society was ultra too, but ultra of a very different sort. It was composed of much that is distinguished in the present management of affairs, to which she has been able to add many men of letters without distinction of party. This is the result of her personal character. She is now about thirty-eight years old, not beautiful, but with a striking and animated physiognomy, elegant manners, and a power in conversation which has no rival in France since the death of Mad. de Stael. Her natural talents are of a high order, and she has read a great deal; but it is her enthusiasm, her simplicity and earnestness, and the graceful contributions she levies upon her knowledge to give effect to her conversation, that impart to it the peculiar charm which I have seen operate like a spell, on characters as different as those of Chateaubriand, Humboldt, and Talleyrand. I liked her very much, and went to her hotel often, in fact sometimes every day. On Sundays I dined there. Chateaubriand, Humboldt, and Alexis de Noailles were more than once of the party; and the conversation was amusing, and once extremely interesting, from the agony of political feeling, just at the moment when the king deserted them, and gave himself up to Mons. Decazes. On Tuesday night she received at home, and all the world came,. . . . and I think, except the politics, it was as interesting a society as could well be collected. On Saturday night, as wife of the first Gentleman of the Bedchamber, she went to the Tuileries and received there, or, as it is technically called, did the honors of the Palace. . . . . I think I have never seen the honors of a large circle done with such elegance and grace, with such kind and attentive politeness, as Mad. de Duras used to show in this brilliant assembly.

But it was neither in the Court circle at the Tuileries, nor in her own salon on Tuesdays, nor even at her Sunday dinners, that Mad. de Duras was to be seen in the character which those who most like and best understand her thought the most interesting. Once when I dined with her entirely alone, except her youngest daughter, and

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