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‘ [259] petites cinq heures,’—the last thing, in fact, before dinner, when her reception-room was no longer the salon for formal morning calls, but a charming library, just lighted for the early darkness of the season. I went oftenest at this hour, and generally found one or two friends with her.

One evening, as I entered, I saw a single elderly gentleman standing with his back to the fire, dressed in a long gray surtout coat, buttoned quite up to his throat, and marked only with the red ribbon of the Legion of Honor, which ornamented the buttonholes of so many of the persons met in good society, that it constituted no distinction worth notice. He had on a heavy, high, white cravat, concealing a good deal of the lower part of his face, and his hair seemed brought down with powder and pomatum so as to hide his forehead and temples. In short, hardly anything of his features could be seen that it was easy to cover, and what I saw attracted at first little of my attention. He stood there kicking the fire-fender. I observed, however, that he was in earnest conversation with Mad. de Duras; that she called him ‘Mon Prince’; and that the tones of both of them, and especially those of the lady, were a little too eager to be entirely pleasant, though quite well bred.

I therefore took up a pamphlet and seemed to read; but I listened, as they were talking on a subject of political and legal notoriety, with which society and the journals were then ringing. It was, whether, under a phrase in the ‘Charte,’ or Constitution, ‘La religion Romaine Catholique est la religion de laEtat,’ Protestants were required on days of public religious ceremony, like the Procession of the Corpus Christi, to hang out tapestry before their houses, or give other outward signs of respectful observance. The more earnest Catholics maintained that they were so required; the Protestants denied it, and had just prevailed, on the highest appeal in the courts of law. Mad. de Duras was displeased with this decision, and was maintaining her point with not a little brilliancy; the gentleman in gray answering her with wit, but not as if he wanted to discuss the matter. But at last it seemed to me that he became a little piqued with some of her sharp sallies, and said, rather suddenly and in a different tone, ‘But do you know, Mad. de Duras, who advised’—I think he said ‘Beugnot’—‘to put those words into the Charte?’ ‘No, I do not,’ she replied, ‘but they are excellent words, whoever it was.’ ‘Eh bien,’ he retorted, instantly, ‘caetait moi.’ ‘I am glad,’ she replied, with equal promptness, and laughing, not altogether agreeably, ‘that you advised such good words, and I thank you for them.’ ‘But do you ’

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