‘  know why I advised them?’ ‘No,’ she said, ‘but I am sure you can have had only a good reason for so good a thing.’ ‘Well,’ he continued, ‘I suggested those words because they did not mean anything at all,—parcequ'ils ne signifiaient rien du tout.’ Mad. de Duras replied with something approaching to asperity, and the conversation went on for some little time in this tone, until, finding it, I suppose, more agreeable to talk about something else, she turned to me in a rather decisive manner, and said, ‘You have no troubles of this sort in America; you have no state religion.’ I answered, without entering into the matter, that of course we had not; but the gentleman in gray—apparently as glad to change the subject as the lady was—immediately began to talk about the United States, and to ask questions. I had not the smallest suspicion who he might be, but I soon perceived that he had been himself in America. I therefore took the liberty to ask him what parts of the country he had visited. He told me that he had been in Philadelphia, in Washington's time; and on my soon replying that I was from Boston, he said that he had been there too, and praised America generally. Mad. de Duras here interrupted him by saying, ‘It was there I first saw you, when I was a little girl, my mother and I émigrees. We met you at a public ball in Philadelphia.’ ‘Oui,’ said the gentleman in gray, going right on with his own thoughts, ‘c'est un pays remarquable, mais leur luxe, leur luxe est affreux,’ comparing it, no doubt, with the tasteful and dainty luxury to which he had been accustomed in France, before he fled from the Revolution, and amidst which he had everywhere lived since his return. I now became very curious to know who he was, and asked him what other parts of the United States he had visited. He told me he had been in New York, and that, at one time, he went as far east as Portland. I immediately suspected who he was, for I knew that M. de Talleyrand had been so far east, and no farther. I questioned him, therefore, about Boston. He seemed to have some recollection of it; said he knew a very intelligent family there, he did not remember their names, but there was a daughter in it whose name was ‘Barbe’ [Barbara], one of the handsomest creatures he ever saw. I knew in an instant that it was Barbara Higginson, whom I had known as Mrs. S. G. Perkins quite intimately, when she was the mother of half a dozen children; with whom I had crossed the Atlantic in 1815, and who had often told me of her acquaintance with Talleyrand, and that he talked English with her who knew no French at all, when he refused to talk it in society generally. But he no longer
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