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[347] ease; for they were apprised of our coming an hour or two before we arrived, and were therefore all in order, to show a little of that ceremony in which Mrs. Madison still delights.

Mr. Madison is a younger-looking man—he is now seventy-four— than he was when I saw him ten years ago, with an unsuccessful war grinding him to the earth; and he is one of the most pleasant men I have met, both from the variety and vivacity of his conversation. He lives, apparently, with great regularity. We breakfasted at nine, dined about four, drank tea at seven, and went to bed at ten; that is, we went to our rooms, where we were furnished with everything we wanted, and where Mrs. Madison sent us a nice supper every night and a nice luncheon every forenoon. From ten o'clock in the morning till three we rode, walked, or remained in our rooms, Mr.Madison and Mrs. Madison being then occupied. The table is very ample and elegant, and somewhat luxurious; it is evidently a serious item in the account of Mr. M.'s happiness, and it seems to be his habit to pass about an hour, after the cloth is removed, with a variety of wines of no mean quality.

On politics he is a little reserved, as he seems determined not to be again involved in them; but about everything else he talked with great freedom, and told an interminable series of capital stories, most of which have some historical value. His language, though not very rich or picturesque, was chosen with much skill, and combined into very elegant and finished sentences; and both Mr. Webster and myself were struck with a degree of good-sense in his conversation which we had not anticipated from his school of politics and course of life. We passed our time, therefore, very pleasantly, and feel indebted to him for a hospitality which becomes one who has been at the head of the nation.

On Sunday forenoon we took a ride of a dozen miles across different plantations, to see the country and the people. Mr. Madison's farm—as he calls it—consists of about three thousand acres, with an hundred and eighty slaves, and is among the best managed in Virginia. We saw also one or two others that looked very well, but in general things had a very squalid appearance. We stopped at the house of Mr. Philip Barbour, one of the most active lawyers in the Commonwealth, lately Speaker of the House of Representatives, and still one of its prominent members. The house is of brick, and new, large enough, and not inconvenient. Probably he lives with a sort of luxury which is chiefly the result of abundance, and is not very refined; but certainly there is little comfort in his establishment, and

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