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[350] Calhoun is a very good little woman, who sometimes gives a pleasant ball. . . . . The Russian Minister is a strange, retired fanatic, in feeble health, who gives splendid dinners once a week. Addington, the British Charge, is a very acute, pleasant, well-informed man of letters, who gives very agreeable little dinners en garcon, twice a week, The Baron de Mareuil1 is a truly elegant gentleman, in the largest sense of the term, and his wife is a very sweet and beautiful woman, with winning manners. They are now in severe mourning for the king, and see no company; but we went there sometimes, and dined with them once enfamille, most pleasantly. These are the chief of the permanent resources of Washington, for society and agreeable intercourse. .

The truth is, that at Washington society is the business of life. . . . . People have nothing but one another to amuse themselves with; and as it is thus obviously for every man's interest to be agreeable, you may be sure very few fail. For myself, I can truly say I have seldom been more amused, interested, and excited during my life, than in the last three or four weeks. I found out how things were going, the first time we were there, and I was determined to make my arrangements so as to enjoy them myself, and especially to give A. a chance to see the great men of the time, and enjoy their conversation. Every morning we went to return visits; . . . . then to the House or Senate, if there were any debate. At four o'clock, Mr. Webster and Wallenstein came to dinner,—if we dined at home, —so that we were sure of delightful society. To these, I often added one or two others, and thus had at different times, entirely without ceremony, Mr. Poinsett,2 Mr. Clay, Mr. Tazewell,3 Mr. Cheves,4 Mr. King, General Bernard, the Edward Livingstons, General Lafayette, etc. These dinners were as pleasant as anything of the sort could well be, for Mr. Webster was generally very animated, and there was no want of excitement among the rest of them.

We often went to a party in the evening, which was almost uniformly a dance, and after that was over came home to a little supper, or went to one elsewhere, so that, from twelve at noon till midnight, we were constantly in society as agreeable and exciting as

1 French Minister.

2 Joel R. Poinsett of South Carolina, our Minister to Mexico in 1825, and Secretary of War under President Van Buren.

3 Littleton Waller Tazewell, a distinguished lawyer of Virginia, and member of the United States Senate.

4 Langdon Cheves of South Carolina had been Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1815.

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