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[137] is necessary to her. To-day, however, she was less well, and saw none of us. At another time I should have regretted this; but today I should have been sorry to have left the party for any reason, since, beside the Duc de Laval, and M. Barante, whom I already knew, there were Chateaubriand and Mad. Recamier, two persons whom I was as curious to see as any two persons in France whom I had not yet met. The Duchess de Broglie, with her characteristic good-nature, finding how much I was interested in these new acquaintances, placed me between them at dinner, so that I had an opportunity to know something more of them. Mad. Recamier must now be forty or more, though she has not the appearance of so much, and the lustre of that beauty which filled Europe with its fame is certainly faded. I do not mean to say she is not still beautiful, for she certainly is, and very beautiful. Her figure is fine, her mild eyes full of expression, and her arm and hand most beautiful. I was surprised to find her with fair complexion, . . . . and no less surprised to find the general expression of her countenance anything but melancholy, and her conversation gay and full of vivacity, though at the same time, it should be added, always without extravagance.

Chateaubriand is a short man, with a dark complexion, black hair, black eyes, and altogether a most marked countenance. It needs no skill in physiognomy, to say at once that he is a man of firmness and decision of character, for every feature and every movement of his person announce it. He is too grave and serious, and gives a grave and serious turn to the conversation in which he engages; and even when the whole table laughed at Barante's wit, Chateaubriand did not even smile;—not, perhaps, because he did not enjoy the wit as much as the rest, but because laughing is too light for the enthusiasm which forms the basis of his character, and would certainly offend against the consistency we always require. It was natural for us to talk about America, and he gave me a long and eloquent description of his travels from Philadelphia to Niagara, and from Niagara across the unbroken forests to New Orleans; but I must confess he did not discover that eagerness and vanity on the subject which I think he does in his Martyrs and his Itinerary. . . . On the contrary, he seemed rather to prefer to talk of Italy and Rome, of which his recollections seemed more lively than of any other part of his travels; and, indeed, I doubt not he would like to return there rather than to revisit any country he has yet seen, for he spoke of Rome as a ‘place where it is so easy to be happy.’ His conversation, like his character, seems prompt, original, decisive, and, like his works, full of sparkling phrases,

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