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[181] know where to class them; for they belong, now at least, to no nation, and live at home as among strangers. Their acquaintance, however, is more sought than that of any persons in Rome; and as for myself, I found no societies so pleasant, though I found others more cultivated and more fashionable.

To begin, then, with Mad. Mere, as she is still called. She lives in the same palace with her brother, Cardinal Fesch,—the Cardinal in the upper part, and Madame in the principal story, but both with princely state, in a magnificent suite of apartments. The Cardinal has the finest private gallery of pictures I have seen, and shows them with great liberality and kindness; generally receiving in person those who come to see it. In the evening he goes down to ‘Madame,’ and they form their coterie together, to which I sometimes went; but it was rather dull, though everything wealth could do to make it splendid was done . . . .

Louis, the former king of Holland, who now passes under the title of the Count de St. Leu, lives more simply than any of the family, and preserves the character for good-nature and honesty which he did not lose even in Holland when acting under the orders of a cruel despotism. He has one son, a promising boy of fourteen, to whom he is devoted, and occupies himself with his education. The rest of the time, it is said, he passes in reading Latin and in writing poetry. In the evening he has his coterie, which is pleasanter than his mother's, because his own conversation is more amusing; and, on the whole, from the nature of his pursuits, the simplicity of his manners, and the kindness of his disposition, I think he lives more happily than any of his family.

The Princess Borghese is the most consummate coquette I ever saw. At the age of forty-two she has an uncommonly beautiful form, and a face still striking, if not beautiful. When to this is added the preservation of youthful gayety, uncommon talent, and a practical address, it will be apparent she is, if not a Ninon de l'enclos, a most uncommon woman. At Lucien's, where a grave tone prevails, she is as demure as a nun; but in her own palace, where she lives in great luxury, she comes out in her true character, and plays herself off in a manner that makes her as great a curiosity as a raree-show. On her birthnight she gave a supper to seventy people, and the whole service was in gilt silver. But, notwithstanding the Eastern splendor of everything, united to European taste and refinement, I am persuaded the strangers there, like myself, were more struck with her manoeuvres, seated between the old Cardinal Albani and the Cardinal

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