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[117] number of young aspirants for fame, to whom he is said to be more kind than is even discreet or useful for them.

I found him in a beautiful hotel and a tasteful saloon, in which were five or six pictures by his wife, and among the rest an excellent likeness of himself. About a dozen gentlemen were there, of whom I knew only Tourgueneff and Count Circourt.

He knew I was coming, and when my name was announced received me frankly, and almost as if I had been an old acquaintance. His wife seems about forty years old, and was dressed in black,—a color she has constantly worn since the death of their only child, a daughter of fourteen, who died on their journey in the East. She avoids the world and general society, and receives only gentlemen who visit her husband. She talked well with me about the Abbe de Lamennais, and his ‘Livre du Peuple’; and showed herself to be, what I believe she really is, a lady of much intellectual accomplishment.

Lamartine himself, I think, is about forty-five years old, thin in person, but dignified and graceful in his manners, and with a very fine style of head,—a head and countenance, indeed, that may be called poetical. He is, I should imagine, nervous and sensitive; and walks up and down in the back part of his saloon, talking with only one, or at most two persons, who walk with him. This, I am told, is his habit, and that it is not agreeable to him to talk when sitting. In the course of half an hour, thus walking and talking with him, only two things struck me,—his complete ignorance of the present English literature, and the strong expression of his poetical faith that the recent improvements in material life, like steam and railroads, have their poetical side, and will be used for poetical purposes with success. He was as curious about America and American literature as was polite, but I think cares really very little about either. His table was covered, and even heaped, with recent publications by living authors, who wish to get a word or a smile from the reigning favorite; for nobody now publishes anything in elegant literature without sending him a copy, I am told.

December 25.—. . . . In the evening I went to Jomard's, at the [Royal] Library. He is now the head of that vast establishment, as well as the head of all Egyptian knowledge in the world; indeed, from the time of Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt down to the present day, he has been one of the principal members of the Institute, and one of their most learned men. He is now old, and his eyes are bad, but he has much reputation for kindness of disposition, and receives, gladly and agreeably, all men of learning.

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