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pardon for passing so rapidly from Mozart to Bottom and his bellowing, (those blackguards of Shakspeare are so taking, one never loses sight of them).
We call it economy to send men abroad in places which they cannot fill as they ought, without ruining their families, and which they abandon as soon as they decently can, leaving all their business unfinished, to be done by some successor, as inexperienced, as ready, and as much in a hurry to get home as his predecessor. However, Jonathan's men, I find, are beginning to pay him off in his own coin.
While I write this a flash of lightning, accompanied with quite a respectable clap of thunder, reminds me it is spring, which I might have forgotten from my chilliness. The truth is there is no spring in Europe out of Italy and Greece. I hear it has been horribly cold, bad weather for some weeks past, except a few days.
17th May. Fine weather. Sore throat gone. I leave Brussels to-morrow or the day after for Cologne and Bonn; perhaps I shall go up the Rhine as far as Heidelberg. Ever affectionately,
H. S. L.
The same to the same.
AIX-LA-CHAPELLE, AUG. 24, 1935. My dear Mary, Upon my arrival here yesterday, and returning from a week's excursion on the Rhine, your letter of the 7th July was handed me, and afforded me very sincere pleasure. Your extract from the Baltimore paper, or something to the same effect, I had seen before in the National Intelligencer, very much to my surprise, and, I had almost said, mortification, knowing, as I do, the source it comes from, (a detestable caitiff at -): so far am I from having my vanity tickled by it. Yet, I confess I was glad to see the paragraph in the and for this singular reason : one of the most savage attacks ever made on me, and the whole Southern Review, appeared in that very paper, and, I dare say, written by the same person, in consequence of some remarks of mine on How strange a creature is man, and how utterly good for nothing his praise or his blame.
The idea of reviving the Southern Review seems to me perfectly visionary. I would not do again what I did for it before for any compensation. It has dimmed my eyes and whitened my hair (at least, helped to do so) before my time, and I am no longer capable of that sort of excitement,-besides various other reasons.
Aug. 30, I add these lines just for the sake of mentioning
that it was this day, sixteen years ago, that I first visited this old city, where I am returned from two hours spent in the cathedral, listening-as I stood upon the tomb of Charlemagne, a plain slab, inscribed simply "Carolo Magno"-to some very fine music.
I have recovered all my good looks again, but, unfortunate man that I am, woke this morning with another cold and inflammation of the chest, -a thing I am prodigiously liable to. I wish for the complete re-establishment of my health, because I humbly trust I am destined to be useful to man the rest of my life. God bless you all.
The same to the same.
BRUSSELS, Dec. 10, 1835. My dear Mary,—I wrote you a letter from Paris, since which time I have received one from you, informing me of the roundabout course one of mine of last June took.
I received a letter from Judge De S., on the subject of the Southern Review, and have written him an answer, which he will receive by the same packet with this. I have declined the proposal, for, as you say, my tastes and habits are different.
The king and queen have been passing six weeks at Paris. I have just returned from Court, where we had a grand diplomatic dinner. I had a long conversation with her dear little majesty after dinner, about the prospect of a war between France and the United States, which we both, of course, deprecated very much. Things look very squally at present, and some people think the French want to have a fight with us. This may be the fact as to some of their politicians, but I am sure the king is decidedly opposed to a rupture, and, perhaps, will do all he can to prevent one. In the meantime, we are looking for the President's message with no little solicitude. I rather think there will be no war, and yet I prefer any sacrifice to that of the national honor or even pride.
I am now lodging in a hotel, where I have a spacious and comfortable apartment of four rooms, with a servant's bed-room, and here I shall probably pass the winter. The carnival is very short this year, and absolutely nothing goes on after Shrove Tuesday.
Mr. Legaré to his Sisters.
BRUXELLES, March 24, 1833. My dear Sisters, I have adopted the plan of writing to you both at the same time, that there may be no heart-breaking jealousy between you about so important a matter as my attentions.
I told mama I should give you a more particular account of what passed here during the French queen's visit to Brussels, which took place about two weeks ago, and continued until last Monday afternoon, when she left this city and arrived in Paris in less than twenty-four hours, having travelled all night. I have repeatedly mentioned how much I admire that great lady, with whom I had the honor of dining at the pretty chateau of Neuilly, near Paris, when I was there last summer. What I saw of her, during her stay here, confirmed all those favorable impres
Her grace, dignity and affability, (condescension, it may be, but there is no appearance of that,) are really irresistible, and equalled only by her exemplary virtues as a wife and a mother, virtues which happen to shine forth the more brilliantly just at this moment, in contrast with the public infamy of the Duchess of Berry.
The queen arrived here, accompanied by her second daughter, the Princess Marie, and two ladies of honour, under the protection (as we should say, of a private person) of her son and heir apparent, the Duke of Orleans,—a well-looking young man of some two-and-twenty years or thereabouts. The day after their arrival was passed in the family circle, but, on Sunday, (the next day,) there was a grand diplomatic dinner of fifty covers at Court
, at which I had the honor of assisting, with the British ambassador, (Sir Robert Adair, the French, the Count de Latour Maubourg,) and their Secretaries of Legation, all the Ministers of State, the Presidents of the Senate and House of Representatives, some Generals, the Ladies of Honor of the two Queens, Aides-de-Camp, etc., etc.; and last, but by no means least, the Duke and Duchess d'Arenberg, who are decidedly at the head of society here, and, indeed, are of an almost royal house. As soon as all the guests were assembled in the salle de réception, and after the Duchess of Arenberg, who had been presented in private audience in another saloon, returned, the royal party made its appearance,—the Queen of France leaning upon the arm of her son-in-law, King Leopold ; the Queen of the Belgians on that of her brother, the Duke of Orleans; and the Princess Marie accompanied by her Lady of Honor. The rest of the party only saluted at entering, and stopped near the door, but the Queen of the French went round the whole circle, beginning, of course, with our noble selves, the representatives of foreign nations, who, you know, are always at the head of every ceremony, at least. The British ambassador was first presented. She recognized in him an old acquaintance, (heaven knows how far back,) and reminded him of the occasions on which they met. Her own ambassador, who returned from Paris with her, she soon dispatched. Then came my turn.
She had seen me
not many months ago,-hoped I liked my situation,-asked after Gen. Wool, (an officer sent out on some special errand by our government last summer, who had been well received by the Court of France, and had afterwards visited Brussels with me when I first came here,) and so forth. In short, she addressed something appropriate to every individual in the circle, except the officers of the king's household, and all with that winning, native grace so peculiar to a high-born and perfectly well-bred French-woman,-(by-the-bye, she is an Italian, aunt of the Queen of Spain, who has lately been doing such fine things, and of the Duchess of Berry, who has been doing such naughty ones). The Grand-Marshal then announced to their Majesties that dinner was served. They led the way into the banqueting hall (in the grand apartments, as they are called) as they had come into the salle de réception, except that, this time, the English ambassador, as head of the diplomatic body, (by seniority,) gave his arm to the Princess Mary. As I had the third choice, I took the prettiest of our queen's ladies, and, I think, the very prettiest woman in all Belgium, although she has three children married, -one a daughter, who looks almost as old as herself. I was petrified with surprise when I found out the age of my favorite, whom I did not suspect of so many years almost by half. But that discovery I had made long before this meeting, and I chose her with my eyes open and very deliberately, for Sir G. Hamilton and M. de T'allenay, secretaries of legation, were arranging it between them whom they should choose out of the circle,-an ugly or stupid woman by cne, at one of these interminable French dinners, is such a bore,--when I told them they need not think of her, for I had designs in that quarter myself
. The lady in question is the Baronne d'Hoogvorst. She was dressed that day in very becoming style, and looked like a blooming wife of thirty;-in Europe, you know, that is not old.
At table, the fashion in Europe is not like yours, for the master of the house to sit at one end, and the mistress at the other. The place of honor is at the side and at the middle of the board. When I dined at Neuilly the queen sat on one side, and the king opposite to her on the other, but Leopold and Louise are inseparable, at least at dinner, and, judging from their most amiable characters and affectionate dispositions, I should suppose every where else. The Grand Marshal of the palace, here, always takes his place opposite to their Majesties. And so it was on the occasion in question. On the right of the King sat the Queen of the French, on her right the Queen of the Belgians, next to her the Duke of Orleans, next the Duchess d'Arenberg, next Count de Latour Maubourg, etc., etc. On the left of the King was the Princess Marie, next the English ambassador, etc. The Grand Marshal had on his right the Lady of Honor handed
in by the Duke d’Arenberg, on whose right sat the Duke himself; on the left was Madame d'Hoogvorst, and next to her your humble servant,—so that I sat immediately opposite the Queen of the Belgians, whose sweet, modest face I am never tired of looking upon. The dinner was served with the highest magnificence of the Court,--the crowd of servants in waiting being decked out in their most showy liveries, (scarlet and gold for some, while others wore a more modest uniform, with swords at their sides,) and the table itself covered with gold and silver, and, at the dessert, with Sévres china.-This last, which is the most beautiful painted china, manufactured near Paris, at a cost of 300 francs (sixty dollars) a plate, was a bridal present to the queen from her father. A grand band of music played the most fashionable and admired pieces of the great German and Italian masters, at intervals during the dinner,—which, in all other respects, went off just as Court dinners always do, with the gravest decorum--a conversation confined to two-with no variety except an occasional change from right to left, when one or the other of your neighbors, as it happens, is run out of small talk, and carried on, of course, in a sort of whisper. Certainly, however, it must be confessed that a vast table, covered with so much magnificence, and surrounded by ladies and gentlemen, the former sparkling with diamonds, the latter all in Court embroidery,--presents a very brilliant coup d'æil. I was never before so much struck with the effect of precious stones in a lady's toilette, as with the richly-coloured beams of light that glittered about the neck and head of the Duchess d'Arenberg, a very fine woman, about thirty-five, who was arrayed in more than the glory of Solomon. The worst of a dinner at Court is that, after having got through the tedious formalities of the reception and the execution, (ihey endure a couple of hours or so,) the whole company is marched back into the salle de réception, where coffee is served with liqueurs, and there are sometimes kept standing (for none but the ladies, who take their places at the queen's round table after dinner, in the middle of the room, are allowed to sit) sometimes for another hour, or hour and a half. For me, whose habit is and always has been, if possible, to stretch myself off at full length upon a sofa, or, at least, recline quite at my ease after dinner, this part of my diplomatic duties-aggravated, as it is, by being buttoned up close in a uniform coat made last summer, when I was by no means in such good case as I am now-is quite a serious task.
But I never suffered so much from it, as at a concert given at Court two days after the dinner I speak of. All guests, invited to a palace, but especially the members of the diplomatic corps, are expected to be very punctual,- for, as Louis XVIII. is said to have remarked, "Punctuality is the politeness of kings." We