We didn't pay many visits; but sometimes, when the weather was fine and there was no hunting, and W. gone upon an expedition to some outlying village, Mme. A. and I would start off for one of the neighbouring chateaux. We went one day to the chateau de C, where there was a large family party assembled, four generations - the old grandmother, her son and daughter, both married, the daughter's daughter, also married, and her children. It was a pretty drive, about an hour all through the forest. The house is quite modern, not at all pretty, a square white building, with very few trees near it, the lawn and one or two flower-beds not particularly well kept. The grounds ran straight down to the Villers-Cotterets forest, where M. M. has good shooting. The gates were open, the concierge said the ladies were there. (They didn't have to be summoned by a bell. That is one of the habits of this part of the country. There is almost always a large bell at the stable or "communs," and when visitors arrive and the family are out in the grounds, not too far off, they are summoned by the bell. I was quite surprised one day at Bourneville, when we were in the woods at some little distance from the chateau, when we heard the bell, and my companion, a niece of Mme. A., instantly turned back, saying, "That means there are visits; we must go back.") We found all the ladies sitting working in a corner salon with big windows opening on the park. The old grandmother was knitting, but she was so straight and slight, with bright black eyes, that it wouldn't have seemed at all strange to see her bending over an embroidery frame like all the others. The other three ladies were each seated at an embroidery frame in the embrasures of the windows. I was much impressed, particularly with the large pieces of work that they were undertaking, a portiere, covers for the billiard-table, bed, etc. It quite recalled what one had always read of feudal France, when the seigneur would be off with his retainers hunting or fighting, and the chatelaine, left alone in the chateau, spent her time in her "bower" surrounded by her maidens, all working at the wonderful tapestries one sees still in some of the old churches and convents. I was never much given to work, but I made a mental resolve that I, too, would set up a frame in one of the drawing-rooms at home, and had visions of yards of pale-blue satin, all covered with wonderful flowers and animals, unrolling themselves under my skilful fingers - but I must confess that it remained a vision. I never got further than little crochet petticoats, which clothed every child in the village. To make the picture complete there should have been a page in velvet cap and doublet, stretched on the floor at the feet of his mistress, trying to distract her with songs and ballads. The master of the house, M. M., was there, having come in from shooting. He had been reading aloud to the ladies - Alfred de Musset, I think. That part of the picture I could never realize, as there is nothing W. loathes like reading aloud except, perhaps, being read to.

They were very friendly and easy, showed us the downstairs part of the house, and gave us gouter, not tea, wine and cake. The house looked comfortable enough, nothing picturesque; a large square hall with horns, whips, foxes' brushes, antlers, and all sorts of trophies of the chase on the walls. They are sporting people; all ride. The dining-room, a large bright room, was panelled with life-size portraits of the family: M. and Mme. M. in hunting dress, green coats, tricorne hats, on their horses; the daughter of the house and one of her brothers, rowing in a boat on a small lake; the eldest son in shooting dress, corduroys, his gun slung over his shoulder, his dog by his side. They were all very like.

We strolled about the garden a little, and saw lots of pheasants walking peacefully about at the edge of the woods. They made me promise to come back one day with W., he to shoot and I to walk about with the ladies. We saw the children of the fourth generation, and left with the impression of a happy, simple family party. M. M. was a conseiller general of the Aisne and a colleague of W.'s. They always stayed at the same hotel (de la Hure) in Laon at the time of the conseil general, and M. M. was much amused at first with W.'s baggage: a large bath-tub, towels (for in small French provincial hotels towels were microscopic and few in number), and a package of tea, which was almost an unknown commodity in those days. None of our visitors ever took any, and always excused themselves with the same phrase, "Merci, je vais bien," evidently looking upon it as some strange and hurtful medicine. That has all changed, like everything else. Now one finds tea not only at all the chateaux, with brioches and toast, but even in all the hotels, but I wouldn't guarantee what we get there as ever having seen China or Ceylon, and it is still wiser to take chocolate or coffee, which is almost always good. We had a lovely drive back. The forest was beautiful in the waning light. As usual, we didn't meet any vehicle of any kind, and were quite excited when we saw a carriage approaching in the distance - however, it proved to be W. in his dog-cart. We passed through one or two little villages quite lost in the forest - always the same thing, one long, straggling street, with nobody in it, a large farm at one end and very often the church at the other. As it was late, the farm gates were all open, the cattle inside, teams of white oxen drinking out of a large trough.

In a large farm near Boursonne there was much animation and conversation. All the beasts were in, oxen, cows, horses, chickens, and in one corner, a flock of geese. The poor little "goose girl," a child about ten years old with bright-blue eyes and a pig-tail like straw hanging down her back, was being scolded violently by the farmer's wife, who was presiding in person over the rentree of the animals, for having brought her geese home on a run. They wouldn't eat, and would certainly all be ill, and probably die before morning. There is a pretty little old chateau at Boursonne; the park, however, so shut in by high walls that one sees nothing in passing. W. had shot there once or twice in former years, but it has changed hands very often.

Sometimes we paid more humble visits, not to chateaux, but to the principal people of the little country town near, from which we had all our provisions. We went to see the doctor's wife, the notary's wife, the mayor's wife, and the two schools - the asile or infant school, and the more important school for bigger girls. The old doctor was quite a character, had been for years in the country, knew everybody and everybody's private history. He was the doctor of the chateau, by the year, attended to everybody, masters and servants, and received a regular salary, like a secretary. He didn't come very often for us in his medical capacity, but he often dropped in at the end of the day to have a talk with W. The first time I saw him W. presented him to me, as un bon ami de la famille. I naturally put out my hand, which so astonished and disconcerted him (he barely touched the tips of my fingers) that I was rather bewildered. W. explained after he had gone that in that class of life in France they never shook hands with a lady, and that the poor man was very much embarrassed. He was very useful to W. as a political agent, as he was kind to the poor people and took small (or no) fees. They all loved him, and talked to him quite freely. His women-kind were very shy and provincial. I think our visits were a great trial to them. They always returned them most punctiliously, and came in all their best clothes. When we went to see them we generally found them in short black skirts, and when they were no longer very young, with black caps, but they always had handsome silk dresses, velvet cloaks, and hats with flowers and feathers when they came to see us. Some of them took the cup of tea we offered, but they didn't know what to do with it, and sat on the edge of their chairs, looking quite miserable until we relieved them of the burden of the tea-cup. Mme. A. was rather against the tea-table; she preferred the old-fashioned tray handed around with wine and cakes, but I persuaded her to try, and after a little while she acknowledged that it was better to have the tea-table brought in. It made a diversion; I got up to make the tea. Someone gave me a chair, someone else handed the cups. It made a little movement, and was not so stiff as when we all sat for over an hour on the same chairs making conversation. It is terrible to have to make conversation, and extraordinary how little one finds to say. We had always talked easily enough at home, but then things came more naturally, and even the violent family discussions were amusing, but my recollection of these French provincial visits is something awful. Everybody so polite, so stiff, and the long pauses when nobody seemed to have anything to say. I of course was a novelty and a foreign element - they didn't quite know what to do with me. Even to Mme. A., and I grew very fond of her, and she was invariably charming to me, I was something different. We had many talks on every possible subject during our long drives, and also in the winter afternoons. At first I had my tea always upstairs in my own little salon, which I loved with the curtains drawn, a bright wood-fire burning, and all my books about; but when I found that she sat alone in the big drawing-room, not able to occupy herself in any way, I asked her if I might order my tea there, and there were very few afternoons that I didn't sit with her when I was at home. She talked often about her early married life - winters in Cannes and in Paris, where they received a great deal, principally Protestants, and I fancy she sometimes regretted the interchange of ideas and the brilliant conversation she had been accustomed to, but she never said it. She was never tired of hearing about my early days in America - our family life - the extraordinary liberty of the young people, etc. We often talked over the religious question, and though we were both Protestants, we were as far apart almost as if one was a pagan. Protestantism in France always has seemed to me such a rigid form of worship, so little calculated to influence young people or draw them to church. The plain, bare churches with white-washed walls, the long sermons and extempore prayers, speaking so much of the anger of God and the terrible punishments awaiting the sinner, the trials and sorrows that must come to all. I often think of a sermon I heard preached in one Protestant church, to the boys and girls who were making their first communion - all little things, the girls in their white frocks and long white veils, the boys with white waistcoats and white ribbons on their arms, making such a pretty group as they sat on the front benches listening hard to all the preacher said. I wondered that the young, earnest faces didn't suggest something to him besides the horrors of eternal punishment, the wickedness and temptations of the world they were going to face, but his only idea seemed to be that he must warn them of all the snares and temptations that were going to beset their paths. Mme. A. couldn't understand my ideas when I said I loved the Episcopal service - the prayers and litany I had always heard, the Easter and Christmas hymns I had always sung, the carols, the anthems, the great organ, the flowers at Easter, the greens at Christmas. All that seemed to her to be a false sentiment appealing to the senses and imagination. "But if it brings people to church, and the beautiful music elevates them and raises their thoughts to higher things - " "That is not religion; real religion means the prayer of St. Chrysostom, 'Where two or three are gathered together in My name I will grant their requests.'" "That is very well for really religious, strong people who think out their religion and don't care for any outward expression of it, but for weaker souls who want to be helped, and who are helped by the beautiful music and the familiar prayers, surely it is better to give them something that brings them to church and makes them better men and women than to frighten them away with such strict, uncompromising doctrines - " "No, that is only sentiment, not real religious feeling." I don't think we ever understood each other any better on that subject, and we discussed it so often.

       * * * * *

Mme. A., with whom I made my round of calls at the neighbouring chateaux, was a charming companion. She had lived a great deal in Paris, in the Protestant coterie, which was very intellectual and cultivated. The salons of the Duchesse de Broglie, Mmes. de Stael, d'Haussonville, Guizot, were most interesting and recherches, very exclusive and very serious, but a centre for all political and literary talk. I have often heard my husband say some of the best talkers in society s'etaient formes dans ces salons, where, as young men, they listened modestly to all the brilliant conversation going on around them.

It was an exception when we found anyone at home when we called in the neighbourhood, and when we did, it was evident that afternoon visits were a rarity. We did get in one cold November afternoon, and our visit was a sample of many others that we paid.

The door was opened by a footman struggling into his coat, with a handful of faggots in his arms. He ushered us through several bare, stiff, cold rooms (proportions handsome enough) to a smaller salon, which the family usually occupied. Then he lighted a fire (which consisted principally of smoke) and went to summon his mistress. The living-room was just as bare and stiff as the others, no trace of anything that looked like habitation or what we should consider comfort - no books nor work nor flowers (that, however, is comparatively recent in France). I remember quite well Mme. Casimir-Perier telling me that when she went with her husband to St. Petersburg about fifty years ago, one of the things that struck her most in the Russian salons, was the quantity of green plants and cut flowers - she had never seen them in France. There were often fine pictures, tapestries, and furniture, all the chairs in a row against the wall.

Our visits were always long, as most of the chateaux were at a certain distance, and we were obliged to stay an hour and a half, sometimes longer, to rest the horses. It was before the days of five-o'clock tea. A tray was brought in with sweet wine (Malaga or Vin de Chypre) and cakes (ladies'-fingers) which evidently had figured often before on similar occasions. Conversation languished sometimes, though Mme. A. was wonderful, talking so easily about everything. In the smaller places, when people rarely went to Paris, it ran always in the same grooves - the woods, the hunting (very good in the Villers-Cotterets forest), the schoolmaster (so difficult to get proper books for the children to read), the cure, and all local gossip, and as much about the iniquities of the republic as could be said before the wife of a republican senator. Wherever we went, even to the largest chateaux, where the family went to Paris for the season, the talk was almost entirely confined to France and French interests. Books, politics, music, people, nothing existed apparently au-dela des frontieres. America was an unknown quantity. It was strange to see intelligent people living in the world so curiously indifferent as to what went on in other countries. At first I used to talk a little about America and Rome, where I had lived many years and at such an interesting time - the last days of Pio Nono and the transformation of the old superstitious papal Rome to the capital of young Italy - but I soon realized that it didn't interest any one, and by degrees I learned to talk like all the rest.

I often think of one visit to a charming little Louis XV chateau standing quite on the edge of the forest - just room enough for the house, and the little hamlet at the gates; a magnificent view of the forest, quite close to the lawn behind the chateau, and then sweeping off, a dark-blue mass, as far as one could see. We were shown into a large, high room, no carpet, no fire, some fine portraits, very little furniture, all close against the wall, a round table in the middle with something on it, I couldn't make out what at first. Neither books, reviews, nor even a photographic album - the supreme resource of provincial salons. When we got up to take leave I managed to get near the table, and the ornament was a large white plate with a piece of fly-paper on it. The mistress of the house was shy and uncomfortable; sent at once for her husband, and withdrew from the conversation as soon as he appeared, leaving him to make all the "frais." We walked a little around the park before leaving. It was really a lovely little place, with its background of forest and the quiet, sleepy little village in front; very lonely and far from everything, but with a certain charm of its own. Two or three dogs were playing in the court-yard, and one curious little animal who made a rush at the strangers. I was rather taken aback, particularly when the master of the house told me not to be afraid, it was only a marcassin (small wild boar), who had been born on the place, and was as quiet as a kitten. I did not think the great tusks and square, shaggy head looked very pleasant, but the little thing was quiet enough, came and rubbed itself against its master's legs and played quite happily with the dogs. We heard afterward that they were obliged to kill it. It grew fierce and unmanageable, and no one would come near the place.

       * * * * *

I took Henrietta with me sometimes when I had a distant visit to pay; an hour and a half's drive alone on a country road where you never meet anything was rather dull. We went one cold December afternoon to call upon Mme. B., the widow of an old friend and colleague of W.'s. We were in the open carriage, well wrapped up, and enjoyed the drive immensely. The country looked beautiful in the bright winter sunshine, the distant forest always in a blue mist, the trees with their branches white with "givre" (hoarfrost), and patches of snow and ice all over the fields.

For a wonder we didn't go through the forest - drove straight away from it and had charming effects of colour upon some of the thatched cottages in the villages we passed through; one or two had been mended recently and the mixture of old brown, bright red and glistening white was quite lovely.

We went almost entirely along the great plains, occasionally small bits of wood and very fair hills as we got near our destination. The villages always very scattered and almost deserted - when it is cold everybody stays indoors - and of course there is no work to be done on the farms when the ground is hard frozen. It is a difficult question to know what to do with the men of all the small hamlets when the real winter sets in; the big farms turn off many of their labourers, and as it is a purely agricultural country all around us there is literally nothing to do. My husband and several of the owners of large estates gave work to many with their regular "coupe" of wood, but that only lasts a short time, and the men who are willing to work but can find nothing drift naturally into cafes and billiard saloons, where they read cheap bad papers and talk politics of the wildest description.

We found our chateau very well situated on the top of a hill, a good avenue leading up to the gate, a pretty little park with fine trees at the back, the tower of the village church just visible through the trees at the end of the central alley. It was hardly a chateau - half manor, half farm. We drove into a large courtyard, or rather farmyard, quite deserted; no one visible anywhere; the door of the house was open, but there was no bell nor apparently any means of communicating with any one. Hubert cracked his whip noisily several times without any result - and we were just wondering what we should do (perhaps put our cards under a stone on the steps) when a man appeared, said Mme. B. was at home, but she was in the stable looking after a sick cow - he would go and tell her we were there. In a few minutes she appeared attired in a short, rusty-black skirt, sabots on her feet, and a black woollen shawl over her head and shoulders. She seemed quite pleased to see us - was not at all put out at being caught in such very simple attire - begged us to come in and ushered us through a long, narrow hall and several cold, comfortless rooms, the shutters not open and no fire anywhere, into her bedroom. All the furniture - chairs, tables and bed - was covered with linen. She explained that it was her "lessive" (general wash) she had just made, that all the linen was dry, but she had not had time to put it away. She called a maid and they cleared off two chairs - she sat on the bed.

It was frightfully cold - we were thankful we had kept our wraps on. She said she supposed we would like a fire after our long, cold drive, and rang for a man to bring some wood. He (in his shirt sleeves) appeared with two or three logs of wood and was preparing to make a fire with them all, but she stopped him, said one log was enough, the ladies were not going to stay long - so, naturally, we had no fire and clouds of smoke. She was very talkative, never stopped - told us all about her servants, her husband's political campaigns and how W. would never have been named to the Conseil General if M.B. hadn't done all his work for him. She asked a great many questions, answering them all herself; then said, "I don't offer you any tea, as I know you always go back to have your tea at home, and I am quite sure you don't want any wine."

There was such an evident reluctance to give us anything that I didn't like to insist, and said we must really be going as we had a long drive before us, though I should have liked something hot; tea, of course, she knew nothing about, but even a glass of ordinary hot wine, which they make very well in France, would have been acceptable. Henrietta was furious; she was shivering with cold, her eyes smarting with the smoke, and not at all interested in M.B.'s political career, or Madame's servants, and said she would have been thankful to have even a glass of vin de Chypre.

It was unfortunate, perhaps, that we had arrived during the "lessive"; that is always a most important function in France. In almost all the big houses in the country (small ones, too) that is the way they do their washing; once a month or once every three months, according to the size of the establishment, the whole washing of the household is done; all the linen: master's, servants', guests'; house is turned out; the linen closets cleaned and aired! Every one looks busy and energetic. It is quite a long affair - lasts three or four days. I often went to see the performance when we made our "lessive" at the chateau every month.

It always interested our English and American friends, as the washing is never done in that way in either of their countries. It was very convenient at our place as we had plenty of room. The "lavoir" stood at the top of the steps leading into the kitchen gardens; there was a large, square tank sunk in the ground, so that the women could kneel to their work, then a little higher another of beautiful clear water, all under cover. Just across the path there was a small house with a blazing wood fire; in the middle an enormous tub where all the linen was passed through wood ashes. There were four "lessiveuses" (washerwomen), sturdy peasant women with very short skirts, sabots, and turbans (made of blue and white checked calico) on their heads, their strong red arms bared above the elbow. The Mere Michon, the eldest of the four, directed everything and kept them well at work, allowed very little talking; they generally chatter when they are washing and very often quarrel. When they are washing at the public "lavoir" in the village one hears their shrill voices from a great distance. Our "lingere," Mme. Hubert, superintended the whole operation; she was very keen about it and remonstrated vigorously when they slapped the linen too hard sometimes with the little flat sticks, like spades, they use. The linen all came out beautifully white and smooth, hadn't the yellow look that all city-washed clothes have.

I think Mme. B. was very glad to get rid of us, and to begin folding her linen and putting it back in the big wooden wardrobes, that one sees everywhere in France. Some of the old Norman wardrobes, with handsome brass locks and beautifully carved doors, are real works of art - very difficult to get and very expensive. Fifty years ago the peasant did not understand the value of such a "meuble" and parted with it easily - but now, with railways everywhere and strangers and bric-a-brac people always on the lookout for a really old piece of furniture, they understand quite well that they possess a treasure and exact its full value.

Our drive back was rather shorter, downhill almost all the way, the horses going along at a good steady trot, knowing they were going home.

When we drew up at our own door Hubert remarked respectfully that he thought it was the first time that Madame and Mademoiselle had ever been received by a lady in sabots.

We wondered afterward if she had personally attended to the cow - in the way of poulticing or rubbing it. She certainly didn't wash her hands afterward, and it rather reminded me of one of Charles de Bunsen's stories when he was Secretary of Legation at Turin. In the summer they took a villa in the country just out of the town and had frequent visitors to lunch or dinner. One day two of their friends, Italians, had spent the whole day with them; had walked in the garden, picked fruit and flowers, played with the child and the dogs and the pony, and as they were coming back to the house for dinner, Charles suggested that they might like to come up to his dressing-room and wash their hands before dinner - to which one of them replied, "Grazie, non mi sporco facilmente" (literal translation, "Thanks, I don't dirty myself easily"), and declined the offer of soap and water.

       * * * * *

We paid two or three visits one year to the neighbouring chateaux, and had one very pleasant afternoon at the Chateau de Pinon, belonging to the Courval family. W. had known the late proprietor, the Vicomte de Courval, very well. They had been colleagues of the Conseil General of the Aisne, were both very fond of the country and country life, and used to have long talks in the evening, when the work of the day was over, about plantation, cutting down trees, preservation of game, etc. Without these talks, I think W. would have found the evenings at the primitive little Hotel de la Hure, at Laon, rather tedious.

The chateau is not very old and has no historic interest. It was built by a Monsieur du Bois, Vicomte de Courval, at the end of the seventeenth century. He lived at first in the old feudal chateau of which nothing now remains. Already times were changing - the thick walls, massive towers, high, narrow windows, almost slits, and deep moat, which were necessary in the old troubled days, when all isolated chateaux might be called upon, at any time, to defend themselves from sudden attack, had given way to the larger and more spacious residences of which Mansard, the famous architect of Louis XIV, has left so many chefs d'oeuvre. It was to Mansard that M. de Courval confided the task of building the chateau as it now stands, while the no less famous Le Notre was charged to lay out the park and gardens.

It was an easy journey from B - - ville to Pinon. An hour's drive through our beautiful forest of Villers-Cotterets and another hour in the train. We stopped at the little station of Anizy just outside the gates of the park; a brougham was waiting for us and a very short drive through a stately avenue brought us to the drawbridge and the iron gates of the "Cour d'honneur." The house looked imposing; I had an impression of a very high and very long facade with two towers stretching out into the court-yard, which is very large, with fine old trees and broad parterres of bright-coloured flowers on either side of the steps. There was a wide moat of running water, the banks covered with shrubs and flowers - the flowers were principally salvias and chrysanthemums, as it was late in the season, but they made a warm bit of colour. The house stands low, as do all houses surrounded by a moat, but the park rises a little directly behind it and there is a fine background of wood.

We drew up at a flight of broad, shallow steps; the doors were open. There were three or four footmen in the ante-room. While we were taking off our wraps Mme. de Courval appeared; she was short, stout, dressed in black, with that terrible black cap which all widows wear in France - so different from the white cap and soft white muslin collar and cuffs we are accustomed to. She had a charming, easy manner and looked very intelligent and capable. It seems she managed the property extremely well, made the tour of the house, woods and garden every day with her "regisseur." W. had the highest opinion of her business capacity - said she knew the exact market value of everything on the place - from an old tree that must be cut down for timber to the cheeses the farmer's wife made and sold at the Soissons market.

She suggested that I should come upstairs to leave my heavy coat. We went up a broad stone staircase, the walls covered with pictures and engravings; one beautiful portrait of her daughter, the Marquise de Chaponay, on horseback. There were handsome carved chests and china vases on the landing, which opened on a splendid long gallery, very high and light - bedrooms on one side, on the other big windows (ten or twelve, I should think) looking over the park and gardens. She took me to a large, comfortable room, bright wood fire blazing, and a pretty little dressing-room opening out of it, furnished in a gay, old-fashioned pattern of chintz. She said breakfast would be ready in ten minutes - supposed I could find my way down, and left me to my own devices.

I found the family assembled in the drawing-room; four women: Mme. de Courval and her daughter, the Marquise de Chaponay, a tall handsome woman, and two other ladies of a certain age; I did not catch their names, but they looked like all the old ladies one always sees in a country house in France. I should think they were cousins or habituees of the chateau, as they each had their embroidery frame and one a little dog. I am haunted by the embroidery frames - I am sure I shall end my days in a black cap, bending over a frame making portieres or a piano-cover.

We breakfasted in a large square dining-room running straight through the house, windows on each side. The room was all in wood panelling - light gray - the sun streaming in through the windows. Mme. de Courval put W. on her right, me on her other side. We had an excellent breakfast, which we appreciated after our early start. There was handsome old silver on the table and sideboard, which is a rare thing in France, as almost all the silver was melted during the Revolution. Both Mme. de Courval and her daughter were very easy and animated. The Marquise de Chaponay told me she had known W. for years, that in the old days before he became such a busy man and so engrossed in politics he used to read Alfred de Musset to her, in her atelier, while she painted. She supposed he read now to me - which he certainly never did - as he always told me he hated reading aloud. They talked politics, of course, but their opinions were the classic Faubourg St. Germain opinions: "A Republic totally unfitted for France and the French" - "none of the gentlemen in France really Republican at heart" (with evidently a few exceptions) - W.'s English blood and education having, of course, influenced him.

As soon as breakfast was over one of the windows on the side of the moat was opened and we all gave bread to the carp, handed to us by the butler - small square pieces of bread in a straw basket. It was funny to see the fish appear as soon as the window was opened - some of them were enormous and very old. It seems they live to a great age; a guardian of the Palace at Fontainebleau always shows one to tourists, who is supposed to have been fed by the Emperor Napoleon. Those of Pinon knew all about it, lifting their brown heads out of the water and never missing their piece of bread.

We went back to the drawing-room for coffee, passing through the billiard room, where there are some good pictures. A fine life-size portrait of General Moreau (father of Mme. de Courval) in uniform, by Gerard - near it a trophy of four flags - Austrian, Saxon, Bavarian, and Hungarian - taken by the General; over the trophy three or four "lames d'honneur" (presentation swords) with name and inscription. There are also some pretty women's portraits in pastel - very delicate colours in old-fashioned oval frames - quite charming.

The drawing-room was a very handsome room also panelled in light gray carved wood; the furniture rather heavy and massive, curtains and coverings of thick, bright flowered velvet, but it looked suitable in that high old-fashioned room - light modern furniture would have been out of place.

As soon as we had finished our coffee we went for a walk - not the two old ladies, who settled down at once to their embroidery frames; one of them showed me her work - really quite beautiful - a church ornament of some kind, a painted Madonna on a ground of white satin; she was covering the whole ground with heavy gold embroidery, so thick it looked like mosaic.

The park is splendid, a real domain, all the paths and alleys beautifully kept and every description of tree - M. de Courval was always trying experiments with foreign trees and shrubs and apparently most successfully. I think the park would have been charming in its natural state, as there was a pretty little river running through the grounds and some tangles of bushes and rocks that looked quite wild - it might have been in the middle of the forest but everything had been done to assist nature. There were a "piece d'eau," cascades, little bridges thrown over the river in picturesque spots, and on the highest point a tower (donjon), which was most effective, looked quite the old feudal towers of which so few remain now. They were used as watch towers, as a sentinel posted on the top could see a great distance over the plains and give warning of the approach of the enemy. As the day was fine - no mist - we had a beautiful view from the top, seeing plainly the great round tower of Coucy, the finest ruin in France - the others made out quite well the towers of the Laon Cathedral, but those I couldn't distinguish, seeing merely a dark spot on the horizon which might have been a passing cloud.

Coming back we crossed the "Allee des Soupirs," which has its legend like so many others in this country: It was called the "Allee des Soupirs" on account of the tragedy that took place there. The owner of the chateau at that time - a Comte de Lamothe - discovered his wife on too intimate terms with his great friend and her cousin; they fought in the Allee, and the Comte de Lamothe was killed by his friend. The widow tried to brave it out and lived on for some time at the chateau; but she was accursed and an evil spell on the place - everything went wrong and the chateau finally burnt down. The place was then sold to the de Courval family.

At the end of an hour the Marquise had had enough; I should not think she was much of a walker; she was struggling along in high-heeled shoes and proposed that she and I should return to the house and she would show me her atelier. W. and Mme. de Courval continued their tour of inspection which was to finish at the Home Farm, where she wanted to show him some small Breton cows which had just arrived. The atelier was a charming room; panelled like all the others in a light grey wood. One hardly saw the walls, for they were covered with pictures, engravings and a profusion of mirrors in gilt oval frames. It was evidently a favourite haunt of the Marquise's: books, papers and painting materials scattered about; the piano open and quantities of music on the music-stand; miniatures, snuff-boxes and little old-fashioned bibelots on all the tables, and an embroidery frame, of course, in one of the windows, near it a basket filled with bright coloured silks. The miniatures were, almost all, portraits of de Courvals of every age and in every possible costume: shepherdesses, court ladies of the time of Louis XV, La Belle Ferronniere with the jewel on her forehead, men in armour with fine, strongly marked faces; they must have been a handsome race. It is a pity there is no son to carry on the name. One daughter-in-law had no children; the other one, born an American, Mary Ray of New York, had only one daughter, the present Princesse de Poix, to whom Pinon now belongs.

We played a little; four hands - the classics, of course. All French women of that generation who played at all were brought up on strictly classical music. She had a pretty, delicate, old-fashioned touch; her playing reminded me of Madame A.'s.

When it was too dark to see any more we sat by the fire and talked till the others came in. She asked a great deal about my new life in Paris - feared I would find it stiff and dull after the easy happy family life I had been accustomed to. I said it was very different, of course, but there was much that was interesting, only I did not know the people well enough yet to appreciate the stories they were always telling about each other, also that I had made several "gaffes" quite innocently. I told her one which amused her very much, though she could not imagine how I ever could have said it. It was the first year of my marriage; we were dining in an Orleanist house, almost all the company Royalists and intimate friends of the Orleans Princes, and three or four moderate, very moderate Republicans like us. It was the 20th of January and the women were all talking about a ball they were going to the next night, 21st of January (anniversary of the death of Louis XVI). They supposed they must wear mourning - such a bore. Still, on account of the Comtesse de Paris and the Orleans family generally, they thought they must do it - upon which I asked, really very much astonished: "On account of the Orleans family? but did not the Duc d'Orleans vote the King's execution?" There was an awful silence and then M. Leon Say, one of the cleverest and most delightful men of his time, remarked, with a twinkle in his eye: "Ma foi; je crois que Mme. Waddington a raison." There was a sort of nervous laugh and the conversation was changed. W. was much annoyed with me, "a foreigner so recently married, throwing down the gauntlet in that way." I assured him I had no purpose of any kind - I merely said what I thought, which is evidently unwise.

Mme. de Chaponay said she was afraid I would find it very difficult sometimes. French people - in society at least - were so excited against the Republic, anti-religious feeling, etc. "It must be very painful for you." "I don't think so; you see I am American, Republican and a Protestant; my point of view must be very different from that of a Frenchwoman and a Catholic." She was very charming, however; intelligent, cultivated, speaking beautiful French with a pretty carefully trained voice - English just as well; we spoke the two languages going from one to the other without knowing why. I was quite sorry when we were summoned to tea. The room looked so pretty in the twilight, the light from the fire danced all over the pictures and gilt frames of the mirrors, leaving the corners quite in shadow. The curtains were not drawn and we saw the darkness creeping up over the lawn; quite at the edge of the wood the band of white mist was rising, which we love to see in our part of the country, as it always means a fine day for the morrow.

We had a cheery tea. W. and Mme. de Courval had made a long "tournee," and W. quite approved of all the changes and new acquisitions she had made, particularly the little Breton cows. We left rather hurriedly as we had just time to catch our train.

Our last glimpse of the chateau as we looked back from the turn in the avenue was charming; there were lights in almost all the windows, which were reflected in the moat; the moon was rising over the woods at the back, and every tower and cornice of the enormous pile stood out sharply in the cold clear light.

       * * * * *

We didn't move often once we were settled in the chateau for the autumn. It was very difficult to get W. away from his books and coins and his woods; but occasionally a shooting party tempted him. We went sometimes, about the Toussaint when the leaves were nearly fallen, to stay with friends who had a fine chateau and estate about three hours by rail from Paris, in the midst of the great plains of the Aube. The first time we went, soon after my marriage, I was rather doubtful as to how I should like it. I had never stayed in a French country house and imagined it would be very stiff and formal; however, the invitation was for three days - two days of shooting and one of rest - and I thought that I could get through without being too homesick.

We arrived about 4.30 for tea; the journey from Paris was through just the same uninteresting country one always sees when leaving by the Gare de l'Est. I think it is the ugliest sortie of all Paris. As we got near the chateau the Seine appeared, winding in and out of the meadows in very leisurely fashion. We just saw the house from the train, standing rather low. The station is at the park gates - in fact, the railway and the canal run through the property. Two carriages were waiting (we were not the only guests), and a covered cart for the maids and baggage. A short drive through a fine avenue of big trees skirting broad lawns brought us to the house, which looked very imposing with its long facade and rows of lighted windows. We drove through arcades covered with ivy into a very large court-yard, the chateau stables and communs taking three sides. There was a piece d'eau at one end, a colombier at the other. There was no perron or stately entrance; in one corner a covered porch, rather like what one sees in England, shut in with glass door and windows and filled with plants, a good many chrysanthemums, which made a great mass of colour. The hall doors were wide open as the carriage drove up, Monsieur A. and his wife waiting for us just inside, Mme. A. his mother, the mistress of the chateau, at the door of the salon. We went into a large, high hall, well lighted, a bright fire burning, plenty of servants. It looked most cheerful and comfortable on a dark November afternoon. We left our wraps in the hall, and went straight into the drawing-room. I have been there so often since that I hardly remember my first impression. It was a corner room, high ceiling, big windows, and fine tapestries on the walls; some of them with a pink ground (very unusual), and much envied and admired by all art collectors. Mme. A. told me she found them all rolled up in a bundle in the garret when she married. A tea-table was standing before the sofa, and various people working and having their tea. We were not a large party - Comte and Comtesse de B. (she a daughter of the house) and three or four men, deputies and senators, all political. They counted eight guns. We sat there about half an hour, then there was a general move, and young Mme. A. showed us our rooms, which were most comfortable, fires burning, lamps lighted. She told us dinner was at 7.30; the first bell would ring at seven. I was the only lady besides the family. I told my maid to ask some of the others what their mistresses were going to wear. She said ordinary evening dress, with natural flowers in their hair, and that I would receive a small bouquet, which I did, only as I never wear anything in my hair, I put them on my corsage, which did just as well.

The dinner was pleasant, the dining-room a fine, large hall (had been stables) with a fireplace at each end, and big windows giving on the court-yard. It was so large that the dinner table (we were fourteen) seemed lost in space. The talk was almost exclusively political and amusing enough. All the men were, or had been, deputies, and every possible question was discussed. Mme. A. was charming, very intelligent, and animated, having lived all her life with clever people, and having taken part in all the changes that France has gone through in the last fifty years. She had been a widow for about two years when I first stayed there, and it was pretty to see her children with her. Her two sons, one married, the other a young officer, were so respectful and fond of their mother, and her daughter perfectly devoted to her.

The men all went off to smoke after coffee, and we women were left to ourselves for quite a long time. The three ladies all had work - knitting or crochet - and were making little garments, brassieres, and petticoats for all the village children. They were quite surprised that I had nothing and said they would teach me to crochet. The evening was not very long after the men came back. Some remained in the billiard-room, which opens out of the salon, and played cochonnet, a favourite French game. We heard violent discussions as to the placing of the balls, and some one asked for a yard measure, to be quite sure the count was correct. Before we broke up M. A. announced the programme for the next day. Breakfast for all the men at eight o'clock in the dining-room, and an immediate start for the woods; luncheon at the Pavilion d'Hiver at twelve in the woods, the ladies invited to join the shooters and follow one or two battues afterward. It was a clear, cold night, and there seemed every prospect of a beautiful day for the battues.

The next morning was lovely. I went to my maid's room, just across the corridor to see the motors start. All our rooms looked out on the park, and on the other side of the corridor was a succession of small rooms giving on the court-yard, which were always kept for the maids and valets of the guests. It was an excellent arrangement, for in some of the big chateaux, where the servants were at the top of the house, or far off in another wing, communications were difficult. There were two carriages and a sort of tapissiere following with guns, servants, and cartridges. I had a message from Mme. A. asking if I had slept well, and sending me the paper; and a visit from Comtesse de B. who, I think, was rather anxious about my garments. She had told me the night before that the ploughed fields were something awful, and hoped I had brought short skirts and thick boots. I think the sight of my short Scotch homespun skirt and high boots reassured her. We started about 11.30 in an open carriage with plenty of furs and wraps. It wasn't really very cold - just a nice nip in the air, and no wind. We drove straight into the woods from the park. There is a beautiful green alley which faces one just going out of the gate, but it was too steep to mount in a carriage. The woods are very extensive, the roads not too bad - considering the season, extremely well kept. Every now and then through an opening in the trees we had a pretty view over the plains. As we got near the pavilion we heard shots not very far off - evidently the shooters were getting hungry and coming our way. It was a pretty rustic scene as we arrived. The pavilion, a log house, standing in a clearing, alleys branching off in every direction, a horse and cart which had brought the provisions from the chateau tied to one of the trees. It was shut in on three sides, wide open in front, a bright fire burning and a most appetizing table spread. Just outside another big fire was burning, the cook waiting for the first sportsman to appear to begin his classic dishes, omelette au lard and ragoat de mouton. I was rather hungry and asked for a piece of the pain de menage they had for the traqueurs (beaters). I like the brown country bread so much better than the little rolls and crisp loaves most people ask for in France. Besides our own breakfast there was an enormous pot on the fire with what looked like an excellent substantial soup for the men. In a few minutes the party arrived; first the shooters, each man carrying his gun; then the game cart, which looked very well garnished, an army of beaters bringing up the rear. They made quite a picturesque group, all dressed in white. There have been so many accidents in some of the big shoots, people imprudently firing at something moving in the bushes, which proved to be a man and not a roebuck, that M. A. dresses all his men in white. The gentlemen were very cheerful, said they had had capital sport, and were quite ready for their breakfast. We didn't linger very long at table, as the days were shortening fast, and we wanted to follow some of the battues. The beaters had their breakfast while we were having ours - were all seated on the ground around a big kettle of soup, with huge hunks of brown bread on their tin plates.

We started off with the shooters. Some walking, some driving, and had one pretty battue of rabbits; after that two of pheasants, which were most amusing. There were plenty of birds, and they came rocketing over our heads in fine style. I found that Comtesse de B. was quite right about the necessity for short skirts and thick boots. We stood on the edge of a ploughed field, which we had to cross afterward on our way home, and I didn't think it was possible to have such cakes of mud as we had on our boots. We scraped off some with sticks, but our boots were so heavy with what remained that the walk home was tiring.

Mme. A. was standing at the hall-door when we arrived, and requested us not to come into the hall, but to go in by the lingerie entrance and up the back stairs, so I fancy we hadn't got much dirt off. I had a nice rest until 4.30, when I went down to the salon for tea. We had all changed our outdoor garments and got into rather smart day dresses (none of those ladies wore tea-gowns). The men appeared about five; some of them came into the salon notwithstanding their muddy boots, and then came the livre de chasse and the recapitulation of the game, which is always most amusing. Everyman counted more pieces than his beater had found.

The dinner and evening were pleasant, the guests changing a little. Two of the original party went off before dinner, two others arrived, one of them a Cabinet minister (Finances). He was very clever and defended himself well when his policy was freely criticised. While we women were alone after dinner, Mme. A. showed me how to make crochet petticoats. She gave me a crochet-needle and some wool and had wonderful patience, for it seemed a most arduous undertaking to me, and all my rows were always crooked; however, I did learn, and have made hundreds since. All the children in our village pull up their little frocks and show me their crochet petticoats whenever we meet them. They are delighted to have them, for those we make are of good wool (not laine de bienfaisance, which is stiff and coarse), and last much longer than those one buys.

The second day was quite different. There was no shooting. We were left to our own devices until twelve o'clock breakfast. W. and I went for a short stroll in the park. We met M. A., who took us over the farm, all so well ordered and prosperous. After breakfast we had about an hour of salon before starting for the regular tournee de proprietaire through park and gardens. The three ladies - Mme. A., her daughter, and daughter-in-law - had beautiful work. Mme. A. was making portieres for her daughter's room, a most elaborate pattern, reeds and high plants, a very large piece of work; the other two had also very complicated work - one a table-cover, velvet, heavily embroidered, the other a church ornament (almost all the Frenchwomen of a certain monde turn their wedding dresses, usually of white satin, into a priest's vetement). The Catholic priests have all sorts of vestments which they wear on different occasions; purple in Lent, red on any martyr's fete, white for all the fetes of the Virgin. Some of the churches are very rich with chasubles and altar-cloths trimmed with fine old lace, which have been given to them. It looks funny sometimes to see a very ordinary country cure, a farmer's son, with a heavy peasant face, wearing one of those delicate white-satin chasubles.

Before starting to join the shooters at breakfast Mme. A. took me all over the house. It is really a beautiful establishment, very large, and most comfortable. Quantities of pictures and engravings, and beautiful Empire furniture. There is quite a large chapel at the end of the corridor on the ground-floor, where they have mass every Sunday. The young couple have a charming installation, really a small house, in one of the wings - bedrooms, dressing-rooms, boudoir, cabinet de travail, and a separate entrance - so that M. A. can receive any one who comes to see him on business without having them pass through the chateau. Mme. A. has her rooms on the ground-floor at the other end of the house. Her sitting-room with glass door opens into a winter garden filled with plants, which gives on the park; her bedroom is on the other side, looking on the court-yard; a large library next it, light and space everywhere, plenty of servants, everything admirably arranged.

The evening mail goes out at 7.30, and every evening at seven exactly the letter-carrier came down the corridor knocking at all the doors and asking for letters. He had stamps, too, at least French stamps. I could never get a foreign stamp (twenty-five centimes) - had to put one of fifteen and two of five when I had a foreign letter. I don't really think there were any in the country. I don't believe they had a foreign correspondent of any description. It was a thoroughly French establishment of the best kind.

We walked about the small park and gardens in the afternoon. The gardens are enormous; one can drive through them. Mme. A. drove in her pony carriage. They still had some lovely late roses which filled me with envy - ours were quite finished.

The next day was not quite so fine, gray and misty, but a good shooting day, no wind. We joined the gentlemen for lunch in another pavilion farther away and rather more open than the one of the other day. However, we were warm enough with our coats on, a good fire burning, and hot bricks for our feet. The battues (aux echelles) that day were quite a new experience for me. I had never seen anything like it. The shooters were placed in a semicircle, not very far apart. Each man was provided with a high double ladder. The men stood on the top (the women seated themselves on the rungs of the ladders and hung on as well as they could). I went the first time with W., and he made me so many recommendations that I was quite nervous. I mustn't sit too high up or I would gener him, as he was obliged to shoot down for the rabbits; and I mustn't sit too near the ground, or I might get a shot in the ankles from one of the other men. I can't say it was an absolute pleasure. The seat (if seat it could be called) was anything but comfortable, and the detonation of the gun just over my head was decidedly trying; still it was a novelty, and if the other women could stand it I could.

For the second battue I went with Comte de B. That was rather worse, for he shot much oftener than W., and I was quite distracted with the noise of the gun. We were nearer the other shooters, too, and I fancied their aim was very near my ankles. It was a pretty view from the top of the ladder. I climbed up when the battues were over. We looked over the park and through the trees, quite bare and stripped of their leaves, on the great plains, with hardly a break of wood or hills, stretching away to the horizon. The ground was thickly carpeted with red and yellow leaves, little columns of smoke rising at intervals where people were burning weeds or rotten wood in the fields; and just enough purple mist to poetize everything. B. is a very careful shot. I was with him the first day at a rabbit battue where we were placed rather near each other, and every man was asked to keep quite to his own place and to shoot straight before him. After one or two shots B. stepped back and gave his gun to his servant. I asked what was the matter. He showed me the man next, evidently not used to shooting, who was walking up and down, shooting in every direction, and as fast as he could cram the cartridges into his gun. So he stepped back into the alley and waited until the battue was over.

The party was much smaller that night at dinner. Every one went away but W. and me. The talk was most interesting - all about the war, the first days of the Assemblee Nationale at Bordeaux, and the famous visit of the Comte de Chambord to Versailles, when the Marechal de MacMahon, President of the Republic, refused to see him. I told them of my first evening visit to Mme. Thiers, the year I was married. Mme. Thiers lived in a big gloomy house in the Place St. Georges, and received every evening. M. Thiers, who was a great worker all his life and a very early riser, always took a nap at the end of the day. The ladies (Mlle. Dosne, a sister of Mme. Thiers, lived with them) unfortunately had not that good habit. They took their little sleep after dinner. We arrived there (it was a long way from us, we lived near the Arc de l'Etoile) one evening a little before ten. There were already four or five men, no ladies. We were shown into a large drawing-room, M. Thiers standing with his back to the fireplace, the centre of a group of black coats. He was very amiable, said I would find Mme. Thiers in a small salon just at the end of the big one; told W. to join their group, he had something to say to him, and I passed on. I did find Mme. Thiers and Mlle. Dosne in the small salon at the other end, both asleep, each in an arm-chair. I was really embarrassed. They didn't hear me coming in, and were sleeping quite happily and comfortably. I didn't like to go back to the other salon, where there were only men, so I sat down on a sofa and looked about me, and tried to feel as if it was quite a natural occurrence to be invited to come in the evening and to find my hostess asleep. After a few minutes I heard the swish of a satin dress coming down the big salon and a lady appeared, very handsome and well dressed, whom I didn't know at all. She evidently was accustomed to the state of things; she looked about her smilingly, then came up to me, called me by name, and introduced herself, Mme. A. the wife of an admiral whom I often met afterward. She told me not to mind, there wasn't the slightest intention of rudeness, that both ladies would wake up in a few minutes quite unconscious of having really slept. We talked about ten minutes, not lowering our voices particularly. Suddenly Mme. Thiers opened her eyes, was wide awake at once - how quietly we must have come in; she had only just closed her eyes for a moment, the lights tired her, etc. Mlle. Dosne said the same thing, and then we went on talking easily enough. Several more ladies came in, but only two or three men. They all remained in the farther room talking, or rather listening, to M. Thiers. He was already a very old man, and when he began to talk no one interrupted him; it was almost a monologue. I went back several times to the Place St. Georges, but took good care to go later, so that the ladies should have their nap over. One of the young diplomat's wives had the same experience, rather worse, for when the ladies woke up they didn't know her. She was very shy, spent a wretched ten minutes before they woke, and was too nervous to name herself. She was half crying when her husband came to the rescue.

We left the next morning early, as W. had people coming to him in the afternoon. I enjoyed my visit thoroughly, and told them afterward of my misgivings and doubts as to how I should get along with strangers for two or three days. I think they had rather the same feeling. They were very old friends of my husband's, and though they received me charmingly from the first, it brought a foreign and new element into their circle.

       * * * * *

Another interesting old chateau, most picturesque, with towers, moat, and drawbridge, is Lorrey-le-Bocage, belonging to the Comte de S. It stands very well, in a broad moat - the water clear and rippling and finishing in a pretty little stream that runs off through the meadows. The place is beautifully kept - gardens, lawns, courts, in perfect order. It has no particular historic interest for the family, having been bought by the parents of the present owner.

I was there, the first time, in very hot weather, the 14th of July (the French National fete commemorating the fall of the Bastille). I went for a stroll in the park the morning after I arrived, but I collapsed under a big tree at once - hadn't the energy to move. Everything looked so hot and not a breath of air anywhere. The moat looked glazed - so absolutely still under the bright summer sun - big flies were buzzing and skimming over the surface, and the flowers and plants were drooping in their beds.

Inside it was delightful, the walls so thick that neither heat nor cold could penetrate. The house is charming. The big drawing-room - where we always sat - was a large, bright room with windows on each side and lovely views over park and gardens; and all sorts of family portraits and souvenirs dating from Louis XV to the Comte de Paris. The men of the family - all ardent Royalists - have been, for generations, distinguished as soldiers and statesmen.

One of them - a son of the famous Marechal de S, brought up in the last years of the reign of Louis XV - carried his youthful ardour and dreams of liberty to America and took part, as did so many of the young French nobles, in the great struggle for independence that was being fought out on the other side of the Atlantic. Soon after his return to France he was named Ambassador to Russia to the court of Catherine II, and was supposed to have been very much in the good graces of that very pleasure-loving sovereign. He accompanied her on her famous trip to the Crimea, arranged for her by her minister and favourite, Potemkin - when fairy villages, with happy populations singing and dancing, sprang up in the road wherever she passed as if by magic - quite dispelling her ideas of the poverty and oppression of some of her subjects.

Among the portraits there is a miniature of the Empress Catherine. It is a fine, strongly marked face. She wears a high fur cap - a sort of military pelisse with lace jabots and diamond star. The son of the Marechal, also soldier and courtier, was aide-de-camp to Napoleon and made almost all his campaigns with him. His description of the Russian campaign and the retreat of the "Grande Armee" from Moscow is one of the most graphic and interesting that has ever been written of those awful days. His memoirs are quite charming. Childhood and early youth passed in the country in all the agonies of the Terror - simply and severely brought up in an atmosphere absolutely hostile to any national or popular movement.

The young student, dreaming of a future and regeneration for France, arrived one day in Paris, where an unwonted stir denoted that something was going on. He heard and saw the young Republican General Bonaparte addressing some regiments. He marked the proud bearing of the men - even the recruits - and in an explosion of patriotism his vocation was decided. He enlisted at once in the Republican ranks. It was a terrible decision to confide to his family, and particularly to his grandfather, the old Marechal de S. a glorious veteran of many campaigns and an ardent Royalist. His father approved, although it was a terrible falling off from all the lessons and examples of his family - but it was a difficult confession to make to the Marechal. I will give the scene in his own words (translated, of course - the original is in French).

"I was obliged to return to Chalenoy to relate my 'coup-de-tete' to my grandfather. I arrived early in the morning and approached his bed in the most humble attitude. He said to me, very sharply, 'You have been unfaithful to all the traditions of your ancestors - but it is done. Remember that you have enlisted voluntarily in the Republican army; serve it frankly and loyally, for your decision is made, you cannot now go back on it.' Then seeing the tears running down my cheeks (he too was moved), and taking my hand with the only one he had left, he drew me to him and pressed me on his heart. Then giving me seventy louis (it was all he had), he added, 'This will help you to complete your equipment - go, and at least carry bravely and faithfully, under the flag it has pleased you to choose, the name you bear and the honour of your family.'"

The present Count, too, has played a part in politics in these troublous times, when decisions were almost as hard to take, and one was torn between the desire to do something for one's country and the difficulty of detaching oneself from old traditions and memories. People whose grandfathers have died on the scaffold can hardly be expected to be enthusiastic about the Republic and the Marseillaise. Yet if the nation wants the Republic, and every election accentuates that opinion, it is very difficult to fight against the current.

When I first married, just after the Franco-Prussian War, there seemed some chance of the moderate men, on both sides, joining in a common effort against the radical movement, putting themselves at the head of it and in that way directing and controlling - but very soon the different sections in parliament defined themselves so sharply that any sort of compromise was difficult. My host was named deputy, immediately after the war, and though by instinct, training, and association a Royalist and a personal friend of the Orleans family, he was one of a small group of liberal-patriotic deputies who might have supported loyally a moderate Republic had the other Republicans not made their position untenable. There was an instinctive, unreasonable distrust of any of the old families whose names and antecedents had kept them apart from any republican movement.

We had pleasant afternoons in the big drawing-room. In the morning we did what we liked. The Maitresse de Maison never appeared in the drawing-room till the twelve o'clock breakfast. I used to see her from my window, coming and going - sometimes walking, when she was making the round of the farm and garden, oftener in her little pony carriage and occasionally in the automobile of her niece, who was staying in the house. She occupied herself very much with all the village - old people and children, everybody. After breakfast we used to sit sometimes in the drawing-room - the two ladies working, the Comte de S. reading his paper and telling us anything interesting he found there. Both ladies had most artistic work - Mme. de S. a church ornament, white satin ground with raised flowers and garlands, stretched, of course, on the large embroidery frames they all use. Her niece, Duchesse d'E., had quite another "installation" in one of the windows - a table with all sorts of delicate little instruments. She was book-binding - doing quite lovely things in imitation of the old French binding. It was a work that required most delicate manipulation, but she seemed to do it quite easily. I was rather humiliated with my little knit petticoats - very hot work it is on a blazing July day.