a star of the salons julie de lespinasse

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III FRENCH COUNTRY LIFE IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY "THE landed aristocracy of eighteenth-century A France fall readily into two main divisions—the families who, from want of means, were compelled to live all the year round in the country, and those who practically spent their lives in Paris or its immediate neighbourhood and regarded their estates as places of exile in which, from motives of economy, it was necessary to pass a few weeks or months annually. That the country might, for its own sake, be preferable to the town was scarcely an idea seriously entertained by either class before Rousseau had made it the fashion; and, in the picturesque language of the brothers Goncourt, " the century was then very old." When Julie de Lespinasse lived at Champrond the preference for the "city square" was so open and unabashed that those who could not afford a migration to Paris often spent the winter at the nearest large provincial town. We shall perhaps find that this frankly Philistinish attitude admits of some excuse if we endeavour to realise what was then meant by country life in France. The Parisian "smart set," of whom something will be said in a subsequent chapter, simply continued their ordinary routine of amusements so far as the altered conditions would admit, but the case was very different with the stay- at-home class, in which Gaspard de Vichy may be reckoned. He certainly paid an occasional visit toParis, with a view to keeping in touch with his sister, Madame du Deffand, who had a little money to leave and no child to inherit it, but on these occasions his household, with the exception of Madame de Vichy, remained behind in the peaceful—and economical— seclusion of Champrond. The monotonous dullness of that seclusion may be easily imagined if we bear in mind...
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