anglo french reminiscences 1875 1899

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER in. A PORTRAIT-GALLERY (continued). "My husband has changed all that!"—"The religion of Voltaire." —Mr. John Morley at Nantes.—Feminine types. Among the habitue's of the Place Cambronne, were M. and Madame M , both types of the upper middle-class. Here I would remark that I have never found English nationality a bar to closest friendship, much less to social intercourse in France. I say it boldly. Most dear and strong have ever been the ties of friendship at home. As dear and strong have been those made by me on the other side of the channel. Among the friends whose affection makes the highest joy of my life, whom to lose is to be left desolate have been Frenchmen and Frenchwomen. As time wears on, however, many a cherished and gracious figure must be lost to sight, gradually drop out of one's ken, by the sheer force of circumstances. Nothing has occurred to disturb mutual harmony, there is no diminution of cordiality on either side; chance and change have separated us, and as Schopenhauer says, when friends no longer meet at reasonable intervals theybecome myths to each other. Thus it happens that both Madame M and her husband are now mere memories. Our intimacy began and ended during my twelve months' stay at Nantes. Savine, as I will call my charming friend, represented an especial class of Frenchwomen, much rarer twenty- five years ago than to-day; she was one of those convent-bred girls who had been rescued by marriage from a kind of glacial epoch, a condition of intellectual torpor and mental etiolation. "My husband has changed all that," she would say gaily, breaking off from early reminiscences to actual life, contrasting the commonsense, wholesome, satisfying present with the dwarfed, morbid, unreal past. If I have entertained and el...
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