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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 51 / 106





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I begin to find my situation here more tolerable, considering all circumstances. I find a great advantage in being much oc- cupied; and the number of persons I meet, and their different pursuits, create a varied entertainment for me. I have formed the acquaintance of the Count C— and I esteem him more and more every day. He is a man of strong understanding and great discernment; but, though he sees farther than other people, he is not on that account cold in his manner, but capable of inspiring and returning the warmest affection. He appeared interested in me on one occasion, when I had to transact some business with him. He perceived, at the first word, that we understood each other, and that he could con- verse with me in a different tone from what he used with others. I cannot sufficiently esteem his frank and open kind- ness to me. It is the greatest and most genuine of pleasures to observe a great mind in sympathy with our own.

AS I ANTICIPATED, the ambassador occasions me infinite an- noyance. He is the most punctilious blockhead under heaven. He does everything step by step, with the trifling minuteness of an old woman; and he is a man whom it is impossible to please, because he is never pleased with himself. I like to do business regularly and cheerfully, and, when it is finished, to leave it. But he constantly returns my papers to me, saying, “They will do,” but recommending me to look over them again, as “one may always improve by using a better word or a more appropriate particle.” I then lose all patience, and wish myself at the devil’s. Not a conjunction, not an adverb, must be omitted: he has a deadly antipathy to all those transposi- tions of which I am so fond; and, if the music of our periods is not tuned to the established, official key, he cannot com- prehend our meaning. It is deplorable to be connected with such a fellow.

My acquaintance with the Count C— is the only compen- sation for such an evil. He told me frankly, the other day, that he was much displeased with the difficulties and delays of the


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