Our party was very brilliant, all sorts of notabilities of all kinds, and the leading Paris artists from the Grand Opera, Opera Comique, and the Francais. As soon as the performance was over W. told me I must go and thank the artists; he could not leave his princes. I started off to the last of the long suite of salons where they were all assembled. Comte de L., W.’s chef de cabinet, went with me, and we were preceded by a huissier with sword and chain, who piloted us through the crowd. I felt very shy when I arrived in the greenroom. The artists were drawn up in two rows, the women on one side, the men on the other, all eyes of course fixed upon madame la ministresse. Madame Carvalho, Sarah Bernhardt, and Croizette were standing at the head of the long line of women; Faure, Talazac, Delaunay, Coquelin, on the other side. I went first all along the line of women, then came back by the men. I realised instantly after the first word of thanks and interest how easy it is for princes, or any one in high places, to give pleasure. They all responded so smilingly and naturally to everything I said. After the first two or three words, I didn’t mind at all, and found myself discussing acoustics, the difficulty of playing any well-known part without costumes, scenery, etc., the inconvenience of having the public so near, quite easily. We often had music and recitations at our parties, and that was always a great pleasure to me. I remember so well one evening when we had the chorus of the Conservatoire and they sang quite beautifully the old “Plaisirs d’Amour” of our childhood. It had a great success and they were obliged to repeat it. W. made one great innovation in the dress of the ladies of the Conservatoire chorus. They were always dressed in white, which was very well for the young, slight figures, but was less happy for a stout middle-aged lady. So after much discussion it was decided to adopt black as the official dress and I must say it was an enormous improvement.
All sorts of interesting people came to see us at the Ministry of Public Instruction,—among others the late Emperor of Brazil, Don Pedro de Bragance, who spent some months in Paris that year with his daughter, the young Comtesse d’Eu. He was a tall, good-looking man, with a charming easy manner, very cultivated and very keen about everything—art, literature, politics. His gentlemen said he had