My First Years as a Frenchwoman, 1876-1879 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 183 pages of information about My First Years as a Frenchwoman, 1876-1879.
might interest him, and always spoke very well of him as a “clear-headed, patriotic statesman.”  I should have liked to have seen her in her prime, when she must have been extraordinarily beautiful and graceful.  When I did see her she was no longer young, but a stately, impressive figure, and had still the beautiful brow one sees in all her pictures.  One of our friends, a very clever woman and great anti-Bonapartist, told us an amusing story of her little son.  The child was sometimes in the drawing-room when his mother was receiving, and heard her and all her friends inveighing against the iniquities of the Imperial Court and the frivolity of the Empress.  He saw the Empress walking one day in the Bois de Boulogne.  She was attracted by the group of children, stopped and talked to them.  The boy was delighted and said to his governess:  “Elle est bien jolie, l’Imperatrice, mais il ne faut pas le dire a Maman.” (The Empress is very pretty, but one must not say it to mother.)

VII

THE BERLIN CONGRESS

Seventy-eight was a most important year for us in many ways.  Besides the interest and fatigues of the exposition and the constant receiving and official festivities of all kinds, a great event was looming before us—­the Berlin Congress.  One had felt it coming for some time.  There were all sorts of new delimitations and questions to be settled since the war in the Balkans, and Europe was getting visibly nervous.  Almost immediately after the opening of the exposition, the project took shape, and it was decided that France should participate in the Congress and send three representatives.  It was the first time that France had asserted herself since the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, but it was time for her now to emerge from her self-imposed effacement, and take her place in the Congress of nations.  There were many discussions, both public and private, before the plenipotentiaires were named, and a great unwillingness on the part of many very intelligent and patriotic Frenchmen to see the country launching itself upon dangerous ground and a possible conflict with Bismarck.  However, the thing was decided, and the three plenipotentiaries named—­Mr. Waddington, Foreign Minister, first; Comte de St. Vallier, a very clever and distinguished diplomatist, actual ambassador at Berlin, second; and Monsieur Desprey, Directeur de la Politique au Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, third.  He was also a very able man, one of the pillars of the ministry, au courant of every treaty and negotiation for the last twenty years, very prudent and clear-headed.  All W.’s colleagues were most cordial and charming on his appointment.  He made a statement in the House of the line of policy he intended to adopt—­and was absolutely approved and encouraged.  Not a disparaging word of any kind was said, not even the usual remark of “cet anglais qui nous represente.”  He started the 10th of June in the best conditions

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My First Years as a Frenchwoman, 1876-1879 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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