At the end of the terrace, the wall which bounds it has been painted in fresco, with a view of Italian scenery; and this wall forms the back of an aviary, with a fountain that plays in the centre. A smaller aviary, constructed of glass, is erected on the end of the terrace, close to my library, from the window of which I can feed my favourite birds; and this aviary, as well as the library, is warmed by means of a stove beneath the latter. The terrace is covered by a lattice-work, formed into arched windows at the side next the court: over the sides and roof there are trailing parasitical plants. Nothing in the new residence pleases me so much as this suite, and the terrace attached to it.
Already do we begin to feel the unsettled state peculiar to an intended change of abode, and the prospect of entering a new one disturbs the sense of enjoyment of the old. Gladly would we remain where we are, for we prefer this hotel to any other at Paris; but the days we have to sojourn in it are numbered, and our regret is unavailing.
September, 1829.—A chasm of many months in my journal. When last I closed it, little could I have foreseen the terrible blow that awaited me. Well may I exclaim with the French writer whose works I have been just reading, “Nous, qui sommes bornes en tout, comment le sommes-nous si peu quand il s’agit de souffrir.” How slowly has time passed since! Every hour counted, and each coloured by care, the past turned to with the vain hope of forgetting the present, and the future no longer offering the bright prospect it once unfolded!
How is my destiny changed since I last opened this book! My hopes have faded and vanished like the leaves whose opening into life I hailed with joy six months ago, little dreaming that before the first cold breath of autumn had tinted them with brown, he who saw them expand with me would have passed from the earth!
October.—Ill, and confined to my chamber for several days, my physician prescribes society to relieve low spirits; but in the present state of mine, the remedy seems worse than the disease.
My old friends Mr. and Mrs. Mathews, and their clever son, have arrived at Paris and dined here yesterday. Mr. Matthews is as entertaining as ever, and his wife as amiable and spirituelle. They are excellent as well as clever people, and their society is very agreeable. Charles Mathews, the son, is full of talent, possesses all his father’s powers of imitation, and sings comic songs of his own composition that James Smith himself might be proud to have written.
The Duc and Duchesse de Guiche, the Marquise de Poulpry, Lady Combermere, Madame Craufurd, and Count Valeski, came in the evening, and were all highly gratified with some recitations and songs given us by Mr. Mathews and his son. They were not less pleased with Mrs. Mathews, whose manners and conversation are peculiarly fascinating, and whose good looks and youthfulness of appearance made them almost disbelieve that she could be the mother of a grown-up son.