In the slate drawing-rooms a fanciful notion of the Count’s was carried into effect and was greatly admired, though, I believe, owing to the great expense, the mode was not adopted in other houses, namely, on the folding-doors of the suite being thrown open to admit company, certain pedals connected with them were put in motion, and a strain of music was produced, which announced the presence of guests, and the doors of each of the drawing-rooms when opened took up the air, and continued it until closed.
Many of the old noblesse have been describing the splendour of the Hotel d’Orsay to me since I have been at Paris, and the Duc de Talleyrand said it almost realised the notion of a fairy palace. Could the owner who expended such vast sums on its decoration, behold it in its present ruin, he could never recognise it; but such would be the case with many a one whose stately palaces became the prey of a furious rabble, let loose to pillage by a revolution—that most fearful of all calamities, pestilence only excepted, that can befall a country.
General Ornano, his stepson Count Waleski, M. Achille La Marre, General d’Orsay, and Mr. Francis Baring dined here yesterday. General Ornano is agreeable and well-mannered. We had music in the evening, and the lively and pretty Madame la H—— came. She is greatly admired, and no wonder; for she is not only handsome, but clever and piquant. Hers does not appear to be a well-assorted marriage, for M. la H—— is grave, if not austere, in his manners, while she is full of gaiety and vivacity, the demonstrations of which seem to give him any thing but pleasure.
I know not which is most to be pitied, a saturnine husband whose gravity is only increased by the gaiety of his wife, or the gay wife whose exuberance of spirits finds no sympathy in the Mentor-like husband. Half, if not all, the unhappy marriages, accounted for by incompatibility of humour, might with more correctness be attributed to a total misunderstanding of each other’s characters and dispositions in the parties who drag a heavy and galling chain through life, the links of which might be rendered light and easy to be borne, if the wearers took but half the pains to comprehend each other’s peculiarities that they in general do to reproach or to resent the annoyance these peculiarities occasion them.
An austere man would learn that the gaiety of his wife was as natural and excusable a peculiarity in her, as was his gravity in him, and consequently would not resent it; and the lively wife would view the saturnine humour of her husband as a malady demanding forbearance and kindness.