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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Strange Scene at Mass

By Gouverneur Morris (1752–1816)

[Morris’s Diary.—From The Life of Gouverneur Morris. By Jared Sparks. 1832.]

THIS morning I go to Reinsi. Arrive at eleven. Nobody yet visible. After some time the Duchess (of Orleans) appears, and tells me, that she has given Madame de Chastellux notice of my arrival. This consists with my primitive idea. Near twelve before the breakfast is paraded; but, as I had eaten mine before my departure, this has no present inconvenience. After breakfast we go to mass in the chapel. In the tribune above, we have a Bishop, an Abbé, the Duchess, her maids, and some of their friends. Madame de Chastellux is below on her knees. We are amused above by a number of little tricks played off by Monsieur de Ségur and Monsieur de Cabières with a candle, which is put into the pockets of different gentlemen, the Bishop’s among the rest, and lighted, while they are otherwise engaged (for there is a fire in the tribune), to the great merriment of the spectators. Immoderate laughter is the consequence. The Duchess preserves as much gravity as she can. This scene must be very edifying to the domestics, who are opposite to us, and the villagers who worship below.

After this ceremony is concluded, we commence our walk, which is long and excessively hot. Then we get into batteaux, and the gentlemen row the ladies, which is by no means a cool operation. After that, more walking; so that I am excessively inflamed, even to fever heat. Get to the Château, and doze a little, en attendant le dîné, which does not come till after five. A number of persons surround the windows, and doubtless form a high idea of the company to whom they are obliged to look up at an awful distance. Ah, did they but know how trivial the conversation, how very trivial the characters, their respect would soon be changed to an emotion extremely different.