11 May 1789: handsomest arm in France & the spring of Europe

Monday… (…) Call on Madame de Flahaut who is at Tric-Trac with two or three Gent[lemen] who had dined with her. From thence to Madame de Puisignieu, Mad: de Ségur, Mons[ieu]r Millet, all from Home. Madame de Chattellux; sit with her a little while. She receives a Message from the Dutchess & sends in her Answer that I am with her and have charged her with a Commission &c. This is to make my Thanks for her royal Highness’s kind Attention in sending to Versailles for a Ticket of Admission to the
Opening of the States General. In a few Minutes she comes in, tells me that she came on Purpose to see me, observes that I have been out of Town. Hopes to see me frequently at Madame de Chattellux’s. Is sorry the present Visit must be so short but she is going with Madame de C. to take a Ride and make some Visits. To all this I can make no Reply but by Look and Manner expressive of deep Humility and a grateful Sense of the Kindness and
Honor done to me. In Fact my Tongue has never been sufficiently practised in this Jargon and always asks my Heart what it shall say, and while this last, after Deliberation, refers to the Head for Counsel, the proper Moment has elapsed. As I think I understand her royal Highness and am in Course tolerably safe on the Side of Vanity, there remains but one Port to guard and that is shut up. She has perhaps the handsomest Arm in France, and from Habit takes off her Glove and has always Occasion to touch some Part of her Face so as to shew the Hand and Arm to Advantage. Call on Madame du Molley, who is at Chess. Madame Cabarrus comes in. I tell her it is the Fault of La Caze that I have not paid my Respects at her Hotel. She tells me I need no Introductor &c., &c. She has a beautiful Hand and very fine Eyes. These in a very intelligible Manner say that she has no Objection to receiving the Assurances how fine they are. She goes soon to Madrid and will be glad to see me both here and there &c. Slip away without staying to Supper and return Home. The Weather is extremely warm and like to continue so. The Spring of Europe which has been so much vaunted by the Natives from Affection and the Prejudices which it occasions, and by Travellers from the Vanity of appearing to have seen or tasted or smelt or felt something finer or nicer or sweeter or softer than their Neighbours, — the Spring of Europe has reduced itself this Year at least to one Week, viz the three last Days of April and the four first of May, and in this short Spring Parker by changing his Waistcoat has taken the Rheumatism.

A diary of the French revolution, by Gouverneur Morris, 1752-1816. Ed. by Beatrix Cary Davenport. Vol. 1 (Boston, 1939), p. 75-76.

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