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e in their investigation. Marmontel is therefore honest enough to admit that he and his friends, as well as Madame Geoffrin herself, were accustomed to make a full parade when foreign princes, ministers, and celebrated men or women dined at the house. On such occasions especially, Madame Geoffrin displayed all the charms of her mind, and called to us, "now let us be agreeable." Geoffrin's house was the first school of _bon ton_ in Europe: Stanislaus Poniatowsky, even after he became King of Poland, addressed her by the tender name of mother, invited her to Warsaw, and received her as a personage of high distinction. All the German courts which followed the fashion, paid correspondents in order to be made acquainted with the trifles which occupied that circle. Catherine II. had no sooner mounted the throne than she began to pay a commissioner at this literary court, and even Maria Theresa distinguished Madame Geoffrin in a remarkable manner, on her return from Poland. Besides, we are made acquainted by Marmontel, who ranked his hostess among the gods of this earth, with the anxiety and cautiousness of this lady of the world, who afterward broke altogether with the chiefs of the new literature, and most humbly did homage to the old faith, because she had never wholly forsaken her old prejudices. The able writers of the time were used by Geoffrin only as means to promote her objects, to gain a reputation for splendor, and to glorify France. The King of Prussia sought her society, in order to refresh and cheer his mind when he was worn out with the cares and toils of government. Madame Geoffrin opened her house regularly on Mondays for artists, and on Wednesdays for men of learning; but as she neither understood the arts nor sciences, she took part in the conversation only so far as she could do so without exposing her weak side. She understood admirably how to attract the great men to her house, to whose houses she herself very seldom went; and as long as the appearance of fashionable infidelity and of scoffing, which was then the mode in the higher circles, was necessary to this object, she carefully concealed her real religious opinions. The weak Marmontel, who, according to his own description, was only fitted for superficial conversation and writing, boasts of the prudence, foresight and skill of his protectress, and shows how she understood the way to gain the confidence of others without ever yielding her o
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