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MY DEAREST FRIEND,
THE children made me a visit to-day, and went with me to dine with my old friends, the two Abbes, whom you have often heard me mention, Chalut and Arnoux, who desire me to mention them to you in my letters as devoted friends of America, and particular friends to me and to you, notwithstanding the difference of religion. The children are still in good health and spirits, and well pleased with their academy. Ah ! how much pain have these young gentle men cost me within these three months ! The mountains, the cold, the mules, the houses without chimneys or windows, the will not add. I wish for
a painter to draw me and my company mounted on muleback, or riding in the calashes, or walking, for we walked one third of the way. Yet by the help of constant care and expense, I have been able to get them all safe to Paris. The other moiety of the family is quite as near my heart, and therefore I hope they will never be ramblers. I am sick of rambling. If I could transport the other moiety of the family across the Atlantic with a wish, and be sure of returning them, when it should become necessary, in the same manner, how happy should I be !
I have been received here with much cordiality, and am daily visited by characters who do me much honor. Some day or other you will know, I believe, but I had better not say at present. Your friend, the Comte D Estaing, however, I ought to mention, because you have been acquainted with him. I have dined with him, and he has visited me and I him, and I hope to have many more conversations with him, for public reasons, not private, for on a private account great men and little are much alike to me.
Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard are going home in the Alliance, and, I hope, will make you a visit. How many vicissitudes they are to experience, as well as I and all the rest of our countrymen, I know not. The events of politics are not less uncertain than those of war. Whatever they may be, I shall be content. Of one thing I am pretty sure, that if I return again safe to America, I shall be happy the remainder of my days, because I shall stay at home, and at home I must be to be happy. There is no improbability that I may be obliged to come home again soon, for want of means to stay here. I hope, however, care will be taken that something may be done to supply us. My tenderest affection to Abby and Tommy. They are better off than their brothers, after all. I have been taking measures to send home your things. I hope to succeed by the Alliance. It shall not be my fault, if I do not. If I cannot send by her, I will wait for another frigate, if it is a year, for I have no confidence in other vessels.
Yours, forever yours.