"You advise me to visit a great deal, in order to make new acquaintances, or to revive the old ones. That is, however, impossible. The distance is too great, and the ways too miry to go on foot; the muddy state of Paris being indescribable; and to take a coach, one may soon drive away four or five livres, and all in vain, for the people merely pay you compliments, and then it is over. They ask me to come on this or that day I play, and then they say, 'O c'est un prodige, c'est inconcevable, c'est étonnant; and then

Vous n'avez jamais lu un seul vers de mes poèmes? Alors, c'est étonnant." And then: "C'est que la réalité est plus forte que nous." The revolting irony of it!

They represent meaning, therefore, and just as money, their representative value goes up and down. The French word 'etonnant' was used by Bossuet with a terrible weight of meaning which it has lost to-day. A similar thing can be observed with the English word 'awful. Some nations constitutionally tend to understate, others to overstate.

To go in a carriage entails spending four or five livres a day, and all for nothing; it is true the people say all kinds of civil things, but there it ends, as they appoint me to come on such and such a day, when I play, and hear them exclaim, "Oh! c'est un prodige, c'est inconcevable, c'est etonnant!" and then, Adieu!

Vaguely he prayed it might all soon be over. Paul Destournelle looked down. He raised his eye-glass and bowed himself, examining Richard's mutilated legs and strangely-shod feet. He broke into a little, bleating, goat-like laugh. "Mais c'est etonnant!" he observed reflectively. "I was in his house," Helen continued. "I was there unprotected, having absolute faith in his loyalty."

And do you know I am surprised how well you speak Russian. C'est etonnant." Varvara Pavlovna sighed. "I have been too long abroad, Marya Dmitrievna, I know that; but my heart has always been Russian, and I have not forgotten my country." "Ah, ah; that is good. Fedor Ivanitch did not, however, expect you at all. Yes; you may trust my experience, la patri avant tout.

But he has been good enough to let me have Lavriki to live in." "Ah, a lovely place!" "I shall set off there to-morrow, according to his desire. But I considered it a duty to pay you a visit first." "I am very, very much obliged to you my dear. One ought never to forget one's relations. But do you know I am astonished at your speaking Russian so well. C'est étonnant." Varvara Pavlovna smiled.

"Nothing," replied Shelton, "I was just passing, and thought I should like to hear how you were getting on." "Come into the kitchen, monsieur, there is nobody in there. 'Brr! Il fait un froid etonnant'!" "What sort of customers have you just now?" asked Shelton, as they passed into the kitchen. "Always the same clientele," replied the little man; "not so numerous, of course, it being summer."

Before I left home all the servants came to see me, and their magnifique, and superbe, and etonnant quite turned my head, even with the helmet on. The Emperor and the Duke de Persigny went about in dominos, and flattered themselves that no one recognized them; but every one did. Who could have mistaken the broad back and the slow, undulating gait of the Emperor?

Paul Destournelle bent down and again examined him curiously. "C'est etonnant!" he repeated. He gave the prostrate body a contemptuous kick. "Dear madame, are you sufficiently avenged? Is it enough?" he inquired sneeringly. And vaguely, as from some incalculable distance, Richard heard Helen de Vallorbes' voice: "Yes it is a little affair of honour which dates from my childhood.