Mackin, Sarah Maris Aloisa Britton Spottiswood.
A Society Woman on Two Continents.
New York & London: Transatlantic Publishing Co., 1896. p130-131.
At this time Lord Lytton was the British ambassador [1890s, Paris]. He asked for an introduction to me. I rewarded and enchanted him by telling that I had fallen madly in love at sweet sixteen with Owen Meredith, as represented in the frontispiece of the copy of “Lucille” that I had read and sentimentalized over at that susceptible age. He bowed his thanks, and, with the grace of a Chesterfield, said –
“May I hope, madam, that in meeting with the original you are not ‘dissillusioné.’ In the atmosphere of diplomacy surrounding me I could but answer as was his pleasure. But Lord Lytton at fifty was certainly not the ideal poet of one’s imagination. He was small of stature and wore his long, black hair in ringlets, which were not becoming; but if he could not fascinate me with his beauty he certainly could with his conversation, which was full of poetry and compliment and charm. Among others that I met at this reception were the Minister of War and Mme. And Mlle. De Freycinet. The official receptions at the Minstére de la Guerre I always enjoyed exceedingly. The gold lace, the clanging of steel and the music of the military brass band were certainly inspiring. At one of these receptions, when Hon. Whitelaw Reid was our representative to France, I saw him enter with Mrs. Reid, Mr. D. O. Mills, and two very pretty women. In tones of admiration I asked him who they were. He replied: --
“Of course they are Americans. Mrs. McKee and Mrs. Russell Harrison.”
I afterward saw them at a garden party at the Elysée, where, with the exception of those officially credited, we were the only Americans. At this Sunday-afternoon reception I saw the largest cotillion that it has ever been my pleasure to assist at. There must have been five hundred couples in line, as we made the tour of the gardens to a polka step, and arrived before Mme. Carnot, to receive from her hand, the women, a corbeille of flowers, the men, a boutonnière.
Last revised: 23 August 2010