44 ENGLISH OPINION made, to the fashionable circles of pri- vate society. Paris has long been looked up to by many with admiration, as the centre of all that is brilliant in wit, or fascinating in conversation. In a capital, winch be- fore the Revolution was said to contain twenty thousand men of letters, high so- ciety was not likely to want eulogists. The extravagant encomiums bestowed on these societies by their own people, and echoed back by ours, may preVent its being thought inexpedient togive a super- ficial sketch of a few of the leading cha- racters which seem to have set the supe, riority of the circles over which theypre- sided above all competition. It is, we repeat, the apprehension that this boasted superiority may kindle undue admiration, and even excite envy, in the ardent and ingenuous mind of young persons of taste, who feel themselves precluded f'rom the enjoyment, which must apologize for the freedom, whilst it explains the mO tive, of these observations.