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Besides presenting a vivid picture of manners in a picturesque age, this work contains a unique series of impressions from foreign courts seldom visited and nowhere else so intimately described. Lady Mary was the wife of a popular ambassador and, wielding the charm of a strong personality, was enabled to see and hear many things of which the ordinary traveler, or resident abroad, knew - and knows - little or nothing. Originally written, for the most part, to her sisters, her daughter, or to very intimate friends, her Letters are unusually detailed and frank. She was a keen observer, not superior to the love of gossip with a quick eye for the telling features of a story or situation, and an easy, effective style.