"Marius," Book Two: Chapter VII
Rule: Receive No One Except in the Evening
Such was M. Luc-Esprit Gillenormand, who had not lost his hair,—which was gray rather than white,—and which was always dressed in "dog's ears." To sum up, he was venerable in spite of all this.
He had something of the eighteenth century about him; frivolous and great.
In 1814 and during the early years of the Restoration, M. Gillenormand, who was still young,—he was only seventy-four,—lived in the Faubourg Saint Germain, Rue Servandoni, near Saint-Sulpice. He had only retired to the Marais when he quitted society, long after attaining the age of eighty.
And, on abandoning society, he had immured himself in his habits. The principal one, and that which was invariable, was to keep his door absolutely closed during the day, and never to receive any one whatever except in the evening. He dined at five o'clock, and after that his door was open. That had been the fashion of his century, and he would not swerve from it. "The day is vulgar," said he, "and deserves only a closed shutter. Fashionable people only light up their minds when the zenith lights up its stars." And he barricaded himself against every one, even had it been the king himself. This was the antiquated elegance of his day.
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