类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-29 21:39:59


To which astounding assertion she replied in those terms of flattery in which alone it was safe to address the individuals who were not tyrants, and whose motto was Liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Unscrupulous, heartless, remorseless, yet he was a saint and angel compared to the frantic, raving, blood-stained miscreants whom he had displaced, and whose work he was now occupied in undoing as fast as he could.

The young princes and princesses, however, in spite of the disputes, jealousies, and quarrels that occurred amongst them, agreed in amusing themselves very well together. They gave balls, theatricals and ftes of all kinds; the Queen was very fond of cards, and gambling went on to an extent which, with the money spent on ftes and in other still more reprehensible ways, especially by the Comte dArtois, though it could have passed as a matter of course under former reigns, now increased the irritation and discontent which every year grew stronger and more dangerous. For the distress amongst the lower orders was terrible; for years marriages and the birthrate had been decreasing in an alarming manner; the peasants declaring that it was no use bringing into the world children to be as miserable as themselves.By the King and royal family Mme. Le Brun was received with especial favour and kindness, most of the returned emigrs were her friends, and Paris was now again all that she wished.This perilous state of affairs added to a letter Pauline received from her cousin, the Comtesse dEscars, who had arrived at Aix-la-Chapelle, had seen M. de Beaune there, and heard him speak with bitterness and grief of his sons obstinacy, which he declared was breaking his heart, at length induced him to yield to his fathers commands and his wifes entreaties. He consented to emigrate, but stipulated that they should go to England, not to Coblentz, and went to Paris to see what arrangements he could make for that purpose. While he was away La Fayette and his wife passed through the country, receiving an ovation at every village through which they passed. The King had accepted the constitution, and La Fayette had resigned the command of the National Guard and was retiring with his family to his estates at Chavaniac, declaring and thinking that the Revolution was at an end.

To divert his thoughts and attention from the rigours and cruelties, for the perpetration of which he had been sent to Bordeaux, she persuaded him to have his portrait done, and induced him and the artist to prolong the sittings on pretence of making the picture a chef d?uvre, but in reality to occupy his time and attention; in fact, he was found by some one who called to see him reclining comfortably in a boudoir, dividing his attention between the artist who was painting the portrait and Trzia, who was also present.

And what could be more contradictory to the jargon about Nature, whose guidance, impulses, feelings, &c., were to be so implicitly obeyed, than the spectacle of a woman in the height of her youth and beauty, loving her husband, and yet amusing herself by writing in her pocket-book in this cold-blooded manner, a long list of his infidelities and ending by expressing her satisfaction?

It was, perhaps, worst of all at Marly, beautiful Marly, so soon to be utterly swept away; for there such was the relaxation of etiquette that any decently-dressed person might enter the salon and join in the play, with the permission of the ladies of high rank to whom they gave part of their winnings. People came there in crowds, and on one occasion the Comte de Tavannes, coming up with a look of consternation to the Comte de Provence, whisperedWhat for?[140]

When on the fte Sainte Catherine he gave a great banquet supposed to be in honour of the Empress, crystal cups full of diamonds were brought in at dessert, the diamonds being served in spoonsful to the ladies.

Lisette at first wished to refuse this offer. She did not at all dislike M. Le Brun, but she was by no means in love with him, and as she could make plenty of money by her profession, she had no anxiety about the future and no occasion to make a mariage de convenance. But her mother, who seems to have had the talent for doing always the wrong thing, and who fancied that M. Le Brun was very rich, did not cease to persecute her by constant representations and entreaties not to refuse such an excellent parti, and she was still more influenced by the desire to escape from her step-father, who, now that he had no occupation, was more at home and more intolerable than ever.One evening he was at the Opera ball, then frequented by people in good society. Masked or not, they were equally known to M. dEspinchal, who as he walked through the rooms saw a man whom he actually did not know, wandering about with distracted looks. He went up to him, asking if he could be of any use, and was told by the perplexed stranger that he had just arrived from Orlans with his wife, who had insisted on coming to the Opera ball, that he had lost her in the crowd, and that she did not know the name of the h?tel or street where they were. Calm yourself, said M. dEspinchal, Madame, your wife is sitting by the second window in the foyer. I will take you to her, which he did. The husband overwhelmed him with thanks and asked how he could possibly have known her.



[420]Well, you must be very glad, for Mme. Le Brun has just arrived.

On the day of the ceremony the children, dressed in white, were brought into the church, where the grand prior, after making them say the creed and answer certain questions, cut off a lock of their hair, tied a piece of black and white material on their heads, put a black silk girdle round their waists, and hung round their necks the red cordon and enamelled cross of the order. After a short exhortation, followed by high mass, the children were embraced by the chanoinesses, and the day ended with suitable festivities.



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