He was, in fact, a visionary, credulous enthusiast, with an overweening vanity and belief in his own importance; obstinate and self-confident to a degree that prevented his ever seeing the fallacy of his views. His own conceit, and the flattery and adulation of his family and friends, made him think that he, and no other, was the man to save and direct France. His very virtues and attractions  were mischievous in converting others to his unpractical and dangerous views.Now Mme. de Genlis had without the least doubt many good and distinguished qualities, and as we all know, human nature is fallible and inconsistent; but it would surely have been better that a woman,  who could coolly and deliberately arrange such a marriage for her young daughter, simply and solely from reasons of worldly ambition, should not talk so much about disinterested virtue, contempt of riches, and purity of motives.
Their carriage never came, so Mme. de Genlis had to take them home in hers, which appeared about two o’clock, and it was half-past three when she arrived at the h?tel de Puisieux, where everybody was up and in a fever of anxiety, thinking she was killed, for they knew what she did not, that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of persons had perished.
Of all of them the greatest was Potemkin, a Polish officer, to whom it was rumoured that she was secretly married, and whom she made Generalissimo of the Armies of Russia, Grand Admiral of the Fleet, and supreme Hetman of the Cossacks.
“Mesdames de France,” the King’s daughters, of whom there had been seven or eight, were now reduced to five, four of whom were unmarried. Nothing is more characteristic of the period than the way these princesses were brought up and educated; and the light thrown upon manners and customs early in the eighteenth century gives interest to all the details concerning them.“Because she will die.”
“See Madame, people go also to pay their court to Mme. Le Brun. They must certainly be rendezvous which they have at her house.”Mme. Le Brun describes her as affectionate, simple, and royally generous. Hearing that the French Ambassador to Venice, M. de Bombelle, was the only one who refused to sign the Constitution, thereby reducing himself and his family to poverty; she wrote to him that all sovereigns owed a debt of gratitude to faithful subjects, and gave him a pension of twelve thousand francs. Two of his sons became Austrian ministers at Turin and Berne, another was Grand-Master of the household of Marie Louise.“Mordieu! no.”
“Well! you take everything for granted,” he said. “I am glad to see that if ever you become powerful favours will fall from your hands as if by miracle.“Madame, do you know what it costs to wish for once in one’s life to see the sun rise? Read that and tell me what you think of the poetry of our friends.”
Capital letter TMme. de Genlis, however she might blind herself, must have known quite well the real character of Philippe-égalité, and if she had all the desire she professed for the virtue and welfare of her pupils, she can hardly have thought that the example of one of the most dissipated scoundrels in France, whose health, as she owns, was early impaired by his vices, would be desirable for them to follow.
“What a deliverance!”
She had now only her niece, Henriette, with her, and they set out again upon their travels. M. de Valence, after serving the revolutionists, had been proscribed by them, and was living in exile at Utrecht. There, accordingly, they joined him, and set up a joint ménage, first there, afterwards at Altona and at Hamburg.M. de Saint-Aubin, meanwhile, whose affairs, which grew worse and worse, were probably not improved by his mismanagement nor by the residence of his wife and daughter in Paris, stayed in Burgundy, coming every now and then to see them. Mlle. de Mars had left them, to the great grief of Félicité, who was now fourteen, and whom the Baron de Zurlauben, Colonel of the Swiss Guards, was most anxious to marry; but, as he was eighty years old, she declined his offer, and also another of a young widower who was only six-and-twenty, extremely handsome and agreeable, and had a large fortune.“Ah! you, too, call me mad. It is an insult!”详情
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