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The Marquis de Continges, a dissipated roué of the court of Louis XV., an encyclop?dist and friend of Voltaire, finding in the reign of Louis XVI. that he was getting old, thought he would marry. He [196] was noble, rich, and a good parti; but after making many inquiries he could not hear of any one he especially fancied. One evening he appeared at a great party given by the Princesse de Lamballe, at which every one of importance was present, dressed in black velvet, with lace ruffles, a sword by his side, and in his hand an embroidered hat full of mysterious tickets.

To gain time in those days was often to gain everything.

“‘I particularly wished to see you, to warn you that you must take great care that your future wife never forgets what will be due from her to the Dauphine. Their two houses are divided, but all rivalry must be forgotten here, which would disturb the tranquillity of Versailles, and would supremely displease me. I know that you have sense beyond your age, therefore I flatter myself that you will not [278] do, nor allow to be done, anything with regard to the Dauphine which might displease her. Besides, your brother would not suffer it; he loves his wife, and is determined that she shall be respected as she deserves. Keep watch, therefore, upon yours; in fact, see that things go on in such a manner that I am not obliged to interfere.’

At this time, however, everything even in these prisons had become much worse, [104] the restrictions were severe, the number executed far greater, the [325] gaolers more brutal, and the perils and horrors of those awful dwellings more unheard of.Her great uncle, the old Maréchal de Mouchy, had never left the King on the terrible day of the 20th of June, but had stood by him making a rampart of his own body to protect him from the hordes of ruffians who were invading the palace; her father, on hearing of these events, had left his refuge in [230] Switzerland and hurried back to the King; so did her cousin, the Prince de Poix. Both of them had sympathised with the earlier Liberal ideas at first; but now, horrified at the fearful development of their principles, they bitterly regretted their folly and came to place their lives at the service of their King.

Still, there was at first much to attract her. The friends who had survived were delighted to have her again amongst them. Many of her foreign friends arrived in Paris; she began again to give suppers which were as popular as ever. She even gave a ball at which the celebrated dancers, M. de Trénis, Mme. Hamelin, and Mme. Demidoff, excited general admiration. She also gave private theatricals in her large gallery.Her husband was a miller, who had, apparently by his manipulation of contracts given him for the army and by various corrupt practices, made an enormous fortune. He and his wife wished to enter society, but not having any idea what to do or how to behave, they wanted Mme. de Genlis to live with them as chaperon and teach them the usages of the world, offering her 12,000 francs salary and assuring her that she would be very happy with them as they had a splendid h?tel in the rue St. Dominique, and had just bought an estate and chateau in Burgundy. She added that M. de Biras knew Mme. de Genlis, as he had lived on her father’s lands. He was their miller! [134]

“Well, I am ——. I was head-gardener at the chateau in the old time, and now, Messieurs, if you will honour me by coming to my house and accepting some refreshment, I will show you something that will surprise you.”What they wanted was a free and just government under a constitutional king, but they failed to realise that their party was far too small and too weak to have any chance of carrying out their plans, and that behind them was the savage, ignorant, bloodthirsty multitude with nothing but contempt and derision for their well-intentioned projects of reform and law and just government, pressing onwards to the reign of anarchy and devastation which they themselves were doing everything to help them to attain.

In some cases it was possible to recover part, though often only a fragment of their possessions; in other cases not: it depended to a great extent what or who the forfeited estates belonged to. Sometimes, as in the case of the Duchess d’Ayen, people who had not emigrated, were allowed, even if they were murdered, to leave their estates to their families; but the whole state of things seemed an inextricable confusion impossible to explain; especially in a work of this kind.“Courage, mamma; we have only an hour more.”


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The Chateau de Plauzat—Varennes—Increasing danger—Decided to emigrate—Triumphal progress of La Fayette—The farewell of the Duchesse d’Ayen—Paris—Rosalie—A last mass—Escape to England.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, whispered

All laughed at the vision, but the next day she was so ill that her execution was put off, she continued to be so ill that she could not be moved and was forgotten till the 9th Thermidor came and she was saved. She died, as Cazotte had predicted, in her own bed at a great age.Mesdames de France, the two last remaining daughters of Louis XV., arrived in Rome and at once sent for Mme. Le Brun, who was delighted to see them again. They had with great difficulty succeeded in getting away, and had been most anxious to take their niece, Madame Elizabeth, with them. In vain they entreated her to come, she persisted in staying with the King and Queen, and sacrificed her life in so doing.He always adored her, saying she was the good genius of his house. They passed their lives happily together until her death, which took place at Chimay in January, 1835, surrounded by her children, whom she adored. They had several besides her former ones, whom she neither concealed nor separated from.


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