The lavish, almost barbaric hospitality of the  great Russian nobles both at St. Petersburg and Moscow astonished Mme. Le Brun. Many of them possessed colossal fortunes and kept open house. Prince Narischkin, Grand Equerry, had always a table to sit five-and-twenty or thirty guests.The Queen was in the habit of playing pharaon every evening, and on one occasion she noticed that M. de Chalabre, who kept the bank, whilst he was picking up the money of those who had lost, took advantage of a moment when he thought nobody was looking, to put a rouleau of fifty louis into his pocket.
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 fêtes of all kinds; the Queen was very fond of cards, and gambling went on to an extent which, with the money spent on fêtes and in other still more reprehensible ways, especially by the Comte d’Artois, 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.
Barras was the leading spirit in this society, and for some time he was at Térèzia’s feet. But if  Tallien was not a great man, neither was Barras; amongst all the unscrupulous ruffians of the revolutionary party there did not appear to be one superior enough to his fellows to command or lead them.Death of the Duc d’Orléans—M. de Genlis—Sillery—Coming of the Revolution—The Bastille—Anger of the Duchesse d’Orléans—Dissensions.
He was one of the earliest to emigrate, and at Coblentz he met his old love, Mme. de Harvelay, now a rich widow and willing to marry him. He spent her fortune, and later on tried to get employment under Napoleon, who would have nothing to do with him, and he died in comparative obscurity.
As Mme. Le Brun remarked in her own case: “It is no longer a question of fortune or success, it is only a question of saving one’s life,” but many people were rash enough to think and act otherwise, and frequently paid dearly for their folly. Mme. de Fleury returned to Paris while, or just before, the Terror was raging, and availed herself of the revolutionary law, by which a husband or wife who had emigrated might be divorced. But soon after she had dissolved her marriage and resumed the name of Coigny she was arrested and sent to St. Lazare, one of the most terrible of the prisons of the Revolution, then crowded with people of all ages, ranks, and opinions.The whole affair was an exact specimen of the mingled extravagance, folly, vice, and weakness which were leading to the terrible retribution so swiftly approaching.Catherine was the daughter of Prince Christian of Anhalt-Zerbst, and was sixteen years old when she was brought from the old castle among the lakes and forests of Germany to be married to Peter, son of Charles Frederic, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and Anne, eldest daughter of Peter the Great;  who had been adopted as heir by the Empress Elizabeth, his aunt, youngest daughter of Peter the Great, with whose grandson, Peter II.,  the male line had ended.
“Well! Was I wrong? Here is your sister’s husband. Go together to Saint-Germain, and don’t let me see either of you until everything is arranged. I hate all talk of money affairs.”
Shortly afterwards, passing his father in the great gallery at Versailles, the Duc de Richelieu said to him—
ROBESPIERRE was dead, and Tallien, for the time, reigned in his stead; and with him and over him, Térèzia, or, as she may be called, Mme. Tallien, for although Tallien before spoke of her as his wife, it was only after the 9th Thermidor that some sort of marriage ceremony was performed. But the name she now received, amongst the acclamation of the populace, was “Notre Dame de Thermidor.” For it was she who had brought about the deliverance of that day; for her and by her the Terror had been broken up; and although the Thermidoriens, led by Tallien, Barras and Fréron, had re-established or continued the Comité de Salut Public, the greater number of the blood-stained tyrants who ruled the Revolution still remained, and many horrors and tyrannies for some time longer went on; still there was at once an enormous difference. The revolutionary gang had, of course,  not altered its nature, those of whom it was composed were the same, cruel, remorseless, and steeped in crimes; but however much they wished it they could not continue to carry on the terrorism against which the anger of the populace was now aroused.“I have no one with me,” replied she, “but my daughter and her governess.”
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