She came to the wedding with the son and daughter of her second marriage; the latter was afterwards the celebrated Mme. de Montesson. But she managed permanently to cheat her elder daughter out of nearly the whole of the property of her father, and always behaved to her and to her children with the most heartless cruelty.The Duchess threatened a separation, the position was impossible; Mme. de Genlis withdrew, at any rate for a time, intending to go to England. But Mademoiselle d’Orléans, who was then thirteen, and devoted to her governess, when she found she was gone, cried and fretted till she became so ill that every one was alarmed; she was sent for to come back again, and did so on condition that they should go to England together as soon as it could be arranged.
“Of course,” replied Napoleon, “but you should find a marriage for her at once; to-morrow; and then go.”
And it was well-known that he had ordered the assault upon the fortress of Otshakoff to be prematurely made because she wished to see it.Capital letter I
But besides their hostility to religion, the private characters of these philosophers did not, in many cases, by any means correspond with their writings and professions.“Ah!” cried he. “I have just met the Emperor as I came to you. I had only time to rush under a portico and am dreadfully afraid he recognized me.”
Paul turned to one of his aides-de-camp, saying—“A rose does not seem to me particularly barbarous. But who do you give it to?”
“Indeed, I think we shall go too far;” while the Comtesse du Moley and Mme. Le Brun were horror-stricken at the terrible prospects unfolded to them.
That she persistently refused proves how much all these professions were worth, and this time she does in her memoirs blame herself for her conduct; in fact, she declares that she felt ever afterwards a remorse that never left her, and that would be eternal; as she considered herself the cause of the death of her husband. If she had gone with him as he entreated her to do and as she acknowledged that she ought to have done, she could have induced him to leave France with her, he had sufficient money to enable them to live comfortably abroad, and his life would have been saved.
As she left Belgium, Mme. Genlis who, with her faults had also many good qualities, began, she says, to reflect upon the horror of her position.Society was split into opposing parties, infuriated against each other, quarrels and reproaches took the place of the friendly conversations and diversions of former days. It was not to be wondered at, and her own family once so united was now divided and estranged.
Que deviendront nos belles dames?Many of them occupied the old h?tels of the ruined families of the ancien régime, in which their rough voices, strange language, manners and appearance contrasted as much with those of the former owners, as the new furniture, all gilding, costly stuffs and objects mixed incongruously together, did with the harmonious tapestries, ancient heirlooms, and family portraits which they replaced.The King regarded them with nearly, if not quite, as great affection as his legitimate children, and even tried, though in vain, to alter the laws of succession in their favour, and allow them to inherit the crown failing his lawful issue.
“I had not that happiness,” replied Adrienne.All sorts of preposterous stories were circulated about it and about them. Some said M. de Calonne had given Mme. Le Brun a number of bonbons, called papillottes, wrapped up in bank-notes; others that she had received in a pasty a sum of money large enough to ruin the treasury: the truth being that he had sent her, as the price of his portrait, four thousand francs in notes in a box worth about twenty louis, and this was considered by no means a high price for the picture. M. de Beaujon had given her eight thousand francs for a portrait of the same size a short time before, without anybody finding the least fault. The character of Calonne was such that no woman who cared about her reputation would wish her name to be connected with his.详情
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