Middle-aged men and women had seen Louis XIV., Louis le Grand, “le Roi Soleil,” as an old man; old people could remember him in the prime of his life, the most magnificent King with the most stately court in Christendom. The Cardinal de Luynes, the  Maréchal de Croz, the Duc de Richelieu and other grands seigneurs who preserved the manners and traditions of that time, were looked upon as models of courtly manners and high-breeding by those who complained that in the reaction and licence of the regency and court of Louis XV., vice and corruption were far more unrestrained, more scandalous, less disguised and altogether more indecorous than under the ceremonious and stately rule of his great-grandfather. Besides the gardens of the Tuileries, Luxembourg, and Palais Royal, there were plenty of other places to which the Parisians resorted for amusement.
And so the time passed, each day full of interest and pleasure, in the gayest and most delightful capital in the world; while the witty, charming, light-hearted society who sang and danced and acted and talked so brilliantly, felt, for the most part, no misgivings about the future, no doubt that this agreeable, satisfactory state of things would go on indefinitely, although they were now only a very few years from the fearful catastrophe towards which they were so rapidly advancing, and in which most of them would be overwhelmed. Death, ruin, exile, horrible prisons, hardships, and dangers of all sorts were in store for them, and those who escaped by good fortune, by the devotion or kindness of others, and occasionally by their own courage, foresight, or presence of mind, met each other again years afterwards as if they had indeed passed through the valley of the shadow of death.
“The same evening I found on my table a  letter carefully enclosed in a double envelope, addressed—She observed also that it was now usual for all the men to stand at one side of the room, leaving the women at the other, as if they were enemies.
The history of Mme. de Genlis in the emigration differs from the other two, for having contrived to make herself obnoxious both to royalists and republicans her position was far worse than theirs.But Lisette fretted and made herself unhappy, especially when a deliberate attempt was made to destroy her reputation by a certain Mme. S——, who lived in the rue Gros-Chenet, to which she herself had not yet removed.
“There you are exactly!” cried her friend; “you are just like a boy. Well, I warn you that you will be confined this evening.”Pauline heard the trumpet of the postilion in the little town, and hurried across the lake to meet them. They all crossed in a procession of little boats to the other shore, where Mme. de Tessé was waiting for them.
The Carmes was one of the bad ones, as regards accommodation, but in it were many prisoners belonging to good society, delicate, refined, bearing bravely the privations and dangers of their lot. It was supposed to be one of the aristocratic prisons, though less comfortable than the rest.While Louise and Adrienne were still children projects of marriage for them were, of course, discussed, and they were only about thirteen and fourteen when two sons-in-law were approved of and accepted by their parents, with the condition that the proposed arrangements should not be communicated to the young girls for a year, during which they would be allowed often to meet and become well acquainted with their future husbands.
“Qui que tu sois, voilà ton ma?tre
Mme. Le Brun found Lady Hamilton, as she became shortly afterwards—though extraordinarily beautiful—ignorant, ill-dressed, without esprit or conversation, ill-natured, and spiteful in her way of talking about other people, the only topic she seemed capable of discussing. She herself enjoyed Naples, as she did every other pleasant episode in her delightful life. From the loggia opening out of her bedroom she looked down into an orange garden; from her windows she could see constantly some picturesque or beautiful scene. The costumes of the washerwomen who gathered round the fountain, peasant girls dancing the tarantella, the fiery torches of the fishermen scattered over the bay at night, all the life and colour and incident of southern life spread like a panorama before her; and often she would go out in a boat by moonlight or starlight upon the calm sea, looking back upon the town rising like an amphitheatre from the water’s edge.CHAPTER II
“Apropos,” exclaimed Mme. de Fontenay; “have not you begun her portrait?”
The third portrait Mme. Le Brun retained in her own possession—for she had begun it in September, 1789, when the terrors of the Revolution were beginning. As she painted at Louveciennes they could hear the thunder of the cannonades, and the unfortunate Mme. Du Barry said to her—详情
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