But neither her children nor her charitable and religious duties, absorbing as they were to her, could exclude her from intense excitement and interest in the political events going on around her. The questions discussed were so vital, and the changes so sweeping, that every phase of life was affected by them.“Let me go!” he cried. “You are mistaken. I don’t know you.”They were all entirely under the domination of the Empress, against whose will nobody dared to rebel, though Paul as a child used to ask his tutor why his father had been killed and why his mother wore the crown which ought to have been his.
She found as usual plenty of friends, the Princesse Joseph de Monaco and Duchesse de Fleury amongst others, and the Baron de Talleyrand, then French Ambassador. They made excursions to Vesuvius, Pompei, Capri, Ischia, and all the lovely places in the neighbourhood.“I am an ouvrière,” she replied, “and am accustomed to walk.”“If ever we get the upper hand!”
“No, Madame,” replied Casanova, “he was a painter who amused himself by being ambassador.”She was a strange character, full of artificial sentiment, affectation, and self-deception, and, unlike the first three heroines of this book, the mystery and doubts which hung over her have never been cleared up.
But all kinds of stories were in circulation about her, which, of course, she indignantly denied. One of them concerned the marriage she now made for her second daughter with M. de Valence, a man of  high rank, large fortune, and remarkably bad character, who, moreover, had been for years, and continued to be, the lover of her aunt, Mme. de Montesson. It was positively declared that the Duke of Orléans, going unexpectedly into the room, found Valence on his knees before Mme. de Montesson, who with instant presence of mind, exclaimedShe grew tired of Versailles, and returned to Paris, where the First Consul gave her an apartment at the Arsenal and a pension.
It was not Paulette, explained Leclerc, he would be distressed to leave her, but she would be safe and surrounded by her family. It was his young sister, now at school at Mme. Campan’s, whom he could not leave unprotected, perhaps for ever. “I ask you, General, how can I?”She had a great wish to see this Empress, whose strange and commanding personality impressed her, besides which she was convinced that in Russia she would soon gain enough to complete the fortune she had resolved to make before returning to France.
“But my letter has gone,” he said; “what shall I do?”
One day the Baron de Talleyrand announced that  the Queen wished her to paint the portraits of her two eldest daughters, whose marriages she was just going to Vienna to arrange. Again the King let slip a golden opportunity, for he could have left that night in perfect safety with a strong escort, and placed himself and the royal  family in safety, if only he had taken advantage of the favourable disposition of the troops, but the chance was lost, the demonstration infuriated and alarmed the Revolutionists, who succeeded in corrupting part of the regiment de Flandre, made La Fayette head of the National Guards, and carried the King and royal family to Paris.
Next came her twin sister, Henriette, from whom she had parted almost heart-broken, when she reluctantly left France for Parma. Henriette was the King’s favourite daughter, the best and most charming of all the princesses. Lovely, gentle, and saintly, the Duc de Chartres  was deeply in love with her and she with him. The King was disposed to allow the marriage, but was dissuaded by Cardinal Fleury. If the Infanta had been in question she would have got her own way, but Henriette was too yielding and submissive. She died at twenty-five years of age, of the small-pox, so fatal to her race (1752) to the great grief of the court and royal family, and especially of the King, by whom she was adored.
This was a severe disappointment to the Duke, who had already begun to occupy himself with his son’s future, but the Duchess, whose saintly mind had been tormented with misgivings about the future life of the boy whose prospects then seemed so brilliant and so full of temptations, and who did not probably consider the Duke, her husband, a very promising or trustworthy guide and example, resigned herself to the loss of the heir, whom she had even in her prayers entreated God to take out of this world rather than allow him to be tainted by the vice and corruption with which she foresaw he would be surrounded in it.详情
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