Besides, she educated her own two daughters, her nephew, César Ducrest, whose mother died and whose father (her brother) was given a post at the Palais Royal, a young cousin, Henriette de Sercey, and later on one or two other children she adopted. But what caused considerable speculation and scandal was the sudden appearance of a little girl, who was sent, she said, from England, to speak English with the other children amongst whom she was educated. On perfectly equal terms with the Princes and Princesses of Orléans, petted and made much of by every one, she was, and still is supposed by many, perhaps by most people, to have been really the daughter of Mme. de Genlis and the Duc de Chartres. At any rate, no English relations were ever forthcoming, and it was never clearly established where she came from, except that she was announced to have been sent over from England at the request of the Duc de Chartres. She was remarkably beautiful and talented, and Mme. de Genlis brought her forward, and did everything to make her as affected and vain as she had been made herself.Philippe-égalité had wearied Robespierre with his petitions to be released, and that worthy remarked to Fouquier-Tinville—
But his insinuations made no impression upon the Empress. She liked Mme. Le Brun and paid no attention to him.There were, of course, still those to be met with whose appearance, manners, and ways recalled that stately, magnificent court, which long afterwards was the beau ideal Napoleon vainly tried to realise. Amongst others was the Duc de Richelieu, one of the most brilliant, the most polished, the most dissipated, and the most heartless figures of the courts of Louis XIV. and Louis XV. His son, the Duc de Fronsac, was, though not equally attractive, quite as vicious as his father, and they entertained for each other a hatred they generally veiled, at any rate in public, under the most polished sarcasm.
“Here is the family plate which I was able to secure for you,” said he. “I always kept it in hope of your return.”One day Lisette met him at the house of Isabey, who, having been his pupil, kept friends with him out of gratitude, although his principles and actions were abhorrent to him. It happened that she was his partner at cards, and being rather distraite, made various mistakes, which irritated David, who was always rude and ill-tempered, and exclaimed angrily, “But you made me lose by these stupid mistakes.  Why didn’t you play me your king of diamonds? Tell me that, I say!”
At last, one day in the rue St. Honoré, he came suddenly face to face with his enemy, disguised as a workman.Before parting, after a month spent together, the three sisters composed a beautiful litany to be said by them in remembrance of their mother, sister, and grandmother. It opened with that sublime passage of scripture beginning with the words, “The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God; there shall no torment touch them.
He met the Comtesse de Provence as they had arranged, having taken the precaution of escaping separately. They arrived at Brussels in safety, and afterwards joined their brother and sister at the court of the Countess’s father at Turin, where they were joyfully received by the Princess Clotilde, and afterwards rejoined by their aunts.When the Comtesse de Custine died, after a short illness, her husband was away with his regiment, and did not arrive in time to see her alive. During the first days of his despair, while looking over her papers, he came upon a packet of letters which proved beyond all doubt the infamous treachery of the Vicomte, who had made his pretended love for Mme. de Genlis a shield to hide his real passion for his brother’s wife, which had been the horror and torment of her life, and which she had dreaded to reveal to her husband, whose temper was violent when aroused.It was, of course, obvious that this was done in order that the carriage and servants of Mme. Le Brun being seen at night at the h?tel des Finances, the scandal might be diverted from Mme. S—— to the innocent owner of the carriage.
Mme. de Montesson died in February, 1806, leaving the whole of her fortune to M. de Valence, except one or two trifling legacies and 20,000 francs to Mme. de Genlis, and, as her brother was then not well off, Mme. de Genlis added her 20,000 francs to his.
“To the peasant girl declared to be the most virtuous and obedient to her parents.”“Well, who am I, then?”
By the King and royal family Mme. Le Brun was received with especial favour and kindness, most of the returned emigrés were her friends, and Paris was now again all that she wished.
Amongst other absurd inventions it was reported that she had given a supper in the Greek style which had cost twenty thousand francs. This story had been repeated first at Versailles, then at Rome, Vienna, and St. Petersburg, by which time the sum mentioned had risen to eighty thousand francs.详情
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