类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-11-25 19:25:08


However, there was no help for it. The marriage was shortly acknowledged, and Lisette, whose mind was full of her painting, did not allow her spirits to be depressed; more especially as M. Le Brun, although he gambled and ran after other women, was not disagreeable or ill-tempered like her step-father, from whose odious presence she was now set free. Her husband spent all the money she made, and even persuaded her to take pupils, but she did not much mind. She never cared about money, and she made great friends with her pupils, many of whom were older than herself. They put up a swing, fastened to the beams in the roof of the studio, with which they amused themselves at intervals during the lesson.Now Mme. de Genlis had without the least doubt many good and distinguished qualities, and as we all know, human nature is fallible and inconsistent; but it would surely have been better that a woman, [407] who could coolly and deliberately arrange such a marriage for her young daughter, simply and solely from reasons of worldly ambition, should not talk so much about disinterested virtue, contempt of riches, and purity of motives.There had, in fact, been a strong reaction against the restraint and dullness of the last few years of the reign of Louis XIV., when the magnificent, pleasure-loving King, whose victorious armies had devastated Europe, who had made princes of his illegitimate children, lavished the riches of the country upon his mistresses, and yet in his stately beauty and fascination been the idol of France; had changed into a melancholy old man, depressed and disillusioned, looking with uneasiness upon the past, with fear upon the future; while the brilliant beauties and splendid festivities of bygone days had given place to virtue, strict propriety, and Mme. de Maintenon.

“To the peasant girl declared to be the most virtuous and obedient to her parents.”

At last they heard that the Princesse de Conti was living near Fribourg, and it was arranged that she should take charge of her niece. She wrote an affectionate letter, and sent the Comtesse de Saint-Maurice-de-Pont to Bremgarten to fetch her.

Lisette, in fact, liked to paint all the morning, dine by herself at half-past two, then take a siesta, and devote the latter part of the day and evening to social engagements.“When my alliance with the Princess of Piedmont was decided, the Duc de Vauguyon told me that the King desired to speak to me. I trembled a little at an order which differed entirely from the usual regulations, for I never saw Louis XV. without d’Artois, and at certain hours. A private audience of his Majesty without my having asked for it gave me cause for anxiety....Lisette, to whom such an invitation was unfamiliar, accepted however; and the Countess then said

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.But the condition of Pauline, brought up in all the luxury and magnificence of the h?tel de Noailles, and suddenly cast adrift in a country the language and habits of which were unknown to her, with very little money and no means of getting more when that was gone, was terrifying indeed. She did not know where anything should be bought, nor what it should cost; money seemed to her to melt in her hands. She consulted her husband, but he could not help her. If she tried to make her own dresses, she only spoilt the material, as one can well imagine. Their three servants, the German boy, a Dutch woman, and after a little while an English nurse, could not understand each other, but managed to quarrel perpetually and keep up the most dreadful chatter. Her child, this time a son, was born on March 30th, Easter Day. She had looked forward to celebrating that festival at [237] the new church then to be opened, at which many of the young people were to receive their first Communion. Pauline, like all the rest of the French community, had been intensely interested and occupied in the preparations. Flowers were begged from sympathising friends to decorate the altar, white veils and dresses were made for the young girls by their friends, all, even those whose faith had been tainted and whose lives had been irreligious, joining in this touching and solemn festival, which recalled to them their own land, the memories of their childhood, and the recollection of those they had lost.

Mme. de Genlis hired a man from the village to go with them, and with his help and that of Darnal forced the postillions, who were very insolent, to return to London.kissed the ring, and handed it round to be kissed by all the rest, who little supposed that it was a portrait of the unfortunate Louis XVII.



Of course there were disputes and jealousies as time went on. It is of Tallien that is told the story of his complaint to his wife—“Well, but you call yourself friends.”

Madame Buonaparte came to see her, recalled the balls at which they had met before the Revolution, and asked her to come some day to breakfast with the First Consul. But Mme. Le Brun did not like the family or surroundings of the Buonaparte, differing so entirely as they did from the society in which she had always lived, and did not receive with much enthusiasm this invitation which was never repeated.The lofty asceticism of her theories and practice was perhaps almost too severe for ordinary mortals living in the world, and in some respects better adapted for a monastic than a secular life; her emigration, so long delayed, was no time of success and happiness: long years of terror, danger, poverty, fearful trials, and sorrows endured with heroic fortitude and angelic patience, passed before she was restored to France and to the ancient castle which was the home and refuge of her later life.



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