CATHERINE II., EMPRESS OF RUSSIA
She could receive her friends as she pleased; her literary reputation stood very high; the Duchesse de Chartres was still infatuated about her; while the Duke——
Still more strange was the incident related by his uncle, the Comte de Provence, heir presumptive to the crown, which he afterwards wore. It happened immediately after the birth of the first Dauphin, elder brother of Louis XVII., whose early death saved him from the fate of his family.
It was not altogether easy in those days for two women of their age and class to go out unattended and unseen, and if they had been discovered it would have caused gossip and scandal. So one dark night they disguised themselves as grisettes, put on large cloaks with hoods and let themselves out through a side door in the garden of the h?tel. After a long walk they arrived, very tired and rather frightened, at a dirty house in a bad quarter, on the fifth floor of which the wizard lived. They rang a dirty-looking bell, a dingy servant appeared with a smoky lamp, and led them into a dimly-lighted room adorned with deaths’ heads and other weird-looking symbols. As they looked round them with misgiving a concealed door suddenly opened and the wizard stood before them dressed in a long flame-coloured robe, with a black mask, and began to make passes in the air with an ivory wand, using strange words they could not understand, while blue sulphur flames played around him.Pauline went out a great deal, more as a duty than a pleasure. What she really cared for most were the interviews with her mother twice a week, and the time she snatched to be with her sisters when she could.
The Chevalier tore away his arm, the Marquis struck him a furious blow, the police interfered, and took them both to the Commissaire de la section. The Marquis was released and the Chevalier —— sent to the Luxembourg.At the beginning of August, Pauline, after making up the accounts, told her father-in-law that she had enough money left only to carry on the household for three months longer, but that if they returned to Brussels it would last twice as long, for they could live there much better at half the cost.
This foretaste of the Revolution Mme. de Genlis did not like at all, and she began to think she would rather not be in France now that the plans and friends so lately her admiration were succeeding so well.She lived opposite the palace, and could see the Empress open a window and throw food to flocks of crows that always came for it; and in the evenings when the salons were lighted up she could watch her playing hide-and-seek and other games with her grandchildren and some of the court.
On the night fixed upon the party, consisting of the Queen, the Comtes and Comtesses de Provence and d’Artois and some ladies and gentlemen of their households, started at three in the morning for Meudon, where a banquet was prepared, after which they went out on the terraces to see the sun rise. It was a lovely night, lamps were scattered about the gardens, guards were posted everywhere, the Queen’s ladies followed her closely. There was a splendid sun rise and all passed off well; but a few days afterwards came out an infamous libel called “l’Aurore,” containing accusations and statements so atrocious that the King, taking it to the Queen, said—“Tu ne me tutoies plus!” and of her answer
Yet the generosity and kindness of her heart, and the number of victims she saved, outweighed, though without effacing, the disorders of her earlier life,  during the latter part of which, as the wife of a Catholic, royalist prince, whose love she returned and to whose opinions she was converted, she deeply regretted the errors of Notre Dame de Thermidor.VENICE
“Ah! Monseigneur! What an indignity! Do you see that man near that console? a man in a pink coat with a waistcoat of blue and silver, wearing spectacles?”详情
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