About the former, who was deeply in love with her, and most anxious to make her his wife, she did not care at all. She found him tiresome, and even the prospect of being a princess could not induce her to marry him. Besides, she had taken a fancy to the Marquis de Fontenay, whom she had first met at the house of Mme. de Boisgeloup, who was much older than herself, and as deplorable a husband as a foolish young girl could choose.
The decline and fall of the Empire were no calamity to her, and she witnessed with heartfelt joy the return of the King, although she was seriously inconvenienced by the arrival of the Allies at Louveciennes in 1814. Although it was only March, she had already established herself there, and on the 31st at about eleven o’clock she had just gone to bed when the village was filled with Prussian soldiers, who pillaged the houses, and three of whom forced their way into her bedroom, accompanied by her Swiss servant Joseph, entreating and remonstrating in vain. They stole her gold snuff-box and many other things, and it was four hours before they could be got out of the house.After being tormented and persecuted for some time, Mme. Le Brun yielded, gave her consent, obtained that of M. Le Brun, and provided a handsome dot, trousseau, and jewels for the intolerable girl, who did not show the slightest gratitude or affection to her mother, but behaved throughout in the most insolent, heartless manner.
Napoleon had insisted upon his marrying Mme. Grandt, his mistress, who had always received his guests during the loose society lately prevalent: people said that since he had done so, his salon was not nearly so amusing. She was a pretty but extremely stupid person, always making some mistake. On one occasion the celebrated traveller, M. Denon, was going to dine with them, and Talleyrand told her to be sure to talk to him about his travels, adding—
“It is settled, then, citoyen, is it not? You will give the order for my release? We will start this evening for Spain, and you shall never hear of me again.”“Madame, you must come, it is the will of God, let us bow to His commands. You are a Christian, I am going with you, I shall not leave you.”“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?”
Another time she made a charcoal sketch of two heads on the door of a summer-house by the sea, lent to her by Sir William Hamilton. Years afterwards to her astonishment she saw them in England. He had cut them out of the door and sold them to Lord Warwick!The great avenue was a fashionable promenade on Sundays and fêtes, and to Lisette and her friend Mlle. Boquet, both of whom grew prettier every year, it was a great amusement to walk there with the mother and step-father of the former. The Grand-Opéra being close by, when the performance was over, which then was at half-past eight, it was the fashion, on summer nights, for every one to come out and walk about these gardens, where sometimes until two o’clock in the morning it was a scene of enchantment. People belonging to the court and society, bourgeois, actors, musicians, the demi-monde all went there. Every well-dressed woman in the evening carried a large bouquet of flowers, the scent of which filled the air, groups of people scattered about sang or played the harp, violin, or guitar, especially on moonlight nights; amateurs and artistes too, the delicious music of Saint Georges, Alsoredo and Garat often attracted crowds of listeners.
The latter part of the sojourn of Mme. de Genlis in England was overshadowed by anxieties, annoyances, and fears.
Capital letter VThe poet Le Brun-Pindare, dressed in a long purple cloak, represented Anacreon. The other guests were M. and Mme. Vigée, her brother, M. de Rivière, Mme. Chalgrin, daughter of Joseph and sister of Charles Vernet, Mme. de Bonneuil and her pretty child, afterwards Mme. Regnault de Saint-Jean d’Angely, the Marquis de Cubières, the Comte de Vaudreuil, M. Boutin, M. Ginguéné, and the famous sculptor Chaudet.
Accustomed all her life to be surrounded by friends, to be made much of and allowed to do as she liked wherever she went, she had followed her own fashion of wearing a certain style of dress, artistic, characteristic, but inexpensive. Nobody had objected to the simple toilettes of soft muslin, gracefully arranged, nor to the scarves and handkerchiefs she twisted in her hair. But she became suddenly conscious that they were by no means suitable to appear before the formidable personage, whom she pictured to herself as tall, dark, gloomy, and terrible, moreover the Countess Esterhazy looked at her in astonishment, and with much hesitation said—THIS fearful shock brought on so violent an attack of illness that Pauline’s friends feared for her reason. Her aunt nursed her with the deepest affection, her husband arrived to comfort her with his love and sympathy, and the anxiety about Rosalie gave her a new object of interest. The Duke went to see the Princesse de Broglie, who had just come to the neighbourhood from France; she knew nothing; but a smuggler was found who knew all the paths of the Jura, and who was willing to go to Franche Comté, promising not to return without knowing the fate of Mme. de Grammont.
To which astounding assertion she replied in those terms of flattery in which alone it was safe to address the individuals who “were not tyrants,” and whose motto was “Liberty, equality, and fraternity.”Félicité soon managed to make friends with all her husband’s relations. M. and Mme. de Puisieux not only got over their prejudice against her, but were devoted to her. She spent months together with them at Sillery, and was a great deal with them at Paris, where her great delight was to know every one who could remember the court of Louis XIV., for which she had the most ardent admiration.
“We! friends! Allons donc!”CHAPTER I详情
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