类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-24 19:12:09


CHAPTER VAnd now she was dame pour accompagner to the Duchesse de Chartres, and her influence was soon felt in the society of the Palais Royal.

One morning the concierge of an isolated house there was asked by a tall, thin man in black, with a strange look whether there was not a pavilion in the garden to let.“Because every one is in prison at Paris; even the revolutionists. And I am a revolutionist.”

Father Carrichon, warned by M. Grelet the tutor, was ready. As he walked by the car of the victims they recognised him with joy, and a fearful storm that was going on helped to disguise his gestures and proceedings, and when an opportunity offered he turned to them, raised his hand, and pronounced the words of absolution amidst thunder and lightning which scattered the crowd, but did not prevent their hearing him distinctly nor drown their thanks to him and message of farewell to those they loved. “God in His mercy calls us. We shall not forget them; may we meet in heaven!”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.

Lisette complained bitterly to her husband, who only told her to let them talk, and treated the matter with indignant contempt.After a very few months she married the Marquis de la Haie, who had been the page and then the [355] lover of the infamous Duchesse de Berri, eldest daughter of the Regent d’Orléans.In those days, as Mme. Le Brun remarks in one of her letters, “people had both time and inclination to amuse themselves,” and the love of music was just then so strong and so general that the disputes between the rival schools of Glück and Piccini sometimes even amounted to quarrels. She herself was a Glückist, but the Queen and many others preferred the Italian music to the German.

The grief of the Duchesse de Polignac was aggravated by the recollection of a sinister prophecy which, although at the time it seemed incredible, was apparently being fulfilled in an alarming manner. The circumstances were as follows:—There Pauline had a son, and to her great joy he and the children she afterwards had lived to grow up. The farm Mme. de Tessé wished for was called Wittmold, and lay at the other side of the lake upon a plain covered with pasture and ponds, as far as the eye could reach. The house stood on a promontory jutting out into the lake, and was surrounded by fields, apple trees, and pine woods. They crossed the lake in boats, and established themselves there. They could live almost entirely upon the produce of the place, for there was plenty of game, plenty of fish in the lake: the dairy farm paid extremely well, the pasture produced rich, delicious milk; they had a hundred and twenty cows, and made enormous quantities of butter, which they sold at Hamburg. It was pleasant enough in the summer, but in winter the lake was frozen, the roads covered with snow, and the cold wind from the Baltic raved round the house. However, they were thankful for the shelter of a home that most of their friends would have envied, and they lived peacefully there for four years, during which Pauline organised and carried on a great work of charity which, with the assistance of one or two influential friends, soon spread all over Europe. It was a kind of society with branches in different countries, to collect subscriptions for the relief of the French exiles, and it involved an enormous amount of letter-writing, for, if the subscriptions poured into Wittmold, so did letters of entreaty, appealing for help. But Pauline was indefatigable not only in allotting the different sums of money, [255] but in finding employment, placing young girls as governesses, selling drawings and needlework, &c.Pauline recovered from her illness and returned to Paris during the terrible days of October. Everything [217] was changed, the streets were unsafe to walk in, murders were frequent, bands of ruffians went about threatening and insulting every one whom they suspected or disliked. She fetched her two children back to the rue Chantereine, and resumed her charitable expeditions, though it was dangerous to walk about.

“You wouldn’t believe,” she said to Lisette, who came to see her at eight o’clock one evening, and found her alone, “that I have had twenty people to [153] dinner to-day? They all went away directly after the coffee.Pauline never cared much for society, and her tastes were not sufficiently intellectual to enable her to take much part in the brilliant conversation or to enter with enthusiasm into the political ideas and principles discussed at the various houses to which she went with Mme. de Bouzolz, who did not trouble herself about philosophy or “ideas”; and M. de Beaune, who was a strong Conservative, and held revolutionary notions in abhorrence.On the nights when there was an opera, the Palais Royal was open to any one who had been presented there. The first invitation to supper meant a standing one for those days, therefore the Palais Royal was then crowded with guests; and on other evenings the petits soupers, generally consisting of eighteen or twenty guests, were composed of those of the intimate society of the Duke and Duchess, who also had a general invitation.

At the end of September she heard that Adrienne had been thrown into prison. She trembled for her fate and for that of her mother, Louise, and Rosalie. The campaign ended disastrously for the Royalists, and for days she did not know the fate of her husband and father-in-law. However, M. de Beaune arrived, and a few days later M. de Montagu.

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Whatever might be her private character, Catherine II. was a great sovereign, a wise ruler, and beloved by the Russian people. In her reign Tartary, Lithuania, the Caucasus, Courland, and part of Poland were added to the vast Muscovite Empire; the Russian share of Poland alone added six millions to her subjects. Every branch of the service, every corner of the empire, canals, mines, agriculture, commerce, received her consideration and supervision; art and literature were encouraged and advanced; the progress made by Russia under her rule was enormous.GEORGES DANTONOn arriving at Paris she found to her great sorrow that her eldest sister was away. Rosalie de Grammont was there but was ill and suffering, expecting her confinement. Pauline wanted to stay with her till it was over, but Rosalie said that emigration was becoming more difficult and dangerous every day, that those who were going had no time to lose, and that she would not hear of Pauline’s running any additional risk by delaying her journey for a single day.

Telling him that Alexandre was not in, Mme. de Lameth asked him to gather a bunch of roses for Mme. de Fontenay, which he did, and picking up one that fell, he kept it, bowed silently, and went in.S’il veut qu’un prélat soit chrétien,“Tell her,” said Mme. Tallien, “that I am désolée not to be able to receive her, but I am never alone, because I am always surrounded by those to whom I have had the happiness to be of use.”


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