Those whose ideas of France in the eighteenth century are derived only from such books as Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities,” or even from a casual acquaintance with a few of the histories and chronicles of the time, are apt vaguely to picture to themselves a nation composed partly of oppressed, starving peasants, and partly of their oppressors, a race of well-bred ruffians and frivolous, heartless women; all splendidly dressed, graceful, polite, and charming in their manners amongst themselves; but arrogant, cruel, and pitiless to those beneath them.
“Ah! you, too, call me mad. It is an insult!”
“I hope so, Madame. In my hat are 100,000 livres de rente, a Marquisate, and a dowry, besides my heart and my hand. Thus I put myself into a lottery: here is a heap of tickets of which only one is black, the winning one. So let all the young ladies who wish to marry come and choose one.”It was decided that the three sisters should meet at Viane, where Pauline and her husband went, with post-horses provided by Mme. de Tessé. It was eight years since Pauline and Rosalie had met, and Pauline said it was a foretaste of Heaven.Had not this been sufficient to put a stop to all idea of going to France, the sights which met them as the little party entered Turin would have done so.
“Madame, we have obeyed our parents. I leave you with regret, but I cannot conceal from you that for a long time I have been devoted to another woman. I cannot live without her, and I am going back to her.”
“I am sorry for that,” she observed, as she gave her cards to the man, “especially as M. de Valence is my husband.”
Again one remembers the words of Napoleon to the grandson of Necker, who said that his grandfather defended the King—
Arnault, in his memoirs, relates that he was brought up at Versailles, where he was at school from 1772 to 1776, and often saw Louis XV. pass in his carriage. The King had a calm, noble face and very thick eyebrows. He took not the slightest notice of the shouts of Vive le roi from the boys drawn up in a line, or from the people; neither did Louis XVI. when he succeeded him.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:—
“Then why say it?”
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M. de Chalabre at first denied, but on the Queen’s insisting confessed that it was the young Comte de ——, whose father was an ambassador, and was then abroad. The Queen desired him to keep the affair secret, and the next evening when the young Count approached the tables she said, smiling—
Poinsinet, the author, was a man of very different calibre. That he had plenty of ability was proved by the fact that on the same evening he obtained three dramatic successes, i.e., Ernelinde at the Opera, Le Cercle at the Fran?ais, and Tom Jones at the Opéra-Comique. But his absurd credulity made him the object of continual practical jokes, or mystifications as they were called.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.详情
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