Presentation at Versailles—La Rosière—Father and son—Mme. de Montesson—A terrible scene—The Comtesse de Custine—Mme. de Genlis enters the Palais Royal.
ALL the great artists, musicians, actors, and literary people who had returned to Paris after the Terror came to the salon of Mme. de Genlis; and many were the strange and terrible stories they had to tell of their escapes and adventures.
“See Madame, people go also to pay their court to Mme. Le Brun. They must certainly be rendezvous which they have at her house.”Et tranquille je veille, et ma veille aux remords,
They were staying with an uncle of hers at Bordeaux when she heard one day that an English ship with three hundred passengers, chiefly royalists of Bordeaux, but all of them persons flying from France, was on the point of sailing, but was detained because the captain, whose conduct in this matter one cannot help saying few Englishmen indeed would not have despised, refused to sail until he had received three thousand francs wanting to the sum owing by the emigrants.Capital letter IAfter a time she went to Milan, where she was received with great honour. The first evening she was serenaded by all the young men of the chief Milanese families, but, not knowing that all this music was on her account, she sat listening and enjoying it with composure, until her landlady came and explained. She made an excursion to the lakes, and on her return to Milan decided to go to Vienna, seeing that France would be out of the question for an indefinite time.
Mme. de la Haie treated her daughter as badly as her son. She placed her at six years old in a convent, seldom went to see her, when she did showed her no sign of affection, and at fourteen insisted upon her taking the veil. But the irrevocable vows were not to be pronounced for another year, by which time the young girl declared that they might carry her to the church but that before the altar she would say no instead of yes. The Abbess declared that so great a scandal could not be permitted, the enraged mother had to give way, and the young girl joyfully resumed the secular clothes now much too small for her.
It having come to his knowledge that a plot was preparing for another massacre in the prisons on pretence of conspiracy among the prisoners, whose names and lives were at the mercy of the spies within and the police and gaolers without, he contrived by paying a hundred louis to get his own and Mme. de Coigny’s liberation, and after the Terror was over they married and went to England for their honeymoon. At the end of two months they were tired of each other, came back to Paris and were divorced, and the Baronne de Montrond again resumed the name of Coigny.
The first great sorrow was the death of Mme. de la Fayette on Christmas Eve, 1808, at the age of forty-eight. Her health had been completely undermined by the terrible experiences of her imprisonments; and an illness caused by blood-poisoning during her captivity with her husband in Austria, where she was not allowed proper medical attendance, was the climax from which she never really recovered. She died as she had lived, like a saint, at La Grange, surrounded by her broken-hearted husband and family, and by her own request was buried at Picpus, where, chiefly by the exertions of the three sisters, a church had been built close to the now consecrated ground where lay buried their mother, sister, grandmother, with many other victims of the Terror.An old German baroness exclaimed—
It was on the 27th of July, 1794, that she started on a journey to see her father, who was living in the Canton de Vaud, near the French frontier. For two nights she had not slept from the terrible presentiments which overwhelmed her. Young de Mun went with her, and having slept at Moudon, they set off again at daybreak for Lausanne. As they approached the end of their journey they were suddenly aware of a char-à-banc coming towards  them in a cloud of dust, driven by a man with a green umbrella, who stopped, got down and came up to them. It was the Duc d’Ayen, now Duc de Noailles, but so changed that his daughter scarcely recognised him. At once he asked if she had heard the news, and on seeing her agitation, said hastily with forced calmness that he knew nothing, and told M. de Mun to turn back towards Moudon.
“Come, Marquis, try to have a spark of reason. It is my life I ask of you—my life.”
“Open the door! Open the door! I must embrace you.”详情
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