“It was an eccentric existence that she led in her youth, it must be confessed. That wandering, restless life had a character all the more strange because at that time it was so unusual; going perpetually from one chateau to another, roaming about the country disguised as a peasant, playing tricks on everybody, eating raw fish, playing the harp like Apollo, dancing, acting, fencing....”She neither feared death nor desired it, her life was spent for others not for herself, she regretted to leave them, but the thought of the other world, and of those who had gone before her, drew her heart towards that radiant, immortal future, the thought of which had ever been her guide and consolation.
Louis Vigée was neither in principles nor tastes at all in sympathy with the new philosophic party; on the contrary, he looked with disapproval and uneasiness upon the future, from which they were so eagerly expecting their millenium.“But my letter has gone,” he said; “what shall I do?”
He was then twenty-three.
“Ah!” cried he. “I have just met the Emperor as I came to you. I had only time to rush under a portico and am dreadfully afraid he recognized me.”
Mme. de Lawoestine, the elder one, whom she describes as an angelic creature in whom no fault could be seen, died at one and twenty in her confinement. It was a terrible shock to her, and, it appears, also to the husband, although the contents of certain tablets of his wife’s, which he found and gave to Mme. de Genlis some days  after her death, would seem to imply that he would not be inconsolable.Her mother having died in her early life, she was brought up by her father, the Comte de Coigny, at his chateau at Mareuil, an enormous place built by the celebrated Duchesse d’Angoulême (whose husband was the last of the Valois, though with the bend sinister), who died in 1713, and yet was the daughter-in-law of Charles IX., who died 1574. The stately order, the devotion and charity which filled the lives of the sisters de Noailles; the absorbing passion for her art which made the happiness,  the safety, and the renown of Louise Vigée, were not for Térèzia. Her very talents were an additional danger and temptation, for they increased the attraction of her extraordinary beauty; and in the set of which her friends were composed there could be no principles of right and wrong, because there was no authority to determine them. For if God did not exist at all, or only as a colourless abstraction, then the words “right” and “wrong” meant nothing, and what, in that case, was to regulate people’s lives? Why not injure their neighbours if it were convenient to themselves to do so? Why should they tell the truth if they preferred to tell lies? To some it would seem noble to forgive their enemies; to others it would seem silly. To some, family affection and respect for parents would appear an indispensable virtue; to others an exploded superstition. It was all a matter of opinion; who was to decide when one man’s opinion was as good as another? But, however such theories might serve to regulate the lives of a few dreamy, cold-blooded philosophers occupied entirely with their studies and speculations, it seems difficult to understand that any one could really believe in the possibility of their controlling the average mass of human beings; who, if not restrained by the fear of a supernatural power which they believe able to protect, reward, or punish them, are not likely to be influenced by the exhortations of those who can offer them no such inducements. Nevertheless, these ideas were very prevalent until Napoleon, who regarded them with contempt, declared that without religion no  government was possible, and, whether he believed in it or not, re-established Christianity.
Mlle. de Mirepoix thought at first that he was  joking, but finding the transaction was serious, fainted with joy. They were married and belonged to the Queen’s intimate circle, but the union did not turn out any more happily than might have been expected. Soon the Revolution swept all away; they emigrated, but not together; he went to Germany, she to England. When afterwards he came to London, his wife went to Italy.It was no wonder that Napoleon was anxious to get his court and society civilised, and the person to whom he chiefly turned for help and counsel in this matter was Mme. de Montesson, who knew all about the usages of great society and court etiquette.
Poisson d’une arrogance extrême,详情
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