When Lisette was about twenty, her step-father retired from business and took an apartment in the rue de Cléry in a large house called h?tel Lubert, which had recently been bought by the well-known picture dealer, M. Le Brun.
They, therefore, removed to the little town of Zug, on the lake of that name, professing to be an Irish family and living in the strictest retirement. To any one who has seen the little town of Zug, it must, even now, appear remote and retired, but in those days it had indeed the aspect of a refuge forgotten by the world. Sheltered by the mighty Alps, the little town clusters at the foot of the steep slope covered with grass and trees, along the shores of the blue lake. A hundred years ago it must have been an ideal hiding place.She had numbers of orders, and of portraits half finished, but she was too nervous and agitated to paint, and she had a hundred louis which some one had just paid for a picture—to herself fortunately, not to M. Le Brun, who generally took everything, sometimes never even telling her it had been paid, at other times saying he must have the whole sum for an investment, or to pay a bill owing.
“Only a royalist would say that!After 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.People were presented first to the King, then to the Queen, in different salons; of course magnificently dressed. The King, now that he was Louis XVI., very often did not speak but always made a friendly, gracious gesture, and kissed the lady presented, on one cheek only if she was a simple femme de qualité; on both if she was a duchess or grande d’Espagne, or bore the name of one of the families who possessed the hereditary right to the honours of the Louvre and the title of cousin of the King.
How the Duchess could ever consent to and approve of her children being entirely given up to the care of a woman whose principles were absolutely opposed to her own, is astonishing indeed; and perhaps it is still more so that for many years she did notice the infatuation of her husband, and the vast influence Mme. de Genlis had over him. But her eyes had at last been opened, Mme. de Genlis declares, by a Mme. de Chastellux, who was her enemy, and was jealous of her. However that might be with regard to the connection between Mme. de Genlis and the Duc d’Orléans, no enlightenment was necessary about the Bastille, the Cordeliers Club, and other revolutionary proceedings. That was surely quite enough; besides which the Duchess had long been awakened to the fact that the governess about whom she had been so infatuated had not only carried on an intrigue with and established an all-powerful influence over her husband, but had extended that influence also over her children to such an extent  that her daughter at any rate, if not her two elder sons, probably preferred her to their mother.The infatuation of Barras for her began also to cool. He left off going to her as at one time to  consult her about everything. If he wished to see her, or she to see him, she must go to him at the Luxembourg.In this remote and delightful home they decided to stay for the present, and Pauline as usual spent much of her time looking after and helping the peasants, who followed her with their blessings as she went about.
They spent their evenings at the Maltese embassy, where the soirées of the Ambassador, Prince Camilla de Rohan, Grand Commander of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, were frequented by all the most intellectual and distinguished people in Rome. They made excursions to all the enchanting places within reach—Tivoli, Tusculum, Monte Mario, the Villa Adriano, and many another ancient palace or imposing ruin; and when the hot weather made Rome insupportable, they took a house together at Gensano, and spent the rest of the summer in those delicious woods. They hired three donkeys to make excursions, and took possession with delight of the ancient villa which had belonged to Carlo Maratta, some of whose sketches might still be seen on the walls of one of its great halls.
“Then you know Mme. Le Brun very well, Monsieur?”The marriages of her daughters which had so delighted her ambition, had not brought her all the happiness she expected.
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.
“La brave fille will not be guillotined at all,” he said, “for I have just seen her die in her bed at an advanced age.”The marriages of her daughters which had so delighted her ambition, had not brought her all the happiness she expected.
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