As to the Comte de Beaujolais, he was fond of her, as all her pupils were, for she was extremely kind to them, but he hated and abhorred the principles which his father and she had succeeded in instilling into his brothers and sister, longed to fight for the King and Queen, and took the first opportunity when he met the Comte de Provence in exile to tell him so and make his submission; he had sent him messages of explanation and loyalty directly he could. For more than a year, then, there had been coldness and estrangement between the Duchess and Mme. de Genlis, who, of course, as usual, posed as an injured saint. What had she done? Why this cruel change in the affection and confidence of years? Had she not sacrificed herself to her pupils? Was she not the last person to alienate their affection from their illustrious and admirable mother? Did not all the virtues of her whole life forbid her being suspected or distrusted in any way?
She would not have her portrait done, saying that she was very sorry to refuse her aunts, but as she had renounced the world she could not have her picture taken. She had cut her hair short and her dress was very simple. The King looked nearly as pale and thin.But although fully enjoying the amusement and admiration that fell to her lot, she passed unscathed through the temptations and dangers around her. The strength and devotion of her religious principles, the deep love of her art, which was the ruling passion of her life, her affection for her mother, who was always with her, and to whom she confided all her affairs, were her only safeguards.
Meanwhile they stayed on at the convent, where Mme. de Saint-Aubin embroidered and wrote romances, one of which she sent to Voltaire, who wrote her several flattering letters; Félicité played the harp to amuse the nuns and to assist in the services of the chapel, made friendships in the convent, and adored the good sisters, who passed their time in devotion and charity, and amongst whom reigned the most angelic harmony and peace.
With a King of five years old, and such a Regent as the Duke of Orléans, they were tolerably sure of both. The reign of pleasure, luxury, and licence began with enthusiasm. Never, during the life of Louis le Grand, had the atmosphere of the Court been what it became under the regency, and under his great-grandson.“I want you to do my portrait at once.”
But neither her children nor her charitable and religious duties, absorbing as they were to her, could exclude her from intense excitement and interest in the political events going on around her. The questions discussed were so vital, and the changes so sweeping, that every phase of life was affected by them.
“What is the matter?” she exclaimed.The death of his wife and the revelation she had made to him, plunged the Marquis de —— into such a fearful state that at first his reason was almost overcome; and as he gradually recovered his self-possession the idea occurred to him to take advantage for his own purposes of the rumour circulated, that grief for the loss of his wife had affected his reason.
The history of Mme. de Genlis in the emigration differs from the other two, for having contrived to make herself obnoxious both to royalists and republicans her position was far worse than theirs.ONE of the Royal palaces was La Muette, and it was on one of the journeys there that the Queen took it into her head to see the sun rise. It appeared a harmless fancy enough, and she suggested it to the King.The marriages accordingly took place when Louise was sixteen and Adrienne fifteen years old.
Anonymous letters filled with abuse and threats poured in upon her; she was told the house would be set on fire in the night, she heard her name cried in the streets, and on sending out for the newspaper being sold, she saw a long story about herself and M. de Calonne, giving the history of an interview they had at Paris the preceding evening! She sent it to Sheridan, who was a friend of hers, begging him to write to the paper saying that she did not know Calonne, and had not been at Paris for many months, which he did.
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Nothing but reforms were talked of when Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette came to the throne; but of course everything proposed excited the opposition and ridicule of one party or the other.
“Aimez vous toujours les hommes?”“Hold your tongue, tête-qui-roule,” she cried angrily. “Your body will be food for dogs.”详情
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