类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-30 16:29:13


Mme. de Montesson had so far succeeded in her plan that she had, in 1773, been privately married to the Duke of Orléans. The marriage was celebrated at midnight in the presence of a small number of persons of high position. But the marriage, though known and recognised in society, was only a morganatic one. Louis XV. would never hear of her taking the rank and title of Duchess of Orléans, or any precedence that would have been the consequence. This was of course a continual grievance to her, but she was obliged to resign herself and make the best of the position, at any rate far more exalted than any to which she had the least pretension to aspire. She had an unbounded influence over the Duc d’Orléans, in whose household and amongst whose friends she was always treated as a princess, and with whom she led a life of unbounded luxury and magnificence. Like Mme. de Maintenon after her morganatic marriage with Louis XIV. she renounced the title of Marquise and was known as Mme. de Montesson, possibly thinking like the hero of the well-known incident: “Princesse je ne puis pas, Marquise je ne veux pas, Madame je suis.”

“Run quick and fetch him and take him to his parents. I shall not go to bed till you tell me he is safe at home.For the same reason he had, at the beginning of his career, married Joséphine, Vicomtesse de Beauharnais; it was true, as he afterwards declared that he loved her better than he ever loved any woman; but all the same he had decided that his wife must be of good blood, good manners, and good society; and although Joséphine was by no means a grande dame, she was in a much better position than himself; and her children’s name, her social connections, her well-bred son and daughter, the charming manners and savoir faire of all three were then and for long afterwards both useful and agreeable to him.And the loyal subjects joined in supplication for the captive, desolate child who was now Louis XVII.

OBLIGED to leave Tournay, they took refuge at a small town called Saint Amand, but they soon found themselves forced to fly from that also, and Mme. de Genlis, alarmed at the dangers and privations evidently before them, began to think that Mademoiselle d’Orléans would be safer without her, in the care of her brother.CHAPTER VIIIBut all kinds of stories were in circulation about her, which, of course, she indignantly denied. One of them concerned the marriage she now made for her second daughter with M. de Valence, a man of [406] high rank, large fortune, and remarkably bad character, who, moreover, had been for years, and continued to be, the lover of her aunt, Mme. de Montesson. It was positively declared that the Duke of Orléans, going unexpectedly into the room, found Valence on his knees before Mme. de Montesson, who with instant presence of mind, exclaimed—

When Alexander heard of the assassination of his father his grief and horror left no doubt of his ignorance of what had been intended and carried out; and when, on presenting himself to his mother she cried out, “Go away! Go away! I see you stained with your father’s blood!” he replied with tearsThe splendid ceremony of the benediction of the Neva by the Archimandrite, in the presence of the Empress, the Imperial family, and all the great dignitaries, deeply impressed her.

Her love for Tallien was beginning to wane. It had never been more than a mad passion, aroused by excitement, romance, and the strange circumstances which threw them into each other’s way; and kept alive by vanity, interest, gratitude, and perhaps above all by success. She wanted Tallien to be a great power, a great man; and she was beginning to see that he was nothing of the sort. If, when Robespierre fell, instead of helping to set up a government composed of other men, he had seized the reins himself, she would have supported him heart and soul, shared his power, ambition, [339] and danger, and probably her admiration and pride might have preserved her love for him. But Tallien had not the power to play such a part; he had neither brains nor character to sway the minds of men and hold their wills in bondage to his own. And now he was in a position which in any line of life surely bars the way to success: he was neither one thing or the other.

The King hearing of the affair was much amused, but desired his brother to make it right with M. de Montyon, which he did to such good effect, that shortly after he gave him an appointment in his household. The Prince and the excellent magistrate afterwards met again in exile.

Adrienne had brought Pauline a copy of their mother’s will, and, not being an emigrée, had taken possession of the castle and estate of Lagrange, left to herself. She only spent a short time at Altona, and started for Austria.For the former reason she spent some time at Raincy, [25] then the residence of the Duke of Orléans, father of Philippe-égalité, where she painted his portrait, and that of his morganatic wife, Mme. de Montesson. While she was there the old Princesse de Conti came one day to see Mme. de Montesson, and much to her surprise always addressed Mme. Le Brun as “Mademoiselle.” As it was shortly before the birth of her first child, this rather startled her, and she then recollected that it [62] had been the custom in former days for grandees of the court so to address their inferiors. It was a survival that she never met with but upon this occasion, as it had quite come to an end with Louis XV. Mme. Le Brun never cared to stay at Raincy, which she found uncongenial; but she delighted in several of the other chateaux where she stayed, above all in Chantilly, where the Prince de Condé gave the most magnificent fêtes, and where the grandeur of the chateau and the beauty of the gardens, lakes, and woods fascinated her.

One Gorsas, a violent Radical whom she had never seen or heard of, was especially violent in the atrocities he poured forth against her for no reason whatever. He was a political writer and afterwards a Jacobin, but met with his due reward, for he was [67] arrested by the Revolutionists he admired so greatly, and guillotined.As, during the first years of their lives, even Félicité herself could not begin to instruct them, she paid a daily visit of an hour to them, and occupied herself in writing a book on education for their use and that of her own children. She also wrote “Adèle et Théodore,” and numbers of other books, novels, essays, plays, treatises on education, &c., which had great success.Like all the other emigrées Mme. de Genlis was horrified at the strange manners and customs of the new society, largely composed of vulgar, uneducated [458] persons, often enormously rich, exceedingly pretentious, and with no idea how to conduct themselves.



Here she finished the portrait of the young Princess von Lichtenstein, as Iris. As she was represented with bare feet, her husband told Mme. Le Brun that when it was hung in his gallery, and the heads of the family came to see it, they were all extremely scandalised, so he had placed a pair of little shoes on the ground under it, and told the grand-parents they had dropped off.But it is confidently affirmed that Robespierre pursued Térèzia, with even more than his usual vindictiveness. He begged the Marquis de la Valette, a ci-devant noble and yet a friend of his, to prevent the escape of this young woman whom they both knew, “for the safety of the Republic.” But M. de la Valette, although he was not ashamed so far to degrade himself as to be the friend of Robespierre, shrank from being the instrument of this infamy; and not only warned Térèzia but offered her the shelter of his roof, which, for some reason or other, she declined. She was arrested and sent to La Force, one of the worst prisons of the Revolution, with the additional horror of being au secret. She had too many and too powerful friends to be sacrificed without difficulty and risk, and it was, in fact, his attack upon her that gave [321] the finishing blow to the tottering tyranny of Robespierre.Louis Vigée was a charming and excellent man, well known in literary circles. He had been imprisoned for a time in Port Libre, but afterwards released.

Taking leave of the excellent Signor Porporati and his daughter, they proceeded to Parma, where the Comte de Flavigny, Minister of Louis XVI., at once called upon Mme. Le Brun, and in his society and that of the Countess she saw everything at Parma. It was her first experience of an ancient, [91] thoroughly Italian city, for Turin cannot be considered either characteristic or interesting.



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