The crimes and horrors of the Revolution had now reached their climax. Paris was a scene of blood and terror. No one’s life was safe for an hour, houses were closed, the streets, once so full of life and gaiety, were now paraded by gangs of drunken ruffians, men and women, bent on murder and plunder, or re-echoed to the roll of the tumbrils carrying victims to the scaffold. The prisons were crammed, and yet arrests went on every day. The King, the Queen, and the gentle, saintly Madame Elizabeth, had been murdered; the unfortunate Dauphin, now Louis XVII., and his sister were kept in cruel captivity.
But with regard to dates Mme. de Genlis is exceedingly inaccurate; in fact her statements are sometimes impossible. For instance, she says that they left Mons the 13th of April, arriving at Schaffhausen on the 26th of May, and that their journey took seven days! Also that they arrived at Schaffhausen on the 26th of May, and then that they left that place for Zurich on May 6th ... and went to Zug May 14. At any rate they appear to have been there late in May. The Duchess  was then in the prison of the Luxembourg, and the Duke and his two younger sons were imprisoned at Marseilles.He carried on an open liaison with the Countess Woronsoff, while Catherine, who regarded him with dislike and repugnance, consoled herself with Prince Soltikoff, the hero of Russia from his victory over Frederic the Great, King of Prussia, and then with Prince Stanislas Poniatowski.
The illness of Louis Vigée was caused by a fish-bone which he had swallowed, and which had become fixed in the stomach. Although the mania for operations amongst English doctors of the twentieth century, which in this country adds a  new terror to illness, did not exist at that time in France; under the circumstances, nevertheless, more than one operation was considered necessary; in spite of, or perhaps because of which, although the most skilful surgeon was employed, and was a personal friend who bestowed devoted and incessant care and attention upon the invalid, it soon became apparent that he had not long to live. Heartbroken, Lisette stood by her father’s bedside with her mother and brother to receive his last blessing and farewell, and an hour afterwards he breathed his last.
THE last of the four French heroines whose histories are here to be related, differed in her early surroundings and circumstances from the three preceding ones. She was neither the daughter of a powerful noble like the Marquise de Montagu, nor did she belong to the finance or the bourgeoisie like Mme. Le Brun and Mme. Tallien. Her father was noble but poor, her childhood was spent, not in a great capital but in the country, and as she was born nearly ten years before the first and six-and-twenty years before the last of the other three, she saw much more than they did of the old France before it was swept away by the Revolution.“Well, I am ——. I was head-gardener at the chateau in the old time, and now, Messieurs, if you will honour me by coming to my house and accepting some refreshment, I will show you something that will surprise you.”
Lisette at first wished to refuse this offer. She did not at all dislike M. Le Brun, but she was by no means in love with him, and as she could make plenty of money by her profession, she had no anxiety about the future and no occasion to make a mariage de convenance. But her mother, who seems to have had the talent for doing always the wrong thing, and who fancied that M. Le Brun was very rich, did not cease to persecute her by constant representations and entreaties not to refuse such an excellent parti, and she was still more influenced by the desire to escape from her step-father, who, now that he had no occupation, was more at home and more intolerable than ever.
It was in the days when the Queen was giving fêtes at Trianon, when the court quarrelled about the music of Gluck and Piccini, and listened to the marvels related by the Comte de Saint-Germain, when every one talked about nature, and philosophy, and virtue, and the rights of man, while swiftly and surely the Revolution was drawing near.“Did you notice who put it on the table?” she asked.详情
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