Capital letter TWHEN Elisabeth Louise Vigée was born at Paris, April, 1755, the French court and monarchy were still at the height of their splendour and power.
“I was of no party,” she writes, “but that of religion. I desired the reform of certain abuses, and I saw with joy the demolition of the Bastille, the abolition of lettres de cachet, and droits de chasse. That was all I wanted, my politics did not go farther than that. At the same time no one saw with more grief and horror than I, the excesses committed from the first moments of the taking of the Bastille.... The desire to let my pupils see everything led me on this occasion into imprudence, and caused me to spend some hours in Paris to see from the Jardin de Beaumarchais the people of Paris demolishing the Bastille. I also had a curiosity to see the Cordeliers Club.... I went there and I saw the orators, cobblers, and porters with their wives and mistresses, mounting the tribune and shouting against nobles, priests, and rich people.... I remarked a fishwoman....” This pretty spectacle to which she was said to have taken her pupils, was, of course, approved of by the Duke of Orléans, who made the Duc de Chartres a member of the Jacobin Club, “by the wish of the Duc d’Orléans, assuredly not by mine; but, however, it must be remembered that that society was not then what it afterward became,  although its sentiments were already very exaggerated. However, it was a pretext employed to estrange the Duchess of Orléans from me.”
The scarcity of women at that time and the enormous number of soldiers of all ranks gave that impression to one used to the brilliant Russian court.The Comité de salut public was composed of Barère, Carnot, Couthon, Billaud-Varennes, Collot-d’Herbois, Robert Lindet, Prieur, Jean-Bon Saint-André, Saint-Just, and Maximilian Robespierre; as bloodthirsty a gang of miscreants as ever held an unfortunate country in their grip.
I MADAME VIGéE LE BRUN CHAPTER I
At length the Duke of Orléans came back, and in consequence of the persuasions of Mme. de Genlis he arranged that his daughter should be ordered by the doctors to take the waters at Bath, and they set off; Mademoiselle d’Orléans, Mme. de Genlis, Pamela, and Henriette de Sercey, with their attendants, furnished with a passport permitting them to stay in England as long as the health of Mademoiselle d’Orléans required. They started October 11, 1791, slept at Calais, and remained a few days in London in the house the Duc d’Orléans had bought there; they went to Bath, where they stayed for two months.
The noblesse d’epée was the highest, most brilliant, and most scandalous in France; but in its ranks were to be found heroic examples and saintly characters; while far away in the convents and chateaux scattered over the country and in quiet bourgeois families in the towns lives were led of earnest faith, devotion, and self-denial.Reluctantly they separated in May, Pauline returning to Wittmold with more luggage than she brought from there, namely, a large box of clothes from America, a present from George de la Fayette to the emigrés at Wittmold, and a trunk full of clothes belonging to M. de Beaune, which Mme. de la Fayette had found and brought from Auvergne, and which, though they were somewhat old-fashioned, he was delighted to get.
“Can I grant it without consulting you?”The prisons were thrown open, the Directoire was far milder than the Convention, pardons were obtained in numbers, especially by Térèzia, who, when she could not succeed in saving persons in danger in any other way, had often risked her own safety to help and conceal them.
Louise, whose fate was so closely linked with her mother’s, was one of those gentle, saintly characters, who scarcely seem to belong to this earth; whose thoughts, interests, and aspirations are in another world. But perhaps the most striking amongst them was Adrienne, the second girl, who besides being very handsome, was the most intellectual and talented of the sisters, and of whom the Duchess was as proud as the severity of her ideas permitted her to be.After dark a man wrapped in a great cloak, under which he carried some large thing, his hat pulled over his eyes, rang and said “The Devil.”
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.E. H. Bearne详情
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