WHEN 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 replied to the King that this would be all the easier to me as I had no greater wish than to be on good terms with my brother and sister-in-law; adding: ‘I know the respect which I owe your Majesty, and that which the heir to the throne has a right to expect from me; in which I hope never to be accused of having failed.’For La Fayette was neither a genius, nor a great man, nor a born leader; the gift of influencing other people was not his; he had no lasting power over the minds of others, and as to the mob, he led them as long as he went where they wanted to go. When he did not agree with all their excesses they followed him no longer.
Never, would Mme. Le Brun say in after years, could she forget or describe the feelings with which she drove across that bridge to find herself at the other side—safe, free, and out of France.MADAME LE BRUN ET SA FILLE
“But——”His first question was for his son, and Pauline really dared not tell him where he was, but when he asked whether he would be long absent, replied “No.” She felt very guilty and unhappy because she was deceiving him; but fortunately he only stayed in London a short time during which he was out day and night; and suddenly he went away on business to another part of England. Meanwhile Pauline thought she would start for France, leaving a letter to M. de Beaune to confess the whole matter.“‘They may have left out something,’ replied he, laughing. ‘I have no time to lose, and I tell you that I wish to be a great-grandfather as soon as possible.’
The brothers went out shooting; there were visits, dances, village fêtes; they dressed up, wrote verses, acted plays, and went to see the “Rosière,” an institution which, in this century, would be an impossibility, and which even then many people were beginning to find silly and useless, as may be shown by the remarks of a M. de Matigny, a magistrate and bailli, who was staying in the house for some theatricals, and whom they tried to persuade to stop another day.
“I am ready, Madame,” he said, beginning at once to prepare his palette and brushes. “In what costume do you wish to be painted?”Whatever may be said for or against emigration, one thing is apparent—those who emigrated early  saved not only their lives, but, if they were commonly prudent, part of their property also. Those who emigrated late saved their lives, but lost all their property; while those who remained, or returned, were most likely to lose their liberty, if not their lives.
At the end of September she heard that Adrienne had been thrown into prison. She trembled for her fate and for that of her mother, Louise, and Rosalie. The campaign ended disastrously for the Royalists, and for days she did not know the fate of her husband and father-in-law. However, M. de Beaune arrived, and a few days later M. de Montagu.
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The arrangement proved entirely satisfactory. Lisette went about all day with M. Denon, in gondolas, and to see everything—churches, pictures, palaces; every one who knows Venice even now, knows it as a place of enchantment, unlike anything else on earth; and in those days the Doge still reigned, modern desecrations and eyesores were not, and the beauty of the life and surroundings of the Queen of the Adriatic was supreme.
But the next day passed and she was not called for. All day she waited in a feverish, terrible suspense that can well be imagined; night came and she was still spared. Morning dawned, the morning of the 9th Thermidor. The weather was frightfully oppressive, and in all the prisons in Paris they were stifling from the heat, for the late cruel restrictions had put an end, even in the more indulgent prisons, to the possibility of walks in garden or cloister and the chance of fresh air. But as the long, weary day wore on, there seemed to be some change approaching; there was an uneasy feeling about, for there had lately been rumours of another massacre in the prisons, and the prisoners, this time resolving to sell their lives dearly, had been agreeing upon and arranging what little defence they could make. Some planned a barricade made of their beds, others examined the furniture with a view to breaking it up into clubs, a few brought carefully out knives they had managed to conceal in holes and corners from the prison officials, some filled their pockets with cinders and ashes to fling in the faces of their assailants, and so escape in the confusion, while others, republicans and atheists, felt for the cabanis, a poison they carried about them, and assured themselves that it was all safe and ready for use.S’il veut de l’honneur et des m?urs,详情
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