But the most extraordinary and absurd person in the family was the Maréchale de Noailles, mother of the Duc d’Ayen, whose eccentricity was such that she might well have been supposed to be mad. It was, however, only upon certain points that her delusions were so singular—otherwise she seems to have been only an eccentric person, whose ideas of rank and position amounted to a mania.
However they were none of them in the same danger that she would have been had she remained at Paris. None of them were at all conspicuous, and as far as any one could be said to be tolerably safe in France under the new reign of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, they might be supposed to be so.
“But——”ALL the great artists, musicians, actors, and literary people who had returned to Paris after the Terror came to the salon of Mme. de Genlis; and many were the strange and terrible stories they had to tell of their escapes and adventures.The Semiramis of the North, as she was called, received her so graciously, that all her fears and embarrassments disappeared.
With tears of joy Lisette witnessed the entry into Paris of the Comte d’Artois on April 12th and of Louis XVIII. shortly afterwards. By his side sat the Duchesse d’Angoulême, whose smiles mingled with sadness amidst the shouts of “Vive le Roi”; recalled the remembrance that she was traversing the route by which her mother had passed to the scaffold.Those of her friends who were Radicals blamed Lisette for going, and tried to dissuade her. Mme. Filleul, formerly Mlle. Boquet, said to her—
Seeing in the French papers that a party, with sinister intentions, were agitating for the trial of the King and Queen, Mme. de Genlis wrote a letter of six pages to Pétion remonstrating, advising, and quoting the ancient Romans who did not murder the Tarquins but only banished them. The letter was published, but of course did no good, but drew upon her the hatred of the Terrorists.It consisted, at the death of Louis XV., of the King, aged nineteen; the Queen, eighteen; the Comte de Provence, eighteen; the Comtesse de Provence, twenty; the Comte d’Artois, seventeen; and the Comtesse d’Artois, eighteen. Of Mesdames Adéla?de, Victoire, Sophie, and Louise, the last of whom was a Carmelite nun, and whose ages were from thirty-eight to forty-three.
The marriage took place in February, 1755, when the cold was so intense that the navigation of the Seine was stopped by the ice, which at that time, when traffic was carried on chiefly by means of the rivers, was a serious inconvenience.  After the wedding the Comte and Comtesse d’Ayen went to live with his parents at the stately h?tel de  Noailles, now degraded into the h?tel St. James, while the vast, shady gardens that surrounded it  have long disappeared; shops and houses covering the ground where terraces, fountains, beds of flowers, and masses of tall trees then formed a scene of enchantment.All laughed at the vision, but the next day she was so ill that her execution was put off, she continued to be so ill that she could not be moved and was forgotten till the 9th Thermidor came and she was saved. She died, as Cazotte had predicted, in her own bed at a great age.Capital letter W
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