类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-08-12 20:17:27


She sent the Countess Woronsoff to her father’s estates in the country, dismissed Poniatowski from St. Petersburg, and tried to reconcile the ill-matched couple; but in vain. She died soon afterwards, and Peter III., a German at heart, proceeded on his accession to make himself hated in Russia by his infatuation for everything Prussian; Prussia being the nation of all others disliked by his subjects. He discarded the French and Austrian alliance, attached himself to Frederic, King of Prussia, and besides all the unpopular changes he made in his own army, accepted the rank of an officer in that of Prussia, wore the Prussian uniform, and declared that he preferred the title of a Prussian Major-General to any other he possessed!Poinsinet, the author, was a man of very different calibre. That he had plenty of ability was proved by the fact that on the same evening he obtained three dramatic successes, i.e., Ernelinde at the Opera, Le Cercle at the Fran?ais, and Tom Jones at the Opéra-Comique. But his absurd credulity made him the object of continual practical jokes, or mystifications as they were called.

Still they waited and hoped, as week after week went by. Early in the spring affairs had looked more promising. The coalition against France had formed again under the influence of England. La Vendée and Bretagne had risen, supported by insurrections all over the South of France. Lyon, Toulon, Bordeaux, even Marseilles, and many districts in the southern provinces were furnishing men and arms to join in the struggle. But gradually the armies of the Republic gained upon them, the [239] south was a scene of blood and massacre, and the last hopes of the Royalists were quenched with the defeat of the heroic Vendéens at Savenay (December 23, 1793).The Empress was not in the least like what she had imagined. Short and stout, though exceedingly dignified, her white hair was raised high above her forehead, her face, still handsome, expressed the power and genius which characterised her commanding personality, her eyes and her voice were gentle, and her hands extremely beautiful. She had taken off one of her gloves, expecting the usual [126] salute, but Lisette had forgotten all about it till afterwards when the Ambassador asked, to her dismay, if she had remembered to kiss the hand of the Empress.

Conspicuous amongst these was Barras, who, though his hands were deeply dyed in the blood of the Terror, belonged to one of the noblest families in Provence.

Just after the last recorded incidents Félicité experienced a great sorrow in the loss of her friend, the Comtesse de Custine, an angelic woman, who, in spite of her beauty and youth (she was only twenty-four), lived as far as she could apart from the world, fearing the corruption and vice around her, and devoting herself to her religious and domestic duties. Her husband, who adored her, was necessarily absent with his regiment for long periods. Her brother-in-law, the Vicomte de Custine, of a character as bad as that of his brother was admirable, professed openly the most violent passion for Mme. de Genlis, who did not care at all for him, gave him no encouragement, but was rather flattered by the excess of his devotion and despair.“I know you are French, Madame,” he muttered with embarrassment.

But she was left to live in the convent without [357] ever leaving it, and her lot would have been deplorable indeed but for the affection and sympathy she met with from every one, above all, from the good abbess, Mme. de Rossgnol, who had taken care of her education, and with whom she dined and spent the whole day.“What is the use of taking care of one’s health?” she would say when her friends were anxious about her. “What is the good of living?”

“If you have not crossed yet, stay in England till fresh orders; if my courrier meets you on the road in France wait wherever you are and do not come to Paris. A second courrier will instruct you what to do.”IT will not be possible in a biography so short as this, to give a detailed account of the wandering, adventurous life led by Mme. de Genlis after the severance of her connection with the Orléans family.

Her husband was a miller, who had, apparently by his manipulation of contracts given him for the army and by various corrupt practices, made an enormous fortune. He and his wife wished to enter society, but not having any idea what to do or how to behave, they wanted Mme. de Genlis to live with them as chaperon and teach them the usages of the world, offering her 12,000 francs salary and assuring her that she would be very happy with them as they had a splendid h?tel in the rue St. Dominique, and had just bought an estate and chateau in Burgundy. She added that M. de Biras knew Mme. de Genlis, as he had lived on her father’s lands. He was their miller! [134]

“To ‘receive’ is to have an open house, where one can go every evening with the certainty of finding it lighted up and inhabited, the host ready to receive one with pleasure and courtesy. For that, it is not an absolute necessity to have a superior intellect, to descend from Charlemagne, or to possess two hundred thousand livres de rentes; but it is absolutely necessary to have knowledge of the world and cultivation, qualities which everybody does not possess.”“A first decree, dated 4 April (1793), ordered the arrest of Madame la Duchesse d’Orléans, that woman, so virtuous, so worthy of a better fate; then of Mme. de Montesson, of Mme. de Valence, daughter of Mme. de Genlis, and her children. A special clause added: The citoyens égalité and Sillery cannot leave Paris without permission.” [129]



Neither of the young people dared speak to or [193] look at the other, but at last M. de Beaune [73] got up to be shown a portrait of Washington by de Noailles and La Fayette, who were present, and she took the opportunity of looking at him. He was not handsome, but had an attractive face, and at the end of the evening she told her mother that she was quite willing to marry him.

But in a few days there were articles about them in the German papers; letters from Berne to the authorities of Zug reproached them for receiving the son and daughter of the infamous égalité; the people of Zug disliked the attention so generally drawn upon them, the chief magistrate became uneasy, and as politely as he could asked them to go away.Telling him that Alexandre was not in, Mme. de Lameth asked him to gather a bunch of roses for Mme. de Fontenay, which he did, and picking up one that fell, he kept it, bowed silently, and went in.“However, it is impossible to dispense with an escort of equerries, pages, valets de pieds to carry [398] torches, piqueurs, gardes du corps, and a detachment of the maison rouge.”



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