In 1782 business took M. Le Brun to Flanders, and his wife, who had never travelled, was delighted to accompany him.

Her aunt, Mme. de Montesson, had, since her marriage, been on very friendly and intimate terms with her, although the two had never any real affection for each other, and now, M. de Montesson having died, his widow was aiming at nothing less than becoming the Duchess of Orlans, and found her niece a most useful and sympathetic confidant. For it had suited Mme. de Montesson to have a niece so well placed in society and so much sought after as the young Comtesse de Genlis. Flicit, on her part, was by no means blind to the advantage of having her aunt married to the first prince of the blood, and did everything in her power to forward her plans. The Duke had long been an admirer of Mme. de Montesson, who encouraged his devotion, was continually in his society, but had no intention whatever that their love-making should [380] end in any way but one. It was an ambition that seemed barred with almost insuperable difficulties, and yet it succeeded, though not to the full extent she desired.

Rigaud Having lost patience, and seeing nothing but ruin before him, M. de Puisieux appealed to [369] the King, got a lettre de cachet, and shut up his hopeful ward at the Chateau de Saumur, where he remained for five years, while half of what he owed was being paid off. At the end of this time he was ordered to Genlis, where an allowance of fifteen thousand francs was made to him while the remainder of his debts were gradually paid, after which he was allowed to spend three months of the year at Paris, but M. de Puisieux refused to remove the interdict until he had made a good marriage. That the lettres de cachet had their abuses is incontestable, but they had their advantages too.

Ma Lise aimait se voir clbre. Pauline recovered from her illness and returned to Paris during the terrible days of October. Everything [217] was changed, the streets were unsafe to walk in, murders were frequent, bands of ruffians went about threatening and insulting every one whom they suspected or disliked. She fetched her two children back to the rue Chantereine, and resumed her charitable expeditions, though it was dangerous to walk about.

On the day of the ceremony the children, dressed in white, were brought into the church, where the grand prior, after making them say the creed and answer certain questions, cut off a lock of their hair, tied a piece of black and white material on their heads, put a black silk girdle round their waists, and hung round their necks the red cordon and enamelled cross of the order. After a short exhortation, followed by high mass, the children were embraced by the chanoinesses, and the day ended with suitable festivities.

It is not I who am in haste; it is the guillotine, replied the stranger. To-day I am on the suspected list, to-morrow I shall no doubt be condemned. I have children. I wish to leave them a remembrance of me, that is why I come to ask you to paint my portrait. Will you?

Les vers que lamour me dictait

Like all other nations, the English were horror-stricken at the crimes and cruelties going on in France, and exasperated against their perpetrators, more especially against the Duke of Orlans, who was regarded with universal hatred and contempt.

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.

She had a great wish to see this Empress, whose strange and commanding personality impressed her, besides which she was convinced that in Russia she would soon gain enough to complete the fortune she had resolved to make before returning to France.

The young princes and princesses could not understand that the resources of the State were not inexhaustible, or that they might not draw whatever they liked from the Treasury when they had spent all their own allowances.

She grew tired of Versailles, and returned to Paris, where the First Consul gave her an apartment at the Arsenal and a pension.