The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China

[234] Many an abbess, many a chatelaine spent time and money amongst the rich and poor; and there were seigneurs who helped and protected the peasants on their estates and were regarded by them with loyalty and affection. To some extent under the influence of the ideas and prejudices amongst which they had been born and educated, yet they lived upright, honourable, religious lives, surrounded by a mass of oppression, licence, and corruption in the destruction of which they also were overwhelmed.

The Princess remarking on this extravagance, he said in a low voice The boy, however, drew on with unconcern, finished the body of the horse, drew the upper portion of the legs, and then with a few strokes of the pencil indicated water at the bottom of the sheet, and gave the impression of a horse bathing his legs and feet. [12]

Most of the servants were bribed by the Jacobins to spy upon their masters, and knew much better than they what was going on in France. Many of [111] them used to go and meet the courrier who told them much more than was contained in the letters he brought. After having lived two years and a half in Italy, chiefly in Rome, Mme. Le Brun began to think of returning to France. Return to FranceThe inheritance of the Duchesse dAyenLoss of the Noailles propertyInherits the Castle of FontenayDeath of Mme. de la FayetteProsperous life at FontenayConclusion.

She had only to choose amongst the great personages who wanted their portraits painted; and she spent the time when she was not working in wandering amid the scenes to visit which had been the dream of her life. Ruins of temples, baths, acqueducts, tombs, and monuments of the vanished Empire, gorgeous churches and palaces of the Renaissance, huge never-ending galleries of statues and pictures, the glories of Greek and of medi?val art; Phidias and Praxiteles, Raffaelle, Michael Angelo, and Leonardo; the picturesque beauty of Rome, as it was then, the delicious gardens, since swept away by the greedy vandalism of their owners; the mighty Colosseum; the solemn desolate Campagna; all filled her mind and imagination and distracted her thoughts from France and the horrors going on there. At Rome in those days there certainly seemed to be everything that could be wished for to make life a paradise upon earth. Besides the natural beauty, the historical and arch?ological interest, and the treasures of art, the magnificence of the ecclesiastical functions, church services, stately processions, and entrancing music were a perpetual delight to her. There is no city in the world, she wrote to a [96] friend, in which one could pass ones time so deliciously as in Rome, even if one were deprived of all the resources of good society.

And as to Mme. de Genlis, it appears more than probable that if she had followed the advice of Mme. de Custine, as she promised to do, and remained [393] at the h?tel de Puisieux she would still have been a great literary and social success and also a better and happier woman.

They stopped at Puy, where they found awaiting them at the inn a certain old Dr. Sauzey, who had been born on an estate of M. de Beaune, and cherished a deep attachment for the Montagu family. He still practised in the neighbourhood where he attended the poor for nothing, knew every man, woman, and child for miles round, was beloved by them all, and very influential among them. He knew all the peasants and country people who had bought land belonging to the Montagu family, and had so lectured and persuaded them that numbers now came forward and offered to sell it back at a very moderate price. The good old doctor even advanced the money to pay them at once, and having settled their affairs in Vlay they passed on to Auvergne.

Presentation at VersaillesLa RosireFather and sonMme. de MontessonA terrible sceneThe Comtesse de CustineMme. de Genlis enters the Palais Royal.

After a time a governess was engaged for her, a certain Mlle. de Mars, a young girl of sixteen, whose chief instruction was in music, in which she excelled, but beyond the catechism and a few elementary subjects, knew little or nothing. She was a gentle, devout, sweet-tempered girl, and Flicit soon became passionately attached to her, and as her mother, occupied with her own pursuits and paying and receiving visits, troubled herself very little about the studies of her daughter, the child was left almost entirely to Mlle. Mars and the maids, who, however, were trustworthy women and did her no harm, beyond filling her head with stories of ghosts with which the old chateau might well have been supposed to be haunted. M. de Saint-Aubin kept a pack of hounds, hunted or fished all day, and played the violin in the evening. He had been in the army, but had resigned his commission early in consequence of some foolish scrape.

It is difficult for those who are accustomed to think of Paris only as it is now, to picture to themselves at all what it was like in the eighteenth century; for until years after the Revolution it was, to all intents and purposes, a medi?val city.