做群众脱贫路上的贴心人

In the ill-furnished, dilapidated h?tel salon of Mme. dEscars Pauline came in the evenings, after a day spent in the poor lodging upon the scanty food she could get, passing her time in reading, in devotion, and in doing what she could to help others.

Mme. Le Brun generally spent the evening alone with Mme. Du Barry by the fireside. The latter would sometimes talk of Louis XV. and his court, always with respect and caution. But she avoided many details and did not seem to wish to talk about that phase of her life. Mme. Le Brun painted three portraits of her in 1786, 1787, and in September, 1789. The first was three-quarters length, in a peignoir with a straw hat; in the second, painted for the Duc de Brissac, she was represented in a white satin dress, leaning one arm on a pedestal and holding a crown in the other hand. This picture was afterwards bought by an old general, and when Mme. Le Brun saw it many years later, the head had been so injured and re-painted that she did not recognise it, though the rest of the picture was intact. There was also the salon of Mme. du Deffand, who, while more decidedly irreligious and atheistical than Mme. Geoffrin, was her superior in talent, birth, and education, and always spoke of her with the utmost disdain, as a bourgeoise without manners or instruction, who did not know [361] how to write, pronounce, or spell correctly, and saw no reason why people should not talk of des zharicots.

Well! you take everything for granted, he said. I am glad to see that if ever you become powerful favours will fall from your hands as if by miracle. They were in the habit of spending part of every summer at tioles, with M. le Normand, fermier gnral des postes, husband of Mme. de Pompadour, then the mistress of Louis XV. After one of these visits, when Flicit was about six years old, it having been decided to obtain for her and for one of her little cousins admission into the order of chanoinesses of the Noble Chapter of Alix; the two children with their mothers travelled in an immense travelling-carriage called a berline, to Lyon, where they were detained for a fortnight, during which the Comtes de Lyon examined the genealogical proofs of their noble descent. Finding them correct and sufficient for their admission into the order, they proceeded to Alix, at some distance from Lyon; where, with the huge abbey and church in the centre were, grouped, in the form of a semi-circle, the tiny houses, each with its [353] little garden, which were the dwellings of the chanoinesses.

As Saint-Aubin had long been sold, her brother now called himself M. Ducrest.

With the same religious and political principles, the conditions of life which surrounded the Marquise de Montagu were totally different. A contrast indeed to the simple, artistic household, the early grief, poverty, and hard work, the odious step-father, the foolish mother, the worthless husband and daughter, the thousand difficulties and disadvantages which beset Mme. Le Brun, were the state and luxury, the sheltered life, the watchful care, and powerful protection bestowed upon the daughter of the house of Noailles; her mother, the saintly, [ix] heroic Duchesse dAyen, her husband the gallant, devoted Marquis de Montagu.

The Noailles, unlike most of the great French families, although they lived in Paris during the winter, spent a portion of their time on their estates, looked after their people, and occupied themselves with charities and devotion. The Marchal de Mouchy de Noailles, brother of the Duc dAyen, even worked with his own hands amongst his peasants, while his wife and daughter, Mme. de Duras, shared his views and the life he led, as did his sons, the Prince de Poix and the Vicomte de Noailles, of whom more will be said later.

Interesting societyAnecdotes of the past TerrorCasimirThe RestorationMadame RoyaleLouis XVIII.The coiffeur of Marie AntoinetteThe regicideReturn of the Orlans familyAn astrologerA faithful servantSociety of the RestorationIsabeyMeyerbeerConclusion.