《红旗文稿》2020年第6期

When they were obliged to give up their rooms in this convent, they moved to that of St. Joseph, in which Mme. de Saint-Aubin hired an apartment. Mme. Du Barry received Mme. Le Brun with the greatest politeness and attention; she was now about forty-two, and still extremely handsome. The brilliant beauty of her complexion had begun to fade, but her face was still charming, her features [75] beautiful, her figure tall and well-made, and her hair fair and curled like that of a child.

CHAPTER VII

Tavannes drew back, and just then, seeing Prince Maurice de Montbarrey, Colonel of the Cent-Suisses of his guard, the Comte de Provence sent him to tell the man to go. Saint-Maurice obeyed, without knowing who the man was, and the Comte de Provence saw him turn pale and cast a terrible look at Saint-Maurice. He retired in silence, and not many years afterwards Saint-Maurice fell under his hand. I am Mme. Venotte, she went on. I had the honour to be marchande de dentelles to la sainte reine whom they have sent to God. I wish my children always to see me in the costume I used to wear when Marie Antoinette deigned to admit me to her presence.

Philippe-galit had wearied Robespierre with his petitions to be released, and that worthy remarked to Fouquier-Tinville She now painted the whole day except when on Sundays she received in her studio the numbers of people, from the Imperial family downwards, who came to see her portraits; to which she had added a new and great attraction, for she had caused to be sent from Paris her great picture of Marie Antoinette in a blue velvet dress, which excited the deepest interest. The Prince de Cond, when he came to see it, could not speak, but looked at it and burst into tears.

Puisque cest vous que je fte, comment vous tonnez-vous de quelque chose? [48] No one can judge of what society in France was, wrote Mme. Le Brun in her old age, who has not seen the times when after the affairs of the day were finished, twelve or fifteen agreeable people would meet at the house of a friend to finish the evening there.

Meanwhile, she and M. de Genlis had fallen in love with each other, and resolved to marry. As he had neither father nor mother, there was nobody whose consent he was absolutely bound to ask; but a powerful relation, M. de Puisieux, who was the head of his family, had already, with his consent, begun to negotiate his marriage with a rich young girl. Instead of telling M. de Puisieux the state of the case while there was still time to retire without difficulty, M. de Genlis said nothing, but proposed that they should at once marry secretly, to which neither Flicit nor her relations seem to have made any objection. She had no money, and had [367] refused all the marriages proposed to her; here was a man she did like, and who was in all respects unexceptionable, only that he was not well off. But his connections were so brilliant and influential that they could soon put that right, and it was agreed that the marriage should take place from the house of the Marquise de Sercey.