Of course, replied Napoleon, but you should find a marriage for her at once; to-morrow; and then go.

Leclerc withdrew, and a few minutes afterwards Davoust came in to announce his intended marriage. You will see, sire, that all this will necessitate the assembly of the States-General: whereupon [280] Louis XV., abandoning the calm repose of his usual manner, seized him by the arm, exclaiming vehemently

Of everything, I suppose, since there is nothing they can bring against me. The last time Mme. Le Brun saw the Queen was at the last ball given at Versailles, which took place in the theatre, and at which she looked on from one of the boxes. She observed with indignation the rudeness of some of the young Radical nobles; they refused to dance when requested to do so by the Queen, whose agitation and uneasiness were only too apparent. The demeanour of the populace was becoming every day more ferocious and alarming; the drives and streets were scarcely safe for any but the lower classes. At a concert given by Mme. Le Brun, most of the guests came in with looks of consternation. They had been driving earlier in the day to Longchamps, and as they passed the barrire de ltoile, a furious mob had surrounded and insulted everybody who passed in carriages. Villainous looking faces pressed close to them, horrible figures climbed on to the steps of the carriages, crying out, with infamous threats and brutal language, that next year they should be in the carriages and the owners behind them.

Mme. de Montesson had so far succeeded in her plan that she had, in 1773, been privately married to the Duke of Orlans. The marriage was celebrated at midnight in the presence of a small number of persons of high position. But the marriage, though known and recognised in society, was only a morganatic one. Louis XV. would never hear of her taking the rank and title of Duchess of Orlans, or any precedence that would have been the consequence. This was of course a continual grievance to her, but she was obliged to resign herself and make the best of the position, at any rate far more exalted than any to which she had the least pretension to aspire. She had an unbounded influence over the Duc dOrlans, in whose household and amongst whose friends she was always treated as a princess, and with whom she led a life of unbounded luxury and magnificence. Like Mme. de Maintenon after her morganatic marriage with Louis XIV. she renounced the title of Marquise and was known as Mme. de Montesson, possibly thinking like the hero of the well-known incident: Princesse je ne puis pas, Marquise je ne veux pas, Madame je suis. Her first care had been to release from the Carmes her fellow-prisoners, Josphine de Beauharnais and Mme. dAiguillon, who now formed an intimate part of her society and that of Barras. To them also came Mme. de Stael, wife of the Swedish Ambassador, the beautiful Mme. Regnault-de-Saint-Jean-dAngely, Mme. Cambys, and many others thankful to escape from the shadows of prison and death to the light of liberty and pleasure. The restraints of religion and morality were, of course, non-existent; liaisons and [338] licence were the order of the day, and Trzia was not likely to be an exception to the general custom. She had, besides her daughter by Tallien, other children, who, as no other name belonged to them, were called Cabarrus. And her being or calling herself Talliens wife was no reason why she should renounce her natural right to love any one else where, when, and as often as she pleased. She replied that she would go to Tournay on condition that if the decree was not out in a fortnight, the Duke would send some one else to take her place with his daughter, which he promised to do.

Although stupid, M. Geoffrin was harmless, good, and charitable. Their only child, the Marquise de la Fert Imbault, adored her father, whom she preferred to her mother. She was a pretty, high-spirited girl, an ardent Catholic, hated her mothers atheist friends, and always declared that she had forced her into her marriage, which, although a great one, was not a happy one.

The young Comtesse de Genlis was very happy at Origny, and amused herself like a child amongst the nuns. She ran about the corridors at night [374] dressed like the devil, with horns; she put rouge and patches on the nuns while they were asleep, and they got up and went down to the services in the church in the night without seeing themselves thus decorated; she gave suppers and dances amongst the nuns and pupils to which no men were, of course, admitted; she played many tricks, and wrote constantly to her husband and mother, the latter of whom came to spend six weeks with her. When her husband came back they went to Genlis, where her brother, who had just gone into the Engineers, paid them a long visit, to her great joy.

Another and more reprehensible episode took place when the Comte dArtois, then a lad of sixteen, was just going to be married to the younger sister of the Comtesse de Provence, daughter of the King of Sardinia.

Suddenly a shrill voice was heard from the altar, [178] saying, Mme. la Marchale, you will not have the eighteen hundred thousand francs that you ask for your husband, he has already one hundred thousand cus de rente, and that is enough; he is already Duke, Peer, Grandee of Spain, and Marshal of France; he has already the orders of the Saint-Esprit and the Golden Fleece; your family is loaded with the favours of the court; if you are not content it is because it is impossible to satisfy you; and I advise you to renounce becoming a princess of the Empire. Your husband will not have the garter of St. George either.

The first personal encounter of Mme. de Genlis with the Revolution was one afternoon in 1790. She had driven with Mademoiselle dOrlans, the Comte de Beaujolais, Henriette de Sercey, and Pamela, to a village about twelve miles from Paris, where, unluckily, a fair was going on and a great many people collected together. They took it into their heads that the party were the Queen, Madame Royale, and the Dauphin trying to escape, and, surrounding them with anger, forced them to get out of the carriage and refused to believe their explanations.

The Duchesse dAyen was the only daughter of M. dAguesseau de Fresne, Conseiller dtat, and grand-daughter of the great Chancellor dAguesseau. From her mother, daughter of M. Dupr, conseiller du parlement, she inherited a fortune of 200,000 livres de rente, in consequence of which her family were able to arrange her marriage with the young heir of the Noailles, then Comte dAyen.