Indignant at the avarice which risked the lives of the unfortunate passengers, Térèzia, disregarding the remonstrances and warnings of her husband and uncle, ordered a carriage, drove to find the captain, paid him the three thousand francs, and returned in triumph with a list of the passengers which she had made the captain give her instead of the receipt he wished to write.She had stopped to change horses and found that she could get none, as they were being sent all over the country to convey the news. She was consequently obliged to remain all night in her carriage, which was drawn up by the roadside close to a river, from which blew a bitterly cold wind.The grief of the Duchesse de Polignac was aggravated by the recollection of a sinister prophecy which, although at the time it seemed incredible, was apparently being fulfilled in an alarming manner. The circumstances were as follows:
The Semiramis of the North, as she was called, received her so graciously, that all her fears and embarrassments disappeared.Brussels was crowded with refugees, many of them almost destitute, who sold everything they had, gave lessons in languages, history, mathematics, writing, even riding, but there was so much competition that they got very little.The next day, just as she was starting for the Vatican Museum, the students of the Academy came to visit her, bringing her the palette of Drouais, a talented young painter whom she had known in Paris, and who had lately died. He had dined with her the evening before he started for Rome, and she was much touched at the recollection of him and at the request of the lads that she would give them some old brushes she had used.
The King, the royal family, but especially the Queen, were becoming every day more unpopular, the reforms introduced seemed to do no good, only to incite the populace to more and more extortionate demands. The King, having neither courage nor decision, inspired neither confidence nor respect.“You have nothing to fear for the citoyenne Cabarrus; she will not be brought before the tribunal to-day either.”
He returned in time to save the emigré, but not himself.With anguish she saw one cartload of prisoners leave, and she trembled every moment lest she should hear the sound of the wheels of a second in the courtyard of the prison.
“You know. I want liberty.”The Queen had no idea of economy, and the Comte d’Artois was still more extravagant and heedless.  Many were the absurd stories told of him, harmless and otherwise. Of the first description is the affair of the wig of M. de Montyon. Arriving early one morning to speak to him, and seeing no servants about, he mistook the door and walked unannounced into a room where he saw a young man in his shirt sleeves, with his hair all rough and his toilette very incomplete, who, astonished at the sudden entrance of a magistrate in an enormous wig, asked him brusquely what he was doing there.
“Open the door! Open the door! I must embrace you.And Barras pleased her. His distinguished appearance and manners contrasted with those of her present surroundings, and recalled the days when she lived amongst people who were polite and well-bred, knew how to talk and eat and enter a drawing-room, and behave when they were in it; and who wore proper clothes and did not call each other “citoyen,” or any other ridiculous names, and conversation was delightful, and scenes and memories of blood and horror unknown. It may well have been at this time that she began to yearn after that former existence she had been so rashly eager to throw away.For her name also was Catherine.
Besides the immense number of her friends and acquaintance of later years, she kept up faithfully those of her early days. Her old fellow student, Mlle. Boquet, had given up the profession in which she was getting on so well, and married a M. Filleul, whom the Queen had made her concierge de la Muette. CHAPTER VII
M. de la Haie—Death of the Dauphin—M. de Saint-Aubin goes to St. Domingo—Taken prisoner by the English—Returns to France—Imprisoned for debt—His death—Difficulties and poverty—Félicité marries the Comte de Genlis—His family—The Abbesse de Montivilliers and the robbers—Life in the convent—Birth of a daughter.But these were not the directions in which the guidance of Nature led most of her followers. It was not to a life of primitive simplicity and discomfort that Térèzia and her friends felt themselves directed; no, the h?tel de Fontenay, in the rue de Paradis, and the chateau of the same name in the country were the scene of ceaseless gaiety and amusement. La Rochefoucauld, Rivarol, Chamfort, La Fayette, the three brothers de Lameth, all of whom were in love with their fascinating hostess; Mirabeau, Barnave, Vergniaud, Robespierre, Camille Desmoulins—all the leaders of the radical party were to be met at her parties, and most of them were present at a splendid entertainment given by the Marquis and Marquise de Fontenay to the Constituants at their chateau, and called, after the fashion of Rousseau, a fête à la Nature.“You are wrong, citoyenne, to doubt the justice of the tribunal, we have not created it to assassinate in the name of the law, but to avenge the republic and proclaim innocence.”
Félicité recovered, and went to Spa, and to travel in Belgium. After her return, as she was walking one day in the Palais Royal gardens, she met a young girl with a woman of seven or eight and thirty, who stopped and gazed at her with an earnest look. Suddenly she exclaimed—The Duc de Chartres was horror-stricken at the crime, at his father’s share in it, and at the hypocritical letter in which he excused his baseness, speaking of his lacerated heart, his sacrifice to liberty, and the welfare of France, &c.
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