修文视窗--贵州频道--人民网

The child died at five oclock one morning. At the same hour, she writes, of the same day, I was alone with my nurse, and, raising my eyes to the canopy of my bed, I distinctly saw my son in the form of an angel ... holding out his arms to me. This vision, without exciting any suspicions, caused me great surprise. I rubbed my eyes several times, but always saw the same figure. My mother and M. de Genlis came at about eleven; they were overcome with grief, but I was not surprised, for I [391] knew I was ill enough to make them very anxious. I could not help looking always at the canopy of my bed with a sort of shudder, and my mother, knowing that I was afraid of spiders, asked if I saw one ... at last I said I would not tell them what I saw lest they should think my brain was deranged, but they pressed me until I told them. Her illness was of course aggravated by the accounts from Paris, and she heard with dismay that La Fayette had been made commander of the garde-nationale, which she dreaded to see him leading against the King. He had then reached the height of his power. [77]

Not so the Duchess, his wife. Brought up first in a convent and then under the care of her father, whose household, like those of many of the noblesse de robe, was regulated by a strictness and gravity seldom to be seen amongst the rest of the French nobles, Mme. dAyen cared very little for society, and preferred to stay at home absorbed in religious duties, charities, and domestic affairs, while her husband amused himself as he chose. Mme. de Tess, alarmed by the conduct of the government of Fribourg, sold her property there, and resolved to go far north, as the French armies seemed to be spreading all over central and southern Europe.

CHAPTER IX Flicit seems, however, to have always considered that she made a mistake, or, indeed, as she says, committed a fault, one of the greatest in her life, by doing so; if so, it does not appear to be a surprising one, as the plan certainly would have offered strong attractions and inducements even to a woman less vain and ambitious than she was, but [385] it is certain that it caused many calamities and exercised an evil influence for which no advantages could compensate. She left the h?tel de Puisieux before Madame was up in the morning, as she dreaded the parting, and as her apartment in the Palais Royal was not ready she was lodged in one that had belonged to the Regent, with a door into the rue de Richelieu. She nearly had an accident before she got out of the carriage, and felt low-spirited and unhappy, wishing herself back in her own room at the h?tel de Puisieux as she looked round the luxurious boudoir lined with mirrors, which she did not like at all, and which seemed associated with the orgies of the Regency, of which it had been the scene.

Mme. de Valence, daughter of Mme. de Genlis came to them at Tournay, but very soon had to hurry back to France as the Austrian army was coming up. CHAPTER III

[461]

Shortly afterwards, passing his father in the great gallery at Versailles, the Duc de Richelieu said to him

Mons was full of soldiers, they could only get bad rooms in the inn, and in the night Mademoiselle dOrlans, who slept in Mme. de Genliss room, did nothing but cough and moan. Going into the adjoining room to tell her niece, Mme. de Genlis found her in the same state; the girls had both got measles.

The wedding took place in the spring of 1783, before her seventeenth birthday. The presents and corbeille were magnificent, and every day, between the signing of the contract and the marriage, Pauline, in a splendid and always a different dress, received the visits of ceremony usual on these occasions. As her family and her husbands were related to or connected with every one of the highest rank in France, all the society of Paris passed through the h?tel de Noailles on those interminable evenings, which began at six oclock and ended with a great supper, while Pauline sat by her mother, and was presented to every one who came.

He seemed, she says distrait, gloomy, and preoccupied, with a strange expression which had something sinister in his face; he walked up and down from one room to another, as if he dreaded conversation or questions. The day was fine. I sent Mademoiselle, my niece, and Pamela into the garden; M. de Sillery followed: I found myself alone with M. le Duc dOrlans. Then I said something about his situation, he hastily interrupted me and said brusquely that he had pledged himself to the Jacobins. I replied that after all that had happened it was a crime and a folly; that he would be their victim.... I advised him to emigrate with his family to America. The Duke smiled disdainfully and answered as he had often done before, that I was well worth being consulted and listened to when it was a question of historical or literary matters, but that I knew nothing about politics.... The conversation became heated, then angry, and suddenly he left me. In the evening I had a long interview with M. de Sillery. I entreated him with tears to leave France; it would have been easy for him to get away and to take with him at least a hundred thousand francs. He listened with emotion; told me he abhorred all the excesses of [434] the Revolution, but that I took too gloomy a view of the outlook. Robespierre and his party were too mediocre to keep their ascendancy long; all the talent and capacity was among the moderates, who would soon re-establish order and morality (they were all put to death soon afterwards); and that he considered it criminal for an honest man to leave France at this moment, as he thereby deprived his country of one more voice for reason and humanity. I insisted, but in vain. He spoke of the Duke of Orlans, saying that in his opinion he was lost, because he was placing all his hopes in the Jacobins, who delighted in degrading him in order to destroy him more easily....

Inheriting the cool head, calm judgment, and commonsense of her father and grandfather, she did not believe in these extravagant dreams of universal happiness and prosperity. On the contrary, her mind was filled with gloomy forebodings, and during a severe illness that she had, she called her daughters round her bed and spoke to them of [209] her fears for the future with a sadness and earnestness only too prophetic, and with which Pauline was more strongly impressed than her sisters.