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Capital letter A The ancien rgimeClose of the reign of Louis XIV.The Regent OrlansThe court of Louis XV.The philosophersThe artistsM. Vige.

She had far better have remained in her old home, poor and free; for directly they were married she discovered the real character of her second husband: an ill-tempered, avaricious man, who refused his wife and step-children even the necessaries of life, although Lisette was foolish enough to give him all she earned by her portraits. She hated him still more because he had taken possession of her fathers clothes, which he wore, to her grief and indignation. Joseph Vernet, who, like many of her old friends, still interested himself in her, was furious at all this, and represented to her that she ought to pay a certain pension to her odious step-father and keep the rest of the money herself; but she feared such a [24] suggestion might make matters worse for her mother, and therefore went on allowing herself to be robbed. At this moment the gaoler returned, accompanied by the aide-de-camp for whom Tallien had sent.

Her daughter-in-law seems to have got on very well with her, and with all her husbands family. Besides the Marchal de Mouchy, there was another brother, the Marquis de Noailles, and numbers of other relations, nearly all united by the strongest affection and friendship.

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For six weeks she lay in state in a great room in the palace, which was illuminated day and night. The Emperor had his father, Peter III., brought from the convent where he was buried to be taken at the same time as Catherine to the fortress where all the Russian monarchs are interred. He obliged the assassins of his father to carry the corners of the funeral pall, and himself, bareheaded, with the Empress and all the ladies of the court, with long trains and veils, walked through the snow and fearful cold in the procession from the palace to the fortress.

But although fully enjoying the amusement and admiration that fell to her lot, she passed unscathed through the temptations and dangers around her. The strength and devotion of her religious principles, the deep love of her art, which was the ruling passion of her life, her affection for her mother, who was always with her, and to whom she confided all her affairs, were her only safeguards.

Likewise girls at fourteen or fifteen and even younger, who, with us, wear their hair down their backs, their petticoats half way up to their knees, and spend their time in lessons and play, were wives, mothers, court beauties, and distinguished members of society at the French Court of those days.

In Mme. de Genlis we have a fourth and more complex type, a character in which good and evil were so mingled that it was often hard to say which predominated. With less beauty than the other three but singularly attractive, with extraordinary gifts and talents, with noble blood and scarcely any fortune, she spent a childhood of comparative poverty at her fathers chateau, where she was only half educated, and at seventeen married the young Comte de Genlis, who had no money but was related to most of the great families of the kingdom.

Their first house in Paris was a sort of imitation cottage, after the execrable taste of the day, in the Champs-Elyses, from which they moved into a h?tel in the rue de la Victoire, which was for some time the resort of all the chiefs of their political party, and the scene of constant contention between the Thermidoriens and the remnants of the Montagne. The discussions were generally political, and often violent; they would have been abhorrent to the well-bred society of former days.

The brilliant social success, and the life, a perpetual scene of pleasure, excitement and intense interest, were chequered with all sorts of annoyances. The envy she excited by her social triumphs, the favour of the Duchess, and later, of the Duc de Chartres, displayed itself as usual in slanders, misrepresentations, and different spiteful actions; while the hostility she aroused caused her more astonishment than would have been expected in a woman possessing so much knowledge of the world, and more unhappiness than one might suspect in one so entirely self-satisfied.

His devotion to herself was only interfered with by his political ideas; but it soon appeared that this interference was a very serious matter, for in 1777 he announced his intention of going to America to fight for the colonies then in rebellion against England.