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The peace of Amiens had just been signed, society was beginning to be reorganised. The Princess Dolgorouki who, to Lisettes great joy, [149] was in Paris, gave a magnificent ball, at which, Lisette remarked, young people of twenty saw for the first time in their lives liveries in the salons and ante-rooms of the ambassadors, and foreigners of distinction richly dressed, wearing orders and decorations. With several of the new beauties she was enchanted, especially Mme. Rcamier and Mme. Tallien. She renewed her acquaintance with Mme. Campan, and went down to dine at her famous school at Saint Germain, where the daughters of all the most distinguished families were now being educated. Madame Murat, sister of Napoleon, was present at dinner, and the First Consul himself came to the evening theatricals, when Esther was acted by the pupils, Mlle. Auguier, niece of Mme. Campan, afterwards wife of Marshal Ney, taking the chief part.

CHAPTER VI

But when they saw the place, which was at Chaillot, it was a miserable little house in a still more miserable little garden, without a tree or any shelter from the sun except a deplorable looking arbour against which nothing would grow properly, while in the next plots of ground were shop boys shooting at birds according to the odious fashion one still sees in the south.

Nattier Even then they had a third chance of escape, for when the announcement of what was intended arrived, the King was out hunting, the horses were just being put into the carriage of the Dauphin who was going out for a drive, and if the Queen, her children, and Madame Elisabeth had got into the carriage and joined him, they could have fled together. But the idea did not occur to them; they waited till the King returned, and were taken prisoners to Paris next day, escorted by La Fayette, who, though able to protect them from personal violence, was powerless to prevent the horrors and crimes committed by his atrocious followers.

One of the odious, inevitable republican ftes was, of course, given to celebrate the events of Thermidor. Mme. Tallien opened a salon, where, as in the others then existing, the strange, uncouth figures of the sans-culottes mingled with others whose appearance and manners showed that they were renegades and traitors to their own order and blood.

Marie AntoinetteBirth of Mme. Le Bruns daughterThe Royal FamilyBrusselsAntwerpThe charms of French societyThe Opera ballAn incident in the TerrorA Greek supperLe jeu de la Reine.

While she was still in Vienna, Lisette had been told by the Baronne de Strogonoff of the Greek supper at Paris, which she said she knew cost 80,000 francs.

Her husband was a miller, who had, apparently by his manipulation of contracts given him for the army and by various corrupt practices, made an enormous fortune. He and his wife wished to enter society, but not having any idea what to do or how to behave, they wanted Mme. de Genlis to live with them as chaperon and teach them the usages of the world, offering her 12,000 francs salary and assuring her that she would be very happy with them as they had a splendid h?tel in the rue St. Dominique, and had just bought an estate and chateau in Burgundy. She added that M. de Biras knew Mme. de Genlis, as he had lived on her fathers lands. He was their miller! [134]

For more than twenty years M. le Comte de Charolois has detained in captivity, against her will, Mme. de Conchamp, wife of a Ma?tre-des-Requtes, whom he carried off, and who would have been [7] much happier in her own house. Fifteen out of twenty men at the court do not live with their wives but have mistresses, and even amongst private people at Paris, nothing is more frequent; therefore it is ridiculous to expect the King, who is absolutely the master, to be in a worse position than his subjects and all the kings his predecessors.

The new ideas were the fashion, people, especially young people, believed with enthusiastic fervour in the absurd and impracticable state of things they imagined they were about to establish, but meanwhile, though they talked of the rights of man and the sufferings of the people, they went on just the same, lavishing enormous sums upon dress, luxury, and costly entertainments.