She and Mme. de la Fayette used also to visit the prisons, which in those days required no little courage, owing to the squalor, cruelty, and misery with which they were thus brought into contact. Overcome with joy and gratitude the eldest brother, to whom according to the custom of their family it all belonged, divided the property, which was immensely valuable, into three portions, giving one to his brother, one to the faithful gardener, and keeping one himself, with the proceeds of which they each bought an estate. The sons of the gardener, who were educated with their own, became, one a successful merchant, the other an officer in the French Navy. [143]

Mesdames de France were in many respects excellent women: religious, charitable to the poor, strict in their duties. The three elder ones had stayed by their father in his fatal illness, by which Adla?de and Sophie had caught the small-pox. Louise was a saintly person; and all of them were devoted to their family and friends. But they were narrow-minded, obstinate, and prejudiced to an extraordinary degree, and they allowed their hatred of the house of Austria to include their niece, the young Queen; their unjust animosity against whom was the cause of incalculable mischief.

On Sunday, April 19, 1795, therefore, she left Vienna and went by Prague to Dresden, where she was of course enraptured with the world-famed gallery, and above all with the chef d?uvre of Raffaelle, the Madonna di San Sistothat vision of beauty before which every other seems dim and pale. She spent five days at Berlin, stayed a few [123] days more at the castle of her old friend Prince Henry of Prussia, and arrived at St. Petersburg late in July, very tired and exhausted with the journey in an uncomfortable carriage over roads so bad that she was jolted and flung about from one great stone to another from Riga to St. Petersburg, until her only longing was to be quiet and rest. After a time a governess was engaged for her, a certain Mlle. de Mars, a young girl of sixteen, whose chief instruction was in music, in which she excelled, but beyond the catechism and a few elementary subjects, knew little or nothing. She was a gentle, devout, sweet-tempered girl, and Flicit soon became passionately attached to her, and as her mother, occupied with her own pursuits and paying and receiving visits, troubled herself very little about the studies of her daughter, the child was left almost entirely to Mlle. Mars and the maids, who, however, were trustworthy women and did her no harm, beyond filling her head with stories of ghosts with which the old chateau might well have been supposed to be haunted. M. de Saint-Aubin kept a pack of hounds, hunted or fished all day, and played the violin in the evening. He had been in the army, but had resigned his commission early in consequence of some foolish scrape. Pauline remained at Paris with her husband, and in February they lost their younger child, Clotilde. The morning after she died, Pauline, who had been up with her all night, was told that Rosalie, who was living at the h?tel de Noailles, had just given birth to her first child.

Yes, yes! I know the way to the restaurant! and as he dragged him along in an iron grasp some guards, who had discovered the escape of the prisoner, recognised and seized him.

M. de Saint-Aubin, meanwhile, whose affairs, which grew worse and worse, were probably not improved by his mismanagement nor by the residence of his wife and daughter in Paris, stayed in Burgundy, coming every now and then to see them. Mlle. de Mars had left them, to the great grief of Flicit, who was now fourteen, and whom the Baron de Zurlauben, Colonel of the Swiss Guards, was most anxious to marry; but, as he was eighty years old, she declined his offer, and also another of a young widower who was only six-and-twenty, extremely handsome and agreeable, and had a large fortune.

The Revolution had begun indeed, and was advancing at a fearful rate. The King and Queen, seeing the danger they were all in, at this time thought of escaping from Versailles. The Queen told Mme. de Tourzel to make preparations quietly to start. Had they done so it might probably have saved them all, but the King changed his mind and they stayed. [78]

One autumn night, after ten oclock, the beggar had not come in. They supposed the woman who took care of him had neglected to fetch him, and charitably waited till half-past. The sister cellarer sent for the keys, to take them, as usual, to the prioress, who would put them under her pillow. She was a demoiselle de Toustain, who, par parenthse, had had the golden ball of her prioresss staff engraved with the motto of her family, Tous-teints-de-sang (All stained with blood), which my aunt had thought out of place on an emblem of religious and pastoral office. She had remarked to the [372] Prioress, My dear daughter, a war-cry is always improper for a bride of Jesus Christ....

Mon cher, here is what you wanted; the music is all right, I have just tried it on my flute. I am sorry not to be able to get you some more; I shall not be alive to-morrow. [107]

DArtois accordingly told M. de Montbel that he wished to make an excursion into the forest, but when the carriage came round which had been ordered for him, he said he would rather walk, and took care to go so far out of the way that his tutor was very tired.

But her household difficulties were serious. Any persons who have passed their youth in ease and comfort, and then find themselves obliged to arrange their lives upon a totally different scale, will understand this. The petty economies which their soul abhors, the absurd mistakes they continually make, often with disastrous results, the perplexity caused by few and incompetent servants, and the doubt as to whether, after all, their expenses will not exceed their resources, hang like millstones round their inexperienced necks in any case.

By their affectionate and devoted love the rest of her life was made happy, even after the far greater loss in 1820 of the brother to whom she had always been deeply attached.

At last the day arrived; the Duchess was to start at ten oclock. Pauline persuaded her to stay till twelve and breakfast with her. She forced herself to be calm, but all the morning her eyes followed her mother about as she came and went and helped her pack, listening to every sound of her voice, gazing as if to impress her face upon her memory, for she had been seized with a presentiment that she should see her no more. She pretended to eat, but could touch nothing, and then, thankful that her mother did not know of the long separation before them, went down to the carriage with her arm in hers. She held up her child for a last kiss, and then stood watching the carriage as it bore her mother out of her sight for ever in this world.