The odious step-father, whose name by the by, was Jacques Fran?ois Le Svre, was annoyed at the universal admiration excited by the beauty of his wife and step-daughter. At one time he tried to [27] put a stop to their walks, and told them he had hired a country place where they would go from Saturday till Monday during the summer. [133]

Whatever religious teaching she may have received she had thrown off its influence and principles, and ardently adopted the doctrines of the Revolution. Freedom, not only from tyranny, but from religion, law, morality, restraint of any kind, was the new theory adopted by her and by the party to which she belonged. I replied to the King that this would be all the easier to me as I had no greater wish than to be on good terms with my brother and sister-in-law; adding: I know the respect which I owe your Majesty, and that which the heir to the throne has a right to expect from me; in which I hope never to be accused of having failed.

The Count listened quietly to all he said, and then replied

M. de Montyon, taking him for a valet de pied, called him an insolent rascal for daring to speak to him in such a manner; but no sooner were the words spoken than the young man snatched off his wig, rubbed it over his face and ran away with shouts of laughter. Besides, she educated her own two daughters, her nephew, Csar Ducrest, whose mother died and whose father (her brother) was given a post at the Palais Royal, a young cousin, Henriette de Sercey, and later on one or two other children she adopted. But what caused considerable speculation and scandal was the sudden appearance of a little girl, who was sent, she said, from England, to speak English with the other children amongst whom she was educated. On perfectly equal terms with the Princes and Princesses of Orlans, petted and made much of by every one, she was, and still is supposed by many, perhaps by most people, to have been really the daughter of Mme. de Genlis and the Duc de Chartres. At any rate, no English relations were ever forthcoming, and it was never clearly established where she came from, except that she was announced to have been sent over from England at the request of the Duc de Chartres. She was remarkably beautiful and talented, and Mme. de Genlis brought her forward, and did everything to make her as affected and vain as she had been made herself. This, however, was not done, owing to some palace intrigue, and greatly to the relief of Mme. Le Brun, who much preferred to live by herself in her own way.

Monsieur, I have just been hearing so much nonsense about this portrait, that really I dont know whether I have been working like an artist or a sign-painter.

God gives me strength, she wrote to him, and He will support me; I have perfect confidence in Him. Adieu; the feeling for all I owe you will follow me to heaven; do not doubt it. Without you what would become of my children? Adieu, Alexis, Alfred, Euphmie. Let God be in your hearts all the days of your lives. Cling to Him without wavering; pray for your father: do all for his true happiness. Remember your mother, and that her only wish has been to keep you for eternity. I hope to find you again with God, and I give you all my last blessing.

Speak lower, implored the Chevalier. Are you mad?

Si vous les avez prises.

But her first impressions were very painful, notwithstanding her emotion when first she heard the people around her speaking French, saw the towers of Notre Dame, passed the barrire, and found herself again driving through the streets of Paris.

The last time Mme. Le Brun saw the Queen was at the last ball given at Versailles, which took place in the theatre, and at which she looked on from one of the boxes. She observed with indignation the rudeness of some of the young Radical nobles; they refused to dance when requested to do so by the Queen, whose agitation and uneasiness were only too apparent. The demeanour of the populace was becoming every day more ferocious and alarming; the drives and streets were scarcely safe for any but the lower classes. At a concert given by Mme. Le Brun, most of the guests came in with looks of consternation. They had been driving earlier in the day to Longchamps, and as they passed the barrire de ltoile, a furious mob had surrounded and insulted everybody who passed in carriages. Villainous looking faces pressed close to them, horrible figures climbed on to the steps of the carriages, crying out, with infamous threats and brutal language, that next year they should be in the carriages and the owners behind them.