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She had first married M. de Mzires, a man of talent and learning, who possessed an estate in Burgundy, and was early left a widow.

The Princess Dolgorouki came to see her after being presented to Napoleon, and on her asking how she liked his court, replied, It is not a court at all; it is a power.

She took no notice of her toilette, expressed her deep satisfaction at her arrival in Russia, hoped she would be happy and stay there a long time, and ordered an apartment in the palace to be prepared for her during the rest of the summer. Sadly she returned to Aix-la-Chapelle, where the news which she had heard at Lige of the September [233] massacres had already arrived, and where, besides their own horror and grief, the emigrs had to listen to the disgust and contempt everywhere expressed by those of other nations for a country in which such atrocities could be perpetuated without the slightest resistance.

The following lines were circulated by Mme. Le Bruns friends upon the occasion:

But his position at Paris was too powerful and his friends too numerous to allow him to be at once attacked with impunity. It was Trzia who was to be the first victim. Robespierre dreaded her influence, her talents, her popularity, her opinions, and the assistance and support she was to Tallien.

M. Denon, who could not imagine what she meant, looked at her in astonishment, only saying

Speak lower, implored the Chevalier. Are you mad?

Their great stronghold was the salon of Mme. Geoffrin, where all the radical, atheist, and philosophic parties congregated. DAlembert, Condorcet, Turgot, Diderot, Morellet, Marmontel, and many other celebrated names were amongst the intimate friends of the singular woman, who although possessing neither rank, beauty, talent, nor any particular gift, had yet succeeded in establishing a salon celebrated not only in France but all over Europe. Owing to her want of rank she could not be presented at court, and yet amongst her guests were many of the greatest names in France, members of the royal family, strangers of rank and distinction. She knew nothing of art or literature, but her Monday dinners and evenings were the resort of all the first artists of the day, and her Wednesdays of the literary and political world.

The attraction he felt for Mme. de Genlis, which had such a powerful influence upon her life and so disastrous an effect upon her reputation, had not begun when she first took up her abode at the Palais Royal.

Another of the people declared to be in love with Mme. Le Brun, and about whom there was so much gossip as to cause her serious annoyance, was M. de Calonne, the brilliant, extravagant, fascinating Finance Minister of Louis XVI. [28]

A fashionable promenade was the boulevard du Temple, where every day, especially Thursdays, hundreds of carriages were to be seen driving up and down or standing under the shade of trees now replaced by houses, shops, and cafs. Young men rode in and out amongst them, notorious members of the demi-monde tried to surpass every one in the splendour of their dress and carriages. A certain Mlle. Renard had her carriage drawn by four horses, their harness studded with imitation jewels. It was not an age of imitation. In those days as a rule lace was real lace, jewels were real jewels, and if tawdry imitations and finery were worn it was by women of this class. Respectable people would never have dreamed of bedizening themselves with the sort of cheap rubbish with which the modern women of the lower classes delight to disfigure their houses and their dress.