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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.

Just after the September massacres Mme. de Genlis received a letter from the Duc dOrlans desiring her to bring his daughter back to France at once, to which she replied that she should do nothing of the sort, and that it would be absurd to choose such a time for entering France.

Next came her twin sister, Henriette, from whom she had parted almost heart-broken, when she reluctantly left France for Parma. Henriette was the Kings favourite daughter, the best and most charming of all the princesses. Lovely, gentle, and saintly, the Duc de Chartres [61] was deeply in love with her and she with him. The King was disposed to allow the marriage, but was dissuaded by Cardinal Fleury. If the Infanta had been in question she would have got her own way, but Henriette was too yielding and submissive. She died at twenty-five years of age, of the small-pox, so fatal to her race (1752) to the great grief of the court and royal family, and especially of the King, by whom she was adored.

Mme. de Montesson had so far succeeded in her plan that she had, in 1773, been privately married to the Duke of Orlans. The marriage was celebrated at midnight in the presence of a small number of persons of high position. But the marriage, though known and recognised in society, was only a morganatic one. Louis XV. would never hear of her taking the rank and title of Duchess of Orlans, or any precedence that would have been the consequence. This was of course a continual grievance to her, but she was obliged to resign herself and make the best of the position, at any rate far more exalted than any to which she had the least pretension to aspire. She had an unbounded influence over the Duc dOrlans, in whose household and amongst whose friends she was always treated as a princess, and with whom she led a life of unbounded luxury and magnificence. Like Mme. de Maintenon after her morganatic marriage with Louis XIV. she renounced the title of Marquise and was known as Mme. de Montesson, possibly thinking like the hero of the well-known incident: Princesse je ne puis pas, Marquise je ne veux pas, Madame je suis.

If Trzia had been in immediate danger she would have been sent to the Conciergerie, which was looked upon as the gate of the guillotine; and she knew that the important thing was to gain time. Many had thus been saved; amongst others Mlle. de Montansier, formerly directress of a theatre. She was imprisoned in the Abbaye, and was condemned with a number of others to be guillotined on the following day.

Just after the last recorded incidents Flicit experienced a great sorrow in the loss of her friend, the Comtesse de Custine, an angelic woman, who, in spite of her beauty and youth (she was only twenty-four), lived as far as she could apart from the world, fearing the corruption and vice around her, and devoting herself to her religious and domestic duties. Her husband, who adored her, was necessarily absent with his regiment for long periods. Her brother-in-law, the Vicomte de Custine, of a character as bad as that of his brother was admirable, professed openly the most violent passion for Mme. de Genlis, who did not care at all for him, gave him no encouragement, but was rather flattered by the excess of his devotion and despair.

About this time she arranged for her brother an excellent marriage which turned out very happily. She had the young people to live with her at first, and M. de Genlis was extremely kind to them; but at the end of some months Mme. de Montesson, in whom she had contrived to arouse an interest in them, took them to live permanently with her.

I recognised you directly in spite of your dress, your beard, your dyed hair, and false scar.

As Trzia was walking in the town with her two uncles they were suddenly surrounded by a furious crowd, who, with shouts of La voil! La voil! celle qui a sauv les aristocrates, surrounded her, and in a moment she was separated from her uncles, her mantilla torn off, while angry voices, with fierce threats, demanded the list of fugitives.

The Duchesse de Chartres, ne Mlle. de Penthivre, was an angel of goodness and kindness. She had conceived so violent a passion for the Duc de Chartres, when she had met him for the first time, that she declared she would either marry him or take the veil. It was a most unfortunate choice to have been made, especially by so saintly a personage, for the court and society of Louis XV. did not include a more corrupt and contemptible character than the notorious Philippe-galit.

No one can judge of what society in France was, wrote Mme. Le Brun in her old age, who has not seen the times when after the affairs of the day were finished, twelve or fifteen agreeable people would meet at the house of a friend to finish the evening there.