It is satisfactory to know that the brutal, dastardly conduct of the Versailles populace was at any rate punished, in a way they probably had not thought of. The departure of the King and court ruined the place, before so prosperous. The population shrunk to a third of its former numbers.

Capital letter I With the King returned those that were left of the Orlans family. The best of the sons of galit, the Comte de Beaujolais had died in exile, so also had the Duc de Montpensier. The Duchess Dowager, saintly and good as ever, Mademoiselle dOrlans and the Duc de Chartres remained. Both the latter had made their submission and expressed their repentance to the King, who in accepting the excuses of the Duc de Chartres said Oh! for that matter, said the gipsy, it will have no limit.

It was said by his illegitimate brothers, MM. de Saint-Far and Saint-Albin, to have begun on a certain evening when a quadrille arranged by Mme. de Genlis, in which each couple represented proverbs, went to the Opera ball, as the custom of those days permitted, and was suddenly disarranged by an enormous cat, which, mewing and clawing, rolled itself suddenly into the midst of the dancers. The cat proved to be a little Savoyard boy, dressed up in fur, dreadfully frightened at the abuse and kicks he received.

Henriette and Adla?de were devoted to their old governess, the Duchesse de Ventadour. They got her an appartement next to theirs at Versailles, and in her salon, amongst her friends, they always spent an hour or two every evening after supper. Madame Henriette used to say it was the happiest part of her day. The Duchesse de Ventadour was an excellent woman, though she had been rather galante [65] in her [172] youth. She and her mother had brought up twenty-three Children of France. The mother was said to have saved the life of Louis XV. by giving him a counter-poison.

Mlle. de Mirepoix thought at first that he was [197] joking, but finding the transaction was serious, fainted with joy. They were married and belonged to the Queens intimate circle, but the union did not turn out any more happily than might have been expected. Soon the Revolution swept all away; they emigrated, but not together; he went to Germany, she to England. When afterwards he came to London, his wife went to Italy.

But the most extraordinary and absurd person in the family was the Marchale de Noailles, mother of the Duc dAyen, whose eccentricity was such that she might well have been supposed to be mad. It was, however, only upon certain points that her delusions were so singularotherwise she seems to have been only an eccentric person, whose ideas of rank and position amounted to a mania.

Proscribed me?

And what could be more contradictory to the jargon about Nature, whose guidance, impulses, feelings, &c., were to be so implicitly obeyed, than the spectacle of a woman in the height of her youth and beauty, loving her husband, and yet amusing herself by writing in her pocket-book in this cold-blooded manner, a long list of his infidelities and ending by expressing her satisfaction?

Two or three years before the marriage of the [170] young M. and Mme. dAyen, his father the Duke, who was captain in the gardes-du-corps, [62] was consulted by one of the guards of his regiment, who in much perplexity showed him a costly snuff-box which had been mysteriously sent him, and in which was a note as follows: Ceci vous sera prcieux; on vous avertira bient?t de quelle main il vient. [63]

Meanwhile, many who would have shrunk from [413] the crimes and horrors for which in their folly they were preparing the way as fast as possible, went on playing with fire, by encouraging the disloyalty that was in the air, sympathising with the outrageous demands put forward by the Radical leaders, circulating libels and inventing lying stories against the Queen and royal family, joining noisily in the abuse of everything that had hitherto been held sacred or respectable, and doing everything in their power to inflame the evil passions and excite the cupidity and violence of the mob.

With the King returned those that were left of the Orlans family. The best of the sons of galit, the Comte de Beaujolais had died in exile, so also had the Duc de Montpensier. The Duchess Dowager, saintly and good as ever, Mademoiselle dOrlans and the Duc de Chartres remained. Both the latter had made their submission and expressed their repentance to the King, who in accepting the excuses of the Duc de Chartres said

It was celebrated in the parish church at midnight, and the day was publicly announced, and the young Countess and her harp consigned to the care of her husband.