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Mme. de Genlis had friends amongst old and new, French and foreign. The Vernets, Mme. Le Brun, Mme. Grollier, Gros, Gerard, Isabey, Cherubini, Halvy, all the great singers and musicians were among her friends. She lived to see the first years of the brilliant, too short career of Malibran. Pasta, Grassini, Talma, Garat, and numbers of other artistic celebrities mingled with [481] her literary friends. The household of Isabey was like an idyl. He had met his wife in the Luxembourg gardens, a beautiful girl who went there to lead about her blind father. They married and were always happy though for a long time poor. But the fame of Isabey rose; he was professor of painting at the great school of Mme. Campan, where every one under the Empire sent their daughters. He painted Josphine and all the people of rank and fashion, and received them all at his parties in his own h?tel. Mme. Isabey lived to be eighty-eight, always pretty and charming. Her hair was white, she always dressed in white lace and muslin, and had everything white in her salon, even to an ivory spinning wheel. Madame, we have obeyed our parents. I leave you with regret, but I cannot conceal from you that for a long time I have been devoted to another woman. I cannot live without her, and I am going back to her. When the Comtesse de Custine died, after a short illness, her husband was away with his regiment, and did not arrive in time to see her alive. During the first days of his despair, while looking over her papers, he came upon a packet of letters which proved beyond all doubt the infamous treachery of the Vicomte, who had made his pretended love for Mme. de Genlis a shield to hide his real passion for his brothers wife, which had been the horror and torment of her life, and which she had dreaded to reveal to her husband, whose temper was violent when aroused.

[287] When the Empress returned from Czarskoiesolo she desired Mme. Le Brun to paint the portraits of the Grand Duchesses Alexandrine and Helena, daughters of the Tsarevitch, then fourteen and thirteen years old, and afterwards that of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, wife of Alexander, eldest grandson of the Empress, the young girl she had [134] seen on her first visit to Czarskoiesolo, by whom she was completely fascinated.

La substance du peuple et la honte du Roi. He rang the bell, and sent for Leclerc.

After this Flicit and her husband returned to Genlis, where they spent the summer with the Marquis and the wife he had recently married.

Mme. de Genlis, though she did not go much into society, being now exceedingly royalist, was [476] presented at court, and must have recalled those far off days when she drove down to Versailles with Mme. de Puisieux to be presented to the magnificent Louis XV.

There was at Versailles a certain Laboull, coiffeur to Louis XV., and to Marie Antoinette when the Dauphine. He invented a perfume which he called eau Antoinette, and which was so much in vogue that he opened a perfume shop at Versailles, which was patronised by Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette when they came to the throne. He married, and the Queen was very kind to his wife, whom she used to employ in her various charities; and was devoted to her.

Wonderful to say, he was acquitted.

As an Abbess of Montivilliers is not rigorously cloistered, my aunt, who was perfectly charitable and courageous, thought herself obliged to go out to the first court, and did so, at any rate with a cortge suitable to her dignity.

But that she should have been and still be accused, especially with regard to the Duke of Orlans, she had no right to complain. After all, those who wish to play the worlds game must play by the worlds rules. Certain ways of acting always cause certain conclusions to be drawn, and what else was likely between a man like Philippe-galit and a fascinating woman he admired, and with whom he was thrown into constant and intimate association, but the liaison every one might expect, and which it is impossible not to believe in.