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The most infamous calumnies were circulated about Marie Caroline when Napoleon wanted her kingdom for Caroline Murat; but she had a brave, strong character and plenty of brains. The government was carried on by her, for the King could or would do nothing but loiter about at Caserta.

The history of Mme. de Genlis in the emigration differs from the other two, for having contrived to make herself obnoxious both to royalists and republicans her position was far worse than theirs. Votre profession?

With the same religious and political principles, the conditions of life which surrounded the Marquise de Montagu were totally different. A contrast indeed to the simple, artistic household, the early grief, poverty, and hard work, the odious step-father, the foolish mother, the worthless husband and daughter, the thousand difficulties and disadvantages which beset Mme. Le Brun, were the state and luxury, the sheltered life, the watchful care, and powerful protection bestowed upon the daughter of the house of Noailles; her mother, the saintly, [ix] heroic Duchesse dAyen, her husband the gallant, devoted Marquis de Montagu. MARIE DE VICHY-CHAMBRON, MARQUISE DU DEFFAND Return to FranceThe inheritance of the Duchesse dAyenLoss of the Noailles propertyInherits the Castle of FontenayDeath of Mme. de la FayetteProsperous life at FontenayConclusion.

The stately order, the devotion and charity which filled the lives of the sisters de Noailles; the absorbing passion for her art which made the happiness, [282] the safety, and the renown of Louise Vige, were not for Trzia. Her very talents were an additional danger and temptation, for they increased the attraction of her extraordinary beauty; and in the set of which her friends were composed there could be no principles of right and wrong, because there was no authority to determine them. For if God did not exist at all, or only as a colourless abstraction, then the words right and wrong meant nothing, and what, in that case, was to regulate peoples lives? Why not injure their neighbours if it were convenient to themselves to do so? Why should they tell the truth if they preferred to tell lies? To some it would seem noble to forgive their enemies; to others it would seem silly. To some, family affection and respect for parents would appear an indispensable virtue; to others an exploded superstition. It was all a matter of opinion; who was to decide when one mans opinion was as good as another? But, however such theories might serve to regulate the lives of a few dreamy, cold-blooded philosophers occupied entirely with their studies and speculations, it seems difficult to understand that any one could really believe in the possibility of their controlling the average mass of human beings; who, if not restrained by the fear of a supernatural power which they believe able to protect, reward, or punish them, are not likely to be influenced by the exhortations of those who can offer them no such inducements. Nevertheless, these ideas were very prevalent until Napoleon, who regarded them with contempt, declared that without religion no [283] government was possible, and, whether he believed in it or not, re-established Christianity.

Laure Permon, Duchesse dAbrants, than whom no one was a better judge of these matters, observes

Cherchons bien les chemises

A most stupid thing, as I will tell you. It is not to adjudge a house, or a field, or an inheritance, but a rose!

In some cases it was possible to recover part, though often only a fragment of their possessions; in other cases not: it depended to a great extent what or who the forfeited estates belonged to. Sometimes, as in the case of the Duchess dAyen, people who had not emigrated, were allowed, even if they were murdered, to leave their estates to their families; but the whole state of things seemed an inextricable confusion impossible to explain; especially in a work of this kind.

Capital letter D

She had now only her niece, Henriette, with her, and they set out again upon their travels. M. de Valence, after serving the revolutionists, had been proscribed by them, and was living in exile at Utrecht. There, accordingly, they joined him, and set up a joint mnage, first there, afterwards at Altona and at Hamburg.