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The whole affair was an exact specimen of the mingled extravagance, folly, vice, and weakness which were leading to the terrible retribution so swiftly approaching.

The ftes and pageants of the Church and court were most gorgeous and impressive. Even to see the King, royal family and court set off for Versailles, Fontainebleau, or any other of the country palaces was a splendid spectacle, the immense number of state coaches which conveyed the King, [13] the Dauphin, [14] Mesdames de France, [15] their numerous households and those of the other Princes of the blood, made a procession which seemed interminable. It was the custom that on these occasions the court should be in full dress, and Mme. Le Brun, in her Souvenirs, mentions that a few years later, after her marriage, she went to see the last of these departures in state for Fontainebleau, and observes that the Queen, the unfortunate Marie Antoinette, covered with diamonds which flashed in the sunshine, and with her regal air and majestic beauty, looked like a goddess surrounded by her nymphs. [16]

She found as usual plenty of friends, the Princesse Joseph de Monaco and Duchesse de Fleury amongst others, and the Baron de Talleyrand, then French Ambassador. They made excursions to Vesuvius, Pompei, Capri, Ischia, and all the lovely places in the neighbourhood.

Just then her mother died after a short illness, which was a great shock to her; she had lived with or near her for many years since the death of her second husband, and had been the object of her devoted care.

He returned to Paris when he left Spain, and lived there, poor, sickly, and forgotten by all but Trzia, then Princess de Chimay. She was nearly his only friend. She visited him often, and though he would never take money from her, she persuaded him to accept a refuge in the house in the Champs-Elyses called the Chaumire, their first dwelling in Paris.

Eh! Mon Dieu! Yes, it is I who have to decide this important affair. It is an old custom established there in barbarous times. It is astonishing that, in a century so enlightened as ours, they should not have done away with a folly that gives me a journey of ten or twelve leagues every summer, through abominable cross-lanes, for I have to make two journeys for that absurdity.

Some misfortune has happened to the King.

FROM Catherine II. to Paul I. was indeed a fearful change. The sudden accession to supreme power after a life of repression increased the malady which was gaining ground upon him. It was evident that his brain was affected, and the capricious violence and cruelty which he was now free to exercise as he pleased left nobody in peace or safety.

Let me go! he cried. You are mistaken. I dont know you.

The Comte dArtois had an affair with Mlle. [202] Duth, who had ruined numbers of people, and thought her liaison with a fils de France would open the Treasury to her rapacity. She contracted enormous debts at all the great shops in Paris, and very soon bills for plate, pictures, jewels, furniture, dresses, &c., &c., poured in upon the Prince, who, finding himself utterly unable to pay them, sent for Turgot, then Contr?leur-Gnral, and asked him to get him out of the difficulty.