Mme. de Genlis made a great display of disinterestedness, she refused the 20,000 francs a year offered her by the Duke as governess to his children, declaring that she would educate them for nothing; she refused also the diamonds sent by the Duke and Duchess as a wedding present to her daughter, neither of which refusals there was the slightest occasion to make, but theatrical, unnecessary things were always what she preferred to do. And at the same time she and her family were becoming very rich. Of course her books, bought by all her friends at court, in society, and everywhere, brought her a good deal, but she always had money for everything she wanted. She was promised for her eldest daughter on her marriage, her own former place at the Palais Royal, and a regiment for her son-in-law, her relations were placed and provided for, and she, of course, lived in state and luxury with the Orlans children, amongst whom her own were educated.

Mme. de Tess, who knew nothing about a sick room, was very anxious and busy, and insisted on helping to nurse Pauline. In spite of her free-thinking professions, she would be observed to make the sign of the cross behind the curtain of the bed. She made various mistakes, and in her haste poured a bottle of eau de Cologne instead of water over the head of the new-born infant.

Mon beau voyage encore est si loin de sa fin;

The next day, just as she was starting for the Vatican Museum, the students of the Academy came to visit her, bringing her the palette of Drouais, a talented young painter whom she had known in Paris, and who had lately died. He had dined with her the evening before he started for Rome, and she was much touched at the recollection of him and at the request of the lads that she would give them some old brushes she had used.

Je jouerai du violon.

All laughed at the vision, but the next day she was so ill that her execution was put off, she continued to be so ill that she could not be moved and was forgotten till the 9th Thermidor came and she was saved. She died, as Cazotte had predicted, in her own bed at a great age.

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.

It cannot be Satan, said the wife of the concierge, but it may be conspirators.


The death of her husband in 1834 was her last great sorrow, she survived him five years, and died in January, 1839, at the age of seventy-three, surrounded by those she loved best, who were still left her.

He did no good, and on his way home was taken prisoner by the English and carried to England. There, amongst other French prisoners, he met the young Comte de Genlis, an officer in the navy who had distinguished himself at Pondicherry, been desperately wounded, and gained the cross of St. Louis. They became great friends, and M. de Genlis expressing great admiration for a miniature of Flicit which her father constantly wore, M. de Saint-Aubin poured into his ears the manifold perfections of his daughter, and read to him the letters he frequently received from her. When M. de Genlis soon afterwards was set free, he used all the means in his power to obtain the release of his friend, and, in the meanwhile, called upon Mme. de Saint-Aubin at Paris, bringing letters from M. de Saint-Aubin, who three weeks afterwards was set at liberty, and returned to France; but his affairs were in such a state that he was induced to give a bill which, when it fell due, he could not meet. Six hundred francs was all that was required to execute the payment, and Mme. de Saint-Aubin wrote to her half-sister, who had married a rich old man, M. de Montesson, asking her to give or lend her money. She refused to do so, and M. de Saint-Aubin was arrested and imprisoned. His wife and daughter spent every day with him for a fortnight, at the end of which, the money being paid, he was released. But his health seemed to decline, and soon afterwards he was seized with a fever which ended fatally, to the inexpressible grief of Flicit, who always laid his death at the door of Mme. de [365] Montesson, whether with justice or not it is impossible to say, though, at any rate, her refusal to help the sister who had been so shamefully treated, and who was in distress, sounds exceedingly discreditable.

After her death the Marquis, who had no intention of either breaking his oath or foregoing his [316] vengeance, shut up his chateau and went to Paris, though it was in the height of the Terror; for he had heard that his enemy was there, and was resolved to find him. He was a cousin of the young Marquise, the Chevalier de , who had in the early days of their marriage stayed a good deal at the chateau of the Marquis de , and had requited the unsuspicious trust and hospitality of his host by making love to his wife. Then, influenced by the remorse and entreaties of the Marquise, he had gone to Paris, and not been heard of for some time, but was believed to be living there in concealment.