骑行灞河岸,登上白鹿原

The characters of the four heroines form as strong a contrast as their circumstances, principles, and surroundings.

Nobody could feel sure when they got up in the morning that they would go safely to bed at night; the slightest offence given to the Emperor meant imprisonment or Siberia, and his orders were so preposterous that it was difficult not to offend him.

Mme. de Genlis put Mademoiselle dOrlans into mourning, telling her that it was for the Queen, which she must of course wear, and it was some time before she discovered the truth. But the condition of Pauline, brought up in all the luxury and magnificence of the h?tel de Noailles, and suddenly cast adrift in a country the language and habits of which were unknown to her, with very little money and no means of getting more when that was gone, was terrifying indeed. She did not know where anything should be bought, nor what it should cost; money seemed to her to melt in her hands. She consulted her husband, but he could not help her. If she tried to make her own dresses, she only spoilt the material, as one can well imagine. Their three servants, the German boy, a Dutch woman, and after a little while an English nurse, could not understand each other, but managed to quarrel perpetually and keep up the most dreadful chatter. Her child, this time a son, was born on March 30th, Easter Day. She had looked forward to celebrating that festival at [237] the new church then to be opened, at which many of the young people were to receive their first Communion. Pauline, like all the rest of the French community, had been intensely interested and occupied in the preparations. Flowers were begged from sympathising friends to decorate the altar, white veils and dresses were made for the young girls by their friends, all, even those whose faith had been tainted and whose lives had been irreligious, joining in this touching and solemn festival, which recalled to them their own land, the memories of their childhood, and the recollection of those they had lost.

There she heard continually of the terrible scenes going on in Paris, and incidentally got news of one or other of her family, and now and then she received a letter from one of them with details which filled her with grief and terror. I cannot help it, answered he; the eyes of France are upon me. If I betrayed my commission for the sake of a beautiful woman like you, Robespierre would not have thunderbolts enough to strike me with.

WHEN Elisabeth Louise Vige was born at Paris, April, 1755, the French court and monarchy were still at the height of their splendour and power.