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Donnez-nous les chemises [46]

The Duchesse dAyen was the only daughter of M. dAguesseau de Fresne, Conseiller dtat, and grand-daughter of the great Chancellor dAguesseau. From her mother, daughter of M. Dupr, conseiller du parlement, she inherited a fortune of 200,000 livres de rente, in consequence of which her family were able to arrange her marriage with the young heir of the Noailles, then Comte dAyen. Then she fled to her own room and gave way [225] to her grief, and to the forebodings which filled her mind, and still hung over her like a cloud, during the preparations and journey to Paris, where M. de Montagu soon wrote for his wife and child to join him without delay.

To divert his thoughts and attention from the rigours and cruelties, for the perpetration of which he had been sent to Bordeaux, she persuaded him to have his portrait done, and induced him and the artist to prolong the sittings on pretence of making the picture a chef d?uvre, but in reality to occupy his time and attention; in fact, he was found by some one who called to see him reclining comfortably in a boudoir, dividing his attention between the artist who was painting the portrait and Trzia, who was also present.

When on the fte Sainte Catherine he gave a great banquet supposed to be in honour of the Empress, crystal cups full of diamonds were brought in at dessert, the diamonds being served in spoonsful to the ladies.

Very well, let us go to breakfast then, but keep quiet, I beseech you. Not that way, as his companion turned towards the Luxembourg.

The Comte de Genlis passed part of his time with her and the rest with his regiment, during which Flicit lived at Paris or stayed with his relations, chiefly the de Puisieux, leading a life of gaiety mingled with study and music, and going constantly into society, which has, perhaps, never been equalled in fascination and charm.

But Louis XVIII. in his Memoirs says: