九三学社江苏无锡新吴区委员会 精准对接提供专业指导

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CHAPTER II

Poppo. In 1808 and 1809 Mme. Le Brun travelled in Switzerland, with which she was enraptured; after which she bought a country house at Louveciennes, [155] where in future she passed the greater part of the year, only spending the winter in Paris.

Mme. de Genlis declares that at this time the Duchess was still free, and insinuates that she displayed indifference to her daughter in not replying to her letters. That Trzia was infinitely superior to her lover was not only shown by the progress of years and events, but was obvious in the early days of her liaison with Tallien. For her speeches in public and private were not merely empty bombastic talk. She really did everything in her power to rescue from danger and help in trouble the unfortunate people with whom she was surrounded. For she hated cruelty and bloodshed, and saw no reason or excuse for it; in spite of the sophisms and theories of her republican friends. It made no difference to her to what party or class they belonged; she would help any one who was in trouble and appealed to her. And her power was immense, for Tallien, who held life and death in his hands, was her slave, and [310] even the savage Lacomb and Ysabeau, his colleagues, bowed before the charm of her influence. With his other sister, the Comtesse de Tess, she was not at first so intimate. For Mme. de Tess, a brisk, clever, amusing, original person, was not only a friend of Voltaire, and a diligent frequenter of the salons of the philosophers, wits, and encyclop?dists, but, although not going to their extreme lengths, was rather imbued with their opinions.

The lavish, almost barbaric hospitality of the [131] great Russian nobles both at St. Petersburg and Moscow astonished Mme. Le Brun. Many of them possessed colossal fortunes and kept open house. Prince Narischkin, Grand Equerry, had always a table to sit five-and-twenty or thirty guests.

When Alexander heard of the assassination of his father his grief and horror left no doubt of his ignorance of what had been intended and carried out; and when, on presenting himself to his mother she cried out, Go away! Go away! I see you stained with your fathers blood! he replied with tears

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