Vous vous tutoyez. [92]

Next morning she escaped to St. Germain, and then to Paris, leaving Joseph to take what care he could of her property, but the wine was all drunk out of the cellar, the garden and courtyard ravaged, and the house ransacked. To all remonstrances the Prussians replied that the French had [156] done much worse things in Germany; which was true enough.

At this moment the gaoler returned, accompanied by the aide-de-camp for whom Tallien had sent. If you have not crossed yet, stay in England till fresh orders; if my courrier meets you on the road in France wait wherever you are and do not come to Paris. A second courrier will instruct you what to do.

[105]

There were, of course, still those to be met with whose appearance, manners, and ways recalled that stately, magnificent court, which long afterwards was the beau ideal Napoleon vainly tried to realise. Amongst others was the Duc de Richelieu, one of the most brilliant, the most polished, the most dissipated, and the most heartless figures of the courts of Louis XIV. and Louis XV. His son, the Duc de Fronsac, was, though not equally attractive, quite as vicious as his father, and they entertained for each other a hatred they generally veiled, at any rate in public, under the most polished sarcasm. He now proposed to enter his fathers regiment, and Pauline said she would go with them. As they were in great want of money she sold her diamonds, worth more than 40,000 francs, for 22,000, and they went first to Aix-la-Chapelle, where she remained while her husband and his father proceeded to the camp at Coblentz.