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However, she was so far identified with the Revolutionary party as not only to rejoice at the infamous attack of the mob upon the Bastille, but to consent to her pupils request to take them to [415] Paris to see the mob finishing the destruction of that beautiful and historic monument.

I am watching over you; every evening at nine you will go down to the courtyard. I shall be near you.

[109] It was before the death of Louis XV., the court was at Compigne, and the young Prince, since his marriage was decided, had been less strictly looked after by the Comte de Montbel, his sous gouverneur, who would not usually allow him to go alone into the thicker parts of the forest, not because of wild beasts but of other not less dangerous encounters which were possible. But the most extraordinary and absurd person in the family was the Marchale de Noailles, mother of the Duc dAyen, whose eccentricity was such that she might well have been supposed to be mad. It was, however, only upon certain points that her delusions were so singularotherwise she seems to have been only an eccentric person, whose ideas of rank and position amounted to a mania.

It was said by his illegitimate brothers, MM. de Saint-Far and Saint-Albin, to have begun on a certain evening when a quadrille arranged by Mme. de Genlis, in which each couple represented proverbs, went to the Opera ball, as the custom of those days permitted, and was suddenly disarranged by an enormous cat, which, mewing and clawing, rolled itself suddenly into the midst of the dancers. The cat proved to be a little Savoyard boy, dressed up in fur, dreadfully frightened at the abuse and kicks he received. The Chevalier was taken back to his cell, and, knowing that he had now only a few hours to live, he made his will and wrote the history of this terrible adventure, saying that he could not but forgive the Marquis as he was mad. These papers he confided to a fellow prisoner, and a few hours later was summoned to execution with a number of others. What is the use of taking care of ones health? she would say when her friends were anxious about her. What is the good of living?

The Comte dArtois appealed to the Queen and the Comte de Provence, who went to intercede for him with the King. Louis, irritated by the vehemence with which Marie Antoinette took the part of the Comte dArtois, asked her whether she knew what he wanted the money for, and on her replying that she did not, proceeded to tell her. The Queen looked thunderstruck, gave way to a torrent of indignation against the conduct of the Comte dArtois, and left the room. But Louis, instead of abiding by the decision he had so vehemently announced, allowed himself to be persuaded by the Comte de Provence and his aunts to revoke everything he had said, and do everything he had inveighed against. The Comte dArtois was not punished and the disgraceful debts were paid.