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You wouldnt believe, she said to Lisette, who came to see her at eight oclock one evening, and found her alone, that I have had twenty people to [153] dinner to-day? They all went away directly after the coffee.

The Comtesse de Noailles was a most unfortunate choice to have made for the post in question; for although a woman of the highest character, religious, charitable, and honourable, she was so stiff, precise, [187] and absolutely the slave of every detail of court etiquette that she only tormented and estranged the young girl, who was ready to be conciliated, and whom she might have influenced and helped. The Dauphine, however, an impetuous, thoughtless girl of fifteen, accustomed to the freedom of her own family life at the court of Vienna, hated and ridiculed the absurd restrictions of the French Court, called the Countess Madame lEtiquette, and took her own way. There was a violent scene between the two brothers, the Comte dArtois threatened to borrow the money he could not extort, and the King, after reproaching him for his conduct, ordered him to his own apartment, intending to punish him by means of a lettre de cachet. But then, as always, [203] the irresolution and weakness of Louis XVI. more than counterbalanced his good intentions.

She had bought a farm near Morat, which she managed herself, which paid very well, gave her the occupation she required, and supported several helpless people. Her husband, M. de Tess, grand dEspagne de premire classe, chevalier des orders, lieutenant-gnral des armes du Roi, premier cuyer de la Reine, &c., a quiet man, remarkably silent in society; M. de Mun, an old friend, whose wit and conversation she found necessary for her amusement, [241] and his son, had composed the family before the arrival of her niece; there were also three old exiled priests whom she supported by the produce of her kitchen garden. THE next day was the divorce. M. de Fontenay hurried away towards the Pyrenees and disappeared from France and from the life and concerns of the woman who had been his wife.

M. Le Brun was just then building a house in the rue Gros-Chenet, and one of the reports spread was that M. de Calonne paid for it, although both M. and Mme. Le Brun were making money enough to afford themselves much greater expenditure than that.