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After his death, in order to distract her mind from the sorrow of it, she made a tour to Orlans, Blois, Tours, Bordeaux, &c., accompanied by her faithful Adla?de; after which she returned home and resumed her usual life, a happy and prosperous one, continually occupied by her beloved painting, surrounded by numbers of friends and adored by the two nieces, her adopted children. Eugnie Le Brun was like herself, a portrait painter, and although not, of course, of world-wide fame like [158] her aunt, she was nevertheless a good artist, and made a successful career, which gave an additional interest to the life of Mme. Le Brun.

There had, in fact, been a strong reaction against the restraint and dullness of the last few years of the reign of Louis XIV., when the magnificent, pleasure-loving King, whose victorious armies had devastated Europe, who had made princes of his illegitimate children, lavished the riches of the country upon his mistresses, and yet in his stately beauty and fascination been the idol of France; had changed into a melancholy old man, depressed and disillusioned, looking with uneasiness upon the past, with fear upon the future; while the brilliant beauties and splendid festivities of bygone days had given place to virtue, strict propriety, and Mme. de Maintenon. Her mother, brother, and sister-in-law, to all of whom she was strongly attached, were in France, and she was anxious to see them; so, with deep regret and many tears, she left Rome and turned her steps northward, of course with her child and governess.

CHAPTER VI

But I have no fortune, and The Comtes de Provence and dArtois and their wives had got safely over the frontier to Brussels, but the news of the flight and capture of the King, Queen and royal family, came upon them like a thunderbolt. Again it was probable that the fiasco was caused by Louis XVI. Not only had he deferred the flight till it was nearly impossible to accomplish it, but he persisted in their all going together, instead of allowing the party to be divided; if he had consented to which, some of them at least might have been saved. It does not seem really at [221] all impossible that the Dauphin might have been smuggled out of the kingdom, but their being so many diminished fearfully their chance of escape. Then he kept the carriage waiting for an hour or more when every moment was precious. The whole thing was mismanaged. The time necessary for the journey had been miscalculated. Goguelat went round a longer way with his hussars; they ought to have been at a certain place to meet the royal family, who, when they arrived at the place appointed, found no one. After the arrest at Varennes a message might have been sent to M. Bouill, who was waiting further on, and would have arrived in time to deliver them. Such, at any rate, was the opinion of persons who had every opportunity of judging of this calamitous failure. [80] Madame Elizabeth, who might have been in security with her sister at the court of Turin, where their aunts had safely arrived, had stayed to share the captivity and death of the King and Queen. Que vous les avez prises.

The End