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Then, taking the hand of Mme. de Polignac she turned it over several times, examining it carefully, and said: You are, like the other, in the service of the same lady, who loves you so much that she confides to you her most precious jewels. You love her just as much, but still, in a short time you will leave that lady in haste, and what is more, you will not feel tranquil until you have put three great rivers between you and her. She will cry bitterly when you leave her and yet be very glad of the separation. The Ambassador gave her his arm, told her to be sure to kiss the hand of the Empress, and they walked across the park to the palace, where, through a window on the ground floor, they saw a girl of about seventeen watering a pot of pinks. Slight and delicate, with an oval face, regular features, [125] pale complexion, and fair hair curling round her forehead and neck, she wore a loose white tunic tied with a sash round her waist, and against the background of marble columns and hangings of pink and silver, looked like a fairy.

Have you no friend to accompany you?

Mesdames de France, the Kings daughters, of whom there had been seven or eight, were now reduced to five, four of whom were unmarried. Nothing is more characteristic of the period than the way these princesses were brought up and educated; and the light thrown upon manners and customs early in the eighteenth century gives interest to all the details concerning them. Is it quite out of the way of every one? Capital letter T

As she left Belgium, Mme. Genlis who, with her faults had also many good qualities, began, she says, to reflect upon the horror of her position.

The Marquis de Continges, a dissipated rou of the court of Louis XV., an encyclop?dist and friend of Voltaire, finding in the reign of Louis XVI. that he was getting old, thought he would marry. He [196] was noble, rich, and a good parti; but after making many inquiries he could not hear of any one he especially fancied. One evening he appeared at a great party given by the Princesse de Lamballe, at which every one of importance was present, dressed in black velvet, with lace ruffles, a sword by his side, and in his hand an embroidered hat full of mysterious tickets.

She spoke in the inflated style of the time, which belonged especially to the ranting, extravagant, theatrical phraseology of that strange collection of individuals who now held supreme power in the country so recently the most civilised and polished in the world.