丝路友谊之花在春天绽放

[xii]

Trzia Cabarrus was a Spaniard, though she had also French blood in her veins. Her father, director of an important bank in Madrid, distinguished himself in the financial world, and was created Count by Charles IV. On one occasion the Duc de Richelieu so far departed from his usual habit as to recommend to the Duc de Fronsac a lad who bore a strong resemblance to himself, begging him to give him a post in his household and look after him. Fronsac, struck with jealousy of this protg of his fathers, did all he could to corrupt and ruin him, taught him to be a gambler and reprobate, and finally led [379] him into collision with himself in some love intrigue, challenged him to a duel, and killed him.

One dark, gloomy day, during the height of the Terror, he was sitting in his studio early in the morning, busily making up the fire in his stove, for it was bitterly cold. There was a knock at the door, and a woman wrapped in a large cloak stood on the threshold, saying

But his position at Paris was too powerful and his friends too numerous to allow him to be at once attacked with impunity. It was Trzia who was to be the first victim. Robespierre dreaded her influence, her talents, her popularity, her opinions, and the assistance and support she was to Tallien. Though several members had voted against the murder of the King, he was the only one who had had the courage of his opinions. Condorcet gave as a reason that he disapproved of all capital punishment, the rest made different excuses.

Their great stronghold was the salon of Mme. Geoffrin, where all the radical, atheist, and philosophic parties congregated. DAlembert, Condorcet, Turgot, Diderot, Morellet, Marmontel, and many other celebrated names were amongst the intimate friends of the singular woman, who although possessing neither rank, beauty, talent, nor any particular gift, had yet succeeded in establishing a salon celebrated not only in France but all over Europe. Owing to her want of rank she could not be presented at court, and yet amongst her guests were many of the greatest names in France, members of the royal family, strangers of rank and distinction. She knew nothing of art or literature, but her Monday dinners and evenings were the resort of all the first artists of the day, and her Wednesdays of the literary and political world.

With a cry of alarm she tried to draw her sister away, but the wizard, taking her hand, seemed to study it carefully, and suddenly dropped it with a strange exclamation.

Young and unknown, he had been present with Bourrienne on the 20th June, and seen the raving, frantic mob rushing upon the Tuileries. He followed with Bourrienne in a transport of indignation, and saw with contempt Louis XVI. at the window with a red cap on. He exclaimed

No; the people will not allow it.

How she could have entertained so mad an idea seems inexplicable; but in fact, bad as the French news was, she was far from understanding the frightful state of the country. In those days news travelled slowly, important events only became partially known long after they had taken place; and as to private letters, people dared not put in them anything which might endanger either themselves or their friends.

The Count and Countess de Genlis accompanied the Duke and Duchess de Chartres to Bordeaux, where he embarked, after a naval review; and the Duchess proceeded on a tour in Italy. To Flicit this was a time of enchantment. The journeys at that time were adventurous, and the Cornice road was then an affair of difficulty if not danger. They went by sea to Nice, spent a week in that delicious climate, and determined to make what she called the perilous journey from Nice to Genoa. They [400] went on mules over the pass by Turbia, and found the Cornice as she says truly a cornicheso narrow that in some places they could hardly pass singly, and often they had to get down and walk. They slept at Ospedaletto, the Duchess, Flicit, and the Countess de Rully in one room; the Duchess on a bed made of the rugs of the mules, the others, on cloaks spread upon a great heap of corn. After six days of perils and fatigues, and what they called horrible precipices, they got to Genoa.

Among the numbers of men who made love to her more or less seriously, two were especially conspicuous, [271] the Prince de Listenay and the Marquis de Fontenay.

You know. I want liberty.