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      CHAPTER X


      The king was so impressed by this firm attitude of his physician that he even made an apology for his rudeness. As Frederick William was now convinced that ere long he must appear before the tribunal of God, he gradually became a little more calm and resigned.29 It is, however, evident that the Crown Prince still had his share of earthly annoyances, and certainly his full share of earthly frailties. In a letter to his friend Suhm, written this summer, he says:THE Duke of Orlans died 1785, and Mme. de Montesson, having been forbidden by Louis XVI. to put her household into mourning or assume the position of a Duchess Dowager of Orlans, retired for a few weeks into a convent and then returned to her usual life, having inherited a great fortune from the late Duke.


      Like all the other emigres Mme. de Genlis was horrified at the strange manners and customs of the new society, largely composed of vulgar, uneducated [458] persons, often enormously rich, exceedingly pretentious, and with no idea how to conduct themselves.

      As the Prussian king brought up his little army to within a mile of the lines of General Daun, and ordered the troops to take position there, his boldest generals were appalled. It seemed to be courting sure and utter destruction. The kings favorite adjutant general, Marwitz, ventured to remonstrate against so fearful a risk. He was immediately ordered under arrest. The line was formed while the Austrian cannon were playing incessantly upon it. General Retzow, who for some cause had failed to seize the heights of Stromberg, was also placed under arrest. Thus the king taught all that he would be obeyed implicitly and without questioning.I have not the honor to be acquainted with kings, said I; but, to judge from what one has read in history of several of them, I should believe, sir, on the whole, that you are right.


      The Duke of Mecklenburg had a sister, Charlotte, a bright and beautiful young girl of seventeen. Her heart was so moved by the scenes of misery which she witnessed every where around her that she ventured to write a very earnest appeal to Frederick for peace.

      De Valence was very handsome and a brave soldier; he emigrated but refused to fight against France; returned, obtained the favour of Napoleon, and retained that of Mme. de Montesson, who more than once paid his debts. He was supposed to be the son of a mistress whom his father adored, and to have been substituted for a dead child born to his fathers wife, who always suspected the truth, never would acknowledge him as her son, nor leave him more money than she could help doing as she had no other children.

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      She made one or two journeys to Holland and Belgium when she wished for a change, but in 1775 a terrible grief overtook her, in the death of her son, now five years old. The children were living near, and her mother was then with them when she herself caught measles, and as often happens when they are taken later in life than is usual, she was extremely ill, and it was impossible to tell her that her children had the same complaint.

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      Pauline understood, fetched her jewel-case, hid it under her cloak, and sending away her two maids, threw herself into her sisters arms. Rosalie clung to her in a passion of tears and sobs, they exchanged a lock of their hair, and Pauline, tearing herself away, hurried to the carriage in which her husband and child were waiting.I know neither the Montagne nor the Gironde. I know the people, and I love and serve them. Give me a serge dress and I will go to the hospitals and nurse the sick patriots.


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