CHAPTER VII Mme. Le Brun found Lady Hamilton, as she became shortly afterwardsthough extraordinarily beautifulignorant, ill-dressed, without esprit or conversation, ill-natured, and spiteful in her way of talking about other people, the only topic she seemed capable of discussing. She herself enjoyed Naples, as she did every other pleasant episode in her delightful life. From the loggia opening out of her bedroom she looked down into an orange garden; from her windows she could see constantly some picturesque or beautiful scene. The costumes of the washerwomen who gathered round the fountain, peasant girls dancing the tarantella, the fiery torches of the fishermen scattered over the bay at night, all the life and colour and incident of southern life spread like a panorama before her; and often she would go out in a boat by moonlight or starlight upon the calm sea, looking back upon the town rising like an amphitheatre from the waters edge.

Pauline recovered from her illness and returned to Paris during the terrible days of October. Everything [217] was changed, the streets were unsafe to walk in, murders were frequent, bands of ruffians went about threatening and insulting every one whom they suspected or disliked. She fetched her two children back to the rue Chantereine, and resumed her charitable expeditions, though it was dangerous to walk about.

It is a dress that belonged to my grandfather, Monseigneur; and I think that if every one here had got on the dress of his grandfather, your Highness would not find mine the most curious in the room.

Have I not spoken plainly? Say no more about it.

It is satisfactory to know that the brutal, dastardly conduct of the Versailles populace was at any rate punished, in a way they probably had not thought of. The departure of the King and court ruined the place, before so prosperous. The population shrunk to a third of its former numbers. As an Abbess of Montivilliers is not rigorously cloistered, my aunt, who was perfectly charitable and courageous, thought herself obliged to go out to the first court, and did so, at any rate with a cortge suitable to her dignity.

Moi, je crois quil nen avait pas,

The French army had overrun Belgium, everyone was flying towards Holland; the road was encumbered with vehicles of all kinds. Old post-chaises, great family coaches, open carts, were filled with fugitives; many went down the Rhine in boats.

In the Souvenirs, written in after years, when her ideas and principles had been totally changed by her experience of the Revolution, the beginning of which had so delighted her, she was evidently ashamed of the line she had taken, and anxious to explain it away as far as possible.

The one proposed for Louise was the second son of her uncle, the Marchal Mouchy de Noailles, a lad of sixteen, who bore the title of Vicomte de Noailles, and was in rank, fortune, and character an extremely suitable marriage for her.

After a time she went to Milan, where she was received with great honour. The first evening she was serenaded by all the young men of the chief Milanese families, but, not knowing that all this music was on her account, she sat listening and enjoying it with composure, until her landlady came and explained. She made an excursion to the lakes, and on her return to Milan decided to go to Vienna, seeing that France would be out of the question for an indefinite time.