In Mme. Le Brun, the most gifted of all, we see a beauty, a genius, and a woman unusually charming and attractive, thrown, before she was sixteen, into the society of the magnificent, licentious court of Louis XV. Married to a dissipated, bourgeois spendthrift, for whom she had never cared; sought after, flattered, and worshipped in all the great courts of Europe; courted by fascinating, unscrupulous men of the highest rank, without the protection of family connections and an assured [viii] position; yet her religious principles, exalted character, and passionate devotion to her art, carried her unscathed and honoured through a life of extraordinary dangers and temptations. Mme. Le Brun was asked by several persons of importance to repeat this supper, but always declined.

She came to the wedding with the son and daughter of her second marriage; the latter was afterwards the celebrated Mme. de Montesson. But she managed permanently to cheat her elder daughter out of nearly the whole of the property of her father, and always behaved to her and to her children with the most heartless cruelty. Saturdayof Messidor! he exclaimed, when ordering the Moniteur to be dated on a certain day. We shall be laughed at! But I will do away with the Messidor! I will efface all the inventions of the Jacobins! [109]

She had painted 662 portraits, 15 pictures, 200 landscapes, many of them in Switzerland, and many pastels. I have no doubt of it; and if circumstances favour you, I hope you will leave M. le Dauphin far behind. Are you not the MM. de ?

I hope not, said the Queen, we shall see. And she rang the bell. Campan, the King has an order to give you.