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M. Geoffrin did not altogether approve of his wifes perpetual presence at the h?tel Tencin, which had by no means a good reputation; and when she also began to receive in her own house a few of the literary men whom she met there, philosophers, freethinkers, and various persons upon whom he looked with suspicion, he at first strongly objected. But it was useless. His wife had found the sixteen years of her married life remarkably dull; she had at length, by good fortune, discovered the means of transforming her monotonous existence into one full of interest, and the obscurity which had hitherto been her lot into an increasing celebrity. She turned a deaf ear to his remonstrances, and after a good deal of dissension and quarrelling the husband gave way and contented himself with looking after the household and being a silent guest at the famous dinners given by his wife, until at length, on some one asking her what had become of the old gentleman [38] who was always there and never spoke, she replied

Yes, we are, replied the brothers.

M. de Montyon, taking him for a valet de pied, called him an insolent rascal for daring to speak to him in such a manner; but no sooner were the words spoken than the young man snatched off his wig, rubbed it over his face and ran away with shouts of laughter.

When it was too late he ordered a carriage and tried to leave, but was stopped by the gardes-nationales and servants. La Fayette on his white horse rode with the cavalcade, full of uneasiness, for he saw that he could not control the followers with whom he had imagined himself to be all-powerful, their crimes and cruelties were abhorrent to him, and the fearful position of the King and royal family alarmed and distressed him.

I am an ouvrire, she replied, and am accustomed to walk.

You astonish me! said the Baronne, when the affair was explained to her; for at St. Petersburg we were told about it by one of your countrymen, M. L, who said he knew you very well, and was present at the supper.

[229]

Laure Permon, Duchesse dAbrants, than whom no one was a better judge of these matters, observes

She cared so little for money, and her dress, her [69] entertainments and requirements were so simple, that she let him spend all she earned; whilst her occupations, professional and social, were so engrossing, and her life so full of interest, excitement, and enjoyment, that she was content to make the best of things and let her husband go his way, while she followed her own career among the friends and pursuits she loved.

The prison of the Carmes was a very different abode to Port Libre, and it was just at its worst time, but still Trzia used afterwards to declare that she, after a time, got accustomed to the horrors of the prison. The constant presence of death made them more and more callous, and they would play games together like children, even enacting the scenes of execution which they had every prospect of going through in reality. Their room, or cell, looked out into the garden, through a grating, into which, however, they could not go; a single mattress in a corner served for their bed.