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      The late Dauphin was said to have regarded with especial affection the unlucky Duc de Berri, who was awkward, plain, brusque, and dull; but the favourite of Louis XV. was his youngest grandson, the handsome, mischievous Comte dArtois, in whom he recognised something of his own disposition, and upon whom he was often seen to look with a smile of satisfaction.They were all entirely under the domination of the Empress, against whose will nobody dared to rebel, though Paul as a child used to ask his tutor why his father had been killed and why his mother wore the crown which ought to have been his.

      [82]When all my lands were invaded, and I knew not where in the world to be brought to bed in, I relied on my good right and the help of God. But in this thing, where not only public law cries to Heaven against us, but also all natural justice and sound reason, I must confess never in my life to have been in such trouble, and I am ashamed to show my face. Let the prince (Kaunitz) consider what an example we are giving to all the world, if, for a miserable piece of Poland, or of Moldavia, or Wallachia, we throw our honor and reputation to the winds. I see well that I am alone, and no more in vigor. Therefore I must, though to my very great sorrow, let things take their course.186

      Old Leopold, quick as thought, noticing the thing, hurls cavalry on these victorious, down-plunging grenadiers; slashes them asunder into mere recoiling whirlpools of ruin, so that few of them got back unwounded; and the Prussians, storming in along with them, aided by ever new Prussians, the place was at length carried.91

      The meal was abundant and substantial. It consisted of a single course, of bacon, vegetables, and corn-bread, very simply, not to say rudely, served. It would seem that the master of the feast cared no more for refinements of table than of manner. Here, as elsewhere, were to be seen the pernicious effects of his solitary mode of life. He ate greedily; he forgot his duties as host, or they came but tardily to his remembrance; he fell into fits of abstraction, and started as from a dream at the sound of his nephew's voice. Yet tokens were not wanting that he had once been well versed in the art of external manners. At intervals, answering involuntarily, as it were, to the touch of Bergan's fine, natural courtesy, the gentlemanly instincts of earlier days revived, and flung a momentary grace around his words and actions. It was like the sunbeams that occasionally glimmer out over a cloudy landscape, attracting the gaze even more surely than any full blaze of splendor, yet causing a certain impatience, as if they ought either to kindle into satisfactory brightness, or be wholly extinguished. The rudeness of his ordinary manner was only thrown into bolder relief by these flashes of a half-extinct good breeding.


      M. de Beaune was cheerful enough when the day was fine, as he spent his time in visiting them; but when it rained he stayed at home fretting, grumbling, and adding unintentionally to the troubles of those he loved. He took to reading romances aloud to Pauline, who could not bear them, partly, perhaps, from over-strictness, but probably more because in those days, before Sir Walter Scott had elevated and changed the tone of fiction, novels were really as a rule coarse, immoral, [236] and, with few exceptions, tabooed by persons of very correct notions. However, she knew M. de Beaune must be amused, so she made no objection.


      A fte was given to celebrate the recovery of the King from an illness; at which the little princess, although very unwell, insisted on being present. The nuns gave way, though the child was very feverish and persisted in sitting up very late. The next day she was violently ill with small-pox, and died.On the 12th of June, but a fortnight after his accession, Frederick198 wrote from Charlottenburg to Voltaire, who was then at Brussels, as follows:


      Indeed, he said, you have a strange fancy. Night is made to sleep in; however, if it amuses you I have no objection so long as you do not expect me to be of the party.