In 1786-8 she had two daughters, Nomi and Clotilde, soon after whose birth the family had to mourn the loss of Mme. de Thsan, who died before she was five-and-twenty, and who was certainly, as events soon proved, taken away from the evil to come.

After expressing her satisfaction, the Empress said

With anguish she saw one cartload of prisoners leave, and she trembled every moment lest she should hear the sound of the wheels of a second in the courtyard of the prison. The state and power of some of these abbesses, and the comfortable, cheerful security of their lives at that time made the position much sought after. It was a splendid provision for the daughters of great houses, and a happy life enough if they did not wish to marry. The following anecdote is given by Mme. de Crquy, and, although it happened rather earlier in the eighteenth century, perhaps forty or fifty years before the time now in question, it is so characteristic of the state of things that still prevailed that it may not be out of place to give it.

[146]

La citoyenne Fontenay to the citoyen Tallien, rue de la Perle, 17.

To gain time in those days was often to gain everything.

Anonymous letters filled with abuse and threats poured in upon her; she was told the house would be set on fire in the night, she heard her name cried in the streets, and on sending out for the newspaper being sold, she saw a long story about herself and M. de Calonne, giving the history of an interview they had at Paris the preceding evening! She sent it to Sheridan, who was a friend of hers, begging him to write to the paper saying that she did not know Calonne, and had not been at Paris for many months, which he did.

[99]

Tu ne me tutoies plus! and of her answer