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home; and theirs was a home in the minds to receive it. She sought to true sense of that sacred word. The instil a certain unity and harmony into old nurse who had watched over the every portion of our education. Gencradle of Mme. d'Ayen was still a eral principles, morals, the history of prominent figure in the household;' and facts, the examples of others, and the Malle. Aufroy, the devoted attendant lessons to be drawn from them-all this and friend, was close at hand.
was held together and interwoven, as “We were all suckled at home, and we find it, if I dare use the expression, under the eye of my mother. The in the education of Providence. From same nurse who had brought her up, earliest childhood we were taught gave to us also those physical and moral never to act from caprice, but rather to cares which are needed in childhood. enjoy the consciousness that in our litAlthough this worthy woman received tle duties, and even in our plays, we only a very coarse education in her
were ever under the eye of the heavenyouth, yet she had an extraordinary ly Father. Oh, if I could but still lead talent for the care of little children; my children to her! By this ineans and the years she passed in the convent only could they justly appreciate that near Mme. d'Héricourt had developed eloquence so truly maternal, by which this natural disposition. I have never she engraved on our hearts the great known any one endowed so fully with truths of religion, and taught us also to the faculty of attracting the confidence know our faults, and the means of corof the little childish hearts confided to recting them. There was nothing abher, and, better still, of interesting solute and dogmatic in her manner of them in all she taught them, and in instructing, or guiding, or correcting; giving them a relish for the lessons she was never satisfied until she had they received. She was never obliged convinced the mind of the child to to tell fairy tales or ghost-stories, or whom she was speaking. Naturally inother absurdities of that sort, to amuse
dolent and impatient by temperament, A story from the Old Testament, a and perhaps too little accustomed to childish adventure of some little girl repress this natural vivacity, she still at the convent, a good action, true and never failed to listen to the little reasimple, were related by her with so sonings of her children with the most much natural grace, adapted to the unwearied patience. We studied the taste of children, and accompanied catechisms of Fleury, then the Gospel. with a few simple reflections so touch- Our reading was an abridgment of the ing, and so entirely within their compre- Old Testament, geography with maps, hension, that she always delighted us, the “ Ancient History” of Rollin, and, while at the same time she was follow- in conversation, we learned a few fables ing my mother's directions. It was my of mythology. My mother read to us, mother's wish not only that we should and made us read to her, selections be taught only what was true, but also from the great works of the poets-the that simple and straightforward means best pieces of Corneille, Racine, and alone should be chosen in our instruc- Voltaire. We were taught by her to tion, far aloof from the little decep- dictate letters, even before we knew tions and juggleries often adopted with how to write." children. We passed several hours of “ When we were about ten, my mothevery day with my mother, who re- er gave to her two eldest daughters a ceived a faithful account of the manner governess, Malle. Marin, to whom we in which the day had been spent. We owe the deepest gratitude and the most repeated to her what we had learned; tender attachment, after twenty-seven we retold her the little tales that had
years of devoted care.
With her we been told to us. It was her great aim studied grammar, and the use of the to bring the truth within our compre- globes; we prepared extracts from hishension, and to prepare our childish tory, while we received, under her eye,
lessons from different masters in the to the parents in behalf of the little usual accomplishments. But it was ladies of twelve. M. de Noailles, the still my mother who was the soul of son of the Duc de Monchy, and nephew our education; she presided over all,
he presided over all, of the Duc d'Ayen, was proposed for and ordered the most minute details of the eldest daughter, and accepted by the arrangements. She would allow no the parents—the future bride knowing one else to read the choicest selections nothing of the matter until a year from the best writers with us, endeav- later, a few months before the marriage. oring to form our taste by the analysis She already loved her cousin, however, of their beauties. But especially she and gladly became his wife at the age strove to form our judgment. Both of fifteen. M. de Lafayette, a lad of mind and heart were in her equally just fourteen, was proposed; at the same and upright, thirsting for the truth. time, for Adrienne, the second daughShe thus succeeded in warding off ter. The young suitor was strongly famany errors and prejudices. We scarce- vored by M. d'Ayen, but, at first, posily knew, for instance, the meaning of tively rejected by Mme. d'Ayen. His the vanities of life.' And so faithfully great youth and his very large fortune, did she impress on us, by precept and without parents to guide him, were example, that interest must never for a considered as invincible objections by moment come into collision with integ- the anxious mother. A grave misunrity, that, in after life, many years derstanding now took place between passed before we ceased to wonder at a M. and Mme. d'Ayen on this subject. contrary course in people calling them. The breach lasted for a whole year. selves honest. The spectacle of evil “Mme. d'Ayen will never yield; she always pained her, sometimes aroused has gone too far," said her friends. her indignation, but never embittered “You do not know Mme. d'Ayen," was ber. She delighted in all that was the husband's answer. “ She will never great and good; hers was the charity yield where she believes herself right; that rejoiceth not in iniquity, but re- but convince her that she is in the joiceth in the truth.' In spite of the wrong, and she will instantly yield number of her children, each always with the docility of a child." Such received the care and the culture most proved to be the result. On nearer acneeded. She taught us also the great quaintance with the young gentleman, lessons of self-correction. As for my- she acknowledged her error, and not self, I shall only say that she constant only accepted him as a son, but became ly endeavored to bring my imagination, very strongly attached to him from that much too excitable, under the control moment. Both these marriages were of truth and simplicity. While gen- very happy. The details relating to erally satisfied with me, there were mo- Mme. de Lafayette we defer to a second ments when she would paint my faults paper, devoted especially to her own to me with such truth and such force, life. At the interval of a few years, all that the sharpness of the lesson pene- the five daughters of Mme. d’Ayen were trated to the very depths of my soul.” successively married to busbands with
The young ladies—the two elders, at whom they lived happily. There was least-reached the age of twelve. The one exception, however : the third solemn moment of the “first commun- daughter, apparently & gentle, loving ion” was at hand, and the preparation creature, was not appreciated by her was most thorough and devoted. Lou- first husband. He died early, of smallise, the eldest, was admitted to the pox, and she married more happily the Holy Sacrament. The state of mind second time. of Adrienne, the younger, was not suf- The education thus given to these ficiently satisfactory, and the important five daughters by Mme. d'Ayen proved step was deferred for several years. entirely successful. The elements of Proposals of marriage were now offered that education, pervading all its de
tails, were truth, love, and piety. What zeal and a perseverance of which there higher praise can be given to any moth- are few examples. Her care of them'in er, than such complete success in the sickness was like that she gave to her education of her children must award own children. She would keep their to her ? The same devoted affection, secrets like those of her best friend. the same motherly love, was now given They all revered her, although there by Mme. d’Ayen to a wider circle. Not were times when they complained of a only the young wives and mothers, certain impatience, to which she yieldamid the duties and cares of their new ed perhaps too often. Her femme de positions, but sons-in-law and grand- chambre mourned her as a mother; and children, now shared fully in her ten- her old valet de chambre became almost derness. The husbands of her daugh- crazed by grief at her death." ters appear to bave been all warmly “As regards her charity for the poor, attached to her. In her salons of the on this point her conscience was singuHôtel de Noailles she held a sort of larly tender. She would not allow hermotherly court, where all the young peo- self a single fancy, not even a journey ple gathered about her, with that filial of pleasure, or any superfluity whathomage so gracefully offered in French ever, fearing to rob the poor of their families. As a wife, she was less hap- patrimony. Her very numerous alms py. The Duc d'Ayen, in every-day brought her much consolation, but also life, was more often abroad than at
some anxieties. Her intelligence and home. There was warm regard, confi. sound judgment were very conspicuous dence, and perfect esteem between the in her charitable works on her estates. husband and wife; but the glow of Children and the infirm were more espersonal affection appears to have be- pecially the objects of her pious cares. come somewhat chilled on the part of She observes, in her will, that charity M. d'Ayen. In moments of difficulty to little children is an especial form of he was always at hand, attentive, con- thanksgiving for the blessings which siderate, and affectionate. But he God bestows on our own children." sought his pleasures elsewhere than in Such, during many years, was the his home. There may have been a life of this excellent woman, surroundwant of conjugal tact on the lady's ed by a large family all tenderly atpart. At any rate, while Mme. d'Ayen tached to her, all revering her characnever reproached her husband, she ac- ter and returning her warm affections. cused herself of not having taken suffi- But a fatal change was now at hand. cient pains to please him in their ear- We make little allusion to politics. It lier married life. This is singular, as is the sketch of a French home in the her nature was so loving, and she lived last century, and of the noble woman on the most endearing and affectionate who was its soul, to which we would terms with a large circle of relatives, attract the reader's attention. As the including stepmother, sisters-in-law, political agitation about her increased, brothers-in-law, aunts, and cousins. Mme. d'Ayen had many misgivings.
“The duty of vigilance over her ser- To change of social position, loss of vants was one of the most repugnant to rank, or even entire reverse of fortune, her nature," says her daughter, “but, she gave little thought. “I have seen from principle, sbe labored to fulfil it. her," writes her daughter, “ often conShe was constantly trying to be useful gratulate herself on the suppression of to them, by good books or kind in- her own feudal privileges. But she structions. Nothing was more contra- dreaded the development of evil pasry to her disposition than untimely sions.” preaching ; but at the right moment Ah, there we touch the weak point her charity was all ablaze in their be- of the French Revolution! This humhalf. She became almost a mother to ble-minded woman, living in the bright them, and was devoted to them with a light of Christian truth, could see far
ther than the wisest statesmen of her One convulsion now followed another country, who were philosophers only. in the political world with fearful raThe leaders in that Revolution had too pidity, and each more terrible than the much confidence in human nature. It last. All the old barriers were thrown. was their error to believe that Liberty down one after the other, and none of alone was needed for the full develop- sufficient strength to control the savage ment of the higher qualities of that torrent of that terrible Revolution renature. They too soon learned, to placed them. In no civilized country, their cost, that salutary restraints, as since Christ came on earth, have the well as healthful freedom, are needed evil passions of human nature assumed here on earth. There was, however, a forms so fiend-like, for the same length moment of lull in the threatening storm, of time, as those which swayed France When the king accepted the new Con- during those fatal years. And yet, all stitution, all became hopeful. At that this was the foul work of a small mimoment General Lafayette withdrew nority of the entire nation-an oligarinto private life, to the unspeakable joy chy worse than the most heartless of of the anxious wife and mother. The feudal times. The Hôtel de Noailles whole family left Paris for the château was near the Tuileries, near the Assemof Chavaniac, among the mountains of blée, near the Jacobins—at the very Auvergne. Here Mme. d’Ayen paid focus of the fierce struggle. M. d'Ayen, them a visit. The journey to and fro, and his son-in-law, M. de Grammont, with the month passed in that old châ- were both at the Tuileries on the fatal teau, were among the happiest days of 10th of August; both escaped the her later years.
She had always de- massacre, though M. de Grammont was lighted in the country ; this was the looked for among the dead. M. de Lastrongest of all her tastes; her children fayette returned to the scene of action, frequently observed that, in the coun- with the hope of preventing crime; try, she was always more gay, more but he himself was put to the ban, and happy, than in town. November is not barely escaped with his life beyond the always the most agreeable season in the frontier. Many members of the family country, but those were happy weeks, of Noailles had already left Francepassing delightfully to the family party. the Vicomte de Noailles, and the two It was a joy to Mme. d'Ayen to see her younger daughters of Mme. d'Ayen, son-in-law, General Lafayette, so simply with their husbands. As yet, no danhappy with his wife and children, so ger was anticipated for ladies; and dutiful, so affectionate to herself. There Mme. d’Agen herself, with her eldest was perfect confidence and affection and daughter, the Vicomtesse de Noailles, esteem between all the different mem- remained in the neighborhood of Paris, bers of that household. Mme. d'Ayen occupied in the pious duty of watching went to church in the little village, and over the aged grandparents of the famwas delighted with the simple piety of ily, the Maréchal de Noailles and his the peasants. She enjoyed the society wife—both feeble and infirm, and the of Mme. de Chavaniac, the aged aunt, first dangerously ill. The Duc d'Ayen, who had been as a mother to General who had gone to Switzerland, returned Lafayette. The simple life in that to protect them, and to share in their peaceful country-home was just what attentions to his aged parents. But he she loved. She was thoroughly happy, was soon compelled to conceal himself, full of sympathy for her daughter, and and, rather later, to pass the frontier. entering into all the little pleasures of In August, 1793, the old Maréchal died. her grandchildren. Those were her His wife, who was very infirm, still last happy hours on earth. When needed the constant attentions of her mother and daughter separated, at the daughters. The ladies—all three-degates of Chavaniac, it was never to meet cided to return to Paris, in spite of the again on earth.
earnest entreaties of Mme, de LafayVOL. VI.-14
ette that they would remain in the chale and the children, to whom Mme. country.
d'Ayen was as much devoted as their In September they returned again to own mother. Once a week M. Carrithe Hôtel de Noailles.
chon, the brave priest, visited them. In October, Mme. d’Ayen and her Cruelty and persecution, the most atrodaughter were placed under arrest in cious and bloodthirsty, were increasing their own house. They appear to have on all sides. Women were now among had, at first, little fear for themselves. the victims. One day the ladies alludThe step just taken did not seriously ed to the fate which might await them. alarm them. They were allowed to re- “If you are taken to the scaffold, and ceive a few friends. The three young God gives me strength, I will be with children of Mme. de Noailles were with you!” exclaimed the good priest. “Do them; and the tutor of the little boys, you promise ?" · Yes. And, that you M. Grellet, an excellent man, proved a may know me, I shall be disguised in a most faithful and devoted friend. By dark blue coat and a red waistcoat." his assistance, a worthy priest visited Frequently, after this conversation, M. the hôtel, and, at the risk of his life, Carrichon was reminded of this solemn performed Divine service there, and ad- promise. The winter passed over. In ministered the Holy Communion. Hu- the Spring they were officially examman Reason was at that moment pro- ined on their actions and their thoughts ! claimed the Deity of France! To be a The answers, while strictly true, were Christian, was a crime worthy of death. prudent. This time they escaped. Mme. d'Ayen, from her earliest married Shortly after, official agents came to life, had been a frequent communicant, make an inventory of their property. and constant in her attendance on the Ominous step! Mme. d'Ayen had still public services of her Church. “In preserved some of her diamonds. Fearmy early youth,” writes her daughter, ing she might be asked if she had con“I saw her commune every month, then cealed any thing, she fastened the jewevery fortnight, later every Sunday, and els to her watch, as a chain. They sometimes in the week also. Her en- were not seized. The same day the joyment of public worship was fervent; diamonds were hastily sold, and a parsbe fed on the Psalms with delight, and tial payment received, sufficient to disobserved, on those days when the ser- charge all the debts of the ladies. A vices were long, that she felt like Da- few hours later the jeweller was bevid: 'One day in Thy courts is better headed, and no further payment was than a thousand.' There was no little- made. They were now left entirely ness in her religion, no minutiæ in her without means; a few old laces, and piety.” It is indeed a remarkable fact, other trifles, were sold, and the small that the piety of this excellent lady ap- sum received from these was their last. pears so free from many of the super- MI. Grellet, however, shared his slender stitions which are painfully manifest in means with them. Suddenly, in April, the doctrine and practice of the Church the week after Easter, the cruel officials of Rome.
appeared. The three ladies—the aged Six months passed in this way. Four Maréchale, Mme. d'Ayen, and her daughgenerations of the family were living ter-were all ordered to the public together at the Hôtel de Noailles, all prison. The little helpless children were prisoners: the aged Maréchale de No- bereft at one stroke of three generations ailles, Mme. d'Ayen, Mme, de Noailles of mothers, and driven from their paterthe granddaughter, and the three little nal home. The anguish of that scpachildren of the last lady. In that home ration may be imagined. Human lancircle, sanctified by sorrow, there was guage has no words to describe it. The still much of sweetness. Mme. d'Ayen ladies were taken to the Luxembourg, and her daughter divided their time where it is said they arrived calm and between the care of the infirm Maré composed. Two of their nearest rela