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from the most respected and influential to the wretched Santerre and his compeers, whose misconduct and brutality had led to her husband's resignation. She fondly believed that he would now retire into the privacy she sighed for; but she was only allowed that hope for four days, when, yielding to the general wish, he resumed the command, and held it during six more stormy months, till he quitted Paris in the beginning of October, and joined the family circle at Chavaniac* for a short breathing space after the dissolution of the Assembly and the acceptance by the King of the Con- his escape into Holland, soon to be taken stitution. Some weeks of perfect happiness prisoner by a Power which was making war were enjoyed there in the society of Mad-on France in Louis Seize's behalf.
have exposed her to the suspicion of emigrating, then a capital crime. Her heart glowed with pride as she read his celebrated letter to the Assembly against the Jacobins, and when she heard of his journey to Paris to enforce those sentiments at the bar of the Legislature, fruitless though that journey was, and destructive of his popularity not only in the capital but with the army. After the terrible 10th of August, his disaffected troops refusing to follow him, threatening rather to send him to Paris where a price was put on his head, he made
ame d'Ayen, but they were the very last which mother and daughter were ever to spend together. Amid all the din of her internal discords, France was listening for the first sounds of war on her frontiers, and was arming her population. The command of one of the three corps d'armée was assigned to Layfayette, who quitted Chavaniac in December. From this moment till the day when the door of his cell at Olmütz opened to receive her, la femme Lafayette,' as since the abolition of titles she was designated, was left sole head of the family, to face along the dangers that menaced all ci-devant aristocrats, and they were not few. The nobles were emigrating fast, they and everyone formerly belonging to the privileged classes being looked on as traitors to their country, who were ready to incite foreign Powers to assist them in reimposing the fetters which France had shaken off. Some such fear no doubt existed in the minds of those who proclaimed the loi des suspects, and set the guillotine to work; but blood once tasted seemed to madden them like wine, and fear and cruelty went hand in hand in the perpetration of the awful massacres that followed. In the provinces bands of lawless men went about proclaiming their patriotism by plundering and burning the houses of ci-devants. Madame de Lafayette made a bold stand against some of these at Chavaniac, and they contented themselves with running their swords through the canvasses of some family portraits on the ground that they must have been aristocrats. She had refused her husband's offer allowing her to join him at the camp at Maubeuge, fearing lest her presence might hamper his movements; she hoped, too, by remaining in France to be able to protect his property and interests, while to have quitted the country would
Madame d'Ayen, whose history we may now resume and follow to the bitter end, had meanwhile gone to Paris to attend on a dying sister. Soon the constant tumults in the neighbourhood of the Tuileries caused her to abandon the Hotel de Noailles (it stood on the site now covered by the rue d'Alger) and take a small house in the faubourg St. Germain with her daughter Madame de Grammont; a step which led to her being summoned with the duc d'Ayen to the Hotel de Ville, to explain why they had quitted their usual domicile, to which they were recommended to return. Arrests became very frequent, and there was hardly ane member of her family for whom Madame d'Ayen had not to tremble. Lafayette's departure from France was hailed by her with joy, little foreseeing that a foreign prison awaited him, and very soon she had the additional misery of knowing that Madame de Lafayette and her children were under arrest at Chavaniac. The winter of '92-93 was a very terrible one, for the death of the King made a deeper impression on loyal hearts than even the loss of kindred. The horizon was darkening round them on every side; the Duc d'Ayen found it necessary to escape to Switzerland; a separation which was cruelly felt by his wife, to whose lot it fell to close the eyes of the old Maréchal de Noailles. Madame d'Ayen had with her eldest daughter, the Vicomtesse de Noailles, spent the last few months of the old man's life with him at St. Germains; from thence they had been in the habit of making frequent expeditions to Paris for the purpose of enjoying the consolation of religious services, which were now performed only in secret. After his death they finally quitted St. Germains; and bringing with them his widow, whose faculties were now impaired by age, they once more inhabited the family hotel, where in the month of November '93 they found themselves put under arrest. At first there
Chavaniac was the small patrimonial estate of M. de Lafayette, near Brioude in Auvergne.
and prepare them for their terrible loss."
hoping that there might be some mistake; their
answer left no doubt. I wandered about the
streets in great agitation; at five o'clock I returned to the Palace; nothing indicated the de
'seemed not much to alarm them, but greater severity followed; long and insulting crossexaminations hard to bear, and total confiscation of property. A few trifling ornaments which they had concealed they endeavoured to dispose of through the of M. Grellet the tutor, but the jeweller who took them died by the guillotine a few hours after, and without having paid for them. Their poverty was extreme; at last they were delivered from care for the mor-parture of the condemned. I hung about the row by being without any further pretext steps watching, yet fearing to see those for whom consigned to the Luxembourg. Two months I watched. That hour seemed the longest I have were passed there, and they saw nearly all ever known. At last I see a movement that tells their fellow-prisoners depart for Fouquier me the prison is about to open. I place myself Tinville's bar before their summons came to close to the grille; the first cart is filled, and set out for the Conciergerie late on the comes towards me. There were eight ladies in night of 21st of July. They reached it it, seven unknown to me: the eighth, to whom faint and exhausted, and with only half I was quite close, was the Maréchale. A ray of franc in their possession, and were thrust hope crosses my mind for an instant as her into a cell along with three other women, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter are not one of whom survived to describe their de- Madame de Noailles was in white, which she beside her. Alas! they are in the second. demeanour during that night. Madame d'Ayen felt their danger, but still had hope: 'they cannot condemn us for sharing in a conspiracy of which we are absolutely ignorant,' she said. Her daughter expected death, and refused to sleep. Courage, mother, there is but an hour; why rest when one is so near eternity?' were her words: she continued in fervent prayer. The old Maréchale slept at intervals. At nine that morning they went before their judges, with what result we know: the end is best told in the words of M. Carrichon, whose narrative we translate here:
had worn since the deaths of the Maréchal and
Maréchale de Mouchy; she looked not more than twenty-four. Madame d'Ayen, forty, in a déshabille of striped blue and white. Six men placed themselves beside them, but respectfully, leaving them as much space and liberty as was possible, which pleased me. The daughter was giving to her mother the most tender and loving care. I heard the spectators saying b side me, "See the young one, how agitated she is, how she speaks to the other." I seemed to hear her words, "Mother, he is not there." again." "Nothing escapes me. I assure you, mother, he is not there." They forgot that I had told them it was impossible for me to get 'Madame la Maréchale de Noailles, Madame inside the Court. The first cart remains near d'Ayen her daughter-in-law, and Madame la for a quarter-of-an-hour; it advanced, and as Vicomtesse de Noailles her granddaughter, were the second passes I approach the ladies, but confined to their hotel from the month of Novem- they do not recognize me. I follow them, sepber 1793 till the following April. The Terror arated by the crowd, but still always near. was increasing as the victims became more Madame de Noailles, though constantly seeking numerous. One day I said to these ladies, as if me, never perceives me. Madame d'Ayen looks from a presentiment, "If you should go to the troubled. I feel tempted to give it up. I say guillotine I will accompany you if God gives me to myself I have done what I can, everywhere strength." They took me at my word and said the crowd will be denser - there is no chance. eagerly, "Will you promise it?" "Yes," II was just going to retire when a thunderstorm replied after a moment's hesitation; "and that broke over us: in an instant the streets are as you may recognize me I will wear a dark-blue if swept- not a creature left except those in coat and a red waistcoat." They frequently doorways and at windows; the procession is disreminded me of my promise. The week after ordered, horse and foot go faster, so do the tumEaster 1794, they were all three taken to the brils. I had taken shelter on the doorstep of a Luxembourg. M. Grellet, tutor to the children shop; as they pass me an involuntary moveof the Vicomtesse de Noailles, used to bring me ment made me quit it, and approach the second constant intelligence about them. On the 22nd cart. I found myself alone beside them. Maof July (4th Thermidor), between eight and ten dame de Noailles perceives me and her smile o'clock in the morning, I was at home when I seems to say, Ah, there you are at last! How heard a knock; I opened the door and saw M. thankful we are! How we have looked for you! Grellet and his pupils; he looked pale and down- Mother, there he is." Madame d'Ayen revives; cast. Taking me aside he said, "It is all overall my irresolution vanishes, I feel by the grace the ladies are before the revolutionary tribunal- of God full of courage. Drenched with rain I am come to summon you to fulfil your promise. and sweat, I continue to walk alongside of them. I shall take these unhappy children to Vincennes, On the steps of the church of St. Louis I per
ceive one of their friends full of respect and pain. She disappears and her gentle daughter attachment seeking to render them the same takes her place: as I looked at her youthful figservice. His face and attitude show all heure all in white, I thought I beheld the martyrfeels; with inexpressible emotion I touch him dom of some holy virgin: the same calm, the on the shoulder saying, "Bonsoir, mon ami." same death. The rich young blood flowed The storm was very violent. The ladies suffer abundantly from her head and neck. As they from it especially the old Maréchale, whose threw her body into that abominable heap, large cap is blown off uncovering her grey hairs," Now she is happy," I exclaimed. It has been as she is shaken about helplessly by the move- said that Madame de Noailles, like her mother, ment of the cart, her hands tied behind her. before dying exhorted their companions, particSome spectators recognize her, and add to her ularly one young man among them whom she torments by their insults. "There she is, the had heard blaspheming; as she mounted the great Maréchale, who was such a great lady scaffold she turned to him with a last appeal, and rode in such magnificent carriages, in the "En grâce, Monsieur, dites pardon." cart now with the rest. At the entrance of Such was the fate that in those days hunthe Faubourg St. Antoine, as the cart moved a little slower, I went forward Here," I said dreds of high-born and delicately-nurtured to myself, is the best place to give them what women met with a courage that even in the they desire" I turn round and make them a most apparently frivolous never failed them sign. Madame de Noailles understands me. in the supreme moment; while in those of "Mother, M. Carrichon is going to give us whom we have spoken, it attained to the absolution." Immediately they bow their heads resignation and the fervours of Christian with an air of repentance, contrition, hope, and martyrdom. But we must return to Madpiety. I lift my hand and pronounce the form ame de Lafayette at Chavaniac eight months of absolution, then the words which follow very previous to the catastrophe of Thermidor, distinctly. They join perfectly; I shall never when on the 10th of September she found forget the picture. From that moment the storm herself summoned to quit the Château by a of wind and rain ceases, and seems only to have commissary named Aulagnier, from Le Puy, occurred to give us our opportunity. I bless who was the bearer of an order from the God. Their expression shows security, peace, even joy. At last we reach the fatal spot! Committee of Public Safety to arrest her. What a moment! I behold them well and full She was conducted with her daughters to of life, in a few minutes I shall see them no Le Puy, and insisted on being at once more. What an agony! yet not without its con- taken before the Council of the Department. solation in seeing them so resigned. The scaf- Lafayette's letters had been taken from her; fold rises before me, the tumbrils stop: a crowd, she demanded that they should be read for the most part laughing and jeering at the aloud and copies of them taken before they horrid spectacle, jostles the victims as they de- were sent to Paris, because many lies are scend. Madame de Noailles seeks me once more told in the Assembly.' Her frank and courwith her eyes. What do they not express? I ageous demeanour so influenced the magisunderstood her looks though words cannot ren-trates that they resolved to forward to M. der them. Some near me said, "How happy Roland, then Minister for Home Affairs, that young woman is! how she prays! but what her petition, that if it was considered necgood does it do her?" Ah, the scoundrels!
The last adieu exchanged, they stepped down essary by the Government to retain her as from the cart. I could hardly support myself; a hostage, she should be allowed to return I thanked God that I had already given them on parole to Chavaniac. She herself wrote absolution before this dreadful moment. I ap- from Le Puy to Brissot in the same sense. proached the steps leading up to the guillotine; The letter is too long to transcribe, but the an old man was in the act of mounting; after tone of it is remarkable. It is no humble him came a lady whose piety was edifying, but petition, but rather a demand for justice she was unknown to me; then the Maréchale, written in a spirit so haughty that probably her great eyes fixed on vacancy; I had not for- the angry patriot, who once said of her that gotten to do for her what I had done for the the femme Lafayette was the very incarnaothers. I see Madame d'Ayen kneeling, noble, tion of all the pride of the Noailles,' had resigned, contemplating the sacrifice she is about some grounds for his assertion. She conto make to God through the merits of His Son, cludes, speaking of Roland, I cannot tell without fear, calm as I have seen her at sacra- what will be his answer; it is easy to see ment. When the Maréchale had to lay down her head the executioner had to cut away the top that if it is dictated by justice it will set me of her dress to bare her neck. Six ladies fol- at liberty. If you will serve me, will lowed her, Madame d'Ayen was the tenth. How have the satisfaction of having done a good pleased she seemed to be to die before her daugh- action towards one who has neither the wish ter! The executioner pulled off her cap, which nor the power to hurt you. I consent to was fastened to her hair by a pin, which being owe you this service. NOAILLES LAFAYrudely dragged I saw her features contract with ETTE.'
M. Roland's reply, when it came, permit- | still more terrible prisons of Paris to which ted her to return to Chavaniac a prisoner she was soon transferred, is the same; she and under surveillance of the authorities, was the friend, the consoler, the support of but commented severely on the expression all the suffering and afflicted, whether delin her letter to Brissot, as savoring of the icate and high-born women or coarsest felorgueil suranné de 'ce qu'on appelait no- ons. During the winter's imprisonment at blesse.' Her parole was now her heaviest Brioude it was still possible to communicate burden, for she had heard that Lafayette with her children through the assistance of was to be sent to Spandau; so in spite of a friend; news, too, from the outer world the breach of confidence on Brissot's part in of the arrests of her mother, grandmother, showing her letter, her misery making her and sister reached her. In spring she humble, she wrote again most urgently en- learnt that she, too, must go to Paris, but treating to be released. Roland had pro- not to share their captivity in the Luxemnounced against the September massacres; bourg. On the eve of the celebrated festiand overcoming her repugnance to address val which proclaimed the existence of the him, she wrote him a most touching appeal Etre Suprême to the Parisians she found herto be set free to join her husband. The self in la Force among a mixed multitude Minister's answer was short but courteous: who were waiting their summons to die. he had laid her appeal before the Committee, Many times here and at le Plessis, where but he begged to observe that it would be she was moved later, did Madame Lafayette very unsafe for a person of her name to think that her turn had come; the ordeal travel under the present circumstances in lasted fifty days, and during this time she France. But these ciscumstances might composed the following testament for her change, and she might rely on him to avail children :himself of a favourable change in her behalf. During three months that she received no news of her husband, except rumours that he was being transferred from one prison to another, she wrote in turns to the Minister of War, to the Duke of Brunswick, and, at the suggestion of her staunch friend Mr. Morris, the American envoy, to the King of Prussia. Most of these letters were unanswered, and all were unavailing to obtain her liberty or his; but Roland was as good as his word, and gave her back her parole, though practically this was useless, as the surveillance of the ci-divants continued as rigerous as ever. The decrees of September brought fresh alarms, but through all these weeks of suspense and danger the courage and patience of this wife and mother never flinched in the daily life of the family, nor in performing acts of kindness to friends and neighbours, while she protested energetically against the injustice of the Administration in putting up her husband's property as that of an emigrant for sale. When Solon Reynaud arrived to put in force in the district the loi des suspects, she was one of the first to be arrested; and separated from her children, she was confined at Brioude, in a house full of noble dames who had long hated her for her republican principles. Their common danger did not by any means soften their hearts towards her, and they received her with the most cutting impertinences, though before long her exceeding sweetness, and heroism succeeded in conquering their aristocratic prejudices; indeed, the testimony of all who came in contact with her in this and in the
'I have always lived, and I hope by the grace of God to die, in the bosom of the Roman Cathin the principles of this holy religion that I have olic and Apostolic Church. I declare that it is found my support, and in its practice my consolation, and I am confident it will sustain me in death. I believe in Thee, O God, and in all that Thou revealest to Thy Church; I hope all that Thou hast promised; I put all my trust in the merits of Jesus Christ's blood; I desire to conform my life to His; I join my sufferings, and my death to His death. I hope, my God, to love Thee above all things, and to all eternity. I accept without reservation all the means that Thou hast chosen to lead me to this blessed end. With all my heart I forgive my enemies, if I have any, my persecutors whoever they are, and even the persecutors of those whom I love. I pray Thee to pardon them as I pardon them. ful to my country, that I have never taken part in any intrigue that could disturb it, that my most sincere desire is for its welfare, that my attachment to it is unshaken, and that no persecution can alter it. One very dear to my heart is my example in this respect. I give to my children my tenderest blessing, and I entreat God to make them, what had my life been spared it would have been consecrated to do, to make them worthy to be His. Full of confidence in and leave my soul in Thy hands. I know that Thy great mercy, I leave these beloved children, Thou canst restore and reunite us by Thy power in the great day. In Thee, in Thee alone, is my hope. Have pity upon me, Oh my God.'
I declare that I have never ceased to be faith
With the news that the Reign of Terror was over, came also, as we have seen, the knowledge that among its victims were those so dear to her in the Luxembourg.
But she was not at once released. Her Lafayette wrote begging for some relaxation husband's name was still a possible danger of the rules in their favour, but was curtly to the new rulers of France, who considered refused by M. de Ferraris, Minister of War it safest to detain her. at Vienna. She and her husband shared one cell, the two girls an adjoining one, though they were allowed to be together during the day; they had no woman to attend on them, they were deprived of air and exercise, of the services of religion, of the power of communicating with friends; they had only a few books and the society of one another. Then and afterwards Madame de Lafayette always said that she never was happier. Her daughter says:
Her mental prostration was for a time extreme; gradually the visits of friends, the letters of her children, and the hope of rejoining Lafayette, restored the balance of her mind. The American envoy at last succeeded in obtaining her liberty in January '95. Through the assistance of the same attached and zealous friend, she nerved herself to send out her only son to the United States to the care of General Washington. For her two daughters she had another project, if, when they met, she found their courage equal to it. Her design was to present herself and them to the Emperor at Vienna, and there to implore permission to share her husband's prison at Ölmütz. Some months elapsed before it was possible for her to put it in execution, bnt having obtained a passport for America in the name of the femme Motier and her daughters, they embarked at Dunkirk in a small American vessel which steered for Hamburgh. There she found friends who assisted her to reach Vienna, and there again she had interest enough among those to whom she discovered herself, to obtain the audience she had come so far to seek. Her petition was granted by the Emperor, who seemed touched by her devotion, but said that the liberty of General Lafayette was not in his power to grant. It was on the 1st of October that the travellers first came in sight of Olmütz. Never,' says Madame de Lasteyrie, shall I forget the moment when we first saw the walls of the fortress, or the emotion of my mother.' The Commandant sent an officer to conduct them to the prison, through the long corridors till they reached the door of Lafayette's cell. No hint or warning had been given him of the joyful vision that greeted his dazzled eyes when it turned on its hinges that day and admitted those whom he had feared never to see in life more. For he knew this much, that a reign of terror had lasted in France for months which had spared neither age nor sex, and of whose victims there was no list. For a time he hardly dared to inquire the fate of the rest, or to believe that his wife and daughters were really to remain with him. They sub-eral Lafayette would have best consulted mitted to every condition of his imprison- his own interests by remaining in Holland ment, and these were sufficiently rigorous. till his name should be effaced from the list Their money was taken from them, also a of emigrants. Nothing daunted, however, few forks and spoons in their possession, Madame de Lafayette sought a personal inwhich reduced them to eat their prison fare terview with Bonaparte. Je suis charmé with their fingers. Relying on the kind de faire votre connaissance, Madame; vous expressions of the Emperor, Madame de avez beaucoup d'esprit, mais vous n'enten
'I cannot describe my mother's happiness; you can only imagine it by remembering what was the ruling passion of her life from the age of fourteen, and how much she had suffered from the absences of my father, and from his incessant occupations and distractions, as well as the great dangers to which he was exposed. She had passed three horrible years almost without a hope of ever seeing him again. Now she possessed him entirely, and every day she saw him revive in her presence, and she used to reproach herself for being too happy while he was still a prisoner.'
But spite of this happiness her physical frame could not bear up forever under the severe trials to which she had been exposed, and protracted confinement produced symptoms of an alarming kind. For eleven months her sufferings, borne without a murmur, must have been even greater than she allowed those beside her to guess, and their liberation, in September 1797, perhaps only came in time to save her life. Lafayette had been five years a prisoner when the treaty of Campo Formio set him free. In all the towns through which they passed the greatest sympathy was expressed for the illustrious captive and his heroic companion. For a time the home circle drew together at Witmold, a château in Holstein belonging to Madame de Tessé, a near and dear relative of Lafayette's. Their son returned from America, their eldest daughter Anastasie married the young Charles de Latour Maubourg, and the health of Madame de Lafayette improved. But they were advised not yet to re-enter France. After the 18th Brumaire had altered the face of affairs there, husband and wife set out for Paris, where they were met by an angry message from the First Consul to the effect that Gen