The first step in his rapid rise he is said to have owed to having left about some compromising papers of his friend Chalotais on a bureau, where they were found, and the disclosure of their contents caused the ruin and imprisonment of Chalotais and others, about the year 1763. After this he continued to prosper financially, politically, and [65] socially, until another intrigue raised him to the height of power.

In all those terrible days she was the only woman whose courage failed at the last. She cried and entreated for help from the crowd around the scaffold, and that crowd began to be so moved by her terror and despair that the execution was hurried on lest they should interfere to prevent it.

As to the Comte de Beaujolais, he was fond of her, as all her pupils were, for she was extremely kind to them, but he hated and abhorred the principles which his father and she had succeeded in instilling into his brothers and sister, longed to fight for the King and Queen, and took the first opportunity when he met the Comte de Provence in exile to tell him so and make his submission; he had sent him messages of explanation and loyalty directly he could. For more than a year, then, there had been coldness and estrangement between the Duchess and Mme. de Genlis, who, of course, as usual, posed as an injured saint. What had she done? Why this cruel change in the affection and confidence of years? Had she not sacrificed herself to her pupils? Was she not the last person to alienate their affection from their illustrious and admirable mother? Did not all the virtues of her whole life forbid her being suspected or distrusted in any way?