Mme. Le Brun found society at the Russian capital extremely amusing, and was, if possible, received with even more enthusiasm than in the other countries in which she had sojourned. She went to balls, dinners, suppers, or theatricals every night, and when she could manage to spare the time from the numerous portraits she painted, she went to stay in the country houses and palaces near, where in addition to other festivities they had ftes on the Neva by night, in gorgeously fitted up boats with crimson and gold curtains, accompanied by musicians. In the cell of Trzia and her companions had been massacred a number of priests on that occasion, and still upon its wall were the silhouettes marked in blood, where two of the murderers had rested their swords.

The scarcity of women at that time and the enormous number of soldiers of all ranks gave that impression to one used to the brilliant Russian court.

But as the Noailles were known to have possessed the estate and castle bearing their name in the twelfth century, and that in 1593 the Seigneur de Noailles was also Comte dAyen, and of much more consequence than the Montmorin, this spiteful fabrication fell to the ground.

When she was about twelve years old she left Burgundy with her mother and Mlle. de Mars. They travelled partly by boat on the Loire, partly with their own carriage and horses, to Paris, where they established themselves, and where Flicit pursued her musical studies with increased ardour. She must have been a precocious young person, for when she was eleven years old the son of the neighbouring doctor fell in love with her, managed to give her a note, which she showed to Mlle. Mars, and meeting with indignant discouragement, he ran away for three years, after which he came home and married somebody else.

The hardships and horrors of these prisons, though always terrible, were much worse in some than in others. Far the best were the Luxembourg, Portroyal, then called Port Libre, the convents of the Bndictins anglais, the convents des Oiseaux and des Anglaises, and one or two others, which, in the slang of the day, were called prisons muscadines. [103] There were congregated most of the prisoners of rank and refinement, although in most of the prisons there was a mixture of classes and opinions. There the food and accommodation was much better and the officials more civil, or rather, less brutal, and for a long time the prisoners were allowed to go into the gardens, orchards, avenues, and courts belonging to them, also to amuse themselves together until a certain hour of the night.

Madame Vige Le Brun

They lingered for a while at Florence, unable to tear themselves away from that enchanting city, with its marvellous wealth of art and that beauty of its own, of walls and towers and palaces and ancient streets then undestroyed.