(938) La Duchesse de Grammont, sister of the Duke of Choiseul, does not appear to have deserved the character which Walpole has here given of her. She was thus described, in 1761, by Mr. Hans Stanley, in a letter to Mr. Pitt:—“The Duchess is the only person who has any weight with her brother, the Duc de Choiseul. She never dissembles her contempt or dislike of any man, in whatever degree of elevation. It is said she might have supplied the place of Madame de Pompadour, if she had pleased. She treats the ceremonies and pageants of courts as things beneath her: she possesses a most uncommon share of understanding, and has very high notions of honour and reputation.” The crowning act of her life militates strongly against Walpole’s views. When brought before the Revolutionary tribunal, in April 1794, after having been seized by order of Robespierre, she astonished her judges by the grace and dignity of her demeanour; and pleaded, not for her own life, but eloquently for that of her friend, the Duchesse du Chatelet: “Que ma mmort soit d`ecid`ee,” she said; “cela ne m’`etonne pas; mais,” pointing to her friend, “pour cet ange, en quoi vous a-t-elle offens`e; elle qui n’a jamais fait tort `a personne; et dont la vie enti`ere n’offre qu’un tableau de vertu et de bienfaisance.” Both suffered upon the same scaffold. It was this lady who was selected to be made an example of, from among many others who slighted Madame du Barri; and for this she was exiled to the distance of fifteen leagues from Paris, or from wheresoever the court was assembled.-E.
(939) La Mar`echale Duchesse de Luxembourg, sister to the Duc de Villeroi, Her first husband was the Duc de Boufflers, by whom she had a son, the Duc de Boufflers, who died at Genoa of the small-pox. She afterwards married the Mar`echal Duc de Luxembourg, at whose country-seat, Montmorency, Jean Jacques Rousseau was long an inmate.-E.
(940) The Princess of Talmond was born in Poland, and said to be allied to the Queen, Maria Leczinska, with whom she came to France, and there married a prince of the house of Bouillon.-E.
(941) Gray, in reference to this letter, writes thus to Dr. Wharton, on the 5th of March:—“Mr. Walpole writes me now and then a long and lively letter from Paris, to which place he went the last summer, with the gout upon him; sometimes in his limbs; often in his stomach and head. He has got somehow well, (not by means of the climate, one would think,) goes to all public places, sees all the best company, and is very much in fashion. He says he sunk like Queen Eleanor, at Charing-cross, and has risen again at Paris. He returns again in April; but his health is certainly in a deplorable state.” Works, vol. iv. p. 79.-E.
I had the honour of writing to your ladyship on the 4th and 12th of last month, which I only mention, because the latter went by the post, which I have found is not always a safe conveyance.