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I hope not, said the Queen, we shall see. And she rang the bell. Campan, the King has an order to give you.

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What is the use of taking care of ones health? she would say when her friends were anxious about her. What is the good of living?

But she had not been more than twenty-four hours in the Russian capital when the French Ambassador was announced; his visit was succeeded by others, and that evening the Empress sent to say that she would receive Mme. Le Brun at Czarskoiesolo [42] the next day at one oclock. In 1768, a year after the birth of her youngest girl, she had another boy, and at the same time was dangerously ill of small-pox. The Duke, in terror for her life, would not allow her to be told what was [183] the matter, and even insisted on the children all being admitted to her room, for fear of arousing her suspicions and alarming her. However, she recovered and none of them took it. The baby lived and for some time appeared quite well; though after a few months it began to fade, and soon died of consumption. Capital letter T

The power, security, and prosperity of the throne and royal family of France seemed to be at that time absolute and unassailable; and although of the ten or eleven children of Louis XV. and Marie Leczinska, the Dauphin was the only son who had lived to grow up, the succession to the crown appeared to be in no danger, as he had already two boys, the Ducs de Bourgogne and Berri; the Comte de Provence was born in November, 1755, and his birth was followed by that of the Comte dArtois, besides the Princesses Clotilde and Elizabeth, who by the Salic law were excluded. The Queen, who was seven years older than the King, was already fifty-two. A woman of blameless character, she had never been pretty, attractive, or even sensible. DArgenson, writing in 1750, says of her that she was very stupid, made silly remarks, reproved her children for trifles, and passed over serious faults. They were all so fond of eating that Mesdames kept port wine, ham, and other [165] things in a cupboard, and ate and drank at all hours.