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The Count and Countess de Genlis accompanied the Duke and Duchess de Chartres to Bordeaux, where he embarked, after a naval review; and the Duchess proceeded on a tour in Italy. To Flicit this was a time of enchantment. The journeys at that time were adventurous, and the Cornice road was then an affair of difficulty if not danger. They went by sea to Nice, spent a week in that delicious climate, and determined to make what she called the perilous journey from Nice to Genoa. They [400] went on mules over the pass by Turbia, and found the Cornice as she says truly a cornicheso narrow that in some places they could hardly pass singly, and often they had to get down and walk. They slept at Ospedaletto, the Duchess, Flicit, and the Countess de Rully in one room; the Duchess on a bed made of the rugs of the mules, the others, on cloaks spread upon a great heap of corn. After six days of perils and fatigues, and what they called horrible precipices, they got to Genoa.

They also made expeditions to several other castles in the neighbourhood, which belonged to the family, amongst others that of Beaune and the ancient castle of Montagu.

No sooner had he gone than his father arrived unexpectedly from the Rhine, where he had commanded the Auvergne contingent in the army of Cond, composed almost entirely of gentlemen of that province. Mme. du Deffand then occupied one in another [366] part of the building, but at that time they had no acquaintance with her. The philosophers and the atheistic set had never at any time in her life the least attraction for Flicit, who held their irreligious opinions in abhorrence. In Mme. de Genlis we have a fourth and more complex type, a character in which good and evil were so mingled that it was often hard to say which predominated. With less beauty than the other three but singularly attractive, with extraordinary gifts and talents, with noble blood and scarcely any fortune, she spent a childhood of comparative poverty at her fathers chateau, where she was only half educated, and at seventeen married the young Comte de Genlis, who had no money but was related to most of the great families of the kingdom.