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Madame De Stael
by [?]

But Madame De Stael was very busy all these days. Her house was filled with refugees, and she ran here and there for passports and pardons, and beseeched ministers and archbishops for interference or assistance or amnesty or succor and all those things that great men can give or bestow or effect or filch. And when her smiles failed to win the wished-for signature, she still had tears that would move a heart of brass.

About this time Baron De Stael fades from our vision, leaving with Madame three children.

“It was never anything but a ‘mariage de convenance’ anyway, what of it ?” and Madame bursts into tears and throws herself into Farquar’s arms.

“Compose yourself, my dear–you are spoiling my gown,” says the Duchesse.

“I stood him as long as I could,” continued Madame.

“You mean he stood you as long as he could.”

“You naughty thing!–why don’t you sympathize with me?”

Then both women fall into a laughing fit that is interrupted by the servant, who announces Benjamin Constant.

Constant came as near winning the love of Madame De Stael as any man ever did. He was politician, scholar, writer, orator, courtier. But with it all he was a boor, for when he had won the favor of Madame De Stael he wrote a long letter to Madame Charriere, with whom he had lived for several years in the greatest intimacy, giving reasons why he had forsaken her, and ending with an ecstacy in praise of the Stael.

If a man can do a thing more brutal than to humiliate one woman at the expense of another, I do not know it. And without entering any defense for the men who love several women at one time, I wish to make a clear distinction between the men who bully and brutalize women for their own gratification and the men who find their highest pleasure in pleasing women. The latter may not be a paragon, yet as his desire is to give pleasure, not to corral it, he is a totally different being from the man who deceives, badgers, humiliates, and quarrels with one who can not defend herself, in order that he may find an excuse for leaving her.

A good many of Constant’s speeches were written by Madame De Stael, and when they traveled together through Germany he no doubt was a great help to her in preparing the “De l’Allemagne.”

But there was a little man approaching from out the mist of obscurity who was to play an important part in the life of Madame De Stael. He had heard of her wide-reaching influence, and such an influence he could not afford to forego–it must be used to further his ends.

Yet the First Consul did not call on her, and she did not call on the First Consul. They played a waiting game, “If he wishes to see me, he knows that I am home Thursdays!” she said with a shrug.

“Yes, but a man in his position reverses the usual order: he does not make the first call!”

“Evidently!” said Madame, and the subject dropped with a dull thud.

Word came from somewhere that Baron De Stael was seriously ill. The wife was thrown into a tumult of emotion. She must go to him at once–a wife’s duty was to her husband first of all. She left everything, and hastening to his bedside, there ministered to him tenderly. But death claimed him. The widow returned to Paris clothed in deep mourning. Crape was tied on the door-knocker and the salon was closed.

The First Consul sent condolences.

“The First Consul is a joker,” said Dannion solemnly, and took snuff.

In six weeks the salon was again opened. Not long after, at a dinner, Napoleon and Madame De Stael sat side by side. “Your father was a great man,” said Napoleon.

He had gotten in the first compliment when she had planned otherwise. She intended to march her charms in a phalanx upon him, but he would not have it so. Her wit fell flat and her prettiest smile brought only the remark, “If the wind veers north it may rain.”