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Lisette at first wished to refuse this offer. She did not at all dislike M. Le Brun, but she was by no means in love with him, and as she could make plenty of money by her profession, she had no anxiety about the future and no occasion to make a mariage de convenance. But her mother, who seems to have had the talent for doing always the wrong thing, and who fancied that M. Le Brun was very rich, did not cease to persecute her by constant representations and entreaties not to refuse such an excellent parti, and she was still more influenced by the desire to escape from her step-father, who, now that he had no occupation, was more at home and more intolerable than ever.

Well! we will promise it him; yes, we will promise him.

She had far better have remained in her old home, poor and free; for directly they were married she discovered the real character of her second husband: an ill-tempered, avaricious man, who refused his wife and step-children even the necessaries of life, although Lisette was foolish enough to give him all she earned by her portraits. She hated him still more because he had taken possession of her fathers clothes, which he wore, to her grief and indignation. Joseph Vernet, who, like many of her old friends, still interested himself in her, was furious at all this, and represented to her that she ought to pay a certain pension to her odious step-father and keep the rest of the money herself; but she feared such a [24] suggestion might make matters worse for her mother, and therefore went on allowing herself to be robbed.

Another of her introductions was to Prince von Kaunitz, the great Minister of Maria Theresa, whose power and influence had been such that he was called le cocher de lEurope; [41] and whose disinterested single-minded patriotism was shown in his answer, when, having proposed a certain field-marshal as president of the council of war, the Empress remarked