29 JUNE 1912, Page 10

THE DAUGHTERS OF LOUIS XV: The Daughters of Louis XV.

Translated from the French of Casimir Stryienski by Cranstoun Metcalfe. With Portraits and Facsimile Letters. (Chapman and Hall. 103. 6d. net.)—This is a delightful volume of French memoirs. "Mesdames de France" are pathetic figures in the midst of scenes both gaudy and tragic. Only one of them married—Louise Elizabeth, Duchess of Parma. From their earliest youth they were not wanted, and were sent away as small children to be brought up at the remote Abbey of Fontovrault, where for something like ten years they never received a visit from one of their royal relations. Returning as strangers to Court their story throws a light upon the dull side of Court life, a side which existed at Versailles amidst all the glitter of gaiety and corruption. Henrietta died young, Sophie entered a convent, Adelaide and Victoire lived to see the Revolu- tion and escaped to Spain. In later years an atmosphere of ridicule surrounded the stately retirement of "Mesdames Tantes■; In their palace at Bellevue they were surrounded by a dull household; they cultivated their splendid gardens and considered their works of charity. Here is a short sketch by one of them. selves of the not very stimulating circle in which they lived :— " 'The country here is not brilliant,' she wrote to Madame de Chastellux ; this week was well enough, but that is all. Madame de Riantz, who is agreeable, but cries cupboard ; her daughter, who is witty, but always very dry and thin; Madame do Lastic, very good ; Madame do Saisseval, very pretty ; Madame Is Comtesse Louise, just a trifle oppressive ; the Princess° do Ghistello, who plays a pretty game of loto and picquet, but is a poor hand at courtesy ; Madame de Talaru' (Adelaide's lady-in- waiting)—' ah ! there's wit for you! I am expecting Madame d'Eselignao' (another of Adelaide's ladies)—'ah ! there is lamenta- tion and lip-logio. And that, my dear heart, that, little heart, is all our society. ", Here is Madame Adelaide as drawn by the Countess do Boigne :— "'I can still see her,' said the malicious Countess, with her tall, withered figure, her creased violet gown' (the Bellevue uniform), her butterfly cap, and two big teeth, all that were loft to her. She had been pretty, but at this time she was very ugly, and seemed so to me.''