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Title: Marie Antoinette — Volume 01
Author: Campan, Jeanne Louise Henriette (Genet), 1752-1822
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Marie Antoinette — Volume 01" ***

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MEMOIRS OF THE COURT OF

MARIE ANTOINETTE,

QUEEN OF FRANCE



Being the Historic Memoirs of Madam Campan,
First Lady in Waiting to the Queen



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Duchesse du Barry

Princesse de Lamballe

The Parisian Bonne

Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette

Beaumarchais

The Reveille

Madame Adelaide as Diana

The Bastille

Opening of The States General

Louis XVI.

Marie Antoinette on the way to the Guillotine

Madame Campan



PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR.


Louis XVI. possessed an immense crowd of confidants, advisers, and guides;
he selected them even from among the factions which attacked him. Never,
perhaps, did he make a full disclosure to any one of them, and certainly
he spoke with sincerity, to but very few.  He invariably kept the reins of
all secret intrigues in his own hand; and thence, doubtless, arose the
want of cooperation and the weakness which were so conspicuous in his
measures.  From these causes considerable chasms will be found in the
detailed history of the Revolution.

In order to become thoroughly acquainted with the latter years of the
reign of Louis XV., memoirs written by the Duc de Choiseul, the Duc
d'Aiguillon, the Marechal de Richelieu,

[I heard Le Marechal de Richelieu desire M. Campan, who was librarian to
the Queen, not to buy the Memoirs which would certainly be attributed to
him after his death, declaring them false by anticipation; and adding that
he was ignorant of orthography, and had never amused himself with writing.
Shortly after the death of the Marshal, one Soulavie put forth Memoirs of
the Marechal de Richelieu.]

and the Duc de La Vauguyon, should be before us.  To give us a faithful
portrait of the unfortunate reign of Louis XVI., the Marechal du Muy, M.
de Maurepas, M. de Vergennes, M. de Malesherbes, the Duc d'Orleans, M. de
La Fayette, the Abby de Vermond, the Abbe Montesquiou, Mirabeau, the
Duchesse de Polignac, and the Duchesse de Luynes should have noted
faithfully in writing all the transactions in which they took decided
parts.  The secret political history of a later period has been
disseminated among a much greater number of persons; there are Ministers
who have published memoirs, but only when they had their own measures to
justify, and then they confined themselves to the vindication of their own
characters, without which powerful motive they probably would have written
nothing.  In general, those nearest to the Sovereign, either by birth or
by office, have left no memoirs; and in absolute monarchies the
mainsprings of great events will be found in particulars which the most
exalted persons alone could know.  Those who have had but little under
their charge find no subject in it for a book; and those who have long
borne the burden of public business conceive themselves to be forbidden by
duty, or by respect for authority, to disclose all they know.  Others,
again, preserve notes, with the intention of reducing them to order when
they shall have reached the period of a happy leisure; vain illusion of
the ambitious, which they cherish, for the most part, but as a veil to
conceal from their sight the hateful image of their inevitable downfall!
and when it does at length take place, despair or chagrin deprives them of
fortitude to dwell upon the dazzling period which they never cease to
regret.

Louis XVI.  meant to write his own memoirs; the manner in which his
private papers were arranged indicated this design.  The Queen also had
the same intention; she long preserved a large correspondence, and a great
number of minute reports, made in the spirit and upon the event of the
moment.  But after the 20th of June, 1792, she was obliged to burn the
larger portion of what she had so collected, and the remainder were
conveyed out of France.

Considering the rank and situations of the persons I have named as capable
of elucidating by their writings the history of our political storms, it
will not be imagined that I aim at placing myself on a level with them;
but I have spent half my life either with the daughters of Louis XV. or
with Marie Antoinette.  I knew the characters of those Princesses; I
became privy to some extraordinary facts, the publication of which may be
interesting, and the truth of the details will form the merit of my work.

I was very young when I was placed about the Princesses, the daughters of
Louis XV., in the capacity of reader.  I was acquainted with the Court of
Versailles before the time of the marriage of Louis XVI. with the
Archduchess Marie Antoinette.



MADAME CAMPAN


My father, who was employed in the department of Foreign Affairs, enjoyed
the reputation due to his talents and to his useful labours.  He had
travelled much.  Frenchmen, on their return home from foreign countries,
bring with them a love for their own, increased in warmth; and no man was
more penetrated with this feeling, which ought to be the first virtue of
every placeman, than my father.  Men of high title, academicians, and
learned men, both natives and foreigners, sought my father's acquaintance,
and were gratified by being admitted into his house.

Twenty years before the Revolution I often heard it remarked that the
imposing character of the power of Louis XIV. was no longer to be found in
the Palace of Versailles; that the institutions of the ancient monarchy
were rapidly sinking; and that the people, crushed beneath the weight of
taxes, were miserable, though silent; but that they began to give ear to
the bold speeches of the philosophers, who loudly proclaimed their
sufferings and their rights; and, in short, that the age would not pass
away without the occurrence of some great outburst, which would unsettle
France, and change the course of its progress.

Those who thus spoke were almost all partisans of M. Turgot's system of
administration: they were Mirabeau the father, Doctor Quesnay, Abbe
Bandeau, and Abbe Nicoli, charge d'affaires to Leopold, Grand Duke of
Tuscany, and as enthusiastic an admirer of the maxims of the innovators as
his Sovereign.

My father sincerely respected the purity of intention of these
politicians.  With them he acknowledged many abuses in the Government; but
he did not give these political sectarians credit for the talent necessary
for conducting a judicious reform.  He told them frankly that in the art
of moving the great machine of Government, the wisest of them was inferior
to a good magistrate; and that if ever the helm of affairs should be put
into their hands, they would be speedily checked in the execution of their
schemes by the immeasurable difference existing between the most brilliant
theories and the simplest practice of administration.

Destiny having formerly placed me near crowned heads, I now amuse my
solitude when in retirement with collecting a variety of facts which may
prove interesting to my family when I shall be no more.  The idea of
collecting all the interesting materials which my memory affords occurred
to me from reading the work entitled "Paris, Versailles, and the Provinces
in the Eighteenth Century."  That work, composed by a man accustomed to
the best society, is full of piquant anecdotes, nearly all of which have
been recognised as true by the contemporaries of the author.  I have put
together all that concerned the domestic life of an unfortunate Princess,
whose reputation is not yet cleared of the stains it received from the
attacks of calumny, and who justly merited a different lot in life, a
different place in the opinion of mankind after her fall.  These memoirs,
which were finished ten years ago, have met with the approbation of some
persons; and my son may, perhaps, think proper to print them after my
decease.

J.  L.  H.  C.

--When Madame Campan wrote these lines, she did not anticipate that the
death of her son would precede her own.



HISTORIC COURT MEMOIRS.


MARIE ANTOINETTE.



MEMOIR OF MADAME CAMPAN.


JEANNE LOUISE HENRIETTE GENET was born in Paris on the 6th of October,
1752.  M. Genet, her father, had obtained, through his own merit and the
influence of the Duc de Choiseul, the place of first clerk in the Foreign
Office.

Literature, which he had cultivated in his youth, was often the solace of
his leisure hours.  Surrounded by a numerous family, he made the
instruction of his children his chief recreation, and omitted nothing
which was necessary to render them highly accomplished.  His clever and
precocious daughter Henriette was very early accustomed to enter society,
and to take an intelligent interest in current topics and public events.
Accordingly, many of her relations being connected with the Court or
holding official positions, she amassed a fund of interesting
recollections and characteristic anecdotes, some gathered from personal
experience, others handed down by old friends of the family.

"The first event which made any impression on me in my childhood," she
says in her reminiscences, "was the attempt of Damiens to assassinate
Louis XV.  This occurrence struck me so forcibly that the most minute
details relating to the confusion and grief which prevailed at Versailles
on that day seem as present to my imagination as the most recent events. I
had dined with my father and mother, in company with one of their friends.
The drawing-room was lighted up with a number of candles, and four
card-tables were already occupied, when a friend of the gentleman of the
house came in, with a pale and terrified countenance, and said, in a voice
scarcely audible, 'I bring you terrible news.  The King has been
assassinated!'  Two ladies in the company fainted; a brigadier of the Body
Guards threw down his cards and cried out, 'I do not wonder at it; it is
those rascally Jesuits.'--'What are you saying, brother?' cried a lady,
flying to him; 'would you get yourself arrested?'--'Arrested!  For what?
For unmasking those wretches who want a bigot for a King?'  My father came
in; he recommended circumspection, saying that the blow was not mortal,
and that all meetings ought to be suspended at so critical a moment.  He
had brought the chaise for my mother, who placed me on her knees.  We
lived in the Avenue de Paris, and throughout our drive I heard incessant
cries and sobs from the footpaths.

"At last I saw a man arrested; he was an usher of the King's chamber, who
had gone mad, and was crying out, 'Yes, I know them; the wretches! the
villains!'  Our chaise was stopped by this bustle.  My mother recognised
the unfortunate man who had been seized; she gave his name to the trooper
who had stopped him.  The poor usher was therefore merely conducted to the
gens d'armes' guardroom, which was then in the avenue.

"I have often heard M. de Landsmath, equerry and master of the hounds, who
used to come frequently to my father's, say that on the news of the
attempt on the King's life he instantly repaired to his Majesty. I cannot
repeat the coarse expressions he made use of to encourage his Majesty; but
his account of the affair, long afterwards, amused the parties in which he
was prevailed on to relate it, when all apprehensions respecting the
consequences of the event had subsided.  This M. de Landsmath was an old
soldier, who had given proofs of extraordinary valour; nothing had been
able to soften his manners or subdue his excessive bluntness to the
respectful customs of the Court.  The King was very fond of him.  He
possessed prodigious strength, and had often contended with Marechal Saxe,
renowned for his great bodily power, in trying the strength of their
respective wrists.

[One day when the King was hunting in the forest of St. Germain,
Landemath, riding before him, wanted a cart, filled with the slime of a
pond that had just been cleansed, to draw up out of the way. The carter
resisted, and even answered with impertinence. Landsmath, without
dismounting, seized him by the breast of his coat, lifted him up, and
threw him into his cart.--MADAME CAMPAN.]

"M. de Landsmath had a thundering voice.  When he came into the King's
apartment he found the Dauphin and Mesdames, his Majesty's daughters,
there; the Princesses, in tears, surrounded the King's bed.  Send out all
these weeping women, Sire,' said the old equerry; 'I want to speak to you
alone: The King made a sign to the Princesses to withdraw.  'Come,' said
Landsmath, 'your wound is nothing; you had plenty of waistcoats and
flannels on.'  Then uncovering his breast, 'Look here,' said he, showing
four or five great scars, 'these are something like wounds; I received
them thirty years ago; now cough as loud as you can.'  The King did so.
''Tis nothing at all,' said Landsmath; 'you must laugh at it; we shall
hunt a stag together in four days.'--'But suppose the blade was poisoned,'
said the King.  'Old grandams' tales,' replied Landsmath; 'if it had been
so, the waistcoats and flannels would have rubbed the poison off.'  The
King was pacified, and passed a very good night.

"His Majesty one day asked M. de Landsmath how old he was.  He was aged,
and by no means fond of thinking of his age; he evaded the question. A
fortnight later, Louis XV. took a paper out of his pocket and read aloud:
'On such a day in the month of one thousand six hundred and eighty, was
baptised by me, rector of ------, the son of the high and mighty lord,'
etc.  'What's that?' said Landsmath, angrily; 'has your Majesty been
procuring the certificate of my baptism?'--'There it is, you see,
Landsmath,' said the King.  'Well, Sire, hide it as fast as you can; a
prince entrusted with the happiness of twenty-five millions of people
ought not wilfully to hurt the feelings of a single individual.'

"The King learned that Landsmath had lost his confessor, a missionary
priest of the parish of Notre-Dame.  It was the custom of the Lazarists to
expose their dead with the face uncovered.  Louis XV. wished to try his
equerry's firmness.  'You have lost your confessor, I hear,' said the
King.  'Yes, Sire.'--'He will be exposed with his face bare?'--'Such is
the custom.'--'I command you to go and see him.'--'Sire, my confessor was
my friend; it would be very painful to me.'--'No matter; I command
you.'--'Are you really in earnest, Sire?'--'Quite so.'--'It would be the
first time in my life that I had disobeyed my sovereign's order.  I will
go.' The next day the King at his levee, as soon as he perceived
Landsmath, said, 'Have you done as I desired you,
Landsmath?'--'Undoubtedly, Sire.'--'Well, what did you see?'--'Faith, I
saw that your Majesty and I are no great shakes!'

"At the death of Queen Maria Leczinska, M. Campan,--[Her father-in-law,
afterwards secretary to Marie Antoinette.]--then an officer of the
chamber, having performed several confidential duties, the King asked
Madame Adelaide how he should reward him.  She requested him to create an
office in his household of master of the wardrobe, with a salary of a
thousand crowns.  'I will do so,' said the King; 'it will be an honourable
title; but tell Campan not to add a single crown to his expenses, for you
will see they will never pay him.'

"Louis XV., by his dignified carriage, and the amiable yet majestic
expression of his features, was worthy to succeed to Louis the Great. But
he too frequently indulged in secret pleasures, which at last were sure to
become known.  During several winters, he was passionately fond of
'candles' end balls', as he called those parties amongst the very lowest
classes of society.  He got intelligence of the picnics given by the
tradesmen, milliners, and sempstresses of Versailles, whither he repaired
in a black domino, and masked, accompanied by the captain of his Guards,
masked like himself.  His great delight was to go 'en brouette'--[In a
kind of sedan-chair, running on two wheels, and drawn by a
chairman.]--Care was always taken to give notice to five or six officers
of the King's or Queen's chamber to be there, in order that his Majesty
might be surrounded by people on whom he could depend, without finding it
troublesome.  Probably the captain of the Guards also took other
precautions of this description on his part.  My father-in-law, when the
King and he were both young, has often made one amongst the servants
desired to attend masked at these parties, assembled in some garret, or
parlour of a public-house.  In those times, during the carnival, masked
companies had a right to join the citizens' balls; it was sufficient that
one of the party should unmask and name himself.

"These secret excursions, and his too habitual intercourse with ladies
more distinguished for their personal charms than for the advantages of
education, were no doubt the means by which the King acquired many vulgar
expressions which otherwise would never have reached his ears.

"Yet amidst the most shameful excesses the King sometimes suddenly resumed
the dignity of his rank in a very noble manner.  The familiar courtiers of
Louis XV. had one day abandoned themselves to the unrestrained gaiety, of
a supper, after returning from the chase.  Each boasted of and described
the beauty of his mistress.  Some of them amused themselves with giving a
particular account of their wives' personal defects.  An imprudent word,
addressed to Louis XV., and applicable only to the Queen, instantly
dispelled all the mirth of the entertainment. The King assumed his regal
air, and knocking with his knife on the table twice or thrice, 'Gentlemen;
said he, 'here is the King!'

"Those men who are most completely abandoned to dissolute manners are not,
on that account, insensible to virtue in women.  The Comtesse de Perigord
was as beautiful as virtuous.  During some excursions she made to Choisy,
whither she had been invited, she perceived that the King took great
notice of her.  Her demeanour of chilling respect, her cautious
perseverance in shunning all serious conversation with the monarch, were
insufficient to extinguish this rising flame, and he at length addressed a
letter to her, worded in the most passionate terms.  This excellent woman
instantly formed her resolution: honour forbade her returning the King's
passion, whilst her profound respect for the sovereign made her unwilling
to disturb his tranquillity.  She therefore voluntarily banished herself
to an estate she possessed called Chalais, near Barbezieux, the mansion of
which had been uninhabited nearly a century; the porter's lodge was the
only place in a condition to receive her. From this seat she wrote to his
Majesty, explaining her motives for leaving Court; and she remained there
several years without visiting Paris.  Louis XV. was speedily attracted by
other objects, and regained the composure to which Madame de Perigord had
thought it her duty to sacrifice so much.  Some years after, Mesdames'
lady of honour died. Many great families solicited the place.  The King,
without answering any of their applications, wrote to the Comtesse de
Perigord: 'My daughters have just lost their lady of honour; this place,
madame, is your due, as much on account of your personal qualities as of
the illustrious name of your family.'

"Three young men of the college of St. Germain, who had just completed
their course of studies, knowing no person about the Court, and having
heard that strangers were always well treated there, resolved to dress
themselves completely in the Armenian costume, and, thus clad, to present
themselves to see the grand ceremony of the reception of several knights
of the Order of the Holy Ghost.  Their stratagem met with all the success
with which they had flattered themselves.  While the procession was
passing through the long mirror gallery, the Swiss of the apartments
placed them in the first row of spectators, recommending every one to pay
all possible attention to the strangers.  The latter, however, were
imprudent enough to enter the 'oeil-de-boeuf' chamber, where, were
Messieurs Cardonne and Ruffin, interpreters of Oriental languages, and the
first clerk of the consul's department, whose business it was to attend to
everything which related to the natives of the East who were in France.
The three scholars were immediately surrounded and questioned by these
gentlemen, at first in modern Greek.  Without being disconcerted, they
made signs that they did not understand it.  They were then addressed in
Turkish and Arabic; at length one of the interpreters, losing all
patience, exclaimed, 'Gentlemen, you certainly must understand some of the
languages in which you have been addressed.  What country can you possibly
come from then?'--'From St. Germain-en-Laye, sir,' replied the boldest
among them; 'this is the first time you have put the question to us in
French.'  They then confessed the motive of their disguise; the eldest of
them was not more than eighteen years of age.  Louis XV. was informed of
the affair.  He laughed heartily, ordered them a few hours' confinement
and a good admonition, after which they were to be set at liberty.

"Louis XV. liked to talk about death, though he was extremely apprehensive
of it; but his excellent health and his royal dignity probably made him
imagine himself invulnerable.  He often said to people who had very bad
colds, 'You've a churchyard cough there.'  Hunting one day in the forest
of Senard, in a year in which bread was extremely dear, he met a man on
horseback carrying a coffin.  'Whither are you carrying that coffin?'--'To
the village of ------,' answered the peasant.  'Is it for a man or a
woman?'--'For a man.'--'What did he die of?'--'Of hunger,' bluntly replied
the villager.  The King spurred on his horse, and asked no more questions.

"Weak as Louis XV. was, the Parliaments would never have obtained his
consent to the convocation of the States General.  I heard an anecdote on
this subject from two officers attached to that Prince's household.  It
was at the period when the remonstrances of the Parliaments, and the
refusals to register the decrees for levying taxes, produced alarm with
respect to the state of the finances.  This became the subject of
conversation one evening at the coucher of Louis XV.  'You will see,
Sire,' said a courtier, whose office placed him in close communication
with the King, 'that all this will make it absolutely necessary to
assemble the States General!'

"The King, roused by this speech from the habitual apathy of his
character, seized the courtier by the arm, and said to him, in a passion,
'Never repeat, these words.  I am not sanguinary; but had I a brother, and
were he to dare to give me such advice, I would sacrifice him, within
twenty-four hours, to the duration of the monarchy and the tranquillity of
the kingdom.'

"Several years prior to his death the Dauphin, the father of Louis XVI.,
had confluent smallpox, which endangered his life; and after his
convalescence he was long troubled with a malignant ulcer under the nose.
He was injudiciously advised to get rid of it by the use of extract of
lead, which proved effectual; but from that time the Dauphin, who was
corpulent, insensibly grew thin, and a short, dry cough evinced that the
humour, driven in, had fallen on the lungs.  Some persons also suspected
him of having taken acids in too great a quantity for the purpose of
reducing his bulk.  The state of his health was not, however, such as to
excite alarm.  At the camp at Compiegne, in July, 1764, the Dauphin
reviewed the troops, and evinced much activity in the performance of his
duties; it was even observed that he was seeking to gain the attachment of
the army.  He presented the Dauphiness to the soldiers, saying, with a
simplicity which at that time made a great sensation, 'Mes enfans, here is
my wife.'  Returning late on horseback to Compiegne, he found he had taken
a chill; the heat of the day had been excessive; the Prince's clothes had
been wet with perspiration.  An illness followed, in which the Prince
began to spit blood.  His principal physician wished to have him bled; the
consulting physicians insisted on purgation, and their advice was
followed.  The pleurisy, being ill cured, assumed and retained all the
symptoms of consumption; the Dauphin languished from that period until
December, 1765, and died at Fontainebleau, where the Court, on account of
his condition, had prolonged its stay, which usually ended on the 2d of
November.

"The Dauphiness, his widow, was deeply afflicted; but the immoderate
despair which characterised her grief induced many to suspect that the
loss of the crown was an important part of the calamity she lamented. She
long refused to eat enough to support life; she encouraged her tears to
flow by placing portraits of the Dauphin in every retired part of her
apartments.  She had him represented pale, and ready to expire, in a
picture placed at the foot of her bed, under draperies of gray cloth, with
which the chambers of the Princesses were always hung in court mournings.
Their grand cabinet was hung with black cloth, with an alcove, a canopy,
and a throne, on which they received compliments of condolence after the
first period of the deep mourning.  The Dauphiness, some months before the
end of her career, regretted her conduct in abridging it; but it was too
late; the fatal blow had been struck.  It may also be presumed that living
with a consumptive, man had contributed to her complaint.  This Princess
had no opportunity of displaying her qualities; living in a Court in which
she was eclipsed by the King and Queen, the only characteristics that
could be remarked in her were her extreme attachment to her husband, and
her great piety.

"The Dauphin was little known, and his character has been much mistaken.
He himself, as he confessed to his intimate friends, sought to disguise
it.  He one day asked one of his most familiar servants, 'What do they say
in Paris of that great fool of a Dauphin?' The person interrogated seeming
confused, the Dauphin urged him to express himself sincerely, saying,
'Speak freely; that is positively the idea which I wish people to form of
me.'

"As he died of a disease which allows the last moment to be anticipated
long beforehand, he wrote much, and transmitted his affections and his
prejudices to his son by secret notes.

"Madame de Pompadour's brother received Letters of Nobility from his
Majesty, and was appointed superintendent of the buildings and gardens. He
often presented to her Majesty, through the medium of his sister, the
rarest flowers, pineapples, and early vegetables from the gardens of
Trianon and Choisy.  One day, when the Marquise came into the Queen's
apartments, carrying a large basket of flowers, which she held in her two
beautiful arms, without gloves, as a mark of respect, the Queen loudly
declared her admiration of her beauty; and seemed as if she wished to
defend the King's choice, by praising her various charms in detail, in a
manner that would have been as suitable to a production of the fine arts
as to a living being.  After applauding the complexion, eyes, and fine
arms of the favourite, with that haughty condescension which renders
approbation more offensive than flattering, the Queen at length requested
her to sing, in the attitude in which she stood, being desirous of hearing
the voice and musical talent by which the King's Court had been charmed in
the performances of the private apartments, and thus combining the
gratification of the ears with that of the eyes.  The Marquise, who still
held her enormous basket, was perfectly sensible of something offensive in
this request, and tried to excuse herself from singing.  The Queen at last
commanded her; she then exerted her fine voice in the solo of Armida--'At
length he is in my power.' The change in her Majesty's countenance was so
obvious that the ladies present at this scene had the greatest difficulty
to keep theirs.

"The Queen was affable and modest; but the more she was thankful in her
heart to Heaven for having placed her on the first throne in Europe, the
more unwilling she was to be reminded of her elevation.  This sentiment
induced her to insist on the observation of all the forms of respect due
to royal birth; whereas in other princes the consciousness of that birth
often induces them to disdain the ceremonies of etiquette, and to prefer
habits of ease and simplicity.  There was a striking contrast in this
respect between Maria Leczinska and Marie Antoinette, as has been justly
and generally observed.  The latter unfortunate Queen, perhaps, carried
her disregard of everything belonging to the strict forms of etiquette too
far.  One day, when the Marechale de Mouchy was teasing her with questions
relative to the extent to which she would allow the ladies the option of
taking off or wearing their cloaks, and of pinning up the lappets of their
caps, or letting them hang down, the Queen replied to her, in my presence:
'Arrange all those matters, madame, just as you please; but do not imagine
that a queen, born Archduchess of Austria, can attach that importance to
them which might be felt by a Polish princess who had become Queen of
France.'

"The virtues and information of the great are always evinced by their
conduct; their accomplishments, coming within the scope of flattery, are
difficult to be ascertained by any authentic proofs, and those who have
lived near them may be excused for some degree of scepticism with regard
to their attainments of this kind.  If they draw or paint, there is always
an able artist present, who, if he does not absolutely guide the pencil
with his own hand, directs it by his advice.  If a princess attempt a
piece of embroidery in colours, of that description which ranks amongst
the productions of the arts, a skilful embroideress is employed to undo
and repair whatever has been spoilt.  If the princess be a musician, there
are no ears that will discover when she is out of tune; at least there is
no tongue that will tell her so.  This imperfection in the accomplishments
of the great is but a slight misfortune.  It is sufficiently meritorious
in them to engage in such pursuits, even with indifferent success, because
this taste and the protection it extends produce abundance of talent on
every side.  Maria Leczinska delighted in the art of painting, and
imagined she herself could draw and paint.  She had a drawing-master, who
passed all his time in her cabinet.  She undertook to paint four large
Chinese pictures, with which she wished to ornament her private
drawing-room, which was richly furnished with rare porcelain and the
finest marbles.  This painter was entrusted with the landscape and
background of the pictures; he drew the figures with a pencil; the faces
and arms were also left by the Queen to his execution; she reserved to
herself nothing but the draperies, and the least important accessories.
The Queen every morning filled up the outline marked out for her, with a
little red, blue, or green colour, which the master prepared on the
palette, and even filled her brush with, constantly repeating, 'Higher up,
Madame--lower down, Madame--a little to the right--more to the left.'
After an hour's work, the time for hearing mass, or some other family or
pious duty, would interrupt her Majesty; and the painter, putting the
shadows into the draperies she had painted, softening off the colour where
she had laid too much, etc., finished the small figures.  When the work
was completed the private drawing-room was decorated with her Majesty's
work; and the firm persuasion of this good Queen that she had painted it
herself was so entire that she left this cabinet, with all its furniture
and paintings, to the Comtesse de Noailles, her lady of honour.  She added
to the bequest: 'The pictures in my cabinet being my own work, I hope the
Comtesse de Noailles will preserve them for my sake.'  Madame de Noailles,
afterwards Marechale de Mouchy, had a new pavilion constructed in her
hotel in the Faubourg St. Germain, in order to form a suitable receptacle
for the Queen's legacy; and had the following inscription placed over the
door, in letters of gold: 'The innocent falsehood of a good princess.'

"Maria Leczinska could never look with cordiality on the Princess of
Saxony, who married the Dauphin; but the attentive behaviour of the
Dauphiness at length made her Majesty forget that the Princess was the
daughter of a king who wore her father's crown.  Nevertheless, although
the Queen now saw in the Princess of Saxony only a wife beloved by her
son, she never could forget that Augustus wore the crown of Stanislaus.
One day an officer of her chamber having undertaken to ask a private
audience of her for the Saxon minister, and the Queen being unwilling to
grant it, he ventured to add that he should not have presumed to ask this
favour of the Queen had not the minister been the ambassador of a member
of the family.  'Say of an enemy of the family,' replied the Queen,
angrily; 'and let him come in.'

"Comte de Tesse, father of the last Count of that name, who left no
children, was first equerry to Queen Maria Leczinska.  She esteemed his
virtues, but often diverted herself at the expense of his simplicity. One
day, when the conversation turned on the noble military, actions by which
the French nobility was distinguished, the Queen said to the Count: 'And
your family, M. de Tesse, has been famous, too, in the field.'--'Ah,
Madame, we have all been killed in our masters' service!'--'How rejoiced I
am,' replied the Queen, 'that you have revived to tell me of it.'  The son
of this worthy M. de Tesse was married to the amiable and highly gifted
daughter of the Duc d'Ayen, afterwards Marechale de Noailles.  He was
exceedingly fond of his daughter-in-law, and never could speak of her
without emotion.  The Queen, to please him, often talked to him about the
young Countess, and one day asked him which of her good qualities seemed
to him most conspicuous.  'Her gentleness, Madame, her gentleness,' said
he, with tears in his eyes; 'she is so mild, so soft,--as soft as a good
carriage.'--'Well,' said her Majesty, 'that's an excellent comparison for
a first equerry.'

"In 1730 Queen Maria Leczinska, going to mass, met old Marechal Villars,
leaning on a wooden crutch not worth fifteen pence.  She rallied him about
it, and the Marshal told her that he had used it ever since he had
received a wound which obliged him to add this article to the equipments
of the army.  Her Majesty, smiling, said she thought this crutch so
unworthy of him that she hoped to induce him to give it up.  On returning
home she despatched M. Campan to Paris with orders to purchase at the
celebrated Germain's the handsomest cane, with a gold enamelled crutch,
that he could find, and carry it without delay to Marechal Villars's
hotel, and present it to him from her.  He was announced accordingly, and
fulfilled his commission.  The Marshal, in attending him to the door,
requested him to express his gratitude to the Queen, and said that he had
nothing fit to offer to an officer who had the honour to belong to her
Majesty; but he begged him to accept of his old stick, saying that his
grandchildren would probably some day be glad to possess the cane with
which he had commanded at Marchiennes and Denain.  The known frugality of
Marechal Villars appears in this anecdote; but he was not mistaken with
respect to the estimation in which his stick would be held.  It was
thenceforth kept with veneration by M. Campan's family.  On the 10th of
August, 1792, a house which I occupied on the Carrousel, at the entrance
of the Court of the Tuileries, was pillaged and nearly burnt down.  The
cane of Marechal Villars was thrown into the Carrousel as of no value, and
picked up by my servant.  Had its old master been living at that period we
should not have witnessed such a deplorable day.

"Before the Revolution there were customs and words in use at Versailles
with which few people were acquainted.  The King's dinner was called 'The
King's meat.'  Two of the Body Guard accompanied the attendants who
carried the dinner; every one rose as they passed through the halls,
saying, 'There is the King's meat.'  All precautionary duties were
distinguished by the words 'in case.'  One of the guards might be heard to
say, 'I am in case in the forest of St. Germain.'  In the evening they
always brought the Queen a large bowl of broth, a cold roast fowl, one
bottle of wine, one of orgeat, one of lemonade, and some other articles,
which were called the 'in case' for the night.  An old medical gentleman,
who had been physician in ordinary to Louis XIV., and was still living at
the time of the marriage of Louis XV., told M. Campan's father an anecdote
which seems too remarkable to have remained unknown; nevertheless he was a
man of honour, incapable of inventing this story. His name was Lafosse.
He said that Louis XIV. was informed that the officers of his table
evinced, in the most disdainful and offensive manner, the mortification
they felt at being obliged to eat at the table of the comptroller of the
kitchen along with Moliere, valet de chambre to his Majesty, because
Moliere had performed on the stage; and that this celebrated author
consequently declined appearing at that table.  Louis XIV., determined to
put an end to insults which ought never to have been offered to one of the
greatest geniuses of the age, said to him one morning at the hour of his
private levee, 'They say you live very poorly here, Moliere; and that the
officers of my chamber do not find you good enough to eat with them.
Perhaps you are hungry; for my part I awoke with a very good appetite this
morning: sit down at this table.  Serve up my 'in case' for the night
there.'  The King, then cutting up his fowl, and ordering Moliere to sit
down, helped him to a wing, at the same time taking one for himself, and
ordered the persons entitled to familiar entrance, that is to say the most
distinguished and favourite people at Court, to be admitted.  'You see
me,' said the King to them, 'engaged in entertaining Moliere, whom my
valets de chambre do not consider sufficiently good company for them.'
From that time Moliere never had occasion to appear at the valets' table;
the whole Court was forward enough to send him invitations.

"M. de Lafosse used also to relate that a brigade-major of the Body Guard,
being ordered to place the company in the little theatre at Versailles,
very roughly turned out one of the King's comptrollers who had taken his
seat on one of the benches, a place to which his newly acquired office
entitled him.  In vain he insisted on his quality and his right.  The
altercation was ended by the brigade-major in these words: 'Gentlemen Body
Guards, do your duty.'  In this case their duty was to turn the offender
out at the door.  This comptroller, who had paid sixty or eighty thousand
francs for his appointment, was a man of a good family, and had had the
honour of serving his Majesty five and twenty years in one of his
regiments; thus ignominiously driven out of the hall, he placed himself in
the King's way in the great hall of the Guards, and, bowing to his
Majesty, requested him to vindicate the honour of an old soldier who had
wished to end his days in his Prince's civil employment, now that age had
obliged him to relinquish his military service.  The King stopped, heard
his story, and then ordered him to follow him.  His Majesty attended the
representation in a sort of amphitheatre, in which his armchair was
placed; behind him was a row of stools for the captain of the Guards, the
first gentleman of the chamber, and other great officers.  The
brigade-major was entitled to one of these places; the King stopped
opposite the seat which ought to have been occupied by that officer and
said to the comptroller, 'Take, monsieur, for this evening, the place near
my person of him who has offended you, and let the expression of my
displeasure at this unjust affront satisfy you instead of any other
reparation:

"During the latter years of the reign of Louis XIV. he never went out but
in a chair carried by porters, and he showed a great regard for a man
named D'Aigremont, one of those porters who always went in front and
opened the door of the chair.  The slightest preference shown by
sovereigns, even to the meanest of their servants, never fails to excite
observation.

[People of the very first rank did not disdain to descend to the level of
D'Aigremont.  "Lauzun," said the Duchesse d'Orleans in her "Memoirs,"
"sometimes affects stupidity in order to show people their own with
impunity, for he is very malicious.  In order to make Marechal de Tease
feel the impropriety of his familiarity with people of the common sort, he
called out, in the drawing-room at Marly, 'Marechal, give me a pinch of
snuff; some of your best, such as you take in the morning with Monsieur
d'Aigremont, the chairman.'"--NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

The King had done something for this man's numerous family, and frequently
talked to him.  An abbe belonging to the chapel thought proper to request
D'Aigremont to present a memorial to the King, in which he requested his
Majesty to grant him a benefice.  Louis XIV.  did not approve of the
liberty thus taken by his chairman, and said to him, in a very angry tone,
'D'Aigremont, you have been made to do a very unbecoming act, and I am
sure there must be simony in the case.'--'No, Sire, there is not the least
ceremony in the case, I assure you,' answered the poor man, in great
consternation; 'the abbe only said he would give me a hundred
Louis.'--'D'Aigremont,' said the King, 'I forgive you on account of your
ignorance and candour.  I will give you the hundred Louis out of my privy
purse; but I will discharge you the very next time you venture to present
a memorial to me.'

"Louis XIV. was very kind to those of his servants who were nearest his
person; but the moment he assumed his royal deportment, those who were
most accustomed to see him in his domestic character were as much
intimidated as if they were appearing in his presence for the first time
in their lives.  Some of the members of his Majesty's civil household,
then called 'commensalite', enjoying the title of equerry, and the
privileges attached to officers of the King's household, had occasion to
claim some prerogatives, the exercise of which the municipal body of St.
Germain, where they resided, disputed with them.  Being assembled in
considerable numbers in that town, they obtained the consent of the
minister of the household to allow them to send a deputation to the King;
and for that purpose chose from amongst them two of his Majesty's valets
de chambre named Bazire and Soulaigre.  The King's levee being over, the
deputation of the inhabitants of the town of St. Germain was called in.
They entered with confidence; the King looked at them, and assumed his
imposing attitude.  Bazire, one of these valets de chambre, was about to
speak, but Louis the Great was looking on him.  He no longer saw the
Prince he was accustomed to attend at home; he was intimidated, and could
not find words; he recovered, however, and began as usual with the word
Sire.  But timidity again overpowered him, and finding himself unable to
recollect the slightest particle of what he came to say, he repeated the
word Sire several times, and at length concluded by paying, 'Sire, here is
Soulaigre.'  Soulaigre, who was very angry with Bazire, and expected to
acquit himself much better, then began to speak; but he also, after
repeating 'Sire' several times, found his embarrassment increasing upon
him, until his confusion equalled that of his colleague; he therefore
ended with 'Sire, here is Bazire.'  The King smiled, and answered,
'Gentlemen, I have been informed of the business upon which you have been
deputed to wait on me, and I will take care that what is right shall be
done.  I am highly satisfied with the manner in which you have fulfilled
your functions as deputies.'"

Mademoiselle Genet's education was the object of her father's particular
attention.  Her progress in the study of music and of foreign languages
was surprising; Albaneze instructed her in singing, and Goldoni taught her
Italian.  Tasso, Milton, Dante, and even Shakespeare, soon became familiar
to her.  But her studies were particularly directed to the acquisition of
a correct and elegant style of reading.  Rochon de Chabannes, Duclos,
Barthe, Marmontel, and Thomas took pleasure in hearing her recite the
finest scenes of Racine.  Her memory and genius at the age of fourteen
charmed them; they talked of her talents in society, and perhaps applauded
them too highly.

She was soon spoken of at Court.  Some ladies of high rank, who took an
interest in the welfare of her family, obtained for her the place of
Reader to the Princesses.  Her presentation, and the circumstances which
preceded it, left a strong impression on her mind.  "I was then fifteen,"
she says; "my father felt some regret at yielding me up at so early an age
to the jealousies of the Court.  The day on which I first put on my Court
dress, and went to embrace him in his study, tears filled his eyes, and
mingled with the expression of his pleasure.  I possessed some agreeable
talents, in addition to the instruction which it had been his delight to
bestow on me.  He enumerated all my little accomplishments, to convince me
of the vexations they would not fail to draw upon me."

Mademoiselle Genet, at fifteen, was naturally less of a philosopher than
her father was at forty.  Her eyes were dazzled by the splendour which
glittered at Versailles.  "The Queen, Maria Leczinska, the wife of Louis
XV., died," she says, "just before I was presented at Court.  The grand
apartments hung with black, the great chairs of state, raised on several
steps, and surmounted by a canopy adorned with Plumes; the caparisoned
horses, the immense retinue in Court mourning, the enormous
shoulder-knots, embroidered with gold and silver spangles, which decorated
the coats of the pages and footmen,--all this magnificence had such an
effect on my senses that I could scarcely support myself when introduced
to the Princesses.  The first day of my reading in the inner apartment of
Madame Victoire I found it impossible to pronounce more than two
sentences; my heart palpitated, my voice faltered, and my sight failed.
How well understood was the potent magic of the grandeur and dignity which
ought to surround sovereigns!  Marie Antoinette, dressed in white, with a
plain straw hat, and a little switch in her hand, walking on foot,
followed by a single servant, through the walks leading to the Petit
Trianon, would never have thus disconcerted me; and I believe this extreme
simplicity was the first and only real mistake of all those with which she
is reproached."

When once her awe and confusion had subsided, Mademoiselle Genet was
enabled to form a more accurate judgment of her situation.  It was by no
means attractive; the Court of the Princesses, far removed from the revels
to which Louie XV. was addicted, was grave, methodical, and dull. Madame
Adelaide, the eldest of the Princesses, lived secluded in the interior of
her apartments; Madame Sophie was haughty; Madame Louise a devotee.
Mademoiselle Genet never quitted the Princesses' apartments; but she
attached herself most particularly to Madame Victoire.  This Princess had
possessed beauty; her countenance bore an expression of benevolence, and
her conversation was kind, free, and unaffected.  The young reader excited
in her that feeling which a woman in years, of an affectionate
disposition, readily extends to young people who are growing up in her
sight, and who possess some useful talents.  Whole days were passed in
reading to the Princess, as she sat at work in her apartment. Mademoiselle
Genet frequently saw there Louis XV., of whom she has related the
following anecdote:

"One day, at the Chateau of Compiegne, the King came in whilst I was
reading to Madame.  I rose and went into another room.  Alone, in an
apartment from which there was no outlet, with no book but a Massillon,
which I had been reading to the Princess, happy in all the lightness and
gaiety of fifteen, I amused myself with turning swiftly round, with my
court hoop, and suddenly kneeling down to see my rose-coloured silk
petticoat swelled around me by the wind.  In the midst of this grave
employment enters his Majesty, followed by one of the Princesses.  I
attempt to rise; my feet stumble, and down I fall in the midst of my
robes, puffed out by the wind.  'Daughter,' said Louis XV., laughing
heartily, 'I advise you to send back to school a reader who makes
cheeses.'"  The railleries of Louis XV. were often much more cutting, as
Mademoiselle Genet experienced on another occasion, which, thirty years
afterwards, she could not relate without an emotion of fear. "Louis XV.,"
she said, "had the most imposing presence.  His eyes remained fixed upon
you all the time he was speaking; and, notwithstanding the beauty of his
features, he inspired a sort of fear. I was very young, it is true, when
he first spoke to me; you shall judge whether it was in a very gracious
manner.  I was fifteen.  The King was going out to hunt, and a numerous
retinue followed him.  As he stopped opposite me he said, 'Mademoiselle
Genet, I am assured you are very learned, and understand four or five
foreign languages.'--'I know only two, Sire,' I answered, trembling.
'Which are they?' English and Italian.'--'Do you speak them fluently?'
Yes, Sire, very fluently.' 'That is quite enough to drive a husband mad.'
After this pretty compliment the King went on; the retinue saluted me,
laughing; and, for my part, I remained for some moments motionless with
surprise and confusion."

At the time when the French alliance was proposed by the Duc de Choiseul
there was at Vienna a doctor named Gassner,--[Jean Joseph Gassner, a
pretender to miraculous powers.]--who had fled thither to seek an asylum
against the persecutions of his sovereign, one of the ecclesiastical
electors.  Gassner, gifted with an extraordinary warmth of imagination,
imagined that he received inspirations.  The Empress protected him, saw
him occasionally, rallied him on his visions, and, nevertheless, heard
them with a sort of interest.  "Tell me,"--said she to him one day,
"whether my Antoinette will be happy."  Gassner turned pale, and remained
silent.  Being still pressed by the Empress, and wishing to give a general
expression to the idea with which he seemed deeply occupied, "Madame," he
replied, "there are crosses for all shoulders."

The occurrences at the Place Louis XV. on the marriage festivities at
Paris are generally known.  The conflagration of the scaffolds intended
for the fireworks, the want of foresight of the authorities, the avidity
of robbers, the murderous career of the coaches, brought about and
aggravated the disasters of that day; and the young Dauphiness, coming
from Versailles, by the Cours la Reine, elated with joy, brilliantly
decorated, and eager to witness the rejoicings of the whole people, fled,
struck with consternation and drowned in tears, from the dreadful scene.
This tragic opening of the young Princess's life in France seemed to bear
out Gassner's hint of disaster, and to be ominous of the terrible future
which awaited her.

In the same year in which Marie Antoinette was married to the Dauphin,
Henriette Genet married a son of M. Campan, already mentioned as holding
an office at the Court; and when the household of the Dauphiness was
formed, Madame Campan was appointed her reader, and received from Marie
Antoinette a consistent kindness and confidence to which by her loyal
service she was fully entitled.   Madame Campan's intelligence and
vivacity made her much more sympathetic to a young princess, gay and
affectionate in disposition, and reared in the simplicity of a German
Court, than her lady of honour, the Comtesse de Noailles.  This
respectable lady, who was placed near her as a minister of the laws of
etiquette, instead of alleviating their weight, rendered their yoke
intolerable to her.

"Madame de Noailles," says Madame Campan, "abounded in virtues.  Her
piety, charity, and irreproachable morals rendered her worthy of praise;
but etiquette was to her a sort of atmosphere; at the slightest
derangement of the consecrated order, one would have thought the
principles of life would forsake her frame.

"One day I unintentionally threw this poor lady into a terrible agony. The
Queen was receiving I know not whom,--some persons just presented, I
believe; the lady of honour, the Queen's tirewoman, and the ladies of the
bedchamber, were behind the Queen.  I was near the throne, with the two
women on duty.  All was right,--at least I thought so.  Suddenly I
perceived the eyes of Madame de Noailles fixed on mine.  She made a sign
with her head, and then raised her eyebrows to the top of her forehead,
lowered them, raised them again, then began to make little signs with her
hand.  From all this pantomime, I could easily perceive that something was
not as it should be; and as I looked about on all sides to find out what
it was, the agitation of the Countess kept increasing.  The Queen, who
perceived all this, looked at me with a smile; I found means to approach
her Majesty, who said to me in a whisper, 'Let down your lappets, or the
Countess will expire.'  All this bustle arose from two unlucky pins which
fastened up my lappets, whilst the etiquette of costume said 'Lappets
hanging down.'"

Her contempt of the vanities of etiquette became the pretext for the first
reproaches levelled at the Queen.  What misconduct might not be dreaded
from a princess who could absolutely go out without a hoop! and who, in
the salons of Trianon, instead of discussing the important rights to
chairs and stools, good-naturedly invited everybody to be seated.

[M. de Fresne Forget, being one day in company with the Queen Marguerite,
told her he was astonished how men and women with such great ruffs could
eat soup without spoiling them; and still more how the ladies could be
gallant with their great fardingales.  The Queen made no answer at that
time, but a few days after, having a very large ruff on, and some 'bouili'
to eat, she ordered a very long spoon to be brought, and ate her 'bouili'
with it, without soiling her ruff.  Upon which, addressing herself to M.
de Fresne, she said, laughing, "There now, you see, with a little
ingenuity one may manage anything."--"Yes, faith, madame," said the good
man, "as far as regards the soup I am satisfied."--LAPLACE's "Collection,"
vol. ii., p. 350.]

The anti-Austrian party, discontented and vindictive, became spies upon
her conduct, exaggerated her slightest errors, and calumniated her most
innocent proceedings.  "What seems unaccountable at the first glance,"
says Montjoie, "is that the first attack on the reputation of the Queen
proceeded from the bosom of the Court.  What interest could the courtiers
have in seeking her destruction, which involved that of the King?  Was it
not drying up the source of all the advantages they enjoyed, or could hope
for?"

[Madame Campan relates the following among many anecdotes illustrative of
the Queen's kindness of heart: "A petition was addressed to the Queen by a
corporation in the neighbourhood of Paris, praying for the destruction of
the game which destroyed their crops.  I was the bearer of this petition
to her Majesty, who said, 'I will undertake to have these good people
relieved from so great an annoyance.'  She gave the document to M. de
Vermond in my presence, saying, 'I desire that immediate justice be done
to this petition.'  An assurance was given that her order should be
attended to, but six weeks afterwards a second petition was sent up, for
the nuisance had not been abated after all.  If the second petition had
reached the Queen, M. de Vermond would have received a sharp reprimand.
She was always so happy when it was in her power to do good."

The quick repartee, which was another of the Queen's characteristics, was
less likely to promote her popularity.  "M. Brunier," says Madame Campan,
"was physician to the royal children. During his visits to the palace, if
the death of any of his patients was alluded to, he never failed to say,
'Ah! there I lost one of my best friends!  'Well,' said the Queen, 'if he
loses all his patients who are his friends, what will become of those who
are not?'"]

When the terrible Danton exclaimed, "The kings of Europe menace us; it
behooves us to defy them; let us throw down to them the head of a king as
our gage!" these detestable words, followed by so cruel a result, formed,
however, a formidable stroke of policy.  But the Queen!  What urgent
reasons of state could Danton, Collot d'Herbois, and Robespierre allege
against her?  What savage greatness did they discover in stirring up a
whole nation to avenge their quarrel on a woman?  What remained of her
former power?  She was a captive, a widow, trembling for her children! In
those judges, who at once outraged modesty and nature; in that people
whose vilest scoffs pursued her to the scaffold, who could have recognised
the generous people of France?  Of all the crimes which disgraced the
Revolution, none was more calculated to show how the spirit of party can
degrade the character of a nation.

The news of this dreadful event reached Madame Campan in an obscure
retreat which she had chosen.  She had not succeeded in her endeavours to
share the Queen's captivity, and she expected every moment a similar fate.
After escaping, almost miraculously, from the murderous fury of the
Marseillais; after being denounced and pursued by Robespierre, and
entrusted, through the confidence of the King and Queen, with papers of
the utmost importance, Madame Campan went to Coubertin, in the valley of
Chevreuse.  Madame Auguid, her sister, had just committed suicide, at the
very moment of her arrest.

[Maternal affection prevailed over her religious sentiments; she wished to
preserve the wreck of her fortune for her children.  Had she deferred this
fatal act for one day she would have been saved; the cart which conveyed
Robespierre to execution stopped her funeral procession!]

The scaffold awaited Madame Campan, when the 9th of Thermidor restored her
to life; but did not restore to her the most constant object of her
thoughts, her zeal, and her devotion.

A new career now opened to Madame Campan.  At Coubertin, surrounded by her
nieces, she was fond of directing their studies.  This occupation caused
her ideas to revert to the subject of education, and awakened once more
the inclinations of her youth.  At the age of twelve years she could never
meet a school of young ladies passing through the streets without feeling
ambitious of the situation and authority of their mistress.  Her abode at
Court had diverted but not altered her inclinations.  "A month after the
fall of Robespierre," she says, "I considered as to the means of providing
for myself, for a mother seventy years of age, my sick husband, my child
nine years old, and part of my ruined family.  I now possessed nothing in
the world but an assignat of five hundred francs. I had become responsible
for my husband's debts, to the amount of thirty thousand francs.  I chose
St. Germain to set up a boarding-school, for that town did not remind me,
as Versailles did, both of happy times and of the misfortunes of France.
I took with me a nun of l'Enfant-Jesus, to give an unquestionable pledge
of my religious principles.  The school of St. Germain was the first in
which the opening of an oratory was ventured on.  The Directory was
displeased at it, and ordered it to be immediately shut up; and some time
after commissioners were sent to desire that the reading of the Scriptures
should be suppressed in my school.  I inquired what books were to be
substituted in their stead.  After some minutes' conversation, they
observed: 'Citizeness, you are arguing after the old fashion; no
reflections.  The nation commands; we must have obedience, and no
reasoning.'  Not having the means of printing my prospectus, I wrote a
hundred copies of it, and sent them to the persons of my acquaintance who
had survived the dreadful commotions.  At the year's end I had sixty
pupils; soon afterwards a hundred.  I bought furniture and paid my debts."

The rapid success of the establishment at St. Germain was undoubtedly
owing to the talents, experience, and excellent principles of Madame
Campan, seconded by public opinion.  All property had changed hands; all
ranks found themselves confusedly jumbled by the shock of the Revolution:
the grand seigneur dined at the table of the opulent contractor; and the
witty and elegant marquise was present at the ball by the side of the
clumsy peasant lately grown rich.  In the absence of the ancient
distinctions, elegant manners and polished language now formed a kind of
aristocracy.  The house of St. Germain, conducted by a lady who possessed
the deportment and the habits of the best society, was not only a school
of knowledge, but a school of the world.

"A friend of Madame de Beauharnais," continues Madame Campan, "brought me
her daughter Hortense de Beauharnais, and her niece Emilie de Beauharnais.
Six months afterwards she came to inform me of her marriage with a
Corsican gentleman, who had been brought up in the military school, and
was then a general.  I was requested to communicate this information to
her daughter, who long lamented her mother's change of name.  I was also
desired to watch over the education of little Eugene de Beauharnais, who
was placed at St. Germain, in the same school with my son.

"A great intimacy sprang up between my nieces and these young people.
Madame de Beauharnaias set out for Italy, and left her children with me.
On her return, after the conquests of Bonaparte, that general, much
pleased with the improvement of his stepdaughter, invited me to dine at
Malmaison, and attended two representations of 'Esther' at my school."

He also showed his appreciation of her talents by sending his sister
Caroline to St. Germain.  Shortly before Caroline's marriage to Murat, and
while she was yet at St. Germain, Napoleon observed to Madame Campan: "I
do not like those love matches between young people whose brains are
excited by the flames of the imagination.  I had other views for my
sister.  Who knows what high alliance I might have procured for her!  She
is thoughtless, and does not form a just notion of my situation.  The time
will come when, perhaps, sovereigns might dispute for her hand.  She is
about to marry a brave man; but in my situation that is not enough. Fate
should be left to fulfil her decrees."

[Madame Murat one day said to Madame Campan: "I am astonished that you are
not more awed in our presence; you speak to us with as much familiarity as
when we were your pupils!"--"The best thing you can do," replied Madame
Campan, "is to forget your titles when you are with me, for I can never be
afraid of queens whom I have held under the rod."]

Madame Campan dined at the Tuileries in company with the Pope's nuncio, at
the period when the Concordat was in agitation.  During dinner the First
Consul astonished her by the able manner in which he conversed on the
subject under discussion.  She said he argued so logically that his talent
quite amazed her.  During the consulate Napoleon one day said to her, "If
ever I establish a republic of women, I shall make you First Consul."

Napoleon's views as to "woman's mission" are now well known.  Madame
Campan said that she heard from him that when he founded the convent of
the Sisters of la Charite he was urgently solicited to permit perpetual
vows.  He, however, refused to do so, on the ground that tastes may
change, and that he did not see the necessity of excluding from the world
women who might some time or other return to it, and become useful members
of society.  "Nunneries," he added, "assail the very roots of population.
It is impossible to calculate the loss which a nation sustains in having
ten thousand women shut up in cloisters.  War does but little mischief;
for the number of males is at least one-twenty-fifth greater than that of
females.  Women may, if they please, be allowed to make perpetual vows at
fifty years of age; for then their task is fulfilled."

Napoleon once said to Madame Campan, "The old systems of education were
good for nothing; what do young women stand in need of, to be well brought
up in France?"--"Of mothers," answered Madame Campan.  "It is well said,"
replied Napoleon.  "Well, madame, let the French be indebted to you for
bringing up mothers for their children."--"Napoleon one day interrupted
Madame de Stael in the midst of a profound political argument to ask her
whether she had nursed her children."

Never had the establishment at St. Germain been in a more flourishing
condition than in 1802-3.  What more could Madame Campan wish?  For ten
years absolute in her own house, she seemed also safe from the caprice of
power.  But the man who then disposed of the fate of France and Europe was
soon to determine otherwise.

After the battle of Austerlitz the State undertook to bring up, at the
public expense, the sisters, daughters, or nieces of those who were
decorated with the Cross of Honour.  The children of the warriors killed
or wounded in glorious battle were to find paternal care in the ancient
abodes of the Montmorencys and the Condes.  Accustomed to concentrate
around him all superior talents, fearless himself of superiority, Napoleon
sought for a person qualified by experience and abilities to conduct the
institution of Ecouen; he selected Madame Campan.

Comte de Lacepede, the pupil, friend, and rival of Buffon, then Grand
Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, assisted her with his enlightened
advice.  Napoleon, who could descend with ease from the highest political
subjects to the examination of the most minute details; who was as much at
home in inspecting a boarding-school for young ladies as in reviewing the
grenadiers of his guard; whom it was impossible to deceive, and who was
not unwilling to find fault when he visited the establishment at
Ecouen,--was forced to say, "It is all right."

[Napoleon wished to be informed of every particular of the furniture,
government, and order of the house, the instruction and education of the
pupils.  The internal regulations were submitted to him.  One of the
intended rules, drawn up by Madame Campan, proposed that the children
should hear mass on Sundays and Thursdays. Napoleon himself wrote on the
margin, "every day."]

"In the summer of 1811," relates Madame Campan, "Napoleon, accompanied by
Marie Louise and several personages of distinction, visited the
establishment at Ecouen.  After inspecting the chapel and the refectories,
Napoleon desired that the three principal pupils might be presented to
him.  'Sire,' said I, 'I cannot select three; I must present six.'  He
turned on his heel and repaired to the platform, where, after seeing all
the classes assembled, he repeated his demand.  'Sire,' said I, 'I beg
leave to inform your Majesty that I should commit an injustice towards
several other pupils who are as far advanced as those whom I might have
the honour to present to you.'

"Berthier and others intimated to me, in a low tone of voice, that I
should get into disgrace by my noncompliance.  Napoleon looked over the
whole of the house, entered into the most trivial details, and after
addressing questions to several of the pupils: 'Well, madame,' said he, 'I
am satisfied; show me your six best pupils.'"  Madame Campan presented
them to him; and as he stepped into his carriage, he desired that their
names might be sent to Berthier.  On addressing the list to the Prince de
Neufchatel, Madame Campan added to it the names of four other pupils, and
all the ten obtained a pension of 300 francs.  During the three hours
which this visit occupied, Marie Louise did not utter a single word.

M. de Beaumont, chamberlain to the Empress Josephine, one day at Malmaison
was expressing his regret that M. D-----, one of Napoleon's generals, who
had recently been promoted, did not belong to a great family.  "You
mistake, monsieur," observed Madame Campan, "he is of very ancient
descent; he is one of the nephews of Charlemagne.  All the heroes of our
army sprang from the elder branch of that sovereign's family, who never
emigrated."

When Madame Campan related this circumstance she added: "After the 30th of
March, 1814, some officers of the army of Conde presumed to say to certain
French marshals that it was a pity they were not more nobly connected.  In
answer to this, one of them said, 'True nobility, gentlemen, consists in
giving proofs of it.  The field of honour has witnessed ours; but where
are we to look for yours?  Your swords have rusted in their scabbards.
Our laurels may well excite envy; we have earned them nobly, and we owe
them solely to our valour.  You have merely inherited a name.  This is the
distinction between us."

[When one of the princes of the smaller German States was showing Marechal
Lannes, with a contemptuous superiority of manner but ill concealed, the
portraits of his ancestors, and covertly alluding to the absence of
Lannes's, that general turned the tables on him by haughtily remarking,
"But I am an ancestor."]

Napoleon used to observe that if he had had two such field-marshals as
Suchet in Spain he would have not only conquered but kept the Peninsula.
Suchet's sound judgment, his governing yet conciliating spirit, his
military tact, and his bravery, had procured him astonishing success. "It
is to be regretted," added he, "that a sovereign cannot improvise men of
his stamp."

On the 19th of March, 1815, a number of papers were left in the King's
closet.  Napoleon ordered them to be examined, and among them was found
the letter written by Madame Campan to Louis XVIII., immediately after the
first restoration.  In this letter she enumerated the contents of the
portfolio which Louis XVI. had placed under her care.  When Napoleon read
this letter, he said, "Let it be sent to the office of Foreign Affairs; it
is an historical document."

Madame Campan thus described a visit from the Czar of Russia: "A few days
after the battle of Paris the Emperor Alexander came to Ecouen, and he did
me the honour to breakfast with me.  After showing him over the
establishment I conducted him to the park, the most elevated point of
which overlooked the plain of St. Denis.  'Sire,' said I, 'from this point
I saw the battle of Paris'--'If,' replied the Emperor, 'that battle had
lasted two hours longer we should not have had a single cartridge at our
disposal.  We feared that we had been betrayed; for on arriving so
precipitately before Paris all our plans were laid, and we did not expect
the firm resistance we experienced.'  I next conducted the Emperor to the
chapel, and showed him the seats occupied by 'le connetable' (the
constable) of Montmorency, and 'la connetable' (the constable's lady),
when they went to hear mass.  'Barbarians like us,' observed the Emperor,
'would say la connetable and le connetable.'

"The Czar inquired into the most minute particulars respecting the
establishment of Ecouen, and I felt great pleasure in answering his
questions.  I recollect having dwelt on several points which appeared to
me to be very important, and which were in their spirit hostile to
aristocratic principles.  For example, I informed his Majesty that the
daughters of distinguished and wealthy individuals and those of the humble
and obscure mingled indiscriminately in the establishment.  'If,' said I,
'I were to observe the least pretension on account of the rank or fortune
of parents, I should immediately put an end to it.  The most perfect
equality is preserved; distinction is awarded only to merit and industry.
The pupils are obliged to cut out and make all their own clothes.  They
are taught to clean and mend lace; and two at a time, they by turns, three
times a week, cook and distribute food to the poor of the village.  The
young girls who have been brought up at Ecouen, or in my boarding-school
at St. Germain, are thoroughly acquainted with everything relating to
household business, and they are grateful to me for having made that a
part of their education.  In my conversations with them I have always
taught them that on domestic management depends the preservation or
dissipation of their fortunes.'

"The post-master of Ecouen was in the courtyard at the moment when the
Emperor, as he stepped into his carriage, told me he would send some
sweetmeats for the pupils.  I immediately communicated to them the
intelligence, which was joyfully received; but the sweetmeats were looked
for in vain.  When Alexander set out for England he changed horses at
Ecouen, and the post-master said to him: 'Sire, the pupils of Ecouen are
still expecting the sweetmeats which your Majesty promised them.'  To
which the Emperor replied that he had directed Saken to send them.  The
Cossacks had most likely devoured the sweetmeats, and the poor little
girls, who had been so highly flattered by the promise, never tasted
them."

"A second house was formed at St. Denis, on the model of that of Ecouen.
Perhaps Madame Campan might have hoped for a title to which her long
labours gave her a right; perhaps the superintendence of the two houses
would have been but the fair recompense of her services; but her fortunate
years had passed her fate was now to depend on the most important events.
Napoleon had accumulated such a mass of power as no one but himself in
Europe could overturn.  France, content with thirty years of victories, in
vain asked for peace and repose.  The army which had triumphed in the
sands of Egypt, on the summits of the Alps, and in the marshes of Holland,
was to perish amidst the snows of Russia. Nations combined against a
single man.  The territory of France was invaded.  The orphans of Ecouen,
from the windows of the mansion which served as their asylum, saw in the
distant plain the fires of the Russian bivouacs, and once more wept the
deaths of their fathers.  Paris capitulated.  France hailed the return of
the descendants of Henri IV.; they reascended the throne so long filled by
their ancestors, which the wisdom of an enlightened prince established on
the empire of the laws.

[A lady, connected with the establishment of St. Denis, told Madame Campan
that Napoleon visited it during the Hundred Days, and that the pupils were
so delighted to see him that they crowded round him, endeavouring to touch
his clothes, and evincing the most extravagant joy.  The matron
endeavoured to silence them; but Napoleon said, 'Let them alone; let them
alone.  This may weaken the head, but it strengthens the heart.'"]

This moment, which diffused joy amongst the faithful servants of the royal
family, and brought them the rewards of their devotion, proved to Madame
Campan a period of bitter vexation.  The hatred of her enemies had
revived.  The suppression of the school at Ecouen had deprived her of her
position; the most absurd calumnies followed her into her retreat; her
attachment to the Queen was suspected; she was accused not only of
ingratitude but of perfidy.  Slander has little effect on youth, but in
the decline of life its darts are envenomed with a mortal poison.  The
wounds which Madame Campan had received were deep.  Her sister, Madame
Auguie, had destroyed herself; M. Rousseau, her brother-in-law, had
perished, a victim of the reign of terror.  In 1813 a dreadful accident
had deprived her of her niece, Madame de Broc, one of the most amiable and
interesting beings that ever adorned the earth.  Madame Campan seemed
destined to behold those whom she loved go down to the grave before her.

Beyond the walls of the mansion of Ecouen, in the village which surrounds
it, Madame Campan had taken a small house where she loved to pass a few
hours in solitary retirement.  There, at liberty to abandon herself to the
memory of the past, the superintendent of the imperial establishment
became, once more, for the moment, the first lady of the chamber to Marie
Antoinette.  To the few friends whom she admitted into this retreat she
would show, with emotion, a plain muslin gown which the Queen had worn,
and which was made from a part of Tippoo Saib's present.  A cup, out of
which Marie Antoinette had drunk; a writing-stand, which she had long
used, were, in her eyes, of inestimable value; and she has often been
discovered sitting, in tears, before the portrait of her royal mistress.

After so many troubles Madame Campan sought a peaceful retreat.  Paris had
become odious to her.

She paid a visit to one of her most beloved pupils, Mademoiselle Crouzet,
who had married a physician at Mantes, a man of talent, distinguished for
his intelligence, frankness, and cordiality.

[M. Maigne, physician to the infirmaries at Mantes.  Madame Campan found
in him a friend and comforter, of whose merit and affection she knew the
value.]

Mantes is a cheerful place of residence, and the idea of an abode there
pleased her.  A few intimate friends formed a pleasant society, and she
enjoyed a little tranquillity after so many disturbances.  The revisal of
her "Memoirs," the arrangement of the interesting anecdotes of which her
"Recollections" were to consist, alone diverted her mind from the one
powerful sentiment which attached her to life.  She lived only for her
son.  M. Campan deserved the tenderness of, his mother.  No sacrifice had
been spared for his education.  After having pursued that course of study
which, under the Imperial Government, produced men of such distinguished
merit, he was waiting till time and circumstances should afford him an
opportunity of devoting his services to his country.  Although the state
of his health was far from good, it did not threaten any rapid or
premature decay; he was, however, after a few days' illness, suddenly
taken from his family.  "I never witnessed so heartrending a scene," M.
Maigne says, "as that which took place when Marechal Ney's lady, her
niece, and Madame Pannelier, her sister, came to acquaint her with this
misfortune.--[The wife of Marechal Ney was a daughter of Madame Auguie,
and had been an intimate friend of Hortense Beauharnais.]--When they
entered her apartment she was in bed.  All three at once uttered a
piercing cry.  The two ladies threw themselves on their knees, and kissed
her hands, which they bedewed with tears.  Before they could speak to her
she read in their faces that she no longer possessed a son.  At that
instant her large eyes, opening wildly, seemed to wander.  Her face grew
pale, her features changed, her lips lost their colour, she struggled to
speak, but uttered only inarticulate sounds, accompanied by piercing
cries.  Her gestures were wild, her reason was suspended.  Every part of
her being was in agony.  To this state of anguish and despair no calm
succeeded, until her tears began to flow.  Friendship and the tenderest
cares succeeded for a moment in calming her grief, but not in diminishing
its power.

"This violent crisis had disturbed her whole organisation.  A cruel
disorder, which required a still more cruel operation, soon manifested
itself.  The presence of her family, a tour which she made in Switzerland,
a residence at Baden, and, above all, the sight, the tender and charming
conversation of a person by whom she was affectionately beloved,
occasionally diverted her mind, and in a slight degree relieved her
suffering."  She underwent a serious operation, performed with
extraordinary promptitude and the most complete success.  No unfavourable
symptoms appeared; Madame Campan was thought to be restored to her
friends; but the disorder was in the blood; it took another course: the
chest became affected.  "From that moment," says M. Maigne, "I could never
look on Madame Campan as living; she herself felt that she belonged no
more to this world."

"My friend," she said to her physician the day before her death, "I am
attached to the simplicity of religion.  I hate all that savours of
fanaticism."  When her codicil was presented for her signature, her hand
trembled; "It would be a pity," she said, "to stop when so fairly on the
road."

Madame Campan died on the 16th of March, 1822.  The cheerfulness she
displayed throughout her malady had nothing affected in it.  Her character
was naturally powerful and elevated.  At the approach of death she evinced
the soul of a sage, without abandoning for an instant her feminine
character.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Ah, Madame, we have all been killed in our masters' service!
Brought me her daughter Hortense de Beauharnais
Condescension which renders approbation more offensive
Difference between brilliant theories and the simplest practice
Extreme simplicity was the Queens first and only real mistake
I hate all that savours of fanaticism
If ever I establish a republic of women....
No ears that will discover when she (The Princess) is out of tune
Observe the least pretension on account of the rank or fortune
On domestic management depends the preservation of their fortune
Spirit of party can degrade the character of a nation
Tastes may change
The anti-Austrian party, discontented and vindictive
They say you live very poorly here, Moliere
True nobility, gentlemen, consists in giving proofs of it
We must have obedience, and no reasoning
What do young women stand in need of?--Mothers!
"Would be a pity," she said, "to stop when so fairly on the road"
Your swords have rusted in their scabbards





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