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Title: Marie Antoinette — Volume 02
Author: Campan, Jeanne Louise Henriette (Genet), 1752-1822
Language: English
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Being the Historic Memoirs of Madam Campan,

First Lady in Waiting to the Queen


I was fifteen years of age when I was appointed reader to Mesdames. I will
begin by describing the Court at that period.

Maria Leczinska was just dead; the death of the Dauphin had preceded hers
by three years; the Jesuits were suppressed, and piety was to be found at
Court only in the apartments of Mesdames.  The Duc de Choiseuil ruled.

Etiquette still existed at Court with all the forms it had acquired under
Louis XIV.; dignity alone was wanting.  As to gaiety, there was none.
Versailles was not the place at which to seek for assemblies where French
spirit and grace were displayed.  The focus of wit and intelligence was

The King thought of nothing but the pleasures of the chase: it might have
been imagined that the courtiers indulged themselves in making epigrams by
hearing them say seriously, on those days when the King did not hunt, "The
King does nothing to-day."--[In sporting usance (see SOULAIRE, p. 316).]

The arrangement beforehand of his movements was also a matter of great
importance with Louis XV.  On the first day of the year he noted down in
his almanac the days of departure for Compiegne, Fontainebleau, Choisy,
etc.  The weightiest matters, the most serious events, never deranged this
distribution of his time.

Since the death of the Marquise de Pompadour, the King had no titled
mistress; he contented himself with his seraglio in the Parc-aux-Cerfs. It
is well known that the monarch found the separation of Louis de Bourbon
from the King of France the most animating feature of his royal existence.
"They would have it so; they thought it for the best," was his way of
expressing himself when the measures of his ministers were unsuccessful.
The King delighted to manage the most disgraceful points of his private
expenses himself; he one day sold to a head clerk in the War Department a
house in which one of his mistresses had lodged; the contract ran in the
name of Louis de Bourbon, and the purchaser himself took in a bag the
price of the house in gold to the King in his private closet.

[Until recently little was known about the Parc-aux-Cerfs, and it was
believed that a great number of young women had been maintained there at
enormous expense.  The investigations of M. J. A.  Le Roi, given in his
interesting work, "Curiosites Historiques sur Louis XIII., Louis XIV.,
Louis XV.," etc., Paris, Plon, 1864, have thrown fresh light upon the
matter.  The result he arrives at (see page 229 of his work) is that the
house in question (No. 4 Rue St. Mederic, on the site of the
Parc-aux-Cerfs, or breeding-place for deer, of Louis XIII) was very small,
and could have held only one girl, the woman in charge of her, and a
servant.  Most of the girls left it only when about to be confined, and it
sometimes stood vacant for five or six months.  It may have been rented
before the date of purchase, and other houses seem sometimes to have been
used also; but in any case, it is evident that both the number of girls
and the expense incurred have been absurdly exaggerated.  The system
flourished under Madame de Pompadour, but ceased as soon as Madame du
Barry obtained full power over the King, and the house was then sold to M.
J. B. Sevin for 16,000 livres, on 27th May, 1771, Louis not acting under
the name of Louis de Bourbon, but as King,--"Vente par le Roi, notre
Sire."  In 1755 he had also been declared its purchaser in a similar
manner.  Thus, Madame Campan is in error in saying that the King made the
contract as Louis de Bourbon.]--[And it also possible that Madam Campan
was correct and that the house she refers to as sold for a "bag of gold"
was another of the several of the seraglio establishments of Louis XV.

Louis XV. saw very little of his family.  He came every morning by a
private staircase into the apartment of Madame Adelaide.

[Louis XV. seemed to feel for Madame Adelaide the tenderness he had had
for the Duchesse de Bourgogne, his mother, who perished so suddenly, under
the eyes and almost in the arms of Louis XIV.  The birth of Madame
Adelaide, 23d March, 1732, was followed by that of Madame Victoire Louise
Marie Therese on the 11th May, 1733.  Louis had, besides, six daughters:
Mesdames Sophie and Louise, who are mentioned in this chapter; the
Princesses Marie and Felicite, who died young; Madame Henriette died at
Versailles in 1752, aged twenty-four; and finally, Madame the Duchess of
Parma, who also died at the Court.]

He often brought and drank there coffee that he had made himself.  Madame
Adelaide pulled a bell which apprised Madame Victoire of the King's visit;
Madame Victoire, on rising to go to her sister's apartment, rang for
Madame Sophie, who in her turn rang for Madame Louise.  The apartments of
Mesdames were of very large dimensions.  Madame Louise occupied the
farthest room.  This latter lady was deformed and very short; the poor
Princess used to run with all her might to join the daily meeting, but,
having a number of rooms to cross, she frequently in spite of her haste,
had only just time to embrace her father before he set out for the chase.

Every evening, at six, Mesdames interrupted my reading to them to
accompany the princes to Louis XV.; this visit was called the King's
'debotter',--[Debotter, meaning the time of unbooting.]--and was marked by
a kind of etiquette.  Mesdames put on an enormous hoop, which set out a
petticoat ornamented with gold or embroidery; they fastened a long train
round their waists, and concealed the undress of the rest of their
clothing by a long cloak of black taffety which enveloped them up to the
chin.  The chevaliers d'honneur, the ladies in waiting, the pages, the
equerries, and the ushers bearing large flambeaux, accompanied them to the
King.  In a moment the whole palace, generally so still, was in motion;
the King kissed each Princess on the forehead, and the visit was so short
that the reading which it interrupted was frequently resumed at the end of
a quarter of an hour; Mesdames returned to their apartments, and untied
the strings of their petticoats and trains; they resumed their tapestry,
and I my book.

During the summer season the King sometimes came to the residence of
Mesdames before the hour of his 'debotter'.  One day he found me alone in
Madame Victoire's closet, and asked me where 'Coche'[Piggy] was; I
started, and he repeated his question, but without being at all the more
understood.  When the King was gone I asked Madame of whom he spoke.  She
told me that it was herself, and very coolly explained to me, that, being
the fattest of his daughters, the King had given her the familiar name of
'Coche'; that he called Madame Adelaide, 'Logue' [Tatters], Madame Sophie,
'Graille'[Mite], and Madame Louise, 'Chiffie'[Rubbish].  The people of the
King's household observed that he knew a great number of such words;
possibly he had amused himself with picking them out from dictionaries.
If this style of speaking betrayed the habits and tastes of the King, his
manner savoured nothing of such vulgarity; his walk was easy and noble, he
had a dignified carriage of the head, and his aspect, with out being
severe, was imposing; he combined great politeness with a truly regal
demeanour, and gracefully saluted the humblest woman whom curiosity led
into his path.

He was very expert in a number of trifling matters which never occupy
attention but when there is a lack of something better to employ it; for
instance, he would knock off the top of an egg-shell at a single stroke of
his fork; he therefore always ate eggs when he dined in public, and the
Parisians who came on Sundays to see the King dine, returned home less
struck with his fine figure than with the dexterity with which he broke
his eggs.

Repartees of Louis XV., which marked the keenness of his wit and the
elevation of his sentiments, were quoted with pleasure in the assemblies
of Versailles.

This Prince was still beloved; it was wished that a style of life suitable
to his age and dignity should at length supersede the errors of the past,
and justify the love of his subjects.  It was painful to judge him
harshly.  If he had established avowed mistresses at Court, the uniform
devotion of the Queen was blamed for it.  Mesdames were reproached for not
seeking to prevent the King's forming an intimacy with some new favourite.
Madame Henriette, twin sister of the Duchess of Parma, was much regretted,
for she had considerable influence over the King's mind, and it was
remarked that if she had lived she would have been assiduous in finding
him amusements in the bosom of his family, would have followed him in his
short excursions, and would have done the honours of the 'petits soupers'
which he was so fond of giving in his private apartments.

Mesdames too much neglected the means of pleasing the wing, but the cause
of that was obvious in the little attention he had paid them in their

In order to console the people under their sufferings, and to shut their
eyes to the real depredations on the treasury, the ministers occasionally
pressed the most extravagant measures of reform in the King's household,
and even in his personal expenses.

Cardinal Fleury, who in truth had the merit of reestablishing the
finances, carried this system of economy so far as to obtain from the King
the suppression of the household of the four younger Princesses. They were
brought up as mere boarders in a convent eighty leagues distant from the
Court.  Saint Cyr would have been more suitable for the reception of the
King's daughters; but probably the Cardinal shared some of those
prejudices which will always attach to even the most useful institutions,
and which, since the death of Louis XIV., had been raised against the
noble establishment of Madame de Maintenon.  Madame Louise often assured
me that at twelve years of age she was not mistress of the whole alphabet,
and never learnt to read fluently until after her return to Versailles.

Madame Victoire attributed certain paroxysms of terror, which she was
never able to conquer, to the violent alarms she experienced at the Abbey
of Fontevrault, whenever she was sent, by way of penance, to pray alone in
the vault where the sisters were interred.

A gardener belonging to the abbey died raving mad.  His habitation,
without the walls, was near a chapel of the abbey, where Mesdames were
taken to repeat the prayers for those in the agonies of death.  Their
prayers were more than once interrupted by the shrieks of the dying man.

When Mesdames, still very young, returned to Court, they enjoyed the
friendship of Monseigneur the Dauphin, and profited by his advice.  They
devoted themselves ardently to study, and gave up almost the whole of
their time to it; they enabled themselves to write French correctly, and
acquired a good knowledge of history.  Italian, English, the higher
branches of mathematics, turning and dialing, filled up in succession
their leisure moments.  Madame Adelaide, in particular, had a most
insatiable desire to learn; she was taught to play upon all instruments,
from the horn (will it be believed!) to the Jew's-harp.

Madame Adelaide was graced for a short time with a charming figure; but
never did beauty so quickly vanish.  Madame Victoire was handsome and very
graceful; her address, mien, and smile were in perfect accordance with the
goodness of her heart.  Madame Sophie was remarkably ugly; never did I
behold a person with so unprepossessing an appearance; she walked with the
greatest rapidity; and, in order to recognise the people who placed
themselves along her path without looking at them, she acquired the habit
of leering on one side, like a hare.  This Princess was so exceedingly
diffident that a person might be with her daily for years together without
hearing her utter a single word.  It was asserted, however, that she
displayed talent, and even amiability, in the society of some favourite
ladies.  She taught herself a great deal, but she studied alone; the
presence of a reader would have disconcerted her very much.  There were,
however, occasions on which the Princess, generally so intractable, became
all at once affable and condescending, and manifested the most
communicative good-nature; this would happen during a storm; so great was
her alarm on such an occasion that she then approached the most humble,
and would ask them a thousand obliging questions; a flash of lightning
made her squeeze their hands; a peal of thunder would drive her to embrace
them, but with the return of the calm, the Princess resumed her stiffness,
her reserve, and her repellent air, and passed all by without taking the
slightest notice of any one, until a fresh storm restored to her at once
her dread and her affability. [Which reminds one of the elder (and
puritanic) Cato who said that he "embraced" his wife only when it
thundered, but added that he did enjoy a good thunderstorm. D.W.]

Mesdames found in a beloved brother, whose rare attainments are known to
all Frenchmen, a guide in everything wanting to their education.  In their
august mother, Maria Leczinska, they possessed the noblest example of
every pious and social virtue; that Princess, by her eminent qualities and
her modest dignity, veiled the failings of the King, and while she lived
she preserved in the Court of Louis XV. that decorous and dignified tone
which alone secures the respect due to power.  The Princesses, her
daughters, were worthy of her; and if a few degraded beings did aim the
shafts of calumny at them, these shafts dropped harmless, warded off by
the elevation of their sentiments and the purity of their conduct.

If Mesdames had not tasked themselves with numerous occupations, they
would have been much to be pitied.  They loved walking, but could enjoy
nothing beyond the public gardens of Versailles; they would have
cultivated flowers, but could have no others than those in their windows.

The Marquise de Durfort, since Duchesse de Civrac, afforded to Madame
Victoire agreeable society.  The Princess spent almost all her evenings
with that lady, and ended by fancying herself domiciled with her.

Madame de Narbonne had, in a similar way, taken pains to make her intimate
acquaintance pleasant to Madame Adelaide.

Madame Louise had for many years lived in great seclusion; I read to her
five hours a day.  My voice frequently betrayed the exhaustion of my
lungs; the Princess would then prepare sugared water for me, place it by
me, and apologise for making me read so long, on the score of having
prescribed a course of reading for herself.

One evening, while I was reading, she was informed that M. Bertin,
'ministre des parties casuelles', desired to speak with her; she went out
abruptly, returned, resumed her silks and embroidery, and made me resume
my book; when I retired she commanded me to be in her closet the next
morning at eleven o'clock.  When I got there the Princess was gone out; I
learnt that she had gone at seven in the morning to the Convent of the
Carmelites of St. Denis, where she was desirous of taking the veil. I went
to Madame Victoire; there I heard that the King alone had been acquainted
with Madame Louise's project; that he had kept it faithfully secret, and
that, having long previously opposed her wish, he had only on the
preceding evening sent her his consent; that she had gone alone into the
convent, where she was expected; and that a few minutes afterwards she had
made her appearance at the grating, to show to the Princesse de Guistel,
who had accompanied her to the convent gate, and to her equerry, the
King's order to leave her in the monastery.

Upon receiving the intelligence of her sister's departure, Madame Adelaide
gave way to violent paroxysms of rage, and reproached the King bitterly
for the secret, which he had thought it his duty to preserve. Madame
Victoire missed the society of her favourite sister, but she shed tears in
silence only.  The first time I saw this excellent Princess after Madame
Louise's departure, I threw myself at her feet, kissed her hand, and asked
her, with all the confidence of youth, whether she would quit us as Madame
Louise had done.  She raised me, embraced me; and said, pointing to the
lounge upon which she was extended, "Make yourself easy, my dear; I shall
never have Louise's courage.  I love the conveniences of life too well;
this lounge is my destruction."  As soon as I obtained permission to do
so, I went to St. Denis to see my late mistress; she deigned to receive me
with her face uncovered, in her private parlour; she told me she had just
left the wash-house, and that it was her turn that day to attend to the
linen.  "I much abused your youthful lungs for two years before the
execution of my project," added she. "I knew that here I could read none
but books tending to our salvation, and I wished to review all the
historians that had interested me."

She informed me that the King's consent for her to go to St. Denis had
been brought to her while I was reading; she prided herself, and with
reason, upon having returned to her closet without the slightest mark of
agitation, though she said she felt so keenly that she could scarcely
regain her chair.  She added that moralists were right when they said that
happiness does not dwell in palaces; that she had proved it; and that, if
I desired to be happy, she advised me to come and enjoy a retreat in which
the liveliest imagination might find full exercise in the contemplation of
a better world.  I had no palace, no earthly grandeur to sacrifice to God;
nothing but the bosom of a united family; and it is precisely there that
the moralists whom she cited have placed true happiness.  I replied that,
in private life, the absence of a beloved and cherished daughter would be
too cruelly felt by her family. The Princess said no more on the subject.

The seclusion of Madame Louise was attributed to various motives; some
were unkind enough to suppose it to have been occasioned by her
mortification at being, in point of rank, the last of the Princesses. I
think I penetrated the true cause.  Her aspirations were lofty; she loved
everything sublime; often while I was reading she would interrupt me to
exclaim, "That is beautiful! that is noble!"  There was but one brilliant
action that she could perform,--to quit a palace for a cell, and rich
garments for a stuff gown.  She achieved it!

I saw Madame Louise two or three times more at the grating.  I was
informed of her death by Louis XVI.  "My Aunt Louise," said he to me,
"your old mistress, is just dead at St.  Denis.  I have this moment
received intelligence of it.  Her piety and resignation were admirable,
and yet the delirium of my good aunt recalled to her recollection that she
was a princess, for her last words were, 'To paradise, haste, haste, full
speed.'  No doubt she thought she was again giving orders to her equerry."

[The retirement of Madame Louise, and her removal from Court, had only
served to give her up entirely to the intrigues of the clergy. She
received incessant visits from bishops, archbishops, and ambitious priests
of every rank; she prevailed on the King, her father, to grant many
ecclesiastical preferments, and probably looked forward to playing an
important part when the King, weary of his licentious course of life,
should begin to think of religion. This, perhaps, might have been the case
had not a sudden and unexpected death put an end to his career.  The
project of Madame Louise fell to the ground in consequence of this event.
She remained in her convent, whence she continued to solicit favours, as I
knew from the complaints of the Queen, who often said to me, "Here is
another letter from my Aunt Louise.  She is certainly the most intriguing
little Carmelite in the kingdom."  The Court went to visit her about three
times a year, and I recollect that the Queen, intending to take her
daughter there, ordered me to get a doll dressed like a Carmelite for her,
that the young Princess might be accustomed, before she went into the
convent, to the habit of her aunt, the nun.--MADAME CAMPAN]

Madame Victoire, good, sweet-tempered, and affable, lived with the most
amiable simplicity in a society wherein she was much caressed; she was
adored by her household.  Without quitting Versailles, without sacrificing
her easy chair, she fulfilled the duties of religion with punctuality,
gave to the poor all she possessed, and strictly observed Lent and the
fasts.  The table of Mesdames acquired a reputation for dishes of
abstinence, spread abroad by the assiduous parasites at that of their
maitre d'hotel.  Madame Victoire was not indifferent to good living, but
she had the most religious scruples respecting dishes of which it was
allowable to partake at penitential times.  I saw her one day exceedingly
tormented by her doubts about a water-fowl, which was often served up to
her during Lent.  The question to be determined was, whether it was
'maigre' or 'gras'.  She consulted a bishop, who happened to be of the
party: the prelate immediately assumed the grave attitude of a judge who
is about to pronounce sentence.  He answered the Princess that, in a
similar case of doubt, it had been resolved that after dressing the bird
it should be pricked over a very cold silver dish; if the gravy of the
animal congealed within a quarter of an hour, the creature was to be
accounted flesh; but if the gravy remained in an oily state, it might be
eaten without scruple.  Madame Victoire immediately made the experiment:
the gravy did not congeal; and this was a source of great joy to the
Princess, who was very partial to that sort of game. The abstinence which
so much occupied the attention of Madame Victoire was so disagreeable to
her, that she listened with impatience for the midnight hour of Holy
Saturday; and then she was immediately supplied with a good dish of fowl
and rice, and sundry other succulent viands. She confessed with such
amiable candour her taste for good cheer and the comforts of life, that it
would have been necessary to be as severe in principle as insensible to
the excellent qualities of the Princess, to consider it a crime in her.

Madame Adelaide had more mind than Madame Victoire; but she was altogether
deficient in that kindness which alone creates affection for the great,
abrupt manners, a harsh voice, and a short way of speaking, rendering her
more than imposing.  She carried the idea of the prerogative of rank to a
high pitch.  One of her chaplains was unlucky enough to say 'Dominus
vobiscum' with rather too easy an air; the Princess rated him soundly for
it after mass, and told him to remember that he was not a bishop, and not
again to think of officiating in the style of a prelate.

Mesdames lived quite separate from the King.  Since the death of Madame de
Pompadour he had lived alone.  The enemies of the Duc de Choiseul did not
know in what department, nor through what channel, they could prepare and
bring about the downfall of the man who stood in their way.  The King was
connected only with women of so low a class that they could not be made
use of for any delicate intrigue; moreover, the Parc-aux-Cerfs was a
seraglio, the beauties of which were often replaced; it was desirable to
give the King a mistress who could form a circle, and in whose
drawing-room the long-standing attachment of the King for the Duc de
Choiseul might be overcome.  It is true that Madame du Barry was selected
from a class sufficiently low.  Her origin, her education, her habits, and
everything about her bore a character of vulgarity and shamelessness; but
by marrying her to a man whose pedigree dated from 1400, it was thought
scandal would be avoided.  The conqueror of Mahon conducted this coarse

[It appeared at this period as if every feeling of dignity was lost. "Few
noblemen of the French Court," says a writer of the time, "preserved
themselves from the general corruption.  The Marechal de Brissac was one
of the latter.  He was bantered on the strictness of his principles of
honour and honesty; it was thought strange that he should be offended by
being thought, like so many others, exposed to hymeneal disgrace.  Louis
XV., who was present, and laughed at his angry fit, said to him: 'Come, M.
de Brissac, don't be angry; 'tis but a trifling evil; take
courage.'--'Sire,' replied M. de Brissac, 'I possess all kinds of courage,
except that which can brave shame.'"--NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

Such a mistress was judiciously selected for the diversion of the latter
years of a man weary of grandeur, fatigued with pleasure, and cloyed with
voluptuousness.  Neither the wit, the talents, the graces of the Marquise
de Pompadour, her beauty, nor even her love for the King, would have had
any further influence over that worn-out being.

He wanted a Roxalana of familiar gaiety, without any respect for the
dignity of the sovereign.  Madame du Barry one day so far forgot propriety
as to desire to be present at a Council of State.  The King was weak
enough to consent to it.  There she remained ridiculously perched upon the
arm of his chair, playing all sorts of childish monkey tricks, calculated
to please an old sultan.

Another time she snatched a packet of sealed letters from the King's hand.
Among them she had observed one from Comte de Broglie.  She told the King
that she knew that rascal Broglie spoke ill of her to him, and that for
once, at least, she would make sure he should read nothing respecting her.
The King wanted to get the packet again; she resisted, and made him run
two or three times round the table, which was in the middle of the
council-chamber, and then, on passing the fireplace, she threw the letters
into the grate, where they were consumed.  The King became furious; he
seized his audacious mistress by the arm, and put her out of the door
without speaking to her.  Madame du Barry thought herself utterly
disgraced; she returned home, and remained two hours, alone, abandoned to
the utmost distress.  The King went to her; she threw herself at his feet,
in tears, and he pardoned her.

Madame la Marechale de Beauvau, the Duchesse de Choiseul, and the Duchesse
de Grammont had renounced the honour of the King's intimate acquaintance
rather than share it with Madame du Barry.  But a few years after the
death of Louis XV., Madame la Marechale being alone at the Val, a house
belonging to M. de Beauvau, Mademoiselle de Dillon saw the Countess's
calash take shelter in the forest of St. Germain during a violent storm.
She invited her in, and the Countess herself related these particulars,
which I had from Madame de Beauvau.

The Comte du Barry, surnamed 'le roue' (the profligate), and Mademoiselle
du Barry advised, or rather prompted, Madame du Barry in furtherance of
the plans of the party of the Marechal de Richelieu and the Duc
d'Aiguillon.  Sometimes they even set her to act in such a way as to have
a useful influence upon great political measures.  Under pretence that the
page who accompanied Charles I. in his flight was a Du Barry or Barrymore,
they persuaded the Comtesse du Barry to buy in London that fine portrait
which we now have in the Museum.  She had the picture placed in her
drawing-room, and when she saw the King hesitating upon the violent
measure of breaking up his Parliament, and forming that which was called
the Maupeou Parliament, she desired him to look at the portrait of a king
who had given way to his Parliament.

[The "Memoirs of General Dumouriez," vol. i., page 142, contain some
curious particulars about Madame Du Barry; and novel details respecting
her will be found at page 243 of "Curiosites Historiques," by J. A. Le Rol
(Paris, Plon, 1864).  His investigations lead to the result that her real
name was Jean Becu, born, 19th August, 1743, at Vaucouleurs, the natural
daughter of Anne Becu, otherwise known as "Quantiny."  Her mother
afterwards married Nicolas Rancon.  Comte Jean du Barry met her among the
demi-monde, and succeeded, about 1767, and by the help of his friend
Label, the valet de chambre of Louis XV., in introducing her to the King
under the name of Mademoiselle l'Ange.  To be formally mistress, a husband
had to be found.  The Comte Jean du Barry, already married himself, found
no difficulty in getting his brother, Comte Guillaume, a poor officer of
the marine troops, to accept the post of husband.  In the
marriage-contract, signed on 23d July, 1768, she was described as the
daughter of Anne Becu and of an imaginary first husband, Sieur Jean
Jacques Gomard de Vaubernier," and three years were taken off her age.
The marriage-contract was so drawn as to leave Madame du Barry entirely
free from all control by her husband.  The marriage was solemnised on 1st
September, 1768, after which the nominal husband returned to Toulouse.
Madame du Barry in later years provided for him; and in 1772, tired of his
applications, she obtained an act of separation from him.  He married
later Jeanne Madeleine Lemoine, and died in 1811.  Madame du Barry took
care of her mother, who figured as Madame de Montrable. In all, she
received from the King, M. Le Roi calculates, about twelve and a half
millions of livres.  On the death of Louis XV. she had to retire first to
the Abbey of Pont-aux-Dames, near Meaux, then she was allowed to go to her
small house at St. Vrain, near Arpajon, and, finally, in 1775, to her
chateau at Louveciennes. Much to her credit be it said, she retained many
of her friends, and was on the most intimate terms till his death with the
Duc de Brissac (Louis Hercule Timoldon de Cosse-Brissac), who was killed
at Versailles in the massacre of the prisoners in September, 1792, leaving
at his death a large legacy to her.  Even the Emperor Joseph visited her.
In 1791 many of her jewels were stolen and taken to England.  This caused
her to make several visits to that country, where she gained her suit.
But these visits, though she took every precaution to legalise them,
ruined her.  Betrayed by her servants, among them by Zamor, the negro
page, she was brought before the Revolutionary tribunal, and was
guillotined on 8th December, 1793, in a frenzy of terror, calling for
mercy and for delay up to the moment when her head fell.]

The men of ambition who were labouring to overthrow the Duc de Choiseul
strengthened themselves by their concentration at the house of the
favourite, and succeeded in their project.  The bigots, who never forgave
that minister the suppression of the Jesuits, and who had always been
hostile to a treaty of alliance with Austria, influenced the minds of
Mesdames.  The Duc de La Vauguyon, the young Dauphin's governor, infected
them with the same prejudices.

Such was the state of the public mind when the young Archduchess Marie
Antoinette arrived at the Court of Versailles, just at the moment when the
party which brought her there was about to be overthrown.

Madame Adelaide openly avowed her dislike to a princess of the House of
Austria; and when M. Campan, my father-in-law, went to receive his orders,
at the moment of setting off with the household of the Dauphiness, to go
and receive the Archduchess upon the frontiers, she said she disapproved
of the marriage of her nephew with an archduchess; and that, if she had
the direction of the matter, she would not send for an Austrian.


daughter of Francois de Lorraine and of Maria Theresa, was born on the 2d
of November, 1755, the day of the earthquake at Lisbon; and this
catastrophe, which appeared to stamp the era of her birth with a fatal
mark, without forming a motive for superstitious fear with the Princess,
nevertheless made an impression upon her mind.  As the Empress already had
a great number of daughters, she ardently desired to have another son, and
playfully wagered against her wish with the Duc de Tarouka, who had
insisted that she would give birth to an archduke.  He lost by the birth
of the Princess, and had executed in porcelain a figure with one knee bent
on the earth, and presenting tablets, upon which the following lines by
Metastasio were engraved:

I lose by your fair daughter's birth
Who prophesied a son;
But if she share her mother's worth,
Why, all the world has won!

The Queen was fond of talking of the first years of her youth.  Her
father, the Emperor Francis, had made a deep impression upon her heart;
she lost him when she was scarcely seven years old.  One of those
circumstances which fix themselves strongly in the memories of children
frequently recalled his last caresses to her.  The Emperor was setting out
for Innspruck; he had already left his palace, when he ordered a gentleman
to fetch the Archduchess Marie Antoinette, and bring her to his carriage.
When she came, he stretched out his arms to receive her, and said, after
having pressed her to his bosom, "I wanted to embrace this child once
more."  The Emperor died suddenly during the journey, and never saw his
beloved daughter again.

The Queen often spoke of her mother, and with profound respect, but she
based all her schemes for the education of her children on the essentials
which had been neglected in her own.  Maria Theresa, who inspired awe by
her great qualities, taught the Archduchesses to fear and respect rather
than to love her; at least I observed this in the Queen's feelings towards
her august mother.  She therefore never desired to place between her own
children and herself that distance which had existed in the imperial
family.  She cited a fatal consequence of it, which had made such a
powerful impression upon her that time had never been able to efface it.

The wife of the Emperor Joseph II. was taken from him in a few days by an
attack of smallpox of the most virulent kind.  Her coffin had recently
been deposited in the vault of the imperial family.  The Archduchess
Josepha, who had been betrothed to the King of Naples, at the instant she
was quitting Vienna received an order from the Empress not to set off
without having offered up a prayer in the vault of her forefathers.  The
Archduchess, persuaded that she should take the disorder to which her
sister-in-law had just fallen a victim, looked upon this order as her
death-warrant.  She loved the young Archduchess Marie Antoinette tenderly;
she took her upon her knees, embraced her with tears, and told her she was
about to leave her, not for Naples, but never to see her again; that she
was going down then to the tomb of her ancestors, and that she should
shortly go again there to remain.  Her anticipation was realised;
confluent smallpox carried her off in a very few days, and her youngest
sister ascended the throne of Naples in her place.

The Empress was too much taken up with high political interests to have it
in her power to devote herself to maternal attentions.  The celebrated
Wansvietten, her physician, went daily, to visit the young imperial
family, and afterwards to Maria Theresa, and gave the most minute details
respecting the health of the Archdukes and Archduchesses, whom she herself
sometimes did not see for eight or ten days at a time.  As soon as the
arrival of a stranger of rank at Vienna was made known, the Empress
brought her family about her, admitted them to her table, and by this
concerted meeting induced a belief that she herself presided over the
education of her children.

The chief governesses, being under no fear of inspection from Maria
Theresa, aimed at making themselves beloved by their pupils by the common
and blamable practice of indulgence, so fatal to the future progress and
happiness of children.  Marie Antoinette was the cause of her governess
being dismissed, through a confession that all her copies and all her
letters were invariably first traced out with pencil; the Comtesse de
Brandes was appointed to succeed her, and fulfilled her duties with great
exactness and talent.  The Queen looked upon having been confided to her
care so late as a misfortune, and always continued upon terms of
friendship with that lady.  The education of Marie Antoinette was
certainly very much neglected.  With the exception of the Italian
language, all that related to belles lettres, and particularly to history,
even that of her own country, was almost entirely unknown to her.  This
was soon found out at the Court of France, and thence arose the generally
received opinion that she was deficient in sense.  It will be seen in the
course of these "Memoirs" whether that opinion was well or ill founded.
The public prints, however, teemed with assertions of the superior talents
of Maria Theresa's children.  They often noticed the answers which the
young Princesses gave in Latin to the harangues addressed to them; they
uttered them, it is true, but without understanding them; they knew not a
single word of that language.

Mention was one day made to the Queen of a drawing made by her, and
presented by the Empress to M. Gerard, chief clerk of Foreign Affairs, on
the occasion of his going to Vienna to draw up the articles for her
marriage-contract.  "I should blush," said she, "if that proof of the
quackery of my education were shown to me.  I do not believe that I ever
put a pencil to that drawing."  However, what had been taught her she knew
perfectly well.  Her facility of learning was inconceivable, and if all
her teachers had been as well informed and as faithful to their duty as
the Abbe Metastasio, who taught her Italian, she would have attained as
great a superiority in the other branches of her education.  The Queen
spoke that language with grace and ease, and translated the most difficult
poets.  She did not write French correctly, but she spoke it with the
greatest fluency, and even affected to say that she had lost German.  In
fact she attempted in 1787 to learn her mother-tongue, and took lessons
assiduously for six weeks; she was obliged to relinquish them, finding all
the difficulties which a Frenchwoman, who should take up the study too
late, would have to encounter.  In the same manner she gave up English,
which I had taught her for some time, and in which she had made rapid
progress.  Music was the accomplishment in which the Queen most delighted.
She did not play well on any instrument, but she had become able to read
at sight like a first-rate professor.  She attained this degree of
perfection in France, this branch of her education having been neglected
at Vienna as much as the rest.  A few days after her arrival at
Versailles, she was introduced to her singing-master, La Garde, author of
the opera of "Egle."  She made a distant appointment with him, needing, as
she said, rest after the fatigues of the journey and the numerous fetes
which had taken place at Versailles; but her motive was her desire to
conceal how ignorant she was of the rudiments of music.  She asked M.
Campan whether his son, who was a good musician, could give her lessons
secretly for three months.  "The Dauphiness," added she, smiling, "must be
careful of the reputation of the Archduchess."  The lessons were given
privately, and at the end of three months of constant application she sent
for M. la Garde, and surprised him by her skill.

The desire to perfect Marie Antoinette in the study of the French language
was probably the motive which determined Maria Theresa to provide for her
as teachers two French actors: Aufresne, for pronunciation and
declamation, and Sainville, for taste in French singing; the latter had
been an officer in France, and bore a bad character.  The choice gave just
umbrage to our Court.  The Marquis de Durfort, at that time ambassador at
Vienna, was ordered to make a representation to the Empress upon her
selection.  The two actors were dismissed, and the Princess required that
an ecclesiastic should be sent to her.  Several eminent ecclesiastics
declined taking upon themselves so delicate an office; others who were
pointed out by Maria Theresa (among the rest the Abbe Grisel) belonged to
parties which sufficed to exclude them.

The Archbishop of Toulouse one day went to the Duc de Choiseul at the
moment when he was much embarrassed upon the subject of this nomination;
he proposed to him the Abby de Vermond, librarian of the College des
Quatre Nations.  The eulogistic manner in which he spoke of his protege
procured the appointment for the latter on that very day; and the
gratitude of the Abbe de Vermond towards the prelate was very fatal to
France, inasmuch as after seventeen years of persevering attempts to bring
him into the ministry, he succeeded at last in getting him named
Comptroller-General and President of the Council.--[Comte de Brienne,
later Archbishop of Sens.]

This Abbe de Vermond directed almost all the Queen's actions.  He
established his influence over her at an age when impressions are most
durable; and it was easy to see that he had taken pains only to render
himself beloved by his pupil, and had troubled himself very little with
the care of instructing her.  He might have even been accused of having,
by a sharp-sighted though culpable policy, purposely left her in
ignorance.  Marie Antoinette spoke the French language with much grace,
but wrote it less perfectly.  The Abbe de Vermond revised all the letters
which she sent to Vienna.  The insupportable folly with which he boasted
of it displayed the character of a man more flattered at being admitted
into her intimate secrets than anxious to fulfil worthily the high office
of her preceptor.

[The Abbe de Vermond encouraged the impatience of etiquette shown by Marie
Antoinette while she was Dauphiness.  When she became Queen he endeavoured
openly to induce her to shake off the restraints she still respected.  If
he chanced to enter her apartment at the time she was preparing to go out,
"For whom," he would say, in a tone of raillery, "is this detachment of
warriors which I found in the court? Is it some general going to inspect
his army?  Does all this military display become a young Queen adored by
her subjects?"  He would call to her mind the simplicity with which Maria
Theresa lived; the visits she made without guards, or even attendants, to
the Prince d'Esterhazy, to the Comte de Palfi, passing whole days far from
the fatiguing ceremonies of the Court.  The Abbe thus artfully flattered
the inclinations of Marie Antoinette, and showed her how she might
disguise, even from herself, her aversion for the ceremonies observed by
the descendants of Louis XIV.-MADAME CAMPAN.]

His pride received its birth at Vienna, where Maria Theresa, as much to
give him authority with the Archduchess as to make herself acquainted with
his character, permitted him to mix every evening with the private circle
of her family, into which the future Dauphiness had been admitted for some
time.  Joseph II., the elder Archduchess, and a few noblemen honoured by
the confidence of Maria Theresa, composed the party; and reflections on
the world, on courts, and the duties of princes were the usual topics of
conversation.  The Abbe de Vermond, in relating these particulars,
confessed the means which he had made use of to gain admission into this
private circle.  The Empress, meeting him at the Archduchess's, asked him
if he had formed any connections in Vienna. "None, Madame," replied he;
"the apartment of the Archduchess and the hotel of the ambassador of
France are the only places which the man honoured with the care of the
Princess's education should frequent." A month afterwards Maria Theresa,
through a habit common enough among sovereigns, asked him the same
question, and received precisely the same answer.  The next day he
received an order to join the imperial family every evening.

It is extremely probable, from the constant and well-known intercourse
between this man and Comte de Mercy, ambassador of the Empire during the
whole reign of Louis XVI., that he was useful to the Court of Vienna, and
that he often caused the Queen to decide on measures, the consequences of
which she did not consider.  Not of high birth, imbued with all the
principles of the modern philosophy, and yet holding to the hierarchy of
the Church more tenaciously than any other ecclesiastic; vain, talkative,
and at the same time cunning and abrupt; very ugly and affecting
singularity; treating the most exalted persons as his equals, sometimes
even as his inferiors, the Abbe de Vermond received ministers and bishops
when in his bath; but said at the same time that Cardinal Dubois was a
fool; that a man such as he, having obtained power, ought to make
cardinals, and refuse to be one himself.

Intoxicated with the reception he had met with at the Court of Vienna, and
having till then seen nothing of high life, the Abbe de Vermond admired no
other customs than those of the imperial family; he ridiculed the
etiquette of the House of Bourbon incessantly; the young Dauphiness was
constantly incited by his sarcasms to get rid of it, and it was he who
first induced her to suppress an infinity of practices of which he could
discern neither the prudence nor the political aim.  Such is the faithful
portrait of that man whom the evil star of Marie Antoinette had reserved
to guide her first steps upon a stage so conspicuous and so full of danger
as that of the Court of Versailles.

It will be thought, perhaps, that I draw the character of the Abbe de
Vermond too unfavourably; but how can I view with any complacency one who,
after having arrogated to himself the office of confidant and sole
counsellor of the Queen, guided her with so little prudence, and gave us
the mortification of seeing that Princess blend, with qualities which
charmed all that surrounded her, errors alike injurious to her glory and
her happiness?

While M. de Choiseul, satisfied with the person whom M. de Brienne had
presented, despatched him to Vienna with every eulogium calculated to
inspire unbounded confidence, the Marquis de Durfort sent off a
hairdresser and a few French fashions; and then it was thought sufficient
pains had been taken to form the character of a princess destined to share
the throne of France.

The marriage of Monseigneur the Dauphin with the Archduchess was
determined upon during the administration of the Duc de Choiseul. The
Marquis de Durfort, who was to succeed the Baron de Breteuil in the
embassy to Vienna, was appointed proxy for the marriage ceremony; but six
months after the Dauphin's marriage the Duc de Choiseul was disgraced, and
Madame de Marsan and Madame de Guemenee, who grew more powerful through
the Duke's disgrace, conferred that embassy, upon Prince Louis de Rohan,
afterwards cardinal and grand almoner.

Hence it will be seen that the Gazette de France is a sufficient answer to
those libellers who dared to assert that the young Archduchess was
acquainted with the Cardinal de Rohan before the period of her marriage. A
worse selection in itself, or one more disagreeable to Maria Theresa, than
that which sent to her, in quality, of ambassador, a man so frivolous and
so immoral as Prince Louis de Rohan, could not have been made.  He
possessed but superficial knowledge upon any subject, and was totally
ignorant of diplomatic affairs.  His reputation had gone before him to
Vienna, and his mission opened under the most unfavourable auspices.  In
want of money, and the House of Rohan being unable to make him any
considerable advances, he obtained from his Court a patent which
authorised him to borrow the sum of 600,000 livres upon his benefices, ran
in debt above a million, and thought to dazzle the city and Court of
Vienna by the most indecent and ill-judged extravagance.  He formed a
suite of eight or ten gentlemen, of names sufficiently high-sounding;
twelve pages equally well born, a crowd of officers and servants, a
company of chamber musicians, etc.  But this idle pomp did not last;
embarrassment and distress soon showed themselves; his people, no longer
receiving pay, in order to make money, abused the privileges of
ambassadors, and smuggled

[I have often heard the Queen say that, at Vienna, in the office of the
secretary of the Prince de Rohan, there were sold in one year more silk
stockings than at Lyons and Paris together.--MADAME CAMPAN.]

with so much effrontery that Maria Theresa, to put a stop to it without
offending the Court of France, was compelled to suppress the privileges in
this respect of all the diplomatic bodies, a step which rendered the
person and conduct of Prince Louis odious in every foreign Court.  He
seldom obtained private audiences from the Empress, who did not esteem
him, and who expressed herself without reserve upon his conduct both as a
bishop and as an ambassador.  He thought to obtain favour by assisting to
effect the marriage of the Archduchess Elizabeth, the elder sister of
Marie Antoinette, with Louis XV., an affair which was awkwardly
undertaken, and of which Madame du Barry had no difficulty in causing the
failure.  I have deemed it my duty to omit no particular of the moral and
political character of a man whose existence was subsequently so injurious
to the reputation of Marie Antoinette.


A superb pavilion had been prepared upon the frontier near Kehl.  It
consisted of a vast salon, connected with two apartments, one of which was
assigned to the lords and ladies of the Court of Vienna, and the other to
the suite of the Dauphiness, composed of the Comtesse de Noailles, her
lady of honour; the Duchesse de Cosse, her dame d'atours; four ladies of
the palace; the Comte de Saulx-Tavannes, chevalier d'honneur; the Comte de
Tesse, first equerry; the Bishop of Chartres, first almoner; the officers
of the Body Guard, and the equerries.

When the Dauphiness had been entirely undressed, in order that she might
retain nothing belonging to a foreign Court (an etiquette always observed
on such an occasion), the doors were opened; the young Princess came
forward, looking round for the Comtesse de Noailles; then, rushing into
her arms, she implored her, with tears in her eyes, and with heartfelt
sincerity, to be her guide and support.

While doing justice to the virtues of the Comtesse de Noailles, those
sincerely attached to the Queen have always considered it as one of her
earliest misfortunes not to have found, in the person of her adviser, a
woman indulgent, enlightened, and administering good advice with that
amiability which disposes young persons to follow it.  The Comtesse de
Noailles had nothing agreeable in her appearance; her demeanour was stiff
and her mien severe.  She was perfect mistress of etiquette; but she
wearied the young Princess with it, without making her sensible of its
importance.  It would have been sufficient to represent to the Dauphiness
that in France her dignity depended much upon customs not necessary at
Vienna to secure the respect and love of the good and submissive Austrians
for the imperial family; but the Dauphiness was perpetually tormented by
the remonstrances of the Comtesse de Noailles, and at the same time was
led by the Abbe de Vermond to ridicule both the lessons upon etiquette and
her who gave them.  She preferred raillery to argument, and nicknamed the
Comtesse de Noailles Madame l'Etiquette.

The fetes which were given at Versailles on the marriage of the Dauphin
were very splendid.  The Dauphiness arrived there at the hour for her
toilet, having slept at La Muette, where Louis XV. had been to receive
her; and where that Prince, blinded by a feeling unworthy of a sovereign
and the father of a family, caused the young Princess, the royal family,
and the ladies of the Court, to sit down to supper with Madame du Barry.

The Dauphiness was hurt at this conduct; she spoke of it openly enough to
those with whom she was intimate, but she knew how to conceal her
dissatisfaction in public, and her behaviour showed no signs of it.

She was received at Versailles in an apartment on the ground floor, under
that of the late Queen, which was not ready for her until six months after
her marriage.

The Dauphiness, then fifteen years of age, beaming with freshness,
appeared to all eyes more than beautiful.  Her walk partook at once of the
dignity of the Princesses of her house, and of the grace of the French;
her eyes were mild, her smile amiable.  When she went to chapel, as soon
as she had taken the first few steps in the long gallery, she discerned,
all the way to its extremity, those persons whom she ought to salute with
the consideration due to their rank; those on whom she should bestow an
inclination of the head; and lastly, those who were to be satisfied with a
smile, calculated to console them for not being entitled to greater

Louis XV. was enchanted with the young Dauphiness; all his conversation
was about her graces, her vivacity, and the aptness of her repartees. She
was yet more successful with the royal family when they beheld her shorn
of the splendour of the diamonds with which she had been adorned during
the first days of her marriage.  When clothed in a light dress of gauze or
taffety she was compared to the Venus dei Medici, and the Atalanta of the
Marly Gardens.  Poets sang her charms; painters attempted to copy her
features.  One artist's fancy led him to place the portrait of Marie
Antoinette in the heart of a full-blown rose.  His ingenious idea was
rewarded by Louis XV.

The King continued to talk only of the Dauphiness; and Madame du Barry
ill-naturedly endeavoured to damp his enthusiasm.  Whenever Marie
Antoinette was the topic, she pointed out the irregularity of her
features, criticised the 'bons mots' quoted as hers, and rallied the King
upon his prepossession in her favour.  Madame du Barry was affronted at
not receiving from the Dauphiness those attentions to which she thought
herself entitled; she did not conceal her vexation from the King; she was
afraid that the grace and cheerfulness of the young Princess would make
the domestic circle of the royal family more agreeable to the old
sovereign, and that he would escape her chains; at the same time, hatred
to the Choiseul party contributed powerfully to excite the enmity of the

The fall of that minister took place in November, 1770, six months after
his long influence in the Council had brought about the alliance with the
House of Austria and the arrival of Marie Antoinette at the Court of
France.  The Princess, young, frank, volatile, and inexperienced, found
herself without any other guide than the Abbe de Vermond, in a Court ruled
by the enemy of the minister who had brought her there, and in the midst
of people who hated Austria, and detested any alliance with the imperial

The Duc d'Aiguillon, the Duc de La Vauguyon, the Marechal de Richelieu,
the Rohans, and other considerable families, who had made use of Madame du
Barry to overthrow the Duke, could not flatter themselves, notwithstanding
their powerful intrigues, with a hope of being able to break off an
alliance solemnly announced, and involving such high political interests.
They therefore changed their mode of attack, and it will be seen how the
conduct of the Dauphin served as a basis for their hopes.

The Dauphiness continually gave proofs of both sense and feeling.
Sometimes she even suffered herself to be carried away by those transports
of compassionate kindness which are not to be controlled by the customs
which rank establishes.

In consequence of the fire in the Place Louis XV., which occurred at the
time of the nuptial entertainments, the Dauphin and Dauphiness sent their,
whole income for the year to the relief of the unfortunate families who
lost their relatives on that disastrous day.

This was one of those ostentatious acts of generosity which are dictated
by the policy of princes, at least as much as by their compassion; but the
grief of Marie Antoinette was profound, and lasted several days; nothing
could console her for the loss of so many innocent victims; she spoke of
it, weeping, to her ladies, one of whom, thinking, no doubt, to divert her
mind, told her that a great number of thieves had been found among the
bodies, and that their pockets were filled with watches and other
valuables.  "They have at least been well punished," added the person who
related these particulars.  "Oh, no, no, madame!" replied the Dauphiness;
"they died by the side of honest people."

The Dauphiness had brought from Vienna a considerable number of white
diamonds; the King added to them the gift of the diamonds and pearls of
the late Dauphiness, and also put into her hands a collar of pearls, of a
single row, the smallest of which was as large as a filbert, and which had
been brought into France by Anne of Austria, and appropriated by that
Princess to the use of the Queens and Dauphinesses of France.

The three Princesses, daughters of Louis XV., joined in making her
magnificent presents.  Madame Adelaide at the same time gave the young
Princess a key to the private corridors of the Chateau, by means of which,
without any suite, and without being perceived, she could get to the
apartments of her aunts, and see them in private.  The Dauphiness, on
receiving the key, told them, with infinite grace, that if they had meant
to make her appreciate the superb presents they were kind enough to bestow
upon her, they should not at the same time have offered her one of such
inestimable value; since to that key she should be indebted for an
intimacy and advice unspeakably precious at her age.  She did, indeed,
make use of it very frequently; but Madame Victoire alone permitted her,
so long as she continued Dauphiness, to visit her familiarly.  Madame
Adelaide could not overcome her prejudices against Austrian princesses,
and was wearied with the somewhat petulant gaiety of the Dauphiness.
Madame Victoire was concerned at this, feeling that their society and
counsel would have been highly useful to a young person otherwise likely
to meet with none but sycophants.  She endeavoured, therefore, to induce
her to take pleasure in the society of the Marquise de Durfort, her lady
of honour and favourite.  Several agreeable entertainments took place at
the house of this lady, but the Comtesse de Noailles and the Abbe de
Vermond soon opposed these meetings.

A circumstance which happened in hunting, near the village of Acheres, in
the forest of Fontainebleau, afforded the young Princess an opportunity of
displaying her respect for old age, and her compassion for misfortune.  An
aged peasant was wounded by the stag; the Dauphiness jumped out of her
calash, placed the peasant, with his wife and children, in it, had the
family taken back to their cottage, and bestowed upon them every attention
and every necessary assistance.  Her heart was always open to the feelings
of compassion, and the recollection of her rank never restrained her
sensibility.  Several persons in her service entered her room one evening,
expecting to find nobody there but the officer in waiting; they perceived
the young Princess seated by the side of this man, who was advanced in
years; she had placed near him a bowl full of water, was stanching the
blood which issued from a wound he had received in his hand with her
handkerchief, which she had torn up to bind it, and was fulfilling towards
him all the duties of a pious sister of charity. The old man, affected
even to tears, out of respect allowed his august mistress to act as she
thought proper.  He had hurt himself in endeavouring to move a rather
heavy piece of furniture at the Princess's request.

In the month of July, 1770, an unfortunate occurrence that took place in a
family which the Dauphiness honoured with her favour contributed again to
show not only her sensibility but also the benevolence of her disposition.
One of her women in waiting had a son who was an officer in the gens
d'armes of the guard; this young man thought himself affronted by a clerk
in the War Department, and imprudently sent him a challenge; he killed his
adversary in the forest of Compiegne.  The family of the young man who was
killed, being in possession of the challenge, demanded justice.  The King,
distressed on account of several duels which had recently taken place, had
unfortunately declared that he would show no mercy on the first event of
that kind which could be proved; the culprit was therefore arrested.  His
mother, in the deepest grief, hastened to throw herself at the feet of the
Dauphiness, the Dauphin, and the young Princesses.  After an hour's
supplication they obtained from the King the favour so much desired.  On
the next day a lady of rank, while congratulating the Dauphiness, had the
malice to add that the mother had neglected no means of success on the
occasion, having solicited not only the royal family, but even Madame du
Barry.  The Dauphiness replied that the fact justified the favourable
opinion she had formed of the worthy woman; that the heart of a mother
should hesitate at nothing for the salvation of her son; and that in her
place, if she had thought it would be serviceable, she would have thrown
herself at the feet of Zamor.

[A little Indian who carried the Comtesse du Barry's train.  Louis XV.
often amused himself with the little marmoset, and jestingly made him
Governor of Louveciennes; he received an annual income of 3,000 francs.]

Some time after the marriage entertainments the Dauphiness made her entry
into Paris, and was received with transports of joy.  After dining in the
King's apartment at the Tuileries, she was forced, by the reiterated
shouts of the multitude, with whom the garden was filled, to present
herself upon the balcony fronting the principal walk.  On seeing such a
crowd of heads with their eyes fixed upon her, she exclaimed, "Grand-Dieu!
what a concourse!"--"Madame," said the old Duc de Brissac, the Governor of
Paris, "I may tell you, without fear of offending the Dauphin, that they
are so many lovers."  2 The Dauphin took no umbrage at either acclamations
or marks of homage of which the Dauphiness was the object.  The most
mortifying indifference, a coldness which frequently degenerated into
rudeness, were the sole feelings which the young Prince then manifested
towards her.  Not all her charms could gain even upon his senses.  This
estrangement, which lasted a long time, was said to be the work of the Duc
de La Vauguyon.

The Dauphiness, in fact, had no sincere friends at Court except the Duc de
Choiseul and his party.  Will it be credited that the plans laid against
Marie Antoinette went so far as divorce?  I have been assured of it by
persons holding high situations at Court, and many circumstances tend to
confirm the opinion.  On the journey to Fontainebleau, in the year of the
marriage, the inspectors of public buildings were gained over to manage so
that the apartment intended for the Dauphin, communicating with that of
the Dauphiness, should not be finished, and a room at the extremity of the
building was temporarily assigned to him.  The Dauphiness, aware that this
was the result of intrigue, had the courage to complain of it to Louis
XV., who, after severe reprimands, gave orders so positive that within the
week the apartment was ready.  Every method was tried to continue or
augment the indifference which the Dauphin long manifested towards his
youthful spouse.  She was deeply hurt at it, but she never suffered
herself to utter the slightest complaint on the subject.  Inattention to,
even contempt for, the charms which she heard extolled on all sides,
nothing induced her to break silence; and some tears, which would
involuntarily burst from her eyes, were the sole symptoms of her inward
sufferings discoverable by those in her service.

Once only, when tired out with the misplaced remonstrances of an old lady
attached to her person, who wished to dissuade her from riding on
horseback, under the impression that it would prevent her producing heirs
to the crown, "Mademoiselle," said she, "in God's name, leave me in peace;
be assured that I can put no heir in danger."

The Dauphiness found at the Court of Louis XV., besides the three
Princesses, the King's daughters, the Princes also, brothers of the
Dauphin, who were receiving their education, and Clotilde and Elisabeth,
still in the care of Madame de Marsan, governess of the children of
France.  The elder of the two latter Princesses, in 1777, married the
Prince of Piedmont, afterwards King of Sardinia.  This Princess was in her
infancy, so extremely large that the people nicknamed her 'gros Madame.'

[Madame Clotilde of France, a sister of the King, was extraordinarily fat
for her height and age.  One of her playfellows, having been indiscreet
enough even in her presence to make use of the nickname given to her,
received a severe reprimand from the Comtesse de Marsan, who hinted to her
that she would do well in not making her appearance again before the
Princess.  Madame Clotilde sent for her the next day: "My governess," said
she, "has done her duty, and I will do mine; come and see me as usual, and
think no more of a piece of inadvertence, which I myself have forgotten."
This Princess, so heavy in body, possessed the most agreeable and playful
wit.  Her affability and grace rendered her dear to all who came near

The second Princess was the pious Elisabeth, the victim of her respect and
tender attachment for the King, her brother.  She was still scarcely out
of her leading-strings at the period of the Dauphin's marriage.  The
Dauphiness showed her marked preference.  The governess, who sought to
advance the Princess to whom nature had been least favourable, was
offended at the Dauphiness's partiality for Madame Elisabeth, and by her
injudicious complaints weakened the friendship which yet subsisted between
Madame Clotilde and Marie Antoinette.  There even arose some degree of
rivalry on the subject of education; and that which the Empress Maria
Theresa bestowed on her daughters was talked of openly and unfavourably
enough.  The Abbe de Vermond thought himself affronted, took a part in the
quarrel, and added his complaints and jokes to those of the Dauphiness on
the criticisms of the governess; he even indulged himself in his turn in
reflections on the tuition of Madame Clotilde. Everything becomes known at
Court.  Madame de Marsan was informed of all that had been said in the
Dauphiness's circle, and was very angry with her on account of it.

From that moment a centre of intrigue, or rather gossip, against Marie
Antoinette was established round Madame de Marsan's fireside; her most
trifling actions were there construed ill; her gaiety, and the harmless
amusements in which she sometimes indulged in her own apartments with the
more youthful ladies of her train, and even with the women in her service,
were stigmatised as criminal.  Prince Louis de Rohan, sent through the
influence of this clique ambassador to Vienna, was the echo there of these
unmerited comments, and threw himself into a series of culpable
accusations which he proffered under the guise of zeal.  He ceaselessly
represented the young Dauphiness as alienating all hearts by levities
unsuitable to the dignity of the French Court.  The Princess frequently
received from the Court of Vienna remonstrances, of the origin of which
she could not long remain in ignorance.  From this period must be dated
that aversion which she never ceased to manifest for the Prince de Rohan.

About the same time the Dauphiness received information of a letter
written by Prince Louis to the Duc d'Aiguillon, in which the ambassador
expressed himself in very free language respecting the intentions of Maria
Theresa with relation to the partition of Poland.  This letter of Prince
Louis had been read at the Comtesse du Barry's; the levity of the
ambassador's correspondence wounded the feelings and the dignity of the
Dauphiness at Versailles, while at Vienna the representations which he
made to Maria Theresa against the young Princess terminated in rendering
the motives of his incessant complaints suspected by the Empress.

Maria Theresa at length determined on sending her private secretary, Baron
de Neni, to Versailles, with directions to observe the conduct of the
Dauphiness with attention, and form a just estimate of the opinion of the
Court and of Paris with regard to that Princess.  The Baron de Neni, after
having devoted sufficient time and intelligence to the subject, undeceived
his sovereign as to the exaggerations of the French ambassador; and the
Empress had no difficulty in detecting, among the calumnies which he had
conveyed to her under the specious excuse of anxiety for her august
daughter, proofs of the enmity of a, party which had never approved of the
alliance of the House of Bourbon with her own.

At this period the Dauphiness, though unable to obtain any influence over
the heart of her husband, dreading Louis XV., and justly mistrusting
everything connected with Madame du Barry and the Duc d'Aiguillon, had not
deserved the slightest reproach for that sort of levity which hatred and
her misfortunes afterwards construed into crime.  The Empress, convinced
of the innocence of Marie Antoinette, directed the Baron de Neni to
solicit the recall of the Prince de Rohan, and to inform the Minister for
Foreign Affairs of all the motives which made her require it; but the
House of Rohan interposed between its protege and the Austrian envoy, and
an evasive answer merely was given.

It was not until two months after the death of Louis XV.  that the Court
of Vienna obtained his recall.  The avowed grounds for requiring it were,
first, the public gallantries of Prince Louis with some ladies of the
Court and others; secondly, his surliness and haughtiness towards other
foreign ministers, which would have had more serious consequences,
especially with the ministers of England and Denmark, if the Empress
herself had not interfered; thirdly, his contempt for religion in a
country where it was particularly necessary to show respect for it. He had
been seen frequently to dress himself in clothes of different colours,
assuming the hunting uniforms of various noblemen whom he visited, with so
much audacity that one day in particular, during the Fete-Dieu, he and all
his legation, in green uniforms laced with gold, broke through a
procession which impeded them, in order to make their way to a hunting
party at the Prince de Paar's; and fourthly, the immense debts contracted
by him and his people, which were tardily and only in part discharged.

The succeeding marriages of the Comte de Provence and the Comte d'Artois
with two daughters of the King of Sardinia procured society for the
Dauphiness more suitable to her age, and altered her mode of life.

A pair of tolerably fine eyes drew forth, in favour of the Comtesse de
Provence, upon her arrival at Versailles, the only praises which could
reasonably be bestowed upon her.  The Comtesse d'Artois, though not
deformed, was very small; she had a fine complexion; her face, tolerably
pleasing, was not remarkable for anything except the extreme length of the
nose.  But being good and generous, she was beloved by those about her,
and even possessed some influence so long as she was the only Princess who
had produced heirs to the crown.

From this time the closest intimacy subsisted between the three young
families.  They took their meals together, except on those days when they
dined in public.  This manner of living en famille continued until the
Queen sometimes indulged herself in going to dine with the Duchesse de
Polignac, when she was governess; but the evening meetings at supper were
never interrupted; they took place at the house of the Comtesse de
Provence.  Madame Elisabeth made one of the party when she had finished
her education, and sometimes Mesdames, the King's aunts, were invited. The
custom, which had no precedent at Court, was the work of Marie Antoinette,
and she maintained it with the utmost perseverance.

The Court of Versailles saw no change in point of etiquette during the
reign of Louis XV.  Play took place at the house of the Dauphiness, as
being the first lady of the State.  It had, from the death of Queen Maria
Leczinska to the marriage of the Dauphin, been held at the abode of Madame
Adelade.  This removal, the result of an order of precedence not to be
violated, was not the less displeasing to Madame Adelaide, who established
a separate party for play in her apartments, and scarcely ever went to
that which not only the Court in general, but also the royal family, were
expected to attend.  The full-dress visits to the King on his 'debotter'
were continued.  High mass was attended daily.  The airings of the
Princesses were nothing more than rapid races in berlins, during which
they were accompanied by Body Guards, equerries, and pages on horseback.
They galloped for some leagues from Versailles.  Calashes were used only
in hunting.

The young Princesses were desirous to infuse animation into their circle
of associates by something useful as well as pleasant.  They adopted the
plan of learning and performing all the best plays of the French theatre.
The Dauphin was the only spectator.  The three Princesses, the two
brothers of the King, and Messieurs Campan, father and son, were the sole
performers, but they endeavoured to keep this amusement as secret as an
affair of State; they dreaded the censure of Mesdames, and they had no
doubt that Louis XV. would forbid such pastimes if he knew of them.  They
selected for their performance a cabinet in the entresol which nobody had
occasion to enter.

A kind of proscenium, which could be taken down and shut up in a closet,
formed the whole theatre.  The Comte de Provence always knew his part with
imperturbable accuracy; the Comte d'Artois knew his tolerably well, and
recited elegantly; the Princesses acted badly.  The Dauphiness acquitted
herself in some characters with discrimination and feeling. The chief
pleasure of this amusement consisted in all the costumes being elegant and
accurate.  The Dauphin entered into the spirit of these diversions, and
laughed heartily at the comic characters as they came on the scene; from
these amusements may be dated his discontinuance of the timid manner of
his youth, and his taking pleasure in the society of the Dauphiness.

It was not till a long time afterwards that I learnt these particulars, M.
Campan having kept the secret; but an unforeseen event had well-nigh
exposed the whole mystery.  One day the Queen desired M. Campan to go down
into her closet to fetch something that she had forgotten; he was dressed
for the character of Crispin, and was rouged.  A private staircase led
direct to the entresol through the dressing-room.  M. Campan fancied he
heard some noise, and remained still, behind the door, which was shut.  A
servant belonging to the wardrobe, who was, in fact, on the staircase, had
also heard some noise, and, either from fear or curiosity, he suddenly
opened the door; the figure of Crispin frightened him so that he fell down
backwards, shouting with his might, "Help! help!"  My father-in-law raised
him up, made him recognise his voice, and laid upon him an injunction of
silence as to what he had seen. He felt himself, however, bound to inform
the Dauphiness of what had happened, and she was afraid that a similar
occurrence might betray their amusements.  They were therefore

The Princess occupied her time in her own apartment in the study of music
and the parts in plays which she had to learn; the latter exercise, at
least, produced the beneficial effect of strengthening her memory and
familiarising her with the French language.

While Louis XV.  reigned, the enemies of Marie Antoinette made no attempt
to change public opinion with regard to her.  She was always popular with
the French people in general, and particularly with the inhabitants of
Paris, who went on every opportunity to Versailles, the majority of them
attracted solely by the pleasure of seeing her.  The courtiers did not
fully enter into the popular enthusiasm which the Dauphiness had inspired;
the disgrace of the Duc de Choiseul had removed her real support from her;
and the party which had the ascendency at Court since the exile of that
minister was, politically, as much opposed to her family as to herself.
The Dauphiness was therefore surrounded by enemies at Versailles.

Nevertheless everybody appeared outwardly desirous to please her; for the
age of Louis XV., and the apathetic character of the Dauphin, sufficiently
warned courtiers of the important part reserved for the Princess during
the following reign, in case the Dauphin should become attached to her.


About the beginning of May, 1774, Louis XV., the strength of whose
constitution had promised a long enough life, was attacked by confluent
smallpox of the worst kind.  Mesdames at this juncture inspired the
Dauphiness with a feeling of respect and attachment, of which she gave
them repeated proofs when she ascended the throne.  In fact, nothing was
more admirable nor more affecting than the courage with which they braved
that most horrible disease.  The air of the palace was infected; more than
fifty persons took the smallpox, in consequence of having merely loitered
in the galleries of Versailles, and ten died of it.

The end of the monarch was approaching.  His reign, peaceful in general,
had inherited strength from the power of his predecessor; on the other
hand, his own weakness had been preparing misfortune for whoever should
reign after him.  The scene was about to change; hope, ambition, joy,
grief, and all those feelings which variously affected the hearts of the
courtiers, sought in vain to disguise themselves under a calm exterior. It
was easy to detect the different motives which induced them every moment
to repeat to every one the question: "How is the King?"  At length, on the
10th of May, 1774, the mortal career of Louis XV. terminated.

[Christopher de Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris, the ardent apostle of
frequent communion, arrived at Paris with the intention of soliciting, in
public, the administration of the sacrament to the King, and secretly
retarding it as much as possible.  The ceremony could not take place
without the previous and public expulsion of the, concubine, according to
the canons of the Church and the Jesuitical party, of which Christopher
was the leader.  This party, which had made use of Madame du Barry to
suppress the Parliaments, to support the Duc d'Aiguillon, and ruin the
Choiseul faction, could not willingly consent to disgrace her canonically.
The Archbishop went into the King's bedchamber, and found there Madame
Adelaide, the Duc d'Aumont, the Bishop of Senlis, and Richelieu, in whose
presence he resolved not to say one word about confession for that day.
This reticence so encouraged Louis XV. that, on the Archbishop
withdrawing, he had Madame du Barry called in, and kissed her beautiful
hands again with his wonted affection.  On the 2d of May the King found
himself a little better.  Madame du Barry had brought him two confidential
physicians, Lorry and Borden, who were enjoined to conceal the nature of
his sickness from him in order to keep off the priests and save her from a
humiliating dismissal.  The King's improvement allowed Madame du Barry to
divert him by her usual playfulness and conversation.  But La Martiniere,
who was of the Choiseul party, and to whom they durst not refuse his right
of entry, did not conceal from the King either the nature or the danger of
his sickness.  The King then sent for Madame du Barry, and said to her:
"My love, I have got the smallpox, and my illness is very dangerous on
account of my age and other disorders.  I ought not to forget that I am
the most Christian King, and the eldest son of the Church.  I am
sixty-four; the time is perhaps approaching when we must separate.  I wish
to prevent a scene like that of Metz." (when, in 1744, he had dismissed
the Duchesse de Chateauroux.) "Apprise the Duc d'Aiguillon of what I say,
that he may arrange with you if my sickness grows worse; so that we may
part without any publicity."  The Jansenists and the Duc de Choiseurs
party publicly said that M. d'Aiguillon and the Archbishop had resolved to
let the King die without receiving the sacrament rather than disturb
Madame du Barry.  Annoyed by their remarks, Beaumont determined to go and
reside at the Lazaristes, his house at Versailles, to avail himself of the
King's last moments, and sacrifice Madame du Barry when the monarch's
condition should become desperate.  He arrived on the 3d of May, but did
not see the King.  Under existing circumstances, his object was to humble
the enemies of his party and to support the favourite who had assisted to
overcome them.

A contrary zeal animated the Bishop of Carcassonne, who urged that "the
King ought to receive the sacrament; and by expelling the concubine to
give an example of repentance to France and Christian Europe, which he had
scandalised."--" By what right," said Cardinal de la Roche-Aymon, a
complaisant courtier with whom the Bishop was at daggers drawn, "do you
instruct me?"--"There is my authority," replied the Bishop, holding up his
pectoral cross.  "Learn, monseigneur, to respect it, and do not suffer
your King to die without the sacraments of the Church, of which he is the
eldest son."  The Duc d'Aiguillon and the Archbishop, who witnessed the
discussion, put an end to it by asking for the King's orders relative to
Madame du Barry.  "She must be taken quietly to your seat at Ruelle," said
the King; "I shall be grateful for the care Madame d'Aiguillon may take of

Madame du Barry saw the King again for a moment on the evening of the 4th,
and promised to return to Court upon his recovery.  She was scarcely gone
when the King asked for her.  "She is gone," was the answer.  From that
moment the disorder gained ground; he thought himself a dead man, without
the possibility of recovery.  The 5th and 6th passed without a word of
confession, viaticum, or extreme unction.  The Duc de Fronsac threatened
to throw the Cure of Versailles out of the window if he dared to mention
them, but on the 7th, at three in the morning, the King imperatively
called for the Abbe Maudous.  Confession lasted seventeen minutes.  The
Ducs de la Vrillilere and d'Aiguillon wished to delay the viaticum; but La
Martiniere said to the King: "Sire, I have seen your Majesty in very
trying circumstances; but never admired you as I have done to-day. No
doubt your Majesty will immediately finish what you have so well begun."
The King had his confessor Maudoua called back; this was a poor priest who
had been placed about him for some years before because he was old and
blind.  He gave him absolution.

The formal renunciation desired by the Choiseul party, in order to humble
and annihilate Madame du Barry with solemnity, was no more mentioned.  The
grand almoner, in concert with the Archbishop, composed this formula,
pronounced in presence of the viaticum: "Although the King owes an account
of his conduct to none but God, he declares his repentance at having
scandalised his subjects, and is desirous to live solely for the
maintenance of religion and the happiness of his people."

On the 8th and 9th the disorder grew worse; and the King beheld the whole
surface of his body coming off piecemeal and corrupted. Deserted by his
friends and by that crowd of courtiers which had so long cringed before
him, his only consolation was the piety of his daughters.--SOULAVIE,
"Historical and Political Memoirs," vol. i.]

The Comtesse du Barry had, a few days previously, withdrawn to Ruelle, to
the Duc d'Aiguillon's.  Twelve or fifteen persons belonging to the Court
thought it their duty to visit her there; their liveries were observed,
and these visits were for a long time grounds for disfavour.  More than
six years after the King's death one of these persons being spoken of in
the circle of the royal family, I heard it remarked, "That was one of the
fifteen Ruelle carriages."

The whole Court went to the Chateau; the oiel-de boeuf was filled with
courtiers, and the palace with the inquisitive.  The Dauphin had settled
that he would depart with the royal family the moment the King should
breathe his last sigh.  But on such an occasion decency forbade that
positive orders for departure should be passed from mouth to mouth.  The
heads of the stables, therefore, agreed with the people who were in the
King's room, that the latter should place a lighted taper near a window,
and that at the instant of the King's decease one of them should
extinguish it.

The taper was extinguished.  On this signal the Body Guards, pages, and
equerries mounted on horseback, and all was ready for setting off.  The
Dauphin was with the Dauphiness.  They were expecting together the
intelligence of the death of Louis XV.  A dreadful noise, absolutely like
thunder, was heard in the outer apartment; it was the crowd of courtiers
who were deserting the dead sovereign's antechamber, to come and do homage
to the new power of Louis XVI.  This extraordinary tumult informed Marie
Antoinette and her husband that they were called to the throne; and, by a
spontaneous movement, which deeply affected those around them, they threw
themselves on their knees; both, pouring forth a flood of tears,
exclaimed: "O God! guide us, protect us; we are too young to reign."

The Comtesse de Noailles entered, and was the first to salute Marie
Antoinette as Queen of France.  She requested their Majesties to
condescend to quit the inner apartments for the grand salon, to receive
the Princes and all the great officers, who were desirous to do homage to
their new sovereigns.  Marie Antoinette received these first visits
leaning upon her husband, with her handkerchief held to her eyes; the
carriages drove up, the guards and equerries were on horseback.  The
Chateau was deserted; every one hastened to fly from contagion, which
there was no longer any inducement to brave.

On leaving the chamber of Louis XV., the Duc de Villequier, first
gentleman of the bedchamber for the year, ordered M. Andouille, the King's
chief surgeon, to open the body and embalm it.  The chief surgeon would
inevitably have died in consequence.  "I am ready," replied Andouille;
"but while I operate you shall hold the head; your office imposes this
duty upon you."  The Duke went off without saying a word, and the corpse
was neither opened nor embalmed.  A few under-servants and workmen
continued with the pestiferous remains, and paid the last duty to their
master; the surgeons directed that spirits of wine should be poured into
the coffin.

The entire Court set off for Choisy at four o'clock; Mesdames the King's
aunts in their private carriage, and the Princesses under tuition with the
Comtesse de Marsan and the under-governesses.  The King, the Queen,
Monsieur, the King's brother, Madame, and the Comte and Comtesse d'Artois
went in the same carriage.  The solemn scene that had just passed before
their eyes, the multiplied ideas offered to their imaginations by that
which was just opening, had naturally inclined them to grief and
reflection; but, by the Queen's own confession, this inclination, little
suited to their age, wholly left them before they had gone half their
journey; a word, drolly mangled by the Comtesse d'Artois, occasioned a
general burst of laughter; and from that moment they dried their tears.

The communication between Choisy and Paris was incessant; never was a
Court seen in greater agitation.  What influence will the royal aunts
have,--and the Queen?  What fate is reserved for the Comtesse du Barry?
Whom will the young King choose for his ministers?  All these questions
were answered in a few days.  It was determined that the King's youth
required a confidential person near him; and that there should be a prime
minister.  All eyes were turned upon De Machault and De Maurepas, both of
them much advanced in years.  The first had retired to his estate near
Paris; and the second to Pont Chartrain, to which place he had long been
exiled.  The letter recalling M. de Machault was written, when Madame
Adelaide obtained the preference of that important appointment for M. de
Maurepas.  The page to whose care the first letter had been actually
consigned was recalled.

The Duc d'Aiguillon had been too openly known as the private friend of the
King's mistress; he was dismissed.  M. de Vergennes, at that time
ambassador of France at Stockholm, was appointed Minister for Foreign
Affairs; Comte du Muy, the intimate friend of the Dauphin, the father of
Louis XVI.[?? D.W.], obtained the War Department.  The Abbe Terray in vain
said, and wrote, that he had boldly done all possible injury to the
creditors of the State during the reign of the late King; that order was
restored in the finances; that nothing but what was beneficial to all
parties remained to be done; and that the new Court was about to enjoy the
advantages of the regenerating part of his plan of finance; all these
reasons, set forth in five or six memorials, which he sent in succession
to the King and Queen, did not avail to keep him in office.  His talents
were admitted, but the odium which his operations had necessarily brought
upon his character, combined with the immorality of his private life,
forbade his further stay at Court; he was succeeded by M. de Clugny.  De
Maupeou, the chancellor, was exiled; this caused universal joy.  Lastly,
the reassembling of the Parliaments produced the strongest sensation;
Paris was in a delirium of joy, and not more than one person in a hundred
foresaw that the spirit of the ancient magistracy would be still the same;
and that in a short time it would make new attempts upon the royal
authority.  Madame du Barry had been exiled to Pont-aux-Dames.  This was a
measure rather of necessity than of severity; a short period of compulsory
retreat was requisite in order completely to break off her connections
with State affairs.  The possession of Louveciennes and a considerable
pension were continued to her.

[The Comtesse du Barry never forgot the mild treatment she experienced
from the Court of Louis XVI.; during the most violent convulsions of the
Revolution she signified to the Queen that there was no one in France more
grieved at the sufferings of her sovereign than herself; that the honour
she had for years enjoyed, of living near the throne, and the unbounded
kindness of the King and Queen, had so sincerely attached her to the cause
of royalty that she entreated the Queen to honour her by disposing of all
she possessed. Though they did not accept her offer, their Majesties were
affected at her gratitude.  The Comtesse du Barry was, as is well known,
one of the victims of the Revolution.  She betrayed at the last great
weakness, and the most ardent desire to live.  She was the only woman who
wept upon the scaffold and implored for mercy.  Her beauty and tears made
an impression on the populace, and the execution was hurried to a
conclusion.--MADAME CAMPAN.]

Everybody expected the recall of M. de Choiseul; the regret occasioned by
his absence among the numerous friends whom he had left at Court, the
attachment of the young Princess who was indebted to him for her elevation
to the throne of France, and all concurring circumstances, seemed to
foretell his return; the Queen earnestly entreated it of the King, but she
met with an insurmountable and unforeseen obstacle.  The King, it is said,
had imbibed the strongest prejudices against that minister, from secret
memoranda penned by his father, and which had been committed to the care
of the Duc de La Vauguyon, with an injunction to place them in his hands
as soon as he should be old enough to study the art of reigning.  It was
by these memoranda that the esteem which he had conceived for the Marechal
du Muy was inspired, and we may add that Madame Adelaide, who at this
early period powerfully influenced the decisions of the young monarch,
confirmed the impressions they had made.

The Queen conversed with M. Campan on the regret she felt at having been
unable to procure the recall of M. de Choiseul, and disclosed the cause of
it to him.  The Abbe de Vermond, who, down to the time of the death of
Louis XV., had been on terms of the strictest friendship with M. Campan,
called upon him on the second day after the arrival of the Court at
Choisy, and, assuming a serious air, said, "Monsieur, the Queen was
indiscreet enough yesterday to speak to you of a minister to whom she must
of course be attached, and whom his friends ardently desire to have near
her; you are aware that we must give up all expectation of seeing the Duke
at Court; you know the reasons why; but you do not know that the young
Queen, having mentioned the conversation in question to me, it was my
duty, both as her preceptor and her friend, to remonstrate severely with
her on her indiscretion in communicating to you those particulars of which
you are in possession.  I am now come to tell you that if you continue to
avail yourself of the good nature of your mistress to initiate yourself in
secrets of State, you will have me for your most inveterate enemy.  The
Queen should find here no other confidant than myself respecting things
that ought to remain secret."  M. Campan answered that he did not covet
the important and dangerous character at the new Court which the Abbe
wished to appropriate; and that he should confine himself to the duties of
his office, being sufficiently satisfied with the continued kindness with
which the Queen honoured him. Notwithstanding this, however, he informed
the Queen, on the very same evening, of the injunction he had received.
She owned that she had mentioned their conversation to the Abbe; that he
had indeed seriously scolded her, in order to make her feel the necessity
of being secret in concerns of State; and she added, "The Abbe cannot like
you, my dear Campan; he did not expect that I should, on my arrival in
France, find in my household a man who would suit me so exactly as you
have done.  I know that he has taken umbrage at it; that is enough.  I
know, too, that you are incapable of attempting anything to injure him in
my esteem; an attempt which would besides be vain, for I have been too
long attached to him.  As to yourself, be easy on the score of the Abbe's
hostility, which shall not in any way hurt you."

The Abbe de Vermond having made himself master of the office of sole
confidant to the Queen, was nevertheless agitated whenever he saw the
young King; he could not be ignorant that the Abbe had been promoted by
the Duc de Choiseul, and was believed to favour the Encyclopedists,
against whom Louis XVI.  entertained a secret prejudice, although he
suffered them to gain so great an ascendency during his reign.  The Abbe
had, moreover, observed that the King had never, while Dauphin, addressed
a single word to him; and that he very frequently only answered him with a
shrug of the shoulders.  He therefore determined on writing to Louis XVI.,
and intimating that he owed his situation at Court solely to the
confidence with which the late King had honoured him; and that as habits
contracted during the Queen's education placed him continually in the
closest intimacy with her, he could not enjoy the honour of remaining near
her Majesty without the King's consent.  Louis XVI. sent back his letter,
after writing upon it these words: "I approve the Abbe de Vermond
continuing in his office about the Queen."


At the period of his grandfather's death, Louis XVI. began to be
exceedingly attached to the Queen.  The first period of so deep a mourning
not admitting of indulgence in the diversion of hunting, he proposed to
her walks in the gardens of Choisy; they went out like husband and wife,
the young King giving his arm to the Queen, and accompanied by a very
small suite.  The influence of this example had such an effect upon the
courtiers that the next day several couples, who had long, and for good
reasons, been disunited, were seen walking upon the terrace with the same
apparent conjugal intimacy.  Thus they spent whole hours, braving the
intolerable wearisomeness of their protracted tete-a-tetes, out of mere
obsequious imitation.

The devotion of Mesdames to the King their father throughout his dreadful
malady had produced that effect upon their health which was generally
apprehended.  On the fourth day after their arrival at Choisy they were
attacked by pains in the head and chest, which left no doubt as to the
danger of their situation.  It became necessary instantly to send away the
young royal family; and the Chateau de la Muette, in the Bois de Boulogne,
was selected for their reception.  Their arrival at that residence, which
was very near Paris, drew so great a concourse of people into its
neighbourhood, that even at daybreak the crowd had begun to assemble round
the gates.  Shouts of "Vive le Roi!"  were scarcely interrupted for a
moment between six o'clock in the morning and sunset. The unpopularity the
late King, had drawn upon himself during his latter years, and the hopes
to which a new reign gives birth, occasioned these transports of joy.

A fashionable jeweller made a fortune by the sale of mourning snuff-boxes,
whereon the portrait of the young Queen, in a black frame of shagreen,
gave rise to the pun: "Consolation in chagrin."  All the fashions, and
every article of dress, received names expressing the spirit of the
moment.  Symbols of abundance were everywhere represented, and the
head-dresses of the ladies were surrounded by ears of wheat. Poets sang of
the new monarch; all hearts, or rather all heads, in France were filled
with enthusiasm.  Never did the commencement of any reign excite more
unanimous testimonials of love and attachment.  It must be observed,
however, that, amidst all this intoxication, the anti-Austrian party never
lost sight of the young Queen, but kept on the watch, with the malicious
desire to injure her through such errors as might arise from her youth and

Their Majesties had to receive at La Muette the condolences of the ladies
who had been presented at Court, who all felt themselves called on to pay
homage to the new sovereigns.  Old and young hastened to present
themselves on the day of general reception; little black bonnets with
great wings, shaking heads, low curtsies, keeping time with the motions of
the head, made, it must be admitted, a few venerable dowagers appear
somewhat ridiculous; but the Queen, who possessed a great deal of dignity,
and a high respect for decorum, was not guilty of the grave fault of
losing the state she was bound to preserve.  An indiscreet piece of
drollery of one of the ladies of the palace, however, procured her the
imputation of doing so.  The Marquise de Clermont-Tonnerre, whose office
required that she should continue standing behind the Queen, fatigued by
the length of the ceremony, seated herself on the floor, concealed behind
the fence formed by the hoops of the Queen and the ladies of the palace.
Thus seated, and wishing to attract attention and to appear lively, she
twitched the dresses of those ladies, and played a thousand other tricks.
The contrast of these childish pranks with the solemnity which reigned
over the rest of the Queen's chamber disconcerted her Majesty: she several
times placed her fan before her face to hide an involuntary smile, and the
severe old ladies pronounced that the young Queen had decided all those
respectable persons who were pressing forward to pay their homage to her;
that she liked none but the young; that she was deficient in decorum; and
that not one of them would attend her Court again.  The epithet 'moqueuse'
was applied to her; and there is no epithet less favourably received in
the world.

The next day a very ill-natured song was circulated; the stamp of the
party to which it was attributable might easily be seen upon it.  I
remember only the following chorus:

"Little Queen, you must not be
So saucy, with your twenty years;
Your ill-used courtiers soon will see
You pass, once more, the barriers.
Fal lal lal, fal lal la."

The errors of the great, or those which ill-nature chooses to impute to
them, circulate in the world with the greatest rapidity, and become
historical traditions, which every one delights to repeat.

More than fifteen years after this occurrence I heard some old ladies in
the most retired part of Auvergne relating all the particulars of the day
of public condolence for the late King, on which, as they said, the Queen
had laughed in the faces of the sexagenarian duchesses and princesses who
had thought it their duty to appear on the occasion.

The King and the Princes, his brothers, determined to avail themselves of
the advantages held out by inoculation, as a safeguard against the illness
under which their grandfather had just fallen; but the utility of this new
discovery not being then generally acknowledged in France, many persons
were greatly alarmed at the step; those who blamed it openly threw all the
responsibility of it upon the Queen, who alone, they said, could have
ventured to give such rash advice, inoculation being at this time
established in the Northern Courts.  The operation upon the King and his
brothers, performed by Doctor Jauberthou, was fortunately quite

When the convalescence of the Princes was perfectly established, the
excursions to Marly became cheerful enough.  Parties on horseback and in
calashes were formed continually.  The Queen was desirous to afford
herself one very innocent gratification; she had never seen the day break;
and having now no other consent than that of the King to seek, she
intimated her wish to him.  He agreed that she should go, at three o'clock
in the morning, to the eminences of the gardens of Marly; and,
unfortunately, little disposed to partake in her amusements, he himself
went to bed.  Foreseeing some inconveniences possible in this nocturnal
party, the Queen determined on having a number of people with her; and
even ordered her waiting women to accompany her.  All precautions were
ineffectual to prevent the effects of calumny, which thenceforward sought
to diminish the general attachment that she had inspired.  A few days
afterwards, the most wicked libel that appeared during the earlier years
of her reign was circulated in Paris.  The blackest colours were employed
to paint an enjoyment so harmless that there is scarcely a young woman
living in the country who has not endeavoured to procure it for herself.
The verses which appeared on this occasion were entitled "Sunrise."

The Duc d'Orleans, then Duc de Chartres, was among those who accompanied
the young Queen in her nocturnal ramble: he appeared very attentive to her
at this epoch; but it was the only moment of his life in which there was
any advance towards intimacy between the Queen and himself.  The King
disliked the character of the Duc de Chartres, and the Queen always
excluded him from her private society.  It is therefore without the
slightest foundation that some writers have attributed to feelings of
jealousy or wounded self-love the hatred which he displayed towards the
Queen during the latter years of their existence.

It was on this first journey to Marly that Boehmer, the jeweller, appeared
at Court,--a man whose stupidity and avarice afterwards fatally affected
the happiness and reputation of Marie Antoinette.  This person had, at
great expense, collected six pear-formed diamonds of a prodigious size;
they were perfectly matched and of the finest water.  The earrings which
they composed had, before the death of Louis XV., been destined for the
Comtesse du Barry.

Boehmer; by the recommendation of several persons about the Court, came to
offer these jewels to the Queen.  He asked four hundred thousand francs
for them.  The young Princess could not withstand her wish to purchase
them; and the King having just raised the Queen's income, which, under the
former reign, had been but two hundred thousand livres, to one hundred
thousand crowns a year, she wished to make the purchase out of her own
purse, and not burthen the royal treasury with the payment.  She proposed
to Boehmer to take off the two buttons which formed the tops of the
clusters, as they could be replaced by two of her own diamonds.  He
consented, and then reduced the price of the earrings to three hundred and
sixty thousand francs; the payment for which was to be made by
instalments, and was discharged in the course of four or five years by the
Queen's first femme de chambre, deputed to manage the funds of her privy
purse.  I have omitted no details as to the manner in which the Queen
first became possessed of these jewels, deeming them very needful to place
in its true light the too famous circumstance of the necklace, which
happened near the end of her reign.

It was also on this first journey to Marly that the Duchesse de Chartres,
afterwards Duchesse d'Orleans, introduced into the Queen's household
Mademoiselle Bertin, a milliner who became celebrated at that time for the
total change she effected in the dress of the French ladies.

It may be said that the mere admission of a milliner into the house of the
Queen was followed by evil consequences to her Majesty.  The skill of the
milliner, who was received into the household, in spite of the custom
which kept persons of her description out of it, afforded her the
opportunity of introducing some new fashion every day.  Up to this time
the Queen had shown very plain taste in dress; she now began to make it a
principal occupation; and she was of course imitated by other women.

All wished instantly to have the same dress as the Queen, and to wear the
feathers and flowers to which her beauty, then in its brilliancy, lent an
indescribable charm.  The expenditure of the younger ladies was
necessarily much increased; mothers and husbands murmured at it; some few
giddy women contracted debts; unpleasant domestic scenes occurred; in many
families coldness or quarrels arose; and the general report was,--that the
Queen would be the ruin of all the French ladies.

Fashion continued its fluctuating progress; and head-dresses, with their
superstructures of gauze, flowers, and feathers, became so lofty that the
women could not find carriages high enough to admit them; and they were
often seen either stooping, or holding their heads out of the windows.
Others knelt down in order to manage these elevated objects of ridicule
with less danger.

[If the use of these extravagant feathers and head-dresses had continued,
say the memoirs of that period very seriously, it would have effected a
revolution in architecture.  It would have been found necessary to raise
the doors and ceilings of the boxes at the theatre, and particularly the
bodies of carriages.  It was not without mortification that the King
observed the Queen's adoption of this style of dress: she was never so
lovely in his eyes as when unadorned by art.  One day Carlin, performing
at Court as harlequin, stuck in his hat, instead of the rabbit's tail, its
prescribed ornament, a peacock's feather of excessive length.  This new
appendage, which repeatedly got entangled among the scenery, gave him an
opportunity for a great deal of buffoonery.  There was some inclination to
punish him; but it was presumed that he had not assumed the feather
without authority.-NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

Innumerable caricatures, exhibited in all directions, and some of which
artfully gave the features of the Queen, attacked the extravagance of
fashion, but with very little effect.  It changed only, as is always the
case, through the influence of inconstancy and time.

The Queen's toilet was a masterpiece of etiquette; everything was done in
a prescribed form.  Both the dame d'honneur and the dame d'atours usually
attended and officiated, assisted by the first femme de chambre and two
ordinary women.  The dame d'atours put on the petticoat, and handed the
gown to the Queen.  The dame d'honneur poured out the water for her hands
and put on her linen.  When a princess of the royal family happened to be
present while the Queen was dressing, the dame d'honneur yielded to her
the latter act of office, but still did not yield it directly to the
Princesses of the blood; in such a case the dame d'honneur was accustomed
to present the linen to the first femme de chambre, who, in her turn,
handed it to the Princess of the blood.  Each of these ladies observed
these rules scrupulously as affecting her rights.  One winter's day it
happened that the Queen, who was entirely undressed, was just going to put
on her shift; I held it ready unfolded for her; the dame d'honneur came
in, slipped off her gloves, and took it.  A scratching was heard at the
door; it was opened, and in came the Duchesse d'Orleans: her gloves were
taken off, and she came forward to take the garment; but as it would have
been wrong in the dame d'honneur to hand it to her she gave it to me, and
I handed it to the Princess.  More scratching it was Madame la Comtesse de
Provence; the Duchesse d'Orleans handed her the linen.  All this while the
Queen kept her arms crossed upon her bosom, and appeared to feel cold;
Madame observed her uncomfortable situation, and, merely laying down her
handkerchief without taking off her gloves, she put on the linen, and in
doing so knocked the Queen's cap off.  The Queen laughed to conceal her
impatience, but not until she had muttered several times, "How
disagreeable!  how tiresome!"

All this etiquette, however inconvenient, was suitable to the royal
dignity, which expects to find servants in all classes of persons,
beginning even with the brothers and sisters of the monarch.

Speaking here of etiquette, I do not allude to majestic state, appointed
for days of ceremony in all Courts.  I mean those minute ceremonies that
were pursued towards our Kings in their inmost privacies, in their hours
of pleasure, in those of pain, and even during the most revolting of human

These servile rules were drawn up into a kind of code; they offered to a
Richelieu, a La Rochefoucauld and a Duras, in the exercise of their
domestic functions, opportunities of intimacy useful to their interests;
and their vanity was flattered by customs which converted the right to
give a glass of water, to put on a dress, and to remove a basin, into
honourable prerogatives.

Princes thus accustomed to be treated as divinities naturally ended by
believing that they were of a distinct nature, of a purer essence than the
rest of mankind.

This sort of etiquette, which led our Princes to be treated in private as
idols, made them in public martyrs to decorum.  Marie Antoinette found in
the Chateau of Versailles a multitude of established customs which
appeared to her insupportable.

The ladies-in-waiting, who were all obliged to be sworn, and to wear full
Court dresses, were alone entitled to remain in the room, and to attend in
conjunction with the dame d'honneur and the tirewoman.  The Queen
abolished all this formality.  When her head was dressed, she curtsied to
all the ladies who were in her chamber, and, followed only by her own
women, went into her closet, where Mademoiselle Bertin, who could not be
admitted into the chamber, used to await her.  It was in this inner closet
that she produced her new and numerous dresses.  The Queen was also
desirous of being served by the most fashionable hairdresser in Paris.
Now the custom which forbade all persons in inferior offices, employed by
royalty, to exert their talents for the public, was no doubt intended to
cut off all communication between the privacy of princes and society at
large; the latter being always extremely curious respecting the most
trifling particulars relative to the private life of the former. The
Queen, fearing that the taste of the hairdresser would suffer if he should
discontinue the general practice of his art, ordered him to attend as
usual certain ladies of the Court and of Paris; and this multiplied the
opportunities of learning details respecting the household, and very often
of misrepresenting them.

One of the customs most disagreeable to the Queen was that of dining every
day in public.  Maria Leczinska had always submitted to this wearisome
practice; Marie Antoinette followed it as long as she was Dauphiness.  The
Dauphin dined with her, and each branch of the family had its public
dinner daily.  The ushers suffered all decently dressed people to enter;
the sight was the delight of persons from the country. At the dinner-hour
there were none to be met upon the stairs but honest folks, who, after
having seen the Dauphiness take her soup, went to see the Princes eat
their 'bouilli', and then ran themselves out of breath to behold Mesdames
at their dessert.

Very ancient usage, too, required that the Queens of France should appear
in public surrounded only by women; even at meal-times no persons of the
other sex attended to serve at table; and although the King ate publicly
with the Queen, yet he himself was served by women with everything which
was presented to him directly at table.  The dame d'honneur, kneeling, for
her own accommodation, upon a low stool, with a napkin upon her arm, and
four women in full dress, presented the plates to the King and Queen. The
dame d'honneur handed them drink.  This service had formerly been the
right of the maids of honour.  The Queen, upon her accession to the
throne, abolished the usage altogether.  She also freed herself from the
necessity of being followed in the Palace of Versailles by two of her
women in Court dresses, during those hours of the day when the
ladies-in-waiting were not with her.  From that time she was accompanied
only by a single valet de chambre and two footmen.  All the changes made
by Marie Antoinette were of the same description; a disposition gradually
to substitute the simple customs of Vienna for those of Versailles was
more injurious to her than she could possibly have imagined.

When the King slept in the Queen's apartment he always rose before her;
the exact hour was communicated to the head femme de chambre, who entered,
preceded by a servant of the bedchamber bearing a taper; she crossed the
room and unbolted the door which separated the Queen's apartment from that
of the King.  She there found the first valet de chambre for the quarter,
and a servant of the chamber.  They entered, opened the bed curtains on
the King's side, and presented him slippers generally, as well as the
dressing-gown, which he put on, of gold or silver stuff.  The first valet
de chambre took down a short sword which was always laid within the
railing on the King's side.  When the King slept with the Queen, this
sword was brought upon the armchair appropriated to the King, and which
was placed near the Queen's bed, within the gilt railing which surrounded
the bed.  The first femme de chambre conducted the King to the door,
bolted it again, and, leaving the Queen's chamber, did not return until
the hour appointed by her Majesty the evening before.  At night the Queen
went to bed before the King; the first femme de chambre remained seated at
the foot of her bed until the arrival of his Majesty, in order, as in the
morning, to see the King's attendants out and bolt the door after them.
The Queen awoke habitually at eight o'clock, and breakfasted at nine,
frequently in bed, and sometimes after she had risen, at a table placed
opposite her couch.

In order to describe the Queen's private service intelligibly, it must be
recollected that service of every kind was honour, and had not any other
denomination.  To do the honours of the service was to present the service
to a person of superior rank, who happened to arrive at the moment it was
about to be performed.  Thus, supposing the Queen asked for a glass of
water, the servant of the chamber handed to the first woman a silver gilt
waiter, upon which were placed a covered goblet and a small decanter; but
should the lady of honour come in, the first woman was obliged to present
the waiter to her, and if Madame or the Comtesse d'Artois came in at the
moment, the waiter went again from the lady of honour into the hands of
the Princess before it reached the Queen.  It must be observed, however,
that if a princess of the blood instead of a princess of the family
entered, the service went directly from the first woman to the princess of
the blood, the lady of honour being excused from transferring to any but
princesses of the royal family.  Nothing was presented directly to the
Queen; her handkerchief or her gloves were placed upon a long salver of
gold or silver gilt, which was placed as a piece of furniture of ceremony
upon a side-table, and was called a gantiere.  The first woman presented
to her in this manner all that she asked for, unless the tirewoman, the
lady of honour, or a princess were present, and then the gradation pointed
out in the instance of the glass of water was always observed.

Whether the Queen breakfasted in bed or up, those entitled to the petites
entrees were equally admitted; this privilege belonged of right to her
chief physician, chief surgeon, physician in ordinary, reader, closet
secretary, the King's four first valets de chambre and their reversioners,
and the King's chief physicians and surgeons.  There were frequently from
ten to twelve persons at this first entree.  The lady of honour or the
superintendent, if present, placed the breakfast equipage upon the bed;
the Princesse de Lamballe frequently performed that office.

As soon as the Queen rose, the wardrobe woman was admitted to take away
the pillows and prepare the bed to be made by some of the valets de
chambre.  She undrew the curtains, and the bed was not generally made
until the Queen was gone to mass.  Generally, excepting at St.  Cloud,
where the Queen bathed in an apartment below her own, a slipper bath was
rolled into her room, and her bathers brought everything that was
necessary for the bath.  The Queen bathed in a large gown of English
flannel buttoned down to the bottom; its sleeves throughout, as well as
the collar, were lined with linen.  When she came out of the bath the
first woman held up a cloth to conceal her entirely from the sight of her
women, and then threw it over her shoulders.  The bathers wrapped her in
it and dried her completely.  She then put on a long and wide open
chemise, entirely trimmed with lace, and afterwards a white taffety
bed-gown.  The wardrobe woman warmed the bed; the slippers were of dimity,
trimmed with lace.  Thus dressed, the Queen went to bed again, and the
bathers and servants of the chamber took away the bathing apparatus.  The
Queen, replaced in bed, took a book or her tapestry work.  On her bathing
mornings she breakfasted in the bath.  The tray was placed on the cover of
the bath.  These minute details are given here only to do justice to the
Queen's scrupulous modesty.  Her temperance was equally remarkable; she
breakfasted on coffee or chocolate; at dinner ate nothing but white meat,
drank water only, and supped on broth, a wing of a fowl, and small
biscuits, which she soaked in a glass of water.

The tirewoman had under her order a principal under-tirewoman, charged
with the care and preservation of all the Queen's dresses; two women to
fold and press such articles as required it; two valets, and a porter of
the wardrobe.  The latter brought every morning into the Queen's
apartments baskets covered with taffety, containing all that she was to
wear during the day, and large cloths of green taffety covering the robes
and the full dresses.  The valet of the wardrobe on duty presented every
morning a large book to the first femme de chambre, containing patterns of
the gowns, full dresses, undresses, etc.  Every pattern was marked, to
show to which sort it belonged.  The first femme de chambre presented this
book to the Queen on her awaking, with a pincushion; her Majesty stuck
pins in those articles which she chose for the day,--one for the dress,
one for the afternoon-undress, and one for the full evening dress for card
or supper parties in the private apartments.  The book was then taken back
to the wardrobe, and all that was wanted for the day was soon after
brought in in large taffety wrappers.  The wardrobe woman, who had the
care of the linen, in her turn brought in a covered basket containing two
or three chemises and handkerchiefs.  The morning basket was called pret
du jour.  In the evening she brought in one containing the nightgown and
nightcap, and the stockings for the next morning; this basket was called
pret de la nuit.  They were in the department of the lady of honour, the
tirewoman having nothing to do with the linen.  Nothing was put in order
or taken care of by the Queen's women.  As soon as the toilet was over,
the valets and porter belonging to the wardrobe were called in, and they
carried all away in a heap, in the taffety wrappers, to the tirewoman's
wardrobe, where all were folded up again, hung up, examined, and cleaned
with so much regularity and care that even the cast-off clothes scarcely
looked as if they had been worn.  The tirewoman's wardrobe consisted of
three large rooms surrounded with closets, some furnished with drawers and
others with shelves; there were also large tables in each of these rooms,
on which the gowns and dresses were spread out and folded up.

For the winter the Queen had generally twelve full dresses, twelve
undresses called fancy dresses, and twelve rich hoop petticoats for the
card and supper parties in the smaller apartments.

She had as many for the summer; those for the spring served likewise for
the autumn.  All these dresses were discarded at the end of each season,
unless, indeed, she retained some that she particularly liked.  I am not
speaking of muslin or cambric gowns, or others of the same kind--they were
lately introduced; but such as these were not renewed at each returning
season, they were kept several years.  The chief women were charged with
the care and examination of the diamonds; this important duty was formerly
confided to the tirewoman, but for many years had been included in the
business of the first femmes de chambre.

The public toilet took place at noon.  The toilet-table was drawn forward
into the middle of the room.  This piece of furniture was generally the
richest and most ornamented of all in the apartment of the Princesses. The
Queen used it in the same manner and place for undressing herself in the
evening.  She went to bed in corsets trimmed with ribbon, and sleeves
trimmed with lace, and wore a large neck handkerchief.  The Queen's
combing cloth was presented by her first woman if she was alone at the
commencement of the toilet; or, as well as the other articles, by the
ladies of honour if they were come.  At noon the women who had been in
attendance four and twenty hours were relieved by two women in full dress;
the first woman went also to dress herself.  The grandee entrees were
admitted during the toilet; sofas were placed in circles for the
superintendent, the ladies of honour, and tirewomen, and the governess of
the children of France when she came there; the duties of the ladies of
the bedchamber, having nothing to do with any kind of domestic or private
functions, did not begin until the hour of going out to mass; they waited
in the great closet, and entered when the toilet was over.  The Princes of
the blood, captains of the Guards, and all great officers having the entry
paid their court at the hour of the toilet.  The Queen saluted by nodding
her head or bending her body, or leaning upon her toilet-table as if
moving to rise; the last mode of salutation was for the Princes of the
blood.  The King's brothers also came very generally to pay their respects
to her Majesty while her hair was being dressed.  In the earlier years of
the reign the first part of the dressing was performed in the bedchamber
and according to the laws of etiquette; that is to say, the lady of honour
put on the chemise and poured out the water for the hands, the tirewoman
put on the skirt of the gown or full dress, adjusted the handkerchief, and
tied on the necklace.  But when the young Queen became more seriously
devoted to fashion, and the head-dress attained so extravagant a height
that it became necessary to put on the chemise from below,--when, in
short, she determined to have her milliner, Mademoiselle Benin, with her
whilst she was dressing, whom the ladies would have refused to admit to
any share in the honour of attending on the Queen, the dressing in the
bedchamber was discontinued, and the Queen, leaving her toilet, withdrew
into her closet to dress.

On returning into her chamber, the Queen, standing about the middle of it,
surrounded by the superintendent, the ladies of honour and tirewomen, her
ladies of the palace, the chevalier d'honneur, the chief equerry, her
clergy ready to attend her to mass, and the Princesses of the royal family
who happened to come, accompanied by all their chief attendants and
ladies, passed in order into the gallery as in going to mass.  The Queen's
signatures were generally given at the moment of entry into the chamber.
The secretary for orders presented the pen.  Presentations of colonels on
taking leave were usually made at this time.  Those of ladies, and, such
as had a right to the tabouret, or sitting in the royal presence, were
made on Sunday evenings before card-playing began, on their coming in from
paying their respects.  Ambassadors were introduced to the Queen on
Tuesday mornings, accompanied by the introducer of ambassadors on duty,
and by M. de Sequeville, the secretary for the ambassadors.  The
introducer in waiting usually came to the Queen at her toilet to apprise
her of the presentations of foreigners which would be made.  The usher of
the chamber, stationed at the entrance, opened the folding doors to none
but the Princes and Princesses of the royal family, and announced them
aloud.  Quitting his post, he came forward to name to the lady of honour
the persons who came to be presented, or who came to take leave; that lady
again named them to the Queen at the moment they saluted her; if she and
the tirewoman were absent, the first woman took the place and did that
duty.  The ladies of the bedchamber, chosen solely as companions for the
Queen, had no domestic duties to fulfil, however opinion might dignify
such offices.  The King's letter in appointing them, among other
instructions of etiquette, ran thus: "having chosen you to bear the Queen
company."  There were hardly any emoluments accruing from this place.

The Queen heard mass with the King in the tribune, facing the grand altar
and the choir, with the exception of the days of high ceremony, when their
chairs were placed below upon velvet carpets fringed with gold. These days
were marked by the name of grand chapel day.

The Queen named the collector beforehand, and informed her of it through
her lady of honour, who was besides desired to send the purse to her. The
collectors were almost always chosen from among those who had been
recently presented.  After returning from mass the Queen dined every
Sunday with the King only, in public in the cabinet of the nobility, a
room leading to her chamber.  Titled ladies having the honours sat during
the dinner upon folding-chairs placed on each side of the table.  Ladies
without titles stood round the table; the captain of the Guards and the
first gentleman of the chamber were behind the King's chair; behind that
of the Queen were her first maitre d'hotel, her chevalier d'honneur, and
the chief equerry.  The Queen's maitre d'hotel was furnished with a large
staff, six or seven feet in length, ornamented with golden fleurs-de-lis,
and surmounted by fleurs-de-lis in the form of a crown.  He entered the
room with this badge of his office to announce that the Queen was served.
The comptroller put into his hands the card of the dinner; in the absence
of the maitre d'hotel he presented it to the Queen himself, otherwise he
only did him the honours of the service.  The maitre d'hotel did not leave
his place, he merely gave the orders for serving up and removing; the
comptroller and gentlemen serving placed the various dishes upon the
table, receiving them from the inferior servants.

The Prince nearest to the crown presented water to wash the King's hands
at the moment he placed himself at table, and a princess did the same
service to the Queen.

The table service was formerly performed for the Queen by the lady of
honour and four women in full dress; this part of the women's service was
transferred to them on the suppression of the office of maids of honour.
The Queen put an end to this etiquette in the first year of her reign.
When the dinner was over the Queen returned without the King to her
apartment with her women, and took off her hoop and train.

This unfortunate Princess, against whom the opinions of the French people
were at length so much excited, possessed qualities which deserved to
obtain the greatest popularity.  None could doubt this who, like myself,
had heard her with delight describe the patriarchal manners of the House
of Lorraine.  She was accustomed to say that, by transplanting their
manners into Austria, the Princes of that house had laid the foundation of
the unassailable popularity enjoyed by the imperial family.  She
frequently related to me the interesting manner in which the Ducs de
Lorraine levied the taxes.  "The sovereign Prince," said she, "went to
church; after the sermon he rose, waved his hat in the air, to show that
he was about to speak, and then mentioned the sum whereof he stood in
need.  Such was the zeal of the good Lorrainers that men have been known
to take away linen or household utensils without the knowledge of their
wives, and sell them to add the value to their contribution.  It sometimes
happened, too, that the Prince received more money than he had asked for,
in which case he restored the surplus."

All who were acquainted with the Queen's private qualities knew that she
equally deserved attachment and esteem.  Kind and patient to excess in her
relations with her household, she indulgently considered all around her,
and interested herself in their fortunes and in their pleasures., She had,
among her women, young girls from the Maison de St. Cyr, all well born;
the Queen forbade them the play when the performances were not suitable;
sometimes, when old plays were to be represented, if she found she could
not with certainty trust to her memory, she would take the trouble to read
them in the morning, to enable her to decide whether the girls should or
should not go to see them,--rightly considering herself bound to watch
over their morals and conduct.


Carried the idea of the prerogative of rank to a high pitch
Common and blamable practice of indulgence
Dignified tone which alone secures the respect due to power
Etiquette still existed at Court, dignity alone was wanting
Happiness does not dwell in palaces
His seraglio in the Parc-aux-Cerfs
I love the conveniences of life too well
Leave me in peace; be assured that I can put no heir in danger
Most intriguing little Carmelite in the kingdom
Princes thus accustomed to be treated as divinities
Princess at 12 years was not mistress of the whole alphabet
Taken pains only to render himself beloved by his pupil
The Jesuits were suppressed
The King delighted to manage the most disgraceful points
To be formally mistress, a husband had to be found
Ventured to give such rash advice: inoculation
Was but one brilliant action that she could perform

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Marie Antoinette — Volume 02" ***

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