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Title: Marie Antoinette — Volume 04
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

Volume 4


About the close of the last century several of the Northern sovereigns
took a fancy for travelling.  Christian III., King of Denmark, visited the
Court of France in 1763, during the reign of Louis XV.  We have seen the
King of Sweden and Joseph II.  at Versailles.  The Grand Duke of Russia
(afterwards Paul I.), son of Catherine II., and the Princess of
Wurtemberg, his wife, likewise resolved to visit France.  They travelled
under the titles of the Comte and Comtesse du Nord.  They were presented
on the 20th of May, 1782.  The Queen received them with grace and dignity.
On the day of their arrival at Versailles they dined in private with the
King and Queen.

The plain, unassuming appearance of Paul I. pleased Louis XVI.  He spoke
to him with more confidence and cheerfulness than he had spoken to Joseph
II.  The Comtesse du Nord was not at first so successful with the Queen.
This lady was of a fine height, very fat for her age, with all the German
stiffness, well informed, and perhaps displaying her acquirements with
rather too much confidence.  When the Comte and Comtesse du Nord were
presented the Queen was exceedingly nervous.  She withdrew into her closet
before she went into the room where she was to dine with the illustrious
travellers, and asked for a glass of water, confessing "she had just
experienced how much more difficult it was to play the part of a queen in
the presence of other sovereigns, or of princes born to become so, than
before courtiers."  She soon recovered from her confusion, and reappeared
with ease and confidence.  The dinner was tolerably cheerful, and the
conversation very animated.

Brilliant entertainments were given at Court in honour of the King of
Sweden and the Comte du Nord.  They were received in private by the King
and Queen, but they were treated with much more ceremony than the Emperor,
and their Majesties always appeared to me to be very, cautious before
these personages.  However, the King one day asked the Russian Grand Duke
if it were true that he could not rely on the fidelity of any one of those
who accompanied him.  The Prince answered him without hesitation, and
before a considerable number of persons, that he should be very sorry to
have with him even a poodle that was much attached to him, because his
mother would take care to have it thrown into the Seine, with a stone
round its neck, before he should leave Paris.  This reply, which I myself
heard, horrified me, whether it depicted the disposition of Catherine, or
only expressed the Prince's prejudice against her.

The Queen gave the Grand Duke a supper at Trianon, and had the gardens
illuminated as they had been for the Emperor.  The Cardinal de Rohan very
indiscreetly ventured to introduce himself there without the Queen's
knowledge.  Having been treated with the utmost coolness ever since his
return from Vienna, he had not dared to ask her himself for permission to
see the illumination; but he persuaded the porter of Trianon to admit him
as soon as the Queen should have set off for Versailles, and his Eminence
engaged to remain in the porter's lodge until all the carriages should
have left the chateau.  He did not keep his word, and while the porter was
busy in the discharge of his duty, the Cardinal, who wore his red
stockings and had merely thrown on a greatcoat, went down into the garden,
and, with an air of mystery, drew up in two different places to see the
royal family and suite pass by.

Her Majesty was highly offended at this piece of boldness, and next day
ordered the porter to be discharged.  There was a general feeling of
disgust at the Cardinal's conduct, and of commiseration towards the porter
for the loss of his place.  Affected at the misfortune of the father of a
family, I obtained his forgiveness; and since that time I have often
regretted the feeling which induced me to interfere.  The notoriety of the
discharge of the porter of Trianon, and the odium that circumstance would
have fixed upon the Cardinal, would have made the Queen's dislike to him
still more publicly known, and would probably have prevented the
scandalous and notorious intrigue of the necklace.

The Queen, who was much prejudiced against the King of Sweden, received
him very coldly.

[Gustavus III., King of Sweden, travelled in France under the title of
Comte d'Haga.  Upon his accession to the throne, he managed the revolution
which prostrated the authority of the Senate with equal skill, coolness,
and courage.  He was assassinated in 1792, at a masked ball, by
Auckarstrum.--NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

All that was said of the private character of that sovereign, his
connection with the Comte de Vergennes, from the time of the Revolution of
Sweden, in 1772, the character of his favourite Armfeldt, and the
prejudices of the monarch himself against the Swedes who were well
received at the Court of Versailles, formed the grounds of this dislike.
He came one day uninvited and unexpected, and requested to dine with the
Queen.  The Queen received him in the little closet, and desired me to
send for her clerk of the kitchen, that she might be informed whether
there was a proper dinner to set before Comte d'Haga, and add to it if
necessary.  The King of Sweden assured her that there would be enough for
him; and I could not help smiling when I thought of the length of the menu
of the dinner of the King and Queen, not half of which would have made its
appearance had they dined in private.  The Queen looked significantly at
me, and I withdrew.  In the evening she asked me why I had seemed so
astonished when she ordered me to add to her dinner, saying that I ought
instantly to have seen that she was giving the King of Sweden a lesson for
his presumption.  I owned to her that the scene had appeared to me so much
in the bourgeois style, that I involuntarily thought of the cutlets on the
gridiron, and the omelette, which in families in humble circumstances
serve to piece out short commons.  She was highly diverted with my answer,
and repeated it to the King, who also laughed heartily at it.

The peace with England satisfied all classes of society interested in the
national honour.  The departure of the English commissary from Dunkirk,
who had been fixed at that place ever since the shameful peace of 1763 as
inspector of our navy, occasioned an ecstasy of joy.

[By the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) it was stipulated that the fortifications
and port of Dunkirk should be destroyed.  By the Treaty of Paris (1763) a
commissary was to reside at Dunkirk to see that no attempt was made to
break this treaty.  This stipulation was revoked by the Peace of
Versailles, in 1783.--see DYER'S "Modern Europe," 1st edition, vol. i.,
pp.  205-438 and 539.]

The Government communicated to the Englishman the order for his departure
before the treaty was made public.  But for that precaution the populace
would have probably committed some excess or other, in order to make the
agent of English power feel the effects of the resentment which had
constantly increased during his stay at that port.  Those engaged in trade
were the only persons dissatisfied with the treaty of 1783.  That article
which provided for, the free admission of English goods annihilated at one
blow the trade of Rouen and the other manufacturing towns throughout the
kingdom.  The English swarmed into Paris.  A considerable number of them
were presented at Court.  The Queen paid them marked attention; doubtless
she wished them to distinguish between the esteem she felt for their noble
nation and the political views of the Government in the support it had
afforded to the Americans.  Discontent was, however, manifested at Court
in consequence of the favour bestowed by the Queen on the English
noblemen; these attentions were called infatuations.  This was illiberal;
and the Queen justly complained of such absurd jealousy.

The journey to Fontainebleau and the winter at Paris and at Court were
extremely brilliant.  The spring brought back those amusements which the
Queen began to prefer to the splendour of fetes.  The most perfect harmony
subsisted between the King and Queen; I never saw but one cloud between
them.  It was soon dispelled, and the cause of it is perfectly unknown to

My father-in-law, whose penetration and experience I respected greatly,
recommended me, when he saw me placed in the service of a young queen, to
shun all kinds of confidence.  "It procures," said he, "but a very
fleeting, and at the same time dangerous sort of favour; serve with zeal
to the best of your judgment, but never do more than obey.  Instead of
setting your wits to work to discover why an order or a commission which
may appear of consequence is given to you, use them to prevent the
possibility of your knowing anything of the matter."  I had occasion to
act on this wise advice.  One morning at Trianon I went into the Queen's
chamber; there were letters lying upon the bed, and she was weeping
bitterly.  Her tears and sobs were occasionally interrupted by
exclamations of "Ah! that I were dead!--wretches! monsters! What have I
done to them?"  I offered her orange-flower water and ether.  "Leave me,"
said she, "if you love me; it would be better to kill me at once."  At
this moment she threw her arm over my shoulder and began weeping afresh. I
saw that some weighty trouble oppressed her heart, and that she wanted a
confidant.  I suggested sending for the Duchesse de Polignac; this she
strongly opposed.  I renewed my arguments, and her opposition grew weaker.
I disengaged myself from her arms, and ran to the antechamber, where I
knew that an outrider always waited, ready to mount and start at a
moment's warning for Versailles.  I ordered him to go full speed, and tell
the Duchesse de Polignac that the Queen was very uneasy, and desired to
see her instantly.  The Duchess always had a carriage ready.  In less than
ten minutes she was at the Queen's door.  I was the only person there,
having been forbidden to send for the other women.  Madame de Polignac
came in; the Queen held out her arms to her, the Duchess rushed towards
her.  I heard her sobs renewed and withdrew.

A quarter of an hour afterwards the Queen, who had become calmer, rang to
be dressed.  I sent her woman in; she put on her gown and retired to her
boudoir with the Duchess.  Very soon afterwards the Comte d'Artois arrived
from Compiegne, where he had been with the King.  He eagerly inquired
where the Queen was; remained half an hour with her and the Duchess; and
on coming out told me the Queen asked for me.  I found her seated on the
couch by the side of her friend; her features had resumed their usual
cheerful and gracious appearance.  She held out her hand to me, and said
to the Duchess, "I know I have made her so uncomfortable this morning that
I must set her poor heart at ease."  She then added, "You must have seen,
on some fine summer's day, a black cloud suddenly appear and threaten to
pour down upon the country and lay it waste.  The lightest wind drives it
away, and the blue sky and serene weather are restored.  This is just the
image of what has happened to me this morning."  She afterwards told me
that the King would return from Compiegne after hunting there, and sup
with her; that I must send for her purveyor, to select with him from his
bills of fare all such dishes as the King liked best; that she would have
no others served up in the evening at her table; and that this was a mark
of attention that she wished the King to notice.  The Duchesse de Polignac
also took me by the hand, and told me how happy she was that she had been
with the Queen at a moment when she stood in need of a friend.  I never
knew what could have created in the Queen so lively and so transient an
alarm; but I guessed from the particular care she took respecting the King
that attempts had been made to irritate him against her; that the malice
of her enemies had been promptly discovered and counteracted by the King's
penetration and attachment; and that the Comte d'Artois had hastened to
bring her intelligence of it.

It was, I think, in the summer of 1787, during one of the Trianon
excursions, that the Queen of Naples--[Caroline, sister of Marie
Antoinette.]--sent the Chevalier de Bressac to her Majesty on a secret
mission relative to a projected marriage between the Hereditary Prince,
her son, and Madame, the King's daughter; in the absence of the lady of
honour he addressed himself to me.  Although he said a great deal to me
about the close confidence with which the Queen of Naples honoured him,
and about his letter of credit, I thought he had the air of an
adventurer.--[He afterwards spent several years shut up in the Chateau de
l'Oeuf.]--He had, indeed, private letters for the Queen, and his mission
was not feigned; he talked to me very rashly even before his admission,
and entreated me to do all that lay in my power to dispose the Queen's
mind in favour of his sovereign's wishes; I declined, assuring him that it
did not become me to meddle with State affairs. He endeavoured, but in
vain, to prove to me that the union contemplated by the Queen of Naples
ought not to be looked upon in that light.

I procured M. de Bressac the audience he desired, but without suffering
myself even to seem acquainted with the object of his mission.  The Queen
told me what it was; she thought him a person ill-chosen for the occasion;
and yet she thought that the Queen, her sister, had done wisely in not
sending a man worthy to be avowed,--it being impossible that what she
solicited should take place.  I had an opportunity on this occasion, as
indeed on many others, of judging to what extent the Queen valued and
loved France and the dignity of our Court.  She then told me that Madame,
in marrying her cousin, the Duc d'Angouleme, would not lose her rank as
daughter of the Queen; and that her situation would be far preferable to
that of queen of any other country; and that there was nothing in Europe
to be compared to the Court of France; and that it would be necessary, in
order to avoid exposing a French Princess to feelings of deep regret, in
case she should be married to a foreign prince, to take her from the
palace of Versailles at seven years of age, and send her immediately to
the Court in which she was to dwell; and that at twelve would be too late;
for recollections and comparisons would ruin the happiness of all the rest
of her life.  The Queen looked upon the destiny of her sisters as far
beneath her own; and frequently mentioned the mortifications inflicted by
the Court of Spain upon her sister, the Queen of Naples, and the necessity
she was under of imploring the mediation of the King of France.

She showed me several letters that she had received from the Queen of
Naples relative to her differences with the Court of Madrid respecting the
Minister Acton.  She thought him useful to her people, inasmuch as he was
a man of considerable information and great activity.  In these letters
she minutely acquainted her Majesty with the nature of the affronts she
had received, and represented Mr. Acton to her as a man whom malevolence
itself could not suppose capable of interesting her otherwise than by his
services.  She had had to suffer the impertinences of a Spaniard named Las
Casas, who had been sent to her by the King, her father-in-law, to
persuade her to dismiss Mr. Acton from the business of the State, and from
her intimacy.  She complained bitterly to the Queen, her sister, of the
insulting proceedings of this charge d'affaires, whom she told, in order
to convince him of the nature of the feelings which attached her to Mr.
Acton, that she would have portraits and busts of him executed by the most
eminent artists of Italy, and that she would then send them to the King of
Spain, to prove that nothing but the desire to retain a man of superior
capacity had induced her to bestow on him the favour he enjoyed.  This Las
Casas dared to answer her that it would be useless trouble; that the
ugliness of a man did not always render him displeasing; and that the King
of Spain had too much experience not to know that there was no accounting
for the caprices of a woman.

This audacious reply filled the Queen of Naples with indignation, and her
emotion caused her to miscarry on the same day.  In consequence of the
mediation of Louis XVI. the Queen of Naples obtained complete
satisfaction, and Mr. Acton continued Prime Minister.

Among the characteristics which denoted the goodness of the Queen, her
respect for personal liberty should have a place.  I have seen her put up
with the most troublesome importunities from people whose minds were
deranged rather than have them arrested.  Her patient kindness was put to
a very disagreeable trial by an ex-councillor of the Bordeaux Parliament,
named Castelnaux; this man declared himself the lover of the Queen, and
was generally known by that appellation.  For ten successive years did he
follow the Court in all its excursions.  Pale and wan, as people who are
out of their senses usually are, his sinister appearance occasioned the
most uncomfortable sensations.  During the two hours that the Queen's
public card parties lasted, he would remain opposite her Majesty.  He
placed himself in the same manner before her at chapel, and never failed
to be at the King's dinner or the dinner in public.  At the theatre he
invariably seated himself as near the Queen's box as possible.  He always
set off for Fontainebleau or St. Cloud the day before the Court, and when
her Majesty arrived at her various residences, the first person she met on
getting out of her carriage was this melancholy madman, who never spoke to
any one.  When the Queen stayed at Petit Trianon the passion of this
unhappy man became still more annoying.  He would hastily swallow a morsel
at some eating-house, and spend all the rest of the day, even when it
rained, in going round and round the garden, always walking at the edge of
the moat.  The Queen frequently met him when she was either alone or with
her children; and yet she would not suffer any violence to be used to
relieve her from this intolerable annoyance.  Having one day given M. de
Seze permission to enter Trianon, she sent to desire he would come to me,
and directed me to inform that celebrated advocate of M. de Castelnaux's
derangement, and then to send for him that M. de Seze might have some
conversation with him.  He talked to him nearly an hour, and made
considerable impression upon his mind; and at last M. de Castelnaux
requested me to inform the Queen positively that, since his presence was
disagreeable to her, he would retire to his province.  The Queen was very
much rejoiced, and desired me to express her full satisfaction to M. de
Seze.  Half an hour after M. de Seze was gone the unhappy madman was
announced.  He came to tell me that he withdrew his promise, that he had
not sufficient command of himself to give up seeing the Queen as often as
possible.  This new determination: was a disagreeable message to take to
her Majesty but how was I affected at hearing her say, "Well, let him
annoy me!  but do not let him be deprived of the blessing of freedom."

[On the arrest of the King and Queen at Varennes, this unfortunate
Castelnaux attempted to starve himself to death.  The people in whose
house he lived, becoming uneasy at his absence, had the door of his room
forced open, when he was found stretched senseless on the floor.  I do not
know what became of him after the 10th of August.--MADAME CAMPAN.]

The direct influence of the Queen on affairs during the earlier years of
the reign was shown only in her exertions to obtain from the King a
revision of the decrees in two celebrated causes.  It was contrary to her
principles to interfere in matters of justice, and never did she avail
herself of her influence to bias the tribunals.  The Duchesse de Praslin,
through a criminal caprice, carried her enmity to her husband so far as to
disinherit her children in favour of the family of M. de Guemenee. The
Duchesse de Choiseul, who, was warmly interested in this affair, one day
entreated the Queen, in my presence, at least to condescend to ask the
first president when the cause would be called on; the Queen replied that
she could not even do that, for it would manifest an interest which it was
her duty not to show.

If the King had not inspired the Queen with a lively feeling of love, it
is quite certain that she yielded him respect and affection for the
goodness of his disposition and the equity of which he gave so many proofs
throughout his reign.  One evening she returned very late; she came out of
the King's closet, and said to M. de Misery and myself, drying her eyes,
which were filled with tears, "You see me weeping, but do not be uneasy at
it: these are the sweetest tears that a wife can shed; they are caused by
the impression which the justice and goodness of the King have made upon
me; he has just complied with my request for a revision of the proceedings
against Messieurs de Bellegarde and de Monthieu, victims of the Duc
d'Aiguillon's hatred to the Duc de Choiseul. He has been equally just to
the Duc de Guines in his affair with Tort. It is a happy thing for a queen
to be able to admire and esteem him who has admitted her to a
participation of his throne; and as to you, I congratulate you upon your
having to live under the sceptre of so virtuous a sovereign."

The Queen laid before the King all the memorials of the Duc de Guines,
who, during his embassy to England, was involved in difficulties by a
secretary, who speculated in the public funds in London on his own
account, but in such a manner as to throw a suspicion of it on the
ambassador.  Messieurs de Vergennes and Turgot, bearing but little
good-will to the Duc de Guines, who was the friend of the Duc de Choiseul,
were not disposed to render the ambassador any service.  The Queen
succeeded in fixing the King's particular attention on this affair, and
the innocence of the Duc de Guines triumphed through the equity of Louis

An incessant underhand war was carried on between the friends and
partisans of M. de Choiseul, who were called the Austrians, and those who
sided with Messieurs d'Aiguillon, de Maurepas, and de Vergennes, who, for
the same reason, kept up the intrigues carried on at Court and in Paris
against the Queen.  Marie Antoinette, on her part, supported those who had
suffered in this political quarrel, and it was this feeling which led her
to ask for a revision of the proceedings against Messieurs de Bellegarde
and de Monthieu.  The first, a colonel and inspector of artillery, and the
second, proprietor of a foundry at St. Etienne, were, under the Ministry
of the Duc d'Aiguillon, condemned to imprisonment for twenty years and a
day for having withdrawn from the arsenals of France, by order of the Duc
de Choiseul, a vast number of muskets, as being of no value except as old
iron, while in point of fact the greater part of those muskets were
immediately embarked and sold to the Americans.  It appears that the Duc
de Choiseul imparted to the Queen, as grounds of defence for the accused,
the political views which led him to authorise that reduction and sale in
the manner in which it had been executed.  It rendered the case of
Messieurs de Bellegarde and de Monthieu more unfavourable that the
artillery officer who made the reduction in the capacity of inspector was,
through a clandestine marriage, brother-in-law of the owner of the
foundry, the purchaser of the rejected arms.  The innocence of the two
prisoners was, nevertheless, made apparent; and they came to Versailles
with their wives and children to throw themselves at the feet of their
benefactress.  This affecting scene took place in the grand gallery, at
the entrance to the Queen's apartment.  She wished to restrain the women
from kneeling, saying that they had only had justice done them; and that
she ought to be congratulated upon the most substantial happiness
attendant upon her station, that of laying just appeals before the King.

On every occasion, when the Queen had to speak in public, she used the
most appropriate and elegant language, notwithstanding the difficulty a
foreigner might be expected to experience.  She answered all addresses
herself, a custom which she learned at the Court of Maria Theresa.  The
Princesses of the House of Bourbon had long ceased to take the trouble of
speaking in such cases.  Madame Addlaide blamed the Queen for not doing as
they did, assuring her that it was quite sufficient to mutter a few words
that might sound like an answer, while the addressers, occupied with what
they had themselves been saying, would always take it for granted that a
proper answer had been returned.  The Queen saw that idleness alone
dictated such a proceeding, and that as the practice even of muttering a
few words showed the necessity of answering in some way, it must be more
proper to reply simply but clearly, and in the best style possible.
Sometimes indeed, when apprised of the subject of the address, she would
write down her answer in the morning, not to learn it by heart, but in
order to settle the ideas or sentiments she wished to introduce.

The influence of the Comtesse de Polignac increased daily; and her friends
availed themselves of it to effect changes in the Ministry. The dismissal
of M. de Montbarrey, a man without talents or character, was generally
approved of.  It was rightly attributed to the Queen.  He had been placed
in administration by M. de Maurepas, and maintained by his aged wife;
both, of course, became more inveterate than ever against the Queen and
the Polignac circle.

The appointment of M. de Segur to the place of Minister of War, and of M.
de Castries to that of Minister of Marine, were wholly the work of that
circle.  The Queen dreaded making ministers; her favourite often wept when
the men of her circle compelled her to interfere.  Men blame women for
meddling in business, and yet in courts it is continually the men
themselves who make use of the influence of the women in matters with
which the latter ought to have nothing to do.

When M. de Segur was presented to the Queen on his new appointment, she
said to me, "You have just seen a minister of my making.  I am very glad,
so far as regards the King's service, that he is appointed, for I think
the selection a very good one; but I almost regret the part I have taken
in it.  I take a responsibility upon myself.  I was fortunate in being
free from any; and in order to relieve myself from this as much as
possible I have just promised M. de Segur, and that upon my word of
honour, not to back any petition, nor to hinder any of his operations by
solicitations on behalf of my proteges."

During the first administration of M. Necker, whose ambition had not then
drawn him into schemes repugnant to his better judgment, and whose views
appeared to the Queen to be very judicious, she indulged in hopes of the
restoration of the finances.  Knowing that M. de Maurepas wished to drive
M. Necker to resign, she urged him to have patience until the death of an
old man whom the King kept about him from a fondness for his first choice,
and out of respect for his advanced age.  She even went so far as to tell
him that M. de Maurepas was always ill, and that his end could not be very
distant.  M. Necker would not wait for that event.  The Queen's prediction
was fulfilled.  M. de Maurepas ended his days immediately after a journey
to Fontainebleau in 1781.

M. Necker had retired.  He had been exasperated by a piece of treachery in
the old minister, for which he could not forgive him.  I knew something of
this intrigue at the time; it has since been fully explained to me by
Madame la Marechale de Beauvau.  M. Necker saw that his credit at Court
was declining, and fearing lest that circumstance should injure his
financial operations, he requested the King to grant him some favour which
might show the public that he had not lost the confidence of his
sovereign.  He concluded his letter by pointing out five requests--such an
office, or such a mark of distinction, or such a badge of honour, and so
on, and handed it to M. de Maurepas.  The or's were changed into and's;
and the King was displeased at M. Necker's ambition, and the assurance
with which he displayed it.  Madame la Marechale de Beauvau assured me
that the Marechal de Castries saw the minute of M. Necker's letter, and
that he likewise saw the altered copy.

The interest which the Queen took in M. Necker died away during his
retirement, and at last changed into strong prejudice against him.  He
wrote too much about the measures he would have pursued, and the benefits
that would have resulted to the State from them.  The ministers who
succeeded him thought their operations embarrassed by the care that M.
Necker and his partisans incessantly took to occupy the public with his
plans; his friends were too ardent.  The Queen discerned a party spirit in
these combinations, and sided wholly with his enemies.

After those inefficient comptrollers-general, Messieurs Joly de Fleury and
d'Ormesson, it became necessary to resort to a man of more acknowledged
talent, and the Queen's friends, at that time combining with the Comte
d'Artois and with M. de Vergennes, got M. de Calonne appointed. The Queen
was highly displeased, and her close intimacy with the Duchesse de
Polignac began to suffer for this.

Her Majesty, continuing to converse with me upon the difficulties she had
met with in private life, told me that ambitious men without merit
sometimes found means to gain their ends by dint of importunity, and that
she had to blame herself for having procured M. d'Adhemar's appointment to
the London embassy, merely because he teased her into it at the Duchess's
house.  She added, however, that it was at a time of perfect peace with
the English; that the Ministry knew the inefficiency of M. d'Adhemar as
well as she did, and that he could do neither harm nor good.

Often in conversations of unreserved frankness the Queen owned that she
had purchased rather dearly a piece of experience which would make her
carefully watch over the conduct of her daughters-in-law, and that she
would be particularly scrupulous about the qualifications of the ladies
who might attend them; that no consideration of rank or favour should bias
her in so important a choice.  She attributed several of her youthful
mistakes to a lady of great levity, whom she found in her palace on her
arrival in France.  She also determined to forbid the Princesses coming
under her control the practice of singing with professors, and said,
candidly, and with as much severity as her slanderers could have done, "I
ought to have heard Garat sing, and never to have sung duets with him."

The indiscreet zeal of Monsieur Augeard contributed to the public belief
that the Queen disposed of all the offices of finance.  He had, without
any authority for doing so, required the committee of fermiers-general to
inform him of all vacancies, assuring them that they would be meeting the
wishes of the Queen.  The members complied, but not without murmuring.
When the Queen became aware of what her secretary had done, she highly
disapproved of it, caused her resentment to be made known to the
fermiers-general, and abstained from asking for appointments,--making only
one request of the kind, as a marriage portion for one of her attendants,
a young woman of good family.


The Queen did not sufficiently conceal the dissatisfaction she felt at
having been unable to prevent the appointment of M. de Calonne; she even
one day went so far as to say at the Duchess's, in the midst of the
partisans and protectors of that minister, that the finances of France
passed alternately from the hands of an honest man without talent into
those of a skilful knave.  M. de Calonne was thus far from acting in
concert with the Queen all the time that he continued in office; and,
while dull verses were circulated about Paris describing the Queen and her
favourite dipping at pleasure into the coffers of the comptroller-general,
the Queen was avoiding all communication with him.

During the long and severe winter of 1783-84 the King gave three millions
of livres for the relief of the indigent.  M. de Calonne, who felt the
necessity of making advances to the Queen, caught at this opportunity of
showing her respect and devotion.  He offered to place in her hands one
million of the three, to be distributed in her name and under her
direction.  His proposal was rejected; the Queen answered that the charity
ought to be wholly distributed in the King's name, and that she would this
year debar herself of even the slightest enjoyments, in order to
contribute all her savings to the relief of the unfortunate.

The moment M. de Calonne left the closet the Queen sent for me:
"Congratulate me, my dear," said she; "I have just escaped a snare, or at
least a matter which eventually might have caused me much regret." She
related the conversation which had taken place word for word to me,
adding, "That man will complete the ruin of the national finances.  It is
said that I placed him in his situation.  The people are made to believe
that I am extravagant; yet I have refused to suffer a sum of money from
the royal treasury, although destined for the most laudable purpose, even
to pass through my hands."

The Queen, making monthly retrenchments from the expenditure of her privy
purse, and not having spent the gifts customary at the period of her
confinement, was in possession of from five to six hundred thousand
francs, her own savings.  She made use of from two to three hundred
thousand francs of this, which her first women sent to M. Lenoir, to the
cures of Paris and Versailles, and to the Soeurs Hospitalieres, and so
distributed them among families in need.

Desirous to implant in the breast of her daughter not only a desire to
succour the unfortunate, but those qualities necessary for the due
discharge of that duty, the Queen incessantly talked to her, though she
was yet very young, about the sufferings of the poor during a season so
inclement.  The Princess already had a sum of from eight to ten thousand
francs for charitable purposes, and the Queen made her distribute part of
it herself.

Wishing to give her children yet another lesson of beneficence, she
desired me on New Year's eve to get from Paris, as in other years, all the
fashionable playthings, and have them spread out in her closet. Then
taking her children by the hand, she showed them all the dolls and
mechanical toys which were ranged there, and told them that she had
intended to give them some handsome New Year's gifts, but that the cold
made the poor so wretched that all her money was spent in blankets and
clothes to protect them from the rigour of the season, and in supplying
them with bread; so that this year they would only have the pleasure of
looking at the new playthings.  When she returned with her children into
her sitting-room, she said there was still an unavoidable expense to be
incurred; that assuredly many mothers would at that season think as she
did,--that the toyman must lose by it; and therefore she gave him fifty
Louis to repay him for the cost of his journey, and console him for having
sold nothing.

The purchase of St. Cloud, a matter very simple in itself, had, on account
of the prevailing spirit, unfavourable consequences to the Queen.

The palace of Versailles, pulled to pieces in the interior by a variety of
new arrangements, and mutilated in point of uniformity by the removal of
the ambassadors' staircase, and of the peristyle of columns placed at the
end of the marble court, was equally in want of substantial and ornamental
repair.  The King therefore desired M. Micque to lay before him several
plans for the repairs of the palace.  He consulted me on certain
arrangements analogous to some of those adopted in the Queen's
establishment, and in my presence asked M. Micque how much money would be
wanted for the execution of the whole work, and how many years he would be
in completing it.  I forget how many millions were mentioned: M. Micque
replied that six years would be sufficient time if the Treasury made the
necessary periodical advances without any delay.  "And how many years
shall you require," said the King, "if the advances are not punctually
made?"--"Ten, Sire," replied the architect.  "We must then reckon upon ten
years," said his Majesty, "and put off this great undertaking until the
year 1790; it will occupy the rest of the century."

The King afterwards talked of the depreciation of property which took
place at Versailles whilst the Regent removed the Court of Louis XV. to
the Tuileries, and said that he must consider how to prevent that
inconvenience; it was the desire to do this that promoted the purchase of
St. Cloud.  The Queen first thought of it one day when she was riding out
with the Duchesse de Polignac and the Comtesse Diane; she mentioned it to
the King, who was much pleased with the thought,--the purchase confirming
him in the intention, which he had entertained for ten years, of quitting

The King determined that the ministers, public officers, pages, and a
considerable part of his stabling should remain at Versailles.  Messieurs
de Breteuil and de Calonne were instructed to treat with the Duc d'Orleans
for the purchase of St. Cloud; at first they hoped to be able to conclude
the business by a mere exchange.  The value of the Chateau de Choisy, de
la Muette, and a forest was equivalent to the sum demanded by the House of
Orleans; and in the exchange which the Queen expected she only saw a
saving to be made instead of an increase of expense.  By this arrangement
the government of Choisy, in the hands of the Duc de Coigny, and that of
La Muette, in the hands of the Marechal de Soubise, would be suppressed.
At the same time the two concierges, and all the servants employed in
these two royal houses, would be reduced; but while the treaty was going
forward Messieurs de Breteuil and de Calonne gave up the point of
exchange, and some millions in cash were substituted for Choisy and La

The Queen advised the King to give her St. Cloud, as a means of avoiding
the establishment of a governor; her plan being to have merely a concierge
there, by which means the governor's expenses would be saved. The King
agreed, and St. Cloud was purchased for the Queen.  She provided the same
liveries for the porters at the gates and servants at the chateau as for
those at Trianon.  The concierge at the latter place had put up some
regulations for the household, headed, "By order of the Queen."  The same
thing was done at St. Cloud.  The Queen's livery at the door of a palace
where it was expected none but that of the King would be seen, and the
words "By order of the Queen" at the head of the printed papers pasted
near the iron gates, caused a great sensation, and produced a very
unfortunate effect, not only among the common people, but also. among
persons of a superior class.  They saw in it an attack upon the customs of
monarchy, and customs are nearly equal to laws.  The Queen heard of this,
but she thought that her dignity would be compromised if she made any
change in the form of these regulations, though they might have been
altogether superseded without inconvenience.  "My name is not out of
place," said she, "in gardens belonging to myself; I may give orders there
without infringing on the rights of the State."  This was her only answer
to the representations which a few faithful servants ventured to make on
the subject.  The discontent of the Parisians on this occasion probably
induced M. d'Espremenil, upon the first troubles about the Parliament, to
say that it was impolitic and immoral to see palaces belonging to a Queen
of France.

[The Queen never forgot this affront of M. d'Espremenil's; she said that
as it was offered at a time when social order had not yet been disturbed,
she had felt the severest mortification at it.  Shortly before the
downfall of the throne M. Espremenil, having openly espoused the King's
side, was insulted in the gardens of the Tuileries by the Jacobins, and so
ill-treated that he was carried home very ill.  Somebody recommended the
Queen, on account of the royalist principles he then professed, to send
and inquire for him. She replied that she was truly grieved at what had
happened to M. d'Espremenil, but that mere policy should never induce her
to show any particular solicitude about the man who had been the first to
make so insulting an attack upon her character.--MADAME CAMPAN]

The Queen was very much dissatisfied with the manner in which M. de
Calonne had managed this matter.  The Abbe de Vermond, the most active and
persevering of that minister's enemies, saw with delight that the
expedients of those from whom alone new resources might be expected were
gradually becoming exhausted, because the period when the Archbishop of
Toulouse would be placed over the finances was thereby hastened.

The royal navy had resumed an imposing attitude during the war for the
independence of America; glorious peace with England had compensated for
the former attacks of our enemies upon the fame of France; and the throne
was surrounded by numerous heirs.  The sole ground of uneasiness was in
the finances, but that uneasiness related only to the manner in which they
were administered.  In a word, France felt confident in its own strength
and resources, when two events, which seem scarcely worthy of a place in
history, but which have, nevertheless, an important one in that of the
French Revolution, introduced a spirit of ridicule and contempt, not only
against the highest ranks, but even against the most august personages.  I
allude to a comedy and a great swindling transaction.

Beaumarchais had long possessed a reputation in certain circles in Paris
for his wit and musical talents, and at the theatres for dramas more or
less indifferent, when his "Barbier de Seville" procured him a higher
position among dramatic writers.  His "Memoirs" against M. Goesman had
amused Paris by the ridicule they threw upon a Parliament which was
disliked; and his admission to an intimacy with M. de Maurepas procured
him a degree of influence over important affairs.  He then became
ambitious of influencing public opinion by a kind of drama, in which
established manners and customs should be held up to popular derision and
the ridicule of the new philosophers.  After several years of prosperity
the minds of the French had become more generally critical; and when
Beaumarchais had finished his monstrous but diverting "Mariage de Figaro,"
all people of any consequence were eager for the gratification of hearing
it read, the censors having decided that it should not be performed.
These readings of "Figaro" grew so numerous that people were daily heard
to say, "I have been (or I am going to be) at the reading of
Beaumarchais's play."  The desire to see it performed became universal; an
expression that he had the art to use compelled, as it were, the
approbation of the nobility, or of persons in power, who aimed at ranking
among the magnanimous; he made his "Figaro" say that "none but little
minds dreaded little books."  The Baron de Breteuil, and all the men of
Madame de Polignac's circle, entered the lists as the warmest protectors
of the comedy.  Solicitations to the King became so pressing that his
Majesty determined to judge for himself of a work which so much engrossed
public attention, and desired me to ask M. Le Noir, lieutenant of police,
for the manuscript of the "Mariage de Figaro."  One morning I received a
note from the Queen ordering me to be with her at three o'clock, and not
to come without having dined, for she should detain me some time.  When I
got to the Queen's inner closet I found her alone with the King; a chair
and a small table were ready placed opposite to them, and upon the table
lay an enormous manuscript in several books.  The King said to me, "There
is Beaumarchais's comedy; you must read it to us.  You will find several
parts troublesome on account of the erasures and references.  I have
already run it over, but I wish the Queen to be acquainted with the work.
You will not mention this reading to any one."

I began.  The King frequently interrupted me by praise or censure, which
was always just.  He frequently exclaimed, "That's in bad taste; this man
continually brings the Italian concetti on the stage."  At that soliloquy
of Figaro in which he attacks various points of government, and especially
at the tirade against State prisons, the King rose up and said,

"That's detestable; that shall never be played; the Bastille must be
destroyed before the license to act this play can be any other than an act
of the most dangerous inconsistency.  This man scoffs at everything that
should be respected in a government."

"It will not be played, then?"  said the Queen.

"No, certainly," replied Louis XVI.; "you may rely upon that."

Still it was constantly reported that "Figaro" was about to be performed;
there were even wagers laid upon the subject; I never should have laid any
myself, fancying that I was better informed as to the probability than
anybody else; if I had, however, I should have been completely deceived.
The protectors of Beaumarchais, feeling certain that they would succeed in
their scheme of making his work public in spite of the King's prohibition,
distributed the parts in the "Mariage de Figaro" among the actors of the
Theatre Francais.  Beaumarchais had made them enter into the spirit of his
characters, and they determined to enjoy at least one performance of this
so-called chef d'oeuvre.  The first gentlemen of the chamber agreed that
M. de la Ferte should lend the theatre of the Hotel des Menus Plaisirs, at
Paris, which was used for rehearsals of the opera; tickets were
distributed to a vast number of leaders of society, and the day for the
performance was fixed.  The King heard of all this only on the very
morning, and signed a 'lettre de cachet,'--[A 'lettre de cachet' was any
written order proceeding from the King.  The term was not confined merely
to orders for arrest.]--which prohibited the performance.  When the
messenger who brought the order arrived, he found a part of the theatre
already filled with spectators, and the streets leading to the Hotel des
Menus Plaisirs filled with carriages; the piece was not performed.  This
prohibition of the King's was looked upon as an attack on public liberty.

The disappointment produced such discontent that the words oppression and
tyranny were uttered with no less passion and bitterness at that time than
during the days which immediately preceded the downfall of the throne.
Beaumarchais was so far put off his guard by rage as to exclaim, "Well,
gentlemen, he won't suffer it to be played here; but I swear it shall be
played,--perhaps in the very choir of Notre-Dame!"  There was something
prophetic in these words.  It was generally insinuated shortly afterwards
that Beaumarchais had determined to suppress all those parts of his work
which could be obnoxious to the Government; and on pretence of judging of
the sacrifices made by the author, M. de Vaudreuil obtained permission to
have this far-famed "Mariage de Figaro" performed at his country house.
M. Campan was asked there; he had frequently heard the work read, and did
not now find the alterations that had been announced; this he observed to
several persons belonging to the Court, who maintained that the author had
made all the sacrifices required.  M. Campan was so astonished at these
persistent assertions of an obvious falsehood that he replied by a
quotation from Beaumarchais himself, and assuming the tone of Basilio in
the "Barbier de Seville," he said, "Faith, gentlemen, I don't know who is
deceived here; everybody is in the secret."  They then came to the point,
and begged him to tell the Queen positively that all which had been
pronounced reprehensible in M. de Beaumarchais's play had been cut out.
My father-in-law contented himself with replying that his situation at
Court would not allow of his giving an opinion unless the Queen should
first speak of the piece to him. The Queen said nothing to him about the
matter.  Shortly, afterwards permission to perform this play was at length
obtained.  The Queen thought the people of Paris would be finely tricked
when they saw merely an ill-conceived piece, devoid of interest, as it
must appear when deprived of its Satire.

["The King," says Grimm, "made sure that the public would judge
unfavourably of the work."  He said to the Marquis de Montesquiou, who was
going to see the first representation, 'Well, what do you augur of its
success?'--'Sire, I hope the piece will fail.'--'And so do I,' replied the

"There is something still more ridiculous than my piece," said
Beaumarchais himself; "that is, its success."  Mademoiselle Arnould
foresaw it the first day, and exclaimed, "It is a production that will
fail fifty nights successively."  There was as crowded an audience on the
seventy-second night as on the first.  The following is extracted from
Grimm's 'Correspondence.'

"Answer of M. de Beaumarchais to -----, who requested the use of his
private box for some ladies desirous of seeing 'Figaro' without being
themselves seen.

"I have no respect for women who indulge themselves in seeing any play
which they think indecorous, provided they can do so in secret. I lend
myself to no such acts.  I have given my piece to the public, to amuse,
and not to instruct, not to give any compounding prudes the pleasure of
going to admire it in a private box, and balancing their account with
conscience by censuring it in company.  To indulge in the pleasure of vice
and assume the credit of virtue is the hypocrisy of the age.  My piece is
not of a doubtful nature; it must be patronised in good earnest, or
avoided altogether; therefore, with all respect to you, I shall keep my
box."  This letter was circulated all over Paris for a week.]

Under the persuasion that there was not a passage left capable of
malicious or dangerous application, Monsieur attended the first
performance in a public box.  The mad enthusiasm of the public in favour
of the piece and Monsieur's just displeasure are well known.  The author
was sent to prison soon afterwards, though his work was extolled to the
skies, and though the Court durst not suspend its performance.

The Queen testified her displeasure against all who had assisted the
author of the "Mariage de Figaro" to deceive the King into giving his
consent that it should be represented.  Her reproaches were more
particularly directed against M. de Vaudreuil for having had it performed
at his house.  The violent and domineering disposition of her favourite's
friend at last became disagreeable to her.

One evening, on the Queen's return from the Duchess's, she desired her
'valet de chambre' to bring her billiard cue into her closet, and ordered
me to open the box that contained it.  I took out the cue, broken in two.
It was of ivory, and formed of one single elephant's tooth; the butt was
of gold and very tastefully wrought.  "There," said she, "that is the way
M. de Vaudreuil has treated a thing I valued highly.  I had laid it upon
the couch while I was talking to the Duchess in the salon; he had the
assurance to make use of it, and in a fit of passion about a blocked ball,
he struck the cue so violently against the table that he broke it in two.
The noise brought me back into the billiard-room; I did not say a word to
him, but my looks showed him how angry I was.  He is the more provoked at
the accident, as he aspires to the post of Governor to the Dauphin.  I
never thought of him for the place.  It is quite enough to have consulted
my heart only in the choice of a governess; and I will not suffer that of
a Governor to the Dauphin to be at all affected by the influence of my
friends.  I should be responsible for it to the nation. The poor man does
not know that my determination is taken; for I have never expressed it to
the Duchess.  Therefore, judge of the sort of an evening he must have


Shortly after the public mind had been thrown into agitation by the
performance of the "Mariage de Figaro," an obscure plot, contrived by
swindlers, and matured in a corrupted society, attacked the Queen's
character in a vital point and assailed the majesty of the throne.

I am about to speak of the notorious affair of the necklace purchased, as
it was said, for the Queen by Cardinal de Rohan.  I will narrate all that
has come to my knowledge relating to this business; the most minute
particulars will prove how little reason the Queen had to apprehend the
blow by which she was threatened, and which must be attributed to a
fatality that human prudence could not have foreseen, but from which, to
say the truth, she might have extricated herself with more skill.

I have already said that in 1774 the Queen purchased jewels of Boehmer to
the value of three hundred and sixty thousand franca, that she paid for
them herself out of her own private funds, and that it required several
years to enable her to complete the payment.  The King afterwards
presented her with a set of rubies and diamonds of a fine water, and
subsequently with a pair of bracelets worth two hundred thousand francs.
The Queen, after having her diamonds reset in new patterns, told Boehmer
that she found her jewel case rich enough, and was not desirous of making
any addition to it.

[Except on those days when the assemblies at Court were particularly
attended, such as the 1st of January and the 2d of February, devoted to
the procession of the Order of the Holy Ghost, and on the festivals of
Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas, the Queen no longer wore any dresses
but muslin or white Florentine taffety.  Her head-dress was merely a hat;
the plainest were preferred; and her diamonds never quitted their caskets
but for the dresses of ceremony, confined to the days I have mentioned.
Before the Queen was five and twenty she began to apprehend that she might
be induced to make too frequent use of flowers and of ornaments, which at
that time were exclusively reserved for youth.  Madame Bertin having
brought a wreath for the head and neck, composed of roses, the Queen
feared that the brightness of the flowers might be disadvantageous to her
complexion.  She was unquestionably too severe upon herself, her beauty
having as yet experienced no alteration; it is easy to conceive the
concert of praise and compliment that replied to the doubt she had
expressed.  The Queen, approaching me, said, "I charge you, from this day,
to give me notice when flowers shall cease to become me."--"I shall do no
such thing," I replied, immediately; "I have not read 'Gil Bias' without
profiting in some degree from it, and I find your Majesty's order too much
like that given him by the Archbishop of Granada, to warn him of the
moment when he should begin to fall off in the composition of his
homilies."--"Go," said the Queen; "You are less sincere than Gil Blas; and
I world have been more amenable than the Archbishop."--MADAME CAMPAN.]

Still, this jeweller busied himself for some years in forming a collection
of the finest diamonds circulating in the trade, in order to compose a
necklace of several rows, which he hoped to induce her Majesty to
purchase; he brought it to M. Campan, requesting him to mention it to the
Queen, that she might ask to see it, and thus be induced to wish to
possess it.  This M. Campan refused to do, telling him that he should be
stepping out of the line of his duty were he to propose to the Queen an
expense of sixteen hundred thousand francs, and that he believed neither
the lady of honour nor the tirewoman would take upon herself to execute
such a commission.  Boehmer persuaded the King's first gentleman for the
year to show this superb necklace to his Majesty, who admired it so much
that he himself wished to see the Queen adorned with it, and sent the case
to her; but she assured him she should much regret incurring so great an
expense for such an article, that she had already very beautiful diamonds,
that jewels of that description were now worn at Court not more than four
or five times a year, that the necklace must be returned, and that the
money would be much better employed in building a man-of-war.

[Messieurs Boehmer and Bassange, jewellers to the Crown, were proprietors
of a superb diamond necklace, which had, as it was said, been intended for
the Comtesse du Barry.  Being under the necessity of selling it, they
offered it, during the last war, to the king and Queen; but their
Majesties made the following prudent answer: "We stand more in need of
ships than of jewels."--"Secret Correspondence of the Court of Louis

Boehmer, in sad tribulation at finding his expectations delusive,
endeavoured for some time, it is said, to dispose of his necklace among
the various Courts of Europe.

A year after his fruitless attempts, Boehmer again caused his diamond
necklace to be offered to the King, proposing that it should be paid for
partly by instalments, and partly in life annuities; this proposal was
represented as highly advantageous, and the King, in my presence,
mentioned the matter once more to the Queen.  I remember the Queen told
him that, if the bargain really was not bad, he might make it, and keep
the necklace until the marriage of one of his children; but that, for her
part, she would never wear it, being unwilling that the world should have
to reproach her with having coveted so expensive an article.  The King
replied that their children were too young to justify such an expense,
which would be greatly increased by the number of years the diamonds would
remain useless, and that he would finally decline the offer. Boehmer
complained to everybody of his misfortune, and all reasonable people
blamed him for having collected diamonds to so considerable an amount
without any positive order for them.  This man had purchased the office of
jeweller to the Crown, which gave him some rights of entry at Court.
After several months spent in ineffectual attempts to carry his point, and
in idle complaints, he obtained an audience of the Queen, who had with her
the young Princess, her daughter; her Majesty did not know for what
purpose Boehmer sought this audience, and had not the slightest idea that
it was to speak to her again about an article twice refused by herself and
the King.

Boehmer threw himself upon his knees, clasped his hands, burst into tears,
and exclaimed, "Madame, I am ruined and disgraced if you do not purchase
my necklace.  I cannot outlive so many misfortunes.  When I go hence I
shall throw myself into the river."

"Rise, Boehmer," said the Queen, in a tone sufficiently severe to recall
him to himself; "I do not like these rhapsodies; honest men have no
occasion to fall on their knees to make their requests.  If you were to
destroy yourself I should regret you as a madman in whom I had taken an
interest, but I should not be in any way responsible for that misfortune.
Not only have I never ordered the article which causes your present
despair, but whenever you have talked to me about fine collections of
jewels I have told you that I should not add four diamonds to those which
I already possessed.  I told you myself that I declined taking the
necklace; the King wished to give it to me, but I refused him also; never
mention it to me again.  Divide it and try to sell it piecemeal, and do
not drown yourself.  I am very angry with you for acting this scene of
despair in my presence and before this child.  Let me never see you behave
thus again.  Go."  Baehmer withdrew, overwhelmed with confusion, and
nothing further was then heard of him.

When Madame Sophie was born the Queen told me M. de Saint-James, a rich
financier, had apprised her that Boehmer was still intent upon the sale of
his necklace, and that she ought, for her own satisfaction, to endeavour
to learn what the man had done with it; she desired me the first time I
should meet him to speak to him about it, as if from the interest I took
in his welfare.  I spoke to him about his necklace, and he told me he had
been very fortunate, having sold it at Constantinople for the favourite
sultana.  I communicated this answer to the Queen, who was delighted with
it, but could not comprehend how the Sultan came to purchase his diamonds
in Paris.

The Queen long avoided seeing Boehmer, being fearful of his rash
character; and her valet de chambre, who had the care of her jewels, made
the necessary repairs to her ornaments unassisted.  On the baptism of the
Duc d'Angouleme, in 1785, the King gave him a diamond epaulet and buckles,
and directed Baehmer to deliver them to the Queen.  Boehmer presented them
on her return from mass, and at the same time gave into her hands a letter
in the form of a petition.  In this paper he told the Queen that he was
happy to see her "in possession of the finest diamonds known in Europe,"
and entreated her not to forget him.  The Queen read Boehmer's address to
her aloud, and saw nothing in it but a proof of mental aberration; she
lighted the paper at a wax taper standing near her, as she had some
letters to seal, saying, "It is not worth keeping." She afterwards much
regretted the loss of this enigmatical memorial. After having burnt the
paper, her Majesty said to me, "That man is born to be my torment; he has
always some mad scheme in his head; remember, the first time you see him,
to tell him that I do not like diamonds now, and that I will buy no more
so long as I live; that if I had any money to spare I would rather add to
my property at St. Cloud by the purchase of the land surrounding it; now,
mind you enter into all these particulars and impress them well upon him."
I asked her whether she wished me to send for him; she replied in the
negative, adding that it would be sufficient to avail myself of the first
opportunity afforded by meeting him; and that the slightest advance
towards such a man would be misplaced.

On the 1st of August I left Versailles for my country house at Crespy; on
the 3d came Boehmer, extremely uneasy at not having received any answer
from the Queen, to ask me whether I had any commission from her to him; I
replied that she had entrusted me with none; that she had no commands for
him, and I faithfully repeated all she had desired me to say to him.

"But," said Boehmer, "the answer to the letter I presented to her,--to
whom must I apply for that?"

"To nobody," answered I; "her Majesty burnt your memorial without even
comprehending its meaning."

"Ah! madame," exclaimed he, "that is impossible; the Queen knows that she
has money to pay me!"

"Money, M. Boehmer?  Your last accounts against the Queen were discharged
long ago."

"Madame, you are not in the secret.  A man who is ruined for want of
payment of fifteen hundred thousand francs cannot be said to be

"Have you lost your senses?" said I.  "For what can the Queen owe you so
extravagant a sum?"

"For my necklace, madame," replied Boehmer, coolly.

"What!" I exclaimed, "that necklace again, which you have teased the Queen
about so many years!  Did you not tell me you had sold it at

"The Queen desired me to give that answer to all who should speak to me on
the subject," said the wretched dupe.  He then told me that the Queen
wished to have the necklace, and had had it purchased for her by
Monseigneur, the Cardinal de Rohan.

"You are deceived," I exclaimed; "the Queen has not once spoken to the
Cardinal since his return from Vienna; there is not a man at her Court
less favourably looked upon."

"You are deceived yourself, madame," said Boehmer; "she sees him so much
in private that it was to his Eminence she gave thirty thousand francs,
which were paid me as an instalment; she took them, in his presence, out
of the little secretaire of Sevres porcelain next the fireplace in her

"And the Cardinal told you all this?"

"Yes, madame, himself."

"What a detestable plot!"  cried I.

"Indeed, to say the truth, madame, I begin to be much alarmed, for his
Eminence assured me that the Queen would wear the necklace on Whit-Sunday,
but I did not see it upon her, and it was that which induced me to write
to her Majesty."

He then asked me what he ought to do.  I advised him to go on to
Versailles, instead of returning to Paris, whence he had just arrived; to
obtain an immediate audience from the Baron de Breteuil, who, as head of
the King's household, was the minister of the department to which Boehmer
belonged, and to be circumspect; and I added that he appeared to me
extremely culpable,--not as a diamond merchant, but because being a sworn
officer it was unpardonable of him to have acted without the direct orders
of the King, the Queen, or the Minister.  He answered, that he had not
acted without direct orders; that he had in his possession all the notes
signed by the Queen, and that he had even been obliged to show them to
several bankers in order to induce them to extend the time for his
payments.  I urged his departure for Versailles, and he assured me he
would go there immediately.  Instead of following my advice, he went to
the Cardinal, and it was of this visit of Boehmer's that his Eminence made
a memorandum, found in a drawer overlooked by the Abbe Georgel when he
burnt, by order of the Cardinal, all the papers which the latter had at
Paris.  The memorandum was thus worded: "On this day, 3d August, Boehmer
went to Madame Campan's country house, and she told him that the Queen had
never had his necklace, and that he had been deceived."

When Boehmer was gone, I wanted to follow him, and go to the Queen; my
father-in-law prevented me, and ordered me to leave the minister to
elucidate such an important affair, observing that it was an infernal
plot; that I had given Boehmer the best advice, and had nothing more to do
with the business.  Boehmer never said one word to me about the woman De
Lamotte, and her name was mentioned for the first time by the Cardinal in
his answers to the interrogatories put to him before the King.  After
seeing the Cardinal, Boehmer went to Trianon, and sent a message to the
Queen, purporting that I had advised him to come and speak to her.  His
very words were repeated to her Majesty, who said, "He is mad; I have
nothing to say to him, and will not see him."  Two or three days
afterwards the Queen sent for me to Petit Trianon, to rehearse with me the
part of Rosina, which she was to perform in the "Barbier de Seville." I
was alone with her, sitting upon her couch; no mention was made of
anything but the part.  After we had spent an hour in the rehearsal, her
Majesty asked me why I had sent Boehmer to her; saying he had been in my
name to speak to her, and that she would not see him.  It was in this
manner I learnt that he had not followed my advice in the slightest
degree.  The change of my countenance, when I heard the man's name, was
very perceptible; the Queen perceived it, and questioned me.  I entreated
her to see him, and assured her it was of the utmost importance for her
peace of mind; that there was a plot going on, of which she was not aware;
and that it was a serious one, since engagements signed by herself were
shown about to people who had lent Boehmer money.  Her surprise and
vexation were great.  She desired me to remain at Trianon, and sent off a
courier to Paris, ordering Boehmer to come to her upon some pretext which
has escaped my recollection.  He came next morning; in fact it was the day
on which the play was performed, and that was the last amusement the Queen
allowed herself at that retreat.

The Queen made him enter her closet, and asked him by what fatality it was
that she was still doomed to hear of his foolish pretence of selling her
an article which she had steadily refused for several years.  He replied
that he was compelled, being unable to pacify his creditors any longer.
"What are your creditors to me?"  said her Majesty.  Boehmer then
regularly related to her all that he had been made to believe had passed
between the Queen and himself through the intervention of the Cardinal.
She was equally incensed and surprised at each thing she heard.  In vain
did she speak; the jeweller, equally importunate and dangerous, repeated
incessantly, "Madame, there is no longer time for feigning; condescend to
confess that you have my necklace, and let some assistance be given to me,
or my bankruptcy will soon bring the whole to light."

It is easy to imagine how the Queen must have suffered.  On Boehmer's
going away, I found her in an alarming condition; the idea that any one
could have believed that such a man as the Cardinal possessed her full
confidence; that she should have employed him to deal with a tradesman
without the King's knowledge, for a thing which she had refused to accept
from the King himself, drove her to desperation.  She sent first for the
Abbe de Vermond, and then for the Baron de Breteuil.  Their hatred and
contempt for the Cardinal made them too easily forget that the lowest
faults do not prevent the higher orders of the empire from being defended
by those to whom they have the honour to belong; that a Rohan, a Prince of
the Church, however culpable he might be, would be sure to have a
considerable party which would naturally be joined by all the discontented
persons of the Court, and all the frondeurs of Paris. They too easily
believed that he would be stripped of all the advantages of his rank and
order, and given up to the disgrace due to his irregular conduct; they
deceived themselves.

I saw the Queen after the departure of the Baron and the Abbe; her
agitation made me shudder.  "Fraud must be unmasked," said she; "when the
Roman purple and the title of Prince cover a mere money-seeker, a cheat
who dares to compromise the wife of his sovereign, France and all Europe
should know it."  It is evident that from that moment the fatal plan was
decided on.  The Queen perceived my alarm; I did not conceal it from her.
I knew too well that she had many enemies not to be apprehensive on seeing
her attract the attention of the whole world to an intrigue that they
would try to complicate still more.  I entreated her to seek the most
prudent and moderate advice.  She silenced me by desiring me to make
myself easy, and to rest satisfied that no imprudence would be committed.

On the following Sunday, the 15th of August, being the Assumption, at
twelve o'clock, at the very moment when the Cardinal, dressed in his
pontifical garments, was about to proceed to the chapel, he was sent for
into the King's closet, where the Queen then was.

The King said to him, "You have purchased diamonds of Boehmer?"

"Yes, Sire."

"What have you done with them?"

"I thought they had been delivered to the Queen."

"Who commissioned you?"

"A lady, called the Comtesse de Lamotte-Valois, who handed me a letter
from the Queen; and I thought I was gratifying her Majesty by taking this
business on myself."

The Queen here interrupted him and said, "How, monsieur, could you believe
that I should select you, to whom I have not spoken for eight years, to
negotiate anything for me, and especially through the mediation of a woman
whom I do not even know?"

"I see plainly," said the Cardinal, "that I have been duped.  I will pay
for the necklace; my desire to please your Majesty blinded me; I suspected
no trick in the affair, and I am sorry for it."

He then took out of his pocket-book a letter from the Queen to Madame de
Lamotte, giving him this commission.  The King took it, and, holding it
towards the Cardinal, said:

"This is neither written nor signed by the Queen.  How could a Prince of
the House of Rohan, and a Grand Almoner of France, ever think that the
Queen would sign Marie Antoinette de France?  Everybody knows that queens
sign only by their baptismal names.  But, monsieur," pursued the King,
handing him a copy of his letter to Baehmer, "have you ever written such a
letter as this?"

Having glanced over it, the Cardinal said, "I do not remember having
written it."

"But what if the original, signed by yourself, were shown to you?"

"If the letter be signed by myself it is genuine."

He was extremely confused, and repeated several times, "I have been
deceived, Sire; I will pay for the necklace.  I ask pardon of your

"Then explain to me," resumed the King, "the whole of this enigma.  I do
not wish to find you guilty; I had rather you would justify yourself.
Account for all the manoeuvres with Baehmer, these assurances and these

The Cardinal then, turning pale, and leaning against the table, said,
"Sire, I am too much confused to answer your Majesty in a way--"

"Compose yourself, Cardinal, and go into my cabinet; you will there find
paper, pens, and ink,--write what you have to say to me."

The Cardinal went into the King's cabinet, and returned a quarter of an
hour afterwards with a document as confused as his verbal answers had
been.  The King then said, "Withdraw, monsieur."  The Cardinal left the
King's chamber, with the Baron de Breteuil, who gave him in custody to a
lieutenant of the Body Guard, with orders to take him to his apartment. M.
d'Agoult, aide-major of the Body Guard, afterwards took him into custody,
and conducted him to his hotel, and thence to the Bastille.  But while the
Cardinal had with him only the young lieutenant of the Body Guard, who was
much embarrassed at having such an order to execute, his Eminence met his
heyduc at the door of the Salon of Hercules; he spoke to him in German and
then asked the lieutenant if he could lend him a pencil; the officer gave
him that which he carried about him, and the Cardinal wrote to the Abbe
Georgel, his grand vicar and friend, instantly to burn all Madame de
Lamotte's correspondence, and all his other letters.

[The Abbe Georgel thus relates the circumstance: The Cardinal, at that
trying moment, gave an astonishing proof of his presence of mind;
notwithstanding the escort which surrounded him, favoured by the attendant
crowd, he stopped, and stooping down with his face towards the wall, as if
to fasten his buckle, snatched out his pencil and hastily wrote a few
words upon a scrap of paper placed under his hand in his square red cap.
He rose again and proceeded. on entering his house, his people formed a
lane; he slipped this paper, unperceived, into the hand of a confidential
valet de chambre, who waited for him at the door of his apartment."  This
story is scarcely credible; it is not at the moment of a prisoner's
arrest, when an inquisitive crowd surrounds and watches him, that he can
stop and write secret messages.  However, the valet de chambre posts off
to Paris.  He arrives at the palace of the Cardinal between twelve and one
o'clock; and his horse falls dead in the stable.  "I was in my apartment,"
said the Abbe Georgel, "the valet de chambre entered wildly, with a deadly
paleness on his countenance, and exclaimed, 'All is lost; the Prince is
arrested.' He instantly fell, fainting, and dropped the note of which he
was the bearer."  The portfolio containing the papers which might
compromise the Cardinal was immediately placed beyond the reach of all
search.  Madame de Lamotte also was foolishly allowed sufficient time
after she heard of the arrest of the Cardinal to burn all the letters she
had received from him.  Assisted by Beugnot, she completed this at three
the same morning that she was: arrested at four.--See "Memoirs of Comte de
Beugnot," vol i., p. 74.]

This commission was executed before M. de Crosne, lieutenant of police,
had received an order from the Baron de Breteuil to put seals upon the
Cardinal's papers.  The destruction of all his Eminence's correspondence,
and particularly that with Madame de Lamotte, threw an impenetrable cloud
over the whole affair.

From that moment all proofs of this intrigue disappeared.  Madame de
Lamotte was apprehended at Bar-sur-Aube; her husband had already gone to
England.  From the beginning of this fatal affair all the proceedings of
the Court appear to have been prompted by imprudence and want of
foresight; the obscurity resulting left free scope for the fables of which
the voluminous memorials written on one side and the other consisted.  The
Queen so little imagined what could have given rise to the intrigue, of
which she was about to become the victim, that, at the moment when the
King was interrogating the Cardinal, a terrific idea entered her mind.
With that rapidity of thought caused by personal interest and extreme
agitation, she fancied that, if a design to ruin her in the eyes of the
King and the French people were the concealed motive of this intrigue, the
Cardinal would, perhaps, affirm that she had the necklace; that he had
been honoured with her confidence for this purchase, made without the
King's knowledge; and point out some secret place in her apartment, where
he might have got some villain to hide it. Want of money and the meanest
swindling were the sole motives for this criminal affair.  The necklace
had already been taken to pieces and sold, partly in London, partly in
Holland, and the rest in Paris.

The moment the Cardinal's arrest was known a universal clamour arose.
Every memorial that appeared during the trial increased the outcry. On
this occasion the clergy took that course which a little wisdom and the
least knowledge of the spirit of such a body ought to have foreseen. The
Rohans and the House of Conde, as well as the clergy, made their
complaints heard everywhere.  The King consented to having a legal
judgment, and early in September he addressed letters-patent to the
Parliament, in which he said that he was "filled with the most just
indignation on seeing the means which, by the confession of his Eminence
the Cardinal, had been employed in order to inculpate his most dear spouse
and companion."

Fatal moment!  in which the Queen found herself, in consequence of this
highly impolitic step, on trial with a subject, who ought to have been
dealt with by the power of the King alone.  The Princes and Princesses of
the House of Conde, and of the Houses of Rohan, Soubise, and Guemenee, put
on mourning, and were seen ranged in the way of the members of the Grand
Chamber to salute them as they proceeded to the palace, on the days of the
Cardinal's trial; and Princes of the blood openly canvassed against the
Queen of France.

The Pope wished to claim, on behalf of the Cardinal de Rohan, the right
belonging to his ecclesiastical rank, and demanded that he should be
judged at Rome.  The Cardinal de Bernis, ambassador from France to his
Holiness, formerly Minister for Foreign Affairs, blending the wisdom of an
old diplomatist with the principles of a Prince of the Church, wished that
this scandalous affair should be hushed up.  The King's aunts, who were on
very intimate terms with the ambassador, adopted his opinion, and the
conduct of the King and Queen was equally and loudly censured in the
apartments of Versailles and in the hotels and coffee-houses of Paris.

Madame, the King's sister-in-law, had been the sole protectress of De
Lamotte, and had confined her patronage to granting her a pension of
twelve to fifteen hundred francs.  Her brother was in the navy, but the
Marquis de Chabert, to whom he had been recommended, could never train a
good officer.  The Queen in vain endeavoured to call to mind the features
of this person, of whom she had often heard as an intriguing woman, who
came frequently on Sundays to the gallery of Versailles.  At the time when
all France was engrossed by the persecution against the Cardinal, the
portrait of the Comtesse de Lamotte  Valois was publicly sold.  Her
Majesty desired me one day, when I was going to Paris, to buy her the
engraving, which was said to be a tolerable likeness, that she might
ascertain whether she could recognise in it any person whom she might have
seen in the gallery.

[The public, with the exception of the lowest class, were admitted into
the gallery and larger apartments of Versailles, as they were into the

The woman De Lamotte's father was a peasant at Auteuil, though he called
himself Valois.  Madame de Boulainvilliers once saw from her terrace two
pretty little peasant girls, each labouring under a heavy bundle of
sticks.  The priest of the village, who was walking with her, told her
that the children possessed some curious papers, and that he had no doubt
they were descendants of a Valois, an illegitimate son of one of the
princes of that name.

The family of Valois had long ceased to appear in the world.  Hereditary
vices had gradually plunged them into the deepest misery.  I have heard
that the last Valois then known occupied the estate called Gros Bois; that
as he seldom came to Court, Louis XIII. asked him what he was about that
he remained so constantly in the country; and that this M. de Valois
merely answered, "Sire, I only do there what I ought."  It was shortly
afterwards discovered that he was coining.

Neither the Queen herself nor any one near her ever had the slightest
connection with the woman De Lamotte; and during her prosecution she could
point out but one of the Queen's servants, named Desclos, a valet of the
Queen's bedchamber, to whom she pre tended she had delivered Boehmer's
necklace.  This Desclos was a very honest man; upon being confronted with
the woman De Lamotte, it was proved that she had never seen him but once,
which was at the house of the wife of a surgeon-accoucheur at Versailles,
the only person she visited at Court; and that she had not given him the
necklace.  Madame de Lamotte married a private in Monsieur's body-guard;
she lodged at Versailles at the Belle Image, a very inferior furnished
house; and it is inconceivable how so obscure a person could succeed in
making herself believed to be a friend of the Queen, who, though so
extremely affable, seldom granted audiences, and only to titled persons.

The trial of the Cardinal is too generally known to require me to repeat
its details here.  The point most embarrassing to him was the interview he
had in February, 1785, with M. de Saint-James, to whom he confided the
particulars of the Queen's pretended commission, and showed the contract
approved and signed Marie Antoinette de France.  The memorandum found in a
drawer of the Cardinal's bureau, in which he had himself written what
Baehmer told him after having seen me at my country house, was likewise an
unfortunate document for his Eminence.

I offered to the King to go and declare that Baehmer had told me that the
Cardinal assured him he had received from the Queen's own hand the thirty
thousand francs given on account upon the bargain being concluded, and
that his Eminence had seen her Majesty take that sum in bills from the
porcelain secretaire in her boudoir.  The King declined my offer, and said
to me, "Were you alone when Boehmer told you this?"  I answered that I was
alone with him in my garden.  "Well," resumed he, "the man would deny the
fact; he is now sure of being paid his sixteen hundred thousand francs,
which the Cardinal's family will find it necessary to make good to him; we
can no longer rely upon his sincerity; it would look as if you were sent
by the Queen, and that would not be proper."

[The guilty woman no sooner knew that all was about to be discovered than
she sent for the jewellers, and told them the Cardinal had perceived that
the agreement, which he believed to have been signed by the Queen, was a
false and forged document.  "However," added she, "the Cardinal possesses
a considerable fortune, and he can very well pay you."  These words reveal
the whole secret.  The Countess had taken the necklace to herself, and
flattered herself that M. de Rohan, seeing himself deceived and cruelly
imposed upon, would determine to pay and make the beat terms he could,
rather than suffer a matter of this nature to become public.-"Secret
Correspondence of the Court of Louis XVI."]

The procureur general's information was severe on the Cardinal.  The
Houses of Conde and Rohan and the majority of the nobility saw in this
affair only an attack on the Prince's rank, the clergy only a blow aimed
at the privileges of a cardinal.  The clergy demanded that the unfortunate
business of the Prince Cardinal de Rohan should be submitted to
ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and the Archbishop of Narbonne, then
President of the Convocation, made representations upon the subject to the
King; the bishops wrote to his Majesty to remind him that a private
ecclesiastic implicated in the affair then pending would have a right to
claim his constitutional judges, and that this right was refused to a
cardinal, his superior in the hierarchical order.  In short, the clergy
and the greater part of the nobility were at that time outrageous against
authority, and chiefly against the Queen.

The procureur-general's conclusions, and those of a part of the heads of
the magistracy, were as severe towards the Cardinal as the information had
been; yet he was fully acquitted by a majority of three voices; the woman
De Lamotte was condemned to be whipped, branded, and imprisoned; and her
husband, for contumacy, was condemned to the galleys for life.

[The following extract is from the "Memoirs" of the Abbe Georgel: "The
sittings were long and multiplied; it was necessary to read the whole
proceedings; more than fifty judges sat; a master of requests; a friend of
the Prince, wrote down all that was said there, and sent it to his
advisers, who found means to inform the Cardinal of it, and to add the
plan of conduct he ought to pursue."  D'Epremesnil, and other young
counsellors, showed upon that occasion but too much audacity in braving
the Court, too much eagerness in seizing an opportunity of attacking it.
They were the first to shake that authority which their functions made it
a duty in them to respect.--NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

M. Pierre de Laurencel, the procureur general's substitute, sent the Queen
a list of the names of the members of the Grand Chamber, with the means
made use of by the friends of the Cardinal to gain their votes during the
trial.  I had this list to keep among the papers which the Queen deposited
in the house of M. Campan, my father-in-law, and which, at his death, she
ordered me to preserve.  I burnt this statement, but I remember ladies
performed a part not very creditable to their principles; it was by them,
in consideration of large sums which they received, that some of the
oldest and most respected members were won over.  I did not see a single
name amongst the whole Parliament that was gained directly.

The belief confirmed by time is, that the Cardinal was completely duped by
the woman De Lamotte and Cagliostro.  The King may have been in error in
thinking him an accomplice in this miserable and criminal scheme, but I
have faithfully repeated his Majesty's judgment about it.

However, the generally received opinion that the Baron de Breteuil's
hatred for the Cardinal was the cause of the scandal and the unfortunate
result of this affair contributed to the disgrace of the former still more
than his refusal to give his granddaughter in marriage to the son of the
Duc de Polignac.  The Abbe de Vermond threw the whole blame of the
imprudence and impolicy of the affair of the Cardinal de Rohan upon the
minister, and ceased to be the friend and supporter of the Baron de
Breteuil with the Queen.

In the early part of the year 1786, the Cardinal, as has been said, was
fully acquitted, and came out of the Bastille, while Madame de Lamotte was
condemned to be whipped, branded, and imprisoned.  The Court, persisting
in the erroneous views which had hitherto guided its measures, conceived
that the Cardinal and the woman De Lamotte were equally culpable and
unequally punished, and sought to restore the balance of justice by
exiling the Cardinal to La Chaise-Dieu, and suffering Madame de Lamotte to
escape a few days after she entered l'Hopital.  This new error confirmed
the Parisians in the idea that the wretch De Lamotte, who had never been
able to make her way so far as to the room appropriated to the Queen's
women, had really interested the Queen herself.

[Further particulars will be found in the "Memoirs of the Comte de
Beugnot" (London: Hurst & Blackett, 1871), as he knew Madame de Lamotte
from the days of her early childhood (when the three children, the Baron
de Valois, who died captain of a frigate, and the two Mademoiselles de
Saint-Remi, the last descendants of the Baron de Saint-Remi, a natural son
of Henri II., were almost starving) to the time of her temporary
prosperity.  In fact, he was with her when she burnt the correspondence of
the Cardinal, in the interval the Court foolishly allowed between his
arrest and her capture, and De Beugnot believed he had met at her house,
at the moment of their return from their successful trick, the whole party
engaged in deluding the Cardinal.  It is worth noting that he was then
struck by the face of Mademoiselle d'Oliva, who had just personated the
Queen in presenting a rose to the Cardinal.  It may also be cited as a
pleasing quality of Madame de Lamotte that she, "in her ordinary
conversation, used the words stupid and honest as synonymous."--See
"Beugnot," vol. i., p. 60.]


The Abbe de Vermond could not repress his exultation when he succeeded in
getting the Archbishop of Sens appointed head of the council of finance. I
have more than once heard him say that seventeen years of patience were
not too long a term for success in a Court; that he spent all that time in
gaining the end he had in view; but that at length the Archbishop was
where he ought to be for the good of the State.  The Abbe, from this time,
in the Queen's private circle no longer concealed his credit and
influence; nothing could equal the confidence with which he displayed the
extent of his pretensions.  He requested the Queen to order that the
apartments appropriated to him should be enlarged, telling her that, being
obliged to give audiences to bishops, cardinals, and ministers, he
required a residence suitable to his present circumstances.  The Queen
continued to treat him as she did before the Archbishop's arrival at
Court; but the household showed him increased consideration: the word
"Monsieur" preceded that of Abbe; and from that moment not only the livery
servants, but also the people of the antechambers rose when Monsieur
l'Abbe was passing, though there never was, to my knowledge, any order
given to that effect.

The Queen was obliged, on account of the King's disposition and the very
limited confidence he placed in the Archbishop of Sens, to take a part in
public affairs.  While M. de Maurepas lived she kept out of that danger,
as may be seen by the censure which the Baron de Besenval passes on her in
his memoirs for not availing herself of the conciliation he had promoted
between the Queen and that minister, who counteracted the ascendency which
the Queen and her intimate friends might otherwise have gained over the
King's mind.

The Queen has often assured me that she never interfered respecting the
interests of Austria but once; and that was only to claim the execution of
the treaty of alliance at the time when Joseph II. was at war with Prussia
and Turkey; that, she then demanded that an army of twenty-four thousand
men should be sent to him instead of fifteen millions, an alternative
which had been left to option in the treaty, in case the Emperor should
have a just war to maintain; that she could not obtain her object, and M.
de Vergennes, in an interview which she had with him upon the subject, put
an end to her importunities by observing that he was answering the mother
of the Dauphin and not the sister of the Emperor. The fifteen millions
were sent.  There was no want of money at Vienna, and the value of a
French army was fully appreciated.

"But how," said the Queen, "could they be so wicked as to send off those
fifteen millions from the general post-office, diligently publishing, even
to the street porters, that they were loading carriages with money that I
was sending to my brother!--whereas it is certain that the money would
equally have been sent if I had belonged to another house; and, besides,
it was sent contrary to my inclination."

[This was not the first time the Queen had become unpopular in consequence
of financial support afforded by France to her brother. The Emperor Joseph
II, made, in November, 1783, and in May, 1784, startling claims on the
republic of the United Provinces; he demanded the opening of the Scheldt,
the cession of Maeatricht with its dependencies, of the country beyond the
Meuse, the county of Vroenhoven, and a sum of seventy millions of florins.
The first gun was fired by the Emperor on the Scheldt 6th November, 1784.
Peace was concluded 8th November, 1785, through the mediation of France.
The singular part was the indemnification granted to the Emperor: this was
a sum of ten millions of Dutch florins; the articles 15, 16, and 17 of the
treaty stipulated the quotas of it.  Holland paid five millions and a
half, and France, under the direction of M. de Vergennes, four millions
and a half of florins, that is to say, nine millions and forty-five
thousand francs, according to M. Soulavie. M. de augur, in his "Policy of
Cabinets" (vol. iii.), says relative to this affair:

"M. de Vergennes has been much blamed for having terminated, by a
sacrifice of seven millions, the contest that existed between the United
Provinces and the Emperor.  In that age of philosophy men were still very
uncivilised; in that age of commerce they made very erroneous
calculations; and those who accused the Queen of sending the gold of
France to her brother would have been better pleased if, to support a
republic devoid of energy, the blood of two hundred thousand men, and
three or four hundred millions of francs, had been sacrificed, and at the
same time the risk run of losing the advantage of peace dictated to
England."  MADAME CAMPAN.]

When the Comte de Moustier set out on his mission to the United States,
after having had his public audience of leave he came and asked me to
procure him a private one.  I could not succeed even with the strongest
solicitations; the Queen desired me to wish him a good voyage, but added
that none but ministers could have anything to say to him in private,
since he was going to a country where the names of King and Queen must be

Marie Antoinette had then no direct influence over State affairs until
after the deaths of M. de Maurepas and M. de Vergennes, and the retirement
of M. de Calonne.  She frequently regretted her new situation, and looked
upon it as a misfortune which she could not avoid.  One day, while I was
assisting her to tie up a number of memorials and reports, which some of
the ministers had handed to her to be given to the King, "Ah!" said she,
sighing, "there is an end of all happiness for me, since they have made an
intriguer of me."  I exclaimed at the word.

"Yes," resumed, the Queen, "that is the right term; every woman who
meddles with affairs above her understanding or out of her line of duty is
an intriguer and nothing else; you will remember, however, that it is not
my own fault, and that it is with regret I give myself such a title;
Queens of France are happy only so long as they meddle with nothing, and
merely preserve influence sufficient to advance their friends and reward a
few zealous servants.  Do you know what happened to me lately?  One day
since I began to attend private committees at the King's, while crossing
the oiel-de-boeuf, I heard one of the musicians of the chapel say so loud
that I lost not a single word, 'A Queen who does her duty will remain in
her apartment to knit.' I said within myself, 'Poor wretch, thou art
right; but thou knowest not my situation; I yield to necessity and my evil

This situation was the more painful to the Queen inasmuch as Louis XVI.
had long accustomed himself to say nothing to her respecting State
affairs; and when, towards the close of his reign, she was obliged to
interfere in the most important matters, the same habit in the King
frequently kept from her particulars which it was necessary she should
have known.  Obtaining, therefore, only insufficient information, and
guided by persons more ambitious than skilful, the Queen could not be
useful in important affairs; yet, at the same time, her ostensible
interference drew upon her, from all parties and all classes of society,
an unpopularity the rapid progress of which alarmed all those who were
sincerely attached to her.

Carried away by the eloquence of the Archbishop of Sens, and encouraged in
the confidence she placed in that minister by the incessant eulogies of
the Abbe de Vermond on his abilities, the Queen unfortunately followed up
her first mistake of bringing him into office in 1787 by supporting him at
the time of his disgrace, which was obtained by the despair of a whole
nation.  She thought it was due to her dignity to give him some marked
proof of her regard at the moment of his departure; misled by her
feelings, she sent him her portrait enriched with jewelry, and a brevet
for the situation of lady of the palace for Madame de Canisy, his niece,
observing that it was necessary to indemnify a minister sacrificed to the
intrigues of the Court and a factious spirit of the nation; that otherwise
none would be found willing to devote themselves to the interests of the

On the day of the Archbishop's departure the public joy was universal,
both at Court and at Paris there were bonfires; the attorneys' clerks
burnt the Archbishop in effigy, and on the evening of his disgrace more
than a hundred couriers were sent out from Versailles to spread the happy
tidings among the country seats.  I have seen the Queen shed bitter tears
at the recollection of the errors she committed at this period, when
subsequently, a short time before her death, the Archbishop had the
audacity to say, in a speech which was printed, that the sole object of
one part of his operations, during his administration, was the salutary
crisis which the Revolution had produced.

The benevolence and generosity shown by the King and Queen during the
severe winter of 1788, when the Seine was frozen over and the cold was
more intense than it had been for eighty years, procured them some
fleeting popularity.  The gratitude of the Parisians for the succour their
Majesties poured forth was lively if not lasting.  The snow was so
abundant that since that period there has never been seen such a
prodigious quantity in France.  In different parts of Paris pyramids and
obelisks of snow were erected with inscriptions expressive of the
gratitude of the people.  The pyramid in the Rue d'Angiviller was
supported on a base six feet high by twelve broad; it rose to the height
of fifteen feet, and was terminated by a globe.  Four blocks of stone,
placed at the angles, corresponded with the obelisk, and gave it an
elegant appearance.  Several inscriptions, in honour of the King and
Queen, were affixed to it.  I went to see this singular monument, and
recollect the following inscription

          "Lovely and good, to tender pity true,
          Queen of a virtuous King, this trophy view;
          Cold ice and snow sustain its fragile form,
          But ev'ry grateful heart to thee is warm.
          Oh, may this tribute in your hearts excite,
          Illustrious pair, more pure and real delight,
          Whilst thus your virtues are sincerely prais'd,
          Than pompous domes by servile flatt'ry rais'd."
The theatres generally rang with praises of the beneficence of the
sovereigns: "La Partie de Chasse de Henri IV." was represented for the
benefit of the poor.  The receipts were very considerable.

When the fruitless measure of the Assembly of the Notables, and the
rebellious spirit in the parliaments,

[The Assembly of the Notables, as may be seen in "Weber's Memoirs," vol.
i., overthrew the plans and caused the downfall of M. de Calonne.  A
prince of the blood presided over each of the meetings of that assembly.
Monsieur, afterwards Louis XVIII., presided over the first meeting.

"Monsieur," says a contemporary, "gained great reputation at the Assembly
of the Notables in 1787.  He did not miss attending his meeting a single
day, and he displayed truly patriotic virtues. His care in discussing the
weighty matters of administration, in throwing light upon them, and in
defending the interests and the cause of the people, was such as even to
inspire the King with some degree of jealousy.  Monsieur openly said that
a respectful resistance to the orders of the monarch was not blamable, and
that authority might be met by argument, and forced to receive information
without any offence whatever."--NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

had created the necessity for States General, it was long discussed in
council whether they should be assembled at Versailles or at forty or
sixty leagues from the capital; the Queen was for the latter course, and
insisted to the King that they ought to be far away from the immense
population of Paris.  She feared that the people would influence the
deliberations of the deputies; several memorials were presented to the
King upon that question; but M. Necker prevailed, and Versailles was the
place fixed upon.

The day on which the King announced that he gave his consent to the
convocation of the States General, the Queen left the public dinner, and
placed herself in the recess of the first window of her bedchamber, with
her face towards the garden.  Her chief butler followed her, to present
her coffee, which she usually took standing, as she was about to leave the
table.  She beckoned to me to come close to her.  The King was engaged in
conversation with some one in his room.  When the attendant had served her
he retired; and she addressed me, with the cup still in her hand: "Great
Heavens! what fatal news goes forth this day!  The King assents to the
convocation of the States General."  Then she added, raising her eyes to
heaven, "I dread it; this important event is a first fatal signal of
discord in France."  She cast her eyes down, they were filled with tears.
She could not take the remainder of her coffee, but handed me the cup, and
went to join the King.  In the evening, when she was alone with me, she
spoke only of this momentous decision.  "It is the Parliament," said she,
"that has compelled the King to have recourse to a measure long considered
fatal to the repose of the kingdom.  These gentlemen wish to restrain the
power of the King; but they give a great shock to the authority of which
they make so bad a use, and they will bring on their own destruction."

The double representation granted to the Tiers Etat was now the chief
topic of conversation.  The Queen favoured this plan, to which the King
had agreed; she thought the hope of obtaining ecclesiastical favours would
secure the clergy of the second order, and that M. Necker was sure to have
the same degree of influence over the lawyers, and other people of that
class comprised in the Tiers Dat.  The Comte d'Artois, holding the
contrary opinion, presented a memorial in the names of himself and several
princes of the blood to the King against the double representation.  The
Queen was displeased with him for this; her confidential advisers infused
into her apprehensions that the Prince was made the tool of a party; but
his conduct was approved of by Madame de Polignac's circle, which the
Queen thenceforward only frequented to avoid the appearance of a change in
her habits.  She almost always returned unhappy; she was treated with the
profound respect due to a queen, but the devotion of friendship had
vanished, to make way for the coldness of etiquette, which wounded her
deeply.  The alienation between her and the Comte Artois was also very
painful to her, for she had loved him almost as tenderly as if he had been
her own brother.

The opening of the States General took place on the 4th of May, 1789. The
Queen on that occasion appeared for the last time in her life in regal
magnificence.  During the procession some low women, seeing the Queen
pass, cried out "Vive le Duc d' Orleans!"  in so threatening a manner that
she nearly fainted.  She was obliged to be supported, and those about her
were afraid it would be necessary to stop the procession. The Queen,
however, recovered herself, and much regretted that she had not been able
to command more presence of mind.

The rapidly increasing distrust of the King and Queen shown by the
populace was greatly attributable to incessant corruption by English gold,
and the projects, either of revenge or of ambition, of the Duc d'Orleans.
Let it not be thought that this accusation is founded on what has been so
often repeated by the heads of the French Government since the Revolution.
Twice between the 14th of July and the 6th of October, 1789, the day on
which the Court was dragged to Paris, the Queen prevented me from making
little excursions thither of business or pleasure, saying to me, "Do not
go on such a day to Paris; the English have been scattering gold, we shall
have some disturbance."  The repeated visits of the Duc d'Orleans to
England had excited the Anglomania to such a pitch that Paris was no
longer distinguishable from London.  The French, formerly imitated by the
whole of Europe, became on a sudden a nation of imitators, without
considering the evils that arts and manufactures must suffer in
consequence of the change.  Since the treaty of commerce made with England
at the peace of 1783, not merely equipages, but everything, even to
ribands and common earthenware, were of English make.  If this
predominance of English fashions had been confined to filling our
drawing-rooms with young men in English frock-coats, instead of the French
dress, good taste and commerce might alone have suffered; but the
principles of English government had taken possession of these young
heads.  Constitution, Upper House, Lower House, national guarantee,
balance of power, Magna Charta, Law of Habeas Corpus,--all these words
were incessantly repeated, and seldom understood; but they were of
fundamental importance to a party which was then forming.

The first sitting of the States took place on the following day.  The King
delivered his speech with firmness and dignity; the Queen told me that he
had taken great pains about it, and had repeated it frequently. His
Majesty gave public marks of attachment and respect for the Queen, who was
applauded; but it was easy to see that this applause was in fact rendered
to the King alone.

It was evident, during the first sittings, that Mirabeau would be very
dangerous to the Government.  It affirmed that at this period he
communicated to the King, and still more fully to the Queen, part of his
schemes for abandoning them.  He brandished the weapons afforded him by
his eloquence and audacity, in order to make terms with the party he meant
to attack.  This man played the game of revolution to make his own
fortune.  The Queen told me that he asked for an embassy, and, if my
memory does not deceive me, it was that of Constantinople.  He was refused
with well-deserved contempt, though policy would doubtless have concealed
it, could the future have been foreseen.

The enthusiasm prevailing at the opening of this assembly, and the debates
between the Tiers Etat, the nobility, and even the clergy, daily increased
the alarm of their Majesties, and all who were attached to the cause of
monarchy.  The Queen went to bed late, or rather she began to be unable to
rest.  One evening, about the end of May, she was sitting in her room,
relating several remarkable occurrences of the day; four wax candles were
placed upon her toilet-table; the first went out of itself; I relighted
it; shortly afterwards the second, and then the third went out also; upon
which the Queen, squeezing my hand in terror, said to me: "Misfortune
makes us superstitious; if the fourth taper should go out like the rest,
nothing can prevent my looking upon it as a sinister omen."  The fourth
taper went out.  It was remarked to the Queen that the four tapers had
probably been run in the same mould, and that a defect in the wick had
naturally occurred at the same point in each, since the candles had all
gone out in the order in which they had been lighted.

The deputies of the Tiers Etat arrived at Versailles full of the strongest
prejudices against the Court.  They believed that the King indulged in the
pleasures of the table to a shameful excess; and that the Queen was
draining the treasury of the State in order to satisfy the most unbridled
luxury.  They almost all determined to see Petit Trianon.  The extreme
plainness of the retreat in question not answering the ideas they had
formed, some of them insisted upon seeing the very smallest closets,
saying that the richly furnished apartments were concealed from them. They
particularised one which, according to them, was ornamented with diamonds,
and with wreathed columns studded with sapphires and rubies. The Queen
could not get these foolish ideas out of her mind, and spoke to the King
on the subject.  From the description given of this room by the deputies
to the keepers of Trianon, the King concluded that they were looking for
the scene enriched with paste ornaments, made in the reign of Louis XV.
for the theatre of Fontainebleau.

The King supposed that his Body Guards, on their return to the country,
after their quarterly duty at Court, related what they had seen, and that
their exaggerated accounts, being repeated, became at last totally
perverted.  This idea of the King, after the search for the diamond
chamber, suggested to the Queen that the report of the King's propensity
for drinking also sprang from the guards who accompanied his carriage when
he hunted at Rambouillet.  The King, who disliked sleeping out of his
usual bed, was accustomed to leave that hunting-seat after supper; he
generally slept soundly in his carriage, and awoke only on his arrival at
the courtyard of his palace; he used to get down from his carriage in the
midst of his Body Guards, staggering, as a man half awake will do, which
was mistaken for intoxication.

The majority of the deputies who came imbued with prejudices produced by
error or malevolence, went to lodge with the most humble private
individuals of Versailles, whose inconsiderate conversation contributed
not a little to nourish such mistakes.  Everything, in short, tended to
render the deputies subservient to the schemes of the leaders of the

Shortly after the opening of the States General the first Dauphin died.
That young Prince suffered from the rickets, which in a few months curved
his spine, and rendered his legs so weak that he could not walk without
being supported like a feeble old man.

[Louis, Dauphin of France, who died at Versailles on the 4th of June,
1789, gave promise of intellectual precocity.  The following particulars,
which convey some idea of his disposition, and of the assiduous attention
bestowed upon him by the Duchesse de Polignac, will be found in a work of
that time: "At two years old the Dauphin was very pretty; he articulated
well, and answered questions put to him intelligently.  While he was at
the Chateau de La Muette everybody was at liberty to see him.  The Dauphin
was dressed plainly, like a sailor; there was nothing to distinguish him
from other children in external appearance but the cross of Saint Louis,
the blue ribbon, and the Order of the Fleece, decorations that are the
distinctive signs of his rank.  The Duchesse Jules de Polignac, his
governess, scarcely ever left him for a single instant: she gave up all
the Court excursions and amusements in order to devote her whole attention
to him.  The Prince always manifested a great regard for M. de Bourset,
his valet de chambre.  During the illness of which he died, he one day
asked for a pair of scissors; that gentleman reminded him that they were
forbidden.  The child insisted mildly, and they were obliged to yield to
him.  Having got the scissors, he cut off a lock of his hair, which he
wrapped in a sheet of paper: 'There, monsieur,' said he to his valet de
chambre,' there is the only present I can make you, having nothing at my
command; but when I am dead you will present this pledge to my papa and
mamma; and while they remember me, I hope they will not forget

How many maternal tears did his condition draw from the Queen, already
overwhelmed with apprehensions respecting the state of the kingdom!  Her
grief was enhanced by petty intrigues, which, when frequently renewed,
became intolerable.  An open quarrel between the families and friends of
the Duc Harcourt, the Dauphin's governor, and those of the Duchesse de
Polignac, his governess, added greatly to the Queen's affliction.  The
young Prince showed a strong dislike to the Duchesse de Polignac, who
attributed it either to the Duc or the Duchesse d'Harcourt, and came to
make her complaints respecting it to the Queen.  The Dauphin twice sent
her out of his room, saying to her, with that maturity of manner which
long illness always gives to children: "Go out, Duchess; you are so fond
of using perfumes, and they always make me ill;" and yet she never used
any.  The Queen perceived, also, that his prejudices against her friend
extended to herself; her son would no longer speak in her presence.  She
knew that he had become fond of sweetmeats, and offered him some
marshmallow and jujube lozenges.  The under-governors and the first valet
de chambre requested her not to give the Dauphin anything, as he was to
receive no food of any kind without the consent of the faculty. I forbear
to describe the wound this prohibition inflicted upon the Queen; she felt
it the more deeply because she was aware it was unjustly believed she gave
a decided preference to the Duc de Normandie, whose ruddy health and
amiability did, in truth, form a striking contrast to the languid look and
melancholy disposition of his elder brother.  She even suspected that a
plot had for some time existed to deprive her of the affection of a child
whom she loved as a good and tender mother ought.  Previous to the
audience granted by the King on the 10th August, 1788, to the envoy of the
Sultan Tippoo Saib, she had begged the Duc d'Harcourt to divert the
Dauphin, whose deformity was already apparent, from his, intention to be
present at that ceremony, being unwilling to expose him to the gaze of the
crowd of inquisitive Parisians who would be in the gallery.
Notwithstanding this injunction, the Dauphin was suffered to write to his
mother, requesting her permission to be present at the audience.  The
Queen was obliged to refuse him, and warmly reproached the governor, who
merely answered that he could not oppose the wishes of a sick child.  A
year before the death of the Dauphin the Queen lost the Princesse Sophie;
this was, as the Queen said, the first of a series of misfortunes.

NOTE:  As Madame Campan has stated in the foregoing pages that the money
to foment sedition was furnished from English sources, the decree of the
Convention of August, 1793, maybe quoted as illustrative of the entente
cordiale alleged to exist between the insurrectionary Government and its
friends across the Channel!  The endeavours made by the English Government
to save the unfortunate King are well known.  The motives prompting the
conduct of the Duc d'Orleans are equally well known.

Art.  i.  The National Convention denounces the British Government to
Europe and the English nation.

Art.  ii.  Every Frenchman that shall place his money in the English funds
shall be declared a traitor to his country.

Art.  iii.  Every Frenchman who has money in the English funds or those of
any other Power with whom France is at war shall be obliged to declare the

Art.  iv.  All foreigners, subjects of the Powers now at war with France,
particularly the English, shall be arrested, and seals put upon their

Art.  v.  The barriers of Paris shall be instantly shut.

Art.  vi.  All good citizens shall be required in the name of the country
to search for the foreigners concerned in any plot denounced.

Art.  vii.  Three millions shall be at the disposal of the Minister at War
to facilitate the march of the garrison of Mentz to La Vendee.

Art.  viii.  The Minister at War shall send to the army on the coast of
Rochelle all the combustible materials necessary to set fire to the
forests and underwood of La Vendee.

Art.  ix.  The women, the children, and old men shall be conducted to the
interior parts of the country.

Art.  x.  The property of the rebels shall be confiscated for the benefit
of the Republic.

Art.  xi.  A camp shall be formed without delay between Paris and the
Northern army.

Art.  xii.  All the family of the Capets shall be banished from the French
territory, those excepted who are under the sword of the law, and the
offspring of Louis Capet, who shall both remain in the Temple.

Art.  xiii.  Marie Antoinette shall be delivered over to the Revolutionary
Tribunal, and shall be immediately conducted to the prison of the
Conciergerie.  Louise Elisabeth shall remain in the Temple till after the
judgment of Marie Antoinette.

Art.  xiv.  All the tombs of the Kings which are at St. Denis and in the
departments shall be destroyed on August the 10th.

Art.  xv.  The present decree shall be despatched by extraordinary
couriers to all the departments.


Customs are nearly equal to laws
Displaying her acquirements with rather too much confidence
I do not like these rhapsodies
Indulge in the pleasure of vice and assume the credit of virtue
No accounting for the caprices of a woman
None but little minds dreaded little books
Shun all kinds of confidence
The author (Beaumarchais) was sent to prison soon afterwards
Those muskets were immediately embarked and sold to the Americans
Young Prince suffered from the rickets

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