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Title: Maria Antoinette - Makers of History
Author: Abbott, John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot), 1805-1877
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Maria Antoinette - Makers of History" ***

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Makers of History




With Engravings

New York and London
Harper & Brothers Publishers

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand
eight hundred and forty-nine, by
Harper & Brothers.
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District
of New York.


[Illustration: VIEW OF PARIS.]


In this history of Maria Antoinette it has been my endeavor to give a
faithful narrative of facts, and, so far as possible, to exhibit the
soul of history. A more mournful tragedy earth has seldom witnessed. And
yet the lesson is full of instruction to all future ages. Intelligence
and moral worth combined can be the only basis of national prosperity or
domestic happiness. But the simple story itself carries with it its own
moral, and the _reflections_ of the writer would encumber rather than
enforce its teachings.


 Chapter                                                    Page

    I. PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD                               13

   II. BRIDAL DAYS                                           37

  III. MARIA ANTOINETTE ENTHRONED                            78

   IV. THE DIAMOND NECKLACE                                 105

    V. THE MOB AT VERSAILLES                                131

   VI. THE PALACE A PRISON                                  164

  VII. THE FLIGHT                                           189

 VIII. THE RETURN TO PARIS                                  214

   IX. IMPRISONMENT IN THE TEMPLE                           239

    X. EXECUTION OF THE KING                                272


       THE PRINCESS ROYAL                                   304



 VIEW OF PARIS                                   _Frontispiece._

 BRIDAL TOUR                                                 48

                       }                                     65

                        }                                    69

 LITTLE TRIANON                                              74

 GARDENS OF MARLY                                            93

 VIEW OF THE BASTILE                                        134

 GARDENS AT VERSAILLES                                      144

 MOB AT VERSAILLES                                          151

 GRAND AVENUE OF THE TUILERIES                              156

 PALACE OF ST. CLOUD                                        184

 CAPTURE AT VARENNES                                        208

 THE TUILERIES                                              221

 THE TOWER OF THE TEMPLE                                    257

 THE ROYAL FAMILY IN THE TEMPLE                             262






Maria Theresa.--She succeeds to the throne.--Success of Maria Theresa's
enemies.--Her flight to Hungary.--The queen's firmness.--The Hungarian
barons.--The queen's appeal.--Enthusiasm of her subjects.--The queen
heads her army.--She overthrows her enemies.--Character of Maria
Theresa.--Character of her husband.--Crowning of Francis.--Maria
Theresa's renown.--Maria Theresa's sternness.--Anecdote.--Fatal
result.--Death of Francis.--Plan of the counselors.--Birth of Maria
Antoinette.--Maria Antoinette's character.--Affecting scene.--Maria
Antoinette's grief.--Maria Theresa as a mother.--Mode of
education.--Petty artifices.--Maria's proficiency in French.--She
forgets her native tongue.--Maria's taste for music.--Her ignorance
of general literature, etc.--The French teachers.--Their character.--The
Abbé de Vermond.--He shamefully abuses his trust.--Etiquette of the
French court.--Etiquette of the Austrian court.--Precepts of the
teacher.--Character of Maria Antoinette.--Maria a noble girl.--Her
virtues and her faults.--Palace of Schoenbrun.--The scenes of
Maria's childhood.--Personal appearance of Maria.--Description of
Lamartine.--Maria's betrothal.--Its motives.--Maria's feelings on
leaving Schoenbrun.--Her love for her home.

In the year 1740, Charles VI., emperor of Austria, died. He left a
daughter twenty-three years of age, Maria Theresa, to inherit the crown
of that powerful empire. She had been married about four years to
Francis, duke of Lorraine. The day after the death of Charles, Maria
Theresa ascended the throne. The treasury of Austria was empty. A
general feeling of discontent pervaded the kingdom. Several claimants
to the throne rose to dispute the succession with Maria; and France,
Spain, Prussia, and Bavaria took advantage of the new reign, and of the
embarrassments which surrounded the youthful queen, to enlarge their own
borders by wresting territory from Austria.

The young queen, harassed by dissensions at home and by the combined
armies of her powerful foes, beheld, with anguish which her proud and
imperious spirit could hardly endure, her troops defeated and scattered
in every direction, and the victorious armies of her enemies marching
almost unimpeded toward her capital. The exulting invaders, intoxicated
with unanticipated success, now contemplated the entire division of the
spoil. They decided to blot Austria from the map of Europe, and to
partition out the conglomerated nations composing the empire among the

Maria Theresa retired from her capital as the bayonets of France and
Bavaria gleamed from the hill-sides which environed the city. Her
retreat with a few disheartened followers, in the gloom of night, was
illumined by the flames of the bivouacs of hostile armies, with which
the horizon seemed to be girdled. The invaders had possession of every
strong post in the empire. The beleaguered city was summoned to
surrender. Resistance was unavailing. All Europe felt that Austria was
hopelessly undone. Maria fled from the dangers of captivity into the
wilds of Hungary. But in this dark hour, when the clouds of adversity
seemed to be settling in blackest masses over her whole realm, when hope
had abandoned every bosom but her own, the spirit of Maria remained as
firm and inflexible as if victory were perched upon her standards, and
her enemies were flying in dismay before her. She would not listen to
one word of compromise. She would not admit the thought of surrendering
one acre of the dominions she had inherited from her fathers. Calm,
unagitated, and determined, she summoned around her, from their feudal
castles, the wild and warlike barons of Hungary. With neighing steeds,
and flaunting banners, and steel-clad retainers, and all the
paraphernalia of barbaric pomp, these chieftains, delighting in the
excitements of war, gathered around the heroic queen. The spirit of
ancient chivalry still glowed in these fierce hearts, and they gazed
with a species of religious homage upon the young queen, who, in
distress, had fled to their wilds to invoke the aid of their strong

Maria met them in council. They assembled around her by thousands in all
the imposing splendor of the garniture of war. Maria appeared before
these stern chieftains dressed in the garb of the deepest mourning, with
the crown of her ancestors upon her brow, her right hand resting upon
the hilt of the sword of the Austrian kings, and leading by her left
hand her little daughter Maria Antoinette. The pale and pensive
features of the queen attested the resolute soul which no disasters
could subdue. Her imperial spirit entranced and overawed the bold
knights, who had ever lived in the realms of romance. Maria addressed
the Hungarian barons in an impressive speech in Latin, the language then
in use in the diets of Hungary, faithfully describing the desperate
state of her affairs. She committed herself and her children to their
protection, and urged them to drive the invaders from the land or to
perish in the attempt. It was just the appeal to rouse such hearts to a
phrensy of enthusiasm. The youth, the beauty, the calamities of the
queen roused to the utmost intensity the chivalric devotion of these
warlike magnates, and grasping their swords and waving them above their
heads, they shouted simultaneously, "Moriamur pro rege nostro, Maria
Theresa"--"_Let us die for our king, Maria Theresa._"

Until now, the queen had preserved a demeanor perfectly tranquil and
majestic. But this affectionate enthusiasm of her subjects entirely
overcame her imperious spirit, and she burst into a flood of tears. But,
apparently ashamed of this exhibition of womanly feeling she almost
immediately regained her composure, and resumed the air of the
indomitable sovereign. The war cry immediately resounded throughout
Hungary. Chieftains and vassals rallied around the banner of Maria. In
person she inspected and headed the gathering army, and her spirit
inspired them. With the ferocity of despair, these new recruits hurled
themselves upon the invaders. A few battles, desperate and sanguinary,
were fought, and the army of Maria was victorious. England and Holland,
apprehensive that the destruction of the Austrian empire would destroy
the balance of power in Europe, and encouraged by the successful
resistance which the Austrians were now making, came to the rescue of
the heroic queen. The tide of battle was turned. The armies of France,
Germany, and Spain were driven from the territory which they had
overrun. Maria, with untiring energy, followed up her successes. She
pursued her retreating foes into their own country, and finally granted
peace to her enemies only by wresting from them large portions of their
territory. The renown of these exploits resounded through Europe. The
name of Maria Theresa was embalmed throughout the civilized world. Under
her vigorous sway Austria, from the very brink of ruin, was elevated to
a degree of splendor and power it had never attained before. These
conflicts and victories inspired Maria with a haughty and imperious
spirit, and the loveliness of the female character was lost amid the
pomp of martial achievements. The proud sovereign eclipsed the woman.

It is not to be supposed that such a bosom could be the shrine of
tenderness and affection. Maria's virtues were all of the masculine
gender. She really loved, or, rather, _liked_ her husband; but it was
with the same kind of emotion with which an energetic and ambitious man
loves his wife. She cherished him, protected him, watched over him, and
loaded him with honors. He was of a mild, gentle, confiding spirit,
and would have made a lovely wife. She was ambitious, fearless, and
commanding, and would have made a noble husband. In fact, this was
essentially the relation which existed between them. Maria Theresa
governed the empire, while Francis loved and caressed the children.

The queen, by her armies and her political influence, had succeeded in
having Francis crowned Emperor of Germany. She stood upon the balcony
as the imposing ceremony was performed, and was the first to shout "Long
live the Emperor Francis I." Like Napoleon, she had become the creator
of kings. Austria was now in the greatest prosperity, and Maria Theresa
the most illustrious queen in Europe. Her renown filled the civilized
world. Through her whole reign, though she became the mother of sixteen
children, she devoted herself with untiring energy to the aggrandizement
of her empire. She united with Russia and Prussia in the infamous
partition of Poland, and in the banditti division of the spoil she
annexed to her own dominions twenty-seven thousand square miles and two
millions five hundred thousand inhabitants.

From this exhibition of the character of Maria Theresa, the mother of
Maria Antoinette, the reader will not be surprised that she should have
inspired her children with awe rather than with affection. In truth,
their imperial mother was so devoted to the cares of the empire, that
she was almost a stranger to her children, and could have known herself
but few of the emotions of maternal love. Her children were placed under
the care of nurses and governesses from their birth. Once in every eight
or ten days the queen appropriated an hour for the inspection of the
nursery and the apartments appropriated to the children; and she
performed this duty with the same fidelity with which she examined the
wards of the state hospitals and the military schools.

The following anecdote strikingly illustrates the austere and inflexible
character of the empress. The wife of her son Joseph died of the
confluent small-pox, and her body had been consigned to the vaults of
the royal tomb. Soon after this event, Josepha, one of the daughters of
the empress, was to be married to the King of Naples. The arrangements
had all been made for their approaching nuptials, and she was just on
the point of leaving Vienna to ascend the Neapolitan throne, when she
received an order from her mother that she must not depart from the
empire until she had, in accordance with the established custom,
descended into the tomb of her ancestors and offered her parting prayer.
The young princess, in an agony of consternation, received the cruel
requisition. Yet she dared not disobey her mother. She took her little
sister, Maria Antoinette, whom she loved most tenderly, upon her knee,
and, weeping bitterly, bade her farewell, saying that she was sure she
should take the dreadful disease and die. Trembling in every fiber, the
unhappy princess descended into the gloomy sepulcher, where the bodies
of generations of kings were moldering. She hurried through her short
prayer, and in the deepest agitation returned to the palace, and threw
herself in despair upon her bed.

Her worst apprehensions were realized. The fatal disease had penetrated
her veins. Soon it manifested itself in its utmost virulence. After
lingering a few days and nights in dreadful suffering, she breathed her
last, and her own loathsome remains were consigned to the same silent
chambers of the dead. Maria Theresa commanded her child to do no more
than she would have insisted upon doing herself under similar
circumstances. And when she followed her daughter to the tomb, she
probably allowed herself to indulge in no regrets in view of the course
she had pursued, but consoled herself with the reflection that she had
done her duty.

The Emperor Francis died, 1765, leaving Maria Theresa still in the
vigor of life, and quite beautiful. Three of her counselors of state,
ambitious of sharing the throne with the illustrious queen, entered into
a compact, by which they were all to endeavor to obtain her hand in
marriage, agreeing that the successful one should devote the power
thus obtained to the aggrandizement of the other two. The empress was
informed of this arrangement, and, at the close of a cabinet council,
took occasion, with great dignity and composure, to inform them that she
did not intend ever again to enter into the marriage state, but that,
should she hereafter change her mind, it would only be in favor of one
who had no ambitious desires, and who would have no inclination to
intermeddle with the affairs of state; and that, should she ever marry
one of her ministers, she should immediately remove him from all office.
Her counselors, loving power more than all things else, immediately
abandoned every thought of obtaining the hand of Maria at such a

Maria Antoinette, the subject of this biography, was born on the 2d of
November, 1755. Few of the inhabitants of this world have commenced
life under circumstances of greater splendor, or with more brilliant
prospects of a life replete with happiness. She was a child of great
vivacity and beauty, full of light-heartedness, and ever prone to look
upon the sunny side of every prospect. Her disposition was frank,
cordial, and affectionate. Her mental endowments were by nature of a
very superior order. Laughing at the restraints of royal etiquette, she,
by her generous and confiding spirit, won the love of all hearts. Maria
Antoinette was but slightly acquainted with her imperial mother, and
could regard her with no other emotions than those of respect and awe;
but the mild and gentle spirit of her father took in her heart a
mother's place, and she clung to him with the most ardent affection.

When she was but ten years of age, her father was one day going to
Inspruck upon some business. The royal cavalcade was drawn up in the
court-yard of the palace. The emperor had entered his carriage,
surrounded by his retinue, and was just on the point of leaving, when he
ordered the postillions to delay, and requested an attendant to bring to
him his little daughter Maria Antoinette. The blooming child was brought
from the nursery, with her flaxen hair in ringlets clustered around her
shoulders, and presented to her father. As she entwined her arms around
his neck and clung to his embrace, he pressed her most tenderly to his
bosom, saying, "Adieu my dear little daughter. Father wished once more
to press you to his heart." The emperor and his child never met again.
At Inspruck Francis was taken suddenly ill, and, after a few days'
sickness, died. The grief of Maria Antoinette knew no bounds. But the
tears of childhood soon dried up. The parting scene, however, produced
an impression upon Maria which was never effaced, and she ever spoke of
her father in terms of the warmest affection.

Maria Theresa, half conscious of the imperfect manner in which she
performed her maternal duties, was very solicitous to have it understood
that she did not neglect her children; that she was the best _mother_
in the world as well as the most illustrious sovereign. When any
distinguished stranger from the other courts of Europe visited Vienna,
she arranged her sixteen children around the dinner-table, towering
above them in queenly majesty, and endeavored to convey the impression
that they were the especial objects of her motherly care. It was not,
however, the generous warmth of love, but the cold sense of duty, which
alone regulated her conduct in reference to them, and she had probably
convinced herself that she discharged her maternal obligations with the
most exemplary fidelity.

The family physician every morning visited each one of the children, and
then briefly reported to the empress the health of the archdukes and the
archduchesses. This report fully satisfied all the yearnings of maternal
love in the bosom of Maria Theresa; though she still, that she might not
fail in the least degree in motherly affection, endeavored to see them
with her own eyes, and to speak to them with her own lips, as often as
once in a week or ten days. The preceptors and governesses of the royal
household, being thus left very much to themselves, were far more
anxious to gratify the immediate wishes of the children, and thus to
secure their love, than to urge them to efforts for intellectual
improvement. Maria Antoinette, in subsequent life, related many amusing
anecdotes illustrative of the petty artifices by which the scrutiny of
the empress was eluded. The copies which were presented to the queen in
evidence of the progress the children were making in hand-writing were
all traced first in pencil by the governess. The children then followed
with the pen over the penciled lines. Drawings were exhibited,
beautifully executed, to show the skill Maria Antoinette had attained in
that delightful accomplishment, which drawings the pencil of Maria
had not even touched. She was also taught to address strangers of
distinction in short Latin phrases, when she did not understand the
meaning of one single word of the language. Her teacher of Italian, the
Abbé Metastasio, was the only one who was faithful in his duties, and
Maria made very great proficiency in that language. French being the
language of the nursery, Maria necessarily acquired the power of
speaking it with great fluency, though she was quite unable to write it
correctly. In the acquisition of French, her own mother tongue, the
German, was so totally neglected, that, incredible as it may seem, she
actually lost the power either of speaking or of understanding it. In
after years, chagrined at such unutterable folly, she sat down with
great resolution to the study of her own native tongue, and encountered
all the difficulties which would tax the patience of any foreigner in
the attempt. She persevered for about six weeks, and then relinquished
the enterprise in despair. The young princess was extremely fond of
music, and yet she was not taught to play well upon any instrument. This
became subsequently a source of great mortification to her, for she was
ashamed to confess her ignorance of an accomplishment deemed, in the
courts of Europe, so essential to a polished education, and yet she
dared not sit down to any instrument in the presence of others. When she
first arrived at Versailles as the bride of the heir to the throne of
France, she was so deeply mortified at this defect in her education,
that she immediately employed a teacher to give her lessons secretly for
three months. During this time she applied herself to her task with the
utmost assiduity, and at the end of the time gave surprising proof of
the skill she had so rapidly attained. Upon all the subjects of history,
science, and general literature, the princess was left entirely
uninformed. The activity and energy of her mind only led her the more
poignantly to feel the mortification to which this ignorance often
exposed her. When surrounded by the splendors of royalty, she frequently
retired to weep over deficiencies which it was too late to repair. The
wits of Paris seized upon these occasional developments of the want of
mental culture as the indication of a weak mind, and the daughter of
Maria Theresa, the descendant of the Cæsars, was the butt, in saloon and
café, of merriment and song. Maria was beautiful and graceful, and
winning in all her ways. But this imperfect education, exposing her to
contempt and ridicule in the society of intellectual men and women, was
not among the unimportant elements which conducted to her own ruin, to
the overthrow of the French throne, and to that deluge of blood which
for many years rolled its billows incarnadine over Europe.

Maria Theresa had sent to Paris for two teachers of French to instruct
her daughter in the literature of that country over which she was
destined to reign. From that pleasure-loving metropolis two play actors
were sent to take charge of her education, one of whom was a man of
notoriously dissolute character. As the connection between Maria
Antoinette and Louis, the heir apparent to the throne of France, was
already contemplated, some solicitude was felt by members of the court
of Versailles in reference to the impropriety of this selection, and the
French embassador at Vienna was requested to urge the empress to dismiss
the obnoxious teachers, and make a different choice. She immediately
complied with the request, and sent to the Duke de Choiseul, the
minister of state of Louis XV., to send a preceptor such as would be
acceptable to the court of Versailles. After no little difficulty in
finding one in whom all parties could unite, the Abbé de Vermond was
selected, a vain, ambitious, weak-minded man, who, by the most studied
artifice, insinuated himself into the good graces of Maria Theresa, and
gained a great but pernicious influence over the mind of his youthful
pupil. The cabinets of France and Austria having decided the question
that Maria Antoinette was to be the bride of Louis, who was soon to
ascend the throne of France, the Abbé de Vermond, proud of his position
as the intellectual and moral guide of the destined Queen of France,
shamefully abused his trust, and sought only to obtain an abiding
influence, which he might use for the promotion of his own ambition. He
carefully kept her in ignorance, to render himself more necessary to
her; and he was never unwilling to involve her in difficulties, that she
might be under the necessity of appealing to him for extrication.

Instead of endeavoring to prepare her for the situation she was destined
to fill, it seemed to be his aim to train her to such habits of thought
and feeling as would totally incapacitate her to be happy, or to acquire
an influence over the gay but ceremony-loving assemblages of the
Tuileries, Versailles, and St. Cloud. At this time, the fashion of the
French court led to extreme attention to all the punctilios of
etiquette. Every word, every gesture, was regulated by inflexible rule.
Every garment worn, and every act of life, was regulated by the
requisitions of the code ceremonial. Virtue was concealed and vice
garnished by the inflexible observance of stately forms. An infringement
of the laws of etiquette was deemed a far greater crime than the most
serious violation of the laws of morality. In the court of Vienna, on
the other hand, fashion ran to just the other extreme. It was
fashionable to despise fashion. It was etiquette to pay no regard to
etiquette. The haughty Austrian noble prided himself in dressing as he
pleased, and looked with contempt upon the studied attitudes and foppish
attire of the French. The Parisian courtier, on the other hand,
rejoicing in his ruffles, and ribbons, and practiced movements, despised
the boorish manners, as he deemed them, of the Austrian.

The Abbé de Vermond, to ingratiate himself with the Austrian court, did
all in his power to inspire Maria Antoinette with contempt of Parisian
manners. He zealously conformed to the customs prevailing in Vienna,
and, like all new converts, to prove the sincerity of his conversion,
went far in advance of his sect in intemperate zeal. Maria Antoinette
was but a child, mirthful, beautiful, open hearted, and, like all other
children, loving freedom from restraint. Her preceptor ridiculed
incessantly, mercilessly, the manners of the French court, where she was
soon to reign as queen, and influenced her to despise that salutary
regard to appearances so essential in all refined life. Under this
tutelage, Maria became as natural, unguarded, and free as a mountain
maid. She smiled or wept, as the mood was upon her. She was cordial
toward those she loved, and distant and reserved toward those she
despised. She cared not to repress her emotions of sadness or
mirthfulness as occasions arose to excite them. She was conscientious,
and unwilling to do that which she thought to be wrong, and still she
was imprudent, and troubled not herself with the interpretation which
others might put upon her conduct. She prided herself a little upon her
independence and recklessness of the opinions of others, and thus she
was ever incurring undeserved censure, and becoming involved in
unmerited difficulties. She was, in heart, truly a noble girl. Her
faults were the excesses of a generous and magnanimous spirit. Though
she inherited much of the imperial energy of her mother, it was tempered
and adorned with the mildness and affectionateness of her father. Her
education had necessarily tended to induce her to look down with
aristocratic pride upon those beneath her in rank in life, and to dream
that the world and all it inherits was intended for the exclusive
benefit of kings and queens. Still, the natural goodness of her heart
ever led her to acts of kindness and generosity. She thus won the love,
almost without seeking it, of all who knew her well. Her faults were the
unavoidable effect of her birth, her education, and all those nameless
but untoward influences which surrounded her from the cradle to the
grave. Her virtues were all her own, the instinctive emotions of a
frank, confiding, and magnanimous spirit.

The childhood of Maria Antoinette was probably, on the whole, as happy
as often falls to the lot of humanity. As she had never known a mother's
love, she never felt its loss. There are few more enchanting abodes upon
the surface of the globe than the pleasure palaces of the Austrian
kings. Forest and grove, garden and wild, rivulet and lake, combine all
their charms to lend fascination to those haunts of regal festivity. In
the palace of Schoenbrun, and in the imbowered gardens which surround
that world-renowned habitation of princely grandeur, Maria passed many
of the years of her childhood. Now she trod the graveled walk, pursuing
the butterfly, and gathering the flowers, with brothers and sisters
joining in the recreation. Now the feet of her pony scattered the
pebbles of the path, as the little troop of equestrians cantered beneath
the shade of majestic elms. Now the prancing steeds draw them in the
chariot, through the infinitely diversified drives, and the golden
leaves of autumn float gracefully through the still air upon their
heads. The boat, with damask cushions and silken awning, invites them
upon the lake. The strong arms of the rowers bear them with fairy motion
to sandy beach and jutting headland, to island, and rivulet, and bay,
while swans and water-fowl, of every variety of plumage, sport before
them and around them. Such were the scenes in which Maria Antoinette
passed the first fourteen years of her life. Every want which wealth
could supply was gratified. "What a destiny!" exclaimed a Frenchman, as
he looked upon one similarly situated, "what a destiny! young, rich,
beautiful, and an archduchess! Ma foi! quel destiné!"

The personal appearance of Maria Antoinette, as she bloomed into
womanhood, is thus described by Lamartine. "Her beauty dazzled the whole
kingdom. She was of a tall, graceful figure, a true daughter of the
Tyrol. The natural majesty of her carriage destroyed none of the graces
of her movements; her neck, rising elegantly and distinctly from her
shoulders, gave expression to every attitude. The woman was perceptible
beneath the queen, the tenderness of heart was not lost in the elevation
of her destiny. Her light brown hair was long and silky; her forehead,
high and rather projecting, was united to her temples by those fine
curves which give so much delicacy and expression to that seat of
thought, or the soul in woman; her eyes, of that clear blue which recall
the skies of the north or the waters of the Danube; an aquiline nose,
the nostrils open and slightly projecting, where emotions palpitate and
courage is evidenced; a large mouth, Austrian lips, that is, projecting
and well defined; an oval countenance, animated, varying, impassioned,
and the _ensemble_ of these features, replete with that expression,
impossible to describe, which emanates from the look, the shades, the
reflections of the face, which encompasses it with an iris like that of
the warm and tinted vapor, which bathes objects in full sunlight--the
extreme loveliness which the ideal conveys, and which, by giving it
life, increases its attraction. With all these charms, a soul yearning
to attach itself, a heart easily moved, but yet earnest in desire to fix
itself; a pensive and intelligent smile, with nothing of vacuity in it,
because it felt itself worthy of friendships. Such was Maria Antoinette
as a woman."

When but fourteen years of age she was affianced as the bride of young
Louis, the grandson of Louis XV., and heir apparent to the throne of
France. Neither of the youthful couple had ever seen each other, and
neither of them had any thing to do in forming the connection. It was
deemed expedient by the cabinets of Versailles and Vienna that the two
should be united, in order to promote friendly alliance between France
and Austria. Maria Antoinette had never dreamed even of questioning any
of her mother's arrangements, and consequently she had no temptation to
consider whether she liked or disliked the plan. She had been trained to
the most unhesitating submission to maternal authority. The childish
heart of the mirth-loving princess was doubtless dazzled with the
anticipations of the splendors which awaited her at Versailles and St.
Cloud. But when she bade adieu to the gardens of Schoenbrun, and left
the scenes of her childhood, she entered upon one of the wildest careers
of terror and of suffering which mortal footsteps have ever trod. The
parting from her mother gave her no especial pain, for she had ever
looked up to her as to a superior being, to whom she was bound to render
homage and obedience, rather than as to a mother around whom the
affections of her heart were entwined. But she loved her brothers and
sisters most tenderly. She was extremely attached to the happy home
where her childish heart had basked in all childish pleasures, and many
were the tears she shed when she looked back from the eminences which
surround Vienna upon those haunts to which she was destined never again
to return.




Louis XV.--Prince Louis.--Madame du Barri.--Her dissolute
character.--Children of Louis XV.--Anecdote of Madame du
Barri.--Madame du Barri's beauty.--Her political influence.--Madame
du Barri's pavilion.--The Duke de Brissac.--Madame du Barri's
flight.--She is betrayed.--Condemnation of Madame du Barri.--Her
anguish and despair.--Execution of Madame du Barri.--Letter from
Maria Theresa.--Departure of Maria for Paris.--Emotions of the
populace.--Magnificent pavilion.--Singular custom.--Grand
procession.--The reception.--Young Louis's indifference.--The
marriage.--Insensibility of young Louis.--Acclamations of the
Parisians.--Maria shows herself to the populace.--She receives
their homage.--The fire-works.--Awful conflagration.--Scene of
horror.--Consternation of Maria.--Presents from Louis XV.--Malice
of Madame du Barri.--Maria's difficulties.--The Countess de
Noailles.--Laws of etiquette.--An illustration.--Countess de
Noailles's ideas of etiquette.--An anecdote.--Maria's contempt
for etiquette.--The Countess de Noailles nicknamed.--Ludicrous
scene.--Rage of the old ladies.--Habits of Maria Theresa.--The
dauphiness becomes unpopular.--Dining in public.--How it was
done.--Versailles.--Magnificence of the palace.--Gallery of paintings,
statuary, etc.--Gorgeous saloons.--Splendid gardens.--Other
palaces.--The Great and the Little Trianon.--Gardens, cascades,
etc.--Nature of Maria's mind.--Walks in the garden.--Maria's want
of education.--She attempts to supply it.--Maria's enemies.--Their
malignant slanders.--Visit of Maximilian.--A quarrel about
forms.--Unexpected tenderness of Louis.

When Maria Antoinette was fifteen years of age, a light-hearted,
blooming, beautiful girl, hardly yet emerging from the period of
childhood, all Austria, indeed all Europe, was interested in the
preparations for her nuptials with the destined King of France. Louis
XV. still sat upon the throne of Charlemagne. His eldest son had died
about ten years before, leaving a little boy, some twelve years of age,
to inherit the crown his father had lost by death. The young Louis,
grandchild of the reigning king, was mild, inoffensive, and bashful,
with but little energy of mind, with no ardor of feeling, and singularly
destitute of all passions. He was perfectly exemplary in his conduct,
perhaps not so much from inherent strength of principle as from
possessing that peculiarity of temperament, cold and phlegmatic, which
feels not the power of temptation. He submitted passively to the
arrangements for his marriage, never manifesting the slightest emotion
of pleasure or repugnance in view of his approaching alliance with one
of the most beautiful and fascinating princesses of Europe. Louis was
entirely insensible to all the charms of female beauty, and seemed
incapable of feeling the emotion of love.

Louis XV., a pleasure-loving, dissolute man, had surrounded his throne
with all the attractions of fashionable indulgence and dissipation.
There was one woman in his court, Madame du Barri, celebrated in the
annals of profligacy, who had acquired an entire ascendency over the
mind of the king. The disreputable connection existing between her and
the monarch excluded her from respect, and yet the king loaded her with
honors, received her at his table, and forced her society upon all the
inmates of the palace. The court was full of jealousies and bickerings;
and while one party were disposed to welcome Maria Antoinette, hoping
that she would espouse and strengthen their cause, the other party
looked upon her with suspicion and hostility, and prepared to meet her
with all the weapons of annoyance.

Neither morals nor religion were then of any repute in the court of
France. Vice did not even affect concealment. The children of Louis XV.
were educated, or rather not educated, in a nunnery. The Princess
Louisa, when twelve years of age, knew not the letters of her alphabet.
When the children did wrong, the sacred sisters sent them, for penance,
into the dark, damp, and gloomy sepulcher of the convent, where the
remains of the departed nuns were moldering to decay. Here the timid and
superstitious girls, in an agony of terror, were sent alone, to make
expiation for some childish offense. The little Princess Victoire, who
was of a very nervous temperament, was thrown into convulsions by this
harsh treatment, and the injury to her nervous system was so
irreparable, that during her whole life she was exposed to periodical
paroxysms of panic terror.

One day the king, when sitting with Madame du Barri, received a package
of letters. The petted favorite, suspecting that one of them was from an
enemy of hers, snatched the packet from the king's hand. As he
endeavored to regain it, she resisted, and ran two or three times around
the table, which was in the center of the room, eagerly pursued by the
irritated monarch. At length, in the excitement of this most strange
conflict, she threw the letters into the glowing fire of the grate,
where they were all consumed. The king, enraged beyond endurance,
seized her by the shoulders, and thrust her violently out of the room.
After a few hours, however, the weak-minded monarch called upon her. The
countess, trembling in view of her dismissal, with its dreadful
consequences of disgrace and beggary, threw herself at his feet, bathed
in tears, and they were reconciled.

The remaining history of this celebrated woman is so remarkable that we
can not refrain from briefly recording it. Her marvelous beauty had
inflamed the passions of the king, and she had obtained so entire an
ascendency over his mind that she was literally the monarch of France.
The treasures of the empire were emptied into her lap. Notwithstanding
the stigma attached to her position, the nation, accustomed to this
laxity of morals, submitted to the yoke. As the idol of the king, and
the dispenser of honors and powers, the clergy, the nobility, the
philosophers, all did her homage. She was still young, and in all the
splendor of her ravishing beauty, when the king died. For the sake of
appearances, she retired for a few months into a nunnery. Soon, however,
she emerged again into the gay world. Her limitless power over the
voluptuous old monarch had enabled her to amass an enormous fortune.
With this she reared and embellished for herself a magnificent retreat,
adorned with more than regal splendor, in the vicinity of Paris--the
Pavillon de Luciennes, on the borders of the forest of St. Germain. The
old Duke de Brissac, who had long been an admirer of her charms, here
lived with her in unsanctified union. Almost universal corruption at
that time pervaded the nobility of France--one of the exciting causes of
the Revolution. Though excluded from appearing at the court of Louis
XVI. and Maria Antoinette, her magnificent saloons were crowded by those
ever ready to worship at the shrine of wealth, and rank, and power. But,
as the stormy days of the Revolution shed their gloom over France, and
an infuriated populace were wrecking their vengeance upon the throne and
the nobles, Madame du Barri, terrified by the scenes of violence daily
occurring, prepared to fly from France. She invested enormous funds in
England, and one dark night went out with the Duke de Brissac alone,
and, by the dim light of a lantern, they dug a hole under the foot of a
tree in the park, and buried much of the treasure which she was unable
to take away with her. In disguise, she reached the coast of France,
and escaped across the Channel to England. Here she devoted her immense
revenue to the relief of the emigrants who were every day flying in
dismay from the horrors with which they were surrounded. The Duke de
Brissac, who was commander of the constitutional guard of the king,
appeared at Versailles in an hour of great excitement. The mob attacked
him. He was instantly assassinated. His head, covered with the white
locks of age, was cut off, and planted upon one of the palisades of the
palace gates, a fearful warning to all who were suspected of advocating
the cause of the king.

And now no one knew of the buried treasure but Madame du Barri herself.
She, anxious to regain them, ventured, in disguise, to return to France
to disinter her diamonds, and take them with her to England. A young
negro servant, whom she had pampered with every indulgence, and had
caressed with the fondness with which a mother fondles her child, whom
she had caused to be painted by her side in her portraits, saw his
mistress and betrayed her. She was immediately seized by the mob, and
dragged before the revolutionary tribunal of Luciennes. She was
condemned as a Royalist, and was hurried along in the cart of the
condemned, amid the execrations and jeers of the delirious mob, to the
guillotine. Her long hair was shorn, that the action of the knife might
be unimpeded; but the clustering ringlets, in beautiful profusion, fell
over her brow and temples, and veiled her voluptuous features and bare
bosom, from which the executioner had torn the veil. The yells of the
infuriated and deriding populace filled the air, as they danced
exultingly around the aristocratic courtesan. But the shrieks of the
unhappy victim pierced shrilly through them all. She was frantic with
terror. Her whole soul was unnerved, and not one emotion of fortitude
remained to sustain the woman of pleasure through her dreadful doom.
With floods of tears, and gestures of despair, and beseeching,
heart-rending cries, she incessantly exclaimed, "Life--life--life! O
save me! save me!" The mob jeered, and derided, and insulted her in
every conceivable way. They made themselves merry with her anguish and
terror. They shouted witticisms in her ear respecting the pillow of the
guillotine upon which she was to repose her head. Struggling and
shrieking, she was bound to the plank. Suddenly her voice was hushed.
The dissevered head, dripping with blood, fell into the basket, and her
soul was in eternity. Poor woman! It is easy to condemn. It is better
for the heart to pity. Endowed with almost celestial beauty, living in a
corrupt age, and lured, when a child, by a monarch's love, she fell. It
is well to weep over her sad fate, and to remember the prayer, "Lead us
not into temptation."

Such were the characters and such the state of morals of the court into
which this beautiful and artless princess, Maria Antoinette, but fifteen
years of age, was to be introduced. As she left the palaces of Vienna to
encounter the temptations of the Tuileries and Versailles, Maria Theresa
wrote the following characteristic letter to the future husband of her

     "Your bride, dear dauphin, is separated from me. As she has
     ever been my delight, so will she be your happiness. For
     this purpose have I educated her; for I have long been aware
     that she was to be the companion of your life. I have
     enjoined upon her, as among her highest duties, the most
     tender attachment to your person, the greatest attention to
     every thing that can please or make you happy. Above all, I
     have recommended to her humility toward God, because I am
     convinced that it is impossible for us to contribute to the
     happiness of the subjects confided to us without love to Him
     who breaks the scepters and crushes the thrones of kings
     according to his will."

The great mass of the Austrian population, hating the French, with whom
they had long been at war, were exceedingly averse to this marriage. As
the train of royal carriages was drawn up, on the morning of her
departure, to convey the bride to Paris, an immense assemblage of the
populace of Vienna, men, women, and children, surrounded the cortège
with weeping and lamentation. Loyalty was then an emotion existing in
the popular mind with an intensity which now can hardly be conceived. At
length, in the excitement of their feelings, to save the beloved
princess from a doom which they deemed dreadful, they made a rush toward
the carriages to cut the traces and thus to prevent the departure. The
guard was compelled to interfere, and repel, with violence, the
affectionate mob. As the long and splendid train, preceded and followed
by squadrons of horse, disappeared through the gate of the city, a
universal feeling of sadness oppressed the capital. The people returned
to their homes silent and dejected, as if they had been witnessing the
obsequies rather than the nuptials of the beloved princess.

The gorgeous cavalcade proceeded to Kell, on the frontiers of Austria
and France. There a magnificent pavilion had been erected, consisting
of a vast saloon, with an apartment at either end. One of these
apartments was assigned to the lords and ladies of the court of
Vienna; the other was appropriated to the brilliant train which
had come from Paris to receive the bride. The two courts vied with
each other in the exhibition of wealth and magnificence. It was
an established law of French etiquette, always observed on such
occasions, that the royal bride should receive her wedding dress from
France, and should retain absolutely nothing belonging to a foreign
court. The princess was, consequently, in the pavilion appropriated to
the Austrian suite, unrobed of all her garments, excepting her body
linen and stockings. The door was then thrown open, and in this plight
the beautiful and blushing child advanced into the saloon. The French
ladies rushed to meet her. Maria threw herself into the arms of the
Countess de Noailles, and wept convulsively. The French were perfectly
enchanted with her beauty; and the proud position of her head and
shoulders betrayed to their eyes the daughter of the Cæsars. She was
immediately conducted to the apartment appropriated to the French
court. Here the few remaining articles of clothing were removed from
her person, and she was re-dressed in the most brilliant attire which
the wealth of the French monarchy could furnish.

[Illustration: BRIDAL TOUR.]

And now, charioted in splendor, surrounded by the homage of lords and
ladies, accompanied by all the pomp of civic and military parade, and
enlivened by the most exultant strains of martial bands, Maria was
conducted toward Paris, while her Austrian friends bade her adieu and
returned to Vienna. The horizon, by night, was illumined by bonfires,
flaming upon every hill; the church bells rang their merriest peals;
cities blazed with illuminations and fire-works; and files of maidens
lined her way, singing their songs of welcome, and carpeting her path
with roses. It was a scene to dazzle the most firm and contemplative. No
dream of romance could have been more bewildering to the ardent and
romantic princess, just emerging from the cloistered seclusion of the
palace nursery.

Louis, then a young man about twenty years of age, came from Paris with
his grandfather, King Louis XV., and a splendid retinue of courtiers, as
far as Compiègne, to meet his bride. Uninfluenced by any emotions of
tenderness, apparently entirely unconscious of all those mysterious
emotions which bind loving hearts, he saluted the stranger with cold and
distant respect. He thought not of wounding her feelings; he had no
aversion to the connection, but he seemed not even to think of any more
intimacy with Maria than with any other lady who adorned the court. The
ardent and warm-hearted princess was deeply hurt at this indifference;
but instinctive pride forbade its manifestation, except in bosom
converse to a few confiding friends.

The bride and her passive and unimpassioned bridegroom were conducted to
Versailles. It was the 16th of May, 1770, when the marriage ceremony was
performed, with all the splendor with which it could be invested. The
gorgeous palaces of Versailles were thronged with the nobility of
Europe, and filled with rejoicing. The old king was charmed with the
beauty and affability of the young bride. All hearts were filled with
happiness, except those of the newly-married couple. Louis was tranquil
and contented. He was neither allured nor repelled by his bride He
never sought her society alone, and ever approached her with the same
distance and reserve with which he would approach any other young lady
who was a visitor at the palace. He never intruded upon the privacy of
her apartments, and she was his wife but in name. While all France was
filled with the praises of her beauty, and all eyes were enchanted by
her graceful demeanor, her husband alone was insensible to her charms.
After a few days spent with the rejoicing court, amid the bowers and
fountains of Versailles, the nuptial party departed for Paris, and
entered the palace of the Tuileries, the scene of future sorrows such as
few on earth have ever experienced.

As Maria, in dazzling beauty, entered Paris, the whole city was in a
delirium of pleasure. Triumphal arches greeted her progress. The
acclamations of hundreds of thousands filled the air. The journals
exhausted the French language in extolling her loveliness. Poets sang
her charms, and painters vied with each other in transferring her
features to canvas. As Maria sat in the dining saloon of the Tuileries
at the marriage entertainment, the shouts of the immense assemblage
thronging the gardens rendered it necessary for her to present herself
to them upon the balcony. She stepped from the window, and looked out
upon the vast sea of heads which filled the garden and the Place Louis
XV. All eyes were riveted upon her as she stood before the throng upon
the balcony in dazzling beauty, and the air resounded with applauses.
She exclaimed, with astonishment, "What a concourse!" "Madame," said the
governor of Paris, "I may tell you, without fear of offending the
dauphin, that they are so many lovers." The heir apparent to the throne
of France is called the dauphin; and, until the death of Louis XV.,
Louis and Maria Antoinette were called the dauphin and dauphiness. Louis
seemed neither pleased nor displeased with the acclamations and homage
which his bride received. His singularly passionless nature led him to
retirement and his books, and he hardly heard even the acclamations with
which Paris was filled.

Arrangements had been made for a very brilliant display of fire-works,
in celebration of the marriage, at the Place Louis XV. The hundreds of
thousands of that pleasure-loving metropolis thronged the Place and all
its avenues. The dense mass was wedged as compactly as it was possible
to crowd human beings together. Not a spot of ground was left vacant
upon which a human foot could be planted. Every house top, every
balcony, every embrasure of a window swarmed with the multitude. Long
lines of omnibuses, coaches, and carriages of every description, filled
with groups of young and old, were intermingled with the countless
multitude--men and horses so crowded into contact that neither could
move. It was an impervious ocean of throbbing life. In the center of
this Place, the pride of Paris, the scene of its most triumphant
festivities and its most unutterable woe, vast scaffolds had been
reared, and they were burdened with fire-works, intended to surpass in
brilliancy and sublimity any spectacle of the kind earth had ever before
witnessed. Suddenly a bright flame was seen, a shriek was heard, and the
whole scaffolding, by some accidental spark, was enveloped in a sheet of
fire. Then ensued such a scene as no pen can describe and no imagination
paint. The awful conflagration converted all the ministers of pleasure
into messengers of death. Thousands of rockets filled the air, and, with
almost the velocity of lightning, pierced their way through the
shrieking, struggling, terror-stricken crowd. Fiery serpents, more
terrible, more deadly than the fabled dragons of old, hissed through
the air, clung to the dresses of the ladies, enveloping them in flames,
and mercilessly burning the flesh to the bone. Mines exploded under the
hoofs of the horses, scattering destruction and death on every side.
Every species of fire was rained down, a horrible tempest, upon the
immovable mass. Shrieks from the wounded and the dying filled the air;
and the mighty multitude swayed to and fro, in Herculean, yet unavailing
efforts to escape. The horses, maddened with terror, reared and plunged,
crushing indiscriminately beneath their tread the limbs of the fallen.
The young bride, in her carriage, with a brilliant retinue, and eager to
witness the splendor of the anticipated fête, had just approached the
Place, when she was struck with consternation at the shrieks of death
which filled the air, and at the scene of tumult and terror which
surrounded her. The horses were immediately turned, and driven back
again with the utmost speed to the palace. But the awful cries of the
dying followed her; and it was long ere she could efface from her
distracted imagination the impression of that hour of horror.
Fifty-three persons were killed outright by this sad casualty, and more
than three hundred were dangerously wounded. The dauphin and dauphiness
immediately sent their whole income for the year to the unfortunate
relatives of those who had perished on that disastrous day.

The old king was exceedingly pleased with the beauty and fascinating
frankness and cordiality of Maria. He made her many magnificent
presents, and, among others, with a magnificent collar of pearls, the
smallest of which was nearly as large as a walnut, which had been
brought into France by Anne of Austria. These praises and attentions on
the part of the king excited the jealousy of the petted favorite, Madame
du Barri. She consequently became, with the party under her influence,
the relentless and unprincipled enemy of Maria. She lost no opportunity
to traduce her character. She spread reports every where that Maria
hated the French; that she was an Austrian in heart; that her frankness
and freedom from the restraints of etiquette were the result of an
immoral and depraved mind. She exaggerated her extravagance, and accused
her, by whispers and insinuations spread far and near, of the most
ignoble crimes of which woman can be guilty. The young and inexperienced
dauphiness soon found herself involved in most embarrassing
difficulties. She had no kind friend to council her. Louis still
remained cold, distant, and reserved. Thus, week after week, month after
month, year after year passed on, and for eight years Louis never
approached his youthful spouse with any manifestation of confidence and
affection but those with which he would regard a mother or a sister.
Maria was a wife but in name. She did not share his apartment or his
couch. Though deeply wounded by this inexplicable neglect, she seldom
spoke of it even to her most intimate friends. The involuntary sigh, and
the tear which often moistened her cheek, proclaimed her inward

When Maria first arrived in France, the Countess de Noailles was
assigned to her as her lady of honor. She was somewhat advanced in life,
haughty and ceremonious, a perfect mistress of that art of etiquette so
rigidly observed in the French court. Upon her devolved the duty of
instructing the dauphiness in all the punctilios of form, then deemed
far more important than the requisitions of morality. The following
anecdote, related by Madame Campan, illustrates the ridiculous excess to
which these points of etiquette were carried. One winter's day, it
happened that Maria Antoinette, who was entirely disrobed in her
dressing-room, was just going to put on her body linen. Madame, the lady
in attendance, held it ready unfolded for her. The dame d'honneur came
in. As she was of superior rank, etiquette required that she should
enjoy the privilege of presenting the robe. She hastily slipped off her
gloves, took the garment, and at that moment a rustling was heard at the
door. It was opened, and in came the Duchess d'Orleans. She now must be
the bearer of the garment. But the laws of etiquette would not allow the
dame d'honneur to hand the linen directly to the Duchess d'Orleans. It
must pass down the various grades of rank to the lowest, and be
presented by her to the highest. The linen was consequently passed back
again from one to another, till it was placed in the hands of the
duchess. She was just on the point of conveying it to its proper
destination, when suddenly the door opened, and the Countess of Provence
entered. Again the linen passed from hand to hand, till it reached the
hands of the countess. She, perceiving the uncomfortable position of
Maria, who sat shivering with cold, with her hands crossed upon her
bosom, without stopping to remove her gloves, placed the linen upon the
shoulders of the dauphiness. She, however, was quite unable to restrain
her impatience, and exclaimed, "How disagreeable, how tiresome!"

Another anecdote illustrates the character of Madame de Noailles, who
exerted so powerful an influence upon the destiny of Maria Antoinette.
She was a woman of severe manners, but etiquette was the very atmosphere
she breathed; it was the soul of her existence. The slightest
infringement of the rules of etiquette annoyed her almost beyond
endurance. "One day," says Madame Campan, "I unintentionally threw the
poor lady into a terrible agony. The queen was receiving, I know not
whom--some persons just presented, I believe. The ladies of the
bed-chamber were behind the queen. I was near the throne, with the two
ladies on duty. All was right; at least I thought so. Suddenly I
perceived the eyes of Madame de Noailles fixed on mine. She made a sign
with her head, and then raised her eyebrows to the top of her forehead,
lowered them, raised them again, and then began to make little signs
with her hand. From all this pantomime, I could easily perceive that
something was not as it should be; and as I looked about on all sides
to find out what it was, the agitation of the countess kept increasing.
Maria Antoinette, who perceived all this, looked at me with a smile. I
found means to approach her, and she said to me, in a whisper, 'Let down
your lappets, or the countess will expire.' All this bustle rose from
two unlucky pins, which fastened up my lappets, while the etiquette of
costume said _lappets hanging down_."

One can easily imagine the contempt with which Maria, reared in the
freedom of the Austrian court, would regard these punctilios. She did
not refrain from treating them with good-natured but unsparing ridicule,
and thus she often deeply offended those stiff elderly ladies, who
regarded these trifles, which they had been studying all their lives,
with almost religious awe. She gave Madame de Noailles the nickname of
Madame Etiquette, to the great merriment of some of the courtiers and
the great indignation of others. The more grave and stately matrons were
greatly shocked by these indiscretions on the part of the mirth-loving

On one occasion, when a number of noble ladies were presented to Maria,
the ludicrous appearance of the venerable dowagers, with their little
black bonnets with great wings, and the entire of their grotesque dress
and evolutions, appealed so impressively to Maria's sense of the
ridiculous, that she, with the utmost difficulty, refrained from open
laughter. But when a young marchioness, full of fun and frolic, whose
office required that she should continue standing behind the queen,
being tired of the ceremony, seated herself upon the floor, and,
concealed behind the fence of the enormous hoops of the attendant
ladies, began to play off all imaginable pranks with the ladies' hoops,
and with the muscles of her own face, the contrast between these
childish frolics and the stately dignity of the old dowagers so
disconcerted the fun-loving Maria, that, notwithstanding all her efforts
at self-control, she could not conceal an occasional smile. The old
ladies were shocked and enraged. They declared that she had treated them
with derision, that she had no sense of decorum, and that not one of
them would ever attend her court again. The next morning a song
appeared, full of bitterness which was spread through Paris. The
following was the chorus:

     "Little queen! you must not be
     So saucy with your twenty years
     Your ill-used courtiers soon will see
     You pass once more the barriers."

While Madame de Noailles was thus torturing Maria Antoinette with her
exactions, the Abbé de Vermond, on the contrary, was exerting all the
strong influence he had acquired over her mind to induce her to despise
these requirements of etiquette, and to treat them with open contempt.
Maria Theresa, in the spirit of independence which ever characterizes a
strong mind, ordinarily lived like any other lady, attending
energetically to her duties without any ostentation. She would ride
through the streets of Vienna unaccompanied by any retinue; and the
other members of the royal family, on all ordinary occasions, dispensed
with the pomp and splendors of royalty. Maria Antoinette's education and
natural disposition led her to adhere to the customs of the court of her
ancestors. Thus was she incessantly annoyed by the diverse influences
crowding upon her. Following, however, the bent of her own inclinations,
she daily made herself more and more unpopular with the haughty dames
who surrounded her.

It was a very great annoyance to Maria that she was compelled to dine
every day as a public spectacle. It must seem almost incredible to an
American reader that such a custom could ever have existed in France.
The arrangement was this. The different members of the royal family
dined in different apartments: the king and queen, with such as were
admitted to their table, in one room, the dauphin and dauphiness in
another, and other members of the royal family in another. Portions of
these rooms were railed off, as in court-houses, police rooms, and
menageries, for spectators. The good, honest people from the country,
after visiting the menageries to see the lions, tigers, and monkeys fed,
hastened to the palace to see the king and queen take their soup. They
were always especially delighted with the skill with which Louis XV.
would strike off the top of his egg with one blow of his fork. This was
the most valuable accomplishment the monarch over thirty millions of
people possessed, and the one in which he chiefly gloried. The
spectators entered at one door and passed out at another. No respectably
dressed person was refused admission. The consequence was, that during
the dining hour an interminable throng was pouring through the
apartment; those in the advance crowded slowly along by those in the
rear, and all eyes riveted upon the royal feeders. The members of the
royal family of France, accustomed to this practice from infancy, did
not regard it at all. To Maria Antoinette it was, however, excessively
annoying, and though she submitted to it while she was dauphiness, as
soon as she ascended the throne she discontinued the practice. The
people felt that they were thus deprived of one of their inalienable
privileges, and murmurs loud and angry rose against the innovating

Much of the time of Louis and his bride was passed at the palaces of
Versailles. This renowned residence of the royal family of France is
situated about ten miles from Paris, in the midst of an extensive plain.
Until the middle of the seventeenth century it was only a small village.
At this time Louis XIV. determined to erect upon this solitary spot a
residence worthy of the grandeur of his throne. Seven years were
employed in completing the palace, garden, and park. No expense was
spared by him or his successors to render it the most magnificent
residence in Europe. No regal mansion or city can boast a greater
display of reservoirs, fountains, gardens, groves, cascades, and the
various other embellishments and appliances of pleasure. The situation
of the principal palace is on a gentle elevation. Its front and wings
are of polished stone, ornamented with statues, and a colonnade of the
Doric order is in the center. The grand hall is about two hundred and
twenty feet in length, with costly decorations in marble, paintings, and
gilding. The other apartments are of corresponding size and elegance.
This beautiful structure is approached by three magnificent avenues,
shaded by stately trees, leading respectively from Paris, St. Cloud, and



This gorgeous mansion of the monarchs of France presents a front eight
hundred feet in length, and has connected with it fifteen projecting
buildings of spacious dimensions, decorated with Ionic columns and
pilasters, constituting almost a city in itself. One great gallery,
adorned with statuary, paintings, and architectural embellishments, is
two hundred and thirty-two feet long, thirty broad, and thirty-seven
high, and lighted by seventeen large windows. Many gorgeous saloons,
furnished with the most costly splendor, a banqueting-room of the
most spacious dimensions, where luxurious kings have long rioted in
midnight revels, an opera house and a chapel, whose beautifully fluted
pillars support a dome which is the admiration of all who look up
upon its graceful beauty, combine to lend attractions to these royal
abodes such as few other earthly mansions can rival, and none,
perhaps, eclipse. The gardens, in the midst of which this voluptuous
residence reposes, are equal in splendor to the palace they are
intended to adorn. Here the kings of France had rioted in boundless
profusion, and every conceivable appliance of pleasure was collected
in these abodes, from which all thoughts of retribution were
studiously excluded. The expense incurred in rearing and embellishing
this princely structure has amounted to uncounted millions. But we
must not forget that these millions were wrested from the toiling
multitude, who dwelt in mud hovels, and ate the coarsest food, that
their proud and licentious rulers might be "clothed in purple and fine
linen, and fare sumptuously every day." Such was the home to which the
beautiful Maria Antoinette, the bride of fifteen, was introduced; and
in the midst of temptations to which such voluptuousness exposed her,
she entered upon her dark and gloomy career. This, however, was but
one of her abodes. It was but one even of her country seats. At
Versailles there were other palaces, in the construction and the
embellishment of which the revenues of the kingdom had been lavished
and in whose luxurious chambers all the laws of God had been openly
set at defiance by those earthly kings who ever forgot that there was
one enthroned above them as the King of kings.


[Illustration: FOUNTAIN OF THE STAR.]

Within the circuit of the park are two smaller palaces, called the
Great and the Little Trianon. These may be called royal residences in
miniature; seats to which the king and queen retired when desirous of
laying aside their rank and state. The Little Trianon was a beautiful
palace, about eighty feet square. It was built by Louis XV. for Madame
du Barri. Its architectural style was that of a Roman pavilion, and it
was surrounded with gardens ornamented in the highest attainments of
French and English art, diversified with temples, cottages, and
cascades. This was the favorite retreat of Maria Antoinette. This she
regarded as peculiarly her home. Here she was for a time comparatively
happy. Though living in the midst of all the jealousies, and
intrigues, and bickerings of a court, and though in heart deeply
pained by the strange indifference and neglect which her husband
manifested toward her person, the buoyancy of her youthful spirit
enabled her to triumph, in a manner, over those influences of
depression, and she was the life and the ornament of every gay
scene. As her mind had been but little cultivated, she had but few
resources within herself to dispel that ennui which is the great foe
of the votaries of fashion; and, unconscious of any other sources of
enjoyment, she plunged with all the zest of novelty into an incessant
round of balls, operas, theaters, and masquerades. Her mind, by
nature, was one of the noblest texture, and by suitable culture might
have exulted in the appreciation of all that is beautiful and sublime
in the world of nature and in the realms of thought. She loved the
retirement of the Little Trianon. She loved, in the comparative
quietude of that miniature palace, of that royal home, to shake off
all the restraints of regal state, and to live with a few choice
friends in the freedom of a private lady. Unattended she rambled among
the flowers of the garden; and in the bright moonlight, leaning upon
the arm of a female friend, she forgot, as she gazed upon the moon,
and the stars, and all the somber glories of the night, that she was a
queen, and rejoiced in those emotions common to every ennobled spirit.
Here she often lingered in the midst of congenial joys, till the
murmurs of courtiers drew her away to the more exciting, but far less
satisfying scenes of fashionable pleasure. She often lamented
bitterly, and even with tears, her want of intellectual cultivation,
and so painfully felt her inferiority when in the society of ladies of
intelligence and highly-disciplined minds, that she sought to surround
herself with those whose tastes were no more intellectual than her
own. "What a resource," she once exclaimed, "amid the casualties of
life, is a well-cultivated mind! One can then be one's own companion,
and find society in one's own thoughts." Here, in her Little Trianon,
she made several unavailing attempts to retrieve, by study, those
hours of childhood which had been lost. But it was too late. For a few
days, with great zeal and self-denial, she would persevere in
secluding herself in the library with her books. But it was in vain
for the Queen of France to strive again to become a school-girl. Those
days had passed forever. The innumerable interruptions of her station
frustrated all her endeavors, and she was compelled to abandon the
attempt in sorrow and despair. We know not upon how trivial events the
great destinies of the world are suspended; and had the Queen of
France possessed a highly-disciplined mind--had she been familiar with
the teachings of history, and been capable of inspiring respect by
her intellectual attainments, it is far from impossible that she might
have lived and died in peace. But almost the only hours of enjoyment
which shone upon Maria while Queen of France, was when she forgot that
she was a queen, and, like a village maiden, loitered through the
gardens and the groves in the midst of which the Little Trianon was

[Illustration: LITTLE TRIANON.]

The enemies of Maria had sedulously endeavored to spread the report
through France that she was still in heart an Austrian; that she loved
only the country she had left, and that she had no affection for the
country over which she was to reign as queen. They falsely and
malignantly spread the report that she had changed the name of Little
Trianon into Little Vienna. The rumor spread rapidly. It excited great
displeasure. The indignant denials of Maria were disregarded. Thus the
number of her enemies was steadily increasing.

Another unfortunate occurrence took place, which rendered her still more
unpopular at court. Her brother Maximilian, a vain and foolish young
man, made a visit to his sister at the court of Versailles, not
traveling in his own proper rank, but under an assumed name. It was
quite common with princes of the blood-royal, for various reasons, thus
to travel. The young Austrian prince insisted that the first visit was
due to him from the princes of the royal family in France. They, on the
contrary insisted that, as he was not traveling in his own name, and in
the recognition of his own proper rank, it was their duty to regard him
as of the character he had assumed, and as this was of a rank inferior
to that of a royal prince, it could not be their duty to pay the first
visit. The dispute ran high. Maria, seconded by the Abbé Vermond, took
the part of her brother. This greatly offended many of the highest
nobility of the realm. It became a family quarrel of great bitterness. A
thousand tongues were busy whispering malicious accusations against
Maria. Ribald songs to sully her name were hawked through the streets.
Care began to press heavily upon the brow of the dauphiness, and sorrow
to spread its pallor over her cheek. Her high spirit could not brook the
humility of endeavoring the refutation of the calumnies urged against
her. Still, she was too sensitive not to feel them often with the
intensest anguish. Her husband was comparatively a stranger to her. He
bowed to her with much civility when they met, but never addressed her
with a word or gesture of tenderness, or manifested the least desire to
see her alone. One evening, when walking in the garden of Little
Trianon, he astonished the courtiers, and almost overpowered Maria with
delightful emotions, by offering her his arm. This was the most
affectionate act with which he had ever approached her. Such were the
bridal days of Maria Antoinette.




Louis XV. seized with small-pox.--Flight of the courtiers.--The
Marchioness du Pompadour.--Her dissolute character.--Debauchery
of Louis XV.--He squanders the public revenue.--Remorse of the
king.--The lamp at the window.--Death of Louis XV.--Indecent haste
of the courtiers.--Emotions of the young king and queen.--Homage
of the courtiers.--Burial of Louis XV.--The king and queen leave
Versailles.--The coronation.--Enthusiasm of the people.--Maria's
grief.--The king's estrangement.--The little peasant boy.--Becomes
a monster of ingratitude.--The queen's traducers.--The Heron's
Plume.--Vile slanders.--Profligate character of De Lauzun.--Execution
of De Lauzun.--A life of pleasure.--Maria's imprudence.--Night
adventure in a hackney-coach.--The gardens of Marly.--Their unrivaled
splendor.--Maria's visits to Marly.--Heartless gayety.--Sunrise at
Marly.--More food for slander.--Simple habits of the queen.--Horror
of the courtiers and dowagers.--Sleigh riding.--Blind man's buff
and other games.--Dramatic entertainments.--Increasing affection of
the king.--Efforts to alienate the king's affections.--Agitation
of the queen.--Maria's children.--Royal visitors.--Extravagant
expenditures.--Rising discontents.--La Fayette and Franklin.--The
people begin to count the costs.--Letter from the Empress
Catharine.--The clouds thicken.

In the year 1774, about four years after the marriage of Maria
Antoinette and Louis, the dissolute old king, Louis XV., in his palace
at Versailles, surrounded by his courtiers and his lawless pleasures,
was taken sick. The disease soon developed itself as the small-pox in
its most virulent form. The physicians, knowing the terror with which
the conscience-smitten monarch regarded death, feared to inform him of
the nature of his disease.

"What are these pimples," inquired the king, "which are breaking out all
over my body?"

"They are little pustules," was the reply, "which require three days in
forming, three in suppurating, and three in drying."

The dreadful malady which had seized upon the king was soon, however,
known throughout the court, and all fled from the infection. The
miserable monarch, hated by his subjects, despised by his courtiers, and
writhing under the scorpion lash of his own conscience, was left to
groan and die alone. It was a horrible termination of a most loathsome

The vices of Louis XV. sowed the seeds of the French Revolution. Two
dissolute women, notorious on the page of history, each, in their turn,
governed him and France. The Marchioness du Pompadour was his first
favorite. Ambitious, shrewd, unprincipled, and avaricious, she held the
weak-minded king entirely under her control, and spread throughout the
court an influence so contaminating that the whole empire was infected
with the demoralization. Upon this woman he squandered almost the
revenues of the kingdom. The celebrated Parc au Cerf, the scene of
almost unparalleled voluptuousness, was reared for her at an expense of
twenty millions of dollars. After her charms had faded, she still
contrived to retain her political influence over the pliant monarch,
until she died, at the age of forty-four, universally detested.

Madame du Barri, of whom we have before spoken, succeeded the
Marchioness du Pompadour in this post of infamy. The king lavished upon
her, in the short space of eight years, more than ten millions of
dollars. For her he erected the Little Trianon, with its gardens, parks,
and fountains, a temple of pleasure dedicated to lawless passion. The
king had totally neglected the interests of his majestic empire,
consecrating every moment of time to his own sensual gratification. The
revenues of the realm were squandered in the profligacy and carousings
of his court. The people were regarded merely as servants who were to
toil to minister to the voluptuous indulgence of their masters. They
lived in penury, that kings, and queens, and courtiers might revel in
all imaginable magnificence and luxury. This was the ultimate cause of
that terrible outbreak which eventually crushed Maria Antoinette beneath
the ruins of the French monarchy. Louis XV., in his shameless
debaucheries, not only expended every dollar upon which he could lay his
hands, but at his death left the kingdom involved in a debt of four
hundred millions of dollars, which was to be paid from the scanty
earnings of peasants and artisans whose condition was hardly superior to
that of the enslaved laborers on the plantations of Carolina and
Louisiana. But I am wandering from my story.

In a chamber of the palace of the Little Trianon we left the king dying
of the confluent small-pox. The courtiers have fled in consternation.
It is the hour of midnight, the 10th of May, 1774. The monarch of
France is alone as he struggles with the king of terrors. No attendants
linger around him. Two old women, in an adjoining apartment,
occasionally look in upon the mass of corruption upon the royal couch,
which had already lost every semblance of humanity. The eye is blinded.
The swollen tongue can not articulate. What thought of remorse or terror
may be rioting through the soul of the dying king, no one knows, and--no
one cares. A lamp flickers at the window, which is a signal to those at
a safe distance that the king still lives. Its feeble flame is to be
extinguished the moment life departs. The courtiers, from the windows of
the distant palace, watch with the most intense solicitude the
glimmering of that midnight taper. Should the king recover, they dreaded
the reproach of having deserted him in the hour of his extremity. They
hope, so earnestly, that he may not live. Should he die, they are
anxious to be the first in their congratulations to the new king and
queen. The hours of the night linger wearily away as expectant courtiers
gaze impatiently through the gloom upon that dim torch. The horses are
harnessed in the carriages, and waiting at the doors, that the
courtiers, without the loss of a moment, may rush to do homage to the
new sovereign.

The clock was tolling the hour of twelve at night when the lamp was
extinguished. The miserable king had ceased to breathe. The ensuing
scene no pen can delineate or pencil paint. The courtiers, totally
forgetful of French etiquette, rushed down the stairs, crowded into
their carriages, and the silence of night was disturbed by the
clattering of the horses' hoofs, as they were urged, at their utmost
speed, to the apartments of the dauphin.

There Maria Antoinette and Louis, with a few family friends, were
awaiting the anticipated intelligence of the death of their grandfather
the king. Though neither of them could have cherished any feelings of
affection for the dissolute old monarch, it was an hour to awaken in the
soul emotions of the deepest melancholy. Death had approached, in the
most frightful form, the spot on earth where, probably, of all others,
he was most dreaded. Suddenly a noise was heard, as of thunder, in the
ante-chamber of the dauphin. It was the rush of the courtiers from the
dead monarch to bow at the shrine of the new dispensors of wealth and
power. This extraordinary tumult, in the silence of midnight, conveyed
to Maria and Louis the first intelligence that the crown of France had
fallen upon their brows. Louis was then twenty-four years of age,
modest, timid, and conscientious. Maria was twenty, mirthful,
thoughtless, and shrinking from responsibility. They were both
overwhelmed, and, falling upon their knees, exclaimed, with gushing
tears, "O God! guide us, protect us; we are too young to govern."

The Countess de Noailles was the first to salute Maria Antoinette as
Queen of France. She entered the private saloon in which they were
sitting, and requested their majesties to enter the grand audience hall,
where the princes and all the great officers of state were anxious to do
homage to their new sovereigns. Maria Antoinette, leaning upon her
husband's arm, and with her handkerchief held to her eyes, which were
bathed in tears, received these first expressions of loyalty. There was,
however, not an individual found to mourn for the departed king. No one
was willing to endanger his safety by any act of respect toward his
remains. The laws of France required that the chief surgeon should open
the body of the departed monarch and embalm it, and that the first
gentleman of the bed-chamber should hold the head while the operation
was performed.

"You will see the body properly embalmed?" said the gentleman of the
bed-chamber to the surgeon.

"Certainly," was the reply; "and you will hold the head?"

Each bowed politely to the other, without the exchange of another word.
The body, unopened and unembalmed, was placed by a few under servants in
a coffin, which was filled with the spirits of wine, and hurried,
without an attendant mourner, to the tomb. Such was the earthly end of
Louis XV. In an hour he was forgotten, or remembered but to be despised.

At four o'clock of that same morning, the young king and queen, with the
whole court in retinue, left Versailles, in their carriages, for Choisy.
The morning was cold, dark, and cheerless. The awful death of the king,
and the succeeding excitements, had impressed the company with gloom.
Maria Antoinette rode in the carriage with her husband, and with one or
two other members of the royal family. For some time they rode in
silence, Maria, a child of impulse, weeping profusely from the emotions
which moved her soul. But, ere long, the morning dawned. The sun rose
bright and clear over the hills of France, and the whole beautiful
landscape glittered in the light of the most lovely of spring mornings.
Insensibly the gloom of the mind departed with the gloom of night.
Conversation commenced. The mournful past was forgotten in anticipation
of the bright future. Some jocular remark of the young king's sister
elicited a general burst of laughter, when, by common consent, they
wiped away their tears, banished all funereal looks, and, a merry party,
rode merrily along, over hill and dale, to a crown and a throne. Little
did they dream that these sunny hours and this flowery path but
conducted them to a dungeon and the guillotine.

The coronation soon took place at Rheims, with the greatest display of
festive magnificence. The novelty of a new reign, with a youthful king
and queen, elated the versatile French, and loud and enthusiastic were
the acclamations with which Louis and Maria Antoinette were greeted
whenever they appeared. They were both, for a time, very popular with
the nation at large, though there was in the court a party hostile to
the queen, who took advantage of every act of indiscretion to traduce
her character and to expose her to ignominy. In these efforts they
succeeded so effectually as to overwhelm themselves in the same ruin
which they had brought upon their victim. A deep-seated but secret grief
still preyed upon the heart of Maria. Though four years since her
marriage had now passed away, she was still comparatively a stranger to
her husband. He treated her with respect, with politeness, but with cold
reserve, never approaching her as his wife. The queen, possessing
naturally a very affectionate disposition, was extremely fond of
children. Despairing of ever becoming a mother herself, she thought of
adopting some pleasant child to be her playmate and friend. One day, as
she was riding in her carriage, a beautiful little peasant boy, about
five years of age, with large blue eyes and flaxen hair, got under the
feet of the horses, though he was extricated without having received any
injury. As the grandmother rushed from the cottage door to take the
child, the queen, standing up in her carriage, extended her arms to the
old woman, and said,

"The child is mine. God has given it to me to rear and to cherish. Is
his mother alive?"

"No, madame!" was the reply of the old woman. "My daughter died last
winter, and left five small children upon my hands."

"I will take this one," said the queen, "and will also provide for all
the rest. Will you consent?"

"Indeed, madame," exclaimed the cottager, "they are too fortunate. But I
fear Jemmie will not stay with you. He is very wayward."

The postillion handed Jemmie to the queen in the carriage, and she,
taking him upon her knee, ordered the coachman to drive immediately to
the palace. The ride, however, was any thing but a pleasant one, for the
ungoverned boy screamed and kicked with the utmost violence during the
whole of the way. The queen was quite elated with her treasure; for the
boy was extremely beautiful, and he was soon seen frolicking around her
in a white frock trimmed with lace, a rose-colored sash, with silver
fringe, and a hat decorated with feathers. I may here mention that the
petted favorite grew up into a monster of ingratitude, and became one of
the most sanguinary actors in the scenes of terror which subsequently

One would think that the enemies of Maria Antoinette could hardly take
advantage of this circumstance to her injury; but they atrociously
affirmed that this child was her own unacknowledged offspring, whose
ignominious birth she had concealed. They represented the whole
adventure but a piece of trickery on her part, to obtain, without
suspicion, possession of her own child. Such accusations were borne upon
the wings of every wind throughout Europe, and the deeply-injured queen
could only submit in silence.

Another little incident, equally trivial, was magnified into the
grossest of crimes. The Duke de Lauzun appeared one evening at an
entertainment with a very magnificent plume of white heron's feathers.
The queen casually expressed her admiration of its beauty. A lady
immediately reported to the duke the remarks of the queen, and assured
him that it would be a great gratification to her majesty to receive a
present of the plume. He, the next morning, sent the plume to the queen.
She was quite embarrassed, being unwilling to accept the plume, and yet
fearing to wound the feelings of the duke by refusing the present. She,
on the whole, however, concluded to retain it, and wore it _once_, that
she might not seem to scorn the present, and then laid it aside. It
is difficult to conceive how the queen could have conducted more
discreetly in the affair. Such was the story of "The Heron's Plume." It
was, however, maliciously reported through Paris that the queen was
indecently receiving presents from gentlemen as her lovers. "The Heron's
Plume" figured conspicuously in many a satire in prose and verse. These
shafts, thrown from a thousand unseen hands, pierced Maria Antoinette
to the heart. This same Duke de Lauzun, a man of noted profligacy,
subsequently became one of the most unrelenting foes of the queen. He
followed La Fayette to America, and then returned to Paris, to plunge,
with the most reckless gayety, into the whirlpool of human passions
boiling and whirling there. In the conflict of parties he became a
victim. Condemned to death, he was imprisoned in the Conciergerie.
Imbruted by atheism, he entered his cell with a merry song and a joke.
He furnished a sumptuous repast for the prisoners at the hour appointed
for his execution, and invited the jailers for his guests. When the
executioners arrived, he smilingly accosted them. "Gentlemen, I am very
happy to see you; just allow me to finish these nice oysters." Then,
very politely taking a decanter of wine, he said, "Your duties will be
quite arduous to-day, gentlemen; allow me the pleasure of taking a
glass of wine with you." Thus merrily he ascended the cart, and beguiled
the ride from the prison to the guillotine with the most careless
pleasantries. Gayly tripping up the steps, he placed himself in the
fatal instrument, and a smile was upon his lips, and mirthful words were
falling upon the ears of the executioners, when the slide fell, and he
was silent in death. That soul must indeed be ignoble which can thus
enter the dread unseen of futurity.

There is no end to these acts of injustice inflicted upon the queen.
The influences which had ever surrounded her had made her very fond of
dress and gayety. She was devoted to a life of pleasure, and was hardly
conscious that there was any thing else to live for. In fêtes, balls,
theaters, operas, and masquerades, she passed night after night. Such
was the only occupation of her life. The king, on the contrary, had no
taste for any of these amusements. Uncompanionable and retiring, he
lived with his books, and in his workshop making trinkets for children.
Always retiring to rest at the early hour of eleven o'clock precisely,
he left the queen to pursue her pleasures until the dawn of the morning,
unattended by him. It was very imprudent in Maria Antoinette thus to
expose herself to the whispers of calumny. She was young, inexperienced,
and had no judicious advisers.

One evening, she had been out in her carriage, and was returning at
rather a late hour, the lady of the palace being with her, when her
carriage broke down at her entrance into Paris. The queen and the
duchess were both masked and, stepping into an adjoining shop, as they
were unknown, the queen ordered one of the footmen to call a common
hackney-coach, and they, both entering, drove to the opera-house, with
very much the same sense of the ludicrous in being found in so plebeian
a vehicle, as a New York lady would feel on passing through Broadway
in a hand-cart or on a wheel-barrow. The fun-loving queen was so
entertained with the whimsical adventure, that she could not refrain
from exclaiming, as soon as she entered the opera-house, to the intimate
friends she met there, "Only think! I came to the opera in a
hackney-coach! Was it not droll? was it not droll?" The news of the
indiscretion spread. All Paris was full of the adventure. Rumor, with
her thousand tongues, added innumerable embellishments. Neither the
delicacy nor the dignity of the queen would allow her seriously to
attempt the refutation of the calumny that, neglected by her husband,
she had been out in disguise to meet a nobleman renowned for his

Nothing can be more irksome than the frivolities of fashionable life. To
spend night after night, of months and years, in an incessant round of
the same trivial gayeties, so exhausts all the susceptibilities of
enjoyment that life itself becomes a burden. Louis XIV. had created for
himself a sort of elysium of voluptuousness in the celebrated gardens of
Marly. Spread out upon the gentle declivity of an extended hill were
grounds embellished in the highest style of art, and intended to rival
the garden of Eden itself in every conceivable attraction. Pavilions of
gorgeous architecture crowned the summit of the hill. Flowers, groves,
enchanting walks, and statues of most voluptuous beauty, fountains,
lakes, cascades foaming over channels of whitest marble--all the
attractions of nature and art were combined to realize the most fanciful
dreams of splendor and luxury. Pleasure was the only god here adored;
but, like all false gods, he but rewarded his votaries with satiety and

[Illustration: GARDENS OF MARLY.]

The queen, with her brilliant retinue, made a monthly visit to these
palaces and pleasure-grounds, and with music, illumination, and dances,
endeavored to beguile life of its cares. A noisy concourse, glittering
with diamonds and all the embellishments of wealth, thronged the
embowered avenues and the sumptuous halls. And while the young, in the
mazes of the dance, and in the uneasy witchery of winning and losing
hearts, were all engrossed, the old, in the still deeper but ignoble
passion of desperate gaming, forgot gliding time and approaching
eternity. But the spirit of Maria was soon weary of this heartless
gayety. Each succeeding visit became more irksome, and at last,
in inexpressible disgust with the weary monotony of fashionable
dissipation, she declared that she would never enter the gardens of
Marly again. But she must have some occupation. What shall she do to
give wings to the lagging hours?

"Has your majesty," timidly suggests a lady of the court, "ever seen the
sun rise?"

"The sun rise!" exclaimed the queen; "no, never! What a beautiful sight
it must be! What a romantic adventure! we will go to-morrow morning."

The plan was immediately arranged. The prosaic king would take no part
in it. He preferred quietly to slumber upon his pillow. A few hours
after midnight, the queen, with several gentlemen, and her attendant
ladies, all in high glee, left the palace in their carriages to ascend
the lofty eminence of the gardens of Marly to witness the sublime
spectacle. Thousands of the humbler classes had already left their beds
and commenced their daily toil, as the brilliant cavalcade swept by
them on this novel excursion. It was, however, a freak so strange, so
unaccountable, so contrary to any thing ever known before, that this
nocturnal party became the theme of universal conversation. It was
whispered that there must have been some mysterious wickedness connected
with an adventure so marvelous. Groups upon the Boulevards inquired,
"Why is the queen thus frolicking at midnight without her husband?" In
a few days a ballad appeared, which was sung by the vilest lips in the
warehouses of infamy, full of the most malignant charges against the
queen. Maria Antoinette was imprudent, very imprudent, and that was her
only crime.

Still, the young queen must have amusements. She is weary of parade and
splendor and seeks in simplicity the novelty of enjoyment. Dressed in
white muslin, with a plain straw hat, and a little switch in her hand,
she might often be seen walking on foot, followed by a single servant,
through the embowered paths which surrounded the Petit Trianon. Through
lanes and by-ways she would chase the butterfly, and pick flowers free
as a peasant girl, and lean over the fences to chat with the country
maids as they milked the cows. This entire freedom from restraint was
etiquette in the court of Vienna; it was regarded as barbarism in the
court of Versailles. The courtiers were amazed at conduct so unqueenly.
The ceremony-stricken dowagers were shocked. Paris, France, Europe, were
filled with stories of the waywardness, and eccentricities, and
improprieties of the young queen. The loud complaints were poured so
incessantly in the ear of Maria Theresa, that at last she sent a special
embassador to Versailles, in disguise, as a spy upon her daughter. He
reported, "The queen is imprudent, that is all."

There happened, in a winter of unusual inclemency, a heavy fall of snow.
It was a rare sight at Versailles. Maria Antoinette, reminded of the
merry sleigh rides she had enjoyed in the more northern home of her
childhood, was eager to renew the pleasure. Some antiquated sledges
were found in the stables. New ones, gay and graceful, were constructed.
The horses, with nodding plumes, and gorgeous caparisons, and tinkling
bells, dazzled the eyes of the Parisians as they swept through the
Champs Elysées, drawing their loads of lords and ladies enveloped in
furs. It was a new amusement--an innovation. Envious and angry lips
declared that "the Austrian, with an Austrian heart, was intruding the
customs of Vienna upon Paris." These ungenerous complaints reached the
ear of the queen, and she instantly relinquished the amusement.

Still the queen is weary. Time hangs heavily upon her hands. All the
pleasures of the court have palled upon her appetite, and she seeks
novelty. She introduces into the retired apartments of the Little
Trianon, "blind man's buff," "fox and geese," and other similar games,
and joins heartily in the fun and the frolic. "A queen playing blind
man's buff!" Simpletons--and the world is full of simpletons--raised
their hands and eyes in affected horror. Private dramatic entertainments
were got up to relieve the tedium of unemployed time. The queen learns
her part, and appears in the character and costume of a peasant girl.
Her genius excites much admiration, and, intoxicated with this new
pleasure, she repeats the entertainment, and alike excels in all
characters, whether comic or tragic. The number of spectators is
gradually increased. Louis is not exactly pleased to see his queen
transformed into an actress, even in the presence only of the most
intimate friends of the court. Half jocosely, half seriously, amid the
rounds of applause with which the royal actress is greeted, he hisses.
It was deemed extremely derogatory to the dignity of the queen that she
should indulge in such amusements, and every gossiping tongue in Paris
was soon magnifying her indiscretions.

Eight years had now passed away since the marriage of Maria Antoinette,
and still she was in name only, the wife of Louis. She was still a young
lady, for he had never yet approached her with any familiarity with
which he would not approach any young lady of his court. But about this
time the king gradually manifested more tenderness toward her. He began
really and tenderly to love her. With tears of joy, she confided to her
friends the great change which had taken place in his conduct. The
various troubles and embarrassments which began now to lower about the
throne and to darken their path, bound their sympathies more strongly
together. Strenuous efforts were made to alienate the king from the
queen by exciting his jealousy. Maria was accused of the grossest
immoralities, and insinuations to her injury were ever whispered in to
the ear of the king.

One morning Madame Campan entered the queen's chamber when she was in
bed. Several letters were lying upon the bed by her side, and she was
weeping as though her heart would break. She immediately exclaimed,
covering her swollen eyes with her hands, "Oh! I wish that I were dead!
I wish that I were dead! The wretches! the monsters! what have I done
that they should treat me thus! it would be better to kill me at once."
Then, throwing her arms around the neck of Madame Campan, she burst more
passionately into tears. All attempts to console her were unavailing.
Neither was she willing to confide the cause of her heart-rending grief.
After some time she regained her usual serenity, and said, with an
attempted smile, "I know that I have made you very uncomfortable this
morning, and I must set your poor heart at ease. 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 in 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."

Notwithstanding, however, these efforts of the malignant, the king
became daily more and more strongly attached to the queen. In the
embarrassments which were gathering around him, he felt the support
of her energetic mind, and looked to her counsel with continually
increasing confidence. It was about nine years after their marriage when
their first child was born. Three others were subsequently added to
their family. Two, however, of the children, a son and a daughter, died
in early childhood, leaving two others, Maria Theresa and Louis Charles,
to share and to magnify those woes which subsequently overwhelmed the
whole royal family.

During all these early years of their reign, Versailles was their
favorite and almost constant abode. They were visited occasionally by
monarchs from the other courts of Europe, whom they entertained with the
utmost display of royal grandeur. Bonfires and illuminations turned
night into day in the groves and gardens of those gorgeous palaces.
Thousands were feasted in boundless profusion. Millions of money were
expended in the costly amusements of kings, and queens, and haughty
nobles. The people, by whose toil the revenues of the kingdom were
furnished, looked from a humble distance upon the glittering throng,
gliding through the avenues, charioted in splendor, and now and then
a deep thinker, struggling against poverty and want, would thus
soliloquize: "Why do we thus toil to minister to the useless luxury of
these our imperious masters? Why must I eat black bread, and be clothed
in the coarsest garments, that these lords and ladies may glitter in
jewelry and revel in luxury? Why must my children toil like bond slaves
through life, that the children of these nobles may be clothed in purple
and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day?" The multitude were
bewildered by the glare of royalty. But here and there a sullen
fish-woman, leading her ragged, half-starved children, would mumble and
mutter, and curse the "Austrian," as the beautiful queen swept by in
her gorgeous equipage. These discontents and portentous murmurs were
spreading rapidly, when neither king, queen, nor courtiers dreamed of
their existence.

A few had heard of America, its freedom, its equality, its fame even for
the poorest, its competence. La Fayette had gone to help the Republicans
crush the crown and the throne. Franklin was in Paris, the embassador
from America, in garb and demeanor as simple and frugal as the humblest
citizen, and all Paris gazed upon him with wonder and admiration. A few
bold spirits began to whisper, "Let us also have no king." The fires of
a volcano were kindling under the whole structure of French society. It
was time that the mighty fabric of corruption should be tumbled into the
dust. The splendor and the extravagance of these royal festivities added
but fuel to the flame. The people began to compute the expense of
bonfires, palaces, equipages, crown jewels, and courtiers. It is
extremely impertinent, Maria thought and said, for the people to meddle
in matters with which they have no concern. Slaves have no right to
question the conduct of their masters. It was the misfortune of her
education, and of the influences which ever surrounded her, that she
never imagined that kings and queens were created for any other purpose
than to live in luxury. The Empress Catharine II. of Russia, as these
discontents were loud and threatening wrote to Maria Antoinette a
letter, in which she says, "Kings and queens ought to proceed in their
career undisturbed by the cries of the people, as the moon pursues her
course unimpeded by the howling of dogs." This was then the spirit of
the throne.

And now the days of calamity began to grow darker. Intrigues were
multiplied, involving Maria in interminable difficulties. There were
instinctive presentiments of an approaching storm. Death came into the
royal palace, and distorted the form of her eldest son, and by lingering
tortures dragged him to the grave. And then her little daughter was
taken from her. Maria watched at the couch of suffering and death with
maternal anguish. The glowing heart of a mother throbbed within the
bosom of Maria. The heartlessness and emptiness of all other pursuits
had but given intensity to the fervor of a mother's love. Though but
twenty-three years of age, she had drained every cup of pleasure to its
dregs. And now she began to enter upon a path every year more dark,
dreary, and desolate.




Remark of Talleyrand.--The Cardinal de Rohan.--Rohan's smuggling
operations.--He is disgraced.--The Countess Lamotte.--The queen's
jewelry.--Boehmer, the crown jeweler.--The diamond ear-rings.--Change
in the queen's life.--The diamond necklace.--The queen inspects the
necklace.--Answer of their majesties.--Boehmer's embarrassment.--His
interview with the queen.--The queen's remarks.--Boehmer's
confusion.--Alleged disposal of the necklace.--Present to the king's
son.--Boehmer's note to the queen.--The queen's perplexity.--Boehmer's
interview with Madame Campan.--The necklace again.--The Cardinal de
Rohan.--Indications of a plot.--Boehmer's perplexity.--The cardinal's
embarrassment.--Boehmer's terror.--The queen's amazement.--The
cardinal before the king and queen.--His agitation.--The queen's
indignation.--The forged letter.--The cardinal's confused
statements.--He is arrested.--Arrest of Madame Lamotte.--Great
excitement.--The queen's anguish.--The cardinal's trial.--The cardinal's
acquittal.--Chagrin of the king and queen.--Trial of the Countess
Lamotte.--Her cool effrontery.--The countess found guilty.--Barbarous
sentence.--Brutal punishment of the countess.--Her unhappy
end.--Innocence of the queen.--Of de Rohan's criminality.--The three
suppositions.--Influence of the first.--The third supposition.--Probably
the true one.

About this time there occurred an event which, though apparently
trivial, involved consequences of the most momentous importance. It was
merely the fraudulent purchase of a necklace, by a profligate woman, in
the name of the queen. The circumstances were such as to throw all
France into agitation, and Europe was full of the story. "Mind that
miserable affair of the necklace," said Talleyrand; "I should be nowise
surprised if it should overturn the French monarchy." To understand this
mysterious occurrence, we must first allude to two very important
characters implicated in the conspiracy.

The Cardinal de Rohan, though one of the highest dignitaries of the
Church, and of the most illustrious rank, was a young man of vain and
shallow mind, of great profligacy of character, and perfectly prodigal
in squandering, in ostentatious pomp, all the revenues within his reach.
He had been sent an embassador to the court of Vienna. Surrounding
himself with a retinue of spendthrift gentlemen, he endeavored to dazzle
the Austrian capital with more than regal magnificence. Expending six or
seven hundred thousand dollars in the course of a few months, he soon
became involved in inextricable embarrassments. In the extremity of his
distress, he took advantage of his official station, and engaged in
smuggling with so much effrontery that he almost inundated the Austrian
capital with French goods. Maria Theresa was extremely displeased, and,
without reserve, expressed her strong disapproval of his conduct, both
as a bishop and as an embassador. The cardinal was consequently
recalled, and, disappointed and mortified, he hovered around the court
of Versailles, where he was treated with the utmost coldness. He was
extremely anxious again to bask in the beams of royal favor. But the
queen indignantly repelled all his advances. His proud spirit was
nettled to the quick by his disgrace, and he was ripe for any desperate
adventure to retrieve his ruined fortunes.

There was, at the same time, at Versailles a very beautiful woman, the
Countess Lamotte. She traced her lineage to the kings of France, and, by
her vices, struggled to sustain a style of ostentatious gentility. She
was consumed by an insatiable thirst for recognized rank and wealth, and
she had no conscience to interfere, in the slightest degree, with any
means which might lead to those results. Though somewhat notorious, as
a woman of pleasure, to the courtiers who flitted around the throne,
the queen had never seen her face, and had seldom heard even her name.
Versailles was too much thronged with such characters for any one to
attract any special attention.

Maria Antoinette, in her earlier days, had been extremely fond of dress,
and particularly of rich jewelry. She brought with her from Vienna a
large number of pearls and diamonds. Upon her accession to the throne,
she received, of course, all the crown jewels. Louis XV. had also
presented her with all the jewels belonging to his daughter, the
dauphiness, who had recently died, and also with a very magnificent
collar of pearls, of a single row, the smallest of which was as large
as a filbert. The king, her husband, had, not long before, presented
her with a set of rubies and diamonds of a fine water, and with a pair
of bracelets which cost forty thousand dollars. Boehmer, the crown
jeweler, had collected, at a great expense, six pear-formed diamonds,
of prodigious size. They were perfectly matched, and of the finest
water. They were arranged as ear-rings. He offered them to the queen for
eighty thousand dollars. The young and royal bride could not resist the
desire of adding them, costly as they were, to her casket of gems. She,
however, economically removed two of the diamonds which formed the
tops of the clusters, and replaced them by two of her own. The jeweler
consented to this arrangement, and received the reduced price of
seventy-two thousand dollars, to be paid in equal installments for five
years, from the private purse of the queen. Still the queen felt rather
uneasy in view of her unnecessary purchase. Murmurs of her extravagance
began to reach her ears. Satiated with gayety and weary of jewels, as a
child throws aside its play-things, Maria Antoinette lost all fondness
for her costly treasures, and began to seek novelty in the utmost
simplicity of attire, and in the most artless joys of rural life. Her
gorgeous dresses hung neglected in their wardrobes. Her gems, "of purest
ray serene," slept in the darkness of the unopened casket. The queen had
become a mother, and all those warm and noble affections which had been
diffused and wasted upon frivolities, were now concentrated with
intensest ardor upon her children. A new era had dawned upon Maria
Antoinette. Her soul, by nature exalted, was beginning to find objects
worthy of its energies. Rapidly she was groping her way from the
gloom of the most wretched of all lives--a life of pleasure and of
self-indulgence--to the true and ennobling happiness of benevolence
and self-sacrifice.

Boehmer, the jeweler, unaware of the great change which had taken
place in the character of the queen, resolved to form for her the most
magnificent necklace which was ever seen in Europe. He busied himself
for several years in collecting the most valuable diamonds circulating
in commerce, and thus composed a necklace of several rows, whose
attractions, he hoped, would be irresistible to the queen. In the
purchase of these brilliant gems, the jeweler had expended far more than
his own fortune. For many of them he owed large sums, and his only hope
of paying these debts was in effecting a sale to the queen.

Boehmer requested Madame Campan to inform the queen what a beautiful
necklace he had arranged, hoping that she might express a desire to see
it. This, however, Madame Campan declined doing, as she did not wish to
tempt the queen to incur the expense of three hundred and twenty
thousand dollars, the price of the glittering bawble. Boehmer, after
endeavoring for some time in vain to get the gems exposed to the eye of
the queen, induced a courtier high in rank to show the superb necklace
to his majesty. The king, now loving the queen most tenderly, wished to
see her adorned with this unparalleled ornament, and sent the case to
the queen for her inspection. Maria Antoinette replied, that she had
already as many beautiful diamonds as she desired; that jewels were now
worn but seldom at court; that she could not think it right to encourage
so great an expense for such ornaments; and that the money they would
cost would be much better expended in building a man-of-war. The king
concurred in this prudent decision, and the diamonds were returned to
the jeweler from their majesties with this answer: "We have more need of
ships than of diamonds."

Boehmer was in great trouble, and knew not what to do. He spent a year
in visiting the other courts of Europe, hoping to induce some of the
sovereigns to purchase his necklace, but in vain. Almost in despair, he
returned again to Versailles, and proposed the king should take it, and
pay for it partly in instalments and partly in life annuities. The king
mentioned it again to the queen. She replied, that if his majesty wished
to purchase the necklace, and keep it for their daughter, he might do
so. But she declared that she herself should never be willing to wear
it, for she could not expose herself to those censures for extravagance
which she knew would be lavished upon her.

The jeweler complained loudly and bitterly of his misfortune. The
necklace having been exhibited all over Europe, his troubles were a
matter of general conversation. After several months of great perplexity
and anxiety, Boehmer succeeded in gaining an audience of the queen.
Passionately throwing himself upon his knees before her, clasping his
hands and bursting into tears, he exclaimed,

"Madame, I am disgraced and ruined if you do not purchase my necklace. I
can not outlive my misfortunes. When I go hence I shall throw myself
into the river."

The queen, extremely displeased, said, "Rise, Boehmer! I do not like
these rhapsodies; honest men have no occasion to fall upon their knees
to make known 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 responsible for that misfortune. I not only 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 I already possessed. I told you myself that I
declined taking the necklace. The king wished to give it to me; I
refused him in the same manner. Then never mention it to me again.
Divide it, and endeavor 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.

Boehmer, overwhelmed with confusion, retired, and the queen, oppressed
with a multitude of gathering cares, for some months thought no more of
him or of his jewels. One day the queen was reposing listlessly upon her
couch, with Madame Campan and other ladies of honor about her, when,
suddenly addressing Madame Campan, she inquired,

"Have you ever heard what poor Boehmer did with his unfortunate

"I have heard nothing of it since he left you," was the reply, "though
I often meet him."

"I should really like to know how the unfortunate man got extricated
from his embarrassments," rejoined the queen; "and, when you next see
him, I wish you would inquire, as if from your own interest in the
affair, without any allusion to me, how he disposed of the article."

In a few days Madame Campan met Boehmer, and, in reply to her
interrogatories, he informed her that the sultan at Constantinople had
purchased it for the favorite sultana. The queen was highly gratified
with the good fortune of the jeweler, and yet thought it very strange
how the grand seignior should have purchased his diamonds at Paris.
Matters continued in this state for some time, until the baptism of the
Duke d'Angoulême, Maria Antoinette's infant son. The king made his
idolized boy a baptismal present of a diamond epaulette and buckles,
which he purchased of Boehmer, and directed him to deliver to the
queen. As the jeweler presented them, he slipped into the queen's hand a
letter, in the form of a petition, containing the following expression:

     "I am happy to see your majesty in the possession of the
     finest diamonds in Europe; and I entreat your majesty not to
     forget me."

The queen read this strange note aloud, again and again exclaiming,
"What does the man mean? He must be insane!" She quietly lighted the
note at a wax taper which was standing near her, and burned it,
remarking that it was not worth keeping. Afterward, as she reflected
more upon the enigmatical nature of the communication, she deeply
regretted that she had not preserved the note. She pondered the matter
deeply and anxiously, and at last said to Madame Campan,

"The next time you see that man, I wish that you would tell him that I
have lost all taste for diamonds; that I never shall buy another as long
as I live; and that, if I had any money to spare, I should expend it in
purchasing lands to enlarge the grounds at St. Cloud."

A few days after this, Boehmer called upon Madame Campan at her
country house, extremely uneasy at not having received any answer from
the queen, and anxiously inquired if Madame Campan had no commission to
him from her majesty. Madame Campan faithfully repeated to him all that
the queen had requested her to say.

"But," rejoined Boehmer, "the answer to the letter I presented to her!
To whom must I apply for that?"

"To no one," was the reply; "her majesty burned your memorial, without
even comprehending its meaning."

"Ah, madame!" exclaimed the man, trembling with agitation, "that is
impossible; the queen knows that she has money to pay me."

"Money, M. Boehmer!" replied the lady, "your last accounts against the
queen were discharged long ago."

"And are you not in the secret?" he rejoined. "The queen owes me three
hundred thousand dollars, and I am ruined by her neglect to pay me."

"Three hundred thousand dollars!" exclaimed Madame Campan, in amazement;
"man, you have lost your senses! For what does she owe you that enormous

"For the necklace, madame," replied the jeweler, now pale and trembling
with the apprehension that he had been deceived.

"The necklace again!" said Madame Campan. "How long is the queen to be
teased about that necklace? Did not you yourself tell me that you had
sold it at Constantinople?"

"The queen," added Boehmer, "requested me to make that reply to all
who inquired upon the subject, for she was not willing to have it known
that she had made the purchase. She, however, had determined to have the
necklace, and sent the Cardinal de Rohan to me to take it in her name."

"You are utterly deceived, Boehmer," Madame Campan replied; "the queen
knows nothing about your necklace. She never speaks even to the Cardinal
de Rohan, and there is no man at court more strongly disliked by her."

"You may depend upon it, madame, that you are deceived yourself,"
rejoined the jeweler. "She must hold private interviews with the
cardinal, for she gave to the cardinal six thousand dollars, which he
paid me on account, and which he assured me he saw her take from the
little porcelain secretary next the fire-place in her boudoir."

"Did the cardinal himself assure you of this?" inquired Madame Campan.

"Yes, madame," was the reply.

"What a detestable plot! There is not one word of truth in it; and you
have been miserably deceived."

"I confess," Boehmer rejoined, now trembling in every joint, "that I
have felt very anxious about it for some time; for the cardinal assured
me that the queen would wear the necklace on Whitsunday. I was, however,
alarmed in seeing that she did not wear it, and that induced me to write
the letter to her majesty. But what _shall_ I do?"

"Go immediately to Versailles, and lay the whole matter before the king.
But you have been extremely culpable, as crown jeweler, in acting in a
matter of such great importance without direct orders from the king or
queen, or their accredited minister."

"I have not acted," the unhappy man replied, "without direct orders. I
have now in my possession all the promissory notes, signed by the queen
herself; and I have been obliged to show those notes to several bankers,
my creditors, to induce them to extend the time of my payments."

Instead, however, of following Madame Campan's judicious advice,
Boehmer, half delirious with solicitude, went directly to the
cardinal, and informed him of all that had transpired. The cardinal
appeared very much embarrassed, asked a few questions, and said but
little. He, however, wrote in his diary the following memorandum:

    "On this day, August 3, 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 cheated."

Boehmer was almost frantic with terror, for the loss of the necklace
was his utter and irremediable ruin. Finding no relief in his interview
with the cardinal, he hastened to Little Trianon, and sent a message
to the queen that Madame Campan wished him to see her immediately.
The queen, who knew nothing of the occurrences we have just related,
exclaimed, "That man is surely mad. I have nothing to say to him, and I
will not see him." Madame Campan, however, immediately called upon the
queen, for she was very much alarmed by what she had heard, and related
to her the whole occurrence. The queen was exceedingly amazed and
perplexed, and feared that it was some deep-laid plot to involve her in
difficulties. She questioned Madame Campan very minutely in reference
to every particular of the interview, and insisted upon her repeating
the conversation over and over again. They then went immediately to
the king, and narrated to him the whole affair. He, aware of the
many efforts which had been made to traduce the character of Maria
Antoinette, and to expose her to public contumely, was at once convinced
that it was a treacherous plot of the cardinal in revenge for his
neglect at court.

The king instantly sent a command for the cardinal to meet him and the
queen in the king's closet. He was, apparently, anticipating the
summons, for he, without delay, appeared before them in all the pomp of
his pontifical robes, but was nevertheless so embarrassed that he could
with difficulty articulate a sentence.

"You have purchased diamonds of Boehmer?" inquired the king.

"Yes, sire," was the trembling reply.

"What have you done with them?" the king added.

"I thought," said the cardinal, "that they had been delivered to the

"Who commissioned you to make this purchase?"

"The Countess Lamotte," was the reply. "She handed me a letter from the
queen requesting me to obtain the necklace for her. I truly thought that
I was obeying her majesty's wishes, and doing her a favor, by taking
this business upon myself."

"How could you imagine, sir," indignantly interrupted the queen, "that
I should have selected _you_ for such a purpose, when I have not even
spoken to you for eight years? and how could you suppose that I should
have acted through the mediation of such a character as the Countess

The cardinal was in the most violent agitation, and, apparently hardly
knowing what he said, replied, "I see plainly that I have been duped. I
will pay for the necklace myself. I suspected no trick in the affair,
and am extremely sorry that I have had any thing to do with it."

He then took a letter from his pocket directed to the Countess Lamotte,
and signed with the queen's name, requesting her to secure the purchase
of the necklace. The king and queen looked at the letter, and instantly
pronounced it a forgery. The king then took from his own pocket a letter
addressed to the jeweler Boehmer, and, handing it to de Rohan, said,

"Are you the author of that letter?"

The cardinal turned pale, and, leaning upon his hand, appeared as though
he would fall to the floor.

"I have no wish, cardinal," the king kindly replied, "to find you
guilty. Explain to me this enigma. Account for all those maneuvers with
Boehmer. Where did you obtain these securities and these promissory
notes, signed in the queen's name, which have been given to Boehmer?"

The cardinal, trembling in every nerve, faintly replied, "Sire, I am too
much agitated now to answer your majesty. Give me a little time to
collect my thoughts."

"Compose yourself, then, cardinal," the king added. "Go into my cabinet.
You will there find papers, pens, and ink. At your leisure, _write_ what
you have to say to me."

In about half an hour the cardinal returned with a paper, covered with
erasures, and alterations, and blottings, as confused and unsatisfactory
as his verbal statements had been. An officer was then summoned into the
royal presence, and commanded to take the cardinal into custody and
conduct him to the Bastile. He was, however, permitted to visit his
home. The cardinal contrived, by the way, to scribble a line upon a
scrap of paper, and, catching the eye of a trusty servant, he,
unobserved, slipped it into his hand. It was a direction to the servant
to hasten to the palace, with the utmost possible speed, and commit to
the flames all of his private papers. The king had also sent officers
to the cardinal's palace to seize his papers and seal them for
examination. By almost superhuman exertions, the cardinal's servant
first arrived at the palace, which was at the distance of several miles.
His horse dropped dead in the court-yard. The important documents, which
might, perhaps, have shed light upon this mysterious affair, were all

The Countess Lamotte was also arrested, and held in close confinement to
await her trial. She had just commenced living in a style of
extraordinary splendor, and had vast sums at her disposal, acquired no
one knew how. It is difficult to imagine the excitement which this story
produced all over Europe. It was represented that the queen was found
engaged in a swindling transaction with a profligate woman to cheat the
crown jeweler out of gems of inestimable value, and that, being
detected, she was employing all the influence of the crown to shield her
own reputation by consigning the innocent cardinal to infamy. The
enemies of the queen, sustained by the ecclesiastics generally, rallied
around the cardinal. The king and queen, feeling that his acquittal
would be the virtual condemnation of Maria Antoinette, and firmly
convinced of his guilt, exerted their utmost influence, in self-defense,
to bring him to punishment. Rumors and counter rumors floated through
Versailles, Paris, and all the courts of the Continent. The tale was
rehearsed in saloon and café with every conceivable addition and
exaggeration, and the queen hardly knew which way to turn from the
invectives which were so mercilessly showered upon her. Her lofty
spirit, conscious of rectitude, sustained her in public, and there she
nerved herself to appear with firmness and equanimity. But in the
retirement of her boudoir she was unable to repel the most melancholy
imaginings, and often wept with almost the anguish of a bursting heart.
The sunshine of her life had now disappeared. Each succeeding day grew
darker and darker with enveloping glooms.

The trial of the cardinal continued, with various interruptions, for
more than a year. Very powerful parties were formed for and against him.
All France was agitated by the protracted contest. The cardinal appeared
before his judges in mourning robes, but with all the pageantry of the
most imposing ecclesiastical costume. He was conducted into court with
much ceremony, and treated with the greatest deference. In the trying
moment in which he first appeared before his judges, his courage seemed
utterly to fail him. Pale and trembling with emotion, his knees bent
under him, and he had to cling to a support to prevent himself from
falling to the floor. Five or six voices immediately addressed him in
tones of sympathy, and the president said, "His eminence the cardinal is
at liberty to sit down, if he wishes it." The distinguished prisoner
immediately took his seat with the members of the court. Having soon
recovered in some degree his composure, he arose, and for half an hour
addressed his judges, with much feeling and dignity, repeating his
protestations of entire innocence in the whole affair.

At the close of this protracted trial, the cardinal was fully acquitted
of all guilt by a majority of three voices. The king and queen were
extremely chagrined at this result. During the trial, many insulting
insinuations were thrown out against the queen which could not easily be
repelled. A friend who called upon her immediately after the decision,
found her in her closet weeping bitterly. "Come," said Maria, "come and
weep for your queen, insulted and sacrificed by cabal and injustice."
The king came in at the same moment, and said, "You find the queen much
afflicted; she has great reason to be so. They were determined through
out this affair to see only an ecclesiastical prince, a Prince de Rohan,
while he is, in fact, a needy fellow, and all this was but a scheme to
put money into his pockets. It is not necessary to be an Alexander to
cut this Gordian knot." The cardinal subsequently emigrated to Germany,
where he lived in comparative obscurity till 1803, when he died.

The Countess Lamotte was brought to trial, but with a painfully
different result. Dressed in the richest and most costly robes, the
dissolute beauty appeared before her judges, and astonished them all by
her imperturbable self-possession, her talents, and her cool effrontery.
It was clearly proved that she had received the necklace; that she had
sold here and there the diamonds of which it was composed, and had thus
come into possession of large sums of money. She told all kinds of
stories, contradicting herself in a thousand ways, accusing now one and
again another as an accomplice, and unblushingly declaring that she had
no intention to tell the truth, for that neither she nor the cardinal
had uttered one single word before the court which had not been false.
She was found guilty, and the following horrible sentence was pronounced
against her: that she should be whipped upon the bare back in the
court-yard of the prison; that the letter V should be burned into the
flesh on each shoulder with a hot iron; and that she should be
imprisoned for life. The king and queen were as much displeased with the
terrible barbarity of the punishment of the countess as they were
chagrined at the acquittal of the cardinal. As the countess was a
descendant of the royal family, they felt that the ignominious character
of the punishment was intended as a stigma upon them.

As the countess was sitting one morning in the spacious room provided
for her in the prison, in a loose robe, conversing gayly with some
friends, and surrounded by all the appliances of wealth, an attendant
appeared to conduct her into the presence of the judges. Totally
unprepared for the awful doom impending over her, she rose with careless
alacrity and entered the court. The terrible sentence was pronounced.
Immediately terror, rage, and despair seized upon her, and a scene of
horror ensued which no pen can describe. Before the sentence was
finished, she threw herself upon the floor, and uttered the most
piercing shrieks and screams. The tumult of agitation into which she was
thrown, dreadful as it was, relaxed not the stern rigor of the law. The
executioner immediately seized her, and dragged her, shrieking and
struggling in a delirium of phrensy, into the court-yard of the prison.
As her eye fell upon the instruments of her ignominious and brutal
punishment, she seized upon one of her executioners with her teeth, and
tore a mouthful of flesh from his arm. She was thrown upon the ground,
her garments, with relentless violence, were stripped from her back, and
the lash mercilessly cut its way into her quivering nerves, while her
awful screams pierced the damp, chill air of the morning. The hot irons
were brought, and simmered upon her recoiling flesh. The unhappy
creature was then carried, mangled and bleeding, and half dead with
torture, and terror, and madness, to the prison hospital. After nine
months of imprisonment she was permitted to escape. She fled to England,
and was found one morning dead upon the pavements of London, having been
thrown from a third story window in a midnight carousal.

Such was the story of the Diamond Necklace. Though no one can now doubt
that Maria Antoinette was perfectly innocent in the whole affair, it, at
the time, furnished her enemies with weapons against her, which they
used with fatal efficiency. It was then represented that the Countess
Lamotte was an accomplice of the queen in the fraudulent acquisition of
the necklace, and that the Cardinal de Rohan was their deluded but
innocent victim. The horrible punishment of Madame Lamotte, who boasted
that royal blood circulated in her veins, was understood to be in
contempt of royalty, and as the expression of venomous feeling toward
the queen. Both Maria Antoinette and Louis felt it as such, and were
equally aggrieved by the acquittal of the cardinal and the barbarous
punishment of the countess.

Whether the cardinal was a victim or an accomplice is a question which
never has been, and now never can be, decided. The mystery in which the
affair is involved must remain a mystery until the secrets of all hearts
are revealed at the great day of judgment. If he was the guilty
instigator, and the poor countess but his tool and victim, how much has
he yet to be accountable for in the just retributions of eternity! There
were three suppositions adopted by the community in the attempt to
solve the mystery of this transaction:

     1. The first was, that the queen had really employed the
     Countess Lamotte to obtain the necklace by deceiving the
     cardinal. That it was a trick by which the queen and the
     countess were to obtain the necklace, and, by selling it
     piecemeal, to share the spoil, leaving the cardinal
     responsible for the payment. This was the view the enemies
     of Maria Antoinette, almost without exception, took of the
     case; and the sentence of acquittal of the cardinal, and the
     horrible condemnation of the countess, were intended to
     sustain this view. This opinion, spread through Paris and
     France, was very influential in rousing that animosity which
     conducted Maria Antoinette to sufferings more poignant and
     to a doom more awful than the Countess Lamotte could by any
     possibility endure.

     2. The second supposition was, that the cardinal and the
     countess forged the signature of the queen to defraud the
     jeweler; that they thus obtained the rich prize of three
     hundred and twenty thousand dollars, intending to divide the
     spoil between them, and throw the obloquy of the transaction
     upon the queen. The king and queen were both fully
     convinced that this was the true explanation of the fraud,
     and they retained this belief undoubted until they died.

     3. The third supposition, and that which now is almost
     universally entertained, was, that the crafty woman Lamotte,
     by forgery, and by means of an accomplice, who very much, in
     figure, resembled Maria Antoinette, completely duped the
     cardinal. His anxiety was such to be restored to the royal
     favor, that he eagerly caught at the bait which the wily
     countess presented to him. But, whoever may have been the
     guilty ones, no one now doubts that Maria Antoinette was
     entirely innocent. She, however, experienced all the
     ignominy she could have encountered had she been involved in
     the deepest guilt.




A gathering storm.--Condition of the French people.--Forces assembled
at Versailles.--The populace rise upon the troops.--Terror and
confusion.--Attack on the Bastile.--The Bastile taken.--Awful
tumult.--Energy of the queen.--Resolution of the king.--The king
visits Paris.--Strange cavalcade.--Painful suspense of the
queen.--Return of the king.--The banquet at Versailles.--Enthusiastic
loyalty.--News of the banquet.--Famine in Paris.--The mob marches to
Versailles.--Heroic reply of the queen.--Violence of the mob.--The
queen retires to rest.--Peril of the queen.--Her narrow escape.--The
mob in the palace.--Heroic conduct of the queen.--The queen appears
on the balcony.--Her composure.--The queen applauded.--The royal
family taken to Paris.--An army of vagabonds.--The royal family
grossly insulted.--The royal family in the Tuileries.--The queen's
self-sacrificing spirit.--Rioting and violence.--The dauphin's
question.--The king's explanation to his son.--Flight of the
nobility.--Inflammatory placards.--The Duke of Orleans.--The Duke
of Orlean's plans frustrated.--Rumors of an invasion.--The leaders of
the populace.--The queen urged to attend the theater.--Dignified reply
of the queen.--Her unpopularity increases.--The queen's vigorous
action.--Ultimate cause of the popular fury.--Transgressors visited
in their children.

The year 1789 opened upon France lowering with darkness and portentous
storms. The events to which we have alluded in the preceding chapters,
and various others of a similar nature, conspired to foment troubles
between the French monarch and his subjects, which were steadily and
irresistibly increasing. The great mass of the people, ignorant,
degraded, and maddened by centuries of oppression, were rising, with
delirious energy, to batter down a corrupt church and a despotic throne,
and to overwhelm the guilty and the innocent alike in indiscriminate
ruin. The storm had been gathering for ages, but those who had been
mainly instrumental in raising it were now slumbering in their graves.
Mobs began to sweep the streets of Paris, phrensied with rum and rage,
and all law was set at defiance. The king, mild in temperament, and with
no force of character, was extremely averse to any measures of violence.
The queen, far more energetic, with the spirit of her heroic mother,
would have quelled these insurrections with the strong arm of military

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE BASTILE.]

The king at last was compelled, in order to protect the royal family
from insult, to encamp his army around his palaces; and long trains
of artillery and of cavalry incessantly traversed the streets of
Versailles, to prop the tottering monarchy. As Maria Antoinette, from
the windows, looked down upon these formidable bands, and saw the
crowd of generals and colonels who filled the saloons of the palace,
her fainting courage was revived. The sight of these soldiers, called
to quell the insurgent people, roused the Parisians to the intensest
fury. "To arms! to arms! the king's troops are coming to massacre us,"
resounded through the streets of Paris in the gloom of night, in tones
which caused the heart of every peaceful citizen to quake with terror.
The infuriated populace hurled themselves upon the few troops who were
in Paris. Many of the soldiers of the king threw down their arms and
fraternized with the people. Others were withdrawn, by order of Louis,
to add to the forces which were surrounding his person at Versailles.
Paris was thus left at the mercy of the mob. The arsenals were
ransacked, the powder magazines were broken open, pikes were forged,
and in a day, as it were, all Paris was in arms. Thousands of the
noble and the wealthy fled in consternation from these scenes of
ever-accumulating peril, and bands of ferocious men and women, from
all the abodes of infamy, with the aspect and the energy of demons,
ravaged the streets.

When the morning of the 14th of March, 1789, dawned upon the city,
a scene of terror and confusion was witnessed which baffles all
description. In the heart of Paris there was a prison of terrible
celebrity, in whose dark dungeons many victims of oppression and crime
had perished. The Bastile, in its gloomy strength of rock and iron, was
the great instrument of terror with which the kings of France had, for
centuries, held all restless spirits in subjection. Now, the whole
population of Paris seemed to be rolling like an inundation toward this
apparently impregnable fortress, resolved to batter down its execrated
walls. "To the Bastile! to the Bastile!" was the cry which resounded
along the banks of the Seine, and through every street of the insurgent
metropolis; and men, women, and boys poured on and poured on, an
interminable host, choking every avenue with the agitated mass, armed
with guns, knives, swords, pikes--dragging artillery bestrode by
amazons, and filling the air with the clamor of Pandemonium. A conflict,
fierce, short, bloody, ensued, and the exasperated multitude, many of
them bleeding and maddened by wounds, clambered over the walls and
rushed through the shattered gateways, and, with yells of triumph,
became masters of the Bastile. The heads of its defenders were stuck
upon poles upon the battlements, and the mob, intoxicated with the
discovery of their resistless power, were beginning to inquire in what
scenes of violence they should next engage. At midnight, couriers
arrived at Versailles, informing the king and queen of the terrible
insurrections triumphant in the capital, and that the royal troops every
where, instead of being enthusiastic for the defense of the king,
manifested the strongest disposition to fraternize with the populace.
The tumult in Paris that night was awful. The rumor had entered every
ear that the king was coming with forty thousand troops to take dreadful
vengeance in the indiscriminate massacre of the populace. It was a night
of sleeplessness and terror--the carnival of all the monsters of crime
who thronged that depraved metropolis. The streets were filled with
intoxication and blasphemy. No dwelling was secure from pillage. The
streets were barricaded; pavements torn up, and the roofs of houses
loaded with the stones.

All the energies of the queen were aroused for a vigorous and heroic
resistance. She strove to inspire the king with firmness and courage.
He, however, thought only of concessions. He wished to win back the love
of his people by favors. He declared openly that never should one drop
of blood be shed at his command; and, with the heroism of endurance,
which he abundantly possessed, and to prove that he had been grossly
calumniated, he left Versailles in his carriage to go unprotected to
Paris, into the midst of the infuriated populace. Just as he was
entering his carriage on this dangerous expedition, he received
intelligence that a plot was formed to assassinate him on the way. This,
however, did not in the slightest degree shake his resolution. The agony
of the queen was irrepressible as she bade him adieu, never expecting to
see him again.

The National Assembly, consisting of nearly twelve hundred persons, was
then in session at Versailles, the great majority of them sympathizing
with the populace, and yet were alarmed in view of the lawless violence
which their own acts had awakened, and which was every where desolating
the land. As, on the morning of the 17th of July, the king entered his
carriage with a slender retinue, and with no military protection, to
expose himself to the dangers of his tumultuous capital, this whole
body formed in procession on foot and followed him. A countless throng
of artisans and peasants flocked from all the streets of Versailles,
and poured in from the surrounding country, armed with scythes and
bludgeons, and joined the strange cavalcade. Every moment the multitude
increased, and the road, both before and behind the king, was so clogged
with the accumulating mass, that seven hours passed before the king
arrived at the gates of the city. During all this time he was exposed to
every conceivable insult. As Louis was conducted to the Hotel de Ville,
a hundred thousand armed men lined the way, and he passed along under
the arch of their sabers crossed over his head. The cup of degradation
he was compelled to drain to its dregs.

While the king was absent from Versailles on this dreadful visit,
silence and the deepest gloom pervaded the palace. The queen,
apprehensive that the king would be either massacred or retained a
prisoner in Paris, was overwhelmed with the anguish of suspense. She
retired to her chamber, and, with continually gushing tears, prepared
an appeal to the National Assembly, commencing with these words:
"Gentlemen, I come to place in your hands the wife and family of your
sovereign. Do not suffer those who have been united in heaven to be put
asunder on earth." Late in the evening the king returned, to the
inexpressible joy of his household. But the narrative he gave of the
day's adventure plunged them all again into the most profound grief.

The visit of the king had no influence in diminishing the horrors of the
scenes now hourly enacted in the French capital. His friends were openly
massacred in the streets, hung up at the lamp-posts, and roasted at slow
fires, while their dying agonies were but the subjects of derision. The
contagion of crime and cruelty spread to every other city in the empire.
The higher nobility and the more wealthy citizens began very generally
to abandon their homes, seeing no escape from these dangers but by
precipitate flight to foreign lands. Such was the state of affairs,
when the officers of some of the regiments assembled at Versailles for
the protection of the king had a public banquet in the saloon of the
opera. All the rank and elegance which had ventured yet to linger around
the court graced the feast with their presence in the surrounding boxes.
In the midst of their festivities, their chivalrous enthusiasm was
excited in behalf of the king and queen. They drank their health--they
vowed to defend them even unto death. Wine had given fervor to their
loyalty. The ladies showered upon them bouquets, waved their
handkerchiefs, and tossed to them white cockades, the emblem of Bourbon
power. And now the cry arose, loud, and long, and enthusiastic, for the
king and queen to come and show themselves to their defenders. The door
suddenly opened, and the king and queen appeared. Enthusiasm immediately
rose almost to phrensy. The hall resounded with acclamations, and the
king, entirely unmanned by these expressions of attachment, burst into
tears. The band struck up the pathetic air, "O Richard! O my king! the
world abandons you." There was no longer any bounds to the transport.
The officers and the ladies mingled together in a scene of indescribable

The tidings of this banquet spread like wildfire through Paris,
magnified by the grossest exaggerations. It was universally believed
that the officers had contemptuously trampled the tri-colored cockade,
the adopted emblem of popular power, under their feet; that they had
sharpened their sabers, and sworn to exterminate the National Assembly
and the people of Paris. All business was at a stand. No laborer was
employed. The provisions in the city were nearly all consumed. No baker
dared to appear with his cart, or farmer to send in his corn, for
pillage was the order of the day. The exasperated and starving people
hung a few bakers before their own ovens, but that did not make bread
any more plenty. The populace of Paris were now starving, literally and
truly starving. A gaunt and haggard woman seized a drum and strode
through the streets, beating it violently, and mingling with its din her
shrieks of "Bread! bread!" A few boys follow her--then a score of female
furies--and then thousands of desperate men. The swelling inundation
rolls from street to street; the alarm bells are rung; all Paris
composes one mighty, resistless mob, motiveless, aimless, but ripe
for any deed of desperation. The cry goes from mouth to mouth "To
Versailles! to Versailles!" Why, no one knows, only that the king and
queen are there. Impetuously, as by a blind instinct, the monster mass
moves on. La Fayette, at the head of the National Guard, knows not what
to do, for all the troops under his command sympathize with the people,
and will obey no orders to resist them. He therefore merely follows on
with his thirty-five thousand troops to watch the issue of events. The
king and queen are warned of the approaching danger, and Louis entreats
Maria Antoinette to take the children in the carriages and flee to some
distant place of safety. Others join most earnestly in the entreaty.
"Nothing," replies the queen, "shall induce me, in such an extremity, to
be separated from my husband. I know that they seek my life. But I am
the daughter of Maria Theresa, and have learned not to fear death."


From the windows of their mansion the disorderly multitude were soon
descried, in a dense and apparently interminable mass, pouring along
through the broad avenues toward the palaces of Versailles. It was in
the evening twilight of a dark and rainy day. Like ocean tides, the
frantic mob rolled in from every direction. Their shouts and revels
swelled upon the night air. The rain began to fall in torrents. They
broke into the houses for shelter; insulted maids and matrons; tore
down every thing combustible for their watch fires; massacred a few
of the body-guard of the queen, and, with bacchanalian songs, roasted
their horses for food. And thus passed the hours of this long and
dreary night, in hideous outrages for which one can hardly find a
parallel in the annals of New Zealand cannibalism. The immense gardens
of Versailles were filled with a tumultuous ocean of half-frantic men
and women, tossed to and fro in the wildest and most reckless

Toward morning, the queen, worn out with excitement and sleeplessness,
having received from La Fayette the assurance that he had so posted
the guard that she need be in no apprehension of personal danger, had
retired to her chamber for rest. The king had also retired to his
apartment, which was connected with that of the queen by a hall, through
which they could mutually pass. Two faithful soldiers were stationed at
the door of the queen's chamber for her defense. Hardly had the queen
placed her head upon her pillow before she heard a dreadful clamor upon
the stairs--the discharge of fire-arms, the clashing of swords, and the
shouts of the mob rushing upon her door. The faithful guard, bleeding
beneath the blows of the assailants, had only time to cry to the queen,
"Fly! fly for your life!" when they were stricken down. The queen sprang
from her bed, rushed to the door leading to the king's apartments, when,
to her dismay, she found that it was locked, and that the key was upon
the other side. With the energy of despair, she knocked and called for
help. Fortunately, some one rushed to her rescue from the king's chamber
and opened the door. The queen had just time to slip through and again
turn the key, when the whole raging mob, with oaths and imprecations,
burst into the room, and pierced her bed through and through with their
sabers and bayonets. Happy would it have been for Maria if in that short
agony she might have died. But she was reserved by a mysterious
Providence for more prolonged tortures and for a more dreadful doom.

A few of the National Guard, faithful to the king, rallied around the
royal family, and La Fayette soon appeared, and was barely able to
protect the king and queen from massacre. He had no power to effectually
resist the tempest of human passion which was raging, but was swept
along by its violence. Nearly all of the interior of the palace was
ransacked and defiled by the mob. The bloody heads of the massacred
guards, stuck upon pikes, were raised up to the windows of the king, to
insult and to terrify the royal family with these hideous trophies of
the triumph of their foes.

At length the morning succeeding this dreadful night dawned lurid and
cheerless. It was the 8th of October, 1789. Dark clouds over-shadowed
the sky, showers of mist were driven through the air, and the branches
of the trees swayed to and fro before the driving storm. Pools of water
filled the streets, and a countless multitude of drunken vagabonds, in a
mass so dense as to be almost impervious, besieged the palace, having no
definite plan or desire, only furious with the thought that now was the
hour in which they could wreak vengeance upon aristocrats for ages of
oppression. Muskets were continually discharged by the more desperate,
and bullets passed through the windows of the palace. Maria Antoinette,
in these trying scenes, indeed appeared queenly. Her conduct was heroic
in the extreme. Her soul was nerved to the very highest acts of
fearlessness and magnanimity. Seeing the mob in the court-yard below
ready to tear in pieces some of her faithful guard whom they had
captured, regardless of the shots which were whistling by her, she
persisted in exposing herself at the open window to beg for their lives;
and when a friend, M. Luzerne, placed himself before her, that his body
might be her shield from the bullets, she gently, but firmly, with her
hand, pressed him away, saying, "The king can not afford to lose so
faithful a servant as you are."

At length the crowd began vigorously to shout, "The queen! the queen!"
demanding that she should appear upon the balcony. She immediately came
forth, with her children at her side, that, as a mother, she might
appeal to their hearts. The sight moved the sympathies of the multitude;
and execrating, as they did, Maria Antoinette, whom they had long been
taught to hate, they could not have the heart, in cold blood, to
massacre these innocent children. Thousands of voices simultaneously
shouted, "Away with the children!" Maria, apparently without the tremor
of a nerve, led back her children, and again appearing upon the balcony
alone, folded her arms, and, raising her eyes to heaven, stood before
them, a self-devoted victim. The heroism of the act changed for a moment
hatred to admiration. Not a gun was fired; there was a moment of
silence, and then one spontaneous burst of applause rose apparently from
every lip, and shouts of "Vive la reine! vive la reine!" pierced the

[Illustration: MOB AT VERSAILLES.]

And now the universal cry ascends, "To Paris! to Paris!" La Fayette,
with the deepest mortification, was compelled to inform the king that
he had no force at his disposal sufficient to enable him to resist
the demands of the mob. The king, seeing that he was entirely at the
mercy of his foes, who were acting without leaders and without plan,
as the caprice of each passing moment instigated, said, "You wish, my
children, that I should accompany you to Paris. I can not go but on
condition that I shall not be separated from my wife and family." To
this proposal there was a tumultuous assent. At one o'clock, the king
and queen, with their two children, entered the royal carriage to be
escorted by the triumphant mob as captives to Paris. Behind them, in a
long train, followed the carriages of the king's suite and servants.
Then followed twenty-five carriages filled with the members of the
National Assembly. After them came the thirty-five thousand troops
of the National Guard; and before, behind, and around them all,
a hideous concourse of vagabonds, male and female, in uncounted
thousands, armed with every conceivable weapon, yelling, blaspheming,
and crowding against the carriages so that they surged to and fro like
ships in a storm. This motley multitude kept up an incessant discharge
of fire-arms loaded with bullets, and the balls often struck the
ornaments of the carriages, and the king and queen were often almost
suffocated with the smoke of powder. The two body-guard, who had been
massacred while so faithfully defending the queen at the door of her
chamber, were beheaded, and, their gory heads affixed to pikes, were
carried by the windows of the carriage, and pressed upon the view of
the wretched captives with every species of insult and derision. La
Fayette was powerless. He was borne along resistlessly by this
whirlwind of human passions. None were so malignant, so ferocious, so
merciless, as the degraded women who mingled with the throng. They
bestrode the cannon singing the most indecent and insulting songs. "We
shall now have bread," they exclaimed; "for we have with us the baker,
and the baker's wife, and the baker's boy." During seven long hours
of agony were the royal family exposed to these insults, before the
unwieldy mass had urged its slow way to Paris. The darkness of night
was settling down around the city as the royal captives were led into
the Hotel de Ville. No one seemed then to know what to do, or why the
king and queen had been brought from Versailles. The mayor of the city
received them there with the external mockery of respect and homage.
He had them then conducted to the Tuileries, the gorgeous city palace
of the kings of France, now the prison of the royal family. Soldiers
were stationed at all the avenues to the palace, ostensibly to
preserve the royal family from danger, but, in reality, to guard them
from escape.

A moment before the queen entered her carriage for this march of
humiliation, she hastily retired to her private apartment, and, bursting
into tears, surrendered herself to the most uncontrollable emotion. Then
immediately, as if relieved and strengthened by this flood of tears, she
summoned all her energies, and appeared as she had ever appeared, the
invincible sovereign. Indeed, through all these dreadful scenes she
never seemed to have a thought for herself. It was for her husband and
her children alone that she wept and suffered. Through all the long
hours of the night succeeding this day of horror, Paris was one boiling
caldron of tumult and passion. Rioting and violence filled all its
streets, and the clamor of madness and inebriation drove sleep from
every pillow. The excitement of the day had been too terrible to allow
either the king or the queen to attempt repose. The two children, in
utter exhaustion, found a few hours of agitated slumber from the terror
with which they had so long been appalled. But in the morning, when the
dauphin awoke, being but six or eight years of age, hearing the report
of musketry and the turmoil still resounding in the streets, he threw
his arms around his mother's neck, and, as he clung trembling to her
bosom, exclaimed, "O mother! mother! is to-day yesterday again?" Soon
after, his father came into the room. The little prince, to whom sorrow
had given a maturity above his years, contemplated his father for a
moment with a pensive air, went up to him and said, "Dear father, why
are your people, who formerly loved you so well, now, all of a sudden
so angry with you? And what have you done to irritate them so much?"


The king thus replied. "I wished, my dear child, to render the
people still happier than they were. I wanted money to pay the
expenses occasioned by wars. I asked the Parliament for money, as my
predecessors have always done. Magistrates composing the Parliament
opposed it, and said that the _people_ alone had a right to consent
to it. I assembled the principal inhabitants of every town, whether
distinguished by birth, fortune, or talents, at Versailles. That is
what is called the _States-General_. When they were assembled, they
required concessions of me which I could not make, either with due
respect for myself or with justice to you, who will be my successor.
Wicked men, inducing the people to rise, have occasioned the excesses
of the last few days. The _people_ must not be blamed for them."

While these terrific scenes were passing in Paris and in France, the
majority of the nobility were rapidly emigrating to find refuge in other
lands. Every night the horizon was illumined by the conflagration of
their chateaux, burned down by mobs. Many of them were mercilessly
tortured to death. Large numbers, however, gathering around them such
treasures as could easily be carried away, escaped to Germany on the
frontiers of France. Some fifteen hundred of these emigrants were
at Coblentz, organizing themselves into a military band, seeking
assistance from the Austrian monarchy, and threatening, with an
overwhelming force of invasion, to recover their homes and their
confiscated estates, and to rescue the royal family. The populace in
Paris were continually agitated with the rumors of this gathering army
at Coblentz. As Maria was an Austrian, she was accused of being in
correspondence with the emigrants, and of striving to rouse the Austrian
monarchy to make war upon France, and to deluge Paris with the blood of
its citizens. Most inflammatory placards were posted in the streets.
Speeches full of rancor and falsehood were made to exasperate the
populace. And when the fish-women wished to cast upon the queen some
epithet of peculiar bitterness, they called her "The Austrian."

It is confidently asserted that the mob was instigated to the march to
Versailles by the emissaries of the Duke of Orleans, the father of
Louis Philippe. The duke hoped that the royal family, terrified by the
approach of the infuriated multitude, would enter their carriages and
flee to join the emigrants at Coblentz. The throne would then be vacant,
and the people would make the Duke of Orleans, who, to secure this
result, had become one of the most violent of the Democrats, their king.
It was a deeply-laid plot and a very plausible enterprise. But the king
understood the plan, and refused thus to be driven from the throne of
his fathers. He, however, entreated the queen to take the children and
escape. She resolutely declared that no peril should induce her to
forsake her husband, but that she would live or die by his side. During
all the horrors of that dreadful night, when the palace at Versailles
was sacked, the duke, in disguise, with his adherents, was endeavoring
to direct the fury of the storm for the accomplishment of this purpose.
But his plans were entirely frustrated. The caprice seized the mob to
carry the king to Paris. This the Duke of Orleans of all things dreaded;
but matters had now passed entirely beyond his control. Rumors of the
approaching invasion were filling the kingdom with alarm. There was a
large minority, consisting of the most intelligent and wealthy, who were
in favor of the king, and who would eagerly join an army coming for
his rescue. Should the king escape and head that army, it would give
the invaders a vast accession of moral strength, and the insurgent
people feared a dreadful vengeance. Consequently, there were great
apprehensions entertained that the king might escape. The leaders of the
populace were not yet prepared to plunge him into prison or to load him
with chains. In fact, they had no definite plan before them. He was
still their recognized king. They even pretended that he was not their
captive--that they had politely, affectionately invited him, escorted
him on a visit to his capital. They entreated the king and queen to show
that they had no desire to escape, but were contented and happy, by
entering into all the amusements of operas, and theaters, and balls. But
in the mean time they doubled the guards around them, and drove away
their faithful servants, to place others at their tables and in their
chambers who should be their spies.

But two days after these horrid outrages, in the midst of which the king
and queen were dragged as captives to Paris, the city sent a deputation
to request the queen to appear at the theater, and thus to prove, by
participating in those gay festivities, that it was with pleasure that
she resided in her capital. With much dignity the queen replied, "I
should, with great pleasure, accede to the invitation of the people of
Paris; but time must be allowed me to soften the recollection of the
distressing events which have recently occurred, and from which I have
suffered so severely. Having come to Paris preceded by the heads of my
faithful guards, who perished before the door of their sovereign, I can
not think that such an entry into the capital ought to be followed by
rejoicings. But the happiness I have always felt in appearing in the
midst of the inhabitants of Paris is not effaced from my memory; and I
hope to enjoy that happiness again, so soon as I shall find myself able
to do so."

The queen was, however, increasingly the object of especial obloquy. She
was accused of urging the king to bombard the city, and to adopt other
most vigorous measures of resistance. It was affirmed that she held
continual correspondence with the emigrants at Coblentz, and was doing
all in her power to rouse Austria to come to the rescue of the king.
Maria would have been less than the noble woman she was if she had not
done all this, and more, for the protection of her husband, her child,
and herself. She inherited her mother's superiority of mind and mental
energy. Had Louis possessed her spirit, he might have perished
more heroically, but probably none the less surely. Maria did,
unquestionably, do every thing in her power to rouse her husband to
a more energetic and manly defense. Generations of kings, by
licentiousness, luxury, and oppression; by total disregard of the rights
of the people, and by the naughty contempt of their sufferings and
complaints, had kindled flames of implacable hatred against all kingly
power. Circumstances, over which neither Louis nor Maria had any
control, caused these flames to burst out with resistless fury around
the throne of France, at the time in which they happened to be seated
upon it. Though there never had been seated upon that throne more
upright, benevolent, and conscientious monarchs, they were compelled
to drain to the dregs the poisoned chalice which their ancestors had
mingled. Perhaps this world presents no more affecting illustration
of that mysterious principle of the divine government, by which the
transgressions of the parents are visited upon the children. Louis XIV.,
as haughty and oppressive a monarch as ever trod an enslaved people into
the dust, died peacefully in his luxurious bed. His descendant, Louis
XVI., as mild and benignant a sovereign as ever sat upon an earthly
throne, received upon his unresisting brow the doom from which his
unprincipled ancestors had escaped. It is difficult for us, in the
sympathy which is excited for the comparatively innocent Maria
Antoinette and Louis, to remember the ages of wrong and outrage by
which the popular exasperation had been raised to wreak itself in
indiscriminating atrocities. There is but one solution to these
mysteries: "After death comes the judgment."




Condition of the royal family.--Ignominiously insulted.--The royal
family surrounded by spies.--The queen refuses to escape.--Excuse
for the emigrants.--Their plans.--Profligate women.--Their talk
with the queen.--Bravos of the women.--Plan for the queen's
escape.--Letter from the queen.--Her employments.--The king's
unwillingness to flee.--Execution of the Marquis of Favras.--Imprudence
of some of the queen's friends.--Her embarrassment.--The queen
weeps.--Present to Madame Favras.--The king continues inactive.--Plan
of Count d'Inisdal.--Indecision of the king.--The queen's
disappointment.--Displeasure of Count d'Inisdal.--An alarm.--Attempts
to assassinate the queen.--Removal to St. Cloud.--Another plan
for flight.--It is abandoned.--Exhibitions of attachment.--Emotions
of the queen.--The assassin in the garden.--Midnight
interviews.--Deliberations of the king's friends.--Taunting gift.--The
king's aunts leave France.--They are arrested.--Exciting debate.--The
ladies permitted to depart.--The royal family start for St. Cloud.--They
are compelled to return.--Preparations for flight.--Imprudence of the
king and queen.--Garments for the children.--The queen's diamonds and
jewels.--The queen's dressing-case.--The faithful Leonard.

The king and queen now found themselves in the gorgeous apartments of
the Tuileries, surrounded with all the mockery of external homage, but
incessantly exposed to the most ignominious insults, and guarded with
sleepless vigilance from the possibility of escape. The name of the
queen was the watchword of popular execration and rage. In the pride of
her lofty spirit, she spurned all apologies, explanations, or attempts
at conciliation. Inclosing herself in the recesses of her palace, she
heard with terror and resentment, but with an unyielding soul, the daily
acts of violence perpetrated against royalty and all of its friends. All
her trusty servants were removed, and spies in their stead occupied her
parlors and her chambers. Trembling far more for her husband and her
children than for herself, every noise in the streets aroused her
apprehensions of a new insurrection. And thus, for nearly two years of
melancholy days and sorrowful nights, the very nobleness of her nature,
glowing with heroic love, magnified her anguish. The terror of the times
had driven nearly all the nobility from the realm. The court was
forsaken, or attended only by the detested few who were forced as
ministers upon the royal family by the implacable populace. Every word
and every action of Maria Antoinette were watched, and reported by the
spies who surrounded her in the guise of servants. To obtain a private
interview with any of her few remaining friends, or even with her
husband, it was necessary to avail herself of private stair-cases, and
dark corridors, and the disguise of night. The queen regretted extremely
that the nobles, and others friendly to royalty, should, in these hours
of gathering danger, have fled from France. When urged to fly herself
from the dangers darkening around her, she resolutely refused, declaring
that she would never leave her husband and children, but that she would
live or die with them. The queen, convinced of the impolicy of
emigration, did every thing in her power to induce the emigrants to
return. Urgent letters were sent to them, to one of which the queen
added the following postscript with her own hand: "If you love your
king, your religion, your government, and your country, return! return!
return! Maria Antoinette." The emigrants were severely censured by many
for abandoning their king and country in such a crisis. But when all law
was overthrown, and the raging mob swayed hither and thither at its
will, and nobles were murdered on the high way or hung at lamp-posts in
the street, and each night the horizon was illumined by the
conflagration of their chateaux, a husband and father can hardly be
severely censured for endeavoring to escape with his wife and children
from such scenes of horror.

A year of gloom now slowly passed away, almost every moment of which was
embittered by disappointed hopes and gathering fears. The emigrants, who
were assembled at Coblentz, on the frontiers of Germany, were organizing
an army for the invasion of France and the restoration of the regal
power. The people were very fearful that the king and queen might
escape, and, joining the emigrants, add immeasurably to their moral
strength. There were thousands in France, overawed by the terrors of the
mob, who would most eagerly have rallied around the banners of such an
invading army, headed by their own king. Louis, however, with his
characteristic want of energy, was very unwilling to assume a hostile
attitude toward his subjects, and still vainly hoped, by concessions and
by the exhibition of a forgiving spirit, to reconcile his disaffected

On the morning after the arrival of the king and queen at the Tuileries,
an occurrence took place highly characteristic of the times. A crowd of
profligate women, the same who bestrode the cannon the day before,
insulting the queen with the most abusive language, collected under the
queen's windows, upon the terrace of the palace. Maria, hearing their
outcries, came to the window. A furious termagant addressed her, telling
her that she must dismiss all such courtiers as ruin kings, and that she
must love the inhabitants of her good city. The queen replied,

"I have loved them at Versailles, and will also love them at Paris."

"Yes! yes!" answered another. "But you wanted to besiege the city and
have it bombarded. And you wanted to fly to the frontiers and join the

The queen mildly replied, "You have been told so, my friends, and have
believed it, and that is the cause of the unhappiness of the people and
of the best of kings."

Another addressed her in German, to which the queen answered, "I do not
understand you. I have become so entirely French as even to have
forgotten my mother tongue."

At this they all clapped their hands, and shouted, "Bravo! bravo!" They
then asked for the ribbons and flowers out of her hat. Her majesty
unfastened them herself, and then tossed them out of the window to the
women. They were received with great eagerness, and divided among the
party; and for half an hour they kept up the incessant shout, "Maria
Antoinette forever! Our good queen forever!"

In the course of a few weeks some of the devoted friends of the queen
had matured a plan by which _her_ escape could be, without difficulty,
effected. The queen, whose penetrating mind fully comprehended the peril
of her situation, replied, while expressing the deepest gratitude to her
friends for their kindness, "I will never leave either the king or my
children. If I thought that I alone were obnoxious to public hatred, I
would instantly offer my life as a sacrifice. But it is the throne which
is aimed at. In abandoning the king, no other advantage can be obtained
than merely saving my life; and I will never be guilty of such an act of

The following letter, which she wrote at this time to a friend, in reply
to a letter of sympathy in reference to the outrage which had torn her
from Versailles, will enable one to form a judgment of her situation and
state of mind at that time. "I shed tears of affection on reading your
sympathizing letter. You talk of my courage; it required much less to go
through the dreadful crisis of that day than is now daily necessary to
endure our situation, our own griefs, those of our friends, and those of
the persons who surround us. This is a heavy weight to sustain; and but
for the strong ties by which my heart is bound to my husband, my
children, and my friends, I should wish to sink under it. But you bear
me up. I ought to sacrifice such feelings to your friendship. But it is
I who bring misfortune on you all, and all your troubles are on my

The queen now lived for some time in much retirement. She employed the
mornings in superintending the education of her son and daughter, both
of whom received all their lessons in her presence, and she endeavored
to occupy her mind, continually agitated as it was by ever-recurring
scenes of outrage and of danger, by working large pieces of tapestry.
She could not sufficiently recall her thoughts from the anxieties which
continually engrossed them to engage in reading. The king was extremely
unwilling to seek protection in flight, lest the throne should be
declared vacant, and he should thus lose his crown. He was ever hoping
that affairs would soon take such a turn that harmony would be restored
to his distracted kingdom. Maria Antoinette, however, who had a much
more clear discernment of the true state of affairs, soon felt convinced
that reconciliation, unless effected by the arm of power, was hopeless,
and she exerted all her influence to rouse the king to vigorous measures
for escape. While firmly resolved never to abandon her husband and her
family to save her own life, she still became very anxious that all
should endeavor to escape together.

About this time the Marquis of Favras was accused of having formed a
plan for the rescue of the royal family. He was very hastily tried, the
mob surrounding the tribunal and threatening the judges with instant
death unless they should condemn him. He was sentenced to be hung, and
was executed, surrounded by the insults and execrations of the populace
of Paris. The marquis left a wife and a little boy overwhelmed with
grief and in hopeless poverty. On the following Sunday morning, some
extremely injudicious friends of the queen, moved with sympathy for the
desolated family, without consulting the queen upon the subject,
presented the widow and the orphan in deepest mourning at court. The
husband and father had fallen a sacrifice to his love for the queen and
her family. The queen was extremely embarrassed. What course could she
with safety pursue? If she should yield to the dictates of her own
heart, and give expression to her emotions of sympathy and gratitude,
she would rouse to still greater fury the indignation of the populace
who were accusing her of the desire to escape, and who considered this
desire as one of the greatest of crimes. Should she, on the other hand,
surrender herself to the dictates of prudence, and neglect openly to
manifest any special interest in their behalf, how severely must she be
censured by the Loyalists for her ingratitude toward those who had been
irretrievably ruined through their love for her.

The queen was extremely pained by this unexpected and impolitic
presentation; for the fate of others, far dearer to her than her own
life, were involved in her conduct. She withdrew from the painful scene
to her private apartment, threw herself into a chair, and, weeping
bitterly, said to an intimate friend, "We must perish! We are assailed
by men who possess extraordinary talent, and who shrink from no crime.
We are defended by those who have the kindest intentions, but who have
no adequate idea of our situation. They have exposed me to the animosity
of both parties by presenting to me the widow and the son of the Marquis
of Favras. Were I free to act as my heart impels me, I should take the
child of the man who has so nobly sacrificed himself for us, and adopt
him as my own, and place him at the table between the king and myself.
But, surrounded by the assassins who have destroyed his father, I did
not dare even to cast my eyes upon him. The Royalists will blame me for
not having appeared interested in this poor child. The Revolutionists
will be enraged at the idea that his presentation should have been
thought agreeable to me." The next day the queen sent, by a confidential
friend, a purse of gold to Madame Favras, and assured her that she would
ever watch, with the deepest interest, over her fortune and that of her

Innumerable plans were now formed for the rescue of the royal family,
and abandoned. The king could not be roused to energetic action. His
passive courage was indomitable, but he could not be induced to act on
the offensive, and, still hoping that by a spirit of conciliation he
might win back the affections of his people, he was extremely reluctant
to take any measures by which he should be arrayed in hostility against
them. Maria, on the contrary, knew that decisive action alone could be
of any avail. One night, about ten o'clock, the king and queen were
sitting in their private apartment of the Tuileries, endeavoring to
beguile the melancholy hours by a game of cards. The sister of the king,
Madame Elizabeth, with a very pensive countenance, was kneeling upon a
stool, by the side of the table, overlooking the game. A nobleman, Count
d'Inisdal, devotedly attached to the fortunes of the royal family,
entered, and, in a low tone of voice, informed the king and queen that a
plan was already matured to rescue them that very night; that a section
of the National Guard was gained over, that sets of fleet horses were
placed in relays at suitable distances, that carriages were ready, and
that now they only wanted the king's consent, and the scheme, at
midnight, would be carried into execution. The king listened to every
word without the movement of a muscle of his countenance, and, fixing
his eyes upon the cards in his hand, as if paying no attention to what
had been said, uttered not a syllable. For some time there was perfect
silence. At last Maria Antoinette, who was extremely anxious that the
king should avail himself of this opportunity for escape, broke the
embarrassing silence by saying, "Do you hear, sir, what is said to us?"
"Yes," replied the king, calmly, "I hear," and he continued his game.
Again there was a long silence. The queen, extremely anxious and
impatient, for the hour of midnight was drawing near, again interrupted
the silence by saying earnestly, "But, sir, some reply must be made to
this communication." The king paused for a moment, and then, still
looking upon the cards in his hand, said, "_The king can not consent to
be carried off._" Maria Antoinette was greatly disappointed at the want
of decision and of magnanimity implied in this answer. She, however,
said to the nobleman very eagerly, "Be careful and report this answer
correctly, the king can not _consent_ to be carried off." The king's
answer was doubtless intended as a tacit consent while he wished to
avoid the responsibility of participating in the design. The count,
however, was greatly displeased at this answer, and said to his
associates, "I understand it perfectly. He is willing that we should
seize and carry him, as if by violence, but wishes, in case of failure,
to throw all the blame upon those who are periling their lives to save
him." The queen hoped earnestly that the enterprise would not be
abandoned, and sat up till after midnight preparing her cases of
valuables, and anxiously watching for the coming of their deliverers.
But the hours lingered away, and the morning dawned, and the palace was
still their prison. The queen, shortly after, remarking upon this
indecision of the king, said, "We _must_ seek safety in flight. Our
peril increases every day. No one can tell to what extremities these
disturbances will lead."

La Fayette had informed the king, that, should he see any alarming
movement among the disaffected, threatening the exposure of the royal
family to new acts of violence, he would give them an intimation of
their danger by the discharge of a few cannon from the battery upon the
Pont Neuf. One night the report of guns from some casual discharge was
heard, and the king, regarding it as the warning, in great alarm flew
to the apartments of the queen. She was not there. He passed hastily
from room to room, and at last found her in the chamber of the dauphin,
with her two children in her arms. "Madame," said the king to her, "I
have been seeking you. I was very anxious about you." "You find me,"
replied the queen pointing to her children, "at my station."

Several unavailing attempts were made at this time to assassinate the
queen. These discoveries, however, seemed to cause Maria no alarm, and
she could not be induced to adopt any precautions for her personal
safety. Rarely did a day pass in which she did not encounter, in some
form, ignominy or insult. As the heat of summer came on, the royal
family removed to the palace of St. Cloud without any opposition, though
the National Guard followed them, professedly for their protection, but,
in reality, to guard against their escape. Here another plan was formed
for flight. The different members of the royal family, in disguise, were
to meet in a wood four leagues from St. Cloud. Some friends of the royal
family, who could be perfectly relied upon, were there to join them. A
large carriage was to be in attendance, sufficient to conduct the whole
family. The attendants at the palace would have no suspicion of their
escape until nine o'clock in the evening, as the royal carriages were
frequently out until that hour, and it would then take some time to send
to Paris to call together the National Assembly at midnight, and to send
couriers to overtake the fugitives. Thus, with fleet horses and fresh
relays, and having six or seven hours the start, the king and queen
might hope to escape apprehension. The queen very highly approved of
this plan, and was very anxious to have it carried into execution. But
for some unknown reason, the attempt was relinquished.

There were occasional exhibitions of strong individual attachment for
the king and queen which would, for a moment, create the illusion that a
reaction had commenced in the public mind. One day the queen was sitting
in her apartment at St. Cloud, in the deepest dejection of spirits,
mechanically working upon some tapestry to occupy the joyless and
lingering hours. It was four o'clock in the afternoon. The palace was
deserted and silent. The very earth and sky seemed mourning in sympathy
with the mourning queen. Suddenly, an unusual noise, as of many persons
conversing in an under tone, was heard beneath the window. The queen
immediately rose and went to the window; for every unaccustomed sound
was, in such perilous times, an occasion of alarm. Below the balcony,
she saw a group of some fifty persons, men and women, from the country,
apparently anxious to catch a glimpse of her. They were evidently humble
people, dressed in the costume of peasants. As soon as they saw the
queen, they gave utterance to the most passionate expressions of
attachment and devotion. The queen, who had long been accustomed only to
looks and words of defiance and insult, was entirely overpowered by
these kind words, and could not refrain from bursting into tears. The
sight of the weeping queen redoubled the affectionate emotions of the
loyal group, and, with the utmost enthusiasm, they reiterated their
assurances of love and their prayers for her safety. A lady of the
queen's household, apprehensive that the scene might arrest the
attention of the numerous spies who surrounded them, led her from the
window. The affectionate group, appreciating the prudence of the
measure, with tears of sympathy expressed their assent, and with
prayers, tears, and benedictions retired. Maria was deeply touched by
these unwonted tones of kindness, and, throwing herself into her chair,
sobbed with uncontrollable emotion. It was long before she could regain
her accustomed composure.

Many unsuccessful attempts were made at this time to assassinate the
queen. A wretch by the name of Rotondo succeeded one day in scaling the
walls of the garden, and hid himself in the shrubbery, intending to stab
the queen as she passed in her usual solitary promenade. A shower
prevented the queen from going into the garden, and thus her life was
saved. And yet, though the assassin was discovered and arrested, the
hostility of the public toward the royal family was such that he was
shielded from punishment.

The king and queen occasionally held private interviews at midnight,
with chosen friends, secretly introduced to the palace, in the apartment
of the queen. And there, in low tones of voice, and fearful of detection
by the numerous spies which infested the palace, they would deliberate
upon their peril, and upon the innumerable plans suggested for their
extrication. Some recommended the resort to violence; that the king
should gather around him as many of his faithful subjects as possible,
and settle the difficulties by an immediate appeal to arms. Others
urged further compromise, and the spirit of conciliation, hoping that
the king might thus regain his lost popularity, and re-establish his
tottering throne. Others urged, and Maria coincided most cordially in
this opinion, that it was necessary for the royal family to escape from
Paris immediately, which was the focus of disaffection, and at a safe
distance, surrounded by their armed friends, to treat with their enemies
and to compel them to reasonable terms. The indecision of the king,
however, appeared to be an insuperable obstacle in the way of any
decisive action.

One day a delegation appeared before the royal family from the
_conquerors of the Bastile_, with a new year's gift for the young
dauphin. The present consisted of a box of dominoes curiously wrought
from the stone of which that celebrated state prison was built. It was
an ingenious plan to insult the royal family under the pretense of
respect and affection, for on the lid of the box there was engraved the
following sentiment: "_These stones, from the walls which inclosed the
innocent victims of arbitrary power, have been converted into a toy, to
be presented to you, monseigneur, as an homage of the people's love,
and to teach you the extent of their power._"

About this time, the two aunts of the king left France, ostensibly for
the purpose of travelling, but, in reality, as an experiment, to see
what opposition would be made to prevent members of the royal family
from leaving the kingdom. As soon as their intention was known, it
excited the greatest popular ferment. A vast crowd of men and women
assembled at the palace, to prevent, if possible, with lawless violence,
their departure. It was merely two elderly ladies who wished to leave
France, but the excitement pervaded even the army, and many of the
soldiers joined the mob in the determination that they should not be
permitted to depart. The traces of the carriages were cut, and the
officers, who tried to protect the princesses, were nearly murdered. The
whole nation was agitated by the attempts of these two peaceful ladies
to visit Rome. When at some distance from Paris, they were arrested, and
the report of their arrest was sent to the National Assembly. The king
found the excitement so great, that he wrote a letter to the Assembly,
informing them that his aunts wished to leave France to visit other
countries, and that, though he witnessed their separation from him and
his family with much regret, he did not feel that he had any right to
deprive them of the privilege which the humblest citizens enjoyed, of
going whenever and wherever they pleased. The question of their
detention was for a long time debated in the Assembly. "What right,"
said one, "have we to prohibit these ladies from traveling." "We have a
law," another indignantly replied, "paramount to all others--the law
which commands us to take care of the public safety." The debate was
finally terminated by the caustic remark of a member who was ashamed of
the protracted discussion. "Europe," said he, "will be greatly
astonished, no doubt, on hearing that the National Assembly spent four
hours in deliberating upon the departure of two ladies who preferred
hearing mass at Rome rather than at Paris." The debate was thus
terminated, and the ladies were permitted to depart.

[Illustration: PALACE OF ST. CLOUD.]

Early in the spring of 1791, the king and queen, who had been passing
some time in Paris at the Tuileries, wished to return to their country
seat at St. Cloud. Many members of the household had already gone
there, and dinner was prepared for the royal family at the palace
for their reception. The carriages were at the door, and, as the king
and queen were descending, a great tumult in the yard arrested their
attention. They found that the guard, fearful that they might escape,
had mutinied, and closed the door of the palace, declaring that they
would not let them pass. Some of the personal friends of the king
interposed in favor of the insulted captives, and endeavored to secure
for them more respectful treatment. They were, however, seized by the
infuriated soldiers, and narrowly escaped with their lives. The king
and queen returned in humiliation to their apartments, feeling that
their palace was indeed a prison. They, however, secretly did not
regret the occurrence, as it made more public the indignities to
which they were exposed, and would aid in justifying before the
community any attempts they might hereafter make to escape.

The king had at length become thoroughly aroused to a sense of the
desperate position of his affairs. But the royal family was watched so
narrowly that it was now extremely difficult to make any preparations
for departure; and the king and queen, both having been brought up
surrounded by the luxuries and restraints of a palace, knew so little of
the world, and yet were so accustomed to have their own way, that they
were entirely incapable of forming any judicious plan for themselves,
and, at the same time, they were quite unwilling to adopt the views of
their more intelligent friends. They began, however, notwithstanding the
most earnest remonstrances, to make preparations for flight by providing
themselves with every conceivable comfort for their exile. In vain did
their friends assure them that they could purchase any thing they
desired in any part of Europe; that such quantities of luggage would be
only an encumbrance; that it was dangerous, under the eyes of their
vigilant enemies, to be making such extensive preparations. Neither the
king nor queen would heed such monitions. The queen persisted in her
resolution to send to Brussels, piece by piece, all the articles of a
complete and extensive wardrobe for herself and her children, to be
ready for them there upon their arrival. Madame Campan, the intimate
friend and companion of the queen, was extremely uneasy in view of this
imprudence; but, as she could not dissuade the queen, she went out again
and again, in the evening and in disguise, to purchase the necessary
articles and have them made up. She adopted the precaution of purchasing
but few articles at any one shop, and of employing various
seamstresses, lest suspicion should be excited. She had the garments
made for the daughter of the queen, cut by the measure of another young
lady who exactly resembled her in size. Gradually they thus filled one
large trunk with clothing, which was sent to the dwelling of a lady, one
of the friends of the queen, who was to convey it to Brussels.

The queen had a very magnificent dressing-case, which cost twelve
hundred dollars. This she also determined that she could not leave
behind. It could not be taken from the palace, and sent away out of the
country, without attracting attention, and leading at once to the
conviction that the queen was to follow it. The queen, in her innocent
simplicity of mankind, thought that the people could be blinded like
children, by telling them that she intended to send it as a present to
the Archduchess Christina. However, by the most earnest remonstrances
of her friends, she was induced only so far to change her plan as to
consent that the _chargé d'affaires_ from Vienna should ask her at her
toilet, and in the presence of all around her, to have just such a
dressing-case made for the archduchess. This plan was carried into
execution, and the dressing-case was thus publicly made; but, as it
could not be finished in season, the queen sent her own dressing-case,
saying that she would keep the new one herself. It, however, did not
deceive the spies who surrounded the queen. They noticed all these
preparations, and communicated them to the authorities. She also very
deliberately collected all her diamonds and jewels in her private
boudoir, and beguiled the anxious hours in inclosing them in cotton and
packing them away. These diamonds, carefully boxed, were placed in the
hands of the queen's hair-dresser, a man in whom she could confide, to
be carried by him to Brussels. He faithfully fulfilled his trust. But
one of the women of the queen, whom she did not suspect of treachery,
but who was a spy of the Assembly, entered her boudoir by false keys
when the queen was absent, and reported all these proceedings. The
hair-dresser perished upon the scaffold for his fidelity. Let the name
of Leonard be honored. The infamous informer has gone to oblivion, and
we will not aid even to embalm her name in contempt.




Increasing excitement.--Inflammatory speech of Marat.--The king and
queen resolve to fly.--Effort's of the king's brother.--Exasperation
of the people.--Intention of the king.--Deliberations of the
emigrants.--Dangers thicken.--The plan of flight.--The Marquis
de Bouillé.--The king refuses to change his plan.--The Marquis
d'Agoult.--The Count de Fersen.--His noble character.--The king and
queen leave the palace.--The queen loses her way.--Departure from
Paris.--Arrival at Bondy.--Departure of the Count de Fersen.--The
passport.--Appearance of the fugitives.--An accident.--The journey
renewed.--Emotions of the fugitives.--Suspicions excited.--Failure
of the guard.--The king recognized.--The dragoons and National
Guard.--The post-master's son.--He forms an ambush.--Arrival at
Varennes.--Alarm of the king.--The royal family arrested.--The alarm
given.--The king discovers himself.--His affecting appeal.--An
affecting scene.--The royal group.--Appeal of the queen.--Telegraphic
dispatch to Paris.--Intense agony of the queen.--Consternation in
Paris.--The palace forced.--Insults to the royal family.--Measures
to arrest the king.--The tumult subsides.

The ferment in the National Assembly was steadily and strongly
increasing. Every day brought new rumors of the preparation of the
emigrants to invade France, aided by the armies of monarchical Europe,
and to desolate the rebellious empire with fire and sword. Tidings were
floating upon every breeze, grossly exaggerated, of the designs of the
king and queen to escape, to join the avenging army, and to wreak a
terrible vengeance upon their country. Furious speeches were made in the
Assembly and in the streets, to rouse to madness the people, now
destitute of work and of bread. "Citizens," ferociously exclaimed Marat,
"watch, with an eagle eye, that palace, the impenetrable den where plots
are ripening against the people. There a perfidious queen lords it over
a treacherous king, and rears the cubs of tyranny. Lawless priests there
consecrate the arms which are to be bathed in the blood of the people.
The genius of Austria is there, guided by the Austrian Antoinette. The
emigrants are there stimulated in their thirst for vengeance. Every
night the nobility, with concealed daggers, steal into this den. They
are knights of the poniard--assassins of the people. Why is not the
property of emigrants confiscated--their houses burned--a price set upon
their heads? The king is ready for flight. Watch! watch! a great blow is
preparing--is ready to burst; if you do not prevent it by a counter blow
more sudden, more terrible, the people and liberty are annihilated."

The king and queen, in the apartments where they were virtually
imprisoned, read these angry and inflammatory appeals, and both now felt
that no further time was to be lost in attempting to effect their
escape. It was known that the brother of the king, subsequently Charles
X., was going from court to court in Europe, soliciting aid for the
rescue of the illustrious prisoners. It was known that the King of
Austria, brother of Maria Antoinette, had promised to send an army of
thirty-five thousand men to unite with the emigrants at Coblentz in
their march upon Paris. Every monarch in Europe was alarmed, in view of
the instability of his own throne, should the rebellion of the people
against the throne in France prove triumphant; and Spain, Prussia,
Sardinia, Naples, and Switzerland had guaranteed equal forces to assist
in the re-establishment of the French monarchy. It is not strange that
the exasperation of the people should have been aroused, by the
knowledge of these facts, beyond all bounds. And their leaders were
aware that they were engaged in a conflict in which defeat was
inevitable death.

The king had now resolved, if possible, to escape. He, however, declared
that it never was his intention to join the emigrants and invade France
with a foreign force. That, on the contrary, he strongly disapproved of
the measures adopted by the emigrants as calculated only to increase the
excitement against the throne, and to peril his cause. He declared that
it was only his wish to escape from the scenes of violence, insult, and
danger to which he was exposed in Paris, and somewhere on the frontiers
of his kingdom to surround himself by his loyal subjects, and there
endeavor amicably to adjust the difficulties which desolated the empire.
The character of the king renders it most probable that such was his
intention, and such has been the verdict of posterity.

But there was another source of embarrassment which extremely troubled
the royal family. The emigrants were deliberating upon the expediency of
declaring the throne vacant by default of the king's liberty, and to
nominate his brother M. le Comte d'Artois regent in his stead. The king
greatly feared this moral forfeiture of the throne with which he was
menaced under the pretense of delivering him. He was justly apprehensive
that the advance of an invading army, under the banners of his brother,
would be the signal for the immediate destruction of himself and family.
Flight, consequently, had become his only refuge; and flight was
encompassed with the most fearful perils. Long and agonizing were the
months of deliberation in which the king and queen saw these dangers
hourly accumulating around them, while each day the vigilance of their
enemies were redoubled, and the chances of escape diminished.

The following plan was at last adopted for the flight. The royal family
were to leave Paris at midnight in disguise, in two carriages, for
Montmédy, on the frontiers of France and Germany, about two hundred
miles from Paris. This town was within the limits of France, so that
the king could not be said to have fled from his kingdom. The nearest
road and the great public thoroughfare led through the city of Rheims;
but, as the king had been crowned there, he feared that he might meet
some one by whom he would be recognized, and he therefore determined to
take a more circuitous route, by by-roads and through small and
unfrequented villages. Relays of horses were to be privately conveyed to
all these villages, that the carriages might be drawn on with the
greatest rapidity, and small detachments of soldiers were to be
stationed at important posts, to resist any interruption which might
possibly be attempted by the peasantry. The king also had a large
carriage built privately, expressly for himself and his family, while
certain necessary attendants were to follow in another.

The Marquis de Bouillé, who commanded a portion of the troops still
faithful to the king, was the prime confidant and helper in this
movement. He earnestly, but in vain, endeavored to induce the king to
make some alterations in this plan. He entreated him, in the first
place, not to excite suspicion by the use of a peculiar carriage
constructed for his own use, but to make use of common carriages such as
were daily seen traversing the roads. He also besought him to travel by
the common high way, where relays of horses were at all times ready by
night and by day. He represented to the king that, should he take the
unfrequented route, it would be necessary to send relays of horses
beforehand to all these little villages; that so unusual an occurrence
would attract attention and provoke inquiry. He urged also upon the king
that detachments of troops sent along these solitary roads would excite
curiosity, and would inevitably create suspicion. The king, however,
self-willed, refused to heed these remonstrances, and persisted in his
own plan. He, however, consented to take with him the Marquis d'Agoult,
a man of great firmness and energy, to advise and assist in the
unforeseen accidents which might embarrass the enterprise. He also
reluctantly consented to ask the Emperor of Austria to make a
threatening movement toward the frontier, which would be an excuse for
the movement through these villages of detachments of French troops.

These arrangements made, the Marquis de Bouillé sent a faithful officer
to take an accurate survey of the road, and present a report to the
king. He then, under various pretexts, removed to a distance those
troops who were known to be disaffected to the royal cause, and
endeavored to gather along the line of flight those in whose loyalty
he thought he could confide.

At the palace of the Tuileries, the secret of the contemplated flight
had been confided only to the king, the queen, the Princess Elizabeth,
sister of the king, and two or three faithful attendants. The Count de
Fersen, a most noble-spirited young gentleman from Sweden, most
cheerfully periled his life in undertaking the exterior arrangements of
this hazardous enterprise. He had often been admitted, in the happy days
of Maria Antoinette, to the parties and fêtes which lent wings to the
hours at the Little Trianon, and chivalrous admiration of her person and
character induced him to consecrate himself with the most passionate
devotion to her cause. Three soldiers of the body-guard, Valorg,
Monstrei, and Maldan, were also received into confidence, and
unhesitatingly engaged in an enterprise in which success was extremely
problematical, and failure was certain death. They, disguised as
servants, were to mount behind the carriages, and protect the royal
family at all risks.

The night of the 20th of June at length arrived, and the hearts of the
royal inmates of the Tuileries throbbed violently as the hour approached
which was to decide their destiny. At the hour of eleven, according to
their custom, they took leave of those friends who were in the habit
of paying their respects to them at that time, and dismissed their
attendants as if to retire to their beds. As soon as they were alone,
they hastily, and with trembling hands, dressed themselves in the
disguises which had been prepared for their journey, and by different
doors and at different times left the palace. It was the dark hour of
midnight. The lights glimmered feebly from the lamps, but still there
was the bustle of crowds coming and going in those ever-busy streets.
The queen, in her traveling dress, leaning upon the arm of one of the
body-guard, and leading her little daughter Maria Theresa by the hand,
passed out at a door in the rear of the palace, and hastened through the
Place du Carrousel, and, losing her way, crossed the Seine by the Pont
Royal, and wandered for some time through the darkest and most obscure
streets before she found the two hackney-coaches which were waiting for
them at the Quai des Théatins. The king left the palace in a similar
manner, leading his son Louis by the hand. He also lost his way in the
unfrequented streets through which it was necessary for him to pass. The
queen waited for half an hour in the most intense anxiety before the
king arrived. At last, however, all were assembled, and, entering the
hackney-coaches, the Count de Fersen, disguised as a coachman, leaped up
on the box, and the wheels rattled over the pavements of the city as the
royal family fled in this obscurity from their palace and their throne.
The emotions excited in the bosoms of the illustrious fugitives were too
intense, and the perils to which they were exposed too dreadful, to
allow of any conversation. Grasping each other's hands, they sat in
silence through the dark hours, with the gloomy remembrance of the past
oppressing their spirits, and with the dread that the light of morning
might introduce them to new disasters. A couple of hours of silence and
gloom passed slowly away, and the coaches arrived at Bondy, the first
stage from Paris. The gray dawn of the morning was just appearing in the
east as they hurriedly changed their coaches for the large traveling
carriage the king had ordered and another coach which there awaited
them. Count de Fersen kissed the hands of the king and queen, and
leaving them, according to previous arrangements, with their attendants,
hastened the same night by another route to Brussels, in order to rejoin
the royal family at a later period.

The king's carriages now rolled rapidly on toward Chalons, an important
town on their route. The queen had assumed the title and character of a
German baroness returning to Frankfort with her two children; the king
was her valet de chambre, the Princess Elizabeth, the king's sister, was
her waiting-maid. The passport was made out in the following manner:

     "Permit to pass Madame the Baroness of Korf, who is
     returning to Frankfort with her two children, her
     waiting-maid, her valet de chambre, and three domestics.

     "The Minister of Foreign Affairs.

At each post-house on the road relays of eight horses were waiting for
the royal carriages. When the sun rose over the hills of France they
were already many leagues from the capital, and as the carriages rattled
furiously along over hill and dale, the unwonted spectacle on that
unfrequented road attracted much attention. At every little village
where they stopped for an exchange of horses, the villagers gathered in
groups around the carriages, admiring the imposing spectacle. The king
was fully aware that the knowledge of his escape could not long be
concealed from the authorities at Paris, and that all the resources of
his foes would immediately be put into requisition to secure his arrest.
They therefore pressed on with the utmost speed, that they might get as
far as possible on their way before the pursuit should commence. The
remarkable size and structure of the carriage which the king had caused
to be constructed, the number of horses drawing the carriages, the
martial figures and commanding features of the three body-guard
strangely contrasting with the livery of menials, the portly appearance
and kingly countenance of Louis, who sat in a corner of the carriage in
the garb of a valet de chambre, all these circumstances conspired to
excite suspicion and to magnify the dangers of the royal family. They,
however, proceeded without interruption until they arrived at the little
town of Montmirail, near Chalons, where, unfortunately, one of the
carriages broke down, and they were detained an hour in making repairs.
It was an hour of intense anxiety, for they knew that every moment was
increasing the probability of their capture. The carriage, however, was
repaired, and they started again on their flight. The sun shone brightly
upon the fields, which were blooming in all the verdure of the opening
summer. The seclusion of the region through which they were passing was
enchanting to their eyes, weary of looking out upon the tumultuous mobs
of Paris. The children, worn out by the exhaustion of a sleepless night,
were peacefully slumbering in their parents' arms. Each revolution of
the wheels was bringing them nearer to the frontier, where their
faithful friend, M. de Bouillé, was waiting, with his loyal troops, to
receive them. A gleam of hope and joy now rose in their bosoms; and, as
they entered the town of Chalons, at half past three o'clock in the
afternoon, smiles of joy lighted their countenances, and they began to
congratulate themselves that they were fast approaching the end of their
dangers and their sufferings. As the horses were changing, a group
of idlers gathered around the carriages. The king, emboldened by his
distance from the capital, imprudently looked out at the window of the
carriage. The post-master, who had been in Paris, instantly recognized
the king. He, however, without the manifestation of the least surprise,
aided in harnessing the horses, and ordered the postillion to drive on.
He would not be an accomplice in arresting the escape of the king. At
the next relay, at Point Sommeville, quite a concourse gathered around
the carriages, and the populace appeared uneasy and suspicious. They
watched the travelers very narrowly, and were observed to be whispering
with one another, and making ominous signs. No one, however, ventured to
make any movement to detain the carriages, and they proceeded on their
way. A detachment of fifty hussars had been appointed to meet the king
at this spot. They were there at the assigned moment. The breaking down
of the carriage, however, detained the king, and the hussars, observing
the suspicions their presence was awaking, departed half an hour before
the arrival of the carriages. Had the king arrived but one half hour
sooner, the safety of the royal family would have been secured. The king
was surprised and alarmed at not meeting the guard he had anticipated,
and drove rapidly on to the next relay at Sainte Menehould. It was now
half past seven o'clock of a beautiful summer's evening. The sun was
just sinking below the horizon, but the broad light still lingered upon
the valleys and the hills. As they were changing the horses, the king,
alarmed at not meeting the friends he expected, put his head out of the
window to see if any friend was there who could inform him why the
detachments were detained. The son of the post-master instantly
recognized the king by his resemblance to the imprint upon the coins in
circulation. The report was immediately whispered about among the crowd,
but there was not sufficient force, upon the spur of the moment, to
venture to detain the carriages. There was in the town a detachment of
troops, friendly to the king, who would immediately have come to his
rescue had the people attempted to arrest him. It was whispered among
the dragoons that the king was in the carriage, and the commandant
immediately ordered the troops to mount their horses and follow to
protect the royal family; but the National Guard in the place, far more
numerous, surrounded the barracks, closed the stables, and would not
allow the soldiers to depart. The king, entirely unconscious of these
movements, was pursuing his course toward the next relay. Young Drouet,
however, the post-master's son, had immediately, upon recognizing the
king, saddled his fleetest horse, and started at his utmost speed for
the post-house at Varennes, that he might, before the king's arrival,
inform the municipal authorities of his suspicions, and collect a
sufficient force to detain the travelers. One of the dragoons,
witnessing the precipitate departure of Drouet, and suspecting its
cause, succeeded in mounting his horse, and pursued him, resolved to
overtake him, and either detain him until the king had passed, or take
his life. Drouet, however, perceiving that he was pursued, plunged into
the wood, with every by-path of which he was familiar, and, in the
darkness of the night, eluded his pursuer, and arrived at Varennes, by a
very much shorter route than the carriage road, nearly two hours before
the king. He immediately communicated to a band of young men his
suspicions, and they, emulous of the glory of arresting their sovereign,
did not inform the authorities or arouse the populace, but, arming
themselves, they formed an ambush to seize the persons of the travelers.
It was half past seven o'clock of a cold, dark, and gloomy night, when
the royal family, exhausted with twenty-four hours of incessant anxiety
and fatigue, arrived at the few straggling houses in the outskirts of
the village of Varennes. They there confidently expected to find an
escort and a relay of horses provided by their careful friend, M.

A small river passes through the little town of Varennes, dividing
it into two portions, the upper and lower town, which villages
are connected by a bridge crossing the stream. The king, by some
misunderstanding, expected to find the relay upon the side of the river
before crossing the bridge. But the fresh horses had been judiciously
placed upon the other side of the river, so that the carriages, having
crossed the bridge at full speed, could more easily, with a change of
horses, hasten unmolested on their way. The king and queen, greatly
alarmed at finding no horses, left the carriage, and wandered about in
sad perplexity for half an hour, through the dark, silent, and deserted
streets. In most painful anxiety, they returned to their carriages, and
decided to cross the river, hoping to find the horses and their friends
in the upper town. The bridge was a narrow stone structure, with its
entrance surmounted by a gloomy, massive arch, upon which was reared
a tower, a relic of the feudal system, which had braved the storms of
centuries. Here, under this dark archway, Drouet and his companions had
formed their ambuscade. The horses had hardly entered the gloomy pass,
when they were stopped by a cart which had been overturned, and five or
six armed men, seizing their heads, ordered the travelers to alight and
exhibit their passports. The three body-guard seized their arms, and
were ready to sacrifice their lives in the attempt to force the passage,
but the king would allow no blood to be shed. The horses were turned
round by the captors, and the carriages were escorted by Drouet and his
comrades to the door of a grocer named Sausse, who was the humble mayor
of this obscure town. At the same time, some of the party rushed to the
church, mounted the belfry, and rang the alarm bell. The solemn booming
of that midnight bell roused the affrighted inhabitants from their
pillows, and soon the whole population was gathered around the carriages
and about the door of the grocer's shop. It was in vain for the king to
deny his rank. His marked features betrayed him. Clamor and confusion
filled the night air. Men, women, and children were running to and fro;
the populace were arming, to be prepared for any emergency; and the
royal family were worn out by sleeplessness and toil. At last Louis
made a bold appeal to the magnanimity of his foes. Taking the hand of
Sausse, he said,

"Yes! I am your king, and in your hands I place my destiny, and that
of my wife, my sister, and my children. Our lives and the fate of the
empire depend upon you. Permit me to continue my journey. I have no
design of leaving the country. I am but going to the midst of a part of
the army, and in a French town, to regain my real liberty, of which the
factions at Paris deprive me. From thence I wish to make terms with the
Assembly, who, like myself, are held in subjection through fear. I am
not about to destroy, but to save and to secure the Constitution. If you
detain me, I myself, France, all, are lost. I conjure you, as a father,
as a man, as a citizen, leave the road free to us. In an hour we shall
be saved, and with us France is saved. And, if you have any respect for
one whom you profess to regard as your master, I command you, as your
king, to permit us to depart."

[Illustration: CAPTURE AT VARENNES.]

The appeal touched the heart of the grocer and the captors by whom
the king was surrounded. Tears came into the eyes of many, they
hesitated; the expression of their countenances showed that they would
willingly, if they dared to consult the dictates of their own hearts,
let the king pass on. A more affecting scene can hardly be imagined.
It was midnight. Torches and flambeaux were gleaming around. Men,
women, and children were hurrying to and fro in the darkness. The
alarm bell was pealing out its hurried sounds through the still air. A
crowd of half-dressed peasants and artisans was rapidly accumulating
about the inn. The king stood pleading with his subjects for liberty
and life, far more moved by compassion for his wife and children than
for himself. The children, weary and terrified, and roused suddenly
from the sleep in which they had been lost in their parents' arms,
gazed upon the strange scene with undefined dread, unconscious of the
magnitude of their peril. The queen, seated upon a bale of goods in
the shop, with her two children clinging to her side, plead, at times
with the tears of despair, and again with all the majesty of her
queenly nature, for pity or for justice. She hoped that a woman's
heart throbbed beneath the bosom of the wife of the mayor, and made an
appeal to her which one would think that, under the circumstances, no
human heart could have resisted.

"You are a mother, madame," said the queen, in most imploring accents,
"you are a wife! the fate of a wife and mother is in your hands. Think
what I must suffer for these children--for my husband. At one word from
you I shall owe them to you. The Queen of France will owe you more than
her kingdom--more than life."

"Madame," coldly replied the selfish and calculating woman, "I should be
happy to help you if I could without danger. You are thinking of your
husband, I am thinking of mine. It is a wife's first duty to think of
her own husband."

The queen saw that all appeals to such a spirit must be in vain, and,
taking her two children by the hand, with Madame Elizabeth ascended the
stairs which conducted from the grocer's shop to his rooms above, where
she was shielded from the gaze of the crowd. She threw herself into a
chair, and, overwhelmed with anguish, burst into a flood of tears. The
alarm bell continued to ring; telegraphic dispatches were sent to Paris,
communicating tidings of the arrest; the neighboring villagers flocked
into town; the National Guard, composed of people opposed to the king,
were rapidly assembled from all quarters, and the streets barricaded to
prevent the possibility of any rescue by the soldiers who advocated the
royal cause. Thus the dreadful hours lingered away till the morning
dawned. The increasing crowd stimulated one another to ferocity and
barbarity. Insults, oaths, and imprecations incessantly fell upon the
ears of the captives. The queen probably endured as much of mental agony
that night as the human mind is capable of enduring. The conflict of
indignation, terror, and despair was so dreadful, that her hair, which
the night previous had been auburn, was in the morning white as snow.
This extraordinary fact is well attested, and indicates an enormity of
woe almost incomprehensible.

There was no knowledge in Paris of the king's departure until seven
o'clock in the morning, when the servants of the palace entered the
apartments of the king and queen, and found the beds undisturbed and the
rooms deserted. The alarm spread like wildfire through the palace and
through the city. The alarm bells were rung, cannon were fired, and the
cry resounded through the streets, "The king has fled! the king has
fled!" The terrified populace were expecting almost at the next moment
to see him return with an avenging army to visit his rebellious subjects
with the most terrible retribution. From all parts of the city, every
lane, and street, and alley leading to the Tuileries was thronged with
the crowd, pouring on, like an inundation, toward the deserted palace.
The doors were forced open, and the interior of the palace was instantly
filled with the swarming multitudes. The mob from the streets polluted
the sanctuaries of royalty with every species of vulgarity and
obscenity. An amazon market-woman took possession of the queen's bed,
and, spreading her cherries upon it, she took her seat upon the royal
couch, exclaiming, "To-day it is the nation's turn to take their ease."
One of the caps of the queen was placed in derision upon the head of a
vile girl of the street. She exclaimed that it would sully her forehead,
and trampled it under her feet with contempt. Every conceivable insult
was heaped upon the royal family. Placards, posted upon the walls,
offered trivial rewards to any one who would bring back the noxious
animals which had fled from the palace. The metropolis was agitated to
its very center, and the most vigorous measures immediately adopted to
arrest the king, if possible, before he should reach the friends who
could afford him protection. This turmoil continued for many hours,
till the cry passed from mouth to mouth, and filled the streets, "He
is arrested! he is arrested!"




Despair of the king.--Lovely character of Madame Elizabeth.--Return to
Paris.--Insults of the mob.--Massacre of M. Dampierre.--Commissioners
from Paris.--Noble character of Barnave.--Brutality of Pétion.--Approach
to Paris.--Appalling violence.--Sufferings of the royal family.--Arrival
at the Tuileries.--Exertions of La Fayette.--Roar of the
multitude.--Spirit of the queen.--Embarrassing position of La
Fayette.--The palace rigorously guarded.--The queen grossly
insulted.--Despair of the king.--Supremacy of the mob.--A brutal
assemblage.--Ferocious inscriptions.--Attack upon the palace.--The
mob force an entrance.--Fearlessness of the king.--The mob
awed.--Courage of Madame Elizabeth.--Cries of the mob.--The red
bonnet.--First glimpse of Napoleon.--The queen's apartments
invaded.--Insulted by abandoned women.--The queen's children.--The
young girl.--Meeting of the National Assembly.--The king's friends
derided.--The president of the Assembly.--The mob retires.--Deputies
visit the royal family.--Unfeeling remark.--Hopeless condition of the
royal family.--Breast-plate for the king.--Dagger-proof corset for the
queen.--Fête in the Champ de Mars.--The last appearance of the royal
family in public.

During all the long hours of the night, while the king was detained in
the grocer's shop at Varennes, he was, with anxiety indescribable,
looking every moment for soldiers to appear, sent by M. Bouillé for his
rescue. But the National Guard, which was composed of those who were in
favor of the Revolution, were soon assembled in such numbers as to
render all idea of rescue hopeless. The sun rose upon Varennes but to
show the king the utter desperation of his condition, and he resigned
himself to despair. The streets were filled with an infuriated populace,
and from every direction the people were flocking toward the focus of
excitement. The children of the royal family, utterly exhausted, had
fallen asleep. Madame Elizabeth, one of the most lovely and gentle of
earthly beings, the sister of the king, who, through all these trials,
and, indeed, through her whole life, manifested peculiarly the spirit of
heaven, was, regardless of herself, earnestly praying for support for
her brother and sister.

Preparations were immediately made to forward the captives to Paris,
lest the troops of M. Bouillé, informed of their arrest, should come
to their rescue. The king did every thing in his power to delay the
departure, and one of the women of the queen feigned sudden and alarming
illness at the moment all of the rest had been pressed into the
carriages. But the impatience of the populace could not thus be
restrained. With shouts and threats they compelled all into the
carriages, and the melancholy procession, escorted by three or four
thousand of the National Guard, and followed by a numerous and
ever-increasing concourse of the people, moved slowly toward Paris. Hour
after hour dragged heavily along as the fugitives, drinking the very
dregs of humiliation, were borne by their triumphant and exasperated
foes back to the horrors from which they had fled. The road was lined on
either side by countless thousands, insulting the agonized victims with
derision, menaces, and the most ferocious gestures. Varennes is distant
from Paris one hundred and eighty miles, and for this whole distance, by
night and by day, with hardly an hour's delay for food or repose, the
royal family were exposed to the keenest torture of which the spiritual
nature is in this world susceptible. Every revolution of the wheels but
brought them into contact with fresh vociferations of calumny. The fury
of the populace was so great that it was with difficulty that the guard
could protect their captives from the most merciless massacre. Again and
again there was a rush made at the carriages, and the mob was beaten
back by the arms of the soldiers. One old gentleman, M. Dampierre, ever
accustomed to venerate royalty, stood by the road side, affected by the
profoundest grief in view of the melancholy spectacle. Uncovering his
gray hairs, he bowed respectfully to his royal master, and ventured to
give utterance to accents of sympathy. The infuriated populace fell upon
him like tigers, and tore him to pieces before the eyes of the king and
queen. The wheels of the royal carriage came very near running over his
bleeding corpse.

The procession was at length met by commissioners sent from the Assembly
to take charge of the king. Ashamed of the brutality of the people,
Barnave and Pétion, the two commissioners, entered the royal carriage to
share the danger of its inmates. They shielded the prisoners from death,
but they could not shield them from insult and outrage. An
ecclesiastic, venerable in person and in character, approached the
carriages as they moved sadly along, and exhibited upon his features
some traces of respect and sorrow for fallen royalty. It was a mortal
offense. The brutal multitude would not endure a _look_ even of sympathy
for the descendant of a hundred kings. They rushed upon the defenseless
clergyman, and would have killed him instantly had not Barnave most
energetically interfered. "Frenchmen!" he shouted, from the carriage
windows, "will you, a nation of brave men, become a people of
murderers!" Barnave was a young man of much nobleness of character. His
polished manners, and his sympathy for the wrecked and ruined family of
the king, quite won their gratitude. Pétion, on the contrary, was coarse
and brutal. He was a _Democrat_ in the worst sense of that abused word.
He affected rude and rough familiarity with the royal family, lounged
contemptuously upon the cushions, ate apples and melons, and threw the
rind out of the window, careless whether or not he hit the king in the
face. In all his remarks, he seemed to take a ferocious pleasure in
wounding the feelings of his victims.

As the cavalcade drew near to Paris, the crowds surrounding the
carriages became still more dense, and the fury of the populace more
unmeasured. The leaders of the National Assembly were very desirous of
protecting the royal family from the rage of the mob, and to shield the
nation from the disgrace of murdering the king, the queen, and their
children in the streets. It was feared that, when the prisoners should
enter the thronged city, where the mob had so long held undisputed sway,
it would be impossible to restrain the passions of the multitude, and
that the pavements would be defaced with the blood of the victims.
Placards were pasted upon the walls in every part of the city, "Whoever
applauds the king shall be beaten; whoever insults him shall be hung."
As the carriages approached the suburbs of the metropolis, the
multitudes which thronged them became still more numerous and
tumultuous, and the exhibitions of violence more appalling. All the dens
of infamy in the city vomited their denizens to meet and deride, and, if
possible, to destroy the captured monarch. It was a day of intense and
suffocating heat. Ten persons were crowded into the royal carriage. Not
a breath of air fanned the fevered cheeks of the sufferers. The heat,
reflected from the pavements and the bayonets, was almost insupportable.
Clouds of dust enveloped them, and the sufferings of the children were
so great that the queen was actually apprehensive that they would die.
The queen dropped the window of the carriage, and, in a voice of agony,
implored some one to give her a cup of water for her fainting child.
"See, gentlemen," she exclaimed, "in what a condition my poor children
are! one of them is choking." "We will yet choke them and you," was the
brutal reply, "in another fashion." Several times the mob broke through
the line which guarded the carriages, pushed aside the horses, and,
mounting the steps, stretched their clenched fists in at the windows.
The procession moved perseveringly along in the midst of the clashing of
sabers, the clamor of the blood-thirsty multitude, and the cries of men
trampled under the hoofs of the horses.

It was the 25th of June, 1791, at seven o'clock in the evening, when
this dreadful procession, passing through the Barrier de l'Étoile,
entered the city, and traversed the streets, through double files of
soldiers, to the Tuileries. At length they arrived, half dead with
exhaustion and despair, at the palace. The crowd was so immense that it
was with the utmost difficulty that an entrance could be effected. At
that moment, La Fayette, who had been adopting the most vigorous
measures for the protection of the persons of the royal family, came to
meet them. The moment Maria Antoinette saw him, forgetful of her own
danger, and trembling for the body-guard who had periled their lives for
her family, she exclaimed, "Monsieur La Fayette, save the body-guard."
The king and queen alighted from the carriage. Some of the soldiers took
the children, and carried them through the crowd into the palace. A
member of the Assembly, who had been inimical to the King, came forward,
and offered his arm to the queen for her protection. She looked him a
moment in the face, and indignantly rejected the proffered aid of an
enemy. Then, seeing a deputy who had been their friend, she eagerly
accepted his arm, and ascended the steps of the palace. A prolonged
roar, as of thunder, ascended from the multitudinous throng which
surrounded the palace when the king and queen had entered, and the doors
of their prison were again closed against them.

[Illustration: THE TUILERIES.]

La Fayette was at the head of the National Guard. He was a strong
advocate for the rights of the people. At the same time, he wished
to respect the rights of the king, and to sustain a constitutional
monarchy. As soon as they had entered the palace, Maria Antoinette,
with that indomitable spirit which ever characterized her, approached
La Fayette, and offered to him the keys of her casket, as if he were
her jailer. La Fayette, deeply wounded, refused to receive them. The
queen indignantly, with her own hands, placed them in his hat. "Your
majesty will have the goodness to take them back," said the marquis,
"for I certainly shall not touch them."

The position of La Fayette at this time was about as embarrassing as it
could possibly have been; and he was virtually the jailer of the royal
family, answerable with his life for their safe keeping. He had always
been a firm friend of civil and religious liberty. He was very anxious
to see France blessed with those free institutions and that recognition
of popular rights which are the glory of America, but he also wished to
protect the king and queen from outrage and insult; and a storm of
popular fury had now risen which he knew not how to control or to guide.
He, however, resolved to do all in his power to protect the royal
family, and to watch the progress of events with the hope of
establishing constitutional liberty and a constitutional throne over

The palace was now guarded, by command of the Assembly, with a degree of
rigor unknown before. The iron gates of the courts and garden of the
Tuileries were kept locked. A list of the persons who were to be
permitted to see the royal family was made out, and none others were
allowed to enter. At every door sentinels were placed, and in every
passage, and in the corridor which connected the chambers of the king
and queen, armed men were stationed. The doors of the sleeping
apartments of the king and queen were kept open night and day, and a
guard was placed there to keep his eye ever upon the victims. No respect
was paid to female modesty, and the queen was compelled to retire to her
bed under the watchful eye of an unfeeling soldier. It seems impossible
that a civilized people could have been guilty of such barbarism. But
all sentiments of humanity appear to have fled from France. One of the
queen's women, at night, would draw her own bed between that of the
queen and the open door, that she might thus partially shield the person
of her royal mistress. The king was so utterly overwhelmed by the
magnitude of the calamities in which he was now involved, that his mind,
for a season, seemed to be prostrated and paralyzed by the blow. For ten
days he did not exchange a single word with any member of his family,
but moved sadly about in the apathy of despair, or sat in moody silence.
At last the queen threw herself upon her knees before him, and,
presenting to him her children, besought him, for her sake and that of
their little ones, to rouse his fortitude. "We may all perish," she
said, "but let us, at least, perish like sovereigns, and not wait to be
strangled unresistingly upon the very floor of our apartments."

The long and dreary months of the autumn, the winter, and the spring
thus passed away, with occasional gleams of hope visiting their minds,
but with the storm of revolution, on the whole, growing continually more
black and terrific. General anarchy rioted throughout France. Murders
were daily committed with impunity. There was no law. The mob had all
power in their hands. Neither the king nor queen could make their
appearance any where without exposure to insult. Violent harangues in
the Assembly and in the streets had at length roused the populace to a
new act of outrage. The immediate cause was the refusal of the king to
give his sanction to a bill for the persecution of the priests. It was
the 20th of June, 1792. A tumultuous assemblage of all the miserable,
degraded, and vicious, who thronged the garrets and the cellars of
Paris, and who had been gathered from all lands by the lawlessness with
which crime could riot in the capital, were seen converging, as by a
common instinct, toward the palace. They bore banners fearfully
expressive of their ferocity, and filled the air with the most savage
outcries. Upon the end of a pike there was affixed a bleeding heart,
with the inscription, "The heart of the aristocracy." Another bore a
doll, suspended to a frame by the neck, with this inscription, "To the
gibbet with the Austrian." With the ferocity of wolves, they surrounded
the palace in a mass impenetrable. The king and queen, as they looked
from their windows upon the multitudinous gathering, swaying to and fro
like the billows of the ocean in a storm, and with the clamor of human
passions, more awful than the voice of many waters, rending the skies,
instinctively clung to one another and to their children in their
powerlessness. Madame Elizabeth, with her saint-like spirit, and her
heaven-directed thoughts, was ever unmindful of her own personal danger
in her devotion to her beloved brother. The king hoped that the soldiers
who were stationed as a guard within the inclosures of the palace would
be able to protect them from violence. The gates leading to the Place du
Carrousel were soon shattered beneath the blows of axes, and the human
torrent poured in with the resistlessness of a flood. The soldiers very
deliberately shook the priming from their guns, as the emphatic
expression to the mob that they had nothing to fear from them, and the
artillery men coolly directed their pieces against the palace. Axes and
iron bars were immediately leveled at the doors, and they flew from
their hinges; and the drunken and infuriated rabble, with clubs, and
pistols, and daggers, poured, an interminable throng, through the halls
and apartments where kings, for ages, had reigned in inapproachable pomp
and power. The servants of the king, in terror, fled in every direction.
Still the crowd came rushing and roaring on, crashing the doors before
them, till they approached the apartment in which the royal family was
secluded. The king, who, though deficient in active energy, possessed
passive fearlessness in the most eminent degree, left his wife,
children, and sister clinging together, and entered the adjoining room
to meet his assailants. Just as he entered the room, the door, which was
bolted, fell with a crash, and the mob was before him. For a moment the
wretches were held at bay by the calm dignity of the monarch, as,
without the tremor of a nerve, he gazed steadily upon them. The crowd in
the rear pressed on upon those in the advance, and three friends of the
king had just time to interpose themselves between him and the mob, when
the whole dense throng rushed in and filled the room. A drunken
assassin, with a sharp iron affixed to a long pole, aimed a thrust
violently at the king's heart. One blow from an heroic citizen laid him
prostrate on the floor, and he was trampled under the feet of the
throng. Oaths and imprecations filled the room; knives and sabers
gleamed, and yet the majesty of royalty, for a few brief moments,
repelled the ferocity of the assassins. A few officers of the National
Guard, roused by the peril of the king, succeeded in reaching him, and,
crowding him into the embrasure of a window, placed themselves as a
shield before him. The king seemed only anxious to withdraw the
attention of the mob from the room in which his family were clustered,
where he saw his sister, Madame Elizabeth, with extended arms and
imploring looks, struggling to come and share his fate. "It is the
queen!" was the cry, and a score of weapons were turned toward her. "No!
no!" exclaimed others, "it is Madame Elizabeth." Her gentle spirit, even
in these degraded hearts, had won admiration, and not a blow fell upon
her. "Ah!" exclaimed Madame Elizabeth, "why do you undeceive them?
Gladly would I die in her place, if I might thus save the queen." By the
surging of the crowd she was swept into the embrasure of another window,
where she was hemmed in without any possibility of extrication. By this
time the crowds were like locusts, climbing up the balconies, and
pouring in at the windows, and every foot of ground around the palace
was filled with the excited throng. Shouts of derision filled the air,
while the mob without were incessantly crying, "Have you killed them
yet? Throw us out their heads."

Almost miraculously, the friends surrounding the king succeeded in
warding off the blows which were aimed at him. One of the mob thrust out
to the king, upon the end of a pike, a _red bonnet_, the badge of the
Jacobins, and there was a general shout, "Let him put it on! let him
put it on! It is a sign of patriotism. If he is a patriot he will wear
it." The king, smiling, took the bonnet and put it upon his head.
Instantly there rose a shout from the fickle multitude, "_Vive le roi!_"
The mob had achieved its victory, and placed the badge of its power upon
the brow of the humbled monarch.

There was at that time standing in the court-yard of the palace a young
man, with the blood boiling with indignation in his veins, in view of
the atrocities of the mob. The ignominious spectacle of the red bonnet
upon the head of the king, as he stood in the recess of the window,
seemed more than this young man could endure, and, turning upon his
heel, he hastened away, exclaiming, "The wretches! the wretches! they
ought to be mown down by grape-shot." This is the first glimpse the
Revolution presents of Napoleon Bonaparte.

But while the king was enduring their tortures in one apartment, the
queen was suffering indignities and outrages equally atrocious in
another. Maria Antoinette was, in the eyes of the populace, the
personification of every thing to be hated. They believed her to be
_infamous_ as a wife; proud, tyrannical, and treacherous; that, as an
Austrian, she hated France; that she was doing all in her power to
induce foreign armies to invade the French empire with fire and sword;
and that she had instigated the king to attempt escape, that he might
head the armies. Maria, conscious of this hatred, was aware that her
presence would only augment the tide of indignation swelling against the
king, and she therefore remained in the bed-chamber with her children.
But her sanctuary was instantly invaded. The door of her apartment had
been, by some friend, closed and bolted. Its stout oaken panels were
soon dashed in, and the door driven from its hinges. A crowd of
miserable women, abandoned to the lowest depths of degradation and
vulgarity, rushed into the apartment, assailing her ears with the most
obscene and loathsome epithets the language could afford. The queen
stood in the recess of a window, with queenly pride curbing her mortal
apprehension. A few friends had gathered around her, and placed a table
before her as a partial protection. Her daughter, an exceedingly
beautiful girl of fourteen years of age, with her light brown hair
floating in ringlets over her fair brow and shoulders, clung to her
mother's bosom as if she thought not of herself, but would only, with
her own body, shield her mother's heart from the dagger of the assassin.
Her son, but seven years old, clung to his mother's hand, gazing with a
bewildered look of terror upon the hideous spectacle. The vociferations
of the mob were almost deafening. But the aspect of the group, so lovely
and so helpless, seemed to disarm the hand of violence. Now and then, in
the endless crowd defiling through the room, those in the advance
pressed resistlessly on by those in the rear, some one more tender
hearted would speak a word of sympathy. A young girl came crowded along,
neatly dressed, and with a pleasing countenance. She, however,
immediately began to revile the queen in the coarsest language of

"Why do you hate me so, my friend?" said the queen, kindly; "have I ever
done any thing to injure or to offend you?"

"No! you have never injured me," was the reply, "but it is you who cause
the misery of the nation."

"Poor child!" rejoined the queen, "you have been told so, and have been
deceived. Why should I make the people miserable? I am the wife of the
king--the mother of the dauphin; and by all the feelings of my heart, as
a wife and mother, I am a Frenchwoman. I shall never see my own country
again. I can only be happy or unhappy in France. I was happy when you
loved me."

The heart of the girl was touched. She burst into tears, and exclaimed,
"Pardon me, good queen, I did not know you; but now I see that I have
indeed been deceived, and you are truly good."

Hour after hour of humiliation and agony thus rolled away. The National
Assembly met, and in vain the friends of the king urged its action to
rescue the royal family from the insults and perils to which they were
exposed. But these efforts were met by the majority only with derision.
They hoped that the terrors of the mob would compel the king hereafter
to give his assent to any law whatever which they might frame. At last
the shades of night began to add their gloom to this awful scene, and
even the most bitter enemies of the king did not think it safe to leave
forty thousand men, inflamed with intoxication and rage, to riot,
through the hours of the night, in the parlors, halls, and chambers of
the Tuileries. The president of the Assembly, at that late hour, crowded
his way into the apartment where, for several hours, the king had been
exposed to every conceivable indignity. The mysterious authority of law
opened the way through the throng.

"I have only just learned," said the president, "the situation of your

"That is very astonishing," replied the king, indignantly, "for it is a
long time that it has lasted."

The president, mounted upon the shoulders of four grenadiers, addressed
the mob and urged them to retire, and they, weary with the long hours of
outrages, slowly sauntered through the halls and apartments of the
palace, and at eight o'clock silence reigned, with the gloom of night,
throughout the Tuileries. The moment the mob became perceptibly less,
the king received his sister into his arms, and they hastened to the
apartment of the queen. During all the horrors of this awful day, her
heroic soul had never quailed; but, now that the peril was over, she
threw herself upon the bosom of her husband, and wept in all the
bitterness of inconsolable grief. As the family were locked in each
other's arms in silent gratitude for their preservation, the king
accidentally beheld in a mirror the red bonnet, which he had forgotten
to remove from his head. He turned red with mortification, and, casting
upon the floor the badge of his degradation, turned to the queen, with
his eyes filled with tears, and exclaimed, "Ah, madame, why did I take
you from your country, to associate you with the ignominy of such a day
as this!"

After the withdrawal of the mob, several of the deputies of the National
Assembly were in the apartment with the royal family, and, as the queen
recounted the horrors of the last five hours, one of them, though
bitterly hostile to the royal family, could not refrain from tears. "You
weep," said she to him, "at seeing the king and his family so cruelly
treated by a people whom he always wished to make happy."

"True, madame," unfeelingly replied the deputy, "I weep for the
misfortunes of a beautiful and sensitive woman, the mother of a family.
But do not mistake; not one of my tears falls for either king or queen.
I hate kings and queens. It is the only feeling they inspire me with. It
is my religion."

But time stops not. The hours of a dark and gloomy night, succeeding
this terrible day, lingered slowly along, but no sleep visited the
eyelids of the inmates of the Tuileries. Scowling guards still eyed them
malignantly, and the royal family could not unbosom to one another
their sorrows but in the presence of those who were hostile spies upon
every word and action. Escape was now apparently hopeless. The events of
the past day had taught them that they had no protection against popular
fury. And they were filled with the most gloomy forebodings of woes yet
to come.

These scenes occurred on the 20th of June, 1792. On the 14th of July of
the same year there was to be a magnificent fête in the Champ de Mars,
as the anniversary of the independence of the nation. The king and queen
were compelled to be present to grace the triumph of the people, and to
give the royal oath. It was anticipated that there would be many
attempts on that day to assassinate the king and queen. Some of the
friends of the royal family urged that they should each wear a
breast-plate which would guard against the first stroke of a dagger, and
thus give the king's friends time to defend him. A breast-plate was
secretly made for the king. It consisted of fifteen folds of Italian
taffeta, and was formed into an under waistcoat and a wide belt. Its
impenetrability was tried, and it resisted all thrusts of the dagger,
and several balls were turned aside by it. Madame Campan wore it for
three days as an under petticoat before an opportunity could be found
for the king to try it on unperceived. At length, one morning, in the
queen's chamber, a moment's opportunity occurred, and he slipped it on,
saying, at the same time, to Madame Campan, "It is to satisfy the queen
that I submit to this inconvenience. They will not assassinate me. Their
scheme is changed. They will put me to death in another way."

A dagger-proof corset had also been prepared for the queen without her
knowledge. She, however, could not be persuaded to wear it. "If they
assassinate _me_," she said, "it will be a most happy event. It will
release me from the most sorrowful existence, and may save from a cruel
death the rest of the family." The 14th of July arrived. The king,
queen, and dauphin were marched, like captives gracing an Oriental
triumph, at the head of the procession, from the palace to the Champ de
Mars. With pensive features and saddened hearts they passed along
through the single file of soldiers, who were barely able to keep at bay
the raging mob, furious for their blood, and maledictions fell heavily
upon their ears from a thousand tongues. The fountain of tears was dry,
and despair had nerved them with stoicism. They returned to the palace
in the deepest dejection, and never again appeared in the streets of
Paris till they were borne to their execution.




Apprehension of poison.--The queen daily insulted.--An assassin in the
queen's chamber.--The allied army.--Parties in France.--The Royalists,
Girondists, and Jacobins.--Consternation in Paris.--The king's
dethronement.--Scene from the palace.--Gathering of the mob.--The
queen with her children.--Brutal remarks of the troops.--Rising of
the sun.--Disaffection of the troops.--Extremity of the royal
family.--Spirit of the queen.--The king's calmness.--The mother and
the queen.--The royal family take refuge in the Assembly.--The
king's speech.--The square box.--The king's serenity.--The mob at
the palace.--Brutal massacre of the king's friends.--The mob sack
the palace.--The dead bodies of the Royalists burned.--The king
dethroned.--The royal family removed to the Feuillants.--Bitter
sufferings of the royal family.--Taken back to the Assembly.--The royal
family consigned to the Temple.--Advance of the allies.--Inhuman
massacre.--Description of the Temple.--Tower of the Temple.--Apartments
of the royal family.--Obscene pictures.--Resources of the
prison.--Employments of the royal family.--Severe restrictions.--Manner
of obtaining news.--The Princess Lamballe.--Maria's letter to the
Princess de Lamballe.--She rejoins the queen.--The princess separated
from the queen.--She is thrown into prison.--Trial of the princess.--She
refuses to swear.--Assassination of the princess.--Brutality of the
mob.--Dreadful apprehensions.--Increased severities.--The queen grossly
insulted.--The king separated from his family.--Wretched state of the
king.--The queen's anguish at the separation.--The king sees his family
occasionally.--Condition of the captives.

Every day now added to the insults and anguish the royal family were
called to endure. They were under such apprehension of having their food
poisoned, that all the articles placed upon the table by the attendants,
provided by the Assembly, were removed untouched, and they ate and drank
nothing but what was secretly provided by one of the ladies of the
bed-chamber. One day the queen stood at her window, looking out sadly
into the garden of the Tuileries, when a soldier, standing under the
window, with his bayonet upon his gun, looked up to her and said, "I
wish, Austrian woman, that I had your head upon my bayonet here, that I
might pitch it over the wall to the dogs in the street." And this man
was placed under her window ostensibly for her protection! Whenever the
queen made her appearance in the garden, she encountered insults often
too outrageous to be related. An assassin, one night, with his sharpened
dagger, endeavored to penetrate her chamber. She was awoke by the noise
of the struggle with the guard at the door. The assassin was arrested.
"What a life!" exclaimed the queen. "Insults by day, and assassins by
night! But let him go. He came to murder me. Had he succeeded, the
Jacobins would have borne him to-morrow in triumph through the streets
of Paris."

The allied army, united with the emigrants, in a combined force of
nearly one hundred and fifty thousand men, now entered the frontiers of
France, to rescue, by military power, the royal family. They issued a
proclamation, in which it was stated that "the allied sovereigns had
taken up arms to stop the anarchy which prevailed in France--to give
liberty to the king, and restore him to the legitimate authority of
which he had been deprived." The proclamation assured the people of
Paris that, if they did not immediately liberate the king and return to
their allegiance, the city of Paris should be totally destroyed, and
that the enemies of the king should forfeit their heads. This
proclamation, with the invasion of the French territory by the allied
army, fanned to the intensest fury the flames of passion already raging
in all parts of the empire. Thousands of young men from all the
provinces thronged into the city, breathing vengeance against the royal
family. In vain did the king declare his disapproval of these violent
measures on the part of the allies. In vain did he assert his readiness
to head the armies of France to repel invasion.

There were now three important parties in France struggling for power.
The first was that of the king, and the nobles generally, wishing for
the re-establishment of the monarchy. The second was that of the
Girondists, wishing for the dethronement of the king and the
establishment of a republic, with the power in the hands of the most
influential citizens in intelligence and wealth. The third was that of
the ultra Democrats or Jacobins, who wished to raise the multitude from
degradation, penury, and infamy, into power, by the destruction of the
throne, and the subjection of the middling classes, and the entire
subversion of all the distinctions of wealth and rank. The approach of
the allies united both of these latter classes against the throne. A
motion was immediately introduced into the Assembly that the monarchy be
entirely abolished, and a mob rioting through Paris threatened the
deputies with death unless they dethroned the king. But an army of one
hundred and fifty thousand men were marching upon Paris, and the
deputies feared a terrible retribution if this new insult were heaped
upon their sovereign. No person can describe the confusion and
consternation with which the metropolis of France was filled. The mob
declared, on the 9th of August, that, unless the dethronement were that
day pronounced, they would that night sack the palace, and bear the
heads of the royal family through the streets upon their pikes. The
Assembly, undecided, and trembling between the two opposing perils,
separated without the adoption of any resolve. All knew that a night of
dreadful tumult and violence must ensue. Some hundreds of gentlemen
collected around the king and queen, resolved to perish with them.
Several regiments of soldiers were placed in and around the palace to
drive back the mob, but it was well known that the troops would more
willingly fraternize with the multitude than oppose them. The sun went
down, and the street lamps feebly glimmered through the darkness of the
night. The palace was filled with armed men. The gentlemen surrounding
the king were all conscious of their utter inability to protect him.
They had come but to share the fate of their sovereign. The queen and
the Princess Elizabeth ascended to an upper part of the palace, and
stepped from a low window into the dark shadow of a balcony to look out
upon the tumultuous city. The sound, as of the gathering of a resistless
storm, swept through all the streets, and rose loud and threatening
above the usual roar of the vast metropolis. The solemn tones of the
alarm bells, pealing through the night air, summoned all the desperadoes
of France to their several places of rendezvous, to march upon the
palace. The rumbling of artillery wheels, and the frequent discharge of
musketry, proclaimed the determination and the desperation of the
intoxicated mob. In darkness and silence, the queen and her sister stood
listening to these fearful sounds, and their hearts throbbed violently
in view of the terrible scene through which they knew that they must
pass. The queen, pale but tearless, and nerved to the utmost by queenly
pride, descended to the rooms below. She walked into the chamber where
her beautiful son was sleeping, gazed earnestly upon him for a moment,
bent over him, and imprinted upon his cheek a mother's kiss--and yet
without a tear. She entered the apartment of her daughter--lovely,
surpassingly lovely in all the blooming beauty of fifteen. The
princess, comprehending the peril of the hour, could not sleep. Maria
pressed her child to her throbbing heart, and the pride of the queen was
soon vanquished by the tenderness of the mother, as with convulsive
energy she embraced her, and wept in anguish almost unendurable. Shouts
of unfeeling derision arose from the troops below, stationed for the
protection of the royal family, and their ears were assailed by remarks
of the most brutal barbarity. Hour after hour of the night lingered
along, the clamor without incessantly increasing, and the crowds
surrounding the palace augmenting. The excitement within the palace was
so awful that no words could give it utterance. The few hundred
gentlemen who had come so heroically to share the fate of their
sovereign were aware that no resistance could be made to the tens of
thousands who were thirsting for their blood.

Midnight came. It was fraught with horror. The queen, in utter
exhaustion, threw herself upon a sofa. At that moment a musket shot was
fired in the court-yard. "There is the first shot," said the queen, with
the calmness of despair, "but it will not be the last. Let us go and be
with the king." At length, from the windows of their apartment, a few
gleams of light began to redden the eastern sky. "Come," said the
Princess Elizabeth, "and see the rising sun." Maria went mournfully to
the window, gazed long and steadfastly upon the rising luminary, feeling
that, before that day's sun should go down, she and all whom she loved
would be in another world. It was an awful spectacle which the light of
day revealed. All the avenues to the palace were choked with intoxicated
thousands. The gardens, and the court-yard surrounding the palace, were
filled with troops, placed there for the protection of the sovereign,
but evidently sympathizing with the mob, with whom they exchanged badges
and friendly greetings. The queen, apprehensive that the children might
be massacred in their beds, had them dressed, and placed by the side of
herself and the king. It was recommended to the king that he should go
down into the court-yard, among the troops stationed there for his
defense; that his presence might possibly awaken sympathy and enthusiasm
in his behalf. The king and queen, with their son and daughter, and
Madame Elizabeth, went down with throbbing hearts to visit the ranks of
their defenders. They were received with derisive insults and hootings.
Some of the gunners left their posts, and thrust their fists into the
face of the king, insulting him with menaces the most brutal. They
instantly returned to the palace, pallid with indignation and despair.

Soon an officer came in and informed the king that all resistance was
hopeless; that six pieces of artillery were already pointed against the
main door of the palace; that a mob of countless thousands, well armed,
and dragging with them twelve heavy cannon, were rapidly approaching the
scene of conflict; that the whole populace of Paris were up in arms
against the king, and that no reliance whatever could be placed in the
soldiers stationed for his defense. "There is not," said he, "a single
moment to lose. You will all inevitably and immediately perish, unless
you hasten to the hall where the Assembly is in session, and place
yourself under the protection of that body." The pride of the queen was
intensely aroused in view of appealing to the Assembly, their bitterest
enemy, for succor, and she indignantly replied, "I would rather be
nailed to the walls of the palace than leave it to take refuge in the
Assembly." And the heroism of Maria Theresa instinctively inspiring her
bosom, she seized, from the belt of an officer, two pistols, and,
presenting them to the king, exclaimed, "Now, sire, is the time to show
yourself, and if we must perish, let us perish with glory." The king
calmly received the pistols, and silently handed them back to the

"Madame," said the messenger, "are you prepared to take upon yourself
the responsibility of the death of the king, of yourself, of your
children, and of all who are here to defend you? All Paris is on the
march. Time presses. In a few moments it will be too late." The queen
cast a glance upon her daughter, and a mother's fears prevailed. The
crimson blood mounted to her temples. Then, again, she was pale as a
corpse. Then, rising from her seat, she said, "Let us go." It was seven
o'clock in the morning.

The king and queen, with their two children, Madame Elizabeth, and a few
personal friends, descended the great stair-case of the Tuileries, to
pass out through the bands of soldiers and the tumultuous mob to the
hall of the Assembly. At the stair-case there was a large concourse of
men and women, gesticulating with fury, who refused to permit the royal
family to depart. The tumult was such that the members of the royal
family were separated from each other, and thus they stood for a moment
mingled with the crowd, listening to language of menace and insult, when
a deputy assured the mob that an order of the Assembly had summoned the
royal family to them. The rioters then gave way, and the mournful group
passed out of the door into the garden. They forced their way along,
surrounded by a few friends, through imprecations, insults, gleaming
daggers, and dangers innumerable, until they arrived at the hall of the
Assembly, which the king was with difficulty enabled to enter, in
consequence of the immense concourse which crowded him, thirsting for
his blood, and yet held back by an unseen hand. As the king entered the
hall, he said, with dignity, to the president, "I have come here to save
the nation from the commission of a great crime. I shall always consider
myself, with my family, safe in your hands." The royal family sat down
upon a bench. Mournful silence pervaded the hall. A more sorrowful,
heart-rending sight mortal eyes have seldom seen. The father, the
mother, the saint-like sister, the innocent and helpless children, had
found but a momentary refuge from cannibals, who were roaring like
wolves around the hall, and battering at the doors to break in and
slake their vengeance with blood. It was seriously apprehended that the
mob would make a rush, and sprinkle the blood of the royal family upon
the very floor of the sanctuary where they had sought a refuge.

Behind the seat of the president there was a box about ten feet square,
constituting a seat reserved for reporters, guarded by an iron railing.
Into this box the royal family were crowded for safety. A few friends of
the king gathered around the box. The heat of the day was almost
insupportable. Not a breath of air could penetrate the closely-packed
apartment; and the heat, as of a furnace, glowed in the room. Scarcely
had the royal family got into this frail retreat, when the noise without
informed them that their friends were falling before the daggers of
assassins, and the greatest alarm was felt lest the doors should be
driven in by the merciless mob. In this awful hour, the king appeared as
calm, serene, and unconcerned as if he were the spectator of a scene in
which he had no interest. The countenance of the queen exhibited all the
unvanquished firmness of her soul, as with flushed cheek and indignant
eye she looked upon the drama of terror and confusion which was
passing. The young princess wept, and her cheeks were marked with the
furrows which her tears, dried by the heat, had left. The young dauphin
appeared as cool and self-possessed as his father. The rattling fire of
artillery, and the report of musketry at the palace, proclaimed to the
royal family and the affrighted deputies the horrid conflict, or,
rather, massacre which was raging there. Immediately after the king and
queen had left the Tuileries, the mob broke in at every avenue. A few
hundred Swiss soldiers left there remained faithful to the king. The
conflict was short--the massacre awful. The infuriated multitude rushed
through the halls and the apartments of the spacious palace, murdering,
without mercy and without distinction of age or sex, all the friends of
the king whom they encountered. The mutilated bodies were thrown out of
the windows to the mob which filled the garden and the court. The
wretched inmates of the palace fled, pursued in every direction. But
concealment and escape were alike hopeless. Some poor creatures leaped
from the windows and clambered up the marble monuments. The wretches
refrained from firing at them, lest they should injure the statuary, but
pricked them with their bayonets till they compelled them to drop down,
and then murdered them at their feet. A pack of wolves could not have
been more merciless. The populace, now rioting in their resistless
power, with no law and no authority to restrain them, gave loose rein to
vengeance, and, having glutted themselves with blood, proceeded to sack
the palace. Its magnificent furniture, and splendid mirrors, and costly
paintings, were dashed to pieces and thrown from the windows, when the
fragments were eagerly caught by those below and piled up for bonfires.
Drunken wretches staggered through all the most private apartments,
threw themselves, with blood-soaked boots, upon the bed of the queen,
ransacked her drawers, made themselves merry over her notes, and
letters, and the various articles of her toilet, and polluted the very
air of the palace by their vulgar and obscene ribaldry. As night
approached, huge fires were built, upon which the dead bodies of the
massacred Royalists were thrown, and all were consumed.

During all the long hours of that dreadful day, and until two o'clock
the ensuing night, the royal family remained, almost without a change of
posture, in the narrow seat which had served them for an asylum. Who can
measure the amount of their endurance during these fifteen hours of
woe? An act was passed, during this time, in obedience to the demands of
the mob, dethroning the king. The hour of midnight had now come and
gone, and still the royal sufferers were in their comfortless
imprisonment, half dead with excitement and exhaustion. The young
dauphin had fallen asleep in his mother's arms. Madame Elizabeth and the
princess, entirely unnerved, were sobbing with uncontrollable grief. The
royal family were then transferred, for the remainder of the night, to
some deserted and unfurnished rooms in the old monastery of the
Feuillants. Some beds and mattresses were hastily collected, and a few
coarse chairs for their accommodation. As soon as they had entered these
cheerless rooms, and were alone, the king prostrated himself upon his
knees, with his family clinging around him, and gave utterance to the
prayer, "Thy trials, O God! are dreadful. Give us courage to bear them.
We adore the hand which chastens, as that which has so often blessed us.
Have mercy on those who have died fighting in our defense."

Utter exhaustion enabled the unhappy family to find a few hours of
agitated sleep. The sun arose the ensuing morning with burning rays,
and, as they fell upon the eyelids of the queen, she looked wildly
around her for a moment upon the cheerless scene, and then, with a
shudder, exclaiming, "Oh! I hoped it was all a dream," buried her face
again in her pillow. The attendants around her burst into tears. "You
see, my unhappy friends," said Maria, "a woman even more unhappy than
yourselves, for she has caused all your misfortunes." The queen wept
bitterly as she was informed of the massacre of her friends the
preceding day. Already the royal family felt the pressure of poverty.
They were penniless, and had to borrow some garments for the children.
The king and queen could make no change in their disordered dress.

At ten o'clock in the morning, a guard came and conducted the royal
family again to the Assembly. Immediately the hall was surrounded by a
riotous mob, clamoring for their blood. At one moment the outer doors
were burst open, and the blood-thirsty wretches made a rush for the
interior. The king, believing that their final hour had come, begged his
friends to seek their own safety, and abandon him and his family to
their fate. The day of agitation and terror, however, passed away, and,
as the gloom of night again darkened the city, the illustrious
sufferers were reconveyed to the Feuillants. All their friends were
driven from them, and guards were placed over them, who, by rudeness and
insults, did what they could to add bitterness to their captivity.

It was decided by the Assembly that they should all be removed to the
prison of the Temple. At three o'clock the next day two carriages were
brought to the door, and the royal family were conveyed through the
thronged streets and by the most popular thoroughfares to the prison.
The enemies of royalty appeared to court the ostentatious display of its
degradation. As the carriages were slowly dragged along, an immense
concourse of spectators lined the way, and insults and derision were
heaped upon them at every step. At last, after two hours, in which they
were constrained to drain the cup of ignominy to its dregs, the
carriages rolled under the gloomy arches of the Temple, and their prison
doors were closed against them.

In the mean time the allied army was advancing with rapid strides toward
the city. The most dreadful consternation reigned in the metropolis. The
populace rose in its rage to massacre all suspected of being in favor of
royalty. The prisons were crowded with the victims of suspicion. The
rage of the mob would not wait for trial. The prison doors were burst
open, and a general and awful massacre ensued. There was no mercy shown
to the innocence of youth or to female helplessness. The streets of
Paris were red with the blood of its purest citizens, and the spirit of
murder, with unrestrained license, glutted its vengeance. In one awful
day and night many thousands perished. The walls of rock and iron of the
Temple alone protected the royal family from a similar fate.

The Temple was a dismal fortress which stood in the heart of Paris, a
gloomy memorial of past ages of violence and crime. It was situated not
far from the Bastile, and inclosed within its dilapidated yet massive
walls a vast space of silence and desolation. In former ages cowled
monks had moved with noiseless tread through its spacious corridors, and
their matins and vespers had vibrated along the stone arches of this
melancholy pile. But now weeds choked its court-yard, and no sounds were
heard in its deserted apartments but the shrieking of the wind as it
rushed through the grated windows and whistled around the angles of the
towers. The shades of night were adding to the gloom of this wretched
abode as the captives were led into its deserted and unfurnished cells.
It was after midnight before the rooms for their imprisonment were
assigned to them. It was a night of Egyptian darkness. Soldiers with
drawn swords guarded them, as, by the light of a lantern, they picked
their way through the rank weeds of the castle garden, and over piles of
rubbish, to a stone tower, some thirty feet square and sixty feet high,
to whose damp, cheerless, and dismal apartments they were consigned.
"Where are you conducting us?" inquired a faithful servant who had
followed the fortunes of his royal master. The officer replied, "Thy
master has been used to gilded roofs, but now he will see how the
assassins of the people are lodged."

[Illustration: THE TOWER OF THE TEMPLE.]

Madame Elizabeth was placed in a kind of kitchen, or wash-room, with a
truckle bed in it, on the ground floor. The second floor of the Tower
was assigned to the attendants of the household. One common wooden
bedstead and a few old chairs were the only furniture of the room. The
third floor was assigned to the king, and queen, and the two children.
A footman had formerly slept in the room, and had left suspended
upon the walls some coarse and vulgar prints. The king, immediately
glancing at them, took them down and turned their faces to the wall,
exclaiming, "I would not have my daughter see such things." The king
and the children soon fell soundly asleep; but no repose came to the
agitated mind of Maria Antoinette. Her lofty and unbending spirit felt
these indignities and atrocities too keenly. She spent the night in
silent tears, and indulging in the most gloomy forebodings of the fate
which yet awaited them.

The morning sun arose, but to show still more clearly the dismal
aspect of the prison. But few rays could penetrate the narrow windows
of the tower, and blinds of oaken plank were so constructed that the
inmates could only look out upon the sky. A very humble breakfast was
provided for them, and then they began to look about to see what
resources their prison afforded to beguile the weary hours. A few
books were found, such as an odd volume of Horace, and a few volumes
of devotional treatises, which had long been slumbering, moth-eaten,
in these deserted cells, where, in ages that were past, monks had
performed their severe devotions. The king immediately systematized
the hours, and sat down to the regular employment of teaching his
children. The son and the daughter, with minds prematurely developed
by the agitations and excitements in the midst of which they had been
cradled, clung to their parents with the most tender affection, and
mitigated the horrors of their captivity by manifesting the most
engaging sweetness of disposition, and by prosecuting their studies
with untiring vigor. The queen and Madame Elizabeth employed
themselves with their needles. They breakfasted at nine o'clock, and
then devoted the forenoon to reading and study. At one o'clock they
were permitted to walk for an hour, for exercise, in the court-yard of
the prison, which had long been consigned to the dominion of rubbish
and weeds. But in these walks they were daily exposed to the most
cruel insults from the guards that were stationed over them. At two
o'clock they dined. During the long hours of the evening the king
read aloud. At night, the queen prepared the children for bed, and
heard them repeat their prayers. Every day, however, more severe
restrictions were imposed upon the captives. They were soon deprived
of pens and paper; and then scissors, knives, and even needles were
taken away, under the pretense that they might be the instruments of
suicide. They were allowed no communication of any kind with their
friends without, and were debarred from all acquaintance with any
thing transpiring in the world. In that gloomy tower of stone and
iron they were buried. A faithful servant, however, adroitly opened
communication with a news boy, who, under the pretense of selling the
daily papers, recounted under their prison windows, in as loud a voice
as he could, the leading articles of the journals he had for sale.
The servant listened at the window with the utmost care, and then
privately communicated the information to the king and queen.


The fate of the Princess Lamballe, who perished at this time, is highly
illustrative of the horrors in the midst of which all the Royalists
lived. This lovely woman, left a widow at eighteen, was attracted to
the queen by her misfortunes, and became her most intimate and devoted
friend. She lodged in an apartment adjoining to the queen's, that she
might share all her perils. Occasionally the princess was absent to
watch over and cheer an aged friend, the Duke de Penthièvre, her
father-in-law, who resided at the Château de Vernon. She had gone a
short time before the 20th of June to visit the aged duke, and Maria
Antoinette, who foresaw the terrible storm about to burst upon them,
wrote the following touching letter to her friend, urging her not to
return to the sufferings and dangers of the Tuileries. The letter was
found in the hair of the Princess de Lamballe after her assassination.

     "Do not leave Vernon, my dear Lamballe, before you are
     perfectly recovered. The good Duke de Penthièvre would be
     sorry and distressed, and we must all take care of his
     advanced age and respect his virtues. I have so often told
     you to take heed of yourself, that, if you love me, you
     must think of yourself; we shall require all of our strength
     in the times in which we live. Oh! do not return, or return
     as late as possible. Your heart would be too deeply
     wounded; you would have too many tears to shed over my
     misfortunes--you, who loved me so tenderly. This race of
     tigers which infests the kingdom would cruelly enjoy itself
     if it knew all the sufferings we undergo. Adieu, my dear
     Lamballe; I am always thinking of you, and you know I never

The princess, notwithstanding this advice, hastened to join her friend
and to share her fate. She stood by the side of the queen during the
sleeplessness of the night preceding the 20th of June, and clung to her
during all those long and terrific hours in which the mob filled her
apartment with language of obscenity, menace, and rage. She accompanied
the royal family to the Assembly, shared with them the cheerless night
in the old monastery of the Feuillants, and followed them to the gloomy
prison of the Temple. The stern decree of the Assembly, depriving the
royal family of the presence of any of their friends, excluded the
princess from the prison. She still, however, lived but to weep over the
sorrows of those whom she so tenderly loved.

She was soon arrested as a Loyalist, and plunged, like the vilest
criminal, into the prison of La Force. For the crime of loving the king
and queen she was summoned to appear before the Revolutionary tribunal.
The officers found her lying upon her pallet in the prison, surrounded
by other wretched victims of lawless violence, scarcely able to raise
her head from her pillow. She entreated them to leave her to die where
she was. One of the officers leaned over her bed, and whispered to her
that they were her friends, and that her life depended upon her entire
compliance with their directions. She immediately arose and accompanied
the guard down the prison stairs to the door. There two brutal-looking
wretches, covered with blood, stood waiting to receive her. As they
grasped her arms, she fainted. It was long before she recovered. As soon
as she revived she was led before the judges. "Swear," said one of them,
"that you love liberty and equality; and swear that you hate all kings
and queens." "I am willing to swear the first," she replied, "but as to
hatred of kings and queens, I can not swear it, for it is not in my
heart." Another judge, moved with pity by her youth and innocence, bent
over her and whispered, "Swear any thing, or you are lost." She still
remained silent. "Well," said one, "you may go, but when you get into
the street, shout _Vive la nation!_" The court-yard was filled with
assassins, who cut down, with pikes and bludgeons, the condemned as they
were led out from the court, and the mutilated and gory bodies of the
slain were strewn over the pavement. Two soldiers took her by the arm to
lead her out. As she passed from the door, the dreadful sight froze her
heart with terror, and she exclaimed, forgetful of the peril, "O God!
how horrible!" One of the soldiers, by a friendly impulse, immediately
covered her mouth, with his hand, that her exclamations might not be
heard. She was led into the street, filled with assassins thirsting for
the blood of the Royalists, and had advanced but a few steps, when a
journeyman barber, staggering with intoxication and infuriated with
carnage, endeavored, in a kind of brutal jesting, to strike her cap from
her head with his long pike. The blow fell upon her forehead, cutting a
deep gash, and the blood gushed out over her face. The assassins around,
deeming this the signal for their onset, fell upon her. A blow from a
bludgeon laid her dead upon the pavement. One, seizing her by the hair,
with a saber cut off her head. Others tore her garments from her
graceful limbs, and, cutting her body into fragments, paraded the
mutilated remains upon their pikes through the streets. The dissevered
head they bore into an ale house, and drank and danced around the
ghastly trophy in horrid carousal. The rioting multitude then, in the
phrensy of intoxication, swarmed through the streets to the Temple,
to torture the king and queen with the dreadful spectacle. The king,
hearing the shoutings and tumultuous laughter of the mob, went to the
window, and recognized, in the gory head thrust up to him upon the point
of a pike, the features of his much-loved friend. He immediately led the
queen to another part of the room, that she might be shielded from the
dreadful spectacle.

Such were the flashes of terror which were ever gleaming through the
bars of their windows. The horrors of each passing moment were magnified
by the apprehension of still more dreadful evils to come. There was,
however, one consolation yet left them. They were permitted to cling
together. Locked in each other's arms, they could bow in prayer, and by
sympathy and love sustain their fainting hearts. It was soon, however,
thought that these indulgences were too great for dethroned royalty to
enjoy. But a few days of their captivity had passed away, when, at
midnight, they were aroused by an unusual uproar, and a band of brutal
soldiers came clattering into their room with lanterns, and, in the most
harsh and insulting manner, commanded the immediate expulsion of all the
servants and attendants of the royal family. Expostulation and entreaty
were alike unavailing. The captives were stripped of all their friends,
and passed the remainder of the night in sleeplessness and in despair.
With the light of the morning they endeavored to nerve themselves to
bear with patience this new trial. The king performed the part of a
nurse in aiding to wash and dress the children. For the health of the
children, they went into the court-yard of the prison before dinner for
exercise and the fresh air. A soldier, stationed there to guard them,
came up deliberately to the queen, and amused his companions by puffing
tobacco smoke from his pipe into her face. The parents read upon the
walls the names of their children, described as "whelps who ought to be

Six weeks of this almost unendurable agony passed away, when, one night,
as the unhappy captives were clustered together, finding in their mutual
and increasing affection a solace for all their woes, six municipal
officers entered the tower, and read a decree ordering the entire
separation of the king from the rest of his family. No language can
express the consternation of the sufferers in view of this cruel
measure. Without mercy, the officers immediately executed the barbarous
command, by tearing the king from the embraces of his agonized wife and
his grief-distracted children. The king, overwhelmed with anguish in
view of the sufferings which his wife and children must endure, most
earnestly implored them not to separate him from his family. They were
inflexible and, hardly allowing the royal family one moment for their
parting adieus, hurried the king away. It was the dark hour of a gloomy
night. The few rays of light from the lanterns guided them through
narrow passages, and over piles of rubbish to a distant angle of the
huge and dilapidated fortress, where they thrust the king into an
unfurnished cell, and, locking the door upon him, they left him with one
tallow candle to make visible the gloom and the solitude. There was, in
one corner, a miserable pallet, and heaps of moldering bricks and mortar
were scattered over the damp floor. The king threw himself, in utter
despair, upon this wretched bed, and counted, till the morning dawned,
the steps of the sentinel pacing to and fro before his door. At length a
small piece of bread and a bottle of water were brought him for his

The anguish of the queen in the endurance of this most cruel separation
was apparently as deep as human nature could experience. Her woe
amounted to delirium. Pale and haggard, she walked to and fro,
beseeching her jailers that they would restore to her and to her
children the husband and the father. Her pathetic entreaties touched
even their hearts of stone. "I do believe," said one of them, "that
these infernal women will make even me weep." After some time, they
consented that the king should occasionally be permitted to partake his
meals with his family, a guard being always present to hear what they
should say. Immediately after the meal, he was to be taken back to his
solitary imprisonment.

Such was the condition of the royal family during a period of about four
months, varied by the capricious mercy or cruelty of the different
persons who were placed as guards over them. Their clothes became
soiled, threadbare, and tattered; and they were deprived of all means of
repairing their garments, lest they should convert needles and scissors
into instruments of suicide. The king was not allowed the use of a razor
to remove his beard; and the luxury of a barber to perform that
essential part of his toilet was an expense which his foes could not
incur. It was the studied endeavor of those who now rode upon the
crested yet perilous billows of power, to degrade royalty to the lowest
depths of debasement and contempt--that the beheading of the king and
the queen might be regarded as merely the execution of a male and a
female felon dragged from the loathsome dungeons of crime.




Ominous preparations.--The king summoned before the Convention.--The
king before the Convention.--Charges brought against him.--The king
begs for a morsel of bread.--He is taken back to prison.--Advance
of the allies.--Clamor for the king's life.--The king condemned
to death.--Emotion of Malesherbes.--The king's demands.--The
Abbé Edgeworth.--The last interview.--Anguish of the royal
family.--The last embrace.--The separation.--The king receives
the sacrament.--Mementoes to his family.--The king summoned to
execution.--Brutality of the officers.--The brutal jailer.--The
king conducted to execution.--A sad procession.--Admirable calmness
of the king.--Attempt to rescue the king.--Its failure.--The
guillotine.--Associations.--The king's thoughtfulness.--He undresses
himself.--The king ascends the scaffold.--His speech.--The last
act in the tragedy.--Burial of the king's body.--The blood-red
obelisk.--Character of Louis.

On the 11th of December, 1792, just four months after the royal family
had been consigned to the Temple, as the captives were taking their
breakfast, a great noise of the rolling of drums, the neighing of
horses, and the tramp of a numerous multitude was heard around the
prison walls; soon some one entered, and informed the king that these
were the preparations which were making to escort him to his trial. The
king knew perfectly well that this was the step which preceded his
execution, and, as he thought of the awful situation of his family, he
threw himself into his chair and buried his face in his hands, and for
two hours remained in that attitude immovable. He was roused from his
painful revery by the entrance of the officers to conduct him to the bar
of his judges, from whom he was aware he could expect no mercy. "I
follow you," said the king, "not in obedience to the orders of the
Convention, but because my enemies are the more powerful." He put on his
brown great-coat and hat, and, silently descending the stairs to the
door of the tower, entered a carriage which was there awaiting him. As
he had long been deprived of his razors, his chin and cheeks were
covered with masses of hair. His garments hung loosely around his
emaciated frame, and all dignity of aspect was lost in the degraded
condition to which designing cruelty had reduced him. The captive
monarch was escorted through the streets by regiments of cavalry,
infantry, and artillery, every man furnished with fifteen rounds of
ammunition to repel any attempts at a rescue. A countless throng of
people lined the streets through which the illustrious prisoner was
conveyed. The multitude gazed upon the melancholy procession in profound
silence. He soon stood before the bar of the Convention. "Louis," said
the president, "the French nation accuses you. You are about to hear the
charges which are to be preferred. Louis, be seated." The king listened
with perfect tranquillity and self-possession to a long catalogue of
accusations, in which his efforts to sustain the falling monarchy, and
his exertions to protect himself and family from insults and death, were
construed into crimes against the nation.

The examination of the king was long, minute, and was conducted by those
who were impatient for his blood. At its close, the king, perfectly
exhausted by mental excitement and the want of refreshment, was led back
into the waiting-room of the Convention. He was scarcely able to stand
for faintness. He saw a soldier eating a piece of bread. He approached,
and, in a whisper, begged him for a piece, and ate it. Here was the
monarch of thirty millions of people, in the heart of his proud capital,
and with all his palaces around him, actually begging bread of a poor
soldier. The king was again placed in the carriage, and conveyed back to
his prison in the Temple. As the cortège passed slowly by the palace of
the Tuileries, the scene of all his former grandeur and happiness, the
king gazed long and sadly on the majestic pile, so lost in thought that
he heeded not, and apparently heard not the insulting cries which were
resounding around him. As the king entered the Temple, he raised his
eyes most wistfully to the queen's apartment, but the windows were so
barred that no glances could be interchanged. The king was conducted to
his apartment, and was informed that he could no longer be permitted to
hold any communication whatever with the other members of his family.
He contrived, however, by means of a tangle of thread, in which was
inclosed a piece of paper, perforated by a needle, to get a note to the
queen, and to receive a few words in return. He, however, felt that his
doom was sealed, and began from that hour to look forward to his
immortality. He made his will, in which he spoke in most affecting terms
of his wife, and his children, and his enemies, commending them all to
the protection of God.

An indescribable gloom now reigned throughout Paris. The allied armies
on the frontiers were gradually advancing. The French troops were
defeated. It was feared that the Royalists would rise, and join the
invaders, and rescue the king. Desperadoes rioted through the streets,
clamoring for the blood of their monarch. With knives and bludgeons they
surrounded the Convention, threatening the lives of all if they did not
consign the king to the guillotine. The day for the final decision
came--Shall the king live or die? On that day the heart of the
metropolis throbbed as never before. It was the 20th of January, 1793.
The Convention had already been in uninterrupted session for fifteen
hours. The clamor of the tumultuous and threatening mob gave portentous
warning of the doom which awaited the members of the Assembly should
they dare to spare the life of the king. One by one the deputies mounted
the tribune as their names were called in alphabetical order, and gave
their vote. For some time death and exile seemed equally balanced. The
results of the vote were read. The Convention comprised seven hundred
and twenty-one voters, three hundred and thirty-four of whom voted for
exile, and three hundred and eighty-seven for death.

Louis sat alone in his prison, calmly awaiting the decision. He laid
down that night knowing that his doom was sealed, and yet not knowing
what that doom was. Malesherbes, the venerable friend who had
volunteered for his defense, came to communicate the mournful tidings.
He fell at the king's feet so overcome with emotion that he could not
speak. The king understood the language of his silence and his tears,
and uttered himself the sentence "Death." But a few moments elapsed
before the officers of the Convention came, in all the pomp and parade
of the land, to communicate to the king his doom to the guillotine in
twenty-four hours. With perfect calmness, and fixing his eye immovably
upon his judges he heard the reading of the sentence. The reading
concluded, the king presented a paper to the deputies, which he first
read to them in the clear and commanding tones of a monarch upon his
throne, demanding a respite of three days, in order to prepare to appear
before God; also permission to see his family, and to converse with a
priest. The Convention, angry at these requests, informed the king that
he might see any priest he pleased, and that he might see his family,
but that the execution must take place in twenty-four hours from the
time of the sentence. Darkness had again fallen upon the city, when the
minister of religion, M. Edgeworth, was led through the gloomy streets,
to administer the consolations of piety to the condemned monarch. As he
entered the apartment of the king, he fell at his feet and burst into
tears. Louis for a moment wept, when, recovering himself, he said,
"Pardon me this momentary weakness. I have so long lived among enemies,
that habit has rendered me insensible to hatred. The sight of a faithful
friend restores my sensibility, and moves me to tears in spite of
myself." A long conversation ensued, in which the king inquired, with
the greatest interest, respecting the fate of his numerous friends. He
read his will with the utmost deliberation, his voice faltering only
when he alluded to his wife, children, and sister. At seven o'clock he
was to have his last agonizing interview with his beloved family, and
the thought of this agitated him far more than the prospect of the

The hour for the last sad meeting arrived. The king, having prepared his
heart by prayer for the occasion, descended into a small unfurnished
room, where he was to meet his family. The door opened. The queen,
leading his son, and Madame Elizabeth, leading his daughter, with
trembling, fainting steps, entered the room. Not a word was uttered. The
king threw himself upon a bench, drew the queen to his right side, his
sister to the left, and their arms encircled his neck, and their heads
hung upon his breast. The son climbed upon his father's knee, clinging
with his arms frantically to his bosom; and the daughter, throwing
herself at his feet, buried her head in his lap, her beautiful hair, in
disordered ringlets, falling over her shoulders. A long half hour thus
passed, in which not one single articulate word was spoken, but the
anguish of these united hearts was expressed in cries and lamentations
which pierced through the stone walls of their prison, and were heard
by passers by in the streets. But human nature could not long endure
this intensity of agony. Total exhaustion ensued. Their tears dried upon
their cheeks; embraces, kisses, whispers of tenderness and love, and woe
ensued, which lasted for two hours.

The king then clasped them each in a long embrace, pressing his lips to
their cheeks, and prepared to retire. Clinging to each other in an
inseparable group, they approached the stair-case which the king was to
ascend, when their piercing, heart-rending cries were renewed. The king,
summoning all his fortitude to his aid, tore himself from them, and, in
most tender accents, cried "_Adieu! adieu!_" hastily ascended the stairs
and disappeared, having partially promised that he would see them again
in the morning. The princess royal fell fainting upon the floor, and was
borne insensible to her room. The king, reaching his apartment, threw
himself into a chair, and exclaimed, "What an interview I have had! Why
do I love so fondly? Alas! why am I so fondly loved? But we have now
done with time, let us occupy ourselves with eternity."

The hour of midnight had now arrived. The king threw himself upon his
bed, and slept as calmly, as peacefully, as though he had never known
a sorrow. At five o'clock he was awakened, and received the sacrament
of the Lord's Supper. Then, taking a small parcel from his bosom, and
removing his wedding ring from his finger, he said to an attendant,
"After my death, I wish you to give this seal to my son, this ring to
the queen. Say to the queen, my dear children, and my sister, that I had
promised to see them this morning, but that I desired to spare them the
agony of this bitter separation twice over. How much it has cost me to
part without receiving their last embraces!" Here his utterance was
impeded by sobs. He then called for some scissors, that he might cut off
locks of hair for his family. As he soon after stood by the stove,
warming himself, he exclaimed, "How happy am I that I maintained my
Christian faith while on the throne! What would have been my condition
now, were it not for this hope!" Soon faint gleams of the light of day
began to penetrate through the iron bars and planks which guarded his
windows. It was the signal for the beating of drums, the tramp of armed
men, the rolling of heavy carriages of artillery, and the clattering of
horses' hoofs. As the escort were arriving at their stations in the
court-yard of the Temple, a great noise was heard upon the stair-case.
"They have come for me," said the king; and, rising with perfect
calmness and without a tremor, he opened the door. It was a false
summons. Again and again, under various pretexts, the door was opened,
until nine o'clock, when a tumultuous noise upon the stair-case
announced the approach of a body of armed men. Twelve municipal officers
and twelve soldiers entered the apartment. The soldiers formed in two
lines. The king, with a serene air, placed himself between the double
lines, and, looking to one of the municipal officers, said, presenting
to him a roll of paper, which was his last will and testament, "I beg of
you to transmit this paper to the queen." The municipal brutally
replied, "That is no affair of mine. I am here to conduct you to the
scaffold." "True," the king replied, and gave the paper to another, who
received it. The king then, taking his hat and declining his coat,
notwithstanding the severity of the cold, said, with a dignified gesture
and a tone of command, "Let us go." The king led the way, followed
rather than conducted by his escort. Descending the stairs, he met the
turnkey, who had been disrespectful to him the night before, and whom
the king had reproached for his insolence. Louis immediately approached
the unfeeling jailer, and said to him, "Mathey, I was somewhat warm with
you yesterday; forgive me, for the sake of this hour." The imbruted
monster turned upon his heel without any reply.

As he crossed the court-yard of the Temple, he anxiously gazed upon the
windows of the apartment where the queen, his sister, and his children
were imprisoned. The windows were so guarded by plank shutters that no
glances from the loved ones within could meet his eye. As the heart of
the king dwelt upon the scenes of anguish which he knew must be passing
there, it seemed for a moment that his fortitude would fail him. But,
with a violent effort, he recovered his composure and passed on. At the
entrance of the Temple a carriage awaited the king. Two soldiers entered
the carriage, and took seats by his side. The king's confessor also rode
in the carriage. It was the 21st of January, 1793, a gloomy winter's
day. Dark clouds lowered in the sky. Fog and smoke darkened the city.
The atmosphere was raw, and cold in the extreme. Nature seemed in
harmony with man's deed of cruelty and crime. The shops were all
closed, the markets were empty. No citizens were allowed to cross the
streets on the line of march, or even to show themselves at the windows.
Sixty drums kept up a deafening clamor as the vast procession of
cavalry, infantry, and artillery marched before, behind, and on each
side of the carriage. Cannon, loaded with grape-shot, with matches
lighted, guarded the main street on the line of march, to prevent the
possibility of an attempt even at rescue. The noise of the drums, the
clatter of the iron hoofs of the horses, and the rumbling of the heavy
pieces of artillery over the pavements prevented all discourse, and the
king, leaning back in his carriage, surrendered himself to such
reflections as the awful hour would naturally suggest. The perfect
calmness of the king excited the admiration of those who were near his
person, and a few hearts in the multitude, touched with pity, gave
utterance to the cry of "Pardon! pardon!" The sounds, however, died away
in the throng, awakening no sympathetic response. As the procession
moved along, no sound proceeded from human lips. A feeling of awe
appeared to have taken possession of the whole city. The sentiment of
loyalty had, for so many centuries, pervaded the bosoms of the French
people, that they could not conduct their monarch to the scaffold
without the deepest emotions of awe. A feeling of consternation
oppressed every heart in view of the deed now to be perpetrated. But it
was too late to retract. Perhaps there was not an individual in that
vast throng who did not shudder in view of the crime of that day. At one
spot on the line of march, seven or eight young men, in the spirit of
desperate heroism which the occasion excited, hoping that the pity of
the multitude would cause them to rally for their aid, broke through the
line, sword in hand, and, rushing toward the carriage, shouted, "Help
for those who would save the king." Three thousand young men had
enrolled themselves in the conspiracy to respond to this call. But the
preparations to resist such an attempt were too formidable to allow of
any hopes of success. The few who heroically made the movement were
instantly cut down. At the Place de la Revolution, one hundred thousand
people were gathered in silence around the scaffold. The instrument of
death, with its blood-red beams and posts, stood prominent above the
multitudinous assemblage in the damp, murky air.

The guillotine was erected in the center of the Place de la Revolution,
directly in the front of the garden of the Tuileries. This celebrated
instrument of death was invented in Italy by a physician named
Guillotin, and from him received its name. A heavy ax, raised by
machinery between two upright posts, by the touching of a spring fell,
gliding down between two grooves, and severed the head from the body
with the rapidity of lightning. The palace in which Louis had passed the
hours of his infancy, and his childhood, and the days of his early
grandeur; the magnificent gardens of the palace, where he had so often
been greeted with acclamations; the spacious Elysian Fields, the pride
of Paris, were all spread around, as if in mockery of the sacrifice
which was there to be offered. This whole space was crowded with a
countless multitude, clustered upon the house tops, darkening the
windows, swinging upon the trees, to witness the tragic spectacle of the
beheading of their king. Arrangements had been made to have the places
immediately around the scaffold filled by the unrelenting foes of the
monarch, that no emotions of pity might retard the bloody catastrophe.
As the carriage approached the place of execution, the hum of the
mighty multitude was hushed, and a silence, as of death, pervaded the
immense throng.

At last the carriage stopped at the foot of the scaffold. The king
raised his eyes, and said to his confessor, in a low but calm tone, "We
have arrived, I think." By a silent gesture the confessor assented. The
king, ever more mindful of others than of himself, placed his hand upon
the knee of the confessor, and said to the officers and executioners who
were crowded around the coach, "Gentlemen, I recommend to your
protection this gentleman. See that he be not insulted after my death. I
charge you to watch over him." As no one made any reply, the king
repeated the admonition in tones still more earnest. "Yes! yes!"
interrupted one, jeeringly, "make your mind easy about that; we will
take care of him. Let us alone for that." Three of the executioners then
approached the king to undress him. He waved them from him with an
authoritative gesture, and himself took off his coat, his cravat, and
turned down his shirt collar. The executioners then came with cords to
bind him to a plank. "What do you intend to do?" he exclaimed,
indignantly. "We intend to bind you," they replied, as they seized his
hands. To be bound was an unexpected indignity, at which the blood of
the monarch recoiled. "No! no!" he exclaimed, "I will never submit to
that. Do your business, but you shall not bind me." The king resisted.
The executioners called for help. A scene of violence was about to
ensue. The king turned his eye to his confessor, as if for counsel.
"Sire," said the Abbé Edgeworth, "submit unresistingly to this fresh
outrage, as the last resemblance to the Savior who is about to
recompense your sufferings." Louis raised his eyes to heaven, and said,
"Assuredly there needed nothing less than the example of the Savior to
induce me to submit to such an indignity." He then reached his hands out
to the executioners, and said, "Do as you will; I will drink the cup to
the dregs." Leaning upon the arm of his friend, he ascended the steep
and slippery steps of the guillotine; then, walking across the platform
firmly, he looked for a moment intently upon the sharp blade of the ax,
and turning suddenly to the populace, exclaimed, in a voice clear and
distinct, which penetrated to the remotest extremities of the square,
"People, I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge. I pardon
the authors of my death, and pray God that the blood you are about to
shed may never fall again upon France. And you, unhappy people--" Here
the drums were ordered to beat, and the deafening clamor drowned his
words. The king turned slowly to the guillotine and surrendered himself
to the executioners. He was bound to the plank. "The plank sunk. The
blade glided. The head fell."

One of the executioners seized the severed head of the monarch by the
hair, and, raising the bloody trophy of their triumph, showed it to the
shuddering throng, while the blood dripped from it on the scaffold. A
few desperadoes dipped their sabers and the points of their pikes in the
blood, and, waving them in the air, shouted "Vive la Republique!" The
multitude, however, responded not to the cry. Explosions of artillery
announced to the distant parts of the city that the sacrifice was
consummated. The remains of the monarch were conveyed on a covered cart
to the cemetery of the Madeleine, and lime was thrown into the grave
that the body might be speedily and entirely consumed.

Over the grave where he was buried Napoleon subsequently began the
splendid Temple of Glory, in commemoration of the monarch and other
victims who fell in the Revolution. The completion of the edifice was
frustrated by the fall of Napoleon. The Bourbons, however, on their
restoration to the throne, finished the building, and it is now called
the Church of the Madeleine, and it constitutes one of the most
beautiful structures of Paris. The spot on which the monarch fell is now
marked by a colossal obelisk of blood-red granite, which the French
government, in 1833, transported from Thebes, in Upper Egypt. Louis was
unquestionably one of the most conscientious and upright sovereigns who
ever sat upon a throne. He loved his people, and earnestly desired to do
every thing in his power to promote their welfare. And it can hardly be
doubted that he was guided through life, and sustained through the awful
trial of his death, by the principle of sincere piety. The tidings of
his execution sent a thrill of horror through Europe, and fastened such
a stigma upon Republicanism as to pave the way for the re-erection of
the throne.




Sufferings of the queen.--Announcement of her husband's death.--Cruel
decree.--Maria's defense of her boy.--The dauphin's cell.--The
queen summoned to the Conciergerie.--Painful partings.--The
Conciergerie.--Loathsome apartments of the queen.--The jailer's
wife.--The jailer's daughter.--The garter.--Dignity of the queen
during her trial.--She is condemned to death.--The queen dressed for
the guillotine.--Her hands bound.--Car of the condemned.--Indignities
heaped upon the queen.--Arrival at the guillotine.--The queen's
composure.--The queen's prayer.--Maternal love.--The last adieu.--End
of the tragedy.

While the king was suffering upon the guillotine, the queen, with Madame
Elizabeth and the children, remained in their prison, in the endurance
of anguish as severe as could be laid upon human hearts. The queen was
plunged into a continued succession of swoons, and when she heard the
booming of the artillery, which announced that the fatal ax had fallen
and that her husband was headless, her companions feared that her life
was also, at the same moment, to be extinguished. Soon the rumbling of
wheels, the rolling of heavy pieces of cannon, and the shouts of the
multitude penetrating through the bars of her cell, proclaimed the
return of the procession from the scene of death. The queen was
extremely anxious to be informed of all the details of the last moments
of the king, but her foes refused her even this consolation.

Days and nights now lingered slowly along while the captives were
perishing in monotonous misery. The severity of their imprisonment was
continually increased by new deprivations. No communications from the
world without were permitted to reach their ears. Shutters were so
arranged that even the sky was scarcely visible, and no employment
whatever was allowed them to beguile their hours of woe. About four
months after the death of the king, a loud noise was heard one night at
the door of their chamber, and a band of armed men came tumultuously in,
and read to the queen an order that her little son should be entirely
separated from her, and imprisoned by himself. The poor child, as he
heard this cruel decree, was frantic with terror, and, throwing himself
into his mother's arms, shrieked out, "O mother! mother! mother! do not
abandon me to those men. They will kill me as they did papa." The queen
was thrown into a perfect delirium of mental agony. She placed her child
upon the bed, and, stationing herself before him, with eyes glaring like
a tigress, and with almost superhuman energy, declared that they should
tear her in pieces before they should touch her poor boy. The officers
were subdued by this affecting exhibition of maternal love, and
forbore violence. For two hours she thus contended against all their
solicitations, until, entirely overcome by exhaustion, she fell in a
swoon upon the floor. The child was then hurried from the apartment, and
placed under the care of a brutal wretch, whose name, Simon, inhumanity
has immortalized. The unhappy child threw himself upon the floor of
his cell, and for two days remained without any nourishment. The queen
abandoned herself to utter despair. Madame Elizabeth and Maria Theresa
performed all the service of the chamber, making the beds, sweeping the
room, and attending upon the queen. No importunities on the part of
Maria Antoinette could obtain for her the favor of a single interview
with her child.

Three more months passed slowly away, when, early in August, the queen
was aroused from her sleep at midnight by armed men, with lanterns,
bursting into her room. With unfeeling barbarity, they ordered her to
accompany them to the prison of the Conciergerie, the most dismal prison
in Paris, where those doomed to die awaited their execution. The queen
listened, unmoved, to the order, for her heart had now become callous
even to woe. Her daughter and Madame Elizabeth threw themselves at the
feet of the officers, and most pathetically, but unavailingly, implored
them not to deprive them of their only remaining solace. The queen was
compelled to rise and dress in the presence of the wretches who exulted
over her abasement. She clasped her daughter for one frantic moment
convulsively to her heart, covered her with embraces and kisses, spoke a
few words of impassioned tenderness to her sister, and then, as if
striving by violence to throw herself from the room, she inadvertently
struck her forehead a severe blow against the low portal of the door.
"Did you hurt you?" inquired one of the men. "Oh no!" was the despairing
reply, "nothing now can further harm me."

A few lights glimmered dimly from the street lamps as the queen entered
the carriage, guarded by soldiers, and was conveyed through the somber
streets to her last earthly abode. The prison of the Conciergerie
consists of a series of subterranean dungeons beneath the floor of the
Palais de Justice. More damp, dark, gloomy dens of stone and iron the
imagination can not conceive. Down the dripping and slippery steps she
was led, groping her way by the feeble light of a tallow candle, until
she approached, through a labyrinth of corridors, an iron door.
It grated upon its hinges, and she was thrust in, two soldiers
accompanying her, and the door was closed. It was midnight. The lantern
gave just light enough to show her the horrors of her cell. The floor
was covered with mud and water, while little streams trickled down the
stone walls. A miserable pallet in one corner, an old pine table and one
chair, were all the comforts the kingdom of France could afford its


The heart of the wife of the jailer was touched with compassion in
view of this unmitigated misery. She did not dare to speak words of
kindness, for they would be reported by the guard. She, however,
prepared for her some food, ventured to loan her some needles, and a
ball of worsted, and communicated intelligence of her daughter and
son. The Committee of Public Safety heard of these acts of mercy, and
the jailer and his wife were immediately arrested, and plunged into
those dungeons into which they would have allowed the spirit of
humanity to enter. The shoes of the queen, saturated with water, soon
fell from her feet. Her stockings and her dress, from the humidity
of the air, were in tatters. Two soldiers, with drawn swords, were
stationed by her side night and day, with the command never, even
for one moment, to turn their eyes from her. The daughter of the new
jailer, touched with compassion, and regardless of the fate of the
predecessors of her parents, entered her cell every morning to dress
her whitened locks, which sorrow had bleached. The queen ventured one
day to solicit an additional counterpane for her bed. "How dare you
make such a request?" replied the solicitor general of the commune;
"you deserve to be sent to the guillotine!" The queen succeeded
secretly, by means of a tooth-pick, which she converted into a
tapestry needle, in plaiting a garter from thread which she plucked
from an old woollen coverlet. This memorial of a mother's love she
contrived, by stratagem, to transmit to her daughter. This was the
richest legacy the daughter of Maria Theresa and the Queen of France
could bequeath to her child. That garter is still preserved as a
sacred relic by those who revere the memory and commiserate the
misfortunes of Maria Antoinette.

Two months of this all but insupportable imprisonment passed away, when,
early in October, she was brought from her dungeon below to the
court-room above for her trial. Her accusation was that she abhorred
the revolution which had beheaded her husband, and plunged her and her
whole family into woes, the remembrance of which it would seem that even
eternity could hardly efface. The queen condescended to no defense. She
appeared before her accusers in the calm dignity of despair, and yet
with a spirit as unbroken and queenly as when she moved in the gilded
saloons of Versailles. The queen was called to hear her sentence. It was
death within twenty-four hours. Not the tremor of a muscle showed the
slightest agitation as the mob, with clappings and shoutings, manifested
their hatred for their victim, and their exultation at her doom. Insults
and execrations followed her to the stair-case as she descended again to
her dungeon. It was four o'clock in the morning. A few rays of the
dawning day struggled through the bars of her prison window, and she
seemed to smile with a faint expression of pleasure at the thought that
her last day of earthly woe had dawned. She called for pen and ink,
and wrote a very affecting letter to her sister and children. Having
finished the letter, she repeatedly and passionately kissed it, as if
it were the last link which bound her to the loved ones from whom she
was so soon to be separated by death. She then, as if done with earth,
kneeled down and prayed, and with a tranquillized spirit, threw herself
upon her bed, and fell into a profound slumber.

An hour or two passed away, when the kind daughter of the jailer came,
with weeping eyes and a throbbing heart, into the cell to dress the
queen for the guillotine. It was the 14th of October, 1793. Maria
Antoinette arose with alacrity, and, laying aside her prison-worn
garments of mourning, put on her only remaining dress, a white robe,
emblematic of the joy with which she bade adieu to earth. A white
handkerchief was spread over her shoulders, and a white cap, bound to
her head by a black ribbon, covered her hair. It was a cold and foggy
morning, and the moaning wind drove clouds of mist through the streets.
But the day had hardly dawned before crowds of people thronged the
prison, and all Paris seemed in motion to enjoy the spectacle of the
sufferings of their queen. At eleven o'clock the executioners entered
her cell, bound her hands behind her, and led her out from the prison.
The queen had nerved her heart to die in the spirit of defiance to her
foes. She thought, perhaps, too much of man, too little of God. Queenly
pride rather than Christian resignation inspired her soul. Expecting to
be conducted to the scaffold, as the king had been, in a close carriage,
she, for a moment, recoiled with horror when she was led to the
ignominious car of the condemned, and was commanded to enter it. This
car was much like a common hay cart, entirely open, and guarded by a
rude but strong railing. The female furies who surrounded her shouted
with laughter, and cried out incessantly, "Down with the Austrian!"
"Down with the Austrian!" The queen was alone in the cart. Her hands
were tied behind her. She could not sit down. She could not support
herself against the jolting of the cart upon the rough pavement. The car
started. The queen was thrown from her equilibrium. She fell this way
and that way. Her bonnet was crowded over her eyes. Her gray locks
floated in the damp morning air. Her coarse dress, disarranged, excited
derision. As she was violently pitched to and fro, notwithstanding her
desperate endeavors to retain the dignity of her appearance, the
wretches shouted, "These are not your cushions of Trianon." It was a
long ride, through the infuriated mob, to the scaffold, which was reared
directly in front of the garden of the Tuileries. As the car arrived at
the entrance of the gardens of the palace where Maria had passed through
so many vicissitudes of joy and woe, it stopped for a moment, apparently
that the queen might experience a few more emotions of torture as she
contemplated the abode of her past grandeur. Maria leaned back upon the
railing, utterly regardless of the clamor around her, and fixed her eyes
long and steadfastly upon the theater of all her former happiness. The
thought of her husband, her children, her home, for a moment overcame
her, and a few tears trickled down her cheeks and fell upon the floor of
the cart. But, instantly regaining her composure, she looked around
again upon the multitude, waving like an ocean over the whole
amphitheater, with an air of majesty expressive of her superiority over
all earthly ills. A few turns more of the wheels brought her to the foot
of the guillotine. It was upon the same spot where her husband had
fallen. She calmly, firmly looked at the dreadful instrument of death,
scrutinizing all its arrangements, and contemplating, almost with an air
of satisfaction, the sharp and glittering knife, which was so soon to
terminate all her earthly sufferings. Two of the executioners assisted
her by the elbows as she endeavored to descend from the cart. She
waited for no directions, but with a firm and yet not hurried tread,
ascended the steps of the scaffold. By accident, she trod upon the foot
of one of the executioners. "Pardon me!" she exclaimed, with all the
affability and grace with which she would have apologized to a courtier
in the midst of the social festivities of the Little Trianon. She
kneeled down, raised her eyes to heaven, and in a low but heart-rending
prayer, all forgetful of herself, implored God to protect her sister and
her helpless children. She was deaf to the clamor of the infuriate mob
around her. She was insensible to the dishonor of her own appearance,
with disheveled locks blinding her eyes, and with her faded garments
crumpled and disarranged by the rough jostling of the cart. She forgot
the scaffold on which she stood, the cords which bound her hands, the
blood-thirsty executioners by her side, the fatal knife gleaming above
her head. Her thoughts, true to the irrepressible instincts of maternal
love, wandered back to the dungeons from whence she had emerged, and
lingered with anguish around the pallets where her orphan, friendless,
persecuted children were entombed. Her last prayer was the prayer of
agony. She rose from her knees, and, turning her eyes toward the tower
of the Temple, and speaking in tones which would have pierced any hearts
but those which surrounded her, exclaimed, "Adieu! adieu! once again, my
dear children. I go to rejoin your father."

She was bound to the plank. Slowly it descended till the neck of the
queen was brought under the groove down which the fatal ax was to glide.
The executioner, hardened by deeds of daily butchery, could not look
upon this spectacle of the misery of the Queen of France unmoved. His
hand trembled as he endeavored to disengage the ax, and there was a
moment's delay. The ax fell. The dissevered head dropped into the basket
placed to receive it. The executioner seized it by the hair, gushing
with blood, raised it high above his head, and walked around the
elevated platform of the guillotine, exhibiting the bloody trophy to the
assembled multitude. One long shout of "Vive la Republique!" rent the
air, and the long and dreadful tragedy of the life of Maria Antoinette
was closed.

The remains of the queen were thrown into a pine coffin and hurried to
an obscure burial. Upon the records of the Church of La Madeleine we now
read the charge, "_For the coffin of the Widow Capet, seven francs._"




The dauphin and the princesses.--Painful uncertainty.--Sufferings
of the princesses.--Their dismal cell.--Painful thoughts.--Unwelcome
visitors.--The princesses separated.--Brutality of the
soldiers.--Elizabeth taken before the tribunal.--A group of noble
captives.--Trial of Madame Elizabeth.--Her condemnation.--Sad
reverses.--Character of Madame Elizabeth.--Madame Elizabeth at the
guillotine.--Execution of her companions.--Death of Madame
Elizabeth.--Her faith and piety.--Situation of the dauphin.--The
brute Simon.--Inhuman treatment of the dauphin.--He becomes
insane.--The reaction.--Change in the dauphin's treatment.--Death
of the dauphin.--Sympathy awakened by it.--Situation of the princess
royal.--Her deep sufferings.--Sympathy for the princess royal.--She
is released.--Arrival of the princess royal in Vienna.--Her
settled melancholy.--Love felt for Maria.--She recovers her
cheerfulness.--Maria's marriage.--Her present residence.--Advanced
age of Maria.--Still retains traces of her early sorrows.

When Maria Antoinette was taken from the Temple and consigned to the
dungeons of the Conciergerie, there to await her trial for her life,
the dauphin was imprisoned by himself, though but a child seven years
of age, in a gloomy cell, where he was entirely excluded from any
communication with his aunt and sister. The two latter princesses
remained in the room from which the queen had been taken. They were,
however, in the most painful uncertainty respecting her fate. Their
jailers were commanded to give them no information whatever respecting
the external world. Their prison was a living tomb, in which they were
allowed to breathe, and that was all. The Princess Elizabeth had
surmised, from various little incidents, what had been the fate of the
queen, but she tried to cheer the young, and affectionate, and still
beautiful child with the hope that her mother yet lived, and that they
might meet again. Eight months of the most dreary captivity rolled
slowly away. It was winter, and yet they were allowed no fire to dispel
the gloom and the chill of their cell. They were deprived of all books.
They were not allowed the use of pens or paper. The long winter nights
came. In their cell there was but a few hours during which the rays of
the sun struggled faintly through the barred windows. Night, long,
dismal, impenetrable, like that of Egypt, enveloped them for fifteen
hours. They counted the strokes of the clocks in the distant churches.
They listened to the hum of the vast and mighty metropolis, like the
roar of the surf upon the shore. Reflections full of horror crowded upon
them. The king was beheaded. The queen was, they knew not where, either
dead or in the endurance of the most fearful sufferings. The young
dauphin was imprisoned by himself, and they knew only that the gentle,
affectionate, idolized child was exposed to every cruelty which
barbarism could inflict upon him. What was to be their own fate? Were
they to linger out the remnant of their days in this wretched captivity?
Would their inhuman jailers envy them the consolation they found in each
other's arms, and separate them? Were they also to perish upon the
guillotine, where nearly all whom they had loved had already perished?
Were they ever to be released? If so, what joy could there remain on
earth for them after their awful sufferings and bereavements? Woes, such
as they had endured, were too deep ever to be effaced from the mind.
Nearly eight months thus lingered slowly along, in which they saw only
brutal and insulting jailers, ate the coarsest food, and were clothed in
the unwashed and tattered garb of the prison. Time seemed to have
stopped its flight, and to have changed into a weary, woeful eternity.

On the 9th of May, the Princess Elizabeth and her niece, who had
received the name of Maria Theresa in memory of her grandmother, were
retiring to bed. They were enveloped in midnight darkness. With their
arms around each other's necks, they were kneeling at the foot of the
bed in prayer. Suddenly a great noise was heard at the door, accompanied
with repeated and violent blows, almost heavy enough to shiver the door
from its hinges. Madame Elizabeth hastened to withdraw a bolt, which
constituted an inner fastening, when some soldiers rushed in with their
lanterns, and said to Madame Elizabeth, "You must immediately follow
us." "And my niece," replied the princess, ever forgetful of herself in
her thoughtfulness for others, "can she go too?" "We want you only now!"
was the answer; "we will take care of her by-and-by." The aunt foresaw
that the hour for the long-dreaded separation had come. She threw her
arms around the neck of the trembling maiden, and wept in uncontrollable
grief. The brutal soldiers, unmoved by these tears, loaded them both
with reproaches and insults, as belonging to the detested race of kings,
and imperiously commanded the Princess Elizabeth immediately to depart.
She endeavored to whisper a word of hope into the ear of her despairing
niece. "I shall probably soon return again, my dear Maria." "No,
citoyenne, you won't," rudely interrupted one of the jailers; "you will
never ascend these stairs again. So take your bonnet and come down."
Bathing the face of the young girl with her tears, invoking the blessing
of heaven upon her, turning again and again to enfold her in a last
embrace, she was led out by the soldiers, and conducted down the dark
and damp stairs to the gate. Here the soldiers rudely searched her
person anew, and then thrust her into a carriage. It was midnight. The
carriage was driven violently through the deserted streets to the
Conciergerie. The Tribunal was, even at that hour, in session, for in
those days of blood, when the slide of the guillotine had no repose from
morning till night, the day did not contain hours enough for the work of
condemnation. The princess was conducted immediately into the presence
of the Revolutionary Tribunal. A few questions were asked her, and then
she was led into a hall, and left to catch such repose as she could upon
the bench where Maria Antoinette but a few months before had awaited her

The morning had hardly dawned when she was again conducted to the
Tribunal, in company with twenty-four others, of every age and of both
sexes, whose crime was that they were nobles. Ladies were there,
illustrious in virtue and rank, who had formerly graced the brilliant
assemblies of the Tuileries and of Versailles. Young men, whose family
names had been renowned for ages, stood there to answer for the crime
of possessing a distinguished name. While looking upon this group of
nobles, gathered before that merciless tribunal, where judgment was
almost certain condemnation, the public accuser, with cruel irony
remarked, "Of what can Madame Elizabeth complain, when she sees herself
at the foot of the guillotine, surrounded by her faithful nobility? She
can now fancy herself back again in the gay festivities of Versailles."

The charges against Elizabeth were, that she was the sister of a tyrant,
and that she loved that royal family whom the nation had adjudged not
fit to live. "If my brother had been the tyrant you declare him to have
been," the princess remarked, "you would not be where you now are, nor I
before you." But it is vain for the lamb to plead with the wolf. She was
condemned to die. She listened to her sentence with the most perfect
composure, and almost with satisfaction. The only favor she asked was,
that she might see a priest, and receive the consolations of religion,
according to the faith she professed. Even this request was denied her.
The crime of loyalty was of too deep a dye to allow of any, the
slightest, mitigation of punishment. From the judgment hall she was led
down into one of the dungeons of the Conciergerie, where, with the rest
of her companions, she awaited the execution of their doom. It was,
indeed, a melancholy meeting. These illustrious captives had formerly
dwelt in the highest splendor which earth allows. They had met in regal
palaces, surrounded by all the pomp and grandeur of courts. Now, after
months of the most cruel imprisonment, after passing through scenes of
the most protracted woe, having been deprived of all their possessions,
of all their ancestral honors, having surrendered one after another of
those most dear to them to the guillotine, they were collected in a dark
and foul dungeon, cold and wet, hungry and exhausted, to be conveyed
in a few hours, in the cart of the condemned, to the scaffold. The
character of Elizabeth was such, her weanedness from the world, her mild
and heavenly spirit, as to have secured almost the idolatrous veneration
of those who knew her. The companions of her misfortunes now clustered
around her, as the one to whom they must look for support and strength
in this awful hour. The princess, more calm and peaceful even than when
surrounded by all the splendors of royalty, looked forward joyfully to
the guillotine as the couch of sweet and lasting repose. Faith enabled
her to leave the children, now the only tie which bound her to earth, in
the hands of God, and, conscious that she had done with all things
earthly, her thoughts were directed to those mansions of rest which,
she doubted not, were in reserve for her. She bowed her head with a
smile to the executioner as he cut off her long tresses in preparation
for the knife. The locks fell at her feet, and even the executioners
divided them among them as memorials of her loveliness and virtue.

Her hands were bound behind her, and she was placed in the cart with
twenty-two companions of noble birth, and she was doomed to wait at the
foot of the scaffold till all those heads had fallen, before her turn
could come. The youth, the beauty, the innocence, the spotless life of
the princess seemed to disarm the populace of their rage, and they gazed
upon her in silence and almost with admiration. Her name had ever been
connected with every thing that was pure and kind. And even a feeling of
remorse seemed to pervade the concourse surrounding the scaffold in view
of the sacrifice of so blameless a victim.

One by one, as the condemned ascended the steps of the guillotine to
submit to the dreadful execution, they approached Elizabeth and
encircled her in an affectionate embrace. At last every head had fallen
beneath the ax but that of Elizabeth. The mutilated bodies were before
her. The gory heads of those she loved were in a pile by her side. It
was a sight to shock the stoutest nerves. But the princess, sustained
by that Christian faith which had supported her through her almost
unparalleled woes, apparently without a tremor ascended the steps,
looked calmly and benignantly around upon the vast multitude, as if in
her heart she was imploring God's blessing upon them, and surrendered
herself to the executioner. Probably not a purer spirit nor one more
attuned for heaven existed in France than the one which then ascended
from the scaffold, we trust, to the bosom of God. Maria Antoinette died
with the pride and the firmness of the invincible queen. Elizabeth
yielded herself to the spirit of submissive piety, and fell asleep upon
the bosom of her Savior. Our thoughts would more willingly follow her to
those mansions of rest, where faith instructs us that she winged her
flight, than turn again to the prison where the orphan children lingered
in solitude and woe.

Young Louis was left in one of the apartments of the Temple, under the
care of the brutal Simon, whose commission it was to _get quit of him_.
To send a child of seven years of age to the guillotine because his
father was a king, was a step which the Revolutionary Tribunal _then_
was hardly willing to take, out of regard to the opinions of the world.
It would be hardly consistent with the character of the great nation to
_poison_ the child; and yet, while he lived, there was a rallying point
around which the sympathies of royalty could congregate. _Louis must
die!_ Simon must not _kill_ him; he must not _poison_ him; he must _get
quit of him_. The public safety demands it. Patriotism demands it. In
the accomplishment of this undertaking, the young prince was shut up
alone, entirely alone, like a caged beast, in one of the upper rooms of
a tower of the Temple. There he was left, day and night, week after
week, and month after month, with no companion, with no employment, with
no food for thought, with no opportunity for exercise or to breathe the
fresh air. A flagon of water, seldom replenished, was placed at his
bedside. The door was occasionally half opened, and some coarse food
thrown in to the poor child. He never washed himself. For more than a
year, his clothes, his shirt, and his shoes had never been changed. For
six months his bed was not made, and the unhappy child, consigned to
this living burial, remained silent and immovable upon the impure
pallet, breathing his own infection. By long inactivity his limbs
became rigid. His mind, by the dead inaction which succeeded terror,
lost its energy, and became, not only brutalized, but depraved. The
noble child of warm affections, polished manners, and active intellect,
was thus degraded far below the ordinary condition of the brute.

Thus eighteen months rolled away, and the poor boy became insane through
mental exhaustion and debility. But even then he retained a lively sense
of gratitude for every word or act of kindness. At one time, the inhuman
wretch who was endeavoring by slow torture to conduct this child to the
grave, seized him by the hair, and threatened to dash out his brains
against the wall. A surgeon, M. Naulin, who chanced to be near by,
interfered in behalf of the unhappy victim, and rescued him from the
rage of the tyrant. Two pears that evening were given to the
half-famished child for his supper. He hid them under his pillow, and
went supperless to sleep. The next day he presented the two pears to his
benefactor, very politely expressing his regret that he had no other
means of manifesting his gratitude.

Torrents of blood were daily flowing from the guillotine. Illustrious
wealth, or rank, or virtue, condemned the possessor to the scaffold.
Terror held its reign in every bosom. No one was safe. The public became
weary of these scenes of horror. A reaction commenced. Many of the
firmest Republicans, overawed by the tyranny of the mob, began secretly
to long for the repose which kingly power had given the nation. Sympathy
was excited for the woes of the imprisoned prince. It is difficult to
record, without pleasure, that one of the first acts of this returning
sense of humanity consisted in leading the barbarous Simon to the
guillotine. History does not inform us whether he shuddered in view of
his crimes under the ax. But his crimes were almost too great for
humanity to forgive. Louis was placed under the care of more merciful
keepers. His wasted frame and delirious mind, generous and affectionate
even in its delirium, moved their sympathy and their tears. They washed
and dressed their little prisoner; spoke to him in tones of kindness;
soothed and comforted him. Louis gazed upon them with a vacant air,
hardly knowing, after more than two years of hatred, execration, and
abuse, what to make of expressions of gentleness and mercy. But it was
too late. Simon had faithfully executed his task. The constitution of
the young prince was hopelessly undermined. He was seized with a fever.
The Convention, ashamed of the past, sent the celebrated physician
Dessault to visit him. The patient, inured to suffering, with blighted
hopes and a crushed heart, lingered in silence and patience for a few
days upon his bed, and died on the 9th of June, 1795, in the tenth year
of his age.

The change which had commenced in the public mind, preparing the way for
Napoleon to quell these revolutionary horrors, was so great, that a very
general feeling of sympathy was awakened by the death of the young
prince, and a feeling of remorse pervaded the conscience of the nation.
History contains few stories more sorrowful than the death of this
child. To the limited vision of mortals, it is indeed inexplicable why
he should have been left by that God, who rules in infinite wisdom and
love, to so dreadful a fate. For the solution of this and all other
inexplicable mysteries of the divine government, we must look forward to
our immortality.

But we must return to Maria Theresa. We left her at midnight, delirious
with grief and terror, upon the pallet of her cell, her aunt having
just been torn from her embrace. Even the ravages of captivity had not
destroyed the exceeding beauty of the princess, now sixteen years of
age. The slow hours of that night of anguish lingered away, and the
morning, cheerless and companionless, dawned through the grated window
of her prison upon her woe. Thus days and nights went and came. She knew
not what had been the fate of her mother. She knew not what doom awaited
her aunt. She could have no intercourse with her brother, who she only
knew was suffering every conceivable outrage in another part of the
prison. Her food was brought to her by those who loved to show their
brutal power over the daughter of a long line of kings. Weeks and months
thus rolled on without any alleviation--without the slightest gleam of
joy or hope penetrating the midnight gloom of her cell. It is impossible
for the imagination to paint the anguish endured by this beautiful,
intellectual, affectionate, and highly-accomplished princess during
these weary months of solitude and captivity. Every indulgence was
withheld from her, and conscious existence became the most weighty woe.
Thus a year and a half lingered slowly away, while the reign of terror
was holding its high carnival in the streets of blood-deluged Paris,
and every friend of royalty, of whatever sex or age, all over the
empire, was hunted down without mercy.

When the reaction awakened by these horrors commenced in the public
mind, the rigor of her captivity was somewhat abated. The death of her
brother roused in her behalf, as the only remaining child of the wrecked
and ruined family, such a feeling of sympathy, that the Assembly
consented to regard her as a prisoner of war, and to exchange her with
the Austrian government for four French officers whom they held as
prisoners. Maria Theresa was led, pale, pensive, heart-broken, hopeless,
from her cell, and placed in the hands of the relatives of her mother.
But her griefs had been so deep, her bereavements so utter and
heart-rending, that this change seemed to her only a mitigation of
misery, and not an accession of joy. She was informed of the death of
her mother and her aunt, and, weeping over her desolation, she emerged
from her prison cell and entered the carriage to return to the palaces
of Austria, where her unhappy mother had passed the hours of her
childhood. As she rode along through the green fields and looked out
upon the blue sky, through which the summer's sun was shedding its
beams--as she felt the pure air, from which she had so long been
excluded, fanning her cheeks, and realized that she was safe from
insults and once more free, anguish gave place to a calm and settled
melancholy. She arrived in Vienna. Love and admiration encircled her.
Every heart vied in endeavors to lavish soothing words and delicate
attentions upon this stricken child of grief. She buried her face in the
bosoms of those thus soliciting her love, her eyes were flooded with
tears, and she sobbed with almost a bursting heart. After her arrival in
Vienna, one full year passed away before a smile could ever be won to
visit her cheek. Woes such as she had endured pass not away like the
mists of the morning. The hideous dream haunted her by day and by night.
The headless trunks of her father, her mother, and her aunt were ever
before her eyes. Her beloved brother, suffering and dying upon a
beggar's bed, was ever present in her dreams while reposing under the
imperial canopy of the Austrian kings. The past had been so long and so
awful that it seemed an ever-living reality. The sudden change she could
hardly credit but as the delirium of a dream.

Time, however, will diminish the poignancy of every sorrow save those of
remorse. Maria was now again in a regal palace, surrounded with every
luxury which earth could confer. She was young and beautiful. She was
beloved, and almost adored. Every monarch, every prince, every
embassador from a foreign court, delighted to pay her especial honor. No
heart throbbed near her but with the desire to render her some
compensation for the wrongs and the woes which had fallen upon her
youthful and guileless heart. Wherever she appeared, she was greeted
with love and homage. Those who had never seen her would willingly peril
their lives in any way to serve her. Thus was she raised to
consideration, and enshrined in the affections of every soul retaining
one spark of noble feeling. The past receded farther and farther from
her view, the present arose more and more vividly before the eye. Joy
gradually returned to that bosom from which it had so long been a
stranger. The flowers bloomed beautifully before her eyes, the birds
sung melodiously in her ears. The fair face of creation, with mountain,
vale, and river, beguiled her thoughts, and introduced images of peace
and beauty to dispel the hideous phantoms of dungeons and misery. The
morning drive around the beautiful metropolis; the evening serenade; the
moonlight sail; and, above all, the voice of _love_, reanimated her
heart, and roused her affections from the tomb in which they so long had
slumbered. The smile of youth, though still pensive and melancholy,
began to illumine her saddened features. Hope of future joy rose to
cheer her. The Duc d'Angoulême, son of Charles X., sought her as his
bride, and she was led in tranquil happiness to the altar, feeling as
few can feel the luxury of being tenderly beloved.

Upon the fall of Napoleon she returned to France with the Bourbon
family, and again moved, with smiles of sadness, among the brilliant
throng crowding the palaces of her ancestors. The Revolution of 1830,
which drove the Bourbons again from the throne of France, drove Maria
Theresa, now Duchesse d'Angoulême, again into exile. She resided for a
time with her husband in the Castle of Holyrood, in Scotland, under the
name of the Count and Countess of Main; but the climate being too severe
for her constitution, she left that region for Vienna. There she was
received with every possible demonstration of respect and affection. She
now resides in the imperial castle of Prague, a venerated widow, having
passed through three-score years and ten of a more varied life than is
often experienced by mortals. Even to the present hour, her furrowed
cheeks retain the traces, in their pensive expression, of the sorrow
which darkened her early years.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

1. Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors and to
ensure consistent spelling and punctuation in this e-text; otherwise,
every effort has been made to remain true to the original book.

2. The chapter summaries in this text were originally published as
banners in the page headers, and have been moved to beginning of the
chapter for the reader's convenience.

3. The page reference in the Table of Contents for Chapter III has
been corrected to show the chapter as beginning on page 78.

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