The Memoirs of Marie Antoinette, entire
Madame Campan

Part 3 out of 8

NOTE. The only passion ever shown by Louis XVI. was for hunting. He was
so much occupied by it that when I went up into his private closets at
Versailles, after the 10th of August, I saw upon the staircase six
frames, in which were seen statements of all his hunts, when Dauphin and
when King. In them was detailed the number, kind, and quality of
the game he had killed at each hunting party during every month, every
season, and every year of his reign.

The interior of his private apartments was thus arranged: a salon,
ornamented with gilded mouldings, displayed the engravings which had been
dedicated to him, drawings of the canals he had dug, with the model of
that of Burgundy, and the plan of the cones and works of Cherbourg. The
upper hall contained his collection of geographical charts, spheres,
globes, and also his geographical cabinet. There were to be seen
drawings of maps which he had begun, and some that he had finished. He
had a clever method of washing them in. His geographical memory was
prodigious. Over the hall was the turning and joining room, furnished
with ingenious instruments for working in wood. He inherited some from
Louis XV., and he often busied himself, with Duret's assistance, in
keeping them clean and bright. Above was the library of books published
during his reign. The prayer books and manuscript books of Anne of
Brittany, Francois I, the later Valois, Louis XIV., Louis XV., and the
Dauphin formed the great hereditary library of the Chateau. Louis XVI.
placed separately, in two apartments communicating with each other, the
works of his own time, including a complete collection of Didot's
editions, in vellum, every volume enclosed in a morocco case. There were
several English works, among the rest the debates of the British
Parliament, in a great number of volumes in folio (this is the Moniteur
of England, a complete collection of which is so valuable and so scarce).
By the side of this collection was to be seen a manuscript history of all
the schemes for a descent upon that island, particularly that of Comte de
Broglie. One of the presses of this cabinet was full of cardboard boxes,
containing papers relative to the House of Austria, inscribed in the
King's own hand: "Secret papers of my family respecting the House of
Austria; papers of my family respecting the Houses of Stuart and
Hanover." In an adjoining press were kept papers relative to Russia.
Satirical works against Catherine II. and against Paul I. were sold in
France under the name of histories; Louis XVIII. collected and sealed up
with his small seal the scandalous anecdotes against Catherine II., as
well as the works of Rhulieres, of which he had a copy, to be certain
that the secret life of that Princess, which attracted the curiosity of
her contemporaries, should not be made public by his means.

Above the King's private library were a forge, two anvils, and a vast
number of iron tools; various common locks, well made and perfect; some
secret locks, and locks ornamented with gilt copper. It was there that
the infamous Gamin, who afterwards accused the King of having tried to
poison him, and was rewarded for his calumny with a pension of twelve
thousand livres, taught him the art of lock-making. This Gamin, who
became our guide, by order of the department and municipality of
Versailles, did not, however, denounce the King on the 20th December,
1792. He had been made the confidant of that Prince in an immense number
of important commissions; the King had sent him the "Red Book," from
Paris, in a parcel; and the part which was concealed during the
Constituent Assembly still remained so in 1793. Gamin hid it in a part
of the Chateau inaccessible to everybody, and took it from under the
shelves of a secret press before our eyes. This is a convincing proof
that Louis XVI. hoped to return to his Chiteau. When teaching Louis XVI.
his trade Gamin took upon himself the tone and authority of a master.
"The King was good, forbearing, timid, inquisitive, and addicted to
sleep," said Gamin to me; "he was fond to excess of lock-making, and he
concealed himself from the Queen and the Court to file and forge with me.
In order to convey his anvil and my own backwards and forwards we were
obliged to use a thousand stratagems, the history of which would: never
end." Above the King's and Gamin's forges and anvils was an,
observatory, erected upon a platform covered with lead. There, seated on
an armchair, and assisted by a telescope, the King observed all that was
passing in the courtyards of Versailles, the avenue of Paris, and the
neighbouring gardens. He had taken a liking to Duret, one of the indoor
servants of the palace, who sharpened his tools, cleaned his anvils,
pasted his maps, and adjusted eyeglasses to the King's sight, who was
short-sighted. This good Duret, and indeed all the indoor servants,
spoke of their master with regret and affection, and with tears in their

The King was born weak and delicate; but from the age of twenty-four he
possessed a robust constitution, inherited from his mother, who was of
the House of Saxe, celebrated for generations for its robustness. There
were two men in Louis XVI., the man of knowledge and the man of will.
The King knew the history of his own family and of the first houses of
France perfectly. He composed the instructions for M. de la Peyrouse's
voyage round the world, which the minister thought were drawn up by
several members of the Academy of Sciences. His memory retained an
infinite number of names and situations. He remembered quantities and
numbers wonderfully. One day an account was presented to him in which
the minister had ranked among the expenses an item inserted in the
account of the preceding year. "There is a double charge," said the
King; "bring me last year's account, and I will show it yet there." When
the King was perfectly master of the details of any matter, and saw
injustice, he was obdurate even to harshness. Then he would be obeyed
instantly, in order to be sure that he was obeyed.

But in important affairs of state the man of will was not to be found.
Louis XVI. was upon the throne exactly what those weak temperaments whom
nature has rendered incapable of an opinion are in society. In his
pusillanimity, he gave his confidence to a minister; and although amidst
various counsels he often knew which was the best, he never had the
resolution to say, "I prefer the opinion of such a one." Herein
originated the misfortunes of the State.--SOULAVIE'S "Historical and
Political Memoirs Of the Reign Of LOUIS XVI.," VOL ii.


The winter following the confinement of the Comtesse d'Artois was very
severe; the recollections of the pleasure which sleighing-parties had
given the Queen in her childhood made her wish to introduce similar ones
in France. This amusement had already been known in that Court, as was
proved by sleighs being found in the stables which had been used by the
Dauphin, the father of Louis XVI. Some were constructed for the Queen in
a more modern style. The Princes also ordered several; and in a few days
there was a tolerable number of these vehicles. They were driven by the
princes and noblemen of the Court. The noise of the bells and balls with
which the harness of the horses was furnished, the elegance and whiteness
of their plumes, the varied forms of the carriages, the gold with which
they were all ornamented, rendered these parties delightful to the eye.
The winter was very favourable to them, the snow remaining on the ground
nearly six weeks; the drives in the park afforded a pleasure shared by
the spectators.

[Louis XVI., touched with the wretched condition of the poor of
Versailles during the winter of 1776, had several cart-loads of wood
distributed among them. Seeing one day a file of those vehicles
passing by, while several noblemen were preparing to be drawn
swiftly over the ice, he uttered these memorable words: "Gentlemen,
here are my sleighs!"--NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

No one imagined that any blame could attach to so innocent an amusement.
But the party were tempted to extend their drives as far as the Champs
Elysees; a few sleighs even crossed the boulevards; the ladies being
masked, the Queen's enemies took the opportunity of saying that she had
traversed the streets of Paris in a sleigh.

This became a matter of moment. The public discovered in it a
predilection for the habits of Vienna; but all that Marie Antoinette did
was criticised.

Sleigh-driving, savouring of the Northern Courts, had no favour among the
Parisians. The Queen was informed of this; and although all the sleighs
were preserved, and several subsequent winters lent themselves to the
amusement, she would not resume it.

It was at the time of the sleighing-parties that the Queen became
intimately acquainted with the Princesse de Lamballe, who made her
appearance in them wrapped in fur, with all the brilliancy and freshness
of the age of twenty,--the emblem of spring, peeping from under sable and
ermine. Her situation, moreover, rendered her peculiarly interesting;
married, when she was scarcely past childhood, to a young prince, who
ruined himself by the contagious example of the Duc d'Orleans, she had
had nothing to do from the time of her arrival in France but to weep.
A widow at eighteen, and childless, she lived with the Duc de Penthievre
as an adopted daughter. She had the tenderest respect and attachment for
that venerable Prince; but the Queen, though doing justice to his
virtues, saw that the Duc de Penthievre's way of life, whether at Paris
or at his country-seat, could neither afford his young daughter-in-law
the amusements suited to her time of life, nor ensure her in the future
an establishment such as she was deprived of by her widowhood. She
determined, therefore, to establish her at Versailles; and for her sake
revived the office of superintendent, which had been discontinued at
Court since the death of Mademoiselle de Clermont. It is said that Maria
Leczinska had decided that this place should continue vacant, the
superintendent having so extensive a power in the houses of queens as to
be frequently a restraint upon their inclinations. Differences which
soon took place between Marie Antoinette and the Princesse de Lamballe
respecting the official prerogatives of the latter, proved that the wife
of Louis XV. had acted judiciously in abolishing the office; but a kind
of treaty made between the Queen and the Princess smoothed all
difficulties. The blame for too strong an assertion of claims fell upon
a secretary of the superintendent, who had been her adviser; and
everything was so arranged that a firm friendship existed between these
two Princesses down to the disastrous period which terminated their

Notwithstanding the enthusiasm which the splendour, grace, and kindness
of the Queen generally inspired, secret intrigues continued in operation
against her. A short time after the ascension of Louis XVI. to the
throne, the minister of the King's household was informed that a most
offensive libel against the Queen was about to appear. The lieutenant of
police deputed a man named Goupil, a police inspector, to trace this
libel; he came soon after to say that he had found out the place where
the work was being printed, and that it was at a country house near
Yverdun. He had already got possession of two sheets, which contained
the most atrocious calumnies, conveyed with a degree of art which might
make them very dangerous to the Queen's reputation. Goupil said that he
could obtain the rest, but that he should want a considerable sum for
that purpose. Three thousand Louis were given him, and very soon
afterwards he brought the whole manuscript and all that had been printed
to the lieutenant of police. He received a thousand louis more as a
reward for his address and zeal; and a much more important office was
about to be given him, when another spy, envious of Goupil's good
fortune, gave information that Goupil himself was the author of the
libel; that, ten years before, he had been put into the Bicetre for
swindling; and that Madame Goupil had been only three years out of the
Salpetriere, where she had been placed under another name. This Madame
Goupil was very pretty and very intriguing; she had found means to form
an intimacy with Cardinal de Rohan, whom she led, it is said, to hope for
a reconciliation with the Queen. All this affair was hushed up; but it
shows that it was the Queen's fate to be incessantly attacked by the
meanest and most odious machinations.

Another woman, named Cahouette de Millers, whose husband held an office
in the Treasury, being very irregular in conduct, and of a scheming turn
of mind, had a mania for appearing in the eyes of her friends at Paris as
a person in favour at Court, to which she was not entitled by either
birth or office. During the latter years of the life of Louis XV. she
had made many dupes, and picked up considerable sums by passing herself
off as the King's mistress. The fear of irritating Madame du Barry was,
according to her, the only thing which prevented her enjoying that title
openly. She came regularly to Versailles, kept herself concealed in a
furnished lodging, and her dupes imagined she was secretly summoned to

This woman formed the scheme of getting admission, if possible, to the
presence of the Queen, or at least causing it to be believed that she had
done so. She adopted as her lover Gabriel de Saint Charles, intendant of
her Majesty's finances,--an office, the privileges of which were confined
to the right of entering the Queen's apartment on Sunday. Madame de
Villers came every Saturday to Versailles with M. de Saint Charles, and
lodged in his apartment. M. Campan was there several times. She painted
tolerably well, and she requested him to do her the favour to present to
the Queen a portrait of her Majesty which she had just copied. M. Campan
knew the woman's character, and refused her. A few days after, he saw on
her Majesty's couch the portrait which he had declined to present to her;
the Queen thought it badly painted, and gave orders that it should be
carried back to the Princesse de Lamballe, who had sent it to her. The
ill success of the portrait did not deter the manoeuvrer from following
up her designs; she easily procured through M. de Saint Charles patents
and orders signed by the Queen; she then set about imitating her writing,
and composed a great number of notes and letters, as if written by her
Majesty, in the tenderest and most familiar style. For many months she
showed them as great secrets to several of her particular friends.
Afterwards, she made the Queen appear to write to her, to procure various
fancy articles. Under the pretext of wishing to execute her Majesty's
commissions accurately, she gave these letters to the tradesmen to read,
and succeeded in having it said, in many houses, that the Queen had a
particular regard for her. She then enlarged her scheme, and represented
the Queen as desiring to borrow 200,000 francs which she had need of, but
which she did not wish to ask of the King from his private funds. This
letter, being shown to M. Beranger, 'fermier general' of the finances,
took effect; he thought himself fortunate in being able to render this
assistance to his sovereign, and lost no time in sending the 200,000
francs to Madame de Villers. This first step was followed by some
doubts, which he communicated to people better informed than himself of
what was passing at Court; they added to his uneasiness; he then went to
M. de Sartine, who unravelled the whole plot. The woman was sent to St.
Pelagie; and the unfortunate husband was ruined, by replacing the sum
borrowed, and by paying for the jewels fraudulently purchased in the
Queen's name. The forged letters were sent to her Majesty; I compared
them in her presence with her own handwriting, and the only
distinguishable difference was a little more regularity in the letters.

This trick, discovered and punished with prudence and without passion,
produced no more sensation out of doors than that of the Inspector

A year after the nomination of Madame de Lamballe to the post of
superintendent of the Queen's household, balls and quadrilles gave rise
to the intimacy of her Majesty with the Comtesse Jules de Polignac. This
lady really interested Marie Antoinette. She was not rich, and generally
lived upon her estate at Claye. The Queen was astonished at not having
seen her at Court earlier. The confession that her want of fortune had
even prevented her appearance at the celebration of the marriages of the
Princes added to the interest which she had inspired.

The Queen was full of consideration, and took delight in counteracting
the injustice of fortune. The Countess was induced to come to Court by
her husband's sister, Madame Diane de Polignac, who had been appointed
lady of honour to the Comtesse d'Artois. The Comtesse Jules was really
fond of a tranquil life; the impression she made at Court affected her
but little; she felt only the attachment manifested for her by the Queen.
I had occasion to see her from the commencement of her favour at Court;
she often passed whole hours with me, while waiting for the Queen. She
conversed with me freely and ingenuously about the honour, and at the
same time the danger, she saw in the kindness of which she was the
object. The Queen sought for the sweets of friendship; but can this
gratification, so rare in any rank, exist between a Queen and a subject,
when they are surrounded, moreover, by snares laid by the artifice of
courtiers? This pardonable error was fatal to the happiness of Marie

The retiring character of the Comtesse Jules, afterwards Duchesse de
Polignac, cannot be spoken of too favourably; but if her heart was
incapable of forming ambitious projects, her family and friends in her
fortune beheld their own, and endeavoured to secure the favour of the

[The Comtesse, afterwards Duchesse de Polignac, nee Polastron,
Married the Comte (in 1780 the Duc) Jules de Polignac, the father of
the Prince de Polignac of Napoleon's and of Charles X.'s time. She
emigrated in 1789, and died in Vienna in 1793.]

The Comtesse de Diane, sister of M. de Polignac, and the Baron de
Besenval and M. de Vaudreuil, particular friends of the Polignac family,
made use of means, the success of which was infallible. One of my
friends (Comte de Moustier), who was in their secret, came to tell me
that Madame de Polignac was about to quit Versailles suddenly; that she
would take leave of the Queen only in writing; that the Comtesse Diane
and M. de Vaudreuil had dictated her letter, and the whole affair was
arranged for the purpose of stimulating the attachment of Marie
Antoinette. The next day, when I went up to the palace, I found the
Queen with a letter in her hand, which she was reading with much emotion;
it was the letter from the Comtesse Jules; the Queen showed it to me.
The Countess expressed in it her grief at leaving a princess who had
loaded her with kindness. The narrowness of her fortune compelled her to
do so; but she was much more strongly impelled by the fear that the
Queen's friendship, after having raised up dangerous enemies against her,
might abandon her to their hatred, and to the regret of having lost the
august favour of which she was the object.

This step produced the full effect that had been expected from it. A
young and sensitive queen cannot long bear the idea of contradiction.
She busied herself in settling the Comtesse Jules near her, by making
such a provision for her as should place her beyond anxiety. Her
character suited the Queen; she had merely natural talents, no pedantry,
no affectation of knowledge. She was of middle size; her complexion very
fair, her eyebrows and hair dark brown, her teeth superb, her smile
enchanting, and her whole person graceful. She was seen almost always in
a demi-toilet, remarkable only for neatness and good taste. I do not
think I ever once saw diamonds about her, even at the climax of her
fortune, when she had the rank of Duchess at Court.

I have always believed that her sincere attachment for the Queen, as much
as her love of simplicity, induced her to avoid everything that might
cause her to be thought a wealthy favourite. She had not one of the
failings which usually accompany that position. She loved the persons
who shared the Queen's affections, and was entirely free from jealousy.
Marie Antoinette flattered herself that the Comtesse Jules and the
Princesse de Lamballe would be her especial friends, and that she should
possess a society formed according to her own taste. "I will receive
them in my closet, or at Trianon," said she; "I will enjoy the comforts
of private life, which exist not for us, unless we have the good sense to
secure them for ourselves." The happiness the Queen thought to secure
was destined to turn to vexation. All those courtiers who were not
admitted to this intimacy became so many jealous and vindictive enemies.

It was necessary to make a suitable provision for the Countess. The
place of first equerry, in reversion after the Comte de Tesse, given to
Comte Jules unknown to the titular holder, displeased the family of
Noailles. This family had just sustained another mortification, the
appointment of the Princesse de Lamballe having in some degree rendered
necessary the resignation of the Comtesse de Noailles, whose husband was
thereupon made a marshal of France. The Princesse de Lamballe, although
she did not quarrel with the Queen, was alarmed at the establishment of
the Comtesse Jules at Court, and did not form, as her Majesty had hoped,
a part of that intimate society, which was in turn composed of Mesdames
Jules and Diane de Polignac, d'Andlau and de Chalon, and Messieurs de
Guignes, de Coigny, d'Adhemar, de Besenval, lieutenant-colonel of the
Swiss, de Polignac, de Vaudreuil, and de Guiche; the Prince de Ligne and
the Duke of Dorset, the English ambassador, were also admitted.

It was a long time before the Comtesse Jules maintained any great state
at Court. The Queen contented herself with giving her very fine
apartments at the top of the marble staircase. The salary of first
equerry, the trifling emoluments derived from M. de Polignac's regiment,
added to their slender patrimony, and perhaps some small pension, at that
time formed the whole fortune of the favourite. I never saw the Queen
make her a present of value; I was even astonished one day at hearing her
Majesty mention, with pleasure, that the Countess had gained ten thousand
francs in the lottery. "She was in great want of it," added the Queen.

Thus the Polignacs were not settled at Court in any degree of splendour
which could justify complaints from others, and the substantial favours
bestowed upon that family were less envied than the intimacy between them
and their proteges and the Queen. Those who had no hope of entering the
circle of the Comtesse Jules were made jealous by the opportunities of
advancement it afforded.

However, at the time I speak of, the society around the Comtesse Jules
was fully engaged in gratifying the young Queen. Of this the Marquis de
Vaudreuil was a conspicuous member; he was a brilliant man, the friend
and protector of men of letters and celebrated artists.

The Baron de Besenval added to the bluntness of the Swiss all the
adroitness of a French courtier. His fifty years and gray hairs made him
enjoy among women the confidence inspired by mature age, although he had
not given up the thought of love affairs. He talked of his native
mountains with enthusiasm. He would at any time sing the "Ranz des
Vaches" with tears in his eyes, and was the best story-teller in the
Comtesse Jules's circle. The last new song or 'bon mot' and the gossip
of the day were the sole topics of conversation in the Queen's parties.
Wit was banished from them. The Comtesse Diane, more inclined to
literary pursuits than her sister-in-law, one day, recommended her to
read the "Iliad" and "Odyssey." The latter replied, laughing, that she
was perfectly acquainted with the Greek poet, and said to prove it:

"Homere etait aveugle et jouait du hautbois."

(Homer was blind and played on the hautboy.)

[This lively repartee of the Duchesse de Polignac is a droll
imitation of a line in the "Mercure Galant." In the quarrel scene
one of the lawyers says to his brother quill: 'Ton pere etait
aveugle et jouait du hautbois.']

The Queen found this sort of humour very much to her taste, and said that
no pedant should ever be her friend.

Before the Queen fixed her assemblies at Madame de Polignac's, she
occasionally passed the evening at the house of the Duc and Duchesse de
Duras, where a brilliant party of young persons met together. They
introduced a taste for trifling games, such as question and answer,
'guerre panpan', blind man's buff, and especially a game called
'descampativos'. The people of Paris, always criticising, but always
imitating the customs of the Court, were infected with the mania for
these childish sports. Madame de Genlis, sketching the follies of the
day in one of her plays, speaks of these famous 'descampativos'; and also
of the rage for making a friend, called the 'inseparable', until a whim
or the slightest difference might occasion a total rupture.


The Duc de Choiseul had reappeared at Court on the ceremony of the King's
coronation for the first time after his disgrace under Louis XV. in 1770.
The state of public feeling on the subject gave his friends hope of
seeing him again in administration, or in the Council of State; but the
opposite party was too firmly seated at Versailles, and the young Queen's
influence was outweighed, in the mind of the King, by long-standing
prejudices; she therefore gave up for ever her attempt to reinstate the
Duke. Thus this Princess, who has been described as so ambitious, and so
strenuously supporting the interest of the House of Austria, failed twice
in the only scheme which could forward the views constantly attributed to
her; and spent the whole of her reign surrounded by enemies of herself
and her house.

Marie Antoinette took little pains to promote literature and the fine
arts. She had been annoyed in consequence of having ordered a
performance of the "Connstable de Bourbon," on the celebration of the
marriage of Madame Clotilde with the Prince of Piedmont. The Court and
the people of Paris censured as indecorous the naming characters in the
piece after the reigning family, and that with which the new alliance was
formed. The reading of this piece by the Comte de Guibert in the Queen's
closet had produced in her Majesty's circle that sort of enthusiasm which
obscures the judgment. She promised herself she would have no more
readings. Yet, at the request of M. de Cubieres, the King's equerry,
the Queen agreed to hear the reading of a comedy written by his brother.
She collected her intimate circle, Messieurs de Coigny, de Vaudreuil, de
Besenval, Mesdames de Polignac, de Chalon, etc., and to increase the
number of judges, she admitted the two Parnys, the Chevalier de Bertin,
my father-in-law, and myself.

Mold read for the author. I never could satisfy myself by what magic the
skilful reader gained our unanimous approbation of a ridiculous work.
Surely the delightful voice of Mold, by awakening our recollection of the
dramatic beauties of the French stage, prevented the wretched lines of
Dorat Cubieres from striking on our ears. I can assert that the
exclamation Charming! charming! repeatedly interrupted the reader. The
piece was admitted for performance at Fontainebleau; and for the first
time the King had the curtain dropped before the end of the play. It was
called the "Dramomane" or "Dramaturge." All the characters died of
eating poison in a pie. The Queen, highly disconcerted at having
recommended this absurd production, announced that she would never hear
another reading; and this time she kept her word.

The tragedy of "Mustapha and Mangir," by M. de Chamfort, was highly
successful at the Court theatre at Fontainebleau. The Queen procured the
author a pension of 1,200 francs, but his play failed on being performed
at Paris.

The spirit of opposition which prevailed in that city delighted in
reversing the verdicts of the Court. The Queen determined never again to
give any marked countenance to new dramatic works. She reserved her
patronage for musical composers, and in a few years their art arrived at
a perfection it had never before attained in France.

It was solely to gratify the Queen that the manager of the Opera brought
the first company of comic actors to Paris. Gluck, Piccini, and Sacchini
were attracted there in succession. These eminent composers were treated
with great distinction at Court. Immediately on his arrival in France,
Gluck was admitted to the Queen's toilet, and she talked to him all the
time he remained with her. She asked him one day whether he had nearly
brought his grand opera of "Armide" to a conclusion, and whether it
pleased him. Gluck replied very coolly, in his German accent, "Madame,
it will soon be finished, and really it will be superb." There was a
great outcry against the confidence with which the composer had spoken of
one of his own productions. The Queen defended him warmly; she insisted
that he could not be ignorant of the merit of his works; that he well
knew they were generally admired, and that no doubt he was afraid lest a
modesty, merely dictated by politeness, should look like affectation in

[Gluck often had to deal with self-sufficiency equal to his own.
He was very reluctant to introduce long ballets into "Iphigenia."
Vestris deeply regretted that the opera was not terminated by a
piece they called a chaconne, in which he displayed all his power.
He complained to Gluck about it. Gluck, who treated his art with
all the dignity it merits, replied that in so interesting a subject
dancing would be misplaced. Being pressed another time by Vestris
on the same subject, "A chaconne! A chaconne!" roared out the
enraged musician; "we must describe the Greeks; and had the Greeks
chaconnes?" "They had not?" returned the astonished dancer; "why,
then, so much the worse for them!"--NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

The Queen did not confine her admiration to the lofty style of the French
and Italian operas; she greatly valued Gretry's music, so well adapted to
the spirit and feeling of the words. A great deal of the poetry set to
music by Gretry is by Marmontel. The day after the first performance of
"Zemira and Azor," Marmontel and Gretry were presented to the Queen as
she was passing through the gallery of Fontainebleau to go to mass. The
Queen congratulated Gretry on the success of the new opera, and told him
that she had dreamed of the enchanting effect of the trio by Zemira's
father and sisters behind the magic mirror. Gretry, in a transport of
joy, took Marmontel in his arms, "Ah! my friend," cried he, "excellent
music may be made of this."--"And execrable words," coolly observed
Marmontel, to whom her Majesty had not addressed a single compliment.

The most indifferent artists were permitted to have the honour of
painting the Queen. A full-length portrait, representing her in all the
pomp of royalty, was exhibited in the gallery of Versailles. This
picture, which was intended for the Court of Vienna, was executed by a
man who does not deserve even to be named, and disgusted all people of
taste. It seemed as if this art had, in France, retrograded several

The Queen had not that enlightened judgment, or even that mere taste,
which enables princes to foster and protect great talents. She confessed
frankly that she saw no merit in any portrait beyond the likeness. When
she went to the Louvre, she would run hastily over all the little "genre"
pictures, and come out, as she acknowledged, without having once raised
her eyes to the grand compositions.

There is no good portrait of the Queen, save that by Werthmuller, chief
painter to the King of Sweden, which was sent to Stockholm, and that by
Madame Lebrun, which was saved from the revolutionary fury by the
commissioners for the care of the furniture at Versailles.

[A sketch of very great interest made when the Queen was in the
Temple and discovered many years afterwards there, recently
reproduced in the memoirs of the Marquise de Tourzel (Paris, Plon),
is the last authentic portrait of the unhappy Queen. See also the
catalogue of portraits made by Lord Ronald Gower.]

The composition of the latter picture resembles that of Henriette of
France, the wife of the unfortunate Charles I., painted by Vandyke. Like
Marie Antoinette, she is seated, surrounded by her children, and that
resemblance adds to the melancholy interest raised by this beautiful

While admitting that the Queen gave no direct encouragement to any art
but that of music, I should be wrong to pass over in silence the
patronage conferred by her and the Princes, brothers of the King, on the
art of printing.

[In 1790 the King gave a proof of his particular good-will to the
bookselling trade. A company consisting of the first Parisian
booksellers, being on the eve of stopping payment, succeeded in
laying before the King a statement of their distressed situation.
The monarch was affected by it; he took from the civil list the sum
of which the society stood in immediate need, and became security
for the repayment of the remainder of the 1,200,000 livres, which
they wanted to borrow, and for the repayment of which he fixed no
particular time.]

To Marie Antoinette we are indebted for a splendid quarto edition of the
works of Metastasio; to Monsieur, the King's brother, for a quarto Tasso,
embellished with engravings after Cochin; and to the Comte d'Artois for a
small collection of select works, which is considered one of the chef
d'oeuvres of the press of the celebrated Didot.

In 1775, on the death of the Marechal du Muy, the ascendency obtained by
the sect of innovators occasioned M. de Saint-Germain to be recalled to
Court and made Minister of War. His first care was the destruction of
the King's military household establishment, an imposing and effectual
rampart round the sovereign power.

When Chancellor Maupeou obtained from Louis XV. the destruction of the
Parliament and the exile of all the ancient magistrates, the
Mousquetaires were charged with the execution of the commission for this
purpose; and at the stroke of midnight, the presidents and members were
all arrested, each by two Mousquetaires. In the spring of 1775 a popular
insurrection had taken place in consequence of the high price of bread.
M. Turgot's new regulation, which permitted unlimited trade in corn, was
either its cause or the pretext for it; and the King's household troops
again rendered the greatest services to public tranquillity.

I have never be enable to discover the true cause of the support given to
M. de Saint-Germain's policy by the Queen, unless in the marked favour
shown to the captains and officers of the Body Guards, who by this
reduction became the only soldiers of their rank entrusted with the
safety of the sovereign; or else in the Queen's strong prejudice against
the Duc d'Aiguillon, then commander of the light-horse. M. de Saint-
Germain, however, retained fifty gens d'armes and fifty light-horse to
form a royal escort on state occasions; but in 1787 the King reduced both
these military bodies. The Queen then said with satisfaction that at
last she should see no more red coats in the gallery of Versailles.

From 1775 to 1781 were the gayest years of the Queen's life. In the
little journeys to Choisy, performances frequently took place at the
theatre twice in one day: grand opera and French or Italian comedy at the
usual hour; and at eleven at night they returned to the theatre for
parodies in which the best actors of the Opera presented themselves in
whimsical parts and costumes. The celebrated dancer Guimard always took
the leading characters in the latter performance; she danced better than
she acted; her extreme leanness, and her weak, hoarse voice added to the
burlesque in the parodied characters of Ernelinde and Iphigenie.

The most magnificent fete ever given to the Queen was one prepared for
her by Monsieur, the King's brother, at Brunoy. That Prince did me the
honour to admit me, and I followed her Majesty into the gardens, where
she found in the first copse knights in full armour asleep at the foot of
trees, on which hung their spears and shields. The absence of the
beauties who had incited the nephews of Charlemagne and the gallants of
that period to lofty deeds was supposed to occasion this lethargic
slumber. But when the Queen appeared at the entrance of the copse they
were on foot in an instant, and melodious voices announced their
eagerness to display their valour. They then hastened into a vast arena,
magnificently decorated in the exact style of the ancient tournaments.
Fifty dancers dressed as pages presented to the knights twenty-five
superb black horses, and twenty-five of a dazzling whiteness, all most
richly caparisoned. The party led by Augustus Vestris wore the Queen's
colours. Picq, balletmaster at the Russian Court, commanded the opposing
band. There was running at the negro's head, tilting, and, lastly,
combats 'a outrance', perfectly well imitated. Although the spectators
were aware that the Queen's colours could not but be victorious, they did
not the less enjoy the apparent uncertainty.

Nearly all the agreeable women of Paris were ranged upon the steps which
surrounded the area of the tourney. The Queen, surrounded by the royal
family and the whole Court, was placed beneath an elevated canopy. A
play, followed by a ballet-pantomime and a ball, terminated the fete.
Fireworks and illuminations were not spared. Finally, from a
prodigiously high scaffold, placed on a rising ground, the words 'Vive
Louis! Vive Marie Antoinette!' were shown in the air in the midst of a
very dark but calm night.

Pleasure was the sole pursuit of every one of this young family, with the
exception of the King. Their love of it was perpetually encouraged by a
crowd of those officious people who, by anticipating the desires and even
the passions of princes, find means of showing their zeal, and hope to
gain or maintain favour for themselves.

Who would have dared to check the amusements of a queen, young, lively,
and handsome? A mother or a husband alone would have had the right to do
it; and the King threw no impediment in the way of Marie Antoinette's
inclinations. His long indifference had been followed by admiration and
love. He was a slave to all the wishes of the Queen, who, delighted with
the happy change in the heart and habits of the King, did not
sufficiently conceal the ascendency she was gaining over him.

The King went to bed every night at eleven precisely; he was very
methodical, and nothing was allowed to interfere with his rules. The
noise which the Queen unavoidably made when she returned very late from
the evenings which she spent with the Princesse de Gugmenee or the Duc de
Duras, at last annoyed the King, and it was amicably agreed that the
Queen should apprise him when she intended to sit up late. He then began
to sleep in his own apartment, which had never before happened from the
time of their marriage.

During the winter the Queen attended the Opera balls with a single lady
of the palace, and always found there Monsieur and the Comte d'Artois.
Her people concealed their liveries under gray cloth greatcoats. She
never thought she was recognized, while all the time she was known to the
whole assembly, from the first moment she entered the theatre; they
pretended, however, not to recognise her, and some masquerade manoeuvre
was always adopted to give her the pleasure of fancying herself

Louis XVI. determined once to accompany the Queen to a masked ball;
it was agreed that the King should hold not only the grand but the petit
coucher, as if actually going to bed. The Queen went to his apartment
through the inner corridors of the palace, followed by one of her women
with a black domino; she assisted him to put it on, and they went alone
to the chapel court, where a carriage waited for them, with the captain
of the Guard of the quarter, and a lady of the palace. The King was but
little amused, spoke only to two or three persons, who knew him
immediately, and found nothing to admire at the masquerade but Punches
and Harlequins, which served as a joke against him for the royal family,
who often amused themselves with laughing at him about it.

An event, simple in itself, brought dire suspicion upon the Queen. She
was going out one evening with the Duchesse de Lupnes, lady of the
palace, when her carriage broke down at the entrance into Paris; she was
obliged to alight; the Duchess led her into a shop, while a footman
called a 'fiacre'. As they were masked, if they had but known how to
keep silence, the event would never have been known; but to ride in a
fiacre is so unusual an adventure for a queen that she had hardly entered
the Opera-house when she could not help saying to some persons whom she
met there: "That I should be in a fiacre! Is it not droll?"

From that moment all Paris was informed of the adventure of the fiacre.
It was said that everything connected with it was mysterious; that the
Queen had kept an assignation in a private house with the Duc de Coigny.
He was indeed very well received at Court, but equally so by the King and
Queen. These accusations of gallantry once set afloat, there were no
longer any bounds to the calumnies circulated at Paris. If, during the
chase or at cards, the Queen spoke to Lord Edward Dillon, De Lambertye,
or others, they were so many favoured lovers. The people of Paris did
not know that none of those young persons were admitted into the Queen's
private circle of friends; the Queen went about Paris in disguise, and
had made use of a fiacre; and a single instance of levity gives room for
the suspicion of others.

Conscious of innocence, and well knowing that all about her must do
justice to her private life, the Queen spoke of these reports with
contempt, contenting herself with the supposition that some folly in the
young men mentioned had given rise to them. She therefore left off
speaking to them or even looking at them. Their vanity took alarm at
this, and revenge induced them either to say, or to leave others to
think, that they were unfortunate enough to please no longer. Other
young coxcombs, placing themselves near the private box which the Queen
occupied incognito when she attended the public theatre at Versailles,
had the presumption to imagine that they were noticed by her; and I have
known such notions entertained merely on account of the Queen's
requesting one of those gentlemen to inquire behind the scenes whether it
would be long before the commencement of the second piece.

The list of persons received into the Queen's closet which I gave in the
preceding chapter was placed in the hands of the ushers of the chamber by
the Princesse de Lamballe; and the persons there enumerated could present
themselves to enjoy the distinction only on those days when the Queen
chose to be with her intimates in a private manner; and this was only
when she was slightly indisposed. People of the first rank at Court
sometimes requested special audiences of her; the Queen then received
them in a room within that called the closet of the women on duty, and
these women announced them in her Majesty's apartment.

The Duc de Lauzun had a good deal of wit, and chivalrous manners. The
Queen was accustomed to see him at the King's suppers, and at the house
of the Princesse de Guemenee, and always showed him attention. One day
he made his appearance at Madame de Guemenee's in uniform, and with the
most magnificent plume of white heron's feathers that it was possible to
behold. The Queen admired the plume, and he offered it to her through
the Princesse de Guemenee. As he had worn it the Queen had not imagined
that he could think of giving it to her; much embarrassed with the
present which she had, as it were, drawn upon herself, she did not like
to refuse it, nor did she know whether she ought to make one in return;
afraid, if she did give anything, of giving either too much or too
little, she contented herself with once letting M. de Lauzun see her
adorned with the plume. In his secret "Memoirs" the Duke attaches an
importance to his present, which proves him utterly unworthy of an honour
accorded only to his name and rank

A short time afterwards he solicited an audience; the Queen granted it,
as she would have done to any other courtier of equal rank. I was in the
room adjoining that in which he was received; a few minutes after his
arrival the Queen reopened the door, and said aloud, and in an angry tone
of voice, "Go, monsieur." M. de Lauzun bowed low, and withdrew. The
Queen was much agitated. She said to me: "That man shall never again
come within my doors." A few years before the Revolution of 1789 the
Marechal de Biron died. The Duc de Lauzun, heir to his name, aspired to
the important post of colonel of the regiment of French guards. The
Queen, however, procured it for the Duc du Chaatelet. The Duc de Biron
espoused the cause of the Duc d'Orleans, and became one of the most
violent enemies of Marie Antoinette.

It is with reluctance that I enter minutely on a defence of the Queen
against two infamous accusations with which libellers have dared to swell
their envenomed volumes. I mean the unworthy suspicions of too strong an
attachment for the Comte d'Artois, and of the motives for the tender
friendship which subsisted between the Queen, the Princesse de Lamballe,
and the Duchesse de Polignac. I do not believe that the Comte d'Artois
was, during his own youth and that of the Queen, so much smitten as has
been said with the loveliness of his sister-in-law; I can affirm that I
always saw that Prince maintain the most respectful demeanour towards the
Queen; that she always spoke of his good-nature and cheerfulness with
that freedom which attends only the purest sentiments; and that none of
those about the Queen ever saw in the affection she manifested towards
the Comte d'Artois more than that of a kind and tender sister for her
youngest brother. As to the intimate connection between Marie Antoinette
and the ladies I have named, it never had, nor could have, any other
motive than the very innocent wish to secure herself two friends in the
midst of a numerous Court; and notwithstanding this intimacy, that tone
of respect observed by persons of the most exalted rank towards majesty
never ceased to be maintained.

The Queen, much occupied with the society of Madame de Polignac, and an
unbroken series of amusements, found less time for the Abbe de Vermond;
he therefore resolved to retire from Court. The world did him the honour
to believe that he had hazarded remonstrances upon his august pupil's
frivolous employment of her time, and that he considered himself, both as
an ecclesiastic and as instructor, now out of place at Court. But the
world was deceived his dissatisfaction arose purely from the favour shown
to the Comtesse Jules. After a fortnight's absence we saw him at
Versailles again, resuming his usual functions.

The Queen could express herself with winning graciousness to persons who
merited her praise. When M. Loustonneau was appointed to the reversion
of the post of first surgeon to the King, he came to make his
acknowledgments. He was much beloved by the poor, to whom he had chiefly
devoted his talents, spending nearly thirty thousand francs a year on
indigent sufferers. The Queen replied to his thanks by saying: "You are
satisfied, Monsieur; but I am far from being so with the inhabitants of
Versailles. On the news of your appointment the town should have been
illuminated."--"How so, Madame?" asked the astonished surgeon, who was
very modest. "Why," replied the Queen, "if the poor whom you have
succoured for the past twenty years had each placed a single candle in
their windows it would have been the most beautiful illumination ever

The Queen did not limit her kindness to friendly words. There was
frequently seen in the apartments of Versailles a veteran captain of the
grenadiers of France, called the Chevalier d'Orville, who for four years
had been soliciting from the Minister of War the post of major, or of
King's lieutenant. He was known to be very poor; but he supported his
lot without complaining of this vexatious delay in rewarding his
honourable services. He regularly attended the Marechal de Segur,
at the hour appointed for receiving the numerous solicitations in his
department. One day the Marshal said to him: "You are still at
Versailles, M. d'Orville?"--"Monsieur," he replied, "you may observe that
by this board of the flooring where I regularly place myself; it is
already worn down several lines by the weight of my body." The Queen
frequently stood at the window of her bedchamber to observe with her
glass the people walking in the park. Sometimes she inquired the names
of those who were unknown to her. One day she saw the Chevalier
d'Orville passing, and asked me the name of that knight of Saint Louis,
whom she had seen everywhere for a long time past. I knew who he was,
and related his history. "That must be put an end to," said the Queen,
with some vivacity. "Such an example of indifference is calculated to
discourage our soldiers." Next day, in crossing the gallery to go to
mass, the Queen perceived the Chevalier d'Orville; she went directly
towards him. The poor man fell back in the recess of a window, looking
to the right and left to discover the person whom the Queen was seeking,
when she thus addressed him: "M. d'Orville, you have been several years
at Versailles, soliciting a majority or a King's lieutenancy. You must
have very powerless patrons."--"I have none, Madame," replied the
Chevalier, in great confusion. "Well! I will take you under my
protection. To-morrow at the same hour be here with a petition, and a
memorial of your services." A fortnight after, M. d'Orville was
appointed King's lieutenant, either at La Rochelle or at Rochefort.

[Louis XVI. vied with his Queen in benevolent actions of this kind.
An old officer had in vain solicited a pension during the
administration of the Duc de Choiseul. He returned to the charge in
the times of the Marquis de Montesnard and the Duc d'Aiguillon. He
urged his claims, to Comte du Muy, who made a note of them. Tired
of so many fruitless efforts, he at last appeared at the King's
supper, and, having placed himself so as to be seen and heard, cried
out at a moment when silence prevailed, "Sire." The people near him
said, "What are you about? This is not the way to speak to the
King."--"I fear nothing," said he, and raising his voice, repeated,
"Sire." The King, much surprised, looked at him and said, "What do
you want, monsieur."--"Sire," answered he, "I am seventy years of
age; I have served your Majesty more than fifty years, and I am
dying for want."--"Have you a memorial?" replied the King. "Yes,
Sire, I have."--"Give it to me;" and his Majesty took it without
saying anything more. Next morning he was sent for by the, King,
who said, "Monsieur, I grant you an annuity of 1,500 livres out of
my privy purse, and you may go and receive the first year's payment,
which is now due." ("Secret Correspondence of the Court: Reign of
Louis XVI.") The King preferred to spend money in charity rather
than in luxury or magnificence. Once during his absence, M.
d'Augivillers caused an unused room in the King's apartment to be
repaired at a cost of 30,000 francs. On his return the King made
Versailles resound with complaints against M. d'Augivillers: "With
that sum I could have made thirty families happy," he said.]


From the time of Louis XVI.'s accession to the throne, the Queen had been
expecting a visit from her brother, the Emperor Joseph II. That Prince
was the constant theme of her discourse. She boasted of his
intelligence, his love of occupation, his military knowledge, and the
perfect simplicity of his manners. Those about her Majesty ardently
wished to see at Versailles a prince so worthy of his rank. At length
the coming of Joseph II., under the title of Count Falkenstein, was
announced, and the very day on which he would be at Versailles was
mentioned. The first embraces between the Queen and her august brother
took place in the presence of all the Queen's household. The sight of
their emotion was extremely affecting.

The Emperor was at first generally admired in France; learned men, well-
informed officers, and celebrated artists appreciated the extent of his
information. He made less impression at Court, and very little in the
private circle of the King and Queen. His eccentric manners, his
frankness, often degenerating into rudeness, and his evidently affected
simplicity,--all these characteristics caused him to be looked upon as a
prince rather singular than admirable. The Queen spoke to him about the
apartment she had prepared for him in the Chateau; the Emperor answered
that he would not accept it, and that while travelling he always lodged
at a cabaret (that was his very expression); the Queen insisted, and
assured him that he should be at perfect liberty, and placed out of the
reach of noise. He replied that he knew the Chateau of Versailles was
very large, and that so many scoundrels lived there that he could well
find a place; but that his valet de chambre had made up his camp-bed in a
lodging-house, and there he would stay.

He dined with the King and Queen, and supped with the whole family. He
appeared to take an interest in the young Princesse Elisabeth, then just
past childhood, and blooming in all the freshness of that age. An
intended marriage between him and this young sister of the King was
reported at the time, but I believe it had no foundation in truth.

The table was still served by women only, when the Queen dined in private
with the King, the royal family, or crowned heads.

[The custom was, even supposing dinner to have commenced, if a
princess of the blood arrived, and she was asked to sit down at the
Queen's table, the comptrollers and gentlemen-in-waiting came
immediately to attend, and the Queen's women withdrew. These had
succeeded the maids of honour in several parts of their service, and
had preserved some of their privileges. One day the Duchesse
d'Orleans arrived at Fontainebleau, at the Queen's dinner-hour. The
Queen invited her to the table, and herself motioned to her women to
leave the room, and let the men take their places. Her Majesty said
she was resolved to continue a privilege which kept places of that
description most honourable, and render them suitable for ladies of
nobility without fortune. Madame de Misery, Baronne de Biache, the
Queen's first lady of the chamber, to whom I was made reversioner,
was a daughter of M. le Comte de Chemant, and her grandmother was a
Montmorency. M. le Prince de Tingry, in the presence of the Queen,
used to call her cousin. The ancient household of the Kings of
France had prerogatives acknowledged in the state. Many of the
offices were tenable only by those of noble blood, and were sold at
from 40,000 to 300,000 franca. A collection of edicts of the Kings
in favour of the prerogatives and right of precedence of the persons
holding office in the royal household is still in existence.]

I was present at the Queen's dinner almost every day. The Emperor would
talk much and fluently; he expressed himself in French with facility, and
the singularity, of his expressions added a zest to his conversation. I
have often heard him say that he liked spectacculous objects, when he
meant to express such things as formed a show, or a scene worthy of
interest. He disguised none of his prejudices against the etiquette and
customs of the Court of France; and even in the presence of the King made
them the subject of his sarcasms. The King smiled, but never made any
answer; the Queen appeared pained. The Emperor frequently terminated his
observations upon the objects in Paris which he had admired by
reproaching the King for suffering himself to remain in ignorance of
them. He could not conceive how such a wealth of pictures should remain
shut up in the dust of immense stores; and told him one day that but for
the practice of placing some of them in the apartments of Versailles he
would not know even the principal chef d'oeuvres that he possessed.

[The Emperor loudly censured the existing practice of allowing
shopkeepers to erect shops near the outward walls of all the
palaces, and even to establish something like a fair in the
galleries of Versailles and Fontainebleau, and even upon the
landings of the staircases.]

He also reproached him for not having visited the Hotel des Invalides nor
the Ecole Militaire; and even went so far as to tell him before us that
he ought not only to know what Paris contained, but to travel in France,
and reside a few days in each of his large towns.

At last the Queen was really hurt at the Emperor's remarks, and gave him
a few lectures upon the freedom with which he allowed himself to lecture
others. One day she was busied in signing warrants and orders for
payment for her household, and was conversing with M. Augeard, her
secretary for such matters, who presented the papers one after another to
be signed, and replaced them in his portfolio. While this was going
forward, the Emperor walked about the room; all at once he stood still,
to reproach the Queen rather severely for signing all those papers
without reading them, or, at least, without running her eye over them;
and he spoke most judiciously to her upon the danger of signing her name
inconsiderately. The Queen answered that very wise principles might be
very ill applied; that her secretary, who deserved her implicit
confidence, was at that moment laying before her nothing but orders for
payment of the quarter's expenses of her household, registered in the
Chamber of Accounts; and that she ran no risk of incautiously giving her

The Queen's toilet was likewise a never-failing subject for animadversion
with the Emperor. He blamed her for having introduced too many new
fashions; and teased her about her use of rouge. One day, while she was
laying on more of it than usual, before going to the play, he pointed out
a lady who was in the room, and who was, in truth, highly painted. "A
little more under the eyes," said the Emperor to the Queen; "lay on the
rouge like a fury, as that lady does." The Queen entreated her brother
to refrain from his jokes, or at all events to address them, when they
were so outspoken, to her alone.

The Queen had made an appointment to meet her brother at the Italian
theatre; she changed her mind, and went to the French theatre, sending a
page to the Italian theatre to request the Emperor to come to her there.
He left his box, lighted by the comedian Clairval, and attended by M. de
la Ferte, comptroller of the Queen's privy purse, who was much hurt at
hearing his Imperial Majesty, after kindly expressing his regret at not
being present during the Italian performance, say to Clairval, "Your
young Queen is very giddy; but, luckily, you Frenchmen have no great
objection to that."

I was with my father-in-law in one of the Queen's apartments when the
Emperor came to wait for her there, and, knowing that M. Campan was
librarian, he conversed with him about such books as would of course be
found in the Queen's library. After talking of our most celebrated
authors, he casually said, "There are doubtless no works on finance or
on administration here?"

These words were followed by his opinion on all that had been written on
those topics, and the different systems of our two famous ministers,
Sully and Colbert; on errors which were daily committed in France, in
points essential to the prosperity of the Empire; and on the reform he
himself would make at Vienna. Holding M. Campan by the button, he spent
more than an hour, talking vehemently, and without the slightest reserve,
about the French Government. My father-in-law and myself maintained
profound silence, as much from astonishment as from respect; and when we
were alone we agreed not to speak of this interview.

The Emperor was fond of describing the Italian Courts that he had
visited. The jealous quarrels between the King and Queen of Naples
amused him highly; he described to the life the manner and speech of that
sovereign, and the simplicity with which he used to go and solicit the
first chamberlain to obtain permission to return to the nuptial bed, when
the angry Queen had banished him from it. The time which he was made to
wait for this reconciliation was calculated between the Queen and her
chamberlain, and always proportioned to the gravity of the offence. He
also related several very amusing stories relative to the Court of Parma,
of which he spoke with no little contempt. If what this Prince said of
those Courts, and even of Vienna, had been written down, the whole would
have formed an interesting collection. The Emperor told the King that
the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the King of Naples being together, the
former said a great deal about the changes he had effected in his State.
The Grand Duke had issued a mass of new edicts, in order to carry the
precepts of the economists into execution, and trusted that in so doing
he was labouring for the welfare of his people. The King of Naples
suffered him to go on speaking for a long time, and then casually asked
how many Neapolitan families there were in Tuscany. The Duke soon
reckoned them up, as they were but few. "Well, brother," replied the
King of Naples, "I do not understand the indifference of your people
towards your great reforms; for I have four times the number of Tuscan
families settled in my States that you have of Neapolitan families in

The Queen being at the Opera with the Emperor, the latter did not wish to
show himself; but she took him by the hand, and gently drew him to the
front of the box. This kind of presentation to the public was most
warmly received. The performance was "Iphigenia in Aulis," and for the
second time. the chorus, "Chantons, celebrons notre Reine!" was called
for with universal plaudits.

A fete of a novel description was given at Petit Trianon. The art with
which the English garden was not illuminated, but lighted, produced a
charming effect. Earthen lamps, concealed by boards painted green, threw
light upon the beds of shrubs and flowers, and brought out their varied
tints. Several hundred burning fagots in the moat behind the Temple of
Love made a blaze of light, which rendered that spot the most brilliant
in the garden. After all, this evening's entertainment had nothing
remarkable about it but the good taste of the artists, yet it was much
talked of. The situation did not allow the admission of a great part of
the Court; those who were uninvited were dissatisfied; and the people,
who never forgive any fetes but those they share in, so exaggerated the
cost of this little fete as to make it appear that the fagots burnt in
the moat had required the destruction of a whole forest. The Queen being
informed of these reports, was determined to know exactly how much wood
had been consumed; and she found that fifteen hundred fagots had sufficed
to keep up the fire until four o'clock in the morning.

After staying a few months the Emperor left France, promising his sister
to come and see her again. All the officers of the Queen's chamber had
many opportunities of serving him during his stay, and expected that he
would make them presents before his departure. Their oath of office
positively forbade them to receive a gift from any foreign prince; they
had therefore agreed to refuse the Emperor's presents at first, but to
ask the time necessary for obtaining permission to accept them. The
Emperor, probably informed of this custom, relieved the good people from
their difficulty by setting off without making a single present.

About the latter end of 1777 the Queen, being alone in her closet, sent
for my father-in-law and myself, and, giving us her hand to kiss; told us
that, looking upon us both as persons deeply interested in her happiness,
she wished to receive our congratulations,--that at length she was the
Queen of France, and that she hoped soon to have children; that till now
she had concealed her grief, but that she had shed many tears in secret.

Dating from this happy but long-delayed moment, the King's attachment to
the Queen assumed every characteristic of love. The good Lassone, first
physician to the King and Queen, frequently spoke to me of the uneasiness
that the King's indifference, the cause of which he had been so long in
overcoming, had given him, and appeared to me at that time to entertain
no anxiety except of a very different description.

In the winter of 1778 the King's permission for the return of Voltaire;
after an absence of twenty-seven years, was obtained. A few strict
persons considered this concession on the part of the Court very
injudicious. The Emperor, on leaving France, passed by the Chateau of
Ferney without stopping there. He had advised the Queen not to suffer
Voltaire to be presented to her. A lady belonging to the Court learned
the Emperor's opinion on that point, and reproached him with his want of
enthusiasm towards the greatest genius of the age. He replied that for
the good of the people he should always endeavour to profit by the
knowledge of the philosophers; but that his own business of sovereign
would always prevent his ranking himself amongst that sect. The clergy
also took steps to hinder Voltaire's appearance at Court. Paris,
however, carried to the highest pitch the honours and enthusiasm shown to
the great poet.

It was very unwise to let Paris pronounce with such transport an opinion
so opposite to that of the Court. This was pointed out to the Queen,
and she was told that, without conferring on Voltaire the honour of a
presentation, she might see him in the State apartments. She was not
averse to following this advice, and appeared embarrassed solely about
what she should say to him. She was recommended to talk about nothing
but the "Henriade," "Merope," and "Zaira." The Queen replied that she
would still consult a few other persons in whom she had great confidence.
The next day she announced that it was irrevocably decided Voltaire
should not see any member of the royal family,--his writings being too
antagonistic to religion and morals. "It is, however, strange," said the
Queen, "that while we refuse to admit Voltaire into our presence as the
leader of philosophical writers, the Marechale de Mouchy should have
presented to me some years ago Madame Geoffrin, who owed her celebrity to
the title of foster-mother of the philosophers."

On the occasion of the duel of the Comte d'Artois with the Prince de
Bourbon the Queen determined privately to see the Baron de Besenval,
who was to be one of the witnesses, in order to communicate the King's
intentions. I have read with infinite pain the manner in which that
simple fact is perverted in the first volume of M. de Besenval's
"Memoirs." He is right in saying that M. Campan led him through the
upper corridors of the Chateau, and introduced him into an apartment
unknown to him; but the air of romance given to the interview is equally
culpable and ridiculous. M. de Besenval says that he found himself,
without knowing how he came there, in an apartment unadorned, but very
conveniently furnished, of the existence of which he was till then
utterly ignorant. He was astonished, he adds, not that the Queen should
have so many facilities, but that she should have ventured to procure
them. Ten printed sheets of the woman Lamotte's libels contain nothing
so injurious to the character of Marie Antoinette as these lines, written
by a man whom she honoured by undeserved kindness. He could not have had
any opportunity of knowing the existence of the apartments, which
consisted of a very small antechamber, a bedchamber, and a closet. Ever
since the Queen had occupied her own apartment, these had been
appropriated to her Majesty's lady of honour in cases of illness, and
were actually so used when the Queen was confined. It was so important
that it should not be known the Queen had spoken to the Baron before the
duel that she had determined to go through her inner room into this
little apartment, to which M. Campan was to conduct him. When men write
of recent times they should be scrupulously exact, and not indulge in
exaggerations or inventions.

The Baron de Besenval appears mightily surprised at the Queen's sudden
coolness, and refers it to the fickleness of her disposition. I can
explain the reason for the change by repeating what her Majesty said to
me at the time; and I will not alter one of her expressions. Speaking of
the strange presumption of men, and the reserve with which women ought
always to treat them, the Queen added that age did not deprive them of
the hope of pleasing, if they retained any agreeable qualities; that she
had treated the Baron de Besenval as a brave Swiss, agreeable, polished,
and witty, whose gray hairs had induced her to look upon him as a man
whom she might see without harm; but that she had been much deceived.
Her Majesty, after having enjoined me to the strictest secrecy, told me
that, finding herself alone with the Baron, he began to address her with
so much gallantry that she was thrown into the utmost astonishment, and
that he was mad enough to fall upon his knees, and make her a declaration
in form. The Queen added that she said to him: "Rise, monsieur; the King
shall be ignorant of an offence which would disgrace you for ever;" that
the Baron grew pale and stammered apologies; that she left her closet
without saying another word, and that since that time she hardly ever
spoke to him. "It is delightful to have friends," said the Queen; "but
in a situation like mine it is sometimes difficult for the friends of our
friends to suit us."

In the beginning of the year 1778 Mademoiselle d'Eon obtained permission
to return to France, on condition that she should appear there in female
dress. The Comte de Vergennes entreated my father, M. Genet, chief clerk
of Foreign Affairs, who had long known the Chevalier d'Eon, to receive
that strange personage at his house, to guide and restrain, if possible,
her ardent disposition. The Queen, on learning her arrival at
Versailles, sent a footman to desire my father to bring her into her
presence; my father thought it his duty first to inform the Minister of
her Majesty's wish. The Comte de Vergennes expressed himself pleased
with my father's prudence, and desired that he would accompany him to the
Queen. The Minister had a few minutes' audience; her Majesty came out of
her closet with him, and condescended to express to my father the regret
she felt at having troubled him to no purpose; and added, smiling, that a
few words from M. de Vergennes had for ever cured her of her curiosity.
The discovery in London of the true sex of this pretended woman makes it
probable that the few words uttered by the Minister contained a solution
of the enigma.

The Chevalier d'Eon had been useful in Russia as a spy of Louis XV.
while very young he had found means to introduce himself at the Court of
the Empress Elizabeth, and served that sovereign in the capacity of
reader. Resuming afterwards his military dress, he served with honour
and was wounded. Appointed chief secretary of legation, and afterwards
minister plenipotentiary at London, he unpardonably insulted Comte de
Guerchy, the ambassador. The official order for the Chevalier's return
to France was actually delivered to the King's Council; but Louis XV.
delayed the departure of the courier who was to be its bearer, and sent
off another courier privately, who gave the Chevalier d'Eon a letter in
his own writing, in which he said, "I know that you have served me as
effectually in the dress of a woman as in that which you now wear.
Resume it instantly; withdraw into the city; I warn you that the King
yesterday signed an order for your return to France; you are not safe in
your hotel, and you would here find too powerful enemies." I heard the
Chevalier d'Eon repeat the contents of this letter, in which Louis XV.
thus separated himself from the King of France, several times at my
father's. The Chevalier, or rather the Chevalaere d'Eon had preserved
all the King's letters. Messieurs de Maurepas and de Vergennes wished to
get them out of his hands, as they were afraid he would print them. This
eccentric being had long solicited permission to return to France; but it
was necessary to find a way of sparing the family he had offended the
insult they would see in his return; he was therefore made to resume the
costume of that sex to which in France everything is pardoned. The
desire to see his native land once more determined him to submit to the
condition, but he revenged himself by combining the long train of his
gown and the three deep ruffles on his sleeves with the attitude and
conversation of a grenadier, which made him very disagreeable company.

[The account given by Madame Campan of the Chevalier d'Eon is now
known to be incorrect in many particulars. Enough details for most
readers will be found in the Duc de Broglie's "Secret of the King,"
vol. ii., chaps. vi. and g., and at p. 89, vol. ii. of that
work, where the Duke refers to the letter of most dubious
authenticity spoken of by Madame Campan. The following details will
be sufficient for these memoirs: The Chevalier Charles d'Eon de
Beaumont (who was born in 1728) was an ex-captain of dragoons,
employed in both the open and secret diplomacy of Louis XV. When at
the embassy in London he quarrelled with the ambassador, his
superior, the Comte de Guerchy (Marquis do Nangis), and used his
possession of papers concerning the secret diplomacy to shield
himself. It was when hiding in London, in 1765, on account of this
business, that he seems first to have assumed woman's dress, which
he retained apparently chiefly from love of notoriety. In 1775 a
formal agreement with the French Court, made by the instrumentality
of Beaumarchais, of all people in the world, permitted him to return
to France, retaining the dress of a woman. He went back to France,
but again came to England, and died there, at his residence in
Millman Street, near the Foundling Hospital, May 22, 1710. He had
been a brave and distinguished officer, but his form and a certain
coldness of temperament always remarked in him assisted him in his
assumption of another sex. There appears to be no truth in the
story of his proceedings at the Russian Court, and his appearing in
female attire was a surprise to those who must have known of any
earlier affair of the sort.]

At last, the event so long desired by the Queen, and by all those who
wished her well, took place; her Majesty became enceinte. The King was
in ecstasies. Never was there a more united or happier couple. The
disposition of Louis XVI. entirely altered, and became prepossessing and
conciliatory; and the Queen was amply compensated for the uneasiness
which the King's indifference during the early part of their union had
caused her.

The summer of 1778 was extremely hot. July and August passed, but the
air was not cooled by a single storm. The Queen spent whole days in
close rooms, and could not sleep until she had breathed the fresh night
air, walking with the Princesses and her brothers upon the terrace under
her apartments. These promenades at first gave rise to no remark; but it
occurred to some of the party to enjoy the music of wind instruments
during these fine summer nights. The musicians belonging to the chapel
were ordered to perform pieces suited to instruments of that description,
upon steps constructed in the middle of the garden. The Queen, seated on
one of the terrace benches, enjoyed the effect of this music, surrounded
by all the royal family with the exception of the King, who joined them
but, twice, disliking to change his hour of going to bed.

Nothing could be more innocent than these parties; yet Paris, France,
nay, all Europe, were soon canvassing them in a manner most
disadvantageous to the reputation of Marie Antoinette. It is true that
all the inhabitants of Versailles enjoyed these serenades, and that there
was a crowd near the spot from eleven at night until two or three in the
morning. The windows of the ground floor occupied by Monsieur and Madame
--[The wife of Monsieur, the Comte de Provence.]-- were kept open, and
the terrace was perfectly well lighted by the numerous wax candles
burning in the two apartments. Lamps were likewise placed in the garden,
and the lights of the orchestra illuminated the rest of the place.

I do not know whether a few incautious women might not have ventured
farther, and wandered to the bottom of the park; it may have been so; but
the Queen, Madame, and the Comtesse d'Artois were always arm-in-arm, and
never left the terrace. The Princesses were not remarkable when seated
on the benches, being dressed in cambric muslin gowns, with large straw
hats and muslin veils, a costume universally adopted by women at that
time; but when standing up their different figures always distinguished
them; and the persons present stood on one side to let them pass. It is
true that when they seated themselves upon the benches private
individuals would sometimes, to their great amusement, sit down by
their side.

A young clerk in the War Department, either not knowing or pretending not
to know the Queen, spoke to her of the beauty of the night, and the
delightful effect of the music. The Queen, fancying she was not
recognised, amused herself by keeping up the incognito, and they talked
of several private families of Versailles, consisting of persons
belonging to the King's household or her own. After a few minutes the
Queen and Princesses rose to walk, and on leaving the bench curtsied to
the clerk. The young man knowing, or having subsequently discovered,
that he had been conversing with the Queen, boasted of it in his office.
He was merely, desired to hold his tongue; and so little attention did he
excite that the Revolution found him still only a clerk.

Another evening one of Monsieur's body-guard seated himself near the
Princesses, and, knowing them, left the place where he was sitting, and
placed himself before the Queen, to tell her that he was very fortunate
in being able to seize an opportunity of imploring the kindness of his
sovereign; that he was "soliciting at Court"--at the word soliciting the
Queen and Princesses rose hastily and withdrew into Madame's apartment.--
[Soulavie has most criminally perverted these two facts.-MADAME CAMPAN.]-
I was at the Queen's residence that day. She talked of this little
occurrence all the time of her 'coucher'; though she only complained that
one of Monsieur's guards should have had the effrontery to speak to her.
Her Majesty added that he ought to have respected her incognito; and that
that was not the place where he should have ventured to make a request.
Madame had recognised him, and talked of making a complaint to his
captain; the Queen opposed it, attributing his error to his ignorance and
provincial origin.

The most scandalous libels were based on these two insignificant
occurrences, which I have related with scrupulous exactness. Nothing
could be more false than those calumnies. It must be confessed, however,
that such meetings were liable to ill consequences. I ventured to say as
much to the Queen, and informed her that one evening, when her Majesty
beckoned to me to go and speak to her, I thought I recognised on the
bench on which she was sitting two women deeply veiled, and keeping
profound silence; that those women were the Comtesse du Barry and her
sister-in-law; and that my suspicions were confirmed, when, at a few
paces from the seat, and nearer to her Majesty, I met a tall footman
belonging to Madame du Barry, whom I had seen in her service all the time
she resided at Court.

My advice was disregarded. Misled by the pleasure she found in these
promenades, and secure in the consciousness of blameless conduct, the
Queen would not see the lamentable results which must necessarily follow.
This was very unfortunate; for besides the mortifications they brought
upon her, it is highly probable that they prompted the vile plot which
gave rise to the Cardinal de Rohan's fatal error.

Having enjoyed these evening promenades about a month, the Queen ordered
a private concert within the colonnade which contained the group of Pluto
and Proserpine. Sentinels were placed at all the entrances, and ordered
to admit within the colonnade only such persons as should produce tickets
signed by my father-in-law. A fine concert was performed there by the
musicians of the chapel and the female musicians belonging to the.
Queen's chamber. The Queen went with Mesdames de Polignac, de Chalon,
and d'Andlau, and Messieurs de Polignac, de Coigny, de Besenval, and de
Vaudreuil; there were also a few equerries present. Her Majesty gave me
permission to attend the concert with some of my female relations. There
was no music upon the terrace. The crowd of inquisitive people, whom the
sentinels kept at a distance from the enclosure of the colonnade, went
away highly discontented; the small number of persons admitted no doubt
occasioned jealousy, and gave rise to offensive comments which were
caught up by the public with avidity. I do not pretend to apologise for
the kind of amusements with which the Queen indulged herself during this
and the following summer; the consequences were so lamentable that the
error was no doubt very great; but what I have said respecting the
character of these promenades may be relied on as true.

When the season for evening walks was at an end, odious couplets were
circulated in Paris; the 'Queen was treated in them in the most insulting
manner; her situation ranked among her enemies persons attached to the
only prince who for several years had appeared likely to give heirs to
the crown. People uttered the most inconsiderate language; and those
improper conversations took place in societies wherein the imminent
danger of violating to so criminal an extent both truth and the respect
due to sovereigns ought to have been better understood. A few days
before the Queen's confinement a whole volume of manuscript songs,
concerning her and all the ladies about her remarkable for rank or
station was, thrown down in the oiel-de-boeuf.--[A large room at
Versailles lighted by a bull's-eye window, and used as a waiting-room.]--
This manuscript was immediately put into the hands of the King, who was
highly incensed at it, and said that he had himself been at those
promenades; that he had seen nothing connected with them but what was
perfectly harmless; that such songs would disturb the harmony of twenty
families in the Court and city; that it was a capital crime to have made
any against the Queen herself; and that he wished the author of the
infamous libels to be discovered and punished. A fortnight afterwards it
was known publicly that the verses were by M. Champcenetz de Riquebourg,
who was not even reprimanded.

[The author of a great many songs, some of which are very well
written. Lively and satirical by nature, he did not lose either his
cheerfulness or his carelessness before the revolutionary tribunal.
After hearing his own sentence read, he asked his judges if he might
not be allowed to find a substitute.--MADAME CAMPAN.]

I knew for a certainty that the King spoke to M. de Maurepas, before two
of his most confidential servants, respecting the risk which he saw the
Queen ran from these night walks upon the terrace of Versailles, which
the public ventured to censure thus openly, and that the old minister had
the cruelty to advise that she should be suffered to go on; she possessed
talent; her friends were very ambitious, and longed to see her take a
part in public affairs; and to let her acquire the reputation of levity
would do no harm. M. de Vergennes was as hostile to the Queen's
influence as M. de Maurepas. It may therefore be fairly presumed, since
the Prime Minister durst point out to his King an advantage to be gained
by the Queen's discrediting herself, that he and M. de Vergennes employed
all means within the reach of powerful ministers in order to ruin her in
the opinion of the public.

The Queen's accouchement approached; Te Deums were sung and prayers
offered up in all the cathedrals. On the 11th of December, 1778, the
royal family, the Princes of the blood, and the great officers of State
passed the night in the rooms adjoining the Queen's bedchamber. Madame,
the King's daughter, came into the world before mid-day on the 19th of
December.--[Marie Therese Charlotte (1778-1861), Madame Royale; married
in 1799 Louis, Duc d'Angouleme, eldest son of the Comte d'Artois.]--
The etiquette of allowing all persons indiscriminately to enter at the
moment of the delivery of a queen was observed with such exaggeration
that when the accoucheur said aloud, "La Reine va s'accoucher," the
persons who poured into the chamber were so numerous that the rush nearly
destroyed the Queen. During the night the King had taken the precaution
to have the enormous tapestry screens which surrounded her Majesty's bed
secured with cords; but for this they certainly would have been thrown
down upon her. It was impossible to move about the chamber, which was
filled with so motley a crowd that one might have fancied himself in some
place of public amusement. Two Savoyards got upon the furniture for a
better sight of the Queen, who was placed opposite the fireplace.

The noise and the sex of the infant, with which the Queen was made
acquainted by a signal previously agreed on, as it is said, with the
Princesse do Lamballe, or some error of the accoucheur, brought on
symptoms which threatened fatal consequences; the accoucheur exclaimed,
"Give her air--warm water--she must be bled in the foot!" The windows
were stopped up; the King opened them with a strength which his affection
for the Queen gave him at the moment. They were of great height, and
pasted over with strips of paper all round. The basin of hot water not
being brought quickly enough, the accoucheur desired the chief surgeon to
use his lancet without waiting for it. He did so; the blood streamed out
freely, and the Queen opened her eyes. The Princesse de Lamballe was
carried through the crowd in a state of insensibility. The valets de
chambre and pages dragged out by the collar such inconsiderate persons as
would not leave the room. This cruel custom was abolished afterwards.
The Princes of the family, the Princes of the blood, the chancellor, and
the ministers are surely sufficient to attest the legitimacy of an
hereditary prince. The Queen was snatched from the very jaws of death;
she was not conscious of having been bled, and on being replaced in bed
asked why she had a linen bandage upon her foot.

The delight which succeeded the moment of fear was equally lively and
sincere. We were all embracing each other, and shedding tears of joy.
The Comte d'Esterhazy and the Prince de Poix, to whom I was the first to
announce that the Queen was restored to life, embraced me in the midst of
the cabinet of nobles. We little imagined, in our happiness at her
escape from death, for how much more terrible a fate our beloved Princess
was reserved.

NOTE. The two following specimens of the Emperor Joseph's correspondence
forcibly demonstrate the vigour, shrewdness, and originality of his mind,
and complete the portrait left of him by Madame Campan.

Few sovereigns have given their reasons for refusing appointments with
the fullness and point of the following letter

To a Lady.

MADAM.--I do not think that it is amongst the duties of a monarch to
grant places to one of his subjects merely because he is a gentleman.
That, however, is the inference from the request you have made to me.
Your late husband was, you say, a distinguished general, a gentleman of
good family, and thence you conclude that my kindness to your family can
do no less than give a company of foot to your second son, lately
returned from his travels.

Madam, a man may be the son of a general and yet have no talent for
command. A man may be of a good family and yet possess no other merit
than that which he owes to chance,--the name of gentleman.

I know your son, and I know what makes the soldier; and this twofold
knowledge convinces me that your son has not the disposition of a
warrior, and that he is too full of his birth to leave the country a hope
of his ever rendering it any important service.

What you are to be pitied for, madam, is, that your son is not fit either
for an officer, a statesman or a priest; in a word, that he is nothing
more than a gentleman in the most extended acceptation of the word.

You may be thankful to that destiny, which, in refusing talents to your
son, has taken care to put him in possession of great wealth, which will
sufficiently compensate him for other deficiencies, and enable him at the
same time to dispense with any favour from me.

I hope you will be impartial enough to see the reasons which prompt me to
refuse your request. It may be disagreeable to you, but I consider it
necessary. Farewell, madam.--Your sincere well-wisher,
LACHSENBURG, 4th August, 1787.

The application of another anxious and somewhat covetous mother was
answered with still more decision and irony:

To a Lady.

MADAM.--You know my disposition; you are not ignorant that the society of
the ladies is to me a mere recreation, and that I have never sacrificed
my principles to the fair sex. I pay but little attention to
recommendations, and I only take them into consideration when the person
in whose behalf I may be solicited possesses real merit.

Two of your sons are already loaded with favours. The eldest, who is not
yet twenty, is chief of a squadron in my army, and the younger has
obtained a canonry at Cologne, from the Elector, my brother. What would
you have more? Would you have the first a general and the second a

In France you may see colonels in leading-strings, and in Spain the royal
princes command armies even at eighteen; hence Prince Stahremberg forced
them to retreat so often that they were never able all the rest of their
lives to comprehend any other manoeuvre.

It is necessary to be sincere at Court, and severe in the field, stoical
without obduracy, magnanimous without weakness, and to gain the esteem of
our enemies by the justice of our actions; and this, madam, is what I aim
VIENNA, September, 1787.

(From the inedited Letters of Joseph IL, published at Paris, by Persan,


During the alarm for the life of the Queen, regret at not possessing an
heir to the throne was not even thought of. The King himself was wholly
occupied with the care of preserving an adored wife. The young Princess
was presented to her mother. "Poor little one," said the Queen, "you
were not wished for, but you are not on that account less dear to me. A
son would have been rather the property of the State. You shall be mine;
you shall have my undivided care, shall share all my happiness, and
console me in all my troubles."

The King despatched a courier to Paris, and wrote letters himself to
Vienna, by the Queen's bedside; and part of the rejoicings ordered took
place in the capital.

A great number of attendants watched near the Queen during the first
nights of her confinement. This custom distressed her; she knew how to
feel for others, and ordered large armchairs for her women, the backs of
which were capable of being let down by springs, and which served
perfectly well instead of beds.

M. de Lassone, the chief physician, the chief surgeon, the chief
apothecary, the principal officers of the buttery, etc., were likewise
nine nights without going to bed. The royal children were watched for a
long time, and one of the women on duty remained, nightly, up and
dressed, during the first three years from their birth.

The Queen made her entry into Paris for the churching. One hundred
maidens were portioned and married at Notre-Dame. There were few popular
acclamations, but her Majesty was perfectly well received at the Opera.

A few days after the Queen's recovery from her confinement, the Cure of
the Magdelaine de la City at Paris wrote to M. Campan and requested a
private interview with him; it was to desire he would deliver into the
hands of the Queen a little box containing her wedding ring, with this
note written by the Cure: "I have received under the seal of confession
the ring which I send to your Majesty; with an avowal that it was stolen
from you in 1771, in order to be used in sorceries, to prevent your
having any children." On seeing her ring again the Queen said that she
had in fact lost it about seven years before, while washing her hands,
and that she had resolved to use no endeavour to discover the
superstitious woman who had done her the injury.

The Queen's attachment to the Comtesse Jules increased every day; she
went frequently to her house at Paris, and even took up her own abode at
the Chateau de la Muette to be nearer during her confinement. She
married Mademoiselle de Polignac, when scarcely thirteen years of age, to
M. de Grammont, who, on account of this marriage, was made Duc de Guiche,
and captain of the King's Guards, in reversion after the Duc de Villeroi.
The Duchesse de Civrac, Madame Victoire's dame d'honneur, had been
promised the place for the Duc de Lorges, her son. The number of
discontented families at Court increased.

The title of favourite was too openly given to the Comtesse Jules by her
friends. The lot of the favourite of a queen is not, in France, a happy
one; the favourites of kings are treated, out of gallantry, with much
greater indulgence.

A short time after the birth of Madame the Queen became again enceinte;
she had mentioned it only to the King, to her physician, and to a few
persons honoured with her intimate confidence, when, having overexerted
her strength in pulling lip one of the glasses of her carriage, she felt
that she had hurt herself, and eight days afterwards she miscarried. The
King spent the whole morning at her bedside, consoling her, and
manifesting the tenderest concern for her. The Queen wept exceedingly;
the King took her affectionately in his arms, and mingled his tears with
hers. The King enjoined silence among the small number of persons who
were informed of this unfortunate occurrence; and it remained generally
unknown. These particulars furnish an accurate idea of the manner in
which this august couple lived together.

The Empress Maria Theresa did not enjoy the happiness of seeing her
daughter give an heir to the crown of France. That illustrious Princess
died at the close of 1780, after having proved by her example that, as in
the instance of Queen Blanche, the talents of a sovereign might be
blended with the virtues of a pious princess. The King was deeply
affected at the death of the Empress; and on the arrival of the courier
from Vienna said that he could not bring himself to afflict the Queen by
informing her of an event which grieved even him so much. His Majesty
thought the Abbe de Vermond, who had possessed the confidence of Maria
Theresa during his stay at Vienna, the most proper person to discharge
this painful duty. He sent his first valet de chambre, M. de Chamilly,
to the Abbe on the evening of the day he received the despatches from
Vienna, to order him to come the next day to the Queen before her
breakfast hour, to acquit himself discreetly of the afflicting commission
with which he was charged, and to let his Majesty know the moment of his
entering the Queen's chamber. It was the King's intention to be there
precisely a quarter of an hour after him, and he was punctual to his
time; he was announced; the Abbe came out; and his Majesty said to him,
as he drew up at the door to let him pass, "I thank you, Monsieur l'Abbe,
for the service you have just done me." This was the only time during
nineteen years that the King spoke to him.

Within an hour after learning the event the Queen put on temporary
mourning, while waiting until her Court mourning should be ready; she
kept herself shut up in her apartments for several days; went out only to
mass; saw none but the royal family; and received none but the Princesse
de Lamballe and the Duchesse de Polignac. She talked incessantly of the
courage, the misfortunes, the successes, and the virtues of her mother.
The shroud and dress in which Maria Theresa was to be buried, made
entirely by her own hands, were found ready prepared in one of her
closets. She often regretted that the numerous duties of her august
mother had prevented her from watching in person over the education of
her daughters; and modestly said that she herself would have been more
worthy if she had had the good fortune to receive lessons directly from a
sovereign so enlightened and so deserving of admiration.

The Queen told me one day that her mother was left a widow at an age when
her beauty was yet striking; that she was secretly informed of a plot
laid by her three principal ministers to make themselves agreeable to
her; of a compact made between them, that the losers should not feel any
jealousy towards him who should be fortunate enough to gain his
sovereign's heart; and that they had sworn that the successful one should
be always the friend of the other two. The Empress being assured of this
scheme, one day after the breaking up of the council over which she had
presided, turned the conversation upon the subject of female sovereigns,
and the duties of their sex and rank; and then applying her general
reflections to herself in particular, told them that she hoped to guard
herself all her life against weaknesses of the heart; but that if ever an
irresistible feeling should make her alter her resolution, it should be
only in favour of a man proof against ambition, not engaged in State
affairs, but attached only to a private life and its calm enjoyments,--in
a word, if her heart should betray her so far as to lead her to love a
man invested with any important office, from the moment he should
discover her sentiments he would forfeit his place and his influence with
the public. This was sufficient; the three ministers, more ambitious
than amorous, gave up their projects for ever.

On the 22d of October, 1781, the Queen gave birth to a Dauphin.--
[The first Dauphin, Louis, born 1781, died 1789.]--So deep a silence
prevailed in the room that the Queen thought her child was a daughter;
but after the Keeper of the Seals had declared the sex of the infant, the
King went up to the Queen's bed, and said to her, "Madame, you have
fulfilled my wishes and those of France:, you are the mother of a
Dauphin." The King's joy was boundless; tears streamed from his eyes; he
gave his hand to every one present; and his happiness carried away his
habitual reserve. Cheerful and affable, he was incessantly taking
occasion to introduce the words, "my son," or "the Dauphin." As soon as
the Queen was in bed, she wished to see the long-looked-for infant. The
Princesse de Guemenee brought him to her. The Queen said there was no
need for commending him to the Princess, but in order to enable her to
attend to him more freely, she would herself share the care of the
education of her daughter. When the Dauphin was settled in his
apartment, he received the customary homages and visits. The Duc
d'Angouleme, meeting his father at the entrance of the Dauphin's
apartment, said to him, "Oh, papa! how little my cousin is!"--"The day
will come when you will think him great enough, my dear," answered the
Prince, almost involuntarily.--[Eldest son of the Comte d'Artois, and
till the birth of the Dauphin with near prospects of the succession.]

The birth of the Dauphin appeared to give joy to all classes. Men
stopped one another in the streets, spoke without being acquainted,
and those who were acquainted embraced each other. In the birth of a
legitimate heir to the sovereign every man beholds a pledge of prosperity
and tranquillity .

[M. Merard de Saint Just made a quatrain on the birth of the Dauphin
to the following effect:

"This infant Prince our hopes are centred in,
will doubtless make us happy, rich, and free;
And since with somebody he must begin,
My fervent prayer is--that it may be me!"


The rejoicings were splendid and ingenious. The artificers and tradesmen
of Paris spent considerable sums in order to go to Versailles in a body,
with their various insignia. Almost every troop had music with it. When
they arrived at the court of the palace, they there arranged themselves
so as to present a most interesting living picture. Chimney-sweepers,
quite as well dressed as those that appear upon the stage, carried an
ornamented chimney, at the top of which was perched one of the smallest
of their fraternity. The chairmen carried a sedan highly gilt, in which
were to be seen a handsome nurse and a little Dauphin. The butchers made
their appearance with their fat ox. Cooks, masons, blacksmiths, all
trades were on the alert. The smiths hammered away upon an anvil, the
shoemakers finished off a little pair of boots for the Dauphin, and the
tailors a little suit of the uniform of his regiment. The King remained
a long time upon a balcony to enjoy the sight. The whole Court was
delighted with it. So general was the enthusiasm that (the police not
having carefully examined the procession) the grave-diggers had the
imprudence to send their deputation also, with the emblematic devices of
their ill-omened occupation. They were met by the Princesse Sophie, the
King's aunt, who was thrilled with horror at the sight, and entreated the
King to have the audacious, fellows driven out of the procession, which
was then drawing up on the terrace.

The 'dames de la halle' came to congratulate the Queen, and were received
with the suitable ceremonies.

Fifty of them appeared dressed in black silk gowns, the established full
dress of their order, and almost all wore diamonds. The Princesse de
Chimay went to the door of the Queen's bedroom to receive three of these
ladies, who were led up to the Queen's bed. One of them addressed her
Majesty in a speech written by M. de la Harpe. It was set down on the
inside of a fan, to which the speaker repeatedly referred, but without
any embarrassment. She was handsome, and had a remarkably fine voice.
The Queen was affected by the address, and answered it with great
affability,--wishing a distinction to be made between these women and the
poissardes, who always left a disagreeable impression on her mind.

The King ordered a substantial repast for all these women. One of his
Majesty's maitres d'hotel, wearing his hat, sat as president and did the
honours of the table. The public were admitted, and numbers of people
had the curiosity to go.

The Garden-du-Corps obtained the King's permission to give the Queen a
dress ball in the great hall of the Opera at Versailles. Her Majesty
opened the ball in a minuet with a private selected by the corps, to whom
the King granted the baton of an exempt. The fete was most splendid.
All then was joy, happiness, and peace.

The Dauphin was a year old when the Prince de Guemenee's bankruptcy
compelled the Princess, his wife, who was governess to the children of
France, to resign her situation.

The Queen was at La Muette for the inoculation of her daughter. She sent
for me, and condescended to say she wished to converse with me about a
scheme which delighted her, but in the execution of which she foresaw
some inconveniences. Her plan was to appoint the Duchesse de Polignac to
the office lately held by the Princesse de Guemenee. She saw with
extreme pleasure the facilities which this appointment would give her for
superintending the education of her children, without running any risk of
hurting the pride of the governess; and that it would bring together the
objects of her warmest affections, her children and her friend. "The
friends of the Duchesse de Polignac," continued the Queen, "will be
gratified by the splendour and importance conferred by the employment.
As to the Duchess, I know her; the place by no means suits her simple and
quiet habits, nor the sort of indolence of her disposition. She will
give me the greatest possible proof of her devotion if she yields to my
wish." The Queen also spoke of the Princesse de Chimay and the Duchesse
de Duras, whom the public pointed out as fit for the post; but she
thought the Princesse de Chimay's piety too rigid; and as to the Duchesse
de Duras, her wit and learning quite frightened her. What the Queen
dreaded as the consequence of her selection of the Duchesse de Polignac
was principally the jealousy of the courtiers; but she showed so lively a
desire to see her scheme executed that I had no doubt she would soon set
at naught all the obstacles she discovered. I was not mistaken; a few
days afterwards the Duchess was appointed governess.

The Queen's object in sending for me was no doubt to furnish me with the
means of explaining the feelings which induced her to prefer a governess
disposed by friendship to suffer her to enjoy all the privileges of a
mother. Her Majesty knew that I saw a great deal of company.

The Queen frequently dined with the Duchess after having been present at
the King's private dinner. Sixty-one thousand francs were therefore
added to the salary of the governess as a compensation for this increase
of expense.

The Queen was tired of the excursions to Marly, and had no great
difficulty in setting the King against them. He did not like the expense
of them, for everybody was entertained there gratis. Louis XIV. had
established a kind of parade upon these excursions, differing from that
of Versailles, but still more annoying. Card and supper parties occurred
every day, and required much dress. On Sundays and holidays the
fountains played, the people were admitted into the gardens, and there
was as great a crowd as at the fetes of St. Cloud.

Every age has its peculiar colouring; Marly showed that of Louis XIV.
even more than Versailles. Everything in the former place appeared to
have been produced by the magic power of a fairy's wand. Not the
slightest trace of all this splendour remains; the revolutionary spoilers
even tore up the pipes which served to supply the fountains. Perhaps a
brief description of this palace and the usages established there by
Louis XIV. may be acceptable.

The very extensive gardens of Marly ascended almost imperceptibly to the
Pavilion of the Sun., which was occupied only by the King and his family.
The pavilions of the twelve zodiacal signs bounded the two sides of the
lawn. They were connected by bowers impervious to the rays of the sun.
The pavilions nearest to that of the sun were reserved for the Princes of
the blood and the ministers; the rest were occupied by persons holding
superior offices at Court, or invited to stay at Marly. Each pavilion
was named after fresco paintings, which covered its walls, and which had
been executed by the most celebrated artists of the age of Louis XIV.
On a line with the upper pavilion there was on the left a chapel; on the
right a pavilion called La Perspective, which concealed along suite of
offices, containing a hundred lodging-rooms intended for the persons
belonging to the service of the Court, kitchens, and spacious dining-
rooms, in which more than thirty tables were splendidly laid out.

During half of Louis XV.'s reign the ladies still wore the habit de cour
de Marly, so named by Louis XIV., and which differed little from, that
devised for Versailles. The French gown, gathered in the back, and with
great hoops, replaced this dress, and continued to be worn till the end
of the reign of Louis XVI. The diamonds, feathers, rouge, and
embroidered stuffs spangled with gold, effaced all trace of a rural
residence; but the people loved to see the splendour of their sovereign
and a brilliant Court glittering in the shades of the woods.

After dinner, and before the hour for cards, the Queen, the Princesses,
and their ladies, paraded among the clumps of trees, in little carriages,
beneath canopies richly embroidered with gold, drawn by men in the King's
livery. The trees planted by Louis XIV. were of prodigious height,
which, however, was surpassed in several of the groups by fountains of
the clearest water; while, among others, cascades over white marble, the
waters of which, met by the sunbeams, looked like draperies of silver
gauze, formed a contrast to the solemn darkness of the groves.

In the evening nothing more was necessary for any well-dressed man to
procure admission to the Queen's card parties than to be named and
presented, by some officer of the Court, to the gentleman usher of the
card-room. This room, which was very, large, and of octagonal shape,
rose to the top of the Italian roof, and terminated in a cupola furnished
with balconies, in which ladies who had not been presented easily
obtained leave to place themselves, and enjoy, the sight of the brilliant

Though not of the number of persons belonging to the Court, gentlemen
admitted into this salon might request one of the ladies seated with the
Queen at lansquenet or faro to bet upon her cards with such gold or notes
as they presented to her. Rich people and the gamblers of Paris did not
miss one of the evenings at the Marly salon, and there were always
considerable sums won and lost. Louis XVI. hated high play, and very
often showed displeasure when the loss of large sums was mentioned. The
fashion of wearing a black coat without being in mourning had not then
been introduced, and the King gave a few of his 'coups de boutoir' to
certain chevaliers de St. Louis, dressed in this manner, who came to
venture two or three louis, in the hope that fortune would favour the
handsome duchesses who deigned to place them on their cards.

[Bachaumont in his "Memoirs," (tome xii., p. 189), which are often
satirical; and always somewhat questionable, speaks of the singular
precautions taken at play at Court. "The bankers at the Queen's
table," says he, "in order to prevent the mistakes [I soften the
harshness of his expression] which daily happen, have obtained
permission from her Majesty that before beginning to play the table
shall be bordered by a ribbon entirely round it, and that no other
money than that upon the cards beyond the ribbon shall be considered
as staked."--NOTE By THE EDITOR.]

Singular contrasts are often seen amidst the grandeur of courts. In
order to manage such high play at the Queen's faro table, it was
necessary to have a banker provided with large, sums of money; and this
necessity placed at the table, to which none but the highest titled
persons were admitted in general, not only M. de Chalabre, who was its
banker, but also a retired captain of foot, who officiated as his second.
A word, trivial, but perfectly appropriate to express the manner in which
the Court was attended there, was often heard. Gentlemen presented at
Court, who had not been invited to stay at Marly, came there
notwithstanding, as they did to Versailles, and returned again to Paris;
under such circumstances, it was said such a one had been to Marly only
'en polisson';--[A contemptuous expression, meaning literally "as a
scamp" or "rascal"]--and it appeared odd to hear a captivating marquis,
in answer to the inquiry whether he was of the royal party at Marly, say,
"No, I am only here 'en polisson'," meaning simply "I am here on the
footing of all those whose nobility is of a later date than 1400." The
Marly excursions were exceedingly expensive to the King. Besides the
superior tables, those of the almoners, equerries, maitres d'hotel, etc.,
were all supplied with such a degree of magnificence as to allow of
inviting strangers to them; and almost all the visitors from Paris were
boarded at the expense of the Court.

The personal frugality of the unfortunate Prince who sank beneath the
weight of the national debts thus favoured the Queen's predilection for
her Petit Trianon; and for five or six years preceding the Revolution the
Court very seldom visited Marly.

The King, always attentive to the comfort of his family, gave Mesdames,
his aunts, the use of the Chateau de Bellevue, and afterwards purchased
the Princesse de Guemenee's house, at the entrance to Paris, for
Elisabeth. The Comtesse de Provence bought a small house at Montreuil;
Monsieur already had Brunoy; the Comtesse d'Artois built Bagatelle;
Versailles became, in the estimation of all the royal family, the least
agreeable of residences. They only fancied themselves at home in the
plainest houses, surrounded by English gardens, where they better enjoyed
the beauties of nature. The taste for cascades and statues was entirely

The Queen occasionally remained a whole month at Petit Trianon, and had
established there all the ways of life in a chateau. She entered the
sitting-room without driving the ladies from their pianoforte or
embroidery. The gentlemen continued their billiards or backgammon
without suffering her presence to interrupt them. There was but little
room in the small Chateau of Trianon. Madame Elisabeth accompanied the
Queen there, but the ladies of honour and ladies of the palace had no
establishment at Trianon. When invited by the Queen, they came from
Versailles to dinner. The King and Princes came regularly to sup. A
white gown, a gauze kerchief, and a straw hat were the uniform dress of
the Princesses.

[The extreme simplicity of the Queen's toilet began to be strongly
censured, at first among the courtiers, and afterwards throughout
the kingdom; and through one of those inconsistencies more common in
France than elsewhere, while the Queen was blamed, she was blindly
imitated. There was not a woman but would have the same undress,
the same cap, and the same feathers as she had been seen to wear.
They crowded to Mademoiselle Bertin, her milliner; there was an
absolute revolution in the dress of our ladies, which gave
importance to that woman. Long trains, and all those fashions which
confer a certain nobility on dress, were discarded; and at last a
duchess could not be distinguished from an actress. The men caught
the mania; the upper classes had long before given up to their
lackeys feathers, tufts of ribbon, and laced hats. They now got rid
of red heels and embroidery; and walked about our streets in plain
cloth, short thick shoes, and with knotty cudgels in their hands.
Many humiliating scrapes were the consequence of this metamorphosis.
Bearing no mark to distinguish them from the common herd, some of
the lowest classes got into quarrels with them, in which the nobles
had not always the best of it.--MONTJOIE, "History of Marie

Examining all the manufactories of the hamlet, seeing the cows milked,
and fishing in the lake delighted the Queen; and every year she showed
increased aversion to the pompous excursions to Marly.

The idea of acting comedies, as was then done in almost all country
houses, followed on the Queen's wish to live at Trianon without ceremony.

[The Queen got through the characters she assumed indifferently
enough; she could hardly be ignorant of this, as her performances
evidently excited little pleasure. Indeed, one day while she was
thus exhibiting, somebody ventured to say, by no means inaudibly,
"well, this is royally ill played!" The lesson was thrown away upon
her, for never did she sacrifice to the opinion of another that
which she thought permissible. When she was told that her extreme
plainness in dress, the nature of her amusements, and her dislike to
that splendour which ought always to attend a Queen, had an
appearance of levity, which was misinterpreted by a portion of the
public, she replied with Madame de Maintenon: "I am upon the stage,
and of course I shall be either hissed or applauded." Louis XIV.
had a similar taste; he danced upon the stage; but he had shown by
brilliant actions that he knew how to enforce respect; and besides,
he unhesitatingly gave up the amusement from the moment he heard
those beautiful lines in which Racine pointed out how very unworthy
of him such pastimes were.--MONTJOIE, "History of Marie

It was agreed that no young man except the Comte d'Artois should be
admitted into the company of performers, and that the audience should
consist only of the King, Monsieur, and the Princesses, who did not play;
but in order to stimulate the actors a little, the first boxes were to be
occupied by the readers, the Queen's ladies, their sisters and daughters,
making altogether about forty persons.

The Queen laughed heartily at the voice of M. d'Adhemar, formerly a very
fine one, but latterly become rather tremulous. His shepherd's dress in
Colin, in the "Devin du Village," contrasted very ridiculously with his
time of life, and the Queen said it would be difficult for malevolence
itself to find anything to criticise in the choice of such a lover.
The King was highly amused with these plays, and was present at every
performance. Caillot, a celebrated actor, who had long quitted the
stage, and Dazincourt, both of acknowledged good character, were selected
to give lessons, the first in comic opera, of which the easier sorts were
preferred, and the second in comedy. The office of hearer of rehearsals,
prompter, and stage manager was given to my father-in-law. The Duc de
Fronsac, first gentleman of the chamber, was much hurt at this. He
thought himself called upon to make serious remonstrances upon the
subject, and wrote to the Queen, who made him the following answer: "You
cannot be first gentleman when we are the actors. Besides, I have
already intimated to you my determination respecting Trianon. I hold no
court there, I live like a private person, and M. Campan shall be always
employed to execute orders relative to the private fetes I choose to give
there." This not putting a stop to the Duke's remonstrances, the King
was obliged to interfere. The Duke continued obstinate, and insisted
that he was entitled to manage the private amusements as much as those
which were public. It became absolutely necessary to end the argument in
a positive manner.

The diminutive Duc de Fronsac never failed, when he came to pay his
respects to the Queen at her toilet, to turn the conversation upon
Trianon, in order to make some ironical remarks on my father-in-law, of
whom, from the time of his appointment, he always spoke as "my colleague
Campan." The Queen would shrug her shoulders, and say, when he was gone,
"It is quite shocking to find so little a man in the son of the Marechal
de Richelieu."

So long as no strangers were admitted to the performances they were but
little censured; but the praise obtained by the performers made them look
for a larger circle of admirers. The company, for a private company, was
good enough, and the acting was applauded to the skies; nevertheless, as
the audience withdrew, adverse criticisms were occasionally heard. The
Queen permitted the officers of the Body Guards and the equerries of the
King and Princes to be present at the plays. Private boxes were provided
for some of the people belonging to the Court; a few more ladies were
invited; and claims arose on all sides for the favour of admission. The
Queen refused to admit the officers of the body guards of the Princes,
the officers of the King's Cent Suisses, and many other persons, who were
highly mortified at the refusal.

While delight at having given an heir to the throne of the Bourbons, and
a succession of fetes and amusements, filled up the happy days of Marie
Antoinette, the public was engrossed by the Anglo-American war. Two
kings, or rather their ministers, planted and propagated the love of
liberty in the new world; the King of England, by shutting his ears and
his heart against the continued and respectful representations of
subjects at a distance from their native land, who had become numerous,
rich, and powerful, through the resources of the soil they had
fertilised; and the King of France, by giving support to this people in
rebellion against their ancient sovereign. Many young soldiers,
belonging to the first families of the country, followed La Fayette's
example, and forsook luxury, amusement, and love, to go and tender their
aid to the revolted Americans. Beaumarchais, secretly seconded by
Messieurs de Maurepas and de Vergennes, obtained permission to send out
supplies of arms and clothing. Franklin appeared at Court in the dress
of an American agriculturist. His unpowdered hair, his round hat, his
brown cloth coat formed a contrast to the laced and embroidered coats and


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