“Citizen President,” he said, “I ask you to point out to the accused that she has not responded to the facts related by Citizen Hebert, regarding what took place between her and her son.” So Herman put the question.
It was a dramatic moment, as all contemporary accounts, however hostile, agreed. Marie Antoinette’s marble composure deserted her. “If I have not replied,” she said in a tone quite changed from the politely indifferent one she had been using, “it is because Nature itself refuses to respond to such a charge laid against a mother.” The court record noted that here the accused appeared to be deeply moved. “I appeal to all the mothers who may be present,” she went on. A frisson went through the courtroom - a frisson of sympathy. As for the fickle market-women, some of them cried out in outrage that the proceedings ought to be stopped.
Marie Antoinette, The Journey - Antonia Fraser