Posts tagged 18th century
Posts tagged 18th century
The signatures of Louis Auguste (future Louis XVI) and Marie Antoinette on their marriage certificate. Marie Antoinette, unused to writing the new French version of her name, accidentally left an inkblot on the page.
The arrival of Marie-Antoinette in the forest of Compiègne; May 14th, 1770.
A portrait of Madame Elisabeth, sister of Louis XVI, by (or after) Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun.
Image credit: National Trust Collection
They [the royal family] are under inexpressible affliction and none more so than the King and Queen, who all along expressed apprehension of the load which [Louis XV’s] death would throw upon them and which their youth and inexperience made them so little able to bear. One of the Dauphin’s expressions was ‘It seems to me that the Universe will fall on me.’
—from the May 11, 1774 dispatch of Lord Stormont, the British ambassador to France in 1774.
On the evening of [the day Madame Elisabeth was executed] Robespierre entered, as he often did, the shop of Maret the bookseller, in the Palais Royal. … Maret [could not] … restrain his indignation. “They are murmuring, they are crying out against you,” he said. “What did Madame Elisabeth ever do? Why did you send to the scaffold this innocent, virtuous woman?”
“I assure you, my dear Maret,” replied Robespierre, “that far from being responsible for the death of Madame Elisabeth, I tried to save her. It was Collot d’Herbois who snatched her away from me.”
—Madame Elisabeth of France by Yvonne de la Vergne
The taper was extinguished. On this signal the Body Guards, pages, and equerries mounted on horseback, and all was ready for setting off. The Dauphin was with the Dauphiness. They were expecting together the intelligence of the death of Louis XV. A dreadful noise, absolutely like thunder, was heard in the outer apartment; it was the crowd of courtiers who were deserting the dead sovereign’s antechamber, to come and do homage to the new power of Louis XVI.
This extraordinary tumult informed Marie Antoinette and her husband that they were called to the throne; and, by a spontaneous movement, which deeply affected those around them, they threw themselves on their knees; both, pouring forth a flood of tears, exclaimed: “God! guide us, protect us; we are too young to reign!”
—the Memoirs of Madame Campan
Marie-Thérèse Charlotte on her final parting with her aunt, Madame Elisabeth, on May 9th, 1794:
… just as we were going to bed the bolts were withdrawn and some one knocked at our door. My aunt replied that she would put on her dress; they answered that she must not be so long, and they rapped so hard that we thought the door would burst in. She opened it when she was dressed.
They said to her: “Citoyenne, you will please come down.”
“And my niece?”
“We will attend to her later.”
My aunt kissed me and told me to be calm for she would soon return.
“No, citoyenne, you will not return,” they said to her; “take your cap and come down.” They loaded her then with insults and coarse speeches; she bore it all with patience, took her cap; kissed me again, and told me to have courage and firmness, to hope always in God, to practise the good principles of religion given me by my parents, and not to fail in the last instructions given to me by my father and by my mother.
Ambassador Mercy to Maria Theresa, 10 May 1774, on the death of Louis XV:
The King was already near death yesterday; he received the Last Rites in the evening and has breathed his last this afternoon.between three and four. He remained conscious and gave to the last every sign of a truly Christian penitence and piety.
image: (C) RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Gérard Blot