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38 notes

I was deeply affected by this loss that reminded me deeply in my heart [of many others]; yet at the same time it made me feel some consolation in that well-founded hope that she has joined everyone I mourn.

—an excerpt from a letter written by Marie Thérèse Charlotte de France, duchesse d’Angoulême, on the death of her aunt, Marie Joséphine de Savoie, who died on November 13th, 1810.

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35 notes


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 him.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

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 him.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

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58 notes

[Marie Antoinette’s] contempt of the vanities of etiquette became the pretext for the first reproaches levelled at the Queen. What misconduct might not be dreaded from a princess who could absolutely go out without a hoop! And who, in the salons of Trianon, instead of discussing the important rights to chairs and stools, good-naturedly invited everybody to be seated.
the memoirs of Madame Campan

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119 notes


One day I unintentionally threw [the comtesse de Noailles] into a terrible agony. The Queen was receiving I know not whom,—some persons just presented, I believe; the lady of honour, the Queen’s tirewoman, and the ladies of the bedchamber, were behind the Queen. I was near the throne, with the two women on duty. All was right,—at least I thought so.
Suddenly I perceived the eyes of Madame de Noailles fixed on mine. She made a sign with her head, and then raised her eyebrows to the top of her forehead, lowered them, raised them again, then began to make little signs with her hand. From all this pantomime, I could easily perceive that something was not as it should be; and as I looked about on all sides to find out what it was, the agitation of the Countess kept increasing.
The Queen, who perceived all this, looked at me with a smile; I found means to approach her Majesty, who said to me in a whisper, ‘Let down your lappets, or the Countess will expire.’ All this bustle arose from two unlucky pins which fastened up my lappets, whilst the etiquette of costume said ‘Lappets hanging down.’

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

One day I unintentionally threw [the comtesse de Noailles] into a terrible agony. The Queen was receiving I know not whom,—some persons just presented, I believe; the lady of honour, the Queen’s tirewoman, and the ladies of the bedchamber, were behind the Queen. I was near the throne, with the two women on duty. All was right,—at least I thought so.

Suddenly I perceived the eyes of Madame de Noailles fixed on mine. She made a sign with her head, and then raised her eyebrows to the top of her forehead, lowered them, raised them again, then began to make little signs with her hand. From all this pantomime, I could easily perceive that something was not as it should be; and as I looked about on all sides to find out what it was, the agitation of the Countess kept increasing.

The Queen, who perceived all this, looked at me with a smile; I found means to approach her Majesty, who said to me in a whisper, ‘Let down your lappets, or the Countess will expire.’ All this bustle arose from two unlucky pins which fastened up my lappets, whilst the etiquette of costume said ‘Lappets hanging down.’

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

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174 notes


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.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

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.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

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54 notes


May God watch over us! He has heavily laid his hand on this kingdom in a visible manner. Let us pray to him, my dear brother; he alone knows hearts, in him alone is our worthy hope. I have passed this Lent in asking him to look with pity upon us, and to arrange these matters in the family I love so much.
I have that so deeply at heart that I would consecrate my life to asking it on my two knees, if that would make me worthy of being heard. It is only God who can change our fate, make the vertigo of this nation (good at bottom) cease, and restore it to health and peace.
Adieu–what was it you asked me? how I pass my time? what are my occupations? whether I ride on horseback? whether I still go to Saint-Cyr? I scarcely dare for a whole year past to do my duties. I kiss you with all my heart.

—Madame Elisabeth to the comte d’Artois, 22 February 1792
[image: A portrait of Madame Elisabeth de France by  Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art]

May God watch over us! He has heavily laid his hand on this kingdom in a visible manner. Let us pray to him, my dear brother; he alone knows hearts, in him alone is our worthy hope. I have passed this Lent in asking him to look with pity upon us, and to arrange these matters in the family I love so much.

I have that so deeply at heart that I would consecrate my life to asking it on my two knees, if that would make me worthy of being heard. It is only God who can change our fate, make the vertigo of this nation (good at bottom) cease, and restore it to health and peace.

Adieu–what was it you asked me? how I pass my time? what are my occupations? whether I ride on horseback? whether I still go to Saint-Cyr? I scarcely dare for a whole year past to do my duties. I kiss you with all my heart.

—Madame Elisabeth to the comte d’Artois, 22 February 1792

[image: A portrait of Madame Elisabeth de France by  Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art]

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