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67 notes


The day when we bade good-bye to our nurses, we also bade good-bye to childish things, and were handed over to tutors and governesses to be moulded into the most approved patterns of deportment. We were supposed never to question anything, but merely to become clever automata …
It was always the same; we were not educated, for ourselves, but merely to live in the eyes of the world; our young lives were sacrificed to position, and we were not supposed to possess any individuality or display any emotion.

—Archduchess Louise of Austria, ‘My Own Story.’
[image: Louise of Austria dressed as Marie Antoinette, via Internet Archive Book Images]

The day when we bade good-bye to our nurses, we also bade good-bye to childish things, and were handed over to tutors and governesses to be moulded into the most approved patterns of deportment. We were supposed never to question anything, but merely to become clever automata …

It was always the same; we were not educated, for ourselves, but merely to live in the eyes of the world; our young lives were sacrificed to position, and we were not supposed to possess any individuality or display any emotion.

—Archduchess Louise of Austria, ‘My Own Story.’

[image: Louise of Austria dressed as Marie Antoinette, via Internet Archive Book Images]

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54 notes


[The duchesse de Polignac] 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 Antoinette.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan
[image source: Social History of Art]

[The duchesse de Polignac] 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 Antoinette.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

[image source: Social History of Art]

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163 notes

We cannot reflect on the morality of mankind without contemplating with pleasure the picture of the simplicity which prevailed in the earliest times. This image may be justly compared to a beautiful coast, adorned only by the hands of nature; towards which our eyes are constantly turned, and which we see receding with regret.

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences

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41 notes


One of the customs most disagreeable to the Queen was that of dining every day in public. Maria Leczinska had always submitted to this wearisome practice; Marie Antoinette followed it as long as she was Dauphiness. The Dauphin dined with her, and each branch of the family had its public dinner daily. The ushers suffered all decently dressed people to enter; the sight was the delight of persons from the country. At the dinner-hour there were none to be met upon the stairs but honest folks, who, after having seen the Dauphiness take her soup, went to see the Princes eat their ‘bouilli’, and then ran themselves out of breath to behold Mesdames at their dessert.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan
[photo credit: (C) Château de Versailles, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Marc Manaï]

One of the customs most disagreeable to the Queen was that of dining every day in public. Maria Leczinska had always submitted to this wearisome practice; Marie Antoinette followed it as long as she was Dauphiness. The Dauphin dined with her, and each branch of the family had its public dinner daily. The ushers suffered all decently dressed people to enter; the sight was the delight of persons from the country. At the dinner-hour there were none to be met upon the stairs but honest folks, who, after having seen the Dauphiness take her soup, went to see the Princes eat their ‘bouilli’, and then ran themselves out of breath to behold Mesdames at their dessert.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

[photo credit: (C) Château de Versailles, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Marc Manaï]

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150 notes


[Marie Antoinette] had, among her women, young girls from the Maison de St. Cyr, all well born; the Queen forbade them the play when the performances were not suitable; sometimes, when old plays were to be represented, if she found she could not with certainty trust to her memory, she would take the trouble to read them in the morning, to enable her to decide whether the girls should or should not go to see them,—rightly considering herself bound to watch over their morals and conduct.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan
[image:  Salle de L’Opera at Versailles, via New York Public Library Digital Gallery]

[Marie Antoinette] had, among her women, young girls from the Maison de St. Cyr, all well born; the Queen forbade them the play when the performances were not suitable; sometimes, when old plays were to be represented, if she found she could not with certainty trust to her memory, she would take the trouble to read them in the morning, to enable her to decide whether the girls should or should not go to see them,—rightly considering herself bound to watch over their morals and conduct.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

[image:  Salle de L’Opera at Versailles, via New York Public Library Digital Gallery]

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40 notes

I had already felt a horrid hand thrust into my back to seize me by my clothes, when some one called out from the bottom of the staircase, “What are you doing above there? We don’t kill women.” I was on my knees; my executioner quitted his hold of me, and said, “Get up, you jade; the nation pardons you.”

The brutality of these words did not prevent my suddenly experiencing an indescribable feeling which partook almost equally of the love of life and the idea that I was going to see my son, and all that was dear to me, again. A moment before I had thought less of death than of the pain which the steel, suspended over my head, would occasion me. Death is seldom seen so close without striking his blow. I heard every syllable uttered by the assassins, just as if I had been calm.

Five or six men seized me and my companions, and, having made us get up on benches placed before the windows, ordered us to call out, “The nation for ever!”

the Memoirs of Madame Campan, on the assault on the Tuileries Palace of August 10th, 1792.

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