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The Historic Court Memoirs of France, complete

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the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of September, 1792, all the prisoners at Paris, by
these massacres only gave the signal for the more diabolical machinations
which led to the destruction of the still more sacred victims of the 21st
of January, and the 16th of October, 1793, and the myriads who followed.

The King himself never had a doubt with regard to his ultimate fate.
His only wish was to make it the means of emancipation for the Queen and
Royal Family. It was his intention to appeal to the National Assembly
upon the subject, after his trial. Such also was the particular wish of
his saint-like sister, the Princesse Elizabeth, who imagined that an
appeal under such circumstances could not be resisted. But the Queen
strongly opposed the measure; and His Majesty said he should be loath,
in the last moments of his painful existence, in anything to thwart one
whom he loved so tenderly.

He had long accustomed himself, when he spoke of the Queen and royal
infants, in deference to the temper of the times, only to say, "my wife
and children." They, as he told Clery, formed a tie, and the only one
remaining, which still bound him to earth. Their last embraces, he said,
went so to his aching heart, that he could even yet feel their little
hands clinging about him, and see their streaming eyes, and hear their
agonized and broken voices. The day previous to the fatal catastrophe,
when permitted for the last time to see his family, the Princesse
Elizabeth whispered him, not for herself, but for the Queen and his
helpless innocents, to remember his intentions. He said he should not
feel himself happy if, in his last hour, he did not give them a proof of
his paternal affection, in obtaining an assurance that the sacrifice of
his life should be the guarantee of theirs. So intent was his mind upon
this purpose, said Clery to me, that when his assassins came to take him
to the slaughtering-place, he said, "I hope my death will appease the
nation, and that my innocent family, who have suffered on my account,
will now be released."

The ruffians answered, "The nation, always magnanimous, only seeks to
punish the guilty. You may be assured your family will be respected."
Events have proved how well they kept their word.

It was to fulfil the intention of recommending his family to the people
with his dying breath that he commenced his address upon the scaffold,
when Santerre ordered the drums to drown his last accents, and the axe
to fall!

The Princesse Elizabeth, and perhaps others of the royal prisoners, hoped
he would have been reprieved, till Herbert, that real 'Pere du chene',
with a smile upon his countenance, came triumphantly to announce to the
disconsolate family that Louis was no more!

Perhaps there never was a King more misrepresented and less understood,
especially by the immediate age in which he lived, than Louis XVI. He
was the victim of natural timidity, increased by the horror of bloodshed,
which the exigencies of the times rendered indispensable to his safety.
He appeared weak in intellect, when he was only so from circumstances.
An overwrought anxiety to be just made him hesitate about the mode of
overcoming the abuses, until its procrastination had destroyed the object
of his wishes. He had courage sufficient, as well as decision, where
others were not menaced and the danger was confined to himself; but,
where his family or his people were involved, he was utterly unfit to
give direction. The want of self-sufficiency in his own faculties have
been his, and his throne's, ruin. He consulted those who caused him to
swerve from the path his own better reason had dictated, and, in seeking
the best course, he often chose the worst.

The same fatal timidity which pervaded his character extended to his
manners. From being merely awkward, he at last became uncouth; but from
the natural goodness of his heart, the nearest to him soon lost sight of
his ungentleness from the rectitude of his intentions, and, to parody the
poet, saw his deportment in his feelings.

Previous to the Revolution, Louis XVI. was generally considered gentle
and affable, though never polished. But the numberless outrages suffered
by his Queen, his family, his friends, and himself, especially towards
the close of his career, soured him to an air of rudeness, utterly
foreign to his nature and to his intention.

It must not be forgotten that he lived in a time of unprecedented
difficulty. He was a lamb governing tigers. So far as his own personal
bearing is concerned, who is there among his predecessors, that, replaced
upon the throne, would have resisted the vicissitudes brought about by
internal discord, rebellion, and riot, like himself? What said he when
one of the heterogeneous, plebeian, revolutionary assemblies not only
insulted him, but added to the insult a laugh? "If you think you can
govern better, I am ready to resign," was the mild but firm reply of

How glorious would have been the triumph for the most civilized nation in
the centre of Europe had the insulter taken him at his word. When the
experimentalists did attempt to govern, we all know, and have too
severely felt, the consequences. Yet this unfortunate monarch has been
represented to the world as imbecile, and taxed with wanting character,
firmness, and fortitude, because he has been vanquished! The despot-
conqueror has been vanquished since!

His acquirements were considerable. His memory was remarkably retentive
and well-stored,--a quality, I should infer from all I have observed,
common to most Sovereigns. By the multiplicity of persons they are in
the habit of seeing, and the vast variety of objects continually passing
through their minds, this faculty is kept in perpetual exercise.

But the circumstance which probably injured Louis XVI. more than any
other was his familiarity with the locksmith, Gamin. Innocent as was the
motive whence it arose, this low connection lessened him more with the
whole nation than if he had been the most vicious of Princes. How
careful Sovereigns ought to be, with respect to the attention they bestow
on men in humble life; especially those whose principles may have been
demoralized by the meanness of the associations consequent upon their
occupation, and whose low origin may have denied them opportunities of
intellectual cultivation.

This observation map even be extended to the liberal arts. It does not
follow because a monarch is fond of these that he should so far forget
himself as to make their professors his boon companions. He loses ground
whenever he places his inferiors on a level with himself. Men are
estimated from the deference they pay to their own stations in society.
The great Frederic of Prussia used to sap, "I must show myself a King,
because my trade is royalty."

It was only in destitution and anguish that the real character of Louis
developed itself. He was firm and patient, utterly regardless of
himself, but wrung to the heart for others, not even excepting his
deluded murderers. Nothing could swerve him from his trust in Heaven,
and he left a glorious example of how far religion can triumph over every
calamity and every insult this world has power to inflict.

There was a national guard, who, at the time of the imprisonment of the
Royal Family, was looked upon as the most violent of Jacobins, and the
sworn enemy of royalty. On that account the sanguinary agents of the
self-created Assembly employed him to frequent the Temple. His special
commission was to stimulate the King and Royal Family by every possible
argument to self-destruction.

But this man was a friend in disguise. He undertook the hateful office
merely to render every service in his power, and convey regular
information of the plots of the Assembly against those whom he was
deputed to persecute. The better to deceive his companions, he would
read aloud to the Royal Family all the debates of the regicides, which
those who were with him encouraged, believing it meant to torture and
insult, when the real motive was to prepare them to meet every
accusation, by communicating to them each charge as it occurred. So
thoroughly were the Assembly deceived, that the friendly guard was
allowed free access to the apartments, in order to facilitate, as was
imagined, his wish to agonize and annoy. By this means, he was enabled
to caution the illustrious prisoners never to betray any emotion at what
he read, and to rely upon his doing his best to soften the rigour of
their fate.

The individual of whom I speak communicated these circumstances to me
himself. He declared, also, that the Duc d'Orleans came frequently to
the Temple during the imprisonment of Louis XVI., but, always in
disguise; and never, till within a few days after the murder of the poor
King, did he disclose himself. On that occasion he had bribed the men
who were accustomed to light the fires, to admit him in their stead to
the apartment of the Princesse Elizabeth. He found her on her knees, in
fervent prayer for the departed soul of her beloved brother. He
performed this office, totally unperceived by this predestined victim;
but his courage was subdued by her piety. He dared not extend the
stratagem to the apartment of the Queen. On leaving the angelic
Princess, he was so overcome by remorse that he: requested my informant
to give him a glass of water, saying, "that woman has unmanned me." It
was by this circumstance he was discovered.

The Queen was immediately apprised by the good man of the occurrence.

"Gracious God!" exclaimed Her Majesty, "I thought once or twice that I
had seen him at our miserable dinner hours, occupied with the other
jailers at the outside door. I even mentioned the circumstance to
Elizabeth, and she replied, "I also have observed a man resembling
D'ORLEANS, but it cannot be he, for the man I noticed had a wooden leg."

"That was the very disguise he was discovered in this morning, when
preparing, or pretending to prepare, the fire in the Princesse
Elizabeth's apartment," replied the national guard.

"Merciful Heaven!" said the Queen, "is he not yet satisfied? Must he
even satiate his barbarous brutality with being an eye-witness of the
horrid state into which he has thrown us? Save me," continued Her
Majesty, "oh, save me from contaminating my feeble sight, which is almost
exhausted, nearly parched up for the loss of my dear husband, by looking
on him!--Oh, death! come, come and release me from such a sight!"

"Luckily," observed the guard to me, "it was the hour of the general jail
dinner, and we were alone; otherwise, I should infallibly have been
discovered, as my tears fell faster than those of the Queen, for really
hers seemed to be nearly exhausted: However," pursued he, "that D'ORLEANS
did see the Queen, and that the Queen saw him, I am very sure. From what
passed between them in the month of July, 1793, she was hurried off from
the Temple to the common prison, to take her trial." This circumstance
combined, with other motives, to make the Assembly hasten the Duke's
trial soon after, who had been sent with his young son to Marseilles,
there being no doubt that he wished to rescue the Queen, so as to have
her in his own power.

On the 16th of October, Her Majesty was beheaded. Her death was
consistent with her life. She met her fate like a Christian, but still
like a Queen.

Perhaps, had Marie Antoinette been uncontrolled in the exercise of her
judgment, she would have shown a spirit in emergency better adapted to
wrestle with the times than had been discovered by His Majesty. Certain
it is she was generally esteemed the most proper to be consulted of the
two. From the imperfect idea which many of the persons in office
entertained of the King's capacity, few of them ever made any
communication of importance but to the Queen. Her Majesty never kept a
single circumstance from her husband's knowledge, and scarcely decided on
the smallest trifle without his consent; but so thorough was his
confidence in the correctness of her judgment that he seldom, if ever,
opposed her decisions. The Princesse de Lamballe used to say, "Though
Marie Antoinette is not a woman of great or uncommon talents, yet her
long practical knowledge gave her an insight into matters of moment which
she turned to advantage with so much coolness and address amid
difficulties, that I am convinced she only wanted free scope to have
shone in the history of Princes as a great Queen. Her natural tendencies
were perfectly domestic. Had she been kept in countenance by the manners
of the times, or favoured earlier by circumstances, she would have sought
her only pleasures in the family circle, and, far from Court intrigue,
have become the model of her sex and age."

It is by no means to be wondered at that, in her peculiar situation,
surrounded by a thoughtless and dissipated Court, long denied the natural
ties so necessary to such a heart, in the heyday of youth and beauty, and
possessing an animated and lively spirit, she should have given way in
the earlier part of her career to gaiety, and been pleased with a round
of amusement. The sincere friendship which she afterwards formed for the
Duchesse de Polignac encouraged this predilection. The plot to destroy
her had already been formed, and her enemies were too sharp-sighted and
adroit not to profit and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by
this weakness. The miscreant had murdered her character long, long
before they assailed her person.

The charge against her of extravagance has been already refuted. Her
private palace was furnished from the State lumber rooms, and what was
purchased, paid for out of her savings. As for her favourites, she never
had but two, and these were no supernumerary expense or encumbrance to
the State.

Perhaps it would have been better had she been more thoroughly directed
by the Princesse de Lamballe. She was perfectly conscious of her good
qualities, but De Polignac dazzled and humoured her love of amusement and
display of splendour. Though this favourite was the image of her royal
mistress in her amiable characteristics, the resemblance unfortunately
extended to her weaknesses. This was not the case with the Princesse de
Lamballe; she possessed steadiness, and was governed by the cool
foresight of her father-in-law, the Duc de Penthievre, which both the
other friends wanted.

The unshaken attachment of the Princesse de Lamballe to the Queen,
notwithstanding the slight at which she at one time had reason to feel
piqued, is one of the strongest evidences against the slanderers of Her
Majesty. The moral conduct of the Princess has never been called in
question. Amid the millions of infamous falsehoods invented to vilify
and degrade every other individual connected with the Court, no
imputation, from the moment of her arrival in France, up to the fatal one
of her massacre, ever tarnished her character. To her opinion, then, the
most prejudiced might look with confidence. Certainly no one had a
greater opportunity of knowing the real character of Marie Antoinette.
She was an eye-witness to her conduct during the most brilliant and
luxurious portion of her reign; she saw her from the meridian of her
magnificence down to her dejection to the depths of unparalleled misery.
If the unfortunate Queen had ever been guilty of the slightest of those
glaring vices of which she was so generally accused, the Princess must
have been aware of them; and it was not in her nature to have remained
the friend and advocate, even unto death, of one capable of depravity.
Yet not a breath of discord ever arose between them on that score.
Virtue and vice can never harmonize; and even had policy kept Her
Highness from avowing a change of sentiments, it never could have
continued her enthusiasm, which was augmented, and not diminished, by the
fall of her royal friend. An attachment which holds through every
vicissitude must be deeply rooted from conviction of the integrity of its

The friendship that subsisted between this illustrious pair is an
everlasting monument that honours their sex. The Queen used to say of
her, that she was the only woman she had ever known without gall.
"Like the blessed land of Ireland," observed Her Majesty, "exempt from
the reptiles elsewhere so dangerous to mankind, so was she freed by
Providence from the venom by which the finest form in others is
empoisoned. No envy, no ambition, no desire, but to contribute to the
welfare and happiness of her fellow creatures--and yet, with all these
estimable virtues, these angelic qualities, she is doomed, from her
virtuous attachment to our persons, to sink under the weight of that
affliction, which, sooner or later, must bury us all in one common ruin--
a ruin which is threatening hourly."

These presentiments of the awful result of impending storms were mutual.
From frequent conversations with the Princesse de Lamballe, from the
evidence of her letters and her private papers, and from many remarks
which have been repeated to me personally by Her Highness, and from
persons in her confidence, there is abundant evidence of the forebodings
she constantly had of her own and the Queen's untimely end.

[A very remarkable circumstance was related to me when I was at
Vienna, after this horrid murder. The Princess of Lobkowitz, sister
to the Princesse de Lamballe, received a box, with an anonymous
letter, telling her to conceal the box carefully till further
notice. After the riots had subsided a little in France, she was
apprised that the box contained all, or the greater part, of the
jewels belonging to the Princess, and had been taken from the
Tuileries on the 10th of August.

It is supposed that the jewels had been packed by the Princess in
anticipation of her doom, and forwarded to her sister through her
agency or desire.]

There was no friend of the Queen to whom the King showed any deference,
or rather anything like the deference he paid to the Princesse de
Lamballe. When the Duchesse de Polignac, the Comtesse Diane de Polignac,
the Comte d'Artois, the Duchesse de Guiche, her husband, the present Duc
de Grammont, the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt, etc., fled from Paris, he and
the Queen, as if they had foreseen the awful catastrophe which was to
destroy her so horribly, entreated her to leave the Court, and take
refuge in Italy. So also did her father-in-law, the Duc de Penthievre;
but all in vain. She saw her friend deprived of De Polignac, and all
those near and dear to her heart, and became deaf to every solicitation.
Could such constancy, which looked death in its worst form in the face
unshrinking, have existed without great and estimable qualities in its

The brother-in-law of the Princesse de Lamballe, the Duc d'Orleans, was
her declared enemy merely from her attachment to the Queen. These three
great victims have been persecuted to the tomb, which had no sooner
closed over the last than the hand of Heaven fell upon their destroyer.
That Louis XVI. was not the friend of this member of his family can
excite no surprise, but must rather challenge admiration. He had been
seduced by his artful and designing regicide companions to expend
millions to undermine the throne, and shake it to pieces under the feet
of his relative, his Sovereign, the friend of his earliest youth, who was
aware of the treason, and who held the thunderbolt, but would not crush
him. But they have been foiled in their hope of building a throne for
him upon the ruin they had made, and placed an age where they flattered
him he would find a diadem.

The Prince de Conti told me at Barcelona that the Duchesse d'Orleans had
assured him that, even had the Duc d'Orleans survived, he never could
have attained, his object. The immense sums he had lavished upon the
horde of his revolutionary satellites had, previous to his death, thrown
him into embarrassment. The avarice of his party increased as his
resources diminished. The evil, as evil generally does, would have
wrought its own punishment in either way. He must have lived suspected
and miserable, had he not died. But his reckless character did not
desert him at the scaffold. It is said that before he arrived at the
Place de Greve he ate a very rich ragout, and drank a bottle of
champagne, and left the world as he had gone through it.

The supernumerary, the uncalled-for martyr, the last of the four devoted
royal sufferers, was beheaded the following spring. For this murder
there could not have been the shadow of a pretext. The virtues of this
victim were sufficient to redeem the name of Elizabeth

[The eighteen years' imprisonment and final murder of Mary, Queen of
Scots, by Elizabeth of England, is enough to stigmatize her forever,
independently of the many other acts of tyranny which stain her
memory. The dethronement by Elizabeth of Russia of the innocent
Prince Ivan, her near relation, while yet in the cradle, gives the
Northern Empress a claim to a similar character to the British

from the stain with which the two of England and Russia, who had already
borne it, had clouded its immortality. She had never, in any way,
interfered in political events. Malice itself had never whispered a
circumstance to her dispraise. After this wanton assassination, it is
scarcely to be expected that the innocent and candid looks and streaming
azure eyes of that angelic infant, the Dauphin, though raised in humble
supplication to his brutal assassins, with an eloquence which would have
disarmed the savage tiger, could have won wretches so much more pitiless
than the most ferocious beasts of the wilderness, or saved him from their
slow but sure poison, whose breath was worse than the upas tree to all
who came within its influence.

The Duchesse d'Angouleme, the only survivor of these wretched captives,
is a living proof of the baleful influence of that contaminated prison,
the infectious tomb of the royal martyrs. That once lovely countenance,
which, with the goodness and amiableness of her royal father, whose
mildness hung on her lips like the milk and honey of human kindness,
blended the dignity, grace, elegance, and innocent vivacity, which were
the acknowledged characteristics of her beautiful mother, lost for some
time all traces of its original attractions. The lines of deep-seated
sorrow are not easily obliterated. If the sanguinary republic had not
wished to obtain by exchange the Generals La Fayette, Bournonville,
Lameth, etc., whom Dumourier had treacherously consigned into the hands
of Austria, there is little: doubt but that, from the prison in which she
was so long doomed to vegetate only to make life a burthen, she would
have been sent to share the fate of her murdered family.

How can the Parisians complain that they found her Royal Highness, on her
return to France, by no means what they required in a Princess? Can it
be wondered at that her marked grief should be visible when amidst the
murderers of her family? It should rather be a wonder that she can at
all bear the scenes in which she moves, and not abhor the very name of
Paris, when every step must remind her of some out rage to herself, or
those most dear to her, or of some beloved relative or friend destroyed!
Her return can only be accounted for by the spell of that all-powerful
'amor patriae', which sometimes prevails over every other influence.

Before I dismiss this subject, it may not be uninteresting to my readers
to receive some desultory anecdotes that I have heard concerning one or
two of the leading monsters, by whom the horrors upon which I have
expatiated were occasioned.

David, the famous painter, was a member of the sanguinary tribunal which
condemned the King. On this account he has been banished from France
since the restoration.

If any one deserved this severity, it was David. It was at the expense
of the Court of Louis XVI. that this ungrateful being was sent to Rome,
to perfect himself in his sublime art. His studies finished, he was
pensioned from the same patrons, and upheld as an artist by the special
protection of every member of the Royal Family.

And yet this man, if he may be dignified by the name, had the baseness to
say in the hearing of the unfortunate Louis XVI., when on trial, "Well!
when are we to have his head dressed, a la guillotine."

At another time, being deputed to visit the Temple, as one of the
committee of public safety, as he held out his snuff-box before the
Princesse Elizabeth, she, conceiving he meant to offer it, took a pinch.
The monster, observing what she had done, darting a look of contempt at
her, instantly threw away the snuff, and dashed the box to pieces on the

Robespierre had a confidential physician, who attended him almost to the
period when he ascended the scaffold, and who was very often obliged,
'malgre-lui', to dine tete-a-tete with this monopolizer of human flesh
and blood. One day he happened to be with him, after a very
extraordinary number had been executed, and amongst the rest, some of the
physician's most intimate acquaintances.

The unwilling guest was naturally very downcast, and ill at ease, and
could not dissemble his anguish. He tried to stammer out excuses and get
away from the table.

Robespierre, perceiving his distress, interrogated him as to the cause.

The physician, putting his hand to his head, discovered his reluctance to

Robespierre took him by the hand, assured him he had nothing to fear, and
added, "Come, doctor, you, as a professional man, must be well informed
as to the sentiments of the major part of the Parisians respecting me.
I entreat you, my dear friend, frankly to avow their opinion. It may
perhaps serve me for the future, as a guide for governing them."

The physician answered, "I can no longer resist the impulse of nature.
I know I shall thereby oppose myself to your power, but I must tell you,
you are generally abhorred,--considered the Attila, the Sylla, of the
age,--the two-footed plague, that, walks about to fill peaceful abodes
with miseries and family mournings. The myriads you are daily sending to
the slaughter at the Place de Greve, who have, committed no crime, the
carts of a certain description, you have ordered daily to bear a stated
number to be sacrificed, directing they should be taken from the prisons,
and, if enough are not in the prisons, seized, indiscriminately in the
streets, that no place in the deadly vehicle may be left unoccupied, and
all this without a trial, without even an accusation, and without any
sanction but your own mandate--these things call the public curse upon
you, which is not the less bitter for not being audible."

"Ah!" said Robespierre, laughing. "This puts me in mind of a story told
of the cruelty and tyranny, of Pope Sixtus the Fifth, who, having one
night, after he had enjoyed himself at a Bacchanalian supper, when heated
with wine, by way of a 'bonne bouche', ordered the first man that should
come through the gate of the 'Strada del popolo' at Rome to be
immediately hanged. Every person at this drunken conclave--nay, all
Rome--considered the Pope a tyrant, the most cruel of tyrants, till it
was made known and proved, after his death, that the wretch so executed
had murdered his father and mother ten years previously. I know whom I
send to the Place de Greve. All who go there are guilty, though they may
not seem so. Go on, what else have you heard?"

"Why, that you have so terrified all descriptions of persons, that they
fear even your very breath, and look upon you as worse than the plague;
and I should not be surprised, if you persist in this course of conduct,
if something serious to yourself should be the consequence, and that ere

Not the least extraordinary part of the story is that this dialogue
between the devil and the doctor took place but a very, few hours
previous to Robespierre's being denounced by Tallien and Carriere to
the national convention, as a conspirator against the republican cause.
In defending himself from being arrested by the guard, he attempted to
shoot himself, but the ball missed, broke the monster's jaw-bone only,
and nearly impeded his speaking.

Singularly enough, it was this physician who was sent for to assist and
dress his wounds. Robespierre replied to the doctor's observations,
laughing, and in the following language:

"Oh, poor devils! they do not know their own interest. But my plan of
exterminating the evil will soon teach them. This is the only thing for
the good of the nation; for, before you can reform a thousand Frenchmen,
you must first lop off half a million of these vagabonds, and, if God
spare my life, in a few months there will be so many the less to breed
internal commotions, and disturb the general peace of Europe.

[When Bonaparte was contriving the Consulship for life, and, in the
Irish way, forced the Italian Republic to volunteer an offer of the
Consulship of Italy, by a deputation to him at Paris, I happened to
be there. Many Italians, besides the deputies, went on the
occasion, and, among them, we had the good fortune to meet the Abbe
Fortis, the celebrated naturalist, a gentleman of first-rate
abilities, who had travelled three-fourths of the globe in
mineralogical research. The Abbe chanced one day to be in company
with my husband, who was an old acquaintance of his, where many of
the chopfallen deputies, like themselves, true lovers of their
country, could not help declaring their indignation at its degraded
state, and reprobating Bonaparte for rendering it so ridiculous in
the face of Europe and the world. The Abbe Fords, with the voice of
a Stentor, and spreading his gigantic form, which exceeded six feet
in height, exclaimed: "This would not have been the case had that
just and wise man Robespierre lived but a little longer."

Every one present was struck with horror at the observation.
Noticing the effect of his words, the Abbe resumed:

"I knew well I should frighten you in showing any partiality for
that bloody monopoliser of human heads. But you do not know the
perfidy of the French nation so well as I do. I have lived among
them many years. France is the sink of human deception. A Frenchman
will deceive his father, wife, and child; for deception is his
element. Robespierre knew this, and acted upon it, as you shall

The Abbe then related to us the story I have detailed above,
verbatim, as he had it from the son of Esculapius, who himself
confirmed it afterwards in a conversation with the Abbe in our

Having completed his anecdote, "Well," said the Abbe, "was I not
right in my opinion of this great philosopher and foreseer of evils,
when I observed that had be but lived a few months longer, there
would have been so many less in the world to disturb its

The same physician observed that from the immense number of executions
during the sanguinary reign of that monster, the Place de Greve became so
complete a swamp of human blood that it would scarcely hold the
scaffolding of the instrument of death, which, in consequence, was
obliged to be continually moved from one side of the square to the other.
Many of the soldiers and officers, who were obliged to attend these
horrible executions, had constantly their half-boots and stockings filled
with the blood of the poor sufferers; and as, whenever there was any
national festival to be given, it generally followed one of the most
sanguinary of these massacres, the public places, the theatres
especially, all bore the tracks of blood throughout the saloons and

The infamous Carrier, who was the execrable agent of his still more
execrable employer, Robespierre, was left afterwards to join Tallien in a
conspiracy against him, merely to save himself; but did not long survive
his atrocious crimes or his perfidy.

It is impossible to calculate the vast number of private assassinations
committed in the dead of the night, by order of this cannibal, on persons
of every rank and description.

My task is now ended. Nothing remains for me but the reflections which
these sad and shocking remembrances cannot fail to awaken in all minds,
and especially in mine. Is it not astonishing that, in an age so
refined, so free from the enormous and flagitious crimes which were the
common stains of barbarous centuries, and at an epoch peculiarly
enlightened by liberal views, the French nation, by all deemed the most
polished since the Christian era, should have given an example of such
wanton, brutal, and coarse depravity to the world, under pretences
altogether chimerical, and, after unprecedented bloodshed and horror,
ended at the point where it began!

The organized system of plunder and anarchy, exercised under different
forms more or less sanguinary, produced no permanent result beyond an
incontestible proof that the versatility of the French nation, and its
puny suppleness of character, utterly incapacitate it for that energetic
enterprise without which there can be no hope of permanent emancipation
from national slavery. It is my unalterable conviction that the French
will never know how to enjoy an independent and free Constitution.

The tree of liberty unavoidably in all nations has been sprinkled with
human blood; but, when bathed by innocent victims, like the foul weed,
though it spring up, it rots in its infancy, and becomes loathsome and
infectious. Such has been the case in France; and the result justifies
the Italian satire:

"Un albero senza fruta
Baretta senza testa
Governo che non resta."


Honesty is to be trusted before genius
More dangerous to attack the habits of men than their religion


A liar ought to have a good memory
Air of science calculated to deceive the vulgar
And scarcely a woman; for your answers are very short
Bad habit of talking very indiscreetly before others
Beaumarchais sent arms to the Americans
Because he is fat, he is thought dull and heavy
Can make a Duchess a beggar, but cannot make a beggar a Duchess
Canvassing for a majority to set up D'Orleans
Clergy enjoyed one-third the national revenues
Clouds--you may see what you please in them
Danger of confiding the administration to noblemen
Dared to say to me, so he writes
Dead always in fault, and cannot be put out of sight too soon
Declaring the Duke of Orleans the constitutional King
Do not repulse him in his fond moments
Educate his children as quietists in matters of religion
Embonpoint of the French Princesses
Fatal error of conscious rectitude
Feel themselves injured by the favour shown to others
Few individuals except Princesses do with parade and publicity
Foolishly occupying themselves with petty matters
Frailty in the ambitious, through which the artful can act
French people do not do things by halves
Fresh proof of the intrigues of the Jesuits
He who quits the field loses it
Honesty is to be trusted before genius
How difficult it is to do good
I dared not touch that string
Infinite astonishment at his sharing the common destiny
It is an ill wind that blows no one any good
Judge of men by the company they keep
Laughed at qualities she could not comprehend
Les culottes--what do you call them?' 'Small clothes'
Listeners never hear any good of themselves
Madame made the Treaty of Sienna
Many an aching heart rides in a carriage
Mind well stored against human casualties
Money the universal lever, and you are in want of it
More dangerous to attack the habits of men than their religion
My little English protegee
No phrase becomes a proverb until after a century's experience
Offering you the spectacle of my miseries
Only retire to make room for another race
Over-caution may produce evils almost equal to carelessness
Panegyric of the great Edmund Burke upon Marie Antoinette
Pension is granted on condition that his poems are never printed
People in independence are only the puppets of demagogues
Pleasure of making a great noise at little expense
Policy, in sovereigns, is paramount to every other
Quiet work of ruin by whispers and detraction
Regardlessness of appearances
Revolution not as the Americans, founded on grievances
Ridicule, than which no weapon is more false or deadly
Salique Laws
Sending astronomers to Mexico and Peru, to measure the earth
Sentiment is more prompt, and inspires me with fear
She always says the right thing in the right place
She drives quick and will certainly be overturned on the road
Suppression of all superfluous religious institutions
Sworn that she had thought of nothing but you all her life
Thank Heaven, I am out of harness
The King remained as if paralysed and stupefied
These expounders--or confounders--of codes
To be accused was to incur instant death
To despise money, is to despise happiness, liberty...
Traducing virtues the slanderers never possessed
Underrated what she could not imitate
We look upon you as a cat, or a dog, and go on talking
We say "inexpressibles"
When the only security of a King rests upon his troops
Where the knout is the logician
Who confound logic with their wishes
Wish art to eclipse nature
You tell me bad news: having packed up, I had rather go


Being the Historic Memoirs of Madam Campan,
First Lady in Waiting to the Queen



Louis XVI. possessed an immense crowd of confidants, advisers, and
guides; he selected them even from among the factions which attacked him.
Never, perhaps, did he make a full disclosure to any one of them, and
certainly he spoke with sincerity, to but very few. He invariably kept
the reins of all secret intrigues in his own hand; and thence, doubtless,
arose the want of cooperation and the weakness which were so conspicuous
in his measures. From these causes considerable chasms will be found in
the detailed history of the Revolution.

In order to become thoroughly acquainted with the latter years of the
reign of Louis XV., memoirs written by the Duc de Choiseul, the Duc
d'Aiguillon, the Marechal de Richelieu,

[I heard Le Marechal de Richelieu desire M. Campan, who was
librarian to the Queen, not to buy the Memoirs which would certainly
be attributed to him after his death, declaring them false by
anticipation; and adding that he was ignorant of orthography, and
had never amused himself with writing. Shortly after the death of
the Marshal, one Soulavie put forth Memoirs of the Marechal de

and the Duc de La Vauguyon, should be before us. To give us a faithful
portrait of the unfortunate reign of Louis XVI., the Marechal du Muy,
M. de Maurepas, M. de Vergennes, M. de Malesherbes, the Duc d'Orleans,
M. de La Fayette, the Abby de Vermond, the Abbe Montesquiou, Mirabeau,
the Duchesse de Polignac, and the Duchesse de Luynes should have noted
faithfully in writing all the transactions in which they took decided
parts. The secret political history of a later period has been
disseminated among a much greater number of persons; there are Ministers
who have published memoirs, but only when they had their own measures to
justify, and then they confined themselves to the vindication of their
own characters, without which powerful motive they probably would have
written nothing. In general, those nearest to the Sovereign, either by
birth or by office, have left no memoirs; and in absolute monarchies the
mainsprings of great events will be found in particulars which the most
exalted persons alone could know. Those who have had but little under
their charge find no subject in it for a book; and those who have long
borne the burden of public business conceive themselves to be forbidden
by duty, or by respect for authority, to disclose all they know. Others,
again, preserve notes, with the intention of reducing them to order when
they shall have reached the period of a happy leisure; vain illusion of
the ambitious, which they cherish, for the most part, but as a veil to
conceal from their sight the hateful image of their inevitable downfall!
and when it does at length take place, despair or chagrin deprives them
of fortitude to dwell upon the dazzling period which they never cease to

Louis XVI. meant to write his own memoirs; the manner in which his
private papers were arranged indicated this design. The Queen also had
the same intention; she long preserved a large correspondence, and a
great number of minute reports, made in the spirit and upon the event of
the moment. But after the 20th of June, 1792, she was obliged to burn
the larger portion of what she had so collected, and the remainder were
conveyed out of France.

Considering the rank and situations of the persons I have named as
capable of elucidating by their writings the history of our political
storms, it will not be imagined that I aim at placing myself on a level
with them; but I have spent half my life either with the daughters of
Louis XV. or with Marie Antoinette. I knew the characters of those
Princesses; I became privy to some extraordinary facts, the publication
of which may be interesting, and the truth of the details will form the
merit of my work.

I was very young when I was placed about the Princesses, the daughters of
Louis XV., in the capacity of reader. I was acquainted with the Court of
Versailles before the time of the marriage of Louis XVI. with the
Archduchess Marie Antoinette.

My father, who was employed in the department of Foreign Affairs, enjoyed
the reputation due to his talents and to his useful labours. He had
travelled much. Frenchmen, on their return home from foreign countries,
bring with them a love for their own, increased in warmth; and no man was
more penetrated with this feeling, which ought to be the first virtue of
every placeman, than my father. Men of high title, academicians, and
learned men, both natives and foreigners, sought my father's
acquaintance, and were gratified by being admitted into his house.

Twenty years before the Revolution I often heard it remarked that the
imposing character of the power of Louis XIV. was no longer to be found
in the Palace of Versailles; that the institutions of the ancient
monarchy were rapidly sinking; and that the people, crushed beneath the
weight of taxes, were miserable, though silent; but that they began to
give ear to the bold speeches of the philosophers, who loudly proclaimed
their sufferings and their rights; and, in short, that the age would not
pass away without the occurrence of some great outburst, which would
unsettle France, and change the course of its progress.

Those who thus spoke were almost all partisans of M. Turgot's system of
administration: they were Mirabeau the father, Doctor Quesnay, Abbe
Bandeau, and Abbe Nicoli, charge d'affaires to Leopold, Grand Duke of
Tuscany, and as enthusiastic an admirer of the maxims of the innovators
as his Sovereign.

My father sincerely respected the purity of intention of these
politicians. With them he acknowledged many abuses in the Government;
but he did not give these political sectarians credit for the talent
necessary for conducting a judicious reform. He told them frankly that
in the art of moving the great machine of Government, the wisest of them
was inferior to a good magistrate; and that if ever the helm of affairs
should be put into their hands, they would be speedily checked in the
execution of their schemes by the immeasurable difference existing
between the most brilliant theories and the simplest practice of

Destiny having formerly placed me near crowned heads, I now amuse my
solitude when in retirement with collecting a variety of facts which may
prove interesting to my family when I shall be no more. The idea of
collecting all the interesting materials which my memory affords occurred
to me from reading the work entitled "Paris, Versailles, and the
Provinces in the Eighteenth Century." That work, composed by a man
accustomed to the best society, is full of piquant anecdotes, nearly all
of which have been recognised as true by the contemporaries of the
author. I have put together all that concerned the domestic life of an
unfortunate Princess, whose reputation is not yet cleared of the stains
it received from the attacks of calumny, and who justly merited a
different lot in life, a different place in the opinion of mankind after
her fall. These memoirs, which were finished ten years ago, have met
with the approbation of some persons; and my son may, perhaps, think
proper to print them after my decease.

J. L. H. C.

--When Madame Campan wrote these lines, she did not anticipate that the
death of her son would precede her own.




JEANNE LOUISE HENRIETTE GENET was born in Paris on the 6th of October,
1752. M. Genet, her father, had obtained, through his own merit and the
influence of the Duc de Choiseul, the place of first clerk in the Foreign

Literature, which he had cultivated in his youth, was often the solace of
his leisure hours. Surrounded by a numerous family, he made the
instruction of his children his chief recreation, and omitted nothing
which was necessary to render them highly accomplished. His clever and
precocious daughter Henriette was very early accustomed to enter society,
and to take an intelligent interest in current topics and public events.
Accordingly, many of her relations being connected with the Court or
holding official positions, she amassed a fund of interesting
recollections and characteristic anecdotes, some gathered from personal
experience, others handed down by old friends of the family.

"The first event which made any impression on me in my childhood," she
says in her reminiscences, "was the attempt of Damiens to assassinate
Louis XV. This occurrence struck me so forcibly that the most minute
details relating to the confusion and grief which prevailed at Versailles
on that day seem as present to my imagination as the most recent events.
I had dined with my father and mother, in company with one of their
friends. The drawing-room was lighted up with a number of candles, and
four card-tables were already occupied, when a friend of the gentleman of
the house came in, with a pale and terrified countenance, and said, in a
voice scarcely audible, 'I bring you terrible news. The King has been
assassinated!' Two ladies in the company fainted; a brigadier of the
Body Guards threw down his cards and cried out, 'I do not wonder at it;
it is those rascally Jesuits.'--'What are you saying, brother?' cried a
lady, flying to him; 'would you get yourself arrested?'--'Arrested! For
what? For unmasking those wretches who want a bigot for a King?' My
father came in; he recommended circumspection, saying that the blow was
not mortal, and that all meetings ought to be suspended at so critical a
moment. He had brought the chaise for my mother, who placed me on her
knees. We lived in the Avenue de Paris, and throughout our drive I heard
incessant cries and sobs from the footpaths.

"At last I saw a man arrested; he was an usher of the King's chamber, who
had gone mad, and was crying out, 'Yes, I know them; the wretches! the
villains!' Our chaise was stopped by this bustle. My mother recognised
the unfortunate man who had been seized; she gave his name to the trooper
who had stopped him. The poor usher was therefore merely conducted to
the gens d'armes' guardroom, which was then in the avenue.

"I have often heard M. de Landsmath, equerry and master of the hounds,
who used to come frequently to my father's, say that on the news of the
attempt on the King's life he instantly repaired to his Majesty.
I cannot repeat the coarse expressions he made use of to encourage his
Majesty; but his account of the affair, long afterwards, amused the
parties in which he was prevailed on to relate it, when all apprehensions
respecting the consequences of the event had subsided. This M. de
Landsmath was an old soldier, who had given proofs of extraordinary
valour; nothing had been able to soften his manners or subdue his
excessive bluntness to the respectful customs of the Court. The King was
very fond of him. He possessed prodigious strength, and had often
contended with Marechal Saxe, renowned for his great bodily power, in
trying the strength of their respective wrists.

[One day when the King was hunting in the forest of St. Germain,
Landemath, riding before him, wanted a cart, filled with the slime
of a pond that had just been cleansed, to draw up out of the way.
The carter resisted, and even answered with impertinence.
Landsmath, without dismounting, seized him by the breast of his
coat, lifted him up, and threw him into his cart.--MADAME CAMPAN.

"M. de Landsmath had a thundering voice. When he came into the King's
apartment he found the Dauphin and Mesdames, his Majesty's daughters,
there; the Princesses, in tears, surrounded the King's bed. Send out all
these weeping women, Sire,' said the old equerry; 'I want to speak to you
alone: The King made a sign to the Princesses to withdraw. 'Come,' said
Landsmath, 'your wound is nothing; you had plenty of waistcoats and
flannels on.' Then uncovering his breast, 'Look here,' said he, showing
four or five great scars, 'these are something like wounds; I received
them thirty years ago; now cough as loud as you can.' The King did so.
''Tis nothing at all,' said Landsmath; 'you must laugh at it; we shall
hunt a stag together in four days.'--'But suppose the blade was
poisoned,' said the King. 'Old grandams' tales,' replied Landsmath;
'if it had been so, the waistcoats and flannels would have rubbed the
poison off.' The King was pacified, and passed a very good night.

"His Majesty one day asked M. de Landsmath how old he was. He was aged,
and by no means fond of thinking of his age; he evaded the question.
A fortnight later, Louis XV. took a paper out of his pocket and read
aloud: 'On such a day in the month of one thousand six hundred and
eighty, was baptised by me, rector of ------, the son of the high and
mighty lord,' etc. 'What's that?' said Landsmath, angrily; 'has your
Majesty been procuring the certificate of my baptism?'--'There it is, you
see, Landsmath,' said the King. 'Well, Sire, hide it as fast as you can;
a prince entrusted with the happiness of twenty-five millions of people
ought not wilfully to hurt the feelings of a single individual.'

"The King learned that Landsmath had lost his confessor, a missionary
priest of the parish of Notre-Dame. It was the custom of the Lazarists
to expose their dead with the face uncovered. Louis XV. wished to try
his equerry's firmness. 'You have lost your confessor, I hear,' said the
King. 'Yes, Sire.'--'He will be exposed with his face bare?'--'Such is
the custom.'--'I command you to go and see him.'--'Sire, my confessor was
my friend; it would be very painful to me.'--'No matter; I command you.'
--'Are you really in earnest, Sire?'--'Quite so.'--'It would be the first
time in my life that I had disobeyed my sovereign's order. I will go.'
The next day the King at his levee, as soon as he perceived Landsmath,
said, 'Have you done as I desired you, Landsmath?'--'Undoubtedly, Sire.'
--'Well, what did you see?'--'Faith, I saw that your Majesty and I are no
great shakes!'

"At the death of Queen Maria Leczinska, M. Campan,--[Her father-in-law,
afterwards secretary to Marie Antoinette.]--then an officer of the
chamber, having performed several confidential duties, the King asked
Madame Adelaide how he should reward him. She requested him to create an
office in his household of master of the wardrobe, with a salary of a
thousand crowns. 'I will do so,' said the King; 'it will be an
honourable title; but tell Campan not to add a single crown to his
expenses, for you will see they will never pay him.'

"Louis XV., by his dignified carriage, and the amiable yet majestic
expression of his features, was worthy to succeed to Louis the Great.
But he too frequently indulged in secret pleasures, which at last were
sure to become known. During several winters, he was passionately fond
of 'candles' end balls', as he called those parties amongst the very
lowest classes of society. He got intelligence of the picnics given by
the tradesmen, milliners, and sempstresses of Versailles, whither he
repaired in a black domino, and masked, accompanied by the captain of his
Guards, masked like himself. His great delight was to go 'en brouette'--
[In a kind of sedan-chair, running on two wheels, and drawn by a
chairman.]--Care was always taken to give notice to five or six officers
of the King's or Queen's chamber to be there, in order that his Majesty
might be surrounded by people on whom he could depend, without finding it
troublesome. Probably the captain of the Guards also took other
precautions of this description on his part. My father-in-law, when the
King and he were both young, has often made one amongst the servants
desired to attend masked at these parties, assembled in some garret, or
parlour of a public-house. In those times, during the carnival, masked
companies had a right to join the citizens' balls; it was sufficient that
one of the party should unmask and name himself.

"These secret excursions, and his too habitual intercourse with ladies
more distinguished for their personal charms than for the advantages of
education, were no doubt the means by which the King acquired many vulgar
expressions which otherwise would never have reached his ears.

"Yet amidst the most shameful excesses the King sometimes suddenly
resumed the dignity of his rank in a very noble manner. The familiar
courtiers of Louis XV. had one day abandoned themselves to the
unrestrained gaiety, of a supper, after returning from the chase. Each
boasted of and described the beauty of his mistress. Some of them amused
themselves with giving a particular account of their wives' personal
defects. An imprudent word, addressed to Louis XV., and applicable only
to the Queen, instantly dispelled all the mirth of the entertainment.
The King assumed his regal air, and knocking with his knife on the table
twice or thrice, 'Gentlemen; said he, 'here is the King!'

"Those men who are most completely abandoned to dissolute manners are
not, on that account, insensible to virtue in women. The Comtesse de
Perigord was as beautiful as virtuous. During some excursions she made
to Choisy, whither she had been invited, she perceived that the King took
great notice of her. Her demeanour of chilling respect, her cautious
perseverance in shunning all serious conversation with the monarch, were
insufficient to extinguish this rising flame, and he at length addressed
a letter to her, worded in the most passionate terms. This excellent
woman instantly formed her resolution: honour forbade her returning the
King's passion, whilst her profound respect for the sovereign made her
unwilling to disturb his tranquillity. She therefore voluntarily
banished herself to an estate she possessed called Chalais, near
Barbezieux, the mansion of which had been uninhabited nearly a century;
the porter's lodge was the only place in a condition to receive her.
From this seat she wrote to his Majesty, explaining her motives for
leaving Court; and she remained there several years without visiting
Paris. Louis XV. was speedily attracted by other objects, and regained
the composure to which Madame de Perigord had thought it her duty to
sacrifice so much. Some years after, Mesdames' lady of honour died.
Many great families solicited the place. The King, without answering any
of their applications, wrote to the Comtesse de Perigord: 'My daughters
have just lost their lady of honour; this place, madame, is your due, as
much on account of your personal qualities as of the illustrious name of
your family.'

"Three young men of the college of St. Germain, who had just completed
their course of studies, knowing no person about the Court, and having
heard that strangers were always well treated there, resolved to dress
themselves completely in the Armenian costume, and, thus clad, to present
themselves to see the grand ceremony of the reception of several knights
of the Order of the Holy Ghost. Their stratagem met with all the success
with which they had flattered themselves. While the procession was
passing through the long mirror gallery, the Swiss of the apartments
placed them in the first row of spectators, recommending every one to pay
all possible attention to the strangers. The latter, however, were
imprudent enough to enter the 'oeil-de-boeuf' chamber, where, were
Messieurs Cardonne and Ruffin, interpreters of Oriental languages, and
the first clerk of the consul's department, whose business it was to
attend to everything which related to the natives of the East who were in
France. The three scholars were immediately surrounded and questioned by
these gentlemen, at first in modern Greek. Without being disconcerted,
they made signs that they did not understand it. They were then
addressed in Turkish and Arabic; at length one of the interpreters,
losing all patience, exclaimed, 'Gentlemen, you certainly must understand
some of the languages in which you have been addressed. What country can
you possibly come from then?'--'From St. Germain-en-Laye, sir,' replied
the boldest among them; 'this is the first time you have put the question
to us in French.' They then confessed the motive of their disguise; the
eldest of them was not more than eighteen years of age. Louis XV. was
informed of the affair. He laughed heartily, ordered them a few hours'
confinement and a good admonition, after which they were to be set at

"Louis XV. liked to talk about death, though he was extremely
apprehensive of it; but his excellent health and his royal dignity
probably made him imagine himself invulnerable. He often said to people
who had very bad colds, 'You've a churchyard cough there.' Hunting one
day in the forest of Senard, in a year in which bread was extremely dear,
he met a man on horseback carrying a coffin. 'Whither are you carrying
that coffin?'--'To the village of ------,' answered the peasant. 'Is it
for a man or a woman?'--'For a man.'--'What did he die of?'--'Of hunger,'
bluntly replied the villager. The King spurred on his horse, and asked
no more questions.

"Weak as Louis XV. was, the Parliaments would never have obtained his
consent to the convocation of the States General. I heard an anecdote on
this subject from two officers attached to that Prince's household. It
was at the period when the remonstrances of the Parliaments, and the
refusals to register the decrees for levying taxes, produced alarm with
respect to the state of the finances. This became the subject of
conversation one evening at the coucher of Louis XV. 'You will see,
Sire,' said a courtier, whose office placed him in close communication
with the King, 'that all this will make it absolutely necessary to
assemble the States General!'

"The King, roused by this speech from the habitual apathy of his
character, seized the courtier by the arm, and said to him, in a passion,
'Never repeat, these words. I am not sanguinary; but had I a brother,
and were he to dare to give me such advice, I would sacrifice him, within
twenty-four hours, to the duration of the monarchy and the tranquillity
of the kingdom.'

"Several years prior to his death the Dauphin, the father of Louis XVI.,
had confluent smallpox, which endangered his life; and after his
convalescence he was long troubled with a malignant ulcer under the nose.
He was injudiciously advised to get rid of it by the use of extract of
lead, which proved effectual; but from that time the Dauphin, who was
corpulent, insensibly grew thin, and a short, dry cough evinced that the
humour, driven in, had fallen on the lungs. Some persons also suspected
him of having taken acids in too great a quantity for the purpose of
reducing his bulk. The state of his health was not, however, such as to
excite alarm. At the camp at Compiegne, in July, 1764, the Dauphin
reviewed the troops, and evinced much activity in the performance of his
duties; it was even observed that he was seeking to gain the attachment
of the army. He presented the Dauphiness to the soldiers, saying, with a
simplicity which at that time made a great sensation, 'Mes enfans, here
is my wife.' Returning late on horseback to Compiegne, he found he had
taken a chill; the heat of the day had been excessive; the Prince's
clothes had been wet with perspiration. An illness followed, in which
the Prince began to spit blood. His principal physician wished to have
him bled; the consulting physicians insisted on purgation, and their
advice was followed. The pleurisy, being ill cured, assumed and retained
all the symptoms of consumption; the Dauphin languished from that period
until December, 1765, and died at Fontainebleau, where the Court, on
account of his condition, had prolonged its stay, which usually ended on
the 2d of November.

"The Dauphiness, his widow, was deeply afflicted; but the immoderate
despair which characterised her grief induced many to suspect that the
loss of the crown was an important part of the calamity she lamented.
She long refused to eat enough to support life; she encouraged her tears
to flow by placing portraits of the Dauphin in every retired part of her
apartments. She had him represented pale, and ready to expire, in a
picture placed at the foot of her bed, under draperies of gray cloth,
with which the chambers of the Princesses were always hung in court
mournings. Their grand cabinet was hung with black cloth, with an
alcove, a canopy, and a throne, on which they received compliments of
condolence after the first period of the deep mourning. The Dauphiness,
some months before the end of her career, regretted her conduct in
abridging it; but it was too late; the fatal blow had been struck. It
may also be presumed that living with a consumptive, man had contributed
to her complaint. This Princess had no opportunity of displaying her
qualities; living in a Court in which she was eclipsed by the King and
Queen, the only characteristics that could be remarked in her were her
extreme attachment to her husband, and her great piety.

"The Dauphin was little known, and his character has been much mistaken.
He himself, as he confessed to his intimate friends, sought to disguise
it. He one day asked one of his most familiar servants, 'What do they
say in Paris of that great fool of a Dauphin?' The person interrogated
seeming confused, the Dauphin urged him to express himself sincerely,
saying, 'Speak freely; that is positively the idea which I wish people to
form of me.'

"As he died of a disease which allows the last moment to be anticipated
long beforehand, he wrote much, and transmitted his affections and his
prejudices to his son by secret notes.

"Madame de Pompadour's brother received Letters of Nobility from his
Majesty, and was appointed superintendent of the buildings and gardens.
He often presented to her Majesty, through the medium of his sister, the
rarest flowers, pineapples, and early vegetables from the gardens of
Trianon and Choisy. One day, when the Marquise came into the Queen's
apartments, carrying a large basket of flowers, which she held in her two
beautiful arms, without gloves, as a mark of respect, the Queen loudly
declared her admiration of her beauty; and seemed as if she wished to
defend the King's choice, by praising her various charms in detail, in a
manner that would have been as suitable to a production of the fine arts
as to a living being. After applauding the complexion, eyes, and fine
arms of the favourite, with that haughty condescension which renders
approbation more offensive than flattering, the Queen at length requested
her to sing, in the attitude in which she stood, being desirous of
hearing the voice and musical talent by which the King's Court had been
charmed in the performances of the private apartments, and thus combining
the gratification of the ears with that of the eyes. The Marquise, who
still held her enormous basket, was perfectly sensible of something
offensive in this request, and tried to excuse herself from singing. The
Queen at last commanded her; she then exerted her fine voice in the solo
of Armida--'At length he is in my power.' The change in her Majesty's
countenance was so obvious that the ladies present at this scene had the
greatest difficulty to keep theirs.

"The Queen was affable and modest; but the more she was thankful in her
heart to Heaven for having placed her on the first throne in Europe, the
more unwilling she was to be reminded of her elevation. This sentiment
induced her to insist on the observation of all the forms of respect due
to royal birth; whereas in other princes the consciousness of that birth
often induces them to disdain the ceremonies of etiquette, and to prefer
habits of ease and simplicity. There was a striking contrast in this
respect between Maria Leczinska and Marie Antoinette, as has been justly
and generally observed. The latter unfortunate Queen, perhaps, carried
her disregard of everything belonging to the strict forms of etiquette
too far. One day, when the Marechale de Mouchy was teasing her with
questions relative to the extent to which she would allow the ladies the
option of taking off or wearing their cloaks, and of pinning up the
lappets of their caps, or letting them hang down, the Queen replied to
her, in my presence: 'Arrange all those matters, madame, just as you
please; but do not imagine that a queen, born Archduchess of Austria, can
attach that importance to them which might be felt by a Polish princess
who had become Queen of France.'

"The virtues and information of the great are always evinced by their
conduct; their accomplishments, coming within the scope of flattery, are
difficult to be ascertained by any authentic proofs, and those who have
lived near them may be excused for some degree of scepticism with regard
to their attainments of this kind. If they draw or paint, there is
always an able artist present, who, if he does not absolutely guide the
pencil with his own hand, directs it by his advice. If a princess
attempt a piece of embroidery in colours, of that description which ranks
amongst the productions of the arts, a skilful embroideress is employed
to undo and repair whatever has been spoilt. If the princess be a
musician, there are no ears that will discover when she is out of tune;
at least there is no tongue that will tell her so. This imperfection in
the accomplishments of the great is but a slight misfortune. It is
sufficiently meritorious in them to engage in such pursuits, even with
indifferent success, because this taste and the protection it extends
produce abundance of talent on every side. Maria Leczinska delighted in
the art of painting, and imagined she herself could draw and paint. She
had a drawing-master, who passed all his time in her cabinet. She
undertook to paint four large Chinese pictures, with which she wished to
ornament her private drawing-room, which was richly furnished with rare
porcelain and the finest marbles. This painter was entrusted with the
landscape and background of the pictures; he drew the figures with a
pencil; the faces and arms were also left by the Queen to his execution;
she reserved to herself nothing but the draperies, and the least
important accessories. The Queen every morning filled up the outline
marked out for her, with a little red, blue, or green colour, which the
master prepared on the palette, and even filled her brush with,
constantly repeating, 'Higher up, Madame--lower down, Madame--a little to
the right--more to the left.' After an hour's work, the time for hearing
mass, or some other family or pious duty, would interrupt her Majesty;
and the painter, putting the shadows into the draperies she had painted,
softening off the colour where she had laid too much, etc., finished the
small figures. When the work was completed the private drawing-room was
decorated with her Majesty's work; and the firm persuasion of this good
Queen that she had painted it herself was so entire that she left this
cabinet, with all its furniture and paintings, to the Comtesse de
Noailles, her lady of honour. She added to the bequest: 'The pictures in
my cabinet being my own work, I hope the Comtesse de Noailles will
preserve them for my sake.' Madame de Noailles, afterwards Marechale de
Mouchy, had a new pavilion constructed in her hotel in the Faubourg St.
Germain, in order to form a suitable receptacle for the Queen's legacy;
and had the following inscription placed over the door, in letters of
gold: 'The innocent falsehood of a good princess.'

"Maria Leczinska could never look with cordiality on the Princess of
Saxony, who married the Dauphin; but the attentive behaviour of the
Dauphiness at length made her Majesty forget that the Princess was the
daughter of a king who wore her father's crown. Nevertheless, although
the Queen now saw in the Princess of Saxony only a wife beloved by her
son, she never could forget that Augustus wore the crown of Stanislaus.
One day an officer of her chamber having undertaken to ask a private
audience of her for the Saxon minister, and the Queen being unwilling to
grant it, he ventured to add that he should not have presumed to ask this
favour of the Queen had not the minister been the ambassador of a member
of the family. 'Say of an enemy of the family,' replied the Queen,
angrily; 'and let him come in.'

"Comte de Tesse, father of the last Count of that name, who left no
children, was first equerry to Queen Maria Leczinska. She esteemed his
virtues, but often diverted herself at the expense of his simplicity.
One day, when the conversation turned on the noble military, actions by
which the French nobility was distinguished, the Queen said to the Count:
'And your family, M. de Tesse, has been famous, too, in the field.'--
'Ah, Madame, we have all been killed in our masters' service!'--'How
rejoiced I am,' replied the Queen, 'that you have revived to tell me of
it.' The son of this worthy M. de Tesse was married to the amiable and
highly gifted daughter of the Duc d'Ayen, afterwards Marechale de
Noailles. He was exceedingly fond of his daughter-in-law, and never
could speak of her without emotion. The Queen, to please him, often
talked to him about the young Countess, and one day asked him which of
her good qualities seemed to him most conspicuous. 'Her gentleness,
Madame, her gentleness,' said he, with tears in his eyes; 'she is so
mild, so soft,--as soft as a good carriage.'--'Well,' said her Majesty,
'that's an excellent comparison for a first equerry.'

"In 1730 Queen Maria Leczinska, going to mass, met old Marechal Villars,
leaning on a wooden crutch not worth fifteen pence. She rallied him
about it, and the Marshal told her that he had used it ever since he had
received a wound which obliged him to add this article to the equipments
of the army. Her Majesty, smiling, said she thought this crutch so
unworthy of him that she hoped to induce him to give it up. On returning
home she despatched M. Campan to Paris with orders to purchase at the
celebrated Germain's the handsomest cane, with a gold enamelled crutch,
that he could find, and carry it without delay to Mardchal Villars's
hotel, and present it to him from her. He was announced accordingly, and
fulfilled his commission. The Marshal, in attending him to the door,
requested him to express his gratitude to the Queen, and said that he had
nothing fit to offer to an officer who had the honour to belong to her
Majesty; but he begged him to accept of his old stick, saying that his
grandchildren would probably some day be glad to possess the cane with
which he had commanded at Marchiennes and Denain. The known frugality of
Marechal Villars appears in this anecdote; but he was not mistaken with
respect to the estimation in which his stick would be held. It was
thenceforth kept with veneration by M. Campan's family. On the 10th of
August, 1792, a house which I occupied on the Carrousel, at the entrance
of the Court of the Tuileries, was pillaged and nearly burnt down. The
cane of Marechal Villars was thrown into the Carrousel as of no value,
and picked up by my servant. Had its old master been living at that
period we should not have witnessed such a deplorable day.

"Before the Revolution there were customs and words in use at Versailles
with which few people were acquainted. The King's dinner was called
'The King's meat.' Two of the Body Guard accompanied the attendants who
carried the dinner; every one rose as they passed through the halls,
saying, 'There is the King's meat.' All precautionary duties were
distinguished by the words 'in case.' One of the guards might be heard
to say, 'I am in case in the forest of St. Germain.' In the evening they
always brought the Queen a large bowl of broth, a cold roast fowl, one
bottle of wine, one of orgeat, one of lemonade, and some other articles,
which were called the 'in case' for the night. An old medical gentleman,
who had been physician in ordinary to Louis XIV., and was still living at
the time of the marriage of Louis XV., told M. Campan's father an
anecdote which seems too remarkable to have remained unknown;
nevertheless he was a man of honour, incapable of inventing this story.
His name was Lafosse. He said that Louis XIV. was informed that the
officers of his table evinced, in the most disdainful and offensive
manner, the mortification they felt at being obliged to eat at the table
of the comptroller of the kitchen along with Moliere, valet de chambre to
his Majesty, because Moliere had performed on the stage; and that this
celebrated author consequently declined appearing at that table. Louis
XIV., determined to put an end to insults which ought never to have been
offered to one of the greatest geniuses of the age, said to him one
morning at the hour of his private levee, 'They say you live very poorly
here, Moliere; and that the officers of my chamber do not find you good
enough to eat with them. Perhaps you are hungry; for my part I awoke
with a very good appetite this morning: sit down at this table. Serve up
my 'in case' for the night there.' The King, then cutting up his fowl,
and ordering Moliere to sit down, helped him to a wing, at the same time
taking one for himself, and ordered the persons entitled to familiar
entrance, that is to say the most distinguished and favourite people at
Court, to be admitted. 'You see me,' said the King to them, 'engaged in
entertaining Moliere, whom my valets de chambre do not consider
sufficiently good company for them.' From that time Moliere never had
occasion to appear at the valets' table; the whole Court was forward
enough to send him invitations.

"M. de Lafosse used also to relate that a brigade-major of the Body
Guard, being ordered to place the company in the little theatre at
Versailles, very roughly turned out one of the King's comptrollers who
had taken his seat on one of the benches, a place to which his newly
acquired office entitled him. In vain he insisted on his quality and his
right. The altercation was ended by the brigade-major in these words:
'Gentlemen Body Guards, do your duty.' In this case their duty was to
turn the offender out at the door. This comptroller, who had paid sixty
or eighty thousand francs for his appointment, was a man of a good
family, and had had the honour of serving his Majesty five and twenty
years in one of his regiments; thus ignominiously driven out of the hall,
he placed himself in the King's way in the great hall of the Guards, and,
bowing to his Majesty, requested him to vindicate the honour of an old
soldier who had wished to end his days in his Prince's civil employment,
now that age had obliged him to relinquish his military service. The
King stopped, heard his story, and then ordered him to follow him. His
Majesty attended the representation in a sort of amphitheatre, in which
his armchair was placed; behind him was a row of stools for the captain
of the Guards, the first gentleman of the chamber, and other great
officers. The brigade-major was entitled to one of these places; the
King stopped opposite the seat which ought to have been occupied by that
officer and said to the comptroller, 'Take, monsieur, for this evening,
the place near my person of him who has offended you, and let the
expression of my displeasure at this unjust affront satisfy you instead
of any other reparation:

"During the latter years of the reign of Louis XIV. he never went out but
in a chair carried by porters, and he showed a great regard for a man
named D'Aigremont, one of those porters who always went in front and
opened the door of the chair. The slightest preference shown by
sovereigns, even to the meanest of their servants, never fails to excite

[People of the very first rank did not disdain to descend to the
level of D'Aigremont. "Lauzun," said the Duchesse d'Orleans in her
"Memoirs," "sometimes affects stupidity in order to show people
their own with impunity, for he is very malicious. In order to make
Marechal de Tease feel the impropriety of his familiarity with
people of the common sort, he called out, in the drawing-room at
Marly, 'Marechal, give me a pinch of snuff; some of your best, such
as you take in the morning with Monsieur d'Aigremont, the
chairman.'"--NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

The King had done something for this man's numerous family, and
frequently talked to him. An abbe belonging to the chapel thought proper
to request D'Aigremont to present a memorial to the King, in which he
requested his Majesty to grant him a benefice. Louis XIV. did not
approve of the liberty thus taken by his chairman, and said to him, in a
very angry tone, 'D'Aigremont, you have been made to do a very unbecoming
act, and I am sure there must be simony in the case.'--'No, Sire, there
is not the least ceremony in the case, I assure you,' answered the poor
man, in great consternation; 'the abbe only said he would give me a
hundred Louis.'--'D'Aigremont,' said the King, 'I forgive you on account
of your ignorance and candour. I will give you the hundred Louis out of
my privy purse; but I will discharge you the very next time you venture
to present a memorial to me.'

"Louis XIV. was very kind to those of his servants who were nearest his
person; but the moment he assumed his royal deportment, those who were
most accustomed to see him in his domestic character were as much
intimidated as if they were appearing in his presence for the first time
in their lives. Some of the members of his Majesty's civil household,
then called 'commensalite', enjoying the title of equerry, and the
privileges attached to officers of the King's household, had occasion to
claim some prerogatives, the exercise of which the municipal body of St.
Germain, where they resided, disputed with them. Being assembled in
considerable numbers in that town, they obtained the consent of the
minister of the household to allow them to send a deputation to the King;
and for that purpose chose from amongst them two of his Majesty's valets
de chambre named Bazire and Soulaigre. The King's levee being over, the
deputation of the inhabitants of the town of St. Germain was called in.
They entered with confidence; the King looked at them, and assumed his
imposing attitude. Bazire, one of these valets de chambre, was about to
speak, but Louis the Great was looking on him. He no longer saw the
Prince he was accustomed to attend at home; he was intimidated, and could
not find words; he recovered, however, and began as usual with the word
Sire. But timidity again overpowered him, and finding himself unable to
recollect the slightest particle of what he came to say, he repeated the
word Sire several times, and at length concluded by paying, 'Sire, here
is Soulaigre.' Soulaigre, who was very angry with Bazire, and expected
to acquit himself much better, then began to speak; but he also, after
repeating 'Sire' several times, found his embarrassment increasing upon
him, until his confusion equalled that of his colleague; he therefore
ended with 'Sire, here is Bazire.' The King smiled, and answered,
'Gentlemen, I have been informed of the business upon which you have been
deputed to wait on me, and I will take care that what is right shall be
done. I am highly satisfied with the manner in which you have fulfilled
your functions as deputies.'"

Mademoiselle Genet's education was the object of her father's particular
attention. Her progress in the study of music and of foreign languages
was surprising; Albaneze instructed her in singing, and Goldoni taught
her Italian. Tasso, Milton, Dante, and even Shakespeare, soon became
familiar to her. But her studies were particularly directed to the
acquisition of a correct and elegant style of reading. Rochon de
Chabannes, Duclos, Barthe, Marmontel, and Thomas took pleasure in hearing
her recite the finest scenes of Racine. Her memory and genius at the age
of fourteen charmed them; they talked of her talents in society, and
perhaps applauded them too highly.

She was soon spoken of at Court. Some ladies of high rank, who took an
interest in the welfare of her family, obtained for her the place of
Reader to the Princesses. Her presentation, and the circumstances which
preceded it, left a strong impression on her mind. "I was then fifteen,"
she says; "my father felt some regret at yielding me up at so early an
age to the jealousies of the Court. The day on which I first put on my
Court dress, and went to embrace him in his study, tears filled his eyes,
and mingled with the expression of his pleasure. I possessed some
agreeable talents, in addition to the instruction which it had been his
delight to bestow on me. He enumerated all my little accomplishments, to
convince me of the vexations they would not fail to draw upon me."

Mademoiselle Genet, at fifteen, was naturally less of a philosopher than
her father was at forty. Her eyes were dazzled by the splendour which
glittered at Versailles. "The Queen, Maria Leczinska, the wife of Louis
XV., died," she says, "just before I was presented at Court. The grand
apartments hung with black, the great chairs of state, raised on several
steps, and surmounted by a canopy adorned with Plumes; the caparisoned
horses, the immense retinue in Court mourning, the enormous shoulder-
knots, embroidered with gold and silver spangles, which decorated the
coats of the pages and footmen,--all this magnificence had such an effect
on my senses that I could scarcely support myself when introduced to the
Princesses. The first day of my reading in the inner apartment of Madame
Victoire I found it impossible to pronounce more than two sentences; my
heart palpitated, my voice faltered, and my sight failed. How well
understood was the potent magic of the grandeur and dignity which ought
to surround sovereigns! Marie Antoinette, dressed in white, with a plain
straw hat, and a little switch in her hand, walking on foot, followed by
a single servant, through the walks leading to the Petit Trianon, would
never have thus disconcerted me; and I believe this extreme simplicity
was the first and only real mistake of all those with which she is

When once her awe and confusion had subsided, Mademoiselle Genet was
enabled to form a more accurate judgment of her situation. It was by no
means attractive; the Court of the Princesses, far removed from the
revels to which Louie XV. was addicted, was grave, methodical, and dull.
Madame Adelaide, the eldest of the Princesses, lived secluded in the
interior of her apartments; Madame Sophie was haughty; Madame Louise a
devotee. Mademoiselle Genet never quitted the Princesses' apartments;
but she attached herself most particularly to Madame Victoire. This
Princess had possessed beauty; her countenance bore an expression of
benevolence, and her conversation was kind, free, and unaffected. The
young reader excited in her that feeling which a woman in years, of an
affectionate disposition, readily extends to young people who are growing
up in her sight, and who possess some useful talents. Whole days were
passed in reading to the Princess, as she sat at work in her apartment.
Mademoiselle Genet frequently saw there Louis XV., of whom she has
related the following anecdote:

"One day, at the Chateau of Compiegne, the King came in whilst I was
reading to Madame. I rose and went into another room. Alone, in an
apartment from which there was no outlet, with no book but a Massillon,
which I had been reading to the Princess, happy in all the lightness and
gaiety of fifteen, I amused myself with turning swiftly round, with my
court hoop, and suddenly kneeling down to see my rose-coloured silk
petticoat swelled around me by the wind. In the midst of this grave
employment enters his Majesty, followed by one of the Princesses. I
attempt to rise; my feet stumble, and down I fall in the midst of my
robes, puffed out by the wind. 'Daughter,' said Louis XV., laughing
heartily, 'I advise you to send back to school a reader who makes
cheeses.'" The railleries of Louis XV. were often much more cutting,
as Mademoiselle Genet experienced on another occasion, which, thirty
years afterwards, she could not relate without an emotion of fear.
"Louis XV.," she said, "had the most imposing presence. His eyes
remained fixed upon you all the time he was speaking; and,
notwithstanding the beauty of his features, he inspired a sort of fear.
I was very young, it is true, when he first spoke to me; you shall judge
whether it was in a very gracious manner. I was fifteen. The King was
going out to hunt, and a numerous retinue followed him. As he stopped
opposite me he said, 'Mademoiselle Genet, I am assured you are very
learned, and understand four or five foreign languages.'--'I know only
two, Sire,' I answered, trembling. 'Which are they?' English and
Italian.'--'Do you speak them fluently?' Yes, Sire, very fluently.'
'That is quite enough to drive a husband mad.' After this pretty
compliment the King went on; the retinue saluted me, laughing; and, for
my part, I remained for some moments motionless with surprise and

At the time when the French alliance was proposed by the Duc de Choiseul
there was at Vienna a doctor named Gassner,--[Jean Joseph Gassner, a
pretender to miraculous powers.]--who had fled thither to seek an asylum
against the persecutions of his sovereign, one of the ecclesiastical
electors. Gassner, gifted with an extraordinary warmth of imagination,
imagined that he received inspirations. The Empress protected him, saw
him occasionally, rallied him on his visions, and, nevertheless, heard
them with a sort of interest. "Tell me,"--said she to him one day,
"whether my Antoinette will be happy." Gassner turned pale, and remained
silent. Being still pressed by the Empress, and wishing to give a
general expression to the idea with which he seemed deeply occupied,
"Madame," he replied, "there are crosses for all shoulders."

The occurrences at the Place Louis XV. on the marriage festivities at
Paris are generally known. The conflagration of the scaffolds intended
for the fireworks, the want of foresight of the authorities, the avidity
of robbers, the murderous career of the coaches, brought about and
aggravated the disasters of that day; and the young Dauphiness, coming
from Versailles, by the Cours la Reine, elated with joy, brilliantly
decorated, and eager to witness the rejoicings of the whole people, fled,
struck with consternation and drowned in tears, from the dreadful scene.
This tragic opening of the young Princess's life in France seemed to bear
out Gassner's hint of disaster, and to be ominous of the terrible future
which awaited her.

In the same year in which Marie Antoinette was married to the Dauphin,
Henriette Genet married a son of M. Campan, already mentioned as holding
an office at the Court; and when the household of the Dauphiness was
formed, Madame Campan was appointed her reader, and received from Marie
Antoinette a consistent kindness and confidence to which by her loyal
service she was fully entitled. Madame Campan's intelligence and
vivacity made her much more sympathetic to a young princess, gay and
affectionate in disposition, and reared in the simplicity of a German
Court, than her lady of honour, the Comtesse de Noailles. This
respectable lady, who was placed near her as a minister of the laws of
etiquette, instead of alleviating their weight, rendered their yoke
intolerable to her.

"Madame de Noailles," says Madame Campan, "abounded in virtues. Her
piety, charity, and irreproachable morals rendered her worthy of praise;
but etiquette was to her a sort of atmosphere; at the slightest
derangement of the consecrated order, one would have thought the
principles of life would forsake her frame.

"One day I unintentionally threw this poor lady 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.'"

Her 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.

[M. de Fresne Forget, being one day in company with the Queen
Marguerite, told her he was astonished how men and women with such
great ruffs could eat soup without spoiling them; and still more how
the ladies could be gallant with their great fardingales. The Queen
made no answer at that time, but a few days after, having a very
large ruff on, and some 'bouili' to eat, she ordered a very long
spoon to be brought, and ate her 'bouili' with it, without soiling
her ruff. Upon which, addressing herself to M. de Fresne, she said,
laughing, "There now, you see, with a little ingenuity one may
manage anything."--"Yes, faith, madame," said the good man, "as far
as regards the soup I am satisfied."--LAPLACE's "Collection," vol.
ii., p. 350.]

The anti-Austrian party, discontented and vindictive, became spies upon
her conduct, exaggerated her slightest errors, and calumniated her most
innocent proceedings. "What seems unaccountable at the first glance,"
says Montjoie, "is that the first attack on the reputation of the Queen
proceeded from the bosom of the Court. What interest could the courtiers
have in seeking her destruction, which involved that of the King? Was it
not drying up the source of all the advantages they enjoyed, or could
hope for?"

[Madame Campan relates the following among many anecdotes
illustrative of the Queen's kindness of heart: "A petition was
addressed to the Queen by a corporation in the neighbourhood of
Paris, praying for the destruction of the game which destroyed their
crops. I was the bearer of this petition to her Majesty, who said,
'I will undertake to have these good people relieved from so great
an annoyance.' She gave the document to M. de Vermond in my
presence, saying, 'I desire that immediate justice be done to this
petition.' An assurance was given that her order should be attended
to, but six weeks afterwards a second petition was sent up, for the
nuisance had not been abated after all. If the second petition had
reached the Queen, M. de Vermond would have received a sharp
reprimand. She was always so happy when it was in her power to do

The quick repartee, which was another of the Queen's
characteristics, was less likely to promote her popularity. "M.
Brunier," says Madame Campan, "was physician to the royal children.
During his visits to the palace, if the death of any of his patients
was alluded to, he never failed to say, 'Ah! there I lost one of my
best friends! 'Well,' said the Queen, 'if he loses all his patients
who are his friends, what will become of those who are not?'"]

When the terrible Danton exclaimed, "The kings of Europe menace us; it
behooves us to defy them; let us throw down to them the head of a king as
our gage!" these detestable words, followed by so cruel a result, formed,
however, a formidable stroke of policy. But the Queen! What urgent
reasons of state could Danton, Collot d'Herbois, and Robespierre allege
against her? What savage greatness did they discover in stirring up a
whole nation to avenge their quarrel on a woman? What remained of her
former power? She was a captive, a widow, trembling for her children!
In those judges, who at once outraged modesty and nature; in that people
whose vilest scoffs pursued her to the scaffold, who could have
recognised the generous people of France? Of all the crimes which
disgraced the Revolution, none was more calculated to show how the spirit
of party can degrade the character of a nation.

The news of this dreadful event reached Madame Campan in an obscure
retreat which she had chosen. She had not succeeded in her endeavours to
share the Queen's captivity, and she expected every moment a similar
fate. After escaping, almost miraculously, from the murderous fury of
the Marseillais; after being denounced and pursued by Robespierre, and
entrusted, through the confidence of the King and Queen, with papers of
the utmost importance, Madame Campan went to Coubertin, in the valley of
Chevreuse. Madame Auguid, her sister, had just committed suicide, at the
very moment of her arrest.

[Maternal affection prevailed over her religious sentiments; she
wished to preserve the wreck of her fortune for her children. Had
she deferred this fatal act for one day she would have been saved;
the cart which conveyed Robespierre to execution stopped her funeral

The scaffold awaited Madame Campan, when the 9th of Thermidor restored
her to life; but did not restore to her the most constant object of her
thoughts, her zeal, and her devotion.

A new career now opened to Madame Campan. At Coubertin, surrounded by
her nieces, she was fond of directing their studies. This occupation
caused her ideas to revert to the subject of education, and awakened once
more the inclinations of her youth. At the age of twelve years she could
never meet a school of young ladies passing through the streets without
feeling ambitious of the situation and authority of their mistress. Her
abode at Court had diverted but not altered her inclinations. "A month
after the fall of Robespierre," she says, "I considered as to the means
of providing for myself, for a mother seventy years of age, my sick
husband, my child nine years old, and part of my ruined family. I now
possessed nothing in the world but an assignat of five hundred francs.
I had become responsible for my husband's debts, to the amount of thirty
thousand francs. I chose St. Germain to set up a boarding-school, for
that town did not remind me, as Versailles did, both of happy times and
of the misfortunes of France. I took with me a nun of l'Enfant-Jesus, to
give an unquestionable pledge of my religious principles. The school of
St. Germain was the first in which the opening of an oratory was ventured
on. The Directory was displeased at it, and ordered it to be immediately
shut up; and some time after commissioners were sent to desire that the
reading of the Scriptures should be suppressed in my school. I inquired
what books were to be substituted in their stead. After some minutes'
conversation, they observed: 'Citizeness, you are arguing after the old
fashion; no reflections. The nation commands; we must have obedience,
and no reasoning.' Not having the means of printing my prospectus, I
wrote a hundred copies of it, and sent them to the persons of my
acquaintance who had survived the dreadful commotions. At the year's end
I had sixty pupils; soon afterwards a hundred. I bought furniture and
paid my debts."

The rapid success of the establishment at St. Germain was undoubtedly
owing to the talents, experience, and excellent principles of Madame
Campan, seconded by public opinion. All property had changed hands; all
ranks found themselves confusedly jumbled by the shock of the Revolution:
the grand seigneur dined at the table of the opulent contractor; and the
witty and elegant marquise was present at the ball by the side of the
clumsy peasant lately grown rich. In the absence of the ancient
distinctions, elegant manners and polished language now formed a kind of
aristocracy. The house of St. Germain, conducted by a lady who possessed
the deportment and the habits of the best society, was not only a school
of knowledge, but a school of the world.

"A friend of Madame de Beauharnais," continues Madame Campan, "brought me
her daughter Hortense de Beauharnais, and her niece Emilie de
Beauharnais. Six months afterwards she came to inform me of her marriage
with a Corsican gentleman, who had been brought up in the military
school, and was then a general. I was requested to communicate this
information to her daughter, who long lamented her mother's change of
name. I was also desired to watch over the education of little Eugene de
Beauharnais, who was placed at St. Germain, in the same school with my

"A great intimacy sprang up between my nieces and these young people.
Madame de Beauharnaias set out for Italy, and left her children with me.
On her return, after the conquests of Bonaparte, that general, much
pleased with the improvement of his stepdaughter, invited me to dine at
Malmaison, and attended two representations of 'Esther' at my school."

He also showed his appreciation of her talents by sending his sister
Caroline to St. Germain. Shortly before Caroline's marriage to Murat,
and while she was yet at St. Germain, Napoleon observed to Madame Campan:
"I do not like those love matches between young people whose brains are
excited by the flames of the imagination. I had other views for my
sister. Who knows what high alliance I might have procured for her! She
is thoughtless, and does not form a just notion of my situation. The
time will come when, perhaps, sovereigns might dispute for her hand. She
is about to marry a brave man; but in my situation that is not enough.
Fate should be left to fulfil her decrees."

[Madame Murat one day said to Madame Campan: "I am astonished that
you are not more awed in our presence; you speak to us with as much
familiarity as when we were your pupils!"--"The best thing you can
do," replied Madame Campan, "is to forget your titles when you are
with me, for I can never be afraid of queens whom I have held under
the rod."]

Madame Campan dined at the Tuileries in company with the Pope's nuncio,
at the period when the Concordat was in agitation. During dinner the
First Consul astonished her by the able manner in which he conversed on
the subject under discussion. She said he argued so logically that his
talent quite amazed her. During the consulate Napoleon one day said to
her, "If ever I establish a republic of women, I shall make you First

Napoleon's views as to "woman's mission" are now well known. Madame
Campan said that she heard from him that when he founded the convent of
the Sisters of la Charite he was urgently solicited to permit perpetual
vows. He, however, refused to do so, on the ground that tastes may
change, and that he did not see the necessity of excluding from the world
women who might some time or other return to it, and become useful
members of society. "Nunneries," he added, "assail the very roots of
population. It is impossible to calculate the loss which a nation
sustains in having ten thousand women shut up in cloisters. War does but
little mischief; for the number of males is at least one-twenty-fifth
greater than that of females. Women may, if they please, be allowed to
make perpetual vows at fifty years of age; for then their task is

Napoleon once said to Madame Campan, "The old systems of education were
good for nothing; what do young women stand in need of, to be well
brought up in France?"--"Of mothers," answered Madame Campan. "It is
well said," replied Napoleon. "Well, madame, let the French be indebted
to you for bringing up mothers for their children."--"Napoleon one day
interrupted Madame de Stael in the midst of a profound political argument
to ask her whether she had nursed her children."

Never had the establishment at St. Germain been in a more flourishing
condition than in 1802-3. What more could Madame Campan wish? For ten
years absolute in her own house, she seemed also safe from the caprice of
power. But the man who then disposed of the fate of France and Europe
was soon to determine otherwise.

After the battle of Austerlitz the State undertook to bring up, at the
public expense, the sisters, daughters, or nieces of those who were
decorated with the Cross of Honour. The children of the warriors killed
or wounded in glorious battle were to find paternal care in the ancient
abodes of the Montmorencys and the Condes. Accustomed to concentrate
around him all superior talents, fearless himself of superiority,
Napoleon sought for a person qualified by experience and abilities to
conduct the institution of Ecouen; he selected Madame Campan.

Comte de Lacepede, the pupil, friend, and rival of Buffon, then Grand
Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, assisted her with his enlightened
advice. Napoleon, who could descend with ease from the highest political
subjects to the examination of the most minute details; who was as much
at home in inspecting a boarding-school for young ladies as in reviewing
the grenadiers of his guard; whom it was impossible to deceive, and who
was not unwilling to find fault when he visited the establishment at
Ecouen,--was forced to say, "It is all right."

[Napoleon wished to be informed of every particular of the
furniture, government, and order of the house, the instruction and
education of the pupils. The internal regulations were submitted to
him. One of the intended rules, drawn up by Madame Campan, proposed
that the children should hear mass on Sundays and Thursdays.
Napoleon himself wrote on the margin, "every day."]

"In the summer of 1811," relates Madame Campan, "Napoleon, accompanied by
Marie Louise and several personages of distinction, visited the
establishment at Ecouen. After inspecting the chapel and the
refectories, Napoleon desired that the three principal pupils might be
presented to him. 'Sire,' said I, 'I cannot select three; I must present
six.' He turned on his heel and repaired to the platform, where, after
seeing all the classes assembled, he repeated his demand. 'Sire,' said
I, 'I beg leave to inform your Majesty that I should commit an injustice
towards several other pupils who are as far advanced as those whom I
might have the honour to present to you.'

"Berthier and others intimated to me, in a low tone of voice, that I
should get into disgrace by my noncompliance. Napoleon looked over the
whole of the house, entered into the most trivial details, and after
addressing questions to several of the pupils: 'Well, madame,' said he,
'I am satisfied; show me your six best pupils.'" Madame Campan presented
them to him; and as he stepped into his carriage, he desired that their
names might be sent to Berthier. On addressing the list to the Prince de
Neufchatel, Madame Campan added to it the names of four other pupils, and
all the ten obtained a pension of 300 francs. During the three hours
which this visit occupied, Marie Louise did not utter a single word.

M. de Beaumont, chamberlain to the Empress Josephine, one day at
Malmaison was expressing his regret that M. D-----, one of Napoleon's
generals, who had recently been promoted, did not belong to a great
family. "You mistake, monsieur," observed Madame Campan, "he is of very
ancient descent; he is one of the nephews of Charlemagne. All the heroes
of our army sprang from the elder branch of that sovereign's family, who
never emigrated."

When Madame Campan related this circumstance she added: "After the 30th
of March, 1814, some officers of the army of Conde presumed to say to
certain French marshals that it was a pity they were not more nobly
connected. In answer to this, one of them said, 'True nobility,
gentlemen, consists in giving proofs of it. The field of honour has
witnessed ours; but where are we to look for yours? Your swords have
rusted in their scabbards. Our laurels may well excite envy; we have
earned them nobly, and we owe them solely to our valour. You have merely
inherited a name. This is the distinction between us."

[When one of the princes of the smaller German States was showing
Marechal Lannes, with a contemptuous superiority of manner but ill
concealed, the portraits of his ancestors, and covertly alluding to
the absence of Lannes's, that general turned the tables on him by
haughtily remarking, "But I am an ancestor."]

Napoleon used to observe that if he had had two such field-marshals as
Suchet in Spain he would have not only conquered but kept the Peninsula.
Suchet's sound judgment, his governing yet conciliating spirit, his
military tact, and his bravery, had procured him astonishing success.
"It is to be regretted," added he, "that a sovereign cannot improvise men
of his stamp."

On the 19th of March, 1815, a number of papers were left in the King's
closet. Napoleon ordered them to be examined, and among them was found
the letter written by Madame Campan to Louis XVIII., immediately after
the first restoration. In this letter she enumerated the contents of the
portfolio which Louis XVI. had placed under her care. When Napoleon read
this letter, he said, "Let it be sent to the office of Foreign Affairs;
it is an historical document."

Madame Campan thus described a visit from the Czar of Russia: "A few days
after the battle of Paris the Emperor Alexander came to Ecouen, and he
did me the honour to breakfast with me. After showing him over the
establishment I conducted him to the park, the most elevated point of
which overlooked the plain of St. Denis. 'Sire,' said I, 'from this
point I saw the battle of Paris'--'If,' replied the Emperor, 'that battle
had lasted two hours longer we should not have had a single cartridge at
our disposal. We feared that we had been betrayed; for on arriving so
precipitately before Paris all our plans were laid, and we did not expect
the firm resistance we experienced.' I next conducted the Emperor to the
chapel, and showed him the seats occupied by 'le connetable' (the
constable) of Montmorency, and 'la connetable' (the constable's lady),
when they went to hear mass. 'Barbarians like us,' observed the Emperor,
'would say la connetable and le connetable.'

"The Czar inquired into the most minute particulars respecting the
establishment of Ecouen, and I felt great pleasure in answering his
questions. I recollect having dwelt on several points which appeared to
me to be very important, and which were in their spirit hostile to
aristocratic principles. For example, I informed his Majesty that the
daughters of distinguished and wealthy individuals and those of the
humble and obscure mingled indiscriminately in the establishment. 'If,'
said I, 'I were to observe the least pretension on account of the rank or
fortune of parents, I should immediately put an end to it. The most
perfect equality is preserved; distinction is awarded only to merit and
industry. The pupils are obliged to cut out and make all their own
clothes. They are taught to clean and mend lace; and two at a time, they
by turns, three times a week, cook and distribute food to the poor of the
village. The young girls who have been brought up at Ecouen, or in my
boarding-school at St. Germain, are thoroughly acquainted with everything
relating to household business, and they are grateful to me for having
made that a part of their education. In my conversations with them I
have always taught them that on domestic management depends the
preservation or dissipation of their fortunes.'

"The post-master of Ecouen was in the courtyard at the moment when the
Emperor, as he stepped into his carriage, told me he would send some
sweetmeats for the pupils. I immediately communicated to them the
intelligence, which was joyfully received; but the sweetmeats were looked
for in vain. When Alexander set out for England he changed horses at
Ecouen, and the post-master said to him: 'Sire, the pupils of Ecouen are
still expecting the sweetmeats which your Majesty promised them.' To
which the Emperor replied that he had directed Saken to send them. The
Cossacks had most likely devoured the sweetmeats, and the poor little
girls, who had been so highly flattered by the promise, never tasted

"A second house was formed at St. Denis, on the model of that of Ecouen.
Perhaps Madame Campan might have hoped for a title to which her long
labours gave her a right; perhaps the superintendence of the two houses
would have been but the fair recompense of her services; but her
fortunate years had passed her fate was now to depend on the most
important events. Napoleon had accumulated such a mass of power as no
one but himself in Europe could overturn. France, content with thirty
years of victories, in vain asked for peace and repose. The army which
had triumphed in the sands of Egypt, on the summits of the Alps, and in
the marshes of Holland, was to perish amidst the snows of Russia.
Nations combined against a single man. The territory of France was
invaded. The orphans of Ecouen, from the windows of the mansion which
served as their asylum, saw in the distant plain the fires of the Russian
bivouacs, and once more wept the deaths of their fathers. Paris
capitulated. France hailed the return of the descendants of Henri IV.;
they reascended the throne so long filled by their ancestors, which the
wisdom of an enlightened prince established on the empire of the laws.

[A lady, connected with the establishment of St. Denis, told Madame
Campan that Napoleon visited it during the Hundred Days, and that
the pupils were so delighted to see him that they crowded round him,
endeavouring to touch his clothes, and evincing the most extravagant
joy. The matron endeavoured to silence them; but Napoleon said,
'Let them alone; let them alone. This may weaken the head, but it
strengthens the heart.'"]

This moment, which diffused joy amongst the faithful servants of the
royal family, and brought them the rewards of their devotion, proved to
Madame Campan a period of bitter vexation. The hatred of her enemies had
revived. The suppression of the school at Ecouen had deprived her of her
position; the most absurd calumnies followed her into her retreat; her
attachment to the Queen was suspected; she was accused not only of
ingratitude but of perfidy. Slander has little effect on youth, but in
the decline of life its darts are envenomed with a mortal poison. The
wounds which Madame Campan had received were deep. Her sister, Madame
Auguie, had destroyed herself; M. Rousseau, her brother-in-law, had
perished, a victim of the reign of terror. In 1813 a dreadful accident
had deprived her of her niece, Madame de Broc, one of the most amiable
and interesting beings that ever adorned the earth. Madame Campan seemed
destined to behold those whom she loved go down to the grave before her.

Beyond the walls of the mansion of Ecouen, in the village which surrounds
it, Madame Campan had taken a small house where she loved to pass a few
hours in solitary retirement. There, at liberty to abandon herself to
the memory of the past, the superintendent of the imperial establishment
became, once more, for the moment, the first lady of the chamber to Marie
Antoinette. To the few friends whom she admitted into this retreat she
would show, with emotion, a plain muslin gown which the Queen had worn,
and which was made from a part of Tippoo Saib's present. A cup, out of
which Marie Antoinette had drunk; a writing-stand, which she had long
used, were, in her eyes, of inestimable value; and she has often been
discovered sitting, in tears, before the portrait of her royal mistress.

After so many troubles Madame Campan sought a peaceful retreat. Paris
had become odious to her.

She paid a visit to one of her most beloved pupils, Mademoiselle Crouzet,
who had married a physician at Mantes, a man of talent, distinguished for
his intelligence, frankness, and cordiality.

[M. Maigne, physician to the infirmaries at Mantes. Madame Campan
found in him a friend and comforter, of whose merit and affection
she knew the value.]

Mantes is a cheerful place of residence, and the idea of an abode there
pleased her. A few intimate friends formed a pleasant society, and she
enjoyed a little tranquillity after so many disturbances. The revisal of
her "Memoirs," the arrangement of the interesting anecdotes of which her
"Recollections" were to consist, alone diverted her mind from the one
powerful sentiment which attached her to life. She lived only for her
son. M. Campan deserved the tenderness of, his mother. No sacrifice had
been spared for his education. After having pursued that course of study
which, under the Imperial Government, produced men of such distinguished
merit, he was waiting till time and circumstances should afford him an
opportunity of devoting his services to his country. Although the state
of his health was far from good, it did not threaten any rapid or
premature decay; he was, however, after a few days' illness, suddenly
taken from his family. "I never witnessed so heartrending a scene," M.
Maigne says, "as that which took place when Marechal Ney's lady, her
niece, and Madame Pannelier, her sister, came to acquaint her with this
misfortune.--[The wife of Marechal Ney was a daughter of Madame Auguie,
and had been an intimate friend of Hortense Beauharnais.]--When they
entered her apartment she was in bed. All three at once uttered a
piercing cry. The two ladies threw themselves on their knees, and kissed
her hands, which they bedewed with tears. Before they could speak to her
she read in their faces that she no longer possessed a son. At that
instant her large eyes, opening wildly, seemed to wander. Her face grew
pale, her features changed, her lips lost their colour, she struggled to
speak, but uttered only inarticulate sounds, accompanied by piercing
cries. Her gestures were wild, her reason was suspended. Every part of
her being was in agony. To this state of anguish and despair no calm
succeeded, until her tears began to flow. Friendship and the tenderest
cares succeeded for a moment in calming her grief, but not in diminishing
its power.

"This violent crisis had disturbed her whole organisation. A cruel
disorder, which required a still more cruel operation, soon manifested
itself. The presence of her family, a tour which she made in
Switzerland, a residence at Baden, and, above all, the sight, the tender
and charming conversation of a person by whom she was affectionately
beloved, occasionally diverted her mind, and in a slight degree relieved
her suffering." She underwent a serious operation, performed with
extraordinary promptitude and the most complete success. No unfavourable
symptoms appeared; Madame Campan was thought to be restored to her
friends; but the disorder was in the blood; it took another course: the
chest became affected. "From that moment," says M. Maigne, "I could
never look on Madame Campan as living; she herself felt that she belonged
no more to this world."

"My friend," she said to her physician the day before her death, "I am
attached to the simplicity of religion. I hate all that savours of
fanaticism." When her codicil was presented for her signature, her hand
trembled; "It would be a pity," she said, "to stop when so fairly on the

Madame Campan died on the 16th of March, 1822. The cheerfulness she
displayed throughout her malady had nothing affected in it. Her
character was naturally powerful and elevated. At the approach of death
she evinced the soul of a sage, without abandoning for an instant her
feminine character.


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