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The Historic Court Memoirs of France, complete

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of two men is sufficient to induce you to condemn." The judge
having said to him, "I have no other consolation to hold out to you
than that which religion affords," he replied, nobly, "My greatest
consolation is that which I derive from my innocence."--"Biographic

On the morning of the Sunday following this execution M. de la Villeurnoy
came to my house to tell me that he was going that day to the public
dinner of the King and Queen to present Madame de Favras and her son,
both of them in mourning for the brave Frenchman who fell a sacrifice for
his King; and that all the royalists expected to see the Queen load the
unfortunate family with favours. I did all that lay in my power to
prevent this proceeding. I foresaw the effect it would have upon the
Queen's feeling heart, and the painful constraint she would experience,
having the horrible Santerre, the commandant of a battalion of the
Parisian guard, behind her chair during dinner-time. I could not make
M. de la Villeurnoy comprehend my argument; the Queen was gone to mass,
surrounded by her whole Court, and I had not even means of apprising her
of his intention.

When dinner was over I heard a knocking at the door of my apartment,
which opened into the corridor next that of the Queen; it was herself.
She asked me whether there was anybody with me; I was alone; she threw
herself into an armchair, and told me she came to weep with me over the
foolish conduct of the ultras of the King's party. "We must fall," said
she, "attacked as we are by men who possess every talent and shrink from
no crime, while we are defended only by those who are no doubt very
estimable, but have no adequate idea of our situation. They have exposed
me to the animosity of both parties by presenting the widow and son of
Favras to me. Were I free to act as I wish, I should take the child of
the man who has just sacrificed himself for us and place him at table
between the King and myself; but surrounded by the assassins who have
destroyed his father, I did not dare even to cast my eyes upon him. The
royalists will blame me for not having appeared interested in this poor
child; the revolutionists will be enraged at the idea that his
presentation should have been thought agreeable to me." However, the
Queen added that she knew Madame de Favras was in want, and that she
desired me to send her next day, through a person who could be relied on,
a few rouleaus of fifty Louis, and to direct that she should be assured
her Majesty would always watch over the fortunes of herself and her son.

In the month of March following I had an opportunity of ascertaining the
King's sentiments respecting the schemes which were continually proposed
to him for making his escape. One night about ten o'clock Comte
d'Inisdal, who was deputed by the nobility, came to request that I would
see him in private, as he had an important matter to communicate to me.
He told me that on that very night the King was to be carried off; that
the section of the National Guard, that day commanded by M. d'Aumont,
was gained over, and that sets of horses, furnished by some good
royalists, were placed in relays at suitable distances; that he had just
left a number of the nobility assembled for the execution of this scheme,
and that he had been sent to me that I might, through the medium of the
Queen, obtain the King's positive consent to it before midnight; that the
King was aware of their plan, but that his Majesty never would speak
decidedly, and that it was necessary he should consent to the
undertaking. I greatly displeased Comte d'Inisdal by expressing my
astonishment that the nobility at the moment of the execution of so
important a project should send to me, the Queen's first woman, to obtain
a consent which ought to have been the basis of any well-concerted
scheme. I told him, also, that it would be impossible for me to go at
that time to the Queen's apartments without exciting the attention of the
people in the antechambers; that the King was at cards with the Queen and
his family, and that I never broke in upon their privacy unless I was
called for. I added, however, that M. Campan could enter without being
called; and if the Count chose to give him his confidence he might rely
upon him.

My father-in-law, to whom Comte d'Inisdal repeated what he had said to
me, took the commission upon himself, and went to the Queen's apartments.
The King was playing at whist with the Queen, Monsieur, and Madame;
Madame Elisabeth was kneeling on a stool near the table. M. Campan
informed the Queen of what had been communicated to me; nobody uttered a
word. The Queen broke silence and said to the King, "Do you hear, Sire,
what Campan says to us?"--"Yes, I hear," said the King, and continued his
game. Monsieur, who was in the habit of introducing passages from plays
into his conversation, said to my father-in-law, "M. Campan, that pretty
little couplet again, if you please;" and pressed the King to reply. At
length the Queen said, "But something must be said to Campan." The King
then spoke to my father-in-law in these words: "Tell M. d'Inisdal that I
cannot consent to be carried off!" The Queen enjoined M. Campan to take
care and, report this answer faithfully. "You understand," added she,
"the King cannot consent to be carried off."

Comte d'Inisdal was very much dissatisfied with the King's answer, and
went out, saying, "I understand; he wishes to throw all the blame,
beforehand, upon those who are to devote themselves for him."

He went away, and I thought the enterprise would be abandoned. However,
the Queen remained alone with me till midnight, preparing her cases of
valuables, and ordered me not to go to bed. She imagined the King's
answer would be understood as a tacit consent, and merely a refusal to
participate in the design. I do not know what passed in the King's
apartments during the night; but I occasionally looked out at the
windows: I saw the garden clear; I heard no noise in the palace, and day
at length confirmed my opinion that the project had been given up. "We
must, however, fly," said the Queen to me, shortly afterwards; "who knows
how far the factious may go? The danger increases every day."

[The disturbances of the 13th of April, 1790, occasioned by the
warmth of the discussions upon Dom Gerle's imprudent motion in the
National Assembly, having afforded room for apprehension that the
enemies of the country would endeavour to carry off the King from
the capital, M. de La Fayette promised to keep watch, and told Louis
XVI. that if he saw any alarming movement among the disaffected he
would give him notice of it by the discharge of a cannon from Henri
IV.'s battery on the Pont Neuf. On the same night a few casual
discharges of musketry were heard from the terrace of the Tuileries.
The King, deceived by the noise, flew to the Queen's apartments; he
did not find her; he ran to the Dauphin's room, where he found the
Queen holding her son in her arms. "Madame;" said the King to her,
"I have been seeking you; and you have made me uneasy." The Queen,
showing her son, said to him, "I was at my post."--"Anecdotes of the
Reign of Louis XVI."]

This Princess received advice and memorials from all quarters. Rivarol
addressed several to her, which I read to her. They were full of
ingenious observations; but the Queen did not find that they, contained
anything of essential service under the circumstances in which the royal
family was placed. Comte du Moustier also sent memorials and plans of
conduct. I remember that in one of his writings he said to the King,
"Read 'Telemachus' again, Sire; in that book which delighted your Majesty
in infancy you will find the first seeds of those principles which,
erroneously followed up by men of ardent imaginations, are bringing on
the explosion we expect every moment." I read so many of these memorials
that I could hardly give a faithful account of them, and I am determined
to note in this work no other events than such as I witnessed; no other
words than such as (notwithstanding the lapse of time) still in some
measure vibrate in my ears.

Comte de Segur, on his return from Russia, was employed some time by the
Queen, and had a certain degree of influence over her; but that did not
last long. Comte Augustus de la Marck likewise endeavoured to negotiate
for the King's advantage with the leaders of the factious. M. de
Fontanges, Archbishop of Toulouse, possessed also the Queen's confidence;
but none of the endeavours which were made on the spot produced any,
beneficial result. The Empress Catherine II. also conveyed her opinion
upon the situation of Louis XVI. to the Queen, and her Majesty made me
read a few lines in the Empress's own handwriting, which concluded with
these words:

"Kings ought to proceed in their career undisturbed by the cries of the
people, even as the moon pursues her course unimpeded by the baying of
dogs." This maxim of the despotic sovereign of Russia was very
inapplicable to the situation of a captive king.

Meanwhile the revolutionary party followed up its audacious enterprise in
a determined manner, without meeting any opposition. The advice from
without, as well from Coblentz as from Vienna, made various impressions
upon the members of the royal family, and those cabinets were not in
accordance with each other. I often had reason to infer from what the
Queen said to me that she thought the King, by leaving all the honour of
restoring order to the Coblentz party,--[The Princes and the chief of the
emigrant nobility assembled at Coblentz, and the name was used to
designate the reactionary party.]--would, on the return of the emigrants,
be put under a kind of guardianship which would increase his own
misfortunes. She frequently said to me, "If the emigrants succeed, they
will rule the roast for a long time; it will be impossible to refuse them
anything; to owe the crown to them would be contracting too great an
obligation." It always appeared to me that she wished her own family to
counterbalance the claims of the emigrants by disinterested services.
She was fearful of M. de Calonne, and with good reason. She had proof
that this minister was her bitterest enemy, and that he made use of the
most criminal means in order to blacken her reputation. I can testify
that I have seen in the hands of the Queen a manuscript copy of the
infamous memoirs of the woman De Lamotte, which had been brought to her
from London, and in which all those passages where a total ignorance of
the customs of Courts had occasioned that wretched woman to make blunders
which would have been too palpable were corrected in M. de Calonne's own

The two King's Guards who were wounded at her Majesty's door on the 6th
of October were M. du Repaire and M. de Miomandre de Sainte-Marie; on the
dreadful night of the 6th of October the latter took the post of the
former the moment he became incapable of maintaining it.

A considerable number of the Body Guards, who were wounded on the 6th of
October, betook themselves to the infirmary at Versailles. The brigands
wanted to make their way into the infirmary in order to massacre them.
M. Viosin, head surgeon of that infirmary, ran to the entrance hall,
invited the assailants to refresh themselves, ordered wine to be brought,
and found means to direct the Sister Superior to remove the Guards into a
ward appropriated to the poor, and dress them in the caps and greatcoats
furnished by the institution. The good sisters executed this order so
promptly that the Guards were removed, dressed as paupers, and their beds
made, while the assassins were drinking. They searched all the wards,
and fancied they saw no persons there but the sick poor; thus the Guards
were saved.

M. de Miomandre was at Paris, living on terms of friendship with another
of the Guards, who, on the same day, received a gunshot wound from the
brigands in another part of the Chateau. These two officers, who were
attended and cured together at the infirmary of Versailles, were almost
constant companions; they were recognised at the Palais Royal, and
insulted. The Queen thought it necessary for them to quit Paris. She
desired me to write to M. de Miomandre de Sainte-Marie, and tell him to
come to me at eight o'clock in the evening; and then to communicate to
him her wish to hear of his being in safety; and ordered me, when he had
made up his mind to go, to tell him in her name that gold could not repay
such a service as he had rendered; that she hoped some day to be in
sufficiently happy circumstances to recompense him as she ought; but that
for the present her offer of money was only that of a sister to a brother
situated as he then was, and that she requested he would take whatever
might be necessary to discharge his debts at Paris and defray the
expenses of his journey. She told me also to desire he would bring his.
friend Bertrand with him, and to make him the same offer.

The two Guards came at the appointed hour, and accepted, I think, each
one or two hundred louis. A moment afterwards the Queen opened my door;
she was accompanied by the King and Madame Elisabeth; the King stood with
his back against the fireplace; the Queen sat down upon a sofa and Madame
Elisabeth sat near her; I placed myself behind the Queen, and the two
Guards stood facing the King. The Queen told them that the King wished
to see before they went away two of the brave men who had afforded him
the strongest proofs of courage and attachment. Miomandre said all that
the Queen's affecting observations were calculated to inspire. Madame
Elisabeth spoke of the King's gratitude; the Queen resumed the subject of
their speedy departure, urging the necessity of it; the King was silent;
but his emotion was evident, and his eyes were suffused with tears. The
Queen rose, the King went out, and Madame Elisabeth followed him; the
Queen stopped and said to me, in the recess of a window, "I am sorry I
brought the King here! I am sure Elisabeth thinks with me; if the King
had but given utterance to a fourth part of what he thinks of those brave
men they would have been in ecstacies; but he cannot overcome his

The Emperor Joseph died about this time. The Queen's grief was not
excessive; that brother of whom she had been so proud, and whom she had
loved so tenderly, had probably suffered greatly in her opinion; she
reproached him sometimes, though with moderation, for having adopted
several of the principles of the new philosophy, and perhaps she knew
that he looked upon our troubles with the eye of the sovereign of Germany
rather than that of the brother of the Queen of France.

The Emperor on one occasion sent the Queen an engraving which represented
unfrocked nuns and monks. The first were trying on fashionable dresses,
the latter were having their hair arranged; the picture was always left
in the closet, and never hung up. The Queen told me to have it taken
away; for she was hurt to see how much influence the philosophers had
over her brother's mind and actions.

Mirabeau had not lost the hope of becoming the last resource of the
oppressed Court; and at this time some communications passed between the
Queen and him. The question was about an office to be conferred upon
him. This transpired, and it must have been about this period that the
Assembly decreed that no deputy could hold an office as a minister of the
King until the expiration of two years after the cessation of his
legislative functions. I know that the Queen was much hurt at this
decision, and considered that the Court had lost a promising opening.

The palace of the Tuileries was a very disagreeable residence during the
summer, which made the Queen wish to go to St. Cloud. The removal was
decided on without any opposition; the National Guard of Paris followed
the Court thither. At this period new opportunities of escape were
presented; nothing would have been more easy than to execute them. The
King had obtained leave (!) to go out without guards, and to be
accompanied only by an aide-de-camp of M. de La Fayette. The Queen also
had one on duty with her, and so had the Dauphin. The King and Queen
often went out at four in the afternoon, and did not return until eight
or nine.

I will relate one of the plans of emigration which the Queen communicated
to me, the success of which seemed infallible. The royal family were to
meet in a wood four leagues from St. Cloud; some persons who could be
fully relied on were to accompany the King, who was always followed by
his equerries and pages; the Queen was to join him with her daughter and
Madame Elisabeth. These Princesses, as well as the Queen, had equerries
and pages, of whose fidelity no doubt could be entertained. The Dauphin
likewise was to be at the place of rendezvous with Madame de Tourzel;
a large berlin and a chaise for the attendants were sufficient for the
whole family; the aides-de-camp were to have been gained over or
mastered. The King was to leave a letter for the President of the
National Assembly on his bureau at St. Cloud. The people in the service
of the King and Queen would have waited until nine in the evening without
anxiety, because the family sometimes did not return until that hour.
The letter could not be forwarded to Paris until ten o'clock at the
earliest. The Assembly would not then be sitting; the President must
have been sought for at his own house or elsewhere; it would have been
midnight before the Assembly could have been summoned and couriers sent
off to have the royal family stopped; but the latter would have been six
or seven hours in advance, as they would have started at six leagues'
distance from Paris; and at this period travelling was not yet impeded in

The Queen approved of this plan; but I did not venture to interrogate
her, and I even thought if it were put in execution she would leave me in
ignorance of it. One evening in the month of June the people of the
Chateau, finding the King did not return by nine o'clock, were walking
about the courtyards in a state of great anxiety. I thought the family,
was gone, and I could scarcely breathe amidst the confusion of my good
wishes, when I heard the sound of the carriages. I confessed to the
Queen that I thought she had set off; she told me she must wait until
Mesdames the King's aunts had quitted France, and afterwards see whether
the plan agreed with those formed abroad.


There was a meeting at Paris for the first federation on the 14th of
July, 1790, the anniversary of the taking of the Bastille. What an
astonishing assemblage of four hundred thousand men, of whom there were
not perhaps two hundred who did not believe that the King found happiness
and glory in the order of things then being established. The love which
was borne him by all, with the exception of those who meditated his ruin,
still reigned in the hearts of the French in the departments; but if I
may judge from those whom I had an opportunity of seeing, it was totally
impossible to enlighten them; they were as much attached to the King as
to the constitution, and to the constitution as to the King; and it was
impossible to separate the one from the other in their hearts and minds.

The Court returned to St. Cloud after the federation. A wretch, named
Rotondo, made his way into the palace with the intention of assassinating
the Queen. It is known that he penetrated to the inner gardens: the rain
prevented her Majesty from going out that day. M. de La Fayette, who was
aware of this plot, gave all the sentinels the strictest orders, and a
description of the monster was distributed throughout the palace by order
of the General. I do not know how he was saved from punishment.
The police belonging to the King discovered that there was likewise a
scheme on foot for poisoning the Queen. She spoke to me, as well as to
her head physician, M. Vicq-d'Azyr, about it, without the slightest
emotion, but both he and I consulted what precautions it would be proper
to take. He relied much upon the Queen's temperance; yet he recommended
me always to have a bottle of oil of sweet almonds within reach, and to
renew it occasionally, that oil and milk being, as is known, the most
certain antidotes to the divellication of corrosive poisons.

The Queen had a habit which rendered M. Vicq-d'Azyr particularly uneasy:
there was always some pounded sugar upon the table in her Majesty's
bedchamber; and she frequently, without calling anybody, put spoonfuls of
it into a glass of water when she wished to drink. It was agreed that I
should get a considerable quantity of sugar powdered; that I should
always have some papers of it in my bag, and that three or four times a
day, when alone in the Queen's room, I should substitute it for that in
her sugar-basin. We knew that the Queen would have prevented all such
precautions, but we were not aware of her reason. One day she caught me
alone making this exchange, and told me, she supposed it was agreed on
between myself and M. Vicq-d'Azyr, but that I gave myself very
unnecessary trouble. "Remember," added she, "that not a grain of poison
will be put in use against me. The Brinvilliers do not belong to this
century: this age possesses calumny, which is a much more convenient
instrument of death; and it is by that I shall perish."

Even while melancholy presentiments afflicted this unfortunate Princess,
manifestations of attachment to her person, and to the King's cause,
would frequently raise agreeable illusions in her mind, or present to her
the affecting spectacle of tears shed for her sorrows. I was one day,
during this same visit to St. Cloud, witness of a very touching scene,
which we took great care to keep secret. It was four in the afternoon;
the guard was not set; there was scarcely anybody at St. Cloud that day,
and I was reading to the Queen, who was at work in a room the balcony of
which hung over the courtyard. The windows were closed, yet we heard a
sort of inarticulate murmur from a great number of voices. The Queen
desired me to go and see what it was; I raised the muslin curtain, and
perceived more than fifty persons beneath the balcony: this group
consisted of women, young and old, perfectly well dressed in the country
costume, old chevaliers of St. Louis, young knights of Malta, and a few
ecclesiastics. I told the Queen it was probably an assemblage of persons
residing in the neighbourhood who wished to see her. She rose, opened
the window, and appeared in the balcony; immediately all these worthy
people said to her, in an undertone: "Courage, Madame; good Frenchmen
suffer for you, and with you; they pray for you. Heaven will hear their
prayers; we love you, we respect you, we will continue to venerate our
virtuous King." The Queen burst into tears, and held her handkerchief to
her eyes. "Poor Queen! she weeps!" said the women and young girls; but
the dread of exposing her Majesty, and even the persons who showed so
much affection for her, to observation, prompted me to take her hand, and
prevail upon her to retire into her room; and, raising my eyes, I gave
the excellent people to understand that my conduct was dictated by
prudence. They comprehended me, for I heard, "That lady is right;" and
afterwards, "Farewell, Madame!" from several of them; and all this in
accents of feeling so true and so mournful, that I am affected at the
recollection of them even after a lapse of twenty years.

A few days afterwards the insurrection of Nancy took place.

[The insurrection of the troops at Nancy broke out in August 1790,
and was put down by Marechal de Bouille on the last day of that
month. See "Bouille," p. 195.]

Only the ostensible cause is known; there was another, of which I might
have been in full possession, if the great confusion I was in upon the
subject had not deprived me of the power of paying attention to it. I
will endeavour to make myself understood. In the early part of September
the Queen, as she was going to bed, desired me to let all her people go,
and to remain with her myself; when we were alone she said to me, "The
King will come here at midnight. You know that he has always shown you
marks of distinction; he now proves his confidence in you by selecting
you to write down the whole affair of Nancy from his dictation. He must
have several copies of it." At midnight the King came to the Queen's
apartments, and said to me, smiling, "You did not expect to become my
secretary, and that, too, during the night." I followed the King into
the council chamber. I found there sheets of paper, an inkstand, and
pens all ready prepared. He sat down by my side and dictated to me the
report of the Marquis de Bouille, which he himself copied at the same
time. My hand trembled; I wrote with difficulty; my reflections scarcely
left me sufficient power of attention to listen to the King. The large
table, the velvet cloth, seats which ought to have been filled by none
but the King's chief councillors; what that chamber had been, and what it
was at that moment, when the King was employing a woman in an office
which had so little affinity with her ordinary functions; the misfortunes
which had brought him to the necessity of doing so,--all these ideas made
such an impression upon me that when I had returned to the Queen's
apartments I could not sleep for the remainder of the night, nor could I
remember what I had written.

The more I saw that I had the happiness to be of some use to my
employers, the more scrupulously careful was I to live entirely with my
family; and I never indulged in any conversation which could betray the
intimacy to which I was admitted; but nothing at Court remains long
concealed, and I soon saw I had many enemies. The means of injuring
others in the minds of sovereigns are but too easily obtained, and they
had become still more so, since the mere suspicion of communication with
partisans of the Revolution was sufficient to forfeit the esteem and
confidence of the King and Queen; happily, my conduct protected me, with
them, against calumny. I had left St. Cloud two days, when I received at
Paris a note from the Queen, containing these words:

"Come to St. Cloud immediately; I have something concerning you to
communicate." I set off without loss of time. Her Majesty told me she
had a sacrifice to request of me; I answered that it was made. She said
it went so far as the renunciation of a friend's society; that such a
renunciation was always painful, but that it must be particularly so to
me; that, for her own part, it might have been very useful that a deputy,
a man of talent, should be constantly received at my house; but at this
moment she thought only of my welfare. The Queen then informed me that
the ladies of the bedchamber had, the preceding evening, assured her that
M. de Beaumetz, deputy from the nobility of Artois, who had taken his
seat on the left of the Assembly, spent his whole time at my house.
Perceiving on what false grounds the attempt to injure, me was based,
I replied respectfully, but at the same time smiling, that it was
impossible for me to make the sacrifice exacted by her Majesty; that M.
de Beaumetz, a man of great judgment, had not determined to cross over to
the left of the Assembly with the intention of afterwards making himself
unpopular by spending his time with the Queen's first woman; and that,
ever since the 1st of October, 1789, I had seen him nowhere but at the
play, or in the public walks, and even then without his ever coming to
speak to me; that this line of conduct had appeared to me perfectly
consistent: for whether he was desirous to please the popular party, or
to be sought after by the Court, he could not act in any other way
towards me. The Queen closed this explanation by saying, "Oh! it is
clear, as clear as the day! this opportunity for trying to do you an
injury is very ill chosen; but be cautious in your slightest actions; you
perceive that the confidence placed in you by the King and myself raises
you up powerful enemies."

The private communications which were still kept up between the Court and
Mirabeau at length procured him an interview with the Queen, in the
gardens of St. Cloud. He left Paris on horseback, on pretence of going
into the country, to M. de Clavieres, one of his friends; but he stopped
at one of the gates of the gardens of St. Cloud, and was led to a spot
situated in the highest part of the private garden, where the Queen was
waiting for him. She told me she accosted him by saying, "With a common
enemy, with a man who had sworn to destroy monarchy without appreciating
its utility among a great people, I should at this moment be guilty of a
most ill-advised step; but in speaking to a Mirabeau," etc. The poor
Queen was delighted at having discovered this method of exalting him
above all others of his principles; and in imparting the particulars of
this interview to me she said, "Do you know that those words,
'a Mirabeau,' appeared to flatter him exceedingly." On leaving the Queen
he said to her with warmth, "Madame, the monarchy is saved!" It must
have been soon afterwards that Mirabeau received considerable sums of
money. He showed it too plainly by the increase of his expenditure.
Already did some of his remarks upon the necessity of arresting the
progress of the democrats circulate in society. Being once invited to
meet a person at dinner who was very much attached to the Queen, he
learned that that person withdrew on hearing that he was one of the
guests; the party who invited him told him this with some degree of
satisfaction; but all were very much astonished when they heard Mirabeau
eulogise the absent guest, and declare that in his place he would have
done the same; but, he added, they had only to invite that person again
in a few months, and he would then dine with the restorer of the
monarchy. Mirabeau forgot that it was more easy to do harm than good,
and thought himself the political Atlas of the whole world.

Outrages and mockery were incessantly mingled with the audacious
proceedings of the revolutionists. It was customary to give serenades
under the King's windows on New Year's Day. The band of the National
Guard repaired thither on that festival in 1791; in allusion to the
liquidation of the debts of the State, decreed by the Assembly, they
played solely, and repeatedly, that air from the comic opera of the
"Debts," the burden of which is, "But our creditors are paid, and that
makes us easy."

On the same day some "conquerors of the Bastille," grenadiers of the
Parisian guard, preceded by military music, came to present to the young
Dauphin, as a New Year's gift, a box of dominoes, made of some of the
stone and marble of which that state prison was built. The Queen gave me
this inauspicious curiosity, desiring me to preserve it, as it would be a
curious illustration of the history of the Revolution. Upon the lid were
engraved some bad verses, the purport of which was as follows: "Stones
from those walls, which enclosed the innocent victims of arbitrary power,
have been converted into a toy, to be presented to you, Monseigneur, as a
mark of the people's love; and to teach you their power."

The Queen said that M. de La Fayette's thirst for popularity induced him
to lend himself, without discrimination, to all popular follies. Her
distrust of the General increased daily, and grew so powerful that when,
towards the end of the Revolution, he seemed willing to support the
tottering throne, she could never bring herself to incur so great an
obligation to him.

M. de J-----, a colonel attached to the staff of the army, was fortunate
enough to render several services to the Queen, and acquitted himself
with discretion and dignity of various important missions.

[During the Queen's detention in the Temple he introduced himself
Into that prison in the dress of a lamplighter, and there discharged
his duty unrecognised.--MADAME CAMPAN.]

Their Majesties had the highest confidence in him, although it frequently
happened that his prudence, when inconsiderate projects were under
discussion, brought upon him the charge of adopting the principles of the
constitutionals. Being sent to Turin, he had some difficulty in
dissuading the Princes from a scheme they had formed at that period of
reentering France, with a very weak army, by way of Lyons; and when, in a
council which lasted till three o'clock in the morning, he showed his
instructions, and demonstrated that the measure would endanger the King,
the Comte d'Artois alone declared against the plan, which emanated from
the Prince de Conde.

Among the persons employed in subordinate situations, whom the critical
circumstances of the times involved in affairs of importance, was M. de
Goguelat, a geographical engineer at Versailles, and an excellent
draughtsman. He made plans of St. Cloud and Trianon for the Queen; she
was very much pleased with them, and had the engineer admitted into the
staff of the army. At the commencement of the Revolution he was sent to
Count Esterhazy, at Valenciennes, in the capacity of aide-de-camp. The
latter rank was given him solely to get him away from Versailles, where
his rashness endangered the Queen during the earlier months of the
Assembly of the States General. Making a parade of his devotion to the
King's interests, he went repeatedly to the tribunes of the Assembly, and
there openly railed at all the motions of the deputies, and then returned
to the Queen's antechamber, where he repeated all that he had just heard,
or had had the imprudence to say. Unfortunately, at the same time that
the Queen sent away M. de Goguelat, she still believed that, in a
dangerous predicament, requiring great self-devotion, the man might be
employed advantageously. In 1791 he was commissioned to act in concert
with the Marquis de Bouille in furtherance of the King's intended escape.

[See the "Memoirs" of M. de Bouille, those of the Duc de Choiseul,
and the account of the journey to Varennes, by M. de Fontanges, in
"Weber's Memoirs."--NOTE BY THE EDITOR.]

Projectors in great numbers endeavoured to introduce themselves not only
to the Queen, but to Madame Elisabeth, who had communications with many
individuals who took upon themselves to make plans for the conduct of the
Court. The Baron de Gilliers and M. de Vanoise were of this description;
they went to the Baronne de Mackau's, where the Princess spent almost all
her evenings. The Queen did not like these meetings, where Madame
Elisabeth might adopt views in opposition to the King's intentions or her

The Queen gave frequent audiences to M. de La Fayette. One day, when he
was in her inner closet, his aides-de-camp, who waited for him, were
walking up and down the great room where the persons in attendance
remained. Some imprudent young women were thoughtless enough to say,
with the intention of being overheard by those officers, that it was very
alarming to see the Queen alone with a rebel and a brigand. I was
annoyed at their indiscretion, and imposed silence on them. One of them
persisted in the appellation "brigand." I told her that M. de La Fayette
well deserved the name of rebel, but that the title of leader of a party
was given by history to every man commanding forty thousand men, a
capital, and forty leagues of country; that kings had frequently treated
with such leaders, and if it was convenient to the Queen to do the same,
it remained for us only to be silent and respect her actions. On the
morrow the Queen, with a serious air; but with the greatest kindness,
asked what I had said respecting M. de La Fayette on the preceding day;
adding that she had been assured I had enjoined her women silence,
because they did not like him, and that I had taken his part. I repeated
what had passed to the Queen, word for word. She condescended to tell me
that I had done perfectly right.

Whenever any false reports respecting me were conveyed to her she was
kind enough to inform me of them; and they had no effect on the
confidence with which she continued to honour me, and which I am happy to
think I have justified even at the risk of my life.

Mesdames, the King's aunts, set out from Bellevue in the beginning of the
year 1791. Alexandre Berthier, afterwards Prince de Neufchatel, then a
colonel on the staff of the army, and commandant of the National Guard of
Versailles, facilitated the departure of Mesdames. The Jacobins of that
town procured his dismissal, and he ran the greatest risk, on account of
having rendered this service to these Princesses.

I went to take leave of Madame Victoire. I little thought that I was
then seeing her for the last time. She received me alone in her closet,
and assured

[General Berthier justified the monarch's confidence by a firm and
prudent line of conduct which entitled him to the highest military
honours, and to the esteem of the great warrior whose fortune,
dangers, and glory he afterwards shared. This officer, full of
honour, and gifted with the highest courage, was shut into the
courtyard of Bellevue by his own troop, and ran great risk of being
murdered. It was not until the 14th of March that he succeeded in
executing his instructions ("Memoirs of Mesdames," by Montigny,
vol. i.)]

me that she hoped, as well as wished, soon to return to France; that the
French would be much to be pitied if the excesses of the Revolution
should arrive at such a pitch as to force her to prolong her absence.
I knew from the Queen that the departure of Mesdames was deemed
necessary, in order to leave the King free to act when he should be
compelled to go away with his family. It being impossible that the
constitution of the clergy should be otherwise than in direct opposition
to the religious principles of Mesdames, they thought their journey to
Rome would be attributed to piety alone. It was, however, difficult to
deceive an Assembly which weighed the slightest actions of the royal
family, and from that moment they were more than ever alive to what was
passing at the Tuileries.

Mesdames were desirous of taking Madame Elisabeth to Rome. The free
exercise of religion, the happiness of taking refuge with the head of the
Church, and the prospect of living in safety with her aunts, whom she
tenderly loved, were sacrificed by that virtuous Princess to her
attachment to the King.

The oath required of priests by the civil constitution of the clergy
introduced into France a division which added to the dangers by which the
King was already surrounded.

[The priests were required to swear to the civil constitution of the
clergy of 1790, by which all the former bishoprics and parishes were
remodelled, and the priests and bishops elected by the people. Most
refused, and under the name of 'pretres insermentes' (as opposed to
the few who took the oath, 'pretres assermentes') were bitterly
persecuted. A simple promise to obey the constitution of the State
was substituted by Napoleon as soon as he came to power.]

Mirabeau spent a whole night with the cure of St. Eustache, confessor of
the King and Queen, to persuade him to take the oath required by that
constitution. Their Majesties chose another confessor, who remained

A few months afterwards (2d April, 1791), the too celebrated Mirabeau,
the mercenary democrat and venal royalist, terminated his career. The
Queen regretted him, and was astonished at her own regret; but she had
hoped that he who had possessed adroitness and weight enough to throw
everything into confusion would have been able by the same means to
repair the mischief he had caused. Much has been said respecting the
cause of Mirabeau's death. M. Cabanis, his friend and physician, denied
that he was poisoned. M. Vicq-d'Azyr assured the Queen that the 'proces-
verbal' drawn up on the state of the intestines would apply just as well
to a case of death produced by violent remedies as to one produced by
poison. He said, also, that the report had been faithful; but that it
was prudent to conclude it by a declaration of natural death, since, in
the critical state in which France then was, if a suspicion of foul play
were admitted, a person innocent of any such crime might be sacrificed to
public vengeance.


Advised the King not to separate himself from his army
Grand-Dieu, mamma! will it be yesterday over again?
Mirabeau forgot that it was more easy to do harm than good
Never shall a drop of French blood be shed by my order
Saw no other advantage in it than that of saving her own life
That air of truth which always carries conviction
When kings become prisoners they are very near death
Whispered in his mother's ear, "Was that right?"


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



In the beginning of the spring of 1791, the King, tired of remaining at
the Tuileries, wished to return to St. Cloud. His whole household had
already gone, and his dinner was prepared there. He got into his
carriage at one; the guard mutinied, shut the gates, and declared they
would not let him pass. This event certainly proceeded from some
suspicion of a plan to escape. Two persons who drew near the King's
carriage were very ill treated. My father-in-law was violently laid hold
of by the guards, who took his sword from him. The King and his family
were obliged to alight and return to their apartments.

They did not much regret this outrage in their hearts; they saw in it a
justification, even in the eyes of the people, of their intention to
leave Paris.

So early as the month of March in the same year, the Queen began to busy
herself in preparing for her departure. I spent that month with her,
and executed a great number of secret orders which she gave me respecting
the intended event. It was with uneasiness that I saw her occupied with
cares which seemed to me useless, and even dangerous, and I remarked to
her that the Queen of France would find linen and gowns everywhere.
My observations were made in vain; she determined to have a complete
wardrobe with her at Brussels, as well for her children as herself.
I went out alone and almost disguised to purchase the articles necessary
and have them made up.

I ordered six chemises at the shop of one seamstress, six at that of
another, gowns, combing cloths, etc. My sister had a complete set of
clothes made for Madame, by the measure of her eldest daughter, and I
ordered clothes for the Dauphin from those of my son. I filled a trunk
with these things, and addressed them, by the Queen's orders, to one of
her women, my aunt, Madame Cardon,--a widow living at Arras, by virtue of
an unlimited leave of absence,--in order that she might be ready to start
for Brussels, or any other place, as soon as she should be directed to do
so. This lady had landed property in Austrian Flanders, and could at any
time quit Arras unobserved.

The Queen was to take only her first woman in attendance with her from
Paris. She apprised me that if I should not be on duty at the moment of
departure, she would make arrangements for my joining her. She
determined also to take her travelling dressing-case. She consulted me
on her idea of sending it off, under pretence of making a present of it
to the Archduchess Christina, Gouvernante of the Netherlands. I ventured
to oppose this plan strongly, and observed that, amidst so many people
who watched her slightest actions, there would be found a sufficient
number sharp-sighted enough to discover that it was only a pretext for
sending away the property in question before her own departure;
she persisted in her intention, and all I could arrange was that the
dressing-case should not be removed from her apartment, and that M. de
charge d'afaires from the Court of Vienna during the absence of the Comte
de Mercy, should come and ask her, at her toilet, before all her people,
to order one exactly like her own for Madame the Gouvernante of the
Netherlands. The Queen, therefore, commanded me before the charge
d'affaires to order the article in question. This occasioned only an
expense of five hundred louis, and appeared calculated to lull suspicion

About the middle of May, 1791, a month after the Queen had ordered me to
bespeak the dressing-case, she asked me whether it would soon be
finished. I sent for the ivory-turner who had it in hand. He could not
complete it for six weeks. I informed the Queen of this, and she told me
she should not be able to wait for it, as she was to set out in the
course of June. She added that, as she had ordered her sister's
dressing-case in the presence of all her attendants, she had taken a
sufficient precaution, especially by saying that her sister was out of
patience at not receiving it, and that therefore her own must be emptied
and cleaned, and taken to the charge d'affaires, who would send it off.
I executed this order without any, appearance of mystery. I desired the
wardrobe woman to take out of the dressing-case all that it contained,
because that intended for the Archduchess could not be finished for some
time; and to take great care to leave no remains of the perfumes which
might not suit that Princess.

The woman in question executed her commission punctually; but, on the
evening of that very day, the 15th of May, 1791, she informed M. Bailly,
the Mayor of Paris, that preparations were making at the Queen's
residence for a departure; and that the dressing-case was already sent
off, under pretence of its being presented to the Archduchess Christina.

[After the return from Varennes M. Bailly put this woman's
deposition into the Queen's hands.--MADAME CAMPAN.]

It was necessary, likewise, to send off all the diamonds belonging to the
Queen. Her Majesty shut herself up with me in a closet in the entresol,
looking into the garden of the Tuileries, and we packed all the diamonds,
rubies, and pearls she possessed in a small chest. The cases containing
these ornaments, being altogether of considerable bulk, had been
deposited, ever since the 6th of October, 1789, with the valet de chambre
who had the care of the Queen's jewels. That faithful servant, himself
detecting the use that was to be made of the valuables, destroyed all the
boxes, which were, as usual, covered with red morocco, marked with the
cipher and arms of France. It would have been impossible for him to hide
them from the eyes of the popular inquisitors during the domiciliary
visits in January, 1793, and the discovery might have formed a ground of
accusation against the Queen.

I had but a few articles to place in the box when the Queen was compelled
to desist from packing it, being obliged to go down to cards, which began
at seven precisely. She therefore desired me to leave all the diamonds
upon the sofa, persuaded that, as she took the key of her closet herself,
and there was a sentinel under the window, no danger was to be
apprehended for that night, and she reckoned upon returning very early
next day to finish the work.

The same woman who had given information of the sending away of the
dressing-case was also deputed by the Queen to take care of her more
private rooms. No other servant was permitted to enter them; she renewed
the flowers, swept the carpets, etc. The Queen received back the key,
when the woman had finished putting them in order, from her own hands;
but, desirous of doing her duty well, and sometimes having the key in her
possession for a few minutes only, she had probably on that account
ordered one without the Queen's knowledge. It is impossible not to
believe this, since the despatch of the diamonds was the subject of a
second accusation which the Queen heard of after the return from
Varennes. She made a formal declaration that her Majesty, with the
assistance of Madame Campan, had packed up all her jewelry some time
before the departure; that she was certain of it, as she had found the
diamonds, and the cotton which served to wrap them, scattered upon the
sofa in the Queen's closet in the 'entresol'; and most assuredly she
could only have seen these preparations in the interval between seven in
the evening and seven in the morning. The Queen having met me next day
at the time appointed, the box was handed over to Leonard, her Majesty's
hairdresser,--[This unfortunate man, after having emigrated for some
time, returned to France, and perished upon the scaffold.--NOTE BY
EDITOR]--who left the country with the Duc de Choiseul. The box
remained a long time at Brussels, and at length got into the hands of
Madame la Duchesse d'Angouleme, being delivered to her by the Emperor on
her arrival at Vienna.

In order not to leave out any of the Queen's diamonds, I requested the
first tirewoman to give me the body of the full dress, and all the
assortment which served for the stomacher of the full dress on days of
state, articles which always remained at the wardrobe.

The superintendent and the dame d'honneur being absent, the first
tirewoman required me to sign a receipt, the terms of which she dictated,
and which acquitted her of all responsibility for these diamonds.
She had the prudence to burn this document on the 10th of August, 1792.
--[The date of the sack of the Tuileries and slaughter of the Swiss
Guard]--The Queen having determined, upon the arrest at Varennes, not to
have her diamonds brought back to France, was often anxious about them
during the year which elapsed between that period and the 10th of August,
and dreaded above all things that such a secret should be discovered.

In consequence of a decree of the Assembly, which deprived the King of
the custody of the Crown diamonds, the Queen had at this time already
given up those which she generally used.

She preferred the twelve brilliants called Hazarins, from the name of the
Cardinal who had enriched the treasury with them, a few rose-cut
diamonds, and the Sanci. She determined to deliver, with her own hands,
the box containing them to the commissioner nominated by the National
Assembly to place them with the Crown diamonds. After giving them to
him, she offered him a row of pearls of great beauty, saying to him that
it had been brought into France by Anne of Austria; that it was
invaluable, on account of its rarity; that, having been appropriated by
that Princess to the use of the Queens and Dauphinesses, Louis XV. had
placed it in her hands on her arrival in France; but that she considered
it national property. "That is an open question, Madame," said the
commissary. "Monsieur," replied the Queen, "it is one for me to decide,
and is now settled."

My father-in-law, who was dying of the grief he felt for the misfortunes
of his master and mistress, strongly interested and occupied the thoughts
of the Queen. He had been saved from the fury of the populace in the
courtyard of the Tuileries.

On the day on which the King was compelled by an insurrection to give up
a journey to St. Cloud, her Majesty looked upon this trusty servant as
inevitably lost, if, on going away, she should leave him in the apartment
he occupied in the Tuileries. Prompted by her apprehensions, she ordered
M. Vicq-d'Azyr, her physician, to recommend him the waters of Mont d'Or
in Auvergne, and to persuade him to set off at the latter end of May.
At the moment of my going away the Queen assured me that the grand
project would be executed between the 15th and the 20th of June; that as
it was not my month to be on duty, Madame Thibaut would take the journey;
but that she had many directions to give me before I went. She then
desired me to write to my aunt, Madame Cardon, who was by that time in
possession of the clothes which I had ordered, that as soon as she should
receive a letter from M. Augur, the date of which should be accompanied
with a B, an L, or an M, she was to proceed with her property to
Brussels, Luxembourg, or Montmedy. She desired me to explain the meaning
of these three letters clearly to my sister, and to leave them with her
in writing, in order that at the moment of my going away she might be
able to take my place in writing to Arras.

The Queen had a more delicate commission for me; it was to select from
among my acquaintance a prudent person of obscure rank, wholly devoted to
the interests of the Court, who would be willing to receive a portfolio
which she was to give up only to me, or some one furnished with a note
from the Queen. She added that she would not travel with this portfolio,
and that it was of the utmost importance that my opinion of the fidelity
of the person to whom it was to be entrusted should be well founded. I
proposed to her Madame Vallayer Coster, a painter of the Academy, and an
amiable and worthy artist, whom I had known from my infancy. She lived
in the galleries of the Louvre. The choice seemed a good one. The Queen
remembered that she had made her marriage possible by giving her a place
in the financial offices, and added that gratitude ought sometimes to be
reckoned on. She then pointed out to me the valet belonging to her
toilet, whom I was to take with me, to show him the residence of Madame
Coster, so that he might not mistake it when he should take the portfolio
to her. The day before her departure the Queen particularly recommended
me to proceed to Lyons and the frontiers as soon as she should have
started. She advised me to take with me a confidential person, fit to
remain with M. Campan when I should leave him, and assured me that she
would give orders to M. ------ to set off as soon as she should be known
to be at the frontiers in order to protect me in going out. She
condescended to add that, having a long journey to make in foreign
countries, she determined to give me three hundred louis.

I bathed the Queen's hands with tears at the moment of this sorrowful
separation; and, having money at my disposal, I declined accepting her
gold. I did not dread the road I had to travel in order to rejoin her;
all my apprehension was that by treachery or miscalculation a scheme, the
safety of which was not sufficiently clear to me, should fail. I could
answer for all those who belonged to the service immediately about the
Queen's person, and I was right; but her wardrobe woman gave me well-
founded reason for alarm. I mentioned to the Queen many revolutionary
remarks which this woman had made to me a few days before. Her office
was directly under the control of the first femme de chambre, yet she had
refused to obey the directions I gave her, talking insolently to me about
"hierarchy overturned, equality among men," of course more especially
among persons holding offices at Court; and this jargon, at that time in
the mouths of all the partisans of the Revolution, was terminated by an
observation which frightened me. "You know many important secrets,
madame," said this woman to me, "and I have guessed quite as many. I am
not a fool; I see all that is going forward here in consequence of the
bad advice given to the King and Queen; I could frustrate it all if I
chose." This argument, in which I had been promptly silenced, left me
pale and trembling. Unfortunately, as I began my narrative to the Queen
with particulars of this woman's refusal to obey me,--and sovereigns are
all their lives importuned with complaints upon the rights of places,--
she believed that my own dissatisfaction had much to do with the step
I was taking; and she did not sufficiently fear the woman. Her office,
although a very inferior one, brought her in nearly fifteen thousand
francs a year. Still young, tolerably handsome, with comfortable
apartments in the entresols of the Tuileries, she saw a great deal of
company, and in the evening had assemblies, consisting of deputies of the
revolutionary party. M. de Gouvion, major-general of the National Guard,
passed almost every day with her; and it is to be presumed that she had
long worked for the party in opposition to the Court. The Queen asked
her for the key of a door which led to the principal vestibule of the
Tuileries, telling her she wished to have a similar one, that she might
not be under the necessity of going out through the pavilion of Flora.
M. de Gouvion and M. de La Fayette would, of course, be apprised of this
circumstance, and well-informed persons have assured me that on the very
night of the Queen's departure this wretched woman had a spy with her,
who saw the royal family set off.

As soon as I had executed all the Queen's orders, on the 30th of May,
1791, I set out for Auvergne, and was settled in the gloomy narrow valley
of Mont d'Or, when, about four in the afternoon of the 25th of June,
I heard the beat of a drum to call the inhabitants of the hamlet
together. When it had ceased I heard a hairdresser from Bresse proclaim
in the provincial dialect of Auvergne: "The King and Queen were taking
flight in order to ruin France, but I come to tell you that they are
stopped, and are well guarded by a hundred thousand men under arms." I
still ventured to hope that he was repeating only a false report, but he
went on: "The Queen," with her well-known haughtiness, lifted up the veil
which covered her face, and said to the citizens who were upbraiding the
King, "Well, since you recognise your sovereign, respect him." Upon
hearing these expressions, which the Jacobin club of Clermont could not
have invented, I exclaimed, "The news is true!"

I immediately learnt that, a courier being come from Paris to Clermont,
the 'procureur' of the commune had sent off messengers to the chief
places of the canton; these again sent couriers to the districts, and the
districts in like manner informed the villages and hamlets which they
contained. It was through this ramification, arising from the
establishment of clubs, that the afflicting intelligence of the
misfortune of my sovereigns reached me in the wildest part of France,
and in the midst of the snows by which we were environed.

On the 28th I received a note written in a hand which I recognised as
that of M. Diet,--[This officer was slain in the Queen's chamber on the
10th of August]--usher of the Queen's chamber, but dictated by her
Majesty. It contained these words: "I am this moment arrived; I have
just got into my bath; I and my family exist, that is all. I have
suffered much. Do not return to Paris until I desire you. Take good
care of my poor Campan, soothe his sorrow. Look for happier times."
This note was for greater safety addressed to my father-in-law's valet-de
-chambre. What were my feelings on perceiving that after the most
distressing crisis we were among the first objects of the kindness of
that unfortunate Princess!

M. Campan having been unable to benefit by the waters of Mont d'Or, and
the first popular effervescence having subsided, I thought I might return
to Clermont. The committee of surveillance, or that of general safety,
had resolved to arrest me there; but the Abbe Louis, formerly a
parliamentary counsellor, and then a member of the Constituent Assembly,
was kind enough to affirm that I was in Auvergne solely for the purpose
of attending my father-in-law, who was extremely ill. The precautions
relative to my absence from Paris were limited to placing us under the
surveillance of the 'procureur' of the commune, who was at the same time
president of the Jacobin club; but he was also a physician of repute, and
without having any doubt that he had received secret orders relative to
me, I thought it would favour the chances of our safety if I selected him
to attend my patient. I paid him according to the rate given to the best
Paris physicians, and I requested him to visit us every morning and every
evening. I took the precaution to subscribe to no other newspaper than
the Moniteur. Doctor Monestier (for that was the physician's name)
frequently took upon himself to read it to us. Whenever he thought
proper to speak of the King and Queen in the insulting and brutal terms
at that time unfortunately adopted throughout France, I used to stop him
and say, coolly, "Monsieur, you are here in company with the servants of
Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette. Whatever may be the wrongs with which
the nation believes it has to reproach them, our principles forbid our
losing sight of the respect due to them from us." Notwithstanding that
he was an inveterate patriot, he felt the force of this remark, and even
procured the revocation of a second order for our arrest, becoming
responsible for us to the committee of the Assembly, and to the Jacobin

The two chief women about the Dauphin, who had accompanied the Queen to
Varennes, Diet, her usher, and Camot, her garcon de toilette,--the women
on account of the journey, and the men in consequence of the denunciation
of the woman belonging to the wardrobe,--were sent to the prisons of the
Abbaye. After my departure the garcon de toilette whom I had taken to
Madame Vallayer Coster's was sent there with the portfolio she had agreed
to receive. This commission could not escape the detestable spy upon the
Queen. She gave information that a portfolio had been carried out on the
evening of the departure, adding that the King had placed it upon the
Queen's easy-chair, that the garcon de toilette wrapped it up in a napkin
and took it under his arm, and that she did not know where he had carried
it. The man, who was remarkable for his fidelity, underwent three
examinations without making the slightest disclosure. M. Diet, a man of
good family, a servant on whom the Queen placed particular reliance,
likewise experienced the severest treatment. At length, after a lapse of
three weeks, the Queen succeeded in obtaining the release of her

The Queen, about the 15th of August, had me informed by letter that I
might come back to Paris without being under any apprehension of arrest
there, and that she greatly desired my return. I brought my father-in-
law back in a dying state, and on the day preceding that of the
acceptation of the constitutional act, I informed the Queen that he was
no more. "The loss of Lassonne and Campan," said she, as she applied her
handkerchief to her streaming eyes, "has taught me how valuable such
subjects are to their masters. I shall never find their equals."

I resumed my functions about the Queen on the 1st of September, 1791.
She was unable then to converse with me on all the lamentable events
which had occurred since the time of my leaving her, having on guard near
her an officer whom she dreaded more than all the others. She merely
told me that I should have some secret services to perform for her, and
that she would not create uneasiness by long conversations with me, my
return being a subject of suspicion. But next day the Queen, well
knowing the discretion of the officer who was to be on guard that night,
had my bed placed very near hers, and having obtained the favour of
having the door shut, when I was in bed she began the narrative of the
journey, and the unfortunate arrest at Varennes. I asked her permission
to put on my gown, and kneeling by her bedside I remained until three
o'clock in the morning, listening with the liveliest and most sorrowful
interest to the account I am about to repeat, and of which I have seen
various details, of tolerable exactness, in papers of the time.

The King entrusted Count Fersen with all the preparations for departure.
The carriage was ordered by him; the passport, in the name of Madame de
Korf, was procured through his connection with that lady, who was a
foreigner. And lastly, he himself drove the royal family, as their
coachman, as far as Bondy, where the travellers got into their berlin.
Madame Brunier and Madame Neuville, the first women of Madame and the
Dauphin, there joined the principal carriage. They were in a cabriolet.
Monsieur and Madame set out from the Luxembourg and took another road.
They as well as the King were recognised by the master of the last post
in France, but this man, devoting himself to the fortunes of the Prince,
left the French territory, and drove them himself as postilion. Madame
Thibaut, the Queen's first woman, reached Brussels without the slightest
difficulty. Madame Cardon, from Arras, met with no hindrance; and
Leonard, the Queen's hairdresser, passed through Varennes a few hours
before the royal family. Fate had reserved all its obstacles for the
unfortunate monarch.

Nothing worthy of notice occurred in the beginning of the journey. The
travellers were detained a short time, about twelve leagues from Paris,
by some repairs which the carriage required. The King chose to walk up
one of the hills, and these two circumstances caused a delay of three
hours, precisely at the time when it was intended that the berlin should
have been met, just before reaching Varennes, by the detachment commanded
by M. de Goguelat. This detachment was punctually stationed upon the
spot fixed on, with orders to wait there for the arrival of certain
treasure, which it was to escort; but the peasantry of the neighbourhood,
alarmed at the sight of this body of troops, came armed with staves, and
asked several questions, which manifested their anxiety. M. de Goguelat,
fearful of causing a riot, and not finding the carriage arrive as he
expected, divided his men into two companies, and unfortunately made them
leave the highway in order to return to Varennes by two cross roads.
The King looked out of the carriage at Ste. Menehould, and asked several
questions concerning the road. Drouet, the post-master, struck by the
resemblance of Louis to the impression of his head upon the assignats,
drew near the carriage, felt convinced that he recognised the Queen also,
and that the remainder of the travellers consisted of the royal family
and their suite, mounted his horse, reached Varennes by cross roads
before the royal fugitives, and gave the alarm.--[Varennes lies between
Verdun and Montmedy, and not far from the French frontier.]

The Queen began to feel all the agonies of terror; they were augmented by
the voice of a person unknown, who, passing close to the carriage in full
gallop, cried out, bending towards the window without slackening his
speed, "You are recognised!" They arrived with beating hearts at the
gates of Varennes without meeting one of the horsemen by whom they were
to have been escorted into the place. They were ignorant where to find
their relays, and some minutes were lost in waiting, to no purpose. The
cabriolet had preceded them, and the two ladies in attendance found the
bridge already blocked up with old carts and lumber. The town guards
were all under arms. The King at last entered Varennes. M. de Goguelat
had arrived there with his detachment. He came up to the King and asked
him if he chose to effect a passage by force! What an unlucky question
to put to Louis XVI., who from the very beginning of the Revolution had
shown in every crisis the fear he entertained of giving the least order
which might cause an effusion of blood! "Would it be a brisk action?"
said the King. "It is impossible that it should be otherwise, Sire,"
replied the aide-decamp. Louis XVI. was unwilling to expose his family.
They therefore went to the house of a grocer, Mayor of Varennes. The
King began to speak, and gave a summary of his intentions in departing,
analogous to the declaration he had made at Paris. He spoke with warmth
and affability, and endeavoured to demonstrate to the people around him
that he had only put himself, by the step he had taken, into a fit
situation to treat with the Assembly, and to sanction with freedom the
constitution which he would maintain, though many of its articles were
incompatible with the dignity of the throne, and the force by which it
was necessary that the sovereign should be surrounded. Nothing could be
more affecting, added the Queen, than this moment, in which the King felt
bound to communicate to the very humblest class of his subjects his
principles, his wishes for the happiness of his people, and the motives
which had determined him to depart.

Whilst the King was speaking to this mayor, whose name was Sauce, the
Queen, seated at the farther end of the shop, among parcels of soap and
candles, endeavoured to make Madame Sauce understand that if she would
prevail upon her husband to make use of his municipal authority to cover
the flight of the King and his family, she would have the glory of having
contributed to restore tranquillity to France. This woman was moved;
she could not, without streaming eyes, see herself thus solicited by her
Queen; but she could not be got to say anything more than, "Bon Dieu,
Madame, it would be the destruction of M. Sauce; I love my King, but I
love my husband too, you must know, and he would be answerable, you see."
Whilst this strange scene was passing in the shop, the people, hearing
that the King was arrested, kept pouring in from all parts. M. de
Goguelat, making a last effort, demanded of the dragoons whether they
would protect the departure of the King; they replied only by murmurs,
dropping the points of their swords. Some person unknown fired a pistol
at M. de Goguelat; he was slightly wounded by the ball. M. Romeuf, aide-
de-camp to M. de La Fayette, arrived at that moment. He had been chosen,
after the 6th of October, 1789, by the commander of the Parisian guard to
be in constant attendance about the Queen. She reproached him bitterly
with the object of his mission. "If you wish to make your name
remarkable, monsieur," said the Queen to him, "you have chosen strange
and odious means, which will produce the most fatal consequences." This
officer wished to hasten their departure. The Queen, still cherishing
the hope of seeing M. de Bouille arrive with a sufficient force to
extricate the King from his critical situation, prolonged her stay at
Varennes by every means in her power.

The Dauphin's first woman pretended to be taken ill with a violent colic,
and threw herself upon a bed, in the hope of aiding the designs of her
superiors; she went and implored for assistance. The Queen understood
her perfectly well, and refused to leave one who had devoted herself to
follow them in such a state of suffering. But no delay in departing was
allowed. The three Body Guards (Valory, Du Moustier, and Malden) were
gagged and fastened upon the seat of the carriage. A horde of National
Guards, animated with fury and the barbarous joy with which their fatal
triumph inspired them, surrounded the carriage of the royal family.

The three commissioners sent by the Assembly to meet the King, MM. de
Latour-Maubourg, Barnave, and Potion, joined them in the environs of
Epernay. The two last mentioned got into the King's carriage. The Queen
astonished me by the favourable opinion she had formed of Barnave.
When I quitted Paris a great many persons spoke of him only with horror.
She told me he was much altered, that he was full of talent and noble
feeling. "A feeling of pride which I cannot much blame in a young man
belonging to the Tiers Etat," she said, "made him applaud everything
which smoothed the road to rank and fame for that class in which he was
born. And if we get the power in our own hands again, Barnave's pardon
is already written on our hearts." The Queen added, that she had not the
same feeling towards those nobles who had joined the revolutionary party,
who had always received marks of favour, often to the injury of those
beneath them in rank, and who, born to be the safeguard of the monarchy,
could never be pardoned for having deserted it. She then told me that
Barnave's conduct upon the road was perfectly correct, while Potion's
republican rudeness was disgusting; that the latter ate and drank in the
King's berlin in a slovenly manner, throwing the bones of the fowls out
through the window at the risk of sending them even into the King's face;
lifting up his glass, when Madame Elisabeth poured him out wine, to show
her that there was enough, without saying a word; that this offensive
behaviour must have been intentional, because the man was not without
education; and that Barnave was hurt at it. On being pressed by the
Queen to take something, "Madame," replied Barnave, "on so solemn an
occasion the deputies of the National Assembly ought to occupy your
Majesties solely about their mission, and by no means about their wants."
In short, his respectful delicacy, his considerate attentions, and all
that he said, gained the esteem not only of the Queen, but of Madame
Elisabeth also.

The King began to talk to Petion about the situation of France, and the
motives of his conduct, which were founded upon the necessity of giving
to the executive power a strength necessary for its action, for the good
even of the constitutional act, since France could not be a republic.
"Not yet, 'tis true," replied Petion, "because the French are not ripe
enough for that." This audacious and cruel answer silenced the King, who
said no more until his arrival at Paris. Potion held the little Dauphin
upon his knees, and amused himself with curling the beautiful light hair
of the interesting child round his fingers; and, as he spoke with much
gesticulation, he pulled his locks hard enough to make the Dauphin cry
out. "Give me my son," said the Queen to him; "he is accustomed to
tenderness and delicacy, which render him little fit for such

The Chevalier de Dampierre was killed near the King's carriage upon
leaving Varennes. A poor village cure, some leagues from the place where
the crime was committed, was imprudent enough to draw near to speak to
the King; the cannibals who surrounded the carriage rushed upon him.
"Tigers," exclaimed Barnave, "have you ceased to be Frenchmen? Nation of
brave men, are you become a set of assassins?" These words alone saved
the cure, who was already upon the ground, from certain death. Barnave,
as he spoke to them, threw himself almost out of the coach window, and
Madame Elisabeth, affected by this noble burst of feeling, held him by
the skirt of his coat. The Queen, while speaking of this event, said
that on the most momentous occasions whimsical contrasts always struck
her, and that even at such a moment the pious Elisabeth holding Barnave
by the flap of his coat was a ludicrous sight.

The deputy was astonished in another way. Madame Elisabeth's comments
upon the state of France, her mild and persuasive eloquence, and the,
ease and simplicity with which she talked to him, yet without sacrificing
her dignity in the slightest degree, appeared to him unique, and his
heart, which was doubtless inclined to right principles though he had
followed the wrong path, was overcome by admiration. The conduct of the
two deputies convinced the Queen of the total separation between the
republican and constitutional parties. At the inns where she alighted
she had some private conversation with Barnave. The latter said a great
deal about the errors committed by the royalists during the Revolution,
adding that he had found the interest of the Court so feebly and so badly
defended that he had been frequently tempted to go and offer it, in
himself, an aspiring champion, who knew the spirit of the age and nation.
The Queen asked him what was the weapon he would have recommended her to

"Popularity, Madame."

"And how could I use that," replied her Majesty, "of which I have been

"Ah! Madame, it was much more easy for you to regain it, than for me to
acquire it."

The Queen mainly attributed the arrest at Varennes to M. de Goguelat; she
said he calculated the time that would be spent in the journey
erroneously. He performed that from Montmedy to Paris before taking the
King's last orders, alone in a post-chaise, and he founded all his
calculations upon the time he spent thus. The trial has been made since,
and it was found that a light carriage without any courier was nearly
three hours less in running the distance than a heavy carriage preceded
by a courier.

The Queen also blamed him for having quitted the high-road at Pont-de-
Sommevelle, where the carriage was to meet the forty hussars commanded by
him. She thought that he ought to have dispersed the very small number
of people at Varennes, and not have asked the hussars whether they were
for the King or the nation; that, particularly, he ought to have avoided
taking the King's orders, as he was previously aware of the reply
M. d'Inisdal had received when it was proposed to carry off the King.

After all that the Queen had said to me respecting the mistakes made by
M. de Goguelat, I thought him of course disgraced. What was my surprise
when, having been set at liberty after the amnesty which followed the
acceptance of the constitution, he presented himself to the Queen, and
was received with the greatest kindness! She said he had done what he
could, and that his zeal ought to form an excuse for all the rest.

[Full details of the preparations for the flight to Varennes will be
found in "Le Comte de Fersen et La Cour de France," Paris, Didot et
Cie, 1878 (a review of which was given in the Quarterly Review for
July, 1880), and in the "Memoirs of the Marquis de Bouille", London,
Cadell and Davis, 1797; Count Fersen being the person who planned
the actual escape, and De Bouille being in command of the army which
was to receive the King. The plan was excellent, and would
certainly have succeeded, if it had not been for the royal family
themselves. Marie Antoinette, it will have been seen by Madame
Campan's account, nearly wrecked the plan from inability to do
without a large dressing or travelling case. The King did a more
fatal thing. De Bouille had pointed out the necessity for having in
the King's carriage an officer knowing the route, and able to show
himself to give all directions, and a proper person had been
provided. The King, however, objected, as "he could not have the
Marquis d'Agoult in the same carriage with himself; the governess of
the royal children, who was to accompany them, having refused to
abandon her privilege of constantly remaining with her charge." See
"De Bouille," pp. 307 and 334. Thus, when Louis was recognised at
the window of the carriage by Drouet, he was lost by the very danger
that had been foreseen, and this wretched piece of etiquette led to
his death.]

When the royal family was brought back from Varennes to the Tuileries,
the Queen's attendants found the greatest difficulty in making their way
to her apartments; everything had been arranged so that the wardrobe
woman, who had acted as spy, should have the service; and she was to be
assisted in it only by her sister and her sister's daughter.

M. de Gouvion, M. de La Fayette's aide-de-camp, had this woman's portrait
placed at the foot of the staircase which led to the Queen's apartments,
in order that the sentinel should not permit any other women to make
their way in. As soon as the Queen was informed of this contemptible
precaution, she told the King of it, who sent to ascertain the fact.
His Majesty then called for M. de La Fayette, claimed freedom in his
household, and particularly in that of the Queen, and ordered him to send
a woman in, whom no one but himself could confide out of the palace.
M. de La Fayette was obliged to comply.

On the day when the return of the royal family was expected, there were
no carriages in motion in the streets of Paris. Five or six of the
Queen's women, after being refused admittance at all the other gates,
went with one of my sisters to that of the Feuillans, insisting that the
sentinel should admit them. The poissardes attacked them for their
boldness in resisting the order excluding them. One of them seized my
sister by the arm, calling her the slave of the Austrian. "Hear me,"
said my sister to her, "I have been attached to the Queen ever since I
was fifteen years of age; she gave me my marriage portion; I served her
when she was powerful and happy. She is now unfortunate. Ought I to
abandon her?"--"She is right," cried the poissardes; "she ought not to
abandon her mistress; let us make an entry for them." They instantly
surrounded the sentinel, forced the passage, and introduced the Queen's
women, accompanying them to the terrace of the Feuillans. One of these
furies, whom the slightest impulse would have driven to tear my sister to
pieces, taking her under her protection, gave her advice by which she
might reach the palace in safety. "But of all things, my dear friend,"
said she to her, "pull off that green ribbon sash; it is the color of
that D'Artois, whom we will never forgive."

The measures adopted for guarding the King were rigorous with respect to
the entrance into the palace, and insulting as to his private apartments.
The commandants of battalion, stationed in the salon called the grand
cabinet, and which led to the Queen's bedchamber, were ordered to keep
the door of it always open, in order that they might have their eyes
upon the royal family. The King shut this door one day; the officer of
the guard opened it, and told him such were his orders, and that he would
always open it; so that his Majesty in shutting it gave himself useless
trouble. It remained open even during the night, when the Queen was in
bed; and the officer placed himself in an armchair between the two doors,
with his head turned towards her Majesty. They only obtained permission
to have the inner door shut when the Queen was rising. The Queen had the
bed of her first femme de chambre placed very near her own; this bed,
which ran on casters, and was furnished with curtains, hid her from the
officer's sight.

Madame de Jarjaye, my companion, who continued her functions during the
whole period of my absence, told me that one night the commandant of
battalion, who slept between the two doors, seeing that she was sleeping
soundly, and that the Queen was awake, quitted his post and went close to
her Majesty, to advise her as to the line of conduct she should pursue.
Although she had the kindness to desire him to speak lower in order that
he might not disturb Madame de Jarjaye's rest, the latter awoke, and
nearly died with fright at seeing a man in the uniform of the Parisian
guard so near the Queen's bed. Her Majesty comforted her, and told her
not to rise; that the person she saw was a good Frenchman, who was
deceived respecting the intentions and situation of his sovereign and
herself, but whose conversation showed sincere attachment to the King.

There was a sentinel in the corridor which runs behind the apartments in
question, where there is a staircase, which was at that time an inner
one, and enabled the King and Queen to communicate freely. This post,
which was very onerous, because it was to be kept four and twenty hours,
was often claimed by Saint Prig, an actor belonging to the Theatre
Francais. He took it upon himself sometimes to contrive brief interviews
between the King and Queen in this corridor. He left them at a distance,
and gave them warning if he heard the slightest noise. M. Collot,
commandant of battalion of the National Guard, who was charged with the
military duty of the Queen's household, in like manner softened down,
so far as he could with prudence, all, the revolting orders he received;
for instance, one to follow the Queen to the very door of her wardrobe
was never executed. An officer of the Parisian guard dared to speak
insolently of the Queen in her own apartment. M. Collot wished to make a
complaint to M. de La Fayette against him, and have him dismissed. The
Queen opposed it, and condescended to say a few words of explanation and
kindness to the man; he instantly became one of her most devoted

The first time I saw her Majesty after the unfortunate catastrophe of the
Varennes journey, I found her getting out of bed; her features were not
very much altered; but after the first kind words she uttered to me she
took off her cap and desired me to observe the effect which grief had
produced upon her hair. It had become, in one single night, as white as
that of a woman of seventy. Her Majesty showed me a ring she had just
had mounted for the Princesse de Lamballe; it contained a lock of her
whitened hair, with the inscription, "Blanched by sorrow." At the period
of the acceptance of the constitution the Princess wished to return to
France. The Queen, who had no expectation that tranquillity would be
restored, opposed this; but the attachment of Madame de Lamballe to the
royal family impelled her to come and seek death.

When I returned to Paris most of the harsh precautions were abandoned;
the doors were not kept open; greater respect was paid to the sovereign;
it was known that the constitution soon to be completed would be
accepted, and a better order of things was hoped for.


On my arrival at Paris on the 25th of August I found the state of feeling
there much more temperate than I had dared to hope. The conversation
generally ran upon the acceptance of the constitution, and the fetes
which would be given in consequence. The struggle between the Jacobins
and the constitutionals on the 17th of July, 1791, nevertheless had
thrown the Queen into great terror for some moments; and the firing of
the cannon from the Champ de Mars upon a party which called for a trial
of the King, and the leaders of which were in the very bosom of the
Assembly, left the most gloomy impressions upon her mind.

The constitutionals, the Queen's connection with whom was not slackened
by the intervention of the three members already mentioned, had
faithfully served the royal family during their detention.

"We still hold the wire by which this popular mass is moved," said
Barnave to M. de J----- one day, at the same time showing him a large
volume, in which the names of all those who were influenced with the
power of gold alone were registered. It was at that time proposed to
hire a considerable number of persons in order to secure loud
acclamations when the King and his family should make their appearance at
the play upon the acceptance of the constitution. That day, which
afforded a glimmering hope of tranquillity, was the 14th of September;
the fetes were brilliant; but already fresh anxieties forbade the royal
family to encourage much hope.

The Legislative Assembly, which had just succeeded the Constituent
Assembly (October, 1791), founded its conduct upon the wildest republican
principles; created from the midst of popular assemblies, it was wholly
inspired by the spirit which animated them. The constitution, as I have
said, was presented to the King on the 3d of September, 1791. The
ministers, with the exception of M. de Montmorin, insisted upon the
necessity of accepting the constitutional act in its entirety. The
Prince de Kaunitz--[Minister of Austria]-- was of the same opinion.
Malouet wished the King to express himself candidly respecting any errors
or dangers that he might observe in the constitution. But Duport and
Barnave, alarmed at the spirit prevailing in the Jacobin Club,

[The extreme revolutionary party, so called from the club,
originally "Breton," then "Amis de la Constitution," sitting at the
convent of the Dominicans (called in France Jacobins) of the Rue
Saint Honore.]

and even in the Assembly, where Robespierre had already denounced them as
traitors to the country, and dreading still greater evils, added their
opinions to those of the majority of the ministers and M. de Kaunitz;
those who really desired that the constitution should be maintained
advised that it should not be accepted thus literally. The King seemed
inclined to this advice; and this is one of the strongest proofs of his

Alexandre Lameth, Duport, and Barnave, still relying on the resources of
their party, hoped to have credit for directing the King through the
influence they believed they had acquired over the mind of the Queen.
They also consulted people of acknowledged talent, but belonging to no
council nor to any assembly. Among these was M. Dubucq, formerly
intendant of the marine and of the colonies. He answered laconically in
one phrase: "Prevent disorder from organising itself."

The letter written by the King to the Assembly, claiming to accept the
constitution in the very place where it had been created, and where he
announced he would be on the 14th September at mid-day, was received with
transport, and the reading was repeatedly interrupted by plaudits. The
sitting terminated amidst the greatest enthusiasm, and M. de La Fayette
obtained the release of all those who were detained on account of the
King's journey [to Varennes], the abandonment of all proceedings relative
to the events of the Revolution, and the discontinuance of the use of
passports and of temporary restraints upon free travelling, as well in
the interior as without. The whole was conceded by acclamation. Sixty
members were deputed to go to the King and express to him fully the
satisfaction his Majesty's letter had given. The Keeper of the Seals
quitted the chamber, in the midst of applause, to precede the deputation
to the King.

The King answered the speech addressed to him, and concluded by saying to
the Assembly that a decree of that morning, which had abolished the order
of the Holy Ghost, had left him and his son alone permission to be
decorated with it; but that an order having no value in his eyes, save
for the power of conferring it, he would not use it.

The Queen, her son, and Madame, were at the door of the chamber into
which the deputation was admitted. The King said to the deputies, "You
see there my wife and children, who participate in my sentiments;" and
the Queen herself confirmed the King's assurance. These apparent marks
of confidence were very inconsistent with the agitated state of her mind.
"These people want no sovereigns," said she. "We shall fall before their
treacherous though well-planned tactics; they are demolishing the
monarchy stone by stone."

Next day the particulars of the reception of the deputies by the King
were reported to the Assembly, and excited warm approbation. But the
President having put the question whether the Assembly ought not to
remain seated while the King took the oath "Certainly," was repeated by
many voices; "and the King, standing, uncovered." M. Malouet observed
that there was no occasion on which the nation, assembled in the presence
of the King, did not acknowledge him as its head; that the omission to
treat the head of the State with the respect due to him would be an
offence to the nation, as well as to the monarch. He moved that the King
should take the oath standing, and that the Assembly should also stand
while he was doing so. M. Malouet's observations would have carried the
decree, but a deputy from Brittany exclaimed, with a shrill voice, that
he had an amendment to propose which would render all unanimous. "Let us
decree," said he, "that M. Malouet, and whoever else shall so please, may
have leave to receive the King upon their knees; but let us stick to the

The King repaired to the chamber at mid-day. His speech was followed by
plaudits which lasted several minutes. After the signing of the
constitutional act all sat down. The President rose to deliver his
speech; but after he had begun, perceiving that the King did not rise to
hear him, he sat down again. His speech made a powerful impression; the
sentence with which it concluded excited fresh acclamations, cries of
"Bravo!" and "Vive le Roi!"--"Sire, "said he, "how important in our
eyes, and how dear to our hearts--how sublime a feature in our history--
must be the epoch of that regeneration which gives citizens to France,
and a country to Frenchmen,--to you, as a king, a new title of greatness
and glory, and, as a man, a source of new enjoyment." The whole Assembly
accompanied the King on his return, amidst the people's cries of
happiness, military music, and salvoes of artillery.

At length I hoped to see a return of that tranquillity which had so long
vanished from the countenances of my august master and mistress. Their
suite left them in the salon; the Queen hastily saluted the ladies, and
returned much affected; the King followed her, and, throwing himself into
an armchair, put his handkerchief to his eyes. "Ah! Madame," cried he,
his voice choked by tears, "why were you present at this sitting? to
witness--" these words were interrupted by sobs. The Queen threw herself
upon her knees before him, and pressed him in her arms. I remained with
them, not from any blamable curiosity, but from a stupefaction which
rendered me incapable of determining what I ought to do. The Queen said
to me, "Oh! go, go!" with an accent which expressed, "Do not remain to
see the dejection and despair of your sovereign!" I withdrew, struck
with the contrast between the shouts of joy without the palace and the
profound grief which oppressed the sovereigns within. Half an hour
afterwards the Queen sent for me. She desired to see M. de Goguelat, to
announce to him his departure on that very night for Vienna. The renewed
attacks upon the dignity of the throne which had been made during the
sitting; the spirit of an Assembly worse than the former; the monarch put
upon a level with the President, without any deference to the throne,--
all this proclaimed but too loudly that the sovereignty itself was aimed
at. The Queen no longer saw any ground for hope from the Provinces.
The King wrote to the Emperor; she told me that she would herself,
at midnight, bring the letter which M. de Goguelat was to bear to the
Emperor, to my room.

During all the remainder of the day the Chateau and the Tuileries were
crowded; the illuminations were magnificent. The King and Queen were
requested to take an airing in their carriage in the Champs-Elysees,
escorted by the aides-decamp, and leaders of the Parisian army, the
Constitutional Guard not being at the time organised. Many shouts of
"Vive le Roi!" were heard; but as often as they ceased, one of the mob,
who never quitted the door of the King's carriage for a single instant,
exclaimed with a stentorian voice, "No, don't believe them! Vive la
Nation!" This ill-omened cry struck terror into the Queen.

A few days afterwards M. de Montmorin sent to say he wanted to speak to
me; that he would come to me, if he were not apprehensive his doing so
would attract observation; and that he thought it would appear less
conspicuous if he should see me in the Queen's great closet at a time
which he specified, and when nobody would be there. I went. After
having made some polite observations upon the services I had already
performed, and those I might yet perform, for my master and mistress, he
spoke to me of the King's imminent danger, of the plots which were
hatching, and of the lamentable composition of the Legislative Assembly;
and he particularly dwelt upon the necessity of appearing, by prudent
remarks, determined as much as possible to abide by the act the King had
just recognised. I told him that could not be done without committing
ourselves in the eyes of the royalist party, with which moderation was a
crime; that it was painful to hear ourselves taxed with being
constitutionalists, at the same time that it was our opinion that the
only constitution which was consistent with the King's honour, and the
happiness and tranquillity of his people, was the absolute power of the
sovereign; that this was my creed, and it would pain me to give any room
for suspicion that I was wavering in it.

"Could you ever believe," said he, "that I should desire any other order
of things? Have you any doubt of my attachment to the King's person, and
the maintenance of his rights?"

"I know it, Count," replied I; "but you are not ignorant that you lie
under the imputation of having adopted revolutionary ideas."

"Well, madame, have resolution enough to dissemble and to conceal your
real sentiments; dissimulation was never more necessary. Endeavours are
being made to paralyse the evil intentions of the factious as much as
possible; but we must not be counteracted here by certain dangerous
expressions which are circulated in Paris as coming from the King and

I told him that I had been already struck with apprehension of the evil
which might be done by the intemperate observations of persons who had no
power to act; and that I had felt ill consequences from having repeatedly
enjoined silence on those in the Queen's service.

"I know that," said the Count; "the Queen informed me of it, and that
determined me to come and request you to increase and keep alive, as much
as you can, that spirit of discretion which is so necessary."

While the household of the King and Queen were a prey to all these fears,
the festivities in celebration of the acceptance of the constitution
proceeded. Their Majesties went to the Opera; the audience consisted
entirely of persons who sided with the King, and on that day the
happiness of seeing him for a short time surrounded by faithful subjects
might be enjoyed. The acclamations were then sincere.

"La Coquette Corrigee" had been selected for representation at the
Theatre Francais solely because it was the piece in which Mademoiselle
Contat shone most. Yet the notions propagated by the Queen's enemies
coinciding in my mind with the name of the play, I thought the choice
very ill-judged. I was at a loss, however, how to tell her Majesty so;
but sincere attachment gives courage. I explained myself; she was
obliged to me, and desired that another play might be performed. They
accordingly selected "La Gouvernante," almost equally unfortunate in

The Queen, Madame the King's daughter, and Madame Elisabeth were all well
received on this occasion. It is true that the opinions and feelings of
the spectators in the boxes could not be otherwise than favourable, and
great pains had been taken, previously to these two performances, to fill
the pit with proper persons. But, on the other hand, the Jacobins took
the same precautions on their side at the Theatre Italien, and the tumult
was excessive there. The play was Gretry's "Les Evenements Imprevus."
Unfortunately, Madame Dugazon thought proper to bow to the Queen as she
sang the words, "Ah, how I love my mistress!" in a duet. Above twenty
voices immediately exclaimed from the pit, "No mistress! no master!
liberty!" A few replied from the boxes and slips, "Vive le Roi! vive la
Reine!" Those in the pit answered, "No master! no Queen!" The quarrel
increased; the pit formed into parties; they began fighting, and the
Jacobins were beaten; tufts of their black hair flew about the theatre.--
[At this time none but the Jacobins had discontinued the use of
hairpowder.--MADAME CAMPAN.]-- A military guard arrived. The Faubourg
St. Antoine, hearing of what was going on at the Theatre Italien, flocked
together, and began to talk of marching towards the scene of action. The
Queen preserved the calmest demeanour; the commandants of the guard
surrounded and encouraged her; they conducted themselves promptly and
discreetly. No accident happened. The Queen was highly applauded as she
quitted the theatre; it was the last time she was ever in one!

While couriers were bearing confidential letters from the King to the
Princes, his brothers, and to the foreign sovereigns, the Assembly
invited him to write to the Princes in order to induce them to return to
France. The King desired the Abbe de Montesquiou to write the letter he
was to send; this letter, which was admirably composed in a simple and
affecting style, suited to the character of Louis XVI., and filled with
very powerful arguments in favour of the advantages to be derived from
adopting the principles of the constitution, was confided to me by the
King, who desired me to make him a copy of it.

At this period M. M-----, one of the intendants of Monsieur's household,
obtained a passport from the Assembly to join that Prince on business
relative to his domestic concerns. The Queen selected him to be the
bearer of this letter. She determined to give it to him herself, and to
inform him of its object. I was astonished at her choice of this
courier. The Queen assured me he was exactly the man for her purpose,
that she relied even upon his indiscretion, and that it was merely
necessary that the letter from the King to his brothers should be known
to exist. The Princes were doubtless informed beforehand on the subject
by the private correspondence. Monsieur nevertheless manifested some
degree of surprise, and the messenger returned more grieved than pleased
at this mark of confidence, which nearly cost him his life during the
Reign of Terror.

Among the causes of uneasiness to the Queen there was one which was but
too well founded, the thoughtlessness of the French whom she sent to
foreign Courts. She used to say that they had no sooner passed the
frontiers than they disclosed the most secret matters relative to the
King's private sentiments, and that the leaders of the Revolution were
informed of them through their agents, many of whom were Frenchmen who
passed themselves off as emigrants in the cause of their King.

After the acceptance of the constitution, the formation of the King's
household, as well military as civil, formed a subject of attention.
The Duc de Brissac had the command of the Constitutional Guard, which was
composed of officers and men selected from the regiments, and of several
officers drawn from the National Guard of Paris. The King was satisfied
with the feelings and conduct of this band, which, as is well known,
existed but a very short time.

The new constitution abolished what were called honours, and the
prerogatives belonging to them. The Duchesse de Duras resigned her place
of lady of the bedchamber, not choosing to lose her right to the tabouret
at Court. This step hurt the Queen, who saw herself forsaken through the
loss of a petty privilege at a time when her own rights and even life
were so hotly attacked. Many ladies of rank left the Court for the same
reason. However, the King and Queen did not dare to form the civil part
of their household, lest by giving the new names of the posts they should
acknowledge the abolition of the old ones, and also lest they should
admit into the highest positions persons not calculated to fill them
well. Some time was spent in discussing the question, whether the
household should be formed without chevaliers and without ladies of
honour. The Queen's constitutional advisers were of opinion that the
Assembly, having decreed a civil list adequate to uphold the splendour of
the throne, would be dissatisfied at seeing the King adopting only a
military household, and not forming his civil household upon the new
constitutional plan. "How is it, Madame," wrote Barnave to the Queen,
"that you will persist in giving these people even the smallest doubt as
to your sentiments? When they decree you a civil and a military
household, you, like young Achilles among the daughters of Lycomedes,
eagerly seize the sword and scorn the mere ornaments." The Queen
persisted in her determination to have no civil household. "If," said
she, "this constitutional household be formed, not a single person of
rank will remain with us, and upon a change of affairs we should be
obliged to discharge the persons received into their place."

"Perhaps," added she, "perhaps I might find one day that I had saved the
nobility, if I now had resolution enough to afflict them for a time; I
have it not. When any measure which injures them is wrested from us they
sulk with me; nobody comes to my card party; the King goes unattended to
bed. No allowance is made for political necessity; we are punished for
our very misfortunes."

The Queen wrote almost all day, and spent part of the night in reading:
her courage supported her physical strength; her disposition was not at
all soured by misfortunes, and she was never seen in an ill-humour for a
moment. She was, however, held up to the people as a woman absolutely
furious and mad whenever the rights of the Crown were in any way

I was with her one day at one of her windows. We saw a man plainly
dressed, like an ecclesiastic, surrounded by an immense crowd. The Queen
imagined it was some abbe whom they were about to throw into the basin of
the Tuileries; she hastily opened her window and sent a valet de chambre
to know what was going forward in the garden. It was Abbe Gregoire, whom
the men and women of the tribunes were bringing back in triumph, on
account of a motion he had just made in the National Assembly against the
royal authority. On the following day the democratic journalists
described the Queen as witnessing this triumph, and showing, by
expressive gestures at her window, how highly she was exasperated by the
honours conferred upon the patriot.

The correspondence between the Queen and the foreign powers was carried
on in cipher. That to which she gave the preference can never be
detected; but the greatest patience is requisite for its use. Each
correspondent must have a copy of the same edition of some work. She
selected "Paul and Virginia." The page and line in which the letters
required, and occasionally a monosyllable, are to be found are pointed
out in ciphers agreed upon. I assisted her in finding the letters, and
frequently I made an exact copy for her of all that she had ciphered,
without knowing a single word of its meaning.

There were always several secret committees in Paris occupied in
collecting information for the King respecting the measures of the
factions, and in influencing some of the committees of the Assembly.
M. Bertrand de Molleville was in close correspondence with the Queen.
The King employed M. Talon and others; much money was expended through
the latter channel for the secret measures. The Queen had no confidence
in them. M. de Laporte, minister of the civil list and of the household,
also attempted to give a bias to public opinion by means of hireling
publications; but these papers influenced none but the royalist party,
which did not need influencing. M. de Laporte had a private police which
gave him some useful information.

I determined to sacrifice myself to my duty, but by no means to any
intrigue, and I thought that, circumstanced as I was, I ought to confine
myself to obeying the Queen's orders. I frequently sent off couriers to
foreign countries, and they were never discovered, so many precautions
did I take. I am indebted for the preservation of my own existence to
the care I took never to admit any deputy to my abode, and to refuse all
interviews which even people of the highest importance often requested of
me; but this line of conduct exposed me to every species of ill-will,
and on the same day I saw myself denounced by Prud'homme, in his 'Gazette
Revolutionnaire', as capable of making an aristocrat of the mother of the
Gracchi, if a person so dangerous as myself could have got into her
household; and by Gauthier's Gazette Royaliste, as a monarchist, a
constitutionalist, more dangerous to the Queen's interests than a

At this period an event with which I had nothing to do placed me in a
still more critical situation. My brother, M. Genet, began his
diplomatic career successfully. At eighteen he was attached to the
embassy to Vienna; at twenty he was appointed chief secretary of Legation
in England, on occasion of the peace of 1783. A memorial which he
presented to M. de Vergennes upon the dangers of the treaty of commerce
then entered into with England gave offence to M. de Calonne, a patron of
that treaty, and particularly to M. Gerard de Rayneval, chief clerk for
foreign affairs. So long as M. de Vergennes lived, having upon my
father's death declared himself the protector of my brother, he supported
him against the enemies his views had created. But on his death M. de
Montmorin, being much in need of the long experience in business which he
found in M. de Rayneval, was guided solely by the latter. The office of
which my brother was the head was suppressed. He then went to St.
Petersburg, strongly recommended to the Comte de Segur, minister from
France to that Court, who appointed him secretary of Legation. Some time
afterwards the Comte de Segur left him at St. Petersburg, charged with
the affairs of France. After his return from Russia, M. Genet was
appointed ambassador to the United States by the party called Girondists,
the deputies who headed it being from the department of the Gironde. He
was recalled by the Robespierre party, which overthrew the former
faction, on the 31st of May, 1793, and condemned to appear before the
Convention. Vice-President Clinton, at that time Governor of New York,
offered him an asylum in his house and the hand of his daughter, and M.
Genet established himself prosperously in America.

When my brother quitted Versailles he was much hurt at being deprived of
a considerable income for having penned a memorial which his zeal alone
had dictated, and the importance of which was afterwards but too well
understood. I perceived from his correspondence that he inclined to some
of the new notions. He told me it was right he should no longer conceal
from me that he sided with the constitutional party; that the King had in
fact commanded it, having himself accepted the constitution; that he
would proceed firmly in that course, because in this case
disingenuousness would be fatal, and that he took that side of the
question because he had had it proved to him that the foreign powers
would not serve the King's cause without advancing pretensions prompted
by long-standing interests, which always would influence their councils;
that he saw no salvation for the King and Queen but from within France,
and that he would serve the constitutional King as he served him before
the Revolution. And lastly, he requested me to impart to the Queen the
real sentiments of one of his Majesty's agents at a foreign Court. I
immediately went to the Queen and gave her my brother's letter; she read
it attentively, and said, "This is the letter of a young man led astray
by discontent and ambition; I know you do not think as he does; do not
fear that you will lose the confidence of the King and myself." I
offered to discontinue all correspondence with my brother; she opposed
that, saying it would be dangerous. I then entreated she would permit me
in future to show her my own and my brother's letters, to which she
consented. I wrote warmly to my brother against the course he had
adopted. I sent my letters by sure channels; he answered me by the post,
and no longer touched upon anything but family affairs. Once only he
informed me that if I should write to him respecting the affairs of the
day he would give me no answer. "Serve your august mistress with the
unbounded devotion which is due from you," said he, "and let us each do
our duty. I will only observe to you that at Paris the fogs of the Seine
often prevent people from seeing that immense capital, even from the
Pavilion of Flora, and I see it more clearly from St. Petersburg."
The Queen said, as she read this letter, "Perhaps he speaks but too
truly; who can decide upon so disastrous a position as ours has become?"
The day on which I gave the Queen my brother's first letter to read she
had several audiences to give to ladies and other persons belonging to
the Court, who came on purpose to inform her that my brother was an
avowed constitutionalist and revolutionist. The Queen replied, "I know
it; Madame Campan has told me so." Persons jealous of my situation
having subjected me to mortifications, and these unpleasant circumstances
recurring daily, I requested the Queen's permission to withdraw from
Court. She exclaimed against the very idea, represented it to me as
extremely dangerous for my own reputation, and had the kindness to add
that, for my sake as well as for her own, she never would consent to it.
After this conversation I retired to my apartment. A few minutes later a
footman brought me this note from the Queen: "I have never ceased to give
you and yours proofs of my attachment; I wish to tell you in writing that
I have full faith in your honour and fidelity, as well as in your other
good qualities; and that I ever rely on the zeal and address you exert to
serve me."

[I had just received this letter from the Queen when M. de la
Chapelle, commissary-general of the King's household, and head of
the offices of M. de Laporte, minister of the civil list, came to
see me. The palace having been already sacked by the brigands on
the 20th of June, 1792, he proposed that I should entrust the paper
to him, that he might place it in a safer situation than the
apartments of the Queen. When he returned into his offices he
placed the letter she had condescended to write to me behind a large
picture in his closet; but on the loth of August M. de la Chapelle
was thrown into the prisons of the Abbaye, and the committee of
public safety established themselves in his offices, whence they
issued all their decrees of death. There it was that a villainous
servant belonging to M. de Laporte went to declare that in the
minister's apartments, under a board in the floor, a number of
papers would be found. They were brought forth, and M. de Laporte
was sent to the scaffold, where he suffered for having betrayed the
State by serving his master and sovereign. M. de la Chapelle was
saved, as if by a miracle, from the massacres of the 2d of
September. The committee of public safety having removed to the
King's apartments at the Tuileries, M. de la Chapelle had permission
to return to his closet to take away some property belonging to him.
Turning round the picture, behind which he had hidden the Queen's
letter, he found it in the place into which he had slipped it, and,
delighted to see that I was safe from the ill consequences the
discovery of this paper might have brought upon me, he burnt it
instantly. In times of danger a mere nothing may save life or
destroy it.--MADAME CAMPAN]

At the moment that I was going to express my gratitude to the Queen I
heard a tapping at the door of my room, which opened upon the Queen's
inner corridor. I opened it; it was the King. I was confused; he
perceived it, and said to me, kindly: "I alarm you, Madame Campan; I
come, however, to comfort you; the Queen has told me how much she is hurt
at the injustice of several persons towards you. But how is it that you
complain of injustice and calumny when you see that we are victims of
them? In some of your companions it is jealousy; in the people belonging
to the Court it is anxiety. Our situation is so disastrous, and we have
met with so much ingratitude and treachery, that the apprehensions of
those who love us are excusable! I could quiet them by telling them all
the secret services you perform for us daily; but I will not do it. Out
of good-will to you they would repeat all I should say, and you would be
lost with the Assembly. It is much better, both for you and for us, that
you should be thought a constitutionalist. It has been mentioned to me a
hundred times already; I have never contradicted it; but I come to give
you my word that if we are fortunate enough to see an end of all this, I
will, at the Queen's residence, and in the presence of my brothers,
relate the important services you have rendered us, and I will recompense
you and your son for them." I threw myself at the King's feet and kissed
his hand. He raised me up, saying, "Come, come, do not grieve; the
Queen, who loves you, confides in you as I do."

Down to the day of the acceptance it was impossible to introduce Barnave
into the interior of the palace; but when the Queen was free from the
inner guard she said she would see him. The very great precautions which
it was necessary for the deputy to take in order to conceal his
connection with the King and Queen compelled them to spend two hours
waiting for him in one of the corridors of the Tuileries, and all in
vain. The first day that he was to be admitted, a man whom Barnave knew
to be dangerous having met him in the courtyard of the palace, he
determined to cross it without stopping, and walked in the gardens in
order to lull suspicion. I was desired to wait for Barnave at a little
door belonging to the entresols of the palace, with my hand upon the open
lock. I was in that position for an hour. The King came to me
frequently, and always to speak to me of the uneasiness which a servant
belonging to the Chateau, who was a patriot, gave him. He came again to
ask me whether I had heard the door called de Decret opened. I assured
him nobody had been in the corridor, and he became easy. He was
dreadfully apprehensive that his connection with Barnave would be
discovered. "It would," said the King, "be a ground for grave
accusations, and the unfortunate man would be lost." I then ventured to
remind his Majesty that as Barnave was not the only one in the secret of
the business which brought him in contact with their Majesties, one of
his colleagues might be induced to speak of the association with which
they were honoured, and that in letting them know by my presence that I
also was informed of it, a risk was incurred of removing from those
gentlemen part of the responsibility of the secret. Upon this
observation the King quitted me hastily and returned a moment afterwards
with the Queen. "Give me your place," said she; "I will wait for him in
my turn. You have convinced the King. We must not increase in their
eyes the number of persons informed of their communications with us."

The police of M. de Laporte, intendant of the civil list, apprised him,
as early as the latter end of 1791, that a man belonging to the King's
offices who had set up as a pastrycook at the Palais Royal was about to
resume the duties of his situation, which had devolved upon him again on
the death of one who held it for life; that he was so furious a Jacobin
that he had dared to say it would be a good thing for France if the
King's days were shortened. His duty was confined to making the pastry;
he was closely watched by the head officers of the kitchen, who were
devoted to his Majesty; but it is so easy to introduce a subtle poison
into made dishes that it was determined the King and Queen should eat
only plain roast meat in future; that their bread should be brought to
them by M. Thierry de Ville-d'Avray, intendant of the smaller apartments,
and that he should likewise take upon himself to supply the wine. The
King was fond of pastry; I was directed to order some, as if for myself,
sometimes of one pastry-cook, and sometimes of another. The pounded
sugar, too, was kept in my room. The King, the Queen, and Madame
Elisabeth ate together, and nobody remained to wait on them. Each had a
dumb waiter and a little bell to call the servants when they were wanted.
M. Thierry used himself to bring me their Majesties' bread and wine, and
I locked them up in a private cupboard in the King's closet on the ground
floor. As soon as the King sat down to table I took in the pastry and
bread. All was hidden under the table lest it might be necessary to have
the servants in. The King thought it dangerous as well as distressing to
show any apprehension of attempts against his person, or any mistrust of
his officers of the kitchen. As he never drank a whole bottle of wine at
his meals (the Princesses drank nothing but water), he filled up that out
of which he had drunk about half from the bottle served up by the
officers of his butlery. I took it away after dinner. Although he never
ate any other pastry than that which I brought, he took care in the same
manner that it should seem that he had eaten of that served at table.
The lady who succeeded me found this duty all regulated, and she executed
it in the same manner; the public never was in possession of these
particulars, nor of the apprehensions which gave rise to them. At the
end of three or four months the police of M. de Laporte gave notice that
nothing more was to be dreaded from that sort of plot against the King's
life; that the plan was entirely changed; and that all the blows now to
be struck would be directed as much against the throne as against the
person of the sovereign.

There are others besides myself who know that at this time one of the
things about which the Queen most desired to be satisfied was the opinion
of the famous Pitt. She would sometimes say to me, "I never pronounce
the name of Pitt without feeling a chill like that of death." (I repeat
here her very expressions.) "That man is the mortal enemy of France; and
he takes a dreadful revenge for the impolitic support given by the
Cabinet of Versailles to the American insurgents. He wishes by our
destruction to guarantee the maritime power of his country forever
against the efforts made by the King to improve his marine power and
their happy results during the last war. He knows that it is not only
the King's policy but his private inclination to be solicitous about his
fleets, and that the most active step he has taken during his whole reign
was to visit the port of Cherbourg. Pitt had served the cause of the
French Revolution from the first disturbances; he will perhaps serve it
until its annihilation. I will endeavour to learn to what point he
intends to lead us, and I am sending M.----- to London for that purpose.
He has been intimately connected with Pitt, and they have often had
political conversations respecting the French Government. I will get him
to make him speak out, at least so far as such a man can speak out."
Some time afterwards the Queen told me that her secret envoy was returned
from London, and that all he had been able to wring from Pitt, whom he
found alarmingly reserved, was that he would not suffer the French
monarchy to perish; that to suffer the revolutionary spirit to erect an
organised republic in France would be a great error, affecting the
tranquillity of Europe. "Whenever," said she, "Pitt expressed himself
upon the necessity of supporting monarchy in France, he maintained the
most profound silence upon what concerns the monarch. The result of
these conversations is anything but encouraging; but, even as to that
monarchy which he wishes to save, will he have means and strength to save
it if he suffers us to fall?"

The death of the Emperor Leopold took place on the 1st of March, 1792.
When the news of this event reached the Tuileries, the Queen was gone
out. Upon her return I put the letter containing it into her hands. She
exclaimed that the Emperor had been poisoned; that she had remarked and
preserved a newspaper, in which, in an article upon the sitting of the
Jacobins, at the time when the Emperor Leopold declared for the
coalition, it was said, speaking of him, that a pie-crust would settle
that matter. At this period Barnave obtained the Queen's consent that he
should read all the letters she should write. He was fearful of private
correspondences that might hamper the plan marked out for her; he
mistrusted her Majesty's sincerity on this point; and the diversity of
counsels, and the necessity of yielding, on the one hand, to some of the
views of the constitutionalists, and on the other, to those of the French
Princes, and even of foreign Courts, were unfortunately the circumstances
which most rapidly impelled the Court towards its ruin.

However, the emigrants showed great apprehensions of the consequences
which might follow in the interior from a connection with the

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