The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 573 pages of information about The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.
the great officers of his household, and the ministers; and there (after having first come forward on the balcony to afford the multitude, who completely filled the vast square in front of the building, a sight of their sovereigns), the royal pair, sitting side by side, presided at a banquet of unsurpassed magnificence and luxury.  In compliance with the strictest laws of the old etiquette, none but ladies were admitted to the king’s table, but other tables were provided for the male guests.  The most renowned musicians performed the sweetest airs, but the melodies of Gluck and Gretry were drowned in the cheers of the multitude outside, who thus relieved their impatience for the re-appearance of their queen.

The banquet was succeeded by a grand reception, with its singular but invariable accompaniment of a gaming-table,[10] and the whole was concluded by a grand illumination and display of fireworks, in which the pyrotechnists had exhausted their allegorical ingenuity.  A Temple of Hymen occupied the centre, and the God of Marriage—­never, so far as present appearances indicated, more auspiciously employed—­presented to France the precious infant who was the most recent fruit of his favor; while the flame upon his altar, which never had burned with a brighter light, was fed by the thank-offerings of the whole French people.  As each new feature of the display burst upon their eyes, the acclamations of the populace redoubled, and their enthusiasm was kindled to the utmost pitch when Louis and Marie Antoinette descended the stairs, and, arm-in-arm, walked out among the crowd, ostensibly to see the illuminations from the different points which presented the most imposing spectacle; but really, as the citizens perceived, to show their sympathy with the joy of the people by mingling with the multitude, and thus allowing all to approach and even to accost them; while they, and especially the queen, replied to every loyal cheer or homely word of congratulation by a cordial smile or expression of approval or thanks, which long dwelt in the memory of those to whom they were addressed.

CHAPTER XVII.

Madame de Guimenee resigns the Office of Governess of the Royal Children.  —­Madame de Polignac succeeds her.—­Marie Antoinette’s Views of Education.—­Character of Madame Royale.—­The Grand Duke Paul and his Grand Duchess visit the French Court.—­Their Characters.—­Entertainments given in their Honor.—­Insolence of the Cardinal de Rohan.—­His Character and previous Life.—­Grand Festivities at Chantilly.—­Events of the War.—­ Rodney defeats de Grasse.—­The Siege of Gilbralter fails.—­M. de Suffrein fights five Drawn Battles with Sir E. Hughes in the Indian Seas.—­The Queen receives him with great Honor on his Return.

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The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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