The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.
less obstinate and less malicious, still thought it advantageous to his own credit to keep up the same notions in the king’s mind.  M. de Vergennes follows the same plan, and perhaps avails himself of his correspondence on foreign affairs to propagate falsehoods.  I have spoken plainly about this to the king more than once.  He has sometimes answered me rather peevishly, and, as he is never fond of discussion, I have not been able to persuade him that his minister was deceived, or was deceiving him.  I do not blind myself as to the extent of my own influence.  I know that I have no great ascendency over the king’s mind, especially in politics; and would it be prudent in me to have scenes with his ministers on such subjects, on which it is almost certain that the king would not support me?  Without ever boasting or saying a word that is not true, I, however, let the public believe that I have more influence than I really have, because, if they did not think so, I should have still less.  The avowals which I am making to you, my dear brother, are not very flattering to my self-love; but I do not like to hide any thing from you, in order that you may be able to judge of my conduct as correctly as is possible at this terrible distance from you, at which my destiny has placed me.[5]”

A melancholy interest attunes to sentences such as these, from the influence which the defects in her husband’s character, when joined to those of his minister, had on the future destinies of both, and of the nation over which he ruled.  It was natural that she should explain them to a brother; and though, as a general rule, it is clearly undesirable for queens consort to interfere in politics, it is clear that with such a husband, and with the nation and court in such a condition as then existed in France, it was indispensable that Marie Antoinette should covet, and, so far as she was able, exert, influence over the king, if she were not prepared to see him the victim or the tool of caballers and intriguers who cared far more for their own interests than for those of either king or kingdom.  But as yet, though, as we see, these deficiencies of Louis occasionally caused her annoyance, she had no foreboding of evil.  Her general feeling was one of entire happiness; her children were growing and thriving, her own health was far stronger than it had been, and she entered with as keen a relish as ever into the excitements and amusements becoming her position, and what we may still call her youth, since she was even now only eight-and-twenty.


“The Marriage of Figaro”—­Previous History and Character of Beaumarchais.  —­The Performance of the Play is forbidden.—­It is said to be a little altered.—­It is licensed.—­Displeasure of the Queen.—­Visit of Gustavus III. of Sweden.—­Fete at the Trianon.—­Balloon Ascent.

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