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.