Louis, as a matter of course, adopted his advice; and, after several different towns—Blois, Tours, Cambrai, and Compiegne among them—had been proposed as the place of meeting, he himself decided in favor of Versailles, as that which would afford him the best hunting while the session lasted. The queen in her heart disapproved of every one of these resolutions. She saw that Necker had, as she had foreboded, sacrificed the king’s authority by his advice on the two first questions; and she perceived more clearly than any one the danger of fixing the States-general so near to Paris that the turbulent population of the city should be able to overawe the members. She pressed these considerations earnestly on the king, but it was characteristic of the course which she prescribed to herself from, the beginning, and from which she never swerved, that when her advice was overruled she invariably defended the course which had been taken. Her language, when any one spoke to her either of her own opinions and wishes, or of the feelings with which the different classes of the nation regarded her, was invariably the same. “You are not to think of me for a moment. All that I desire of you is to take care that the respect which is due to the king shall not be weakened;” and it was only her most intimate friends who knew how unwise she thought the different decisions that had been adopted, or how deep were her forebodings of evil.
The Reveillon Riot.—Opening of the States-general.—The Queen is insulted by the Partisans of the Duc d’Orleans.—Discussions as to the Number of Chambers.—Career and Character of Mirabeau.—Necker rejects his Support. —He determines to revenge himself.—Death of the Dauphin.
The meeting of the States-general, as has been already seen, was fixed for the 4th of May, 1789; and, as if it were fated that the bloody character of the period now to be inaugurated should be displayed from the very outset, the elections for the city of Paris, which were only held in the preceding week, were stained with a riot so formidable as to be commonly spoken of in the records of the time as an insurrection.