Some of these last recommendations may seem to show that the governess was, to some extent, regarded as a nurse as well as a teacher; and when we find Marie Antoinette complaining of want of discretion in a child of four years old, it may perhaps be thought that she is expecting rather more of such tender years than is often found in them; that she is inclined to be overexacting rather than overindulgent; an error the more venial, since it is probable that the educators of princes are more likely to go astray in the opposite direction. But it is impossible to avoid being struck with the candor with which she judges her boy’s character, and with the judiciousness of her system of education; and equally impossible to resist the conviction that a boy of good disposition, trained by such a mother, had every chance of becoming a blessing to his subjects, if fate had only allowed him to succeed to the throne which she had still a right to look forward to for him as his assured inheritance.
Necker resumes Office.—Outrages in the Provinces.—Pusillanimity of the Body of the Nation.—Parties in the Assembly.—Views of the Constitutionalists or “Plain.”—Barnave makes Overtures to the Court.—The Queen rejects them.—The Assembly abolishes all Privileges, August 4th.— Debates on the Veto.—An Attack on Versailles is threatened.—Great Scarcity in Paris.—The King sends his Plate to be melted down.—The Regiment of Flanders is brought up to Versailles.—A Military Banquet is held in the Opera-house.—October 5th, a Mob from Paris marches on Versailles.—Blunders of La Fayette—Ferocity of the Mob on the 5th.— Attack on the Palace on the 6th.—Danger and Heroism of the Queen.—The Royal Family remove to Paris.—Their Reception at the Barrier and at the Hotel de Ville.—Shabbiness of the Tuileries.—The King fixes his Residence there.
Necker had obeyed the king’s summons the moment that he received it, and before the end of the month he returned to Versailles and resumed his office. But, even before the king’s dispatch reached him, Paris had witnessed terrible proofs that the tranquillity which the king’s visit to the capital was supposed to have re-established was but temporary. The populace had broken out into fresh tumults, murdering some of Breteuil’s colleagues with circumstances of frightful barbarity; while intelligence of similar disturbances in the provinces was constantly arriving. In Normandy, in Alsace, and in Provence, in the towns, and in the rural districts, the towns-people and the peasants rose against their wealthier neighbors or their landlords, burning their houses, and commonly murdering the owners with the most revolting barbarity. Some were torn into pieces; some were roasted alive; some had actually portions of their flesh cut off and eaten by their murderers in their own sight, before the blow was given which terminated their agonies. Their sex did not save ladies from being victims of the same cruelties, nor did it prevent women from being actors in them.