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.

CHAPTER XXVI.

Feelings of Marie Antoinette on coming to the Tuileries.—­Her Tact in winning the Hearts of the Common People.—­Mirabeau changes his Views.—­ Quarrel between La Fayette and the Duc d’Orleans.—­Mirabeau desires to offer his Services to the Queen.—­Riots in Paris.—­Murder of Francois.—­ The Assembly pass a Vote prohibiting any Member from taking Office.—­The Emigration.—­Death of the Emperor Joseph II.—­Investigation into the Riots of October.—­The Queen refuses to give Evidence.—­Violent Proceedings in the Assembly.—­Execution of the Marquis de Favras.

The comment made by Marie Antoinette on quitting Versailles was that “they were undone; they were being dragged off, perhaps to death, which was never far removed from captive sovereigns;[1]” and such henceforward was her prevailing feeling.  She may occasionally, prompted by her own innate courage and sanguineness of disposition, have cherished a short-lived hope, founded on a consciousness of the king’s and her own purity of intention, or on a belief, which she never wholly discarded, in the natural goodness of heart of the French people when not led astray by demagogues; and of their impulsive levity of disposition, which seemed to make no change of temper on their part impossible; but her general feeling was one of humiliation for the past and despair for the future.  Not only did the example of Charles I., whose fate was ever before her eyes, fill her with dread for her husband’s life (to her own danger she never gave a thought), but she felt also that the cause and principle of royalty had been degraded by the shameful scenes through which she had lately passed; and we shall fail to do justice to the patience, fortitude, and energy of her conduct during the remainder of her life, if we allow ourselves to forget that these high qualities were maintained and exerted in spite of the most depressing circumstances and the most discouraging convictions; that she was struggling because it was her duty to struggle for her husband’s honor and her child’s inheritance; but that she was never long sustained by that incentive which, with so many, is absolutely indispensable to steady and useful exertion—­the anticipation of eventual success.

A letter which the very next morning she wrote to Mercy, who fortunately still retained his old post as embassador, shows the courage with which she still caught at every circumstance which seemed in the least hopeful; and with what unfaltering tact she sought every opportunity of acting on the impulsiveness which she regarded as one chief characteristic of the French people.

“October 7th, 1789.

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