Even if she could have slept, her rest would soon have been disturbed by the movement of troops, the beating of the drums, and the heavy roll of the cannon passing through the street. For the miscreants who bore sway in the city knew well that the crime which they were about to commit was viewed with horror by the great majority of the nation, and even of the Parisians, and to the last moment were afraid of a rescue. But no one could interpose between Louis and his doom; and the next intelligence of him that reached his wife, who was waiting the whole morning in painful anxiety for the summons to see him once more, was that he had perished beneath the fatal guillotine, and that she was a widow.
The Queen is refused Leave to see Clery.—Madame Royale is taken Ill.— Plans are formed for the Queen’s Escape by MM. Jarjayes, Toulan, and by the Baron de Batz.—Marie Antoinette refuses to leave her Son.—Illness of the young King.—Overthrow of the Girondins.—Insanity of the Woman Tison.—Kindness of the Queen to her.—Her Son is taken from her, and intrusted to Simon.—His Ill-treatment.—The Queen is removed to the Conciergerie.—She is tried before the Revolutionary Tribunal.—She is condemned.—Her last Letter to the Princess Elizabeth.—Her Death and Character.
Shouts in the streets announced to her and those around her that all was over. All the morning she had alarmed the princesses by the speechless, tearless stupor into which she seemed plunged; but at last she roused herself, and begged to see Clery, who had been with Louis till he left the Temple, and who, therefore, she hoped, might have some last message for her, some last words of affection, some parting gift. And so indeed he had; for the last act of Louis had been to give that faithful servant his seal for the dauphin, and his ring for the queen, with a little packet containing portions of her hair and those of his children which he had been in the habit of wearing. And he had bid him tell them all—“the queen, his dear children, and his sister—that he had promised to see them that morning, but that he had desired to save them the pain of so cruel a separation. How much,” he continued, “does it cost me to go without receiving their last embraces! You must bear to them my last farewell.”
But even the poor consolation of receiving these sad tokens of unchanged affection was refused to her. The Council refused Clery admittance to her, and seized the little trinkets and the packet of hair. The king’s last words never reached her. But a few days afterward, Toulan, one of the commissioners of the Council, who sympathized with her bereavement, found means to send her the ring and seal. Her sister and her daughter were the more anxious that she should see Clery, from the hope that conversation with him might bring on a flood of tears, which would have given her some relief. But her own fortitude