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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 573 pages of information about The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.

Thus miserably perished, by a death fit only for the vilest of criminals, Marie Antoinette, the daughter of one sovereign, the wife of another, who had never wronged or injured one human being.  No one was ever more richly endowed with all the charms which render woman attractive, or with all the virtues that make her admirable.  Even in her earliest years, her careless and occasionally undignified levity was but the joyous outpouring of a pure innocence of heart that, as it meant no evil, suspected none; while it was ever blended with a kindness and courtesy which sprung from a genuine benevolence.  As queen, though still hardly beyond girlhood when she ascended the throne, she set herself resolutely to work by her admonitions, and still more effectually by her example, to purify a court of which for centuries the most shameless profligacy had been the rule and boast; discountenancing vice and impiety by her marked reprobation, and reserving all her favor and protection for genius and patriotism, and honor and virtue.  Surrounded at a later period by unexampled dangers and calamities, she showed herself equal to every vicissitude of fortune, and superior to its worst frowns.  If her judgment occasionally erred, it was in cases where alternatives of evil were alone offered to her choice, and in which it is even now scarcely possible to decide what course would have been wiser or safer than that which she adopted.  And when at last the long conflict was terminated by the complete victory of her combined enemies—­ when she, with her husband and her children, was bereft not only of power, but even of freedom, and was a prisoner in the hands of those whose unalterable object was her destruction—­she bore her accumulated miseries with a serene resignation, an intrepid fortitude, a true heroism of soul, of which the history of the world does not afford a brighter example.

FOOTNOTES

PREFACE

[1] One entitled “Marie-Antoinette, correspondance secrete entre Marie-Therese et le Comte Mercy d’Argenteau, avec des lettres de Marie-Therese et de Marie-Antoinette.” (The edition referred to in this work is the greatly enlarged second edition in three volumes, published at Paris, 1875.) The second is entitled “Marie-Antoinette, Joseph II., and Leopold II,” published at Leipsic, 1866.

[2] Entitled “Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, et Madame Elizabeth,” in six volumes, published at intervals from 1864 to 1873.

[3] In his “Nouveau Lundi,” March 5th, 1866, M. Sainte-Beuve challenged M. Feuillet de Conches to a more explicit defense of the authenticity of his collection than he had yet vouchsafed; complaining, with some reason, that his delay in answering the charges brought against it “was the more vexatious because his collection was only attacked in part, and in many points remained solid and valuable.”  And this challenge elicited from M.F. de Conches a

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