The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.
the whole of the reign.  And, as it was impossible but that religion itself should suffer in the estimation of worldly men from such an open disregard of all but its mere outward forms, it can hardly be denied that the French cardinals and prelates about the court had almost as great a share in bringing about that general feeling of contempt for all religion which led to that formal disavowal of God himself which was witnessed twenty years later, as the scoffers who were now uniting against it, or the professed infidels who then, renounced it.  Such as it was, the king’s act of penitence was not performed too soon.  At the end of the first week of May all prospect of his recovery vanished.  Mortification set in, and on the 10th of May he died.


The Court leaves Versailles for La Muette.—­Feelings of the New Sovereigns.—­Madame du Barri is sent to a Convent.—­Marie Antoinette writes to Maria Teresa.—­The Good Intentions of the New Sovereigns.—­ Madame Adelaide has the Small-pox.—­Anxieties of Maria Teresa.—­ Mischievous Influence of the Aunts.—­Position and Influence of the Count de Mercy.—­Louis consults the Queen on Matters of Policy.—­Her Prudence.—­ She begins to Purify the Court, and to relax the Rules of Etiquette.—­Her Care of her Pages.—­The King and the renounce the Gifts of Le Joyeux Avenement and La Ceinture de la Reine.—–­She procures the Pardon of the Due de Choiseul.

Throughout the morning of the 10th of May there was great confusion and agitation at Versailles.  The physicians declared that the king could not live out the day; and the dauphin had decided on removing his household to the smaller palace of La Muette at Choisy, to spend in that comparative retirement the first week or two after his grandfather’s death, during which it would hardly be decorous for the royal family to be seen in public.  But, as it was not thought seemly to appear to anticipate the event by quitting Versailles while Louis was still alive, a lighted candle was placed in the window of the sick-room, which, the moment that the king had expired, was to be extinguished, as a signal to the equerries to prepare the carriages.  The dauphin and dauphiness were in an adjoining room awaiting the intelligence, when, at about three o’clock in the afternoon, a sudden trampling of feet was heard, and Madame de Noailles entered the apartment to entreat them to advance into the saloon to receive the homage of the princes and principal officers of the court, who were waiting to pay their respects to their new sovereigns.  They came forward arm-in-arm; and in tears, in which sincere sorrow was mingled with not unnatural nervousness, received the salutations of the courtiers, and immediately afterward left Versailles with all the family.

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