The Comte de Provence intrigues against the Queen.—The King gives her the Little Trianon,—She lays out an English Garden.—Maria Teresa cautions her against Expense.—The King and Queen abolish some of the Old Forms.— The Queen endeavors to establish Friendships with some of her Younger Ladies.—They abuse her Favor.—Her Eagerness for Amusement.—Louis enters into her Views.—Etiquette is abridged.—Private Parties at Choisy.— Supper Parties.—Opposition of the Princesses.—Some of the Courtiers are dissatisfied at the Relaxation of Etiquette.—Marie Antoinette is accused of Austrian Preferences.
Her accession to the throne, however, had not entirely delivered Marie Antoinette from intrigues. It had only changed their direction and object, and also the persona of the intriguers. Her chief enemy now was the prince who ought to have been her best friend, the next brother of her husband, the Comte de Provence. Among the papers of Louis xv. the king had found proofs, in letters from both count and countess, that they had both been actively employed in trying to make mischief, and to poison the mind of their grandfather against the dauphiness. They became still more busy now, since each day seemed to diminish the probability of Marie Antoinette becoming a mother; while, if she should leave no children, the Comte de Provence would be heir to the throne. He scarcely made any secret that he was already contemplating the probability of his succession; and, as there were not wanting courtiers to speculate also on the chance, it soon became known that there was no such sure road to the favor of monsieur as that of disparaging and vilifying the queen. There might have been some safety for her in being put on her guard against her enemy; and the king himself, who called his brother Tartuffe, did, in consequence of his discovery, use great caution and circumspection in his behavior toward him; but Marie Antoinette was of a temper as singularly forgiving as it was open: she could not bear to regard with suspicion even those of whose unfriendliness and treachery she had had proofs; and after a few days she resumed her old familiarity with the pair, as if she had no reason to distrust them, slighting on this subject the remonstrances of Mercy, who pointed out to her in vain that she was putting weapons into their hands which they would be sure to turn against herself.