When the King had ascended the throne and seated himself (the princes of the blood royal who followed His Majesty being ranged upon the steps of the dais to his right and his ministers below and in front), there was another call from the heralds-at-arms, and Marie Antoinette, beautiful, pallid, and haughty-looking, appeared at the entrance, accompanied by the Princess Royal and the members of her immediate household. Amid a silence unbroken by a single acclamation the Queen took her seat on the King’s left and two steps below him.
“Is there no Frenchman here who will raise his voice in greeting to his Queen?” said Mr. Morris, very audibly. But though many hear him, not a sound is made, and at the cruel silence the Queen, her haughtiness giving way for a moment, as it had the day before, wept.
“I could never bear to see beauty in distress. If I were a subject of the Queen she should have one loyal servitor, at least, to wish her well,” said Mr. Morris, warmly, to Calvert.
The scene which, before the entrance of the royal party, had lacked its crowning touch, was now brilliant beyond description. To the right of the throne were ranged the princes of the Church, hardly less resplendent in their robes than the secular nobles facing them, while between, forming a perfect foil for this glowing mass of color and jewels, a sombre spot in the brilliant assemblage, the tiers sat facing their sovereign. It was ominous—or so it seemed to Mr. Calvert—that the tiers should thus divide the two orders naturally most closely allied, and should sit as if in opposition or menace over against their King. And it was to them that the King seemed to speak or rather to read his address, which had been carefully prepared for him and was intentionally so vague that it aroused but little enthusiasm; to them that Monsieur le Garde des Sceaux appealed without great effect; and it was, above all, to the tiers that Monsieur Necker, rising, addressed himself, receiving in turn their warmest plaudits.
So long and so frequently interrupted by applause was Necker’s report that it was after four o’clock when the King rose to dismiss the Assembly. As he descended the steps the Queen came forward to his side, and, for the first time, a faint “Vive la Reine!” was heard. At the sound a quick blush of pleasure showed in her pallid cheeks and she courtesied low to the throng with such divine grace that the acclamations redoubled. To this the Queen courtesied yet lower, and, amid a very thunder of applause, the royal party left the hall, followed by the deputies and the struggling throng of visitors.
Fatigued by the long seance, the excitement, and the tediousness of Monsieur Necker’s report, Mr. Jefferson hurried Mr. Calvert—Mr. Morris had been carried off by Madame de Flahaut, to the great discomfiture of Monsieur de Curt—into his coach and drove directly to Madame de Tesse’s, where they found apartments ready for them for the night and where they could get some repose before dressing for dinner and the King’s levee, at which Mr. Jefferson intended to present both Mr. Morris and Mr. Calvert to their Majesties.