The dream music of the previous scene having ceased, a stately march is played off scene. Queen Marie Antoinette enters, her train held by four little pages in white satin. She is followed by Mlles. de Pernan and de Tressau, who wear white brocade with pale yellow roses. Following them comes a less formal group, ladies in waiting, who wear dark green and silver-flowered bodices and overskirts over still darker green quilted petticoats: amber costumes of the same, threaded with gold, and dark purple over white satin. The Queen, who is in white, with a long train of scarlet velvet, has the only touch of scarlet that is worn in the scene. The French courtiers are in flowered coats with buff, blue of a deep shade, and white and amber-brown predominating.
The Queen, having crossed the sward, stands at right, and the Mlles. de Pernan and de Tressau stand immediately behind her, and by them the pages. A little further back, in a stately, yet not too formal a semicircle, stands the court. Just as they are taking their places there comes from the background a sedan chair borne by four chairmen in black velvet, with powdered wigs. This chair is set down in center of sward. The Duchess of Bourbon alights: approaches the Queen, courtesies deeply and kisses her Majesty’s hand. Then joins the group behind the Queen. The chair is carried to the back of the group during this ceremony.
Music off-scene plays “Hail Columbia” and Franklin and Adams appear from background, Adams following Franklin. Benjamin Franklin is in black, with unpowdered hair. His famous spectacles are on his nose. The Queen extends her hand, over which he bows. Adams, with three-cornered hat on breast, bows just behind him.
QUEEN. You honor France in honoring us by your presence, Dr. Franklin. Mr. Adams, we greet you, not only because you come from America, but because you are the friend of wisdom and sagacity.
FRANKLIN (bowing low: ditto Adams). Your Majesty does us too much honor!
QUEEN. The honor we do you to-day is to be gay, festive, joyous. We have delighted to plan a fete for your pleasure wherein you shall behold Versailles and Trianon, court ladies, milkmaids, shepherdesses! But, first, the verses!
[According to the custom of eighteenth-century France in honoring a philosopher, the Mlles. de Pernan and de Tressau face Franklin and the Queen, courtesy deeply, recite a verse, courtesy again, and return to their places.
MLLE. DE PERNAN.
“We come to honor, one by one,
Benjamin Franklin, Freedom’s son,
Who comes to us from oversea,
Champion of light and liberty.”
MLLE. DE TRESSAU.
“Learned and just, benignant, wise,
You draw the lightning from the skies:
Printer and Statesman—here we see
What man through his own wit may be!”
[Throughout the revels that follow the Queen and Benjamin Franklin stand at right, while the dancers enter from left background. As soon as one group has finished dancing, center, they move to the left, and stand in a line facing Franklin and the Queen. Thus color is added to color, till the whole has a rainbow effect.