In the beginning of the spring of 1791, the King, tired of remaining at the Tuileries, wished to return to St. Cloud. His whole household had already gone, and his dinner was prepared there. He got into his carriage at one; the guard mutinied, shut the gates, and declared they would not let him pass. This event certainly proceeded from some suspicion of a plan to escape. Two persons who drew near the King’s carriage were very ill treated. My father-in-law was violently laid hold of by the guards, who took his sword from him. The King and his family were obliged to alight and return to their apartments.
They did not much regret this outrage in their hearts; they saw in it a justification, even in the eyes of the people, of their intention to leave Paris.
So early as the month of March in the same year, the Queen began to busy herself in preparing for her departure. I spent that month with her, and executed a great number of secret orders which she gave me respecting the intended event. It was with uneasiness that I saw her occupied with cares which seemed to me useless, and even dangerous, and I remarked to her that the Queen of France would find linen and gowns everywhere. My observations were made in vain; she determined to have a complete wardrobe with her at Brussels, as well for her children as herself. I went out alone and almost disguised to purchase the articles necessary and have them made up.
I ordered six chemises at the shop of one seamstress, six at that of another, gowns, combing cloths, etc. My sister had a complete set of clothes made for Madame, by the measure of her eldest daughter, and I ordered clothes for the Dauphin from those of my son. I filled a trunk with these things, and addressed them, by the Queen’s orders, to one of her women, my aunt, Madame Cardon,—a widow living at Arras, by virtue of an unlimited leave of absence,—in order that she might be ready to start for Brussels, or any other place, as soon as she should be directed to do so. This lady had landed property in Austrian Flanders, and could at any time quit Arras unobserved.
The Queen was to take only her first woman in attendance with her from Paris. She apprised me that if I should not be on duty at the moment of departure, she would make arrangements for my joining her. She determined also to take her travelling dressing-case. She consulted me on her idea of sending it off, under pretence of making a present of it to the Archduchess Christina, Gouvernante of the Netherlands. I ventured to oppose this plan strongly, and observed that, amidst so many people who watched her slightest actions, there would be found a sufficient number sharp-sighted enough to discover that it was only a pretext for sending away the property in question before her own departure; she persisted in her intention, and all I could arrange was that the dressing-case