There was a sentinel in the corridor which runs behind the apartments in question, where there is a staircase, which was at that time an inner one, and enabled the King and Queen to communicate freely. This post, which was very onerous, because it was to be kept four and twenty hours, was often claimed by Saint Prig, an actor belonging to the Theatre Francais. He took it upon himself sometimes to contrive brief interviews between the King and Queen in this corridor. He left them at a distance, and gave them warning if he heard the slightest noise. M. Collot, commandant of battalion of the National Guard, who was charged with the military duty of the Queen’s household, in like manner softened down, so far as he could with prudence, all, the revolting orders he received; for instance, one to follow the Queen to the very door of her wardrobe was never executed. An officer of the Parisian guard dared to speak insolently of the Queen in her own apartment. M. Collot wished to make a complaint to M. de La Fayette against him, and have him dismissed. The Queen opposed it, and condescended to say a few words of explanation and kindness to the man; he instantly became one of her most devoted partisans.
The first time I saw her Majesty after the unfortunate catastrophe of the Varennes journey, I found her getting out of bed; her features were not very much altered; but after the first kind words she uttered to me she took off her cap and desired me to observe the effect which grief had produced upon her hair. It had become, in one single night, as white as that of a woman of seventy. Her Majesty showed me a ring she had just had mounted for the Princesse de Lamballe; it contained a lock of her whitened hair, with the inscription, “Blanched by sorrow.” At the period of the acceptance of the constitution the Princess wished to return to France. The Queen, who had no expectation that tranquillity would be restored, opposed this; but the attachment of Madame de Lamballe to the royal family impelled her to come and seek death.
When I returned to Paris most of the harsh precautions were abandoned; the doors were not kept open; greater respect was paid to the sovereign; it was known that the constitution soon to be completed would be accepted, and a better order of things was hoped for.
On my arrival at Paris on the 25th of August I found the state of feeling there much more temperate than I had dared to hope. The conversation generally ran upon the acceptance of the constitution, and the fetes which would be given in consequence. The struggle between the Jacobins and the constitutionals on the 17th of July, 1791, nevertheless had thrown the Queen into great terror for some moments; and the firing of the cannon from the Champ de Mars upon a party which called for a trial of the King, and the leaders of which were in the very bosom of the Assembly, left the most gloomy impressions upon her mind.