However, the emigrants showed great apprehensions of the consequences which might follow in the interior from a connection with the constitutionalists, whom they described as a party existing only in idea, and totally without means of repairing their errors. The Jacobins were preferred to them, because, said they, there would be no treaty to be made with any one at the moment of extricating the King and his family from the abyss in which they were plunged.
In the beginning of the year 1792, a worthy priest requested a private interview with me. He had learned the existence of a new libel by Madame de Lamotte. He told me that the people who came from London to get it printed in Paris only desired gain, and that they were ready to deliver the manuscript to him for a thousand louis, if he could find any friend of the Queen disposed to make that sacrifice for her peace; that he had thought of me, and if her Majesty would give him the twenty-four thousand francs, he would hand the manuscript to me.
I communicated this proposal to the Queen, who rejected it, and desired me to answer that at the time when she had power to punish the hawkers of these libels she deemed them so atrocious and incredible that she despised them too much to stop them; that if she were imprudent and weak enough to buy a single one of them, the Jacobins might possibly discover the circumstance through their espionage; that were this libel brought up, it would be printed nevertheless, and would be much more dangerous when they apprised the public of the means she had used to suppress it.
Baron d’Aubier, gentleman-in-ordinary to the King, and my particular friend, had a good memory and a clear way of communicating the substance of the debates and decrees of the National Assembly. I went daily to the Queen’s apartments to repeat all this to the King, who used to say, on seeing me, “Ah! here’s the Postillon par Calais,”—a newspaper of the time.
M. d’Aubier one day said to me: “The Assembly has been much occupied with an information laid by the workmen of the Sevres manufactory. They brought to the President’s office a bundle of pamphlets which they said were the life of Marie Antoinette. The director of the manufactory was ordered up to the bar, and declared he had received orders to burn the printed sheets in question in the furnaces used for baking his china.”
While I was relating this business to the Queen the King coloured and held his head down over his plate. The Queen said to him, “Do you know anything about this, Sire?” The King made no answer. Madame Elisabeth requested him to explain what it meant. Louis was still silent. I withdrew hastily. A few minutes afterwards the Queen came to my room and informed me that the King, out of regard for her, had purchased the whole edition struck off from the manuscript which I had mentioned to her, and