Marie Antoinette — Complete eBook

Jeanne-Louise-Henriette Campan
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 574 pages of information about Marie Antoinette — Complete.
of devoting his services to his country.  Although the state of his health was far from good, it did not threaten any rapid or premature decay; he was, however, after a few days’ illness, suddenly taken from his family.  “I never witnessed so heartrending a scene,” M. Maigne says, “as that which took place when Marechal Ney’s lady, her niece, and Madame Pannelier, her sister, came to acquaint her with this misfortune.—­[The wife of Marechal Ney was a daughter of Madame Auguie, and had been an intimate friend of Hortense Beauharnais.]—­When they entered her apartment she was in bed.  All three at once uttered a piercing cry.  The two ladies threw themselves on their knees, and kissed her hands, which they bedewed with tears.  Before they could speak to her she read in their faces that she no longer possessed a son.  At that instant her large eyes, opening wildly, seemed to wander.  Her face grew pale, her features changed, her lips lost their colour, she struggled to speak, but uttered only inarticulate sounds, accompanied by piercing cries.  Her gestures were wild, her reason was suspended.  Every part of her being was in agony.  To this state of anguish and despair no calm succeeded, until her tears began to flow.  Friendship and the tenderest cares succeeded for a moment in calming her grief, but not in diminishing its power.

“This violent crisis had disturbed her whole organisation.  A cruel disorder, which required a still more cruel operation, soon manifested itself.  The presence of her family, a tour which she made in Switzerland, a residence at Baden, and, above all, the sight, the tender and charming conversation of a person by whom she was affectionately beloved, occasionally diverted her mind, and in a slight degree relieved her suffering.”  She underwent a serious operation, performed with extraordinary promptitude and the most complete success.  No unfavourable symptoms appeared; Madame Campan was thought to be restored to her friends; but the disorder was in the blood; it took another course:  the chest became affected.  “From that moment,” says M. Maigne, “I could never look on Madame Campan as living; she herself felt that she belonged no more to this world.”

“My friend,” she said to her physician the day before her death, “I am attached to the simplicity of religion.  I hate all that savours of fanaticism.”  When her codicil was presented for her signature, her hand trembled; “It would be a pity,” she said, “to stop when so fairly on the road.”

Madame Campan died on the 16th of March, 1822.  The cheerfulness she displayed throughout her malady had nothing affected in it.  Her character was naturally powerful and elevated.  At the approach of death she evinced the soul of a sage, without abandoning for an instant her feminine character.



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Marie Antoinette — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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