(864) On the 16th of October, a few hours after Walpole had penned the above letter, the unfortunate Marie Antoinette was conducted, amidst a great concourse of the populace, to the fatal spot, where, ten months before, Louis the Sixteenth had perished. “Sorrow had blanched her once beautiful hair: but her features and air commanded the admiration of all who beheld her. Her cheeks, pale and emaciated, were occasionally tinged with a vivid colour at the mention of those she had lost. When led out to execution, she was dressed in white; she had cut off her hair with her own hands. Placed in a tumbrel, with her arms tied behind her, she was taken to the Place de la R`evolution. She listened with calmness to the exhortations of the ecclesiastic who accompanied her, and cast an indifferent look at the people who had so often applauded her beauty and her grace, and who now as warmly applauded her execution. On reaching the foot of the scaffold, she perceived the Tuileries, and appeared to be moved; but she hastened to ascend the fatal ladder, and gave herself up with courage to the executioner. The infamous wretch exhibited her head to the people, as he was accustomed to do when he had sacrificed an illustrious victim. The Jacobins were overjoyed. ‘Let these tidings be carried to Austria,’ said they; ’the Romans sold the ground occupied by Hannibal; we strike off the heads that are dearest to the sovereigns who have invaded our territory.’ " See Thiers, vol. iii. p. 196, and Lacretelle, tom. xi. p. 261.-E.
(865) The wife of Colonel Stanhope, brother of the Earl of Harrington.
I often lay the egg of my journals two or three days before they are hatched. This may make some of my articles a little stale before you get them; but then you know they are the more authentic, if the Echo has not told me to unsay them-and, if a Prince of Wales drops a thumping victory at my door as he goes by, you have it hot out of the oven—though, as happened lately, not half baked.(866)
The three last newspapers are much more favourable, than you seemed to expect. Nieuport has been saved; Ostend is safe. The Royalists in La Vend`ee are not demolished, as the Convention of Lars asserted. Strasbourg seems likely to fall. At Toulon even the Neapolitans, on whom you certainly did not reckon, have behaved like heroes. As Admiral Gravina is so hearty, though his master makes no progress in France, I suspect that the sovereign of so many home kingdoms is a little afraid Of trusting his army beyond the borders, lest the Catalans should have something of the old—or new leaven. In the mean time, it Is still more provoking to hear of Catherine Slay-Czar sitting on her throne and playing with royal marriages, without sending a single ship or regiment to support the cause of Europe, and to punish the Men of the Mountain, who really are the assassins that the Crusaders supposed or believed existed in Asia. Oh! Marie Antoinette, what a contrast between you and Petruchia!