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Title: The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France
Author: Charles Duke Yonge
Release Date: January 1, 2004 [EBook #10555]
[Date last updated: October 8, 2005]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MARIE ANTOINETTE ***
[Illustration: Marie Antoinette]
THE LIFE OF MARIE ANTOINETTE, QUEEN OF FRANCE.
BY CHARLES DUKE YONGE
The principal authorities for the following work are the four volumes of
Correspondence published by M. Arneth, and the six volumes published by M.
Feuillet de Conches. M. Arneth's two collections contain not only a
number of letters which passed between the queen, her mother the Empress-
queen (Maria Teresa), and her brothers Joseph and Leopold, who
successively became emperors after the death of their father; but also a
regular series of letters from the imperial embassador at Paris, the Count
Mercy d'Argenteau, which may almost be said to form a complete history of
the court of France, especially in all the transactions in which Marie
Antoinette, whether as dauphiness or queen, was concerned, till the death
of Maria Teresa, at Christmas, 1780. The correspondence with her two
The collection published by M. Feuillet de Conches has been vehemently
attacked, as containing a series of clever forgeries rather than of
genuine letters. And there does seem reason to believe that in a few
instances, chiefly in the earlier portion of the correspondence, the
critical acuteness of the editor was imposed upon, and that some of the
letters inserted were not written by the persons alleged to be the
authors. But of the majority of the letters there seems no solid ground
for questioning the authenticity. Indeed, in the later and more important
portion of the correspondence, that which belongs to the period after the
death of the Empress-queen, the genuineness of the Queen's letters is
continually supported by the collection of M. Arneth, who has himself
published many of them, having found them in the archives at Vienna, where
M.F. de Conches had previously copied them, and who refers to others,
the publication of which did not come within his own plan. M. Feuillet de
Conches' work also contains narratives of some of the most important
transactions after the commencement of the Revolution, which are of great
value, as having been compiled from authentic sources.
Besides these collections, the author has consulted the lives of Marie
Antoinette by Montjoye, Lafont d'Aussonne, Chambrier, and the MM.
Goncourt; "La Vraie Marie Antoinette" of M. Lescure; the Memoirs of Mme.
Campan, Cl ry, Hue, the Duchesse d'Angoul me, Bertrand de Moleville
"Souvenirs de Quarante Ans," by Mlle. de Tourzel; the "Diary" of M. de
Viel Castel; the correspondence of Mme. du Deffand; the account of the
affair of the necklace by M. de Campardon; the very valuable
correspondence between the Count de la Marck and Mirabeau, which also
contains a narrative by the Count de la Marck of many very important
incidents; Dumont's "Souvenirs sur Mirabeau;" "Beaumarchais et son Temps,"
by M. de Lom nie; "Gustavus III. et la Cour de Paris," by M. Geoffroy;
the first seven volumes of the Histoire de la Terreur, by M. Mortimer
Ternaux; Dr. Moore's journal of his visit to France, and view of the
French Revolution; and a great number of other works in which there is
cursory mention of different incidents, especially in the earlier part of
the Revolution; such as the journals of Arthur Young, Madame de Sta l's
elaborate treatise on the Revolution; several articles in the last series of the "Causeries de Lundi," by Sainte-Beuve, and others in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, etc., etc., and to those may of course be added the regular histories of Lacretelle, Sismondi, Martin, and Lamartine's "History of the Girondins."
Importance of Marie Antoinette in the Revolution.--Value of her
Correspondence as a Means of estimating her Character.--Her Birth,
November 2d, 1755.--Epigram of Metastasio.--Habits of the Imperial
Family.--Sch nbrunn.--Death of the Emperor.--Projects for the Marriage of
Proposal for the Marriage of Marie Antoinette to the Dauphin.--Early
Feelings in Germany and France on the Subject of the Marriage.--Letter of
Maria Teresa to the Dauphin.--Characters of the Different Members of the
Royal Family.--Difficulties which beset Marie Antoinette.--Maria Teresa's
Letter of Advice.--The Comte de Mercy is sent as Embassador to France
to act as the Adviser of the Dauphiness.--The Princesse de Lorraine at
the State Ball.--A Great Disaster takes place at the Fire-works in Paris.
--The Peasant at Fontainebleau.--Marie Antoinette pleases the King.--
Description of her Personal Appearance.--Mercy's Report of the Impression
she made on her First Arrival.
Marie Antoinette gives her Mother her First Impressions of the Court and
of her own Position and Prospects.--Court Life at Versailles.--Marie
Antoinette shows her Dislike of Etiquette.--Character of the Duc
d'Aiguillon.--Cabals against the Dauphiness.--Jealousy of Mme. du Barri.--
The Aunts, too, are Jealous of Her.--She becomes more and more Popular.--
Parties for Donkey-riding.--Scantiness of the Dauphiness's Income.--Her
Influence over the King.--The Duc de Choiseul is dismissed.--She begins
to have Great Influence over the Dauphin.
Mercy's Correspondence with the Empress.--Distress and Discontent pervade
France.--Goldsmith predicts a Revolution.--Apathy of the King.--The
Aunts mislead Marie Antoinette.--Maria Teresa hears that the Dauphiness
neglects her German Visitors.--Marriage of the Count de Provence.--Growing
Preference of Louis XV. for the Dauphiness.--The Dauphiness applies
herself to Study.--Marie Antoinette becomes a Horsewoman.--Her Kindness
to all beneath her.--Cabals of the Adherents of the Mistress.--The
Royal Family become united.--Concerts in the Apartments of the Dauphiness.
Marie Antoinette wishes to see Paris.--Intrigues of Madame Adelaide.--
Characters of the Dauphin and the Count de Provence.--Grand Review at
Fontainebleau.--Marie Antoinette in the Hunting Field.--Letter from her to
the Empress. Mischievous Influence of the Dauphin's Aunts on her
Character.--Letter of Marie Antoinette to the Empress.--Her Affection for
her Old Home.--The Princes are recalled from Exile.--Lord Stormont.--Great
Fire at the H tel-Dieu.--Liberality of Charity of Marie Antoinette.--She
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