Monday, May 17, 2010

Death of Abbé Edgeworth de Firmont

On May 22, 1807, Abbé Henry Edgeworth, the last confessor of Louis XVI, died in what is now Latvia with the exiled Bourbon court. The daughter of Louis XVI, Marie Thérèse Charlotte of France, was at his side as he drew his last breath. The scene is described in the novel Trianon.
The town of Mitau was bright with snow in the sunshine of a May morning, and cold winds whipped around the little palace which His Imperial Majesty the Tsar of All the Russias had generously loaned to the impoverished, exiled Bourbons. In a small, sparsely furnished room of the palace, an aged priest lay dying. In a chair beside his bed sat a young woman, not quite thirty, in a maroon, high-waisted wool dress, with a white linen apron. Under a close fitting white cap, her amber-colored hair, in a grecian knot, framed a strong, solemn face with piercing blue-gray eyes. Dipping a cloth into a basin of water, she sponged the forehead of the sick man, whose chest shuddered and heaved. At first glance, no one would guess that she was Madame Royale, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, their Mousseline la sérieuse, now the Duchesse d’Angoulême. With closer examination, no one with her dignified, albeit rather stiff bearing could be anything but a princess. She radiated a cold majesty to those who did not know her, but in her eyes burned the fires of deep emotions; her frigid manner was from sadness, not apathy or scorn. ~from Trianon: A Novel of Royal France by Elena Maria Vidal

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Julygirl said...

Touoching and beautiful description of the scene. She exercised true nobility which always included charity.

May said...

Beautiful portraits. MTC was such a loyal soul!

Leah Marie Brown said...

Very moving, indeed.

I just posted a blog about the latest biography on Vigee Le Brun (By Gita May). Have you read it yet? If so, would like to know your thoughts.

Hope you're well!

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Matterhorn, she was indeed.

Hi, Leah! No, I haven't read it; I look forward to reading your post!

lara77 said...

What a miracle that the abbe was able to die a peaceful death with Her Royal Highness by his side. After the murder of King Louis XVI I was surprised the revolutionary junta did not try to arrest the abbe and murder him as well! I feel in my heart God protected him for the kindness and devotion shown to King Louis XVI.