Sunday, March 18, 2012

Madame Auguié

Adélaïde Genet, Madame Auguié (1758-1794) was one of the last maids of Marie-Antoinette, a sister of Madame Campan. She tried to save Marie-Antoinette's life but later took her own. (From Madame Guillotine via Vive la Reine.)
Madame Vigée-Lebrun, who knew both Madame Auguié and her sister, Madame Campan very well described Adélaïde thus: ‘I have known few women as beautiful and as agreeable as Madame Auguié. She was tall with an attractive figure; her face, with its complexion of peaches and cream, was fresh, and her pretty eyes shone with gentleness and kindness.’

Marie Antoinette was very fond of Adélaïde Auguié and referred to her by the nickname ‘my lioness’, in tribute to her unusual height and proud bearing. The Queen’s fondness for her femme de chambre was fully repayed on the night of 5th October 1789 when Adélaïde was one of the two ladies who kept vigil outside the Queen’s bedchamber and raised the alarm when the mob broke into the palace. It was Adélaïde Auguié who ran to the guardroom to see the blood covered guardsmen there then ran back to her mistress’ bedchamber to wake her up with the cry ‘Madame, you must get up at once!’ before helping the bewildered Queen from her bed and escaping with her down the corridor that led to the King’s apartments. In gratitude for her services on that night, Marie Antoinette bestowed on Madame Auguié one of the splendid and immense nécessaire cases that were made for the escape to Varennes.

Along with Madame Campan, Adélaïde remained with the royal family until the very end, leaving only in  August 1792 when they left the Tuileries and were taken to the Temple. Faithful, loyal Madame Auguié’s final act for her mistress was to slip her 25 Louis, knowing that money would now be in short supply for the beleagured, unfortunate Queen.

Sadly, Madame Auguié was so distressed and overset by the execution of her former mistress, Marie Antoinette and so terrified by the prospect of her own inevitable arrest that she committed suicide by self defenestration on the 26th July 1794, leaving two young daughters: Aglaé (1782-1854) who would marry the celebrated Marshal Ney on the 5th August 1802 and Adèle, later Madame de Broc, who was to be best friends with Hortense de Beauharnais. (Read entire post.)

More HERE.

Madame Auguié working in Marie-Antoinette's dairy at Trianon



The North Coast said...

Very tragic story. It's a tragedy that she did not give more thought to her own two young daughters- did she, perhaps, have them taken to safety first? Even so, the effect of a mother's suicide on her children is horrific.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, it is very sad. One of the daughters, Adele, later died in a horrible accident. Aglae, Madame Ney was left alone but then her husband was shot. Mercifully, she had her children to keep her going.

Jack B. said...

It's ironic in that one of the main reasons Ney turned coat on the Bourbons during the Hundred Days (proclaiing the Bourbons were done and should leave) and his promise to return Bonaparte in an "iron cage" was because Aglae - like many of those noble ladies whose status/titles were derived from the Bonaparte regime - was badly treated and dismissed by the Bourbons and yet her mother gave her life in misery at MA's death.

When trying to appeal to Louis XVIII (and Madame Royale if I remember)for Ney's life she promised that she had been bringing up her sons (who were named after Napoleon if I remember right) to honor their (Bourbon) king. I wonder if she really did.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Jack, if I recall correctly, the Duchess of Angouleme gave great offense when she addressed Madame Ney by her first name. What the daughter of Marie-Antoinette meant as a friendly familiarity was taken as a reminder of Madame Ney's former humble status as a daughter of the Queen's femme de chambre. Madame Ney had been ennobled by Napoleon and resented not being addressed by her new noble title. Also, Marshal Ney himself had sworn an oath of loyalty to Louis XVIII. No one forced him to do so. He broke the oath quite readily as soon as Louis' star appeared to be sinking. Sad.