Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Death of Marie-Antoinette

Here also on the 16th of October, 1793 fell a once beauteous head- now whitened by sorrow not by age- and venerable for the angelic purity and patience, the royal courage and Christian submission with which it had exchanged the most brilliant crown of the world for a crown of thorns, and that again for the crown of martyrdom. Here died the QUEEN- one of the noblest and the purest, and yet, if human judgments be alone weighed, the most unfortunate of women- tried in almost every possible agony of affliction- except a guilty conscience- and in that exception finding the consolation for all. She arrived at this scene of her last and greatest triumph, jolted in a common cart, and ascended the scaffold amidst the vociferations of a crowd of furies, whom we hesitate to acknowledge as of her own sex. Never in that gorgeous palace, on which she now cast a last calm look, did she appear more glorious- never was she so really admirable as she was at that supreme moment of her earthly release. ~from History of the guillotine. Revised from the 'Quarterly review.' By John Wilson Croker
On reaching the scaffold she inadvertently trod on the executioner's foot. "Pardon me," she said, courteously. She knelt for an instant and uttered a half-audible prayer; then rising and glancing towards the towers of the Temple, "Adieu, once again, my children," she said. "I go to rejoin your father."--LAMARTINE (Quoted in Madame Campan's Memoirs)
I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long.~ Marie-Antoinette
Last letter of Marie-Antoinette.
Her Forgiveness.
Madame Campan's account.
Transcript of her Trial. (Via Versailles and More)
The Mother.
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15 comments:

Alexandra said...

I'm loving your book! I find myself identifying with Marie Antoinette so much that I don't want to get to the chapter where she is executed. It's all so sad, such a waste of beautiful lives. The only comfort is that she had her faith, and that she is now at peace with her family and friends. Your treatment of this issue makes it easier to get through the book without feeling depressed.

The background information about her life and family, and political goings-on is fabulous. I've learned so much more about this period in French history.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you so much, Alexandra. I am delighted that you are finding the book worthwhile. It was extremely hard for me to write about the queen's troubles in prison, especially about what they did to her little boy. But I wrote those scenes during Holy Week and Paschaltide, which gave it all a frame of reference other than sheer misery.

Barbara Martin said...

This period of history has fascinated me for years. Your posts contain intriguing bits of history are like wine quenching a dry throat.

As you have many posts I will be returning to read more. Also, I am linking your blog into my historical section on the sidebar to make it easier for me and my readers to venture into your view of 18th century France.

elena maria vidal said...

Welcome, Barbara. Thank you for the link, and for introducing me to your own very interesting blog!

SF said...

Elena, do you know if there are any English translations of MA's trial?
Susan

elena maria vidal said...

So sorry, not online, SF, that I have ever been able to find. The portions of the trial that I put into my book were taken largely from Andre Castelot's "Queen of France," which has a large parts of the trial quoted in it with a fairly comprehensive overview.

Alexandra said...

"But I wrote those scenes during Holy Week and Paschaltide..."

I was wondering how you did that. When my son gets older, I'll have him read this as a part of his homeschool. There is enough of the other version of her life; it's nice to have the rest of the story.

Matterhorn said...

It always strikes me that they treated the Queen even worse than the King. Why? It seems paradoxical, M-A was not the one who was the ruler. Of course, I can see why, when the royal couple were still reigning, the wife might be a safer target of attacks than the monarch himself, but even later, when one compares their trials/imprisonments/executions, it seems she was treated with even more cruelty and insult than her husband had been (although the King's treatment was bad enough). Strange.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, they treated her worse because they saw her as a foreigner and because of all the propaganda about her; she was hated.

Cristian SÎRB said...

I am sorry you won't be able to understand my blog, but I'm sure my friends and visitors will love yours.

Many of us are royalistes. La Revolution Francaise was a disgrace for Human History.

elena maria vidal said...

And the beginning of the end of western civilization.....

Anna Amber said...

Such an awful event. It must have been especially troubling to know that her children and Elisabeth were left behind - if the revolution would kill a queen who was no threat, what would they do to "Louis XVII" and the others left in the tower?

I think that Culture&Stuff made an interesting point regarding the queen's treatment versus the king's in their articles about her trial this year... at this point in the Revolution, it was important to treat her "like any other" person at the time. Which meant an open cart, hands-bound, and a trial that was basically for show. No doubt that the years of malice towards her helped them decide on how to treat her, as well.

lara77 said...

Cristian's comments are so true; the French Revolution was a disgrace no matter what the history books may say about the ever bloody unfolding events.Reform was overdue in France yet the manner it was achieved took every bloody and savage route possible. The French People have paid an immense price for that barbarous revolt. I cannot hear their bloody national anthem or see that ugly tricolor flag without revulsion.

Gio said...

I agree with everything that's been said. The French Revolution was a disgrace indeed and Marie Antoinette's death so tragic. She was treated with so much cruelty.. But she faced it all with dignity..

Marie Antoinette Voges said...

I had the pleasure and honour to visit Paris and pay tribute to this amazing Queen Marie Antoinette! Being a namesake, I salute her! Marie Antoinette Voges, RSA