Her neck never stopped aching from the vise-like grip with which his short arms had locked around her, refusing to let go, as the commissaries began to drag him from her arms. His cries of “Maman! Maman!” echoed within her still. Nothing they could do now could hurt her. Her heart was not broken, it was gone. —Trianon: A Novel of Royal France by Elena Maria VidalToday we remember with sadness the judicial murder of Marie-Antoinette of Lorraine-Austria.
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