Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Education of Louis XVI

The Queen talked incessantly of the qualities which she admired in Louis XVI, and gladly attributed to herself the slightest favorable change in his manner; perhaps she displayed too unreservedly the joy she felt, and the share she appropriated in the improvement. One day Louis XVI saluted her ladies with more kindness than usual, and the Queen laughingly said to them, “Now confess, ladies, that for one so badly taught as a child, the King has saluted you with very good grace!”

....The features of Louis XVI were noble enough, though somewhat melancholy in expression; his walk was heavy and unmajestic; his person greatly neglected; his hair, whatever might be the skill of his hairdresser, was soon in disorder. His voice, without being harsh, was not agreeable; if he grew animated in speaking he often got above his natural pitch, and became shrill. The Abbe de Radonvilliers, his preceptor, one of the Forty of the French Academy, a learned and amiable man, had given him and Monsieur a taste for study. The King had continued to instruct himself; he knew the English language perfectly; I have often heard him translate some of the most difficult passages in Milton’s poems. He was a skillful geographer, and was fond of drawing and coloring maps; he was well versed in history, but had not perhaps sufficiently studied the spirit of it. He appreciated dramatic beauties, and judged them accurately. At Choisy, one day, several ladies expressed their dissatisfaction because the French actors were going to perform one of Moliere’s pieces. The King inquired why they disapproved of the choice. One of them answered that everybody must admit that Moliere had very bad taste; the King replied that many things might be found in Moliere contrary to fashion, but that it appeared to him difficult to point out any in bad taste?

....Austere and rigid with regard to himself alone, the King observed the laws of the Church with scrupulous exactness. He fasted and abstained throughout the whole of Lent. He thought it right that the queen should not observe these customs with the same strictness. Though sincerely pious, the spirit of the age had disposed his mind to toleration. Turgot, Malesherbes, and Necker judged that this Prince, modest and simple in his habits, would willingly sacrifice the royal prerogative to the solid greatness of his people.
~ from Madame Campan's Memoirs Share


Reference Services said...

Your blog is outstanding!

Here is the url of the blog from the Archives of the Sandusky Library, if you would like to take a look:

Michelle Therese said...

I always love reading about Catholic royalty and nobility! I honestly grew up thinking that rich or noble Catholics were a bunch of lazy wishy-washy folk and through your blog and your books I've come to see that so many of the "great and powerful" Catholics of the world were true and serious Catholics! It's an inspiration!

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Michelle dear. Glad to hear it. I hope you are well.

Alexandra said...

I just ordered your Trianon book. I can't wait to get it. It's back ordered from Amazon. Hopefully it will come soon.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Alexandra. Enjoy!

lara77 said...

Thank You Elena Maria for dispelling the lies taught in schools over the years that Louis XVI was an idiot and fool. His Majesty was fluent in English and always read the leading English newspapers.He loved the sciences, especially geography and cartography. Also, we cannot forget his love of the arts, especially the creations of the Sevres Factory. What a decent, Christian, educated and loving father to his people. How sad for France they never appreciated this good King.May he rest in peace.