Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Childhood of Louis XVI

An interesting account from Splatter.
Such a programme seems to plan long years of study;  but a brutal change will interrupt the course of this teaching.  The 8 September 1760, doctors and surgeons penetrate the child’s chamber.  They examine him attentively and declare to his mother that he is in good health.  Louis-Auguste quickly understands the significance of this impromptu visit:  he is going to have to leave his governesses to “pass to the men”.  He is only six years old....
The upset caused to such a young child by this rupture can be imagined.  However, the Duke of Berry consoles himself rapidly.  He is going to join his elder brother, who had been entrusted to Mr de La Vauguyon in June 1758.  And this perspective, in spite of the rivalry which opposes the two princes, delights him.
The Duke of Burgundy is just as happy to see his little brother whom he has seen so little over the last two years.  He will again be able to exercise his authority over his younger brother and perfect his education.  It is even said that one day he calls him to make him listen – in the presence of their governors – to the list of his own qualities and faults, scrupulously written down in a book.  This exercise was supposed to be an example to him… as well as a counter-example.  “This will do you good”, proclaims solemnly the Duke of Burgundy, aged nine.  The Duke of Berry accepts without a blink these authoritive methods and rarely rebels against his brother to whom he devotes a faultless respect.


CR Wall said...

He always had such a sweet disposition, tenderhearted and kind. He was inherently incapable of hurting anyone. His kindness was taken by the revolutionaries for slowness of wit, even cowardice. The opposite was true.

That poor Godly king, how he suffered through his life.

May said...

His childhood sounds pretty traumatic, to say the least. But I must say I have read some of his youthful (and later) writings and he struck me as being much brighter and more determined than he is usually portrayed. Certainly he seemed very idealistic.

lara77 said...

The young Louis XVI always struck me as having so many good qualities to be a good king. He was kind, sensitive, curious, intrigued by science and technology,deeply loved his faith and his solemn vow before God and nation to be a good king. He appreciated the fine arts(Sevres porcelain and beautiful furniture.) He also loved his nation and people and their history. One can see in his library at Versailles the statues of great Frenchmen of the past. He abhorred war and the spilling of blood and certainly loved his Queen and would never think of having a mistress. In retrospect he seemed the far better man when one compares him to either Louis XIV or Louis XV.