Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Attack on Versailles, October 1789

I do not think that Madame Royale ever recovered from this experience and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder all of her life. From Vive la Reine:

… Victorine de Chastenay observed a jubilant crowd accompanying the royal family on its journey back to Paris:
That odious multitude finally started off to Paris. Some of them carried several loaves of bread stuck on their spears or bayonets; but what was most unbelievable is that the heads of the Queen’s guards proceeded them.
Whereas later republican historians, like the great Jules Michelet, described this event as a “festival” with loaves of bread and poplar branches held high by exultant women and children, Mme de Chastenay renders the vision of a terrified bystander, whose eye saw only the blood-stained heads of the guards[.]
Blood Sisters: The French Revolution in Women’s Memory by Marilyn Yalom
Marie-Antoinette facing the mob with her children (Via Tiny-L.)

 To quote from a letter from Marie-Antoinette to her brother the Emperor Leopold (Via Tiny-Librarian):
Yes my dear brother, our situation is dreadful……I am in constant terror. After having undergone the horrors of the 5th and 6th October, anything may be expected. Assassination is at our doors. I can not show myself at a window, even with my children, without being insulted by a drunken mob, to whom I have done no harm, and amongst whom there are doubtless unfortunates whom I have myself relieved. I am prepared for any event, and I can now, unmoved, hear them calling for my head……forgive me, I entreat you, if I still refuse your advice to leave: remember that I am not my own mistress; my duty is to remain where Providence has placed me, and to oppose my own body, if need be, to the dangers of the assassins who would attack the King. I should be unworthy of our mother, who is as dear to you as to myself, if danger could induce me to fly far away from the King and from my children.

1 comment:

Aim High said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm re-reading her letters to her mother the first ten years of her time in France until the Empress' death and I always feel terribly at the ending I know she never foresaw.