Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

father's door on the 20th of June, 1792, and This horrible scene is succeeded by thought to assassinate him.

many other minor affronts and petty This man was always at the tower, and outrages, all tending to aggravate the sought to torment my father in every con- sufferings of the unfortunate prisoners. ceivable fashion : now he would sing the

Sometimes, however, among the guards * Carmagnole,” and a thousand other hor

there happen to be men who betray rors ; now he would send a puff of tobacco smoke at him as he passed, well knowing feelings of genuine pity and attachthat my father did not like the odor of the ment for the captives under their pipe.

charge, and to each of these compasHe was always in bed when we went to sionate individuals the princess devotes take supper, because we had to pass through a few words of grateful recognition. his room ; sometimes even he was in his Once it is a sentinel who had a long bed when we went to dinner.

conversation through the keyhole with There are no sorts of torments and in- Madame Elisabeth, and who did nothsults which he did not invent. My father ing but weep during the whole time bore everything with meekness, forgiving that his service retained him at the this man with all his heart.

Temple. “I know not what has become The passages relating to the Prin- of him," writes Madame Royale ; “ may cesse de Lamballe's death, and the heaven reward him for his profound inhuman manner in which the royal attachment to his king !” family were informed of the event, are Most beautiful and edifying it is to full of interest, affording a vivid insight see how, though condemned to a life of into those mental tortures which assur- discomfort and restraint, and harrowed edly were harder to endure than even by suspense as to their ultimate fate, the personal restraint and physical dis- the king and queen yet continue to comfort to which they were subjected. direct their children's education with On the morning of the 30 of Septem- methodical precision ; and there are ber the king had been positively as- constant allusions made to the daily sured of the wellbeing of Madame de tasks and exercises which have to be Lamballe, as of those other persons written or recited, as exactly as had who had been removed to La Force; ever been the case in their life at the but at three o'clock of that same Tuilleries, although these studies were afternoon they heard horrible cries pro- carried out in face of considerable difceeding from the rabble outside, ac- licuities, for the journal tells us that companying the head of the murdered / whenever Madame Royale copied out princess, which was carried in triumph extracts, or male arithmetical tasks, at the end of a long pole. On inquir- there had always to be a municipal who ing the cause of the tumult, the king looked over her shoulder in order to was coolly informed that it was Ma- make sure that she was not engaged in alame de Lamballe's head, which the some treasonable correspondence. people desired to show him. A strug. It is probably also on account of gle ensued, in which the populace en- some such suspicion that pens, paper, deavored to force the prison doors, ink, and pencils are subsequently orwhile some of the guards, with a last dered to be given up by the royal prisremnant of humanity, were desirous of oners: - a command which is, however, shielding the unfortunate princes from obeyed by the king and queen only ; the horror of a spectacle which even while Madame Elisabeth and her niece, upset the nerves of indifferent specta- with admirable feminine duplicity, contors. Finally, the guards had to give trive to conceal their writing implein, and permitted a deputation of six of ments from the Argus-eyed searchers. the assassins to carry Madame de Lam- Newspapers reach the Temple prison balle's head through the rooms of the but rarely, and then only when a numtower, stipulating only that the torso, ' ber containing some specially dastardly which they bad likewise desired to drag attack on the monarch is carefully conwith them, should be left at the door." veyed to his notice,

case.

Madame Royale's own account of orders to keep him in view. My father their daily life may here be given in asked them if his fate were yet decidei, full :

but was assured that such was not the This is how my august parents spent

On the following morning M. de Valtheir days.

sherbes came to inform my father that the My father rose at 7 o'clock, prayed God till eight, then dressed himself with my added, "the rascals are not yet the mas

sentence was pronounced. “But, sire," he brother till 9 o'clock, when they went up ters, and all honest people will come to stairs to my mother to breakfast.

save your majesty or perish at your feet."' After breakfast my father came down with my brother, to whom he gave lessons father, ** that would compromise many per

No, M. de Malsherbes," returned my till 11 o'clock; then my brother played till

sons, — would unchain a civil war in Paris. noon, when we went to walk all together, I prefer to die, and I beg you to order them whatever might be the weather, because from me to make no movement for my the guard which was relieved at that liour,

rescue." wished to see my father, and be assured of his presence in the Temple.

The detailed account of the king's The walk lasted till two o'clock, when last twenty-four hours only tends to we dined : after dinner my father and my contirm what has so often been said of mother played together at trictrac or at the admirable fortitude and Christian piquet. At 4 o'clock my mother returned to her resignation with which Louis XVI. met

his awful and unjustifiable fate. room with my brother, because my father then used to sleep.

IIe dined as usual on the day precedAt 6 o'clock my brother came down ; my ing his execution, much to the surprise father made him learn and play till supper- of his gaolers, who had expected to see time.

him attempt his life from terror or deAt 9 o'clock after supper my mother spair ; he gives good religious counsels promptly undressed my brother and put to the son whom he is embracing for him to bed. After this we went up, and the last time, recommending liim to my father did not go to bed till eleven nourish no thoughts of revenge towards o'clock.

the assassins ; and finally, on leaving My mother led nearly the same life: she the prison to go to the scaffold, he humworked very much at tapestry.1

bly asks parıon of an insolent turnkey They gave us back the newspapers

in order that we should see the departure of whom he had had cccasion to reprimand the strangers, and the horrors against my

on the previous day. father with which they were filled.

Marie Antoinette, along with her We shall now skip some intervening children, had desired to pass the last pages of the journal relating to the night with the king ; but this he reking's trial, to take it up again shortly

fused, having, as he said, need of rest; before his execution.

and le secretly gave orders that they

are not to be admitted again next mornOn the 26th of December, St. Stephen's ing, in order to spare himself and them Day, my father made his will because he

the agony of a final leave-taking. expected to be assassinated on the following day, in going to the Convention. On the

The morning of this terrible day, after 26th my father went still to the bar with having slumbered through the night with a his usual courage. IIe left M. Desèze to painful sleep, we got up. read his defence : he went away at eleven At 6 o'clock our door was opened, and o'clock and returnell at 3 o'clock. My they came to fetch Mme. Tison's prayerfather saw his counsellors every day. book for my father's mass. We thought

At last, on the 18th of January, the day that we were going to go down, and we on which the sentence was pronounced, continued to have this hope till the joyful the municipals entered my father's room at cries of a demented populace came to aneleven o'clock, and told him that they had nounce to us that the crime was accom

1 Marie Antoinette wa's most industrious with plished. the needle: a set of chairs worked by her are still

In the afternoon my mother asked to see Clery, who had been with my father in his last moments, and who might, perhaps, | down by fever, and when the agonized have been charged with messages for my mother at last succeeds in obtaining mother, — which was true, for my father medical assistance for the suffering liad charged Clery to restore to my mother child, she is haunted by the yet greater his wedding-ring, saying that he only parted terror lest the medicines prescribed from it with his life.

to be seen at Castle Frolisdorf,

should contain poison. Scarcely has IIe had also given him, for my mother, a packet of her hair, saying that it had the dauphin recovered from this first

illness than a decree of the Convention always been dear to him.

The municipals said that Clery was in a ordains that he is to be separated from dreadful state, and could not come.

his family, and delivered over to the My mother charged the commissaries charge of the shoemaker Simon. This with her demand for the council general, as cruel order is broken to the queen on well as to be allowed to wear mourning. the 3d of July at ten o'clock at night,

Clery was refused, — my mother could after the child is already undressed and not see him ; she was permitted to wear in bed. On learning what is required mourning.

of him, he utters fearful cries, and Clery passed another month in the Tem-throws himself into his mother's arms, ple, after which he was put at liberty

We received a little more freedom, the demanding not to be separated from guards believing that we were going to be her ; but despite his tears, and the ensent away. We could see the persons who ergy with which Marie Antoinette atbrought our mourning garments, but in tempts to defend her son from the presence of the municipals.

persecutors, she is forced to give in, The grief that I had increased the pain and herself assists him with his clothes in my foot : my doctor Brunier (Brunyer) in order that he may accompany his was sent for and the surgeon Lacaze ; they new gaolers — bitterly weeping as she cured me in a month.

does so, as though she had foreseen My mother would not go down to the that she was never to see her son again. garden to take the air, because she required to pass before my father's door, and that My mother thought herself at the height grieved her too much ; but, fearing lest the of misfortune at this separation from her want of air should do harm to my brother, son. She believed him, however, to be in she asked to go up on the tower at the end the hands of an honest and educated man : of February, which was granted.

her despair increased when she learnt that In the municipals' chamber it was no- Simon the shoemaker, whom she had known ticed that the sealed packet, containing my municipal, had been charged with the perfather's signet, his ring, and several other son of her unfortunate child. things, had been opened ; the seal was My mother asked several times to be able broken and the signet carried off. The to see him without being able to obtain it : municipals were disturbed, but they ended my brother on his side cried for two whole by believing that it was a thief who had days, unable to console himself, and asking taken this seal, which was set in gold. to see us. The person who had taken it was well intentioned, - it was not a robber. The man We often ascended the tower. My who took it did so for the best, but he is brother went up there every day, and my dead.

mother's only pleasure was through a little

window to see him pass from a distance : Soon the prison life began to tell she remained there for hours in order to upon the little dauphin, and his sister watch the moment of catching sight of this pathetically informs us that he suffers beloved child. from a chronic stitch in the side which prevents him from laughing. Poor

Simon ill-treated my brother severely, little boy ! the wonder is rather that because he wept at being separated from he should still be able to extract any

us ; the child, frightened, did not dare to cause for merriment out of his dismal weep any more. surroundings. However, his laugh- With what would seem to be a refineing days, such as they are, will not ment of cruelty, the royal family are last much longer. He is first stricken often disturbed at night from their slumbers in order to be searched or taken away the boy's mourning clothes, otherwise molested. Madame Royale and forced him to wear a red cap, as gives the account of one of these well as to utter horrible curses against searches, which, resulting only in the God, the aristocracy, and his own famconfiscation of a stick of sealing-wax, a ily. Marie Antoinette is luckily spared manuscript prayer for France, and an this last anguish, for, having left the old hat which had belonged to the de- Temple, she is ighorant of her son's ceased king, lasted from 10.30 P.M. to further fate. The change of life and four o'clock A.M.

the bad treatment caused the prince to It is likewise in the night that, on fall ill again at the end of August. Sithe 2d of August, at two o'clock A.M., mon having forced him to eat and drink they are roused in order to be informed excessively without taking proportionof the decree ordained that the queen ate exercise, the child had fattened is to be removed to the conciergerie, extremely without growing in height; there to be tried. Marie Antoinette is attacked by fever, the remedies adminforced to rise from bed, and there, in istered but serve to derange his health presence of the gendarmes who have yet further. come to fetch her, to dress at once. Madame Elisabeth and her niece are Her clothes are made up into a bundle, now treated with redoubled severity which, however, is taken from her to and want of respect. “On nous tutoya be opened at the tribunal, and she is beaucoup pendant l'hiver,” says Maonly suffered to retain a pocket-hand- dame Royale, with naif pathos. Their kerchief and a smelling-bottle, for fear tapestry work is taken away from them of being attacked by faintness. Ar- because the pattern they are tracing is rived at the conciergerie, she is put into believed to have some cabalistic and the dampest and most unwholesome hidden signification ; they are, moreroom in the prison, and is moreover over, compelled to make their own forced to endure the presence of a gen- beds and do out their own rooms, all darme, who has orders never to leave menial assistance having been now deher night or day.

nied to them. But harder yet by far

than these physical discomforts and My aunt and I inconsolable, we spent the night in tears. They had assured my aunt petty annoyances is the state of doubt when my mother (left] that she might be in which they are left as to the queen's easy, and that nothing would ever happen fate. Let her daughter here speak for to her. It was a great consolation to me

herself. not to be separated from my aunt whom I

We could receive no more news except loved so well ; but, alas ! everything was

by the colporteurs, and then but badly. changed, and I have lost her.

We were forbidden to ascend the tower; Some days later my mother sent to ask let ourselves down by the window; they

they took away our sheets lest we should for some of her things, and amongst others

gave us instead coarse and dirty ones. for her knitting, of which she was very

I think it was about this time that my fond, because she was making a pair of mother's trial began. I learnt since her stockings for my brother: we sent it to her, death that there had been a project of savbut subsequently learnt that they had not ing her from the conciergerie, and that given it, for fear lest she should harm her- unfortunately this charming plan had not self with the needles.

succeeded. I was assured that the genNews of the little dauphin reaches darmes who guarded her, as well as the the two women but rarely, although he wife of the concierge, were gained over, is lodged directly beneath them, and and that she had seen several persons in they can hear him daily singing the administered to her the sacraments, which

her · prison, amongst others a priest who “ Carmagnole” and other revolution- she had received with great piety. ary songs with Simon at the open win

The stroke to save herself failed, because dow, in order to be heard by the guards. whereas she had been recommended to The brutal shoemaker has likewise speak to the second guard, she had made a.

[ocr errors]

mistake, and had spoken to the first one. tunate child of eight alone, shut into his Others say that she was already outside her room under bolt and key, having no assistroom and had descended the staircase when ance, and only a wretched bell which he a gendarme opposed her departure, not- never pulled, preferring to want for everywithstanding that he had already been thing than to apply to his persecutors. gained over, and that he forced my mother He was in a bed which had not been to return to her room, which caused the made for six months, my brother not havproject to fail.

ing the strength to make it ; fleas and bugs We knew nothing of all this at the time ; covered him - his linen and his body were we only learned that my mother had seen a full of them. ... The window was never knight of St. Louis, who had given her a opened, one could not stay in the room carnation in which there was a note, but as on account of the stench. He was dirty we were locked up we could not know the and indolent by nature, for he might have sequence.

taken more care of his person,

Often they gave him no light : the unforMy aunt and I were in ignorance of my tunate boy was dying of fear, but he never mother's death, and though we had heard a asked for anything. He spent his day in colporteur cry that she was to be summa- doing nothing, and this manner of living rily judged, hope, which is so natural to the did him a great deal of harm, both morally unfortunate, led us to believe that she and physically : it was not surprising that would be saved.

his health should have subsequently beWe also could not believe in the contemp- come deranged, but the length of time that tible conduct of the emperor, who left the he was still in health testifies to his good queen, his relation, to perish on the scaf- constitution. fold, without taking any steps to save her.

Soon the unfortunate princess was to This is, however, what actually took place, but we could not believe in this last mark

Jose her last remaining companion ; for of indignity of the Austrian house.

on the 9th of May, just as they were

preparing to go to bed, her aunt, MaI remained in this unfortunate state of

dame Elisabeth, was fetched away to doubt a year and a half, when I learnt the

the conciergerie, there to await her misfortune and death of my virtuous and

trial. august mother.

On the morrow she was taken to the By the newsmongers we learnt the death tribune. Three questions were put to her : of the Duke of Orleans, the only piece of * Her name?" news which reached us during the winter.

Elisabeth."

“Where were you on the 10th of AuThe winter passed quietly enough. Many gust ?" visits and searches, but they gave us wood. “At the castle of the Tuilleries, near my

On the 19th of January we heard a loud brother." noise at my brother's, which made us con- “What have you done with your diajecture that he was leaving the Temple ; monds ?” and we were convinced of it when, looking “I do not know. Besides, all these questhrough a hole in our shutters, we saw a tions are useless. You have resolved my great many packets being carried away. death : I have made to God the sacrifice of

On the following day we heard his door my life, and am ready to die.” opening, and, still persuaded that he was She was condemned to death. She had gone, we thought that some German or for- herself conducted to the room of those who eign prisoner had been placed down there, were to die with her. She exhorted them and we had already dubbed him Melchise- all to death. dec, in order to give him a name ; but I In the cart she preserved the same calm, subsequently learnt that it was only Simon encouraging the women who were with who had gone away. He had been given her. the choice of being municipal or guardian The populace admired and did not insult to my brother, and had decided for the her. former charge, and they had had the Arrived at the foot of the scaffold, they cruelty to leave my unfortunate little had the cruelty to make her die the last. brother alone.

All the women coming out the cart asked Unheard of barbarity, to leave an unfor- permission to embrace her, which she at

66

« ZurückWeiter »