The Chapel At Versailles.
Marie Antoinette's Bed.
"Madame," he said; "his Majesty is going to Paris. What will you do?"
"Go with the King," she instantly replied. "Come, then, first with me," said Lafayette, pointing to the window.
"What! to the balcony?" she cried.
She had heard the threats and curses of the mob, and for a moment she recoiled; but only for a moment. Then the daughter of Maria Theresa recovered herself.
"Well," she answered; "even if it be to torture and to death, I will go." A moment later, holding her little son and daughter by the hand, she stepped out on the balcony.
Tranquil enough it now appears, but what a scene must all this have presented that October morning, a little more than a hundred years ago! As Marie Antoinette appeared here with her children, an involuntary murmur of admiration at her courage ran through the assembled multitude. Calmly she looked upon that sea of angry, agitated faces. It was the first time she had ever witnessed such a sight, but it was not to be the last. Presently the cry arose: "Pas d' enfants!" [No children!] Marie Antoinette therefore pushed them back and advanced alone to the balustrade. Folding her arms upon her breast, she stood there like a true daughter of the Caesars. Several guns were pointed at her, but no shot was fired. Her hour had not yet come. At this moment Lafayette, then the idol of the nation, appeared beside her. He did not speak, for his voice could not have been heard. He did something better. He took the hand of Marie Antoinette and raised it reverently to his lips. The time was coming when an act like that would cost a man his head; but not yet. Lafayette, as it were, guaranteed thus the good will of the Queen; and instantly the fickle multitude gave a tumultuous shout of "Vive la Reine!" For the time being Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were saved.
Apartment Of Marie Antoinette, Versailles.
These memories of the courtyard of Versailles are only typical of those which every part of this old palace brings before the thoughtful tourist. In fact, the entire building is now a national museum, designed to teach the history of France and to perpetuate its glories. King Louis Philippe deserves the everlasting gratitude of his countrymen for having thoroughly restored Versailles and given it to the nation as a school of history. Its splendid rooms and corridors have thus not only been restored to their original beauty of decoration, but have been filled also with an immense number of paintings, statues, and historic mementos, illustrative of all the men and great events that have reflected honor on the name of France. Three million dollars is said to have been thus expended; and the result is without parallel in Europe. As a royal residence, Versailles was associated only with Louis XIV and his two successors, but as a national museum it illustrates the history of France from earliest times, and commemorates with painted canvas, sculptured marble, and enduring bronze all her great sovereigns, poets, warriors, and statesmen, from Charlemagne to Napoleon, from Rabelais to Voltaire, and from Catharine de' Medici to the Empress Eugenie.
The Gallery Of Battles, Versailles.
The Hall Of The Tennis-Court, Versailles.
Here one may see the famous tennis-court where, in 1789, the delegates of the people, excluded from the Representative Assembly, met, and took the following oath: "We solemnly swear never to separate, but to assemble wherever circumstances shall require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established on a solid basis."