In admiring his mother, Queen Marie Antoinette, the Dauphin learns about superlatives

November 18, 2010

Queen Marie Antoinette of France with her children Princess Marie Therese Charlotte of France and Dauphin Louis Joseph of France

Father d’Avaux was the Dauphin’s tutor and classes had been interrupted during the Royal Family’s attempted flight to Varennes. Upon their resumption after such turmoil, the instructor said:

“In our last lesson we had studied the degrees of adjectives, but I suppose Your Highness remembers them no longer. Am I correct?”

“Oh no. I remember them very well. Do you want to see? When I say that Father d’Avaux is a good priest, I use the positive degree. When I say that he is better than another priest, I use the comparative.” Then, looking sideways to Queen Marie Antoinette who was in the room, the prince added:

“And when I say that my mother is the best and most affectionate of all mothers, I use the superlative.”


Fernando Palazzi, Enciclopedia degli Aneddoti (Milan: Ceschina, 1935), col. 4086.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 26


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