Marie Antoinette confronts and converts a Jacobin woman

November 22, 2010

The mob’s assault on the Tuileries palace furnished examples on how the populace was enraged only because it had allowed itself to be manipulated by revolutionary leaders, becoming convinced of the calumnies that were spread.

Marie Antoinette with her children and Madame Élisabeth, when the mob broke into the Tuileries Palace on 20 June 1792.

Sitting behind a large table and surrounded by her children and entourage, Marie Antoinette was insulted by one of the most rabid Jacobin women. The queen replied: “But did you ever see me before?”

“No.”

“Did I ever harm you personally?”

“No, but you harmed the nation.”

“That is what others told you, but you were all deceived. I am the wife of the King of France and mother of the Dauphin. I am a French woman and will never see again the land of my birth. Thus, I can only be happy or wretched in France…and I was happy when the people loved me.”

At these words, the Jacobin began to weep and said: “This happened because I did not know you, but now I see how good you are.”

Madame Campan, Mémoires sur la vie de Marie-Antoinette (Paris: Nelson Éditeurs, 1823), p. 336. (Nobility.org translation.)

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 27

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