The Princess of Lamballe displays her magnanimity

October 13, 2014

The launch of the Montgolfier Balloon

The launch of the Montgolfier Balloon

In 1783, Montgolfier was preparing an experimental flight of his hot air balloon and planned to place live animals inside the basket. The laborer he employed insisted that he wanted to do the trip himself, but the inventor ruled this out as too risky and the rash endangering of the man’s life.

At last the flight took place in all safety, and the balloon landed a short distance away from Versailles. King Louis XVI ordered that the three animals that had made the trip were to remain on the grounds of the palace until their natural death.

Maria Teresa Luisa di Savoia, Princess  de Lamballe. Painting by Louis-Édouard Rioult.

Maria Teresa Luisa di Savoia, Princess de Lamballe. Painting by Louis-Édouard Rioult.

At this, the Princess of Lamballe, a lady of the court, saw a man weeping and asked him why he was sad.

— My Lady, I grieve because I was right. These three animals are going to have the best of everything, and I, poor laborer that I am who put together this balloon, received nothing at all.

Moved at the man’s distress, the Princess gave him some gold coins.

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Adolfo Padovan, Il Libro degli Aneddoti (Milan: Bottega di Poesia, 1924), 148. (Nobility.org translation.)

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 428

 

 

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